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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Fourteen: The Forest Guard, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Fourteen: The Forest Guard, pt. 3
Teddy served his detention with Neville, which consisted of climbing the Whomping Willow to get rid of some mistletoe, and is feeling pretty good, though he's worried about Frankie, which works its way into a dream in which he is almost safe himself, in the company of his parents' avatars, but hears Frankie screaming for help on the other side of a river. He tries to run across a bridge, but the bridge loses its moorings and he goes careening down the rapids, unable to reach Frankie at all. He's not exactly happy on waking, though Checkmate comforts him. Frankie, meanwhile, has developed odd ideas about the Forest, and Teddy as agreed to go there with him when the weather breaks, hoping that by then, Frankie will have come to his senses on his own.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy hadn't really thought about how he meant to dissuade Frankie from a pointless Forest jaunt once the weather broke, but if he had, he would have guessed it to be more difficult than it was.

For starters, the weather didn't break for a week, and the Hogwarts grounds were, in any place not directly attended to by the staff, a large sheet of shining ice. Hagrid kept the path to paddock and his cabin clear, and Professor Longbottom made a path to greenhouses, but there was no question of navigating the sharp drop-offs near the lake or behind the castle. Frankie decided this would be useful research time, and recruited Teddy to help him in the library. Together, they worked through a stack of books on the soul. Teddy got stuck with Eternal Identity: Foundation or Sham? by Psyche Numen, Dialogue With the Departed by Gilderoy Lockhart, and a bestseller Frankie's dad had edited, dramatically titled Soul Survivor: Final Proof of the Final Transition which was a collection of tales from ghosts, dictated to Daffy and revised carefully for dramatic wording by Helena Ravenclaw, talking about the moment of choice, and their sense that something lay beyond... which, to Teddy's mind, didn't seem like proof, but he supposed they knew more about it than he did. Frankie had taken up books on Hogwarts, including both editions of Hogwarts, A History, several articles Luna Lovegood had written about the Forest wildlife after she'd left school but before she'd settled on a life of traveling, Rita Skeeter's biographies of three or four headmasters, and the Encyclopedia of Magical Britain. Between them, they ascertained that the Forest had been home to a lot of dangerous creatures and a handful of mysterious ones, and that a lot of people argued about the nature of the soul.

"We need to know more about Dementors," Frankie hissed one day in early February. "But Pince has all the books about them in the Restricted section. What can we tell her?"

"We need a note," Teddy said, grasping at this as a good chance to derail Frankie's obsession. "And I can't think of any reason to give..."

"Could you morph into an older student?"

"No, I promised not to, and they need notes, too. I think a teacher would notice if a student he never had before suddenly asked for a note."

"Well, you could look like someone who they do have."

"I promised not to," Teddy said again.

Frankie looked mutinous for a moment, but then nodded. He understood promises. "I'll ask Robards. Tell him I need it for... damn, I can't think of anything."

"I'll ask him," Teddy heard himself say, and Frankie looked too relieved to take the words back, so after Defense Against the Dark Arts the next day, Teddy found himself approaching Robards's desk, thinking idly of the last paw print, the one in his office, wondering what Dad might have left there, then shaking it off and clearing his throat.

Robards gave him a real enough smile. "Teddy--did you need something?"

If he was going to lie, this would be the time for it, but he decided not to--though he thought the whole, unvarnished truth might be a mistake as well. "I've been reading about the war," he said. "About souls, especially. Thinking about the Muggle-borns who were kissed. I wondered... could I get a note to get some books on Dementors from the Restricted Section?"

"Why would they be in the Restricted Section?" Robards asked. "I never heard of studying them being dangerous."

"I don't know. But that's where they are. Maybe they're afraid we'll try to summon them or control them or whatnot. Could I have a note?"

Robards pointed to a chair. "Have a seat, Teddy." This didn't sound good, and what Robards said next didn't help: "Your homework is slipping, Teddy."

Teddy gulped. "I've finished it all."

"Finished, yes. You've got all of the answers carefully parroted back from the textbook, which I'm willing to accept from students, but not from you, because you've already shown me that you can do better. Is this because of spending all your time in books on the war?"

Teddy sighed. "Maybe."

"I wouldn't be helping you very much by giving you more access."

"I'll do better."

"What are you trying to find out? I might actually know, you know." He nodded encouragingly.

Teddy bit his lip, wondering. Robards might know about Dementors; he'd never thought to ask. "Do you, er... know what happens to souls they eat?"

Robards sat back. "That's quite a question you're trying to answer."

"Do you know?"

"No. No one knows." He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. "We know that the body can survive quite a long time without the soul. Years, really, as long as there are people to feed and care for it. But our knowledge of what happens to any soul when it's separated from its body is scanty at best, even in the more standard cases. I assume you've read Soul Survivor?"

"Yes, sir."

"We know that the soul survives beyond the body, but we don't know the mechanisms or the nature of the survival. And when it comes to Dementors, we don't understand how they consume a soul--or how a soul would be consumed, as it's normally indestructible. No one has ever studied or dissected a Dementor to find out how it feeds. It may take whatever it needs, then, er... expel the rest."

Teddy thought of what happened to his own food when his body was finished with it, and didn't like connecting that to anyone's soul. "Do you think it's possible that their souls are just... out there somewhere? Trapped or whatnot? Or maybe they've gone to whatever there is?"

"Teddy, I don't know," Robards repeated. "There isn't a way to know."

"Couldn't they catch a Dementor and study it?"

"Who do you plan to feed to it so you can observe what happens?"

Teddy recoiled from this question, and didn't ask again for the note. Frankie was disappointed in him, and was sure the Ministry knew more about Dementors than Robards had let on--"They were Azkaban guards for years! I'll bet they've got loads of files about them."

"In that case, maybe your mum--" But Teddy stopped, as Frankie shook his head sharply. The subject of asking his mum about any of it was taboo. His whole notion was that she should be less involved.

The days weren't entirely caught up in Frankie's morbid search as February blustered along into March, which came in like a lion with another storm (to Teddy's relief, as they were running out of books on the proper subjects). There was the ring, which Teddy found a box for and looked at regularly for the first few weeks, though as time wore on, it seemed more and more distant, less urgent, and it stayed in his drawer more often. There were Muggles and Minions games in the Hufflepuff Common Room, the Gryffindor-Ravenclaw Quidditch match (Ravenclaw won, which was the cause for a consolation party in the Common Room), and a mad hex war in which he and Donzo squared off against Corky and Maurice. All of them had ended up in Madam Pomfrey's care, Teddy with what appeared to be a stalk of celery growing out of his eyebrows. The detention for that was with Filch, who had them scrub the floor of the entrance hall. Teddy found another stone with the "MWPP" mark in it while he was scrubbing. The Marauder's Map didn't show anything there, but he snuck back later, in case it was something of Peter Pettigrew's, as he hadn't found the right Latin yet. The cubby hole turned out to be empty, though.

There were also classes, and tests as Easter holidays approached. Teddy bent his mind to his homework again, often studying deep into the night to make sure his marks didn't fall again. He'd had enough trouble with that when his wand had been off, and he couldn't afford another drop-off. After he finished a particularly nasty essay for Slughorn, he was congratulated in class and invited to a party. This time, Slughorn invited Corky and Maurice as well, so he went. It turned out fun, though Donzo was deeply embarrassed to find that his father had come up for it. Kirley McCormack Duke, though, turned out to be a rather fun guest for everyone else, though, and by the end of it, he was singing songs on request.

Unlike Christmas hols, nearly everyone stayed during Easter, as work was piling up and exams were pressing. On a Saturday near the end of March, in the middle of the Easter holidays, Frankie called a Muggles and Minions tournament to get everyone calmed down. Teddy was quite glad of this, as it seemed much more like the old Frankie than he'd acted all term, but when they got there, his game planning was slipshod, and he didn't really seem to have any objective in mind. Tinny covered most of the gaps with very creative solutions, but Teddy didn't think anyone there failed to notice. Just before lunch, Teddy deliberately had his character sent to a mind hospital--which seemed to be something like the Closed Ward at St. Mungo's--by having him attempt to do a spell, which meant he had to roll perfectly to avoid being declared mad. He charmed the dice to roll low, then suggested that, as long as he was otherwise occupied, he and Frankie should go get everyone's lunch. Frankie, rather shockingly, handed his game plan over to Tinny, who was already tweaking it subtly by the time Teddy led Frankie out. He marched him to the same broom cupboard they'd stopped in when Teddy was off-kilter, and shut the door.

"Wake up, Frankie," he said. "You said it to me, now I'm saying it to you."

"I'm fine."

"No, you're not. This is mad."

"What's mad is a bloke lying in the Closed Ward while his soul is off wandering around somewhere. It's... it's an insult."

"Yeah, it's really bad, but we can't do anything about it. Remember about dragons and fire-breathing and all that business you gave me? Well... you're walking in front of one and it's going to burn you."

Frankie looked at him truculently. "Fine. Whatever."

He opened the door, grumped his way down to the kitchens, and they picked up lunch. While they'd been away, Ruthless had staged a rescue attempt for Teddy's character, and he had to roll to see if he survived a run from security. He had to use karate to knock out a guard, and it turned out that the guard had a keyring, and he had to roll to get the keys. Once he had them, it apparently raised his power level. This was duly recorded on his stat-coin. Wings was edging solidly into the middle level of characters, and Donzo's character no longer needed to support him, which was a good thing, as they'd gone in wildly different directions.

Frankie avoided him for the rest of the game, and didn't drift over to the Gryffindor table during dinner.

Feeling low and tired and useless at the ineffectiveness of his speech--or even reverse effectiveness--Teddy sat numbly at his work table, a blank piece of parchment waiting for his Transfiguration homework. Instead, he put down his stat-coin and dully said, "Emancipo," prodding it with his wand. Wings's stats appeared. They bored Teddy. He cleared the parchment and tossed the stat-coin into a drawer. It clattered down beside the box Teddy had found to put Dad's ring in. He took it out again, looking at its unmarked gold, the beveled edge, wondering how his father would have handled all of this. Better, probably. He could hardly have done worse.

He set the ring down on the parchment, letting the light from his candle play over it. It was a pretty thing, an old thing--the rings hadn't belonged to Mum and Dad first--and it seemed wound through with a history he couldn't read.

He prodded it absently with his wand, muttering "Emancipo," as if it were a stat-coin or Corky's mother's shopping list, not really expecting anything to happen, not really believing that anything was happening until the page was half-filled with his father's thin, spidery handwriting.
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willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 3rd, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm always amazed at the way the months between Christmas and Easter get compressed in the Potterverse, so it's fitting that it should happen here too. Poor Frankie--his obsession has the potential to be a good deal nastier than Teddy's. It's good to see that Teddy knows how to be a friend to him and give him the straight dope when needed. And I'm intrigued by what secrets are hidden within that seemingly ordinary wedding ring!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Frankie's obsession has hope involved in it--no one knows, why shouldn't he be the one to to find out? Teddy's obsession really doesn't. His parents are dead and he knows they're beyond any help he might want to offer them. In some morbid way, that helps prevent the crazies, I think, which made it easier for Frankie to get away with giving the dragon's breath speech. Who wants to argue against hope?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
OH! Oh, oh, oh, this is going to be GOOD. How and why did those Marauders hide messages in everything? Strange...

And I like that Teddy is telling Frankie to snap out of it; it's very good of him. Very... fitting.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I think they just got in the habit of it. :) I mean, why just leave a note when you can charm a map to insult people, or a ring to write your letters for you? ;p
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
The subject of asking his mum about any of it was taboo. His whole notion was that she should be less involved.

Yes, Frankie, the best way to get rid of your mum's obsession is by becoming obsessed yourself.

I wonder if Voldemort knew more about the Dementors. After all, he knew enough about souls to learn how to make Horcruxes, so I suppose it's possible ...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Frankie, the best way to get rid of your mum's obsession is by becoming obsessed yourself.

Oh, but he'll solve it and fix everything, and she won't have to be obsessed anymore!

Voldemort is weirdly limited in his thinking--I doubt he would have concerned himself with finding out the fate of people who lost a battle with a dark creature.
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
The conversation between Teddy and Robards reminded me vividly of the conversation between Remus and Harry, though a few years early.

And poor Frankie, in trying to curb his mother's obsession he creates his own.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm just glad that, on some occasions, Teddy thinks, "Hmm, a teacher might know something worth asking about... I wonder if my DADA professor could, conceivably, know more about the subject than I do..." ;p
beceh From: beceh Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Poor Frankie :-(

The next chapter promises to be tantalising! Good job, as always! :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been looking forward to writing the next chapter!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
First, a message for one of the characters -

Dear Frankie,

A certain, little girl I knew, when she had learned to walk but was still working on running, would run and run and run -

Until she hit a wall.

Cries. Tears. Hugs. Cleaning up blood.

She would then get up and run and run and run -

Until she hit the other wall.


This went on for some months until she got STOPPING down. Her nose was scabbed the whole time, and I have no idea why it isn't scarred or flattened into nonexistence.

Hope is great, but listen to your friends when they tell you that hoping you're going to run THROUGH a wall is not a cost effective use of your time.

Now that that's off my chest -

Harry knows the general location of a certain ring that might give sccess to some people who may know more about what happens to the soul after death than Helena Ravenclaw does.

I'm guessing no ghosts have appeared of a person eaten by a dementor after their bodies died. Not that it means anything. Souls who've been stuck in a dementor or some kind of tormented limbo would have a pretty low rate of deciding to stick around when given the option to move on. I'd guess that there are probably very few ghosts in Azkaban of people who died there for similar reasons (which is probably a good thing, but I bet they'd have some useful observations if they'd ever been able to watch dementors feeding [assuming they could do it safely, which is open to question. What do you think? Could a dementor eat a ghost? Or does the dementor need the anchor of a body to get its . . . whatever the dementor version of teeth or suckers are into the victim? I assume the Hogwarts ghosts would have been more verbally upset about dementors otherwise]).

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry knows the general location of a certain ring that might give sccess to some people who may know more about what happens to the soul after death than Helena Ravenclaw does.

I don't think Harry would use it, though I've been trying desperately to think of a way to justify it with his character, I just can't see him deciding to summon back the dead to check on the situation. It's my assumption that they work on things like that from time to time on the other side, trying to help people who are somehow stuck in the transition, not by choice but by circumstance.

Since a ghost isn't really a soul, per JKR, it might not have the "nutritional value" that Dementors need--just the gravy without the potatoes, or like licking the frosting off a cake.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
ooooh, this keeps getting better and better....

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Eeeeeeee exciting. Oh Remus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, he finally gets to talk directly to Teddy... on purpose!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 3rd, 2007 04:54 am (UTC) (Link)

A few things, since I haven't commented in awhile...

I'm loving Donzo. I'm awfully glad that he and Ruthless woke up and turned out to be awesome, because I they're ranking amongst my favourites of your OCs (and I've loved a lot of them).

I enjoyed the conversation with Robards. I think it accomplished a lot - gave Teddy as much information about the Dementors as is available at the moment; reminded him that he needs to concentrate on his schoolwork; and, I think, reinforces Robards as an adult that Teddy can trust (as long as he remembers this).

YAY THINGS HIDDEN IN REMUS'S RING. Are there going to be things hidden in Tonks's ring, too??
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
No, just Remus's. :(

Robards isn't turning out especially important, but I think Teddy will learn to trust him over the years.
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Woah, the months flew by fast! But they do that in the books too for some reason.

Tell Frankie to stop obsessing, I'm worried about him. D=

Remus' hidden ring things made me squeal. Literally. I can't wait to see what's that all about!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
But they do that in the books too for some reason.

Because you have to get to the climax, and it should be at the end of the year, of course!

Frankie needs worrying about.
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I just told my roommate about them playing an RPG as Muggles and she thought it was completely awesome. It really is amusing to read them role-playing things that we find boring but of course are intriguing to them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I figure we'll always want to try on shoes of people whose lives are totally different from our own. And then I'm confronted with people who refuse to read fiction that isn't, "You know, like real life," and I wonder if I'm the one with the malfunctioning neuron, but then I realize I feel sorry for people who can't get outside their own heads.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Trying to find out about what happens to those who receive the Dementors Kiss is fascinating stuff. Good job, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I like Unspeakables best of the Potterverse professions. I mean, they spend all day discussing Time and Space and Death and Love and... you know, mysteries!
shiiki From: shiiki Date: September 3rd, 2007 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I was just holding my breath when Remus's writing started to appear. It's funny how things we so desperately want only get discovered by accident, when we're not expecting them!

And Frankie ... I feel both proud and sad about him - he's really taken on a weighty task for himself. Although if he should succeed ...

I imagine Neville, if he knew, might be rather interested!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's funny how things we so desperately want only get discovered by accident, when we're not expecting them!

And have pretty much given up on!

Frankie's a good kid, but he's out of his depth, I think.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: September 3rd, 2007 08:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad that Teddy took the chance to talk to Robards instead of just avoiding the whole subject. It's too bad that Frankie isn't really receptive to Teddy trying to truly help him, though.

I really liked some of the throwaway lines in this section--the comment about the consolation party and the mad hex war with Donzo, Corky, and Maurice which resulted in celery eyebrows.

I'll really be looking forward to tomorrow night to see what Remus wrote!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really liked some of the throwaway lines in this section--the comment about the consolation party and the mad hex war with Donzo, Corky, and Maurice which resulted in celery eyebrows.


As much as I would love to go into detail about every single thing he's doing and how much fun he has with friends and House-mates from time to time, I decided I probably ought to start focusing down on things that are important, but I'm glad that the tossaways don't seem like frivolous space-wasters.
kiwi_kimi From: kiwi_kimi Date: September 3rd, 2007 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh! Another cliff-hanger!

One little thing: "Kirley McCormack Duke, though, turned out to be a rather fun guest for everyone else, though" has one "though" too many.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 3rd, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, you're right... I'll catch that.
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