Searching for Remus
Now, I know it wasn't like this at all. But this was an idea that wouldn't go away, as much as I knew that it wasn't canon, wasn't realistic, could never, ever happen, etc. So I hope you like, and I will update soon, I promise. If people are interested.
I don't own a thing, as much as I wish I did.
"Harry, can I talk to you for a minute?"
Harry Potter looked up from his work, squinting with the ache of staring at long rolls of parchment for the past two hours; he sat back and motioned his Godson forward into the room. "Of course."
Ted Remus Lupin took a seat opposite his Godfather and stared down at his interlaced fingers. He was a young man of sixteen, tall, lanky, built like his dead father. He tugged a lock of hair absent-mindedly; it turned from sandy brown to bright red with a faint pop. He stared at it, wrinkled his nose, and turned it back before addressing Harry.
"What do you know about death?"
Harry's heart lurched. He knew instantly that Teddy did not mean 'death' in a general term; he also knew that now was not the time for a flippant, it's when you die, Ted, answer. He stared across at Teddy, who was now staring at him with an almost innocent curiosity. Harry cleared his throat and collected his thoughts, pushing away the fear that had grasped him at the simple words. Teddy was so much like his mother. Straightforward, honest, impetuous…he was also a lot like Harry himself, and Harry knew he had only himself to blame.
Teddy shifted. "I want to know."
"Yes." Teddy cocked his head when Harry didn't reply. "Well? I'm sure you know something; you can't be The Boy Who Lived for nothing."
"That was a long time ago, Ted."
"Does that really matter?" Teddy raised one eyebrow, and the gesture reminded Harry so suddenly, so violently, of the boy's father that he nearly choked. He faked a coughing fit to cover the lump rising in his throat.
"No. I just don't think…death, Teddy, is not a subject to be tossed around, you understand?"
"Yes," Teddy said. "But I do think I ought to know a little."
Harry sighed. "Yes. Everyone ought to know a little. But not too much. I don't want you to know too much."
"Hermione said that knowledge is an asset."
"That's Hermione," Harry said with a laugh. "And she's right, for the most part. But some knowledge shouldn't be…shouldn't be known. The mysteries of Death are one of those pieces of knowledge best left unknown."
"Well, because it's dangerous," Harry said. "Very dangerous. Once people start searching out death's intricacies, they want to start seeing people who have died, or bring people back. And that's impossible, and can drive any sane wizard mad."
Teddy shifted in his seat. "Well, what if someone were to find a way to make death penetrable? To bring people back?"
Harry looked at his Godson carefully, knowing where the young man was going with this. "You want to bring your parents back, don't you." It wasn't a question.
Teddy hesitated. "Just one of them."
"One does as much damage as two."
"Yes, but…I just want my mum." Teddy looked defiant, as if daring Harry to ask why. Harry did.
"Why not your dad?"
"Because…I don't know him."
"You don't know your mum, either," Harry said, feeling a stone drop into his stomach. This is what came of keeping secrets from teenagers. He ought to have known; curiosity led to dangerous situations. This was one of them.
"I feel like I do," Teddy replied. "My dad…no one knew my dad. No one talks about him. I figure he was…well, I just want my mum, that's all."
"Wouldn't it be better just to bring them both back and get to know your father?" Harry asked. "Hypothetically speaking, of course."
Teddy considered this. "Maybe. Probably. But I don't really want to. Not after what I've heard."
"Teddy…" Harry leaned forward, peering into his Godson's blue eyes earnestly. "This is foolish talk; I shouldn't have encouraged it. I want you to forget it. All of it. Death is something that shouldn't be meddled in. Everyone dies, and it's unnatural to be brought back."
Teddy frowned; he seemed to be struggling for control. "I thought you'd understand," he said finally. "You, of all people. I need to see her. I've got pictures, but they're not enough anymore. I want to see her, really see her."
"I know," Harry said quietly, getting up and crossing to put a hand on Teddy's shoulder. "But it's not right."
Teddy threw off his Godfather's hand, and he was suddenly shouting. "You don't understand! You and your famous past and your good life…you don't get it, do you?"
Harry looked stunned, and a sad, knowing smile crossed his face. "I think I understand more than you think I do."
"Teddy! I lost my parents too, you remember!" Harry said, attempting to lay a placating hand on the teenager again. Teddy shook him away.
"But they were famous; you were famous…you had consolation! Everybody wanted to be parents to you, everyone wanted to be your friend…"
"And you don't have consolation?" Harry's forehead creased, and he looked a little angry now. "You've got the Weasleys, your Grandmother, Ginny and me!"
"And you're wonderful, you really are," Teddy said, waving an impatient hand. He already looked a little sorry for his outburst. "But they're my parents. It's different, you ought to know that."
Harry passed a hand over his face and sighed; Teddy knew he was thinking of Sirius Black, Dumbledore, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Hagrid. "Yes, I know," he said. "But Ted, I don't think it wise to want them back. I spent my entire childhood—and most of my teenage years—wanting them back. But wanting someone back from the dead—it's wrong, dark magic."
Ted flung himself into a chair, feeling mutinous. "I don't know anything about them. It's natural I should want to know."
Harry sank into a chair next to him, looking miserable and tired. "That was a mistake on my part."
Teddy frowned, leaned forward. "Yours? Why?"
Harry bit his lip. "You've got a lot of your mother in you, Ted. Impetuous, exuberant. Remind me of me, actually. Pity you haven't got much of your father's sense along with his looks."
"Just how well did you know my parents?" Ted could feel his quick temper rising again. How much did his Godfather know that he didn't?
"We were acquainted," Harry said. 'I only wanted to protect you…"
"From what? My past? I have a right; I have a right to know!" Teddy was angry again, and the sick look on Harry's face did nothing to sate him.
"Sometimes we need protecting from our pasts," Harry said quietly. "You've got too much of me in you for me to feel comfortable telling you before you were old enough to understand. And that's my fault; I raised you, I taught you. I let myself rub off on you without checking your curiosity."
"Death and its dangers," Harry replied.
"What can be dangerous about wanting to see someone you never have?" Teddy glared at his Godfather, fuming. He, of all people, should have understood Teddy's longing.
"When that someone is dead," Harry began sharply, but Teddy cut him off.
"You've seen your parents!"
"Well, yes, but…"
"So why can't I see mine?"
"Because…well, learn from my mistakes, Ted!" Harry said. "You've got to learn! Death is not to be trifled with!"
"How can I learn when you've never warned me of the consequences?" Teddy hissed. Harry threw up his hands in disgust. "Teddy!"
"If you won't tell me, I'll find out myself," Teddy said, standing abruptly and striding toward the door. Harry reached out to placate him, but Teddy ignored the hand. He sank back, berating himself. After all his anger and frustrations at Dumbledore as a teenager, he had blundered into the same situation with Teddy. Instead of telling his Godson of his parents' lives, he had chosen, with Ginny and the rest of the Order, to keep Teddy in the dark. They rarely spoke of Remus and Nymphadora Lupin. Teddy, they knew, would want to know, to find out about his parents, and perhaps, if he was anything like his Godfather, want to bring them back. Harry knew how dangerous this was, and so he had chosen, however miserably, to pretend that he had not known Teddy's parents. Only Andromeda, Teddy's grandmother and guardian, had refused to honor the arrangement; she had insisted on teaching Teddy everything about her daughter, but even she spoke only guardedly about Remus.
Harry was not sure now that they had done the right thing. In fact, he was nearly positive they hadn't. Teddy had inherited his mother's impatient personality, and what with being raised with Ginny and Harry Potter as surrogate parents, their impetuous personalities had rubbed off on him as well. He was eager to know his mother, leery of his father, and heading toward knowledge that Harry had tried to protect him from for so long.
He sighed. The boy did not even know his father had been a werewolf. He knew nothing. And now he wanted to know, as Harry had known he would all along. He knew they had lost the moment Teddy had become old enough to ask where his parents were, knew they had lost the moment Remus and Nymphadora had died sixteen years ago. He rubbed a hand across his eyes and resolved to speak to Teddy first thing the next morning. The boy needed to know.
Teddy appeared at the door to his own room, and at the accompanying CRACK, his Grandmother's voice drifted upstairs.
"Ted? Is that you?"
"Yes," Teddy returned, eager to gain the quiet and solitude of his own room. "I'm awful tired, Gran—I'll see you it he morning, all right?"
"You're not ill, are you?"
"I'm fine," Teddy said firmly. "Good night!" He shut the door sharply behind him and turned to collapse on the bed. His owl hooted from her perch by the door, and he looked at her mulishly. "You want out, Hedwig?" He stood again as she hooted dolefully and crossed to the window. He opened it, and she left her perch and landed on his shoulder, rubbing his cheek gently with her beak. He smoothed her feathers and smiled at her caressing. She flew out of the window and disappeared into the fading twilight. He watched her disappear, and then flopped into his desk chair and pushed aside a pile of books and broken quills. He pulled open the top drawer and from under a pile of discarded letters and homework extracted a photograph. It was obviously well protected with charms; it was spotlessly shiny and straight.
A young, pretty woman with a heart-shaped face beneath spiky bubble-gum pink hair laughed at the camera, black eyes twinkling with happiness. An infant with dark hair that changed to purple and back again was smiling in her arms, looking sleepy and content. Teddy touched her face lightly with one finger and slid it down to the baby. Him. He stared at the woman for a moment more, and then put the picture carefully back in the drawer and slid it shut. His dresser was covered with photos of the same woman, but she ranged in them from infancy to adulthood. Her hair and eyes were a different color in every one; in some she was accompanied by friends or family, others she was alone. There were precious few of her with her infant son, and none with her husband.
He had no pictures of his father. No one did—he had no idea what Remus John Lupin looked like, had no idea what he had acted like, did not know his character or his background. His father, according to Harry, had been a brave, dedicated man who had died to help the Order. According to his Grandmother, however, he was less-than-satisfactory.
"Yes, Ted?" The woman looked up at the five-year-old boy with a gentle smile and pulled him onto her lap.
"Who was my father?" The little boy's eyes were bright blue today, his hair a vivid red. It was obvious he had just returned from playing at "Grandpa Weasley's."
Andromeda Tonks' face paled, but she smiled. "His name was Remus Lupin, Ted, you know that."
"I know his name," Teddy said plaintively. "But what was he like?"
"He was very quiet," Andromeda said cautiously. "And rather withdrawn…which means he didn't talk or smile much. Now, go on, Teddy, run and play." She set him down, but he stared back up at her in confusion.
"I'm busy, Ted!"
His Grandmother had refused to say any more that day, but maintained a stony silence every time the young Teddy mentioned his father or mother. Ted had not dared to say any more until a few years later, when his curiosity again overcame him. He was seven years old.
"Gran, what did my dad look like?"
Andromeda had paused in her rocking and knitting and her lips had tightened.
"He was tall, too thin. Too old for your mother. You look a little like him, though you're certainly more cheerful."
And that was all he had managed; his Gran had blocked all other attempts to describe his father through the years. He had managed to glean from various sources that Remus Lupin had been intelligent, though rather cold, careful, and brave. Always brave. From this, he figured he had nothing to be ashamed of his father, but nothing to be especially proud. He had carried a fantasy in his heart of a loving, distinguished, handsome father until an incident two years previous. He had overheard his Godfather and Grandma talking about his father, and all illusion had shattered.
"…father abandoned them! He would break Ted's heart!"
"Yes, Dromeda, but if he knew why!"
"Then he would know too that his father was a coward!"
"Do not try to gild it, Harry Potter! He left them! She four months pregnant and helpless…and he left to save his own pride!"
He had crept away here, burning, miserable, and his Gran had sent him to bed early, convinced he was falling ill. He had not had the courage to tell her what he had heard, or ask her further about his father. His illusions had fallen as he lay tossing that night, the words playing themselves over and over in his head. Left her…coward…abandoned them…helpless…
He arose the next morning with a new image in his head; that of a skulking, round-shouldered, rather balding man with a weak mind and heart. He knew that his father had been tall and broad-shouldered, but it soothed the ache a little to imagine his father worthless, undeserving of pity or compassion. He knew that there were parts of the story he was missing, but he knew that there was no excuse for what his father had done. And so he put Remus Lupin to the back of his mind, degraded and dethroned from the pedestal on which he had been raised.
Teddy moved from the desk to his bed, where he stretched out without bothering to undress. He reached over to his bedside table and picked up another photo in a silver frame. This was his favorite; it showed his mother sitting in a rocking chair beside a crib, rocking a small bundle. A tuft of lavender hair the same color as his mother's poked out from behind the red blanket. The aura it gave was of comfort and peace, and the colors were vivid and catching, but what made it his favorite was the expression of ultimate love and content on Nymphadora's face as she gazed down at the blanket-clad infant.
He fell asleep, as he so often did, staring at her face.
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