Following an escalation of hostilities, the Ministry is gearing up for an anticipated attack from Greyback's werewolves. Families are going to be guarded at Hogwarts. Teddy is delighted to have been asked to stand a watch with Lee and George, using the Marauder's Map.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
The days were getting longer, but sunset was still before dinner at February's full moon, so dinner was to be held early that night. Professor Sprout had told everyone, of course, but it seemed most of the student body was still surprised when the door to the antechamber outside the Great Hall opened and seven-year-old Aimee Weasley ran out, closely followed by Al Potter. Al spotted Teddy, who was coming up from Potions with Corky and Maurice, and grabbed Aimee by the elbow to drag her over.
"We're spending the night!" he announced, then seemed to notice the others. He'd seen them, of course, but always forgot them between times. His bright green eyes went wide, and he grasped Teddy's hand.
"It's all right, Al," Teddy said. "These are my friends, Corky and Maurice. Is everyone here?"
Aimee inserted herself into the group. "We're all here. All my sisters, and Artie, and the Potters, and Rosie and Hugo, and where is Victoire? I want to see where Victoire lives!"
"Are you Victoire's sister?" Maurice asked.
Aimee nodded emphatically. "She's the very eldest of us, and she's very smart."
"I've noticed that about her," Corky said, then leaned down confidentially and added, "But I think you're prettier."
Aimee smiled so widely that Teddy could almost hear air going into her head, blowing her up so she might float away. She looked at Al. "I'm prettier than Victoire," she said. "He said so."
Al nodded somberly, as if he hadn't heard the entire conversation. "Is Victoire here?"
"I think she'll be coming over from Defense Against the Dark Arts soon," Teddy said. "Why don't we go in and say hello? Al, will you show us where your mum and James and Lily are?"
Given a task, Al seemed much more secure. He turned and tugged Teddy by the hand, back toward the antechamber, taking giant steps. "Mummy is talking to Kingsley and Aunt Fleur, and James has lost points for Gryffindor because he tried to climb the fireplace."
"James lost us points? He's not in the house!"
"Uncle Neville said he'd just have to take them from Gryffindor, as it's James's favorite House. James was very sad, but Uncle Neville said he could earn them back if he told stories to the little kids. Aimee and I know them all, though. So does Lily, but Lily and Hugo are playing Gobstones." He crossed the threshold and waved. James, who looked perfectly happy at the moment, waved from the tabletop, where he was having some sort of involved duel with himself while about a dozen smaller children looked on.
Then he noticed Teddy and stopped. "It's Teddy!"
"Go on with your story," Teddy said. "I want those points back."
"Will you make faces?"
Corky laughed. "Go on, Lupin. Make faces." He leaned against the back wall, and Maurice planted himself in a velvet chair.
Teddy gave in and went to the table. He sat on the edge of it, and James resumed his story, which seemed to be about a boy named Harry--"But not my daddy, this is a different Harry, who has brown hair"--who, along with his very best friend James, was going after (of course) a treasure, which was hidden somewhere here at Hogwarts. Teddy made all sorts of faces for him, including Professor Longbottom (who knew all of the secrets), Victoire, Hagrid, and--Teddy guessed this was a last minute addition--Corky and Maurice, who were to help Harry and James go down to the Chain Ball of Secrets, which would roll off the top of a cave where the treasure was hidden. (Aunt Ginny, now listening, was laughing rather hysterically at all of this.) He finished it up, seeing to it that everyone got a piece of the treasure, and some of it was put back into the Gryffindor hourglass, to replace what he'd had to take to get in, then took a bow.
"Well," Professor Longbottom said, "you've earned the points back, and I'll give Teddy ten more for helping out."
Teddy acknowledged it as well as he could, though it was difficult as Rosie Weasley had climbed up onto his lap and started poking at his face, trying to see how it worked, and three-year-old Laurel Shacklebolt was pulling his hair. To his amusement, when he looked up, he saw that Aimee and baby Muriel had latched onto Corky and Maurice during the story. Corky and Maurice looked like they'd been caught in some sort of unexpected war until Victoire swept in, picked up Muriel, and kissed Aimee. Marie and Artie ran over to join them, and Fleur, who was now starting to look pregnant, came over and fussed at Victoire. Teddy extricated himself from the girls and went to Aunt Ginny. The boys followed him.
"Are you all safe?" he asked her.
"Yes, Teddy, we're perfectly safe." She smiled. "I understand you'll be helping with the lookout."
He nodded. "Are you patrolling?"
"Yes. I convinced the Minister that Professor Longbottom belonged in his House, as the other Heads of House will be. I'll be patrolling the corridors, along with Kingsley and Professor Robards."
"Who's watching in the Great Hall?"
She smiled faintly. "We have it under control, Teddy," she said. "Fleur's in charge. I think I've got Dennis talked into staying with Angelina and Colin rather than rushing off on his own"--she pointed at the Creevey family--"and Professor Robards has asked several of his seventh year N.E.W.T. students to volunteer."
"Is that enough? What about the others? Is that Mrs. Shacklebolt?" He pointed to tall, thin woman with high cheekbones.
"Yes. And she's an experienced duelist. I've asked Hagrid to stay in here as well. If there's anyone on the staff who can handle a werewolf one-to-one, it's Hagrid." She winked. "Besides, with you and Lee and George on the look-out, they won't be able to surprise us."
Professor Sprout insisted that students eat in the Great Hall, so the visitors could eat in peace here--"The elves are having enough trouble keeping up with this without people being in the wrong places!"--and by the time Teddy had finished eating, nearly everyone seemed aware of the visitors. Students helped professors get the Great Hall in order for their overnight stay. Professors and N.E.W.T. students Conjured rows of camp beds. Donzo offered to play for everyone to get the little children calmed down. He was setting up near the high table, the enchanted ceiling a darkening orange above him, when Teddy ducked out. He looked at the Great Hall with lines of children lying down on their beds, adults wandering among them, looking disoriented, and had the unwelcome thought that this was what it must have looked like after the battle, when the prone forms weren't sleeping.
He shuddered and slipped out, leaving the room behind him.
Lee and George were waiting in the Owlery, and Teddy put aside thoughts of the crowded Hall downstairs. Lee spread a clean cloth over the crate, and Teddy opened the Marauder's Map.
"We've been talking about it," George said. "If they're going to use that girl's spell to Apparate in, they'll have to do it before moonrise. Once they turn, they don't really have the brains to Apparate."
"Then maybe they're already here," Teddy said, poring over the Map, searching for splashes of red.
"Maybe," Lee said. "But if so, they're in one of the places the Map doesn't show. I think we can rule out the inside of Hagrid's cabin, just on principle, but there's a lot of forest, and we can't really see under the lake."
"They're not mer-werewolves," Teddy said, then remembered that he was talking to an adult. "Er... sorry."
George grinned. "We were reckoning on bubble-head charms or whatnot. And there's also the question of whether or not they'll show up as wolves once they turn. The Map doesn't show every creature out there. We can see your cat, Checkmate"--he pointed to the dot bouncing wildly around Teddy's room--"but we can't see the mouse I'll bet she's chasing."
"Hmm." Teddy tapped the Map with his own wand and said, "Teddy Lupin respectfully requests the wisdom of the Marauders on the subject of seeing werewolves."
"Does that work?" George asked.
"Sometimes." At the top of the Map, Moony tipped his head curiously, but offered nothing. "Apparently, not this time." He shrugged, trying to look like he wasn't deeply disappointed. "I guess we'll just have to find out. Is there anyone at the Astronomy Tower to watch the lake?"
"Professor Sinistra took the watch," Lee said, then waved his wand, sending off his Patronus. "Just telling her to watch the lake." He grinned at George. "I don't know about you, but I like telling teachers what to do sometimes."
George laughed. "It is refreshing, isn't it? Come on, Lupin. We have a good view of the edge of the Forbidden Forest from here. Lee can take the first Map-watch. You can start telling me all of the other things it does."
"I want to hear about how you found it, and figured it out without anyone telling you."
So they sat on the ledge of the Owlery, watching the Forest as the sky blackened and the moon rose. Teddy looked up at it, spared a thought for Dad and the pups, and little Neil Overby.
Then he heard it.
The rising howl, coming from everywhere, echoing over the water, bouncing from the very stones of the castle.
They were here.