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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Four: Gifts and Curses , pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Four: Gifts and Curses , pt. 1
Blah, this is housekeeping, and it ends in the middle of things with no cliffhanger. But I promise, I need to establish some of this!

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy spent the rest of the day in the Daedalus Maze. He suspected Maddie of exerting more control than she admitted--after the first time, all of their entrance points were innocuous. Granny's garden, a young Frankie, a day at the beach with Daffy. Teddy wasn't bored with these explorations. Granny's garden led to a look at breathtaking jungles, Frankie to visions of Teddy's own childhood (which were strange to look at from the outside), the beach to the vastness of the ocean and the stars above it. At tea time, Maddie suggested that they call it quits for the day. She was satisfied that he could enter and leave at will, and understood the rules, though she still seemed worried about sudden morbid turns of thought.

"Teddy, I don't think you're ready for Death quite yet. Would you let it be for a bit?"

Teddy considered pointing out that he hadn't been ready for Death when he was two weeks old, either, but it had paid him a very nasty visit nonetheless. Instead, he just shrugged and muttered, "I'll do my best."

She nodded. "Would you like to come to supper? Frankie's been trying new magical cooking styles since he came of age."

"Er... yes. I know." Teddy smiled. "I think I'd best go back and use some non-magical style to make supper for Granny. I do that in the summer."

"All right. I'll get you home." She offered her arm, and Teddy grasped it just above the elbow. A moment later, they were by the pond behind Granny's house. A duck, accustomed to such sudden appearances, floated serenely past. "Are you quite sure you're all right with what we saw?" Maddie asked.

"I'm fine," Teddy repeated. "I knew."

"Are you--?"

"I'm sure."

She frowned at him. "Owl or Floo if you get into trouble at school, Teddy. I mean it. I'm not at all convinced of this anymore."

"As an Unspeakable, or as Mum's friend?"

"Small hint--if you start to get into Identity, try to avoid schisms like that. The Unspeakable is Tonks's friend is Frankie's mum. If you start splitting yourself, you may well find things you don't care for."

Teddy waited.

Maddie sighed. "All right. It's the part of me that's looking out for you. Tonks wouldn't thank me for getting you into trouble. At the same time, you saw more today than I was seeing when I gave my Maze back to Mr. Bode. You have a gift. I'm just not sure you ought to be particularly thankful for it." She started to turn away.

"I've talked to them," Teddy said. Maddie stopped and looked at him. He squared his shoulders. "I've talked to them. I'm thankful for it."

Maddie started to say something, then just nodded, turned on her heel, and Disapparated. Teddy went inside and started supper.

Over the next several days, he let the matter of the Daedalus Maze lie. He couldn't work with it until he got to school, and he had other things to occupy him. Professor McGonagall sent another book on Animagus theory--The Shape of Your Beast: Animagi And Meaning, by May Crowfeather. McGonagall had warned him that "meanings" were suspect ("I'm sure Sybill Trelawney would be able to read you chapter and verse, Mr. Lupin, but a person studying the Animagus transformation, in the end, has to to know what the animal means to him personally"), but he'd been curious about theories. He didn't find much enlightening about the hawk symbolizing a messenger, though, and it didn't seem to fit with the joy he felt about his Patronus, or that he remembered in Dad's vision of a hawk flying above his grandfather's home. There was a surprise party to plan for Ruthless, whose birthday was the day before everyone returned to Hogwarts (they were planning to have the party on board the Hogwarts Express), always making her the youngest in her year, and there were games and stories and visits among the various people who considered Teddy family. His favorite of these was to Bill and Fleur Weasley's home, where Victoire was helping her younger sister, Marie, get ready for Hogwarts. Victoire posed as a proper young lady, but she was well-known as a prankster, and appeared to be training Marie to join the fun. Teddy spent several happy hours with them, playing pranks on the younger children and on Fleur.

Thoughts of parties, or even the Daedalus Maze, were shoved rudely aside by Horace Slughorn a week before August's full moon. He arrived at Granny's, a box of potion ingredients floating along beside him, and said, quite jovially, "Well, Lupin, you'll be solo this month."

Teddy dropped a spool of ribbon he was using on Ruthless's present and said, "What?" He stood up. He knew his potions, and got good marks, but the idea that someone's life might depend on this wasn't a welcome one. He still made mistakes, and just last June had managed to turn a simple Shrinking Solution into an acid that had eaten his cauldron. It had been a one-time thing, but one time, one mistake, was all it took. "I mean, come in. Please."

Slughorn waddled in and stood in the kitchen doorway. "I'll oversee it this month, but as I won't be at the school properly this year, I want you to brew it yourself. From cuttings up. And for heaven's sake, bring your dragon-hide gloves. Wolfsbane is poison, and I don't want to see you nicking your finger anywhere near it."


"Don't act like I'm out of line. Your mum was a good brewer because she only let the top level of her mind wander while she took care of the drudgery. You try to act like you're concentrating, but your deep mind is off somewhere in Antarctica."

"I know. You've said that. I'll be careful. But... solo... won't you even come to Hogwarts to help with Neil? Doesn't Cho--er, Professor Morse--know how to do it?"

"Cho is proficient with potions she needs, but she is well aware that she isn't a Potions Master. She's taking the position only long enough for the Headmistress to find a true expert, rather than settling for what can be had on short notice, and possibly being stuck with it." He frowned impressively. "My dear boy, you have spent a year learning this, and you have mastered it quite well enough to be getting on with. I shall come if I am able, but I certainly hope that the hours we spent together this past year haven't left you with no confidence at all!"

"But I'm fifteen! I don't even have my O.W.L. yet!"

"The O.W.L. does not confer skill, Mr. Lupin, it merely recognizes and quantifies it."

"But if I do it wrong, I could kill Neil!"

"As could I."

There was no arguing the point, and within the hour, Teddy found himself in the south of France, in a cabin owned by the werewolves Nate and Evelyn Blondin, where they lived with their adopted child, Neil. Evvie watched anxiously as he set up the fire and let it get to its proper temperature (Slughorn had to do the spells to maintain it, but they both knew that Teddy could control fire), then sat down at the long wooden table and began to chop, Slughorn looking on impassively from a large, comfortable armchair he'd Conjured.

"I'd like to take it this month," Evvie offered. "Before Neil does. To... to..."

"To make sure you're brewing it properly," Nate finished. "No offense, Lupin. Neil's the only child we've got."

"None taken," Teddy managed. "But I don't want to kill Evvie, either."

"You're not going to kill anyone," Slughorn said. "You've done perfectly so far, though you're endangering your own finger at the moment, gloves or no."

Nate, apparently satisfied by this answer, cracked a smile. "Well, if you cut off your fingertip, try throwing it in. I'm told it takes the edge off the curse the morning after."

"Nate!" Evvie rolled her eyes. "Honestly."

Teddy ignored this sort of banter--Evvie always pretended to be shocked by Nate's jokes, and Nate never meant anything by it. He reminded Teddy vaguely of his friend Corky--slightly off-kilter from time to time, and not overly concerned with pieties, but never actually crossing a line he'd regret. He'd have certainly been a Slytherin, though of course, he'd never had the opportunity to attend Hogwarts and find out. Neil would be the first werewolf student at Hogwarts since Dad had left thirty-five years ago. This time, it wouldn't be a secret, though Teddy didn't think they were taking out a page in the Prophet (or even the Charmer) to advertise it. That would be different. Dad had needed to hide, to be afraid all the time that he'd be revealed. He hadn't even trusted his friends; they'd needed to figure it out on their own. He'd--

"Lupin!" Slughorn said sharply.

Teddy looked up sharply, and his knife skated down the edge of his glove. If he hadn't been wearing it, he might well have had to take Nate up on the idea of tossing human flesh into the potion. "Er... sorry," he said.

He went on chopping, aware that Slughorn was watching him more carefully.
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after_nightfall From: after_nightfall Date: March 27th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Your writing makes Teddy feel so real and alive to me. :-) I literally jumped out of a reverie when Slughorn intervened in Teddy's woolgathering!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Slughorn should buy Teddy a sheep, so at least he can make himself useful when he's woolgathering with a sharp object in his hand...
From: kobegrace Date: March 27th, 2008 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
yay, good stuff. i'd say more but it's quarter to four in the morning and I'm finally getting sleepy (not because of you story, though)

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Time for sleep, I think. :)
amamama From: amamama Date: March 27th, 2008 08:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, yay! Unsurprisingly (to me, at least), I love Teddy's dealing with The Mysteries. Must be the mystic in me, LOL. Loved his held back reply to Maddie that he hadn't been ready for death as a baby either, and the way he squared his shoulders and told her that he communicated with them. Oh, to take a look into Maddie's brain as she disapparated...

Slughorn is so different from Snape, and the way he vocally slapped Teddy when he started drifting off with his thoughts while chopping... Heee! This observation had me smiling: Your mum was a good brewer because she only let the top level of her mind wander while she took care of the drudgery. You try to act like you're concentrating, but your deep mind is off somewhere in Antarctica. He knows his students, and Teddy is prone to mind-wandering. Which is why he ends up an unspeakable instead of potions mater, I guess.

Brilliant as always, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Maddie's not entirely surprised by the intelligence, but I doubt she was expecting him to actually tell!
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoyed doing a little parallel to Remus's attempt at Wolfsbane in Shifts. That felt nice.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: March 27th, 2008 09:33 am (UTC) (Link)
But housekeeping is, of course, necessary for a tidy house. And I'm always glad to see the cubs all grown up and with little one of their own now. For some reason seeing them always gives me a sense of satisfaction. I suppose that it is the idea that they represent something very solid and positive that has been achieved against all the odds.

I especially liked the way that you combined Slughorn's observation of Teddy's potion making with the real life example later on. Which, as I'm so used to Teddy's thoughts going off at a tangent, I got swept along by just as much as he did. Which was, no doubt, the intention. I was reminded strongly of Remus in the scene for Shifts when he attempts to help Tonks to make his Potion. They both think too much instead of concentrating.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reflection was deliberate--I wanted to go back there a little bit! But Sluggy's pretty good at spotting what a student's real problem is... at least if it's one of his own. Maybe if he'd paid as much attention to Remus as he did to Teddy, Remus would have learned Potions!
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 27th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Teddy, mind always off somewhere else.

One thing: I shall come if I am able, but I certainly hope that the hours we spent together this past year left you with no confidence at all!"... I think you're probably missing a "haven't" between year and left!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops! Yes, way to make something mean the opposite of what it says.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 27th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love how McGonagall is still sort of obsessed with how dumb Trelawney is (was?)... She is just deeply offended by the woman's existence! I adore her.

This whole story is just fantastic--I am glad to see you continue down the road of original stories, rather than go back to writing the other side of the books. Not that I didn't love those, but I think every one of these "books" that you write gets you one step closer to writing one you can actually sell. After all, at this point you're structuring the entire thing, keeping the stories in line, working with 90% characters you invented...

Of course I always have a couple nitpicks!
Victoire posed as a proper young lady, but she was well-known as a prankster, and appeared to be training Marie to join the fun.
Might read more smoothly as something like:
Victoire put on a good "proper young lady" facade, but she was a well-known prankster and appeared to be training Marie up to join the fun.

And there is something missing here:
"...but I certainly hope that the hours we spent together this past year left you with no confidence at all!"
"...but I certainly hope that the hours we spent together this past year left you with some confidence!"
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 27th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are the second person who mentioned the lack of confidence thing, I read it as if Ol' Sluggy was using exsaperated sarcasm when he said that line, and I do believe it was my favorite line in the story!
marikenobi From: marikenobi Date: March 27th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)

Teddy sounds like me in chemistry, but someone's life never depended on me :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I'm bad with the drudge work, too.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: March 27th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Victoire posed as a proper young lady, but she was well-known as a prankster, and appeared to be training Marie to join the fun.

Heeee, go Victoire!

Hm. Teddy, you're worrying me, both with dangerous bits of the Maze, and with your tendency to drift off into thought. My Inner Eye sees trouble ahead, oh yes...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Trouble? In fifth year? Never...
malinbe From: malinbe Date: March 27th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Evvie. So nervous.
Poor Maddie too. So disturbed at Teddy's fixations.
And I love Slughorn and McGonagall. The old teachers are always the best.

Neil would be the first werewolf student at Hogwarts since Dad had left twenty-five years ago. Twenty-five? I'm lousy at Maths and flatly refuse to even do the math while shopping, but that still doesn't sound right. He was 37ish when Teddy was born, and this is fifteen years later...

Very entertaining. Look forward for tomorrow.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're right; I missed a decade. Remus would have left in 1978, and Teddy's in 2013--thirty-five, not twenty-five, years.
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: March 27th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
This Neil thing is going to be interesting. I'm wondering if Teddy is going to become an animagus before he graduates, and he can do for Neil what Sirius and James did for Remus.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Neil's in sort of of a different place than Remus was in regard to Teddy as a Marauder, but that Animagus thing sure could come in handy.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: March 27th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Like Teddy, I suspect Maddy did exert more control over their next foray into the Maze, but that doesn't surprise me. Naturally, she'd have gone into protective mode after what happened the first time. Still enjoying Teddy's unapologetically unforgiving attitude towards Death.

Enjoyed the Wolfsbane brewing segment too. Whatever his faults, Slughorn seems to have been a much more effective Potions teacher than Snape. Not that that's difficult, of course.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Snape might have been fine with students he favored--and who had the capacity--but he definitely didn't have the wherewithal to teach first years.
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: March 27th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I loved Teddy's wandering mind in this part. And I love that he's still going off on his Pre-Hogwarts Orphan Tour. ;~)

Grown-up Nate Blondin is made of awesome. His joke about the fingertip in the potion made me laugh.

The Shape of Your Beast: Animagi And Meaning, by May Crowfeather

I really wish I could read this book... :~)

Looking forward to whatever comes next for Teddy!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was mostly using this list.

I've always been fond of Nate. He was one of my little pet characters.
purebristles From: purebristles Date: March 27th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear Teddy, you remind me of my most infuriating students. Brilliant, but dreamy.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 27th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha, yes, that's Teddy, to a T!
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 27th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Brain is dead, even more than usual, so all I can say is, "wonderful". Each and everyone of your characters is adorable.

~Hermione Stranger~
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