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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty: Guides and Guards, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty: Guides and Guards, pt. 3
After going into the Maze and finding that his Guides have turned into guardians blocking his way--Bellatrix and Greyback, in fact, though Teddy is analyzing who they might really be--Teddy has an idea to talk to his friends and get them to help him brainstorm. They steer clear of Teddy's identity issues and go for the practical: they think they should find out how, when, and where the Quarantine was placed, so that they can undo the spell. Further, it spins out of Teddy's control when they decide that the safest thing to do is send in more than one person to, in Ruthless's words, control each other's crazies. Teddy says he'll think about it--Victoire suggests they all meet the next day in Trelawney's empty classroom--then has a good dream about spending time with his mother and the Marauders, and wakes up with a decision made.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far




He got to the north tower before any of his friends and opened the trapdoor in the ceiling. The rope ladder automatically came down and he climbed it, going up into the dusty, circular room, which he hadn't been in since the Quarantine had fallen in November. He hadn't generally cared for his Divination lessons with Trelawney, and her room always smelled like a vat of decomposing flowers, but now, months empty, the smell had faded back to something nearly pleasant--a memory of a sunny day in the garden, or the greenhouses after summer term cleaning--and the winter moonlight (Teddy noted absently to himself that he'd need to start the January Wolfsbane brewing soon) cast everything in a pretty silver light. The crystal balls along the wall shone like small moons themselves, and Trelawney's soft, puffy chairs and theatrical-looking draperies seemed, for once, to make the room more like a parlor than a classroom. There was a cracked crystal ball in a specially-built niche on the new wall (half of the tower wall had been knocked away in the Battle of Hogwarts), and Teddy knew it was the one she'd used to brain Fenrir Greyback. He'd wondered morbidly on other occasions what he might See in that particular crystal ball, but it didn't hold any temptation for him tonight.

"Ah, Teddy Lupin."

He jumped. The Fat Friar was sliding up through the floor slowly, and seemed cut at the knees.

"Brother Francis!" Teddy said. "You frightened me."

The Friar looked pained. "I do apologize. I fear I have no ability to knock before arriving."

"It's all right. I just wasn't expecting you. Were you looking for me?"

"No. I simply rather like this room when it's quiet. I miss Professor Trelawney, though. Her conversation is often... interesting."

"You ghosts are stuck here, too, aren't you?"

"Well, yes, but we House ghosts are quite attached to our charges, and don't desire to leave, at any rate."

"Nearly Headless Nick liked going to see Fifi LaFolle."

"Yes, well, Sir Nicholas has always had a weakness for the fairer sex, and it has not lessened in his years as a wraith." The Friar finished his ascent and floated over to the window, looking down on the ground beneath the north battlements, where Mum and Dad had died (Teddy avoided this window in most of his visits to the classroom). "Teddy," he said quietly after a while, "there is talk of your state of mind. Concerns from adults. I hear a great deal, and see more than you suspect. You're bearing a heavy burden."

"I'm asking my friends for help."

The Friar nodded. "I'm glad to hear that. But your burden is more than the task you've set yourself."

"But that's enough to be getting on with, for now."

"I see." The Friar waited a moment, then carefully said, "The rest of your burden, Teddy--you don't have to carry it alone. You can ask for help. I am bound not to share your secrets." He touched his rosary.

Teddy shook his head. "I'm not really religious. And when I am, I'm... well, Granny's Protestant. So's my godfather. They're not really religious either."

The Friar looked like he was inclined to go on, but the ladder slid against the trapdoor, and Ruthless called up. "Lupin? Is that you, or am I going to walk in on Filch and Pince doing things that will scar me for life if I see it?"

The Friar smiled and left through the wall.

"It's me!" Teddy called. "But it would have served you right if it was Filch and Pince."

Ruthless pulled herself into the room and looked around. "Hmm. I never did take Divination. Interesting room." She started to wander around the walls and look at the rows of teapots and crystal balls. She picked one up and tossed it to Teddy. "Tell me my future, oh Great Seer."

Teddy pretended to peer into the ball. "I see you... being happy. And a very famous Auror."

"Do those two things mix?"

"Oh, with you, absolutely."

"And what about you?"

"If I could see where I was going, we wouldn't be in this mess."

"Not a very useful skill, then."

"It makes the ability to change my hair color look vital."

Ruthless finished her inspection of the walls and pulled out a poof to sit on. "Which reminds me, you aren't morphing--"

Teddy cut off that conversation by turning his hair bright purple and making his ears grow six inches and form points. On an impulse, he leaned over and kissed her forehead.

"I like it," she said. "It's a good look for you."

Teddy rolled his eyes and undid the morph.

The others arrived together a few minutes later, Victoire fuming because Ruthless and Teddy had both left the Great Hall without her. "Really, I was waiting for someone to say it was time to leave!"

"Which I did," Donzo pointed out.

Victoire took a seat comfortably near Trelawney's desk--Teddy guessed it was her seat for class, when Trelawney was teaching--and the others pulled the chairs into a rough circle. Teddy put the Maze in the center.

Corky looked around. "Well, we've got seven. Lucky number."

"I always preferred nine," Victoire said dreamily, trying to look like Trelawney at her airiest. She succeeded in looking ethereally beautiful in the starlight; Teddy shook his head sharply and lit the torches on the walls. Judging by the other boys' expressions, he didn't think he was the only one who'd been momentarily struck by some remnant of Veela in Victoire's face.

"What's the call, Teddy?" Frankie asked.

"We go together," Teddy said. "I don't know if it'll work or not, but it makes as much sense as anything else I've tried."

"Is someone staying behind?"

"No," Corky said. Teddy looked at him, and he shrugged sheepishly. "Okay, I wasn't really joking. Seven's luckier than six. I'll just shut up now."

"It does have Arithmantic properties," Donzo said tentatively.

Teddy thought of Voldemort and his seven Horcruxes, and shuddered. But he'd chosen that number because it was powerful. And Teddy had chosen it accidentally. He hoped it wasn't a bad sign to think about Voldemort before doing something potentially very stupid.

"We're all going," he said. "I can't think what good it would do to have someone stay behind. I have Ariadne's Thread"--he produced it from his book bag--"so we can get out, as long as we stay together."

"Oh, I thought I'd wander off in the midst of a dangerous spell," Maurice said.

"I don't know what it's going to do," Teddy told him. "We could end up in the middle of a maelstrom at sea and get blown apart. We could fall over something and end up in totally different Mazes."

"What if that happens?" Frankie asked.

"Everyone remember every direction you go. Stop if you can't. Go back to the beginning, wherever it is, and wait there." Teddy bit his lip. "You don't have to do this. I'm perfectly happy to go with lucky three, or lucky two."

Maurice arched an eyebrow. "Exactly which of us do you think is going to back out?"

Teddy looked at them around him. Maurice, compact and nearly coiled, like a snake ready to jump. Corky, powerful and steady. Donzo, leaning forward, almost eager. Victoire, her face set tightly, as it had been on the night she'd faced Greyback with him. Frankie, a grown man with a strength earned from his own temptation. Ruthless, burning like a bonfire in the night. He shook his head. "I can't imagine any of you backing out."

"It's a miracle," Victoire said. "He can be taught."

They all laughed, and the momentary image of them as iconic broke. Frankie sat down easily and said, "Before we go in, we'll need to know at least a little bit of what we should expect, and what we should be looking for."

Teddy nodded. "Right. First, we all have to agree that we're looking to find out how the Quarantine was placed. There's no spell. It's just holding it in your mind." They all nodded. Teddy went on. "Second, nothing you see is real. Not really real. You might see people you've lost, or who've been dead for a long time. It's not really them. It's not a ghost. It's... well, it's more like images that live in your head. Sometimes, they might be strange."

"Only sometimes?" Maurice asked.

"Well," Corky said, "the ones who come out of your head will always be strange."

"I mean, it could just be the way you see someone. It's not necessarily what the person is like. So I might see Victoire with a handful of knives."

Victoire laughed shrilly.

"Is there any way to prevent someone from showing up?" Maurice asked, then smiled nervously. "I mean, it's sort of personal how we see each other, isn't it?"

"I don't know if there's a way," Teddy said. "I don't think so. But we're all going to be in there, so I don't think we'll really run into ourselves. More likely someone we all share. Maddie and I saw my mum first. Or someone who's related to what we're looking for. I hope that's what it turns out to be." He took a deep breath. "This is really important: Don't touch them. That's how I broke it in the first place, and even if you don't touch them quite as--much--as I did, it'll hurt."

"Can you use magic on them?" Donzo asked.

"I don't know. Let's not try to find out."

Donzo nodded.

"So, how do we do this?" Ruthless asked, and reached out to put one hand on the Maze.

Teddy didn't think that it was necessary to touch the Maze, but something about it seemed right nonetheless. He put his left hand on the Maze, and raised his wand with his right as the others all put their hands out to touch it. As soon as Maurice had found a place to put his hand, Teddy said, "Sulci Numine."
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Comments
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darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: August 25th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Very good, Fern. Always like seeing the Fat Friar and Teddy/Ruthless is as excellent as always.

[i]"Lupin? Is that you, or am I going to walk in on Filch and Pince doing things that will scar me for life if I see it?"[/i]

Well, that isn't too distrubing, is it? ;)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
If sixteen-year-olds can't come up with disturbing thoughts, who can?
willowbough From: willowbough Date: August 25th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, with six of his mates watching his back, Teddy will be nothing if not supported. Of course, I'm getting Harry & Company at the DoM flashbacks here, but I hope this excursion will turn out better for all concerned. Eagerly awaiting the next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, at least we know his godfather can't even get in.
daksian From: daksian Date: August 25th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Ok, I'm positively breathless in anticipation!

Not that I doubted it for a second, but good on Teddy for understanding he needed his friends.

An interesting encounter with the Friar. Just another step towards Teddy becoming Catholic, I guess.

I loved Victoire in this, from her annoyance at not being fetched by Teddy, to her comfortable assumption of her regular seat in the classroom, to her spot-on joke that Teddy 'can be taught!' to her somewhat revealing shrill laughter when Teddy mentioned that Victoire with a handful of knives is not what she's really like.

*happy, delighted, anticipatory sighs*
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you liked it. I doubt that the knife-wielding has occurred to Victoire as an image Teddy has of her (maybe even the central image he has of her). It's definitely not the image she has of herself!
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: August 25th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been behind on this for ages, so I just caught up with the last, oh, fifteen chapters or so. I hadn't realized I'd already reached the most recent entry! I don't know how I'm going to wait for the next update after having so much reading to do today.

I'm looking forward to seeing who shows up in the Maze when all seven of them are there.

Keep up the great writing! :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, lots of chapters! This one's going very slowly.
scopart From: scopart Date: August 25th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I can't wait to see what they find...

(Nice little touch of the Friar too.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I'm anxious to find out what they see, as well. Which kind of doesn't bode well, as I probably ought to know... ;p
at_upton From: at_upton Date: August 25th, 2008 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Teddy's image of the six of them-- each character perfectly captured in a phrase. Also, one of the London dancers in the Olympic closing ceremony had pink hair. I thought of Tonks.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
I saw her, too. Barely resisted an urge to say, "Wotcher, Dora!"
shiiki From: shiiki Date: August 25th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Judging by the other boys' expressions, he didn't think he was the only one who'd been momentarily struck by some remnant of Veela in Victoire's face.

*giggle* I love this image.

Okay, I wasn't really joking. Seven's luckier than six. I'll just shut up now.

And I can't help thinking of Harry's six going off to the DoM. Let's hope this turns out a lot better!

Thanks for the update! It was awesome, as always!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, we know everyone lives through it, anyway...
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 25th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)

typo

"We could end up in the middle _OF_ a maelstrom at sea"
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: typo

Oops, I'll catch that!
maz333 From: maz333 Date: August 25th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the iconic seven. Quite an image. I enjoy how Teddy is quite introverted but still maintains such a large inner circle. And of course... I am on pins and needles waiting to see what the Maze presents them with.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd say Teddy is lucky in his friendships--he's got aggressively friendly yearmates for the most part, which he needs if he's going to avoid solitary confinement up in his lonely Gryff dorm.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Victoire is is the youngest, to be fair.
shortysc22 From: shortysc22 Date: August 25th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm more anxious for the next par, I can't wait to see what the others will see in the maze or if this will help solve anything.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's late enough in the story that it has to move the plot along somehow at this point.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: August 25th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm really loving this; reveling in the involvement of Teddy's friends. It adds a lot more layers of humor AND excitement to have something besides Teddy's internal (tortured) monologue!

Not really a quibble, but I feel like maybe this needs to be shifted around a bit:
Teddy looked at them around him. Maurice, compact and nearly coiled, like a snake ready to jump. ...Ruthless, burning like a bonfire in the night. He shook his head. "I can't imagine any of you backing out."
"It's a miracle," Victoire said. "He can be taught."
They all laughed, and the momentary image of them as iconic broke.


I was glad to see you acknowledge that he was seeing them as some sort of grandiose images of themselves, but the descriptions felt really...different and out of character without a reference to how over-the-top he was being beforehand. Maybe adding in something like:
Teddy looked at them around him and suddenly saw each as a sort of rarefied portrait of themselves. Maurice, compact and nearly coiled, like a snake ready to jump...
Argh, I can't get the wording right at all, but I feel like saying upfront that he's being melodramatic would make it read more smoothly.
From: maxzook Date: August 25th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

IMHO, that ¶ is perfect as-is

Teddy is seeing his friends as they are, in "real time," in contrast to how he'll see them in the Maze.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: August 25th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
*cries*
I had wrote a very long and thoughtful comment, and my conection went nuts, and so did my browser, and I had to reset and now it's gone!! Well, maybe now it'll make more sense.

He hoped it wasn't a bad sign to think about Voldemort before doing something potentially very stupid. This made me laugh out loud.

Also, I loved how the "iconic image" broke. I think it says so much about Teddy, his intentions, and the way he sees life. I think he's grown up with all this stories to live up to- how from his great-great-great-grandfather Phineas (I think we need a couple more 'great's), to his parents and of course, his godfather. He has this images of all this people (that are behind the everyday image he has of them) that are tall and impressive. And all of them had group of friends around them- they were all this groups of incredibly smart and courageous young people who, in different stages and ways, changed the world. And that's all Teddy knows. I don't think he CAN imagine living an ordinary life- he doesn't have one either, but what I think is that he's looking for his moment, the moment when his generation does something for the world.
And that's why (behind all the other good reasons) he is feeling so guilty about it- he thinks they were supposed to do something good, and so far he has only caused damage.

Wow, I think it does make more sense than the first time around.
Anyway, I don't know if I went into a dark turn of the Maze or I'm actually onto something, but here it is.

Back to the chapterlet, you can't leave us hanging on that cliff for long, can you? Next one soon, please?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that's a good point--growing up around Harry, Hermione, and Ron, with his parents to live up to... it must seem like just the normal course of life to go from being a Hogwarts student to being one of the most important and famous people in the world, and since he hasn't accomplished anything of note, he's getting anxious about his own "inadequacy."
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: August 25th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked all of this - the conversation with the Friar, the description of the classroom, the image of Teddy's iconic friends - but I think that what I mostly like is that Teddy has made the first step towards opening up the DoM just a little bit - making it not such a secret, whether rightly or wrongly kept that way.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Acknowledging that the rarefied air might not always be good for the mission is always a good step (except when it isn't, but it is here, imho. ;))
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 25th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

m

can't wait to find out what they see. the victoire joke is pretty funny, and i love how teddy travels over the course of this chapterlet from ruthless to victoire.
one little quibble- yeah, harry certainly isn't religious, but i had the impression from other stuff you'd written that Andromeda was fairly religious. is teddy just trying to get rid of the friar, or have i got the wrong end of things? ~m
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: August 25th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: m

It's mostly to get rid of the Friar, but I don't think Teddy equates going to church when she can and sometimes singing in the choir as being religious, per se. She doesn't really discuss theological issues with him, which is, I think, how he's currently interpreting the word. (Harry, ironically, does, and that's what got Teddy into a fight with him.)
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