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Hitting the Books

Who: Kinsley, Moody, Sirius, Lupin, McGonagall, Madame Pince, and her Standing Army of Books.
Where: Hogwarts library
When: Sometime after ten in the morning
Why: Research on Horcruxes
Rating: PG-13, for now. Depends on how heavily Moody curses during the book fight

Kingsley shook off some of the soot as he stepped out into the Hogwarts library, drinking in that ever-present, musty smell of books, parchment, and knowledge.  Of course, the Hogwarts library was not complete without the hawkish gaze of Madame Pince, the old spinster librarian who was as possessive of her books as a sheik was with the women of his harem.

"Good morning," he boomed out, cool and casual as ever, despite the fact that Madame Pince's merest glare could still make him feel like a schoolboy.   He decided not to announce the reason for this visit-- she was used to seeing Auror's about now, let her assume what she would. He didn't have to answer to her.  At least, he kept telling himself that as he scuttled further into the library to avoid her piercing stare.

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Remus made it through after Moody and stopped just outside the hearth, looking up and around with a vague, wistful smile. Libraries never changed. No matter how many things went sour, no matter what the Order was going through, no matter what Voldemort was planning next, the books and bookcases and dust were absolute.

It even smelled the same: like dust and paper and binding glue.

He wandered forward a bit, basking in the silence and the promise of knowledge and books that hissed with dust when you opened them, and looked round straight into Madam Pince's acidic glare. "Er."
Sirius nearly ran into Remus when he stepped out of the fireplace. The library had never been of much interest to him when he was in school, other than for midnight excursions into the restricted section with James, huddled under the invisibility cloak and trying like mad not to giggle audibly.

Madam Pince and her Gaze of Doom held little to fear for him. He and James had never been caught, or at least she hadn't bothered to stop them, and he'd never spent enough time in the library during normal hours of the day to do anything to upset her.

He poked Remus in the small of the back. "C'mon Moony, you know where the books are, right?"
Remus shot him a half-hearted glare. "Sure, Pads, of course I do. They're in these big wooden things."

He kept his voice hushed and headed into the midst of the high, teetering masses of books, following Kingsley and hoping the Auror was looking for a table.
Sirius stuck his hands in his pockets and followed, turning off when he got close to where he remembered the restricted section being.

Ah yes, this was it. It smelled just as musty and still as the rest of the library, but there was something else, too, a tang like tarnished silver that burned the back of the throat. High levels of magic. Dangerous levels, in some cases. And highly sought-after by the more reckless members of the student body.

Sirius strolled along the stacks, idly reading titles he had once tried to decipher in semi-darkness, often while quite tired and sometimes while drunk out of his mind. And yet, many of them seemed familiar.
"Books, books, books, books..." Moody muttered, plonking down at a table near the restricted section that was out of the eyesight of Madame Pince, his mortal enemy at Hogwarts. Moody had no patience for anything that couldn't function tactically in a combat enviroment. If a book survived the rigors of battle, it was a good book. If a book fell apart, well, the publisher sucked.

Madame Pince didn't exactly share his view, and always shrieked at him as if he was abusing her children. Which, in her own, literary-demented world, he probably was.

Still, a book was useless if he couldn't chuck it at someone and sling it through the mud and several questionable spells, and not have it survive. Didn't Madame Pince understand that he was testing the rigors of her collection?

Obviously, his efforts went unappreciated. So he had to do this on the down-low.

Using his wand, he magicked over a random stack, not wanting to touch the restricted books in case they had a nasty enchantment.

Setting a spell to filter the word Horcrux, he riffled through the pages as quickly as possible. Who had time to look at every word one by one? That'd take ages. It was also as boring as hell.

Now, seeing how fast the pages could zip by and seeing if he could get a nice cooling breeze of it, now that was at least vaguely amusing...
The proximity of so much stored magic, bound by words and paper in a bunch of flimsy (although hardcover) books, bothered the Wolf somewhat. Remus, however, was still used to it. He had spent a lot of time in this library at school, and while the Wolf had been around then, it didn't have quite as good a memory as Remus did.

The werewolf took the long way around and gravitated to keywords in titles. Immortality, death, Horcruxes...

They were listed by subject and then by author, which made the going a bit more difficult, but Remus was very patient.
Sirius ceased his leisurely stroll only when he almost bumped into Remus. He flashed his friend a grin.

"Like old times, eh?"
He grinned a little. "The only difference being that you're here and not making noise or a mess."
"Or looking, as you mentioned, for porn," Sirius added. "Though I'm still convinced there must be some, somewhere."
"Not here. Madam Pince would have burned it by now. Here, take these three and see if there are any chapters on Horcruxes."
Sirius sagged under the weight of the books Remus handed him, although there were only a few.

"Oof. Either I need to start eating more, or it's true that excess magic has weight..."
Kingsley was a studious person, though he had never really liked the restricted section, and browsing through the shelves now, he remembered why. It just wasn't sorted properly. Dark magic books weren't like others. Instead of being filtered the way they were, it would be far more pragmatic to sort by levels of evilness. There would be Questionable, Bad, Quasi-Evil, Semi-Evil, Demi-Evil, Evil, and Insidious. That way, they could all skip right to the Insidious section and most of their work would be done.

Most of the dark magic was so archaic that it was hard to identify which titles might specify the right spell. Was it even a charm, or an enchantment? Or even a metaphysical, complex form of transfiguration? Barring potions, where did one start?

He plucked up a couple volumes that looked particularly Insidious and turned to the index in the back.
Sirius stepped out of the Floo a few moments later, brushing soot from his t-shirt. He tried to be as quiet as possible in case Samantha was still asleep.
"Whoa, whoa, it's okay." Sirius held up his good hand and carefully extracted his wrist from her grip. "It's nothing. It's actually kind of funny." In retrospect, anyway...
"Being a Ravenclaw, I'm assuming you spent some time in the library's restricted section?"
"You don't find Horcruxes in any old book," Sirius pointed out. "One of them happened to have teeth. Don't look at me like that; I said teeth, I mean teeth."
"Yes, a book."
"It was stunned!" Sirius exclaimed. "At least until it got startled..."
Sirius shuddered a bit. "Please. At least it shut up after it bit me."
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September 2008

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