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Stray, Chapter Twenty-Four: Shrovetide, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stray, Chapter Twenty-Four: Shrovetide, pt. 1
Sirius, Remus, and Tonks took the Brodies halfway around the world to Recife, Brazil, where they will start a new life. (I have to admit to being insecure here--I've been looking at maps and pictures and listening to frevo music to get the setting in my head, but nothing replaces being there, and I'm sure that anyone who has been will snicker, to which I can only say, "Oh, well." Unless, of course, there are useful suggestions...)

FWIW, I'll be putting up the annual holiday challenge call on Friday, to last through the end of the month. If you've been thinking about something you want, that'll be when to ask! (But no reincarnates, please.) :D

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

It took an hour to walk into the resort section of the town where Sirius had lived. He hadn't remembered it being so long when he'd walked it during the summer, but then, he'd been so happy to be free and in the sunlight that he might have walked for three hours without noticing, even in the heat. Maybe especially in the heat. Azkaban had been cold even in the summers there.

The others, however, were miserably hot, and Dora insisted that they stop partway to change clothes. Nothing they'd brought was really appropriate, but Dora found a few skirt sets in the girls' bags she could Transfigure into shorts until they got to the hotel. For herself, she just made her robe into a lightweight, flowery shift worn over a swimsuit. Fiona took care of her own robe, changing it into an outfit like Dora's and muttering that she'd been practicing spellwork, and had to if she meant to "keep up with present company."

Sirius, who'd briefly transformed back to human shape, whistled appreciatively. "Very nice."

She dropped a curtsy. "Where are we going, anyway?"

"I thought we'd go to the hotel I stayed in first," Sirius said. "At least have somewhere to settle."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" she asked. "Didn't they nearly catch you there?"

"Well, Kingsley and I did," Dora said. "And since our dangerous fugitive is already in my custody, I don't see how it could do any harm." She winked.

Fiona and Remus both looked unconvinced, but no one had a better idea.

Remus made himself look quite absurd by changing his robes into long shorts and his ragged boots into ragged sandals. He had a tee shirt for a bit, but after fifteen minutes walking along the path, discarded it.

Dora looked at him, then turned away before he noticed her blush. "You need to go on a reverse diet," she said, not looking. "Honestly, Remus, you look like you ought to be on a poster to collect money for starving people."

"I get enough to eat," Remus said. "It just doesn't stick. Never has."

Sirius didn't entirely buy that. Remus had always been skinny, even with the frequent feasts at Hogwarts, but this was an entirely different level than he'd reached as a child. But, as he was padding along as a dog again, he couldn't very well say anything.

Elspeth lost some of her initial fear as they went on, and by the time they could hear the distant sound of frevo music coming from the streets near the beach (where dancers with bright clothes and tiny umbrellas hit tourists up for money... well-earned, in Sirius's opinion), she was running up to Kirsty, who continued ahead, looking at everything with great interest. It was difficult to believe she'd been so sullen this morning.

They turned the last corner before the resorts started, and Fiona stopped. "Oh, my goodness. You weren't kidding about the bathing suits."

Sirius couldn't answer, but Remus answered for him, adopting the tone of someone who'd been here before. "Well," he said, glancing ahead at the beach with no great show of interest, "it's the way it is here. We've our own beaches like that, you know."

Fiona shook her head in disbelief at a volleyball game in the sand not far away. The girls hadn't apparently noticed.

"Of course in our ocean," Dora said, "it's more of a dare than a fashion."

"Have you ever...?"

"It's quite bracing."

Had Sirius been in human form, he'd have raised his eyebrows. He couldn't imagine Andromeda looking fondly on this particular style, even in her wild days during the sixties and seventies.

"Well," Remus said, "Snuffles knows the way, don't you boy? Show us the hotel."

Sirius nodded and barked at the girls to get their attention. They turned away from a frevo dancer--Kirsty with obvious reluctance--and followed.

Sirius remembered these paths well enough, and led them easily along among the tourists. There was much English and German being spoken here, and they didn't look out of place. Remus pulled his shirt back on as they approached the front of the hotel. Sirius felt a subtle tap on his head as soon as they entered the shadow of a sculpture, then the familiar sense of slime crawling over him as a Disillusionment covered him. Dora patted his now invisible head and took the lead entering the hotel. The others followed.

She swept up to the desk and said, in quite a posh accent, "Excuse me, but is there an English-speaker available?"

A man scurried out of the office, looked at her shift (which was apparently more fashionable than Sirius thought, judging by his reaction), and said, "What may I do for you?"

"My name is Dora Tonks, and I'd like to arrange--"

She didn't finish whatever plan she had, because the man's eyes lit up. "Ah, Miss Tonks, yes, your grandfather arranged your stay. He leaves something for you."

Dora frowned, looking quite surprised, as the man rummaged through the room mailboxes, then came up with a flat brown package. "I have reserved for your family two rooms on the third floor." He handed her two keys and pointed to the lifts.

"Er... thank you," Dora said. "Is that... obrigado?"

The man smiled broadly. "Obrigado, yes, Miss. You're welcome."

Dora looked at the package suspiciously, then led the way to the lifts. They rode up together, and she opened one room. As soon as everyone was inside, she closed the blinds and Sirius transformed.

"Your grandfather?" Remus said.

Dora set the package down on the table. "Stand back," she said. "I don't like getting packages I know nothing about."

With a practiced flick of her wand, she cast a spell that put a shimmering bubble around the package, then said, "Adiperio."

The package unwrapped itself.

From inside it, a stack of Muggle money fell out, along with a letter. Sirius recognized the handwriting. "Dumbledore!"

Dora relaxed and let the bubble dissipate. "I'll kill him if he does anything like that again! He's damnably lucky I didn't just incinerate it." She rolled her eyes and picked it up. "Sirius, it's addressed to you." She handed him the letter.

Dear Sirius, it read,
I hadn't expected you to leave quite as promptly as you did, or I would have made arrangements with you. As I'm certain you recall, as you helped see to it, the Order does have resources available to it. James's parents were also kind enough to bequeath a bit to us, and I have made a point of seeing to it that I did what I could over the years. In short, there is a good deal ready, even minus this gift I make to the Brodies--and to you, should you choose to remain where it's safe, though I have doubts that you would consider doing so, and rather hope you don't, as I sadly believe we will need you here, and soon.

I was able to transfer the sum, and took the chance of contacting Kingsley Shacklebolt, who was surprisingly unsurprised to hear from me again. He has been in personal contact with one Larissa Alves of Rio de Janeiro, and she was able to bring this package for you. I took the chance that you would think to come here, where you stayed, and if you are reading this, clearly I was correct to make such an assumption.

I recommend that Miss Tonks and Mr. Lupin return as soon as possible, before they are missed, but I'm sure you'd like to stay and help the Brodies settle in. I took the liberty of seeking out potential properties in the wizarding district, which I have listed on the back of this letter. All should be in a reasonable range of price.

I suggest a new alias during your travels.

Be careful.

Albus Dumbledore

Sirius passed it to Dora and Remus, who passed it to Fiona. She read it and looked up. "I've never taken charity in my life, and now I'm taking it right and left."

"Because someone burned you out of house and home," Remus said. "It doesn't count when there's a disaster."

"It feels like it counts," Fiona said. "I'll get a job as soon as I can. I can keep houses clean as well as anyone else. I'll start sending money back."

"Too traceable," Sirius told her.

She looked chagrined. "Fine. But I'm getting a job. I'll not be living on anyone's charity anymore." She glared at him, challenging him to contradict her. When he didn't, she sighed. "I don't suppose... there may be some gold coming from Dougie. If..."

"I'll keep an eye out for it," Dora told her.

Kirsty, who'd been waiting for the letter to be put down, snatched it up, then turned it over to read about the places Dumbledore had found. "So," she said, "when do we see these?"
16 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: November 26th, 2009 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
The bit about the bathing suits and toplessness was very amusing. I love how you can make it clear what's going on without necessarily having to be blunt about it. And how cute that Tonks blushed when Remus took his shirt off. One wonders what was going through his head when she admitted to utilizing one of those particular types of beaches. Although I suppose at this point in time, he'd have chastised himself if he had thought anything interesting.

Your italics seem to have gotten away from you there a bit...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 26th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, yes, it helps to use a close tag instead of a second open tag after the spell.

He thought nothing, do you hear, nothing whatsoever, and he will certainly not think anything at all of it later on, and...

Er, yeah.
From: severely_lupine Date: November 26th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
*snerk* *giggle*
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: November 26th, 2009 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Dora set the package down on the table. "Stand back," she said. "I don't like getting packages I know nothing about."
Better get used to Dumbledore's tricks, Dora...
Lovely update, as usual. You won't hear any complaints about Recife from me, as I've never been there. From what I read, it seems like the perfect place to go on vacation...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 26th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
It probably never even occurred to Dumbledore that she'd be suspicious!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: November 26th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice change of pace to go from chilly Scotland in midwinter to the sunny tropics. I'm glad things will get better for the Brodies, even if the canon characters don't get to stick around to enjoy the sight.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 26th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's getting chilly here, and I felt I'd like to warm up. :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 26th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this section. As many others have said, it's so nice to see them all away in the sun for a bit. Dumbledor's letter was just perfect. Also liked Feona's comment about charity.

For the challenge call, do Peter and/or Snape count as "reincarnates?" I completely understand why you don't want to write about Remus and Dora--they lived their lives well, and having them come back soully for reader satisfaction isn't really satisfying. But, as I think you had Lily or someone else say, it might work better for somebody trying again to live their lives right. (Again, the point would be reader satisfaction, but I think it might make a better scenario.) I understand if you'd rather not do them, of course, and I'm deffinitly looking forward to whatever interesting ideas are put forward. Good luck with the deluge!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 26th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd rather avoid them altogether.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: November 26th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
So nice that Kirsty has gotten swept up in the adventure. I'm with Dora and Sirius as being concerned about Remus and his lack of weight. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the present of a new installment!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 27th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Good LORD, woman. You make me want to feed Remus up. Gahhh. I despise living up to gender role stereotypes, but I am quite helpless when it comes to people who need some mothering, whether they want it or not.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 31st, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

love it love it love it

out of morbid curiosity, do you intend to write a back story to Deathly Hallows? You write Remus/Tonks like your the fruit of Rowlings loins. Your talent would NOT go unappreciated.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 3rd, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC) (Link)


Yay! Loved it!!!!

Are you going to do a Deathly Hallows backstory? That would be so amazing since they get married and have Teddy!!!! :D :D :D Pretty Pretty please do a backstory for Deathly Hallows!!!!!!!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 3rd, 2010 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)


I was going to, but I can't. I tried. Even this one is turning out to be too depressing. I start getting int a groove, then the whole "Oh, who cares, it doesn't matter" vibe comes up, and I can't keep writing.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 6th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)


Dawwwwwww. :( So so sad. Who says it doesn't matter? It matters to us! :B

I can't blame you though. Remus turns into a prick during the DH. Like... an oober goober gosh prick. Ick.

Well, I wish you would change your mind... but.... If the muse won't flow, the muse won't flow...

:( So so sad.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 10th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)


I understand why you're not continuing this story, or writing a Deathly Hallows story, but it's really too bad. You write Remus & Tonks so well, and we see so little of the adults in canon because the focus is on Harry, and to a lesser extent, on his friends. Watching Sirius & Remus interact in this story is WONDERFUL, and I wish the muse would return so you could finish it. And I'd really love to see how Tonks & Remus worked it out, and Teddy's birth, and everything else we know had to have happened while Harry was hunting Horcruces & Hallows.
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