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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Fifteen: Love Stories, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Fifteen: Love Stories, pt. 1
Time flies, and we are well into spring now. Frankie has been pretty crazed about the issue of souls and identity, and Teddy tried to talk sense into him, but he didn't listen. Teddy found his father's wedding ring and was disappointed, and had put it away, but--feeling low after a bad conversation with Frankie, he takes it out again, and, without thinking anything was going to happen, prodded it with his wand and used the spell that releases data stored on stat-coins. To his surprise, his father's handwriting begins to appear.

The chapter structure here obviously owes a lot to "The Prince's Tale."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

My dear Teddy, Dad had written, and Teddy let his eyes trace the lines over and over. They were addressed to him, they were meant for him, written to him by his father. He forced his glance onward, to read the rest.

As I'm writing this, your mummy is asleep, and you're sleeping a few feet away from me. Your hair is changing colors. If this letter is shorter than it ought to be, you've no one to blame but yourself. I can't seem to look away from you for long. I can't believe how small you are. I'd forgotten. I suppose Harry--your godfather--must have been this small, but I can't remember what it was like.

I hope, actually, that you'll never read this, that all of the things I want to share with you, I'll tell you over the dinner table, or bore you with on long tromps through the countryside. I started training you for those this afternoon. We had ourselves a nice tromp in Granny's garden, and your hair turned exactly the color the rosebush leaves. I don't imagine you'll remember any of the stories I told you there, though.

But there's a war on, and it's brutal, and I've escaped death often enough that it's not a stranger to me anymore, and realistically, I know that this letter may be needed.

Before Sirius Black died, he and I had talked about gathering our memories of James Potter into a Pensieve for Harry, but somehow, it was never done. Your grandfather's Pensieve was destroyed when his office was ransacked, and Dumbledore's is locked up at Hogwarts, so there's been no option of doing that this year, but I wanted to give you what I could. Mummy thought you might want to know me, for some odd reason of your own.

Most of the things I want to share with you can't be shared in a letter. They're wordless things, or things that go beyond words. As winter went on, I worked on a way to share things with you, in the event that things needed to be shared. I always had talent with charming objects--perhaps, by the time you read this, you'll have made the acquaintance of a certain map that's in Harry's possession just now--and after a lot of trial and error, I finally found a way. It's not as clear or objective as a Pensieve, and I'm afraid there was no way to take the memories from outside my own head--you'll be seeing through my eyes, rather than actually seeing me--but it's the best we can do with what we have. If there's one thing your mummy has finally managed to teach me, after years of trying, it's that sometimes, the best we can do with what we have is enough. Better than enough. Sometimes, it's the best it's possible to be, and we appreciate it more because it's hard-earned and precious.

I don't know how old you'll be when Mummy decides to show this to you. I'll tell her that I've added the letter, so she won't have to explain--

Teddy blinked hard, his chest and throat tight, the words blurring in front of him. The possibility of his own death had occurred to him. The idea that Mum could have died, that she wouldn't be here to share this...

He leaned away from his work table, not wanting to cry, and if he did cry, not wanting it to fall on the parchment and blur it. He waited for the wave to pass.

...so she won't have to explain.

I chose to charm my wedding ring because it's the most important thing I own, the
only important thing, actually. The other things in my life are just things, but this ring means everything. I taught Mummy to add some memories of her own, which I'm sure you'll find, and maybe you'll actually get a look at me in them--Mummy and I knew one another for a very long time--but most of what's here is mine. I'm sure you know I'm not a perfect man, or always an especially good one, but please forgive me--the memories I'm giving you are the best I have, the ones that I hope will let you know who I am, and who you are, and what you mean to me. Mummy knows how to retrieve them, but I can already hear her telling me to add the instructions here. Just in case. How I hate those words.

What you must do--or have Mummy do if you don't have a wand yet--is set the ring down on a piece of parchment (the one it's releasing this letter to will do well), turn it counterclockwise three times, and tap it with your wand once and use the incantation
Cordis Patronum.

While I don't imagine myself to be a deeply fascinating person, I know the temptation to linger in the past quite well, so I've made sure that the charm isn't infinite. It will end on its own after thirty minutes. You'll be able to go back in a day or two, if you're so inclined, but it won't let you get lost.
I won't let you get lost, not as long as I have any power to act.

I love you more than I thought it possible to love another person. I feel selfish and lucky and greedy to have taken such a great gift from life. Everything I am, everything I've done, everything I've learned is all for you. And that will be true even if you never have to read this letter or see the memories in the ring.

I give you this ring with all my love,

Teddy read the letter over and over, imagining his father sitting in the nursery, perhaps at the table where they'd kept all of his own baby things, quill in hand, stealing glances at the crib as he wrote to the child sleeping there, knowing that the war was closing in around them. The image was so clear it hurt his eyes, even though he wasn't actually seeing it. In his imagination, Dad reached through the bars of his crib with the end of the quill feather, and tickled his nose.

The rage he'd felt on the day he found the ring tried to push itself back up, to fill his head with screams and fire. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair at all that this was all he should have left of the man who'd written it. But it was something, something he was meant to have, something that had been made for him especially, and addressed to "My dear Teddy."

He fought the anger away, and pulled out a fresh piece of parchment, not wanting to risk losing the letter, which he set very carefully down on his trunk, then set the ring in the center of it.

"The charm broke during the winter underground," he told himself to forestall disappointment. "Or Dad made a mistake, and it all faded after only a few months. Nothing will happen."

He turned it counterclockwise three times, tapped it, and said, "Cordis Patronum."

The ring glowed a soft golden color, then suddenly the light in Teddy's room changed. It was sunlight, and he was warm and there were flowers and long grass, and he was running toward the house at the top of the hill, running after the big man with the light yellow hair, and they were both laughing. The big man swung around and caught him and swept him toward the sky, and he laughed, and it was a free, high sound, and Teddy understood that he was Remus Lupin, and he was five years old, and the man was his Daddy, John Lupin, who had promised they might put up a tent in the field later, and have stories and a campfire. This was the most important thing there was in the world.

They reached a stone wall, and John swung him up onto it, and they walked along, side by side, nearly the same height now (well, Remus's face was at the level of his daddy's shoulder, but that was close enough, like two blokes just walking along the street as friends). He thought of himself as a knight, going along beside the King of Greenland, and they were going to rescue the queen from a horrible dragon. A stick had blown up against the wall, and he picked it up, brandishing it like a sword.

"Ah," John said, "the mighty Sir Remus is ready for action, is he? What sort of thing shall we fight today?"

"The dragon! It has Mummy!"

"Well, then we ought to get about rescuing her, oughtn't we? It looks fierce! Can you see it, Remus? It's got black scales and red eyes."

Teddy peered out through his father's eyes, and saw the house ahead, where a black blanket with red markings was fluttering on a clothesline. A tall, thin woman who looked exactly like Dad--and he knew she was his mummy and her name was Julia--was using drying spells on it, and she shook her finger at them, laughing, and said, "Oh, you are not having a battle with my laundry, John Lupin!" And then the blanket went flying, and they rescued her, and then there was a strange moment of blurring, and they were somewhere else, and Dad wasn't as happy because he'd been bitten and survived three transformations, but now there was the amazing weight of a great bird on his wrist, and the full moon seemed very distant. The bird was hooded and had a sharp, curved beak. Julia was behind him, her hands on his arms.

"My father used to do this with me," she said. "He used to hunt, but we won't do that today, will we? We'll just watch how beautiful he is." She prodded his arm, and the hawk flew up into the sky, and it circled around a tower, and she clapped and cuddled him. "Look at it! Look how wonderful it is!"

It was wonderful, and free, and he laughed, and it was the first time he'd really laughed since the monster came out of the dark and stole all of his games from him.

"The world is full of wonderful things, Remus," Julia said. "And they'll always be there. No matter what, you must always remember that the world is full of wonders."

Remus didn't know why she sounded so sad as he watched the hawk circle up into the sky. The sad things had gone up with him, dragged into the cold air and casually dropped into the ocean. He took the feed bag she offered him (she was watching warily) and the hawk was coming back, coming back to him, to Remus John Lupin, but before it landed the world blurred again, and he was at Hogwarts, in Gryffindor Tower, only two floors above the place where Teddy really was.

He felt himself grinning across a poker hand at James Potter, who looked eerily like Uncle Harry, and had a Tarot card stuck to his forehead.
77 comments or Leave a comment
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willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 4th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Gorgeous and poignant--the letter and the legacy. And, to my biased view, much more enjoyable than the Prince's Tale! I also like the way you're building in the hawk imagery so that Teddy's animal totem will be a natural development. I'm still a bit disappointed that we don't know what Remus's Patronus is, after all this time.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I kind of wish I hadn't spilled the beans on the hawk business now. :P

I can't see Remus's Patronus being a wolf, though all of the others supposedly took their animal forms. The wolf is a curse, not an expression of his inner self.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: September 4th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
This is much more enjoyable than "The Prince's Tale." ;~)

If I started quoting any parts that I liked, I'm afraid that I would have to quote the whole thing back to you, so I shall simply say that I'm really, really glad Remus was so creative. The half hour time limit was probably very smart--I would definitely want to stay inside the memories for much longer.

Absolutely fantastic, and I can't wait for more!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I have missed writing Remus, as opposed to memory!Remus and dream!Remus... just plain old fashioned Remus.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 4th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with the first commenter - way better than the Prince's Tale. Of course, that could be because Snape is deadly dull but there is no such thing as too much Remus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I'm sure my reaction to Prince's Tale would have been different if it hadn't immediately followed on the heels of Remus's death. Because, dude, REMUS DIED. Don't drop me in Snape's head and expect me to give a rat's ass about anything I find there.

Which isn't JK's fault, to be fair.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 4th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
*sniffs* Oh, you had me tearing up during that letter. Lovely, lovely section.

More, and sooner rather than later, please! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, and I've been looking forward to writing this, so I was more or less making myself wait so that people who are used to looking at a particular time didn't miss it. In other words, I'll be keeping to the schedule. :)
cambryn From: cambryn Date: September 4th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh! My eyes welled up when reading Remus' letter. This is another masterpiece, Fern! :*)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Though I'm with Teddy in suppressing rage that it's all he has left. But bless Remus's morbid imagination in this case, as it caused him to do something useful for once.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 4th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Oh god.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I think... :)
redlily From: redlily Date: September 4th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. What a thing to leave for his child . . . and what a thing for Teddy to have to see at the age of 11!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I could record memories directly.
matril From: matril Date: September 4th, 2007 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful. Ah, why couldn't James and Lily have contrived to do something like this for Harry? Perhaps they assumed that if they died, their baby wouldn't survive either. At least Harry got the photo album from Hagrid; that's something. But I'm so glad Teddy is getting this. So much better and healthier than the Mirror.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, James and Lily didn't have the example of Harry right in front of them, so they wouldn't really have twigged to the necessity in quite the same way as Remus unfortunately had reason to!
1voice From: 1voice Date: September 4th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooooooooh. This is so touching. Thank you! Just what I needed. :)

This is amazing! I can't wait for tomorrow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to tomorrow, too. :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 4th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful post, Fern. It's an excellent way for Remus to have "communicated" with Teddy. Loved the last line.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I decided that Remus should share some silly memories, too. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 4th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)


I actually waited up till 3 in the morning for this because I live in England, and I am not prepared for this sort of emotional thing at 3 in the bloody morning.
Now im reading over this it may sound that im angry, but im not just tired,
I wont't be able to sleep i'll be thinking bout this all night, or no doubt reading this over and over.
its so buetifully written.
You write Remus so Well.
Hey look im being sivil again =]
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Gosh...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Three a.m.... it's a nasty hour to be up. (Not that I haven't been up then many a time.)
Re: Gosh... - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: kobegrace Date: September 4th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it!
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 4th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)

tears flowing down...

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Hope those are good tears. :)
xtineebee From: xtineebee Date: September 4th, 2007 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful albiet sobby. Well I'm sobby, although I highly doubt sobby is a real word, but it sounds better than babbly, which I clearly am as well.

I cannot WAIT to see the rest of Teddy's 1st 30 minutes! And such a good touch that - a very good, very real lesson for Remus to give to Teddy (even if, as I suspect) Teddy will be rather cross when he is 1st cut off!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I think Teddy will even take the lesson well, as it's coming from Dad and was given to him as a lesson. He hasn't had many lessons... I think he'll take what he can get!
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: September 4th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
The letter is a masterpiece Fern. I cannot express how touching it is to know that Remus wrote that Teddy understanding he might die. Though I teared up when I realized Remus didn't think that Dora could as well, so sad
But it's good that he learned from Lily and James' mistake on not leaving Harry with any thing from them to him personally.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 4th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Dora was supposed to be staying home with her mother and son... I think part of Remus must have known she would follow him into any battle, but he let himself believe, for the sake of his sanity, that she'd decide to put Teddy's interest in having a mother above her own interest in being a wife.
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