FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,

...and the Forest Guard, Chapter One: (Spoilery chapter title), Pt.2

Okay, let's see how fast I can write this, because, to my utter shock, once the... er... Grr, spoiler time stuff. Well, to my utter shock, I seem to suddenly be swimming in fic ideas, just when I thought it was time to hang it up and move on to other things. And they're all long and sound like hard work.

But this is the one I'm in now. Spoiled through the epilogue.

Part one had Teddy and Andromeda arriving at the Weasleys' by car. Really, nothing much else happened. Teddy is adored by the ickle Potters. He has also received a strange blank sheet of parchment by owl post, which "Uncle Harry" says belongs to him, and should be passed on to to the next person to whom it belongs when Teddy is done with it, though it's best to leave parental figures out of such transactions. Together, they head down into a party that is quite full of Weasley relatives and other attached not-entirely-family-but-close-enough people. I got Victoire's age wrong; she's nine, and it will be two years, not one, before she starts school.

He stuck close to Uncle Harry as they entered the crowd, feeling a little awed at the number of people here. There were nearly as many as had come to Uncle Harry's birthday party, and that had been shared with Neville Longbottom, so everyone who cared about either of them had been there. Teddy guessed that this wasn't all about being a goodbye party for himself, but he couldn't think what else it was.

"Teddy! Teddy!"

He ground his teeth, then turned and smiled. "Hi, Vicky."

Victoire Weasley straightened up and sniffed. "Victoire. Are you having trouble pronouncing it? I could teach you. I speak French with Maman every day."

Beside him, Uncle Harry's jaw was twitching with a laugh that he wasn't letting out, and Teddy felt his face burning. He morphed to cover up the color.

Victoire looked at him oddly. "Why did you make your face purple?"

"I, er... well..."

"It really doesn't suit you," she said, then flounced away to play with Percy and Penelope's oldest son, a fey seven-year-old named Gideon.

Uncle Harry let the laugh out in a snort, then leaned down and said, "You might want to check that morph, Ted." He Conjured a mirror and handed it over.

Victoire hadn't been exaggerating; his face hadn't gone the beet-purple of a deep blush, but the actual sort of royal purple. He concentrated on it, imagining his face back to its normal shade, and finally got it there. By the time he'd finished, Uncle Harry had wandered off to talk to George Weasley and his wife, and a group of other people who Teddy didn't know, and couldn't possibly be there for him.

"They are here for you, you know."

Teddy blinked and looked over his shoulder, where a kind-looking blonde woman with very large pale blue eyes was looking down at him. He recognized her dimly from pictures. "Luna Lovegood?" he asked.

She nodded serenely, and didn't correct him on the name, though she wore a gold band on one of her fingers. "We all came for you. You're the first."

"The first, er... what?"

"The first of our children to go back to Hogwarts," someone else said, coming up on Teddy's other side. He looked to see, of all people, Professor McGonagall, leaning on a walking stick. She Transfigured a rock into an easy chair and sat down in it. "The school's had a bit of a rest from the Order, but now, you're going. You were born at the darkest hour, Mr. Lupin. And you're perfectly fine, and going on to school, just as we'd all hoped you would."

"So you're all here celebrating me making it to eleven? It's not like anyone's after me..."

"A matter which is also one for celebration," McGonagall said curtly. "Though, to be fair, we're also celebrating the end of the last of the repairs to the school. You'll be going to Hogwarts as it was intended to be. As Molly and Arthur had this party planned anyway, it seemed a good chance to celebrate both." She raised her hand, and a group of strangers came over. "Hestia, Dedalus, Arabella... have you met Lupin and Tonks's son, Teddy?"

"This is Teddy?" the older woman said. "Why, I think he looks just like Remus!"

"No, no," the man said, pointing at Teddy's face. "Look, you can see a lot more of Nymphadora, right through the--"

"Ahem." Everyone looked up. Granny's lips were pursed. "Teddy," she said, "is a Metamorphmagus, and looks like whomever he chooses to at the moment. He is neither Dora nor Remus, and you won't find either of them hiding under his hairline, no matter how much it needs a trim, or at least a neater morph."

"It's all right, Granny," Teddy mumbled. He'd hoped that these people would have a few good stories of his parents once they finished prodding him, but he could tell by their red faces that Granny's scolding had put them off any further mentions of Remus or Dora Lupin. He made his excuses and snuck off, but hooked back around to listen. He could see McGonagall's face; Granny was turned away from him. The other three shifted awkwardly, then seemed to all simultaneously notice different friends, wave, and wander off (the woman called Arabella actually waved to the hedge, and looked a bit lost when she got there).

McGonagall raised an eyebrow and said, "You surprise me, Andromeda."

Granny took a deep breath. "Teddy is himself. I won't have any of us putting these expectations on him. Neither my daughter nor my son-in-law would want him to re-shape himself to replace them."

"I see." McGonagall raised her wand, and the chair she was sitting in expanded into a sofa. "Will you sit with me for a while, Andromeda? It's been a long time since we talked."

"Why does this sound like the prelude to a scolding?" Granny asked, but her voice had lost its cool edge. She sat down comfortably on the sofa and Summoned a glass of wine from a table in the garden.

"You always had a sharp tongue when you chose to," McGonagall said. "Arabella and Dedalus meant no harm. We always look for what's familiar when we meet someone new."

"Trust me, Professor--as Bellatrix Lestrange's sister, I'm familiar with the concept. It's never done me any favors."

"No one is mistaking Teddy for Death Eaters."

"But they are expecting him to replace Remus and Dora. I work very hard not to do that. I want him to discover who he is, Minerva..."

Teddy sighed, and moved away. It wasn't the first time he'd heard this speech. He cast around for anyone else close to his age--anyone who wasn't trying to teach him French and criticizing his looks--but came up empty. Most of the younger children had age mates; that was one thing Teddy was looking forward to at school. He'd never actually met someone who was the same age he was. Frankie Apcarne--the son of his mother's friends, Daffy and Maddie--was two years older than he was, and their daughter Dorasana (universally called "Carny") was almost four years younger. The Weasley and Potter children, with the exception of Victoire, were very far from his age. The idea of being around a lot of other boys his own age sounded like fun, and, according to Uncle Harry, his father had found good friends his own age at Hogwarts, so why shouldn't Teddy?

He wandered through the party, listening to scraps of conversation among adults.

"...and of course Ernie said..."

"...that the bloody regulatory commission is going to put me out of business..."

"...and I couldn't believe what she did to her hair, that potion-maker ought to be glad he didn't lose his license..."

"...to go in front of the Wizengamot and try to get poor Vivian Waters an apprenticeship in the Department of Mysteries, but... Oh, hello, Teddy."

Teddy smiled at Hermione Weasley, who was fretting at Rose's hair and shaking her head disbelievingly at Aunt Ginny. "Who's Vivian Waters?" he asked. "Why don't they give her an apprenticeship?"

"Vivian is, er..." Hermione looked at Aunt Ginny, then said, "Well, she's actually... er... well..."

"She's a werewolf," Aunt Ginny said. "Your father once helped her. She couldn't go to Hogwarts because of it, and now she can't get an apprenticeship because she couldn't go to Hogwarts."

"How did my father help her?"

"He got her away from--" But Aunt Ginny stopped sharply as Hermione's foot slammed into her shin. "All right, another time. When you're older."

"Are werewolves allowed now?" Teddy asked.

"Er..." Hermione started, then said. "Well, not yet. But soon. Not that there are any your age trying this year. I suppose we'd need someone to try before we could make a law."

"I'm half-werewolf," Teddy offered. "Maybe they could try to stop me, and you could make them let me in, as I've already had my letter." Entranced with the idea, he morphed hair out of his face, sharpened his teeth, and growled. "Do you think it would scare them?"

Hermione went white, then gave him a tight smile. "Please don't morph like that, Teddy," she said.

Teddy put his face back. "Sorry."

She smiled and ruffled his hair. "No, I am. Come on. I think Molly's about ready to feed us all."

Teddy let her lead him to the table where Uncle Harry and Ron were playing chess, and Uncle Harry greeted warmly. "I think Ron's got me trapped here," he said. "Do you want to take over, Teddy?"

"Oh, and the noble Harry Potter lets the eleven-year-old lose," Ron said, grinning.

Teddy examined the board, said, "Why should I lose?" and moved one of Uncle Harry's rooks to put Ron in check. Ron's grin disappeared, and he hunkered down over the board. They played until the dishes started floating out, then both of them lost interest (Ron's bishop allowed Teddy's queen to get the checkmate, and as they put the game away, Ron's king was wailing about being betrayed for a plate of chicken).

Granny and Professor McGonagall joined their table for lunch, looking like their talk had got much more pleasant than it had been when Teddy had stopped eavesdropping. The Potter children piled themselves around Aunt Ginny while Uncle Harry helped Mrs. Weasley bring out the food, and the Weasley children crowded onto Ron's lap while Hermione tried one more time to get Rose's hair in order. They tucked into the meal as soon as it flew over to the table. Teddy had always liked coming here to eat.

He'd got into a long talk with little James, which involved the possibility of sea serpents on Mars, and hadn't really been paying attention when he heard Granny talking about tomorrow's plans.

"London," she said. "I'm so nervous about taking the car, but it's best to try the traffic before I have to make the train on time."

"You're going to Diagon Alley, then?" Uncle Harry asked, and grinned at Teddy. "I remember going to get my school things for the first time. It's very exciting."

"I thought we'd save the apothecary for last," Granny said. "Nothing worse than dragging potions ingredients around all day. But I haven't heard much about how long it will take at Ollivander's since his granddaughter took over. Should we set aside a good amount of time for a wand, or does she have a quicker system?"

"I don't need a wand," Teddy said.

"Trust me, Teddy," Aunt Ginny said. "You won't get far without one."

"No," he told her, "I mean, I was just going to carry my mum's or my dad's. May I have the salt, please, Granny?"

He held up his hand and waited for the salt to zoom down, but it didn't come, and he looked up to see his grandmother looking pale and taut, and the rest of the table sitting in awkward silence.

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  • So, "The End of the World" is getting an audio treatment...

    I had an email asking about doing, and it's kind of fun to listen to a podfic. I don't know how often they plan to update, but if you're into it,…

  • Dia challenge 4

    Harris, Mags, Finnick and the other Four victors in the afterlife, discussing the changes in Four, etc. for Anon 1 Okay. They're Catholic, so I…

  • Dia challenge 3

    Chicharrón being forgotten is what really made me bawl and he was snatched away before we got to know him so maybe a friendship piece between him…