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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Seven: The Willow Wand, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Seven: The Willow Wand, pt. 1
Teddy and his friends had a little problem with a kappa, and ended up getting their first detention. Meanwhile, the teachers have decided to start discussing a problem of Teddy's early--namely, that his magic isn't working particularly well. Neville calls him in to make sure he's all right, and suggests that it might be the wand, which Teddy knows perfectly well, but doesn't want to discuss. Neville implies that they're worried because they remember Tonks's trouble morphing and are concerned that Teddy's depressed, so Teddy demonstrates a pretty complicated spur of the moment morph for him. He still has no luck when he tries his Transfiguration homework, though.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Geoffrey Phillips managed to get around the Ravenclaw plan in History of Magic, and engaged Binns in a lopsided debate about the condescension toward Muggles implied in the Statute of Secrecy, despite Binns' efforts to bring the class back to the troubles the era of its implementation. Lizzie Richardson finally managed to derail him by pointing out that the last person to suggest breaking it was a pure-blood fanatic who wanted it dropped so that wizards could use their power to rule over Muggles. He snorted that Muggles were now able to defend themselves a bit better than they once had, as they had guns and bombs, but as everyone knew stories about Imperiused Muggles, he didn't get far with it.

Robards was apparently emboldened by Teddy's status as a new troublemaker, and taught Defense Against the Dark Arts to his class with the same excitement he supposedly had shown all of his other classes, rounding ferociously on Corky to defend his essay on the reformation of the Auror Division, and then spot-quizzing Teddy on which situations called for self-defense, and which called for notification of Magical Law Enforcement. He even made a joke about being glad that "Lupin gets the theory of it, at least." Honoria forgot to be horrible to him, though he discovered at dinner that it was because she'd started in on Franklin Driscoll, a Ravenclaw Muggle-born who'd barely spoken since the Sorting. Judging by Honoria's comments, he'd made the mistake of speaking long enough in their shared Herbology class for her to realize he sounded less than posh. She affected an accent that sounded more like a stage show than a real accent, sprinkled with every northern cliché she could cram into a sentence. Donzo started to loudly declaim about how it was actually a truer form of the language, but Teddy didn't think that was helping matters at all.

After dinner, he rushed through his homework, glad there was nothing practical in tonight's round, then, at eight sharp, presented himself at the door to greenhouse one. He was actually fairly excited about detention; all of the stories Ron and Uncle Harry told seemed to end in one sort of adventure or another.

The Hufflepuffs were there ahead of him, and a moment later, the Ravenclaws ran in, out of breath. The lone third year Slytherin sauntered in as Professor Longbottom came out. Longbottom ostentatiously counted them. "We're missing a Gryffindor," he said.

Ruthless came thundering down the hill, breathing like the Hogwarts Express. She barreled into Teddy and punched his arm several times. "Waiting... Common Room... you... without me?"

Frankie laughed. "Lupin, you really need to come to terms with the Common Room. It's where you go for things you have in common."

"Like DETENTION!" Ruthless said, stomping on his foot and hitting his arm again for good measure. Teddy didn't think this was quite fair, as it wouldn't be sporting to hit her back.

"That's quite enough, Miss Scrimgeour," Longbottom said. "I'm sure Mr. Lupin has learnt his lesson, and you don't need another detention for fighting, and I know Gryffindor doesn't need to lose any more points for it."

"She lost twenty points last year for it," Frankie said, leaning over to Teddy as Longbottom led them down the hill toward Hagrid's hut. "Not that she's not usually the one who's right, mind, but..." He shrugged philosophically. Teddy rubbed his sore arm.

They continued down the hill until they reached the shadow of the Whomping Willow, where Longbottom stopped and turned them slightly and led them to a flat patch of fragrant green plants. He turned.

"We've got an infestation of Sap-Sucking Stealthweed getting at the roots of the fluxweed crop. I'm very glad such a large group managed to get detention so very early in the year, or I'd have had to pull it all myself, and it's nasty work." He grinned and crouched down, indicated that they should lean over as he lit his wand. "You can see it moving at night, which is how you'll tell the Stealthweed from the fluxweed. You need to follow it down underground with your fingers, loosen it up from the roots, and pull it out. You can feed it to the gnomes if you like, but don't let it back into the ground. And watch for the Whomping Willow on the castle side of the garden. The longest branches can reach you there. Don't upset it."

They all glanced nervously at the large tree (Teddy's nervousness equaled and possibly excelled by his interest in it), then spread themselves along the rows of fluxweed and started to work their way down. Teddy took the row furthest to the right. After five minutes, he saw Longbottom's shoe beside him, and nodded his head to ask him to hunker down.

"Are you having a problem?" he asked.

"Should I stop the Willow?" Teddy whispered, as low as he could, so that Tinny, off to his left, couldn't hear. "I know how."

Longbottom waved his wand, and a light buzzing filled the air. "We can speak freely, Teddy. I'm not stopping the Willow because we've decided that it's not a good idea for students to see that the Willow can be stopped. It's dangerous to get close enough to try it. Someone could get hurt." He gave Teddy a shrewd look. "Can I count on you not to go around telling your classmates the secret?"

"I never thought of that," Teddy said, then added, "I mean, yes. I won't tell."

"That doesn't mean that it's your little secret passage into Hogsmeade. Gringotts still has the house hexed on the other end, so they know about any trespassers. I don't think you want to be harassed by goblins just to sneak in an early Hogsmeade weekend."

Teddy nodded. It hadn't occurred to him to sneak out through the Shrieking Shack--he knew a lot more about Hogsmeade than he did about Hogwarts, and he thought it would be that way for quite a long time, so there wasn't much of a draw--but it still struck him as deeply unfair. He'd looked at the Shrieking Shack every time Granny had brought him to the village, and he felt it was kin to him, and he really ought to be able to get there. Gringotts ought to have given it back after the war. Longbottom patted his arm, broke the muffling spell, and went away.

Teddy worked his way up the row of fluxweed, feeling for the movements of the Stealthweed more than he counted on the feeble light from his wand to find it. It was weirdly satisfying to follow it to its roots, disentangle it, and yank it away, even though he managed to bend two of his fingernails backward before he was a third of the way down. Now and then, the gnomes would run over, and he would feed them sprigs of Stealthweed. They seemed to enjoy it, though he had to be careful not to let them crawl into the pockets of his robe. He didn't think they'd enjoy their evening much if he accidentally brought them back into Gryffindor Tower to meet Checkmate in the dark.

By the time he was halfway down the row, the work had put him into a sort of dazed trance. He had always lived in his row of fluxweed, and would always live in his row of fluxweed, and life consisted of nothing but looking for wriggling stems of Stealthweed. There was a vague figure to his left who seemed to be doing the same thing, but she could have been a ghoul or a ghost or his own shadow...

She threw a wriggling piece of Stealthweed at him. "Oi, Teddy, wake up," Tinny whispered. "Longbottom's wandered over to the Willow. We're thinking about staying out after we're meant to go back. We all want a look at that tree."

"What... at the Whomping Willow?"

Tinny nodded, then looked to her left. Teddy saw a ripple start a few rows up from her, then she said, "Bernice reckons it might be evil."


There was another wave of passed-down whispering. "Well, not evil," Tinny corrected herself. "Just dangerous. Something we ought to look into."

Teddy stopped cold, thinking of the kappa losing all of its water and lying paralyzed on the lake shore. "We're not touching the tree," he said, and bent down to his row again.

Tinny passed this on, and the whisper passed up the rows, then came back down to Teddy, via Tinny, who said, "But honestly, Teddy, it is dangerous..."

Teddy raised his head and looked over the fluxweed at their earnest faces. He shook his head. "I'll vouch for the Whomping Willow," he said. "It's..." He struggled for something that wouldn't sound like he was whinging about a tree, finally coming up with, "It's important in the fight against evil."

They seemed to consider this for a moment, then Bernice shrugged, muttered that it had just been an idea, then went back to weeding her row. The others seemed to take this as a cue to get back to work as well. Teddy went back to his weeding-world, where nothing else existed, but before he slipped into it completely, he happened to glance toward the Whomping Willow, where Professor Longbottom was standing, his head cocked to one side. In the light of the waning moon, Teddy could see lines of wariness on his face. Longbottom sighed, left the shadow of the moving branches, and sat on a rock to observe the rest of the detention.
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marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 11th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooo, I can't pass up the chance at being possibly the first to comment, even though I haven't got much to say other than that it's still great. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 11th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
So, if you enter the Shrieking Shack but don't leave it except by the tunnel, do you not set the alarms off?

And Teddy's not breaking his promise if he has to stop the tree from smashing one of his friends, is he?

And, sorry, guess I missed something. Why do the goblins have the Shack?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to work in some of the back story, but as the Shack is in disrepair again in TDH, I have to take it away from Remus and Tonks in the Shifts-verse stories... so one of the first things that happen is that the Ministry seizes werewolf property. Remus and Tonks undo all the work they did on it, just so that the Ministry won't have it. Thus handily leaving it in shattered disrepair when Voldie feeds Snape to Nagini. Since it wasn't entirely paid up, Gringotts just kept it.
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: August 11th, 2007 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)

SO I'm guessing we will be seeing the Whomping Willow again. :)

Also, stupid Gringotts!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Also, stupid Gringotts!

Grr, yes.
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: August 11th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful, as usual. :)

I'm strangely sad that they can't go into the shack. It just feels like a part of Hogwarts to me, and a part of who Teddy is. :(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, once it's in the hands of the bank... :(

I've calmed down a bit since "Pointless," but I still think Teddy Lupin probably has any number of things at which he can be legitimately angry in the world. Also, after I spent a lot of time having them fix up the Shrieking Shack in Shades, I had to mentally do something drastic to it so that Voldie could hang out there in TDH. :p
keestone From: keestone Date: August 11th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)
By the time he was halfway down the row, the work had put him into a sort of dazed trance. He had always lived in his row of fluxweed, and would always live in his row of fluxweed, and life consisted of nothing but looking for wriggling stems of Stealthweed. There was a vague figure to his left who seemed to be doing the same thing, but she could have been a ghoul or a ghost or his own shadow...

Lovely. I've been noticing, but I don't think I've mentioned yet . . . Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard seems to be more lyrical than a lot of your earlier stories. (Maybe because you're not working with more free boundaries of character and plot?) The lovely bit about the car in the first section really set the mood. You have several passages that are absolutely beautiful. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I wasn't really thinking about it at all; Teddy just seems to lend himself to that kind of language now and then.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: August 11th, 2007 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Frankie commenting on Teddy needing to come to terms with the Gryffindor Common Room was a nice touch.

I like how Teddy seems to be a lot like the young Remus of some of your earlier stories, in that he actively uses his imagination to create scenarios. It's well done. :~)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I like how Teddy seems to be a lot like the young Remus of some of your earlier stories, in that he actively uses his imagination to create scenarios.

I <3 imaginative kids.

Yes, Frankie turns into the voice of a knowledgeable older brother from time to time. Also, into the voice of readers pointing out a fairly obvious problem. I think Teddy may have overdosed on Marauder stories, all involving people who lived with each other. I'm sure the actual Marauders wold have said, "Teddy, mate... we actually met other Gryffindors while we were there as well!"
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 11th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Geoffrey, in a way, reminds me of some radical feminist acquaintances of mine, taking a good cause and twisting it into a prejudice. Grr. Is the pureblood you're referring to Grindelwald?

Good to know that Honoria is not simply Teddy's nemesis. It's just so strange and wonderful that there is a lot of house unity. None of the houses is overtly evil or good. Yay!

Poor Teddy, thinking his detention could be exciting. Heh. Gasp! No, don't let Teddy be seen as a tree hugger! Hmm, wonder what's up with Neville and the tree.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 11:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, it was Voldemort--not a pure-blood, a "pure-blood fanatic"... those creepy statues in the MoM. :shudder:

I don't think Geoffrey's cause is even particularly good--he's just a destructive little git who has no concept of the past as a living thing.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 11th, 2007 08:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been lurking and enjoying this after the race to the finish that was DH, which left me rather dissatisfied. I found it interesting that my reaction to Ted, Tonks and Lupins' deaths was hardly at all to the characters that JKR had created, but really to your characters from Shifts/Shades and to some of the stories of After the Rain. I was peeved that JKR had finished them off in such a perfunctory fashion, when for me as a reader they still had such interesting possibilities ahead. I've had a fairly narrow interest in fanfiction, fuelled by the massive plot gaps in HBP, which really begged to be filled. However, my reaction to DH has started me thinking about the characteristics of books which may in the future encourage the development of parallel universes, and whether it will become expected that characters will take on a life of their own . I guess when post-modernism meets the internet this is what you get!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry you didn't care for HBP and TDH--I was quite fond of both (the vicious murder of Remus and Tonks aside, of course).

It is interesting, the kind of interplay that has happened with the internet. HP is the first major cultural phenomenon to exist in that world. I hope it doesn't change the way writers write--suddenly turning everything into "vote for your favorite way to do things" doesn't strike me as a way to create lasting literature.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: August 11th, 2007 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lupin griping to himself about how Ruth hitting him is hardly fair because it wouldn't be sporting to hit back cracks me up. She's what, two years older than him? Dear little gentleman Teddy, I'm sure she could beat you up.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just one year older, but a brawler who would not appreciate the chivalrous instinct. ;p
lorelei_lynn From: lorelei_lynn Date: August 11th, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just wanted to let you know that I'm continuing to enjoy this story and I'm amazed that you can write something so good this fast! Looking forward to more.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! It's keeping me entertained as well, so I'm happy to keep up the clip. :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 11th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good post, Fern. I'm looking forward to wear this is headed.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good, yay. :D I'm getting happier, though my inner Teddy is still saying there's something profoundly wrong about young parents being at peace having been ripped from their infant son so recently. It doesn't seem in character for Remus to be so happily floating along in the afterlife if he's been forced away from Teddy.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 11th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) (Link)


I enjoyed the chapter, you really do a good job at portraying the students' interactions.

I am intrigued concerning the Whomping Willow however, as towards the end of the section I got the impression that there was something more to it than what Neville told Teddy.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nice

Not necessarily more to the tree and Neville (though as an Herbologist, I'll bet he's taken an interest in it), but it's definitely of a piece with Teddy's other issues.
in_a_tizzy From: in_a_tizzy Date: August 11th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh reading this is so much mroe fun than cleaning house (which is what I'm supposed to be doing). I love Teddy to bits already and I'm dying to see what happens about his wand.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I can promise, at the very least, to continue to be more fun than housework. :)
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 11th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good chapter. I'm not sure I understand the logic of not telling the students how to stop the Whomping Willow (it would help if they ran into it), but I'm glad to hear that Teddy vouches for the tree. I wonder how long he can keep the secret!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 11th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Working with adolescents, I'm willing to bet that if you told them there was a knot in the roots that could stop the tree, it would become a game very quickly to try and duck in under the branches to get to it. (We know that Tinny's father, Davey Gudgeon, almost lost an eye trying to get to the trunk, and I'd imagine that knot is a bit harder to find.)
kiwi_kimi From: kiwi_kimi Date: August 12th, 2007 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I've got that Stealthweed growing in my garden. It would explain a lot.

Yet another nice section. You're amazing.

I'm a bit confused as to how Neville is managing to stand by the Whomping Willow without getting whomped. Is he just out of its reach?

A small typo: "the troubles of the during" is a bit mangled (whomped?).
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