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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Two: Ghosts, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Two: Ghosts, pt. 2
Okay. Lily has gotten her wand, James has discovered that the sensational stories aren't as much fun when they involve real people in real pain, and Harry has acknowledged that he knows James will put his name in for the Tournament if the age line is dropped.

This section contains the last bit that I'll lift outright from the first version (I liked the arrival at the station just fine, and Dani's news conference). Now, I'm just on my story plan.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

James spent the next ten days with Teddy on his island in the Orkneys, coming up with a plan for the next book. At first, he'd got annoyed at the constant interruptions for changing Mira, putting Mira down for a nap, giving Mira bottles when Victoire was away for the day, and all sorts of other business that seemed less than related to writing. By the fourth day, however, he'd got to rather like picking her up when she cried, and Victoire said that he could get her calmed down faster than anyone, even Nana Weasley. And really, she didn't interfere that much, didn't even cry if you kept her fed and warm and bouncing a bit. He and Teddy managed to get most of the book planned out. James had been keen to add his new experience by having the fake Marauders find a baby, but Teddy said it would be better to stick to adventures for a few more books. ("Besides," he added, "Frankie already nixed that idea when I brought it up at lunch. Apparently, our main readers aren't all that fond of babies.")

While Teddy worked--he'd managed to get most of the time, but he was still in his apprenticeship, and couldn't get all of it--James wandered the island, exploring its caves and its wildlife. He took Mira with him in her pram on some of these treks, and discovered that she especially liked the edge of a cliff where the sea breeze came up and tickled her. He found a few augury feathers, and entertained himself by trying to infuse them into bits of wood from Victoire's plants (Teddy had enough weird magical gadgets from the Department of Mysteries that there was no chance of the Ministry noticing a little bit of underage magic). In the evenings, James helped Victoire in her greenhouse, and practiced speaking French with her, as it had occurred to him that Celia was right, and speaking French could be an advantage. He'd learned it to talk to Aimee and Artie sometimes, and spoke it with Celia, but he didn't feel entirely confident until Victoire shrugged and told him that he spoke it as well as her sisters and brothers did. She lent him a handful of French books to keep up his practice.

When he got back to London, there was a great deal of packing to be done, cats to be played with (as he could only take his owl, Lucia, with him to school), and quick reviewing of last year's schoolwork, overseen by Aunt Hermione. Lily and Hugo were getting quite nervous, and Dad joked about locking at least one of the children in Kreacher's cupboard so they couldn't go to school often enough that James was beginning to wonder if it was a joke. Kreacher, who doted on Lily, was inconsolable at the thought of her departure, until she gave him her favorite doll, Megrez, to look after for her. Meg was given a spot of honor beside the silver-framed family pictures that Kreacher kept in his cupboard, across from the picture of Regulus that Dad had set up for him with an ever-lit candle.

On the twenty-ninth of August, the Wizengamot declared that it would not seek to re-instate the age line at the Triwizard Tournament, and would instead trust that the Goblet of Fire would choose only the champions most able to compete. "Which should," a man named Cormac MacLaggen from Sports and Games said pompously, "keep it to those who are of age at any rate, as we are making quite certain that no one has tampered with it this time."

Aunt Hermione looked less convinced, and made a speech imploring students not to put their names in the Goblet unless they were properly trained and ready for the rigors of the competition. James was fairly certain she was talking to her daughter Rose directly when she took the trouble to point out that, "Having good marks in all of your classes is not suitable preparation."

Dad just seemed a bit spooked.

The first of September was a cloudy, drizzly morning, and James woke up to the sound of rain on his window and breakfast being prepared in the kitchen. He dressed and went downstairs. His trunk was packed, and Dad would put it magically into the car (James hoped he wasn't planning to walk in this weather), so leaving his room was rather anticlimactic.

Downstairs, Dad was fussing with the pots and pans, making a very large breakfast, Muggle-style. He looked up, smiled, then sighed. "I don't suppose I could convince you to stay home this year."

"The Goblet probably won't pick me, anyway," James said.

"I actually meant home." Dad shook his head. "It's going to be very empty here, with just Mum and Kreacher and me rolling about the house."

James laughed. "Right."

Dad looked around and said, "I'm glad you're first up. I'm going to make a fuss over Lily--"

"Of course."

"--but I did have something for you." He picked up his wand, and a small box zoomed over.

Curiously, James opened it. Inside, there was a miniature model dragon. It had been sleeping, and looked up drowsily when James picked him up. "The Hungarian Horntail?" he guessed.

"We drew them out of a bag to see which one each of us got."

"You want me to do this, don't you?"

"No." He shrugged. "But I know you want to. So, on the off chance that the Goblet chooses an outstandingly brilliant wizard instead just of one who's of age, I'd rather you know I'm on your side than imagine that I'm not."

"Thanks, Dad." James put the dragon back in its box.

Lily ran in a minute later, and the rest of the morning was devoted to Mum and Dad telling her how much they'd miss her, and Al and James trying to plant fears in her head about what would happen once she arrived at Hogwarts. She'd never believe that she'd be Sorted out of Gryffindor, so they settled for trying to frighten her about strict teachers giving dangerous detentions. This backfired, as she rather liked the idea of having to go into the Forbidden Forest and bleach a Lethifold, and would talk about nothing else as they made their way to the car, and took the short ride to King's Cross.

They all went through the barrier together and gathered in an empty area on the other side. Mum checked the tight plaits Lily was wearing and said, "Write to us, Lily. I mean, actually write. We'll write to you every day."

Dad crouched down and hugged her, then stood and tried to ruffle her tightly braided hair. "That's it," he said. "Someone has to stay, I'm not ready for this."

There wasn't much to say to this, which Dad seemed to understand, as he turned and waved to Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, who'd just arrived, trailed closely by Celia and her foster mother, Vivian Waters. They joined the Potters.

"What's the commotion up front?" Rosie Weasley asked, squinting at the front of the train. "There were people with cameras coming through the barrier with us."

She pointed toward the front of the train, where James could, indeed see camera equipment being set up.

Suddenly, from a space near the barrier, an excited shriek went up.

"It's HER!"

James craned his neck to see above the sea of cameras that had suddenly appeared, and there she was: Dani. The champion.

She was smaller than she seemed in pictures. The photographers had her standing on a pyramid of artfully stacked trunks, but this had the effect of making her seem smaller still. She was wearing blue jeans and a flowered tunic, and two flags--a Mexican flag and the Union Jack--were stuck into the base of her black ponytail. She grinned and waved at the cameras.

"Dani!" a reporter yelled. "Are you going to Hogwarts this year?"

She laughed, and responded in the light, accented English that had become so familiar over the last few months, English that sounded like it was about to break into a dance. "Oh, not for school!" she said. "But there are other things to be there for today!"

"Are the rumors true, then?" a second reporter asked. "Are you involved in the Triwizard Tournament?"

She grinned again and said, "Oh, but you have spoiled the surprise!"

This was met with a veritable roar from the press. Beside James, Celia said, "What is she going on about?"

James shrugged.

Daniela stood as tall as she could (James suspected she was on tiptoes by now) and said, "I shall tell you now: This morning, I was invited to be a judge for the Triwizard Tournament! I have accepted, and tonight, I shall observe when the Goblet of Fire chooses the group who will come from Hogwarts."

The students on the platform clapped loudly for this, but the press seemed momentarily flummoxed until a wiry man with thinning hair--Dennis Creevey--said, "Miss Villanueva, which judge stepped down?"

She frowned, and a tall man whispered in her ear; James guessed he was translating the question.

"Oh, yes," she said. "The place of Monsieur Didier Laurent, who did so very much to bring the tournament before he died, would have been taken by his wife, Madame Sandrine Laurent, but yesterday, she said no. She is a teacher at Beauxbatons, and she thought it would not be fair, especially because her son is judging from the French Ministry already."

There was a great deal of scribbling about this, then the questions about the tournament itself began--had they decided about the age line, what would the challenges be, things like that. James felt a little sorry for Daniela--she looked completely lost, and obviously didn't know. Beside him, he could tell that Dad was wincing, and he looked like he meant to step in at any moment, but he didn't have to. The same tall man who had translated for Daniela put his arms up and said, "Miss Villanueva doesn't have the answers to those questions yet. She must join the other judges momentarily."

She smiled gratefully and muttered something to him in Spanish (James only caught "Gracias"), then said, "I am so happy to be here, and to be a part of this great tradition!" She blew a kiss at the gathered students. "Good luck! Buena suerte a todos!"

With that, she scrambled down from the top of the stack of trunks, and was hustled away into the crowd.

"That was quite a performance," Aunt Hermione said.

"Don't judge her too harshly," Vivian said. "She's very young, and very nervous."

"And probably trying not to fall off that pile of trunks," Celia said, rolling her eyes.

"Isn't it time to go onto the train?" Lily asked, obviously annoyed that her first day of school had been so rudely interrupted (Hugo, who was looking after Daniela with a dreamy expression on his face, didn't seem to be so bothered).

The family took the hint, and made a great fuss over both first years. Rosie deeply frightened Hugo by suggesting that he might join her in Ravenclaw rather than going to Gryffindor, given that he could remember nearly anything he read on sight, which was apparently a highly prized skill in Ravenclaw Tower. Hugo threatened to steal her Sleek-Easy Potion and pour it down a drain if she dared to share that information with anyone at school. James teased Lily that she'd end up living with her brothers again, and they would have to approve anyone she made friends with.

"Right," Al said. "There are rituals they'll have to do. They're horrible. They involve death defying stunts--"

"--and humiliation," Celia added for good measure. "And danger. You should have seen what we put Al's new friend through last year. Jane was fat when she started, but now... well, you saw her here last year. Thin as a rail."

Al nodded. "But once they're through, we'll think about letting you keep them."

"I'll put you through rituals," Mum said, exasperated. "Starting with kitchen chores over Christmas."

The train whistle blew, and there was one more round of quick goodbyes, promises to write, and last minute straightening of hair--with Hugo, this was given up as a bad job--then together, the younger generation went to the train.
24 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: August 21st, 2011 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
he'd managed to get most of the time, but he was still in his apprenticeship, and couldn't get all of it -- Is there an 'off' missing after 'time'?

Did Victoire get another brother? I thought she just had one.

Aw, the dragon. I still want one of those little miniature, animate dragons. Maybe one a bit less pointy, though.

a wiry man with thinning hair--Dennis Creevey -- Another prematurely balding fellow, eh? What is he, mid-thirties here? Unfortunate. I know two guys under thirty who are nearly bald. I feel rather bad for them.

This reminds me of a song I heard today, by Alex Carpenter (of The Remus Lupins). The key line is "What if Pottermore sorts me in the wrong house?" It's quite amusing, and probably reflects what some first years (particularly those from families dominated by one house) might be feeling on their first day.

Edited at 2011-08-21 07:22 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2011 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Victoire has a second brother; he was born during Teddy's third year. Lance. (Obviously, not according to the JKR tree, but it was way too late by then.)

I didn't think the "off" was necessary--I usually just say, "I got such and such a time"--but it could easily go in.
From: severely_lupine Date: August 21st, 2011 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Goodness, Bill and Fleur keep themselves busy, don't they? (Really, given that Arthur was a seventh son and he had seven children, it's surprising that JKR has his kids having, at most, three children each.)

I usually just say, "I got such and such a time" -- Maybe it's a regional thing. Are you trying to convey that he got most of the ten days that James was with him off from work? What you said here only makes sense to me in the context of, say, a race: "I got this time", "This was my time". Now I'm just curious if it's regional, because I don't think I've ever heard anyone phrase it quite the way you're saying.

A little off-topic, but I can't remember what you have for Charlie in your 'verse. Does he stay unmarried and dragon-obsessed like JKR says, or... what?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2011 07:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I never had anything for Charlie, so I'm happy to go along with JKR.

I was really surprised that she had the Weasleys all have small families. I felt, looking at it, like she was saying, "You know, I don't feel like coming up with names." It didn't feel natural to the family culture. I had Ron and Hermione with a big family, too, before TDH (those entire stories were jossed, since they were interacting with Lupin, Tonks, and the Lupinlets.) And I figured Harry would also want a big family, since he always wanted Ron's family.
From: severely_lupine Date: August 21st, 2011 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Also that so many of them had girls (and Percy had only girls), seeing as how such a big deal was made that Ginny was the first Weasley girl in several generations. I don't know, maybe that's part of the general "I just want this thing to be done with!" attitude that it seems like she had in the last book.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 21st, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
My great-grandmother always wanted a girl. She had five boys. All those boys had a grand total of seven girls and two boys. I like to think that Ginny "broke" the curse, and things evened out in later generations.

Where do you get that Arthur was a seventh son? I thought he only had two brothers (if you go by the Tree, which is the only source of info in that respect, I think). His father's name is Septimus, so I would expect him to be a seventh child.
From: severely_lupine Date: August 21st, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe that's what I was thinking, that his dad was a seventh son. Still, there's a family history of a lot of kids there.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 21st, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

speaking from someone who comes from a weasley-like large family- it's actually normal

my cousins on my mother side, are like the Weasleys- Eight kids the two youngest being the only girls....

and the two oldest ones who married have only 2-3 kids. and they plant to settled it there.

large families are fun to hang around with, but from personal experience watching, you have to more or less be a stay home parent if you want to have that many kids...

and judging from both my cousins wives- while they do stay at home now for the kids (ranging from 1 1/2 year old to 4 year old but a Big mama's little boy who was inconsolable when she tries taking him to preschool)
they do plan to be more involved with their respective careers once the kids grow up...

and judging from what we do know about both Hermione and Ginny- it seems it's their case too in not having a weasley-sized family

I mean, i dont think either of them would fit much in the matron-like Role that Mrs. Weasley has.

~Alex Wells
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: August 21st, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope she doesn't tell us on Pottermore that those were all the children they had. You could always give Harry and Ginny a "second set"; I think Hermione would be perfectly happy to stop at two, and what Ron doesn't know about contraceptive potions or spells or even Muggle pills won't hurt him.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: August 22nd, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm one of seven. All of my mother's siblings (5 of them) had at least 5 as well.

My generation (James and Lily, Senior)? The biggest family is 3 children! I grew up thinking I wanted to have a large brood as well, but when I got to that stage of my life realized the impracticality of it. A middle class family is expected to educate their children through college now (unlike my childhood, when high school was considered a good education), so we stopped at two, knowing that was all we could afford to educate. Mind you, we're still working on that!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, the education issue doesn't seem to come up in the wizarding world--they go through Hogwarts and then they're done. No wizarding universities!
sidealong From: sidealong Date: September 13th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)

large families

2nd the motion that at least some of the Weasley's would've had larger families. Large families are common in my (Mormon) culture. Granted some people from large families say enough, and have none or small families. But the Wizarding World seems to need population growth, I'd say!

My parents are both from families of 4 children (born in the 50's)
On one side, I only have 6 cousins from the 3 families.
Our family has 6.
On the other side, I have 20 cousins. So my Mom and her sibs averaged 6.5 kids each.

So far many of my sibs and cousins have 3 or 4. Surely a few of them will have 1 or 2 more children.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 21st, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic chapterlet, I love Harry passing on the Hungarian Horntail model to James in a gesture of support (reminds me of Clue In The Cauldron when he says he remembers sometimes wanting to be congratulated on a job well done). The complete lack of sibling jealousy when Harry tells James he will be making a fuss of Lily at breakfast is also a lovely touch, it's heart-warming to see that Harry's kids have such a genuine affection for eachother, totally unlike Harry's own upbringing.

Re: the small Weasley families. It doesn't seem that odd to me that Harry's generation would have smaller families, particularly where both parents also have successful careers. Not that there is anything WRONG with large families, it just seems to be more unusual nowadays, particularly in couples where both parents are working full time.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess it just seemed so different from what he seemed to want. (Or maybe it's just, as an only, that I rather liked having a fantasy escape. ;p)

One thing I absolutely wanted was for Harry's family to have a happy home life. I wouldn't say they're entirely normal--all of them are very bright, and of course, Harry's fame doesn't go with "normal" very well--but they get along, they love each other (and Kreacher, and the extended family), and they have a good time together. I feel like Harry earned that.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 21st, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the increased emphasis on Harry's Tournament experience--not just the bad part with Voldemort, but the entirety of it--interspersed with the anticipation of James and his schoolmates of their own. And I wonder how the Goblet chooses the pool of likely candidates that will be going to Beauxbatons in the first place--clearly, the whole student body of Hogwarts can't go.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think one thing I want to get into on some level--though not dwell on it--is the damage that's done when someone puts a shadow over something that's good, and what it means to get out of that shadow. Harry enjoyed doing the first task (once it was done), and certainly enjoyed his fantasies before he was picked. But what happened at the end was so horrific that all the good stuff, for participants and viewers alike, would take a back seat... and that doesn't seem fair, to let Voldemort define things.
cleindori From: cleindori Date: August 21st, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just got back from camping and Girl Guide camp and binged on all the new and improved Ville-Sauvage -- very enjoyable! I like the way things are shaping up now, especially the father-son moments with Harry and James (I definitely have a soft spot for Dad!Harry, especially the way you write him). Hope the writing from your story plan continues to go as well as the re-writes! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Harry! I just need to say that sometimes. Dad!Harry, Auror!Harry, TeenAngst!Harry... just love Harry. I think that's the best part of these not being alternate PoVs like Shifts and Shades... I get to interact with Harry more!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 21st, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't really find the Weasley small families odd at all. Many people who come from large families where they had to endure economic hardships prefer to limit the number of children they have. I agree that Bill as the eldest and Harry, who always envied the Weasleys, would want a bigger family. But both Ron and George seemed to resent the lack of money and attention so I'd understand that they'd want to give their kids all the best things. Plus Hermione would want a busy career (to drop out of politics to have a baby once or twice is one thing- more than that and you start missing all the action and are out of the game), Ginny playing quidditch would have a busy schedule and both Harry and Ron (H especially once he's head of department) have dangerous and demanding positions. Counting Teddy, Harry has four kids. Maybe he and Ginny thought that was large enough. I don't think Percy would be up for a large family either (though it amuses me to imagine that his girls are mischevious twins).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I can see your point. But I still miss the big families.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: August 22nd, 2011 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)

AWWWW love the domestic moments....

i really love the Harry's kids and Ron/Hermione kids dynamics.
(the conversation between rose and hugo- and hugo threatening rose on her sleakeasy potion was a hoot)

also love how The trio seem to be such dotting, loving, and slightly concerned when they need to (aka Hermione "doesn't matter that you have top marks in all your classes Rose, I dont want you putting your name in the goblet...) moment, as well as Harry being able to talk to someone about the good things of the tournament....

so, overall, really loved this chapter...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: AWWWW love the domestic moments....

They'd definitely be raised more closely than average cousins, I think.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: August 22nd, 2011 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)

other details....

dont blame James Jr at all for falling under baby Mira's baby spell. newborn babies (well all kinds of babies ) to me are adorable...

.... question- did Mira inherited the veela or Metarmophomagus gene?

because she certainly inherited the daredevil/free spirited gene (liking the corner by the edge of a cliff because it tickles her face? totally Dora Tonks influence!)

on other details.... poor Dani Villanueva... (also loved the little detail of Harry empathizing and his unresolved impulse of wanting to help if necessary)

dont understand why Hermione is being harsh about Dani thought, as she had a Crush on famous Gilderoy Lockhart and went to the ball with famous quidditch player Viktor Krum....

so her least of everyone should judge...

another detail i noticed on re-read--- Hi there Cormac Mclaggen! still being a pompous Git, but at least Not in a Very, Very important position ego to the head git- Ha!

definitely looking forward to already going to Hogwarts chapter!

(which makes me happy to know will take much less time that the pottermore-hogwarts letters, so while people like me who are waiting indefinitely for the letters, at least we can come back to hogwarts through this story)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 22nd, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: other details....

did Mira inherited the veela or Metarmophomagus gene?

Neither--she's just your average witch. Well, brilliant, of course. ;p Basically, she most takes after Remus in looks. The whole family digs being on the edge of cliffs, though.
24 comments or Leave a comment