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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Thirteen: Christmas With Clan Scrimgeour, part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Thirteen: Christmas With Clan Scrimgeour, part 1
I have a feeling this is going to be a long Christmas break.

Anyway, Teddy is home. The Trio got him involved in reading suspicious letters to the Prophet that Hermione has had Dennis Creevey "borrow" for them, and he's found one that he considers suspicious. Despite the pleasant distraction of going with James to see the illustrations for their new book, his mind keeps going back to it--to why this one letter, which actually sounds sort of rational in tone (compared to the others) keeps sticking out for him. Finally, he goes to France to talk to Alderman, who points out (and it's not entirely news to Teddy) that the letter says things Teddy himself has said, and "that's why you're really here, isn't it?"

Table of Contents and Summary So Far






"What?" Teddy asked. "No, I just wondered--"

Alderman rolled his eyes. "Really, Teddy, lying to a priest in a churchyard..."

Teddy sighed. "Fine. All right, yes, last night, when we were talking, I was reading it out loud, and it sounded like something I said when I was angry at Uncle Harry." He winced. "Twice, really. When we were quarreling last year, I said only he and Voldemort had to die that night, and he hadn't done anything, and... that sort of thing. And when we were fixing the Shrieking Shack, I told him he cared more about Snape than my parents."

"Yes, I can see you're well on your way to Azkaban."

"Malfoy thinks I'm a good candidate to recruit as a Dark wizard."

"Interesting choice of mentor."

Teddy frowned. "You think I'm making it up."

"Not at all."

"It's really not why I came, though. It's just something that went through my head. And I thought he was just warming up, and said that he killed someone once and got to like it--"

"And visions of Greyback danced through your head."

"Just for a second."

"You have to let that go," Alderman said. "I'm not talking as your priest. As your priest, as far as I'm concerned you've confessed, done penance and been absolved. I'm saying it as one of Greyback's victims, and one of his pack. There was no way you were both going to walk out of the Shrieking Shack that night."

"He said he was going to kidnap me and turn me at the full moon, so I'd have had a whole week to think of something else."

"All right, he might have died a week later, if your godfather hadn't killed him for trying to take you. The pack would have taken him down somehow."

"The pack?"

"Yes, Teddy. Do you think your name has to be Lupin, Potter, or Black to have melodramatic revenge fantasies?"

"No, of course not."

Alderman held out his hand, and Teddy put the letter back into it. After scanning it again, Alderman said, "This man doesn't sound nearly as mad as you did."

"What?"

"You were a fifteen year old throwing an adolescent tantrum because the person you admire most in the world didn't do things the way you wanted him to."

"Thanks a lot."

"It's not an insult, it's a fact. You were angry. You screamed and kicked and said any hurtful thing you could think of." He looked at the letter. "But this one--he's been thinking about it. Turning it over in his head. Once you calmed down, you realized that no one, including Harry, is ever going to be perfect. You know that you didn't react perfectly under pressure. You understood--once you'd calmed down--that things get out of control sometimes, and perfect hindsight doesn't change anything. This man--or woman, I suppose--has calmly decided that Harry should have controlled things, that the Death Eaters and collaborators should have been killed or dispossessed, that the entire ministry"--Alderman squinted at the letter--"whored itself out under Scrimgeour. Is your friend Ruth watching her back?"

"Yes. And she has a new boyfriend watching it, too."

"Hmm." Alderman read the letter again. "He's taken the power away from Harry, or thinks he has. It's not much different from cutting off Goyle's hands, except that Harry's still alive at the end of it, and apparently sneaking around again. He seems to want to purify things as well. Purifying is always a nasty business." He gave the letter back.

Teddy Vanished it. "I suppose that's all. Sorry. I should have called."

"I never mind a visit."

"Maybe I should confess that I really hate Ruthless's boyfriend, as long as I'm here."

Alderman didn't laugh. "You can if you want to."

"I think I just did. I don't even know him and I hate him, and I hate that she's his middle-of-the-night alibi."

"'He that is without sin among you..."

"Yes, I know. I'm not casting stones."

"Really?"

Teddy nodded. "Really. I'm making a real effort not to throw stones. It's her life, her choice. I just feel lousy about it. Can I have some penance on that?"

"Well, it's not a ritual-perfect Confession, but I think I could give you something. If you'd like to do something more formal..."

"No, not yet."

Alderman nodded and gave him some prayers to say. Teddy went into the church, said them, and didn't feel that much better after it, though at least he felt he'd been honest. He said goodbye to Alderman and went back to England.

Over the next few days, Teddy read more letters Dennis Creevey salvaged, looked over more profiles that Hermione had been compiling, and even went into the Department of Mysteries to use the Mind Tank to see if anything coalesced. Nothing did, but he did have a nice lunch with Maddie and Mr. Croaker, and finished his Christmas shopping.

James woke him on Friday, Christmas morning, by dropping a pile of packages on his feet.

Teddy rubbed his eyes. "Am I meant to be up for something? Some little..."

"Shut up. Presents." James handed him a flat package. "Here."

Curiously, Teddy opened it. It was a framed photograph of the pair of them on the day they'd got Checkmate and Martian. Teddy had been eleven and about to head off for Hogwarts, and James had been four. He'd been spinning a tale of seamonsters on Mars, and when he'd got a kitten, it had immediately become Martian Seamonster Potter, though Teddy was, as far as he knew, the only one who'd been following his babbling enough that day to make sense of it. In the picture, they had their kittens held up to the camera, and Teddy was turning his hair colors to amuse James, while James was looking up with a great and admiring smile. On the frame were pictures of the cats from the illustrations in Martian's Mistake.

Teddy grinned. "This is great."

"I asked Uncle Charlie for it when we visited. Bought the frame, got Frankie to Charm the pictures onto it. I reckoned it was the first cat story, that day."

"It's going on my wall. Beside the drawing you did for me that year."

"Can't it go up instead?"

"Not a chance. I love that drawing."

James shook his head in a disgusted way and said, "I'm never giving you anything ever again."

They opened most of the rest of their presents together. Downstairs, Uncle Harry gave him a pocket watch. "It really should have been for your birthday," he said. "But I couldn't find a family one to pass down, so I had to order a new one." He opened it, showing several things that didn't appear to have anything to do with timekeeping. "This one's like Dumbledore's," he said. "But it's yours." He turned it over, and the back was indeed inscribed "For T.R. Lupin, with love from Uncle Harry."

The whole Potter and Weasley clan descended before noon, and there was no time for any kind of sentimental response. George and Angelina Weasley, along with Lee and Verity Jordan, had given Teddy gag gifts for his birthday--a cane, three pairs of reading glasses, and a potion to cover white hair--and now added a mirror that showed Teddy with a long white beard and wrinkles. Teddy promptly morphed to match it, causing the smallest children to think that Father Christmas had come by. He played along with this, handing out presents and asking them if they'd been good. Bill's family arrived a few minutes later, and Victoire and Marie immediately declared themselves honorary elves, much to Kreacher's annoyance.

Christmas dinner was a boisterous occasion (as usual) in the magically Expanded kitchen, and all the house portraits (except for Mad Auntie, who was permanently attached to her spot on the wall) were brought down to join in the conversation. Teddy wished he'd thought to bring his, as Mum couldn't come to the Grimmauld Place portrait, but Dad assured him that she was having a marvelous time at Hogwarts, having a Christmas adventure with Sir Cadogan and the Fat Lady. Teddy waited for Phineas Nigellus to start grousing about being unable to eat at a family dinner, then unveiled a painting of a banquet that he'd found in Diagon Alley. The portraits, in their mismatched clothing from any number of eras, immediately crowded into it.

After supper, the Weasley brothers evicted everyone else and started the clean-up, as was their custom. Teddy walked upstairs with Victoire, who was wearing a kind of shimmery blue robe that made her eyes glow. She'd had a glass of wine with her meal, and her face was flushed. Teddy looked around as unobtrusively as he could for some mistletoe, but the only sprig he saw was currently following Molly Weasley around, and it would probably be a bit obvious to Summon it.

Victoire sat down on the stairs; Teddy sat beside her, and Summoned her present from upstairs. He handed it to her.

"And I thought you'd forgotten."

"Well, almost," he said. "There are so many Weasleys, how am I meant to remember you?"

She stuck out her tongue, then carefully opened the present, saving the paper. Her face fell. "A set of kitchen knives?" she asked, looking at the box.

"Well, I know how handy you are with them."

"Teddy!"

"Open it."

She opened the box, and her face changed as she drew out the blue silk scarf inside. "It's beautiful," she said.

"So are you," he said.

She leaned forward, and he put his hand on her face.

There was a bright flash of light, and a fox Patronus fell onto the stairs in front of them. It opened its mouth, and Ruthless's voice came out, "Teddy, would you mind coming up here a bit earlier than we'd talked about? If I don't have someone running interference with my brothers, I think I'll commit fratricide!"
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Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: July 20th, 2010 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Aaargh, poor Victoire!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... she's not going to be happy.
spellcoats From: spellcoats Date: July 20th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhhh, almost, almost! You were so close, Teddy!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
He's got quite a while. ;p
kanga_tigger From: kanga_tigger Date: July 20th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I do love family interaction scenes.

This is a bit of a stupid questions but is there a fic after Shifts and Shades which goes through the Deathly Hallows?

Loved the chapter, I hope theres more Uncle Harry and James stuff in the next chapter if it's going to be a long Xmas.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Safe was going to be the DH fic, but it's never going to happen. I'm trying to get anything that happened that year mentioned in the Teddy fics.
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: July 20th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved that Teddy was thinking of Summoning the mistletoe. LOL
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Nothing wrong with Teddy's libido...
willowbough From: willowbough Date: July 20th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad Alderman was able to help Teddy put his adolescent rage into perspective, and offer some insights about the probable killer too. Your Christmas sequences are always entertaining--and oh, dear, Ruthless's sense of timing ...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
It's fun when everyone's together, though I feel at loose ends with this one, as I haven't checked in with Donzo, Maurice, and everyone else.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: July 20th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
She must be bursting with Veela rage right now.

I know I would.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yeah. She's about to go feathered and screeching.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 20th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Great, the girlfriend who has made it quite clear she is not the girlfriend and won't be the girlfriend and is now someone else's girlfriend still manages to interrupt. That's got to sting.

On the bright side, I think what's coming is going to help Teddy move on about Ruthless better than his chat with Alderman (Alderman was very good on the Greyback and mad killer stuff but a bit weak on the ex-girlfriend trouble [though I think he recognized that some things have to go their course]). I think Teddy's not so upset about Ruthless having a new boyfriend as he is upset that he feels cut out of her new life. Once they get the thing down of being best friends without trying to make that girlfriend/boyfriend, I think he'll be a lot more comfortable with her having a serious boyfriend who isn't him.

Ellen

From: (Anonymous) Date: July 21st, 2010 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
And Alderman's a great priest, though a bit shy on the ex-girlfriend advice. I think Teddy's less upset about the moral implications of what Ruthless was or wasn't doing as he is about her being emotionally attached enough to another guy that this could happen.

The again, Alderman may realize that some things have to go their course. Also, since I think he knows Teddy a lot better than he knows Ruth (and since he hasn't had the glimpses of Teddy's future your regular readers have had), he can't tell Teddy that Ruthless is still his best friend and probably always will be or that their relationship is going to go through a certain stage of adjustment but will come out more or less intact.

Ellen
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: July 20th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alderman has become so wise and yet is still quite human and connected to his own past. He did a great job of discussing Teddy's reactions, especially to those letters. Love the Christmas dinner and the fact that Teddy bought a painting of a feast so the portraits could join in! Poor Teddy, though. So close and yet...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy really likes making people (whether of flesh or paint) happy.
a_blue_jay From: a_blue_jay Date: July 20th, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hello! I've been a lurker for a long (very, very long) time, and I finally decided to be a good person and comment.
I really like the way you write, especially... well, there are a bunch of things... For one thing, you're really good at maturing characters as they grow up. They are still the same characters, but they are ... age-appropriate.

I'm having trouble articulating today. Sigh.

Anyway, today's piece:
The conversation with Alderman was interesting. I love how Alderman knows exactly what Teddy is thinking. I do have a nitpick though: when Alderman tells Teddy he was more mad than the letter writer, for a moment I read 'mad' as 'crazy' and not 'angry'. You know, because the letter writer is, in all likelihood, nuts.

And the part with Victoire... oh Teddy. I suppose if I were him I wouldn't remind Victoire about the kitchen knives, seeing as it's not the most pleasant memory of all time. But apart from that, he was doing so well... and then Ruthless happened. This actually reminds me a bit of Harry and Cho's date - he's with the girl he likes, but he's going to go meet with another girl later, and ... well, hopefully Victoire won't fly off her handle like Cho did, but any girl would be somewhat annoyed, I think.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, that was exactly how I meant "mad." Alderman is saying that Teddy sounded totally irrational and wild, while the murder is clearly believing this bizarre nonsense while in a rational and calm state of mind.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: July 20th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh Ruthless...you really have some bad timing there. You'd think she'd call her boytoy to help instead of Teddy. =/

Just kidding! But really bad timing either way!

I love it when you write Alderman or any of the cubs. Alderman is just so wise yet human and I almost feel like I'm getting a little peek at Remus' character or how he would have been if JKR hadn't made him so reticent.

Great insights to the murderer, I can't wait to see where you take it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 20th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

come on now....

i'm sure prof. Lupin was wise in his own personal way, not resembling alderman, as well they should be their own unique individuals anyway!

plus, i don't know.... i thought alderman was rubbish at teaching stuff in a a classroom,

wasn't that why lupin was the one teaching the cubs?

~A
miakamouse From: miakamouse Date: July 21st, 2010 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
"You were a fifteen year old throwing an adolescent tantrum because the person you admire most in the world didn't do things the way you wanted him to."

I think you just summarized Harry in Book 5. Great chapterlet! looking forward to more Teddy/Victoire moments
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's just a fifth year thing...
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 21st, 2010 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)

interesting....

the story is progressing nicely.

an father alderman is turning out to be quite an insightful character.

keep it up!

~Alex
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: interesting....

Thanks! Alderman is one of those characters that JKR referred to Hermione and Dumbledore as--if they say it, there's a good chance it's true.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 21st, 2010 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)

something im curious about.....

hi again,

a looooooooooong time ago you used to mention who would you cast as the characters; i think you even made a blend of different actresses to come up with the tonks in your head?

im curious to know if you have anyone in mind for teddy and victoire? and maybe the potter kids?

~Abby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2010 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: something im curious about.....

I don't remember doing that at all! (Not saying that I didn't, but I have no memory whatsoever of it.)

I don't have anyone in mind. I kind of like the boy they have in the epilogue shots from the movie as Teddy, who looks more like my mental Remus than David Thewlis ever did. As for Victoire? I can see her perfectly clearly, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone who looks quite like her.
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