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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Fourteen: The Halloween Feast, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Fourteen: The Halloween Feast, pt. 1
Teddy continues to focus a lot of energy on his his imagined feud with Harry, and it's starting to take a toll on the latter, who first shuts a door on Teddy, then goes to Neville to talk about it. Teddy, who has finally gotten around to opening his mail (he's as bad as I am), has decided to ask permission to write back to James, Al, and Lily. Because Harry's just so mean that he'd forbid it, of course. ;p At any rate, he uses the Marauder's Map to find Harry and just heads down, in time to overhear Harry complaining to Neville about his (Teddy's) behavior, and Neville countering with some "Oh, he's fifteen, it'll blow over" stuff. He is about to go into full-fledged angst when he hears Harry actually doing a nasty mimicry of him ("Not everyone can be Harry Potter!") and comparing him to Malfoy, but then the two men switch gears and talk about the other matters at school--randomly appearing figures that just as randomly disappear, and a great big flower in Fred's swamp, which looked vaguely familiar to Teddy as he passed it. The adults are fairly convinced the former is something simple, and the latter is a prank. In the process of discussing it, though, Neville identifies the flower as common to West Africa, and it dawns on Teddy why it looks familiar--he saw it in the Daedalus Maze.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy turned on his heel and ran up the corridor. He heard the door open behind him, and Uncle Harry call "Teddy!", but he didn't stop. He ran up the stairs, around a corner, toward the pungent smell of the swamp Fred and George Weasley had left behind, or at least the small patch of it that Flitwick had preserved and liked to show to second year Charms students as an example of what truly bright wizards could do with the subject.

The Congolese Fire Flower was still there. It was more than a foot across, with acrid smelling pollen that was actually burning at the center of the petals. Teddy hadn't noticed that in the Maze, because he hadn't been looking at the plant life.

But it had been there. He'd seen these flowers at the tree line around the clearing where Brimmann had held his infernal party.

Teddy reached out, his hand shaking, and touched one of the petals. It had an unpleasant, metallic feel to it. It had to be made of some strong magical material to keep the fire at its core from spreading. He guessed that pollen blew away as ash. That would make it difficult for the Congolese government to control the spread. It would--

"Teddy?"

Teddy looked over his shoulder. Uncle Harry looked winded from running after him, but Teddy had never even heard the footsteps.

"I'm sorry you overheard that," Uncle Harry said. "I didn't know you were out there, and I was just letting off steam."

Teddy blinked, trying to remember what he'd overheard before "Congolese Fire Flower," then it came back to him. Uncle Harry complaining about something he'd said. He shook his head. "It's all right."

"Are you?"

"Yeah. Fine. When did this show up?"

"Er... while you were in the hospital wing."

"When?"

Uncle Harry looked at him carefully, then said, "We noticed it on Monday morning. Teddy, is there something you want to tell me?"

Teddy was about to tell him everything, beginning with the day he'd spent in the Maze with Maddie right up to the point where he'd tried to throttle Bellatrix to death before she could kill Mum, but he stopped. He knew what Uncle Harry would say. He'd forget about their argument, yes, and he wouldn't be angry--Uncle Harry had always been patient if Teddy made mistakes--but he'd be suspicious. He'd say, "We can fix it," and maybe he'd be able to fix it, but then he'd look at Teddy, and his mind would go to the Stone, to the Shrieking Shack, even to the Marauder's Map. He'd think of Teddy's offhand comment this summer about tearing the Veil open, and about the imaginary siblings that had occupied so much of Teddy's mind two years ago, after he'd found their names on a bookmark. He never mentioned those things unless Teddy brought them up, but he never forgot about them. That was why he'd kept the Resurrection Stone to himself in the first place. He didn't trust Teddy.

And this wouldn't help matters, at least not until Teddy had proved that he could fix any problems he might have inadvertently caused.

"Teddy?"

"No," Teddy said. "It's just odd, don't you think?"

"I'm getting used to 'odd,'" Uncle Harry said. "I don't especially care for our current variety of 'odd,' but I'm getting used to it."

"Are you leaving tomorrow?"

"Yes. Robards will be back next week."

Teddy nodded. "I... er... I read the letters you brought. Except Luna's; I think that may have got lost somewhere. I'll have to ask Victoire."

"And?"

"May I write back to James and Al and Lily?"

Uncle Harry's face seemed to droop, and he took a few steps back to a bench. He sat down and took his glasses off, leaning forward and pressing the heels of his hands against his eyes. "Teddy," he said, "I want you to listen to me here, and actually try to believe what I'm saying." He looked up. "I shut the door because I didn't want to say anything I'd regret later. I was angry. But I will never lock you out of my life, or out of the children's. Do you understand that? And believe it?"

Teddy nodded. He was fairly certain Uncle Harry's tune would change if he knew that Teddy had deliberately tried to kill Bellatrix, and might have caused some sort of leak in time and space that was spreading around Hogwarts, but he probably thought he meant it. "I won't tell them about any of this," he said. "I don't want to get between you."

"I appreciate that," Uncle Harry said. "Though I'd much prefer that there was no 'this' to tell them about or not."

There was little else to say on the matter, and after a while, Teddy went back to investigating the Fire Flower, which was interesting in its own way. Perhaps someone really had planted it. It didn't feel right. It was too big a coincidence. But Uncle Harry had said not to assume the world revolved around Teddy Lupin. Maybe it was something else altogether. Maybe...

Maybe you're trying to weasel out of it, he told himself sternly. Maybe you need to deal with it instead.

A hand landed on his shoulder, and he turned to find that Uncle Harry had stood up. For the first time, Teddy noticed that they were literally seeing eye to eye, if not in any figurative sense.

"I'm going to go back to Neville's now. If you decide you want to work this out after I head back, you don't have to wait for Christmas, you know. Just owl me, or Floo, or send your Patronus, or get on your broomstick and fly to London, to hell with school rules. The door's unlocked."

With that, he left, shoulders hunched.

Teddy supposed that he could call out now, run after him, and fix everything. But he didn't.

There was another problem that he needed to look at first, or no sentimental reconciliation was going to help.

He spent a bit longer looking at the Fire Flower, tracing its root system as far as he could, skirting his hand under the wet soil to feel it. Nothing seemed abnormal about it. It was just a plant that had no business being there.

He went back to Gryffindor Tower without going to supper. He didn't think he could eat, anyway. Victoire wasn't in the Common Room, so he couldn't ask her about the missing letter, but Ruthless was by the fire. He went over and sat down beside her, wondering if she'd start chastising him as she had in his fantasy this morning. Instead, she just smiled and said, "Lupin, good to have you back. Whatever you were doing, don't do it again, or I'll have to hurt you." She had an open box of chocolates, and pushed it toward him. "Have one. Madam Pomfrey said we should push it on you whenever we could."

"Oh. Great."

Teddy happened to be looking at a small chair half hidden by the Lionbloom. No one was in it, but when he blinked, he thought he saw eyes in the shadows, and when he blinked again, a stern looking girl with black braids was sitting there, studying intently.

He jumped.

Ruthless glanced at the newcomer. "Hey! You!"

The girl didn't seem to hear her, or at least didn't respond in any way.

Ruthless frowned and got up. She reached out, but Teddy grabbed her back. "Don't," he said.

She turned on him, confounded. "Since when?"

"Just don't, all right?"

She sat back down. "I hadn't seen one yet. Only a few of the first years. I asked Potter about it in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and he said the staff's looking into it, but they're not dangerous. They don't even notice that we're here."

"Has anyone touched one?"

"Don't know, but I thought we should at least find out if they're solid."

"Brilliant. Just stick your hand into something without knowing what it is."

Ruthless grinned, then jumped up and grabbed a Gryffindor banner. She flung it around her shoulders and stood on an ottoman. "Gryffindor, home of the courageous, the fearless--"

Teddy smiled and threw a quill at her. He was going through the motions, but the motions felt good. "The brainless."

"The careless," Ruthless said, sitting down beside him again and throwing one end of the banner over Teddy's shoulders as well. "The Teddy Lupins of this world, really." She stuck her tongue out and grabbed his end of the banner to yank him closer and muss his hair. He lost his balance and flailed for a place to put his hands that wouldn't be, in her word, nonsense, and fell over against the ottoman, dragging her with him. She kissed him companionably, then slapped herself in the forehead and disentangled herself from the banner. "Sorry," she said. "I'm very bad at this not-kissing-Teddy business." She pulled herself up to sit on the ottoman. "It's not good when you break your own rules."

Teddy expected to fight some urge to kiss her again--the thought of grabbing her ankle to sit up and then kissing her blue-jeaned knee was strangely attractive--but it was muted and distant, and he realized that even that would just be going through the motions right now. He sat up and nudged her knee fondly with his hand, then got to his feet. "I have some things to catch up on. Maybe I should go do them."

She nodded. "Yeah. Maybe. Sorry."

"I'll recover," Teddy promised.

He went up the boys' stairs without looking back, and went to his room. Checkmate glared at him, then went to hide under the bed.

He squared his shoulders, muttered, "No weaseling out," and opened his wardrobe door. The Maze was still sitting there, looking innocent, making no strange sounds and giving off no alien odors. When he picked it up, the wood felt normal, except for the place where a piece had been gouged out, and that just felt rough. Teddy grabbed the missing piece and took the whole thing to his excessively neat desk. He set it down between the mail and the clipped piles over papers ("Scrap?" was on top). Carefully, he set the large splinter into the place it had come from, then raised his wand at it and said, "Reparo."

He wasn't sure it would work--sometimes magical objects didn't take to magical repairs--but the splinter knit itself back into place as easily it would have on a chair or a desk or a picture frame. The Maze gleamed warmly in the afternoon light, put together again.

But of course, the external damage wasn't the only problem.

"Just don't touch anything," Teddy said. He fished around in his drawer for Ariadne's Thread, then raised his wand at the Maze and said, "Sulci Numine."
55 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
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sciathan_file From: sciathan_file Date: June 15th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've made my afternoon infinitely better.

I'm eagerly awaiting more!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be of help with the afternoon. :D
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: June 15th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Waaaaah, exciting things are about to happen. Make them happen now!!

Ahem, just had to get that out of my system.

(Fabulous teenagerishness again, btw. "...he probably thought he meant it" indeed. Because clearly what's going on with Teddy is so far beyond Harry's silly adult comprehension..)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, well, you know... your mental capacities diminish at the advanced old age of thirty-three.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 15th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
AH! I am going crazy here! *faints*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC) (Link)
*offers smelling salts*
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: June 15th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I find myself curious about the littlest things. Like where Luna's letter is, because I feel that it must be important.

Who is the girl with the black braids? (I don't believe Bella would come to Gryffindor)

And the red-haired boy with the glasses from the last installment? At first I thought Percy, but then he didn't have anything to do with the maze, so I thought maybe Albus or his father, Percival...

And I'm sure you're not going to bother answering any of that...so, did you get my fic request at the bottom of my last comment? Are you too much on a roll with this, because I'm all for that.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 16th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I seem to recall Fern's McGonagall having braids as a student. Could be wrong though. Would be interesting! I love cameos. :)

Lady Stratford
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: June 15th, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Teddy. TELL SOMEONE, don't go back in...

Of course, when did any fifteen-year-old ever listen to such logic??

Still spectacular, Fern. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't think of any fifteen-year-old who would listen that sort of logic. :)
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 15th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gryffindors rushing in where wise men fear to tread? Teddy's trip into the Maze, post-break, should be . . . interesting. Looking forward to the next!
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: June 15th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
...Oh dear. I hope he didn't break the Thread.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 15th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I realy like how you had Teddy worry over "fixing his own mistakes." It gives a very ...emotionally real reason ( if not a particularly logical one) to not tell any adults. I do find it sort of funny that Teddy thinks Harry would react to his "mistakes" that way. Did no one tell Teddy any stories of Harry's time at Hogwarts?

Also, is Teddy beginning to ...not sure of the words...but fall out of love/lust/crushing with her? Or is he just emotionally stunned because of the maze?

I'm very excited about the next installment. Alsom I really want to know what Grayfur has to say about what's happened to the Maze.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: June 16th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a feeling probably only the good stories get out, and even though the mistakes might be put in, everyone tends to only look at the good end of things. Not that there as one in, say, the Department of Mysteries... THAT was a catastrophe, but it's sort of all over looked when you're Harry Potter. As many times as Harry told people he was alive out of luck, no one really listened, did they? *Shrugs* Of course,I'm obviously NOT Fern, lol.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: June 16th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
*Headdesk* The whole thing's leaking out and he GOES INTO IT? CALL MADDIE YOU IDIOT- *Sighs*

I can't help but wonder if you just forgot about Luna's letter last chapter, heh. :).

Anyway, as usual, Teddy is an idiot. Still lovable. But an IDIOT.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I totally forgot about Luna's letter in the last chapter, but now that I've made a business of it, I guess I'd better make it more than a hello, though I haven't figured out just what it should be.

The whole thing's leaking out and he GOES INTO IT?

Isn't that the Gryffindor House motto?
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 16th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
This bit about the ghost children is fascinating, although I'm completely at a loss as to where its going. Given that you also referred to Julia and Raymond in this section, I wonder if they aren't the children who would have been born had the war not taken place. The red-headed child could even be a potential son of Fred's, whereas this one could be any number of lost Blacks. But I really have no idea.

You don't by any chance watch Doctor Who, do you? I ask only because these not quite real children are giving me creepy flashbacks to a recent episode. Since I know you're a sci-fi person, if you don't you really should give it a shot - while I think the classic series is kind of cheesy, the continuation that began in 2005 is wonderful, and I would go crazy with joy if you ever wrote fic based on it.

-Cara

-Cara
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
It's an interesting thought. The children are just apparitions with no special function other than establishing what's going on, but the idea that potential people could show up is certainly in tune with the way Teddy thinks.

No, I don't watch Dr. Who... sorry! I've cut way back on my tv watching in general.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: June 16th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Great job as always with Teddy/Harry and Teddy/Ruthless, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: kobegrace Date: June 16th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
As usual, I can't WAIT to find out what happens next! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Good! It's my day off tomorrow, so it should come pretty soon.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: June 16th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I vote Minerva as the Stern Girl With Braids, and some Weasley that's related to the Dumbledores as the bespectacled redhead kid.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Minerva's dead-on. Dumbledore is just Dumbledore. ;p
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 16th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow - this is great. I can't believe we're only at Halloween - so much has happened that it already feels like February. Can't wait to see what happens next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Hopefully, I'll get time moving a little faster soon.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 16th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
'He didn't trust Teddy.'

Uh, yeah Teddy, I'm totally sure that's why he wanted to keep the stone a secret. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact he'd want such an artifact to drop out of history and be forgotten by everyone. So yeah, he sure doesn't trust you one bit; that'll be why he told you about the stone against his better judgment.

I'm aware that I'm given excessively sarcastic given that I'm addressing a fictional character, but my formally sweet little sister is nearly fourteen now and is displaying the bratty teenager mentality with gusto. Therefore I have very little patience for teenager angst sessions.

I'm absolutely loving this, thanks Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, to some extent it's true--Harry doesn't trust anyone, including himself, with the Stone, and Teddy is, in fact, part of anyone... but he's the only part of anyone who did get trusted with the knowledge. He seems to be missing that part.
obsidian_flame From: obsidian_flame Date: June 16th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been reading your stories since Shifts and have been dedicatedly reading your Teddyverse stories since the first one, going so far as to checking back three times a day in some cases to wait for an update. I figured since your stories have given me so much enjoyment, I ought to do you the courtesy of leaving a review, but now that I actually sat down to write one, all I can think of to say is that I am really enjoying Maze, and I think you've captured teenagedom brilliantly. Also, the fact that I'm attached enough to Teddy to be internally screaming at him to NOT go into the Maze when it's leaking is probably another testament to the intensity of the story. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 16th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks--I've been enjoying writing Teddy. He's definitely fifteen this time around, isn't he? :)
55 comments or Leave a comment
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