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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Nineteen: Shapeshifter, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Nineteen: Shapeshifter, pt. 2
Teddy goes back to Hogwarts with a week to think about whether or not he wants to go with Ruthless's plan. He actually finds himself distracted by the trifling matter of falling grades, not to matter the excruciatingly trivial issue with Victoire. He buckles down on his school work, avoids Victoire, and gets a disturbing bit of input in Divination, where Laura, scrying for an answer to his question about whether or not to go with the plan, has a vision that Sam is no longer alone. Ultimately, he tells Harry that he wants to go ahead with the plan. At last, while working in the library, he is approached by Victoire who, to his relief, wants to break up. They do so, and immediately start talking like normal people again. Unfortunately, Nearly Headless Nick interrupts the conversation to tell Teddy that he's wanted in the Headmistress's office.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"I'll take your things back to the Tower," Victoire offered. "I need to practice my Feather Light Charm, anyway."

"Thanks," Teddy said, and quickly separated his things from the library books he'd been using.

"Tell me what's going on?"

"If I can."

She nodded, and began to pick up his things, carefully piling his books so that they'd form a balanced stack when she bound and Charmed them. "Glad to have you back, Teddy."

"You, too." He had a wild impulse to kiss her, but as that sort of feeling had got them into the situation they'd just managed to extricate themselves from, he resisted it and smiled instead.

She returned it and waggled her fingers in wave as she bound his books up.

Teddy followed Nick out of the library.

"Do you know what it is?" he asked.

"I only know that I was asked to retrieve you from the library. Madam Pince is rather sour on the new practice of sending Patronuses to gather students. I would assume that it isn't an emergency, or the Headmistress would have disregarded that preference."

Teddy supposed it was true, though his mind Conjured images of Uncle Harry, his face long, saying that something had happened to Granny, or that Sam had found Ruthless and hurt her, or that one of the children had got ill. He supposed that it might also be Granny, saying that something had happened to Uncle Harry, but for some reason--despite the fact that Uncle Harry was in a fairly dangerous job--it rarely occurred to Teddy that he might actually get hurt.

Nick left him at the staircase to the Headmistess's office, and a moment later, the stone guard moved aside, and Teddy found himself on the spiral stairs that took him up to the top of the tower.

Uncle Harry was waiting at the top, his face long.

Teddy's wild imaginings of what horrible news he might be bringing didn't get a chance to take hold--though they tried--because almost immediately, a chair behind Uncle Harry shifted, and a tall blond man stood up. Uncle Harry looked at him with frank distaste. "You remember Draco Malfoy?"

Draco smiled coolly. "Teddy and I are cousins, Potter," he said. "We actually saw one another only a few months ago."

"Hi," Teddy said.

Uncle Harry, his face tight and unreadable, looked at Professor Sprout. "Er, Headmistress? Thank you for offering your office, but..."

Sprout rose from behind her desk, came over, and said, "Mr. Potter, I know your expectations for life in this school are somewhat different from most, but Mr. Lupin has school work to do as well, and has had quite a few distractions this year. If I sense--"

"Trust me, if his marks slip, I'll pull him off of this. And let me know if they do."

As Uncle Harry wasn't Teddy's legal guardian--Granny had been, and now that Teddy was of age, he controlled his own information--Professor Sprout could make no such promise, and no one pretended otherwise. Sprout just shook her head, made a frustrated sound, and left the office. As she did, Teddy noticed a flicker of movement from the other chair near her desk, but it was too high to see around.

Uncle Harry waited until the door had closed, then looked up at the portraits. "You heard Professor Sprout," he said. "This stays in this room. Not a word to anyone that Malfoy and I have been here. That means you as well, Phineas--no gossip at home."

Teddy blinked. "Is this about Cresswell? Ruthless's idea?"

"Yes. Ginny knows, and, against my better judgment, I let her talk me into telling Andromeda--"

"What did Granny say?"

"She came around," Uncle Harry said, "but the initial reaction is, perhaps, best left to your imagination."

Teddy, who knew his grandmother and her fears quite well, didn't have any trouble imagining the scene.

Uncle Harry shook his head. "At any rate, Ginny knows because I had to tell someone, Andromeda knows because I owed it to her to tell her, and Ruth and Maurice know because they're participating. Beyond that--"

"Beyond that," Draco said, "it's just our happy little family." He went to the chair and turned it around. Lucius Malfoy was sitting there, looking out under his hooded eyes. He didn't seem entirely present, but there was still a flicker of malice in there somewhere. It didn't matter. If Teddy meant to impersonate him, they would have to talk, and talk for a long time. Draco gestured to him. "Teddy, you've met my father. Father, do you remember Andromeda's grandson, Ted Lupin?"

Lucius flicked his eyes up and down. There was recognition in them, but he didn't acknowledge having met Teddy before, only saying, "Perhaps."

Teddy pulled up another chair and sat down directly across from Lucius, almost knee to knee. "Mr. Malfoy, I need to talk to you for a little while, I think."

Lucius's nose wrinkled. "Have I any reason to talk to you?"

"To help us catch a killer," Uncle Harry said "If that matters."

Lucius didn't answer.

Draco said, "Ted's trying to see to it that you're out of danger from Sam Cresswell."

This had no impact on Lucius whatsoever.

Draco tried again: "Mother wants you to talk to him."

This got only a slightly more animated response.

"Potter," a smooth, low voice said from the wall. "If you would permit me?"

Uncle Harry looked up, surprised. "Professor Snape... er, sure. I mean, yes."

Snape looked down from his portrait, considering Lucius the way Teddy thought he might have looked at a spoiled potion in his dungeon classroom. "Lucius," he said, "consider this: this man murdered Gregory Goyle. Goyle answered to Draco at all times. Do you imagine that Draco himself isn't a likely target of this maniac?"

Lucius sat up straight, turned to Teddy, and said, "And what do you propose we discuss?"

"Thanks," Uncle Harry said to the portrait.

Teddy nodded, but didn't look at Uncle Harry, Draco, or the portrait of Severus Snape. He kept his eyes on Lucius. "It doesn't matter," he said. "Talk to me about anything you want." He reconsidered. "Why don't you tell me what you thought of my grandfather, Ted Tonks?"

"The Mudblood?" Lucius asked, pulling back with an unaffected sneer.

"Mr. Malfoy--" Uncle Harry started.

Teddy shook his head slightly and held up his hand. He didn't want Lucius being polite. He wanted to memorize Lucius Malfoy at his most provocatively hateful. "Go on," he said. "It's your wife's brother-in-law, you must have some opinion."

"The Mudblood," Lucius said coldly, "bore no relationship to us. Nor did Andromeda, when she chose to become a blood traitor."

"You can't just erase blood," Teddy said. "It must have been quite an annoyance to you."

"Annoyance!" Lucius leaned forward, almost threatening. "That filth had no business at all pawing at a Pureblood girl, and polluting her body and her mind..."

Now started--Teddy had a feeling that Lucius had been stopped on his rants for some time now--the bile started spilling out of him. Teddy listened, trying to tell himself that he was studying, that he wasn't hearing anything he hadn't heard before, that these were strangers Lucius was going on about. It didn't entirely work. By the time he'd listened to Lucius for ten minutes, he wanted to shove the chair backward and out the tower window.

Instead, he sat quietly, watching.

The look was easy enough, and presumably, Draco would lend him clothes and props. But the mannerisms were so unlike his own... it would be a challenge. There was the way Lucius's shoulders squared when he was disgusted with something, the way his lip curled at the thought of "filth," the way he tended to lean forward, into Teddy's own space, whenever he was saying something particularly nasty. The last habit was what was driving Teddy toward a violent reaction, and of course that was the goal--the constant invasion of his personal space, armed with insults meant to provoke someone who had already been put into a defensive stance by posture alone, was meant to goad a perceived adversary into violence, which would then be used to prove how truly low such an obviously inferior person had sunk.

The office grew quiet, and Teddy realized that a shadow of a smirk was dancing around Lucius's mouth. "What's the matter?" Lucius asked. "Can't you think of an argument?"

Teddy morphed his hair white, let it recede, and mottled his skin ever so slightly around the face and hands. He shrank four inches, and made himself thin, so that his skin hung off of his bones like an old man's. Finally, he changed the color of his eyes and shapes of his face and leaned forward aggressively. "I think," he said, "that I've heard enough to know that you haven't changed a bit. I think you're still evil, and I don't think you're nearly as foggy as you've been pretending to be to get everyone's sympathy. I think you're not getting mine anymore."

Lucius sat back, his eyes going foggy again, his shoulders curling inward. "Draco," he said, "I would like to go home now. I'm tired."

Teddy took back his normal shape and sat back in his own chair. "I think I can do it." He looked at Uncle Harry and Draco.

Uncle Harry looked disturbed at the morph, but Draco was looking at him with frank admiration.

Draco smiled. "I'm impressed."

"I need a little more practice when he's not so... tired. I need to watch him walking a little."

"Maurice will let you Floo to Malfoy Manor through the store when your tutoring is done next week," Uncle Harry said. "But after that, we'll have to start the charade."

"Asteria will take my father out of the country by Side-Along Apparition," Draco said. "Off the record, let's say. And I'll have Rita over to dinner, and hint that Dad may have gone off wandering again. We'll have rumors in place before you start."

"And Ruth is already working on getting her notification charm worked into a cloak," Uncle Harry finished. "You'll be safe."

There was nothing else to say. Draco and Lucius Malfoy disappeared through the Floo, and Uncle Harry, after a few attempts at passing along trivial information from home, disappeared after them.

Teddy went back down the spiral staircase, meaning to go back to Gryffindor Tower and finish his homework. Instead, he veered abruptly off in the direction of the prefects' bathroom. He was running by the time he got there, and Corky, who was coming out, got out of the way quickly, asking as Teddy breezed past if he had a stomach flu.

Teddy didn't answer him, but he wasn't going in to vomit.

He turned on all the taps in the tub, filled the room with sweet scents, then slipped into the water.

He stayed there a long time before Conjuring large, clean towels and going back up to be with his friends.
32 comments or Leave a comment
sophiap From: sophiap Date: September 19th, 2010 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. That was powerful stuff. I loved Teddy's analysis and dissection of Lucius's mannerisms and personality, and his reaction after.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought he was being a bit too calm, and he was. Total act he was putting on, and he had to scrub it off.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. So Teddy felt dirty after being Lucius? Hadn't thought of it that way, but it's perfect!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know I'd feel dirty after swimming around in Lucius's mind.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 19th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like Draco, I'm impressed--not just by the quality of Teddy's morph, but by his restraint in facing all that venom from Lucius. Though I don't blame him for wanting a bath afterwards. One question--will he have to find a way of disguising his voice to sound like Lucius's? Or are the Aurors just hoping the sight of him being Lucius will be enough to draw Sam out?
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 19th, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sam probably doesn't know exactly what Lucius sounds like anyway - he's been reclusive for seventeen years.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, this is so perfect!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

urghh and I though the murders were gut wrecking

I have to admit, I'm impressed more than normal.

after reading about the grueling murders, what happened to Wendell and maurice, i thought there could nothing that compared.

I was wrong.

it sent a chill down my spine how prejudistic and hateful Lucius could still be,

and i'm shocked that he was so lucid.

i'm guessing that lucius with the wizard version of senile/dementia/Alzheimer was a lie?

I feel cheated. he deserved his comeuppence.

and i feel for teddy feeling so dirty after having to morph into lucius

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: urghh and I though the murders were gut wrecking

I think it's real enough when he's cut off, but Teddy is giving him a chance to relive his "glory days"--not uncommon for people with senile dementia of any sort to have a lot of lucidity on certain points. Teddy, of course, doesn't believe this, but I do. I think that Lucius robbed of any power or influence would deteriorate very rapidly.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: September 19th, 2010 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not surprised that Teddy is finding this emotionally difficult, but I really appreciate how well you showed why. All the details add so much to the story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2010 08:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I don't think Teddy was expecting emotional difficulty. It probably sounded like a lark (albeit one with a serious purpose) when Ruthless brought it up.
starnightmuse From: starnightmuse Date: September 19th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

urgh lucius is just urgh....

Evil old geezer. poor Teddy.

i admit to be smiling by the way you had Harry regard both Snape and Malfoy. it's was very realistic and in character. as opposed to SO many people write fanfiction nowadays with Harry being bestest friend with Draco Malfoy and asks him all the time for advice and visits for tea and revering Snape like Sainter than saints.

I specially like how Harry regarded Draco "with frank distaste". he may not hate him as he did when they were younger, but he doesn't hold draco like a friend at all.

that just shows how you do the characters justice

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: urgh lucius is just urgh....

Just based on the epilogue, Harry and Draco don't spend much time together--he has to ask if the boy he sees is Scorpius, and the best the two of them manage is a polite nod. As to Snape, I think he probably feels obligated to honor him, but the guy was still an asshole (and one creepily obsessed with Harry's mother, at that), so I don't see a lot of warm-fuzzies developing there.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: September 19th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting and intriguing. My favorite parts were Harry talking to Snape (changing to the more formal "yes" as if remembering Snape's preferences, and also, perhaps, the "no need to call me sir" incident.)

And then Teddy's parting words to Lucius. Luciius' fate, to me, is one of those gems of an idea. I think that Lucius probably really does have dementia/whatever it is, if for no other reason than I don't think if he was well Draco and his wife would need to be quite so involved in his everyday care. (Faking to that extent for that many years? That would be torturous, so I doubt that's an option either). But Teddy thinking that Lucius is faking that was powerful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 20th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I was trying to figure out who would best handle Lucius in this instance, and it occurred to me that a voice from his past would be more useful than a voice from his future.

Lucius definitely isn't faking, but Teddy's out of patience with his aggressive baiting by now. Lucius has mentally gone back in time to when he was allowed to talk like this.
a_blue_jay From: a_blue_jay Date: September 19th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow...
You know, somehow when I first thought of Teddy impersonating Lucius, I didn't realize that he would have to go this far. And I think that Teddy didn't either.
I have to wonder what Harry thought of all this. Did he see how disturbed Teddy was by it? Because it sounds like Teddy was doing a good job of hiding that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 20th, 2010 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy really didn't think it through. Harry's... not sure. He already doesn't like Teddy in this. I doubt he buys the cool as a cucumber attitude, though.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: September 20th, 2010 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
OOOHHH, Teddy... Didn't think it was going to quite as personal as all that, did you? This is heavy stuff, Fern and you knocked it out of the park!

I like how much it affected Teddy; it shows just how naive he is going into this situation. He's not a trained auror who has seen psychopaths at work before, he's just a kid compared to Harry, Draco and Lucius.

I'm so anxious to read the next part!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 20th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
it shows just how naive he is going into this situation

That's a good way to put it. He's done some fairly major crime-busting before, with Greyback, but he was expecting that to hit close to home--it was close to home. I think that here, Teddy's thinking that he's heard all of this before, and he's perfectly capable of listening to this ancient claptrap without being affected by it, and it's not until after he's been holding it in for a while that it really hits him.
From: rathercharming Date: September 20th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
LOVED Ginny persuading Harry! Very charming!
And the little bit of Snape, be still my heart!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 20th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Ginny knows how maddening Harry can be when he's trying to protect someone.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 20th, 2010 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting about Lucius. Although I would have said the "old" Lucius had more social skill when dealing with people he disliked/despised, even pretty nice people have been known to start turning nasty when their minds started going.

The sad thing in Lucius' case is that it may largely be only the social skills that faded. The attitudes were never anything to crow about.

Still, that did get me thinking. It wouldn't be unusual for a someone with dementia to revert to earlier frames of reference, acting like you did at fifteen around someone you met at fifteen, for example, even if your relationship changed radically after that point (when you met someone at that age, maybe they were a slacker who looked like he was going to flunk out of school. A year later, he turned into a diligent student who eventually got a PhD in rocket science. You might forget all that and treat him as a fifteen year old slacker [even more confusingly, you might alternately remember the PhD and everything, make references to it, and STILL treat him as a fifteen year old slacker - and not be ABLE to appreciate the contradiction]).

That got me thinking about the way he talks about Ted. True, that's not exactly an unusual attitude he's showing for "mixed" marriage, but it got me thinking about several things, like how well he did or didn't know Andromeda.

Maybe he barely knew her. That led to the amusing idea that he might have mentally equated her with Bellatrix, only one who put the same passion into anti-Voldemort causes that Bellatrix put into pro-Voldemort stuff (I have to admit, if you thought Andromeda was another Bellatrix, just one who sought individuality by picking a cause that was the direct opposite of the one Bella was fanatic on, Lucius becomes more sympathetic at that point). Not that it seemed likely.

But, thinking about Lucius reverting to some earlier framework, made me wonder. A guy who has that much animosity towards another guy who married a girl the first guy knew.

That kind of animosity and the fact that he later married Andromeda's little sister makes me wonder if Lucius ever harbored feelings for Andromeda. It wouldn't have to be more than a teenage infatuation, but it gives his dislike of Ted another angle.

I'm not, by the way, thinking that Narcissa was some kind of substitute for Andromeda, just that they were the same, general type.

Then again, while Draco never seems pressured for an arranged marriage, his parents' generation might have had them - or the semi-arranged type where the family and its interests play a big part in setting things up but the couple still has veto power (though they might consider liking or respect good enough to marry on, with love something that may or may not come later). In that case, if girl A runs off, you just substitute girl B in the negotiations.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 20th, 2010 05:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. In a story from a long time ago, I had Lucius and Andromeda sort of assumed by their families, since they were the same age, but they detested each other. But even in that situation, I think Lucius would be infuriated that she'd lowered herself to marry one of them, no matter how relieved he was that he didn't have to marry her.

Oddly, I kind of do see Andromeda as being deliberately bullheaded as an opposition to Bella when they were kids, and Ted might have been excellent in that capacity. Luckily, he was patient with this long enough for her to actually fall in love with him.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: September 20th, 2010 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh Teddy :(. *Feels bad for him*

Question though- can Teddy change his voice as well as appearance?
insertparagraph From: insertparagraph Date: September 20th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Do you imagine that Draco himself isn't a likely target of this maniac?"

Oh dear. If Teddy and company are dangling the wrong Malfoy as bait...
amamama From: amamama Date: September 21st, 2010 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Eek! Be still, my heart... Very well written, as usual. And I feel more than a little knocked over at the moment. *phew*
32 comments or Leave a comment