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The Clue In The Cauldron, Chapter 18: Back In The Cauldron - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Clue In The Cauldron, Chapter 18: Back In The Cauldron
So, James and Al get back to school. While playing Quidditch, James spots what looks like a trail, maybe even with track laid, going from the old roundhouse into the Forbidden Forest. He also talks to Ruthless about Al's idea that the pooka, in human form, was what took Silas from school in the first place. She says that in her interview of Ronan, no alarm bells went off. James decides he needs to know more, but he needs clues that are in London, while he's at Hogwarts. Lily has sent her dolly along with him (so he "won't" teach it to tell stories), and he looks at it and realizes that he knows someone who is still free to look.

Chapter 18:
Back In The Cauldron

Mum looked up from her absent scan of the article she was writing on the Wigtown-Puddlemere match (Lily liked Wigtown, because red was her favorite color), and nodded at the open package on the table. "Was James able to teach Meg any stories?"

"I don't know."

"Well, is there a letter?"


"Well, what does it say?"

Lily bit her lip. She didn't think James and Al would tell Mum this sort of thing. So she shrugged and said, "Nothing about Meg. Just hello, and that he's working on some new story. May I go to Diagon Alley today? I want to visit Uncle George."

Mum raised her eyebrows, and Lily expected that at any moment, she would hold out her hand and then there wouldn't be any choice but to hand her the letter, but instead, she said, "Yes, I suppose you need to be about your business. But Uncle George and Aunt Angelina are visiting Uncle Charlie. Lee is watching the store."

"Oh," Lily said. "Er..."

"Perhaps you could meet Teddy for lunch." Mum picked up her article and held it up, and Lily thought she was actually smiling. "He's probably feeling neglected. Why don't you floo him at his office?"

"Right. Teddy."

"The Floo powder is on the mantel."

Lily cursed herself for pretending that she was going to go see anyone, instead of looking for things like James said, but it was done now. She went to the mantel, took down a handful of Floo powder, then paused. She flooed her cousins quite a bit, but Teddy was almost a grown-up now, and he was at work.

"Just say his name and his department," Mum said, buried in her article again. "I call Daddy at least once a month, and no one's pulled my head out of the fireplace and mounted it on a wall yet."

Lily nodded, threw the powder into the fire, and said, "Teddy Lupin, Department of Mysteries."

She knelt down and stuck her head in the fire. The hot collar of flames separated her head, and a moment later, she found herself looking into a black room. There were spells hiding most of it. Teddy was writing on a blackboard, but the words blurred into nothing as soon as his hand passed them.


He turned around, surprised. "Lily!"

She looked around. "Can we have lunch in Diagon Alley?"

"Well, I suppose..."

She bit her lip, and a bit of ash flew up her nose. She fought not to sneeze. "Teddy, is anyone else there?"


"I have a job," she whispered. "From James. He says it's my first Marauder job."

"And he told you to call me?"

"Well... not entirely. I didn't make a very good getaway."

"Ah, I see."

"But you could help, too!"

"Well, it would be nice to be be useful." He winked. "Count me in. Ask your mum if you can Floo to the Leaky Cauldron at noon. I'll be there waiting."

Lily finished the call and asked Mum, who had no objections. She'd switched to reading a letter she'd got from Luna Scamander which must have been very funny, because she was laughing quite a lot.

Lily went upstairs and changed out of her pajamas. She was noticeable, because she looked like Mum, so she'd have to cover up a bit if she was going to be invisible. Uncle George had given her a disguise kit for Christmas, and it had a charm to change her hair, so she turned it black. There was also a pair of fake glasses, and a long coat. She put these on as well, then looked at the clock. It was only ten-thirty. She sat down and read James's letter again.

Dear Lil,
How would you like your first Marauder job before you even get to Hogwarts? Al and my friends and I are trying to find out about what happened to our friend Silas, and it all started at the Leaky Cauldron and the Boyler. I'm not at all sure what you're looking for, but could you go to the Cauldron and look at the things that came from the Boyler, and then maybe see what's at the shop itself?

I don't even want to tell you what sorts of things to look for, because you might miss something important if I'm telling you to look for the wrong thing.

I'd do it myself, but of course, you're much closer, and very clever.

If you do this, I promise I won't write a story with a girl detective named Violet in it, and she definitely won't have a pet Abraxan named Hercules that they let her ride instead of a broomstick in Quidditch matches.

Your big brother,

She read the letter three more times, then tucked it into a pocket of the dress Marie had made especially for Meg. She'd made it at Hogwarts, just so she could charm the pockets, and most of Lily's best things were kept in it.

At a quarter to twelve, she couldn't hold off anymore, and she went through the Fireplace and into the Leaky Cauldron. Teddy was sitting at a table, watching for her. He looked straight at her, then looked away.

Lily smacked her forehead. The disguise, of course! She went over and tapped him on the shoulder. "Teddy, it's me, Lily."

"Oh! Really! Why, yes, I see you in there!"

"I couldn't look like Mum and go out!"

Teddy looked around carefully, then whispered, "Well, with your hair blacked, you look exactly like your dad, especially with the glasses."

"I'm a girl," Lily said. "I can't look that much like Daddy. I have long hair."

"Oh, you're right. Quite a good disguise. Now, what's the mission?"

Lily tapped her ears and waited for Teddy to use a Muffliato Charm, then explained all of it.

Teddy's grin faded as he listened, and at the end, he nodded gravely. "That's quite a job James gave you. He must trust you a lot."

Lily nodded.

"Come here," Teddy leaned over and pulled Lily a little closer, then tapped her glasses with his wand.

"What did you do?"

"May as well make the disguise useful," he said. "And the charm will stick, too--it's a Magnifying Charm, but it's at-will. I got the idea from a Muggle thing called a microscope. Daniel Morse let me use one. Most of the time, the glasses will just be plain, but if you need to look at something more closely, just tap them with your finger and say, 'Closer.' When you're done, say, 'Back.'"

Lily tried it, and got a very close look at a patch of brownish hair on Teddy's wrist. "Al would like this for his glasses," she said.

"I was working on it for him," Teddy said. "And your dad. So it works?"

She nodded.

"All right, then. Have at it. I'll distract the management."

Teddy went off and started a conversation with Hannah. It seemed to be about the lamps she had mounted on the far wall, as he kept pointing to them.

Lily slipped off into the shadows, trying to keep behind plants and tables and the display boxes from the different shops. She passed Uncle George's, and Flourish and Blotts, and The Willow, and finally Borgin and Burke's. This one, she looked at, using her glasses charm to look as closely as she could. There was nothing there that oughtn't be. She went on to Ollivander's, not really expecting anything there, but wanting to look at the old wand that had been in the window for a century. She made the glasses look close. She could see the weathering of the wood, the uneven surface that would feel completely smooth to someone holding it. At the tip, she could even see the shadow of the unicorn tail hair inside of it, just below the surface.

At last, she came to the display from the Boyler--the old paperbacks, and the little wooden box. The Aurors had taken it for a while, but hadn't found anything, so it was back. She peered at it with her regular eyes, and couldn't find a thing, so she tapped the frame of the glasses and said, "Closer."

Immediately, she found herself in a treacherous forest of splintered old wood, dark and oily, bound with iron belting that looked like a huge black wall of cracked stone. She scanned the surface slowly, finding the lighter edge of the wood where the silver decoration had once been, the swirl of meaningless...

She stopped.

The glasses showed the lighter field, yes--that was visible when she just looked. But at the center of the swirl there was a thinner twin swirl, minutely deeper than anything else, going to the center. Like something had been on the bottom of the silver.


She turned, and came face to face with a mountain of wool that turned into Teddy's work robes when she tapped the glasses again. "Can we go to the Boyler?" she asked.

"It's closed."

"Yes, but can we go?"

"Sure." He shrugged. "I actually have permission to be there, as I'm doing some investigating myself. I hope that doesn't spoil it."

"No, it's all right, I just need to look at it."

Teddy led her through the back of the Leaky Cauldron and into Diagon Alley. The Boyler was across from Flourish and Blotts, and it didn't look any different than it did when it was open--no one was there, and everything was dusty. Teddy let them in.

"What are we looking for?"

Lily shook her head. "James says not to look for anything, just to see what there is."

"For someone who argues so much with him, you certainly seem to admire him."

"I do not! He's a right pain."

Teddy grinned, and started moving around the shop aimlessly.

Lily climbed up onto the counter and looked around. There was a shelf of ancient hats (Teddy was going over it fondly), and a counter full of old paperbacks, and broken cauldrons, and up on the shelf above the counter, used wands (the sign said, "All wands cleared for use!") and charmed objects that looked like they'd fall apart if a good jolt of magic went through them. Then there was a gap before a line of even older looking books started.

Lily tiptoed up to see the gap better, then tapped her glasses to see more. There were scuff marks the size of the box, which looked like roads this way but were probably pretty small. They went back to the wall behind the shelf. Lily stopped.



"Can you see anything with normal eyes?"

Teddy came over immediately and pointed his wand at the gap, lighting it up. "We've looked here, and no one's seen anything."

"I see. There are lines. No bigger than hairs, but they're there."

There was a pop, then, where Teddy had stood, a hawk spread its wings. He ran the length of the shop, and got airborne, flitting up to the shelf and examining the wall (through the glasses, he looked the size of a giant siren blocking a ship's way). There was a tapping sound, then he flew out again and transformed. "It doesn't sound hollow, but I could see the lines with hawk eyes. I'm about to be less than careful, Lily."

She nodded.

He raised his wand and said, "Confringo modica."

There was a distinct pounding sound, and then a hole the size of Teddy's fist was pounded through the wall.

"Can you see anything?" he asked.

Lily nodded. "I see lots," she said.


24 comments or Leave a comment
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: May 5th, 2010 08:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, no! Adored BigBrother!James! BabySister-in-Disguise Lily!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought you might like her. :D
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 5th, 2010 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
The image of Lily changing her hair and disguising herself by 10:30 is so cute. Then Teddy's reaction to her disguise!

Did James charm Meg to "see" something? Does Meg come everywhere with Lily? Or did Meg just give him the idea to send Lily?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Meg just gave him the idea of Lily.
amamama From: amamama Date: May 5th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome! Now - what does she see? What will she and Teddy discover? Très, très interessante. *g* Got a bit confused with the description of all she saw on the box, I must admit, but my head is not quite where it belongs today, so maybe that's not so strange. But you know you really need to update soon now, don't you? I want more Teddy-awesomeness and Lily to. She's too cute, and the way she insista that James is a right pain? LOL!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think Lily understood everything she saw under microscopic examination. But essentially, she just notes that there's a second impression in the middle of the impression from the missing silver ornament--something that had been under it.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 5th, 2010 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy and Lily? An unexpected pair, but they work. And Teddy had the same thought I did about Lily's "disguise"! ::grins::
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the idea that Lily has Ginny's coloring, which provides her with a little camouflage against looking exactly like Harry.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: May 5th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lily is adorable here -- and quite competent! And I really like her interaction with Teddy. It's great that she's getting an adventure, too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I had the image of her "sneaking" around in the Cauldron in her disguise, and had to figure out how to get to it. ;p
From: severely_lupine Date: May 5th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the Potter siblings have adorable relationships with each other. The whole no-means-yes thing is very cute.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I like them myself. :D
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: May 5th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lily is now officially my favorite character. Her relationship with James is adorable and I love that Teddy humored her (especially because it turned out there was something there, I wonder what it is?). I loved the part where Lily disguised herself.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I like her, too. It's odd--Al had the spotlight in the epilogue and got a whole scene, but for me, it was Lily and James who just woke right up and told me all about themselves.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 5th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am full of Lily!love. I can't wait to find out what she sees!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm interested, too.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 5th, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the way that the story gives you the flexibility to leave the main characters. Lily and Teddy make a great pre- and post- Hogwarts pair. I'm looking forward to where their adventure will lead them!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
It's been a while since I've done multiple viewpoints. It's kind of freeing to be able to move around, though it loses something in focus.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 5th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

I love it!

This might be the most adorable chapter you've ever written. Lily reminds me of me when I was little, and I love the way Teddy interacts with her.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I love it!

Thank you! I didn't want Teddy to be there too much, but an adult needed to be around to get Lily where she needed to be, and since he's functionally the eldest brother rather than a generation up, I thought he'd work.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 6th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I LOVED Teddy explaining how he got the idea from one of those strange, exotic, Muggle devices and the chain of circumstances that even allowed him to in contact with one of those near mystical devices.

Side thing, but I can't help thinking wizard germs would look like Mr. Yuck or Pac-man characters, little roundish things with mean faces being fought off by white blood cells that look like little round smiley faces with knight helmets on top. Probably not the sort of thing Muggle researchers dare write about even if they do chance to witness it . . . .

Oh, and Lily's "disguise" was wonderful! Although it did have me wondering if she really looks like her mom or if people just say she does because of the red hair and her being a girl and if she really doesn't look more like her dad (as far as face shape, anyway). Mousey brown, possibly with curls or in a ponytail (so the hair "shape" is different) might work. Freckles might also be good.

But the key to seeing the truth about whatever the Pooka's done/left behind might be what you view it through rather than seeing it in the right light. Interesting. Not sure what it means, but interesting.

Although, as mirrors in old stories often would show the "true" reflections instead of a magical illusion disguising a person or object - and so could certain magical lenses (like looking through a rock that had formed naturally with a hole in the middle) - I'm guessing a similar rule is at work.

Either that or the details really are just pretty small.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 7th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Side thing, but I can't help thinking wizard germs would look like Mr. Yuck or Pac-man characters, little roundish things with mean faces being fought off by white blood cells that look like little round smiley faces with knight helmets on top. Probably not the sort of thing Muggle researchers dare write about even if they do chance to witness it . . . .

Like the blood cells here? :P

I think a lot of people will say you look like the parent of the same sex, especially if your coloring is similar. My mother and I both have long brown hair and roundish faces, and everyone goes on and on about how we look alike... but I actually look as much like, or more like, my father's side of the family!
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 7th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Gasp! Someone HAS gotten pictures of wizard germs and immune systems! And published it on YouTube!

Fudge must be livid :-)

From: (Anonymous) Date: May 7th, 2010 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Rereading this hours later. I meant using mousey brown hair as a DISGUISE might work better than black. Freckles spread across her face in a way that changes the direction the eye normally goes (like in Phantom Menace where Padme-as-the-queen had make-up, hair, and headgear that drew the eye across but her double had them done to draw the eye up and down, probably indicating that Padme's face was thinner and her double's was wider - or that the difference helped distract the eye from noticing other differences).

24 comments or Leave a comment