Table of Contents and Summary So Far
By the time they'd got to the Owlery, Lee and George had settled in quite comfortably. George was feeding a mouse to one of the school owls, and Lee was propped in one of the glassless windows, one foot planted on the floor, the other on the sill. They were laughing.
"...decided to sneak down the wall and see Hogsmeade?" George said. "I told him he'd end up breaking his leg, but he managed to get all the way down to the lake before Hagrid got hold of him and marched him back up."
"As I recall," Lee said, "I told him he'd break his leg. You told him that you already had detention and couldn't join him. It was the thing with--"
"--Flint, right! I'd forgotten, you're right."
Lee looked over at the stairs where Teddy was standing with Uncle Harry, and smiled. "Teddy. Don't ever try to climb down the wall. Very dangerous." He gave a pious nod.
"There were no broomsticks about?" Teddy asked. "I'd have taken a broomstick. And I don't even like flying."
"I like the way you think," George said. "We'll have to have you in for pipes and poker soon. This summer, I think." He smiled. "Fred would be kicking himself just about now for not thinking of the broomstick. We were first years and didn't have our own, but it's never been hard to sneak them away from other people."
Lee turned and put both feet on the floor. "So, Harry... what's the real story with the Owlery. You can't really see in every direction up here."
"Of course you can," Uncle Harry said. "Teddy? Do you have anything that might help them see in every direction?"
Teddy cocked an eyebrow at them, trying to mimic their easygoing friendship. "Do you solemnly swear...?"
They raised their wands in unison. "...that we're up to no good," they said.
Teddy took the Marauder's Map from his bag and spread it out on a large crate that wasn't too badly splattered with owl droppings. Dad's wand, tethered to it, thumped out onto the slats.
"How many wands do you have?" Lee asked.
"Just two," Teddy said. "And this one really belongs to the Map. It's Dad's. Watch."
Lee and George bent over the Map, and with some apprehension, Teddy used Dad's wand to open it, bringing out all the tricks the Marauders had saved for themselves. He looked up partway through explaining its ability to find lost things, and was delighted to see the men completely engrossed in what he was telling them, watching the magical item they'd used do things they didn't know it could do. George was watching with frank, open admiration, Lee with plain happiness. Teddy smiled. He hoped that, whatever was on the other side, the Marauders were all watching, and were happy to see themselves being properly appreciated. He imagined Dad looking a little embarrassed, James possibly exaggerating some emotion or wiping a fake tear of pride from his eye, Sirius puffing up like a popinjay. He didn't think Peter was with them anymore, but if he could see, Teddy imagined a place for him where he could think, "At least I did something right once." He didn't share these imaginings with Lee and George (and wouldn't share them even if it were just Uncle Harry here), but he did share it with the Marauders as well as he could, and a part of him felt them here, three more people in the room, bent over the crate, letting Teddy do their talking.
"...and it turns out that Dad bound Uncle Harry to it," he finished, "so Uncle Harry could bind me. I updated it. It shows the White Tomb now, and a lot of things that I noticed were different. I guess there's still a lot it doesn't see, but we can see everything in the castle."
Uncle Harry looked it over; he seemed happy just to watch the dots moving about with the names attached to them. "I also looked through Moody's dark detectors, and added a spell to warn Teddy when there was anyone around who meant him harm."
"Like Victoire," Teddy said.
George laughed. "Victoire?"
"She got a bit miffed at me and tried to set off your fireworks in my dormitory. I noticed them ahead of time and gave them back to her."
"Why was she miffed?"
"I don't know. She got mad when she found out I was going out with Ruthless. They don't like one another for some reason."
Lee bellowed laughter and sat on the floor. Uncle Harry and George were looking at each other oddly, and Teddy realized what they must think.
"No," he said. "Nothing like that. Really. I don't know what the problem is. They didn't like each other quite a long time before I started going out with Ruthless. And I think they still don't. It doesn't have anything to do with me."
This didn't seem to lessen their amusement.
George recovered first. "If you say so, Teddy."
Uncle Harry cleared his throat and pursed his lips against smiling. He got it under control and said, "Now, as to the Map. The warning spell is automatic when Teddy opens it, and it references him, but any of the werewolves in Greyback's pack are a danger to him, so they should show up in red if they're here."
"Right," Lee said. He got back up, looked at Teddy and laughed, then caught himself and said, "So they'll most likely have to Apparate before moonrise, won't they? Even with her special spells, they can't possibly Apparate after they've changed."
"I'm not even going to count on that absolutely," Uncle Harry said, "though it's probably true. The Map doesn't see most of the Forbidden Forest past the spider's nest. Unless... Teddy have you gone any further? No consequences if you say yes."
"A little further," Teddy admitted. "Frankie and I found a cave last year. But not much. Most of it still doesn't show up. But I did go to where the gate was, that Mum and Dad sent the pups through. It's a neat little clearing, but it's close to the wall. There's still a lot of forest out there."
Little by little, their gathering started to feel less like an old friends' reunion and more like a planning session. Teddy wasn't the center of attention, but he was as much a part of it as George, Lee, or Uncle Harry. It was a good feeling. He hoped that, when he grew up, they would want him as a friend. He had the idea that they could be his friends, just as much as Ruthless or Donzo or Frankie. He considered this a rather profound thought, though it occurred to him that it would be wise not to expose it to the light of day just now.
He walked down with them as the sun set, escorting them to the door as if they'd been there to visit him. Hagrid met them, and they disappeared into the shadows as they headed toward the gate.
Teddy went into the Great Hall for supper, and sat with Victoire and Ruthless as usual. He felt like telling them about his afternoon with Lee and George, possibly dropping in that he would be part of the guard on the school when the full moon rose, but he supposed that was meant to be a secret. He did tell them--so that they wouldn't worry when he didn't come back to Gryffindor Tower, of course--that he would have to help the guards with something. He slyly tipped the corner of the Marauder's Map out of his book bag--since they both knew about it, anyway--and they looked suitably impressed. He had a brief fantasy that Ruthless would say that she wanted to go out again, but she just settled in to do her Transfiguration homework. Victoire started to ask questions, but Teddy shook his head, hoping she would know it meant that it was all somewhat secret.
After supper, he went back to his room to make sure his work was done before this started, in case things got out of control. When he went to sleep, he dreamed himself back onto Tirza's ship. This time, for once, Tirza was on board. She and Holt and the pirates were preparing for a battle at the island.
"We need every hand!" she was saying, rounding everyone up.
Holt turned to him. "We need you in the crow's nest, Teddy."
"Isn't that where you belong?"
"I can't get there," he said, and Teddy looked down to see that his foot was in a cast. There seemed to be some reason why he couldn't magically repair whatever the damage was, so Teddy didn't question it. He obviously couldn't climb up the ladder to the crow's nest. "It's up to you. Go on."
Tirza ran over. "Are you sure? It's awfully high up there."
"It's the best place for him," Holt said. "And we need someone there."
"I suppose." Tirza looked at him, frowning. "You'll be careful, won't you? Keep to where you're told?"
"It's a bit hard to get down from there," Teddy said. "Unless I fly."
She touched his face. Her hand seemed to have a queer weightlessness to it. "Go on then," she said. "We'll be on the island. Everything will be fine. Be careful." She kissed his cheek, then rushed off into the thick of the pirates, where she was directing the landing party.
Holt put a hand on Teddy's shoulder. "Watch the shadows," he said, then turned and followed Tirza to a rowboat.
Teddy squared his shoulders, then climbed the mast, feeling the good warmth of the tropical sun on his straining shoulders. He pulled himself into the crow's nest and picked up the Omnioculars someone had left there. Looking through them, he saw the world as the Marauder's Map--dots with names floating beside them--but he couldn't read them all. He set the Omnioculars back down, and watched the rowboats dwindling as they leapt toward the lost colony.
He stayed above, keeping his watch.