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Batch 13: Canon Era (4) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 13: Canon Era (4)
Something from Dora's Auror Training, please! for Anon
Eventually, Tonks hoped, she would stop expecting surprise quizzes, extra homework, and detentions. The first of September might seem like any other day. She wouldn't look up at the clock at eleven and think, I've missed the train!

But school had only ended six weeks ago. Her time at the Auror division seemed like a very interesting bit of independent study, about which she would certainly need to submit an essay to whoever was teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts. (Absurdly, she'd heard that this year it was Quirrell, who she'd had for Muggle studies. She knew he'd gone off to get some practice during her third year--she'd begun Muggle Studies with a substitute, Professor Burbage--and that he wanted the job, but how hard was it to fill if Dumbledore had actually been forced to choose a teacher who jumped if a student made a sudden noise? Tonks knew of at least one very good teacher who knew the subject and was currently not employed. Or what about an Auror? Surely someone in the Division would have liked a year's Sabbatical. Things weren't so desperate in the Dark Wizard area that--)

A bright flash of light interrupted her thoughts, and she tripped over a large crate in the middle of the room.


She looked up guiltily. "Sorry, Mad-Eye."

"Don't be sorry, just get it bloody right. You start wool-gathering and clock-watching in the middle of an obstacle course again, I'm going to hex you for real."

"I wouldn't do it in the field," Tonks protested.

"The hell you wouldn't." Moody thumped his way over to a chair and sat down, surveying the empty cupboard he'd expanded into a training room. "And you're not going to get a chance to until I can see that you've got the hang of walking across a room without your mind going off to some other place."

"If there were really dangerous people around, I'd--"

Moody was across the room to her so quickly that she thought he'd Apparated (and he might have, she supposed, just for the effect). "Think I'm not dangerous, do you? Maybe we should have a trip out to Azkaban. You can ask some of my old friends there how dangerous I am."

"I mean dangerous to me."

"If I can't teach you to see what's going on around you, then I'm the most dangerous teacher you ever had." He shook his head and started back to his chair. "As it happens," he said, sitting down, "I'm fond of your parents, so I want you to come out of this as wise as I am." He smiled crazily.

"As paranoid?"

"If it keeps you breathing, girl, then yes. And it will. You're not hunting fluffy kittens out of this office." He waved his hand out over the course. "Go on then. Do it again."

Tonks turned to face it. He'd changed the obstacles while she'd been looking away. A mannequin with a wand was right in front of her. She Banished it with as much power as she had (it shattered against a wall), then jumped as a box shot out at her ankles and leaned back as a blade--a sharp one--came flying out of the darkness. This took her off balance and she fell, but she'd been falling for a long time, and she didn't let it throw her. She scooted gracelessly backward on her bum, avoiding a sweeping wire that represented a Death Curse.

"Better," Mad-Eye growled. "Now, we're going to--" He stopped, grasping at his chest. He fell to the floor.

She ran to him. "Mad-Eye! Mad-Eye, are you all right?"

He didn't answer. Behind her, she could hear something softly tapping, and she assumed that one of his obstacles was coming up on her. He was breathing roughly, his hand trembling. She put her hand on his chest, and couldn't feel his heart beating, and he was scrambling for air.

Mum had taught her how to help in a heart attack. She raised her wand over his heart, meaning to deliver a little jolt of energy. Mad-Eye seemed to be getting paler. Whatever was behind her was getting closer--she supposed he'd tell her to blast it back, but he wasn't in a condition to tell her anything. "Fulmine parv--"

Mad-Eye reached up and grabbed her wrist, looking frustrated, and pulled her off to the side as a coat tree bent and swung wildly at the place she'd been.

"Dammit, Tonks!" he growled. "You weren't paying any attention. Again! You had your eye on my playacting, and you didn't even notice the bloody thing!"

"I noticed it, I just thought it was more important to get your heart started, you crazy old man!"

He looked at her oddly, then sighed and shook his head. "All right. Let's do this again..."

Something with the Weasleys learning that they had an Animagus Death Eater living in their house for 12 years. Specifically the impact on Molly, Arthur, Ron, or Percy, but I'll take any (or all) Weasleys! Whatever inspires you. for Anon

[Shoot, I had one almost done, and had to re-do it when I remembered that the family seems not to have found out until Sirius showed himself in the hospital at the end of GoF! Anyway, that timing works better for Percy, anyway.]

"You've all gone mad," Percy said when Ron finished speaking.

Beside him, Charlie also looked skeptical, but Bill was huddling with Mum and Dad making plans, and the twins and Ginny were obviously true believers.

"I'm not mad!" Ron said. "And Harry saw what he saw."

"Harry saw something, I'm sure--"

"Given that there's a dead boy," Ginny said acidly, "I'd say he's seen a lot."

"Yeah, what d'you think happened at that tournament?" Fred asked, leaning forward aggressively. "D'you think Harry killed Diggory?"

"No, of course not. That's absurd. There was obviously some sort of terrible accident, or perhaps a madman of some variety who thought he was He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, probably that fraud himself..."

"Voldemort," Bill said dryly. "Why are you running around in circles trying to come up with some other explanation than Harry telling the plain truth? You know that wasn't Crouch--he was seen patrolling the Maze."

"It may have been an illusion."

"It wasn't an illusion!" Ron slammed down the bowl of soup Mum had given him. "Harry saw Wormtail resurrect You Know Who!"

"Wormtail," Percy mused. "That's another thing. Ron... you said Wormtail was Scabbers. Last I knew Hermione's cat ate Scabbers."

"I told you I was wrong about that."

"No, you didn't, at least not until today. You told Mum and me that Hermione got you that owl because she was sorry about Crookshanks eating your rat."

Ron was momentarily nonplussed, then said, "Yeah, but that's because Dumbledore said that Snape had already ruined it! Dumbledore knew the truth!"

"He knew what you and Harry and Hermione told him after you were Confunded."

"We weren't Confunded! And what about Lupin? You think he couldn't throw off a Confundus in about two seconds?"

"Nah," George said. "Percy just reckons that werewolves lie."

"That's superstitious nonsense," Percy said. "And of course he could--on a normal night. But the moon was actually full for quite a long time before he turned. His mind would have already started to change. I'm sure Black could have made him see whatever he wanted him to see. I'd reckon he was the one in that graveyard, and got Harry Confunded all over again."

Bill sighed. "Come on, Perce. Stop being obtuse. If Sirius Black were going to make up a story, why would he make up that one? Do you really think he said to himself, 'I know--I'll blame Ron's dead rat!'?"

"Right," Ron said. "And then he helped Harry out all year, lured us out into Hogsmeade to meet him at a cave, then let us go happy, figuring he could kill Harry at the tournament."

"Does it make any less sense than what we all know happened with Mr. Crouch's son? How many times did he have Harry in his control without killing him? If he was working with someone, Black makes the most sense."

"He was at Harry's bedside!" Mum objected. "He was protecting Harry."

Percy shook his head, unable to think of another way to get through to them. If they couldn't see the patent absurdity of the idea, he didn't know what else there was to do. Scabbers? He'd been a friendly, fat little rat from the garden. He'd done a few tricks when he was younger, but nothing any other rat couldn't have done. Then he'd been eaten by a cat. Were they really, honestly suggesting that he was a Death Eater? Did they think the chickens were also planning to stage a coup d'etat? Maybe Errol was their quartermaster, and Lee Jordan's tarantula was waiting in the wings to become their next military dictator!

Percy had fed and taken care of Scabbers for much longer than Ron had. It had been he who'd found the rat in the garden, nibbling at the cabbages. He'd helped Dad build him a cage with a lot of things to play on. He'd tried futilely to teach him more complicated tricks. Scabbers had lived in a room with Percy for nine of the twelve years he'd lived with the family. If he'd been a secret Animagus, he'd certainly hidden it well.

A thought tried to enter Percy's mind--a nonsensical one about biscuit crumbs he'd found on a children's magazine article he'd read about The Boy Who Lived, and Percy never ate in his room, but that was mad, it was probably just the twins or Ron or Ginny sneaking in and messing his things up. He dismissed it.

Beside him, Charlie frowned. "Not that I'm agreeing with Percy--"

"Of course not," Percy muttered.

"--but it is a little hard to believe that part."

"It's true, though. Potter and Black helped Wormtail figure out how to do it," Ron said.

"I don't mean that he couldn't do it--the twins' marks don't exactly suggest everything they can do. Just... how could we have not noticed?"

"Because he was more clever than people thought," Bill said. "And he knew what was at stake."

"I can't believe we're even entertaining this!" Percy said. "Scabbers was not an Animagus. He was just my rat." He looked around. The family looked hostile. "Really! Why are you thinking about it? Do you really think that, for twelve years, an Animagus never would have changed back?" No answer. Percy pushed on. "Well, did any of you ever wake up to hear someone wandering around the house? Maybe find a stranger curled up on your pillow? Staying transformed takes energy, and we know Scabbers didn't burn much of it." He looked to Charlie for support. "Right?"

Charlie frowned. "I don't know."

"What's to know or not know?" Bill asked. "Either Scabbers was an Animagus, or your own brother, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Remus Lupin, and Albus Dumbledore are liars."

"Or wrong," Percy said, but his voice was falling into silence now. The others were glaring at him. Even Charlie looked like he'd thrown in his lot with them. Percy stood up, shaking his head. "I don't believe this. I have to go to work."

He left the table, looking back once before he reached the Apparition point. The family was still sitting around the table, discussing delusions caused by Confundus.

Disgusted, he turned on his heel and Apparated back to the Ministry, where at least people were sane.
17 comments or Leave a comment
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: January 9th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you really think he said to himself, 'I know--I'll blame Ron's dead rat!'?"

What a perfect line! ROTFL ;D

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. That's why I lean toward believing an utterly stupid-sounding story... who the heck would make it up?
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 9th, 2012 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those days in the Weasley household are just so interesting. A whole family sitting down in the kitchen table, discussing whhether or not they've been unknowingly sheltering a madman under the roof, sleeping in their children's beds... Such a disturbing notion to contemplate.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know... it's fairly horrible to think about.
reannanshaw From: reannanshaw Date: January 9th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aw, Mad-Eye and Tonks have a fun relationship. It's a pity we didn't get to see more of it in canon.

It really is a bit odd that Ron didn't explain about that to them sooner. Like, the summer after third year or so.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I don't get it, either (the Ron thing).
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 9th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do we have anything other than Molly's shock at seeing Sirius Black (!) in the infirmary to know that he didn't? Ron seems rather impatient with her. Although it's generally accepted that he hadn't told his family, I've wondered if maybe he did and she just reacted out of years of believing the worst of him, like in the stress of Harry's situation she forgot the more recent info about his innocence and animagus abilities. I think we see in book 5 that it might have taken a while for that info to really sink in. I've wondered if she didn't think, for all those years, that he may have been implicated in her brothers' deaths as well.

Anyway, great stories Fern. I liked seeing that glimpse into Percy's rift with his family. Harry's story does seem impossible when seen through Percy's "logical" eyes. I've always thought he must have been afraid to think that He Who Must Not Be Named might be back.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I come about thisclose to understanding Percy. He's at an awkward place--he's trying to start his career, and he can't afford to believe that the one thing he's always wanted to do (work for the Ministry) is now endangered because of crazy dark wizards.

When it comes to the canon reaction, I'm just using Occam's Razor for the simplest explanation of Molly's reaction.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 9th, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great characterization on Percy. Makes me want to smack him until he sees sense, but he's quite real because of that! Dora tripping over an obstacle course is a delicious thought.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't have wanted to be Moody, trying to get around her nervous clumsiness.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: January 10th, 2012 12:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually love this being the breaking point where Percy decides the family has lost it and turns away from them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't really think about it (obviously) until I remembered that year's gap. Then I realized that Percy would have a stake in that story. Imagine, if nothing else, how much longer Scabbers slept in his bed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 10th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you for the Weasleys!

Thank you for the story about the Weasleys! Your characterization of Percy was fantastic. Percy's arguments against Ron's story were very realistic and understandable to anyone who's had a childhood pet. I loved the biscuit crumbs on the article about Harry too -- of course Peter wouldn't have stayed a rat the entire twelve, really thirteen years, and while he would have been very careful not to get caught, there still would have been hints in retrospect. I actually understand Ron not telling his family sooner -- he had no proof for what seemed an unbelievable story, and Dumbledore as much as said that the authorities wouldn't believe then -- but I'm surprised Dumbledore himself didn't tell Arthur and Molly. At the very least Arthur needed to update his wards to guard against an Animagus rat who had previously been welcome in the home, not to mention they might want to know what was on their son's mind that summer after third year.

That's actually what prompted the request -- I re-read "Requiem for a Rat" recently (on Fern's Humungous Bighead Site for those who haven't read it), and it got me thinking about the whole situation with Scabbers affected both Ron and Percy. It's quite possible that part of the reason Percy was in such denial about Voldemort in OotP was that he couldn't face the truth about Scabbers; it could also explain part of Ron's feeling that "everything I own is rubbish" in GoF. To a teenager already sensitive about hand-me-downs that don't always look right, insults from Malfoy about his parents, and worries about not being anything special, finding out that his cherished, hand-me-down rat was also a Death Eater who betrayed his best friend's parents, and was in fact plotting to kill that same best friend, might have been too much to handle!

I loved the Dora/Mad-Eye fic too, and really all of the challenge requests. Dora's musings at the beginning about thinking she's still in school, and her thoughts about Quirrel, were just great.

Thanks again!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you for the Weasleys!

I expect one reason for Peter to choose a very large family to hide out in was that all the chaos would make it easier for everyone to think someone else did something.

I keep trying to figure out how how JKR's retcon on the DADA position works with Quirrell and his trip to Albania. I think I can make this scenario work--that he was trying for the job, hence the trip, but didn't get it until Dumbledore was forced down to a choice between him and Snape.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: January 10th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)

the tonks one made me smile

I love what little dynamic we saw between madeye and tonks and i love how you expanded it here.

also love how tonks has her heart in the right place when it comes to either aid or run

and percy is just a pitch perfect closeminded git. which means you're doing a great job as always
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 11th, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: the tonks one made me smile

She does have her heart in the right place... but Moody's also right that it's going to get her killed.
mirandabeth From: mirandabeth Date: March 19th, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm just coming back through some of these to leave comments. (This is mylla, by the way, I'm just sort of switching journals.)

Anyway, I came back to this because I particularly loved the Percy one. I love the dynamics here - Percy really struggling with the knowledge that essentially, his childhood pet betrayed him, and therefore, refusing to believe it... and Bill in particular treating him like, well, a little brother (surprise) and therefore handling it badly - it's really easy to see how it could have escalated into Percy turning his back on them. And besides, it is a pretty unbelievable story, coming at it from Percy's point of view; for someone who doesn't want to believe it, it would be pretty easy not to.
17 comments or Leave a comment