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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Five: Tests, pt. 2 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Five: Tests, pt. 2
Thanks for everyone's well-wishes. I'm feeling better, mostly. Hint that the tomatoes may have gone over in a finished sauce: Strong undertaste of olive oil, for some reason.

Anyway, Teddy's had his career advice session and, when given a chance to renege, chose to remain with the Department of Mysteries, much to Maddie's delight. Since Sprout doesn't want the Maze on school grounds, he'll make several Saturday visits to London for evaluation.

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

"Are you kidding?" Donzo said, transforming up from his raccoon shape after a few laps of the Room of Requirement, during which Teddy had filled him on on the meeting. He Summoned a chair and sat down on it backwards. "If I break some valuable piece of Ministry property, do you think they'd let me go to Weird World for supper?"

Ruthless, who was lying on her back lazily tossing marshmallows into a rubbish bin she'd Conjured, rolled her eyes. "Unless they have a magical guitar there for you to break the strings on, I doubt it'll come up." She turned over and propped herself up on her elbows. "What was your session like, anyway? Did you tell them you mean to quit the music business and go into rubbish-picking?" She tossed him a marshmallow.

"I thought they were meant to be private," Donzo said.

"We just heard all about Teddy's, and you were the one who was pushing to get me to talk about mine last year."

Donzo shrugged. "Flitwick asked if I really meant to keep wasting my brain in popular music. I told him that was the plan. So he told me to take any N.E.W.T.s I happen to feel like. He strongly recommended Charms."

"Why Charms?" Teddy asked.

"Lots of Charms in performance," Donzo said, sounding surprised. "You've been backstage. Everything works on Charms. That's why I more or less have to tour with the Sisters until I come of age. Anyway, that was the sum of my careers advice session with my Head of House. Sort of underwhelming, and no one gave me permission to go home every other Saturday." He stood up and pushed the chair away. "Try to distract me. I want to see if I can do it in the midst of a riot."

Teddy and Ruthless cheerfully obliged, hooting and throwing things and telling jokes. Donzo had a little trouble making the initial transformation, but held his form and came back at will without any glitches. Teddy watched him, but couldn't quite sense what he was doing--at least what he was doing that Teddy himself wasn't.

"Are you going to try it?" Teddy asked Ruthless on their way back to Gryffindor. "I mean, now that we know it can be done..."

"I don't know. I might wait until I'm actually an Auror, then sign up for lessons with McGonagall. It'd be useful, and then I wouldn't get sacked over it. But if the pair of you try to come up with some mad Marauder name, I may have to risk Azkaban to kill you both, though I don't really think anyone would hold me accountable."

"And here I was already planning to call you 'Foxy.'"

"I'll start my killing spree with you, Lupin. Everyone knows you provoke me."

They walked on in companionable silence for a while, then Teddy said, "I'm not sure I can do it."

"Don't be absurd."

"Do you really not understand what Donzo's saying, or are you just trying to make me feel better?"

Ruthless laughed. "When McCormack tries teaching, unrelated information actually starts leaving my brain in protest. I think I lost most of second year Charms tonight. You really need to work with him on the idea that it's possible that people who say they don't understand might require a different approach than, 'Well, you've really got to think about it, and, yeah, er... there are icons and... did you ever watch the way raccoons wash their hands?'"

Teddy was still convinced that Donzo's instructions would make perfect sense once he figured out how to do it, but he laughed anyway.

The next day in Care of Magical Creatures, Hagrid decided that Dapple was ready for his first passenger, and everyone seemed glad to give the chance to Roger Young, who told everyone that he was going to be Hagrid's apprentice gamekeeper when he came of age. Hagrid preened as if he were presenting his own grandson to the Wizengamot. (Teddy couldn't imagine anyone who looked less related to Hagrid than Roger--a short, thin boy with hair like lank straw and little wire-rimmed glasses, who rarely spoke loudly enough to be heard across the Hufflepuff Common Room--but there was a sort of resemblance between them when they talked about their pets.)

Teddy watched the flight carefully, noting how Dapple wobbled at first, then made adjustments to accommodate Roger's weight. When no one was looking, he changed his eyes so he could watch the individual muscles move.

"You should do the next one," Donzo prodded.

Teddy shook his head. He wouldn't be able to see it nearly as well if he were actually on Dapple's back.

He spent the next week watching the owls fly in with the post (James was now sending him daily pages of his story, filled with anticipation of a visit home from the hero), and once even caught sight of a hawk, though he couldn't think how to bring it closer to observe. Finally, he took Dad's ring out and relived his memory of sending a hawk up into flight. Dad had been small at the time--only a few months past Greyback's attack on him--but he'd recalled everything in great detail: the heavy push-off from his arm, the pulling up of the legs, the soft, dry smell of the feathers. But Dad's memory was mainly emotional, the happiness he'd felt for the first time since that horrible night, the comfort of his mother standing behind him, and the sheer joy of watching the great bird circle out over the North Sea and come back to him, to Remus John Lupin...

He tried to imagine what the hawk might have remembered--a little boy and a thin woman on a sea cliff, in the shadow of a crumbling stone tower, the boy holding food and a promise of the strange affection humans gave--but he couldn't be sure he wasn't making it up. For all he really knew, the hawk was just thinking that Dad looked like a very big breakfast.

On Saturday morning, he ate breakfast early and went to Professor Longbottom's office, where the Floo was already up and running. After a strict warning not to wander off of the approved list of places to be, he stepped into the flames, and spun out clumsily at the Ministry of Magic.

Maddie caught him before he managed to crash into the opposite wall and said, "I haven't seen you do that for a little while."

"I always do that," Teddy said.

"Not since you started working on it. With Harry's cousin, wasn't it?"

Teddy blinked. Two years ago, Dudley Dursley had tried to teach him to keep from tripping over his shoelaces and straight into Fenrir Greyback, but surely, he hadn't spent the last two years zipping effortlessly out of Floos and not even noticed. He couldn't remember any particular spills, but they were so common that of course he hadn't paid attention to them, and...

"Teddy, you really didn't realize you hadn't been falling?" Maddie gave him a quizzical look.

"I have been. I always trip."

She sighed. "Tonks really wouldn't mind if you outgrew your clumsiness," she said. "I promise. Hers was the bane of her existence."

Teddy felt the blood in his cheeks, but didn't say anything, though--because he was thinking about it--he managed to disprove Maddie's point in the space of their five minute walk down to the Department of Mysteries, stubbing his toe, slipping on wet marble, and dropping his book bag with a loud crash when he caught its strap on a doorknob. Maddie didn't comment.

She opened the door to the empty work room they'd used in August, and lit the torches on the wall with a casual wave of her wand. The Time Turner cabinet continued its endless breaking and repairing, still under a Muffling Charm, and the cobweb-draped boxes remained pushed against the walls. The tarnished flagpole that had been across the top row of seats had, for some reason, been righted and was leaning against he wall, but there was no other change.

"There's been some debate," Maddie said, "about which Daedalus Maze to use. The one you've bonded with is extensively damaged, but another one may not work for you in quite the way you're used to."

"Is it still... spilling things?"

Maddie shrugged. "Here and there. Nothing we can't handle."

"What's it doing?"

"There are some physical manifestations. Croaker's office got the worst of it, since that's where we were working on it."

"Is it back together?"

"It could be functional." Maddie paused and sat down. "I overrode Croaker, since you're my charge. I said that we'd be using a new Maze. Croaker is very disappointed. He'd hoped to see exactly how you managed to shatter it. I told him I preferred a safer environment."


"Don't be too disappointed. I'll show you the damage it did to Croaker's office later, if you miss it." She winked, and twitched her wand. A new Daedalus Maze appeared, and she set it on a low stool. "This is a bit more focused than I'd usually like in an observation, but we have to structure things, since you need to go back to Hogwarts. Do you think you can focus it enough to work on questions of Universe today?"

"Like what?"

"Try to think of something spatial. It doesn't matter what. It mostly likely will just be a starting point, anyway."

Teddy considered it, decided on a whim to begin with a search for Brimmann's downed ship, and settled in to work.
25 comments or Leave a comment
thornyrose42 From: thornyrose42 Date: October 5th, 2008 11:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I found the bit about Teddy's clumsiness really interesting, of course there have always been hints that Teddy defines himself through them far more than he would like I hadn't completely realized just how far it can go. The power of the human brain I guess. It just shows how much Teddy needs to work this through this year. I find it odd, and interesting, that while trying to distance himself from Remus's "thing", no Teddy you aren't a good teacher at all, he instinctively clings to his clumsiness. And why choose now for it to come back?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Teddy's clumsiness was probably reinforced a lot when he was little. "Oh, are you all right? Oh, your mummy used to trip over that rug, too!" So the idea that he had two left feet would sort of become associated with adults in his life having amusing memories of his mother. As he got to Hogwarts, there was less of that to encounter, plus he had Dudley's lessons, so it all sort of faded, but not consciously, so...
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 5th, 2008 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you're feeling better, pleased to see this back. Interesting to see that Ruthless seems to be giving Animagus-dom a thought, after all, even if it's through legal channels. And intriguing sidenote about Teddy's clumsiness, especially since he seems to be caught this year between emulating his parents and forging his own identity. I'm looking forward to seeing how this Daedalus Maze responds to Teddy's presence.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if she'll ever do it, but she's right that it would be useful for an Auror. (Except against Bellatrix, who killed a fox on principle thinking it might be an Auror, but then, Bellatrix is not a problem at present.)
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: October 5th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am shamefully neglegient in commenting, but as always, I love your characters and wonderful stories.

One small beta bit: 'The tarnished flagpole that had been across the top row of seats had, for some reason, been righted and was leaning against the wall,
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops. Those two t's in a row! Just missed one, and naturally, it turned into a real word.
(Deleted comment)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm sure he had visions of esoteric articles in academic journals of magic. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 5th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
The clumsiness thing seems to also summarize Teddy's problem with becoming an animagus. Coordination is pretty much all in parts of the brain that never have to do with all that left brain, word by word, rational thought thinking. It also makes sense that it would vanish as a side effect of something Teddy could be taught at least partly in words even though a lot of it had to be shown him (exercises, how to practice, proper ways to punch).

But, I bet if he'd been taught exercises as a way to overcome clumsiness, it would have been a disaster, because he'd keep watching it to see if he'd made a move less clumsily and been trying to route what he was doing through the rational, step by step part of his brain, where it DOESN'T WORK.

Which seems to be the same as his problem with the maze. The maze seems to work best with an emotional rapport and gives answers symbolically a lot of the time instead of literally.

And I just realized that Dudley is actually good at teaching this kind of stuff. I think there's a common point between the cousins (Harry was a good Defense teacher) I hadn't clicked to before.

It also gives me the weird feeling that Dudley should somehow be able to give Teddy the insight he needs to become an animagus (and would Dudley's parents ever be able to live down the shame).

By the way, with Donzo, he might be helpful if he tries to convey some of what it felt like in music because that's the language he knows for conveying nonrational material (and can a person who just talked about that kind of thing as "nonrational material" know didley about that kind of thinking? Take me with a grain of salt).

Anyhow, I'm enjoying. Thanks!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that's a big part of it. Teddy is trying to analyze it. Analysis might work after the fact, the Animagus, like the Patronus, is an emotional projection. Experience first, analyze later.

And interesting thought about Donzo. Like Teddy, he has a pretty large right-brain/left-brain disconnect, and you're right; his music could well help in some way, though I'm not sure how. It would be good to put it to some use!

Edited at 2008-10-05 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 5th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)


glad you're feeling better!
the clumsiness thing was so sad- especially the way he didn't even notice he wasn't clumsy, and his "I have been. I always trip." even I'm kind of sad at him losing a connection, even an annoying, unintentional connection.
hmm, now we're at the actual DoM, will we find out any more about the original Unspeakables? Or was that over with the diaries?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: m

There may be more with the original Unspeakables, but I'm not sure, at this point. This story is going way over-length!
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: October 6th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: m

On the bright side- Harry's fifth year book just went on and on too. So can this one! We enjoy it!
daksian From: daksian Date: October 5th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
*grins happily* I really love these animagus bits...and I loved that Teddy voiced what I suspected of his fears of Ruthless being able to figure it out. And honestly...Ruthless would have to settle for her Marauder name being 'Ms. Foxy'...there's just no way out of it. :D

When McCormack tries teaching, unrelated information actually starts leaving my brain in protest.

Thanks. Now I have to clean up my keyboard. ;)

That little bit about Teddy's return to clumsiness is revealing, I think. Teddy's got Identity issues obviously, all wrapped up with his unresolved business with his parents. But in a very real sense, isn't this what being fifteen is all about? Not sure who or even what you are? I think when Teddy gets a better sense of himself, that yes, he is Teddy Lupin, but he is also his parents son and a host of other things...I think he'll manage the animagus transformation--and feel a lot better about things in general.

These tests at the DoM look promising. I'm curious to see what kind of evaluation Teddy will receive...and what he himself will discover!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Ruthless would be secretly delighted at being "Foxy." But she would never admit it in a million years. Too cute and girly.

Teddy has always had a kind of symbiosis with his parents, bolstered by the implicit notion of everyone he loves that's all that's left of them. But he's fifteen, and it's time to argue with the parents and set up your identity, but how do you do that when they only exist inside you?
daksian From: daksian Date: October 5th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee! Considering James' enjoyment of giving out Marauder names once he has the map, I've no doubt that he'll call his wife 'Foxy' if she becomes an animagus...but probably only in private, if he knows what's good for him. And I love that Ruthless would secretly love being called that. :D

I've really enjoyed this story overall so far. All of your stories have had psychological factors involved, but this is probably the deepest one yet, and I'm a sucker for psychoanalysis of a character. :)
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: October 5th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really do hope that Teddy manages to become an animagus before the story's over, or I would be most disappointed. I, too, found Teddy's clumsiness most interesting. I had completely forgotten about it until it was mentioned. I wonder why it's starting up again...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 5th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I can promise that he'll figure it out. :)

The fall out of the Floo was just nerves, but I think Teddy's right that just thinking about the idea of whether or not he's clumsy made him clumsy on the way down to the DoM. It's a "Go in the corner and don't think about a white bear" thing.
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: October 5th, 2008 09:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think Ruthless would like the name "Foxy" too.

Really enjoyed the Teddy/Donzo/Ruthless conversation as always.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I doubt Ruthless would have brought up the subject of Marauder names, except that she wanted one. ;p
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 5th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad you're feeling better.

I loved the interaction between Ruthless, Donzo and Teddy- those two seem to be becoming Teddy's version of Ron and Hermione... and I say that on the strictest sense of two best friends. I mean, at first, Teddy didn't have constant companions- he just had very good friends, but now, it seems that's changing a bit. Maybe it's because when you're younger you're pretty much friends with everyone, and trust everyone the same, but as you grow older you tend to bond with certain people, and stop using the word 'friend' so lightly.

Of course, the clumsiness is interesting, but everyone else sort of covered that :P

Looking forward to next!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's also got "older brother" Frankie as well as his little siblings in the Potterlets, but at 15... yeah, you want the peer group. :)
From: glynngriffiths Date: October 5th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, good to see Teddy back, and you feeling better! I really enjoyed the chat about career sessions with Donzo and Ruthless (and that Flitwick thinks Donzo's wasting his brain!). Teddy has such great friends that sometimes I get impatient with his introversion and tendency to self-isolate, because I miss them! That said, I still love Teddy - introvert that he is. Can't wait to see what he does with a new (in tact) maze.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
His introversion can cause him some problems sometimes, but yeah... it's just one of those things that you either are or aren't.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: October 6th, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Aaugh. You couldn't choose something nice and innocuous, could you, Teddy?

Very poignant, Maddie's insight about his feelings about clumsiness.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course he's not choosing anything innocuous. :headdesk:

Maddie "gets" Teddy better than most.
25 comments or Leave a comment