and the Forest Guard
Too Many Wands
Checkmate didn't seem to want to go into London, much to Teddy's disappointment, so they left her with a large bowl of water and more fish, and headed out in the old Volkswagen again. Granny seemed less tense driving today, even though it would be her first foray into the city proper, and she even managed to occasionally contribute a "Yes," "No," or "Where do you come up with these things?" to Teddy's conversation. They found a car park near the Leaky Cauldron, and walked the rest of the way.
Tom the bartender took a quick step back when Granny walked in, then smiled sheepishly and said, "Madam Tonks."
"I generally use 'Mrs.,'" Granny said shortly, then shook her head. "I'm sorry, Tom. Good morning."
"Good morning, Ma--er, Mrs. Tonks."
Teddy waved and followed her to the back of the pub. Granny had once confided in him that she had grown up in the wrong family to ever learn the normal ways to greet people. In thirty years, she said, she hadn't quite got the hang of it. Teddy thought of it as just the way she was--a little prickly on the outside. It didn't mean anything.
They went out into the alley and Granny tapped the bricks in the back wall to open the archway. Teddy remembered being frightened of the noise of scraping bricks when he was little, but now it seemed like a very wonderful sort of sound. He grinned at his grandmother, then went into Diagon Alley a few steps ahead of her.
Some of the shop fronts were empty again; shops had come and gone very quickly since the war, and Teddy found it hard to imagine the world Granny talked about, where most of them had been owned for generations. A tea shop had opened in what had been a curry place last year, and a curio shop the year before. Teddy had bought Uncle Harry's Christmas present in that one, a little ceramic pot to keep his quills in at the office, with a "never dry, never spill" inkwell on the side. Beside it was a shop that had sold used robes one year and exotic plants the next, and now had its windows boarded halfway up. Above the boards, there was a picture of a witch and wizard winking at one another, holding a sign that said, "Play." The tip of the wizard's wand peeked up between them. Granny blushed and steered them past it, muttering "...such things... right in Diagon Alley..." under her breath.
Beyond the "play" store, a pair of giant knitting needles held the banner for a yarn shop (it unraveled at the end, looping back around to be knitted again), and then Quality Quidditch Supplies, which had a big sign saying that it was under new management--Oliver Wood waved cheerfully from the banner--but at least the store was actually old. Next door, Flourish and Blotts stood where it always had, but Granny had already bought Teddy's books by owl order--she thought that neither of them would keep to the schedule if they started rummaging among the books--and they were already sitting in his trunk at home. Across from it, a news stand had opened, and a new rack of Quibblers was being put out. A photo of an animal Teddy had never seen before was on it, with the headline, "With the Wendigo!" Luna's picture was in beside it. Beyond it was the Fortescue Monument, a huge statue of a man with a dish of ice cream and pile of books, which nodded pleasantly at everyone who came by. Several trees had been planted in a park around it, and people were lolling happily in their shade. Granny took him into the Magical Menagerie and they equipped Checkmate extravagantly--the kitten now had more toys than Teddy did, when you counted the ones she'd inherited, and Teddy had never lacked for playthings--then went back out into the sunlit morning.
Granny took a deep breath. "All right," she said, "we're going to go to Ollivander's now. Are you going to really try to find the right wand?"
"I trust you," Granny said.
She led him across the street, to the oldest shop Teddy could see. A single wand sat in the window. They went inside, and he looked up at the stacks of wand boxes, and suddenly he did want one of them, wanted to be chosen, to find something that was destined to be his.
"Miss Ollivander?" Granny called.
"Just a-- oh!"
With a crash, a young woman--who seemed to look even younger in comparison with the store she was in--tripped down from an upper level, losing hold of an armful of wands, which scattered across the floor and washed over Teddy's feet in a wooden wave. Behind her, a door clicked open, and Teddy could see an old man, looking on with exasperation from a narrow, railed aisle that ran along the edge of the next floor. He continued watching, but remained silent as she greeted them, Summoning the fallen wands so they landed haphazardly on the counter.
"Hello," she said. "Mrs. Tonks. And you must be... er... Eddie?"
"Teddy," Teddy said.
"Right. Teddy, of course." She straightened the wands. "I knew your Mum in Hufflepuff. She was older than I was. Got me through Potions."
"Willow," the old man said from the top of the stairs. "Ten inches, with a core of phoenix feather. A good Auror's wand--powerful for defensive spells. Your father's was ash, with a unicorn tail hair. Eleven inches. It was a good healing wand, though of course he couldn't have become a Healer. I didn't think we'd find a wand to choose him, given his... problem. I was wrong. That wand chose him within five minutes." He said all of this coolly, then sat down in a small gilt chair and gestured to the young woman. "My granddaughter will help you discover your wand. Berit?"
Berit Ollivander's mouth twitched in a nervous smile, and she drew out several measuring tapes that began to crawl across Teddy while a quill floated beside them, recording measurements. She glanced at them and started Summoning boxes from the shelves, seemingly at random.
"Here," she said, handing him a pile. "You were born in April--try willow and alder wands first..."
Teddy started opening the wand boxes while old Ollivander looked on with an unreadable expression above (Berit kept looking up nervously). For an hour, he tried wand after wand. Alder and unicorn tail hair, willow and dragon heartstring, seven inches, twelve inches, whippy, solid, swishy, good for charms, excellent for transfiguration...
The pile of wands grew, and Berit began stashing the tried ones on the counter to leave herself room on the floor, looking more and more nervous with each failure. Teddy noticed that Granny was looking at him suspiciously, and he gave her a helpless shrug as he picked up, "Juniper, dragon heartstring, flexible, nine inches," and was rewarded with a feeble sort of twitch. Berit gave it a thoughtful look and put it on a separate shelf.
"Has he done any accidental magic?" Ollivander asked Granny. "Anything to show that he's not a Squib?"
"I beg your pardon! He's had his Hogwarts letter!"
"None of them seem to match, my dear."
"I made all of Granny's plants blow up once," Teddy offered as quickly as he could. "When I was pretending to be in a jungle."
"It's probably just me," Berit said nervously. "I'm hopeless. Try this one." She handed him another box. "Dwarf birch with"--she mumbled something.
"What did you say?" Ollivander called.
Berit bit her lip, then stood up and said, "Acromantula fang! I tried Acromantula fang shards, Grandfather, and I'm not sorry, and I'm going to try other things."
"That's not a core we use."
"I wanted to see if it would work." She handed it to Teddy with a hopeful smile.
He took it. Nothing happened.
"All right, all right," she said, and went back to phoenix feathers, dragon heartstrings, and unicorn hairs. After another half an hour, they'd found a dozen wands that responded--sluggishly--to Teddy. He thought about asking her if she'd tried werewolf hair for one of her experiments, but thought her grandfather might just explode if she said yes. None of the experimental cores she did try on him (graphorn horn shard, wood-nymph hair, occamy feather, shrake spines) seemed to have the slightest effect, which Teddy felt vaguely guilty about, as he would have liked to make her look good in front of the grumpy old man.
Granny had wandered over to the shelves of wands and was looking them over absently, and Berit leaned in. "Tell me the truth--have you already been using a wand?"
Teddy shook his head, growing increasingly panicked that, while his werewolf father had found a wand in five minutes, no wand would ever choose him.
"Because if you already have one that's chosen you..."
"I haven't. I'm really sorry!"
"No, it's all right. Some people are hard to match."
Ten minutes later, a dark-haired girl with cold blue eyes came in with her parents, and Teddy became very self-conscious about the unruly pile of wands around him. To his great relief, Berit finally stumbled on a willow wand with a unicorn core, ten inches, that at least managed to send a feeble shower of sparks when he touched it. He didn't feel any particular connection to it, but at least it would work. Maybe he'd be able to try again when no one was waiting. "Finally!" he said, coming up with a smile.
Berit let out a sigh of relief. "Mother's wood, father's core. Always worth a try in the end."
Teddy was sure he'd tried at least six other willow-unicorn wands, but didn't point this out. Berit had enough to do getting ready for her next customers.
"Sorry I was such trouble," he said to her as he helped her pick up discarded boxes.
"I ended up getting an O on my Potions O.W.L.," Berit said quietly. "I can spare a couple of hours."
"There," Granny said, leading him out around the new family (the young-ish father had nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight of her for some reason). "All done. Shall we take care of your robes next, or see to lunch?"
Teddy opted for lunch.
"I'll never forget when I got my first wand," Granny said, settling in at a table in the Leaky Cauldron. "Maple and dragon heartstring, nine and a half inches. I lost that one fourth year--a very bad hex war with my older sister; it just splintered into a dozen pieces--but it was such an amazing thing to have it. Let's have a look, Teddy."
Teddy got the box out dutifully and showed her the willow wand, looking at it curiously himself, wondering if he would soon start feeling more attached to it.
"It's lovely workmanship. I wonder if it's one of Berit's. Do you like it?"
"I... guess so."
"Don't be so enthusiastic, Ted," someone said behind him, and he looked up to see the tall, skinny shape of Daffy Apcarne, one of his mum's best school friends. "It's bad for the heart to get so excited."
His wife, Maddie, sidled up beside him and said, "Hello, Andromeda, Teddy--we're getting Frankie's things for the year. Are you getting ready to CARNY! GET DOWN FROM THERE!"
She ran off in the middle of her sentence to pull her seven-year-old daughter off a railing she was balancing on, trying to climb up it toward the rooms on the next floor. Carny's real name was Dorasana, after Teddy's mum and their other best friend, Sanjiv McPherson, but no one ever called her that. Maddie's real name was also Dora--he had no idea how she'd got to be "Maddie"--and Teddy supposed it would be strange to scream your own name in the middle of the Leaky Cauldron.
Daffy turned back with a smile. "To finish Maddie's sentence, are you getting ready for Hogwarts, Teddy?"
Teddy nodded. "Got my wand," he said, holding it up.
"Always a good day," Daffy said. "I'm sorry we couldn't make it to the party yesterday. Maddie's division had an emergency, and I had to take Carny over to St. Mungo's. She managed to blow her ears up until they were bigger than her head trying to eavesdrop on what Maddie was doing. We're going to have to break that habit."
As Maddie was an Unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries, Teddy guessed that this would be a real priority. "It's all right," he said. "I hardly had time to say hello to everyone who was there."
"Would you like to come to dinner tonight?" Daffy asked Granny.
Granny shook her head. "Oh, I'm sorry, Daff--yesterday, I got talking to Bill Weasley about the Gringotts Commission--the business with the lower vaults, and unclaimed treasures--and he and Fleur invited us to Shell Cottage--"
"What?" Teddy groaned. "Oh, but we saw them yesterday."
"And we're seeing them again tonight, and you will keep a civil tongue in your head," Granny said, then looked at Daffy. "I really would accept your invitation, but I accepted Bill's first, and it would be awfully rude..."
"Of course, of course," Daffy said.
"Will you join us for lunch?"
"Love to." Daffy Summoned over a second table, and settled himself in.
"Where's Frankie?" Teddy asked.
"He's at Weasleys' with his mates, stocking up for the year. He should be along in a few minutes."
Maddie finally managed to corral Carny and steer her toward the table, where she was unceremoniously dropped down into a chair. "Do I need to put on a Sticking Charm?" Maddie asked her.
Carny shook her head enthusiastically, blond pigtails whipping around like blades on a Muggle helicopter.
Tom took their orders, and just before the food arrived, Frankie blew in from the back, dropping a bag of jokes and apologizing loudly to a witch he'd nearly walked into. He caught sight of them and loped over, the ripped bag gathered up to his chest. Teddy waved.
Frankie grinned and took a seat. He took after his mum in looks--blond, round-faced, and thick through the waist--but it didn't come off quite as well in him. His clothes never seemed to fit exactly right, and there was always an ink stain waiting to happen if he was anywhere near a quill, which he seemed to have been during the course of the day. His thick, curly hair was grimy, and balanced on top of it was a tall top-hat in Hufflepuff house colors. Teddy had always liked Frankie, mostly because he didn't care a whit what he looked like, and always thought of amusing games.
"You're sitting with us on the train tomorrow, Ted," he told Teddy, dropping down into the chair next to his. "I already told Zach and Bernice."
"Teddy might want to meet the other first years," Maddie said gently.
Frankie shrugged. "They need to sit somewhere too, don't they? Oh, is that your wand? What did you end up with?"
Teddy resigned himself to telling Frankie about the wand, trying to infuse the tale with more enthusiasm than he felt, and, of course, Frankie answered by talking about the glory of getting his own wand two years ago, how he'd never felt anything like it, and there was nothing better than actually being allowed to use it. He started to make a joke about growing up and learning to properly use one's wand, but his mother shushed him with exasperated fondness. In fact, most of lunch was spent listening to the adults reminiscing about their first wands, and the great sense of power they felt in getting them. His mum's story was duly told (apparently, her first time using her wand, she'd turned Ollivander's counter green), and Sanjiv's (no great magic, but apparently he'd gone out and done a jig in the street, telling complete strangers that he'd just got his wand, and it made sparks). By the end of the meal, Teddy wanted to ask Granny if they might go back to Ollivander's to try again, as he really wanted to feel what they were all talking about--it sounded sort of fun--but a deeper part of him was certain that it would just be another two wasted hours. He could only hope that he hadn't absconded with someone else's perfect wand.
Instead, he went with Granny to Madam Malkin's to buy robes. She'd been afraid of a rush of first years the day before the Hogwarts Express left, but there was no one there, and they were in and out very quickly. Finally, they went to the apothecary and got a starter potions kit. Granny bought him a new cauldron and a decent carrying case for his ingredients, then glanced at the starter kit and added--without explanation--at least fifteen extra things, muttering that if she knew his Black blood, he'd need them by October, and she'd prefer that he didn't pilfer them from Slughorn's stores.
They got home at four o'clock, and Granny made a quick trip to St. Mungo's to check on some of her patients (she'd decided to take time off this week, and was due back tomorrow) before they were expected at Shell Cottage. Teddy played with Checkmate for a few minutes, his eyes repeatedly going to the wand box on the kitchen counter. He wasn't allowed to use it, but he could try touching it again...
He opened the box and took it out. The wand felt slightly warm, but it had been sitting in the sun. There was no jolt of energy. It might have been a borrowed quill, for all Teddy felt from it.
A high-pitched mew came from the living room, and Teddy put the wand back in its box and shoved it into his pocket to go rescue Checkmate from whatever trouble she'd decided to get into. He found her halfway up Granny's good curtains, and carefully pulled her down, urging her claws in as gently as he could. She tried to shoot out of his hands to climb further up, toward the top of the china cabinet, where the few good family pieces Granny had managed to sneak out of her house had ended up, along with a glass plate that had belonged to Granddad's mum. It was cracked down the middle and smudged, as it had survived the fire that had killed her, and Teddy had once asked why it had never been fixed. Granny told him that the plate was to remember her by, not to use. On the very top shelf was an ornate wicker basket, the front of it set with a picture frame, from which Teddy's mum and dad waved to him. The basket had always been there, and he hardly paid it attention anymore, but surely, if Checkmate--who after all was descended from Mum's cat--had wanted him to see it, it would be a good idea to take it down.
Curiously, he pulled over a chair and climbed up onto it, taking down the basket and bringing it over to the sofa. He'd gone through it before. They hadn't had many possessions, his parents--a handful of furniture and, for some reason, a collection of Muggle photos in which they appeared to be different ages--but what they had, Granny had told him, belonged to him. Aside from the pictures, there was a box of art supplies, now long stale and crumbling, that had belonged to Dad, a set of nondescript cutlery, a game called Jury of Jarveys, Mum's wedding band (Dad had apparently had very skinny fingers, and his had been lost in the battle where they'd died), and, of course, their wands. They'd had to be tested, to see that their allegiance hadn't shifted, but neither wand had been taken by force. Teddy had handled both of them before, but never with any standard of comparison.
He picked up his father's wand in one hand, and the wand he'd bought from Ollivander's in the other. There was no comparison. Dad's wand felt warm and nearly alive in his hand. His fingers tingled. It wasn't entirely what the others had described, but--
Teddy looked up, sensing more than seeing motion in the garden beyond the window. Granny had just Apparated in, and was walking toward the house.
Put them away, he tried to tell himself, but he may as well have told the sea to stop crashing on the shore. Instead, he put all three wands back in the Ollivander's box, shoved the basket back onto the top shelf, and had just got the chair back where it belonged when Granny came in, reading a scroll on which Teddy could see the name, "Lockhart, Gilderoy."
They were due at Shell Cottage in only twenty minutes, which were spent frantically packing. Granny didn't notice anything amiss. She suggested that Teddy might want to bring the new wand to show--people often wanted to see such things--and he agreed happily enough. The box was back down to a single wand.
The other two were safely stored in the inner pocket of his jacket.
They Flooed out to Shell Cottage at six o'clock, Granny fretting over a stack of scrolls that Bill had wanted to look at (something to do with Black family treasure that Teddy didn't even want to understand). When they spilled out of the fireplace into the Weasley living room--Teddy managing to trip on the laces of his trainers and fall out onto the deep pile carpet, as he almost always did here--he could smell a rich fish stew, and his stomach growled for it.
"Teddy's here!" Artie Weasley shouted from somewhere high above him, and he saw a pair of freckled bare feet dancing around. "Teddy's here, Teddy's here!"
Teddy reached out and tickled the handy feet, and Artie started hopping back and forth, finally falling down on his backside, giggling madly into Teddy's face as Teddy rocked back to a sitting position. Once he was secure, Artie launched himself like a missile into his lap and started pummeling him with tiny fists, sometimes switching to point a finger like a wand and say, "Whoosh, whoosh." He was four, the same age as Al Potter, but he talked a good deal more, having a houseful of bickering sisters to learn from.
"Yes, Artie," Bill said, coming into the room, "there are other boys in the world!"
Artie clapped for this happy circumstance, then got up and ran into the kitchen, where Fleur looked much more pregnant in a loose house-robe today than she'd looked in what she was wearing yesterday.
Bill reached down and helped Teddy up. "Artie's really hoping the new baby is a boy," he told Granny, who'd landed smoothly and was just poking her wand at a few bits of soot. "He feels quite outnumbered by his sisters."
Granny smiled. "It must be getting a bit crowded in here."
"Oh, I'm taking care of it. I asked Dad about the expansion spells he used on the Burrow." Bill pointed out the window, where Teddy could see stones and planks flying about purposefully. "I've decided to add a couple of rooms."
"I didn't even hear!"
"I have a Muffling Charm on it. Of course, there's so much magic going on over there that the girls know the Trace won't work, or that no one will pay attention to it, at any rate. Wait until you see Marie."
Granny smiled, then started straightening the files she'd brought. "Teddy, you should go and offer to help Fleur in the kitchen."
Teddy dusted himself off and went to the kitchen, where Fleur had several sauces simmering, plates cleaning themselves, and the table arranging itself pleasantly. He offered to help her, but she said she had everything under control, and sent him out to the garden, where Artie had run through the open door and was playing near the wall that blocked off the cliff (this had long been charmed to prevent climbing accidents). Aimee, five years old, was swinging from a rope that Fleur had fixed to a sturdy tree branch, her long blond hair flowing out behind her, tinged red by the setting sun. She let go with one hand to wave to Teddy, then held on tight again and screamed, "Higher, Victoire!" and Victoire, who was behind her, both spun and shoved her, sending her twirling into the evening sky. Seven-year-old Marie was sitting on the wall with a picture book open--
Teddy raised his eyebrows.
Marie had somehow developed bright green hair that stuck straight up. She gave Teddy a grin and jumped up, running to him.
"I tried to make my hair like yours!" she said. "Did I do it right?"
"Er..." Teddy blinked at it. "I'm a... well, I don't really do it by trying with magic... Can't your mum... well, oughtn't you put it back?"
"Maman," Victoire said, floating over, "says that Marie has to keep it tonight, as she wasn't meant to do it at all. She borrowed Maman's wand and took it to the construction site. This is her punishment." She looked with some disapproval at the green stripe Teddy had put into his hair in sympathy with Marie as she spoke.
"I like it," Marie said, preening at no one at all. She ran off and joined Aimee at the rope swing.
"Children," Victoire said, shaking her head in a world-weary way. "Will you write to us from Hogwarts?"
"I don't know."
"Please? I'd really like to hear about it."
"I thought you'd be going to Beauxbatons."
"Well, I don't know yet. Aunt Gabrielle has told me about Beauxbatons, and I visited with Maman, but I'd like to know about Hogwarts, too."
"Can't your dad tell you?"
Victoire's mouth drew in, and her blue eyes seemed suddenly bruised. "Sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to ask too much."
Teddy winced. "No... I'm sorry, really. I'll write."
"Don't bother." She turned away sharply and ran over to her sisters.
"Teddy, Teddy, look at me!" Artie called, and Teddy noticed just in time that he was inching out on a high tree branch. Teddy scrambled up after him to keep him steady, and perched himself on the limb, holding Artie securely while they watched the ocean far below. Artie wanted a story, and Teddy obliged, making up some nonsense about a Muggle-born princess in a far away country who had to fight a dragon.
Fleur set out dinner at seven-thirty, and it was delicious. Though Teddy would not have said it in front of Victoire in a million years, he thought she might have a point about French cooking. There was a great deal of talk, and Teddy dutifully showed off his new wand, and Bill and Fleur took the opportunity to launch into their own wand stories, then Granny and Bill started talking about Hogwarts and the sorts of trouble they'd all got up to there. (Teddy tried to imagine Granny grinning wickedly at Great Aunt Narcissa and Transfiguring her robes into a little white pinafore, and failed badly.) All the while, he could feel his parents' wands in his pocket, resting against his side. There was a nervous moment when he put the other one back that he thought Victoire might have seen them, as she was sitting right beside him, but she said nothing. He looked at Marie, still thrilled with her green hair, bragging that she hadn't got caught by any Trace, and it came to him: He could find out for sure before he went to Hogwarts.
"Excuse me," he said, standing up. "I have to..." He pointed toward the toilet.
"Please be my guest," Bill said, then went back to his conversation.
Teddy slipped down the corridor toward the toilet and ducked in long enough to lose any suspicion, then slipped back out, opening the side door at the end of the corridor. It led out directly into the building site, and he had to duck to avoid a flying hammer. He found a seat on a crate of building supplies that had been set near the partially built outer wall. It was at the far edge, near the cliff, and he could look down straight to the crashing sea through a gap in the support beams. With a deep breath, he took out all three wands.
The new wand was first--he wanted to give it a chance. He held it up and said, "Lumos." It was the only spell he already really knew how to do.
The wand glowed in a feeble sort of way. He set it down and picked up his father's wand.
The air around him was infused with a soft white light, which held in a kind of bubble of perfect clarity. He smiled at it. This one felt right. He tucked it back into his pocket.
He picked up his mother's. It seemed to thrum in his hand with a deep, almost frightening amount of energy.
"I knew it!"
Victoire was coming toward him, ducking stones. "You're doing magic! And you have wands you're not meant to have!"
"Go away, will you?" he hissed, trying to keep his voice down.
"No! You'll get into so much trouble!"
"Not if you don't tell! I just want to see if my parents' wands work for me."
"Don't you have a new one?"
"Yes, but..." Teddy stopped, not wanting to tell her that the new wand felt weak and watery. That was none of her business. "Why do you care, anyway?"
"Your grandmother told you that you had to use a new one. She said that yesterday, at the picnic. I heard her."
Teddy bit his lip desperately. "Vicky--Victoire... please don't tell. Please. I only want to--"
But his plea was cut short by a sudden thud, and Victoire fell forward onto the crate, a rip on the shoulder of her robes. Another rock came flying in, and Teddy realized that he still had Mum's wand in his hand, that he was waving it at the rocks, that they were coming at him and he had no idea how to stop them.
He grabbed Victoire around the shoulders and pulled her behind the crate, tucking both of them safely between it and the partially finished wall. He could see his new wand still sitting out, right in the path of the rocks, and he shoved Mum's into his pocket beside Dad's and darted up to grab for it. A rock hit his wrist smartly and he swore as Victoire yelled, "Papa! Papa!" and threw a small stone at the kitchen window.
The back door slammed open, and suddenly several spells flew through the night. Stones veered away from the crate they were hiding behind, and the workings of the construction spell slowed and came to a stop.
Teddy could see Bill Weasley's dragon hide boots before anything else. He looked up the blue jeans, past the work-shirt, into the deeply scarred face. Over his shoulder, Teddy could see Granny, looking furious. Bill had one eyebrow raised. "What's going on?" he asked.
"Teddy was showing off," Victoire said, while Teddy was about to reach for his parents' wands, expecting them to be confiscated. "He was showing me that new wand." She pointed at the Ollivander's wand, which was, in fact, the one in Teddy's hand. "And then the stones started flying at us."
Teddy blinked stupidly at her.
"Is that what happened?" Bill asked.
"It was an accident," Teddy muttered.
"You know better than to try to use a wand outside of school." Granny took it from him. "I think I'll keep this until tomorrow morning."
She led the way back in, and Teddy had no idea what to say. He was quiet for the rest of the evening, claiming school nerves. He offered to help Artie and the girls clean up, and while he was drying the dishes, he overheard Bill talking to Granny and Fleur at the table, muttering, "I thought I'd have a few more years before boys started trying to show my daughters their wands." Granny, who'd had two glasses of wine, snorted a laugh into her third, and it spilled over the table. Teddy blushed, and quickly went back to the sink to help Aimee stack the dishes. When they finished ten minutes later, the adults were having a sedate conversation about interest rates on goblin loans.
"You'll write to me, won't you?" Victoire said, an evil sort of glint in her eyes.
He nodded, feeling he owed her that, as they got ready to Floo home. He apologized to Bill for the mess he'd made, and Bill rolled his eyes extravagantly (which made his ruined face quite alarming for a minute). The littler girls (and Artie) hugged and kissed him several times, then he and Granny stepped into the fireplace and headed home.