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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Thirty-One: Shared Secrets, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Thirty-One: Shared Secrets, pt. 1
Teddy and Harry escaped the Maze by going through the center, re-building the damaged core, which took the shape of a crystal ball. The process led them through several of their shared nightmares, and due to attacks by the Guides, in the shapes of Teddy's parents, Harry was injured. Teddy kept the crystal ball.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Granny didn't take them to St. Mungo's. Instead, she declared James perfectly fine, then installed Uncle Harry in his own room and Teddy in Sirius's old room. It was infested with chizpurfles, but they let Teddy be for the most part, and it was good to sleep under the old photo of the Marauders. Whenever Granny left the room, he'd get up and study Dad's face, trying to force out the memory of the thing in the Maze. It wasn't doing any good, but he felt, at least, that he was trying.

He didn't feel ill or wounded, but Granny was determined to observe him for twenty-four hours to see to it that there were no lingering effects. She wanted to discard the crystal ball--she thought it was dangerous--but Teddy wanted to keep it. She tutted a bit, but nestled it in his book bag.

Uncle Harry, who'd taken the brunt of the injury when the Guide had attacked, was sicker, but for that first day, Teddy didn't have a chance to see him. James went back and forth between them like a pendulum, hovering in Teddy's doorway and speaking in mournful whispers, then scuttering down to visit Uncle Harry. From these visits, Teddy garnered that Uncle Harry hadn't spoken about what they'd seen, and James had only been able to talk about the jungle and the werewolf who battered the tree. Granny assumed this was Greyback, and Teddy didn't disabuse her of the notion.

The next morning, she came to check on him, and gave him a thorough examination before saying--with some wariness--that she thought he could get out of bed.

"Can I see Uncle Harry?"

"Of course you can. He's been asking how you are; I'm sure it will be a great relief."

"He wants to see me, though?"

Granny looked at him skeptically. "Really, Teddy."

"It's my fault he got hurt, and that James got lost."

"Someday, you'll raise children of your own. At that point, you'll look back on this conversation and wonder what on earth you were thinking to ask such a thing." She pointed her wand at him and did one more quick test on his head. "Go on, then. But no rough-housing with the children until I say it's all right."

"Is James completely all right?" Teddy asked, standing up.

"So far," Granny said. "Though if he continues trying to cheer up Uncle Harry by juggling Aunt Ginny's good china plates, I'll make no promises."

Teddy smiled feebly, and went downstairs. The Master bedroom was off the second floor corridor. A landscape had been moved to the wall outside the open door. He knocked.

Uncle Harry looked up. He was bundled in blankets and looked pale, but he was surrounded by papers from work and seemed frustrated to be confined to bed. "Teddy!" he said. "Did your grandmother say you could come down?"

Teddy nodded. "May I come in?"

"Yes, of course." He picked up his wand and pulled a chair over beside the bed.

Teddy went in and sat. He started to say something, but he didn't know what it ought to be, so he just bit his lip.

Uncle Harry fidgeted with his papers, then piled them up decisively and banished them to the top of the bureau. "I meant what I told you. I won't tell anyone about what we saw."

"I might tell Père Alderman," Teddy said, his eyes cast down. "Maybe he's got some sort of penance that people ought to do when they... when they're disrespectful."

"That's between you and Alderman."

"Yeah." Teddy looked up. It took a great deal of effort. He saw Uncle Harry there, and he also saw him in the Maze, fighting off the grisly demons Teddy had created, crouching by Snape's body, lurching through the garden. The light turned into prisms, and Teddy fought not to cry. He had no business trying for pity. "Are you all right? Really all right?"

"I will be, Teddy. You're sure this is what you want to do with your life?"

Teddy shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. Yes. I-- Were you sure you wanted to be an Auror, after everything?"

"It had to be done."

This made as much sense as anything else, so Teddy let it be. "Are you glad?"

"Mostly. I think I'd have liked teaching, but I couldn't."

"Because you thought you needed to do something else."

"Because that classroom is full of ghosts for me."

Teddy looked up. "You always said..."

"Yes. And it's partly true. But I went there once, when they first offered me the job--I took you with me--and all I could see there..."

"Dad."

"Yes. And Snape. And Mad-Eye Moody, even though he never was there, really. Poor old Lockhart. And less pleasantly, Umbridge and Quirrell." He smiled oddly. "I'm rather glad we didn't end up in the Defense classroom in the Maze."

"Me, too. I did enough horrible things to Dad in there without spoiling the one th--" The tears came too quickly and ferociously, breaking off the word before he could stop them. "I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to. I mean, it's not about... I shouldn't..."

There was a soft "snick" sound as the door closed, and Teddy felt Uncle Harry's hand on his shoulder. Uncle Harry didn't say anything, just waited for the fit to pass, but the touch was comforting.

Finally, Teddy was able to get enough control to wipe viciously at his eyes. "He must hate me. They both must hate me."

"Of course they don't."

"They do, though! I hardly dream about them at all anymore! Except in the Maze, and I made them monsters." Teddy grimaced, and succeeded in fighting back another unmanning wave of tears. "Maybe you were right. Maybe I shouldn't see them."

Uncle Harry didn't say anything, but he looked troubled.

Teddy got up and went to the window. It looked out on the courtyard. Fort Potter was still standing, and Al was sitting cross-legged in front of it, playing a game Teddy couldn't fathom from a distance. "I just don't know why I'd see that."

"You don't?"

Teddy shook his head. "I'm the monster. I killed someone. I killed Greyback. I didn't have to. There were so many other things I could have done. Why would I make them monsters?"

"First," Uncle Harry said, "what happened with Greyback... I'm not going to tell you to stop torturing yourself, because I know you won't, but that was a battle, and Greyback picked it. You didn't ask him to hunt you. You didn't plot revenge on him while he was in Azkaban. You didn't kill him in cold blood. He tried to kill Victoire, he tried to kill you, and then he provoked you. At thirteen, I nearly killed Sirius for considerably less, and I only thought he was guilty. You knew Greyback was."

"I could have done something else."

"Sure. And I could have had other people looking for those Horcruxes all year. I could have had Bill take the one from Gringotts, and he could have done it quietly, and no one would have known. We'd have been able to search Hogwarts over the summer. Fifty people, including a lot of people I loved, wouldn't have died, as you pointed out."

"No! I was wrong, I didn't mean that, I didn't mean to say that."

"Those are three very different things to say," Uncle Harry said. "But it doesn't matter. I just mean to say that, we all have to deal with our decisions, and later, you can always think of something that could have been done better. That's the first thing I wanted to say."

"And the rest?" Teddy went back and sat down.

Uncle Harry took a deep breath. "This is just a guess. I haven't run it by Hermione, so I don't know if it's any good, but... They are in your way a lot. Remus and Tonks, I mean."

"No!"

"Hear me out. I don't think they'd want to be. But we all keep putting them there. Teddy, how many times have you heard someone say, 'At least they had Teddy'?"

Teddy shook his head. "I don't know. A lot."

"I never had to worry about whether or not people would think I was doing well enough to be Mum and Dad's son. It's got to be a lot of pressure."

"No, it's fine."

"Teddy, I was in there with you. It's not fine." He frowned. "And then there's Greyback. He goaded you with them until you killed him."

"That wasn't their fault."

Uncle Harry closed his eyes for a moment. "All right. Maybe I'm wrong. Like I said, I--"

"--haven't run it by Hermione." Teddy smiled. "I think she'd say the same thing. I read some of her psychology books last summer. Fat lot of good it did me, as I'm apparently still mad as a hatter."

"You're not mad. You've just had a rough patch." Uncle Harry pushed himself up to a sitting position. "There's something else I meant to ask you about."

"What?"

"James was telling a grand story about a boy who could become a hawk when he was inside a crystal ball. Completely illegal, should an Auror find out he could do it outside the ball. But I'm curious--do you think he could?"

"He might not have tried yet."

"He should. You should write that story for James. So he knows how that part of it turned out."

Teddy found a smile. "I'll do that."

"Good. Now, about your O.W.L.s..."
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Comments
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mrs_norris_mous From: mrs_norris_mous Date: October 29th, 2008 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome.
at_upton From: at_upton Date: October 29th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Uckaharry. <3
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm fond of Uckaharry myself! :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 29th, 2008 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)

LOVE!

I love, love, love your Uncle Harry. He basically gets it right, but he still wants to check everything with Hermione first. It's a nice little moment about the extent to which any of can get past our childhoods.

I'm predicting a little out-of-Maze Animagus trouble. It can't be that easy, can it?

I had missed that Maze!Remus and Maze!Tonks were literally blocking Teddy's way forward. It's a beautiful bit of symbolism; they're part of him, but he still has to find a way past them.

Why isn't he dreaming about them? Is he unconsciously blocking them?

Must go to bed. It's even later in my time zone than in yours.

TSS
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: LOVE!

I think Harry just believes that Hermione has a deep understanding of the human soul that he couldn't match. Teddy, on the other hand, has read her Intro to Psych book. ;p

We're almost at the end. I start NaNo on Saturday, so I have to finish up in three days. So probably no major problems in the offing, other than getting Harry to do something that he's being stubborn about.

Teddy is unconsciously blocking them, I think.
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: October 29th, 2008 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm so glad to see this section. :-) It's so realistic--the love they have for each other, the different opinions of things they'll always have, the fact that you can never quite resolve everything in a complicated situation, but sometimes you can resolve enough to make things seem bearable. And I love that you showed that the events of Teddy's year will change them and their dynamic, but the love and respect that's at the heart of it is still there. Thank you. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm on a kick lately about people who disagree with each other, even on important things, being able to co-exist and care about each other. :)

wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: October 29th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)


"Uncle Harry didn't say anything, just waited for the fit to pass, but the touch was comforting." I think that says it all, really. I love that Harry doesn't try to pull a Dumbledore and spend a whole chapter explaining things. He just waits out the "rough patch" and worries.

I also thought this exchange was extremely well done: "You're sure this is what you want to do with your life?"--Teddy shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. Yes. I-- Were you sure you wanted to be an Auror, after everything?"--"It had to be done." Teddy's helplessness and near-indecision here is very real and right for this stage in his life. I'm glad you wrote it that way. :)

And mainly, the part that comes through the most in this section is the love. Very well done.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. And "near-indecision" is probably the best way to put it. He's sure it's what he wants, but he's not sure he ought to be sure, because it makes no rational sense.

When I look at my favorite books, love is almost always what seems to come from them. I wish I could get my hands on my copy of Stephen King's Danse Macabre--at the end, he says that the successful story is always about the positive behaviors people do, and that the reason for that is that love exists--not as a fancy, complicated thing, but as a practical force in human affairs.
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: October 29th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, nothing better than waking up on your birthday to find a new addition to a fic you like, all ready for you to read!

The way you write Uncle Harry is especially amazing, you know? I never thought I could imagine Harry as an adult, but you make it possible, he's so convincing.

"James was telling a grand story about a boy who could become a hawk when he was inside a crystal ball. Completely illegal, should an Auror find out he could do it outside the ball. But I'm curious--do you think he could?"

"He might not have tried yet."

"He should. You should write that story for James. So he knows how that part of it turned out."


I think that's my favorite part.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Happy birthday!

I love Harry. Loved him from the first book right up to the bitter end.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 29th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I think my favorite part is Harry telling Teddy that part of the reason he isn't teaching DADA is because of "the classroom is too of ghosts." It makes sense, though I've never considered it, and its a nice parallel to Teddy seeing Remus and Tonks as an obstacle as well as an inspiration.

Also, I don't know if you're willing to tell us this, but have you considered having Teddy convert to Catholicism? I'm not expecting a major religious awakening, but he does seem to have an affinity for specifically Catholic rituals, and especially given that Remus was at least nominally Catholic, I could see him getting baptized. But then, I'm interested in religion, and probably talk about it most with a devout Catholic friend who also likes coming to shul with me, so the idea of religious fusion and give and take appeals to me in general.

-Cara
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, converting to Catholicism is exactly what I mean to happen, though it's kind of incremental. I imagine he'll formalize it a little more over the summer, but by the time he's an adult, he's pretty devout. (Hence, the nine children I give him. ;p)
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 29th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I love your Harry - he's such a good dad.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I think he would be, wouldn't he? He'd become the dad he was looking for the whole time, with bits of all of his father figures in him.
amamama From: amamama Date: October 29th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahhh, yes. You're wrapping this up nicely. Uncle Harry is a true gem, and he's got some good insights into Teddy's life - even if Teddy doesn't see it that way. But seriously, how old is he - 15? That's not the age when seeing your life in perspective and connecting the dots and seeing the long lines is a highly developed trait. That comes much later - if at all. Harry's got to that point, though. And his reasoning for not becoming a teaches is valid, if sad. Loved the backwards way of praising Teddy's animagus ability. He can't really support it as he's and auror, but he still does. Very sweet.

*is happy*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry's tickled pink about Teddy being an Animagus. But alas, he can't say anything until Teddy's all properly registered. Unfair! ;p
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
James may be developing an odd quirk on the Potter-Lupin guilt trip, in which he decides he's responsible for someone being sad, so he really ought to juggle good china.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: October 29th, 2008 11:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Teddy. Uncle Harry's got something going there, with Remus and Tonks sort of being in his way, subconsciously. I imagine it would take Teddy time to come to terms with that.

I really love how you've evolved Teddy and Harry's relationship in this story - from more easy-going at the beginning, to the strained interaction with their quarrel, and now, where it seems that they've reached a deeper understanding. How very like growing up. It's so real - it's beautiful, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Now, I have to make the end fit more neatly into the beginning...
redlily From: redlily Date: October 29th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not a crier, but I teared up when Teddy started crying. How spectacularly unfair that all his latest encounters with his parents have been in the form of monsters. Maybe now, having talked it out with Harry, he can begin to recover from that horror . . . .
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe...
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: October 29th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
*whew*

Big emotional load, Fern. I'm sorry I haven't commented in a few entries; it's been rough and crazy times in real life but reading the sections gives me a lift. I'm just sad that this is almost over.

You really have an amazing gift for characterization.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I like character work. Which is why I push myself to do action instead sometimes. ;p
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 29th, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
A much-needed heart-to-heart between Teddy and Harry--very sensitively handled. One can really see the subtle shift in the relationship here, perhaps because of Harry's own vulnerability right now. They're less godfather and godson here than two survivors sharing and exorcising past traumas.

And my goodness, in all this Maze excitement, I'd practically forgotten about O.W.L.S.! After this, Teddy will likely find them absurdly easy. Also looking forward to his first transformation outside the Maze. Will he go looking for Donzo the way Donzo went looking for him?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 30th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
They'll both be sad, I think, to give up the "Uncle Harry's taking care of you" vibe, but they're coming to appreciate each other as men, which is good in two adults (or one adult and one nearly-so).

We'll get to the first transformation. Good idea to have him go looking for Donzo.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 29th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always thought Harry was going to end up teaching Defense at his beloved Hogwarts. I thought he would be tired of fighting and danger. (If he was expelliarmus-ed as an Auror, wouldn't the allegiance of the elder wand change? Seems risky.)

Anyhow, I enjoyed reading your reasoning for Harry choosing not to teach. It seems that living in Grimauld Place would have similar ghosts to the defense classroom though.

I imagine Harry and Ginny living someplace where they can fly brooms out back, more like the beloved Burrow... Maybe that vision of family is enough of a reason not to be raising babies inside Hogwarts. JKR's epilogue train scene wouldn't have had the same impact really.

I still feel Harry would be happier teaching than dark wizard catching. (After all, he already had enough trouble to last a lifetime.) Maybe after his kids grow up, he can retire to teach at Hogwarts for 100 years or so.

"I never had to worry about whether or not people would think I was doing well enough to be Mum and Dad's son. It's got to be a lot of pressure." I didn't understand Harry's statement here. With such similar circumstances, growing up an orphan with martyred parents, maybe I need it spelled out why Harry didn't feel this pressure of measuring up. Was it because he spent his childhood away from the wizarding world? He only learned about how beloved his parents were when he was 11?

Excellent segment, very emotionally satisfying. I was picturing Harry in a higher bed, so when Teddy pulled up the chair, he was way too low compared to the bed!

Thanks so much for writing and sharing your amazing talent with us.

-SideAlong
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