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The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Clue In The Cauldron, Chapter 5: Letters from Home (1)
Hmm. Teddy didn't need interlude chapters, but I feel a need for one here.

Chapter 5:
Letters from Home (1)

September 3, 2017
Dear Scorpius,
Your mother and I are very sorry that you imagined we wouldn't be pleased with your Sorting. Imagine--the same House as the Headmistress! And my dear cousin, Nymphadora Lupin, was a Hufflepuff herself, and as I understand it, a great supporter of the House's honor. It stings, in a nostalgic way, that we are not in our traditional House, but given the state of things as they stand, it is perhaps a much better thing to have you Sorted out of it. You may hear a rumor that, when I was a child, I had a less than enthusiastic response to Hufflepuff House, but I had other wrong-headed ideas as a child as well, and hope that you will not have stumbled across too many of them.

We haven't entirely decided how to explain the situation to your grandfather. Grandmother believes it to be for the best, and your mother thinks that her parents would have approved as well. But Grandfather is set in his ways. We shall be careful with the approach, shan't we?

As your mother and I know little about Hufflepuff, we have taken the opportunity to invite the Finch-Fletchleys and the Macmillans for tea on Sunday. We hope to create as good an impression as we can for you. To that end, we have also invested in Dafydd Apcarne's new publishing house, which seems to be doing well. I purchased his history of Hufflepuff as well, and will send it along when I've finished reading it (unless there is already a copy available in the House?).

Your sister was quite upset not to have come to the station with us. We told her about your exciting new home, and she's drawn the badger which is enclosed (at least we believe it to be a badger, as this is what we recommended).

As to the matter of your cloak pin, there is no need to panic. It will eventually show up. Perhaps a teacher would be kind enough to do a Locator Spell for you.

Your mother and I miss you, and hope you find your new House to your liking.



September 5
Dear Al,
I hope you gave your brother what-for as soon as you were Sorted. All that angst for nothing, right?

The house seems very empty with just Mum and Lily and me rolling about in it like a few peas in a can. Lily has started talking to Martian and Arf in lieu of you and James (I think Arf is meant to be you, and Martian is supposed to be James). She wins a great many arguments with them, but I think she's bored. Letters from the pair of you would do her a world of good, if you've got time. I seem to remember that the first week is quite busy. She'll want to hear about your new friends and your favorite classes. I'm interested in them as well. I spoke to Professor Longbottom by Floo--Auror business, I'm afraid, all of these thefts!--and he mentioned that you chose an interesting partner in Herbology. A new Hufflepuff, no less. I shall be quite interested to hear about that.

I hope you are also spending time with James, despite his teasing. He does love you a lot. And he may have things he'd like to share with you. Quills, books, boring things like that, of course. I'm sure, as a parent, that he has nothing interesting or potentially dangerous that he would want to share. As his brother, I'm sure you also know how careful and stodgy he and his belongings are, but I'm sure he'll want to share them, anyway. Be patient with this, and let him.

I think Phineas Nigellus misses you. He's been spending more time with the portrait of your grandfather and Sirius and Lupin, arguing with Lupin about how Hogwarts ought to be run. I'm sure he'll find a way to complain about everything you tell us when you come home for holidays.

That's only a few months, isn't it?


September 5
I know that at some point, we both moved to London--it would certainly be delightful to see you here!

Oh, I know, Hogwarts is busy at the beginning of the year--and you're having a devilish time letting Robards be Head of Gryffindor, aren't you? But surely the mandrakes have settled into a sturdy young adulthood by now, and can be left alone for the night? Abbott is missing his father. He had quite a loud dissertation on the subject earlier, involving the Wretched Vegetable, which he'll only eat for you.

Still, don't feel guilty. It really has only been a few days, as your Patronus pointed out. I suppose I could send mine, but I've never been terribly sure of it. I know you'll be back soon.

Ron and the Scrimgeour girl were here for hours today, looking at the case from Borgin and Burke, tracing any sort of residual magic. They've found something, but nothing they can identify. Young Maurice is beside himself. I don't blame him, though--heaven knows what was waiting for him in that shop. Apparently, the cuff links aren't the only things to go missing. Ron told me that little things have been falling off the face of the earth quite a lot lately. There's no pattern that anyone can see, nothing that everything comes together to build. But right after the party, there were thefts at Flourish and Blotts, the apothecary, and Ollivander's--a valuable diary, a cauldron, and some dragon heartstring, respectively. And the Minister's watch has gone missing. Nothing is particularly threatening, but the Aurors are taking it seriously--or as seriously as Ron and Ruth possibly can. When I left them to go write this, they were hypothesizing about what one might build with cufflinks and a cauldron. It was becoming a bit absurd.

When you do get back, could you swing through Weasleys' Zonks? Verity Jordan has a teething potion that apparently doesn't last well in the post, but she says it's very effective.

I really do hope to see you soon!

All my love,

September 8
Victoire says you have graciously forgiven us our indiscretion at the station and are willing to consider extenuating circumstances, or perhaps a plea of insanity on the subject.

I'm afraid I will have to confess to some degree of insanity. I love your cousin. Deal with it.

With that out of the way, how's school? Are you and Al spending any time together, or just ignoring each other like Marie and Aimee do most of the time? (And speaking of them, how are they taking Artie's Sorting? The family is making a lot of cheerful noises, but I'm not sure they know what to do with it. Granny's found herself spending a lot of time trying to explain the concept of Slytherin House.)

In response to your letter, the island is going well. Nate Blondin has brought the crew up to really start building the house, and whenever I'm not at work, I'm exploring. No luck so far with the Hogboon, but to tell the truth, I'm not trying very hard. I actually sort of like having a Hogboon. Why tame the whole place?

When you were staying here, did you happen to notice the crystal candlesticks I had in the shack? They weren't exactly part of the decorating scheme. I'd brought them home from work to study by the auroras. I can't seem to remember where I put them. Those weren't the ones you and Lily were using for wands and dueling with, were they? If so, do you remember where they ended up? It's not anything major; they've been sitting around the department for years, but I'm a little worried about losing artifacts before my apprenticeship is even up.

On your other question, I think you've got everything I may have accidentally left behind in the dormitory--if you checked the space under the skirting board, the compartment under the floor, and the bottom of the wardrobe, then that's all there is, I'm afraid. You'll need a new set of clues to follow. It'll be easier next year when you can go to Hogsmeade. Could well be there are some interesting things on Screech Hill, where the Shrieking Shack used to be.

I might fly down on the first Hogsmeade weekend. I can't meet you in town, but I might drop up to visit Roger, and if I do, I'll send Wings up to the castle so you and Al can come down and meet me.

I haven't had a chance to get all the way through your new chapter yet, but I like it so far. Needs a little polishing, but I like the bit where Jason and Violet have to learn a dead language, and she's complaining about not knowing it yet. Where did you pick that up? I took Lily and Hugo to the museum after we left the train station. Both think it would be a fine idea if we were to work a dinosaur into the story. Any ideas?


September 10
Dear James and Al,
It's been so lovely to get all of your letters. We've spent nearly five minutes reading them three times each. (James--I know you can do better, and Al, I expect you can as well.)

In the spirit of brevity you inspired, I will answer your questions:
1. Beef stew and fresh bread
2. The Harpies are doing badly this season.
3. (for James) Chaser, of course, though Dad thinks Seeker.
4. (for Al) As a youngest, I have to tell you, don't count on it.
5. Rainy
6. Not really.
7. Of course we miss you! That's why we want longer letters. And possibly pictures.


P.S.: Lily wants to add something.

P.P.S.: My mirror is gone is it at school please. I don't miss you and Arf and Martian don't miss you either. And Al tell James I don't want one of his stupid stories except if it's about finding my mirror. I won't even read it if he sends one.

P.P.P.S.: Translation, she also lost a page of the story you wrote about the princess and her adventures and is very upset about it. James, you know what to do. And if you do happen across that mirror in one of your trunks--she means that old one that Kreacher found for her last year--please send it back. I didn't realize it was a magical doorway to a special Hogwarts that lets in nine-year-olds.

Love and kisses,


18 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: March 5th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Love the baby-sister signatures -- adorable!
beceh From: beceh Date: March 5th, 2010 09:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Love it.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: March 5th, 2010 10:20 am (UTC) (Link)
An intersting pattern of sparly thefts, there! Nifflers with invisibility cloaks?

I love Harry and Ginny's letters expecially, but they're all fabulous.
From: daphne_23 Date: March 5th, 2010 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
This is great! Love the signatures (and you've actually managed to approximate Harry's handwriting - at least, it looks like his notes in 'Fantastic Beasts' to me...)
willowbough From: willowbough Date: March 5th, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fun section. Epistolary chapters give you unique opportunities to write in different character voices. I may have enjoyed Teddy's and Ginny's letters most, though it's interesting to see that Draco seems to be a fairly doting dad.
From: severely_lupine Date: March 5th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I just glanced at the first one, saw that it was from Draco and saw the picture, my first thought was, "Aw, Draco drew Scorpius a picture." And then after a minute or so I realized, "Wait, that's silly."

"my dear cousin" -- LOL! I do love how the Malfoys have sort of jumped into this with both feet, even if it means some hasty backpedaling.

Love Harry's comment about James and his stodgy belongings.

Oh, and what's with all the thefts? Quite interesting...
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: March 5th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
What fun! You did a great job capturing the voices of all the writers. So the thefts (or disappearances) aren't all silver. Interesting.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 5th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

this is getting so good! and awww

all the little drawings and signatures were soooo cute.

is this going to be as long as Shifts or Dedalus Maze, or a couple of chapter long?

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 5th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love it! I couldn't feel too cynical about Draco's "dear cousin" and all since he's saying it to reassure his 11 year old son. Does make me wonder about discussions about the past in their home, especially since, whatever Draco's approach to the subject, it's helped produce a nice kid who went straight to Hufflepuff (which suggests a home environment that, whatever the revisionist tendencies, encouraged a pretty straightforward mindset).

The thefts common factors -

1. Pretty random overall.

2. It's unclear whether all had some kind of magic built into them or not. I'm guessing not, however.

3. Who owns the item doesn't seem to be a factor.

4. Difficulty getting the item doesn't seem to be a major consideration. They're geographically all over the place and in places that would be hard to get to (the island is isolated and has a hogboon, I assume Harry's house is still thick with defensive magic from the old days, Scorpius' pin was taken right off him).

Taken together, this suggests the items are being collected magically. The magic doing it is either accidental or a spell that's forced to act randomly. I'm guessing it's accidental or a side effect of some other magic since a thief who tried to get something this randomly is drawing a lot of unwanted attention for little return.

On the other hand, although the HP universe hasn't touched too much on this kind of magic, a lot of traditional magic had to do with associational magic, using a thing that had been owned by another person to put a spell on that person. Looked at that way, stealing something from almost every wizard and witch in the UK is REALLY troubling.

sidealong From: sidealong Date: March 5th, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking some sort of magical electromagnet-- ala LOST. Very mysterious Fern! But I like the niffler idea.

Love the letters and signatures. Draco's looks like a quill, his daughter's looks like a crayon. Love that Draco mentions some of his youthful ideas may have been wrong-headed. Love that Harry knows about the MAP. Love that Ginny sends such a short letter to show her sons how sad it is to receive short letters. Apparently Hannah and Neville have more clues than our young Harry's Boys!

Thanks for brightening my day!
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 5th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heee, love it! I'm a sucker for the epistolary form, always, and I love imagining what was in the letters these respond to. The only thing that rang false for me was that Draco, after all his fabulous "we"-ing, would be "Dad" rather than "Father," but maybe that's his way of distancing himself from his own father.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: March 5th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love that Draco has taken advantage of his son's Sorting by making Hufflepuff business contacts.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: March 6th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww, those were really cute letters! And nice little clues all over them, too.

(Lily deserves a hug!)
lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: March 6th, 2010 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just got caught up & I'm loving this story so far. I especially liked Draco trying to move into the Hufflepuff old boys network.
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: March 7th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I read all five chapters yesterday. This story does remind me of the Hardy Boys.

I'm especially glad that Scorpius and Rose are in different houses than their parents. Offspring should never be a carbon copy. Look how uncomfortable it's made Harry.

My only critique is I got a bit bogged down while reading about some of James' and Al's classmates. It's hard to make new characters; I'm sure they will get a bit more interesting as you go.
(Deleted comment)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 9th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a hunch that all these disappearances have something to do with the swirly pattern on the Boylers gift and Sallas's trunk – hmm? Hmm?? O.O

And, naturally, love all the letters and signatures, but especially Dracos for its slytherinness that you do so well and that I love in all your Teddy-verse Slytherins =^.^= Second place goes to Ginny-mom for her mom-wit XD

mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love all of the different signatures. LOL at the drawing of the "badger". :D Good story!
18 comments or Leave a comment