Centre of Attention

Tonks came into the bedroom just as Remus was pulling a new jumper over his head. He straightened his shirt collar and caught her eye in the mirror. "Is this all right to wear tonight? Molly sent it today."

"Why wouldn't it be? It looks nice on you."

The jumper was knitted from a warm heather wool, with browns that matched his eyes and greys that echoed his silvery hair. Remus looked fantastic in it, actually. Tonks wrapped her arms around his waist from behind and buried her nose in the hollow between his shoulder blades, breathing in clean wool and soap. Good old Molly.

"Well, since no one will tell me where we're going," said Remus, feigning indignation but unable to keep the laughter out of his voice, "it's hard to be sure I'm dressed appropriately."

Tonks chuckled against his back and released him so she could look him in the eye. "Remember, whatever happens tonight, Teddy planned the whole thing."

"Mum! Dad! It's time to go!" Their son's voice reverberated up from below.

"All right, love, we're coming!" Tonks clumped down the stairs with her husband right behind her.

She stopped short at the sight of her mother, in elegant black dress robes trimmed with silver, and another laugh burst free.

"Mum, you do know where we're going, don't you? Aren't you a little overdressed?"

"Not at all," said Mum firmly. "Nothing's too fancy for Remus on his birthday."

She kissed her son-in-law on the cheek, and he smiled fondly at her before arching an eyebrow and putting on his indignant face again. "What's this? So I'm the only one in the dark about our plans for tonight?"

Teddy bounced impatiently, grinning fit to burst. "Come on! Let's go!"

o—o—o

"Cap'n Horatio's?" Remus squinted up at the creaky wooden sign over the door next to Fortescue & Creevey's Ice Cream Extravaganza. "This is new, isn't it?"

"They've only just opened!" Teddy pulled the door open with a flourish and let his family step inside, but then he abandoned dignity and dashed ahead of them so that he could be the one to greet the maitre d'. "We have a reservation, please. Name of Ted Lupin."

The maitre d' nodded solemnly. "Right this way, Mr. Lupin, sir." Teddy followed right behind him, holding himself as tall as he could. But the sight would have been a lot more impressive if the maitre d' hadn't been wearing a peg leg and an eye patch, and if Teddy's hair hadn't been bright orange.

Tonks smirked as Remus looked all around, taking in the palm trees (with actual coconuts) that dotted the floor, and the ship's rigging draped over the walls.

They were seated at a table right under a gaudy stuffed parrot, and they all jumped when it said, "I'll be glad to take your order as soon as you are ready."

The four of them ordered Yo Ho Hamburgers and Shiver Me Chippers, along with Walk-the-Plank Milkshakes, and everything tasted a lot better than might have been expected from the decor. The parrot kept itself busy asking them riddles, and Tonks and Teddy argued with Remus and Mum over the answers.

Finally, there was nothing left in their plastic baskets but crumbs. Even the parrot seemed to have run out of jokes.

"This has been a lovely birthday treat, Teddy," said Remus. "Thank you for arranging it."

"Oh, but it isn't over yet!" Teddy craned his neck, looking back through the restaurant toward the kitchen. "You haven't seen the reason why we've come!"

Just then, the restaurant's buzz of happy chatter was pierced by the raucous honk of a trombone played with more gusto than talent. The swinging doors to the kitchen burst open, and several Weasley's Wild-Fire Whiz-Bangs zoomed around the room. The trombone player emerged and swung his way through the tables, followed by a waiter levitating a large chocolate cake and a waitress bringing up the rear, banging on a cowbell.

They stopped in front of Remus and the cake settled itself onto the table. The trombone and cowbell finished with a flourish, and the entire restaurant burst into applause and cheers of "Happy Birthday!" as the fireworks died away.

Remus was quite pink, and that made Tonks start laughing again. He thanked the procession, very graciously, and then served pieces of cake around the table.

"They do this here, for birthdays, you see." Teddy inhaled a huge forkful of cake and chewed happily.

"That was quite a surprise." Remus had recovered his composure now, but his eyes were twinkling. "Whatever made you think of it?"

"I wanted some noise for your birthday." At his father's quizzical look, Teddy elaborated. "You're always the one standing back in a crowd, letting other people talk or have all the attention. I wanted there to be something big and loud and sparkly that was just for you."

Tonks bit her lip to keep from smirking. That was pretty perceptive, for a nine-year-old.

Remus ruffled Teddy's hair. "Well, you found something, indeed!"

But his eyes were rather bright, and Tonks found herself thinking of a gaunt and desperate man, long ago, who had been so sure that a child of his would only ever be ashamed of its father.

Teddy, oblivious to undercurrents, casually helped himself to a second piece of cake. "Besides, my birthday's next month. I thought this might give you, you know, some ideas for what to do."

"Teddy!" Mum chastised. Tonks bit her lip harder to keep from laughing at her son's forthrightness.

But Remus tipped his head back and roared.

o— fin —o


Author's note: This story was originally written for the LiveJournal community rt-challenge. Thanks to the mods, jadeddiva, joely-jo, and sparkly-stuff, for prompts and inspiration.