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Batch 40 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 40
Hey! Longtime lurker! How about Ruthless and James' first Christmas either married or as a couple, just to put us in the Christmas mood?
For Anonymous

They'd decided to race on the new brooms they'd got one another for Christmas, and by the time they circled down to the wild patch of land inhabited by innumerable scrubby pine trees and the Scrimgeour family, James's fingers and nose were quite frozen. He managed to touch down an instant before Ruth. There were no stakes set for the race, but he thought he could come up with something amusing enough for her to go along with it later on.

She got off her broom and sighed dramatically. "Taking advantage of your old, decrepit wife..."

James laughed. "Yes, Ruth, you look like you're going to drop off the mortal coil at any moment." He kissed her. "You know, if you do, I'll have to follow you."

"Do you need a reminder of rule seventeen?"

"No melodrama?"

"That'd be the one." She winked. "Let's take our proper honeymoon this summer. Go somewhere with racing. I hear there's a canyon in Oregon, in the States, where they have a whole wizarding section set aside, and there's a racing course with huge rocks and trees to get around."

"Sounds good," James said, then affected a puzzled expression. "But really, I thought this was our honeymoon. Isn't the point of a honeymoon traditionally to meet one another's families?"

"I prefer the newer tradition," Ruth said. "Where the whole point of the honeymoon is to get away from the family and hole up somewhere to--" She stopped and looked over James's shoulder. "Hullo, Mum!" she called. "Happy Christmas!"

James turned around. Cora Scrimgeour was on her way out from the main house--a ramshackle old white farmhouse, which had been the only house until Kirk and his wife had claimed and re-modeled the barn--smiling and waving. He had no idea yet what the Scrimgeours wanted him to call them. The subject hadn't come up at the wedding. So he just turned and bowed extravagantly and said, "What a Christmas wish, to be surrounded by beautiful redheads. All my life I've dreamed of such good fortune."

Cora rolled her eyes. "What a load of rubbish, James Potter." She put her hand lightly on his shoulder and kissed his cheek. "I'm so glad you decided to come so soon after the wedding. I can think of a few young couples who might like to be off somewhere else two days after they were married."

"Well, we might have a little jaunt before school starts up again," James said. "If I can convince that hardhearted boss of hers to give her some time..."

Ruth elbowed him in the ribs. "I have time."

Cora laughed. James put his arm over Ruth's shoulders and they followed the twisting dirt path up the hill. The forest on either side was filled with ice, and the branches cracked under its weight. It was a sound that was wild and lonely and comforting at the same time. Ruth looked forward eagerly. Yesterday, over lunch, she'd said, "Can you believe it? Kirk was talking to me at the reception yesterday, and he expects us to go up to my parents' place on Christmas day." She'd huffed and steamed about it so much that James knew she wanted him to talk her into it, and he'd been happy to do so, though it would be the first time he'd spent the day away from his own family.

Then again, Ruth's family was his now, so he was still with the family.

"You'll be going up to the island for the ball tonight?" Cora asked.

"That was the plan, but I'm sure Teddy would understand if you--"

"Oh, no, nonsense." Cora said. "In fact, he's invited us as well. Even apologized for not thinking to do it sooner. He thought Ruth would've invited us."

Ruth raised her hands to the heavens. "It's not my party to invite anyone to." She shook her head. "Leave it to Teddy to make me wear a dress."

"And it'll be twice in one week," James reminded her.

"I shall never live down the shame."

"I'll bet people will tell you you're beautiful again, too."


Cora looked over her shoulder and grinned. "Oh, she loves it. Always has, this one."

"I caught on to that a long time ago," James said.

They rounded a bend and came up to the house. The white paint was peeling and the steps were weathered and cracked. Thick ivy seemed to be holding the chimney up by itself. The front door was squeaking open and shut in the wind. From inside, James could hear rowdy laughter, and as Cora opened the door, one of the twins flew backward, knocked out by a spell from the other one. His hair had turned into a holly wreath.

He got to his feet and said, "The newlyweds! What do you know, they really made it!" He ran back inside, and a moment later, Ruth's father, Andrew, came out of the kitchen. He was covered in flour and holiday fairies.

"I'll be damned," he said. "Thought the pair of you'd be off to the South Seas by now."

"Never on Christmas," James said. He looked around and grinned. "Looks like the Christmases in the Burrow that Uncle Ron always talks about. Is anyone blowing anything up?"

Andrew raised his eyebrows, then laughed loudly. "Oh, you'll fit right in here, lad. I'd nearly forgotten you were a Weasley, too."

"I run into that a lot," James said.

There was a thunder of clumsy footsteps from the parlor, then Ruth's three-year-old nephew, Eigg, fell headfirst into the entrance hall. "An Ru!" he cried, getting to his feet joyfully, apparently unfazed by his tumble. "An Ru, An Ru!"

Ruth scooped him up and covered his face with kisses. "How's my little Omelet?" she asked. "I should cover you up with onions and pimentos and eat you right up!"

Eigg giggled, then shrieked with delight as she tickled him.

She turned him upside down and looked at James over his wildly swaying feet, and for an instant, James felt all the years ahead swirling cheerfully around him. Then he grinned and grabbed Eigg away from her. "What's this? No hello for Uncle James? Shall I shake one out of you...?"

I remember you once mentioning Mad-Eye's family--one Eliza and one Edna--in a fic. I would like to see more of that family, pretty please.
For maz333

No one except Alastor had ever thought Eliza was pretty. Until she'd met him, the most generous way anyone had ever described her face was "pleasant," and that had been a rarity. Most called it "plain." A few at school had come up with more creative ways of informing her of her defects. One boy had compared her to a dray mare, and she had been called "Neigh-Neigh" by half of her classmates until she'd finally left school. She hadn't bothered trying for uni, although all of her teachers said she had the brains for it; school hadn't been a pleasant enough experience to engender a wish for its continuance.

The life this should have led to was dreary and banal. She'd got a job as a secretary to a solicitor, acquired an ill-tempered cat, and set herself up in a dull, one-room flat in Sandwell. She wore her hair in a no-nonsense bun, and had a wardrobe full of heavy, sensible shoes. At the age of twenty-seven, she was regularly mistaken for forty.

It might have gone on like that forever if her cat hadn't knocked over her alarm clock in the middle of the night three years ago.

She'd heard it crash to the floor, but had been too sleepy to really register what it was. She'd drifted back to sleep, and woken up at nearly ten-thirty, when her telephone rang and her boss demanded to know where she was and why she hadn't come in yet. Panicked, she'd thrown her clothes on haphazardly, not bothered with her bun, and accidentally grabbed mismatching practical shoes. She hadn't been looking where she was going, and when she was grabbed from behind, it had been too much of a surprise to scream. Alastor, who'd been hot on the heels of this particular miscreant, had taken it for courage.

"He thought you were a witch," he told her later, over tea. "I'll have to Obliviate you for hearing this, and I'll smooth things over with your boss. But you're dressed like a witch pretending to be a Muggle. Bastard thought he'd grab you for ransom."

The words had meant nothing to Eliza at the time, but she'd been charmed by his gruff manners, and the way he'd blushed when he looked at her (she realized later that she'd also managed to misbutton her shirt, and he had quite a clear view of her brassiere).

He hadn't Obliviated her.

He came back the next evening, claiming to have "forgotten" to do so, and they had pie and coffee, and he left again with her memory intact. The next weekened, he vowed that this time, he really had to remember it, but somehow, it slipped his mind again when they got talking about politics. After two weeks, he'd dropped the pretense, and started really talking to her. If she'd met him under any circumstance other than the one she had, she might have thought him mad, but as the first thing she'd seen was him flying on a broomstick, the idea that he was a wizard wasn't too hard to handle. Once you granted one wizard, granting a whole slew of them didn't seem out of line. She had to keep his secret, of course, as he'd lose his job ("And likely be shipped off to Azkaban as soon as they Obliviate you"), but that hadnt' bothered her. It had been exciting and different. She'd been inspired to go out and buy a pair of shoes with low heels, and little bows on the toes. She'd felt quite daring wearing them, but no one else seemed to notice. Somehow, putting her hair up had also suddenly become too much trouble, and she'd just had it bobbed and curled. Alastor had started appearing with his hair combed sometime after that, and had donned full Muggle attire once to take her to a film in town that starred Frank Sinatra. On the way home, he'd crooned one of the songs from it, in his low and horribly off-key voice. That had been a month before he proposed marriage. Eliza hadn't even taken time to think about it. They'd been married only three weeks later. Eliza debated moving the wedding date in her scrapbooks in case little Edna learned to do arithmetic before she was quite ready for the results of it, but in the end, decided to let it be.

There was trouble with the other wizards of his marrying a Muggle, and Eliza wasn't exactly welcomed at the fancy to-dos at the Ministry that Alastor was expected to attend, but on the whole, they were happy. It had never occurred to Eliza how happy it would make her to see how much her husband loved their child, but it did--every time she watched them playing together, she was filled with a fierce, fiery joy that she thought might actually burn her up.

"Better watch out, Eddie," Alastor growled, crawling around behind the love seat, where Edna was hiding, a few pudgy fingers sticking up over the top. "Daddy's going to get you!"

"Da-da," Edna said, then flopped down and crawled around the love seat. When she emerged, Eliza could see the industrious look on her face that she'd learned to associate with an incipient bout of accidental magic. "Da-da's coming," she said, and plowed forward, head down like a bull in the ring.

Alastor paused at the edge of the love seat as he came around it, then pounced, grabbing her and tossing her over his shoulder, so she was sitting on his back, facing behind him. "Got you, Eddie."

"I'd be careful, darling," Eliza said. "She looks like she's about to--"

But before the warning was out, Alastor's hair had turned into a long mane, and Edna turned around and buried her sticky fingers in it. "Hie, hie, horsey!"

Alastor groped for his wand (not easy with a small child riding his back), and tapped his throat. He made a very believable horse sound, then started to gallop around the room while Edna made "clop-clop" sounds. "Where shall I take you this fine day?" he asked, somehow not out of breath.

Edna thought about it, then said, "Kitchen!"

"The kitchen it is!" Alastor galloped off toward the kitchen, where Eliza had supper cooking on three burners and Alastor was brewing a potion for Edna's toothache on the fourth. She followed them. Alastor galloped around the table and said, "Horsey's going to throw you!" He bucked.

Edna held on. "No! Bad horsey!"

"Alastor, really," Eliza said.

"I Charmed the floor soft," he said, winking. He bucked again. Edna held on tightly. "Why, you're a good rider!" he said. "We'll have to get you on a winged horsey, what do you think?"

"Winged horsey!" Edna slid down off of his back and clapped her hands. "Da-da, winged horsey!"

"That's a bit more than Daddy can do," Alastor said. "But we can go for a broomstick ride later."

Edna forgot winged horses immediately at this more immediate prospect, and began to run around the kitchen with her head down, pretending to hold a broomstick. Alastor picked himself up and sat down at the table, smiling.

Eliza sat across from him, and put her feet up on his lap. A moment later, he started tickling her.

Life was fine.

15 comments or Leave a comment
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: January 23rd, 2009 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, especially, for leaving Moody happy.

That was a wonderful and very original piece especially, and no matter what comes later it was heartwarming to read.

I liked the first as well, of course; Ruth has taken on so much life!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 23rd, 2009 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Those were amazing. Ruth and James are probably my favourite characters of yours. The Mad-Eye one is also great, though knowing that he ends up living alone and routinely cursing anything that moves does give it a bitter-sweet feel. Where is the earlier Mad-Eye fic? I missed that.

Your fics are an integral part of a nutritionally-balanced breakfast. Thank you.

From: spitc1899 Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
yohumblenarr8or From: yohumblenarr8or Date: January 23rd, 2009 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I loved Moody before, and now it's that much better. I like happy Moody.
amamama From: amamama Date: January 23rd, 2009 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yay - you do these so well! *dances* It's just precious. Lovely moments for newlyweds with an open future - and for those whose life ends in disaster. It's a good thing we don't know what our life will turn out like.

Thanks, Fern!
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: January 23rd, 2009 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Awww! Moody made me wibble with the cute! Why have I never heard of Edna and Eliza before?!? *squee*
malinbe From: malinbe Date: January 23rd, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, how nice, two fluffy sweet stories! With some bittersweet in between... Poor Mad-Eye :( But I still think it's very fitting of his character- you can tell that man went through stuff.
bazile03 From: bazile03 Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love that Ruthless and James got married the same day that my husband and I did and had exactly the same sort of honeymoon. It brought a smile to my face to remember how we spent the day after we got married with family, with my young cousins running to meet us at the car.
I love the Mad-eye Moody story. It's just so sweet. He did not deserve to have them taken from him.
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
love this installment, fern. eigg never fails to get me. omelet? how original, ruth.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 23rd, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fern, two short stories I would never have thought to ask for and yet enjoyed. Thanks again for the extended seasonal gift!
chrischewscud From: chrischewscud Date: January 23rd, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. The Eliza fic was fantastic. Their courtship is hysterical (and sweet) but something that I could imagine happening.

James and Ruthless are great too, especially the bit where James knows Ruthless wants him to convince her to go to her family's place on Christmas :D.

maz333 From: maz333 Date: January 24th, 2009 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, YAY! I am freaking in love with Alastor and Eliza now. Will have to ask for more. THANK YOU!

Plus, Ruthless and James... always fantastic. So sweet, so light-hearted, so wonderfully perfect for each other.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: January 24th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like the comparison between the 'All was well' and 'Life was fine'. 'Cus that's what it should be, happiness in the moments that it exists.

So I loved the second fic, and the first, and... ya :D.

I keep worrying though, that by the end of this challenge call you'll never want to write anymore HP fanfic ever! :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 25th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Somehow, when I read about where Ruthless wanted to go broom racing, it was as though I heard a voice saying, "It'll be just like Beggars Canyon back home."

Not sure how that ties in, although I can really see Ruthless and James running into Jabba the Hut on their Honeymoon . . . .

lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: January 25th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been enjoying all of these ficlets, but the Mad-Eye one was especially good. Thanks so much for writing all of these!
15 comments or Leave a comment