I don't own anything.
I found my inspiration for The Spinner's Tale mostly in the seventh book. Severus Snape is too good a character to kill off and Harry Potter had far too much potential to just leave in the epilogue. So I'm taking them, I'm starting back at the beginning, and I'm writing something new. This is a prologue to a story about Harry and Snape and how sometimes family is something you make and the future is sometimes something you choose to have.
The Tragic Misfiling of Ingrid Merryweather
Sixty-four year old Ingrid Merryweather was a fourty year veteran of the Department of Mysteries Secretarial Pool. She had been chosen to work in this particular office at the tender age of twenty-five because even then had been an upstanding citizen and moral authority. As with most people with these particular virtues, young Ingrid was also a bit of a goody-goody. This was unfortunate but unavoidable; she was destined for an isolated, boring life because, when it came right down to it, she was no fun to be around. She had never had a friend aside from that one girl in seventh year, Minerva Mc-something-or-other, that needed tutoring in Transfiguration. It had not been a pleasant thing to wake up one day in the middle of her twenty-fifth year and suddenly know that the best (and most exiting) years of her life were rapidly passing her while she stood on the sidelines, without her even realizing it.
Then in came the Ministry.
Though Ingrid was, first and foremost, a goody two shoes this is not the reason that she was recruited by the Department of Mysteries. She had been working at a mid-level accounting job at Burgan Sorenson (Hats for the Dapper Wizard) since graduating from Hogwarts and was exceptionally good at her job. At a time when most wizards were resorting to obscure Arithmancy theory to balance their books, Ingrid used logic along with addition and subtraction and other such ridiculous things to figure out exactly how much money people were making. It was a revolutionary concept. It also turned out to be an extremely marketable job skill once news of this 'logic' spread. The Department of Mysteries offered her the questions of the universe and possibly the answers. More importantly, they offered her adventure and the absolute, ironclad promise that she would never again have a normal day.
She started work and immediately loved it. The chaos that swirled around her office, through every room, every crack in the wall, was exhilarating. The magic outside her walls was dulled to muted grays and browns in comparison. As time passed, she worked later and later hours, coming in earlier and earlier in the morning. It was like a drug and with nothing to anchor her back in the normal world, she was consumed by it. After nine months she had moved into her office, setting up a cot underneath her desk. She felt as if this was her rebirth. This was her life and it began now.
Fourty years later and the unusual was normal, the bizarre and impossible as probable as anything else. Ingrid was bored again. Not that she didn't love her job, because she did. But she was still a goody-goody. Her coworkers, while happy to engage in idle conversation, were not really her friends. They had lives outside the department where they went home to wives, or went out for drinks with their boyfriends, or even just collected chocolate frog cards. She had lived a full life, an exiting life, but she had still missed out.
This is why, ten days after Lord Voldemort was laid low by an infant Harry Potter, Ingrid woke up, crawled out from under her desk and carefully began to pack everything she owned into a small green carpetbag. Never one to leave anything undone, she finished labeling the latest batch of 'ancient and mysterious' objects for permanent shelving before writing a short letter of resignation. She was going to leave and return to the real world; she had had enough of chaos and wanted to have what all those other normal people had. She wanted someone to laugh with and someone to fight with and someone to love. Maybe, if she were lucky, she would find someone who felt the same way.
Ingrid kissed two of her fingers and then raised them to touch the doorframe. A small tear formed in the corner of her eye and she whispered, very softly.
"I will miss you."
Then she walked to the departmental doors and out past them, into a great hall flowing with witches and wizards and even children (my god, I'd forgotten the children). She followed a small group of night shift workers into a strange metal cage. She had heard about these new-fangled lifts and wanted to give one a try. It was fun; a very diverting contraption if she did say so herself.
She looked up and watched as they ascended into a world of sunlight.
An innocuous book, bound in black leather, sat upon a desk. It had a tag on it that would direct the next person who arrived in the former office of Ingrid Merryweather to file it in the 'archive of the ancients' in row Z, shelf #345 (the room didn't extend side to side, but up and down, which had caused the shelves on each row to number in the thousands). It is important to note that at this juncture no one knew what the book actually did, or what it was for, or even where it was from. It was standard procedure to file magical bric-a-brak from centuries long past in the Archive of the Ancients. It wasn't like there was a great call to 'uncover the mystery' behind Ghengis Khan's magical nose-hair clipper. Things just sat there, gathering dust.
It was an unfortunate improbability that instead of writing 'row', Ingrid wrote 'section'. As a veteran of the Department of Mysteries, she would have caught her mistake before she went to file it. Having left the office for the real world a few hours ago, she did not.
The temp who came in saw the tag and was immediately confused: there was no 'section z'. Anywhere.
In that moment the lowly temp had a profoundly brilliant and simultaneously utterly stupid idea. Ingrid's handwriting was somewhat messy; the 'z' could just as easily be a '2'. And there was a section 2 in the ministry, just in a different department. He grabbed to book and made his way over to interdepartmental trolley. The Office of Estate Management was all the way on the other side of the building and he'd be damned if he was going to walk the whole way.
Shelf #345 had been cleared the previously week to handle the property of Mr. and Mrs. Potter, just recently deceased. All the family heirlooms and effects had already been sent off to the Potter vaults so the arrival of the book was rather unwelcome news.
"Look, we already sent the stuff off. The estate is closed. It is only to be opened when, and only when, the Boy-Who-Lived starts school."
"Thanks for the lesson in red-tape, but what the hell am I supposed to do with this for the next decade or so?"
The manager gave him a hard stare. He had closed off everything; there was nothing getting in and out of the Potter vault for a good long while. He saw to that. Now he's got some rookie paper-pusher telling him off. What happened to today's youth? When he was a lad, he respected –
"Hey old man!"
A vein stuck out on the manager's head. The temp didn't notice because he was too busy staring at the book. He had opened it up to some random page in the middle. It contained line after line of small, cramped writing. A small wizard photo (stuck between the pages) displayed the smiling face of a baby boy with messy black hair and shinning green eyes.
"I think this is some sort of journal or photo album or something," the temp said quietly.
They both watched as the child started to suck on his foot. Two parents had come into the frame, laughing together as they tried to extract the boy's new chew toy. The child responded to their antics (fussing) by just shoving it deeper into his mouth. The man threw up his hands in exasperation. The red-haired woman just smiled gently and brushed her son's soft hair away from his face.
"We could send it to him; to the boy," the temp suggested just as softly as before.
The manager nodded absently. It had never occurred to him that the Boy-Who-Lived, celebrated hero of the wizarding world, was an orphan now; that a child this young could not possibly remember his parents when he grew up; that a child this young was without a family. He swallowed past something painful in this throat and lifted his eyes to meet the steady, pleading stare of the temp.
This kid is not going to make it far in the Ministry. He cares too much. But I think we can bend the rules this once. This boy should know his parents, even just through their journal. Besides, we owe them one.
"I suppose. Here's a contact address for his guardians. Send it muggle post; there are still too many owls in the air from the fall of You-Know-Who. It will be quicker, especially if you don't spend half a day tracking down a bird that can carry heavy loads."
The temp nodded once and then left.
A package arriving at #4 Privet Drive had been a relatively ordinary occurrence. At least it was until a young baby was delivered to their doorstep.
Still a bit confused about what to do with the the young boy, they were wary of any other kind of mail, correspondence or even owls in the neighborhood. So far there had been no sign of those freaks, which was good and it was with a tentative sort of hope that Vernon and Petunia re-established their day-to-day routine. The boy didn't take up that much space and was pretty quiet. If they raised him properly, if they taught him the value of humility and hard work, surely he wouldn't turn into one of them. They would start from the cradle and stamp that nonsense out.
So when a black leather bound book arrived, they were nervous. If books just started showing up all willy-nilly how could they possibly be expected to raise this boy properly? Freakish deviants with their freakish books and freakish chants (they refused to say wizards for fear of invoking them).
But they ended up opening it to the first page (just to check, just to make sure) and it wasn't like those disgusting spell books that Lily used to bring home at all. It started out a bit like the bible actually. 'In the beginning, there was darkness'. For all they knew it could be a Bible (they were avid churchgoers, but not exactly what Jesus had in mind when he said 'faithful servants of God').
That's it. Someone must have sent the boy a Bible, hoping that he would repent; that he would not follow his parents down their path of sin. Why someone didn't just stamp 'Bible' across the front was anyone's guess.
They placed the book on a shelf when the boy learned to read. Dudley had ripped their old copy apart in an adorable little fit of pique a few months ago. They needed a replacement anyway.
In a place both very far away and very close by, three sisters watched as Vernon Ashley Dursley shelved the book between a Webster's Dictionary and a beat-up Tom Clancy novel.
They sat upon a craggy rock rising out of a black and endless ocean, huddled around a tidal pool they had created in the center of their small island. Through the pool they watched, mesmerized in a kind of horrified fascination, the events of the day unfold. They didn't blink once and wouldn't have even if they had eyelids. It was like watching a car crash right from the beginning. They saw it. It started as the transmission fell out of the beat up Ford Angelina and the driver swerved in surprise, only to face an oncoming semi. It hadn't happened yet, in the technical sense, but it was TOO LATE (in every sense).
A Law of the Universe: There is no escaping fate. It consumed all things; defined them within a grand and infinitely complex pattern of life. There was no way to deny it; there was no way to escape.
"Well. . .shit," sighed Koltho, "This might be a problem."
Atropos started hitting her head against the nearest outcropping. Lakhesis just stared straight ahead.
"Fucking free will."
Free will was the source of many problems for the three daughters of necessity. Fate was implacable and inescapable; the end result was always known. It was the getting there that gave them headaches. Free will was that bit of chaos that you always had to factor into the equation. Since most mortals tried to find ways to escape their destiny, the sisters had to cook up these twisted, convoluted paths to travel so that everyone got to where they were supposed to be, whether they liked it or not. Oedipus alone had been a nightmare of winding possibilities.
Now, after decades of planning, centuries of convergent events, they had been blindsided by Ingrid Merryweather: Revolutionary Accountant.
In case you missed it, "the daughter's of necessity" are actually the three fates, the names of which are Koltho, Lakhesis, and Atropos. They will play a fairly large supporting role throughout the story. Also expect to see more traditional supporting characters (Ron, Hermoine, Draco, Dumbledore, etc.) in the coming chapters.
I'm updating each of my stories weekly. Please email me if you have any ideas or directions you might want me to take. Due to the nature of this particular plot, I'm pretty flexible.
hope you enjoyed it!