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...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Four: The Smallest Year, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Four: The Smallest Year, pt. 3

Tomorrow (Saturday, 8/4), this journal will be fully spoiled. Icons, post titles, brief mentions outside of cuts, you name it. Those still reading the journal tomorrow are going to hear about characters in the epilogue, who dies, and what it all means, Alfred.



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

Teddy's year is abnormally small because of losses that happened in the war when he was born. He was Sorted into Gryffindor... the only person Sorted there.

Guess that's really all the catch-up needed.

I am tentatively placing Sprout as Headmistress (rather than having her retire so Neville can have her job); if JKR does another interview or chat or website update, we'll just, you know, search-and-replace. Same will be true of whoever I pick for DADA. You'd think the end of canon would be the end of jossing fears!

The applause settled down, and suddenly, the tables were laden with food of all sorts, everything in the world that Teddy liked to eat as well as quite a lot of things he didn't. A rich stew that smelled like the Burrow in the winter, a steak and kidney pie, a roast turkey, all sorts of potatoes and vegetables...

"Oi, Teddy," an older girl said, "drumstick?"

Teddy nodded and took it, piling mashed potatoes onto his plate with his other hand.

Other older students started to drift down, filling the empty seats, spreading out until Gryffindor looked almost like the other tables. All of them greeted Teddy by name and seemed glad to see them. One fourth year girl, called Edie Abercrombie, expressed great envy of having a whole room to himself, much to the horror of a sixth year prefect, who scolded her for being "insensitive." Teddy waited until the scolding was over, then rolled his eyes and turned his hair deep blue to express sarcastic mourning. This caused a wave of interest in his shapeshifting, and he spent the rest of the feast making different noses, changing his hair color, and trying to explain that, no, he couldn't become a girl. (He didn't add that he could do a pretty good imitation of one, as long as they didn't look to closely, because he didn't want to spend the next seven years doing it.)

Nearly Headless Nick floated up and down along the table, talking wistfully about the food. He stopped to talk to Teddy for a long time, reminiscing about his father, his godfather, his cousin Sirius, his father's grandmother (a brilliant Muggle-born girl who didn't sound unlike Hermione Granger, who Nick also duly discussed). He finally left to do some precision gliding with the other house ghosts as pudding was served.

At last, the feast was over, and Teddy felt good and warm. Professor Sprout, managing to look fly-away and dusty even in the fine robes of a headmistress, stood up at the head table and signaled for attention.

"Welcome back to Hogwarts!" she said. "And a special welcome to all of our new students. Before the term starts, there are some announcements to make, and before the announcements, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our castle elves to bring you the feast you've just enjoyed."

She gestured with her arm toward a gathering of awkward-looking elves, most wearing Hogwarts tea towels, the one in the center wearing neat chef's whites, with a pillow cap on her head, from which her ears stuck out through holes cut especially for the purpose. She nodded nervously to the students, then said, "Elves, back to the kitchens. There is work to be doing!" They disappeared in unison, to the sound of thunderous applause.

"Very well, very well," Sprout said. "Mr. Filch would like to remind students that the swamp on the fifth floor of the east wing is not to be disturbed, littered in, or otherwise defaced." Teddy smiled to himself; George Weasley, in honor of his brother Fred, had snuck in during a Quidditch match two years ago to make the swamp shoot off fireworks at random intervals. "A list of prohibited items is available in Mr. Filch's office, and has been posted in the library. I would like to remind all of our students"--she looked significantly at the Hufflepuff table--"that the Forbidden Forest is, in fact, forbidden. It is also dangerous."

She gave several more start-of-term announcements, including Quidditch try-outs and club rules, then said, "And I'd like to announce that, for the first time in eleven years, there is no announcement about construction to avoid. Hogwarts castle is once again whole!"

This was met with an explosion of applause that set the candles shaking.

When it died down, the Houses started to get up and gather for the trek to their dormitories. A new prefect--a spotty boy who introduced himself as Andrew Stephens--put his hand on Teddy's shoulder and led him importantly to the front of the line as they climbed the winding staircases to Gryffindor Tower, and stopped in front of a portrait Teddy knew from its reputation as soon as he saw it.

"The Fat Lady!"

"The one and only," Andrew said, then turned to her and said, "Regnum leonis."

The portrait swung open, and Andrew led Teddy Lupin into the Gryffindor Common Room.

It was draped with scarlet hangings, dominated by a great fireplace, perfectly round. Comfortable looking chairs and sofas were scattered around. It was exactly as Teddy had imagined it from Uncle Harry's stories (all of which centered around Quidditch, illegal night-time tromps around the school, and cheating on Divination homework; the most threatening thing to appear in most of Uncle Harry's stories was a troll in the girls' bathroom). The only new thing was a large flowering plant with red and gold blooms that crept up around the fireplace and filled the room with a brilliant scent. A few fairies flitted among the leaves, festooned in glittering Gryffindor colors.

"All right, first--" Andrew interrupted himself and smiled sheepishly, then dropped his voice. "Er, first year, sorry, been practicing since I got my badge..."

"It's all right," Teddy said.

"Well, you're up here. Girls go up the other staircase, but I don't recommend trying it. It's very noisy." He led Teddy up a staircase into the tower, stopping at the fifth floor. "Here you are," he said. "Home. It should be set up for you already."

Teddy nodded, thanked him, and stepped into his dormitory, closing the door behind him.

The room was vast and round, with narrow windows set into the walls, looking out over the grounds. A single four-poster bed, flanked by a set of book shelves, sat against the far wall, and Teddy's luggage was set neatly beside it. Checkmate's basket was sitting on the floor (she was just stirring from the enchanted sleep that Granny had put her into this morning), and a helpful elf had already set up her sandbox and food dishes near a window. Teddy leaned down and scooped her up, glad to hear her confused meow and feel her quick heartbeat.

"It's you and me, Checks," he said.

She gave him a gurgling sort of meow, kneaded his shoulder a few times, and went back to sleep.

Teddy walked around the room for a while, absently petting the kitten, then set her down on his bed and opened his trunk to get out his quills and ink and write the letters he'd promised. It took him a long time to write Uncle Harry's, doing his best not to make it sound morbid to be the only person in his year, and even longer to write Granny's, as he was sure she'd try to find a way around it. Victoire's letter went more quickly, since she'd just want to know about people he'd met and what Hogwarts was like. As he was finishing up, a soft knock came at the door.

He frowned and went to it.

Professor Longbottom was standing outside, looking troubled. "May I see you in the Common Room, Teddy? It's not good form for the Head of House to visit dormitories, and I need to talk to you about your classes tomorrow."

Teddy set down his quill and followed him back downstairs. They sat in two of the large chairs by the fire, and Neville--Longbottom, Teddy corrected himself--stared into the flames for a long time.

"The professors have been talking," he said after a while. "We want to try to keep your year as normal as possible--I'm sure you noticed that it's not quite the same size as other years."

"We were talking about it. The war, right? I can't believe only fifteen of us were born!"

Longbottom sighed. "There are a dozen more. Still a small year, but not quite as awful as it looks. Unfortunately, they all declined their Hogwarts letters. Some are still overseas--four in the States, five in Australia--and decided to go to school there. The other three..." He smiled bitterly. "We got some pretty colorful responses from parents who want nothing to do with magic anymore. It's lucky that someone had tried to steal the Hogwarts list a few years before; by the time the Carrows got here, Professor McGonagall had it much better protected, and none of the Muggle-borns were found. But it's your classes I came to talk about, Ted. No matter how you look at it, you won't have the normal sort of Hogwarts classes. Some classes are already double by tradition--you'll be taking Potions with the Slytherins and Herbology with the Hufflepuffs. But the classes which are traditionally single-house, like Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts... we feel you'd do better to be in class with students from other houses, rather than alone."

Teddy nodded. "That would better."

"I'm glad you think so. Do you have any preferences?"

"I met people from everywhere," Teddy said, then grinned. "Maybe I should take Defense Against the Dark Arts with Slytherins. Sounds like a good chance to jinx Honoria Higgs."

Longbottom raised an eyebrow. "I'm your Head of House here, Teddy. It's not really a good idea to tell me that."

"Oh. Right."

He laughed. "Don't worry. It'll take some getting used to. If you really do want to take Defense Against the Dark Arts with the Slytherins, that will fit your schedule well enough. But you won't be doing many jinxes this year, except in Charms. First year is mostly theory."

"All right."

"The Slytherins take Transfiguration opposite your Herbology lesson, so you'll need to choose another House for that."

"How about Ravenclaw? I haven't any other classes with them."

"Ravenclaw it is. Would you like to join the Hufflepuffs for Astronomy on Wednesdays, the Slytherins on Tuesdays, or the Ravenclaws on Thursdays?"


Longbottom waved his wand and a bit of parchment appeared. "It looks fine. You only have room to take Charms with Hufflepuff--Ravenclaw is there while you're in Defense Against the Dark Arts with the Slytherins, and Slytherin has it while you'll be in Transfiguration. That's a good number of classes with the Hufflepuffs, which I'm willing to guess you don't especially mind."

"No, sir."

Longbottom stood up and said, "Well, I'll straighten up your schedule and give it to you in the morning with the others. It's a shame your year's like this." He headed to the portrait hole, and Teddy followed him. Just before he stepped over it into the corridor outside, he said, "Oh, and Teddy--while you were on the train, I got a floo call from your grandmother, who says that a certain basket was disturbed, and two items were missing from it when she checked. If you have those items, you might, er... keep them safely set aside." He gave Teddy a sympathetic smile.

"Is she angry?"

"She wants you to get out of the past. She's worried."

Teddy nodded, and watched him go until the portrait swung shut behind him.

He went back to his dormitory, where Checkmate was now quite awake and jumping around, chasing after shadows that swam in through the window. He got out one of her toys and played with her for a little while, then went back to his trunk to get out his pajamas. Lying beside them was the blank piece of parchment that Uncle Harry wouldn't admit directly to sending him, despite giving him the instruction to try it when he had his wand handy.

Curiously, he took it out, laid it on the bed, and unfolded it. A smaller bit of parchment fell out of it, with the legend, printed in block letters, "TAP HERE. REVELO."

Teddy took out his wand--the new one--and tapped the small bit of parchment. "Revelo."

A small stick figure appeared on it, very obviously Uncle Harry's drawing (Teddy's godfather had many skills, drawing was not one of them). The stick-figure's hair changed color twice, then unfolded a piece of stick parchment. It pointed its wand, then a bubble appeared with the words, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." All of it disappeared.

Teddy looked at the larger parchment, then pointed his wand at it and said, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

The parchment burst into life, lines crawling over it, joining and splitting, jubilantly tracing the pathways and passages of Hogwarts. Words appeared at the top, and Teddy knew this handwriting as well, had seen it in letters his mum had kept. He grinned.

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs
Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers
are proud to present
The Marauder's Map

He'd heard a whisper of the Marauder's Map once, only to have it shushed by Uncle Harry, who gave him a wise and secretive look. Now, it was his.

Dots appeared, each labeled with a name, and Teddy watched them, delighted, for a long time. He found Frankie--and Hufflepuff House--in the basement near the kitchens; he and Zachary were up and in the Common Room. He saw Professor Longbottom go into his office, and Headmistress Sprout sitting up in her own.

A flicker of motion caught his eye, and he noted Peeves. Peeves appeared to be traveling through a solid stone wall, which was quite mad, as Peeves wasn't a ghost, and couldn't do that.

Looking more closely, he noticed other places where dots were in places that didn't quite exist on the map. The castle had changed since it was drawn.

The Marauder's Map was out of date.
79 comments or Leave a comment
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kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 4th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
as long as they didn't look to closely Too

Precision gliding! LOLOLOL

No! It can't be out of date!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Precision gliding is pure JKR, just borrowed! :)
From: ethnotechno Date: August 4th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting. Well, I guess it's upto Marauder junior to get the map back upto date, innit?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... kind of an anvilicious plot point, but hey. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)
He can be a de facto Hufflepuff as well as the only Gryffindor.

A convenient solution to his split personality, neh?
From: sleepingfingers Date: August 4th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
That was brilliant. I never thought of that: the Marauder's Map being out of date. After all, the castle has been reconstructed after the war.

Reading this reminds me so much for SS/PS; it sounds a lot like Harry's first year there, in some way (and that's a good thing, by the way :)). Very poignant.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I've got PS/SS right beside my computer to check appearances and cheer me up while I write.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I realize there's tradition and all, but why not just put all fifteen together for all their classes? Although I suppose it fosters House identity and also allows interaction between the Houses in sort of controlled ways - if House X treats a kid from House Y badly, it probably won't have much of anything to do with how House Z treats him.

But, yeah, an out of date Marauder's Map. That's just . . . wrong.

Time to get to work fixing it :-)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I think they're just trying to make this year as normal as is humanly possible, by having the same patterns of interaction that all of the other years have. Teddy just wouldn't have any chance of normalcy!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 4th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Also, I thought Gryffindor had Charms with Ravenclaw?? Only I'm not sure it was ever expressly mentioned in a book, so maybe I saw it in an interview because I don't think I just made it up... the rationale was that we saw Gryffindor in double classes with the other Heads of House: Potions with Snape and the Slytherins, Herbology with Sprout and the Hufflepuffs, and Charms with Flitwick and the Ravenclaws. I can't have just made this up - I'm not that good - does anyone else remember this??
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I never heard of it at all, though it sounds feasible. (Though why Gryffindor is specialer and gets to take more classes with the shared heads of house... well...)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: August 4th, 2007 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy gets to be a Gryffinpuff! Or is it a Huffledor?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I always liked "Gryffinpuff."
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2007 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm terribly excited at the prospect that I might be the first to comment on this chapter. Squee!

How terrifically sad that the map is out of date. It's kind of a sad message for Teddy, too--that he can't live in the past, or even really have this one connection with his father. It makes one think that perhaps Andromeda is right in her quest for Teddy's self-actualization.

Andromeda does have a very valid point, I must reluctantly admit. I'm having some difficulty separating the idea of Remus and Tonks from Teddy, and I keep hoping for glimpses of them. It's not fair to Teddy. Sigh. I have to applaud your sticking to canon. It's quite admirable; if I were of the writing persuasion, I don't think I'd have the fortitude to keep with the canon that is trying to crush my fantasy soul.

On a lighter note, sort of, if there's a Neville Longbottom Chocolate Frog card, where's the Tonks and Lupin cards?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:52 am (UTC) (Link)
The message ends up not being quite so sad.

I think there are probably Tonks and Lupin chocolate frog cards. Sure... why not?
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: August 4th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh no! He'll have to fix it, then, which will (I'm sure) lead to many interesting occurances. Poor Teddy, I still feel awful about him being all alone! But it sounds as if he's the type of boy who can fit in anywhere.

Haha, he's going to be Prefect his fifth year and he already knows it! :P
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
He's got enough of his mother's stubbornness in him to serve him well.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 4th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC) (Link)
All of them greeted Teddy by name and seemed glad to see them. Should read "see him"?

Ooooh, love love LOVE where this is going. The map fascinates me, because the things I love most in the books are the details, everyday things, descriptions of common rooms (love that Jo described Hufflepuff for us since we saw all the rest!), etc. I adore architectural renderings and would really love to just look at the map, you know?

This story is delightful. It's nice to go back to the happy, simpler problems of 1st year.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, yes, that map. It would be a very awesome thing to have.

And it's nice to go back to writing first year problems.
_bowles_ From: _bowles_ Date: August 4th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm, I wonder if Harry's year was small, as well - if every year was as large as his Hogwarts would have a rather small student body. Really like Neville and the Marauder's Map bit... I wonder if Teddy will tell Harry (I'd be interested to see that - echoes of Sirius advising Harry in GoF).
From: lianna_blanca Date: August 4th, 2007 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Though we know from Jo's class list (I think it's still avaliable on the lexicon) that there were more students Harry just never told us about, I still agree - I did the calculations once, and I think that for there to be a student body of roughly one thousand, there would have to be an average of thirty-five kids per year level - more than fifteen boys in one year; not FIVE.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
purple_mirie From: purple_mirie Date: August 4th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
More! More!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: fhsaffar Date: August 4th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Wee! I made an account! :)

Another excellent chapter. Nice way of Harry giving the tip, much better than simply having his handwriting appear. I hadn't thought that the map would be out of date! Brilliant! And when will Teddy try to talk to his teen dad through it? O thought it would be the first thing he wanted to do. Well he IS eleven.

Very very nice. Reminds one of PS/SS! Rock on! Cannot wait to hear the rest! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
He hasn't realized yet that the Marauders will insult him "in person" if he tries to order the map around, but he'll get around to it.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: August 4th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I liked the conversation with Neville (I'm assuming Neville is responsible for the red and gold flowering plant?), and the clever way Harry "told" Teddy about using the Marauder's Map. Fixing the Map will certainly keep him busy for a while, won't it? ;~)

Teddy nodded. "That would better."

I think you meant to say, "That would be better."

May I also say how delightful it is to read a new part every day? Keep up the great work!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup, Neville brought the plant in.

And yes, fixing the map will certainly keep Teddy occupied!
muridae_x From: muridae_x Date: August 4th, 2007 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
"Elves, back to the kitchens. There is work to be doing!"

The House-Elves still look somewhat anxious about the prospect of emancipation, don't they? But it was a nice touch, to see them being thanked. It shows that the wizarding world really is trying to redress some of the wrongs that helped lead it to war, but the elves are still hard-wired to want to serve.

An neat solution to the problem of Teddy's classes, sharing him out amongst each of the other houses. I didn't see any mention of History of Magic or Flying, but I'm sure they'll show up in due course.

It's going to be an interesting year, finding out where the Marauder's Map has got out of date, and whether they've added new bits, removed entire towers that got left as rubble, or just fortified the place differently. And it occurs to me that the advantage of having a bedroom to yourself is that nobody can wake up and catch you sneaking out in the middle of the night.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 4th, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wanted to have something to show them making progress, and actually recognizing the elves seemed like a good idea... but I'm not sure how the elves would feel about these changes!

Eep, I forgot History of Magic! Flying seems to be a one lesson thing anyway, so I'll pop them all into that one.
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