Eerily, his footsteps echoed off of the stone walls surrounding him. The candles flickered with light after each step that pulled him further away from the Gryffindor Common Room, and closer to the ever growing stillness of the night.
It was four o'clock in the morning, and everyone was supposed to be tucked safely into their beds. Everyone that is, except Teddy Lupin, who, for the fourth night in a row, found he was unable to sleep, and drawn to the beauty that the night brought upon the school. The floor was cold upon his bare feet. A small draft made him shiver as he found himself standing before the moving staircase. He descended one step at a time, ever careful to keep a watchful eye for those few people who, like him, were unable to sleep so late at night. The last thing he wanted was to run into a Professor and spend the rest of his week in detention.
Drawn to the second floor corridor for some ungodly reason, Teddy slowed to a snails’ pace, uncertain of what had brought him there. His attention drifted to the window. Moonlight cast silhouettes upon the walls of statues that adorned the hall. In and out they faded, as clouds cast their shadows down on the world below. Pausing between a suit of armor and a large glass window, Teddy gazed upon the school yard below. Shadows danced across the grass, disappearing as if the light of the moon would cast them out of existence. Silver beams of light caressed the school, setting it ablaze and making it look more surreal than anything Teddy had ever seen before. The school appeared to have an aura of its own as the night left its’ mark upon the cold, grey stone.
As eerie as the school looked beneath the pristine shine of the full moon, it looked perfect and unmarred from decades of use. No one would have known that fifteen years before, parts of the school stood in piles of rubble, or that, had it not been for his godfather, Hogwarts may still be under the control of the Dark Lord Voldemort and his disgustingly grotesque Death Eaters. While Teddy knew only what his History of Magic text books told him and what little his family would talk of that time, he knew one thing was for certain; his parents were heroes. He owed his freedom to them both, and many others who had died over the years to ensure that he, a child of mere fifteen, would be able to learn magic without fear of persecution for being less than pure.
Teddy continued on his journey down the corridor, ignoring the sudden quickening of his heart as he drew closer to the end of the hall. Nothing about the corridor made sense anymore. The twists and turns that should have led him past the Charms classroom, past two secret passageways, and to a set of stairs that ultimately led to the third floor and closest access to the Ravenclaw Common Room led him directly to a door that he had never seen before. Excitement trickled quickly through him as he stood before a large, wooden door with a cast-iron handle that looked as though it was older than the castle itself. For a moment, he stood before the door, uncertain of whether he should turn around and return to his common room, or brave the unknown and discover a room that perhaps no one had found in quite some time. His curiosity piqued, Teddy reached his slender hand out to the door and grasped the handle tightly. It felt cool to the touch, but there was something different about the way it felt in his hand. The odd pulsating feeling had him instinctively pulling his hand away from the door, but it was too late. The door swung open, revealing a vast room that at first glance seemed empty.
Stepping inside, Teddy glanced around the room. The room was huge, with a tall ceiling that was enchanted much like the one in the Great Hall. The stars sparkled, and the moon glistened, but they held no familiarity to the ones he had just been gazing at not long before. White sheets covered the floor and furniture and were coated in a thick layer of dust. Kicking up dust as he walked across the room to the first piece of furniture he found, Teddy wondered what mysteries the room held, and what stories it could share with him. Pulling back the first sheet revealed a long Victorian styled sofa, with red velvet seats on a dark stained wood. Two matching Victorian arm chairs leaned against a far wall under a large bay window. He found a large armoire that appeared to match the rest of the set, including a coffee table, two end tables, and several book cases now devoid of their books. The room had everything except a bed, which appeared to be taken from the room without any evidence as to who had once occupied the room.
Throwing himself down on the sofa, he stared up into the enchanted sky. The moon that had once haunted his father brought a smile to Teddy now. Teddy preferred night, rather than day. He had always had a fascination with the hours between dusk and dawn. Often, he had found himself sitting on a large fallen oak tree as the first star came out to play. He'd try fruitlessly to count all the stars as each one appeared, and often counted the same star half a dozen times before he would finally give up and chase the fireflies around the yard. How he wished he could go back and chase fireflies and count stars until his eyes began to water!
Whoever you were; I wish you had left me a clue. Teddy thought to himself as he lay there. The excitement that he had initially felt when he had first discovered the room had yet to diminish, but he still felt as though he was missing something; he just couldn't figure out what. He hated the nagging feeling he always had when he knew he was missing something. His grandmother used to tell him stories of how his mother used to feel the same way, and his father was no better.
Standing up with a new resolve, Teddy gave the room a onceover. "There is something here; I know it!" He said excitedly, and returned to his search of the room. "It's just like playing hide and seek with Nan; she's hidden something here, I know it!" He smiled happily, and bound from each item that he had first discovered. There was nothing hidden on or in the furniture. Even the armoire was completely empty. Closing his eyes, he tried to envision what the room would look like when it was occupied.
Behind closed eyelids, the room morphed from a dusty old room to a freshly painted room. The smell of lilac and lilies filled his nostrils with a hint of freshly cut grass. Teddy grinned at the familiarity and comfort that was brought to him. He suddenly felt home. The air around him stood still, and for a moment, he could hear and see everything with perfect clarity. A king sized Victorian four poster bed appeared set between two night stands. A large family portrait adorned the wall above a fireplace that had been forgotten for so long, it had vanished from the room completely. Several small photographs adorned the hearth, with other smaller personal items. None of which helped Teddy determine who the room belonged to. Staring at the portrait didn't help; he only recognized himself, which was seemingly impossible, seeing as he had only just discovered the room.
"Mind's playing tricks on me." Teddy muttered to himself, and turned around to find that he was staring at the ghostly reflection of his own doppelganger. Blinking once, then twice, and then a third time, Teddy tried to make the double disappear.
"Note to self: do not try and envision a room you know nothing about, especially one that is in Hogwarts!" He said to himself, and squeezed his eyes shut, hoping to make everything go back to normal. The double that appeared to him was a little creepy.
"Bout time you found your way here, boy." His double spoke.
"Wh-?" Teddy babbled.
"I've been waiting for one-hundred and twenty-six years for you to show up and release me from this damned room! That vile woman cursed me to forever haunt this room." Blinking didn't seem to make the situation any better, but Teddy had to at least try. Not only was he standing in front of a ghost that looked ridiculously like him, but that ghost was insisting on being cursed to haunt a room no one knew about for an absurd amount of time. There was nothing that could have prepared him for the fear that seemed to over take him, but there was some small bit of excitement buried deep down in the pit of his stomach that he was trying to take hold of. He didn't want to seem like a complete bumbling idiot. "Are you daft boy? I'm talking to you."
"No, I'm not daft. And I have a name." Teddy spat angrily at the ghostly visage. "Why were you cursed to haunt this room? Which by the way, no one even knows about; it just happened to appear to me as I wandered the school!"
"That evil wench; she cursed me when I refused to wed her. She didn't understand I couldn't. I was betrothed to her third cousin." The double spoke darkly.
"Seems like a stupid reason to curse someone and lock them away in a room at Hogwarts." Teddy remarked.
"But you can release me so I can return to my beloved. You will won't you, boy? You'll set me free?"
"Who are you?" Teddy asked.
"I'm you, or at least, I'm part of you. Ever felt like a tiny piece of your soul was missing?" Teddy nodded, and the ghostly apparition continued. "Well that's because I've been locked away in this damned school. If you let me out, then you will be whole again."
"How do I do that?" Teddy questioned, glancing quickly around the room. "There isn't a shred of evidence that you were even in this room. It's been stripped clean of all your belongings. Even your body's turned to dust by now."
"There is a secret compartment under the window in which you shall find my wand. All you have to do is take it outside the castle walls before the break of dawn. If you fail to do so, I'll be stuck here for another hundred years." Nodding, Teddy made his way over to the bay window, and looked for a secret compartment that he would never have thought to look for in the first place.
At first, he ran his fingers over the old wood and hoped to find something that was loose, but found nothing. His second attempt was no better; even rapping his knuckles on the wood proved useless. Finally, he decided to grab his wand out of the waist band on his pajamas and try that. Tapping each piece of wood with the tip of his wand, he watched as one finally fell to the floor with a clank. Picking up the wand, Teddy examined it.
It was ash wood, with an unknown core; it felt warm in his hand. Probably because it had belonged to a part of me. He thought, and looked at his ghostly friend. He knew what he had to do. It was only two floors down and out the front door without getting caught by someone who might now be awake since it would be dawn in less than an hour.
"Alright." Teddy said, pushing himself to his feet with a quiet resolve. He was going to free the ghost, and that was that. "Suppose I'll know when you're gone then?"
"You should. I can't know for sure."
"What's your name?"
"Seth." The ghost replied.
"Well, goodbye then, Seth." Teddy said with a smile. Teddy left the room feeling slightly hollow. He knew that part of him still remained now in the room he had just left, and that he would be setting that part of himself free. That did very little to help him feel any better about the situation. There was something that didn't seem right. There was something that bothered him about all of this. It seemed too easy. Still, he continued to walk down the hall towards the Grand Staircase.
The night cast heavy shadows down on him, making him shiver as he picked up speed. Soon, he was running down the stairs, and to the grand doorway that led outside. He had no idea what part of him wanted to run through the school at night. What he did know was that the sun would be rising soon, and if he didn't get outside before the first drop of glorious sunlight fell upon the Earth, Seth would be doomed to haunt a room that no one knew about for another hundred years. He couldn't be the one to let that happen.
The door was barred shut, as it seemed to be more often than not at night, but he knew that there was a secret to getting outside. He just had to remember what it was. Somewhere...he huffed heavily as he thought, somewhere there is … a hidden tunnel out of the school. Quickly he glanced around, and ran through the school until he found what he was looking for. He dashed past the tapestry, and ran down the tunnel-like hall until he hit a dead end. A turn to his right, and he found he could continue onwards, and even downwards.
Teddy raced through the tunnel until his feet hit the grass. A smile adorned his face. Teddy threw himself further down the path and didn't stop until he was standing in front of the lake. The lake looked like a single sheet of solid, perfect glass.
Huffing and puffing, Teddy waited until he felt the first signs of morning on his face before he dared to look up. The sky was ablaze in vibrant hues of gold and orange.
"Thank you." He heard the whisper on the wind, and sat there staring out into the early morning sun, finally feeling complete. Whole.
Slowly, he stood and made his way back to the Gryffindor Common Room, and up to his room. His roommates were still fast asleep as he dropped onto his bed. Finally, Teddy closed his eyes, and fell into the first solid bit of sleep he had had since he was seven years old and had just learned that his parents were heroes.