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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Fifteen: Blistering Bloodspots, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Fifteen: Blistering Bloodspots, pt. 3
The adults have--for the moment--contained the plague in the seven initial victims, who are in stasis. Hogwarts is under lockdown. Daniel has tried to talk Teddy out of his guilt, but as Teddy is actually guilty (of carelessness rather than attempted murder, granted), it doesn't entirely work, and comes out in a dream where Teddy sees Bella dancing with Greyback. He asks her why he never has nightmares about Dolohov, and she says, "Antonin isn't really in this."

Meanwhile, Sprout has promised to keep the school going as normally as possible, despite the absence of some teachers who'd been off the grounds when the Quarantine fell.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

There was no conversation to be had with people in stasis, but Teddy went down to the hospital wing after dinner every day anyway, partly to help Madam Pomfrey brew potions, mainly to make sure they never got far from his mind. Daniel didn't like it, but Madam Pomfrey just insisted that he never look into any of the patients' eyes, which wasn't difficult, as their eyes were closed.

By Wednesday, Victoire was coming with him (he hadn't quite got around to telling her just how her sister had ended up here), and by the end of the first week of the Quarantine, Donzo and Corky were coming as well. Donzo brought his guitar and sat on the windowsill between Maurice's bed and Marie's, and played cheerful tunes.

"If Maurice were awake," Corky said on Saturday night, "he'd be telling you to knock it off, or at least make Madam Pomfrey cough up a few Galleons."

"I don't think so," Donzo said, picking his way through a country song (every time Teddy thought he'd hit the end of Donzo's musical tolerance, he managed to try something stranger than before). "Though I'd guess he'd make sure Higgs was here covering my charitable impulses for the Charmer."

"I'll call her," Corky offered, raising his wand.

"I'll leave," Donzo said. He twisted the end of the melody and segued into something that sounded classical to Teddy's ear.

Victoire finished whispering to Marie, squeezed her hand, and turned around. "I bet they like hearing you play."

Donzo shrugged. He played for another ten minutes, then Madam Pomfrey sent everyone back to their Houses.

The next day, Teddy followed the boundary of the Quarantine around the out wall of Hogwarts, at least until he got to the Forbidden Forest, where the school boundaries became tricky because of the magical nature of the woods. He started in anyway--Madam Pomfrey thought she might be able to brew the needles of a Perambulating Pine as a substitution for a Creeping Spruce in the Bloodspots potion--but a centaur appeared from the shadows and warned him off without saying a word. He went back to the greenhouses instead, and helped Professor Longbottom and Hannah go through an inventory of seeds for anything that might be useful. They'd examined the Fireflower in the hope that it would have curative properties, but nothing had come of it.

"We're fine with Wolfsbane, thank God," Professor Longbottom said. "I'll bring some up to the castle tomorrow so you can start Neil's potion. Everything else is standard."

On Monday, Teddy went to his first art lesson. He'd never been able to draw a stick figure without coaching, and nothing in the first lesson seemed likely to change that, but the sudden quarantine had made tea with Professor McGonagall and Dean Thomas seem off kilter, and she'd hinted strongly in Transfiguration that Teddy ought to make an effort to get to know Dean. Teddy found himself spending most of the lesson trying to figure out why Dean was so special that Dad (and, indirectly, Mum) had died to save him. He seemed nice enough, and was a patient teacher, but Teddy was left with the same feeling he'd always had--a guilty knowledge that, if he were faced with the choice, he'd save Dad instead of Dean, and then Dad would yell at him about making such a selfish choice, and they would all be miserable. For his part, Dean tried a few times to make eye contact with Teddy, but always looked away quickly. "Please come again," he muttered softly at the end of it.

Teddy went back to his room and made a mess of trying to draw Checkmate. When he decided it was hopeless, he did his homework and went to bed. For once, his sleep was dreamless and restful, so naturally, it was interrupted.

He was aware first of Checkmate's claws digging into his chest as she leapt, and when he fluttered his eyes, the room was full of light. At first, he thought the Maze was doing something new, possibly getting ready to explode, but then he realized that the light was swirling at the ceiling.

He rubbed his eyes and sat up as the Patronus dropped and formed itself into a huge bear. It looked like it ought to growl and snarl, but instead, its jaw dropped open and Corky's voice came though, sounding curt, but not at all threatening:

"Lupin, you'd best get down to Slytherin right now. You're needed. I'll explain when you get here. I'll be waiting outside." The bear broke into swirls of light, then disappeared.

Teddy blinked himself fully awake and looked at his clock. It was three-thirty in the morning.

He rummaged for a dressing gown and dug the Marauder's Map out of his book bag. Professor Longbottom was patrolling near the Great Hall, but he was alone and Teddy thought he could be avoided. Everyone else was sleeping, or at least still, until he got to Slytherin House, where Corky was pacing outside the entrance, and Neil Overby and Honoria Higgs were moving about in the Common Room.

Teddy rubbed his face vigorously, lit his wand, and went out as carefully as he could. He had to wait a few minutes for Professor Longbottom to head down a corridor before he could make a run for the stairs that led to Slytherin, but otherwise, he was undisturbed.

Corky was still in his daytime clothes--blue jeans and a hooded sweatshirt with the name of Muggle school his sister attended on it, with half-untied trainers flopping on his feet--and looked like he'd been grabbing at handfuls of his hair for a while. When Teddy got there, he sighed. "Oh, good. You might have sent your Patronus back, you know; I wasn't even sure you'd come."

"Sorry. I'm still asleep. What's going on?"

Corky shook his head and turned to the blank wall that concealed the entrance to the Slytherin Common Room and said, "We solve our own problems." As the door opened, he glanced over his shoulder and said, "I changed it. Thought Maurice would like it."

Teddy nodded, thinking that he hadn't done anything in a prefect's capacity to make people think about the sick Gryffindors, and he really ought to, but he couldn't think of what Marie might like. He'd have to ask Victoire. He cleared this from his head and followed Corky into the green-tinged underworld of the Slytherin Common Room. "What's going on?"

"Teddy!" Before Corky could even offer an explanation, Neil Overby was running across the room, eyes wide enough for the whites to show all the way around the irises. "Teddy, the full moon is next week!"


"Next week, Teddy. The moon!"

Teddy pinched his own cheek to stay awake. "I talked to Professor Longbottom. He says there's enough"--he yawned--"wolfsbane for the potion all year and--"

"But where am I meant to transform?" Neil started pacing the room in great strides, going back and forth between Teddy and Corky, who were near the door, and Honoria, who was at the fireplace. "I can't be in my room, even with Wolfsbane, that's not enough when there are other boys right there. And I can't go to the Forest. Vivian said that there are things there that are bigger than I am. And I can't just wander about the grounds, and--"

Teddy caught him on one of his circuits and led him to a sofa, then sat down on an ottoman across from him. Corky sank gratefully into a chair, and Honoria edged closer. Teddy looked at her crossly. "This isn't an interview."

She drew her eyebrows together. "I'm worried about him," she said. "I've been up with him all night. Corky and I."

Neil was looking at her with complete trust. Teddy didn't share it, but supposed his own mistakes this year would make a leak to the Charmer quite a tame problem. He turned back to Neil. "Listen, I know you always go back to the pack to transform, and that's good, but the Wolfsbane Potion really ought to keep you from doing anything drastic. My dad used to lock himself in his office. I don't think he even howled, or everyone would have known."

"It's easy to remember not to howl," Neil said. "But I don't have an office."

"I'm sure one of the teachers would let you--"

Neil leaned forward. "I can't! I dig sometimes, and I--" His voice dropped to a whisper. "I mark things."

"Even on the Wolfsbane?"

Neil nodded miserably. "With the Wolfsbane, you know you shouldn't, but you just want to... I don't know. It's like you want to make sure no one else is wandering around in your territory without knowing it's yours. And, you know, you have to go anyway, and it's not like you can just head off to the nearest boys' toilet."

"But Dad..."

"Could clean up his own space before anyone else saw it," Honoria said coolly. "Really, Lupin. I don't think Neil wants someone else to have to do that."

Teddy thought about all the memories Dad had given him on the ring, then tried to imagine the man whose head he'd been in having to cleanse his office rug after "marking" it. An image came into his mind, unbidden, of Dad pulling all of the curtains and crawling around his office, weak from the transformation, trying to clean up all of the evidence before anyone came to check on him. All of his education, all of his manners, all of his compassion... none of it would matter. None of it had mattered, not on those mornings with his nose to the carpet. Teddy tried to tell himself that it was just Honoria's unfounded assumption, compounded by his own imagination... but somehow, he knew that those mornings had happened. It was, he thought, knowledge he would have preferred not to have.

"What am I going to do?" Neil whispered.

"I don't know," Teddy said. "Yet. But I'll find something. I promise. I might have to talk to a teacher. Is that all right?"

"Don't tell them about... you know."

"All right. I'll say I'm not sure enough about the Wolfsbane, since it's my first year brewing it. That'll be enough for them. I'll find something for you."
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amamama From: amamama Date: June 26th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Amazing - Honoria is at least slightly compassionate? Wow... Poor Neil, though. Adding another layer of shame to the transformation stress really isn't going to do him any good, but hopefully they'll manage to fix that.

And how long before the plague spreads - or is healed?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh. Yes, Teddy hasn't really noticed it, because he's been a little wrapped up in his own stuff this year, but Honoria has discovered someone who thinks she can do no wrong, and of course, this means that this person is deserving of her considerable strengths in his defense.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 26th, 2008 07:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent as always, Fern. I've gotten a bit out of the habit of commenting, but I'm still thoroughly enjoying. I'll offer a couple things I noticed as an apology.

-The next day, Teddy followed the boundary of the Quarantine around the out (outer?) wall of Hogwarts

-Corky was still in his daytime clothes--blue jeans and a hooded sweatshirt with the name of (the?) Muggle school his sister attended on it

Thanks for sharing!

--erv2 (didn't bother to log in)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, thanks; those were both goofs.
rotae From: rotae Date: June 26th, 2008 07:10 am (UTC) (Link)
He asks her why he never has nightmares about Dolohov, and she says, "Antonin isn't really in this."

Okay, I'm DYING to know what the hell that is all about XDDD

a guilty knowledge that, if he were faced with the choice, he'd save Dad instead of Dean, and then Dad would yell at him about making such a selfish choice, and they would all be miserable

That made me LOL because it's just so TRUE. I would TOTALLY feel the same way if I were in Teddy's position. Hell, I DO think that way, and I'm not. LOLOL XDDDD


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's getting castigated for having my very own feelings on the subject. And yes, he'd be made to feel guilty about it. You can almost hear Remus doing it... which makes me miss him even more.
summoner_lenne9 From: summoner_lenne9 Date: June 26th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Was wondering if you forgot about Neil actually :).

That's one thing though. In Teddy's very hectic year, I remember at first you mentioned he had a few Prefect guard duties, but you haven't mentioned it lately?

Gah, poor Remus. As much as I adore him, Teddy only sees the good. Which is great! But there were very hard parts to his life as well (and at times, OH could he be a bloody IDIOT) and... well ya.

And wow, Honoria seems to finally be getting a soul! Or compassision. Which ever :).

Also, I loled at how Teddy thinks about Dean, because in the world of JKR and her writing she mentioned how basically Remus and Dora got it because Arthur lived, and as much as I love Arthur my reaction was basically "OH you should have died -_-." Which is the EXACT same thing, lol.

Hey, also, two questions. What happened to Frankie's sister Carny? Shouldn't she be a first year? I don't remember her being mentioned in this story.

Also, if the deal with the wolfsbane is it can't keep without a magical fire, aka why Dora had to visit Remus at Smeltings... couldn't Remus have HAD a magical fire, then you know, done one of those lovely muggles-can't-see-this charms on it? o_0. Or would it be too dangerous to still have it there in case anyone touched it? But can't you do warding spells, or would it be too small an object?

(These were originally three posts. But I felt bad about spamming up your comments, so I went and deleted the other two and combined the last post into here. Thereby loosing my first-comment-ness! :) )
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
Someone asked about Carny way back at the beginning of the story. Since I forgot about her totally, I decided she six and a half years younger than Frankie, and won't be going until next year.

As to Smeltings, they had to be very careful because the Ministry can spot uses of magic in Muggle areas, and they didn't want Ministry attention.

Teddy's no a very good prefect. I just figured I ought to mention that he is one, since, well, he'd have to be.
bends From: bends Date: June 26th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
aw, poor Neil - I can just see him in my head telling Teddy this and being embarrassed, and it makes me sad.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, the humiliating vicissitudes of a chronic illness... who wants to think about them, let alone tell "cool" older kids?
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 26th, 2008 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Been Waiting For...

The chance to be an early commenter, since I have some specific questions/suggestions I'm hoping you can answer. You may have anticipated them with Neil already, though.

Actually, the suggestion I'm passing along is from a close friend. I got her into your stories in the first place and she adores them as well, although she isn't that into commenting. While we were discussing various ramifications of the quarantine, she wondered whether you might be able to bring back the secret glen of the Lady of the Lake as a place for Neil to transform safely or where they might find rarer potions ingredients for the BB cure.

You seem to have precluded this with Teddy's walk about, but it wasn't quite clear how far in he got in the first place.

I have a question as well -- whose blood did Teddy come back covered with? You said it could only have one source. My first thought was Brimman and I thought the plague would start with standard germ spreading, but you went a different route there. So glad you've made Daniel immune. He was the one I was most worried about!

Looking forward to the next installment as always,

Sara Libby
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Been Waiting For...

The Lady is in deep and possibly permanent hibernation since the war; Vivian barely escaped before the glade shut itself down.

The only blood Teddy could come back covered with--if you ran tests on it in a lab, anyway--is Teddy's.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: June 26th, 2008 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Room of requirement?

You got me on pins and needles, Fern!
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: June 26th, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
*slaps forehead*

It's all about how you ask it to do things, isn't it? And we know from DH that Neville got really good at asking for exactly what was needed,don't we? Not that we need any more reasons for Neville's awesomeness, but all the same.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know why I feel the need to make it worse than the books did.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: June 26th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
At first, he thought the Maze was doing something new, possibly getting ready to explode

LOL! Oh, poor Teddy. And poor, poor Neil. Nice to see Honoria showing a few gleams of humanity.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy's going to be paranoid about that Maze for a while. 'NOW what?'
willowbough From: willowbough Date: June 26th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, boy. Poor Neil--who wouldn't be frantic, under the circumstances? At least the more decent Slyths are gathering around to support him--even Honoria! Someone above mentioned the Room of Requirement, and now I have to wonder why no one thought of that when Remus was attending Hogwarts. Surely the Room transforming itself into a place where a werewolf could change without harm to himself and others should be child's play. And the

Realistic that Teddy still isn't likely to be joining the Dean Thomas Fan Club any time soon.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, even Dumbledore didn't know about the RoR--he discovered it not long before Goblet, and he didn't know how it worked yet. Everyone who'd found it thought it was something different--only the house elves, apparently, knew what it really was.
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: June 26th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know, I was just wondering randomly if the Room of Requirement was destroyed by the Fiend Fire, or just the aspect where everybody hid their special things.

That would solve both Neil's problem and the problem of Potion's Ingredients...but it couldn't be that easy this early in the school year...could it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I've mentioned that I think the Fiendfyre did very serious damage to the magic on the room, and Neville hasn't been able to get it fixed (yet).
malinbe From: malinbe Date: June 26th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, poor Neil. I want to hug him. He must be so embarrased, but I think the teachers surely have it all covered, right? Neil isn't Madam Pomfrey's first werewolf student, and Neville has some inside knowledge too. Maybe with all that's going on is understandable, but clearly Neil isn't getting all the support he ought to get from the adults.

The centaur warning Teddy off the forest intrigues me.
Anyway, good stuff. Can't wait!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 26th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
The teachers haven't really thought about the issue yet, any more than Teddy had. They got as far as whether or not the Wolfsbane potion was possible, but I think they'll have some forehead-slapping moments ahead, when they realize that they're sealed in with a werewolf, and no one thought about this contingency.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: June 26th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. There's a lot of emotion packed into this one. During the Dean segment I really just wanted to shake Teddy a little and say something about how it didn't matter who it was. So long as Remus and Dora could make a difference to an innocent person's or a compatriot's life they would risk that. But I suppose, however much one intelectually knows that; its different thinking about the unfairness of a loved one's death...

And I am really glad that you take pains to show Honoria growing up. I never really thought she was unredeemable ... just young and sort of catty. Its nice that others are beginning to see this growth.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 27th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's thinking from the outside--I think if he'd been there, or was in a similar situation himself, he'd make the same sort of choice; he's a Gryffindor by nature and can contemplate sacrificing himself for someone innocent, regardless of perceived worth. But he's a third party here, and is looking at whether he'd be willing to sacrifice Dean or his own father, and Dean's coming up short. That this is not a choice he has doesn't really register, because he's reading it as fate making such a choice based on moral merits somehow, and he doesn't even recognize that he's doing it. He's reading it as a story, in a lot of ways, and the arc of the story ought to be sort of a Harry-esque arc, where the people who sacrificed did so in order to help someone who had a greater mission. Which means that he has to accept Dean as more important than his father... which he can't do, because that would make him feel even guiltier, because then he'd be short-changing his father. Nasty twist-up, eh? He'd have an easier life if he didn't think narratively. ;p
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: June 26th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
*snerk,* I love Corky's "I'll call her"--you're developing the Honoria thread nicely, quite subtle.

I didn't think this quite worked: (every time Teddy thought he'd hit the end of Donzo's musical tolerance, he managed to try something stranger than before)
Something about "tolerance" isn't quite right... Maybe boundaries? Knowledge? "(every time Teddy thought he'd heard the entirety of Donzo's internal Encyclopedia of Music, something new and even weirder would spiral out of the guitar)"--still clunky but what I think you're saying is that Donzo knows a little something about pretty much every genre, and there's nothing he won't try out?

Ahem. Anyway.

Interesting that Teddy is forcing himself to keep the plague victims top-of-mind--his blasé reaction to Neil indicates that perhaps he does need to keep forcing himself to feel the way he normally would feel. The maze damage is definitely not fully explored yet...

Loved the line about the maze possibly preparing to explode.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 27th, 2008 02:42 am (UTC) (Link)
You're right; that line needs tweaking.

I'm not sure he's so much blasé here as just tired and suffering from some overload--"I thought I'd hit the last of what this was going to do." But he's got it in his head now.
From: lupinsdaughter Date: June 26th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have wondered if Dean is Moonys son. His father is unknown, and he does have a thing for art. I know it is silly but even before your stories I wondered if one of the marauders had an unknown son.

I feel like I need to give Neil a hug.

Do you plan to post hunters moon and the maze to Phoenix Song??

Thanks for the diversion,
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 27th, 2008 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Neil could use the hug.

I'm mostly keeping stuff here on the blog these days, and on SQ, if I ever remember to upload the end of "Guard." Just easier to keep track of!

I'm definitely not going in the direction of anyone's secret kid--I tend to think of Remus as being more or less alone before Dora.
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