Table of Contents and Summary So Far
Teddy's next two lessons were Stunning Spells and housekeeping. The latter, he studied during the week, haunting a part of the library that seemed populated entirely by fifth and sixth year girls with dreamy expressions on their faces. He learned how to properly clean stains from the wallpaper (it was Ron's Abluo Clementis spell, modified with a Charm meant specifically to keep the paste from crumbling), and how to repair rips in the net curtains upstairs. He moved on to a more comfortable area on magical construction, populated by both boys and girls, where he learned how to even up steps on the old staircase and repair the large furniture. During the game at Hufflepuff on Saturday, he asked Frankie for any broken furniture they might be keeping, to practice on while they played. He fixed two bright yellow armchairs (one of which immediately became the "official" Urban Planner's chair), a lopsided table, and a wardrobe Frankie Charmed to come dancing down the corridor on its splintered claw-feet. At the Shrieking Shack, he carefully repaired the bed in his room, then--trying not to think too closely about the subject--his parents' bed. The end tables in their room were smashed and it took help from Uncle Harry to get them straightened out. The banister was the next week, each carved slat getting attention in turn.
Uncle Harry presented Teddy with the drawings he'd given to the pups, who had all used duplication spells on them and given Teddy back the originals. Uncle Harry had had them framed, and they put them up carefully, Teddy adding photographs of himself and Granny and Uncle Harry, as well of Uncle Harry's family and the various Weasleys. The Wall was beginning to look quite crowded. He thought about asking Granny to send the portrait Dad had drawn that belonged over the fireplace, but he wanted to have the place looking more like a home of his own rather than a fantastic phantom before he let her in on it.
The blood stain remained on the floor near the trapdoor, and each time Teddy came in, his eye was drawn to it. He briefly tried Abluo Clementis before he and Uncle Harry started practicing Shield Charms, but it didn't do anything, nor did Evanesco. Teddy hoped Uncle Harry would bring it up on his own, rather than needing to be asked. He obviously needed more time to deal with getting rid of Snape's blood.
The third Thursday after the werewolf attack, Teddy had finished working on a strong Banishing spell, and his Patronus was flying cheerfully around the house (or at least as cheerful as it was possible for a hawk to look). He was in the kitchen trying to use the stair-leveling spell to get the warped flooring under the sink to stay flat when Uncle Harry, who was trying to get the vermin out of the cupboards, glanced out the window and declared that it was nearly curfew, and time for Teddy to get back to Hogwarts.
Teddy, who had lost track of time entirely in his losing battle with the linoleum, swore before he remembered that he was with an adult. He looked up sheepishly. "Sorry, Uncle Harry."
"I've heard worse. But we're walking a thin line with the school here, and it's best if we don't try the Headmistress's patience by getting you back late."
"Saturday is a Hogsmeade weekend," Teddy said. "Could I come here instead?"
"Not by yourself." He shrugged. "Sorry, Teddy, I can't come up on Saturday--Al's favorite little chum is having a birthday party, and Ginny can't take him, as she has to cover a game in Ballycastle--and the Aurors will be watching the village."
"Oh," Teddy said.
Uncle Harry considered it as they left the house and locked the gate. "Maybe Vivian could come with you. I know she's been meaning to find some corner of the cellar to transform in, so she doesn't disturb your work."
Teddy winced. "Oh, I forgot completely! I didn't mean to cramp her up in a basement!"
"She doesn't mind. But if all you mean to do is work on the house, it's connected to the grounds, and--with a particular sort of stretch--could be considered part of Vivian's job, so she'd have some reason to have a student here helping her. I don't suppose you've done anything warranting a detention with her lately."
"Sorry, no. I could sneak into the restricted section of the library and get some books on Animagi that Professor McGonagall told me about."
Uncle Harry's eyebrows went up. "Interesting. But that would just end you up in Madam Pince's detention." He walked down the road for a moment, looking amused. "Are you thinking of becoming an Animagus?"
"Oh, no," Teddy said. "Of course not. I'd have to have an outstanding O.W.L. in Transfiguration and register with a proper teacher at the Ministry. I'm surprised you don't know that, being the head of the Auror Division." He grinned.
It turned out not to require a detention. Vivian was pleased to help, though she said that Père Alderman meant to visit on Saturday, if Teddy wouldn't mind the extra company. Teddy didn't.
He spent Friday evening practicing cleaning spells in the Common Room, and Ruthless tipped her head at him curiously. "Lupin, have you gone around the bend?"
He smiled at her. He felt like he was floating. "You drove me around it. Leaving me, you know. I'll never recover."
Her skeptical expression turned breezy. "First of all, Teddy, you were the one who did the breaking up, though I notice you don't tell it that way. Second, you'd best be heartbroken. You clearly know you let a good thing slip through your fingers." She fainted melodramatically onto the nearest sofa, then peeked up cautiously. "Is it good to joke about it?"
"Good. I'm going into Hogsmeade with the crew of non-going-out people. Are you coming? Or have you decided to break some new girl's heart? I understand Jane Hunter has her cap set for you."
It took Teddy a moment to remember Jane, the Slytherin Muggle-born who'd broken up with Roger Young because they disagreed on the weather. He shook his head. "I don't think so. I'm doing something else on Saturday."
He shrugged. "Housekeeping."
"I can see why you wouldn't want to miss it for mere hanging around with your friends."
"So, who's in the non-going-out crew now?"
Ruthless caught him up on the news, which he'd started to ignore once he no longer had a girlfriend or any interest in a new one. Corky had gone out with (and broken up with) Connie Deverill, and was now testing the waters with an older woman--Ruthless's dormitory mate, Kate Sands. Donzo had impressed Laura Chapman during the werewolf attack, and they'd been seen snogging near the greenhouses. Maurice was still annoyed at how many people were playing this silly game. Nearly everyone other than Frankie and Tinny was speculating on whether or not Frankie and Tinny were going together, or just going together. Teddy wondered how he'd managed to get absolutely none of this.
"Don't know how you missed it," Ruthless agreed. "But if you can tell me how, I'd like to know. I'm starting think about joining Maurice in some grand campaign against it all. I'm starting to feel like I'm living in a Teen Witch article, and I hate that magazine."
They continued talking until lights-out, Victoire joining them partway through, which meant that the whole thing kept being interrupted by first year boys claiming to need her advice on classes. Mina Moran came over once, and the pair of them seemed to be negotiating some delicate communication with someone they called "K." Teddy didn't follow the code, and decided he really ought to be friends with more Gryffindor blokes, as they generally just spoke English.
The next morning, he watched his classmates leave, then went down to the Whomping Willow, where Père Alderman and Vivian were waiting just behind the reach of the limbs. He hadn't taken the tunnel for several weeks, and had a moment's trouble actually hitting the knot on the roots, but a moment later, all three of them were crawling toward the Shrieking Shack. Vivian told them about her first time coming through it, when Mum and Dad had brought her to Hogwarts to hide with a water sprite who lived in the Forbidden Forest. The sprite had sealed herself away tightly during the war with Voldemort, and was now sleeping, so Vivian couldn't get back, which bothered her.
They got to the Shack several minutes later, and Teddy let them in nervously, wondering if they would think he'd done as good a job as his parents once had.
Vivian looked around eagerly. "Look how much work you've done! Oh, and Alderman, look the pictures!" She pointed at the now-framed pictures on the wall, and they patted his back warmly over the decoration.
"I'm going to work in the pantry," Teddy said. "I'll see if I can get it clean enough to store some food in."
"I brought lunch for today," Vivian told him. "But I need to Charm the basement to make sure I can't dig my way up or out. I swear the digging is worse than the biting. Every month I wake up with enough dirt under my fingernails to fill up one of Neville's flowerpots! Or splinters, if I'm in here and working at the floor."
"The Wolfsbane Potion doesn't help with that?" Père Alderman asked.
"It manages to make me feel very silly for doing it while I'm doing it, but I can't seem to stop. It's so comforting."
Père Alderman looked at Teddy. "Do you need help getting started?"
"No, go ahead."
The pair of them disappeared into the cellar, and Teddy listened to them talking and laughing together as they set up for Vivian's transformation. He couldn't make out their words through the floor, but he imagined them being comfortable and easy together.
Eventually, he got more absorbed in the work of getting rid of mouse droppings in the pantry drawers, and he didn't notice that the voices had stopped until he turned to find Père Alderman standing in the doorway.
"You really have done a remarkable job here," he said.
"Thanks." Teddy Vanished a pile of ancient waste and decided the drawer he was working on was good enough for now. He moved on to the next. "I found a simple construction book. I think I'm going to buy some wood, or maybe ask Professor Longbottom if I can have something pruned from the Whomping Willow, and make a book case for my room upstairs. I could buy one, but I think I'd like to try making it. There's a whole box of Mum's books that I could put out."
Alderman gave him an odd look, but didn't comment. "It sounds like you're enjoying the house."
"Maybe you've found what you were meant to be."
"Well," Teddy said, "I can't be entirely there, as I was meant to have brothers and sisters, but I can get the house proper, at least." He saw Père Alderman's eyes narrow, and quickly added, "I know I can't bring them back."
"I wasn't going to say that, Teddy."
"It's not a waste of time. It's a good thing to do."
"I wasn't going to say it wasn't. I think you've discovered something that makes you feel good. Have you considered doing magical construction?"
Teddy laughed. "I don't think so. I don't want to work on someone else's house. How would I know what someone else wanted?"
"According to Blondin, they usually tell you."
"Oh. Well, I still don't think so. It's not what I want to be."
"What do you want to be?"
"I don't know." Teddy shrugged. "I just want my house."
"Then you're doing what you need to do," Père Alderman said. "Though there's a stain near the trapdoor."
Teddy frowned. "I know. I'll get to it. I think it might need Holy Water or something. Did you happen to bring any?"
"I don't think Rome would approve of using Holy Water as sanctified Scrubbing Solution." Père Alderman leaned against the door frame. "It's blood, isn't it?"
"From a murder," Teddy said. "Voldemort killed Snape here. But I won't let Voldemort have my house." He squared his shoulders as heroically as he could in a cramped pantry.
Père Alderman nodded, and let him get back to work.