So. I go for ages without writing anything, and suddenly I'm a fic fiend. I dinna understand. Also, I cannot stop writing NextGen fic. WHY.
Just remember--every time you read and don't review, a fanfic author loses her wings. Or something. Unbeta'd, so concrit would be luffly.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
The smile wasn't quite right.
Teddy leaned in close to the mirror, eyes narrowed as he studied his lips, the way they curved, the way they bared his teeth and the slightest hint of gum. His right cheek dimpled, as always, and his grin was a little crooked and rather too wide.
He could make his hair go brown and gray, put a bump in his nose, broaden his jaw and his cheekbones. He could add lines around his mouth that he wouldn't have naturally for another twenty or thirty years, could make his eyes amber instead of light brown.
His father stared back at him from the mirror, until Teddy smiled, and then there was just a stupid lie.
"Tell me a story," James demanded, bouncing on his toes. "I wanna story, Teddy."
Teddy rolled his eyes, but couldn't quite summon up a proper amount of annoyance at being interrupted from his book. Jamie was an irritating little bugger, there was no denying that, but he was also ridiculously adorable—not that Teddy would admit it, of course, 'cause thirteen year old boys don't say things like 'adorable'.
"You always want me to read you a story," he said, lips twitching when he spied little Al creeping up behind his big brother, thumb in his mouth and eyes wide with interest. Teddy didn't quite get Al—the kid was too quiet, green eyes so watchful—but everyone in the family was well aware that boy lived and breathed for storytime.
"'Cause you do voices and faces," James said. "Tell me about Moony. I wanna hear about Moony an' the M'rauders." Of course—James always wants to hear about the Marauders. He regularly asked his Dad for stories, and his Mum, and Teddy's Gran, and Teddy—though most of Teddy's stories were third-hand or just completely made up, patchworks of rumor and guesswork and daydreams.
He knew more than people thought, though. He'd been to the Shrieking Shack, seen four names etched into the wall, seen shredded furniture and clawmarks on the floor.
Teddy had, quite calmly, scratched out one of the four names, and spent the rest of the day by the lake, staring at the Forbidden Forest and imagining a stag and a great black dog and a werewolf running between the trees and harassing the centaurs.
"How 'bout you, Al?" he asked, even as James plopped down on the couch next to him and burrowed into his side, like a demented puppy looking for pets and a hug. "You wanna hear about Moony and Padfoot and Prongs?"
Al blinked, then nodded quickly. Teddy leaned forward, swept the boy up into his lap; James tickled his foot and Al jerked away, giggling.
"Once upon a time," Teddy began, "there were three best friends, and they lived in a castle and they had all sorts of adventures. But their most special adventures were always on the night of the full moon, 'cause one of them--"
"Moony!" James said happily, and Teddy rewarded him with a grin, tightening his arm around the kid's shoulders.
"That's right, Moony." He glanced furtively around to make sure the adults were all still in the other room, then slowly changed his face, made his hair brown and his face heavier and his eyes amber. He'd seen pictures of his father as a teenager, after all, had practiced that mask in the mirror, too.
He never could get the smile right.
"And Moony," he murmured, "was a very special boy, because he wasn't always a boy. Sometimes he was a--"
"Werewolf," James said, looking proud of himself. Teddy snickered.
"You gonna let me tell the story, or what?"
"You tell," Al said solemnly around his thumb, looking worried. "Not Jamie, you."
"Sorry," James added, unrepentantly.
Teddy laughed and continued his tale.
Teddy could see Victoire in the mirror; she was lounging against the doorframe, playing with her blue and silver tie, watching him with a fond, indulgent sort of look that made his heart beat a little quicker.
It was still light out, and the sun through the windows made her strawberry-blond hair shine and highlighted the pale freckles on her nose and cheeks. She was fifteen, now, and so pretty and confident and smart, and she liked him.
She hadn't said it, and he hadn't asked her out yet—it was a bit nerve-wracking, even thinking about it, 'cause the Weasleys called him 'Our Teddy' like they meant it but Victoire was Bill's daughter, the beloved eldest niece of several burly redheaded Gryffindor men, and braver boys than Teddy would quake at the thought of facing them.
But he knew she liked him, and he'd ask her to Hogsmeade soon, he really would.
"This is Hufflepuff, you know. A boy's dorm in Hufflepuff," he informed her, locking eyes with her in the mirror.
"Like I'd let that stop me," she replied, grinning. "What's a few broken rules between friends, hmm? I haven't seen you all day, and I wanted to wish you happy birthday, is all."
Teddy ducked his head. "If I'd known you were looking--"
She waved a hand dismissively, then straightened and took a few steps closer, growing larger in the mirror. "You look a bit different than usual," she observed, and her voice, her eyes, were oddly unreadable.
Teddy winced, but didn't revert to his normal face or hair, didn't look away from his reflection—he knew Victoire well enough to know that wiping away the evidence wouldn't stop her from badgering him.
"It's just something I do, sometimes," he said, daring her to make something of it. "My dad's face, see? I just—it's like looking at a picture or something, only--"
He trailed off, not sure how to explain it, not sure he could.
"I just—when I do this, I see my dad looking at me," he said, embarrassed. "You know?"
"Not really," Victoire said, head tilted to the side, hands on her hips. "But I think I understand."
Teddy smiled, then sighed. "But that's the thing," he said, frustrated. "I can't get the smile right, at all. It's still my smile."
Victoire's eyebrows shot up. "You know, I've seen pictures of your parents," she said, in a tone that implied he should know precisely where she was going with this.
"You've got your mother's smile, Teddy."
He opened his mouth, then closed it, turned all of his attention from his godfather's cousin to his reflection. He smiled hesitantly, saw the dimple form.
It looked just like his mum's, beaming up from practically every page in his Gran's photo albums.
"I can't believe no one's ever mentioned it," Victoire said, bemused, but Teddy wasn't listening, not really.
His father's face, his mother's smile. Maybe one day he'd get the smile to be like his dad's, figure out what to change and how to change it. But—
Well, Teddy kind of liked the idea of having a little bit of both of them, right there in the mirror.
"You're brilliant," he said, and Victoire shrugged.
"It's been said," she agreed.
The Shrieking Shack was smaller than he remembered it being—but then, he hadn't visited it since he was thirteen, and he'd grown a bit in five years.
"Merlin," Harry said, and Teddy was a little startled by how ragged and pained he sounded, like he'd been hit hard in the ribs by a bludger. "I haven't been here in…so many years."
Teddy bit his lip, wondering if maybe this hadn't been a stupid idea after all, but Harry was already recovering from—whatever that moment had been.
"It's—I just thought you might want to see this," Teddy said, holding the door open for his godfather, who ducked into the shack quickly—a little too quickly, really, like he was ripping a bandaid off or jumping head-first into cold water, getting the discomfort out of the way with all due haste.
Teddy remembered, suddenly, that the Shack wasn't just Moony's place, not anymore. Severus Snape had died here, and Harry'd been there to see it.
Berating himself for being so stupid, Teddy turned to tell Harry they could go, if he wanted—except Harry was smiling, a little, as he looked around, taking in the dust, the filth, the memories.
"You know," he murmured, softly enough that Teddy had to strain to hear him, even in the stifling silence that filled every nook and cranny of the shack, "this is where I learned about Sirius—that he was innocent. And this—this is where I learned that Snape was innocent. Er. Not completely guilty, at least." He glanced over at Teddy, then, and there was something in his gaze that struck Teddy deep, right down to his marrow.
"And this is where I got my only real memories of my mum," Harry said with a sad smile. "I never really put it all together, though, not until now. So much has happened here. And it looks about ready to collapse."
He said the last bit lightly, but Teddy winced, because it was true, and some things deserved to last, to survive, to be remembered.
"I found something here, too," he offered, shaking off his sudden melancholy. Harry just nodded, unsurprised, and followed when Teddy moved to the wall where he'd found the carvings. The letters were rough and inelegant, gouged with a stick or nail rather than with magic, but Teddy thought that just made it all more real, somehow, more personal.
His godfather went still when he saw the names, then knelt, hitting the ground roughly. He reached out, traced over—not James Potter's name, but Sirius'. He let his hand rest there for a moment, and he looked...not quite reverent, not quite sorrowful, but kind of quietly regretful. Teddy was about to say something, ask if he was all right, when Harry breathed out slowly and slid his fingers over to James' name, then Remus', touching each letter one by one, a strangely vulnerable smile spreading across his face.
Then, brow furrowed, he pressed a knuckle into the deep, angry lines slashed through Peter's carving. He glanced up at Teddy, who felt himself redden.
"I found the names a few years ago," he said, a little guiltily—he'd thought about showing this to Harry even then, but…well, he'd wanted to keep it to himself. He'd wanted to have something of his dad that wasn't shared or second-hand, his very own piece of Remus Lupin.
But he had his dad's face in the mirror, when he wanted it, and his mum's smile, and he had the godfather they'd both given him. He had, when he thought about it, quite a lot, and most of it good.
"I see Wormtail didn't survive the experience," Harry observed, no condemnation or censure in his voice at all, nothing but a hint of wry amusement.
"Yeah, well," Teddy said, shoving his hands in his pockets. "I didn't think my dad'd like having his name right next to Pettigrew's for the rest of eternity."
"You have the rest of the day free?" Harry asked abruptly, his joints popping as he got stiffly to his feet. "And hold the 'old man' jokes, please," he added, when he saw Teddy's smirk.
"Whatever you say, Gramps," Teddy obliged. "And yeah, I've got nothing important this afternoon. Why?"
"I wasn't joking, earlier, when I said this place looks about ready to fall down," Harry said, running a hand absently through his hair, disturbing a thin layer of dust that'd settled on him in the short time they'd been in the shack. "I think once I'd've been glad to see it go, you know."
"But not anymore?" Teddy asked, throat suspiciously tight.
"No. Not anymore." Harry glanced once more at the names on the wall, then grinned. "So you up to a fun-filled afternoon of wards and preservation charms?"
"When am I not?" Teddy replied gamely, and got out his wand.