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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Three: One Foggy Morning , pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Three: One Foggy Morning , pt. 2
Teddy remembers where he knows the clearing from, but needs help, because someone has to get him back to the spiders' hollow to get started. On a very foggy Monday morning in February, he goes out to catch up with Neville, who takes him out into the woods after a series of warnings, then takes the Unplottable charm off of the hollow. Teddy examines the area, then finds the path--really, just a natural corridor--that he took. He starts down it.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Nothing looked familiar, but he didn't really expect it to. The night he'd run this path, he hadn't been gazing rapturously at the wonders of nature. Anything he might have remembered was swaddled in fog, which was now taking on a golden tinge, but not dissipating.

He kept careful track of where the path turned this time, not wanting to lose the path back and be forced to call for a broomstick again, this time in front of Professor Longbottom, who had caught up with him quickly, and was walking along beside him and looking with great interest at the forest plants.

"It's a Cavorting Crocus," he said as they passed a small flower pushing up through the snow. "Once it gets stronger, it'll start to move about."

"What does it do?"

"It does what it does. We mainly use it for ornament. Remind me to tell Victoire, once we've got this fixed. She was just mentioning in class that she was looking forward to seeing them."

Teddy nodded and went on ahead. Professor Longbottom pointed out other plants along the way--mainly, Teddy thought, to keep the foggy silence from being oppressive. They reached a point where the natural path branched off in two directions.

"Where do you think you went?" Professor Longbottom asked.

Teddy frowned. One branch veered slightly west, the other sharply east. Had he started to go back toward the castle in the end, or gone deeper into the Forest? "I was limping by then," he said. "I'd probably go on the side I was lurching toward."

"All right."

"I could be wrong," Teddy admitted. "It's just a guess."

Professor Longbottom smiled. "I'll keep that in mind."

Teddy considered protesting further, to forestall disappointment if it turned out that they had to retrace their steps, but decided it would sound like he assumed Professor Longbottom would think he was right, which was big-headed. Instead, he took a few tentative steps on the westerly path. Ahead, he could see it going up a rather steep incline. It could have been one of the places where he'd lost his balance, stumbled, and cut himself. More to the point, going up the hill seemed more logical when you were looking for a place where bedrock broke through the soil. The Forest sloped gently down toward the school, for the most part, from silt washing off of rocks over the years. He could see the rise from the castle windows.

He reached the sharp incline and scrambled up it. Professor Longbottom came after him. From here, they were a bit above the main part of the fog, and could see it below, snaking through the trees like choker vines. Here, the air was crisp, and there was frost glittering on the winter-bare branches. A flash of green on the ground caught Teddy's eye and he bent down.

"It's a quill," he said. "Green and gold. One of Aunt Ginny's Harpies quills. I must have dropped it." He thought about picking it up, but on closer inspection, it seemed to have rotted over the wet winter, and accumulated quite a collection of chizpurfles.

"We're on the right path, then," Professor Longbottom said. "I think it's been a while since anyone else has been, though. It's quite overgrown. I don't even see traces of the centaurs."

Teddy stopped and looked around. "That's true. I wonder why."

Professor Longbottom shrugged. "Maybe it was Unplottable as well. Maybe when Harry and I hid the spiders' hollow, it happened to overlap an old spell, and when we released it, they released together."

"That would be a big coincidence."

"There've been stranger ones." Professor Longbottom started moving again. "Hermione Weasley thinks that magic attracts magic. That's why things tend to happen in the same places over and over. She said there are places even Muggles are drawn to after a while. It's all just a guess, though." He looked over his shoulder and grinned. "She could be wrong."

Teddy smiled back dutifully, and filed the information away. He wondered if things like that were studied in the Universe division, and if Maddie knew what Hermione thought.

Which was silly to think about. Given his manifest failure with the Maze, he doubted he'd be asking any questions at the Department of Mysteries in the near--or far--future.

"I think I need to do some thinking before my Careers Advice meeting," Teddy said.

"That would put you several thoughts ahead of most fifth years."

"Did you tell Professor McGonagall that you wanted to be a teacher?"

"No. I told her I wanted to be an Auror, like my parents."

"Oh."

"I expected her to tell me I'd fail miserably, but she said she thought I'd be reasonably good at it, though she didn't think I'd ever get the Potions marks from old Snape to actually make it in. But she also said that she didn't think I'd be happy in the job, even if I miraculously passed my Potions O.W.L. Of course, I just didn't think I'd be happy with another two years of Snape. In the end, she nudged me into Herbology, which was where I wanted to be anyway."

They reached another incline, and didn't talk as they scrambled up it. Teddy could understand now why he'd had so many aches and pains on top of whatever magical damage he'd done to himself with the Maze. "How did you end up teaching?"

"Why all the questions?"

"I don't know."

He shrugged again. "I don't, either. I was helping Harry and Ron at the Ministry--Kingsley wanted all of us for the clean-up. I'm not sure if you remember us all together at the Burrow; you weren't even four when I dropped that."

Teddy wasn't sure he remembered, either, though his mind cheerfully supplied him with very detailed images of being passed around Molly Weasley's kitchen table by giants with red robes on. He said nothing.

"The whole time, though, I'd kept going back to Hogwarts. I finished my seventh year. I helped start the re-building. I just wanted to scrub every stone. McGonagall was in charge, though she still called herself Deputy Headmistress for reasons of her own. And when she said that she was retiring, and Professor Sprout moved up to the office, she asked if I'd like to stay on, and I said yes. As long as I could be more like Lupin than like Snape. She quite agreed."

"Do you teach like my dad taught?" Teddy asked, thinking of Dean's mural.

"It's a bit difficult to teach Herbology like Defense Against the Dark Arts, I'm afraid." Professor Longbottom smiled. "But I flatter myself in thinking that he'd find nothing objectionable in my classes."

"I wish I wanted to be a teacher. Everyone wants me to be Professor Lupin. They don't say it, but..."

"But they wish it. Of course they do; they loved him. We all did. And I'm sure Robards and Kingsley hold out a dear hope that you'll change your mind and be an Auror, because they loved your mother, and want you finish up her life."

Teddy watched his feet as they turned absently down a bend in the path. He'd always heard that he was somehow what made it all right that his parents were dead--"They're inside you" and all that rot--but no one had ever put it quite so succinctly. If he didn't finish their lives, who would? Perhaps he should start out as an Auror, for Mum, then, once he'd had some experience in the field, come back to Hogwarts, for Dad, when Robards retired.

His head buzzed steadily with this, and some horrible, childish voice cried that it wasn't fair, that they ought to be finishing their own lives, and who would finish his, and...

"Teddy?"

"Hmm?"

Professor Longbottom stopped walking. "You'd make a stellar Auror, and an even better teacher--don't bother saying you can't really teach again; I've seen you do it, and you're phenomenal. There are any number of adults who would be sentimentally pleased by either choice. But I don't think your parents would be among them, unless it's what you need to do. As Ted Remus Lupin, not as Remus John Lupin or Nymphadora Andromeda Tonks. They already lived the lives they chose, however obscenely shortened." He turned and started walking again. "And that's my thought for this morning. Take it as you will."

Teddy's head was swimming. "Is that my Careers Advice session?"

"No. Careers Advice is quite a dull recitation of what N.E.W.T.s you need to worry about. That was just... small talk on a foggy morning. Which isn't all that foggy up here."

He'd climbed to the top of a ridge and stepped around a boulder, and Teddy could now see bright sunshine on the path.

Teddy swallowed hard and followed him up the path and around the boulder. The land here plunged into another hollow, this one filled with old undergrowth and exposed tree roots. One, near the top, jutted out over the path. It was this one that Teddy had caught his foot on, sending him flying.

Beyond the crushed and rotting undergrowth, a vast expanse of exposed bedrock jutted up from the ground. Teddy remembered climbing it that night, sitting at the top with the Marauder's Map and realizing that he was beyond its boundaries. And he remembered being here in the Maze, watching Jeremiah Galdreward accidentally kill his own brother after setting the Quarantine.

He looked at Professor Longbottom and nodded. Together, they went down into the hollow.
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Comments
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From: kobegrace Date: September 19th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I reckon that small talk on a foggy morning is more precious than gold. Dreamy stuff, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I think people have tried to "soothe" Teddy with the notion that he somehow made their lives complete so much that he really needs to be told that he doesn't carry the burden of living their lives for them.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC) (Link)
this is awesome! thanks! so far i've had a v. boring evening and then i get onto here and there is a new fernwithy!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2008 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be of service. :)
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: September 19th, 2008 09:38 am (UTC) (Link)
That was beautiful. Really atmospheric, I loved all the fog imagery and the little descriptions of the ground they were covering, just little touches but you could really feel that they were scrambling through a "real world". I especialy apreciated it because I know from personal experience that making sure that your characters arn't standing in a featurless void chatting away to each other is one of the things about writing that sound easy but really arn't. Good show Fern!

And I know that everyone else will say it, but that doesn't make it any less true, Neville is just brillient. I remember way back when the fifth book was released there was a lot of discussion about how well Neville would have coped with being in Harry's shoes as it were. And there was an awful lot of uncertainty. Obviously we know now that we wouldn't have had to worry.

Oh and I loved the bit about Teddy's mind being supplied with a "memory", totally know what that feels like.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. It took a while to beat "featureless void syndrome."

At least Teddy knows that the mind is an obedient little monkey that will easily do as it's told. :)
daksian From: daksian Date: September 19th, 2008 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
That was a very enjoyable heart-to-heart between the two of them. Again, I'm struck by how wise Neville has become...and this is a very fitting development for his character as it was established throughout the books. The idea of people wanting Teddy to 'finish' Remus and/or Tonks' life is such a perfect interpretation of the prevailing attitude...it doesn't belittle those feelings, but it does put it in a perspective that suggests that's the wrong thing for Teddy, which of course is the simple truth.

I loved hearing about Neville's own career development. So many little stories just waiting to be heard. That 19-year gap between the last chapter and the epilogue was a gift to all fanfic writers, IMO.

And the plot moves ever onward. They've found the place! Will they be successful in breaking the Quarantine? Tune in next time.... ;)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that, especially during the last year, Neville would have developed a bond to Hogwarts.

It occurred to me at some point that Teddy's bringing-up probably is a lot more like Neville's, surrounded by people who loved his parents and at least subconsciously search his face and behaviors for them all the time. I doubt any of them said, "Gee, Frank and Alice's son... he should be a Herbologist!" Harry, meanwhile, had no clue, and still didn't by the end, what his parents were interested in, other than James's Quidditch fixation and Lily's "dab hand" at Potions.
amamama From: amamama Date: September 19th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Neville is awesome. Truly. Magnificently. Teddy too - I'm really looking forward to the next part, will they attempt to break the spell now, or will they just mark the spot and bring in the others? Probably the latter...at least that's what makes sense.

Cheers!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Probably the latter...at least that's what makes sense.

For two Gryffindors with time to kill and an evil to defeat? ;p
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 19th, 2008 10:55 am (UTC) (Link)
*winces* Good advice, Neville. Painful to hear Teddy thinking about trying to "live their lives for them," but thank goodness he has Neville, who knows all about trying to live your life for your parents.

because they loved your mother, and want you to finish up her life."
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll catch that, thanks.

And Neville does understand that better, I think, than Harry does.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 19th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whew, v. v. good. Teddy really, really can't avoid WAY overthinking things, huh? This part was just so self-consciously 15 (in a good way): Teddy considered protesting further, to forestall disappointment if it turned out that they had to retrace their steps, but decided it would sound like he assumed Professor Longbottom would think he was right, which was big-headed.

I love how Neville truly gets where Teddy's head is going and is able to say what needs to be said, not answer the question Teddy actually asks.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yes. Teddy probably dislikes Quidditch because the appearance of the Golden Snitch at random times makes it impossible to think through the whole game before it's played, while Muggles and Minions appeals to him because planning the game is half the point.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Neville's exactly right--Teddy must live his own life, despite what other characters, and sometimes readers, might believe about the need for his parents' lives to be "finished". Luckily for the readers, now we have young Dora Lupin...is there any chance she might meet a single man with a love for teaching, who sometimes has the unexplainable idea that he doesn't deserve things, and equally unexplainable feelings of missing someone he can't name?
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: September 19th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
oooh can i have that guy for dora, for my birthday gift?

ooops, sorry, i forgot you're not doing challenge calls until christmas. hee hee. maybe you could do it a bit earlier.

btw, "I wish I wanted to be a teacher. Everyone wants me to be Professor Lupin. They don't say it, but..." --> sooooo true (i think fern's fans are a bit guilty of that too :D). that got tears in my eyes. and of course neville wins. or rather, fern wins for thinking of how to spin that argument.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: September 19th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't comment enough but I am still here and still reading and this was wonderful and the line about "they loved him, we all did" made me tear up and Neville is all kinds of awesome. Yay!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I <3 Neville. What can I say?
carlinpaddy From: carlinpaddy Date: September 19th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nothing looked familiar, but he didn't really expect it to. The night he'd run this path, he hadn't been gazing rapturously at the wonders of nature.

I loved your starting line, this was great. This is true for anyone who runs off upset, but more eloquent. I think only Teddy can pull off being an eloquent 15 yr old. It really seems to fit him, as though his dad taught him from the very beggining.

I was going to post one how great the conversation was between the two, but that seems to be covered exceptionally well, so I'll just let you bask in it!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Having the memories of a thirty-eight year old probably helps in the maturity department.

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know I'm repeating what others have already said, but Neville is just SO awesome!
I've been thinking before now that Remus must have had quite some influence on Neville/on his way of teaching. If I ever manage to be online at the right time for a challenge call, I'd love a scene between these two, but then, I'll probably won't be able to remember what I wanted to ask for.

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, for all of McGonagall's awesomeness as a teacher, she didn't have much encouragement for Neville, and for all of Sprouts encouragement, she strikes me as, at best, a mediocre teacher. Remus was a brilliant teacher who specifically reached out to Neville (probably because he'd have known Frank and Alice--and who knows, he may have been the source of what Neville just said to Teddy).
maz333 From: maz333 Date: September 19th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Neville is made of WIN. I'm so happy someone finally told Teddy that it was all right to live his own life instead of either of his parents'.

And Teddy--what a kid. I like how he doesn't realize that all the crazy he's done with the Maze is actually proof that he's extremely suited to being an Unspeakable. You've caught that between-stage of adolescence so well throughout Maze, but this is another one of those moments where his kid self is overriding his burgeoning adult self in a wonderful way. He's expecting to be "punished" for being bad, not realizing that all these awful consequences are his punishment.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Fifteen is such an awkward age. Starting to look like a fowl, still feeling like a fish.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: September 19th, 2008 05:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the part where Teddy wonders if Hermione's idea could be studied and in what section that idea would go under. That, is just proof he's on the right track. I agree with your readers too, that for all the mess the Maze and Teddy have made, it is also proof he's right for the job. Thw whole way you have the Dept. of Mysteries set up, where they tap talent (rather like the FBI is sometimes portrayed as....) is just cool. And Teddy would be one of those annoying an lucky people who just know what they want to do from a very young age. My best friend and father were like that. That the rest of us were unsure was apperantly really bewilereding to them...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I knew what I wanted to do pretty early--write--but I had an annoying problem of having to find a way to make a living while I did it... ;p
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I don't have internet at home, again, I'm at a public computer at uni and horribly late for class, but couldn't leave without saying it was great. Oh, I wish I could say something smart and talk about finishing somebody else's life. Sorry. Can't. Anyway, great job.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 19th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
And of course, forgot to add- this is (lj)malinbe.
scopart From: scopart Date: September 19th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is quite possibly one of my favorite sections so far. The interaction between Neville and Teddy was perfect. And I think we really hit on some of Teddy's key issues. Such as the reluctant urge (ie he feels others want him to) to live the lives his parents should have had rather than the one he wants. And I don't ever see Teddy doing this, but it's a very realistic internal conflict.
Nice little background on what Neville did in the wake of the war. I've always loved the idea of him teaching at Hogwarts- it just suits him so well- but I like that he seems to have played a fairly important role even in the rebuilding in the wake of the war too.
(Also really liked the theory of magic attracting magic... this is something I could see being very true to the canon universe. We certainly have more than enough evidence for it. I just really like the idea. And Neville's little quip about Hermione- "She could be wrong." I laughed out loud when I read that. Good old Neville.)

On a slightly less relavant note, I'm not-so-secretly hoping for some very exciting action at some point soon, or at least near the end of the fic. With a quarantine I'm sure it's hard to come by, but I've been missing the really adrenaline pumping scenes.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 21st, 2008 12:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy feels that he should want to do these things, and feels guilty that he doesn't. And, though he doesn't ever get there in so many words, he doesn't want to finish their lives because he thinks it would be an obscenity for anyone to "take their places." He'd no more become the DADA professor than he'd start calling Harry "Dad."
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