Teddy awoke to frantic voices and an uncomfortable pain in his side. He was lying on a hard stone floor and for a moment he was entirely disoriented.
"Teddy? Teddy, can you hear me?"
The voice was familiar, warm, concerned. Teddy groaned and opened his eyes. His vision was blurred for a moment and then the face above his own came into focus. Harry looked down at him with worried green eyes. "Teddy, are you all right?"
Quickly checking his various limbs for injury Teddy nodded and tried to sit up. He was instantly light-headed and his vision darkened around the edges. He groaned again and raised a hand to his head.
"Harry, we should get him upstairs, to bed," said another voice Teddy recognized and he turned to see Ginny standing nearby. She was shooing the three curious Potter children out of the room. Lily waved at him as the door to the kitchen was closing.
"Can you stand?" Harry asked. Teddy nodded and Harry offered him a hand to help him up. He winced as the pain in his side twinged upon rising. He rubbed at it absently and tried to make sense of his muddled thoughts. What was the last thing he could remember?
Harry placed a steadying hand on Teddy's shoulder and the two of them left and began to climb the stairs. Grimmauld Place was a simply glowing with warmth and it smelled like freshly-baked bread. For a moment Teddy had an image of a much darker version of the house. As he and his godfather climbed the stairs Teddy had the strange urge to check the wall for house-elf heads.
When they reached Teddy's room Harry helped him onto the bed and the two of them sat side by side. Teddy looked around at the familiar surroundings. For some reason it felt strange to be somewhere so welcoming and bright.
"Teddy, what happened to you? You went up to the attic but when I went to find you, you were gone. We've been looking for you for hours."
"Hours?" Teddy mumbled and something in the back of his mind started bubbling sluggishly to the surface.
"I remember being in the attic," he said slowly, staring straight ahead and concentrating hard. "I found... I found my dad's old trunk. I was looking through it." Without thinking Teddy's hand moved to his pocket, which, curiously, had a crumpled piece of old parchment in it. He took it out, smoothed it on his leg, and recognized his Aunt Hermione's neat handwriting. But it was old, faded, and parts of it were missing.
I have - - - - - - - - - - - - -ofessor McGonagall but cannot- - - - - - - - - her - - - -office is locked. I need to return this- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -end of the day and I don't want to leave it lying around, so- - - - - - -you could deliver it- - - - - - - - - - - - -ought it would be safest here and I trust you to take care to- - - - - McGonagall at your earli- - - - - -
Than- - - - -
Teddy felt the parchment slip through his limp fingers and it fell to the floor at his feet. In an instant everything from the past few weeks came rushing back to him. Awakening in the nightmarish Grimmauld Place, Sirius, the evening talks by the fire, seeing his father's face for the first time, hearing his voice, saying goodbye... That had just happened. Just minutes ago he had hugged his father and seen him for the last time.
And as everything that had happened came hurtling back it was suddenly too much. Teddy put his elbows onto his knees and buried his face in his hands. After a moment Harry placed a hand on his shoulder but he still did not look up. He could still hear how his father's voice had sounded, so calm and warm. His face was more real to Teddy than it had ever been before.
Finally Teddy lifted his head and turned to Harry with a tortured expression. He was met only with concern. Harry's hand was still resting on his shoulder and Teddy found it surprisingly comforting.
"I'm not quite sure how exactly it happened," he started. "I think Dumbledore said something about a time turner, thought I'm still not clear on what exactly that is."
In an instant Harry's eyebrows flew up out of sight beneath his hair. Teddy winced the horrible start of his explanation. How exactly do you tell someone you just traveled through time?
"I'm sorry. I don't really know where to start with that. Dumbledore? A time turner? Teddy what the hell are you talking about?"
Teddy sighed and lifted the fallen note from the ground. He handed it to Harry whose expression went from bewilderment to shock to understanding. "You found Hermione's time turner," he said, more as a statement than a question.
"More like what was left of it. It was just sand and broken glass. I got it all over me by accident. And then I woke up... eighteen years ago." He paused. "That sounds absolutely ridiculous."
"I've heard stranger stories," Harry muttered.
There was a brief silence between them and Teddy felt thankful that Harry was not questioning his story. He knew it sounded far-fetched but that did not change the fact that it had happened.
"Eighteen years," Harry murmured. "That was... my fifth year at Hogwarts. Did you-I mean-were you at Grimmauld Place?"
Teddy nodded. He hesitated only a moment before saying, "It was mostly empty except... well, I met Sirius."
Harry seemed to have no words for this. His eyes clouded over and for a moment it seemed he was not really seeing Teddy anymore but looking at something very far away. "He's... intense," Teddy added. "Or, he was. That's strange," he added, more to himself than to Harry. He had been living with dead people for the last few weeks.
"How long?" Harry shook his head as if to clear away some unpleasant thought. He seemed to drag his thoughts back to the present where the two now sat in Teddy's bedroom. "How long were you there?"
"A few weeks," Teddy said with a shrug. "Grimmauld Place has improved. It was pretty shocking seeing it that way, house-elf heads on the walls and hippogriffs in the spare bedroom."
Harry let out a brief, loud laugh at this. "I'd forgotten," he said quietly. "And did you get along with Sirius?"
Teddy opened his mouth, paused, and then said, "Mostly. We didn't agree on everything but... I'm really glad I got to meet him."
They had now reached the point in the conversation that Teddy was at once most eager and most uneasy to discuss. He did not quite know how to bring up such a delicate subject as his father when for Harry the two of them had been arguing about him mere hours before. Teddy had had time to reconcile his doubts and organize his thoughts and while he was still very confused about the whole business he was in a much better frame of mind than when he had first traveled back in time.
He thought that perhaps it would be best to start with an apology. "I'm so sorry, Harry," he said quietly and he very much meant it. "I know it's only been a few hours for you but I've had a lot of time to think over... what we've been fighting about and I feel awful."
"Teddy, you don't need to-"
"Yes, I do," he said forcefully. "There are things that I still don't quite understand but I think I really know now that my dad, both my parents, they died fighting for something they believed in. That whatever they did, they did for me."
Harry's expression was soft and he looked almost relieved at Teddy saying these things. "I'm so glad to hear you say that, Teddy. No one is perfect, but I wouldn't want you unhappy with Remus and Tonks because you thought that they were anything less than wonderful people. They were heroes." He smiled and raised an eyebrow. "What changed your mind?"
Teddy smiled and glanced at Harry out of the corner of his eye. "Well I had a chat with him."
Teddy could not help laughing at the gobsmacked expression on Harry's face. "He? You met Remus?" Teddy smiled and nodded.
"He didn't know who I was for most of my time there but we talked, briefly. Right before I left." He could picture his father sitting across the table from him so clearly. Teddy turned to look directly at Harry and said, "I got to meet my dad."
Just for a second something like jealously flitted across Harry's face but then it was gone. He smiled widely and clapped Teddy on the back. "That's wonderful," he said and then he furrowed his brow and looked at Teddy sternly. Or, as sternly as he ever regarded his godson, which was not very. "But nothing's changed, right? You didn't affect the time line without anyone knowing, did you?" He sounded as though he were not sure such a thing was even possible.
Teddy shook his head. "No, nothing's changed. When I left they drank a potion that made them forget all about me." The thought did not make him as sad as it had when he left. And he realized why.
"It's okay, though," Teddy said with a small smile. "I'll remember forever."
AN. Well, that's it, folks. I hope you all enjoyed the story at least half as much as I enjoyed writing it. I would love to hear your thoughts, few or many as they may be. Thanks for reading.