Note: Because Messer Moony asked nicely! =) I actually liked ending on the last chapter, but I suppose one last chapter doesn't hurt!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor am I making any profit from this piece of writing.
15: Any Questions?
Teddy Lupin and Chester Burton joined the crowd of Gryffindor students as they filed out of the classroom door, glad that the two hours of boredom that had eaten away at their evening was finally over.
"I shall see you all here again tomorrow." Professor McGonnogal announced as they shuffled past her, and a collective grumble swept it's way through the crowd. "It's you're own fault," the Headmistress reminded them sharply as Teddy and Chester turned to walk down the corridor. "We're going to keep on like this until somebody tells me who is responsible for that disgraceful display! Do any of you realize how lucky it was that Professor Lupin had left the room? Party dust...! Honestly! If he'd managed to inhale a good lungful of that we'd be without your Head of House for at least another week! Disgraceful, inconsiderate behavior!"
"Professor Lupin wouldn't have made such a huge fuss of it." a fourth year boy muttered from somewhere near Teddy's elbow. "I bet he's sitting in that hospital bed having a right laugh about it..."
"Tuck that shirt in, Mr. Lincoln!" McGonnogal barked, and Teddy heard the boy mutter a particularly rude name under his breath.
Chester folded his arms moodily across his chest as they headed towards the staircase.
"How long did you say it was until he gets discharged?" he asked the professor's son, as Teddy regarded his wristwatch with a deep frown.
"Mum says they might let him out today if he passes all their breathing test thingys, but McGonnogal's giving him a few days to stay at home if he wants to. I reckon he'll be back really soon, Mum went back work on Monday so he's been sat in that room on his own for days, everybody's been at work you see, he must be bored not having many visitors."
"Hey! Teddy!" a voice from behind the two boys called, and they turned to see fifth year Joseph Newman pushing his way past a couple of first years, a broad grin upon his face. "Is it true you hexed Lysander Rowle right in the face?" he asked excitedly, and immediately the crowd around them erupted into conversation.
"Wow, that's bloody amazing!"
"I heard Rowle tried to escape on a broom, but one of the Aurors set it on fire..."
"Is it true they tried to force feed you owl droppings?"
"Did you really hex him in the face? Lysander Rowle? Right in the face?"
"Is it true he's nearly as big as Hagrid is?"
"Did it send him flying like...crash!"
"I mean come on...owl droppings? Which idiot told you that?"
Teddy and Chester exchanged a bewildered glance. Chester gave a shrug.
"Just go with it, mate." he suggested with a grin, and with that they rounded the corner and made for the final staircase up towards Gryffindor Tower.
The students of Gryffindor House filed into their common room to discover their Head of House busy pinning a notice to the board beside the window.
"Wow...that was quick of him!" Chester murmured, sounding very much relieved.
Teddy was not entirely sure that he felt quite as glad to see his father back at work as his friend did. Surely, the boy thought a little worriedly as the students hurried to gather around, talking amongst themselves and greeting the professor with enthusiasm, if he could take a few days off he ought do just that, to be on the safe side...
Especially when he appeared incapable of shouting loud enough to bring at least a shred of order to the raucous crowd, who were intent on celebrating his return loud enough to wake up the Slytherins down in the dungeons. Chester began to lead a chorus of: "We are the Lions of Gryffindor, and our Head of House is better than yours, better than yours, better than yours!" a chant that had been sung almost continuously in the school corridors when Teddy and Chester had announced that Remus had agreed that they could have a party.
Then again, Teddy mused as he watched Remus reached to draw the wand from his pocket, expression one of exhaustion at the sound, his father had never been one to shout. As it had done back in the Great Hall at the start of term feast, a loud bang accompanied by a shower of red and gold sparks was by far a more efficient call for order.
Silence fell over the room and Remus reached to point at the notice that he had just tacked to the wall.
"This is a message from Professor Addlesford," he informed the students, voice quiet enough that those at the back had to strain to hear him. "All Defense homework assignments have been canceled, with the exception of the sixth years' essays which were set on my behalf on Monday. I will resume teaching first thing tomorrow morning. Does anybody have any questions?"
One of the fourth years raised a hand.
"Yes Rory?" the professor said, and Teddy couldn't help but feel that he was suppressing a sigh.
Rory Dipper cleared his throat loudly, and a few of his fellow fourth years sniggered.
"Yeah...I was wondering Professor, do you know exactly how to draw an anatomically correct cornish pixie?"
Remus could suppress the sigh no longer.
"No, Rory, I can't say that I do." Rory opened his mouth to say something else, only for the werewolf to ask: "Does anybody else have a question?"
"What does it feel like getting poisoned?" a voice from the back of the crowd called.
"A sensible question relating to Defense homework or classes." Remus clarified, and at last there was silence. "In which case I suggest you all go to bed." he said, reaching to shove the wand back into the pocket of his robes and walking slowly towards the door. He was just about to disappear through the portrait hole when a quiet voice behind him announced:
"I have a sensible question."
Remus turned to regard the turquoise haired boy with a questioning look.
"How are you?" Teddy asked him, eyes scrutinizing.
"Are you sure? I mean, do you think teaching tomorrow is a good idea...?"
"Merlin," Remus shot his son a smile and turned back to the doorway. "You're worse than your mother..."
"D-ad!" Teddy reached to grab hold of his arm, halting his father's escape.
"Honestly Teddy, I'm absolutely fine. Now go on, get to bed."
It was clear to Teddy that there would be no changing his father's mind, and so he obediently followed the rest of the students up towards the dormitories.
Bored and not in the least bit tired, the child retrieved the Marauders' Map from his trunk and sat under the blankets on his bed, watching a pair of footprints labeled Remus Lupin move across the parchment under the soft glow of wand light.
Remus appeared to come to a halt at the bottom of a staircase and remained there for several minutes.
"What're you doing?" Teddy whispered aloud, frowning deeply. After another few minutes, staring at the immobile dot, the child was past feeling curious and was bordering on worried. He carefully drew the covers back from his head and climbed out of bed, reaching to snatch up his dressing gown. As he pulled the garment around his shoulders, he wondered whether or not to wake Chester up, but decided against it, his best friend appeared to be fast asleep, snoring softly in the bed next to his own.
It took some time for Teddy to make his way through the darkened corridors of the school, on a couple of occasions he had to make diversions to avoid Professors Vector and Flitwick who, judging from their movements, were taking their turn at patrolling the corridors. Throughout Teddy's creeping progression, Remus did not appear to move an inch. As he neared his father's position, the boy began to feel more and more worried. What if he had passed out or fallen on the staircase? What if the healers had made a mistake, letting him out of the hospital...
It was just as Teddy was busy gladly observing that Madam Pomfrey was still moving around the Hospital Wing that he suddenly realized that he had reached the top of the staircase. Drawing in a deep breath, the young Gryffindor lowered the map that he had been squinting at under his nose and looked down the stairs.
Remus was sitting upon the bottom step, bent forward as if examining something upon the floor. As Teddy hurried down the steps, not caring that his footfalls echoed around the walls, the professor did not bother to glance round.
"You ought be...asleep, Teddy." he murmured as the boy came to a halt just behind him. Teddy felt a lump form in his throat to hear him pause for breath mid-sentence.
"How'd you know it was me?" the boy asked, before deciding that it didn't really matter, there were more pressing questions to ask, possibly the most important one being: "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." the professor assured him, and Teddy stepped down a couple of steps and dropped down beside him. It was then that Teddy discovered what Remus was looking at. Upon the floor at his feet was a small brown paper bag that, from what Teddy could see, was empty. Remus was busy unscrewing the lid from a small glass bottle of silvery powder.
"What's that?" he asked, as Remus set the lid down upon the floor and reached for the paper bag.
"The healers gave it...to me when I left...this morning." Remus told him, and Teddy watched him carefully pour a small measure of the powder into the bag. He proceeded to lift the paper bag to his face and inhale deeply. After only a couple of breaths, the werewolf began to cough violently.
"Maybe I should...fetch Madam Pomfrey or...something..."
"No," Remus told him a long moment later when he was suitably recovered, voice muffled by the bag. "You just go back to bed." He went back to inhaling the powder, and Teddy was relieved to find that he did not cough or splutter.
"Are you sure?" Teddy asked, biting his lip worriedly.
Remus lowered the bag from his face, his lips appeared to have gone rather pale and silvery.
"I'm very sure Teddy, this is completely normal, it's nothing to worry about. See? I'm better already..." No sooner had he spoken before another spluttering cough escaped his lips.
Teddy reached to pat him comfortingly on the arm.
"You won't always be like this, will you?" he asked, crossing his fingers hopefully in his lap.
"Of course I won't. Merlin, Teddy, we don't recover from near death experiences overnight, you know!"
Teddy shuddered, and Remus pressed his lips together as if he regretted speaking.
"I didn't really think you were going to die." Teddy told him, ignoring the voice inside his head that screamed: Liar! He watched the werewolf inhale another few breaths before shifting closer to his side and asking: "What did you think? Did you think you were going to die?"
"I may have considered the possibility, yes."
Teddy wanted to ask Remus if the prospect of death had frightened him, but the professor said:
"You should get to bed. I booked the Quidditch pitch for an hour before lessons tomorrow, I expect Cassandra will want to drag you down there as soon as the sun is up."
"You WHAT?" Teddy cried, jerking upright and positively scowling. "Are you mental, Dad? What in Merlin's name did you go and do that for?"
Remus reached to stuff the paper bag into his pocket and got heavily to his feet.
"You've already absolutely obliterated Gryffindor's chances of winning the House Cup this year." he reminded the boy, causing Teddy's hair to redden considerably.
"That wasn't me! I swear, I've not even been to Zonko's recently!"
"I'll be damned if I have to watch Slytherin take the Quidditch Cup too." Remus went on, as if Teddy had not spoken. "I want my house to win!" And with that, the professor turned on his heel and set off up the corridor.
The Absolute End
(Until next time, of course!)