A/N: The very last chapter. I can't believe it's here! I just want to say thanks to all you wonderful, wonderful people who have stuck with me for so long! It took a year, but I'm finally finished! With this story, anyway. If you're interested in more, though, see the Author's note at the end.
I hope this is a good ending!
It seemed like one of those rare golden moments when the rapid movement of time had paused, just for a little bit, enough to admire the perfection of that second. A peaceful hush lay over the bedroom. Warm sunlight crept around the curtains and filled the room with a dim glow. The house creaked pleasantly around them, the clock on the dresser ticked softly.
Teddy scarcely breathed, afraid that if he moved, the moment would burst like a soap bubble and drop them back into the speeding current of time. His eyes drifted from his wife, wrapped in the quilt on their bed, long, strawberry-blond hair spilling down her back and over her face, fluttering as she sighed in her sleep, to the little green bundle in the cradle beside her.
He marveled at this scene, unable to believe that it was really here and that he was a part of it. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation talking, but he rather thought he could live in this moment forever.
But time would never allow that.
The door opened quietly behind Teddy and he looked around. Harry slid into the room as silently as ever, smiling ruefully as if he knew what he'd interrupted.
"Thought I'd come say goodbye," he breathed.
"You're going?" Teddy breathed back, jumping up from the chair he'd been sprawled in, a sudden, unexplainable panic rising in him.
Harry put a calming hand on his shoulder, though chuckling silently.
"Someone's got to go to work, Ted. You'll be fine. Fleur and Ginny and Lily'll still be here."
Teddy nodded, swallowing as he looked back down at the little green bundle. Harry fallowed his gaze. Perhaps sensing the audience, the baby squirmed, blue eyes blinking open, and began to snuffle and fuss. Laughing a bit more at the deer-in-the-headlights expression on his godson's face, Harry scooped the baby up himself.
'Now, now. Best not to wake your mummy just yet," he murmured, looking down into the scrunched up little face. "Merlin, can't believe it's been sixteen years since I had one of these. And I really can't believe it's been twenty-six years since I held you like this," he added, grinning over at Teddy.
Teddy shrugged, edging nearer to watch the baby drifting off to sleep again.
"So I guess it'll feel like a blink before I'm saying that to him," he mumbled, unable to fathom that tiny thing being as big as him with a baby of his own.
Harry laughed softly again. "Feels like it once you're there, but really it's a whole lifetime away."
"Thank Merlin," Teddy whispered, stroking his son's tiny forehead with his pinky.
"Decided on a name yet?" Harry murmured.
"No," Teddy admitted. "Should get on that, shouldn't we? Can't believe no one told us he'd need one of those when he finally got here."
Harry laughed. There was a rustle of quilts from the bed as Victoire stirred. Lest he wake his niece from what was likely to be her only sound sleep for months, Harry carefully returned the baby to his cradle and slipped out of the room, Teddy on his heels.
"Not Remus then?" Harry asked, continuing their conversation out in the hall where they didn't have to whisper.
Teddy sank down onto the top step and looked up at Harry. "We talked about it. But, being named after a grandfather I never met myself, I dunno if I want to continue the pattern. It's a lot to live up to you know. Besides, someone ought to start being original around here or we'll be cycling through the same old names for generations. It will get quite confusing."
"I guess that's true," Harry agreed, chuckling some more as he sat down beside Teddy.
"We've decided on something else though," Teddy told him brightly.
"Who the godfather should be."
"Well, that's nearly more important than a name," Harry smiled. "Who've you settled on?"
"James," Teddy told him, grinning. "Thought it was fitting. And since he was actually here when the kid was born instead of off in Ireland snogging his girlfriend like someone else in the running –"
"To be fair, Rob did seem sincerely heart-broken this morning when he heard he'd missed it," Harry pointed out in Teddy's best friend's defense.
Teddy waved away his point. "Either way, he missed out. Besides, James could do with some responsibility. Maybe it'll settle him down."
"Don't count on it," Harry grinned. "Well, James'll be over the moon about it when he finds out."
He checked the time on his watch and started.
"I'd better get going, Ted. Can't have the head running late."
He clapped Teddy on the shoulder and made to head down the stairs, but Teddy grabbed his wrist.
"Do you have to go? I mean, you practically just got your first grandchild last night."
"I'll be back after work," Harry assured him, forcibly reminded of the five-year-old he'd dropped off at primary school who wouldn't let go of his hand for anything. "You don't want the house too full of people now."
Teddy reluctantly let his hand fall back to his side, nodding glumly.
Harry debated for a second, glancing down at his watch again. But then, with a nostalgic sigh, sank back down beside his godson.
"What's up, Teddy?"
"Alright, then I guess I'd better get going…"
"How do you do it?" Teddy blurted out.
Harry sat back down and took in his godson's wild-eyed expression with sympathy and amusement.
"Raise a kid! Be a father! I mean, I used to think it was simple. You change nappies and make hot chocolate and read bedtime stories and resist puppy-dog eyes and just be around, but then I look at that little thing in there and his whole life is in my hands! There's nothing simple about it! And I've got no idea what to do!"
Teddy flopped back on the hall carpet and stared desperately up at Harry.
"Welcome to parenting," Harry told him, clapping him on the shoulder. "You're officially part of the club now, so I can let you in on a secret your gran – believe it or not – told me when you were a baby. None of us have any idea what we're doing. The best you can do is change nappies and make hot chocolate and read bedtime stories and resist puppy-dog eyes and just be around, and then figure everything else out as you go."
Teddy continued to stare up at Harry.
"That's the best you've got? I've got a seven pound bundle of life in there who's entire future hinges on my actions and the best you can do is tell me to figure it out as I go?"
"It worked for me, didn't it?" Harry laughed. "You think I knew what I was doing with you or the little'ens?"
He still called James, Albus, and Lily the 'little'ens' despite the fact that both his sons were out of school.
"You always seemed to know from my point of view," Teddy told him and this made Harry laugh again.
"Remember the time you destroyed my office with your first bit of accidental magic? You hid in the closet on me and nearly gave me a heart attack. Think I knew what I was doing then? Or when you were a teenager and we got into that big row over your parents? Did I seem very all-knowing in that moment? Or how about when the first time I took you flying and just about gave you a crippling phobia of heights? There were plenty of times I was just blundering through it all. But that's the wonderful thing about kids. They automatically assume you know what you're doing."
"So you're telling me it doesn't matter if I screw up because my son won't know it?"
"I'm telling you not to worry about it yet. You handle one thing at a time. Focus on changing nappies and stealing catnaps right now and the rest when it comes."
Teddy looked only slightly reassured.
"Well, I've really got to go now, Ted," Harry said, looking guiltily at the time again. "I'll see you later. Good luck, mate."
He squeezed his shoulder reassuringly before getting to his feet and finally making it down the stairs. Teddy watched him go. Then he got up and slipped quietly back into the bedroom. That golden bubble was still waiting for him, his wife fast asleep and his son bundled in the cradle beside her.
He thought about falling back into his chair and rejoining that moment as if it had never been interrupted. But it had, so instead Teddy carefully picked up his son and gazed down at him, barely breathing. And no matter what Harry said, he thought he'd be lucky to be half the father Harry had been to him.
The baby snuffled and stirred in his sleep, nestling against Teddy. And he realized that the world had changed without him even noticing. Somehow it's center had shifted to the little thing in his arms.
A/N: Wow. It's really over. More than a year of work finally completed! I'm on such a sense-of-completion high! It's been a wonderful ride! But anyway, I said something about the story not being over. Well… confession time. Some of you might already know this, but I'm not really Bookworm1256! *Looks around furtively* Sorry about the deception. When I started writing this I didn't have my own profile, so my awesome cousin let me post this on hers! We co-author some stuff. But now I have my own profile and I've started another post-DH story. It's called snapshots and it's a lot like this story except not specifically Teddy and Harry. So if you liked this maybe you'll like that too, and some of my runoff ideas that didn't end up in this story will probably find their way into that one. If you want, I'd love it if you checked that out too! :)
But anyway, I've had so much fun writing this, but now I must say could bye and click the little 'complete' bubble. Thanks you all so much again! And don't forget to leave me one more review to tell me what you thought! Thanks so much!