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Batch 28 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 28
I'd like to see Dean interacting with the portrait of Remus. I think poor Dean needs some kind of closure, and he's never going to get it from Teddy, but time with Remus--a Remus who remembers his death and why it happened, but holds no grudge, of course, because he is Remus--would be good for him.
for Anonymous

Dean braced himself before doing the Imago Vivere spell. He'd been putting it off for two days, finding little tweaks in the images, adding memories here and there.

Including his own memories.

He hadn't been at all sure that it would be good for the portrait of Lupin to have a memory of its subject's death, but it was the clearest memory Dean had, the most significant he could think of. He tried other memories, from his first Defense Against the Dark Arts class to the kind words that old Ted had spoken while they were on the run together (despite everything--including his own immense frustration--Ted Tonks had obviously loved and respected his son-in-law), but every time he thought of himself as a third year, saying, "Cool, sir," after Lupin had dislodged a bit of chewing gum and sent it up Peeves' nose, it seemed to bleed into that last night, when he'd yelled, "Help! I don't have a wand!" and then there'd been a wand coming to him, and he'd caught it, but before he could act, Dolohov had turned and slashed at Lupin. It was a nonverbal spell, but it was loud, so loud, a silent echo that Dean woke to often in the middle of the night. He'd rushed at Dolohov after that, engaged him in the most furious duel of his life, and it had lasted for a long time, but it had been fueled by his own rage and sense of impotence. A man who had an infant son had given up his own life so that Dean Thomas--a boy who had no real ties and no destiny in particular--might go on walking on the earth and puttering around his studio in Diagon Alley. The man's wife might have lived if she hadn't been beside herself trying to save him. The idea that he might have gone without crying out for help, or just left it at "help" and not mentioned his missing wand, had haunted him for years.

But Lupin had just thrown him the wand as if there were nothing more natural in the world. Of course Dolohov had turned on him--he knew which of them was more dangerous, more valuable to Harry's side. Dean was a cipher. A knight was not meant to be sacrificed for the sake of a pawn, especially a pawn that wasn't in anything like a strategic position. Dean had never been any good at chess, but you didn't have to be Ron Weasley to know that much.

Dean knew that Teddy Lupin, a very good chess player, had always tried to work out the strategy in his head. It was obvious every time Teddy visited the studio--was there something here to justify his loss? Something that would tell him, "Oh, yes, I can see now why my parents had to die... it was so that Dean could accomplish this"? Anything that would make his parents' death seem part of a grand and important strategy instead of a terrible mistake of fate? Dean wanted to have something to show, but in his whole life, there had been nothing. His Muggle family had been safe with or without him, and he'd never done much after the war to justify--in a moral or mathematical sense--what had been given up for him.

There was nothing to justify the hole in the middle of Teddy's life.

But it wasn't going to be filled by putting off the one thing Teddy had ever asked of him, either.

He took a deep breath, touched his wand to the canvas, and said, "Imago Vivere."

Lupin's figure awakened, and looked around with a vaguely pleasant sort of curiosity. He turned forward. "Oh, Dean. Is this your studio?"

Dean nodded. "Er, yes, I... well, I'll wake your wife up in a moment."

Lupin looked over fondly and saw Dora, still waiting for her spell. "I would appreciate that."

"Your son asked me to make the portrait."

"I know."

"Sirius Black and James Potter are in the other portrait. You should be able to go back and forth. So will Sirius."


Dean sat down. "I wish I could take back what happened. I wish--"

"To be dead?" Lupin shook his head. "Why would you wish that?"

"Because if I'd just died, you and your wife would be there for Teddy!"

Lupin frowned and sat back. "You don't imagine I'd want my son to have a father who would let a boy die in order to save my own neck?" He smiled. "Then again, you're a Gryffindor. I suppose you think it would have been better to sacrifice your own life than someone else's as well."

"It would have."

"Well, we're at a bit of an impasse, aren't we?" He smiled. "Things happen as they happen, Dean. Dolohov saw me more quickly than I'd imagined he would; he'd been so focused on you."

"You were a more important target."

"I seriously doubt that. I was just a target of opportunity. I overestimated my ability to escape. I'd gone one lucky break beyond my quota."

"But I didn't leave anyone behind."

"Your mother? Your brothers and sisters?" He leaned forward in his chair, his face serious now. "I wouldn't have chosen to leave Teddy, but I knew it was a possibility when I left Dora's side. She knew it was a possibility when she chose to follow."


"Dean, hear me out."

"Yes, sir."

"As it happened, I threw my wand to you. Perhaps you were able to continue in the battle and accomplish something with it. Perhaps you weren't. But the fact remains that I was in the thick of the fighting, and, as you mentioned, I was something of a target. It may have ended up being Greyback--he certainly found me quickly enough. It may have still been Dolohov. It might have been anyone. It happened to be Dolohov and it happened to be because in that particular instant, I ran out of luck. I might have run out of it at another instant, and not been able to save you, either. And Bellatrix had been out to murder Dora for the entire year."

"I should have been able to save you."

"And Dora shouldn't have come to Hogwarts, and I should have come up with a way to save us both. Perhaps Harry could have defeated Voldemort earlier, or Dumbledore could have drowned him when he was eleven."

"But I've done nothing," Dean said.

Lupin looked around. "You're an artist. Art makes everyone more human. It's a good and important thing to add to the world."

"You could have added it."

"I sketched here and there," Lupin said. "You're truly gifted. And you have a life in front of you. I at least had my son to go on after me. You were still a son, not a father. I was a father--that meant it was my responsibility to look after you, no matter whose son you happened to be."

"What if I'm never a father?"

He smiled. "It's a state of mind as much as a physical state. I think most men, when they've grown, become fathers, whether or not there's a child involved. It happens when we understand that we're now the protectors, and not the protected. In other words, Dean--welcome to fatherhood." He looked over at Dora's figure. "Now, would you terribly mind waking up my wife?"

If it isn't possible, some plain vanilla Harry-James-Lily from whichever generation you want will be just fine!
for Sylvia

I don't think I can do the first challenge, except in the depressing idea of Harry as an old man who can't take care of himself--but even then, his James and Lily would call him "Dad," not "Harry." So I'll go with your alternate.
Lily had been worried that being confined to the cottage in Godric's Hollow would frustrate Harry, but the worry turned out to be baseless. He rode around on the toy broomstick Sirius had given him, chasing Billywig and exploring every odd corner he could find. Wig--also confined to the indoors for the first time--had caught five mice on the first day, and still averaged at least one a day. Lily knew that they must have been there all along, but she was now morbidly aware of them and had been careful to make sure Harry didn't accidentally come across one of their little carcasses. This morning, Wig had decided to grace Harry with his morning gift. Harry had been playing with the dead mouse in his cot when Lily came in, and didn't seem scarred by the whole affair. Lily had found a strain of her sister inside herself, and had been scrubbing and disinfecting the nursery all morning.

James had been watching this in a rather bemused way, hovering on his broomstick--"so I don't contaminate anything with my unclean hands."

She glared at him and growled playfully.

Harry, sitting comfortably on James's lap, giggled and said, "Mum-um."

"Grr," Lily said. "Grr-grr, grrrr." She curled her hands into claws and made a swipe at him. He batted at her fingers and laughed.

"Shall we be a lion family?" James asked, putting his hands up around Harry's ears to make a mane. "We'll go off on the savannah and hunt for zebras."

"Lionesses do most of the hunting," Lily said. She set her cloths to work on their own and dropped to all fours. "I think I shall go find an antelope, or maybe a messy-haired human!"

"Good thought," James said. "The cub and I will just wait here, in the lap of luxury, while you do all the work." He slid off his broom, moving Harry carefully along, and settled on the floor. Harry made a grab for the broom. Wig sauntered in and started chasing after Lily's cleaning cloths.

Lily crawled over and batted at the tuft of hair that stuck straight out from the top of James's head.

Harry batted back at her. He drooled and growled.

James rolled over onto all fours. "The cub wants to play!" He circled around, and Lily circled on the other side. Harry caught on quickly and turned in circles between them, giggling through his bared teeth.

Lily pounced and grabbed him. "I've got him! Got the cub!" She lifted Harry up and tossed him gently. He squealed in happiness.

"Don't worry, Harry, I'll save you!" James jumped up and grabbed Harry at the height of the lift and started tickling him.

Lily flicked her wand and Conjured several fluffy flying puffballs, less real animals than elements of a mad, Seussian menagerie, the sort that Harry loved looking at books about. They were pink and yellow and wore tiny purple socks on their talons. Harry clapped and grabbed at them. Lily made them twitter brightly.

James laughed and set Harry down to go after them. "We should make them a birdhouse," he said. "Let them fly about in here to keep him entertained."

"They're Conjured--they won't last long."

"So you Conjure them again." James took her hand, then put his other arm around her waist and danced her around the nursery. "You Conjure the birds, I'll Conjure the houses, and then, I think, we ought to Conjure him a brother or a sister, before he gets spoiled."

"You're an only child, sweetheart."

"Yes, and I'm the perfect example of utter spoiling. We both know it. You wouldn't consign your firstborn to a fate like that, would you?"

"As opposed to consigning him to a fate like Tunie?"

"If our daughter turns out like your sister, I may have to re-think my opinion of your sister."

Lily laughed, and let him spill her into the easy chair where she nursed Harry. He fell to his knees in front of her and took her hands. "What do you say? Shall we build an addition to the our happy home?"

"I say we're in the middle of a war, and the timing is bad."

"And I say that just means the chances may be limited, and we should seize the day."

"Hmm. A good, if morbid, point." Lily looked over his shoulder at Harry, who was chasing the bird-things clumsily. "What do you think, Harry? Shall we find you a sister or brother in some cabbage patch?"

Harry didn't appear to have an opinion on the subject. He toddled over and leaned on James's knee. James kissed his head and picked him up.

The doorbell downstairs rang and James went to get it. Lily had to chase after him to remind him that he really ought to bring his wand, though in the end it didn't matter. It was only Sirius and Peter, bringing over the Halloween decorations.

37 comments or Leave a comment
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(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
As much closure as you can get when you're a Gryffindor who got beaten to the self-sacrifice punch, I guess.
rotae From: rotae Date: January 5th, 2009 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Also... I totally miss your Remus. I think I may have to go and reread all your Remus/Tonks stuff :D

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I miss Remus in general. A year and a half, and I just haven't forgiven this entirely.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: January 5th, 2009 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
... ouch. The ending to your happy family fic. That hurt.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd love to know what Harry would have been like, raised in a happy home with loving, playful young parents.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: January 5th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)

Fernwithy Leads the Cavalry!

I'm reading this at this ridiculous hour because I just had to have more Fernwithy, and have been up all night rereading all your LJ-HP, then came back to the 'friends' page, hit 'refresh', and here we were!

And I had just been trying to remember who wrote that clever story about Scorpius' parents turning on a dime about his being Sorted into Hufflepuff: I should have known!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Fernwithy Leads the Cavalry!

Well, glad to be of service! :)
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 5th, 2009 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Somehow I just knew that was coming, in the Lily-James-Harry one. Still ... *wails*

I very much enjoyed the Dean one. He would need to deal with the guilt.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I think any survivor who someone else died to save would have to deal with that sort of horrible guilt--why would I be more important than him? Which is of course a pointless question, but I can't imagine it not haunting me in a similar situation.
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: January 5th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoyed the second one, of course the ending was sad but I love these little glimpses of all the different generations.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
It's always good to escape to a time when you didn't need the Resurrection Stone to talk to the Marauders.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 5th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww, the second ficlet (my request) was sooo adorable – despite the bittersweet ending.
I couldn't have asked for anything better as an early birthday present (it's tomorrow - that was good timing on your part!)
Thanks a million!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, happy birthday! Have a great one, and I'm glad you liked your fic.
From: spitc1899 Date: January 5th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was so wrong. That said, I think you've been spying on my family! "Let's be a lion family!" ;o)

And Remus will always be a teacher . ..
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Playing is both fun and important. I hope Harry got a lot of it that first year, as he didn't get much later.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 5th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
The first one was not a scene it would ever have occurred to me to ask for, but I was thrilled with what you did with it. "Art makes everyone more human," and Remus' philosophy of fatherhood were both inspired touches. I love that Dean's art becomes itself a kind of fathering. Just gorgeous.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Artists are often made to feel that their contributions are somehow not as important as others. But, as Robin Williams says in Dead Poets Society, "Those are the things we stay alive for."
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 5th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
*sniffle* The end of the second one actually made me wail. Adorable all the same, though.

I love the first one, even though it made me sniffle as well. Especially "Art makes everyone more human." It reminds me of one of my original stories, where people believe the one thing that sets humans apart from animals is a god-gift that's easiest translated as "imagination", and most people interpret that as meaning "art". I was like, "Remus - have you read the Tale of the First Council?"

~Hermione Stranger, sniffle-smiling~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Art is one of the great things to write about, isn't it?
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 5th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm happy to see Dean get some closure, even if I started to tear up reading it. And the view of Happy Potters was lovely, at least until the last chapter. You totally rock, Fern. Thanks again for all the lovely holiday presents!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. It's good to get some prods that make me think outside my little well-worn track!
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: January 5th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
*howls* Oh God, Fern, why'd it have to end with that line? *sniffles*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Because I'm sadistic. ;p
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 5th, 2009 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sitting in a hotel's breakfast room crying. And it's entirely your fault, you know.

Oh, those two were absolutely wonderful. I am glad Dean is on the path to understanding, I hope his survivor guilt will ease a bit. And it makes me happy that the last day of James and Lily's lives was such a nice, happy, normal one.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's not quite the last day, but it's getting there. I hope they were deliriously happy right up until it happened.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: January 5th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
...at number 1: It was sweet and sad and just perfect for Dean and Remus!

At number 2: My face is now permanently stuck in a D: position. Nice job.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I feel kind of bad for Dean, even though I'm the one who stuck him in this uncomfortable position on the scantest of all canon evidence.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Wait just a second...does the second one take place a week or so before that fateful Hallowe'en night? They wouldn't be receiving holiday decorations the day of the holiday. "Though in the end it didn't matter" means that opening the door didn't turn out badly, at least that night.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 6th, 2009 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what I was thinking, yes.
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