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Teddy Lupin and the Hunter's Moon, Chapter 4: The New Assistant, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Hunter's Moon, Chapter 4: The New Assistant, pt. 1
I think I'm going to futz around with my outline tomorrow, so there may not be a segment, but I'll go on for now, because I don't feel like messing with the outline today. Which may well be a sign of skewed priorities.

Anyway, Teddy's been sullen under guard for over a month, forced to endure the indignity of babysitters at the age of thirteen, and is about ready to throw a tantrum when he gets a reminder, in the form of a dead cat, of how serious the situation is. Greyback didn't tip the pack's hand at the full moon, and the Aurors have no idea where he is... but he obviously knows where and who Teddy is.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The rest of the night passed in a swarm of images--Uncle Harry and Ron coming back with a disheveled woman with matted black hair and blood on her face, the woman lunging in Teddy's direction and saying "I know you," the arrival of the Minister of Magic himself (kept very quiet) to decide exactly what to do with her, the swirl of cloaks as they took her to Azkaban, Granny cleaning the blood out of Bludger's fur, digging a hole beside his littermates Quaffle and Snitch for him to rest in, Al starting to cry when they started shoveling dirt back in. Teddy wasn't sure when everyone left, but they were gone by the time he went to bed. He'd moved Checkmate's litter tray into his bedroom and closed her in with him, locking the window, just in case. She mewed plaintively, slipping her paw under the door, looking for Bludger, until Teddy scooped her up and rubbed her belly until she went to sleep.

She became an indoor cat after that, taken out only when Teddy left the house for the day to stay at Uncle Harry's or Shell Cottage or the Romp. In those cases, she was brought with him, and she stuck close to him. She stopped looking for Bludger after a week, but attached herself to Teddy in his place, rarely letting him out of her sight for more than an hour. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with her in school, where she couldn't very well go to classes with him. If Victoire was in Gryffindor, maybe she could bring Bushy, Checkmate's littermate (whose full name, Beau Chaton, hadn't been used since the day she'd got him), up to his room during the day so they could keep each other company.

They weren't able to get anything directly out of the werewolf they'd caught, including her name (though Father Alderman identified her as someone called Janice). Uncle Harry speculated that at some point, the pack had managed to gather a skilled witch or wizard, who was using the same concealment spells he had used to hide from the Ministry for a year. They weren't able to keep her in Azkaban for killing Bludger, though Teddy thought that ought to be a life sentence, but Hermione was able to convince the Wizengamot that it had been a death threat to Teddy and Granny, which did carry a term in prison. A few voices said she ought to be kept indefinitely, since she was a werewolf, which put Hermione in the position of arguing that she shouldn't be, as she ought to have the same rights as anyone else. Dad's name was duly invoked. Teddy wondered what he would say about it.

After what seemed a never ending August, boxed into the small world of high security, September first seemed to quite suddenly jump out of nowhere. Teddy had done no packing, despite being trapped inside, and he ended up staying up until one-thirty tossing everything he needed into his trunk. He slept in the car on the way to King's Cross, with Checkmate enchanted into her own long nap in her basket on his lap. He was still woozy when they got there, and at first, didn't notice that half of the Auror Department was there, patrolling near Platform Nine and Three Quarters.

Of course, he couldn't see them very well. The platform was madly busy, much more so than it had been the last two years. He blinked owlishly. "What's all this?"

"Hogwarts," Granny said, looking confused.

Two younger children ran by with trolleys, their families behind them. There was a knot near the barrier. The Aurors must have actually put up some magical concealments, because the Muggles on platforms nine and ten seemed utterly oblivious to the crowd. Peering through it, Teddy spotted a shiny, bald head rising above the sea of children, in the midst of a group of Aurors.

"Is that Minister Shacklebolt?" he asked.

Granny nodded. "His son's eleven. It was in the Daily Prophet. I don't imagine Kingsley's thrilled to be letting go in the midst of a prisoner escape."

A blond woman with perfect curls was moving around the edge of the group of Aurors, as Kingsley Shacklebolt (and, presumably, his son) waited for their turn to go through. Teddy recognized her, of course--Rita Skeeter. She had an acid green quill hovering beside her.

"Minister! Minister! As a former Auror, how do you respond to the widespread allegations that the Department is not pursuing Fenrir Greyback with all due diligence?"

The Minister's slow, deep voice rose over the noise of the crowd. "Miss Skeeter, the allegations I have heard are spread precisely as widely as you can make your voice heard. I have no response to such spurious accusations."

Rita gave up, and ran to the end of the line of Aurors. "Harry Potter! Has your sympathy for werewolves influenced your decision not to pursue Fenrir Greyback?"

Uncle Harry rolled his eyes and turned away. He spotted Teddy and grinned, which was a mistake, as Rita immediately followed where he was looking. She scurried toward Teddy and Granny.

"Healer Tonks, your home was breached--"

"I have no comment, Rita," Granny said.

Rita looked at Teddy avariciously. "And Teddy Lupin... my goodness, what a chance to talk to someone who's been deeply touched by lycanthropy. Do you have anything to say?"

Before Granny could stop him, Teddy gave Rita a quote that he was reasonably sure she wouldn't be able to print in a family newspaper.

Uncle Harry was trying not to laugh when Teddy reached him. "Teddy, you may regret that," he said, "but I think it was worth it."

"Harry!" Granny interjected.

He grinned. "I can't go in with you this year, Teddy. We're making sure no one gets through who oughtn't. But you may see me sooner than you think, and if you recall, I promised to teach you something this year."

"What? Oh! The Patronus Charm!"

"It may even come in useful. You can use it to call for help if you need it."

Teddy didn't care whether or not it was useful, only that Uncle Harry was going to keep his promise to teach it. For the first time since he'd left Trollsbane Tarn, he felt purely happy.

The Minister passed through the barrier, and a moment later, Uncle Harry gave Teddy leave to go. On the other side, he found Bill Weasley's family, all gathered around Victoire, who looked like she was about to start shooting fireworks from her ears in her excitement.

"TEDDY! TEDDY!" She waved frantically just as Ruthless Scrimgeour, in the company of a boy with frizzy red hair exactly like her own, passed behind her. Ruthless clapped her hands over her heart and batted her eyelashes, then was dragged off by the crowd. Victoire saw none of this. She ran over to Teddy. "Oh, it's time. Do I look all right? May I sit with you?"

Teddy nodded. "Sure. Have you seen Frankie? We usually sit in his compartment."

"I saw him, but he's a prefect," she said. "Didn't he tell you? I thought he would have."

Teddy shook his head miserably. "He must have got the note after... after. I haven't talked to him much."

"Oh. I saw Donzo, though. He already went onto the train, so he wouldn't have to talk to Rita Skeeter."

Three more first years bundled through, knocking Teddy to one side. "What is this?" he asked again.

"Ah, Bill!" Teddy looked up. The Minister of Magic, looking quite relieved, was on his way over. He held out his hand to shake Bill's. "It's been a while since I've been here."

Bill smiled, in the stiff way he had through his scars. "Me, too. Is that Alastor hiding behind you?"

A small boy leaned out from behind the Minister. Teddy had only met him a few times during various Christmases at Uncle Harry's. He had large dark eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses, and a large puff of black hair. He looked terrified.

Victoire smiled. "Hi, Story. You can sit with me. If it's all right with Teddy, as I'm sitting with his friends."

"Er..." Teddy started, not sure how many people would be in the compartment at this point.

"Of course it's all right," Granny said, giving him a warning smile.

"Sure," Teddy said, wondering if an Auror was going to be guarding Story the whole way. A moment later, someone barreled into him. It was Ruthless again, and Maurice Burke was now in her wake along with the redheaded boy, who turned out to be her brother Kirk ("The first of four," she groaned, "so I won't get a moment's peace ever again!"). She led them to the compartment Donzo, Zachary, Bernice, Tinny, and Corky had staked out. They all welcomed Teddy hugely, and chastised him for not returning their letters, then noticed three first years tagging along.

By the time they'd all been introduced, the train was pulling out of the station. Victoire went to the window to wave goodbye to her sisters, but Kirk was no more interested in farewells than Ruthless had ever been, and Story figured his father would be staying well out of the crowd, probably back with the Aurors outside. "I think he still wants to be an Auror," he told Teddy. "He's been reading all the files and talking to Harry Potter in the parlor twice a week since Fenrir Greyback got out, and it sounded more like helping in the investigation than taking a report. Although I wasn't listening, of course." He smiled.

Tinny proposed a Muggles and Minions game, but Story and Kirk didn't have characters, and no one felt like going back to the beginning, or trying to move around without Frankie's characters, so instead, Donzo taught them the group songs until they were well out of the city, and the countryside was rolling by beyond the window. Teddy pulled Checkmate--who was still sleeping--out of her basket, and popped her in with Bushy, in Victoire's luggage. They mewed groggily, then curled up around each other. Here, with his friends, even with the new first years taking up more space than seemed normal, Teddy thought that Fenrir Greyback seemed far away.

There was a sharp rap at the door, and then it opened.

Maurice groaned and tossed a Chocolate Frog box at it. "Oh, I thought we had the rest of the way to Scotland!"

The girl standing in the door sighed, affecting an expression of martyrdom. Her long dark hair had been brought up into a tight bun, and she was carrying a scroll and a gray quill. Corky stood up and went to the door. "Did you need something, Higgs?"

"I wanted to talk to Teddy about the Greyback case."

"You're off the Charmer!" Ruthless said. "And you can't think Teddy's thick enough to talk to you. He knows you'll just send it back to Skeeter."

Honoria Higgs gathered herself up importantly. "Professor Slughorn told me I could go back to the paper if I proved I was serious reporter. I'm not going to report gossip, like Miss Skeeter. I'm going to get a hard news story. It's the most important thing happening, and Teddy's a witness." She craned her neck eagerly. "Is that Alastor Shacklebolt?"

Ruthless reached back and put her hand over Story's mouth. "No idea," she said. "Curious, isn't it? A boy without a name."

"I'm not going to gossip!" Honoria insisted. "Slughorn won't let me back on if I do."

Corky looked at her shrewdly. "Try a different story, Honoria. Leave Teddy alone."

"It's all right," Teddy said, though it wasn't. "I don't want to talk about it. I don't know anything."

Looking disappointed, Honoria closed the door and walked away.

"Do you think she's really given up gossip?" Corky asked.

"Sure," Ruthless said. "Like Bernice's cousin Dung keeps giving up smoking." She burrowed into her trunk and came up with a deck of cards. "Anyone for Exploding Snap?"
56 comments or Leave a comment
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plaid_slytherin From: plaid_slytherin Date: October 7th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad they're heading back, for Teddy's sake. I love how this sort of parallels Harry's third year. (And I love love LOVE that Kingsley named his son Alastor.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, he was an Auror and Order member. Of course, since Albus already has the "Al" nickname, I had to come up with something else.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: October 7th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Really good post, Fern. You cover a lot of ground here really well. Rita's appearance and the characters various responses to her was very funny. Really good having Teddy back at Hogwarts will all his friends.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
And all of them in protective mode, too.

sonetka From: sonetka Date: October 7th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how Teddy totally doesn't make the connection between the suddenly-crowded platform and the post-Voldemort baby boom :). (BTW speaking of missed connections - it wasn't until YESTERDAY that I realized what Victoire's name referred to. S-M-R-T, that's me).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
At first, I thought it was meant as naming her after Viktor Krum (the other champion, natch), and I was wondering if that meant Viktor died, until someone said, "Er... victory?!"

From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2007 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Let me guess, all the extra people at the station (other than security and Rita) were the baby boom following the baby bust during the war?

So the woman was a sacrifice? Greyback's willing to lose members of his pack to get at Teddy? Very not good.

Since Honoria eventually does get back on the paper, I'm wondering how she handles this year.

Although I can hardly wait till Victoire and Alastor get sucked into the world of Muggles and Minions, assuming there's room for lighter moments in the story.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Let me guess, all the extra people at the station (other than security and Rita) were the baby boom following the baby bust during the war?

Mm-hmm. Teddy'll put it together when he sees them all tromp in.

There should be room for lighter moments, including one that distracts Teddy entirely from Greyback and Patronuses.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 7th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Those time jumps in the Potterverse are always so disconcerting, but in Teddy's case, I'm glad there was one because the rest of his summer sounds like it was hell. At least he gets a semblance of normality on the trip back to Hogwarts, even it's destined not to last.

Victoire's year looks intriguing--Shacklebolt's son and Ruthless's brother! Will we get to see another Sort? It's amusing to recall that Harry actually missed more of them than he saw--but maybe that's because JKR got sick of coming up with new Sorting Hat songs!

I see Honoria is consciously trying to distance herself from Rita Skeeter, though I'm still glad that she's not back on the paper yet.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
He'll get a nice little window to just have school for a while, I think. Harry got to worry about Quidditch for a good part of PoA, after all! :)

We'll see the Sort, but I'm leaning toward skipping the song, with Teddy mostly ignoring it this year.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: October 7th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohh, I don't know where to start gushing for this part! You really managed to convey the crowded feeling of the platform very well, and *grin* everyone rushing about at the same time. The compartment must have been pretty squashed, but rather cosy as well!

I love how they deal with Honoria now; it does read as though they're so used to her antics throughout the past two years that they brush her off easily and naturally now. And she's learning, thank goodness!

And I love this line: Teddy didn't care whether or not it was useful, only that Uncle Harry was going to keep his promise to teach it. For the first time since he'd left Trollsbane Tarn, he felt purely happy.

Oh yes, back up to Hermione - I love the dilemma you've put her in: arguing to get Janice convicted, yet not heavily sentenced. Yikes!

Before I forget - this is off-topic, but I was rereading Shifts yesterday and I got to Maddie's birthing party, where Frankie was born, and reading that again with Teddy in mind now made the whole thing doubly touching. (Just as seeing Mad-Eye alive and gruff and growling again made me tear up.) I do so love your stories. They make everything so real!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Things are going to be generally squashed for a while, I think.

Hermione's in a tough position--she wants to convict Janice and get her out of there for good, but there's no real charge that will stick (because stupidly, pet killing isn't classed as a serious crime), but the only way she could do it would be by throwing the werewolf laws at her, which she won't do.
prelud From: prelud Date: October 7th, 2007 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant update! I loved Teddy being bewildered over the large crowd.
Alastor Shacklebolt - awwww! (I wonder who`s his mother?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
(I wonder who`s his mother?)

I don't know--maybe he was married all along in canon, but his wife went abroad for the duration of the danger?
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2007 04:56 am (UTC) (Link)
I finished Teddy's first year right after school started- perfect timing because that's one less distraction for me. But now it's like three weeks later and you have yet ANOTHER great thudding track going. I'm literally awed by your pace. Such a distraction! *sigh* such a welcomed distraction.

One question though-was there any sort of baby boom teddy's second year? Or was it just as small as his was?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the birth dearth would have been split between Teddy's year and the next. It was a little bigger, but not insane. The babies really started kicking in with Victoire's year.
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: October 7th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm with Teddy, life sentence for cat killers! (and sadly no, they don't agree either in our world :( )
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Right there with you. And there's good reason to crack down on animal murder, too--it's a huge sign of sociopathy.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2007 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I admired Shacklebolt's deft handling of Skeeter's leading question. But like one of your readers above, I too am curious about Story's mother's identity. More specifically, I'm wondering about her absence from the platform. Since seeing off a child for his or her first year seems to be a family affair, wouldn't her absence draw some comment? Or if she's usually absent from such things, like the Christmas get-togethers, because of family, work, death, divorce, or what not, then maybe that should be explained? Or perhaps you are just skirting the issue, because you've not made up your mind one way or the other? --Tess
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Not so much skirting it as not really concerned about it, I'm afraid. To make it up on the spot, she works in International Magical Cooperation, and is presently in Nepal.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: October 7th, 2007 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Victoire's enthusiasm was quite adorable. She's really going to be thrilled to be in Gryffindor with Teddy, isn't she?

Kingsley's comment to Rita made me laugh. All of the different reactions to her were perfect (including Donzo hiding on the train).

I'm glad that Teddy's heading back to Hogwarts, and that he's getting to relax a little now. He deserves it after the summer he had!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's amazing that anyone gives Rita interviews anymore!
got_it_bub From: got_it_bub Date: October 7th, 2007 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm all with Teddy about Cat killers and life sentences! if someone got my Twinkletoes i'd sick 'em
Where's Frankie?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Frankie's with the prefects.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: ethnotechno Date: October 7th, 2007 11:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't wait to see Teddy's Patronus lesson. He's gonna be so kickass!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hell, yeah. :) And of course, time spent with Uncle Harry is always good.
From: smishli Date: October 7th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Story Shacklebolt is ADORABLE, as is Kingsley's separation anxiety :)

Definitely looking forward to Harry teaching Teddy the Patronus charm, and all future installments!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to the Patronus lessons myself.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: October 7th, 2007 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Woot! First glimpse of my girl Honaria.

In a way I find myself sympathising with her in this scene, living down the reputation the you made in your first year can be damned hard work. I hope she is going to keep at it. Although I can totally understand the FG's reacction to her attempt. Maybe she should try and be more friendly to them in gerneral before she goes in for the interviews. I did like the way that she was atempting to come across as more grown up. And yey for two lines of Honaria/Corky interaction!

I'm also really pleased to see the introduction of several new characters. Your discription of Story imediatly made my heart go out to him. I'm actually quite curious about him as we have heard little snippets about him before and I find myslef really wanting to get to know him. Though I do get teh sense that if the FG continue to pick up first years they are going to end up being one of the largest groups in the school.

And Ruthless's ability to be sarcastic or at least mocking without words made me grin, she is going to give Victoire so much stick over this year. And our dear Vicky was adorablely excited, although I notice that she didn't quite managed to control her bossiness.

And as for teh bigger issues. That paragraph about the convolutedness of the legal system and how Hermione ended up arguing against her self was really interesting. Those little snippets about Hermione's carear do interest me because out of the Trio's canon jobs hers is the only one I consider to be something that *fits*. Fingers crossed that as soon as his kids leaves school Harry decides to take up the DADA post.

Oh and everyone's responses to Rita were fantastic.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe she should try and be more friendly to them in gerneral before she goes in for the interviews.

Yeah--trying something that doesn't set off all of their alarm bells would probably be helpful. Though I'm sure she's telling herself that she's not trying to make friends with these losers, just, you know, get the interview of the year.

Ruthless and Victoire probably never would have gotten along, but the fact that there's a big Teddy-shaped obstacle between them is likely to make things worse, though Teddy is clueless.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
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