Remus danced lightly into the house, still slightly tipsy from the effects of the wine he'd drunk at Shell Cottage earlier, still floating from the elation of seeing Teddy born. He headed up the stairs to the bedroom he shared with Dora and tripped over his own toes, pitching forward on the staircase. He heard a soft tut from above and glanced up to see Andromeda at the top of the stairs wrapped in her dressing gown. Smiling sheepishly, he hauled himself to his feet. 'Sorry,' he whispered loudly. Andromeda shook her head and disappeared into her own bedroom. Remus stole quickly up the rest of the stairs and stood in the doorway of his bedroom. Dora was curled in the bed, asleep, and Teddy was bundled into a cradle next to the bed.
He tiptoed into the room, and bent over the cradle, scooping Teddy up in his arms. It had been a long time since he'd held a baby. When Harry was still this small… Remus had been utterly fascinated with Harry, spending hours marveling over the small hands that wrapped around the tip of a proffered finger with a shockingly strong grip. He ran a cautious fingertip over Teddy's tightly clenched fist and was gratified to see the tiny fingers unfurl and close around his calloused and scarred index finger. My son… he thought, his throat tightening slightly. My son… Words he thought he'd never be able to say in his lifetime. He cradled Teddy against his chest, nuzzling the turquoise-hued tuft of hair exposed by the edge of the blanket wrapped around the baby.
Remus eased into the small rocking chair in the corner of the bedroom. He should have been exhausted. Dora had woken him up at four that morning and Teddy was born at half-past six in the evening. It was after eight o'clock now and Remus had been on his feet for most of the past sixteen hours. He scrutinized Teddy's soft baby features, searching for traces of himself. Teddy looked like he was going to have Andromeda's long, slender hands. Piano player's hands, my dad would have called them… His face already bore the heart-shaped sweetness of his mother's, the turquoise hair fading into a sandy downy peak in the center of his forehead. Remus' lips brushed lightly over the widow's peak, smiling a little. Dora had one just like it. She wasn't overly fond of it, and Remus imagined when Teddy got old enough he wouldn't be either. Remus loved it. It was one feature Dora never could quite make disappear when she transformed her appearance. He'd learned to recognize her by it years ago when she was in disguise.
'What were we thinking…?' Dora's husky whisper carried across the silent room. A frown marred the smooth skin between her brows.
Remus glanced up at her, with an ironic smile. 'I don't believe we were thinking when this happened.' He inclined his head toward Teddy.
The corner of Dora's mouth twitched. 'No, I don't believe we were…' She slowly pushed herself into a semi-sitting position, with a slight grimace of pain. 'What if we…?' She let the question die on her lips. 'I keep thinking how difficult his life will be if we don't…' Dora swallowed hard. 'Win.'
Remus began to rock a little, gazing down at Teddy. 'Well, then,' he finally said. 'We'll have to make sure that doesn't happen…' He looked at Dora. Her eyes were glazed and heavy-lidded with weariness. 'Go back to sleep,' he said softly.
He waited until Dora had drifted back to sleep before he rose and gently laid Teddy back into the cradle. Still too keyed up to sleep, he picked up his latest journal and slipped into the corridor, opening the narrow door to the steep stairs that led to the attic. He went unerringly to a small carton tucked in the corner and lifted the dusty lid off. Remus' fingers trailed over the spines of the battered journals. They were lined up neatly in order. Twenty of them. Odd how the history of one's life can be summed up in one box like this… He pulled a piece of parchment from the bottom of the carton and folded himself to the floor, Summoning a quill and ink from the sitting room.
14 April 1998
Today is your birthday. And regrettably, I almost missed it. I don't have much in the way of personal property to leave you. It feels like I'm tempting fate to even bother writing this, but in the unfortunate event that this is the only birthday of yours I'm ever able to celebrate, I think you'd like to know who your mother and I were. I hope that doesn't turn out to be the case, because I've dreamed my entire life of having what I have at this moment. And I so do want to see you grow up. Regardless of what happens to me, Teddy, I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did, and believe me, they were foolish mistakes. So, at some point, when you're old enough, I want you to read these. Learn from your father's regrets, so you don't have the same ones.
Remus stared at the parchment until his vision blurred. What should I sign? Remus Lupin? Your father, Remus Lupin? The quill slowly lowered and he carefully wrote one word.
Remus folded the parchment and wrote Teddy's name on it. He laid it on top of the journals' spines and replaced the lid of the carton before picking up his journal and sidling back down the stairs. 'You ought to get some sleep,' Andromeda said out of the shadows, making him jump a little.
Remus nodded. 'I know.' He looked at Andromeda uncertainly. 'Could you do something for me?' he asked
'I can try.' Andromeda shrugged diffidently.
'If something happens to me, could you put this one with the others?' He held up the slim, leather-bound book. 'There's a box in the attic. The north corner. I want Teddy to read them, when the time comes…'
Andromeda's head inclined a little. 'Of course.'
Remus nodded once. 'I know you weren't exactly thrilled about any of this. Me… Teddy…' He paused long enough for Andromeda to make a token protest, knowing she wouldn't. 'Thank you. For everything.' He ducked his head and continued into the bedroom, closing the door without a sound.
Teddy lightly tossed his football from one hand to the other. It was pouring outside and he was bored. He couldn't go to Harry and Ginny's, because Lily and Albus both had dragon pox. Victoire was in France, visiting her mother's family during the summer hols. He rolled off his bed and dropped the ball in the middle of it. When he was younger, Teddy used to spend hours pawing through the boxes and trunks of old and abandoned belongings. He ran up the stairs to the attic and stood just inside the doorway, glancing around the dim and dusty room. There was a small box he'd often dismissed before under the eaves. It was certainly too small to hold anything of interest. But today, even something uninteresting was better than boredom.
He shuffled to the box and pried the lid off, sneezing explosively in the cloud of dust it raised. When he saw the contents, he frowned. 'Nothing but a load of boring old books…' He picked one up and listlessly fanned the pages several times until he actually looked at a page. He stopped and spread a hand over it, bringing it closer to his face. 'What is this…?' His heart began to pound in his ears when he realized it was his father's journal. Teddy quickly began to scan through them, discarding each of them until he came to the one that mentioned his mother for the first time. He plopped to the floor, unheeding of the thick dust layered over the floor and began to read.