FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,

...and the Forest Guard, Chapter Three: A Mission To Save The World, pt. 1

Flexing typing fingers...

Again, not much outside text until next week. And I will keep giving warning this week that as of Saturday, I will be listing the name of a DH character in the title of this fic, which will appear attached to posts on f-lists. I'll keep a lot of discussion under maybe for another two weeks, but after that... the journal will be pretty much totally DH spoiled.

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

Teddy is about ready to go to school. He's had some trouble with finding a wand, as both of his parents' wands work better than the one he got from Ollivander's (his father's has a nice, familiar feel to it; his mother's seems very powerful to him). Victoire lied about him trying out the older wands, only getting him in trouble for using a wand, which she implied was his new one, and Andromeda has taken it away until it's time to get on the train.

BTW, rotae drew Teddy and Checkmate! Makes me really, really happy. :)

Granny gave him his wand as soon as he was buckled tightly into the passenger seat of the car, and told him sternly that if she so much as caught him using it to point to something, he'd be taught at home for another year. Then she ground her teeth, got behind the wheel, and headed out into the city traffic. She didn't speak. Teddy thought it was nerves about driving again, but when he looked at her more closely, he could see tears glittering in the corners of her eyes.

"I'll write to you tonight," he said. "To let you know my house, and who I'm living with."

"Thank you."

"I hope I'll like them."

"Teddy, I have yet to see you meet someone you can't get along with. You get that from your mum. And she had all of her best friends by the time she got to Hogsmeade." She blanched. "Don't feel pressured if you don't. You have a lot of your dad in you as well, and he was a bit more reserved. And of course, you're--"

"--my own self," Teddy muttered, glad that he wouldn't be hearing that again until Christmas holidays. "I hope there are enough school owls for the first night letters."

"Oh, there generally are." Granny looked down a stretch of road that seemed very straight, then nervously reached down and pushed a tape into the tape player. A guitar-heavy band started doing a song whose lyrics Teddy couldn't quite make out over the warping. He knew it had been his mum's music, though, so he listened to it with some degree of contentment. It was good music, though he liked the Weird Sisters better (he and Granny had got tickets to their reunion concert in Diagon Alley over the summer, and he'd managed to get Kirley McCormack Duke's autograph, and Frankie had laughed at him, as he had Harry Potter's signature on hundreds of letters and cards--some of them actually thrown out--and that was a bit bigger than any guitarist).

They edged into London at ten, pulling up to King's Cross at close to ten-thirty. Granny turned off the ignition with relief, then sent Teddy to find a trolley. By the time he got back with one, she'd taken his trunk from the boot--he guessed she'd lightened it magically--and was pulling his book bag out from the tire well, where its strap had got caught on something. She cursed at it mildly and dislodged it as Teddy reached her. They put the trunk onto the trolley together (making it look like it was a great effort, though it weighed no more than an empty cardboard box), then set the wicker basket where Checkmate was sleeping on top of it. Granny pushed it inside, to the barrier between platforms nine and ten, then stopped and took a deep breath.

"It's time, Teddy," she said. "I'm not sure I'm entirely prepared." She opened her arms for one of her rare hugs. Teddy could see other Hogwarts students milling around, none of them being hugged. Granny caught him looking, and rolled her eyes. "Oh, all right. On the other side, though..."

She took him firmly by the upper arm, each of them with a hand on the handle of the trolley, and pushed through the brick wall onto the platform, where the Hogwarts Express was waiting in its cloud of steam. Granny swept them out of the way of the arch, toward an alcove where a grizzled looking old man with a shock of gray hair was sitting in a Conjured easy chair, then pulled Teddy into a hug, whether he liked it or not. He hugged her back.

"I promise to write," he said again.

"Hopefully," the old man said, "you mean to keep that promise to more than your grandmother."

Teddy frowned and inched over, a suspicion growing in his mind. He reached up to the man's gray fringe, pulled it apart, and saw a pale, lightning-shaped scar.

Uncle Harry winked. "You didn't think I wouldn't come to see you off, did you?"

"Why the disguise?" Granny asked. "I've actually seen you walk down the street without one, you know."

"I didn't want to get the attention on Teddy's first day," Uncle Harry said. "Besides"--he jerked his chin in the direction of the train, where Teddy could now see a knot of people with cameras, and an older witch with curly blond hair and acid-green quill floating beside her--"it seems that the press has been called."

"Who are they here for?" Granny said.

"No idea. Not me, and not Teddy."

"Head of the Auror department, and you can't find out who they're after?"

"Unless it's for dark magic, it's none of my business."

Granny nodded. "I suppose that's fair."

Uncle Harry put his hands on Teddy's arms, then pulled him into a rough hug, mussed up his hair, and let him go. "I'm proud of you, Teddy," he said.

"I haven't really done anything yet."

"I know. But I'm proud of you anyway. Are you too grown-up for a kiss from your godfather?"

"I think so."

"All right, then." Uncle Harry held out his hand solemnly, and Teddy shook it. The grip tightened, and he was drawn back into another hug.

"Geroff!" he said, pushing away and laughing.

Uncle Harry looked at him for a long time, smiling but quite serious now. "You're a very well-loved boy, Teddy Lupin."

"I know that." Teddy smiled for him. "I love you, too, Uncle Harry."

"Say it a bit more dutifully next time," Uncle Harry advised. "Your classmates might have mistaken that one for actual affection."

A whistle on the train blew.

"You'd best go," Granny said, then pointed with her chin. "There's Frankie."

The Apcarnes, looking harried, had just come through the barrier, and Teddy pushed his trolley toward them. Frankie noticed him when he was halfway and waved to him.

Teddy looked over his shoulder at Granny and Uncle Harry, who were giving him encouraging smiles. He held up his hand, sighed, and went back, giving Granny a firm hug and sticking his hand out to shake Uncle Harry's again.

"Have a good year," Granny said. "We'll see you at Christmas. Write."

Uncle Harry winked. "Enjoy Gryffindor."

Granny rolled her eyes and said, "Ha."

Teddy gave them one more smile, then went to his trolley, turned it so it was beside Frankie's, and together, they started pushing their trunks toward the Hogwarts Express. Partway there, they started racing, and by the time they'd got to the door, they were out of breath and laughing. An older boy helped them pull the trunks up, and Daffy took the trolleys away.

"Come on," Frankie said. "I saw Bernice in the window near the end. She put up our sign."

"Our... sign?"

Frankie nodded. "You'll see."

He led them down the narrow corridor between carriages, past tall seventh year boys and impossibly pretty girls and Quidditch players placing bets and... really more older children than Teddy had ever seen in his life. He wasn't sure how he felt about not being eldest anymore.

Frankie finally reached a compartment that looked like all of the others, except for a piece of parchment stuck onto the window, on which a stylized pine tree had been drawn. Under it, someone had written, "The Forest Guard."

"Here we are!" Frankie said, pushing the door open with great aplomb. "Back again!"

A cheer went up, and Teddy looked around Frankie to see who else was in the compartment.

There were only three people, but they'd clearly settled in. One was a girl with hair the color of dirty dishwater. She had jumped up clumsily on their entrance and was giving Frankie a suspicious look. The second was a boy with a huge nose and quite a lot of spots. He was wearing a t-shirt from a concert tour of an Australian band called "Didja do?" The third was a small, neat looking boy with wire-rim glasses and thin blond hair. This one stood up and said, "Frankie, we were beginning to wonder where you were."

The girl stepped between them. "We should check his identity."

"Bernice wants to be an Auror," Frankie said to Teddy, then looked at her. "Go ahead."

"Who are you named after?" she asked, tilting her head wisely.

"The Fat Friar. Good to ask."

Teddy smiled weakly. Everyone who'd ever met Frankie Apcarne knew he was named after the Fat Friar; it wasn't exactly a security question. Then again, there was no reason for a security question in the first place.

Frankie pulled him forward. "This is Teddy Lupin. He's been my friend longer than you lot have. I vouch for him. He's definitely against evil." He winked, and Teddy realized that they were in the middle of some long-running game. He pointed at the blond boy and said, "This is Zachary Templeton, and the walking case of spots over there is Ken Lanagan. We're the Forest Guard. What d'you say, Lupin? Will you join us?"

"What, er... what do you do?"

Frankie sat down and grinned. "Funny you should ask. As turns out, we're on a mission to save the world."

Teddy frowned. "Save it from... what?"

"Dark forces!" Bernice said, and Ken put in, "Evil."

Frankie shrugged. "Mostly boredom. Though we did have an excellent row with a doxy colony last year, and lived to tell about it."

Teddy wasn't sure whether he was amused or disturbed, but decided that amusement would go further. He sat down, and took his place among the Forest Guard.

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