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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Two: Rocky Mountain High, part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Two: Rocky Mountain High, part 2
Teddy and his friends are enjoying their first summer being of age, going on tour with Donzo on his own and enjoying the chance to explore their wildly divurgent interests. It's all going well--save for a minor Animagus mishap from which Corky manages to extract Teddy and Donzo--until they stop at a small wizarding shop in Alamosa, Colorado, and accidentally come across a copy of the Daily Prophet with the headline
"MURDER IN DIAGON ALLEY:
Has The War Come Back To Town?"


Table of Contents and Summary So Far






Something cold and sour turned over in Teddy's stomach, and he took the paper. The opening paragraphs gave the bare facts of the case--the body of Albert Runcorn, one of the war prisoners recently released at the end of his term, had been found mutilated (the wounds were not described) and hanging from a wire across Knockturn Alley. He'd apparently been found by "a Prophet staff member," though that staff member wasn't mentioned in the article, which bore Rita Skeeter's byline.

After the description of the crime, she went on:

This murder, of course, touches on the great tragedies of our recent war--the effects that linger like the stench of a rotting corpse. Albert Runcorn was imprisoned for passing information to Lord Voldemort regarding the manufactured blood status papers of various Muggle-borns, particularly those who wished to remain in the employ of the Ministry of Magic (though of course, it was tragically necessary for even those who simply wanted to stay out of the fight to manufacture such papers as well).

For seventeen years, we've lived comfortably in victory, the past only making its presence known once, in the escape of Fenrir Greyback--
Teddy braced himself--which ended under mysterious circumstances in the village of Hogsmeade, when he apparenlty burned to death in a fire at the structure once known as the Shrieking Shack, owned in trust by Harry Potter for his godson Ted Lupin (son of famed werewolf, Remus Lupin). The origin of the fire is unknown to this date.

Teddy let his breath his out through his teeth. He had started the fire, when he'd sent Greyback through an unactivated Floo, setting him aflame. He'd caught the curtains from there and died before he even made it across the room.

Whatever happened, Rita wrote, few tears were shed over the death of a monster who had terrorized us, and the very finality of his ending seemed to reinforce the notion that the war was over, that any remnants would be dealt with swiftly and completely, and no one needed to concern himself with it anymore.

With the first wave of releases--the Ministry officials, including Runcorn, Mafalda Hopkirk, Harriet Edgecombe, Arnold Peasegood, and John Dawlish, among others--we are once again plunged into that troubled time.

Already, questions are being raised. Was the Ministry properly protecting those it had loosed into the general population? Who is angriest with them... those who were hurt by their actions, or those whose regime was brought down by their incompetence? Make no mistake, the latter still exist in our land, hiding in plain sight, staying silent until they can speak again...


Teddy scanned the rest of the article, which was in a similar vein, then switched to the letters page. Some of the letters still dealt with the releases themselves, but Rita had apparently decided to give more space to whatever letters she'd got overnight. No letter writer expressed any sorrow at Runcorn's passing, but some blamed the Ministry for letting this sort of "nastiness" through, and several proposed Byzantine conspiracy theories about Death Eaters still in the Ministry, in the know about where those who'd "got off easy" would be found. One woman tentatively suggested that it might be "our side," but most of the letters reacted to such an idea with great indignation.

He finished reading and handed some gold to the shopkeeper, then tucked it into his bag, going out to the front porch, among the owls. He sat in a splintery wooden chair. The others followed. Donzo sat in a rocking chair beside a chessboard and said, "Should we go back?"

"You can't," Teddy said. "You're contracted for two more shows."

"And I need to stay and deal with the business end of it," Maurice said.

"Why would we need to go?" Corky asked, and Roger nodded. "I mean, this really doesn't have anything to do with us."

"Uncle Harry'll be in the thick of it," Teddy said. "And I think Runcorn's the one who turned in a bloke that was traveling with my Granddad, which is why he ended up dead, so Granny'll be..." He stopped. He wasn't entirely sure how his grandmother would react. When he'd started, it had occurred to him that it might upset her to have all of that brought up again, but Andromeda Tonks didn't take being upset lightly. There were rumors about how much Dark Magic she knew, having grown up with Bellatrix and Narcissa, and most people who knew her at all knew she had a temper and... He sighed. He doubted she'd have done anything, but she had motive, and if she wasn't at least cursorily examined, Uncle Harry would be eaten alive for playing favorites, no matter what people said obout "our side." "I have to go back," he said. "The rest of you, stay. Take pictures."


"Are you sure?" Donzo asked.

Teddy nodded.

Donzo looked at him for a long time, then nodded back. "All right, then. But don't get too drawn into it."

Maurice's serious expression suddenly broke, and he laughed.

"What?" Donzo asked.

"Well... where have you been for the last six years if you think that warning's going to do any good? Lupin might as well put a sign on his dormitory door saying, 'Come back later, I'm too drawn into it just now.'"

Teddy smiled. "Well, it's not like it's ever my fault..."

They spent until noon in town together, and Teddy put things out of his mind for those last two hours, while the others got ready for their hike. They went to lunch together at a little Mexican restaurant, and tried again to dare Maurice into eating the local hot peppers ("You've mistaken me for a Gryffindor if you think daring me is going to work," he said, eating rice and beans with no sauce), then went to the edge of town, to the secluded spot where they'd appeared this morning.

"You're sure?" Donzo asked again. "Because I could cancel..."

"Don't cancel tour dates on your first solo tour," Teddy told him. "Go on."

Donzo nodded, and the four of them Disapparated back to the camp site. A second later, Teddy's backpack and sleeproll appeared in front of him. He Charmed them down to the size of a small book bag, slung it over his shoulder, and began the process of getting home.

It was perfectly possible to Apparate over short hops of the country, so he simply took tiny steps across America--Colorado into the middle of Kansas (he was unnerved by the apparent size of the sky in Kansas), Kansas to Missouri, Missouri to Indiana to Ohio to New York to Boston. In Boston, he took the Muggle subway to Logan Airport, and found his way to Terminal X, which was accessed through a magazine shop on the concourse. (They'd originally wanted the access point to be through a gate, but apparently, it had become quite difficult to get close to the gates without a Muggle ticket in hand.)

Once there, he bought a ticket for the giant Portkey (it looked like a coat-tree with far too many arms reaching out over a wide circular platform) and took the next one out to Heathrow, Terminal Eight and a Third. It was quite late at night here. He went to the row of Floos, thought for a moment, then said, "Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place."

He nearly plowed James Potter over as he fell out of the fireplace.

"Teddy!"

"James... sorry! Why are you...?"

"Lily put a dress on Martian so I hid all of her dolls, and they got stuck in one of the cursed wardrobes, and it broke her nose, so I have to clean the ashes for four weeks, and are you back from America? Did you see a cowboy? Or learn to ride a horse?"

"Er..."

"Was there a wendigo? What about a jackalope?"

"Well, no. Wait, yes. I did see a jackalope, but it was at a Muggle shop. Quite clever--enough of them had been seen that a wizard turned it into a running joke so that no one takes it seriously. Silly things have quite overrun a few places in the desert, as I understood it." Teddy smiled. "James, I need to talk to Uncle Harry. Is he here?"

James's face fell. "He's at work still. Some Azkaban person was killed."

"I know. That's why I'm here."

"Oh." James kicked at a cinder. "He's not saying anything about it. He told me I didn't need to fill my head with it, but I'm almost as old as he was when he started doing things, and--"

"James, he doesn't want us having to do the things he did."

"--and only a little younger than you were when you started fighting with Red Caps--"

"I wasn't fighting with them, they just attacked me."

"--and only a little younger than Mum was when she had the diary!"

"Oh, yes, I'm sure that will be a powerful argument."

"You know what I mean." James ground his teeth. "It's not fair. I'll be eleven in September."

"The rules are the rules."

"That one's really stupid."

"No arguments here."

James sniffed, and started sweeping again, then stopped. "Oh! I almost forgot. Grannydromeda's here. She came right after the murder happened, and she and Dad yelled at each other, and she wanted to go to work with him, and he told her to stay at the house and they'd talk later, but he's still not home."

Teddy blinked. "Where is she?"
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Comments
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 22nd, 2010 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, no, poor Andromeda. Hasn't been enough angst in that poor woman's life? I still trust she'll fight it with tooth and nail, though. I don't know if I ever said that, but I really like your Andromeda.

(Also, html fail in the article by Skeeter. Italics not opened properly)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Caught the tag; thanks!

I like Andromeda, too.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: May 22nd, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy, having to bail on his trip - he seems very like Tonks there, to me - as you wrote her, anyway. It's nice seeing that come out. James was a fabulous 10-year-old as well, torn between curiosity, and wanting to feel a part of the family legacy.

I think you're missing a word on one point towards the end there? "James, he doesn't us having to do the things he did."


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Got the missing word!

I think Teddy's going to be a lot more centered this year, having had the portrait and the experience of talking to them.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 22nd, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, James--chomping at the bit to have adventures like his father. And Teddy's attempts to rein him in when he hasn't exactly had an uneventful childhood--priceless. Looking forward to Andromeda's appearance; somehow, I'm not surprised she wants in on this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor James... stuck in a world where he doesn't have to risk his life for the sake of a "saving people thing." I can actually sort of sympathize. It's also a world where not much that he does matters all that much in the sense that he understands it. Which means that his mission, should he choose to accept it, is to make it matter.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 22nd, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, poor Andromeda. She really has had a lot of rough patches in her life. I'm now really curious what her and Harry's argument was about.

On thing though...if James is going to be 11 in September, that means it will be his first year in Hogwarts right (well, a very young firstie I suppose. Depending on when Hogwarts cut off date is). Does this mean that James and Al are only a year apart? (In the epilogue, Teddy meets Victoire to send her off for her final year and that is also Al's first year.) For some reason I was thinking James would be going into a third year when Al was a first year, but maybe that's just me.

Anway, lovely addition. I really liked the part about the broken nose, and about the daring at the Mexican place. Those little details really bring the character to life.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
James is angry because his birthday, being after Sept 1, means that he won't go to Hogwarts until next year. He feels he ought to be going this year. :P And yes, James and Al seem to only be a year apart--Ginny and Harry say something about having written to James however many times a week "last year" as Al is going of for his first year, implying that he previous year was James's first year. And in my James story, without thinking much, I'd put Al's birthday in October, so I had to put James in September if I wanted to give poor Ginny ANY rest in between them.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 22nd, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've only developed my love for Andromeda through your fanfics. She's one of my favorite characters in your stories, because you've developed her so well. When I read all of your shorts, the Andromeda-Ted-Gilderoy trio were always the best. It's so sad that she lost so much.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 22nd, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
~AmethystBeloved. I should sign before posting!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
She was always in a bad situation, wasn't she? Bleh. Poor Andromeda.
amamama From: amamama Date: May 22nd, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy and all that (why this need to go home without checking forst?) - but yay you. I love the way this is building up. So we'll get Grannydromeda next, then? And her reactions to what happened and to Teddy being back and... *big grin* Thanks a bunch!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
(why this need to go home without checking forst?)

Because I needed to move him home, of course. ;p

Yes, Andromeda's up next!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 23rd, 2010 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Is Victore then one or two years younger than Teddy? Because Al's first year is her last... (I'm about as hopeless with timelines as JKR, it seems...)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2010 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Two years (at least) by the epilogue--Teddy's nineteen that September, and therefore two years after his seventh year, and she's still at Hogwarts, which means she can't be older than seventeen. (I suppose nothing precludes her being even younger, but in my stories, she's two years behind Teddy.)

The best I can figure the math:

Teddy is seven years ahead of James, meaning James starts the September after Teddy leaves, and Al and Rosie start the next year, which is Victoire's seventh. Lily and Hugo go two years later, making Lily ten years younger than Teddy, and Al eight years younger.

Edited at 2010-05-23 04:09 am (UTC)
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 23rd, 2010 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
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