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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nineteen: Nigellus, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Nineteen: Nigellus, pt. 1
It's Christmas, and Teddy has promised Frankie that he won't go back into the Maze without help, and since he doesn't have help around... And then he comes across the letter transcribed for him in Phineas Nigellus's voice, makes his excuses, and heads for the Room of Requirement.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

He rounded the corner into the seventh floor corridor and skidded to a stop in front of Dean's mural. The shapes were more filled in now, though only the boggart seemed aware of Teddy's presence. It spun and from Dad's full moon into a fully formed werewolf, with drool dripping from its sharp teeth. When Teddy caught his breath from his run and started pacing back and forth, it paced along behind him. He could see it out of the corner of his eye. The class backed away from it, then, as Teddy turned for his third and final round, one of the students in the mural stepped up, and it turned into a snake. As the door appeared, the snake grew long eyelashes, rose up to its tail, and started to do a flamenco number. Dad, unaware of anything outside of the mural, laughed with silent merriment.

Teddy stopped with on hand on the door knob, then waved with the other and said, "Happy Christmas, Dad."

The drawing continued laughing. Teddy smiled back, then went inside and shut the door.

The Room had reverted to what Teddy thought of as its natural shape--a mostly empty classroom with high, arched windows. Rain was lashing the dark afternoon outside. There as a small desk near the front, and a comfortable old stuffed chair. On the wall in front of it was the portrait of Phineas Nigellus from the Headmistress's office. It was empty.

Teddy went up to it and touched the frame. "Grayfur? Can you hear me?"

The tip of Phineas's narrow, aristocratic nose appeared at the edge of the frame, and his voice followed it. "As I have told you, your mother, and my great-great-grandson on at least one hundred occasions--"

"Sorry, Grayfur. I mean, Great-great... er... Professor Black."

He came fully into the frame and took a seat, looking leery. "I suppose you want me to carry yet another message. None of the other students were given such a privilege, but--" He stopped. "Where am I?"

"The Room of Requirement," Teddy said. "I thought it was easier than breaking into the Headmistress's office."

"I see. You haven't been given such a privilege." He stood up.

"No, please wait! It's not about messages."

Suspiciously, Phineas sat back down. "Hmmph. I imagined you would wish to send your regards to your family, but apparently you have more important matters to which to attend."

"I do want to say hello, but that's not why I called. It's about the Daedalus Maze."

Phineas drew back. "I can give you no information."

"Please. I know it was you and your friends who built the first one. I've broken mine somehow--er... well, actually I broke it by--"

"I have no need to know about your particular misadventures with Royce's invention."

"It's leaking."

"I see."

Teddy waited for nearly a minute while the portrait blinked at him, then blurted out, "Can you help me, Grayfur?"

Phineas thought about this, then said, "No."

Something seemed to collapse inside of Teddy. The memory that Phineas had been there, that he knew, had come so clearly and suddenly that he'd felt it must be the key that would unlock everything. But it was useless, like anything else he'd tried. He sat forward in the chair, his fingers laced behind his neck, then looked back up at the portrait. "Why not?"

Phineas shifted uncomfortably. "This portrait retains memories I have chosen to give it, something of memory of my personality, and various publicly known records of my activities. It is not a Pensieve."

"Oh. Right." Teddy got up.

"You would want my journal."

Teddy stopped. "What?"

"My journal. Unlike your generation, gentlemen of mine kept journals to record our deeds. Mine were never far from me."

"At Grimmauld Place," Teddy guessed. "I can't get them."

"I never kept my work at home."

"They weren't in here, were they? In that storage room?"

"Certainly not. Headmasters' papers are kept in a locked vault in the school library."

"I need to see them," Teddy said, and then they were on the desk. There was no moment of arrival; they were simply there: ten dusty, leather-bound volumes. Teddy could see bits of paper sticking out of them in places--newspaper clippings, perhaps, or other mementos. Slowly, he walked to them, put one hand on them. "Thank you, Grayfur," he said.

Phineas nodded curtly. "Have you a message to return to your godfather or other family members?"

"Just happy Christmas. And that... I'll fix it."

"I find it unlikely that the latter sentiment will ease your godfather's mind," Phineas said, "but I will dutifully report it nonetheless." He turned and strode purposefully out of his frame.

Slowly, Teddy reached for the first, letting his hand linger on the old leather. It was like touching time. He drew it out and opened it to the first page.

The Journals of Nigellus,
Explorer of Mysteries

July 5, 1863
As I leave my boyhood and school days behind me, I feel compelled to commit to writing those things which I have learned, and will continue to learn. I do this for the benefit of my own clear thinking on these matters.

To begin with the ending of my school days, I have left young Apis in charge our Hogwarts gathering. He is reasonably clever, for a Gryffindor, if too quick to jump into a fight without thinking of the consequences. He has sworn the oath to seek out the deepest mysteries, though we all agreed that we should no longer employ absinthe in the service of this effort, as it causes lips to loosen too much.

I write this entry on the deck of a Muggle ship, bound for the Orient. Regius and Ilustrus have gone to explore what the Muggles call the "engine room." I have no love for this mode of travel, and would have preferred Disapparition, or even the Floo, but my companions preferred a more leisurely pace of travel, and even I am forced to concede that our own methods of ocean transport lack this sort of luxury. Arxcis had initially taken my side in the argument, preferring speed, but as his father insists that he train in a trade this summer--as a shop clerk, no less!--instead of joining us, his vote was discounted. Father, of course, always thought it improper that gentlemen should associate socially with a tradesman in any case, but I find that nonsense quite old-fashioned and stuffy...

There was nothing about the Maze here, of course, it was early, but Teddy found himself drawn in anyway. He needed to Summon a Latin dictionary to cipher out the names--"Apis" was a bee, as was "Dumbledore," so he supposed that Phineas had left whatever their "gathering" was in the hands of Dumbledore's father, Percival. Arxcis was obviously Maurice's ancestor, though Teddy wasn't sure how he'd come by the name. The other two, he couldn't guess, but assumed they were among the names Maddie had mentioned. He traveled with them on their trip to the Oriental edges of the Empire, wincing at their unbridled colonialism, but enjoying the camaraderie that they'd shared as they sailed, climbed, and flew their way around the Victorian world. He wondered if Donzo, Maurice, and Corky would want to revive the tradition, perhaps visiting all of their birth places to start with, and going from there.

He finished Phineas's first journal, which covered his first three years out of school, then chose another at random. A newspaper clipping fell out of it. There was a picture of Phineas with several other young men. Phineas did, indeed, look a great deal like Sirius--in this picture, he was even laughing. It was now 1870. The headline read, "DEPARTMENT OF MYSTERIES REIMAGINED."

from Miss Ursula Flint
Ministry of Magic, London.
The languishing Department of Mysteries, housed--but unstaffed--in the bowels of the Ministry of Magic, has long been considered a relic of medievalism, but now, under the leadership of Phineas Black, scion of the illustrious Black family, it is being brought into our modern world.

Black, a dashing young man with a flair for the dramatic, has long thought that the questions once studied only by priests and scribes are of practical value to the wizarding world.

"Young wizards must learn the deep magic of the world," Black says, "or we risk stagnation in a world where the Muggles around us are advancing more quickly than we are..."

Teddy pulled this volume to himself, and a small slip of parchment was dislodged from a page somewhere near the middle. It fell to the floor, and he bent to pick it up without thinking about it. In thin copperplate writing was a very short note:

The only way out is in.
48 comments or Leave a comment
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indigoblue4ever From: indigoblue4ever Date: July 21st, 2008 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)
*does the first comment dance*
Ohh, and so naturally Teddy is going to assume...

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, of course. :)
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
He must be an ancestor of Neville's somewhere along the line, right? (Actually, I think he is...)
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nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: July 21st, 2008 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
You're starting to spoil me again, you know. Three entries in three days? Yaaaaaa!!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
As long as I know what's going on, I can go great guns. :)
satakieli From: satakieli Date: July 21st, 2008 10:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Phineas nodded curtly. "Have you a message to return to your godfather or other family members?"

"Just happy Christmas. And that... I'll fix it."

"I find it unlikely that the latter sentiment will ease your godfather's mind," Phineas said, "but I will dutifully report it nonetheless." He turned and strode purposefully out of his frame.

*snicker* No kidding. I'll bet he'll enjoy delivering that one.

It's a good thing that wizards don't disrupt steam engines the way they do computers, or the Greyfur and company would be trouble...

we all agreed that we should no longer employ absinthe in the service of this effort

Bwah hah hah. Hidden depths, that man.

Edited at 2008-07-21 10:53 am (UTC)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can just see the scene at Harry's. "Teddy said what?"

"He seems to believe he can 'fix it.' Given the stellar record of your godson's activities this year, I don't hold out--"

"Phineas, what exactly is he going to do?"

"I wasn't informed of the specifics."

Harry-- :headwall:
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daksian From: daksian Date: July 21st, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Another installment, and another tease! You really know how to keep your audience hooked!

I have to agree with others here: I love your Phineas. He is true to the character established in Rowling's work, and you expand on that established character quite masterfully.

I'm intrigued by the potential meaning of that little note at the end. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

On a side note, it may interest you that I finished reading Forest Guard to my girlfriend, along with a selection of your early ficlets and Marauder's Roost, and you have another fan fully hooked. I've promised to read her the Teddy stories, but she will have to read Shifts and Shades herself (she's always loved R/T)! I think the final straw for her becoming addicted to your work like I am was the Teddy/Victoire marriage proposal. ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh... thanks! Glad she liked it. (I feel a bit like Fifi LaFolle!)

I loved Phineas from the time Sirius mentioned that he was the most hated Headmaster in Hogwarts history.
anna_in_the_sky From: anna_in_the_sky Date: July 21st, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I find it touching how Phineas is his usual pompous, distanced self and still manages to convey something like love to Teddy, even if he would never admit it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Phineas is an old softie.
From: kobegrace Date: July 21st, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooooh. Crypic. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
True, that.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: July 21st, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad Teddy seems to have gotten a big chunk of the information he needs. On the other hand, I'm worried about how he's going to interpret that note at the end.

The RoR continues to rock--and so does Dean's evolving mural.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
The note is definitely going to remain on Teddy's mind.
gloryforever From: gloryforever Date: July 21st, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
a dashing young man with a flair for the dramatic

Heh, that applies to more than one member of the family, indeed.

Great installment, can't wait for more :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh, that applies to more than one member of the family, indeed.

It certainly does.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: July 21st, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love your Phineas! Both as a portrait and as this person his journals make him out to be. I do hope Teddy continues to read, though I bet everybody will later be like " Where were you!?"

Also, its funny this generation did the nicknames too. You make such a rich world for your characters to live in.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy will definitely continue to read. :)

Nicknames are fun. James and James like the animal nicknames. Teddy tries them, but most of his friends just spin off their names--Donzo from Donald, Moe from Maurice, Corky from Corin, Tinny from Ernestine, Ruthless from Ruth, Story from Alastor, and so on. Boring, but more common. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 21st, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, let's skip Teddy and his problems. I want Phineas' travels in the Orient!

Meanwhile, you were careful to give Phineas at least two friends who use A for a first initial, which may be important with the note. Who knew what and when and who was speculating what and when could be important.

The Dursleys never knew how good they had it not being in regular communication with Harry. I can just imagine it if they'd had a better relationship. "Dear Aunt P, Sorry, have to run. Giant snake to fight. I'll finish telling you about Ron's little sister being taken to the hidden bowels of the castle and the writing on the wall in blood later, assuming I get back (ha, ha). Love to all, H."

Quite enjoyed this and am sitting on edge wondering what trouble Teddy will get into next.

thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: July 21st, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
/Oh, let's skip Teddy and his problems. I want Phineas' travels in the Orient!/

Maybe we could have both.

Feern. *makes big pleading eyes*

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thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: July 21st, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Although of course I heartily aprove of any sort of memorium picture to Remus I can't help but think that being confronted by a picture of your worst fear might be a tad distracting when your trying to concentrate upon what every it is that you want. :)

And Teddy does very well to keep his head in the face of both that, and Phineus taking umbrage at pretty much everything he says. "How dare you break the rules to send a message to you family/ How dare you not break the rules to send a message to you family" Brilliant!

It is also nice to see that Teddy was not the first Black to form a "gathering" that isn't resticted to one house. Pity that the family diverged slightly from that in more recent years. Although I'm sure that for most of the family (ie not Bella) blood not house would have been the primary concern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's kind of like going between Scylla and Charybdis, in terms of powerful magic tugging from both sides!

Even Bella might have accepted family that wasn't in Slytherin, provided that they were of proper bloodlines and held the "right" attitudes.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 21st, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)


Hi Fern! I usually don't comment, and truthfully, I don't usually read fanfic (not that it's below me or anything, i guess I'm just not as nerdy as I wish I'd been:)) - I had a brief craze after reading Book 5, and that is when I found you on SQ. So belive me when I tell you how !!!UNBELIVEBLY AWSOME!!! I find this.

And this capter in particular - with a few paragraphs from Phineas's jurnal and a newspaper clipping you've managad to make me really see and FEEL an absolutely realistic, believeble picture of victoian England and victorian Englishmen! (absinthe is a stroke of genious!! :-))

And this is what I so love about your writing - don't get me wrong, I think JKR is awesome just for enveting this world, and I really liked reading HP - but somewhere I was reading and thinking "ok, now - this deffinately doesn't make sence", or "some characters are just fabulous, but gosh, for a serious writer - some are realy incredibly flat", or just "HOW?? How in the world could Peter Pettigrew be sutch a misreble, not very smart, easily manipulated, pityful coward every time we see him and still have been a Griffindore and a Maurader?? How can you end the series without giving us a backstory, or SOME explanation, or redemption, you BLAASTED WOMAAN?!!" :)))) And overall I got the feeling that she started this out as a sort of a fairytale - where you don't look for realism - and then tried to make it grow and develope with the main characters, and involve serious things, like politics and rasism and death - but did not have the scope or the tone, or simply did not push hard enough, or the other way arround - pushed too hard - made it imposed - for it to REALLY work. Best example - I had this same feeling after watching X-man III - I totally loved the 1-st and 2-nd parts - it was a terrific adaptation of a wonderful comics - but then they had to go on and try to squeese this huge serious idea into 1,5 hours of a film, after a comics, where you also have to fit 50% action and 50% special effects and 50% characters - and it felt totally unfinished and unsatisfactory.

But you make your characters so believeble, and you progress - your plot is getting better and better, and you touch the serious topics, but just enough that it doesn't feel forced, that I read and think "oh, this is so neat!!" and nothing else.

Whew! O_o Now that is out of my system! 8)))


P.S. Sorry for the spelling - English's not my native %-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC) (Link)


Thanks! I'm glad the plot is working; I worry about this one because it's almost on-the-spot plotting, but it seems to be coming through all right so far. :)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: July 21st, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
One day, ONE DAY I go without internet, and I have a ridiculous amount of emails to attend to.
But, that means I also got a DOUBLE Teddy fix.

I wanted to comment on Phineas' letter, but it'd be easier to just cut and paste than quote, and I'm afraid to know it quite well, since you wrote it. So to cut things short, it was absobloodylutely amazing. The bohemian *dies*. Walburga's comments *resucites and dies again*
(I am doing this as I read, by the way).
Oh, poor Frankie. Of course, this is a bit like Chamber, where people had petrified friends to miss. Where Tinny's parents not informed? They must have, because of the cures... So they sent the letter anyway? That's so so sad...
Yay! More Phineas! Oh, I adore him and his sarcastic ways...


Oh, that was awesome! It's like reading Malinowski or something. Now I think of Phineas as one of those terrible anthropologists, who didn't tink the were doing nothing terrble, of course.

OKay, I'm happy. Good chapterlets!! I feel so spoiled.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 21st, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tinny's parents know, and they sent the letter anyway. Probably the other parents did as well.

I like epistolary novels. Phineas's tone owes something to Jonathan Harker in Dracula.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 21st, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I haven't commented in ages (bloody moving, and internet not working right and all that), just wanted to say that I'm still enjoying your story immensely, and the stick-figure werewolf a few chapters back amused me so much I had to tell my mother about it (you're the only fanfic writer whose stories regularly get re-told to my family and friends).
(And please keep posting this frequently, I don't have to share the computer this week, so I have time to read.)

~Hermione Stranger, who will now have giggling fits every time she takes some homoepathic stuff labelled Apis~
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