The Sugar Quill
Author: Ozma (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Squib Guardian  Chapter: Chapter One: A Caretaker's Work is Never Done
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Squib Caretaker: The Alchemist’s Door

Squib Guardian

a Harry Potter fan-fic

by Ozma

A sequel to Squib Summer

Chapter One(of Two, plus epilogue): A Caretaker’s Work is Never Done

Everything in this story really belongs to J.K. Rowling

(My special thanks to Darklady,

Myrtle’s very own bathroom design consultant!)

 

 

 

"Well, that’s it then," Hagrid said. He slung the large sack containing his belongings up onto his shoulder, then he looked down at me. "I’m off. Yeh’ll be all righ’, Filch. I’d tell yeh not ter worry while I’m gone, but it’d be the same as telling yeh not ter breathe."

I sputtered indignantly.

The half-giant grinned, then his expression sobered as he turned away from me to take leave of his dogs. Fang the massive boarhound and Fluffy the even more massive Cerberus gathered around their master, whimpering sadly and licking Hagrid’s face and hands.

The big man murmured endearments at the pair of drooling beasts. They were told "ter be good boys an’ look after each other, the Castle and the ‘old git’" (meaning me).

"I’d tell you not to do anything reckless while you’re away," I said to Hagrid, gruffly, "but you’d need to overcome the habits of a lifetime first." My voice cracked. Saying good-bye, knowing that it could very well be for the last time, did not grow any easier with practice.

Hagrid clapped me on the back. The rough, comforting gesture said what neither of us could put into words.

Then I felt something else. A surge of powerful magic had reached out to both of us. The Castle itself was reacting to Hagrid’s leaving. To my surprise, the half-giant was clearly aware of it too. The groundskeeper watched my eyes grow wide.

"Hagrid? The Castle...y-you...!"

The Keeper of the Keys nodded gravely. "Dumbledore said that yeh’d already bin Noticed," he murmured.

"When...?"

The half-giant put the bundle down on the ground by his feet. "The firs’... no, it was the second night that Harry and yeh spent at St. Mungo’s. Dumbledore was away with poor Harry o’course, an’ I was here alone. Summat came. I’m not sure what, jus’ that it was Dark. It moved through the Forest, tryin’ ter rouse the Wild creatures, bind ‘em ter its will, an’ set ‘em against the Castle.

"Aragog an’ his family, the centaurs... all of ‘em could feel it. I felt it too. Buildin’ a spell, tryin ter tear down walls inside me, walls that I never knew were there."

The look in Hagrid’s dark eyes as he spoke was deep and fathomless. I was reminded that he belonged to a lineage more ancient than any Pureblooded wizard could claim.

"Imagine summat trying ter be Master o’the Forest!" Hagrid growled, shaking his shaggy head. He grimaced. "Stupid! The Forest’s much too old and Wild fer that. The creatures who live there belong ter themselves. They’d go mad or die afore they’d call anyone or anything ‘Master!’ I was afraid fer myself an’ fer them. The thought of ‘em tearin’ themselves ter bloody scraps, breaking themselves against each other..."

The dogs reacted to Hagrid’s anger. Fang pressed up against his master’s knees, whimpering while Fluffy’s heads nudged at the half-giant’s shoulders anxiously. The Groundskeeper rested a hand on each dog’s back and continued more softly. "I had ter save ‘em. Only, I didn’ know what I could do on my own."

"And you Called to the Castle for help," I murmured, remembering how it had been for me. Ginny and Neville trapped at my side, death everywhere around us and all hope lost.

Hagrid nodded. "It was like reaching out ter summat that’d always bin there, jus’ waiting fer me ter turn around an’ see," he said, softly. "It filled me up. So much power, I couldn’t bear ter hold it fer more’n a minute or two at a time. So it came an’ went, but it never went far. I stayed up all night, wandering through the trees. Spoke ter whoever an’ whatever I saw. Dunno what I said. Or even what I did ter break the spell that the Dark thing was tryin ter build."

He sighed. "I’m sure I don’t have ter tell yeh how weak an’ hurt an’ broken up I felt when it was over an’ the Magic let me go fer the las’ time. I jus’ fell down like I was dead. Dumbledore found me the next morning, with Firenze watching over me. He had ter get me back out a’ the Forest on his own. I couldn’ have walked ter save my life. Had ter stay in bed fer a couple a’ days after that. Bin getting my strength back ever since. Olympe’s bin worried, but I’m alrigh’ now."

I shook my head in amazement, wonder and sympathy. "You’re very lucky, Hagrid," I told him. A wave of guilt swept over me. I had noticed that Hagrid was looking a bit tired but, preoccupied with my own recent hospital stay, I’d had no idea what an ordeal he’d just been through. "I would have been dead after a night like that. Maybe even the Headmaster would have..."

"Dumbledore said that bein’ Noticed isn’t healthy fer most ordinary witches or wizards," Hagrid murmured. "‘But yer not ordinary, are yeh, Hagrid?’ he said ter me, ‘an’ neither is Filch.’ Then he told me that yeh’ve got more stamina than he’s got when it comes ter havin’ a cozy chat with the Castle."

"That can’t be true," I protested.

"The Castle talks ter yeh far more often than it talks ter him, and fer longer, too," Hagrid said firmly. He looked annoyed with me for presuming to doubt Dumbledore’s word on the subject.

"Well, you’ve certainly got more stamina then either of us have got," I said, shuddering. No one else could have done what Hagrid had done in the Forest. Not even Dumbledore, and certainly not me!

Then I frowned. "Hagrid? Would you have told me any of this if I hadn’t asked you?"

Hagrid had picked up his bundle again. We started walking. "Why do yeh think the Castle gave both of us a nudge at jus’ the right moment? So yeh would ask. I may not have bin doin’ this fer as long as yeh and the Headmaster have done. But I know that we can trust the Castle ter make Its wishes known whenever It needs us ter do summat."

Slowly we headed towards the front gate, with the two dogs ambling beside us.

"Something tried to use the Forest against us. What if that Dark thing comes back?" I said, nervously.

Hagrid looked fierce. "Let it. Aragog an’ the centaurs were taken by surprise once, but they’re on their guard now. An’ so are a lot o’ other creatures besides. It won’ happen again, Filch. Filch...?"

I’d fallen behind him. A horrible thought had just occurred to me.

"Hagrid, according to our original plans, you were supposed to have left Hogwarts by then. If I hadn’t got into that business with Potter, the Sphinx and the Harpy and ended up in hospital, the Castle would have been under my protection instead of yours. If not for Potter..."

"Poor Harry," Hagrid said, quietly. "Whatever he does an’ whatever happens ter him always seems ter have a lot more effects than anyone realizes, or can see at firs’ glance. ‘Cept fer Dumbledore, o’course."

Without wanting to, I found myself remembering an unsettling conversation that Dumbledore and I’d had recently. I’d seen the Headmaster weary and troubled, suffering self-doubt.

I didn’t have the heart to mention these things to Hagrid. The half-giant’s boundless faith in the Headmaster’s omniscience was something that helped him to stay strong.

Though I remained quiet, my emotions must have shown in my face.

"Don’ worry so, Filch," Hagrid said. He clapped me on the shoulder again, rather gently, for him. "Enjoy yer summer. I’ll see yeh when I come back."

*******

Together the dogs and I watched the half-giant’s carriage until it was out of sight. Fang and Fluffy broke into a chorus of mournful howls. I was tempted to join them. Hagrid had been the last one to leave. Now I was alone, the sole guardian of Hogwarts.

*******

Plumbing chores still remained to be done in various parts of the Castle, and I’d promised to start painting in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom later tonight. The ghost-brat had approved the use of a rather nice pale green shade for her walls. She had also grudgingly agreed to consider a tasteful lilac hue for the stalls.

That evening, after feeding Fang and Fluffy, and then breaking up an altercation between Myrtle and Peeves (the wretched Poltergeist had made off with Myrtle’s collection of paint samples and her catalogues of bathroom fittings), I retired to my office for some peace and quiet.

One of the house-elves had left my dinner for me, resting in a covered dish on my desk. During the summer it is customary for me to eat breakfast in the kitchen with the house-elves, and lunch and dinner wherever I happen to be working. There was fried fish, which Mrs. Norris was pleased to share with me (though she’d been given a portion of her own) boiled potatoes and strong, sweet tea. The sort of food that I find most comforting whenever I am feeling desolate. The house-elves, bless them, always know.

While I ate I perused the additions, alterations and other suggestions that Alastor Moody had owled me for the Door forms. Then I wrote him a note, approving the changes and telling him to proceed with the printing. The old Auror had taken charge of that end of things.

After working my way through some more paperwork (ordering supplies for the September term) I relaxed a bit and re-read the two letters I’d received that morning.

One was from Neville. It seemed that his relatives were insisting that he learn how to swim. Neville’s account of his swimming lessons had been written with the boy’s usual self-depreciating good humor. My young friend waved at me from the accompanying photograph, looking cheerful and brown.

The other, longer letter was from Minerva. First she’d assured me that she, Black and young Potter were well. (The Animagi had been able to let Potter know about their presence, which had done much to raise the boy’s spirits.) Then she’d described an interesting encounter at number four Privet Drive.

Minerva, in cat-form, had been curled up in a sunny spot on the Dursleys’ garden bench. She was keeping a close watch on the boy as he trimmed his aunt’s flowerbeds.

Naturally Sirius had also wished to be near his godson. But while the presence of small tabby cat in their back garden had gone unremarked, the appearance of a bear-sized black dog had provoked an armed response from within number four.

Harry had been happily scratching his godfather behind the ears when Dudley Dursley had emerged from the house. The Muggle boy had looked frightened but grim-faced. He’d been clutching something called (according to what Potter had later told his Animagi guardians) a ‘Smelting stick.’

"Potter! Get back!"

"What? Why? He’s perfectly friendly. Put down that stick, you’re scaring him!"

"I don’t think that’s a dog!" Dudley had growled.

"He looks like a dog. What else could he be?" Potter had grabbed Sirius, who’d started growling back at Dudley.

Dudley had given Harry a look of furious exasperation. "You’re the one that goes to a fr... magic school! It could be anything! Now, get away from that thing before it drags you off and drowns you!"

"Drowns me? In what? The birdbath?" Harry had placed himself between his godfather and his cousin. "Dudley," he said, after looking bemused for a few seconds, "you’re thinking of kelpies. Kelpies usually look like horses."

"So? It’s trying to catch you off-guard! Have you ever seen a dog that size? Maybe it’s like that horrid grey thing that looked like an old woman and tried to eat you!"

"He’s nothing like her at all!" Harry had snapped. Then his tone softened. "Dudley, how’d you know about kelpies in the first place?"

"There’s tons of stuff about cr-creatures on the internet! Dangerous freaky things from your sort of places! Oh!" Startled, the Muggle boy had stared down at the sleek tabby rubbing against his ankles.

"I suppose you’re going to tell me that she’s not really a cat?" Potter had asked his cousin wryly. "Look, Dudley, I appreciate the research, but they’ve both got tags. They’re here with Mrs. Figg’s cousin, Minerva. She’s come for a visit. Now put the stick down before Snuffles bites you."

*******

"As you can see," Minerva wrote, "Harry has gained an additional protector. Even Sirius, once he got over his incredulity and annoyance, approved of Master Dursley’s vigilance and the boy’s instincts. It is gratifying to learn that Harry’s recent ordeal has awakened a sense of familial responsibility in his cousin.

"I do hope that Harry will explain to Dudley the correct way to overcome a kelpie should they actually encounter one," she had added.

Like Minerva and Sirius, I was surprised and pleased by young Dursley’s newly protective attitude towards Harry. Potter needed all the friends he could get. Dudley, as Potter’s blood relative, was a more powerful ally than most people would suspect.

*******

Comforted by the letters and fortified by dinner, I proceeded up to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom to begin painting. I’d already scraped the old, dingy paint off the walls and neatly patched up the cracks. Drop cloths were in place on the floor.

Despite my careful preparations the work was stressful.

"That’s white!" Myrtle wailed as soon as the first roller-full of paint was on the wall. "We agreed on GREEN!"

"The walls have to be primed first," I said, trying not to snap at her. "I’ll start with the green when the primer is dry."

Watching me skeptically, Myrtle hovered right at my back while I worked. Being observed in this way is every bit as irritating as it sounds. Thanks to Myrtle’s proximity, my teeth were soon chattering.

"Myrtle, haven’t you got anything better to do?" I growled.

"Not for the past fifty years or so." For once her tone was perfectly dry. "I’ve been thinking that tiles would look very nice on the lower half of the walls."

"T-Tiles?"

"It’d mean less painting for you." Her voice had turned almost brisk.

"Tiles?" I wheezed.

"Don’t keep saying that as if you’ve never even heard of the things! There’s catalogues full of tiles. I was thinking of something in lilac, to match the stalls. Or maybe something a bit darker. Perhaps a nice shade of plum."

"Plum?"

"Yes," she murmured thoughtfully. "With the grout tinted to match, naturally. And of course we’d need new sinks too."

"You want plum sinks?"

"Oh, no. I was thinking of something in a nice shade of rose for them! To match the new floor! But we’d have to do the ceiling first, of course. I’ve decided that I want rose-pink for the ceiling. Now, about the stalls..."

Setting the roller carefully into the paint-tray, I leaned wearily against an unpainted section of wall.

Tiles for the lower half of the wall. New sinks. New floor. New ceiling. If the ghost-brat had her way I would be kept slaving in this bathroom all summer long!

This was all Sirius Black’s fault. If only young Dursley had given Black at least one good whack with that stick! It would have served the Pup right!

*******

A couple of hours later Myrtle’s bathroom walls had a coat of white primer and I had a headache. I had tried explaining the potential difficulties involved in attempting to get the school’s board of governors to approve such a costly redecorating scheme, but Mrytle seemed convinced that I was ‘just being difficult.’

"You know perfectly well that they’d approve of anything you wanted them to approve of!" she wailed.

After a quick stop in the hospital wing for some of the headache potion that Poppy had left for me, I went to my room, changed into a clean nightshirt and collapsed into bed.

The next thing I knew, someone was shaking my shoulders. I heard the small voice of Winky, the house-elf.

"Wake up, Argus Filch!"

The headache potion had made me sleep heavily. Winky shook me again, harder. "You is needed at Castle’s front gate! NOW. Professor Snape is there. If Argus Filch does not come, Fluffy will be tearing poor Professor Snape to pieces!"

Severus!

Dreadfully groggy, I thanked Winky and stumbled out of bed. Calling black-and-yellow, I hurried barefoot through the tapestry and emerged by the Castle’s front gate, directly between the Potions Master and the growling Cerberus.

Snape had other protectors. Small black Azoth was an inky shadow by his wizard’s feet. Mrs. Norris, gold eyes gleaming, had placed herself in front of the Potions Master. Even Fang, who was glad to see anyone that he knew, stood at Snape’s side happily wagging his tail. But Fluffy, mindful of his duty, was undaunted by this show of support for his prisoner. None of the three heads stopped growling at Snape until I appeared.

"Good boy, Fluffy!" I said, rising on tiptoe to stroke each head in turn. "It’s all right, you can let the Professor go now. I’m going to walk him up to the Castle."

Having performed his job satisfactorily, the Cerberus obediently trotted off into the darkness to resume his watch.

Severus had been waiting for me, calm and cool, despite the growling Cerberus. I was relieved that he hadn’t done anything to provoke Fluffy.

Withdrawing his wand from his sleeve, Severus murmured "Lumos," to give us some light. Still yawning and bleary-eyed, I looked the Potions Master over as carefully as I could. To my relief, he appeared much as usual. I could sense no Dark magic around him. Whatever he’d been up to, at least he hadn’t incurred the Dark Lord’s wrath in the recent past.

"You look dreadful, Filch," Severus said dryly as he examined me in turn. "Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Myrtle’s bathroom?"

I nodded, miserably. "It’s gone far beyond a simple coat of paint, Professor. Now she wants the entire place redone! And it seems that there are more shades of pink and purple in this world than I ever thought possible."

Severus smiled, but said nothing. (Later I realized that he’d had an air of suppressed energy and excitement about him, even then. I should have been on my guard. My weariness was no excuse.)

After escorting Professor Snape to the Castle, where I knew that Winky and several other house-elves were busy making his room ready, I crept back into my warm, soft bed.

Fang had accompanied Mrs. Norris and me. I drew the line at allowing the boarhound to sleep on my bed, but pity for his loneliness had compelled me to allow him to sleep by my fire. I missed Hagrid too.

*******

My dream was unusually vivid.

Old Apollyon Pringle stood before me, large as life and twice as angry. His iron grey hair was a wild halo around his head and his brown eyes glared at me from beneath bristling grey brows. His gnarled, knobbly hands were clenched angrily at his sides.

At least I didn’t see the whip or belt that I half-expected to see clutched in his right hand. (The brats who attend Hogwarts these days think that I’m harsh. They have no idea how fortunate they are.)

"Filch!" the old caretaker snarled at me. "What did I teach you? Always keep an eye on the brats! Professors and students alike, you can’t turn your back on them for a minute!"

"I’m sorry..."

"Don’t be sorry. Just wake up! For good or ill, the wretched thing has been made. And now, for everyone’s sake, it’s got to be put away in its proper place. It’s much too dangerous to be left lying about!"

*******

Awakening with a start, my heart pounding, I sat bolt upright in bed. The sun had risen but the day was grey, overcast and gloomy. Green-and-silver was already waiting for me on the wall of my bedroom.

"Stay here," I told Mrs. Norris, who was curled in front of the fire beside Fang. Without giving her a chance to accompany me, I shoved my feet into my slippers and hurried through Salazar’s Door.

I emerged into the dungeon corridor outside the Potions Classroom.

The terrible cold all around me was enough to freeze my blood. It was like stepping into a harsh winter night. The thin nightshirt offered me scant protection, but I hadn’t taken the time to change into anything warmer. My breath misted in the air. The walls, ceiling and floor of the dungeon corridor were coated with ice. I sighed, exhaling a puff of vapor. This was what I’d been afraid I’d find.

My vivid dream had been more than a dream. Hagrid had been right; the Castle would find a way to make Its wishes known whenever it had ‘summat’ that needed doing. At least speaking to me in a dream was less painful than the Castle’s prior method of communication had been. If ‘the thing had been made’ then perhaps the danger to Severus alone had already passed. But the creation of the Alchemist’s Door evidently posed a threat to the Castle somehow.

I did not know who to feel sorrier for, myself or Severus. The young wizard had been the first one to create an Alchemist’s Door in over a thousand years. And now, it appeared to be the Castle’s will that I should take the Alchemist’s Door away from him.

To Be Continued...

Authors’ Notes from Squib Summer Epilogues:

Violet Azure: Thanks for the review, and for quoting your favorite lines! ** Poor Harry, it's sad when being in the hospital is more pleasant than being at home. (Sadder when facing a ferocious dragon is preferable to going home, come to think of it.) ** I think those mouth guards will come in handy! ** I think there's a chance for Dudley. I hope Rowling does something with him. ** I like those predators. They took on more personality than I expected them to! ** You're welcome for the drink recipes. You can find all sorts of cool things online. ** Thanks for the comments on my disclaimers. They sort of evolved as I was working on my parts of the story. --Jelsemium

Violet Azure: Thanks for reviewing! The disclaimers were Jelse’s. She cracked me up with those. --Ozma

gwyn ap rhys: Thanks for the review! We're always happy to entertain! --Jelsemium

gwyn ap rhys: Thanks for reviewing! --Ozma

Portia: Thanks for the review! ** (As for the underage drinking… I see nothing! I know nothing!) ** Thanks for quoting your favorite lines! Yes, even in the real world, the line between 'us' and 'them' can get shakey. ** Thanks for saying the essay fit with canon. I do like Rowling's take on how to deal with 'evil' creatures like Werewolves and Former Death Eaters. --Jelsemium

Portia: Thanks for reviewing! Yes, Jelse really captured Rowling’s "it’s what you choose to be that matters" theme in the epilogue with Harry and Dudley. I thought it was perfect!**Sequel coming up! --Ozma

Murasaki99: Thanks for the kind words, and for saying which parts you particularly liked. ** I hope Harry gets to grow up to be a fine man. He's a good kid, he deserves a happy ending. ** You're welcome for the recipes. I figured if I mentioned them, I should explain them. (Ah, corrupting youth. One of my favorite pastimes.) ** I think Harry's premiums are coming from a special trust fund set up by which-ever of his ancestors first came into money. I expect the Potter talent for trouble goes back a few generations. ** Thanks for the sunbeams! -Jelsemium

Murasaki99: Thanks for reviewing! -Grin- Yes, THE Celaeno from "The Last Unicorn." (Peter Beagle ROX!) --Ozma

Lilac: Taste Test has been submitted and betaed and everything! ** It's rather hard for Ozma to write a Ginny/Harry scene (Filch isn't a voyeur!) ** Thanks for this and all the reviews you sent in, they were very encouraging! --Jelsemium

Lilac: Thanks for reviewing! I’m already a fan of H/G... I just don’t have any skill at writing it. But Jelse sure does! --Ozma

 

LC: Thanks for the review! ** I like anybody who does me a favor, and people in service industries do me favors all the time, lots of times beyond what they're getting paid to do. ** Yep, Harry is definitely The-Boy-Of-Many-Names! ** You're welcome for the story! Ozma and I love to entertain people! --Jelsemium

LC: Thanks for reviewing! My favorite form of caffeine intake would be intravenous, if that wouldn’t be so darn uncomfortable.** A rude customer apologized? That sort of thing makes my day, when it happens. (Sometimes the high school kids I serve lunch to will apologize after I growl at them for being inconsiderate and/or making my job harder than it has to be.) --Ozma

Ara Kane: Thanks for the kind words! ** Thanks for saying which parts you liked the most. ** I figure that Harry almost dying would make Dudley take a hard look at his earlier behavior. Near death experiences don't just affect the victim. ** I'm sure Hagrid has kept every one of O.M.'s letters! (Right, Ozma?) ** I figure the Harpy, the Banshee, the Sphinx have to like anybody who can cause that much chaos. --Jelsemium

Ara Kane: Thanks for reviewing! The Harry-Dudley Bonding Moment was brought to you by Jelsemium. (Ozma just read it and said "Oooh! I like that!") Harry has been a constant in Dudley’s life for as long as he can remember... the thought of Harry actually dying would have to shake Dudley up pretty badly.**Aww! Of course Hagrid keeps Olympe’s letters under his pillow... ** Yes, Filch’s letters probably smell like Mrs. Skowers, but you’re right; Minerva finds that endearing. ** The redecorating job in Myrtle’s bathroom is becoming ever more complex. Filch is blaming his headaches on Sirius.** Hagrid’s got all sorts of interestin’ friends.** I’m looking forward to seeing "Taste Test" posted too! --Ozma

JOdel: Thanks for the review! ** Both Neville and Hagrid said their families were pleased that they were admitted to Hogwarts, because nobody was sure that they'd have enough magic. So I figure not EVERY Wizarding child is automatically enrolled. ** I don't recall reading that every wizard must pass his OWL to become qualified. --Jelsemium

JOdel: Thanks for reviewing! I read the line as meaning that Tom hadn’t finished school, or maybe had failed his OWLs. --Ozma

Don Quixote de la Muggle: Thanks for the review! ** Ah, yes, the wax lips, I remember them well. ** Thanks for the kind words about Dudley's change of heart. --Jelsemium

Don Quixote de la Muggle: Thanks for reviewing! I remember those big wax lips. Hmm. I wonder if those wax-anti-bite-protectors come in flavors? ** One of the points that Rowling makes is that people can be what they chose to be. Jelse and I both hope to see Dudley choose to be his own person, not a carbon copy of his parents. ** Thanks for the Congrats on overcoming my writer’s block. Writer’s block is the absolute pits. --Ozma

Jestana: Thanks for the kind words! ** I like seeing the aftermath of adventures, myself. --Jelsemium

Jestana: Thanks for reviewing! --Ozma

Jessanndi: Thanks for the kind review! ** I really like these predators. ** Yeah, I think the best way to punish Petunia and Vernon would be to have Dudley make friends with Harry. --Jelsemium

Jessanndi: Thanks for reviewing! I love Defiant!Dudley too. --Ozma

Sunsethill: Thanks for the kind words and for saying what you specifically liked! ** Ginny's epilogue has been submitted! --Jelsemium

Sunsethill: Thanks for reviewing! Rowling has said that there are going to happen with the Dursleys that the readers "may not expect." I’m hoping for a better relationship between the cousins in canon. --Ozma

Kazza: Thanks for your reviews! --Jelsemium

Kazza: Thanks for reviewing! Both Jelsemium and I feel great sympathy for Dudley. The epilogue with Harry and Dudley was Jelse’s. --Ozma

Karie: Thank you for your reviews! --Jelsemium

Karie: Thanks for reviewing! --Ozma

Shellebelle: Thanks for the review! ** That was always one of my favorite lines from Wizard of Oz! Pinpoint: Thank you for the kind words! ** Yes, Ozma has a way of making Filch one of the most sympathetic characters around. --Jelsemium

Shellebelle: Thanks for reviewing! I loved Jelse’s tribute to the Wizard of Oz too! --Ozma

B. Nonymous: Thanks for the review! ** Give my regards to Mrs. N and Whiskers! ** No, don't wait for Book Five! Write now! --Jelsemium

B. Nonymous: Thanks for reviewing! It’s good to know that the girls sleep sometimes! Say "hi!" to Mrs. N for us! (And write a new story if you can!) --Ozma

The Good Doctor Monaco: Thanks for the review! ** I hope that Harry gets an A on that essay. Depends on the next DADA professor. ** Yep, Peeves is the first victim of Filch's new toy. Bet he won't be the last! ** Thanks, I've got two new stories submitted to Sugarquill! --Jelsemium

The Good Doctor Monaco & Whiskers: Thanks for reviewing! The thought of Voldemort beset by Predators is highly amusing.**Did you let Morty the skink go again? --Ozma

Pinpoint: Thank you for the kind words! ** Ozma has a way of making sympathetic characters out of the most unusual characters. I really love her version of Filch! -- Jelsemium

Pinpoint: Thanks for reviewing! Jelse does an exquisite job with Harry, and I’ve always found it easy to get into Filch’s head. (Maybe that should worry me? Nah, I’m having too much fun....) --Ozma

//
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