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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Six: Tar and Feathers, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Six: Tar and Feathers, pt. 1
Sorry--crazy busy week IRL. I figured I left Teddy in an enjoyable place, snogging Ruthless after giving her a book that was passed down from mentor to protegé in the Auror division, which had nearly stopped with Tonks. Ruthless understands what it means, and relents--for an evening--from her ban on "nonsense," on the logic that classes don't actually start until the next day.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy was tired for his morning classes, but he didn't mind. He and Ruthless had stayed up past midnight, eventually falling into a long, pleasant conversation about the future and what they wanted to do. It hadn't been anything especially personal--they hadn't talked about what they might be doing together--but sitting on the sofa, tugging her curls softly and watching them bounce back into their tight little corkscrews, occasionally kissing one pale cheek, Teddy had felt safe and cared for, and he thought Ruthless had felt the same. This morning, she'd been back to business, her nose in her school books. She took time to give him one apologetic smile, and he shrugged, and that was that. They were apart for the year. But it was all right.

"Do you need supervising, Lupin?" Donzo asked as soon as the Charms class got chaotic and Flitwick was occupied with trying to explain something to Geoffrey Phillips (Teddy had the impression that it was about some security spells Geoffrey had found in his reading, but couldn't quite bring himself to care). Franklin Driscoll, the third Ravenclaw boy, had quietly made his way over to the girls, Connie Deverill and Lizzie Richardson, and the three of them were now conspicuously involved in the series of simple Charms Flitwick had assigned to warm them up for the year, and no one was paying the slightest bit of attention to Teddy or Donzo.

Teddy Muffled the conversation anyway. "I promised McGonagall that I wouldn't work alone."

Donzo looked alarmed. "I thought you said she thought you were just studying Animagus theory."

"Of course she does. But she made a point of mentioning it, anyway. Just in case." He smiled. "Never underestimate McGonagall."

"All the Gryffindors say that."

"And we're all quite right." Teddy noticed Flitwick looking over and made several feathers do a tango on his desk. "Are you free at midnight? Restricted section?"

"I'll be there."

"Can you get there without getting caught, or do you want me to come for you?"

"With the...?" Donzo grinned. Teddy had introduced him to the Marauder's Map during his first forays into the Animagus spell, and he was, so far, the only one who'd shown what Teddy considered a proper level of interest in it. "Let's do it that way. Maybe they'll insult me again."

"Good, then," Teddy said. "Thinking of... theory... did you want to give it a try this year?"


"Why not?"

"Well--in theory--I have a feeling I'd end up something quite silly. I couldn't live with the shame if I worked for a year, then turned into a grasshopper or something and got stepped on by a passing house elf."

"You usually turn into your Patronus. I doubt anyone's going to accidentally step on a raccoon."

Donzo didn't look convinced, and Teddy decided to let it be. He'd rather hoped his friends would like the idea of becoming Animagi, but they seemed content to "supervise" Teddy's own experiments instead. Flitwick came over to check on them, broke the Muffling spell, and set them back to work on what they were actually meant to be doing.

After Charms, Teddy had Divination, which--in his year--was shared by all the students who wanted to take it, regardless of House. Professor Trelawney had taken over the O.W.L. students, as Firenze's teaching methods were less than useful when it came to Ministry requirements of Divination students, since he didn't teach crystal scrying, astrology, tea leaves, or any of the methods students were expected to be familiar with. Trelawney took this as evidence of the superiority of her own preferences; Firenze took it as proof that his preferences were truly important, as opposed to "mere test practice." Either way, Teddy found himself in the North Tower, prodding a recalcitrant crystal ball and thinking that the Daedalus Maze was better than any method he'd learned from either Divination teacher.

The first lunch back at school was a more exuberant celebration than the Sorting Feast, as students were free to behave as they normally would. Teddy roved from table to table, finally alighting at Slytherin to ask Neil about his first day. Neil seemed too overwhelmed to talk for long. To Teddy's dismay, he was sitting with Maurice and Corky instead of with other first years--he'd hoped that a day of classes would prove to Neil that he'd fit in with his classmates--but he seemed happy nonetheless. He told Teddy about the glowing green stones in the dormitory walls, and about Honoria wanting to interview him (Honoria herself leaned over and said, "It would lead, Neil! You'd be famous!"), and about a care package he'd got from Nate and Evvie in France. He leaned over anxiously and asked when he'd have to start taking "the you-know-what," and Teddy promised to check the calendar.

After lunch, Teddy walked down to Defense Against the Dark Arts with the Slytherins. Maurice had already started worrying about his marks in the subject, and Corky assured him that he would fail, and miserably, and be denounced as a would-be Dark wizard in front of the whole community. Honoria stuck closer than she usually did, and kept saying things like, "Corin, that's a terrible thing to say!", which was a bit rich, coming from Honoria. Brendan Lynch and Jane Hunter walked together a few feet behind Teddy's group. They were holding hands, though Jane didn't look especially happy about it.

Professor Robards was writing on the blackboard when they got in, using a Blurring Jinx to conceal it until he was ready to show it, and he waved them to their chairs. Teddy took his accustomed seat up front between Corky and Maurice, took out his book, and waited.

Robards finally finished writing, and turned to the class, smiling. "Well. O.W.L. year. Welcome."

"Thanks," Corky said brightly. "Glad to be here."

"Actually, I hope you will be," Robards said. "Your classes are so small this year, I'd like to try something new. If it seems not to be working, it's a lot easier to backpedal with fifteen students than with forty. Are you all willing to be an experiment?"

"Will we get what we need for our O.W.L.s?" Brendan asked.

"You already have what you need for the O.W.L.s," Robards said. "I expect more of you than the Ministry does. You'll all sail through." He looked around, then shook his head. "Yes, you'll get O.W.L. review. But what I'd really like to do is get you to understand this on a visceral level, to experience the process of dealing with Dark magic. So"--he pulled a box out from under his desk with great aplomb--"I've brought some friends." He held the box out to Teddy.

Teddy looked at it. "What... er...?"

"Take a slip of parchment. Don't look at it yet."

Tentatively, Teddy pulled a piece of parchment from the box, and Robards moved on around the room, giving slips to the other students.

When he'd finished, Robards went back to the front of the room. "All right. I've just given each of you the name of an historical Dark witch or wizard. They were not captured during their lifetimes."

"What are we meant to do with them?" Jane asked.

"Find them, of course," Robards said.

Teddy raised his eyebrows. "You want us to do a job Aurors couldn't do?"

"I want you to spend a year thinking like Aurors. Understanding how to approach the problem. I don't expect you to solve them, though it wouldn't surprise me--it's an interesting fact that it's sometimes easier to find someone when the need is less pressing, and all of you are quite capable. Your mark won't depend on it, but you'll need to use what you've learned in all of your years here."

"If our mark doesn't depend on it," Honoria said, "then is there some reason to do it?"

"What do you mean?"

"She means," Jane said, "is there anything in it for us?"

Robards sighed, and rolled his eyes dramatically. "I momentarily forgot which class this was. Perhaps you'd like the satisfaction of a job well done? Or a certificate of some sort?" His eyes were twinkling. "Or... oh, I don't know. A week over the summer without the Trace for anyone who succeeds?"

"Can that be done?" Maurice asked.

"I've cleared it with Hermione Weasley, and she's cleared it with the Wizengamot. If you catch your quarry, you may choose one week, and the Trace will be temporarily lifted."

This struck Teddy as a particularly good prize. Most of them cheated anyway, at least if they were surrounded by magical people, but the idea of a week being treated as an adult was attractive. The Slytherins all seemed to be weighing it.

Maurice finally shrugged, looked at his parchment, and said, "I'll just ask Mr. Borgin at Christmas. They probably all karked it in the shop. Maybe I'll bring back"--he read the name on his parchment--"Miss Earmbana's fingernails."

Robards laughed. "I wish you better luck than the Aurors had with him."

"We can ask people?" Honoria cut in. "I'll ask Rita. She knows where a lot of bodies are buried."

"And you think she'll let the Charmer scoop her again?"

"Wait a minute," Jane said. "This is hardly fair. I'm Muggle-born. I've no such resource!"

"Me, either," Corky said, but didn't seem too fussed about it as he read his parchment. "I mean, not Muggle-born, but I don't know anyone."

"Mr. Lupin," Robards said. "Why is it fair?"

Teddy felt quite unfairly put on the spot, but knew Robards well enough to know the answer: "Different resources."

"Exactly. Miss Hunter, has it occurred to you that any one of these wizards might have disappeared into the Muggle world, where you've had more access to historical records than any of us? Or that the answer might be in a puzzle you could solve, or an experiment you might do? Miss Higgs and Mr. Burke imagine interviewing witnesses--or at least people of interest--but that's not how you tend to approach things. What would Jane Hunter do? I'm actually quite eager to see what you'll do with this."

"Examine evidence," Jane said firmly. "But we don't have evidence, just what you wrote."

"That tells you what the evidence was."

"But it's not the actual evidence. You can get trace elements off the actual..." Jane trailed off. "Oh, I see. Well... as you were an Auror, could I get the evidence on Madam Blottsponge from wherever you keep it?"

While Jane and Robards negotiated the finer points of her upcoming investigation, Teddy looked at the piece of parchment in his hand. There was a picture of a madly grinning wizard who seemed to be missing several teeth. His name was apparently Roderick Brimmann, and he'd been an actual pirate, as opposed to the romantic sorts of creatures in Mum's old paperbacks. Brimmann had never mastered Disapparition, but he'd had a talent for commandeering anything that moved, from carpets to brooms to, most frequently, Muggle ships. He'd tried for years to get one to fly, largely for the purpose of terrorizing potential Muggle victims. He never succeeded at much more than a low hover, but that was quite enough to start rumors of a "demon ship" in the 1600s. He'd dealt in Muggle slaves and stolen goods, sometimes raiding slave ships to take their slaves into the wizarding world. Aurors at the time had been just behind him on an island of the west coast of Africa, and had found the remains of a truly debauched party. He had disappeared for good not long after it, sailing into Bermuda's then-new wizarding shipping lanes (which had caused endless trouble for both the Muggle and wizarding worlds) long enough to be seen by one fishing boat, then turning to the north and sailing out of history altogether.

Teddy's first guess was that his ship had gone down, but he couldn't think how to prove it.

It was a mystery.

Or perhaps a Mystery.

He thought of the Daedalus Maze. Maddie hadn't said he couldn't use it for school. And why not have something concrete in mind? It might make it more focused, easier to control at first.

A fleeting thought of Phineas Nigellus and his friends abruptly quitting their posts went through Teddy's head, but he dismissed it. There were safety measures now, after all.
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(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they all know, by this point, that Maurice is just doing his Maurice attention-seeking thing. :)
under_crisis From: under_crisis Date: April 13th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
wow, a real Mystery? i was actually expecting some familiar names to come up, but i guess those have all been captured :D you never really run out of ideas, fern, i can't believe it!

Honoria stuck closer than she usually did, and kept saying things like, "Corin, that's a terrible thing to say!", which was a bit rich, coming from Honoria.

i think, this is the teenage girl's equivalent to pulling pigtails. lol honoria
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Robards handed out deliberately obscure ones, so they couldn't just look it up easily in an encyclopedia of Dark Wizards or something. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 13th, 2008 12:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
'There were safety measures now, after all.'

Uh oh, that sounds like a potential epitaph; if I didn't already know that he's going to have a long contented life, I'd be a bit worried for Teddy here.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd say that qualifies as a "famous last words" sort of thing, doesn't it?
sophiap From: sophiap Date: April 13th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the direction this is taking. Poor Teddy's about to get way in over his head, isn't he?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't imagine what you mean...
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: April 13th, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Uh oh, Teddy's headed for trouble isn't he? Though I can't wait to find out more about Brimmann.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a feeling I'll be discovering Brimmann as Teddy does, because I've more or less told all I know so far. ;p
willowbough From: willowbough Date: April 13th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I appreciate Donzo's interest in the Marauders' Map, especially the bit about getting insulted by the creators (naturally, I wonder what they said to him). And Robards' assignment for Teddy's class sounds fascinating, though using the Dedalus Maze to help out with it is bound to lead Teddy into some unusual and possibly dangerous situations. Looking forward to the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Donzo, in true Ravenclaw fashion, is probably trying to figure out how the Map works! I'd guess snide remarks were made about his grooming habits (Mr. Prongs is shocked that Mr. McCormack tore himself away from a mirror long enough to have an adventure!).
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: April 13th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have to say, Fern, that it one of the coolest and most intriguing assignments ever in Hogwarts or in any school period. Really can't wait to see how it turns out.
izhilzha From: izhilzha Date: April 13th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll second this comment. *is glued to story*
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: April 13th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
"With the...?" Donzo grinned. Teddy had introduced him to the Marauder's Map during his first forays into the Animagus spell, and he was, so far, the only one who'd shown what Teddy considered a proper level of interest in it. "Let's do it that way. Maybe they'll insult me again."
Donzo showed an appropriate interest in the Map -- I think he just became my favorite of your OCs. (so different than you originally imagined him, I think!).

Brendan Lynch and Jane Hunter walked together a few feet behind Teddy's group. They were holding hands, though Jane didn't look especially happy about it.

If you don't explain Jane's displeasure, I think I may have to ask her during your next OC interview post. It's the shipper in me -- I always like to know who's paired with whom and why and for how long.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Jane's just got buyer's remorse, possibly realizing that she's started going out with the only character who's a bigger space-filler than she is.
From: renesears Date: April 13th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh, excellent. This will be fun! What a fantastic assignment. And also: pirate! Arrrrrrr!

Great installment, as per usual. I'm really looking forward to the next one, with that ending. I second whoever said that if I didn't know Teddy lives, that last line would seem to indicate certain doom.

I kind of hope Teddy consults Phineas's portait about the Maze.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, but an actual pirate, as opposed to a Fifi LaFolle pirate (which is more or less equivalent to an Johnny Depp-Orlando Bloom pirate, of course).

I think I can promise that eventually, Teddy will have a long, serious talk with his great-great-great-great grandfather about the Maze.
anj1290 From: anj1290 Date: April 13th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that sounds like an awesome project. But I think my favorite line was the "Never underestimate McGonagall," for multiple reasons--1. hey, it's good advice and 2. as a huge fan of hers, I love that even though she's not at Hogwarts anymore, she's still an institution there in your universe. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I <3 McGonagall. I was actually glad in DH, when what finally made Harry completely snap was when McGonagall was insulted in front of him. The woman is all-through awesome.
ada_the_mental From: ada_the_mental Date: April 13th, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mysteries and investigations and PIRATES-Fantastic!:XD

Corky and Maurice and Donzo rule, as always!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounded like a peppy enough combination to get things moving. :)
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: April 13th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
There IS a difference between everyone. Honoria may go to Rita and Maurice may use his dark-wizard-connections, but Teddy automatically thinks of the Mysteries, something no one else will.

SO going to get over his head though, and in O.W.L. year no less, poor kid............

I love you OC's. I can't decide if, despite Teddy himself, I like Corky or Donzo more. Heh.

God. As we're getting into the school year, I'm enjoying these more and more. I have to ask though, the other two stories (I think) were about the same length wise as Harry's own first and third year. You're not going to kill yourself making this OOTP length, are you? o_0.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that's why a good human resources person will want to staff with as many different people as possible, and give them autonomy--different strengths. I doubt anyone but Jane would think to go all CSI on them, either.
daksian From: daksian Date: April 13th, 2008 07:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm a proud canon-thumper, a OBHWF-shipper, and yet...as much as I love your Victoire, the Teddy/Ruthless ship has taken hold of me, leaving me quite conflicted! They love each other, it's plain to see...how on earth do they get past the grief of that love not succeeding?

I like the interaction between Teddy and Donzo. I get the sense that he is Teddy's best male friend, from the comraderie they exhibit and the fact that Teddy trusts him with his secrets. I like your choice for Donzo's Patronus: a raccoon. Except now I'm going to think of him like that character from Over the Hedge. :D

It's intereting to see Neil interact with the other Slytherins. I do hope, like Teddy, that he finds friends his own age, but it's good that he's found acceptance from the older students...even Honoria, in her way!

I really love how you've tied in the Maze with Teddy's DADA assignment. That's really brilliant. And a pirate too! I can't wait to see where this leads!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 13th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
how on earth do they get past the grief of that love not succeeding?

Sheer force of will, I think. It's harder for Ruthless, as she's not especially moving toward anything when it happens, but she's also more stubborn than Teddy, so she just works through it. The final breakup probably hurts both of them, though.

ETA: I concur that Donzo is Teddy's best male friend, though I doubt they'd word it that way. They're both from unusual--and publicly known--families, and they're both smart and bookish, but popular despite that horrible high school burden.

And, just for amusement and edification, the "meaning" of a raccoon totem. Donzo definitely is a man of many masks.

Edited at 2008-04-13 08:07 pm (UTC)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: April 13th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy, that's cheating!

Oh, well. Who cares, really.
That will be the coolest class proyect ever. I'm so eager to find out more.

Nice chapter, it's good to be back ay old Hoggy Warty Hogwarts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 14th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it would be a good class project myself. Alas, I never got one like it. ;p
satakieli From: satakieli Date: April 14th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, the flying Dutchman? I'm probably repeating what many have said before.

If I haven't said so often enough before, your classroom scenes are always fantastic, and this one I enjoyed more than any since Lupin the elder.

Hm. I want you teaching DADA. (Er. Preferably after the curse was lifted.)

Edited at 2008-04-14 01:59 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 14th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy classroom scenes. Teaching is fun. I'd totally teach DADA, if they'd just invite a Muggle to do it. ;p
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