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Stray, Chapter Eleven: The Silver Button, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stray, Chapter Eleven: The Silver Button, pt. 3
Sirius broke his cover (sort of) by rescuing the Brodie girls, who invited "Mr. Foote" for dinner after Remus fixed the Floo. On the way, he found a silver button that didn't really belong on Dougie Brodie's boat, and Fiona doesn't recognize it. Fiona, becoming more trusting because she more or less has to be, uses the repaired Floo to get to London to buy a new wand, leaving the Marauders in charge of Kirsty and Elspeth. (Put like that, it seems somehow less wise than leaving the girls in the care of a werewolf and a fugitive, doesn't it?) Anyway, the girls are delighted, and have asked Remus for an Umbrella Charm so they can go outside and show off their fort. Remus and Sirius are happy enough to go along.

(How many more verb tenses shall I use--or shall I have used--in the course of having written a single paragraph? ;p)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The cold rain had actually let up a little bit, though the day wasn't exactly sunny as the short northern afternoon raced toward evening. Elspeth declared that she didn't mind the rain, and ran on ahead. Kirsty remained by Sirius's side, affecting an expression of distressed sophistication.

"She's a lot younger than I am," she said, pointing at Elspeth, then looking up meaningfully at Sirius. "You know little children."

Remus muffled a laugh by turning it into a cough.

Sirius held out his arm to lead Kirsty a few steps ahead. "I know exactly what you mean. I had a younger brother myself once. Very embarrassing."

She grinned. "I like being eldest. Is your brother handsome, too?"

This time, Remus's cough wasn't quite enough to hide the laugh, but Sirius suddenly wished the subject hadn't come up. For a brief moment, he'd seen himself as Kirsty saw herself--an elder sibling, the world ahead, and nothing but the minor annoyance of a tag-along. But that present tense question... He couldn't very well shove aside that Regulus wasn't likely to have got handsome in the years since he'd been struck down. But Kirsty didn't need to know that, so he manufactured a smile for her. "My brother? Well, not nearly as handsome as I am, of course. He could only get half the girls in school to fight over him."

This pleased Kirsty greatly. Elspeth had reached the top of a hill, and ran back to them. "It's right here!" she said, and led them over. A circle of standing stones was in the hollow of the hill, and the girls--probably with Fiona's help--had spread a blanket over them for a ceiling. It had been charmed to be waterproof, and below it, there were various toys, some furniture, and a locked trunk. Kirsty ran down into it and set up four small chairs around the table. Sirius and Remus shook their heads and went down to take their seats.

"Mr. Foote has a brother," Kirsty informed Elspeth importantly. "But he was older, like me."

"Did you have fort with your brother?" Elspeth asked.

Remus raised his eyebrow, and Sirius guessed he was re-thinking that line of conversation himself. "That was a very long time ago, you know. They hadn't really invented forts when Mr. Foote was little."

"They didn't?" Elspeth asked, eyes wide. "Where did you play?"

There was no getting around it, so Sirius pushed aside the things that came later and thought of himself and Regulus as small children, before everything went bad. "We played in the attic," he said. "We had a right castle up there."

"We play princesses here, too," Kirsty said, positively ecstatic at this news. "We have crowns Mither made from grass and a scepter and swords and wands, and there's a dragon out on that rock." She pointed to a nondescript rock that came up from the sea. "He never shows himself, but we're going to beat him if he ever comes."

"Sounds like a plan," Remus said.

"We have a library," Elspeth chimed in. "Mither buys us books in London." She opened the trunk (also apparently waterproof) and tossed out a few blankets and handmade crowns to come up with some little children's books. She presented these proudly, and handed one to Remus that showed a girl and a turtle looking through a magnifying glass. "I can read this one by myself."

"Really? How smart!" Remus said.

Kirsty pulled out a much newer book, which showed Beauxbatons on the front (or at least a castle that looked a lot like it), and a dark-haired young witch with a comic book in her robe pocket, trying to hide it from a young wizard who was dressed in medieval clothes and was carrying an old-fashioned wand. "We got this one last time we were in London," she said. "It's about a girl who goes back in time to the very first Triwizard Tournament, and she can't tell anyone she's from the future. I'm reading it to Elspeth."

"She should win!" Elspeth said.

Kirsty gave her a withering look. "She can't win, everyone knows that Antoine LeMage"--she pronounced this "ANN-toyn LEM-midge"--"won the first time."


"So she can't make history different!"

"Then what's she supposed to do?"

"She's just supposed to go to the BALL with him. That's what she went back for. Don't you listen?"

"That's boring!"

"Ball?" Remus asked. "There's a ball?"

"Oh, yes," Kirsty assured him. "There's always a ball. I've read everything about the Triwizard Tournament. It's on Christmas. They have to have one for ours, don't they? They wouldn't skip it?" She looked crestfallen at the very thought. "Oh, but all of the champions are supposed to dress in beautiful robes and dance prettily! There will be pictures of Harry Potter dancing prettily, won't there?"

Sirius imagined Harry in "beautiful robes" and dancing "prettily," and laughed out loud. Remus seemed to suddenly come down with a vicious case of influenza, he was coughing so hard.

Kirsty looked hurt. "What's funny?"

"Oh, nothing at all," Remus said.

Sirius stood up. "I'll tell you what. We shall have our own ball here, so you don't even have to wait for pictures of Harry Potter in pretty robes." He waved his wand and Conjured some music, then bowed to Kirsty. She giggled and curtsied in return, and he led her in a simple dance. Remus danced with Elspeth, and on the next song, they switched partners.

The sun had finished its rapid descent and the clouds had cleared enough to let the sky be lit by a pale red aurora when a long and loud scream went out on the wind. "KIRSTY! ELSPETH!"

"Mither!" Kirsty said, stopping abruptly.

Remus pointed his wand at his throat and said, "Sonorus," then his voice rose up. "We're just visiting the fort, Madam Brodie!"

A moment later, Fiona crested the hill, her hand at her breast. She ran down to the fort. "You frightened me, not being at the house when I came to look! I didn't know where--"

"I'm sorry," Remus told her as soon as he'd broken the spell. "We didn't think about it. The girls just wanted to show us this fine fort."

"Where they know they're not meant to be after dark," Fiona said sternly, and started leading them back to the house. "You both know there are things that can drift over these waters." She stopped at the top of the hill. "I'm sorry I yelled," she said. "I was--"

"I understand," Remus said. "We should get back," he said.

"Aye," Fiona said. "Thank you for everything. Really."

Sirius took her aside. "Come over to the island when the weather's good enough for your boat. We'll teach you those spells I mentioned."

"We'll see," she said. "Mr. Ollivander thinks this new wand may suit me better than the old one. Perhaps I can learn a trick or two." She smiled faintly, and led the girls away.

Sirius and Remus Disapparated back to Remus's island, and walked back to the shack, periodically laughing at the image of Harry in pretty robes, mainly winding down from a pleasant day. Dora was there when they got back, but unlike her last time lying in wait for them, she seemed to be in a perfectly decent mood. She had no more qualms than Remus had about Sirius having rescued the Brodie girls.

"I should probably leave before I pull anyone else into this," Sirius said.

Dora laughed. "You're in the middle of the wilderness and you couldn't avoid it. Where, exactly, do you think you'll do better at getting away from people?"

"That's a good point," Sirius said. He pulled the button from his pocket. "What do you make of this?"

Dora looked at it. "Nice workmanship," she said. "Looks like one of Madam Malkin's high end designs."

"I found it on a fisherman's boat."

She frowned. "Do you mind if I take it with me? I'll see what I can find out."

Sirius agreed, and they all had a late, light tea together before Dora had to go back to London.

"We're lucky that was Dora," Remus said. "It could have been the day for one of the others to drop by. We need to make sure we're not talking until we know there's no one waiting."

"I really do need to get out of here," Sirius said. "I should be closer to Harry--and further from you and Dora and the Brodies. And Azkaban."

"Where do you mean to go?" Remus asked wearily. "Just let it be."

"But I'll miss the ball."

Remus laughed and flopped down onto the sofa. "I'd really love to know what Harry's making of that particular tradition."

"So write to him and ask."

"Oh, yes, that's a letter he'd appreciate coming out of nowhere."

"Well, you never know. After all, he asked me about curse scars; why wouldn't he ask you about consorting with the fairer sex?"

"Well, when you put it like that..."

But Remus didn't write to Harry, despite Sirius's repeated prompting over the following days, and when they finally got a report on him, it came directly from Albus Dumbledore.
30 comments or Leave a comment
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: April 3rd, 2009 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Worth waiting up for.

Oh the Brodie girls are adorable! I would have loved a princess fort to play in when I was ickle. Aw, Sirius...his ghosts pop up in the most unlikely places. "Is your brother handsome, too?" Oh, Kristy get to the back of the line, lol. She really admires Mr. Foote, eh?

I liked the camaraderie and easy relationship that you portray between Sirius and Remus and the girls. I'm a little nervous that the boys are getting a bit lax in security now that Dora and Fiona know about Sirius. It could have been Kingsley or Dawlish laying in wait for them. I wish Sirius didn't have to leave. I know he will, eventually, but it's nice to see him and Remus getting along and making fun of each other.

Have I told you just how glad I am you picked up Stray again? You're one of my favorite fic writers (and the list is 2 names long!) and Sirius is my fave character (it's a shame he got so short changed) so Stray is just a match made in heaven for me. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!!! =D
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: April 3rd, 2009 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Worth waiting up for.

Nargh, 1 am...that's my excuse! Kirsty, not Kristy and damnit Remus, just write to Harry already!!!!

Also, letters from Dumbledore...I forget what point we're at in GoF, has Harry started having his fits?

ok, sleep now, I have work in the morning!
From: severely_lupine Date: April 3rd, 2009 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the dancing! I can't handle the cuteness! I also can't help imagining Tonks's reaction if she'd seen that. Or that of any of those people who think Remus and Sirius are a couple of villains.

Sirius and Remus Disapparated back to Remus's island, and walked back to the shack, periodically laughing at the image of Harry in pretty robes, mainly winding down from a pleasant day. -- It's... sorta sad that they're so fixated on Harry. I just want to tell them (mostly Sirius) to move on. Then again, I wonder if Sirius hadn't died, if Remus would have ever moved forward with his own life and had a family, or if he would have just stayed content watching Harry grow up and endlessly reminiscing with Sirius. Maybe in a way he needed the last of his old life to be lost before he could move on and make a new one.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Sirius would have kicked Remus forward, as "forward" would have meant marrying Tonks and therefore becoming part of Sirius's family for good.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: April 3rd, 2009 10:37 am (UTC) (Link)
"Really? How smart!"

Remus is so wibble-inducing! I nearly died when they started dnacing too!! This is a very nice, light-hearted chapter, in comparison to the fact that I just finished rereading Shifts last night. *sniff*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I think they deserved to have some good times before Voldemort starts messing with them again. Harry got some good times, after all.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: April 3rd, 2009 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
We already know Remus is good with children, but it seems Sirius would have been quite decent with a couple of his own as well. If only ... *sigh*

Is your brother handsome, too?

Oh, Kirsty ... :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Sirius would have been awesome as a dad--very different from Remus, but his own brand of awesomeness, as Harry intuited.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 3rd, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
A pleasant interlude with the Brodie girls, and yay, Dora put in an appearance! Looking forward to learning what's in Dumbledore's report on Harry and the tournament.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to finding that out myself.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: April 3rd, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fern! I am recently back from a week away and have finally caught up on the past few postings. It's a pleasure seeing Remus and Sirius being lighthearted -- and the Brodie girls are adorable. Now I'm wondering about that possibly-ominous silver button. I'm glad that Dora is investigating where it may have come from.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, because of the structure of canon, none of them can find out too much, but they definitely needed something to solve.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: April 3rd, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
A letter from Dumbledore! I wonder what he'll have to say. I wish I had my copy of GOF with me to look for clues.
That silver button is certainly mysterious, but we don't really know what makes them so sure there was foul play. Surely there could be plenty of explanations?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
It's just, I think, that it was found on a boat that's the scene of an accident that no one really witnessed, and it doesn't belong there.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: April 3rd, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, sweet girls. It's nice to see tham having such a good time, and that Sirius is able to call back pleasant memories of his brother without bringing all the angst too. It's also nice they're laughing about Harry. The ball was a pleasant interlude between the angst of the tasks, it's good that it remains being comic relief.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Sirius is kind of digging the older sibling vibe here. I think he would have enjoyed that as a kid, whether he admitted it or not.
tencups_i_swear From: tencups_i_swear Date: April 5th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry dancing prettily!
LMAO that really is very funny!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee, yes. Makes you wonder if Parvati could write a tell-all article on the subject of steering him around the dance floor.
purely_distel From: purely_distel Date: April 5th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hey there .. :)

A friend pointed me in your direction a short while ago and I have fallen head over heels for your storys. Well, story at the moment as I am only just nearing the end of shifts. There is still a LOT I have to read, it seems, and I'm LOVING every moment of it already!

half of shifts is already printed and properly bound next to my bed so I can read and reread it whenever I want to.

Your stories are amazing and have left me hooked for more. I loved how you build up the relationship between Tonks and Remus in shifts. How you didn't just jump into it but made everything else AROUND them important and interesting before pursuing their relationship for real. It's probably what I loved most. The story is huge, in means of what you bring across, but never once boring or unfitting. The way you brought the bits of canon into it made me stare in wonder (It's something I haven't been able to accomplish yet with my R/T story ;))

I cannot wait to finish shifts (Remus just broke in Tonks' arms after Sirius died ... I shed a few tears myself) and start shades and - I believe I heard you planned a R/T story that followed the DH storyline? If you actually do - thank you beforehand and just know I'm waiting with baited breath!

I hope you don't mind me friending you so I can keep up with your work?


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 6th, 2009 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I have yet to mind someone friending me to read along. :)

I'm glad you're enjoying Shifts. I wish Jo had given Remus and Tonks a happy ending (and the Teddy stories are my way of dealing with that), but I'm glad I got to spend some time with them anyway.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 6th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I know you believe in sticking to canon. Actually, I'm guessing it's one of those writer-type things that don't have anything to do with what you want or don't want, it's just the the way it is. You either go with it or spend large amounts of time staring at a blank or screen or, if you manage to write something anyway, wind up hating it because it just doesn't WORK (kind of like if Peanuts had been drawn cubist style).

Still, maybe you could just toy with the idea of giving Sirius and Remus and Tonks a happy ending? See if it takes root and flowers? Because chapters like this really make me wish it could at least be possible.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 6th, 2009 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Is it wrong that I hope there's a fan artist on the thread who will draw Peanuts cubist style? ;p

There's not much doing in a story where they all live happily ever after, because contentment isn't much of a story, but there are so many ways it could happen. Remus and Tonks living would take absolutely no change in structure or theme (except in my Teddy stories, of course!), since their deaths weren't indicated or pre-figured by anything in the original texts, nor would their survival change the end of TDH (even the epilogue--a nineteen year old son of living parents could still conceivably be eating at Harry's and snogging Victoire). Sirius's death was at least a little bit foreshadowed and had some plot effects, so making Sirius live would require a major AU.
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: August 18th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just loved Sirius and Remus for playing so nicely with the little girls! That was too cute! And LOL at their discussion of Harry and the ball! ;)
30 comments or Leave a comment