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Stray, Chapter Eighteen: Relocation, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stray, Chapter Eighteen: Relocation, pt. 2
Sirius has gotten to Hogsmeade, where Dumbledore has him settled in the cave. The Brodies remain at 12GP. It was New Year's morning when we left him.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The cave was more comfortable than most of the places Sirius had stayed while he'd been on the run last year. The curve of the opening protected it from the elements, and the heat of a small fire could keep it warm (Sirius was very careful, however, about the smoke, capturing it and Transfiguring it into crumbly rocks before it could escape). The floor was hard and damp, but at night, he Conjured a perfectly comfortable mattress.

He began to venture into the village on the first day, disguised as Padfoot. He learned nothing more useful than a few arcane hangover cures, but did come across some handy rubbish heaps. Most of the discarded food wasn't really edible anymore, but there were plenty of rats, if it came to that.

The second day, he went nosing about the Three Broomsticks, wondering idly if any Hogwarts folk would be there, or any of the visitors (he had Karkaroff most firmly in mind). Instead, he found a strident-sounding blond woman, talking about her "scoop," and assuring Madam Rosmerta that there was "big news coming about the school." Sirius followed her for a little while, but she didn't do anything suspicious. She was too conspicuous to be suspicious.

She turned at the end of the street and spotted him. "Oh, hello, doggie! Are you hung-wee? Rita could give you a nice treat?"

The cold set of her false smile suggested that the "treat" might be a smack on the head with the rolled up newspaper she was swinging in her hand. Sirius made a submissive canine gesture.

She narrowed her eyes. "You don't smell anything, because I haven't got anything."

Sirius sat up and begged.

The woman threw the paper at him. He made a show of running into the woods along the road. She muttered something about hating dogs, and left.

Sirius picked up the paper, and trotted back to the cave to read it.

He went back to London the next day to check on Fiona and the girls, and tell them that Dumbledore was on the case of getting them somewhere else to live.

"Dumbledore himself?" Fiona asked. "Really?"

"Well, he's not likely to delegate this sort of thing."

"I didn't think anyone knew we were here."

"Apparently, Phineas Nigellus--the portrait in the room the girls are staying in?--felt it necessary to share the information."

Elspeth laughed. "He's funny."

"You have an odd sense of humor," Sirius said.

Kirsty sniffed. "He said I'd be more likely to make something of myself if I stopped practicing absurd things. He thinks singing is an absurd thing! Only he called it... something about cats. Wallycatting, or something."

"Caterwauling," Sirius said. "He accused me of it several times when I was a child."

Dora appeared with dinner shortly after, and the evening went on uneventfully. Sirius returned to Hogsmeade to sniff around the taverns, but found nothing before going back to the cave.

Three days later, he awoke to the sound of talons on the stone floor. There was a shimmer in the air.

"Buckbeak?" he asked into nothing, not entirely present yet.

With a pop, two figures came into view. "Hello to you, too," Remus said, sliding down from Buckbeak's back. "You really rode around the world like this?"

Sirius sat up, rubbing his face, and bowed groggily to Buckbeak. "Yeah. Good thing, too."

"Dora and Kingsley are both off on assignment," Remus said. "My visits will be conducted by Gawain Robards. Dora claims he's all right, but a bit by-the-book."

"And Disillusioning Buckbeak isn't enough?"

"Not anymore. He's looking all over the island for you, anyway, and making quite a racket."

Sirius was absurdly touched by this, and reached over to pat Buckbeak's neck. "Well, he can stay here, then. You never know when a hippogriff might come in handy."

"I brought your papers," Remus said, twirling his wand absently. A minuscule stack of papers appeared in the air, Expanded to normal size, and fell on Sirius's Conjured mattress. "You'll want to read Monday's."

Sirius fished for it. He hadn't had a paper since the one the blond woman had thrown on Saturday. "What am I looking-- Oh." Monday's paper slid out of the pile, and the headline in question didn't need to be pointed out: "DUMBLEDORE'S GIANT MISTAKE."

"What's this?" he asked. "Hagrid? Why are they going after Hagrid?"

"She's not going after Hagrid, she's going after Dumbledore, and his judgment."

Sirius scanned the article--a complaint about Moody, followed by a vicious slander of Hagrid and his class, then the reveal: Hagrid's ancestry, and a denunciation of all giants (the latter of which, to be fair, wasn't entirely unfair--Sirius had needed to battle giants in the war several times, and Lily had nearly got herself killed trying to make a peace overture to them). But Remus was right--the business about the giants was a smokescreen. The whole piece existed for only one reason: to suggest that Albus Dumbledore's judgment of situations was questionable. Mum would have loved it.

He went back to the paragraphs about the class. "I see my cousin's son is making himself useful." He looked up at Buckbeak. "Sorry, you're famous again."

"That was another reason not to risk having him found," Remus said. "With her poking around at it, anyone who found him would be more likely to make the connection."

Sirius ground his teeth. "I should get Buckbeak out of here, too. Maybe I'll send him with the Brodies."

Buckbeak reared and screeched loudly.

"I don't think he likes that idea," Remus said.

"It would be for his own good."

"Mm-hmm. And I know how well you'd react to that reasoning."

Sirius didn't bother answering. He picked up the paper again, reading the article with disbelief. "A bite off a flobberworm? They don't even--"

"Have teeth, I know," Remus said.

"You'd think everyone would know. Are there letters? People saying that's nonsense?" He started flipping through the next two days' worth of papers.

"Nothing in the Prophet," Remus said. "But Dumbledore's been getting quite a few, and so has Hagrid. The same sort of charming correspondence I got after Severus saw fit to share the news about my lycanthropy."

"What sort is that?"

"The sort that involves instructions on effective means of self-destruction, largely." Remus looked around and found a rock to sit on. "Dumbledore came for supper yesterday, and he told me that Hagrid's taking it hard. He goes there every day to try and keep him from writing a letter of resignation. Bloody Rita Skeeter--"

But Sirius had lost interest in Rita Skeeter and the Prophet. "He's doing what?"

"He's trying to keep Hagrid from resigning," Remus repeated, looking puzzled. "It's hardly fair that he'd have to resign over something like that."

"I wholeheartedly agree. Which is why I'm wondering--again--why he didn't throw your resignation in the nearest fire."

"Let it go, Sirius."

"No, I'm not going to bloody let it go. Dumbledore's got some nerve!"

"It's not the same thing--"

"It's exactly the same goddamned thing. A teacher's got some oddball problem, and introduced a little danger to the students--"

"I could have killed them!"

"And Hagrid's raising Acromantulas in the Forest and training fourth years with"--Sirius looked at the article--"some kind of manticore mix. And he's doing it deliberately. The only differences are that his dangers happen every day, and that he's a rotten teacher. I saw some of his classes last year, you know."

"It's different. He's not dangerous because he's half-giant." Remus sighed. "Also, Hagrid didn't spend a year keeping salient facts from Dumbledore."

"No, he just let slip to Quirrel how to get past the guardians of the Philosopher's Stone, and--"

"Sirius, let it go."


"I can fight my own battles."

"Yes, but you never do. You're too busy fighting mine. So let me fight yours."

"What, exactly, do you think you're going to do?"

Sirius stood up and pushed the papers away. "I'll... er..."

But he couldn't think of anything. Petulantly, he threw the paper in his hand across the cave. "I'm not doing any good for anybody."

"I think Fiona Brodie would disagree."

"When she's not busy trying to keep my house from killing her, you mean?"

"And you're helping Harry."

"Name one way I've been helpful to Harry. I wasn't even the one who got him past the dragons."

"You love him, and he knows it, and it helps."

Sirius snorted. "Great. Yes, I'm sure that's of real practical use to him."

Remus shrugged and said casually, "Well, you've helped me, anyway. I was deathly bored before you came back."

Something in the lackadaisical tone, so reminiscent of his shows of nonchalance in school, broke Sirius's fury. He grinned. "I thought you liked being bored."

"You know me better than that." He started Summoning the piles of papers and getting them stacked in the corner. "Now, what have you been hearing in Hogsmeade...?"
32 comments or Leave a comment
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: June 30th, 2009 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I *love* the way you write Sirius and Remus' friendship, I really do. It's so great to see Sirius so indignant on Remus' behalf; old Dumbles certainly does have a lot of nerve. And it's nice to see how easily Moony can defuse Sirius, you make it sound like he's had a lot of practice.

I only wish Sirius would see the positive side of things for once, but I kind of sense that the only person that could pull him out of that doom and gloom funk was James and considering just how peppy Sirius gets as the books progress...well.

Fern, your adorable kitties are...adorable! Seeing your pics of them earlier made me miss my Peaches D=

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Sirius has issues. Sirius issues, so to speak. ;p

I think both of these men tend to underestimate the value of what they do, and overestimate the value of what they could be doing, and therefore always come up short in their own eyes. Remus's response is to become self-deprecating to a fault; Sirius's is to get first mad as hell and then depressed.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 30th, 2009 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I like Elspeth's take on Phineas - and your interactions between Remus and Sirius are beautiful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Yeah, Elspeth sees right through the old faker's tough-guy act.
tearoha From: tearoha Date: June 30th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh, that's a very good point. *Why* didn't Dumbledore treat Remus the same? Sirius' reaction is perfect.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 30th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Dumbledore knows that the curse on the DADA post is very much real, and Remus really got off the hook easily. Two teachers died, one was left permanently incapacitated, one spent nine months inside his own trunk...
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: June 30th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Fern, you've arrived. You have spam.

AWESOME chapter.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Spam? I see no spam. Spam does not exist.

From: severely_lupine Date: June 30th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Didn't Sirius already see Rita when he went to town with Remus? Shouldn't he have recognized her? Still, clever of him to get the paper from her.

Haha! Generous of Sirius to call lycanthropy an "oddball problem". Nice to see him sticking up for Remus, if even in an ineffective and pointless way.

I believe Quirrell has two Ls.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, yes, he did. Well, that's easy enough to fix.

Ah, yes, Sirius, "Okay, yeah, so you turn into a man-eating monster once a month. Whatever. At least you don't need to be forcibly dragged to the showers to shampoo your hair..."
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 30th, 2009 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hugs Sirius*

He's such a good friend. I'm glad they had each other for a bit again.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, too, even if it was too short a bit.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 30th, 2009 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Does my heart good to see Sirius getting fired up on Remus's behalf, although I did start wondering after Dumbledore's discussion with Harry in HBP whether Remus's resignation was accepted because Dumbledore knew the DADA position was cursed and something worse might happen to any professor who tried to stay beyond a year. It's about the only rationale I can think of for letting reckless teachers like Hagrid and incompetent ones like Trelawney stay on and letting talented ones like Remus go.
From: spitc1899 Date: June 30th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Trelawney, at least, I think he let stay because he knew that she was in genuine danger outside the school, but I did put Remus down as a victim of the curse.
sep12 From: sep12 Date: June 30th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really, really wish Dumbledore would have told Remus the reason he was accepting his resignation was because of the curse Riddle placed on the Defense position and that he wasn't showing favorites with Hagrid, which is what it looks like, and which Sirius is rightly outraged over. I think it might have made Remus a little less likely to go crazy and leave Dora.

Great update. I haven't been reviewing and after almost begging for this story to continue I feel really badly about it, but life has been a bit hectic lately.

Also, since I know you support libraries everywhere, you might want to know that the State of Ohio is considering cutting their funding of public libraries by nearly 50% in the interest of budget cuts. Anyone interested in letting their opinions be known to Governor Strickland can contact him at http://governor.ohio.gov/Contact/tabid/153/Default.aspx
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish DD had said something of the sort, too, if for no other reason than to show readers that he wasn't acting capriciously, and that it wasn't because he felt Remus was the only Hogwarts teacher not allowed to make mistakes.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: June 30th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I agree with Sirius, but I'm no more impartial than he is. Just got home and caught up!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not very impartial, either. Sirius is fixating on Hagrid, but I'm looking at Snape--a horrible teacher who made a much bigger mistake than Remus's early on, and was rewarded with an apparently permanent job that he doesn't do all that well.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 2nd, 2009 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Sirius snorted. "Great. Yes, I'm sure that's of real practical use to him." Oh, but it *is* of use to him!

I just love your Remus-Sirius chats. Remus is rather sterling when with Sirius; it brings out his inner (droll) Marauder.

From: glynngriffiths Date: July 2nd, 2009 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, that was me. I'm a bit discombobulated tonight. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)

now now Sirius don't start acting like Skeeter

I don't know if you did it on purpose but i find a bit ironic that sirius rationalized the whole Rita Skeeter going after Hagrid but really being after Dumbledore and then do the exact same thing in his own argument for remus defense- being mad at Hagrid but reallllllly being mad at Dumbledore.

come Sirius, if you are going to mad at someone for the injustice be mad at Voldemort for putting the curse. I mean he grows up with the crazy stuff his mother and father put in his house, knowing that kind of curses he should realize there is something fishy about the DA post and be grateful remus got off better than the rest.

also I think most people are really unfair to hagrid. yes, some of the creatures he brings are dangerous (like the tail skewt) but Hagrid HAS BEEN a good, worthy teacher on three occasions: when he showed taught the students about the Threstals *which harry then used to get to the ministry*, he showed the baby unicorns so he is capable of average teacher stuff and Most importantly, he taught harry about hypogryffs. if it wasn't for that harry wouldn't have been able to save sirius.
someone should remind sirius of that.
also on regard to how "dangerous" the class is, from evidence it isn't entirely because of Hagrid. i think dumbledore mentioned when hagrid got the post it was because the previous professor "was retiring to enjoy his remaining limbs".

and as for why Dumbledore kept Hagrid and not Lupin. I see a reason Far more likely than this so call upon "favoritism"
I think it is because Hagrid couldn't have gone anywhere else. i mean he got expelled from hogwarts when he was twelve so he never finished his education, from what it is implied in the books many people are afraid or don't want to deal with him because of his size
I think Dumbledore knew how hard it was going to be for Hagrid and that's why he let him stay in Hogwarts the only place he knew. (i mean it's only fair right? hagrid got expelled for something he didn't do)
also I get the impression that all what Skeeter caused wouldn't just keep hagrid away from the teacher post. it would kick him out of hogwarts permenantly.

so Lupin is in no worse place that Hagrid.

also I get the impression by Lupin's opinion of himself, that even if Dumbledore had let him stay he would have quitted, because i feel that no matter what anyone told him he would have never be able to live down what accidently happened in he stayed. Snape wouldn't have letted him.

which reminds me, WHY isn't sirius more angry at Snape for being a rotten looselip than with dumbledore or hagrid. it is more snape fault than any.

so Sirius I do hope you reflect on what you said

althought with that out of the way, I do feel sorry that you think you are not practical for anyone, because you are.
you helped the brodies, you helped harry (hey you helped him with keeping the Dursleys from mistreating him! that IS something useful) you were there for him when he had the fight with Ron.

is there any point where sirius is going to feel Good about the little stuff he did? he deserves to be happy on that

other than that I do love the Brodies. Fiona is my favorite and I wish I could babysit someone like elsperth (cool name by the way does it mean anything?) and her sister.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 2nd, 2009 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: now now Sirius don't start acting like Skeeter

Elspeth is a Scottish form of "Elizabeth."

I think that Sirius is angry with Snape, but doesn't expect any better of him. With Dumbledore, he sees Remus giving him total loyalty, and getting the shaft in return. (There may also be a bit of guilt involved, since Sirius himself distrusted Remus at a crucial point.)
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: August 19th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Great banter between Remus and Sirius! ;)
32 comments or Leave a comment