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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Four: The World Beyond the Walls, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Four: The World Beyond the Walls, pt. 3
I'm going to try to finish this up over the next month, in time to do NaNo in November. I think it's okay to work with a concept I already tried--but didn't like the plot--as long as I attack it from a different angle.

Anyway, where we are now: Teddy and Neville broke the quarantine, and the outside world came in. Maddie and Teddy got the Maze in a containment box, though some of what was coming out of it got away. Harry rushed in and puzzled Teddy, who thought he might still be mad, but they caught up on everything on the way down to the hospital wing, where Andromeda was helping with the patients. Teddy barely has time to notice that her hair is grayer when she grabs him and hugs him.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Granny barely let him get far enough away to breathe for a few seconds, but finally straightened her shoulders and stood back to look at him.

To look up at him.

Teddy blinked. He'd been getting close to Granny's height in September. When had he got taller?

She put her hands on his arms. "Oh, thank God. You're all right. I don't think I could stand losing you."

"I was never sick," Teddy said.

"You could have been, and I couldn't have got here." Granny frowned, then looked over her shoulder at Daniel. "I need to take a few minutes," she said.

Daniel waved her out. "Madam Pomfrey'll be up and around in a minute. She'll have it all sorted out."

Teddy looked beyond him, and saw Madam Pomfrey sitting up in bed, drinking a potion, her nose wrinkled at the taste. She swallowed, then said, "For heaven's sake, Andromeda, you're nearly retired. Take as long as you'd like."

"I'll be back to help," Granny said, then steered Teddy and Uncle Harry both out to the corridor. Uncle Harry gave Teddy a quick hug, then left, smiling at Granny. Granny sat Teddy down on a bench and leaned forward, her elbows on her knees.

Teddy touched her shoulder. "Sorry, Granny," he said. "I, er... I didn't mean to worry you."

"What am I going to do when you grow up?" she asked. "A few months of not being able to write to you, and I'm quite mad with missing you. What will I do when you've gone away and have a whole world of your own, and I don't know what you're doing in it?"

"Why would that happen?" Teddy asked. "I'm not going to start another quarantine."

"Never mind," she said and sat up straight, pushing her hair back over her ears. It wasn't as gray as Teddy had thought when he'd first seen her--there was quite a lot of light brown left in the softly rolled bun at the nape of her neck--but her fringe had changed entirely. She wasn't an old woman, but Teddy realized with some shock that she had to be close to the same age that Mad Auntie had been when her gray-haired portrait had been painted. Which had only been a short time before her death.

He took her hand and squeezed it. "So... I haven't heard anything. How are you?"

"Fine." She patted his hand with the one he wasn't holding. "Worried, of course. Ellsworth reminded me that we'd heard no bad news from the Ministry--Harry had the portraits go through every day--but of course..." She sighed. "You're all I have left of Ted and Dora. I suppose that makes me worry too much. And before you start to, don't apologize. That's my problem."

Teddy smiled tentatively, not entirely sure what to say. He finally came out with, "How's Ellsworth?"

"Insistent," Granny said. "I'm afraid we've only recently started speaking again after Christmas. He knows that there are matters I'm not willing to discuss." She gave him a forced smile, and changed the subject. "As long as we're on the subject, whose heart have you broken this year? Other than your poor Uncle Harry's, of course." She looked at him shrewdly, and he realized that she knew they'd quarreled, but had no idea what the quarrel had been about--none at all.

If he told her, he was quite certain that she'd be on his side. She'd probably be just as angry as he'd been about Uncle Harry's high-handedness. Maybe even more--she'd been an adult, after all, his elder, and he'd never told her she might have a chance to speak to her only child again.

But a silent voice in his head stopped him. Granny didn't need to know about the Stone. He could handle being angry at Uncle Harry himself. He couldn't handle Granny being angry at him. So he shrugged. "It was the usual," he said. "The same thing you always used to tell me, about being stuck in the past."

She accepted this equitably enough, and didn't push. She'd come to her own peace with Teddy's interest in the past, but wasn't likely to rush to his side in a battle on the subject. "Well, that's your affair," she said. "Have you been seeing Ruth again?"

"No. She's working very hard this year."

Granny pressed a bit harder, and Teddy admitted to his Hogsmeade visit with Jane before the Quarantine, but didn't fold when Granny guessed that there was someone else he was interested in. Finally, he turned his nose up, morphed his hair and face to match hers, and said, "There are matters I'm not willing to discuss."

She laughed lightly, and by the time Madam Pomfrey walked out, looking weak and pale, things seemed normal again. Granny needed to go back into the hospital wing to help with the follow-up, and Teddy went back to Gryffindor Tower.

Over the next two weeks, the post owls delivered record numbers of letters and packages. There was nearly a February Christmas celebration. Professor Morse suggested a party to welcome back the newly recovered plague victims, and it was held on the last Friday... with a great deal of attention paid this time to any figure that might not belong.

There were no more phantasms--at least not that anyone had noticed--but on a few occasions, Teddy was certain that something was out of place. Newly replaced walls seemed, for a moment, to be hoary with age again, portraits might (or might not) have flickered in and out of view, the fireflower in the swamp began to shoot out tendrils. But the first two might have been his imagination, and the last may have been perfectly normal. No one had found anything unusual about the fireflower, after all, other than its provenance.

He brewed Wolfsbane for Neil again, but at the end of the month, instead of going to the Room of Requirement, Neil again went into Hogsmeade with Madam Pomfrey, and Flooed out to France. Père Alderman brought him back two days later, both of them looking horrible. Alderman sat with Teddy for a long time that evening, skirting around the topic of everything that had gone wrong. Teddy had a mad urge to confess, which would hardly have done anything, as Alderman couldn't absolve him anyway, so he didn't ask. Nevertheless, Père Alderman suggested that he'd get something out of helping the plague victims catch up on their schoolwork, so he set up revision sessions three times a week in the library. Frankie, who didn't want to let Tinny out of his sight now that she was well, helped with these.

Gryffindor celebrated the beginning of March--coming in like a lion--with a resounding defeat of Slytherin on the Quidditch pitch, and in the course of the celebratory party, Teddy found himself dancing with a fourth year Gryffindor girl named Karen Diorbhall--"It's supposed to be pronounced in Gaelic," she said, "but you can just call me 'Doorbell'; my other friends do"--who he went out with for four days before she got bored with him and moved on to one of Story's friends in Ravenclaw. Neither Ruthless nor Victoire offered him any comfort in the wake of Doorbell's desertion. Victoire, in fact, entertained herself immensely by hitting him with any Wheeze that made bell sounds. He suspected that she wrote to George for suggestions on this.

Classes went on, as they had throughout the Quarantine, though Gardner returned to Transfiguration, and Trelawney returned to Divination. Teddy found that he missed Professor McGonagall, even though he'd always been fond of Gardner. In Care of Magical Creatures, Dapple was flying regularly now, making circuits of Hagrid's hut, then coming down in the muddy paddock and bowing for applause (much to Buckbeak's continued embarrassment). "'E'll be ready to give yeh a ride soon, I reckon," Hagrid said, but Teddy didn't care about riding Dapple. He was watching Dapple's wings, watching the way they moved, imagining the way the air moved under them. Donzo was trying to get him through the last stages, and hadn't quite been able to convey what he meant, but he seemed to think it was important to think about flight and wings and birds. He was also increasingly embarrassed by Teddy's inability to grasp the thing, and his teaching was flustered and inconsistent. Ruthless listened, stunned, to one of his attempts at articulating what he'd done the day he'd cracked the Animagus spell, and asked if he'd meant to be speaking English, or if they were meant to have learned a foreign language as well. He started attending Teddy's revision sessions, claiming that he wanted to learn how to teach. Teddy thought he was kidding, but he appeared to be perfectly serious about it. It didn't help.

A note appeared at the breakfast table on the Ides of March ("Beware!" Ruthless said, grinning). It was from Professor Longbottom.

You're my only fifth year, and it seems a bit absurd to post a schedule in the Common Room for your Careers Advice session. Please come to my office at three o'clock on Monday, after your Care of Magical Creatures class. We should be finished before your session in the library.
Professor N. Longbottom

It was Saturday morning, and the next two days passed very slowly, despite a prodigious amount of homework, a long Sunday game of Muggles and Minions (Tinny claimed to have spent her time in stasis dreaming up new scenarios), and a pile of stories from James to get through. The others in the year all had their appointments as well. Maurice pointed out, morbidly, that it would be the first year in Hogwarts history that all of the Careers Advice sessions would be finished by third Wednesday in March. Honoria Higgs went first, as Rita Skeeter and the editor-in-chief of the Daily Prophet had made special arrangements to come and speak to her. She ducked out of History of Magic at eleven, as Binns droned on about a troll revolt, and Teddy dearly wished, at that moment, that he had a burning interest in journalism as well.

Instead, he fidgeted through the remained of the class, picked at his lunch, and barely listened to Hagrid expounding on the proper retrieval of wand-grade unicorn-tail hairs. At three, he ran back up the hill to the castle, and arrived at Professor Longbottom's plant-filled office at five minutes before three.

The door opened.

Professor Longbottom was sitting at his desk. Beside him were Maddie Apcarne, an older man in sharp business robes... and Granny and Uncle Harry.

Teddy frowned and went inside.
43 comments or Leave a comment
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cleindori From: cleindori Date: September 29th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my goodness! I just finished posting on the last segment, only to reload and find this! An embarrassment of story riches. :)

Dun dun dun...most stacked Careers Advice Session EVER! :D
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, hopefully, I'll be speeding up now. :)
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hope so!
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: September 29th, 2008 06:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how you incorporate the Department of Mysteries into Teddy's life. I've always thought that JKR let that ball drop in her last two books--particularly with the tantalizing yet never explored Love room. Of course, now I know that Jo was merely setting up Teddy's stories! I do hope that (at some point) Teddy will enter that room in some big, climactic moment of a future story.

Great work! As always, this is the highlight of my day. (Now only 21 hours to go!)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was surprised that it didn't show up again, but I could never think of how it would, either, so I wasn't that surprised. I think it may have just been atmospheric, or one of those things that she thought she'd use later and didn't end up with a place for.
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: September 29th, 2008 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Donzo is kind of totally adorable. He wants to learn to teach. Seriously, what a Ravenclaw.

...probably not what I was meant to comment on.

The meeting between Andromeda and Teddy was fantastic, so sweet and emotional and yeah. I love the the combination of slightly clueless plus maturing. Oh, Teddy.

This Careers Advice session promises to be interesting at any rate.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope it will be. And Teddy is, in a lot of ways, clueless... but he's hitting the right conclusion.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2008 10:11 am (UTC) (Link)
*big grin* And Teddy still doesn't get the hint that Victoire might like him "like that." *sniggers* Now, this Careers Advice session...is very promising. At least from my pov. Somehow I doubt that Teddy feels the same.
amamama From: amamama Date: September 29th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
That was me...I've rebooted and now the computer acts very strange. I was logged in ten minutes ago, then not when I posted the review...ot to mention that the mouse has gone mad. I must check that driver again. >sigh
sophiap From: sophiap Date: September 29th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC) (Link)
The conversation between Andromeda and Teddy is absolutely wonderful.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
You realize that finding a phantom librarian update is the entertainment highlight of my day?

I'm quite looking forward to the careers advice session. I love how you set it up and left us hanging.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be entertaining. :)
redlily From: redlily Date: September 29th, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
At three, he ran back up the hill to the castle, and arrived at Professor Longbottom's plant-filled office at five minutes before three.

Time Turner? ;)

I cannot WAIT to see what this career session is going to be like. I sense Uncle Harry is not so down with the D of M stuff . . . .
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

This is what comes of multitasking. I meant to say "At three..." then I finished the sentence like I'd said, "After class..." which was another wording in my head--just not on the screen.
From: kobegrace Date: September 29th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hehe. Do it, Teddy. Just do it. Tell the whole lot of them you want to be an Abercrombie & Fitch model and be done with it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
As a Metamorphmagus, he could model the whole catalogue for them!
willowbough From: willowbough Date: September 29th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Woo-hoo! Nothing like new Teddy to start off the work week right. Nice grandmother-grandson bonding--I too hope Andromeda will be okay once Teddy's grown up and out on his own. And I see you're working on moving the school calendar ahead, appropriate and fitting that Teddy should use his Lupin teaching skills to help the plague victims catch up with their work, and revealing that Donzo feels he could learn something from watching his friend teach. Couldn't help grinning a bit over our hero's continuing dry spell with girls, though--can't win 'em all!

And now, I'm definitely intrigued by Teddy's Career Advice Session.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well... I had to move some time! I'm finishing up chapter 24, and I'd like to have an end in sight. ;p

I hope that eventually, Andromeda will bend and allow Ellsworth to at least bring up the subject of re-marriage, but at the moment, she still feels married to Ted, despite the dating.
allie_meril From: allie_meril Date: September 29th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
AUGH!! I can't *wait* to hear the career advice!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it'll be fun to write.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: September 29th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Um, so now I'm late for class, but I couldn't resist reading. Intriguing, all the extra people at his meeting!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 06:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's a reason for them. :)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: September 29th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was really nice. I liked that Teddy realizes Andromeda has to look up. We're going through something like that on my family- my little sister (who is fourteen going on fifteen) is taller by the minute. Just this week I started to notice that, if I'm not on heels, I have to look up. It's a shock when the youngers get taller than you. You feel so old, so self-conscious of time passing by.

I can't wait for the Careers Advice session. Do you think is normal for kids to have their family there (and Harry didn't because he just didn't have one) or that is part of being Teddy Lupin, the kid surrounded by conections?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's definitely not normal. There's a reason for it! :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
With all that's going on in this, somehow, what I'm focusing on is -

"The Trolls are revolting!"

"Yeah, you can say that again."

Bad jokes aside, I'm not sure that Trolls have the planning abilities for a revolt. It was probably more like a Troll stampede or a Troll riot. From how those things seem to happen in the UK, I'm betting a soccer game was involved (somehow, I just can't see Quidditch causing a Troll riot . . . .)

Oops, focusing on minor details.

Although I get hooked on Teddy stories, I'm somehow more willing to sit back and watch them unfold, unlike the Tonks and Remus stories, where I was always trying to figure out what would happen next. I enjoy them just as much (maybe more, in some ways) but the urge to write long commentary, questions, and speculation just doesn't seem to manifest as often.

So, here I am looking at what would have to be the scariest career guidance meeting in history for the average student, and my only thought is, "Oh, this should be interesting."

Although leave it to Binns to make a Troll Revolt boring and to not even accidentally stumble into the obvious joke.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
They really, really need to replace Binns. But what do you do with a ghost who apparently has tenure?
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so proud of Teddy for not telling Andromeda about the true nature of the fight - both because he is showing that adult awareness that he may need to protect his parental figure and because he realizes he doesn't need someone else to confirm him in his anger.

Career advice should be interesting...

Shana Tova!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Shana Tova to you as well.

Teddy is beginning to realize that Andromeda is very, very human, and very damaged by what's happened to her. It's kind of a scary thought.
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