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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty-Six: Guilty, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty-Six: Guilty, pt. 3
All has been quiet for a while--long enough for Teddy to take his N.E.W.T.s and begin packing up (though no one in his year seems to be in a great hurry to leave before the leaving ceremony). The hush is broken on solstice, when Teddy's quiet game of chess with Donzo in the Great Hall is interrupted by the arrival of Ruthless, who looks furious, calling for Robards and Neville, and, on an afterthought, Teddy and Donzo. She says, "We have a problem."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"What is it?" Teddy asked, running to her.

"We're not entirely sure." She gave him a small, nervous smile. "Let's not alarm the younger students, all right? That's why I didn't send my Patronus with a message. I Flooed to the Headmistress's office."

His heart beating wildly, Teddy waited for the others, and followed her out. Professor Longbottom opened up a classroom and let them in, closing the door behind him.

"What's happening, Scrimgeour? Has Cresswell escaped?"

"No," Ruthless said. "The first thing I did was call Azkaban. The guards said he was behaving himself. A model prisoner. No visitors."

"Then what?"

Ruthless took a deep breath and said, "The Ministry's been Sealed."

"What?" Robards looked aghast. "What do you mean?"

"Exits, entrances. They did it at the change of shift--I was late, or I'd be there, too. No one can get in or out."

"We need to go!" Professor Longbottom said.

"No!" Ruthless held up her hand. "Wait." She raised her wand, and Teddy had a brief glimpse of her fox Patronus before it disappeared with a message. "There are a lot of talented witches and wizards inside the Ministry working on this," she said. "They're not in any danger, or at least that's what Ron says. They need us to--"

The fireplace sprang to life, the flames bright green. Hermione Weasley's head appeared among them. "Neville," she said. "Gawain--and Teddy and Donzo. Good call, Ruth."

"Are you safe?" Professor Longbottom asked.

"As far as we can tell," Hermione told him. "We have food, air, and nothing is coming for us. But we're trapped."

"What about the Floo?" Robards asked. "If you can--"

"Trust me, we've tried to get all the way through," Hermione said. "And I don't trust this connection to stay open long at all."

"What's happening?" Donzo asked. "Is this Cresswell?"

Hermione nodded. "Just before we were Sealed in, we had a Howler in the lobby. It said that the longest daylight was going to... shine in the last corners or something absurd like that. There would be justice for the guilty."

"How many?" Teddy asked.

"I don't know." Hermione looked around suddenly and said, "The connection's been detected. I have to go. Get to them."

The fire went out; Hermione disappeared.

"I'll get to Malfoy Manor," Robards said. "That's an obvious one."

"Go," Ruthless said. Robards disappeared through the fireplace. Ruthless looked at the others. "I have a list of people who were released. I don't know if it's exhaustive of all the people they hate, or--"

"Phillips," Donzo said.

"Geoffrey?"

Donzo nodded. "He gets all their rubbish by owl post. He'll know who they hate."

"Get him," Ruthless said.

Donzo sent his Patronus.

"Phillips will come for that?" Professor Longbottom asked skeptically.

"I sent it to Franklin," Donzo said. "He'll drag him kicking and screaming if necessary."

"Is anyone on Rita Skeeter?" Teddy asked.

"No, not yet."

"I am," Professor Longbottom said. "I'll get to the Prophet offices. They're all tied up in it."

"Good, go," Ruthless said.

Longbottom disappeared.

The door burst open. Teddy turned, expecting to see Franklin and Geoff, but instead, it was Maurice. He ran to Donzo. "What the hell is going on?" he asked. "I was with Driscoll, he's getting Phillips--"

"Cresswell's people," Ruthless said.

Maurice stopped, blinked at her, and said, "They took the special protections off the shop when Cresswell went to Azkaban."

This hung in the air for less than a second, but in that second, everything seemed to come crystal clear. Teddy felt the world freeze, a single face coming into his mind with the force of a blow to the head.

"Granny," he whispered.

"Go now," Ruthless said. "I have to wait for Phillips and whatever he has, but I'll be there as soon as I can."

Maurice was already at the fireplace. He tossed in a Floo cube and cried "Borgin and Burke's!"

Teddy followed.

He spun through the emptiness between the Floos, the world between worlds, then felt himself snagged toward Knockturn Alley. He spun out of the fireplace into Borgin and Burke's.

There was a body on the floor.

"Granny!"

"No," Maurice said. "I don't recognize her. The merchandise protected itself."

Teddy came around. A string of pearls had wrapped itself around the woman's neck and strangled her.

"Where's Granny?"

"I don't know," Maurice said. "Mrs. Tonks! Andromeda!"

"Granny!"

There was no answer. A tea set sat on a table near the counter. It had been set for four. The teapot was overturned.

The Floo lit up and Donzo came through. "Teddy, Robards came back," he said. "Draco's wife and children were at the Manor. Robards got them out. But Draco and his parents were here."

"With Granny," Teddy said. "Oh, God, she was trying to reconcile with her sister." He stood up, burying his hands in his hair. Nothing seemed to be coming together. Nothing--

A distant crash of glass broke through the glistening silence in his head. Somewhere down Diagon Alley, someone was screaming, and someone else was laughing.

"They're still here," Maurice said, and ran out.

"Maurice, no!" Donzo yelled.

Teddy ran out after them.

Four witches were dragging a hag out of her shop. "Time for you to face real justice!" one of them cackled.

"Please, no!" the hag pleaded. "Help me! Help me! I never did nothing! Never sold them nothing! They hated me, too!"

The women grabbed her, and before Teddy could do anything, Disapparated.

Teddy stared after them.

"Teddy."

He didn't turn.

"Teddy, Maurice," Donzo said. "Look."

Teddy turned around.

Across the front of Borgin and Burke's, the word "GUILTY" had been painted with a splash of green paint.

With an angry swipe of his wand, Maurice erased it. "I'm not guilty of anything."

"Where is my grandmother?" Teddy asked.

Donzo bent down and picked something up off the ground. It seemed to be a handful of twigs... until he got close.

It was three shattered wands.

Teddy shook his head. One of them was Granny's. "No. Granny wouldn't let them take her wand. She's a strong witch. So is Narcissa. And Draco was there. She--"

"She was serving tea on a calm night," Maurice said. "The goddamned war is meant to be over." He raised his wand and uselessly cursed a cobblestone. It leapt into the air and exploded. "Teddy, I'm sorry, she wouldn't have been here if I hadn't come back to school, and I could've come back, I could've left days ago, I could've--"

"If you had, they'd have had just as good a chance of snatching her from Malfoy Manor," Donzo said. "We have to figure out where they're going."

"Azkaban."

They looked up.

Standing in the door of Borgin and Burke's was Geoffrey Phillips, flanked by Franklin Driscoll and Lizzie Richardson.

Teddy rushed him and grabbed him by the front of his wretched tee shirt. "What do you know?"

Geoff pulled away, wand drawn. "Let go of me, you idiot. I'm helping."

"Out of the goodness of your heart, I'm sure," Maurice said.

"I'm not going to let these stupid twits turn bigots into martyrs." Geoffrey looked down his nose. "They've been going on for ages in the newsletters about who really belongs in Azkaban. If you were trying to serve justice to the guilty, where would you take them?"

"The guards said things were all right there," Donzo said. "Ruthless talked to them."

"Which guards would those be?" Geoffrey asked, smiling faintly. "The ones who wrote these?" He tipped his wand, and a stack of newsletters appeared. One of them fluttered open to a long piece which Teddy didn't need to read--the headline was enough: "Justice Failed: An Insider's View of Soft Time At Azkaban."

"Bloody..." Donzo drew in his breath. "How in the hell are we going to get to Azkaban? We can't Apparate, and they'll be watching for broomsticks--and they'd take too long anyway--"

"Boats," Teddy said. "It's how Greyback's people got in."

"Oh, good," Maurice said. "If we start sailing now, we should make it by July."

"We're not going from here," Teddy said. "I have somewhere that's much closer. My island. I can Expand the boat, and we can get there quickly. We can--"

He was interrupted by a series of soft popping sounds.

In the street outside Borgin and Burke's, Corky Atkinson and Honoria Higgs appeared, followed by Brendan Lynch and Jane Hunter. Connie Deverill arrived with Joe Palmer, who stepped out of the way just in time for Tinny Gudgeon and Laura Chapman to appear. Finally, Roger Young, covered with hay, came into the circle.

Teddy stared at them.

Tinny stepped forward. "So, what are we doing?" she asked.
32 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
indigoblue4ever From: indigoblue4ever Date: November 23rd, 2010 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
It's lovely to see the whole smallest year pull together and stand up as adults. And even better to see a chapter appear when least expected!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 23rd, 2010 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)
It was supposed to appear last night... that's when I got frustrated and posted that I couldn't get those danged adults pried off of him! ;p
danel4d From: danel4d Date: November 23rd, 2010 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
... Of course.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 23rd, 2010 06:09 am (UTC) (Link)
:D
rotae From: rotae Date: November 23rd, 2010 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn, Draco cannot get a break with his wand! XDDD (no pun intended)

YOU MUST UPDATE QUICKLY. DAMN CLIFFHANGERS ALKS:LKFJSL:DKFSLDKF XDDD

Peace,
Rotae
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 23rd, 2010 06:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, obviously, Draco is so bad-ass that writers have to deprive him of a wand if anyone else is going to stand a chance. ;p
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: November 23rd, 2010 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)

oh God no, no,no NO!

oh God please dont let anyone die! please, please, Please dont let Andromeda die, please no!

god damn it!

are Draco Malfoy's wife and son okay?

I hope those...those.... harpies from hell rot and suffer if they touch even one hair out of anyone's head.

(still hope none of them is Marrietta because damn it! i dont want to hate her character again)

on a nicer note, good Heavens Fern you write nerve-wrecking cliffhangers!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: oh God no, no,no NO!

I have to admit--I dislike Marietta in general.

Robards got Asteria and the kids out all right.
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: November 23rd, 2010 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't have believed it, but did you just unite the whole year for one last adventure? Even Phillips?! Bravo fern. Was not expecting. Well. I was expecting SOMETHING, but this is better!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I did. I knew that was what I wanted to do, but figuring out how to get Geoff in on it was a chore!
sophiap From: sophiap Date: November 23rd, 2010 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
That is a nasty turn of events. Also, I love that all of Teddy's classmates are in on it, now.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
They really must have taken Andromeda by surprise. Poor woman will never relax again.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: November 23rd, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
ANDROMEDA NOOOOOO... D: D:
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I imagine Andromeda's own words here are... rather blue.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Order of the Phoenix is definitely my favorite book. It's nice to see the smallest year coming together like the DA. *love*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Goblet is my favorite (despite its deplorable lack of Lupin), but I liked OotP for that reason, too.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: November 23rd, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, that made me tear up!

I mean, apart for the sheer fear for Andromeda's life, the smallest year all together- including Geoffrey!- it's so beautiful. Oh, I can't wait.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope it works as well as I want it to!
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm guessing the Ministry has a version of the plague protection charm from Hogwarts, an old defense most people have forgotten about that's been automatically triggered. The nut brigade just don't seem smart and organized enough for something that could take out the whole Ministry otherwise.

Although, obviously, they've got at least one person who works on floos.

Amazing to actually find myself rooting for Geoff.

In practical terms, I wouldn't expect all the guards at Azkaban to be rotten apples. In story terms, I don't know how the percentages will work out, so no idea what they'll be up against when they get there.

Side issue: Just wondering what things are like at Azkaban now and what "soft time" constitutes in the wizarding world. Couldn't help imagining if they do the "hard labor" bit. Part of the logic behind that when it happens in the Muggle world is to get rid of pent up energy the prisoners might otherwise vent on guards and to leave them generally too tired to plan escapes (I'm skipping the negatives and abuses frequently associated with it since I'm just wondering).

What I would see as the real advantage in dealing with ex-Death Eater types is that there's something ironic in forcing them to do work - any work, even if it's just making doilies - the Muggle way, day after day.

Which has nothing to do with rescuing anyone, I know.

Gaaah! Need next part!

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd guess the same thing about the Ministry--that they figured out how to trigger something. It's not a major plot point, just a "Get Harry's generation out of the way" point.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: November 23rd, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, this is even better than a jailbreak! Sam's nutball adherents oozing out of the woodwork, and the Smallest Year coming to Teddy's aid, like Dumbledore's Army. It reinforces the necessity of interhouse teamwork you established in the very first Teddy fic , so well done you! And even Geoffrey is turning out to be useful, though we know it won't last. Looking forward to the finale!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it is sort of a jailbreak... in the sense that Teddy now has to break into jail!
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: November 23rd, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh noes! But it's good to see the whole class, even Geoff(!), come together to help Teddy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Geoff had to be dragged kicking and screaming, but I wasn't going to leave him out!
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: November 23rd, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was wondering when the issue with the guards was going to come up. I had a feeling. Hopefully Andromeda is alright (I have to assume Draco is, as this takes place pre-epilogue)!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I was starting to realize that it had to be Azkaban around the time I did Teddy and Donzo's hearing.
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 24th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoo-hoo! Go smallest year, saving the day! This is way better than anything I thought up for the climax. We can be pretty sure that everybody makes it out OK from the ficlets we've gotten, but they're in for some danger for sure, since Azkaban is a fortress and Sam is loose in it with the crooked guards!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope it'll be exciting. And plausible. Ah, why do I set myself up for action climaxes???
cleindori From: cleindori Date: November 24th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Smallest Year to the rescue!

(Oh, please let it be a rescue...not a recovery... :\)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 24th, 2010 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, we know Draco makes it out, anyway...
cleindori From: cleindori Date: November 24th, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Somehow, I don't find that entirely reassuring. :P
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: November 24th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Didn't Marietta Edgecombe's mother administer the Floo?

ANDROMEDA!
The Smallest Year!
The Island!
Azkaban!

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!!

Fern!
32 comments or Leave a comment