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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Four: An Accounting Error, part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Four: An Accounting Error, part 1
This isn't always going to come this fast, but it feels so darned good to write Teddy again. I'm wallowing.

Anyway, Teddy has overheard a conversation between Maurice's father and Mr. Borgin, while investigating the murder of Runcorn. He's told Ruthless that he's not very confident in the Department of Mysteries unanimous belief that they're dealing with a religious killer (they asked him, as none of them are in the Faith division, and he's at least interested in it). He had tea with the Malfoys, as Andromeda is trying to reconcile with Narcissa after a bout of serious illness on Narcissa's part. He's asked them about Borgin and Burke's. Draco asked him about the money from the pirate shipwreck he helped find in Daedalus Maze, and Teddy muses to himself that there's some kind of error on the statement he was given at his last birthday, but he hasn't had a chance to check on it.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

After a week, Teddy was thoroughly sick of being asked why he'd cut his holiday short. His explanation seemed to amuse people he wasn't particularly close to--there was Teddy Lupin, barely of age, thinking himself indispensible in matters he had nothing to do with. Ultimately, he toned it down for them, saying he'd got ill on a bad jalapeño, and he left it at that.

Maddie seemed glad to have him back, and had arranged with her boss, Mr. Croaker, to let him assist her as long as he was here, which gave him something to fill his days, even if it was largely filing and doing Duplication charms. He resumed his travels to France to study with Père Alderman as well, and joined Frankie and Tinny's Muggles and Minions game on Friday nights.

Frankie pushed him for a cat story again. In a moment of inspiration, he went to James and asked for help with a plot. James immediately stopped moping about his late birthday and started to generate plot after plot. He didn't even complain about letting Teddy do the actual writing--"This is for a real book!" Between them over the next two weeks, they built up a short story about about James's cat, Martian, accidentally losing a charm that had been concealed on his collar, and his adventures as he went on a quest to find it. They tested it on Lily, who declared it simply horrible, and asked when they would finish the next one. After quite a lot of outlandish suggestions, they settled on a shared name of "Jim Wolf" for the credit. Frankie accepted it as soon as he got it, paid them a small advance, and made a handful of suggestions that both Teddy and James agreed were improvements. It entered the slow process of becoming a book, and quickly left Teddy's mind.

The week before school started, the whole family (and sundry others) gathered at Bill and Fleur Weasley's home, Shell Cottage, for a picnic. Teddy had always been the oldest child in the family--Victoire Weasley, who was fifteen, was next--but the older he'd got, the more he'd become the youngest adult. George Weasley and Lee Jordan had treated him as such for years, introducing him to poker games (which he enjoyed) and pipes (which he emphatically did not) at their respective shops. Hermione had been next, talking to him about books and his extracurricular studies, and Ron had followed closely behind (now that he was Ruthless's mentor, he seemed almost a colleague). Minerva McGonagall didn't precisely treat anyone as a peer, but Teddy had noticed of late that she didn't address him terribly differently than she addressed Uncle Harry or, for that matter, Kingsley Shacklebolt.

This really ought to have made gatherings more inclusive, letting Teddy converse with nearly everyone on an even footing, but instead, he felt at home nowhere at all. He caught the edges of adult conversations, but had neither the experience nor the prior knowledge to join them, and the children's conversations were becoming alien to him. Victoire was someone he could generally talk to (except when she was wearing blue, which made her so beautiful that he nearly forgot they were all but related and she was quite irritating besides), but today, she was playing with the younger cousins, pushing them on the old tree swing on the sea cliff. He watched her for a while, enjoying the sunlight in her hair, but ultimately chided himself for this pointless activity and went inside to see if Fleur needed any help.

Instead, he found Uncle Harry and Bill sitting in the living room, looking over several scrolls.

"Teddy!" Bill called. "Come in."

Hesitantly, Teddy entered. "What is it?"

Uncle Harry put down the scroll he currently had in his hand and said, "Bill and I were talking about Borgin and Burke's--what you told me you overheard."

"Oh!" Teddy pulled up a chair. "Do you think it's... you know, part of the murder?"

"No idea," Uncle Harry said. "We still don't have any leads as to what the murder was about. But it's interesting in itself. Borgin told me as much, after the war, but we were busy, and no one particularly bothered with the shop, and it slipped my mind. When you brought it up again, I asked Bill. He knows quite a lot about cursed artifacts."

Bill nodded sideways, an expression that the family had learned to interpret as a smile (the horrible scars on his face, courtesy of Greyback, made normal expressions difficult). "It's helpful at Gringotts, and you should have seen some of the treasures I found back in my treasure-hunting days. Hexed up from every direction."

"So you could break them?" Teddy asked.

"If necessary," Bill said. "If I knew what they were. They could do a lot of damage in a populated area like that before I figured out the counter-curses, though. And of course, I'd have no legal right while an heir was present."

"Maurice and his dad would let you," Teddy said.

Uncle Harry frowned. "I'm not as sure of that as you are. The Burkes lost quite a lot this year in the shop's interest--"

"Mr. Burke said it almost killed Wendell."

"I'll leave that to Maurice to explain or not to you. It's not my place. But Mr. Burke's cousin, Veradisia, did die from a cursed object. I'm surprised that the Prophet hasn't picked that up. Rita's slipping in her old age."

Teddy bit his lip. "So, er... you said you don't know what the murder is about. So there's no--well, I'd heard--"

"There are theories coming from other departments," Uncle Harry said. "But a source I trust is skeptical of those theories, and therefore, so am I."

Teddy felt himself blanch. Was Uncle Harry ignoring the whole Department of Mysteries just because of something he'd said? "Er... I hope you're... er, not blocking anything out just because--"

"The source in question is a skeptic, and, at least as I understand it, just said to not narrow anything down. He's quite a brilliant source."

Bill gave a snort of laughter. "Harry, do you really think the entire wizarding world doesn't assume you've asked the Department of Mysteries for theories?"

Uncle Harry shrugged.

Teddy sighed. "Well, it turns out that I apparently didn't give you any useful information about the murder anyway."

"Mm." Uncle Harry cleaned his glasses. "Well, Teddy, welcome to a very large group of people who haven't come up with any useful information about that. And oddly, you weren't expected to." He smiled.

"I suppose not. I guess I did cut my trip short for no reason."

"Andromeda's been glad to have you back," Uncle Harry said.

"She keeps trying to push me out the door!"

"She feels guilty about it," Bill said.

Uncle Harry looked shrewdly at Teddy, then said, "You know how glad she is to have you. That's really why you came back, isn't it?"

"Well... yes. I knew Runcorn turned in Cresswell, and he was the one the Snatchers were chasing when the caught Granddad, and--"

"--and you knew she'd be reliving all of it again."

Teddy nodded. "She's doing really well, though. She doesn't need me, not really."

"Trust me, Teddy. She does."

Bill closed up a scroll with a flick of his wand and said, "On an entirely different subject, I opened the account you asked me to. One Jim Wolf now has a Gringotts vault. Just a little one."

"A fine, upstanding citizen," Uncle Harry said. "I always liked him."

"I'll have two keys made, one for each of... him. Did you want to put any of your other assets into that account, for, shall we say, diversification?"

"I don't know. I'll see what's left after I get started after school--I'll need a flat, and some work clothes..." Teddy stopped, noting the way Uncle Harry and Bill were looking at him. "What?"

Bill spoke slowly. "Teddy... did you even read the statement I gave you in April?"

"Yes, I've been meaning to ask you about that. I think I need another one. There's some kind of accounting error on this one."

The corners of Bill's mouth twitched. "What sort of error do you think there was?"

"Well," Teddy started, noticing that both men were looking irritatingly amused. He ground his teeth. "I know there was a good amount in the Brimmann wreck, but it was nowhere near that much. I think it must have got... I don't know. Maybe something there duplicated, and someone counted it on a bad day, and--"

"The accounting is magical, and it utterly ignores Duplicates," Bill said.

"Well something's wrong with it. I don't--well, that's to say..." Teddy looked back and forth between them. "Did you read it? It's absurd!"

Uncle Harry laughed fondly, then said, "Teddy, there's no error. It's all yours."
18 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 30th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC) (Link)

First comment!

Brilliant chapter as always -- if I fail contracts it's your fault, I'll have been rereading your Teddy stories.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: First comment!

I'm sure that having just signed his first contract, Teddy would be in favor of people passing contracts. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 1st, 2010 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: First comment!

Glad to hear everything relates to contract
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 30th, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
So interesting to see the pieces of Teddy's adult life starting to come together--his writing career with James, his feelings for Victoire, his apprenticeship as an Unspeakable. And a relief to know he'll never have the financial problems that plagued his father.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Remus would be glad he's not plagued by that as well. I did want to start making those bridges; I was a little afraid this would seem arbitrary!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 30th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy feeling so at odds with being not-quite-grown-up. Lovely installment.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's an awkward age; neither fish nor fowl. At least his adults are encouraging the transition, though!
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: May 30th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, poor Teddy. I'm around his age and I feel the same way! Are we going to learn about Teddy's lessons with Pere Alderman? Perhaps they'll help the case in the some way.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a little uncomfortable with going too deeply into Teddy's religious studies, which are leading to his conversion. So is Teddy--it's an odd thing to talk about. But I should probably man up, find my backbone, and just jump in... if there's a place that it fits.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 30th, 2010 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice story!

About the religious part though, I don't see why exactly he needs to convert. If Harry's his godfather he was christened already, wasn't he? It's more a question of his becoming more devout.

Maybe you're thinking along the lines of CofE versus RC. I always felt it would be very appropriate if the wizarding world was largely recusant and Jacobite. The Protestants in England often accused Catholics of practicing magic anyway, and the Statute of Secrecy was first signed in 1689, just after the Glorious Revolution. As the Anglican Ralph Hoven said: "All Papists be not witches, but commonly all witches are the spawn of the Pope."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's becoming Catholic instead of Protestant. I think that the WW is more or less reflective of the Muggle world--in Britain, most nominally Protestant of varying flavors, a few Catholics, some Muslims, Hindus, etc. I see Teddy as being baptized in a Protestant sect (I have Remus a lapsed and now-atheist Catholic and Tonks a more or less conventional CofE), who becomes interested in the Catholicism his grandparents abandoned in anger after Remus was attacked.
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: May 30th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brilliant. Just brilliant! I'm so happy you're writing Teddy again. I like your other stories, but Teddy definitely has a special place in my heart.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm happy to be writing Teddy again, too. I've been really depressed lately (totally unrelated matters), and James didn't do the trick, but the moment I started writing Teddy, I cleaned my house, opened the shades, and started getting it together.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 31st, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay for the Patronus Charm of writing Teddy! We all love that. Glad the shades are open!
amamama From: amamama Date: May 30th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! Let'em bring it on. You're doing a magnificent job, channeling these people. *g* And oh, how I want a statement like that. One that's so awesomely above anything I'd imagined, that I think it must be wrong - only to discover it's quite correct, and it's all mine.

Teddy losing track of everything when Victoire wears blue is wonderful. I guess she's noticed, and will fill her trunk with blue outfits before leaving for Hogwarts. Also, Harry reassuring Teddy that Andromeda needs him. Heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time.

Thanks, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 30th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want that statement, too. Ah, wish fulfillment, Teddy is thy name. ;p

Yes, Victoire has definitely noticed.
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 3rd, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've said this before, but even though we know how Teddy's future ends (love life, career, hobby as Jim Wolf) it's fantastic to see how it begins to form.

In regards to the accounting, I remember way back when you were writing Forest Guard you mentioned that Teddy happens to be the heir of the Black family fortune. The Leaky Cauldron podcast was actually talking about that and credited you with the observation as well. :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 22nd, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Veeery late comment, just to say I remember those days of no longer being part of the kid crowd at parties, and not quite yet fitting in with the adults... awkward time, that, and actually still not quite over, because some of the younger kids still count me as a fellow kid.

~Hermione Stranger~
18 comments or Leave a comment