I'd like to say a heartfelt thanks to all the people who reviewed The Prospect of Tomorrow. I'm so very glad you seemed to like it.
In the spirit of denial and fluff, I've decided to write a couple of one-shots about Teddy, Lupin and Tonks. I do hope that's ok.
- - - -
With little Ted Lupin securely on his shoulders, Remus pottered around the kitchen. Four year old Teddy had been adamant that mid afternoon naps were above him, but Remus was sure that his son's cooperation could be bought by warm cocoa. The evidence was certainly in his favour.
It had been a surprise to discover that Ted hadn't inherited a faulty sense of balance. Sure, he took the same tumbles and falls that any four year old took, but whereas Nymphadora was still mastering the art of walking, Ted was getting better day by day. Remus had earned a good whack on the arm for suggesting that Dora have as little to do with teaching Ted mobility as possible.
Reaching behind to put a steadying hand on his son's back, Remus bent to pull the saucepan out of the cupboard.
Handle clasped tightly, he righted himself. "Now, oh colourful one, where is the cocoa?"
"Look! Up!" Ted tightened his arms around Remus' neck.
Gagging slightly, Lupin quickly placed the saucepan on the bench and adjusted the small hands to sit lower. "Yes, hold on tight by all means, but don't strangle dad. Now, up, you say?"
His only response was a pat on the head.
Looking up, he scanned the shelves that lined the wall. At the very top, in the corner, sat the powdery brown box of cocoa. "Good eye, Teddy. Now, to get it."
Lupin, though a tall man, couldn't quite reach. Casting about in his robes, he felt around for his wand only to be reminded by its absence that it sat beside Ted's bed.
He was in the process of turning to leave the room to retrieve the wand when he felt a slight tug. Somehow, Teddy was attached to something.
"What are you doing up there?" He tilted his head back slightly to eye his son, and nearly toppled the both of them over in shock when he saw just what Ted had done.
- - - -
Tonks, eyeing a pile of paperwork distastefully, startled when an interdepartmental memo plane landed on her desk. It taxied along, speed reducing as it put on the brakes, but not quickly enough to stop itself crumpling slightly against a cup of soup.
Backing up, it poked its nose up at the cup somewhat indignantly before smoothing out its wings and turning to face its reader.
It was dark blue with a silver seal, signalling not only that it had come from outside the ministry, but that it had been charmed by the Communications and Translations Office, from an owl carried letter into a memo.
Tonks, who always loved mail turned her back on the paperwork to unfurl the note.
Help! It's Ted. Come home quick!
Tonks wasn't sure what she found more alarming, the words themselves or the fact that they came from Remus, who was ever calm and collected.
Knocking over her chair in her hurry, she grabbed her cloak and purse and dashed for the nearest fireplace.
- - - -
Coughing on soot, Tonks unfolded herself awkwardly from the fireplace. "Remus! Remus, what is it? Oh my god, what's happened to Teddy?"
Hurrying into the hallway, she crashed into her husband as he made his way into the living room. "Sorry, sorry!"
Putting a steadying hand on her shoulder, Remus shook his head. "No, it is I who must apologise. It wasn't until Flinders had flown away that I realized how alarming my note was. Ted is fine, we're all fine, we've just had a bit of an accident."
Tonks opened her mouth and found herself quite without words. Relief that everyone was alive, angry that Lupin's note had conveyed a sense of disaster, and worry about what sort of accident could have had him so spooked.
Deciding that she had room for all three when the time was appropriate, she socked him on the arm and turned to the stairs.
Remus put his hand on the small of her back and guided her down the hall. "No, no he's in the kitchen. I…well, I really wasn't sure what to do. He's fine. He's having some cocoa as we speak, but I thought it best to get you here as quickly as possible."
Unsettled by the prospect of having to tackle something Remus couldn't handle, Tonks cautiously entered the kitchen.
Everything looked normal. Teddy was sitting at the dinner table with a cup of cocoa in front of him. She dashed towards him, glad to see he was alright.
It wasn't until she was hugging him tightly that she realized what was wrong.
One of his arms, the arm closest to her, was wrapped around her neck in the hug. The other however, sat by his side. Only, instead of stopping just below his hip, it went on and on to reach the floor, a good five feet longer than it should have been.
Pulling away slowly, she rounded the chair and found the hand, resting on the ground some feet away. "Oh."
Raising an eyebrow, Remus nodded. "Oh, indeed."
Ted laughed. "Look what I did, mummy."
Tonks smiled at him bracingly and stooped to inspect the hand. "He's clearly morphed it."
"Yes. As this is your area of expertise, I thought it best to get you home."
Collecting the arm in her hands, she stood and gently dropped it onto the table. Pulling a chair out absently, she sat. "This is…different."
At this Remus tensed. "Different how? Tonks, we will be able to fix this, won't we?"
Tonks nodded emphatically. "Well, yeah, but…"
"Well…" she eyed her son curiously, "it's just that I'm not sure he really consciously controls his morphing yet. Was there a reason he needed a long arm?"
Remus eyed the box of cocoa accusingly. "He was helping me reach something."
"He'll definitely be able to morph it back, but we're going to have to help him. Make him understand what he's going for. My mum took me to the zoo when I was little, and there were these older kids, they were maybe ten or eleven, wearing elephant masks. So, naturally, I got it into my mind that a trunk was the next step in the ageing process. A lot of memories had to be obliviated that day, let me tell you."
Despairingly, Remus scrubbed his face with his hands.
Tonks chuckled. "Marry a metamorphmagus-"
"-father an octopus."
Hissing, Tonks waved her hand at him to silence him. "Hush! Don't give him any ideas!"
He nodded apologetically.
"Ted," Tonks put on her best motherly voice, which was laughable but endearing all the same. "Do you remember what mum and dad said about morphing? You can change your hair and your eyes, but not the rest. Not until mum gives you some lessons. Remember?"
Ted dropped his arm back to the ground, as if to hide it. "Sorry. Trying to help daddy."
Remus sat himself at the table also and scooped Ted onto his lap. "We're not angry, Teddy. We just need you to put it right."
Ted nodded enthusiastically. "Kay."
Tapping the table absently with her fingers, Tonks tried to find words for the process. "I want you to imagine how your arm was before, like when you woke up this morning. Close your eyes." At this, Ted squeezed his eyes shut. "All you can see is black, and I want you to picture you're standing in the middle. Now, picture that arm getting shorter until it looks right, ok?"
After a few seconds, Remus felt something press against his ankle. He looked down to find the hand now by his feet.
Slowly the arm receded, as if disappearing into Ted's side. Eventually, it grew to the right length, but Ted didn't seem to be stopping.
"Whoa!" they both yelled. "That'll do."
Ted opened his eyes and brought his hand to his face. He wiggled his fingers and inspected his elbow. Everything was in proportion.
"Arms up," Tonks said.
Ted raised both arms above his head, and his parents compared the lengths.
Sighing, Remus settled his son on the floor. "You can go play now."
With a whoop of glee, Ted ran to Sophie, their Kneazle, who was curled alseep in her bed in the corner.
"He'll sort it out in time. He's probably done all he can for today." Tonks' tone was somewhat defensive.
Unwilling to comment on a process he could only watch, not experience, Remus smiled and leant forward to kiss his wife
As for Ted, well, his left arm was two inches shorter than his right.
- - - -
So, what do people think? Should I abandon my denial for cold hard facts, or just write more fluff?