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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Four: An Accounting Error, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Four: An Accounting Error, part 3
Teddy discovered that he has a vast amount of inherited gold, including half of what Sirius left Harry (Harry was trying to figure out what Sirius would have done). He's not entirely sure what to do about it.

I'm totally off my map already, and having a great deal of fun being off of it.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Three days later, Teddy Apparated to France for his last meeting with Père Alderman before school. At first, the sessions had been more or less standard catechism lessons, but Teddy had mastered all of it easily, and at the moment, they were discussing the arguments among the mendicant orders. Alderman noticed Teddy squirming as they talked about living in poverty and depending on charity, and the entire conversation shifted to what he was meant to do with his gold--probably the most practical conversation he'd ever had with Alderman.

"You could make a gift of some of it," the priest said. "And I'm happy to pass along the information that, should you feel moved to do something about it, our steeple needs repairs."

"Done. Call Blondin."

"Thank you. But Teddy... hold onto most of it. Something like that held in reserve--I can't explain it, but I think there's a reason it's come to you. I think there may be a need for it someday."

"What if I want to become a Franciscan monk?"

Alderman snorted. "I think it's safe to say that you have no interest whatsoever in becoming any sort of monk, Teddy."

They talked briefly about the possibility of finishing Teddy's studies this summer--he would eventually be Confirmed, and there would be Confession and Communion--but ultimately, Teddy decided to put it off until after school was over. Alderman thought this a good idea, but asked Teddy to keep writing to him.

"So you can make sure I don't forget my catechism?"

"Because disappointingly few people want to talk to me about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin."

Teddy gathered his things and went home. Granny was out with Ellsworth Wintringham, so only his cat, Checkmate, was there to greet him. He scooped her up and let her lick his face for a while while he carried her into the parlor and lit the gas lamps with a flick of his wand.

"Wotcher, Teddy."

He grinned at the portrait that was propped on an easel in the corner, waiting to be packed for school. Granny had moved it for tea the other day--probably didn't want Lucius's commentary--but now she'd put it back in its summer location. "Hi, Mum," he said.

She stopped stirring the cauldron of Wolfsbane Potion that would never come to maturity and came forward to lean against the edge of the frame. "You've hardly been home."

"Sorry. I, er..."

She laughed. "It's all right. Young men have things to do. Tell me they involve a girl."

"Sorry again. Visiting Alderman."

"Oh, well. Back to school in a few days, then we'll see. Unless you've patched things up with Ruth? I do like Ruth."

"I know, Mum. I do, too. But"--he sighed--"that part of it's over, I guess."

"What about that Jane girl? You were seeing her for a while, weren't you?"

"Is this what you'd have been like? Quizzing me on my girlfriends?"

"Does it bother you?"

Teddy thought about it. "No. I kind of like it. But I'll deny it to the world if you mention anything."

"So... who's next?"

"No idea. Where's Dad?"

"Grimmauld Place. He and Grayfur have been arguing about Hogwarts again. I'm sure he'd appreciate a good way out. Go ahead, give him a yell." She moved aside and covered her ears playfully.

"Dad!" Teddy called. "And Sirius... you, too."

Sirius appeared first, coming from what appeared, in the painting, to be Kreacher's cupboard. He made an exaggerated, house elf-like bow and said, "What does Master wish of me?"

"Shut up, Sirius," Mum said.

"If Mistress wishes," Sirius said, grinning, and sat down at the table.

Dad appeared a few seconds later from the stairwell. "Teddy? What is it?"

"It's, er... the gold. Sirius's gold."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "Harry asked me about that a couple of days ago. What are the two of you on about? He wanted to know if he'd done what I wanted with it."

"Well... did he?"

"No, Teddy, if I'd known you were coming, I'd have made sure you never got a Knut. I'd have taken everything else away from you while I was at it. Why, you've no business with your hands on any--"

"Come on, Padfoot," Teddy said. "It's a fair question."

"Of course it's what I would have done," Sirius said impatiently. "Really, Teddy. I left it all to Harry because I knew your dad would've shoved anything I left to him away anyway."

"Which brings us to you," Teddy said, looking at Dad. "How do you feel about it?"

"How am I to feel? It's yours, and I'm..." He pointed at a few paint smears in the background. "Well, I'm not actually here to feel anything."

Teddy frowned at him. "What do the lot of you want me to do with it?"

"Buy a herd of racing unicorns," Sirius suggested. "Then hire jockeys and race them in the Kentucky Derby. The roses would look smashing on a unicorn."


"He means, do whatever you like," Mum translated.

"There's nothing you'd have done?"

"There might have been, but the gold isn't mine anymore. It's yours and Harry's. That's sort of the point of a will."

"What would you have done?"

"No idea."

"That's helpful."

"Leave it be, Teddy," Mum said. "It's sat quietly this long; it'll sit a bit longer."

"I know!" Sirius said. "And I mean it, I'd like it for me."

Teddy raised his eyebrows. The portraits didn't generally ask for things for themselves. "What is it?"

"Get one of those abstract paintings from the sixties, where everything is bright and swirling around. I want to see what would happen if I went into it."

Teddy laughed. "I'll see what I can find."

The front door opened, and Granny called, "Teddy? I saw the lights!"

"And think about those unicorns," Sirius said. "They'd be great."

"Unicorns?" Granny asked, coming into the room.

"Better not to ask," Mum said.

"Then I won't," Granny told her, and sat down, smiling stiffly. She hadn't adjusted very well to the portrait's presence, and her conversations with it were always stilted. Teddy tried to get the atmosphere back to the sort of relaxed one it had been before, but it was obvious that the conversation was over. He went to the kitchen with Granny, had a drink with her, and talked about the play she and Ellsworth had seen. (It was a Muggle musical in the West End, and she'd enjoyed it a great deal, but railed about how the wizarding world had fallen so far behind in the performing arts.)

Before going to bed, Teddy took out his crystal ball, an artifact he'd drawn out of the Daedalus Maze. It was something like a permanent Conjuring, according to Maddie, though, when pressed, she admitted to having no idea what it was. The visions within the Maze had no substance, and there wasn't any way it should have produced a real artifact. But as far as Teddy could tell, it was just a standard crystal ball, albeit one to which he had a particularly strong affinity. He tapped it with his wand, wondering what it would show him. Nothing was clear, but he could see a dark shadow spreading inside of it, takign the shape of the body hung from a wire in over Knockturn Alley, then moving on, swirling into man-shapes on the street, then dissipating.

Teddy shook his head. He was starting to come around to Granddad's view of the subject of Divination (or at least what Granny said it had been): the most useless skill on Earth.

He left the crystal ball out, as it occasionally helped him focus his dreams, but nothing came to him that night except an image of Sirius, standing on the cliff at Shell Cottage and laughing while a herd of racing unicorns ran around him.

The next few days were spent packing, getting his school things together for what he tried to convince himself was the last time. The portrait would be the last thing into the trunk and the first out (he'd shrink it to a quarter of its size and wrap it in about half a dozen protective spells), and except for that, he was packed completely before Ruthless's eighteenth birthday on the thirty-first. She didn't have time for much of a party, as Ron had her interviewing prisoners at Azkaban for most of the day about who Runcorn's enemies were likely to have been, but they did manage to come up with a few things. He gave her a new Beater's bat, and she promptly made a holster for it. Sam Cresswell gave her an antique looking necklace, and they laughed about whether or not "this one" had a curse on it.

Teddy kissed her cheek before he left.

He did dream that night, of the spreading shadow in the crystal ball. It seeped through the streets of the city, like the Angel of Death in Egypt, wrapping itself around lampposts, sinking between the cobblestones of Diagon Alley, finally speeding through the countryside, speeding like a train, like smoke from its stack, like--


He opened his eyes.

Uncle Harry's Patronus was standing at the foot of his bed.

"Teddy, come to the station early. Bring the Head Boy and Head Girl if you know who they are. We're going to need your help."
46 comments or Leave a comment
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: June 1st, 2010 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooo, intriguing.

It's so good to be back with Teddy, Fern. You're obviously so comfortable writing him, and as much as I enjoyed the James-and-Al adventure, I have to admit I'm glad to be spending time with a more mature protagonist again. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I was more comfortable with Teddy at eleven than with Al at eleven, too. But it does feel good to be back, and pretty soon, the whole smallest year will be on stage.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 1st, 2010 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fern, I'm lurking and enjoying your writing very much. Just one Roman Catholic nit-pick. Adult converts are not re-baptized. The Church recognizes baptism from other denominations. Instead, Teddy would receive the sacraments of Confirmation, along with First Communion and Penance.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 05:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Really? I was looking around for what the ceremony would be, and it said baptism. But I'll take a Catholic's word for it. Is there a ritual involved?
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
amamama From: amamama Date: June 1st, 2010 05:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Off your map, and what fantastic, uncharted territories there are to be found. The story has a great dynamic, it's a wonderful, wild ride. Smashing, Fern. Absolutely smashing. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Should be fun. :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 1st, 2010 05:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, the station and the Head Boy and Girl implies something happened that will concern students, but Harry's not contacting them through the teachers or the school. Interesting . . . .

Also, score one for Father Alderman knowing where Teddy stands in relation to some of the monkish vows (I assume it's the 'no dating' rule he was refering to [although it would be interesting to see Teddy talking to Father Brown or Brother Cadfael someday]).

Oh, meant to say on Narcissa, earlier: Fading. Hmm. I've been reading The Tale of Genji and some deaths happen because, according to the beliefs in Japan of a thousand years ago, a person who had a reason for a grudge might unknowingly send out his or her soul during sleep to seek vengeance. The interesting part being that the person doing it was considered essentially innocent, having no conscious desire to cause harm.

I'm guessing, however, that Narcissa's fading had more to do with some attack on her.

Which means three groups of people associated with the Voldemort regime may have been attacked, assuming Narcissa's illness and the death of a certain cousin aren't unconnected events.

But these are all very different attacks with radically different methods and different results. If these are the results of some kind of magic or curse, it might manifest differently and have different results based on whatever it finds in the person it latches onto. Alternately, there may have been a murder involved in getting a cursed item (adieu, cousin), one brutal murder, and Narcissa being a minor or accidental target.

Side thing: Just once, I'd like to see Aurors investigating a crime where the ghost stuck around to give evidence (although I know that sounds more like a Hardy Bo- er, I mean, a James adventure).

Other side things about the Sisters Black and their families: While I would not put it beyond the pale that Andromeda still felt some kind of love for Bellatrix - family loves and hates often coexisting, especially in the families that really need therapy - I'd bet Andromeda's major feelings at Bella's funeral would involve lots and lots of anger and maybe an intense wish that she could bring Bella back from the dead so she could kill her herself. As other people pointed out, it is a wise fanfic author who doesn't try to bring the surviving sisters together over Bella's grave.

As for Lucius . . . I really don't know what I think of him at the end of book 7. He wasn't as icky as I thought at the end of book 2 (then, it looked more like he might have had a thing for targeting young girls, which I later decided was false). But, outside of that, I really don't know where he falls on the good/evil scale (well, somewhere between "real stinker" and "cold-blooded killer many times over," but it's still a rather broad range).

From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 1st, 2010 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's not just the dating as such; Teddy's far too domestic to make a good celibate.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 1st, 2010 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, a portrait appearance! Teddy's seventh year will be very interesting with that as a supporting character. But what a note to end on! And, of course, I now wonder who the Head Boy and Head Girl will be.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hint: The Head Girl isn't necessarily someone Harry would have called on if he'd thought about it... though Teddy, at this point, might have.
porotito From: porotito Date: June 1st, 2010 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello Fern!

I've just read all of your lovely Teddy-verse fics (re read the first two, in fact) and thought I'd wait until the last possible chapter to comment :)

I just wanted to say that I really adore your writing and these stories. Of all the Next-Gen fic's I've read (and really, of all the HP Fic's I've read) you're stories manage to capture the atmosphere of the Potterverse the best...it feels almost as if I'm reading JKR, but not because you're styles are similar, but because you just write Potteverse so well!

There's so many examples that I had in mind to mention here, but I've forgotten them all (yay) so I'll summarise by saying that it's the little details that really manage to make this feel so true to JKR's world (oh it's on the tip of my tongue but I can't remember at all...argh!) but in saying that, you've managed to make these stories uniquely yours and stand on their own and I, for one, would love to see these published as official add ons (we can dream huh?)

I love your OC's, I love how you manage to make everyone sound and think like their age, I love how you've explored items/moments/concepts briefly mentioned in the books - the Maruaders Map and the DoM are two obvious examples - and I love, love LOVE your adult!Harry. He's perfect!

I'm a huge Marauders fan, so I enjoy the parts with James/Sirius/Remus the most and am secretly disappointed that no Lily portrait turns up, but that's just my obsessive fangirl love for Lily and James coming through :)

That long rambling comment was really just me saying, in a slightly more coherent way OMGSH FERN I LOVE YOUR WORK YOU ARE TEH AWESOME OK THANKS BYE!

Really enjoying this story so far and can't wait to see the mystery unravel!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for the kind words, and dropping by to leave them. :D

Yeah, the lack of Lily in the portraits is something of a weakness, but Teddy just doesn't feel especially connected to her, so I couldn't make much of a case for her showing up for him. I love the Marauders, too, and I MISS them!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: June 1st, 2010 07:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Yay, a cliffhanger!

In the 50s, in the US, kids who went to Catholic school did first Penance, First Communion and Confirmation over one epic May weekend. Saturday was First Communion, with the big white dress and as many frilly can-can slips as you could fit, and a bouquet of white carnations. Then on Sunday for Confirmation you wore the same dress, but with a hoopskirt buried in the layers of tulle, a red sash, and red carnations. I don't think they do this anymore, but we got a gentle slap on the cheek to symbolize the suffering we were prepared to endure for our faith (not to "slap the devil out of you"!!).

I mention these things because the Wizarding world is sort of backward socially, and the customs I grew up with came over from Ireland with the clergy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
That does seem to have changed after Vatican 2; my Catholic friends had First Communion very small--seven or eight?--and I remember being quite jealous, but were Confirmed in high school (I remember the search for Confirmation names).
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 1st, 2010 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Catholic nit-pick here:

-he would eventually be re-baptized,

No, no, no. Really not. You can't be re-baptised in the Catholic (or indeed orthodox or Anglican or most protestant) understanding. If Teddy's been baptised as an Anglican, then that baptism is absolutely valid in Roman Catholic eyes. The reason for this, incidentally, is that anyone can carry out a valid baptism as long as it's done using the Trinitarian formula "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." You don't have to be a priest, unlike with some of the other sacraments, or a bishop (confirmation), so it doesn't matter that the RCs don't accept the validity of of Anglican confirmation, i.e. they think that our priests are laypeople, but that doesn't affect the validity of the baptism.

If there is doubt as to whether someone has been properly baptised, then the formula used is "N, if you have not already been baptised, I baptise you in the name of the Father (etc)". But that's technically called "conditional baptism" and is not in any-sense re-baptism. It wouldn't apply to Teddy, I assume, as the church where he was done must have records (and are there witnesses?) It generally only comes into play if someone has been baptised when they were so desperately ill that it was thought they might die before a priest could be fetched, or - and this is more usual in the UK - if someone who was brought up by atheist parents whose own parents were Christian comes to faith. It's not unheard of for granny to sheepishly confess to having baptised the child herself at home - but without witnesses, there's some doubt as to whether that's valid.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 1st, 2010 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Ack, sorry, I see someone else has addressed it above. But I've always admired how you write Alderman's faith in particular, so I was keen to help you get the details right.

As an adult convert (I'm an Anglican rather than an RC, but a good friend of mine became an RC as an adult, having been Anglican), Teddy would make his first confession shortly before he was confirmed, and would then recieve communion after confirmation, probably but not necessarily at the confirmation service (confirmations don't have to be done as part of a Mass, but they often are, especially if there's only one candidate). Confirmations are often done on Easter Eve, but this isn't a rule at all, and I expect as Teddy is older and not coming through as a cohort of kids from the parish instruction class that they might do him separately (this is certainly what happened to my friend). Alderman will of course need to get a bishop in to do it, but this needn't be the bishop of his diocese (either for sentimental reasons, or because the diocesan is too busy).

It's not impossible that Alderman might have heard Teddy's confession already, incidentally (for instance in the aftermath of Greyback's death); technically this is against the rules, if the penitent is not RC,* but I know a lot of European clergy might stretch the point, particularly in an acute situation of pastoral need, which I think Teddy's qualifies as. But that's a matter for Alderman's conscience (so you can take it whichever way you please).

* and not dying; no priest would turn away a Protestant who was on their death bed.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 1st, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. I love Alderman and Teddy's conversations.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love that kind of conversation in general.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: June 1st, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad that Teddy has Alderman to talk to. As a wise, non-family member who knows the family well, he's in a perfect position to be a sounding board. Teddy always seems smart about who he trusts. And now you've left me on the edge of my seat wondering about the next attack and just who the Head Boy and Head Girl are!
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: June 2nd, 2010 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Buy a herd of racing unicorns," Sirius suggested. "Then hire jockeys and race them in the Kentucky Derby. The roses would look smashing on a unicorn."
"Get one of those abstract paintings from the sixties, where everything is bright and swirling around. I want to see what would happen if I went into it."

LOL. I think I know what to ask for when you do an open call for prompts! This was great, irreverent Sirius at his best.

It seems Teddy is going to be of some use after all!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 2nd, 2010 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh.. just adore this.... you keep leaving me on tenterhooks!
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 4th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
While a lot of people are discussing religion, I can't help but coo over Checkmate~ awww, I forgot about her! Thanks for not leaving anyone out. Ouu, cliffhanger~ but I get to read the next chapter right away!
46 comments or Leave a comment