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Batch 22 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 22
Young Albus and Professor Black
for fh

"Sit down, Dumbledore," the Headmaster said, not looking up from his correspondence. "I shall attend to your circumstance momentarily."

Albus sat down in the single, straight-backed chair in front of the desk. He looked around the office without any great interest--there were portraits on the wall, of course, of old headmistresses and headmasters, and the shelves were properly lined with perfectly decent books, but he couldn't imagine that any wizard of real stature would waste his time here among children. Albus himself couldn't wait to escape it. He'd been corresponding with wizards around the world, and was dearly hoping that one of them would offer him a decent place--preferably in the furthest corners of the Empire, or even beyond it--after he completed his studies. He would distinguish himself--already, he had most of his correspondents believing that he was finished with school and simply working on research in Hogsmeade--and no one would ever devil him about Dad again. No more birthday cakes shaped like files, no more jokes about sending Floatation Charms with his Christmas letter, no more sneering about whether or not he planned to holiday in the North Sea with his father. Let Aberforth join the merriment; he didn't seem to mind it. Albus was going to make something of himself.

Professor Black finished his letter, folded it, and sent it off with an owl, then Summoned another from his tray. Albus sighed.

Professor Black cleared his throat. "Mr. Dumbledore, perhaps you would care to give me your attention."

"Sorry. I imagined you had another letter to answer."

"Oh, I do. But this one concerns you. Or at least I assume it does, as no other Albus Dumbledore is currently affiliated with Hogwarts." He perched his specs on his nose and read, "'Dear Headmaster Black, honored head of Hogwarts School'--et cetera, et cetera--'I am writing from the Institute of Magical Egyptology, in Luxor, Egypt, in regard to one Albus Dumbledore, apparently a master of some repute in your school.'"

Professor Black looked sharply over his specs. Albus blushed, but kept his jaw clenched shut.

Professor Black went on with the letter. "'We have been corresponding for some time, and I would be honored to offer him a post, if he might be pried away from Hogwarts, but as he seems to have published very little, I must ask for letters of recommendation from his colleagues before my Board of Governors will consider my own recommendation. I realize that such a brilliant mind would be a loss to your fine institution, but your own work and those of other prominent British wizards is, I would hope, sufficient to maintain the fine reputation of the school even without Mr. Dumbledore.' He then goes on ad nauseum about your supposed brilliance, then finally identifies himself as one Ahmed Banoub. Have you an explanation, Mr. Dumbledore, or shall I simply offer him a candid response?"

Albus, who had been feeling rather proud of himself for a moment as the letter went on, blanched at the word "candid." Suddenly, he could feel his whole world, and his whole future, hanging over his head. One "candid" word from the Headmaster of his school, and he would become not only a pariah at school--the son of the Muggle-murderer rotting up in Azkaban--but the laughingstock of all of his adult correspondents, that clever little boy who ran such a precious joke on them all. Not only would he be denied now, but they would remember--they always remembered--when he was an adult and earnestly seeking their patronage.

Professor Black sat back. "Ah. I see you comprehend your precarious position."

"Yes, sir."

"So tell me, what shall I do?"

Albus sat up straight. "You're the Headmaster, Sir. Do as you please."

Professor Black gave him a dry, unsympathetic sort of look, then said, "Your father was among my bosom companions when we were boys."

"Don't help me because of him."

"I have no intention of it." He pulled out a quill. "I meant only to point out that Percival is in Azkaban because he is a fool."

"I thought it was because he killed people."

"I am quite aware of the circumstances of that event, and I re-iterate, he is in Azkaban because he is a fool. He refuses to explain the situation, perhaps out of some misguided pride, or even more misguided guilt. Your mother has compounded the situation by allowing him to do this, and even covering up the extenuating circumstances herself, though with Kendra, I am reasonably certain it is entirely pride, with no guilt at all involved. You seem to have inherited her temperament."

Albus stared back at him stonily.

The Headmaster shook his head. "Kendra's blood certainly runs true in you. Gryffindors and pride. You would rather destroy yourselves than compromise."

"What do you mean to do?" Albus asked, looking at the letter.

"I believe I asked you that question. Do you plan to explain yourself to me, or to follow your family tradition of foolish pride?"

Albus took a few harsh breaths.

Professor Black picked up his quill. "Very well, then."

"I was writing to him about the theoretical underpinning of Ancient Egyptian Resurrection Spells."

He sat back. "I see."

Albus looked out the window at the clear sky, mainly to avoid looking at the Headmaster. "I practiced a few letters to avoid giving myself away, but I never said I was a teacher. I didn't say I was a third year, either. He just made a guess."

"All right."

"I taught myself ancient Egyptian so I could read the spells in the original, and I noticed a glyph that kept repeating. It was the earth glyph. I thought about our story about the stone, and I wondered if earthen properties could be used in resurrection work."

"And whom do you propose to resurrect?"

"No one. It's theoretical."

He tapped his quill on his desk blotter. "You did not, at any point, impersonate a member of the Hogwarts staff?"

"No, sir. I can show you my copies of the letters."

"No need. I believe you." He pulled over a piece of parchment and tapped it with his wand. "I merely needed to satisfy myself before sending this." He handed it to Albus.

To the Honorable Mr. Banoub:
Whilst Albus Dumbledore is without question one of the most brilliant minds I have encountered, I fear that he is not, at present, a member of the Hogwarts staff, as he has not yet completed his required studies. The mistake about his position is quite understandable; I am familiar with the mature turn of his mind.

I hope you will continue to take correspondence from Albus, who I believe to be a fine thinker regardless of his age, and that, when his studies are complete, you will again consider him for a post, should his interests and yours continue to coincide.

Your servant,
Prof. Phineas Nigellus Black,
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Albus looked up. He knew it would mean a deterioration in his letters from Banoub--he would certainly keep in mind now that he was writing to a child--but at least it wouldn't destroy the possibility of a future opportunity. "Thank you, sir."

"Shall I add a more specific reference to your conversation, and refer to it as additional study?"

"That's all right, sir."

"Very well. Dismissed."

Albus stood up and went to the door, then turned around, thinking to thank him again, but he was already back at work on his next pile of letters.

Or, alternately, Teddy helping Dean with the portraits.
for arcaneblades

Had to go for the alternate. :)
Ruthless had needed to go home early today, as her father needed help in his workshop and Kirk had refused, on what even Ruthless considered the perfectly fair grounds that she hadn't been expected to do anything at all this summer, and next summer, she'd be "totally free," only worrying about her own career. She'd changed out of the old floppy hat and long skirt from Mum's wardrobe ("Does it say something about you that you're dressing your ex-girlfriend in your mother's clothes?" she'd joked), kissed Teddy goodbye, and run off to the nearest Floo. Teddy was taking the opportunity to let Dean do some detail work on Mum's part of the portrait. He didn't make a habit of this in front of the others, even though they'd seen him as Dad, Sirius, and James. It was a bit different to don a silk peasant blouse, a chunky necklace, and a cloth hat with a flower in it, while morphing his face into a woman's and growing his hair down to his shoulders in soft black waves. Dean had said he could eschew the skirt, since he was working on facial details, but he would need the context of the other clothes.

"Do you think the portrait will be able to morph?" Teddy asked. "She really enjoyed doing that."

Dean examined his face from a few angles and said, "Oh, I think we can do that. It'll be similar to the work I did on the boggart at Hogwarts."

"She'll morph into what people are afraid of?" Teddy asked.

"No, I think we can avoid that. I'll see if I can give her some freedom of appearance along with the mood around the painting, so the figure will be able to find in her memories the way she'd morph in response. It shouldn't be too different from how she'd move or speak."

"But the paint won't be there for the different colors."

"The paint already changes its tones when the figures move from one sort of light into another. That shouldn't be a problem. Though I admit, I've never tried to paint a Metamorphmagus before. It's a challenge." He sketched a little bit. He wasn't working with the memories yet, so the sketches were, at the moment, still. In fact, the sketches he was doing at the moment, weren't even on the canvas, where the figures were charcoaled in. "I'm going to do a few preliminary paintings tonight," he said. "Nothing special, just to get a proper sense of composition without using any of the memories."

"Oh. All right."

"I wonder if I could keep one of them."

"What? Of course you can."

"It's not a given. I thought you might not want me to... well, to have them around. I might add some of my own memories, too. Your grandfather told me a lot about your mum, you know, when we were on the run together."

"Really? I forgot you knew him! I wish he'd... that Maddie'd found some of his memories as well."

"He was a good man. And he loved his little Dora so much. He told me that one Christmas, she met a homeless family with a little girl, and gave them all of the clothes in her wardrobe that would fit."

"Granny told me that once. I think she wants me to give the rest of the wardrobe to charity."

"That's your call. The clothes are getting a bit old, now. And besides, you may have daughters of your own someday who want to play in them."

Teddy considered that. "I'd like to have daughters," he said. "Or sons, whichever. I'd be happy with either. But I'd best have some. I'm all there is to carry on."

"I've thought that from time to time," Dean said. "I have half-brothers and half-sisters, but I'm all there is of my dad. I really ought to think about getting married and getting on with the whole business."

"What about Berit Ollivander? She's not married yet, and I bet you'd get on splendidly. She likes art, and she's only a little older than you."


Teddy frowned and thought about other grown women he know. Most of them were married, except for Berit, and of course McGonagall. Or Trelawney, he supposed. "Oh! Lavender! She's still single, and she's very pretty. She works for Fifi LaFolle. You know Lavender, right?"

Dean laughed and held up one hand. "Teddy, I think I'll figure it out on my own, thanks. And yes, I know Lavender. She was in my year. And before you ask, it didn't work with Parvati."

"Oh. Why not? I like Parvati. Why isn't she married?"

"I have no idea, Teddy. Could you look up a little? I'd like to get a better angle on the jawline."

"Sure." Teddy did it. "What did you mean about not wanting you to have them around?"

Dean sighed. "I know... well, it's uncomfortable. About... well, I imagine that if you had the choice between me living and your dad living, you'd have made a different choice." He looked down and started shading absently.

Teddy tried not to draw back. He'd thought of it on and off all summer, as he posed. Dean was a nice enough person, and his art was very good, but there was nothing here that Teddy would have traded his parents' lives for. He'd been trying not to bring it up. Finally, he muttered, "Well, it's not mine to trade. I reckon that was Dad's choice, not mine. And it's not very nice to him to question it."

"That's very well-rehearsed, Teddy," Dean said.

"It's true, though."

Dean opened his mouth to say something, then shut it, opened it, and shut it again. He shook his head. "I just don't know what to say about it."

"I can't think of anything," Teddy said. "Do you want me to morph her hair or anything, so you can see the colors?"

Dean collected himself. "Yeah. Why don't you? Her favorite was pink, wasn't it? That's what old Ted said, that he'd know Dora was all right because she'd start making her hair pink again."

Teddy morphed, and the session went on with no further mentions of death.

Something with Tiny Teddy, please. It's just that he's so cute when he was little.
for mint_green

It was a bright summer morning, and Teddy woke up happy. He'd been dreaming of his mummy, and they had been at a circus where all the lions and tigers talked, and a hippogriff took him for a ride. He had done tricks while he was flying, and Mummy had told him he was clever and brave, and she had given him a hug. In the dream, she'd made her hair look like pink cotton candy, and Teddy had made his own look like green cotton candy. He went to the mirror and made it that way, then went down to breakfast.

"Look at you!" Uncle Harry said. "Are you a circus clown?"

"Circus Teddy."

"Ah, the famous Circus Teddy. I heard about his act once. The great trapeze flyer, wasn't it?"


"Oh, then he must be an acrobat!"

Teddy shook his head.

"A... er, help me out, Andromeda, I've never been to a circus."

Granny looked up from her St. Mungo's scrolls and said, "Perhaps he's a human cannonball?"

"What's that?" Teddy asked.

"They shoot you out of a great gun and you fly around the tent."

"Oh! Neat. No."

"Well, what does a Circus Teddy do, then?"

"I'm a hippogriff trainer!" Teddy said, and picked up a chair. He pointed the legs at Uncle Harry. "They fly and do tricks."

"Is that so?" Uncle Harry raised his arms so the scarlet sleeves of his Ministry robes flapped like wings. "Are you going to bow, or shall I eat you up?"

Teddy laughed and bowed.

Uncle Harry bowed back. "Now, I think I'll take the hippogriff trainer for a ride. How's that?"

Teddy nodded.

Uncle Harry scooped him up and put him on his back, securing him with spells so he wouldn't slip. "Shall we fly? Shall we run? Or maybe I'll try to throw you off!" He started bucking around, and Teddy held on tight, laughing. Uncle Harry jumped up onto a chair, then, jumped back down, shaking his shoulders back and forth and pretending to try and dislodge Teddy.

"Bad hippogriff!" Teddy said. "Be nice!"

This just increased the bucking.

"Really, Harry!" Granny said fondly.

"I'm going to take off soon," Uncle Harry warned. "I may need a broomstick..."

Teddy laughed wildly, and then a broomstick flew in, and Uncle Harry was on it in a trice. He flew through the kitchen carefully--he and Teddy had broken one of Granny's figurines last week--then, as soon as they were outside, went straight up, circling around over the house and the garden and the pond.

"Waiting for an order, trainer," he said, flying in a gentle sort of loop.


Uncle Harry turned the broomstick toward the ground, and there was an exhilarting dive.


And up they went. And left, and right, and forward, and even backward once, though that took some figuring out. Finally Uncle Harry circled down to the ground by the pond, undid the Charms, and let Teddy slide off his back. "We should go in and get you some breakfast," he said. "Are you hungry?"

"No, I want to fly!"

"It's breakfast time. And I have to go to work."

"I don't want you to go."

Uncle Harry raised his eyebrows. "You know better, Teddy. I have to go to work. They need me there."

"What for?"

"Because there are still bad men out there, and we have to catch them."

"When are all of the bad men going to be caught?"

"We never do seem to run out." Uncle Harry held out his hand and Teddy took it. They started walking toward the house. "It's a job, Teddy, just like Granny's at St. Mungo's."

"I could help, like I roll bandages for Granny. I'll bet I could help you catch bad men."

"I don't want you to have to do that, Teddy."

"But bad men took away my mummy and daddy."

"And we're going to catch them. You just be Circus Teddy. That's the best way for you to beat the bad men."

Teddy considered offering again, but Uncle Harry looked sad, so he didn't. He just walked beside him, the morning dew making squishing sounds under their feet as they made their way back to Granny's sunny kitchen.

31 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 29th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that Albus...

But hey, that was interesting! Thirteen-year-old Dumbledore, what a concept! Is there anything in the back of your head about Kendra? I keep getting stuck on Harry's notion of her as looking Native-American, and how that would work into canon. Or maybe she's actually Armenian?

I don't feel these characters enough to write them, but I do love to read about them!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't really have much in mind for Kendra. I'm guessing she was a difficult woman.
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: December 29th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
But I'd best have some.

Some?! I think you may have overdone it a little, Teddy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, with nine, he won't have to worry about the family dying out for a while!
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arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: December 29th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! It's always nice to see these characters interacting with different people, since it shows them in more dimensions. And it's such a facet of your Dean that he would ask Teddy that straight out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't worked much with Dean, and my decision to have Remus die on his behalf is based only on the scantest evidence (he's seen fighting the guy who killed Remus, and "picked up a wand somewhere"), but I kind of like the dynamic.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 29th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting take on Dumbeldore. It would have been easy to play that scenario for laughs, because it is inherently funny, but it was really quite dark. You really showed off Dumbeldore's less attractive qualities in a convincing way.

Thanks for keeping up such a brusing pace on these ficlets!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Dumbledore's least attractive moment, in retrospect, is when he blithely insults Aberforth in CoS. That's a long time after the events of their childhood, and Albus is still embarrassed.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: December 29th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Thirteen? Thirteen? And he was already that much of a machiavellian schemer? Wow.
Well, I certainly found that very interesting. Pre-death of Ariana!Dumbledore is an incredible interesting character. I wonder what Phineas thought of him. He was so great on this.

And I think this is the very first time I want to hug Dean.

(And little Teddy is so sweet!)
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 29th, 2008 05:39 am (UTC) (Link)

"Thirteen? Thirteen? And he was already that much of a machiavellian schemer? Wow."

Doesn't he sound just a tiny bit like a sane Tom Riddle?

I wonder if Dumbledore himself wondered what Phineas thought of him, while he was wondering what to think about Tom Riddle?
redlily From: redlily Date: December 29th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I love Dumbly. I love the idea that he only wanted out of Hogwarts while he was a student. Having just read Beedle the Bard, much of which is in Dumbly's voice, it was very nice to find this ficlet waiting for me.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Dumbledore, too. He's not perfect, but he grew up so well from the snot we read about in TDH.
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: December 29th, 2008 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
i loved them all (yeah, yeah - i never did hate anything you put out, fern) but while the latter two were very engaging scenes emotionally, i was most impressed with albus-phineas. gotta admit i never imagined (or tried to) what albus was like before kendra died, and only thought vaguely about his ambition. you did a great job expanding on that little nugget from aberforth's tale and rita skeeter's book (whatever was true about it anyway). and it seems that ariana's death had such a life-altering impact if he managed to turn 180 from his old attitude about hogwarts.

and, well, i never did think about whether phineas was albus' headmaster, either. in some ways i think phineas is a big fake. he professes to be disgusted with children, yet he deigned to accept a teaching and headmaster post. but as is most apparent in your ficlet, he was probably thinking that having a student like albus is one of the great rewards of his profession. he handled the situation quite beautifully too.

great job as always!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree that Phineas is a huge fake, and a complete softie. I have no idea where I get this notion, but he just seems that sort. (I have a crotchety uncle of that variety, I guess, and Phineas reminds me of him.)
mint_green From: mint_green Date: December 29th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Teenaged Dumbledore was very... interesting.

And awww. I told you Tiny Teddy was adorable! I loved it. His dreams and Harry being adorable, and sad Harry. Perfect. Thank you!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome!
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I like people, and I think most of us have some tricky character exposition about us. :)
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: December 29th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant. I loved younger Albus. As for Teddy?

"But bad men took away my mummy and daddy."

That sure resulted in a sharp gasp. Poor thing. But it was also really sweet up until that point. (Though I felt sorry for Andromeda - not sure if this was your intention, but there was a waryness about her in my mind.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's just normal "Mom" wariness at watching the rough-housing with "Dad." Which is, of course, one of Dad's primary jobs, but Andromeda's probably got the whole, "Are you crazy, you'll hurt the baby!" thing going on.
rotae From: rotae Date: December 29th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I just... wow. Can you keep writing Teddy forever, please? XDDDDD

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, if I don't put a fire under these challenges, I may be doing exactly that! :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 29th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so very very much. It was PERFECT. And I just laughed out loud when it was revealed that Albus is a THIRD YEAR here!

I love your Phineas, absolutely and unconditionally

thank you again,

-fh :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 29th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Phineas amuses me. I can imagine him being a very hated Headmaster (though possibly more in Sirius's mind than in reality), because he's so brusque. But I think he's an old softie.
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31 comments or Leave a comment