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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Seven: The Willow Wand, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Seven: The Willow Wand, pt. 3
Teddy's social life is going well, but academically, he's been having any number of problems because of his weak wand. After a particularly bad day in Charms, Flitwick tells him to get a new one, yesterday or sooner, so he tries his father's first, then puts it away when he accidentally burns a leaf up and grabs his mother's for class. His Transfiguration teacher tells him that it's because he's putting too much energy into it, so he holds back and is able to actually do the spell (though not exactly perfectly).

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy's Transfiguration mark went up steadily over the following weeks, though he didn't, to his disappointment, suddenly find himself at the top of his year in it. Charms went from being an ordeal to being easily his favorite class, and he found himself pushing through the textbook at night, trying Charms they weren't scheduled to study until spring. He ceased using the doorknob at his dormitory almost entirely, finding it much more amusing to let himself in with a whispered, Alohomora. He was the first in his class, at the end of October, to master levitation, which earned him a letter from Hermione Weasley (with a scribbled note at the end from Ron, reminding him not to get too swotty about it). When he got bored with simple levitation--the day before Bonfire Night--he set the feather to go around his head in a lazy figure eight. He hadn't really thought about how he was doing this; he just did it, then suddenly Flitwick delightedly squealed, "Now, that's the sort of Charm work I expect from someone named Lupin!"

He was immediately contrite, like he'd said something deeply inappropriate, but Teddy found himself oddly glad to hear it. Other than Defense Against the Dark Arts, he had no idea what his parents had been especially good at, and the idea that Flitwick would expect someone named Lupin to be good at Charms was a new piece of information to put into his mental picture. (He was rather sure that if Slughorn had known Mum, he'd have heard all about her scholastic achievements, but she'd been after his time, and apparently, Dad hadn't interested old Sluggy very much.)

"What was that about?" Donzo asked on the way out of class.

"I guess my dad was good at Charms," Teddy said, then glanced over his shoulder quickly. "I asked Frankie and Corky and Maurice already, but I haven't had a chance to get to you--I got some fireworks for tomorrow night. Do you want to sneak out and go down to the lake?"

Donzo looked surprised. "We'll have class first thing Friday morning..."

"You live with a band, Donzo, don't tell me you can't handle a late night."

"Well, when you put it like that..." He smiled. "How are we getting out?"

"Frankie's calling a game in the library, and we'll wait for Madam Pince to kick us out. They never follow. We'll just slip out to the entrance hall and wait until there's no one around, then go out."

"Go out how?"

"Trust me, all right, Donzo?"

Donzo gave him a dubious sort of look, but nodded. Teddy hoped that the little hidden door at the staff room led (or still led) where it looked like it would on the Marauder's Map. Even if it didn't, he had to marvel at his father's friends, venturing even into staff areas to get their map right. It was a good charm, even outdated, and he wondered suddenly, given Flitwick's outburst about Lupins and charms, how much of it had come from Dad himself. He guessed he was probably hoping too hard--James and Sirius, everyone said, had been the real geniuses. But still...

He sighed. There was no way to find out who had drawn it, who had charmed it, who had found--or created--the spell to make new people appear on it. They might have told their sons someday--a story at the dinner table maybe, or something to be told while tromping around the countryside--but thanks to Voldemort, Bellatrix, and Dolohov, the two sons of the mapmakers had to fend for themselves with it. It was a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but Teddy had often found that the little things were the things that stuck in his mind, like songs he couldn't remember the words to. Who drew the map? Was it Dad, with the same talented fingers that had decorated Teddy's nursery? Sirius, with the restless mind and hands that Granny remembered so well? The mysterious James Potter, who everyone seemed to think of as "a great bloke" without ever giving any specific reasons why? Or the traitor Pettigrew, trying to impress them? Teddy guessed it had been Dad, but he also guessed that Uncle Harry would guess it had been James.

In Defense Against the Dark Arts the next day, Robards had moved into a discussion about defensive tools, and, to the delight of all the first years, let them try hexing one another while wearing shield vests donated by George Weasley. Teddy ended up with a great lump on his head when his own spell bounced back off of Corky and threw him onto the edge of Robards' desk. He didn't want to go to Madam Pomfrey, as he was afraid she would make him stay and he'd miss the others at dinner, but she fixed it in a trice, muttering something about retired Aurors being worse than dragons and Dementors combined when it came to getting students hurt.

"You'll come straight back here if you start to see double," she said. "Or if you feel woozy, or sprout tentacles on any part of your body, I don't care how embarrassing. Do you understand me, Mr. Lupin?"


"You weren't trying Tentacula?"


"Oh. In that case, come if you start twitching."

"Yes, Madam Pomfrey."

She narrowed her eyes. "Maybe I should keep you for observation."

"Er... no. Really, I'm fine."

"Mm-hmm." She shook her head. "Go on then, Mr. Lupin." Suddenly, she gave him a conspiratorial wink. "Do be careful not to track mud in the corridors. Mr. Filch enjoys following mud tracks."

He smiled. "Thank you, Madam Pomfrey."

"Go on," she said again, and Teddy thought her voice sounded oddly thick, like she had a head cold.

Teddy ate dinner quickly, barely noticing what he was eating, and slipped out to the library as soon as he was done. Frankie had set up a very quick game, including Corky, Maurice, and Donzo. To Teddy's surprise, Tinny Gudgeon was there as well.

"I saw him sneaking about," she said as soon as she saw Teddy. "He won't tell me what's going on, but said I was to ask you if I could join his game."

"Sure you can," he said, then pulled the fireworks out of his pocket enough for her to see them.

She nodded wisely.

They played in a desultory way for an hour, until Madam Pince came thumping down between the tables. "This is a library! It is not a common room! This nonsense doesn't belong here!"

On cue, they picked up their game pieces, apologized profusely to Pince, and proceeded directly to the Great Hall, now dark and empty except for a ghost hovering near the windows. Teddy looked at them. This would be the time to either tell them or not tell them about the Map, and, without even making up a reason, he decided not to. "Give me a moment," he said, and went to the door, pretending to peek out. Instead, he drew the Map from his pocket and said, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good." Hogwarts appeared. He could see Pince prowling the library, weaving among several older students. Slughorn was nearby, but not moving. Robards was prowling around on the third floor, and Sprout was in her office. No one else seemed to be near.

"All right," he whispered back. "Let's go."

He led them across the entrance hall, down a hall toward the classrooms, but turned toward the staff room at the last minute. The door should be...

He smiled. It was still here, hidden carefully, camouflaged among the stones. It unlatched with a simple "Alohomora," and then they were out in the crisp November night.

"We should have brought cloaks," Corky said.

"Right, that would have looked perfectly normal in the library," Tinny pointed out as they ran down the lawn. "Where are we going?"

"There's supposed to be a cove..." Teddy said, then trailed off as they got near the Whomping Willow. A small figure was darting at the moving branches, jumping this way and that, waving her wand. Flames suddenly licked up a branch, but were quickly blown out by the breeze.

Teddy forgot about stealth, and about the fireworks in his pocket. "Hey! You! What do you think you're doing?"

The figure raised its wand again, and Teddy raised his own. (Well, his mum's, he supposed.) "Petrificus Totalis!"

It worked this time. The figure went stiff and solid...

...just in time for one of the Willow's branches to snake out and hit it high on its back, throwing it toward Teddy violently. He thought he heard a bone snap, and just as the figure landed in front of him, he saw Professor Longbottom rushing out from the greenhouses. There was no talk as he knelt down and pulled the warm cloak aside, revealing Bernice Fletcher. Frankie groaned and sat down on the ground.

"She's all right," Longbottom said. "Do all of you want to tell me what's going on?"

They held the conversation in the hospital wing, where Madam Pomfrey was mending Bernice's shoulder. Teddy's spell had taken strongly, and it had presented her collarbone in perfect rigid clarity for the Willow to shatter, but Bernice herself was in more trouble. She insisted that she'd been trying to protect the school from a threat, but as the Whomping Willow had stood for nearly forty years, no one could take her seriously. Madam Pomfrey seemed to think she had taken a knock to the head. Longbottom cut closer to the truth when he turned on all of them and said, "You're not protecting the damned school from anything. Hogwarts is safe at the moment, and you all know that. Play your games if you have to, but don't involve the grounds, the trees, the ghosts, or any of your fellow students. Do you understand?"

They all did.

"And as for you, Teddy," Longbottom said, "I know you were actually trying to stop her, but use your head! That was a powerful Petrifying curse, and you could have got her hurt. Think."

Teddy looked down at his mum's wand, thinking that she wouldn't be especially happy with him using it against one of his friends. When he looked up, Longbottom was looking at the wand sharply. It wasn't anything he'd needed in Herbology, and Teddy realized that it was the first time Longbottom had seen him with it.

Once they'd established that Bernice was going to be all right, they all trudged to their dormitories, never having set off the fireworks. It had turned out to be a sorry adventure, and Teddy found his stomach churning at the thought of Bernice, who wasn't very bright but had always seemed nice, going after the tree, even trying to burn it. He wished it had been Honoria or Geoffrey.

He was still miserable when he woke up the next morning and trudged through his classes, and he couldn't quite meet the eyes of the others. And just when he thought things couldn't get any worse, at lunch, the rumor began to spread.

"No, you don't think he's..."

"Well, he does come sometimes, I heard it from a fifth year..."

"He's meant to be a very good teacher..."

"Robards invites him..."

Teddy sagged. Of all the times...

"It's true then!" a complete stranger said from the end of the Ravenclaw table. "Harry Potter is coming to Hogwarts!"
62 comments or Leave a comment
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kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 13th, 2007 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Madam Pomfrey, you are too cool.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that's a job requirement for being the Hogwarts school nurse!
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: August 13th, 2007 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear. Will Bernice be okay? Shattered collarbones is no small matter. Neville's finally seen Teddy's wand. Is the wand too strong?

Madam Pomfrey~ (She could tell immediately that Teddy was going out adventuring, right~?)

And lastly, Harry Potter is coming to Hogwarts!!! *dances* (Teddy probably thinks it's bad news, but I think it's wonderful. :D )
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Madam Pomfrey's up to even badly broken bones.

The wand isn't too strong, but Teddy has to get used to the fact that he's stronger than he's anticipating.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: August 13th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I love the difference the new wand makes! And Teddy's hunger for any information on his parents - not unlike Harry's, really, is such a bittersweet thing.

I can't wait to see Harry make an appearance as a guest lecturer!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
And Teddy's hunger for any information on his parents - not unlike Harry's, really, is such a bittersweet thing.

Yeah... needing that kind of stuff and it being out of reach sucks. My father's not dead, but he did do a disappearing act on us, and I remember once when I was making a hamburger as a kid, my mother randomly commented that I was putting all the same things on it that my father liked. That quickly became my very favorite piece of information in the world.
myf From: myf Date: August 13th, 2007 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, more Harry.

I think you're after Rictusempra, and wouldn't he start laughing, not twitching? Isn't it a giggling spell? I need to go back to the earlier books!
cheddartrek From: cheddartrek Date: August 13th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's actually a tickling spell. So he *would* start laughing when he was hit with it, but it would still make sense that the aftereffects could include twitching.
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: August 13th, 2007 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
HARRY! *cheers* Sorry, Teddy, but my pleasure at your godfather's impending arrival trumps my sympathy for you. :-P

(My apologies for a completely useless comment. :) )
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 11:52 am (UTC) (Link)
All comments are useful. They say, "Hi, I'm reading this and it's not boring me!" :D
cheddartrek From: cheddartrek Date: August 13th, 2007 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)


Longbottom cut closer to the truth when he turned on all of them and said, "You're not protecting the damned school from anything. Hogwarts is safe at the moment, and you all know that. Play your games if you have to, but don't involve the grounds, the trees, the ghosts, or any of your fellow students. Do you understand?"

I loved that bit from Neville; it's great the way he recognizes that they like to play at being heroes and protecting the school, and apparently realizes that it's a normal sort of thing for kids that age to play at. He just doesn't want them involving anything that could actually harm them or anyone else.

It really hits home when one remembers that during Neville's years at Hogwarts there were very real dangers that the students often ended up helping to protect the school from. I.e. The Forest Gaurd instead of Dumbledore's Army.

I don't know if those were parrallels you were trying to make, or if I simply came up with them out of nowhere because I like them. Either way, I think this is my favorite installment of TL:FG so far, and I look forward to reading the next bit, which I assume will contain Harry himself.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 11:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: =)

It will most definitely contain Harry.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 13th, 2007 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay for the new wand! Flitwick's reaction... love it. It's also just the sort of thing that Teddy wants to hear, so double yay.

Ah, Weasley defensive products, delightful. Love Madam Pomfrey--now there's a woman who could give Teddy stories about a young Remus Lupin, and probably about Tonks as well. It's good to see that Madam Pince hasn't changed any. One wonders if that woman has been at Hogwarts longer than, say, McGonagall.

Teddy wants to keep the map to himself... sigh. Poor, poor Teddy. My heart breaketh again. Are none of his friends getting at all suspicious of why Teddy seems to be so protective of the Whomping Willow? Burning a tree, a fairly animated tree, wow. Even if there wasn't some significant sentimental value attached to it, I'd still be pretty shocked and appalled just on principal.

And, of course, right when he's had a tough day, Uncle Harry the Ridiculously Famous is coming. Oh, dear.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Are none of his friends getting at all suspicious of why Teddy seems to be so protective of the Whomping Willow?
I think Frankie may suspect, and it's high time to pull Frankie back into the action, though Harry's coming first.
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: August 13th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
The mysterious James Potter, who everyone seemed to think of as "a great bloke" without ever giving any specific reasons why?

this just jumped for me because it's so very true...


Now must go and get my Neville fangirl tshirt done ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know--it drove me bananas that we didn't get more James in DH! This odd, cipher-y figure who's Harry's father, who we see in one brilliant scene rushing off, unarmed, to try and block Voldemort (crazy brave, at least), and otherwise just see through the less than friendly view of Snape. (Grr, last act in life? Insult James's memory again. I hate Snape.) It's one of those things that I'm reasonably sure never once occurred to JKR, who seems to think of James as a good guy one way or the other, with nothing more needed than a few holes poked in his perfection to avoid Stu-dom... except that Harry never really gets to see James's goodness in action, never gets to really feel who his father was, except through reflected memories from Remus and Sirius--the only "experience" he has of James is through the direct memories of men who hated and/or disdained him (Snape and Voldemort). I'm guessing she's unaware of the levels of James-hate among Snapefen, or she'd have been more careful, but, yeah... I was very, very sorry not to get more James.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: irmwii Date: August 13th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry Potter is coming to Hogwarts!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Any day with Harry is a good day.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 13th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank goodness you switched his wand. I hate injustice, and it was driving me crazy that he wasn't doing as well as he could be because he was using the wrong wand.

I don't see why Teddy's so bummed about Harry coming, though, unless he's concerned about getting caught with his mom's wand, or thinks he'll get a lecture about the bonfire night events?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
He thinks he's going to get a lecture, and quite possibly have his working wand taken away. Which is somewhat on the level of Remus being worried that he's passed on lycanthropy without biting anyone, but, hey.
heather916 From: heather916 Date: August 13th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's too long to quote here, but I absolutely LOVE Teddy's thoughts about the map and what Remus contributed to it. I got all choked up at him choosing to think that his daddy drew it and then realizing that Harry probably thought the same thing about James. So bittersweet. And a nice, subtle way to incorporate the "parallel" that JKR wanted to draw between Teddy and Harry by ruthlessly killing off Remus and Dora. *growls at JKR* *reins in latent grief* *sigh*

And Harry's coming, yay! Now, why would Teddy be unhappy about that? Because he failed in his first "adventure"? Or because he's not looking forward to impending attention that Harry's visit will likely cast on himself?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
:looks at icon:

:raises hand:

I do love Jo, but I seem to growl at her a lot about this.
wm_law2003 From: wm_law2003 Date: August 13th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's rather sad that in trying not to put too much pressure on Teddy to be like his parents, people aren't giving him what he wants: information on them. :(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... overcompensating much? You can't let go of the past until you know what it is!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 13th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Pity Teddy's outing with the fireworks was a bust, but fortunately there was some very nice character work to make up for it. (I do hope Bernice scales down her paranoia a bit after this incident--trying to destroy something that much bigger than she is is just not a good idea.) It was touching that Madam Pomfrey gets choked up dealing with Teddy--I'm sure she sees his father in him. Teddy's realization that both he and Harry would want to think their respective dads the masterminds behind the map was also poignant, though I'm wondering if the name order of the Marauders--with Moony coming first--might turn out to be significant.

Looking forward to Harry's visit to Hogwarts, even if Teddy isn't!
heather916 From: heather916 Date: August 13th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
though I'm wondering if the name order of the Marauders--with Moony coming first--might turn out to be significant.

Hey! That's a really good thought! Sirius and Jame, as brilliant as they were, would probably focus all their brilliance on coming up with pranks and adventures. Remus, being more cautious by nature, would be one to come up with an idea like that Map. I can just see him: "If you're going to go around causing trouble, you may as well not do it blindly."
anna_in_the_sky From: anna_in_the_sky Date: August 13th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi there,

I love this fic so much already, would it be okay if I friended you? It would make it that much easier to keep up with updates. ;-)

That was a wonderful chapter, I particularly loved the Madam Pomfrey moment - and Neville, of course. I wonder if he thought of Hermione petrifying him in his first year?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have yet to mind being friended, and since fic is more or less all I'm doing these days, you won't have your f-list bogged down with my library life. :)

We've seen that the Petrificus curse can be dangerous, so yes... Neville may well be thinking about that!
kythryne From: kythryne Date: August 13th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love all of this. I've been re-reading Shades the past couple of days, too, and jumping back and forth in time is actually pretty neat. If sad in spots.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 13th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
My brain's all over the place, as Safe is falling into place as I write this one, and I'm also thinking about the epilogue and Victoire and how Teddy passes the map on to little James, and whether or not, when Victoire comes, he'll finally decide to share it with someone else. (He may share it with Frankie, but not in this particular story.) Ah, time. It all exists simultaneously.
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