On Morphing, Mischief, and Memory
It was understandably not uncommon for students to be unable to sleep their first night at school. This truth was currently vexing Teddy to no end as he stared up at the canopy of his new, unfamiliar four-poster bed. There was something he needed to do in the common room, and he didn't very much feel like answering questions about why he was getting out of bed in the middle of the night.
He had, after all, already been answering questions all day – in the train, on the boats, at the feast.
Blimey, how d'you get your hair that color?
Gram had suggested that he make it a nice normal brown for school, but he'd resisted for some reason. He liked it blue. He didn't want to fit in just to fit in. He wanted to be himself. He tried to explain this to her, and she responded by inexplicably catching him in a tight embrace. She was prone to that sort of behavior now and again. He reckoned it was when he reminded her of his mum, or his granddad.
Therefore, he got a little weary of explaining that he was a Metamorphmagus on the train. It was fun at first, watching his peers' expressions of awe as he changed his hair color and length and they crowded in the doorway of his train compartment to watch, but he felt as though he'd performed for the entire train in no time at all. Fortunately, by the time the lunch cart wheeled through, the novelty of the spectacle had died off, and he was able to return his hair to its customary turquoise blue and have a little time to ponder the thick packet that his godfather had presented him with before he boarded the train.
Unexpectedly, George Weasley had turned up for the occasion as well. Teddy knew the whole Weasley clan through several generations, but he couldn't understand what George was doing out of his Diagon Alley shop just to see him off to his first day of Hogwarts.
Harry had steered him away from Gram to a quiet corner, well before boarding time. Gram had nodded knowingly, assuming that his godfather had some little token of Hogwarts advice that he wanted to deliver man to man.
Harry smiled at him, but his green bespectacled eyes were rather serious. George had been waiting for them in the quiet corner of the station, and he gave Teddy an approving nod.
Teddy smiled. He was very used to people who'd known his mum greeting him thus, and he liked it when grownups – especially exceptionally cool ones like George Weasley – called him by the dignified nickname 'Ted.'
"I've got something for you, Teddy," Harry said, reaching into his robes, and Teddy braced himself. Harry was using that Tone – the Tone that people used when they presented him with objects which had something to do with his parents. Not to say that he didn't want these objects. No, indeed, he was greedy for them all: photos of his parents at school, or in the Order of the Phoenix, clippings from the Prophet about his mum's achievements as an Auror, recordings of his dad's reports on Potterwatch from during the war. Hermione had even presented him with a series of essays she'd written for his dad when she was at Hogwarts, all painstakingly graded with insightful comments in the margins in his father's familiar careful handwriting. Harry had last used the Tone two Christmases ago, when he gave Teddy a brilliant little working Firebolt model – his mum's Christmas present to Harry the year they met.
Harry pulled out a thick envelope. "Something of your dad's."
Of course. Teddy felt the peculiar little knot in his stomach that always accompanied these events.
"Well… sort of," Harry continued. "Anyway, we reckon it ought to be used."
George nodded solemnly, and then broken into a grin. "Ah, I remember the day that we passed it on to Harry here when he was just an ickle third year. However, as you, Ted, are much cooler than Harry ever was, you should have it now."
Harry grinned. "Now, Teddy it's very important that you only open it when you're by yourself. You'll see why once you figure it out. I was going to tell you how to work it, but…"
"That would be cheating," George interjected solemnly.
"You did teach me how to use it," Harry pointed out.
"Well, no offense Harry, but Ted's much sharper than you were," George argued.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, reaching out to ruffle through Teddy's colorful hair. "Don't let the Ravenclaws get their hands on you."
Teddy grinned at him. He wasn't too picky about his House; either Gryffindor like his dad, or Hufflepuff like his mum would suit him just fine. He ran his hands over the thick envelope, and felt the flat, thick wad inside. To small for a book, but it felt like paper…
"What is it?" he asked curiously.
Harry opened his mouth to respond, but George interrupted. "No more hints. Send us an owl if you can't figure it out, but I'll be very disappointed in you." With a wink, he turned and disappeared into the crowd.
Harry smiled at him apologetically. "James asked me to tell you to write him. Al says the same, but as he wouldn't really be able to read anything you send, I suppose it'd be all right if they share letters."
"Sure thing," Teddy agreed. Harry's sons, at six and five, positively hero-worshipped Teddy, which Teddy minded not at all.
Harry enfolded him in a hug, and then gave him a long hard look as though he wanted to say something, but didn't quite know how to say it.
"Let's get back to your Gram," he settled on finally, leading Teddy by the hand back to the busy platform.
Teddy played these events through his mind as he waited for the rest of the Hufflepuff boys in his year to fall asleep. He was dimly aware of his own tiredness, but much too excited by the prospect of the mysterious envelope. He'd slipped it under his pillow furtively when he was getting to bed, so that as soon as there was snoring all around he'd be able to retrieve it quickly and make for the common room.
After he was sure the rest of his classmates must be asleep, he executed his well laid plan, grabbing his wand from the nightstand as well, just in case.
He settled down on the floor in front of the dying fire as he pried the envelope open and pulled out a thick wad of old parchment. Old blank parchment, at that. He unfolded it, laid it carefully on the rug in front of him, and then picked up his wand uncertainly. He reflected sourly that he didn't really know how to do any spells. He'd seen lots of them done, but that was another matter. And he couldn't even think of any that might be remotely useful in this situation. Not knowing where to begin, he gave the parchment an experimental little tap.
Ink bloomed out onto the parchment from nowhere, and formed itself into the familiar lines of his father's handwriting.
Mr. Moony recognizes the use of his wand.
Teddy instructed himself firmly to calm down. Harry had, after all, told him that this had belonged (or "sort of" had, anyway) to his father, so the appearance of his dad's school nickname should not shock him in the least, right? He tightened his grip on the wand – also his dad's. Mr. Ollivander had assured him that, as was not uncommon, this inherited wand was a good match for him, and he was proud to use it.
Mr. Prongs registers his astonishment that some git would have the gall to steal Mr. Moony's wand.
Mr. Padfoot recommends that said git prepare him or herself for deserved comeuppance.
Mr. Wormtail concurs with Messrs. Prongs and Padfoot, and further –
But there was an ink spot, and the rest of Peter's opinion never had a chance to register.
Mr. Moony is willing to hear an explanation and a defensive plea of non-git-hood.
Teddy took a deep breath, his mind in a whirl. "It's my wand," he said simply, keeping his voice down.
It's definitely mine, too. Moony's handwriting somehow seemed reasonable. How did you come by it?
Teddy's voice died in his throat. He couldn't answer that.
Who are you? Padfoot's – Sirius's – firm, sure handwriting demanded.
And what the bloody hell is with your hair? Prongs continued.
Firsties shouldn't steal from their elders, Wormtail scolded.
"I didn't steal anything," Teddy protested. "It's my wand, and the parchment is from my godfather."
"The parchment", he says! Mr. Padfoot notes his incredulity.
Nicely put, Padfoot old chum, Prongs complimented.
Mr. Moony is still waiting to hear your name.
Mr. Wormtail is still waiting to find out what happened to your hair.
Teddy ignored Wormtail. "My name is Theodore Remus Lupin," he told the parchment seriously. "My friends call me Teddy," he added with an unexpected burst of bravado.
There was a long pause.
Mr. Moony inquires as to whether you are related to Remus John Lupin, Teddy.
"Yes," Teddy answered cautiously.
Mr. Padfoot recommends that you dispense with the damn suspense and tell us how already.
Teddy gulped. "Remus Lupin is my father."
The parchment exploded with ephemeral swirls and stars in colored ink, like fireworks. They were interrupted by a firm black splotch.
Prove it, Moony instructed.
"You, Moony, are Remus Lupin, my dad. You were bitten by Fenrir Greyback and made a werewolf when you were just a kid. Prongs is James Potter, who… um… has a crush on Lily Evans," he added, feeling inspired.
See Prongs, everybody does know, Padfoot pointed out mischievously.
"Padfoot is Sirius Black, whose favorite relative is his cousin Andromeda," Teddy went on. "And Wormtail is Peter Pettigrew," he added lamely.
What's your mum's name, Teddy? Prongs inquired.
"Nymphadora Tonks," Teddy replied, feeling a little dazed.
Another ink spot.
Moony, you cradle-robber! Padfoot accused teasingly.
Who? Moony asked.
Andromeda's daughter! She's only four, Padfoot explained.
Wow, Moony, never thought you had it in you, Prongs commented.
Well evidently I won't have it in me for about twenty years, Moony argued.
I think that settles it, Padfoot wrote decidedly. Andromeda told me that Nymphadora is a Metamorphmagus. So that explains his hair.
Teddy touched his hair a little self-consciously.
Which of us is your godfather, Teddy? Prongs inquired.
Teddy felt as though he'd swallowed a Bludger. None of you. You're all dead. He couldn't say that.
"James's son Harry," he answered truthfully.
And who's Harry's mum? Prongs continued.
"Lily, of course," Teddy told him impatiently.
The storm of fireworks went on a little longer this time.
I told you, Prongs! I told you she liked you back! Wormtail's script seemed to be crowing.
You always tell Prongs what he wants to hear, Wormtail, Padfoot pointed out scornfully.
Well I was right, wasn't I? Wormtail argued.
What about Padfoot and Wormtail? Prongs wanted to know.
Teddy shifted uncomfortably. "This is weird," he told them hesitantly.
Who says I want to know? Padfoot interjected.
All right. No more questions about our futures, Prongs declared decidedly.
Teddy took a deep, relieved breath. He figured that the parchment had the same nature of enchantment that wizard portraits did, allowing the subjects to respond interactively within their personalities. But he couldn't help feeling as though he was looking back in time, and he was fighting the wild urge to warn them that Peter would turn traitor. Tell Prongs to keep Padfoot as his Secret-Keeper. Tell Padfoot and Moony to trust each other.
Of course they'd never believe him if he said that Wormtail would sell Prongs out to the Dark Lord and send Padfoot to Azkaban in his place. As a matter of fact, they'd probably refuse to speak to him after he said it, Moony's son or not. Teddy couldn't risk that, not for revelations that would make no difference anyway. He realized with a cold, sick feeling in the pit of his stomach that this was the only way he'd ever get to meet his father.
In honor of his worthy parentage, Mr. Padfoot recommends that young Master Teddy be let in on the secret.
Mr. Prongs notes his whole-hearted agreement with Mr. Padfoot's assessment.
"Secret?" Teddy asked, confused. "You mean… there's more to it than you guys?"
Charming lad, Padfoot commented. Yes, Teddy, there's more to it than talking to us.
Though our informative and diverting conversation can certainly be considered a resource as well, Prongs boasted.
"Harry told me that it 'ought to be used'," Teddy said slowly.
Wise boy, Prongs wrote proudly. So it ought.
We need to be sure of your intentions before we help you, though, so the process begins with a vow, Wormtail explained importantly. You must tap the parchment with your wand and say:
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good
It's important to us that you mean it, too, Prongs told him. As long as you don't take after your dad too much I'm sure you'll have plenty of ideas of how to put it to use.
When you're done, give it another tap and say Mischief managed to clear the parchment, Wormtail continued.
Welcome to the Marauder's Map, Teddy Lupin, Moony concluded.
Give Hogwarts hell, m'boy, Padfoot bade him.
Teddy tightend his grip on his wand, and poised it over the parchment.
Before you try it out, Moony's script appeared hastily, might I have a word?
Teddy tried unsuccessfully to swallow. "Yeah," he managed to croak.
Moony, we agreed no more questions about our futures, Prongs pointed out.
Give him a break, Prongs, Padfoot scolded.
It's not about me, Moony assured them.
There was a pause, and Teddy wondered if Prongs, Padfoot and Wormtail were somehow giving Moony some privacy.
Teddy, are you… Moony's script appeared again only to halt hesitantly for another few moments. Are you what I am?
Teddy felt his eyes filling up with hot tears as Moony's script blurred.
"No, Dad," he whispered. "I'm not."
There was yet another long, eloquent pause.
Good, Moony stated simply.
"Even if I was, I'd still be proud that you're my dad," Teddy told him fervently.
Thanks, Teddy. I'll let you use the map now.
Teddy rubbed his eyes with the sleeve of his pajamas, determined not to leave water spots on the parchment.
"I solemnly swear," he told the map determinedly, "that I am up to no good."
I just recently read a quote from Ms. Rowling stating that Harry never gave the Marauder's Map to any of the kids, but by that time I had already written this, and liked it too much to part with it.
Apologies to J.K. Rowling. I'm not very good at resisting the fanfic temptation which is so strong in the world of Mr. Potter.
Special thanks to Anne, who gave me so many lovely title ideas that I had to use two of them, and to Katie, who read it first.