Note: Hi everybody, this fic is AU in that Remus and Tonks survived the battle. Unlike in my other RLNT fics, however, Remus did not go back to Tonks and Teddy and so Tonks has raised Teddy alone. Different from my usual, I know, but I thought I'd try something different! Hope somebody out there enjoys it, feel free to leave a review because, as this is so different from my usual fics, I would be interested to hear what you think!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, J K Rowling owns it all.
The boy sat upon the stairs staring miserably down into the hallway as the blonde haired man struggled through the front door, carrying a cardboard box that was piled high with junk of some kind, much like the other identical boxes that were already stacked against one wall.
"Give us a hand, won't you Ted?" the man called up the stairs, but the boy made no move to help. Instead he folded his arms sulkily over his chest and his head came to rest against the bannister.
His name was not Ted. His parents had named him Theodore and shortened it to Teddy. Ted had been his grandfather's name, it belonged to him and the boy had no desire to steal it. He had told the blonde intruder this on several occasions since their first meeting some months previously, but his corrections were always ignored. He had expected his mother to back him up, but she had always told him not to be silly, or not to be rude. She always thought he was being rude, Teddy recalled as said mother dashed into the hallway from the kitchen just in time for the box to topple from the man's arms with an almighty crash. But Teddy didn't think he was rude at all, he was merely honest, and wasn't that what she should want? Mothers don't like to be lied to, after all. These days, Teddy mused as both adults made exclamations of annoyance at the smashed china and crumpled books that now adorned the floor, his mother didn't seem to like much of what he did...
"For Merlin's sake Teddy don't just sit there! I told you to help Tom with his stuff, look at this mess!"
...in fact he couldn't even sit still without being complained at.
Wordlessly Teddy got to his feet and stomped his way down the stairs, across the hallway and out of the front door, ignoring his mother's protests as he went.
"Don't worry about him, Dora," the boy heard Tom tell her. "He's bound to feel a bit strange, but he'll come round, just give him some time."
As he cut across the lawn towards the gate that lead to the pathway along the side of the house Teddy dared a glance back at the doorway. At the sight of the two adults embracing he turned sharply away, pulling the gate open and hurrying along the path into the back garden. He headed straight for the small playhouse in one corner of the garden, pushing aside overgrown bushes to reach the door that was scratched, the blue paint chipped and peeling. Teddy pushed it open and the hinges creaked in protest. The whole structure was in a poor state, there was no doubt about it, but there was no chance that Teddy would ask Tom to smarten it up, it was none of his business, it had nothing to do with him. Teddy's godfather Harry had built it for him many years ago when he was small, much smaller than he was now at twelve years of age. So much smaller, in fact, that Teddy had to stoop to get through the door and crouch down upon the creaky plank floor so that he did not hit his head upon the ceiling. He pushed the door shut behind him and sat for a moment enjoying the peace and quiet. The air was close and the playhouse smelt of damp, dirt and leaves. It was pretty much empty, save for an old toy broomstick his mother had bought his for his seventh birthday lying abandoned in one corner, and a painted wooden box his grandmother had once given him with a bright green dragon painting upon the lid, Teddy printed in neat lettering above it's head. Teddy reached for the box and opened it up, staring down at the assortment of objects inside. They were his most prized possessions that he had collected over the years, though if he were honest stolen might be a better word than collected. He didn't feel guilty for taking them, however, for mostly people didn't want these things, they were hidden away where nobody could see them so that they could all forget, and Teddy would stumble across them and slip them into his pocket knowing that they would not be missed.
The first thing the child drew out of the box was a photograph that he had found in a chest of drawers in the spare room of Harry's house. Two wizards smiled up at him, one positively grinning. The grinning wizard had jet black dishevelled hair, pale skin and bright, impish eyes. He had a bottle of firewhisky in one hand that he raised as if to toast the watching boy, and his other arm was slung around the other wizard's shoulders as if they were the best of friends. The other wizard had light brown hair that was tinged grey, something that did not seem to suit his relatively young face. He stood with one hand shoved into the pocket of his faded robes and though his smile was far less manic than that of his companion, there was something equally as mischievous about the way he stood twirling a wand absent-mindedly in his free hand.
This second wizard was Remus Lupin, Teddy's father, and the black haired wizard was Sirius Black, who had been Remus' best friend and Teddy's mother's cousin. Sirius had died during the war, Teddy had been told, he had been a great wizard, he had died a hero. When people told him this Teddy sometimes wished his father had followed his friend's lead and died a hero too, it would have been better that way. If Remus had died a hero everybody would talk about him all the time, like they did Sirius, and they would tell Teddy how proud he should be to have such a brave and heroic father. They would sit him down and tell him stories about when Remus had been alive and Teddy would probably know more about him than he did in reality, because in reality Remus was very much alive and consequently very much ignored. Ever since he had left Teddy's mother many years previously, some months before Teddy had been born, Remus appeared to have been erased from everybody's memory. Nobody spoke of him, for Tonks' benefit, Teddy supposed, but he always felt frustrated for he knew that many members of the Order of the Phoenix still saw Remus every now and again, and yet they never said a word about him. Despite this curiosity about his father, Teddy had never had much of a desire to meet him, he only wished to know a little more. That was until, however, he had come home from Hogwarts for the Easter holidays and his mother had introduced him to her new boyfriend. For months Teddy had attempted to accept Tom as a member of the family, an uncle, perhaps, because it was nice to see Tonks so happy, but no matter how hard he tried Teddy could not bring himself to do so. The fact of the matter was that Teddy couldn't stand Tom at all. He hated how Tom treated him as if he were a baby, how he tried so hard to get Teddy to like him, how he would talk about him to Tonks as if Teddy were not in the room and, most of all, his bright comments that he hoped that one day Teddy would think of him as a father. This final thing was by far the worst, for Teddy did not want a new father, he was perfectly happy with the one he already had, whether Remus was absent or not. It did not matter that Teddy had never even seen his father in person, nor did it matter that people were so ashamed by Remus' behaviour that they never spoke of him. The fact was that Remus was Teddy's father, he had his surname, his middle name was Remus after him, it was part of who Teddy was, part of what made him Teddy.
And Tom wanted to ruin it. He wanted to change everything, make it all strange, different, wrong.
Teddy was sure there was only one way to stop him, to remind him that he could never be Teddy's father: