Written for the LJ springtime-gen Harry Potter fic fest. Thanks to K & T for beta-ing.
Looking back at the autumn of 1979, Albus could still say, with a great deal of false modesty, that the picture had been a brilliant idea. It seemed rather simple, a photograph of the Order. Yet, as one often found out, the simplest ideas required a great deal of planning and a great deal of personal perseverance to come to fulfillment.
"I think we should get a picture of the entire Order," Albus said, mildly interrupting Alastor Moody's dire prediction of the looming destruction of the Order of the Phoenix. While it is normally quite rude to interrupt anyone, with the risk factor escalating rapidly due to Alastor's irascible nature, it was the ninety-second time that Alastor, the Oracle of Dublin, had made his dire pronouncement of doom.
Albus knew his reputation was one of being an utterly brilliant wizard yet cursed with a streak of queer whimsy the width of the Thames. It was a reputation he cultivated as he could often ignore people he didn't wish to deal with by offering them lemon drops. Or perhaps a chocolate frog. So as time went on, he was bothered less and less by annoying sycophants who attempted to cultivate him into greatness as they declared him as simply too daft to realize his true potential. Or more likely, Albus's quirkiness was viewed as simply too frustrating to spend the energy necessary to put him under a modicum of control.
Well, with the exception of Horace Slughorn. However Horace had his uses, including the ability to… ahem… play both Beater and Chaser, so Albus had long decided that Horace was a necessary evil. After all, as a Legilimency Master, Albus required someone to help ease the never-ending onslaught of hormonal angst from hundreds of adolescent witches and wizards.
However, there were senior Order Members, like Alastor Moody, who bloody knew how Albus manipulated those around him. These few, brave souls delighted in not playing his game. Albus did appreciate having someone to keep his ego in check, though sometimes he wished Alastor would just stop harping.
"Yes, let's!" Alastor growled. "We can send You Know Who a Christmas Card from the Order, saying 'Sod Off!'."
As expected, Alastor Moody had immediately digested Albus' plan and pointed out the key fault in his unique way.
"Alastor, I'm afraid that I do not have an address for Voldemort," Albus gently chastised the Auror.
As expected the use of THAT name had everyone shaking in dread.
"I think we should have a picture taken," Albus continued, a tad bit firmer, as though Alastor hadn't loudly rebuffed his plan. "That way when we defeat Voldemort, we will have a memento of those brave souls that stood against the darkness."
"Remember who's gone is more like it," grumbled the irascible Moody. As the grizzled Auror was no doubt not feeling very photogenic as he was spare a few new body parts, Albus decided it best to ignore his comments.
He turned a winning smile toward Lily Potter and Alice Longbottom. Both women were newly pregnant.
"Your children would treasure it," he remarked. "To see what heroes their parents are."
And that's how Albus got his picture approved by the majority of the Order members present including Marlene McKinnon, Dorcas Meadowes and Dedalus Diggle. Frank and the various Marauders also agreed to this insanity in order to make Lily and Alice happy.
Alastor Moody being a confirmed grouch…. Bachelor…was the lone holdout. He escorted Albus back to Hogwarts and they began their argument anew.
"I don't care how many Charms you put on it, a picture of our group is sheer, blessed stupidity!" Alastor roared at Albus. "If he can pull the thoughts out of our heads, a photo will just make it so much easier!"
For a wonder, Albus nodded his head.
"Then why do you want it so bloody badly?" Alastor asked. Then in a softer voice, he requested. "Explain it to me. I wish to understand. You know I trust you… but I need to comprehend."
"You're right. We're not winning this war. The Order is being picked off one by one," agreed a somber Albus. "With Alice and Lily both pregnant, perhaps… this photo might give their children comfort later on. Edgar, also. His children are quite young."
Alastor stared at Albus for a long while, his artificial eye zooming up and down, anticlockwise and clockwise, attempting to discover if Albus was attempting to sell him a broken Cleansweep.
"It's the truth, but not the full truth," Alastor finally decided. "You try to keep your secrets, Albus. I'll talk to the twins, Benjy, Sturgis, Emmeline and Caradoc. You can wrangle up Minerva and your goat loving brother for this insanity. What is your other reason, Albus? Why do you want this photo so badly? Yes, Alice and Lily are part of this, but … you… you… want this picture."
"My brother and I are not close," Abus slowly admitted. "He is the only blood family I have… as my sister is dead. Family bonds are not just made of only blood, but can be made of much more. The Order…It's become my family. I would like a picture of my family, Alastor."
Alastor nodded his head. The grizzled vet sighed and assured Albus that he'd get his picture.
Gideon and Fabian Prewett agreed. Too easily, Alastor feared. This easy acquiesce to Albus' wishes meant that the Dangerous Duo were up to something. And while it was Albus' stupid idea, Alastor still didn't wish to pick up the pieces.
"Don't even try to switch identities," Alastor growled. "This is Albus' hare brain idea, so he'll be watching you two."
"Alastor!" the twins chimed together. "How can you even think!"
"Because I know you two. I know that there is only one wee brain cell twixt the two of you," Alastor explained. "Plus, I know that you bastards Charmed my peg leg."
He was referencing a rather tawdry incident in which Alastor's peg leg had jigged merrily while the rest of him had stayed quite still. Well, perhaps not his wand hand had remained motionless as Moody had been energetically creating Charms to unJig his leg.
"You're Irish! You know how to jig! You can't blame us!" the twins protested. "It's part of your soul, Alastor. Besides, you can't still be mad at us!"
The Prewett twins gave Alastor matching innocent smiles which caused the Auror to growl at the twins. Their smiles faltered… but only slightly. It was only Alastor, after all, not Albus, who was the only creature that the Prewett Twins feared… well… besides their sister Molly and her Bat-Bogey Hexes.
"Can only one of you talk at one time?" was the long-suffering Alastor's request. He was the Order's enforcer and the one that usually had to put the kibosh on the twin's high-spirited high jinks. It had to be him, as Albus was the one that turned a blind eye to their shenanigans.
"No!" was the expected response.
"Well since you've agreed, you can ask Benjy to show up for the photo. Emmeline and Sturgis also." Alastor insisted. "I've got the rest of the Order to shanghai into this stupidity."
Benjy Fenwick, as anticipated, said "No."
He had a more than a smidgeon of goblin blood running in his veins. In fact, Benjy was closer to three and ½ quarts goblin, so he was much shorter than the rest of the Order members. He was also smarter than a great many of the Order as he refused to fall for the Prewett twins' tricks.
"I'll need a box to be seen," he rightly protested.
"We'll put you up front and center," Gideon Prewett offered.
"Well, yes, because if you put me in the bloody back row nobody would see me," retorted Benjy."And it would be a shame to deny the women folk the chance to view my handsome face. But, I'm still not doing it as it is insanity."
"He's right about his handsome face not being seen if he's in the back row," Fabian informed his brother. "But it would be a true shame to not have you in the picture. Also Albus is Charming the picture, so you don't have to worry about it falling into the wrong hands."
"What can we bribe you with?" was Gideon's quick response. "Galleons?"
Benjy snorted his derision. He was ¾ goblin, yet gold held no particular allure for him. It was a personal quirk that set him apart from his relatives.
"Nothing," Benjy insisted.
"I know… Molly's rhubarb crumble," Gideon suggested.
Benjy's lips quivered as he forcibly prevented himself from licking his lips. He often took seconds and thirds of Molly's rhubarb crumble whenever he had a chance to partake of it.
"Hmmm…." Fabian murmured. "Deal!"
"But I haven't agreed!" protested Benjy, whose good sense had been over-ridden by his base physical desire.
"Good, now you talk to Sturgis!" Fabian crowed.
"Bugger," Benjy growled.
Sturgis Podmore possessed a square jaw and a thatch of thick straw-colored hair. He was a deliberate soul, thoroughly thinking about the situation before adding his opinion. Well, normally. This time, he was quite expressive.
"I thought we were supposed to be a SECRET organization," he said, stressing the word secret. "Is this for some sort of advertisement for the Order? You know, the few, the proud, the destined to be decimated."
Benjy shook his head. "You've been listening to Oracle Alastor too much, lad."
"But why? Why do we need to take a picture?" Sturgis questioned, as he had missed that particular Order meeting.
"Albus," the much shorter Benjy flatly explained. "He wants it, so we'll do it. Plus Alastor's changed his mind and agreed to this. You know he's the only one that can convince Albus to change his mind. If Albus and Alastor have agreed, then it's just a matter of us showing up. It's too late for pebbles to vote after the avalanche has started. You and I are pebbles, lad."
"I'm not wearing purple," was Sturgis' vain protestations. "No spangles. Just plain, sensible Muggle clothing."
"Agreed," Benjy chirped before he gave Sturgis a bright smile. "You'll mention it to Emmeline?"
"Emmy will think that Albus has gone off his trolley," Sturgis protested.
"I'm sure you can convince her. During pillow talk," teased the good-natured Benjy.
"You know?" Sturgis yelped as he and Ms. Vance had only started courting.
"Yes, I know," Benjy easily admitted. "Tell Emmy I said hello."
Caradoc Dearborn was walking home one evening, when he was slammed against the hard, brick wall of Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. The impact left him breathless, but still he moved toward his wand.
"Caradoc Dearborn…" growled Alastor.
"Bugger," Caradoc whimpered. "If you want sex, Alastor, you're out of luck. I think you just broke everything necessary for it."
"Not laughing," spat Alastor. "I'm on official business, and we both know we prefer the fairer sex."
In a louder tone, Alastor ordered Caradoc to put his hands on his head.
"I'm searching for nicked goods," Alastor explained. "You were in the store when the robbery occurred."
"Robbery?" asked the heavily mustached wizard.
"Yes, seventeen bolts of her best fabric had gone a burton," explained the Auror.
"Bloody hell, how the hell can I hide seventeen bolts of fabric from Makin's shop?"
Alastor poked and prodded Caradoc, finally deciding to let the young man go after a thorough exam. When Caradoc left the scene, he had acquired a note from Alastor detailing him the when and where the picture would be taken. Along with specific instructions that he would be required to attend.
"Minerva," said Albus in a tentative voice. .
An uncertain Albus was not a good sign.
His assistant narrowed her eyes at him and Minerva, redoubtable Celtic warrior, asked, "Whatever is it now? Feast, famine or … WAIT… Don't tell me… Is there fire?"
Or with her luck, all three.
"Feast," he finally decided. His moment of indecision conquered, he was wearing a resplendent smile. "That is a wonderful idea. Thank you, Minerva. I'll start planning the feast!"
A nonplussed Minerva waved her hand in a noble though completely doomed protest. The witch knew that there would be no stopping Albus the Avalanche. After all these long years of working with Albus, Minerva had developed a strong appreciation for the noble Spartans in the Thermopylae pass.
"Do I, at least, rate an explanation?" She kept her voice composed, accepting…
"Oh yes… you missed the last meeting. We decided to take a picture of the Order. We'll get everyone together at the same time; have a small feast… have the picture taken."
Minerva arched one expressive eyebrow. Sometimes, it was best for her eyebrow to speak for her, as her lips were most likely to yell something particularly unhelpful like, 'Are you DAFT?'
"Wouldn't you like to see the entire Order together?" Albus wheedled.
"I'd like to see you and your brother in the same room," was her lightning fast right hook. "Preferably with no bloodshed."
And POINT to Minerva! Albus winced while he protectively reached for his crooked nose.
"I'll see what I can do." That was Albus' quiet promise. "He doesn't like being in the same room with me. Can't really blame him."
Minerva gave her mentor a sad smile. "You and your brother need to stop being so damn stubborn. We all could be dead tomorrow, and there's so much left unhealed between you two."
Elphias Doge beamed when he saw Albus.
"Like the hat?" He said, pointing at something odd and furry on the top of his head. "My wife got it for me."
"Lovely," Albus demurred. Fortunately Elphias didn't hear Albus convicting him of haute haberdashery misdemeanors.
"Keeps my head warm!" He crowed. "What can I do for you?"
"I need some moral support," softly explained Albus. "I'd like Aberforth in the photograph."
Elphias immediately settled down. "Well… you simply need to ask him."
Albus shook his head.
"You're brothers. And brothers don't always get along," Elphias wisely explained. "But ask him, Albus. I believe that he will be terribly hurt if you are planning a get together of the entire Order and you don't invite him."
Albus' response was a grimace.
"I don't believe he feels that way. He barely tolerates me as it is."
"He won't let you know that your good opinion matters to him, so I will assure you," was Elphias the sage's response. "Invite your brother, Albus. Do not treat him as something of which to be ashamed."
"I'm not ashamed of him," objected the older Dumbledore brother. "He just doesn't like me. I still don't even know why he agreed to join the Order."
"Because he's quite chuffed that he's able to give you information from sources to which the Great Albus Dumbledore wouldn't normally have access. The pickpockets, the ladies of the evening." Elphias then narrowed his eyes. "The goatherders."
Albus winced and Fawkes merrily chirruped.
"Fawkes agrees," Elphias reminded Albus. "And if he wants to bring a goat, let him. Your sister adored playing with the little kids."
"He won't. He'll think we're going to serve it for dinner," quipped Albus.
"Off with you," growled Doge. "Go talk to your brother. Don't let him turn you down, Albus. He needs to be there."
Aberforth Dumbledore motioned to the goat kid that was hiding behind the bar.
"You know you're not supposed to be here, Isabella. You're underage and baby goats are not allowed in a bar."
The orphan kid butted his head against Aberforth's knee. Her liquid eyes were pleading as she looked up at her Da.
"It's too early for your bottle, Izzie," protested the soft-hearted Dumbledore even as he reached for the goat bottle. "But fortunately, nobody's here, so you can have your bottle a little early."
He sat down at a table and Izzie scampered over to her Da. She began to greedily suck from the bottle when the door to the Hog's Head opened.
Aberforth growled when he heard a happy trill of greeting.
"The Flying Featherduster's here. That means Al is here," he told the little goat. In a louder tone, he asked his brother what he wanted. "Why are you slumming, Albus?"
"Wanted a drink. Wanted to chat with my brother," Albus informed Aberforth.
"I'm busy so help yourself," Aberforth retorted. "Izzie needs her bottle."
While Albus made himself at home behind the bar, Fawkes flew over to Aberforth. He chirped a few times as his wizard's brother and then the Phoenix looked at the baby goat who had just finished feeding.
"You're not hungry, are you?" an anxious Aberforth complained. "When's the last time Albus fed you? He didn't get sidetracked with some noble cause and forget to feed you?"
"Fawkes isn't a carnivore," Albus mildly chastised his brother.
"Just wanted to make sure, Izzie is a tender little morsel," Aberforth protested.
Albus returned back to the table, carrying two mugs. He deliberately ignored the stickiness of the table and chair, purposely sitting across from his brother. The young goat intently watched Albus as though debating if his purple robe was something good to eat. It was the color of flowers and Izzie liked eating tender blooms. While the Greatest Mage since Merlin wasn't watching, she took a nibble of his robe.
Blah! She liked her bottle better.
"I'm working. I shouldn't be drinking!" The younger Dumbledore informed his brother.
"Just one drink," cajoled Albus. The two Dumbledores took a long sip of their various poisons and then put their mugs down.
This was usually the point in their conversation where Aberforth would attempt to direct his brother's nose in a new direction, so Albus tried not to tense in anticipation.
"Why are you here?" Aberforth questioned.
Unnoticed by either men, but watched by an alarmed Fawkes, Izzie the baby goat, began sniffing Albus' mug.
"The Order is getting together and I wish to take a picture of everyone," explained Albus.
Aberforth harrumphed his disapproval. "Stupidity" was his kindest comment. "Mindless Cult of Dumbledore" was another.
"I would really like you there," Albus softly informed his brother.
"No," asserted Aberforth.
"It would mean a great deal to me if you would be part of it. I don't have any pictures of us together," was Albus' tentative response.
"Course not, there's not enough room. What with your ego!" His younger brother then guffawed, loudly, alarming Izzie whose muzzle was almost in Albus' sweet smelling drink. She stuck out her long tongue and began lapping at the cider. Hmmm… this tasted better than flowers.
"I'd really like it," repeated Albus. "You don't have to stand anywhere near me, naturally. You can even bring Izzie."
Aberforth grumbled and growled and then both Dumbledores realized that Izzie was busy sucking down Albus' cider at an unholy rate.
"She shouldn't be drinking cider!" Aberforth protested.
Izzie struggled away from the table, but her legs didn't work like they should. They seemed quite happy to go in different directions and she sadly bleated as she collapsed on the floor. Aberforth picked up the kid and began to soothe her. "There, there. Uncle Al is just a horrible uncle. Getting you drunk like that…"
And then the day came when the picture was taken. Every Order was dressed in their magnificent best, wide collars, plaid, flared pants, knitwear and silk bows. And yes, even Izzie wore a petite bow.
Fawkes, however, refused Albus' offer for a matching bow, as the Phoenix knew that he was pretty enough. Why gild the lily?
"When we're done with the photo, we can tuck into the marvelous feast that has been prepared," Albus advised the Order.
It took a while to set up the photo, Albus wished to everything just so.
Gideon and Fabian Prewett had to stand next to each other and Albus Charmed the twins so they couldn't switch identities for the photo.
Gideon Prewett and Fabian were attacked by five Death Eaters, one of whom was Antonin Dolohov. They were described as having "fought like heroes" but were overwhelmed.
The Marauders had to stand together with their pregnant queen, Lily, in the middle.
Peter Pettigrew turned traitor, leading to the deaths of Lily and James Potter. Sirius Black was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. Later, he would die at the hands of his relative, Bellatrix during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Remus Lupin would marry Nymphadora Tonks and have a child. Sadly both Lupins would end up dying at the 2nd Battle of Hogwarts. In time, Peter was killed by an enchanted silver hand but no one mourned.
Alastor Moody still thought the party and the photo was a bloody stupid idea, but he stood proudly in the back. And well, if he openly admired Marlene and Dorcas in their party clothes, he was still in his prime. Even if he was missing a few body parts, none of which were imperative for girl-watching.
Alastor Moody, the world renowned Auror, would be presumed dead during the Battle over Little Whinging. However there are many that believe that Alastor Moody somehow managed to survive his fall of several thousand feet. These hardy souls usually loudly proclaim, after a few too many pints, that 'you know, they never found a body'.
Edgar Bones was dressed in the latest Muggle fashion, a dapper young man.
Edgar Bones would be murdered, along with his wife and children, by Death Eaters in 1981. He would go down, fighting to the very last, determined to save his family.
Caradoc Dearborn broadly grinned when the picture was taken, determined somehow, to make Alastor Moody pay for this insanity.
Roughly six months after the photo was taken, Caradoc vanished and was never heard from afterwards. His body was never found, and he was presumed dead.
Dedalus Digglewas delighted to be included in the picture, and so had decided to buy a new purple top hat for the occasion. He did so appreciate a pop of color.
Dedalus Diggle survived both wars with Voldemort, purple top hat intact.
Elphias Doge thought that Dedalus' hat was a bit over the top, nothing near as fine and proper as his new hat.
Elphias Doge survived both wars with Voldemort. He wrote a moving tribute to Albus Dumbledore in the Daily Prophet.
Aberforth had to clean up after Izzie a few times as the poor thing was a little skittish being among humans. Goat cleanup didn't bother Aberforth, however Alastor thought him a might strange for coddling a bow-wearing goat.
Izzie made Aberforth a proud grandfather many times. To this day, Izzie helps Abeforth tend bar.
Albus Dumbledoretried to memorize every second of the feast and photo-taking. He wanted to remember seeing all his friends… his family… in the same place for the first time.
A dying Albus Dumbledore would be euthanized by loyal Order Member Severus Snape in order to ensure that Hogwarts would be protected when Voldemort controlled the school.
Benjy Fenwick refused his box, as he was standing in the front row of the Order.
Benjy Fenwick would be shredded by the Death Eaters in a savage fight. Sadly, the Order was only able to find bits and pieces of him.
Mundungus Fletcher had found a cleaner set of robes to wear though no one wished to stand too close to him. He stayed far, far away from Aberforth as Aberforth had a long memory about a certain tawdry incident in the Hog's Head.
Mundugus Fletcher survived both wars and continued to knick stuff from unsuspecting wizards and witches. That was until he was caught in mid-nick by Filius Flitwick and sentenced to a fate worse than death. A Clean Robe spell along with a Charm that made it impossible for him to pick up anything that wasn't his.
Rubeus Hagridtowered over everyone in the picture. He got teary-eyed, thinking of how proud his Da would have been, what with him being an Order member.
Rubeus Hagrid survived both wars. He continued teaching Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts, causing Minerva McGonagall's hair to go white long before she turned a proper century old.
Alice and Frank Longbottom stood next to each other, both of them beaming and noticeably deeply in love.
After the birth of their son, Neville, Alice and Frank were attacked by Death Eaters Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, as well as Barty Crouch, Jr.. They were repeatedly hexed with the Cruciatus Curse, and although the Death Eaters were caught and sentenced to imprisonment in Azkaban for their crimes, their victims would never recover. Their son would continue on their tradition, beheading Nagini.
Minerva McGonagall had ignored Albus' suggestion that she wear something… cheery. The witch refused as she firmly believed that Albus' party dress was capable of blinding everyone within a seven block radius. Regardless of the fact that Albus Dumbledore was the most powerful Wizard to ever step foot at Hogwarts, Minerva had no qualms Hexing him when her hair 'spontaneously' came free of its neat bun.
Minerva McGonagall would live through both Wars, and would later be given the awesome task of repairing the damage to Hogwarts; its students and its buildings. She would prove up to the challenge and ushered in a new era of interhouse cooperation.
Marlene McKinnon decided if Minerva wished to be sedate, then she was willing to be the festive one. She wore a sparkly outfit and outrageously flirted with a rather appreciative Alastor Moody.
Marlene was murdered by Death Eaters less than two weeks after the picture was taken. At her funeral, she was eulogized as a fun loving witch with a loud laugh.
Dorcas Meadowes not to outdone by her best friend Marlene, decided to show a little bit of cleavage. She, too, decided to flirt with Alastor as it was amusing to watch the hard-edged Auror blush like a schoolboy.
Dorcas Meadowes was killed by Voldemort himself.
Sturgis Podmore and Emmeline Vance decided that this get-together was a fine time to bring their budding relationship out in the open, though everyone already knew. The Order was a tight knit group after all.
Sturgis Podmore and Emmeline Vance were married shortly afterwards. They were quite happy together. Sadly, Emmeline was murdered during the 2nd Voldemort War leaving Sturgis to raise their children alone.
In time, this picture of the Original Order of the Phoenix would be passed down, inspiring and motivating the younger generations.
A/N – the idea of a drinking goat came from Caladan's magnificent picture of the drinking goat and the Dumbledore brothers at http i2DOTphotobucketDOTcom