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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seventeen: Love and Hate, pt. 3 - 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. 3
Whoa. Meant to lie down for a few minutes earlier and slept for three hours instead. Slightly late on this entry!

Anyway, while Teddy didn't mind having something to distract him from a very awkward date with Victoire, what it was turned out to be a very nasty fight in Hogsmeade, involving Neil Overby--the young werewolf in Slytherin, for whom Teddy brews Wolfsbane--and his dormitory mate, H.J. Traynor, whose mother wrote a self-satisfied (by essentially harmless) article about how the murders were now going to cause a great dialogue about everything that people did wrong after the war (which she interprets as not getting enough "justice" for those harmed by Death Eaters). Neil did a job on H.J., sending him to St. Mungo's, and his parents are up with the headmistress trying to not have him expelled. Meanwhile, Father Alderman, who the Blondins invited along because they were initially afraid that Neil's lycanthropy might cause him larger troubles than another student would get, has come downstairs with Teddy. He feels that the article is more thoughtless than cruel, and has just asked Teddy to help Neil deal with his temper.

I think I changed my spelling of "Evvie" (to "Evvy") in the last section. I'll fix that later.


Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy blinked slowly. "You want me to help someone with his temper? I might not be the best person for that, I blew up a house when I was Neil's age, not to mention... You know. Greyback. And I put the whole school in quarantine and almost killed people with a plague because of my temper a couple of years ago."

"What's your point?"

"Don't you think that would make me a hypocrite?"

Alderman smiled. "Actually, I think it makes you the person in school most likely to understand Neil and keep him out of trouble."

"You don't think they'll expel him?"

"Ginny once told me that they're always threatening to expel people, and never actually do it." He shrugged. "Also, if they do, there'll be more fights, and Sprout knows it."

"I'll do what I can, but I really only see Neil when he comes for his potion."

At this, Alderman looked genuinely surprised. "The way he talks about you, I thought he must be following you around. He admires you a lot. Talks about you all the time when he comes home for moons. Well... that would make it more difficult."

A little taken aback, as he'd never seen any indication of great admiration from Neil, Teddy muttered, "I'll do what I can."

They sat quietly together for ten minutes, passing the magazine back and forth (Teddy found himself more exasperated than enraged by it), until Professor Sprout sent for them. Alderman and the Blondins left through the fireplace, and Teddy walked Neil back down to the Great Hall.

"I'm not going to be expelled," Neil said when they'd got about halfway there.

"I'm glad to hear that."

"I have to write an apology."

"I'm glad to hear that, as well."

"You sound like Mum Evvie."

"There are worse people to sound like. What else is there?"

"Detention. A lot of detention," Neil said morosely. "I'm going to be cleaning the barns for Roger and Professor Hagrid until I die."

"You'll live. Ask Roger to introduce you to his animals."

Neil stopped walking. "Teddy... aren't you angry?"

"I'm angry at a lot of things, Neil." Teddy braced himself, and, feeling like something an ass, went on. "But do you know how badly you hurt H.J.?"

Neil looked sullenly at his feet. "He was bragging."

"He's an idiot. You already knew that." Teddy sighed. "I killed someone--"

"Greyback!" Neil said. "Greyback killed my parents and lots of other--"

Teddy held up his hand. "I know. But H.J. isn't Greyback, and even if he were... it's not something you want to live with if you don't have to."

Neil started walking again. He didn't say anything, and Teddy didn't observe any special reaction to being scolded by someone he supposedly admired. When they got to the Great Hall, Neil nodded a farewell and went to sit with his Slytherin mates and Celia Dean, who ran over to him from the Gryffindor table as soon as she saw him.

Teddy went over to the Weasley girls, who were eating together quietly, and sat down.

"How's Neil?" Marie asked. "Is he expelled?"

Teddy told them the story.

Victoire said nothing while he was telling it. She picked at her food and looked over a few times. They needed to talk.

Unfortunately, she slipped away from the table before he finished eating, and by the time he got back to the Common Room, she was up in her dormitory. He considered sending a Patronus up to get her to come down, but decided that maybe it would be better to let the business of the date fade a bit. He went upstairs and did his homework, then worked on a few of the ideas James had for their next book. If they were to do something longer, a few of them could be combined. He went to bed early, and lay awake in the dark for what seemed like a long time, listening to Checkmate purr on the pillow beside him. Finally, he found himself in a dream. He was small again, and playing with Victoire on the tree swing at Shell Cottage. They were sitting on the board seat and turning and turning it, twisting the ropes together, and as soon as they were as tight as they could get, Teddy pushed off and sent them spinning into the air. Victoire laughed, and her hair flew around her, catching the sun. He woke up early Sunday morning, feeling melancholy and low.

He wasn't hungry for breakfast, so he worked a little bit on his original potion. He was loath to use the Mallowsweet, for obvious reasons, so he'd switched his project to a Gurdyroot-based repulsion potion, hoping that a little infusion of stinksap would improve on the current potions meant to repel chizzpurfles. Nothing Aunt Ginny had tried had made much of a dent in the chizzpurfle population in Sirius's old room at Grimmauld Place. Neither it nor Regulus's room was easily habitable, which kept the Potters in the lower levels. Teddy used Sirius's room sometimes, but it was itchy and uncomfortable to do so, which was why he generally shared James's room when he visited. This wasn't going to be the sort of potion that would scream, "Teddy Lupin created this!" but as he wasn't looking for a post as a Potions Master, he supposed it didn't really matter, as long as he passed.

Victoire was waiting in the Common Room when he went down two hours later. She came up to him tentatively. "Er... Teddy?"

"Yes?"

She looked around anxiously, and pulled him over to a nook near the Lionbloom. "Teddy, I, er... after yesterday... I mean, are we..." She looked over her shoulder, then went around him to his other side, so she could see the whole room. "Are we going out?"

"Sure. I mean, if you want to."

"Right. Right." She smiled. He leaned in to kiss her, but she drew away with a dismayed look. "My sisters," she hissed. "Not allowed, remember?"

"Oh. Right." He thought about this. "Do you... want to have breakfast?"

"Sorry, I already ate." She nodded to him awkwardly and went away.

He managed to eat lunch with her, but the conversation was as awkward as it had been in Madam Puddifoot's, and she seemed quite relieved when Professor Longbottom asked her to go to the greenhouses and help him with some mandrakes.

"What's that about?" Donzo asked, coming around the table, slipping into her place and starting in on her nearly untouched meal.

"No idea," Teddy said.

"Are you going to Maurice's tonight?"

Teddy nodded. "Every week. Do you have something for him?"

"No." He raised his wand and said, "Muffliato," then went on. "Just wondered if you'd take your pet raccoon along."

"Because no one would question me taking along a beloved pet that they've never seen before?"

"Good point. Could you fly me to the other side of the wall?"

"I don't know. I'd think some bird Animagus would have found a way to sneak people into Hogwarts before this if it could be done."

"If it doesn't stop an owl with a package--or a thestral with a wizard on his back, if your godfather is to be believed--why would it stop a hawk carrying a raccoon?"

Teddy frowned. "Why are you determined to go?"

"For a friend," Donzo answered.

There was no reason not to at least make the experiment. After lunch, they went up to the Astronomy Tower, checked to make sure no one was watching, and transformed. Teddy made the dive off of the tower and built up some flying speed going in circles, then came back to where Donzo was waiting, patiently cleaning his paws in a cold-looking puddle.

Teddy flexed his talons, then tried to pick him up. He was too heavy.

Donzo transformed back to his human shape and rubbed his shoulders, where a bit of blood was seeping through his shirt. "Ouch," he commented.

Teddy transformed back. "Sorry. Hawks don't really have a particularly gentle way of carrying things."

"Well, you could make me feather-weight before you transform," Donzo said, and snapped back into Mask's shape.

Teddy did the Charm, then changed and went back and circled again. This time, he was able to easily scoop Donzo up. He flew for the wall, found no magical resistance at all, and glided down to the ground. He set Donzo on the road. Donzo became human again.

"Perfectly easy," he said. "I'll see you in London."

Teddy didn't bother to go back and forth. He remained in hawk form, nodded to Donzo, and took off, back to the castle. An hour later, he went to the Headmistress's office, greeted her with a nod, and left through her fireplace.

There was no Floo particularly convenient to Maurice's flat, so they'd got in the habit of meeting at the shop even if they weren't planning to stay. Teddy was surprised when he spun out into the main showroom to find it empty.

"Maurice?" he called.

No answer.

"Great," he muttered. "Perfect."

He left the shop and headed to Maurice's flat, thinking that Donzo must have gone there first, and the pair of them had lost track of time in one of their long conversations. He rang the bell, but there was no answer.

Concerned, Teddy opened the front door of the building and stepped into the dingy corridor.

The Burke flat was one of four above a used book shop, and there was nothing strange about seeing books there--in fact, Teddy suspected that the proprietor used at least one of the flats to store books he couldn't sell--but the light coming from a single, high-up torch was catching on something new and shiny. Teddy walked up to it, alert for any changes. This wasn't a time he was happy to see anything out of place in Knockturn Alley.

The slight apprehension turned to confusion when he saw what the book was--Martian's Mistake. It was the first time he'd seen it outside of the planning stages. Had Maurice got an early copy from Frankie? And then left it out in the corridor for some reason?

Teddy picked it up tentatively. It seemed strange to hold it in his hands. The cover was shiny and blue, and it showed Martian--the artist's version--looking cheekily over his shoudler as he made to go into a leafy tunnel. On the back was the fictional biography of Jim Wolf. Teddy shook his head, and started to put the book down again.

The light caught the edge of the pages as he moved it. There was something stuck inside.

Curious, he opened it.

As soon as the cover was lifted, the corridor filled with bright, golden light, and from the top of the stairs, someone called down, "Surprise!"
12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 5th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee! I'm glad Teddy's getting something to cheer him up.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. He's more bummed out than he thought he'd be at the utter failure of dating Victoire. I mean, how could he have ever thought something that crazy would work out? ;p
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 5th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
A surprise party? Well, that should lighten the mood quite a bit, for everyone.

On the main subject of the chapter, glad Neil gets to stay, even if he has to write an apology to the obnoxious H.J. And Alderman makes a good argument, as always, for Teddy to help Neil with his anger issues.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think what a lot of people miss in the verse about motes and beams in the eye is that the point of taking out the beam in your own eye is supposed to be so you can see better to help with the mote in the neighbor's, not so you can sit there and stare at the beam and say, "Whoa, that sure was a big old beam, wasn't it?"

But yes, it was time to lighten the hell up.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 5th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
And there I was expecting the book to have something gruesome from Sam Cresswell, who would have gone after a publisher friend of Teddy's. Whew.

OK, not entirely likely. To us, Teddy is the main character. To Sam, he's probably just a bit player who was lucky enough to get a couple of lines in Sam's story.

I didn't get a chance to comment on H.J.'s mom's article (wondering how often I've been as dim as she must have been, for one thing), but what kind of grasp of history does anyone have who thinks the INSTINCTIVE response of anyone after a terrible war in which they have seen far too many people suffer and die is to be TOO MERCIFUL to the enemy?

I mean, let's talk about self-evident instances of maturity, compassion, and binding up the nation's wounds (to borrow a phrase).

Second, exactly how did she envision the world she lives in being better if there had been a waive of revenge? Or how does she picture it being helped in the present by indulging in it now?

Third, the wizarding world has slowly brought itself into line with certain ideas about justice that many Muggles take for granted. Double jeopardy is not one of the principles you want to throw out the window just because you've decided a worse sentence should have been handed down years before.

Ellen

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 5th, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
To Sam, he's probably just a bit player who was lucky enough to get a couple of lines in Sam's story.

Yup. He was, at most, a lever he could use to get at Scrimgeour via Ruthless (as she believed she'd given up her only chance at love, so she was vulnerable).

I always wonder what exactly people want when they complain about this or that past miscarriage of justice. I mean, the very best you can do is acknowledge that it was such a thing. You can't go back and fix anything for the people it really had any impact on.

And, hello, the decisions made after the war to go back to normal life rather than call on the spirit of Robespierre and haul in the guillotine were, how to put it... BETTER?
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 6th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Yaaay, a surprise!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 7th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
It definitely seemed like time for a party!
vytresna From: vytresna Date: September 7th, 2010 12:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it is kind of true that the only known expulsion in canon was basically for murder. Heh.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 7th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
And with that one, the ultimate message was that they acted too quickly and didn't think it through. And of course, the expelled student was then hired on.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: September 9th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Ginny is so right about that. That said, I love the little bit about Neil talking about Teddy all the time because A) that's cute and B) it points out that we make a bigger difference than we realize. Your characters are so good at doing things for other people, but it is largely to the individual. Hermione and some others do change laws, and that is important work that needs to be done. But everyday actions... they make a difference to the person you act on behalf of, but it makes an impression on people you might not even realize are watching. Very nice.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 17th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Nice Job

I don't think I've ever read a Harry Potter (Teddy Lupin) fanfiction that is so insanely real. I feel as if I'm reading one of J.K. Rowling's books. You've done a really good job in writing the Teddy Lupin tales. I've enjoyed reading them and still am enjoying them.

Can't wait for more chapters to come :)

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