Here, they've survived a rather major werewolf assault--three at Hogwarts, with special powers, several scattered around the countryside. Teddy barely got away from one. Now, they need to regroup, and Greyback probably does as well.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
The werewolf attacks were the front page of the next day's Daily Prophet, of course. Altogether, the Aurors had caught eight werewolves, and interrogation of the imprisoned members of the pack suggested that there were fewer than a dozen left. "But their ranks," Rita Skeeter wrote ominously, "were nearly repleted by the end of the night, with four healthy British children stolen away in the dead of night..."
The children's names were not familiar to Teddy, except in the way names of pure-blood families nearly always were--a Fawcett, a Catchlove, a McDougal, and Derwent. None of them had any particular reason to be targeted, and hadn't done anything to protect themselves. The Derwent family had been slaughtered. The Fawcetts were interviewed, and seemed to blame the Aurors for not being there, and complained that they, like the Overbys, had been hit for being too close to a target's home (in their case, the Burrow). Several other families, who'd been saved by the Aurors, were also interviewed, but of course, they didn't get Rita Skeeter's byline. At the Ravenclaw table, Geoffrey was expounding to the first years about what sort of business had probably gone into the interrogation, at least until Franklin--Teddy was quite thankful for this--told him to shut his trap for once. In Charms, Franklin came to work with Teddy, and said that he understood the situation better now, though he still wished werewolves were treated better. Teddy shrugged and said, "You'll have no argument from me," then got another rock, as the first one they'd been trying to charm had scampered off the table and was presently hiding under a dusty cupboard.
The next day, letters had poured in from families all over Britain who'd called Aurors and been saved. One of the editors used them to make a map. They estimated at least eight different paths. The one at Hogwarts was singular, and another attempt, involving two werewolves, had been made on Ministry headquarters (like Hogwarts, it had been left in the care of non-Aurors--in the case of the Ministry, Maddie's department--the Unspeakables--had trapped both attackers in a mirror. The picture of this in the Prophet was frightening indeed, though the text said that both had reverted to human form, and were now trying to arrange a release. Single wolves had roamed the countryside, looking for victims in the Cambrian Mountains, on the Bodmin Moor, outside Donegal, near Loch Shin, in the Pennines, and on the Isle of Wight. There was no rhyme or reason to these choices, at least according to the paper. They were just "soft." Whatever that meant.
"I can't imagine what they thought they were doing on the Isle of Wight," Uncle Harry said as they walked toward the Shrieking Shack. "It's not as though it's on the way to somewhere, and there's no reason for her to have started them there."
"Maybe they were looking for a holiday home," Teddy suggested. He was walking on a series of uneven stones at the side of the road, slowing them down, but more determined than he had been to cure himself of his clumsiness. It had been nothing but good luck that had kept him from jumping straight into Konrad the werewolf. "You know, pretty scenery, lot of tourists to hunt for sport if they go during the Bestival."
"It's as reasonable as anything else I can think of." They stopped at the gate, and Uncle Harry waited for Teddy to open the house. "I've decided not to lecture you," he said as they went in. "You know where you went wrong, and I'd rather work on your Stunning Spell. Also, Ginny said she was quite explicit in her scold."
"She was right." Teddy closed the door and looked around. "Lee said she was there when my mother went off onto the grounds. That she tried to stop her."
"Does she know why Mum left?"
Uncle Harry frowned. "I've told you everything we've been able to piece together. Your mum was fighting beside Ginny. She saw something down below and ran off."
"D'you think it was Dad?" Teddy asked. "I mean, do you think she ran off because she thought she could save him?"
"I don't know. They were found together, and Dean saw her running out, but no one knows if that's why she came out of the castle."
"I, er... heard that she really liked these stupid romance books, where the heroines are always rushing off to save the heroes. Do you suppose she ran off because she thought it would be like the books?" Teddy did his best to keep his voice even, but Uncle Harry still looked suspicious.
"I think," he said, "that if your mum liked that sort of story--and I didn't know that about her--that it was because that was the sort of person she was. She believed in jumping right into things. Trying to help."
"She's quite a lot like someone else I can think of just now."
"Only Lee and George were otherwise occupied."
Uncle Harry sighed and sat down on one of the parlor chairs they'd repaired. "Teddy, your mum was a skilled Auror, not a thirteen year old who hadn't mastered a Stunning Spell yet. Whatever happened, it wasn't because there was no one to rescue her. My suspicion is that Bellatrix caught her in a weak moment, not that Tonks did anything she oughtn't have. She was just overwhelmed, like all of us were."
Teddy nodded, then took a deep breath. "You said we'd work on Stunning Spells."
"Right." Uncle Harry looked troubled, but didn't push the subject any further. They spent the next two hours Stunning each other, and by the end, Teddy thought he'd mastered it fairly well. Uncle Harry said that it wouldn't work against a transformed werewolf, which was a powerfully magical creature, but that it should work perfectly well against Greyback if he showed up in human form.
Teddy thought that the subject of Mum and what had happened on the night of the Battle of Hogwarts had been safely left behind, but as they walked back to Hogwarts in the damp February night, Uncle Harry seemed to brace himself, and said, "Teddy, are you angry?"
"At your mother."
"No," Teddy said.
"Are you sure?"
"Because she was a good woman, and brave woman, and she loved you and your dad."
"And bad romance novels," Teddy said.
Uncle Harry stopped, his eyes narrowed. "Yes. I suppose, if you say so. She also liked wearing her hair pink, and collected used clothes at Oxfam. Your granny once told me that she had six Muggle wedding dresses."
"I know. I've seen them. I don't know what I'm meant to do with her wardrobe."
"You could give it back to Oxfam."
"Or you could wait until you grow up, and pass it on to a daughter to play with. Tonks would like that a lot. Teddy, she's not dead because she liked bad books, any more than she's dead because she tripped on her trainer laces. She's dead because it was a war, and she was fighting it. Stop driving yourself mad trying to come up with some other reason."
"I was reading one of them," Teddy confessed. "It was what she was reading right before the battle. She still had a bookmark in it!"
"Did you enjoy the book?"
"Do you think she did?"
"I guess so. She read the whole series."
"Then that's something good and nice to know about her. Hold onto it."
He looked very stern, and Teddy relented. "All right."
Uncle Harry hooked an arm around his neck. "All right, then. Teddy, do me a favor."
"Re-read the book. Try to think of who she was, and why she liked it, instead of coming up with silly notions about her trying to copy it. She wasn't."
"Are you sure?"
"Teddy, you read it and liked it. Were you thinking about copying it when you jumped in front of a werewolf?"
This hadn't really occurred to Teddy. He shook his head. They reached the gate and walked up to the castle, where they said goodbye at the door. Teddy went upstairs, and opened up The Lost Treasure, which was still lying on his desk. A few minutes later, he was lost in its nonsense plot, enjoying the pirates and the battle, and the absurd island with its peace draught. He stayed up until two finishing it again, skipping some of the slow parts, but deciding to read the ending without thinking, just like it was any other book. And he liked it. It was a better ending than the one she'd actually got. He imagined her on the island, pink hair braided over her shoulders, sunning herself and drinking some silly drink from a coconut shell. Better, he put Dad there as well, in a house on stilts (to protect them from tigers, of course), and Julia and Raymond and all of the others there with them, along with Tirza, Holt, the pirates, the islanders, Sirius and Regulus Black, James and Lily Potter, Peter Pettigrew, Fred Weasley, and the Malacquis family (as it wouldn't be very interesting if no one challenged them). He overslept and missed his first class on Friday, but made it to the second one, and had a perfectly nice lunch with Ruthless and Victoire, who had been making an effort to get along since Fleur had tied them to one another during the battle.
After his last class, he went back to his room and wrote a story for James, about Julia and Raymond, a brother and sister who lived on a special island. A Lethifold came and ate everyone, but they tracked it down and magically made it cough everyone back up. Then they captured the Lethifold, which was a large, flat black thing that mimicked a night-time shadow before slipping over people in their beds and leaving no trace of them behind. With all of their brothers and sisters and friends, which the Lethifold had sicked up, they killed it, then dyed it bright yellow and decorated it with pink and purple spots and smiling stick people. And forever after, he finished, it waved a friendly welcome to everyone who came to visit. The end.
He decided that next Thursday, after his lesson, it would be time to get serious about cleaning up the Shrieking Shack.