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Batch 25 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 25
How about some interaction between Lily and Sirius, round about the time she gives in and starts going out with James?
for katchuri, seconded by alkari

To Lily's surprise, James took most of her insults in the spirit in which they were intended--a half-baked and unmeant protest against her own full-scale surrender to the mysterious promptings of her heart.

She'd known before she started going out with James that there was more to him than the prat who tormented Severus and a handful of other Slytherins. She'd seen on more than one occasion the way he kept his friends together, and she appreciated this feat as a near-miracle. She'd seen him looking after younger Gryffindors. She'd come across his sharp mind more times than she could count. He tended to have surprising insights--generally couched as jokes--and she'd certainly had an opportunity to experience his generous affection, which seemed to spread in any direction other than Slytherin House. She'd been a recipient of it herself on many occasions before she'd done anything to warrant special treatment.

Still, she hadn't expected him to just brush it off when she made sweeping statements against the old pure-blood families, or lost her temper at the obtuse responses of the Ministry. She'd expected that he'd at least break up with her once, and she was even willing to apologize when she realized the Wizengamot member she'd insulted was a cousin of his. He'd surprised her by just shrugging at all of this, and something about his willingness to just absorb what Tunie called her "huffy temper tantrums" took a lot of the edge off of them, and by the time she'd been going with him for two months, being calm and cheerful seemed like her natural state. She didn't find any of the nonsense in the world less offensive, but but somehow, she was happy despite it. She didn't spend half of her time seething. It was something she felt she could get used to.

On one matter, though, James was not sanguine, and that was any cut Lily made in the direction of Sirius Black.

Oh, not the silly ones, like complaining about his vanity or his Muggle affectations (he'd acquired a motorbike, which was the pride of his life at the moment). All of them did that, and James actually seemed pleased that Lily felt comfortable enough to join in. But Lily had, at one point, grumped rather innocuously that she thought Sirius was James's only bad influence and at that, he'd said, "I love you, Lily. I know it's a bit early in this sort of business to admit it, but it can't be much of a surprise. But lay off Sirius." There'd been no trace of irony or humor in his voice. Lily had never mentioned it again.

Before she'd started going out with James, she'd thought of the pair of them--James and Sirius--as a matched set, brothers who didn't happen to be particularly closely related, certainly equals. They protected Peter Pettigrew and eased the way for Remus Lupin. Sirius was so outgoing and bombastic that, until she had an opportunity to watch the four of them at close range, it wouldn't have occurred to her that James watched out for Sirius even more closely than he watched out for the other two, and, truth be told, Remus, at least, also seemed to be as much a caretaker for Sirius as a beneficiary of their largesse. The little family James had created out of this odd collection of boys was considerably more complex than she'd taken it for, and of all of them, it was Sirius Black--the bombastic, spoiled aristocrat who Severus had once described as "the final proof that Dumbledore's lot are a pack of hypocrites"--who seemed to need its nurturance most of all.

So she had steeled herself to go against six years of her experience at Hogwarts, and against all of her memories of their insults to Severus, and determined to be friendly to Sirius, whatever it took.

It had turned out to be the easiest resolution she'd ever kept. Once inside Sirius's circle of friends, the callousness disappeared entirely, and all that was left was a smart, funny boy who would jump in front of a moving train for James or anyone James cared about. He also had a healthy appreciation of Muggle music, and was the first person at Hogwarts--including Muggle-borns--with whom Lily had been able to engage in a full-scale rant about the current state of affairs during long, pointless conversations in the Gryffindor Common Room.

"And disco!" she said, rolling her eyes. "One repetitive beat, played over and over. Can you honestly tell one Bee Gees song from another?"

"I can't even tell those wankers from that Swedish bunch."

"I thought you might at least like the pretty Swedish girls."

"With disco, who can tell the difference?" He laughed. "Then again, the dancing's good. I went to a club last summer. It's a scene."

"So I've heard."

"You and James should come along this summer. Get you in some sparkly get-ups, and you can sit at the bar and blokes will buy drinks for you all night."

"Did the girls buy you drinks?"

"Oh, yes. A few of the men did as well." Lily raised her eyebrows. He shrugged, then struck a melodramatic pose. "It's a curse, being so damnably handsome and charming."

She laughed. "Now, there is some good stuff out there. Have you heard the new one by Queen?"

"The Bohemian one? Best song ever." He turned his wand over so the thicker end was at his mouth, and howled into it like a microphone, "I don't wanna die... I sometimes wish I'd never been born at a-all... carry on, carry on... as if nothing really matters..."

Lily thought the lines might be a little mangled, but she couldn't remember for sure. She hadn't had her record player since August. She stretched and turned, draping her legs over the arm of the chair and letting her hair spill down almost to the floor. "Then there's that idiot in New York--'I write the songs that make the whole world sing...'"

"No ego there."

"It gets better. He is, in fact, music."

"Damn. Well, I can't beat that." Sirius stretched out on his stomach on the floor, closing his eyes against the fire. "I have a lot of catching up to do on this. Mum never let us listen to Muggle stuff. Maybe that New York bloke is music, and does write the songs. I just don't know these things. Who should I listen to?"

"Well, your cousin's husband wouldn't forgive me if I didn't remind you that everything begins and ends with the Beatles."

"Yes, of course, but there must be something that's not so self-evident. What should I try to listen to? Old stuff, I mean--I can catch the current things."

Lily thought about it. "You might like Jerry Lee Lewis. And you could try Elvis. My sister's wild about Frank Sinatra still, and I imagine he's good enough." She frowned. "Hmm. Have you heard Motown?"

"Who are they?"

"It's a studio in Detroit--the Supremes, the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas, lots of others?"

"Are they good?"

"I like them."

"Then I'll give them a listen. I trust your judgment. Except on the whole Snape thing, but I reckon everyone's entitled to one blind spot."

"Oddly enough, I've often thought the same this year."

I'd like some Remus and Elizabeth, please.
for Anonymous, seconded by samus_mcaslan

Elizabeth was relatively certain that she knew what Remus meant to ask about. He had the same dodgy look he'd had when he'd asked her if he could transmit lycanthropy if he accidently nipped a girl's lip while kissing her. She'd sat down with him then and gone over things he already knew about his condition--that it was transferrable in one way only, and that was by biting while transformed--but had, in an utter panic, suddenly ceased to believe. He'd been bitten at six years old when he'd snuck outside at night to entertain himself, and ever since, she thought, he hadn't trusted anything he might do that would bring him pleasure.

"Who is she?" Elizabeth asked.


"The girl in question."

"Oh. No, there's no girl right now. I just..." He bit his lip. "Well, it's more of a general sort of question."

"All right. Not entirely what I thought, then."

He looked at her with genuine puzzlement, then shook his head. "Well, there've been a couple of girls I've gone out with, and a few more I've been friends with, and, er..." He blushed. "Well, the week before the full moon, I--" The blush grew scarlet, then nearly purple. "It's a bit awkward to spend time with them, is that normal?"

Elizabeth laughed. "Really, Remus. You're a healthy seventeen year old boy. I can't imagine it not being normal with or without lycanthropy thrown in."

The blush was becoming blotchy now, and looked like it was causing him physical pain. "But it's right before the moon! And I sometimes dream about... hurting them as a wolf."

"Oh," Elizabeth said. She let the laughter fade away. That was definitely not what she'd imagined was bothering him. "Listen, Remus, you know what it's like when you're transformed. You've known about these feelings for a long time. Longer than most boys your age. And it's all tied up together in your mind."

"What if I do something?"

"You won't. There's more than a little aggression involved in sex--"

Remus winced.

"Oh, for heaven's sake," Elizabeth said. "You came to talk about it, am I not allowed to use the word? Because that will make the conversation a good deal more difficult than it needs to be."

Remus looked at the table. "Er... you can say it."

"Thank you. There's aggression in sex. On both sides, and for everyone. And it's scary, because it's a lot of power going through you, and you don't know how to handle it. You will. I promise. When you find the right person, you'll learn everything you need to know."

"But I shouldn't be dreaming about tearing her up!" Remus said miserably. "What kind of person dreams about that?"

Elizabeth bit her lip. "It's not entirely a nightmare?"

"No!" He leaned forward, pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes. "I mean, yes, it is, but it's also--" He moved his hands to the back of his neck and pressed his head further down. "Elizabeth, is something wrong with me? Is this because of the werewolf thing?"

She pressed her lips together, closed her eyes, and said, "Yes."

He looked up. "Really?"

"Really." She sighed. "It's not all the time, and I expect as you get older and less frightened, it'll happen less often, but there is a sexual element to it. The werewolf who attacked me...well, it was decidedly not a casual snack he was after."

Remus stared miserably at the pattern on the tablecloth. "Then I could hurt someone."

"Yes. Any of us could, though." She Summoned him a cup of tea. "But unlike a lot of people, you know what's inside of you sometimes, and you're on the watch for it. I think you're safer than most people because of that."

"But it's there, and--"

"And so are you." Elizabeth touched his wrist. "Do you want to know why I don't think you'd ever hurt someone?"


"Because it matters to you that you don't. Because you're so miserable at the thought you might that you're embarrassing yourself enough to come to me and tell me about it. Predators don't really care. You do."

He furrowed his brow, apparently trying to think of a protest, but none came.

Elizabeth shook her head. "Now that we've got that out of the way, how are your N.E.W.T. studies coming along?"

17 comments or Leave a comment
beceh From: beceh Date: January 1st, 2009 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent :-) Both of them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 1st, 2009 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Glad you liked them.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 1st, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
These are always amazing, but your Lily and Sirius piece was outstanding. The set-up to the actual conversation was full of all the details about Lily's relationship with James and his friends that make them so real. And it makes me sad that Harry never got to know all this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 1st, 2009 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, with all of the memory access I gave Teddy (with no canonical support for such things), maybe he can help Harry out. ;P
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: January 1st, 2009 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh, *that* James...

But yes, he's a doll! I love how you write these folks as actual people, not steaming piles of HP Lovecraft/teenage angst!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh, *that* James...

People are more fun to write than steaming piles. ;p
katchuri From: katchuri Date: January 1st, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome! Turned out to be a fun idea.
From: kobegrace Date: January 1st, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy gazoombas, this is Awesome, part two! You totally rock, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy gazoombas? I like it. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 1st, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved both of these but couldn't help remembering a bit in a fanfic where one character is complaining about how all second rate wizard musicians claim to be descended from Beedle the Bard.

The other character objects that the first one told him about those Muggle muscician brothers who were part of the Beedle family.

The first one can't remember ever having said that. The Osmonds? The Jackson 5?

No, you know, the second one says. There's John and Paul and Bingo. No, Ringo, right? The Beedle Brothers . . . .

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 1st, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome! It's so sad Elizabeth got de-canon-ed.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was sad, but Greyback is such a great villain that I didn't fret too much. And Elizabeth can just be Remus's designated mentor.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 1st, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, I love your ficlets, Fern! If they were a book, I would probably wander around dazedly, hugging it, or rubbing my face against it (I really do that with books sometimes). Instead, I'm just beaming at the screen like a madwoman.

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 2nd, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do that with books, too. Just run my thumb over the stacked pages, read all the cover quotes, study the cover picture... loving books is an all-encompassing thing, isn't it?
tearoha From: tearoha Date: January 4th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Loved it! I was sad Elizabeth got canon'd, too, so it's lovely to see her again :)
17 comments or Leave a comment