Rainbow Moods

Blue is for laughters

Teddy flopped on his new bed, set right by the window in the circular stone room, and crossed his legs over the covers. He didn't draw the deep red, velvet curtains around himself, but rather let his gaze wander absently over the other two four-poster beds in the room, identical to his own.

He grinned.

It was Friday evening and the coming night would be the fourth he spent in the Gryffindor First Years' dorm.

He tugged at his hair, lengthening it and turning it red to match his bedcovers, then kept twisting a lock around his fingers while he thought things over.

He wasn't sure why he'd felt the need to seek the solitude of the dorm. He guessed he just needed some time to process everything that had happened.

It seemed impossible that only last Tuesday he'd taken the Hogwarts Express for his very first time.

Barely a week…

But oh, what a week!

First there had been the train ride itself.

He'd pretended to be annoyed at his family's coddling, rolling his eyes at Grandma Andy's fussing and petulantly reminding his Godfather that he wasn't a baby anymore! But of course, he was secretly thrilled that they'd taken the time to see him off and had done his best to prolong farewells to the very last possible minute.

After boarding, he'd tried to make his way through the train, which was filled everywhere with students chatting, loading their trunks, looking for their friends and generally adding to the noisy confusion.

Suddenly he'd felt very small and very shy.

In the end, he'd found a compartment where three other kids were sitting who, by the looks of it, were all first-years like him.

The black boy curled in the seat by the window hadn't even raised his eyes from the book he was engrossed in. The other two were girls, one of them a friendly-looking brunette that had waved him in with a small smile, the other a fair skinned blonde with perfectly arranged short hair and fashionable clothes, who'd stared at Teddy intently as he sank in his seat, blushing and feeling like squirming.

All three of them had done little more than watch out of the window at the fast moving landscape slipping by, until the compartment door had slid open again and a puff of summer air had burst in, preceding a tall and heavy built boy who'd cried out cheerfully: "Hello everybody!"

In less than five minutes the new boy, whose name turned out to be Owain Wood ("Yeah, Wood like the Wasps' Keeper! He's me Uncle!"), had them all gathered around him ("No-one seems to want us firsties around so we better stick together and keep to ourselves, says I!") and was chatting happily a mile a minute: even the boy with the book couldn't help smiling, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

Teddy had felt a little jealous that the newcomer could be so at ease and popular so quickly, but he'd also kept thinking that the boy would make a great friend.

He'd been right: they'd been inseparable in the last few days (even if Teddy supported Auntie Ginny's Harpies and Owain was quietly horrified at this blasphemy).

Owain's easygoing attitude had broken the ice enough that Margaret Selwin (whose eyes had sparkled with amusement when Calden had dipped into an exaggerated bow and claimed to be "Tréshenshanté!", cheerfully mangling both pronunciation and bow) and Seanate Malloy (who'd blushed adorably at Owain's enthusiastic "I bet you're Irish! All the pretties are Irish, me Da' says so!") had finally found the courage to question Teddy about why his hair was 'grey'.

Startled by the abrupt question, he'd answered without thinking: "Because I'm nervous."

They'd stared at him and he'd fidgeted, uneasy. Everybody at home knew he was a Metamorphomagus after all and had known it all his life. This was the first time he had to explain. How would it go down?

Finally he'd taken a deep breath, wishing he was as self-possessed as Owain seemed to be, and opted for Uncle George's Tried and Tested Dazzling Smile of Pretend Innocence (a.k.a. the 'Who-Me?-Smile'): "Would you like me better if I was blond?"

He'd nonchalantly pulled a string of hair, turning it effortlessly to a sun-yellow colour.

Everybody had gasped, amazed, and Teddy had felt emboldened by their wonder. "Or red, perhaps? Purple? Nah, don't think it's my colour…"

He'd gone on changing its length and colour, beaming at his new friends' mesmerized expressions and delighted exclamations: "How are you doing that?", "That is so cool!", "Can you teach me?", "Wow, mate, that's… wow!...", "Do it again!"

The black boy however had soon turned back to his book fiercely, almost as if he regretted paying attention at all, and didn't seem to want to join the conversation; the four of them on the other hand had become fast friends and Teddy had climbed off the train with his hair spiky and blue, like he tended to have every time he was truly happy.

Unlike the other first-years, Teddy hadn't been much worried about the Sorting.

He had 'Aunts' and 'Uncles' from all the Houses after all and as Aunt Hannah said, each was good in their own way. His Grandma for one would have been thrilled if he became a snake.

But best of all, Uncle Harry had told him he didn't care in the least and would celebrate regardless, so Teddy had seen no reason to fret.

He was happy to be a Gryffindor, though. Same House as his Dad. He didn't think he had much in common with the Remus Lupin people told him stories about, but this was one thing that made them closer, right?

Plus, Owain was his roommate now and that was awesome.

Seanate and Margaret had both been Sorted into Slytherin but they'd quickly made plans to see each other often in their spare time.

All in all, it had been a wonderful first day.

Then there had been the lessons…

Uncle Harry often said in a mock-snarky voice that magic was more than 'foolish wand-waving', which for some reason always made his friends broke into laughter; Teddy never got the joke, but now he could at least see the truth in the words: he was tempted to quote his Godfather ten times a day.

Magic was amazingly complex!

Only Transfiguration was something remotely resembling easy and he was the only First Year to think that anyway.

His very first class, on Wednesday morning, had been Herbology, for which Teddy was really happy: this was Uncle Neville's – no, he should remember to call him Professor Longbottom now – this was Professor Longbottom's first year teaching and it felt like a good omen that they'd started together.

Teddy had always admired the strong, quiet wizard immensely and Neville had been the one to pass onto the little boy a love for everything growing that had rather surprised Grandma Andy at first.

He'd gone into the class fiercely determined to like the lesson no matter how it might turn out; he shouldn't have worried though, because Professor Longbottom was great.

All of the First Years had looked around in awed wonder as the tall man led them around Greenhouse Number 2 with a friendly grin.

Teddy had seen the Greenhouses at Longbottom Mansion many times before and had thought them wicked cool but Professor Longbottom's realm here in Hogwarts was on another scale entirely!

Flowers caught the eye from everywhere, sprays and clusters and isolated blooms, some delicate and airy with subtle colours and fragrances, others bright and showy; they dotted the verdant overlapping foliage made up of very small and glossy leaves, textured leaves of great substance, green-gold shaded leaves edged with deep red, dark green leaves with interesting bubbly texture and white underneath…

The greenhouse was charmed so that the conditions gradually varied, from cool and dry on the east side to warm and humid on the west, and this made for such a rich and varied palette of leaf forms, textures and colours that Teddy wished he had four pair of eyes to catch every detail of that wondrous spectacle.

His classmates had been as fascinated by the strange shapes, the odd, exotic perfumes, the surprising colours, as he himself.

Then Professor Neville had gathered them all in the middle of the Greenhouse and announced they were going to play a game. He'd smiled kindly at their puzzled and eager faces.

"I want you to familiarize with the place we're going to work in all year long", he'd explained cheerfully. "So here's the rules: you can go everywhere inside Greenhouse 2 for the next fifteen minutes and collect anything that is not alive and growing. No picking flowers or leaves, but you can gather them if they've already fallen, all right? But you must be able to name what you pick up: if you don't know what it is, it won't count. The one who manages to find the highest number of things wins!"

He'd grinned: "Ready? Steady… Go!"

And they were off, running up and down the maze of plants, dodging each other and the moving branches, trading shouts and laughter.

Teddy had soon been lost in the rush of the hunt for small things to carry back: a long blade of grass, a leaf, a flower, a feather, a small rock, a piece of liana, a different leaf, then another again…

He'd run into Calden, literally, behind a cluster of shrubs full of bright orange flowers dotted with red and they'd smacked their foreheads painfully, though in the excitement, it only made them laugh all the more.

Other indignant shouts form somewhere in the Greenhouse had proved to Teddy that he wasn't the only one to trip on some vine here or slip on the humid soil there, but it was all in good humour.

When the fifteen minutes were up, they'd gathered again under the beautiful, self-branching plant hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the Greenhouse, their heads barely caressed by dangling sprays of flowers bluer than Teddy's suddenly spiky locks.

He knew he wouldn't have won anyway, Sarah Poynter with her small, nimble fingers had managed to fill her bundled robe almost to the brim: but he'd very vocally joined the general indignation when the third Gryffindor boy, Frank Middleton, had loudly declared that he'd won, but had no idea of how many things he'd found, because… he'd stumbled on a stash of seeds and taken the whole heap!

Professor Longbottom had laughed heartily at the ringing bellows of "Cheater!"; then he'd led them into a discussion about their findings and the whys and wherefores of where they'd picked up what.

Everybody had agreed that it had been a brilliant lesson, and that the rest of the Professor couldn't really compare, but learning magic was awesome regardless.

Though perhaps not as great as exploring the castle with Owain, Margaret and Seanate, as they'd done every day after classes so far!

Now he sighed contentedly, thinking on everything that had happened so far and all that was awaiting him in the coming weeks.

Yes, Hogwarts was fantastic. It was great. And yet…

His smile slowly vanished, replaced not by sadness, but by a pensive frown. He let go of his hair, that bounced back to a shorter length and turned ever so slightly to green.

Tomorrow was Saturday, that was the problem.

Tomorrow was Saturday, and for the first time since Teddy could remember, his Godfather wouldn't be picking him up for their weekly flying date.

There would be no crazy stunts or races with Harry, no ice-cream or hot chocolate in Hogsmeade afterwards, no surprise trip to some wicked place or other, museum or park or whatever stroke Harry's fantasy; they wouldn't 'accidentally' drop by at the Burrow for one of Grandma Weasley's Special Saturday Treacle Tarts, which Teddy and his Godfather shared a love for.

Sure, Owain and he had already planned to go flying on the Hogwarts pit (it was amazing what privileges being nephews of great Quidditch stars could grant them from a rabid fan like Madam Hooch) and the girls were planning on tackling that out-of-the-way corridor with all the ancient drapes hiding who-knows-what.Teddy knew he was going to have tons of fun regardless, but a small little voice inside said that it wasn't the same.

It was stupid.

He'd known all his life that he'd be going to Hogwarts.

He'd wanted to go to Hogwarts all his life!

So why was he feeling homesick like some silly baby who's too little to stay away from his family for long?

He blew out his breath in a long puff, thinking things over.

He wasn't homesick... per se. It's not that he would prefer being at home with Grandma Andy, he loved her, sure, but he was much happier here with magic classes and a whole castle at his disposal and most of all, friends his age to get in trouble with.

He wasn't homesick... but he was uneasy, because things had changed.

There, he'd found the real problem.

All of the changes were great, and he'd wanted them for so long, and he wouldn't give up Hogwarts for anything, but why did it feel as if in gaining the school and his new friends, he'd lost what he had had before?

It was beyond stupid.

He knew that Grandma Andy and Uncle Harry and everybody else would be there waiting for him come Christmas, down to the annoying, noisy, demanding little brats Lily and Hugo had managed to turn into now that they were toddlers.

He knew that he hadn't really lost anything, that he would never lose his family, no matter how many new schools and people entered his life, but...

But that didn't mean that some things wouldn't be lost - like his and Harry's Saturdays, for instance.

Things had changed.

And Teddy wasn't sure how to feel about it all.

Just then a very familiar owl swooped through the tall window, open on the last lazy sun of the late summer day.

A sealed parchment was dropped on Teddy's lap with a cheerful hoot and then the owl flew around in a graceful arc and out again, gone before the surprised boy could even so much as blink.

Teddy frowned in confusion when he recognized his Godfather's untidy scrawl.

He'd received Grandma Andy's letter just that morning, so why was Uncle Harry writing him so soon? Why directly to the dorm, too – you had to explicitly tell the owl not to wait until the next morning and deliver in the Great Hall: why bother? Had something happened?

He tore the letter open, worried that maybe someone was ill or something.

But it wasn't a letter after all: no message, not even a greeting…

Instead, the top of the parchment held a big title, elegantly arranged to mimic the format of Teddy's favourite novel:

The Tale of the Midnight Duel - Or: Why You Should Never Duel Anyone Till You've Learned How, starring: a Git and his Goons, Three Unlikely Seconds, an Out-of-bounds Field of Honour and a Dog That Most Definitely Needed Exercise.

Teddy burst out laughing, throwing himself on his back on the bed.

He could never put into words how the ridiculously messy handwriting, that seemed to carry an echo of his Godfather's warm 'Tale Voice', filled him with joy and relief and chased away homesickness and melancholia in one great swoop. Wisely, he didn't even try.

How did Uncle Harry always know how to make him feel better?

This was exactly what he needed, the reassurance he hadn't even known he was longing for.

Many things had changed, yes, but some things would always stay the same – and Harry and his Tales were among them.

Midnight Duel, hmm? That was a new one…

He laughed again, loud and clear, out of sheer happiness.

Owain, just coming in, approached him looking both cautious and perplexed: "Teddy? Mate, you all right?"

Teddy jumped back up sitting again, spiky, electric-blue hair going every which way down to the middle of his back, eyes of a matching blue shining with delighted happiness.

"Owain!" he exclaimed with a huge grin. "Want to hear a Tale?"

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