FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,

...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.

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