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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Fourteen: Thirteen-B Knockturn Alley, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Fourteen: Thirteen-B Knockturn Alley, part 3
Boy, when I hit a brick wall plotwise, I hit it. Oh, well. Let's see if we can climb over it.

Ruthless's ex, Sam Cresswell, was the murderer, as was confirmed by Rita Skeeter, who only escaped him by turning into a beetle when he killed Mr. Borgin and Maurice's parents, leaving them on display in the front window of Borgin and Burke's. He escapes cleanly, and has time to go to Ruthless's to leave her a nasty note, but when Teddy and Williams investigate, they find her cat, Ogden, covered with Mallowsweet dust, which he's been using to create false memories, which then provided him with an unimpeachable alibi. Teddy tells her this, largely to get her more angry than depressed, and leaves her in a slightly better state. He then goes home, where Maurice and Wendell are staying with Andromeda. Maurice is waiting for him, and says that, as Sam hasn't been caught, he wants Teddy to go back to the shop with him the next morning.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far



Maurice wouldn't say what he was planning to do at the store, and Teddy couldn't even imagine wanting to go back to that particular crime scene. The Aurors would have taken the bodies down by now, but he imagined that, in Maurice's head, the bodies would be there for a very long time. Maurice just continued to insist that they go in the morning, and Teddy agreed largely because Maurice was in a troublingly calm mood, given what had happened. They walked back to the house together, not talking.

Inside, Wendell wasn't calm. Wendell was on the couch weeping, while Granny patted his back and said soothing things. She looked up when Maurice and Teddy came into the parlor. "Teddy?"

Teddy shook his head, guessing that she wanted to know about Sam's whereabouts. She nodded.

Maurice took a few slow steps into the room, and in this light, Teddy could see how drawn and tired he looked, the latent wildness behind his eyes. He sat down in Granddad's reclining chair and said, "Now what do we do?"

"You get some sleep," Granny said. "Sleep is the best thing right now. You can have Teddy's room, and Wendell can have the nursery, unless you want to share? Would you rather not be separated?"

"I want Maurice," Wendell said.

"Then we'll share," Maurice said.

"All right," Granny told him. "I'll Conjure beds for tonight, and borrow a pair of them from Harry tomorrow. I know there are a few in the attic at Grimmauld Place. Will the nursery be all right? It's a child's room, but I always found it comforting. Teddy's dad put a lot of kind things on the walls."

It was apparently all right, as neither of the Burkes objected.

"Teddy and I are going to the shop tomorrow," Maurice said calmly, to Teddy's surprise.

"Are you going to burn it down, like you always said?" Wendell asked.

"No."

"Why not?" Granny asked. "I mean, once the Aurors are done with it."

Maurice set his jaw. "That psychopath wants the shop erased. I will therefore open it as soon as the Aurors have finished investigating. I will not give him what he wants."

"But you hate the shop," Wendell said.

"You don't. And the last thing Dad did was make sure you'd have it someday. So you will."

Wendell blinked slowly, and Teddy expected him to erupt in a rage at the thought that he'd still want the place where his parents had died, but instead, he said, "Maurice, I promise, I'll take over as soon as I come of age."

"You'll take over when you finish school," Maurice corrected him.

"What about you?" Teddy asked.

"I'm only taking three N.E.W.T.s," Maurice said. "I can live without them. I'll stay in London."

"You'll stay here," Granny said.

Maurice didn't argue.

Teddy didn't know what to say, how to make anything better. The four of them sat in silence for twenty minutes, then Wendell started to drift off, and Maurice took him upstairs to the nursery. Granny followed to Conjure their beds, and Teddy stood at the back window, looking out at the pond. A duck--which had no sense of either season or time, since Granny fed him and kept the pond warm--was having a late night swim in the moonlight, untroubled by the human world.

"They're settled," Granny said, coming back into the room. She came up and stood beside him, and Teddy could see their pale reflections in the glass. "I gave them a Dreamless Sleep potion. They need rest."

Teddy nodded. "Granny?"

"What?"

"How did you do it? I was only a baby when everyone... How did you lose them all and...?"

"You know better than anyone that I didn't do an exemplary job of adjusting."

"But you did."

"I had my job. I had Harry with me. And I had you. I held on for dear life. I knew you needed me. I suspected Harry did. So I didn't have any choice but to keep going."

"How long did it take for you to feel normal again?"

Granny smiled faintly. "I'll let you know."

"But..."

"There's a new normal," she said. "But the old normal... it's gone. My normal was being Ted's wife, and Dora's mother, and Remus's friend and frequently exasperated mother-in-law. I'd only been a grandmother for two weeks; it wasn't part of who I was yet. I didn't know who I was."

"But you've always had such a strong personality."

"You think that's all there is to it?" She shook her head. "Teddy, all of those connections, all of those definitions--they're all bits and pieces of you. And when they're cut off, it's terrifying. Maurice hates the shop, but it's his. It's something he understands. It's his family name, his place, somewhere to put down an anchor, and somewhere to anchor his brother."

"But what happened there..."

"Your grandfather and I were tortured in the room we're standing in right now, Teddy. I incinerated anything that had blood on it, but it's the same place. And I seem to recall that you wanted the Shrieking Shack desperately until you blew it up."

Teddy frowned out at the darkness. "I feel like I should have something smart and important to say to him. But I don't."

"That's because there isn't anything to be said. He needs sleep tonight, and then he needs time. It's the only thing for it. They'll need to find their new normal."

Teddy nodded, and started for his room.

"Teddy?

He turned. "What?"

"Just... make sure he doesn't do anything foolish tomorrow."

"Trust me, I'm going to be keeping that firmly in mind. I know something about foolish things."

He went upstairs and changed. He was tired to his bones, but sleep was slow in coming. He lay awake for over an hour, staring at the ceiling, absently scratching Checkmate behind the ears. He could feel Death hovering in the house--a hated but familiar presence to him--and he wasn't surprised, when he finally drifted off to sleep, to find himself on the island he'd long ago imagined for his parents. It was night, and a cold, drenching rain was falling. He was sitting on the steps of the Shrieking Shack. The door opened behind him, and Dad came out.

"Did Maurice's parents make it through all right?" Teddy asked.

Dad smiled and sat down beside him. The rain was pouring over both of them. "It's not a travelers' inn, Teddy, and there's no sign-in book."

"You don't know."

"I don't know."

"What can I do?" Teddy turned and looked at him. "Dad, what is there? What can I do?"

Dad was quiet for a long time, then said, "There's something I gave you that could help."

"The ring?"

"I can't see where that would help Maurice," Dad said.

"The Map wouldn't, either. The gold?"

Dad smiled. "Teddy, not everything I gave you is a thing."

Teddy lost the thread of the dream, and woke up in the thin light of the early morning. He dressed and went downstairs. In the parlor, over the sofa, was the picture of Dad that Dean Thomas had done years before the portrait. In it, Dad was in his classroom at Hogwarts. Teddy was still staring at it when Maurice came down.

"Can you still come to the shop?" Maurice asked without preliminaries.

"Yes." Teddy turned away from the picture. "And I'm going to arrange with Sprout to come and tutor you through your N.E.W.T.s this spring."

"I don't care."

"You will."

Maurice considered it. "So I'll be running the damned shop and you'll be Professor Lupin, after all."

"When I teach, I feel like he's teaching over my shoulder."

Maurice blinked several times rapidly, then said, in a choked voice, "I'll remember that when I'm trying to keep the books in order. Thanks."

They left the house together, walking in the morning mists toward the Apparition point. Maurice said he couldn't eat; Teddy Summoned some breakfast anyway and made him try.

They Disapparated together and got to Knockturn Alley just as an old witch who sold entrails for fortune-telling was setting up her booth. She took a look at Maurice and covered her wares.

"Sorry, so sorry," she muttered.

"Thanks, Egeria," Maurice said, not looking up as they passed. "Go on. Set up."

As they went on, Teddy heard the witch go back to the business of opening.

When they got to Thirteen-B, Knockturn Alley, the bodies had been taken down, but the Aurors had marked the area off completely. Anthony Goldstein was keeping a sleepy watch. "Teddy?" he asked, looking up, then stood up straight. "Mr. Burke. You shouldn't--"

"I'm going upstairs," Maurice said.

"We haven't finished--"

"You can come with us if you're worried that I'm going to muck up investigating my parents' death."

"Er..."

Maurice sighed. "No, I suppose you have to, or I will cock it up at trial. He'll say I planted something."

Goldstein, somewhat embarrassed, took something silver from his waistband. "True-image mirror," he said. "I have to make sure that you're both who you say you are."

He held the mirror up, first to Maurice (who appeared smaller and more sunken than usual, but was clearly himself) and then to Teddy (who appeared with his curls and was otherwise no different). Then he unlocked to door to Borgin and Burke's, and let them inside.

Maurice's eyes darted quickly up to the place where his parents' bodies had been, then looked determinedly away and headed for the stairs that led to the workroom where Teddy had found Wendell yesterday. Teddy and Goldstein followed in his wake. He went straight for the repair table and began searching through piles of spell books.

"What are we looking for?" Teddy asked tentatively, going to a spot beside him.

"Recipes," Maurice said dryly.

"Maurice?"

From the bottom of the pile, Maurice drew out a tattered magazine, which was the last thing Teddy had expected. It was called Wandwork. The text advertising photo spreads inside suggested that it wasn't a Charms primer.

"What the--?"

"Borgin's," Maurice said. "He reckoned most people wouldn't want to be accused of stealing this sort of thing."

"And we're here for that?"

Maurice flipped the pages absently--Teddy didn't look--then finally stopped. Maurice jabbed his wand at it, then the magazine darkened, became heavier. The pictures bled into words, and the cover turned to rusty leather.

Bloodstained leather. Engraved on it were the words, The Oldest Magic: A Guide To the Forgotten Arts.

Teddy looked up. "Maurice..."

Maurice looked at Anthony Goldstein. "You'll have to arrest me after this, but find someone to look after the shop. I promised my brother. But let's find the bastard first."

He slammed the book down on the table, open to a page labeled, "Discerecaedes: To Find the Blood of the Slaughtered."

Teddy looked at the page, his horror growing as he saw the detailed pictures.

He barely noticed it when Maurice Summoned a knife.
33 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh no, Maurice!!

This was a beautiful chapter Fern. Thanks again for making my overnight shifts worthwhile.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be of service.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't normally comment on chapterlets, but Oh, Maurice...

You really do know how to bring in the emotions, Fern. (And I really hope you aren't writing from experience of major loss.)

(While I'm at it, I think the following sentence needs Wendell in the subject position, not Maurice: Maurice blinked slowly, and Teddy expected him to erupt in a rage at the thought that he'd still want the place where his parents had died, but instead, he said, "Maurice, I promise, I'll take over as soon as I come of age.")

Alex
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)
No, no major losses in my life. Just a very morbid turn of mind.

And oops, on the Wendell/Maurice goof!
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: August 3rd, 2010 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never understood how characters in the HP world talk so casually about quitting school. I hope Maurice sits for his N.E.W.T.s.

You know, Maurice could have probably taken that book out of the shop and avoided getting arrested. I'm not sure he's thinking straight right now.
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: August 4th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been thinking today about what makes Dark Magic, dark? If the knife if for Maurice's own blood, and he gives it willingly, is it really Dark Magic?
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 3rd, 2010 12:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
It'll never cease to amaze me how you can make me cry and gasp like this in a single chapterlet.

And for once, dark arts are useful. Let's hope Maurice isn't sent to Azkaban for it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Useful, but not worth the trade-off. (ETA, in fact, I think that's the general truth of the Dark Arts--they're all highly useful. But what do you lose in using them?)

Edited at 2010-08-08 06:29 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oddly, I just want to ask how it was that someone got past the defenses Andromeda and Ted had on the house to torture them (although it makes sense as a reason for Ted to become one of the refugees in the wood [I think a lot of book seven was probably rooted in more difficult periods of Rowling's life - the death of her mother and her first marriage - and have tried to mentally shove it into the same category as Mary Shelley's second book [was it Last Man on Earth? I can never remember (possibly because Last Man on Earth gets used so frequently as a description for a whole sub-genre)] where the plot is about everyone dying except the main character. Mary Shelley had lost just about everyone close to her when she wrote it]).

I'm also wanting to put out a legal defense for Maurice. Since wizarding law has gotten more in line with Muggle law, I'm guessing that possession of texts is no longer, in and of itself, a crime and that the books are not subject to casual confiscation (although I could be wrong on the confiscation - there's a much shorter line between having access to information about Dark Arts and being able to perform said arts in the wizarding world than there is between having information and being able to put it into practical use in the Muggle world, a little as if having the schematics for a gun were the same [literally] as owning a gun).

Also, Maurice is technically in the position of having just inherited the book. He's not responsible for the previous owner.

In fact, technically, his first act upon coming into ownership of the book was to show it to an Auror - note that, regardless of how he phrased it, he approached the Auror in question and brought up the issue of him coming with them. "Er . . . ." is not exactly a phrase with legal weight. Ergo, truthful testimony could be given that Maurice requested/ordered the Auror to come with them, located the book, removed the spell, and immediately showed it to the officer of the law he had brought with him.

Side point: While Maurice knew the general location where the book would be kept and could recognize it, he did not know the exact location and had to search for it. I'm not sure what criminal knowledge would be in such a case (if possession of a book _can_ be criminal, then who knows?), but Maurice's lack of exact knowledge could be a major defense point if the first argument (which seems strong enough) failed.

So, all you've really got is that Maurice knew what everyone else knew - there was some shadey stuff belonging to at least one of the co-owners of the store.

Or so a good lawyer should be able to argue.

Of course, he then used a spell from the book. However, if it's just a question of using this particular spell, I'm guessing it just involves Maurice's blood and some generally unpleasant feelings when the spell is cast. So, this particular spell might be legally gray, but the actual casting of it wouldn't be a crime.

Er, I'm not a lawyer but I admit to a few in the family tree. I also like shows like Perry Mason. I figure that's good enough for most fictional purposes.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I have no idea how the defenses were breached in the Tonks home, except that the DEs were very strong and now had the Ministry. Maybe some of the protections at the time were from the Ministry.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: August 3rd, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear, what is Maurice up to? He seems to have leapt to a really big decision right after a traumatic event -- I'm glad that Teddy will see that he has other options other than being stuck with the shop for the rest of his life.


I misted up while reading this -- Teddy and Andromeda are all too familiar with death.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think Maurice plans on being stuck there forever--Wendell's going to take over when he finishes school--but the he's sacrificing half of his second year and several years after it to keep the place in the family.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
sep12 here being too lazy to log in

Poor Maurice. But I do have to say that I appreciate that he is doing the spell in front of an auror. If he were to steal the book and go hide someplace to do it, it would be almost like he was holding himself above the law, I guess. This way, he might be breaking the law, but he isn't trying to be the law, like Sam, if that makes sense.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)
It makes sense. :D

Maurice isn't thinking entirely straight, but he's at least respectful of the laws against what he's thinking of.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

about the death anecdotes/theme presented in this chaplet...;.

first, the burke brothers are in a rough position right now.... but i hope Teddy is able to stop Maurice before he does something really stupid

and that it doesn't get him arrested, Why would he do that? they need to focus on capturing sam cresswell not create more of a mess....

poor Andromeda just when things seem relative normal for her this happens that drags her past demons front and center.

one thing picked my attention through... the mention that Ted and andromeda were tortured in that room.

there is something I wondered about that in deathly hallows.

if i remember correctly, ted and andromeda were tortured some time after they gave harry and the order safety.

either before or after Ted is on the run with griphook?a goblin? and someone else....

and a few weeks later/month later they find Ted was killed by death eaters, correct?

so it got me wondering, was he killed when he was with andromeda or alone?
what's your take on it?

also that little exchange between Teddy and Lupin seemed confusing.

if Teddy is Dreaming of lupin, not actually having a vision or anything...
why would lupin in his dream know if the burkes passed on well or not?


and that cliffhanger was good! it's going to leave me hanging on the edge of my seat till the next chaptet!

~A

From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: about the death anecdotes/theme presented in this chaplet...;.

Remus mentions Ted and Andromeda being tortured shortly after the murder of Rufus, I think. He talks about how the DE's were able to break the security spells when they weren't able to before, because they had the might of the ministry on their side. Then, after Ted goes on the run, I think he's murdered shortly before Harry & co. are taken to the Malfoy's - it's mentioned that Dean and Griphook were the only escapees from that ambush. Just reread the book, lol =)

Beautiful post, Fern! Poor Wendell, and poor Maurice - I think he ages about 10 years in this chapter. Taking over the store for his brother and to avoid giving in to Sam is a courageous move. Can't wait for more!
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 3rd, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I got pretty choked up reading this, because "the new normal" is exactly the phrase we have used to talk about life since my husband's dad died unexpectedly. Any loss is heartbreaking, but there is something about the "here today, gone tomorrow" kind that is awfully hard to move on from.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm sorry about your father-in-law! (And that it's the title of the next chapter, but it was going to be anyway, and it makes sense and...)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect digging into the Dark Arts is precisely the sort of stupid thing Andromeda was warning Teddy to keep Maurice from doing. (Though she's hardly one to talk.) Of course Goldstein might put a stop to it too, or else conveniently look away?

Maurice featured in a dream I had the other night. Maybe I'm a bit too engrossed in this story!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect digging into the Dark Arts is precisely the sort of stupid thing Andromeda was warning Teddy to keep Maurice from doing.

Oh, yeah. In a nutshell, that's exactly what she had in mind. She understands Maurice, in some ways, better than she understands Teddy.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: August 3rd, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man. I really hope that Maurice doesn't end up doing something stupid!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Hope springs eternal, but...
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 3rd, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Finally caught up with this story - reading half a dozen installments while I should be doing all sorts of other things - and all I can think now is, "Nooooo- I don't wanna go on holiday!" Mind you, I've been looking forwards to this holiday for months!
But leaving this story will just be torture!

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
At the slow pace this is coming, you probably won't miss much!

Hope it was good holiday.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 4th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) (Link)
What a cliffhanger... You really have a way with good characterization. I only discovered your Teddy-verse recently, and it's really blown me away. I'm glad you post new chapterlets frequently, as otherwise the suspense might drive me crazy. =P

One little thing: Maurice blinked slowly, and Teddy expected him to erupt in a rage at the thought that he'd still want the place where his parents had died, but instead, he said, "Maurice, I promise, I'll take over as soon as I come of age."

I think the first Maurice is meant to be Wendell?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
It sure is. I'll fix that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 5th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

something you mentioned before....

"Smashing inanimate objects is always good, though I recently learned that doing so is considered a potential sign of future violence."

are you serious?
i mean can see how smashing something infront of someone like a wife or child could be seen as potential violent...but....
if one is in the situation ruthless has reached, and is emotionally drained and angry and depressed...
wouldn't smashing a couple of plate, alone, by a good stress release?

i mean i heard this one a reason some people take kickboxing or buy punching bags... to let off steam

A
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: something you mentioned before....

are you serious?

Yup. There was some workplace violence in my city recently, and they sent out a list of warning signs, one of which was breaking inanimate objects.
From: amethystbeloved Date: August 7th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
WOW! Between Andromeda and Maurice, this is one powerful section. The "new normal" is so heartbreaking, but she really didn't have any other choice but to be strong for those around her.

I'm really anxious to read what's coming up next!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
It's probably good that she didn't have a choice. The choice would be to wallow in broken-heartedness, and that's not good for anyone.
33 comments or Leave a comment