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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Fourteen: Thirteen-B Knockturn Alley, part 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Fourteen: Thirteen-B Knockturn Alley, part 1
Teddy is having a nice game of Muggles and Minions--tension much relieved when he finds that Ruthless has broken up with Sam--when her on-call bell goes off at the same time he gets a Patronus from Donzo telling him to get to Borgin and Burke's right away.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"I have to go," Teddy said, and glanced at James. "Er, Tinny, could you--?"

"I could go with you," James offered.

Ruthless shook her head. "James, I need you to go home and tell your dad what happened. I'm going straight to Borgin and Burke's. If that's not where the trouble is, I'll go back to the office. Do you have that?"

James nodded somberly. "Tell Dad you're going straight to Borgin and Burke's. You'll come to the office if that's not where the trouble is."

"Good man," she said.

"Thanks," Teddy said.

"I'll get him back to Grimmauld Place," Frankie said. "They know me better than Tinny. Tinny, you--"

But Teddy had gone out into the better December night before Frankie finished, and Disapparated to Thirteen-B, Knockturn Alley.

He heard Maurice yelling even before he fully came through--"Let me go, Don! Let me go!"--and then he was in the middle of some sort of hell. A contained fire was still burning inside Borgin and Burke's, but the building was taking care of itself. In the front window, displayed like merchandise, were three bodies, pinned up against black velvet: old Mr. Borgin was in the center, bloody gold coins falling out of his mouth. On either side of him were Henry and Salvina Burke. Salvina was simply dead. Henry's eyes had been put out with quills that remained in them, dripping blood.

"Teddy!" Donzo yelled from where he was holding Maurice back. "Teddy, get Wendell! He's upstairs!"

Teddy looked up at the window on the upper floor, where the offices were. He couldn't see Wendell, and hoped that Donzo was right about where he was. He broke out the window with a Blasting Curse, transformed into a hawk, and flew up.

The rooms upstairs were undamaged, but smoke was coming up the staircase. A green-flecked beetle bumbled along in a daze.

Teddy transformed back. "Wendell! Wendell Burke!"

No answer.

"Please be here. It's Teddy Lupin! I'm going to get you out!"

For a moment, there was no answer, then a door opened under a counter piled with merchandise in various states of repair. Wendell spilled out of it.

"Come on," Teddy said. "We'll get you out... the back way. There's something very bad. You shouldn't see it." He sent a quick Patronus to Donzo to tell him to get Maurice around to the back. "Very good, hiding."

"Rita told me to." Wendell pointed over Teddy's shoulder.

Rita Skeeter was standing shakily where the stairs met the floor. Teddy had been staring at the spot a moment before. "I'll keep your secret if you keep mine," she said.

"Deal. Do you know where the back stairs are?"

"He Sealed them."


"The Auror!"

Teddy stopped. "What?" Downstairs, something crashed. "They'll get your statement later. We have to get out of here before the fire protections fail."

"Can you get him through the window?" Rita asked. "If he's Charmed feather-light?"

Teddy nodded, and did the spell. He transformed again. Wendell was bigger than anything he'd tried to carry in his talons, but the spell held, and it was no more difficult than carrying the Quaffles he sometimes practiced with. Rita Blasted out a window in back, and Teddy flew down, setting Wendell down on the cobblestones. Donzo had dragged Maurice back, and now let him go to grab hold of his brother and start muttering mad comforts.

A beetle scurried down the wall and into a narrow side alley behind the shop. A few seconds later, Rita walked back.

"Are the Aurors here?" Teddy asked. "I mean, other than Ruthless?"

"That Scrimgeour girl's probably in on it!" Rita said savagely.

"Ruthless isn't in on anything!"

"They gave each other alibis, didn't they? And I was so bloody discreet, never printing it, well not much of it--"

"Are you talking about Sam? Sam Cresswell? He did this?"

"Yes! It was Sam Cresswell!"

"That's impossible!" Ruthless came around the corner. "He can't have... the other times..."

"Yes, I know what you said the other times, girl. Did you plan it out? Did you--"

"Ruth didn't do anything." They turned. Maurice had looked up over Wendell's head. His voice was flat and cold. "I don't know how she didn't do anything, but I know she didn't. Ruth wouldn't."

Ruthless put her hand to her throat. She was breathing hard, and her eyes were open so wide that Teddy could see the white around the irises. He saw her sway, then she bent over and vomited.

Uncle Harry and Ron arrived a moment later, not bothering with any pretense about having recused themselves. Uncle Harry took charge of the crime scene, and Ron got everyone gathered together, then created a Portkey from the lid of a rubbish bin and took them all back to Auror headquarters together. He Conjured blankets to put around Maurice and Wendell, and tried to give one to Ruthless, but she refused it, turning away and putting her face toward the wall. Teddy started over, but she held out her hand to stop him and pointed to Maurice and Wendell.

Teddy turned away from her, and went to them.

The next half hour was and would remain a barely registered horror. He remembered it in disconnected, but perfectly clear flashes--Wendell grabbing hold of him and begging to be told how to keep going without his parents, Maurice pacing wildly around and swearing to kill Sam without magic, Rita suddenly screaming that she might have been killed, that the maniac had wanted her dead as well. Anthony Goldstein appeared quickly, Sealed up Sam Cresswell's cube, and was sent out on the hunt for him.

Ron and Uncle Harry took each of them in for statements. They let Wendell and Maurice go in together, so they wouldn't have to be separated, but the others went in one at a time. Teddy was left for last.

When he went in, Uncle Harry was going over a pile of the other statements, now signed and committed to parchment.

"Did you get the fire out?" Teddy asked, non-sensically.

Ron nodded. "It's Borgin and Burke's. The merchandise defends itself. A beam started to crack, and the whole building cut off air. The Aurors taking the bodies down had to get out quickly."

Teddy sat down. "I, er... Do you want me to start?"

"I doubt it'll be anything new," Uncle Harry said, "but yes. I need your statement."

Teddy told them everything that had happened from the time Donzo had sent the Patronus until Ron had got them back here. When he was given the statement to sign, it merely said he'd "flown" through the window, and Rita had "climbed" down. There was no mention of animal forms. It wasn't untrue. He signed it, then said, "I'll call McGonagall and get registered."

Uncle Harry nodded vaguely, then sighed. "Teddy, Ruth's adamant that she remembers the other nights. Before I take it to the Mind Division, do you have any theories?"

An image flashed in Teddy's mind, the winding staircase in the Gryffindor dormitories. Rain was coming in. It was dark... but he remembed it being light. "Mallowsweet," he said. "I was working with it in Potions--"

"We got a notice about that. A new property in its dried state." Uncle Harry leaned forward. "You think...?"

"I don't know, but I know he gave her Mallowsweet on Christmas. It might not have been the first time." Fury rose up suddenly inside him, and he stood up, sweeping his hand across the statements. "I should've seen it! I should've known something was wrong! Ruthless isn't like that! And that letter... the bit about Scrimgeour whoring himself... God! Why didn't I see it? He did it to hurt her, and I didn't do anything! And now Maurice and Wendell are paying for it."

"Teddy, nobody did anything. I censured him for speaking disrespectfully about a fellow Auror, and Ron called him a few names, and Ruth's brothers fumed, and James turned him into a troll in a story, and Hermione and Hannah had a few things to say about him being generally disrespectful toward women, but none of us did anything."

"You didn't suspect..."

"Oh, we suspected," Uncle Harry said. "He had all the motive in the world and the skills to do it, but he also had an alibi, so he had no opportunity. We passed right by him."

Teddy swallowed hard, and sat back down. "Did Rita say what happened in there?"

"Yeah." Ron smiled bitterly. "Sam's a good student. He used a curse Harry invented when we were tracking down Death Eaters after the war--it immobilizes before they can defend. Strictly illegal to do it outside the bounds of the law, and not taught to non-Aurors, but he was one of us. We decided we'd rather use that than Unforgivables. We could take them to Azkaban and stay clean of the Dark Arts ourselves. Only it seems Sam used it to immobilize his victims and then torture them. Rita got away by transforming, and got upstairs fast enough to tell Wendell to hide in an Obscured cupboard, but, being Rita, she didn't go down and fight him. He got away."

Uncle Harry took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes vigorously. "Teddy, we're going to have to search Ruth's flat for Mallowsweet. She can stay with Ron and Hermione at the Romp. Would you mind going with whoever I send to get the things you think she'll need or want? They'll have to check whatever you take out, of course."

"What about Maurice and Wendell?"

"Actually, I was going to call Andromeda. She has a way with young men who need to heal."

With that, the interview was over. All three of them left the office, and rejoined the dazed looking group outside. Ruth didn't even put up an argument about going to stay with Ron and Hermione. Maurice started to suggest that he had a flat, but Wendell covered his eyes and shook his head--their flat was in Knockturn Alley, and overlooked the shop. Maurice put an arm around him and promised that they wouldn't need to go back. Granny came, and took them home.

Teddy was waiting for Williams, who was going to search Ruthless's flat when he got the right papers from the Wizengamut, when Anthony Goldstein appeared again, his face set in a cold fury.

"You didn't get him?" Williams asked.

"He cleaned out his Gringotts account this afternoon," Anthony said. "His mother and brother were moved out, and he's nowhere to be seen. He's in the wind, and he knows every trick we'll use to track him."
34 comments or Leave a comment
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demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: July 27th, 2010 07:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh no!!! Poor Maurice and Wendell...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... they definitely are in trouble.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: July 27th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Fern you outdo yourself!

Such a chilling section; the imagery alone was extremely well delivered but the way it played out was amazing!

Can't wait until the next one! =D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I was a little afraid of it being choppy and rushed.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 27th, 2010 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Long time lurker here (I've been following all your Remus/Tonks fics and Teddy fics), and I'm ashamed to say I haven't yet left a comment. I love reading your writing- it's so incredibly well thought out, so brilliantly characterised, and you can capture so many moods and tones it's incredible.

This chapter- or chapterlet- is a real winner! I'm on edge to see what happens next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Glad to have you aboard. :D
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: July 27th, 2010 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
So Sam's clearly the murderer here, but his family seems to be in on it. This was a really intense chapter, I wasn't expecting the big reveal!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think his family's in on it, per se--he just got them out of there. (Though I reserve the right to change my mind. ;p)
please don't - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: natzee_xx Date: July 27th, 2010 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Just wow. That was intense and just spectacular! Cannot wait for the next installment!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 27th, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's too bad. Dirk Cresswell was a bit of a windbag in GoF, but he seemed like a good enough sort. What a shame about his son! I'm glad you went ahead and said it was him instead of cat-and-mouse for the next several chapters. And I was thinking last night that this story is shaping up to be one where I WON'T cry my eyes out at the end! :D A nice change of pace, even though I don't mind the other ones at all. Excellent chapter!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't mind Dirk, and to be fair, Sam's mad as a hatter, not just a skeaze.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: July 27th, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, crap. Poor Maurice and Wendell--I suspect the latter will have no qualms now about letting that shop pass out of their family's possession. And now the Aurors have the murderer's identity but not his person--I expect trying to catch Sam will become the focus of the story now? I'm almost afraid to ask whether Sam meant to abduct Ruthless or kill her too. She's probably afraid to ask the same thing. Well-done!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I suspect the latter will have no qualms now about letting that shop pass out of their family's possession

I don't know--there's something about giving a murderous maniac what he clearly wants that sits wrong with me.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: July 27th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Maurice, having to see that... and Wendell is so young. It's terrible. I'm shaken.

Hey, I don't know if we guessed it was Sam or if we just insisted on it so much we convinced you. :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
You guessed right. Sam was always the killer. I'm apparently not very good at misdirection! ;p
spellcoats From: spellcoats Date: July 27th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh god, how gruesome. Poor Maurice and Wendell. Looks like Ruth got out just in time. Man, I even feel bad for Rita.

Wizengamut is spelled Wizengamot. Though that's a very entertaining typo.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I spelled it right, then decided it was wrong and changed it! This is what happens when one writes at the wee hours of the morning.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: July 27th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Maurice and Wendell, and poor Ruth! So it was Sam after all. Pity. I had hopes he was just a jerk, not a willful murderer. Clever Teddy knowing about the mallowsweet -- I'm sure it's a relief to understand that part of the mystery for Harry and Ron (and for Ruth herself).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it might be a while before Ruthless feels relieved about much.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 27th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

chilling suspenseful chaplet- few questions

first- I knew it, I knew it! I Knew it! I knew Sam was the killer!

although to be fair, i didn't suspect it at the beginning; only after the coincidence of him giving Ruth mallowsweet and my misunderstanding about what he was talking bout drunk in the leaky Cauldron *i thought he was talkin how glad he was of all those ex-de, etc got what he deserved and how Harry potter didn't gave them what they deserved.*

also, urgh he is sure a sadistic bastard. poor Wendell and Maurice.
but i'm confused.... I though Salvina Burke was already dead from the cursed object curse, so Sam only killed Henry and mr. borgin?
*also Sam you piece of scum, the kid's parents had nothing to do with voldemort you piece of Sh...*

ha! i was Also right that the murderer was going to go after skeeter. pity she didn't lost a body part. one would think that would teach her about stop spreading lies people but No.... trust rita skeeter to implicate people that had nothing to do with it.

poor Ruth. if it wasn't bad enough was a creepy sleezy boyfriend he is the killer too.
i understood that the mallowsweet is probably what made her throw up here; but i don't fully understand it affected her or how it connects with teddy's dream.

""Ruth didn't do anything." They turned. Maurice had looked up over Wendell's head. His voice was flat and cold. "I don't know how she didn't do anything, but I know she didn't. Ruth wouldn't."

GO Maurice!

"Sam's a good student. He used a curse Harry invented when we were tracking down Death Eaters after the war-

what?? what curse? did i missed something?

""Actually, I was going to call Andromeda. She has a way with young men who need to heal."

AWWWW. but again poor wendell and maurice.

one last thing, if Sam is already established as the killer... and we're on chapter 14...
how many more chapters, approximately, will there be?

will there be more deaths?

anyway great chapter. the Chase is on!


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 27th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: chilling suspenseful chaplet- few questions

Well, the story will go to the end of the school year, so there's plenty to happen.

You didn't miss anything--Ron is just sharing information that Teddy didn't previously have.
looking4shadows From: looking4shadows Date: July 27th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

I know I rarely leave comments, but I'm usually waiting on tenterhooks for the next chapter of your stories - I enjoy them all. You're such a brilliant writer (and I would also like to point out that perhaps I'm a bit gullible, but I never thought that Sam was the murderer)and I enjoy every installment.

I've got the chills now - this is fantastic.
dreamer_marie From: dreamer_marie Date: July 27th, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
And once again, Snape turns out to be innocent against all appearances to the contrary... Other than that, wow. I would never have suspected Sam Cresswell.
amamama From: amamama Date: July 27th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Urgh. Sam, you scumbag. Poor, poor Maurice and Wendell. It will take ages before Maurice manages to erase that ffrom his brain, if ever. Might need a good mind healer, but maybe Grannydromeda knows a few tricks? And I think you're good a hiding the villain. I did like Harry - suspected, but realised his alibi was tight - and Ruth is a good one. Poor girl, she'll have nightmares for quite some time about this boyfriend.

Wow. Just wow. You sure know how to turn it up a notch! *impressed* And Sam needs a double keelhaul. At least. Lenghtwise, preferably.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 28th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm guessing Sam wouldn't have had too hard a time getting his family to leave without telling them anything. He's an Auror. He just has to tell them that, while he can't go into details, he has information that makes him think they're in danger and that they'd be a lot safer somewhere else.

After all, they almost didn't get out in time during the war. It probably wouldn't take much to get them to pack their bags and leave, no forewarding address left behind.

I'm also guessing there's something more to his motivation than what we've seen so far, a death or trauma we haven't been told about yet.

In a way, I want to feel sorrier for him. I want to feel like he cracked under terrible pressures and childhood traumas. Instead, I just want to say, "What a jerk."

I mean, killing a family like that? And he might have killed Wendell, given the chance (not sure if he would go after child victims not alive during the war). If not, he could have definitely have expected Wendell and Maurice to see their family like that.

Side thing, if his mother had one of those forced abortions, he might have targeted Goyle partly because he had just become a father - the idea that the villains didn't just get away with it, they're now enjoying the very things they deprived their victims of.

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