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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Two: Love and War, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Two: Love and War, pt. 3
Teddy's adults are starting to get on his case about O.W.L.s and his future, and the only job that interests him is Maddie's job of being an Unspeakable, but he's never told anyone, which makes it a little strange that, when he spontaneously decides to go talk to her after a disturbing dream about a maze, she's set up and waiting for him for tea.

And btw, check out rotae's cool new Teddy illo, from which she made the fifteen-year-old Teddy-face icon I'm using now!

Table of Contents and Summary So Far





Curious, Teddy pulled out one of the chairs. A pitcher of milk flew over and dropped a dollop into his tea, and two sugar cubes leapt up over the edge. He stirred it. "You knew I was coming?"

Maddie turned away from the stove, a pan of hot biscuits in her hand. She set it down between them. Teddy generally thought of her as a Hufflepuff version of Molly Weasley--thick through the waist, a pleasantly round face, a good cook and jolly mother... and no one to cross, if push came to shove. He took a biscuit.

Maddie sat down and put her hand on the wooden box. "This is a Daedalus Maze, Teddy," she said.

A flash of last night's dream came to Teddy, spiraling down among the trees, his wings seared. "What?"

"It was initially invented as a Divination toy, by a man called Dedalus Royce. The name has stayed in the family, though the last name has been lost--they're the Diggles, now."

Teddy didn't know what she expected him to say to this, so he didn't say anything.

Maddie went on. "That was perhaps a hundred and fifty years ago. The Department of Mysteries was less a proper Ministry Department at the time than a gentlewizard's social club. It had been more once, of course. The Ministry wouldn't have incorporated it if it hadn't been. But at the time, it was Royce, Phineas Black--that's when they started calling him 'Nigellus,' they were mad for classical sounding names, Gordon Burke, Aloisus Leary, Percival Dumbledore... a few others. It doesn't really matter. It was considered a post for young men of good families who wanted a post, but were above such drudgery as legislation or law enforcement. Good minds, all of them."

"What did they do, though?" Teddy asked. "What was it for?"

"Ah, the eternal question of the Department." Maddie laughed. "Ultimately, it was, at least in the Ministry's eyes, for nothing at all. The Department had once been involved in invention and innovation, but during that time, it was devoted largely to debating, and to explorations of what most people deemed thoroughly esoteric matters. Professor Black maintained this as his ideal of how the department should operate for the remainder of his life--pure research."

"I've talked to his portrait," Teddy put in. "That sounds about right."

Maddie smiled faintly; she'd met Phineas's portrait as well. "There were a few voices asking for it to be shut down," she went on, "and their gold to be spent in more productive ways, but most people thought it a harmless way for restless young wizards to entertain themselves. Very few of them were happy when the lot of them were quit en masse. Phineas, in particular, began to make a pest of himself about wizarding education. Burke, of course, went on to take his family's little shop and turn it into a much bigger pest, though it was his son Caractacus who made it the charming boutique we know now. And you know what happened to Percival Dumbledore."

"Azkaban," Teddy said. "Because he went after those berks who hurt his daughter."

"Yes."

"Why did they all quit?"

"It's a matter none of them saw fit to commit to writing, though interviews with Percival at Azkaban shed some light on it." She nudged the wooden box forward. "After he'd been at Azkaban for ten years--this would be close to the time his wife died--he asked for Dedalus's maze. No one knew what he meant. They asked Phineas, as they'd been close, but he refused to answer. Finally, someone made the connection to Dedalus Royce, who'd passed away. His daughter Ariadne had found a wooden box with a maze carved into it. It was brought to Percival. He lived another fifteen years, nearly all in his right mind, though he wasn't entirely present."

"It was this box?" Teddy asked, reaching out.

"Oh, no. This is one of dozens that have been made since. After Percival died, Ariadne took the maze back. She learned to use it, and she put in some safety measures."

Teddy looked up sharply. "Safety measures?"

"Yes." Slowly, Maddie pulled the box back to herself and turned it absently with her fingers. "It began as a Divination toy--more advanced than tea leaves and crystal balls, but still just a mode of fortune telling. Royce's thought was that the future had many potential outcomes, and he wanted a tool that he could use to try different paths and see where they led at any given juncture. Not altogether different from what your grandfather did, trying to help people find the best new paths after catastrophic sorts of injuries."

"What did it become?"

Maddie sighed. "It's not easy to answer. It became itself, Teddy, which is the only thing any creature or object can rightfully become."

Teddy morphed at her, letting his face run through any number of images. "Really?"

She rolled her eyes. "We both know that's cosmetic," she said. "And if I learned one thing growing up with your mum, it's that you can only morph like that when you're reasonably sure who you are. When everything's changing, when you're confused... you find it more difficult, don't you?"

Teddy shrugged and brought his natural face back. "So, what is it?"

"Royce created the maze with a simple thought, but he was part of a group of brilliant, restless minds. They'd all added charms, and it began to do odd things in its quest to see the paths of choices."

Teddy imagined the men as the Marauders, in the Department of Mysteries instead of their Gryffindor dormitory, bending over a wooden box instead of a piece of parchment. He wondered if Phineas had ever been pictured quite as daring and mad as his great-great-grandson before, and rather doubted it. "What did it start to do?"

"It needed to understand more than time. Identity, the universe, the mind, faith, even death."

Teddy ground his teeth. He had no liking for Death, which he considered a mean-spirited relative who lived too close and always seemed to drop by with nasty news whenever things were going too well. Death was a liar and a cheat. On more than one occasion, Teddy had fancied punching Death in his spectral face. He thought it would be quite satisfying, no matter what the Uncle Harry's book of fairy tales had to say about the subject. This was also Granny's opinion, though she was careful not to share it with Uncle Harry. Every time she saved a patient's life at St. Mungo's, she would come home, prepare a drink, and laugh in death's face because she'd beaten him again. Then she would prepare another drink, and another, because the only times it had truly mattered to her, Death had won.

"Teddy?"

Teddy looked up, not sure how long he'd fumed at her single word. One single part of what she'd said. "The Mysteries," he said. "It shows all the Mysteries together."

"Yes. The maze grew inside itself. It became a way of exploring the way the Mysteries intersect with one another."

"So what were the safety measures for?"

"Mysteries aren't tame," Maddie said, giving Teddy a wan smile. "Ariadne Royce--who ended up reforming the Department and making us more useful to the Ministry--always thought that the men had managed to spook themselves somehow. So she found ways to keep it an observational tool, and created safety devices to see to it that no one went wandering. At first, they used it in the course of work, but finally, it became... well, I won't say 'tame,' of course, but nearly ritualized. What would a person see in it? How would he or she use it?"

"A test," Teddy said.

"In some senses. Mainly, it's a test for the benefit of the young person interested in what we do, a chance to dip into the Mysteries, view them from something of a distance. You could find out if these really are the questions you mean to be asking. You need to know before you choose your N.E.W.T.s; it's not a simple specialization." She pushed the box across with finality.

Teddy put his hand on it. "And if I say no?"

"Then you say no."

"And you Obliviate me?"

"I don't think it would come to that."

"Even if I decided to say no after using it for few months?"

"No. I may have to tie your tongue, but ultimately, I don't think it would matter much. When they call us Unspeakables, it's often quite literally true. There aren't always simple words. You'll see that."

Teddy nodded, and ran his finger over the lines of carving on the box. "How did you know I was coming?"

Maddie laughed. "I have a friend in Time," she said. "I asked her to let me know when the right time came up."

"Do you think my parents would like it?"

"Not in the least. I think if Tonks were here, we'd be having a rather large fight about the subject. I've been holding both halves of it in my head for weeks now. I think we'd have reached the point where she's sending your dad to the door to say that she's not prepared to talk to me just now."

"And what does Dad say in your head?"

"I'm not very good with Remus's dialogue. I didn't know him as well."

Teddy smiled. "Well, I do. I think he'd say, 'I'm not fond of it, but Teddy ought to make his own choice. I'll talk to Dora.'"

Maddie blinked. "That's a remarkably good guess, Teddy." She shook her head. "I'd like you to meet me at the Ministry tomorrow. I can teach you to use the maze. At Christmas, you can bring it back, and we'll talk."

Slowly, Teddy gathered the box to himself. It felt cool to the touch, and it felt powerful, like a strong magnet. He nodded. "All right," he said. "All right, I'll take it."
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Comments
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From: erv2 Date: March 20th, 2008 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
More questions than answers. How could we expect any less from an Unspeakable?
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: March 20th, 2008 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, yes, exactly what you said.

Fascinating stuff, Fern.
bends From: bends Date: March 20th, 2008 07:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to re-read later because it's late and I'm not entirely concious at the moment, but from the looks of it, very nice expositioning
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: March 20th, 2008 08:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't been able to comment for the last few days, but I loved all three parts of this chapter, from the wedding, to the reception, to Maddie's explanations. In this part, I particularly liked Maddie admitting she's been having the argument with Tonks in her head, and how Teddy fills in the Remus dialogue. It seems like Teddy will fit in with the Unspeakables just fine. :~)

Very few of them were happy when the lot of them were quit en masse.

I had to read this sentence several times to understand it--is there an extraneous word or two?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep. It was "were sacked," then I decided that they all quit instead. And forgot to remove the "were." :eyeroll:
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 20th, 2008 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Well I don't think that this is giving too much away, in fact it has just made me even more curious about what direction this story is going in, although no matter what precautions have been put on the Maze I'm still not sure that giving something like that to a potentially CAPSLOCK teenager is that good an idea. Although it should be mighty entertaining!

Oh and Maddie's mental argument with Tonks broke me just a little bit, I think it was just the way that she put it, "holding it inside her head for weeks", I think it was just the fact that like Teddy Tonks is still very present for her and that she knew her well enough to have her voice in her head for weeks. *Sniff* And her reaction to Teddy filing in his dad's voice was nice too, because of course most people wouldn't expect Teddy to be able to do that.

And the paragraph about Teddy's view of Death was just incrediable. My poor, poor Andromeda, reading that sentance was absolutly gut wrenching and reminded me yet again of my reaction to JKR killing Ted. Also the mention of how the two of them have been keeping this view from Uncle Harry was very interesting. Has he ever talked about that experience with them do you think? Personally I've always imagined Death to be pretty much exactly like Terry Pratchett's version if him and now I'm having mental images of Teddy meeting that Death, which is quite amusing in a sad sort of way.

The backstory for the DoM was very interesting, I especially liked the little reason for Phineus Nigelus getting involved in teaching or at least Headmastering.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Has he ever talked about that experience with them do you think?
He's definitely not told Teddy, but in this case, I don't think it would make a difference, except to make Teddy hopping mad at him. Teddy's just not into stoicism about death. Teddy accepts the idea of death--lives cheek and jowl with it--and just really wants to kick death in the balls. Harry would interpret this as not accepting properly, I think. Eventually, Harry has promised to tell him about the Resurrection Stone, and that's going to be a holy mess.

I've never read Pratchett (I know, bad fan, do not pass go, do not collect $200), so I can't comment there.
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amamama From: amamama Date: March 20th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow! Me likey! I love the mysteries, and I would just love a Daedalus Maze. Intriguing! I also love how Teddy knows his dad well enough to know his answer. And Maddie is definitely the right person to say that to, most others would frown and tell him it's pure imagination. Well done - I think this works, and it's not too obvious.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think he's just made Maddie even more curious about him than she was before!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: March 20th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
As exposition scenes go, I think this one was just fine. Doing it through dialogue is usually the wisest approach, and Teddy's blend of curiosity and adolescent moroseness made this much more than an info dump. I am definitely intrigued by how Teddy will use the maze and what it will show him. And if he ever does get the chance to punch Death in the face, literally or symbolically.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Alas, all of us get the opportunity to punch Death in the face eventually, but we're often in no shape for the task by the time we meet him.
milaya36 From: milaya36 Date: March 20th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't commented in ages, but I've been reading and enjoying all the Teddy stories. I love how realistically you've made him grow up! He feels like the same Teddy from Forest Guard and Hunter's Moon, but he's definitely realistically his age at the same time.

And can I just say that I adore your idea of the Dept. of Mysteries starting as a 19th century gentleman's club? It seems so plausible!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad Teddy's seeming both consistent and realistically changed.
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: March 20th, 2008 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well now I'm insanely curious ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
:rubs hands:

Oh, good!
From: kobegrace Date: March 20th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoa. This utterly blows my mind.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
contrail From: contrail Date: March 20th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
You have a fascinating take on the Department of Mysteries, and your history for it feels just right.

- Contrail
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hoped it would. I really liked the DoM. I'm not entirely sure I was supposed to. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 20th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh - this was brilliant! Being an unspeakable is the only wizarding job that appealed to me when I was reading the books - although I'm not convinced I'd be good at it - and I love the idea of the Daedalus maze as a test.

Things I particularly liked:
-The comparison between Sirius and Phineas (and the idea that Teddy's work with the map was preparation for this)
- the story about Percival and the maze. Actually, the whole idea of the Department of Mysteries as a one-time Good Old Boys Club that became too serious for those involved.
- the image of Andromeda celebrating each defeat of death because of how much she's lost
And above all:
- The idea that being an Unspeakable is more than just a requirement, it may be literally true as well - you see things you can't express.

I'm hooked!

-Cara
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
The idea that being an Unspeakable is more than just a requirement, it may be literally true as well - you see things you can't express.

Yes, it struck me as strange that not only did the Unspeakables not talk about what they did, but that no one else seemed to have any idea what the function of the department was, including a Ministry lifer like Arthur. There are plenty of jobs where people can't talk about their work activities, but most of them, the general public at least knows what they're around to do!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 20th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
...

...

...*is speechless*

...well, mostly speechless. I've always loved your take on the DoM, so this year of Teddy's life is going to be such a treat for me. Even more than usual. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 20th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope it works out well. I'm flying a little blinder than usual with Teddy!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: March 20th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fascinating.
I've always had strong curiosity over the Department of Mysteries. I thought and played with my ideas over a thousand different theories and wrote quite a few thing about it, but this is a fascinating outtake. I don't think I had never read something this interesting about the DoM in fanfiction.
I loved that it started as a gentlewizards social club, as a way young and brillant minds from good families spent their time, it is so positivistic. Very victorian-times. Excellent.
I am of course more intrigued than ever. Can't wait till next installment.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2008 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it existed before, but Phineas et al really redefined it. It definitely sounded Victorian to me. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 20th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
*glee*
Loved the paragraph on Death. I mean, I loved everything, of course, but that paragraph especially.

~Hermione Stranger, who is very brain-dead after too much work and too little sleep~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Sleep? I've heard of sleep. I understand it's relaxing.
From: itsjulia Date: March 20th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I'm not very good with Remus's dialogue. I didn't know him as well."

Teddy smiled. "Well, I do. I think he'd say..."

The first time I read this, I read "Well, I do" as Teddy saying "well, I do know what he'd say." But the second time I read it, I paid more attentiont to Maddie saying "I didn't know him as well" and understood Teddy to be saying, "well, I do know him."

Which did you mean? I really like my second reading--especially in light of some of the glimpses we've had into Teddy's future. And Teddy does that sort of thing, doesn't he. It was subtle though, if that's what you meant.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 21st, 2008 01:31 am (UTC) (Link)
It was definitely what I meant. :) Glad you liked it!
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