This little one shot was written for the Fairest of the Rare facebook group for their Sing Me a Rare: UK Invasion competition. The Song prompt I was given was "Something" by The Beatles, my rare pair was Andromeda Tonks and Remus Lupin.
I am proud to say that I won Runner Up in the "Wish this was Canon" Category! Thank you to everyone who voted for my fic and to everyone who supports Rare pairs! I am beyond humbled that my little slice of after battle life for my favorite sweetwolfboi was even considered! Thank you so much! I have been beside myself with gratitude!
Remus picked himself up off the cold, dirty, stone floor, wincing as his joints cracked and popped in protest to the movement. He looked around the basement, searching for the robes he had worn down here before the full moon, spotting them hanging on the hook by the stairs. Slowly, he made his way over to them, shrugging them on before staring up the stairwell, giving himself the mental pep talk to climb the seventeen stairs into the main part of the house.
As he reached the top, pushing the door open and grimacing as he twisted to close it behind him, he heard the music coming from the charmed record player in the dining room. Remus closed his eyes, allowing himself a moment to take in the soft melody, a wistful smile tugging his lips to the side. He made his way into the room, the smell of bacon and eggs making his stomach growl loudly.
"Oh good, you're up!" A voice sang from the doorway to the kitchen.
Remus looked up to see Andromeda standing against the door frame, a smile on her face and a toddler in her arms. The moment Teddy's eyes landed on Remus, an enormous grin spread over the boy's face and he leaned forward reaching his small arms out to him.
Remus moved forward, pulling the boy into his arms and pressing a kiss to his head. He held him close to his chest, listening to him babble about whatever struck his fancy. Teddy was talkative, another trait he had certainly inherited from his mother. Remus moved to the table, using his foot to pull the chair out, he fell into it, his fingers running through the soft sandy brown curls on top of his son's head.
"How was he?" Remus asked, looking back at Andromeda.
"An angel, as always." She smiled, "Let's get you some breakfast and your potions."
Remus and Andromeda had fallen into this routine in the year and a half since the final battle at Hogwarts. When Dora died, Remus had lost a part of himself, a part he knew he would never get back. The days after the battle were the darkest days of his life. He couldn't celebrate that Voldemort had been vanquished, couldn't cheer for joy as so many around him had. He could only see his wife, motionless and pale, lined up among the others they had lost. Her bright bubblegum hair faded into her natural mousy brown, a shade that seemed so unnatural on a woman so full of fire. Her face, her beautiful, always smiling face, solemn and peaceful in death.
Remus had shut himself away in the small cabin he had inherited from his parents. He didn't bathe, didn't eat, barely moved, for nearly two weeks after the battle. All he could do was worry about his son, his mother taken from him so young, how was he supposed to raise a boy on his own when he couldn't even muster the energy to wash himself?
Andromeda had shown up at the cabin, eyes rimmed red, a look everyone shared the weeks after the battle. He had expected it to be Harry, or even Molly, who would show up out of nowhere and force him into normal life. He had not been expecting Andromeda to yank back the covers from his bed and drag him from his mattress as if he wasn't nearly twice her size.
"You are not the only person who lost someone they loved dearly, Remus. It is tragic, what happened to my daughter, to our family. But you will not lie here and disappear into yourself when you have that beautiful little boy to take care of. Get up, get a shower, and get yourself together. Your son needs you."
The words Andromeda said to him that day played in his head, over and over, like a mantra on the days he felt heavy. On the days that he wanted to let the darkness swallow him whole, "your son needs you" pulled him from bed and pushed him to be better. For Teddy, for Andromeda, and for Dora.
Andromeda entered the dining room again, this time a plate piled high with bacon, eggs, and toast in one hand and four different phials in the other. She set the plate in front of Remus, laughing as Teddy surged forward, attempting to grab the food.
"I'll get him in his high chair," Andromeda said, reaching down to pick the boy up from Remus' lap.
"No, he's okay." Remus insisted, "I'll keep him here."
Andromeda smiled softly at them and nodded, turning to go back into the kitchen, presumably to fix her own plate. Remus carefully removed the stoppers from the phials as he balanced Teddy on his knee, swiftly taking the potions down and setting the phials out of reach. He picked up his fork, placing a small bite of scrambled eggs on the tines and brought it to Teddy's mouth, who squealed happily as he bit down.
"Mmm!" Teddy hummed, his chubby cheeks pulling in a smile. "Eat!"
"Yes, we're eating!" Remus chuckled, giving himself a forkful of eggs before going back with a small one for Teddy.
"He's got another tooth," Andromeda said, taking her spot across the table. "Did you see it?"
"Another?" Remus said, looking down at the boy in his lap. "How did you get so many teeth?"
Andromeda chuckled as she began to tell Remus everything that happened the night before. Starting from the moment he walked down the cellar stairs to the moment he came back up them. Teddy was growing more and more with each passing day, a physical reminder of the time passing since the battle.
After they finished breakfast, Andromeda assured Remus she would handle Teddy, as she always did the day after the full moon, and convinced him to get some rest. Remus hugged Teddy to his chest again, sighing as the toddler laid his head on his shoulder, snuggling into him. Finally, after a few long moments, he shifted Teddy into Andromeda's arms and made his way up the stairs to collapse into his own bed.
Remus woke with a start when he heard the sound of Teddy crying out in the room next to his. He pulled himself from the mattress, kicking the twisted covers from his legs and slipped into a pair of cotton pajama bottoms. It was night already, and Remus briefly wondered if there would ever be a day after the full moon that he didn't completely waste away by sleeping through it in its entirety.
He stepped into Teddy's room, the door already cracked open, and saw him standing in his crib, gripping the bars and crying out. His small, round face wet with tears and his hair a brilliant shade of red to match his anguish.
"What's the matter, love?" Remus cooed, reaching into the crib to pull Teddy into his arms. "Did we have a bad dream?"
Teddy cried into Remus' shoulder, his tiny fists grabbing at his skin, holding on for dear life. Remus swayed, rubbing circles into his back, pressing soft kisses into his hair as he cooed comforting sounds at him. Soon, he found himself humming the song he Dora danced to after their wedding.
The wedding had been quick, only an officiant from the Ministry and two witnesses, Ted and Andromeda, there to celebrate the moment between them. It had been a spur of the moment decision, when Remus confessed he didn't want to wait to marry her, Dora had been adamant that they get married right then. That there was no point in waiting, she didn't need or want a big wedding with a flowing gown and a hundred people around them. Instead, she wore the only dress she owned, a vibrant purple sundress that had a mud stain near the hem from where she had tripped and landed in a puddle. Remus wore the least patched pair of trousers he had and they said their vows that day.
Afterward, Andromeda and Ted had left the house to them, granting them privacy for the night as newlyweds. They had eaten a dinner of muggle takeaway and listened to music, dancing together in the living room.
"You're asking me will my love grow, I don't know, I don't know."
"You had better know the answer to that, Mr. Lupin," Dora said, with a smile on her face as he spun her in a circle.
"I don't want to leave her now, you know I believe in how…"
"You're singing the words out of order," she laughed.
"My love will only grow and grow and grow for you, Mrs. Lupin."
Remus took in a deep breath through his nose, blowing it out slowly through his mouth as he whispered the words to the song, Teddy's breath evened out and finally fell back into light snores.
"You used to sing that to Nymphadora," Andromeda whispered from behind Remus.
Remus turned around, a sad smile on his face as he nodded, "Yeah."
"It's the only song I heard her singing when she was pregnant," she said. "She talked to him all the time, rubbing her belly, but that song was the only one out of all the music she loved, that she sang to him."
"She's missed so much already, and he isn't even two yet." Remus whispered, tightening his hold on Teddy.
"She hasn't missed anything, Remus." Andromeda stepped forward, grazing her fingers through Teddy's hair, smiling fondly at him, "She's watching, wherever she is, she's watching."
Remus moved to the crib, shifting Teddy from his arms and running a hand over his head before stepping away. He walked back to Andromeda and pulled her into a tight embrace.
"Thank you, Andromeda. For everything you've done for me, for us, I can never repay you."
"Being here, being present for that little boy is payment enough. You're family, Remus. And in this family, we love fiercely and without conditions."
"Family," Remus whispered, feeling his eyes prickle.
After everything he had lost, after everything he had been forced to turn away from, he had still been given the ability to have a family, as unconventional as it may have turned out. He knew that with Andromeda's help, Teddy would grow up to be an amazing man, who would never question that he was loved. Because she never failed to remind Remus, that even he- in his broken, battered state, was family.