FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,

Teddy Lupin and the Hunter's Moon, Chapter 15: Dark Holiday, pt. 3

Okay. Teddy has invited McGonagall up to learn more about Astrid Greyback, on the notion that Greyback may also have scrounged and hoarded parental information and souvenirs, and that might give a clue as to his present whereabouts. McGonagall has showed him an early meeting with Astrid, the first time Fenrir attacked a fellow student, and Astrid gave the story of his conception (not very nice, though she tries to paint it over). Teddy wants to know if McGonagall ever saw the house, and the only time she saw it was after Greyback killed Astrid. She warns Teddy that it was "messy" and she doesn't want to show him. He says he won't look, but needs to see the house. Oh, and Alphard Black went to the scene with her.

Thanks to cornedbee for the suggestion of a translation for "For the Greater Good."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The world that rushed up around Teddy was dismal--a run-down shack in the middle of nowhere, hidden from the world. The front garden was overgrown, but now dead. Scrawny pine trees, looking like the drawings of a clumsy child, poked listlessly against a gray sky.

The younger Professor McGonagall, who had just Apparated, paused with her hands on her hips, and a second later, a pop announced the arrival of a young man with wavy brown hair like Granny's (and Teddy's own, for that matter). It had to have come down from the Crabbe side of the family, but it was the only sign. His sharp-featured face and flashing gray eyes would have given him away as one Black or another, even if Professor McGonagall hadn't already told Teddy that he was the famous Uncle Alphard, who would eventually be burned off the tree for helping the as-yet-unborn Sirius make his escape.

The older Professor McGonagall looked anxiously at Teddy. "You'll keep your word, Mr. Lupin? And not look?"

"I'll try."

She nodded grimly. "And Teddy, anything else you may see or surmise, though not nearly as serious--might I ask you to keep it to yourself?"

"Yes, Ma'am."

While they'd talked, the younger McGonagall and Alphard had rushed up to the cottage, calling for Astrid. McGonagall stopped and pounded on the door. "Madam Greyback! Madam Greyback, it's Minerva McGonagall, I mean you no harm, nor do I mean harm to Fenrir."

"You're speaking for yourself alone, there, Pallas," Alphard said. He put his hand lightly on her shoulder, and pulled her back from the door. "We're coming in," he said.

He didn't wait for any answer. He just raised his wand and blasted the door into tinder.

He froze. "Oh, God."

McGonagall closed her eyes. "We're too late."

"We should find her," Alphard whispered. "Maybe we can still save her."

He didn't sound hopeful, and when Teddy got close enough to the door, he could see why. The kitchen they were facing looked like a firework had gone off in a bucket of red paint. The cupboard doors were spattered, the table covered with a bright splash. A thick scarlet rope snaked down the front of the refrigerator. Bloody footsteps--bare feet, but larger than Astrid's--led off toward a door on one side, a door that was slightly ajar. Through it, Teddy could see a bed, and one bare leg dangling off of it.

"We'll remain out here," the older Professor McGonagall said. "Turn your back."

Teddy did as he was told. She looked pale and shaken. Behind him, he could hear Alphard and the younger McGoangall--Pallas, he supposed--going through the murder scene. Alphard said, "My God, Pallas, don't you see it's pointless? She can't be alive!"

A moment later, she burst out of the room, covered in Astrid's blood. She leaned over the sink and vomited into it. Alphard followed. He put his hands on her shoulders and she turned to him. He hugged her. "I'll send for Aurors," he said, pulling away.

Pallas shook her head. "No, I..." She gathered herself. "I'll send a message. Alastor Moody worked with us in the war, getting people out of Europe. Dumbledore discovered a quicker way to communicate." She raised her wand and Conjured a Patronus, then said, "Astrid Greyback is dead. Fenrir missing. Come immediately." The Patronus--a cat, Teddy saw, which looked like her Animagus form--jumped at her and then disappeared.

"Nice trick," Alphard said dryly. "Possibly useful enough to share with the world at large now that there's no more need for secrecy."

"Please don't," Pallas said.

Alphard shrugged.

"Is the Patronus form always the same as the Animagus form?" Teddy asked, thinking of his hawk.

"Generally," Professor McGonagall told him. "There are exceptions."

"And if a person were to become a bird--a hawk, say--he could fly?"

She smiled, but didn't answer.

Pallas and Alphard began to talk listlessly about the war with Grindelwald, and within a minute, Alastor Moody arrived. He was their age, and, though it was years before he would obtain his magical eye, Teddy could already see why they called him "Mad-Eye." He had a wild, half-crazy look about him, and Teddy felt almost as though he could see the two interlopers from the future perfectly well. Moody told Pallas and Alphard to stay out of the crime scene, and they obliged by moving into a room on the opposite side of the kitchen, a dusty, cluttered room that had to be Fenrir Greyback's bedroom. Teddy had been thinking of trying to search the bloody kitchen, but if Greyback had mementos, they would probably be there, in his private space. He and the older Professor McGonagall followed Alphard and Pallas. Pallas took a seat at a work table; Alphard paced restlessly around.

Teddy began at the bedside table, where a dusty and nearly unused candle stood. Apparently Fenrir hadn't spent a lot of time reading after dark by its flickering light.

"Is there something I can help you look for?" Professor McGonagall asked.

"I don't know," Teddy said, feeling foolish now, no longer convinced that he'd find anything. It had been a mad idea from the start. Why would he have anything? His father hadn't even known he existed, and he knew his mother. He wouldn't have the hole Teddy had, he wouldn't need to squirrel things away, and why would he want to, his father hadn't been a good man, his father had been--

He stopped.

He'd been moving aimlessly away from the bed, looking for a box of treasures or a lever that hid something. He didn't know what he'd intended to do with it, as he couldn't very well touch anything here, but he'd still been looking, ignoring Pallas and Alphard's desultory conversation about their school days and the Grindelwald war. But as he came around, he noticed that both Professor McGonagall and Pallas were looking with identical expressions of distaste at the most obvious thing in the room. Occupying nearly the same spot on Fenrir's wall that Teddy's poster of the sexy chemist occupied on his own was a poster of the ugliest building Teddy had ever seen, a black monstrosity of a tower jutting up among rugged mountains covered with scraggly trees. The photographer had taken the picture from underneath a gate over the road that led up to the building, and over the gate, he could see the words "Zum Wohl der Menschheit." Teddy spoke no German at all, but the poster had obviously been made for English speakers. He wasn't sure if it was meant to threaten or convince, but he knew the motto that had been written in now fading letters at the bottom: "FOR THE GREATER GOOD."

"Is that Nurmengard?" he whispered to Professor McGonagall.

She nodded. "When Grindelwald was coming to power, he had allies here. He wanted everyone to agree. He put out what he thought of as attractive posters. There weren't many who found that attractive, I'm glad to say." She considered it. "Though I suppose we were punished for our hubris about that a few years later by our enthusiasm for something even uglier." She turned to him. "Why?"

Teddy didn't answer, because he wasn't sure of the words for it. Greyback would have grown up hearing about Astrid's "holiday" near Nurmengard. About his father the werewolf, and the cottage in the woods. About her wandering for days before she found anyone.

"That's where they are," he said. "I mean, I think... I think it might be."

"Nurmengard is held by legitimate authorities now," Professor McGonagall said doubtfully.

"I know, but... the woods." Teddy looked at the poster again. There were miles and miles of woods around the prison. He couldn't know they were there, and even if he did, he couldn't know where they were in that tangle.

Except that he knew there was a cottage.

Days from the nearest home.

And he knew they were there.

Professor McGonagall seemed to notice that he had found something, and said, "Shall we leave here?"

"If you're ready," he said. "I don't want to rush you."

"They're my memories, Mr. Lupin; I can visit them whenever I so choose." She smiled at Pallas and Alphard. "And I choose to rather more often than I once did."

She put her hand on his shoulder, and a moment later, they were thrown out into the greenhouse. Teddy took a deep breath. "Thank you," he said. "I should talk to Uncle Harry now."

"Teddy... I'm sorry that you had to see something as horrible as what was in that house in order to find it."

"I didn't really look," Teddy said. He started to say that he was going to go to the gate to talk to whatever Auror was on security today, but then he remembered that she was his guest. It would be rude to just walk away from her. In fact, he wasn't sure how to end the tea. Had she invited him, he'd just make his proper excuses and leave, but it couldn't be polite to just tell a guest--an older guest--that it was time to go away now. He was burning to talk to Uncle Harry, but instead, he sat down and raised Professor Longbottom's teapot. "Would you care for another cup of tea?"

She laughed. "No, thank you. I believe I will visit Professor Longbottom's office to say goodbye, and then I'll return home. It's been interesting." She nodded to him and left. Teddy quickly tidied up Professor Longbottom's tea set, then started down to the gate, meaning to catch today's guard and ask for Uncle Harry, when he remembered that he had a better way.

He raised his wand. "Expecto Patronum." The hawk appeared, and he concentrated hard on Uncle Harry and said, "Declamare Patroni. I have an idea about Greyback. I'm going to the main gate." The hawk swooped down, circled at him, and disappeared.

He wanted to say it was all right not to come if he was having tea with the family, that he could send his Patronus, but he didn't think Wings could carry anything that complex. He guessed Uncle Harry would understand that, anyway. Since he hadn't said anything about being in trouble, maybe Prongs would just show up and tell him that they could speak by Floo, or at his lesson on Thursday.

But when he got to the gate, Uncle Harry was standing there with the Auror Williams, looking serious. He opened it and came in. "What's this about, Teddy?" he asked.

Teddy told him everything.

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  • So, "The End of the World" is getting an audio treatment...

    I had an email asking about doing, and it's kind of fun to listen to a podfic. I don't know how often they plan to update, but if you're into it,…

  • Dia challenge 4

    Harris, Mags, Finnick and the other Four victors in the afterlife, discussing the changes in Four, etc. for Anon 1 Okay. They're Catholic, so I…

  • Dia challenge 3

    Chicharrón being forgotten is what really made me bawl and he was snatched away before we got to know him so maybe a friendship piece between him…