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Stray, Chapter Twenty-Four: Shrovetide, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Stray, Chapter Twenty-Four: Shrovetide, pt. 2
OMG, it's a Stray chapter! ;p Seriously, I left them in a safe place and didn't feel any urgency, and then I realized that it's been two months. Not a good way to get it finished, eh? And I don't finish it, I'll never get to decide whether or not to do Teddy's seventh year, or James's second.

Anyway, Fiona was cleared of Dougie's murder, but everyone deduces that someone is trying to cause her trouble, so Sirius, Remus, and Tonks take the three Brodies to Brazil, where Sirius had been hiding out during the summer (well, the winter, in Brazil, but the summer from Harry's letter-receiving perspective). It's February. Dumbledore, realizing where they had gone, sent some Muggle money via a friend of Kingsley's, and a list of houses they might visit.

I'm creaky; it may take a couple of entries to get back into things.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Dora and Remus stayed overnight, but they agreed with Dumbledore that it would be better to get back to Britain as quickly as possible to avoid anyone's undue notice. They would have to Apparate back the same way they'd come, as they had no papers, which would make Portkeys somewhat troublesome, so they got an early start after saying goodbye to Fiona and the girls over breakfast. Sirius walked them to the edge of a great park, where they could Disapparate without much trouble, and transformed as soon as he knew no one was watching.

"I'll be back in Hogsmeade soon," he said. "I'll stop up by your place"--he looked at Lupin--"and leave a note so you know I'm there, it avoids the possibility of a Patronus showing up somewhere it shouldn't--"

"Why don't you stay?" Dora asked.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, stay. Be safe until we get you cleared."

"Dora..." Remus started, in a tone of voice that made it quite obvious that they'd discussed this matter, and she was breaking from the approved script.

"Remus, I'm sorry, I know about Harry, and I know what Sirius is worried about, but there's not much he can do, and here..." She looked at Sirius. "Sirius, you obviously like it here, and you care for Fiona, and she could use your help."

Sirius waited to make sure she was finished, then said, "I'll leave a note when I get there, so there's no untoward Patronus sighting."

Dora sighed.

Sirius touched her arm and led her away. She looked frustrated. "I know you're worried," he said. "And I love you for it."

"But you're coming back."

He nodded. "I have to. I don't know what I'll be good for, but I can't just sit here on a beach looking after a woman who can take care of herself perfectly well. Harry's my godson. I'm going to find some way to help him."

"That's what Remus said you'd say."

"He's known me longer than you have. And he's quite smart about some things, if a little blind about what's sitting right in front of him."


"Never mind." He kissed her cheek. "Go on, Dora. I'll get the Brodies settled somewhere and I'll stay until I know they're on their feet. But you watch Harry. Get as close to that damned tournament as you can."

"All right. But be careful, Sirius, please."

He agreed, then watched her join Remus. The two of them looked at him, then turned and Disapparated.

Sirius transformed and padded back to the hotel, where Kirsty had laid out the pictures of the houses Dumbledore had sent. She and Fiona were bent over them. Elspeth had gone back to sleep.

"I don't know if we have the proper papers," Fiona said. "I'm sure they won't let us buy a house in a foreign country without papers."

"I have a feeling Dumbledore will have taken care of it," Sirius said. "His letter mentioned a new alias for me. Do you mind if I check the letter again? He probably left a clue in it."

"Doesn't that man ever just say anything?" Fiona asked.

Sirius laughed. "Not that I recall." He slid the letter out and started reading it over again. The bit about his own gift to the Order's coffers was plain enough, though he suspected it hadn't been enough to just plunk down on a house (he hadn't had the faintest idea how long he'd need to rely on Uncle Alphard's gold). There was certainly no need to question the bit about Larissa Alves, a name which meant absolutely nothing to him and would therefore make a spectacularly bad code. Likewise, the instructions to have Dora and Remus leave early were perfectly plain. He let his eyes scan it lazily, hoping some phrase would jump out at him.

James's parents were also kind enough to bequeath a bit to us.

He stopped.

Mr. and Mrs. Potter had left all of their gold to James. Yes, they would have certainly known that he'd put a healthy amount into the coffers, but they hadn't left anything directly at all. There would have been too many chances for Voldemort's people to stop a bequest in its tracks.

"Charlus Potter," he said, and shook his head. "Of course. There'll be papers. Charlus and Dorea."


"That's why he mentioned the Alves woman," Sirius said, mostly to himself. He stood up. "Fiona, you need to contact the magical bureau in Rio de Janeiro. Tell them you're Dorea Potter, and you need to speak to Larissa Alves..."

Fiona had been concerned that she didn't speak any Portuguese, but apparently memorizing the phrase "Você fala Inglês?"--Do you speak English?--was enough. Her pronunciation was bad enough that the person who answered her Floo call immediately switched languages, then called for Larissa Alves. Sirius had anticipated being given a drop-spot for their papers, but instead, Alves had promptly Apparated into the hotel, carrying papers for the Charlus Potter, and fresh ones made up in Fiona's maiden name for her and for the girls.

"I would have made you Potters as well," she said, "as Mr. Shacklebolt suggested, but I said, no, if they are to stay, it should be on names they know."

"Thank you," Fiona said. "I haven't been Fiona MacLaren in a very long time."

"Well, you are now. And Mr. Potter here is your uncle, who has a land claim."

"Oh, but we haven't seen any houses!" Kirsty said.

"You would care to...shop?" Larissa asked, surprised. "I thought you would choose to have shelter more quickly. I found a nice home."

"On the beach?"

"On the river," Larissa said. "I am sorry, but homes on the beach are more expensive than can be covered by the sum Mr. Dumbledore said you have."

"Any place will be fine," Fiona said. "I'm grateful for your help."

Larissa leaned in confidentially. "I am having fun, yes? My life is much more exciting since I met Mr. Shacklebolt last month."

"A month?" Sirius asked. "You only met him a month ago?"

"At a New Year's Eve party. Your friend Miss Tonks was there as well. It was her parents'."

Sirius blinked. He hadn't quite got around to trusting Kingsley Shacklebolt completely, and now he was meant to trust someone Kingsley had known for a grand total of a month. But so far, so good.

Dora had paid for the room until the end of the week, so there was no rush. Larissa spent the afternoon with Fiona, helping her find advertisements for positions where she wouldn't need much Portuguese. Sirius taught the girls what little he knew of the language, and showed them the Brazilian wizarding coins they'd be using.

The next day, Larissa took them to the house she'd found for them. It was a small house that looked out over the river. Bright birds nested in the thick trees, and monkeys made chittering noises not far away. Sirius could see that the girls were entranced.

"Are there dangerous animals?" Kirsty asked, swinging back from a foray onto a deck in back. "Lions and tigers?"

"No lions and tigers," Larissa said. "But there are dangerous things. The house is sealed against them, but do not swim in the river until you know what swims with you."

"Let's leave that at 'Don't swim in the river,'" Fiona said, coming out of a bedroom wearing a neat work robe that Larissa had brought for her. "Sirius, could you watch the girls? Miss Alves has found me an interview with an English wizard who needs a maid."

Sirius agreed, and while she was gone, he had the girls go off and find several large rocks and pieces of wood. They set them around as furniture, then had a great deal of fun as Sirius Transfigured them into fanciful sofas and ottomans and anything else that occurred to him. Eventually, they'd need to get real furniture--Fiona's skill wasn't enough to keep them Transfigured--but for now, this would do. When they'd finished, they went out to the river, where Sirius caught fish. The girls cleaned and deboned them, and by the time Fiona got home (proudly stating that she'd got the job), they were quite settled in.

The girls had taken separate rooms--they were quite excited about this--and Fiona was in the master bedroom. Neither she nor Sirius made a great fuss about pretending that he would sleep on the Transfigured sofa.

The raucous jungle sounds of the day faded into softer sounds of water and night animals, and Sirius lay beside Fiona, looking out the window at the stars softened by the rising steam. He was sweating comfortably, warm and relaxed. Beside him, Fiona stretched her arms, making gentle little popping sounds in her spine.

"Everything's moving so fast," she said.

"It's stopped now."

"I want it to stop here for a long time. I don't want to move around again for a very long time."

"You don't need to."

"I want you to stay with us."

Sirius rolled over onto his side and kissed her forehead. "I can't. I mean, I will until I know you're all right, but I can't."

"Will you come back? After whatever is going to happen has happened?"

He didn't answer.

"Once it's all over. Come here. Be warm with us."

"Maybe. I'd like that, I think. If Harry hasn't grown up by then, he could come, too. He could use some sunshine."

"He could come anyway," Fiona said.

"Yeah. Sure." Sirius rolled back onto his back. "It'll be nice."

Neither of them spoke for the rest of the night, though they were both awake for a long time.
8 comments or Leave a comment
From: severely_lupine Date: January 26th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
if a little blind about what's sitting right in front of him -- Heehee

carrying papers for the Charlus Potter -- OMG! THE Charlus Potter?

Larissa's cute. I do hope she is indeed trustworthy. If Dumbledore's trusting her with this, it makes me wonder if he hadn't met her before Kingsley did.

I still have to wonder how this thing with Fiona will end that will explain no one ever mentioning her again and Harry never finding out about her.

Glad to see this coming along, and I'm sure whatever you decide to write next will be great. I hope if you do write a James book, it will include a fair amount of Albus, Rose, and Scorpius, as well. (Though I'm still hoping you'll get inspired to write another alt-POV story about our favorite werewolf and his lady.)
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: January 26th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
It depresses me, how much I love Fiona and Sirius, only because I know IT CANNOT BEEEEEEEEE. *anguish*
willowbough From: willowbough Date: January 26th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
A nice, tranquil resolution to the Brodies' story--and they could certainly use some peace and tranquility after such a bleak time. As always, it's a bit sad to contemplate what might have been for Sirius. Great to see this story back!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: January 27th, 2010 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel the weepies looming... I hope at least Fiona and the girls will be okay, but I don't remember them from any of the Teddy stories.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: January 26th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
How wonderful to see a new chapter in this story. The ending, however, was bittersweet. We know that Sirius will not be retiring to warmth and family life, but I wish that he did!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 10th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)


I love this story. I hope to see new updates soon. Please?
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 14th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC) (Link)
You are an amazing writer and I find your stories gripping. Can you please update this one as soon as possible, I realy excited to see what will happen next.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 9th, 2011 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh god, this is so good. Please update soon, and please, please don't ever stop writing.
8 comments or Leave a comment