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This story is No. 8 in the series "Shadow and Light". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Take one traumatized house elf, one compassionate Headmistress, an orangutan, and Haven. Mix liberally. Connect with L-Space. Place in oven until half-baked.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Xander-Centered > Theme: Real FamilyphoukaFR728,54523412,6391 Aug 113 Aug 11Yes

Consider Yourself At Home

Chapter Two: Consider Yourself At Home

“The poor little thing,” Jenny said, brushing back the house elf's hair. “She looks exhausted.”

Giles thumbed through the pages of The Cayre and Feeding of the Houfe Elf while they waited for Xander.

“It's definitely an academic robe,” he remarked, rubbing a fold between his fingers. “I'd say it was British, but it doesn't match any university I know of. High rank, though. Full professor at the very least.”

“You know, she looks a lot like Chataigne,” Jenny said. “Except her ears are much bigger.”

“Well, they're both species of faerie,” Giles answered, turning to the frontspiece of the book. “Bound to be some familial resemblance. What on Earth?”

“What?” Jenny held the elf like a sleeping child, sitting next to Rupert.

“Well, look,” he said, holding out the book, finger marking the frontspiece. “Originally published 1753 by Mistress Myrtle Blandish, Hogsmeade, England.”

“That's quite a name,” Jenny answered.

“That's not the point,” Giles said, a hint of outrage creeping into his voice. “There's no such town in England by the name, at least not with any publishing history.”

“You are not telling me, English,” Jenny protested, “that you actually know how many towns and villages there were in England in the 18th century with some sort of publishing history.”

“Well,” he said, shifting a bit, “not as such. It's not as if I could write a list of the relevant towns, but believe me, Hogsmeade is a name that stands out. I'm certain I'd remember it.”

“Right,” Jenny agreed. “Not like those forgettable towns like Butt Hole Lane.”

He gave her a look that quite clearly read “must you?”. “That's a street, not a town, and there's a perfectly reasonable, polite history behind it.”

“This had better be good,” Xander said, striding into library. “We've got two more days until the ball, and the caterers just canceled on us. I might have to assign some jobs to Andrew.”

“What's up?” Willow asked, leaning in behind Xander. “The house just politely dropped a book of poetry on my head, so I figured I should stop by.”

“Ow,” Jenny remarked. “Usually the house is a little more gentle than that.”

“Oh, it was a collection of cheerful poetry by Edgar Allen Poe, so no damage done,” Willow answered.

Giles indicated the matter at hand with a nod of his head.

Both Xander and Willow stared at the bundle in Jenny's arms.

“Sith Lord swaddling?” Willow asked. “Are congratulations in order?”

“Popstar is going to kill you, Giles,” Xander said. “She may even offer to marry Jenny herself, to save her honor.”

“Stop that.” Jenny frowned.

“It seems,” Giles said, as if the previous exchange hadn't occurred, “that we have been entrusted with a charge. She was delivered by a librarian, who asked if we could not take her on, provide her with a home and a meet her needs as to a vocation.”

“College fund is up and running,” Xander said. “Why the hel- heck not. The more, the merrier.”

Then he got a look at Winky, and stood, open-mouthed, staring.

With a wry smile, Jenny put a fingertip under his jaw and closed his mouth.

“Is she a dryad?” Willow asked.

Xander startled and began looking high and low for another tree in the library.

“She is, apparently,” Giles said, holding up the book, “a house elf.”

“Like a brownie?” Willow asked.

“Similar,” Giles answered. “However, I've only scanned the text, so I can't tell you the nuances.”

Willow reached out and gently touched the elf's forehead.

“She's under a sleep charm,” she reported. “Very mild. Poor little thing. She's exhausted.”

“I know,” Jenny agreed, urgently.

“Xander, you should take her down to the dryad,” they both said simultaneously.

“Wait,” he argued. “Whoa. I have got an insane amount to do.”

“And no time passes in the glade,” Willow reminded him, “and I'll bet Chataigne is dying to meet her.”

“Xander,” Giles asked, his eyebrows raising up, “are you familiar with what a brownie does?”

“Sells Tagalongs and other completely addictive Schedule III cookies?” he asked.

“That's the Girl Scout kind of Brownie. I'm talking about the faerie version.”

Xander stared blankly at him for a moment. “Something about shoes?”

“That's one of the stories,” Giles replied. “Here, take the book with you and do a little reading before the little one wakes up.”



Chataigne was waiting for Xander and Willow when they arrived, hopping up and down in a desperate bid to see the elf Xander held.

“C'mon, Chataigne,” Xander said, “it's not like we just brought your little sister home from the hospital.”

He looked down at his dryad, still tiny with a big nose and Bambi eyes and a perfect rosebud mouth.

“It is like we just brought home your little sister?” he asked. “You've never had a house elf? You're not jealous?”

Chataigne gave him a look of semi-outrage for his willingness to cast aspersions on her.

“Okay, okay.” He gave in. “Just don't wake her until we know what we're doing.”

He laid the elf down on the green grass under the shade of the tree. The little house elf curled up in her sleep and mumbled something in a piteous tone of voice. Chataigne leaned over her and gave her a kiss on the forehead and smoothed her hair back.

“Well,” Xander said, “she needs a bath and a fresh set of clothes, fi-”

The dryad was directly in his face, gripping the collar of his shirt and snarling.

“No bath?”

“No clothes, dummy,” Willow said. “You're really behind on your fairy tales. If you give a house elf clothes, especially fancy clothes, they stop working for you.”

“Wait, working? Naked?” Xander asked, readjusting his collar so it no longer choked him. Chataigne had backed off a little bit, but still glared at him. “That sounds a little kinky for your standard fairy tale. I thought we were supposed to be taking care of her.”

“Read the book,” Willow suggested.

With a sigh, he opened the cover and started. Within a few pages though, he was ready to hurl the book away.

“This is garbage!” he yelled. “Listen to this: 'the house elf lacks the fortitude to survive in the world at large and must, by needs, be cared for by a family of good standing. Their happiness is founded on daily work, hard work, and an elf without good, sustaining work will become sluggish, ill-tempered, and at risk of gaining vices.' It's like reading a slave owner's manual!”

Willow grimaced. “It's not that simple, Xander.”

“I am not playing Uncle Tom here!”

She stared at him.

“Wrong character?” he asked.

“Wrong character,” she confirmed. “Uncle Tom was the hero.”

“Uh . . .”

“Simon Legree, and try taking a literature class some day, will you?”

“Fine. I am not playing Simon Legree. I don't do slavery.”

“She's not a slave, Xander,” Willow tried to explain. “She's a house elf, and it's true. House elves are happiest when they have a ton of work to do.”

He glared at her.

“Look, when I was in England, I did learn a few things. The country's so old, half the homes have pixies living in the bottom garden. The government won't admit it, but there's an appendix in every maintenance manual for any structures on the rivers on how to appease any naiads, mermaids, or displaced selkies – which includes clearing out all the womenfolk and gay men, because selkies are so damn hot. And the thing is, everybody knows.

“Seriously.”

“Seriously. One of the Devon witches had a brownie. He had been with the family for generations, and he was very, very unhappy that she was a spinster without any pets. I kept losing my sweater or watch or some little thing over there until it turned out the brownie was hiding them so his mistress would ask for his help. So, the next time I was over, I 'accidentally' dropped a tray full of marmalade jars before they'd been capped. He nearly wet his pants he was so happy. After that, I'd just mix up the salt and sugar in the same jar – a trick a different witch taught me. Kept him busy for hours.”

“You have got to be pulling my leg.”

She shook her head. “And seriously, if you ever do get over to England and decide to see the sites, on your life, do not hang out at the battlefield of Culloden at night. Especially if there's no moon.”

“Because . . . ?”

“Red caps. So called because they dip their caps in their victims' blood. They like to hang out around old battlefields. Not all faeries are nice.”

“House elves don't do that, right? No getting crazy with the carving knives or burning the house down while we sleep?” he asked.

“Not if she's got plenty to do,” Willow answered. “Which she will. I mean, she wakes up, after we explain things to her, just tell her the caterers canceled, and you're holding a fancy dinner and ball for over a hundred people in two days.”

Over a hundred?” he asked, squeaking.

“We are getting a metric buttload of RSVPs,” Willow confirmed. “The house elf will get right into the swing of things.”

Xander took a deep breath. “Okay, so how do we do this?”

“There'll be something in the book about a binding ceremony, and you'll need to give her something to wear – something that's not clothes, but it should be nice.”

He flipped through the pages until he found the correct section.

“Half the stuff in here needs to be done by the mistress of the family,” he said.

“I'll take care of that part,” Willow said.

“The whole family gathered?” Xander squeaked.

“Well, whoever's here, and then we'll introduce the others later.”

He continued reading. “Where am I going to get a bumblebee orchid? Or a mayflower for that matter?”

The dryad nudged his foot and pointed to a pile of plants she'd gathered. Willow knelt and sorted through them.

“Here's your bumblebee orchid,” Willow said, holding it up. “Almond, celandine, daisy, clover, honeysuckle, oak, mayflower, and witchhazel.”

“Chestnut's on the list,” Xander said, looking at his dryad.

She gave him a coy glance.

“Okay, okay,” he said, letting her have her way. Whatever she had planned would be fine. “Would you at least tell Baxter what we'll need in the kitchen and ask him to have Dawn gather it up?”

She nodded vigorously and grinned.

“And tell Popst- Miss Poppins that I'll need her to gather everyone in the great hall in one hour. Call Buffy and Jarod in from patrol if she needs to.”

“Done,” Willow said. “Did I mention that I totally dig having Mary Poppins around?”

“Most of us do,” Xander said. “Except apparently Mister Phantom.”

“Oh, that,” Willow said, waving her hand in dismissal. “Unresolved sexual tension.”

Xander paused. “Wow . . . I really did not need that visual in my head.”

Willow snickered.

“Okay, so how do we wake her up?” Xander asked, squatting down beside the house elf.

“Like this,” Willow said, reaching out to touch the elf's forehead. “Excito Sursum.

The little elf blinked several times, looked around, saw Willow and Xander, and cowered, wide eyed and silent.

“Where . . . where is Winky?” she asked in a high, sweet voice.

“You're someplace safe,” Willow told her.

“This is Chataigne's glade,” Xander added. “And this is Chataigne.”

The dryad knelt beside the elf, took her hand and helped her sit up, and then hugged her.

Half-terrified, half-fascinated, Winky looked all around her.

“Mistress . . . mistress is a dryad?” she asked. “This is mistress's tree?”

“Quick study,” Xander whispered.

Chataigne hugged her again, with all the happiness of a child who has found a lost friend. This time, Winky hugged back just the smallest amount.

“Your name is Winky?” Xander asked.

She nodded, all huge, worried eyes, and ears bent back and down, like a scolded dog.

“Winky, my name is Alexander Harris. I like to be called Xander. I'm Chataigne's champion and master of the house, Haven.”

Awe replaced some of the fear, and when Xander held out his hand, she curtsied.

“This is my best friend in the whole world, Willow Rosenberg,” he continued. “She's a witch.”

“Mistress Willow?” There was even more awe in her voice, and Winky curtsied even deeper. Then, ears going back in fear, she trembled. “Is mistress a . . . a Death Eater?”

“A what?” Willow asked, completely taken aback. “No. No, Winky. I don't deal in death. I do my very best to deal in life and help others.”

The trembling subsided.

“Where is Winky?” she asked. “Where is Headmistress McGonagall?”

Xander and Willow traded a look.

“We're not sure,” Xander admitted. “But we do know that she asked us to take care of you. She said you needed a family.”

“A family?” Winky asked, sudden tears filling her eyes. “Winky . . . Winky has no family. Master Crouch said . . . said . . . Winky was no good! Master Crouch said Winky was not family! He gave Winky clothes!”

She sobbed, and the dryad and Willow both leaned over to comfort her.

“Well, there's another name for the Shovel List,” Xander sighed. “Winky. Winky!”

She paused mid-sob and sniffled.

“That's why you're here,” he told her. “Master Crouch was a big, dumb idiot, and he didn't deserve to have a house elf as sweet and wonderful as you. Why, I bet, if I mixed up a bowl of salt and sugar, you could sort them out in less than a day.”

“Winky can do it in an hour, Master Xander,” she replied, wiping her nose.

“No kidding!” he said, putting on his best impressed face. “Can you sort all the silverware into the right places, even though we have five different types of place settings?”

“Of course Winky can,” the house elf answered, a little confused at such a basic question.

“Hmmm. Okay, here's a tough one,” Xander said, “there are forty-eight-”

“Forty-nine,” Willow corrected him.

“Forty-nine girls in this family.”

Winky goggled, which was quite a sight.

“And they all want help with their hair for a fancy ball in two days. Plus, there's no one to make the food, because the stupid caterers canceled at the last minute. Aaaaand, the laundry's a mess.”

Winky stared, wide-eyed at him, her face a picture of wonder.

“Master Xander needs . . . help with this?” she asked.

“I need so much help,” he said. “I don't even know where to begin.”

“But . . . but . . . Winky can help!” she gasped. “Winky can make hair pretty! Winky can do food for everybody at party, even dessert. And Winky can do laundry! Winky is very good at laundry!”

“Winky,” Xander said, holding out both his hands, palm up. “Will you help me? Will you help my family? Will you stay with us and help us every day? There's so much to do.”

“Winky . . . Winky could be with your family, Master Xander? Winky would have place to stay and work to do, and people to take care of?” she asked, putting her hands in his, her eyes filled with hope.

“Winky, you will have a place to stay, work to do, and people to take care of,” he told her. “I promise you.”

“For- forever and a day?” Winky asked.

“Forever and a day,” he repeated.

She burst into tears again, but this time, they were tears of joy, and she threw her tiny little arms around Xander's neck and hugged him as hard as she could.

“Winky has family! Winky has home! Winky has work!” she cried.

Xander hugged her back while Willow and Chataigne looked on with fatuous smiles.

When Winky finally let go, still smiling, but no longer crying.

“Let's go upstairs and do this properly,” Xander said.

Winky went wide-eyed again. “Master Xander means the Old Ceremony?”

“That's exactly what I mean. Come on.”



They were joined in the kitchen by Dawn, Giles, Jenny, Buffy, Mary Poppins, and Jarod. After introductions, Winky looked baffled.

“What's wrong?” Xander asked.

“Master Xander, this is your family?” she asked.

“It sure is.”

“But . . .” and Winky's brow puckered. “Master Xander is not father. Neither is Master Giles or Master Jarod. Mistress Willow is not mother. Mistress Jenny is mother, but . . . not? Mistress Dawn and Mistress Buffy are sisters, but Master Xander and Mistress Willow are not. Winky is confused.”

“Ah,” Xander said. “Okay, let me do a little explaining, Winky.”

She gazed up at him in complete trust.

“Some of us, like Dawn and Buffy, are lucky enough to be related by blood, and everybody calls that family. That kind of family, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Buffy and Dawn's family worked, but their mother died, and they were all alone.

“Some of us, like me and Jenny, don't have anyone around who is related to us by blood. So we don't have any family that way. What we do have is some very good friends, friends like Master Giles and Mistress Poppins and Mistress Willow andMistresses Buffy and Dawn. They are such good friends, and there is so much love, that I say they are my family. Master Giles should have been my father. Mistress Jenny is like my favorite aunt. Mistress Buffy is practically my sister. Does that make sense?”

Winky was overwhelmed with thought for a long moment.

“Master Xander, does anyone ever stop being family?”

He took a deep breath. “Well, I won't say it's never happened, but they would have to try really, really, really hard. And we'd probably still say they were family.”

“And Winky gets to be with Master Xander's family?” she asked.

“Forever and a day.”

Giles blew his nose.

“Excuse me,” he said, wiping his eyes. “Tad dusty in here.”

“Winky says yes,” Winky said.

“Okay, then we do the first part, and I'll leave that to the ladies.”

The first part, happened to be that the mistress of the family burnt the house elf's old clothes on the kitchen fire, bathed the elf like her own child, and then dressed her in something appropriate to the household. While they carried out that part, the men waited just outside the kitchen.

“That was very eloquent of you, Xander,” Jarod remarked.

Xander shrugged. “One of those life lessons. At least I got it figured out early on. Giles, are you okay?”

Giles had been staring far off into space, the strangest, saddest smile on his face. He startled.

“Why, yes. Yes, I am. Quite fine, thank you.”

“I swear,” Xander muttered, “everybody around me is acting weird.”

“Okay!” Dawn called.

They filed back in.

Winky stood on the kitchen island, clean as a breeze through an apple tree in bloom. She wore two tea towels, tied like togas at her shoulders and belted modestly with a bit of string Dawn had quickly crocheted. She was barefoot and clearly happy.

On the island, in front of Winky was a dish of salt, a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a loaf of bread with a knife. There was also the bundle of flowers and plants listed in the book. Next to that was a pile of chestnut leaves.

“Ready?” Xander asked her.

Winky nodded, smiling with happiness.

Xander took a pinch of salt and dropped it in her hand. He touched his fingers to his tongue to pick up the last grains just as Winky did.

He took the bottle, pulled the cork out gently, and poured a small swallow of wine into each glass. He handed one to Winky and took the other. They lifted their glasses in a silent toast and drank the wine down. Willow had to put her hand on Winky's back to keep her from falling over.

Then, Xander took the knife, cut a thin slice from the loaf, and then cut that in half. He gave one half to Winky and kept the other. They each ate their piece.

Then, Xander picked up the bundle of flowers and laid them out. An almond branch in bloom for promise; a bumblebee orchid for industry; a blossom of celandine for joys to come; a daisy for loyalty; clover for industry and promise; honeysuckle for the bonds of family; mayflower for welcome; oak for strength, and witch hazel for magic.

Winky gathered up the bouquet and held it to her chest.

“That's from Chataigne,” Dawn said, pointing at the pile of leaves.

Xander picked up one leaf, and all the others followed it. After a moment of gently picking through it, trying to determine what it was, all the green leaves draped in one direction, creating pinnafore dress.

“Hold up your arms,” he instructed Winky.

She immediately did, and he dropped the dress over her arms and head.

The pattern of the leaves sank into the fabric of the tea towels, leaving a green print of chestnut leaves. One, directly over Winky's left chest, stood out in a darker green, almost like a badge.

“Winky,” Xander said. “Welcome home. Let's go meet the family.”

She jumped down from the island and followed him to the great hall.



Xander leaned back in his chair and covered a belch.

“I cannot believe Winky whipped up that dinner with twenty minutes notice,” he said. “I have had roast beef life that . . . ever.”

“She is a house elf,” Dawn pointed out. “By the way, don't ever say thank you.”

“S'kind of rude, don't you think?”

“No,” Dawn said, “that's how elves work. You never say thank you. You do say 'good job' or 'well done'. Means a lot more to them.”

“Winky!” he called.

She paused while zipping between tables of girls, gathering up dirty dishes.

“That was the best roast beef I have ever eaten in my entire life. And the mashed potatoes were great!”

“Hear! Hear!” Giles called, clapping.

The whole of the hall broke out in applause with several the girls giving Texas yeehas or Brooklyn whistles. Amazed and blushing with the praise, Winky smiled shyly and tore back into the kitchen.

“Mister Harris,” Mary Poppins said, flush with good food and drink. “We have a dilemma.”

“What's that?”

“Chores. Little Winky looks to take over every single chore in the household.”

“Okay. So?” Xander asked.

“Chores are an integral part of the girls' training and upbringing,” Mary Poppins said. “To deprive them of those responsibilities is to deprive them of an essential part of their character development.”

“Oh, geez,” Xander groaned. “If I agree with you, does that mean I have to admit I'm an adult.”

“If it will please you, I'll deny it to my dying day,” Mary Poppins said.

“I'd appreciate it,” he answered. “Okay, how about the girls are still responsible for their bedrooms and bathrooms, the media room, and bringing their laundry down. I'd rather they didn't run the washers and dryers, because the repairs are getting a little expensive. If they genuinely need help with something, they can ask Winky. Otherwise, they're on their own.”

“That is a fair and equitable solution.” Mary Poppins nodded.

“Did you just avoid saying 'thank you' to me?”

“What a clever young man you are,” she said.



Giles finished tidying his desk and was about to turn out the light when a small voice spoke up.

“Master Giles?”

It was Winky, carrying several items.

“How may I help you, Winky?” he asked.

“Mistress Jenny says you are to take this medicine, and if you do not, she will be very cross.”

She held up a small silver platter with a tiny cup of pills and a glass of water.

“That woman never runs out of ways to bully me,” Giles said, tossing the pills in his mouth and downing them with a drink of water.

“Master Giles?” Winky asked again.

“Yes.”

“Winky made a promise to someone before she went to sleep,” Winky said. “She promised Headmistress McGonagall to clean her cloak and repair it and press it and have it hanging in her office before morning. Chataigne gave Winky the cloak, and Winky finished it, but Winky doesn't know how to put it in Headmistress's office.”

The house elf looked very worried.

“May I?” Giles asked.

The house elf gave him the neatly folded academic robe. Giles turned over one fold to see the badge and blinked in bemusement. Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus. Never tickle a sleeping dragon? Definitely not a school with which he was familiar.

“Let's see what I can do,” Giles said, and walked over to the portion of the library the orangutan had appeared.

It actually wasn't hard to find the break from standard space into L-Space, but it was a bit unnerving.

“Master Giles?” Winky asked, very nervous.

“If you could just make sure I don't get pulled in, Winky, I'd appreciate it,” Giles told her.

Winky laid down on the floor and held on to his ankles.

“Yes, hello?” Giles called into L-Space. Several similes rustled their feathers at the disturbance. “I was wondering if the librarian from earlier today might stop by. Thank you!”

Before he could completely withdraw, a large, hairy, orange arm reached out, took Giles by the collar and very forcefully pushed him back a full step. The face followed shortly.

OOK!”*

“I beg your pardon!” Giles apologized. “I had no idea of the dangers. I assure you, I won't make such a rash decision again.”

“Ook.”**

“Thank you. By the way, would it be possible to return this to the owner?” Giles asked.

“Winky put a note in the pocket for Headmistress McGonagall!” Winky called, still holding on to Giles' ankles and not about to let go.

“Ook.”***

“Winky thinks orangutan is very kind and good Librarian! Winky will take good care of books for Master Giles!”

“Ook.”****

The arm and the face withdrew and disappeared.

“You can let go now, Winky,” Giles said.

“Master Giles is sure? Winky thought she saw a hungry apostrophe.”

“The punctuation mark or the figurative language sort?”

Winky stared. “Um . . . Winky thinks it was an address to an abstract concept.”

“Ah, well, I can deal with those quite easily. Now, how about a night cap?”



The Headmistress of Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts both stood in the ruin of their library and gazed at the short message drawn in the dust of the checkout counter.

“Ook?” Professor McGonagall asked.

“Well,” Hagrid said, scratching an ear, “from the hand and footprints, I'd say it was Malaysian orang-utan. Male, but not the alpha. Don't usually find them scribbling messages though.”

“An animage? Or perhaps a transfigured wizard?”

“Well, they'd manage the Queen's English, wouldn't they? Besides, there aren't any animages registered as orang-utans with the Ministry, didn't see any of them fightin' for Voldemort, and considerin' how strong they are, I'd like to think they'd have showed up for the battle, now wouldn't they.”

“You have a point, Rubeus,” the professor conceded.

“Any idea what it means?” Hagrid asked.

“Oh, yes. The meaning's quite clear. He says 'took your house elf to Haven – two turns to the left and straight on 'til morning. Good people there, plus a chestnut dryad-”

Hagrid whistled low. A chestnut dryad was both rare and a cherished find.

“'If you need any help. . . ',” she paused in her reading. “There's a very vivid description of how he believes the vandals who harmed the library should be handled, vivid and rather graphic, 'I can be reached at the Unseen University Library, Ankh-Morpork, Discworld.'”

“Hadn't heard of that one,” Hagrid observed.

“No, it's quite a ways a way. I did correspond with a certain witch in those parts. Very sensible woman. I should send her a letter.”

“Ook.”

The orangutan in question dropped down from one of the higher stacks onto the counter, a package tucked under his arm.

“Oh!” It took a lot to startle Professor McGonagall, but this was enough. “My goodness. Are you the one who answered my request?”

“Ook.”

“Splendid. Professor Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

“Ook.”

“Really? I don't suppose you know of any fellow librarians in search of a position? Or might you be interested in taking over here? We've a lot of work to get done.”

“Ook.”

“Very well,” the professor said. “If you change your mind, please let me know at once.”

The Librarian looked up at Hagrid. They both grinned widely.

“Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of Keys and Grounds.”

“Ook.”

They shook hands. The Librarian turned back to the Headmistress and handed her the bundle from under his arm.

“My cloak!” Minerva declared, laughing. “Cleaned, repaired, and pressed. My goodness. And how is Winky?”

“Ook.”

“That well? Oh, that is a relief.”

The Librarian produced a folded piece of paper and gave it to the Headmistress.

“Ook ook.”

“Oh, yes, and you as well. Please do take care out there. I understand it's quite dangerous.”

“Ook.”

The Librarian climbed back up into the rafters and disappeared.

Professor McGonagall opened the note, read it, and found she had to blink several times to clear her eyes. Hagrid leaned over to read it as well.


DEAR HEADMISTRESS:

WINKY NOW HAS A FAMILY.
WINKY NOW HAS A HOME.
WINKY NOW HAS WORK.
WINKY IS VERY, VERY HAPPY.
WINKY THINKS HEADMISTRESS IS VERY
KIND AND LOVING AND WISHES HER THE BEST.

LOVE,
WINKY



The End.

* "Are you out of your mind, man? Do you know the bounty put on virgin librarians in this part of L-Space? Why, the synedoche clan would pay thousands in malaprops to put your head on a pole!"

** "That's better. Now, stay behind the white line, and don't let me catch you in here again."

*** "Sure thing. Though you might do better with inter-library mail next time."

**** "And you are a virtuous and hard working house elf. We librarians need all the help we can get."

The End

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