He'd never known his parents.
Oh, he'd heard many stories about his prankster father and spunky mother, but hearing about them wasn't the same.
It was particularly difficult on holidays and birthdays. Especially today… Mother's Day.
All the students at Hogwarts had parents, it seemed. Logically, he knew he wasn't the only orphan in the school; indeed, there were many orphans from the war, but they each had someone. Whether it was a grandmother, or an aunt, an adopted mother, or a much older sister, they each had someone.
But he had no one.
He wandered the corridors of the school, avoiding his classmates, and came to the Defense classroom just as the professor stumbled out, narrowly avoiding an enraged doxie. The professor stunned the creature before it could bite either male.
"Er, hello," the professor said, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. "Care for some tea?"
"Sure," the boy replied awkwardly.
"So, what seems to be troubling you?" the man said, pouring two cups of tea.
"Nothing," the boy said morosely.
The man just gazed at him over the steaming cup of tea, before stifling a small laugh and shaking his head. "Let me tell you a story, then," he said.
Once upon a time…
"Erm… No offense, but I'm a little old for fairy tales," the boy said.
The man laughed. "This isn't a fairy tale, now hush."
There were four boys who were the best of friends. They were handsome, intelligent, and popular. They were among the top twenty students in their class… three of them in the top five. They could go anywhere in life and do anything.
The leader of their pack, let's call him Charlus, was the pampered only child of a well-respected pureblood family. He never wanted for anything. And no one refused him anything… well, except for Rose, but she isn't a part of this story.
His closest friend, Orion, was the wealthy heir of another pure-blood family, often thought to be dark. Orion had the best of everything, but he was not loved. He was simply a means to an end, the continuation of his family line.
Then there was John, the book-smart one. He was somewhat sickly, but very strong and brave. His family was poor, and could barely afford his school fees, but they got by. What they lacked in gold, they made up for with love.
The final member of the group was Timothy. He lacked the magical prowess of the others, but he made up for it with sheer sneakiness. He had an air of innocence that aided him in getting away with anything. The only child of a single mother, who believed he could do no wrong. Disliked by his cousins, for they would get the blame for his mistakes.
These four were the greatest of friends despite their differences. As long as they were together, they could face hoards of blood-sucking monsters… otherwise known as Slytherins.
But one by one they fell to either the darkness within, or the darkness without.
Timothy was the first to go. He, the weakest link, fell to the darkness of despair that ate at his soul. The evil sweeping over the land took advantage of this, and turned him using his fears against him. He made one mistake, causing the death of Orion's betrothed. He didn't mean to betray her; he was manipulated into it. With that one death, he was lost to the Dark forever.
Charlus was the next to fall. Timothy betrayed him, led the Dark to his very doorstep. The Dark laughed at this betrayal, knowing that once one was in his grasp the rest would join him or die. Charlus died, leaving only his beloved son.
Next fell Orion, first to what lay within… his despair at the death of his dearest friend drove him mad with rage. He left Charlus' son with an ally, and followed Timothy's panicked flight. Timothy, knowing he was not strong enough to survive prison for his betrayal, once again placed the blame for his mistakes on someone else's shoulders… Orion's. Orion wasted away for twelve years in hell on earth, only to find Timothy was not dead as he believed, but lived on, a silent danger to Charlus' son. Orion broke free from the chains that bound him, and ran to catch the true betrayer. He never did manage that task. Sometime after this, he fell to the Dark's greatest sorceress.
The last to fall was John. He had denied himself happiness for years, believing his illness to be an insurmountable barrier to love, only to find that one woman saw no barrier to his heart. Ten brief months of love was all they would have, though the proof of their love would live on in their son. She fell first, protecting him from the Darkness. When he turned and saw her lying in death, he allowed his grief to fill him, and fell to the Dark even as he cut down his enemy.
Two sons were all that remained of the once great friends, the boys who could do anything.
John would never know that by asking Charlus' son to be his own son's godfather, he was giving his son a godfather who would know exactly what he was feeling at times like this.
"I have been there, literally and figuratively," Harry, Professor Potter, said. "I sat in that very seat on this very holiday refusing to talk to your father about how missing a mother was bothering me." He paused here. "Remus told me that many things defined a mother. She is not just a woman who gives birth to a baby, but the woman who loves a child no matter what. The child, who stole her car, was still her child. The child, who screamed in anger at her for keeping secrets when she was trying protect him, was still loved. The child, who set fire to her favorite rug, spilt ink on her Master's thesis, ate the last of the chocolate ice cream without permission, and colored her a valentine using the nursery wall as parchment, was still HER CHILD."
Harry was leaning forward in his seat by this point. "Mum Weasley was my mother the moment she sent me my first Christmas present when I was eleven. I just didn't realize it until I was thirteen and sat in that chair, having Remus give me this talk."
"Thanks, Uncle Harry," Teddy said. "Can I borrow your fire?"
"No, but I'll take you home for the night instead," Harry offered, smiling at his godson.
"Even better," Teddy said. "I just wish I'd gotten Aunt Ginny something earlier."
Harry smiled. "The thing is, to a mother, a hug is more special than all the gifts in the world, but if it helps, we'll stop by the Greenhouse One, and pick a bouquet of flowers for her. Neville won't mind," Harry said with a wink.