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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Nine: Clearing the Way, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Nine: Clearing the Way, pt. 1
Teddy's final evaluation is interrupted rudely by the Daedalus Maze exploding, sending out a wave like the one sent out by the Quarantine when it was broken. The wave has caught on several places where phantasms had been seen before, including items on Kingsley Shacklebolt's desk. Everything at the Ministry was put into a Containment Hex. Teddy goes back to Number 12 with Harry, and finds an excited Lily wanting him to add to a story James wrote for her birthday. James, in the courtyard, goes into Fort Potter to get it--after mentioning that the paperweight Kingsley gave him is glowing really brightly like a crystal ball--and vanishes.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"James!" Teddy ran to the far door, not really expecting anything. He poked his head out of the other side of the tent, and saw only the empty courtyard. Al came around, holding Lily's hand.

"Is something wrong?"

Teddy nodded. "Take Lily inside." He went back into the tent, hoping Al would obey him, and sent his Patronus to Uncle Harry with the message, "Come outside. Something's happened. I can't find James." He couldn't think of another way to put it. He went to the little crate that Molly Weasley had turned into a desk, and searched it, not really believing that he'd find James or anything useful, but needing to do something. On top of it, the little crystal paperweight was glowing a cheerful, cherry red. Teddy picked it up. He wasn't sure if he meant to smash it or try to see into it.

There was no answering Patronus. Uncle Harry just Apparated in.

"What's happened?"

"This thing," Teddy said, "when did Kingsley give it to him?"

"Er... I don't know. Just after the Quarantine."

"It was already in the building, then..."

Uncle Harry took him by the shoulders. "Teddy, what's happening?"

Teddy shook his head. "I don't know, Uncle Harry. I... it's the Maze... it broke, and..."

"I know! Where's James?"

"I DON'T KNOW!"

Teddy pressed his fingers against the paperweight. "Maddie said it was going into all the things that had phantasms. A bunch of things on Kingsley's desk did. If... Uncle Harry, who charmed it to glow?"

Uncle Harry shook his head. "I don't know... Teddy, what is this?"

"It's crystal," Teddy said. "I think... the Maze... a crystal ball at the center... I..." He noticed he was breathing too fast, and the light in Fort Potter had taken on a queer sort of starpoint quality. "Uncle Harry, it pulsed here. And I think James went in!"

"What?"

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I never meant to let anything happen to James, not ever, I never meant for anything bad to happen, and--"

"How do we fix it?"

Teddy tried, without much success, to swallow the panic that seemed to have lodged in his throat. "I don't know. How can..." He stopped talking to take several quick, shallow breaths.

"I'll send for Croaker," Uncle Harry said.

"Croaker won't know, either!"

Uncle Harry took a step back, and buried his hands in his hair. "James!" he called. "James, dammit, come out!"

There was a frightening moment after that which Teddy could never remember in detail--Uncle Harry tearing through Fort Potter, pulling things off the wall, yelling for James. Teddy backed away, his mind clouded. He backed into the desk and sat down on it, hard, his weight shattering the old, moldy wood that had been the crate. Papers spilled out of it, and a large glass marble rolled away. Teddy almost disregarded this.

Then he recognized the handwriting on the papers.

"It's Phineas!"

"What?" Uncle Harry asked.

"Phineas Nigellus! It's his. And that--" He made a grab for the marble, which was rolling toward Meg the doll's cradle. "It's Ariadne's thread. We can use it to get James out!"

Uncle Harry shook his head, not understanding.

"If he got in through the paperweight, then we can, too. We can take the thread and get him out! The only way out is in!"

"Do it," Uncle Harry said.

Teddy raised his wand.

Uncle Harry grabbed his other arm. "I'm coming with you."

Teddy didn't even want to say no. Instead, he said, "Stay with me. The spell is 'Sulci Numine.'"

Uncle Harry nodded.

Teddy turned to the paperweight and cried, "Sulci Numine!"

He heard Uncle Harry call the spell out with him, and then the world changed. They were on the deck of the Accursed, in Teddy's storm-tossed sea. James stood placidly before them, and Uncle Harry reached out to grab him.

Teddy grabbed him. "This is a Guide. Not the real James. Don't touch him, you'll get hurt." He looked at the Guide. "Where is the real James?"

The Guide went to the prow of the ship and pointed ahead, through a sea full of triangular waves. Teddy couldn't see anywhere that James might be.

"James!" he called.

It seemed to take a long time, but, very faintly, he heard, "Teddy-eddy-eddy-eddy..." coming back over the water.

"We have to get to him," Uncle Harry said.

"I know." Teddy frowned, trying to think around his fear. It wasn't easy. He imagined James seeing visions of monsters, trying to fight them or run from them, being swallowed up as he himself had been on the night he'd tried to kill Bellatrix. "I can't do the sea," he finally said. "I don't know how to sail. I always have to use the thread. It needs to be something else... someplace I can find James... someplace... I'm sorry... I'm sorry..."

"I let him have the thing," Uncle Harry said. "I'm supposed be watching for odd things, and it was in my own courtyard. You told me to watch." He looked at Teddy with desperation, but no rejection, no anger.

It calmed Teddy a bit. He forced himself to take a few deep breaths. It was the Maze. He knew his way around it. "I need... someplace I can find James. Someplace we both know." He concentrated, and stared at the Guide.

The Guide grew, became tall and lanky, with long black hair and a devil-may-care grin. Around him, the water became a sea of green trees, strung with vines, and the ship became only a high hill from which they were all looking down on the expanse of jungle.

"Sirius," Uncle Harry whispered.

"It's the story James and I were writing," Teddy said. "He's lost in the jungle. James will know this place, too." Teddy started down the hill.

Uncle Harry caught him. "Are you sure, Teddy?"

Teddy shook his head, but said, "I think. But I think I'm right."

Uncle Harry looked at him for a long time, then nodded soberly. "Then I think that's the best we can do."

"James!" Teddy yelled again.

Again, far away, "Teddyyyy!"

Teddy looked out over the trees in the direction the sound came from. A mountain--a volcano, of course--reached up above the canopy. Steam came out of the cone. "There's the center," he said.

Uncle Harry nodded. "How do we get there?"

"We get through the Maze. The Guide will help." Teddy nodded to the vision of Sirius.

"I hate mazes," Uncle Harry said. "Is there any way to get broomsticks?"

"I don't know. I never thought of it. But..." He concentrated as hard as he could on becoming a hawk, but nothing happened, other than his eyes changing. Now, he could see the details of the canopy, the birds moving, the monkeys swinging through the vines.

"James!" he yelled. "Climb a tree!"

There was a pause, then motion from one of the taller trees. It was halfway to the mountain.

"Are you all right?" Uncle Harry called.

"Fi--!"

The answer was cut off by the shriek of a wild animal.

Uncle Harry lurched forward. "James!"

"Don't touch anything!" Teddy yelled into the forest, then followed Uncle Harry down into the Maze.

There was no polite investigation in the flight through the jungle, no fascinating exploration of by-ways. The Guide, as Sirius, led them into the tangled undergrowth, and Uncle Harry slashed it viciously with his wand to get it out of the way and keep them moving quickly. The Guide changed partway through, becoming the first James Potter. Uncle Harry had ceased to notice this, and Teddy didn't point it out. James led them toward the muddy shore of a river, which twisted through the land, with trees coming close enough to it to block off some paths of the Maze.

"We have to be getting close," Uncle Harry said. "JAMES!"

"Daddy?... addy... addy... addy?"

The return scream came from the far side of the river, beyond a hill. Uncle Harry ran toward it, but stopped at the water's edge. He looked over his shoulder. "The river's a Maze barrier, isn't it?"

Teddy nodded. "Don't try going through. I don't know what would happen."

"How far upstream can you see?"

Teddy peered through his hawk's eyes--Uncle Harry hadn't even commented on them--and saw a a blocking wall of vegetation not far ahead. "We'd get forced further away," he said. "We need to find a way across. A--" He turned downstream. The path was clear, and far off, just at the limit of his vision, he saw the too-regular shape of a bridge. "This way!" he said. "We can cross further down."

Uncle Harry didn't argue. He let Teddy lead, but not by far.

The bridge was closer than it had looked--Maze-space was deceptive. Relief washed through Teddy as they came around a bend in the path. The pilings of the bridge were visible, and he came around them. They just needed to go across and--

Something dragged him backward, and he realized Uncle Harry had a hand on his shoulder.

"Stay back, Teddy," he hissed.

Teddy looked up.

In the middle of the bridge, in a bar of bright tropical sunshine, was a huge gray werewolf.
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Comments
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barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: October 23rd, 2008 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)
EEEEEK!!!

All the ghosts are coming out to haunt...
I'm glad Harry never used a Maze and never will want to. He's got too many ghosts... Teddy only has a few (they just happen to be big ones).
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry's literal enough, though, that a symbolic attack might be less effective on him than it is on Teddy.
ksellers From: ksellers Date: October 23rd, 2008 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a cliffhanger. Is it bad that I first thought, it's not real, in the Maze Teddy knows how to not get hurt (mostly), but, oh no, this isn't the real Maze and might not follow the rules?

Actually, I don't think that's bad. I think it's just a sign that your world, Teddy's world, is becoming more real than Rowling's ever did for me. Which is odd, but good. Wonderful chapterlet, especially the parts about Harry reacting instead of acting because it's James that's missing. They all just seem so real.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, the figures in the Maze can block their way--they did on the ship--so it could do some damage... ;p
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: October 23rd, 2008 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Alright! I stayed up until 3:40 my time to read your new section (your move and subsequent posting time has messed with my sleep schedule!), but it's always worth it.

This read so fast! I'm breathless with anticipation! The moment where Harry tears apart the fort is spectacular. I love how Teddy's able to take charge, particularly the moment where he warns Harry of the guide. I wonder if (after this time of panic) Harry will reflect on what he saw in the Maze and be...all impressed with Teddy's mad skillz. Or perhaps he'd be even more apprehensive of what the Maze (and the DoM) can bring up for Teddy--particularly in light of the impending Greyback-Guide confrontation? (I hope it's the former, because it's always nice when people realize that Teddy's awesome.)

And if Teddy can change to hawk eyes within the maze, he must have the ability to physically transform in there, too. Right? :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm guessing he'll be even more apprehensive. What's this thing doing to Teddy???
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 23rd, 2008 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. This has all sorts of echoes with quests through elfland, and other such wonderful and scary things.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Good stories are always at least a little scary, because they aren't ever safe.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Hopefully, it'll come fast!
littletwitchy From: littletwitchy Date: October 23rd, 2008 10:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, no! James! And poor Harry, his son lost in a place that is associated with nothing but death for him :O

I'm so proud of Teddy - he thinks so calmly in a crisis. He and Harry make a really good team on this sort of thing. Teddy analyzes the situation, while Harry just acts on his exceptionally good instincts. I think they're the only people who would be able to get James out safely.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I think they complement each other well.

Teddy has a lot of Remus in him in his ability to cool down and think in a crisis... as long as he can disassociate himself from the idea of having caused it.
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: October 23rd, 2008 10:39 am (UTC) (Link)
OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO BE TWITCHING ALL DAY AT SCHOOL!

You must update hastily or I think I'll develop tourretes(sp?)!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I'll go as quickly as I can! :)
From: kobegrace Date: October 23rd, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I should know better than to read your chapters first thing in the morning. Now I'm going to be antsy all day.

Or worse, someone might ask me something important in a meeting, and I might reply with, "OMG, yeah; I totally hope James is all right!"

Oh, well. It'd be worth it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha, that's sort of why I only re-read on the commute (not that I can read on the commute now that I'm driving)!

Glad you're liking!
sophiap From: sophiap Date: October 23rd, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is a brilliant cliffhanger. I have my theories about what's going to happen next (and how you may be playing with our assumptions), and I can't wait to see how you resolve this.

Also, it is wonderful to see Harry and Teddy working together like this. Interesting that their big argument had to do with being able to see the dead, and here they are with guides like Sirius and Original!James showing up to help them both.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm looking forward to seeing how I resolve this, too... ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 23rd, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
So what happened to James Potter Sr. guide? Usually Teddy sees the guide change, doesn't he? Is the werewolf the new guide?

I want to wait and read the rest all at once. But I know I'll be checking back way too often.

-SideAlong
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a good point. I lost hold of the Guide!
redlily From: redlily Date: October 23rd, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now I know why they don't even really talk about what happened this year except in broad generalities. Yeesh.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I wouldn't talk about it much, either.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC) (Link)
:D
daksian From: daksian Date: October 23rd, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry I haven't been commenting recently--I've gotten into a bad habit of reading your posts before heading off to work--and usually not having enough time to write a decent review! I have been reading and (as always) loving the story.

This has been an interesting ride--you've kept me off-balance with a series of problems, rather than a big lead up to a single conflict. I suspect that this is the 'finale conflict', so to speak, but several weeks ago I would have said that the final mission of DM would have been breaking the Quarantine, or later on dealing with the remnants of the Maze in the DoM.

However, I do think I like this turn most of all. It ties so much of Teddy's life (Identity?) together: his questions, his dreams, his family, his magic...and his enemies.

This werewolf...is it Greyback? Is it Moony? I suspect the latter, but you've surprised me time and again in this story (which i love!), so I'll try not to set any expectations and just enjoy the ride. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
It definitely has to end with the Mysteries and the Maze (at least as the big conflict). A few other things need tying up, but yeah--I'm trying to finish the story before November!
amamama From: amamama Date: October 23rd, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eep! *hides* Thank God you're keeping nano speed with the end of this story, this is almost too much to bear. *takes deep breath* Oh wow. You really manage to set my head spinning and get you characters running, you know. Well done, really well done. And when this is all finished and up at the Quill, I'll reread the whole thing. It's got to be a great journey. Yay! *rubs hands* So...I'm ready for the next part! *grins*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 24th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) (Link)
I've learned to like getting into the action scenes, though I used to dread them!
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: October 23rd, 2008 01:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would think that this means Remus is the next guide...but it is a tense moment.
littletwitchy From: littletwitchy Date: October 23rd, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I hope so! But at the same time, it would be JUST LIKE the maze to throw Fenrir in there just to be a big jerk.
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