Disclaimer: All characters are property of JK Rowling. The plot, such as it is, is mine.
"Harry, where's Teddy?"
"I thought you had him."
The two best friends stared at each other. The silence broken by the sound of shattering glass.
In a flurry of arms and legs, Harry and Hermione raced up the stairs, elbowing and shoving each other to gain the lead like a pair of children instead of the 20 year olds they were.
"Teddy! Where are you?" They poked their heads into Hermione's room, "he's not answering Hermione, what are we going to do?"
"He's not even two. What's he going to say, pardon me, I'm right over here?"
"Gah!" The sound came from the drawing room. Followed by a loud crash. Again, the two struggled to get to the door first, the panic taking twice the amount of time needed.
Hermione managed to be the victor after a well aimed elbow to her friend's side. Teddy sat on the floor, looking as innocent as ever which always amazed Hermione since his father was a marauder and his mother was, well, Tonks. He broke into a fit of giggles when he saw her. She was so relieved to see him alive and whole with no obvious injuries. She swept in to the room and hoisted him up in her arms, his hair turned a dark shade of orange in his mirth.
"You scared us half to death Teddy, what—"
"What Harry?" She snuggled the young boy in her arms and didn't even wince when he tugged on her hair.
"Hermione look." Harry was still frozen in the doorway, staring at something behind her. She scowled at him and turned to follow his gaze. She almost dropped Teddy in shock. Sitting on the floor, looking dazed and slightly put out, was a thin, black haired wizard with familiar gray eyes.
Hermione set Teddy down, unsure if she was going to faint or not.
"How did he get that?" Some of the daze wore off and Regulus was now panic-stricken, pointing at Teddy. Hermione quickly swiped the locket that was headed for Teddy's mouth, the locket Harry and Dumbledore retrieved from the cave. No wonder Regulus was in such a state.
"It's okay, the horcruxes are gone. He's dead. It's over." She patted his shoulder, but he jerked away. He stood up too fast and nearly fell over.
"What are you doing in my house?"
A little irked at the newly undead Black, Hermione looked to her friend. "You might want to field this one Harry."
Regulus sat on the couch in the drawing room, his drawing room, while these two strangers and the oddest looking child he'd ever seen stare at him like he just rose from the dead. They looked to be his age, a little young to have a toddler, but these things do happen. The boy looked like that git his brother used to pal around with. The girl was a fine piece. She could do with a hair taming charm, but if that kid pulled on her shirt anymore, he wasn't going to be looking at her face.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Her voice startled him and made him realize he was staring at her chest. He looked up to see her knowing smirk. He really wanted to wipe that smirk off her face. The old fashioned way.
Hermione looked over his tattered robes, one sleeve was completely shredded, his black boots were scuffed as well. He'd definitely been through the ringer, but was it possible…
"I was in a cave, I don't know the details, I drank something, and everything's a blur after that." She looked over at Harry who nodded at her.
"What year is it?" She noticed the confusion cross his haughty features. Dark eyebrows knit.
"1979," again, she and Harry exchanged glances. "I've a feeling that's not right is it?"
"I'm afraid not, it's 1999."
"1999!" His eyes bulged. How could he miss out on 20 years? What happened in that cave? He told Kreacher to switch the lockets and get himself out, but… "The locket!" his tone suddenly urgent.
"It's been destroyed, all of them have," her voice was calm and even, "including Voldemort." He twitched at the name.
"All of them?"
"He made several horcruxes. We tracked them all down and killed him a year and a half ago."
"So he's really gone?"
"Really." He closed his eyes. Never had he felt such relief. A quick glance at his arm through the mangled sleeve showed the mark, still there, but faint. The nightmare was really over.
He glanced up again at the young woman in front of him. She was smiling at him with an expression akin to pride. Something stirred in him when she looked at him like that. Something he could get used to.
"What's you son's name?" She looked startled, then shy. It was adorable.
"He's not mine."
"He's my godson," the boy piped up. Regulus had forgotten he was there. "His parents died in the battle for Hogwarts." The child in question had apparently bored himself to sleep in her arms. "His name's Teddy Lupin, she's Hermione Granger and I'm Harry Potter." Potter, Lupin, those were two names he knew. Granger was a new one, probably Muggle, pity.
"What of my brother?" The two didn't answer for a moment.
"He died 4 years ago, Bellatrix killed him." Hermione couldn't place the look on his face. She added, "Bellatrix died a year ago, just before her master. Narcissa and Andromeda are fine, in fact, this is her grandson." He looked at the sleeping boy with renewed interest. Hermione rose and resettled herself on the couch next to him, offering him the drowsy child.
This wasn't quite what he was expecting. He had heard Andromeda had a metamorphmagus daughter with that Muggle-born she ran off with, but never saw her. The little boy stirred and looked up at him. He really didn't look like a Black, but there was something charming about him. And something smelly…
"Oh, sorry, Teddy's just learning."
"I'll take care of it Hermione." Harry scooped up the ripe toddler and marched out of the room with him at arms length. It was then Hermione comprehended how close she was sitting to Regulus. Their knees were almost touching and he was watching her with an unfamiliar expression. A swarm of butterflies invaded her stomach. Did he have to be so bloody handsome? She did catch him trying to peek down her shirt earlier, not that it meant anything other than he was a pervy teenage boy. He really did not seem like a boy to her. Perhaps his years of service to Voldemort robbed him of his youth, just as Azkaban had taken his brother's. Neither spoke, each silently examining the other until Harry's return startled the two.
"Have either of you figured out how this happened?"
Both realized they had not been speaking at all. Hermione felt her cheeks heat up.
"No, we didn't," there was an uncomfortable pause. Hermione focused her attention on a particularly violent rip in his robes to avoid getting flustered by looking him in the eye. "Maybe you can find some new robes in your room. Nothing's been changed in there." He nodded, gray eyes still watching her.
Hermione followed Regulus into his old room, her wand out and casting cleaning spells as fast as possible. He didn't notice. It was only days ago for him that he was in this room and nothing was moved, just aged. His gaze fell on the crest he had painted above the headboard. That was once a source of pride for him. Then things happened... The cause he followed was never the cause he believed in. He did not know what he believed in anymore. Being a Black was always so important to him and now that he was the last one, that significance had wilted. He pledged himself to a Lord who was only a madman. And he was only a young, stupid boy. The important thing was, he was alive. Maybe some of that stupid could be remedied. He barely noticed when Hermione left the room, following the boy.
After a few minutes of being lost in thought, he dug a dusty, but intact set of robes from the dresser. Midway through changing into them, there was a light rap on the door.
Hermione squeaked in surprise when she stepped through the doorway to be greeted by a bare-chested Regulus. He grinned at her embarrassment while pulling a black tunic over his head. This girl was going to be fun. He stalked up to her, carefully plotting his next move with her when a loud crack made them both jump. Teddy's shrill squeal followed immediately.
Hermione was out the door and across the hall in a flash, Regulus close on her heels. They burst into Sirius' room to find Teddy hopping up and down clutching an old shirt in a fit of giggles. The girl in front of him reached out for support and he managed to catch her before she hit the ground. He only had a moment to appreciate the soft body in his arms before a man caught his attention.
It was his brother. And he was… old.