DISCLAIMER: I don't own the world of Harry Potter in any form, as it belongs to J.K. Rowling.
TIMELINE: Spoilers for HP and the Deathly Hallows. Pre the epilogue.
SUMMARY: Why do death hurt those left behind more than the dead themselves? Ted Lupin doesn't understand why his parents died.
"I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life."
Eleven year old Teddy Lupin stood, immobile, staring at the war memorial in front of him. For him, two names stood out extra brightly in the light of the almost full moon, and he shuddered slightly, pulling his coat tighter around himself.
His parents. Parents he had never known but heard so much about, ever since before he could remember. He'd hear the story of how they fell in love, how they were then parted by his father's stubborness, and then reunited. They lived together, and they died together.
Ted Remus Lupin wished they'd never died at all. His Godfather was a wonderful man, and Ted loved his grandmother, Andromeda, but he felt so…cheated. Whenever someone started to talk about his parents, he felt…morose. He felt jealousy; that someone else had known them, while he would never meet them. He felt gratitude; that they had died for this country, to protect generations to come. He felt love; that they had fought bravely and managed to surpass all hindrances despite the odds against them. But most of all, he felt anger.
Why did they have to stay and fight? He'd only been a baby – there had been lots and lots of people who fought. Had his parents made the difference, or where they only two more unnecessary victims in a long row of deaths, that were now ingraved into this stone forever?
What were two names, really? They were just two among many.
Silent tears dripped down Ted's eyes, and he angrily blinked them away. Why was he crying? It wasn't like he missed his parents; he couldn't, since he didn't remember them. They didn't deserve his tears!
He slumped down upon the snow-covered ground, curling into a small ball, his hair flashing in all colours, guilt flowing through his veins. They didn't deserve his anger either, really.
"Why did you leave me?" He finally whispered brokenly. "It's so unfair."
No answer. The ground around Hogwart's were quiet and still. Too still, Teddy thought, standing up, and dragging his hand through his now blue hair, brushing off the snow that had gotten stuck on his robes.
Ted jumped, spinning around and coming face to face with a bemused looking professor.
"Professor Longbottom! What are you doing here?" Ted exclaimed.
"I was on my way up to the castle, actually," the professor, Neville Longbottom, one of the great heroes of the war, said. "I'd been in the greenhouses, and then I heard a noise, so I decided to see who it was." Neville gave Ted a concerned look. "Are you alright?"
Ted smiled brightly. "Yes," he said, straightening his back and staring challengingly into professor Longbottom's eyes, as if daring him to contradict him and say that, "no, you aren't."
Neville stared at Ted for a long time. "Come with me," he said after awhile, and started to walk towards the castle, Ted following, stumbling slightly on his own two feet.
"Your father was a wonderful man," Neville said, once they'd gotten inside, his footsteps echoing across the stone floor as they wandered through the corridors. Ted fought the urge to roll his eyes. Another person with stories about his parents!
"It's partly because of him that I am who I am today," Neville continued. "He made me feel like I was somebody; like I mattered, and he was the one who gave me my first piece of real confidence in my life."
Ted said nothing.
"I never really knew your mother, but from what I saw, she was a…spirited personality, and your parents complemented each other perfectly. Like two pieces of a puzzle. Their love was…very special."
"Their love couldn't save them, now, could it?" Ted burst out. Professor Longbottom turned to stare at him sympathetically, almost sadly.
"Do you really think so? Do you really think that death is the end of all things?"
Ted blanched. "N-No," he said. "But – "
"Then what makes you think they are lost?" Neville asked, the torches on the walls casting shadows on the professor's face and illuminating the scars there, giving him a look of a much older man - someone that had gone through a lot, but still full of life and vitality.
"I never said – "
" - You said they could't be saved," Neville interrupted. "Saved from what?"
Ted was quiet.
"All the victims in the war played a large part in the defeat of the Dark Lord," Neville continued. "They all knew what they were getting into, and they still did it, knowing what might come. Would you rather your parents had stayed at home, doing nothing?"
Ted shook his head slightly.
"They went and fought, despite the fact that they had only just begun; despite the fact of a small infant waiting at home, because it was the right thing to do. They had a lifetime of wonders waiting ahead of them, and yet they forsaked their own happiness so you and others could live. As long as there are people like that, the world is secure. Why would they need saving?" Neville asked, an eyebrow raised in question. "They faced death, stood tall to death and when they died, they did it peacefully, knowing that their sacrifices would mean something. They died willingly for what they believed in. And as long as you can accept your death, you do not need saving, because they were already saved."
Ted looked at him confused and bewildered, not understanding.
Neville smiled at him. "You may not understand now, but someday you will." He stopped outside his office, pausing with his hand on the doorhandle. "Your parents were good people, and I can understand why you are angry with them. I was angry at my parents for the longest of times... But does anger truly help? Don't focus on their deaths, Ted, focus on their lives. Only by doing that, can you really get to know them and understand them."
Neville opened his door, entering his office and closing the door behind him, leaving Ted standing in the corridor.
Ted didn't understand what professor Longbottom had been trying to tell him, but for some reason, he felt…closer to his parents than before. He didn't know why, and he was still angry, but…it felt like he now could accept they were gone. He could now accept why they had left him, and he no longer felt that he was a horrible person if he didn't forgive them for leaving.
Because there was nothing to forgive.