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Chapter 5 : Chapter Four: A Letter and a Goodbye
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“Nan, Nan, Nan!” A young, crystal clear voice rang through the dark and narrow hallways of a small, but pristine, townhouse that was still quiet with slumber. The creaky wooden floor seemed to yawn in awakening and snap to attention in preparation for the inevitable passing of animated feet. The walls, reluctant to start the day, shied away from the continued excited announcement. “Nan! Wake up, Wake up!”
Teddy’s voice was beginning to sound hoarse from the strain of his exuberance and frustrated from his Nan’s lack of response. As he reached the end of the second-floor landing, he slowed his pace to a brisk walk –eleven years of experience reminded Teddy that Nan disapproved of him running upstairs.
Scurrying down the hall, Teddy paused outside of his room to pull the door shut. He knew that Nan hated an unkempt room, and his room was a postcard for it. It was usually best if she didn’t glimpse the contents behind the door. Socks and robes littered the floor, completely obscuring the carpet from view. His bed was a mess of un-made blankets and sheets, all a violent shade of orange.
Although Teddy loved to hear Harry’s tales of his quidditch days playing for the Gryffindor house team, he loved watching quidditch with Ron even more. Only a year ago, Ron had packed Teddy up along with Dom, James, and – to Hermione’s dismay –baby Hugo. Despite the Cannon’s dismal defeat that day and the rest of the season, Teddy became enchanted with the team. He loved to root for them and knew that when they finally won a match, it would be the best win ever.
To match the Chudley Cannon bedspread, a poster complete with seven wizards dressed in the shocking orange colour, holding brooms, and jovially waving adorned the wall behind Teddy’s bed. Next to this poster hung a still-life muggle poster of an elephant standing on a barren African landscape from National Geographic, a muggle magazine. An old and tarnished Comet 540 stood in the corner behind a large tank full of frog spawn. Nearby, small bookshelf was full to the brim with comics and books. An old and chipped chess set sat mid-game on the top, and an exploding snap set was scattered amongst the clothes on the floor. His bedside table was buried beneath a myriad of photographs. At the forefront was a photograph of himself as a baby in the arms of a woman that he never remembered seeing. A tired and greying man stood behind her right shoulder and lovingly looked down at the small bundle below him. Weighted down by the frame of that photograph was an informational pamphlet Teddy had nicked when he had visited his Godfather several months ago at the Auror’s office.
Surveying his room, Teddy made a mental note to tidy it up a bit before his Nan accidentally opened the door and lost her mind again. Double-checking that the door was definitely shut, Teddy continued on his way down the hall. He came to a stop outside of the last door. He cracked the door open and assessed the situation – despite his bold announcement only moments earlier, a gentle and rolling snore resounded from the room. He paused for a moment to switch his plan of action and then opened the door wider.
“Oi, Nan!” Teddy voiced in a loud whisper, “Wake up! Nan, Wake up, come on – it’s here!” Finally, after what seemed like a year to Teddy, a sleepy and incoherent grunt sounded from under the mound of covers on the bed. A stern-looking woman with uncharacteristically fly-away hair sat up and blinked at her grandson.
“Teddy Remus Lupin,” Andromeda began in a harsh tone. Teddy grimaced; his full name was reserved for special circumstances. “Do you have any idea what time of the morning it is?”
“It’s six twenty-two, no wait hang on – twenty seven.” Teddy pronounced after checking the large clock ticking behind his head. He waited for her to respond. Andromeda rubbed her eyes sleepily and sighed.
“And what, may I ask, has you out of bed and this chipper this early in the morning?” She looked over at her grandson imploringly and fought back the smile that threatened to crack through her threatening façade.
“Well, erm, you know how you said that the letter should be coming sometime this week?” Teddy looked at his Nan with an aggrieved face, as though it pained him to explain the whole story and not cut directly to the chase. “Well I decided that I should wait in the kitchen just in case the owls decided to come early.” He inhaled sharply and prepared himself for the climax of his story. “And guess what? They did come early, and Look! One brought this.” He handed the piece of parchment to Andromeda carefully, as though her were handing over a delicate artefact. “Read it Nan, isn’t that the best?” Teddy studied her face as Andromeda poured over the letter.
Andromeda felt a large smile split her hardened face as her eyes devoured the words on the page:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmistress: Minerva McGonagall (Order of Merlin First Class)
Dear Mr. Lupin,
We are delighted to notify you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Enclosed, you will find a list of all necessary books, equipment, and appropriate dress. Term begins on September 1. We expect your owl by no later than July 31.
She re-read the letter twice more and then looked up toward Teddy’s anxious face. He blinked rapidly and chewed his upper lip. His hair was his neutral, sandy-brown colour, and he had to restrain himself from twitching in anticipation. Finally, his Nan opened her mouth to speak.
“Well, have you penned your reply? It’s already the beginning of July.” Andromeda watched as Teddy shook his head and turned to exit the room before she continued speaking. “Oh and Teddy,” Teddy paused and turned around, “I am very proud of you.” A warm smile lit her face as she opened up her arms and received her grandson in a crushing hug. The tufts of his hair that obscured her vision were once again a vibrant blue colour. As Teddy pulled out of the hug and opened his mouth to speak, Andromeda cut him off. “Of course this evening we’ll have to pop in at the Potter’s to share the news. That Godfather of yours will want to hear this.” She handed the letter back to him. Teddy smiled gratefully before scampering out of the door and down narrow staircase.
Once in the more welcoming lighting of the kitchen, Teddy carefully placed his letter on the table and turned to rummage through one of the deep drawers above the cabinets. Having found a suitable length of parchment, a well of ink, and a fresh-looking quill, he withdrew from the drawer and took a seat at the table.
Outside the window, the tiny patch of grass was finally appearing its true green colour in the morning light. Teddy sat with the top of the quill in the corner of his mouth and stared at a particularly brave gnome that had wondered away from the recess of the garden patch as he pondered what words he should use for his first correspondence with his new school. Finally, having settled on the appropriate words he dipped the tip of the quill in the ink and wrote in his best penmanship:
Deputy Headmistress Sprout,
I am writing to inform you of my acceptance of your invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this September.
Teddy Remus Lupin
New First Year Student
He reread the response several times looking for spelling errors before rolled up the letter and walked over to the large cage that sat on an extra chair in the corner.
A small black owl un-tucked its head from under its wing and stared up at Teddy with its large, round, golden eyes. She gave a small hoot as Teddy unlatched the cage door and held his arm out for her. She stepped out onto his arm, ruffled her feathers, and held out her leg in an obedient fashion.
“Alright, Artemis,” Teddy murmured to the petite owl. “Now this is a very important letter that needs to go to Hogwarts.” He finished tying the letter to her leg, opened the kitchen window, and watched as Artemis took to the sky. Teddy’s eyes remained on the skyline until his owl was nothing more than a dot in the wide morning horizon.
He yawned as he trudged back up the narrow, creaky staircase. Perhaps he’d get another hour of sleep or two before beginning his day. Teddy opened the door to his room and collapsed onto his heap of blankets. His sleep was crowded with dreams of castles and train engines. He had heard a lot of stuff about Hogwarts from Harry, Gran, and the Weasleys and was anxious to see everything only his ears and imagination had had the privilege of experiencing. Beneath his fervour though, was a thin layer of apprehension. Cut scenes of sitting alone at the breakfast table and failing exams infected his otherwise pleasant dreams. Before slipping into a deeper, dream-free sleep, his last thoughts were of Victoire. With his best friend at his side, there was nothing to be nervous about. There were sure to be tons of adventures to be had at Hogwarts.
After waking for the second time that morning, Teddy’s morning crawled. He entertained himself as best as he could and tried not to watch the clock. However, by the time the afternoon arrived, it was gone and Teddy was clutching Nan’s hand and stepping into the brilliant green fire great. He heard her clearly request the Potter Residence before his world spun out of his five senses’ recognition.
Harry sat at his place at the kitchen table and pushed several string beans around his plate in an uninterested and distracted manner. Ginny bustled at the counter top and hummed softly to a one-year-old little girl with flaming red hair. James sat at the table across from his father and carefully mimicked his bean-pushing behaviour. Albus, a mirror image of Harry except for the glasses, sat next to him and studiously picked bits of food up between his fingers and placed them into his mouth.
“Yes, yes, little Lily flower,” though Ginny’s voice was gentle, exasperation could be hear seeping in through the words. “Alright, be good for mum and sit here in this chair.” Having sat Lily into her seat, she turned her attention to her husband and her face softened. “Harry, love, I’m sure Teddy received his letter. There is absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t have. You worry too much.” Harry’s shoulders relaxed some at his wife’s gentle hand on his shoulder, but then a sharp smack brought him to a defensive and attentive posture. “And quit playing with your food. Look at your son, pushing his beans around like Muggle cars.” Her voice was stern, but slipped into a more playful tone. “If I had wanted to raise four children, I’m sure we could have worked that out.” Harry smiled and squeezed Ginny’s hand affectionately.
“James,” Harry’s voice was serious and caused James’ head to snap up. “You aren’t allowed to play with your food like that. There are starving house elves in china, what would Aunt Hermione say?” James held his father’s gaze for several seconds as he contemplated his words before he pursed his brows together, violently stabbed a particularly long bean with his fork, and shoved it into his mouth.
“fworry. Eh ibnt meando pway wifmy fmood.” James managed to choke out in between bites of room temperature string bean.
“Well, just eat up.” Harry shook his head bemusedly at his eldest son. “Gin, I know that there’s no reason for Teddy not to have gotten his letter, but if he had, don’t you think we would have heard by now? He’s been talking about it for weeks now, I’m sure he would have written me the second that owl flew through the window.” Harry ran his hands through his hair distractedly and felt Ginny slip into the seat next to him. Her back was to him as she carefully spooned food into Lily’s mouth, but six years of marriage told him that she was listening nonetheless. “Thaddeus’ boy is the same age as Teddy and he couldn’t stop talking about the letter he received this morning. Merlin, if they went and bloody screwed this up for Teddy, I’ll –” A stiff glare from Ginny closed his throat and stopped him in his tracks. She hated when he cursed in front of the children. Knowing better than to continue speaking, Harry looked down and his plate and shovelled a large bit of beans into his mouth.
When the world came to a redeeming halt, Teddy quickly scrambled back onto his feet and trotted out of the fire grate behind his Nan. Andromeda gracefully brushed the soot from her robes and turned to do the same to her grandson. Teddy despised these spot checks, and felt he was way too old for them. He wriggled away from his Nan’s persistent, dirt-finding hands and ran into the kitchen where he knew he’d find the Potter family. He could hear Harry’s voice echoing through the downstairs corridor.
“Oi, Harry!” Teddy’s voice rang out as he reached the kitchen doorway where the Potter family was indeed seated around the table. The familiar boyish voice snapped Harry’s head up like a marionette.
“Teddy! Andromeda!” Harry had not expected his godson to have appeared standing in the kitchen doorway, much less his grandmother. Though Andromeda was always civil, she usually excused herself from Potter and Weasley family functions. A surprise visit was most definitely not in her character.
“Yes. Teddy has some news for you. He wanted to surprise you.” Andromeda’s posture looked stiff and uncomfortable, but her eyes were bright with the remnants of a lingering smile. “I told him we could floo over here this evening, I do hope we’re not interrupting?” Harry was lost for words. Both the reality of a spontaneous Andromeda and Teddy’s forthcoming news had rendered speech beyond his capabilities.
“Of course not, come in. Sit down. We were just finishing up dinner here.” Harry passed and appreciative look at Ginny; she really was a remarkable woman.
At Ginny’s invitation, Teddy excitedly hopped up into an extra chair while Andromeda followed suit in a much nobler manner.
“So Harry,” Teddy’s voice quavered from a mixture of excitement and anticipation. “I got my letter from Hogwarts! I’m going to go and learn magic like everyone else!” The smile that split the young boy’s face dominated his face.
“That’s swell, mate.” Harry walked around the table and tousled the boy’s hair.
“Hogwarts is the best place on earth. You’ll love it.” Resuming his seat next to James, his speech was cut short.
“I wanna go Hogwarts wiff Teddy, Daddy.” James sat and blinked expectantly up at his father.
“James, you can’t go to Hogwarts until you can eat all your beans. Besides, it’s Teddy’s turn right now. You’ll get your turn someday.” Harry tapped the plate in front of the now scowling four-year-old. “So Teddy, we’ll have to arrange a day to go to Diagon Alley and get all your books and stuff.”
“And my wand. Don’t forget my wand.” Teddy was practically hanging off the edge of his seat.
“We won’t forget your wand. We can’t send you off to Hogwarts without a wand.” Harry chuckled, remembering back to that day in Ollivander’s shop nearly eighteen years ago. The same wand he had purchased that day still resided in his right robe pocket. Teddy smiled at his godfather and began counting down to their visit to Diagon Alley.
One day left. This was the only thought in Teddy’s mind as he sat out side of the Florean Fortesque’s Ice-cream Parlour. His raspberry-peanut butter cone was melting quickly under the obtrusive August sun and required Teddy’s utmost attention. Harry sat across from him and helped a restless Al to navigate his vanilla cone. James sat under the table amongst bags containing heavy school books, a brand-new pewter cauldron, a set of brass scales, a menagerie of potion’s ingredients Teddy couldn’t even begin to imagine uses for, perfectly hemmed black robes, and a long thin box containing a 10 ¼ inch long birch wand with a unicorn tail core and slurped at his mint chocolate cone. A boy’s day out, Lily had remained at home with Ginny, who had waved them off earlier that morning.
As far as Teddy was concerned, it had been a wonderful day. His nerves from earlier in the summer were almost all null and void. For eleven years, Teddy had grown up listening to Harry, his Nan, and the Weasley’s stories from there days at Hogwarts. He was positive that it was going to be the best place on the planet, possibly the galaxy. As Teddy looked up from his cone, he spotted a group of people walking through the crowd that always brought a smile to his face.
A petite, exceedingly beautiful, blonde woman was being pulled through the crowd by a skinny, four-year-old boy with flaming red hair. In front of her, a small blonde girl and a boy with strawberry-blonde hair equal to her in size, but not age, raced through the crowd.
“Teddy!” they clamoured together, their voices overlapping.
“Maman said that –”
“We wanted to –”
“You had gotten a letter and that you were –”
“Say bye before you were –”
“Leaving to go to Hogwarts,” they finished together.
Teddy smiled and jumped up from his seat and raced to meet Victoire and Dom. Having grown a considerable amount over the last few months, Dom was no longer his sister’s pet and now insisted on tagging along to play with her and Teddy.
“Harry. Hello.” Fleur had finally caught up with her children and set Louis down. He scurried under the table to sit with James. “Zey would seemply not allow ze poor boy off to school without saying zere goodbyes to heem. I floo’ed Ginevra who told me zat I would find you and Teddy here.” She finally inhaled a much needed breath of air and sat down across the table from her brother-in-law.
Teddy had reached the point where Victoire and Dom stood on the street. Looking at them, the wide smile that had appeared on his face the moment he had spotted in the crowd suddenly disappeared.
“Teddy Bear, what’s wrong?” Victoire’s voice chimed out in a sing-song manner.
“Yeah Ted, what’s a matter?” Characteristically, Dom’s voice echoed his sisters.
“Victoire, where’s all your stuff – your bags?” Teddy’s blue hair was now a sandy brown colour and his brows furrowed together. “Haven’t you even bought your wand yet? We leave tomorrow, you better get moving.”
“Teddy, what are you talking about?” Victoire’s face was scrunched together and her bottom lip was planted firmly between her teeth. Dom leaned into the conversation anxious to figure out what was going on. Victoire turned to her little brother and shot him a menacing glare. “Dom, Teddy isn’t talking to you. Go sit with James and Louis.” Her voice was haughty, and Dom didn’t dare question her instructions. He trudged over to the table, dragging his face the entire way, and plopped down onto the sun-warmed street.
“Aren’t you here to get your stuff for school?” Teddy continued once he had deemed the sibling spat was over. His heart was getting fluttery and the nerves he had set aside earlier that summer bubbled up in his chest.
“Teddy, I’m too young to go to Hogwarts. I’m only nine.” Victoire explained in her most patient, and grown-up voice. “Just you’re going to school.” Teddy could feel his heart beating in his ears. All his plans for adventures at Hogwart’s with Victoire slipped through his finger tips.
“Oh yeah, well I knew that.” Teddy lied quickly. He hated when Victoire knew something he didn’t. “Do you want the rest of this ice cream cone?” Victoire smiled and willingly took the cone from Teddy’s sticky hands.
They walked down the road to the table where Harry, Fleur, and the other children sat and took seats on the curb. Teddy’s mind raced. Of course he knew that he was older than Victoire, but he had never considered that she wouldn’t be following him to Hogwarts. The always went on all of their new adventures together. Victoire’s voice interrupted Teddy’s thoughts.
“You know something Teddy Bear,” Her voice was choppy, and the words alternated with slurps of her hand-me-down ice cream cone. “I’m going to miss you while you’re at school.” Teddy grimaced and remained quiet as Victoire continued eat her ice cream.
Later that night, as Teddy crawled into bed for the last time until Christmas break, he thought about the challenge of making new friends. He had never had to make friends being a part of such a large family. His excitement to start at Hogwarts now equally rivalled his nerves of being alone for the first time in his life.
“I’ll miss you too Victoire,” Teddy whispered into the darkness in his room as he settled into a restless sleep.
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