The Toy Collector

The press had gotten wind of everything, of course. Someone from St. Mungo's had leaked the basic details of the case, and the Wizarding community had gone mad. The day before Teddy's funeral, Tonks and Harry had had to endure a press conference from hell. As much as Kingsley had hated to make them attend, he needed to put faces with the names of the people who had solved the case. They had to reassure the public that they'd had things more or less under control.

"The witch known as the Toy Collector has, indeed, been apprehended," Kingsley had told the room packed with reporters. "The source who leaked this story did not have the full information necessary to accurately report it, and they should feel the burden of creating this panic. The Toy Collector stopped kidnapping children at random four months ago. During that time our team managed to track her down and, two weeks ago, recovered the children she'd taken. At this point, she began kidnapping again. This time, however, she had a specific goal and a specific set of kids in mind. We did not, as some have accused, keep the community in the dark about a threat. The pattern and information we had led us to believe that children outside this specific group were not in danger. The group of kids she targeted were children of those close to Captains Potter—including their sons. As many of you already know, Teddy Lupin did not make it through the recovery process. Please, hold your questions," he added, seeing some of the reporters raise their hands. "We ask for your support, and for you to respect the family's privacy as they go through this difficult time. Thank you."

Harry and Tonks had left the hall at record speed after seeing Kingsley give them a nod. They'd known that the press would start hurling questions as soon as Kingsley stopped speaking, and had gotten the go-ahead to leave first.

The media hadn't complied with Kingsley's request, however. When they'd Apparated back to Andromeda's house, they'd found reporters already there. Andromeda was threatening them with what Tonks said was the entire list of illegal hexes from the Auror Training Manual.

The next day, at Teddy's funeral, an absolutely terrifying side of Harry had come out when he spotted cameras flashing in the distance. The reporters had retreated as quickly as possible, clutching small bits of broken camera and threatening lawsuits.

"James?" Harry asked, shuffling into the kitchen. It was seven in the morning, but his son was already dressed completely.

James was sitting at the table eating a doughnut and reading the Daily Prophet. "Morning."

"What are you doing with that?" Harry asked, nodding to the paper. "I thought we agreed—"

"I know. But I can't ignore it forever," James said. "I'd rather find out what they're saying for myself than from kids at school."

Harry understood that feeling. He nodded and tapped the coffee pot with his wand. "Why are you up so early?" he asked. "We don't have to leave for another three hours."

"I want to leave early. I want to see Teddy before I go. Will you take me?"

Harry paused with a doughnut halfway to his mouth. "Right," he said quietly. "Of course."

The grave and headstone were lined with toy soldiers. Tonks hated it, but she understood the idea. Kind of. The media had backed off a bit, but the public still wanted to pay their respects. It was a kind gesture, and it did warm her a bit to see this outpouring of love.

She and Harry stood back as James stood by the headstone. He rearranged the toys until there was a space at the top. He drew a small figurine from his pocket. This soldier was different from the rest—its hair changed colors.

"Do you want to talk to him?" Tonks whispered.

"Maybe you should…." Harry said. "I…don't think I've been very good at comforting him so far," he added. There had been nights when Harry woke up to the sound of James's sobs. He'd tried talking to him, holding him, letting him listen to replays of Quidditch matches…. Nothing had seemed to help. A few nights ago, however, James had managed to get a full night's sleep. It had been a relief, but Harry wasn't sure about where to go from there. He didn't know how to help his son. "I'll wait by the car."

"Okay," Tonks said. She walked over to James and pulled him close.

"I miss him," the boy said. He was crying.

"I know. I do too."

"I'm sorry," James whispered.

"For what?"

"It's my fault he's gone."

"It. Is. Not." Tonks knelt in front of him and his hands. "You didn't do anything wrong. None of this is your fault."

"He tried to hide me. I didn't want to. I was scared, and I didn't want him to leave me. If I had just—"

"James, listen to me," Tonks said firmly. "You were in an awful situation. It could have gone a hundred different ways. What happened to Teddy was not your fault."

James leaned into her. "Reckon we should go," he said.

"Yeah," she agreed, giving him a small smile. "You have a train to catch."