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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Thirteen: Revelo Lupinis, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Thirteen: Revelo Lupinis, pt. 3
Hmm, my reticence about re-reading "The Battle of Hogwarts" again bites me in the nether regions. :) I thought Remus was on the grounds, then noticed (on my only re-read of this particular chapter) someone saying "north battlements" and figured I was remembering wrong, then, after a couple of people asked, I braved going back, and the "north battlements" reference is just in proximity to the question of Remus's duel, when Aberforth mentions that they're about to lose the north battlements to giants, then says that the last time he saw Remus, he was dueling with Dolohov. So, for the sake of simplicity in editing, he was on the grounds near the north battlements. And a giant stepping on a wedding band would put it underground quite sufficiently.

Okay, which brings us to the dropping off point. Teddy followed the map to a place under the north battlements, where his father's wedding ring is under nearly frozen ground. He had been forbidden (with all the younger student) to be out in the bad weather, specifically because the ice makes it too easy for redcaps, and naturally, the redcaps go after him almost as soon as he manages to retrieve the ring. They back him against the wall, and he loses both the ring and the knife he used to dig it up with, then, trying to keep the redcaps off the ring, he lunges, loses his footing on the icy hillside, and falls, his wand jarred out of his hand.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy felt the skin on his legs ripped against the ice, and his chin left a trail of blood as the redcaps dragged him down the slope. His wand had rolled after him for a few paces, then lodged against a rock. The ring and knife lay at the base of the wall, forgotten by the redcaps in light of more interesting treasure.

"Get off!" he shouted, forcing himself onto his side, grabbing one of them by the throat. He threw it away, but another jumped into its place, waving its club wildly. The iron tip came down on Teddy's cheekbone with a sickening crunch, and the world started to go black and red.

"EXSICCO MAXIMUS!"

The shout came from somewhere far above him, and three of the redcaps fell away, clutching at their heads. The ice crumbled and fell into dust. It came again.

"EXSICCO MAXIMUS! Chandi, I have them, get Teddy!"

Arms pulled Teddy up, and the world swam back into focus. Chandi Patil was dragging him up the slope. "Wand," he managed to say.

She pointed her own wand at it, and it flew to Teddy. He tried to get away from her, to get to his knife and the ring, but he couldn't, and to his horror, they were gone, lost again--

"I have them, Teddy," Neville Longbottom said softly. His wand was still aimed at the retreating redcaps, and Teddy's book bag was hooked over his shoulder. More redcaps, Teddy saw, were starting to come up from the gully. "We have to get out of here. Chandi, help me get him to the hospital wing, and let's do it without attracting undue attention. There's a door here, and I swear I'll Confund both of you and the whole student body if I hear about it being used for little jaunts." He turned quickly and pointed his wand at an apparently empty spot on the wall. The stones moved and revealed a wooden door. Longbottom led them through it, and then Teddy was being led to the hospital wing by routes he didn't know, through the dungeons and the cellars, but not near Slytherin or Hufflepuff. They saw no other students.

Madam Pomfrey jumped to her feet as soon as they got him inside, and guided them to a bed. Chandi set up privacy screens while Madam Pomfrey and Professor Longbottom got him settled. While Madam Pomfrey did the initial diagnostic spells, Longbottom went to Chandi and said, "We'll keep this among us, all right?"

She nodded, looking pale, then came to the bed. "You'll be all right, Teddy," she said.

Madam Pomfrey touched an injury on Teddy's arm and the pain flared up, waking him entirely. He fought not to scream. "Sorry..." he told Chandi "...about your cloak."

"Don't worry, there's nothing wrong with it that I can't fix. I'll bring Bangs's boots back as well. We'll say you... I don't know, fell down the stairs or whatnot. I'll fix the boots."

"Thank you."

She smiled at him nervously, took her cloak and the boots, and scurried off.

Longbottom stayed quietly while Madam Pomfrey took care of Teddy's injuries, muttering darkly to herself as she repaired each one in turn. "Redcaps... bloody-damned... told them we should get rid of them, the injuries since they came..." She finished up in fifteen minutes and re-cast the diagnostics, making sure she'd got everything, then pointed her finger sternly at him. "You're staying here tonight, Mr. Lupin. I don't care if everything is healed, you're in no shape--" She stopped and put her hand on her head. "You're staying here for the night, Teddy," she said again, then went back to her desk.

Longbottom waited until she was sitting with her head bent over her papers, then took Teddy's knife and Dad's ring from a pocket in his own cloak. He set them down on the night stand.

"Chandi's a very bright girl," he said. "When she realized you'd also absconded with a pair of larger boots, she understood what you must have done, and she came to me. You may think your House-mates take no notice of you--Ruth Scrimgeour duly excepted--but they all notice you, Teddy. Andrew Stephens came to talk to me about you specifically, because he thinks you're hiding away, and he's worried that people are doing something wrong because of your situation."

"What? No. I just... well, they all have friends already, and I have friends as well, in other Houses..."

"I know, Teddy. You're in an awkward place, and I told Andrew that trying to make up events to include you in was hardly going to make you feel less awkward. He admitted that when people socialize normally, you seem willing to join in. I only mean to tell you that you're not as alone in Gryffindor as you seem to think you are. When you do something, people notice it." He Conjured a chair and sat down, picking up the ring from the night stand. "I'm not going to ask how you found it. I have a lot of theories, most of them quite ridiculous, but I don't think it's my business."

Teddy had a wild urge to tell him everything, and if he'd just been Uncle Harry's friend Neville, he would have. But he was also Professor Longbottom, Head of Gryffindor House, and if he knew about the Map, he'd have to take it away, and Teddy had a feeling that he'd feel just as bad about it as Teddy himself would. So he just shook his head. "Thank you for picking it up."

Longbottom nodded and looked across at the window. The gray rain cast shadows over his face, and Teddy thought of the writhing flame-shadows on the Sorting Hat. "For years, my mum used to give me bubble gum wrappers when I visited her at St. Mungo's," he said. "I pretended that she used to like chewing it, before she was hurt, and that she would let me pop the bubbles, and that's why she always gave them to me. She stopped doing it when I was twenty. I don't know if it's because she realized I was grown, or because she's entirely forgotten who I am." He looked at Teddy sheepishly. "Luna took the last few and put them in a frame for me. It's in my desk drawer."

Teddy didn't know what to say to this declaration, so he said nothing.

"I think your father would be grateful to you for getting the ring back, but more than a little annoyed that you went out when you were forbidden to do so and ended up getting into exactly the trouble you were warned about. It was there for a long time, Teddy. You could have waited until the storm broke."

"I couldn't."

"I suppose I know that," Longbottom said. He handed Teddy the ring. "I polished it a bit in my pocket to get the grit out of it."

Teddy took it, feeling its weight and its reality. He knew that the paw print would be gone from the Map now, and he knew that, for whatever reason, the Map considered the ring to be his now, rather than Dad's. It hadn't shown up until he was bound. The gold was plain and unadorned except for a gently beveled edge. There was no inscribed message on the inside, no magical sense of union with his father. It was just a wedding band, lost for eleven years, now found.

The tears rushed up before Teddy had a chance to stop them, and he closed his fist around the ring to keep from flinging it away again. He thought of the dream he'd had of his father, about seeing him there in the starlight, talking to him, feeling the non-weight of his hands. All of his life, Teddy had been loved and cared for by every adult he knew, and when the other children came, he had become "their Teddy," and he loved being their Teddy, didn't care that James called him this because, as he'd put it, "he's not the same a brother, but he's still mine." Uncle Harry was devoted to him and genuinely liked him. Ron and the Weasley brothers made sure he had a life full of rowdy fun, Arthur Weasley did his best to be a grandfather. But no love he'd got, no caring for, had fallen on his ears like his father's voice, no pummeling with affection had felt like those ghostly hands on his shoulders, and he'd never been as hungry for a smile as he was for the one his father had given him there, so like his own when he was unmorphed and calm. Getting the ring, getting what had been meant for him, had seemed like the most important thing in the world, the thing that would make that smile stay, that would make him feel that touch again, but here it was, and it was no more than a ring, no more than a memory, like the funny Muggle pictures and the crumbling crayons in his drawing box.

An arm came over his shoulders, and it was the wrong arm, and he drew away from it.

"Teddy, here," Longbottom said, and Teddy opened his eyes to find a handkerchief. He took it and wiped his face, which was swollen and hot. He was suddenly aware of his surroundings again, aware of the privacy screens (Longbottom had apparently pulled them closed so Madam Pomfrey wouldn't see), and of the continuing rain outside.

He blinked and swallowed hard, trying to stop the painful spasms that were twisting through him. "I'm... I'm sorry... I know... lucky..."

"Yes, you're overflowing with luck," Longbottom said. "I always think that when I see a child whose good parents were stolen from him when he was two weeks old--how lucky he is. You were cheated, Teddy. It's all right to be angry about it sometimes, as long as you don't let it run you life."

Teddy sniffed and wiped his face again. "I hate crying."

"Would you like some tea? I have a fresh pot in my office, I can call it here."

"Yes, thank you."

Longbottom waved his wand, and the teapot appeared and poured out two cups. The sugar, milk, and tongs appeared right after, and Teddy sweetened and lightened his. Longbottom took it black. "I'm going to have to give you detention," he said. "Otherwise, the other students will ask a lot of questions I don't think you want them to ask."

"Yes, sir."

He sighed. "Would you like to work on the Whomping Willow with me? It needs some pruning, and as long as you know the secret of how to stop it..."

"I'd like that, thank you."

"Good." He turned his cup, then said, "Teddy, you know I've been talking to you more as Neville than as Professor Longbottom, and I know you won't say anything to anyone about bubble gum wrappers."

"Of course not!"

"But Professor Longbottom does have one very big concern, and I have to address it."

Teddy gulped and set his tea on the night stand. "Yes?"

"The way you got out today--morphing older--you know perfectly well we can't stop you from doing any morph you like. Even if the Ministry became a dictatorship again tomorrow and started tracking magic, they wouldn't be able to stop you, because it's outside the realm of what we can control."

"I know."

"But I want your word of honor that you won't do that again. Morph as you like otherwise, but don't use your talent to slip away from the people who are meant to be looking after you."

"I won't do it again. I looked sort of stupid anyway."

"Not exactly a word of honor, Teddy."

Teddy opened his hand. The ring was still there. He held it up for Longbottom to see, closed his hand around it again, and said, "I promise not to morph older to get away from the teachers again."

"Thank you." Longbottom smiled faintly. "I'll release you from that if it turns out that a teacher is evil. You can use anything you want to get away from one of those. I did." He stood up. "I'll expect you for detention Monday at nine. Meet me at greenhouse two."

Teddy watched him leave, then looked down at the ring again. He slipped it over the third finger of his left hand, where it hung like a loose necklace. He held it level with the other hand, morphed his finger to fill it so that it wouldn't fall off, then tucked his hand under his pillow and dropped off into a dreamless sleep.
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Comments
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sociofemme From: sociofemme Date: August 31st, 2007 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, oh, oh. This chapter made me CRY. Poor Teddy. *swipes at more tears*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, somehow the whole, "Well, Harry loves him and he has a hot girlfriend" bit didn't seem like much in the line of compensation for not having Remus and Tonks to grow up with.
larisa57 From: larisa57 Date: August 31st, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Aww. Poor Teddy.

And I love that Neville thought of putting in the contingency for the chance of an evil teacher.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Given Hogwarts history, it's a wise contingency. ;p
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: August 31st, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I've read your stories for awhile, and I have just started keeping track of this one.

Oh, oh oh oh. This was sad and perfect. Poor Teddy. I can't say everything that was great about the story so far (not enough room, ha ha), but I'm so pleased that you update so often.

Cheers,
Allie
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually starting to enjoy this writing pace a lot. Give me something to look forward to doing when I come home.
merrymeerkat From: merrymeerkat Date: August 31st, 2007 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
That's two for the crying. *Sniff* Ugh. I love Neville. And Teddy. And Madam Pomfrey, who is trying SO HARD not to treat him like his father, and not really succeeding entirely.

Beautiful, and I love that the Gryffindors came to the rescue. That was a nice touch - like Neville said, it shows that they do notice him and care about him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
He's their Teddy, too--their only first year.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 31st, 2007 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy...
*wants to hug Teddy*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I want to hug Teddy as well, but I think he'd consider both of us the "wrong" people at the moment. :(
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 31st, 2007 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Up early tonight, and I'm sure I'm not the only one delighted to see it. A sad but lovely installment that anyone who's lost parents can identify with. Teddy's longing for his father and his (almost)guilt over feeling that longing when he has so many other caring people in his life is portrayed so well. And I'm very glad that it was Neville who found him and knew exactly what to say to him afterwards.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
That's why Neville's a good choice for Head of House--it's not just an honorary thing, he's actually pretty well suited to helping Gryffindors through their problems.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: August 31st, 2007 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Making the ring just a regular, not personalized one was perfect. Oh, poor Teddy and yet, lucky Teddy, too. He does have many people who care for him. Perhaps now he'll start putting more of his attention and effort into *his* life. Yet I wish with him that somehow he can get to know and understand his parents better and to truly realize how much he was loved by them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, there's more to discover about the ring, actually; there's a reason Remus left it to him. I believe firmly that you can't get on with your own life until you have some solid grounding in the past, so he definitely will need to understand where and who he comes from.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 31st, 2007 03:26 am (UTC) (Link)
*snuffle*

Very well-handled. I love Neville, of course, and his ability to be Neville and Prof. Longbottom both, which in a way is was Remus did with Harry.

Missing word here: the thing that make that smile stay, needs a "would" or "could"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Picked it up, thanks. It's too bad Remus couldn't be more Remus the year he spent with Harry (er, that would be more "good friend and caretaker Remus" not "basket case, post-Greyback Remus"), but I think he did pretty well with what he was allowed to reveal.
redlily From: redlily Date: August 31st, 2007 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
That one paragraph ("The tears rushed up . . . .") is absolutely beautiful. I mean, just top-flight writing. I think that's the high point of the story for me so far.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 31st, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good and very touching, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I feel sort of bad for Teddy, as folks may have guessed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 31st, 2007 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I'm mostly a lurker here but I wait anxiously for each installment and this was amazing so I simply had to come out of my shell and comment! Thank you so much for this glimpse at Teddy. The speed at which you're writing this story is remarkable as well. Thanks so much for it!
Nicole
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for coming out!

I like writing Teddy, and look forward to coming home and doing 2000 words.
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: August 31st, 2007 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
You reduced me to a puddle of tears and angst. But in a good way.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad it's a good way!
1voice From: 1voice Date: August 31st, 2007 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Teddy, Teddy. And Neville too. How it would feel to have your parents ripped from you!

Great installment, very stirring chapter! Thanks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry had it right when he realized that Neville's situation was like being an orphan, except that he didn't even get the sympathy for it that Harry did... which may make it easier for Neville to understand what someone as beloved as Teddy is going through, as people (eg, his own creator) seem to think that having all of these substitutes makes up for it somehow.
From: kobegrace Date: August 31st, 2007 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
AWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

(because:

- he's their Teddy;
- he fancied himself to be so invisible;
- he's eleven and he's loved but he just wants his daddy;
- Chandi cares;
- Neville's reminiscing of sweet days; and
- Professor Longbottom, who's secure and confident and perhaps even wise, is just super hot.)


Good job, Fern. You get not one, but two gold stars for such amazingly awesome writing. :D

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!

Chandi cares and is smart enough to do something about it, which is always a plus.

And yes, Professor Longbottom is hot.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 31st, 2007 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that Dumbledore's Army must have known about the Map. Maybe that's why Neville is taking such care not to ask too many questions, one more improbable than the next.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 31st, 2007 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
It's possible. Neville may also have some pretty strong inklings after having lived in a dormitory with Harry and Ron for five years after they acquired it, even if he doesn't know specifically.
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