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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Thirty-One: Shared Secrets, pt. 3 - 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. 3
Recovered, Teddy returns to school for his O.W.L.s. He discovers that he's able to continue his avian transformation, and lets Donzo in on it. After the final O.W.L., his year is planning a party in the Slytherin Common Room, but on his way there, the door opens, and it's Harry, who asks him to come outside.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy stared. His book bag seemed suddenly heavy on his shoulder.

"Don't worry," Corky said. "We'll make sure Laura and Lizzie stick around for you."

"I think that's a threat," Maurice said.

Teddy made himself look at them. "I'll be along," he said. "A lot later."

"Come by whenever," Corky said, this time not smiling.

Teddy watched them go, then looked back at Uncle Harry. "Has something happened?"

"No. Just come with me." He turned and started away from the castle. Teddy followed.

It was nearly midsummer, and the evening sky was as bright as mid-afternoon. There was a frail mist in the air, not enough to shadow anything, but enough to make the light seem solid as they walked through it. Uncle Harry led them past the Whomping Willow, past Hagrid's, to the eaves of the Forbidden Forest. There, he stopped. Teddy caught up with him there.

"I'm not sure I can do this," Uncle Harry said.

"Do what?"

Uncle Harry started to answer, then shook his head, turned, and headed into the Forest. Teddy went after him, down the narrow, twisting path that led to Spiders' Hollow. Uncle Harry's shoulders were pressed down by a weight Teddy couldn't see. Teddy ran forward, put an arm around Uncle Harry, and helped him stand straighter. Uncle Harry spared him a smile that looked like it took effort.

"Whatever it is," Teddy said, "you should stop."

"No." They reached the hollow, went down into it, and sat on the rock where they'd begun their argument in October. "I've been thinking about this since we left the Maze," he said. "I've talked to Ron and Hermione--don't worry, I didn't say what prompted it--"

"I know. You promised."

Uncle Harry nodded. "They weren't sure what to do. Ginny quite wisely told me that I need to come up with an answer myself. Neville told me essentially the same thing. No one else knows. I couldn't risk telling Andromeda."

Teddy shook his head, utterly lost.

"The person whose advice I want most," Uncle Harry went on, "is Dumbledore. Which is the crux of the problem. And also, Dumbledore may not be the best person to give advice on it, it was his greatest weakness, he'd be the first to say so. But it's the only advice I have, and I've always believed, I still believe..." He sighed heavily. "But I can't stand it, Teddy. I can't stand that they're hurting you. I don't think they could stand it, either. They'd never want to hurt you."

"What are we talking about?"

Uncle Harry reached into the pocket of his robes, and drew his fist out. He held it out to Teddy, then opened it. In his palm was a round black stone, etched faintly with a symbol, cracked more prominently down the middle. It was the size of the scar on Teddy's own palm.

He looked up. "Is that--?"

"Yes." Uncle Harry curled his fingers back around it lightly. "I took it from the forest the night we fought. I buried it in the graveyard where Cedric died. That's why I was so shocked to see him. This afternoon, I dug it back up."

Teddy held out his hand weakly, and Uncle Harry transferred the Stone to it. It didn't feel any different from any other stone, but it seemed to stick in his hand. "You don't have to--"

"Yes, I do." Uncle Harry wrapped Teddy's fingers around the Stone. "Turn it three times. And come back to me. Promise me that. Bring the damned thing back."

"What will you do with it?"

"That's not something I'm going to tell you. I plan to take it out of reach."

Teddy looked at his hand, the fingers folded lightly over the palm. He stood up. "I am going to use it, Uncle Harry."

"I know."

On an impulse, Teddy leaned over and hugged Uncle Harry tightly. "I'll bring it back to you."

"Don't get lost." Uncle Harry stood up. "I'll be at Hagrid's."

Teddy nodded and watched him go. Once he was alone, he looked around the hollow, where so much death and destruction had happened. He didn't want to do it here.

He scrambled up the rocky slope and followed the trail up to Galdreward's clearing, where the tangible light was playing on the high rock. The damage that had happened when they'd broken the Quarantine was still there, but spring had covered the broken trees with spreading ivy and ferns. Teddy climbed to the top of the rock, the Resurrection Stone still grasped in his hand. He reached the summit and sat down. In the distance, he could see the turrets of Hogwarts, and the glimmer of the lake. He looked at his hand again, then closed his eyes.

Turned the Stone once.

Twice.

Three times.

He wasn't alone.

He opened his eyes.

They were standing in front of him, impossibly tall and beautiful, blocking the light--solid. Mum and Dad... and James and Sirius.

Teddy wanted to say so many things that he couldn't think of a single one to start with. He got shakily to his feet.

Mum came to him and put her arms around him. They were cold, but he didn't care. He held her as tight as he could. She was smaller than he was, standing up. He still couldn't say anything.

She let go of him, and he moved to Dad, who was at least still taller. Dad folded him into an embrace. Teddy fought not to cry, and still couldn't say anything. Mum put her hands on his shoulders. He wasn't entirely sure, in that moment, that he'd be able to keep his promise to Uncle Harry.

"Well," Sirius said, "I see he's as much of a chatterbox as Moony."

Teddy managed to pull away, though he remained in the circle of his parents' embrace. Sirius was grinning, and James--James who looked every bit as young as Teddy did--actually laughed.

"Why are you here?" Teddy finally asked.

"You needed us here," James said.

"Probably to keep that maudlin Lupin side from dominating," Sirius added.

Teddy realized that he had been crying, and wiped his eyes. "Well, you're not doing a very good job." He squeezed his parents' hands--one at a time, since he couldn't release the Stone from one of them--and moved to sit on a boulder that sat atop the formation. Mum sat next to him and put her arm around his shoulders. He held her hand.

"Oh, Teddy," she said. "I've missed you."

"Is it just because I need you to miss me, and the Stone shows me what I need?"

"No," Dad said. "Believe me, no."

"Why haven't you talked to me? Why haven't there been dreams?" Teddy looked at them desperately, and had a moment's sheer terror that they would say, What dreams?

But Dad sat on his other side and said, "You haven't been letting us in."

"Why wouldn't I? I need you!"

"No, you don't," Mum said, putting her fingers on his chin and turning his face to her. "Not like you did when you were small."

"I do, though. I do."

"I'm so sorry," Mum said. "Teddy, I only wanted to give you both of your parents instead of just one, and I ended up seeing to it that you had neither of us, and--"

Teddy squeezed her hand. "Mum, I'd have done the same."

"I tried to so hard to stay. I grabbed at everything. The house, Mum... and you. You most of all, and I'm sorry. I think that may be why you see things sometimes."

Teddy tried to manufacture a manly calm, and failed miserably. "In that case, thank you."

"It just happened so fast."

"I know. I've seen it. And Greyback kindly shared his own version of events with me."

"I should have killed him when I was in his camp," Dad said.

"Can we avoid the run of 'should haves'?" James asked, dropping down to sit cross-legged on the ground. "Teddy's never needed any of us to play Seeker-in-the-Stands. He does it perfectly well on his own."

"So what does he need?" Sirius asked.

Teddy looked from one to another of them. He had no answer. He'd called them here, from wherever they were, and he couldn't think of a thing to talk about or a need he could voice.

"It's not fair!" he said, and stood up. "It's just not. Uncle Harry says I should accept it, but how? How can I? How can I say that this is all right? It's not all right."

They looked at one another, then at him, but said nothing.

Of course. Nothing they could do about it. It was a stupid, childish, foolish thing to say. Not fair. He sat down again, miserably, between his parents. "I'm sorry. I know. Life's not fair."

"Don't you dare," Dad said. Teddy looked up. Dad shook his head. "Teddy, don't do that. I wasted half my life on that cynical nonsense. Life can be kind. Believe that."

"But--"

"But things happen that aren't fair," Mum said, with an understanding nod. "So do your best to stop them from happening. Make it fair. Or as fair as you can. Don't give up on it."

There was silence, then James said, "Tell Harry I said something that wise and true. Really, I ought to have thought of it."

"But you did," Teddy told him. "I understand why you wrote all of that about Identity in the Animagus books. About knowing who you are. That was wise and true."

"Speaking of the famed Animagus books," Sirius said, "you've used them well."

Teddy sniffed. He felt weak and shaky, but the rage that had come up seemed to have receded. "I'm going to find a way to hide them, and put some puzzles into the Map so James--my James--can find them later. I don't think he'd appreciate it if I just told him where to look."

Dad laughed fondly. Teddy found himself not asking for things, but telling them about his life, even though they seemed to know much of it. He tried to tell James about flying as a bird, but didn't seem to be getting things across very well. He talked about Ruthless, and Victoire. He talked about his classes, and about his friends and his small year. He carefully mentioned Ellsworth, to see how Mum would react, but she didn't. In turn, they told him small things as well. There was nothing of any worth or great import to the world. Teddy was still flailing for what he ought to ask them, or what he needed from them so desperately. It all seemed a waste to bring them back from the dead for small talk.

But he needed it, and he needed Mum and Dad's arms over his shoulders, and Sirius's wry grin, and James's laugh, even if he could only have them for a little while.

After some amount of miraculous time, he took the Map out of his book bag, to show them the changes he'd made. The unbreakable jars he'd put in and kept forgetting to return made a racket as he dug, so he took them out and set them on the rock. The Map finally came out, Dad's wand trailing after it.

Dad held out his hand. "May I?"

"Your wand?"

"The Map's wand," Dad said, and took it. He read the inscription Teddy had carved into it: "'Unforgotten.' Thank you, Teddy."

"I mean it. No one is going to forget you."

Dad smiled sadly, then flicked the wand at a stray leaf. It Levitated. "I miss this."

Teddy watched this, something trying to take root in his mind. He moved his hand, and it bumped the little specimen jars.

He blinked.

"Can you all do magic?" he asked. "I have two wands you can use."

"I doubt I could Conjure a Patronus," Mum said, "but I think I could do something simple."

Teddy smiled. "I have an idea..."
86 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
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(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. I was worried about the pacing, and the fact that Teddy has no idea what he needs them for!
rotae From: rotae Date: October 31st, 2008 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Just so you know, I have tears STREAMING from my eyes right now, and my nose is all runny and horrible and I feel brilliant LOLOL XDDD

I can't wait for more, and yet I don't want them to to leave :(

GAH. I'm an emotional wreck, damnit, Fern! LOL XDDDD

Peace,
Rotae
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure whether to thank you or apologize for your emotional state! :P

But thoughtful, older-Teddy icon seemed appropriate.
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: October 31st, 2008 06:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! I've been wondering when those jars of dirt would show up. :)

I love Harry for allowing this, though I understand his fear.

And, man, I'd love to just sit down and talk with them, too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)
The big things, he has. But those moments of being a family with them... I think that's what he misses so acutely.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry will get something out of this. :)

I needed it, too. Just that moment of saying, "It's not fair and it's not all right."
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: October 31st, 2008 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)
You have no idea the mess I've made of my mascara. *wibble*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, mascara. What would we do without it? :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 31st, 2008 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Word dropped

one at a time, since HE couldn't release the Stone from one of them
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 06:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Word dropped

Oops!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 31st, 2008 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. Thank you so, so much.

My favorite line is "Life can be kind," from Remus. After everything that happened to him, the fact that he can say that is just gorgeous. The fact that that can be the thing he passes on to Teddy is sublime.

I actually have no idea what Teddy's idea is, and I won't be able to read it until Saturday evening...

I have to say, if I had a resurrection stone, I could never give it back, and thank G-d I have not yet had losses anywhere near as horrific as Teddy's.

But mainly, just thanks.

-Cara
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 07:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I doubt I could give it back, either. But, like Teddy, I'm not sure I'd have have the slightest idea what to do or say!
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: October 31st, 2008 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, beautiful. And Teddy needed it so badly. Nice to get Tonks' explanation of the dreams as well. It's actually Harry I want to hug in this segment, though--he's doing something that goes against everything he believes in, and he's so frightened it won't work out well, and then he doesn't get to see the Marauders who are as much a part of his past as they are of Teddy's...*hugs*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 07:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry definitely deserves a nice big hug.
arcaneblades From: arcaneblades Date: October 31st, 2008 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, for making a long night better. I've been spending 12+ hours a day in the hospital with my grandmother right now, so having your beautiful updates to read has really brought a smile to my face.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 31st, 2008 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother! Glad that the story is helping you, at least a little bit.
amamama From: amamama Date: October 31st, 2008 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful, Fern. And the thought of what he's going to use those jars for, is tickling my spine. I want to hand out a bone-crushing hug to both Teddy and Harry. I'm this fascinating mix of terribly sad and very happy at the mo - this really is a beautiful sequence.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2008 06:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. They both need hugs, though Teddy's at least getting them.
kagehikario From: kagehikario Date: October 31st, 2008 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, gosh.

One really wouldn't know what to say, would you?

I love that THIS is how it climaxes. Part of me is really, really sad, because of the chapter of course, but also because I think this is the climax of Teddy Lupin, isn't it?

It's authentic, and every bit the build that years of reading deserve, ever since Remus took on a muggle teaching job, ever since little Teddy was riding in his Granny's car.

Thanks for some wonderful years, fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2008 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I think this is the climax of Teddy Lupin, isn't it?

I think it may be. This is his major conflict after all. I don't know--if something totally must-write comes into my head, there could be another, but I think this is where it was headed.
silvery_wraith From: silvery_wraith Date: October 31st, 2008 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I've just caught up on about 10 chapters (chapters, not chapterlets!) and am soo happy I caught up just in to time for the ending! Thank you Fern, for some amazing fiction--this whole chapterlet and Maze sequence rivals Rowling's 'walk through the forest' in psychological and emotional rollercoaster-ing (yikes, what a word!). Absolutely beautiful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2008 06:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Lots of reading! I'm glad you liked it. It's a little odd doing a whole climax that doesn't touch the real world much, but that's Teddy for you, eh?
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: October 31st, 2008 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)

"Can we avoid the run of 'should haves'?" James asked, dropping down to sit cross-legged on the ground. "Teddy's never needed any of us to play Seeker-in-the-Stands. He does it perfectly well on his own."


Yay for James!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2008 06:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Wise man, James Potter.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 31st, 2008 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm blaming my teary eyes on the fact that it's 1:30 am, not the bittersweet wonderfulness happening between Teddy and his parents and Sirius and James. Now that's my story and I'm sticking to it :-P

But seriously, really powerful story arc Fern. This chapterlette had me crying and yearning to reach out and hug Teddy myself.

Can't wait for the next installment.

-Sqveege
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2008 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Those early morning hours will do it every time.
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: October 31st, 2008 10:15 am (UTC) (Link)
The smile on my face?

SO BIG.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 1st, 2008 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Good. :D
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