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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Six: Fort Potter, pt. 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Six: Fort Potter, pt. 1
Table of Contents and Summary So Far

Teddy thought at first that they'd staged the scene in Croaker's office for his benefit--to show a new recruit how fun the Department of Mysteries could be--but Croaker himself didn't appear to be having much fun at all as he tried to get handle on a medieval tavern that had materialized in his office, and Davies was darting around like an oversized wasp, trying to curse a couple of spinning sponges into submission. Maddie joined in happily, going after a loose peacock, and Teddy spent a pleasant fifteen minutes trying to catch a rabbit that kept appearing and disappearing. By the time they finished, everyone but Croaker was laughing, and Croaker looked like he was on the verge.

"Young man," he said to Teddy as he managed to get the last of the manifestations back into the containment box, "you have a knack for chaos."

Teddy laughed even harder at this--the Maze aside, the only person he could think of who was less chaotic than he was, was Victoire on a cleaning spree.

Well, at least the only Gryffindor. He wondered which Houses each of the others had been in, but thought they'd find it childish if he asked.

"Has there been anything else?" Teddy asked as they headed for the Floos.

Maddie thought about it. "Here and there, things we're suspicious of."

"Those manifestations--that was what was going on with the Maze just before Phineas and the others stopped using it."

She turned with unfeigned surprise. "How on Earth did you find that out?"

"Phineas's journals. They're at Hogwarts."

"I'll write a note to Madam Pince. Bring them with you next time."

Teddy nodded, and decided to finish what he hadn't got to before his next trip to London, in case the journals abruptly disappeared.

Maddie bade him farewell at the fireplace, as soon as the flames turned green, as she had a report to finish up and wanted to spend the evening with Daffy, Carny, and Mac (Teddy sent his love). Teddy stepped into the flames and out into the kitchen of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.

Which was festooned with holly and evergreen wreaths, dancing fairies, and a collection of old robes from upstairs which were pantomiming the Twelve Days of Christmas while a jovial, drunken portrait in Victorian dress sang.


He had managed to keep his feet coming out of the Floo, but was off balance when Lily Potter ran straight into his knees, knocking him into a chair at the table. She had a little red-headed dolly clasped in one arm; the other lodged itself firmly around Teddy's neck. She kissed his cheek resoundingly.

"Well... hello, Lily. Er... Happy Christmas?"

She pulled away and clapped (the dolly took the brunt of it) and said, "We couldn't have you at Christmas so Meg and I"--she held up the dolly--"said we ought to have Christmas again! Al and James are getting more holly, and that's Sargus Black"--she pointed at the portrait--"who Mum found up in the corner of the attic. They'd put his face on the floor! But he's very funny, so we brought him down. Sargus, this is Teddy Lupin!"

The portrait finished a rousing chorus of "a partridge in a pear tree," then bowed, sweeping his tall hat dramatically. Somewhere, buried under a good deal of flesh, were the typical features of the Black family. He tipped his painted bottle and said, "So it is, so it is. To fair returns!" He drank.

Teddy tried to remember where on the family tree this one belonged, but drew a blank. He'd have to look at it later, or ask Maurice tomorrow. "Nice to meet you," he said.

"Nice to be met!" He drank again.

Lily kissed her free fist and tossed the kiss to the portrait, who caught it jovially and put it on his cheek.

The door at the top of the stairs opened, and Aunt Ginny came down, arms outstretched. She hugged Teddy, then looked at Lily, frustrated. "Lily, when guests arrive, we tell Mummy about it!"

"Teddy's here," Lily announced.

Aunt Ginny rolled her eyes and turned back to Teddy. "You're a bit earlier than we thought. Go on up to the parlor, and take my social secretary here with you. The boys are putting up a tree."

"I didn't bring anything. I didn't know we were doing this!"

"Well, it wouldn't be a surprise if you knew, now would it?" She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "I mean it, though, I have a lot of cooking to do, so if you want to be helpful, take Lily upstairs."

"All right." Teddy bent down and let Lily climb up onto his back. She grabbed him around the neck--Meg the dolly's head was jammed against his nose--and he carried her up the stairs. She'd got very heavy by the time he made it to the parlor, and he was happy to let her slide down and run inside.

Uncle Harry and the boys were, indeed, decorating a Christmas tree, though the room looked like one of George's Christmas Wheezes had exploded badly, sending tinsel and garland and pine needles in every direction.

James spotted him first and jumped down from a stepladder he was using. He ran across to Teddy with huge strides, and Teddy thought "He's taller!" before being pummeled again, first by James, then by Al. They were talking over each other.

"--got you presents, but I didn't send them--"

"--he kept forgetting because of his stupid story--"

"--so we thought--"

Teddy hugged them both.

Uncle Harry came out from behind the tree. "'Lo, Teddy," he said. He looked reserved, and Teddy realized that he wasn't sure what was going to happen. The children obviously didn't know anything about a fight.

Teddy took a deep breath, told himself to grow up, and went across the room to him.

A moment later, he was caught in an embrace.

Uncle Harry pulled away, a wry smile on his face. "I thought you might be too... too old for that."

Teddy shrugged.

Uncle Harry shook his head. "I'll take that as fifteen for 'Of course not, Uncle Harry, I shall never be too old for a hug from my godfather.'"

"Something like that," Teddy said. "I was afraid you might think I was too... tall... to hug."

"You could dwarf Hagrid, and you'd still be my godson."

James, who would have loved the idea of speaking in code if he'd known they were doing so, had apparently had quite enough of it as it was. He grabbed Teddy's arm to get his attention and said, "Do you want to come outside? Al and I made a fort in the courtyard."

"All right," Teddy said. "I'd like to see that."

"We were going to say no girls were allowed, but Mum said we couldn't." He looked balefully at Lily, who stuck her tongue out and had Meg make a rude-looking gesture with one padded hand.

Uncle Harry cleared his throat. "Does Meg need to go up for another nap for a day or two?"

Lily paled and shook her head.

"Then Meg needs to watch her manners."

Lily nodded frantically.

Uncle Harry gave Teddy a sheepish look, then said, quietly enough that the children didn't hear (they were now engaged with an argument about who got to take Teddy outside), "I feel like Aunt Petunia when I do that. I just don't want her insulting someone with the thing."

Teddy wasn't sure how to feel about this--Uncle Harry confiding something about parenting to him was quite new, and made him wonder how many of his own scoldings as a child had been followed by such comments to other people. But it seemed well-meant enough. "I'll watch her outside," he said.

"Good," Uncle Harry said. "James is generally happy to intervene, but he's not very persuasive, as the last time he got hold of Meg himself..." He shook his head helplessly. "It takes a specialized skill set to untrain a talking doll."

"I get Teddy," Al announced, rising above the fray, "because the pair of you are both yelling. Aunt Hermione says that the first person who has to yell loses." He turned and marched importantly over to Teddy. "Let's go outside," he said. "I'm making a secret passage."

"It's not a secret," Lily said, "since you tell everyone."

"Have fun," Uncle Harry said, and winked.

Teddy let himself be pulled out of the parlor and down the stairs. As the children manhandled him toward the courtyard, he thought he caught a glimpse of Phineas Nigellus in a cheap painting of Stonehenge, but there was no time to explore this.

The air outside was cool and damp, and the courtyard looked like it had endured a week of drizzling rain. Between the Black family gravestones, there was a cone-shaped structure made of sticks, bound at the top with a red and gold Gryffindor scarf, which looked soggy and dispirited. A colorful cloth had been draped around it. Teddy guessed that Aunt Ginny or Uncle Harry had made it waterproof.

James ran ahead and lifted the flap that covered the entrance. "Welcome to Fort Potter," he said.
39 comments or Leave a comment
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redlily From: redlily Date: October 7th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Aunt Hermione says that the first person who has to yell loses.

HA HA HA HA HA. That is too perfect. I can just imagine her telling her kids that. Meanwhile, Ron's in the corner, trying desperately not to explode!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, that's definitely a rule that favors Hermione over Ron. ;)
amamama From: amamama Date: October 7th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh. :-) This was a fun chapter. Both the mess at the DoM, and the Potter carnival. Great fun. And I have no trouble believing it takes a specialized skill set to untrain a talking doll...

Great fun, Fern!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I thought some was needed.
From: kobegrace Date: October 7th, 2008 11:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Hehe. Where, oh, where, shall this lead? (Really, though, who cares; this chapter was so adorable that it doesn't matter! I LOVE your Potter kids! =D)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wanted to write the Potterlets as normal as I could.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: October 7th, 2008 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Goodness, wizarding parenting must indeed be fraught with more problems than are dreamt of in our philosophy...

Aunt Hermione says that the first person who has to yell loses."

I wonder whether Uncle Ron was able to avoid taking that as a personal slight the first time she said it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I expect Uncle Ron has lost a few arguments that way...
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 7th, 2008 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
A nice surprise to have a second Christmas with Teddy. Sargus Black was pretty surprising too--was he that jovial when he was sober too? And it's good to see our hero decompressing with the Potterlets and bridging the gap with Uncle Harry.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I doubt the portrait of Sargus is ever sober enough to make a comparison. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
DoM and potter kids in the same installment!


fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
And both in varying states of chaos!
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: October 7th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Re-commenting due to a scary error in the first one...And it erased what I'd copied of that one, argh.)

Ahahaha awesome. I've always wanted three kids (I grew up with one brother) in part because I love this sort of friendly chaos. Check back with me in 10 years or so, when I'm in the Aunt Ginny position, to see if I was nuts.

One typo:
"I shall never been too old for a hug from my godfather.'"
"I shall never BE too old..."?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops, yup.

I grew up as an only. I always wanted a couple of sibs to banter with!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 7th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am grinning like an idiot. Such fun, Fern.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed.
From: glynngriffiths Date: October 7th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
This chapter made me beam!

The havoc in Croaker's office was wonderful, and the visit to Grimmauld Place is just perfect (so far). Harry and Teddy speaking (reconciling) in code, broke my heart and put it all back together - "I was afraid you might think I was too... tall... to hug."
"You could dwarf Hagrid, and you'd still be my godson."

Lily with her rude dolly (I think Meg may be my new favourite OC), and Harry parenting were definite highlights... and the allusion to Hermione parenting (a very good tactic when you're raising Weasley/Granger children, I think!) was fantastic and spot-on. And I loved how Al turned it around to his advantage... Your Potter children are too adorable.

Looking forward to seeing the fort!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Al's definitely learning to work that middle spot. And I don't even want to think about wizarding dollies. We can do enough with the n on-magical variety!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2008 02:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Was Sargus disowned? If so, for what, and why is his portrait still there?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, not disowned, just a distant cousin who generations of Black adults have felt was unsuitable to the dignity of the Noble and Most Ancient Etc, Etc, Etc. Of course, Ginny and Harry are, like, "Heh! Let's bring him downstairs!"
at_upton From: at_upton Date: October 7th, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
"James, who would have loved the idea of speaking in code if he'd known they were doing so, had apparently had quite enough of it as it was."

What a perfect transition-- it both adds something to the bit that came before it and firmly moves the tone forward. That whole section had me wibbling in the middle of a computer lab. Thanks!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I needed something to get out of that little awkward spot!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that was wonderful! I love Teddy and Harry's "code," and the children are so adorable!

The DoM continues to be fascinating as well. I'm also loving these quick updates!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like writing the Potter kids. They almost write themselves!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 7th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sweet chapterlet! The fort reminds me of my and the brotherbeastie's Nettle Castle. Except that ours had a thatched roof. Well, half a thatched roof. And a couple of bricks.

~Hermione Stranger, returning to studying now</i>
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I had a shed, in a little spidery grove of trees. Good times.
daksian From: daksian Date: October 7th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Do you have any idea how many more DoM ficlet requests you're going to have after all of this? :D

I had a thought of a mental checklist that Maddie et al have for their approval of Teddy--his offhand comment about the original DoM and their difficulty with the Maze undoubtedly earned him another 'impressed' mark. :D

I loved the reunion with the Potter kids. It's kind of funny too...Teddy's coming to terms with growing up (Harry confiding parental issues with him), yet at the same time, I can see the kids are getting older too, even in a year's time.

And I really liked how Teddy decided to handle being back at 'home' with Harry. Good on ya kid. :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Teddy's inherited something of Remus's conflict-avoidance gene, which is serving him well in this instance.
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: October 7th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, the wizarding parenting bits were priceless!
Also, I'd be interested to, in what houses the others were from. Definitely says Teddy picked the right job that he had a passing thought that an everyday work situation could be staged to make the job look fun!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 8th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Maddie's a 'Puff, and of course Roger Davies was a Ravenclaw. I'd bet the DoM is heavy on Ravenclaws, actually. Croaker? :shuffles around: Okay, also a 'Claw.

And no, I totally didn't flip a coin. ;p
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