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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Thirty: The Only Way Out, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Thirty: The Only Way Out, pt. 2
Teddy and Harry have reached the center of the Maze, which has taken the shape of the Shrieking Shack. Blocking the way--crouched in the middle of the gate--is a nasty version of Remus, his teeth filed down like Greyback's. Smiling.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Uncle Harry leveled his wand at the phantasm and said coldly, "We're going through."

It laughed and took a shambling step forward, raising one clawed hand at Teddy. The hand turned over, and a long finger beckoned.

"Change shape!" Uncle Harry hissed. "Now!"

It responded only by turning to look at him with a sneer, then looking back at Teddy. The Guides had never spoken before, but now it said, in a gravely, inhuman voice, "Come, then."

Teddy took a step backward. The thing in front of him was Dad, but it couldn't be, not with blood dripping from its hands, and mad red light in its eyes. He tripped over a rock and sat down hard in the road. "No. You're not real..."

The thing with Dad's face was suddenly above him, not quite touching him, but with one hand poised over his head.

"Get back!" Uncle Harry yelled, and then the thing was dragged away. Teddy could see Uncle Harry's hands sinking into its insubstantial flesh.

"Uncle Harry, no! Let go!" Teddy scrambled to his feet and ran at the pair of them. Dad had grabbed Uncle Harry's wrist and was trying to pry him loose. Uncle Harry was going pale and cold from the contact.

Teddy ran at them, a scream coming from somewhere deep in his throat. He ran into them at top speed, knocking Uncle Harry to one side and tackling the Guide to the ground. Immediately, he felt pain tearing through his nerves, and he knew he couldn't hold on, or the Maze would just expel him again, and he'd have to start all over, but some part of him wanted to keep pushing until the vile thing let go of his father's form.

With all of his remaining strength, he drew up his legs and kicked them out like pistons, throwing the thing off of him, toward the shadows. He lurched over to Uncle Harry and hooked an arm under his shoulders to drag him toward the house. "Come on. We have to go."

The Guide made another lunge, and Teddy drew out Dad's wand, not caring that the Marauder's Map came out along with it. He simply understood--knew--that only the reality of his father's wand could send the vision away. He jabbed it toward the Guide, and shouted "Confringo!" The wand jittered out of his hand, and the Guide--who seemed to recognize it--made a grab for it, but the spell hit, and the vision disintegrated.

Teddy fumbled for the wand and the Map, and stuck them back under his robes.

Teddy's heart was beating too fast and too hard, and Uncle Harry seemed not to have total control over his legs. Together, they nearly fell into the garden. One piece of glowing crystal lay at Teddy's feet, and he picked it up. It didn't give him the pain of touching one of the Guides, but he did cut his palm on one jagged edge. It traced the line of the scar that the Resurrection Stone had left on him four years ago.

"What is it?" Uncle Harry asked, limping toward another piece.

"I don't know. A crystal ball, maybe. That's what's at the center of the Maze. Maybe that's what we can see it as..." Teddy looked down at it absently, then stared, transfixed. In one of the facets of the shard, he saw the road outside the Shrieking Shack. Dad was backing away, dragging Mum, pulling her arms back as she screamed and tried to raise her wand to attack position. And he could hear her screaming, "THEY CAN'T HAVE IT! IT'S MY LIFE AND THEY CAN'T HAVE IT!"

"Teddy, watch out!"

Uncle Harry's voice cut across the vision, and Teddy looked up in time to see the Guide reforming, this time as Mum, barely resembling Bellatrix now, except in the madness. She was only feet away from him. Bella's knife was grasped in one fist as she crawled toward him.

He pulled her wand from his holster and leveled it at her. She smiled madly.

"Conf..." He shook his head. "Avada..."

She laughed.

"Captivus!" he finally shouted, and silvery-pink bars of light rose up around her.

She slashed at the bars with the knife. It went through them, but they re-formed and held her there.

Teddy backed away from her, keeping his eye on her efforts to escape. He went to Uncle Harry, who had picked up the second piece of crystal. In this one, Teddy saw Greyback, clinging to the back of the fireplace. "Oh, she was dead by the time I got there, barely started healing him before Bella took her out. But your dad was alive. You might say I was holdin' his hand when he finally karked it... Shoved her off him, too, so he'd have room to breathe his last few breaths, which I hear he didn't have the last year or so. But I reckon I'll take you with me, and when the moon comes up in a few days, I'll give you everything she tried to take from your dad."

Teddy snatched it away.

Uncle Harry put a hand on his shoulder. "Teddy, why didn't you tell me what he said?"

"I told you he told me how they died. I thought you'd have guessed he didn't give an especially sympathetic account. What, was I meant to repeat that?"

"No. But--" Uncle Harry stopped, then said. "We'd best get the rest.

"Wait." Teddy took the two pieces carefully, and put them side by side. Two facets seemed to match, and he pressed them together. The red glow became more pronounced, then they fused. Now, Teddy could see Dad walking through the Forest with Uncle Harry, looking perfectly happy. He looked away.

Uncle Harry stumbled to a third piece, which lay in the grass beside a huge boulder. Neither of them looked into it, except in passing. There was a glimpse of Sirius there. Teddy found where it fit, and the whole came closer together. There were four spaces left, if it was to be a sphere.

"Seven," Uncle Harry whispered.

"There could be a dozen shards in each spot," Teddy said.

"But there aren't. There'll be seven pieces altogether. Let's get them. Now." He crawled away, searching.

Teddy cast about for more of the faint glow from the crystal, but only saw one spot, near the door. He went to it, nearly breaking through the rotten boards on the steps. This one showed Granny in the garden at home, an empty drink glass in one hand, falling to her knees and weeping. Teddy added it to the others. Now, he could see the smoky Forest, at the end of his first year. He could see himself, unconscious, and the form behind him, thin and insubstantial, comforting him. In the distance, he could hear Uncle Harry shouting for him.

"I can't find the others."

Teddy looked up from the fragment of the crystal ball. Uncle Harry had crawled to the steps. His glasses were askew and his face was filthy.

Teddy looked around. The cage he'd trapped the Guide in was empty, and it was the only thing glowing in the garden. He looked at Uncle Harry. "They're inside."

Uncle Harry looked tired, weary beyond his years. He sighed. "Of course. Can you get in?"

"You gave me the keys," Teddy said. He reached out, and the iron keys Uncle Harry had given him for Christmas two years ago appeared. One went to the front door. The other would fit into a spot above the fireplace, to connect it to the Floo.

Teddy got to his feet, and opened the door.

The entrance hall was an inferno, and Greyback's body lay on the floor to the parlor. Dad's drawings were burning, the werewolf children he'd saved being consigned to a bright hell.

Teddy went inside.

The flames weren't real; they brushed him like warm feathers and left him otherwise alone. He signaled to Uncle Harry that it was all right.

Not that Uncle Harry had waited for the signal.

Together, they made their way to the kitchen, which was still stained with Greyback's blood. One piece of glowing crystal lay on the floor, among the knives Victoire had spilled. Teddy grabbed it. In it, Bellatrix was ranting about pulling weeds from the garden. He found the place where it fit into the whole, and the vision there changed again, to the night he and Uncle Harry had fought, and he'd run pell-mell into the Forest.

"I've another!" Uncle Harry called.

Teddy staggered after him, into the dining room, where he was kneeling beside the body of Severus Snape. A piece of glowing crystal was lodged under Snape's knee, and Uncle Harry pulled it out, trying not to look. He gave it to Teddy, and crawled away from the body, leaning against the wall with his head in his hands.

Teddy put it into the crystal ball, and saw Uncle Harry, with Ron and Hermione, standing here the first time, taking Snape's memory, so he would understand who the man had been.

"One more," Teddy said, and pulled himself over to Uncle Harry. "Just one, if you're right."

"I am," Uncle Harry said.

"I'm so sorry."

He shook his head, but instead of saying it wasn't anything Teddy needed to be sorry for, he said, "Thank you, Teddy."

Teddy pulled Uncle Harry's arm over his shoulder and together, they entered the parlor. The fireplace was burning green, and the wallpaper was bright red with crawling flames.

"There!"

Uncle Harry pointed to the last piece of crystal, lying atop the mantel. Above it was the drawing of Mum that Dad had once done, which they had--thankfully--taken to Granny's, and which still hung in the living room.

"I'll come back with it," Teddy said.

Uncle Harry let him go. His legs were weaker now, and he just sat down heavily.

Teddy bit his lip and went to get the last piece. He'd have to wait until he was with Uncle Harry again before putting it all together, in case it just took him back immediately. It would--

"TEDDY!"

Something sprang out of the fireplace, spinning, and the drawing slid down from the wall. It wrapped itself around the figure, and it was Mum again, burning here as Greyback had burned. She swiped at him, and he felt the red pain of the Guide's touch.

"Let me through!"

She laughed.

Blindly, Teddy struck out at her, knowing he couldn't hold on, but needing to get through her, needing to get to the last piece of the puzzle.

His hand made contact with the parchment Dad had once lovingly drawn on, and it collapsed into the flames beneath it, catching fire and rising to the ceiling in a torrent of ash.

The shapeless thing in front of Teddy screamed.

Teddy transformed.

He flew up on the fire-heated currents of air and snatched the last bit of the Maze's center with one talon. The fire-thing tried to push him out of the air, but he swooped below it, and transformed back into himself. He grabbed the crystal ball, and ran to Uncle Harry.

"Hold on!"

Uncle Harry grabbed onto him weakly.

Teddy put the last piece in its place.

The crystal ball's glow changed from red to blue to bright pink. The fire died, and the house disappeared around them, becoming only the abandoned lot on Screech Hill, a sunny meadow. The Guide spun wildly for a shape, finally taking on human form again.

Dad.

But only Dad. He smiled faintly, and disappeared.

Teddy looked into the crystal ball. It was showing Fort Potter now, with Aunt Ginny holding James, and Granny frantically holding onto the other two.

He looked at Uncle Harry, and they both raised their wands.

"Sulci Numine."

The world dissolved around them and they were on the floor of Fort Potter. James's paperweight was inert, but Teddy still held the crystal ball he'd brought out with them, which glowed a faint yellowish white.

It was whole.
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Comments
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From: kobegrace Date: October 28th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, wow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 28th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoa.

Again.

Ellen
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad that worked!
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: October 28th, 2008 04:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, God. Harry. And Teddy. Why in the hell would Teddy still want to work for the Department of Mysteries? I hope the two of them can talk about this and help each other, when the wounds aren't quite so raw.

Lovely. Just lovely. Thanks so much for this.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Why in the hell would Teddy still want to work for the Department of Mysteries?

Something I've always wondered about Harry's decision to work for the Aurors, actually. Gryffindors are masochists.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: October 28th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
"Seven," Uncle Harry whispered.

"There could be a dozen shards in each spot," Teddy said.

"But there aren't. There'll be seven pieces altogether. Let's get them. Now."


Wow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks.
(Deleted comment)
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: October 28th, 2008 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
That was beautiful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thanks!
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: October 28th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
[breathes again]

Wow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it. That particular climax wasn't easy.
rotae From: rotae Date: October 28th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
PHEW! Thank heavens for that! LOL XDDDD

A question... when he sees Remus with blood on his hands, and Greyback's teeth... is that a reflection of Teddy himself? Because that would be srsly deep, Fern, LOLOL XDDDD But I dunno if you could have the guide be YOU or not... hmmm...

Peace,
Rotae
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I think, to some extent, that all of the Guides are reflections of Teddy.
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: October 28th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
"The entrance hall was an inferno, and Greyback's body lay on the floor to the parlor. Dad's drawings were burning, the werewolf children he'd saved being consigned to a bright hell." --That was absolutely chilling.

And the keys! I had forgotten about them. Were you planning this all the way back in Hunter's Moon?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

Were you planning this all the way back in Hunter's Moon?

Uh... sure. Yeah. Of course. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 28th, 2008 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh. My. G-d. You are so fantastic.

"Seven." How did that one word give me chills?

Maybe this is odd, but I think I'm more anxious for the next part than I was for the last - obviously, I knew Harry and Teddy would get out of the maze, so the action cliffhanger wasn't so incredibly tense, but now? The emotional fallout from this is going to be massive.

And the resurrection stone is coming back...

-Cara
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I wasn't expecting to do the seven breaks thing until I got there, but then it seemed very natural.
amamama From: amamama Date: October 28th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Phew! Wow, that was intense! And so good. Love all the symbolism - and of course it had to be seven shards. Poor Harry, though - bet he never imagined he'd have to live through all of that again. What I hope, though, is that they'll be able to use this experience to purge the emotional impact of these memories from their systems. That would definitely be a good thing form them both.

The only way out is in...I really like how literal that was. When they got to the center that's exactly the way they got out. I'm not quite sure what I imagined, but definitely not this. Really good, Fern.

Well, I guess Teddy will be the DoM specialist on Daedalus' Mazes now. I seriously doubt anyone alive has had as much experience with it as he's had this school year...

Cheers!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I knew they'd be able to get out from the center, but I wasn't sure how until I got there!

I'll bet the DoM is more careful in the future about handing out Daedalus Mazes as well--a little psychological screening might not be a bad idea... (Of course, Hogwarts might not permit them anymore!)
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: October 28th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)
woohoo! They made it! I'm totally gonne be late for school!!

"Seven," Uncle Harry whispered.


SO MUCH SQUEEE!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Run-run-run to school! :)

Glad you enjoyed.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: October 28th, 2008 11:09 am (UTC) (Link)
WOW.

Just... wow. This was totally perfect, Fern. I can't wait to see how things wrap themselves up. Particularly a good honest conversation between Teddy and Harry.

in a gravely, inhuman voice, Gravelly, inhuman voice? Gravely inhuman voice?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely time for an honest conversation there.
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: October 28th, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brava! Fantastic pacing all the way through this chapter... and imagery, of course, but that goes without saying for you :). The "seven pieces" was inspired as a way to link everything back to Harry's own story.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
It also came out of absolutely nowhere for me!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 28th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
WoWwwww! This is better than if JKR continued writing Next Gen. And so much faster than waiting years for the next book. Already 3 amazing Teddy books. Sometimes the maze/dream sequences aren't very interesting to me, but now that we've gotten to this maze sequence, it's been so compelling.

Great Images:

Not that Uncle Harry had waited for the signal.

Uncle Harry pulled it out, trying not to look. He gave it to Teddy, and crawled away from the body, leaning against the wall with his head in his hands.

Thanks so much, you are a great writer!
-SideAlong

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 28th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
It just occurred to me when I wrote Teddy giving an "all-safe" signal that Harry would already be halfway in trying to make sure it was safe for Teddy.
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