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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Eighteen: By the Book, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Eighteen: By the Book, pt. 1
Teddy has been fairly miserable about the failure of his date with Victoire, not to mention the huge fight in Hogsmeade that followed, and its precipitating cause: the sympathy of many people to Sam Cresswell's point of view. But when he arrives at Maurice's to tutor, he finds a copy of the book he wrote with James--Martian's Mistake--and when he opens it, the dingy corridor turns bright, and someone yells "Surprise!"

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Someone must have put up some rather high quality temporary expansion spells in the Burke flat, because everyone Teddy knew outside of Hogwarts--at least everyone that he cared to see--seemed to be there. James, of course, was at the center of things, reading the book aloud to his various gathered cousins, one of whom had made him a headdress that looked like one Martian acquired when he slipped through a rabbit hole into a fabulous garden kingdom. (Martian himself had also been granted a headdress, but it was already mostly in shreds.)

Lily egged James on with a stream of insults, and Al watched indulgently from the back of a sofa. Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and every Weasley sibling (including the elusive Charlie) were there, as well as Molly and Arthur. Granny descended on Teddy as soon as he arrived, and was plying him with various bits of food. Ruthless and Frankie and Donzo had apparently been recruited by Maurice, who'd decided on a whim to do it when he'd noticed James pressing his nose against the window at Flourish and Blotts, looking at a poster for the upcoming book. Maddie and Daffy were there, and Croaker from the Department, and Hannah Longbottom (who was very, very pregnant), and Alderman and the Blondins and Vivian, and...

Teddy squeezed his eyes shut and re-opened them. Everyone was still here. Even Fifi LaFolle was floating about somewhere, with Lavender Brown in attendance on her. Uncle Harry had even brought his portrait, so Dad and Sirius and James were presiding from the wall. The only one missing was Mum, who was stuck in Teddy's portrait at Hogwarts.

"We're all quite impressed," Dad said. "Your mother wishes we could have thought of a way to sneak her out of the castle."

"I'll tell her all about it," Teddy said. "And I'll read you both the book."

Sirius grinned. "That's somehow appropriate."

Granny rolled her eyes. "It suppose it was inevitable."

"Teddy!" Uncle Harry was weaving through the crowd, two drinks floating in front of him. He reached them. "We're all a bit impressed." He handed over one of the drinks. "James has been counting down to tomorrow. We've cleared a whole shelf for all of the books the pair of you are going to write."

"Only one?" Granny asked. "Have you heard all the ideas James spins? And I know how fast Teddy writes."

Teddy blushed. "Well, let's see if the first one does anything first."

"Frankie said that the bookshops have been picking it up," Granny said.

"Yes, but customers have to pick it up from the shops, if there are going to be more."

"It'll be big hit," Donzo said, coming over. "I'm already writing songs to go with it. Shall I sing one?"

"Will Maurice let you?"

"Well, it would break James's heart if I didn't, since I promised..."

Teddy laughed, and a moment later, Donzo asked James's permission to take the spot by the couch he'd been reading from, and let James give him a grand introduction. Teddy drifted over into the group of his friends from school.

"He's got to stop doing this," Maurice said, in a good-natured way that didn't suggest any imminent scold for it, as Donzo launched into an absurd, guitar-heavy ballad about Martian and his quest for the charm. Maurice watched this fondly, and cheered it afterward. He looked better than he had since December, though Teddy could still see the weary lines around his eyes.

The evening went by quickly, in images and moments. At one point, Victoire's youngest brother, Lance (who would be four in June), expressed grave concern about how Martian had learned not to get stuck in the pricker-bushes, and Teddy and James made up an impromptu story to explain it. At another, Uncle Harry, mimicking a Diagon Alley tourist, had wandered around with the book, asking if anyone could tell him where to get an autograph. Teddy and James had signed it together, with James writing "Jim" and Teddy writing "Wolf." Granny drank quite a bit, but didn't get maudlin, and danced wildly with Ellsworth to the amusement of everyone. Rosie Weasley very somberly told Teddy that writing books was the very most important thing in the world. Toward the end of the evening, when the first of the Weasley siblings (Percy) announced that it was time to go, James gathered everyone and swore them to utmost secrecy about who Jim Wolf really was. "Can we make it Unbreakable Vow?" he asked, and got a very fast "No" from every adult in the room.

By ten-thirty, it was only Granny, the Potters, Donzo, Maurice, Ruthless, and Frankie. Lily had fallen asleep, and Al looked close to it, but James was running about like it was noon.

"The next one," he told Frankie, "is going to be a real book, with chapters. It'll be about them." He pointed to the picture of the Marauders, who made a great show of being flustered with embarrassment.

"I don't know about real people..."

"Oh, we're changing their names!" James said, appalled that anyone wouldn't have thought of that. "And they'll be in school again, and they'll never, ever die, no matter what adventures they have."

Frankie looked at Teddy. "Does that sound right to you?"

"Sounds great, but shouldn't we see if this one is going to sell?"

Frankie waved this off. "It's already our first big hit, and Jim Wolf hasn't done a single publicity appearance. Which, by the way... we should have a picture for the next book."

"But Jim Wolf isn't real," Al muttered sleepily.

"He doesn't need to be!" James pointed at Teddy. "Come on, make Jim Wolf. He should look like both of us, but neither one of us."

Teddy made a great show of studying James's face, then morphed his eyes to match James's hazel ones. James's mouth didn't look yet like it would on an adult, so he left his own. "What color hair?" he asked. "We have the same normal color, but so far, I look like me with an eye-color morph."

"Do Sirius's hair."

Teddy looked up, amused. Uncle Harry, who had obviously been celebrating freely, was grinning. He had not, in Teddy's memory, ever asked for a morph.

"All right," he said, and thickened his hair, giving himself a roguish thick fringe that wouldn't have looked out of place in one of Donzo's concerts. He made it black and sleek.

"Gentlemen," he said, addressing the portrait, "I give you Jim Wolf." He twirled his wand, and a mirror appeared.

Teddy saw why he'd suggested Sirius--between James's hazel eyes, which he'd got from his grandfather, and his own mouth, which he'd inherited from Dad, and the shock of Sirius's hair, he looked like he'd combined the three of them into a single face. He tipped an imaginary hat to them, and morphed back.

He sat down on one of the Conjured sofas and said, "Thanks for this, Maurice. But, er... if we're going to get to your tutoring before tomorrow morning..."

Maurice dismissed this. "Portrait's been here all day to help me with Defense"--James the elder and Sirius gave sarcastic claps in Dad's direction--"and Donzo brought my homework for the others. Why do you think I told him to get off the grounds early? Take the night off."

"I wish you could come to Flourish and Blotts with me tomorrow," James said. "I'm going to buy the first copy."

Frankie shook his head. "James, you have ten author copies. You, do, too, Teddy," he added, "but I thought it would be hard for you to explain them coming with owl post."

James frowned. "It's different, buying one in a shop. I wonder if they're being put out yet."

"Probably," Frankie said. "It's not going to be big display, but I got them to at least set up a display at the end of an aisle."

"Maybe we can see it through the front window!" James suggested, bounding up.

Teddy was about to join him--the idea of actually seeing Martian's Mistake displayed at Flourish and Blotts was strangely appealing--but Ruthless shook her head. "No. They haven't fixed it yet."

"Fixed it?" Donzo asked.

Maurice looked stunned. "Flourish and Blotts? Why Flourish and Blotts?"

"Who knows?" Ruthless said. She looked at Teddy and Donzo. "We've been seeing a lot of very stupid bits of vandalism. Nothing threatening."

Teddy turned to Maurice. "Your shop?"

"Is well-protected," he said cryptically. "But there've been a handful of rubbish fires in Knockturn Alley."

"You don't think it's...?" Teddy started.

"No," Uncle Harry said. "I don't think he's turned to petty property damage. I don't know what we'll hear from him next, but these are just--"

"Idiots," Ruthless said. "Annoying, but harmless. We're catching them, they're screaming a few things about getting the establishment back for all the damage, and then we release them into the wild after they pay a fine."


Granny held up her hand. "Teddy, I did as much when I was protesting Crouch."

"You don't think Cresswell's behind it, then?"

Uncle Harry shook his head wearily. "I wish it were. It'd give me a hint of where he's got to, and I don't like not knowing that. But this isn't him. Or those..." He ground his teeth.

Aunt Ginny rolled her eyes in frustration. "Harry, no. No Cresswell talk. You promised."

"I did," he agreed.

"I hope you catch him soon," James said.

"So you can get your holiday?" Ruthless asked.

James turned up his nose. "That's for Lily. After the Needle's Eye is caught," he explained to Teddy, "Mum and Dad are taking us on holiday to the Cloaked Islands. There's a Neddy the Kneazle park. Lily wants to go." He shrugged. "There are beaches, too, and I get to speak French, so I'm practicing with Aunt Fleur."

"That sounds fun."

"We could wait until after school, and you could come with us," Aunt Ginny offered.

"Oh, I... well, I think I may have outgrown Neddy the Kneazle at some point."

She smiled.

"Anyway," Donzo said, "I was thinking that we could go on one of those trips they used to take. You know--go see the world. You, me, this loser"--he pointed to Maurice--"maybe Atkinson..."

"We do that every summer."

"Only when I have someplace to sing. I was thinking of an actual holiday before any of us start this adult business."

"Too late," Maurice said, then sighed. "Sorry. But, the shop."

"I'll watch the shop for you," Granny offered. "I'll have fully retired by then, I think."

Maurice looked like he didn't quite dare to believe her.

The conversation went on for a long time, until after eleven, when even James was starting to flag. The expansion charms started to break, and the flat was feeling crowded.

Ruthless was the first to stand up. "I think I'll go home now. Get some sleep. I'm sure that tomorrow, there'll be some nefarious sign-defacer to catch." She stretched extravagantly, then Summoned her Cloak. "Hey, Lupin... walk me home? There's something I want to talk to you about."
25 comments or Leave a comment
amamama From: amamama Date: September 8th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, lovely. You are a master weaver, you know. I know I've said it before, but really. This is aesome. I had missed the last chap'let, so had to read that first, which made this morning awesome. Two chaplets. Woot! Love the surprise, love Alderman and his advice for Teddy, love Teddy's words to Neil, love, love, love your world. The details you put in, like the lionbloom in the corner of the Gryffindor common room, lifts your stories off the screen and make them 3-d. At least I have no problems seeing myself in this world. Oh, and I love Teddy's Jim Wolf morph. Very appropriate.

Thanks Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2010 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)

I was halfway through the morph when I realized what it looked like!
amamama From: amamama Date: September 8th, 2010 08:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe your awesome iconmaker can draw you a Jim Wolf icon? I know I'd love to see it! Too bad I don't remember her name...
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 8th, 2010 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Lots of li'l James! You know I love him! But shouldn't Charlie be elusive rather than illusive?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2010 07:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops, yes, he really should!
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: September 8th, 2010 08:48 am (UTC) (Link)
There's something beautiful about Andromeda offering to watch the shop, because she has just as many reasons as Maurice for hating it and accepting to help out shows she's moved on as much as she can. Also, adventures yay :).

Random comment- I seem to remember your James being a red head? *Shrugs* Or maybe I'm making that up.

Also, in the last section you used the word 'ass' (in that Teddy felt like a bit of an ass while talking to Neil) and I think the British term is 'arse'. Lol random Britpick.

I have another comment to make on the section 2 entries ago but I'm lazy and tired and shall do so in the morning :).

Thank you for the section though! And I am interested in seeing what Ruthless has to say. Also, yay for Maurice being somewhat happy :).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nope, James has always had light brownish hair. He's the one who looks nothing like anyone he can place.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: September 9th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Huh. No idea where I got the red from then.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 8th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
But you can 'feel like an ass' in British English - it means you feel like a bit of an idiot, or - literally - a donkey. It's a bit dated, but it's more plausible than Teddy 'feeling like an arse', which would imply he felt he was behaving badly towards Neil, which he isn't.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
That's what I thought--a bit archaic, but okay. (I'm thinking Dickens, "The law is an ass.")
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 9th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
The Wizarding World feels somewhat archaic anyway, so a spot of archaic language seems perfectly fitting to me ;)
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: September 9th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh. I retract my wrong comment then :P.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 8th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

AWWWWWWW what a nice surprise

this was such a nice, heartwarming chaplet. nice to have a nice cheerful moment among all the craziness and nastiness. Specially for Maurice
(where was Wendell?)

*although considering this whole Rebel against the stabishment cresswell murders created im surprised they hadn't spread lies about Kingsley Shaklebolt )

anyway, i love how excited everyone is about the books and I love how Sirius gives them ideas.

interesting that Jim Wolf appearance. i wonder if any of the wonderful artists who love your stories will make a portrait of him

although oh oh i don't think i like Ruth's last line (no fear about her getting in the way of Victoire, but fear that Sam did something to Ruth

looking forward for more
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: AWWWWWWW what a nice surprise

Ruthless definitely has something up her sleeve here.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 8th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
The surprise party was a very pleasant change-of-pace. Glad Maurice seems to be doing better, and may even get a breather from the business he never wanted. I do share Harry's apprehension about where Sam is going to turn up next.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Harry... not exactly untroubled by this. Ginny's smart to make him let it go for the evening. Or, well... to try, anyway...
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 8th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love parties in the middle of all this gloom! Anyway, I wonder what is it Ruth wants...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I needed a break from the doom and gloom! I figured Teddy, his friends, and everyone reading could use a break, too.
From: tree_and_leaf Date: September 8th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hurrah for a party and everyone finding some laughter amid the gloom.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)
They deserve a party or two.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: September 8th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Goodness, I have about 5 or 6 chapter to catch up on! Nothing like a good old Fern back log to get through to make me happy. =D

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if this story counts as happy, but hopefully, leaving off on a party will help.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 9th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Minor Typo

After Granny rolled her eyes "It suppose it was inevitable." Sounds a little cumbersome.

As noted earlier, Charlie might be elusive, but if he is firmly there, he is hardly illusive, although Fifi might be. (With her it's hard to tell.)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Minor Typo

I thought I'd fixed that last night! Did it not save? Eep.

Not sure what you find cumbersome in Andromeda's line.

hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: September 9th, 2010 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I go on about this every time but your characters' kindness and inter-wovenness is very nice. I like that Maurice-whose been so recently helped by so many- is getting solace from helping himself. Very true to life; such nice themes all around.
25 comments or Leave a comment