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Batch 39 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 39
Albus Severus Potter interaction with Scorpius Malfoy.
Maybe in connection with Draco and Harry's annual guest appearance in DADA.

For SideAlong

Teddy Lupin had sounded the first warning, and James had expended great amounts of ink last year trying to reinforce it, but until Dad had arrived for his annual guest lecturing days, Al Potter had really underestimated the craziness that surrounded it. It had started slowly, with older students whispering that it was "about that time," and other first years speculating on what Harry Potter was "really like." Speculation of this sort tended to stop when they noticed Al snooping around (they generlaly gave him rather resentful looks for spoiling their fun), but he was still painfully aware of the undertones and barely heard whispers in the next aisle at the library. James had it worse in some ways, since he didn't look like Dad and people seemed more likely to forget he was the Great One's son, so he frequently sat through whole conversations on the subject, but Al got the hushed little, "Oh, isn't that...?"

It was quite exhausting, and he finally resorted to borrowing the Invisibility Cloak from James and using it to sneak out of the Common Room and look for a good place to hide. He finally found an empty storage room on the seventh floor--a few steps up, going into a decripit turret that looked out over the Forbidden Forest. He hadn't noticed it at first, and had thought it was the Room of Requirement for a moment before he realized that he was nowhere near that door. It was just disused part of the castle, and it was handy. He took the Cloak off and settled on a stone bench by the narrow window. He could see the eaves of the Forest from here, and down there in the shadows, he saw Scops Malfoy walking with a tall, black-cloaked figure with silvery blond hair.

Al frowned.

He'd met Draco Malfoy on a few odd occasions at the Ministry, and they'd seen him with Scops at King's Cross in September, so he knew the man on sight, but he couldn't imagine why he was haunting Hogwarts. Al watched the pair of them walking for a while. They moved slowly, and finally stopped not far from where the new cabin was being built for Hagrid's apprentice, Roger Young, who'd apparently decided he wasn't meant to live in the staff quarters in the castle. Scops tipped his head back, and Draco put a hand on his shoulder and looked down at him. A moment later, he turned up the hood on his cloak and strode away. Scops watched him go, then turned back to the castle. He looked up, directly at Al's window. Al couldn't see what the expression on his face was, but he wasn't entirely surprised a few minutes later to hear the door open.

Scops peered up. "Who's there?"

"It's just me," Al said.

"The sun's too bright. Who's 'me'?"

"Oh. Albus Potter."

Scops snorted. "Of course. Did you see him?"

"Your dad. Sure. What was he doing here?"

"The same thing yours is." Scops came up into the room and sat down across from Al. "He's teaching fifth years, but you mustn't say anything. He doesn't like it when people talk."

"How does he stop them?" Al asked, interested, and wondering if Dad might give it a try.

"He hexes the classroom door," Scops said, "so that once they leave, they can't talk about seeing him, or what he said to them. They remember, but they can't talk about it."


"Death Eater stuff, I guess," Scops said. "I heard Mum and Dad talking about it once, and Dad said something about how all the students think they'd never fall for it, and now he's making sure they know they can." He snorted. "That was when Teddy Lupin was a fifth year, and Dad said that it was a great pleasure to what your dad squirm when he needled his godson. Bet you and your brother and sister'll get the special treatment, too. He has so few pleasures now." Scops gave a fairly horrible grin.

Al shrugged. "Dad'd probably be more worried if your dad was suddenly nice to him all the time."

"Smart man, your dad. Have you had your class with him yet?"

"This afternoon," Al said.

Scops nodded. "I had mine this morning."

"Did you get, er, the special treatment?"

"No. I really thought I might, too. But I was just someone in the class. He looked at me oddly, but that was about it. I got a question right, and he just said, 'That's right, Scorpius.'"

"Well, Dad's not really into grudges."

"He's a good teacher."

"That's what he really wants to do."

Scops made a face. "Are you kidding? He's the head of the whole Auror Division. Why would he want to be a schoolteacher?"

"No idea."

"And why doesn't he do it, if it's what he really wants? He's Harry Potter. Can't he pretty much just tell people to give him things?"

"Yeah, but he doesn't do it." Al shook his head. "It's crazy, really. I don't think he even really likes being an Auror. But he says it's what he has to do."

Scops looked at Al blankly. Al looked back. A moment later, they were laughing. Al wasn't entirely sure why, but he couldn't stop.

How about chapter 25 of Shifts from Miriam's point of view?.
For Anonymous

Miriam supposed that, if Joe weren't in terrible danger that she didn't understand, she might have more energy to be disturbed by her surroundings. There were portraits that moved and spoke, people with unfathomable ailments, unearthly screams echoing down the corridors. More than that, the young woman sitting beside her had changed her appearance several times... finally taking a form that Miriam knew, and knew well. Dora Lewis. Or whatever her real name was. This woman had sat across from her countless times this year, while they all traded stories about their lives with teachers. Over a teary cup of tea after book group, Miriam had cried on her shoulder, letting out her fear of losing Joe. There had been a lot of bawdy, private conversations among the wives.

And Miriam hadn't any idea who she was, except that she really was someone named Dora--"Nymphadora," she'd said, and shuddered, "but please don't call me that"--and she was a shapeshifting witch who had staged the morning's terror in order to get help for Joe, because they had to lie to their own people about it. Some sort of politics. Miriam didn't understand it entirely, though vague thoughts of Nazis and appeasers had flitted through her head.

But if it had been terrifying for Joe and Miriam, it was apparently dangerous for Dora and Raymond (if Raymond was really his name), and he hadn't checked in with her since he'd disappeared. She was sitting beside Miriam, trying to make comforting noises, but she was trembling and pale, and Miriam found herself taking her mind off of Joe by trying to comfort Dora instead. She said nothing of consequence, just standard nonsense, but Dora seemed to be drinking it in.

Miriam put a hand on her shoulder. "You've done a brave thing," she said. "And if half of what you say is true, then there'd be news if your Raymond had been captured. You'd have heard a great deal about it."

"Maybe. But it's not just the fakery. He's... he's a werewolf, and he's friends with a fugitive, and they don't trust him anyway, and they might think that saying it's fakery was the cover for something real, and--"

Miriam's mind skipped absently over the word "werewolf," images of Michael Landon in a high school jacket flitting randomly through her mind. It was just too much to absorb. Raymond? He wore leather elbow patches on his tweed jackets. That ought to disqualify the possibility, even granted that there were such things as werewolves. "Dora, if they really do have it in for him, then there'd be all the more reason for news to get back to you right away if he'd been captured."

"I know, but..."


Miriam looked up. A young-ish man with prematurely graying hair was coming toward them. Dora was on her feet at roughly the speed of light, and she stumbled and threw herself into his arms. "Are you all right?"

He caressed her shoulders, and looked over her head at Miriam. She nearly jumped. His change in appearance wasn't even drastic. He'd just grayed his hair and grown a beard to appear at Smeltings, and now, in this form, he was just Raymond, cleanshaven and younger. He righted Dora and gently sat her back down, brushing a bit of hair away from her face tenderly. "I'm all right," he said, and took a chair beside her. She looked up at him and searched for his eyes, held them. Miriam could feel her calming down; the live-wire trembling fading to nothing but an echo.

Miriam leaned forward. "You're Raymond, aren't you?"

Somehow, he seemed surprised that she'd recognized him. He looked at Dora.

"I had to tell her," Dora said. "Before they saw Mum and recognized her from when we came by. I mean, how would we have explained that?" Raymond glanced at something on the wall, and, inexplicably, Dora said, "I put an Impervious around him. Dad does it all the time when he has patients out here who start talking. He's used to it."

Raymond nodded, and looked at Miriam. "Then you know...?"

"You scared me badly," Miriam said. It was an understatement. A quiet, good weekend, maybe her last good holiday with Joe, had been interrupted by madmen on flying brooms, and then they'd been abducted and brought here, at which point her abductor had suddenly become one of her dear friends, and had proceeded to tell her that her memory of all of it would be "obliviated." And yet, there was only one part of it that mattered: They'd done it to help Joe.

"I'm sorry," Raymond said.

"If Joe comes out of this well, you're entirely forgiven." She glanced at the door, behind which Dora's mother was doing an arcane procedure on Joe that seemed to involve lighting him up from the inside. "It's strange," she said. "All these lies inside of lies. You lie to us. You lie to your own people. But I'm not in the least angry. I should be. This whole business is high-handed, if you want my opinion. And I've trusted you with a great many things." She raised her eyebrow at Dora.

"I'm still me," Dora said. "I stopped acting a long time ago, except in my face. And, well..." She looked at her husband, and turned bright red.

Miriam rolled her eyes. "We should have known you hadn't been married for fifteen years. How long have you really been married?"

But the moment the question was out, she knew the answer. It was written in their faces, and, looking back, there were suddenly many things that were clear. Miriam loved her husband, and she knew that Anna and Alan loved each ot her as well, but when all of them had been together, there was a very obvious difference in the way the Lewises treated one another. It had begun friendly, but lately, Alan and Anna had even taken to joking about how Raymond and Dora were like a pair of teenagers waiting impatiently through a family gathering so they could go off and snog each other silly.

The pair of them hemmed and hawed, and allowed that they weren't married, and tried so earnestly to convince Miriam that they weren't even dating (Dora, absurdly, referred to herself only as "an old student" of the man she called "Remus") that she actually believed they believed it, even as he took her hand in both of his and held it to his heart. When Miriam had been a girl, two young people looking at one another that intently would have been expected to announce an engagement at any moment.

They tried to explain what had happened to make Joe ill, and it had something to do with Dudley Dursley--of course--but Miriam didn't understand it at all, and when Dora's mother came out to tell her she could talk to Joe, she forgot entirely about the Lewises and their denied romance.

The rest of the day was a rush of insane activity, as Joe was cured of whatever had happened to him, then a charming West Indian man sat with them to take down everything that had happened since Joe had been involved in that ridiculous pub fight. At the end of it, there was a flash, and Miriam awoke in her own bed, convinced that she'd been having a very vivid dream.

She slipped back to sleep--she felt like she'd been awake for days, and Joe really needed to see a doctor, and hopefully the next would know what was wrong with him. For now, he was sleeping perfectly peacefully beside her, showing none of the symptoms of his recent illness. She clung to him in her sleep, and dreamed again, of her friends, Dora and Raymond Lewis, but they were young and in love, riding together across a meadow on a white horse. Neither of them saw the chasm yawning just ahead of them, and when Miriam tried to call out to them, to warn them, she couldn't remember their names.

She shrieked herself awake as they fell, but five mintues later, couldn't remember the dream that had so upset her.

11 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 21st, 2009 09:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh... dear. The very end of that last one is rather frightening. Is Miriam picking up on what happens in Shades?

- Severely Lupine
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: January 21st, 2009 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Said it before and I'll say it again...

I love "all-was-well", non-neurotic, Next-gen!
shiiki From: shiiki Date: January 21st, 2009 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Miriam. It's so sad that she won't remember. (Or will she, eventually?)

I love your Scops. He's awesome, and that little conversation with Al was really natural.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 21st, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
The first one was a lot of fun. But mine...
I've wanted to read that scene for just over four years, ever since you first wrote that chapter, but I've never made a challenge call on time before now. And it was everything I wanted it to be and more--you've fulfilled four years' worth of expectation in that piece and done it flawlessly, Fern. There are so many amazing moments in this that I can't even begin to list them all. You're a wonderful writer, so in tune with all your characters.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 21st, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, poor Miriam. It really sucks to be Obliviated.

The piece on Al and Scorpius was great. I'm fascinated by how much they get their fathers and still don't seem to completely undestand them. It's perfect.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 21st, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
These were both wonderful; I especially loved Miriam's POV from one of my favorite scenes in Shifts. I miss Shifts, the new love and a world of potential. Miriam's dream is so eloquent in foreshadowing the precariousness of all of that potential, so sad and subtle and beautiful. Thanks for sharing all of these; as usual, I'm reading faithfully but commenting rarely (:

etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 21st, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can I piggyback on Anna's comment to say, "Me too?" Anna said so well what I was thinking about both snippets. I miss Shifts, and loved how Fern used Miriam's thoughtful observation to lead us into the future. This snippet was beautifully done, even if I don't like that future.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: January 21st, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
How do Scops and Al come to have known each other so well even before their first year at Hogwarts? Have you ever told us that story?
amamama From: amamama Date: January 21st, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahh... Scops and Al. :-) Wonderful that they end up being mates, and how they have this insider view of what's going on, yet at the same time are puzzled by their fathers.

And then Miriam's pov. *shivers* So much emotion in that piece, and then the chasm at the end... Eek! Does she have some seer ability?

Thanks a bunch, Fern!
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: January 21st, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Al and Scops!

Aw, poor Harry. Come on, you've done enough! Do what you want to for a change!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank You Very Much!

I'm behind in my fern reading, and just realized you got to my ficlet request! I don't think we know anything about how Scops and Al became "friends" Although I think they have a few classes together! Maybe they're potions partners...

Anyhow, I enjoyed this very much. And I LOVE that Harry wants to teach. I hope he enjoys the teaching, despite the hoopla! And I liked the glimpse of Draco. And now I want to see Draco needling Al in 5th year!

I think I should make a family tree for you, and we need a page of all the ficlets in chrono order! my dreams... Any idea what you'll write after the ficlets? Got something brewing?

I love fern! : )
11 comments or Leave a comment