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Batch 8: Holiday (1) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 8: Holiday (1)
Okay, my holiday break is over, so I figured I'd get to the holiday requests sometime before Epiphany...
Something Christmas-y? it's almost the season afterall. with the trio, their kids, teddy and the teachers and the portraits? i'm in the mood for some Big reunion fluff fest. for ~*Melissa
It was the first Christmas after Minerva McGonagall's retirement, and, though she wouldn't admit it, she was going spare from boredom. Quidditch could only take up so much time, as it turned out. But the children--well, they were adults now, of course--were working so hard that it seemed mean-spirited to tell them that work was often the best part of life.

Then again, Minerva had never had a houseful of children to come home to. Her job had been her family.

Over at the piano, Ginny was nursing baby Lily--who might well grow up to look a great deal like her namesake--and Hermione, who looked about ready to explode with her second child (possibly fully grown) was laughing heartily as Andromeda Tonks did a rather nasty impression of Narcissa at her lessons as a child.

"You would think," a voice said from the wall, "that Andromeda must have taken them very lightly."

Minerva looked over her shoulder, where Phineas Nigellus was watching with an expression that she'd learned, over several years in Albus's office, to interpret as fondness. "I take it she didn't take them lightly?"

"She was always the one who played at family events. She was quite good before she left us."

"She's back now, if you hadn't noticed."

A form broke away from the group at the piano, and it took Minerva a minute to recognize Teddy Lupin, who had chosen to celebrate the holiday by turning his hair into a good facsimile of a Christmas wreath. (This above a face that was becoming very, very close to Remus's--by the time he arrived at Hogwarts next year, provided he didn't spend all of his time with his hair in ridiculous colors, he would look quite a bit like Remus had at his own arrival.) Behind him, trailing like a small puppy, was three year old James, who was babbling on about something that Minerva heard as "Oggaga boom?"

"He wants to know about brooms at Hogwarts," Teddy said. How he got this from James, Minerva wasn't entirely sure.

"What about them?"

Teddy looked momentarily flummoxed, then leaned over and asked, "Do you want to know about the school brooms? How they fly?" He held up one finger and bobbled it through the air. "I was talking about going to school next year," he explained to Minerva.

"Coobooms!" James agreed.

"Well," Minerva allowed, "I can't say that they're the best brooms in the world. Your second year, I'm sure you'll bring a better one."

"I have my eye on Firebolt for him," Harry said, coming over and grinning. "We'll make him into the Gryffindor Quidditch captain by the time he's a third year."


Harry rolled his eyes and settled in the armchair next to Minerva. "He thinks he doesn't care about flying. Wait'll he tries it."

Minerva shook her head--most wizarding children with the slightest interest in the subject had stolen a broom or two by the age of eight, and Harry knew it. "We'll see," she said. "Are you looking forward to school?"

Teddy nodded. "Maybe I'll make some friends."

"Other than Victoire?" Harry asked, eyes twinkling.

"She's not my friend!" Teddy insisted hotly.

"Vitta!" James cheered, then was bowled over by the arrival of his brother, Albus, who toddled into him from the side, got his feet tangled, and fell onto Harry's knee.

Harry scooped him up--Minerva marveled at the resemblance between them--and said, "Don't worry, Al, Father Christmas is bringing you a new pair of feet."

Al looked quite impressed at this.

"You'll have them when you wake up," Harry went on. "They'll look just like the ones you have now, but they'll work so much better!"

"Wow!" James said, and held up his own feet. "Me, too?"

"Actually, he got you new words, but he's hidden them in the air. You'll be running into them all year."

Teddy rolled his eyes as James stared up at the ceiling, hoping for a sign of this gift.

Minerva felt something warm on her arm, and looked down to see Rosie Weasley, who stared up at her solemnly, then held up her arms. Unlike Albus Potter or Teddy Lupin, she didn't distinctly favor either her parents, though Minerva could see both of htem in her. She had a mop of curly red hair and Ron's blue eyes, but her face was shaped like Hermione's (at least so far) and her skin didn't seem prone to freckles. She reached up further and said, "'Fessor?"

Ron came up behind her and swung her up. "Would you like to hold her, Professor?"

"I'd love to."

"She'd like it, too, but I don't think she's got the maths yet to figure out that you couldn't pick her up over the side of the chair." He smiled and placed her carefully on Minerva's lap. Since she'd been born, Ron had been walking around like he had invented the concept of little girls. "She's learned her alphabet, you know."

"A stunning achievement," Phineas said dryly from his portrait. "Truly unique."

"Happy Christmas to you, too," Ron said.

The doorbell rang, and a moment later, Bill, Fleur, and their growing brood joined the party.

Well, as I live abroad, I will be spending the holidays far, far away from family and friends. I would love to read about one of my favorite characters doing the same! You choose the character and the situation, but I will say, I do love the Marauders ;) for Anon
"Perfect," Remus Lupin muttered, staring out at the nearly full moon. Tomorrow night, he probably wouldn't even notice it was Christmas. But Christmas Eve?

Oh, that, he was perfectly aware of. The last Christmas he'd have free--Sirius and James and Peter would be at James's right now, making up extravagant stories about what they'd be doing next year--and he was in Greece.

And not even really in Greece, which would be worth it. No--he was in the Lycaon Institute for Lycanthropic Studies in old Arcadia, waiting for moonrise, so he could be magically poked and prodded by witches looking for clues to a cure. Mum and Dad hadn't been able to afford to join him this time--the researchers only paid his way--and the study would be over by summer, so he hadn't had any choice about which month to come, unless he wanted to actually miss his N.E.W.T. classes for a week. During the three days he'd been here, they'd measured his body temperature, his bone structure, and... other bits of him that he sincerely hoped weren't relevant. They'd taken his blood and bits of his hair, and scrapings from the inside of his cheek. All standard for researchers. They all signed contracts promising to destroy this material so it couldn't fall into untrustworthy hands, but Remus had never been able to shake the feeling that there were bits of him scattered all over the globe, just waiting for someone to brew up a nasty potion. Essence of the Young Lycanthrope--presumably to be sprayed at one's enemies, if one wanted to make them totally unacceptable to anyone other than James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew.

His roommate was Matthieu, a boy from France--nine years old, and already looking like he'd given up. He'd been excited to hear that Remus had been allowed at Hogwarts (not to mention grateful that Remus's French was passable), but was stricken when he found out it was a secret and not precisely approved. Apparently, Beauxbatons had already told him that there was no possibility of attending. "I even wrote to Durmstrang," he'd told Remus. "They didn't even answer. Do you think if I wrote to this Hogwarts Headmaster...?"

"I don't know," Remus had said. "There are things happening. It might not be safe."

This had led to a long, depressing silence since before sundown, so Remus was very surprised when he heard, "My mother and father won't even send me a present."

Remus turned away from the window. "What makes you say that?"

"They didn't send me a birthday present. They only talked to me once since the wolf came."

"I'm sorry," Remus said, wishing that the story were a little less familiar. In the years he'd been speaking to other werewolves, he'd realized exactly how lucky he was to have Mum and Dad. He thought about suggesting that they might come around for Christmas, but held his tongue, as that would only make the disappointment worse. "But we're here together. We'll have our own Christmas. What do you say to that?"

Matthieu sighed deeply. "How? There are no trees, and the Healers said we couldn't have anything special to eat before the moon, or it would make the data not right."

Remus wrinkled his nose. It was a miserable way to spend Christmas, eating the same bland sandwiches for a week so they could rule out dietary contributors. "Well..."

"And we haven't got presents, either. We can't shop."

Remus shrugged. "I couldn't buy anything anyway."

"Me, either."

They smiled faintly at each other--that was one thing about being around other werewolves; they all understood the gold issue, no matter how young they were. You didn't need to be embarrassed about it.

"I can draw," Remus suggested, looking at the stacks of graph paper the researchers had left on the table. "I could make a picture of you."

"Really? I never had anyone draw a picture of me."

"Then that's what we'll do for Christmas. We'll make a nice picture of you. We're in Greece. Should I make you the captain of the Argo?"

"The what?"

"The boat that..." Remus sighed. "Have you had any mythology?"

Matthieu shook his head.

"Oh. Well, then we'll have stories, too."

"But what will I give you?"

"I'm of age. I don't need presents."

"Could we sing songs?"


"I know lots of Christmas songs. But it's not fun to sing alone. Will you sing with me? Do you know Silent Night?"

Remus had refrained from singing religious carols since he'd decided that he didn't believe anymore, but nodded. It wouldn't kill him to make Matthieu a little bit happy. "Sure. I know that one."

Matthieu smiled. "Could we sing it now? It's the right night. I wish we had candles. I had a candle last year when I sang it."

"I can do something about that." Remus reached for his wand--always at arm's length from him, as Dumbledore advised (James was always getting into trouble for wandering away from his wand)--and Conjured a pair of candles. He handed one to Matthieu and lit them.

Matthieu smiled brightly, for the first time looking like he was nine years old.

They began to sing.
20 comments or Leave a comment
beceh From: beceh Date: December 30th, 2011 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
That first one was absolutely adorable.

Sigh. The second one was bittersweet. Especially the casual reference to James leaving his wand...

Well done and thank you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I don't know what made me throw the wand in there, except that idea that James went to the door without his wand just kind of keeps coming back to me.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: December 30th, 2011 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Minerva could see both of htem in her.
Lovely, but I did notice a typo.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. I think there's one right before that, too.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: January 2nd, 2012 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Then I realized it was a drabble and beta work is not necessary. ;P
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 30th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Grr, really wanted to go after Matthieu's parents. Even comparing his situation to more complex ones like drug addiction (families with addicts have to have firm limits or things get co-dependent really fast) or mental illness (the problems of mental illness combined with the legal limits of what families can do to intervene can lead to some heartbreaking problems), you DON'T cut family out of your life. Even if you have to have serious limits for self-protection and the protection of other family members, you try to leave some doors open.

Compared to those, I would think being a werewolf is downright managable. And this is a NINE year old. WHAT is their problem?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
His parents definitely need a head-knock. I do tend to think of lycanthropy as having the same sort of connotations as mental illness, and one of the tragedies of mental illness is people getting cut off from their families.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 30th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love them both.

And I've been rereading Shifts for the past two days, so just wanted to say how much I LOVE all your HP writing!!! Thank you for keeping the series alive, in the wonderful and unique way that you do :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. I'm glad other people like my hobby. :D
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: December 30th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love these both. I imagine that, for Minervra, retirement really is hard when she has no family...except that she totally does, it seems :)

The second one was sad and yet sweet at the same time. I feel so sorry for Matthieu not even being allowed to go to school and wonder what his fate will be....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah... Minerva totally has a family.

It sucks that werewolves can't go to school. It's not their fault, and it's manageable!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 30th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)


I love, love mine! it was perfect christmas fluffy and cuteness with a side of my favorite mineva- the sentimental one

"her work had been her family"

from having gone to a few highschool reunions, i always get the impression the students that the teacher remember fondly are considered famly as well, minerva seems to feel the same

also Babies! babies being adorable!

thank you Fern, and happy holidays!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: AWwwwww

Happy holidays to you, too! I like babies being adorable. :D
pevara From: pevara Date: December 31st, 2011 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much--the first one was just so sweet (for some reason, Ron and Harry as fathers just fills me with joy!) and the second was equally sweet, but in such a heartbreaking way. Your Remus is, as always, absolutely perfect, and as a result I am now sad and angry and resisting the urge to get out my copy of DH just so I can throw it across the room. (Also the throwaway reference to James and his wand was quite heartbreaking in its own way!) Thanks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I often have that urge with DH.

From: (Anonymous) Date: December 31st, 2011 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem with these stories, is that I never want them to end. Especially that second one. Thank you for sharing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem I have with them, often, is that they don't seem to like ending, and I end up meandering until I say, "Wait! Stop! It's a ficlet not a novel!" ;p
eleanoreleanor From: eleanoreleanor Date: January 1st, 2012 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I would be happy with a novel :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 2nd, 2012 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
That second one was for me :) Thank you so much, it really brightened my New Year, and while I may be far away, I'm glad that at least I'm not in a lycanthropy research facility. Remus has always been my favorite character, and the way you write him is just so spot on. Sweet and heartbreaking and awesome, all at the same time.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: January 6th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love both of them! So fun to see a little scene of the trio being parents. And Minerva. What a wonderful character she is.
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