Sometimes, Remus wished that he had died in the Battle of Hogwarts, too.
Most of the time, of course, he was grateful that he could see his son growing up, savouring every moment with Teddy and trying hard to replace his mother, but sometimes he was unable to cope with raising a child on his own and in these times he missed the woman in his life deeply. Even though Dora had nearly dropped Teddy several times she would have been a great mother. Remus had noticed that during the few days they had spent together with their son.
But now Dora was dead like everyone else in his life; Sirius, James, Lily and countless other names who had waited for him to join them for so many years now.
Teddy was too young to actually care or even realise that his mother was not there anymore, still being the cheerful child Remus loved to have around. It was thanks to Andromeda that Teddy learned what motherly love was like – although nobody could ever replace Nymphadora Tonks, not just in her motherliness but in all her uniqueness.
Months had passed and Remus still felt a stinging pain in his chest when he thought about her, actually being afraid that he someday would feel nothing more than numbness. It was not healthy to live in Dora's old room in Andromeda's house but Remus cherished the pain like he had cherished the love he received from her because it was one of the few things he had left from his wife.
Living with Andromeda was also the best thing for Teddy. Remus was able to work while Andromeda watched over Teddy, and the Galleons he brought back home were ensuring that Teddy had good prospects. He did not want his son wearing old, patched-up clothes when he would attend Hogwarts. But without the family fortune of Andromeda, Teddy would have no other choice and that was only one reason for Remus' bad conscience.
He felt like he was nothing more than a cadger.
Sighing, Remus examined the hole in the sock that was so tiny one could hardly imagine that a human foot should wear it. Teddy next to him chuckled, almost making Remus think he had to cope with a cheeky devil, and who knew, maybe Teddy had ruined his new socks on purpose. It was more likely that he could not yet handle his Metamorphmagus ability.
"Or you're growing too fast," Remus said and sat down on the couch in the living room. Teddy made a burbling noise before he started to slide over the carpet on his butt, circumnavigating the coffee table over and over again.
"Nobody will notice if I patch your sock, I guess… I can't afford to buy you new socks after we just bought all your winter clothes," Remus mumbled, not expecting to hear more than some undefined noises from his son. "But don't you tell that your grandmother, Teddy." He pulled out his wand and magically patched the sock. Teddy finished his fourth round around the table when Remus grabbed him and lifted him up on his lap, pulling the sock back over Teddy's foot.
"There you are. Now go back to your business, Teddy." Remus sat Teddy back to the ground and smiled as Teddy immediately went back to circling around the table, spurred on by Remus' encouraging applause whenever he finished a round. Remus was slightly worried that he would have trouble finding Teddy when he learned that he could be way faster when he used his feet.
There was a knock on the door. Remus did not expect anyone and as he did not hear another knock he thought he had just misheard the noise. Apparently, he still had a sharp ear because shortly afterwards the doorbell rang and made Teddy freeze before he started crying. The visitor kept ringing the doorbell.
"Coming!" Remus pulled Teddy into his arms and hurried to the door, opening it before he started to calmingly rub Teddy's back. The big tears that streamed over the red baby face shocked the visitor nearly as much as Remus was by the sight of Draco Malfoy standing in his doorframe. "Draco…" Remus was able to ignore Teddy's screams while Draco stepped backwards and stared at the baby like he never saw one before. "What a plea… uhm, what a surprise."
Draco swung his gaze back to Remus, apparently not able to focus his attention on both Teddy and Remus. "Hello," he said, looking back at Teddy and listening to the sobs. "Did I…"
"Oh, Teddy has his own little war with the bell," Remus said, smiling. "He'll stop in a second. Won't you come in and wait? The wind is too cold for Teddy."
Draco nodded choppily and stepped in before Remus could motion him to do so. Closing the door behind his former student, Remus rocked Teddy slightly and muttered comforting words to his son. Draco had found the way into the living room on his own and sat in the armchair near the fireplace, waiting for Remus to enter the room. He did not seem too happy with the sight of Teddy, who had buried his face in Remus' robe after he had stopped crying.
"So, this is your son?" Draco asked but he did not even glance at Teddy anymore, examining his environment instead, not seeming too fond of it.
"Yes, this is Teddy," Remus said proudly, sitting down onto the couch and continuing to rock Teddy back and forth. "Did you come to visit your cousin?"
Draco looked at him, seeming disgusted for a moment but forcing himself to smile. "Well, something similar," he said, leastwise being honest. "Is my aunt at home?"
"Andromeda is shopping," Remus replied. "She'll be back any second. May I offer you tea?"
Draco nodded, gesturing at Remus like he was his house-elf. Shaking his head disapprovingly, Remus sat Teddy back on the carpet and stood up. Teddy turned around to look at his unknown cousin out of his big eyes but did not receive a look in return. Draco rather focused his gaze on the pictures on the chimneypiece, not showing the slightest interest in Teddy, who seemed to be mesmerised by the white-blond hair. Remus tried not so smile as he watched the colour in Teddy's hair slowly vanishing.
Wondering what Draco Malfoy might want from Andromeda, Remus walked into the kitchen. After the War, the Malfoys had not been sent to Azkaban – except Lucius Malfoy, but that was more because of his former escape and the remaining prison sentence. Draco's father was not imprisoned for long, so maybe that was why he was here to talk to Andromeda. Although Remus doubted that Andromeda would join a welcoming party for Lucius Malfoy.
Remus nearly dropped the tray with the cups of tea as he walked back into the living room and found Draco with his knees pulled to his chest, so that he could bring his feet in safety before Teddy touched them. Still, Teddy's fingertips brushed the toe of Draco's right shoe.
"What are you doing?" Remus asked, before biting hard on his lip to prevent himself from laughing at the pale faced wizard, who actually seemed to be scared by Teddy.
"Would you just take that thing away from me?" Draco hissed, scowling at Remus who took his time to place the tray on the coffee table before he lifted Teddy off the ground.
"You don't need to be afraid. He only bites when you put your finger in his mouth," Remus said, amused and barely able to hide the quirk of his lips.
"I am inot/i afraid," Draco huffed. "I can see that you're smiling, Lupin. Stop that. Not everybody is as fond of children as you are."
Remus raised a hand in defence after letting Teddy down. His son promptly crawled back to Draco, snuggling to his leg like a cat. This sight plus Draco's expression made Remus laugh harder than he had in months.
Draco snorted, eventually accepting Teddy's cheek rubbing over his calf while trying to ignore it, but Remus could not ignore how endearingly adorable that picture looked. He wished he could take a photo of them.
"So, what do you want from Andromeda?" Remus asked as he calmed down, tears of laughter still prickling in his eyes he handed out a cup of tea to Draco.
Clearing his throat, Draco said: "Christmas is almost here. I'd really like to see Andromeda…" He paused, eyes darting down to Teddy. "I'd really like to see the three of you joining us. A family event."
Remus frowned at him. "Oh, well… That comes rather unexpectedly."
Draco sipped his tea, making it quite obvious that he did not intend to say anything more.
"Actually…" Remus scratched the back of his head. "We thought about celebrating with the Weasleys. Harry will be there and he's Teddy's godfather."
"Well, you have other plans now," Draco said, licking his lips and continuing in a conversational tone: "This is better than I thought. A little sugary, maybe…"
Remus opened his mouth to respond when he heard the door. "You should probably just ask Andromeda herself."
Draco's cold grey eyes seemed to pierce Remus. "Are you going to deny that your son – my cousin – has already grown fond of me? I bet he would love to sit on my lap when he gets a present that is bigger than him." He put his cup on the table, turning to face Andromeda. "Hello."
"Oh…" Unwrapping her scarf from her throat, Andromeda looked back and forth between them before she focused on Remus. "Did you let him in?"
"No, Ted let me in," Draco interrupted sarcastically. "Nice to see you again, too, Aunt Andromeda. It's been a few months."
"What do you want, Draco?" Andromeda asked with a sigh. She raised her eyebrows as she noticed Teddy clinging to her nephew's leg, but did not say anything which did not keep Draco from blushing slightly.
"Inviting you and my cousin for Christmas," Draco said, reaching out a hand and gulping hard before he touched the shock of pale-blond hair Teddy had finally achieved. Teddy smiled widely as Draco patted his head clumsily. "And Lu– I mean, Remus, of course."
"For Christmas?" Andromeda sat down next to Remus, warily eyeing him. "Was that your idea, Remus? I already told you that I am not interested in a family reunion. You can take Teddy to the Weasleys, although I don't want to go there. He's your son. You don't need to punish me for refusing a great celebration with lots of redheads. All I get from that is a headache… And anyway, isn't Harry still in Australia searching for these Muggles?"
"Hermione's parents, yes. But… Uhm…" Remus smiled and nodded, ignoring Andromeda's annoyed snort and shifting his gaze to Draco who looked ostensibly calm and amicable at Teddy. "You know, I think it's a nice idea, especially if the Weasleys are too loud for you. We could strengthen the family –"
Andromeda cut him short: "I don't want to strengthen the family ties!"
"It seems Teddy wants to," Remus said cautiously. "Don't disappoint him, Andromeda."
"You think he'll be disappointed?" Andromeda shook her head, the brown hair slightly wet from the melting snow. "I think that he'll forget about Draco as fast as he forgot about his stuffed duck that is now lying in the corner." She pointed at said stuffed animal that used to be Teddy's favourite.
Remus rubbed his temple. "Well, like you said, he's my son, and I want him to stay in contact with his cousin." Not that he had really thought about Draco Malfoy as his son's cousin before today, but he did not want to make it even harder for Draco. Maybe he just wanted a second chance and everybody deserved one, so Remus would never reject him.
Draco was eighteen and the War had changed him, too. He looked more mature and still a little too thin, but although he had not regained all the weight he probably lost during the War, he was still a handsome young man. And above all Remus had not forgotten that Draco had the potential to be a great man and Remus already felt the teacher in him coming out of hibernation.
Andromeda sighed. "Well, if you think that it's a good idea. But I won't let you go there alone. With or without Lucius, Malfoys are –"
"Owie! He bit me!" Draco stared in shock at Teddy while rubbing his index finger frantically.
Remus laughed, receiving a puzzled look from Andromeda and a scowl from Draco. "I told you not to put your finger into his mouth."
"I didn't put anything in there. He just bit me!" Draco stood up and backed away from Teddy, who chuckled gurgling. "I hope it hurt to get those murder weapons, Ted." Although this dramatic comment made even Andromeda smile slightly, Draco seemed embarrassed when he noticed that he had talked to a baby. Smoothing his robes, he turned around and already wore a blank expression again. "So, I expect you on Christmas for dinner." He nodded at his aunt. "Andromeda." Then looked to Teddy. "Ted."
Remus stood up smiling. "I'll see you to the door," he said and placed a hand on Draco's shoulder, regretting his gesture as Draco flinched away.
Draco carried it off very well, nodding but increasing the distance from Remus as he followed him out of the living room.
"It was a rather pleasant surprise to see you again, Draco," Remus said as he opened the door.
"Yes. I'm looking forward to welcoming you to my house." Draco did not sound like he was truthful about it. He took Remus' outstretched hand and shook it, not exerting much pressure. "Have a nice day, Remus." Turning on the spot, Draco stepped out and Disapparated as soon as he had closed the garden gate behind him.