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Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Eighteen: The Charmer, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, Chapter Eighteen: The Charmer, pt. 3
I think I mentioned Rosmerta alive before making her a ghost; I'll edit that out later. I like Ghostmerta.

I'm starting to feel like fifth season Buffy, with every "Last week on..." recapping that Dawn is the Key, but, well... recap, Dawn is the Key. I mean, Teddy and Frankie are fighting. Teddy said something rude. Honoria overheard. She feigned interest in Frankie's research to get him to give her an interview, and published a nasty article in the Charmer, ridiculing Frankie's claims, and using what she overheard Teddy say to imply that he actually gave her the quote directly as commentary. She snuck this by the paper's board by showing them a very boring feature article and saying she just needed to fix it up a little.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy was still staring at the article, dumbfounded, when Honoria Higgs came into the Great Hall.

He didn't know this because he saw her. He knew it because Ruthless Scrimgeour, who was sitting across the table from him, got up, scrambled over the table, and launched herself toward the doors, and a moment later, he heard someone scream, "My hair! Let go!"

Teddy tore his eyes away from the paper and saw them there at the doors. Ruthless had a fistful of Honoria's hair, and was trying to land a punch around Honoria's flailing arms.

"We didn't agree to this! This isn't what we voted on!"

Honoria tried to wriggle away. "I made an--OUCH!--editorial--let me go!--decision!"

Ruthless shoved her toward the wall (they were gathering an interested audience by now) just as Professor Longbottom came in from the greenhouses. He dropped an armful of plants and pointed his wand at both of them. They flew apart. He grabbed Ruthless as she tried to run at Honoria again, and Slughorn thundered up from the staff table to collect Honoria.

Professor Longbottom marched Ruthless back to the Gryffindor table and set her down not far from Teddy. "Explain, Scrimgeour."

"She... we didn't... Look." She grabbed Teddy's Charmer up from under his nose, and Teddy watched Professor Longbottom reading it, and remembered his parents at St. Mungo's, and wanted desperately to crawl under the table.

Professor Longbottom set the paper back down and wiped his fingers on his robes. "Ruth," he said, "you've heard everything there is to hear about picking fights. Detention. Two nights. Be at greenhouse one at seven tonight and tomorrow, and no, it's not going to be for a late tea. You can't just attack people. I don't know how many ways there are to tell you that. Twenty points from Gryffindor. Now, if you don't mind, I'll have a word with Professor Slughorn." He picked the paper up again, looking like he had found a particularly fat dead flobberworm rotting at the bottom of a flowerpot. "I don't imagine you want to keep this, Teddy?"

Teddy shook his head violently. If he could forget having seen it in the first place, he would. Professor Longbottom took the paper to the staff table.

Ruthless sat down miserably. "This wasn't what she showed us," she said. "I'm sorry, Teddy. We should've realized. I should've told Maurice; he'd have called her on it. I'm going to hex that little"--she called Honoria something quite unladylike--"until she wishes I'd just beaten her up."

Quite unfortunately, Andrew Stephens overheard her, and went into a long prefect-lecture about responsibility and told her he'd take ten points from Gryffindor any time he so much as suspected she was pointing her wand at any other student, no matter how much the other student deserved it. This was still going on when Teddy slipped away from the table, having eaten almost nothing. He scanned the Hufflepuff table, but Frankie was already gone. Tinny glared at him so hard that he felt like he might simply burn to a cinder. Laura Chapman turned her pretty blue eyes down to the table, and he thought she might be crying. Roger looked at him guiltily, but turned away. Ken was--

His feet slid out from under him, and he went skidding down the aisle between the tables. He looked up to see Zachary pushing Bernice's wand down before a teacher spotted it. Zachary didn't look angry, but he also didn't offer to help Teddy up.

"Nice landing," Corky Atkinson said, dropping down beside him and offering him a hand up. "Slytherin House apologizes for the existence of Honoria Higgs."

Teddy got to his feet. "Where's Frankie?"

"No idea, but I wouldn't try the Hufflepuffs right now. Come on. If you hurry, you can still see Honoria whine."


"Whinge, whatever."

"I mean, why?"

"Slughorn took her toy away. He's letting the paper keep going, but he won't even let her go to meetings about it. And he told her that it's until he's convinced that she's not out to spread gossip, which she's not going to prove to him if anything should suddenly show up under some grown-up reporter's byline. She's pouting."

"That's all he did?"

"Well, she thought she'd spend the next six years running it and leave school straight to a great job at the Prophet. I bet she had her office half-decorated already. And she knows Sluggy's got connections there. But mostly, it's the idea that she started something and he's taking it away from her. She just kept saying, 'But it's mine! You can't!'"

Teddy looked over at the Slytherin table, where Honoria was actually crying on her crossed arms. Her housemates were studiously ignoring her. Corky looked a bit uncomfortable, but shook it off. "Come on. Potions." He nodded to Maurice to join them--Maurice seemed to have snuck over to the Ravenclaw table at some point in the festivities--and the three of them headed down to the dungeons, where Slughorn had the instructions on the board for a Comforting Concoction, which seemed like a very good thing to Teddy. They set to chopping ingredients while they waited for class to start. Brendan and Jane came down a few minutes later and set up their cauldrons on either side of a table. Honoria, her eyes red, tried to join them, but they turned her away. She approached Corky, Maurice, and Teddy, then looked down, apparently realizing there was no point in bothering.

Corky squirmed a little, but Maurice said, quietly, "Slytherin House solves its own problems now." He looked at her. "Just once is enough for her."

So Honoria set up on her own, working with a short-tempered, cool Slughorn when he came in. She didn't do the Potion well. Teddy managed well enough, but didn't take it. He thought he might see if he could slip some to Frankie, though. Maurice managed to botch it entirely, and Jane Hunter, who was usually quite good in Potions, ended up with something that ate through the goblet she dipped in it. Corky's turned out the way it was meant to, and after he drank his goblet to show it, he definitely seemed calmer. It made him very mellow, actually, and he offered a goblet to Honoria, who hexed the goblet to explode in his face, then ran from the room while Slughorn fixed the damage.

He looked for Frankie in the library before dinner, but he wasn't there, nor was he in the Great Hall, though Teddy stayed from the beginning of the meal to the end. He saw Bernice gathering things up to take back. He dreaded going to Herbology the next day, and his worst suspicions came true. He ended up working on his Alihotsy with Professor Longbottom.

"It'll pass, Teddy," he said. "I promise."

Teddy nodded rather miserably.

"Come back to greenhouse two after supper," he said. "There'll be something to cheer you up."

Teddy frowned, confused, but finished up what he was doing and went through the rest of the day vaguely curious about what Professor Longbottom had up his sleeves. He ate quickly and went down, opening the door to greenhouse two slowly. "Professor Longbottom?" he called.

Someone much differently shaped than Professor Longbottom unfolded himself from the shadows and grinned. "Sorry, he's setting up your friend's detention."

"Uncle Harry?" Teddy dropped his book bag and stared, not quite crediting his eyes. "What are you... why...?"

"Later," Uncle Harry said. "Hello, first." He came across the greenhouse and put his arms around Teddy, and Teddy couldn't remember wanting a hug this much since he'd been about six years old, which made him feel quite stupid.

He pulled away. "Hi, Uncle Harry."

Uncle Harry Conjured a couple of chairs, and a box of Aunt Ginny's gingerbread showed up on the table. "Neville told us what happened. Aunt Ginny thought you could use these."

"Please thank her for me. I mean, I'll write, but you know... tell her so, too, please."

"It's a wrench, but I may give her a kiss for you."

"You came up to give me biscuits?"

"No, I was coming up anyway. Business. Frankie's letter to Vivian got them looking around in the Forest, and there's something there I want to have a good, hard look at. I'll be here now and again for a few weeks, but not to teach, so I'm trying to keep a low profile. But I wasn't about to miss a chance to see you. So, tell me... what else is going on around here?"

Teddy happily settled into the talk, and stayed in the greenhouse until curfew, then walked back to the castle with Ruthless, who was finishing her detention. She saw Uncle Harry, but didn't comment.

The next two weeks went along the same way. Frankie reappeared in the Great Hall, and when Teddy approached him, he managed a gruff, "Not your fault," but didn't look up. His face was very red. The other 'Puffs let up a little bit in class and there was no more hexing from Bernice, but there were also no more comfortable wanderings over to their table, and no more Saturday games. No one felt like playing. Frankie still tended to leave public places quickly, as several older students made fun of him any time the teachers weren't looking. Teddy caught a fourth year Ravenclaw hexing Frankie's bag so that it said "Cuckoo" every time he opened it, and sent the boy tap dancing down the stairs, bouncing wildly off the railing. It didn't make a difference. Now and then, Teddy would check the Marauder's Map and see that Uncle Harry was at Hagrid's, or holed up in the greenhouses with Professor Longbottom, but there wasn't much of a chance to talk.

The Charmer was taken over by a sixth year Slytherin who Teddy had never heard of. Ruthless said she seemed all right. Most of the Guard had dropped from the staff, though Roger doggedly pursued his column on Muggles, producing a column on mobile telephones and another on airplanes.

The rumor of Uncle Harry's repeated presence did finally spread as May started reaching tentatively toward June. Some thought he might have come to observe the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, but the date came and went--to Teddy's great relief--with no fanfare. (Teddy himself went to the slope under the north battlements where he'd found Dad's ring, and sat there on the place where he'd fallen to watch his memories. He stumbled that day on the memory of his own birth, and felt a wave of painful happiness that was too big for him, and when the memory ended, he cried for no reason at all--it had been a happy memory--which he hadn't done since the last time he'd come to this place. He decided not to make a habit of coming here. He didn't think Dad would like it if he did, anyway.) Once it had passed, the question of what Uncle Harry was doing seemed less pressing to most students, but a few still seemed quite interested. One was Honoria, who had decided to prove she was a serious journalist, and thereby be allowed back on her paper, by trying to find the answers to important questions about Hogwarts news--or what she perceived as important questions, anyway. Another was Frankie Apcarne, who finally broke his silence. He came to Teddy, biting his lip, ignoring one of the Gryffindor third years who was making "crazy" sounds at him until Ruthless decided it was worth ten points to curse him.

"I need to talk," Frankie said.


"I'm sorry. It's not you. I haven't... well, I haven't really been talking to anyone... Talking got me into this."

"Come on," Teddy said, and led the way into the antechamber where the first years had gathered before Sorting. Madam Rosmerta was floating about in here again, inspecting the dusty mantle with a disapproving expression, but she disappeared through the wall when she saw them. "What is it?" Teddy asked.

"Do you know what they're doing in the Forest?"


"Do you have the... you know? The Map? I just want to see where they are. I think I know, but..."

Teddy opened his book bag and pulled out the Marauder's Map. He looked toward the Forest, where Hagrid, Uncle Harry, Professor Longbottom, and Vivian Waters were all wandering around in the same area.

"It's where that glade is," Frankie said. "They found it. Do you think they're going to do something about it?"

"I don't know." Teddy frowned. "Frankie, is this still about... I mean, I don't want to get into it all again..."

Frankie looked miserable. "Haven't you ever just had to answer a question?"

Teddy, who'd spent the year in the company of his dead father, looking for answers to questions he hadn't even known he had, could hardly say no. "I guess."

"If I ever start talking about being an Unspeakable," Frankie said, giving Teddy a ghost of a smile, "remind me about the 'crazy' part. This doesn't make me happy. I'd rather not ask this question again."

"I think you'd best have a Hufflepuff do that," Teddy said. "They don't seem to take it well if someone else does."

Frankie laughed weakly. "Yeah. Sorry about that. I told them it wasn't your fault. But they... well... I guess they've got a bit of flack for sticking by me."

They talked awkwardly for a few minutes more, but Teddy felt more hopeful than he had for a while. Not that Frankie would drop it--Frankie had all but admitted that he wouldn't, even though it was making him unhappy--but that, once he got his answers, he'd start to come around again. He went to Defense Against the Dark Arts that afternoon, then back to Gryffindor to settle down and do his homework in the Common Room. Ruthless joined him. It was an hour short of curfew when a commotion broke out beyond the portrait hole.

"Someone forgot a password," Chandi joked. "How long should we leave them?"

"Sounds like more than one person," someone else said.

Teddy listened. There were many voices, and they sounded quite keen to get in. Something sank like a stone inside of him, and he dashed across the Common Room and pushed the portrait open.

Tinny was standing at the head of the Forest Guard, looking panicked. "Is Frankie in there?" she asked.

"No," Teddy said, as Ruthless came up beside him. "Why?"

"He slipped out halfway through Care of Magical Creatures," Zachary said. "No one's seen him since."
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marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: September 15th, 2007 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
My oh no Frankie tonight is mixed in with Harry, best godfather ever and Neville FTW!


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Harry. The best thing about writing post-canon is the chance to use Harry more, because we've got everything JKR's going to give us about him.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Would be nice. Teddy... should've told Uncle Harry Frankie's problems.
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thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: September 15th, 2007 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Looks like my crystal ball was a bit foggy after all. Seems like teh Charmer article brought them closer together rather than apart.

And I do find myself feeling rather sorry for Frankie, which is a pleasent change from wanting to, in the nicest possible way, advise him to get his head on straight Ruthless style.

And I thought that it was lovely that Harry made the time to come and see Teddy, of all people Harry knows what it is like to have his best friend, or indeed entire houses turn against him. I imagine he knows what Frankie's going through as well. I do like your grown up Harry. He makes me wish he was my uncle as well. The description of his and Teddy's hug warmed the cockles of my heart. Just as Teddy crying after watching his own birth made me sob, it is these little reminders that his parents can't be there that sort of make this story for me. It is like lots of mini Erised scenes.

Oh and in teh midst of all this "Cirky and honaria sitting in a tree...."

Well I did warn you that I would be keeping a close eye on tehir interactions.
alkari From: alkari Date: September 15th, 2007 11:48 am (UTC) (Link)
That aspect, with Harry coming to hug Teddy, was what struck me too - and I couldn't help thinking how lucky Teddy was, to have a sympathetic family friend teacher in Neville, and to have understanding Uncle Harry who could come and visit him like that. The contrast with Harry's own experience was very marked, when he had to put up with the COS suspicion, with Rita's articles, and the whole GOF setup.
alexiscartwheel From: alexiscartwheel Date: September 15th, 2007 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
June already? We know what that means in the world of HP... something big is about to happen! (It sadly also means the story must be almost over.) And Frankie's gone of to the forest now, will the Forest Guard follow him there?

Small proofreading nitpick: Not that Frankie would drop it--Frankie had all but admitted that he wouldn't, even though it was making him unhappy--but that, once he got his answers, he'd start to come around again. He went to Defense Against the Dark Arts that afternoon, then back to Gryffindor to settle down and do his homework in the Common Room.
The second sentence reads as if "He" still refers to Frankie, when it's really meant to be Teddy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right; I'll fix that.

Ah, yes, the inflexible HP schedule. Right up to the point where I'd have given anything for JKR to slip that extra month into TDH, but there, of course, she breaks pattern. Sigh.
cornedbee From: cornedbee Date: September 15th, 2007 09:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations! Checkmate has found its way into my dreams.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha! :)
milaya36 From: milaya36 Date: September 15th, 2007 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Gah! Stupid Hufflepuffs! You don't just shun people when you've only heard half the story from an unreliable source! In fact, you don't shun people, period. It's immature and bratty.

That aside, I love the Teddy/Harry interaction, as well as Ruthless's impetuosity, and good for Corky and Maurice for sticking by Teddy and being sensible while the Hufflepuffs are being idiots.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, there are times for shunning. The Slyths have the right idea with Honoria. The 'Puffs just do it a little bit too easily, and without anything resembling just cause.
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: September 15th, 2007 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I am SO glad Slughorn kicked Honoria out of the staff. I've always like ol' Sluggy.

Harry and Neville are wonderful too.

Why is it that I keep having to go "oh no Frankie no" every time you update?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
'Cause Frankie's earning his idiot-wings this term? :P

I'm lukewarm on Sluggy, who's got a creepy side to him, but he seems to be stepping up to the plate on not letting the Slytherins get out of control again.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 15th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw! Uncle Harry hugs! Poor sweet Teddy.
Teddy, who'd spent the year in the company of his dead father, looking for answers to questions he hadn't even known he had, could hardly say no.
Poor kiddo...
Great post Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor kiddo...

Yeah. I want Teddy to have a good next six years at school, just to make up for the injustice of his parents dying. Of course, if he has a good, eventless seven years at Hogwarts, no stories. So, you know... toss up.
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tigermouse88 From: tigermouse88 Date: September 15th, 2007 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I like post-war Slughorn a lot more than I did pre-war Slughorn. He seems to have...well...grown up a little. Not completely, but enough.

Small nitpick: there seems to be an "a" missing before "kiss" in this sentence:

"It's wrench, but I may give her kiss for you."

I would be worried about Frankie's safety, but if Harry and Neville are nearby, I have no fear that everything will turn out well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
There were two "a"s missing in that sentence; ugh. I got both of them.

Slughorn ran back into battle with half of Hogsmeade and helped take on Voldemort directly--I think that's a good sign that the guy who staged a DE attack to avoid Dumbledore has grown up.
sophiap From: sophiap Date: September 15th, 2007 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am in love with this story and look forward to the updates more than I can tell you. I really like what you are doing with the Slytherins, and how they are dealing with the Honoria problem in their own particular way. Slughorn's punishment was simple and effective, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Honoria does after all of this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hopefully, Maurice is right that she only needs this to happen once.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: September 15th, 2007 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Frankie! :(

This was really one rollercoaster of a part-chapter. First you had me glad that Honoria was getting her punishment (go Ruthless, by the way!), then thrilled to see Neville and Harry show up, and then you end it all with so much worry for Frankie.

You certainly never cease to make things interesting!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Ruthless is going to get herself in trouble one of these days.
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gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: September 15th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
The rumor of Uncle Harry's repeated presence did finally spread as May started reaching tentatively toward June.

Ack! You're almost done -- how exciting and yet...what will I read every day?

Nice hints about Corky and Honoria.

Is Frankie off the Map? I guess it's time to call Maddie and snap her out of it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy doesn't have the Map out, so he doesn't know that Frankie has snuck off. I don't think he needs it--he knows where Frankie is.
redlily From: redlily Date: September 15th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
As someone else said . . . June means something big happening!! Uh-oh. I'm having a hard time remembering if there's anything in the glade that could hurt a first-year . . . I mostly remember Tonks meeting with the Sorceress Numero Uno. But hey, it's the FF -- he might not even make it that far before meeting up with Aragog's great-great-great-grandchildren.

I guess they've got a bit of flack for sticking by me.

While you can write "flack" in that context, "flak" is much more common.

Can't wait to get to the next chapter!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, I should clarify that I don't mean the Shades glade; I mean the one that Frankie showed Teddy, in the old spider nest, with the weird ivy.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: September 15th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

I was away for a bit, then fell seriously behind when I returned, but I've finally caught up. Things are bubbling along wonderfully. Along with all your readers, I'm worried about Frankie, who seems to have latched onto a problem far too large and dangerous for a third year. But then, so did Harry and friends in every book, so I remain hopeful. Poor Teddy. Yeah for Ruthless sticking by him through it all, as well as the non 'Puffs. And yeah to Neville and Harry for being the adults he needs.

One small nit-pick. I found this phrase a bit awkward:

Someone much differently shaped than Professor Longbottom

I'd have used "very" rather than "much." I don't know why, but it brought me to a complete stop and I had to re-read it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's an awkward sentence altogether. Hmm.

And yeah to Neville and Harry for being the adults he needs.

Imagine... adults! Being there! It's a concept that needed trying. :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 15th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ruthless is great. She's my favorite original character.

I like that punishments are actually handed out on a fair basis, as opposed to the vindictive nature of Snape that was allowed at the school.

Very nice post once again, Fern. Always nice to see Harry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 15th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Neville, in particular, would want to see to it that punishments were always fair, especially after his extra-special year with the Carrows.
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