FernWithy (fernwithy) wrote,
FernWithy
fernwithy

Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Seven: Curse-borne, pt. 3

As the year begins, Teddy prepares to brew Neil's potion, Daniel Morse prepares to deliver a lecture on Muggle medicine, and the Maze surprises Teddy with a joyful visit with people he loves, though when he comes out of it, his hair has inadvertently turned pink.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy collected Neil at breakfast on Tuesday morning, and went down to Potions a few minutes ahead of his class. Professor Morse had apparently got bored with her mountain meadow, as the Charmed view through her windows now showed a wild, rocky Scottish beach. Gulls and terns swept the sky. It was harsh and untamed, and something in it made Teddy stop and stare.

"What is it?" Neil asked. "Is it that smell? Is something wrong?"

Teddy shook his head. "No. The Potion smells awful, but the way it's meant to. Does it smell different to you than it usually does?"

"No."

"We'll check it before you drink it, but it ought to be fine. I was just enjoying the scenery."

Neil looked at the beach with disbelief, muttered, "It looks cold," then scurried into the work room.

Teddy followed him, taking a clean goblet down from the shelves by the door as he went. He scooped it into the cauldron. He came up with a smoking, stinking mess of it, and hoped that someone would improve the recipe sometime soon. "Here," he said, handing it to Neil. "Cheers."

Neil stuck his nose in the shallow smoke, then started taking little sips. "What would happen if you drank this?" he asked.

"I don't really want to find out," Teddy said. He watched Neil drink for a little while. "How has school been? Corky said you were in the Common Room the first night."

"Oh. That. Right. There's a boy in my dormitory--H.J. It's short for Harold James, and he thinks he's named for your uncle Harry, and I told him that the name wasn't right, but he didn't believe me."

"I wouldn't bother with that. You can't do it in any way that doesn't sound bad. Let it be."

"Trust me, I will. But I didn't at first, and they didn't like me. So H.J. comes out with a piece of a newspaper. He said he brought it because he just knew I'd be in his year, and it was about how my family got attacked and I'm... you know."

"Yes, I know--a boy who's not drinking his potion."

Neil wrinkled his nose, then took two large gulps and made a soft gagging sound. When he'd managed not to bring it back up, he said, "So they all know. And they started making growling noises at me. Mum Evvie says I shouldn't lose my temper at people, so I left and went to the Common Room."

"Your mum Evvie is a smart woman," Teddy said, and watched Neil struggle to get down the rest of the potion. He'd watched Evvie and Nate do it several times, and he guessed that the taste must be truly vile. "Is it getting any better with your dormitory-mates?"

Neil shrugged, still trying to force himself to swallow.

Teddy sighed. A part of him had hoped that Neil would be very popular, and the social curse on werewolves would finally end. It would be like watching Dad get a second chance. But Neil wasn't Dad, and this H.J. would most likely have found something other than the lycanthropy to pick on about him if it hadn't been handy. "Well," Teddy said, "do you think it'll work itself out, or am I going to have to start Cursing firstie Slytherins?"

Neil polished off the potion. "Maurice Burke already did. He said that Slytherin--"

"--takes care of its own problems now," Teddy finished. It was Maurice's personal motto, and it had been all Corky could do to keep him from carving it above the Slytherin fireplace.

"Just so," Neil said. "Maurice says that we'll have enough trouble after Tom Riddle's war without... er... he said, 'renewing our reputation.'" Judging by his face and tone, Teddy guessed that Neil had very little idea about "Tom Riddle's war" or what reputation was being renewed. "It's stupid, really," Neil went on. "Why should Maurice have to run around Cursing people just because someone else did something bad a long time ago?"

Teddy had no answer for this that seemed fair, when it was put in those terms, so he changed the subject. "Where are you going to transform? The Shrieking Shack, er..." The Shrieking Shack was a pile of burnt and rotting splinters, and the tunnel to it a mile-long shallow ditch. Teddy thought he might have done well with counsel not to lose his own temper. "The Shrieking Shack isn't there anymore."

Neil, who'd been in the sanctuary and had probably never heard Dad's house named, looked at him blankly, then said, "I'm going to the gate after lunch on the day of the full moon, and Père Alderman or Vivian will meet me and take me back to France by Side-Along Apparition. Mum Evvie and Dad Nate haven't quite got the hang of the thing yet."

"Oh. I hadn't really thought of you leaving altogether," Teddy said. "That's a good way to handle it."

"If I can ever catch up on my homework after. It's very hard."

"Is there anything special you're having trouble with? I could help."

Neil looked at the floor and shook his head. There was a rumble of noise outside as the other first years came in. "I'll be fine," Neil muttered, and scuffled out to a table, where he sat with a girl with greasy pigtails and a skinny boy with an overbite. The boy looked at him nervously, then, with what appeared to be a great effort of will, smiled and passed him several sunflower petals. They started to turn these into paste with a mortar and pestle, and Teddy left, hoping to make his History of Magic class before Binns noticed that he wasn't in his accustomed seat.

He needn't have worried. When he got to Binns's classroom, Daniel Morse was leaning on the desk, looking nervously out at the five Ravenclaws who'd already arrived.

Teddy blinked at him, then said, "Sorry I'm late. I had... business to attend to."

"I'm aware of it, Mr. Lupin," Daniel said. He squeezed a piece of chalk he was holding hard enough that it broke with a loud crack. "Please take your seat."

Lizzie Richardson, looking conspicuously away from Teddy (as she had when he entered a room since the day they'd broken up), raised her hand. "Dr. Morse? Where is Professor Binns?"

Daniel took a deep breath. "As I understand it, he was called away to adjudicate a matter on the Council of Ghosts. Something to do with an unorthodox haunting. Quite interesting, really. But sudden. Headmistress Sprout isn't accustomed to finding History of Magic substitutes, so she asked if I might keep your attention with some of the historical material I've been working on with Madam Pomfrey."

"About normal medicine?" Geoffrey Phillips asked.

"Well, Muggle medicine, at any rate. I imagine that magical Healing is more normal here."

"They entirely refuse to accept any advances," Geoffrey said, leaning forward conspiratorially. "I'd certainly rather be ill in the real world."

Daniel frowned, then shrugged and said, "I suppose there's some validity to that. But I'm not really going to talk about Muggle science just now. This is a history class. As it happens, I love history, and I'm very excited to learn a whole new corner of it."

Geoffrey looked less than thrilled that not even an actual Muggle could be pulled into his tirades against the wizarding world, but refrained from further grumbling. Teddy supposed he was making up some reason for such a dastardly betrayal of common cause. He wondered what Granddad--a Muggle-born who'd fallen in love with a Black and yet somehow managed to also fall in love with computers--would make of Geoffrey and his mad notions, and decided to see if he could find out by using the Maze.

Daniel turned to the blackboard and wrote "The Galdreward Quarantine," then turned back to the class. "Does anyone know about this?"

Donzo raised his hand tentatively, and Daniel nodded at him. He said, "Didn't it start with a Muggle disease? Cholera, or smallpox?"

"Yes. But it was actually a plague outbreak. Not the big one, but a later one." Daniel smiled to himself, and Teddy thought of Dad's memory of Daniel as a child, delightedly giving every gory detail of that particular plague while they shared biscuits in his ugly Smeltings office. He supposed Daniel was thinking of the same thing, as the plague itself wasn't exactly a smiling sort of subject. Daniel went on, "Quarantines have a long history in the Muggle world as well as the magical world, but until then, neither had been able to achieve a perfect one. Galdreward's quarantine actually magically sealed off infected areas upon the first infection--one of them was here at Hogwarts. No one could get in or out, and neither could anything that was carrying it. The school Healer at the time was able to cure the infected boy, and there were no further cases, even though it was raging all around the school."

"And they just left the Muggles to die," Geoffrey said. "Typical."

Daniel made what looked like a Herculean effort not to roll his eyes, and didn't entirely succeed. "Mr. Phillips, is it?"

"Right."

"Magical Healing works with a witch or wizard's natural magic, much to my disappointment. All the spells and potions in the world won't work on a Muggle disease in a Muggle body, if they don't have something to work from. I've seen witches and wizards in many parts of the world risking the Statute of Secrecy and their own health in an attempt to help their Muggle neighbors, but it never works. The only time magic works on a Muggle is if the disease itself is magical in nature, or curse-borne." Daniel sat back lightly on Binns's desk. "Now, after the plague passed--that time, anyway--Galdreward worked to improve his quarantine, so it would take effect any time a certain danger threshold was passed. I don't pretend to understand the magical mechanics, but in terms of magical history, a series of quarantines in the seventeenth century contributed greatly to the success of the Statute of Secrecy in Britain..."

Teddy listened as the last of Daniel's nervousness melted away, and he once again became the boy who'd been Dad's student, thrilling to the dark turns of history, exploring the innovations that made it possible to come through on the other side. It wasn't like a lesson with Binns--Donzo was scribbling all of his usual notes, but Geoffrey gave up his muttering entirely. Connie Deverill looked nearly starstruck, and Lizzie broke her Teddy-boycott to ask for a new quill when she managed to wear down her nib taking down points of interest. Franklin Driscoll was occupying himself with sketching, as usual, for his Charmer comic strip, Hoggy Warty, but instead of the usual unrelated panels, he seemed to be designing a character for Daniel (as far as Teddy could tell, he was drawing Daniel as a human, instead of the anthropomorphic animals that represented the rest of the staff and students). Teddy wondered if this was what it had felt like to sit in one of Dad's classes. He decided to ask Uncle Harry.

When the bell rang, for the first time since Teddy had started taking History of Magic, he was sorry to leave.
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  • Just a quick index

    In the interest of getting an index up for someone who was interested (and I know I've done this before, but I can't find it!), this is the table of…

  • Broken (Harry Potter fic!)

    You know what? I can do some one-shots. I never did tell the story of how Harry came to live in 12GP, or why it was too small for Teddy to have his…

  • Stray, table of contents

    In the last entry, during which I was kvetching about my apparently eternal writer's block, Amanda asked about more in the Shifts-verse. I mentioned…