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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Three: Ruthless, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Three: Ruthless, part 3
Teddy's not at all sure he needed to come back after all. His business with the Ministry finished early, and an awkward visit with Ruthless over, he goes to Knockturn Alley to look at the crime scene, and overhears an argument between Maurice's father and Mr. Borgin, then spends some time with his friend Frankie. He goes back to Andromeda's, meaning to ask her more about Borgin and Burke's, but when he gets there, he finds her having tea with Draco, Narcissa, and Lucius Malfoy.

I'd written a ficlet that was supposed to take place sixth year, involving Teddy going to visit the Malfoys, but I'd like to do that this year instead and work it into this story, so for the record, that scene hasn't occurred yet.

My times are off, too. It's July. Why on earth with Andromeda have a candle burning in a window at tea time? :eyeroll: Besides, she's certainly not serving tea in the kitchen. So, we'll just pretend I didn't write that, okay? ;p The joys of "live" writing...

Table of Contents and Summary So Far






Teddy stopped at the parlor door. Granny must have noticed Narcissa Malfoy looking at him, because she looked over her shoulder and said, "Oh, Teddy! I wasn't expecting you home so soon." She expanded the table beside her (at the furthest point from Lucius, Teddy noticed), and indicated that he should sit down. As he did, she said, "It's been a long time since you've seen my sister--maybe some re-introductions are in order. This is my grandson, Teddy Lupin. Teddy, this is my sister, Narcissa, and her husband Lucius, and their son Draco."

"Oh, Teddy and I have met," Draco said, extending his hand.

Teddy shook it warily. They'd certainly met--he'd lectured in Defense Against the Dark Arts nearly two years ago, and he'd told Teddy's entire class--of Slytherins--that Teddy himself was the student he'd think most susceptible to becoming evil, because he was easiest to manipulate. As Teddy had been arguing with Uncle Harry at the time, he'd thought for a moment that Uncle Harry had specifically called Malfoy in to denounce him (which he realized within moments was ridiculous). After class, Draco had called Teddy a little snot, and tell him that he came every year, and that Teddy was clearly feeling guilty if he thought the whole business was directed at him.

"He's certainly grown into a handsome young man," Narcissa told Granny.

"Yes," Granny said cheerfully. "I've had to chase away the girls with a broomstick." Teddy looked at her steadily, and, to her credit, she backed away from this particular line of commentary. She patted his wrist. "Narcissa has been ill," she said. "I discharged her from St. Mungo's this afternoon, and we decided to have tea."

"I read about the pirate gold you helped find," Draco said. "That must help a bit."

"I'm certainly not arguing with it," Teddy said, not taking the bait about his financial situation. In April, after his birthday, he'd got a statement from Gringotts that he was relatively certain was in error, but he hadn't had a chance ask anyone about it before he'd left. He turned to Lucius, who hadn't yet greeted him. He was met with an icy, distant stare that apparently didn't account for his presence.

Narcissa noticed this. "Lucius," she said softly, "say hello to Andromeda's grandson."

He smiled mechanically, did not extend his hand, and said, "Hello. The werewolf's son, aren't you?"

"And the Mudblood's grandson," Teddy replied coolly. "On both sides, actually."

"Teddy," Granny said in a low, warning tone.

If Lucius took offense to the implied rebuke, he didn't show it. He started muttering to himself. Draco handed him a cup of tea, which quieted him so quickly that Teddy suspected a potion.

"Please excuse my husband," Narcissa said. "He's not himself."

Granny raised her eyebrows, but didn't point out that being himself would hardly be an improvement for Lucius Malfoy.

"I understand you've been in America this summer," Draco said. "Did you hear anything about those madmen who want to repeal the Statute of Secrecy?"

"Not really, no. We were mainly doing music shows. A few mad girls trying to steal my friend Donzo's pants, but no political madmen."

"I take it you've heard of our own political madman." Narcissa took a biscuit, but didn't eat it. "The murder in Knockturn Alley."

"Yes," Teddy said. He took a scone. It occurred to him that the Malfoys might be more likely than anyone either than Mr. Borgin or the Burkes to know about the shop, but he didn't want to mention anything about the conversation to them. He nibbled the scone, thinking, then said, "I happened by the scene today."

Narcissa looked up, surprised. "Surely, the Aurors have put up flares to hide it!"

"Yes. Nothing to see. But I did hear an odd rumor. Something about Borgin and Burke's, and curses if Mr. Borgin died and didn't leave it in one of their families."

Draco laughed. "And you think, as long as you have a pair of Death Eaters and an accomplice at the table, you'll ask about Borgin and Burke's. Very smooth."

"Well... do you know anything?"

"Teddy!" Granny said.

"No, it's quite all right," Draco said. "Teddy's well aware that I like to make myself useful. Unfortunately, I don't know anything specific for him to pass on to Potter. Though I'll keep this in mind as a less awkward conduit for such things in the future."

"Do you know anything not specific?"

"Why does it matter to you?"

"Curiosity."

"Hmm." Draco stirred his tea, then set down his cup without drinking. "That's right. I heard rumors myself. Something about the Department of Mysteries. I suppose it's a legitimate study. Very well. I can't speak to Borgin and Burke's situation exactly, but I'll say that it's not easy to get a business going in a part of town not exactly known for being frequented by the honest and upstanding. Most of the long-standing shops there took aggressive steps to avoid being taken over--curses on the property that will repel any other owners, self-immolating merchandise, that sort of thing. A blood spell tying a business to a particular family wouldn't be entirely out of the question."

Granny leaned forward, interested despite herself. "Really? Anything like the ones on... various houses, say?"

"Mad Auntie's curses?" Narcissa asked, and they grinned at each other. "Mad Auntie" was the name they called Walburga Black, Sirius's mother, who had cursed the house Uncle Harry now lived in six ways to Tuesday to keep it in the hands of heirs--little had she guessed that her son's heir would be head of the Auror Division.

"It can't be entirely repellent," Draco said. "It would be bad for business if customers were turned away at the door. But the same principle you might use on a house. If possession changed, any number of things could happen. And given what sorts of things can be found in that particular shop, I wouldn't rule any of them out."

No one said anything for a moment, then Narcissa smiled wanly and said, "Well, as fascinating as this is"--she smiled in such a way that no one at the table imagined it meant anything other than "Stop this immediately"--"I'd very much like to hear about Teddy's trip. I've never actually been to America--"

"No loss," Lucius muttered, and was fed another cup of tea.

"--and I'd love to hear about anything other than political madmen. Is it true that in New York City, there's a shop with magic from every nation on earth?"

"Yes," Teddy said. "My friend Corky went and tried to stump them, but they kept finding things, even when he wasn't asking for proper countries. He walked out with a charmed doll from the Principality of Outer Baldonia. Which is funny, since that's actually in Canada to begin with..."

Narcissa skillfully steered the conversation--Teddy was shocked and a little disturbed to discover that she was quite a lot like Granny--and by the time the shadows had got long outside, they were talking like any normal family about the trip the Malfoys had recently taken to Johannesburg.

Granny checked her watch. "Oh, dear," she said. "We've nearly talked our way to supper time."

Narcissa stood up and indicated to Draco to do the same. He nudged Lucius up. "We should talk more often, Andromeda. I mean that."

Granny kissed her cheek. "We should. And remember, if you see the slightest sign of fading--"

"--get back to St. Mungo's immediately," Narcissa said. "I will."

"Good. Because I'm not willing to outlive my baby sister." Granny Summoned their cloaks. "I'd ask you to stay, but Ginny and Harry are coming for supper and--"

"--and I think we'd all like to avoid that awkwardness," Narcissa said. "No one more so than young Harry, I'd think."

No one argued with this, though it occurred to Teddy that the Malfoys might actually find it more uncomfortable than Uncle Harry would. They left, Narcissa and Draco leading Lucius to the Apparition point, and Teddy looked at Granny. "What was that about?" he asked.

Granny took a deep breath and went back to the parlor to start cleaning up. "What I said, Teddy. Cissy was ill. She's been having fading fits, and when Draco found her collapsed on a couch he could see right through her, he brought her in, against her protests. I've been seeing to her for a week. When she was well enough to leave, I..." She sighed. "Cissy's been trying to make amends to me for years, and I never really let her. But when I saw her fading, I just... well, I meant what I told her. I've outlived enough people I love. And I do love Cissy. To my surprise, I quite like Draco as well. I'd only met him once before, when his little boy had a magical accident I had to take care of."

"I was surprised you let her husband in the house."

"I'd have rather not," Granny admitted. "But in case you didn't notice, Lucius isn't well. They don't leave him alone."

"I thought he was just being rude."

"No, Teddy, that was you, and don't think I didn't notice. But you're a grown man, so I suppose I can't put you on kitchen duty for it."

"I'll clean up," Teddy told her, and started gathering the dishes magically.

Granny looked out the window. "I remember Lucius when he was terrifying," she said. "But ever since Voldemort took his wand, then took over his house, he hasn't been right in the head. He's in a fog. Cissy leads him around and keeps him from doing any damage to himself or anything else. It's a cruel fate for a man who was, if nothing else, rather brilliant." She wrinkled her nose. "It's nearly enough. I just wish he were aware of just how bad it is."

With that, she shook off her mood and helped Teddy clean up. By the time they finished, Uncle Harry, Aunt Ginny, and the children had arrived, and within minutes, the greatest calamity in the world was the gross injustice James had suffered by being born after the first of September.
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Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: May 29th, 2010 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
What a great comeuppance - make Lucius dement (or whatever it is). Very interesting information about the shops in KA, it's going to be fun to see what you - or should I say your characters? - come up with next.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to it myself.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: May 29th, 2010 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
This was perfection!

It's good to see that Andromeda didn't make amends with Narcissa right after the war. So many fics have them holding each other crying over Bellatrix's grave and I find that highly unrealistic for a family so estranged and stubborn to boot.

I think I'd laugh at Lucius' condition if I didn't know just how difficult it is to live with someone with dementia. Either way, I find it a fitting end to such a deplorable character.
Though you'd think Narcissa could leave Lucius in the care of a house elf every once in a while.

I loved Teddy in this; I have yearned to be just as rude with certain members of my family at the table. So lets just say I lived vicariously though Teddy for a few short moments!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't see Andromeda crying over Bella's grave ever. But Narcissa did do the right thing in the war, and if she was persistent in doing the right thing, she could win her way back into respectable society.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 29th, 2010 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Love the fic!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 29th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a fantastic reunion. I think it's good to Andromeda to have a connection to her past that isn't so tainted with bad memories. When they grinned at each other, was a wonderful little moment.

Lucius' fate is fitting, although sad to see.

So Teddy's visit at Malfoy Mannor, didn't happen at all? Will still happen in the future? Did you just uncanoned it or simply changed its date?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm planning to work it into this year at some point, so it's part of the flow of the regular story.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 29th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I quite like how you've handled the remaining Black sisters' relationship. Relatedly, I also quite loved that last line about Harry's family coming in. You manage to create a very nice contrast illustrating the complexity of families.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
By the time we get to the end of TDH, the Blacks are, on measure, on the good side--sure, Bella and Bugga are evil and nutty, but Andromeda, Sirius, and--ultimately--Regulus are good, and Narcissa redeems herself.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 29th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
It says a lot for Andromeda that she can find a way to forgive Narcissa, after everything that's happened. But I'm relieved that her forgiveness doesn't extend toward Lucius, even if she's wise enough not to be vindictive about his mental condition.

Looking forward to the next--poor James! ::grins::
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that, with the exception of children like Draco who were misled or adults who renounced their loyalty to Voldemort before he fell, Andromeda isn't in a hurry to forgive Death Eaters or collaborators.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: May 29th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
"In April, after his birthday, he'd got a statement from Gringotts that he was relatively certain was in error, but he hadn't had a chance ask anyone about it before he'd left."

So does this mean that Teddy is poor or something? I hadn't realized that.
Eh, I didn't really think Teddy was being rude (testy, maybe). I could see Lucius acting that way even if he didn't have dementia.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 29th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's the other way round... he's rather rich.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: May 29th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks...I thought that was odd!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Anon's right--Teddy's got more money than he comprehends. I'll get to it. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 30th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your Draco. He's so...interesting. I was rather disappointed by him in DH, he was more pathetic than anything else, but your adult version of him is grown up, in his way. Love it!
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 31st, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Always love seeing the Malfoy Family. This "fading" is an interesting Wizarding ailment...
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 3rd, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm gone for the long weekend, and I have so much to catch up to! What a treat.

"I'd only met him once before, when his little boy had a magical accident I had to take care of.""

Awww, I remember that challenge fic. It was so sweet.
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