4 April 1998
Remus sat up straighter at the table as the kitchen door swung open and Dora appeared, almost balancing a tea tray on her huge belly and looking very morose. Her sweet, usually happy face was pale, and Remus thought he could see a few tear tracks on her cheeks.
"She won't eat," Dora said in a broken voice, not looking at him as she set the tea service on the counter. "It's been more than a week, and she just—she won't say anything. She's just lying there, I can't get her to even move—"
Remus leapt to his feet and came up behind Dora, putting his arms around her. As he kissed her neck, he felt hot tears sting his eyes. Dora drew a shuddering breath, trying to collect herself. She put her hands over his and pulled them onto her belly. For a few moments, Remus just closed his eyes and timed his breathing with hers, feeling the baby move beneath his fingers.
"We'll try again later," he murmured in her ear, and Dora nodded. "She's going to be all right, I know she is. Andromeda's tough."
"Right," Dora said, nodding and wiping her tears away. She turned around, resting her back against the counter and trying to smile for him. Remus looked down at her enormous belly between them, and laid his hands on it again.
He looked up.
"If it's a boy…can we—can we call him—?" Dora began, her chin trembling as fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.
"Of course we can," Remus answered, as pain for her filled his chest. "Of course. Ted is a wonderful name."
With a great sob, Dora threw her arms around his neck, crying into his shoulder. Remus held her tight, pressing a kiss into her hair, running his hands over her back in soothing circles. After several minutes, Dora pulled away.
"My back," she said with a small laugh, reaching behind to massage the painful spot. "Sorry," she said with another watery chuckle, wiping her tears away.
Remus smiled, tucking a stray strand of her light brown hair behind her ear; Metamorphosing was hard on her while she was this pregnant, and as a result, her hair had been its natural brown—at least, the same brown as Andromeda's—for almost a month.
"Do you want to go out in the garden?" Remus asked, and Dora nodded. Remus took her hand and kissed it, then led her out the kitchen door.
Down the two steps, there was a tiny path that led to the white fence. It branched off here and there, with one path leading to a small patio, another to a gardening shed, another to the herb garden, and so on. The garden was lit with a beautiful golden light as the early spring day ended. The snows had just finished melting, and Dora had been working on bringing the garden back to life a little at a time.
"I got the roses planted," she said, gesturing with her free hand to the fence. Remus smiled.
"Those are going to be beautiful in another few months," he said. "When it starts getting hotter."
"In time for our anniversary," Dora answered, smiling.
"Let's go sit under the tree," Remus suggested, and Dora followed him across the lawn, full of new, light green grass to the shady spot near the fence. The enormous walnut tree that grew in the Tonks family's yard had been there for longer than Andromeda and Ted had owned the house.
Its topmost branches just leveled the roof of the house, right beside Dora's room—one of the first stories about her childhood that Remus could remember hearing was the night that Ted and Andromeda caught Dora sneaking back into her window in the wee hours of the morning, only to learn that she had actually been sneaking out, dropped her wand, and had been stuck for several hours.
The tree had a great web of knotty roots around it, and it was between two of these that Remus settled himself, and held up both hands for Dora.
"Oh, Merlin," she muttered. "I didn't think this one through—er—here, like this—" She put her right hand into Remus's left, and leaning on him, managed to crouch down enough and turn to sit between his knees with a bump.
"Dora!" Remus exclaimed, as she burst out laughing. "Are you all—"
"I'm fine," Dora promised, still laughing and rubbing her belly. "I didn't fall, that's just how I sit now," she told him with a chuckle, squeezing his hand. Awkwardly, she scooted back to lean against his chest as Remus pulled his knees up. A cool breeze rippled through the hedges, and Dora sighed, closing her eyes and wrapping her arms over her belly.
Remus kissed the top of her head, and put his arms over hers, interlocking their fingers.
"Have you heard from Bill?" Dora murmured after a few minutes' silence, her head cradled against his neck. Her eyes were closed, and Remus gazed down at her, as if hypnotized, examining each wet eyelash, each barely-there smile line around her mouth and eyes. "How are they doing?"
"He says things are crowded, but that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all right. So are Dean and Luna," Remus told her in. "They should be taking Ollivander to stay with the Weasleys tonight. That was the plan, last I heard."
"Mm," Dora said, nuzzling her forehead against his neck and smiling a little sadly. Remus kissed her head again and sighed heavily. "Remus?" she asked after several minutes' silence.
"Have you thought about a godfather for this one?" Dora asked, patting her belly.
"Oh—I…I hadn't, actually," Remus admitted, frowning. "I suppose that—that makes sense."
The war seemed to suddenly hang in the very air around them, threatening to overtake them, and Remus pulled Dora closer.
"I was wondering," Dora said thoughtfully, sounding determined to keep her tone light. "What would you say to asking Harry?"
"Harry?" Remus asked, taken aback.
"I know, it sounds completely mad, picking the most wanted man in the world," Dora said quickly, opening her eyes and looking at Remus. "But—I—well, I only wondered because…because of what he said to you."
Remus's heart clenched, and he said nothing.
"If it's not a good idea," Dora said quickly, sitting up slightly, "we can choose someone else—Bill, maybe, or Charlie—Kingsley?"
"No," Remus interrupted, looking at her. "I think Harry is exactly the right choice. I think any child who had the chance to learn half of what Harry has would be immeasurably lucky.
Dora smiled. "I think so, too," she told him, and she leaned back against his shoulder, closing her eyes once again.
They could have sat there for a hundred years, maybe more. All Remus could do was watch Dora, who seemed to be sleeping—or, at least, resting for once—as she breathed, slowly and deeply against his chest. The sun continued to sparkle on them, too beautiful for the pain of the world as it was right now.
"I like this," Dora whispered after a few moments.
Remus smiled gently. "Me too."
"The baby only calms down when you're with me," she said, smoothing her robes over her belly. "I can relax, too."
Overcome with a sudden wave of love for Dora, Remus wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight. But suddenly, there was a thud, and the sound of breaking china from inside the house, and Dora sat bolt upright.
"Mum," she gasped, looking back at Remus. She began struggling to her feet. Remus leapt up and tried to help her, but she swatted him away. "No, go inside—help Mum—I'm fine!"
Torn, Remus froze on the spot, looking anxiously between his wife and the house.
"Now, Remus, please!" Dora insisted, waving him away, and he took off for the back door, drawing his wand and wrenching it open.
"Andromeda?" he called, moving cautiously into the kitchen, waiting for a spell to come flying at him. "Andromeda?"
"Remus?" asked a dazed voice, and Remus felt his muscles relax. He stowed his wand and stooped to the floor. Andromeda was sitting with her back against the cabinets. The tea service was lying facedown beside her, and she was holding a hand to her head, blinking rapidly.
"I fainted," Andromeda said, as if she couldn't believe it. "I haven't—goodness," she said, shaking her head. "Will you help me up?" Remus nodded kindly and offered her a hand. He supported her into a chair at the kitchen table as Dora came into the room, panting, her wand drawn.
"It's all right, everything's fine," Remus said quickly, hurrying over to put his arms around Dora, but she backed away from him pressing against the doorframe, her wand clattering to the floor and her eyes closed as if she were in pain.
"Darling!" Andromeda cried.
"Dora," said Remus, catching her by the elbows before she hit the floor. "What is it, tell me what's wrong! Is it the baby?" Dora was sliding down the wall to the floor, unable to hold herself up, clutching her belly and biting her lip as she squeezed her eyes shut.
"Dora, please," Remus begged, kneeling before her. "Say something."
She was silent for a few moments, her head tipped back against the wall, her eyes shut as she tried to steady her breathing. Then, slowly, she opened her eyes and gave a little laugh.
"I think—I think it's time," said Dora, sounding utterly shocked.
So this is a three-part Tonks/Lupin story about the day Teddy was born (obviously). I was re-reading Deathly Hallows, looking for a little inspiration for MommaXBear's "Google Me Challenge" (which this is written for) and I realized that Ted Tonks died (at the very least, NEAR) the same week Teddy Lupin was born. HOW STRESSFUL DOES THAT SOUND? My lord, I'm almost crying just thinking about it right now, it's terrible! So yes. If you would like the link to the image I got as my "prompt" PM me or just mention it in a review. It's a lovely drawing called "Tonks and Lupin" by elu-lux (on deviantart). Hope you like. Chapter a day, to tide us all through the weekend!