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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Four: The World Beyond the Walls, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Four: The World Beyond the Walls, pt. 1
Teddy and Neville have managed to break the Quarantine, but in its breaking, it released a powerful wave of magical energy that knocked the wind out of both of them, churned up the lake, apparently broke some windows at the castle, and did something that has caused a cascade of light to come out of Teddy's window just as they are flying in from the Forest.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy leaned in low on his broomstick, urging it to go faster, racing for the window.

"Teddy!" Professor Longbottom yelled. "What are you doing?"

"It's the Maze!" Teddy called back. "It's doing something!"

Professor Longbottom caught up with him and circled around in front of him, forcing him to a stop. "Let's not fly straight into it, all right?"

Teddy took a few breaths, then nodded. "But I have to go. My cat's in there." The words sounded stupid the moment they came from his mouth, but he couldn't very well take them back.

"We'll both go. My students are in there. But let's go carefully."

"Right. All right."

Teddy allowed himself to be turned off course, and they flew together to the front steps, where the Headmistress and Professor McGonagall had both spotted them, and were waiting.

"Quarantine's down," Professor Longbottom said.

The Headmistress gave him a distracted wave of her hand. "I guessed as much, and I've sent for Healers from St. Mungo's. Which is a good thing, the Slytherin and Hufflepuff tables were overturned in that little display, and we have any number of rather deep cuts from broken glass. The merchieftan is reporting some serious tail injuries from the jostling of the lake."

"I probably did something wrong," Teddy said, just wanting to get upstairs.

"You were fine," Professor Longbottom demurred. "There was no other way to break the Quarantine. We had to take the risk. You knew we might, Headmistress." He looked at her steadily.

"Yes, yes, all right."

Professor Longbottom waited a minute, then said, "There's damage to Gryffindor Tower. I should see to it, and Lupin wants to check on his cat."

This earned a smile from Professor McGonagall. "Your students are well, Professor Longbottom," she said. "I've not forgotten how to look after Gryffindor House. You'll find them in the antechamber outside the Great Hall. I've told Scrimgeour to let no one out. And Mr. Lupin, Victoire Weasley saw to your cat, so you really ought to join them there."

Teddy looked at Professor Longbottom, who nodded and moved closer to the others. "There's another problem," he said, and pointed up at Teddy's window. "Teddy thinks that's coming from the Maze. That thing's caused a good deal of difficulty already, and Teddy's the only one here who knows anything about it. We need to look at it."

Headmistress Sprout looked flustered, but said, "Very well, Longbottom. But Mr. Lupin, now that the Quarantine is down, I would greatly appreciate it if you'd call for help, and get that thing off Hogwarts grounds."

"Yes, Ma'am," Teddy said. "I'll do that now." He raised his wand and sent his Patronus off to Maddie, telling her that the Quarantine was down and he needed help with the Maze.

Professor McGonagall insisted on going up to Gryffindor Tower with them, so they were three abreast as they climbed the stairs to Teddy's room and stood in front of his door. The strange light was spilling out under it. Absurdly, Teddy thought, I'm going to have to re-do all of my homework.

He reached out to open his door, but Professor Longbottom put a hand in front of him and shook his head. "Let us go first," he said.

"But--"

"We're responsible for your safety," Professor McGonagall said. "You are not responsible for ours."

Feeling chagrined, Teddy stepped back, and tried to remember if he'd left any underwear on the floor for them to see.

Professor Longbottom tented the fingers on his left hand and raised his wand with his right. Professor McGonagall stepped to the side of the door that would open, and aimed her wand at it.

The door opened.

Light spilled into the hallway, twining around them like George Weasley's Valentine fireworks, but nothing else happened. The professors looked at each other warily and lowered their wands.

Teddy followed them inside.

The room was considerably messier than it had been when he'd left this morning. Papers from his desk, which he'd been keeping in the neat piles Victoire had made in the autumn, were strewn over the floor, as the desk had been thrown rudely against the wall. A picture of Teddy with the Potter children had fallen and the glass had cracked (Lily and James were taking turns swatting at a glass crumb), and the chair was on its side. This was minor damage.

On the far side of the room, the wardrobe had been upended entirely and dropped unceremoniously to the floor, spilling out his clothes, his shoes, and the Daedalus Maze. The Maze had cracked along its old fault line, then burst outward as it hit his trunk. Two sides were nearly obliterated, and Teddy could actually see inside of it--a crystal ball, wound about with spells and suspended in a lattice of silver filaments From it poured all of the flickering, dancing light in the room.

"What is it doing?" Professor McGonagall asked.

Teddy took a step toward it. "I don't know."

"Looks like a Pensieve," Professor Longbottom offered.

Teddy didn't think it looked exactly like a Pensieve, which generally contained misty and unformed shapes instead of these sharply defined, delicate structures, but he could see what Professor Longbottom was getting at. "How do you empty a Pensieve?" he asked.

"The same spell you use to collect memories," Professor McGonagall said. "Concresco Cogitatonus. But you need something to put it in, even if that were to work, and there's nothing big enough."

Professor Longbottom raised his eyebrows. "What about Dumbledore's Pensieve? If it could hold all of his thoughts, it's got to have quite a capacity."

Teddy bit his lip, then said, "I'm not sure it's the same thing, and it could break the Pensieve if it isn't. I think we should wait for Maddie."

Professor McGonagall nodded curtly. "You know more about this than we do," she said. "I'll defer to your judgment, Mr. Lupin."

Teddy blinked at her, not realizing until she said it that he'd simply expected that she and Professor Longbottom would take over. Having his own judgment deferred to was disorienting. He felt he ought to do something wise, but he couldn't think of anything.

To cover, he bent down to examine one of the delicate light structures. This one was dancing between his trunk and his bed. Looking closely into it, he thought he could see faces in the shadows, moving through some arcane time that only the Maze really understood.

"Teddy," Professor Longbottom said, "perhaps you should back off."

"I don't think it's..."

The little structure suddenly swirled. Teddy felt a painless tug, then found himself flying over a country road, and someone was thinking, I shall kill the queen, and the scene changed, and he was somewhere else entirely, a pub where witches in gay holiday robes danced with drunken wizards under charmed mistletoe, and then he was in an alley, picking through the rubbish, and then he was--

"TEDDY!"

The voice that pulled him back was neither Professor Longbottom's nor Professor McGonagall's. For a moment, it seemed to be Mum's, and in the Maze-light, it seemed perfectly rational to think that. In a way, he supposed it was Mum's voice, or one of the voices she'd always had for him.

Maddie Apcarne yanked him backward.

"Are you all right?" she asked.

Teddy shook himself free, both of Maddie and of the visions in the Mazelight. The professors where standing back, though they didn't look happy about it. "I think so. Yes. Maddie, I'm sorry, it broke, and I--"

"It's all right."

"The Headmistress wants it off the grounds."

Maddie pressed her lips together grimly. "I don't blame her." She twitched her wand, and a black box flew in from the corridor. "This is a containment box, Teddy. We use them at the Department when things go wrong. We have to get the Maze into it."

"I'm sorry. I--"

She shook her head curtly. "This isn't anything you did. This is physical damage." She shook her head. "I don't know how to fix it, though."

"Is there anything we can do?" Professor Longbottom asked.

"Not that I can think of." Maddie rubbed her forehead. "No, wait. Make sure none of the other students starts looking into this. Teddy knows how to get in and out. They don't."

Professor McGonagall and Professor Longbottom left, leaving Teddy alone with Maddie and the Maze.

She muttered to herself and opened the black box. It was plain and had no special markings that Teddy could see on the inside or the outside.

"Professor McGonagall thought perhaps we could gather the thoughts like we would for a Pensieve," he said.

"It may be worth a try," Maddie said. "If they don't come with the Maze, we'll have to try it."

"How bad is this?" Teddy asked.

Maddie stopped fiddling with the box and thought about it. "I don't know. It might be nothing."

"I guess I'd best look into another career."

"Why on Earth would you do that?" Maddie asked, looking genuinely surprised. She shook her head in disbelief, then beckoned to him. "I need you to keep the box open. Adaperio, if it tries to close. I'll get the small pieces first, then get the main part of the Maze. Hopefully, the memories go in obediently." Teddy nodded. Maddie squared her shoulders and took a deep breath. "And Teddy, if I start to go strange, looking into those things... pull me out."

"All right."

"Are you ready?"

Teddy gripped the top of the containment box tightly enough to turn his fingers white, and nodded.
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Comments
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amamama From: amamama Date: September 23rd, 2008 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow! This was fast (for me at least), and I love the action. This maze really is something, and I do wonder if it's got more trick in its cracked box or if this is the end of the Maze in this story. Fascinating. Well done!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was time to get the action moving. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I just didn't think Neville, of all people, would underestimate a student!
sophiap From: sophiap Date: September 23rd, 2008 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I love that Teddy sent word to Maddie immediately.

Also, it was utterly perfect that his reluctance to let the adults go first had to do with wondering how he'd left his room.

Good stuff, as always!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
You can't help worrying about those things, for some reason, at the oddest times!
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: September 23rd, 2008 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how, even in a chapter this tense you manage to slip in some funny bits, it is of course perfectly natural for Teddy to worry about his cat and his underwear.

I also can't help thinking that McGonagall is a bit more on the ball than the actual Headmistress is.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't help thinking McGonagall is more on the ball than most people. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be of service. ;p
yohumblenarr8or From: yohumblenarr8or Date: September 23rd, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Absurdly, Teddy thought, I'm going to have to re-do all of my homework." and "Having his own judgment deferred to was disorienting." are my two favorite parts. I love the humor and how much it reminds me of my friends and I when we were that age (sans the magic of course!).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, fifteen. The wonder and the weirdness.
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: September 23rd, 2008 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I guess I'd best look into another career."

"Why on Earth would you do that?" Maddie asked, looking genuinely surprised.


I've been waiting for someone to say this to Teddy for a while. Yay for Maddie. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Maddie hasn't been there for the whole drama over the year. She's got to be, like, "Er... Teddy, you're joking, right?"
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 23rd, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, that's not good. Maddie showing up so quickly is bound to mean we're in for more trouble! Great section, as all of them have been!

Lady Stratford
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Time needs to speed up pretty soon, but there's definitely more trouble ahead.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 23rd, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yay! That was great. So much fun. Can't think of anything productive but YAY!

Oh, yeah; THANK YOU! Next soon, please?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome, and I hope so!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 23rd, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I AM SO TENSE.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: September 23rd, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
ARGH, I got signed out. I bet my other comment on the last chapter was anonymous, too.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 23rd, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whew! Thank goodness Teddy doesn't seem to have the same "don't tell the adults" mentality that afflicted Harry--but then his childhood was very different from his godfather's. Also relieved Maddy showed up so promptly--that Maze seems to be trouble whether whole or broken.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry being one of "his" adults probably changed the dynamics considerably.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: September 23rd, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, intense. I love all the action!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I wanted to write something that took place outside of Teddy's navel-gazing.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 23rd, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Argh. I'm havin real difficulties keeping myself from chewing on my desk again (but I won't do it, as the desk's new, and made entirely by myself - bad enough the old one has teeth and fingernail marks all over it, thanks to you!)

Teddly worrying about his underwear and his hoework made me laugh quite loudy, though.

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oo, so I can add furniture makers to my payoff list? ;p
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: September 23rd, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love how McGonagall is made of awesome, ALL THE TIME. You capture that very well. :-P I won't deny that I've been pretty fed up with Teddy for a good amount of this story, but that just means that you've captured the essence of being fifteen very well, and I really like the way that everything is starting to come together.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Fifteen is definitely frustrating!
ksellers From: ksellers Date: September 23rd, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was wonderful, Fern,as always. I loved the line bout homework and underwear, too - because it's probably very close to what I would think (although I'm not fifteen anymore, but college homework has to be as hard as Hogwarts homework!). I can't wait for the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 24th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I just always find my mind going the weirdest places at the oddest times.
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