Author: Kitten Kisses PM
Teddy Lupin learns about his parents through the people that knew them. Featuring Ron, Hermione, Molly, Harry, and Andromeda.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family/Angst - Teddy L. - Words: 6,495 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 11 - Published: 02-01-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7795337
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Characters: Teddy Lupin, Ron, Hermione and Molly Weasley, Harry Potter, Andromeda Tonks
Genre: Family, Friendship, Angst
Summary: Teddy Lupin learns about his parents through the people that knew them.
Notes: I figure if J.K.R. was going to kill off Remus and Nymphadora to draw parallels, I could continue the tradition by drawing, what else? Even more parallels! See how many you can spot!
Teddy Lupin had never really wondered about his parents. Gran told him once that they were dead, and even how they'd died, but the fact that they were dead made it all feel like a closed case, and he'd read enough mystery novels to know what that meant.
Once you were dead, nothing really mattered anymore, did it?
His first year at Hogwarts changed his mind. He couldn't help but notice—with a bit of a start—when a classmate would see something and exclaim, "Oh, my mum would love this shade of pink!" Or, "I'm hiding this homework from my dad, he'd be so mad at me if he knew I forgot to study."
It all made him a bit curious, really, and he found himself wondering what color had been his mum's favorite, or if his dad would be upset with him for not studying.
The Weasley clan knew how to throw a party. They always invited everyone they possibly could, and The Burrow was filled to the brim with warm bodies and delicious food and people who were celebrating and talking and cheering.
Teddy looked forward to Christmas every year for the Weasley party more than he did anything else, though he'd never say no to a good gift, of course.
"Going to be built like his father," Mr. Shacklebolt said jovially, leaning over to tousle Teddy's festive green hair.
A grin stretched across his face before he could stop it, and a weird feeling of pride spread through his chest. He wasn't sure where the feeling had come from, but he nodded his head and mentally reminded himself to look over Gran's special photograph table soon to compare.
When the festivities died down, he found himself sitting near one of his favorite uncles. (Though was it okay to say that they were all favorites?)
"Hey Uncle Ron," he said cheerfully enough, plonking down beside him on the arm of his overstuffed chair. "Say…you're old."
Ron started, one ginger eyebrow halfway to his hairline in an expression that made Teddy laugh. "Old, you say?"
"Old…er," he corrected himself. "Uncle Ron, did you know my mum and dad?"
"Just Ron," he said off-handedly, as he'd probably done a thousand times before.
But Teddy thought it was weird to call someone so much older than himself by their first name. It would be like calling Professor McGonagall by her first name, whatever it was, and he said so.
It was Ron's turn to laugh. "Okay, fair enough," he conceded, moving over on the chair to allow Teddy to squish in beside him. "I did know your parents a bit," he said, but then paused, his eyes a hundred kilometers away; after a moment he shook his head and came back to the present, a smile half-plastered on his face. "You know how I keep telling you to call me Ron, and you keep calling me Uncle Ron?"
Teddy nodded, tilting his head to the side a bit with curiosity.
"Your mum hated her first name something fierce, and always insisted on going by her last name."
"Lupin?" he asked, thinking of his own last name.
"No," Ron said. "Lupin was your dad's last name. Your mum changed her last name to his when she married hi—oh, well, it's complicated," he said, waving a hand. "But before your mum married your dad, her last name was Tonks, and that's what everybody called her…at her insistence, of course. Her first name was Nymphadora, and she bloody well hated it. Err, excuse the language." He looked around as if expecting an admonition from his wife.
"Really?" Teddy asked, curious. He'd never heard that particular story before. In fact, whenever his Gran was busy taking a stroll down Memory Lane, she referred to his mother as Nymphadora, which, according to Uncle Ron, she absolutely hated. He wondered why she used it then. "So what did she do if you called her by her first name, anyway?"
"Well, your mother was an Auror, and it's always in your best interest not to mess with an Auror." Uncle Ron gave him a cheeky grin; "I do believe her boot would find your shin if the glare didn't teach you a lesson."
His uncle laughed as if remembering a particularly great memory, and Teddy found himself almost jealous that he couldn't see the memory for himself.
Uncle Ron swiped at his hair with one hand, and put the other on Teddy's shoulder. "Your mum was a riot," he said fondly, looking straight into his eyes. "She was always telling people not to call her Nymphadora. "It's Tonks," she'd say to anyone who thought they could call her by her first name. And then she'd give them a look that should have withered them on the spot."
Teddy absorbed this new information and muttered his thanks to Uncle Ron before he went off in search of a piece of cake. Nymphadora Tonks had been his mother, and she preferred to go by her last name. Tonks, he thought, holding onto that little snatch of someone else's memory very tightly.
The kitchen was quiet except for Aunt Hermione, who seemed to be making a plate up for herself. When she noticed Teddy in the doorway, she paused and smiled at him.
"Teddy," she said. And then, after a long, awkward pause, "You look so much like your mother sometimes."
"I do?" He bounced eagerly into one of the wooden chairs at the table, knees drawn up as he watched her pile food on her plate. "How so, Aunt Hermione?"
"The hair for one," she said, suddenly looking a bit sad. "Your mum could do that, too, you know."
"Gran told me." He nodded wisely. "But she was probably a lot better at it than me."
His aunt grinned and cut a piece of cake before setting it gently on a plate and sliding it over to him. "She'd had a lot of practice. In fact, I remember more than one occasion when she bragged about how easy some of the concealment tests were for becoming an Auror."
When he continued to stare, his mouth full of cake, Hermione cleared her throat and went back to filling her own plate.
"She used to change the shape of her nose to keep us entertained over breakfast." His aunt's face looked a bit weary all of a sudden. "Even now I almost expect her to walk in with a cheeky grin and her loud boots and say, "Wotcher, Harry, Hermione, Ron!" But…" Her voice floundered and she looked down at her food, swallowing as she piled potatoes on her plate. "I'm being silly," she said with a half-hearted chuckle. "This is a time for celebration, and your mum was a very brave woman. So was your dad."
Teddy nodded, but didn't want Aunt Hermione to stop talking. The way she spoke of his mum had made him almost feel…closer to her, in a sense. The small things were the things he had never known about her, like how she'd talked or the sound of her laugh.
"Did you want anything else for your plate, Teddy?" she asked, moving toward the living room with her food.
He thought for a moment, and remembered what Uncle Ron had told him about his mother.
"Don't call me Teddy," he said, fixing her with a mock glare that he thought might look more pleading than withering, though he was trying his hardest to make it look like something his mum might have used. "It's Lupin."
He supposed he'd expected her to laugh—she looked rather pretty when she smiled, he knew—or maybe even chuckle a bit. But her plate fell to the floor with a sickening crash, food flew everywhere, and she burst into unceremonious tears before fleeing the room.
For a moment he crouched in his chair, stunned. He'd only meant to—he hadn't known—he…
He stood up and did his best to gather the broken plate and the food into a pile with the broom in the corner, feeling as if it was his fault, though he wasn't quite sure why it had happened.
He'd only wanted to feel a bit closer to his mum, was all.
It was Nana that came rushing into the kitchen next, a clean floral-print apron on and her wand at the ready.
"Stand back, Teddy," she ordered, and with a flick of her wrist, the plate repaired itself and the food went straight to the bucket of peelings in the corner—for the chickens, he remembered.
It was only after pocketing her wand that she reached over and wrapped him in the biggest hug he had ever felt in his entire life. His smaller arms couldn't quite reach all the way around her, but he did his best, and when she pulled away, she ruffled his hair and smiled at him.
"Hermione tells me you were…were asking about your parents," she said softly.
"I thought it'd make her laugh. I didn't mean to make her cry." His reply was earnest and sincere.
"I know you didn't, dear."
"I just wanted to know more about them."
"Well, you can ask old Nana Molly about your parents anytime," she said, sitting down in a chair near him and tucking back a few greying strands of her red hair. "Your mum," she started enthusiastically, "was a pretty but feisty little thing. I was forever trying to get her to eat because she was so pale…" She seemed to drift out for a bit but came back quickly and gave him a smile, "But oh, here," she said, getting to her feet and taking his hand. "I have something I want to show you."
Nana's bedroom was small but sunny from the afternoon sunlight, and she kneeled beside a small bureau, rummaging inside the bottom drawer for a few minutes before she took a seat on the edge of the bed and motioned for him to do so also.
When he was seated, she set a rather large picture down in front of him.
As with all magical photographs, the people in the picture moved.
"I thought I would let you see for yourself," she said, fondly tracing a finger over the image. "This is the Second Order of the Phoenix. A lot of…" her voice began to sound choked, but she managed to keep going, "people who are in this photograph aren't with us anymore."
"Including my parents," he said, leaning in closer to look.
The photograph had a lot of interesting-looking people, including a heavily-scarred man with only one real eye. But he found his mum immediately. She was short and in the front row, standing partially in front of a rather plainly dressed man. His finger touched the picture as the people in it all waved or smiled or looked awkward.
His mother's smile faded, replaced by a scowl as she elbowed the man behind her, but afterward the both of them laughed long and hard.
"Her hair is pink," he said suddenly, just noticing it.
"Her favorite shade, really," Nana said, her voice sounding wistful. "While we were having this taken, your dad—" she pointed to the plain man behind his mum, "—called your mum by her first name, and that scowl is her correcting him. They weren't married when we had this taken. But oh yes, your mother loved the way her hair looked when it was pink. It did seem to suit her, you know," she said, her voice sounding far off.
Teddy screwed up his eyes and managed to almost replicate the exact shade of pink his mum wore in the photograph. "Like this?" he asked.
And Nana reached down with teary eyes to touch his hair, looking both happy and sad at the same time.
He reverted his hair back to green and it was if the spell stopped. Nana pulled her hand away, shaking her head.
"Sorry," he said softly.
"No, it's good for you to feel close to your parents," she told him. "When your mum was feeling down she liked to come here for a chat, you know. If she was very sad she couldn't change her appearance at all."
"I didn't know that," he said, curiously. But then another thought entered his head. "What were her natural colors?"
His was black. Black hair like his gran, and brown eyes. He hadn't ever thought much about what his mum's natural hair color was.
"She hardly ever changed her eyes," recounted Nana. "Only if she really had to. I think she was happy with her eye color. It was sort of dark and sparkly, I can't think of a particular shade. Not black, not brown…but dark. Maybe a dark blue. And her hair, well, she hated her natural hair as much as her name, it seemed. It was sort of a mousy brown."
Concentrating hard, Teddy tried to make his hair turn into the color of a brown field mouse, and Nana laughed.
"Something like that," she said affectionately.
"What about my dad?" he asked. "Did you know him, too?"
"Oh yes," she smiled. "Remus was such a good man." She looked down at the photograph with something akin to longing on her face, and her fingers brushed the outlines of both his parents. "He'd had a hard life, you know."
"Gran told me he was a werewolf."
Nana Molly nodded. "Yes, and not many people treated him well for it, either. I hate to admit it, but before I really knew him, I…was a bit afraid of him, myself. You see, only after your father…died…did the Ministry try and help the werewolves. Before, well, they tried to make things hard for them. Your dad had a rough time for most of his life."
"And then he met my mum?" He wouldn't tell her that he might have peeked into one of the silly love books that he'd seen in the living room; falling in love in those books seemed to always solve problems.
"Oh, he was absolutely taken with your mum," Nana laughed. "He didn't even realize it himself, not at first. They were a bit apart in age—thirteen years!—but that didn't stop your mum once she'd realized what she wanted."
Teddy grinned, feeling closer to his parents than he had all his life. So his mum had been the determined sort!
"Now, your mum had to work very hard to win him over."
"I thought he was taken with her!" Teddy always assumed when you were taken with someone, you just told them and got it over with. If two people were taken with each other, then that made everything very easy, right? (That's what a fourth-year had told him, anyway.)
"Oh, he was. But when he realized he was head-over-heels in love with her, and she for him, it scared him a bit."
Teddy hadn't realized his dad had been a…well…a wimp. Hadn't he been in Gryffindor, where the brave kids went? Hadn't everyone told him that his father had died bravely?
"Oh, don't get the wrong idea," Nana said softly, brushing back his still-brown hair. "He loved your mum something fierce. But it was a dangerous time back then, with a war coming on and your mum's job already on the line. He was afraid if they got together that she'd lose everything. Not very many people treated werewolves right, and they'd also turn against the people who loved them, quick as a wink."
"But they got together anyway, didn't they?"
"It took time, but they did. She didn't care that he was poor, or that marrying him would put her on lists. She didn't care about losing her job. He cared enough for the both of them, I suspect." Her eyes swam out of focus and then back in, and she slid off the bed. "Remus Lupin was a fine man," she said. "Hard-working, dedicated, very loyal, and he always cared so much about the people he loved that he would do anything to protect them from the bad things in the world. Don't forget that."
Teddy slid off after her, glancing back down at the photo. "I won't," he said seriously, nodding his head.
"And the photograph—you can keep it. I have a feeling you need it more than I do."
Teddy grinned. "Wow, thanks," he said, gathering it up carefully before holding it against his chest.
"I think…" Nana smiled, ushering him out of the room before closing the door. "I think that you should go talk to Harry. He knew your dad better than a lot of people."
So Teddy headed to the bedroom at the top of the stairs.
Harry was sitting on the bed, drinking in old memories. It was easy to tell because of the far-away look in his eyes, and the way he stared down at the worn Cannons blanket that covered the bed.
Teddy bit off the, "Wotcher, Harry," that he had considered using to greet his godfather, just in case it made him cry like Aunt Hermione had. Instead, he settled on a nice, simple, "Hi, Harry."
Harry snapped out of his daze and grinned at him. "Teddy," he said, sounding pleased. "I was wondering when I'd see you."
Harry was Harry—when Teddy had tried to slap an Uncle in front, Harry had told him about his own godfather, Sirius, and said that people with such a close relationship shouldn't try to put titles between them. Looking back at that particular memory, he wondered if he oughtn't drop the Uncle for his uncle Ron, too. Teddy jumped up onto the twin bed and wiggled to make himself comfortable before handing the photograph to his godfather. "Can you tell me about my parents?" he asked, but then hurried to correct himself, "Not everything, just a bit."
Harry lost himself in the photograph for a long moment, eyes almost misting as he looked down at the faces of people he had known and cared about. People who had died…not for him, but for a cause.
To give people like Teddy a better place to live in.
Teddy sometimes felt guilty about it; his parents had, in a sense, died for him. But that was selfish, because they certainly hadn't died for him, they had died to create a better world for everyone. He was certain that had he not been born, they'd have fought for the same cause with just as much vigor and bravery.
"Ten years," Harry murmured. "It feels like so long ago, but at the same time, just like yesterday." He straightened and held the photograph out. "Right, well, let's see… Here is your mum," he said, pointing to the small witch with the pink hair who was currently elbowing the man behind her. "And behind her is your dad. He was the only one who could ever get away with calling her by her full first name."
And then he went through the names of others: Fred, who had also died in that battle, Emmeline, who had died much earlier, Professor Snape, who wasn't pictured but was one of the bravest men Harry had ever known, and he ended with the strange-looking scarred man standing catty-corner to his mother.
"That's Alastor Moody," he said almost fondly. "Most people just called him Mad-Eye. He was a bit sweet on your mum." Before Teddy's almost horrified look had solidified, Harry laughed. "I think he thought of her something like a daughter. He was always off-handedly mentioning her accomplishments. She cried the hardest when he died, and before that day, I'd never seen her cry before, not openly."
His mum had cried when she'd lost someone she cared about. He hadn't doubted that she would have, but…at the same time…it was nice. Almost a bit of a story, really. About her life. About her.
"You know," Harry said, putting down the photograph, "I never knew my parents, either. They died when I was about a year old, just like yours did."
Teddy had known about that, had heard it before, but somehow, coming from Harry's own mouth, it felt more…real. It was good to know that he wasn't the only one who didn't have parents; a few of his classmates only had one parent still alive from the war, but none he knew of had lost both at once.
"Did you…" he hesitated. "Did you want to know more about them when you were my age?"
His godfather laughed loudly, reaching out to pat Teddy's shoulder. "You know how it feels when you've eaten a full meal but you don't have anything to drink? How thirsty you are?"
"That's how thirsty I was for knowledge about my parents. I'd take anything—photographs, memories, stories—from people who knew them, people who'd simply had the chance to meet them. It was hard to grow up and not even know what the sound of their laughter was like."
"It's natural to be curious," Harry said warmly. "It's a good thing to wonder about them." He looked back down at the photograph and touched the man standing behind Teddy's mum. "Now your dad," he said, his voice strengthening, "was the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Hogwarts had had in years. Both your parents were clever, but your dad was very knowledgeable. His lessons were hands on. And he taught me to conjure my Patronus, too."
"What else?" he found himself asking eagerly, shifting forward a bit to stare down at the laughing face of the man that had been—still was, he corrected himself—his father. His face was lined and a bit scarred, his hair greying…but his eyes were bright when he laughed.
"Well, you already know he was a werewolf, but do you know much about werewolves?"
Teddy paused. He had read a few books on them after his Gran had told him about his father's condition, but the books could only say so much. "A little," he answered finally, still looking down at his father.
"He didn't like to talk much about transformations. You probably know that they're painful, but more painful than the actual transformation is losing your conscience. The very nature of a transformed werewolf is to hunt and kill, particularly humans, but your father learned to shut himself up on the night of a full moon where nobody could get in and he couldn't get out." Harry's hand pressed lightly against his brown hair. "But if there isn't someone else to attack, the transformed werewolf tends to attack…well…their own body."
He hadn't known that. The books said a transformed werewolf would attack other people, but he had always assumed that if a werewolf locked himself away somewhere, that he'd be able to wait out the full moon with no issues whatsoever.
"Nobody knows what your father did before the Wolfsbane Potion was invented. It allows a werewolf to keep a clear mind once transformed, and while your dad taught at Hogwarts he drank it to keep from hurting any students or staff. But before Hogwarts he wouldn't have had any at all. Sirius told me once that he thought your father might have purposefully injured himself just before the full moon so that when he transformed, he couldn't move very well."
"But if he was locked away, wasn't that good enough?" Teddy looked up at Harry, trying to hide his own horrified expression.
"There would still be a risk that someone would show up—an innocent Muggle, perhaps, or an old friend. Your dad would never have forgiven himself if he'd passed on his condition to another person—or if he'd killed anyone."
What Nana Molly had said suddenly made a lot more sense. "He was afraid of hurting my mum, too, wasn't he." It was not a question.
"It took me a while to figure that out, but yes. Your dad was strong and he was brave, and he was a very capable wizard, but his biggest fear was hurting other people, especially the ones he'd come to care strongly for…your mum among them."
"But if he had Wolfsbane…"
"We were entering into a war, Teddy, and your dad, well, he never had much money because the Ministry made it impossible for him to get a job. Wolfsbane Potion ingredients are very expensive, and the potion itself is hard to brew. I suspect your mum bought the ingredients and made the potion—she was great at things like that—"
"I'm great at Potions," Teddy said suddenly, feeling a bit of excitement in him. He wondered if skill at potion-making could be inherited.
"So your Gran's told me," Harry grinned, looking proud. "When things got bad and your mum had to leave her job, they didn't have any money anymore; your parents had to move in with your Gran. There wasn't extra money to spend on a potion."
"So what did he do?"
"I don't know, exactly," Harry said hesitantly. "But if I had to guess, I'd say he went far away. I don't think he could have lived with himself if he had hurt you or your mum, or even your Gran. Sometimes bravery isn't about rushing into the fray without a second thought. Sometimes it's harder to wait, to think about things first. Sometimes it's harder not to take a chance."
Teddy was sure that Harry was thinking of a particular incident, because his godfather's eyes seemed to be looking right through him, as if he saw something else entirely.
"I rushed into the fray, once," Harry murmured. "I thought I was being brave. I thought someone was in danger and I knew I had to save them. I didn't stop to think, Teddy, I just acted. It was all a terrible mistake, in the end. Your dad was a bit thick, sometimes, when it came to your mum, but he really did only want what was best for her. And you. Before you were born he told me that he was afraid you'd end up ashamed of him."
"Why?" To say he felt dazed would be an understatement.
"Because he was a werewolf. He already thought he was too poor, too old, and too dangerous for your mum to love, but I hadn't ever seen him look so scared as I did when he told me he was afraid you'd grow up ashamed of him for what he was, for what he couldn't provide for you, for what other people would think of you…because of him."
"Never," he said fervently, and looked down at the photograph again, at the scowl on his mum's face that erupted into a bright, cheeky sort of grin, at the twinkle in his father's eyes, and not for the first time, he wished that both his parents had stayed at home that night.
"You know, Teddy," Harry said, getting to his feet. "You look a lot like your mum. Except for the eyes. You have…"
"My father's eyes," he finished slowly for his godfather, smiling brightly as he understood.
And he decided, right then, that he'd never change his eye color unless he had to.
He waited approximately two minutes after Gran closed the front door behind them before he spoke, his hands clenched behind his back as if to ask a favor.
"Gran," he said pleadingly, "can you tell me a bit 'bout my parents?" He looked pointedly over to the self-proclaimed "photograph table", where lots of photographs stood but served no real purpose. He'd looked at it before, of course, but he'd never heard about where they were taken or why. Or who had taken them.
She looked a bit startled and tucked back a few wild strands of steel grey hair. "Of course," she said after a short pause, and draped her shawl over a peg by the door. "What did you want to know?"
The framed photographs were a comfortable weight in his arms as Teddy scooped them up, and he carried them into the living room and set them of the coffee table. "I asked some people at the party about them, but Harry said they were living with you when…"
Her face sobered, her light brown eyes looking at the floor as she slowly sat down in her rocking chair. "They were living with me, then," she said.
He couldn't read all the emotions crossing his grandmother's face, but he swore there was a flash of grief among them. Ten years was probably not enough time to forget how much you loved someone, he thought.
"You have all these photographs but I don't know anything about them," he ploughed on, gesturing to the coffee table. "I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more." He hoped she wouldn't cry like Aunt Hermione had. Surely, his mum's mum would have been closer to his mum than anyone.
"All right," she said, and reached for the first photograph.
Teddy scooted closer to her so that he could see better. The man in the photo was a bit heavyset, with wavy light-colored hair and dark, sparkling eyes.
"This is your grandfather, my husband Ted. He was murdered—" the word was spit out, though there was a hint of something else, too— "before you were born."
This was something he had known already, but it was with a start that he realized that his mum had inherited her own father's eyes. Was that why she refused to change them? He decided not to ask. Instead, he tried to give his Gran a comforting smile, "What was he like?"
"Oh," she said, with a bit of a sad laugh, "he was a right slob. Never remembered to close up things or pick up after himself. He saved everything if he thought it might be useful someday. He and your mum were just alike." She stroked his smiling outline slowly. "But he was a fine man. A fine man. He was a Muggle-born, you know, and when they made all Muggle-borns register at the Ministry, he told me, "Dromeda, I'm going on the run!" and he was as stubborn as your father about how what he was doing was the right thing. Kissed me goodbye, and I never saw him again."
He let Gran think for a few minutes about her husband, and when she seemed to be finished reminiscing, he handed her the next photograph with a quiet, "This is of my mum, isn't it?"
"Yes. She was always changing her hair to some wild color or another, but for this picture we got her to keep her hair natural." When she looked up, she stopped, stared at Teddy for a moment, and then a slow smile began to work its way across her face before she reached out to ruffle his still-mousy-brown hair. "Her tenth birthday," she said, as if it explained the ruffled dress and the stiff, only half-smiling pose.
Teddy handed her picture after picture, losing himself in the small stories about his mum that Gran had to share: she was extremely clumsy and would trip over or break anything, she loved to eat, she had only ever been afraid of the dark and enclosed spaces, she always aced her papers, she loved to wear big, heavy boots…
At last, he set down a picture of his mum at King's Cross Station—her head was tilted to the side, her expression impatient—and picked up the last photograph, one that seemed to show both his parents.
They both looked quietly happy, and as he continued to watch, they both reddened a bit before turning to one another and sharing a kiss. It was a little uncomfortable to watch, but the kiss was short, chaste, and he focused on their clothes.
His mum's hair was pink again, and she wore a simple but pretty white summer dress, while his dad sported what appeared to be a borrowed sort of suit.
"Your grandfather's and my old wedding clothes," Gran said gently. "I would show you them, but that's what they were…well… I thought it was appropriate to bury them in their finest clothing."
"They borrowed these from you?" he asked.
"Ted and I eloped many years ago," she said. "I wore that dress, when I was a bit thinner, and he wore his only suit. I wasn't about to let your mother wear those giant boots and jeans to her wedding, even if it was small, and her father and I were the only other people there."
He could see where the dress his mum wore was a bit big on the sides, but the sash hid it well. He smiled and watched his parents kiss again. They looked very happy.
"I'm afraid I wasn't very kind to your father at first," she said, regretfully. "When Ted went on the run, I realized how alike he and your own father actually were, wanting the best for the woman they loved. I should have gone after my husband, same as your mum did for your dad."
"Then you might not be here," he said, and he wondered what might have happened to him if Gran hadn't been there to raise him. Would he have been raised by Harry, then? But Harry had been young…would that have even been possible? Would Nana Molly have raised him? He thought that he preferred his Gran. "I'm glad you are."
She reached out to tousle his hair. "I'd been told all my life that people like your father were—were bad. But in the end I realized that I was wrong. It wasn't his fault he'd been afflicted by that curse. He didn't want it. And he was terrified that somehow you'd inherit his condition. He was so ashamed of having to beg your grandfather and I for a place to li—"
"I would have loved him," Teddy said, his voice as resolute as he could make it, "even if I had been born a werewolf, even if we'd been poor. Both he and my mum."
And he set the photograph down.
"That's because you're so much like your mum," Gran said, her voice sounding choked. "And your dad. So much like them both. Caring like your father, stubborn like your mother… You do look just like my Nymphadora," she said affectionately, her wrinkled hand resting on his cheek. "But you have—"
"My dad's eyes," he said with a grin.
And she nodded, blinking back the tears in her eyes.
Teddy Lupin went back to Hogwarts after the Christmas holiday with the best Christmas present he could have ever gotten—memories of his parents.
He couldn't share them with his classmates, but he could think on them in class, wondering when he was in Double Potions with the Hufflepuffs whether or not his mum would have gotten the complicated potions right on the first try, wondering during Double Defense Against the Dark Arts with the Gryffindors whether or not his father would have been the one to eventually teach him how to do a Patronus.
He wasn't sure how it was possible to miss someone that you'd never met, but he already missed the both of his parents something fierce.
So when the other kids made off-hand comments about their parents, he tried to work it out for himself how his own might have acted if he'd forgotten to study, or if he'd decided that turquoise was the perfect color for his hair.
And when the corresponding answers were that his dad would scold him, and his mum would be absolutely delighted to see his new favorite hair color…he felt almost as if he had known them all his life.
It came as no surprise when Defense Against the Dark Arts was Teddy's best subject; after all, his mum had been an Auror and his father had once taught the subject. During his third year, when they began to practice producing a Patronus charm, they were told that in order to make it work, they'd have to think happy thoughts. The idea seemed ridiculous, but he found himself summoning up some of the happiest memories he could think of, one after another: The yearly Weasley Christmas party, Victoire's cheerful smile, Gran's homemade chocolate biscuits, and the strange patchwork quilt he'd built out of memories of his parents.
On his final attempt, he recalled how he'd felt when he'd first laid eyes on the laughing faces of his parents in the photo of the second Order of the Phoenix, of how he'd felt to see them looking happy and proud in their wedding photograph, and as a small smile passed over his lips, he watched with astonishment as a burst of silver erupted from his wand at his shout of, "Expecto Patronum!"
The other students had spent weeks wondering what shape their own Patronus would take when they finally managed to make a corporeal one, and there had been wagering and discussion on the matter, but Teddy had known all along what shape his would take, and he grinned to see the silvery light take on the loping gait of a wolf.