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Shifts, Chapter 7: Dis-Order, Part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Shifts, Chapter 7: Dis-Order, Part 2

Table of contents and Summary so far


I left the Order just sitting down to discuss Umbridge's appointment as Hogwarts High Inquisitor.



"Can we still count on communication?" Emmeline Vance asked with no preliminaries.

"We have Fawkes," Sirius said. "That's how Dumbledore reached me. It seems that it hasn't occurred to anyone that phoenixes aren't as easily tracked as owls. And so far, there's been no suspicion about our other means of communicating. At least according to Phineas Nigellus."

Kingsley nodded. "We should still be careful. Too many messages--too much contact--would cast suspicion on them and us."

"What about the students?" Molly asked quietly. "Can I reach my children?"

Remus reached over and patted her fingers. (She smiled at him in a distracted but genuine way; for some reason, she was willing to accept comfort and friendship from him despite her plain dislike of werewolves, and Remus liked her for that. It was never easy to ignore one's prejudices.) "You can write them the same sorts of letters you always have. I don't think even Dolores Umbridge could object to a mother writing a letter to her children." When he pulled his hand back, a pain shot through his shoulder.

"But assume they'll be read," Moody growled. "No news about anyone else, even if you think you have a clever code."

"And if Harry needs a warning?"

"Harry and I have developed some sneaky ways to keep in touch," Sirius said, flashing her a grin. "I can get word to Harry if we need to. And Ron and Hermione. And they can reach the twins and Ginny."

Molly looked dubious.

"'N I can keep an ear t'the ground in Hogsmeade," Dung piped up. "Got plenty of, er, business there. I know where they'll gossip about the folks up't the school."

"We should still keep it to a minimum," Emmeline said. "It will come down on them harder than on us if we're caught. They're a captive audience there."

Hestia Jones raised her hand cautiously. "May I ask something?"

"What is it?" Sirius asked.

"How..." She bit her lip and her rosy normally rosy cheeks became flaming red. "How bad is it?" she asked. "Maybe it's because I don't have children and I'm not a teacher, but unpleasant as it is to have Dolores Umbridge at Hogwarts, it is just a school. How much of an impact will it have on us if it's under close scrutiny?"

"Aside from filling a generation's head with ridiculous lies?" Sirius snapped.

Kingsley raised a hand for quiet. "I know what Hestia means. And the simple answer is that they're at this for one reason and one reason alone: they want Dumbledore, and they'll keep hounding until they catch him at something. He's our Secret Keeper, among other things. Without him, we can't add anyone to our roster. And he's... Dumbledore."

"Snape and Professor McGonagall will be caught in it, too," Dora said, nodding. "I reckon old Snape can grease his way out of it, but McGonagall won't sit still for it."

There were fond smiles all around; most of them had been Minerva McGonagall's students at some point. Remus could imagine her stubborn fuming and sharp tongue earning her some very close attention.

"Not to mention Harry," Sirius pointed out. "You do realize that Harry Potter is in the hands of the people who most want him silenced?"

After some uncomfortable shifting around, Hestia abruptly slammed her hand down on the table and stood up. "Doesn't it bother anyone else how much we're counting on a fifteen year old child to do our work for us? Maybe it's better if he's kept out of it. Let him have a life!"

Sirius looked deeply offended, but Remus cut off the oncoming response with a sharp look, then turned to Hestia (his neck tried to resist the command, but he wouldn't let it). "I think that the one thing Harry would like more than anything is to have a normal life, and worry about Quidditch and pretty girls. He certainly tries to when he's given a chance. But Voldemort drew him into this, and if I know Harry--"

"Which he does," Sirius said, "better than anyone here except me."

"--as long as the fight is out there, he'll seethe if he's not in it. It's personal for him."

Hestia sighed and nodded. "I know. I suppose I just feel guilty, pulling a child into this."

Bill Weasley smiled. "I think you have yourself confused with You-Know... Voldemort."

Molly shuddered involuntarily.

Arabella Figg cleared her throat. "I've got to wonder, with all this nonsense at the Ministry... is Harry still watched on Privet Drive? If he's not, you're all welcome to use my house to keep an eye on him--"

Kingsley shook his head. "The Ministry was allowed to think itself useful by closely monitoring his underage magic and so on, but the real magic protecting the house has nothing at all to do with them. It's worked through Lily Potter's charm and her sister."

Arabella wrinkled her nose at the mention of Petunia, but made no other comment.

"What shall we do?" Fleur asked, speaking up for the first time. "I could ask ze French ministry to take it up wiz Fudge..."

"No," Arthur said. "For one thing, they get their British news from the same sources as people here do... they may well agree with Fudge, and you'll cast suspicion on yourself. For another..."

"I can't imagine a quicker way to get people to rally around Fudge," Sirius said with a grin. Arthur nodded.

Fleur looked puzzled, but didn't say anything more.

Bill sniffed. "I don't suppose there's a scenario in which it would solve all our problems if I wrung Percy's neck."

"Don't," Molly said. "Please, Bill."

Bill took her hand and squeezed it. "Sorry, Mum. He's just being such a git."

"He's your brother," Molly said implacably.

Arthur was conspicuously silent on the subject.

After an awkward moment of silence, Dora (who had even less tolerance for silence than Sirius did), conjured a scroll and unrolled it with a definite air. "It seems to me that the first thing we need to do is establish some counter-scrutiny," she said. "We'll get Dung on the ground in Hogsmeade as often as possible--I'll even let him use my wardrobe if he can't show his face."

There was some laughter at this.

"Hestia, there's a woman substituting for Hagrid who lives off the school grounds. Someone-or-other Grubbly-Plank. Don't you know her?"

"Yes. I apprenticed to her when I started studying magizoology."

"Would she think it was odd if you got back in touch and asked some questions about what's happening?"

"No. We haven't lost touch. We see quite a lot of one another. That's a good idea."

Dora kept running the meeting for perhaps ten more minutes before Sirius took control back from her and started working on chains of command and communication that would bypass the Hogwarts members.

Remus himself started doodling a map of Hogwarts from memory--Harry needed the Marauder's Map more than they did, but it would be useful to have a new one if this nonsense was happening. After an hour of talk, he found himself forgetting the passageways and byways, and paying more attention to his elbows, hips, and knees, which were burning with the stress. His fingers on the quill felt like red hot wires had been attached to the bones. He noticed the flames of the fire, seeming to slow down in their strange dance. It seemed too warm somehow, too...

The room swam out of focus, and then went dark.
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Comments
ajaxbreaker From: ajaxbreaker Date: July 21st, 2004 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
This is really great, as always. The look into the inner workings of the Order is fascinating. I also like how you've given each Order member a distinct personality, even the minor players such as Mrs Figg and Hestia. Lovely.
sreya From: sreya Date: July 21st, 2004 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Remus passes out? Oh, Molly's going to have kittens!

*looks over that* Wow, that looks like such a strange phrase written out. But that's what I actually said when I got to the end!

I'm a bit confused with Mrs. Figg's question about Harry being watched on Privet Drive. Does she mean for next summer already?

Oh, and I laughed so hard at "I can't imagine a quicker way to get people to rally around Fudge." I've started my international relations courses this summer, and this was just so amusing in that light. :~)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think Molly is going to go fairly feline on it.

I'm a bit confused with Mrs. Figg's question about Harry being watched on Privet Drive. Does she mean for next summer already?
I'm going to rephrase that and have her say "Harry's family." Presumably, the Dursleys home is generally under protection. Wouldn't do Harry much good if Death Eaters came during the year and left his safe house in ruins.
sreya From: sreya Date: July 21st, 2004 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, that makes more sense for her to ask about his family. :~) You're right, and after all, that's part of the premise of this whole story, isn't it.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: July 21st, 2004 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Glad to see our previous discussions on English / French relations are bearing fruit ;)
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: July 21st, 2004 09:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Uh-oh...

I thought Remus was still feeling the effects of the latest full moon...till the end there. Now, given what happened to Dudley's former teacher, I'm really worried!

And I am deeply enjoying this series.

Keep it up.
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: July 21st, 2004 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)

oh my!

Oh! What's wrong with Remus? Is it just the full moon or do we need to check that classroom for Radon? What a cliffhanger! Please don't leave us hanging for too long!

The behind-the-scenes/inner-workings of the OOtP are just fabulous. Characterization undoubtedly is one of your strong suits, you've given the "unknown" order members such unique personalities and kept the known ones IC. I do, secretly, love what you did to Fleur. :) (Remus notices her as nothing more than "a blonde witch" and she's a bit clueless during the meeting) *wicked smile*

Hmmm... Grubbly-Plank and Percy were both mentioned, I don't suppose we might be meeting them soon?

Thank you for allowing Hestia to bring up what many adult readers were thinking, "Doesn't it bother anyone else how much we're counting on a fifteen year old child to do our work for us? Maybe it's better if he's kept out of it. Let him have a life!" Very JKR-esque. You know, your "voices" are very similar in this particular story. (Shifts)

Oh - and thanks for the explanation of *why* exactly Mundungus was "dressing like a witch a lot lately". You're working so well with Canon, I do forget it's fanfic.

Thanks for another great bit, Fern.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: oh my!

Hmmm... Grubbly-Plank and Percy were both mentioned, I don't suppose we might be meeting them soon?

Grubbly-Plank was a tossed in mention here, but I sort of like it. The problem is getting Remus, the POV character, access to this. Maybe during full moon sequences.
liebchen127 From: liebchen127 Date: July 21st, 2004 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I really love your writing!!!!
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: July 21st, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I meant to ask about this in my post above:

Remus reached over and patted her fingers. (She smiled at him in a distracted but genuine way; for some reason, she was willing to accept comfort and friendship from him despite her plain dislike of werewolves, and Remus liked her for that. It was never easy to ignore one's prejudices.)

I'm wondering why you chose give Molly a "plain dislike of werewolves"? Did you find that in canon or is it simply something you think Molly would be likely to feel? It really jumped out at me. I admit it feels a bit unfair -- poor Molly really looks bad all around in OOtP anyway, without laying one more prejudice/fear/opinion on her doorstep.

While I've got your eye :) -- will you tell us what you think Snape's errand is during OOtP and whether we'll see any of it in Shifts?

AND... are Remus' doodles any relation to the 12 scrolls which looked like a plan of a building in Chapter 5 of OOtP?

Thanks,
Lauri
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got that from her response to the newly bitten werewolf in Arthur's room in OotP. Unlike Remus, I don't think she had to "get over" her prejudice--I think she's willing to take a person she knows for himself and not particularly make the connection. I'm also planning on having more Molly (I like Molly a great deal) as we go--after all, Remus is the one who goes to comfort her after Percy returns his jumper, so they must have something of a relationship by them--and I hope to show that while she's (rightfully) nervous about lycanthropy, she's not actually anti-werewolf. Remus, I think, has a hard time separating the two, and Molly's quick reactions to people make it hard to see.

AND... are Remus' doodles any relation to the 12 scrolls which looked like a plan of a building in Chapter 5 of OOtP?
I hadn't thought of that. Hmmmm. It does strike me that it would be useful for the Order to have a Marauder's Map of the Ministry.

I wasn't planning on getting too much into Snape.
mafdet From: mafdet Date: July 21st, 2004 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like how all the members of the Order have a distinct personality, rendered in such a short space of time. You have a great "brushstroke technique."

I still, by the way, chuckle over your earlier chapter of Shifts where Dudders and Piers and co. try to play a trick on a former Marauder. It's a case of "this is funny because we the readers are clued in, but the characters [Piers etc.] are not."
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