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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Two: Mask , pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Two: Mask , pt. 2
Teddy's having a perfectly awful Valentine's Day, with all of his ex-girlfriends being either unavailable or hostile. So he's decided to spend the day with the hippogriffs, once he finishes his soil samples. Hagrid's gone in for lunch when a racket announces the arrival of something small, with black hands, light fur, and bright eyes in a black mask.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy grabbed one of the rakes. The tines were coated with hippogriff dung, and the animal behind the umbrella stand wrinkled its nose and shuffled clumsily backward, backing out into the gray February sunshine and splashing into a deep mud puddle. It was four-footed, its fur a grayish sort of brown, the mask around its eyes...

Teddy frowned and lowered the rake.

"Donzo?"

The raccoon shook its coat vigorously, spraying mud in all directions, then tensed up until its fur stood on end. Nothing happened.

Teddy raised his eyebrows.

It tensed again and pulled itself upright, grasping the fence with its little paws.

"Do you need help?"

It shook its head, then, with no further theatrics, became Donzo McCormack. He turned away from the fence with a sheepish grin. "That would have served me right, if I couldn't get back."

Teddy had no idea what he was expected to say. "Er... well, yes. That was why we were supposed to do it together."

"True, but I said I'd race you. Is it my fault you didn't keep up?"

There was a pit of sour bile in Teddy's stomach, but that wasn't fair--Donzo was right; he had dropped off lately, and if Donzo hadn't, he deserved to get it first.

No matter whose idea it had been.

He smiled. "What do you win? An alley full of dustbins to rummage?"

"I think I've earned the Map for a day or two."

"What would I have got?"

Donzo gave it thought. "Oh, nothing quite so spectacular. I'd have just brought you on tour over the summer. Presuming we get out of Hogwarts by then."

"Oh, well, then. Nothing special." Teddy put the rake back and righted the umbrella stand. "It's not like you're going anywhere interesting. Just the Yucatan--"

"--the Cloaked Islands--"

"--Cape Cod--"

"--Rio..."

"Right. Nowhere at all."

Donzo grinned. "You know you're coming anyway, even if you can't fly for yourself."

"If we get out." There was a nudge at Teddy's shoulder, and he found Dapple eagerly leaning forward for a pat on the neck. He led the hippogriff out, and walked with Donzo toward the Forest. "So how did you do it?"

"It's hard to explain," Donzo said. "That's why it's not it the books. It's nonverbal, even inside your head. You don't think, 'I want to be a raccoon,' or 'Let's have wings now.' It's more..." He shook his head helplessly. "It was like everything fell into place at once, and I understood the the thing. I'd been reading Prongs's notes again, about identity, and I started flipping through one of those fortune-telling books about what your animal totem means. With raccoons, it's all about the mask, you know. And I started thinking about the business with the mirror, where I was just Don Duke--remember how Ruthless said that was just my fantasy?"

"Yes."

"Well, then I thought, 'Which is the mask?'"

He didn't go on with this, so Teddy prodded, "Well, which is?"

"Not a clue," Donzo answered lightly. "And not the point. It was just that, while I was thinking about it, I understood."

"Understood what?"

"How to do it."

"Because of a fortune-telling book. And Prongs."

"That's the weird part. The deer? It's about innocence and gentleness. From everything you've said... is that right?"

"I don't know," Teddy said. "Prongs wasn't exactly innocent, but..." He squirmed. It felt odd to analyze the Marauders, especially about something that maudlin. James had been arrogant and had a mean streak when it came to people he didn't like, but he'd also been the glue that had held the others together, mainly by the force of his love for them. That wasn't the sort of thing he could exactly say, of course, so he said, "I reckon he was gentle enough, as long as you weren't into Dark Magic. I still don't understand what it has to do with the Animagus spell. We knew all of that."

"I can't explain. It just all came together." Donzo stopped walking. "Teddy, I really didn't mean to do it without you. I didn't think it would work when I tried it. I was just bored and hiding in the library. There were these second years, and one of them is the president of my fan club, and she knew I wasn't with anyone for Valentine's Day, and I just didn't feel like--"

"It's all right. Did you just get it this morning?"

Donzo nodded, absently patting Dapple's beak. "I did it and came straight down. Got quite a strange look from your cat." He shrugged and started walking toward the Forest again. "Of course, it's not a great disguise. Raccoons aren't even native here. Sort of conspicuous."

"True, but you can't help your animal. It'll be quite handy if you want to hide when you're on tour in the States or Canada."

"Or Germany," Donzo added. "They've a good colony there."

Teddy pushed down the resentful jealousy in his stomach and said, "Good job. I think it definitely rates the Map for a week. Do you want me to bind you to it? You'd fit. We'll call you 'Mr. Mask,' and you can spend eternity saying snide things to people who order you around."

Donzo considered it, then said, "No. That's yours."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." They'd reached the edge of the woods, and they stopped. "What are you doing here, anyway?"

"Hiding less productively than you are. And currying the hippogriffs."

Donzo shrugged. "That's productive for the hippogriffs. I thought maybe you were working on Robards' project."

"I already did it. It doesn't take long to get the samples. Probably Ruthless will figure this out before I do."

Donzo looked at him shrewdly. "You'll get this, Teddy. Once you know it, you'll just... know it. And you'll be able to do it. And you'll have a much more useful animal than I have." He looked out between the trees. "Do you want to go out into the Forest? See if anything looks familiar?"

It seemed like as good a thing to do as any, so they took Dapple back, made sure the paddock was secure, then followed a few of the better known paths for an hour or two. Teddy climbed a high rock and morphed his eyes to hawk's eyes, but still couldn't see anything resembling what they'd seen in the Maze. It felt better than collecting soil samples.

Donzo transformed a few more times during the walk, getting a handle on the gait and sniffing eagerly around--"You wouldn't believe how much more you can smell!" he announced when he changed back the third time. He was pleased with the skill, and Teddy did his best not be resentful, promising himself that soon, he'd fly.

When the shadows got too deep in the afternoon, they headed back to the castle together. To Teddy's relief, the teachers had relented and put one normal table back in the Great Hall, so, as long as he ignored the cozy little Valentine's tables scattered around (Victoire was sitting at one with a Ravenclaw he didn't recognize, and looked bored), he was able to pick up an early supper. After, he went up to Gryffindor alone, wondering if he'd find Ruthless crowing about finding the clearing, or perhaps gamboling around as a fox. She wasn't actually in the Common Room, though, so if she was doing either, she was doing it elsewhere.

He went up to his room. Checkmate ran down the stairs from higher up in the tower, where she'd probably been chasing mice. She nudged his ankles aggressively until he picked her up.

Inside the room, slid under the door, were three handmade cards. The first was from Marie, who had apparently made one for everyone, as it was very generic. The second was from Ruthless, who wrote, Weasley the second's selling blank cards, so I thought I'd buy one to get her off my back, and I'm certainly not sending it to Roger. I'm sorry about that. You're still my biggest distraction. Love, R.

There were no doodled hearts and the handwriting had a matter-of-fact quality to it, but still, "Love." Love was an improvement over "nonsense."

The third card was from Victoire. She'd also foregone the hearts and frills, but she'd written, Thank you. You know what for. A spill of blue and white aethracandia petals fell from it, filling the room with their calming scent.

Teddy set all three cards up on his desk, and put the petals at the base of the pot where he kept the live plant.

He took out the Marauder's Map and spent some time studying it, updating here and there, trying to think of some new enchantment that would improve it. In the end, he just brought up the Marauders' view and touched their totems.

"I guess I'm not very good at this," he told them. "If you're listening, I wouldn't mind a dream to explain it."

He went to bed early with this in mind, hoping he'd have a grand dream that would show him everything he needed to know to catch up. But when he dreamed, the Marauders were quiet, moving through the trees in the Forest, flanking Uncle Harry as he made his way to the spiders' nest. Teddy followed, just as silent, an echo of the future as they were echoes of the past. In his hands were jars with soil samples. Uncle Harry turned to look at him, and then it was another time, the night they'd fought there in the spiders' nest, about the Resurrection Stone. It was all silent, but Teddy knew the words they'd spoken, and he wanted to take it back, all of it, from the moment he'd asked what it meant, even from finding out about the undelivered message. If he could just un-know that, he thought in the dream, the whole mad year would turn normal.

But even in a dream, that wasn't possible.

Something snarled. The dream-Teddy and the dream-Uncle Harry didn't notice it, but now there was a second Teddy, a Teddy watching all of it, and he turned. The werewolf was in a tree tunnel, its eyes red in the moonlight. It leapt, and Teddy ran, recklessly and thoughtlessly, crashing through the undergrowth.

He was still running when Checkmate woke him up with a stern demand for breakfast.
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Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: September 9th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh - interesting dream. So Donzo did manage to turn back easily. Good for him. And if Teddy applied himself to the explanations Donzo might give if he applied himself (and understood that Teddy would apply himself and not get all jeaous, which I'm sure raccoon!Donzo can smell), then maybe he'd get somewhere. Why don't he ask McG for help? Maybe she'll be able to explain the elusive understanding that Donzo talked about? But, of course - he can't move too fast. SO how many more weeks do you need to burn away before you can get going?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a few to burn, but one of the problems in this story is that I have a whole lot of things on the burners, so...
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Books are always a good armory...
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Better than being chased around by strangers who are fangirls? Yeah... ;p
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 9th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nicely handled--Teddy's jealousy is so realistic and it wouldn't have rung true if you hadn't included it. But it's also very Teddy to force it down and be good about it w/ Donzo, who HAS earned some respect, after all! I bet it's the impetus Teddy needs to focus on the transformation, though--nothing like competition to spur you on, even if he's lost the race.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think a part of him is sure that Donzo's not being entirely up front, but yes, to his credit, he smacks that part of himself down pretty hard.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 9th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Teddy wouldn't be human if there weren't some jealousy there about Donzo mastering the Animagus spell first. Glad to see he sucked it up and tried to be a good sport about it, right down to offering to bind Donzo to the Map. Although I'm looking forward to seeing what, if anything, he'll do to catch up.

Nice that he did get some Valentines from the girls he likes best. And it sounds like Victoire didn't have that thrilling a time with her new "friend" anyway.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Victoire was so determined to flout the rule about O.W.L.s that she didn't stop to think that she preferred the idea of a specific boy (one or another) to the general notion of, "It would be nice to spend Valentine's Day with a boy."
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 9th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very, very nice, Donzo. We apparently didn't have enough faith in you, because we all thought you'd be stuck. But of course you wouldn't. You're a Ravenclaw. Also, the explanation for 'Mask' was absolutely perfect.

Poor Teddy, begging for dreams. Then again, it's not fair to have your dead relations telling you how to solve your problems on dreams.

Nice job.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 9th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy's gotten to a point where he thinks of it sort of like writing home and saying, "Hey, Dad, could you ask Sirius about the Animagus thing? Not, of course, that I'm doing it, but just out of curiosity..." That doing this by asking the dead is weird doesn't occur to him anymore!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 9th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Prongs

I really like your ideas about Animagus transforms, interesting that you tie the Prongs identity to something gentle in James. I always thought Prongs was an expression of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cernunnos the Celtic Horned God. Which is I guess a kind of father figure.
mincot From: mincot Date: September 9th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Prongs

That makes a lot of sense; after all, he had to have SOMETHING to overcome the arrogance. It also makes sense for Sirius--the fierce loyalty and protectiveness would likely be what he would have to access to find his animagus form. For McGOnagall--serenity or the knack of being completely and totally still, which for a busy Scot would be difficult.

It seems as if being an Animagus requires you to find the wellspring in yourself that is hidden from daily view. Scary thing when it comes to Rita and Peter.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: September 9th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
All this conversation about the meaning of totem animals- both in the story and in the threads- is really interesting. I really like how you do find that James tied those four together like that. That seems to make sense to me. And yay for Donzo. Also, the letters from the girls were so perfectly...them. I found Victoire's oddly romantic. The words really aren't romantic at all, but the sublte reminder of a memory is.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC) (Link)
James sort of has to be pieced together from scraps, which is fun (if annoying, since I'd have liked to get to know him in canon!). We know he didn't much like Snape, but loved Lily before she loved him back. We know that when he died, the other three Marauders fell apart, but Remus and Sirius retained great loyalty to him. We know that teachers not named Snape remembered him fondly, and we know he tried to face Voldemort without even his wand in order to give Lily time to get away. The picture in this negative space to me seems to be someone who loves deeply (but hates carelessly), and who gives of himself with great generosity to those who he chooses to love.
scopart From: scopart Date: September 10th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd be a little shaken if I woke up from a dream like that. But, quite an interesting dream it was. It seems that Teddy is sorry about the things he said in his fight with Harry but... not necessarily for the right reasons. (I miss Harry's input on things... darn quarantine.)

Good for Donzo! I loved his conversation with Teddy about masks and everything else.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Alas, Harry would have a tendency to try to fix it himself, therefore, I can't let him in if I mean to make Teddy do the work. :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: September 10th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Good Teddy/Donzo interaction. Ruthless's valentine card was very Ruthless.

Well done, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 10th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Ruthless really didn't mean any harm.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: September 10th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Arg I have been deficit in reviewing due to lack of time and computors but I'm still following along where ever Teddy is going. And I must say i think that it is about time he learned that sometimes girls dont just go out with you because you ask and are fairly atractive. Loved the cardsboth say an awful lot about the two girls in his life.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2008 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a hard, baffling lesson, isn't it? :P
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 10th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Teddy Dream

Hi, Fern. Three Sickles Short from the Sugar Quill here to let you know that your Teddy-verse has invaded my dreams. Last night, I dreamed that something Teddy had done in the Maze had made magic stop working in the outside world. He had to keep going back in to try to fix it and then coming out again to see if his fix had worked. And there was maybe some time travel involved, like the Maze had a Time-Turner built in or something--there'd be weird time gaps when he went in and out. And you (yes, you were involved; you looked like an older, curly-haired Evanna Lynch; I claim no responsibility for my subconscious) were helping outside the Maze, but something bad happened, and you were out cold, just like Madame Pomfrey. So one of the fixes involved writing you a note and going into the Time-Turner/Maze to go back in time and leave the note for you so that you'd read it and not do whatever you had done that caused you to pass out. It worked; just before I woke up, Teddy was out of the Maze in in present time, and you had read the note and were awake. Not sure whether magic was restored as well, but I'll assume it was.

As you can probably guess from the fact that Teddy is now starring in my dreams, I am loving this story. I'm a flake about commenting, but I'm still reading and still enjoying.

TSS
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Teddy Dream

A curly-haired Evanna Lynch. Okay. :) I'll take that.

That's actually kind of cool.
From: glynngriffiths Date: September 10th, 2008 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wonderful! My Donzo-crush persists, and I'm very proud of Teddy for being so good about having been 'beaten' in the race to transform. I'm glad that their wandering in the forest made for a better Valentine's day for both of them. Also really enjoyed Teddy's Valentines... it was nice of the girls to send them, even if they spent the day with others. :)

Also, completely unrelated, but it kills me that the quarantine is keeping Teddy from making up with Harry about the fight! Could he send an apology through Phineas Nigellus? Would that be the funniest (and least apologetic) apology ever?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2008 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, Phineas is coming up pretty soon!
daksian From: daksian Date: September 11th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Gah...poor Teddy. I mean, good on Donzo and everything...but Teddy's a kid who's taken more than a few hits to his sense of self-worth lately. Nevertheless, I hope he can overcome that feeling and learn what he can from Donzo's experience. I have a strong suspicion that Teddy's animagus form might come in handy for the mystery of the Maze.

I think the notes from Victoire and Ruthless were the kind of balm he needed though, a reminder of his deeper connection to the two of them.

And another interesting dream. You know, I'm really going to enjoy re-reading this story when it's done, and all those dreams make complete sense (or not!). Speaking of re-reading, it might interest you to know that I've read your Teddy stories a couple of times each now. I only re-read the very best. :)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 11th, 2008 06:24 am (UTC) (Link)
It's probably the hits to Teddy's self-worth that are making the spell difficult for him, but yes, it doesn't help, does it?

Glad you're liking enough to re-read. I hope the dreams will make sense. Well, except for the ones involving Ruthless and Victoire. But I suppose they already make perfectly good sense.
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