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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Nine: Recused, part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Nine: Recused, part 2
After the murder of Fudge, the Aurors come to Hogwarts to take statements, giving Teddy a chance to talk to Ruthless, though I can't say he's glad he did. (He feels better, though, so maybe.) Anyway, since Fudge was found in Hagrid's paddock--a site really only associated with Fudge by Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid--they are confused. That evening, Rita Skeeter pens an editorial, and the next morning, the prophet's headline is that Harry has recused himself from the case because he's "too close now."

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy felt his jaw dropping further as he read the article. Once the newsy lead paragraph informed everyone of what the headline had already said, it was just a reprint of Rita's editorial from the evening edition. She'd decided somehow that the only definite linkage among Runcorn, Goyle, and Fudge (at least in this location for the last) was Uncle Harry, or possibly Hermione, who was barely a step removed. She didn't go so far as to accuse either of them, but she tied enough messy strings to them that anything Uncle Harry did would be compromised by public doubt. Ron had also been removed from the investigation.

"This is ridiculous," he said. "I can't even believe how absurd this is."

Corky shrugged. "I know. What are we doing about it?"

Teddy scanned the article. "Will Honoria respond?"

"She's already sent in a long letter, and I'm guessing she's not the only one who will."

"Let me talk to Uncle Harry. See what he wants us to do before we move on it."

Corky agreed to this. Teddy skipped breakast and went back up to Gryffindor to use the fireplace. A moment later, his head was resting in the kitchen at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. "Uncle Harry?" he called.

James came into view from upstairs. "Teddy? Is that you?"

He nodded, and ignored the ash in his eyes. "Is Uncle Harry around?"

"Is this about the Prophet?"


James furrowed his brow. "Well, he's, er... here. But Aunt Hermione's been yelling at him about it all morning, and now she's yelling at Grannydromeda--"

"Granny? Why?"

"Well, she's the one who said Dad ought to excuse himself."


James shrugged elaborately. "I don't get it, either, but it's something about appearances."

"James?" Uncle Harry called. With the door open, Teddy could, in fact, clearly hear Granny's voice and Hermione's. "Is there someone in the fireplace or not?"

"It's Teddy!" James yelled back, looking over his shoulder.

Uncle Harry's feet appeared at the top of the stairs, and then the door closed, shutting out the arguments. He came to the fireplace and sat down on a low stool that had been put there for this purpose. "I don't even care what you're calling about, I'm just glad to be out of that, so thank you."

"He's calling about the article," James said.

"I guessed as much. Can we keep the volume down?" He pointed at the door.

"Yeah, er... I guess. James said Granny told you to do this?"

"She suggested. I agreed."

Teddy tried to process this. "Why? I called to see what we could do about it! And it's not some Slytherin thing--Corky and Honoria are angry, too. Honoria wrote to the Prophet. I was thinking of writing, too..."

"Teddy, don't." Uncle Harry sighed. "James, could you go upstairs, please? See if you can get Grannydromeda and Aunt Hermione laughing at something instead of yelling at each other."

James nodded soberly and scurried upstairs.

Uncle Harry turned back to Teddy. "Your grandmother thinks that Rita already muddied the waters too much. I don't think anyone thinks it's me, and I'm reasonably certain it's neither Ron nor Hermione, and we know it's not Hagrid, since he was actually with someone all morning--"

"So, what's the problem?"

"The problem is that the place Fudge's body was left is one that friends of mine from school would think of as associated with my... difficulties... with Fudge. One of the first places I saw that the Ministry under Fudge wouldn't be any help in the fight. As to Runcorn and Goyle... I have no idea how anyone would know this other than Ron and Hermione--well, and Aunt Ginny, now--but I used Polyjuice to become both of them. Runcorn, they might know about. But Draco's the only person I can think of who might have guessed that he wasn't talking to Goyle. And before you ask, yes. Draco's covered for it."

"So, what's the problem?"

"Whoever it is knows a lot about me, or there are a lot of coincidences. There's a good chance that it is someone I know. Which means that I really am compromised on investigating it."

"You investigated Greyback's death," Teddy said.

"Everyone was just glad he was gone. And that was self-defense, and everyone knew it. On that note, though, it's probably a good idea for you, in particular, to keep your head down about this." Uncle Harry rubbed his scar. "This... it's bringing back a lot of things people would rather not think about. Though, obviously, someone wants to think about it."

"Geoff Phillips thinks it's because we're lazy and complacent and don't want to admit that anything was wrong."

"I think that's just a nasty way of saying that we've been doing our best to rebuild a life in peacetime. But it is, essentially, just another way of seeing the same facts. It may be something like what our murderer thinks."

Teddy frowned. "And since you're one of the main people saying we should move on and rebuild..."

"He may well have a grudge against me, too," Uncle Harry admitted. "Or see himself as doing what I should have." He sighed again. "I didn't want a Reign of Terror. Maybe I really didn't do enough for retributions, maybe--"

"Maybe everyone who's not a murderous psychopath is glad you didn't!" Teddy protested.

Uncle Harry smiled. "Thank you, Teddy. I've found myself second-guessing a lot lately. So much for wise Uncle Harry, eh? I'm sorry."

They talked for a few more minutes--more, Teddy suspected, so that Uncle Harry could cover up his moment of clear weariness and depression than because either of them expected anything to come of it--then Teddy pulled his head back and sat back on his heels in the Gryffindor Common Room.

In his head, he composed a letter to the Prophet on Uncle Harry's behalf--it was all quite outraged, and signed "T.R. Lupin," as everything he did in the adult world was--but thankfully, his mind also supplied the follow-up, in which someone wrote a letter about irregularities in the Greyback case, proving that Uncle Harry would cut corners for someone he felt close to... like, say, "T.R. Lupin."

"Were you talking to Uncle Harry?" Victoire asked behind him.

He nodded and pulled himself to his feet, then flopped into one of the high-backed chairs. "He wants me to keep my head down, and I sort of understand. It wouldn't help him if I got involved."

Victoire took another and pulled it around so she was facing him. "What should we do?"

"I don't know. Any ideas?"

"Some You-No-Poo cocktails sent to the Prophet?"

Teddy laughed. "Fun, but not useful."

"I know. I can't think of anything useful. Though I'd best check all of Marie's outgoing mail, come to think of it, and make sure she doesn't actually do that."

Teddy tried to force himself back into homework--excuses wouldn't be accepted--but all day, his mind kept tugging at the edges of the crime, and, more, on the horrible look on Uncle Harry's face. Uncle Harry would find a way to help him. But short of solving the case, Teddy couldn't think of anything. He finally set aside his book on gurdyroot in potions history (he'd read the same page six times) and started jotting down anything he could think of about the case, letting it come in a stream-of-consciousness way, hoping that some kind of pattern would emerge. If nothing else, he could still send it to Ruthless. She was Ron's apprentice, but surely, they wouldn't lose another person from the case if it could be helped.

Runcorn--first. Released from Azkaban. Trigger to start? Goyle. Student in Uncle Harry's year. Fudge. Obstructionist, paranoid. Geoffrey and the complacency business. Half-blood babies not born. Any connection? Why would there be? Whoever was doing this was born. Runcorn. Runcorn was first. Everyone else was after, once he was warmed up. Granny's covered for granddad; Sam Cresswell is covered for Dirk Cresswell. Sam's brother, who was hurt? Probably checked, but I'll mention it. Who else did he betray?...

After an hour of this, he'd filled eighteen inches of a scroll with small writing, and didn't see much more of a pattern than there was in the paper. He put it together as coherently as he could, and sent it off to Ruthless in a letter.

He got a response three days later.

Dear Teddy,
Yes, I'm still on the case. You're not actually on it, you know. Not that I'm not glad for any input you have; a fresh brain is often good, and you were cleared to know more than most people when you were helping Maddie this summer.

I agree that Runcorn is the key. These sorts of murderers start with what they know best. But everyone is accounted for. I've contacted a few of the families who were affected by the issues at St. Mungo's (God, what a cold thing to call that), and there's no connection that I've been able to see.

We didn't look at Sam's brother, because there's no need to--he was injured in a Quidditch game at Hogwarts that year, and, because he was a half-blood, the Death Eaters didn't get him Healed fast enough. I'm not really sure they could have, anyway (sam and his mother are... and yes, I've looked at Teresa, too); he was hit at the base of his skull with the Bludger, and it did something to his spinal cord and his brain. He can barely move, and he doesn't remember anything. Whatever else our killer is, he's mobile.

I'm going up to Azkaban tomorrow to interview Dolores Umbridge about the Muggle-born trials. Maybe she'll have more information about who Runcorn turned in, though I suppose I shall have to use the word "exposed," like he was doing her a great service. I really hate Azkaban interviews.

Please get back to your school work. I'm looking forward to you being here next year, but you won't be if you don't pull the N.E.W.T.s for it. Besides, you're not going to be a very fresh brain to pick if you're obsessing over the same details I am.

33 comments or Leave a comment
amamama From: amamama Date: June 28th, 2010 08:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Wheee! What a great way to start a Monday. *g* Poor Harry, too much stress and old memories he'd rather forget coming up. I so look forward to finding out what happens next. And Honoria wrote an angry letter to Rita? Interesting. Will we see something of that? So - when will they start checking out the newly released prisoners, or at least talk about it, so we get to read it? There hasn't been a hint of Crouch jr and his pov since the beginning, they haven't forgotten that way of looking at it? Have they? *peeks over glasses*

Have a creative week - I do hope you'll find time to write more. I love this mystery. And the reading bit by bit thing. No fast munching through the book here. :-)
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: June 28th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

about crouch jr.

erm... I thought he was pretty much Dead by the end of goblet of Fire?

or did Fern wrote something to change that?
Re: about crouch jr. - (Anonymous) - Expand
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: June 28th, 2010 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
This gets more and more interesting with every new section!

Maybe my brain's just foggy because it's early, but I have a question about this bit: "Granny's covered for granddad; Sam Cresswell is covered for Dirk Cresswell." Covered as in they have alibis for the time of Runcorn's murder?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 28th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's what it means. Didn't mean that to be unclear; I'll see what I can do!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 28th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know why but my favorite part was Hermione yelling at people. Probably because she doesn't show up much in Teddy!verse, because she is not particularly close to Teddy. But it is nice to see that and it illustrates tension.

Ruth is cool in this. No news there but.... :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 28th, 2010 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

i don't understand the Hermione yelling at Andromeda part...

from what i understood in this part Harry had to pull himself off the case because there were two many coincidences related to his conection to the murderer victims. how it involves the fact that it is probably someone he knows, i still don't get either.

Andromeda knows this so she is the one that advices to pull himself away from the case.
to harry himself it is the right thing to do.

now I don't get why Hermione would get into a screaming match with andromeda because of this decision.

I mean Hermione had been there in all those situations with harry (the polyjuice into goyle, the buckbeak case, the break into the ministry by inpersonating someone...)

so being the exceptionally smart girl she is, i don't understand why she wouldn't see how it sort of implicated harry too deep and agreed with harry pulling out of the case....

what does Hermione see wrong with this decision that she starts screaming at andromeda for suggesting it?

willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 28th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like seeing Harry and Teddy's new relationship, in which they're interacting more man-to-man. I can also see how Harry's being recused might bring Teddy and his yearmates more deeply into the investigation. Looking forward to the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 28th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can also see how Harry's being recused might bring Teddy and his yearmates more deeply into the investigation

And the real mystery of why Harry's not fighting it tooth and nail is, in fact, solved. ;p
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 28th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Harry is doing the right thing. The only way to keep himself clean is by removing himself from the case and allowing the investigation to continue without his intervention. He's being smart.

Although, that means one less direct source of info.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 28th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree that it's the right thing to do, actually, but getting Harry to do something that looks like he's turning away to keep his nose clean isn't always easy.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: June 28th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've finally caught up from the last trip and before the next. *Whew!* This is terrific. I'm enjoying seeing Teddy's relationships with family and friends and noting how they've evolved as he's matured. You are so good at this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 28th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's been fun, letting Teddy grow up instead of just get older.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 28th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

a couple of other things- questions and comments...

i curious, what you meant by this:
"sam and his mother are... and yes, I've looked at Teresa, too"

they are what? squibs? without wands? what?

i'm also looking forward to see a mention of what honoria wrote to skeeter (nasty busybody, good to know someone close to her is reasonable to try to knock her a peg or two). and Umbridge, even though i love to hate her, hearing her delusions when she cant do a thing is great.

oh, and are there going to be more murders? *you can give us a bit of a hint cant you?)

looking out for more!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 28th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: a couple of other things- questions and comments...

they are what? squibs? without wands? what?

The wife and son of someone Runcorn turned in as a Muggle-born, and who died as a result of it.

I will say that there is at least one more murder planned.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 29th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I love your Teddy stuff:) I've just recently read all of those and Shifts. This particular story is amazing. I read all of it in one day! I hope you update soon:) Great job so far. ~Zoe
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a lot of reading! Glad you liked it.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: June 29th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
The potions assignment will definitely be important; we keep hearing about it almost every section.

Other than that... I don't know. Poor Harry T_T.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
The potions assignment will definitely be important; we keep hearing about it almost every section.

Oh, that's just to keep in touch with school, you know. Nothing important. Yeah.
From: amethystbeloved Date: June 29th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent chapter section, fernwithy! I completely forgot about the Polyjuice Potion back in Year 2. I love the way that you're so thorough with the details. So Harry believes that the killer knows him~ and since we've been following Harry's story since his first year that means we have a good chance knowing who it is as well. This is so different compared to Hunter's Moon when we knew that Greyback was the bad guy the whole time!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 29th, 2010 03:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry could conceivably be wrong, of course.

I went in knowing who the killer is, but the person keeps doing things that are throwing me. Maybe I'm wrong.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 29th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Just caught up on Fern-fic, brilliant as ever (the fic, that is, not me), and thought it was time to enter the fray...

It occurred to me that the person or agent physically performing the murders doesn't have to be the one orchestrating it, ala Ginny in Chamber of Secrets. Wendell Burke comes to mind, not that that would explain who was behind it all. I can think of one person not yet mentioned who might well have knowledge of the Buckbeak incident, and both of Harry's adventures in polyjuice, but can't imagine what that person's motive would be for killing Fudge and Goyle - or that the person would be vindictive enough to kill them just to cast suspicion on Harry.

I do think that in at least two of the cases, more people have to know about this then Harry assumes. After the mayhem the trio caused at the ministry, I assume a number of people - on Voldemort's side if not on Harry's - had to have figured out what had happened. There's no guarantee that Fudge was shy about giving his take on the encounter with Harry; even if he had passed it off as Harry being confunded, someone like Lucius may have read between the lines, and several years later, once Sirius's innocence became common knowledge, it would have been easier to connect the dots. The only tough one is Harry becoming Goyle, as the only person I could think of -besides anyone Draco told -who might know about that is Moaning Myrtle.

Could portraits have anything to do with it? Stored memories, either at the DoM or elsewhere?

Of course, I never have been good at solving mysteries...


mathslut From: mathslut Date: September 24th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Late to the party, but catching up now. Just thought I'd note that something about this line really brought back young Harry for me, and almost made me tear up with thinking about how well he's grown up in these stories:

Uncle Harry smiled. "Thank you, Teddy. I've found myself second-guessing a lot lately. So much for wise Uncle Harry, eh? I'm sorry."
33 comments or Leave a comment