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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Nine: Recused, part 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Nine: Recused, part 3
Harry has recused himself from the Needle's Eye case, as it might be someone close to him and he wants to avoid the appearance of impropriety (this is Andromeda's suggestion). Teddy realizes that any defense he mounts will only invite questions about the investigation of Greyback's death, so he decides the only thing he can do is help solve the case. He brainstorms a little and sends a note back to Ruthless (who's still on the case), and she agrees with him that Runcorn, the first victim, is the real key, but so far, everyone who might want vengeance is alibi'd. The letter she sends ends with an instruction to get back to his school work.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

For the next two days, Teddy tried to find another view of the case. Ruthless's letter rankled him--the last paragraph, about staying on his school work, particularly seemed to stick in his his mind like a pin. She'd said she wanted him to keep his mind fresh so he could help, but there was something under it, a sort of...

He ground his teeth.

He was probably just imagining the sense that she was saying he was still just a boy, that she had a man to help her now (and how could she have been clearer about that, and how could he have insisted on remaining a boy?), and he really ought to mind his school work. Maybe she meant what she'd said. Maybe she wanted his mind fresh, and maybe she really was looking forward to him coming back. She'd seemed close the other night.

He pulled his mind away from that spiral of thought several times.

He scryed in his crystal ball for an hour on Friday night, but stopped when he realized that all it was showing him--in its maddeningly cryptic images--was Ruthless. And Sam. And the dismissive "Go back to school" tone of her note. He shoved it away and went back to work on a Charm he was designing for Flitwick (the intent was to cause foliage to actually whisper words, but so far it was ineffective, unless the trees were Parselmouths), and finally settled into his History of Magic paper. He'd decided to stay away from the baby-killings, and focus instead on the underground resistance in London. His closest tie to it was Lee Jordan, whose radio show had been a focal point (Mum and Dad had both appeared on it at various points), but he decided to avoid Lee--or George Weasley, who'd also been involved--and concentrate on the parts that were more distant to him, more like the rest of History of Magic. It would involve St. Mungo's and the audacious defiance that had been required to keep the Longbottoms alive--he strongly suspected that Mehadi Patil might well have used the Imperius Curse that year--and might extend to a system of tunnels that were alleged to have been dug under Diagon Alley. No one had found them, but there were rumors of the wandless getting free.

He left his crystal ball beside his bed, and let himself drift off to sleep and fall into a dream.

In it, he was standing at Screech Hill with Victoire, in front of the bit of glass they'd planted in the garden. She was looking through it, quite fascinated.

"What is it?" he asked. "What do you see?"

"What would you expect to see through a window in the woods?"

"More woods."

She laughed. "Well, then, that's what I see."

"But there aren't any woods yet."

"I see them anyway."

Teddy looked around, and realized that he'd lied--the hill was covered with trees now, the tiny gully where the cellar hole had been was a spill of colorful wildflowers, and the middle of them, at the lowest point, there was a tree that was singing softly to itself. Beautiful red fruit hung from its boughs, but he'd been taught long ago not to eat in his dreams. "What is it?" he asked.

"I don't know."

"I thought you knew all the plants."

"It's your tree, Teddy."

"I thought I had the rosebush."

Victoire smiled. "You do. See?" She pointed to the tree, and the red splotches he'd taken for fruit became roses. But not roses. They were shaped like cups.

"Those aren't roses."

"Really? What are they?"

"They're not roses."

Victoire raised her eyebrows. "We've covered that."

"Herbology isn't my subject."

Victoire took this philosophically. "I'd say it's Merlin's tree, but that's an oak. Maybe it's the World Tree."

"Or the Tree of Life?"

"Or the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." She shrugged. "Or just a tree. What do you see in it?"


"Look closer." She stepped away from the window.

He took the hint and stood in front of it, looking through the orphaned glass at his tree. There were fairies drinking from the flowers. One drank heavily, then slipped into a deep slumber. "You know," he said, "the dead are clearer with me."

"Only if they know something." She took his hand, and her hands were warm and solid. He kissed her fingers, and she leaned against him. "Teddy?"


"Do you love me?"

"Of course I do. I--" He looked down. Victoire's silky blond hair had become Ruthless's bright red curls. He blinked. "Of course I do."

"Then WAKE UP." She shoved him, and he fell, head over heels, into the gully, toward the tree, and the flowers shook and spilled water on him, water that sent him into the blackness, where fairies danced around their tiny fires and something mad stalked the night.

He opened his eyes in his bed. It was just past dawn. He looked resentfully at the crystal ball, and shoved it into his desk drawer without any ceremony. He didn't need dreams and crystal visions to tell him he was jealous and feeling left out. He needed something useful.

"Good morning, Teddy," Dad said from the portrait. Mum wasn't there this time. She was probably off having an adventure in another portrait. Dad was looking at him warily. "What weren't roses?"


"You kept saying it in your sleep. 'Not roses.'"

Teddy shrugged. "Just a dream. Not a very productive one."

"What's wrong?"

"Well... it's stupid."

"If you can't tell a portrait of your father something stupid, who can you tell?" He sat down on the bench. "Really, Teddy--isn't that part of why you wanted us with you?"

"Maybe," Teddy said. "I just... there are real things wrong in the world, and the only visions I can summon up are about my ex-girlfriend and how she might not respect me very much. Which I can't blame her for, as a more useful Seer wouldn't keep tripping over his own stupid things every other minute."

"Mm," Dad said. "I think you need to work your way past it. You can't just pretend not to feel something."

"But if I do feel it, then it doesn't say much for me, does it? That all I can think about is me, and not Ruthless, not really, and--"

"How perfect do you expect yourself to be?" Dad leaned forward. "You're doing what's right. The right feelings will come along eventually. If they're not already there."

"They're not."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Dad, I'm reasonably sure I'm nowhere near being as nice about it as I'm pretending to be."

Dad didn't answer this, and went off on a tangent about James and Lily and Severus Snape. Teddy wasn't sure if he himself was meant to be James or Snape in the scenario, and Dad didn't clarify before Mum returned, wearing some sort of headdress she'd picked up from a medieval portrait.

Teddy talked to them until he heard the rest of Gryffindor House stirring, then went behind the curtains on his bed and got dressed. He went down to breakfast.

None of his friends in Gryffindor had come down yet, so he went over to the Slytherin table to sit with Maurice and Corky. Maurice was shaking his head at a letter beside his plate. Corky looked up as Teddy came over said, "Don't ask."

"Don't ask what?"

Maurice waved the letter at him. "My dad gave in to Wendell. He's keeping our part in the shop, and..." He winced. "My brother is going to run Borgin and Burke's when Borgin retires. And he's going to work there summers until then, to learn about it."

"At least you don't have to," Corky said.

"I will, though. Wendell has no head for numbers. His brain's full of history trivia."

"He'll learn," Teddy said.

Maurice gave him a dark look. "I'll end up at the shop," he said. "I can't get away from it. I had a nice career set up. I've been doing Don's books, and I met with a girl-group that's auditioning for his tour next summer, and they just sacked their business manager. I could make a tidy living at it, and be nowhere near anyone's used Dark magic."

"And you still can," Corky told him. "Just teach Wendell about numbers. Or let Borgin do it, I'd guess he knows a thing or two about gold--"

"Borgin isn't teaching my brother anything," Maurice said vehemently. "If I have to unteach him after his summer work, I'll do it." He looked up and groaned. "Wonderful. You didn't overhear that, did you?"

Teddy felt himself nudged, and Honoria Higgs sat down between him and Corky. She smiled brightly. "I shall have to interview you about that. I didn't know you hated Borgin."

"What year have you been living in?" Corky asked.

She reached back and pinched his ear. He caught her hand and kissed it. She paid no attention to this. "Don't worry, Maurice, it's not your turn yet."

Maurice looked at her with deep misgivings. "Turn?"

Honoria pulled out a scroll. "I'm getting a late start, as this murder's been taking up everyone's attention, but I'm starting my piece on the year now. Lupin goes first."

"Me?" Teddy asked. "Why? You said it yourself, everyone knows my story."

"Everyone thinks they know it," Honoria said. "But they don't, as I haven't told it to them yet." She pulled out a quill eagerly. "Where shall we start?"
16 comments or Leave a comment
amamama From: amamama Date: June 30th, 2010 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee. Loved the dream. Poor Teddy, he's so confused. But mabe this interview will help? Might make him actually focus on what he needs to focus on. Hmmm...

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 30th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Anything's possible!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: June 30th, 2010 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

"...Mum returned, wearing some sort of headdress she'd picked up from a medieval portrait."

Why do I find this random line so charming?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 30th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: "...Mum returned, wearing some sort of headdress she'd picked up from a medieval portrait."

It just seemed a Tonks-y thing to do.
cleindori From: cleindori Date: July 1st, 2010 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: "...Mum returned, wearing some sort of headdress she'd picked up from a medieval portrait."

I'm imagining one of those conical hats with the ribbons trailing down from the point. Possibly in green, to clash with pink hair. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2010 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: "...Mum returned, wearing some sort of headdress she'd picked up from a medieval portrait."

I like it.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 30th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sigh. Even Teddy's subconscious has more of a clue than he does in waking moments--at least he has the portrait to confide in. I wonder what fortuitous event will occur to enable Maurice to leave the shop behind and have the career we know from future ficlets that he has. And Honoria's project begins--can't wait to see what she uncovers about Teddy that we don't know yet!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 30th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
She may not uncover anything so much as see it in a different way.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: June 30th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Honoria's firm belief in herself and her ability to craft a riveting tale. Perhaps Teddy needs to reconsider his dream.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 30th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps so.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 30th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

question- interludes

will there be any in this fic?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 30th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: question- interludes

I haven't typically done interludes in the Teddy stories, but Honoria's articles might provide some counterpoints.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 30th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
You always write lovely dreams but this one seemed especially good. I love the lines Victoire says about what you see in a window in the woods and about the roses.

I wonder what Honoria will take Teddy's story to be. I wonder what TEDDY will take his story to be?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2010 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Those may be rather different questions. Though Teddy's story, from my perspective on writing them, is the least interesting of the ones she'll do, so I've already written a lot more than Honoria will ever know.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 30th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mehadi Patil and the Longbottoms - there's an entire story there waiting to be told. And poor Teddy really must be confused if he doesn't know if he's James or Snape. Loved the imagery and dialogue in the dream.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 1st, 2010 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I do love writing dreams!
16 comments or Leave a comment