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Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twelve: The Trio, part 3
Home for Christmas, Teddy finds himself drawn into a Harry-Ron-Hermione investigation of the murders (Hermione has had Dennis Creevey re-directing some letters to the Prophet, and wants Teddy to help her with the profile she's basing on them). He all but forgets to spend time with James, who has obviously been disappointed by this--he's been thinking a good deal more about the book they've written than Teddy has. Teddy, a bit chagrined, spends the rest of the evening reading a new story James has written... and grateful to have that, instead of the murders, filling his brain.

On a side note, as he read the letters, he noticed them saying things that he himself has said while fighting with Harry, and he's been flashing on his killing of Greyback.

This part took a while for me to start because I want to balance the normal life Teddy is starting to have with the case, and I can't seem to get the mix right!

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy woke up early the next morning, his mind having gone back, at some point, to the letters he'd read. The words chased each other around in his brain--the paranoid ravings, the sad madness in some of them, and the cold cruelty in the one he'd found himself most drawn to. He talked to Uncle Harry briefly before work, but there wasn't any time to really study it, and Uncle Harry very cleary wanted him to take a holiday ("You won't have many more that really are just yours, Teddy--for God's sake, just let it go"). Teddy forced it out of his brain as well as he could.

By eight-thirty, this had been made easier by James, who woke up quite eager to go to Diagon Alley and see the illustrations Frankie had arranged. Teddy sent his Patronus to Frankie, who was apparently already up and at the Charmpress offices, as he immediately sent back a response inviting them to come down immediately. James got dressed, forced some Pepper-Up potion on Al (he considered this his duty as a brother), then essentially dragged Teddy out the door and down to the Disapparation point. Teddy pulled him along to Diagon Alley, and they walked to Charmpress together, enjoying the cold December morning and the decorations on every side. They got to the office at nine o'clock, and James stopped dead when he walked through the door.

"What's that?" he asked, staring at the wall with a variety of bemused horror on his face.

"Funny you should ask," Frankie said, grinning over his shoulder at the nearly wall-sized ever-fresh bouquet of pink roses that was enclased behind glass there. "It has a great deal to do with our topic of discussion."

"Our book has rose pictures in it?" James asked. "You can't be serious! It's an adventure!"

Frankie laughed. "No, not a rose in sight, except in the garden when Martian's looking for the secret door, and I promise, it's in the background."

Teddy looked at it. "Dare I ask?"

Frankie slipped down behind his desk, where a stack of pages was sitting underneath dramatic draping. "Nothing dreadful," he said. "Lavender Brown brought by the roses two months ago, from Fifi LaFolle."

"That's not entirely reassuring."

"I thought you'd like the connection," Frankie said, grinning. "I know how you love Fifi."

James turned on Teddy, looking betrayed. "Fifi LaFolle?"

"She writes good adventures," Teddy said. "And my mum liked her."


"Anyway," Frankie said, "Lavender said that Fifi's current cover artist was interested in branching out, and I met with him, and he liked the idea of doing a children's book."

Teddy looked suspiciously at the pages. He knew Frankie was just trying to get a rise out of him with the extended reveal, but a part of him had images of Checkmate being drawn in a dress with her chest fur poking up out of a ripped neckline, while the skirt was artfully ripped up to her hips and a constant breeze fluttered through her suddenly long and luxurious coat.

Frankie laughed and gave his wand a theatrical whirl. The draping fell away.

James's bemusement turned to delight as Frankie showed them each page of Martian's Mistake. The illustrator, Gray Kalais, had done some antrhopomorphising to allow for the action of the story (James's Martian stories just weren't possible with actual feline anatomy), but he'd obviously watched cats for a very long time. Their expressions were exaggerations of looks Teddy had frequently seen on Checkmate's face, and when they dropped into feline poses, the details were perfect. The world he'd put them in was lush and green, and when they found the secret door that led to the underworld where all lost things might be found, he'd created a treasure trove that fit perfectly into James's version of the world.

"Well?" Frankie asked. "What's the world from Jim Wolf?"

"He approves," James said. "Well, the Jim half does. How about the Wolf?"

"The Wolf concurs," Teddy said.

"Then we're set."

"When can we buy it?" James asked.

"I was hoping for a Christmas release, but it's not going to happen."

"Well, Teddy couldn't come home to look until now," James said.

"Mm. I have to admit, if I'd thought we could get it out there for the season, I wouldn't have gone through this pantomime. I'd have just mailed it to him at Hogwarts and showed it to you at home. There were a lot of other thing to do." He showed Teddy an incomprehensible list. "You've nearly met your advance in pre-sales to Flourish and Blotts and a few other sellers, since you wouldn't take more than a pittance. You need to get Maurice to negotiate the next one."

"The next one?" James asked.

"I think we have a niche," Frankie said. "There aren't that many wizarding children's books out there, Martin Miggs and Beadle the Bard aside."

"Can we do a long one, a real book?" James looked again at the illustraions. "We could do a whole Marauder adventure, where they have a Map, but it's not just Hogwarts, it's the whole world, and they can jump into it anywhere they like." He looked at Teddy. "Er... if you want to. It might take a long time."

"I'm not going anywhere," Teddy said. "But I think Frankie meant another cat book."

"Write what you want. If it's good, I want the first shot at it."

They spent most of the morning celebrating. Frankie also gave them framed prints of the cover of the book, signed by Kalais, and when they went back to Grimmauld Place, Aunt Ginny made a great show of hanging it up across the entrance hall from Mad Auntie's portrait. Sirius immediately crossed the frame (Teddy hadn't been sure he'd be able to, but it apparently wasn't even an issue) and started exploring the cheerful garden, and James--the earlier James--followed a moment later and pantomimed joining the hunt the cats were engaged in. Kalais had drawn a magnifying glass for Checkmate, and Sirius peered through it theatrically.

"We're writing about the lot of you next," Teddy's James told them.

"I want a sword," Sirius said, and this led to an increasingly bizarre list of requests for props and adventures (Dad appeared at some point and insisted that they had to go to Greenland, and James wanted a broomstick that went faster than Muggle jets) that was still going on when Aunt Ginny called everyone to lunch. Teddy threatened to trap all of them in a Siberian ice cave if they didn't let up on the demands, but this just turned into a discussion of how they'd escape and what adventures were to be had in Siberia, which was continued in a still-life in the kitchen while everyone else ate. James--the younger version--had entirely lost the melancholy Teddy had seen descending last night.

"Thank you for that," Aunt Ginny said, nodding at James as Teddy helped her clean up. "He's been feeling out of sorts about not going to Hogwarts this year, and he's been quite obsessed with the idea that you're never going to come around now that you're an adult."

Teddy set a brush to scrub a cauldron and said, "It'll take more than a birthday or two to get rid of me."

"For the record, you might want to impress the same thing on your godfather. Not that I've noticed any quasi-bereaved sighs coming from that direction, of course."

Teddy nodded.

Aunt Ginny finished putting away the bread and sandwich things, then said, "I understand Hermione dragged you kicking and screaming into a case you clearly didn't want to waste your holiday on."

"Oh. Right. I fought hard, but she pulled me in anyway."

"I guessed as much." She grinned. It was one of the few expressions that seemed to have passed identically to James from either of his parents. "Ron's impressed with you. He really wants you in the Division."

"I'll be more use where I'm going. And less of a bother to Ruthless and her new boyfriend."

"Yes, that's an important consideration." She rolled her eyes extravagantly.

Teddy shrugged.

They finished up, and Teddy went back up to Uncle Harry's study. The letters were locked away, and he wasn't about to go searching for them, so he Conjured a copy of the one that had got his attention last night, and read it several times. He couldn't name what it was that had made his hair stand on end about it; most of what he'd told Hermione had been after-the-fact justifcation. Something about it had just stood out. It didn't sound especially insane in comparison to the others, and that might have been a part of it. There was something rational and methoidical about the list of complaints, as if the writer had been doing no more than stating the obvious.

He put the Conjured copy in his pocket, and let his mind turn it over this way and that for an hour or so. The children wanted a lesson of some sort (they loved getting Teddy to teach them), so he put together an impromptu class on Hairy McBoons, which was a great success, but beneath it, things kept ticking away. At about three o'clock, he decided he needed some air, and before he'd made it down half a street, he ducked into an alley and Disapparated to France.

Père Alderman's little church was nestled near the bottom of a mountain, and it had a walled garden around a tiny graveyard. Teddy could see branches rustling near the top of the wall, so he transformed into a hawk and flew over it, landing on a little stone bench.

Alderman had heated the garden enough to work without a coat, and was presently mucking about in the dirt under the shrubbery. He looked up briefly, noticed Teddy--still in a hawk's body--and shook his head. "You know, civilized people knock."

Teddy transformed back. "Sorry--I didn't think you'd hear me out here. Can I help?"

Alderman nodded. "We had to move a few of these shrubs while they were doing work on the steeple--did you see it, by the way?" He pointed, and Teddy saw that the entire steeple had been re-done, and aged to look authentic. "Thank you, by the way."

"Sure. It looks good."

"Blondin's crew does good work." He turned back to the shrub. "But there was a little necessary upset while they were working. I haven't been able to get these properly re-planted. This is where a few Herbology classes would have been helpful."

"If we can't do it, we should get Victoire. She can get anything to grow."

"I'll keep it in mind."

They worked for a while without talking, and Teddy thought by the end of it that they'd got the plant secure and feeding properly, though it was hard to tell.

Alderman stood up. "So, to what do I owe the visit?"

"You listen to a lot of people--"

"And I can't share what any of them say."

"Of course not!" Teddy handed him the Conjured letter, then did as well as he could from memory to get samples of the others. "I just thought you might be able to help me spot the difference between this one"--he pointed to the first letter--"and the rest."

Alderman sat on the bench and read through them. "These are all ugly," he said.

"Yeah." Teddy sat down beside him. "But that one, that first one, seems worse. I can't put my finger on why."

"You can't?"

"Well, it sounds more rational..."

"It sounds like things you've said yourself." Alderman considered this, then folded the letter and gave it back. "And that's why you're really here, isn't it?"
Leave a comment
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: July 17th, 2010 10:02 am (UTC) (Link)
"And that's why you're really here, isn't it?"

I know I tend to say this every time Alderman pops up, but - he's a damn good priest.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want him to be.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: July 17th, 2010 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Coming home to a backlog of Fern fics after a long business trip really is the pick me up I needed after traveling so much!

I need to re-read to absorb them well, but this just gets better and better!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you're enjoying it!
sidealong From: sidealong Date: July 17th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Well?" Frankie asked. "What's the world from Jim Wolf?"

I'm guessing it's meant to be: "What's the WORD from Jim Wolf?"

You're such a great writer! Thanks for sharing with all of us. I introduced my 10 year old daughter to your first Teddy Story a week or so ago, she read a few segments. Now she's asked if I can print it out for her. I wonder how many PAGES are in the Teddy-verse?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoops, yes, extra letter!

I have no idea how many pages there are. A lot.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: July 17th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fun seeing Teddy and James caught up in the excitement of their new book And, of course, I always enjoy reading about Teddy visiting the "cubs." Eager to see what other insights Alderman has to share.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 10:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alderman has Teddy's number when it comes to things that make him tick, and things that make him uncomfortable.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 17th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Odd, so now I'm trying to think of a character who reminds me of Teddy only . . . less balanced or with fewer anger issues resolved.

And getting stuck on the fact that Teddy's one of a kind.

Right, see past the Teddyness and onto his more general characteristics.

Going over the facts again -

Someone with a personal reason to hate Runcorn, although other people may be unaware of it or, at least, unaware that Runcorn would be seen that way.

Someone who was either at Hogwarts when Goyle was (probably same year or younger) or who was close to someone bullied by Goyle (like the parent or older sibling of a student bullied by Goyle [if so, the younger relative is likely dead or otherwise not able to interact with the person doing revenge (because s/he would either be involved with it - and the letter really seems to point to one voice rather than two - or have been told enough to object to it)]).

Someone who knew enough to think of the Buckbeak incident.

Someone clever enough to think of a way around the protections at the platform (although Hogwarts is supposed to be better protected, there's enough coming and going that the platform one seems more important [and the Hogwarts entry might have been a modification of whatever was used before]).

Someone more Harry's age would also be less likely to see Harry's youth during events as a reason not to have done more - possibly a projection of this person's self-hatred for being helpless or not doing more.

I suppose it could also be someone more Teddy's generation, someone who also lost parents during the war. But it seems like Teddy would have noticed.

My gut feeling is that this is also someone who is alone, someone who lost family - or the possibility of family? - during the war and has never been able to fill that void. Life ended back then and it hasn't been rebuilt - or something the killer may perceive in those terms.

Unfortunately, I just haven't got any suspects that really fit.

Someone who knew the Buckbeak history
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Life ended back then and it hasn't been rebuilt - or something the killer may perceive in those terms.

I'd guess that's more or less true, though he'd be someone functioning otherwise normally, or they'd have spotted him by now.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Gottcha. I remember reading one FBI profiler's thing on Jack the Ripper, and, in his opinion, JtR would have been getting close to a state where he could no longer function in society about the time the murders stopped (this was one of the reasons he favored a certain suspect who was known to have been placed in a mental asylum at about that same time).

I'd guess the killer has a life - or what looks like a life to people on the outside. There's probably a job and enough social interaction that the person doesn't seem like a hermit but no really close friends.

That leaves enough room for the anti-social-but-not-actually-a-complete-hermit sort all the way to so-incredibly-social-no-one-notices-the-lack-of-really-close-friends type, I suppose (although I think the really social type would have either done something long ago or developed a different problem, like drug or alcohol abuse).

Oh, and sorry the above entry ended messily and all. I was getting close to finishing it when I realized I'd lost track of time, hit post, and ran off. But, for the record, that was me, Ellen.

vytresna From: vytresna Date: July 17th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, when was James I in the portrait?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
From the end of DM--the one at Grimmauld Place was of James, Sirius, and Remus; the one Teddy has is of Tonks, Remus, and Sirius. Remus and Sirius can go back and forth between the paintings.
From: amethystbeloved Date: July 17th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy had Dean create two portraits: one of Dora and Remus which stays with Teddy and one of James I and Sirius which stays with Harry.
From: amethystbeloved Date: July 17th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I replied before refreshing the page and seeing the responses!
From: amethystbeloved Date: July 17th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fernwithy! I've been AWOL for too long. I got married on July 3rd, and in my new place there's no Internet yet. I'm at my parents right now.

I love the way that Teddy and James are starting out on their Jim Wolf adventure. It's so exciting. I'm looking forward to what Alderman has to offer to the case.

Going back a few chapters, it's really interesting how Maurice wants to enter the entertainment world in order to avoid the darkness of the shop. In today's world the entertainment business is pretty ugly when you go behind the scenes. Anyway, I guess for Maurice it's a walk in the park. The all-girl group who's looking for a manager... is that where Donzo meets his wife with the boots?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 17th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

And yes, the girl group is Kelly Sweet's group. I called them the Charmers before, but because of the school paper, I'm going to switch that--Kelly Sweet and Enchantress.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)

i don't understand what ginevra said...

"For the record, you might want to impress the same thing on your godfather. Not that I've noticed any quasi-bereaved sighs coming from that direction, of course."

i don't understand what she mean

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: i don't understand what ginevra said...

What weren't you clear on? (Just trying to make sure I'm not missing a bread crumb someplace.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2010 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: i don't understand what ginevra said...

what is she telling teddy about impression on who?

and what did she noticed about it?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: i don't understand what ginevra said...

She's being a little sarcastic about not having heard any sighs coming from that direction. She's saying that Harry's been as worried as James about Teddy not coming around as much now that he's an adult, so now she wants him to impress what he just said--"It'll take more than a birthday or two to get rid of me"--on his godfather, Harry, so that Harry knows Teddy's not going to suddenly disappear.
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: July 18th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I could just pop over to France like that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 18th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Apparition would save SO much money.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 18th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know a priest JUST like Alderman, he is a great friend and mentor to me, I'm glad Teddy gets to share my experience. :)
arien043 From: arien043 Date: July 23rd, 2010 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Great story! I really love the idea of James' story getting published! And Teddy sort of forgetting about it because of the letters.

I'm on tenterhooks... I can't guess who the killer is!

A typo here, I think.. "The illustrator, Gray Kalais, had done some antrhopomorphising (anthropomorphising?) to allow for the action of the story.."

Cant wait for the next installment.

Good job!
rotae From: rotae Date: July 29th, 2010 11:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Just getting caught up now, Fern! It's wonderful :D

Caught one thing though here; Beadle the Bard - should be Beedle :D

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