by Avindara Nirvene
The Burrow is alive with people, all chattering happily, sharing glasses of grape juice and enjoying Molly Weasley's delicious dishes. The Burrow is alive. This was Teddy's first thought – once he knew words, once he knew descriptions.
He visits Arthur and Molly's house every Tuesday and Saturday during summer and Christmas break, and before Hogwarts – almost every day. Uncle Percy, Aunt Audrey, and the twins Molly Jr. and Lucy still live there with the grandparents – Aunt Molly claims the Burrow is too quiet without any children. Teddy finds it odd that out of all of the people who could have stayed – Uncle Bill's family, Uncle Charlie's family, Uncle George's, Uncle Ron's, Aunt Ginny's – it was Percy's who did. Needless to say, it would have been louder if it had been any of the others who'd stayed.
Teddy wishes he had met Fred Weasley – Uncle Fred Weasley - the first – they all spoke of him with the greatest admiration and a smile pressed upon their lips like light (yet it was taut and filled with sorrow) – they said he was funny, and charming, clever, and – Uncle George's other half. Teddy doubted he'd survive if his other half died. He wouldn't survive if anyone important to him died – Andromeda, Harry, Arthur, Victoire... Fred probably would have made this day more fun, more special than ever to Teddy.
He also wishes he could have met little Dobby, a house-elf who Mrs. Luna Scamandar spoke most fondly of – one who had saved many lives; Mad-Eye Moody, whose tales were told with dramatic gestures from Uncle Bill, of his magical eye and noble sacrifices; Charity Burbage, who was missed greatly by Minister Shacklebolt – who once had her for a Muggle Studies teacher.
(He isn't quite sure if he wanted to meet Severus Snape – who, according to his godfather Harry, sacrificed and used his entire life to help defeat the Dark Lord and was one of the bravest men of the world but was said to have a hooked nose and a personality to match.)
But most of all, he wishes to have met his parents: Nymphadora Tonks-Lupin and Remus Lupin. Many stories were told to him – about their nobility and sacrifice, as well as his mother's clumsiness, his father's werewolf status. It was almost as if he knew them – but he didn't, really. He doesn't know what Dad would do if he threw a temper tantrum, or what Mum would do if he asked for an ice-cream.
Make a wish. Every year on his birthday, he wishes the same. To meet his parents, Tonks and Remus Lupin, to see them smile at their little boy and tousle his electric-blue hair. He longed to see his mother change her nose into different shapes, as Aunt Hermione had described. He longed to watch his father teach – he was a very good teacher, was what Percy so pompously told him. A very good one.
Each year, it is the same. The party takes place at the Burrow – with everyone there – the Weasleys, the Potters, several former Order and DA members - and Grandmum Molly cooking up a delectable storm, including a massive cake to set the mood properly. After the dinner was consumed, he would be stood in front of the enormous dessert and count the candles on it. Everyone would sing loudly and off-key to him, and he would make a wish and blow the candles carefully, making sure he never spat in the food, as James Sirius sometimes did when he was hasty. It was always the same exact wish, and each year, he was let down. He knew it wouldn't come true – they couldn't just come bounding out of their graves and start scolding him for slathering mud all over the silk carpet, as his gran did.
He knew that, but still, he wished. He couldn't help himself.
This year, he resolves, it will be different. Different ideas, different thoughts. He is seventeen years old already, for goodness's sake, coming of age - and time to let go of such childish ideas. His parents would never come back – they would stay only in his heart and everyone's memories, and he had to accept that. It is time for more reasonable wishes and thoughts. What he was to do after he left Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – was he to apply for work directly at the Ministry of Magic? All his life he had hoped to become an Auror like his mother (though, hopefully, with better grades in Stealth and Tracking). Was he to marry his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful Victoire Weasley, soon after she left school? They were already thinking about marriage, it looked as if she was dropping subtle hints about it – pointing out an engagement ring in a jewelry shop while they were out shopping, a satin bridal gown a girl was wearing in a movie they were watching, though he wasn't too sure about the until-death-till-us-part devotion part as of yet. Was he to travel the world, as Albus Dumbledore, a famous man had wanted to but never did?
It certainly sounded like fun; he would be able to see those infamous Egypt pyramids Auntie Ginny wasn't allowed to see then – but what about the rest of his plans?
Was that what he really wanted?
Puzzling this over, he indulges in a bit of shepherd's pie. Grandmum Molly smiles at him, sliding another slice onto his already full plate, while fussing over how skinny he is – "All the food Andromeda has given you has all gone nowhere!" Victoire sits next to him, munching cheerfully on a salad, and all of the other Weasley children were off, playing Quidditch in the clearing behind the house except eight-year-old Hugo Weasley, who was sitting on the couch, reading. (When Aunt Molly sighed and announced to the rest that Hugo was to be another Percy, Uncle Ron quietly whispered – "Goodness, don't know if that'll be a good or bad thing!" and Aunt Hermione promptly hit him round the head, resulting in a satisfying "Ow!")
In a few minutes, a huge mountain of icing would make its way to the already-groaning table by the wand of Granddad Arthur, and the shrill voice of Audrey Weasley would send the kids flying inside, all noisy and excited, through the doorway and onto their disarray of seats, eagerly anticipating. The song would be sung, and Teddy was to make a wish and blow on the candles. Just as usual.
Only one thing would be different this time – the wish Teddy is to make. He knows he shouldn't place so much upon it – it was just a tradition and a wish, would probably never come true – but he couldn't help but feel nervous. What was his wish to be – one about his big-picture future plans, or something little, like the want for the dragon-hide boots Andromeda just wouldn't get him?
That sounded ridiculous even in his head. Of course it had to be something big, something important – like nuptials or careers. He was simply too old to be hoping for the newest Firebolt (besides, he didn't even need one at the moment, it just looked good on its rack). But what was he to wish for?
Two more minutes.
Silly, he thought, that wish isn't so much. It's not guaranteed to come true, anyway. But still, he mused over all of his requests. Was it to be selfless – like wanting world peace (not that it would happen) or a successful campaign against Squib-prejudice?
What was it to be?
"Cake time!" calls Aunt Audrey, and a stampede of footsteps is heard as the others near the back door. The cake is wobbling over, inch by inch – Teddy looks round and sees Hugo holding Arthur's wand, his face screwed up in concentration, while Arthur encourages him on (but Teddy could see Bill behind them, his wand raised in the air, as if balancing the cake.)
One more minute.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Ted-dy, happy birthday to you!" A chorus of very off-tune voices spring together, a small finger reaches in the cake (Lorcan's pinky, he wondered if it was soft), and everyone is watching Teddy expectantly…
He looks back at them, one by one – Andromeda, smiling beautifully, Uncle Harry, smiling widely, Albus Severus, smiling curiously, Luna, smiling serenely, Victoire, smiling brightly.
A small smile lights up his own face, and lips pucker – the flickering flames diminishes, the candles blown.
The slight smoke billows out the window, and a shiver tells Teddy he had done the right thing.
Aunt Hannah beams at him, and begins cutting the cake, as it would seem, into fifty slices. Uncle Neville puts his hands around her eyes, like a blindfold, and she swats him playfully. "Would you prefer I saw off your fingers, as opposed to this lovely young man's seventeenth birthday cake?"
Teddy smiles, and as he and Lily Luna pass out paper plates full of cake, he feels a small tug on his hand. Victoire Weasley, beckoning at him. He slips out of the crowd, and follows her – a plate of cake balanced on each hand, out the back door and into the clearing they used for Quidditch.
She sits on the side, and he hands her a plate of cake.
"So, what did you wish for?" she asks conversationally, feeding him a bite of cake.
Teddy swallows the icing, and answers mischievously, "It wouldn't come true if I told you." before hurling the cake into her face and running off.
"Ted Remus Lupin, you are so dead!" she yells at him, and begins chasing after him, cake in hand.
It isn't too long before she catches up with him, and smashes the other cake into his shoulder.
"Not tall enough?" he laughs, picks her up and swings her around, before leaning in for a kiss – a rather sticky one.
There is a round of applause, and they turn to see the whole lot of people sitting on the side, watching them. Cat calls fill the air – courtesy of Louis and James Sirius, and even Andromeda gives an approving nod.
Voices float past – Deana, Seamus and Lisa's daughter, inquires: "Is it time to give presents yet?" Dedalus Diggle, a surviving Order member, talks animatedly to Hestia Jones, who giggles, listening. Dominique, Roxanne, and the Macmillians' daughter squeal, and began chattering about the boys in their year.
Teddy feels his parents' presence there, their blurry figures behind the rest of the people, smiling and laughing.
Stay happy, Tonks and Remus. Stay happy, everyone.