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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Two: Rocky Mountain High, part 3 - 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 3
Teddy, hearing about the murder, decides he needs to return to England, as he's sure that both Harry and Andromeda will be in the thick of it. Ultimately, he goes to Harry's place first, where James (who is sulking because he's just missing the age cut off for starting Hogwarts in September and has to wait a year) greets him, then tells him that Andromeda is already there, and that she and Harry had argued about her wanting to go into the office with him. He asks where she is.


Table of Contents and Summary So Far






She was in the dining room, books piled up beside her and a scroll open in front of her. Her quill scratched along at a rapid pace, and she wore a slight scowl that, as a child, Teddy would have backed away from without bothering her.

Instead, he cleared his throat and said, "Granny?"

She jumped, knocking her ink bottle over with her writing hand. "Teddy!" She cleaned up the spill with an absent-minded flick of her wand. "Teddy, what are you doing here? You're meant to be cavorting about America, aren't you?"

"Saw the news. I reckoned you and Uncle Harry would be in the middle of it, and--"

"And nothing! Get back there. This is your last free summer between school years. Starting next year, you just have to take holidays like the rest of us, and I won't have you breaking it off just because some maniac--"

Teddy held up his hand. "I'm of age since April, Granny. It's my call."

She made a frustrated face that was half exaggerated for comic effect, but half quite genuine. "Fine," she said.

Teddy sat down at the table and looked at the pile of books. They weren't Granny's usual old historical tomes. She'd been working a third book of wizarding history, this one about the conflicts at the time of the founding of Hogwarts, and how the Founders had dealt with them, but now, she was reading fresh, shiny political books about the war with Voldemort. Teddy glanced at the scroll, where she was writing down nothing but names.

He shook his head. "What were you fighting with Uncle Harry about? James said there was a fight."

"Your godfather is going to commit political suicide if he doesn't make it perfectly plain that he's questioning every reasonable suspect. I told him I was going into the office with him to give my alibi where everyone could hear it and check, and he decided there was no need for it, and... Teddy, you don't even look a bit shocked."

Teddy shrugged. "That's why I thought you'd be in the middle of it. Didn't Runcorn like to turn in Muggle-borns who were trying to pass?"

She nodded. "And your granddad got caught along with one of them. My sister has kindly told me exactly what happened. I know quite a lot of dark magic, I have a temper, and God Himself will testify that I have more than enough motive. If the Aurors don't question me, it'll look terrible."

"Do you, er... have an alibi?"

"I was at Weird World with Ellsworth and the Sisters. They're enjoying their retirement quite a lot, and there was a goodish crowd there who can verify my presence most of that night. And the security will show that I was in the same room all night."

"And you told Uncle Harry that?"

"Yes."

"Then he can check that without you going in."

"It's not just checking. It's being seen checking. Honestly, he has no idea how to manage the flow of information."

"Do you want him to drag you in with a Binding Spell and force Veritaserum down your throat in front of Rita Skeeter?"

She shrugged. "Couldn't hurt."

Teddy rolled his eyes. "What are you doing now?" He pointed at the books.

"Nothing of any use." She sighed. "I started out meaning to find a list of other suspects--people who'd have a grudge against Runcorn--but I just... I got carried away thinking of the people your grandfather was with that last year. What it must have been like. He could have come home. We shored up our defenses quite a lot--Dora and Remus and I--and it would have been safe. He should've come home." She tapped her quill on the scroll then rubbed her head. Her skin was looking thinner now, her hair threaded fully with white.

Teddy stood and kissed her head.

She hugged him. "You're a good boy, Teddy."

He sat back down and took a few books of the pile. "So what can I do? Shall we solve the case while Uncle Harry's at work?"

She laughed, then suddenly slapped her forehead. "There is something. Maddie came by this morning to ask if you were home yet."

"Maddie?" Teddy put the books down. Maddie Apcarne was many things in his life--his mother's best friend, a friend's mother, a childhood babysitter--but for the past two years, her main role in his life had been preparing him for what he hoped would be a career in the Department of Mysteries. Presuming he got through the required N.E.W.T.s this year, he'd end up as her apprentice, She'd already made that assumption, and started sending him things she thought would interest him. He shook his head, baffled. "What does Maddie have to do with this?"

"She didn't say, which means Department business," Granny said, with only a touch of bitterness. "I told her you were having a holiday, and she could bother you for esoteric theories when you got home. As you are home--unless you mean to take my advice and go back to your holday straightaway--I suppose you ought to contact her."

"It's late. I'll stay and help you."

Granny shook her head. "Help me do what? Write a paranoid list of potential enemies?" She pointed her wand at the parchment in front of her, and it burst into flames. "No--you're right, it's late. Let's stop this, and you just tell me about your trip, however little you had of it."

Uncle Harry arrived about halfway through Teddy's narrative of his Animagus mishap, which required a little editing, as they all maintained the polite fiction that, as head Auror, he had no idea that his godson was an illegal Animagus. James came in when he'd finished cleaning, and was promptly sent to bed, and after a while, Aunt Ginny came down as well. No one mentioned murder once Uncle Harry established that he didn't intend to bring the subject home with him.

The next morning, Teddy accompanied him to the Ministry of Magic, bade him farewell at the lifts, and went down to the Department of Mysteries. He entered the circular antechamber, waited for it to start spinning, then called, "Universe!"

The room stopped, and across from him, a single black door opened into a black room. Hanging in the air were seven glowing planets--Pluto had apparently been declared a non-planet (Maddie said that the Unspeakables kept taking it down and then deciding to put it back up again), and Uranus had been damaged in Uncle Harry's raid twenty years ago, and hadn't floated properly since. It could have been replaced, but, as the sculpture was more decorative than functional, no one had put up the gold.

The offices of the Unspeakables in the Division were off to the side, through doors that blended into the wall, and were marked only by images of celestial events. Maddie's office was behind a quasar. Teddy went directly to it and knocked on the wall.

The quasar glowed, flashing over Teddy's face, then the wall split open, and Teddy found himself in Maddie's comfortable office. It looked like her workspace at her home at Badger Hill--a tatty old carpet, several ancient play tables piled dangerously high with notebooks, an old sofa where more work was piled, and pictures drawn by her younger son, Mac--now nearly five--were scattered onto several surfaces. Her daughter Carny had got quite enamored of photography, and now worked for the Hogwarts Charmer, so several pages from the newspaper were there as well, with Carny's pictures circled. In a large frame was a photograph from the Daily Prophet, showing her husband Daffy and their son Frankie--Teddy's oldest friend--on the day they'd opened their new publishing house.

Maddie herself was standing in the middle of this, not looking especially surprised to see Teddy. It was easy to tell it was early in the morning--her blond hair was still in a neat bun, and her robes looked crisp and clean. By midday, she'd have got comfortable.

"Hi, Maddie," Teddy said. "Granny said you called, but I got in late last night."

"If it had been urgent enough to call me at home, I'd have called you in America. Nice trip?"

Teddy nodded. "What's going on? Is it about Runcorn?"

"Sort of. Well, yes, but not officially. Officially, the Department isn't involved, but Ron Weasley had Ruth bring by a message that they found. The Aurors want to know if we have any thoughts on it."

"And you're already asking me?"

She laughed. "Yes, well. We have no one in Faith, and I know you're at least interested. We all agree that it's religious." She pulled out a bit of parchment and handed it to Teddy.

He took it. In Ruthless Scrimgeour's all-business scribble were the words, "You can pass the justice of this world, but you cannot pass through the needle's eye."

He looked up. "This is it exactly?"

"Yes. Apparently, it was Charmed into a needle that was stuck in Runcorn's eye. It's scriptural. One of the gospels."

"Matthew," Teddy said absently. "But I don't think we're talking about a religious person."

"What?"

"Well, it's used wrong. The camel is supposed to make it through the needle's eye, at least more easily than a rich man. And Runcorn wasn't rich, anyway. The story isn't about revenge, either. It's more..." Teddy stopped, not sure how to go much further. He'd been studying religious texts with Père Alderman for a year, but he felt a bit uncomfortable with a theological exegisis. He shook his head. "It's not about this sort of thing at all, and a religious killer wouldn't use it that way. It's more of a cultural interpretation." He looked up sheepishly. "Well, that's my instinct, anyway. A hard-core religious fanatic would have chosen a different verse."

Maddie looked at him skeptically. "Are you sure? We are talking about a madman using scripture."

"I don't know anything. Just... that's what I think. He might have said 'an eye for an eye' as well--especially with the needle where they found it--but those are just sort of familiar tropes that a lot of people know, and most of them don't think about. Did you know that the eye for an eye bit is actually about not going overboard on revenge? It's..." He stopped and winced, hearing a certain panicked rambling come into his voice. "Sorry. I reckon the lot of you talked about all of this already. I doubt I have anything new to add."

"No, it's something to think about." Maddie sat down on her sofa. "I imagine you wouldn't mind having a good excuse to go talk to Ruth, though, so you can tell them I've assigned you to look into it further. She has all the details." She smiled conspiratorially.
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Comments
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: wow first comment?!

I posted pretty early tonight, too. :D

I want Teddy to show a marked maturation this year, so I'm glad he seems to be.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: May 24th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's relationship with Andromeda has clearly shifted into an adult one here... just what long trips with friends is for, I guess, and she knows it too :). This must all be almost harder for her than anyone else; seeing all the uncertainly come back yet again, and still not being in a position to really do much about it. No wonder she's trying so hard to come up with a way she can actually act.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Andromeda's in a bad place, definitely. And she's right about Rita if Harry doesn't get in front of it. He probably knows that, but unlike Andromeda, his priority is his saving people thing, which means it's more important to him to protect Andromeda than to protect his reputation.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 24th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Yaaay, Ruth!

Teddy's inclusion in the adult world will make difficult the trip back to Hogwarts, right? Will he suffer from the too old for school syndrome?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy will have other matters going on this year to keep him busy at school--he's right that he doesn't have that much to contribute to the search. But crazed murderers on the loose tend to keep intruding, no matter what else is going on.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 24th, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, now I begin to see how Teddy gets caught up in this! And he is of age at this point, so his involvement makes sense. Though I imagine it might be a challenge to him to balance his last year of school with his growing responsibilities as a fledgling Unspeakable.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, he's never going to make it past fledgling if he doesn't finish school, so... ;p

Teddy tends to find a way to fit any crisis he can into his school career, even if it's not handed to him on a platter. Wonder where he could have picked that up from?
From: amethystbeloved Date: May 24th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay, it's always so much fun to come to an update. I'm so happy that you get to explore the Department of Mysteries though Teddy. We hardly know anything about it, so it's so much fun to see how creative you can get!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 07:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved the DoM. It sounded at first like a magical MI6, but when they got there, it was so... not. I was disappointed that we didn't get to see more!
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 24th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay for the Dept. Of Mysteries!

Vivid image of Andromeda at the Dining Table. Thanks for all the quick updates, it really cheers me up to find something good to read!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like writing quickly. Keeps me on my toes.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: May 24th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Do you want him to drag you in with a Binding Spell and force Veritaserum down your throat in front of Rita Skeeter?"

She shrugged. "Couldn't hurt."


Andromeda is very Slytherin here!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 24th, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. Definitely. I can't find it in me to write her as a Slytherin in school, but as an adult, I can do it.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 24th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! Long time no comment. I actually have to catch up on Clue in the Cauldron and finish up all the challenges from Christmas (uh, and I think a chapter of Stray) but I am SO excited you're writing this fic :). Teddy honestly feels to me like one of my good friends, so coming back in his world is always delightful. (Especially since I am completely unable to read any other HP fic. I tend to go, "But, that's wrong, where's Ruthless?" Your writing has spoiled my ability to read anyone else's! Lol.) (Actually, funny story, once the subject of romance novels came up and how guys would never read them and I went, "I known a guy that reads romance novels!" And then went, "Oh, well, technically I guess I don't, but...")

Anyway, thank you SO much for writing this, I am very intrigued about what is coming. (while I do feel bad that Teddy doesn't seem to get a break, well, if he had a break we'd have nothing to read! And he has the even numbered years for breaks anyway.) And Teddy DEFINITELY feels more mature to me- I thought it was beautiful that when he had to return home from his trip it wasn't with any sense of, "UGH, THIS SUCKS, I was having a great time and something ELSE happens and I can't just have fun with my mates!" instead he just, went home, because he knew he needed to. It was lovely :).
amamama From: amamama Date: May 25th, 2010 08:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Busy w-e and no time to read, and now I have two chapterlets! Go you.

I like this development, how Teddy is growing up and taking responsibility and wanting to be there for the two people who were his main carers when he grew up. Both sweet and mature. Andy is right, she needs be questioned like everyone else, but I clearly see what you reponded to a reviewer above - Harry is more set on protecting her than politicking. And thank God for that, he'd hardly be Harry if he wasn't.

And now, on to the next part! Wheeee!
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