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Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty-Four: Settling Accounts, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Needle's Eye, Chapter Twenty-Four: Settling Accounts, pt. 3
Cresswell's trial has started, bringing out the loons. Most are your garden variety protest-just-because types, others think he was framed or are just sympathetic to his circumstances. But the Department of Mysteries was contacted about one group--women (mostly) who've decided he's on a mission from heaven to purge the community or some such thing--and they asked Teddy's input, as the only one who's been particularly interested in Faith. He tells them that their more apocalyptic visions can be safely ignored, but he's concerned about the safety of any individuals who cross their paths. Meanwhile, Bill has just negotiated a really good price for Teddy to buy Mary McAllister's island (and yes, I realized a long time ago that it should be "MacAllister," but it was already established ;p).

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Bill met him at Maurice's on Sunday to sign the final papers, and talked him into taking half of the price as a mortgage, though Teddy specified that it was to be short term. Once this was finished, the deal was done. He owned the island. And he had no notion whatsoever what had compelled him to buy it.

"Well," Maurice said after Bill had left, "you'll need a place to live. It's as good as any."

"Of course I'm going to live there," Teddy said. "Why else would I buy an island? But why there? I should have shopped around."

"Yes, because before this came about, you'd been carefully studying wizarding real estate, waiting for the perfect property to crop up." Maurice rolled his eyes, and Conjured a mirror. "Teddy Lupin, meet Teddy Lupin. He's an impulsive git who runs off into the middle of a fray, at which point he turns introspective and conservative, and wonders what he's doing there."

"In other words, I start as Mum and end as Dad."

"No. You start out as both of them, then turn into some alien Ravenclaw ancestor. Which reminds me, I dug up the McAllister Squib, then did a bit of research in the Muggle libraries. I have the line for you, if you want it. Quite interesting. I wonder how many Muggle-borns have the same story if they go back far enough--some ancestor that, as far as they can tell, just showed up out of nowhere, but turns out to be a Squib who, as far as we were concerned, disappeared into nowhere."

"I see you're back at Borgin's family trees."

"I have to take my pleasures where I can. Which did not include Defense this week..."

Teddy set aside the island, the trial, and Maurice's genealogical obsessions, and set about getting him through the week's lesson on detection of dangerous and subtle curses--a lesson they both thought would be of particular use in Maurice's current circumstance. The shop's crowded work room provided any number of items to practice on.

Very early Tuesday morning, Teddy was awakened by an otter Patronus falling from his dormitory ceiling. Its mouth opened and Hermione Weasley's voice came out: "Teddy, I'm at the portrait hole with a subpoena. I didn't want to owl it."

He rubbed his eyes and fumbled for his wand to send back the message that he was on the way down. Ten minutes later, he met her in the corridor. He was still groggy.

She handed him a small scroll. He opened it and quickly read the order. "Today?" he said. "Right now?"

"I'm sorry," she said. "That's why I came up to serve it personally, as an officer of the Wizengamot. We had several more witnesses lined up to testify to Cresswell's state of mind, but I'm afraid his advocate told us last night that she would stipulate all of the statements, and Kingsley accepted it, which means moving ahead to other testimony. You'll speak, and then Ruth will." Hermione sighed. "I set you first. It's not an entirely pragmatic decision; I just thought she might need a friend after it. And before you ask, no, I'm not in the jury seats. I am prosecuting. That gives me some leeway."

Teddy nodded. He almost made a comment that he'd had no advocate, but of course, he and Donzo had been accused of a minor legal infraction, not of multiple murders. The rules were, presumably, different. "Does the Headmistress know I'm leaving?"

"Yes. I took the liberty while you were getting dressed. She says you've been away from school more than you've been in it this year, but I'm afraid it can't be helped."

"Do I have time to change into my Ministry robes instead of my school robes?"

She checked her watch. "Barely. I want you to come to my office first so we can go over what will happen. I really thought we'd have this weekend for it."

"In that case, I'll just Transfigure them," Teddy said, and altered the appearance of his robes.

Hermione took him to Professor Longbottom's office, and from there, they Flooed to hers at the Ministry. Teddy had never been in it before. She was on the same floor as the Aurors, but on a corridor opposite theirs. Her assistant was an elf dressed in heavy brocade robes, with a string of pearls around her neck. She had no hair, but wore a fine cap to give the illusion of it.

"I have your files," she said smartly, handing Hermione a stack of folders. "Everything is in order." She smiled. Her grammar was perfect and her manner that of an efficent and prized secretary.

"Thank you, Bezza," Hermione said.

"Bess," the elf said. "I've finally chosen 'Bess.'"

"Bess, then. I'll have Teddy in my office; if anything comes from the Wizengamot, bring it in right away. They've been known to play a dirty trick or two. Not in Kingsley's time, but I should like to be careful."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Thank you, Bess." Hermione opened her inner office door and let Teddy in ahead of her. It was a small office, and every bit of the walls had been taken up by her Expanding Shelves, even a tiny spot above the door. The only bare spots were the columns that separated the shelves, and on these, she'd placed pictures of Ron, Hugo, and Rosie, one of Uncle Harry's family, and a Muggle photograph that he assumed was of her parents. Her desk had several neatly organized stacked baskets, and from one of them, she took a piece of parchment Teddy recognized perfectly well as the statement he'd given the night of Cresswell's arrest. "I'll need you to testify to what's in your statement, and I'll ask you about the search of Ruth's flat as well. You also mentioned in the statement that you'd encountered him not long before Ruth broke up with him?"


"I'll ask about that as well. Just tell the truth, simply and clearly."

"I would've done that anyway..."

"That'll be what I'll ask, Teddy. Cresswell's advocate sometimes asks his questions, but he has also taken to defending himself with some witnesses, and I anticipate that he'll do so with you and Ruth."

"You shouldn't let him talk to Ruthless."

"I have no choice. Teddy, don't go off on an angry tangent. I'm trying to tell you something important."

"Right. What?"

"A lot has been kept out of the papers, largely because he attacked Rita Skeeter and she's not interested in giving him a soapbox by quoting him extensively. But in the chamber, he's been grandstanding. I think he's almost certain to bring up Greyback. He'll try to draw an equivalance between what he did and what you did."

"What do you want me to say to that?"

"You'll be under oath, but you needn't--"

The door opened and Bess came in. "Mrs. Weasley, the defense has demanded immediate testimony."

Hermione swore under her breath. "Very well. Teddy, tell the truth, but don't do it suicidally. There was no way both you and Greyback were going to come out of that house, and everyone knows it. You don't need to elaborate on what your motives were. You're not on trial."

With that, she led him out of the office and to the lifts. They went down to the Department of Mysteries without speaking, and she left him with two bailiffs. An Azkaban guard was seated in a rest area, watching everything with her eyes narrowed. She had curly hair, and some kind of shallow but badly Healed scars across her nose and cheeks, and she watched Hermione go inside with deep dislike.

Teddy didn't have long to contemplate this--and wasn't terribly interested in it--before the door opened, and the bailiffs led him inside. He stood before the Wizengamot again, this time a witness rather than a defendant. He could see most of the same people who'd been present for his hearing. Uncle Harry was closer to the front this time, and in full dress uniform. Hermione sat in a small box that had been constructed to the Minister's right; to his left was another box. In it were a sallow thin woman, two more Azkaban guards, and Sam Cresswell. To Teddy's surprise, Cresswell hadn't got the scratches on his face Healed. The ugly red welts that Teddy's talons had raised seemed very dark in here.

The bailiff came to him and swore him in, then Hermione stood up. "Please state your name for the record," she said.

"Ted Remus Lupin."

"Please tell us about the events of the night of Sunday, the seventeenth of April..."

Teddy briefly related the events he'd already submitted in his statement to the Aurors, then she moved on to his meeting with Cresswell in December and the events following the murder of Maurice's parents, including the search of Ruthless's flat. To his horror, the question of the note he'd found there came up, and he was forced to answer it, to tell complete strangers about the horrible thing Sam had said to Ruthless. When Hermione finished questioning, she nodded coolly to the defense.

Sam Cresswell stood up, smiling.
27 comments or Leave a comment
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: October 24th, 2010 08:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh you're really making me wait with bated breath on this one, Fern.

I'm loving the scope of this story. You really seem to be introducing a whole wide world while beautifully wrapping up the story of Teddy's time at Hogwarts. It's both potential and closure.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)
That last year of school is like that--half of you is about winding things up, the other half is trying to pick up what comes next.
a_blue_jay From: a_blue_jay Date: October 24th, 2010 09:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree with Hermione... He's definitely going to bring up Greyback. Repeat after me, Teddy: You are not on trial. YOU ARE NOT ON TRIAL.

Sam smiling is not a good thing. At all.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Hermione probably wanted to actually do a testimony prepping session to practice what he'd say at this inevitability.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 24th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
yes, I realized a long time ago that it should be "MacAllister," but it was already established

I wouldn't worry. Yes, in theory Mc is Irish and Mac is Scots, but given (a) a large amount of Irish immigration and (b) a certain leeway in spelling (maybe the magical community never worked out that convention?) it's all a bit more fuzzy in practice...

Quite a cliff-hanger - and is that Marietta Edgcombe? Is this going to have any significance? I can't wait...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad it's not that odd. I have a Scottish "McNair" someplace in the tree, but I've also had the great Mc v. Mac thing drilled into my head. ;p
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: October 24th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've enjoyed reading about the purchase of the island. It's an important piece of Teddy's history.

This trial is a definitely nail-biter. Can't wait for the next installment.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope I can make the island reasonably important to his present as well as his past and future. :D
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: October 24th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
*stifled shrieks* Ahhh, the suspense, the suspense!

Oh hai Marietta Edgecombe, long time no see...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Marietta returns the greeting.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 24th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think I've ever commented here before, but I just had to tell you what an amazing job you're doing with this story. That last line sent chills down my spine!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Welcome to the comments. :D
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 24th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nice to get a glimpse of adult Hermione's professional life. And a blast from her past, perhaps--could that Azkaban guard be Marietta Edgecombe?

Hope Psycho Sam's smile gets wiped off by the end of the day. When does Donzo testify?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Eep, he really should, shouldn't he? He'll be after Ruthless; they didn't need to gather him first thing in the morning. Bess is taking care of it. She's very handy and efficient that way.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 24th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a really bad feeling about this...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Sam has no chance of winning, but he'll take down as much as he can when he goes.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 24th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, a Marietta Edgecombe cameo! It's interesting to see where Harry's school mates end up in the adult world from your point of view. So the trial begins at last! I'm really looking forward to where it's going to go. Great job!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been trying to think of jobs for the ones who either aren't very strong at all, or whose strengths don't lie in the fields the books touch on. Marietta probably made a lot of enemies, and regardless of her skills, probably had a hard time of it, so I gave her a low-level job that will compound her feelings of not being appreciated.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: October 24th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I Loved Hermione's assistant! I'm sure that Sam Cresswell will take full advantage of Teddy's appearance to further his agenda. That being said, I'm eager to see how this all comes out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I wanted to bring that thread of Hermione's life in. It was always important to her.
cleindori From: cleindori Date: October 24th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sam Cresswell makes me feel dirty. I'd say that's a good thing, insofar as it means you're really drawing me in! But not so good in that I'm worrying about what the slimy git is going to say to Teddy. :(
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm more worried about what he'll say to Ruthless.
mint_green From: mint_green Date: October 24th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh man, cliffhanger.

I love this line so much:
To his horror, the question of the note he'd found there came up, and he was forced to answer it, to tell complete strangers about the horrible thing Sam had said to Ruthless.

Oh Teddy, you're such a good boy sometimes.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
He is. He was trying to be a real gentleman, but a trial doesn't really make allowances for chivalry.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2010 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Just want to say I love your writing.

Sam . . . got to hand it to the boy, even when I thought my sympathy for him had shrunk as far as it could, he proves me wrong.

And pushing aside your legal rep to argue for yourself? Rarely a good idea. Given what we've seen of Sam's grasp of reality and of the legal code, this has got hubris written all over it (I wonder what the psychiatric term is? Narcissistic separation from reality?). He's no longer capable of separating how people are likely to react to what he says and does and his own, little, fantasy version of how they should respond.

Oh, well. Not guilty by reason of insanity was his best hope, anyway, even if he doesn't realize it. He's also got good grounds for incompetent representation on appeal, although I don't know if you get to use that if you chose to represent yourself.

By the way, loved the House Elf in the robes, complete with barrister's wig! And "Bess"! I couldn't help thinking "Good Queen" and that it was an excellent choice for a House Elf boldly going where no House Elf has gone before!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 25th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I expect that Sam isn't really trying to win the case--he can't--but to use the trial as a showboating forum to air his "views." In that context, it makes perfect sense for him to shunt aside his advocate.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah. I was thinking he was at the mentally unstable stage where he believed all he had to do was go on and on about why he did it and why they deserved it, and people would see the light and agree with him (or show how utterly evil they were by not agreeing with him).

Right. He's still rational. Which means he's still fully able to to use the cross-examination to try to shred Teddy.

Makes me wish turning someone into a toad was a legal punishment in the wizarding world.

27 comments or Leave a comment