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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Thirty: The Window of Years, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Thirty: The Window of Years, pt. 3
It's the end of Teddy's last full day at Hogwarts. Slytherin won the House Cup, but Corky got the prefects to agree to hang all the House colors for the Leaving Feast. Tinny has something planned. The smallest year has gathered at the lake shore at night, and once all of them are there (Franklin had to manhandle Geoff, but everyone else is there willingly), Tinny says, "Let's do it."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Tinny twirled her wand, and a row of twenty-five paper boats appeared on the ground. Each was covered with names, and they'd spent the afternoon Charming them to be impervious to water and fire. Teddy began Conjuring candles in each one.

"We don't know all of their names," Tinny said. "Or who they would have been, if they hadn't been killed before they were born. But we know some names, at least, thanks to Geoff." She nodded to him. He looked both annoyed and pleased. She took a deep breath. "For the names we know--Anderson, Singh, Gordon, Woodruff, Barrett, Campbell, Wilbore, and Lyon." She lit the candles. "And for the ones who got away safely and live in other places, but never came home." She nodded to Joe Palmer.

"Rebecca Britton," he said. "Living in South Africa." He Conjured a picture of a pretty girl with red hair. "Tabitha Leonard, United States. Phillip Whiting, Australia. Alphonse Malcolm, Jamaica. Joshua Lewis and Caitlin Simms, New Zealand. Chloe Tyler, Belarus. Henry Harrion and Declan Charles, Canada." Each picture appeared in the air, then sank down and bonded with one of the boats. Joe Conjured candles for them.

"That's seventeen," Donzo said. "A class of thirty-two. Still small." He took the remaining seven boats. "We don't know how many might have been born if their parents hadn't died, or how many weren't born because other things that happened in the war. So, when Tinny asked, I looked at the average year. For the last thirty years or so, the average has been around forty students in a year. That means we were missing twenty-five. We can't say for sure that the Hat would have Sorted them evenly, but..." He shrugged, sheepish. "Well, we can't say anything with any certainty, but it's usually close, except in our year. We know that Gryffindor was badly hurt. The rest... Ravenclaw and Slytherin are missing five. Hufflepuff is missing six."

There was no attempt to split the boats by guessing who might have been in which house. The Slytherins and Ravenclaws took one boat each. Roger and Laura each took one, and Tinny and Joe each took two. Teddy looked at the remaining nine boats, their candles flickering in the night, and thought about his nearly empty dormitory, and about the dormitory on the girls' side that had been empty for seven years. Next year, they'd be full again. Next year, that haunted gap would be closed.

Tinny set her two boats down wordlessly, and Joe followed her, whispering an embarrassed sounding "Goodbye."

Laura took her single boat to the shore, kissed it, then set it afloat. "We've missed you," she said.

Roger sighed, smiled at his boat, and said, "I'll probably be picking you up from the shore tomorrow afternoon. See you then." He sent it on its way.

Teddy reached for his wand to Levitate his boats to the water--he couldn't carry all nine--but stopped when he heard Donzo's voice coming softly into the shadows. His guitar, Charmed to play on its own, leaned against a rock.

"The House of Hufflepuff stayed true
And its blood first was shed
Their loyal hearts are counted
Among the honored dead."

It took Teddy a moment to recognize it--Donzo was using a different melody--but when he did, he understood. It was the part of the Sorting Hat's song that spoke about the losses each House had suffered--the song the Sorting Hat had sung on the night they'd arrived. And it wasn't his turn yet.

Leading the rest of the Ravenclaws to the water, Donzo continued to sing.

"In the airy tow'r of Ravenclaw,
the final war began
In solving the last mystery,
the fear became mere man."

He set his own boat down, then moved aside for Geoff. Teddy thought Geoff would just storm off at the sentimentality, but instead, he set his boat down and watched it float away, an unreadable expression on his face.

Lizzie Richardson whispered something to her boat as Donzo finished the verse, and set it on the water. Franklin Driscoll said, "Bye, then. Maybe I'll see you somewhere," and Connie Deverell used her wand to draw a smile onto the parchment of hers. They all slipped away into the night.

Donzo sang again.

"In the end, the darkness must
Be fought from deep within
And so the secret heroes rose
From shadowed Slytherin."

Corky and Honoria walked hand in hand, each holding a boat. They set them on the water, then she leaned against him and he put his arm over her shoulder.

Brendan Lynch muttered something Teddy couldn't hear, and let his boat go. Jane Hunter shored up the waterproofing with a quick spell, then said, "Sorry this is the best we can do." She let it go.

Maurice was the last Slytherin, and he looked at his boat and said, "You know I'd've kept you in line, right?" The other Slytherins smiled as he let it go.

Donzo waited for them to step back, then sang the final verse. Teddy Levitated his boats to the water.

"Bold Gryffindor, as always, took
the deepest cut of all
The scarlet blood and banner
Laid claim upon this hall."

All of the boats were in the water now, sailing off into the darkness. Donzo continued singing.

"But battles fade into the past
And we, the left behind,
Rebuild and heal, move on and do
The tasks we've been assigned.

Throughout it all, I sort the lot--
It always shall be so.
They even tried to burn me once,
but I refused to go!

So I came back from fiery doom
Despite a little singe
To join the future to the past--
I stand upon the hinge!"

The last verse, though it hadn't been the last of the Hat's song, was slowed down, and it finished with a soft guitar coda. The last boats were disappearing into the blackness of the night.

The silence held for what seemed a long time, no one moving. Finally, like he was waking up, Roger straightened his shoulders and sighed. "Well, it's been fun, but I'd best get some sleep. I want to get the hippogriffs curried before Hagrid's new pet arrives."

"You won't be on the real boats with us?" Laura asked.

He shook his head, and went down toward Hagrid's hut.

"I'm gone, too," Franklin said. "Wood's picking me up at dawn for my Puddlemere tryout."

Everyone vaguely wished him good luck.

"I'm leaving now," Geoff said. "I've had enough of this. My things are already at home."

"Don't let us stop you," Donzo said, but with none of the rancor he generally reserved for Geoff.

"Do let us stop you," Tinny said, giving Donzo a frustrated look. "Stay for the boats at least."

Geoff looked confused by this, but said, "No. Thank you. I have plans with friends in the city. There's a protest first thing. Muggle business." He frowned, then walked off down the lakeshore, disappearing into the same shadows that had swallowed the paper boats and candles.

The rest stayed for a few more minutes, but the evening was getting damp, and they knew that tomorrow had to come eventually. They drifted back to the castle.

Teddy stopped at the door. Donzo looked over his shoulder. "Are you coming, Lupin?"

"I'll fly back to my room," Teddy said. "There's someplace else I need to go."

"Do you want company?"


Donzo nodded and went inside.

Teddy walked around the castle slowly, looking up at the lights, hearing last night laughter coming from many open windows. He came to the rocky slope under the north battlements, where his parents had died, where he'd found his father's wedding ring buried in the icy earth.

He sat down, and took the ring out. He thought he might have hit the end of its stored memories, but he cast the spell anyway, and re-lived the Marauders' last night at Hogwarts--sitting up late, passing around a bottle of Firewhiskey and a paper pirate's hat, talking about a future they'd never really had. When it was over, Teddy took out the Marauder's Map and looked at it for a long time, watching people move around the castle. He didn't prod them into talking, though he supposed he would before he gave it up.

He sighed. "All right, then. Best we could do."

He transformed into a hawk and flew back to his room, where Checkmate was waiting patiently on top of his mostly packed trunk. When he lay down on his bed, she jumped over onto the pillow and curled up around his head, resting her chin over his left eye. He fell asleep to her purr.

The next morning was too busy for reminiscing. He hid the Keys to the Castle under a floorboard--he had no reason not to believe that James would be living in this room come September--and sealed it with the sign of a hawk's feather etched on the floor, rendered invisible with a spell that ought to be breakable by a first year who would figure out it was there. Then it was the last minute packing--his favorite books, his pajamas and towels and toothbrush, and of course, the portrait of his parents and Sirius. This last proved problematic, as Mum kept running off to return things she'd borrowed from other portraits during the year, and Teddy finally had to send Dad to get her. For his part, Sirius was bound to try one last time to get into the portraits in the Headmistress's office, "to needle old Snivelly." Teddy finally got them all in the frame and managed to get it into his trunk just before someone--he had still not ascertained who, though he suspected the elves--Vanished it. It woudl reappear on the Hogwarts Express.

He gathered up Checkmate and looked around the room. "This is it, Checks," he said. "Have a look around."

Checkmate didn't seem to care to have a final look. She saw her basket waiting, and squirmed to get away. Teddy put her into a magical sleep, and went down to breakfast.

Breakfast was the usual rushed affair, everyone trading invitations to everyone else's homes over the summer. The younger students went off, chattering, to the thestral drawn carriages, leaving the smallest year (minus Franklin, Geoff, and Roger) alone in the Great Hall.

Professor Longbottom went to the main door, and called them forward, one by one, in reverse alphabetical order. When they'd gathered around him--most of them now taller than he was--he solemnly shook their hands, then led them down to the boat docks under the school.

Teddy tapped Honoria's shoulder, and Maurice's. She grinned and stepped away from Corky to get into a boat. Teddy and Maurice climbed in with her.

"What I said at the island still holds, Lupin," she said, "Wolf-morph at me again, and this time you're going in the water."

Teddy laughed.

They traveled again in four boats, this time with only three people in each one. The bright midmorning sun shone over them instead of the pale full moon, and they laughed together, racing the boats magically over the surface of the lake. A hippogriff swooped above them, and Roger waved cheerfully, coming down to skim the water beside them for a moment before heading back to the grounds. Together, they sailed forward toward the train, leaving Hogwarts Castle in the past.
34 comments or Leave a comment
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persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: March 14th, 2011 04:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah. That was lovely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
pevara From: pevara Date: March 14th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
That was very beautiful and touching. Thanks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Anytime. :D (I always get nervous about things like this being overdone.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 14th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)
That was beautiful. I loved what you did with the Sorting Hat's song - you have a wonderful way with narrative. I do hope that there is more Teddyverse to come, but if this is it for his schooldays, I can't think of a better way to end it.

I just realized I've been reading your fic for the past five years. I sometimes regret the the hours I've devoted to reading fanfic, but I've always been grateful to have found yours. Thank you for time well spent!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you've enjoyed it. Boy, when you line the time up like that...

There's still an epilogue here, at least.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: March 14th, 2011 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)

that made me tear up I admit....

both your writing and the fact i was listening to a particular bittersweet piece of music:

(dont judge me, i like listening to music while i read it's like watching a private movie in my head)

the graduation "ceremony" wasn't what I was expecting, but then again you never do that, and it was still very lovely, albeit sad and tearjerking.

your waving of words in this particular chapter was very poetic and beautiful, specially the song which was both solemn and tragic, but beautiful

and the image of the smallest class putting lighted paper boats on the water was extremely touching.

I'm going to miss these guys.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: that made me tear up I admit....

Hey, I sometimes have music on while writing. I won't judge. ;p

I believe JKR said something about the seventh years taking the boats back across; that's what gave me the idea for the private ceremony with the paper boats.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: March 14th, 2011 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)

also question...

will there be an epilogue to this? yes?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: also question...

mint_green From: mint_green Date: March 14th, 2011 07:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn you, Fern, you made me cry. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mission accomplished. ;p
From: severely_lupine Date: March 14th, 2011 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I get teary every time I read that song. You have such a talent for writing Sorting songs (among other things of course).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I can't actually imagine them being sung, but I always liked the little rhymed recaps they give.
sophiap From: sophiap Date: March 14th, 2011 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
That was absolutely lovely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: March 14th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
As I said, you made me cry.

Oooh, this so so lovely!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 14th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely wonderful, I love this so much. Thank you, Fern - I am so glad that I stumbled across your Teddyverse last year, you are amazing.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you stumbled across it, too! Thanks.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: March 14th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sigh. Lovely ceremony, and I'm glad Geoffrey decided, however grudgingly, not to be a complete wet blanket while it was going on. Nice touch bringing back the Sorting Hat's song from their first year. Teddy and Company really were a year like no other, with all the good and bad that description implies.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't sure about the song, but it felt right.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: March 14th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
A lovely and fitting little ceremony. Thank you. Now I look forward to the epilogue and (sadly) our last glimpse of Teddy's school years.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
They had to end sometime, though he does have one more little task to do.
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: March 14th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved the memorial service--it made me tear up. And it's absolutely beautiful that the seventh years ride the boats to leave!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that came from JKR, when someone asked her about graduation.
beceh From: beceh Date: March 14th, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was lovely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 14th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
cleindori From: cleindori Date: March 15th, 2011 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
*sigh* Paper boats -- what a lovely image. Between the image and the recap of their sorting song, I was definitely choking up. And the seventh-years taking the boats back across the lake...
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