Author's Notes: Holy cow, I'm on a roll! 2 updates in less than 2 weeks!
Disclaimer: If I seriously owned it, do you really think I would have let Harry marry Ginny of all people? He might as well have married Su Li or Tracy Davies for all the character development she was given.. oops. Sorry, rant over.
Summary: Sequel to "Dear Harry" - starts on Teddy's 11th birthday, when a very special letter arrives in the mail.
Harry Potter looked up from his desk as his godson bounded into the room, hair cycling though every colour the boy likely knew in his excitement. "Uncle Harry! Uncle Harry! It came, it came!"
Harry laughed as the multi-coloured whirlwind launched himself into Harry's arms with another shout. "Well, of course it did, Rainbow; did you doubt it for a second?" he said playfully even as a familiar envelope was shoved under his nose. Harry hugged the excitedly squirming 11-year-old and moved them both over to a nearby sofa.
"Open it, open it!" Teddy demanded as he insinuated himself under Harry's arm and snuggled in close to his godfather's side.
Harry shook his head with fond exasperation and obeyed. The parchment felt exactly as he remembered, the acid-green ink the same – although the handwriting had changed to that of the current Headmaster, Professor Flitwick. He pulled the letter free from the envelope and opened it, scanning the lines as he forced his expression to fall. "Dear Mr. Lupin," he recited.
"I know that, Teddy; are you going to let me finish or not?" When Teddy nodded and apologized, Harry continued, "Dear Mr. Lupin, it is with great regret that I inform you that you have not been accepted to Hogwarts School…"
He didn't get any further as he was attacked by an aghast metamorphmagus. "It does not say that, you liar!" Teddy accused, trying to snatch his letter back.
Harry laughed and held it out of reach. "Yes, it does! It says so right here: 'Since you will not be attending our fine institution, you will not need to purchase any of the following unnecessary items…'."
This time Teddy was successful and protectively held the all-important letter to his chest. "You're a big meanie, Uncle Harry," the boy pronounced.
"I know. I get it from my dad, and your dad," Harry said, reaching out to gently tickle his godson's ribs, "and Uncle Sirius, and even my mum." Teddy giggled and squirmed away under the light touch, but immediately attached himself back to his beloved Uncle Harry's side. "Sorry for teasing, Teddy Bear; I couldn't help myself."
Teddy let out a long-suffering sigh that had Harry rapidly suppressing a quake of laughter. "I know. I suppose I forgive you."
Harry squeezed the boy and kissed the crown of his head in response. They sat in silence for several moments until: "Uncle Harry, will you take me to Diagon Alley to get my supplies tomorrow?"
Harry threw back his head and laughed, long and hard, at the typically impatient response. "Don't you have enough books?"
"Never!" was the instant and emphatic declaration.
"You are definitely your father's son." After a beat, Harry added, "That reminds me – I've got something for you, something I've been holding on to for 10 years." He rose and retrieved a slightly worn-looking envelope out of his desk, then went back to Teddy and the sofa.
The boy took it and examined the handwriting – it was familiar, but he couldn't accurately place it. "Who's it from?"
"Why don't you read it and find out?" Harry replied.
After a moment's consideration, Teddy handed the letter back, "You read it, Uncle Harry."
Somewhat surprised that Teddy would trust him with reading duties after teasing him over the Hogwarts letter, Harry took it and opened the letter. A soft wave of grief hit him anew as he took in the neat script of his old friend and teacher. Merlin, he missed Remus. More than that, he regretted that Remus (and Tonks) had never gotten the chance to raise Teddy, never able to see what a fine young man he was becoming.
"My dearest Teddy," he started, trying to hide the sudden quake in his voice, "First and foremost, know that I love you and your mother with all my heart. In these bleak days, you are the bright spark that holds the darkness at bay. Please also know that I never wanted to leave you, and neither did your mother, and that we fought as hard and as long as we possibly could to stay with you.
I hope that the world is a better place when you read this – that Harry managed to defeat Voldemort, and has spent these last however-many years trying to ensure that darkness like Voldemort's can never rise again. If I know Harry like I think I do, he has been a solid fixture in your life, and has been from Day 1.
I know better than anyone except Harry that a letter can't possibly make up for the lack of certain people in your life, and I'm so sorry for leaving you. I don't know why the children of the Marauders seem destined to be orphaned at such a young age, but I have to admit to being thankful that there weren't more of you. You, at least, had Harry. He didn't have anybody.
If I seem to be talking more about Harry than you, I apologize. I have known him longer than I have you, and while you are the first (and only) child of my body, Harry is the first child of my heart and, like all oldest children, will always have a special place in my affections.
But you, my son, you are my miracle. You are the child I was told I would never have. When I found out your mother was pregnant with you, I was terrified. We were in the middle of a war, and I hadn't wanted children because I didn't want to allow for the opportunity of them being used against me. Come to think of it, James had much the same attitude.
With shame, I admit that I tried to leave your mother when I found out you were coming. In addition to being scared about the war, I was also worried about who you would be most like. Would you be a metamorphmagus like your mother? Or would you be a were like me? And I was terrified that if it was the latter, and Voldemort's Ministry found out that you were my son, what would they do to you and my Dora? I thought it would be better to leave – our wedding wasn't exactly public, and I didn't think that many of Voldemort's people would connect the dots between me and Dora having a baby.
Luckily, I had Harry to knock some sense back into me. I forced him to say some awful things to me, and I don't think he will ever understand just how sorry I am that it came to that, but it worked. I went back to Dora and grovelled on my hands and knees, and she forgave me after the appropriate amount of psychological torture.
I was amazed at the changes you made to Dora's body, even with her ability to change her shape. Over the next months I became a devout worshipper of the miracle of her belly, watching avidly as she got ever larger. (Note to you: Do not ever, I repeat, ever call a pregnant woman "fat". It is very quickly followed by hexes, running, and sleeping on the sofa.)
And then you arrived. There aren't enough synonyms for "thrilled" in the dictionary to adequately describe how I felt the first time you were placed in my arms. I popped over to Bill and Fleur Weasley's to share the news, and who did I find hiding out there, but Harry – who I immediately press-ganged into becoming your godfather, something I hope you haven't made him regret, my son.
And that brings us to today, as I watch you sleep in your bassinet as Dora rests, knowing that the end is drawing near. I'm so sorry that I will not be there to raise you, but know that I, and your mother, Sirius, James, and Lily will be with you always, watching over you.
I know that there will be days that you'll think that we made the wrong decision – that we should have run, instead of standing to fight. There are days I think so too. Please understand that we did it so that you would get to grow up in a better world, without the cloud of darkness hovering just behind you.
Know that your mum and I love you to the ends of the earth and beyond. Give your grandmother our best, and give Harry a big hug from me, as well.
All my love,
Harry blinked back tears and refolded the letter. A look down revealed that Teddy had nearly taken up residence in his godfather's lap, quietly sobbing into Harry's robes. "Why did they have to leave?" the boy asked between shuddering gulps of air.
Harry pulled Teddy into his arms and pillowed his cheek on the boy's hair. "I wish I knew," he whispered. "God, how I wish I knew."
"Are you going to leave too, Uncle Harry?"
Harry pulled back and cupped Teddy's face in his palms, absently stroking the tear tracks on his cheeks. "You know I can't promise anything, Teddy. I can promise that I will fight with everything I am, until my last breath, to keep coming home. All right?"
The boy considered that for several seconds, visibly trying to calm himself. "Promise?" he entreated.
"I promise," Harry vowed without hesitation. The silver nimbus of a magical oath being sealed briefly surrounded them, startling them. Teddy buried his face in Harry's robes again.
"Love you, Uncle Harry."
Harry wrapped his arms back around his young godson, content to comfort him until the boy felt ready to face the world again. "I love you too, Teddy."
Then, "Can we please go to Diagon Alley tomorrow?"
That's all she wrote, folks! Please review - they make me a better author, and I appreciate every one, even if I don't generally respond to them. Thx, Cen :o)