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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Eighteen: The Charmer, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Eighteen: The Charmer, pt. 2
obsfuscation drew another great illustration, this one of Victoire and hawk!Teddy from "Marauder's Roost."

Teddy has gotten into a fight with Frankie over the latter's obsession, and is feeling more than a little churlish afterward. He goes down to Hagrid's and finds Hagrid, Robards, Neville, and a woman named Vivian Waters all talking--it seems Frankie has written to Vivian, who wrote articles on the history of the Forbidden Forest, about his "project." Thinking that if adults are taking it seriously, he might be a little out of line, Teddy's about ready to try and make amends when he finds Frankie talking seriously to Honoria Higgs.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Fifteen minutes later, he was waiting at the bottom of the girls' staircase. Ruthless lived on the sixth floor, and according to the Map, she was there, so he'd asked Edie Abercrombie to go up and get her. Edie looked less than thrilled that she might be seen talking to a freckly second-year with thick specs who spent her Saturdays with sloppy Hufflepuffs playing a fantasy game, but she'd gone. It had only been two minutes ago, but Teddy felt like he'd been waiting here forever. The third-year boys were looking at him and smirking.

Finally, he heard feet on the stairs and looked up to see Ruthless running down. (Edie was walking behind her and was still up several floors when she burst out of the door.)

"Hi, Teddy," she said. "What's this?"

"Well, unlike you, I can't just pop up and knock on the door."

"I know, it's stupid." She rolled her eyes extravagantly. "What did you want?"

He nodded toward the portrait hole. "I have to ask you something."

She narrowed her eyes. "What?"

"I'll ask you outside."

The third years fell forward onto their table, laughing and pointing. Ruthless raised her wand, and their chairs shot backward, dumping them onto the floor, then marched Teddy over to the portrait hole and let them out. Teddy cast around for someplace they wouldn't be interrupted. When he looked around, Ruthless was looking at him with a species of curious horror.

"You're, er... not getting googly-eyed on me, are you, Lupin?"

"What?"

"Never mind. What is it?"

Teddy found an empty spot behind a tapestry and pulled her into it, thinking it would have been much easier to just have her up to his dormitory, but the third years would have laughed about that, he guessed. "The Charmer meeting," he said. "You said there was one this afternoon. But Honoria was down in the Great Hall when I came in and--"

"She said she was interviewing someone before dinner," Ruthless said, looking confused. "She was going to do a feature on the history of the Forbidden Forest. She said there was someone doing research on it. It sounded dead boring, so of course Slughorn loved it. Said it was much better than the gossip she wanted to do last week. Why?"

"Because it's Frankie she's talking to."

"Frankie? As in our Frankie? Hufflepuff Frankie?"

Teddy nodded, then looked down miserably. Of course... Frankie hadn't just gone off to tell her about how horrible he was--he wouldn't. She'd just found a way to get him to talk that would make him feel like he was talking about something else. "She heard me say something nasty."

"She didn't say anything about that," Ruthless said. "I don't think Slughorn would let her run anything like that..."

"He let her run that bit about my granny that Geoffrey wrote."

"That's different. She wrote a book. It's not personal." She bit her lip. "We meet Tuesday to look over everyone's things before they go in. If it's bad, we'll vote her down. That's what we joined for."

Teddy still had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, but he supposed that was true. Half of Frankie's little bunch of friends were on the Charmer--they wouldn't let Honoria get away with anything that would make him look bad. He nodded uncertainly and opened the tapestry. A pair of fourth year girls headed for the portrait hole giggled, at least until Ruthless hissed "Tarantallegra," and one of them began tap-dancing furiously down the corridor. The other one rushed after her, trying to catch her.

Ruthless put her wand away, blushing furiously and calling them names under her breath. She headed toward the portrait hole, then stopped and touched her face. "I'm going to visit Myrtle," she said, and headed off abruptly. Teddy went back in, ignoring a sarcastic cheer from a seventh year boy. He decided to work in the Common Room for the rest of the evening, rather than seem to scurry off.

The next day, he hurried to the library after History of Magic, hoping to catch Frankie in the library, which was usually a good bet these days when he had a moment to spare. He found him in the usual spot, reading a heavy tome with metal catches on the sides, and sat down across from him.

"Hi."

Frankie looked up. "Go away. No games this time, Lupin."

"I'm sorry about what I said. I saw Vivian Waters, she said you wrote to her, and maybe--"

"Maybe I'm not crazy?"

"I'm sorry I said that," Teddy said again. "I think Honoria Higgs might have overheard..."

"She heard us talking about the Forest. It turns out she's interested. I told her about a lot of odd things that have happened there. She doesn't care what you said. Believe it or not, not everyone in the world is waiting for Teddy Lupin's opinion on everything."

"But Frankie, Honoria's--"

"What? Someone who didn't like you right away, so she must be evil?"

"She gossips!"

"As opposed to what you're doing just now?"

Teddy cast around for anything to point out that Frankie would believe. He hadn't mentioned most of Honoria's little slights throughout the year, not wanting to think about them longer than necessary, and as far as he knew, the only time Frankie had met her was on the the Hogwarts Express in September. "Don't you remember," he tried, "on the train, she was talking about the full moon and Dad and--?"

Frankie bit his lip and started to say something, then looked down at his book. "I have work to do," he said.

"Frankie..."

Frankie took off his glasses, and rubbed at the deep red "V" on the sides of his nose. "She just wanted to know about what I was reading, Teddy. You're wrong about her. I asked her about what she said about your dad, and she said she was awfully sorry about it. She was just nervous."

"All year?"

Frankie frowned in a cloudy, confused way. "She's been... still...?" He shrugged apathetically. "It's done. I didn't tell her anything about Sanjiv or souls."

"There are other people she can talk to," Teddy said.

"Like people who think I'm crazy?" Frankie asked pointedly.

"I'm sorry!"

"Good for you." He looked up, and Teddy imagined that he looked guilty when he said, "Go away, will you, Teddy?"

Teddy went away. He picked at lunch and only ate a few mouthfuls before heading out to Defense Against the Dark Arts nearly forty minutes early. The classroom was empty. He took a seat at his desk and pulled out the Marauder's Map. He prodded it and watched the dots moving around without a great deal of interest. He put it away when he saw Robards coming, wondering what he was meant to do for another half hour with the teacher in the room.

"I saw you leave the Great Hall," Robards said when he came through the door. Instead of going to the teacher's desk, he sat in the desk on Teddy's right, where Corky usually sat during class. He pointed to Teddy's hair. "I noticed it was all brown yesterday. And still is today."

"I know." Teddy shrugged. "I didn't feel like putting the streak into it."

"Would you mind? Just for my peace of mind."

Teddy concentrated. It was harder than usual, because he didn't care at all what color his hair was, but he felt the change. "How's that?"

"Better." Robards leaned forward, elbows on his knees, and looked at the board. "Though it's changing back. You're too young to be in love, so I'm going to guess that you're having a problem with a friend."

"I know about the year Mum couldn't morph," Teddy said. "Granny told me." He'd also seen it in her memories--not deliberately, but as part of other memories, especially the one where she'd gone dancing with Sanjiv--but he didn't mention that to Robards. "And I know that it was Dad's fault."

"Partly. And partly mine, and partly Dumbledore's. And we oughtn't forget Voldemort. But it was also Tonks's fault. She kept hanging on, even though it hurt her." He smiled. "I thought she was mad, but it turns out she was right and I was wrong. She wouldn't have been herself if she hadn't done it. But I still think she'd have done well to let other people in, so it wouldn't hurt her as much as it did."

"I'll bet she never said Dad was crazy," Teddy said.

Robards looked at him. "No. No, I doubt she ever did."

Teddy bit his lip and looked down at the laces on his trainers. "D'you reckon she'd hate me?"

"Tonks? Not in a million years." He smiled. "I spent some time with her the year she was expecting you. She spent a lot of time talking to her belly. Not just baby talk, either. She'd have whole conversations and tell us you were answering. Your dad was so happy when she did that. Nothing would ever make her hate you. And I mean nothing. If you committed cold-blooded murder she would, I'm sure, lecture you repeatedly when she visited you in Azkaban, but she wouldn't hate you. Never imagine that she would. Not for anything."

"Thank you," Teddy said. There didn't seem to be anything else to say. Robards went to his desk, and Teddy took out his book to do the assigned reading again.

On Tuesday night, Ruthless came back from the newspaper meeting to say that Honoria's article was just a boring feature--"She's not quite done with it, said she needs to get a few more quotes, but honestly, Teddy, I think she's trying for a post at some travel magazine. Nearly put us all to sleep."

Teddy went to bed feeling fairly hopeful. Perhaps it would all just blow over--that Honoria really had grown up, it would be nothing, Frankie would come around.

He went to breakfast in this frame of mind, putting the scarlet and gold streak back in his hair as he settled down. The food appeared on the table, along with the rolled three sheets of The Weekly Charmer. He unrolled it, wondering what else was going to be in it, and could nearly feel the color fading out of his hair.

The Forbidden Forest: Third Year Alleges 'Soul Prison'
by Honoria Higgs

For those who see Francis Apcarne in the library, don't imagine he's doing mere homework. No, the Muggles and Minions master has more important things in mind--he believes that the Forbidden Forest is crawling with the souls of the Demented. His obsession perhaps stirred by Dementor victim Sanjiv McPherson, a constant companion of his parents until the war, Apcarne has come to this unusual position after interviewing ghosts and reading questionable texts.

Eccentric, perhaps? On the edge? His best friend, Ted Lupin (godson of Harry Potter), has a simpler word for it: "Crazy."
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shiiki From: shiiki Date: September 14th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Agh! I knew she had something up her sleeve, and I'm quite frustrated that no-one else would listen to Teddy ... though as you mentioned before, I think, it's really just the first-years that have much experience with her.

I expect the draft she submitted for reviewing to the Charmer was just a decoy, then ... I suppose she learnt lots from dear Rita.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, by the time Teddy said anything, it was probably too late to do anything; she'd already gotten the whole interview with Frankie. I doubt anyone else will be quick to give her interviews, now, even if she gets the chance to ask.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 14th, 2007 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
AAAAAAAAAAAArrrrrrgh.

My heart sank at "said she needs to get a few more quotes," I knew that meant she'd be doctoring it once they'd already approved it. I love your overall story but this storyline kills me--it's that same horribly uncomfortable peeking-through-the-fingers "is it over yet" I felt about the Skeeter story lines and some other brutally humiliating or unfair episodes.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC) (Link)
At least Honoria has the excuse of being eleven and influenced by Rita. Rita... there's just no excuse for.
hobbitguy1420 From: hobbitguy1420 Date: September 14th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)

grr....

Urge... To throttle... RISING...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: grr....

Yeah. You're not the only one.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 14th, 2007 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Good post, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
That's two eleven year old kids I want to curse in the good, old fashioned magic sense of the word (Geoffrey I just want to curse so that, every time he goes to sleep, he dreams himself as one of the people he hates while undergoing all of those miserable things that he thinks don't count because of the labels he's put on them [like I said, I'm a Slyther-puff, I can get really mean and nasty about kindness and empathy]).

Alas, I don't know what would work to change Honoria.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Alas, I don't know what would work to change Honoria.

Slughorn can, and will, get her where she lives.
ladylothwen From: ladylothwen Date: September 14th, 2007 04:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy warned him, he really did. I knew it would so come back and bite him. I feel so sorry for Frankie that poor confused, determined boy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
And now, embarrassed and ashamed boy. Which isn't going to help matters.
From: kobegrace Date: September 14th, 2007 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Frankie...

(*reaches out to give him a hug*)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, he kind of needs one.
cambryn From: cambryn Date: September 14th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh no!

Now Puffs will be all mad at Teddy. 8( Oh gosh, I hope not!
I hope Frankie doesn't pull a Percy and not talk to Teddy at all... No, no, he's too nice for that... I think... Oh! You're so good with the suspense. And my stomach is all clenched for poor Teddy.

They need to listen to him. He's almost always right.
I love that you had him less able to morph. Those details just make it so good.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 14th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Icon love adoration. :)
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 14th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh poor Frankie
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. I feel bad doing this to him.
alkari From: alkari Date: September 14th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear yes, poor Frankie. Alas though, sometimes in life it doesn't matter how much good advice we get, or how many warnings and cautions we receive - sometimes there are things we just have to learn through hard, painful personal experience. Which I suspect younk Frankie is about to find out!

LOL @ Ruthless and Teddy, and everyone else thinking he is is soft on her. Like Harry at the same age, he seems so delightfully oblivious to such things, bless him. Ruthless has a deft touch with those hexes!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Frankie's getting a life lesson here, all right. And not a pleasant one.

Ruthless has a deft touch with those hexes!

Ruthless is definitely related to her great-uncle--quick to get on the offensive when pissed off. :)
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: September 14th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good work, Frankie. Grr, that Honoria...

Poor Teddy, feeling so bad about the whole thing that he can't morph. I feel bad for him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's in a horrible place. He can't exactly say he didn't say it, but he sure didn't do it deliberately where it could be heard, in order to humiliate Frankie, which is of course what Honoria implies.
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: September 14th, 2007 06:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Agh. That little witch.

BTW, my roommate got tired of me telling her what Teddy was up to in the latest chapter and asked for the link. She has bee unable to, as she phrased it, put down her computer. Now we have an abundance of Teddy love in our room and both keep reading things off randomly.
kacates From: kacates Date: September 14th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha, it would've been nice in college to have roommates who shared some of my proclivities. I always seemed to be horrible mismatched in roommates, and most of them just thought I was weird. (Which, y'know, I AM, but still).
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 14th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Er, completely off topic but, in line with wizards who play Muggles and Minions instead of D&D, I thought the Phantom Librarian might like to know about a new book that just came out -

"Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians," by Brandon Sanderson.

The first chapter starts with the sentence "So, there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians."

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Must. Read. :)
amamama From: amamama Date: September 14th, 2007 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Eeep!

And now my stomach is all clenched up. Tied in knots. *repeats 'this is just fiction' mantra to self*

Nice chat with Robards, he really is a decent guy.

Honoria learned at the knee of the worst (and she brings out the worst in me, as I want to throttle her), I do hope you'll show Slughorn dressing her down, telling her to stop this spreading of poison. Unstopped she'll be like cancer to the student body. No good. Your writing is, though. Good, that is. Thanks, Fern.

Cheers!
redlily From: redlily Date: September 14th, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Eeep!

Nice chat with Robards, he really is a decent guy.

Except for the womanizing. But then again, that would take FDR and MLK Jr. out of the running for "good guy," so maybe I shouldn't judge.

Is Honoria actually making any friends through this? Or is she so single-minded that she doesn't care if she has a social life?
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: September 14th, 2007 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Loved the conversation with Robards and the fact that everyone thought Ruthless and Teddy were up to something not so innocent. It's good that Ruthless is quick with her hexes!

Eep! The fallout from the Charmer article isn't going to be pretty...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 14th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Older kids are weird about younger kids sneaking off. I remember when I was seven, my best friend was a boy, and the teenagers who lived on either side of us always teased us about being boyfriend and girlfriend. :eyeroll:

The fallout is definitely going to be ugly.
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