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Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Nine: Clearing the Way, pt. 3 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Teddy Lupin and the Daedalus Maze, Chapter Twenty-Nine: Clearing the Way, pt. 3
I took a nap after work, so I'm up and starting to write REALLY LATE. Oh, well. I'm off tomorrow, so no problem.

Teddy and Harry went into the Maze to save James. A series of Guides eventually degenerated into a horrific vision of Bellatrix turning into Tonks, which Teddy believes Harry will hate him for, if he understands that the Maze is showing Teddy's own mind. The river which James was trapped across has swollen and is flooding, and the only way across is for Teddy to finally complete the Animagus transformation. He finally understands it, and flies across, where he's able to get most of the way to James, but he can't fly him back over. A werewolf attacks the tree they're in, and breaks it, sending Teddy further away. He has no choice--he throws Ariadne's Thread to James, and as soon as James catches it, shouts "Home!"

Table of Contents and Summary So Far

James had time to look up, his face a circle of dazed surprise, when Ariadne's Thread glowed white, then simply disappeared. As he went, Teddy noticed part of the canopy disappearing around him--just small things here and there, but the part of the Maze that had been James's creation, to which Teddy himself had paid no attention until they vanished.

"He's safe!" Teddy called across the river.

"Are you all right?" Uncle Harry yelled.

There wasn't a simple answer to that question, so Teddy didn't answer it. Instead, he braced himself to turn back into a hawk to get across the river. He expected it to come with a great fanfare of images and memories again, but instead, his body seemed to know it instinctively, as it knew how to walk across a room, or climb stairs, or eat when it was hungry. He spread his arms and they became wings, and he was aloft.

This time as he flew, he looked down river, the direction he and Uncle Harry had come from. The river had flooded out much of the Maze. They couldn't go back the way they'd come.

He landed on the rock beside Uncle Harry and transformed back to human shape.

Uncle Harry raised his eyebrows. "How long have you been doing that?"

"First time," Teddy said, looking away. "James should be fine. I lost the thread. We have to find another way out. The way back is flooded."

"Teddy... I'm not going to tell anyone."

"Maybe I could only do it in the Maze, anyway. I might not be breaking the law--"

"I don't mean about the hawk business, which as an Auror I will take your word is just a side effect of the Maze, until you come of age and register. I meant..." He nodded toward the far side of the river, where the werewolf Guide was still prowling.

Teddy looked at it. "It's not Greyback, is it?"

"I can't say for sure," Uncle Harry said. "You never saw either of them transformed, so it's just a general idea of a werewolf, but..." He sighed. "I don't think it's Greyback. Just because of the other."

Teddy felt shamed tears rising, and pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes to stop them. "I don't think of them like that, Uncle Harry. I don't! I swear I don't."

There was a long pause, then he heard Uncle Harry come over, and a heavy hand fell on the back of his shoulders. "Of course you do," he said.

Teddy shook his head.

"I tried to kill Bellatrix when she killed Sirius," Uncle Harry went on conversationally. "I chased her up through the Ministry, and I tried the Cruciatus Curse on her, and I very genuinely wanted her dead."

"I wish you had."

"So do I, for a lot of reasons that came later, your mother first on the list." Teddy looked up, surprised that the lecture hadn't been about how glad he was he hadn't done it. Uncle Harry sighed went on. "But it wouldn't have helped with Sirius, would it? It would have felt like just as much of a cheat after as it did before."

Teddy thought about kicking Greyback through the fireplace, destroying the man who'd destroyed Dad's life. He shook his head. "It wouldn't change anything."

"But you think about it a lot, don't you?"

"No! I never think about Greyback."

Uncle Harry didn't even acknowledge this. "You shouldn't have had to do that."

Teddy swallowed hard and got to his feet. "You shouldn't have had to deal with Voldemort, either, but someone had to. We should find a way out."

He thought Uncle Harry might push the subject, but he didn't. Instead, he got up and said, "Can you fly over and find a path?"

"I could try."

"You don't sound hopeful."

Teddy shook his head. "No. Phineas's journals--and the letter from Dumbledore's dad--"

"The what?"

"Oh, right. He and Phineas worked on this together. Gordon Burke, too, and a bunch of others. They got in a mess with it, and Apis--that's Percival Dumbledore--said 'The only way out is in.' That doesn't sound like flying around and looking for a different path out." Teddy hoped his voice sounded more confident than he felt.

"Was that before or after he went to Azkaban?"

"Before. But he did use it to handle Azkaban better."

"You said that the volcano is the center of the Maze. What's going to be there?"

"I don't know. I never made it to the center. But I think that's where we need to go." He bit his lip. "It'll probably erupt."

"Either that, or there'll be a giant spider and a Portkey." Uncle Harry shuddered. "You could fly that direction."

Teddy shook his head. "The river's still rising. And if I go there and find a way out, the whole thing could come down. You have to get out with me." He considered it. "I could fly ahead a little at a time, though. That way, we won't run into walls."

Something nudged Teddy's foot, and he looked down. The river had come up the rock, and the red rapids were tugging at his trainer laces. Downriver a few meters, he saw something struggling to gain solid ground.

"We'd better go," he said, trying not to let any fear into his voice. "Before Granny shows up as Voldemort or something."

Uncle Harry gave him a shrewd look, and Teddy wondered if he was thinking it wasn't a joke, that Teddy was imagining Granny as a monster as well. If he was thinking that, he didn't say it. He just said, "What's the best way to higher ground?"

Teddy looked around, then remembered that he had a better option and transformed again, taking off on a warm current rising from the rock. The land on the far side was higher, and a brief rise led back to the path they'd been on. He looked ahead, and saw a dead end if they didn't turn deeper into the jungle, but he thought he'd be able to spot the turn on the ground. The whole jungle was rising to the roots of the mountain, which looked peaceful at the moment, though Teddy didn't trust it in the least.

He swooped down and landed atop one of the Maze's barrier lines, trying to get a sense of things. Through his hawk's eyes, he could see the breakage in the Maze, the damage that he'd somehow caused that first night, when he'd grabbed at Bellatrix's throat and held on, trying to choke the life from her, or at least choke off the laughter that had come from her after she'd killed Mum. In this shape, he could think of it dispassionately. He had wanted to kill her, as he'd killed Greyback. No internal mechanism expressed horror in the hawk, which was, after all, a killer in its own right.

But it had broken the Maze somehow, broken along the lines of Teddy's own anger, and now it was spilling into the world, into things it had no business touching, rising like the river overflowing its banks below.

Teddy blinked this away. It was amazingly easy in this shape; he could understand Sirius now, transforming in his cell to stay sane. He looked ahead, over the tangled lines of the jungle Maze, toward the volcano. Near the summit, he could see something glinting in the sun, the glare too bright to see precisely what it was.

But he knew that, whatever it was, it was the place they needed to be, and the only way out.

He did his best to memorize the lay of the Maze to get to the mountain, wishing he had a Marauder's Map here to remind him and tell him where the dangers would be, then flew back to the rock and transformed. "I know where we're going," he said.

Uncle Harry nodded. "Then let's go. Lead the way."
28 comments or Leave a comment
aeterna13 From: aeterna13 Date: October 26th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
"Either that, or there'll be a giant spider and a Portkey." Uncle Harry shuddered.

Yeesh, that made me shudder. I certainly wouldn't be too thrilled to be in a maze if I were Harry right now.

So much suspense! I'm on pins and needles for the next update!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, Harry's not a happy camper, even with James being safe. (For one thing, Teddy's still not, and he knows it's not just random Maze-monsters that are the problem.)
shiiki From: shiiki Date: October 26th, 2008 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad I got to read the two latest segments practically back to back! I'm glad James is safely out, but now I'm worried for Teddy and Harry, even though I know they have to make it out too.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm worried about getting them out!
malinbe From: malinbe Date: October 26th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was a nice Harry-Teddy moment.

But, god, I'm still terrified. I'm glad James' ok, though. The bit about the parts pf the Maze that were James' made me think about the parts of the Maze that are Harry's- maybe we'll see a bit of that later?

There was a BellaDora and a Remus-Greyback- that's so creepy. *hugs herself*

This might be my favourite of your stories- I love all this psychology.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I admit, this is where the interest in psychology comes in handy. :) (Though some of what I'm using may be outdated. I go more by what's good for the story than by what's been scientifically sorted and set out to dry.)

I don't know if we'll see much of "Harry's Maze," mainly because I'm getting close to the end now and want to stay, as the campaigns put it, "on message." But there may be a few things that Teddy doesn't pay attention to that are recognizable anyway.
mincot From: mincot Date: October 26th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of psychology, what I really really like is the way you allow Harry to be an adult, who does not make the mistake of seeing Teddy as Remus, but who also shows vulnerabilities that clearly link back to his adolescent self. Nice work!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. Harry's a hard line to walk, sometimes--you don't want him to be oh-so-permanently-scarred, leaving him a poor, wounded thing with PTSD who needs a lot of extra care, as he would hate that, but you also don't want to leave him looking like he never had any of the traumatic events we saw happen to him.
daksian From: daksian Date: October 26th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I sense a real internal confrontation coming on. Teddy is going to have to really face what the connection between Greyback and Remus and Tonks and Bellatrix means to him before this is done, isn't he? I really loved how Harry seems to intuit this to some degree, and tries to offer a bit of counsel in regard to his own confrontation with Bellatrix.

I liked your "hawk's perspective" for Teddy, how in that form he was able to view some of his actions more dispassionately and without guilt. And I really liked the point of comparison with Sirius as Padfoot in Azkaban.

As always, I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry's bright enough to back away when he realizes that Teddy's refusing to go there, though--imagine Hermione trying to push!

I think the secret of the Animagus form is that it's more in tune with the simple instinct, the id, than the human form is. The hawk doesn't have a huge amount of superego going on, which probably helps a lot when it comes to dealing with the violence that's part of being an animal, human or otherwise. Not saying that it's okay to give in to violent rage, but Teddy's splitting himself so badly that the person who killed Greyback may as well be Mr. Hyde.

Who was, of course, the prototypical werewolf.
willowbough From: willowbough Date: October 26th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like Teddy's epiphany about how transforming affects thought processes and takes the edge off the emotional turmoil that comes from being human. Harry's taking the possibility of being trapped in the Maze with commendable calm. I look forward to their trip to the center!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Harry's got Teddy to take care of, which probably helps keep him calm.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 26th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is absolutely terrific, Fern. Echoing what others have said, I think this may be your best climax/adventure sequence yet.

Teddy's conflation of Greyback/Bella with Remus/Dora is really disturbing. Of course, he does still carry some anger toward his parents for leaving him and going off to battle, but I wonder if what's going on in the maze isn't guilt over that anger rather than the anger itself.

It is also interesting that he was able to turn into the hawk - which is directly related to Remus' memory - even with all of this psychological drama going on.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's anger, but only partly at them. There's also a lot of fear and helplessness in it.

I think that maybe his real father--as separate from the phantasm he's conjuring--was able to help him there.
wotcher_wombat From: wotcher_wombat Date: October 26th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm just loving this section! Thank you!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome, and glad you like it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 26th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I can certainly wish Bellatrix had wound up dead at the end of book 5 (no one to teach Draco how to block his mind, no psycho Bellatrix killing and torturing who knows how many people between the end of book 5 and her death in book 7, Voldemort deprived of one of his most able helpers, Snape being able to talk more freely in front of Narcissa [even if Peter was present] and no one to act as the bonder for the unbreakable vow [what would have happened if Narcissa and Draco had faked their deaths and gone over to the Order? (I can dream, can't I?)], and [the biggies] no dead Tonks and no dead Remus), I don't even want Harry dealing with that in the aftermath of book 5 and moving onto events of book 6 under Dumbledore's fix-physical-injuries-but-deal-with-emotional-scarring-by-ignoring-it-and-hoping-it-goes-away methodology.

Interesting how Teddy's emotions change in his animal form. Pretty logical, based on what Sirius said. Although I can't help thinking Dementors are prey specific predators. I don't think they're really able to drain animals the way they can humans and beings with humanlike minds.

And, yes, Harry and mazes, eep.

Hmm, so, in the Bellatrix and Greyback things, Teddy isn't just dealing with his own, darker emotions, he's dealing with his unwillingness (darn those Lupin genes!) to admit these dark sides could exist in any of the people he loves or that the issue has any meaning for him. This is probably why his parents haven't been able to reach him in his dreams. He's the one blocking them because the thing they need to help him with is the thing he's blocking.

Knowing Teddy, it also probably feels like a betrayal of his parents to admit these issues. He's also probably, on some level, afraid of losing his connection to them. He knows what he feels towards Bellatrix and Greyback. It's a murderous rage that started off all of this when he attacked the Bellatrix guide. Besides the fear of feeling at least some of that towards his own parents, that's a complete, let's-block-any-shred-of-empathy-and-keep-this-person-from-having-a-mental-foothold-in-me feeling. Since that's primarily what he has with his parents, that's a real threat.

So, gotta see what happens next.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
If Harry had killed Bellatrix, he might not have had the mental and emotional strength to finish the war, at least not in the way he needed to do it.

And yes, Teddy's definitely the source of the block on his own dreams. Like any fifteen year old, he's hard for his parents to reach sometimes. Only Remus and Dora have the added problem of being actually dead, and therefore being unable to grab him and send him to his room.

Teddy absolutely feels like any anger at his parents--or resentment of them--is a betrayal, which makes him an awful person, of course.
scopart From: scopart Date: October 26th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
"So do I, for a lot of reasons that came later, your mother first on the list." Teddy looked up, surprised that the lecture hadn't been about how glad he was he hadn't done it.

For some reason, I think Teddy really needed to hear this.

Such suspense! I can't wait to see what happens next!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
He did need to hear it. Saintly Uncle Harry admitting that he sometimes wishes he'd been able to murder someone?
kt_tonguetied From: kt_tonguetied Date: October 26th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Either that, or there'll be a giant spider and a Portkey."

ACK! I luffle growed-up Harry in this fic. He's not toally miserable but he hasn't totally forgotten all about it like in other fics.

Also, I totally adore how Teddy's dragging Harry back into the habit of defying death. Just when the poor man thought he could live in peace, he became a godfather...XD
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Poor Harry--first a Gryffindor, then the godfather and father of Gryffindors. Whenever will he get a chance to rest?
hungrytiger11 From: hungrytiger11 Date: October 26th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
No internal mechanism expressed horror in the hawk, which was, after all, a killer in its own right.

I personally hope this is a sign Teddy can and will come to terms with his own self-image. Hopefully Harry's memories of the DoM there will help that too.

For some odd reason, when you mentioned seeing something glint at the center of the maze, what my mind turned to was the old Snitch that the Resurrection Stone was in. I know you have said Harry and Teddy will never see eye to eye on it, but I'm still hoping Harry is able to somehow communicate the difference between how in The Forest Again they were "fetching him" and he was not fetching them.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Stone absolutely has to come back into the story. I hope it will be in a way that surprises people.

Teddy needs to understand that not being morally perfect at every instant doesn't mean he's a bad person. He needs to do what his father couldn't.
barbara_the_w From: barbara_the_w Date: October 26th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Others have expressed how fabulous the psychological insight is in this chapter, Fern, far better than I. It's nice to see Harry's Saving-People-Thing has found fertile ground ;)

He did his best to memorize the lay of the Maze to get to the mountain, wishing he had a Marauder's Map here to remind him and tell him where the dangers would be, then few back to the rock and transformed. "I know where we're going," he said.

Should that be "flew"?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 26th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sure should. :)

Harry's "saving people thing." I don't know why, but that's just Rowlingism that makes me smile. It's such a modern hero thing. No braggadocio, just a "saving people thing."
From: glynngriffiths Date: October 27th, 2008 03:17 am (UTC) (Link)
So, in a totally not-funny,-sotto-voce,-hey-you!-this-is-serious! moment, you still made me laugh with this line: "I tried to kill Bellatrix when she killed Sirius," Uncle Harry went on conversationally. It was the 'conversationally' that did it.

And I had totally forgotten all of the baggage Harry has with mazes, so your 'giant spider and a portkey' line absolutely knocked me out. I can't believe I haven't thought of the GoF maze at all while reading this story! I'm easily distracted with quarantines and phantasms it seems... :)
darth_pipes From: darth_pipes Date: October 28th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Liked Harry's comments on Bellatrix. It's an honest conversation between the two. He wished he had killed her but it would have done nothing to save Sirius.

Good job!
28 comments or Leave a comment