Table of Contents and Summary So Far
The full moon rose on Friday night, and Teddy went to the Astronomy Tower to watch it for a bit. Professor Firenze had given an assignment of reading the sky and he did it absentmindedly, wondering where the Aurors were, if they were running across Greyback's pack, if anyone had been hurt. There were no alarms. Nearly Headless Nick floated up to tell him that it was nearly curfew, and Teddy nodded. He looked up at the moon and said goodnight to his father.
"Do you suppose he hears?" he asked Nick.
Nick looked less than enthusiastic, and said that he didn't know. "I wonder sometimes if I might still make the choice to find out," he said. "I find myself wondering more and more since the battle." He sighed wistfully.
Teddy frowned and went inside.
There was a Quidditch game the next morning, but the atmosphere in the Great Hall lacked the usual playful atmosphere, at least until the owls swooped in with the morning post, and everyone checked the front page to make sure that nothing had happened at home while they slept. Ruthless glanced at her copy, seemed satisfied, and handed it across to Teddy. She started warming up her bat arm.
There had been an attempt at crossing the boundary at the Ministry, to the place where four registered werewolves were transforming in their cages (there was a picture of the miserable little iron cages, and Teddy tried not to think of Dad transforming in one of them), but it had been unsuccessful. No other attacks were reported, though an "undisclosed source" gave a warning to people not to drop their guard. Teddy could almost see Uncle Harry rubbing his forehead and trying to get away from reporters demanding answers after he'd been up all night. He started to write a letter assuring Uncle Harry that it was a perfectly fine answer, then stopped, remembering that Uncle Harry might not be overjoyed to hear from him just now.
The Quidditch game lasted an hour, during which Gryffindor pounded Slytherin repeatedly on goals. Slytherin might have won anyway, as the Snitch appeared very close to their Seeker, but Ruthless sent a well-aimed Bludger in his direction, knocking him off course long enough for the new Gryffindor Seeker--a second year girl named Sylvia Neill--to swoop in for the capture and the game. There was a party back in the Common Room, but Teddy didn't stay long after congratulating Ruthless, who was engaged in her rather dangerous form of dancing. He ducked her flailing arm, then went to the library with Professor McGonagall's list of books on the Animagus transformation. Only one of them was on the open shelf--the rest were in the Restricted Section--and he pulled it out sneakily, though he had every right to it. It just seemed like something that ought to be sneaked.
He would have expected a book like this to be quite popular (there was glamor in being an Animagus), but the card in the front pocket only had ten names, and they went all the way back to the nineteen-forties, when the first one was "M. McGonagall." It had also been checked out by an R. Skeeter in the fifties, as well as by a handful of people in the sixties. In nineteen-seventy-three, nearly covered over by a blood red stamp that said "LATE RETURN," was J. Potter. Several weeks later, also nearly covered by the LATE RETURN stamp, was S. Black. The only check out in the interim since then was to H. Granger, in the spring of nineteen-ninety-five.
Teddy thought about actually checking it out, just so he could add his name to this particular list, but decided to wait until he'd actually learned to transform. No sense having people pay attention to his reading material just yet. He holed up at a secluded study carrel near a drafty window, so no one would bother him, and read several chapters. He deduced early on that his accident with his eyes was a rather common one people made when they were deliberately studying the subject. He'd done it clumsily, based on his natural shapeshifting ability, but he'd apparently tapped into the magic involved. Unfortunately, he didn't understand the vast majority of what he was reading. No wonder standard training required an Outstanding O.W.L. in Transfiguration... but of course, the O.W.L. just meant that a person had mastered it. There was nothing preventing him from reading and learning ahead, and not bothering with the actual exam. But he'd definitely need to do that if he had the slightest thought of becoming an Animagus. It looked like there was a lot in there about holding one's identity as well. He guessed the book may have helped James come up with his identifying spells on the Marauder's Map as well.
Reluctantly, he put it away when Madam Pince came around, ordering everyone out for the night.
On Sunday, there was a Muggles and Minions game in Hufflepuff. Victoire maneuvered her character into uni, so she was now working with Donzo and Teddy, though Story was on the fringes. Ruthless decided that her character wanted to show up Victoire's character, and they spent most of the day rolling against each other in various staged contests. Teddy thought it wiser not to take sides, as Victoire had a bag full of Weasley pranks and Ruthless had a bat and a temper.
By Monday, the sick feeling from the fight had passed, and he resolved to apologize. He was on the way down to Care of Magical Creatures with Tinny and Roger when he saw Uncle Harry arrive for guard duty, switching off with Williams on patrol near the greenhouses.
He stopped. "Er, Tinny... could you tell Hagrid I'll be along in a minute?"
Tinny drew her eyebrows together. "You'll be along? You want me to tell a professor that you'll be 'along' for a class?"
She shook her head at him like she thought he'd gone round the bend, but agreed. Teddy watched her head off with Roger, then squared his shoulders and took the path toward the greenhouses. Uncle Harry was chatting with Professor Longbottom, looking tired and morose, and Teddy wondered if things had been worse during the moon than the Prophet had let on. Professor Longbottom looked up and spotted him first, and pointed at him, giving Uncle Harry a smile.
Uncle Harry turned, and his face brightened. Teddy guessed it was a show. He was always good about not letting work get into his family. He started up the path and met Teddy halfway.
Teddy bit his lip and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm sorry I said those things. I know it was the worst thing I could say--what I said about you not caring about my parents--and I know it's not true and I'm sorry I said it and--"
"Teddy, it's all right," Uncle Harry said. "I could have handled it better. I expect it's not the last time we'll run across it. And as Hermione reminded me, when I was thirteen, I did a lot of raging about losing my parents, too."
Teddy nodded. "Still..."
"Teddy, listen. What you said wasn't true, but I know where you got it from. I was there when Remus died, and I gave my son Snape's name. But I didn't need to give him your dad's name. Your dad gave his name to you, and it's yours to pass on when the time comes, not mine."
Teddy tried a smile. "It's probably a good thing," he said. "'Albus Severus Remus' would sound awfully funny."
Uncle Harry laughed more than the joke was worth, and said, "Yes, I suppose it would, though that's not really my first reason for thinking it's a good thing that you're here. So, let's say we found the last functioning Time Turner and gave it a twist back to Thursday night."
"Right," Teddy said. "We just decided--very calmly, of course, and with no knife-waving--that we couldn't fix the floor."
"And then came back here and talked about deep and interesting things." Uncle Harry still looked sad. He sighed. "You'd best get to class. And I'd best get on patrol. I'm meant to be on the far side of the castle by now."
Teddy nodded. Uncle Harry squeezed his shoulder and started up toward the castle. Teddy went on to Care of Magical Creatures, where everyone was gathered in the paddock, around the Clabbert cage. Vivian was there as well, standing behind Hagrid, smiling broadly with the half of her mouth that worked properly.
Hagrid was grinning madly when he looked up. "Teddy! Glad yeh could make it. I was jes' tellin' the others, we go' some good news. Seems our pair o' Clabberts really is a pair!" He reached into the cage and a green hand found his wrist. "Come on out 'ere now, girl, an' show 'em yer surprise!"
The smaller of the two Clabberts hobbled out into the sunshine, and Teddy could see that her belly was just the littlest bit swollen.
"Is she--?" He looked at her.
"Expecting!" Vivian finished. "It's so exciting!"
"Never did have summat born fer a class," Hagrid said. "There was a baby dragon once--Teddy'll know all about tha'--but that was before I was teachin'."
The boys looked at each other, no one really knowing whether or not they were supposed to express interest. Tinny and Jane looked cautiously optimistic, but when Jane noticed Teddy looking at her to see how she was reacting, for some reason, she turned bright red and looked away.
Roger, who loved animals best, finally broke the impasse by going up to the female Clabbert and touching her belly. "Professor Hagrid," he said, "could you Conjure a stethoscope?"
"A what?" Hagrid asked.
"A stethoscope. You put it in your ears, and put the flat part on something, and you can hear. We could hear the baby Clabbert's heartbeat."
"I don't reckon I know what that is..." Hagrid said.
"Does anyone have an Extendable Ear?" Teddy asked.
"Where do you mean to extend it?" Corky asked. "Down her throat?"
"I don't know..."
"Oh, stop it," Jane said. "You're being absurd. Roger, just write home and ask for a stethoscope. Look--you're all scaring her. Isn't that pustule only supposed to glow red if she thinks she's in danger?"
Teddy looked over. The pustule on the Clabbert's head was indeed bright red. He looked to the cage, where her mate had been gloating uselessly a moment before, and there was now a reddish light in the shadows as he looked up the hill.
Teddy turned toward the Whomping Willow, and something flashed like lightening.
"It's not us!" he said. "Get in Hagrid's house!"