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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty-Three: Fame and Fortune, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty-Three: Fame and Fortune, pt. 3
Teddy and Donzo were sentenced to a fine and mandatory registration over their illegal magic. An old witch named Mary McAllister sees that Teddy is able to pay the fine easily, and promptly tells him that his father owed her gold, regarding an island, which Andromeda identifies as the place Lupin lived for the year after he taught at Hogwarts. He is to meet her there; Harry and Andromeda want to go with them. Later, he dreams of a war fought there, over unpaid debts. The next morning, he sees that there's been activity from Cresswell's supporters, including vandalizing the restaurant owned by Tinny's parents with pro-Cresswell messages.

Prices referenced for the island are from high rental numbers (and surprisingly low sale numbers) at Private Islands Online. Yes, there is such a site. It is now my go-to daydream site. (For a mere $5M, you can own an island WITH AN OLD MILITARY FORT in Lake Champlain. I don't know that I'd really want to live there, but what a fun daydream.)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy Apparated into Diagon Alley as soon as he got dressed, and hurried over to The Willow, but by the time he got there, the Gudgeons had already repaired the window, and the only practical effect of the vandalism appeared to be every friend they'd ever made--and many former Hufflepuffs who'd never actually met them--showing up for the breakfast shift, which Teddy was immediately recruited to help with, along with Frankie, Maurice, and Daffy, who'd all shown up as well (Maurice begged off early, claiming his own opening time). By the end of it, Teddy was happy and tired, and glad to let Frankie talk him into letting everything else go for a day or two. He spent the next few days in and out of Badger Hill and the Charmpress office, working out a long game with Frankie and Tinny, and helping James get a character going for next year, though he privately doubted that James would find the gatherings to his liking, as they didn't actually include the derring-do that was pretended. Over dinner on Thursday, Maddie told him that the Department of Mysteries had met about the illegal magic charge against him, decided that it wouldn't be relevant to his apprenticeship, and told her to deliver the message that he really only needed to worry about his N.E.W.T.s. "If you ask me," she said, "none of us want a protracted look into what silly things we've poked our own noses into over the years. Butter beans?"

Teddy, who hadn't really thought of the possible consequence to his apprenticeship, panicked belatedly, but by Friday morning, it all seemed rather distant. Granny had to see patients in the morning, and Uncle Harry had paperwork to finish, so they were both going to meet him at the island at noon. He hoped Mary McAllister wouldn't mind them looking around a bit. For his own part, he puttered around Granny's house for as long as he could--straightening books, working on an essay, playing chase with Checkmate--but by eleven, he was entirely at loose ends. More to use up the last hour than anything else, he Apparated to a little wizarding pub on the island of Sanday, in the northeastern part of the Orkneys. There, he transformed into a hawk and flew out over the North Sea, over the clusters of tiny islands that didn't appear on Muggle maps (it was becoming a trick, Maddie said, to hide them from Muggle satellites). One of these islands, further out, housed Azkaban prison, but here, they were held--if inhabited at all--by old crofting families or fishermen. One or two housed exotic and dangerous creatures, according to Roger; the Unplottable Isle of Drear was closer to the Scottish coast, but there were things as exotic as Quintapeds--also known as Hairy MacBoons--this far north.

They all looked rather similar from above: irregular, grass-topped rocks rising out of the angry sea. But through his hawk's eyes, Teddy could see the details--a cottage here, a fishing boat there, a fancy hippogriff breeding farm somewhere else. Far off, he could see the burnt-out remains of a long-abandoned croft, but his own destination was closer. He recognized it by its shape, and by the long, unnatural mound that snaked across the western ridge, leading down to a broken-down shack. It was a Hogboon mound.

Teddy circled down on a cooling column of air and came to land on a standing stone at the island's highest point. The cold, moist wind pulled pleasantly at his feathers, making them feel like the grass that was rippling below him. He could see the whole island from here, lashed by the sea. It descended from sharp cliffs in the west to a wild but usable shoreline in the east. In a tiny lagoon, there was a rotting rowboat, its oars stowed under the seats, and now under a few inches of water. They were well encrusted with barnacles and salt. The length of the Hogboon's mound made a flattened "S", up to the shack, which it appeared to be comfortably embracing. Behind the shack--between it and the mound--were the ruins of a quickly erected stone paddock, and in front of the shack was a low stone platform.

Teddy hopped down from the standing stone and transformed. The wind wasn't quite as pleasant on his human skin, but it wasn't cruel. A light mist dampened his face and hair, and he let it go rather than bothering with an Umbrella Charm. It took about five minutes to get to the shack. He was fifteen minutes early for his appointment. Slowly, he walked around to the back of the shack, to the paddock. Here, on the ground, it looked like quite a lot of loose stones in a broken circle, with a central pole of uncertain origin. On it, Teddy could see talon scratches.

"Buckbeak," he whispered. "You've been here, haven't you?"

There was no answer, but Teddy could see it clearly--had seen it clearly, he realized, in memories from Dad's wedding ring. Buckbeak had been tied here, and Mum and Dad and Sirius had brought him fish to eat. They'd been able to see him through the window that was high in the wall, and Teddy knew that beyond it was a tattered sort of room where they'd all sat together to listen to the wireless. Sirius had been here whenever he hadn't been in the Hogsmeade cave--his year of freedom before returning to the prison that Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place had become for him. Dad had--

"You're early."

He looked over his shoulder. Mary McAllister was standing at the corner of the shack, an Umbrella charm forming a misty bubble around her. "Sorry, Miss McAllister," he said. "I didn't want to get lost." She didn't answer. Teddy bit his lip. "Er, my grandmother and my godfather are coming as well."

"I thought they might. What's due is due, regardless."

"Oh, no, that's not what I meant. They're not here to help or... well... They just wanted to see the place."

"It's been on the market for twenty-five years," Mary McAllister said. "There's been no shortage of time to see it." She turned and led the way to the shack's front door.

"Have you sold it?" Teddy asked as she let him in. "Is that why you need to settle the debt just now?"

"No, I've not sold it, and that's why I've come for the gold." She stepped inside, looked at the furniture with distaste, and Conjured a table and two chairs. She took one and indicated that Teddy ought to take the other. He did, and she reached into her large handbag, pulling out a tired looking bit of parchment. "This is the contract your father, may he rest, had with me. You'll see it was co-signed by Albus Dumbledore."

Teddy read it over. Under a great deal of legal language, it boiled down to a trade of services for rent. In brief, Dad had been hired to evict the Hogboon.

"You see the problem," Mary said when she saw that Teddy had finished.

"Well..."

"Or perhaps you didn't see--the Hogboon is still there. Your father failed to live up to his end of our contract, and because of it, I've been unable to sell the place."

"Er..."

"Hogboons are ancestral spirits. It attacks people outside of our line, unless they're under protection."

"It didn't attack me," Teddy said.

"Aye, you're one of us. A McAllister girl who was a Squib married a Muggle fellow called McManus. A few generations down the line, long after they'd forgotten the wizarding world, there was a girl named Julia McManus--"

"Who thought she was Muggle-born!" Teddy said. "My grandmother."

"She was Muggle-born. Nary a witch in the family for four generations. But still of our line, and you and yours are safe enough around the Hogboon, unless you provoke it. Which is how Dumbledore got me to go along with this, despite your father's... unsavory connections."

"Being a werewolf?" Teddy asked dryly.

"You say that as though it's nothing. Do you know how much danger and terror the werewolves have caused here?"

"Not Dad."

She narrowed her eyes, then said, "Aye, yes, not Remus Lupin. But he broke his contract, and he harbored a fugitive on my property."

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in, then," Mary called, and Uncle Harry and Granny both stepped in carefully. Granny kept her eyes on Mary, but Uncle Harry was looking around the room with undisguised interest. Mary waited for his attention. "You'll have leave to look about for an hour when we've finished, but not until." She Conjured chairs for them, while Teddy explained the situation.

"You must be joking," Granny told her coolly. "You're talking about two men who died to help make sure you little island wouldn't be taken over by Death Eaters just because it's here."

"I'm talking," Mary said, "about one man who broke a contract with me. I'll not charge continuous rent, but I'm owed for the year he lived here for no gold at all, and for the interest that's built up since."

Uncle Harry leaned forward. "As an official of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Auror Division, may I strongly recommend that you don't attempt to charge interest on a loan you've made precisely no one aware of?"

Mary didn't flinch. "Very well, but the principal is still owed to me. Were I to lease this island at a reasonable rate--two hundred Galleons a week is not unheard of, but I shall be charitable and say one hundred--then it would be fifty-two hundred Galleons. Plus damages--that rockpile in back, and the unwanted pile of stones at the door--"

"It's a platform to keep out the mud," Granny said. "That's an improvment on your property."

"So's the paddock," Teddy added.

"Paddock? Is that what it is? And what of the claw marks all over the back of the house? Are they meant to be artwork now?"

Teddy started to say that they weren't claw marks, but talon marks, but decided that wouldn't be helpful. Instead, he looked at the contract again. "There's no special rent mentioned here. There was no agreement to pay a hundred Galleons a week, and given that it would have been cheaper then, and that you haven't been able to rent it at all--"

"Which is a direct result of your father's breach of our contract!" Mary said. "The price is what it is, unless you care to argue it in front of the Wizengamot, and I don't think they'll want the same spoiled, wealthy boy to be pampered twice in a week."

Uncle Harry stood up, and Teddy could see him tensing for a fight, but Granny put her hand on his arm. "Harry, she's a rude old crone, but she's not wrong. Not entirely."

"Granny, Uncle Harry, please," Teddy said. "This is my business to settle."

"Then might I suggest we settle it?" Mary asked.

Teddy looked out the high window, at the paddock that had been Buckbeak's, and at the door to a side room where the floor was still marked with a muddy pawprint (Mary had clearly not been keeping the property up). He squared his shoulders and said, "First, let's take a walk around this island. I want to see this alleged damage."
20 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: October 16th, 2010 07:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Good on Teddy for stepping forward to do this himself; it really is more about his own history than either Harry's or Andromeda's.

Mary McAllister is definitely trying it on a bit, though!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
It is his business--and I wanted both of his parent figures together when he put his foot down and said, "No, I'm an adult now."
amamama From: amamama Date: October 16th, 2010 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Gah. And here came the gold digger. Maybe Remus didn't manage to evict the hogboon because he died, you old fool? Force majeur and all that... Arse. I find myself rather disgusted with her. But not with your writing. :-)

So you're back in health again? That's good. Stay there! :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, to be fair, he didn't try very hard, and he abandoned the task two years before he died.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 16th, 2010 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Haha! Oportunistic old hag!

It's nice how Teddy is suddenly an adult *little tear*, settling his own bussiness.

Nice way to wake up, also. Three hours of sleep are not enough to face four hours of Ancient Greek... at least I got to read before leaving!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
She is a bit opportunistic--hit him when it would be awkward for him to ask for an other "leniency."
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 16th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing like a Scot, for haggling! And Mary McAllister's not exactly the warm and fuzzy type either. But since Teddy ultimately takes the island off her hands, she shouldn't have much to complain about.

On another subject, glad the Gudgeons' restaurant was put to rights quickly and that no one was hurt. It's unnerving to consider that Cresswell's fan club might think about taking up where he left off.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading a lot about the Manson family for this. I don't want it to be exact, and these people are more like the random hippies who put up pictures of Manson on trial than the actual Family, but people... people are way weirder than fiction writers ever write them. The Manson family was going to start Armageddon--aside from the murders--by writing, like, a really subtle and meaningful album, man. That's way too absurd to write in a story.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 16th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

mmm.....

*sight of relief* good to know the restaurant is back on its feet and no one was hurt. (hope those pieces of scum supporters of the equal piece of scum cresswell stay far away from it).

and urgh, i had forgotten how much of a conniving, greedy greasy old hag McAlister was.

good to know Teddy is not going to take the bait.

looking forward to see the next ficlets, which hopefully will be more pleasant to Teddy, Andromeda and Harry.

ps- It's good to hear you're feeling better; for your own sake.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: mmm.....

If I spend much longer on the island, I may have to make it a much more important location. So it's either scale back, or re-think... and I'm inclined to re-think.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: October 17th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: mmm.....

so there wont be a next chaplet on the island reminiscing about what it was like for remus lupin to live there?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: mmm.....

Oh, definitely there will be, and it feels right to me to do that, but the emphasis is getting a little heavy unless I decide to do more with it than I was planning to do. It's getting a whole "gun on the mantle" feel that I didn't originally intend.
a_blue_jay From: a_blue_jay Date: October 18th, 2010 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: mmm.....

But you can't have anything horrible happen there because it's supposed to be Teddy's little heaven-place! It can be important, but after all is said and done, Teddy still has to love it enough to live there his whole life without being haunted by anything that happened.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 18th, 2010 09:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: mmm.....

Oh, absolutely! No carnage there.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 16th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wizarding law may be different on this point than Muggle law (although, if someone were to ever make a fight over it, I'd bet the Muggle courts would rule pretty fast that the Minister of Magic is under the Prime Minister and that Muggle rights and laws do to apply [although I wonder if wizards would technically count as being in a distinct category? Like peers of the realm having the right to be tried by the House of Lords and so on? Side issue but, dang, British law is hard to research for an American. Most of what I can find is stuff for professionals. Apparently, those books that give tips to writers trying to present the legal system accurately are mostly a US thing]), but I'd bet a debt you haven't made any effort to get paid in nearly twenty years wouldn't hold up well in court.

Add the fact that the person who (allegedly) owed it is dead and that it's arguable that there was a debt (was Lupin renting or was he given housing as payment for work? Teddy could possibly even argue that, given the substandard housing and other problems that happened when his father lived there (which could, in theory, be the responsibility of the landlord), he may be the one owed money.

I know he's not going to do that. Even if he had more of a vindictive streak (burned down Shacks or not) and didn't have a sort of sentimental attachment to the island, it would play badly in the press (rich, well connected kid a fringe group already thinks got off easy because of his connections suing a poor, hard working, elderly woman [and distant relative] because she gave shelter to his dad in his hour of need? Or that's how I imagine said fringe group would try to play it in the press).

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the thing here is that it's not an entirely legal debt, anyway--as Teddy points out, there's not even a mention of the price as a consequence of failure. She's mainly going for a "Well, fair is fair!" sort of approach, and--though she doesn't say it straight out--impugning Remus's honor for breaching the contract rather than making an actual legal charge. Good tactic with Teddy, as he's prone to defend Remus's honor first and worry about trifling matters of legal debt later.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 17th, 2010 07:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

interesting....

wonder if mcalister has a more sinister plot under her head other than being a golddigger.

~A
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: interesting....

That's pretty much all there is to her, but I'm thinking more about this area now.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 17th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi fernwithy,

It's been a while, but I've finally been able to catch up with the chapters.

Ever since DH I've been a huge Teddy fan and I was eager to find fanfiction about him. That led me to Maurauder's Roost. Then I followed you and Teddy in FG, HM, DM and finally to this wonderful story where I see the island once again. How fun!

Sam is caught, but trouble still looms. I'm really looking forward to how Teddy's seventh year will end!

~AmethystBeloved
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: October 18th, 2010 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I think what bugs me most about this woman is the whole, "Oh, bless your father in heaven, HE WAS LYING SCUMBAG WEREWOLF WHO OWED ME TONS OF MONEY. EVEN THOUGH WE DIDN'T HAVE A CONTRACT. Bless his departed soul."

Ugh. People.
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