FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,
FernWithy
fernwithy

Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Twelve: Family Tree, pt. 3

Teddy and Harry aren't having much luck with the Map, even though Teddy's brought in Victoire to help with Sirius's French spells. Teddy can't spend Boxing Day working on it, though, as he has to go with the Apcarnes to visit Tonks's old friend Sanjiv in St. Mungo's, where he's been since the war, having been kissed by a Dementor.

This scene is kind of a mixed bag, long--finishing up the holidays.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy woke up the day after Christmas to James pouncing on his camp bed. "Breakfast! Mummy's making breakfast for everyone, and there are eggs! And sausages! And all sorts of things! Mummy said to get you up before Al eats everything."

Teddy rolled groggily out of bed and made his way down to the kitchen, which smelled delicious. He loaded up a plate with everything he liked for breakfast (Hermione, who was feeding Hugo a bit of scrambled egg, looked at the pile with astonishment), then sat down with Marie and James, who seemed to be planning an adventure in the attic. Uncle Harry said a grown-up ought to go with them if they were going to play up there, and Bill volunteered. Granny said she might join them later, and have a peek around for her book, if it was all right with Uncle Harry (it was).

"Are you coming, Teddy?" Marie asked.

"No," Teddy said. "I have to visit someone today. My friend Frankie will be here at ten-thirty."

James, apparently getting used to him being around, didn't pester, but did promise to bring him any interesting treasure that he happened to find.

"Well," Bill said, "if you're going treasure hunting, you'll need the proper equipment." He waved his wand and Conjured several toy shovels, toy wands (these were carefully constructed to not channel any accidental magic), and two plastic shields meant to keep off dragon's breath. "There," he said, handing them to James and Marie, "just like mine, when I was off treasure-hunting."

James ate the rest of his breakfast wearing his shield on his left arm.

After he'd finished eating, Teddy wandered upstairs, following Granny, who'd disappeared with Kreacher. He found her in the drawing room with the elf, peering at the family tree. Victoire, who had apparently slipped out of the kitchen without Teddy noticing, was padding along after her, trying to look deeply serious.

Kreacher stopped at a spot on the tree and said, "This is where Miss Andromeda belongs, of course. Mistress..."

"Mistress was unwell," Granny said, as kindly as she could.

To Kreacher, Walburga Black--referred to in anyone else's presence as "Mad Auntie" or, more commonly, by names Teddy wasn't allowed to use--was called "unwell." Bellatrix Lestrange, who had killed Teddy's mother, wasn't accorded this euphemism, and Kreacher himself had come up with a way to deal with his memories of her, saying that "Nasty Miss Bella tricked Kreacher once." He now passed over her spot on the family tree with a wrinkling of his nose, but didn't make a comment. "And Master Sirius," he said.

"I know where Sirius and I are, Kreacher," Granny told him. "And Uncle Alphard. But do you know who belongs in these other spaces? And why Auntie burned them off?"

Kreacher frowned at some of the ancient burn marks. "Kreacher isn't sure," he said, then brightened. "But Miss Andromeda might ask the portraits!"

"Very good! Kreacher, would you be kind enough to send whatever portraits you pass on the way to Phineas Nigellus's, then call for Phineas to come from Hogwarts? I'd very much like to speak to him."

Kreacher hurried off, clearly happy to be about this business. He passed Teddy in the doorway and gave him what Teddy thought was meant to be a smile.

"Why are so many named for stars?" Victoire asked Granny, running her finger over the tapestry.

"It's one of the mysteries," Granny said. "I actually mean to find the answer. Would you like to see where the Weasleys belong? I don't know all of the burn marks, but I know where Cedrella's was. She was your grandfather's grandmother."

Teddy coughed to let them know he was there, then came in, glancing at Granny's burn mark, as he usually did in here. He sometimes imagined being able to repair it, to see Granny's name come back, and have Granddad's appear beside it, then a line would come down and show Mum connected to Dad, and then, beneath them, his own name, in the same gold thread as everyone else's. But the tapestry, apparently, was unfixable. Surely, someone would have fixed it before now if it wasn't.

"Are you coming with us to St. Mungo's?" Teddy asked Granny.

She shook her head. "I sit with Sanjiv every day that I work. If he's hearing anything, I'm sure he's quite bored with my voice by now. Besides, aren't you going around with the Apcarnes after? Daffy mentioned something about looking at all the decorations at the Palace, and maybe catching a Muggle film. There's some Muggle money in my bag." She waved her wand, and her handbag flew in. She rooted around in it, then said quietly, "You may want to tread a bit carefully. Maddie's been working very hard lately, and last I knew, she was a little short-tempered."

Teddy frowned. This didn't seem like the Maddie he'd always known, whose temper was about as sharp as a stick of half-melted butter.

The Black family portraits began to arrive a moment later, and Granny was occupied with asking them questions. One portrait told her stiffly that she ought to have learned the answers to her questions before she abandoned the family, but most were intrigued by her plans to actually write the stories down. An Arcturus Black--Sirius and Regulus's grandfather--seemed to think that she meant to save the name from being erased, even if neither of his grandsons had taken the time out of their personal wars to find suitable wives. Teddy personally thought it would be a very long time before anyone forgot the Blacks, even if no one did have the name anymore.

The doorbell rang just before ten-thirty, and Teddy ran down, grabbing his winter cloak and calling a goodbye to Uncle Harry. Frankie was waiting on the front step, his father behind him, with Carny holding one hand from each of them. She grinned at Teddy and he saw that she'd lost two teeth.

"Hi," Teddy said, and looked behind them.

"Maddie's held up at work," Daffy said tightly, and Frankie shuffled his feet in the snow.

"Oh. I--"

"She'll join us at the hospital."

They set off together to the Muggle bus stop, and caught a route across town to the abandoned storefront that was the concealed entrance to St. Mungo's. "Visitors," Daffy said, and the mannequin let them in. They went up to the fourth floor without speaking, and a Healer let them into the Spell Damage ward.

A man with carefully curled white hair wandered out to them, smiling. "Hello and Happy Christmas!" he said.

"Hello, Gilderoy," Daffy said. "It's good to see you again."

"Have I seen you before?"

Teddy smiled at him. Poor old Lockhart had got as far as he was going to get--he remembered who he was, and how to write, but he never managed to remember visitors from one visit to the next. Granny said that he even forgot some of the Healers, if he didn't see them every day. "He's forgotten your grandfather," she'd said once. "I gave him a picture of the two of them in school, so he'd remember, and he always asks me who the nice fellow in it is."

Behind a curtain at the end of the ward, Teddy could hear Professor Longbottom's voice, but couldn't quite make out what he was saying. The sharp voice of his grandmother said, "Well, Alice, I told him that girl was never good enough for him, but..."

And then Daffy led them past another curtain, through a Muffling Charm, and there was Sanjiv, lying still on the bed where he'd been since Teddy was only a week old. Healers cleaned him and turned him so he wouldn't get sores and moved all of his limbs so they wouldn't curl up, so he looked like he was just sleeping deeply.

"Hey, Sanj," Daffy said. "It's me, Daffy. I brought the children. Frankie's thirteen, believe it or not. And Teddy's eleven!"

"I'm eight!" Carny announced, sitting on the bed and grabbing Sanjiv's hand happily. "I turned eight last month, and Daddy took me to see ice skaters who were dressed up like cats and had a swordfight. Mummy couldn't come, but then she let me stay at work with her the very next day and I got to play with a ghost!"

"Maddie's working on a way to help you," Daffy said. Teddy didn't think he looked very happy about this. "Go on, boys. Tell Sanj about Hogwarts."

Frankie and Teddy looked at one another awkwardly, then Frankie started the story of the Forest Guard and the kappa and detention with Professor Longbottom--they both looked over their shoulders toward the gap in the curtain to see if he was somehow listening through the Muffling Charm--and Muggles and Minions. Teddy took over to talk about being the only Gryffindor, and tell him about the other first years and Ruthless.

"Oh," Frankie said, finally having warmed to it, "tell him about that Slytherin girl--Higgs, isn't it?"

"Right," Teddy said. "Honoria Higgs. A right spoiled brat. But there's another one, a Muggle-born boy, who's just as bad, just the other direction. He's--"

Daffy looked up, and Teddy looked over his shoulder. Maddie was coming through, smiling faintly. "I'm sorry I'm late."

"We're used to it," Daffy said, and from the corner of his eye, Teddy saw Frankie flinch.

Maddie sighed and sat down beside Sanjiv, taking the hand that Carny wasn't holding. "I finaly got clearance to transfer to the Identity Division," she told him (which surprised Teddy, as no one was meant to know exactly what the Unspeakables did). "I'll find where you are. I'm working on everything we know about Dementors and what happens... after."

Daffy shifted uncomfortably, then seemed to take on a heavy burden and put his hand on Maddie's shoulder. "If anyone can help," he said, "it's Mads. You know that."

"May we go to the tea shop?" Frankie asked.

Daffy nodded. "We'll pick you up there."

Frankie grabbed Teddy's arm and led him out, nearly walking into Professor Longbottom and his grandmother. Mrs. Longbottom looked at them in an irritated way, but Professor Longbottom said, "Let it be, Gran." He frowned at Frankie and said, "Come see me when you get back, if you'd like."

Frankie nodded, but kept moving, bringing Teddy along in his wake. He didn't speak until they'd got hot chocolate and biscuits and settled themselves in a red-velvet-lined booth with a Privacy Charm on it. "She worked on Christmas Day," he said.

Teddy wasn't sure what to say to this. "I--"

"They fought about it, but she thinks she's got some lead on things. Dad yelled at her and said she needed to accept it. She said it was an abomination and she never would. I never heard her say anything like that before. Dad started yelling about her trying to bring back the dead--he asked if she meant to bring back--" He stopped abruptly.

"My mum?"

Frankie nodded miserably. "Sorry. I didn't mean to say that. She's off on a tear, anyway, ever since they let her go to Identity. They weren't letting her for a long time. I'll bet they knew this would happen."

"Maybe she'll find something," Teddy said. "No one knows what happens after Dementors kiss someone. Well, to the part they eat anyway."

"I just wish they wouldn't fight about it. Dad just wanted her to spend some time with us, but..." He stirred his hot chocolate. "She promised to stay the rest of today. I hope they won't fight again. I don't like it."

Teddy looked down at his biscuits, not really wanting them, but picking crumbs off of them for something to do.

"So," Frankie said jovially, and Teddy looked up to find him smiling, as if he hadn't been upset only seconds ago, "what shall we do when we get back to Hogwarts? Sneak into Hogsmeade? Try to get further into the Forest? I think Roger wanted to see if we could find any of the spiders..."

Grateful for the change in subject, Teddy let him start to make grand plans for their next term, and they were both quite cheerful by the time Daffy, Maddie, and Carny came up to gather them. Daffy and Maddie seemed to have maintained their truce, and even held hands through the film they all went to see (a story about a spy who tried to make up for his bad deeds by helping the innocent). By the time they brought Teddy back to Uncle Harry's, he might have imagined the tension of the morning. Frankie clapped him on the shoulder and said they would sit together on the train going back.

The cousins had all left by the time Teddy got back, and the house seemed oddly empty. Victoire had left a note reminding him of everything he needed to remember about pronouncing French. Granny was still working with the family tree, now sitting on the floor with piles of notes around her, commanding several quills to take down names and dates. Uncle Harry had been called out on an emergency, though when he came back, he rolled his eyes and complained that Savage would declare an emergency if the weather forecast turned out to be wrong. Teddy thought he still looked troubled about something, and wasn't surprised at all when he retreated to his office for the rest of the evening, though he was surprised that Granny went to talk to him there. Teddy supposed they'd got used to talking to one another about work problems when Uncle Harry had still lived with them during his apprenticeship. After that, things returned to normal.

The day before Teddy was scheduled to go back to Hogwarts, he and Uncle Harry were having one last go at the Map. Teddy was poking at the dog's paw prints, trying to figure out where on the grounds they were, exactly, and idly said, "We never did find out if we could find your dad's things."

"True. I meant to look up how to say 'Potter' in Latin. I suppose we could look up Pettigrew, but I don't really want Wormtail's things." He Summoned the Latin dictionary, which had started to look well-thumbed indeed, and tapped it to open to the word "Potter," then shrugged and said, "I think this is right." He pointed Dad's wand at the deer and said, "Revelo Figularis."

The deer perked up and leapt gracefully over the Map, stopping here and there--James Potter seemed to have been fond of what Teddy suspected were more loose floor stones in the common room--leaving hoof-prints around the castle and on the grounds. Uncle Harry was smiling, then abruptly looked puzzled. Teddy looked down. The deer had stopped beside the lake, about where the White Tomb was now, though with the Map out of date, it didn't appear. After leaving that mark, it jumped into the Forbidden Forest and left a heavy print deep inside. It cast around a bit more, then jumped back to its place.

Uncle Harry blinked at this for a long time, and Teddy said, "What is it, Uncle Harry?"

"Something I need to think about quite carefully. Teddy, will you wait for another letter before you do anything with this? I want to keep the Map, but only for a few more days. I'll owl it back to you, I promise."

"All right."

"I wish I'd tried this a week ago. Oh, well. That's stuck in a broken Time Turner now. I'll get it back to you soon."

Teddy went to bed feeling excited about his return to Hogwarts and optimistic about the Map, now that Uncle Harry seemed to have something in mind. He dreamed of the White Tomb, and a man was standing outside of it. Teddy at first thought it was Dumbledore, but as he got closer, he saw it was his own father.

"Dad!" Teddy said, running down to him.

Dad winked and handed him a golden key. "Some things are yours now, Teddy," he said.

"Is Mum with you? Are you together still? You're not fighting, are you?"

"We're together always, and there's no fighting. Your Mum is watching over you." He put his hands on Teddy's shoulders. They seemed to have no weight, but weren't cold and unpleasant like a ghost's. He was still smiling, but his face was very serious. "Find what's yours, Teddy. Find what was always meant for you." He faded away, and Teddy saw the clean wall of the White Tomb behind him. A hoof print glowed at the base of the wall, then disappeared.
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