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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nineteen: Nigellus, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nineteen: Nigellus, pt. 3
Ah, what have I gotten myself into? Victorian diary entries?! And in the never-ending four part chapter? :P

Well, at any rate, Phineas and his friends have finally put their magic together to create the first Daedalus Maze, and Phineas won at drawing lots, so he's the first to try it out. He enters and finds his long-dead older brother.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




I shall admit to being momentarily unmanned at the sight of the boy. He was as I remembered him in every way--a careless spill of black hair, the gray eyes we share, the cheerful, mischievous smile. I fancied that he was inviting me to one of our grand adventures, which took us sometimes as far as the nearby Muggle play park, where we tested ourselves against dangerous, cunning creatures such as squirrels and robins (I should point out that it never occurred to us to harm such creatures at the time--we merely attempted to follow them to their homes, an enterprise of great interest to boys of our age). As if in a final stroke to prove his identity, he shifted his shape, as he so often had to amuse me, giving himself the nose of a dog and the ears of our family house elf, Bedivere. I nearly wept in realizing that I had forgotten this shape, the shape which I would always follow, because it delighted me so as a lad.

This, of course, was not a productive response to the phantasm appearing before me, so I exerted control of my senses and banished my boyish reaction to make room for a proper man's response. My brother waited patiently, and when I had gained self-mastery, turned to lead me down into the maze of greenery. I attempted to communicate with him, but while he seemed happy, he did not respond, and I presently came to the conclusion that the vision before me was a Conjuring not of my brother, but of my own imagination, a guide, if you will, into something of importance to me. I followed now with more clinical interest, though the boy who had so enjoyed seeing his lost brother again mourned this realization...


Teddy sighed, remembering his mad desire to touch Mum when he'd first seen her, when he'd entered the Maze with Maddie. He'd known it was impossible--Maddie certainly would have told him if the Maze could bring back the dead--but for a moment, it just hadn't mattered. Phineas's first trip into the Maze wasn't much different from that trip of Teddy's, actually, though he thought the shifting of the guide was just Sirius morphing. He saw happy moments from his own childhood, and the death of his beloved grandmother Callisto. Like Teddy, he had traveled the branches of the Black family tree (he saw another Metamorphmagus he couldn't identify, but Teddy knew from Granny's research had to be Banan the Black, the medieval founder of the family), then returned to his own time. He saw the carriage that would crush his brother's life from him, and fled the Maze before he was forced to see it again, though in his journal, he referred to this as choosing to leave as he had "no need of assistance in recollecting that particular moment." Teddy could sympathize.

There was a sharp rap at the door.

"Who is it?"

"Victoire. May I come in?"

Teddy looked at the pile of journals and felt a wave of annoyance that he'd have to put them aside, then one of disgust at himself for getting too caught up in all of it on Christmas Day. He closed the journal he was reading and went over to open the door.

Victoire came inside, her Phineas-dictated letter in one hand. She was wearing last year's Weasley jumper, which was a pale lavender that set off her eyes. It was also, he noticed, a bit too tight these days. He forced his eyes up. "Everyone says Happy Christmas," she told him. "Except for Marie. When I told her I was coming up, she said to tell you that you were a sour old Scrooge."

Teddy frowned. "I'm trying to figure out how to break the quarantine."

"Why you?"

"Because it's my fault it's here."

Victoire measured this, then shrugged. "I wondered what was getting at you."

"I made your sister ill."

"I don't know about before, but you're apparently making her ill at the moment."

"I'm not joking. I did something, and that's why Brimmann and the plague got in. Remember the day you found me in here?"

"So your brilliant plan is to keep doing magically stupid things until it's fixed?"

"My brilliant plan is to take some responsibility for my own mistakes." Teddy felt angry blood in his cheeks. He sat down at his desk. "Sorry you don't think I can handle that. Must run in the family. Uncle Harry thinks I can't handle things, either."

"Where did he get that idea?" Victoire asked acidly. She turned and headed for the door, but stopped and turned back before leaving. "Have a happy rest-of-Christmas, Teddy. I mean that. Come downstairs. Let Marie throw a Wheeze at you. You've earned it."

Teddy looked at the pile of journals, then nodded and followed Victoire out, gathering Checkmate up as he went. Most of the Gryffindors were still in the Common Room, and the floor in front of the fireplace had been cleared for dancing. Checkmate caught sight--or scent--of Bushy and Oggie and bounded over to them. Teddy started to ask Victoire to dance, but she was already headed away, toward Kirk Scrimgeour, who held out his hand and led her into the crowd. He wasn't nearly as dangerous a dancer as his sister.

His thoughts were interrupted by a flood of cold water that drenched the back of his robes. He turned and found Marie, an innocent looking rubber duck in her hand... innocent except for the fact that it was spitting water at a prodigious rate. Teddy drew his wand and sent the stream back at her, soaking her hair. She laughed, and a moment later, he was dancing with her, laughing. When the song ended, he asked Ruthless, and spent the rest of the evening happily ducking her flailing elbows. He caught sight of Victoire once or twice, dancing with various members of her third year army or teaching the girls how to do a Veela dance, and she seemed to approve.

By one-thirty in the morning on Boxing Day, most of the students had either drifted up to their dormitories or fallen asleep in the Common Room. Teddy was sitting in the corner of the sofa, Checkmate now curled in his lap and the girls--Ruthless, Victoire, and Marie--sprawled out in chairs nearby. Mistletoe was still flying around, but they were all letting it annoy other people.

"You should let Checkmate have kittens," Marie said. "Do you know how to take the Charm off?"

"I could find out," Teddy said.

"Bushy's her brother, so it has to be with some other cat, but Oggie's big enough now."

Ruthless drooped forward, laughing. "Yes, I can just see the symbolism of that. Well, Dad, see, we decided to let my cat impregnate Teddy's."

"It's rather unmanning, when you put it that way," Teddy said.

"'Rather unmanning'?" Ruthless laughed harder. "Teddy, you need to quit the Fifi LaFolle." Teddy wondered what Phineas Nigellus would make of being mistaken for Fifi LaFolle. Ruthless finished up a bottle of butterbeer. "You should try some Zoltan Burr. He'll get you down to monosyllables pretty fast. While swearing in a gravely voice and throwing curses at anyone in reach."

"Sounds healthy."

"Oh, not to worry, they're all certifiable Bad Guys." She raised her wand and said, "Accio Wandpoint!" A paperback with a hairy, broad-chested wizard on the front flew downstairs. He was wearing a kilt and carrying the biggest wand Teddy had ever seen, and his long hair was being whipped by what appeared to be a hurricane, though the painting was sunlit. A witch in short robes was doing some sort of lightning spell in an inset in the lower right corner. Ruthless caught it and tossed it to him. "There. A good dose of Zoltan will cure what ails you."

Marie climbed onto the sofa back and looked over Teddy's shoulder and said, "Oo, he's cute."

"That's Nab MacLaren," Ruthless said. "Fearless defender of the highlands. And quite virile."

"Mm," Victoire said.

Teddy threw the book at Ruthless and laughed. "You know, the lot of you aren't helping me feel particularly manly just now."

"It's not our fault you don't have any Gryffindor boys to stay up with," Marie said, then looked at Victoire and Ruthless with mock seriousness. "He's right, though. We should stop talking about boys."

"You're right," Victoire said, and pulled out her wand. "It's time for manicures!"

Teddy pretended to scream and hid behind a cushion. "No, no!" He Conjured his Patronus. "Donzo! Maurice! Corky! There's a trio of witches after me and they WANT TO PAINT MY NAILS!"

Corky's bear came back: "Extreme force is justified."

This devolved into a hex war, starting with Teddy and Victoire against Ruthless and Marie, but growing to involve most of the Gryffindors who remained awake. By the time they were done, Teddy's ears were twitching madly, Ruthless was teetering on legs that had turned to stilts, and Victoire was lisping through an impressive set of fangs. Professor Longbottom sent up his own Patronus to tell them that it was time to go to bed; the portraits were complaining. Teddy headed for the boys' stairs, but stopped and went after the girls.

"Victoire?"

She turned. "Yeth?"

"Thanks for making me come down."

She shrugged. "Thankth for coming."

"I really did--"

"No, don't, Teddy." She looked over her shoulder, then said, "I know you think thith ith your fault. But you can't fikth it."

"I can try."

"You don't have to. It'th not your job."

"I feel like..."

"You thould talk to the Fat Friar or thomething."

"The Fat Friar?"

"You know, confeth."

"Why?"

"Why not? You confeth to everyone elth, and at leatht maybe he can help you." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek, the fangs pricking his skin almost pleasantly. "Happy Chrithmath, Teddy."

He kissed her back, accidentally catching the corner of her mouth, and said, "Happy Christmas, Victoire."

She bolted up the stairs.

He went back to his dormitory and looked at Phineas's diaries. Victoire might be right that he couldn't fix things, but that didn't give him the right to stop trying. But it could wait until morning.

He left his door slightly ajar, so Checkmate could come back in when she wanted to, and went to sleep.

He dreamed of Sirius Black--Phineas's Sirius--standing near the park at Grimmauld Place, smiling, inviting him in, wiggling his house-elf ears and twitching his puppy nose.
26 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 2nd, 2008 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Nothing like the Victorians for verbosity--you write a most convincing voice for Phineas. But I most enjoyed Victoire and the others pulling Teddy back into the present and it's a relief to see that Victoire doesn't blame him for Marie's illness. His Lupin guilt complex is thriving quite well without that.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
One of the lessons Teddy has to learn, I think, is that there's a difference between unintended consequences and deliberate acts (he's not the only one I can think of...).
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: August 2nd, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah, his godfather also has the guilt complex in spades, though not as much as his father :D
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: August 2nd, 2008 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeeees; there's something to be said, certainly, for taking responsibility for the consequences you create even if you didn't intend them, but that doesn't mean you have to treat yourself as if you meant them to happen when you had no reasonable way of knowing they would.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: August 2nd, 2008 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)
He kissed her back, accidentally catching the corner of her mouth, and said, "Happy Christmas, Victoire."

accidentally, indeed.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, completely. He'd have never, ever meant to do that. Crazy idea!
redlily From: redlily Date: August 2nd, 2008 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
:no should be "no, methinks.

Ruthless reads trashy adventure novels? Oh, Ruthless, I love you more every year.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, I'll find and fix that.

I think these are the wizarding equivalent of Conan the Barbarian... ;p
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: August 2nd, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
ROFLMHO!!!!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: August 2nd, 2008 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Phineas and Teddy continue to have some very interesting paralells! I do love your Phineas, so...3-d, i guess is the word for it. Also, loved the subtle Victoire/Teddy things being set up here...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. The Victorian voice is hard to maintain, but Phineas is just Phineas. I like him.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 2nd, 2008 07:28 am (UTC) (Link)
The biggest wand Teddy had ever seen indeed. *giggle*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
And in all likelihood, he's' holding it improbably low, in front of his kilt. Kind of like the world's most strategically placed 'plow' on the cover of Prentice Alvin.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 3rd, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agh, I'd forgotten that one. Poor kid. I expect Nab MacLaren's wand is bigger, but, er, yeah... same principle.
scopart From: scopart Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Because it's my fault it's here."
Victoire measured this, then shrugged. "I wondered what was getting at you."


I laughed a little at this. Teddy is so determined to have everyone blame him. It's good to know he has such friends. I'd hate to think where he'd be with out their steadying presence...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 2nd, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't think it would be a pretty place.
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: August 2nd, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome, awesome. I join everyone else in saying that *your* Phineas is a fantastically multidimensional character. Expect lots of Phineas requests next time you throw a challenge call ;-)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 2nd, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
My parents were throwing me odd looks, since I kept giggling like an idiot. It was a nice and warm chapterlet, and I enjoyed the glimpses of Sirius Black, brother of Phineas.
daksian From: daksian Date: August 2nd, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I imagine it's a challenge, trying to write with a Victorian voice, but you're doing quite well with it. I'm certainly enjoying reading Phineas' journal entries! And it was nice to see the girls teasing Teddy about adopting such language. :D

Lots of fun, fluffy cuteness here, whether it's the idea of Oggie and Checkmate producing kittens (and I lol'd at Ruthless's comment about it), the dancing, or the accidental half-kiss between Teddy and Victoire. All very sweet.

As for the final image...you tease us so often with inconsequential Teddy dreams that I'm not sure if the image of Phineas' Sirius is one or not...but I'll have to guess that it is significant. Could the solution be in Teddy's metamorphmagus abilities? Perhaps it's an issue of identity...

I dunno...I'm probably talking out of my arse. But regardless, I love that you make me think and wonder... :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 2nd, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi Fern,

This is my first time commenting on one of your entries. I discovered your work last Tuesday on SugarQuill (only having discovered fanfiction, in general, a couple of months ago, despite being an HP fan since forever - this is what comes of being crap with computers) and have spent the last week and a half reading Shifts, Shades and the three Teddy stories, as well as all your ficlets... quite a ride!

At first I thought you might be JK in disguise (throwing us off by putting in some non-canon stuff like Elizabeth Phelan instead of Greyback) but the more I read, and when I found LJ with all the comments after each chapterlet, the more I realised that you may be JK-inspired but you are an truly brilliant writer in your own right. It's been so amazing to discover quality writing that's completely canon-compliant (barring, obviously, random declarations by JK post-publication that joss carefully-thought out plans), and I love that you both offer an alternative POV on stories we know and love (in Shifts, etc.) but also take the whole Potter universe forward via the next generation.

So basically, to summarise, I am a big big fan! Am quite gutted that I'm now all caught up - I can no longer spoil myself with constant reading, but at least I can rest my eyes for a bit - they are really sore because I've spent a lot longer staring at the computer over the past 10 days than I normally do!

A couple of your ideas (throwaway one-liners and/or big plot ideas) that have struck me as particularly inspired:
- the Bermuda shipping system that's confused muggles and wizards alike for years... ha!
- a 10am shoelace to Canada
- Remus being unable to articulate what he was looking for in a pretend wife
- Dumbledore's badge that reads "Interfering In An Official Investigation"
- Victoire Weasley generally
- Neville generally, though particularly when he's with Vivian (sigh) and Teddy sees them and gets told "not a word at school" - says a lot about Neville trusting Teddy and about Teddy being trustworthy
- that the afterlife for adults is the dreams of their children
- how Harry wouldn't let anyone else teach Teddy the Patronus charm
- the fact that Teddy's 3rd year was reminiscent of Harry's, with a crazy murderer on the loose
- how everything, everything you write is plausible as canon

I could go on and on and on, but I will content myself with posting my first comment and endeavour to say sensible things when reviewing future chapters, and not just ramble about how happy I am to have stumbled across your work!

Clara

PS My first ever fanfic post, ever, and I've managed to thrown in, by way of related vocabulary, ficlet, joss and canon... I feel like quite the old hat :)
amamama From: amamama Date: August 2nd, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah Fern... I'm finally caught up, and Oh, how I love this story. Of course Teddy feels like he should do something, but how wise is that? Will he allow some of the others to be there and help him? Will he need to try to repair the maze and reenter it, or...? I'm looking forward to finding out. And Victoire was hysterically funny at the end. Kids are sleeping, and I'm sitting right outside their bedrrom doors so I have to be quite, but that was hard. "Happy Chrithmath" indeed.

Cheerth!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 2nd, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aww, this made me smile. :) Victoire was impressively sensible, but now I'm more anxious than ever for Teddy!
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: August 2nd, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I LOVE Ruthless. She's all- brainless action meets smut anyday! STOP READING SMUT!

Happy that Teddy got a good moment :).

I find it funny Teddy's two best friends it seems, Ruthless and Donzo, are the unintentional characters. Ruthless was made up on the spot, and Donzo was supposed to be SO different originally.

Sorry about the endless four part chapter. Better than the 5? o_0
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 2nd, 2008 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good post as usual, Fern.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: August 4th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, Phineas. He certainly writes the way he talks. The memory of Phineas's Sirius was rather sad, though, especially when compared with how Teddy's first excursion guide was Tonks.

Yay for Victoire managing to get Teddy to drop the Lupin guilt complex for an evening to have fun!
26 comments or Leave a comment