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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Three: Ruthless, part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Three: Ruthless, part 2
Teddy's gone to see Ruthless at the Auror Division, where she's hard at work on the case, with the help of Sam Cresswell, another Auror who Teddy discovers she's gone out with a few times. He feels a little overwhelmed by the changes in their positions in life, and decides to just leave the Ministry for the day. Thereby freeing me to let him talk to other people. ;p

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy entertained himself for an hour or so in a Muggle book shop. At noon, he stood for a long time in front of a nearby cinema, considering the various titles. There were six--something with an explosion on the poster and no text except the title (Smashup), two that seemed to be about nearly identical teenage girls who looked anxious about something that probably had to do with the boys shown lurking behind them, something for children that featured an anthropomorphic flower grinning in a field, a hazy picture that was covered with commentary from reviewers, and a funny romance called Tiger By The Tail, which apparently had a zoo tiger playing matchmaker to a ferny looking woman in blue jeans and a stuffy businessman who, in fact, was holding its tail. Teddy decided it was probably more amusing to make up plots for the posters than the films themselves would be, so he moved on after a while. He thought of calling Jane Hunter, a Muggle-born girl he'd gone out with for a few weeks last year, later, to see if she'd like to see the one with the tiger--it looked like a prime example of what she called a "SID," a snog-in-the-dark story--but decided against it.

Instead, he took a bus to Charing Cross Road, and went to Diagon Alley. Most of the shops were doing a lazy summer business. George Weasley had set up a hovering raincloud outside his shop, and children were running around in their bathing clothes. The Willow, a restaurant owned by the parents of Teddy's friend Tinny, looked crowded enough through the window. Teddy went on by.

He stopped at the mouth of Knockturn Alley, which was marked with Aurors' flares, which kept passers-by from seeing, or disturbing, the crime scene. Curiously, he passed through the field. He didn't notice any sensation in particular. He didn't have any clearance to remove them, and didn't know how to see through them, so he spread his hands out over the bricks, trying to get a sense of any spells other than the flares had been done here. It had hardly been a clean area to start with, though, so he couldn't isolate any particular--

"You'll come back here and listen to me, Burke!"

"I've listened enough!"

Footsteps clacked up along the stones, and Teddy started to raise his hand to Henry Burke, Maurice's father. He lowered it when he saw that Mr. Burke had his head lowered belligerantly, and was being followed by Mr. Borgin. Maurice's great-grandfather, Caractacus Burke, had left the greater part of his interest in Borgin and Burke's to his first son, Maurice's great-uncle, who had passed it to his own daughter. She spent most of her time abroad, as Teddy understood it, looking for new merchandise. There was no particular reason that Borgin would be arguing with Henry.

Teddy did a Disillusioning spell on himself, and stood tight against the wall.

Borgin caught up with Mr. Burke and spun him around. "You bloody well haven't. D'you think this is a plaything? D'you think it doesn't have ways of protecting itself? Even the Aurors know that. Why do you think they let me stay in business? We can't let it out of family hands, and I don't have any family."

"That is in no manner my fault," Mr. Burke said, trying to pull away. "Nor am I responsible for my cousin failing to produce an heir before her death. I have no interest in the shop."

"Yes, you do. In fact, you have twenty percent interest in the shop. That you haven't decided to touch that gold and are living in a flat over a used fingernail shop is, as you put it, in no manner my fault."

"You can have my twenty percent. Just get me out of your damned will. I don't want the other eighty."

"You're not listening! I can't. You're all that's left."

Mr. Burke spun on Borgin and pushed him into the wall across from Teddy. "That bloody shop," he spat, "nearly killed my boy Wendell. I don't want it and I won't have it." He let go, shoving himself away from Borgin, and strode out of Knockturn Alley.

Borgin straightened his robes, wrinkled his nose, and said, "Well, there are ways around that." He turned and went back into Knockturn Alley.

Teddy broke the Disillusioning Charm and frowned. Maurice hadn't mentioned his cousin dying. He'd briefly mentioned that his brother Wendell was always ill--that was why Wendell hadn't come to Hogwarts two years ago--but he hadn't said anything about Wendell nearly being killed by something in the shop, and he hated the shop like poison, so he wasn't likely to cover for it.

He'd have to tell Uncle Harry or Ruthless about this later. He didn't think that the Burkes would run into trouble over it, but Borgin... for all Teddy knew, Borgin had strung Runcorn up across the alley--right under Maurice's family's flat, actually--as some kind of warning.

Shaking his head, he stepped back out into the sunlight of Diagon Alley, and walked past three buildings to the brand new offices of Charmpress, the Apcarnes' publishing house. Through the window, he could see Frankie himself, sitting at a desk looking through...

Muggles and Minions books.

Teddy rolled his eyes and went in.

"Busy day?"

Frankie grinned. "Not especially. We had everything planned except the possibility of not getting enough manuscripts that we could actually sell. A few dozen completely unpublishable ones, of course, but there's no point investing the gold in publishing things we won't be able to sell to anyone. I don't suppose you have one of your cat stories handy... I could start a children's imprint here and now."

"Yes, that would look good. Publishing your friend and turning down strangers."

"My friend knows a subject from a predicate."

Teddy shrugged. "I'll see what I can come up with under a pseudonym. No sense giving the wrong impression. Besides, James might want to write one. The cat stories are really his, you know."

"I have enough people in my slush-pile who write like ten-year-olds," Frankie said.

A door in back opened, and a small girl with dark brown hair came into the office. Tinny Gudgeon was never going to be a great beauty, but there was no single feature about her that stood out as unpleasant, either. Plus, she was smart and funny and had been one of the first people Teddy had made friends with in his year. He liked her a great deal. She waved to him. "I thought I heard you. Aren't you meant to be--?"

"--riding in a rodeo while chasing jackalopes around New York City?"

"Something like that."

"I heard about the murder and came back."

Thankfully, neither Tinny nor Frankie questioned this at all. Tinny just sat down on the arm of Frankie's chair (he put his arm around her waist) and said, "Has Frankie got to you about the cat stories yet?"

"You planned this?"

"I'm desperate for something big," Frankie said. "And I've been on about those stories for two years now. I really need your help, Lupin."

"You really count on me having a lot of Hufflepuff in me, don't you?"

Frankie nodded. Teddy rolled his eyes.

Tinny grabbed a few Muggles and Minions books and started flipping through the top one. "We're going to coordinate games this year," she said. "Do you want to come to the Friday night games in August? I can work Wings into the story. And then we'll have the same arc going all year, and Frankie and I will write back and forth about what's going on in two fronts of a war, and when we finish school, we'll be all set to join."

Teddy nodded absently and took a seat. "Have the pair of you heard anything about Borgin and Burke's?"

Tinny gave him a blank stare, and Frankie shook his head. "No--why?"

Teddy told them briefly about the argument, not including any theorizing about the murder and framing it in terms of concern for Maurice, who they both liked a lot.

"Sounds iffy to me," Tinny said.

"Wendell came in here last year," Frankie said. "I think he was bored. He was with the cousin. They both looked quite ill, but that's all I can add."


"I wonder what he means about the shop defending itself," Tinny mused. "Would it explode and take all of Diagon Alley with it or something?"

"No idea," Teddy said. He sighed. "I'll ask Maurice."

"You're going to tell Burke that you eavesdropped on his father while you were Disillusioned?" Tinny asked, and feigned being deeply impressed. "No wonder you're a Gryffindor. That'll take a good bit of the famed bravery."

Teddy conceded her point, then steered the conversation away, and into the realm of finding a name that he could put on one of the cat adventure stories that he'd always written for James. They came up with a handful of them, but Teddy didn't want to choose one without James's approval, as the stories were his as well. After tea, he let them get back to work (a post owl had brought a manuscript which had made Frankie wince theatrically as soon as he saw the author's name) and decided that, if he wanted to find out about dark spells in Knockturn Alley, Granny would be as good to ask as anyone. He took a chance that she'd be back at their own home, and in fact could see a candle on the kitchen table as he walked in from the Apparition point.

"Granny?" he called. "I was wondering about--"

He stopped.

Granny was home... but she had set out what looked like an extensive tea, and was laughing brightly at something one of her guests had said.

Sitting on the other three sides of Granny's table were Narcissa, Lucius, and Draco Malfoy.
30 comments or Leave a comment
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: May 27th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh! I can't remember what kind of dynamic you've set up (if you have at all) between the Malfoys and Teddy. I imagine he gets long with Draco since he knows him from lectures at school but I'm interested in seeing how he is with the elders.

I really love your Teddy. I don't think I've seen anyone else do a better version. =D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 27th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
I had a scene with them set in sixth year, but I think I may move it to this year so I don't have to do a flashback.

He's not entirely sure what to make of Draco--after all, the first time they met, Draco told him that he was the most likely Dark wizard in a room full of Slytherins!
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 27th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC) (Link)
"A door in back opened, and a small, girl with dark brown hair came into the office."

The comma after small seems misplaced. And, ""Wendell came in here last year," Frankie said. "I think was bored. " I think a 'he' is missing from there.

Other than that, interestingggg. Very interesting. Oh poor Maurice, this year's going to become his worst nightmare isn't it? T_T
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 27th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Ack, the comma. I took the word "plain" out of there when I decided to describe Tinny, but apparently I forgot the punctuation. I have no idea where the "he" went, though.

Yeah, I figured it was a good time to torture Maurice a little.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I had a feeling that would be a popular plot twist. ;p
From: tree_and_leaf Date: May 27th, 2010 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, intriguing!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Hope it stays that way...
amamama From: amamama Date: May 27th, 2010 10:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, ho, ho. Here we go! *chesire grin* I'm rubbing my hands together in glee, filled to the brim with anticipation. Lovely, lovely. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm actually looking forward to seeing how this works out. I can't imagine why Andromeda has allowed Lucius in her home (though I think it's a rather pedestrian reason at the moment).
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 27th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Malfoys! Always interesting.

And can't wait to hear what Maurice has to say.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to be dealing with all of Teddy's year-mates this year.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 27th, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
A Malfoy visit. Interesting but on some level, ewww. Personally, I still resent that they got off so lightly in the war, though I suppose surviving without the power and influence they used to enjoy could be considered their punishment. But at least they're all alive. ::is bitter::
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Narcissa redeemed herself and Draco did try to save Harry, Ron, and Hermione when they were captured... but Lucius... ah, Lucius. What to make of him?
From: severely_lupine Date: May 27th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Still not reading the story yet, but I wanted to share something. The other day, I saw some paperwork for a company called Lupin Construction, and I couldn't help thinking of the werewolf crew who built Teddy's place. I had a little giggle over that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I had a little giggle, too; thanks.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: May 27th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this bit about the Borgin and Burkes shop is absolutely fascinating. And then with that cliff hanger (what are the Malfoys doing there!) really has me wanting more. Wonderful job as usual.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope the shop thing pans out. It's one of those little things--why in the world do they let B&B's do business?--that's easy to ignore when other things are going on, but handy to hang things on when things are slow.
From: amethystbeloved Date: May 27th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
How I heart your Hufflepuffs! I never realized how darling they were until I've discovered your fan fiction. Teddy is a Grydindor but with a dose of Hufflepuff in the mix thanks to his friends.

Yay, the Malfoys! I can't wait to see what comes next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's thanks to his mother as well!

Cedric really sold me on Hufflepuff as an awesome House. Go, Badgers!
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: May 27th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah ha ha ha ha.... I love interactions between Teddy and Draco. Looking forward to the next chapter!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Me, too. I may even write it tonight.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 27th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Uh, I can't wait.

It's interesting how you worked the Wendell thing into an intriguing plot! That shop seems exactly like the place curious kids would get in real trouble. Also, I want the cousin's job. Travelling the world shopping for antiques? Even if you have to get into dark places to get them, not a bad life!
From: amethystbeloved Date: May 27th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you know how much we should already know about Wendell? I'm drawing a blank...
pevara From: pevara Date: May 27th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a long-time lurker, but have finally decided to actually comment. I'm loving the beginning of this story (especially the encounter with Ruthless--even though I love the way you write Victoire/Teddy and Ruthless/James, there will always be a part of me that wants Teddy and Ruthless to live happily ever after), and am quite psyched for Maurice-drama. I also laughed out loud at the movie poster descriptions--Tiger by the Tail sounds blissfully awful!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Welcome aboard the comments section!

I'd totally watch Tiger by the Tail on Netflex Instant. Ah, the stupid rom-coms. Good way to waste some time.
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: May 28th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the mysterious cousin needs a name. I was a bit confused on the family tree and some of the action until I read this chapter a second time.

I'm enjoying this story as always, and I am curious about how the Malfoys are doing.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 28th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree. Maybe I'll try to find a way to work in her name in Teddy's thought process. If I can think of it, which I'd better.
mollywheezy From: mollywheezy Date: May 30th, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE the rain cloud in front of WWW. Way to go, George! :D
30 comments or Leave a comment