A/N: Look, I'm not dead! One thing I can promise: this story will never be abandoned, I will finish it! Thanks for the reviews!
I want to hide the truth
I want to shelter you
But with the beast inside
There's nowhere we can hide
No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
Demons by Imagine Dragons
"HE'S DONE IT! JUGSON HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH! THE ARROWS BEST THE CANNONS, FINAL SCORE: 370 TO 120!"
Her mother was lying in bed, her red hair fanning across the white sheets. Lily moved to the wireless, turning the dial and ending the sounds of a stadium full of cheers. With a quick glance back at her mother to assure she was still sleeping soundly, Lily turned back to the case of shelves that held the wireless and her parents' various belongings. She bent down to the bottom shelf and pulled off a photo album, one tucked behind her parents' wedding album. Then, with one last look at her mother, she slipped from the bedroom, closing the door gently behind her.
Down the hall, she tucked herself back into her still warm bed. Opening the album in her lap, she smiled, touching the page affectionately. The album was a scrapbook of her father's Hogwarts years and the few years after, leading up to his wedding. Her mother had made the book herself, a gift during their engagement. The first photograph was of her father, Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione. They were only twelve, so young and different looking.
Lily flipped through the pages, reading over the torn news clippings, moving photos and small descriptions in her mother's pen. Her brothers had never seen the album before. Lily had stumbled upon it the summer after her first year. She still remembered the concerned look on her mother's face when she had questioned her about it.
It was an amazing collection. While her father's study was full of framed news articles and awards, from the Daily Prophet's front page the day after the Final Battle to his Order of Merlins, both of them, it held nothing about his Hogwarts years. The only items from that time he shared were occasional happy photographs, of Quidditch and his friends, the few shots of both of her parents, sixteen and smiling. The scrapbook was all there was to go with the tight lipped stories of the past; images of the great Harry Potter battling a dragon, emerging from the Black Lake, serious moments of the Triwizard Champion.
The chuckling faces of her father, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin caught her attention. Particularly Remus Lupin. Few people, only family members and Victoire, had seen Teddy in his normal state. When he was younger he typically only altered small details, hair and eye color, but once he grew and his talents strengthened, he became accustomed to shifting other features. His jaw line, the curve of his nose, the shape of his mouth. Over time, the subtle changes melded into who he was.
But looking at the scarred face of Ted's father reminded Lily exactly what Teddy truly looked like. It was like her father and Albus, the clone-like similarities. His warm, amber eyes, sandy brown hair, the nose, the face shape...his mouth and ears were definitely from his mother, Lily decided, but other than that, he was his father's son.
She closed the book and set it on her bed side table. Teddy was her big brother, always strong and always there for her. He had a calming nature, with a wicked sense of humor. He was a closet book worm, but determined to act the jock. But lately, none of those attributes were shining like they used to. It worried her. Lily wrapped her blankets around her body, sighing loudly in the dim room.
"We need you, Teddy. Daddy needs you."
"I'm afraid since retirement, I haven't been keeping up to date with the latest muggle techniques. There isn't a whole lot I know about cancer."
"Well, from what you do know, what's your opinion?"
"You said it was a brain tumor? The new symptoms are more prevalent with cancer of the lungs as well. It seems to me that the cancer is spreading. When did the tumor start showing symptoms?"
"Er, I think he said about a month ago."
"I'd prepare yourself, Mister Potter, this is a tricky disease even with magic to combat symptoms. It sounds to me like his case is developing rapidly."
"Yeah, okay. Thanks, Mister Bobham, I'm sorry to disturb your Sunday."
"No worries, my boy, best of luck."
Teddy released a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. The door shut and he listened as James' footsteps vanished. He was on the floor of the parlor, leaning against the wall that divided the room from the entrance hall.
It was spreading. Fast.
He ran his hands through his hair, trademark black and messy, tugging tightly on the locks. It was too soon, he was not ready for this. He wasn't ready for anything. At all.
He looked up to see Jamie sinking down beside him.
"I thought you were sitting with him."
"Al's in there now."
"Still hasn't woken up?"
"Nope," he responded.
Teddy rested his head against the wall. "It will be fine. Hermione has probably already found a cure for this and as soon as we get back-"
So he didn't. He rested a hand on his brother's knee and the two sat in silence. Both were thinking over the idea of losing their father, watching him fall to pieces. Ted glanced to the window, the sky a variety of pinks and violets, a deep contrast to the cloudy gloom that had been overhead all day.
"Tonight is full moon."
Out of the corner of his eye he could see Jamie staring at him. "I know. I feel it, remember?"
"Have you thought about...you know?"
"Of course I have."
"Have you decided if-"
"Not a clue."
"It couldn't hurt, mate, he's your dad."
Ted ran his fingers over the denim covering his own knee. He had dreamed about spending full moon with his father on numerous occasions, wondered how it would feel to be understood, how, as a werewolf, his father would respond to him. And now he had a chance to find out.
"I'll keep thinking about it."
Jamie gave his arm a squeeze before standing and leaving the room.
Teddy waited until the house fell into silence again. He could hear through the walls, the low voices of James, Lily, Sirius, and of course, Remus Lupin. Sighing, he stood up and slipped out the front door, stealing a coat off the rack as he went.
Breathing deeply, he took a moment to pinpoint all the different scents, each kind of tree, every bird, small animal and human in the area. His senses were at their best the evening of the full moon. He could still remember being eight years old, his keening senses driving him wild as he sat inside on full moon. Harry's face, concern and curiosity. Then his godfather had handed him a light jacket and the pair had slipped into the summer night.
That was his first true experience of the wonder. The mesmerizing glow of the moon, the way the shadows seemed to come alive, his nostrils filled with so many new, exciting scents. All night, his godfather had wandered aimlessly across the estate with him, indulging him in brief pauses to simply stare at the radiating light above.
He knew his grandmother was slightly fearful of his burgeoning abilities. After all, Ted was progressing very differently than the few other children with similar bloodlines. His Gran feared the power of the moon would overcome the innocence in him, alter his personality, his light as she liked to call it.
Darkness had fallen across the woods now. The full moon was high and he could literally sense the presence of another creature, of his father. He had encountered his share of werewolves as an Auror, but only on a few occasions had he actually thrust himself into the same surroundings as one for purely curiosity's sake. It was an interesting experience. Sharing space with a creature like that, Wolfsbane or not. Without the potion in their systems, they tended to be violent, picking fights with other animals. Those with the potion, of course, were demure, behaving like the person within.
Teddy shrugged off his coat and boots; they never handled the transformation well. He breathed in deeply, imagining his thick coat surrounding him, his claws retracting, snout growing. Transformed as a wolf, he felt more himself. He sniffed the air, finding the direction his father and friends were before setting off at a trot. His whole life he had been waiting for this, this fleeting dream that seemed forever out of reach, a complete impossibility.
They were at least five kilometers from Godric's Hallow. There, racing in a formation of some sloppy invention, was a stag, a large dog, and a growling werewolf. As Ted moved closer, he saw Lupin trying to nip at Sirius. The animagus was humoring him, growling and snapping playfully. What a sight.
Suddenly the werewolf froze, nose in the air. Teddy felt his paws sink further in the snow, his claws clenching as he bared down, instincts preparing him for the now advancing beast.
The attack was not violent. No, it was downright playful. The bites were hardly painful, only one actually drawing blood. They carried on, exchanging growls and snaps, pinning one another into the snowy banks.
He could sense James and Sirius following closer, the latter trying to invade the party on multiple occasions. Ted freely stepped aside, but his father would have none of it. He wanted to continue his sparring. It was as if the werewolf could sense who he was. Would Remus remember this when he woke up? It was common for them to remember flashes of their nights transformed, but not guaranteed.
Suddenly Teddy felt himself being tackling into a nearby tree. He whined, his spine taking most of the blow. Gathering himself, he realized it had been Sirius. The dog was now trying to push the werewolf away, leaving James to try and coax Ted away, antlers bowed down in defense. They were protecting Remus. Ted had to slip past the stag, taking off at a full sprint. His father followed immediately, the pair of wolves able to move much faster than the other two animagi.
They chased for a long time, hours perhaps, Ted wasn't sure. They fought with joy and the werewolf was behaving more like a fellow wolf, an animal of a normal caliber, able to sense the presence of his own young. Finally they came to rest in the shadows of the woods.
He curled up first, at the base of tree, tired from the activity. The sun would rise soon, he could feel it. Still panting from the run, his werewolf of a father made himself comfortable just a few feet away. Ted glanced up only when heard the footfalls of James and Sirius a short time later. After that, he kept his eyes on his father who refused to move, matching the yellow eyed gaze.
During his Auror training, he had witnessed the beginning and end transformations of werewolves several times. But they were not his father. He didn't watch fur fade away into scarred skin, yellow eyes melt to the same amber he saw in the mirror. Or screams that sounded like something from his childhood nightmares.
James reverted to human form and went to his friend's side. Sirius, however, remained a dog, standing in front of the pair, watching Teddy with jowls bared. Right, Ted was still the mysterious wolf who took a liking to them.
"He stay with us all night?"
James nodded wearily, helping Remus to his feet. "Yeah, it was strange...you and him played, actually played like a couple of puppies."
Teddy did not move, just lazily watched them, eyes following their movements.
"We'll let Sirius keep an eye on him. Let's get you back to the house."
Teddy did not follow them.
His body hurt, as always. They were barely through the door when Lily had him ushered into a chair, a cup of hot chocolate in his hands. That woman. He didn't deserve her friendship. He didn't deserve any of them.
It took him a few moments to realize Harry was sitting on the couch. He was pale, deathly pale, as he smiled grimly. "Welcome to land of the humans, Moony," he joked, his voice revealing further just how tired he was.
"Thank you," he muttered, draining his mug of chocolate.
James was standing by the windows, Sirius at his side. They both had their arms crossed, gazing out with guarded expressions. Al and Jamie took immediate notice. "What is it?"
"This wolf followed us all night. He's in the yard now."
Al moved over to them and chuckled. "That's just Teddy. Not surprised he was with you lot last night."
Remus frowned. "Why?"
But no one responded to his question. Jamie was holding open the door for the wolf, now identified as Teddy. He had managed to grip a pair of boots and the sleeve of a coat in his mouth. Entering the house, he trotted to the fireplace and deposited his items before transforming into the familiar man.
"You're awake." He was at Harry's side instantly.
"And I'm fine. Woke up not too long after you left the house probably. Just needed some good sleep. I hear you were having fun."
Teddy smiled bashfully, looking over at Remus. "Sorry about crashing your party last night." He sat down beside his godfather, thanking Lily as she handed him his own mug.
Sirius fell into his usual armchair. "Why did you?"
"Never sleep the night of full moon. Too much energy."
"Way too much energy. Which meant no one else slept when he was a kid." Harry added dryly.
Lupin felt his curiosity increase. Ted seemed to give him more questions the longer he was around. "Do you know why?"
"Oh, yeah, it's because I'm half werewolf. My father," he added for clarity.
Lily took note of her friend's sudden despair and plucked the empty mug from Remus's hands before he could drop it.
"I-I'm sorry, but your father is a werewolf?"
Ted was having a silent conversation with Harry it seemed, the two of them exchanging looks. Finally the younger man sighed, forcing a smile. "You know how I'm a metamorphamagus?"
Everyone nodded, murmuring in assent.
"Well, it's sort of habit for me not to look like...myself. Let me show you." Scrunching up his face, the black hair lightened, the curve of his jaw shifted, his nose reshaped and once he opened his eyes, he revealed painfully familiar caramel eyes.
Sirius had a more colorful reaction, while Lily simply sat with a hand clamped over her mouth.
Remus felt his entire body quiver, throat dry and his mind blank. This man...Teddy...was his son? Was that what he was saying? How could he, Remus Lupin, werewolf, have fathered a child? And a moderately normal one at that. He leaned back in the chair, fighting a grip on reality. All the while, maintaining eye contact with Ted, his son.
When he had seen his godfather, his first feeling was relief, relief that he was alive, that he was sitting up. But then Teddy noticed the pale complexion, the tired eyes. His illness was fighting him, and Harry was not winning. They really needed to get home.
He sat down beside Harry, trying to appraise his health, while still being light hearted. The night prior had filled him with so much joy, so much...content. He had so many questions finally answered. It gave him hope. Hope that Harry would be okay. That they would return home safely, that nothing will have happened, that Victoire would hold true to her promises to never stop loving him...
"Never sleep the night of full moon. Too much energy."
It was like speaking with new friends. Fear of his father rejecting him seemed minor. He had an entire night of wrestling and new memories to fuel his emotions, his confidence. So the decision to reveal himself just sort of...happened.
Letting down his morphs, showing his true features always felt like taking off a mask. The mask was perfectly fine; he loved the mask. He never felt like he was hiding behind it, or trying to deceive others. The mask was part of who he was as a metamorphamagus, as Ted Lupin. Now, mask gone, he was still that same person. Only he was showing his heritage, showing his father's face, his father's eyes and features...
Remus - it still felt too strange to think of him as father, or even Dad; that was still Harry in his mind - could not find the words. His mouth opened and closed and then there was a nibbling feeling of fear in Ted's stomach.
You have Harry. You have Harry. You have Harry. And Ginny. And Gran. And every single Weasley relative...
It did not matter what his father thought or said; yes, it would be nice to be accepted easily and with open arms. But Ted did not need that. He didn't need his father. He had grown up just fine without him.
"You're my son."
It was not a question. More like Lupin was trying to absorb the new fact. Breathing a bit more deeply, he spoke again. "I don't want to...be rude or anything, but how?"
"Well, when a man and woman love each other..."
Teddy snorted, looking at his god-brother. Jamie winked at him, understanding the unspoken gesture.
"Harry, would you like to take that one? It's not like I was there."
His godfather smiled meekly, looking over at his former teacher. "Ted's mother was an Auror. You two met through the second Order of Phoenix."
Sirius said, "Moony, I never thought I'd see the day." He looked at Harry. "Tell me I at least lived to see that."
Harry frowned. "Not the wedding, I'm afraid. Though, I have from a reasonable source that you were their biggest cheerleader. Apparently you decided to devote yourself to putting Remus in the most uncomfortable situations, thereby forcing him to admit his feelings."
Teddy felt his lips curve into a smile; the stories never grew old for him. He kept a close tab on his father's reactions though. They varied, mostly between wonder and sheer panic.
"So, who is this girl?" James asked, his wife nodding in agreement.
"Can't tell you. But," Harry held up a finger. "I will tell you that she is distantly related to Sirius."
The future convict rolled his eyes. "That narrows it down! The Blacks are the biggest bunch of inbred...I'm technically related to half of England! Not to mention, I have metamorphamagi on several sides of the tree. Though, little Nymie is the only one alive currently, that I know of."
By some miracle, no one noticed the shared look of glee between the two Potter boys. Glad they were enjoying things.
"I think this has been exciting enough for everyone. Why don't we have some breakfast?" Lily stood, patting Remus on the shoulder. The werewolf looked shell shocked, unable to move or speak.
Teddy felt Harry's hand grip his shoulder. He turned to meet green eyes and felt worry grow at the sickly state he was in. Pushing past that, he could see exactly what was shining in his godfather's eyes.