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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Two: Rocky Mountain High, part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Two: Rocky Mountain High, part 1
Okay, Chapter One opened with a crime. Recently released Ministry officials--not Death Eaters, but workers who were perhaps a bit too enthusiastically obedient to Voldemort--have caused some consternation in the wizarding community, and Harry is on edge, remembering Barty Crouch Jr (as Moody) saying that there was nothing he hated more than a Death Eater who escaped. He thinks that it might draw out violence against those who weren't entirely loyal... or that the anger on the other side would boil over. Either way, he knows he's going to have to deal with the war again, and he isn't surprised when violence comes in the form of a murder--a particularly gruesome death and mutilation of Albert Runcorn, the official he impersonated in TDH. He, Ron, and Ruthless (now Ron's apprentice) investigate, and Ruthless finds a sewing needle in the body's eye. It explodes, and words appear: "You can pass the justice of this world, but you cannot pass through the needle's eye."

Teddy knows nothing of this, as he's been otherwise occupied...

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"The lightning looks closer here," Maurice Burke said to no one in particular, looking anxiously up at the dome that was protecting the boys on the mountainside from the furious storm around them. He was sitting in a tightly coiled position, making him look even smaller than he was. The others kept trying to tell him that he had a couple of good growth spurts left in him, but most of them had privately given it up as a bad job.

Corky Atkinson, on the other hand, had got quite huge, and no one doubted that he had at least a few more inches in him. "We're at nearly ten thousand feet," he said. "The lightning is closer."

"Will the dome hold?"

"Only if you really believe in it, and clap your hands, and say, 'I do believe in Charms Class, I do believe in Charms Class.'"

Maurice glared at him. "Sod off."

Roger Young wasn't paying attention to this. His eyes kept drifting over to a pair of cages that were set up on the table between the tents. "We really should let them out," he said. "They've learnt their lesson, I'm sure."

"Let 'em stew," Corky said, rolling his eyes. "If they're going to do illegal magic, and get caught by Muggles sneaking around a concert hall, and make me waste hours tracking them down and risking getting caught by some Muggle gamekeeper..."

"Oh, yes, you were nearly thrown in prison," Maurice said. "Was she sending secret messages to the authorities with all that eyelash batting she was doing?" He clasped his hands over his heart, and made a fluttery sort of sound.

Corky sighed. "You know, it's true. She was nice. And good-looking if you like the all natural type. Maybe I should take them back. She really wanted a pet raccoon when I told her it was all the rage in Canada. And it really does need to go to a good home."

One of the cages shuddered, as a large raccoon rammed against the side. In the other, a hawk screeched, but was drowned out by another clap of thunder. Maurice jumped and looked up at the sky, spooked.

In his cage, Teddy Lupin tapped his talons against the bars. Corky had made them Unbreakable, which made it quite impossible to transform back to his real shape. Donzo was in the same predicament, all because they'd decided that they wanted to see how Muggle concert eqipment worked, and the stage manager--who didn't know Donzo McCormack from Adam--had turned them down and locked up. There was a small opening that they could get through as animals, but they hadn't counted on a late night dress rehearsal, or on having animal control called in. There hadn't been a moment out of Muggle sight until Corky had bargained them out, saying they were pets who'd got away.

The rain, which Teddy had thought was coming down as hard as it could, got harder, turning the protective dome they'd Conjured a bright, opaque white.

Corky came over the cages. "All right, Lupin. McCormack. If I let you out, will you beg forgiveness?"

Teddy turned and showed his tailfeathers, and the hiss that came from Donzo's cage sounded like the same sort of answer.

"Oh, all right. Finite incantatem. And Alohomora."

The cage door popped open, and Teddy hopped out, jumped down to the ground, and transformed. "You're spending too much time with Higgs," he said. "You're turning evil."

"We knew it would happen," Donzo said, coming up from all fours.

Corky made a vaguely obscene gesture, then lay down on top of his sleeping bag. "So, presuming the two of you aren't going to find some new and creative way into prison, what's up for tomorrow?"

"Maybe we'll just leave you here," Teddy said.

"I want to hike the trail up to the old train depot," Roger suggested, ignoring the sparring. I told Hagrid I'd see if I could spot a cactus cat."

"We're mostly out of cactus territory," Donzo said, stretching hugely. "We should have checked for those back in New Mexico."

"Yes, well, unfortunately, we had to make a quick exit from Santa Fe," Corky said.

"Can we hike it anyway?" Roger asked. "It looks like a nice walk."

Maurice, who looked as though Roger had proposed a pleasant walk along the River Styx, shook his head wildly. "I think we'd best get on to Denver. Don's got a show."

"We're all of age," Teddy pointed out. "We can Apparate if it gets late."

Donzo sighed. "He's right, Mo. You got to call what we were doing in New York."

"Oh, fine." Maurice slumped down with the air of a martyr to madness. "But let's go into town first, get the gold deposited and sent back to Gringotts."

This was agreeable to everyone, which was something of a rarity. In previous summers, they'd had to travel with the Weird Sisters, on their tour schedule. For the first time, they were free to go anywhere at all--provided Donzo got to the shows all right--and it hadn't occurred to them that they all wanted to see entirely different things. Donzo and Roger, who'd got to be friends last year, as they were the only two NEWT students in Care of Magical Creatures, were anxious to be in natural settings. Corky had toured most of the magical sites in the States with his parents when he'd been young, and he wanted to see Muggle tourist sites (including odd things like a giant ball of twine and several horrendously ugly plastic statues). Maurice wanted to take in the cultural sites in New York and Boston ("And Los Angeles, if that's really culture"), and Teddy himself was fond of historical sites where oddly timid guides joked nervously about the Revolution, then apologized, whey-faced, for having been potentially offensive. (Not that he cared for this posture--it was much more annoying than the bombastic parade masters--but he loved seeing all of the old houses and furniture and trappings of the lives of great men and women. They all carried a charge that was almost magical in nature, like they'd absorbed some of the fierce energy of the people who had once lived among them. He thought he might study this in his rotation through the Time division next year. Uncle Harry might even let him ransack Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, for artifacts.)

Still, they'd managed to get through the differences with only a few setbacks. It was just a question of fairness and taking turns, and they were all too enamored of their freedom to let arguments spoil the summer.

The question settled for the moment, they all gathered around the campfire, keeping warm and talking about very little. Corky took his share of teasing about Honoria Higgs, largely because he knew none of them really meant it anymore (he did tend to lose his temper with people who attacked her sincerely, and it wasn't pretty). Teddy told a story he'd heard about a madman who stalked campers, looking for his golden arm. Donzo sang a little bit, including the inevitable "Rocky Mountain High," and they passed around a bottle of Firewhiskey. None of them drank much of it--at ten thousand feet here in Osier, Colorado, they were quite lightheaded enough without it.

Morning came in a flash of brilliant gold, the sunrise reflecting on the trees and fields still heavily laden with last night's rain. The glimmering tracks of a Muggle train wrapped themselves around the mountain like a sparkling brook, and morning flowers opened themselves up to the sun.

"I could get used to this," Donzo said, pouring a cup of tea and looking out over all of it.

Groggily, Teddy agreed, and set about making his own breakfast.

By the time they'd all eaten, they were quite awake, and they cleaned up camp to Disapparate to the small city of Alamosa, where Roger thought they could get a trail map at the single known wizarding store, which was also the wizarding bank, and the wizarding post office. If the Muggles thought anything of the rows of owls nesting on the porch rail, they didn't seem to show it. As Teddy went up the stairs, a passing girl tossed a meatball into the air, and an owl flew up to catch it. The girl giggled and went by without looking back or commenting on it.

Maurice led the way in. A bell over the door chimed softly into a dusty room with unfinished wooden walls and exposed ceiling beams. Most of the shelves were taken up with camping gear that was equally unuseful to wizards and Muggles, or with plastic kitsch that no one in his right mind would buy. Most of it had accumlated a furry coat of dust. In one corner, a non-descript set of shelves held glass balls set in plastic dragon's talons, poorly rendered unicorn figures, and what appeared to be gnomes in wizard's hats. Maurice went straight to this and tapped a few of the gnomes. Frowning, he tried the unicorn.

A fresh breeze blew through the shop, the dust swirling away to reveal magical supplies of all sorts, potions ingredients behind the counter, sweets of the same sort Teddy might find in Honeydukes (though there was collection of sugar skulls from Mexico that only periodically made their way to Hogsmeade), and a rack of newspapers from around the world. A small wizard in cowboy boots and a tall hat appeared at the counter and said, "What can I do for you folks?"

"Got some gold to deposit to Gringotts in London," Maurice said, going over.

While he took care of that business, Teddy browsed the bookshelves, looking for anything of local interest, while Corky amused himself with the kitschy unicorn figurines and Roger and Donzo went looking for maps near the newspapers. He was fully involved in the cover text of a book on Mexican Herbologists when Donzo came up and said, "Lupin."

He looked up dazedly, expecting that Donzo would be impatiently tugging the others along to go on the hike. Instead, all four of them were there, and Donzo had a copy of the Daily Prophet.

"What's happened?" Teddy asked, noting their grave faces. "My granny? Uncle Harry?"

"What?" Donzo shook his head quickly, negating the possibility. "No, but--"

He turned the newspaper around and opened it so Teddy could see the headline, which was in four-inch scare type:

Has The War Come Back To Town?"
22 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 20th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
"The question settled for the nonce,"

I genuinely had to look this up to see what you meant by this turn of phrase.. because nonce in British slang means, well, something different.

After the great 'does Gryffindor rhyme with Ravenclaw?' debate (it clearly does!), its always interesting to spot these differences in language, even if this one is somewhat unfortunate.

Great chapter, looking forward to part 2 :)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 20th, 2010 07:53 am (UTC) (Link)
That's good to know! That's one of those phrases I wouldn't even think to question. I'll change it to "moment."
amamama From: amamama Date: May 20th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
O-k... And what does the article say? I have dozens of questions spilling out of my brain, but I won't type up more. Suffice to say that I enjoyed this peek into Teddy's mates and what they were up to in the summer. And the shop! Next time I come across a dusty shop similar to this, I'm going to check all the figurines to see if something happens. *grin*

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, you can trip across shops like this anywhere, so I figured it would be good camo. ;p
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 20th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
If there's one thing I envy profoundly, is the ability to Apparate. What a cheap way to see the world. And a quick to get to work.

Very nice chapter, the amazing sense of freedom of teenagers alone for the first time was captured perfectly. Too bad a murder ruined it. I'm quite excited, though.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
There has to be some kind of cost involved with Apparating internationally--the Weasleys had to spend most of their won gold to go on a trip to Egypt, which, if they Side-Alonged the younger kids in a few jumps, would have been more or less free, supposing they stayed with Bill. (Not that these costs probably couldn't be figured around, or entirely ignored as I've done when I've had people do this, but there does seem to be cost involved in travel. I'm just wondering how that works!)
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 20th, 2010 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
What fun to see them with their fledging independence...and with their different interests too come to think of it. I always find your HP America and HP Canada facsinating.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
It's fun to see how Rowling's structure of the magic world and the nature of magic in HP might work in entirely quite different cultures.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 20th, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy & Company's summer road trip sounds like so much fun. That much freedom can definitely go to a teenager's head, though--Teddy and Donzo probably needed that little stint in the cages after getting captured in Animagi form. Nicely ominous note to end on--eagerly awaiting the next!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I was sort of with Corky there. Careless transforming=bad news.
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: May 20th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Corky wants to see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota! Awesome. :)

I am really enjoying this story and I can't wait to read the Daily Prophet article.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
All of those little roadside attractions... they're so weird they're almost interesting. Corky's also out to see the Muffler Men.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 20th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was reading the James/Al story, it was like visiting other people. But with Teddy and the gang it's like coming home. I really liked the way that you showed how they've developed different tastes as they've grown. I <3 Corky~ go Canadians go! I'm looking forward to see how the group will get involved with this mystery.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
That's how it feels for me, too. James was fun, but hard work. This is just relaxing with the guys.
at_upton From: at_upton Date: May 20th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! First chapter makes me even more excited for this story. Also makes me want to come home from England and drive out west. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 21st, 2010 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
The Rockies are very impressive, and moving up to a higher altitude... yeah, the lightning really does seem closer. It freaked me out the first time I was out in a storm.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 21st, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
When did Donzo and Teddy become Animagi? I forget.

I miss the mountains. Poor Maurice forced to hike! What's the gold from? Donzo's show?

Love the glimpse at the USA magical community.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 22nd, 2010 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Donzo's concert supplied the gold.

Donzo and Teddy became Animagi in Daedalus Maze--Donzo here (Chapter 22) and Teddy here (Chapter 29).
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 22nd, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for the refresher! It's been a year and a half, I guess I"ve forgotten the details!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 23rd, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy cow, where did that time go? :investigates mysterious swirling vortexes, then checks age and realizes, oops, oh yeah... right. That.:
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: May 28th, 2010 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice to see the gang back together.
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: May 29th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved the Animagus drama--too cute! LOL
22 comments or Leave a comment