Teddy Lupin happily ran into his godfather's waiting embrace. Harry lowered himself to his height so that the boy could wrap his little arms around his neck, then straightened again with the eleven-year-old in his arms. "You're getting heavy," Harry muttered, eyeing the boy's Nana. He walked over to greet her with a kind kiss on the cheek.
Andromeda smiled lightly. "He is," she agreed. "He seems to grow right before my eyes."
Harry chuckled, putting his godson down again. He crouched before him and eyed him. "Do you have everything?" he asked. He watched his godson nod, lift the jacket in his hand, then turn to show his godfather his new rucksack – navy blue with white owls on it. The boy had been talking about his own owl since his fourth. Harry nodded. "Alright then," he said. "Is that a new rucksack?" he asked, seemingly surprised. In fact, Andromeda and the Potters and the Weasleys usually conversed with each other about who would buy what with the birthdays of the children – so as to keep anyone from buying the very same as another. Teddy was with the Potters at least half of the week, usually sleeping over with them in weekends. A great deal of the time Teddy was with the Weasleys as well. A few times a year the Potters and the Weasleys would sleep over with each other, the children peacefully asleep upstairs as they had a game night of sorts below – usually that was at the Potters' residence, considering their house was largest – and most of the time Teddy was invited then as well. Teddy and James would share rooms then, just like Albus and Hugo, while Lily and Rose would huddle up in Lily's bedroom.
Today was the young boy's eleventh birthday – the one before he would go to Hogwarts. Even though magical parentage didn't necessarily mean magical children, it had been impossible to believe a child of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks would be born a Squib. He had already shown signs of Methamorphmagic right after the birth and general magic before his first birthday, too. Harry had been the one to witness it. The little one had been seven months old when Harry had asked him from which book he would have liked to be read to, and by just looking at his favorite fairytale book, it had slid a few inches from the back of the shelf. One could say with near certainty that the boy would be going to Hogwarts that first September. Therefore Harry Potter had decided to take his godson for a trip to Diagon Alley where the boy could choose a pet to take with to Hogwarts. Teddy didn't know about that quite yet, though.
"I have packed clean underwear for him for two days, his PJs and another set of clothes." Harry nodded. That was basically all the boy would need. He had another bag of toiletries at the Potters, considering the fact that he was with them that often.
"Alright," Harry said.
"Uncle Harry, can we go to Diagon Alley now?"
Harry chuckled. "You act as if you've never been to Diagon Alley!"
"You said that there'd be a surprise!"
"I know, and I haven't changed my mind about that," Harry said, watching the boy take hold of his jacket, pulling him over to the door. He smiled at Andromeda apologetically, following his godson from the door into the garden where he would take the boy's hand to Apparate home to gather Ginny and their children before going to London, Diagon Alley.
"Too bad that uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione couldn't come with," Teddy said, looking up at his godfather, pouting childishly.
"I know," Harry said. "You'll see them again soon, though. They are supposed to return from France next week."
Teddy Lupin nodded, redirecting his gaze to the shops they passed. He suddenly halted as his eyes fell upon a pet store a few shops ahead. His then golden colored eyes enlarged, watching the lot of animals in the window even from that distance. He quietly eyed his godfather, looking up with longing.
Harry nodded, watching as his godson immediately took off and ran ahead. By the time Harry, Ginny and the children caught up with him, the young boy stood nearly glued against the shop window of the large pet store in Diagon Alley. Harry momentarily smiled at his wife, who was pushing a pram with the two-year-old Lily, as little Albus stood on a little buggyboard between her and the pram as James, already seven, walked beside them while holding onto his mother's one hand. Harry crouched down beside the eleven-year-old. "Look, uncle Harry! Isn't that a very beautiful owl?"
Harry chuckled. "Yeah, it is."
"I already know how I would name him!"
"And what if it should be a little girl? Would the name still fit then?" Harry questioned, watching his godson with his green eyes. He could see the quirk on Teddy's forehead deepen as he seemingly thought about that before nodding. Harry smiled. "So what about if we go inside and see if maybe we can take that owl home?" Before he knew it, the boy had launched himself at him already, arms going around his neck. Had Harry not held onto the window pane, he would have toppled over.
Ginny smiled at her husband as he rose, took his godson's hand and lead him into the store. "We'll wait here," she said, as the pet store seemed hard to move about in without a pram already, animals stuffed in every single corner. James Sirius Potter glared after his father and best companion. "What's the matter, James?"
"I want my own owl, too," James said, crossing his arms over his chest angrily, reminding his mother a lot of when her younger brother Ron has been only little. "He always gets everything! It isn't even fair," James whined, kicking at a loose cobblestone in the road in annoyance.
"He's a few years older than you, too," Ginny reminded him.
"Hmmph!" James said, glaring up at his mom then down. Ginny quietly rolled her eyes.
"Uncle Harry, why can't Snowy sleep here with me?" Teddy Lupin asked, as his godfather tucked him in that night.
"Snowy has to go hunt for mice, Teddy," Harry said, sitting down on the edge of his bed. "Now did you have a fun day today?" he asked, lifting the covers a bit higher to make sure that his godson would not be cold that night and maybe get ill because of it. It could still be cold at night no matter the fact that it already was April.
The little boy's smile grew even wider then as he nodded. "Best birthday ever!" he said.
"Thus far," Harry corrected.
"Thus far," Teddy agreed, a little silence falling between them. "Uncle Harry, do you believe mommy and daddy are watching from Heaven now?"
Harry Potter sighed. He had already heard – and answered – this question a few times, and every single time, Harry had said yes, that he was quite sure they were without more. Harry had wondered long over how he one day would have to tell Teddy Lupin about why or how his father and mother had died. It would be the least he could do for Remus and Tonks and Harry internally felt he owed it to them. Harry had never denied him to know about them when little Teddy had asked about them. He had shown the few pictures he himself had from Remus and Tonks. Andromeda had of course assisted him with the ones of her deceased daughter. His parentage was mentioned often even though Harry saw the boy as his own son.
Every time little Teddy had asked about the circumstances of his father and mother's deaths, Harry had, however, always said that when the time was right, he would tell him all about it. Andromeda and he had agreed to wait until he was at least eleven. Thus far all he knew was that they had both died in the war, and that they had loved him very much. That was crucial for Harry. Last week upon taking him home from another sleepover, Harry and Andromeda had talked about informing him today, after he had gone to bed. Andromeda had agreed that even though she had most likely known her daughter best, Harry should be the one telling him. He was after all the boy's godfather and had known Remus best, and most of all had been there at the battle himself as well. She trusted upon him as not to rely more information than necessary for his young age.
"I'm sure they're watching right now with pride shining in their eyes at what fine boy you've already become," he said.
"You really believe so?" Teddy questioned.
Harry nodded. "I know so. They would be happy that even though their lives were ended far before their time, their son was at least able to live in a happier and more peaceful world because of it. They loved you very much, Teddy. I'm sure that if they were given the choice, that they would have chosen to see you grow up as well. However, without the help of your mother and father even a lot more innocent men, women and children would have died in the war."
"Uncle Harry, I've never gotten why when they loved me so much, mommy and daddy left me with Nana and went to war anyway. If they really loved me, why didn't they stay?"
Harry sighed. He understood this must really be hard to get for a child. "They wanted to make the world a better place for everyone – including you. They wanted to fight hard for a world in which you could be happy and safe and have everything you wanted. Sadly enough, they died fighting for it. Your happiness and safety was of the most importance to them. Never doubt whether they loved you, Teddy."
"Uncle Harry, do you believe that they would be happy to see me happy?" he questioned.
Harry smiled. "I'm certain. Seeing you happy would ensure them that they didn't die for nothing," he said, kissing his godson's forehead before getting up.
"Uncle Harry?" he called, as Harry reached for the door, making him turn again. "I'm happy."
Harry was absolutely sure those words could have made both his mother and father cast the most powerful Patronus they ever had casted.