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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twelve: Slippage, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twelve: Slippage, pt. 3
Things are distinctly chilly between Harry and Teddy, though this hasn't stopped Harry from sitting by Teddy's bed in the hospital wing while he recovers from a magical mishap with the Maze (which he won't discuss with anyone). Harry is up at Hogwarts for a week, teaching Robards' classes. Meanwhile, during Teddy's ill-advised Maze trip, he heard thoughts from Greyback and the pirate Brimmann, as well as getting up close and personal with Bella. And when he was kicked out, the Maze cracked. Now, he and Madam Pomfrey have both heard unexplained whispering (she dismisses it as ghosts in the wall), and Phineas Nigellus is watching over him from a portrait frame, apparently of his own accord and not at someone else's bidding.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

On Tuesday afternoon, Teddy had a mild relapse of his initial symptoms--he couldn't seem to move his fingers, and, though he could understand what people around him were saying, he found it frustratingly hard to respond to them. It didn't last long--forty minutes, at most--but it was quite enough for Madam Pomfrey to insist on another day or two of confinement. Ruthless snuck Checkmate in for a visit and Teddy enjoyed twenty minutes of solid purring before Madam Pomfrey stopped pretending not to notice and sent them back. Victoire and Marie came with a new pot for the aethracandia, as they'd discussed the subject and decided that Victoire's pink ceramic flower-pot with glittery high-heeled shoes painted on it was probably not to Teddy's taste.

"The plant is a present from Victoire," Marie said. "But the pot is from me." She presented it as Victoire fussed about with the original, preparing it for the transfer. The new flower-pot was simple red clay, though Marie had carefully carved a picture of a hawk onto it. "For your Patronus," she explained.

"Do you mind if I take a cutting?" Victoire asked. "I can get it to take root again, and then we'll both have one."

"You really don't have to give me the plant," Teddy said. "I could keep the cutting, if Madam Pomfrey wants me to have it around..."

Victoire gave him a stern look. "Madam Pomfrey asked if I had a second one, as she wants you to breathe more of it. A cutting won't do, and I'm only going to take a small one for myself, so you don't miss any. I asked Professor Longbottom for some good fertilizer, so it will grow back quickly." With an air of professional competence, she swept up the new pot, filled it with fresh earth and some fertilizer from a cloth bag, and started to re-pot the aethracandia. Looking down at it studiously, she said, "I, er... cleaned your room."

"I told her not to," Marie said.

"I couldn't help it. I started when we were getting things out of the way so they could take care of you the other morning, and it didn't make sense to stop."

"Did you touch the Maze?" Teddy asked, alarmed.

"The what?"

"The wooden box... on the floor..."

"Oh, that. It was broken. I put it in your wardrobe."

"Did it do anything?"

Victoire and Marie looked at each other warily. "No, Teddy," Victoire said at last. "It didn't do anything." She bit her lip. "There was a letter from my dad--I didn't read it, but a lot of letters fell out of your jacket when I went to hang it up, and..." She looked anxiously at Marie.

"I didn't say anything to him," Teddy muttered. The idea of telling Bill that he'd kissed Victoire was the best of many good reasons not to repeat that particular experiment.

"Say anything about what?" Marie asked, looking avidly between them.

"I was thinking about having a surprise party for Aunt Gabrielle's birthday in July," Victoire lied smoothly. "I asked Teddy to help me plan it, but not tell Dad, as he'll tell Maman, and she won't be able to keep it a secret."

Marie didn't look like she believed it for a minute, but neither Teddy nor Victoire gave her anything to hang her suspicions on.

After they left, Madam Pomfrey gave him a Sleeping Draught, and he sank into sleep untroubled by dreams of any greater depth than a garden full of aethracandia plants, in which he, Victoire, Ruthless, and--oddly--James, who was for some reason a third year at Hogwarts, played a lazy game of cards under a friendly sun. At one point during the night, he opened his eyes into a different sort of dream, where a pretty girl with dark red hair sat at the bedside of a sallow boy with a hooked nose. The boy seemed to have been the victim of a nasty Jelly-Legs Jinx, and, though Teddy couldn't hear many words, he did catch, "get him, you'll see..." and "thinks he can get away..." The girl's lips were pressed together tightly, and she didn't say anything at all. Teddy blinked drowsily and went back to his other dream. The next time he moved, he was fairly sure the voices were real, just beyond the veil of sleep.

"I've never heard of it doing anything like this."

"Never? Not even once?" Teddy identified this voice as Uncle Harry's.

"Never. Harry, I promise, I would never have given Tonks's son something I thought would actually hurt him. I thought it might frighten him, and I worried about that, but this is far beyond anything we've seen it do with any trainee."

Maddie, Teddy thought, and tried to open his eyes. Unfortunately, the potion was still working, and he was trapped at the border of sleep.

There was a heavy thud, and the scrape of a chair, then Uncle Harry said, "We had a fight. Do you suppose that's why it happened?"

"It could be, if he did something foolish because of it. That wouldn't make it your fault, though. What was it about? I mean, unless it's not my business."

Uncle Harry sighed deeply. "It's really not. It's between Teddy and me. It had to do with his parents. Hermione said... Oh, she has a mad theory about Teddy feeling guilty, of all things. She says he thinks he's supposed to be miserable. They wouldn't want that. Why would he think that?"

The idea that Uncle Harry had taken him to Hermione to solve, like some particularly thorny maths problem, was infuriating, but he still couldn't seem to wake up.

There was a slight pop, then a soft sound, and Teddy guessed Maddie had Conjured a cushioned chair for herself. "I don't know," she said. "The mind is a Mystery for a reason. And it's not my Division."

"I want him out of this," Uncle Harry said, but it didn't come out like an order at all.

"I do, too," Maddie said. "But we've reached a point where it's Teddy's choice." Her voice suddenly became sharper. "And I think he's listening."

Uncle Harry's hand fell heavily onto his shoulder. "Teddy? Are you awake?"

Teddy tried to answer, but only came up with a non-committal grunt.

A moment later, a tingling energy went through him, and he was able to open his eyes. Bright sunlight was coming through the window, and Uncle Harry was pointing a wand at him. As soon as he was satisfied that Teddy was awake, he said, "I want you to talk to Maddie."

"What did you tell her?" Teddy asked. He'd only meant to find out how much she knew, but by the way Uncle Harry drew back, he supposed he could have found a better way to put it. He didn't bother to correct himself--Uncle Harry seemed to be talking to everyone about this.

"She knows what happened on the night we talked about," Uncle Harry said coolly. "I needed advice from an Unspeakable once, and your grandmother said I could trust Maddie." He nodded to her and left.

Maddie pulled her chair closer to the bed, then waved her wand to block sound. "What did you do?"

"I touched the Guide," Teddy admitted. "It was Bellatrix. She was laughing at me."

Maddie closed her eyes and rubbed her head. "Touched her. What good did you think you would do?"

"I don't know. I guess I'd best start looking into different careers."

"No." She opened her eyes and leaned forward. "Not unless you want to. If you want me to take the Maze, I'll take it, and as your mum's friend, I'll be very glad to see you rid of it. But this wouldn't happen if you weren't very well attuned to this sort of work. If I took the Maze, it would just be something else, wouldn't it? You'd find a way to see what you need to see."

"Not everything," Teddy said. In his mind, he saw an ill-formed shadow in the smoke, saw it breaking into blurry prisms as he opened his eyes.

Maddie shook her head sharply and straightened up, pushing her hair behind her ear and becoming business-like. "Teddy, I want you to tell me everything you were doing with the Maze before this happened. I'll try to put it together and figure out what went wrong. Don't use it again until I've got an answer."

Teddy nodded. He could always use the time to fix it, so she wouldn't find out he'd managed to break it in the bargain. Slowly, he started to tell her about his search for Brimmann, about his visit with Sirius, about Greyback's strange turn as a Guide. She noted it all in a scroll, which she tucked into her bag before she left.

She stood up and ran her fingers over Teddy's forehead. "I'm sorry I got you into this," she said.

"I wanted to do it."

"Yes, but..." She smiled ruefully. "Your mum would have my head for this. Please don't hurt yourself anymore."

Teddy nodded. He had no desire to spend more time in the hospital wing.

As she left, he glanced over at the portrait of the boy with steam coming out of his ears, and caught the last movement of green robes as Phineas Nigellus slipped out of the frame.
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cornedbee From: cornedbee Date: June 5th, 2008 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
What a pleasant surprise to wake up to.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be of service.
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: June 5th, 2008 07:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah so Teddy is intending to stay in the hospital wing right up until the time when Harry\'s leaves. Good plan there my boy. Although I had be the only one who finds this relapse a trifle scary, maybe just because it has the connections in our Muggle minds to a stroke. I thought that Teddy\'s \"Oh it doesn\'t really matter that I can\'t move my hands or speak, I have bigger problems, much bigger ones.\"

And Teddy is obviously ignoring the fact that Harry sometimes talks to his friends about things that are bothering him. Strange that.

Its odd, from an purely lierary apreciation viewpoint I can applaude your success in making Teddy really feel like an angry teenager, so much so that I\'m sure that the other teenagers in your audience will be going \"oh yeah, that, I did/have done/am doing that\". I know that I am.

But at the same time we can see how much this is hurting Harry and I feel like give Teddy a good shaking.

I do wonder how much of that stems from teh fact that we have lived in Harry\'s head for seven years and thus must feel a certain amount of protectivness towards him. If we were reading this simply as a new novel from the aclaimed author Fern, revisting our own Teddy and the guy who we only know as Uncle Harry, which side would we be coming down on?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that Hogwarts students probably have a much different scale of what's medically important than Muggles would have. Leg-locker curses and Tarantallegra have serious neurological implications, too, but no one really thinks of them. That Teddy has done the magical equivalent of grabbing that electric fence from Jurassic Park probably wouldn't occur to him, because he's seen weirder stuff than what his symptoms are.

And Teddy is obviously ignoring the fact that Harry sometimes talks to his friends about things that are bothering him.

What??? You mean, Harry might talk to Hermione the way he talks to Donzo? No way! ;p Of course, Teddy has told precisely no one about this.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: June 5th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Do portraits have connections beyond- wait. Wait. Phineas was involved in this the first time. OH, GOD.

I love the mysteries involved here! Freaking OUT. But love it!

'Touching' is an understatement. And these symptoms seem to be Teddy slipping to the other world.

And I forgot for a second Snape was dead, lol. I was like- why is he- oh! He's dead!

Time, death... all getting mixed up. I LOVE IT!

Worried as hell, though. Oh well, at least we DO know he lives to a ripe-old-age, right?
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2008 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel so dense now. I hadn't forgotten Phineas was one of the makers of the maze, but I hadn't connected that with his being an ancestor of Teddy's, and then turning up to watch over him...

Now Teddy just needs to make the connection and get him to talk to him.
tree_and_leaf From: tree_and_leaf Date: June 5th, 2008 08:30 am (UTC) (Link)
This is all rather worrying (but in a good way!). Teddy's 'relapse' is rather terrifying, though he seems curiously blasé about it (legitimately from the point of view of characterisation, I think - that's wizards for you - "Oh, it's just the ghosts in the walls")

Also very much enjoying the interplay between Teddy and Victoire, and Marie's suspicions...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Wizards may be too surrounded by wonders to pay attention to new ones--there's a theme to explore. It may actually be part of this story, though I'm not entirely sure.
From: glynngriffiths Date: June 5th, 2008 08:48 am (UTC) (Link)
The idea that Uncle Harry had taken him to Hermione to solve, like some particularly thorny maths problem, was infuriating, but he still couldn't seem to wake up. Ah, I'm totally with Teddy on this! I've always found Hermione's tendency to psychoanalyse from afar and have it all work out neatly (like a thorny maths problem indeed) quite maddening. But I imagine she's more adept and subtle about it at 32 than at 15. And Harry always talks his problems out with his friends; Teddy's perspective is quite different, and he's isolating himself, so perhaps its hard to understand that. Also, the fantastic irony of Harry saying that Teddy shouldn't assume guilt that isn't necessarily his and that his parents wouldn't want him to feel was incredible - I was smacking my forehead and going, 'Harry! A little introspection, please!'

I was also tremendously relieved to see Maddie; she felt like an anchor in the turbulent sea of the last few installments.

Phineas is still lurking... has anyone else noticed? Or thought to ask him about Teddy and the Maze? He's kind of an (the?) expert, after all!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I've always found Hermione's tendency to psychoanalyse from afar and have it all work out neatly (like a thorny maths problem indeed) quite maddening. But I imagine she's more adept and subtle about it at 32 than at 15.

I'm not convinced she is, but that doesn't change the idea that Harry would immediately go to her for explanations of someone's behavior. That she's never entirely hit the nail on the head wouldn't deter him. And honestly, I know a lot of Hermiones in this regard. Love them dearly, take everything they say with a grain of salt.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just caught up on the last two chapters, and this is brilliant as usual. I was a bit worried about this story because as understandable as CAPSLOCK!Harry from OOtP was, I didn't find reading about it particularly enjoyable. But your Teddy - perhaps because I am much more similar to him than to Harry - makes more sense to me. It is still incredibly painful, and I commend you for having the stomach to write the horribly painful things both said to each other during their argument, but at the same time completely understandable. I just lost my grandmother, and if I had a resurrection stone, I can't imagine not wanting to bring her back for one last conversation, no matter how dangerous or foolish I knew it was. And that's true even though she was eighty-one, and I had her for twenty-one years, and I'm thank G-d not an orphan who lost his whole family before he was two weeks old. For Teddy, who never knew the parents who died before reaching middle-age, let alone living full lives, I fully understand how painful it is to think that Harry could have brought Remus and Tonks back but didn't.

And I love Phineas. And Maddie. And Victoire. And Ruthless. And Daniel. And the maze, which I want, again despite knowing its a bad idea. Oh, and Teddy, even when he's being a prat.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I will always have an unholy love for Phineas. God knows why.

Harry's going to need to come up with something more powerful than a philosophy to explain to Teddy why he can't see his parents for a few minutes, or have them back. "Oh, you think they wouldn't want to see me if it meant a little discomfort? Or is it that you think I'm not as smart as you? Or...?" It would work better if Harry hadn't been able to call them back and have healthy, or at least non-harmful, contact with them.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: June 5th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
*facepalm* Dude, I forgot that Phineas was one of the original inventors of the Maze! In the last chapterlet, I thought, "Oh, someone's having P.N. watch over Teddy by portrait, OK."

Er, what was in that letter from Bill? Have we found out yet?

Looking down at it studiously, she said, "I, er... cleaned your room." *giggles* Victoire is adorable, I just love her. ...pink ceramic flower-pot with glittery high-heeled shoes painted on it... :D :D So cute!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
We haven't found out, and I sort of wish I'd had her bring it down, since it's not terribly important and I don't want to make it seem that way by withholding it.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: June 5th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy nodded. He could always use the time to fix it, so she wouldn't find out he'd managed to break it in the bargain.
Oh, AWESOME plan, Teddy. Great.

It is unfortunate that Teddy is having such an attack of the fifteens, preventing him from doing anything sensible. But I guess the kids going to the authorities when it made sense would have meant most of the books would have been plotless!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
But I guess the kids going to the authorities when it made sense would have meant most of the books would have been plotless!

Yes. It's so much easier in the kid's POV. Coming up with reasons in Shifts and Shades why the adults didn't just take the hell over several times was way harder than giving Teddy an attack of the fifteens. :)
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 5th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was a decided relief that Maddie showed up--even though Teddy lacked the common sense to tell her that the Maze was broken. Still, common sense isn't a virtue often found in the average 15-year-old.

On a lighter note, I'm now very curious about Bill's letter to Teddy. At least it wasn't a Howler!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
It's probably a good thing Teddy forgot about it, or he'd have been in an ecstasy of terror that it had exploded in Gryffindor Tower and started screaming about HOW DARE YOU TOUCH MY LITTLE GIRL THAT WAY, AFTER WE'VE FED YOU AND WELCOMED YOU AND.... ;p
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 5th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, for heaven's sake, Teddy! Harry is just trying to get to you, and is using all the resources he has.

It was a relief that Maddie showed up, though it is frustrating that he's not telling her everything. God he's so fifteen! (Worst thing is, I'm pretty sure I was exactly like that when I was his age- now I feel like I ought to apologise to everyone)

I loved the interaction with the girls, and am intrigued at the role Phineas will play. The Maze reveals itself more and more dangerous each chapterlet, and that just makes my curiosity grow into bigger proportions every day.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, for heaven's sake, Teddy! Harry is just trying to get to you, and is using all the resources he has.

Well, yeah, but I think we all have that acutely embarrassing teenage moment of realizing that "OMG, my problems have been talked about to grown-ups and THEY ALL KNOW!!! Thanks a lot, Mom/Dad/Whoever!"
From: kobegrace Date: June 5th, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Splendid -- and sweet, to boot. The whole "I cleaned your room" part was pure gold, and the concerned!loving!Harry/Maddie bits are so very, very heartwarming.

And the whole Grayful business has got me Officially Intrigued. My mind's entertaining many a theory as to what's really going on with that, each idea as ridiculous as the one before it. As always, it'll be interesting to see how things turn out.

One more question: Has Andromeda been apprised of what's happened, or is there a "What Granny Doesn't Know Won't Hurt Her" movement going on? (We had a lot of those when I was in my teens.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I believe this may be a case of "What Andromeda doesn't know won't get Teddy pulled out of school and Maddie censured." ;p She probably got a note that he got a touch of spell damage, but as Poppy doesn't know what from, and she's the one most likely to tell, she probably is under the impression that he got into a duel with someone.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'm VERY glad that Maddie has shown up. I was starting to really wonder where she's been all this time. While granted, she legitimately did not expect Teddy to be able to manipulate the Maze with this level of skill at this age, she knows that she's given him a dangerous toy to play with. If I were here, I would have been having weekly, or at the very least fortnightly meetings with Teddy to check in and see what's going on.

Alot of people are finding that Teddy's shying away from authority figure help makes sense given his age, but I'm finding it a trifle out of character. One of the things I always appreciated about Teddy has been that he is refreshingly willing to trust and/or follow the common sense advice of adults. I think it may have less to do with his age than that the Maze is messing with his head. It's like he's getting addicted to it or something.

Does any of this make sense?

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Phew!

I don't think Maddie had any idea how dangerous it could be for Teddy--this isn't a normal interaction with the Maze at all. For most trainees, it's sort of like advanced tea leaves or crystal balls. But something made Teddy's interaction with it very different.

In the case of Teddy's drawing away, I think a huge part of it is that this time, he's aware that he's the one screwing up. He sees the Maze as a test for his adulthood, and he wants to prove himself, so he can say, "Look what I can do." Screwing up doesn't help, and he believes he can fix anything that's wrong. Like Maddie, he doesn't realize that he was seeing things he shouldn't have, because he doesn't have a frame of reference. He just thinks there's a little, itsy-bitsy problem, and he needs to fix it. That's all. And he won't have to lose anyone's respect.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: June 5th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very good, Fern. Harry taking his problems to Hermione still rings true. But Teddy now has Snape cameoing in his dreams? Poor bastard.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I wouldn't want him in mine. :)
ronkaperplexous From: ronkaperplexous Date: June 5th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Your mum would have my head for this. Please don't hurt yourself anymore."

Teddy nodded. He had no desire to spend more time in the hospital wing.

What a loaded line. I suspect physical hurt isn't what she meant, Teddy.

Victoire is too adorable with the room cleaning. I do have one small, teensy personal quibble with that section, though: the line "Victoire lied smoothly" seems off to me, coming directly after her being nervous about the room, biting her lip, and looking at Marie "anxiously". I don't think she'd recover so quickly. But that's a personal thing. Another personal thing: fic is in need of more Andromeda! :P

I wonder why Teddy's dreaming of Lily and Snape.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 6th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. That's a good point. She's nervous about admitting that she cleaned his room because he told her not to, but she's so perennially nervous that lying smoothly might not be her strong suit in any case.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 6th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Loved this, as usual. harry going to Hermione makes sense, though I sort of think the person who might have more insight is actually Ginny. She's had the whole " scary interation with magical object/ isolation thing... but then I suppose she might just decide to stay out it too.

Forgot that Phineas was a creator of this. You create such an awesome Phineas!
cornedbee From: cornedbee Date: June 6th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Ginny would be prone to panic in this case.
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