Actually started this a while ago then finally came back and finished it. Considered making it a multi-chaptered story, then a two-shot, but this is how it turned out.
For Your Eyes Only
He thinks about death a lot lately. It's hard not to, he told Victoire, when most of his family is dead. She looked hurt at that, and murmured that she thought they were family. He felt guilty then, of course he did, because in every way that matters, she and the others are family.
But if you push away the stuff that really matters, take it back down to blood and genes, his grandmother is all he has. His parents are dead; his other grandparents are dead. And, if he's feeling particularly low, he'll think that any chance he had of siblings, a normal family life, died along with his parents.
He didn't used to think this way. Sure, it was sad and all that he had no parents, and sure, he wondered how different life would be with them still around.
But lately, he's been thinking about them, about death.
Last week, he thought, angrily, that they shouldn't have gone to Hogwarts that night. That instead of running off to help Harry, help save the world, they should've looked at their baby, should've stayed home with him, and lived. He thought that maybe they believed they'd survive, and cursed them for being stupid.
This week, he's reached the conclusion that they didn't love him. Or, at least, not enough to stay with him.
He hasn't ran that one by Victoire yet. Partly because it hurts too much to say out loud, and partly because she's losing patience with the new depressed Teddy, and he doesn't think it'll go down well.
He hates Christmas. Always has done, really. Now, he understand that it's because Christmas is for family, for excited children and their parents. And, well, he doesn't have that, does he?
But the two weeks off of school are pretty cool.
Still, he's being the new depressed Teddy, so he ended up sprawled on his bed, staring at the ceiling.
He didn't look up when Andromeda appeared in his doorway, didn't say a word when she only looked at him. What, she wondered, had happened? She'd sent a bright, happy, fourteen year old to Hogwarts, and got back a silent, miserable one.
Hormones, she supposed, and remembered Dora going through a similar phase. Thankfully, it had lasted only a few short weeks; hopefully, so would Teddy's.
"Sweetie, if you're bored -"
"Not bored." He said, in the new flat tone he seemed to have adopted. "Don't wanna do anything."
Andromeda paused, considered. "Well, you're not sitting up here sulking all day. Come on. I'll find something for you to do."
Now he looked at her. He was growing up, she knew that, and she could pick out all the little changes that had happened in these last few years. But in that moment, he looked like a sulky little boy. "But I don't wanna -"
"Tough." She waited while he considered and rejected arguing, and stood, sighing pointedly.
The next half hour was spent doing mindless work. Teddy washed the windows, tidied the book shelf and tried to escape back to him room.
"Here." Andromeda's voice was light, as though she hadn't seen him sneaking towards the stairs. "Go put this up in the attic."
She held a small cardboard box. Teddy was slightly curious, but his new-found moodiness prevented him from asking what was in it. Instead, he only nodded, and took the box.
He hardly ever went into the attic. He hadn't been allowed when he was younger, and so even when his grandmother had allowed it, he barely bothered. Now, he climbed the narrow staircase, and entered the darkened room. A tiny amount of light filtered in through the little window, greyed and dimmed by the dirt on the glass. Squinting, Teddy stepped further into the room, looking for a place to stow the box. He finally set in on a small space on the floor, and looked around. Not much up here, he mused, scanning the boxes. Nothing interesting, anyway.
He started to turn, to leave, when he saw the box. Bright pink, standing out, even in the dim light, from the others. And written on it, in clear, purple, inch-tall letters, was a warning.
Property of N. Tonks. DO NOT TOUCH.
He smiled, just slightly, remembering when he used to write such warnings on his own things. Then the smile faded. His mother's, his mother's things. Things she'd hidden away and forbidden anyone to touch.
He moved forward, knelt in front of the box. Didn't matter that she'd scrawled a warning, not at all. She wasn't here was she? And even if she hadn't loved him, he was still her son. He had every right to go through the things that had been important enough for her to hide away.
He opened the box, and for a moment only stared. There were several teddies, neatly packed inside. Not thrown, he noted, but sat in the corners. Maybe she'd packed them away, but she'd loved them enough to take care with it. Most of his teddies were shoved in a box under his bed, but a few - the cuddly wolf he'd had as long as he could remember, the soft green bear Ginny had given him for his third birthday, the blue dog Victoire had given him for his Christmas when she was seven - were set neatly on a shelf in his room, because they meant to much to carelessly tidy away.
In the middle of the box were books, small and thin, each one with a brightly coloured cover. He reached inside, picked one up, brushed the dust from the pink cover.
Not a book, he realised. A diary. He didn't noticed his fingers shaking as he opened it.
Nymphadora Tonks. The childish handwriting said. Aged eight and three-quarters.
She'd spelt "quarters" wrong, he realised after a moment. No "u".
He flipped the page, carefully, as the edges were yellow, the pages thin. And coated with dust.
The writing was messy and childish, the spelling mistakes plentiful, and the content full of youth. She'd written about her birthday – the diary was a present – and the party in six lines, listing her presents without commas.
There were no dates, and he realised after a few pages that the diary was of little interest to him, really. The high points and low points of an eight year olds life was rarely riveting, and not even knowing the words were his mother's - his mother's, written when she was younger than him - kept him reading for long. (Though he wondered, had she, at eight, thought about who she'd marry when she grew up? Had she toyed with baby names and chosen one she liked? Had it ever occured to her that she could marry a werewolf, have a son, and die weeks later, leaving him an orphan?)
He set the diary beside him, started to pick up the next one on the pile, and noticed another, down the side. Not stacked on top of each other like the others, but down the side, shoved in. The cover wasn't, like all the others, a bright colour faded with age; it was black. Wondering why it was different, why it seemed to have been shoved in, he picked it up, opened it.
There was no name and age listed here, and the writing was neater, obviously more mature. She'd been older here, Teddy realised. A lot older. He paused, then started to read.
I haven't written in a diary since I was sixteen. I used to do it a lot when I was younger, and still have a box of them in my parents' attic. They'll be eight in there, one for every year since I was eight. Guess I grew out of it or something. Don't remember why I stopped. But I'm writing again now, because it feels like I should have some way of recording this.
I love looking at the words. And saying them. I was scared when I first found out. Middle of a war, and we haven't been together very long. And I think maybe Remus regrets that we got married. I hate thinking it, but it's hard not to. It was his idea. I think everyone assumes it was mine, and I suppose if I hadn't have been so enthusiastic about the idea, he'd have talked us both out of it. But I was, so we went ahead with it. I've caught him, a few times, looking at me guiltily, so I suppose he still thinks he's ruining my life by being with me.
I told him yesterday about the baby. He was in shock, and I think he still is. It's OK, he'll come round, and be as excited as me. He just needs a little time to adjust, and I can understand that. It's a big deal, after all. And it isn't the right time, and we aren't, really, ready to be parents.
But I really, really want this, and it annoys me a little that he's acting like he doesn't.
Teddy stopped reading. For a minute, he just stared at the page. Pregnant. With him. He closed his eyes. He was reading words his mother had written while she was pregnant with him.
While she was excited and happy about her baby, and his father wasn't.
He looked back at the diary, unsure how he felt.
It was the wedding today. It was nice, and Fleur looked beautiful, and it was fun. Until the Death Eaters showed up. Luckily, Harry got away, with Ron and Hermione. Molly's frantic, of course, and Ginny hasn't spoken to anyone. But they're safe, and that's all that matters.
There was a little more on that, and he skim read it, knowing it was selfish, probably, that he only cared about what she wrote about him. But he had to, had to know what his mother had thought of him, if she'd loved him.
He flipped the page.
He hesitated, something – instinct? – telling him that he wouldn't like what he'd read. He shook that off, because these were his mother's words, his mother's deepest thoughts and feelings while he was growing inside of her.
So, his eyes buring into the paper, he read.
Remus has gone. I can't believe it. He told me that Harry and the others need him. That they need his help, his experience, with their secret mission. I don't doubt that that is true. He feels he owes it to James, or to Harry, because he missed so much of Harry's life. I understand that. But it's not the only reason, and he as good as admitted it.
He doesn't want me. Doesn't want the baby.
How could he not want his child? Why? He swears he loves me, but says he isn't good enough for me. Isn't safe. Can't be a father. He's worried our kid will be like him, but I don't care. I don't care that he's a werewolf, or that the baby might be. We can handle that. We've handled everything else.
But he's gone. He's gone, I'm alone. I can manage being alone, but what am I supposed to tell the baby when he or she is older? How can I ever tell a kid that their father doesn't want them?
I don't know what I'm going to do.
Teddy stopped reading, and would later swear he could taste bile in the back of his throat. His father hadn't wanted him. Hadn't loved him. Remus Lupin had left his wife because she was pregnant.
He'd driven his father way, just by existing.
For a moment, a dozen crazy scenarios ran around his head – his father wasn't really dead he just wanted nothing to do with him – his mother had abandoned him because he'd destroyed her marriage – his parents had really died while duelling each other – his mother had killed herself, heartbroken - they'd both left him with his grandmother before going to Hogwarts, didn't even think of him as they went to their deaths -
He stopped himself, and carefully, slowly, stood, still holding the diary. He turned, headed towards to door, and kicked a small teddy bear that was in his way. This was his only sign of emotion.
His pace was still slow, careful as he walked into the kitchen, because he was scared that if he sped up, if he betrayed his feelings in any way, he'd just fall apart.
Andromeda turned, half smiling, towards him. And then stopped, her hand halfway to her hair, her smile frozen, her eyes on the diary. She recognised it; but she'd never managed to bring herself to read it, and so could only guess at what it said.
"You never told me." It came out as a whisper. "You – and Harry and Bill and everyone – no one ever said he didn't want me. He left her. Left us. He – he hated me."
She closed her eyes for only a second. So that's what Dora had written, what Teddy had read. And his final sentence was the conclusion he'd reached. She opened her eyes, felt her heart break, just a little, at the raw pain in his eyes.
"No. No, Teddy, sweetheart, it's not like that. Let me explain -"
"I don't need you to explain!" He yelled, and threw the diary. Not at his grandmother, exactly, but it hit the ground, hard, a foot away from her. "I read all about it! He made sure she knew he didn't want to marry her, really, and then he left her, just left her, because of me!" The first tear slipped out, rolled down his face. "She must have hated me too." And there, Andromeda thought, was the heartbreak of the little boy he hadn't quite grown past yet.
"She didn't. I swear she didn't. Let me explain."
He shook his head, looked at her bleakly. "You'll lie." He said softly, then turned and ran. She heard the front door slam.
She picked up the diary, scanned the first few pages. There it was, then. The handful of words that had broken a boy's heart, and destroyed his trust.
"Oh, Dora, why'd you have to write it all down?" She murmured. "Why couldn't I have gotten rid of this thing instead of hiding it away?" And she shook her head. "Why did I never tell him?"
Too hard. It had seemed too hard, to complex, to try to explain it to him. So she'd never told him about Remus' time away, about Dora's pain. She'd told him nothing, and hadn't even thought about the day he'd find out.
She held the diary, for a moment, to her heart, then followed her grandson outside. For a moment she didn't see him, but the panic had barely started before she saw him, sat on the grass over the road from the house, hugging his knees.
"Teddy." She murmured when she'd reached him, and sat beside him. "Please. I know I should have told you. But now I will, now I'll tell you the truth -"
"It doesn't matter. I don't care. They don't mean anything, anyway, I don't even remember them."
And there was the root of his new-found teenage angst. He'd lost, but not experienced it. He had parents, but they were only photos and stories to him.
"Read it." Andromeda murmured. "Read the rest of it. She wouldn't lie. Not to you. Not ever."
"Have you read it?" He asked her. He was scared to, scared of what it would say.
"No. It's not for me to read. This is for your eyes only, Teddy."
He hesitated, but took the diary from her, opened it.
Remus came back. He's told me Harry said somethings, and he realised his mistake. Asked for forgiveness. I don't know if I can forgive. I don't know if I should. I keep worrying about the baby – will they hate me for not letting their father back into our lives, or will they think I'm weak for taking him back?
I don't want to get this wrong. The baby is so important, and they're all that matters now. I've made a lot of mistakes, but this isn't one of them. Neither was Remus, because he's given me this. I'll always love him, but I can live without him. I have a future, now.
His hands trembled.
"She loved you. Before you were even born. And after, after you were, she loved you so much, was so protective of you. Don't ever doubt that." Andromenda murmured.
"She named me after her father, and mine." Teddy mumbled. "Why mine? He left her."
"Read." Andromeda whispered.
I've let him back. I suppose there was no choice, really, because Remus is my life. And he was so sorry. But he knows this is his last chance. His only chance. Maybe we'll be stronger; maybe we won't.
But doesn't he deserve the chance to be a father? Doesn't the kid deserve a chance to have one? Maybe this will turn out to be my first parental mistake. I don't care. It feels right, now Remus is home. I can't help myself, forgiving him, loving him. Hopefully, the kid will understand that. Hopefully they'll be glad of it. Remus is excited now. Just a little, kind of cautiously. That's Remus, after all. Always cautious. But we'll be OK. I'm sure we'll be OK.
But doesn't he deserve the chance to be a father? Doesn't the kid deserve a chance to have one?
Maybe this will turn out to be my first parental mistake. I don't care. It feels right, now Remus is home. I can't help myself, forgiving him, loving him. Hopefully, the kid will understand that. Hopefully they'll be glad of it.
Remus is excited now. Just a little, kind of cautiously. That's Remus, after all. Always cautious. But we'll be OK. I'm sure we'll be OK.
"He came back. Is that why you never told me? Because they got back together and you didn't think it mattered?"
"Yes. I guess so." Andromeda nodded.
"It still matters. You still should've told me. And they still didn't love me enough. They left me to go fight and they died."
He saw by the way his grandmother's eyes widened that he'd shocked her.
"No. Teddy Lupin, that is all wrong. Do you honestly believe that?"
"Yes." He said defiantly, though doubts were creeping in. His mother, at least, had sounded like…But she'd still left him.
"You're wrong. Your mother loved you, very, very much. Your father was…dazzled by you. He told me that he couldn't believe how lucky he was to have you, and to have Dora, and that he didn't deserve you. Dora was terrified of dropping you, hurting you. She - she made people was their hands before she'd let them hold you."
"She didn't care. Nothing was going to hurt you, she told me. They loved you with everything they had, Ted. And if you don't believe that…" She shook her head. "There's nothing I can do for you. This is your problem, not theirs." She stood, and left him.
He found himself feeling both ashamed and annoyed. Looking back down at the diary, he flipped to the next page, and saw more writing.
Teddy's a week old now. That's what we've called him. Teddy Remus Lupin. This is the first chance I've had to write it down. I guess it wasn't a priority. He's perfect. He's already changing his hair colour. He has these bright eyes. I swear he'll be smart. Top of the class. Doesn't matter if he's not. He can be anything, do anything, it doesn't matter, because he's mine. God, I love him. I never knew I could feel this much.
Teddy's a week old now. That's what we've called him. Teddy Remus Lupin. This is the first chance I've had to write it down. I guess it wasn't a priority.
He's perfect. He's already changing his hair colour. He has these bright eyes. I swear he'll be smart. Top of the class.
Doesn't matter if he's not. He can be anything, do anything, it doesn't matter, because he's mine.
God, I love him. I never knew I could feel this much.
He had to stop reading to blink the tears away.
The writing on the next page was bigger, messier, and he realised it had been written quickly. Something tightened in his chest before he started to read.
Remus has gone to Hogwarts. Harry is there, You-Know-Who is on his way. Something about getting the kids out which is priority. No one's safe with him there. The Order is going to fight. This is going to be it. I can feel it. Hogwarts will be where it ends, one way or the other. I tried to stop Remus but he wouldn't. It killed him to leave us, I could see it, but he was adamant that he had to go. For The Order, for Harry, for the world. I'm supposed to stay here with our Teddy but I can't. I can't stand being here and not knowing. I'm trained for this, I'm a part of it. I have to do my bit, play my role. I'll never forgive myself if something happens to someone I care about while I sat here and did nothing. So I have to go. I have to fight, beside Remus, I have to do my best to help us win. I can't do anything else, I can't be another way. It means leaving the baby, and I'm already hurting at the idea of it. I might not make it home. That's the worst, knowing it. I might never make it home to Teddy and I'll never forgive myself for it. But I can't stay here. Maybe this is the wrong choice. But it's the choice I've made, and I pray with all my heart I'll be home, I'll be here for my kid. If I don't, I hope he knows just how much he means to me, to Remus. Just how important he is. I was nothing before that kid, I'm nothing without him. He's everything. So I have to fight to give him a safe future, a good life. Because that's what he deserves and I'll do anything to make it happen.
Remus has gone to Hogwarts. Harry is there, You-Know-Who is on his way. Something about getting the kids out which is priority. No one's safe with him there. The Order is going to fight.
This is going to be it. I can feel it. Hogwarts will be where it ends, one way or the other. I tried to stop Remus but he wouldn't. It killed him to leave us, I could see it, but he was adamant that he had to go. For The Order, for Harry, for the world.
I'm supposed to stay here with our Teddy but I can't. I can't stand being here and not knowing. I'm trained for this, I'm a part of it. I have to do my bit, play my role. I'll never forgive myself if something happens to someone I care about while I sat here and did nothing.
So I have to go. I have to fight, beside Remus, I have to do my best to help us win. I can't do anything else, I can't be another way. It means leaving the baby, and I'm already hurting at the idea of it.
I might not make it home. That's the worst, knowing it. I might never make it home to Teddy and I'll never forgive myself for it. But I can't stay here.
Maybe this is the wrong choice. But it's the choice I've made, and I pray with all my heart I'll be home, I'll be here for my kid.
If I don't, I hope he knows just how much he means to me, to Remus. Just how important he is. I was nothing before that kid, I'm nothing without him. He's everything.
So I have to fight to give him a safe future, a good life. Because that's what he deserves and I'll do anything to make it happen.
The last few words had blurred. Teddy thought, for moment that it was just because his eyes had filled again; then he realised that the words were smudged. She'd cried, writing this. As she'd written her last words, she'd cried.
He lowered his face and didn't fight his own tears. No one had seen him cry since he was about nine, but now he didn't care if the whole world saw.
But they'd loved him. She'd loved him. His mother had wanted him from the moment she knew about him, and she'd cried at the thought of leaving him. She'd wanted to give him a safe world, died for it.
They'd died, but they'd loved him. They'd loved him.
He sat on the grass, crying silently, for a long time. Once, the word "mum" slipped out of his mouth. Long after the tears dried up, he stayed sat there, rocking slightly.
But when he finally stood, finally made his way back into the house, his heart was lighter.