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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nineteen: Nigellus, pt. 4 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nineteen: Nigellus, pt. 4
In Phineas's journals, Teddy has read about the creation of the Maze, and its "mutation" into something new, which happened when all of the wizards involved put in some magic. Phineas went in first, and his guide was his brother, who showed him various moments of interest in his life. Teddy wants to read further, but Victoire gets him to come down to the Gryffindor Christmas party instead, and the girls raise his spirits and get him into a hex war. He tries to confess to Victoire that he's responsible for Marie getting sick, but she won't have it, and tells him to confess to the Fat Friar instead. He goes to bed without going back into the journals, but finds himself face to face with Phineas's brother Sirius, the Metamorphmagus, who is currently sporting elf ears and a puppy's nose.

I think I've gotten to the point where I have to write the end for myself (which will mostly change by the time I get to it) so that I know what's needed and what's extraneous in my thinking, because this story has a lot of balls in the air, and I need to start catching them!

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"I know you," Teddy said.

The boy laughed. "Yes."

"Am I in the Maze?"

"No."

"Is Uncle Harry here?"

Sirius frowned. "Who?"

"Uncle Harry. My godfather. He lives near here."

"Oh. No. This is just for shapeshifters." He laughed again, then pulled in his puppy nose, making it thin and aristocratic. His eyes flashed purple and red before going back to gray, and his ears shrank down to human size. He looked at Teddy expectantly.

"What... what do you want me to be?"

"We can be anything."

"I just want to be me."

He shrugged, as if to say, "Suit yourself," then made a few subtle changes in his face and grew a foot, becoming his brother Phineas for a moment. His clothes changed with him, a dream-skill that Teddy envied, even though the real Sirius undoubtedly wouldn't have had it. He spun playfully and tipped a silk top hat, then shrank back to his normal size. "Let's go home."

Instead of heading into the park, he skipped out of it, now rolling a hoop with a stick, going toward Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place. Teddy followed him, though he was careful to walk. He didn't want anyone in the dream world to see him skipping. They reached Number Twelve almost immediately, though in reality it was a five minute walk. The bricks on the house were sharp and well-maintained, the garden perfectly manicured and suitable for Muggle view. It must have been the house as Phineas Nigellus and his brother would have known it. Sirius opened the door and beckoned.

Teddy took a step and found himself entering the parlor. Mum, Dad, and Sirius were all lounging in the chairs, taking no notice of him. Peter Pettigrew, fifteen years old, was sitting under a table, and James Potter was stretched out on the floor with a quill poised over a piece of parchment. A tall man in medieval robes stood by the window with his arms crossed. No pictures had survived of him, but this was how Teddy had imagined Banan the Black, the founder of the family, to look. Rita Skeeter was sitting on an ottoman, taking down notes ostentatiously. Donzo was standing outside, his face pressed against the window, though that would have been quite impossible in the real house. Fenrir Greyback and his moll, Mathilde Dubois, were locked in one of the Ministry's Werewolf Registry cages, but looked happy nonetheless. Professor McGonagall was standing in front of the fireplace, lecturing the group. She looked up when Teddy and Sirius came in, and said, "Ah, Mr. Lupin. A fine example of what I was saying about the tendency of shapeshifters to lose themselves. Mr. Lupin, can you even tell me who you are?"

"What?" Teddy asked.

"It's a simple enough question. I'm sure anyone else in the room can answer it. Mr. Black--either of you--please assist Mr. Lupin."

Both Siriuses got up and went to a cupboard which didn't exist in the real parlor. In fact, it was the wardrobe with the boggart that Dean was currently painting on the wall across from the Room of Requirement. The rest of the mural had been painted around it. The door opened to reveal the sea of blood from the Maze. In the distance, Teddy could see a rocky island emerging from the waves. On it was something that glimmered brilliantly in the tropical sunlight. Sirius--Phineas's Sirius--reached in and pulled out a single brown quill. He handed it to Teddy. The other Sirius shut the door.

"There," he said. "Simple, isn't it?"

Teddy stepped toward the wardrobe, but the Siriuses blocked him somberly.

"I need to go there," he said.

The younger Sirius--or the elder, if you were going by birth dates, Teddy supposed--shook his head and said, "The only way out is in." Then his face changed again, and he was Phineas, Phineas in oils on his canvas, and Teddy was with him there, standing in front of his finely carved chair. Teddy was also made of oils. He observed the way his arm moved, changing texture with the irregularities of the weave.

"The only way out is in," Phineas said. "And the only way in, is through."

"I don't understand."

Phineas gave him a shove toward the frame, and he tumbled through into another picture, this one Dean's unfinished portrait of McGonagall. She frowned at him and said, "Answer the question, Mr. Lupin."

"But I don't know."

"Then I suggest you find out." She turned her nose back up for the pose, and the painted world shrank. Teddy tumbled out of the painting and into his bed, where he woke up, panting. Checkmate had apparently come back in the night, as she scrambled away from his flailing hands and jumped up onto the foot board, back arched.

Teddy considered grabbing a quill and parchment and writing this dream down for Divination, then decided that he'd prefer not to get Firenze's commentary on how little it all meant in the scheme of things, after all, that his parents hadn't acknowledged him and McGonagall had paraded him around as an example of shapeshifting gone wrong. The feather from the wardrobe--it was a hawk's feather, but he couldn't think how his lark of an experiment with Donzo could have anything to do with the Daedalus Maze, or the Quarantine. They could as easily have pulled Victoire's lip gloss out of the wardrobe, or his Muggles and Minions dice, and it would have made as much sense.

It was early morning--seven o'clock--and he couldn't hear anyone else in Gryffindor up and about after last night's late party. He was wide awake. He could think of any number of things to do. He had Ruthless's Zoltan Burr novel to read, or he could re-read a Fifi LaFolle. He could start his holiday homework (Professor Morse had given him a nasty essay in Potions). He could use Dad's ring to re-visit a more pleasant memory, in which his parents valued him, even if they didn't know him. He could tweak the Marauder's Map somehow. He could write a story for James.

He went to his desk and opened Phineas's journal.

At first, the entries seemed to be normal, or at least what Teddy would expect of wizards experimenting with a new magical invention. Phineas marveled at the chance to view the past. Royce spent a great deal of time extrapolating futures. Phineas, Dumbledore, and Burke all spent an evening making jokes about this behavior (Teddy suspected, both from the content of these jokes and the irregular handwriting in the journal, that large quantities of something had been consumed that evening). The others followed their own interests. Gradually, he began to sense, from no concrete evidence other than shorter entries, that Phineas wasn't being entirely forthright with the journal. Cryptic entries like, "Failed to identify" or "Disappointing conclusion to today's foray" were enough to tell him that Phineas was up to something concrete, but not enough to tell him what it was. The letters began to appear in the pages of the journal about halfway through. It was April, by the dates. The first was from Royce, and had been copied to all the members of the group.

My fine colleagues,
While our findings using the Device have been of great value, I would be remiss not to express concern at recent occurrences. The appearance of the shadows in the normative world may well be harmless, as Arxcis suggests, but it is our duty to investigate the matter more thoroughly than has been our wont. I would not like to suggest that my own invention may have unpleasant unintended effects, but for my own peace of mind, I should like to study the shadows more carefully...


He circled in slowly on his concern, and Teddy realized that the shadows he was speaking of weren't like the phantasms at Hogwarts--instead of visitors from the past, they would find the environment changed, something like the appearance of the fire-flower--but they were obviously a sort of leakage from the Maze. The others wanted to ignore it, because they were entranced with their studies. Royce pressed them, but there was no evidence in Phineas's journal, other than the letter itself, that anything was done. Several pages later, another letter, this one to Phineas personally, from Gordon Burke, was folded carefully into the record.

Nigellus,
Please allay my fear that I alone am not suffering the recurring dreams mentioned by Regius and Calamus. You have always been the solid rock in this group, the one least likely to be carried away by phantoms. Young Apis remains entranced with his visions of Beauty (it must be dreadfully disappointing to return to his intended, who is unlikely to appear in such visions, if I may confide a personal opinion), and Ilustrus seems quite obsessed with his puzzles and problems of Identity. You, however, study Thought, the Mystery with the lowest degree of temperature in the soul. Surely, you haven't joined the madness? I ask only because you seem distant, and I remain,
your concerned friend,
Arxcis


After this letter, the truly cryptic entries began. "R"--Regius, Teddy supposed--became cold to the touch, and shivered even in the sunshine. "X"--probably "Arxcis," as Apis was fondly called "A"--was looking for one bauble or another. Maurice would undoubtedly shrug and say, "Whatever the thing was, it's probably sitting in the damnable shop as we speak." Apis himself was exalted with his study of beauty, and wrote several rhapsodic poems on the subject, which Phineas dutifully kept. One of them wasn't even terrible. Even with the background, Teddy couldn't follow all of it. He turned a page in June, and suddenly the pages were full again.

Though I have sided consistently with Arxcis in the matter of Regius's Maze, I fear I have followed its paths too long, and I am coming to believe Regius's warnings. These have had little effect on any of us, of course, but I know I am not the only one using it for purposes other than knowledge. Apis is besotted with his visions, but at least he has made himself happy, moreso than he would be with the shrew who is his intended, so perhaps he needs the escape. Ilustrus has become like Narcissus, staring endlessly into his mirrors. Calamus fears taking any action, as he has seen how they reverberate through Time. Even Arxcis, who insists that he is unaffected, seems caught in the pull of the ancients.

And I, who have prided myself always on my rationality and good sense, came near to murder today.

I do not exaggerate, nor am I misinterpreting my own motivations. I have sought through the Maze, studied not the dry workings of Thought, but the passionate, burning workings of Love. Not my love for Ursula, which is quite real and also quite sensible--she is an ideal helpmeet to me. The Love which has consumed me is a child's love for his brother, a man's love for a child who never reached the fullness of his years. In this love, I sought a certain driver of a hansom cab. I searched the Maze until I was able to see and know his face. I followed him. And I found him. My intention was to do murder to avenge my brother's death. But he is an old man now, sickly and weak, and he may not remember the child he once ran down. He may not have noticed.

I held my wand steady, and stared at him through the window, this man who stole my childhood companion and forced me into the position of heir. Something stayed my hand--be it my own blessed sanity returning or the hand of an angel, I care not. The red fog left me, and I left the man to die in his own way and at his own time. In this moment, a veil was lifted from me, and I understood the twisted path I had followed to that place, and I believe that the Maze led me along it, through no fault of mine or its. It is a rickety wooden bridge that we've constructed over the Great Abyss, and I believe all of us may be in danger of falling from it.

Were I to return to the beginning, I would advise greater caution, but I fear we have already changed the world around us, and it is our responsibility as gentlewizards to repair that which we have wrought.


Phineas made short but more informative entries over the next month, as he convinced his friends that they needed to shut down whatever the Daedalus Maze was doing. Most of them agreed that they needed to stop using it, but Phineas reported no change in their dreams or in the manifestations in the real world. Only Dumbledore's father seemed reluctant to stop using it, but then, he was studying Beauty, which, at worst, kept him besotted. Teddy suspected that was how he used it in Azkaban, to surround himself with great beauty in the ugliest of places. But it was Percival who finally understood, Percival who insisted that they could not repair the damage without going further. Apis claims, Phineas wrote, that there is only one goal to a Maze, and that is to reach the center. The Maze, he thinks, will continue to operate until this goal is achieved. That this is madness does not, of course, deter him. He was a Gryffindor.

There was a tiny piece of white paper jammed up against the spine, and Teddy pried it free with his fingernail. It was the corner of a note. Teddy flipped back and found the note that had fallen out. Its corner had broken off, and it matched the spare piece perfectly.
N,
The only way out is in.
A


Teddy stared at this note from another century for a long time.

Then he opened his wardrobe and got out the Daedalus Maze.
39 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
emsta224 From: emsta224 Date: August 8th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
uh oh. uh oh.

i am a lurker who is finally coming out lol. I LOVE YOUR TEDDY-VERSE and stuff and i've read all your stories and they are brilliant.

i continue to love your Phineas! i am worried about that maze. nothing good can come from it...

*bites nails*

can't wait for next chapter! =D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Glad to have you on board.
amamama From: amamama Date: August 8th, 2008 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow. Goodness gracious. He's going to enter again, isn't he? Maybe he had better become an animagus first, so he could get a bird's eye view of the maze so that he'll actually manage to find the center?

He didn't want anyone in the dream world to see him skipping. Oh, Teddy...why so serious? Surely they would be happy to you're able to play?

Missing 'a' here: It is rickety wooden bridge

Wonderful as always, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Caught the "a." There was actually an extra space around it; my pinky must have just missed hitting it!

There are most definitely things Teddy needs to do. But hopefully, Phineas's "blessed sanity" will tell at some point in the proceedings...!
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: August 8th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Good, but ultimately creepy. I hope that's the effect you were going for.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
More or less, yes.
mk_tortie From: mk_tortie Date: August 8th, 2008 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear Teddy... not a good idea! I love the background story that you're creating here for Phineas, you've made so many of JKR's 2D characters into fully-fledged ones.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I needed Phineas, so he had to be fleshed out.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 8th, 2008 10:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Duuude, I'm on vacation in India and I'm still obsessed with this story and checking for updates every time I get to an internet cafe. Great stuff!

One question I've been meaning to ask for a while: Did JKR say that a person's patronus is the form their animagus (sp?) will take?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if she said it or just implied it, but I'm going with it, anyway.
milaya36 From: milaya36 Date: August 8th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
What a cliffhanger! Put the next chapter up soon, please? I need something to entertain me while I get ready to move.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm going to try and speed up, but I think I need to work out the end!
milaya36 From: milaya36 Date: August 8th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, totally, take time to plan. If it leads to a better story, I'm definitely willing to wait!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 8th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Once again, your use of dreams is masterful. And oh, Teddy--I was afraid he'd discover he'd have to go back in the Maze. And I have the worrisome feeling that getting out this time may be very difficult indeed. Eagerly awaiting the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
He should at least have waited until he found out what the Unspeakables did that first time!
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: August 9th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, but where would the Gryffindor-ness of that be? ;-)
satakieli From: satakieli Date: September 14th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brave, not brash.

Brave, not brash.

It is a mantra I recommend all Gryffindors repeat ten times before breakfast....
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 8th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ramblings

I missed your challenge as usual, but the stories were all top notch. My favorites involved Draco and/or Scorpius. Now I'm just panting for more stories about Scorpius and CoCo. BTW, LOVE her nickname. It makes me think of Coco Chanel and the beauty and glamor of the thirites. I'd love to see Scorpius' actual conversation with the Sorting Hat.

You know, I read aloud to my parents, and we just finished DH earlier this week. Last Thursday I read them the chapter "The Forest Again," where Harry uses the Ressurection Stone. This was the point in the book where I started crying, and a year later, having never been able to reread DH before, I started crying in the middle of reading about everyone coming back and encouraging Harry that I started crying so hard my father had to take over reading for a few minutes.

Can you believe it's been a year? (More or Less.) And kudos Fern, or writing two and a half novels during that time!

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ramblings

Ah, yes. Coco Chanel. That's good. Much better for the Malfoy family than my unfortunate association with Coco from Fame. I can't see them enjoying her dancing in the streets and singing, "Baby look at me, and tell me what you see..." ;p
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 8th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uh oh. But I guess he had to get back to it at some point...

There's a rogue "o" here: Young Apis remains entranced with his visions of Beauty (it must be dreadfully disappointing to return too his intended,
Should be "to his intended."

Ergh, This be worrisome!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops. I'll catch the "o." And yeah, he does need to start interacting with the Maze again, or the title gets kind of lame. :D
redlily From: redlily Date: August 8th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
return too his intended

Sub in "to."

Also, I had to read the conversation between Little!Sirius and Teddy at the beginning a couple times, since I had a hard time assigning dialogue to the correct character.

Anyway. I'm all confused and worried about the dream and the journal and what it all means and what's going to happen to Teddy!! I know you've got it all worked out, but that still doesn't stop me from being confused and worried. :P
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know you've got it all worked out

Oh, yes. In every detail. In extensive notes and, um... Yeah. ;p

I'll see if I can clean the dialogue tags up later.
redlily From: redlily Date: August 8th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giggle*

Well, at least from the Future Ficlets, I know Teddy will not end up dead. Yaaaay!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 8th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just thinking about the initial dream. Is Teddy in trouble for being (or getting towards being - is that why Donzo's outside the window looking in?) a double shapeshifter? All of the others had one reason for being so classified.

Alex
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 8th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Banan was most likely both. But Teddy hasn't been doing much shapeshifting lately at all, of either sort.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 8th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

m

oh, teddy, why don't you finish the diaries before trying something! well, there wouldn't be a plot, I guess.
I love the diaries, especially phineas almost killing the man. The way he leaves him to die "in his own way and at his own time" despite what he had done was very interesting and imho, what separates phineas from the rest of the blacks, and also from percival, who will take his revenge.
there are a few typos, (too/ to) but they are pointed out in the comments above.
and what is happening to the unspeakables is quite creepy. the question is, is everything the maze is doing to them bad, or is it just an extension of their normal selves. it seems like, by allowing him to murder or spare his brother's killer, it's actually helped phineas and relieved him- he says "a veil was lifted from me" this is getting too long, thanks for writing a story with so many threads i can go on analyzing it like this.~m
From: kobegrace Date: August 8th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oooooooooh... We're coming to it now, aren't we?

*claps in anticipation*
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: August 8th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've spent the last few days catching up on all of your challenge ficlets and this story--I got dreadfully behind on after moving cross-country. What an intense read! Like others have said, I love the way you fleshed out Phineas, and I can detect many similarities that he and Teddy share. I love the balance you've struck with Teddy/Victoire and Teddy/Ruthless. I'm looking forward to what comes next--though I'm shaking my head at Teddy's determination that he has to be the one to fix it, and he's just jumping right back in when he should stop and think for a bit.

All of that to say, I've loved it so far, and I will try to be a better reviewer now that I'm all caught up. ;~) Good luck plotting/writing the ending!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: August 8th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now we have the ball really rolling now, the climax, if not on us, is in view. you mentioned having a lot of balls in the air, but this is a really good move towards tying everything together!


Also, it is kinda funny that no one seems to like Kendra very much....I wonder what she is like in your cannon....
rotae From: rotae Date: August 8th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN XDDD

AH. SO EXCITED :D Brilliant!!

Peace,
Rotae
daksian From: daksian Date: August 8th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
More than ever my mind is twirling with the possibilities. It seems to me that it is no accident that the people in Teddy's dream were either metamorphmagi, animagi, or werewolves. Hawk or wolf? Wolf or human? If human, what is your 'real' face? It is such a question of Identity, and Teddy is linked to all these faces, but what is the real him? This is a demand that Andromeda had made of him and the world in general about Teddy--for him to be his own person.

This fic is fast becoming my favourite of the Teddy Lupin stories. The questions it asks deals with psychology, philosophy, and reality...concepts I find utterly fascinating.

I await your next installment with baited breath. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 8th, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

dreams and internet addictions

I'm so fascinated with Teddy's dreams. Harry's dreams were usually plot devices to give the reader more info, and hinted of his connection to Voldemort. But I'm wondering if Teddy's dreams are part of his unique gifts/ insights/ power. Interesting to think how special magical talents might be manifested. Or is all part of the maze? I don't think so. I feel like I'm not able to remember all the details and gather all the clues. Maybe I should re-read...

An interesting section:

Apis is besotted with his visions, but at least he has made himself happy, more so than he would be with the shrew who is his intended, so perhaps he needs the escape. Ilustrus has become like Narcissus, staring endlessly into his mirrors. Calamus fears taking any action, as he has seen how they reverberate through Time. Even Arxcis, who insists that he is unaffected, seems caught in the pull of the ancients.

Reminds me of the obsession some of us have with the internet, and the reasons for it. I don't think there's a center to this web though.

-SideAlong
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 8th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really good, Fern.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 9th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Sheesh, Teddy... *shakes head* Those Gryffindors...

malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 9th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy, don't do THAT!!!!!
*shakes her head*

Oh, well. It's good for us anyway. Go ahead, scare us out of our wits.

I adore Phineas more every time. Now I'm so intrigued about how they got out of it...
br1gid From: br1gid Date: August 10th, 2008 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is that the Jaws theme playing?

Each chapter gets better and better!!
maz333 From: maz333 Date: August 11th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Woo! I caught up! This was such an excellent chapter. Gah, I just love Grayfur and all the rest. I just love that I have no idea where this fic is going to wind up.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: September 14th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
The bit where Phineas begins to keep secrets from his own journals rings particularly true... Excellent. Can't wait to see where it goes. I love how plot is interwoven in personality.
39 comments or Leave a comment