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Batch 53 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 53
I really adore your glimpses of Harry as a dad--you make it so real and he is so HARRY. I would love more, perhaps with Albus or Lily, but I'd also be intrigued to learn more about the kind of mother Ginny is. I feel like she's a bit left out in the cold by the Teddyverse, since Teddy doesn't really have the strongest relationship with her!
for hermia7

"All right," Mum said, clapping her hands to get their attention away from admiring one another's Muggle clothes. "You know the rules outside. James? First one."

"No magic. If there's accidental magic, you'll have to Obliviate everyone, and we have to go back in."

"Exactly. Second... Albus?"

"No talking about anything magical. Someone might hear. So no funny stories about the wizard in Granddad's old job, or Fort Potter, or what you and Dad do."

"Right. And the last one, Lily?"

Lily frowned. James and Al had already said the ones she remembered, even though she thought it was silly to tell lies to their neighbors. And Teddy didn't have to get questioned at all. He was just coming along. He--"Oh!" she said. "No asking Teddy to change his hair, even if he's got it blue for the day, and really ought to have it brown like normal people, but you think Muggle teenagers sometimes do stupid things with their hair as well."

Mum's lifted her eyebrows. "You listen too much, Lily. I never had that problem with your brothers."

Lily smiled.

"I meant the last rule was that you had to leave wizarding gold inside and only spend the Muggle pocket money Daddy will give you once he and Teddy finish up their little talk," Mum said, "but the business about the hair is important as well. And be nice. A lot of our neighbors will be meeting you for the first time."

"Are they perfectly all right?" Al asked. "Mad Auntie said they're all very dirty."

"There's a reason Grannydromeda calls her 'Mad Auntie,'" Mum said. "We don't take what she says seriously. Ever."

Al accepted this reasonably enough.

Mum put her fists on her hips and said, "Let me look at you, then."

The three of them lined up. Lily stood in the middle. The boys were much taller than she was, which wasn't at all fair. This whole thing had been her idea when she'd seen a sign on a lamp-post saying that there was to be a neighborhood party during which they'd paint the iron fence on the square. She really ought to be the tallest one when they went to help. She stood up on her tiptoes, but still didn't make it even to Al's shoulder.

Mum put her her finger under James's chin and peered at him closely. "No Wheezes hidden in your hair?" she asked.


"Your grandmother will want to trim it next time. You could hide a few in there."

"Teddy's friend Donzo has hair past his shoulders."

Mum nodded. "I suppose it won't do any harm for you to be a bit shaggy. It suits you."

James stood up straighter and grinned. Mum reached behind herself and handed him a pail of black paint and a long-handled brush. "Up to the entrance hall with you. You're ready."

James ran up the kitchen stairs before she changed her mind.

Al stepped forward. "Are my specs all right? I can't really see without them."

"They're Muggle specs anyway, dear," Mum said, and looked behind his ears and in his pockets for the telltale wrapper from Uncle George's shop, or, given Al, some creepy-crawly thing he'd found in Kreacher's cupboard. She didn't find anything. "Well, you're--Oh!"

Al looked alarmed. "What?"

"You're wearing Lee's t-shirt. It says Wizarding Wireless on the back." Mum shook her head sharply. "I can't believe I almost missed that. Let's switch shirts, shall we?" She waved her wand, and Al's Lee Jordan shirt disappeared. A second later, it was replaced by a plain white one. Mum inspected it. "That ought to do. And your trainers are fine. You're clear." She handed him his paint and brush, and shooed him up the stairs.

Mum sighed and sat down. "Come here, Lily."

Lily's heart sank. "Aren't I going?"

"Come here." Mum patted her lap, and waited for Lily to sit on it. "Can you really go all afternoon without any magical accidents?" she asked.

"You didn't ask Al and James!"

"Al and James are bigger than you are. It's very important not to show any magic. Can you promise that you can be a big girl and not say anything or do anything magical?"

"I can, Mummy, I promise! I'm not a baby anymore."

Mum wasn't impressed. "Lily, just yesterday, you were dancing in your room with a suspiciously animated stuffed bear."

"I won't do anything. It'll be more fun to paint the fence Muggle-style! We can get it all over ourselves."

"Hmm. That's a good point. I think I shall paint your nose black like a jack-o'-lantern's."

Lily laughed.

Mum set her down gently and stood up. "All right, then. I think the Potter fence-painting crew is ready."

"Do you think this was a good idea?" Lily asked. "Are we going to have fun?"

"We're going to have a lot of fun," Mum said.

"Can I make friends with the neighbors?"

"As long as they don't ask any questions." Mum started up the stairs and handed Lily her paintbrush, and a smaller can of paint than the boys had got.

"Could they come over to play?"

"Let's be realistic," Mum said.

"Could I marry one of them?"

"Not until you're at least eight."

The reached the entrance hall, where Dad and Teddy had emerged from Dad's study, and were waiting with their own paintbrushes. To Lily's unending delight, Mum checked both of them from head to toe as well, and made Dad switch his purse of wizard gold for a Muggle billfold. She opened the door. Lily, who was lost somewhere between Teddy and Al, craned her head to see.

Mum cleared her throat. "Teddy, Albus, d'you mind?"

"Mind what?" Al asked.

"This little adventure was Lily's idea. Lily... you lead the way."

You mentioned in your last ask-the-ocs-session that Julia found the eagle in one of Grannydora's wardrobes and asked Grannydromeda about it. But since Grannydora is "around", kind of, can I have Julia asking Granny and Granddad about the eagle and hearing its story?
for Anon

Julia and Polly had discovered Grannydora's wardrobes when they were five, and used them to put on plays for the family ever since. Sometimes, they could prevail upon Mira to put on a costume as well, and Julia had caught Carina having a close look once, but mostly, they'd remained the twins' domain.

They were lined up neatly against the wall in the basement, and Mum had set up the area to be the twins' little dressing room. There were screens to change behind, and an old vanity to do their hair at, and of course, several mirrors, most of which spoke French. Dad had put in a painting of a theater in Diagon Alley that he'd found in a junk shop there, and Grannydora often came down to it to help them find things. Orry and Mira had put up a curtain between the wardrobes and the large open space beyond them, and it was in front of the curtain that the plays were usually performed. At first, they had always involved brave princesses who rescued handsome princes from dark creatures (Polly especially loved to wear a sparkly shirt of Grannydora's to be a princess's gown), but of late, Polly had taken to doing readings from Shakespeare instead, sometimes just wearing her own clothes. As a result, they hadn't really raided the wardrobes for about a year.

There was no real reason to do so today. They'd put on their last show before going off to Hogwarts right after they'd got back from buying their wands. It had been a scene from Romeo and Juliet, where Mercutio raved on about a dream and everyone else stood around playing straight men to it. Polly had assigned Julia all of the non-Mercutio roles. They'd done it in their new school robes, and received wide applause from Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters, Uncle James and Aunt Ruth, Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny, Uncle Al, Uncle Kirk and his family, Uncle George (who came to all of their plays on principle, as he believed in supporting twin-ship of all kinds), Freddie, and of course, several portraits which had been brought along for the occasion. There were no plans for further performances, at least until Christmas, and Polly was out at the sea cliff pining dramatically away over their upcoming departure while the little ones looked on in awe.

Julia had never had the love of the theater that Polly had, and had mainly joined in the plays because she loved playing in Grannydora's wardrobes, though she reckoned everyone would consider this childish and never mentioned it. While the rest of the household bustled around her, getting ready for the first of September, she slipped away from the crowd and went downstairs.

The light was coming from the high-set windows (which Mira said looked like the windows in the Hufflepuff Common Room), and it had a pleasant, dusty feel to it, like the house was a few centuries old instead of just over a decade. Julia slipped behind the curtain and into the dressing room. The wardrobes stood sentinel, as they always had, and she followed the ritual she'd been following since she was small. She went to the nearest wardrobe first and opened it, smelling the good smell of cedar and old clothes. She ran her hand along brightly colored dresses and tops, but ended up choosing a pair of bright purple trainers today. She moved on to the next wardrobe and repeated the ritual, this time choosing a yellow silk blouse with embroidered flowers on it. The third wardrobe offered up barrettes with thin ribbons dangling from them, and the fourth gave her a full skirt with wide stripes of orange, blue, and fading violet. This outfit put together, she went to one of the mirrors and twirled around, letting the skirt fill with air and flare out. The mirror declared it "intéressant."

She opened the fifth, wondering if she'd be able to find a belt, or perhaps a necklace to finish things off, but nothing presented itself immediately. She pushed aside some cropped concert robes, and a checkered hat with a feather in it. Behind these was a tall jewelry box with several hanging necklaces (one, which Julia had worn before, had a scorpion encased in clear plastic). None of them appealed to her. She brought the box out and sat down on the floor with it. A line of drawers went down the middle. In the top drawer, she found a broken necklace in a bed of its own unthreaded plastic beads. In the second, there was nothing at all. The third had oversized hanks of yarn all rolled into a ball. The fourth...

She tugged at it. Something was jamming it shut. She'd never got this far in this particular wardrobe. "Come on," she said. "Let's see what we've got here."

She didn't want to tug too hard, because something might break, so she just wiggled the drawer until she felt whatever was inside roll free. She pulled the drawer open. Inside, there was a little brass eagle, its claws wrapped around a pretty diadem. She frowned at it. It was a symbol of Ravenclaw House.

"Well, what are you doing here?" Julia asked it. "No one in the family has ever been a Ravenclaw."

"That's not true, you know." Julia glanced up. Grannydora had slipped down into the theater painting, and was sitting on the edge of the stage. "Both of your granddad's parents were Ravenclaws. One of whom, I might remind you, grew up to be Julia Lupin."

Julia laughed nervously. She was always a little uncomfortable having exactly the same name as someone else. It was like being haunted. Uncle James and Aunt Lily both thought she was funny about that. "I didn't know that," she said.

Grannydora came closer to the foreground, and took a seat on the aisle, sitting backward with her hands on the headrest and her chin on her hands. "That eagle, though, it wasn't hers. There was a werewolf called Elizabeth Phelan. She took good care of Granddad when he was little and couldn't take care of himself during transformations. She was a Ravenclaw, too, and she thought he would be, so she gave him the eagle. And when I went off to Hogwarts, he gave it to me. I promised I'd give it to his children, if he ever married and had any." She winked. "I suppose I ought to keep my promise, eh? I couldn't exactly give it to Teddy. I shall give it to you. Promise kept."

Julia grinned. "Really? Thank you."

"You're welcome. Remember her name. Elizabeth Phelan. She couldn't have her own children. We're her family, too."

"You know, I think Mum and Dad take that idea a bit too seriously. I think they're trying to have families for everybody. Big ones, too."

Grannydora laughed. "I think you might be right. Mind, I'm not going to complain. I rather like it."

"People make fun of him for having so many children."

"People have too much time on their hands." She nodded at the eagle. "Wait here a moment, Julia. Let me get Granddad. I think you should have the whole story of Elizabeth from him. It's a good one, you'll like it."

She left without waiting for a response. Julia was willing to put the eagle back and not have it if it came with all sorts of freight, but, on the other hand, freight was what made things interesting, and it might be nice to have a story that the others didn't already have.

Grannydora returned a moment later, Granddad in tow. He looked fondly at the eagle. "I'm glad it's been found," he said.

"Tell her about Elizabeth," Grannydora said.

"Does she want to hear?" He looked at Julia.

Julia nodded. "Sure. I want to hear."

Granddad sat down. "All right, then. I was bitten by a werewolf called Fenrir Greyback, but my parents rescued me, and brought me to St. Mungo's. At St. Mungo's a lovely lady came to see me--her name was Elizabeth Phelan, and she'd been bitten on her own honeymoon. But she was quite cheerful, really. She had a husband called Maddoc, who helped her through everything, and I became something of a son to her..."

Julia held the eagle in her hand, feeling the brass get warm from her skin as Granddad went through the stories of how Elizabeth had helped him live with his lycanthropy, and how the Death Eaters had tricked her into killing her beloved husband, and how she had finally died in St. Mungo's, with Granddad there to keep her company and see to her burial. She was struck by the injustices done to Elizabeth and left unavenged, but mainly, she felt that this woman Granddad was telling her about deserved to be remembered somehow. The little eagle seemed to gain weight and importance with each tale. When he finally fell silent, she nodded somberly, and put the little trinket in her purse.

"I'll remember her," Julia said. "I promise."

"Good," Granddad said. "Now, you won't, of course, be trying to get into Ravenclaw..."

11 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 17th, 2009 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, those were both lovely. I love how it's the pureblood that was checking them all. What an adorable "day in the life" kind of scene.

And I loved this line: "Uncle George (who came to all of their plays on principle, as he believed in supporting twin-ship of all kinds" Of course, that gave me an idea for yet another request I'll have to remember. I'd love to see when the Lupin twins first learn George is a twin, and wondering where his twin had got off to.

But really, that second story is just darling all around. The stuff between Dora and Julia, the comment about having the same name as someone (with James and Lily), and the story and her response to it just makes me all squishy. I'm so glad you decided to keep Elizabeth and just sort of tweak it a bit. I almost wish you'd go back and rewrite the "how they met" part as you describe it here, just so your Elizabeth and Remus story (was it Lines of Descent?) would be complete in a non-canoned sort of way. And I must say, I love that last line. It's so cute how they all are about their houses.

I have to admit, though, I think I missed the origin of this whole eagle thing. Where does this originally come from? I feel like I've missed a story.

- Severely Lupine
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: February 17th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the places where parents see the resonances in their children, and the injustices sometimes done.

Lovely Fern.
All of them are so wonderful.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: February 17th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely! I loved Ginny as a mum- she's fun and firm at the same time. Lily asking if she could bring home her muggle friends and marry them was hilarious, and how Walburga is dissmised as "Mad Auntie"... awesome.

I loved how you adapted Elizabeth's story to canon, she was a great character and I was sad she was cut off.
And there's nothing wrong with playing with your grandmother's clothes at any age. I'm twenty, and my dad and I had a great time a couple weeks ago going through his mother's wardrobe and trying on loads of old coats that belonged their great-grandmother. Dora's wardrobes are a treasure. I'm glad Teddy's daughters had fun with them, since he quite obviously couldn't. It's really sweet.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 17th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Could I marry one of them?"
"Not until you're at least eight." XD
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: February 17th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

You know, the first one reminded me of one of your other Ginny pieces, when she's going through that dressing room and consulting Phineas, and how her suspicion of basically everything in his family's house rather offends him. Things like Albus's innocently repeating something Walburga's portrait said, even if he lets it go readily, would really tend to reinforce that tendency toward suspicion.

I might have to start a list of potential Fernverse requests myself, because now I'm kind of curious about Ginny's reaction to the idea of moving in here with Harry (or did you cover that already? Hm) and something she likes about the place, because I suspect there is something -- at the very least, I think she's probably friendly with the concept of a house that's grown into the family and vice versa over the generations. *contemplates*

Finding the eagle is nice. The line about freight making things interesting was neat. And the mirror's evaluation of Julia's outfit cracks me up. :)
From: amethystbeloved Date: February 17th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely beautiful! For the first one, Molly would be so proud. I remember the time you mentioned the fence painting (I think it was an answer to what the Potters' neighbors thought about them), and it was great to see the build up. As a dancer, the line about the animated teddy bear is now going to be considered as one of my favorites!

It's great to see how Elizabeth's memory will live on through out the generations. Though Lines of Descent was cannoned, it's still nice to see that with a little tweaking it's still holds an important place in your universe.
jiapa From: jiapa Date: February 17th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
These stories were both lots of fun, but I'd love to see Lily chatting with a Muggle her age at the fence painting and almost slipping but not quite, and being invited over to the other kid's house and her parents worrying about it.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: February 17th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Both wonderful as always, Fern! I loved majordomo (or should that be majordoma in this case?) Ginny inspecting the troops before the fence painting party; she's firm, wise, and loving.

It's a pleasure to see Elizabeth Phelan again. She's a lovely character, so it's terrific to see her being remembered as a woman who helped shape the Remus we all know and love.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: February 17th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh THANK YOU! I love it, and Ginny seems just right. A lot like how I hope to be as a mom, actually. All these ficlets have been a joy, I'm sorry I haven't been commenting. I usually read them on my blackberry, which makes commenting a total pain.
indusnm From: indusnm Date: February 17th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
These are awesome, but reading the Ginny ficlet made me think about the role Andromeda has played in Teddy's life. And of course, considering her relative age, she won't be around forever... Have you written a ficlet where Teddy deals with her loss?
scopart From: scopart Date: February 17th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Could they come over to play?"
"Let's be realistic," Mum said.
"Could I marry one of them?"
"Not until you're at least eight."

Loved it! It was nice to see the Potter children with Ginny for a change (not that I don't love dad!Harry). Fantastic.
Thanks again for writing all these!
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