Mirror of Erised, Revisited

Never once does Harry stop and think of his godson while wandering the halls of Hogwarts, though in hindsight perhaps he should have. He knows, of course, through various correspondences, that Teddy is a first year Ravenclaw, that he has done well so far with his coursework, but that he feels very alone sometimes, especially at night.

No, all Harry thinks is, "I've got to find Neville," and "I hope that plant James just ate isn't poisonous." Luckily for him, Neville is awake, and reassures him that it's not, and chides Harry for not knowing that. ("Merlin's beard, Harry, that's stuff I teach my third-years!" "Sorry, Nev, sorry—just wanted to be sure.")

Not once does he think of his godson. It's only during the long walk back to the floo network does Teddy cross his mind—and his path. A wrong turn (happens all the time) sends him into a small room, devoid of everything except for an eleven-year-old boy and an ancient mirror.

Seeing the boy now brings a wave of memories at Harry, a small flood of nostalgia invading his senses. Once, he too was that small, that alone and scared, sleeping beside the mirror of desire.

He does not wonder what the boy sees in the mirror—he can tell because Teddy's hair, usually spiky and blue for Ravenclaw, is now bright, bubblegum pink, the same color his mother favored.

If Teddy is surprised Harry is there, he doesn't show it, nor does he react at all when Harry grabs his shoulder tenderly.

"A wise old man once told me that it does not do well to dwell on dreams, and forget to live."

Quoting Dumbledore does nothing to faze the boy, and instead the two remain in compatible silence.

And then: "Do you see your parents in the mirror, Harry?"

He frowns. "I did, once. When I was your age."

"What do you see now?"

He frowns, pausing on how to answer. "I see myself, exactly as I am, without my scar."

"Oh." The boy mumbles. "That's nice, I—I thought, that, well—I mean, does it bother you that much? The scar?"

"Not as much as it use to," The godfather explains. "But it's still a reminder of a different part of my life—a life without my parents, a world with Voldemort in charge."

"Oh." The boy frowns, huddling his knees together under his arms. All is quiet once more. For a brief moment, Harry wonders if he said the wrong thing, wonders if he shouldn't have lied for the boy's sake, and then:

"I miss them, Harry. I miss them so much."

Crocodile tears gently rolled down the boy's face, his bright pink hair turning soft and gray and brown, like his father's. As softly as he could, Harry scooped down and held the boy in his arms, like a father would, allowing him to cry as loudly as he might need to.

For hours, they sat there, a constant comfort, orphan to orphan. Ginny, he knows, is probably panicking, wondering where he was, but he doesn't think she'd mind, if she knew.

After a few hours, Ted finally lets go, sniffling as he does.

"I'm sorry Harry." He cries. "I've made a fool of myself, and you probably have places to be, and here I am, babbling because a mirror showed me a picture of my parents."

For some reason, the statement reminds him strongly of Tonks, and for that Harry puts his arms around him again. "It's okay to be sad, you know. There is no shame in tears."

He, too, after all, knows all too well how real the people in the mirror can seem.

"I'm going to ask you something, though, Teddy." He says quietly, in what he hopes is a sympathic but commanding voice. "I'm going to ask you to stop coming to the mirror."

Ted leaps out of his arms at the mere thought. "No! You can't! Don't you understand? Professor McGonagal tried to say the same thing, said it wasn't healthy for me. I thought maybe you'd understand! You know what it's like to lose your parents, what it's like to miss them, and I thought—"

"It is okay to miss them," Harry reassures him. "But spending every night alone in front of a mirror isn't healthy. You need sleep—"

"I never sleep during a full moon. Haven't the foggiest idea why, either."

"—you need rest. Staring at your parents, however…complete, you may feel, you need to realize, that's not them."

The boy's face turns red with indignation. "I know that! Bloody hell, I'm in Ravenclaw. They don't let stupid people into Ravenclaw, you know—"

"Your parents are dead, Teddy," Harry says as softly and understanding as he can. "And the mirror isn't going to bring them back."

The boy goes silent again, his eyes flashing from familiar amber to somber gray. "I know." He says quietly, and Harry thinks he might have finally gotten things to sink through.

"So, promise me you won't go off looking for the mirror again?"

"I won't." He says sadly, and Harry knows he'll keep his word, has understood his lesson.

He wraps his arms around the boy's shoulders tightly, the pair walking off into the dark halls together, the mirror forgotten for at least another day.

XXX

END

A/N: Crap, I love Teddy Lupin. And I love picturing Harry's relationship with Teddy. I'm totally doing more of these, as Teddy is full of unconditional love.