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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seven: Telling Tales, part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Seven: Telling Tales, part 1
Teddy's year has started its final classes, with more emphasis on doing original spellwork and potions. In History of Magic, Binns has been forced to introduce the "recent conflict" to his curriculum, much to his annoyance. Much to everyone else's annoyance, it remains Geoffrey Phillips' best subject, and he spent the summer researching the final year of the war. He rather gleefully tells his classmates--only Donzo, Honoria, and Teddy--about the forced terminations of pregnancies that lost many people who would have been in their year. Honoria refuses to believe flatly, but Donzo confirms it--his mother was rescued from just such a procedure, which is how he came to be born in the States. Teddy, who's known a lot of Healers through his life, writes to Andromeda, whose return letter confirms what happened, though she was already gone from St. Mungo's. She mentions that it wasn't Healers, but DEs who did it, and that many good Healers stayed there for the same reasons that McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout stayed at Hogwarts--they didn't want to abandon their charges to the mercy of the Death Eaters.

This section ends in medias res, since it's a long, continuous scene.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

The first issue of the Charmer came out on Friday, and to Teddy's unpleasant surprise, Geoffrey had written a long and detailed article about his findings. At some point, an editor must have removed references to Healers performing the procedures--given Geoffrey, Teddy didn't think he'd re-considered his position on his own--but the rest was there, and many students read it with ashen faces, their eyes darting toward the seventh years with frightened awe. It was hard to argue that the piece wasn't newsworthy, and certainly, it was well-researched, but something about it made Teddy feel queasy. He wasn't sure he'd ever feel quite as at ease in St. Mungo's as he always had before.

Over the next week, it was the talk of Hogwarts. Teachers in disparate subjects were pulled off topic to discuss it. Younger students asked seventh years how they'd managed to be born safely, at least until Maurice pointed out that they'd hardly been instrumental in the process, being newborns at the time. There was some call to meet the ones who had escaped to other countries and actually stayed there, and Honoria published an editorial in the next issue saying that she would do what she could to find and interview them.

On his second Saturday back at Hogwarts, Teddy was awakened just before breakfast by a bright white light on his ceiling. He sat up, expecting possibly Corky's bear or Donzo's raccoon, with an idea to waste some time before serious homework started. Instead, the Patronus swirled uncertainly for a long time, then formed a shadowy outline of a long-eared cocker spaniel. Its mouth dropped open, but it didn't speak. It disappeared.

A moment later, Corky's bear did appear. "Sorry, Lupin, been trying to teach Honoria the charm, but she hasn't got it yet. She wants everyone to meet in the antechamber outside the Great Hall after breakfast. I have to send to the other dormitories now. How do you do this more than one at once?"

The bear left.

Teddy rubbed his eyes and rolled out of bed (Checkmate, who'd been sleeping on his pillow, gave a startled meow when it shifted and rolled her onto the mattress). He knew that the Patronus could be sent to more than one place at once, but he'd never asked Uncle Harry how that was accomplished.

By the time he got to the Great Hall, most of the other seventh years were there, looking cross and not terribly cooperative. There didn't seem any point in waiting until after breakfast, so they each took a bit of food and headed to the antechamber. Teddy remembered arriving here, that first night, when they'd realized how few of them there were. He remembered very little of what anyone had said, except that Geoffrey hadn't wanted to wear his robes, Donzo had been dropping names right and left, and that Oliver Wood had somehow used Quidditch to save a few of them.

Without much fuss, they settled around a long table. They'd all met in here before--fifth year, the Hufflepuffs had led a drive to work together on a project assigned by Robards--and it had always felt to Teddy, somewhat obscurely, like their room.

Honoria and Corky were the last to arrive, and both were carrying several scrolls. Six quills poked out of the corner of Honoria's book bag.

She sat down and smiled. "Well, we're all here."

"I was going to have a lie-in," Roger Young said. "I was up half the night helping Hagrid with some baby mokes for the third years."

"Sorry," Honoria said. "But I thought if I waited, everyone would have got involved in homework."

Tinny yawned. "Is there some reason we're here?"

"I'm following up on Geoffrey's piece," Honoria said.

"I can follow up my own piece!"

She sighed. "I'm doing the human interest angle. Not your strong suit."


"Why don't you use those well-honed research skills of yours to track down the ones who escaped? There's a lot of interest."

Geoffrey grumbled, but settled in.

"So," Honoria said, "I've already heard McCormack's story, and I've an owl out to his mum to get the rest of it--"

Donzo sat up straight, suddenly quite awake. "What?"

She looked at him like he'd just given a long speech in an imaginary language, then said, "And now, I want to find out about the rest of you. I'm going to do profiles of each of us this year, but this will be different. This is the beginning."

Jane Hunter raised her hand. "Is there some reason you need the Muggle-borns here? Geoff and Roger and Joe and Franklin and I don't really have any daring tales. Someone had already hidden the Hogwarts list, so no one came for us."

"I want to stay and find out," Joe Palmer said.

Franklin Driscoll nodded eagerly. "Me, too. It's interesting."

"Ghoulish, is what it is," Maurice grumped.

Connie Deverell stood up. "It's not." She bit her lip. "There were heroes. And I don't think they've really had enough of a thank you."

"Oh, right," Geoffrey said. "I've noticed so much ignoring of the war heroes."

"So, you must have heard all about Oliver Wood," Connie said.

"Some Quidditch idiot who was at the battle, right?"

"He was at the battle," Connie said. "But the year before, he used the international Quidditch leagues to get people to safety."

"Right!" Brendan Lynch, the third Slytherin boy--and no one's idea of a genius--stood up, looking more engaged than Teddy had ever seen him look. "My dad, he was Seeker for the Irish National Team, but he was Muggle-born. Married a pure-blood Slytherin girl, too, which meant that the Death Eaters really hated him. Only he didn't know it right off. He came to England on a trade that summer, to Puddlemere, just before everything went mad, and the Death Eaters were watching him, so we couldn't leave but--"

"But Wood came through," Connie said.

"Exactly." Brendan smiled. "Sneaked him out right under the Death Eaters' noses. Made a fake Snitch, and Dad followed it straight to a Bulgarian named Zolgrof, who said he was recruiting for Bulgaria, and he swept them right off to Sofia. That's where I was born."

"Same story for me," Connie said. "But it ended in Tel Aviv. Amazing how many Quidditch recruiters happened to come in. The Ministry put up a horrible stink about them leaving, but they didn't want to misbehave too much in front of the foreign Ministries. Yet. Wood got out a lot of people that way--some half-bloods and Muggle-borns, some people who'd just managed to tweak Voldemort's nose too much. And nobody knows it."

"They will now," Honoria said.

"What about you?" Jane asked. "You always said your parents just happened to be on holiday in Gib."

Honoria looked oddly pleased to be asked. "Well, I, er... my dad, before he started defending accused criminals in front of the Wizengamot, he used to work for Rita Skeeter, doing research."

"I'd think he'd've been in a good place then," Teddy said.

"You would, wouldn't you? But then, you don't think much of Rita."

Teddy didn't answer.

Honoria shrugged. "Rita lives by her own set of rules. She'd had Dad researching Greyback's pack the year before everything went bad." She smiled sheepishly. "Er, Teddy, I should probably explain that he'd seen your dad in the pack that year. That's why he never was entirely sure what to think about... well, him not being in Greyback's pack."

"Is that what your problem was?"

"More or less. When I found out he'd been there rescuing people... well, Dad and I both felt a bit guilty."

"You feel guilt?" Maurice asked, feigning shock.

She made an obscene gesture at him, then went on. "As soon as Dumbledore died, Rita knew that things were going to go bad. She hadn't been seen doing any research, but Dad had. She knew a man in Gib, and she asked him to let my parents stay there until she called them back. Said it was for research, but there was never any book from it, and Dad changed careers anyway. That's why Rita's my godmother."

Teddy swallowed. "Oh. Well, then... go, Rita, and I'm sorry for... well, not everything, she is a nasty piece of work, but, er... well, I'm glad she did something good for your family."

"How generous of you," Honoria said. "Do you understand now why I want to tell these stories?"

No one put up an argument, though Geoffrey rolled his eyes.

A flicker of motion caught Teddy's eye, and he looked down to the end of the table, where pretty Laura Chapman was sitting, pale and serious-looking. She was raising a shaking hand.

"What is it, Laura?" he asked.

"I... well, could I tell a story, too? I have a story."

"That's sort of the point," Corky said, smiling at her fondly. (She had been his first girlfriend, and once the nastiness of the break-up had disappeared, they'd got along capitally.) "Go on."
12 comments or Leave a comment
zweiundzwei From: zweiundzwei Date: June 12th, 2010 10:42 am (UTC) (Link)
ahhhhh what a place to end it!

i started rereading the forest guard yesterday and i'd just come to the point where they talk about how few they are, so it was really fitting to have the chapterlet with another talk in the antechamber now.

i hadn't commented on the needle's eye at all yet, but it's so good to have your teddy back in action :)
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 12th, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like the way Honoria's piece is starting to come together, and intriguing that we haven't yet learned everything about the Smallest Year. Looking forward to Laura's story!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 12th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yea! I love rescuer stories!

Hoping that doesn't sound too glib on what's essentially a very serious subject. But, still, I'm very much looking foreward to this part.

cleindori From: cleindori Date: June 12th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
AAAH! What a place to end, you horrible sadistic woman! :P

By which I mean, of course, "wonderful chapterlet, Fern, please post more soon". :)

(Hope summer reading is going well -- I still have two full weeks with my students, so it's funny to think that the kids down your way are already on summer holidays.)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 12th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's nice to see a good side to people we don't like. Nasty yellow journalist or not, it's only natural that Rita too had someone close to save.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: June 12th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
This reminds me a lot of a book I read about children and their families who were rescued during the Holocaust.

I have a soft spot for Rita so I'm glad that she saved someone :)
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: June 12th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love that despite Honoria's prickly exterior, she has a *cocker spaniel* patronus. Hee!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 12th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am really loving how you have little ways things are coming full circle with the first story.

Honoria is definitely becoming a favorite character. I like how this chapter shows there always more to people than what you know even those who are "nasty works."

And the Smallest Year definitely is newsworthy.
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 13th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
It's really cool that even though you're so far in the future in terms of Deathly Hallows, you still get to explore what happened behind the scenes from a different point of view. Your theories of what went on during DH are so thorough that I'm having a hard time identifying what's canon!
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: June 14th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL. I have this problem, alot. I was telling my friend what JKR has confirmed about everyone post DH (Harry's head of the auror department, Ron's an auror, Neville marries Hannah and she runs the Leaky Cauldron) and it was REALLY HARD trying to remember what was and wasn't Fern's writing :).
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: June 13th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm really looking forward to hearing all the old war rescue stories!

Awesome job so far, Fern! =D
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: June 13th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you are finding a way to write some of your war rescue stories despite not wanting to write a Deathly Hallows story. You've hinted at the Smeltings' teachers role so many times so that I am really hoping we get the story here. I think this is something you do far better than any other fanfic writer I've read - write the other stories that happened during the HP books; not just fill in the the behind the scenes scenes but really think about how other people were affected by and contributed to the war and yet still fit it in with canon.
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