On Monday, January 1st, 2018 at exactly 12:08 a.m., Teddy Lupin pushes Draco Malfoy back against his own desk and snogs him with all the drunken fervor of someone who has finally been allowed to have exactly as much champagne as they please. Their bejeweled (Teddy's are plastic, but Malfoy's jewels look real) and feathered (Where did Malfoy even find a pure-white peacock? Teddy wonders) masks get tangled, and when Teddy stops to catch his breath he also takes both masks off and lays them carefully on the desk. Malfoy is beautifully rumpeled, white satin bow-tie askew, hair a mess, breathing heavily. His lips are so perfectly red that Teddy has to fight not to eat him alive, right then and there. He starts to sink down, intent on tasting more, but Malfoy grabs him by the chin and hauls him back up. He strips himself of the (of course, white) tailcoat and, too swift for Teddy to react, twirls them so that now Teddy is the one trapped against the desk, Malfoy sinking to his knees. Teddy starts to protest, but Malfoy reaches up and shoves two fingers in his mouth, forcing Teddy to shut up and suck. Somehow Malfoy still manages to undo Teddy's flies with just his free hand, and mutters something--possibly along the lines of 'age before beauty'-- that Teddy doesn't quite catch, because then Malfoy sucks him right down to the root without so much as a warning, and it's all Teddy can do not to come right then.
It's perfect, it's brilliant, it's toothy and so good it's just this side of painful, and barely thirty seconds later Teddy has to turn his head to get his mouth free of Malfoy's thrusting fingers so he can gasp out, "Stop." Malfoy ignores him a moment, just long enough for Teddy to seriously consider the possibility that he will come all over the face of the Head of the Department for International Cooperation, but then Malfoy withdraws with a very faint 'pop' and sits back on his heels, scrutinizing Teddy with a slightly twisted mouth. "I," Teddy pants, sagging back against the desk, "Want to--"
"Of course you do," Malfoy interrupts, brisk and stern but for the half-smirk he says it with. He stands, almost business-like, and strips efficiently. Teddy scrambles to follow suit, though he winces just a bit to see the tuxedos (his borrowed from Harry, Malfoy's no doubt costing a fortune) rumpled on the floor. He's quickly distracted, though, when Malfoy perches himself up on the desk and drags Teddy to stand between his legs. Their cocks brush together, and Teddy whimpers at the electric jolt of it. Malfoy makes an impatient noise, and mutters some spells too quiet for Teddy to catch, but then he's dragging Teddy forward by the hips and neck, and there is absolutely nothing Teddy can do but oblige.
The pleasure is momentarily blinding, but Teddy's grateful that that clears quickly, because he doesn't think he could ever live without searing this sight-- Malfoy, all powerful and spread out and glaring, and, oh, yeah, moving might be a kind of good idea, Teddy remembers. And move he does, and Malfoy gasps and digs his nails into Teddy's skin, and Teddy knows beyond any shadow of a doubt that he's going to last less than two minutes. With this in mind, he gathers enough of his wits about him to wrap a hand around Malfoy's cock... only to have it smacked away a second later as apparently only Malfoy has that privilege. Still, it's beyond anything Teddy's ever dreamed. His estimate of endurance is not far off, and it's pure dumb luck that Malfoy seems to know this, and times his own climax to a few seconds before Teddy himself explodes.
A few minutes later, as Teddy's sitting on the floor pulling his socks back on, something occurs to him. He glances up at Malfoy, who is sprawled atop his own desk, smoking a cigar.
"How do you know how all that works?" Teddy asks, genuinely curious.
"Same way you do, now," Malfoy answers, and sends a choking cloud of smoke his way.
Mondays mornings for Teddy always seem to start the same way. Today, January 8, at 8:27 in the morning, is no different. Every time Harry-- that is, Head Auror Potter-- turns his back, Teddy starts mouthing along the tirade in time. "ONE SECOND OF INATTENTIVENESS CAN GET YOU KILLED. IT CAN GET YOUR FRIENDS KILLED. EVERY SINGLE THING AROUND YOU, EVERY ASPECT, EVERY PERSON, EVERY ITEM, EVERY TINY SPEC IN YOUR SURROUNDINGS AFFECTS WHETHER OR NOT YOU WILL MAKE IT OUT ALIVE. NOTICE EVERYTHING. NEVER STOP PAYING ATTENTION. CONSTANT--"
"Vigilance," Teddy can't help but groan aloud. They've heard this speech, word for word, at least fifty times since making it into the second year of training. Still, when Harry whips around to tower over him, Teddy still has the good sense to cower a little.
"Trainee Lupin," Harry says, and Teddy winces a little. Harry only ever calls him that when he's furious, of course. "Know it by heart already?" Teddy nods. "Bit sick of hearing it?" He can't do anything but nod. "Maybe want to put some of it into practice?"
Teddy blinks, not entirely sure he's heard right. But when he looks up, Harry has an odd smile, so, tentatively, he nods. Harry's weird smile broadens to a sort of manic grin, and before Teddy can rethink exactly what he's done, Harry has him by the wrist and drags him out onto the (little-used, so far) mat. One of Teddy's classmates snickers, and Teddy shoots him a look over his shoulder, causing himself to stumble a little.
Then, somehow, he's standing in front of his godfather and boss, who has already drawn his wand. He fumbles a little getting his own out, getting into the stance, and nearly has a heart attack when Harry, without any warning or noise, throws a sharp bolt of red light straight at Teddy's head. Teddy ducks in pure instinct, but from there on he's on the defensive, desperately blocking and dodging Harry's jinxes and hexes.
He can tell, beyond shadow of a doubt, that Harry's playing with him. He can hear the whoops and jeers of his peers from the side of the room, and every time he manages to get back onto his feet long enough to fire off a hex of his own, Harry comes back with something just a step harsher. It's like tunnel vision, he can't keep track of a single thing that isn't Harry's wand and Harry's voice, and as a result, it takes him a long, weird moment to figure out what's going on when the hexes suddenly stop.
A second later, Teddy wonders vaguely why the whole room seems to be screaming and flashing red. Then the noise sorts itself out into words-- "RED ALERT, RED ALERT, AURORS TO STATIONS," which doesn't actually help Teddy much. It's only when Harry grabs him by the collar and drags him into his office followed by a whole crowd of the older Aurors that it begins to dawn on him that this is not a drill.
Monday nights for Harry always seem to end the same way. The moment Draco comes, Harry allows himself to collapse on top of him. The most talking they ever do is just like this, tangled and sweaty and sticky and noodle-limbed. Harry, too exhausted to hold back, tells Draco about Ron.
Ron has always been a point of contention between them. Harry and Ron are still closer than brothers, and share everything-- but the first time Draco allowed Harry to fuck him, he made sure to first extract an explicit promise that no Weasley or Weasley-affiliate was ever to know about it. It always tore at Harry, but he'd been too far gone when Draco had demanded it, and he took his word far too seriously to go back on after he'd made the promise.
Now, telling Draco about it doesn't help much, but it's infinitely better than going back and trying to tell his wife that it's his own fault her brother was missing. Draco, with his disdain for much of the Ministry in general and for the Auror division in particular, is somehow soothing to vent to--he mirrors back Harry's anger and frustration with perfect calm hatred. As wrong and unproductive and unhelpful as it is, it's exactly what Harry wants to hear.
Eventually, when he's grumbled himself into silence, it's Draco's turn. First, though, he rolls them over; apparently whoever's on top gets to talk. Or something. There are all sorts of weird rules about this that Harry still doesn't quite understand, and usually it's the most he can do to just try and keep up.
Draco tells him about New Year's, last week. Harry and Ginny had been invited to Draco and Astoria's ball, but Harry had drawn the short straw, and was on-call that night, and sent Ginny alone. According to Draco, Ginny had been the incidental belle of the ball, called on to dance with every bachelor (and some married men) in attendance before disappearing, somewhat tipsy, barefoot, and with some dark-haired witch from the Ministry's accounting division. Harry is not terribly concerned with this; it's not the first time, it certainly won't be the last, and she's had the decency not to get caught by any tabloids.
He also tells Harry about his latest conquest--it's not uncommon that they'll share this, because there are times when they can't stand each other, can't stomach their wives, and need something fresh and fleeting. This one sounds absolutely delectable, too. Young man, his first time, eager to try new things. They've agreed not to tell each other names, because when it's some nameless, desperate boy, they're both free to insert themselves into the story, and it's just unspeakably hot.
When Draco mentions something about the boy's hair changing when he came, though, Harry starts. He only knows one person whose appearance changes to match his mood, and suddenly, he's downright blinded with rage. He throws Draco off of him, jumps out of the rumpled bed, and starts yanking his pants on. "Never," he growls, "fuck him again. Don't you even fucking look at him, you hear?"
And with that, he storms out, the windows rattling a little in their panes as he slams the door behind him.
By the fifteenth of January, the whole department is in an uproar. Teddy gets in to work at six on that Monday morning, and still gets snapped at by Harry for laziness. Harry's become increasingly frayed and vicious over the week, and Teddy knows that if they don't find Ron Weasley and the other two senior Aurors that have gone missing since last Monday, he'll snap. Teddy, however, has entered an odd state of serene calm. With the department in emergency mode, his usual insecurities and fears don't bother him at all-- he knows his job, he does it well, and he makes sure to keep a close eye on his peers, who have spent the week in a state of barely-restrained panic. Harry hasn't noticed, which stings a little, but the Minister himself commented on Teddy's cool, collected way of working. If he makes it through this, he's pretty sure he's up for instatement as a proper Auror a whole six months ahead of schedule.
Shortly before eight, however, Harry calls Teddy into his office, and puts a good number of locking and silencing wards on the door after him. Teddy wracks his brain, tries to fathom what he could possibly have done wrong that would warrant not only privacy but containment. He gets increasingly uncomfortable, just standing there watching Harry, who is just sitting there watching him. Finally, Harry looks up.
"When were you going to tell me?" he asks, in a low and dangerous voice. Teddy Lupin is not afraid of many things, but Harry Potter in a temper is one of the exceptions. His voice lacks all the usual sharp confidence when he answers.
"Tell you what?"
Harry bangs his fist on his desk, and Teddy's hand involuntarily twitches towards his wand, afraid he might have to duel him again. Harry's been known to go about proving his point in weird and explosive ways. He almost breathes a sigh of relief when Harry bursts out, "About Malfoy!" Teddy immediately reverts his usual cool, collected self.
"I wasn't aware that the head Auror had to know what his recruits get up to on their time off," he says as smoothly as he can. "In fact, I was under the strong impression that you had more important things to worry about." He nods toward the large, ornately-framed Foe-Glass on the wall (in which he is emphatically not reflected, thankyouverymuch).
Harry bangs his fist on the desk again, but now that Teddy knows he's in for a lecture, not a duel, it strikes him as a bit funny rather than a bit terrifying. "The head of a family gets to know what his godson gets up to, damn it."
Teddy tilts his head. "And you can't ask me at home? I'm sure Ginny would love to make a scene about it just as much as you would." Harry's face, oddly, goes a bit purple, and it finally occurs to Teddy to wonder how on earth Harry even found out about New Years' Eve. Before he can ask, though, the alarm goes off again. It's almost routine, now, the immediate snapping into action and running around like loons until they figure out which Auror is missing this time. Teddy's grateful for the interruption and for the chance to go back to doing what he's actually good at, and he suspects that Harry feels quite the same.
Harry's ready to vent, but Draco is having none of it. Every time Harry growls and tries to flip him onto his back, Draco smoothly slips out of his grasp and retreats to a safe distance-- well, as safe a distance as he can manage while still touching him as much as possible-- and goes back to soothing Harry with small caresses and kisses, murmuring nonsense like he's trying to calm a wild beast. After a few rounds of this, Harry gives up and flops back onto the bed, as he figures that accepting the sweet little touches is probably better than annoying Draco enough to drive him out of his bed.
Draco, who seems to sense the surrender almost a second before Harry gives it, immediately slides up to straddle him, then bends down to kiss him. It's weirdly tender, and Harry valiantly tries to choke down the embarrassing little moan that it provokes. It's easier to do this when he can tell himself it's because Draco's rough and mean and petty and good sex does not a good companion make, but when Draco's like this-- languorous and soft and gentle-- Harry can't quite explain to himself why it's so much better than what he could get at home. Draco seems to know that, too, and seems to be doing his best to keep Harry from looking at his face too much, keeps hiding it in Harry's neck, mouthing nonsense words down and across to his shoulder. One of Draco's hands is pretty firmly entwined in Harry's hair, but the other he gropes out under the mess of bedsheets, and brings back Harry's wand.
There should be a second of fear in this, Harry knows, but all he can think as he watches Draco use Harry's own wand to cast the quick series of spells on himself is that he has never seen anything so perfect. He should be able to remember how to distrust Draco, should fear for his life for at least a second, but then Draco's sliding down onto his cock and gasping softly right in his ear, and Harry can't remember anything in the world but how good this is. His hands immediately slide down Draco's sides to grasp at his hips, and Draco lets him set the pace like that. He gives himself over entirely to Harry, and as angry as Harry was earlier, he now can't bear for this to be anything but slow and soft. They come, for once, in almost perfect tandem, and collapse against each other.
When Draco's caught his breath, he finally pulls back enough that Harry can see his face. He's flushed, of course, sweaty and distinctly tousled, but there's some fear in his eyes that catches Harry off guard. "What?" he mouths, not really making any sound, and Draco quickly looks away, and rolls off of him. "What?" Harry says again, just barely audible this time. Still not looking at him, Draco grabs the nearest wand and runs a quick, harsh cleaning spell over both of them, and gets under the covers. Harry can't bear to see that perfect body covered, so he pushes them off again. He's about to grab Draco's shoulder and yank him back to face him, but catches himself. He rests the hand there, instead, making some fumbling bid at being soothing.
Finally, Draco turns back to him. "These disappearances--" he says shortly, and cuts himself off. Harry bites his lip to stop himself from interrupting, and nods for Draco to continue. "You don't have any leads yet?" Harry shakes his head. "No idea?"
"Why do you want to know?" Harry can't help but ask, his voice a little sharp. Now that he's not actively riding his cock, it's far easier to remember that Draco is still a Malfoy and a Slytherin, and would probably sell Harry over to the highest bidder without a second thought. Draco, predictably huffy, turns his back again, and his voice is muffled by the pillow when he speaks next.
"Any idea who they're after?" Harry shakes his head, then remembers Draco can't see him.
"Aurors. Whichever they can get."
"It's not going to be pretty," Draco mumbles, "When you find them. Whoever it is."
Harry scowls. "What makes you say that?"
Draco turns over, and stares resolutely at the ceiling. "They started with Weasley. Think there's a chance in hell--" His voice breaks, and now Harry is definitely confused; does Draco suddenly like Ron, of all people? But he collects himself, and goes on, "Think there's a chance in hell they're not after you?"
It's something Harry considered, of course. He tends to work with the assumption that everyone is always after him, and he is frequently proven right. Still, he didn't really expect Draco Malfoy, of all people, to consider that a cause for concern. He takes Draco's face in both hands, and explains the only way he can-- a kiss.
It's chaos as usual when Teddy arrives at five in the morning on Monday the 22nd. The sun's not up yet, and it seems like half the department's not, either. Still, here they are. The Auror trainees were put on active duty as of Tuesday last week, because the supply of Aurors proper had been running uncomfortably low. Teddy has polished his temporary badge at least twice a day since then.
This morning's pandemonium, however, has a different feel to it. The last fortnight has been a sort of tightly-controlled uproar, with each element of the uproar having a definite purpose and direction. Now, it just seems like everyone's back to panicking. Teddy pokes his head into Harry's office to see what has changed overnight, and almost falls over himself scrambling back to knock properly. The person sitting at the desk gives a dark chuckle, and waves him in.
"Minister, I didn't expect-- where's Harry?" Teddy has only seen Minister Shacklebolt in person a few times, and between those times he always manages to forget that the man is built like a tree. An unusually fit tree. Shacklebolt gestures for Teddy to come in the rest of the way-- he's still hovering awkwardly in the doorway.
"Auror Potter hasn't been seen since Friday night." Teddy blinks; he's not sure he's heard right. "There was a note that he was taking a weekend off to see his family, but Mrs. Potter says he never came home. We found out at about midnight last night. You haven't heard from him, have you?" Shacklebolt adds quickly, but Teddy shakes his head just as quickly. He feels oddly numb. Shacklebolt nods, then bends down over Harry's desk and starts scribbling something. He folds up the parchment carefully, then taps it with his wand. The little note starts glowing green, and Shacklebolt hands it to Teddy. It feels warm in his hand.
"Go to the Department of Mysteries," Shacklebolt tells him, "Tap your wand on the lift, it'll know that you're authorized. Take this to Hermione Granger-Weasley... you know who she is, yes? She'll know what to do with you." Teddy nods, and silently backs out of the room.
He's never been in the Department of Mysteries. He's never even stopped on this floor. The lift does seem to know that he's allowed to be here, and Hermione is waiting just outside the lift gate, as if she's been expecting him.
By the night of Sunday the 28th, Teddy has never been so exhausted. Hermione, who has always been one of his favorite Weasleys, has turned out to be even harsher a supervisor than Harry. It's understandable, of course; he knows Hermione and Harry are best friends, and with Hermione's husband missing she's got no reason to go home at night, no reason to stop working except for when she passes out at her desk for a few hours between midnight and dawn. She's been keeping Teddy just as busy, too, though she makes him keep all his memories of his work in a Pensieve so that there's no chance for him to spill anything to anyone, willingly or not. As such, by the time he gets to Malfoy Manor at 11:49 at night, he's got only the vaguest clue what he's been doing all week. That, and the utmost certainty that whatever he's been doing, it hasn't helped at all.
There's really no reason for him to go to Malfoy. He knows perfectly well that Malfoy expected never to see him again. Still, he's some link to Harry that's neither related to him nor liable to start crying on him, and that's really all Teddy needs right now. The house-elf (well-dressed in a little fitted suit and apron embroidered with the Malfoy crest) that lets him in does so with a visible sneer, and makes him wait in the drawing room while he goes to see if Malfoy cares to take the visitor. Teddy's a little surprised, therefore, when Malfoy himself is the next to appear, carrying two mugs of what smells like cocoa. Teddy stands, Malfoy sits, and Teddy sits back down awkwardly. Malfoy hands him a mug silently, and they stare at each other for a long moment. Finally, Teddy takes a sip. The cocoa is spiked with something, burns his tongue, and it's almost too rich to drink. Still, Teddy swallows, sort of reveling in the way that it burns all the way down.
"Did you see him last Friday?" Teddy asks after a moment, voice raspy from the cocoa.
"Yes. Are you here in a professional capacity?" Malfoy still hasn't touched his own cocoa, but seems fascinated in the way the steam curls off the surface.
"No. Are you sleeping with him?" He's not sure what makes him ask. A hunch, maybe.
"Yes. Are you?"
Teddy chokes on his second sip. "He's my godfather!"
"Right." Malfoy looks unconvinced. He looks very different without the mask, the tux, the all-consuming air of confidence. He looks older, more tired. More like Harry. Teddy sets down his cocoa and slides off the large wing-chair to kneel on the on the floor in front of Malfoy. Malfoy doesn't seem to see him, and that stings a bit. Teddy needs-- wants-- something. Recognition for his hard work, approval, some sort of affirmation that he's not working himself half to death for nothing. He takes a slow, deep breath and lets his blue hair darken and shorten a bit, lets his brown eyes lighten to green. He doesn't change anything else, because he knows that's enough. Malfoy's eyes finally focus, and his lips part. For a second, it seems like he's about to kiss him, but then Malfoy jerks back, slopping the rapidly-cooling cocoa all over his own knuckles and Teddy's shoulder. Teddy jumps a little, but doesn't pull back.
"There are exactly four people on our list of suspects," he tells Malfoy, "And two of them are dead. You're third in line once we've ruled out those two."
"I thought you weren't here in your professional capacity," Malfoy says coldly.
Teddy puts his hair and eyes back to normal. "I'm not. If I were, it wouldn't be alone. And I wouldn't tell you about that list." The cocoa cooling on his shoulder makes him shiver slightly. "But you were probably the last to see him. If he said anything..."
Malfoy stands suddenly, grabs Teddy by the scruff of the neck, and hauls him up into a vicious sort of kiss. Teddy's not sure if it's a reward or a punishment. Just as suddenly, though, Malfoy pushes him away and strides over to the fireplace. He barely bothers to wait for the logs to ignite properly before he's on his knees, shouting something unintelligible into the Floo.
Teddy stands and watches about half an hour of this. After the first few minutes it becomes clear that Malfoy is rounding up connections-- political allies, old schoolmates, some highly sketchy characters-- and putting them all on some sort of high alert for any news of these disappearances. After the first forty minutes or so, Teddy goes ahead and settles in to Malfoy's vacated seat, intrigued despite his exhaustion. He wonders, but doesn't dare interrupt to ask, if Malfoy really does have some underground network of young(ish) ex-Death Eaters, as it's rumored among the Auror trainees that he does. He counts at least six surnames that he's definitely read in history books or old Auror case files.
As the night goes on, Malfoy seems to get more and more agitated. He's resorted to bribes, blackmail, and-- this surprised Teddy-- outright begging, but it seems that no one has any information. Malfoy has definitely checked sources the Aurors wouldn't be able to check, primarily because said sources tend to require the sort of coercion and motivation that Magical Law Enforcement is no longer legally allowed to utilize. Around dawn, Teddy nods off.
Malfoy wakes him with a sharp poke to the shoulder, and Teddy starts-- as far as he can tell by the light, he's only been asleep for a couple of minutes. Still. It's time to go to work.
At 7:23 on Monday the 29th Teddy finally manages to get to the Department of Mysteries, where he's had to report for most of the last week. He's nigh assaulted by Hermione, who grabs him by the neck of his rumpled, slept-in robes and bodily drags him to the cramped little cubicle where they've got their papers spread out. She yanks his temporary Pensieve out of the drawer there and practically shoves him face-first into it. Teddy sputters and gasps at the sheer force of the memories of their research flooding back into his head. Hermione's apparently not done with him yet, though: she puts her wand to her own temple, draws out a sticky strand of thought and, eschewing the Pensieve altogether, smashes it directly into his forehead. It feels weird and sticky against his skin for a moment before it penetrates fully, but then his eyes widen.
"Are you sure?"
She nods crisply, then extracts the memory straight back out of his temple. It stings. "No possible motivation that I can think of, but it would be criminal not to check in on this."
This is how, at 8:06 on a Monday morning, Teddy finds himself with several very groggy fellow Aurors at an Irish pub. The proprietor is most emphatically not pleased to be woken up, but the proprietor can't really argue when Teddy flashes his (temporary) badge. A little thrill of pride runs through him, but he firmly ignores it. More important things to be focusing on.
They interrogate Seamus Finnegan at a back booth of his own pub. He's defensive and offended at being accused, and Teddy can't blame him-- even if he was guilty, it would be almost necessary to act like this, having been a friend of Harry's when they were at school. Still, Teddy has very little patience for it. He has almost certainly had less sleep than Finnegan, and civility should not be so much to ask.
After two hours of talking in circles, though, Teddy can't help but suspect that there's nothing to suspect, here. Hermione's evidence was fairly damning, yes-- Finnegan's magical signature was very clearly left in the only gap they could find in any of Harry's wards, and it was a downright shock that none of the Aurors had found it on their own-- but also completely inexplicable. After a quick Floo call to confirm it and to get legal permission (from the Minister himself! Teddy still thrilled a little), they administered a dose of Veritaserum. This resulted in an even more belligerent Finnegan, but he still insisted that no, he had not seen, nor contacted, nor interfered with in any way, any of the Aurors. What's more, his alibis were completely solid.
After reminding his peers that no, they may not have a pint of Finnegan's own microbrew just because they're there, they go straight back. Teddy feels a little guilty to watch the rest of them go back to the Aurors' offices to pound their foreheads against parchment some more, but not so guilty that he doesn't do double-time to get back to the Department of Mysteries.
Unfortunately, there is equal paperwork-pounding to do in this realm, it seems. Hermione drains and re-fills Teddy's head into the Pensieve so many times that he's completely dazed by the time she declares it is time for lunch.
Teddy realizes he hasn't eaten since the cocoa at Malfoy's. If that counts. Their lunch is interrupted, however, by a rather enormous and rude eagle-owl that steals half of Teddy's sandwich before it will give him the note, which turns out to be from Malfoy. Hermione snatches it from Teddy's fingers before he can even break the seal, and as she reads she somehow manages to purse her lips sternly around an enormous mouthful of sandwich. When she finally finishes reading and swallows, she thwaps Teddy with the parchment.
"Why didn't you tell me you had Malfoy working on it?" she snaps. Teddy blinks.
"Is it... legal to have Malfoy working on it? Has he found anything?" He can barely keep himself from snatching the note back. All that prevents him is the fear that it will loose him the privilege to eat the rest of his own darn sandwich.
"No," she says around another enormous bite; she's eating like she hasn't seen food in an even longer time than Teddy, which is probably true. "And no. But he could be handy. Stay here."
Teddy patiently devours all of her chips while she goes to make a Floo call in the adjacent room. He can only hear half of the conversation, but it's eerily reminiscent of those half-conversations he watched Malfoy have through his Floo just the night before. When she returns, he guiltily drops the last chip back on her plate, but she doesn't seem to notice.
"Nothing. Nothing. No Death Eaters, no creepy Knockturn types, no whispers of new dark lords, no political grudges, no... anything." She pauses, glances at her now-empty plate, and sighs a little. "Go home. Sleep. I don't want to see you for another eight hours, got it? We'll go back to the hall of prophecies next."
She's so distracted that she forgets to empty Teddy's brain of incriminating memories before she lets him go. Teddy politely does not remind her.
Teddy can't go home. He has had neither caffeine nor sleep in over two days now, but that seems to spur him into some new burst of energy. He'll sleep when he's dead, he decides brashly. He then observes that apparently sleep deprivation turns people into Gryffindors or something. Teddy pushes that odd train of thought aside as he makes his way back to the Auror department. Minister Shacklebolt must have decided something similar as Hermione, because the place is nearly deserted. He waves at his hapless partner, who has been assigned to holding down the desk while Teddy has been getting himself mentally mangled by manic Unspeakables. Said hapless partner sticks out his tongue--always the picture of maturity, is Bobby-- and goes straight back to whatever desperately boring paperwork they've got him on.
Out of simple curiosity, Teddy goes to check if the Minister is still in Harry's office. He's not, or else he's somehow locked himself in from the outside. Even the physical doorknob is locked, which surprises Teddy a bit. Glancing around to make sure that Shacklebolt's not lurking in the shadows anywhere, Teddy drops down to one knee and starts to work the lock.
His wand very quickly proves completely useless. He runs a heavy scan on the wards-- all Harry's signature, and all tied into the doorknob. Nothing will open unless he can pick the lock. He bangs his forehead against the door once, solidly, just to drive the situation into his brain properly. Then he transfigures a quill from his pocket into a little piece of bent wire, and sets to work.
Luckily, Teddy quickly discovers that while magic is useless on the lock itself, there's nothing in the spell that prevents him from using magic to manipulate the lock-pick, or enhancing his vision and redirecting the light just right so that he can see right into the tumbler of the lock. After that, it's barely ten minutes' work: not bad for a first try at this sort of thing. He sends his silent thanks to George Weasley for demonstrating that particular trick, then quickly lets himself into Harry's office.
It's exactly as Harry left it, so far as Teddy can tell. There's no evidence that Shacklebolt has been in here at all, and indeed no evidence to suggest that Harry hadn't simply popped out for a cuppa. Teddy shivers; since he's started Auror training he's scarcely gone a two-day stretch in two years without seeing Harry, and the whole long week suddenly seems to catch up with him. The absence is so distinct, so unreasonable, that it makes Teddy's head hurt.
He shuffles through some of the drawers in the desk-- pictures of James playing Quidditch, Al curled up in his father's favorite chair with an enormous book, Lily taking her first steps; scraps of parchments with illegibly scratched addresses, names, and what looks like a Muggle telephone number; empty packets of artificial sweetener, and a couple little plastic stirring sticks Harry probably nicked from the tea trolly. Nothing to suggest foul play. Not a single trace of hex, struggle, or even a hurried departure.
Next Teddy runs another magical scan on the office. They must've done this dozens of times since the disappearance; they've called in specialists, they've created a full-size replica in the Department of Mysteries, they've done everything. Still, Teddy's absolutely sure that the answer lies not in some black hole of bad guys that Malfoy and Hermione can't seem to find, but somewhere in this office.
He stares now, in his mind's eye, at the web of spells. Harry's magic--at least, as Teddy has encountered it in sparring and training--has this tendency towards wildness. It's something primal and temperamental and deeply centered in his godfather's sense of righteousness. It's that last aspect that makes these wards so clearly Harry's own work, but something else is quite different about them. There's a perfect symmetry to the structure of the wards that Teddy would much sooner expect from someone like Hermione; it's a little to clean, a little too measured. Teddy stares through the twelve shimmering layers and wracks his overtaxed brain, tries to fathom why Harry would suddenly go on some magical neatness kick before getting kidnapped. The first, most visible layer, manifests such that it looks rather like some sort of clock face: twelve lines radiate out from the center. The layer under that is a grid, similarly geometrical, and the same is true of the one under that, and the next one under that. The tiny hole that Hermione had detected is barely visible on the eleventh layer, but it's inexpertly done and the jagged edges show Finnegan's signature clearly. Teddy probes those edges, curious why an innocent man had tried to break into the head Auror's office.
The answer makes him snort aloud with laughter. The crack in the ward isn't big enough to let a person through, and certainly wouldn't permit any sort of curse or hex. It's specifically created, if Teddy is reading it right, to allow Finnegan to send a bottle of Firewhiskey directly onto Harry's desk whenever he so desires. Teddy wouldn't be surprised if Harry had requested it himself.
Eventually, Teddy digs his way down to the deepest layer. It's no different from the others: fueled by Harry's trademark sense of furious justice, but tinged with a weirdly intentional aspect unlike anything Teddy's ever seen Harry make. It's quite similar in shape to the first ward, and manifests as twelve bright orbs arranged in a perfect circle on a plane, just like a clock. Teddy stares at it until his eyes ache from the brightness and from the general daze that always occurs from staring at spell-constructs for too long.
Finally, he gets an idea. It's a bit silly, considering that this is Harry Potter for crying out loud-- he may be a strict boss, but he's never been one for elaborate schemes of any sort... but, nevermind that, now that the idea is in Teddy's head he can't help but go check, just to be sure.
Teddy has only been to Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place once in his life. He was seven, and it was quite eerie even then. The place was half-renovated, as if at some point in his life Harry had had plans to actually live there, but had either run out of money or motivation somewhere along the line. Much of the furniture was covered in dusty sheets, there were a few odd walls half torn out, and the windows that let the sunlight flood into the entrance hall looked like they'd been installed in some huge rush. Harry had told Teddy then that the house had formerly been a dark, evil place, and that the efforts to reclaim it were so hard as to not quite be worth the work. It was better to let the place stand empty, heavily warded, and let some of its awful history "air out a bit." Teddy hadn't quite known at the time what Harry had meant, but when he slips in now, he gets the impression that ten years of emptiness have done the house a world of good. The place is still an enormous mess, but it's now a mess that holds the promise of something other than horror. The dust in the sunlight has an otherworldly glow to it, and the blasted wall where the portrait of his great-aunt once stood no longer seems to echo with shrieked epithets and curses.
Still, Teddy knows full well that he's an idiot to come here without backup. He didn't even tell anyone where he was going, just Apparated straight here from Harry's office. It's an uncharacteristically rash move, and Teddy firmly blames it on sleep-deprivation and mental strain. He draws his wand as he moves silently down the hallway, soft footsteps further muffled by the thick layer of dust on the floor. Something about the dust seems artificial, but Teddy doesn't quite register that until, beyond all reason, he spots what is clearly an empty pizza box in the corner. What's more, it is a recent empty pizza box. There are two possible explanations: either vagrant wizards have somehow broken in and are squatting (unlikely), or Teddy is about to be in a huge amount of trouble.
Acknowledging that the latter was far more likely, Teddy crouches with his back against the wall and holds his wand at the ready as he approaches the doorway outside of which the pizza box lays. There is a soft noise, and he nearly jumps out of his skin. He hears it again, but doesn't quite believe his ears. With a quick little charm to bend the light appropriately, he peers around the corner.
He practically drops his wand, then blinks to check if he's seeing right. Teddy's immediate urge is to drop his wand and launch himself through the door, but he does retain enough lucidity to run a quick scan of the room to confirm-- he knows how easily this could be a trap. When he's certain, though, he runs into the room and tackles Harry, knocking Ron Weasley's beer over and spilling chow mein all over the coffee table in the process.
"WHERE," Teddy yells in his face, shaking Harry by the shoulders, "THE HELL. HAVE YOU BEEN. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD WE'VE BEEN WORKING? DO YOU KNOW WHAT HERMIONE HAS BEEN DOING TO ME? DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR WIFE AND FAMILY AND MALFOY THINK?" Immediately, Harry wrests his arm free and claps a hand over Teddy's mouth. Teddy keeps yelling around it, but dies off quickly when Harry shakes his head.
"Congratulations, Auror Lupin," Harry says quietly, "You've passed."
Teddy is about ready to kidnap Harry himself. Or collapse on top of him in helpless, sleep-deprived, adrenaline-fueled giggles.
He opts for the latter.
"So what's that about Malfoy?" Ron asks him. They're both still in the dusty sitting room of Grimmauld Place, feet propped on the sheet-covered coffee table. They've ordered more take-away, since Teddy destroyed the first batch, and dug two fresh beers out from some mysterious depths. Teddy snorts when he notices that they're Finnegan's microbrew.
"Malfoy nearly turned Knockturn inside out when Harry went missing." Teddy knows enough not to outright tell Ron why, but he figures that Ron would have to be pretty dense not to notice.
Or deaf, for that matter. Malfoy showed up about a quarter of an hour after Teddy had found them, and dragged Harry bodily into the study next door and immediately started shouting. They're still at it, in fact.
"-BASTARD, HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL ME YOU WERE GOING TO-" Malfoy's voice has this hilarious nasally quality when he's angry that makes him immensely less intimidating. Ron can't stop smirking at the wall.
"-DEPARTMENT IS SOMEWHAT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE STATE OF MY SEX LIFE, SO SORRY TO INFORM YOU THAT YOU'RE NOT-" Teddy's suspicions are confirmed: Ron doesn't look the least bit fazed. The two other missing Aurors wisely cleared out the moment Teddy'd found them.
"OH IS THAT ALL THIS IS, POTTER, YOU STUPID FUCKING HYPOCRITICAL-"
"NO OF COURSE IT'S FUCKING NOT BUT-"
Both Ron and Teddy perk up at this. Teddy's pretty sure that Ron knows even better than he does the state of Harry's marriage, especially now that the kids are out of the house. Still, he's heard how much Ron hated Malfoy back at school, and Teddy watches Ron just as intensely as Ron's watching the wall.
"AND HOW COULD YOU SLEEP WITH MY GODSON YOU FUCKING PERV-" Ron shoots Teddy a look. Teddy shrugs, and gestures to indicate that the experience was an educational one. (It's a complicated gesture, and somewhat obscene.)
"WELL IF YOU DON'T WANT ME FUCKING OTHER PEOPLE THEN YOU'D BETTER-"
"I'D BETTER WHAT?"
"-FUCKING AFFORD ME THE SAME PRIVILEGE YOU STUPID-"
"FINE, WELL MAYBE I WILL!"
There's a brief silence. Teddy can almost hear the heat of two insane, powerful wizards staring each other down. Ron takes a long pull on his beer.
"Wait. What?" Malfoy sounds downright startled.
"Quiet down, Potter, for all you know half your department's got their ears pressed against that door. Merlin and fuck." Teddy chortles quietly, and Ron hushes him and casts an amplification charm at the wall.
"I said," Harry growls, voice low but perfectly audible, "Let's just fuck each other from now on, how's that."
There's a pause.
"Oh. Okay, then."
Ron switches the amplification charm to a muffling one and emphatically swivels his armchair so his back is to the wall, and raises his bottle in toast to the new Auror Lupin.