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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Fifteen: Blistering Bloodspots, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Fifteen: Blistering Bloodspots, pt. 1
Sorry, meant to have this up last night, but I fell asleep about halfway through!

The broken Daedalus Maze has been releasing largely harmless, if weird, stuff--students from the past time-slipping in, flowers from far away appearing in Fred's swamp, blood from Teddy's symbolic ocean showing up on his robes (I watch too much L&O, and wanted to run it down to Warner's lab for testing... but of course, there's only one person whose blood it would be). But at the Halloween party Frankie has organized, it takes a nasty turn, when the plague-ridden pirate Teddy has been searching for appears in the flesh, and infects several students, including Marie Weasley. Within moments, the protective spell, Galdreward's Quarantine, seals the gates of Hogwarts against any coming or going.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




The world seemed to come and go in great, slow pulses of light, color, and noise, followed by distant and incomprehensible mutterings. Teddy felt like he was swimming in the lake, and it turned choppy and kept dragging him under, then tossing him up into a cold wind.

In one of the moments of hyper-clarity, Daniel Morse caught him and sat him down, and asked if he felt all right. He had a seventh year girl shine bright wandlight into Teddy's eyes, then Teddy went under, and when he came back up, Daniel was looking at another student and Cho was dabbing at blood with a magically Levitated handkerchief. Madam Pomfrey arrived. She and Daniel separated out seven terrified students. Daniel raised an eyebrow and said "Cho?" and they were all quite suddenly quiet.

"MARIE!"

Victoire's cry broke through the chill in Teddy's brain, and somehow, he was moving, running over the stones, grabbing her by the waist and pulling her back. She fought against him, and he had to strain to keep hold.

"Let me go, Teddy, my sister's sick!"

Teddy looked at Daniel, who shook his head. He continued fighting to hold onto Victoire. A moment later, he felt a warm hand on his wrist. Ruthless stepped in front of Victoire, blocking her view of Marie, then gently pushed her back. She seemed to have both of her brothers in tow.

"They've got a handle on it, Weasley," she said. "Come on. You're no use to anyone standing about and screaming."

Miraculously, this worked. Victoire stopped struggling. To Teddy's immense surprise, she leaned forward and threw her arms around Ruthless, who took charge of her. The two girls walked away together, and Teddy saw them disappear into a shadow. Ruthless's brothers followed awkwardly.

Teddy looked at the quiet, still figures. They were now floating above the floor while Madam Pomfrey checked them for transport. Marie was furthest to the right. Beside her was a first year boy that Teddy didn't know, and beyond him was a girl who played on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team with Connie Deverill. In the middle was a small, compact figure...

The ice cloud tried to cover Teddy's brain again. It was Maurice Burke.

With a last-ditch effort, Teddy dug the short fingernails of his right hand into the flesh of his left forearm and pinched. There was a burst of pain, then the chattering of the hall came into focus. Frankie was gathering up the uninfected students by House and efficiently putting their Housemates in charge of keeping them under control. Ruthless had got Victoire calmed down and left her with Kirk and Keith, and had now moved on to trying to pry a fourth year Gryffindor boy away from his Hufflepuff girlfriend, who was floating beside Maurice on the floor. Donzo kept throwing worried glances at the ill, but was keeping track of the Ravenclaws, some of whom were trying to get a closer look at the symptoms. Corky had corralled Slytherin into the corner decorated with Franklin Driscoll's Muggle Halloween decorations, and Honoria was making a great fuss of getting all the details of what each of them had seen. Roger Young was keeping an eye on the Hufflepuffs, which Teddy wouldn't have expected, as Frankie's girlfriend, Tinny Gudgeon, would generally be--

His eye fell on the far end of the line of the ill, and he recognized Tinny's short, dull black hair. Frankie's circuits of the room kept drawing him closer, and as Teddy watched, Madam Pomfrey shooed him away gently.

Teddy went to him. "Frankie--"

He turned. His pale blue eyes were wide and frightened behind his glasses. "Teddy, get over with the other Gryffindors. As soon as Madam Pomfrey says it's all right, we should all go back to our Houses."

"I'm sorry, Frankie."

"It's not you're fault."

Teddy shook his head. "Yes. It is."

Frankie looked at him blankly, then his eyes cleared. "If anything else happens to them, I'm burning down the bloody Department of Mysteries."

"No, it was me."

Frankie ran a hand through his greasy hair. "Teddy, I don't care what you did with whatever Mum gave you. You're fifteen. You're still a kid. I screwed up with their business, too, in case you forgot. And so has Mum."

Teddy was about to point out that Frankie and Maddie had both "screwed up" by trying to help someone else, while he himself had managed to rip a hole in something vital by trying to kill someone, but a deep, quiet voice inside of him--a relief after the fevered trips his mind had been taking of late--told him that Frankie didn't need to deal with someone else's guilty feelings just now. Instead, Teddy just put a hand on Frankie's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. Frankie nodded to him in acknowledgment and walked away.

"Mr. Lupin!" Madam Pomfrey said, sounding exasperated as she approached them. "You've been cleared. Go back with the others."

Teddy took a deep breath, looked at her, and said, "But I know what's happening."

"Yes, we all saw the phantasm, Mr. Lupin."

"It was pirate called Brimmann. I know where he came from. And it's Blistering Bloodspots. It's curse-borne."

Madam Pomfrey lost the distracted look in her eyes. She stopped. "You have my attention, Teddy." She looked around. "Though we unfortunately seem to have other attention. Can you morph your face to make one of the sores show up?"

Teddy wasn't entirely certain why she wanted him to do such a thing, but he concentrated as well as he could. Morphing had never been harder than it had been this year. He though of Mum's easy hair-color switch in the Hufflepuff Common Room, steeled himself, and felt the pinching sensation that always came just before a deliberate morph (accidental morphs, he rarely noticed until someone pointed them out).

Madam Pomfrey leaned in and examined his cheek, where the entirely unreal bloodspot had appeared. "Dr. Morse!" she called. "We need to have another look at Teddy Lupin. We'll bring him down with the others."

Daniel frowned, and Teddy saw Professor Morse start to raise her wand, but--at a tiny signal from Madam Pomfrey that he wouldn't have noticed if he weren't standing right beside her--lower it again.

The adults bustled for the next few minutes, getting the sick ready for transport. Teddy was instructed to "sit down and rest; you don't look too weak just now." When everything was ready, Teddy followed the still forms as they floated out. Daniel's hand was on his shoulder as they walked. When they got to the hospital wing, pretenses were dropped. The unconscious students were sent to beds. Madam Pomfrey pulled Teddy into the small cubicle where she kept her paperwork. She Conjured chairs.

"Daniel! Cho! Are you finished?"

Daniel and Professor Morse came in. She was putting her wand away.

"What exactly is their status?" Madam Pomfrey asked.

"They're in stasis," Daniel said. "We've done it before with rapidly spreading plagues--"

"--which I trust stays in this room," Professor Morse added, "as it wasn't entirely in keeping with certain statutes."

Madam Pomfrey waved her hand, unconcerned with such niceties. "Then it won't spread."

"I can't guarantee that," Daniel told her. "This keeps it stable within the patient, so it doesn't get any further than it has. It's Cho's spell. We tried it for an ebola outbreak, to hold the patients until medicine could get through a war zone. Of course, if this is Galdreward's Quarantine, nothing is going to get in or out. Do we know how to treat this?"

Madam Pomfrey looked at Teddy. "Mr. Lupin claims to know what it is. Teddy?"

Teddy swallowed hard and looked at his feet as he told the story of his search for Brimmann in the Maze, and the accident that had landed him here last week, and his beliefs about the leaks in Time and Space... and possibly Death.

"I never meant for this to happen," he said. "I swear, I didn't."

"Of course not," Madam Pomfrey said. "But it's happened. The good news is that we've learned to control Blistering Bloodspots since Brimmann's time. The bad news is that we've controlled it so well that we don't routinely stock the potions ingredients we need."

"How does it spread?" Daniel asked.

"It's curse-borne. The mechanism is looking someone in the eyes."

"He looked me in the eyes," Teddy said.

Madam Pomfrey shook her head. "Teddy, there are things we don't understand about Metamorphmagi. Even your grandmother doesn't, and she's studied the subject more than anyone else in the world. For one reason or another--I suspect it's your body remembering its true shapes--Metamorphmagi tend to be very resistant to illness, or any injury that doesn't happen very quickly. And even the quick ones heal more rapidly than most if they aren't--" She broke off, pale, and Teddy supposed she was thinking of Mum, her spinal cord nearly severed at the base of the neck by one quick blow. "I wouldn't put it to a test," she finished, "but I don't think you're especially susceptible."

"But it's my fault," Teddy said. "I ought to be sick, not them."

"But you're not," Daniel told him, then looked at Madam Pomfrey. "From my reading, I'd guess I'm immune. Most curse-borne illnesses--lycanthropy being a notable exception--don't transfer to Muggles, since we don't have the magic for them to act on. Can we find or grow what we need to make the potions they'll need, or do we have to find a way to break the Quarantine? Is it Galdreward's?"

Madam Pomfrey nodded. "Oh, yes. And as long as the sickness holds within the limits of the Quarantine, we won't be able to get out, and no one will be able to send anything in. The only way to break the Quarantine is to cure the illness."

"Can we communicate?" Professor Morse asked.

"It'll have sealed up the Floos," Madam Pomfrey said. "And the owls are trapped where they are. I tried to send a Patronus, but it shattered on the Quarantine line."

Teddy frowned. "Why would it stop a Patronus?"

"Because Galdreward's Quarantine isn't built for a specific illness. Some curse-borne diseases can be carried on spells."

"Lovely," Professor Morse said.

"The portraits should be able to come and go," Madam Pomfrey said. "I'll ask the Headmistress to send Dilys to St. Mungo's to get any advice she can, and we'll be able to contact the Ministry, and perhaps Harry Potter through Nigellus's portrait if it seems necessary, but for now, we need to accept that we're isolated here. We'll have to make do with what we have."

The adults began to discuss what to do next, and Teddy drew back into the shadows, sitting miserably on Madam Pomfrey's uncomfortable wooden stool, looking out at the still figures of his classmates.
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Comments
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malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 22nd, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ohh, I think I'm terrified.
And Patronuses don't work. Well, at least portraits are there.

Argh, can't wait!

(and poor Teddy, having to deal with the guilt)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
The portraits are always handy.
amamama From: amamama Date: June 22nd, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eeep! No communication, save parhaps, hopefully, for the portaits. Oh dear. This on top of a rather roller coaster day has quite the punch. Goodness, Fern, you do know how to bring it out. *bows to your brilliance* And forget about replying - just write! *grins*

Cheers!

Btw, this: ..Teddy saw Professor Morse start to raise her wand, but--at a tiny signal from Madam Pomfrey that he wouldn't have noticed if he weren't standing right beside her--lower it again. If you remove what's between the dashes, it doesn't sound quite right, so perhaps a slight rephrasing is in order?

Edited at 2008-06-22 05:38 pm (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I'll look at it, but it scans all right to me on first glance.
From: daphne_23 Date: June 22nd, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I love plagues and quarantines and suchlike. This looks like it's going to be exciting :) Liked Ruthless in this chapter as well.

Caught one typo: "It was pirate called Brimmann. A pirate? Unless that was an intentional mark of Teddy's stress, if so, ignore me!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nope, not a deliberate thing. :)

I admit, I was Daniel when I was a kid--couldn't get enough about reading about plagues. The Black Plague, scarlet fever (one of my friends actually got scarlet fever, and it freaked me right the hell out, because I was thinking in terms of a century or more earlier, when it had left Helen Keller blind and deaf), you name it.
maz333 From: maz333 Date: June 22nd, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad Daniel is here. I'm getting all nostalgic for the boy who loved his gross diseases and such-like. Anyway... you're keeping me on the edge of my seat, per usual.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was glad to find a place for him, too. When I was thinking about who should take over potions, it suddenly dawned on me--dude, I'm having a plague this year. Daniel! I'll have to bring on Cho.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 22nd, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
You may have fallen asleep writing this, but I assure you, very few people would fall asleep reading this! Good for Teddy for coming clean right away, instead of concealing his knowledge of the plague and how it entered Hogwarts. Also relieved that neither his peers nor the staff are letting him get carried away with the guilt. The best way he can atone for his mistake is to be part of the curing process.

Is Harry still on the premises or has he left by now?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Elvis has left the building, I'm afraid. ;p

Teddy will definitely get involved in the curing process.
redlily From: redlily Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
"It's not you're fault."

Sub in "your" there.

So -- I must admit I'm a tad confused -- how did this Quarantine affect the castle? Did it just come in along with the Blistering Bloodspots from Brimmann?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
It goes up when there's a highly infectious and dangerous disease on the premises. It's probably an outdated bit of magic, since, as Poppy says, they can control Blistering Bloodspots now, but since there hasn't been an outbreak, no one's done anything about countermeasures.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 22nd, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Waiting impatiently as usual...

*giggles* There was Dragon Pox at Hogwarts in another fic I'm reading, and I was totally expecting Galdreward's Quarantine - took me a few moments to remember, "hang on, that's only in Fern's stories!"

~Hermioone Stranger~
cornedbee From: cornedbee Date: June 23rd, 2008 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Fern's stories often have this effect. Like this other story where Victoire appeared, and I thought, where are all her siblings?
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 22nd, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely update! I especially like ruthless and Victoire in this...and the little voice that tells Teddy now is not the time for others to be dealing with his guilt issues.

I find the whole idea of metamorphmagi's bodies "remembering" their forms very interesting... it reminded me of vaccines.... maybe we'll learn more about this?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think some Tonksian part of Teddy understands how well guilt can be used as blunt weapon in the war for attention, and knows better than to use it when he oughtn't be the center of attention.

I think we'll be getting more into the instinctive repairing that Metamorphmagus does, but I'm not sure how.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: June 22nd, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very well-done post, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks.
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: June 22nd, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
A nice treat to come home to after a weekend at the in-laws (LOL, not that a magical plague is more fun than they are but...)

The bad news is that we've controlled it so well that we don't routinely stock the potions ingredients we need.

Could that red flower in Fred's swamp be a part of the answer? I dearly hope so.

And yeah for the mention of portraits -- Grayfur to the rescue!

Looking forward to Minnie's take on it too -- and are animal's immune, a good reason to get Teddy and Donzo on the fast track to their Animagus selves.

Sorry, I know you have a hard time keeping up with the comments. I should just say, nice job and get going on the next one!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could that red flower in Fred's swamp be a part of the answer? I dearly hope so

Hmm. That's a thought.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 22nd, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my.

On the bright side, they seem to have the immediate victims isolated and they _may_ have isolated all their immediate carriers.

On the not so bright side, they've got an infected pirate who can come and go any time he pleases (or, actually, doesn't please, since he's real enough to spread a curse carried disease but probably not real enough to see the world he's spreading it in).

On the somewhat brighter side, plants have come out of the maze, which may provide a source for what they need.

Getting back to the not so bright side, Teddy would have to fix the maze before he can control it to get what he needs. But the maze, once fixed, can't supply anything.

Er, I know you're not a Snape fan (and I'm not bringing this up just because I am), but he was a very gifted healer from all reports (at least, there were some indications he could handle things Madam Pomfrey couldn't). That's one portrait that might be worth consulting. There's also at least one headmistress portrait with a counterpart hanging in St. Mungo's.

I'm not sure how much good portraits are for supplying medical insights. I'm guessing it's an issue of how much a portrait can really _think_ like the original as opposed to sort of echoing it. If they're mostly echoes, the older portrait's medical knowledge wouldn't have really increased over the centuries and may not include much that's currently useful. Depending on the subject, fifteen years dead may not make as big a difference.

Either way, all the portraits can at least relay information from living healers (in which case, Snape's personality would put him lower on the useful list compared to a lot of the others).

Ellen
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: June 22nd, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, interesting about the portraits themselves being able to supply advice. Maybe the older portraits would actually be more useful, since this particular plague hasn't been a threat for so long - they might have knowledge that has been forgotten by most people nowadays.

Anyway, thank goodness for stasis - now the victims won't all end up dying before the plot has a chance to progress !
rotae From: rotae Date: June 23rd, 2008 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)
He though of Mum's easy hair-color switch in the Hufflepuff Common Room, steeled himself,

An extra T is needed, I think :D

Teddy's getting all Lupiny and guilty LOL XDDDD Ah, I love it :D

Peace,
Rotae
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll catch that "t." Danged similarly-spelled-but-dissimilar words. :P
satakieli From: satakieli Date: June 23rd, 2008 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)
The moment between Ruthless and Victoire is lovely.

The bit about metamorphmagi being less susceptible to illness reminded me of Wild Seed, by Octavia Butler. Interesting and highly plausible. Well, inasmuch as logical extensions of magical abilities can be plausible, I suppose.

I realize this is at the bottom of the list of things that are important now, but poor Frankie! His party has turned into such a disaster, after all that. And now the entire school may unfairly blame him for the quarantine, since I doubt that those in the know will be in an immediate hurry to publicize its true nature.

Terrific, terrific chapter, Fern!

(And I'm not just saying that because Daniel plays a key part, though honestly that doesn't hurt.)


Edited at 2008-06-23 01:23 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, gosh, I read Wild Seed years ago--I don't remember much of it. I remember that Doro lived pretty much forever because he jumped into the next body along the line, but I didn't remember that that was why the shapeshifting woman stayed alive.

Yeah, Frankie has to be feeling like a total social disaster, or will once Tinny's okay.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: June 23rd, 2008 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)
You continue to amaze me with your brilliance.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: June 23rd, 2008 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I also loved the moment between Ruthless and Victoire.

One thing that I love about Teddy's world at fifteen vs. Harry's world at fifteen is this: when Harry was fifteen, once he got over himself enough to tell someone about his concerns (okay, so in Harry's case it took until he was sixteen, but whatever), no one would listen to him. It looks like Teddy, if he can get past his guilt for moments here and there, will actually be very involved in the fixing-the-problem process. Yay for Poppy Pomfrey!

Dude, I love plague stories. Bring it on. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 23rd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's grown-ups have earned his trust pretty well. And Poppy will take help where she can get it, I think! :)
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