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Batch 30: Minor Characters (3) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 30: Minor Characters (3)
Could I request something with the Smeltings teachers? for Anon
Miriam had fussed at Joe all morning before he left, and he was wrapped in several scarves against the fog, even though it wasn't particularly cold. He was still in the process of peeling them off of his neck when he reached his office. He could hear Alan inside already, tapping away at his computer, muttering at his invisible friends. It felt like the past year and a half had been an odd, disjointed dream, and now, he was waking up to any other day, rather than his first day back at Smeltings in a year.

He opened the door.

Alan glanced up to say, "'lO, Joe. Lewis put everything back exactly as you left it for him. There may actually have been measuring involved to be sure it was completely exact."

Joe shook his head, and settled back behind his desk. It did look the same. The shelves behind it were bare, and the computer was covered with its dust catcher. The old Smeltings issue typewriter was still shoved away in a corner. Aimlessly, he opened the drawer, and smiled. "Not entirely," he said, and pulled out a sheet of printer paper, on which Lewis had sketched the history classroom, with the pair of them leaning on the desk together. The figure of Lewis was handing over a stack of books and waving goodbye. He'd written, "Welcome back, Joe... I just kept the seat warm for you."

Joe turned it around for Alan to see.

Alan swiped it and looked at it carefully. "Bloody shame you couldn't both be here," he said. "Blythe tried, you know--to get a second history post opened. No luck at all."

"Well, I'm sure he'd rather be in Australia with his wife," Joe pointed out.


"Hmm... what?"

"Well, I think it's a bit convenient, don't you? She gets a job offer, just as you start to feel good enough to come back?"

"You don't think it was a fake?" Joe asked, horrified. "He can't just walk away for me..."

"I expect there was more to it," Alan said. "For one thing, I don't think he's entirely well himself. He was always coming in achy and sick."

"Oh. I hope he's not terribly ill."

"I don't think so. It's a chronic thing, if it's anything at all. But there always seemed to be something else. Anna has a theory that Raymond and Dora are MI6 or some such rot."

Joe raised an eyebrow. "And they had to protect the Smeltings history department from dastardly international terrorism?"

"Well, probably not, when you put it like that. But Anna spun quite a story about it. She had them skydiving off a tower in Malaysia." He grinned. "I'm not sure how Dora'd keep that hat of hers on, doing that. But I'm quite sure that she does."

"Dora Lewis and the Temple of Doom?"

"Oh, not that one! Pick a better one. Or, she'd have her own. Dora Lewis and the Founder's Forge--they were here looking for artifacts from the Founders of Smeltings."

"Right. They're rumored to have vast powers to improve suburban gardening." Joe took the picture back, and tacked it up on the wall with a push-pin. He'd get a frame for it tomorrow. "I suppose it is curious, them disappearing so conveniently. Without so much as a forwarding address."

"Yeah. MI6 and Indiana Jones aside, Anna did see a fellow in London who she thought was Raymond--only he was posing as an indigent, down at Charing Cross Road. Also, he'd got younger."

"A nice trick, if you can do it. Did she talk to the man?"

"No. He got lost in the crowd before she caught his attention."

Joe sighed. "Well, hopefully, he'll surface again. Good bloke."

"Yeah, he is."

There was nothing more to say on the subject. Joe pulled the dust cover off the computer, and settled in to see how many contradictory and corrected messages Blythe had sent out overnight.

One of the Patil twins tries to get a date with Dudley after the war. for Ellen
Padma Patil hadn't exactly been in Harry Potter's inner circle, though she'd been adjacent to it. The closest she'd got was being dragged to the Yule Ball by Ron Weasley, then promptly ignored. But she had been in Dumbledore's Army, and when Ginny Weasley had called all of them to Andromeda Black's house to celebrate Harry's birthday, there had certainly been no question of saying no. There were inner circles, but there were also circles a bit further out, and all of them responded. All of them felt that Harry needed to be reminded that he had friends as well as followers.

And all of them that were left alive showed up.

Parvati had become an even bigger social butterfly since leaving school, and as soon as she was past the pond, she was chatting with Oliver Wood and Lavender Brown. Padma managed a conversation with Ron that wasn't too awkward, then cast around for others she knew. Cho Chang and Michael Corner seemed to have made up from their latest fight, and were sitting by the pond together. Padma had never really go along with either of them terribly well.

"Padma!" a voice rang out.

She turned to find George Weasley, looking oddly alone without Fred. "Hello."

He came over. "Good party, eh? I saw your sister settling in."

"Yeah, I... where's Harry?"

"Inside, tending to His Royal Highness."


"Prince Teddy of Lupinstan, true ruler of all civilization. He appears to have royally dirtied his nappies." George bit his lip. "How are you and Parvati?"

"We're fine." He didn't look satisfied by this answer, and Padma understood; when they'd realized that Fred Weasley was dead, she and Parvati had clung to each other, and Parvati had moved into the Ravenclaw dormitory for the remainder of the year--the Gryffindor dormitories had been severely damaged--because she'd been so terrified of the idea of losing her twin (it was the only thing Padma had ever seen her terrified about). George looked like he was scratching at a phantom limb. Padma tried to elaborate. "We're sharing a flat in Leeds," she offered. "We've been helping each other with our apprenticeships."

"Oh. Good."

That seemed to be all there was to say. All they really had in common was being twins. Padma looked around nervously, and spotted a tall, broad-shouldered boy that she didn't know. He was wandering as aimlessly as she was. "Who's that?" she asked. "I don't recognize him from Hogwarts."

"Oh, that's Harry's cousin Dudley. He's a Muggle. Did his little bit to help out last year, though."

"Really? Could I meet him?"

"I don't see why not. Oi! Dursley!"

The boy turned, looking quite alarmed at being addressed, but made his way over. "What?" he asked, giving George a narrow, untrusting look.

"This is Padma Patil," George said. "She wanted to meet you."

He didn't look like he quite believed this. "Oh," he said. "Er... Dudley Dursley."

"I'm pleased to meet you," Padma said. "George says you're Harry's cousin?"


Dudley didn't seem disposed to say more, so Padma said the first thing that came to her mind, which was, "You don't look anything like him."

"I know. Everyone seems disappointed by that."

Padma shook her head--the fact that this good-looking, strong boy was worried that he didn't look skinny and specky, or have uncombable hair, was somehow endearing. "I think you got the looks in the family, personally," she said.

Dudley was apparently so shocked at this that he fell completely silent and went still, like a frightened prey animal.

George laughed. "Maybe I should leave the pair of you alone!"

Dudley turned to him with a fairly terrified look. "Er..."

"B'bye," George said, and wandered off (straight, Padma noticed, to Parvati).

"Don't worry," she said. "I don't bite."

"So... er... you're... er... a... you know?"

"A what?" Padma glanced in the direction George had gone, and assumed Dudley had seen Parvati. "A twin? Yes, my sister is called Parvati."

"No... a..." Dudley pointed at her in a completely baffling way.


"Well, obviously, but, er... like Harry."

"A witch?"

"Right. That."

"Oh. Yes." Padma drew her wand and Conjured a shower of sparks. "Go, magic!"

Dudley blinked, then smiled sheepishly. "Reckon if you'd done that two years ago, I'd have run off screaming."

"George said you helped us last year."

"Not as much as I should've," Dudley muttered. "I was mostly hiding in a big house in the Cotswolds." He seemed to realize that this didn't sound impressive. "Punched one of the berks in the face, though," he offered. "His... you know... was broken, but he was trying to drag off one of the kids. I reckoned he'd fall as hard as anyone from a good punch."

"That sounds very brave."

"Right. Lupin said it was a really bad one, too, who liked to take little kids." Dudley deflated. "He got away, though."

"But not with the little Muggle-born?"

Dudley nodded.

"Good for you, then." Padma bit her lip. "Say, are you here with anyone?"


"Maybe we could be here together."
14 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2012 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)
"Dora Lewis and the Founder's Forge--they were here looking for artifacts from the Founders of Smeltings"
Good one! :D

About the second ficlet: You know everyone will pester you for the story of Dudley and the Death Eater now, don't you? Count me as the first pesterer. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it Dudley and the Death Eater or Dudley and Fenrir Greyback? Because that's what it sounded like.... :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2012 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I got that. I just thought it was best to let Fern's readers figure it out for themselves instead of spoiling their fun by mentioning Greyback in the first comment. (Personally I don't like being given spoilers unless I choose to read them.)
mrs_norris_mous From: mrs_norris_mous Date: February 13th, 2012 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't commented much on these but thank you for them.

"And all of them that were left alive showed up." is a good line...

From: tree_and_leaf Date: February 13th, 2012 11:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Dudley punched Greyback! That might be my favourite redeemed!Dudley moment ever.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: February 13th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Go Dudley!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: February 13th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay for Dudley Redeemed!
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2012 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for the Smeltings teachers! I especially enjoyed Remus's drawing and "Dora Lewis and the Founder's Forge."
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
"And all of them that were left alive showed up."

wait who else died? other than colin?

amethystbeloved From: amethystbeloved Date: February 13th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really love the second one because instead of just using the obvious Harry connection between Padma and Dudley to have the two meet, you bring George into the mix. It's wonderful how you took the only thing George and Padma had in common (well that and DA...) and used it to segue into the meeting of the two characters who probably wouldn't cross paths as easily. It's delightful that the George and Dudley history is canon so he is the best choice to set things up! I'm really going to miss these when you're finished.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 13th, 2012 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I bet Remus had to remember not to make it a moving picture, too (oh, I know behaving Mugglish almost became second nature while he was at Smeltings; but thinking of the teachers as just some of the guys also became second nature. Having the picture actually waving must have felt like the normal thing to do).

Loved the second. Yes: Go, Dudley! And I liked that Padma was doing a good job of liking him for himself and not liking him as an appendage of Harry. I hadn't thought about that would be a new problem for him hanging out in the post-Voldemort wizarding world, but it almost have to be, wouldn't it?

I also found myself thinking, "Lupin needs to step in and tell Padma how heroic Dudley really was," before I remembered why that's not going to happen :-( However, Lavendar Brown, as Padma's friend who was almost eaten by Fenrir, should have some comments about the braveness and fighting ability of someone who punched him out.

Thank you!

etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: February 13th, 2012 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do love your Smelting's characters. They're smart and good people. Go Dora, the MI5 spy! (And Anna is so close to the truth!) The connection between sets of twins is something I never thought of, but of course they would have always been acutely aware of it!
reannanshaw From: reannanshaw Date: February 13th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
When were they looking for something from the founders? I don't remember that.

I do like the Smeltings teachers, though, and I love all the sneakiness and hiding of that particular episode in Lupin's life.

Haha, the second one was cute. I loved her "Go magic!" and Dudley does seem like the type to get flustered and nervous around girls.

Heehee... Dudley punched a werewolf in the face? Who'd have thought he'd have something in common with Bella Swan? Also, epic.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2018 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's interesting that last year Joe was ill while Remus had a job which he should have had for many years. Now Joe is back and Remus has to go through hell. It's a good thing JK made a mistake and he's survived the battle. But I'd be willing to sacrifice Arthur Weasley to save Remus.
14 comments or Leave a comment