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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seven: Telling Tales, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seven: Telling Tales, part 3
Teddy's yearmates have met to talk about how they all happened to survive their birth and early months during the climax of Voldemort's war. Honoria didn't ask Teddy, since everyone knows his story.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far






After the meeting, Teddy spent most of the morning trying to concentrate on his Potions assignment--not the full created potion, but an analysis of each ingredient in his new supply--then worked for a little while on his other classes.

All the while, the stories he'd heard tugged at him--the insanity of having a child that year, when everything was falling apart, when there was always the danger of... well, of what had actually happened. And it had followed immediately on a rushed and pressured marriage, and--

He took out his calendar, counted months.

"Teddy?"

He looked up.

Mum was watching him from the portrait, one eyebrow raised. "Something caught your interest?"

He bit his lip. "Can I ask you something personal?"

"Judging by your study material, I can guess what."

"Well, can I ask?" He sighed. "I don't know. I suppose you might not know. But I keep subtracting, and get mid-July, and that had to be really close to your wedding, but was it before or after... I mean, not that it matters, but... Well, I always heard the story that you had to get married because of the werewolf laws."

"That would be the true story," Mum said carefully.

"Then it wasn't because..."

"I didn't even know until the end of July. We'd just found out before Bill and Fleur's wedding on the first of August. I was so happy, and your father was so terrfied!" She shook her head. "Wouldn't have risked a mad Harry-rescue a few days before if I had known."

"Oh."

The portrait frowned at him. "Why the sudden interest in that, of all things? You've been able to count months for quite a long time, and you must have realized how close it was."

"I just, I was thinking, well, that it was"--he winced and looked away--"a bit mad to decide to have a baby that year."

Mum laughed. "It would have been an incredibly mad decision, had we actually decided it. I'm afraid you weren't carefully planned out, Teddy. You just happened. Thank God, because if you hadn't, there'd be nothing left."

The portrait said this lightly, of course. It had no particular feelings of its own, and it always adopted Mum's more amusing and friendly sides, but Teddy had met her, somewhere between worlds, and he knew the bitter regrets that had informed the sentiment. He touched the portrait frame. "Well," he said, "there's something left."

She smiled at him fondly, then changed her hair to a sensible black, brought it up short, and mimed putting on specs. She sat down at the table and said, "So, young Teddy, why have you started wondering about the year in which you were first anticipated?"

"My friends in my year--the wizard-born, anyway--all seem to have got away from people trying to stop them from being born. But you were more wanted than any of them, and you knew what was going on."

"Which made me considerably safer than people who didn't. I kept far away from St. Mungo's, and your Granny was there watching me, in case anything went wrong."

There was motion at the edge of the frame, and Dad slid in. "Looks like a serious subject," he said.

"Teddy wants to know if we were living in sin and precisely how mad we were," Mum said.

"What?" Dad asked, as Teddy said, "I didn't say that!"

"Just translating," Mum said.

"It's not a translation," Teddy told Dad. "I swear, I was just asking. I don't even really know what I was asking. Mum said she was safer than other witches that year because she knew what was going on."

"And I had your dad to keep me safe while I kept you safe."

"Once I got my head screwed on straight," Dad muttered. "And not when it really mattered, as it turned out."

Mum looked at him sharply. "We've heard quite enough about the first part of that, and as to the second, I didn't give you the option. I should've, but I didn't." She turned back to Teddy. "Once I knew about you, you were never in danger. I'd've never let anything happen to you."

He nodded. "All the others, though..."

"We did everything we could. Lee Jordan put out warnings, but of course, you had to know where to find his show. Sanjiv made posters, but they were taken down immediately. Before Maddie was forced out of the Department of Mysteries, she tried to get people to run rather than coming in to hearings, if she saw who was scheduled to be brought in. And Daffy went undercover mopping floors at St. Mungo's, trying to stop things. It only helped if he actually happened to be there at the time. Twenty women were quite a lot, but in terms of the number of patients and the times they might or might not have been there..."

"Tarot poker," Teddy said. "You never know what you'll be holding in a given hand."

Dad nodded. "That's the shape of it, Teddy. I wish it were something less messy."

Mum smirked. "I've noticed that our boy does appreciate things that are more ordered and meticulous and--"

"Alphabetized by color?" Dad said, and winked.

Teddy blushed again, but it was a more normal one. Victoire had organized his things two years ago, and he'd carefully kept it up because he rather liked living in her well-designed world. Mum and Dad had prised this out of him while he'd set up his room last year. But it wasn't what they were insinuating. Victoire was practically family. "I see we've dropped any serious subject," he said.

"You spend too much time thinking about serious subjects," Mum said. "Get out of your head. We're lacking a girlfriend this year, and your dad hates to go back to Grayfur without gossip."

"You--?"

"I do not gossip with Phineas Nigellis."

"Right, darling, I'm sure it's just a consultation on the needs of Hogwarts students, teacher to teacher."

Teddy laughed, and let them continue discussing old Grayfur--who was an inveterate gossip, whether he admitted it or not--while he settled back into his Charms homework.

His schedule became grueling over the next three weeks, and there was no time to speculate on the events of the year he'd been born. The other students, equally burdened, lost all but the most cursory interest in the subject, though Honoria's announcement of a series to come on the various seventh years was the cause for a day or two of eager speculations among the younger students. But Teddy's time was taken up with the properties of Mallowsweet, the ethics of crystal scrying, a doomed attempt to Transfigure wands into other objects which would still maintain the magical power of wands, and, of course, Robards' ever dwindling supply of new clues in the murders of Goyle and Runcorn.

The Aurors had been able to definitively link them when a Healer had examined Goyle's body (this, according to a letter from Ruthless, had been the idea of her new boyfriend, Sam Cresswell). They'd found another needle, this one pushed into his belly through his belly button. The message had been the same. Teddy could make a connection--just as Goyle had been part of the rule of the fist, he'd also been something of a glutton--but it got him nowhere nearer to the murderer.

The second Saturday in October, it rained miserably outside, turning Hogwarts into a slush of mud and slippery rocks and grass. Students found places inside to work. The library was too crowded, so Teddy and several of his friends had retreated to Firenze's classroom--comfortably set up as a forest glade--to work on their various projects. Story Shacklebolt and Victoire were near a window, working on Umbrella Charms; Corky and Honoria were meant to be working on Potions, but didn't seem to be getting much done, unless they were designing something to make them snuggle and laugh softly a lot. Teddy, Donzo, and Maurice were working Defense theory. Robards' mild Tongue-Tying hex kept them from working on real clues, but in a way, this was helpful, as the pressure of dealing with a real crime made it easier to go on flights of unexpected thought. It was also good because Maurice's brother was hovering about.

"So are there artifacts that can get past security?" Teddy asked Maurice.

"Probably, but most of that leaves traces, so someone would find something afterward."

"I'll bet there are clean ones," Wendell said. "Veradisia said that there was always going to be something that could get through anything..."

"Well, if Borgin finds it, I'm sure he'll stock it beside the self-spelling wands."

"Maybe I'll find it."

"Dad's going to sell our interest in the place back to Borgin."

Wendell set his jaw. "I told him not to."

"Yes, and I'm sure he's going to hold onto that curse-trap just because--"

"It's ours!"

"Not mine," Maurice said, and looked down at his Defense book again. "What if you needed something from one crime to get to the next one? Like, he had to take something."

"Something would have to be missing from the first one," Donzo said.

Wendell flopped down beside Maurice. "Well, just because you don't want it doesn't mean Dad won't listen to me. I'll be of age sooner or later, and Veradisia says..."

"Said," Maurice corrected. "She said. Before the bloody hell-shop killed her."

"It didn't kill her, she decided to let me live."

"Fine. Before it tried to kill both of you. Dad's selling our interest."

"Don, what do you think?" Wendell asked. "Maurice always listens to you."

Donzo looked momentarily stunned, then said, "I, er, think that's Burke family business."

"Which brings us back to the Dark Arts," Maurice said. "How would you get into a place with security like Hogwarts if you weren't invited in? At least without leaving any trace of it."

"Tunnels?" Donzo suggested. "They blast tunnels under there all the time. Maybe there's a sneak route in through the Muggle tunnels for the tube."

"I doubt the protections are careless enough for an accidental blast-through," Teddy said. "But maybe someone could have deliberately..." He wrinkled his nose. "No, that doesn't work at all. They'd have to be inside to dig the tunnel, or know where to dig it to."

"Tunnels?" someone said at the classroom door.

Teddy looked up.

Uncle Harry grinned. "Well, I told you I was expecting the seventh years to impress me."
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Comments
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 17th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
exciting cliff hanger.

I noticed a typo or something-
How do would you get into a place

I think you don't need the "do" but am not sure.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 17th, 2010 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Quite right, I'll get rid of that "do."
amamama From: amamama Date: June 17th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Eeh ha... What, what, what? Oh Harry, please do tell! *g* Excellent as always, I love the building up of tension. And what about a vanishing cabinet like the one Draco used to get DEs into Hogwarts?

Loved the portrait chat! Damn, but they are wonderful. I want a portrait like that of my Dad. *nods* I wouldn't get his bear hugs, but at least I could talk to him - or rather talk to a simili that would give me the same good feeling. And I'd like to be able to slip to wherever Teddy goes, somewhere between worlds, and meet up. *sigh* Gah, that's neither here nor there. Point is, I loved it (and it tugged at my heartstrings, which is always good).

I hope you won't leave us with this cliffie unresolved for too long. I've managed the others, but this hooked me more, for some reason. *g*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd imagine that magical items actually have been checked--unless someone brought a vanishing trunk to the station?

There's no real cliffie--just Harry showing up for his gig.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: June 17th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uncle Harry!!!!

It's enjoyable watching Teddy think.

I was born 9 weeks early, weighing 3#, which was 7 months after the wedding! The 40 weeks is counted from the start of the last period, which is generally 2 weeks before conception... I just realized I was conceived about on Christmas, a week following the wedding. Weird.

I think you're capturing the thinking process of young adults very well.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's ambiguous timing in the book--long enough for JKR to suggest that Teddy was conceived soon after the wedding, or to suggest that he might have been a proximate cause of it (though the wizarding world would have to know almost immediately for it to have been the actual precipitating event, which is why I went with the werewolf laws; and writing this, I realized that finding out just before Bill and Fleur's wedding would explain a whole lot, psychologically, about where they both were at Harry's birthday party).
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 17th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Somehow I'm not surprised that the portrait has a keener perception of Teddy's love life than Teddy does! A bit surprised that Wendell wants that share in the shop after what nearly happened to him. Maybe Maurice got all the common sense in that generation. And a Harry appearance! Is he here for his annual teaching stint? Glad that you returned to the Teddy-verse--there's so much to think about here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect that Wendell sees it as something his devoted cousin considered important and valuable enough to risk her life for.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 17th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
That needle through the belly only makes me think that I am right and it's someone who knew Goyle at Hogwarts- how else would they know about that? Or be somewhat triggered by it to actually put the needle there?

Hmm... I'm quite intrigued. I love playing detective, too!

And, hello, Harry!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
The crime-solving part is always fun.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 17th, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
My guess is someone targeting characteristics of the victims because of some spell.

It's probably just because I've been watching Fullmetal Alchemist (where characters lose bits and pieces of themselves [arms, legs, internal organs, etc] as punishment for trying to bring dead loved ones back to life) and because of the discussion of St. Mungo's, but I'm thinking of someone trying to magically get the pieces to restore a dead child (not pieces in a Frankenstein sort of way, more like magically taking some kind of "essence" of what you need. A hunt for the five senses, maybe? Sight from eyes, touch from hands, taste from general area of digestion?

I'm not expecting that to be correct, by the way. It's just sort of the idea of the moment.

Going with that, I have an idea on the way into the grounds, but it's a way-Ellen-would-write-a-story and not a way-Fern-would-write-a-story sort of logic, that different author flavor sort of thing (although someone who just about never finishes stories maybe shouldn't talk).

Anyhow, if we go with it being a sort of attempt to bring to life a child who was never born but who should have been, then let's say this child was one step closer to actualizing after the first murder. Then, this is a child who should/would have been part of Teddy's year. By coming closer to being real, this child is "allowed" in Hogwarts, creating a sort of magical weakening in the defenses the murderer could exploit.

But it sounds like tunnels are the way to go, so I still haven't got an idea what's going on (but am anxiously waiting to read more).

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Interesting...
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 17th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's so nice to get out of the Geoff storm cloud!! I just love reading about seventh year students. It's so cute that Tonks noted that Teddy doesn't have a girlfriend yet. The poor boy doesn't know what sorts of affairs of the heart that has yet to come.

It's too cute that Ruthless is dating Sam. Is there a back story of what sparked their relationship? ^_~ At the very least, who asked who?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ruthless and Sam just work together, and he asked her out, and it's really the first time she's had a chance to be in an adult relationship, so she took it (probably as much to prove to herself that she's Over Teddy as because she likes him, but good relationships don't need to start well).
From: maxzook Date: June 17th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
We'd just found out before Bill and Fleur's wedding on the first of August. I was so happy, and your father was so terrified!

I hope you realize my obsession with your typos and misspellings is motivated by envy of your writing skills!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops.
milaya36 From: milaya36 Date: June 17th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading and enjoying (but not commenting - sorry!), and I've just now caught up. I'm really enjoying the plot of this one, and I also like that Teddy seems to be taking a break in his love life! I think he needs some space between Ruthless and Victoire, so I'm glad that he and Victoire aren't really going to happen for another year or so.

But what I liked best about this chapter was the offhand mention of how Teddy's thinking about his Potions project. The mindset reminds me a lot about the thinking I'm doing now about my research: what do I have, what can I put it together with, what will happen? Keep up the class stuff, please, if it's not too much trouble! It's fantastic!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy has the sort of mind that would enjoy this, maybe a bit more than Harry would.
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: June 17th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
A little bit of nitpicking if I may. Grayfur's last name is actually "Nigellus". Other than that, great chapterlet and yay for a segment with Harry on it! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I know that. My typing fingers, apparently, do not.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 19th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I actually read that as right. Because his name was just Latin for Black, and I thought it was the proper ending. Of course, it never changes anywhere else, but I was half asleep when a read it. And I haven't taken Latin in years, so it may not be right.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: June 18th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
So Harry and the Aurors didn't manage to think of the tunnels first? Weird, considering how much use he made of them in 3rd year.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 18th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, they don't know of any that would be around platform 9 3/4, and the ones they used at Hogwarts are long gone (though I'm sure they've already thought of checking for new ones). He's just glad to see the seventh years thinking out of the box.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 19th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've been thinking Goyle maybe did know his killer, and that's how the killer got past security. He may still be on friendly terms with people from the death eater side, and on the other side, it could have been someone respected enough that Goyle would let him in. Though we know it wasn't either of them, Draco and Harry would be examples.

Loving the mystery part of this. - Karen
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