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Teddy Lupin and the Hunter's Moon, Chapter 15: Dark Holiday, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Hunter's Moon, Chapter 15: Dark Holiday, pt. 2
Teddy has asked McGonagall to elaborate on her memories of Astrid Greyback, and she comes up to Hogwarts to tea with Neville. She's arranged with Madam Pince to use Dumbledore's Pensieve, and taken him back to the day they called Astrid to Hogwarts to talk about Fenrir attacking a girl in the Gryffindor common room. Astrid says that she can't really manage him, because as a Squib she has no magical power, and when McGonagall says that "Fenny" is in danger of expulsion, Astrid becomes distraught and says, "Please don't send him home."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Dumbledore looked at her shrewdly. "I will assume that you are concerned with your son's future."

"Well," Astrid said, "I... of course! He's my boy. My only child."

The younger Professor McGonagall leaned forward, frowning, and the older one leaned over to Teddy and said, "Please remember that I was quite young at this point."

Teddy nodded.

The younger McGonagall said, "Is Fenrir's father able to help in any way? My own father--"

But Astrid Greyback was shaking her head rapidly. "He was taken by werewolves! Werewolves! He's not really there anymore."

"Lycanthropy doesn't alter his essential humanity," Dumbledore told her. "If you could tell us something of him, perhaps we could help you find him, should you wish his assistance." Unlike McGonagall, he didn't look hopeful. In fact, Teddy thought he looked deeply suspicious. "Where was he taken?"

Astrid looked back and forth nervously. "I... is this... Fenny doesn't know this."

"Nor will he, if it can be avoided," Dumbledore said kindly, though his eyes remained wary.

"We weren't... properly married." Astrid's mouth twitched in a nervous smile, and she swallowed hard. "I don't think you'll find him. He was on the continent. During the war?" She gave Dumbledore a significant look.

Dumbledore sighed heavily and pressed his fingers against his eyes. "He was in Gellert Grindelwald's employ."

"Yes," Astrid said. "You must remember that, at the time, we thought differently. He said that there was a place for everyone, even Squibs like me."

"I am sufficiently familiar with Gellert's philosophy," Dumbledore said.

"Right. Well, my family... they thought it sounded like he had the right idea, with Squibs learning what we were good for. They gave me a holiday in a camp meant to train me for life in the new order. It was to be something like a camp. I learned to chop potion ingredients, and help wizards who needed--"

"--who needed subjects on whom to experiment," Dumbledore finished.

"Yes!" Astrid seemed pleased at not having to explain a great deal, and not at all troubled by what he'd said. "I tried a potion that was meant to temporarily transfer memories once, and another time, I was charmed to see if I could be taught to dance prettily. It was quite fun at first. But since nothing seemed to work on me, they mainly put me in the chopping room. My fingers bled. I wanted to go home. It wasn't much of a holiday."

"I can imagine," the younger McGonagall said.

"The camp leaders--they watched us to make sure we didn't wander off and get lost in the woods--used to come through. They were often... friendly to us. I didn't like most of them. They wore these horrid fur capes. They smelled bad, like they hadn't been properly treated."

"Grindelwald used werewolf guards," the older McGonagall explained to Teddy. "That was, in his philosophy, their proper function in the world."

"I'm guessing these weren't nice werewolves," Teddy said.

"To put it mildly."

"One of them paid special attention to me," Astrid said, "and one day, he offered to help me get away. He knew how unhappy I was. We ran away to the woods together, and we stayed there for days and days. But then the werewolves took him away. I was locked in the cabin where we'd stayed. He didn't come back. I got frightened and I broke out. I was lost in the woods, just like they warned us. I finally came across a little cottage, where a witch and wizard lived. The witch brought me to the Zaubererreich, and they sent me home to England. They thought I didn't stay in my place." She looked down sadly. "I knew Fenny was coming by then. I didn't have a choice. I had to go back to my father, so I told him I'd been married while I was abroad. He gave me our little house before he died, when he realized Fenny was magical, and I wasn't the last in our line."

"And this is the story you've told Fenrir?" Dumbledore asked.

"I lied and told him we'd been married. Please don't tell him we weren't! I'm sure it was only because his father was a powerful wizard and wouldn't have been allowed to marry a Squib."

"What was his father's name?" Dumbledore asked. "Now that the Zaubererreich has ended, perhaps he would care to take a hand in his son's life."

"Oh, no. No, I'm sure he wouldn't." Astrid's face was deathly pale, her eyes preternaturally large.

Dumbledore seemed to have got the answer he was looking for, though she hadn't said anything at all. "When did Fenrir begin to play roughly?"

"Oh, he always did. Isn't that just the way boys are?" Astrid gave a watery sort of smile. "Please don't send him home. I'm sure he just needs a firm hand, like yours. You destroyed Grindelwald--I'm sure you can handle one little boy."

Dumbledore looked rather ill. "I'll consider what you've said." He looked up at a portrait. "Phineas, would you be so good as to find our Head Girl to take Madam Greyback to the gate?"

An irritated sigh came from above, and Teddy smiled despite himself as he looked up to see Phineas Nigellus, the never-changing, turn and stalk out of his portrait frame as though sentenced to the gallows. After a few minutes of awkward silence, Julia McManus came back and nodded politely to the mother of the child who would ruin her own child's life, then led her away.

"You surely don't intend to allow him to stay?" the younger Professor McGonagall demanded.

"I thank you for reserving that until Astrid was well away," Dumbledore said. "And in fact, I do intend to allow him to stay, after we've had a discussion with him. If he errs again, we will have no choice--he is a danger to other students--but I don't imagine he will become less dangerous when we relinquish him to his mother, do you?"

McGonagall straighted up. "He will be less dangerous to my students."

Dumbledore smiled faintly. "I always knew you would make a fine teacher, Minerva. But Fenrir is one of your students. Perhaps between us, we can undo some of the damage he's absorbed."

"Hmmph." She sat down. "She nearly sounded like she admired the Zaubererreich, after everything that happened to her."

"Of that, I'm quite sure."

"I can't even imagine..."

"Can't you? I assure you that Gellert would have found an appropriately high place in the world for a woman of your intellect."

The scene went suddenly white, and Teddy was thrown back into the greenhouse. The older Professor McGonagall, leaning on a walking stick, looked at him warily. "Did you find what you need?"

"I don't know what I'm looking for," Teddy said. "Did you ever see their house?"

She took a deep, heavy breath. "I did."

"May I see it?"

"Teddy, I'll show it to you, but I've grave misgivings about it." She sat down on the wooden chair where she'd taken tea. "Three years after Greyback's expulsion--for the incident a month after the attack on Twyla Dorne--the Wizengamot learned that he'd taken a werewolf's bite and become lycanthropic. A neighbor witnessed his transformation, and only kept him off by strong curses. He was called before the Wizengamot for failing to register, but Astrid came in his place. I was there to testify about his behavior prior to the bite. She said he'd run off, and didn't care to place himself in the Ministry's hands, and she didn't know where he was at any rate. They demanded that he appear for that night's full moon. She said she didn't think it would be possible. And they sent her home. He was of age, after all, and she could only be expected to do so much, especially if he'd left home. Of course, he didn't show up. But I found myself unable to sleep. You see, Astrid had looked quite ill at the hearing, as if she hadn't been sleeping. Her hands were shaking. And she had a great gash across her collarbone.

"I realized that he hadn't left home at all.

"I went to the Aurors, but there had been an attack the night before that they were certain of, and they had convinced themselves that it was Greyback, and weren't interested in checking on Astrid. Your grandmother's Uncle Alphard--he was a school chum of mine--was hanging about at headquarters, courting a pretty Auror whose name I don't remember, and when he noticed that I meant to go on my own, he insisted on coming with me.

"We were too late."

Teddy nodded, understanding. "He killed her?"

"Yes. And Teddy, if he was the werewolf the Aurors were after, then he killed Astrid before he transformed. It was... a messy kill. I don't know if I should take you there."

"I won't look at her. It's the house I need to see."

She still looked troubled by the idea of taking him, but, after what seemed a long time, pulled a silvery thread of thought from her head and let it swirl down into the Pensieve. She nodded at Teddy, and they fell back into the past.
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darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: November 14th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Great job fleshing out the Greyback backstory, Fern, and tying it to Grindelwald and the last war. Good to see Dumbledore as always, even if he's falling back on the Tom Riddle/Draco Malfoy strategy. That never seems to turn out very well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, they do expel Greyback a month later, and it doesn't work much better than keeping him there. Alas, the school can't fill in where the parents aren't quite working out.
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: November 14th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear. Astrid...well, she seems to have a had a horribly misguided youth, and I don't even want to think about Greyback's motivations for killing her. Maybe he found out she was never married to his father, who knows (though I'm sure you do, lol).

Teddy's going to look, isn't he?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, but only briefly. I mainly want to get the back story in, rather than torture Teddy with it.
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: November 14th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
The idea of Minerva and Alphard knowing each other and being friends (or more?) makes me inordinately happy, for some reason. :-) And Teddy's self-possession at the end ("It's the house I need to see") was interesting...he comes off as much older than his years, sometimes, but I like that you've written him that way.

"I assure you that Gellert would have found an appropriately high place in the world for a woman of your intellect." That confused me a bit...mind elaborating as to what you were getting at? And I've always loved the Albus/Minerva dynamic, too.

Great job as always.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been trying to figure out exactly what product Grindelwald was selling. From TDH, it seems that he has a notion of an ordered world where magical power and intellect are the "natural" heads of society, with Squibs, Muggles, and other "undesirables" relegated to their own places. McGonagall is pulling the usual Gryffindor, "Why I would never be tempted by such a thing," and I think Dumbledore--who of course was tempted by it--is trying to rattle her cage by pointing out that she'd have been quite high-placed in the hierarchy by virtue of her power and intelligence. McGonagall, bless her, doesn't even consider the idea that she's talking to someone who knows what he's talking about here, and just ignores it.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
Ahem... - (Anonymous) - Expand
shiiki From: shiiki Date: November 14th, 2007 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)
And the plot thickens!

Julia and Astrid's interaction gave me such a shiver ...

Julia McManus came back and nodded politely to the mother of the child who would ruin her own child's life,

That pretty much sums it up. I adore the irony.

Will we get to see Greyback's father, though? You have me quite interested in who he was, given Dumbledore's reaction.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Dumbledore realizes that Astrid doesn't know her "lover's" name, was locked in a cabin during their "affair," and is terrified of the very idea of him coming back. He's pretty much figured out that this nameless guard wasn't exactly trying to help her escape, no matter what story she's spun to help herself live with it.

His identity doesn't come into it, but I think he's Herr Dengler from this ficlet that I did before HBP came out. It's about the werewolf I originally had biting Remus, but the werewolf I had biting her is actually something like Fenrir, if a bit slyer.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: November 14th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, fascinating. The line about Julia and Astrid gave me chills. Fenrir's backstory is developing wonderfully, and it's so easy to see how he became what he is.

I can't wait for the next installment!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. The Julia line was an afterthought, but I liked it once I stumbled over it. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 14th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Er, so, can Minerva hold Teddy back while her memory self goes into certain parts of the house? Because I knew a guy who had a government job taking photos of accident sites _after_ the injured/dead were taken away who once got called in before that part had been done. He said it didn't bother him so much at the time but, the next day, he just started shaking and kind of fell apart (it was in church and, although he didn't specify, one thing he said about it made me wonder if there hadn't been a scriptural reference to blood). He was 18. I'd be . . . very _careful_ putting a 13 year old in any kind of similar situation.

Although, man, poor Astrid. Yes, she had about all the gumption of a turnip, but one of the wizarding world's flaws that was under-addressed in the series was how it treated Squibs. Chopping ingredients and being a guinea pig? Then, after carting her off to that environment, she comes home pregnant, and her dad would have left her with nothing if her son hadn't been magical? I take it a decent education and a job that didn't involve waving a wand never occurred to him.

I'm not quite sure I'm following why she didn't want to contact Fenrir's father, but have some tentative theories -

1) Despite her attempts to make it sound like a vaguely romantic or at least consensual relationship, it wasn't; and she's more terrified of him than she is of Junior.

2) She knows he died, either during the war (possibly at Dumbledore's hands?) or after.

3) She's attempted to contact him and been told this was her problem, not his.

4) She never got his name.

5) She knows enough about his life after the war to be either afraid he wouldn't want anything to do with her (he's married a respectable witch and put all that Grindelwald stuff behind him) or his life is so messed up that even Astrid couldn't imagine him being a good influence.

Sorry if I'm being hopelessly naive or something in not seeing which of those it should be.

From: (Anonymous) Date: November 14th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, saw your answer above. Never mind.

Grrr. And her parents _sent_ her to that place? And don't seem to have been terribly supportive when she got back? _And_ don't seem to have been disillusioned about Grindelwald after what happened to her? And left their daughter with the feeling that her sole, worthwhile contribution to the family and the world in general was being victimized by a man who could give her a wizard son?

Pardon me while I edit out several highly appropriate but not really suitable for public viewing statements about what I'd like to see done to those people.

willowbough From: willowbough Date: November 14th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Greyback is beyond sick. And a clueless, ineffectual mother like Astrid would have done nothing to counteract his worst tendencies--in fact, she may well have exacerbated them with her not-quite-accurate story about his father the helpful Werewolf Guard. All the same, what a horrid way to die. And the brief, unknowing exchange between Astrid and Julia was chilling.

Looking forward to the next, while peeping out between my fingers.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
She definitely gave a shape to his psychopathy with the werewolf story, and probably--possibly to avoid conflict--told him that she'd take care of the Registry and not make him do it.
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: November 14th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: November 14th, 2007 08:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Eep! Entirely creepy backstory that was heightened by the brief interaction between Julia and Astrid. I feel sorry for Astrid, and yet I want to shake some sense into her too.

Of course McGonagall would want to rush off to the house, but I'm glad that Alphard had the sense to insist on coming with her.

Quick content question: in this section, you refer to Julia as the Head Girl, but in the last section, she was only wearing a prefect's badge. Is there a difference between the two badges, or am I remembering wrong? (Entirely possible!)

Looking forward to the next section...um, as much as one can look forward to another creepy scene. ;~)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well... I changed my mind between scenes. :p Hoping to slip that in without notice, I guess. She'll be wearing a head girl badge in re-writes. I just wanted a reason why she'd be called instead of another seventh year prefect.
amamama From: amamama Date: November 14th, 2007 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)
*shudders* You're doing an exellent job, fleshing out Greyback's history. And I find myself wondering how many psychos out there are the way they are because they grew up in similar conditions, as well as musing over how 'energy' is inherited, not just genes... Fascinating. But this story of yours - it is so well written I find myself feeling queasy. Wonderful, though I must admit I look forward to something lighter and fluffier...

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sure there's a genetic component, and I'm sure that, prettified stories aside, a part of Astrid expects Fenrir to act a certain way and her own behavior would, to some extent, reinforce it. Eg, if he brought her a flower from the garden when he was five, she might look surprised and suspicious instead of surprised and pleased, but if he kicked her in the shin, her expression would be more resigned, like she could hardly expect anything else from him.
keestone From: keestone Date: November 14th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. This section gave me the chills. It's so horribly plausible, and it makes so much sense out of all those fragments left hanging in canon.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Greyback is the creepiest character in HP, if not the most dangerous. I just want to scrub my brain when he's been on stage!
From: ltj_ska_girl127 Date: November 14th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I feel bad for Astrid, because her son's a complete psychopath, but at the same time, I don't. It's hard to feel bad for someone who probably did some sort of damage to her own son, even if she didn't realize it.

I love the backstory for Greyback and the way you've fleshed him out. The brief interaction between Julia and Astrid sent shivers down my spine. Excellent installment, as usual. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Astrid's a frustrating sort of person, who I want to feel bad for because bad things happened to her, but I can't quite do it, because she's maddeningly obtuse and a real enabler for her son's behavior.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: November 14th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh, this next part is not going to be easy to read. If you're trying to keep us on the edges of our seats, you're succeeding!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 14th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good. :)

matril From: matril Date: November 14th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now things are getting really interesting. Apologies to Teddy, but I can't say I was particuarly engrossed in his romantic shenanigans. This, on the other hand, is intense, though of course very disturbing. It's reminding me of HBP - if you want to defeat your enemy, you have to understand his past. I'm curious to see where it will all lead.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 15th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee, yes. I wasn't very interested in Harry's Quidditch worries, either, but I do ultimately like the contrast between utterly silly teenage nonsense and the very serious stuff that they're forced to deal with. No silly nonsense means no contrast, so in goes the silly nonsense. ;p
From: smishli Date: November 14th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh to Grindelwald's vision of society, though it fits in nicely with all we know of him so far. And I admit it's a bit fun, knowing what we now know about Dumbledore, to see his reaction to this mention of Grindelwald; bah to Snape's love for Lily, it's Dumbledore IMO who has the most tragic love story in the series!

Looking forward to the next, but also not looking forward to seeing Greyback's destruction...which should give you an indication of just how fabulous your writing is! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 15th, 2007 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to getting rid of Greyback! :) I plan to sadistically enjoy it.
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