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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Seven: Broken Wings, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Seven: Broken Wings, pt. 3
Time is passing as Teddy heads into spring. He's had three of his evaluations. Dapple broke his wing when the Whomping Willow was subject to a Maze-induced return to nastiness; it's healed, but he's shy of flying.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Neither Time nor Mind turned out to be especially interesting evaluations, at least as far as Teddy was concerned. The Maze was less reliable than a Pensieve on Time--it liked to speculate too much--and Mind, in which he was tested with the brains rather than Maze, was cold and dull, at least once he managed to get the spell right to wrap himself in the stored thoughts. The first few tries had been like trying to embrace a poison jellyfish, which had been quite exciting, but it wasn't the sort of excitement he was looking for. Once he got the process right, it was like Daniel had found a way to distill Binns' classes, put them in one of his needles, and inject them directly into Teddy's blood. Maddie seemed surprised that he didn't especially care for it, but didn't push.

His fifth evaluation would be in Beauty, on the second Saturday in May... a few days after Victory Day, and not a time Teddy felt particularly in tune with Beauty, but the Identity room was being used, so that needed to be put off. He prepared for it half-heartedly, wandering along the old ditch again, trying to appreciate the flowers instead of thinking about the battle anniversary that was approaching. Not finding any inspiration at all, he followed it back to the Whomping Willow, then went down to Hagrid's, where Donzo and Maurice were taking a turn at trying to cheer Dapple up. Teddy perched himself on the fence to watch.

"Why don't you try playing for him?" Maurice suggested.

"I don't know," Donzo said. "Do you suppose he has my concert fee?"

Maurice pretended to consider this, then said, "We'll call it your yearly charity."

Donzo rolled his eyes and Summoned his guitar, which was lying chummily beside his book bag on the far side of the fence. He overturned the umbrella stand and sat on the bottom to pick out a few chords. "What are you in the mood for today, Dapple? Classical enchantment music? Some Muggle rock and roll? Folk? I don't happen to know any hippogriff songs, but I know one about an eagle and a hawk, which might be useful." He raised an eyebrow at Teddy.

Dapple sighed heavily and lay his beak on his outstretched talons. Buckbeak, who seemed to be getting impatient again, prodded him to at least look up.

Teddy shrugged to let Donzo know to go ahead and sing the hawk song he'd been trying to push, which was about blood on the feathers and freedom in flying. Nothing particularly clicked that hadn't occurred to him before. Donzo searched his face when he finished, clearly hoping he'd had an epiphany, then looked down, as dejected as Dapple. He plucked out an old wizarding harpist's solo (from Nunnerl's Cantata), then, for some reason, played the song he'd released at the age of ten, which he hated like fire and never played anymore. About halfway through, there was a high note. He missed it spectacularly.

Maurice threw a handful of mud at him to make it stop.

Donzo Repelled the mud casually, but put his guitar away. It hadn't made any particular difference to Dapple's mood, or Teddy's.

"So much for the theory of soothing the savage beast," Donzo said. "Dad always said that was certain, too. I'm disillusioned. Do you have anything, Lupin?"

"Not today," Teddy said. "We should try Victoire. Maybe she has an especially amusing Wheeze."

"She's tried them all," Maurice said.

"What about Corky?"

"Honoria broke up with him," Donzo said. "He looks a lot like Dapple at the moment."

"Why did she break up with him?" Teddy asked, utterly mystified. He hadn't noticed anything even different about them lately.

"It's a tactic," Maurice said. "She's trying to see how long it takes him to start begging her to explain herself."

Teddy couldn't imagine even Honoria being that low, but then, Lizzie Richardson had tried to tell him that girls played games like that. She'd thought Ruthless was playing one last year. Maybe she was right.

"So, since we're all single," Donzo said, "shall we head into Hogsmeade this weekend?"

"Evaluation," Teddy said. "Beauty."

"Why is Beauty even a Mystery?" Maurice asked. "Isn't it more or less self-explanatory? Mud is ugly, clouds are pretty. Do I qualify for the Department?"

"Why are clouds pretty?" Donzo tried.

"Because they are. It's a circular definition. They're pretty because they have prettiness." Maurice gave them a prim sort of grimace. "Honestly, the pair of you. Can't things just be what they are?"

Teddy slid down off the rail and sat in the mud beside Dapple. He patted the hippogriff's feathers. "Why does it matter if something's pretty or ugly? Isn't the whole story supposed to be about how ugly things are really pretty and pretty things are really ugly?"

"Look at Honoria," Maurice muttered.

"Or Vivian Waters," Teddy added.

Donzo gave both of them a frustrated look. "But isn't that the whole question? What's beautiful? Vivian's pretty when you know her. And Honoria's much better now that she's mostly human."

"I don't think it's the whole question," Teddy said.

"So, what is? What are you going to ask?"

Teddy shrugged.

"That'll prove to be a grand evaluation," Maurice said. "Sorry, future employers, I just can't think of anything beautiful, because the whole world is ugly in May."

"Maurice!" Donzo hissed.

"It's all right," Teddy said. "He's got a point. I have to think of something." He scratched behind Dapple's ear. "What do you think, Dapple?"

Dapple didn't appear to think anything.

Teddy fed him a dead rat, and looked around the grounds. "Why put a school someplace so beautiful?" he asked.

"Because it's out of the way," Maurice said. "Don't you listen to the Sorting Hat song? They were trying to get away from the Muggle nobles who were chasing them down."

"Does being in an ugly place make ugly thoughts?"

"Plenty of ugly thoughts at Hogwarts," Donzo said. "Look at Geoffrey."

"Yeah, but Geoffrey hates it here. Especially the things that don't really have any point except to be... you know. Aesthetic. Maybe that's why he tries to make all of it sound ugly. I wonder if Voldemort hated it here when he wasn't pretending to love it. He certainly made a point of making it really, really ugly. Broke the castle, wrecked nice old artifacts. Killed good people here. I think he must have hated Hogwarts."

Donzo looked at him skeptically. "That's going to be your question? About Beauty?"

"Unless I think of a different one." Teddy sighed. "I could even do some research before I go. I think there are some branches of magic about that."

Beneath his hand, Dapple stretched his neck, then pushed from his haunches and stood up to stretch his legs.

"Shall we have a run around the paddock?" Teddy asked.

"Better idea," Donzo said. "Get on his back. Get him up in the air."

"I don't feel like it," Teddy said.

Maurice shrugged. "Neither does Dapple. Get on."

"I don't like to fly!"

But Donzo and Maurice had got the idea in their heads now, and they manhandled Teddy up onto Dapple's back. Dapple took this with good enough grace, though Buckbeak was watching the whole process with deep suspicion.

"Go on," Maurice said. "Take him for a run. Maybe he'll try to go up."

Teddy ground his teeth and shook his head. "Why would he do that? I'm not cheering him up at all."

They wouldn't take no for an answer, so Teddy urged Dapple forward, as he'd seen Roger and several other classmates do. He'd never done it himself, as he always wanted to watch for the wing motions. He leaned over Dapple's neck and prodded him to run the length of the paddock, then turn and canter toward the gate. The motion of the hippogriff was smoother than he'd thought, watching them bounce and slide off.

"Sorry about this," he whispered. "I doubt you want to be lugging me around just now."

Dapple responded by speeding up.

Teddy led him around a second lap, and thought he might run up the hill a little, maybe along the ditch, but as he ran toward the gate, he saw Maurice and Donzo raise their wands. It swung shut.

And rose into the air.

Dapple continued to speed up.

With a powerful lunge, he leapt into the air, clearing the gate... and continuing to rise.

Now Teddy could feel his wings moving, stirring the air, pushing up against it like he was swimming in it, trying for the sun. He rose with a dizzying spiral, and Teddy could see down to the ground, where Maurice and Donzo were cheering by the gate. The dark leaves of the Forbidden Forest rustled in a green carpet that seemed to go on forever. A thestral leapt up and caught a small bird.

Dapple leaned to one side to turn (Teddy had to hold on more tightly) and then headed for the castle. Windows glinted in the afternoon sun. A practice was being held on the Quidditch pitch. A group of girls at the lake were practicing perfect dives. One of them was Victoire, and she smiled up, giving him a jaunty wave. He waved back.

"Is Dapple feeling better?" she called, but there was no answering, as Dapple had already swerved away from her, going toward the forest. He gave the Whomping Willow a wide berth as he went by it, then began to circle down, down to Hagrid's paddock, where Maurice, Donzo, and Buckbeak were waiting. He touched down, and Teddy slid off, landing in the mud.

Dapple cantered away to the far end of the paddock, as if he'd done nothing at all out of the ordinary after a month and a half without flying. Teddy could think of no explanation, nothing he'd done that would change Dapple's behavior.

He turned to Donzo and Maurice. "What was that about?"

Neither of them answered. Donzo picked up his guitar and his book bag. "So," he said, "shall we start an O.W.L. revision group? I think Sunday mornings would be quite good for most of us..."
31 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
amamama From: amamama Date: October 16th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Maybe this was what Teddye needed to finally finish his animagus transformation? Getting the feel for flying instead of over-intellectualizing it? It certainly seems to be what Donzo tried to explain to him. And as you said yesterday that Dapple was mirroring, I guess we'll see Teddy flying in the next chapter. If beauty doesn't need one all by itself - but then, isn't an animagus transformation also and act of beauty? I'd definitely say flying is an act of beauty...

Cool chapterlet, and Donzo's nonchalant comment at the end is just do cool. Good friend, Donzo - let Teddy soak in the experience and understand it from within.

Cheers!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy? Over-intellectualize? Not our Teddy...! ;p

I think Donzo will eventually find some sort of teaching stride, but it will never be in the "explain it in the classroom" mode. This may have taught him that setting up controlled experiences is a good way for him to communicate things. Though word-centered Teddy isn't all that clear on having been communicated with.
serriadh From: serriadh Date: October 16th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Now Teddy could feel his wings moving, stirring the air, pushing up against it like he was swimming in it, trying for the sun. He rose with a dizzying spiral, and Teddy could see down to the ground, where Maurice and Donzo were cheering by the gate.

*puzzles* I'm a bit lost in the pronouns in this bit - is it Teddy's wings, or Dapple's that he can feel moving? Sorry.


But great chapter! I love these little bits with Teddy and his friends, and you evoke the 'normal' life of Hogwarts so well (I loved the last chapterlet's bit about the ditch and the honking daffodils). Looking forward to seeing teddy's adventures in Beauty. I've forgotten where he eventually ends up, and have decided not to go looking so I can find out along with Teddy in his evaluations.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
The ambiguity was unintended, but I sort of like it now. :)

I figure that there's nothing to stand out against if there's no "normal" life at Hogwarts.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 16th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I like Teddy's beauty question. It really has nothing to do with beauty; it really just serves his need to understand every detail of what led to his parents' death.

"He scratched behind Dapple's ear." Does Dapple have ears? At least in the traditional sense of scratchable ones?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
A good point about Dapple's ears. It's probably that base-of-the-skull point.

Teddy's question does have to do with beauty (or its flip side, ugliness), but given the time of year, it's definitely circling in on their deaths.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 16th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm--so maybe the key to the Animagus transformation is not to overthink but simply to do? Certainly, Dapple appeared to fare better once he was airborne rather than on the ground, remembering what happened the last time he flew.

And now I'm wondering who'll crack first, Corky or Honoria?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Corky may not even believe that he's being tested.
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: October 16th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was wonderful! I loved the conversation about what constitutes beauty, as well as Teddy's comment about girls playing games. I'm also glad to see a little Victoire here! I secretly hope that Teddy's time with Beauty will lead to some insight regarding Victoire! (Also, weren't they supposed to go on awkward dates this year?)

I can't believe it's already Victory Day. That must mean that the maze is about to spring something spectacular on us for the big finale. I'm very excited!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
(Also, weren't they supposed to go on awkward dates this year?)

That was his seventh year, her fifth. I've had to keep them apart to keep that from going early.
etain_antrim From: etain_antrim Date: October 16th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's inspiring to watch as Teddy inches his way closer to flying, but I really appreciated the gloom that Dapple and Teddy share. A gloom that may now be broken. Maurice and Donzo are good friends!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Dapple and Teddy definitely have some kinship!
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: October 16th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
John Denver shoutout! *likes that song*

I really liked the ride on Dapple, but especially the bit before they even get off the ground, where Teddy thinks it seems much smoother than he'd thought from watching. The whole thing's also a nice contrast to Harry's preference for flying on a broom instead of a hippogriff.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been in a very John Denver-ish mood lately, and I was blasting him in my car all week.

The fact that Teddy doesn't like broomsticks may make his comparison more generous than Harry's.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: October 16th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
aw, I was hoping Teddy would have an epiphany. It's odd how everyone acted like everything was normal afterward, too; perhaps it was all an illusion from the maze? I dunno...excellent anyway!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Donzo's stance was deliberate. Dapple's more like, "Yeah, so, okay, I did it."
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 16th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Odd thing about Beauty. Right after reading this, I picked up my brand new copy of Hero of the Ages by Brandon Sanderson. My vote had kind of been with Maurice about beauty being what's beautiful and so on. Then, I read this chapter from the POV of a scholar of religions (who doesn't believe in any of them) and is in a dying world where black ash falls perpetually. He is reading about a group called the Larsta, one of the few relgions he ever told anyone about that one of his listeners accepted.

"The Larsta believed that life was about seeking the divine, he read. They taught that art draws us closer to understanding divinity. Since not all men can spend their time in art, it is to the benefit of society as a whole to support a group of dedicated artists to create great works, which will then elevate those who experience them."

As he looks at the world around him, where no flowers have bloomed for a thousand years, he decides that this is another religion that must be false since it can be disproven by what is around him.

Yet, at the end of the book, a person trying to encourage him leaves him a much folded piece of paper with one of the last pictures of a flower on it. The woman who accepted this belief all those years ago kept this picture. She gave it to her husband before she died. Her husband passed it on to his foster daughter. His daughter has now passed it on to him.

So, I finish this and conclude that Maurice wasn't right after all.

Also, glad to see Donzo tried conveying what he understood in music even if that didn't work any better than his lecture mode.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting.

What I was thinking of in this is the two buildings that comprise the central library in Boston. One is a neo-classical structure built by McKim in the 1890s, as a "palace for the people," on the thought that being around beautiful things would elevate people when they walked in, and make them feel educated and capable of great things. The staircase and main walls are imported marble. The brass doors were designed by the sculptor who did the Lincoln Memorial. McKim is full of beautiful artwork. The other, connected to it, is a Concrete Brutalist design from the early 1970s, by Philip Johnson. It's heavy, and decorated in shades of brown. The rug is perpetually stained. Johnson has one bad and didactic mural hanging in a very cold lobby. The second floor has high arched windows with vertical slats that look like prison bars. I don't know what Johnson's aesthetic purpose was.

I'm not saying that just to describe, but to lead into the fact that I used to do tours, taking high school kids through the whole complex. We "lived" in Johnson, which was the circulating library, while McKim is the research library, and most of them hadn't been in it. I'd take them through Johnson, and they'd have the typical teenage slump--shoulders bent in, heads down, faces vaguely hostile. Then we'd ease into McKim through the less ornate parts, and you could start to see them take an interest. Then you moved into the Elliot Room, with its gold walls and ceiling mural about the "Triumph of Time," and suddenly, they were standing up straight, looking around, appreciating the art and the place, even being caught dead asking questions! One inner city kid I took around asked if he could just move in. Then we finish our circuit, go across the courtyard and back into Johnson, and they sort of deflate, shoulders going in, heads going down, behavior getting sullen again.

Beauty makes a difference.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 17th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oops. I said end of the book. I meant end of the chapter.

Ellen
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: October 16th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Okay, so I know he's more obessing about his parents death than anythin else...but I'm a little surprised he can't think of any questions about beauty. I mean, he goes through the ladies fast enough and finds something beautiful about all of them. and one of his friends is a part veela after all...!

Oddly, my favorite part was the tidbit about honoria. I want to know why she broke up with him too...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I mean, he goes through the ladies fast enough and finds something beautiful about all of them. and one of his friends is a part veela after all...!
Oh, but that's nothing special, I mean, it's just what he does all the time, so it couldn't have any bearing.

I think Maurice is right about Honoria's motives.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: October 16th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I hope Teddy finds his inner hawk in the next chapter! Now that he's had a chance to fly, maybe he'll *get* it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC) (Link)
He'll find it soon, anyway.
From: maxzook Date: October 16th, 2008 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
"So much for the theory of soothing the savage beast," Donzo said.

I don't know if you're aware that that's a very common misquotation. The actual verse, from William Congreve:

Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.
I've read, that things inanimate have mov'd,
And, as with living Souls, have been inform'd,
By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound.
What then am I? Am I more senseless grown
Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe!
'Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't aware. I'm not sure it makes a difference, as the misquote has entered the general lexicon of received wisdom... including Rowling wisdom, vis-a-vis Fluffy.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 16th, 2008 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that was so beautiful.
And the conversation about beauty was so interesting. Teddy is a smart kid, sure he'll come up with something. I'm eager to see Helen of Troy again :)

Oh, Victory Day. It sounds so cheerful and yet, depresses us all so much.


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll try to get Helen in there.

I'm sure that, in a hundred years, Victory Day will just be a fun holiday with fireworks and dueling. But that will wait until the main players, who lost people, are gone.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: dapple loving

Thanks! I listen to John Denver when I forget that the world is beautiful. Then I remember, and get depressed at how much of it we cover up!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 17th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Great chapter.
"mud is ugly. Clouds are pretty. Can I join the department?" Loved that.

"the whole world's ugly in May--ouch.

I also loved the Vivian reference--she needs to find someone who thinks she's "pretty when you know her", since Neville's now off-limits.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 17th, 2008 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, Maurice... not inclined to overthink. :P
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: October 17th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
[i]And Honoria's much better now that she's mostly human.[/i]

I love that description of Honoria.

Interesting question posed by Teddy. I love forward to seeing what the answer might be. Well done, Fern.
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