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Turning to quite another anniversary.... - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Turning to quite another anniversary....

I am terrible about birthdays, particularly on LJ, rather because of than despite all the interminable reminders. And to mark one friend’s birthday when I so signally fail to mark those of others may seem invidious.


Nevertheless, so it shall be. Femme, a very happy birthday to you and many happy returns of the day. The following will I trust amuse you.



‘Phantasticall Zeale’


The young, in love, writhe as if they cannot bear to touch and cannot bear to refrain from touching and being touched, sinuous and urgent, panting with need, hands everywhere, desirous of ultimate merger, with desperate open-mouthed kisses and devourings.


The older, the settled lovers, take their time with knowing pleasure, a ‘feast with gluttonous delays’, teasingly slow and achingly building.


And it is the age, not of the lovers, but of the love, that makes the difference. Al and Scorpius were settled now, if still as passionate and as openly – sometimes untimely openly – burning with desire as ever. Their fathers ought by rights to have been settled as well, after this time, yet they remained as raw and urgent in need as ever. But, then, although Draco had found affection in his marriage, he had never known passion in it, or at all, until he and Harry had at last given way to one another; and although Harry had known both passion and affection with his late wife, not even Ginny had been so central to his life for so long as had Draco, nor had she sparked in him the added fire of old rivalries transmuted into overmastering ardour.


This was rather often an annoyance to their friends, socially: Harry and Draco had a disconcerting habit of becoming so wrapped up in, and rapt in, their private fervours, as to make them a bloody nuisance. Even Scorp and Albie were more reliable.


Such, at least, was the exasperated conclusion of an exasperated Hermione. If she was not quite tearing out her abundant – if slightly greyer – hair over it, she was assuredly thrusting her hands into it with a fine air of distraction, and her eyes had an electric glare.


The Witches’ Institute in Salem was not quite the same thing as a British WI, magical or Muggle; for one thing, it was involved in governing two schools on vaguely Hogwartsian lines. Hermione being one to applaud innovation without bothering to see if it were an improvement, she was eager to learn more of the doubtless much more modern methods at Phillips Exmouth and Phillips Hamoaze, which were the two schools in the governance of which the ladies of the Salem WI had as much say as their dollars bought them.


Moreover, she had corresponded – by Muggle email, which she felt an adequate means of seeing who was and who was not mired in the blind alley of the past – with the two distinguished American Witches who were due in England for the weekend. The evidently formidable Professor Ryecroft of Luce University there in New England, although nearer in years to Teddy’s generation than to Hermione’s, was already distinguished as a Wizarding historian, and celebrated for her researches into the influence of Calvinist appropriation of the Malleus and that of the Cambridge Platonists upon the Salem Witch Trials. Her work, From Leyden to Essex County: the course of an intellectual contagion, was approved on all sides, and although Hermione privately found the subject of those researches frightfully churchy, she could and did applaud the scholarship required to deal with it.


The by all accounts equally imposing Miss Mowbray was a notable epigraphomancer who had, unlike Professor Ryecroft, left the groves (Hermione could not resist the phrase) of Academe (Swynford College, for Miss Mowbray), where her researches had become stifled by, it appeared, the dead hand of established authority. She had thereafter taken Orders in the Americans’ odd little reflection of the C of E, Hermione gathered, which, again, was an unfortunate waste of a sound mind, Hermione rather thought, although it did not, evidently, interfere with her scholarship.


Hermione made a mental note not to mention Miss Mowbray’s vocation to Malfoy until it became absolutely necessary. Harry should be suspicious of scholarly Americans – he had a thoroughly military mind after years as a Very Senior Officer of Aurors Indeed, and the Americans he liked were the ‘uniforms that guard you while you sleep’ – and it might be best not to mention, if one could avoid doing so, that these distinguished Witches were celebrated for brain rather than brawn and bravery. (Hermione’s idea of New England Witches of the blue-stockinged sort was very much drawn from Henry James, if truth were told.) And Malfoy ... well. One quite conscientiously quite liked Draco these days, as a Reformed Character, but, really, the man remained yet in many ways positively Palæolithic. The comments that the wretched man should unquestionably pass upon what he yet referred to as ‘the purported ordination of women’ were not to be thought upon.


And yet, one could not possibly entertain Distinguished Foreign Visitors and introduce them ’round only to Ron’s connexions and hon. Members of the Moot and all sorts, and not to the lions, meaning Harry and M- – er, Draco. It simply wasn’t on. It was, and rightly should be seen as being, intolerably rude. Even so, oh, dear, what a disaster it might so easily be.... Harry barking in a parade-ground voice and becoming more peppery and military with each passing moment, Draco sneering and cutting....


Rose, observing her mother from a safe distance, herself unseen, recognised that the barometer was pointing to Very Dirty Weather Indeed, and slipped away to warn Hugo and their father. It was, alas, far too late to warn Teddy, who had already gone off to stand the racket by meeting the Americans and bringing them to stop with the Weasleys whilst they were in the UK. Rose had her own preconceptions of what the sort of people whom Hermione might ask to stop should be like: tartars, no doubt, in the Minervan manner, easily scandalised Bostonians combining the worst aspects of the bluestocking and the Puritan. Rose was brainy herself, but, honestly, there were limits (not that Mummy had ever recognised any). And spinsters, as well, by all accounts. There were, of course, spinsters and spinsters, but Rose had no hopes that these freezing Yanks should be anything save desiccated female dons, worlds removed from the jolly Lesbianism of Aunt Millie and Aunt Su and wholly unlike rackety old Pomona Sprout, whose unmarried state was not at all one of unfulfilment, if half what one heard of her youth were true (although, really, Professor Flitwick? Some rumours simply were not to be credited).


Hugo, like his father and grandfather going wisely to ground as far from Hermione as possible, was wary. Scorpius and the Asp, no doubt, were willing to make the running as best they could do, vice their fathers, but everyone always wanted to meet Harry (and Draco, if only necessarily, although the waspish old sod was becoming rather well-liked these days); and prying Uncle Harry and Uncle Draco out of their shared and famously well-used bed was difficult enough without the added complication of dragging the two of them grumblously up to London. Americans did so often think that London was the whole of the Three Kingdoms, and expected to put up at the house in Town and see the sights, of which Harry and Draco made the most desired spectacle. And Harry and Draco simply hated leaving Evelake, let alone coming up to Town. It didn’t, in Hugo’s experience, much matter what manner or condition of Yank one had stopping with one: bar Harry’s military and police counterparts, who, when they did descend upon the realm, did so at Harry’s invitation, not Hermione’s, Yanks always wished to go poking about London and always insisted on seeing Harry and Draco outside their natural habitat. The Yanks who’d come for the royal wedding had done, the Yanks who’d stopped for the 2012 Olympics had done, and every swot of a Yank scholar with whom Mummy had plagued her longsuffering family had done – in trebles. Hugo really did wish that their general run of visitor was more interested in Quidditch than in cogitation, but, there, that was Mummy for you.


The distinguished American scholars were due to arrive in London at 3.19. By 3.20, Hermione had the family on parade, to greet them properly.


At 3.32, Teddy, with a positively lupine grin, had appeared, returned from his task, and escorting two extremely attractive young Witches who could not, surely, have been very well into their thirties: a smouldering honey-blonde of mouth-watering proportions, and a leggy brunette whose underlying colouring was rather underscored than obscured by her Tonkish neon-blue highlights, and the hint of whose Muggle tattoo, combined with a figure that made the average young woman look as if she’d been hammered from a milk churn, caused Ron and Hugo to widen their eyes (and, Rose made certain, earn banishment from, respectively, Mum’s bed and Mum’s table). It was the latter who spoke first, in an unexpected Charleston drawl (Hermione never did grasp the sheer mobility of Americans, who often school and work far from their native places): she had perforce to open the bowling, as Hermione was incapable, for once, of speech.


‘You must be the Weasleys. Thank you so much for having us to stay while we’re over here. This is Bess Ryecroft, and I, of course, am Ygraine Mowbray.’


Teddy, who knew quite well – and had done since he first boggled at meeting these unlikely American intellectuals – that Hermione should be certain he’d brought the wrong guests, smirked. (It was worse than he’d thought, actually: had not sheer astonishment deprived her, for a few saving moments, of utterance, Hermione had been on the verge of the social disaster of her life, ready to accuse Teddy of bringing with him, as a prank, two young women of the class of the professionally indiscreet.)


‘How do you do,’ said Hermione, faintly. ‘We’re so pleased.... My husband, Ron Weasley –’


‘Oh, there was no doubt of that, dear,’ purred Professor Ryecroft. ‘His fame – and his pin-ups – precede him. And you two must be Rose and Hugo.’


‘Er. Yes, hullo,’ said Rose. Hugo, like his father, was bereft of utterance for reasons wholly different to those that had afflicted Mummy.


‘I promise,’ said Miss Mowbray, ‘we’ll stay well out from underfoot. You see, tomorrow is my birthday, and we’d dearly love to take you along if you like of course, and we’re going to the Middlesex match at Lord’s.’


Hermione was shocked to her very core. ‘I had thought that the International Conference on Archæomantics –’


‘God, yes. Pooh! In your sense as well. Lord’s is the one place we can be certain not to run into any of our idiot colleagues. And on Sunday, we’re to meet Albus Potter and his Scorpius, and their fathers, at Exmoor for the match between Wimbourne and Chudley.’


‘Good God,’ said Ron, startled into incaution, ‘you managed to get Harry and Cousin Ferret out of bed?’


‘RON!’ Hermione, fortunately for that young man, drowned out Teddy’s sniggers.


Professor Ryecroft laughed her throaty laugh. ‘Darling, I’ve known Draco for ages, through the Schartz-Metterklume Professor of Magisociology at Luce: what Dickens calls a “mutual friend”, you know. Albie and Scorp and Harry and Draco know perfectly well that if they don’t turn up for Ygraine’s birthday treat because they’d rather shag, she’ll insist instead that, for her birthday, we be allowed to watch.


It was at that point that Hermione, in a genteel and intellectual sort of fashion, fainted dead away.







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14 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: April 29th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

"Hermione ... fainted dead away."

(tee hee hee...)

Edited at 2011-04-29 02:30 pm (UTC)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 29th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

I love her, but she IS the complete bluestocking.

germankitty From: germankitty Date: April 29th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teeheehee! Love it, absolutely love it! *is now very envious of femmequixotic*
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 29th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Or of Harry, Draco, Al, and Scorp?

Thank you.
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: April 29th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nicely done. :)

Now I am imagining big screens at Lords cutting away from somebody's four or six to be replaced by images of Harry/Draco and Albus/Scorpius going at it, wherever they are...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 29th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Followed by mass heart attacks in the MCC.

And carnage in the Long Rooms.

femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: April 30th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, dearest. <3 You are wonderful, and this made me laugh and laugh and laugh. I rather think I quite like Miss Mowbray. :D :D :D

Thank you so much. *snugs* This was a FANTASTIC birthday present and I am most honoured. <3 (And Noe and I both send love from the wilds of New Hampshire this weekend.)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: April 30th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're quite welcome.

I fear, however, for New Hampshire.

OLD Hampshire lost to Somerset by 9 wkts, by the way.
noeon From: noeon Date: May 3rd, 2011 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
*thoroughly inelegant braying*

Oh dear. Skewered through. And yes, they do always think one should come to Town, what? But for cricket, that's another matter. Enough to ply Draco from his bed.

Lovely lovely lovely fun. Mischievous too.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 3rd, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Well, yes.

I'm glad it pleased. Thankee.
leela_cat From: leela_cat Date: May 6th, 2011 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Bwahahahaha... oh that's brilliant.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 6th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

I'm glad you found it so.
embolinaoz From: embolinaoz Date: May 7th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 7th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you, very much indeed.

Very kind of you to say so.
14 comments or Leave a comment