Chapter 1 : Proud
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I start walking hurriedly through the last dodgy London backstreet, noting how many elderly muggles looked disapprovingly at my lime green robes and bright blue hair, and finally got to Purge and Dowse. I jumped through the cracked window, ignoring the mannequin’s weary “Hello Teddy” and immediately found myself at the reception for St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I ask a nurse for my charts, but before she hands them to me, I hear my name.
I turn around and see my best mate from Hogwarts, Jack Wood, striding towards me, face sweaty and robes blood spattered.
“Bad shift?” I ask, ignoring the nurse, who’s trying to force the charts in to my hands.
“Nah, not really, just had to treat some Hogwarts girl who overdosed on some freak version of Nosebleed Nougat. We think it was the dirt cheap, black market type. Otherwise, I wasn’t that busy. Have you just come in?”
“Yeah,” I scratch my head “Why? Zabini hasn’t been asking around for me has he?
Blaise Zabini is the head healer for us second year interns. He’s always sniffing around, trying to get me in trouble, and blaming me for almost everything that goes wrong. Both Harry and Ginny say he was a right arse at school, which is weird seeing as Harry hardly ever judges people (or at least he never usually voices his judgements). Ginny on the other hand... well she does it all the time.
“Yeah, well... he asked if you were in yet... and I said I dunno, and he just tutted and walked off...” Jack says, siphoning off the blood on his robes as he speaks.
“Ah, let’s just hope we don’t see him on the way to the storage cupboard,”
“Yeah, but even if you do see him you can just change your face to look like someone else...” Jack laughs.
We walk down a few corridors of St. Mungo’s, past many old portraits, a few of which make comments about my hair. I smile and give them the finger, to which they clutch their hearts in shock. Jack and I laugh and find ourselves outside the storage cupboard.
We walk inside and quickly close the door behind us, making sure that nobody’s walking past. I turn around and see that Jack has already gotten out the potion, which has now turned a clear midnight blue.
“It’s looking good,” I say as I sit down next to him.
“Yeah, should be alright in around three days,” Jack says, adding some more fluxweed scruples to the mixture. I start stirring it slowly which makes it almost immediately turns reddish-pink.
We sit in content silence for a few minutes, just watching the progress of our potion. It only seems like a few weeks since we were sitting in the Gryffindor Common Room making plans for it, and now it’s nearly finished.
“What if it doesn’t work?” Jack asks.
“If it doesn’t work... well that just means that forever, people around the world will be turning in to wolves at the full moon. Simple as,”
That’s what me and Jack are doing; developing the Wolfsbane potion. Professor Corner, the Hogwarts Potions Master, said that we were the best in our year, and that we could become incredible potioneers. That’s when we decided we were going to make our own potions; ‘surely it couldn’t be that hard?’ We thought. I mean, Harry had told me all about Severus Snape, who made up his own spells, so why couldn’t we make up potions?
But then I remembered. Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, even my Granny Dromeda told me about my Dad. Remus Lupin, his name was. He and my mum died in the Battle of Hogwarts, before I was even a year old. Everyone tells me how brave they both were. When I was about nine, Harry told me that Dad was a werewolf too.
So then, at Christmas of seventh year, sitting in the Gryffindor Common Room, Jack and I were talking about making up a potion again, thinking about what we could do successfully. And I said we didn’t have to just make up our own, we could develop one. ‘Which are you thinking of?’ Jack asked. ‘Wolfsbane,’ was my reply.
This leads us to now, two and a half years later, sitting in a hospital storage cupboard with a small cauldron full of foul smelling liquid.
“Imagine if Zabini walked in on us?” I ponder.
“We’d be in Azkaban by tomorrow,” Jack says hollowly.
The only bad thing about this whole situation is that it’s a teensy little bit illegal; only witches and wizards with licences from the Ministry can experiment with potions. If we succeed to make it so that Werewolves have their own bodies as well as their own minds, therefore eradicating the term Werewolf completely, I’m sure the Ministry would overlook that little law in excitement. However if we blow the hospital up... Well... that wouldn’t be very good.
After ten more minutes of stirring, then adding more fluxweed, then stirring again, we decide we can leave the potion for a couple of hours and come back to it if we’ve got free time. We go outside and lock the door of the cupboard so no one can get inside.
“Mr Lupin, would you care to tell me why you’re locking the door to that storage cupboard?”Zabini has crept up on me and Jack, and we whip around, shell shocked. What’re we going to do?
“Well we-“Jack starts.
“I think you’ll find I asked Lupin, Mr Wood,” Zabini says silkily, his hazel eyes sliding to meet my currently blue ones.
“Err – We were locking a mouse inside,” I say lamely.
“Right,” Zabini says slowly.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Says Jack nodding vigorously, but staring at me as if I’m stupid when Zabini looks away.
“Well, just make sure that your ‘mouse’” – He uses air quotes – “is out of there by the end of your shift,”
He strides away quickly, his boots tapping on the floor annoyingly as he walks.
“He knows. He knows. He knows. He knows.” Jack is repeating over and over, pacing backwards and forwards; he’s so panicked that he’s almost hyperventilating.
“Don’t worry,” I say, although in reality I’m scared too. “I’ll... change the way I look, get the cauldron... put a cloth on it and move it to...”
Where can I move it to? Nanna’ll be angry that I’m doing something illegal – You should’ve seen her when she found out I’d been making firewhisky in my bedroom, age fourteen – My flat isn’t ready yet and I’m pretty sure my new landlady’s been sneaking around my stuff, making sure I haven’t been doing anything against her conditions – If I left it with Harry, then James would be sure to pour it on Albus or something, completely wasting the time we spent. And also, imagine if ‘the Man who Saved’ got caught doing something against the law? The Daily Prophet would have a field day... We could put it –
“In George’s shop!” I exclaim.
“What? The joke shop in Diagon Alley?” Jack asks sceptically.
“Yeah! Trust me, it’d work! It’s only ten minutes away, and George wouldn’t mind, he’s got a load of stuff that looks like this lying around, we could put it in some cupboard or something... and I’m sure that in his day, him and his twin had their fair share of brushes with the law...”
“Ok, if you’re sure,” Jack says.
I nod, and Jack goes back to unlock the door while I close my eyes and think of myself looking like a blonde muggle woman I noticed briefly on my way to the hospital; I need completely different from the way I originally look so no one will suspect it’s me.
“Ooh, sexy,” Jack laughs.
“Do you want this to work or not?” I smile.
“Well, you need a higher voice, just in case someone talks to you. Women don’t talk the way you do.”
“How’s this?” I say, my voice a few octaves up.
“It’ll do” Says Jack, rolling his eyes.
We go back in to the small storage room, and search for something we can cover the potion with. We find an old bed sheet, pick up the cauldron and go outside. I hold the cauldron while Jack covers it with the sheet.
“You wait here,” I say, “They’ll notice if you go, and I’ll be quicker if it’s just me,”
“Yeah sure, be back in fifteen minutes max yeah?”
I run as fast as I can while carrying a potion to the apparition point of St. Mungo’s, which is on the other side of the entrance, Purge and Dowse. As soon as I get there, I close my eyes, and think of the joke shop that my whole (kind-of) family know and love. I will the potion not to spill as I am being sucked through the apparition portals and thankfully, when I find myself at the door of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, only a drop of pink potion has trickled on to my lime green robes.
As it’s a Tuesday, and all the students are at Hogwarts, there’s hardly anyone around. I change my appearance back to normal and then easily get to the back of the shop, where George’s new bomb proof (‘Just in case’ he says) workshop is. As I expected, he’s there, with Muggle science goggles on, picking about at a Fainting Fancy with tweezers.
“George!” I say happily, carefully putting the potion on a side table as I close the workshop door behind me.
“Ah, hello Ted! What’re you doing here?” George booms, taking his goggles off and patting me on the back.
“Well... I just wanted to see you!”
George laughs and says “Yes, and you want something. Don’t worry, what is it?”
“Well... basically... Jack and I are experimenting with this potion, and we were wondering... seeing as you’re so cool and all –“
“Aw! You’re making me blush!” George says smiling and hiding his face.
“We were wondering if we could keep it here? Just in case... you know... someone finds out?”
George looks at me for a while, and then unexpectedly says,
“Oh, so... it’s something illegal then?”
I nod, and then he smiles and says,
“I’ve got JUST the place you could put it!”
I grin, and pick up the potion, following him down to the back of the workshop, where George says to a small door “Wildfire Whiz-Bangs” The door creaks open and George signals me to go through to another set of small steps. After I oblige, he starts another conversation.
“So, you’re still friends with Jack Wood then?”
“Good, I do like him, very funny, must meet up with his father soon...”
After getting down the stairs, we find ourselves in a tiny, square room, full of old Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes merchandise, with a photograph of George and his twin Fred, who died in the Battle of Hogwarts, on a miniscule desk.
“What is this room?” I question, my eyes still fixed on the photo.
I can’t help but feel mournful even though I never knew Fred. Through the picture you can tell how much they were alike, not just in looks, and how happy they were. It’s of them at the Burrow, waving vigorously and wearing what look like Dragon skin jackets. There is pure joy emanating from the small glossed photo in the frame. I wish I had known Fred. I can tell which twin is which because I know George so well, I guess, and he looks happier in that picture than I’ve ever seen him in life. Not that he’s not a happy person, but because now, even though he’s got Angelina and Fred II and Roxanne, you can still tell he’s broken, and only a half, and that in twenty years, he still hasn’t got over his twin’s death.
“Oh, just a spare room for old products. It used to be the workshop, but then I decided I needed something bigger so I moved it upstairs. Nobody ever comes here, so you can put the potion wherever you want,” George answers, going to sit on the desk. He takes the picture, and looks at it, smiling.
“You still miss him don’t you,” I ask quietly.
“Of course I do,” He says affectionately, “I miss your mum too, and your dad. They would have been proud of you, becoming a healer,”
“I can’t help thinking they would have been more proud if I became an auror,” I mumble, finally voicing something I’ve been thinking since seventh year.
“No,” George shakes his head slowly, “They would have been scared I think. They would have been proud yeah, but they would have been scared. Hell, I’d be scared if our Roxanne or Fred became an auror! But I guess it’s not that big a job anymore; there aren’t as many dark wizards around now Voldemort’s gone, and most of his Death Eaters are either dead or in Azkaban,”
“I guess,” I say nodding.
There’s a short silence while I go and put the potion in a small wardrobe at the back of the room. After that, I go to sit on the desk next to George.
“So, what’s this potion you’re experimenting with then? What’re you doing with it?” George asks.
I hesitate before saying, “Wolfsbane, we’re trying to make it so that if you’re a werewolf, as well you having your own mind, you have your own body too,”
George smiles and says “Another thing your Dad would’ve been proud of. How’s it going then?”
“Yeah, it’s actually going really good. Should be ready to test in three or four days,”
“Do you know what Ted, even though this is illegal, and even if it doesn’t work, I’m proud of you too.”
“Thanks George. Thanks.”
“Why don’t you call me Uncle George, Teddy?” George enquires.
“Because, I’m not part of your family... it wouldn’t be right,” I say.
“Oh tosh!” George says, sincerely reminding me of his brother Percy “You ARE part of the family, always have been.”
“Not officially though,” I point out.
“What does official mean? A signed piece of paper? A record in the ministry? The word official doesn’t mean anything.” Says George, firmly.
“But if you really wanted it to be official, then you could pop the question to Victoire. Then you’d be my nephew in law.”
“If there’s such a thing as a nephew in law,” I laugh.
There’s a pause and I suddenly remember. “Crap! I was supposed to be back at the hospital-“I check the watch I got for my seventeenth “twenty minutes ago! Jack’s going to kill me! Zabini’s going to find out I’ve been gone! Damn!”
“Calm down, it’ll be fine, just apparate straight from here, and come back later tonight to check on your potion,” George says soothingly.
I nod, and say “Thanks so much, for everything G – Uncle George,”
I smile and he does too, and then I close my eyes and think of the hospital. I feel like I’m being sucked through a very thin pole, I can’t breathe or see and then, a second later, I’m at the hospital.
I’m running as fast as I can, to the reception area. Jack’s sitting on the desk, biting his nails in worry. Even so, the nurse at the desk is blushing and looking up at him every so often, hoping he’ll catch her eye. It was always the case at Hogwarts too.
As soon as Jack sees me around the corner, he leans back and breaths deeply.
“I thought you’d been found out or something. Didn’t think you were coming back. Where were you?”
“Just stayed to talk to George for a while,” I shrug my shoulders. “Hey,” I say in a lower, quieter voice so the nurse can’t hear, “George was cool, it’s there, we can go anytime tonight,”
Jack breathes deeply again, and smiles.
“Lupin! Wood!” I hear Zabini bark.
“Yes, Doctor Zabini?” We say simultaneously. We both suppress the desire to laugh.
“Have you gotten rid of the ‘mouse’” Air quotes again.
“Yes.” I say firmly.
“Well make sure you don’t keep anymore ‘mice’ here again.” He nods at us both and walks on.
It’s my turn to breathe deeply, while Jack says,
“So, do you think he uses air quotes every time he says mouse?”
I laugh and we make plans to meet at George’s shop tonight after our shifts end at seven o’clock. We separate to go and treat our patients, which we probably should have been doing all day.
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