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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter One: The Most Interesting Girl In the World, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter One: The Most Interesting Girl In the World, pt. 3
James has been quite interested in the reinstatement of the Triwizard Tournament, and all of Britain seems obsessed with the winner of the Americas' Quinatamage Competition, with the winner, Dani Villanueva, featured everywhere, and talked about in all the media. After Lily has gotten her wand, she and Harry go off for an afternoon together, and Ginny takes the boys out. They haven't quite decided what they mean to do when James's friend, Michael Prince, joins them, and tells them that Dani herself is staying in the hotel they're standing right in front of.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"Are you sure it's her?" James asked, staring up at the window.

"Yeah," Michael said. "Bear and I went over to Quality Quidditch yesterday. We were going to get time on the pitch, but she was there, trying to shoot goals around Wood. Your uncle was there--said that Dani just showed up and really wanted to meet Wood." Michael shook his head at this, apparently unable to believe that anyone could admire Oliver Wood more than Daniela Villanueva... let alone Dani herself.

"Hmm," Mum said, starting to steer everyone toward the Leaky Cauldron. "Fred said he saw her broom up close. I didn't think anything of it."

"Did she win?" Al asked out of nowhere.

"What?" Michael asked.

"Did she get her goals around Wood?"

"Oh." Michael thought about it. "I think she got one. She was probably going easy on him."

Mum rolled her eyes.

James frowned. "I can't believe you didn't tell me she was here."

"I'm telling now! What was I supposed to do, go in and use the Floo?" He shook his head. "I'm meeting everyone else today, over at the Cauldron. We're going to go over to Quality Quidditch and see if she comes again, since she was so impressed. Really, James, you're the one who got all noble and told your whatever-Teddy-is to wait until Al was a third year so you could learn that spell together, the one with the talking animals."

"The Patronus," James grumbled. Teddy's dad had taught Dad during his third year. Dad had taught Teddy during his third year. And Teddy had offered to teach James and Al and Lily each in their third years--and James had promised to teach his friends--but Al had looked so forlorn at being left behind last year that James had felt guilty, and decided that Al's third year would be the right time. Now, he wished he hadn't. No one would have noticed a quick little wand-wave from Michael, and some little animal--James was predicting an anteater or an elephant--would have come to tell him to get down to the practice pitch. He sighed, then something occured to him. "What's she doing here?" he asked.

"Isn't Lee Jordan interviewing her?"

"In a couple of days."

"Maybe she wanted to see the sights while she was waiting. Or there was something else to do. A big bloke came and collected her around six. Looked like she was expected somewhere." Michael shrugged. "Can't be sure, though. They were speaking Spanish. Fast. She hasn't been out of the hotel yet this morning, though."

"You're watching for the poor girl?" Mum asked. "Really, Michael."

"You're right," Michael said. "I should just win the Triwizard, so she'll know who I am, too."

"If Dad doesn't make them put the stupid age line back," James said.

"Your dad doesn't want some younger student--say, a fourth year--to find himself in over his head," Mum told them. James did not fail to note that, while she defended Dad, she had never suggested that she agreed with him.

They reached the arch into the Leaky Cauldron and Mum tapped out the sequence on the bricks. The arch opened, and they went back in.

Michael raised an arm in greeting, and James turned to see that several of their friends--Ahmad Elbaz (called "Spots," for the large display of spots on his face), Silas Boyle (better known as Bear), Robert Highgold (who didn't have a nickname... yet), and Celia Dean (which surprised James, as it was the day after the full moon)--had taken a booth in back, on the Charing Cross Road side of the pub. Celia was expounding on something or other--James could see her gesticulating from here--but he couldn't tell what over the general din of conversations, particularly the ones at the bar, where two men were shouting at each other.

"--not like it was any favorite You-Know-Who! He just used it because it was there!"

"But he did use it. We had a bloody war after it. I lost my brother!"

"What's the point of winning a war if we're going to spend the rest of time acting like we're still having it? Come on, lads, it's a good thing!"

The others at the bar started chiming in, none too quietly, with their opinions about the return of the Triwizard Tournament, but Hannah Longbottom raised her wand, and all of their stools sent them toppling backward. "Enough!" she shouted. "Honestly, I've an easier time keeping an infant and a toddler in line. I don't need to worry about you lot of infants at work."

The men looked stunned for a minute, then muttered apologies and started righting the stools. James smiled at Hannah and waved. She waved back with a roll of the eyes. When she'd first taken over the pub, she'd been nervous and shy, until Mum had brought her home one night and taught her how to properly shout. The pair of them had started a habit of going to Quidditch matches together to practice this particular skill, and the last time James had gone along with them, Hannah had demonstrated a surprising talent for it. Mum flashed her a conspiratorial grin; Hannah waved.

"You boys go on over," Mum said. "I'll have a word with Hannah. Did you want to go on to Quality Quidditch later?"

James had quite a lot of Quidditch practice as it was--Mum took him up most days--but of course, that was hardly the point today. He nodded. Mum looked at Al, who shrugged.

She shook her head. "Men of many words, I see." She gave each of them, including Michael, an affectionate hair-tousling, then went over to the bar to talk to Hannah.

The three boys went over to the table, where the others were sharing a large plate of nachos (which had been enjoying a Dani-inspired vogue of late).

"I'm going because I need Quidditch practice!" Celia was saying, frustrated. She didn't look much the worse for wear this month, though she seemed to be in a fine temper. "Neil's useless at Quidditch, and now he's obsessed with his NEWTs. I tried to get him to practice last night before the moon rose, but he was already studying. Hi, James. Snout." She noticed Al. "And Speckles!"

Al groaned and came out from behind James. He sat down. "Not Speckles. There's got to be something else to call me."

"You didn't like Mini-Potter, either," Celia said.

"How about 'Al'? You call James 'James'."

"That's because he hasn't come up with a name for himself."

"There's always 'Asp,'" James suggested. "For him, not me. It's what his initials say. Scops Malfoy pointed that one out, and I'm deeply ashamed that I missed it."

"Not 'Asp,'" Al said. "Too easy to miss the last sound."

"How about--"

"How about deciding whether or not we're going to catch our pitch time?" Spots said. "I don't care if we go Dani-watching or shoot some goals. I just want to get up in the air."

"I'm already in the air," Michael said.

Celia rolled her eyes fiercely. "Really, Snout, she's just a girl. I met her in Mexico. She showed me around San Cip while Mum Viv and Père Alderman were talking to the Headmaster. She tripped over her own feet and ended up in hippogriff dung."

"You've done that, too, Snout!" Spots said. "It's amazing, like you're soulmates!"

"I think I've got more in common with her," Bear said.

"How do you reckon?" Robert asked.

"She won the Quintamage, I'm going to win the Triwizard."

"That's my plan," Michael said.

"You're both underage," Celia reminded them. "I'm the only one at this table that'll get past an age line."

"You're only sixteen!"

"I'll be seventeen on the eighth of September," Celia said, then fluttered her eyelids and put her hands dramatically over her heart. "Do you think I'll have a chance with Dani?" She grabbed a nacho and loaded it with as much extra food as she could. "I'm putting my name in, though. That's a lot of gold."

"First you have to get them to take you to Beauxbatons," Spots said. "With the group that'll stay the year."

Celia thought about this more seriously. "I actually have a good chance, if they're being logical. I've been on a cup-winning Quidditch team for two years now, I have top marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and I already speak French, so I'd fit right in." She frowned. "I wonder how they do choose that."

"The Goblet," Al said.

James looked at him, surprised. "Why do you say that?"

"I asked Aunt Fleur." He looked confused that James hadn't done so, and James was rather chagrined about this himself. "She and Krum both know how they chose the groups. She said the Goblet went to Durmstrang first, then Beauxbatons, and it chose their hopefuls. Well, sort of. It chose twelve at Beauxbatons, so Durmstrang added two, so they'd have the same number of chances. Not that it made any difference, since Krum was already on the list that they'd got."

This was met with some silence. "You'd think that'd be in a book somewhere," Robert said. "Why wasn't that in Triwizard Trials?"

"Maybe--" Michael started, but they never found out what he was going to suggest, because the back door opened, and Amos Diggory staggered in, drunk and shouting incomprehensibly to no one at all.

Mum ran over. "Mr. Diggory," Mum said. "Mr. Diggory, please sit down." She called to Hannah. "Hannah, I'd like to buy Mr. Diggory some coffee."

"On the house," Hannah said, looking frustrated.

"What's wrong with him?" Celia asked, her short-tempered waspishness disappearing. "Is he all right?"

"Cursed thing!" Diggory wailed, waving a rolled up magazine in his hand. "CURSED! CURSED!"

Mum tried to catch his flailing arms and only managed to get one. "James, come help me!" she called.

James went over, and caught the wrist of the hand that was holding the magazine. It fell to the ground. Diggory made a grab at it, but missed, and collapsed, weeping.

It unrolled as it hit the floor, and James picked it up.

From the cover of Spooky Sports, Cedric Diggory looked out, smiling unknowingly at the son of the man who he'd been with when he died, over faux-spooky looking teaser text that read, "Triwizard Tragedies: From Dresden Dementors to Diggory's Demise."

Amos Diggory grabbed it back from James, buried his face against Cedric's, and continued to cry.
24 comments or Leave a comment
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 17th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, Amos Diggory's heart-broken scream when he sees his son's body (especially in the film, it's so well acted) is one of the more haunting moments in the series for me. Just thinking about it makes me teary.

Although I'm glad the way the gloom creeps back into James' world while he stays in the happy land. I always like a bit of gloom! Great chapter.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. The death of Cedric was what split the series for me, what took it from, "Yes, this is a pretty good quest, what's for dinner?" to "I am going to keep reading, flat out, until Harry makes this guy pay."

Dumbledore's speech about Cedric--inconceivably skipped in the film--was much more moving than anything we heard injected. That simple, "Remember Cedric Diggory" contrasted with Voldemort's equally simply, loathsome, "Kill the spare"... that said everything that needed to be said about the war; the rest was commentary, as the Talmud story puts it.

And I do, throughout the rest of the books, remember Cedric dying, and his parents visiting Harry in the hospital wing. Amos was kind of a prick, but only because it was so obvious that he adored Cedric, and then to have it followed with a year of the Ministry he worked for denying why it happened?

Edited at 2011-08-17 04:50 pm (UTC)
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: August 17th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore's "Remember Cedric" speech made me cry the first fifty times I read it!

And, yeah, one of the few things they got exactly right in the movie was Amos Diggory's grief.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
The guy they had as Amos was very good. There was a lot wrong with the fourth movie, but that, at least, hit the mark. I'm baffled as to why, with all the scenes in the Great Hall, they couldn't have just called "wardrobe change" one day and had the speech. It was not only good, but important.

It wasn't just that it made me cry (though it did), but that it so clearly delineated the positions--and explained, a lot of ways, why the people who later left the DEs did so. On the one hand, you have "Kill the spare": the most chilling line in the series, because you know you're dealing with an evil psychopath to whom people are "spares." People you've gotten to know and like very much over the course of the book (because JKR doesn't forget that). It pretty much doesn't matter what Voldemort believes or values after that--he could have had "the greater good" in mind as easily as his obsession with immortality--because you know exactly who he is from that. On the other hand, you have Dumbledore citing everything wonderful about Cedric himself, turning the many to mourn for the single, irreplaceable human being who's been lost. And look at the people who leave the DEs: Snape, because he realizes (granted, at long last) that someone he cares about has been placed in harm's way; Regulus, whose eyes are opened when Voldemort treats Kreacher like a disposable napkin with something vile on it; and the Malfoys, who've watched one another and their home being destroyed while Voldemort sat back and encouraged it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 17th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to see you back in the writing biz! And eager to see what's coming next, of course.
I wanted to send you kudos for your choice of French names in the prologue; they all sounded perfect to me :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I wasn't sure Césa would be a good nickname, so I'm especially glad to hear all of them made sense! I have a list of the top 40 boys' and girls' names, and the top 20 surnames to play with. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 18th, 2011 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
To be fair, 'Césa' does sound a bit odd because Césarine is an old name and we're not used to seeing it shortened; but this is the wizarding world where eccentric (to muggle ears) names are thick on the ground. So, 'Césa'... why not?
From: severely_lupine Date: August 17th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor, poor Mr. Diggory. Rather heartless of those magazine people, though that's true enough to real life.

I do think, in my own view, that Al's initials are a bit of a hint as to what house he'd be in, though. Yes, I'm a Slytherin!Al fan. (I also see Scorpius in Slytherin, possibly because it's hard to see a Malfoy in anything else, though I suppose a lot of people see the Potters the same way, and there's really no logic behind it. More of a gut reaction, I suppose.) Although I think Al's reason for not wanting that as a nickname makes perfect sense. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 17th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
The press sucks sometimes.

I tend to see Al as seen in the epilogue as a little too conflicted about the whole issue for Slytherin. It's a house for people who are sly and ambitious; Al seems to be pretty straightforward and shy, maybe prone to overthinking things (which is why I had the hat think about Ravenclaw for him). Also, any time you have that kind of weird conversation, you know it's going to end up with the options being totally different than you imagine. Once you've fretted that much about Slytherin, you know it's not even going to be on the table. ;p
From: severely_lupine Date: August 18th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Or maybe he was so worried because he knows, deep down, that he's pretty Slytherin, but is worried that his family wouldn't accept him if he got in the rival house. I see where you're coming from with it, though. Part of it is that I also like Al and Scorpius as friends. I see them meeting on the train, and Scorpius actually seems like a really decent guy, and when he's sorted into Slytherin, Al thinks maybe it wouldn't be so bad to be in that house and allows the hat to put him there.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I can see them as friends, too. (Maybe not besties, but getting along reasonably well.) But I don't see Scorpius as a Slyth, mostly because the whole "he looks just like Draco" thing... I don't know. It just wouldn't work for me if he also ended up having Draco's personality. I'd like to see the Malfoys get a chance at a new sort of life, and while Slytherin might not be bad for someone else, for them, it's a badge of the old ways. Plus, there's the amusement factor of imagining Draco triangulating to explain away his comments about Hufflepuff when his own son ends up there. That's priceless in my head. ;p

I do see Slytherin cleaning up its act a little bit after the war. If nothing else, they'd be crazy not to, following Pansy's outburst in the final battle. It'd be an uphill social climb of monumental proportions for them, but if any house can grit its teeth and beat its own reputation, it's Slytherin. I imagine, in a lot of ways, that they're more vigilant about Dark Arts than any of the other houses, at least for a while, because any sign of it will point right back to their less than stellar performance in the war and make people think all the wrong things (and ruin all the work everyone else is doing). But for the Malfoys, it was SO tied up in their Death Eater lives that I think they need a break from it, at least with their first returning member.
From: severely_lupine Date: August 18th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do think that Hufflepuff!Scorpius is very amusing. For exchanges, I've written Scorpius in Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and I think those both had fun things about them as well. I've written small snippits of my actual view of Slytherin!Scorpius, and while he is like Draco in some ways (he's got a certain arrogant smugness), the cruelty and bigotry is gone (but then, I'm also a Scorpius/Rose shipper). Actually, now that I think of it, I think my view of Scorpius is a lot like James the first, only with more Slytherin subtlety than Gryffindor brashness.

I'm still annoyed with how Rowling treated Slytherin, especially in the end there. I have a hard time thinking there wouldn't be a single Slytherin who'd want to stay and fight (other than Slughorn). Seems to me that she'd already shown, through the Malfoys, how much damage Voldemort had done to purebloods and those caught up in his schemes. I have an OC in one of my stories who's a Slytherin who wants to fight against Voldemort because she lost her father to Voldemort's craziness in the first war, and I think it's entirely plausible that there would be at least a few people who'd hate Voldemort because of that sort of thing, if nothing else. (I also like to put Mad-Eye in Slytherin, partly because it amuses me, and partly because I can see him as being someone who hates Dark wizards because of how they usually give Slytherin a bad name.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 18th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like to imagine that after they left the great hall, one of the slytherins turned back and fought. My favorite candidate for this is Theodore Nott. I imagine that he does it because he Remembers Cedric Diggory, who was kind to him. Who maybe helped him with his arithmancy homework once.

Thanks for a great chapter. ~ Karen
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 18th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

I personally hope against slytherin....

not because I dont like the house-

but because Slytherin!Al has become such a fandom fodder, specially to slash shippers.

the same way i dont want rose to end with scorpius because that´s the dramione shippers trying to something of their sunken ship through hermione daughter

as for the symbolism- dont put too much stock to it

not everything that rowling painted as symbolic, intentional or otherwise, played out

ex. ginny being the 7 child and only daughter. she played a rol but it was nothing compared to the magnitude rowling hinted at when she talked about the importance of the number 7

etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: August 17th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm just catching up from the beginning. This version of the first chapter of the story is really good and better than what I remember of the older version. The older version did not strike me as deficient when I read it, but this just feels richer and more interesting. Poor Mr. Diggory.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2011 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that I'm writing the kind of story I write, which turns out not to be "Hardy Boys" in style, even if it is in content.
daksian From: daksian Date: August 18th, 2011 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice bit of dialogue with the kids, re-establishing the characters from Clue in the Cauldron. And the parallel with the kids in Goblet of Fire (about the Triwizard) is downright eerie. Makes me wonder (and shudder) about what other parallels you have planned! Judging from Amos Diggory's reaction, I'm guessing the TT isn't likely to be as rosy as the kids seem to think.

As always, enjoying the story, and I can't wait for the next segment! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
There wouldn't be much of a story to tell if it went smoothly, eh? ;p
mylla From: mylla Date: August 18th, 2011 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Just wanted to say - before I inevitably go back to lurking again - how pleased I am you're starting another long story! And especially that it's a story so closely linked to GoF. I especially love the argument about the Tournament and what it symbolises for people - it rings pretty true.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2011 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'll remember that you're lurking. ;p
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 18th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I remember parts of this from the earlier version--nice job reconstituting them here. Would a British pub serve nachos as a snack, though?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 18th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
When the current "it" girl is from Mexico? I think so. That's why I mentioned that they're part of Dani-mania.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 20th, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Ginny teaching Hannah to shout!

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 20th, 2011 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, someone would need to if nervous little Hannah is going to be a barkeep! ;p
24 comments or Leave a comment