French speakers--babelfish alert. Great for quick fill-ins, bad for proper French. Correct at will.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
Teddy led the way back to Uncle Harry's office, and when they got there, Uncle Harry raised his eyebrows and widened his eyes. "Teddy," he said, "you never cease to surprise me."
"What do you mean?"
"Never mind. Have you told her?"
"Showing is easier," Teddy said, and pulled out the Map. He took it to Victoire. "This is the Marauder's Map," he said. "And it's a secret."
She looked at it. "Is this Hogwarts?" Teddy nodded, and Victoire took the Map, looking at it eagerly. "And these dots... with the names... there's Professor Flitwick, and Neville's there, too! Neville's right out in the greenhouses and Luna and Rolf are there with him. Is this real? Is this where people really are?"
"And there are Hagrid and Buckbeak!" She laughed, delighted. "But why do you need to learn French?"
Teddy brought over the Keys and explained about Sirius's French spells, dipping into Flitwick's first lecture to tell her about Wizard Baruffio.
"But you'll have to pretend you haven't heard it before when you get there," Uncle Harry told her.
Victoire nodded and scanned the spells, her eyes bright and wide. "These are simple," she said. "The words, of course. I don't really know how the spell works, but the words here--limite you must have guessed, that means that the spell is limited. Sometimes he uses lie, which is 'bind.' Je vous lie--he uses that to finish every other spell--just means 'I bind you.' What's he binding?"
"The Map," Teddy said. "To make sure no one else can change it. Only we're trying to figure out how to bind someone else into the group that's allowed to change it." He tapped one. "The English part says this is the spell for it. How do we say it?"
Victoire pronounced the spell easily, then Teddy tried it. She laughed. "It's French, Teddy, not Mermish. You don't need to make faces to pronounce it!"
Teddy exaggerated the faces he was making by morphing his mouth wider and his nostrils higher the second time he tried.
Victoire frowned. "Well, if you don't really want me to help, I'll just--"
"Let me see if I've got it," Uncle Harry said, then mangled the spell more than Teddy had.
Victoire didn't quite dare to tell an adult that he was speaking French, not Parseltongue, but she did shake her head sadly and coach him through it twice more, looking utterly without hope.
She finally declared herself satisfied with Uncle Harry's efforts, and he sat down to practice it while studying the theory behind it in English. Teddy and Victoire sat on the small leather sofa, sideways and cross-legged, with the Map between them.
"Where did this come from?" she asked.
"Our dads," Teddy said, nodding at Uncle Harry. "And Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. We think they wanted to bind other people to it."
The thought occurred to Teddy that Victoire might ask to be bound as well, which alarmed him, but she said, "It's a special thing, then, with your fathers. I'm glad to help. My maman and I have secrets, too. Well, my sisters know them."
Teddy was very tempted to ask what they were, as he was sure she intended, but didn't especially want to give her a chance to tell him that she was allowed her own secrets if she was meant to keep his.
Instead, they leaned over the Map together, watching the few dots in the school with interest. The ghosts all seemed to be having a Christmas party in the dungeons, and Peeves was zooming around in Ravenclaw Tower, where three students all seemed to be in the Common Room. Luna, Rolf, and Professor Longbottom had left the greenhouses, and seemed to be touring the grounds; as Teddy and Victoire watched, Hagrid's dot wandered across to join them, and Buckbeak moved very rapidly off the edge of the Map (Teddy guessed he was off his tether and flying free).
"Where do you live?" Victoire asked. "If I'm a Gryffindor, where will I be?"
Teddy found his level in Gryffindor Tower, then told her which years lived on the other floors. "You're two years behind me," he said, "so you'd be where the sixth years are now, as they'll leave just before you come."
Uncle Harry, at his desk, set the Keys down and said, "Well, Teddy, I can't find a place where it's necessary to state a name. Let's see if it's fooled by the wand."
"Can you bind yourself?" Teddy asked.
"No, it definitely can't be auto-cast. You'll need to test it. I'm sure that Victoire and I will be paying attention to something else if you happen to, just accidentally, speak Latin while holding a wand."
"Did I just get a pass on underage magic from the head of the Auror Division?"
"I don't know what you mean, Teddy." He raised Dad's wand, and said the Binding incantation.
Teddy didn't feel any different as he took Dad's wand back. He waited until Uncle Harry and Victoire were talking about the Weird Christmas concert, their backs carefully turned, then pointed the wand at the Marauder's Map and whispered "Reficio."
The result was sudden and catastrophic.
The lines on the Map melted away, swirling into meaninglessness, then formed the head of a wolf wearing an eye patch. Words appeared over its head, scratched in words made to look like claw marks: "THIEF! WHO GOES THERE?"
"It's me, Teddy!" Teddy answered it aloud, but the wolf just growled soundlessly, and the Map went blank.
Uncle Harry had turned at the sound of it. "What happened?"
"I think I erased it!"
"I doubt that," Uncle Harry said, then tapped it with his holly wand and swore that he was up to no good. The scrolling of "Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs..." began, and he cleared it, then tried again with Dad's wand. The animals appeared as usual, apparently undisturbed by the previous accusation of wand theft. "Just one of their tricks."
"It still works, then?" Victoire asked, again looking over it, trying to see the dots.
"It does. I'll definitely need to find a way around Dad's Identity spell, though. I think this is the first time I've wished he was here just so that I could hire him."
"Teddy, do you mind if I keep the wand for a few days, to see what I can do with this?"
"I can't use it anyway. I might find myself accidentally speaking Latin."
"Right. I really wish I'd talked to Lupin and Sirius about all of this, or they'd thought to bind me to it. That would make all of this a lot easier."
Victoire was still watching the Map, and Uncle Harry had actually handed it to her. She traced one dot or another with her finger, and said, "Could we play at this again tomorrow? I like this."
Teddy shook his head. "I can't. I'm going to see my mother's friends tomorrow. We're visiting Sanjiv."
"We go every year. You know that."
"But does he... know?"
"I don't know." Teddy squirmed and looked to Uncle Harry.
Uncle Harry looked thoughtful. "I don't, either," he said, "but the rest of the Dementor victims from the war gave up years ago. Sanjiv is still hanging on. Your grandmother and the Apcarnes visit a lot. That may mean something."
He didn't add Or nothing, but didn't need to. Teddy had gone to St. Mungo's every year since he was old enough to read the message on his birth scroll from the man who promised to teach him that friendship was the highest of callings, but the only change in Sanjiv McPherson since the day Dolores Umbridge had fed him to the Dementors was that his hair was going white as he lay still on the pillow, his unfocused eyes staring up at the ceiling. At the age of eight, Teddy had protested that he didn't want to go, that it was boring, but Granny had told him, in the coldest of her cold voices, that spending one hour a year in the service of someone who had saved his mother--"While you were inside her, Teddy, mind that"--wasn't too much to ask of anyone. So Teddy continued to visit the day after Christmas, and tell Sanjiv what was happening in his life, and then put it out of his mind as much as he could. He sometimes thought that Mum had got the better deal, just dying, but that felt like a horrible thought, so he tried not to think of that too often, either.
"I'll have to go home," Victoire said. "I could visit by myself if you need help again. I could use Floo powder."
"If it's all right with your parents, you're always welcome," Uncle Harry said.
There didn't seem to be anything more to do, and Uncle Harry was already frowning over the Identity spell again, so Victoire suggested that she really ought to go look after her younger sisters again, and Teddy said that he'd promised Al, Rosie, and Artie a good story before bed. Uncle Harry kissed them both and sent them along.
In the corridor, before they reached the stairs, Victoire stopped and said, "I really will keep it secret."
She smiled. "Thank you for telling me. I won't tell anyone when I get to Hogwarts, either."
Teddy shrugged. "You can borrow it sometimes, if you need it to do something with your friends."
"Won't you be my friend?" Victoire asked, alarmed.
"I mean, your friends outside the family."
"Oh," Victoire said, for some reason looking completely crushed, though Teddy had meant it to reassure her. "All right. Good night, then, Teddy." She moped down the stairs and scolded Marie, who had run out of a door off to the side, chasing a purple robe that had apparently been hiding in one of the wardrobes, and barreled into her sister without looking.
Teddy went looking for Al and Artie, who, with Rosie, had crawled into Kreacher's cupboard and were begging the old elf for stories of the past. (Al especially wanted anything about ghosts in the house.) Kreacher looked helplessly at Teddy, who nodded and took the children away.