Author's Notes: Written for 2007's Merry Smutmas exchange for Tarie, who I must thank for giving me such a fantastic prompt! Thanks also to my betas, inksheddings, & paranoidsistah, and to xingou for her extra pair of eyes and encouragement.
Title and chapter titles are from Vienna Teng's "Eric's Song".
This story begins as completely canon-compliant.
Prologue:a distance erased
Teddy turned the black and gold badge over in his hands, running his fingers over the large 'P' half covering the badger. Prefect. He frowned and tossed the badge onto his cluttered desk. He'd have to write to Simon later. They had a bet on and he meant to collect, but right now he wasn't in the mood.
He swivelled his chair, glancing at the photo of his parents who were smiling and waving at him from behind the glass of the frame. He leaned forward and gently touched two fingers to their faces, a gesture that had become instinctive over the years, before turning away to survey his room. Laundry, both clean and dirty, books, magazines, Quidditch equipment, and other odds and bits lay in sprawling piles scattered in the open spaces between the furniture. He sighed, realising that the lack of visible floor underneath meant that it was time to tidy up, or at least consolidate the various piles into something a bit more ordered. He wasn't particularly in the mood for that either.
Gran, Harry and Ginny had been thrilled at the news of his prefecture, though Harry hadn't seemed very surprised. His Gran had prattled on to a nearly embarrassing degree, while Ginny had teased him and told him not to tell George or Percy.
"George'll revoke your privileges at the joke shop and label you a traitor to the cause, and Percy will offer advice and bore you to tears with a three hour lecture on duty and responsibility."
Harry had merely clapped him on the shoulder and grinned. They'd assured him that his parents would have been very proud of him. Of course they would have been proud, he knew that, but the achievement was still hollow. "Just like your dad. He was a prefect, you know," Harry had said barely a half hour earlier.
No, he hadn't known.
And that was the reason for his restless tetchiness. One more thing, one more detail he hadn't known. He knew all about his mum; growing up with his Gran, of course she'd told him hundreds of stories. But the tales had been somewhat lacking when it came to his father, and since Gran didn't seem to want to talk much about him, Teddy had stopped asking her a long time ago.
Harry had told him stories about his dad, but readily admitted that he didn't know all that much - he hadn't had much opportunity to spend time with Remus before his death, and when they did, the conversation had been about other things, namely the war and Harry's own father. Yet, Harry was still the one who had known his father best, and while he knew it wasn't Harry's fault that he couldn't answer all of his questions, it still niggled. Especially at times like this.
It wasn't as if he didn't have a family. Most days he had more family than he knew what to do with, and he loved them all. But there was a part of him that was still empty, and he didn't know how to fill it.
He sat up and turned when he heard a knock on the door. "Come in."
Harry poked his head in and shook his head in wonder. "I can't believe your Gran lets you keep it like this."
"Oh, she still makes a fuss. And pretends to get cross. But it's not really dirty, just untidy."
"At your age, my bedroom was both, but my aunt refused to set foot inside," Harry said, with a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "Anyway, have you got a moment? I wanted to talk to you. And there's something I wanted to give you, but I didn't want to do it in front of your Gran, and certainly not in front of the rest of the family."
Teddy raised his eyebrows. "Sure, come on in."
Harry closed the door, fielded his way through a labyrinth of clothes, and cleared off a section of the bed, sitting down. He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes, wiped his glasses on the hem of his shirt before putting them back on, and ran his hand through his always-messy hair.
"You look tired," Teddy observed.
"When you have three sprogs, we'll see how well you sleep. You buggered off before their bedtime last night," Harry said, mock-deprecatingly. "I know, you were meeting your friends, but James made an awful fuss. Kept coming into our bedroom at all hours with a different excuse. I love him dearly, but he's exhausting. They're visiting with Molly and Arthur today so Ginny and I get a few hours of peace to ourselves." He paused for a moment before continuing. "You didn't know, did you?"
"Didn't know what?" Teddy asked, confused.
"About your dad being prefect. I saw the look on your face, before."
"Oh, that. It's no big deal," Teddy said. He shrugged with what he hoped was indifference but would not meet Harry's gaze.
"You're a terrible liar, you know. First rule of lying is keep it simple. Second rule is always look the person in the eye."
"Huh. Is there a third rule I should know about?" Teddy asked, frowning and feeling churlish.
"You want me to give away all of my secrets? I've always been relieved at your ineptitude in that area."
Teddy huffed in annoyance. "Right. What's one more secret, anyway."
"Trust me, I need all the help I can get." Harry sighed. "Listen, Teddy, there are things I don't like to talk about because, well, even after, what, fifteen years is it now? And more. My childhood wasn't…. You know I've a lot of pretty awful memories. I lost so many people that I loved, and I don't even like thinking about it if I can help it.
"I promised you that one day I'd tell you more about it, about me, and I will. But not yet." Harry scrubbed his hands through his hair so that it stuck up even more than usual. "I know I've said 'when you're older' to you a lot. You're fifteen, and you're practically a man in your own right, and now a prefect to boot," he added, his lip quirking slightly in the corner. "What I really mean when I say that, though, is when I'm ready." He shrugged. "You'll have to humour me a bit, all right? I can be pretty stubborn.
"But when it comes to your father," Harry continued earnestly, "there isn't anything I'd keep from you—not intentionally. I promised you that a long time ago, too. The problem is, some things I just don't remember – like the prefect thing – until they come up."
Teddy blushed. He knew he was being childish, and he hated when he disappointed Harry. Harry was more than just a godfather to him, and had always treated him as a son, even and especially after he'd had his own.
"I know, Harry. Really, I do. I was just…surprised. I never really thought about it, and I guess I always figured your father, or maybe even Sirius, had been prefect in their year."
Harry laughed. "From what I've been told myself, my dad and Sirius were fairly brilliant, but they were quite the pair of troublemakers back then. Your father was, too, and no mistake, only he was more responsible, or at least less prone to being caught." Harry paused, a distant expression on his face. "My dad and Sirius spent almost as much time in detention as they did in classes. I got to sort through their old records once. Took me weeks."
"Oh. It just seems, well, weird, to be honest. Professor Dumbledore might have liked my father, but appointing a werewolf as prefect? You've got to admit, that's pretty barmy."
"Professor Dumbledore was definitely, er, unique. Though Ron always thought he was completely off his rocker, and I guess he was in a way, but he was also very wise," Harry said. "He had a lot of respect for your father, and he believed in him. Trusted him. And speaking of your father, the reason for my visit today. Well, besides the obvious.
"I thought about giving this to you last year. I…well, it sort of came into my possession when I was in third year, but giving this to a thirteen-year-old…." Harry shrugged. "I suppose I'm getting responsible in my old age."
"Yes, you're ancient. What are you now, sixty? Eighty-five?" Teddy closed his eyes and concentrated, his features blurring into a rough imitation of his godfather. With an additional thought, he turned his now-black hair grey, but his attempt at growing a long, flowing beard was rather dismal as a total of five hairs sprouted from his still-smooth chin.
"Don't be rude," Harry said, grinning and shaking his head, and this time his eyes were warm and kind. "Though you are getting better at that. Beard still needs a bit of work."
Teddy grinned back and relaxed in his desk chair, his features returning to normal. "So where's my present?"
"Spoiltand rude," Harry said, and shook his head. He reached into his pocket and removed what looked to be a sheaf of old parchment and laid it on the bed beside him. "Come here," he said.
Teddy sat down on the bed and looked at the worn, blank parchment, crinkling his brows. It wasn't a sheaf but rather one large piece folded over several times. "Er, Harry, that's really nice of you and all but, um, I've got plenty of parchment already." And it's in much better condition, he added silently, noticing the deep folds and creases, and the frayed edges as Harry unfolded it.
"Yes, I'm sure you have, but this isn't ordinary parchment." He took his wand from his pocket and twirled it through his fingers, an impish expression on his face that erased the tired lines between his brows and made him look almost like a teenager himself.
"Oh?" Teddy leaned in closer. "Is it magic parchment then?" he whispered, winking. "I'll never have to do homework ever again, just wish and the answers appear, is that it?"
"I know you think I'm taking the piss, but as a matter of fact, it really is. Magical. Has nothing to do with homework, unless you take into account that it might keep you from it, but don't ever tell Hermione I said that. This," Harry said, "is a family heirloom. Your family and mine."
"Heirloom?" He looked at the parchment with more interest, though it still looked ordinary and old. "You're serious, aren't you. Why keep it a secret from Gran then?"
"Your Gran may be a renegade Black, but it's likely not something she would approve of. I love her, but let's keep it between us for now. I want you to have it, and I know your dad would want you to have it. He created it, after all. Well, with a little help from my dad, and Sirius, who, I might add, would also jump at any chance to corrupt a Lupin. It's rather like a shared birthright for the both of us, and you've certainly earned it. Now, watch closely, and listen."
Teddy watched, his heart thumping with excitement. This was something that had belonged to his father, and he realised he wouldn't have cared if it had been only a mouldy old sheaf of used parchment.
Harry touched his wand to the parchment and his eyes glinted with mischief. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."