A/N: Thank you for all of the support for this story. With the below, it is now complete. Please, read and review and let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: All JKR's.
Teddy is seven when his father explains that he is to get a new mother. His own mum is dead, a hero in heaven who watches him and loves him. Teddy stumbles when he greets Miss Mione, dressed all in white with lace and flowers and brilliant yellow surrounding her; his hair changes to green when she kisses his cheek and explains that he needn't call her mother.
"I'm your Hermione," she tells him. "I'll always be your Hermione."
He can say the name now, and she smiles when he manages it. His cheeks puff pink with satisfaction and he squawks like a duck when she laughs. But he knows she loves it best when he leaves his face alone; she combs his hair and touches his cheeks when it's his brown hair and blue eyes that meet her.
"Be whoever you want with the rest of the world," she tells him at night, when she's finished reading and he's nearly asleep, "but with your father and me, just be Teddy."
Teddy is happy to have his Hermione; he has a dad and a mum, but unlike other little boys, he has a Hermione.
Teddy is newly eleven when his letter arrives. The owl is a dark brown, but spurts of shocking blue escape from its wings when it sweeps down to him. The blue changes to a dark purple when he gives the owl its treat. Teddy opens the letter and reads carefully.
He knew it would come; Hermione and dad had promised him every birthday before that it would come. But Teddy had doubts; his magic is so different from Victoire and little James and Albus. Toys dance and dishes break; candles spit out pink flames and wallpaper rips from the wall. But Teddy can only make different faces. Surely letters aren't sent just for that.
Two days later, he is taken for his first wand. When it takes six different tries to find the right one, he nearly cries. When it takes two more after that, despair finds him. When at last, the stretch of oak and dragon heartstring comes to his hand, Teddy feels the rightness of it. It pulses through him once, twice and again.
This is his wand; it is to Hermione he turns first.
"Dragon heartstring, just like mine," she tells him. He hugs her and points his wand.
"Teach me a spell, Hermione," he begs.
She laughs, bright yellow and lovely orange threading it. "Your dad's the teacher, not me. Let's go home and share the good news."
But it's Hermione who does, eventually, teach him his first spell. And when he stumbles over it, sending all of his clothes racing not just from his closet, but from under the bed and out in the hall, it is Hermione who consoles him.
"Your mum had a hard time with that one, too."
Teddy feels the blue and green fall over him, an early dawn sky and late summer grass. Another thing to connect him to his mother. He grips his wand tightly. "Let's try again."
Teddy is fourteen when he slams his bedroom door, anger boiling through him. It's not fair, he repeats to himself. Why shouldn't he be allowed to stay with his Uncle Harry? Why shouldn't he be allowed? What were chores compared to a week-end of quidditch and time in the garden? Uncle Harry had promised to show him his newest edition to the garden, some unknown tropical flower whose roots cured insomnia and whose leaves helped with fatigue. Just because he hadn't got around yet to finishing the dishes shouldn't mean he get grounded!
What was the point of being a wizard if you couldn't use a spell or two to make life easier?
"Teddy, open the door."
It's her, and Teddy waits until she asks a third time before complying. She stands there, drained and covered in a sticky gray. He shoves the guilty feeling that creeps over him when he realizes how tired she is; he pushes the emotion away and reminds himself that she's not his mother. She's just Hermione, and what did that mean anyway?
Teddy reminds her of this, as well, interrupting her halfway through her instructions. "You're not my mum, so quit acting like it."
He chose the right words- he knows so many now. And instantly, he wishes he didn't. He remembers when he was little, and words came to him so slowly. He remembers in that second, as her face crumbles and she leaves his doorway to hide elsewhere, how she would read to him and sing to him, never minding that he would never reply. She would listen to him, even when he could not speak, and the gray that coats her now- the gray that she drowns in, it deepens to an awful black.
Teddy wants to apologize immediately; he wants to swallow back the terrible words. But he's stubborn, and he's ashamed. He waits until he can hear his father murmuring through the walls and then sneaks down the stair. The barely finished dinner and unwashed dishes still wait in the kitchen.
He rolls up his sleeves and cleans. He knows so many words now, but the feeling that batters him now- he only knows the color of it. And he hates it thoroughly.
Teddy is eighteen and newly graduated. An apprenticeship has been offered, a chance to study for three years with the very best. He wonders briefly if his mum in heaven liked plants as much as he does. He never thought to ask anyone, and when his father and Hermione greet him with hugs and congratulations, he makes note to ask then.
It's not surprising that it's Hermione who knows and not his father. Teddy has learned this through the years, and he is adult enough now to understand. A second wife and fill-in mother- Hermione is both, and he knows enough to be grateful.
"She couldn't cook, but she kept a small spice garden at the Weasley's. Your Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur moved it to Shell Cottage when the war started, and your mum tended to it all while she was pregnant with you. I think it was basil, or maybe rosemary, but there was some spice or herb that she loved to sniff at. Her eyes always turned a deep green when she did."
Teddy pays more attention to the expression on his father's face as she speaks than the actual words. He wonders why his father is surprised anymore; he wonders if his father knows how easily his features are read. Teddy has known for so long now, but this is what love looks like.
This expression- this turn of the eyes and curve of the lips- this is what love is. A hint of deep red with an ocean of still, cool blue.
Teddy could be an Auror like his mum was, he knows; metamorphagi are rare enough to be in high demand. But he is enough like his father to not want the fight and battle of the job. He longs for quiet hours spent in study, his hands deep in the dirt. He's spent years watching Hermione read the thick texts that she loves, and he knows the feeling of it.
His books are plants; he hopes they are proud of him.
Teddy is twenty-three when his heart is broken. Victoire leaves him quietly and without passion. Her reasons are new to him, but old to her. He does not know how long she has been sure of it, the pointlessness of a continued future with him; he only knows that when she leaves, she does not look back.
He sits in his cold flat for an hour before he escapes back to his childhood home, back to the yellow and green kitchen, and the woman who sits at the table, reading as he knew she would. Her hair is lighter now, a splash of gray touching it. He can find wrinkles near her eyes, and there's a plump softness to her when he reaches for the embrace she so willingly offers.
She holds him as he cries, rubs his back as he says nothing but snivels into her shoulder. He hears her soft whispers of comfort, meaningless repeats of darling boy, my dear boy, my dear sweet boy. He wonders if his mum would have held him like this; he wonders if a mother's embrace is any different from this.
He thinks, as she holds him and lets him cry, that even though she told him so many years ago that she was only his Hermione, she has always been more. Teddy is so very lucky, he realizes; most boys only get one mother.
I, he realizes, was given two.
Teddy is twenty-seven when he is offered the post at Hogwarts. Professor Sprout longs to retire, and Neville Longbottom turns down the position. When it comes to Teddy, he does not hesitate. He spends a summer learning class rotations and lesson plans; he memorizes his first day speeches. He knows a handful of the students, but it's been years since he's seen his Uncle Harry's children, and Victoire's sisters still ignore him.
He is surprised when a student lingers after class, the first week, her red hair and dark brown eyes distantly familiar. She speaks briefly, welcoming him, and grins up at him when he drops his stack of papers. When her fingers brush his, he feels the brief burst of her pulse. He doesn't understand what courses through him when she leaves.
Teddy has met her before; he held her as a baby and went to at least one or two of her childhood birthdays. He cannot place the strange feeling that heats him now, in her absence. He only knows that she is young, and he is her professor.
Lily, he repeats to himself. Lily Potter.
When he sleeps that night, he dreams, and in the morning, he begins to understand. It is the ocean at dusk; it is the sun at dawn. Teddy might not know the word for it- not yet- but he understands.
He is his father's son, and he watches the world now in flashes of red and a deep, still blue.
A/N: So I started this story roughly around a year ago, writing pieces of it here and there. Originally I had planned to end it after the final battle, with both Remus and Tonks having died, as per canon, and an epilogue with Hermione stepping up to care for Teddy. There was an additional chapter, now removed, that dealt more directly with the feelings between Remus and Hermione.
But I had always hated how JKR felt the need to re-create Harry's circumstances with Teddy. She didn't have to kill both parents; and so I decided, neither did I!
I want to thank the people who reviewed, favorited, and followed. It's nice to get my toe back in the fanfiction door- it had been a while. For those who care, the DAM sequel is actually still being worked on. Unlike in the past, I'm trying to only post a story once it's completed on my end. I'm roughly half way through the sequel, so maybe sometime next year.