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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Nineteen: The Shadow in the Smoke, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Nineteen: The Shadow in the Smoke, pt. 1
Teddy's friend Frankie, who's been obsessed with the Forest since Christmas, has noticed Harry et. al hanging around in the area of it where his interest is. Teddy is suddenly summoned an hour before curfew by the Forest Guard, who tell him that Frankie left during his last class--Care of Magical Creatures--and hasn't been seen since. Harry is around because Frankie's letter to Vivian has them all looking around the Forest, and it did, in fact, mention a particular area of the place where he has an interest.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy and Ruthless climbed out through the portrait hole. Corky had joined them, apparently following Maurice, and Ken, Bernice, Zachary, Donzo, and Roger were all behind Tinny.

"Does Hagrid know he's gone?" Teddy asked.

Bernice bit her lip. "We told him he wasn't feeling well. We thought he'd be back at dinner!"

"You thought," Zachary said. "I didn't notice he was gone until we were on our way back. I thought maybe he came here to work out... you know."

"He didn't," Teddy said. "Come on. We'll get him." He led them down the stairs. On the second floor, he held up his hand. "Wait here. I have to see..." He ran down the corridor to the nondescript door Professor Longbottom had taken him through in the autumn. He pounded on it. "Professor Longbottom! Professor Longbottom! It's Teddy!"

There was no answer. He ran across to Robards' office and tried that one, and got no response there, either. He reached for his bag, but it was back in the Common Room, the Marauder's Map with it.

"Teddy!" Tinny called.

He went back. "Bernice, get your Head of House," he said.

"But--"

"Go. We'll go ahead and hopefully, he's fine. But get your Head of House."

Bernice looked like she might refuse--she was a third year, after all, and Teddy was a first year--but ultimately, she nodded, and disappeared up the stairs.

Teddy looked at the others. "All right," he said. "He's probably in the Forest. We should split up, look the places we've been with him. Groups of two or three. Ken, Zachary, Ruthless... you all went around with him last year, right?"

They nodded.

"Okay--I went somewhere else with him this year. You three, take first years."

"And you?" Ruthless prodded.

Teddy grabbed Tinny, who was handiest, and the others took the hint and corralled their nearest neighbors. They looked at each other, then at a nod from Teddy, went downstairs and slipped out the great front doors.

It was late enough in the spring that it wasn't dark yet, but the grounds were wrapped in softening shadows, and candles were already appearing in windows. Teddy glanced down at the greenhouses, but they were dark. They reached the Forest path where they'd stopped in December, and Teddy checked the groups. He nodded, and Ruthless led Roger off to the west. Ken took Maurice and Donzo off on a crooked path that led uphill.

Zachary looked at Teddy. "You know where he is, don't you?"

"Maybe," Teddy said. "But if I'm wrong, just... go."

Zachary went off with Corky, and Teddy and Tinny set off along the narrow path that led toward the spiders' abandoned nest.

"I've only been here once," Teddy said, moving under the low branches that disguised the path. "Frankie thought it seemed..." He emerged into a more open place, Tinny behind him. He could hear things moving in the Forest, scuffling through the undergrowth.

"Seemed what?" she asked.

"I don't know. Powerful. Strange." He looked back toward the tunnel of branches, and groaned as he saw another figure creeping along after them.

"What's strange?" Honoria Higgs asked, her eyes avid.

Tinny turned, a look of fury on her face. "What are you doing here?"

"Trying to find out what's going on. Harry Potter was here earlier, with quite a lot of professors. They all went back to Hagrid's. Now you're all sneaking out."

"It's not a lark, go back," Teddy said, starting to push ahead.

"No, I--"

"Petrificus!"

The word was faint, snatched up on the breeze, but it stopped the conversation.

"Frankie," Teddy said, and dove down the path, Tinny and Honoria behind him.

"Petrificus! Rictusempra!"

Frankie's spells were getting louder now, but they were taking on a panicked note that Teddy didn't like. He could see the dim twilight on the pale leaves of the ivy between the branches ahead of him. The leaves were waving wildly and--

"UGH!"

The Red Caps burst from the foliage on the ground, knocking Teddy off his feet. He kept hold of his wand and hexed one of them away. Three more had grabbed Tinny. Honoria, still a few feet behind, was backing away slowly, her wand drawn uncertainly.

"Go to Hagrid's!" Teddy yelled at her.

"But I..." She pointed her wand at a Red Cap. "P... Petrificus!" It fell backward. She looked up with a madly delighted sort of smile. "I can help!"

"You can help by doing something useful for once! Go to Hagrid's!"

She stumbled backward and Teddy saw two Red Caps going for her. He hexed them. She ran back, disappearing into the shadows.

"Frankie!" Teddy called between hexes. He and Tinny were back to back now, moving sideways along the path, blasting hexes at anything that was moving. A Red Cap got through and hit the side of his leg with its club. He pointed his wand at it and tried the spell he'd heard Professor Longbottom use: "Exsicco Maximus"

The Red Cap burst into flames and ran off.

"Teddy!" Frankie yelled back. "Get out of here! Red Caps!"

"Yes, we noticed!"

Something sizzled, and Teddy noticed a tendril of smoke snaking up the bottom of a pine tree. A spark flickered up from the burning Red Cap and ignited the lower branches. He reached the edge of the ivy. Frankie was surrounded by waving leaves, and Teddy could see the flashes of red underneath them, even in the shadows. His glasses were gone, and he was bleeding from one ear.

"Get over here!" he called.

"I can't! I--" A Red Cap hit his wand elbow, throwing his aim off, and he Cursed a tree.

"Petri--UFF!" At his back, Teddy felt Tinny collapse sideways. He turned. A Red Cap had smashed her knee; it was bent sideways and swelling. She raised her wand and said, "Taranta--" but another came out of nowhere and hit her face. Teddy cursed it away. More were coming.

He gathered Tinny, now whimpering and semi-conscious and tried to find somewhere to put her that she'd be safe, but the fire had spread in the lower branches, and if he put her up out of the Red Caps reach, she'd burn.

"Frankie, we need--"

A burning branch fell from a tree and landed in the ivy, setting it aflame in an uneven line. It burned with a strange, ghastly smell, releasing white smoke.

"Frankie!"

"My wand!" Frankie yelled. "I lost my--"

He was interrupted by the sound of scuffling Red Caps, more than Teddy could count, more than he could see, and then there was a horrible thud, and the sound of meaty strikes.

There was no choice.

Teddy heaved Tinny to her feet, putting his arm around her waist, and waded into the clearing. He had to look after both of them, and that meant getting them together, and he was the only one who could still move.

"Exsicco Maximus!" he called again, figuring that if the ivy was already burning, it couldn't make it any worse. Several Red Caps ran away, their hands on their flaming heads. More of the undergrowth caught, and Teddy's eyes were watering from the smoke now. He dropped to his hands and knees, trying to get under it, dragging Tinny awkwardly along. He could see Frankie ahead, surrounded by Red Caps.

"Petrificus!" One fell away. "Pe-Petrificus!" Another.

Teddy stopped moving, coughing violently. He grabbed at a stalk of the huge plant for balance, and it came up from the dry ground, showering his hand with pebbles that were caught among the roots. They stuck to his hand as he started crawling again, poking him painfully. He hexed away more Red Caps. The world had shrunk again, to nothing but smoke and Frankie and Tinny and Red Caps, and it was shrinking further. His hand landed on polished wood--Frankie's wand--and then he was there, he'd reached the center, and Frankie was bloodied but breathing... breathing in the smoke and unconscious from the Red Caps' blows.

With a last effort, Teddy dragged Tinny forward, putting her down beside Frankie. He crouched beside them, trying to keep warding off the Red Caps, trying to remember any Healing spells he knew, but he'd never really learned any, not even from Granny. All year spent learning silly, useless Charms, and he couldn't think of anything that would help. Maybe if he Levitated them...

"Wingardium..." He coughed as he pointed his wand, and it shook wildly. "Wingardium Levi--o--sa..."

Nothing happened.

A Red Cap appeared out of the smoke and hit Teddy's head--only a glancing blow, but it made his eyes go blurry. He fell forward, dizzy, shielding Tinny and Frankie, taking blows to the back of his shoulders. Dad's ring slipped out from under his robes, and he grabbed at it, thinking in a disjointed way that it was fitting somehow for him to die like this, with Dad's ring in one hand and Mum's wand in the other. His skin stung from where the pebbles had cut into it, and he wanted to shake them off, but his hand seemed very heavy. Dad's ring seemed lodged around one large, cold pebble. He curled his fingers around it, felt it turn in his hand, wanted it to bring him into a good memory now, someplace safe and cool, where he could see forever.

The world shrank more, and darkness invaded the fringes of Teddy's vision. He could see the Red Caps moving in the smoke, their wicked faces looming like castle gargoyles come to life.

"Dad," he whispered. "Mummy, please... help me..."

The darkness moved in further. The world was shifting white smoke and nightmare faces with blood dripping down their ears. It was the sound of crackling flames and soft footsteps in the ivy. He looked up and saw a tall, thin shadow, insubstantial and frail, and then the dark closed in completely, and he knew no more.
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Comments
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redlily From: redlily Date: September 16th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, dammit!! Those Red Caps are horrible little buggers!! Argh, 24 hours till we know what happens?? ;)

Your italics are a bit wonky, but that's an easy fix . . . .
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Got the italics, thanks! Too many spells; I didn't notice I forgot to close one.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 16th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think that's the wedding ring he's holding...

Eeeek!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
It's the wedding ring, but it's not a pebble. (I double-checked TDH; the stone is out of the ring when Harry takes it out of the Snitch; it's just a black stone now.)
From: kobegrace Date: September 16th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh... my... gawd...

What a terrible, terrible wait it will be for me until tomorrow's installment. I shall go mad.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh-heh-heh.

:cackling evilly:
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 16th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
You really hate us, don't you? This is just your way of torturing us. LOL

You have another missing open tag here:

Teddy heaved Tinny to her feet, putting his arm around her waist, and waded into the clearing. He had to look after both of them, and that meant getting them together, and he was the only one who could still move.

"Exsicco Maximus!</i>" he called again, fi
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Grabbed the tag. Silly spells. Thanks; I'd have missed it entirely.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 16th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)
AAAAAAAAAHHH
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
:D
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 16th, 2007 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Good job with the action, Fern. Can't wait to see what happens next.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, either, since I just left my POV character unconscious. :headdesk: Really, he was supposed to stay semi-conscious, but I think he needs to head out to the dreamscape.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 16th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
AUGH! AUGH!! *flails*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll try to write early tomorrow.
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: September 16th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Climax time! I was wondering where this was going ^_^ *yey*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
This is it. It's not exactly where I was originally aiming at, but it's in shooting distance, which is unusual for me!
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 16th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, Hogwarts really seems to have an infestation of red caps!
I hope that the shadow was an adult, though, not a Dementor.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely not a Dementor.
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: September 16th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Eeek! Teddy!

Thankfully we know there will be no permanent damage, but still the suspense -- it may drive me mad.

Another great post. ^^
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad it's still suspenseful despite knowing that it comes out all right.
1voice From: 1voice Date: September 16th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! NO!

Awesome, awesome!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
miseri From: miseri Date: September 16th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
When did Donzo join them?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, he generally hangs around with them; I'll put him in the opening. I just didn't imagine without him, and forgot to mention him!
From: lianna_blanca Date: September 16th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Is this chapter nineteen or twenty? The last one was eighteen, right...?

Anyway, though I don't comment every time, I'm still lurking and loving this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Yikes, nineteen! My bad. Thanks for point it out!
cambryn From: cambryn Date: September 16th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Augh! Tinny's knee made me shudder!

Those Redcaps! 8O
And Frankie is such a moron. >:| Endangering everyone and himself like that.

Teddy is such a good leader- I love that you made him so capable like that. Can't wait for the next update. You have no idea how much I appreciate your incredible pace with updating with such quality chapters.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, to be fair to Frankie, he thought he was going by himself!

Glad you're still liking, and Tinny's knee is making me wince, too.
rotae From: rotae Date: September 16th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
OH MY GOD!!! Is it THAT stone?!?!?!!??!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! *flails*

Peace,
rotae
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. Though I think Harry's not going to let Teddy know just what he'd had in his hand for a long, long time.
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: September 16th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yaaaaaaaaaaarg.

They need an adult like, right now.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Uh-huh. Though at least Teddy tried to get one. I'll give him a couple of points for that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 16th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Catching up after a Rosh Hashanah/Shabbos imposed exile from the internet (shana tova, by the way), and I just wanted to mention how much I'm still loving this story. I also need to specifically mention your pre-nineteen years later Teddy Victoire fic, which I adored to bits. The island, the bit of veela wildness in Victorie, the mention of "Pere Alderman," (which is just too perfect, although it left me with a pang that Father Montgomery wasn't around to see it), and of course the last line - as well as the tantalizing hints of Teddy and Victoire getting a final recknoing with Greyback. As much as I"m looking forward to Safe, I also love Teddy and his generation, and I'd love to spend more time with them.

Again, Shana Tova, and wishing you a happy, healthy, and fic-filled year!

-Cara
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 16th, 2007 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)

redcap infestation

two points:

On your revision of story when finally completed, you might wish to establisg why the ground of Hogwarts and Forbidden Forest are infested with Red Caps. They were not so in Harry's schooldays.

The Forbidden Forest has always been forbidden; this is always specifically pointed ouy in speech by Head Master/Mistress at Welcoming Feast. It is situated some distance from the castle and from Hagrid's Cottage and paddocks, although perhaps nearer to those than the castle. Your transition from Teddy and company exiting Castle main door and being in Forest seems to me too fast and lacks the athmosphere of penetration into the Forbidden Forest it might have; no mattter how many times they have been there, it is still rule-breaking and curfew is approaching.

You write "Frankie," Teddy said, and dove down the path,

How can he "pidgeon" down the path? Was it a collared or turtle dove? I know the word always used as past tense of dive throughout HP fab fiction, but it is wrong, Wrong, WRONG! What a relief to have that off my chest!

Excellent story. Thank you for the effort in writting it and keeping updates so regular

tigermouse88 From: tigermouse88 Date: September 16th, 2007 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: redcap infestation

Agree with the Red Cap thing, that could've been made more clear.

However, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the dove thing. All my dictionaries list dived and dove as legitimate equal alternatives for the past tense of "dive". (I'm unfortunately not at school, so I can't check OED online, but still.) Growing up, I can attest to having heard both with equal frequency. Having grown up in a non-English speaking country with an American grammar disciplinarian and state-certified professional translator for a mother, I'm pretty sure "dove" is a legitimate form of the verb, or at least passed out of illegitimacy some time ago. You've got my curiosity piqued, though. As soon as I'm back to school, I'm going to look up the history of "dove" on OED, and see how long the word form has been in use.

Re: redcap infestation - (Anonymous) - Expand
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: September 16th, 2007 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you are just KILLING me, ending on a cliff-hanger like that! I have been desperate to give birth for the past week, but now I'm hoping I make it at least one more day so I can find out what happens next. And if that's not a compliment on your writing, I don't know what is. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 11:42 am (UTC) (Link)
LOL-I'll try to write fast!
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 16th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC) (Link)
awesome! Cliffie!!! At least I'm not worried, you are not as evil as Jodemort... :)

Only a few hours to wait and see what happens!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it would be hard to be as evil, as we know Teddy's in the epilogue, and I wrote a story mentioning both Frankie and Tinny that takes place the day before it. ;p
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 11:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
shiiki From: shiiki Date: September 16th, 2007 10:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohh, those Red Caps! Teddy calling for his parents just slayed me.

That shadow has to be some form of Remus ... but how? No Patronuses involved ... the Resurrection Stone?

I actually felt a bit of pity and some liking for Honoria in this part. She seems quite anxious to make amends - though perhaps she hasn't done a perfect 180 turn attitude-wise, at least she seems to have learnt her lesson a bit.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Honoria was tasked to prove herself to Slughorn. I doubt she'll ever be little Miss Congeniality or anything, but she can at least try to make herself useful here.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: September 16th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
*hyperventilates*

You can't leave us there!

Well, I guess you can, but omgosh I can't wait for the next installment. I think I was definitely right about that patch of forest, and I'm going to be most intrigued to see what happens next, with that stone about.

*settles in to wait*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
:pets the Resurrection Stone:

I'm looking forward to settling in to write, actually.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: September 16th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Teddy! The way he was calling out for his dad and mum was heartbreaking, as were his thoughts about dying with Remus's ring in one hand and Tonks's wand in the other. It's good that Teddy at least attempted to find a professor first before leading everyone into the Forest. And I'm glad that Honoria had something of a desire to help.

This part kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time--I can hardly wait for the next part!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 16th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually getting nervous about the next part!
purebristles From: purebristles Date: September 16th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I was right about the leaves the first time around, and when the Map showed that thing in the Forest!

*dances*

*waits impatiently for the morrow*
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