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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter One: A Debt To Society, single part - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter One: A Debt To Society, single part
Eh, I'm only plotted to about chapter eight, but I think I know enough to get started. (Heavens forfend I should put it off 'til I know everything.)

Anyway, welcome to Teddy's seventh year. For those who don't know, the other parts are:
Teddy Lupin and the Forest Guard, where Teddy's first year finds him discovering the cost of the war--his year only has fifteen students, and he's the only Gryffindor. He comes out of that year with a ring (Remus's wedding ring) that contains his parents' most prized memories, and a close relationship with the Marauder's Map, to which he is bound.

Teddy Lupin and the Hunter's Moon, in which Fenrir Greyback escapes Azkaban and comes after Teddy. [Spoiler]Teddy ends up killing Greyback in a rage and destroying the Shrieking Shack, which he and Harry had been repairing, in the process.[/spoiler] In the end, he's had his first girlfriend, Ruth Scrimgeour, called Ruthless (she's the granddaughter of Rufus Scrimgeour's brother, and one year older than Teddy), and there are a few changes to Hogwarts, including the collapse of the tunnel to the Shrieking Shack. He also bonds with the werewolf colony in France that's made up of the cubs Remus and Dora rescued in Shades.

Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, where Teddy's somewhat wild talent for Divination is channeled by the DoM in a testing tool called the Daedalus Maze, to see if he's good for the profession he'd like--Unspeakable. Predictably, this doesn't work as planned, and goes badly wrong, leading to half the year in quarantine, and Teddy's mind being fairly twisted. Harry helps him out at the end, and ultimately, he comes out of it with two portraits--one of his parents, which he keeps, and the other of Sirius and James, which he gives to Harry. Remus and Sirius can move back and forth between the two (James and Dora were only painted in their respective paintings, and are therefore stuck in whatever place they happen to be).

None of which is relevant in the first chapter, since it's going to be one of those one-shot different POV chapter openings. ;p

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Diagon Alley was dark, the gas lamps extinguished, the shops and restaurants closed. The last couples who had been out strolling in the soft July night had gone home hours ago, and the great charmed signs were still. Shadows lay across the tiny park that had been carved out where Florean Fortescue's shop had once been. From the Magical Menagerie, the quiet sounds of sleeping animals whispered across the cobblestones, and a tiny candle was the only sign of the night guard at Gringotts.

Only one building was fully lit, and through its windows, a lonely traveler would have seen a hive of activity--wizards and witches shouting to each other, waving papers, scrambling to finish the night's work. These were the offices of the Daily Prophet, and as its new editor, Rita Skeeter, liked to say, "The news doesn't sleep, and neither do we."

"What's best?" a young man still losing his teenage spots called, waving around two bits of parchment. "I've got one from a lady whose husband still can't talk after Runcorn turned him in as a Muggle-born, and one from a woman who can't use her hands right since Edgecombe turned her over the Umbridge for being disobedient."

"I got you beat, Bangs!" a middle-aged witch answered. "Got someone dead, here. Man says Hopkirk put his mother's file straight onto Travers desk, just out of spite. The mother was trying to spy."

"Will all of you shut up?" the elderly witch with banana-yellow hair ordered. "I'm trying to write an editorial! Just throw a dart to pick the letters. They'll all be fine."

The young wizard called Bangs reached randomly into the pile on his desk, came up with a handful of letters, and went over to her. "What are you going to say, Rita? People are really angry."

Rita sniffed. "Well, they have actually finished their sentences. They've been out for a day without bringing back the Death Eater regime as well."

"You're going to be reasonable?"

Rita tapped her quill on the parchment. "The people writing letters are angry, but most of them want to forget. They want the Prophet to acknowledge the news, but, dear boy, what they desperately want is to go on with their lives and not think about the nastiness of the war anymore. I think a token editorial slap on the wrist will suffice for Mafalda and Albert and the others. They weren't Death Eaters, after all, just... overzealous office workers. I imagine if we dig far enough into that pile of letters, we'll find others saying that seventeen years was too long." She scratched her quill thoughtfully, then said, "I wonder if it's time to start questioning the trials. Complaints about show trials always move papers."

Bangs frowned. "But I thought the war trials were known to be fair. Didn't Hermione Weasley--well, Granger, then--go on and on about how it all had to be by the law, and there wasn't to be any revenge?"

"Well, of course she did. What else would she have said? But she was at school that year, and heaven knows what was really done."

"We... we have the transcripts."

"The official ones. I wonder what might have slipped through the cracks. You're too young to really remember. It was all quite confusing." She grinned unpleasantly. "Yes--people are bored with the war. They don't want to think of it. It's over and done with. But the people who ran the trials are still in power. They're not boring. Go get me the transcripts, Bangs. Let me see what's lurking between the lines."

"Can't you just Summon them?"

"They're in the archives. Protected from being Summoned out. Go on."

"The archives?"

"Yes, the little building around the bend, just past Knockturn Alley. You know it."

"Yes, but it's three-thirty in the morning."

"No one's been in charge of the archives for years. We have the security charms. You won't bother a soul."

Bangs looked deeply uncomfortable with this, but he'd barely finished his apprenticeship; it wasn't time to contradict Rita Skeeter.

He shook his head and headed out into the night.

It was shockingly quiet once the door to the Prophet's offices was shut, and there was something eerie about the sound of his feet on the cobblestones. A fog was rising around his feet, and he turned his collar up against it. He lit his wand, more for company than light under the full moon. He passed the Magical Menagerie, and Gringotts, and tried to steer clear of the dark maw that opened into Knockturn Alley. People would be awake there, no doubt, but he didn't want to deal with them.

If he hadn't stumbled, he might never have seen the thing hanging from the wire, so intent was he on not looking in that direction. But the cobbles were loose, and as he swerved away from the crooked corner that led to the Dark Arts district, his ankle turned on a loose stone, and as he caught himself, he looked up involuntarily.

And began to scream.

Harry Potter had been on the alert for this since the first news had been printed that Ministry war criminals were being released at the end of their terms. There were plenty of angry people, of course, but what had snagged in his mind was the image of Barty Crouch, Jr, saying that there was nothing he hated more than a Death Eater who'd escaped. It rang in his mind when he was at work, and kept him awake in bed long after Ginny drifted off at night.

"We got them all," she'd mumbled when he'd awakened her two nights ago. "You don't have to fight Death Eaters anymore, Harry. The only ones left are the Malfoys, and they're not stupid enough to do anything."

She was right, but he couldn't help feeling on edge. Hermione thought he was just feeling the tension of the last year of the war, but he didn't think so, and neither did Ron. Ron was also on edge, as were Anthony Goldstein and Dan Williams. So was the rest of the division, even people who had been too young to have fought in the war, like Sam Cresswell and Ruth Scrimgeour (the latter of whom had just begun her apprenticeship under Ron in June). When Ron's Patronus had dropped into Harry's bedroom with the news, it had been unpleasant... but not at all a surprise.

"Where is he?" Ron asked Apparating in beside him.

Harry pointed to the mouth of Knockturn Alley, which was now lit brightly with about fifty torches. Ruth was bent down beside a scrawny wizard who seemed to be having hysterics.

She looked up. "Sorry to get you out of bed, but I thought this qualified as one of those emergencies I was supposed to contact you with if they came in on the graveyard shift."

"Yeah, I'd say so," Ron said, then grimaced at the thing in the alley. He started over, then stopped. "Harry, that's-- Well, it's the bloke that..."

Harry looked up for the first time.

The body was hanging from a wire suspended across Knockturn Alley. The wizard had once had gray hair, but it was now matted with rusty drying blood. His throat had been slit, and Harry truly hoped it had been before the deep insults that had been done to the body. The eyes had been sliced from corner to corner, and the jaw had been nailed shut.

"Harry," Ron said, "that's Runcorn. Your Runcorn, the one that..."

Harry stepped back.

He did know the mutilated face. He'd seen it every day, watching the Ministry entrance, waiting to see who habitually showed up alone. And he'd worn it, on the day he'd made off with the locket Horcrux and Mad-Eye Moody's eye.

He blinked. "Put a guard on Mafalda Hopkirk," he said. "I don't know if there's a connection, but... do it."

Ron nodded, then turned on his heel and disappeared.

Harry went to the wizard Ruth was talking to, who seemed to be calming down. He crouched down. "Did you see or hear anything before you saw the body?"

"No. It was completely quiet."

Harry nodded, and looked at Ruth. "Take him down, and find out how long he's been dead." She went, and he looked back at the man. "Could someone have passed you in the fog, or run off into the fog in the other direction?"

"I don't think so. Unless he went down Knockturn Alley. I couldn't hear much from there."

"I'll talk to the shopkeepers," Harry said. "Are you going to be all right?"

He nodded. "Well, I've got a hell of an exclusive, anyway." He gave a brittle sort of laugh. "I think Rita's rubbing off on me, I'm sorry, I--" He stopped and threw up.

Harry patted his shoulder, and sent a Patronus to St. Mungo's to have someone come pick the young man up. He went to Ruth, who had Levitated the body down gently, to avoid jarring any evidence loose. "Any ideas?" he asked.

"I haven't even done the charm to see how long he's been dead yet."

"Do it."

She set to the charm, which was a complex one that reached into all of the body's systems, and he stood to examine the crime scene. The wire had come down with the body--it was threaded through his ankles--and there wasn't nearly enough blood for this to be the place where Runcorn had been butchered. He'd been strung up here for some reason.


He looked over. Ruth was carefully pulling something up from the corner of Runcorn's eye.

"What is it?" Harry asked.

She completed the process. It was something long and thin and covered with bloody, viscous fluid. "It's a sewing needle," she said. "What the--?"

The needle flashed suddenly in her hand, and twirled up into the darkness. It exploded into a small shower of silver light, and words formed in the air:

"You can pass the justice of this world, but you cannot pass through the needle's eye."

The words swirled together, grew bright until they were like a small sun, then exploded, the force of it blowing out all the torches.

Diagon Alley was dark again.
44 comments or Leave a comment
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amamama From: amamama Date: May 18th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Erk. *shudders* Well, that's a start for you. Going off with a bang. *g* Promising, Fern. Very promising. And I'll make sure to read these in the mornings and not a night. Which shouldn't be a problem if you update at night, your time. Beacuse - eek!.. I need a while to digest all the images this start brought forth.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, most of it isn't going to be quite so bloody--Teddy's not in a war. But what is, this is about the tone.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: May 18th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Another Teddy story! I'm excited.

Gruesome beginning, Fern. *shivers*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm kind of excited, too. I thought I was done after DM, but I'd gotten very involved in the Remus/Dora stuff, and ended up dropping a few things brought up in FG, so... I wanted to go back, now that Teddy's a bit more whole, and deal with the world outside.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: May 18th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow - so dark in comparison to James' adventures at Hogwarts. (And a great ending line, there!) Back to the gritty reality, I guess. I look forward to seeing Teddy again, as his generation has to deal with the aftermath of Harry's final year of school.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: May 18th, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Dark Indeed!

Love it, but don't even think about giving up on James' Hardy Boys-type adventures! Teddy owns the last of the darkness...
assbutt From: assbutt Date: May 18th, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great beginning. Looking forward to more! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, too. I tend to miss these folks.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: May 18th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Welcome to the danse macabre.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 18th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
New Teddy,woot! And off to a powerfully creepy start! Intrigued to see how Teddy, still at school, will end up involved in this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
That's going to be the hard part, but there will be other things going on around the killer.
From: severely_lupine Date: May 18th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy crap, you're fast! Well, I'm afraid I won't be able to read this one in progress, as I've still got to read the last two, but I'll be looking forward to reading it once I do. Are you going to tag this one so it's easy to find in your LJ like you did the last story?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Like the other Teddys and Shifts and Shades, this one will have a link at the top to the "Table of contents," which is actually easier than the tags.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: May 18th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've tagged it to read it a bit later...but just wanted to say....EEEEEE!!!! Teddyverse!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Hope you like it!
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: May 18th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh goodness, I'm terribly behind on your James fic and now you're working on a Teddy story!

I'm just going to have to read faster!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Or I'm going to have to write slower. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 18th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

I didn't even read the chapter yet because I wanted to post my excitement! I'm absolutely thrilled to see that Teddy's seventh year is being created after all of the tidbits that you teased us with in the challenges. Good luck, fernwithy! Okay, now I'll read the chapter...


Oh wow, thank goodness for HarryPotterWiki because I needed to confirm who I thought Runcorn was. What a spooky beginning. I can't wait to get back to Teddy and the gang. Great job!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to getting back to Teddy and the gang, too. They're having an amusing summer, being of age.
dragonine From: dragonine Date: May 18th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yea! New Teddy! Yuck, and you gave me a real moment of serious concern for Harry and Ruth when she identified the needle. In your Teddyverse anything like that can be potentially dangerous and scary.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I think in the Potterverse in general, stuff like that can be dangerous. (Just flashing on Ron's warnings about books that make people rhyme, or make it literally impossible to let go of them...)
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 18th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's pretty scary. I think I'll stick with morning reading also. Frightening images.

Great first chapter! Yay for another book from the Phantom Librarian!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Eh... yeah. I'm a Stephen King fan, and have read my share of Silence of the Lambs type stuff along with the high fantasy I like, so... yeah.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 18th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yaaaay! This is the best present I've received on my sister's birthday ever.

The idea of all the imprisoned criminals finally coming out is a chill in itself, but the description of Runcorn's corpse was terrifying. I wonder how this will tide to Teddy.

Reading Teddy without Ruth's awesomeness sounds wrong somehow, but it is unavoidable. I am glad for this glimpse of her first tentative steps towards being an Auror.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Happy sister's birthday!

Ruthless will be around whenever I can fit her in.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 18th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
With this being a 7th year fic.. does this mean we're going to see the Teddy/Victoire awkwardness in full, along with the terrible two weeks!?

I am a little bit excited if that's true. Great start, looking forward to this already!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yes, we'll definitely get the dreaded two week romance. ;p
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 19th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: SQUEEE!!!!!!!!!

I've been mucking around with the plot for a few weeks now, so I don't feel like I'm just jumping in....

Hope it turns out good!
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