Anyway, everything is pretty easygoing and normal. One of the Clabberts is pregnant. All the kids are talking about how to listen to the baby clabbert's heartbeat when suddenly the pustules glow red, and Teddy looks toward the Whomping Willow and orders his classmates into Hagrid's house, as someone is coming.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
A figure shimmered into view beneath the Whomping Willow, but before the branches could take aim, it burst forward in a stream of light. As it came closer, Teddy could see that it was a female shape, then she was in front of them.
Mathilde Dubois smiled. Her teeth had been filed to neat points, but she was otherwise unmarked (at least anywhere that Teddy could see). She was tall and thin, with high cheekbones and dark eyes. She'd dyed her hair a uniform black with no highlights, and cut it sharply across her forehead and under her ears. She looked like pictures Teddy had seen of women in the nineteen-twenties. Even her robes, fashionable and thigh-length, contributed to it. Her lips were painted a bright, cruel red. "'ello," she said.
Vivian grabbed Teddy's arm and dragged him behind her, then raised her wand. "You have no right to be here," she said. "It's my territory."
"Territory," Mathilde said, "is for ze 'olding." With an irritated flick of her hand--Teddy could now see that she was carrying an unusually thin light-colored wand--she disarmed Vivian.
A Patronus flew over Teddy's head, toward the castle, and Hagrid thundered forward. "Yeh get out!"
Mathilde made another contemptuous gesture with her wand, and Hagrid was bound in iron chains. A second flick made a row of bars appear, blocking off the rest of the class. She took one look to see that they were secure, then pleasantly said, "Zis is ze Lupin boy, is it not?" She tried to reach around Vivian, but Vivian moved backward violently, taking Teddy with her. Mathilde looked at her with feigned disappointment. "Oh, but 'e is so pretty."
"Touch him, you'll die," Vivian said.
Vivian's arm went stiff, and Mathilde put her hand under it. She stroked Teddy's arm. "And yet," she said, "steel living."
Teddy yanked his arm back. He tried to get around Vivian to attack, but she wasn't completely Petrified, and wouldn't let him.
"What's ze matter?" Mathilde asked. "You don't like girls? Per'aps Fenrir should come next time, you would like 'im better, no?"
"I like girls," Teddy said. "But I don't like killers." He tried again to get around Vivian, and she shifted back. Far up near the castle, Teddy saw Uncle Harry running across the grounds. He sent his Patronus, and a moment later, the greenhouse door burst open and Professor Longbottom came out, shutting his first years in with a blast of his wand.
Mathilde sighed. "What a shame," she said. "We shall 'ave to 'urry. And 'ere I wanted a nice, long talk."
"You're not taking Teddy anywhere," Vivian told her.
Mathilde looked up with vague interest. "No, no. Of course not. Not yet. 'E weel come for ze boy one day, but I 'ave come for my seester." She touched Vivian's frozen arm tenderly. "Fenrir was so 'appy to learn you were alive after all. 'E 'as so looked forward to seeing you again."
"No!" Teddy said. He shoved Vivian off to the side and drew his wand, holding it tightly against a Disarming Spell, just as Uncle Harry had taught him, but the concentration on holding onto it was too much to actually do a spell of his own.
Mathilde put her arms around Vivian, smiled sweetly, then burst into a cloud of fine, sparkling points, taking Vivian with her. As Professor Longbottom and Uncle Harry thundered into the paddock, the cloud swirled into the sky and was gone.
"Vivian!" Professor Longbottom yelled. He raised his wand, and an arc of lightning split the gray March sky, followed by a crack of thunder that made Teddy's ears ring.
Uncle Harry was doing something Teddy didn't understand, muttering and tracing his wand in an arcane pattern. Whatever it was didn't seem to work; he looked down, grinding his teeth and went to Hagrid, Vanishing Mathilde's chains, then the bars she'd used to trap the rest of the class.
"I'm sorry," Hagrid said. "She was fast. An' I was always rubbish at wand work."
"It's all right," Uncle Harry told him, then looked up at the students. "Is anyone hurt?"
Professor Longbottom turned on them, his eyes blazing. Teddy knew that he'd got close to Vivian, but the rest of the class seemed very confused. "What's the matter with the lot of you?" he asked. "Why is Teddy the only one with his wand drawn?"
Teddy fought to keep his jaw from dropping. He'd never in his life seen Neville Longbottom lose his temper, least of all at students. "It happened really fast, and she was ready for Hagrid. They couldn't have done anything."
"Professor Longbottom," Uncle Harry said calmly, "perhaps you should get the Headmistress while I talk to the students."
Professor Longbottom looked mutinous for a moment, then seemed to come to his senses. He mumbled something Teddy didn't catch and strode up toward the castle.
Corky was the first to come out of the shadow of Hagrid's hut, spooked and looking as small as a first year, even though he was now easily the biggest in Teddy's year. "She just showed up from nowhere," he said.
"Where?" Uncle Harry asked.
"Under the Whomping Willow," Teddy told him. "Then she used one of those Streaming Spells to get here fast."
"I think I know what I'm working on next," Uncle Harry said. "Tell me about when she appeared."
Tinny stepped forward, putting her hand on the female Clabbert's head. "We were just having a class," she said. "And then something flashed near the tree, and she came. Teddy yelled at us to get into the house, then Vivian got in front of Teddy, then Hagrid sent for you, and she--the woman, that is--put the chains on him."
"I want each of you to tell me about the flash you saw when she first showed up, and where you first spotted her," Uncle Harry said.
Each of the students, Teddy included, gave the same account as Tinny. It had all happened too fast to see details. Uncle Harry suggested half-heartedly that he might use the Pensieve, but he didn't seem to think he'd spot much more.
"Professor Hagrid," he said, "may I use your fire?"
Hagrid nodded. "Can the students go back?"
"Wait until I'm finished. I'll stay here with Teddy then, and you can walk them back." Uncle Harry went inside.
Donzo was looking thoughtfully up at the castle. "Is Professor Longbottom all right?"
"He's fine," Teddy said.
Donzo nodded, but looked like he'd put together a piece or two of the puzzle, even without Teddy's knowledge of Christmas. Teddy wanted to tell him not to say anything, but to do it, he'd have to say something himself. He'd just have to hope that Donzo would have the sense to keep it to himself.
Uncle Harry came out and sent Hagrid off with the class, and a moment later, Professor Sprout appeared. She'd sent Professor Longbottom to let his first years out of the greenhouses and take them back to the castle. "He'll join us when he's got them safely there, and apologized to Hagrid's students. I never would have thought it of Ne-"--she realized Teddy was still there--"Professor Longbottom."
"I've asked Ron to bring Hermione and get her through the gate," Uncle Harry said. "We need new protection spells, and we need them now."
Professor Sprout agreed and smiled tightly. "Er, Mr. Potter, oughtn't Mr. Lupin be with his classmates?"
"Teddy's in thick of this," Uncle Harry said. "There's also a particular possibility I'd like to talk to him about."
"What?" Teddy asked.
Uncle Harry sighed and looked at the Whomping Willow. "I'm thinking of where she appeared. Why at the Whomping Willow?"
Teddy couldn't think of any reason.
"You think she came up through the tunnel?" Professor Sprout said.
"I'm hoping so," Uncle Harry said. "If so, then we'll just need to secure the tunnel better. I know she can't get into the Shrieking Shack, but if she was able to Apparate into the tunnel, she could have crawled up, Disillusioned, then just put on a light show to make it look like she'd broken security."
Professor Sprout nodded. "I fervently hope that's the case, Mr. Potter. Although I don't see where it concerns Mr. Lupin."
"Mr. Lupin owns the house on the far side of the tunnel, and I'd like to get his permission to expand the security charms through the whole passage."
"Er... sure," Teddy said.
"It may require some special equipment," Uncle Harry said, raising his eyebrow. "Do you solemnly swear that you don't mind?"
"Oh!" Teddy said. "No, not all. I mean, yes, I swear, I don't mind. I have some parchment in my bag. You can write down what you mean to do and give it back later." He fished in his book bag for the blank Marauder's Map, and handed it over.
"I'll have it back to you tonight," Uncle Harry said. He looked up and smiled, raising his arm in greeting. Ron and Hermione were coming from the gate.
Professor Sprout looked irritated. "I'm not entirely sure what just happened, but don't imagine that I believe that you just had a conversation about a spare piece of parchment."
Hermione reached the paddock a few steps ahead of Ron and smiled wearily. "Hello, Teddy. How are you?"
"Fine. But Vivian's gone."
"I know. Harry told me."
"Mr. Potter." Professor Sprout looked significantly at Teddy.
Uncle Harry frowned at Teddy thoughtfully, then said, "Professor Sprout, I'd like Teddy to stay. He's the only student against whom there is a direct, voiced threat. I'd like him to know what security is going to be available to him. We may think of something that we can teach him immediately."
She didn't look happy, but resigned herself to it.
The group settled into Hagrid's hut, and a few minutes later, Hagrid and Professor Longbottom arrived. Ron had taken the opportunity to bring in a great deal of food from home, which he said was just something of a gift, since they were all imposing on Hagrid's hospitality. Hagrid wasn't given any reason to offer anyone food.
Most of the talk was over Teddy's head magically. Hermione was pulling book after book from her old Hogwarts book bag, which she'd converted into a portable library (Teddy had been allowed to browse the shelves once; they were much more neatly organized than Madam Pince's). They were going to use several archaic protection spells that Mathilde might not recognize quickly, and of course, secure the tunnel. As to Vivian, there would be a search, of course.
But no one seemed hopeful about it.