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Monday, Lunch-hour fic - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Monday, Lunch-hour fic
Okay. Tomorrow, I'll probably start using my book Fast Fiction for bunnies, but I have an idea for a scene that's not really a whole story. Let's see how much of it I can get in forty-four minutes before I have to get back to work.

(Yes, my abstract lunchtime workouts begin today.)

Remus Lupin was settling in after dinner to grade papers when he heard a tap at the door, so faint that he was almost inclined to think it was a draft in the corridor.

"Yes?" he called.

No answer.

A draft, then.

Tap, tap.

He frowned. It sounded like someone knocking with his fingernails.

"Is someone there?"

He got up and went to the door, opening it and going out into the hall, which at first appeared to be empty. "Hello?"

There was a small motion in a shadow near the corner.

"Come out," he said. "Who is it?"

Very slowly, tentatively, a figure dislodged itself from the shadows--a small girl, with long hair, clutching a book protectively against her chest. As she came into the torchlight, Remus could see that her hair was bright, vibrant red.

He didn't know Ginny Weasley terribly well. Since the episode on the Hogwarts Express, she had been distant, not even speaking much in his class, although her assigned work was first rate.

He smiled. "Hello, Miss Weasley. Did you need something?"

"I--" She bit her lip, looked to either side, and gulped in a deep breath. "Could I talk to you, Professor Lupin? It's not about class."

"I can't promise I'll be very helpful about any other subjects, but you're welcome to come in and talk." He gestured into the office, and she scurried inside.

Remus closed the door and turned to find Ginny Weasley browsing his bookshelves, running her fingers over his small collection of photographs, glancing briefly at a cage full of doxies he'd brought in for the first years. She didn't turn around.

"What is it, Miss Weasley?" he prodded.

She pointed at a picture. "Is this your daughter?" she asked. "This one you're carrying around on your shoulders?"

He looked over her shoulder. "No. She's the daughter of friends of mine. That's a very old picture. She's twenty-one now. Which is a profoundly frightening thought. Would you like some tea?"

"And those? Are they your parents?"

"Yes, they are."

She nodded, then turned so suddenly that she almost ran into Remus. "I'm sorry, Professor Lupin. I shouldn't have bothered you."

"You haven't bothered me so far. Were you planning on doing so?"

"No. No, I-- Never mind." She headed for the door, but stopped before she reached it. "It's just... my brothers. The twins. They're Beaters on the Gryffindor Quidditch team."

"Yes, I know them. They're in my O.W.L. class."

She nodded. "Right. Well, they said... Well, Harry... Well the Dementors... " She was breathing rapidly, and clutching her book fiercely. Finally, she closed her eyes and said in a single breath, "The-twins-said-that-Oliver-said-that-Harry-told-him-that-you-were-helping-him-with-the-Dementors-and-I'd-like-to-learn-too-because-they-make-me-feel..." She trailed off, and finally opened her eyes. "Bad," she finished. "Really, really bad."

Remus sighed. "I see. Please sit down, Ginny."

She sat down miserably in the chair across from his desk. He chose one beside her instead of putting the desk between them.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I know, you've got other things to do. I probably can't--It doesn't matter. I should just stay away."

"Staying away from Dementors is generally good advice," Remus said.

"I know. It's that... they're there, you know? I walk around the grounds, and suddenly it gets cold. I work in the greenhouses and sometimes I see them. My friend Colin and I like to fly right near the gates sometimes, just for practice, when the Quidditch pitch is booked." She smiled faintly. "Colin really needs practice. We should just go somewhere else. This is silly. I shouldn't bother you with this."

"Again, Ginny, you haven't bothered me yet."


"Really." Remus opened a tin of biscuits and offered her one. She shook her head slightly and curled up in the chair. "I noticed on the train that you were affected very badly," he said. "I wondered if you would come to me."

"Can you help?" she begged. "Oh, please, can you teach me whatever you're teaching Harry?"

"The spell I'm teaching Harry is very advanced, Ginny. I'm going to be honest--I don't think you're ready for it. You have power, but you haven't refined it enough." She looked away miserably, and Remus thought he heard her stifle a sob. He thought he should pat her head, or squeeze her shoulder or something along that line, but the boundaries between teacher and student were far too present to do so. Instead, he tried a comforting tone. "I'm not sure it's helpful with day to day Dementor presence, though. What I'm teaching Harry is a counter to a direct Dementor attack, not to the feelings they cause."

"Is there a cure for that?"

"Not a cure. You just have to be strong-minded. To know that the feeling is a lie. It's not real."

"But it is!" Ginny cried. "It is real. And I'm not strong-minded. I was..." She looked over her shoulder at the door, listened for a moment, then spoke again in a quieter voice. "Did Professor Dumbledore tell you what happened last year? With the Chamber of Secrets? And the basilisk and Tom Riddle?"

"He told me that a student had--" Remus stopped. "Oh, my Lord. You were the student."

She nodded. "It was me. He got inside my mind."

"And you got him out."

"Harry got him out."

"According to Professor Dumbledore, you put up a very good fight all year."

"Not good enough." She pushed her hair behind her ear and blinked against tears. "Every time I go near the Dementors I hear..."


She looked at him, her eyes haunted. "I hear Tom Riddle laughing at me."

Remus had no idea what to say to that, but Ginny seemed determined to talk now. She got up out of the chair and started pacing.

"He laughed at me, and he told me I was a stupid girl, and I wouldn't be loved, and I was ugly and silly and... And it was real, Professor Lupin! It's not a lie. It happened."

"But what happened to you was a lie, Ginny. Riddle lied to you. He used you, and he tormented you for his own amusement. The things he said were lies, and this feeling your mind comes up with... it's not real. You're not silly, you're not stupid, you're well loved, and you're not at all ugly."

"Not very pretty though. Ha-- Boys don't think so, anyway."

Remus smiled. "Give them time."

"Then there's nothing I can do?" she asked. "I can't stand being trapped in Gryffindor Tower all the time, but I can't stand going out where they are."

Remus stood and went to his desk. In the bottom drawer were three large boxes of Honeydukes chocolates. He gave one to Ginny, who looked at him quizzically.

"Keep some chocolate on you when you go out," he said. "I do, every time I need to go to Hogsmeade to pick up a delivery. It helps."


"Really. But it doesn't do it alone. You have to block the Dementors out, think other thoughts. Accept that the things they make you feel... it's just what they do. It's what they feed on."

"How do I do that?"

"I want you to remember that you're not just a girl who was possessed by Tom Riddle; you're also a girl who fought him tooth and nail, who didn't end up letting him hurt anyone, and who tried her best to banish him. Who figured all of it out on her own, according to Dumbledore, and at great cost."

"What cost?"

"You lost a friend."

"Maybe. But he wasn't a real friend."

"Maybe that's what hurts most. I know something about that." He patted her shoulder tentatively. "You remember, every time you go near them, that you're stronger. That you know what's real. It's the best defense there is."

Okay. Lunch hour over.


22 comments or Leave a comment
calico321 From: calico321 Date: March 15th, 2004 11:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent as usual!! *sniff* I wish Remus could come back to teach.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2004 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me, too! *sniff*
jiminyc From: jiminyc Date: March 15th, 2004 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
That was wonderful. It's awesome that you had Remus acknowledge the loss of Tom Riddle as a friend...I think that would have bothered Ginny, too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2004 12:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it would--and I think Remus would understand it, because of course, what she had to do ultimately was find the courage to go against her friend, something he certainly found very difficult.

I'm glad that worked well... the scene just sort of went there.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: March 15th, 2004 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's a great fic. Remus and Ginny, two of my favorite characters. :D
I'm glad to see someone writing about Ginny struggling with her possesion my Riddl;e. Too many people gloss over it and treat it like it never happened.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2004 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Too many people gloss over it and treat it like it never happened.

Or forget (*cough*Harry*cough*).

That "Lucky you" that she snaps back at Harry suggests to me that she's got a world of unresolved issues that she's burying under being bubbly. Sooner or later, it's got to bite her.

Glad you liked!
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: March 15th, 2004 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I meant more 'fanfic authors' than characters. But yeah, Harry, doh.
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: March 15th, 2004 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent! A very probably bit--essential when writing missing moments, of course--with two character who could use a lot more "screen time." You brought out his patience, and his sense of humor, both qualities he must have had, being a Marauder, but which we don't have opportunity to see enough of in the books.
One thing which popped out at me was in this sentence:
I noticed on the train that you were effected very badly
Unless I'm very much confused, it should be "affected," as "affect" is the verb and "effect" is the noun. >.> Am I being stupid?

Major applause for your mad fast writing skills!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 15th, 2004 12:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Affect"/"Effect" is one of my Achilles' heels. I should just avoid the word.

Thanks for the head-knock; I'll fix it.
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: March 15th, 2004 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are not alone, as I'm sure you well know. What really bothers me is when I do it, as it is one of my pet peeves, and I detest being a hypocrite.

I've seen you and your fantastic fanfic popping up in all my favourite fandoms. It's inevitable that I'd finally fangirl you. XD
affabletoaster From: affabletoaster Date: March 15th, 2004 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Probable*, as I prove just how easy it is to mistype. XD And now I will go pine the lack of comment editability.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: March 15th, 2004 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was really great, Fern. I love seeing Remus in full-on teacher mode. He really seems born to it. It must have been such a wrench for him to have to give up his post at Hogwarts after just one year.

Add me to the list of people who would love to see him back there. *sniff*
mafdet From: mafdet Date: March 15th, 2004 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes! Remus MUST come back to teach! He's one of the best.

Great ficlet (and in only an hour? wow). You capture Remus very well, and Ginny too. I agree with the poster above, that Gin has a LOT of serious issues left over from the Riddle possession lurking beneath the surface. I wouldn't be surprised to see them come out in Book 6.
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: March 16th, 2004 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I really loved this! The whole thing with Ginny's posession has been glossed over, definately. (but then Harry's not aware is he?)
My only quibble was with the 'you lost a friend' bit right at the end. I felt it needed a little more clarification. ie: 'you lost a friend you'd been confiding in for nearly a year' or something along those lines.
I want you to keep writing this!!
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: March 16th, 2004 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)

I printed it out for my kids to read. I'm sure to have a lot of questions, and that's the best part of reading - how it stretches and shapes our mind.

melyanna From: melyanna Date: March 16th, 2004 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a lovely scene, Fern. Remus in teacher-mode is really a treasure to watch—there are so few teachers out there like him, and it's a shame. I'm also glad that you decided to address Ginny's emotional trauma. His reminding her of her strengths is exactly what she needs in order to face not only the Dementors, but also life. After all, there are things other than Dementors that dredge up the worst memories.

By the way, I loved that Remus recognized that Ginny considered Tom a friend. After all, he too was betrayed by someone whom he once considered a friend.

I'm really enjoying these ficlets, though I haven't had a chance to read and review them all yet. I hope you continue to write them!

erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: March 20th, 2004 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ok, you have me know. *melts* why the hel ldid he pack his things and go atall? was exactly what snape wanted anyway. :)
and this was SO in-cannon... well...that REALLY was al lfro mme today.
delleve From: delleve Date: March 21st, 2004 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wonderful ... As Usual

That was great Fern. I just found your LJ and I'm very happy that I did.

Very touching and just a nice, warm little fic.
delleve From: delleve Date: March 21st, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wonderful As Usual

That was great Fern. I just found your LJ and I'm very happy that I did.

Very touching and just a nice, warm little fic.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 25th, 2004 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Darwin's Apprentice Monday 3/15 story


Wonderful work! I like the physicality you've written into Ginny's bits. The timidity and shame comes through in her physical distance. And then you don't have to write the adverbs. We know the tone she must be using.

The ending closed it perfectly. Most folks don't think about how she was betrayed by someone she thought of as a friend. That Remus sees that immediately is natural. Especially sitting at Hogwarts for the first time since his Marauder's life.

Thanks for posting this link.
starbuckx From: starbuckx Date: March 25th, 2004 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Oh, sorry for intruding in your LJ

But this piece is just lovely. Anything Remus is good by me, and this is just so in character, so very him ....I could see it happening. In fact, I'd like to think it DID happen. And, that's the greatest compliment I can give. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 21st, 2004 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Good One!

I like this! I hadn't thought of that before but after Ginny's ordeal with Tom Riddle, the Dementors would have a really bad effect on her, wouldn't they? I liked Remus' encouragement. Again, I hadn't thought of it, but after having trusted Tom so much, realizing that he was using her and clearly despised her must have REALLY hurt!
22 comments or Leave a comment