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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Eighteen: By the Book, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Eighteen: By the Book, pt. 2
You know what I like about writing long stories and having lots of balls in the air? When one of them that's just been out there for a while says, "Me! Catch me now!" After weeks of dithering, I know what I'm doing. Result? Two posts in 24 hours, though to me, different days.

Anyway, Teddy came back to London to do his weekly tutoring session with Maurice, only to find out that Maurice had arranged for his own education this week and thrown a surprise party in honor of the publication of Teddy and James's book instead. Everyone Teddy knows and loves out of Hogwarts was there, but he particularly spent time with the Potters, Andromeda, Frankie, Maurice, and Ruthless. Ruthless gets up to leave and asks Teddy to walk her home, since she wants to talk about something.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"I'll come back before I go to Hogwarts," Teddy said at the door, pulling his cloak on.

"We should go anyway," Aunt Ginny said, picking up her sleeping daughter. "It's a bit late."

"Well, I'll still say goodbye to Maurice and Frankie..."

"Goodnight," Maurice said. "See you next week."

"I'll write to you about sales," Frankie said. "Going home, too."

"And I'm headed back to Hogsmeade," Donzo said. "Come by the Three Broomsticks. We'll walk back together."

Granny got a mischevious look in her eyes and looked at Ruthless and said, "Well, I think I ought to call it a night as well. I'll see you at Easter!"

Uncle Harry narrowed his eyes. "Ruth?"

Ruthless shrugged. "We're walking and talking, Harry."

Teddy studied Uncle Harry's face, which was narrow with some kind of suspicion. "What?"

"He's probably worried that I'm going to seduce you," Ruthless said.

"I'm going out with someone," Teddy told them both.

"I don't really care," Uncle Harry said. "Ruth...?"

She met his troubled stare, then hooked her arm cheerfully through Teddy's and said, "Come on, Lupin. I can probably destroy your reputation before we get two streets these days."

Teddy let her lead him outside. "What is this really about?" he asked when the reached the street. "You don't really mean to--"

"Well, I could. At this point, it wouldn't make much difference, would it?" She smiled bitterly, then said, "No. Everything that was true in April is still true."

"Not really," Teddy told her.

Ruth stopped walking, and turned on him with her jaw set angrily. "Oh, you think now I just wouldn't care as much because I've--"

"No! I just meant that you were worried about Victoire then, and... well... it's Victoire I'm going out with--don't tell anyone, she's not allowed--and it's not working at all."

"How long?"

"Since yesterday."

"Ah. Yes, I can see why you're ready to give it all up." She gave him a more genuine, if sadder, smile. "Sorry it's not working right now. But it will. And I'd rather not have to give you up again, if you don't mind. It stings a bit, and I tend to do very stupid things after."

Teddy wasn't sure what to say to this. "Er, then..."

"Let me work my way up to it," she said, and started walking again. She looked up at the sky. "I can't see the stars very well in London," she said. "I'm homesick sometimes. I always thought it was maudlin when my grandfather went on about the Highlands. Sounded like something out of a Fifi romance. I couldn't wait to leave, really. Did I tell you that?"


"Mm. Maybe I just thought it to myself. I'd come to London, and I'd live in a flat, and I'd be a city girl, and I'd never wear the bloody clan tartan. But here I am, and I just want to be walking up the mountain and looking at the stars and those damnable scrubby pines no one can kill. It took me a while to notice that."

"So go home. Apparate to work."

"I want my own place. Can't afford one that's not a rental, and there aren't a lot of flats up there." She shrugged. "The point is, I was really trying to change myself in the autumn. Be this other person. London girl. Grown-up London girl. Sam played on that."

"Preyed on it," Teddy muttered.

Ruthless nodded and sighed. "That's about right, I suppose. But I've been realizing something lately. He made one mistake. He thought I was stupid. I may be a fool, but I'm nowhere close to stupid."

"Of course not!"

"So he talked a lot. I thought he was just trying to impress me, going on about all the people he was going to bring to justice, but now that I know what he was doing, I'm going back over those talks. Runcorn, he didn't hide much, and he wasn't much better about Fudge. When we found Goyle--or when I found him, I guess Sam knew where he was all along--he didn't bother with much respect, and he told me about how Goyle had deliberately lobbed a Bludger at his brother's head. His brother was a second year at the time, and he was so excited to be on the Quidditch team. He wouldn't listen to anyone, even after their dad disappeared. And then it happened. Sam ended up head of his house--his mother was shell-shocked--when he was nine, and he blamed Goyle for that."

"I've read some of this," Teddy said tentatively.

"Yes, I'm sure. In articles that sound just like he did when he was trying to get in my... good graces. But the point is, he told me all of it. He's made it through most of them that he mentioned to me. But there was one that was really under his skin all the time, even more than Runcorn. One who never did anything to him personally, but he saw him as the worst of the lot, the one who should've had his comeuppance in the Great Hall the day of the battle, and possibly should have been hanged from the Astronomy Tower and left there to turn into a mummy."

"Draco Malfoy."

She smirked. "Close, but not quite. He hated Draco like poison, but the one he really loathed was--"

"Lucius," Teddy guessed.

"Lucius," Ruthless agreed. "And they must know it, because he hasn't been out in public since this started."

"He's ill," Teddy told her. "Not physically, but... I saw him last summer. He's not right."

"Oh. Well, that explains it. The Malfoys have been covering it up pretty well." She wrinkled her nose. "I'd rather not sympathize with Draco. But with Granddad... well, I know what he's going through, I suppose, and I'd guess that's why he didn't want to do this."

"Do... what?"

"Well, if I'd known he was sick, I wouldn't have asked, but I thought maybe we could get Lucius out, dangle him in front of Sam, but have a team of Aurors watching. catch him before he could do anything. I don't think he could resist the temptation."

"That would be dangerous."

"Not if the wizard was all there"--she pointed to her head--"and made sure he alerted us. I even have a way to do it that Sam didn't know about and wouldn't see." She shrugged. "It's moot, though, if Lucius wasn't right to begin with. And it was moot anyway. Draco wouldn't let us in to talk to him."


"Ron and me. Harry was a little ambivalent from the start."

"I believe that."

"He said that Sam was a good Auror, and no more stupid than I am, and he might find a way around an alert."

"It's possible."

"But a wizard who knew the situation, who could take care of himself--"

"Which doesn't include Lucius Malfoy."

"Right." They reached her building, and she stopped. "Teddy, I know we can't use Lucius. What you just told me tells me why, but there was never a chance, once Draco--and Narcissa, I'd guess--said no. No one gets into Malfoy Manor without going through them."

"So, why is Uncle Harry still suspicious?"

"Because she didn't leave with Lucius," someone said from the shadows. Teddy turned in time to see Uncle Harry emerging from the alley that led to the Leaky Cauldron. He raised his wand and cast a Muffling Charm. "She left with my godson. The Metamorphmagus."

Teddy put his hand to his forehead. "Of course! I could morph. I'd have to go see Uncle Lucius, make sure I got it right, and probably leave from Malfoy Manor, so that no one would question it, but I could do it. I can fight him long enough for you to get to me, and if not, I have another way to escape. That's brilliant. Ruthless, would Cresswell think of it?"

"Not a chance. He barely remembered your name, let alone what you could do."

"When do you want to try it? And why didn't I think of it?"

"Because you're a civilian," Uncle Harry said. "And Ruth knows that."

"Shouldn't it be my decision?"

"I'm head of the Auror Division. It's my call."

"And if I were some other Metamorphmagus?"

"You aren't."

"No, I'm not. I'm not a stranger off the street. You've been trying to recruit me to the Division since I was thirteen."

Uncle Harry frowned, then shook his head. "I knew that would turn on me someday." He turned to Ruthless. "Scrimgeour, can we talk upstairs?" He pointed to her window.

She nodded. "Sorry I sneaked it in behind your back."

"You're not quite that sneaky, Ruth. You were right in front of me, and I know you and Burke had been cooking up something."

"Ah. Clever deduction. Ever think of law enforcement?" She smiled.

Uncle Harry didn't return it. He just looked at Teddy with grave misgivings, then let Ruthless lead the way upstairs.
27 comments or Leave a comment
danel4d From: danel4d Date: September 9th, 2010 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, fantastic.

There are so many things that could go horribly wrong at this point.
a_blue_jay From: a_blue_jay Date: September 9th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
But so many that could go so wonderfully right!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't imagine what you mean...
mrs_norris_mous From: mrs_norris_mous Date: September 9th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for the update I really enjoy them
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. I like it when it comes to me quickly.
amamama From: amamama Date: September 9th, 2010 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow. This is getting interesting (i.e. my heart is racing). God, I really don't want Teddy to be bait for effing, sick Cresswell. I can see how he'd like to do that, himself - and definitely why Harry doesn't want him to. He's like Harry's oldest child, goddammit, and I think Harry would have to be very un-Harryish to think it ok to use him like that. The only problem is that Teddy is a legal adult and as such can make his own decisions. *sigh*

Now, are you back to posting daily? I could get used to that...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Harry is also head of the Division, as he mentioned, so he would control what adults do under its auspices.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: September 9th, 2010 07:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh SNAP! Uncle Harry being all stealthy in the shadows. =D

I'm just catching up with all the chapters I haven't been able to read lately and this is just great! I love where it's going and how it's getting there.

Fern, your characterizations are SPOT ON.
I love that Harry knew exactly what Ruth was doing and followed to call her out on it.Teddy seems a little too gung ho about being bait but here's hoping he gets talked out of it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Harry has had a chance to get to know Ruthless pretty well... of course he knew what she was thinking.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 9th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

and just when I was wondering what happened to Lucius....

I knew it! I knew Ruth was planning something regarding dealing Dam Cresswell.

also bot surprised (I didn't really realized it before but it's now so obvious) and not surprised that Cresswell wants to Attack Lucius.

No wonder we didn't heard a peep out of the malfoys since the whole thing started.

and I agree with harry, the plan is too risky, and yet.... it is Brilliant.

i hope Harry is not mad at teddy.

can't wait to see how they figure this out!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: and just when I was wondering what happened to Lucius....

Harry's not mad at Teddy, or really, at Ruthless. He just doesn't like the situation.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 9th, 2010 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, boy! Yes, that's quite some plan, and it puts Teddy right at the center of things. And of course, he'll do it. Poor Harry--and poor Andromeda too, because I don't think she'll be too happy about this either. Must admit that, vile as Sam is, I agree that Lucius Malfoy's getting off scot-free after the war was a cosmic injustice.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 9th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
He didn't really get of scot-free, though. Sometimes the things that happen to you because you weren't punished are worse than the punishment would have been.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with marycontraria below--I think that, had he gone to Azkaban, been with the others, he might have started thinking of himself as one of the "better sort" again. As it is, he's powerless and permanently confused, and essentially a cipher looked after by his wife and son.

On the other hand, I can definitely imagine people in that world thinking, "So what?"
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: September 9th, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I can see why Ruth and Teddy are eager to try this, but I'm with Harry. I hate the thought of Teddy taking that kind of risk. But he is an adult and, what's more, a very frustrated adult who really wants Sam Cresswell to be stopped.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry himself would have done it in a heartbeat, of course...
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 9th, 2010 02:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Catching up and Wow plot twist

been away a couple of days and i'm just catchingup with the last two chaplets.

it's amazing how you manage to go from uplifting to Shocking plot twist in the span of one chaplet.

and i knew there was someone i was forgetting in my mental list of possible-next victims. *facepalm*

i would think that high and powerful lucius malfoy suffering from the magical form of alheizmer and becoming an fuzzy memory old geezer was appropiate retribution

the plan is brilliant though, but i really dont think they will be able to go through it now that harry caught up to it.

nice suspense building up!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Catching up and Wow plot twist

i would think that high and powerful lucius malfoy suffering from the magical form of alheizmer and becoming an fuzzy memory old geezer was appropiate retribution

I would agree with that. I think a lot of people wouldn't, especially if Draco and Narcissa are covering it up.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: September 9th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right after Li'l James, I love your Grownup!Harry!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Harry in all forms. Getting to deal with him a lot more is one of the bright spots of writing Teddy rather than R/T.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: September 10th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I love your adult!Harry. I especially love the idea that he was following them in the invisblity cloak the whole time (or, well, a dissillusionment but I adore the idea that he still uses the cloak!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, he was actually coming from the other direction. I thought about the Invisibility Cloak, but lurking around while they were having a private conversation about relationships would have been a little creepy.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 10th, 2010 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)

I hate to be the one to ruin things, but why wouldn't anyone think of Polyjuice-ing? Maybe there's a spell that Aurors know that tells when someone is Polyjuiced? I think you'll have to come up with a reason why Harry doesn't just drink some Polyjuice himself. :(

Apart from that, this will be a COOL THING!!
ascot_gavotte From: ascot_gavotte Date: September 10th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
They can't polyjuice because they probably can't get close enough to Lucius to get his hair (Unless the Aurors stored some of it just in case.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a really good logic point, and I will have to find a way to address it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe the dementia has caused/resulted from physical degradation of his brain so that anyone who used polyjuice to assume his (entire) form would also have his dementia.

I just love this litte plot twist with Ruthless, it puts Teddy right in the thick of things! And the party was really delightful. Thanks for writing! ~Karen
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Polyjuice potion only works for a short time; if you want to do it long-term you have to keep taking the potion. It worked with Moody because he had a known habit of nipping from his flask. If Lucius were to walk around constantly drinking something, Cresswell would know something was fishy. He is an Auror, after all.

And you couldn't just dangle Teddy out there for an hour--it might take longer than that for Cresswell even to learn that "Lucius" was out and about.

Lovely updates, Fern!
27 comments or Leave a comment