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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Six: Tar and Feathers, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Six: Tar and Feathers, pt. 3
On Teddy's first day back in classes, Robards gave an assignment to find a Dark wizard who was at large. Teddy thought this a fine use for the Daedalus Maze, but to his consternation, he found his "guide" was Greyback, who tried to attack him. He escaped using Ariadne's Thread, and realized that he'd lost track of time somehow, and it was nearly time to meet Donzo, who's watching over him as he works on the Animagus spell.

It's a good thing that Madam Pince doesn't weed the collection regularly, really.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Donzo was waiting in the corridor, sitting on the floor beneath the Ravenclaw door knocker and reading something that looked cumbersome. He and Teddy had an unspoken agreement not to question one another's reading tastes--Teddy just preferred to keep his fondness for Fifi LaFolle to himself, for obvious reasons, and Donzo knew that no scandal could kill his career more quickly than a puzzled journalist hearing about him reading obscure history books in his spare time. Apparently, it hadn't occurred to the girls who bought his songs--very oddly, in Teddy's opinion, since they mostly went to Hogwarts--that Donzo McCormack was a quiet, bookish boy who was known to actually enjoy classes with Professor Binns. This late at night, and with no girls around, he was even wearing his glasses.

He stood up and closed the book, tossing it casually into his backpack. "I was about to drop my Patronus on you," he said.

"I know. Sorry I'm late." Teddy checked the Marauder's Map. "We're clear to the library. Filch and Mr. Norris are down in the records room. Peeves is bothering the Longbottoms. Did you know that the third floor corridor leads to the staff family quarters?"

"No idea. It must be all those empty rooms."

Teddy tried to picture the Longbottoms and Morses living in the dingy, abandoned rooms in that wing of the castle, and hoped that they'd found some way to make it less dreary than it sounded. He shook his head. "Well, let's go before Peeves gets bored with them."

"All right." Donzo started past him. "Can we keep it short? I have Defense Against the Dark Arts first thing, and Robards thinks Ravenclaws all daydream too much anyway."

"Sure. I should learn to brew some Invigorating Infusion."

"I wouldn't bother. I used it on tour. It's great for a couple of extra hours, then you sleep for two days straight."

They debated the relative merits of various keep-awake potions--keeping their voices hushed and their eyes on the Marauder's Map--all the way to the library. Someday, it would occur to Madam Pince to lock the door, but that day wasn't here quite yet. Teddy pushed the door open silently, then they slipped through the shadows to the overhang of the Restricted Section.

"Alohomora," Donzo whispered.

The gate swung open, and the darkened stacks gaped before them, a strange labyrinth of leather-bound time. They no longer had to check the book spines to know where they were going--three stacks over, halfway down, on the left. Madam Pince had done some straightening over the summer, but Teddy knew the books on sight now: The Beast Within (green, tattered cover, last check-out to Hermione Granger, 1996, with a scribbled dog on page one-thirty-two, perpetually barking at a paragraph about dreadful accidents); Animagus Transformation: Theory and Practice (reddish-brown, scuff-mark on the spine that obscured the left side of the title, many notes and jokes in the back in James Potter's tall, narrow script, last checked out by Tilda Forde, 1952, checked out to Minerva McGonagall in 1943), Transformation and the Nature of Identity (brown, good condition on the outside, heavily notated--again by James--though with fewer jokes, last checked out by James Potter, 1976, for a paper on Identity, judging by the non-Animagus-related underlinings). There were six other books, thinner, with paper covers, all with penciled notes in handwriting Teddy knew well from the Map. Only Transformation had actually been checked out by one of the Marauders; the others had been used as Teddy was using them now--in the dead of the night, secretly, and with a lot of laughter.

Of course, the Marauders had had a more expansive goal in mind than just seeing if they could do it; they'd done it to help Dad get through his transformations. Teddy considered doing that for Neil, but it wasn't quite the same thing when it was just copying.

Teddy Summoned a step stool and reached up to the top shelf without looking. Another flick of his wand pulled out a spiral-bound Muggle notebook that he'd got in London last summer. While Donzo flipped through Theory and Practice to find their place, Teddy read his last notes from June, which were barely legible, as his fingernails had become feathers, and didn't get as good a grip on his quill. Luckily, he knew that he'd begun with "Definitely hawk" rather than "Declining novid," and that helped to decipher the rest. After several months, he'd been able to produce feathers each time, on the last try creating true hawk feathers. There was a scribble with a question mark, and he closed his eyes to try to remember just what he'd been asking.

"It was about the partial transformation," Donzo said, glancing at the passage in question. "You were wondering why the spell would misfire in that particular way, since it should have been all or nothing."

Teddy had a vague memory of this. "Why, though? It's exactly the sort of thing that happens in Transfiguration."

"I was thinking about that," Donzo said, spreading the book out. "Why should it happen there? Do you remember first year in Transfiguration? The little glass ornaments?"

Teddy nodded. It had been his first successful object Transfiguration.

"Right," Donzo said. "So the problem was, we were all trying to make the wooden ball look like a glass ball, and it only went a little bit at a time."

"Mm-hmm."

"So the whole issue was that we had to stop trying to make it look like glass, and actually make it want to be glass."

"Sure. Robards told me to treat it like a morph, like it was part of my body that wanted to be something. That's what I've been trying to do here."

"But it's not working." Donzo went back to the shelf and pulled down Human Transfiguration and the Nature of Identity. "So I was thinking over the summer about this."

"Donzo, why don't you just do this with me? You know you want to." Teddy grinned.

Donzo shrugged. "Grasshoppers and house elves, Lupin. We both know I'd get stepped on."

"Patronuses and raccoons. We both know you wouldn't."

"So," Donzo said, ignoring him, "what I was thinking was that you're trying to turn into a hawk."

"Well... yes."

"Right. And if you were Transfiguring a rock into a hawk, that would be enough. It would be like morphing your hair--or your fingernails. But actually turning yourself into a hawk is something different."

"What's your point?"

"Well, you could turn the rock into a hawk or a dove, or a turtle or whatnot. But the Animagus transformation only goes in one way--you have one animal to become. Because you're not working with something outside yourself." He Summoned The Beast Within and Transformation and the Nature of Identity, and opened the latter. "Well--the Animagus transformation isn't just about making yourself look different. It's about..." He flipped to a page where James Potter had written extensively, checked one of the notes, then said, "It's about becoming the thing you are. Which really isn't something you can control, as I understand it."

"Right. We're all completely out of our own control. Forget free will."

"It's not about free will. It's about what you want to use your free will to do. You are who you are, and even making a decision to be something is an expression of it." He shrugged sheepishly. "Essentialism versus existentialism. Dad has three shelves of books on that."

Teddy frowned. "You think I'm not the hawk?"

"I've no idea. It's your Patronus rightly enough. Why wouldn't it be your Animagus shape? But you're trying to get there. You have to be there first. I think you have to be a hawk to become a hawk."

"Maybe you should be the Unspeakable," Teddy said.

"I'll stick with being a songwriter," Donzo said. "It pays better."

Teddy took the book and read James's thoughts on solid Identity. He was actually talking about Conjuring--about how one person's Conjured chair was inevitably different from someone else's, based on that person's individual notion of a what made a chair.

Teddy shrugged. "All right, then. What's a hawk?"

Donzo blinked, then suddenly laughed. "Big bird. Eats mice. Shall we catch some for you?"

"I'm so glad I brought you along," Teddy said. "Very helpful. I'm sure there's a rubbish bin you could scavenge from, if we look hard enough."

"Right. And the mask, too. Don't forget the mask." Donzo pointed his wand at the hem of his robe and Severed a two-foot piece. He poked eye-holes in it and tied it around his head. "There. I'm all set. Did you save any feathers from last time?"

The study session quickly devolved into a manic attempt at "becoming" different, increasingly ridiculous, animals, finally fading into a jarvey insult contest a bit after one. Nothing at all had been done, but Teddy didn't feel that the night had been wasted. They put the books away, and Teddy used the Map to get Donzo safely back to Ravenclaw Tower, where the door knocker asked him to resolve a time travel paradox before allowing him inside. Teddy returned to Gryffindor Tower and fell asleep as soon as he climbed into bed.

He didn't dream.
32 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
daksian From: daksian Date: April 17th, 2008 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Fascinating.

Again I'm struck by the easy comraderie of Teddy and Donzo, how they can go from earnest researchers to teasing friends in the blink of an eye. Only years of friendship can produce that.

If I'm reading this right, the problem Teddy is having is that he has a presupposition about his animagus form along with struggling to understand he will be Wings, rather just Teddy-in-hawk's-clothing. As to the former problem, in a way I guess mastering the Patronus charm is detrimental to learning how to become an animagus afterward.

All in all, I'm loving this. We're exploring the man and wizard Teddy is going to become, one aspect at a time. Well done Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
As to the former problem, in a way I guess mastering the Patronus charm is detrimental to learning how to become an animagus afterward.

To some extent, it may be, especially if you know enough about both spells to know that they usually turn out the same. It builds expectations in a particular direction, and may impede the necessary imagination skills.
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: April 17th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
i think i'm lost by the time donzo mentioned essentialism. no wonder donzo's in ravenclaw. lol.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, a male Britney, he ain't. :)
From: glynngriffiths Date: April 17th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy certainly isn't in for a simple year, is he? (Of course, when is he ever? Maybe the even years...) Between the Maze and exploring the possibility of being an unspeakable, solving a centuries old mystery and catching a dead pirate, and discerning his essential identity for the animagus transformation, he's got his hands full! Not to mention OWLs! And girls! It boggles the mind.

I love the relationship between Donzo and Teddy; I love them individually, but even moreso together. They are evidently very comfortable with one another, which makes their friendship very comfortable (comforting, perhaps?) to read about.

I loved this exchange: Donzo shrugged. "Grasshoppers and house elves, Lupin. We both know I'd get stepped on."

"Patronuses and raccoons. We both know you wouldn't."

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
They turned out to have a good dynamic, maybe because they share a kind of weirdness of in life, growing up surrounded by the famous.
littletwitchy From: littletwitchy Date: April 17th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you slipped this bit about James in there:

He flipped to a page where James Potter had written extensively, checked one of the notes, then said, "It's about becoming the thing you are. Which really isn't something you can control, as I understand it."

He was obviously brilliant - reading this is a nice change from how much he was demonized in DH X(

Another excellent post! I love how Teddy, future Unspeakable, reads romance novels, while Donzo, songwriter and pop star, reads history and philosophy =) Someday Donzo'll learn that a brain like his can attract even more girls than just being a superstar ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
reading this is a nice change from how much he was demonized in DH X(

I wanted more of him in DH, but honestly, I thought Snape came off worse in that chapter. Which is something, given that it was seen through his eyes! At least James was seen having grown up, rushing up, unarmed in a hopeless effor to save his wife and son.
littletwitchy From: littletwitchy Date: April 17th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
True, that.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: April 17th, 2008 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)
"Declining novid" made me crack up, because it sounds like "declining Ovid". I've been translating Ovid (the very beginning of the Metamorphoses--ha! Metamorphoses! How appropriate!--a very interesting creation story) and he does a lot of weird things with cases ... moreso than Virgil at any rate, so I've been doing a lot of declining Ovid.

Also:

"Sure. Robards told me to treat it like a morph, like it was part of my body that wanted to be something. That's what I've been trying to do here."

Robards wasn't the Transfiguration teacher, was he?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agh, yes. Tonight, Robards is apparently playing the role of Gardner.

Which is especially bad, as in one of the many erased drafts, I'd literally just been talking about Gardner.

:headdesk:
From: kobegrace Date: April 17th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nice!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: April 17th, 2008 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad we got to see more of Teddy and Donzo together. I love that they're so lighthearted even when discussing something serious.

Oh, and I <3 James' annotations
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing like noticing that you're taking yourself too seriously to suddenly get you laughing.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 17th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE used books full of somebody else's handwritting. James' thoughts on those books is a very, VERY nice detail.

For some odd reason I'm intrigued at the dog Hermione did during 1996. Sirius?

Teddy and Donzo remind me of me and my best friend during secondary school. Hours and hours of seriousness and scholarly research, and we always ended up with tons of inside-jokes nobody else could understand. They're just SO REAL, so fifteen! And it's hard to write fifteen year olds as bookish and serious- you've managed that perfectly.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: April 17th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, that was me! Forgot to sign in!
maxzook From: maxzook Date: April 17th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wouldn't have assumed that was Hermione's drawing; she has too much reverence for books to have ever doodled in one. I'm pretty sure that drawing was either from James or Sirius.

Interesting that Peter never took out any of these books.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 17th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, James was the only one who checked one out, and that was for a semi-unrelated NEWT paper. If all of the Animagus books had been checked out by Marauders, someone might have guessed. ;p

And yes, definitely Sirius's drawing. Hermione probably went absolutely crazy at all those careless scribbles!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Oops, that was me.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE used books full of somebody else's handwritting.

Me, too. I discovered the pleasure of them in college. Though of course, professionally, I discourage the practice of writing in library books!

My best friends and I have a lot of in jokes, too, many involving M&Ms, ginger ale, and Stand By Me.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: April 17th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
So much love. For Donzo (awww), for the Animagus research, for the info about where the family quarters are, for the line about Madam Pince not having learned to lock the library at night yet!! Still reading and enjoying immensely. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Madam Pince, in her secretest of hearts, has to want students breaking into Restricted Section... ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 17th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, so, as I understand it, becoming an animagus isn't like transfiguration as such. You have to achieve a certain state that triggers the transformation, but the transformation is almost a side effect. You go through the steps without controlling the final form.

But Teddy's so used to transforming that he can't let go of the goal. The only thing I can compare it to is taking a personality test where you can see the point of the questions and are answering in terms of the impression you want to give rather than the honest, gut answer - which can be further complicated because you may be trying to give a true impression of how you perceive yourself, so it's not as if you're being dishonest - but it bypasses whatever insights the test is supposed to give.

Put more simply, Teddy has to think about things. He has a real problem just letting go and seeing what happens.

Which sounds a little like his trouble with the maze. I still don't get what the maze is all about, but it leads into unknowns.

Which also seems tied into Teddy not dreaming at the end of this chapter. He's used to getting answers of a sort in his dreams, but dreams focus a lot on those things the conscious mind isn't seeing because of preconceived ideas and structures (which doesn't begin to summarize dreams in Fernwithy stories, but hey). Teddy's willing to accept an _aspect_ of this that doesn't fit his preconceived structures, but he isn't willing to accept that it's preconceived structure itself that is the problem, not the form that structure takes.

Oh, man, there's got to be an easier way of saying that.

But I really liked the story.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, man, there's got to be an easier way of saying that.

I'm not sure there is, actually! Unless it's what you said--"Put more simply, Teddy has to think about things. He has a real problem just letting go and seeing what happens."

Teddy's got some major control issues.
renesears From: renesears Date: April 17th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic. I love the old books with their notations of things past.

I also love Teddy's thought about keeping Neil company in hawk form. Kind of sorry he's not going to pursue that, even if it is derivative.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 17th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just think he's very conscious of the idea of being a copycat. But the notion is somewhere in his fevered brain!
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: April 17th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like the friendship between Teddy and Donzo. Donzo brings up some very good points about not instead of trying to force yourself to be something, you should just let it happen naturally.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: April 18th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Donzo knew that no scandal could kill his career more quickly than a puzzled journalist hearing about him reading obscure history books in his spare time.

Just the start of some truly delicious bits of Donzo. That sentence alone was enough to be the high point of the segment for me, and then the rest of it lived up to it. I very much enjoy learning more about your characters as they study, theorize, and discover.

From: (Anonymous) Date: April 18th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
More love for scribbled-in books here. I mean, I couldn't possibly scribble in my own books (except for some highlighting and adding of families and vernacular names in my gardening books), but I love books that other people have scribbled in. Especially textbooks belonging to the school. (Oh, all right, I scribble in my textbooks. A lot.)
But why would Hermione have checked out a book on Animagi in 1996? The only reason that I can think of would be when she figured out Rita's secret in fourth year, but that was in '95.

And more love for Teddy and Donzo, as well. And for their odd choice in books.

I'm afraid my brain is too tired to quite understand Teddy's troubles with the Animagus transforations. But when am I ever not tired?
And damn whoever mentioned "declining novid -> declining Ovid" in their comment. Makes me want to find those scribbled-in textbooks and practise my latin, and I don't have time! ;)

~Hermione Stranger, who is taking a brief break from work and unnecessary studying~

Oh, and of course all your other chapters were just as lovely, but I'm so far behind with reading, I just couldn't take the time to comment on them as well. Had to keep reading!
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: April 19th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 20th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's nice to come back after a few days out of town and find more of this story up. Very much enjoying the Teddy and Donzo interaction, plus the marginalia left in the Animagus books.
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