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The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Five: Marauder's Roost, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Secret of Ville-Sauvage, Chapter Five: Marauder's Roost, pt. 3
James is up at Teddy's place, trying to learn the Patronus. His first afternoon at it wasn't terribly fruitful (though no worse than Harry's), and Teddy is waxing philosophical about what Patronuses are and how James is best taught about them. Meanwhile, Victoire is planning his birthday party.

I cannot for the life of me remember if I ever gave Victoire a Patronus before.

Table of Contents So Far

The second day went much the same. James managed to produce a silver cloud most of the time by the late afternoon, but it wasn't taking any shape.

"You're really doing very well," Teddy assured him. "When you get back to Hogwarts--and when you're at Beauxbatons--it'll just be a question of practicing."

James formed the cloud again. "Would this help at all?"

"Maybe long enough to get away," Teddy said.

"I keep thinking of lots of happy things. Winning Quidditch, having Lily beg for stories, Dad giving me his dragon--the little one from his tournament," he clarified when he saw Teddy frown. "Almost everything is happy. I don't have much that's sad."

"I'm starting to wonder about that... about the happy thoughts business."

"I should be concentrating on sad ones?"

Teddy laughed. "Definitely not. But I think what those thoughts do isn't just about making us happy. The things that make us happy are the things that make us who we are, and the Patronus is a projection, in some ways, of the Identity--a mimicked soul for Dementors to temporarily feed on, but without the nastier things, so it can't be weakened."

"Like the portraits?" Teddy asked.

Teddy's eyes widened. "Well... yes. Sort of. Hmm." He considered it. "Not exactly."

"I wonder what would happen to a portrait that a Dementor saw."

"I'd rather not find out," Teddy said. "I don't think it would attack, because the portraits don't really send out a sense of themselves the way a Patronus does. There's nothing for a Dementor to sense."


Teddy thought about it. "When I said yesterday that your dad learned it when he knew he could do it--and that story's really complicated--I got to thinking. What finally drove it home was understanding that he really was that strong, that he really had that kind of power, and didn't have to wait for someone else. Do you have anything like that?"

For a moment, James's mind flashed back to the end of his second year, to the cairn in the woods where he'd tamed the Pooka to save Bear and everyone else. He could smell its mane, feel it winding through his fingers as he pulled out three hairs... He shook his head. That wasn't a good memory. He'd been scared to death, though he hadn't told anyone. Dad had taken those three hairs and had them put into a glass paperweight, and James never knew what he was meant to feel when he looked at them.

"Do you have something?"

James shook his head. "Nothing useful."

"Try something un-useful."

James let himself remember that day fully, raised his wand, and cried, "Expecto Patronum!"

The silver cloud emerged. On the other side of it, Teddy watched it with his lips pressed together; obviously, it hadn't been any better than the others.

When the cloud disappeared, Teddy said, "I think we should call it a day. Everyone should be coming soon for the party."

"But we only have one more day!"

"And I'm going to spend tomorrow teaching you to practice properly," Teddy said. "Which means I need to think about the best way for you to observe yourself."

"Oh," James said, disappointed.

"James, you knew coming into this that you wouldn't master it in a weekend." Teddy gathered up their things and started heading up to the big house. James followed.


"Yeah, but you thought I was just kidding, and I was such a brilliant teacher, and you're such a brilliant student..."

"Well, both of those things are true."

"You're doing very well," Teddy said again. "Better than you think you are."

"Could we have a Patronus parade at the party tonight?" James asked. "I haven't seen everyone's."

"If everyone's willing."

"Is Victoire's a lady hawk?"

Teddy laughed. "No. And don't ask me to start theorizing on why some change and some don't. My brain is tired, and I have to work." He stopped. "I wonder if Croaker would let me..." His voice trailed off and he shook his head. "I don't think it's a good idea, anyway. Come on. This is not calling it a day."

James rolled his eyes and followed Teddy the rest of the way to the house, talking about the next book, in which, James decided Raymond Lewis would be keeping deep secrets from Jason Clay, and Jason would decide to do whatever it took to pry them out of him. By the time they actually got inside, it was starting to turn into an interesting plot--Raymond had discovered the shapeshifting goddess Diara, who had slipped through time with them, and was trying to hide her from the others because he thought she'd need to be sent back, and correctly guessed that Jason and Ryan wouldn't be helpful. And of course, in the end, they wouldn't send her back, because she was as much a part of the team as Violet Owens.

"Do I never get a girl?" Sirius asked from the portrait, feigning offense. "Really, if you're going to make up all these stories about us, can't I even have a fictional one?"

"Sure," James said. "Who's your dream girl?"

"My heart belongs to McGonagall," Sirius said dramatically, folding his hands over his chest.

James raised his eyebrows.

"He's not kidding," Lupin said.

Then, to James's surprise, Granddad slipped into the frame. "Who are we abusing?"

"Sirius and McGonagall," Lupin said.

"Ah, always a good topic."

"Is Uncle Harry already here?" Teddy asked.

"He's in the ballroom with Victoire," James said, then made a show of looking around. "So this is where you lot go when you leave our frame..."

Teddy headed for the ballroom. James followed.

Dad and Victoire were putting up party decorations, and as soon as Dad saw him, he stopped to come over and give James a hug. "I know," he said. "You're fifteen now, and you'll undoubtedly spend the year raging at all of us."

"I'm known for that, yeah," James said. "That's what they call me at school--Ragin' Potter."

"Happy birthday. And may you skip the Curse of Fifteen."

Everyone else arrived over the next twenty minutes. Nana and Granddad Weasley got came first, then Grannydromeda. Mum came up from a Puddlemere practice she'd been covering, and Uncle George came in from the shop with Freddie and Aunt Angelina. Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur and Muriel and Lance came, and Uncle Percy and Audrey and their brood, and of course, Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione (who seemed to be settling into a contented kind of bickering without Rosie and Hugo around). Uncle Charlie sent his Patronus--a dragon, of course--to wish James a happy birthday, and Professor McGonagall herself sent a large bird with a package of sweets from Tahiti, where she was watching the French Polynesian team take on the Kiwis. The game was in its fourth day, and her letter said it was quite exciting. Oliver Wood was quite excited to see this. Professor Hagrid came up halfway through the party, and old Horace Slughorn even made an appearance, though James suspected this was a scheme to get a bit of Nana Weasley's banana cake. Luna and Rolf Scamander and their twins showed up last, as they'd been treating a sick kelpie.

Everyone was agreeable to doing a Patronus parade when James asked, and for a while, the ballroom was patrolled by glowing white figures. James had seen Dad's stag many times, and Uncle Ron's terrier, but he'd never had any special call to see Mum's horse or Aunt Hermione's otter. He'd seen a picture of Luna's hare, but it seemed much smaller as it hopped around the other Patronuses. Rolf's seal swam through the air behind Aunt Fleur's petrel, Teddy's hawk, and Oliver's Golden Snidget. Victoire's fluffy sheep gamboled along beside Uncle George's jarvey, and Uncle Percy's fussy little Corgi dog pranced along importantly beside them. Grannydromeda's Patronus was a raggedy old tomcat that she called Dodger; he loped around everyone indifferently. Nana and Granddad Weasley had matching Patronuses--weasels--but none of the other couples did.

James was perfectly content to be surrounded by the family, and amused at their Patronuses. Everyone brought gifts, and Aunt Fleur gave him a map of Beauxbatons--alas, just a stationary one, showing the buildings and grounds. "My sister Gabrielle wanted to come, but she coudln't. She is looking forward to having you in potions. I told her your French was good enough."

Most of the crowd drifted away about two hours after they'd come, but Mum and Dad stuck around a bit. Mum had brought him new dress robes (they weren't actually very bad--sensibly black, with no ruffles), and wanted to talk to him at length about what sort of girl he was planning to ask to the Yule Ball. James finally admitted that he was planning on taking Celia, which seemed to impress Mum. He went up stairs to put his presents into a box Teddy had found for him, meaning to go back to the family room and talk more with Mum and Victoire. Instead, as he passed the entrance to the ballroom, he heard Dad and Teddy talking.

"...wanted to know what you'd think," Dad said. "After all, it's not exactly what you planned."

"If it's what they want," Teddy said. "And you don't mind."

Dad shook his head. "It started when Robards asked to borrow Phineas so he could be in touch with the school. Phineas is pretending to be annoyed, of course."

"Does Phineas ever not pretend?"

"I saw him quite sincere once," Dad said quietly. "I prefer him pretending."

James went on to the family room, wondering on what occasion Grayfur had been anything other than sarcastically droll. He looked up as he went down the corridor, catching a bit of movement in a long landscape on the wall. Sirius was bounding along as a dog. He transformed and walked with James, but didn't say anything. He looked rather smug.

Mum and Dad finally left around eleven, and James did manage to get some sleep after he finished his homework. The next day, as promised, Teddy spent all of their energy working on a practice regimen.

"Wish I had someone to meet with," James said.

Teddy smiled. "Well, you never know who you'll find there."

At precisely five-thirty, an owl arrived from Professor Robards telling James that he was expected back promptly--"Your father has unlocked the Defense Against the Dark Arts office floo"--as he would meet with the rest of the contingent at six at the main Hogwarts gate.

Victoire brought Mira in for a kiss goodbye while James got his things together, then they all went down to the family room. James put his full bookbag over his shoulder and picked up the box of presents. This left him with no free hands, so Teddy tossed the Floo powder into the fireplace while James called "Defense Against the Dark Arts office, Hogwarts!"

Dad was going through a pile of essays and just said a brief hello. James went outside and walked to the gate, where he found the others already assembled with Robards.

Robards opened the gate and let them through.

"Where are we going?" Electa asked.

"I thought," Robards said, "that you might like to see your dormitory space for the year."

"We're not staying in the palace?" Scops asked.

"Traditionally, the visiting schools bring their own accomodations." Robards turned followed the shore of the lake until they came to Hogsmeade Station, where the strange, wide train carriage was still waiting. It was scarlet with gold trim, but the arms of each of the Hogwarts houses were painted on the side of it. Behind it was a little caboose.

Robards let them take it in. "We will, of course, be picking up an engine before we leave. The caboose is our library. I've brought along a number of books, and it is charmed to be attached to the Hogwarts library, so you'll be able to get what you need even if I haven't brought it."

He opened the door of the main carriage, and everyone went inside. Like a magical tent, it was considerably bigger inside than it looked from the outside, perhaps the size of the Great Hall, altogether, though the ceiling was lower and not enchanted. Hanging on the wall opposite the door was the portrait of Phineas Nigellus that normally hung at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.

Robards smiled. "I see James recognizes our friend. Does anyone else know who he is?"

"Of course they don't," Phineas said. "Children today are taught nothing."

"It's Phineas Nigellus!" Scops said. He's my... some number of greats grandfather."

"Mine too," James said. "We call him--"

"Do not introduce the Grayfur nonsense," Phineas said loftily.

"Grayfur," Scops repeated, mollifying Phineas. "I like it."

Robards laughed. "I'm glad you recognize him, but as he's here in a professional capacity, I suggest you call him Professor Black. Along with being our connection to Hogwarts, he will also oversee your instruction in Potions, and in Divination for those who are taking it." He gestured around the ground floor. "This will be your Hogwarts classroom at Beauxbatons. If you speak French, I encourage you to take classes with our hosts, but we do have our unique requirements, and we'll see to it that you master them. Now, the dormitories. Follow me!" He opened a door, and went up a cast iron spiral staircase to the next level. Here, the floor was divided. There was a comfortable looking lounge in the center, with a closed room on either side.

"We have portraits, too?" Celia asked.

James glanced at where she was pointing, and saw, to his astonishment, Talitha Black.

"We weren't expecting to," Robards said, smiling. "But when I went to borrow Professor Black, some other portraits in his house asked for the opportunity to guard the dormitory doors. Talitha here was a past Hogwarts champion--"

"I was robbed of the win!" Talitha announced. "And I'll help whoever is chosen this year."

"--and she will be guarding the girls' dormitory. And if you look behind you," he said, directing their attention to the other room, "you'll find the boys' dormitory, with perhaps the least responsible guardians I've ever put in charge of guarding anything."

"I take offense to that!" Granddad said, grinning.
37 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: September 9th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
A Patronus parade would be so much fun.

I've wondered about why some change and some don't. It seems like if it got around that that happens sometimes, it could cause problems with some couples, people thinking that just because their significant other's Patronus didn't change, they don't really love them or something. I can see a lot of silly women and insecure men getting very weird over that.

Teddy's got a weird thing going, telling fictional stories about his dead parents, and now romantic aspects about them. I just hope he keeps it to kid- and teen-oriented and doesn't start trying to write 'adult' novels. There's a fine line between sweet and creepy. But I still think Sirius's crush on McGonagall is hilarious and cute, and I can actually totally see it.

Haha, ah yes, fifteen. As the song goes, "the year that Harry went emo". I wanted to smack him so many times while I read that book.

I wonder if a dragon Patronus would be full size? Seems like, for sheer volume, it would be a lot more useful for its primary purpose than, say, a mouse Patronus. Less useful for its secondary purpose, though, I guess.

I love that McGonagall's spending her retirement following Quidditch. Seems quite appropriate for her. But this just amused me: "The game was in its fourth day, and her letter said it was quite exciting. Oliver Wood was quite excited to see this." Wood's quite excited at the quite excited thing? You might think about changing one of those to something else.

Oh, I love the Patronuses descriptions. Each of them is quite fitting.

“I saw him quite sincere once,” Dad said quietly. “I prefer him pretending.” -- Oh dear. You do like to spring these little heartwrenching things on us in the middle of an otherwise pleasant chapter, don't you? Poor Harry and Phineas. But why is Sirius looking smug?

Haha, James is taking a lot more (sort of) people along than he'd planned on. Glad to see the Marauders along.

ETA: Does James call both Arthur and James Sr. 'Granddad'? Surely one is Granddad and one is something else?

Edited at 2011-09-09 08:46 am (UTC)
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 9th, 2011 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I called both of my grandfathers 'Granddad', and used their surnames to differentiate when it was necessary. As Arthur and portrait!James probably aren't in the same room all that much, I don't see why James couldn't do that.

(I suspect there are class dimensions to what names get used for grandfathers, but I've never worked them out.)
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From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 9th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I must admit, I'm not one hundred per cent sure what a caboose is, other than that British trains don't have them, or if they do, they call them something different.

But I love the concept of a train as the Hogwarts accommodation - it seems perfect.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 9th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
The "caboose" is the last car on the train. I'm sure it has an interesting etymology, if you can be bothered to look it up! In the last century, a person's rear end might be referred to as his or her caboose.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 9th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)


Heh heh...

Almost as cute as our Jamie!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sirius/McGonagall

I just enjoy Sirius!
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: September 9th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Fern, I adore your James!

I've read stories where newJames is pretty much a retread of oldJames--but yours isn't. He's his own person, and as capable of introspection as Harry. Just happier introspection.

Plus, I don't think he was spoiled, like oldJames.

But seriously (Siriusly?) -- how AWESOME that the portraits get to go!

Oh -- and "Nana and Granddad Weasley got came first, then Grannydromeda. "
got came?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)


I think new James is a lot like old James, but then, we don't know old James that well!

Harry, though, would be careful not to spoil anyone, after seeing the damage inflicted on Dudley.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 9th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, fifteen--not an easy age for Harry, or Teddy, for that matter! James might have a slightly easier time, but no doubt he'll find something to get into an adolescent rage over.

The Hogwarts accommodations abroad sound seriously cool--I keep picturing luxurious railway compartments like those aboard the Orient Express. And how fun that the portraits are coming along. Look forward to seeing this all unfold.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even better than the Orient Express, since, like magical tents, it's bigger on the inside than the outside!
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: September 9th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here's a link to the North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway. This is the rolling stock used for the first HP film and also 'Hogsmead Station' in SS. My husband had an office in Pickering, one of the towns on the line, so I've ridden the railway to Goathland just to take photos of the station in the films. http://www.nymr.co.uk/

If you take a look at the still photo in the top banner of the site you'll see the end of the train is just another passenger car. No caboose. :(

By the way, the car I rode in had compartments like in the film and even a little old lady who came up the car pushing a trolley and asking 'Anything off the trolley, dears?'. My husband couldn't understand my swoon at that point (he's never read the books nor seen one of the films...he's an 'anti-Potterhead', and I'm still married to him!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2011 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, though that's pretty much movie-stuff. Movie stuff can be disregarded at will.

At any rate, they're not taking the actual Hogwarts Express. As "caboose" is apparently a more galvanizing word than anything else in the chapterlet, I'll change it to "a smaller carriage."
cleindori From: cleindori Date: September 9th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Marauders guarding a dormitory? Best idea EVER! :D

Loved the glimpses at McGonagall's retirement, and the Patronus parade. Not to mention "The Curse of Fifteen" -- hah! May James manage to skip the year of angst (angst, angst, angst, angst, angst, angst).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2011 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would personally LOVE to see them take over from the Fat Lady as the Gryffindor Tower guards...
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 9th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
May I say everything about this chapter is awesome? The Patronuses are incredibly well-thought out and the portraits I'm sure will provide endless enjoyment (and the Grayfur business! That's awesome! And of course Scorpius will get to call him that!). I admit I always tend to think about Ted everytime James says Grandad (too much Teddy, I think!) and it will take a while before the word Grandad is connected to the name of James Potter I, though. I absolutely adore the fact that he's there. I'm sure there'll be much sneaking about with *that* particular guard.

I was always curious about the classes for the Triwizard kids. Since none of them were Harry's age, we never find out. I'm happy James will be mixing about!

From: erv2 Date: September 10th, 2011 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful. Simply wonderful.
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