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Batch 9 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Batch 9
can i ask for Sirius realizing how low his comment "you are less like your father than i thought" to harry and doing something to apologize, make up for it? during Christmas? for Anon (ETA, Anon turns out to be Kathya Jackson)


"Sirius, can I have a quick word. Er... now?"

Sirius dropped the breakfast preparations--Molly, looking relieved beyond belief at Arthur's recovery, had mostly taken them over anyway--and followed Harry into the dark pantry. He'd thought that Harry would be as relieved as Molly and the children, but he looked as bad as he had last night, as bad as it was possible for a healthy fifteen year old to look.

"I was the snake," Harry said, with no preliminaries. "Sirius, it was me, I was the snake, I didn't see it like I was just standing there watching, I felt it. I felt what it felt like to bite him, I tried to kill him, it was me..."

Sirius put a hand on Harry's shoulder, but Harry shook it off. He had more to say. Most of it was twisting and out of context, a memory of nightmare, but one thing was certain: Harry felt responsible for the attack on Arthur Weasley.

For the first time since September, Sirius really looked at Harry. He was drawn and pale, with dark shadows under his eyes. His hair was standing in listless, chaotic clumps, and his glasses were askew. All autumn he'd been living with this pressure, all autumn he'd been pushed the edge of his tolerance.

And what did I do?

Sirius ground his teeth at the memory--he'd been irritated that Harry hadn't let him come up to Hogsmeade, so he'd snidely commented that Harry wasn't very much like James. Which wasn't even true. James had been able to put his foot down as well... and James hadn't needed him then as much as Harry did now. James had responsible adults in his life; he hadn't needed Sirius to fill that role.

Harry did.

And Sirius had responded to his terror with bitterness.

"And, Sirius, I saw myself... I was reflected, like in a mirror, and I was the snake. I did it."

He paused for breath and looked at Sirius. His eyes were deep and confused. They were the same color and shape as Lily's, but Sirius had never seen a less Lily-like expression. A part of his mind offered up a rousing line of thought, suggesting that Harry now had an in with Voldemort, that they could spy. He even thought about telling a joke.

But Harry didn't need to be joked with. Harry didn't need to be told that he'd never looked less like Lily, or that James would have been crowing about getting into Voldemort's head. He didn't even need to be apologized to for an earlier slight that was obviously not on his mind at the moment.

Harry needed an adult.

Instead of saying any of the things that came to his mind first, Sirius said, "Did you tell Dumbledore this?"

"Yes..." Harry went back into his breathless recitation, needing to confess what he saw as his sin. "It was like there was a snake inside me..."

A nasty, unwanted thought shot across Sirius's mind like a Firebolt after a Snitch.

It was inside him.

It was on the tip of his tongue to blurt it out, but he looked again at Harry, looked at his drawn, pinched face. Looked at those circles under his green eyes. He didn't need loose speculation, and he didn't need to be reminded what sorts of magic Sirius had grown up with that had made this particularly nasty connection in his head.

"It must have been the aftermath of the vision, that's all," Sirius said.

can we have one with alderman giving a little Christmas service or something with some muggle born young witches and wizard? at hogsmeade maybe? for Isa


Alderman hadn't meant to say a Saturday Mass at Hogsmeade. He still needed to get back to France to say one properly in his parish. But he'd come up to talk to Victoire Weasley about, and her sisters had asked for a blessing, and then he'd found himself buried in Muggle-borns. Danger of wearing the vestments, of course, and he didn't really mind, but it did puzzle him.

"Are you the only wizard priest?"

"Do you get into trouble?"

"Is it hard to hide...?"

He shook his head and held up his hands. "No, I... well, not at all. I went to an all magical monastery during my seminary days."

"But isn't magic against the rules?"

"Only if I try to Duplicate the Host or whatnot. Or use it to steal or cheat, or do anything else against the rules."


In the end, the pressure of the questions, the obvious confusion, had pushed him into saying a Mass for them, to let them see that a Mass in a magical environment was the same as the ones they'd grown up with. Even the Advent candles were not lit in any special way, though as far as Alderman knew, there'd be no rule against Incendio, as long as the congregation was all magical (and if it wasn't all magical, the rule against it was rendered by Caesar, not God). To his surprise, a group of nearly twenty Muggle-borns stayed for the entire service, sitting on the slats of Aberforth Dumbledore's fence and looking at him with unreadable expressions. He didn't do a full Mass--he couldn't offer Communion--but he did most of it, and offered blessings to those who wanted them.

"Never thought I'd hear a sermon in a goat pen," someone finally said into the silence at the end, offering a smile.

"Well," Alderman said, "as it happens that we're discussing rather important events that occurred in a barn, it seems rather appropriate, doesn't it?"

There was soft laughter.

"So," a girl with blond hair said, "are you the only magical priest? I never heard of any others."

"Not the only one, no. There are about ten that I know of in the world at present, though it's possible there are others. I think I'm the only werewolf."

He let them absorb this. None of them chose to say anything about it. "I never heard of another," the girl finally said.

"Well--magical people are a pretty small subset of the world. Then you get to Catholic wizards, then practicing Catholic wizards, then practicing Catholic wizards called to the priesthood... it's a pretty small group no matter how you look at it."

"Are there Protestants?"

"Sure. There are Protestants who do anything and everything. And before you ask, rabbis and imams and shamans and every other group out there. Some of them don't practice magic, but magical people are pretty well spread out in any group."

"We never hear about it at school."

"Also true of Muggle schools."

"Well," a little black-haired boy said, "there is a chapel. I found it across from that mural of the boggart and the wardrobe."

No one else had apparently run across this chapel, as they all gave him strange looks. A third-year girl who had a scarf in Ravenclaw colors said, "That's not a chapel, it's a potions laboratory!"

She also got some strange looks, and Alderman got a strong suspicion of exactly which room it was. Everyone agreed that it was more amusing for students to discover it for themselves, so he didn't enlighten them. "You go to a school with a mixed studentry," he said. "I'm sure there used to be a chapel--the Fat Friar said that he once gave services there--but it's not there now."

"What if we wanted to go to Mass? We can't just leave."

"The Fat Friar would be thrilled if you asked him. Of course, he might give the longest service in the history of services. He has a lot of time on his hands."

This was met with dumbfounded silence. "A... ghost can do it?"

"I'm not entirely sure how he'd give Communion, but he can say Mass and hear your Confession."

"I wouldn't," a sixth year girl said. "Ghosts are gossips."

No one seemed to take her bait. Finally, a younger boy just shook his head. "I haven't been since I got my Hogwarts letter. I just figured I had to choose one or the other."

"We always have to make a choice. Think about the Magi in the story. Wizards all, but their choice wasn't whether or not to read the stars--it was whether or not to betray the Baby to Herod. Wizards' choices are the same as anyone else's: Do we use our skills to serve good, or evil?" (Alderman ignored the eye-rolling among the more cynical older students at the word "evil"--they had been born after the last evil had been defeated, and he hoped that they never ran across anything that would force them to believe in it.)

He checked his watch, and winced. "I have to get back to France!" he said. "I have another Mass to say."

"Another one."

"It's sort of my job," Alderman told them. "It's time to go. You can ask Victoire Weasley how to reach me, if you have any more questions. Merry Christmas!"

He Disapparated.

41 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 8th, 2009 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Why can't Alderman give Communion? It's waay after Vatican II, he could use any bread that was handy, and surely Aberforth had some wine around!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 8th, 2009 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I know Catholic priests can give Communion to Episcopalians and Lutherans now, but does that extend also to low Protestants? Or the irreligious? I'm honestly not sure. I know I didn't take Communion at a friend's wedding because I'm not Catholic, and the priest just offered a blessing instead, which was why I put that in, but I'm not actually sure on this.
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sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: December 8th, 2009 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
All of them were Protestant? Why did they want Mass, then? What about Victoire? (I always suspected the Weasleys were Catholic: the red hair, the huge family, Percy Ignatius...)

Usually the priest will make an announcement asking non-Catholics not to accept the host, but just to ask for a blessing. It's not really Mass without the Consecration. JKR never addressed the matter because she wanted to limit controversy to the things she was prepared to defend, but I'm pretty sure Hogwarts would have provision for religious services, in which case they could arrange to get consecrated bread and the students could hold services themselves. I was a Eucharistic Minister in the Army, which meant that if we were in the field or someplace where we couldn't have a proper Mass on Sundays or holy days, I could lead a service and give Communion.

Are we sure Snape wasn't a Jesuit? Teaching in a school of wizardry is a very Jesuit thing to do!
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From: severely_lupine Date: December 8th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice to see Sirius being an adult. He does seem to have a problem with that. But I thought Sirius's remark was made in GoF?

But he'd come up to talk to Victoire Weasley about, and her sisters had asked for a blessing, -- About what?

What's this about a portrait of a boggart and a wardrobe?

I like the idea of the Fat Friar acting as an actual religious figure. That would be interesting to see.

Heh. The magi as wizards. Well, if you're going to call them magi, in that world, I suppose it only makes sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 8th, 2009 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
But I thought Sirius's remark was made in GoF?

I thought so, too, but I googled, and it turns out it was Chapter 14 of OotP, when he shows up in the fire and suggests that they meet in Hogsmeade, and Harry turns him down flat, pointing out that things Draco has said suggest that they know about his Animagus form.

Ah, the painting of the boggart and the wardrobe. Another Teddy story thing, I'm afraid. In Daedalus Maze, Dean Thomas ends up trapped at the school for several months, and replaces the Barnabas the Barmy mural (which I had destroyed in the battle) with a mural of the third years' first DADA class with Lupin. Complete with a shape-shifting boggart.
From: severely_lupine Date: December 8th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Blast! I am going to catch up with your Teddy stories. Really, I am.

Weird. I've been listening to the GoF audiobook, and I thought I'd read/heard that section recently, and I know I haven't read OotP in years, so I went and checked the spot you said, and yep, there it is. But what's really confusing me is that I feel I've read that bit of that exchange quite recently--but like I said, it's been years since I read OotP. I'm rather confused. Maybe there's something like that in both books? *shrug*
malinbe From: malinbe Date: December 8th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's nice to see Sirius having a clear-headed moment and it's also good that he really wasn't dismissive of it. Having seen so much during his time, no wonder he's so scared.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: December 8th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alderman is a fine example of a wizard with a religious vocation. I love seeing that he has found both peace and wisdom.

It's always good to see Sirius act his age and live up to the role he should be playing. Poor man, he never had much of a chance to grow up and learn to temper his natural volatility.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 9th, 2009 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)

In the pantry indeed

Thanks for the wonderful ficlet Fern! I really enjoyed Sirius' PoV for that little exchange between Sirius and Harry, because when I read it I always felt that Sirius' words weren't all that comforting, to me it wouldn't be, it's so fun to see what your take on it was. It makes Sirius's character more to me.

From: (Anonymous) Date: December 9th, 2009 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)

LOL. I'm getting requester inpersonated!/ Kathya Jackson

I was the one that asked for the Sirius apologizing to Harry. lol. I'm getting credit stolen.

that was a beautiful ficlet. makes sense too; that Harry didn't remember Sirius comment, but us readers do!

I like how Harry has better priorities.

and the way Sirius rationalized everything and began to see Harry as an individual person, as his responsability as godfather made me go AWWWWWWW

and want to give them both a Big Hug.

you should win a fanfic award on how you write Sirius. I think the way you write him is the most believable, fleshed out while in character Sirius I ever read.

good luck with the rest of the requests!

Kathya Jackson
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 9th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: LOL. I'm getting requester inpersonated!/ Kathya Jackson

Will fix that immediately. Sorry--must have missed your name when I was copy-pasting the request! ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 9th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

the Alderman christmas ficlet- PERFECT perfect perfect!

Oh I absolutely LOVE what you did with the prop.
Not only do I love how you fleshed out how Wizards *and in the case of Alderman a Catholic wizard* rationalize being magic with religion.

the way he interacted with the muggleborn kids *ingenious how you had them have all the obvious doubt people would have regarding wizards and religion; I know I personally had a few of those questions when I started reading the book and it was such a shame they NEVER got addressed, so your was a nice take on it*

the way Alderman told everything and sigh, the entire thing just warmed my heart. like I said absolutely perfect for the season.

I'm going to keep alderman in mind from now on, for future requests you know...

one last thing, something I'm kind of unsure about...
is Alderman one of the werewolf kids/pups Lupin took under his wing when he was infiltrating Greyback's layer, in... I think your Shade fic?

or is he the Werewolf Lupin talks with at St. Mungo when they all go visit Arthur Weasley?

Thanks and merry christmas!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 10th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: the Alderman christmas ficlet- PERFECT perfect perfect!

Alderman's one of the kids from Shades. Unfortunately, the werewolf Remus talks to in OotP did not, in Shifts, live very long.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 10th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: the Alderman christmas ficlet- PERFECT perfect perfect!


so little Alderman grows up to be a priest.
that's beautiful
41 comments or Leave a comment