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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty: Guides and Guards, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty: Guides and Guards, pt. 1
Well, Teddy's been standing there with the Maze long enough, and three days later than he was when I started this section! Eep.

Going through Phineas's journals, he learns that the original Unspeakables got into trouble, with the Maze rather taking over their lives. Phineas is flustered, but Percival Dumbledore, in a manner that Phineas considers absurdly Gryffindor, insists that they go back in, because "the only way out is in." In a strikingly Gryffindor move of his own, Teddy decides to do this before finding out how it worked out. I'm beginning to realize that this storyline is much more parallel to OotP than I'd thought or intended, but on the re-reading I've been doing trying to get through this writer's block Olympic break, I think there's something starting to glimmer.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

He landed on the deck of the ship, the bloody sea raging beneath him. Crouching in front of him on all fours was Bellatrix Lestrange, smiling, her tongue flicking obscenely over her front teeth. She lunged at him, her claw-like fingers outstretched, and he barely had time to gather himself enough to jump back.

She laughed.

Teddy fell forward and clawed for purchase on the crazily slanting, wet deck with one hand, the other clutching Ariadne's Thread. He found a grip and scrambled upward. He could hear Bellatrix behind him, laughing into the gale. The ship pitched forward and threw him along the boards, sending him to a shuddering stop against the stairs that led to a higher deck. Bellatrix's laugher became a howl, and Teddy didn't have to look over his shoulder to see that she had become Greyback, in wolf form, crouched for another leap at him.

He grabbed the railing and dragged himself up the stairs. The wolf scratched at the bottom even as he reached the top.

The top.

He looked up. The crow's nest was empty, the route to it clear.

He ran for it, letting the ship pitch as it would, using the lessons Dudley Dursley had taught him two years ago to keep his balance. Finally, he reached the rope ladder and began to climb. The werewolf reached it and shook it violently, but he couldn't climb.

Teddy reached the crow's nest and threw himself to the floor, shutting the trapdoor that the ladder came through. He'd figure out later how to get down, if he needed to. The werewolf crashed into it three times before falling down with a yelp. Teddy watched him crash to the deck, where he began to pace at the bottom of the mast.

A spyglass rolled over his feet, and he caught it just before a roll of the ship threw it down. He wasn't sure what he thought it would show him here--nothing here was real--but he looked through it just the same.

From the height, even without the aid, he could see the shape of the Maze, etched in black rocks that jutted out of the blood-water. He raised the spyglass and searched for the center. Far in the distance, he could see it: a larger rock, the largest, rising up from the waves like the grasping hand of a drowning man. On it, something he couldn't quite see glimmered, and he thought, That's it. That's what I need.

Then there was a great crack of timber, and Teddy was thrown headlong over the side of the crow's nest toward the gaping jaws of the werewolf. He curled his fingers around Ariadne's Thread and yelled, "Home!"

The Maze cast him out into his dormitory. His hands were streaked with gore from grabbing the deck, but he just wiped them absently on the bottom of his robes.

Somehow, he'd got the Maze stuck in his island/ocean fantasy, but he didn't that mattered the most. It could be a dark forest or an urban jungle; it would be the same problem--he was at the edge and needed to get to the center. But instead of guiding him, the Guides were blocking his way, even attacking him. And at the center... what? Something glowing. The Iridescent Irises that Madam Pomfrey ought to have used in the potion? Something that could turn off the Quarantine? Something more personal?

He scrambled for a notebook and wrote down the questions. First--the guides. Why Bellatrix and Greyback? The woman who'd killed Mum, and the man Teddy himself had killed. He paused his quill under that, then, without thinking about why, scribbled it out and wrote, Who are they, really?

He had no answer. He pressed his fists against his temples and waited for the dull thudding to stop.

He returned to Phineas's journals several times over the following days, as Christmas holidays drew to a close. The Unspeakables had done something, but the journals weren't clear what. They'd gone in, whatever that meant. Teddy was under the impression that they'd done it together, but that was hardly anything he could do in his own situation. He didn't have other Unspeakables, or the Marauders (except in dreams that refused to come), or Dumbledore's Army. He had his friends, of course, but they weren't mixed up in the Maze.

After they'd done something--Phineas had noted this only with, "Success"--they'd all resigned from their employment at the Ministry, and there had been a great deal of debate about destroying the Maze. Phineas had held out for its destruction, but Percival Dumbledore and Gordon Burke had prevailed. Dedalus Royce, who had contracted some sort of illness, took it into his personal possession, and after that, it faded from Phineas's journals--now concerned with his career, his marriage, and his children (he reported on them dryly, but Teddy sensed deep affection under the surface)--until the arrest of Dumbledore, at which point, an obviously disturbed Phineas had written, Apis has gone quite mad. He has spoken to me of the circumstances of his crime, but bound me to silence in the matter. And now he has demanded Dedalus's dangerous toy, to have with him at Azkaban. So while his wife and children try to recover from this horrendous blow, he loses himself in the depths of the Mysteries. His eldest, Albus, has created his own escapes--the boy is as dangerously bright as Apis and as ambitious as Kendra--but the younger boy, Aberforth, is left with a father's responsibility even before he has reached the age to begin school. I should like to raise those Muggle ruffians from their just graves long enough to kill them a second time for the destruction they have wrought upon this family, but now it is Apis himself who angers me. He has escaped Azkaban in the only manner possible and, in so doing, has permanently abandoned his sons, his wife, and his ruined daughter.

Teddy found himself judging Percival more generously. It wasn't like he could have actually escaped Azkaban at the time, and if the Maze made it more livable, then perhaps it was fair to turn to it, and Phineas's horror of the Maze was closer to panicky fear than it was to moral indignation.

Classes began again early in January. It seemed less momentous than usual, as no one had been away, including the teachers, though they'd kept themselves scarce. Professor McGonagall seemed so natural in the Transfiguration classroom (possibly because Teddy had lived with her in that capacity in Mum and Dad's memories, as well as in Uncle Harry's stories) that he thought it would seem strange when Gardner came back. Firenze had resigned himself to teaching the Ministry curriculum for Divination, at least for O.W.L. year students, though he made no effort to hide his disdain. Daniel was constantly in the potions workroom now, with someone magically adjusting fires and doing any necessary spells, trying to find the right combination of ingredients to make an effective potion for Blistering Bloodspots. "It would be a lot easier," he told Teddy when it was his turn to watch the fire, "if I had the faintest notion what Iridescent Irises are, or why they would have different properties than the regular sort." Teddy helped him look at different things in the microscope, including some of Tinny's blood. Teddy couldn't make kettles or cauldrons of what he was seeing, but Daniel pointed out all of the things that were normal, then showed him what looked like a black thread going through it all.

"It's not a parasite or a virus or bacteria," he said. "I think we're looking at some sort of Curse effect in the plasma, but I've no idea how to get to it."

Teddy nodded sagely, then helped him administer drops of potion to vials with blood from each of the sick students. None showed any improvement. As Teddy left, he heard Daniel sigh to Professor Morse, who was hugging him kindly, "We need to break the Quarantine and get help."

The only way out is in.

But Teddy hadn't come up with any brilliant new ideas about that, either. Miserably, he trudged up to the seventh floor, thinking he might try to bring Phineas's portrait back to the Room of Requirement to see if it had anything else to say, or perhaps just to talk to it for a little while. When he got there, Dean was back at work on his mural, which was taking its final shapes before painting. Dad was the most lifelike of the figures, though young Uncle Harry was also very well drawn, and young Professor Longbottom, who was in the center with Dad, looked very nervous indeed. Dean had drawn himself far down in the corner, looking on. He had a paintbrush instead of a wand.

"The paintbrush isn't going to help much against a boggart," Teddy said.

Dean looked over his shoulder and shrugged. "Just an artistic touch."

It didn't seem worth the effort to point out that Dad standing between a wandless Dean and a monster wasn't an entirely cheerful thought, as it clearly hadn't occurred to Dean, so Teddy didn't say anything. He could just go into the Room of Requirement--Dean wouldn't mind--but he didn't have anything pressing to do there, and it was soothing to watch the mural take shape. The boggart was concentrating on Dean, and it had turned into a hulking figure in black robes. Teddy guessed he was one of the Snatchers who'd caught Dean during the war.

"How is Professor McGonagall's portrait coming along?" he asked.

"Oh, it's finished," Dean said. "Though I sincerely hope it isn't active for some time. I collected the last of the memories she cares to add over holidays."

"What do you do with them?"

"I mix them into the paints, along with the oils. And when she--passes--the Imago Vivere spell wakes them them up."

"Could you mix them into a painting that already existed?"

"I don't think so." Dean filled in a bit of detail on Parvati Patil's hair, then said, "Is there something you need, Teddy?"

Teddy looked at the drawing of Dad, who was laughing again as Dean's Snatcher suddenly did a pratfall. He wanted the Marauders suddenly and badly--not as they would be now, had they lived, but as they had been in school. They'd have figured this out already.

"Teddy?" Dean put away his charcoal and sat down at an awkward distance. "Is this still about the Quarantine?"

Teddy shrugged.

"I don't mean to presume, but I reckon I owe it to your dad to help if I can..."

"I don't think you can," Teddy said quickly.

Dean nodded. His eyes scanned the picture of frightened third years. "I was always in awe of Harry a little bit," he said. "Seamus was probably my best friend. Parvati was always good for listening when things got out of hand. Lavender--"

"I've met Lavender. She helped me earlier. She's working for Fifi LaFolle now."

"Is she?" Dean grinned fondly. "That's Lavender for you. Soft moonlit nights and horrid poetry were always her thing."

Teddy let his eyes linger over each of the other Gryffindors as Dean named them. They'd never been in Uncle Harry's closest group, but he knew their names. Now, they seemed to have their own little system of relationships.

I've got your back.

He blinked and sat up straight.

He hadn't thought about what Ruthless had said to him since she'd said it, because when it came to the Maze, there was no defense to be had. But it wasn't defense he needed. It wasn't even the Maze itself. He needed to get past the circles he'd been thinking in, to get fresh ideas and fresh eyes. That was what he wanted the Marauders so badly for, what he always wanted to turn to them for. But Dean's little group had functioned on its own, outside the circles Teddy knew. And Teddy had friends outside the circle of the Maze and his family.

He stood up. "Thanks, Dean," he said.

"For what?"

"Just... thanks."

He started to turn toward Gryffindor, but Ravenclaw was closer. On his way to the door knocker, he sent his Patronus back for Ruthless and Victoire, and, on a whim, sent a second one to Maurice and Corky (he was not prepared to include Honoria in this, going out with Corky or not), and a third to Frankie.

The doorknocker asked him a simple question--how the soul maintained identity during the act of Disapparition--but he wasn't patient enough to answer it. Instead, he caught a Ravenclaw first year on the way in, and asked him to send Donzo out.

Then he sat in the corridor and waited.
46 comments or Leave a comment
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amamama From: amamama Date: August 19th, 2008 08:04 am (UTC) (Link)
LOL - simple Rawenclaw question! One nit:

but he didn't that mattered the most. Missing 'think'?

Great instalment, lovely to read something of yours again - and I do approve of Teddy's choices: Satrting to ponder who Bellatrix and Greyback really are, what they're symbolizing, and finally, FINALLY! realizing that he needs his friends to get the right perspective. Maybe they'll help him become an animagus, so that he can fly to the centre of the maze? I still mean that's the best way for him to reach it.

Yay! Thanks a bunch, as always. :-)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yup, missing a "think."

It started to dawn on me while mucking around with this that I have about half a dozen balls in the air involving Teddy and his social system, but I, like Teddy, was trying to solve the problem without having them actually involved.
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2008 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Hooray to Teddy for finally realizing the support that HE has surrounding him, instead of always focusing on the past and the friends that surrounded his father, Harry, and now, Phineas. And he's being systematic with the Maze. Smart move backing away from Bellatrix.

Thanks for the update Fern!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's like with Harry and the heroic stories--it sounds much better when you're talking about it. So he has these epic friendship stories of his dad and his godfather and now Phineas, and it hasn't occurred to him that they weren't trying to build epic stories of friendship, just to be friends.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank You!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sure thing!
shiiki From: shiiki Date: August 19th, 2008 08:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, hurrah, Teddy's finally calling on his friends for help. He learns fast!

Lovely update, as usual! That was some intense imagery at the beginning!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
He does learn faster than I do, I think. ;p
beceh From: beceh Date: August 19th, 2008 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhh! I've missed Teddy :-)

Nice to have him back, good installment!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've missed him, too, except when I've been cursing him for getting in my head then not following through with another fast-moving story.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: August 19th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
"Who are they really?"

Huh. That's an interesting question. The first thing that comes to my mind, besides "who they look like," is that they're Tonks and Remus.

Or rather the darkest parts of their backgrounds, the ones they rose above but that still helped to make them.
redlily From: redlily Date: August 19th, 2008 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh! Oh. That . . . seems right. Nice!

And I'm on the edge of my seat, Fern!
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: August 19th, 2008 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh brilliant chapter, not only is there useful interaction with Dean (*hugs Dean*) Teddy also seems to be finally questioning his previous stances on things which has got to be a good thing. For his future career prospects if nothing else, surely thinkiing outside the box is what the DoM is really focused on.

And in a way that is another way he is different to Harry, because Harry, even though he had a tendency to ignore everyone else did share most odd happenings with Ron and Hermione where as Teddy despite having a much wider base tends to go it alone more often than not.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: August 19th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Harry was meant to be an extrovert, and the Dursleys forced him to be an introvert.
Teddy, on the other hand, has so much family he's expected to be an extrovert -- but he's really an introvert.
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: August 19th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh I'm glad you updated. I'm enjoying this story and wondering where it's going to go.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me, too. :D
emsta224 From: emsta224 Date: August 19th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
ohhh yay, calling on the friends is always good! Nice!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope it works. It should.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 19th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy: Getting by with a little help from his friends!

Glad to see this back, though Olympic distraction is a perfectly legitimate excuse for its hiatus (says she who's neglected her own WIP for much the same reason). Also glad that Teddy managed to get in and out of the Maze without getting trapped there, as I half-feared. Now I'm looking forward to the insights his friends provide into how to solve the problem.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Teddy: Getting by with a little help from his friends!

His Beatles-loving grandfather would be verklempt. ;p
I'm beginning to think Nastia Liukin and Michael Phelps should show up in the Maze, as they are clearly primary enemies of Teddy.
scopart From: scopart Date: August 19th, 2008 01:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh joy, more Teddy!

I can't wait to see what exactly he has planned. And how well he's thought it out. Teddy's plans have had a tendency to go a bit awry lately...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Planning? What a thought...! Well, at least he's getting a Ravenclaw on the job, who knows how to think, and a couple of Slytherins to think around corners.
From: kobegrace Date: August 19th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, my god, it's Go Time!

(Or, really close to it.)

In any case, YAY!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
And only in January, too... hmm...
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 19th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
After dawdling for a week and half, I'm just glad people are still reading!
jedi_chick From: jedi_chick Date: August 19th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad to see Teddy realizing he does have friends who can help him. And I really like that it was Dean who helped him come to that conclusion.

I'm interested to see where Teddy goes with the question of who Bellatrix and Greyback are, really.

Excellent job as always!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2008 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Teddy has the odd problem of knowing that he has friends, and knowing that friends can help, but not really making any connection between those two things!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 19th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Olympic break, eh? I wish I had such a convenient excuse (I realized yesterday that I have been struggling with the same chapter since March!)
It's lovely to have Teddy back - both because I love the story, and because it's incredibly motivating to know there's some good fanfic to read when I'm done with my own writing/studying - I'll set myself a goal, read a few paragraphs and then set myself a new goal...
(Though of course, it takes some self-discipline not to read the whole chapter before stating to study!

~Hermione Stranger~
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 21st, 2008 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm more or less useless during the Olympics. Of course, it also coincided with writer's block, so...
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