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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Three: Ruthless, part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Three: Ruthless, part 1
Teddy has gone into the Ministry, as Maddie thought he might have some theories on the quasi-religious nature of the note left at the crime scene. Teddy thinks it's more cultural than religious. Maddie's skeptical of this. She sends him to Ruthless, who's been on the case, to get the remaining information.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far






The Auror Division was on full alert, and when Teddy exited the lift on the second level, he felt like he'd been caught in an Acceleration Enchantment. People were going about their normal business--carrying files to and fro, sending out owls and paper airplanes, jumping up to go investigate leads they'd found--but they all seemed to be moving just touch more quickly than seemed entirely normal. Teddy dodged Anthony Goldstein, who was running for the lifts, swung right around Dan Williams, and just missed running into Uncle Harry, who had his nose pressed close to a photograph as he strode toward someone else's desk.

"Teddy!" he said. "I thought you were seeing Maddie."

"She wanted me to talk to Ruthless."

"Mm-hmm."

"No, really, she did. Something about--"

"Maddie's not officially on it, so as far as I'm concerned, you're trying to get Scrimgeour to leave the office long enough for"--he checked his watch. "I guess it's too early for lunch, but take her to breakfast. She's been at it for hours already."

Teddy nodded. "That's exactly what I'm here for."

"Good. She's in back. Apprentices don't get windows." He winked rather mechanically and went on his way.

Teddy avoided any major collisions as he made his way to the back of the room, but he stopped before he reached the cube where he could see a tuft of wildly curly red hair puffing up over the wall. He could hear Ruthless already, though he couldn't make out what she was saying.

He'd left the day before her apprenticeship started. He'd never visited her in an adult setting before, never actually been forced to think of their age difference. While he'd told himself over and over that she was working here now, a part of him still expected her to be on the Hogwarts Express, where they'd spend some time in a good-natured argument about whether or not they planned to go out in the coming months. Neither of them would end up right about it--they'd end up kissing a few times, then breaking up, then getting back together because everyone thought they were together anyway, then...

He swallowed hard. Even if she were back, she'd made it clear in April, after a birthday date had gone nastily wrong, that there'd be no more of that. But she was still his friend and--

"Lupin?"

He looked up, and realized he'd been standing still, thinking about this, for long enough to be noticed. Ruthless was apparently standing on her chair, as she was now looking over the wall, her eyebrows raised.

"Hi," he said.

"I don't suppose you're here to see me?"

"Well, yes, actually." Teddy started around the corner. "I was going to ask you if you wanted to go to--" He stopped as he came to her cube, where breakfast was laid out on a small table, and a young-ish man was lounging in a Conjured chair. "Well, I was going to take you to breakfast, but apparently it's not necessary." He held out his hand to the man. "I'm Teddy Lupin."

The man shook his outstretched hand. "Sam Cresswell. I feel like I know you already. Do you want to join us?"

"Er... sure," Teddy said, and Conjured a chair of his own. He had no idea what he was meant to say, as Uncle Harry had pointed out that the Department of Mysteries' connection was unofficial, and he couldn't very well talk about personal things. "Are you... er... are you working on the murder?"

Cresswell expanded a few items on the table, and shoved eggs and toast in Teddy's direction. "Can't really discuss it."

"Yes, we can," Ruthless said. "Trust me, Teddy's not here by accident or without permission."

"Hmph."

"Sam's in a bad temper," Ruthless explained. "He doesn't know whether or not he wants to bring our psychopath in."

"Oh, I want to bring him in," Cresswell said. "But I don't know if it's to send him to Azkaban or shake his hand." He chugged half a glass of pumpkin juice. "Don't mind me. I put myself at the top of the suspect list. Runcorn got my dad killed."

"Oh, he was the one with--"

"--with your granddad, right."

"My grandmother wants to put herself at the top of the suspect list, too."

"I imagine there's a lot of vying for the top spot. He made a hobby of betraying Muggle-borns." Cresswell stood up. "I'll let the pair of you catch up."

"Thanks," Ruthless said absently.

"Are we doing anything later?" he asked.

"Er... I don't think so," she said, and looked guiltily in Teddy's direction.

Teddy watched him go, then said, "New, er...?"

"We've gone out a few times," Ruthless said briefly. "What do you really want to know?"

"About him?"

"Nothing to talk about there. About the case."

Teddy floundered. He'd known Ruthless through what he thought were all of her various moods, but this Ruthless--curt and businesslike--was entirely new to him. She was only seven and a half months older than he was; if she'd been born a few hours later, she'd have been in his year at Hogwarts instead of the year before him. But now she seemed to inhabit an entirely different world. The gap that had never been there was there, and--

She snapped her fingers and grinned. "Oy, Lupin. See something green?"

"No," he said. "I just-- never mind."

She tossed him an orange from the side of her plate. "Don't worry. I wake up in the morning and don't know me, either. I keep expecting your godfather to tell me it's time to stop playing at Aurors and Dark Wizards and get back to school where I belong." She laughed. "I was starting to re-stock my school supplies last week when I realized I wouldn't be needing them. They'll be sending me off to the Closed Ward any day now."

"I guess... it'll seem normal enough soon."

"It'll feel entirely normal when you start working downstairs next year. I've already started going about with Frankie and Bernice and Zach again. Frankie has a permanent game going in his offices, every Sunday night."

"You're still playing Muggles and Minions?"

"Yes, in the five weeks since I left school, I haven't yet given up my childhood vice. And now, we've recruited old Daff. He's a kindly old uni professor who secretly knows all about explosives. Very handy. Arthur Weasley's been making noises about wanting to join, too, so I think I probably won't be quitting because I've reached the advanced age of eighteen... almost." She took a bite of egg, then tapped her fork on the side of her plate. "Teddy, you didn't tell me--what do you really want to know?"

"Oh. Right. Everything. The note, especially. Maddie says that the Department all thinks it's religious, but I'm not convinced. Can you tell me about the crime scene and the injuries?"

Ruthless nodded, and pulled over a stack of photographs. They weren't easy to look at--the killer had left a lot of gruesome marks. The nailed-shut jaw was bad, but for Teddy, it was th slits across the eyes that would haunt him. And the wire through the ankles.

"Well?" Ruthless asked.

"I still think it's the wrong verse."

"Just because he doesn't go to France to study esoteric interpretations of texts with a Latin-speaking werewolf priest, it doesn't mean that he's not inspired by the text. Maybe he's just not too bright."

"It's possible, but I wouldn't... well, if you're using that to narrow down your subjects, I wouldn't. I think it's a lot less clear-cut than Maddie does."

"Do you have anything I could narrow it with?"

"He's barking mad. Or she is. But it probably doesn't show much, or we'd know who it is already."

"That's helpful, thank you." She rolled her eyes. "Personally, I think we should release a Death Eater as bait. Just have him walk around looking evil, see if anyone bites."

"Er..."

"I'm joking, Lupin. Remember, ha-ha, mad Ruthless who goes after everything with her Beater's Bat?"

"Oh. Sorry."

She reached across the table and shoved him gently. "Teddy, I'm dressed in red and I'm tired, but it's still me. You know I wouldn't do that. And I had to leave my bat at Hogwarts. It's school property."

Teddy laughed. "Well, now I know what to get you for your birthday, anyway."

"I knew you'd pick up that hint."

"Scrimgeour!"

She stood up. "What is it, Weasley?"

"Pack up, we're interviewing a hag in Broadstairs." Ron came over. "Hi, Teddy. We've got to go."

"I'll take care of clean-up," Teddy offered.

Ruthless bit her lip. "Er... I can't actually leave you here with my files."

"Oh. Right. I'll... I'll let myself out then."

He gave them a wave as he went. Before he got to the lifts, they'd Apparated out.

The lift had to prompt him to give it a direction this time, as he couldn't think where he was meant to go. Finally, he just had it take him to the lobby, where he waved to the receptionist, Romilda Davies, and left the Ministry.

It was still early.
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Comments
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 25th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Before got to the lifts, they'd Apparated out.

- Think you're missing a word here.

Teddy's confusion about adulthood is very amusing for me to read, being currently 18 and still just as much a kid as I ever have been. Therefor, when I see my friends who are married or in the army or have kids already it's this bombshell of- but WHAT? How can you be grown up? I'm not!

Otherwise, loved the chapter. I really ma excited about reading a whole year of not-emo Teddy, not that the emo wasn't justified, and he was always lovely about it and knowing he was being ridiculous. But still.

And Ruthless makes me happy. I was just re reading some of your older stuff and saw a comment Andromeda made about her having to give up the silly nickname at some point and snorted, because, nopeee! :)
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 25th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
That is really 'am' excited, not ma.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Heck, I'm nearly forty and still go, "Wait a minute, how can my same-age cousin have a daughter in college? I'm barely out of college myself... oh, wait."
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 25th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I believe this 'adulthood' concept is highly over rated :).

Also, I just remembered- what on Earth happened during Teddy's 6th year? I'm so used to your odd-numbered-Teddy-years I didn't even think about it, but besides the aforementioned disastrous coming-of-age 'celebration' I don't think we know really anything that went on in it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 25th, 2010 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I did a ficlet. If it seems to have a place, I'll work it into the story.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 25th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh I remember. (That ficlet is really beautiful btw.) I meant more of, did anything else happen? Because if I remember right his 2nd year didn't have much of anything but 4th year had alot of teenage drama that was actually sort of important to the plot of DM- not overly huge, but still affected it.
amamama From: amamama Date: May 25th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Whee-hee! Here we go. Incredibly amusing musings about Ruthless and age and who they really are - and great thoughts about religion. I like the way he's following his intuition, but still not feeling that he can trust it 100%. He's learning, our boy. As am I, for that matter. Intuition is a great tool, I guess Teddy could easily be called a proper six-sensory.

So Romilda nailed Roger Davies, then? With or without love potion? *g*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
With Roger? Who knows? He could have just been dazzled by someone fawning over him.

(Edited out personal info. Family is more private than I am. Suffice it to say, I know the sense of "OMG, when did someone my age become a grown-up?")

Edited at 2010-05-26 05:16 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 3rd, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Romilda and Roger davies??!! where?

I'm re-reading things over and over again and I can't find where this is mentioned.

what exactly does it say? I'm curious!
amamama From: amamama Date: June 3rd, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Romilda and Roger davies??!! where?

Second to last sentence: Finally, he just had it take him to the lobby, where he waved to the receptionist, Romilda Davies, and left the Ministry.


I took this to mean she married Roger... I'm such a sleuth. *g*
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 25th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, the final break between Teddy and Ruthless had to occur sometime, but still ... ouch. Not easy seeing your sort-of significant other go someplace where you can't follow, at least not yet. Will we get the skinny on that birthday date that went wrong?
From: amethystbeloved Date: May 25th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here's the link to Fern's ficlet:

http://fernwithy.livejournal.com/845537.html#cutid1
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 26th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup, that's the ficlet in question, though I realize, on re-read, that I goofed--Teddy hadn't yet gone out with Victoire, so he shouldn't have had commentary about their date.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 25th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is looking to be a great story. I wish I could read it all right now! But I suppose there's something to be said for anticipation.

Poor Teddy still fond of Ruth...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course, I picked it up a couple of weeks before Summer Reading, and that means I can't guarantee the regular updates like this. Or maybe I'll write every day as an outlet for the stress...
From: amethystbeloved Date: May 25th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha, I had a feeling that the "birthday date had gone nastily wrong" was Ruthless' surprise visit to Teddy's room. I'm glad that you posted the link~ I wanted to read it again too. Seeing Ruthless and Teddy in two different worlds was fascinating. I liked the way that you created Cresswell just from Arthur's confrontation back in DH. Yay for Harry Potter wiki, LOL. I also liked the way you showed that Romilda snagged Roger, hahaha!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes, you just have to go down lists to find names that haven't been used a dozen times each.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 25th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ruth has a good point. What the Bible says in plain words often get all sorts of contexts applied to them that have little to do with everything else.

It was as odd for us as it was for Teddy. It's one thing when we read about adult!Ruth in the future- because that's the future. Present would be Teddy's timeline, so for me it's like it's the first time I see her as an adult in the present. And somehow, it makes me feel old! Kids grow up so fast these days!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Ruth does have a point, but I think Teddy's right here--if more by chance than deliberation.
hymnia From: hymnia Date: May 26th, 2010 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the detail about Arthur wanting to play Muggles and Minions. ♥
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, I figured he'd find it appealing.
sheepinbox From: sheepinbox Date: May 26th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry that this comment doesn't pertain to this particular chapter. I remember reading a lot of your writing years ago when I was stil mysticblueside at SQ, and recently a couple of my friends from there and I had a massive wave of nostalgia. I decided to check in on some journals and was really happy to see that you've kept all of this up. Last night I started the first part of your Teddy Lupin stories, and despite not having read fanfiction in ages, it's currently beating out my summer reading list at the moment. It's exactly what I needed, and exactly what HP fic should be. I definitely missed this. Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone! I hope things are going well for you. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 26th, 2010 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, well, I hope you continue to like the stories, or at least 87% of them... ;p
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