The End is Heaven
Part 09 – 'a new family'
Pairings: Sirius/Remus, Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny
Spoilers: Books 1-7
Genre: AU, drama, romance, angst
Summary: Remus Lupin survives the Second War and is left to raise Teddy alone.
Two days after they'd done the spell Harry received a letter from Sirius telling him that he and Remus were staying in Remus's house until the end of the next full moon cycle. In it Sirius good-naturedly remarked that if Harry were not legally an adult, he might have found himself grounded for the use of illegal spells.
The letter was cheerful, it made Harry smile one of those stupid smiles that won't leave your face for the entire day. In the middle of the afternoon Harry was called to McGonagall's office and had been given the password. It still felt a bit odd going up the spiral staircase, knowing that Dumbledore wouldn't be there, that it was now McGonagall's office.
Harry had barely made it inside the office when a pair of arms surrounded him into a strong bear hug.
"Sirius!" Harry exclaimed.
Sirius beamed at him. "I couldn't give you a proper hug the other night so now we're even."
Harry smiled back, then looked forward and saw McGonagall, waiting for them. Harry thought she looked both happy and sad. He sat on one of the chairs in front of her, Sirius sitting on the other.
"Where's Remus?" Harry asked turning his head towards Sirius.
"Taking a nap, so I can't stay for long," Sirius answered. "I came because I could use your help, Harry."
"Why, about what?" Harry asked. "Is this about your inheritance and Grimmauld place? You don't even have to ask if you need them."
"No, no," Sirius said quickly. "We're still trying to figure out how to deal with my status and things like that," he glanced at McGonagall for a moment, "Minerva's going to help with that and I'm sure Kingsley will too. No. I - we - Remus and I need your help with some family business."
"Family business?" Harry asked.
Sirius nodded and glanced at McGonagall. She cleared her throat lightly and met Harry's gaze. "Harry, I'm going to allow you to leave Hogwarts for a couple of hours," she looked at Sirius, "next Thursday, Sirius?"
"Yes," he answered, "After the full moon."
"I'm allowing you to leave for a couple of hours next Thursday," she repeated, looking at Harry again.
"Why?" Harry asked as he looked at Sirius.
Sirius met his eyes. "We are going to Andromeda's house. We're getting Teddy back."
Harry counted the days until Thursday. He decided not to tell the others that he was accompanying Sirius and Remus to Andromeda's house. Sirius had included him as family, because he was Teddy's godfather. It didn't feel right telling the others just yet. He purposely lost Ginny, Ron, and Hermione after their first afternoon class and went straight to McGonagall's office like he'd been told to do. McGonagall was waiting for him in front of the fireplace and cut right to business as soon as Harry stepped in. "Ready?" she asked, and Harry just nodded.
She threw the floo powder on the fireplace, "Remus Lupin's residence," she said and the flames turned a light green. "This is for going only," she told Harry before he stepped in the fire, "to come back you need to apparate to Hogsmeade and talk to Aberforth," Harry nodded and gave a step forward. "Harry," she called, her voice losing some of the authority and gaining some familiarity. "I understand why you would want to keep this sort of situation family only, but if there's any problems, any at all, about anything, don't hesitate to call."
"I won't, professor," Harry said with a smile and walked into the fire. He felt the rush of being transported, and he landed with a thud in a dusty fireplace. Harry coughed a few times before stepping out of the fireplace and looking around the room. His mouth dropped opened in surprise when he saw the room. The last time Harry had seen this room it had been a complete mess with broken glass and spilled ink adding to the filth of neglect. Now it was far from that. Everything was clean and neat, the desk righted, the pictures reframed. There was a murmur of voices coming from down the hall, from one of the bedrooms, Harry walked towards it.
"How about turquoise?" he heard Sirius ask.
"No," Remus answered. "That's his favorite hair color. He doesn't need more encouragement in that department."
"Purple?" Sirius asked again, his voice clearer now as Harry got closer.
"We are not painting my son's walls purple," Remus said, sounding almost offended, and Sirius laughed.
Harry knocked on the door where the voices were coming from. It swung open almost instantly. "Harry!" Sirius said as he hugged him and pulled him inside the room, which Harry now recognized as Teddy's bedroom. Teddy's bedroom with half the walls a light blue color and the other half a bright red. Both the chair and the crib looked polished, the crib with new sheets, and two stuffed animals sitting on its corner, a dog and a wolf. On the small desk was a picture of Tonks in her Hufflepuff uniform, smiling and waving at the camera.
"Hey, Harry," Remus smiled at him.
"Ready to go?" Sirius asked both.
"Sure," Harry answered.
Remus gulped. Sirius touched his arm, "It'll be all right, Remus," he said as he met Remus's eyes. "One thing at a time."
Remus nodded slowly, though he didn't seem very reassured.
Harry looked at them in silence, remembering the night Sirius had come back, remembering his conversation with Ginny. "I'm sorry," he said out loud, and both Sirius and Remus turned to look at him.
"What for?" Sirius asked.
"For not noticing," Harry said simply, looking at them both.
"Noticing what?" Remus tilted his head slightly.
Harry felt the embarrassed blush on his face and couldn't help but stammer. "You two."
Sirius smiled broadly, Remus did too. "Why would have you noticed?" Sirius said still smiling, almost teasing, "no one was supposed to notice but us," he touched Remus's hand softly.
"Then why now?" Harry started to ask, but couldn't think of the right words.
Sirius put a hand on his shoulder, and Harry felt the comforting weight. "Now there's no reason to keep it just between us anymore," Sirius said, his voice a little lower.
"We better go," Remus interrupted, "Harry doesn't have the whole day off, and Minerva will blame us if he doesn't make it back for dinner."
They walked outside after that, locking the house and apparating together to the front of Andromeda's house. Harry was closest to the door with Sirius and Remus behind him. Remus looked nervous and Sirius put an arm over his shoulder in encouragement. "It will be all right," he repeated to Remus, who slowly raised his fist and knocked on the door.
"Just a minute," they heard Andromeda's muffled voice from inside the house, followed by a soft click as the door was unlocked. Andromeda's cheerful face instantly froze, quickly replaced by surprise. Her eyes moved fast from Harry, to Remus, finally settling on Sirius. "It can't be," she whispered, giving one step back.
Remus opened his mouth to speak, when Teddy's sudden cries could be heard from one of the rooms deeper inside the house. Andromeda moved fast, her wand suddenly in her hand pointing it at the three men. "Who are you?" she demanded.
"Put that down, Andromeda." Sirius said in a firm tone. A tone that made Andromeda waver. She recognized it.
"But you died," she said. "It can't be you."
Sirius stepped forward, past Remus and Harry. He ignored Andromeda's hostile posture and her aimed wand and met her eyes. "I was the first person in our family you told that you were in love with Ted, remember?" he said, "and I told you that no matter who you married I would always support you."
Andromeda's eyes widened, her hand shook. "You were the only one who came to my wedding," she said, lowering her wand slowly, "out of all my family."
Sirius smiled. "It's good to see you again."
Andromeda dropped her wand and threw her arms around her cousin, hugging him tight. "It's so good to see you, Sirius," she said with honesty.
As they let go, Teddy gave another loud wail and reminded everyone of his presence. Andromeda muttered a quick apology and rushed out of the room. Sirius turned to Remus and Harry who were still standing by the door and nodded for them to come in. Harry closed the door behind him as Remus walked to Sirius's side. Andromeda stepped back into the room, a still crying, browned-haired Teddy in her arms.
Remus inched forward at the sight of his son, wanting more than anything to hold him, but Sirius quickly wrapped a hand around his wrist stopping him. Remus turned his head slightly to meet Sirius's eyes, clearly asking why. Sirius gave him a curt nod, asking him to wait just a bit longer.
"Can I talk to you for a moment, Andromeda?" Sirius asked. "You can leave Teddy with Remus and Harry."
Andromeda hesitated, noticing Teddy had stopped crying and was looking intently at Remus. But then slowly stepped towards Remus. Sirius slowly let go of Remus's wrist, and Remus stepped forward, meeting Andromeda halfway with arms outstretched, taking Teddy and pulling him close. The effect was almost instant. Teddy gave a high squeal of delight and his hair turned turquoise. Remus's face broke into a wide smile.
Remus whispered soft words to Teddy as he kissed the top of his head. Sirius smiled warmly behind them, then stepped around and touched Andromeda's arm, leading her somewhere where they could talk privately.
Harry walked up to Remus's side after they had gone, not wanting to interrupt, but wanting to be part of the moment.
Remus noticed and smiled at him, "Let's sit while we wait," he said and walked the few steps to one of the couches in the living room. Harry followed, but remained standing beside Remus who was once more talking softly to Teddy who kept making happy noises as he touched Remus's face.
"Want to hold him?" Remus asked, looking up. Harry nodded, slowly reaching out. Teddy gave Harry a wary look but allowed Harry to hold him. After a few moments, Harry's glasses claimed Teddy's attention and he grabbed them, pulling them off Harry's face. Harry protested softly, but happy that Teddy seemed to accept him. Remus gave him a warm smile.
"I never thanked you," Remus said out of the blue, making Harry blink. "For bringing Sirius back. Thank you."
Harry bit his lip a little. "I'm sorry," he apologized again without thinking. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately.
"About what?" Remus asked, confused.
"For yelling at you at Grimmauld Place. I said some horrible things and I didn't know. I shouldn't have tried to force you to go back to Tonks if you didn't love her."
Remus pursed his lips. "I did care for her, Harry, in some way," he said slowly. "I'd rather not talk about Nymphadora. It doesn't seem fair to her that she's not here, but at the same time I'm so happy that Sirius is. It was no secret that things weren't working between us, but I kept dwindling and waiting, and then she got pregnant. I never intended to marry her, much less have a child, but after losing so much I had completely given up on believing I could be happy, and she was always so happy if I was around her. So I thought that I might never be happy, but that I could at least make someone else happy." He took a deep breath. "Better one miserable person than two right?" He tried to smile, but Harry knew he was holding back tears. "It wasn't because I wanted to leave her that I wanted to go with you, Harry. I wanted to feel useful, I wanted to help. I didn't want to stay cooped up in a house and be safe."
Harry nodded, looking down at his shoes. His thoughts were interrupted by the opening of a door and Harry looked up to see Andromeda, her eyes a little red, walking towards them with Sirius a few steps behind her. She approached Harry and reached out to take Teddy from his arms, his hair going back to brown the second she touched him. Andromeda sighed and walked around until she was in front of Remus.
Sirius stepped beside Remus, and Remus stood up, never leaving Andromeda's eyes. "You will give him to me every full moon, and every time you need a babysitter, understand?" she said. And Remus blinked, confused, then nodded once in agreement.
Andromeda kissed Teddy's brow gently and passed him over to Remus's open arms. Teddy squealed in delight again, looking at his father's face for a while then looking at Sirius. Without saying a word Remus offered Teddy for Sirius to hold, and Sirius slowly reached out, taking Teddy very carefully as if he might drop him. Teddy looked at Sirius warily for a moment, before poking him in the nose with his small hands.
"So you're Teddy Lupin-Tonks," Sirius muttered softly.
"Lupin-Tonks-Black," Remus corrected quickly, giving Sirius a look that dared him to say it was too long or inappropriate.
Sirius didn't dare, and instead nodded with a smile as Teddy seemed to consider Sirius thoughtfully. Then snatched a handful of Sirius's hair, yanking it hard, and then turned his own hair black.
"What an interesting sprog," Sirius said with a grin and Teddy yanked his hair again.
"Stop pulling Sirius's hair, Ted," Remus said, reaching out and taking Teddy from Sirius's arms. Teddy was more than happy to return back to his father's arms, switching his hair back to turquoise almost instantly.
"He's a chameleon!" Sirius said jokingly and Remus frowned at him.
"Don't call our son a chameleon," he said and turned to look back at Teddy.
Sirius blinked, then slowly smiled, giving Remus a quick kiss.
There was a knock on the door, and Harry, being the closest, opened it.
Narcissa Malfoy stood on the other side. Her eyes widened in surprise when she saw Harry, and her surprise only grew as she looked past Harry. "It's really true," she whispered to herself.
Harry didn't know what to say to her so he just stepped aside and let her pass.
"Narcissa," Sirius said, sounding surprised, and not pleasantly so. Remus held Teddy closer to him.
The tension in the room heightened palpably, "I called her," Andromeda said, "she-"
"I'm here to help," Narcissa said with honesty, "make amends." She met Sirius's eyes, "it's really good to see you, Sirius."
Sirius nodded once, but seemed reluctant. Narcissa seemed to noticed and stepped towards the kitchen. "I'll go make some tea," she said and left. The tension in the room decreasing once she was gone.
Andromeda touched Sirius's arm. "Talk to Harry about Narcissa," she said softly. Sirius nodded.
She approached Remus then, touching his shoulder lightly. Remus turned towards her slowly, Teddy's head resting against his shoulder. Andromeda gave him a soft smile and hugged him catching Remus off guard. "Be happy," she whispered in his ear, and Remus's confusion quickly morphed into a smile as he nodded once.
Sirius touched Remus back lightly. "Let's go home," he said.
Remus's smile widened, looking at Sirius, then at Harry, and finally at Teddy who was half asleep against his shoulder. "Yes," he agreed. "Home."