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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Two: Mask , pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Two: Mask , pt. 1
Finished posting Forest Guard at SQ. Chapter 20.

Teddy et al have been trying to figure out how to break the Quarantine. After going into the Maze, they start applying themselves, but in a very disorganized way. After an evening art class with Dean, several teachers corner Teddy and tell him that they've noticed what the kids are up to, and that the teachers are working on the same problem. After a little needling, they get to the point, which is that they want to share information and resources. They've decided that they need to find the place where the Quarantine was set, and want to fan out and gather samples from different parts of the forest, to see if they can identify it by studying the magical traces. Teddy thinks he knows the place, but can't figure out where from, so that's unhelpful.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Two nights after the art class--a week before Valentine's Day--Teddy and his friends met in the Great Hall after supper and went down to the greenhouses to meet with the teachers. When pressed about this by other students, Maurice finally "admitted" that they'd got detention for breaking into Trelawney's classroom. Teddy wasn't sure this lie was especially necessary, but it did seem to answer any questions that might have held them up.

Aside from Dean, Daniel, and the teachers who'd already spoken to Teddy, Professors Flitwick and Hagrid and the Headmistress were in attendance, as was Professor Morse, who'd brought a large crate with her. The crate was filled with small covered glass jars, which she distributed evenly, five to each person except Daniel, who wouldn't be able to handle any unpleasant magical creatures and had to stay in the hospital wing at any rate.

"They're unbreakable," she said, "so go ahead and throw them into your briefcases--or book bags," she added, smiling at the students. "Professor Robards tells me a small scoop of soil from any place you sample will be enough to test."

Robards nodded and took over. "I've split the known part of the forest into fairly large patches..." He assigned students parts of the forest near the eaves, and put the teachers further in. Teddy noticed that Professor Longbottom got the patch of earth that probably contained the old spider's nest--the part that he and Uncle Harry had left Unplottable. Professor McGonagall and Hagrid got the furthest reaches, with open edges, as they'd both done considerable exploration. Once these were handed out, Robards said, "With all the magic around Hogwarts, it's going to be a long slog to analyze for one spell. So, maybe we should rotate times, as well."

"We can help," Ruthless suggested. "With the analysis. I got a little ahead of myself in Defense..."

"How far?"

"Er... Well, you may have forgotten giving me a pass into the Restricted Section."

"Oh, yes, open-ended. It's all coming back to me," Robards said dryly.

"While I was there, I looked at some of Professor Dumbledore's work on magical detection. I could help."

"I won't say no," he said. "It'll still be slow, though." He smiled sheepishly. "I'm afraid we have a few more people doing this than are absolutely necessary. But I'm not going to kick anyone out. More help than we need is a problem I'm willing to handle."

There was some talk about how to handle it if they found something, and of course, the danger of spreading the plague (Teddy considered bringing up the problem of fixing the Maze, so it wouldn't spill any further, but decided to let it wait; someone would be able to help if they could get out), but ultimately, it was just a working meeting, the same sort of thing Teddy did when it was only his friends he was talking to. It had occurred to him in the past that he might someday be a friend of George Weasley's or Lee Jordan's--he spent time just playing cards with them and swapping stories over the summer already--but for the first time, the thought that Neville Longbottom could be a person he might call by his first name again and talk to as an equal occurred to him. Dizzyingly, he imagined even McGonagall as a friend. Why not? She had a wicked sense of humor, and biting sarcasm that wasn't much different from his other friends. Through his father's ring, he knew the Marauders and Mum's friends as people, and liked them (though of course, he couldn't always associate Mum's friend Maddie with Frankie's mum Maddie). Why not Minerva McGonagall, who he knew as well as anyone else did, or maybe better, as he didn't think anyone else knew that she'd once been called "Pallas" by a boy named Alphard Black?

He shook his head. There were more important things to think about.

Teddy's first day for collecting samples was Saturday, and he went to his little patch of forest with his jars. A herd of unicorns was grazing in a meadow, ignoring the pounding rain. The older ones ran off when they saw him, but one of the golden foals remained, watching curiously as Teddy scooped soil from five points on the east side, heading toward what looked like an overgrown path. When he took the last one, he dug around in his book bag for an apple he'd saved from breakfast, and tossed it to the foal. To his delight, it responded with a healthy whinny, then came over and nudged him with his cheek. "There's a good"--he checked--"boy, yes..."

The mother appeared a moment later and made a shrill sound. The foal, looking disappointed, cantered off, picking up the apple on its way. Teddy considered it quite unfair that he was being judged just for being a boy, but they couldn't help their nature.

When he got to Robards' office, he found Ruthless bent over five small piles of dirt, each marked with a number. She looked discouraged.

"Just put them on the desk," she said. "Mark them with your initials or something. I'm still on McGonagall's, and she was first out. Robards is working on Maurice's; he came in this morning. But there's so much magic in this! If I were doing Priori Incantatem on it, it would take a week!"

Teddy set his jars down, and helped himself to five new empty ones for the next go around, which would be next weekend (all of the students had been scheduled to collect samples on weekends). These went to the bottom of his bag. "I'm sure you'll do fine." He bit his lip. "Thursday is Valentine's Day. And I think they're going to have some things set up next Saturday--just stupid things, I think, like setting up the Great Hall with tables for two and so on, and..."

She looked at him miserably. "I know."

"Well, are you doing anything?"

"I thought I'd head off to Paris."

"Do you want to... I don't know."

"Find a place and snog you silly?"

Teddy smiled. "Well, the idea has its charms."

"It does," she said. "But I, er..."

Teddy felt cold. "You're spending Valentine's Day with someone else."

"No! I mean, yes. But not-- Well, maybe. I don't think so, but he might, and--"

"Who?"

"Roger Young."

"It's not nonsense with him?"

"It's not likely to distract me as much as you do." She prodded the pile of soil she was working on, and it snarled threateningly.

Teddy shook his head and walked out, ignoring her call of "Lupin!" after him. He continued to ignore her for the week, and ignored Roger in Herbology when he came over and tried to explain, over a dying cabbage plant, that he hadn't meant any harm.

"Well, what do you expect?" Victoire asked over homework on Thursday night. "If you're not going out with her, she's going to go out with someone else."

"I wasn't the one who broke up!" Teddy tried to continue fuming, but Victoire was watching him with a dry smirk, and it did start to look a little ridiculous. He shrugged. "All right. Well, I guess you're not allowed, but maybe we could do something. Just as friends..."

"Sorry," Victoire said. "I have another Valentine's friend."

Jane Hunter just laughed and asked how far down his list he'd got, and Lani Khetran, who'd been Donzo's girlfriend third year, turned out to be going out with the captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. Laura slapped him across the face, and Lizzie said she'd rather spend the day alone.

In all, Teddy was glad to have samples to collect on Saturday. The castle was madly decorated, and most of his friends had either gone off with their girlfriends or disappeared. (Donzo had disappeared early in the week, except for classes, and had muttered in History of Magic that he didn't mean to come out until Monday.) The Forest was quiet and starting to smell of the upcoming spring, even though the snow still held in the shadows. The unicorns were gone, but some fairies were coming out of hibernation, and a mud-blooming flower was much better than all of the lace and idiocy draped around the Great Hall.

When he was done, he put the soil-filled jars back in his book bag, but didn't go up to Robards' office. Anything seemed like a better idea than going back to the castle. So he wandered up to Hagrid's, and spent an hour or two helping with the hippogriffs. Buckbeak seemed to have got used to Dapple, at least a little bit, and they were sharing the dead rats that Hagrid had caught for them. Hagrid went up to lunch just before one, but Teddy claimed not to be hungry, and stayed behind to curry Dapple. He was getting bigger now, and his wings were powerful. Teddy watched as he stretched them, wondering if he'd ever know what it felt like to do that himself, then to flap them and take off.

"Is it fun?" he asked Dapple.

Dapple responded by taking a leap, circling up into the air, and coming down with a cheerful bounce. Teddy patted his beak.

In the corner, there was suddenly a great racket as troll's foot umbrella stand full of stable rakes up-ended and spilled across the flagstones. Dapple jumped back, and Buckbeak dropped into a threatening position.

Teddy patted Buckbeak's neck and said, "It's okay, big boy. They just fell..." He frowned. There was something moving in the shadow. A small hand with long black fingers reached into a bar of hazy sunlight. Teddy drew his wand, not having any idea what Hagrid might have brought in now.

"Come on out," he said. "I dare you."

The hand reached further in, and Teddy could see now that it was a paw, a black paw coming off of a light brown foreleg.

He moved around.

A pair of eyes glinted out of the shadows, low to the ground, sparkling from inside a black mask.
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Comments
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persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: September 8th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
*blink* ...Raccoon?
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: September 8th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahem ... yeah, that could be, too ^.^
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: September 8th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
DUNDUNDUNDUN!!!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
da-dum-dum... DAAAAAAH
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 8th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Donzo, is that you? For his sake, I hope he managed to get all the way to raccoon instead of getting stuck somewhere in the middle!

Well, spending Valentine's Day with a friend turned Animagus has to be better than spending it getting snubbed by ex-girlfriends! Looking forward to the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, spending Valentine's Day with a friend turned Animagus has to be better than spending it getting snubbed by ex-girlfriends!

I think root canal might beat that. ;p
daksian From: daksian Date: September 8th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting...either Donzo (as "Mask") or the time shade of Mask, brought forth because Donzo had entered the Maze. (As far as I know, raccoons aren't to be found in Britain, but I could be wrong).

I liked Teddy's musings about future friendships with the adults...I wonder if it has occurred to him he's viewing them this way because he himself is approaching adulthood, rather than a perception they weren't taking him seriously.

I don't know whether to sympathise or laugh at Teddy's Valentine date-hunting flop. I do think Laura's reaction was unwarranted (but then again, I'm against people striking one another, including the woman-slapping-the-man thing--after all, if the roles were reversed, we'd all be properly horrified if Teddy slapped Laura, however much he felt she had treated him badly).

On an objective, outsider point of view, it's easy to see this as a bit of comeuppance for Teddy, who is without realizing it something of a ladies' man. And yet, because he doesn't realize it, and we have such an intimate view of what's going on in his head, you know he's not a bad guy and that he doesn't deserve to be lonely like that...

Though, I suppose Teddy will somehow survive a Valentine's Day without a snogging partner. So...yeah, I'm more amused than sympathetic. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Raccoons aren't native in Britain. :D I know there's a colony in Europe descended from ones brought over to Germany for fur, but at least judging from the Wiki map, they didn't make it over the Channel.

Laura fully believes that she was cheated on, even though she technically wasn't. Teddy does not understand that this isn't a good segue to, "Will you be my valentine?" ;p
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 8th, 2008 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting. What have you gotten yourself into, or turned yourself into, Donzo?

Great job, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 03:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 8th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Because I am a wrock nerd--

Alone on Valentines Day, by the Remus Lupins.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, they played around here, but I missed them. Spent a lot of time listening to H&tP's in Boston.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: September 8th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
o__________________0.

OK, CLIFFHANGER MUCH.

Yep, can't think of a more intelligent comment. Yep.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: September 8th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. Its Donzo. I knew that. *BLINKS*

Also, I laughed, alot, at how Teddy went down his list of possible dates, because... I'm dealing with a friend who's acting in a VERY similar way and seems to be going down a list of possible girlfriends, and goes emo when he doesn't have one and it doesn't work out.

So, I was amused, yep.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy doesn't really know why Jane objects to being third...
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 8th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)

typo, dropped word

"Do _???_ want to ... I don't know"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: typo, dropped word

Hmm. I'll have to find that lost word.

ETA: Got it, thanks.

Edited at 2008-09-08 05:52 am (UTC)
emsta224 From: emsta224 Date: September 8th, 2008 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
DONZO!! =D

lol lol. ahh, Teddy, you do amuse me. That was really good Fern =]
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked. :)
amamama From: amamama Date: September 8th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh! Someone's been working on becoming an animagus, eh? Way coo. I just hope he isn't stuck - though that would burn away a few more weeks of the school year. Getting Donzo back and getting Teddy to complete his transformations... And then reentering the maze?

Cheers!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to burn some time, but he's not stuck (for long). :)
redlily From: redlily Date: September 8th, 2008 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I too would be dizzy at the prospect of being friends with Minerva McGonagall, not least because her powers of awesome might stun the unwary acquaintance.
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: September 8th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ditto. :-)
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: September 8th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Donzo did it! Donzo did it!

Please say I'm right.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right. :)
From: glynngriffiths Date: September 8th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, I was very impressed that Donzo was apparently going to be getting his socks snogged off clear till Monday(!), but managing his first animagus transformation is pretty impressive too!

Poor Teddy - a Valentine's flop, although he doesn't have any trouble with it the rest of the year. :) I can understand his indignation about Ruthless - 'he won't distract me as much as you do' is pretty unsatisfying, and a very backhanded compliment! I am curious about Victoire's Valentine... is it Story? Has something been developing there that's off Teddy's radar?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, it's a friend of Story's; she set him up with a friend of hers after she had to turn him down, so tit for tat... but she's not above rubbing it in Teddy's face.
From: kobegrace Date: September 8th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yay, he did it! *pats him on his furry back*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 8th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's pretty pleased with himself.
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