A/N: So...finished listening to the Deathly Hallows audiobook today. Got a bit emotional and wrote this. Hope you like it - let me know what you think! =]
Harry didn't know what to do with him.
Andromeda watched him, a hint of amusement on her face, as he cradled Teddy awkwardly in his arms. Ron, next to him on the sofa, was looking pale, his back pressed against the cushions, as though he didn't want to get close to the baby. Hermione, on the other hand, was cooing over him, allowing his tiny little fingers to close around one of her own, her eyes shining with wonder.
"I can't say I was surprised when Dora told me they'd made you godfather," said Andromeda, "But you are very young to have such a responsibility."
Harry laughed. After the last year, after his entire life up until two days ago, he'd had the biggest responsibility in the world. He'd have swapped it for being a godfather any day of the week.
Though he had to admit, the thought of fighting a basilisk, or breaking into Gringotts seemed much less scary than the prospect of being a carer to this tiny baby, a role model. Harry was terrified of breaking him, and eventually, after enough time had passed for it not to seem like he was palming him off, he handed Teddy over to Hermione.
She was much more natural, but, and he knew she might hit him if he said it aloud, girls always were better at baby stuff. He glanced sidelong at Ron, who was watching her with a great deal of trepidation, and smirked at him.
"I think," Andromeda said, "that you should see him at least once a month, if only for an hour or so. He has no father figure after all, and it's not going to eat into your life too much like that."
Harry frowned. "You think I wouldn't want to see him any more than that?" and the only reason the heat was absent from his tone was because of Teddy's presence. He would not argue in front of him.
"You are young, you have a life to live," Andromeda said plainly, her expression slightly haughty.
"Yeah, and I also made a promise to Remus when I agreed to be Teddy's godfather," he said, and there was an edge to his voice now. Andromeda raised an eyebrow. "He's my godson. And I won't see him based on a timetable. There will never be a day when I don't have time for him. His mother and father were my friends, and I owe it to them, and to him, to be the best damn godfather the world has ever seen."
He took Teddy back from Hermione, and this time it was easier to hold him, he was more confident, felt more at ease with the little miracle in his arms. His nose twitched, as though he wanted to sneeze, and Teddy's eyes turned into a vivid shade of emerald green.
Andromeda looked satisfied.
"Snitch," Harry repeated, letting him handle the tiny golden ball, tugging Teddy's hands away from his mouth when he tried to eat it. Ginny snorted, knelt on the floor next to him.
The broomstick had been banned from Andromeda's house. Teddy had smashed an entire case of ancient, decorative crockery, and Andromeda's fiery look had burned Harry's skin as she had pushed the broomstick into his hands.
Teddy climbed onto it, and laughed, the trips to Harry and Ginny's house made exponentially better for him since it was the only place he was able to fly. George was watching from the sofa, a shade of a smile on his face, before he took the a camera from the coffee table and snapped a photo of the three of them. Teddy paused just long enough for his image to be captured, before zooming out of the lounge and down the hallway, his shrieks of laughter filling the house. There was a crash, and Ginny chased after him.
"Is he all right?" Harry called, getting to his feet.
"Yes," she said tiredly, and she returned to the lounge, Teddy in her arms looking sheepish, the broomstick held loosely in her grasp. "The front door's not though, he's taken a great big chunk out of it!"
"Little tyke," George said, and his smile was a little more pronounced though, as he waved the polaroid in the air, waiting for it to develop. He looked down at it, his ginger eyebrows raising slightly with amusement, and handed the picture to Harry.
With a pang, he was reminded of the torn photo he had found in Sirius' bedroom. Harry looked so much like his father, and Ginny even a little like his mother, with her long red hair and pale, pretty face, that one could be forgiven for thinking it was a photo of James and Lily.
"Sitch!" Teddy called, and absentmindedly, Harry released the snitch, which fluttered around, Teddy squirming in Ginny's arms, trying to catch it.
Harry passed the photo to Ginny, knowing that if he continued to look at it he might never stop looking. He could tell by her expression that she knew what his eyes had seen, and, after smiling fondly at the picture, she set it down on the side.
"Right then mister," she said to Teddy. "Are you going to catch this snitch so we can get you to bed?"
"Not tired!" Teddy said matter of factly, his eyes bulging with honesty.
"It's getting past your bed time mate," Harry said. "Come on, get your broomstick, we'll have one last game."
Teddy pouted, folding his arms. Evidently he thought spending the night at Harry and Ginny's involved abandoning all the rules his grandmother had laid out for him, but Harry knew better than to disobey Andromeda.
"You can either have one last game," Ginny said, twisting her heard so she could meet Teddy's gaze head on. "Or no game at all. And if you're still going to make a fuss, we can always get Gran to come and put you to bed."
"One last game!" Teddy yelled trying to reach his broomstick.
Ginny knelt down, set Teddy on his feet and handed him his broom.
"That," she said, "is exactly what I thought."
Harry ran a hand through his hair, his teeth biting softly into his lip. It was times like these he was reminded just how much he loved the fiery, stubborn witch kneeling on the living room floor in front of him.
George watched, with raised eyebrows. "You're getting more and more like Mum everyday," he said.
Ginny shot him a look, and he said nothing else. She had only further proved his point.
Ginny had an odd fascination with the television. She liked watching the things muggles did for entertainment, she'd said. She liked seeing how they thought magic worked, in films and dramas.
"Don't you think it's weird," she said one evening, curled up against Harry's side, her belly swollen with their first child. "How much Abracadabra sounds like..." She didn't need to finish.
"I...I've never really thought about it," Harry said honestly. The Durselys had never permitted him to watch much television at all, and they had never even considered allowing him to attend a magic show. Harry very much doubted that they would have taken Dudley to one, no matter how hard he stamped his feet. Even something as inoffensive as pulling a rabbit from a hat was much too close for comfort.
Ginny changed the channel with the remote control, and eventually settled on a talent show.
"I'm only watching it if they're still auditioning the rubbish ones," Harry said flatly. "I can't stand -"
He needn't have finished. Ginny burst into laughter as a rotund, balding man began to rap, evidently with the sincere belief that he was doing it well.
"I love muggles," she said. "I absolutely bloody love them."
Harry tried to hold in his laughter, but was almost given a heart attack as a loud trumpeting sound echoed throughout the house, clouds of thick smoke pouring in from the hall.
Ginny sat up, hands pressed against her belly, her mouth open in shock.
Harry didn't know what to do first - the smoke? Or his heavily pregnant wife?
Deciding Ginny could wait (he had read the books - babies didn't just burst forth at the drop of a hat) he strode into the hallway, coughing a little as he tried to find the source of the smoke. He tripped on something, and once he had regained his balance, he picked it up, knowing instantly by the feel of it that it was a Decoy Detonator.
He felt his way along the wall and into the kitchen, where the smoke wasn't nearly as thick. He took a few deep, refreshing breaths, his eyes still stinging from the smoke and looked around the room.
And there Teddy was, standing on a chair, his hand reaching into the cupboard where he knew full well there was a chocolate frog. He froze, caught in the act, his eyes wide. There was a small pop, and his hair changed to a bright red colour, even brighter than Ginny's. His pyjamas were rumpled, his top twisted so the seam ran down his back, his left sleeve pulled halfway up his forearm.
"What is it?" Ginny called, and her voice sounded strained.
"Teddy," Harry said loudly, gritting his teeth. "And where did you get this?" he held up the Decoy Detonator and Teddy's eyes widened impossibly further.
"George," he said quietly.
"I'll be having words with George," Harry said, walking forward, shutting the cupboard door and lifting Teddy off of the seat, setting him down on the floor.
Teddy looked down at his feet, his fingers fiddling with each other nervously.
The words were so quiet that Harry might not have heard them, had he not been waiting for them.
"Harry!" Ginny shouted.
A wave of his wand cleared the smoke and he rushed back into the lounge. A red tinge had risen in Ginny's cheeks, and one look at her told him all he needed to know.
He would be a father before the end of the night.
"All he does is cry and poo," Teddy said, skewing his lips to one side.
"That's all you used to do," Harry told him. "But you grew up, and you do a lot more now."
"I don't remember crying and pooing."
"I remember it," Harry said. "First nappy I ever changed was yours. It was disgusting."
Teddy laughed and changed tack, still looking down at the baby that was resting in Harry's arms. "Is he..."
Harry looked up for the first time. "Is he what?"
"My godbrother?" It seemed that Teddy already knew this wasn't the case, even before he had finished asking the question, but his desire to have siblings was so great that he had said the words aloud, in the hope that Harry would disprove his doubts.
"Not officially," Harry told him. "But you're my godson, and he's my son, and I expect you to treat each other like brothers. It doesn't matter what the Ministry have got in their records. We're all one big family, all right?"
Teddy nodded, and moved closer to James.
"Can I hold him?" he asked.
"Come up and sit next to me," Harry said, nodding at the spot next to him on the sofa. "You have to be really gentle. And make sure you hold his head - his neck isn't very strong yet." He placed James in Teddy's lap carefully, watching Teddy's hands like a hawk, making sure he was following instructions. He was. To the letter. Harry felt a pang of pride.
"He feels like a bag of flour," Teddy said quietly, and, checking that James was held quite securely, he reached his hand out to touch James' face softly. James blinked, and looked at him.
"You're my brother," Teddy whispered. "I don't care what anyone else says."
They were all littered in the garden at the Burrow, Teddy at the centre, Andromeda watching him from one of the garden chairs.
"Thank you," she said to Molly, who was sitting next to her, eyes crinkled at the edges. "It would have been far too packed at my place."
Molly waved a dismissive hand. "It would have been all my lot packing it out," she said. "It's only fair to have it here."
Ginny placed a blindfold on Teddy, spun him around in circles, then directed him towards the large picture of a dragon, pinned to the fence, He stepped forward cautiously, a paper dragon tail in his hand, and reached forward, stick it on the picture.
"My turn!" yelled James, rushing forward and almost colliding with Teddy.
"All right!" Ginny said. "And then Rose, Fred, Albus and Hugo."
"Isn't Lily getting a go?" Teddy asked.
"Well I'm not sure she's big enough sweetheart," Ginny said, resting her hand on his head and brushing his fringe away from his forehead.
"Well I'll help her," Teddy offered. "It's only fair she gets a go as well."
Harry felt a tug at his heart, and glanced at Andromeda, whose face mirrored his own feelings.
Yes, Teddy Lupin had lost his family at an even younger age than Harry had, but in the years that had followed, he had gained a family far bigger than Harry had ever imagined was possible. There were at least fifty people here, to celebrate his birthday. Hagrid had made the journey from Hogwarts, Kingsley had taken time out from his duties as Minister, Luna and Neville had also put in appearances, all of the Weasley family, and the numerous children that had sprung up in the last few years.
He watched as Teddy lifted Lily carefully, holding her at the right height for her to pin the tail on the dragon. He took a few shuffling steps forward and she held out the tail in her puffy little hands, the blindfold slightly loose around her small head. With a great deal of precision, which came mostly from Teddy, Lily attached the tail to the picture and Teddy set her down on the grass once more. She shook her head, her bright red hair bobbing, and Ginny removed the blindfold from her.
"Oh wow!" Teddy said, pretending to be shocked. "You've won, Lily!"
She clapped her hands happily and Teddy grinned at her, while Albus looked a little sour. Harry gave him a look and he skulked off to find Fred, who, like his namesake, was always happy to entertain.
"It's going to be strange when he leaves," Harry said quietly, taking a seat next to Andromeda. "It's all gone by way too soon."
She smiled, and there was a hint of sadness in her expression. "It always does."
Molly leaned forward, her hand resting on Andromeda's forearm. "Shall we go and fetch the cake? Before they fill up on Fizzing Whizbees?"
"I think that would be wise," Andromeda replied, getting to her feet and brushing the creases from the skirt of her dress. She followed Molly inside, and the two women re-emerged a moment later, with an oval shaped birthday cake laden with bright green and white icing, decorated to resemble a quidditch pitch. There were even three goal posts at each end, and between them, eleven candles burned brightly, glowing in the darkening evening.
They broke into song, Teddy at the centre of the garden, his eyes wide with pleasure as he took in the sight of his cake.
Yes, Harry thought. It was going to be very strange indeed when Teddy left.
He hadn't been there for years.
Smoke billowed from the scarlet steam engine, and students and parents milled about, hugging and kissing, and saying their goodbyes, or else loading trunks and owls and disgruntled cats in cages onto the train.
Teddy was sticking close to Harry, clinging to his arm.
"Gran, what house d'you think I'll be in?"
Andromeda looked down at him. "Whichever suits you best."
"Yes," Teddy said obviously, "But which d'you think suits me best?"
"Don't worry, Teddy," Ginny said kindly. "We'll all be proud of you no matter what house you're in."
"I don't want to be in Slytherin," he said strongly. Andromeda shot him a look but he didn't notice. "I'd like to be in Gryffindor, like my Dad was, like you two were," he looked up at Harry and Ginny, his eyes blue and full of worry today.
"Well," Harry said, crouching down so he could meet his eye. "In that case, you're going to have to be brave about all of this. You'll be fine when you get there, you'll make tonnes of friends. And Neville will be teaching you Herbology, and Hagrid will be there as well..."
Teddy nodded, and he seemed to compose himself. His eyes fixed on the clock. It was three minutes to eleven.
"Let's get your trunk on," Harry said, and with a flick of his wand, Teddy's trunk was levitated onto the train and into one of the empty compartments. Ginny handed Teddy his owl cage and bent down to kiss him on top of his head.
"Write to us as soon as you get the chance," she said. "We want to hear about everything." There was an edge of nostalgia and longing in her voice, and Harry knew the feeling only too well.
Teddy turned to Andromeda, allowed her to hug him, and wish him luck, before, at last, he faced Harry.
"You'll be fine," Harry said.
"D'you think they'll say anything," Teddy asked quietly, "about Dad?"
"Your father died fighting for a better world. If anybody says a word against him, you tell me and I'll deal with it," his voice had come out a lot darker than he had intended, but perhaps the mere thought of anybody insulting the memory of one of his dearest friends...
Teddy looked a lot happier. He had, apparently, been worrying that wizarding prejudices would pass onto him, the son of a werewolf.
"To be honest mate, I'm not sure anyone will really know," Harry added, his voice level once more, "But don't get in any duels over it. That's just a recipe for disaster."
Teddy nodded, fiddling with the hem of his shirt.
The train whistle blew, and Harry pulled him into a hug, squeezing him tight, before he, Ginny and Andromeda said their final goodbyes. He climbed onto the train, stumbling, as his eyes were focused not on his route, but the family he was leaving behind. Harry felt his throat constrict a little, as he remembered that first day when he had been so lost, so confused, and so scared.
That had been the day he'd met Ron and Hermione, and with that in mind, he knew Teddy was going to be just fine.