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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seventeen: Love and Hate, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seventeen: Love and Hate, pt. 2
Teddy's never been as glad for an emergency as he was when Donzo's Patronus interrupted a horrible date with Victoire at Madam Puddifoot's... unfortunately, the emergency was a full-out street brawl in front of Weasleys' Zonks, caused because Neil Overby, who's been looking after Wendell, heard one of their dormitory mates bragging about an opinion piece his mother wrote called, "Sew What?: Why the Needle's Eye Will Change Us All (For the Better!) In The End."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




There was no time to read the article. Teddy had barely scanned the byline when Donzo yelled, "Someone send for Madam Pomfrey!"

Teddy looked up, then dropped the magazine, binding Neil with a Leg-locker hex without thinking about it.

H.J. had stopped struggling against Donzo--in fact, with a final lunge, he'd spat out a bubble of blood, and then gone limp. He was hanging from Donzo's hands like a heavy robe.

Teddy sent the Patronus to Madam Pomfrey. Luckily, she was in the village, and able to Apparate over. There was confusion and fear while she checked H.J., did some emergency Healing spells, and bound him for a trip straight back to the hospital wing. "And I'm not ruling out St. Mungo's," she said, glaring at Neil. "Teddy, get him to the Headmistress. Now."

Teddy took Neil back to the gate by Side-Along, then released the Leg-locker and went onto the grounds. He pulled Neil along behind him.

"Slow down!" Neil said.

Teddy turned. "What were you thinking?"

"Didn't you see it?"

"There were blood bubbles coming out of your dormitory-mate's mouth, Neil."

Neil glared, and started walking again. Teddy steered him up to the gryphon that guarded the Headmistress's office. She was apparently waiting, because it stepped aside. Teddy pulled Neil up onto the revolving stairs.

Professor Sprout was bent in front of the fireplace, and she stood as Teddy and Neil came in. "Sit down," she said as she turned. She saw Teddy and frowned. "Your own House didn't need its prefects for that? I'm told that the fight involved a good number of Gryffindors."

"I was near Neil, and Madam Pomfrey sent us," Teddy said.

"Very well. Sit, Mr. Overby. Mr. Lupin, you may go--"

"Couldn't he stay?" Neil asked. To Teddy's surprise, he looked rather desperate. "He saw what was happening."

Professor Sprout frowned, but didn't order Teddy out. She continued speaking to Neil. "I've sent for your parents, Mr. Overby."

"No!"

"Yes."

Neil sat back, blinking. "Am I being expelled?"

"It's being considered."

The flames in the fireplace went green, and Nate and Evelyn Blondin--Neil's adoptive parents--spun through. Evvie bit her lip and looked at the fireplace again. The flames came up, and Père Alderman appeared.

"Mrs. Blondin," Professor Sprout said, "I invited you and your husband."

Alderman held out his hand. "Nate and Evvy invited me," he said. "I'm..."

"Alpha," Nate said plainly. "What's the situation?"

Professor Sprout explained what had happened, asking Teddy and Neil for clarification when it was needed. Evvy's face grew whiter, and Nate pressed his lips together so tightly that they nearly disappeared. Alderman simply stayed in the back and listened.

"Will the other boy be all right?" Evvy asked when the story had been told.

Professor Sprout nodded. "Madam Pomfrey was able to Heal his injuries, though we've sent him to St. Mungo's for observation. I'm sure you realize that this is not a minor matter, no matter how well or badly Mr. Traynor comes out of it. There has been more than enough violence at Hogwarts."

"Doesn't anyone care why?" Neil asked.

"I care," the Headmistress said. She twirled her wand, and the magazine appeared. "Mr. Overby, I suspect that this sort of thing is particularly hurtful to you, given what happened to you. I'm inclined to take that into consideration, but only if I know that you understand why you're here today. Do you understand?"

"Because I hit H.J."

Sprout looked frustrated.

Evvy leaned forward. "Headmistress, may I?"

"I should hope so, Mrs. Blondin."

Evvy turned her chair so that she was facing Neil. "Neil, do you know why what you did was wrong?"

Neil didn't answer.

Alderman leaned forward. "Neil, your mother asked you a question. Answer it."

"I don't know," Neil said.

Nate stood up and went to the window, then turned. "Neil, you'd best know." He grabbed the magazine and waved it. "This is nothing. This is ink and paper. You're stronger than that boy, and you beat him badly. Who does that sound like to you?"

Neil looked for a moment like he might rebel, then horror dawned on his face. "I'm not--I didn't..."

"Yes, you did," Nate said. "And you need to own that."

Neil looked at his feet. "He murdered Wendell's parents. The Needle's Eye. And now H.J.'s mum is going on about how we're going to be better because of him. I know what he feels like. I remember when Dubois did that after Greyback killed my family. And Traynor's bragging about it."

Professor Sprout rubbed her head. "I do understand, Neil." She looked up. "I should talk to Neil and the Blondins alone. Father Alderman, Teddy... would you terribly mind waiting downstairs?" She indicated the door.

Teddy stood up. On a whim, he pointed at the magazine and asked, "May I?"

"Please," Sprout said. She picked it up and handed it to him, with an expression on her face like she was handling a half-rotted dead fish.

Teddy took it, and he and Alderman went down the stairs together, and sat down on a stone bench.

"How bad is it?" Aldmerman asked, speaking for the first time since introducing himself.

"I don't know yet," Teddy said, and raised the magazine to read the article that had caused all the commotion. Alderman read over his shoulder.

It was relatively tame, as such things went. She took for granted that naive decisions had been made by boys and girls barely out of Hogwarts--boys and girls who were nearly worshipped after their efforts in the war, and therefore not corrected by their elders--and that those decisions had led to the smouldering resentment presumably felt by Sam Cresswell and other, less murderous, victims of the war. (She somehow neglected to mention that she had named her firstborn son after one of these naive and overpraised children.) The publicity and high profile of the murders was a chance to re-examine those decisions, now that the heat of battle had faded and people felt freer to argue with "even the most famous of the children, Harry Potter--now an adult with children of his own, who may himself now understand the real impact his well-intentioned mistakes had on families who lost everything."

Of Sam Cresswell himself, she said almost nothing. She re-iterated the trauma of Dirk Cresswell's murder, mentioned the rumor, rapidly gaining ground, that his older brother had been deliberately locked out of care after his Quidditch injury and would have recovered perfeclty well had he been treated in time, and talked about his mother's third pregnancy, which had been ended by Death Eaters at St. Mungo's. These things had left him as the man of the house at the tender age of eight. And so on. Of his brutality with Goyle or Fudge or Runcorn, let alone the Burkes and Borgin, she said nothing. There wasn't even a passing mention of the details of the murders.

At the end of it, Teddy wasn't entirely sure what she was asking for, or how she thought the alleged mistakes ought to be corrected. The whole thing had the unmistakable feel of a scold. Teddy felt slightly nauseated by it. He couldn't put his finger on any one thing, but it all seemed to scream Mrs. Traynor's opinion that anyone who disagreed with her didn't understand what other people had lost. At some point in reading it, he'd wrapped his fist around Dad's wedding ring, and by the time he finished, his hand ached from the tight grip.

Beside him, Alderman sighed. "I don't think she meant harm by it."

"Well, she did harm."

"And she will immediately set on any mercy given to Neil as nothing but a reaction to his tragic circumstances. Ironically, the same sort of excuse she's appearing to give Cresswell. It's astounding how different things seem when it's your own wounds--or worse, the wounds of someone you love--that someone insists on salting."

"But couldn't she see before she wrote it that it would hurt someone like Wendell?"

"No more than Neil could see that she wasn't being deliberately cruel." Alderman grimaced. "I think most of the problems in the world are caused by an utter inability to understand other human beings' perceptions. We treat people we disagree with as though they're inherently wrong, and we, of course, are perfectly right. Every madman in history has assumed that he's right and his enemies are not only wrong, but possibly subhuman. Seems quite a lot of people have forgotten to take large beams out of their own eyes before worrying about motes in anyone else's." He gave a bitter laugh. "How would that be for a sermon? Everyone take your Clear-Eye Concoction and stop being an ass."

Teddy wasn't sure what to say to this. Finally, he said, "Why are you here?"

"Nate and Evvy asked me."

"Why?"

"Because they were afraid that Hogwarts would use Neil's lycanthropy as an excuse to punish him more severely than other students caught doing similar things. I've helped Hermione Weasley with several arguments in front of the Wizengamot, and they wanted to make sure we had all the facts. Unfortunately, the fact is that Neil lost his temper. He needs to learn to control that. You've made a lot of progress there--will you help him?"
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Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: September 2nd, 2010 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. And Alderman's analysis of the article very much so. I've recently had a Doppler scan that showed venous reflux towards the brain. not a good thing to have. Then I saw a neurologist who dismissed out of hand that ccsvi (chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency) could have anything to do with MS. When I said loads of MSers report massive benefits from blovking out their veins and restoring blood flow, she exclaimed that blocking out neck veins was very dangerous and carried a lot of risk. But a flow of venour blood towards the brain, resulting in increased pressure of oxygen-depleted blood around the brain is not dangerous and does not carry any kind of risks? I was completely baffled. So yea, Alderman is quite right, and I love his comment and think he should definitely have a cermon like that. "Everyone take your Clear-Eye Concoction and stop being an ass." Alderman ftw!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 2nd, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a sermon we could all stand. Ugh.
mint_green From: mint_green Date: September 2nd, 2010 10:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Coming out of lurker-hood to say I love Father Alderman. It's suprising but nice to see him slightly bitter there, at the end. Makes him feel more real and human.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 2nd, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alderman is a good man and a good priest, but he's also a boy whose entire other possible life was stolen by Greyback, so, yeah... he has a bitter streak. He knows it's the beam in his own eye and he tries not to indulge, but it's there.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 2nd, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's being given plenty of adult responsibility this year, but Alderman's suggestion re Neil makes sense; I only hope Neil manages to avoid expulsion. H.J. Traynor's mum might not be as deluded as Dubois, but she's still pretty clueless--and offensive in the unique way of the clueless: "I can't believe you actually wrote something that stupid and insensitive." The fall-out from this should be interesting to see.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: September 2nd, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
It reminds me, rather, of the Bazelon articles about Phoebe Prince: "I'm only making sure ALL the facts are known" *blink blink blink* "How can you argue with that?" *blink blink blink*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 2nd, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had to look up that reference. Yeargh. What was she thinking? Why would we need to know all those facts, for heaven's sake? Why would it be our business? Let the family grieve in peace.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 2nd, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think there are a lot of people out there who are clueless and thoughtless. Nothing they do is particularly malicious in intent, but they do a lot of harm because they can't imagine unintended consequences.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: September 2nd, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad that Alderman arrived with Evvie and Nate -- his clarity is needed, especially by Teddy. I, too, hope that Neil is not expelled, but he does need to learn to control his temper, something that may be easier with time and maturity. Seeing the consequences of his actions will help, too. His parents did a wonderful job of explaining things to him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 2nd, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
They're doing their best. It can't be easy to deal with a child's misbehavior when he's an adopted child who's been through a severe trauma, and is your only chance at having a child, and was adopted late in his childhood.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 2nd, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Always nice to see Alderman, and particularly nice to see him relating slightly differently to Teddy than he has done in previous encounters - not exactly with his collar off, but he's not focussed on giving Teddy pastoral care, so we get a slightly different side of him.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 2nd, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now, he's asking Teddy to step up to the plate and do his duty toward Neil... it's definitely a different dynamic.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 2nd, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I too love Alderman here; he's good and insightful, but very human. Although, when he said "how bad is it" he wasn't speaking for the first time since his introduction, since he also told Neil to answer his mother's question.

It's ridiculous to say that Harry doesn't understand the real impact blah blah blah, when he lived with Andromeda for 5 years and helped to raise Teddy! It's amazing how completely some people can completely not understand.
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