Harry Potter was sitting in the basement that served as kitchen in Number 12 Grimmauld Place, his godfather's house and headquarters to the Order of the Phoenix. He was looking at the picture of the original Order that Mad-Eye Moody had given him. He was watching his parents, Lily and James Potter, wave at him from the photograph. How happy and young they were, Harry thought to himself as he continued to be transfixed by the image of his parents. I took life away from them while I go on living. How unfair. I should be dead and they should be here fighting Voldemort instead of me.
"They were so young and happy," Sirius Black said as if he had read his godson's thoughts. He was standing behind Harry staring, too, at the old photo.
"And it's all my fault that they're dead. That they didn't make it past their twenty-first birthdays," Harry said quietly as Sirius sat down beside him at the kitchen table.
"It is not your fault, Harry."
"Yes. Yes, it is. If I hadn't been born they wouldn't have died," Harry said somewhat hysterically.
"Even if that were true – and I'm not saying that it is – you didn't force your mother and father to die. Lily and James chose to sacrifice themselves to keep you alive."
"But if I hadn't been born they wouldn't have needed to sacrifice themselves!" Harry said emphatically and irrationally.
"But they did. They loved you more than anything in the world. James loved you even more than his ego. And that's saying a lot. And Lily. Lily loved you more than she loved making potions. And Lily loved making potions. I think it was one of her favorite pastimes," Sirius said smiling in his reminiscences of his friends. "They would do it again if they had the chance to repeat that night. I hope you know that, Harry," Sirius said looking his godson in the eyes.
"Yeah, I know that. It's just hard knowing that they died to protect me and being able to live my life with that knowledge."
"I'm sure it is. But do you want to know something else?"
"They're still alive," Sirius said seriously.
"They're alive. They live in you," Sirius said pointing to Harry's heart.
"Oh. Right," Harry said disappointedly.
"I mean it, Harry. They live in you. They live in me. They're watching over everything we see," Sirius said motioning around the kitchen. "They're everywhere. In every star and every creature. And, most importantly, in your reflection. Nowhere do they live in you more than in your reflection. With your mother's eyes and your father's face and hair, all you have to do is look in a mirror and Lily and James will be with you. Always. Remember that."
"It's not the same as them being alive, though," Harry said, not looking at Sirius.
"Lily and James may not physically be alive, Harry. But they are alive. They are alive because we keep them alive. In our hearts and in our minds. Everywhere we go we remember them. And because of that their spirits always remain. They're all around us, in everything we see, because we think of them constantly and in everything we do and everywhere we go. They live in us and for that reason they will never be truly dead."
"I have to go check on Buckbeak," Sirius said, standing up and patting Harry on the head.
Harry remained sitting at the kitchen table pondering what Sirius had said, and immediately felt within him and around him the presence of his parents. He smiled in contentment, put down the picture, and went to help Sirius feed the hippogriff he had helped to save.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
17 years later
Teddy Lupin was sitting in the kitchen of Number 12 Godric's Lane in Godric's Hollow, his godfather's house and almost permanent residence. He was looking at the picture of the second Order of the Phoenix that his grandmother Andromeda Tonks had given him. He was watching his parents, Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks, wave at him from the front row of the photograph. How happy and young they looked, especially Mom, Teddy thought to himself as he stared, transfixed, at his parents; his mother's hair changed from bubble-gum pink to turquoise as he watched. I never got to know them. How unfair that their lives were stolen from them so young.
"I bet I know what you're thinking," Harry Potter said from behind his godson. "I bet that you're thinking your parents were so young and happy in that picture and that it's so unfair that they died so young and that you never had the chance to know them." Harry sat down next to Teddy.
"How did you know?"
"Because when I was your age I was thinking the same thing about my parents. And I still think that they were too young to die. And I agree that your parents were too young and happy to die."
"But your parents had a good reason to die. They were protecting you and keeping you alive," Teddy said, looking at Harry.
"Your parents had a good reason, too. Remus and Dora died fighting for a better world. They were trying to make the world a safer place for you to grow up in. 'I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.' Those were your father's exact words that he said to me when I summoned him with the Resurrection Stone. He just wanted you to be able to live in a world where there could be peace of mind and you wouldn't have to worry about when you or someone you love might die."
"It's still not fair," Teddy said, staring at the photograph once more.
"I know it's not, Teddy. And I know it's not easy to grow up without parents. But you have something I never had."
"A loving family. You have your grandmother and you had her growing up. You have all of us and all the Weasley's. And we all love you very much. I didn't have that when I was a kid. I had the Dursley's who took me in only because Dumbledore threatened them. It was no fun growing up in that household. You're really lucky, Teddy, to have so many people around you who love and care about you."
"I guess." Teddy's bright green hair turned back to its natural brown as he pouted and moped.
"Yes you are, Teddy. I hope you know that."
"Yeah, I do. It's just hard knowing that they died trying to make the world a safer place for me and having to live with that knowledge."
"I know that. But I know something else, too. And it's something that my godfather told me."
"They're still alive," Harry said smiling.
"What?" Teddy's hair turned electric blue.
"They're still alive. They live in you," Harry said, pointing to Teddy's heart.
"Oh." Blue hair turned back to brown.
"I'm serious, Teddy." Harry chuckled at the unintentional pun. "They live in me. They live in you. They're watching over everything we see. They're everywhere. In every creature and every star. In your reflection. They are no where more than in your reflection. Every time you change your hair color or the shape of your nose your mother comes back to life. She loved changing her appearance and Ginny loved laughing at the changes. Every time you see your eyes your father comes back life. All you have to do is look in a mirror and Remus and Dora will be with you. Always remember that," Harry said.
"It's not the same, though," Teddy protested.
"Remus and Dora may not be physically alive, but they are alive, Teddy. They're alive because we keep them alive. In our hearts and our minds. Everywhere we go we remember them and because we remember them they're spirits remain. They're all around us, in everything we see and everything we do, because we think of them constantly. They live in us and for that reason they will never be truly dead."
"I have to go to the Ministry but think about what I said. Ginny and the kids would love it if you stayed for dinner. So I will see you when I get back. And I want to see a smile on your face," Harry said, standing up and patting Teddy on the head.
Teddy remained sitting at the kitchen table pondering what Harry had said. And, as he changed his hair to a violent shade of orange, he immediately felt his mother's presence within him and around him. He smiled in contentment, put down the picture, and went upstairs to cause mischief with James and Albus.