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Batch 29 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 29
I loved the idea of a Prankster!Harry that you alluded to in "Quicksilvers and Snitches". So I'd like a prank that Harry did, either as an adult at the Ministry or during his Hogwarts years (after all, even though Canon didn't mention it, he must have done *something* with all those Dungbombs and stuff he bought at Zonko's and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes or that he got from Ron and the twins at various Christmases and birthdays!)
for Anonymous

As if it wasn't bad enough that a boy who hadn't even finished school was to be treated as a full Auror, Proudfoot thought, now Robards was actually putting him in charge of a team. At least when it had been Nymphadora Tonks getting special treatment, there'd been a discernible reason, but Proudfoot didn't think Robards had expanded his libido to the point where it included any reason to flatter teenage boys.

It wasn't that Proudfoot didn't respect what Harry Potter had done in the war. It had taken a yard of guts to go out into the woods alone, play dead long enough to get Voldemort to take him inside, and then face him down, one on one. No one doubted the boy's courage, and Proudfoot didn't begrudge him the parades and even discussion of a holiday (though the latter seemed to just embarrass him).

But leading a team of seasoned Aurors? What possible training did he have for that? The Longbottom boy at least had led the children in the school--though that seemed as much a cult of personality as an army--but Potter had never led anything. Now he was meant to organize men and women who had been in this business for years, tell them where they ought to be looking for Death Eaters, and choose which of them was to do which tasks. Robards was planning to retire from the Division, and Proudfoot had more than once had the absurd idea that they were actually grooming Potter to take over the whole business.

At least it was reasonably easy to get him to change his mind. Proudfoot had discovered that just showing a little hesitancy, perhaps saying, "Are you certain that this is what you mean to do?" often resulted in a change, and without ever having to say, "You're wrong, you untrained little brat!" He didn't think Potter even noticed it--the boy was so far out of his depth that he didn't even know how subordinates were meant to behave.

He was actually feeling rather satisfied with himself on this account, having managed to get his assignment changed from yet another interview with the Malfoys (as if they'd tell the truth!) to doing research all day at his desk. He thought he'd detected a pattern of movement in Wales that suggested fugitive activity, and, after lunch, he was going to request permission--permission!--to Apparate out to Cardiff to start a search.

He stepped into the lift and waited for the doors to close. "Lobby," he said.

The lift went up a foot or two, then there was a soft sigh, and the voice said, "The lobby? Really? Are you entirely certain that's where you mean to go?"

Proudfoot ground his teeth. Through the grating, he could still see the division floor. Ron Weasley was leaning back in his chair, watching. Potter was grinning.

"Yes," Proudfoot said, "that is where I intend to go."

"But there can be a lot of trouble in the lobby. I think perhaps the Division of Sports and Games would be a better choice." The lift abruptly changed directions and took him down a floor, but didn't open.

"The lobby," he said, "will do nicely."

"Hmm," the lift said. "I'm willing to do that, of course--you're in charge--but don't you think the Department of Mysteries is a more appropriate destination for your particular skill set?"

The lift plunged again, down to the depths of the Ministry. Again, it didn't open. Croaker, the new head Unspeakable, raised a bemused eyebrow at him through the grate.

"Really," Proudfoot said. "The lobby. This is juvenile."

"Perhaps you should see the Minister about it," the lift mused, and began to rise. "He'll be at lunch now, of course, but I'm sure if you waited, he'd be happy to see you." It began its ascent.

"I don't need to see the God-damned Minister!" Proudfoot shouted, just as the lift arrived at the floor it had determined. Kingsley Shacklebolt was waiting there. He smiled widely. Proudfoot grimaced and spat, "Lobby."

"You might want to try Magical Creatures first," the lift said thoughtfully, and began another descent. "You never know what might be useful there."

"The lobby!" Proudfoot ordered. "Or I'll just break your Charms and walk."

The lift sighed. "Well, of course, if you insist."

"I do insist."

Finally, it began its ascent to the lobby, and dropped him off without further incident. He ground his teeth as it dropped down to answer another call. There was a long line of wizards waiting to get to the Disapparition point, so Proudfoot just headed for the Floo. He took a handful of powder from the holder, threw it into the flames and said, "The Leaky Cauldron!"

Potter's face appeared in the green flames. "The Leaky Cauldron?" it asked skeptically. "Wouldn't you rather get out of London for lunch? It's your call, of course, but are you really sure...?"

We all know R and T were a kind of balance for not killing Arthur off in book 5. So, how about a little alternate reality...
for Anonymous

Tonks watched the until the flames went orange again, then shook her head. "Remus!" she called.

He showed up at the top of the kitchen stairs, Teddy balanced on his hip. "What?"

"I"m about to have it out with Harry. You might want to take His Highness somewhere that he can't hear."

Remus shook his head. "Dora, I'm not sure it'll do any good."

"Maybe it won't do him any good, but it'll damned well do me good." The new baby gave her a hearty kick, and she patted her stomach absently. "I think Julia's itching to have a go at him as well."

Remus came down the stairs and sat down at the table. "Ginny was upset?"

"Of course she was upset! The Weasleys have been trying for three years to tell Harry that it's not his fault what he dreamed."

"I understand it," Remus said, and shifted Teddy to his knee. "It wasn't just the dream. He might have got over that. But then the business at the Ministry--he was the one who told Ron that Voldemort was there with that snake again, and Ron had to run off half-cocked. I think Harry was out for revenge as much as Ron was, but he still thinks that somehow or other, he ought to have been cool-headed and reasonable. As if anyone could have been. And of course he was occupied with what happened to Sirius when Ron ran off after Dolohov."

"Yes, and Dumbledore should have stopped him."

"Mmm. Dumbledore believed Voldemort would come after Harry."

"I think that killing his best friend qualifies as being 'after' him." Tonks sat down across from Remus and put her head in her hands. "What a mess. He needs to snap out of it."

"You say that like it's easy."

"I know it's not." She took his hand. "Maybe you should talk to him. You get this whole all-consuming guilt thing more than I do. I just want to take him and shake him."

He grinned. "Well, that worked for me."

"That's true."

Teddy stuck his tongue out and turned his hair orange.

Tonks smiled. "Oh, I'm sorry, your Serene Majesty, were we not paying enough attention to you?" She plucked him off Remus's lap and cuddled him, then kissed the top of his head. "I want this war over before he's old enough to remember it, Remus."

"So do I."

"And the prophecy said..." She sighed. "Oh, hang the prophecy. Dad always said that it they were guesswork, anyway. We can't just keep waiting for Harry to get out of his funk. Dumbledore was up to something in that cave where he died. We need to find out what it was and start taking care of things ourselves."'

"All we have to go on is that locket with the note from Regulus. It looks like he believed Voldemort had a Horcrux somewhere. It would make sense of a lot of things."

"Good. So we destroy the Horcrux, kill Voldemort, and call it good." The baby kicked again. "Only I'm not in any great shape for it at the moment. I'm certainly not taking Julia into a Horcrux hunt."

"So we wait a few months." Remus looked up, toward the rooms upstairs, where Harry Potter had been brooding since he finished his N.E.W.T.s last June, trying to figure out how to single-handedly destroy Voldemort, including no one at all in his plans for fear of losing someone else, but not actually doing anything about it, refusing to talk to anyone except Teddy, who was too young to understand or report on his state of mind. "Then, by hook or by crook, we'll get it done."

22 comments or Leave a comment
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: January 6th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
The first one was a riot. Now THAT is one hell of a prank! I loved the part with Kingsley.

Then the second one broke my heart. Who thought the world would be so bleak if Arthur ended up dying from that attack? As great as it is to see Remus and Tonks raising their boy, this is just... seriously, ouch.

All very well-written, as usual!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that things would have gotten very bleak if Arthur had died, and I think JKR made the right call not killing him. It's just the part where she decided, "Oh, dang, well, someone's father is going to have to die, so let's kill off Lupin" where I get lost. Why kill either?
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: January 6th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
OOOOH!!! Leave it to you to show the more realistic AU, not the "And EVERYONE was SHINY and HAPPY!" version! Very clever. I'm impressed that you could be logical about it despite your personal ties to Arthur kicking it if it meant Remus and Tonks could live.

And that first one made me laugh out loud. Awesome.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
It would be a lot harder to write if there were any logical, inside connection between the two events--eg, she'd had a choice in a battle scene which of them would be saved. As it is, they're pretty separate events!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: January 6th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
You Killed Ron! You (South Park reference)!!!

But Ron and Harry acting up at the Ministry -- nice, and so very canonical...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I imagine that they had a hellacious time getting respect at first, and maybe the first step back to normalcy was just going for the prank.
amamama From: amamama Date: January 6th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOVED the prank! Absolutely fantastic, and what a great way to pay back. *sniggers* The second, otoh... Ouch. As great as it is to see Remus and Tonks alive, I'm not sure I prefer this scenario to the one JKR wrote. Nope, not at all. (Sorry, Remus! Sorry Tonks!) But well written? Defnintely! Not that that's a surprise. *g*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I definitely don't prefer it. I'd have preferred everyone to be alive.
amamama From: amamama Date: January 7th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, definitely! But in choosing between two evils, I prefer the one that had Harry happy and whole...
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: January 6th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that is a good practical joke.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm not a practical joker by nature, so I wasn't sure how I'd do it!
From: spitc1899 Date: January 6th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was the perfect prank.

And the second was far too depressing. :o( Well done, but depressing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It really was depressing.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: January 6th, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am completely in love with the first one. It might just be my favorite of all your prompt responses.

The second one is sad...no Ron?! And Harry, wrought with guilt.

You're a brilliant writer, as always!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that if Arthur had died in OotP, it really would have sent Harry into a tailspin in a major way, and the plotline couldn't afford it just then!
cornedbee From: cornedbee Date: January 11th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Also, Arthur's death would have put too much focus on Ron, and the plotline couldn't afford this either.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: January 6th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, the lift thing was brilliant, and I can totally see harry doing something like that. Although, have to say I do sympathise at least slightly with Robards position. The whole "and then Harry and Ron took over the Auror department" has always struck me as slightly... off, like a bad fanfic type thing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I assume he took over a few years after the war, when he'd been working there for a while and knew the ropes!
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: January 6th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Where's the story "Quicksilvers and Snitches" posted?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: January 7th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, I was going to say, "Oh, it's at the top of the HP on LJ page from the links"... but I forgot to tag it until I went looking!

Anyway, it's here
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 7th, 2009 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, ouch, this threw a real punch. That hilarious prank in the first one - nice way for them to get back at Proudfoot. I do like pranks that fit!

And then the horrible, bleak world you showed us in the second. I hate to say it, but if that was the alternative, I'm glad JKR went the way she did. (Although, I never understood why it had to be between Remus and Arthur in the first place!)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 8th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading your fics for some time now without commenting, so I decided to reiterate what everyone has already said - you are simply brilliant, and possibly the best fanfiction writer I've ever come across. These two were really good....and the second one is chilling...perfect...
22 comments or Leave a comment