The lesson was much more bearable than when Binns gave them – but it was still one of the most boring classes they had in Hogwarts. Professor Meister had replaced Binns a few year after the war, and Teddy hadn't experienced the ghost's lessons, but Ron had gone on in details about how many naps he took in that class. Apparently, absolutely nothing in the world was more boring than Binns.
But Meister certainly wasn't a crowd pleaser either - the main difference between her and Binns, as far as Teddy could see, was that she actually noticed when her students fell asleep in class. He had daydreamed his way through the Goblin Wars the previous year, and the only reason he'd survived the lectures about Grindewald was because Harry had found a book annotated by his father about that topic. Teddy had learned pretty much by heart every single line scribbled by Remus Lupin in that book.
But this year, fourth year at Hogwarts, they were going to get to recent History. Teddy wasn't sure if he was looking forward to these lessons, or dreading them. He knew for a fact that Harry's life would be documented extensively in it, and it would probably be weird to write essays about someone he called Dad once in a while. And he wondered if his own parents would be mentioned at all, and if they were, how he would feel. Gran, Harry and Ginny were the only ones who ever mentioned his parents casually around him, without doing that thing where they paused in the sentence, and looked at him as though he was going to break. He certainly hoped if his Mum and Dad were mentioned that no one in class would ogle him.
So, with the exception of the war against Grindelwald, Teddy had never really paid attention to any lessons in History of Magic, and he certainly wasn't the kind of student who would read ahead. But he had been worried, and Harry had figured out that he was worried – damn his godfather, someone the man read him like an open book – and he had convinced him to at least read the chapter list, so he'd know what to expect, and when to worry. Hermione had suggested too read the chapters in full ahead of class, but Teddy wasn't quite that worried.
There was a chapter about the Order of the Phoenix planned for the third week of class, and two whole chapters about the Boy-Who-Lived further down the road, but he figured that for the first two weeks ("The History of Blood Status Discrimination" and "The Rise of Tom Riddle and his followers") he would be fine.
Harry sometimes said that half of his experience at Hogwarts could be summed up as "I really should have listened to Hermione." He wasn't wrong. He should have read the full chapters ahead of the classes.
The first punch in the gut had come the first week. In hindsight, he couldn't believe he had been so stupid not to see it coming. Because of course, people who were discriminated against included not only people like the grandfather her was named after, but also werewolves. Professor Meister went on in great details about the many, many ways that werewolves were made inferior, and when she mentioned the bit about then being considered fair game for Cruciatus curses, Teddy thought he was going to be sick. Thankfully, the lesson had ended soon after that.
He ran up to Gryffindor tower to write a long letter the his godfather that probably made no sense, between the anger at the ways his father must have been treated, the disgust that no one ever did anything about it, and the desperate wish that Remus Lupin were still alive so he could give his Dad a hug.
Harry went to meet him in Hogsmeade the next Saturday (one of the many privileges of being Harry Potter was that he could take his godson out for a Butterbeer even out of Hogsmeade weekends). They spent three hours talking about Remus Lupin, and while Harry did agree that he had been wronged in many ways that were unacceptable, he reminded his godson that Remus got to do and have a lot of things that other werewolves never even dreamed of, and top of that list was Teddy himself ("And Merlin, he would be so proud of you Teddy, he really would," Harry said, wiping a tear away.)
Coolest. Godfather. Ever.
After that first week, Teddy didn't think it could get worse. But it did.
The first part of the lesson, about the rise of Tom Riddle, was disturbing in the way it showed how no one had really paid any attention to him until it was too late. Dumbledore had basically been the only wizard in power at the time to see the threat coming, and no one had paid any attention to him.
(Harry sometimes also said that the other half of his experience at Hogwarts could be summed up as "The Ministry really should have listened to Dumbledore." He wasn't wrong there either.)
And then, Professor Meister went on to list some of the Death Eaters. Teddy felt a little jolt when she mentioned Dolohov, but not much. That man had killed his father, and Teddy certainly hated him for that, but at the end of the day, he'd been just another masked bastard ordered by someone else to kill.
He certainly felt a bigger jolt when the name Peter Pettigrew came along – because he'd been at the source of so much more pain and treason, and in the Potter–Weasley households, his name was always pronounced with a scowl on the face that was matched only by the name Tom Riddle.
But the real punch in the gut came with the last name.
"And I kept the name of this Death Eater for last, because she caused almost as much damage in the two Wizarding Wars as Tom Riddle did. Bellatrix Lestrange was born in the House of Black, which became almost fully extinct during the war – at least, there are no more Wizards with the last name Black around anymore. As a historian, I shouldn't pass judgement, but in this case I'll say it – she is one of the most evil persons to ever walk this land."
Professor Meister kept on talking, but Teddy wasn't hearing anything anymore. Because he knew every single thing she was saying, and yet, it was something that was Never Talked About at home. Bellatrix Lestrange's name had never passed the lips of anyone in the strange extended family that were the Potter-Weasley-Lupin-Tonks. The only reason he knew anything at all was because he had been a ridiculously curious seven-year-old.
Albus Severus Potter was born a month earlier than planned. Teddy had been staying with Harry and Ginny because Gran wanted to take a week long holiday on her own, and Harry had figured it would be easier on everyone if Teddy came to stay before the birth.
Ginny went in labour not even half a day after Andromeda dropped her grandson off, which was a good thing, since it meant that he was still packed, and there was not too much trouble to ship him off with James at Ron and Hermione's. Hermione herself was seven months pregnant and staying home anyway.
Ron and Hermione lived in Grimmauld place. Harry had simply given them the house as a wedding present. He had joked that it was because no one else than Hermione would ever know all the proper spells to get rid of the various nasty Dark Magic residue. Everyone who knew him well, however, had known that while he could never bring himself to live there because it reminded him of how miserable Sirius had been the year before he died, he could never sell it either, because it was one of the few things that he had left of him.
His best friends had known that, and they had quietly accepted the gift. Hermione had cleaned the house, getting rid of almost everything, including the portrait of Sirius's mother (it turned out, a nice workaround to the permanent sticking Charm was to simply remove the wall. The entrance hall was much bigger now.) By the time Albus was born, the one thing she hadn't yet defeated was the Black Family Tree. The room it was in was locked and no one was allowed in until Hermione found a way to get rid of it.
Of course, a locked door and a "no entrance" sign were magnets for a bored seven year old boy. Teddy spent two days evading Hermione (which wasn't hard, considering she spent most of her time sitting down, trying to rest her back) and trying to open the door.
At first, he didn't see the tapestry, because the room was so dim. But one his eyes got used to the darkness, he realised there was something on the wall. And then he saw it was huge. He looked at the names on it, wondered who all these people were, until he saw one of the names all the way at the bottom of it.
Theodore Remus Lupin, born April 3rd 1997
He re-read it several times before truly believing his eyes. Why was his name on there?
"Teddy, mate, where are you?"
Damn. He wasn't supposed to be here, but Harry's voice sounded close. He was screwed.
Harry looked in the room, and saw his godson in front of the giant tapestry his own godfather had shown him so many years ago.
"Teddy, you shouldn't be in here. This room hasn't been cleaned out, there's still some nasty stuff."
The boy figured the best defence was attack. "Why is my name on here?"
"Why is your... Oh. I never thought of that," Harry said, sounding surprised. He looked closer, and, of course, his godson's name was right there. The damn tapestry really did register all births automatically, and there wasn't anyone around to blast the names off.
So, instead of scolding Teddy for being where he wasn't supposed to be, Harry sat down on the floor next to his godson and told him about the Black family tree. He told him about his own godfather, he told him about Andromeda, about Narcissa Malfoy and her son, about Regulus Black, and about Nymphadora Tonks. He told him about those who married the wrong persons, or were Sorted in the wrong Houses in Hogwarts and got blasted off the tree. He did not say anything about one of the names on the tree, next to his grandmother's name, though. So Teddy asked.
"What about her, though? I've never heard that name before, Bella..."
"Shh!" Harry stopped him. "We don't say her name."
Teddy was surprised. His godfather was always berating others for not saying Tom Riddle's name (Teddy always wondered what the big deal was. Riddle was a funny kind of name anyway.)
After a long pause, Harry had explained. "Tom Riddle spent a lot of time trying to make people so afraid of him that they wouldn't even say his name. The best way to mock him in death is to not only say his name, but to say the name he hated. That woman, on the other hand, wanted power and recognition, and she wanted everyone to know and say her name. So in her death, our family has decided not to say her name anymore. Our little revenge. It's not much compared to the things she has done, but it's all we have left."
"Was she very evil?"
Harry sighed. Another long and quiet pause. And then he started talking about her. He never said her name. But he explained; the people she killed and tortured in the First War, then the many years in Azkaban, then the Second War, and the people she killed and tortured then as well. He told Teddy about her horrific mission to prune her family tree, he told Teddy about Sirius Black again, about Ted Tonks, and then about Teddy's mum.
At some point during the story, Teddy had started crying in silence. He turned to look at Harry and saw quiet tears on his cheeks too.
"She never understood love, you know. She was very much like Riddle in this way. She never understood that love would be worth it for your grandmother to walk away from her family, that love would mean that Sirius would do anything for me, and that out of love for you, your mother would fight to her dying breath. And like Riddle, that's what got her killed in the end. She tried to kill someone's daughter, and then was faced by the all the wrath that motherly love can bring, and that was the end."
Harry warned him never to mention her in Gran's house. Teddy promised and stayed true to his word. In silence, he hated the woman who had killed his mother and who had made Harry an orphan for the second time, but he chose not to waste too much energy on it. She was dead, he was alive. The best revenge was to enjoy all that she never would again.
As Professor Meister kept on talking about Bellatrix Lestrange, Teddy realised something that his seven year old self had never actually processed. That woman was his great-aunt. Gran's sister. That person who had ruined so many lives, caused so many tears – he was actually related to her. She hadn't just killed Sirius Black and Nymphadora Tonks and Ted Tonks – she'd killed her own cousin, her own niece, her own sister's husband.
Teddy suddenly felt tainted. He'd heard whispers in the past from people who thought his blood impure because of his father – but he suddenly felt tainted by his grandmother's sister. He didn't want to be a Black.
He rushed to his dormitory, took a picture Harry had given him from his photo book and went to stand in the mirror. Relaxing his features, he slowly changed his face to look like the boy smiling on the photo and turned his blue hair sandy-blond. After five minutes, he smiled at his reflection. Perfect. He was identical to a fourteen year old Remus Lupin.
It was hard to believe so many people had objections to his heritage on his father's side, but were apparently fine with his mother's – as if being a werewolf was worse than coming from a family of deranged killers who murdered their own kin.
Before leaving the dorm, he touched the photo on his bedside. The pink haired woman was laughing, holding on to his father's arm, wearing a bright purple wedding outfit.
"I love you Mum, this isn't against you..."
He ran back to his next class, slowing down to a fast walk as he passed the Headmistress who gave him a startled look, and then continuing on to his Potions class before he became too late.
In her office, Minerva McGonagall threw a handful of powder in her fireplace, and enunciated clearly "Ministry of Magic."
Teddy spent the rest of the week proudly impersonating his late father. A few persons commented on his lack of blue hair, but mostly, it just meant he blended in completely with the rest of the student body. No one, except for a few older teachers, knew what Remus Lupin looked like at age 14, so no one had any idea about the reasons behind his new look.
At least, he thought so, until, walking around in Hogsmeade with his friends the next weekend, he heard a familiar voice behind him.
"Nice hair. I do prefer it in blue, though."
His godfather was smirking at him from the entrance of the Hog's Head. Teddy turned to his friends, and without a word, they seemed to get the message and walked off towards to Three Broomsticks. Turning back to Harry, he walked in the dodgy pub with him.
(Another advantage of being Harry Potter: being able to walk in one of the Wizarding world's dodgiest pubs without it looking odd at all).
Aberforth Dumbledore (how old was that man, anyway?) gave them two Butterbeers without needing to be asked, and then went to sit in a quiet corner.
"So, would you care to tell me why you're walking around looking like your father's secret twin brother?"
Teddy mumbled something impossible to understand.
"What was that?"
"How did you know?" Teddy asked, more clearly.
"Minerva came to tell me. Quit trying to change the topic. What's wrong, Ted? Is this still about your History lessons?"
"Did you cover werewolves again? I thought that only lasted one lesson..."
"No. We're talking about Death Eaters."
"Dolohov. And Bellatrix Lestrange."
"Ah." Harry was quiet for a moment. "That's my fault. I should have talked to you about this before..."
"It's not your fault, Harry. It's her."
"Bellatrix. She was so evil."
"Yes, she was," Harry said flatly.
"And I'm actually related to her."
"Ah." And then: "Is that what this is about? Are you trying to pretend you're all Lupin and not Black at all?"
His godfather knew him too well. Teddy waited for the lecture that never came.
"I can understand why you'd have this problem. I haven't met a single decent member of the Black family who didn't have an issue with this either."
The boy looked up, surprised.
"Sirius bottled up an insane amount of self hatred over the years about being the heir to the Black family. You should have seen him in Grimmauld Place – everything that reminded him of his family sent him a bit further in depression. Your mother – it was hard to notice at first, she was always so cheerful about everything, but then, she always tried to find the looks that would annoy a traditional Pureblood family the most. She wore pink as much out of rebellion as for style. And the one thing that tied her the most to the Black family – her first name – she ditched as soon as she could and got everyone to call her Tonks. Your grandmother, though, I think has it the worse. The first time I saw her, I almost cursed her into oblivion – because I thought she was her sister. They looked almost identical, Ted. And yet, they have absolutely nothing in common."
Teddy watched his godfather with baited breath. This was usually the point, in their heart to heart chats, where Harry would reach the conclusion that made everything better.
"Your mother could change what she looked like, Sirius could hold on to the fact he was the Black family's biggest disappointment – but your grandmother, she just had to face it. For years, after the Battle of Hogwarts, people still mistook her for the very woman who killed her husband and her daughter. I don't always see eye to eye with Andromeda, but I'll always respect her for keeping her head up even in the face of all this. There are good things that come with being a Black, and being stubbornly proud in the face of the worse can be one of them."
Harry then took a long sip of his Butterbeer.
"You can keep the hair whichever way you want, Ted. Looking like your father is nothing to be ashamed of. I should know, it's always been one of my greatest prides. But a little tinge of Black and Tonks in there wouldn't hurt either."
Teddy blushed, unsure of whether it was embarrassment or shame, or probably both, and was beyond relieved when his Harry switched the conversation to Quidditch.
The hair turned back blue three days later. When the History lessons turned to the topic of Harry defeating Voldemort, Teddy felt like he would burst with pride for the man who raised him.
Coolest. Godfather. Ever.