A/N: I couldn't help myself. I was having an angsty "I MISS REMUS AND TONKS" moment, so I just HAD to write this. I just HAD to, y'hear?!
Hope it's not TOO bad!! Enjoy!!!
"Grandma Tonks?" the young boy called through the house. "Grandma! There's an owl!"
The old woman shuffled through her hallway to reach the boy where he cried for her in the kitchen. "What is it Teddy?" she yawned. The child seemed ecstatic, bouncing on the balls of his feet and gazing at the large, tawny owl that was perched now upon their kitchen counter, glaring a beady eye at him. Andromeda Tonks sat at the counter with a groan. She did not look at her grandson as she took the parchment envelope from the owl's talons and handed it to him. She listened wearily to his screams of delight, but did not look at him.
"Oh, Grandma Tonks! It's my letter! It's my Hogwarts letter, Grandma Tonks! Can you believe it?" He spun around on the spot, clutching the letter tightly to his chest as though it were a precious jewel. "My dad almost didn't get one, you said, remember? But I got one! I got a letter!" At that, he sped off to his mother's room. It was his room, now, but Andromeda was bitter to call it so. It forever remained her daughter's room, in her eyes. Young Ted was wonderful to have around, he truly was, but sometimes it pained her to look at him, for he reminded her too strongly of her Nymphadora. His hair remained its natural pale brown, usually, and this irked her. In his natural state, he looked to much like her—like her dead daughter and her dead husband, and she couldn't bring herself to look at him because of it.
Moments later, Ted was flying from Nymphadora's room again, his hair quite suddenly a violent shade of orange. He lunged at Andromeda where she sat, and as he collided headlong with her, nearly knocking her over, she gave a scream of surprise that made him blush. "Sorry, Grandma Tonks," he said with shame.
"That's quite alright, Teddy. What is it?"
"I just… D'you think I should write to Harry?" His eyes lit up, and Andromeda noticed they were green. "I mean, he might want to know!"
She smiled. "Yes, I'm sure he would want to know."
Ted galloped back into his bedroom, leaving his grandmother to her thoughts. He grabbed a piece of parchment and a quill, and sat at his mother's old desk. He nearly upset an inkwell as he began to write an excited note to his godfather. Once it was sealed, he gave the letter to his grandmother's owl with a happy grin, and watched the proud creature take off through the sunlit window. He wondered what it must have been like to be almost certain that he would get no letter accepting him into Hogwarts. He felt a pang of sympathy for his father who had, according to Harry, been such an outcast as a child that he almost was not allowed into Hogwarts. The old headmaster, Albus Dumbledore—Albus Potter's namesake—was the sort of person who apparently loved everyone, so he had let Ted's father into the school with some special precautions. Ted found this sad. As he turned over the sad circumstances of his father's childhood in his mind, he found himself straining to remember the man called Remus Lupin. He could remember nothing. All he had were the pictures Harry gave him of his father, and the one that was in the house of him being held by his mother and father. He liked this one. It had been taken only several days after Ted's birth.
He reached into his pillowcase, and from within it he extracted the photograph. He watched his tiny baby self squint his eyes, and saw his hair immediately change from ink black to a dazzling white-blonde. His mother was grinning from ear to ear, positively glowing as she changed her hair to match her son's with a laugh. His father was there, looking tired and worn, but happy. He had a calm, dreamy smile on his lips, and he was stroking Ted's changing hair with adoration. Ted loved this picture. It was the only one he had of them existing as a happy family before his parents died a month or two after it was taken. It felt like proof that he'd really been theirs, and that they had ever really lived as his parents. The circumstances surrounding his parents' deaths were always glossed over when Ted asked for the details. All he knew was that their deaths had not been natural, and that they had been murdered. He knew nothing else.
Ted could not remember finding out that his parents were dead, but he did remember the first time he had ever asked anyone how it had happened. It had been an extremely awkward conversation: "Harry," he had asked curiously, "how come my parents are dead?"
He distinctly remembered the look of suffering that had crossed his godfather's face, but he wanted to know, so he simply waited as Harry swallowed anxiously. "Your parents were wonderful people," he said simply. "They're dead for the same reason that mine are: they were murdered by evil for trying to keep good in the world."
"Why?" Ted remembered asking him.
Harry had opened his mouth to answer, shook his head, closed his mouth again, and smiled kindly at Ted before he finally spoke. "Teddy, evil doesn't need a reason. I will tell you, though, that your parents were extremely brave."
This had satisfied him at the time, but now, as Ted was so quickly approaching his first year at Hogwarts, his desire to know more about their murders was increasing dramatically. As it was, he gazed with longing at the photo in his pillowcase each night before he reluctantly put it back and lay himself down to sleep.
The night before September the first was painful. Ted Lupin lived a good life: he had loving adults all around him, taking care of him and making sure that he was alright. He was happy to live with his loving grandmother, and to be so close with his doting and adoring godfather, but it did not take away the anguish that built that night. He lay restlessly in Harry's guest bed, wishing for calming dreams, but none came. No sleep befell him as he tossed and turned so anxiously that night. He was going to school the following day, and this—more than anything—made him wonder: what would his parents have done or said to comfort him before he set off for Hogwarts for the first time? Would they have kissed and hugged him as they saw him onto the train, waving lovingly after him as he leaned out of a window to say his final goodbyes?
What pained him so was the fact that he could never know these things: that he would always have his grandmother and Harry in their place. They were wonderful, but they would never be substitutes. They would never be his parents.
He wished he could remember them. On nights like this, he would lie with his eyes closed, and strain his memory for them, but nothing would ever come to him. He supposed it was because he had been naught but a few months old at the time of their deaths, but that never made it any easier to accept.
Ted was staying with Harry the night before September first. It was to be Harry who would see him off, and Harry who would so generously take the place of his parents for the night.
Accepting that he simply would not be able to sleep, Ted crawled quietly from beneath his covers. He slinked along the dark landing, and toward the stairs. He walked steadily down them, toward the light that remained on in the kitchen where he knew Harry was awake.
"Harry?" Ted squeaked from the doorway. His godfather looked around in surprised.
"Teddy! What are you doing up?"
"I couldn't sleep," he admitted, shuffling toward the black-haired man, and sitting on a chair beside him at the kitchen table.
Harry gave Ted a knowing smile. "What's on your mind?" he asked kindly, linking his fingers together where they rested on the tabletop.
Ted swallowed. Harry—of all people—would not think it stupid. Harry would understand. Harry had, just like him, lost his parents before he could remember them, too. "I miss my mum and dad," he whispered, his voice cracking.
He looked up at his godfather, who was looking sympathetic. A pained expression crossed him as he gazed at Ted. "I miss them too," he said simply. Crickets were chirping outside of the kitchen window, unseen through the misty autumn darkness, while moonlight streamed across the kitchen table and floor, dancing over Ted's lap.
"But you knew them," Ted whispered shrilly. "You knew them better than I ever did—or ever will." He swallowed again. "It's not weird, is it, that I miss them?"
"No," Harry told him firmly. "It's not weird at all. I miss my parents more than anyone else could know, but you…" A kind, fatherly glint appeared in his green eyes. "…You and I understand, don't we?" He smiled generously, and Ted followed suit. His heart was constricting painfully, missing Nymphadora and Remus Lupin more than he ever thought he would, having never met them.
"Yeah," Ted sighed. He inched his chair closer to Harry, his eyes bright with longing and sadness. "Tell me about them, again, Harry: just one more time before I go to Hogwarts."
Harry's smile was sympathetic, and almost envious. Ted could not have known that Harry was currently wishing bitterly that he'd had Sirius Black around during his childhood—or at least someone who cared about him and the loss of his parents. He had never told Ted about his experience with the Dursleys. "Alright, then," he said, standing up and walking to the door of the kitchen. Ted heard Harry shuffling with items he could not see in the living room before he stepped back into the kitchen holding an old photograph. This was one that Ted had never seen.
"This picture," Harry said quietly, taking his seat again, "is of your parents the way I knew them best." He gave a tiny sniff before shoving the picture into Ted's hands. Ted stared down at it in wonder as his godfather began to talk, repeating what he had told Ted time and time again. "I met your father when I was thirteen," he said. "He was my teacher at Hogwarts that year. Just before he left, I found out that he—along with Sirius Black, my godfather, and a falsely accused mass murderer—was my father's best friend."
Ted sunk into the story as he always did, gazing sadly into the face of a young wizard with graying hair. He scanned the man's face. Remus Lupin had Ted's eyes. His heart throbbed as he looked.
"Your mother," Harry went on, "joined your father and some others to come and rescue me, once, when I was fifteen." He smiled. "I never would have thought they had a thing for each other, if your father hadn't decided to be self-pitying and noble, and abandon your mother for a little while, leaving her so depressed that it was pretty hard not to realize something was happening."
He sighed, listening to his godfather talk, taking in his mother's young, heart-shaped face. Her hair was short, spiked, and a vivacious bubblegum pink color. She seemed to glow with happiness with her arm around her husband's waist. He smiled down at her, and she beamed up at him lovingly.
"Their marriage wasn't a surprise," Harry was saying, "but it was very small. I never got to go, because they had to keep it sort of quiet." Ted imagined an extremely romantic ceremony taking place in the dead of night, vows being said in hushed, loving whispers, but he could not know. He could never know. "As I've told you, your dad was very brave. He wanted you and your mum to have the best life you could, and at one point he was stupid enough to decide that meant a life without him. I convinced him otherwise, though, and he came crawling back to your mum like the little cowardly werewolf that I know he was. I'd never seen Remus as happy as he was the day you were born. Your birth brought him back to reality, and he finally accepted the positive turn his life was taking." Harry's voice shook a little as he smiled, but Ted didn't notice. He was trying to imagine it all—trying to hear their voices, or see them walking around, being as wonderful and stupid as Harry said they were. He couldn't.
Ted looked at him. "What were they like?"
Harry sighed. He had gotten this question before, but it was always what began that story. Now, however, he knew Ted was looking for more that just a story. He wanted details. "Your father," he said, "was one of the nicest people I ever knew. He was brave, and noble, and strong, even after everything he'd been through in his difficult life. As a werewolf, he was very insecure about not being accepted, but he was never bitter, or angry." He swallowed, watching Ted's expression carefully. "Your mum was so sweet," he told him. "She'd throw a fit at the use of her real name—Nymphadora—and requested to be called Tonks. I don't know if anyone ever actually told you that before, did they?"
"No," Ted mumbled. He had been calling his mother Nymphadora his entire life, having grown up around his grandmother, who called her by nothing but that amusing name.
"Well, she was great. She was the biggest klutz I've ever met, though, I'll tell you that!" Harry laughed. "She seemed to have a different hair color every day, but her most common one was that pink you see there," he said, pointing at the picture Ted was clutching. "I'm pretty sure that was her favorite color. It was more common than her natural brown, which I only saw when she lost her ability to morph during the time when Remus had broken her heart. That pink was sort of your mum's trademark, really." He fell silent, as though he didn't know what else to say.
Ted gave an emotional sigh, staring up at his godfather with a warm smile. "Thanks, Harry," he said honestly with a yawn. "I'll try to go back to sleep, now."
Harry waved off his godson with a sympathetic expression. "Good night, Teddy. Sleep well."
"You too, Harry."
Back in the room he slept in during his overnight stays here, he glanced at himself in the mirror beside the door. His hair was a messy light brown, so near to blonde that one might have mistaken it as such. He blinked. He watched his father's eyes open and close, and his mother's nose wrinkle. A small strip of his hair became light pink. Glancing back down at the picture in his hands, he whispered to the smiling, entirely pink-haired witch, "For you, mum," before lying back down, and finally drifting into peaceful dreams.
A/N: Thanks for reading!! Love to you all!!