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The Clue In The Cauldron, Chapter 14: Letters from Home (2) - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Clue In The Cauldron, Chapter 14: Letters from Home (2)
James and his friends discovered the old roundhouse from a spur of the Hogwarts Express that no longer runs. A pooka--a shapeshifting, fire-breathing horse of Irish folklore--inhabits it. Harry comes to teach his classes. Since the boys and Rose have detention, he can't take them to Hogsmeade for dinner, so they have a picnic lunch together, and he tells them that the Aurors are having a little trouble as well. After lunch, he pulls James aside and says essentially that, while the punishment for recklessness may have been observed, James did the job of finding the roundhouse very well, and deserves praise for it. This pleases James.

Anyway, I almost forgot that I'd set up an interval-like device!

God help me, I had a brainwave and I now know what happens in Teddy's seventh year, if not entirely how it plays out.

Chapter 14:
Letters from Home (2)

October 29
Dear James,
First, a message from the portraits. I was at Grimmauld Place the other night, and I asked about the question you sent me. Your grandfather said he has no particular objections to your decision to observe Halloween by telling the story of the Marauders in the Gryffindor Common Room. He seemed rather touched by it, actually. Sirius, of course, was enthusiastic, and asked that he be given a grand battle at some point. Dad's embarrassed by the attention, so I asked Mum at my place, and she thinks it a good idea. Better, as she put it, than either forgetting entirely about them and drinking pumpkin juice, or doing what she claims I do, which is sit around moping on the day they left the world. In fact, she asked me to do the same thing on Victory Day, but to tell stories of Dad and the werewolves and the year they spent at Grimmauld Place with Sirius--"And you'd best do it with pink hair and a smile on your face, Ted Lupin!" I'm not sure the portraits are always right, but it's what I have. Better to spend remembrance days celebrating them than being angry.

Let me know how it goes, anyway.

Second, it's none of your business where Victoire might or might not have disappeared to on her Hogsmeade weekend. For all her classmates know, she just went for a walk in the mountains, looking for new plants for her N.E.W.T. project. Or she might have been bird-watching.

Third, I hope you and Al will come up to the island over Christmas hols. It's getting cold up here, but the auroras are starting to show up, and I think you'll like them. Anyway, I want some reason to decorate. No fun when no one comes to see me, right?

I need more details of your adventure. It's not like you to say, "Dad will tell you all about it." Uncle Harry's idea of telling me about it was to say, "James is brilliant! Found a pooka in a train station and got his friends out safe!" I want to know all about it. It sounds far better than my kappa story. Do you think it has anything to do with your friend Silas?

On that matter, I can promise you that we're working on it. There are no new leads, but we'll get him back.


November 6
Dear Rosie,
Another detention! I'm impressed. Don't tell your mum I said that, of course. Sorry you got caught before you saw the fireworks, though. Next Bonfire Night, I'll send a pack to you, and if it looks like you won't be able to catch James, you can always just send them up from Ravenclaw Tower. You'll still get detention, but at least you'll get the benefit of seeing the show first.

I was a little concerned when you were Sorted into Ravenclaw. You seemed so happy about it when you wrote, I didn't want to say anything. But I'm not entirely surprised to hear that you're bored. Your mum would have been bored, too, so you don't have to worry about disappointing her by admitting it. I'll give James a good shaking for not getting you into more of his schemes, but in the meantime, you really should think about starting your own schemes in your House. There's no reason you can't beat James at his own game--ask Story Shacklebolt about hex wars. Head Boy or no, I'll wager he'll have a good answer for you, and after holidays, it's quite possible that you'll find yourself well-armed.

In answer to your question, no, nothing else has been stolen. Nothing ever disappeared from our shop, quite honestly. I asked the shopkeepers who did lose things. Most of it was older than our merchandise, and we speculated that someone is looking for an old artifact. I'm working on a new set of protection spells, just in case.

Don't be too frustrated, Rosie-love. The Hat has its reasons for doing things, and you can trust that you're where you need to be. It took your mum some time to feel at home in Gryffindor (I suppose Fred and I didn't help matters, though we had nothing on your dad in that department... and that worked out quite well in the end!). I've been thinking about what Ravenclaws might like, and I'm sending along a mystery game. Try it in the Common Room. They might like a puzzle to solve. And if all else fails, I think Nana is sending biscuits.


November 14
To Professor Pomona Sprout
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Dear Professor Sprout:
On behalf of my client, Ronan Boyle, I request the immediate release of all remaining possessions of Silas Boyle, nephew of said Ronan. In the absence of Kenneth Boyle, the boy's father and guardian, my client is the boy's sole caretaker.

He is, of course, interested in discovering the whereabouts of his nephew and brother, and believes he may find clues Aurors overlook, as he knows his nephew well. I have spoken to the authorities at Azkaban, and offered them compelling reasons to allow said possessions to enter the prison.

We will expect delivery of the remaining possessions (excluding the boy's toad, which my client feels would be unduly disturbed by a change in location) by the first of December.

Yours respectfully,

November 21
Dear Al,
Happy birthday! Though with your nice, long letter, I feel like I'm the one who got a present.

No one has the slightest idea why Mr. Boyle wants Silas's things, so feel free to speculate, and let us know what you come up with. Uncle Ron is sure he's up to something. For myself, I think he may simply be doing what the rest of us are--trying to find the pieces that fit together. He seems quite sincere in his worry, at any rate.

I'm glad to hear that you're spending time with your dormitory mates, however awkwardly named they might be. I always feel an urge to apologize to every little Harry I meet. (I know, I can hear you already, thinking, "It didn't stop him from naming me after a war hero!" I am comfortable with this hypocrisy, largely because Professors Dumbledore and Snape--and Mum, Dad, and Sirius, for that matter--have sadly not been included in the naming frenzy, so you aren't drowning in other Albuses.) Your year seemed like a good lot when I was up teaching. I hope Mr. Gaines is successful in finding a new nickname, if he's really that uncomfortable as "Ron," but he might re-think letting people call him "Dupe," no matter what they say it's short for.

Things are going well at work. Thank you for asking. I suspect you wouldn't if you weren't finding November as dull as you seem to be finding it. I'm afraid that, despite your veiled requests, I'm not going to be opening up the roundhouse again any time soon. Ruth Scrimgeour and Anthony Goldstein have been trying to control the pooka, and have not had any great success. There are apparently only certain people in the world who can control it, and we aren't among them. Hagrid may have a go at it. You and James may not. Ruth would like to remind both of you that, should you have a way to become invisible, you may want to remember that you still leave footprints in wet grass if you're eavesdropping.

It's hard to believe it's nearly December. I can't wait to see you again. This house is altogether too big with the pair of you gone.


December 8
Dear James your room is very messy and I cleaned it and made Christmas things for it so don't break them when you come home like you did last year. I didn't drop your papers on purpose. They were just more stupid stories. I especially didn't like the one with the shark and the kelpie, since sharks don't live with kelpies. I read it three times.

I went shopping with Mummy today, and we bought Christmas presents, but I won't tell you what they are, even the ones that aren't for you. We ran into Teddy at the jewelry store. He was acting funny. Uncle George says hello and that you should ask Rosie about something. I told him you never ask girls about things, except for Celia because you want to k-i-s-s her. He thinks that's funny.

See you at Christmas, if I have to.


20 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 26th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Bril.liant as usual

Hi Fern - chronic lurker Beth here. Brilliant as usual - I'm really enjoying this story. Nice to see Harry from another POV. Keep it up!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Bril.liant as usual

I just love Harry. I want to show lots of other people who love Harry. :D
mint_green From: mint_green Date: April 26th, 2010 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I laughed so hard at this chapter, between Uncle George's great advice and Lily.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
It would have to drive Hermione vaguely batty to think her genius girl turns to the surviving twin for advice on how to use her time...
From: severely_lupine Date: April 26th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha! Love it. And poor Teddy, as usual.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
He can't get away from school gossip even when he's not at school!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 26th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Letters chapter like this are always fun to read, and have the added benefit of making time pass more quickly in the story.

Intrigued to hear you may be hatching a Year 7 plot bunny for Teddy. But no rush, seriously. ;-)
sidealong From: sidealong Date: April 26th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hatching Bunnies?

I've always been confused by the whole Easter Bunny brings eggs thing. Ha!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I was bored lately and re-reading earlier Teddy stories, and I realized that there's one big gun on the mantle that I never did fire.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: April 26th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those were lovely letters, especially the one from George to Rosie. I'm looking forward to see the kind of pranks smart Rosie comes up with.

We don't object to more Teddy, you know.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so bad at pranks myself (so not the way my brain turns) that I quite honestly might just leave that to your imagination. ;p
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: April 26th, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bird watching! Hahaha.

Love these. Fantastic.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Bird watching!

Well, not an entire lie... ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 26th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
These interludes are marvellous. You dip in and out of different points of view beautifully. I've missed these. Among the highlights were Dora telling Teddy to tell stories about she and Remus on Victory day--Good for her! must remember to ask for that if you decide to do another challenge call sometime--and Harry's wish to appologize to all his namesakes, which is a very Harry thing to think. And Lily's whole letter was priceless.
And more Teddy? Deffinitly looking forward to that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I can see Harry being very embarrassed by the adulation that would undoubtedly follow the TDH exploits.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: April 26th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Look at what we're losing by not sending letters anymore! These are priceless. I loved them all and they're a wonderful way to fill in the background and to show us different perspectives on the action.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 27th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, e-mails just don't do it, do they?
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: April 27th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
lovely chapter fern, lovely everything actually. november seems to always be a boring time at hogwarts, isn't it? and even in tdh, weren't harry ron and hermione (or maybe just harry and hermione, i totally forget) just poking about in the forest?

the letters were a lovely mix of storytelling and characterization. i would write down everything i liked about them, but i'd only be repeating the whole chapter. but this one is quite striking:

I especially didn't like the one with the shark and the kelpie, since sharks don't live with kelpies. I read it three times.

oh lily. i wonder how many times you read a story that you did like.

also, what is it that james should ask rosie, according to uncle george?
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: April 28th, 2010 01:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I love George! And Lily, too. Hee.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 28th, 2010 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)


Hi Fernwithy,

I'm having a lot of fun reading The Clue In The Cauldron. The only type of fanfiction that I'm following is NextGen HP stories, and you're the only author I read. I absolutely adored every Teddy story. I can't wait to see what marvelous yarn you'll be spinning to tell us what happened in Teddy's seventh year.

Back to James' story, the letters were so sweet. I love how they both entertain and move the story along as we check in with characters who are separate from the main characters. My favorite part was when Lily told James that she didn't like his story and not being aware what reading it three times means!

Keep up the great work!
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