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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty: Shadows, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty: Shadows, pt. 3
Teddy is back in London... and then out of London, at the Malfoys', which he has entered through Harry's house, much to the discomfort of both Harry and Draco. His job is to impersonate Lucius. Ruthless has given him a cloak that will sound an alarm if any of the buttons are violently tugged. Narcissa, to help with the illusion (and help keep Tonks's wand out of a dangerous situation) has lent Teddy her father's wand (his great-grandfather's), which she keeps hidden but people might well think Lucius could get to. He's changed his clothes, morphed, and headed out into the night.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Draco had suggested that Lucius had wandered from the house through a side door more than once, so Teddy chose that door to leave Malfoy Manor. He pulled the dark cloak--the one with the alarmed buttons--tightly around him, looked at the house, then slipped into the shadows. He felt a bit foolish in character when it wasn't likely that anyone was looking, but just in case...

He followed the shadows of Malfoy Manor until he came to a paddock that might have once housed prized flying horses--it was far finer than Hagrid's barn--and ran across the small, moonlit area between them, casting a deliberately sly look at the house. Inside, he could see Draco and Narcissa and Granny through the window. They looked like they were putting on a show themselves. (He might have wondered if Lucius really had gone missing, but apparently, Draco's wife had taken on the duty of escorting him out of the country, Polyjuiced as a valet.) Once at the barn, he was nearly halfway to the gates, and the Disapparition point. More to the point, he could put the barn between himself and the house, and look like he was plausibly escaping their watchful eye.

Mindful of Lucius's physical frailty, Teddy slipped around the barn and to the high walls of Malfoy Manor. A white peacock looked at him without much interest; he hoped that the peacocks weren't habitually friendly with the real Lucius.

Finally, he was beyond the gates. He looked around himself, wondering if anyone was watching from the grasslands, letting himself feel the paranoia that Lucius would surely feel at this point. He could see the thin, fragile skin on his hands, feel the wisps of long white hair tugged in the breeze.

I am Lucius Malfoy, Teddy thought. And I am free.

The thought brought an unexpected giddiness as Teddy Disapparated, pushing himself away from the Wiltshire hills, to a small, hidden alley not far from the Leaky Cauldron. He could have gone straight to Knockturn Alley--in fact, it now seemed more obvious, but he wanted to be seen.

I want to be seen. I want them to know they can't keep me in a prison warded by my wife and son. Let them think I've gone soft, but let them see me. The wise ones will know better.

Teddy let his shoulders stoop somewhat, leaning on a walking stick Draco had brought with the clothes. He made a show of hiding his wand, then slowly walked to the door of the Cauldron.

When he first opened the door, no one noticed him. One more wispy old wizard coming in for a late drink. At the bar, Hannah Longbottom was too careful trying not to break glasses with her swollen belly to pay any heed to her new customer, and only a few of her patrons turned to look when the cold night air blew against their necks.

Teddy waited for the door to close.

An old witch at the bar, who had glanced without much interest, turned again. Teddy could almost feel her eyes on him. He met her gaze. She ducked away, suddenly finding her mixed drink a matter of great fascination. A wizard--younger, but not by much--saw this motion, looked at Teddy and squared his shoulders, glaring defiantly. Teddy gave him the same, non-responsive stare that Lucius had given Teddy himself. The man forced his stare to go on, then dramatically turned his nose up and turned away.

Behind the bar, Hannah finally looked up. She smiled coolly. "Is there something I can get for you, Mr. Malfoy?"

Teddy wrinkled his nose. "Other than the Aurors I have no doubt you've already contacted?"

"There's no need for them," Hannah said.

"Hmm." To end the conversation, Teddy simply turned around, shutting her out of his viewpoint. He went out the back door and into the alley, silently vowing to find a way to apologize to Hannah later. He went to the brick wall, pulled out his wand--and this, he realized, was the important part: to let people believe that Lucius was walking about armed--and hit the sequence of bricks that allowed him into Diagon Alley.

It was night-busy. The shops were mostly closed here, but the restaurants and a small club were open. A young couple--Teddy thought he recognized them from a couple of years ahead of him at Hogwarts--were stumbling out, dressed for dancing, but unsteady on their feet. They noticed Teddy looking at them. The man carefully shielded the woman as they went past, and Teddy heard her whisper, "Wasn't that--?" as they went on their way.

He passed Flourish and Blotts, glaring in the window at a copy of Martian's Mistake that had been put on display, and went on toward Madam Malkin's, passed Fortescue Park and the Willow, and, across from Gringotts, turned left into Knockturn Alley. He had a moment's thought of Runcorn's body strung up here last summer, his eyes sliced open, and jumped away from the shadows.

There was no motion.

A few doors down, a hag leaned out the front window of her shop, which appeared to sell shrunken heads. She drew back and closed the window against him.

They still fear me, Teddy thought, then shook his head. They still feared Lucius Malfoy. About Teddy Lupin, they had, in all likelihood, no opinion at all.

The final part of tonight's pantomime was at Borgin and Burke's. Teddy didn't want to involve Maurice any more than was necessary, but Maurice wanted to be more involved than was really warranted. They'd compromised.

Teddy went to the door of Borgin and Burke's and tried to open it. It was, of course, locked.

He slammed his walking stick down on the cobblestones. Maurice appeared at the upper window--he really was up doing the books, Teddy supposed--and shook his head.

Teddy drew his wand, and cast a harmless charm that made a spill of silent fireworks go off outside the window. Or was supposed to. With Cygnus Black's wand, it created a spiral of red sparks that formed a dagger, which proceeded to stab at the window.

Maurice opened the window. "Charming," he said. "If you don't mind, I don't want to see any more knives in here."

"I apologize," Teddy said, hoping that Maurice would know that Lucius's tone of disdain was part of the act. "You know why I've come."

"I told you not to," Maurice said.

"I had a deal with Borgin."

"I'm not Borgin."

"The deal still holds."

Maurice wrinkled his nose. "I'll have to check the books and see the details. Come back next week."

With this, he slammed the window shut, leaving Teddy alone on the street.

Something made a shuffling sound in the shadows behind him. He turned. There was a single white peacock feather lying on the street, spanning the narrow corridor between two shops. He looked in.

Nothing was moving, but he suspected that he wasn't alone.

If he went into that alley, someone would be waiting, and it wasn't big enough to move to pull on the cloak, or to transform into a hawk.

He had promised to take no unnecessary chances.

He Summoned the feather, then turned on his heel and Disapparated.

He half-expected to find a dead peacock on his arrival at Malfoy Manor, but apparently the feather had just been plucked. He let himself back in, changed back into his own clothes and face, traded wands, then flooed back to Grimmauld Place to let Uncle Harry know what had happened.

"Thank you for not going in," he said, taking the feather. "I likely would have."

"Sorry, I guess we might have caught him--"

"I said, thank you for not going in."


"I've been thinking of the best way to get you back to Hogwarts. I thought we could walk to the Apparition point under my Cloak, but that would only get you to the gate, and everyone and his brother would know when you came in. So I've let Neville in on it, and you can Floo through his office."

"All right. What about the Headmistress?"

"We're at the edge of her last nerve," Uncle Harry admitted. "I didn't want to push it."

"Oh." Teddy felt for his wand, which seemed very comfortable in his hand, and said, "Why did Cygnus's wand make such a different Charm?"

"It wasn't, really," Uncle Harry said. "It's a simple Glitter Charm, but that's a kind of Conjuring, and Conjuring is always going to take on something of the character of both the wizard and the wand."

"That partly came from me?"

"Partly. I wouldn't worry. You were playing a character, and Cygnus Black would likely revel in it, if most of what Andromeda has told me over the years is true."

Teddy bit his lip. "Who's looking after Maurice this week?"

"I am. And Ruth. And the shop is very deeply protected since the murders."

"It was protected before them. Remember, we worried about merchandise being Cursed to protect the place?"

"The place," Uncle Harry said, "was well protected. It was the people in it who were hurt. The fire didn't take any merchandise, and the window probably cut Sam when he broke through it. Now, Maurice is included in the protection on the shop, and in his flat."

Teddy nodded. "All right."

"You'd best get back now. Try to do your school work during the week."

"I will." Teddy hugged Uncle Harry, then stepped into the fireplace. A moment later, he was dusting himself off in Professor Longbottom's office, and a few minutes after that, he was in bed, Checkmate curled up at his feet.

The next morning at breakfast, the morning edition of the Daily Prophet arrived. On the front page--not above the fold, but still on the front page--was a picture of Teddy standing outside Borgin and Burke's. Beside it, a very prominent headline read, "Look Who's Back."
24 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh I bet Teddy didn't think he was going to be on the front page on the first go around did he? I do wish he'd be careful...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the goal was to get noticed...
amamama From: amamama Date: September 29th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh... (I seem to start my comments with Oooh, for some reason. :-p) Nice. Very nice. I like how he sinks into the role. "They're still afraid of me" is a very good thought to be able to play the role. And I loved how the charm turned out.

In the beginning, it says Teddy ran across the paddock, but would a frail old Lucius run? If there are people watching the manor, isn't there a chance that they'd see him, and so he'd need to behave like a demented old man? And they rarely run, in my experience. They might try to jog a bit, but do they really manage? I don't know all the English words for different gaits, but I dare say you could find one more in character with Lucius than run. Just my two knuts on that - I had to reread the section a few times to make sure I understood what you meant.

Look who's back, indeed. I'm not sure I want Cresswell and his ilk to take the bait.

Thanks, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
:facepalm: Yup, exactly so on the running. My bad!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2010 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)


Loved the segment! Spooky albino peacocks!

a very ? headline read, "Look Who's Back." missing a word.

Anyhow, can't wait to see what Teddy thinks about making the paper... Was that just a photographer stalking him?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow!

Oops. I kept changing that word and never did put it in.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beside it, a very headline read, "Look Who's Back."

A very what sort of headline, now?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know anymore! I was thinking "short," but that's obvious. Abnormally tall? Screaming? (Well, in a wizarding paper, I guess that could be literal, so best to avoid the metaphor use...)
a_blue_jay From: a_blue_jay Date: September 30th, 2010 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
why not have it literally screaming? :)
Just because it's not mentioned in canon doesn't mean it can't happen!

If you happen to dislike that for some unforeseeable reason, perhaps something like "Beside it was a terse headline: "Look Who's Back".

(The interesting part is that I didn't notice until I started reading the comments...)
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: September 29th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, very nice, Fern!

I like how Teddy is picking up Lucius' mannerisms and thought patterns... I'd be interested, in Identity, if Teddy explored how (if) wearing the face of another actual person helped create the thoughts that shaped that person....it just sounds fascinating. How much will playing Lucius affect how Teddy thinks?

And I like your headline: Look Who's Back
(Look Who Is Back)....contractions work very well for me!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I think one thing that Teddy hadn't really given thought to was how other people's reactions would shape his own thoughts.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: October 1st, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
And very chilling thoughts they are too -- with the right (wrong?) personality, they can become addictive :P

Your last sentence
Beside it, a very headline read, "Look Who's Back."

I've been wondering: a very what? headline...
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

the game is on....

"the plan is finally unfoulding and with such a great headline "Loook who's back"

i hope that the one that left the feather was harry, and not cresswell.
because if cresswell managed to get inside malfoy manor to pluck the peacock, Teddy is in BIG trouble

why would they be on Sprout's last nerve?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: the game is on....

I think the feather was just loose in the breeze, but you bring up a good point--I put the peacocks further inside than they seemed to be in TDH.
sannalim From: sannalim Date: September 29th, 2010 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am suddenly rather worried about Hannah and the Longbottoms' baby. I hope that I am just being paranoid, and that nothing will happen to them.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope not, too...
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: September 29th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a bit surprised that Teddy was noticed by so many people right off, but that's good. Hopefully it'll make this whole exercise go faster and finish earlier. But I'm still concerned for Teddy (Yeah, me and Uncle Harry).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Uncle Harry claims pride of place in the line of people worrying about this. Uncle Harry is actually rather frantic, but he's trying not to show it to Teddy.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 29th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hahahaha, Rita's so gullible. Or desperate. But easy to manipulate.

Well, this managed to have me in the edge of my seat.

(You are missing the chapterlet number. This is part 3, right?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it's part three. Wonder how that happened?

Rita is nothing if not predictable.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: September 29th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't expect for Teddy to make the front page on the first go! Neither did Teddy, I suspect!

I hope all the story doesn't affect the plan too much...so much attention on Lucius' escape would generally mean that Malfoy Manor would be on lock down after the story broke so Lucius couldn't get out again. Seems to be a bump in the road for the plan to me.

Unless, of course, the Malfoy's try to play our that Lucius is competent and has permission to leave? But that seems unlikely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
The trick will be to make it look like there's enough activity for Sam not to be suspicious, but little enough that Lucius could conceivably get through.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 30th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brrr. Chillingly effective, especially Teddy analyzing what Lucius would have felt in the situation he is in, if Lucius weren't going senile. And relieved that Teddy did not take the bait and follow the lures set out for him. But the word is now out about "Lucius"--clearly, tabloid journalism is every bit as precipitate in the wizarding world as it is in the non-magical world.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 1st, 2010 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
That was delightful and creepy - just perfect!
24 comments or Leave a comment