The Sugar Quill
Author: Ciircee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Halloween's Message  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Oh, might JKR, I bow before thee and thy works

Disclaimer: Oh, mighty JKR, I bow before thee and thy works!


Dedication: To the Quill and the people that make it so special.  Thanks for everything.   


Also: To Madhuri, to whom I promised a dedication if she’d write Arthur into her story for me.  She does a mean Arthur and I luffed him.


Thank You: To Chelle, for the beta.  To Catherine for the reassurance.  To Edward, for the idea that made it work.  Love to you all for your help.


Halloween’s Message


The mirrors and ceilings were draped in black for the affair, artfully if not mournfully, as one might expect; Filch had grumbled in a manner most unbecoming the solemnity of the occasion when he’d been pressed into duty.   “I suppose it’s time to see to the house-elves,” Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington lamented to himself with a last, sweeping look around the dungeon.


“I say, Nicholas, things are coming along swimmingly!”


Sir Nicholas watched as a ghostly clergyman glided into the room; he was careful of the dark hangings, despite his incorporeal-ality.  “Well in hand, good friar.  I was about to go onto the kitchens and supervise the laying out of the food.”


“Are we having food, then?” the other ghost seemed pleased.  “Perhaps the festivities need a larger chamber, hmm?”


“I fear not, Waire.  Tonight’s gathering is rather intimate; just the castle ghosts and those in the Forest


The stout ghost smiled brightly, “Well, it still sounds like quite an event!  I do wonder that you haven’t invited Sir Patrick and his cohorts?”


“I saw no need to extend them an invitation,” Nick said loftily.  One hand strayed to his breast pocket.


“Ah.”  He noted the kind-hearted wince on the friar’s transparent face.  “I see.  Well, perhaps better luck next time.”


Nicholas shrugged morosely, “Perhaps.  Even so, I’m glad to turn my attention to planning my five-hundredth deathday party; that, dear Friar, will be a party of special magnificence.  But that’s the future,” he said after a moment, “and the present calls.  I’m needed in the kitchens.  Begging your pardon,” he murmured as he glided past.


“Hold a moment, Nicholas.”  The cheerful voice had grown somber. 


Nick stopped in the door with a ghostly sigh.  “I thought it too much to hope that you’d arrived several hours early for the party.  The Order?”


“Yes.  When I chanced upon the Headmaster in the Charms Corridor he seemed to believe that a certain conversation in the Staff Lounge had been overheard and could stand to be passed along before morning.”


With a droll look, Nick turned to study his companion, “I suppose it is above hope that you overheard as well?”


The fat little friar smiled merrily.  “There’s an optimistic fellow!  Alas, Nicholas, no.  However, I do have an errand of my own that lies with yours; and Dumbledore has already cleared passes for us to be away from Hogwarts for the evening.”


“Where, and to whom, are we going?”


“The first I can’t say…”


“Can’t say?”


“And as to the second, we go to the Potters.  You’re to give your particulars to James.”


Dead for as long as he was and still the Potter’s situation made him feel the need to draw a deep breath.  “I still believe it is a mistake, them being in that place.”


The friar nodded, “Indeed, but they’re under Fidelius.  No living soul could hope to find them.”


We can find them.”


“We’re not living are we, Nicholas; we’re dead.  We’re also wasting time.”


“You’re far too cheerful about these matters, you know,” Nick informed him as they glided from the physical world to the tunnel-like other world ghosts used for traveling.  It was mildly unsettling, to Nick; the lights at both ends called to him.  “I shudder to think about the information we carry…”


“Who would suspect a ghost?” Friar Waire did not seem to be troubled by the calling lights.


“And the methods of extracting such information don’t even bear thinking about, you know.”


The friar laughed, “They have yet to invent a spell or potion to touch a ghost, Nicholas, and you know it well.”


“You are still far too glib.”


“I simply refuse to be so glum.  I gave my life to the service and betterment of others; I am happy to so give my death as well.  Lily and James were unwilling to simply hide and wait; they wanted to be active in this fight--to the point that they were willing to test the limits of the charm that protects them.  Come, Nicholas, I know you understand.”


Sadly, he did, Nick reflected as they stepped out of the traveling world and into Godric’s Hollow; this place would never let him forget that he understood that desire to help, to fight, far too well.  He swept up to the front door of an ivy-covered cottage.  “Forgive the intrusion,” he called out as he went in.


“Welcome to the Great Hall,” James, Nick noted, was smiling as he greeted him.  “It’s not much,” he added, as he gestured at the small room, “but it’s ours.  Also, I’m afraid you’re a bit early for the Feast.”


“It’s very homey,” Friar Waire said as he drifted through the door.  “We’re sorry to intrude upon…why, just look at the little Muggle!”


Nick felt his eyebrows rise as he looked beyond James Potter to his wife and small son.  “Where on earth are his robes?”


Seated on the floor in the kitchen, handily removing a shiny Muggle windbreaker from her son, Lily laughed.  “Our little wizard went with his Muggle-born mum to see his very Muggle aunt and cousin today.”  A set of tiny wizard robes floated in with a flick of her wand.  “I haven’t seen Petunia in ages, but her son…my nephew Dudley is just a bit older than Harry.”  Nick looked away as Lily brushed her son’s hair from his eyes; it was one thing to carry sensitive information for the Order, another thing altogether to witness the former Head Girl’s sadness over a sister who had not spoken to her for years.  “They didn’t recognize us, of course, but it was good to see them.  Both of our boys look like their fathers.”


“He’d look more like his father with his robes on, wouldn’t he?”  The friar made a face for the squirming toddler, who was avoiding both sets of clothes, laughing along with him.  “Let’s see how it’s done, m’lady; being dead is no excuse for not learning something new.”


“This isn’t a social visit, is it?”  James spoke quietly.  Nick turned, watching as the living man set off down the hall before following him.


“It is not.” Nick agreed.  “Are you aware of Mundungus Fletcher’s situation?”


“Yeah, the Bloody Baron came a day or so ago.  Things are on the boil.”


“Now more than ever.  Arabella Figg believes that they are both ready to, ahem, ‘effect a little change’; as early as the beginning of next week.”


The news made James smile brilliantly.  “Good.  Lily and I are working on something that might come in handy.”


“I won’t even dare inquire as to what that might be,” Nick said fondly.  “Shall I pass that along to the appropriate parties?”


“Please do,” James chuckled.


“Anything else?” Nick asked.


James fidgeted for a moment, looking hesitant before he spoke, “Look, Nick, I know that you can only be away from Hogwarts for a certain amount of time, and I don’t know how much leave Dumbledore’s given you…but if you have any of it to spare, would you take another message out for me?  It’s nothing important, but…well; our options are limited at the moment.”


“I do have plans for the evening.  Today is my Deathday.  I’m having a party for the castle ghosts to mark the occasion.”


“Oh.”  James blinked.  “Right.  Deathday.” 


“I have until just beyond midnight,” Nick relented. 


James smiled, “I appreciate it.  Please, find Remus Lupin and Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew.  Let them know that we, Lily, Harry and I, we’re safe.  We’re doing well and …and things are all right.  We’re happy.  Harry’s running now, climbing into things, dressing like a Muggle…”


“As soon as the party is over, I shall.”


Cheers, Nick.”


He bowed slightly, solemnly.  “I must be going, dear boy.  Happy Halloween.”


He collected Waire from the cramped dining room, deliberately not listening to the last of the information the other ghost and Lily were exchanging.  He floated out the front door, disinclined to chill the house with the effect of going between worlds.  The friar, however, did not move beyond the garden gates.


“Come along, Waire, they’re as safe as Hogwarts while under that charm.”


“In a hurry?  I daresay that the party’s gone nowhere without you.”


“My point exactly, my dear friar,” Nick said, more to himself than to his distracted companion.  


“Go on, I’ll only be moment.”


Nick stayed, however, and watched as the friar said a quiet prayer at the gate; in his heart, he echoed it.  The Potters were truly good people, a rarity among both life and death. 


“There!  You see how you feel better now, Nicholas?” The friar’s smile was back as he turned from the house and saw Nick still waiting.


“Yes, well, you may see to the fires and candles while I chivvy the house-elves along.”  Nick told him as they left Godric’s Hollow behind in the quiet evening.


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