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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Nine: Clearing the Way, pt. 2 - 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. 2
Teddy and Harry have gone into a Maze-like entity that was created when the collapsing wave of magic found its way into Kingsley's paperweight... and took James. They're trying to get through to him, but he's on the far side of a barrier: a river, which neither of them trusts to try to swim across. There's a bridge, but as soon as they get there, they find a large gray werewolf blocking the way.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




"It's Greyback," Teddy said, unnecessarily. "He's been in the Maze before. He blocked my way." Uncle Harry didn't say anything, so Teddy looked over his shoulder. He was pale and his eyes were sunken. Teddy shook his head. "We have to get past. He should be a guide. He should act like the others."

"You said he didn't," Uncle Harry said. "Teddy..."

There was a crash and a scream on the other side of the river, and the discussion of the Guide, tenuous to begin with, ended. Uncle Harry ran forward.

"James!"

The answer was much closer. "Dad?"

"James, be careful!" Teddy yelled. "We're coming! Can you see the river?"

"No!"

The werewolf took a step forward, snarling, saliva dangling from its long, pointed teeth. Its claws made ominous clicking sounds on the bridge.

"Think of it!" Teddy looked around quickly. "It's muddy and it has piranha, and there's a bridge."

A moment later, James called, "There it is! I'm coming!"

The werewolf looked over its shoulder, then looked at Teddy with malicious cunning. It turned toward the far side.

"No!" Teddy nearly threw Ariadne's Thread--which was clasped in one of his sweaty hands--at it, but thought better at the last minute and drew his wand instead. He didn't want to try cursing a Guide, as he didn't know where it would end up, but he wasn't going to let it go after James.

It stopped and turned again, seeming to smirk.

"We're going through," Uncle Harry said. His voice was low and authoritative.

The werewolf growled, far back in its throat, and the growl became a horrible, high-pitched laugh as it rose onto its haunches and became Bellatrix Lestrange, black hair tossing back in the wind (it was, for some vile reason, tied back with the pink tulle headband Teddy had found in Mum's wardrobe last summer), a long knife in one hand. She mimed grabbing someone and slitting his throat, then began to bleed herself, a horrible flow that came from her neck and flowed out over the edge of the bridge into the water, turning it red, to flow into the blood-red sea.

Uncle Harry set foot on the bridge.

Teddy flicked his wand and pulled him back.

"Don't touch her!" he said. "That's how I got hurt."

The trees on the far side of the river parted, and James burst out. He looked frightened, but exhilarated. "I did it!" he said. "Teddy, I'm here!"

Bellatrix smiled obscenely, licked her knife, and turned.

Teddy didn't think this time. Thinking would have been too slow. He simply removed the bridge from his mind.

It took perhaps a second--James and Uncle Harry were holding it as well--but it was Teddy's Maze. The bridge shimmered, then disappeared in a burst of dust, sending Bellatrix down into the water. She screamed, and became a blur of red, until only the tulle headband remained of her.

Teddy Summoned it, not caring, for the moment, what would happen, just wanting to stop that particular obscenity. He caught it, and his fingers went numb. There was no chance of keeping it. Carefully, he set it down on a rock.

"Teddy!" James called. "Daddy, can I swim?"

"No!" Uncle Harry called, then turned urgently to Teddy. "How are we going to cross? Can you get the bridge back?"

Teddy tried to imagine it, and it started to form, shadowy images of struts and pylons.

The river surged, and washed it away. Water sloshed up onto the banks.

Teddy took a step back. "The river's rising," he said.

Even as he said it, he could hear it flowing hard and fast. The red flood drenched then buried reeds and vines. On lower ground, downriver, Teddy could already see it making inroads into the jungle itself.

"Get to high ground!" he shouted.

"Get there yourself!" Uncle Harry pulled him backward, dragging him up a sloping rock that rose up from the river bank. "James! Climb back in the tree!"

James didn't answer.

Teddy peered across the growing river. James had climbed the tree already, but the river was raging beneath him, and he was clinging for life. Uncle Harry was grasping Teddy hard under the shoulders, but his eyes were on his son.

"Teddy... how?"

Teddy shook his head and pulled free, scrambling further up the rock. The river of blood was already lapping at the bottom. It had picked up the tulle headband again, and tossed it upward, where it glimmered and grew and began to take shape again.

"Uncle Harry, move away! Bellatrix is coming back."

Uncle Harry backed up.

The Guide-shape shifted like a flame tasting firewood, licking upward and twisting itself into a female shape. Her mad smile came first and Teddy braced for an attack when there was nowhere to go. Next came her high cheekbones, the flame settling into her eyes, and the bright lines of her hair. Her pink hair.

Gratefully, Teddy let down his guard and started toward her, hoping that Mum as a Guide would lead him out, but Uncle Harry cut in front of him, wand drawn. "Let him be!"

Mum laughed, but it was still Bellatrix's laugh, still her mad eyes.

Teddy stumbled backward up the rock. "No..."

"It's not her, Teddy," he said. "We have to get out of here. Now. All of us."

"I don't know... how can... no, it's not..." Teddy sat down hard, his hand flying up to the chain around his neck, where Dad's wedding ring rested. He grasped it tightly, more for security than any hope of help, but somewhere, faintly, another world formed in his mind, a memory world, a day at falconry. He could feel his mother's/grandmother's arms steadying him, and the heavy leather gauntlet on his/Dad's right arm.

"Stay back," Uncle Harry warned the Guide. She was crawling up now, crabwise, her tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth. She'd been blocking the way. All along. It was her ship, not Brimmann's. It was always her. Always them.

Teddy shook his head against it. The Maze was only his own mind, they weren't hurting him, but how could he make them into monsters like this? Uncle Harry had to hate him, seeing what was in his mind. He'd murdered Greyback, and now he was murdering his own parents, and...

The memory tried to come in again, the cool wind on the sea cliff, the moist stone of the wall. But this time, he was seeing through the hawk's eyes, as he had in his dream, and he saw Dad there, saw the eyes of the small, ill-used boy starting to light up in wonder at the creature resting on his arm.

"Fly," the boy said. "Go!"

What went through his mind came not in words, but in images. Donzo had told him, there were no words, but he'd tried to make it words anyway. That had been the mistake, the thing that had kept him on the ground. He saw himself on Dapple's back, high above the Forbidden Forest. He saw the world through his hawk's eyes, as he'd first seen it two years ago, when he'd stood guard with Lee and George, and simply tried to morph. He saw himself with blood on his hands, and he saw Dapple with a bloody rat dangling from his beak. He saw Dad's hawk, flying out over the North Sea, and he saw his Patronus bursting from his wand for the first time.

"Teddy? Are you all right?"

He looked up. "I know what to do. Hold her here. I think she'll follow me, but if she doesn't, just don't let her touch you."

"Teddy?"

"I know what to do," he said.

And transformed.

Uncle Harry's eyes widened, but Teddy found that he couldn't say anything. His mouth was hard and strange, and his arms felt too large and powerful. He could see everything--the weak morph he'd done on his eyes before seemed child's play. There were planes and angles he'd never suspected, crisp shadows and sharp edges. The red of the river was a thousand reds, a million, and he could see motes being violently pushed along its raging current. On the far side, he could see James, a small figure moving in the tree. He wanted to get there; his instinct was to hunt the thing that was moving, but he still had his own mind, his own sense of it being James, who he was protecting.

Something flashed in the sun, and he saw Ariadne's Thread slip out from under his wing, toward the convulsing thing that no longer looked like Mum at all. In the hawk's vision, it was just an extension of the poison river.

Teddy scrambled forward, knowing that there was no time to fumble in this form. Years of shapeshifting had taught him to adjust more quickly than Donzo had been able to. He stuck out one foot, with its powerful talon, and grasped the little glass marble in it. He looked at Uncle Harry.

"Go," Uncle Harry said tersely. "Go, Teddy."

He spread his wings, as he'd watched Dapple do all year, and ran across the rock, feeling the wind beneath them as he moved them powerfully down against it.

He gained the sky.

On Dapple, he'd thought of flying as something like swimming through the air, but that wasn't even close to the sense he had now, the feeling of riding currents of air over the roiling river. He had to veer around some of them, but some part of him--some part of his hawk's mind--could sense those before he hit them. He rose high over the river, avoiding the surface currents, and found a cooler column to circle down on.

He reached James's tree and landed on an upper branch. There was no question of flying down low enough in the branches, and he wasn't at all sure what he meant to do now. James was too heavy to fly with.

I have to go back to myself.

And with the thought, it was so. He had the presence of mind to reach down and catch Ariadne's Thread before it fell from his now-human foot.

"James!" he called down. "I'm going to get you out of here."

"Can I fly, too?"

"I don't think so."

"I didn't mean to come in. I just looked in my paperweight and I saw the volcano."

Teddy nodded, distracted, trying to think of what to do. He didn't think he'd be able to build a bridge again, and the river was a Maze barrier, so he doubted he'd ever be able to control it, no matter how much he imagined. He had to get James out, get down to him with Ariadne's thread, then go back for Uncle Harry and--

The tree rocked wildly, and the upper trunk cracked. Teddy looked down. The werewolf was back, battering at it, trying to shake them free. Across the river, Teddy could see Uncle Harry, now backed up against the deeper jungle, but not holding off a Guide anymore.

"Teddy!" James called.

"I'm coming."

But the Maze made a liar of him.

The werewolf took another run at the tree, and it shook crazily. Teddy's weight pulled down on the treetop, and a mighty breaking sound rose over the sound of the river. Teddy felt himself pulled down, thrown into another tree. A drowsing snake awoke with a hiss. He fought to hold onto Ariadne's Thread.

"Teddy, help!"

He pulled himself up.

James had climbed to the broken top of the tree, but the werewolf was climbing steadily up after him.

There was no choice.

Teddy steadied himself and braced himself with his legs, then took his wand in one hand and Ariadne's Thread in the other.

"James, catch!"

James held out his hand, and Teddy Levitated the Thread across the chasm. He waited until James had his fingers wrapped around it, then yelled, "Home!"
57 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
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anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: October 25th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy! And Harry! But oh man, Teddy, saving James...of course he would do that, but I love that he did.

The moment where Bellatrix looks like Tonks was just chilling.

Anyway, I've been refreshing this page all evening looking for an update (it's now three in the morning), and I'm so glad, because this was fantastic. Really cannot wait for more. :-) I'm interested to see how you get Teddy and Harry out.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
They are kind of stuck, aren't they? :)

Thanks!
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: October 25th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh! Wow! In character, but painful. You certainly know how to leave a cliffhanger. Now I'll be wondering how Teddy makes it out of there until you get around to telling us.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd best get around to it quickly!
littletwitchy From: littletwitchy Date: October 25th, 2008 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy! He did it! It's so like Donzo to try to put the transformation into words, when really, it just CAN'T be.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Nonverbal reasoning--always a challenge to sequential logic!
amamama From: amamama Date: October 25th, 2008 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)
YES!!! *punches air* I knew it. *big grin* Now's the question - how to get Harry and himself out of the Maze when he sent James out with the thread? He'll probably fly back to Harry - but what then? If Harry applies a featherweight charm to himself, can Teddy then grab him and fly him out? He could' couldn't he? But will that be the way you're going? Now, that's a completely different question - ad one I hope to read the answer to tomorrow morning. I love starting my day with your stories. And your Teddy is just awesome, but you knew that. As is Harry and Neville and Grannydromeda and all the characters you've invented.

Cheers!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Is getting out their only concern, though...?
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: October 25th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
AHHHHHHH!!! Oh, I think this is my favorite climax of your three Teddy stories!!! How are they going to get out?! (Rhetorical question, of course!)

Update quick, quick!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm a lot less sure-footed on this one than I was on HM, at least in my head.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uncle Harry gripping Teddy below the shoulders was a vivid image for me.

Why is the "thread" a marble? interesting.

Exciting story!

-SideAlong
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC) (Link)
The thread has always been a sort of glass ball--the threadiness is metaphorical. ;p
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 25th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Amazing--and at times, truly chilling. The way Teddy's deepest longing, for his parents, intertwines with his deepest fears, of Greyback and Bellatrix. Harry seems to be getting a crash course in TeenTeddy--wonder what he'll make of it all, when this is over.

And he got the Animagus transformation, just when he needed it most. But will Ariadne's Thread work the way it's supposed to, with only James holding it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that Harry may understand Teddy a lot better after this, anyway.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 25th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have no words. This was SO SO scary. God, they are navigating on Teddy's nightmares, that's what they're doing.

The transformation was AMAZING. The descriptions were great and poetic and- oh, I loved it all.

BellaDora- oh, so scary and mind scarring. That's an image he'll never forget.

My stomach hurts from anxiety.
*stares for three minutes to the screen, realizes she REALLY has no words, and hits "post comment" button*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
God, they are navigating on Teddy's nightmares, that's what they're doing.

That's about the sum of it. And some of them are nightmares Teddy didn't even know he was having.
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: October 25th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I guess that will teach me to be blase about the appearance of a werewolf.

I comforted myself by realizing the minute the bridge disappeared that Teddy was going to get his animagus on. I wonder if he and Harry can piece together their path/retrace their steps.

Then again, going back is probably not the solution: The only way out is in.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Yup. Even if it is the title of someone else's book!
scopart From: scopart Date: October 25th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
The descriptions in this chapter were particularly chilling.
I'm relieved for James, but worried for Teddy and Harry. But at the same time, I want the adventure to continue...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, it will. I've got them well and truly stuck!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: October 25th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Edge of my seat. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Good!
daksian From: daksian Date: October 25th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ok, this is brilliant.

My mind is whirling with the subtle psychology of it all, of the buried subconscious of Teddy brought to life. I'm utterly enthralled.

Some highlights:

1. Teddy making the bridge disappear. That was simply inspired.

2. BellaTonks. Absolutely horrific. Remember that ficlet of the pack pondering about Greyback's afterlife? More than ever I want to know what Bellatrix's would be like. Perhaps she's a helpless child again, ordered to 'clean up' the mess of all the blood she spilled by an overpowering matronly figure (plump, with red hair and an apron and very ready wand). And of course, all she has is a bucket and a sponge, and the blood is everywhere.

lol...it seems your depictions of Bellatrix and what she's done has inspired me in a twisted way. :P

3. Wings. Teddy's understanding of the transformation. That whole sequence was very well-written, from describing his thoughts prior to the transforming and of his perceptions after he had become the hawk. I loved it.

I cannot wait for the next installment. Teddy did the right thing getting James out of there (heh..if he did...we haven't read about James actually leaving yet!), and now Teddy and Harry have to find a way out....but the only way out is in, yes? ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I was actually a little unsure of some of that, so I'm really glad to hear you liked it.

As to Bella? Hmm. Nothing is striking me as cruel enough just now, though yours is a good start. It needs finessing, though. ;p

Edited at 2008-10-26 04:20 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 25th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

hmmm...

Excellent! I can't wait to see how you get them out...

and Teddy's actions remind me of someone else's... his father's towards Dean! Maybe he'll finally beable to get that monkey off his back.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: hmmm...

The Remus-Dean thing was definitely deliberate. But will Teddy recognize it?
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 25th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ok, ok, I haven't commented in a while, I've been enjoying it, even all the cliffhangers, but this one

THIS ONE IS GONNA KILL ME.

Hurry up and update!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Will do!
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: October 25th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just keep thinking of all the nightmares poor James will have after this ordeal. But wow, that chapter really got my adrenaline pumping.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Visiting your big brother's nightmare would definitely be... disturbing. But then, James takes things in stride. He'll probably spend his nightmares looking for a treasure.
57 comments or Leave a comment
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