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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Seventeen: Noble and Most Ancient, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Seventeen: Noble and Most Ancient, pt. 1
Teddy and Frankie had a little cooling in their friendship when Frankie realized that Teddy was trying to dissuade him from his obsession with finding out what happened to Sanjiv's soul, but Teddy breached it, mostly by going along with everything. When he looks at the Marauder's Map and finds Filch headed up toward where Frankie is out after curfew, he slips down to the library to warn him, which leads to him finally telling someone else at Hogwarts about the Map. (Frankie finds his choice to include Victoire as the only other member of their generation who knows to be amusing, though Teddy doesn't get why.) Meanwhile, Honoria is starting a school paper, and the Guard has decided to flood the staff in order to outvote her, though Teddy is busy enough with Frankie's business not to join. And back in the adult world, Andromeda's been occupying her time writing a family history of the Blacks. All of these folks seem to have a really schizophrenic relationship with the past. Hmm.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The night before Teddy's birthday had been warm and nice--the first warm, nice night for several months--and he'd left the window open at the top while he slept to enjoy it. Checkmate had slept on the sill, looking out longingly at the open grounds. Not trusting this very far, Teddy had looked up a charm in a third year book that was meant to keep babies from climbing through things, and he cast it on the window so the kitten--well, she was really nearly a cat these days--wouldn't be able to make a jump for it. It only went in one direction, though, and Teddy woke up to the sound of two owls flailing against the charm while Checkmate yowled at the intrusion.

Teddy sorted out the argument by giving Checkmate several treats and charming her favorite stuffed mouse to run around under the bed for her, then feeding the owls, taking their parcels and releasing the charm so they could get out. The first owl was Pigwidgeon, and he had a present from Ron, Hermione, Rose, and Hugo. This was a Transfiguration hobby book that was the companion to the Charms book they'd given him at Christmas--Useless Shapechanging For The Very Bored: From Cushioned Pebbles To Transfiguration Duels. The other owl was from Uncle Harry, and had brought--along with a long and rather thoughtful letter about the day Dad had come to tell them that Teddy had been born--a full set of Muggle dice with a bag to carry them in that automatically sorted them out and always presented him with the one he needed, a deluxe urban planning kit, and a map of the London Underground. George and I tried to translate from Quidditch, he wrote on the card, and these seemed like a good set of gloves, a broomstick repair kit, and Quidditch Through The Ages, though as I don't really play this, I'm not sure if I got it right. George thinks he might ask for your help to stock up on this sort of thing this summer, and will pay you regular wages if it's all right with Andromeda.

Teddy smiled, picturing Uncle Harry and George trying to "translate from Quidditch" to get Muggles and Minions supplies. He thought they'd done a fairly good job, and wondered if Sophie, who'd played the Muggle version of the game, had ended up helping. He thought Granny would let him work for a few days if he asked nicely. He'd heard enough stories about Granddad setting aside a Knut here, a Sickle there, and a few Muggle pence somewhere else, that he couldn't imagine her objecting to Teddy starting to gather up some gold for when he grew up.

He got two more owls in the Great Hall before breakfast had finished appearing. One was a box from Bill and Fleur and their family that contained French chocolates, a guide to fighting minor dark creatures (To be kept close by for redcap attacks! Bill had written), and several seashells that Artie and Aimee had found on the beach; the other was from Molly and Arthur, and contained enough biscuits to put out for the Quidditch team this afternoon, after their last game. Ruthless came down groggily and asked if it was his birthday, wished him a--yawn--happy one, then brushed frantically at her hair as another owl swooped down over her and dropped a double package in Teddy's lap. The top package said, in Granny's handwriting, Open this first; it's the real birthday present.

Curiously, Teddy separated the packages. The one on the bottom was clearly another book, but the one on top was quite small and thin. He wondered if it was a fancy quill, like the one Dad's parents had got him when he'd come of age. The paper wouldn't come off until he pulled the card from it and opened it.

Dear Teddy, Granny had written, Sorry to use magic to keep you from opening your present before reading your card, but I'm not sure you'd understand it otherwise, and I'm not there to explain it. How I miss you today!

I'm not sure whether or not you know this, but when a student is hurt at school, the family is always notified. When you got into your scuffle with the redcaps, Poppy Pomfrey wrote to me and told me that you were fine, and explained what happened to the best of her knowledge. I was quite irritated with you, as you might imagine, and was ready to send you a nasty letter--possibly a Howler--when your Uncle Harry told me what you'd found on the grounds. Please don't be angry at Professor Longbottom for explaining that to him; it was an important thing to know.

As your godfather has been quite dodgy since the last letter he got from you, I am assuming that you've already discovered that there is more to the ring than gold and nostalgia. Your father worked very hard on that during the months they waited here for you, and I've always been heartbroken that it didn't come to you.

I can understand why you wouldn't tell me about it right away. I know I've been quite strict about keeping you distinct from your parents, and it's led to some bad feelings. But I very much wanted you to have what I knew your father had intended for you, and I'm very glad that you've found it. I won't even ask how. You will find in the other package I've sent that I've done some other thinking about your connections to your past as well.

Teddy glanced curiously at the book, wondering what it had to do with him, then went back to Granny's letter.

The present isn't new. Something new wouldn't be quite right for this.

I wish very much that you were at home, and I could make you a cake as I have since you were old enough to eat one, but I trust that you are quite well-fed at Hogwarts, and will probably have a smashing day even without old Granny tagging about. I love you very much, and hope you understand why I've given you what I have.


Teddy set the card down (carefully away from Ruthless's curious look) and peeled the paper from the small, narrow box. It was plain and white, and inside of it was a gold chain. On the inside of the top of the box, Granny had written, This was your Granddad's father's. I think it would be a good way for you to keep your dad's ring close and safe.

Teddy smiled, slowly pulling the chain from its box. The links glowed warmly in the morning sun.

"What's that?" Ruthless asked.

"Present from my grandparents," Teddy said, then pulled Dad's ring up from around his neck and severed the now fraying string.

"Is that a wedding ring?"

"My dad's," Teddy said, and threaded the gold chain through it. He put it back over his neck. It felt considerably more solid.

"That's a very Tolkien fashion statement," Ruthless said.

Teddy expressed his opinion of this nonverbally--she laughed and cleared away the package wrappings--then moved on to the larger package. The brown paper fell away easily, and for an instant, Teddy thought he was looking at a photo album. From within the nest of paper, Sirius and Regulus Black laughed up at him from one of the pictures he'd found behind the wall of the third years' dormitory. It was the one where Sirius was carrying his younger brother around on his back, both of them looking delighted. The family tree was in the background, though no one was looking at it. As Teddy watched, Regulus tapped Sirius's shoulder, and was rewarded with being turned in that direction. They galloped off to the side of the picture.

Then he realized that he was holding a regular book. Above the picture was the title: Noble And Most Ancient: The Heroes and Villains of the Fallen House of Black. Below it, it said, by Andromeda (Black) Tonks. Granny had marked a page at the beginning with a slip of paper, and Teddy opened to it.

It was the dedication, and it read:
To my grandson, Ted Remus Lupin, who reminded me that we all need an anchor. I hope this will be part of his, as it has and always will be mine, regardless of everything. We are the past's future, Teddy, and the future's past.

Under this, she had added by quill, Just remember that your own grandchildren will want good stories of you as well, so take care that you act in the present. You wouldn't want them to be bored now, would you? Love, Granny P.S., I trust you won't bring up page 517 the next time we have an argument. Good heavens, I was a silly girl once.

Curiously, Teddy flipped to page 517, which was near the end of the book, and started laughing before he even read the text. He had no idea when the picture had been taken--the chapter heading above said it was the nineteen-seventies; beyond that he couldn't tell--but it showed Granny in a perfectly ridiculous flowered dress, barefoot, in the company of many other young people, in the entrance hall at the Ministry of Magic. They were all waving their fists and carrying signs, and as Teddy watched, Granny made the exact same gesture he'd just made to Ruthless... only she was doing it in Bartemius Crouch's direction, and, though the picture had no sound, he could read lips well enough to know she wasn't saying, "Good morning, Mr. Crouch."

"What is it?" Ruthless asked.

Laughing, Teddy leaned over and slid the book toward her. "Want to meet my family?" he asked.
54 comments or Leave a comment
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allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 10th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent presents all around, but oh! How I want to read excerpts from that book!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Some are coming!
shiiki From: shiiki Date: September 10th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I just want to hug Andromeda tight ... and I hope Teddy gives her a big one when he next sees her.

I feel all nice and warm for Teddy; I much admire your ability to get all his gifts just right. Presents - fictional or not - always flummox me!
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 10th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
*waves* Hi, Shiiki! Small world. :)
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 10th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy and nice, and I wanted you to know that my lack of decent comments recently has been from a lack of things to say that aren't "oh, wonderful!!", again, and certainly not from a lack of enjoyment.

(Oh, wonderful!!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you're still liking it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my, the first to leave a comment. This hasn't happened before. xD

Just a few things that I found charming:

Ruthless's statement about Tolkein--and the fact that Teddy responds in the way he does. Hehe.

And, of course, Andromeda--barefoot!--responding in the exact same way.

I suspected the second present would be the book, but it's adorably surprising nevertheless how one of Teddy's pictures found its way to the front cover.

Lovely section, as always, if a bit too short. xD Write on. By the way, how much longer are you expecting to take on this story? Not to sound anxious, but I'm eager for Safe. XD
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry. Seems that being the first to comment will never be a chance for me. :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 10th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent, Fern. Quite touching.

"That's a very Tolkien fashion statement,"

Loved that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it was the first thing I thought of and the first thing everyone else thought of, so I thought it would be a good idea to have someone on the page mention it... :)
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: September 10th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
"That's a very Tolkien fashion statement," Ruthless said.
Ruthless as I couldn't love you anymore for that statement.

I can't wait to see what else is in that book. Facinating those Blacks.

Andromeda FTW, that must've been some good morning for him. *snort*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I have very deep love for the Blacks. I'd have probably enjoyed TDH vastly if she'd gone on for chapters upon chapters dealing with what happened with Regulus, how things really were with Sirius, how the family reacted as a whole to Andromeda's marriage, why Uncle Alphard was different from his sister... (He was the same age as McGonagall. Perhaps he harbored a secret love for a Gryffindor! ;p) Of course, the critics would all be saying--like they'd have any justification, feh!--that it would be a self-indulgent waste of page space. Sigh.
redlily From: redlily Date: September 10th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Andromeda. As schizophrenic as it may be, I'm glad she actually grabbed the bull by the horns and sorted out her tangled family tree. It sounds like it was therapeutic in the end.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it must have been, and probably contributes to her ability to deal with Teddy's history-hunger a lot better than she was before she started, but she wouldn't have really given it a start if Teddy hadn't gone off to school, leaving her alone and looking for a hobby to fill her day. So letting go for a year was good for both of them.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 10th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely installment--and it's so nice to see Teddy getting a break from the ups and downs of Frankie's mission and enjoying his special day. I look forward to seeing excerpts of Andromeda's book, if that's what coming next.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what's coming next! :)
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: September 10th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my Gosh! Andromeda's book!
*is excited and is keeping her fingers crossed for excerpts*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
They're coming, definitely.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 10th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I think I cried more at Andromeda's letter than I did when I heard that Remus and Dora both died.

Thanks for this, Fern.

I'm rereading Shades. You are an amazing writer, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for this, Fern.

Sure thing; it's my cheap version of therapy. :)
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 10th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
"That's a very Tolkien fashion statement," Ruthless said.
Nicely handled; I knew you could do it!

Had to hold back a loud laugh at Andromeda's hand gesture on page 517. Hilaaaarious! And I do love the images of older people as young people. I have a photo my grandmother recently gave me after she misunderstood my request for "old photos." I meant "photos of the family (especially her son, my dad) from when everyone was younger." She gave me a random snapshot of her and her second husband hosting a party in about 1978. Grandma has a blond fro and is wearing some sort of velour or something, smoking, and clutching a drink. Grandpa George still has the Amish Beard (full beard, no mustache), so little has changed there. Amazing!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha, yes. I used to love looking through my grandmother's photo albums. There's one of my great grandmother and some of the other girls from her job at the beach, all of them wearing these old turn of the century swimsuits, and looking cheekily over their shoulders to wink at the camera. (She lost a job once for putting her feet up on the desk and showing her ankles.) I've also got my grandmother sitting on the hood of a sportscar like some fifties pin-up while my uncle and his friends hoist the whole car up on their shoulders. Old pictures. Love 'em. (I won't get into my mother and her purple mini-skirt with green stripes. It's too disturbing.)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 10th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
That should be an awesome book!!!

And Ruthless is now even more awesome. Tolkien FTW
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Professor is always FTW. :)
From: kobegrace Date: September 10th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
What's fluff called, but on a deeper, more moving and totally-not-saccharine level? Because this is what this is. :)

Loved the Tolkien bit. Oh, but would I that I were a fly on that Great Hall wall...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad it's not saccharine. That's always the worry with happy scenes!
amamama From: amamama Date: September 10th, 2007 07:05 am (UTC) (Link)
*happy sigh* I've been away over the weekend, so I've had three days to catch up with. Wonderful. So let's see what I remember now (other than the warm, fuzzy feeling from the birthday gifts):

The Fat Friar, choosing to stay out of an obligation to help rather than fear of what's next? Or fear of what's next hidden as an obligation? It sure is a much prettier version. I'm not sure I'd trust thos souls without bodies to know what happens when you die.

Still worried about Frankie, but I understand him quite well. He's worried about his mum and his parents' marriage and want to save both - thus pushing himself pretty close to the edge. Will they ever get a breakthrough? Will they manage to get Sanjiv back, and if so - what would he be like? Rather dement, perhaps, and I'm not sure that'd be an improvement. I must admit I wonder how those dementors work. Can they really sever a soul from the body? In my opinion, souls are both immortal and indestructible, does being kissed mean that the soul is ripped from the body and sent on to the great beyond, to be reborn if it so chooses? Can a dementor victim be reborn before the physical body is dead? Or will the soul be in limbo until the body dies, so that the most humane thing to do would actually be to let those bodies die?

Teddy saving Frankie from Filch and telling him about the map was good to see, and his lack of understanding why Frankie finds it so interesting that he has let Victoire in on the secret is quite sweet. of course he doesn't see that! Not yet...

The birthday gifts were wonderful, all of them, but Andromeda's really pulled at my heartstrings. That dedication is the best. We all need an anchor (and I've spent the weekend diving into one of my kids' anchors - we were at a family reunion with hubby's family), and I'm really happy Andromeda finally realized that. Giving Teddy a chain to hang Remus' wedding ring on was a very thoughtful gesture. I'm wearing my dad's wedding ring on my middle finger, and it's both comforting and a reminder of life's cycles. I started wearing it when my son was born, as he's named after dad, and in that way I, my present, are carrying both my past (dad) and 'my' future (my son). We who live now are indeed the past's futur and the future's past.

Thanks a bunch, Fern. Cheers!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Or will the soul be in limbo until the body dies, so that the most humane thing to do would actually be to let those bodies die?

See, those are the questions I like to think about. Because... dude. Souls and trade-offs and limbo and reincarnation.

Teddy couldn't understand why Uncle Harry was surprised about Victoire either. I mean, she's handy and she speaks French, right? I think Uncle Harry would be keenly interested in the fact that he casually told her about the memories on the ring.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: September 10th, 2007 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Checkmate found my cat's favorite perch! I wish I could charm her stuffed mouse, though, seeing as she could use some exercise. ;~)

Teddy's birthday presents were perfect (including Harry's comment about translating from Quidditch and Bill's redcap remark). I really look forward to the excerpts from Andromeda's book.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cinderpelt loves her windowsill, too. But I realized that he's on the fifth level of a tower and has no screen, and it would be a good idea to make sure she couldn't jump!
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