A/N: I actually wrote this in the aftermath of reading "Deathly Hallows" way back when it was published, but at the time I just couldn't post it. If you've read my other HP stories – which, incidentally, are on the verge of revision – you know that Remus Lupin was my favorite character in the series. It absolutely killed me to read the end of DH just because of him and Tonks. I hope I've been able to do them justice here.
Thanks for reading and reviewing.
I don't own Harry Potter.
At the beginning of the week, Harry Potter had only ever attended one funeral, that of his beloved Headmaster. By the end of the week, he had attended twenty.
Hermione said that it was his duty to attend as many funerals as he could. He was Harry Potter, the savior of the wizarding world, and these people had lost their lives for that same cause. Didn't he owe it to their families to pay his respects?
How could he possibly argue against that?
He went to the funerals, thankful that no one asked him to speak. He sat in silence, watching as one person after another was laid to rest, thinking of the horror that had surrounded them for so long. And, when the funerals ended, he spent hours talking to the mourners, listening to their stories, holding their hands, trying to provide some comfort. He wasn't sure if he succeeded or not, but they always seemed grateful that he had been there for them.
The end of the week was the hardest. Attending Fred Weasley's funeral was the worst possible thing Harry could have imagined. He sat between Ron and Ginny, holding Ginny's hand and wish that he could do the same for Ron. He looked over, and saw Hermione's arm looped through Ron's and her fingers intertwined with his. She caught him looking at her, and gave him a sad, tearful smile. He returned it. Ron and Ginny would make it. They had Hermione and Harry to support them.
Harry had thought that with so much experience, he would be prepared for this last funeral.
He was wrong.
Remus and Tonks were buried together. Harry thought that the turnout for their funeral was rather impressive, considering that one of them was a werewolf. The entire Auror department was there, all wearing black armbands. All of the Gryffindors, most of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, and even a few of the Slytherins that Remus had taught came out for the event, most of them crying silently. Harry wanted to smile. Remus would have been so proud to know how many lives he had touched.
Harry, the closest thing to living family Remus had, sat in the front row with Andromeda and Teddy. Andromeda clutched her grandson tightly, running her hand through his pink hair. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked down at the hair color that she had seen so many times on her daughter's head. How could the baby possibly have known …?
Kingsley Shacklebolt was charged with speaking. Again, Harry was grateful that it was someone other than him. Although he could certainly have found the words to say about Remus and Tonks, he knew that actually saying them would have been quite beyond him.
"My friends, we come together today on the saddest of occasions," Kingsley said in his deep, slow voice. "We are here to bid farewell to Remus and Nymphadora Lupin, who gave their lives, quite literally, to save the world. They gave their lives so that their son could grow up in a safer, happier world. They …"
Kingsley kept talking, but Harry found that he couldn't listen. He knew that Kingsley was a good person, that he had always fought for Harry and the Order, that he had been one of Tonks's closest friends … but he couldn't listen to him talk about how wonderful Remus and Tonks had been. Harry already knew. He didn't need to have someone else tell him. He knew exactly what he had lost, exactly what poor little Teddy would never know.
The funeral ended with the burial. Again, Harry, Andromeda and Teddy were in the front row to watch as Remus and Tonks were committed to their final resting place. At last, it was done. Harry blinked back tears as he looked at the place in the ground that held his last link to his past. So completely wrapped up in the fact that his parents' last best friend had died, so completely consumed by his own grief, he was oblivious to Andromeda's renewed tears.
"Harry, take him," Andromeda said through her tears, offering Teddy to his godfather.
Harry took the baby a bit awkwardly, thinking that he'd probably be better suited to hold Andromeda's hands and give her tissues as she cried; he'd certainly had enough experience with that recently. Instead, she sobbed into her tissue alone, leaving Harry to hold little Teddy.
"Hey, little man," he said to the baby, shifting him into what he hoped was a comfortable position. He glanced at Andromeda. "What do you say we take a little walk? I think that Grandma wants to be alone right now."
He got up from his seat and carried the baby away from the gravesite, to a more secluded area. He smiled sadly at his little godson.
"So, here we are," he said. "I don't know if Grandma told you what's going on, but this is your parents' funeral. They died in battle, Teddy. They're both heroes." He drew a deep breath, trying to stop the tears that wanted to press against his eyes. "They were great people. I know you're going to spend the rest of your life hearing that, but I wanted to be the first one to tell you. You really would have loved them. I know that they loved you. They – they really wanted you. Your mum was so excited about you from the very beginning, and your dad … I've never seen him as happy as he was when he came to tell us that you had been born. All they wanted was to see you grow up." He sighed. "I'm sorry, Teddy. I'm sorry that I wasn't quick enough. If could have figured out what to do sooner, maybe they wouldn't have had to give their lives to help save the world."
The baby looked up at him with eyes that were so reminiscent of Remus that Harry was forced to swallow a sizeable lump in his throat.
"I know how you feel," he said quietly. "My parents died when I was a baby, too. They were heroes, too. And, I've spent my whole life hearing about how wonderful they were and how much they loved me. I expect you'll have to hear the same about your parents, so I won't bore you with too many details. But, if there's ever anything you want to know, any questions that you might have, you can ask me. I'll answer you as best I can." He swallowed again. "Your dad … he was my dad's best friend. He knew all about him, and I never … I regret that now. I should have asked your dad about my parents while I had the chance. Now it's too late, and I … I promise, Teddy. I'll make sure that you know everything about them that you want to know."
Teddy reached up to touch Harry's cheek with his baby hand, and Harry smiled.
"We're a lot alike, you know. I've been down the road that you're headed down. I guess you've got it better than me. Your grandma is excited to have you. My aunt wasn't excited to have me. And, you'll always have me, Teddy. I won't spend half your life locked up in prison." He paused. "I've been you, Teddy, and I know how I want your life to be better than mine. Believe me, if I have anything to say about it, it will be."
Harry looked around and saw Ginny walking toward him. He tried to smile but failed. "Hey."
She smiled sadly and touched Teddy's cheek. "Are you all right?"
"We're fine," Harry said. "We're just chatting."
"Teddy's a good conversationalist, I'm sure."
"He's good at everything," Harry said. He looked at Ginny uncertainly. He knew what he wanted from his life, but he still wasn't sure if she would understand his desires.
"You're going to be a big part of his life, Harry," she said, as if she knew what he was thinking.
He smiled. He should have known that she would understand. She always understood him. "I hope I will be," he said.
"You will," she nodded. "I know that the two of you are going to have the best of relationships, even if he doesn't live with you."
"I feel terrible about that," Harry admitted. "Remus and Tonks wanted me …"
"To be a part of his life," Ginny interrupted. "You're seventeen, Harry. They knew that you wouldn't be ready to be a dad just yet."
"You're right," Harry said a bit reluctantly.
Ginny reached up to touch his cheek. "Listen, Harry, I know that we haven't …"
Harry shook his head. "I know that we both want the same things, Ginny. We can talk about it later."
She grinned for the first time since before … everything. "You don't want to talk about our love life in front of the baby, do you?"
"Not at all," Harry smiled.
She stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. "Is that allowed?"
Harry smiled, and leaned down to kiss her lips. "Yes." He looked into her eyes. "I love you," he said softly. "You know that, don't you?"
Happy tears filled her eyes as she nodded. "I know. I love you, too."
Harry looked back at the baby. "You know, Teddy, there are some things about my life that I hope are exactly the same in yours. I hope you fall in love with someone as wonderful as Ginny."
Ginny smiled and kissed the baby's cheek. "He will," she said simply. "He's got you to help him learn how to fall in love."
Harry smiled back. "He's got me for everything."