A/N: Okay, so I'm still disappointed about how Teddy and most, if not all, of the Remus/Tonks storyline had been left out of the movies. This fic had been written partly to address that void. I'd like to clarify that this story does not take take place during the epilogue, but three years prior. I blame plot holes the size of bludgers for that.
I'd like to thank my friends Bea and 4cherryblossoms for beta-ing. You guys are made of awesome.
Oh, and I own nothing. If I did, then no one would complain about the things I've just mentioned. Siriusly, err, seriously.
Leaves crackled in each step Teddy took as he trudged along the Forbidden Forest. He was lagging behind the rest of his classmates, who he thought were at least a good mile ahead of him. Hagrid had just taken his Care of Magical Creatures class to the forest to see thestrals. Well, at least that was what they were supposed to do. Apparently, the creatures can only be seen by those who have witnessed death. Fortunately, or unfortunately, he was not sure, he had no such experience thus far, so all he saw when they had reached the clearing was a piece of meat being slowly devoured by invisible beings. He could have sworn that he felt something scaly brush against his arm, but after a moment of thought, he had concluded that it was probably just his imagination.
Teddy Lupin imagined a lot of things. One of those things was that not all ties to his parents had been lost. There were times when he would borrow the Marauder's Map from James, under the ruse of helping him plan another prank on unwary Slytherins, and, when he was sure he was alone, would try to talk to his father. Although their conversations had revolved around nothing more than the Marauders making fun of his hair, he was happy, still.
A loud thud resounded though the forest as he fell. He had tripped on a rock jutting precariously out of the ground and had fallen flat on his face. This wasn't an unusual occurrence; he had had a knack for tripping and knocking things over for as long as he could remember. He used to find this trait of his annoying at first, but later learned to embrace it after the time when he tripped over his own feet and his Aunt Ginny had laughed and told him that he was just like his mother.
"Yer okay, Teddy?"
Teddy looked up and saw Hagrid's gloved hand. He looked more like a full-blooded giant from this angle.
"Yeah, I'm okay." Teddy took his hand and the half-giant helped him up to his feet. "Thanks Hagrid."
As Teddy brushed off the dust on his cloak, he saw that the entire class had formed a circle around him. They were watching him with little interest. He had barely started his first year at Hogwarts when his fellow Hufflepuffs had grown pretty much used to his clumsiness.
"Okay class, move along now. Don't want ter be late," Hagrid told the students, whose eyes were still on Teddy. They obeyed immediately and started filing out. It was only when they were well out of earshot that Hagrid patted Teddy's back, the latter trying hard to keep upright as he did so, and said, "Yeh should really be more careful. You could get hurt."
At the moment the last word was spoken, Teddy felt a sharp pain on his right knee. He had scraped it again. "It's all because of that stupid rock," he mumbled, glaring at the object in question. As he did so, he noticed something glinting close by. He felt drawn to it, for some reason. So drawn was he that he, without his knowledge, had actually taken a few steps toward it. He was brought back to his senses when Hagrid patted his back once more and nearly shoved him back to the ground.
"Yer just like-"
"My mother." Teddy smiled at Hagrid, who had suddenly burst into tears."I know."
Hagrid opened and closed his mouth a few times, seemingly at a loss for words. Then he just smiled and walked away. Teddy could hear him blowing his nose, probably on his large, spotted handkerchief, even though he was already out of sight. He had always taken a liking to his Care of Magical Creatures professor, who he often visited for tea and rock cakes whenever he was free. He was not sure if he could say the same for the subject, however.
Teddy looked to his right, where the object glinted once more, then around him. He was alone now, if the thestrals and other creatures lurking in the forest weren't taken into consideration. Slowly, carefully, he made his way towards the mysterious object, narrowly avoiding tripping on the rock that had caused him to plummet, and pulled it out of the ground.
At last, he had it in his hands, a gray stone roughly the size of a snitch. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that there was a strange symbol inside it. It was a triangle with a halved circle in it. He turned it once, twice, entranced at how the little sunlight permeating through the canopy gave the stone an other-worldly glow. He was about to turn it a third time when he heard the bells on the Clock Tower ring.
He was late for Potions, his next class. He placed the stone inside his pocket and ran as fast as his feet could carry him towards the castle. The current Potions master Horace Slughorn was an understanding fellow whom he thought had taken quite a liking to him, but he did not want to take any chances.
Teddy arrived ten minutes later and Slughorn didn't really mind. He actually told the class about how much he admired Teddy's thoughtfulness because he had apparently stayed behind to help Hagrid get ready for his next class and about how they should all be more like him. The rest of the day was pretty much uneventful: he listened to James's latest exploits with the Invisibility Cloak over lunch at the Gryffindor table, he counted the little feathers on his quill while Professor Binns discussed Goblin Wars in History of Magic, he held hands with Victoire beneath the table as they ate dinner. The day was as ordinary as it can get.
Later that night, Teddy felt rather tired. It had been a long day, and he could not wait to go to bed. The Hufflepuff dormitory for boys was empty when he had entered, as it was still far too early to go to bed. He had just taken off his cloak and was about to put on his pyjamas when he heard something fall on the wooden floor.
It was the stone. He had forgotten about it in the course of the day. He walked towards it, stared at it for a moment, then turned it over three times, just as he had done in the forest for what he felt like decades ago.
At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then Teddy had the budding feeling that he was not alone in the room anymore.
"It truly is an immense pleasure to see you again, my boy."
There, in front of him, materialized two people that he had known only through photographs that his grandmother had plastered on his bedroom wall and from letters that he figured he was not supposed to see yet. The two figures seemed inseparable,with their hands locked between them. They were beaming at him.
At first glance, he thought that his parents looked rather ghost-like. Now they appeared more solid, but not quite as solid as he was. He should have been scared, but he wasn't, for some reason.
"How are you Teddy? Been getting along well with the Potter's and the Weasley's, have you?" Tonks pointed excitedly at the badge on his cloak, which was sprawled on his bed. "I see that you're a prefect now. Congratulations on that! We're proud of you, we really are. Your dad was a prefect too, actually. I wanted to be one back in the day, but my Head of House thought that I had a bit of trouble behaving myself."
As Tonks talked, occasionally pausing to confer with his father or to ask him questions which he tried to answer as best as he could, Teddy's mind was overwhelmed with thought after thought. These two people in front of him, they were his parents, his parents whom he had never known. They were there, right in front of him, looking as though they had never left this world, that they had just been pulled away from hiding all these years and had been sent to that very spot by the stone he held in his hands.
Teddy's train of thought was cut off when he finally took notice of the silence in the room. His mother had stopped talking, and had been eyeing him curiously for the past minute or so. He wished she'd stop. He always hated being stared at for very long. He did not think the same anymore after his mother spoke again.
"So, Teddy, are there any girls we should be hearing about?"
Teddy froze. He should have seen it coming. "How did you know about Victoire and I?"
This was one of those moments when Teddy thought he could really use one of those Time Turners his Aunt Hermione had told him about. His parents exchanged knowing glances before focusing their attention back to him. He looked from one to the other with utmost panic, while his mind screamed insults at himself.
Remus grinned. "We didn't."
"So the lucky girl's name is Victoire, eh?" Tonks placed a finger on her lip as she nodded slowly. "Interesting. Very interesting, indeed."
Teddy didn't like the sly look on his parent's faces at all. He was actually starting to have second thoughts about this family reunion of theirs. And just when he thought he had had enough, things took a turn for the worst.
"Hey, have you two been…" Tonks looked around conspiratorially before leaning forward and whispering, "…snogging?"
"What? Don't tell me you're not the least bit curious about your son's love life?"
"Well, I suppose I am."
They turned back to their son, and it was then that they saw how not only his face but his hair had turned into a fiery red. He could have easily passed as a Weasley.
It was Tonks who broke into laughter first, followed by Remus, and, after a few moments, Teddy had joined in as well. Teddy had never felt this good in his life, joking around with his parents that were taken away from him all too soon.
"I like your hair by the way," Tonks told him with a wink when the laughter finally died down. His hair had changed back to its previously turquoise hue.
"Th-thanks. It took me a while before I settled on the colour," Teddy admitted, scratching the back of his head sheepishly. He had heard that string of words more times in his life than he could possibly imagine, but this particular compliment really meant a lot to him, coming from his mother. "I'm sorry that you had to go. Both of you."
The words came out of his mouth so suddenly, so unexpectedly. The nostalgic air turned heavy and uncomfortable in an instant. For what seemed like forever, no one moved a muscle, no one said a word. Then, just when Teddy thought that he was about to collapse from the weight of the tension he felt, Remus made his way towards him, placed an oddly solid hand on his shoulder, and looked at him so intensely that he almost flinched.
"Don't be. Ever since we decided to join the Order, your mother and I knew that in our mission of bringing down Lord Voldemort, we were putting our very lives on the line, that it is more than likely that we may end up, for a lack of a better term, dead. All that you have now; things wouldn't be as they are today if we hadn't resisted you-know-who. We fought and we died to make the world a better place. I personally couldn't have asked for a better reason or a better way to die." Remus paused and glanced at his wife. "In fact, it is we who should apologize to you," he then continued as he looked at Teddy from head to toe and smiled."But from what I see now, it looks like you've gone along rather well without us."
"Besides, we never left." It was Tonks who had spoken this time. She, too, had turned up on Teddy's side and had placed a hand on his other shoulder. "We could never leave you. You're our son. It would've been stupid of us to leave you so soon and not care at all about what happens to you. We have been with you all this time, even though you couldn't see us."
Sixteen years of wonder and doubt crumbled as Teddy, unable to restrain himself any longer, stretched out his arms and pulled his parents into a hug. From that point on, the only thing that mattered was what was happening there and now. He was invincible, infinite. His mother's enthusiasm and, as his Uncle Harry had put it, complete bonkers-ness, and his father's calm and collected air despite having had his furry little problem for years; he loved it all. He could never have asked for a better pair of people that he could proudly call as his mom and dad.
He hoped against hope that he could stay there in that moment with his family, his real family, forever, that gravity would cease to exist, so that in turn the sands of time would cease to fall and time would stand still. His heart sank when he heard footsteps approaching from behind the door. His parents heard it as well.
Remus frowned. "Unfortunately, it looks like our time is up."
Tonks leaned down and planted a kiss on Teddy's forehead. "It was nice seeing you again, dear."
"We love you, Teddy. Take care of yourself." Remus ruffled Teddy's hair, which had changed into something that resembled his father's. "And remember, we're here with you, always."
And as fast as they appeared, they were gone. They were smiling as they left. At that same moment, the door to the dormitory swung open with a creak and one of the room's current occupants crossed the threshold.
"Teddy what happened? I thought I heard noises here and..." The boy trailed off, his expression changing from curiosity to concern. "Hey, you're crying again. Are you all right? Did you trip or something?"
As the boy scanned the room for any sign of disarray, Teddy placed a hand on his cheek. It was only then that he noticed the tears streaming down his face.
"No, nothing's wrong," Teddy told him, the smile on his lips contrasting with his tears that continued to fall."I'm crying because I'm happy."
His roommate looked at him strangely for a moment, probably thinking about how he could tell his metamorphosing friend about how mental he was without hurting his feelings. Eventually, he decided to just shrug it off and left, and Teddy was alone once more.
Again, Teddy looked at the stone in his hands, which looked slightly blurred this time around. Whatever it was, it was obvious to him that he was unworthy of the incredible power it possessed. Since it was already late, he decided that he would return the stone where he found it first thing in the morning instead. It seemed like the right thing to do. And if ever he would be overcome with the desire to speak with his parents again, which he was sure he would, he figured that he could always come back for it. That is, if he'd be lucky enough to find it again. He was sure that he will, though. After all, as the portrait of Albus Dumbledore had told him that time when Filch had sent him to the Headmaster's Office for being caught carrying products from Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.
That night Teddy dreamt of blue skies, wide-open plains, and his parents. All was well.
Please do review. Reviews are like crack to me. I also have chocolates from our favourite fictional werewolf if you need a little more motivation. :)