Note: A random idea that popped into my head today. I hope somebody likes it!
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
As he stood ramrod straight at his grandmother's side, his hair plastered neatly to his forehead and his tie perfectly in place, five year old Teddy Lupin chanced a glanced down at his shiny polished black shoes before informing Andromeda Tonks:
"I think I'm the smartest person here, Grandma!"
Andromeda gave a rather forced little chuckle.
"I rather think you are, Sweetheart." she agreed as she glanced somewhat distastefully around the room at the rest of the gathered people. Her eyes came to rest upon a tall man with iron-grey hair, dressed in the long plum coloured robes of the Wizengamot, who was busy having a hurried conversation with a witch who was clutching eagerly onto a large camera. For a moment Andromeda contented herself with simply staring at them in disgust, before she turned her attention back to her grandson, plastering a wide smile onto her face. "In fact," she announced, dusting non-existent specs of dirt from his pristine shoulders, "I think you might just be the smartest looking boy in the whole of Wizarding Britain!"
Teddy visibly swelled with pride, shifting excitedly from side to side.
"Is that lady over there going to take my picture?" he asked, pointing at witch with the camera, and as she reached to put an arm around his shoulders, his grandmother told him:
"That's right, Teddy. Just like it said in the letter."
Teddy had been excited about today ever since the letter had arrived at the breakfast table some week previously. In fact he'd been looking forward to it for months even before that.
The now annual tradition in which the young boy was about to partake had first been brought to his attention by his godfather Harry one afternoon when Teddy had been caught rifling through the drawers of the desk in Harry's study.
"What're you doing, Ted?" Harry had asked, one eyebrow raised as the boy looked up nonchalantly from his inspection of the bottom drawer.
"I'm looking for treasure!" Teddy had explained, entirely unabashed, and Harry had struggled to suppress a snigger at his boldness.
"Yeah? Have you found any yet?" the dark haired wizard had inquired, and at the broad grin that spread across the little boy's face he could only assume that the answer was yes. When Teddy had nodded his head enthusiastically, Harry had asked: "What did you find, then?"
"It's a secret." Teddy had whispered, pressing a finger to his lips. "Shh!"
"Is it one of Auntie Ginny's necklaces?" Harry had wondered rather apprehensively, recalling the previous occasion when Teddy had gotten his hands on his wife's jewellery box and the chaos and destruction that had inevitably ensued. Thankfully, Teddy had shaken his head again, hands shoved deeply into his pockets in what Harry suspected the child thought was a look of pure innocence. The older wizard was, however, by no means fooled.
"Let me see, Teddy."
"But it's a secret..."
"I know it is, but you need to let me see it."
Teddy had considered this request for a rather long time before finally consenting to drawing out his loot from his pocket and proudly holding it out for his godfather's inspection.
"It's a giant's galleon!" he'd announced proudly as Harry eyed the large golden coin in its glass case, and the older wizard had chuckled as he went to sit upon the chair behind the desk.
"That's not a giant's galleon, Ted." Harry had explained, patting his lap, and as Teddy had clambered up onto his godfather's knee, the treasure held precariously in one little hand, he was informed: "That's an Order of Merlin 1st Class. See there, the big number 1? That means it's first class."
"That's right. There's 1st class, then 2nd and 3rd. The Wizengamot awarded everybody in the Order first class...or they will do, anyway."
As he eyed the shiny prize keenly, Teddy had wondered:
"Did Mummy and Daddy have one?"
Harry had let out a small sigh that Teddy hadn't really noticed because he had been too busy turning the coin from side to side, watching the light reflect off of the golden surface.
"Not yet, no." Harry had admitted. "But they will do, one day. They only hand out a few each year, you see. But eventually the whole Order will have been given one."
"How can Mummy and Daddy get given one if they aren't here anymore?" Teddy had wondered, and Harry had explained:
"You can get given one posthumously. That means you can get one even after you've died. They'll...they'll probably get you and Grandma to accept them on Mummy and Daddy's behalf." Unbeknown to Teddy his face had contorted irritably has he'd added: "And then you'll have your picture in the Daily Prophet and the Ministry'll make a big fuss about how great the Order was and everybody'll say isn't it wonderful how the Wizengamot care about war heroes...it's all a big publicity stunt, you know. Let's not hand them all out straight after the war, oh no! Let's drag it out as long as possibly, milk it for all it's worth, this wonderful new Ministry of ours..."
Teddy hadn't really been listening to Harry's irritated grumbling, he'd been much too excited at the prospect of getting two big shiny coins of his own and getting his picture in the paper. When it was printed, he'd thought, he'd get Grandma to cut it out nice and neatly with a pair of scissors and then they could stick it on the fridge with a magnet for visitors to see.
"Still," Harry had decided after a while, "that doesn't mean it isn't going to be a very important day. It's a very special thing, you know Teddy, to get an Order of Merlin. Especially First Class!"
"Mummy and Daddy were special." Teddy had announced, surprisingly solemn for one so long, and Harry had smiled rather sadly and agreed:
"Yes, they certainly were. Your parents were utterly golden, Ted, and don't you ever think otherwise."
And so it was that the Wizengamot had sent a letter to Andromeda asking if Teddy would like to accept two Order of Merlin awards on behalf of his parents, Remus and Nymphadora Lupin, for their courageous and vital roles during the Second Wizarding War.
As he stood in the corner of the room with his grandmother, Teddy watched as another wizard in plum coloured robes set down two little glass cases upon an elaborate plinth that took centre stage upon a richly carpeted raised platform.
"Do I have to give a speech?" Teddy wondered rather worriedly as a witch finished adjusting the position of a lectern decorated with the plum colours of the Wizengamot.
"Of course not, Sweetheart." Andromeda said as the wizard who had been speaking to the witch with the camera stepped up to stand behind lectern. "That gentleman there is going to talk to everybody about the Wizengamot and what it is to receive an Order of Merlin. Then he'll read out Mummy and Daddy's names and tell everybody how brave they were to stand up to Voldemort and how they helped make the world a better place. And then he'll tell everybody that you've come to accept the awards on Mummy and Daddy's behalf. Then you go up there, he'll give you the awards, then you shake him by the hand like we practiced. The lady will snap a few pictures and then you just come back and stand next to me, alright Sweetheart? You don't need to say anything."
"Good boy. Mummy and Daddy would be very proud, so make sure you give a nice big smile for them, won't you?"
At that moment the wizard stood at the lectern called for quiet and for the following half an hour Teddy stood fidgeting impatiently whilst he gave a speech.
The man kept talking about the Ministry and the War, but he didn't seem to mention Teddy's parents at all. Teddy thought it was a bit odd, after all wasn't the whole point of today to tell people just how proud everybody was of his parents? He was sure he'd hear their names mentioned at any moment, but after fifteen minutes he gave up listening entirely and set about fiddling with the buttons on his freshly pressed white shirt.
He had given up fiddling with the buttons and was starting on his tie when at long last through the droning he picked up on his parents names.
"And so," the wizard in the plum robes was saying, sounding rather bored himself, "today on behalf of the Wizengamot I have the honour of presenting two posthumous awards to Remus and Nymphadora Lupin of the Order of the Phoenix, for their good work and courage in the fight again the Dark Lord. Their son Ted is here to accept their awards on his parents' behalf. Now then, if he'd like to just step up here beside me I have the awards here."
That was it.
Teddy simply stared up at the raised platform in confusion.
But what about all of the things his parents had done, what about telling everybody about them? About how they made the world a better place, about the people they had helped, the battles they had won...
That couldn't be all the man was going to say! Surely not...
It was then that Teddy felt Andromeda's hand giving him a firm push forwards a few steps.
"Go on, Sweetheart," the witch whispered encouragingly. "Up you go!"
Teddy shuffled forwards a few steps, and the man up on the platform caught sight of him.
"That's it, young man!" the wizard called cheerfully. "Don't be shy! He must be terribly proud of them, mustn't he ladies and gentlemen?"
As a murmur of agreement rippled through the crowd, Teddy straightened up, reminding himself to smile as he stepped up onto the platform, every inch the proud son.
"There!" the man exclaimed happily, beaming down at the boy. "Here you are then, Ted!" he turned to accept the two awards from the witch who had solemnly picked them up from the plinth behind him. "One for your mother," he said, pressing the first shiny golden coin into Teddy's hands. "And...and one for your father! There!" And with that, both coins presented, he held out an expectant hand to the child.
But Teddy didn't move a muscle.
He was much too busy staring down at his father's award.
His father's silver award embossed with a large number 2...
The child simply stared in confusion.
"Shake hands for the camera," the man from the Wizengamot whispered encouragingly, "there's a good boy!"
Teddy looked up to regard the man rather solemnly, still clutching the coins in both hands.
"But I'm afraid there's been a mistake." the little boy explained, gazing up at the man intently. "This is a silver coin..."
"A mistake?" the man gave a rather awkward chuckle, gaze darting sideways at the witch beside him rather worriedly. "No, no, no, young man, there's not a mistake. Smile for the camera now, won't you? That lady over there is going to take your picture for the newspaper!How exciting..."
"But this is an Order of Merlin 2nd Class." Teddy pointed out, ignoring the man's bid to distract him. "Everybody in the Order of the Phoenix gets a First Class, like Harry did..."
As murmurs began throughout the crowd, the two Wizengamot representatives exchanged a look.
"Now, now," the witch in the plum robes said, smiling down at the boy as her colleague reached to adjust his faintly ridiculous hat rather worriedly. "Let's not cause a fuss! It's very...very tricky, this award business, it's not for little boys to...to fully understand..."
"Why?" Teddy wondered, eyebrows knitting together in confusion as back in the crowd his grandmother made to step forward, only apparently to think better of it. "What's tricky? You gave Mummy a golden coin. Why does Daddy have to have a silver one?"
"Listen," the man said, bending down a little so that he was more on Teddy's level, still smiling broadly though Teddy thought he sounded rather cross. "It doesn't really matter what colour the coin is, does it? An award is an award, they're all the same really..."
"No they aren't. Harry says a First Class is better than a..."
"Yes, yes!" the witch snapped, promptly biting her tongue when she spotted the woman hovering nearby holding the camera. She dropped her voice to barely a whisper as she explained: "But...but you can't give a werewolf a First, you see, it's against the rules..."
"What rules?" Teddy asked, his voice loud and clear compared to their whispering, so much so that both officials flinched.
"It just can't be done, I'm afraid. But never mind, eh?" the man hissed hurriedly. "I'm sure your father would understand, he'd be glad to have any of the awards, wouldn't he? Such an honour, you must be very, very proud! I know I would be! Now, let's smile for the camera..."
"I don't want them."
"...nice big smi...pardon?"
Back in the crowd instant silence descended as the gathered witches and wizards stared in shock.
"I said I don't want them." the five year old boy announced firmly, and with that he marched over the the plinth and put both coins back.
Both officials gave a rather horrified chuckle, the smiles upon their faces strained to near breaking point.
"Now, let's not be silly..." the witch began. "Where's your grandmother? Maybe she'd like to...to..." she trailed off into a rather stunned silence as Teddy turned to face the gathered crowd, apparently oblivious to the humiliation he was causing.
"Daddy deserves a First Class award just as much as Mummy does." he explained to nobody in particular as the two officials began a non-too discreet squabble over exactly how to rescue the situation. "And if he can't have one...well...well then Mummy won't want one either..."
"Just DO SOMETHING!" the wizard bellowed from just behind him, flinching as the woman with the camera snapped a couple of pictures of the rogue child.
Teddy didn't seem to notice them as he spotted his grandmother stood beaming up at him, and as he watched Harry sidle up to Andromeda's side, Teddy offered his godfather a broad grin as he recalled:
"Because Mummy and Daddy weren't silver they were utterly golden." And with that, he turned to grasp hold of the shocked male official by a limp hand, shook it up and down a couple of times, and then hopped down off the platform before skipping his way back to his grandmother's side.
The stunned silence lasted for just a moment longer, then quite suddenly the crowd broke out into loud applause. It made Teddy jump a little.
"Can we go home now?" he asked his grandmother who simply gazed down at him, as if in a daze. He was quite bored of this ceremony, in fact it was all a big disappointment as far as he was concerned. "Harry's going to read me a story before lunch, aren't you Harry?"
When Harry merely stared at him, grinning broadly, Teddy frowned deeply.
Grown-ups, he thought, rocking back on the heels of his highly polished shoes impatiently. Sometimes they really were very slow...