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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nine: Twists and Turns, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nine: Twists and Turns, pt. 3
Sorry about the slowness. I had some oddball allergic reaction to something, and the antihistamine put me to sleep during my prime writing time. :eyeroll:

Anyway, Teddy was getting fairly isolated in his quest to learn the Maze, and both Ruthless and Harry called him on it. He's responded with a burst of sociability, writing to Harry and each of the Potter children individually (including a story he's bouncing back and forth with James, in which Sirius finds himself in a curiously maze-like jungle while treasure-hunting), chatting with Ruthless about her life, and most recently, following Victoire out after she's been in a snit with a fellow Gryffindor, and possibly Marie, though Marie just says she's in a "weird mood." He brings her food from the Great Hall, as she didn't eat.

An earlier version of this scene appeared as a ficlet. I'll change it as it seems necessary to do so. :)

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




Teddy lost sight of Victoire when she went down the hill toward the Whomping Willow, but he could tell where she was by the swaying of the branches as it tried to reach her. The ground rose again, and he could see her, hair blown back in the wind, head down as she made a straight line toward Hagrid's. Teddy quickened his own pace.

The Willow made an apathetic grab at him--it had been lethargic since Teddy had destroyed the tunnel under it during his third year--and he ducked it easily. Professor Longbottom had been trying to rouse it, and Teddy had tried to help him last year, but no ministration they'd been able to think of had done any good. It had lost its purpose. Teddy imagined that it was depressed, but hadn't quite had the nerve to propose this idea to Professor Longbottom.

Victoire turned right and dipped out of sight again, but now Teddy could see the path she was following. It led to Buckbeak's paddock. Victoire was only in her first year of Care of Magical Creatures, so she wouldn't be observing Buckbeak and Dapple for school, but she knew them as well as she knew any of the family pets, and Teddy guessed she was just going to them for an understanding ear.

When he caught up with her, she was standing on the bottom slats of the fence, three dead rats hanging from one hand. She tossed one skyward as Teddy came up beside her. Dapple made an enthusiastic jump at it, but missed. Unconcerned, he scooped it off the ground and cantered into the shadows, munching happily. Victoire leaned forward and bowed to Buckbeak. Buckbeak bowed back, but he looked very discouraged with his experiment in parenting. She tossed him the remaining rats, then sighed heavily and put her head on top of her arms. Her hair swung forward and hid her face entirely.

He climbed up beside her and handed her the food he'd brought. "Just some bacon," he said when she turned to look. "Thought you might be hungry."

"Thanks," she muttered, and took a bit of it. She chewed it thoughtfully, and watched the hippogriffs.

"What was that about?" Teddy asked her. "I mean, with Marie. I saw that twit in your year who was complaining about screeching Veela. Docked him five points."

She smiled faintly. "Thank you."

Teddy shrugged and tossed a chicken leg to Buckbeak. "My first year, everyone was talking about werewolves. I think Greyback cured them of that. But I remember."

"I always forget about that," Victoire said. "I guess you know what it feels like."

"So what happened with Marie?"

She frowned. "I told her, and she didn't care. She said I was starting to sound like Grandmere on rampage."

"Oh."

"I've always been friends with my sisters. Why is Marie being like this?"

"I don't know. Maybe she's just trying to be... I don't know," Teddy finished. He tossed a bit of bacon to Dapple. "I don't have sisters. I mean, except Lily, in a way, but we'll never be at Hogwarts at the same time. I don't know what that's supposed to be like. You should ask your dad. He had a lot of his brothers with him, didn't he?"

Victoire ground her teeth. "I don't want to ask Dad."

"Is this about that letter you got? You've been moping around."

She was quiet so long that he didn't think she'd answer, then shrugged and threw the rest of the food he'd brought in for the hippogriffs. Buckbeak nudged Dapple over and let him get the choice bits. Victoire sighed again. "Story Shacklebolt asked me to go out," she said.

This answer was so unexpected that Teddy was momentarily flummoxed. The idea of Victoire going out with anyone was off-kilter at any rate. She was the same age Teddy had been when he'd first gone out with Ruthless, but that wasn't at all the same thing. He was sure of that. The entire notion was troubling, and he started to say so, but stopped himself when he realized that Victoire probably would think it was the same, and, Veela or no, he'd seen her with a short temper and a handful of knives. He braced himself and treated it as though it was as serious as her mood would indicate. "What's wrong with that?" he asked. "Story's... Story's a good bloke."

She grimaced, then frowned at him, seeming to expect something. When he didn't give it to her, she said, "Before school, Dad told me I couldn't go with anyone until after I've taken my O.W.L.s. I owled to ask him if he couldn't just think it over, and he still said no!" She climbed down and leaned her back against the fence. "It's not fair," she said. "Everyone else will be kissed before me."

Teddy jumped down beside her. "Is that all? Really?"

She gave him a very irritated glare. "Easy for you to say. You get kissed by everyone."

"I've kissed three girls," Teddy protested. "Just Ruthless and Lizzie and Laura. Three is a small part of everyone."

"Still." She let out another sigh. "Why shouldn't I go out? I'm pretty enough."

Teddy raised his eyebrows. "You know that's why, don't you?"

"What?"

"Victoire, you're so pretty, I think your dad's worried that if he lets you go out, you'll never have time to do anything else."

"You think I'm pretty?"

"Oh, please. Everyone thinks you're pretty. You think you're pretty."

She pushed her hair behind her ear. "All right. But Story's the only one to ask. Dad's got nothing to worry about. The boys never ask me for anything. They just--"

"--follow you around and do as you tell them," Teddy finished, thinking of her little army of pranksters.

She nodded emphatically, as if this sort of thing was simply to be expected, nothing unusual at all. "Exactly."

Teddy laughed. "That doesn't even strike you as a strange answer, does it?"

"Well, they don't do everything I tell them." She looked up shyly. "If I told you to kiss me, you'd completely ignore me."

Too late, a great, braying alarm sounded in Teddy's head. He moved off to one side as far as he could without offending her (which really wasn't very far) and said, "I wouldn't ignore you, I just wouldn't do it."

She took a step toward him. "Why not?"

There were a hundred reasons not to kiss Victoire. A thousand, maybe, or a million. The fact that Teddy couldn't quite think of any of them just now wasn't important.

Christmas, his mind tossed up. The first Christmas at Uncle Harry's after breaking up with her would be horrible.

Relieved that he'd thought of this, he took a deep breath. "I'm not going to kiss you just because you told me to."

"Why would you?"

And trips to Shell Cottage. They'd be quite uncomfortable, if I were allowed to visit at all.

Somewhere, echoing in his mind, he heard a bark of laughter.

"Well, I..."

Victoire looked at him, her eyebrows drawn in aggressively.

He shrugged. "I don't know. I suppose if I were to kiss you, which I'm not going to do, it would be because you're cute."

"Cute?"

"You know what I mean."

She bit her lip, and it was glistening in the sunshine, and it occurred to Teddy that he really ought to leave right now. There was certainly some sort of pressing business back at the castle. This was entirely absurd. Instead, he stayed where he was, and Victoire said, "Just once, Teddy. Please. I won't bother you about it again. I just don't want to be the last girl in my year to be kissed."

When she put it like that, it sounded reasonable, and it wouldn't be particularly chivalrous to refuse. He swallowed and said, "All right. Once. But if your dad finds out, he'll kill me." And he'll never let you come camping again, and it will be ridiculous during the summer, and...

He swallowed and put one finger on either side of her chin, just as if she were Laura or Lizzie or Ruthless, except that she wasn't, and as he watched her light blue eyes slip shut, he thought, This is Victoire, and then he kissed her.

At once, the world seemed to close in, like the walls in the Maze, but it all seemed brightly lit and friendly. None of the paths harbored monsters. He closed his eyes and kissed her again, more like a real kiss this time, with his hands fully on her face, and hers in his hair and...

Something nudged his ear and he opened his eyes to see a dead, bloodied rat. He drew away. Dapple was bobbing his head cheerfully.

Victoire opened her eyes, and Teddy remembered dozens more reasons why this had been a spectacularly bad idea. Blood from the rat dripped down onto his shoulder. He let go of Victoire entirely. "I'll take that as a sign," he said.

She nodded. "I, er... I promised Professor Longbottom that I'd help re-pot the Honking Daffodils. I'll go." She took a few steps away, then looked at Dapple and shook her head.

"Good save, Dapple," Teddy muttered. "Thanks a lot."

Dapple jumped, flapped his wings, and flew in a clumsy circle. Buckbeak cantered out and nipped at his rear leg to prompt him down before he flew too high. Disappointed, the younger hippogriff looked down at his talons when he reached the ground, then slumped off to the shadows. Buckbeak looked at Teddy with a species of helplessness.

"Give him a break, will you?" Teddy said. "He's doing his best."

Buckbeak nodded, and went after his son. A moment later, Teddy saw him demonstrating the proper, stable way to hold his wings in flight, and Dapple did his best to mimic it. Teddy stayed to watch for a long time, until Hagrid came back from Hogsmeade and invited him in for tea.
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Comments
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mrs_norris_mous From: mrs_norris_mous Date: May 17th, 2008 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you

Excellent as usual :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you

Thanks!
lucathia_rykatu From: lucathia_rykatu Date: May 17th, 2008 06:06 am (UTC) (Link)
The Whomping Willow is depressed??? Oh, I love that idea.

Aw Dapple, what a way to ruin the mood!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I think epilogue!James may have taken lessons from him.
From: kobegrace Date: May 17th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
"Before school, Dad told me I couldn't go with anyone until after I've taken my O.W.L.s. I owled to ask him if he couldn't just think it over, and he still said no!"

*smacks forehead* Oh, yeah! I'd forgotten that this happened! Oh, this was wonderful, Fern! *goes back to reread and adore it*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad that could still sneak up! :)
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: May 17th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
*Snorts*

Completely platonic. Chivalrous. Of course Teddy. We believe you. -Really-.

*Not much more to say. I have sort of read this section before after all :). Was wondering when it'd show up again...*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, sure it's chivalrous. I mean, don't you remember all those stories where Sir Galahad just had to kiss pretty girls because they asked him to? There are dozens, millions of them, right? ;p
From: erv2 Date: May 17th, 2008 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I knew this part was coming (your Future Teddy/Victoire stories really are my favorites even edging out the late surge for Ruthless and James) and yet even this well-known scene played out like it was all new. It was actually a little surprising that Teddy went through with it once we got there. The interjections of reasons were quite well done

And of course there's the fact that she knows and he doesn't which is too much fun every time.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make him go through with it after all! He was being stunningly uncooperative until she flatly asked.
mk_tortie From: mk_tortie Date: May 17th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I really love Buckbeak and Dapple :) And I loved Teddy's reasons why he shouldn't kiss her - so Remus...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
True. Though I think Teddy's reasons might be a bit more reasonable--Remus assumes that all the things bothering him will bother Dora, despite her assurances that they won't. Teddy's worried about uncomfortable times in close quarters, which are inevitable, if less serious than Remus's worries.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: May 17th, 2008 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)
You see this is the trouble with Teddy, he is just too amnable by half, letting Victoire talk him into kissing her, tut tut.

But seriously this was incrediably cute (not just because of Dapple) and even better than the ficlet in that we now know what context it is in. Especialy the fact that it is juxtaposed with his conversation and almost kiss with Ruthless. (Yes I still adore Ruthles and Teddy together, no that isn\'t going to change and if you continue to give us chapters like this I may well have a severe internal crisis as Victoire is utterly brillient.)

And almost as oblivious as Teddy is. \"She nodded emphatically, as if this sort of thing was simply to be expected, nothing unusual at all. \"Exactly.\"\" Because every girl has a horde of boys hanging on her every word. Pah! And I really do sympathise with how living together at school has complicated her relationship with Marie. I went trhough the same thing with my sister and it doesn\'t get any easier. I mean however well you get on with your sister its different to how they interact with their friends and they are trying to carve out a niche for themselves. I see the potential for this to get very messy.

And of course I adored Teddy only remembering all the reasons that it was a bad idea after he had a dead rat shoved in his face.

By the way did you see teh discussion on SQ about Teddy/Victoire, it was in teh epilogue post and there was one poster who stated that she found the element of growing up as family to be teh stumbling block in her viewing of Teddy/Victoire. I just thought that it was interesting, especially since my imediate instinct was to say, \"Go read the Teddyverse and then see if you still think that.\"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Victoire does take her power over boys utterly for granted, which may be why she doesn't understand why she has trouble getting along with other girls.

I missed the discussion. I've been so antisocial lately--not checking SQ, not checking my e-mail... Blah!

I think it is a legitimate problem, just like the age difference was a problem for R/T. That's most of what's creeping Teddy out here. (Of course, the simple solution is to make them less than close, just cousins who see each other twice a year on holidays, but could I do that? No, of course not.)

Edited at 2008-05-17 02:15 pm (UTC)
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: May 17th, 2008 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Poor Teddy and Victoire--are all of their kisses going to be interrupted? ;~)

Loved this whole scene, especially Teddy's reasons to not kiss Victoire. Looking forward to seeing the fallout--at least, how Teddy views it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
are all of their kisses going to be interrupted?

I think Victoire may end up having to put a bell around James's neck...
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the Potterverse, I think a tree could be depressed.
From: renesears Date: May 17th, 2008 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic! Hope you're feeling better. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Considerably, yes, though I'm sleeping too much!!! Whenever will I write if my insomnia is cured?
ardie_bea From: ardie_bea Date: May 17th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
aaaaahhhhhh. That's better! I'll now be able to go to church tomorrow without any anxiety about the world whatsoever, completely awash in a sea of T/V fluffiness. I'm so glad you're better, and I'm afraid it's almost entirely for selfish reasons. Thank you, and I really did enjoy the way you've adapted the fic to fit the broader story. The Maze made another reappearance (though in a friendly way), and there was a suspiciously Sirius moment that let me know that he really would go through with it after all (like another reader I couldn't quite believe it 'till I'd read it again). Must be fun having the Marauders as Guardian Angels XP!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Must be fun having the Marauders as Guardian Angels XP!

I'm sure it's a job the boys never envisioned for themselves, but they seem to have gotten pretty good at it. :)
purebristles From: purebristles Date: May 17th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that Teddy is having fun... or some semblance of it, anyhow. The cusp of childhood's always slightly uncomfortable, but he looks like he's doing okay... for now, at least.

Brilliant work, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
With the girls, he does great, I think. Better than most. But with the other growing-up stuff? Eh....
willowbough From: willowbough Date: May 17th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry you've been under the weather--spring is hard on allergy sufferers--glad that you're feeling better now. Liked the re-envisioned T/V scene, done from his POV, with all the reasons he shouldn't kiss her or worse, enjoy it. Nice touch with the depressed Whomping Willow too.

A bit squeamish, I confess, at the thought of eating right after handling bloodied, dead animals for the hippogriffs' dinner. Wouldn't a neatnik like Victoire want to Scourgify her hands first?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good point. Though I think Victoire is more about order than cleanliness--she'd make sure that all of the rats were hanging by the same amount of tail from her hand, but not be especially worried about germs they were carrying. Or, she might have sterilized them before Teddy got there.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: May 17th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aaww! Teddy, you are so like your father it's unbelievable :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
He definitely has a healthy amount of Remus in him. :)
From: daphne_23 Date: May 17th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lovely scene - I like Victoire's slight manipulativeness, Teddy's clueleness, and Bill as an overprotective father! - although I still seem to ship Teddy/Ruthless - no idea why as you write Teddy/Victoire perfectly convincingly and it's not as if I didn't know it was coming... :) Oh well it is probably due to my inherent contrariness. Where is the original ficlet for this? I had a quick flick through the archived lists and didn't manage to track it down, although my comp (or rather the university computer system, yes I am meant to be revising) loads everything so slowly that I didn't check everywhere!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 17th, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
The ficlet is here... I changed the end, and of course switched PoVs. I had trouble spotting it, too; it's buried in a list.
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