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...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Three: A Mission To Save The World, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Three: A Mission To Save The World, pt. 2
Today's countdown warning: This journal will be fully spoiled on Saturday morning, with character names, icons, and casual comments about DH appearing outside of spoiler cuts. Since almost everything that's appearing here is a long story based entirely on a spoiler... well...

All right, onward. This seems to be only a two chapterlet chapter.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far Spoiler character name in page title.

Teddy's on board the Hogwarts Express, having been seen off by his grandmother and godfather, and is sitting with his friend Frankie Apcarne (the son of Tonks's friends Daffy and Maddie, who was born in Shifts and is burbling around in Shades). Frankie's friends are a group of... uh, not exactly the "height of cool" kids, who call themselves "The Forest Guard," and have just explained that they're on a mission to save the world from evil, though Frankie admits mostly they fight boredom, and once took on some doxies.




"We think it will come from the Forbidden Forest," Bernice said, pulling herself onto her trunk and crossing her legs. "There're plenty of bad things in there, no one even knows all of them, even Professor Hagrid."

"So we go out there every couple of weeks," Ken said. "At night, you know. After everyone's meant to be tucked in."

"What do you do there?"

Zachary gave a rather sheepish shrug. "We just muck about, really. We--"

"We look for evil things!" Bernice interrupted crossly.

"We tromp around a little. We know the Forest pretty well." Zachary grinned. "Sounds a bit silly, doesn't it?"

Bernice and Ken looked mildly irked that he'd say this, but Frankie seemed to take it as a matter of course, and just looked curiously at Teddy.

Teddy agreed with Zachary--it sounded more than a little silly. Then again, so did turning into animals to keep a werewolf friend company, and that had worked out all right. He smiled. "Sounds like fun."

"It's serious," Bernice huffed.

"Don't mind Bernice," Frankie said. "She'd find a way to make Weasleys' Portable Daydreams deeply serious."

Bernice pressed her lips together very tightly, but they were twitching, and a moment later, she smiled. It didn't exactly make her pretty, but it definitely made her look friendlier. "We also have a game of Muggles and Minions going in the Hufflepuff common room on weekends. If you Sort into Hufflepuff, you can join it. It only takes a few minutes to make up a character, and Frankie can mentor you until you get enough points to stay alive."

"I've never played that," Teddy said.

"Best game in the world!" Ken said. "You have to be a Muggle, and you can use any sort of Muggle thing there is, but you have to collect up points to buy big things, like cars..."

The others spent the next hour explaining the game as the Hogwarts Express wound its way out of London, all of them relaxing significantly as they got back into whatever habits they normally had at Hogwarts. Bernice pulled out a pipe and chewed on its stem, though she didn't have tobacco and didn't actually smoke. She played a character who stole cars. Zachary's character was a detective, and Ken wouldn't say which side he was on. Frankie apparently made up all of the stories they used, and said he'd come up with something really good that ought to last until Christmas, if the lot of them didn't screw it up.

"We could start Teddy's character now," Frankie suggested after buying several cauldron cakes from the witch with the sweets trolley, leaving the door banging open behind him. "Then I'd have time to work him in."

"What if he's not in Hufflepuff?" Zachary asked.

"'Course he'll be in Hufflepuff. His mum was the ultimate Hufflepuff, or at least that's what my parents say. Totally loyal."

"Hmph."

A girl was standing in the door, and Teddy recognized her as the dark-haired girl who he'd seen in Ollivander's. She looked at him with great distaste.

"Have I got something on me?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.

"I don't know. Is the moon full tonight? Maybe we'd best watch for fur. Well, I suppose you should be glad someone will take you." She looked disdainfully at the Forest Guard, then turned and went on down the corridor without looking back.

Teddy felt like he really ought to do something--rush off after her and curse her, perhaps--but he seemed to have lost hold of the ground he was standing on. He'd known, of course, that werewolves had a bad reputation. Hermione had even tried to warn him about just this sort of thing, but he hadn't believed her, not really. Everyone spoke kindly about his father.

Or, as the case seemed to be, everyone he knew had managed to follow some unwritten Teddy Rule against letting him hear otherwise.

"You all right, mate?" Frankie said quietly.

"Huh?"

"Are you a werewolf?" Bernice asked. "Not that it would matter, but we'd have to go out when the moon wasn't full, of course."

"What? No. I'm not." Teddy smiled tightly. "I'm going to go find the trolley again, if it's all right. Meant to buy some Chocolate Frog cards. Believe it or not, I haven't got Professor Longbottom yet!"

He slipped out of the compartment and leaned against the wall, swallowing hard. He could feel his parents' wands, safely in his pocket, and he wrapped his fingers around them. After a while, he felt a bit better. He should have known. Deciding that it would look suspicious to go back without some Chocolate Frogs (and thinking one would be tasty, at any rate), he started to pick his way down the corridor. A group of older girls went giggling by, talking about going to "Donzo"'s compartment, and off to one side, he heard an older boy pontificating on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team's chances. He finally came to an impenetrable crowd of people blocking the way, and could see the trolley witch's head bouncing in the middle.

"Oh, will you all please wait in an orderly line!"

Teddy glanced into the compartment they were near, and saw a boy his own age, dark-haired and slightly familiar, holding court. He tossed a handful of sweets in the air and one rolled to Teddy's feet--it was a Music Bite, meant to play a song in your head. This one was wrapped in a picture of the boy, which was dancing frantically. His name was apparently Donzo McCormack, and Teddy realized that he must have been the cause of the commotion on the platform. He vaguely remembered now hearing at the Weird Sisters' concert that Kirley McCormack's son was performing these days, but he hadn't realized they were the same age. Or cared, once he'd heard the stupid little song he did. He supposed that most Weird Sisters fans were a bit embarrassed by it.

A camera flash went off, and an excitable boy crowed, "I got it, I got it!" and barreled into Teddy, knocking him over.

"Aren't you Harry Potter's godson?" he asked. "What a great year!"

Teddy, whose face was turned away, morphed quickly, borrowing Bernice's sour face before he looked around and said, "Not sure what you mean."

"Oh." The boy looked less than impressed. "Well, sorry. My mistake." He went off without saying anything else.

Teddy slipped into the crowd and bought a handful of chocolate frogs, then, releasing the morph, went back to Frankie's compartment, and got back to spinning a much more interesting adventure than was to be had on the train.

As the ride wore on, more students seemed to have taken to wandering from compartment to compartment, looking for their friends. None of Frankie's group seemed to care to do this, but more than once, older students had looked in to say hello. Some seemed friendly--a fourth year Ravenclaw stayed for quite a long time, and they talked about a Muggles and Minions interhouse tournament--but the majority seemed to have stumbled onto the wrong compartment. At one point, a seventh year girl nearly ran out screaming when she realized who she was asking for the time.

"Ellie Cattermole," Frankie said, rolling his eyes. "She thinks she's the little Queen of Hufflepuff because she's pretty."

"But she's dumber than a Honking Daffodil," Zachary said. "Kind of undermines her."

There were no further visits from the nasty girl with dark hair, and no one else seemed inclined to break the Teddy Rule, so with that single exception, Teddy thought the trip quite a satisfactory first day. He decided that when he wrote to Victoire, he'd tell her she'd need to practice a lot if she meant to be the rudest girl in school, though.

The sun had set long ago by the time the train started slowing as it approached Hogsmeade Station, and everyone scrambled to put on their school robes (Bernice made the curtain on the window march across the compartment so she could change in peace, though if anyone was watching the train, she'd be seen perfectly well from the outside). Frankie, in celebration of his return to school, was wearing his Hufflepuff top-hat again, and Bernice had put in badger earrings. Zachary had a small badger tie-tack.

"All right," Frankie said, "Let's give Teddy some Hufflepuff energy for the Sorting Hat to pick up!" They pressed around him, jostling him out as they hunted down their luggage and got it out onto the platform, one of the few places in Hogsmeade where Teddy hadn't spent any time. None of the shops or homes looked the same from this angle, and he couldn't see the hulking shape of the Shrieking Shack across town at all.

"Firs' years! Firs' years over here!"

"Ah, Hagrid," Frankie said. "Brings back memories..."

"From the vast depths of two years ago," Zachary said, mimicking Frankie's nostalgic tone. "However does the time slip away..."

"Firs' years!"

"I have to go," Teddy said. "First year."

"Right," Frankie told him, then came closer. "Look, Ted, really, I'd love you in Hufflepuff, but if you get Sorted somewhere else, you can still come for the game, as long as we finish before you're meant to be gone. There's no rule against visitors."

"Thanks, Frankie."

"See you inside, one way or the other!"

Teddy watched them head off to a carriage pulled by an invisible thestral, then headed down the steep bank of the lake, where a handful of the other first years had already made their way to Hagrid. The dark-haired girl was there, and Donzo McCormack. They'd been joined by a plain girl with gapped teeth, a small, pinched-looking boy with black hair and beady eyes, a very pretty blonde who smiled at Teddy in a watery sort of way, and another boy, this one still in Muggle clothes, who looked miffed at something. There were a few others milling around by the boats; Teddy guessed maybe a dozen had got here. The others must still be trying to sort out their luggage.

"Pretty impressive, eh?" a boy asked beside Teddy, and his accent was completely unfamiliar. "I'm kind of glad I didn't end up at the Nunavut school. My mom said her family had been at Hogwarts for six hundred years, and I wasn't breaking tradition no matter where I was born. I'm kind of glad." He grinned up at the castle. "But I'm not eating anything with kidneys in it."

"All right, firs' years?" Hagrid said, thumping down the slope toward the boats. "We'll get across the lake--good night for it, too--"

"Excuse me," the plain girl said, frowning, "but aren't we waiting for the rest?"

Teddy looked around. The group had grown by three, leaving fifteen eleven-year-olds standing on the hill... but the carriages had left, and the platform behind them was empty except for luggage.

He looked up at Hagrid, whose face was a study in misery. "This is all of us?" he asked.

"Of course it is," the dark-haired girl said. "How many of the half-bloods do you think got away the year we were born?"
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kinderjedi From: kinderjedi Date: August 1st, 2007 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, gosh, I never thought of that. I bet a lot of them didn't make it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
And most of the ones who did had special circumstances, I'd wager.
From: ethnotechno Date: August 1st, 2007 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Can't wait to find out who that horrible dark-haired girl is...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
She's not related to anyone of vast import, but she's definitely an emissary of the Old Guard.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 1st, 2007 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
*shiver*

Man, I got a serious chill when you got to the 15-person class. The echoes of war.... Very interesting.

Typo here: Bernice made the curtain on the window march across the compartment so she could change in piece, should be "peace".
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoops, thanks!
jadeddiva From: jadeddiva Date: August 1st, 2007 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that you've created a whole separate world based on Teddy Lupin after DH, and I love where you're going with this story. Fantastic.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's been very useful to me in dealing with DH. I thought I owed him a story where he wasn't just raging. :)
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: August 1st, 2007 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
It really never occurred to me how few magical children would have been born in Teddy's year. Wow.

I'm having trouble guessing whether this rude dark-haired girl is going to be the child of any particular canon characters, but I hate her already. :-) Nice going.

Oh! Muggles and Minions, huh? Sounds like an RPG. Which is really rather awesome.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I hate her already, too. She is the daughter of a canon character, but possibly the least important one ever to grace the page; his only function was leaving school so Draco could become Slytherin Seeker.

And yes, Frankie and his friends are playing the wizard version of Dungeons and Dragons, in which they all pretend not to be magical, and have various levels of technology skill...
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 1st, 2007 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow. I never even thought of that. Just... wow.

Also, Nunavit? Nunavut? Where are you thinking of?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I meant Nunavut. Bad spelling choices on a place that didn't have a name when I was doing my Canadian map projects in school. :)

From: (Anonymous) Date: August 1st, 2007 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, lovely! A Canuck! Wonderful, and I kind of like the nasty girl...Though Teddy still rocks
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I've had to hold her back from actually having a running commentary that would intrigue Teddy, in the weirdest way.
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: August 1st, 2007 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Muggles & Minions!

Love it!

Poor Teddy with the stupid people, but he'll show 'em! :)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course he will!
hymnia From: hymnia Date: August 1st, 2007 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that wizard kids play rpgs where they are muggles. That's perfect.

"Of course it is," the dark-haired girl said. "How many of the half-bloods do you think got away the year we were born?"

I'm a little confused by this. Does she mean that half-blood babies were killed, or that they were never born in the first place because their parents were persecuted/killed?
hymnia From: hymnia Date: August 1st, 2007 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
(The reason I ask is because it seemed Voldemort's plan to kill baby Harry was treated as a special atrocity. Therefore, I don't think the DE's had quite reached the level of evil where they would by killing half-blood babies.)
tigermouse88 From: tigermouse88 Date: August 1st, 2007 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
The distinctly "uncool" Forest Guard who fight boredom and Doxies rings very true to me. Reminds me of my own childhood, having been a knight of the "Order of the Red Dragon" when I was a wee one, marching through the streets in armor and costume with a friend and bringing justice to the world, one mock swordfight at a time. Fun.

And as others have noted before, the notion of Teddy's small class year is terrifying but very realistic. There should plausibly have been several muggleborns who went undetected as they were too young to have shown any signs of magic, and a handful of purebloods who had little to worry about, but "Ministry" interference probably kept half-blood procreation to an absolute minimum...scary, but real.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, my group was called Out To Lunch, and our mission was... well, largely to make up names for each other and secret symbols.

And yes, the proportion of Muggle-borns is much higher in Teddy's year than it would be in other years--almost half.
ashavah From: ashavah Date: August 1st, 2007 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhhh. I'd thought of that before in the context of my fics, but I hadn't considered it for future-fics.

And YAY CANADA! *waves Canadian flag*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Safe haven that year! A good number of the kids were born abroad that year, but only Corky (yes, I have the whole class list) stayed and nearly went to school there.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: August 1st, 2007 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. Oh gods. You write a cheerfully trivial segment where the only evil is the callous cruelty of kids, and then end on a classic slam.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
There will definitely be holdover evils from the Voldemort era, and that's one of them.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: August 1st, 2007 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooo...that last line sent chills up my spine. I didn't think of the smaller class size, but of course that would be the case.

I liked the Teddy Rule, and the way Bernice reacted to the news Teddy might be a werewolf. Muggles and Minions made me giggle--I like the distinctly "uncool" Forest Guard!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Bernice isn't the brightest bulb, but she's good-natured.
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: August 1st, 2007 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok firstly OMG A CANADIAN!!! *oh the joy* And... Really, Nunavit? Are the Inuit especially magical?

And... wow. So few. That... puts things nicely into perspective.

I'm adoring your story, so much that it's making the loss not hurt so much. Thanks so much for the silver lining.

I stumbled accross this today and thought of you:
http://googlebrat.livejournal.com/434160.html#cutid1
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Really, Nunavit? Are the Inuit especially magical?

Nah, but they do have a lovely collection of small, remote islands in the bay that would be awesome for a Canadian wizarding school! :)
tunxeh From: tunxeh Date: August 1st, 2007 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
The mention of romping in the forest made me think of Vivian's pool.
*is still sad little Vivian didn't get to go to Hogwarts*

I hope the dark-haired girl gets sorted somewhere other than Slytherin. She needs to change her life, and another house would be likelier for that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Alas, the Sorting Hat puts 'em where they belong, not necessarily where they're likely to stop belonging.

There is among the group, though, one kid who's not only going to be a decent Slyth, but a decent member of a bad family.
igrayne From: igrayne Date: August 1st, 2007 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! You made Teddy's year small! I always knew that it wouild be because well, wars kind of put people having babies... Are the majority of them going to be muggleborn? I'm writing a Teddy fic, his years a little bigger that 15, but pretty much all of them are muggleborn...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
About half are Muggle-born. :)
aebhel From: aebhel Date: August 1st, 2007 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, lovely. Like everyone else has said, that last line hits like a punch in the gut. And I agree about Slytherin, although...maybe, with the end of the war, things have changed in that House.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, like I said yesterday, JKR said that it still has its bad reputation--my guess is that, while the whole house doesn't have quite the issues it used to, the people who do have those issues tend to end up there.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: August 1st, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
And it gets more and more interesting! I love the Puffs already! (And am crossing my fingers that Teddy will get in there ... or well, Gryffindor wouldn't be too bad either, and for some reason I'm thinking that might be the direction this is heading. *shrugs* But what do I know, anyway? :)

That dark-haired girl is distinctly annoying, but she reminds me a bit of Hermione ... maybe a cross between Hermione and Pansy Parkinson, which is not a very appealing image.

I never really thought of there being such a low number of first-years ... but yeah, you have a good point there. It's such a chilling thought, though.

And Ellie Cattermole! (Will we see the other two children, I wonder?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
maybe a cross between Hermione and Pansy Parkinson, which is not a very appealing image.

And, for the only time in known Potter history, Hermione and Pansy would, I'm sure, agree with that wholeheartedly! ;p (That said, it's not an inaccurate observation.)

I think Ellie's the middle one (I'd have to double-check), so the younger one might still be kicking around somewhere.
hobbitguy1420 From: hobbitguy1420 Date: August 1st, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Muggles and Minions

I can't believe their parents let them play that horrible game. Don't they know that role-playing leads children to the Dark Arts?

I mean, honestly...

(:-P)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Muggles and Minions

I really, really came close to putting a line exactly like that in, but couldn't think of who should say it.

People are funny.
From: sleepingfingers Date: August 1st, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, the very thought that Teddy's year would only have 15 students, just a tad bit bigger than the usual number of first years get put into a House, is rather terrifying.

"How many of the half-bloods do you think got away the year we were born?"

Before, I never thought the Death Eaters would be killing half-blood babies, but now... *shivers*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
More like preventing them from being born, but it's still pretty chilling.
thunderemerald From: thunderemerald Date: August 1st, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
*gapes* The things you just don't think of... well, I don't think of. Apparently you do. :)

As always, I'm loving this....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought of it fairly randomly when I was coming up with Teddy's class list, trying to think who would be likely to have kids, and I realized how many people of childbearing age were in great danger that year, how many we know went abroad, how many deaths there were... plus I got to thinking of the bunch of people going on and on about how Remus and Tonks were crazy not to be using birth control, and didn't they know this would happen and so on (trust me, those sentiments will get smacked around), and I thought, "Hmm."
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 1st, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
The last few sentences were wonderfully written. It was like a slap in the face when Teddy asked incredulously if this were really all of them.

Still, makes a lot of sense and at least fic-wise a small number of people are much more interesting. This means that there will only be three to four new children in every house? Scary.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
This means that there will only be three to four new children in every house?
And even that depends on how evenly their personality traits happen to be spread out.
excitedrainbow From: excitedrainbow Date: August 1st, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG they're doing an RPG XD

Yaaaay for Hogwarts geeks! I love the Forest Guard already, they're all lovely.

Like everyone said, that last line, after a relatively light chapter (minus the awful girl who taunted Teddy) is a very effective jolt to the senses. Suddenly a consequence of the war is exposed, and it's not nice at all.

Ahaha, Ellie Cattermole! Seeing little characters like that makes me grin.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 1st, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I <3 gamer geeks. Mostly. And one thing I like about writing for fandom? I can write complete geeks like Frankie et al, and people won't hate them on sight.

And yeah--shock to the senses.
From: spitc1899 Date: August 2nd, 2007 12:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd been wondering about the future classes, actually, especially if the Carrows ever had access to the Hogwarts list.

And on a lighter note, I loved the reference to Neville's Chocolate Frog card.
From: ethnotechno Date: August 2nd, 2007 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder what that card would say about our favorite sword-wielding, serpent-slaying herbology whiz :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 2nd, 2007 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Good stuff, Fern.
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