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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Ten: The Lost Vision, part 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Ten: The Lost Vision, part 2
After some thought, I believe I will do the "By A Thread" sections like interludes--collections of three or four articles at a time, representing three or four Charmer issues. It's one thing to work the introductory one into a standard POV chapter, but it would get strange to keep doing it!

So, as soon as I think of a good title, I'll change the title of this chapter, and the interlude chapters will be called "By A Thread 1," etc. (I'll do Teddy and his three best friends, then the others by Houses, though of course, that's totally a Teddy-centric way to do it.) The first one will be the next chapter. So I'll get on with this one.

Anyway... Honoria has started to deliver on her promise/threat to do a series on the members of her year, and was determined to catch Teddy first. He thought she might forget if he avoided her, but she went ahead and published the first introductory part. As he reads it, she comes over and informs him that she's checked his schedule and he'll be free for his interview after Potions. During Potions, he gets a little lightheaded crushing some flowers and nearly forgets, but she grabs him anyway.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"What's he got you chopping in there?" Honoria asked, sniffing. "Smells good."

"No chopping," Teddy said. "Mortar and pestle on some dried flowers."

"I do love mortar and pestle projects. They loosen tongues."

Teddy stopped. "Honoria, maybe we should do this later."

She rolled her eyes. "I'm kidding, Teddy. This is... well, not a fluff piece, per se, but I'm not trying to catch anyone at anything. I'm just trying to introduce people to the year. If you say something idiotic that screams, 'I've been inhaling Potions ingredients,' I'll edit it to make it sound wise or clever anyway."

"Is that quite honest?"

"Well... yes. You're not habitually intoxicated and it would be less honest to make you seem like you are. And you really don't; I was just kidding."

Dubiously, Teddy let it drop, and followed her to an empty classroom, where she'd already set up an interview space with quills and scrolls.

He resigned himself to the process.

In all, she wasn't horrible. She tried to prise out information about how Teddy had got Dad's wedding ring, which he'd worn on a chain around his neck since first year, and which he was aware people wondered about. They knew he'd found it outside when no one else had been able to. He'd found it with the Marauder's Map, and that wasn't public knowledge, and wasn't intending to make it so. She even tossed an easy Quaffle about what he really looked like, and (off the record, he hoped) joked that he'd offically dated half the girls in the year... three quarters of them once the two dating his best friends were removed from consideration.

She started to pack up after they'd talked for about forty minutes. He put a hand on her arm to stop her. "Honoria?"


"Why are you really doing this?"

"Well, it'll look smashing for my appenticeship if I can get the Prophet to pick it up."

"You're going to...?"

"I'm going to try." She sniffed. "Though Rita's not been happy with me since I pointed out that it wasn't very responsible to start smearing Harry Potter and Ron Weasley."

"Thanks for that. Though I didn't see your letter."

"She didn't run it."

"Then this is just for your apprenticeship."

"Isn't that enough reason?" She looked at him oddly, then said, "All right, no."

"Then why?"

She grinned. "You'll just have to wait for my capstone article, on the great impact of the Smallest Year on the life of Honoria Higgs, editor. It shall be in my very last issue of the Charmer. You'll be stunned. Perhaps touched, and moved to write to the Prophet to explain how one reporter can change everything."

"I'll be waiting with bated breath," Teddy said, then let go of her arm. "You know, I'd write that anyway, if you need a recommendation for anything. What you did for the cubs third year... I'd mean it, too." He smiled. "I wouldn't even tell them that you're an annoying, nosy little busybody with no sense of anyone's boundaries."

"You wouldn't? But they'd like that!"

Teddy rolled his eyes, and walked with Honoria to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Robards hadn't been given any further information on the case, so they'd moved on to a long study of Inferi and the defenses a wizard could use against them. Teddy felt strange thinking of ways to destroy corpses of people who'd never asked for such a horrific fate--he thought particularly of Regulus Black, boiled beyond recognition in a lake, here--but as Robards pointed out, the destruction of an Inferius actually was a kindness to the soul of the person who had once inhabited the corrupted body.

"If they're already dead," Corky asked, "then won't they just rise again once you leave them alone?"

"You have to break the curse," Robards said. "Or burn or dismember the corpses. Both are dangerous to the wizard. Burning or dismembering involves getting quite close, and when the spell is broken, sometimes the released magic is quite powerful."

Robards went on with a somewhat clinical explanation of what had happened the day Uncle Harry had led the Aurors to the cave--Robards had still been with the Division then--and Teddy let his mind wander. It didn't go anywhere pleasant. Destroying the corpses. Nailing their jaws shut, perhaps, or slitting their eyes open, or cutting off their hands. He supposed he ought to be glad that the Needle's Eye killer hadn't added the indignity of mobilizing his dead, but what he did was quite bad enough. Maybe he saw himself as destroying the corpses of the Voldemort regime so that they wouldn't rise again. Fudge hadn't exactly been in the regime, but his blindness had allowed it to rise, and he had been interested in pure blood and he'd made life very difficult in the Ministry before Ruthless's grand-uncle had taken over and--

"Mr. Lupin, do you have anything you'd like to share?"

He looked up at the sound of Robards' voice and shrugged. "Nothing that makes any sense yet."

"While you're waiting for the answer to the world's problems to occur to you, perhaps you'd like to demonstrate a purging spell." He presented Teddy with a charm bracelet under an Unbreakable dome. "Not as complex as the Inferi curse, but I'd rather not take chances with blowback in the classroom."

Teddy attempted the purging spell, but nothing came of it, which embarrassed him until everyone else in the class had also failed.

"Don't worry," Robards said. "It's a tricky piece of defensive magic, and no one gets it right the first time. Even seasoned Aurors tend to work on it in pairs, and sometimes they fail."

He continued his lecture, then closed with the ritual--and mostly meaningless--request for any off-beat ideas people had for finding a killer. Donzo suggested that Teddy ought to use the Daedalus Maze, which was met with good natured howls of protest from the others, particularly Maurice, who'd been in stasis for two months the last time Teddy had used the powerful divination tool.

It didn't matter. All Teddy had left of it was his crystal ball.

Which he decided he might as well use.

After Defense Against the Dark Arts, Teddy finished grinding up his Mallowsweet, then went down to Hagrid's to look at the paddock again, and feed the hippogriffs. The area had been blocked off by Aurors' security spells the day after Uncle Harry's resignation, and Buckbeak and Dapple had been moved to the pumpkin patch. (Buckbeak was quite nervous about this location, and Dapple tried to cheer him up.) At first, Aurors had been there quite a lot, but there was only so much to see, and now, they were almost never there. Today was no different. Teddy knew how to get around the spells, and slipped around them now.

Fudge was gone, of course, but the pole remained, and blood spatters had been preserved under careful protection spells. Teddy examined them without much hope, and found nothing.

Grimacing, he took his book bag from his shoulder and planted his crystal ball at the base of the pole, sitting down cross-legged in front of it.

"Don't even think about showing me my Ruthless problems here," he warned it.

Vague, shadowy shapes filled the crystal immediately but Teddy couldn't identify them. He pressed his fingers against the glass, and the world changed. He was standing on the hill by the north battlements, where Mum and Dad had died, where Dad's ring had been lost. From here, he was looking down on Hogwarts, looking at the...

The maze.

It had brought him into the Daedalus Maze that had created it. He could see Hagrid's hut at the center, but he knew it would shift its shape long before he got there--Diagon Alley, maybe, or Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.

He looked around for the Guide, sure it would be Mum or Dad in this place. Instead, he found Cornelius Fudge, looking jovial and avuncular, a lime green bowler perched atop his head.

"Will you show me who killed you?" Teddy asked, though this wasn't how the Maze worked. It didn't give straight answers. It just helped Teddy find things.

Fudge blinked placidly, and started down the hill into the maze. Teddy looked at the walls, where he could see things in the shrubbery--Fudge meeting Uncle Harry at the Leaky Cauldron, Fudge leading Macnair to Buckbeak, Fudge in the Ministry, dragging in workers to demand their loyalty to him at the height of his paranoia. He peered closer, and his head was filled up with a heady scent coming from the bushes. Fudge waited patiently for him to see everything there was to see, which wasn't much.

"Is it one of these people?" Teddy asked the Guide. "I know it's not Uncle Harry or Ron or Hagrid, and it can't be Macnair..."

Fudge waited silently.

"So you're not showing me the murderer lurking around your life." Teddy looked again. Here was Fudge arguing with a man in his office, then sending him off with a shocked look on his face. And there was a woman begging for her post. And there was...

Teddy frowned. "You're not even trying to show me who killed you, are you?" he asked. "You're trying to show me why you died."

The Guide nodded.

"Well, er... this is all business I know about. Is there anything else you can show me? What about Goyle, why Goyle?"

The Guide shifted its shape, became Gregory Goyle, riding a broomstick slowly ahead of Teddy.

And then Teddy felt the cold rain on his neck, and was pulled out of the Maze...

And found himself walking up the stairs to his dormitory. He looked out. It was full dark out, and raining. There was rain coming through a window.

He wasn't wet.
12 comments or Leave a comment
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: July 4th, 2010 09:03 am (UTC) (Link)
What a mystery! Very Creepy last sentence, Fern! Way to keep me on my toes.

Between getting high in potions, Honoria's interview and this new run with the DM...I have to say Teddy's in for a rather interesting ride this year.

I really hope this interview doesn't blow up in his face. As much as you've made me like Honoria....I still have misgivings.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nah, the interviews are mostly a chance for me to introduce everyone in the year (Teddy's is probably the one that interests me least).
amamama From: amamama Date: July 4th, 2010 09:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Wooo.... *dizzy* Wow. That was quite a trip. And the end of the gazing is quite awesome. I need to reread this a few times to be able to wrap my head around it. Well done!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I dunno about potions sometimes.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: July 4th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
It always amazes me how much Teddy and Honoria's relationship has evolved--they'll never be BFF but there's mutual respect there, and acceptance of each other's quirks, for the most part. And Teddy's investigation has taken an intriguing turn with the maze journey and the decidedly creepy/eerie conclusion. Looking forward to the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy and Honoria definitely respect each other, and since the business with the werewolves, I think that, on a very basic level, Teddy thinks of her a someone he can count on.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: July 4th, 2010 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
The maze again? Hopefully by now Teddy will be able to control it better.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not entirely the Maze...
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: July 4th, 2010 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooo... That was very mysterious.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not for too long.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: July 5th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now I am even more eager for the next chapterlet so that I understand what just happened!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's right there with you.
12 comments or Leave a comment