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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Fifteen: Love Stories, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Fifteen: Love Stories, pt. 2
Almost by accident, Teddy discovered that there's more to Remus's ring than gold and memories. He reads a letter, then releases the charm Remus put on it, which stores his memories (and a few of Tonks's). Remus has deliberately put a time limit on it so Teddy doesn't get stuck. So far, he's seen memories of both of Remus's parents, and I left off with it fast forwarding to the Marauders' dormitory, where James has a Tarot card on his forehead.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The first thing Teddy noticed about this memory was how much more there was in it. The memories of Dad's distant childhood were bright-colored and warm, but fuzzy around the edges and far away. The boy whose eyes he was now looking through lived much more vitally in his father's head, the memory was vivid and complete. Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew made up the other sides of their little square, each sitting at the edge of someone (Sirius's) winter cloak, and there was a small pile of Chocolate Frog cards, Knuts, and Sickles in the middle.

Teddy could feel a Tarot card against his own skin--well, against Dad's--and the sticking charm wasn't exactly expertly done, and it tingled. The window behind him was open; the breeze was warm. An owl (James Potter's; its name was officially Hildegard, but everyone called her Garters) was tapping for food on the bars of her cage. The room smelled strongly of cedar because the trunks hadn't been unpacked for the year yet, just opened long enough to dig for what they'd need right away. Teddy seemed to know things he doubted his father had recorded on purpose--Dad thought that James reminded him of his father, with his restless imagination and never-ending store of good games, though a herd of hungry thestrals could not have torn this from him. Most clearly of all, Teddy was aware of a deep, desperate rush of affection for all of these boys, affection shot through with ropes of paralyzing fear. Would they realize he himself wasn't "cool" enough to be with? Would they start calling him "Squeamish Lupin" and laugh at him? Or would they start caring for him the way James and Sirius cared for Peter--looking after him and helping him, but not thinking he really measured up? And, most of all, pounding like a drumbeat in Dad's skull, would they figure out the truth? The full moon was only in two days, and he couldn't think of any story to tell them that would be plausible, and they'd been asking what sort of thing his parents had been dragging him around to do all summer and he couldn't very well tell them they were looking for a cure, but what if they found out what was being researched in the Black Forest and--

"Lupin! Your bet!"

The card facing out from James's forehead was the Ten of Swords. On his left was Sirius, his face animated and much sharper than it was in any of the photos Teddy had seen. Sirius had the Five of Staves, and was looking avidly at everyone else's cards and fumbling with a handful of gold. On his other side, seen through the corner of his eye, was Peter. He turned with a smile, and the card on his head was The Tower, and Dad knew that it would be almost impossible to beat, there were only five cards above it.


"Well, I wouldn't bet against you," Peter said.

"You have to," Sirius told him. "I'm in for a Circe, plus a Sickle, which I'm going to lose, I know"--he looked at Dad and shook his head--"and James is still looking for something small enough to bet."

Dad squirmed--Teddy could feel this--and felt in his pockets for money. He didn't take it very seriously when they said they wouldn't bet against him. The whole object was to try and get people to bet more than they ought to on lousy cards, and since there was only a five in seventy-eight chance that his card was better than Peter's, he guessed they were just pulling his leg.

Peter finally tossed a Knut onto the pile.

Dad bit his lip, then shook his head. "I fold," he said. "And call."

James raised his eyebrows comically, and Sirius fell over, grasping his sides and laughing. Peter was red-faced and leaning against his knees.

"What is it?"

"Finite incantatem totalis," James gasped out. Teddy felt the card fall from Dad's head. It was The World, the highest card in the Major Arcana, the best in the deck.

"Leave it to Lupin," Sirius said, rolling back up to a sitting position, "to have The World and fold."

"We practically told you, mate," James said.

Peter made a superior sort of face and started gathering up his winnings while James picked up the cards and shuffled.

"So," Sirius said, "do you need anything Thursday night? Do you want us to do your homework?"

James nodded. "Right, we could you know. Just make a few deliberate mistakes, and your teachers won't know the difference..."

Dad's heart was suddenly pounding, the light around the candles breaking into prisms. "What do you mean?" Teddy heard, and felt, him say.

"The full moon," Peter said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, and now everything seemed like glass, like it would break. "Do you want us to do anything while you're howling at it?"

Dad blinked, and Teddy could feel his throat tightening.

The others all looked at each other and started to laugh. James swatted him lightly on the forehead. "Come on, Lupin, what do you take us for? We all have that advanced piece of magical technology called a calendar. Did you think we hadn't noticed that you're away once a month?"

Sirius nodded and squeezed his eyes shut, sticking a new card onto his forehead (The Emperor). "We thought you might secretly be a girl at first--that was James's idea, as he reckons the older ones go off monthly and take mood potions--but we checked and it was always the full moon. So we all talked about it over the summer, and were relieved to figure out that you're just a werewolf." He leaned forward and stuck a new card on Dad's forehead, then onto James's (Three of Swords) and Peter's (Four of Cups). He looked around. "Bets?"

Dad reached up and touched the card on his head. "But..."

"What, can you read it with your fingers? If so, it's cheating," Peter said.

"But..." Dad looked from one to another. "You're still... I mean... You like..."

"No, we can't bloody stand you," James said, rolling his eyes. He gave Dad a friendly shove. "Stupid git."

"Oh, no, he's falling toward me!" Peter said and shoved him again.

Sirius made a dramatic warding gesture, and the memory dissolved into a cheerful wrestling match as they happily insulted one another and Dad and ended up hexing each other, and they knew and they didn't care and they were still his friends and the memory twisted and changed and they were in a place Teddy had never entered, but knew right away--the Shrieking Shack.

They were older now. Peter's cherubic baby fat had entered a less attractive stage (Teddy thought, with some horror at the near-traitorous comparison, that he looked a lot like Frankie, just shorter and less confident). Sirius, on the other hand, looked like he'd stepped off the poster from a Muggle film. James continued to look like Uncle Harry.

"You have to leave!" Dad said frantically. "God, how many times do I have to tell you..." But he stopped, because James had disappeared, replaced with a large stag with prongs that stretched halfway across the shattered room.

"Change back, you moron," Sirius said. "You won't get outside like that. Go out to the garden. We'll meet you there."

"But--" Dad started, then James was back but Sirius and Peter were gone, replaced by a large dog and a plump rat.

"Come out to the garden," James said. "We'll keep you out of trouble."

"You can't--you..."

"We've spent the last two years working on this little surprise for you. You're not going to waste it, are you?" James grinned.

Dad couldn't find words, and Teddy felt gratitude rise up in him, blocking his throat until James was already halfway through the kitchen.

Dad looked nervously at the animals who were really Sirius and Peter.

"I, er..." He bit his lip. He always took off his robes before transforming. Unlike Animagi, his clothes didn't make the transformation with him, and he'd have been out of robes a long time before this if he hadn't.

"We've all seen you starkers before!" James called backward from the door. "I don't think you have to worry about us jumping your skinny bones." The door squeaked open, and he was gone.

Dad took his clothes off, acutely aware of the others, covering himself with his hands as they walked beside him until he was outside. He didn't want them to see him change, didn't want them to know that he screamed, but it was too late, and the pain came. He muted this memory somehow, or maybe couldn't remember it as clearly, and Teddy only felt the echo of it. What he felt more clearly was the warmth of the other animals around him as he lay curled up in pain, pressing against him, comforting him.

The memory twisted again, and the light changed, and they were younger again, and they were at King's Cross, and Dad was the first to look through the steam and see them there, see them hiding in a back corner beyond the barrier.

"Sirius," Dad hissed. "It's your cousin."

"I don't want to see my..." But Sirius trailed off and smiled broadly, and all four of them went through the steam to the two huddled figures who were Granny and Granddad, impossibly young, Granny achingly beautiful. In her arms was a squirming pink thing with a shock of black hair, wrapped in a blue blanket with stars on it. Sirius put his arms around both of them and said, "Is this her?"

"This is Nymphadora," Granny said. "Would you like to hold her?"

There was a tug on the shoulder of Dad's robes, and he turned to James, who was nodding toward a tall woman with black hair and gray eyes. She was scanning the platform in an irritated way, a smaller boy held firmly by the shoulder. Regulus... and Mad Auntie.

Dad, James, and Peter all formed a barrier so that she wouldn't spot Sirius and Granny. She looked at them suspiciously, and Peter gave her a jaunty wave. Beyond her, Teddy could see Julia Lupin, who was also suspicious, but nodded wisely. She swerved over to Mad Auntie and said, "Mrs. Black, I've been hoping for a chance to speak to you..."

She somehow--against all probability--managed to steer Mad Auntie off course (Regulus gave one last look over his shoulder before they disappeared into the crowd), then the baby who would become Teddy's mum someday was passed from boy to boy. She flinched at the sunlight on James's glasses, and Dad took her, and the only thing he felt was a kind of warmth. She smiled at him around a fat fist and her hair turned brown like his and then the memory really changed, and Teddy felt different, his body oddly shaped and centered, and he realized he'd stumbled on one of Mum's memories.

A/N: I know, odd place to cut, but this chapter is mostly continuous, so it's just kind of arbitrarily broken here... sorry!
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larisa57 From: larisa57 Date: September 5th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice. I liked that little bit of perspective shift, where James looks like Harry, rather than the way the adults in the books always say that Harry looks like James. The "Yeah, you're a werewolf. And...?" moment was sweet and adorable, too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, you know, as long as he's not a girl... ;p
redlily From: redlily Date: September 5th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my heart hurts at MWPP together and happy. What beautiful friendships you've written them before it all went to hell.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I love their friendship deeply. It's one of my favorite things in the books.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 5th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)

That card game was fantastic! Loved how they revealed that they "knew," and that it didn't matter.

My favorite bit was with Andromeda, at the end. The Marauders seeing Dora for the first time! Wonderful.

Can't wait to see more memories!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. See, there are plenty of uses for Divination materials--Blind Man's Bluff with Tarot cards, crystal balls as cannon balls...
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 5th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
It's always wonderful to read about the Marauders!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I miss them!!!!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 5th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Two of the best moments of the Marauders--I wonder if Teddy will ever mention or find some way to share those memories with Harry. And it's a little eerie how Harry once saw a resemblance between Neville and Peter, while Teddy sees one between Frankie and Peter. However, Neville certainly proved to be a better man than Peter when the time came and I trust that Frankie will as well. And now I'm eager to see which memories Tonks decided to share with her son.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry just imagined it, and I think Teddy is just seeing some distant connection between Maddie's family and Peter's. Frankie's definitely stronger than Peter.
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: September 5th, 2007 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I love those boys. All of them. *hugs around*

"Leave it to Lupin," Sirius said, rolling back up to a sitting position, "to have The World and fold."
Having the world and folding can be seen as what Remus did before he pulled himself back together in DH. I don't know enough about Tarot to know if the card means anything or if you just picked one.

And on a different note. I love how Teddy just knows Walburga as Mad Auntie, is Bella the Insane Auntie? Or just not mentioned, because I reckon that would bring up some painful memories considering Bella did kill Dora.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Bella's just evil when she's mentioned at all. They don't need a regular name for her--no portrait to deal with (I hope!).
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
This was so beautiful, Fern. It was what I was hoping for during TDH - just scenes of the Marauders happy and alive.

i love Sirius's line about Remus "having the world" and folding. Your version of how the marauders told Remus that they knew his secret was brilliant as well - of course they wouldn't have made a dramatic confrontation of it!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I figure that guys who make a nickname of Remus's illness probably didn't have a deep heart-to-heart about it. :P
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel all warm and fuzzy now :D

Just one tiny nitpick, though.

Dad and ended up hexing each other

I think you left out a person in that sentence.

Can't wait to see what the next memory is !!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't leave a word out that I meant to, but it scans really badly. I'll fix it.
1voice From: 1voice Date: September 5th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay! I like how at the end of the chapter Teddy gets that he is a "girl." :)

Just one error I noticed...
In her arms was a squirming pink think with a shock of black hair...
I'm pretty sure you meant to say pink thing. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I got that one on my own read-through. Eep! :)
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: September 5th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
And that was me. Mean LJ logged me out =/
megan29 From: megan29 Date: September 5th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Great scene with the Marauders playing cards. It made it so poignant to think of the eventual fate of all those boys - and it's even more remarkable, since you didn't make any explicit parallel. You just made me think of it.

Wow, that's a mind-bender for Teddy, to feel like he's holding his baby mother in his arms - and then to feel life he IS his mother! Do you plan to have him feel like he's falling in love with his mother, too? Ew-ee - wizard boys seem to be more psychologically resilient than their Muggle counter-parts, and not get scarred for life by such trifles! :-) :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I think he'll try to mute the more, erm, intense parts, but at least try to let Teddy feel that they loved one another and were happy together.
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: September 5th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that moment where Lupin holds Tonks and it's just a wonderful little "someday" (though the age difference really is rather large). Can't wait for Dora's memories!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I like playing with the age difference as an issue that really does bother Remus, because it's a real thing to him.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 5th, 2007 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
That scene with the Marauders playing cards was just plain awesome. I loved the interaction between the four.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I do like them. (And I'm glad a guy finds them reasonably guy-like!)
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: September 5th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I am continuing to love this chapter--it's wonderful to see all the important Remus moments. I love that Remus took the time to calculate the odds in the midst of worrying whether or not his friends would continue to be his friends, and then they totally surprise him a minute later. The Animagus surprise was well done, and I liked the introduction to Tonks. I can't wait for tomorrow night!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
The introduction dates way back to Shifts (sannalim illustrated it), and I was a little worried about using it again, but I couldn't imagine him skipping it in the context of something for Teddy!
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 5th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
As always so lovely. thank you so much.

Can I borrow that moment with them seeing baby Tonks for another fic? It would be from Regulus perspective.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Be my guest... link us to it, eh? :)
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