No child of mine
By: Amilia Padfoot
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this Fic, only the idea for the story.
Summary: Harry makes a silent pledge to all his children and vows never to break it. He keeps it in mind at all times, determined to raise them right.
A/N: Just a one-shot but you never know I might continue this. Yea, I know I always say that but I'm particularly fond of this one.
The black kettle rattled away in the corner of the pale green kitchen of Potter Cottage. Little puffs of steam were pushed out of its spout before it shook to a stop. Harry picked it up and poured its contents into a small cup, pouring it over the soft brown powder. He placed the kettle back on the counter as the scent of chocolate filled the room. He stirred the liquid thoughtfully, creating a whirlpool of smooth brown and cream. Satisfied, he carried the cup over to the table and placed it in front of his daughter, who sniffed and attempted to dry her eyes with the back of her hand.
"Here you go, love."
"Thanks Daddy," she whispered. Harry sat down beside her and tucked a stray auburn hair behind her ear. She didn't touch the cup, but the smell seemed to soothe her. Harry briefly marvelled at how his daughter's eyes were the exact shade as the liquid in front of her. She closed her eyes.
"I miss her Daddy."
"I know, Lils." He put a comforting arm around her. "I think we all will."
"Jamie said that she was just a pet and I could always get another one," She told him. Her voice was miserable, but when her eyes opened, there was a spark in them telling him she would never want another mouse.
"He doesn't have a pet Lils. He doesn't understand."
"Have you ever had a pet?" Lily asked curiously, taking her first sip from the cup.
"Yes. I had an owl," Lily looked up at him. "She was called Hedwig,"
"That's a pretty name. Did you pick it?" Harry nodded, smiling sadly. "What happened to her?"
"She-she passed away too," He closed his eyes briefly, trying not to think about his beautiful owl going up in flames below him. He felt a soft hand on his.
"I'm sorry Daddy," she told him sincerely.
"It's alright, love." He managed a smile and kissed her forehead. "I know she's up there looking over me."
"Is Lucile up there too?"
"Of course she is. And you know what?"
"What?" Her eyes were wide, her tone eager.
"She is probably up there with Hedwig. My owl was a very clever one, Lils. She'll know Lucile is yours and she'll look after her for you." Lily sniffed and snuggled into his arms.
"I promise." A small smile played across her lips, but the sadness didn't leave her eyes.
"I'll still miss her, though." A small tear rolled down her cheek but Harry didn't brush it aside. He wasn't going to tell his daughter not to cry, but he did promise:
No child of mine will ever cry alone...
Teddy looked down at the card in his hand. It was made of turquoise coloured card, neatly folded and decorated with silver stars. He had been quite proud of it when he had made it in school, but now the more he looked at it, the more it became a bunch of squiggles.
He glanced up at the sound of a squeal he recognised to be James. His dad was spinning him around and around the room. "Dizzy!" he giggled. Harry laughed along with him, but ceased spinning.
"Thanks for the card, Jamie!" he told him with a smile, planting a kiss on his forehead. Teddy went back to looking at his card. He kicked his legs and hummed a little tune, opening and closing the card each time hoping that the squiggles might turn into something more, something special.
He tried to tune out the laughter and the patter on the living room floor as Albus tottered round the table. He faintly heard Ginny picking Albus up and Harry thanking them for the presents. He opened the card again, but still no change. It was still the same messy scrawl of 'Happy father's day!'in blotchy black ink. Giving up, he placed it beside him, out of his sight.
What was the point of the card, anyway? What was he supposed to do with it? He let his thoughts wonder away from the card, away from the living room. He didn't even notice someone sitting beside him 'til Harry spoke:
"Hey Ted, can I show you something? I'd like your opinion." Teddy looked up; it took him a second or two to register he'd just been asked something.
"Yeah, sure." He managed a smile. "What is it?"
Harry passed him a piece of card very much like the one he had tried to forget, only this one was red and it's handwriting was somewhat neater.
"Do you think he'll like it?" Harry asked him. Teddy couldn't help feel touched, that his opinion truly mattered to Harry. That he would share something personal with him.
"Your dad?" Harry nodded, a small smile on his face.
"I think he'll love it," he told him sincerely, and Harry beamed.
"I'm going to go give it to him," he stated, as if it was the most normal thing in the world to give a card to someone long gone. "I wondered if you'd like to come along? To the church, I mean." Teddy nodded returning the smile. He'd like the idea of going to Godric's Hollow with Harry very much. He could give his card to his dad. He felt strangely happy at that thought. Maybe he would be able to feel a little closer to his dad then he normally did on this day. He looked into Harry's caring eyes, and realised that that was the plan all along.
Harry had understood him, what this day meant to him, and had given him a solution. And they could share it together. Teddy wrapped his arms around Harry, trying to put his feelings into the hug. They sat their comfortably for a while, watching James playing in the corner.
"We'll go after we see Granddad Arthur," Harry told him eventually. It was then that Teddy saw his opening. As they had sat in silence, Teddy had wondered how best to ask.
"You usually give him a card, don't you?" He began tentatively. Harry nodded.
"I'm very lucky to know him, and, well, I guess he is like a dad to me," he shrugged.
"So it's possible-" Teddy began slowly, as if putting a great deal of thought into his words, "to have more than one dad?"
"I don't see why not, Teddy."
"Would- would it be okay if you were my dad too?" Teddy blurted.
"Oh Teddy, I'm so sorry." Teddy's heart plummeted. "I thought you already knew. I thought you knew that I consider you a son. I'm sorry Teddy, I'm sorry I didn't make it clear." Harry hugged him tightly, sounding genuinely upset.
Teddy couldn't find any words to show how happy he felt. He just let Harry hold him and smiled brightly.
Harry couldn't believe Teddy hadn't known. He cursed himself for nearly breaking his promise - No child of mine will ever feel left out...
Silence had claimed the air, settling like the dust upon the many shelves. Sunlight streamed through the frosted windows, making the dust dance and swirl in the beams. A young lady repositioned the glasses on her nose and flipped the page of her book, while the elder man across from her smoothed out his newspaper. Neither of them spoke. In fact, the only words uttered were by two students studying in the far corner, but their conversation was held in feverish whispers.
It wasn't till the pitter-patter of hurried footsteps made their way across the wooden floor that the silence was disturbed. The small boy caught the stern look of a woman from behind a tall desk. He gave her an apologetic smile, but slowed his steps, making as little noise as he could until he reached the man by the non-fiction section. He tried to stand there quietly, he really did, but he couldn't hold it in much longer. He tugged on the man's arm.
"Dad, dad what's that?" Harry looked up from the book in his hand to where his son was pointing.
"That's a computer, Al." He smiled down at his son, bemused by the confused expression on his face.
"But what is it?"
"It's a muggle machine that they use for all sorts of things."
"Like what?" Harry thought for a second, wondering how he could explain it simply without having to go into too much detail.
"Like, um, writing things up or doing sums or finding stuff out?" Albus stared at the computer as if it was the most fascinating thing he had ever seen.
"How'd they find the information?" Yes, that was Al all over, Harry thought. Always wanting to learn new things, never satisfied till he knew how something worked. Why it was used? How did they make it? Who made it?
"They use this thing called the internet."
"Well you type something in like a word or a question and a lot of information about it comes up." Harry told him vaguely but Albus seemed satisfied with the explanation.
"Cool!" He cried. Then, hardly a heart-beat later: "What kind of information?"
"Any kind. Anything at all."
"Wow. Can I try it?"
"Um, not right now Al. I only agreed to give this back for your aunt. We really have to get back home."
"Because I promised your mum," Albus seemed to consider this for a second before replying.
"Ok. Can I take a book with me?"
"Sure Al, but hurry up, yeah?" Albus grinned and gave his dad a hug before hurrying off, making sure to tip-toe past the stern lady, then ran to the fiction section.
It was a while later that they left the library. Harry glanced at his watch several times, each time hoping he was reading it wrong.
"Dad, dad, why are we going so fast? Are we going to apparate? I really don't like apperating. Why can't we take a bus? Wow Dad, look at how big that dog is! Can we get a dog? I know James would love one and I know we can't have a cat because of Lucile. Why do cats like mice anyway?"
"Because we are late and yes, we have to apparate - sorry Al. The bus doesn't go to Godric's Hollow, I'll ask your mother and I'm not sure Al. I think they just like chasing them."
"Which way are we heading? Are we going past the bakery? Can we get something? Can I get a cookie? Please! Oh! One with white chocolate. Why am I allergic to dark chocolate?"
"We're going down past the stadium, but I'm sure Granny will make you some tomorrow if you ask nicely. And I don't know. A lot of people are allergic to things. I'm allergic to apricots and I have no idea why." Harry answered while steered his son down an ally-way, looking around to make sure there was no one around. A few giggling girls came up the other end of the ally and Harry waited for them to pass.
"Where do apricots come from? Do they grow on trees too? Dad, why was that lady dressed like that?"
"I'm not sure Al. But we need to apparate now."
"Do I ask too many questions dad? Jamie says it's annoying. Do I annoy you?"
"No Albus. You could never annoy me. Ask as many questions as you like. I really don't mind." Albus grinned up at him and Harry held him close, turning on the spot as he thought:
No child of mine will ever be forbidden to ask questions...
The small spot of light that surrounded him was slowly disappearing. The shadows that circled around him again and again were slowly engulfing his light. The shadows twisted and shifted amongst the solid darkness. They loomed over him, taunting him. Then a shadow stepped out of the black. It was tall and cloaked. This shadow was the figure of a man. A man born from the darkness.
He backed away from the shadow-man, but another stepped out. He could not tell where the figure of the man ended and the darkness began. It was as if they were one in the same. The shadows seemed to be marching forward, step by step, in a tight suffocating circle.
"Dad?" he whispered. "Dad," he repeated a little louder. The light around him was now nothing more than a tiny spot, barely covering his feet. There was one right in front of him now, reaching out to him. "Dad!" He stiffened waiting to be grabbed when the shadow paused. It appeared to be hesitating, as if suddenly unsure of what it was doing.
There seemed to be a breeze coming from somewhere, fluttering around the shadows. It was a whisper. He strained his ears to hear it. It sounded like...his name.The breeze picked up, turning to a howling wind, Jamie, wake up, come on now, it's just a dream... The shadows scattered. The light expanded.
He opened his eyes.
"It's okay, Jamie. I'm here. It's alright." James suddenly became aware of the warmth of his bed. It felt good to feel the sheets under his fingers. A calming hand brushed his fringe out of his eyes. He looked up at his dad, who looked back at him worriedly.
"Are you alright?" James managed a nod. Harry continued to run a hand through his son's hair soothingly.
"I thought you weren't coming," James whispered.
Harry wrapped him arms around him, pulling him close. "I'll always come for you James." James snuggled into him.
"Stay here? With me?" Harry pulled the blanket over the both of them.
"I'm not going anywhere, son."
No child of mine will be left alone and scared in the dark...
Harry slowly made his way up the stairs of his house. He couldn't help but feel depressed, knowing the paperwork that awaited him upstairs in his study. Well, it was his fault, as Ron constantly reminded him, for accepting the post of Head of the department all those years ago.
What he didn't expect, however, was to find his bedroom door to be agar. He stepped up to it and opened it fully.
"Ginny? I thought you wer-" But it was not Ginny sat there at her dressing table. He stopped dead at the sight that greeted him. If he didn't recognise the auburn shade of the hair then he would have sworn blind that he was not seeing his daughter in front of him.
"Lily?" Lily put the small tube in her hand down and looked at him.
"Oh, hi Daddy," she said in a would-be-casual voice, but she looked nervous- as if she had been caught red-handed. Only in this case, it was red-lipped. Harry looked at his daughter, too shocked for words. Lily began to look even more uneasy, but she was the first to speak.
"How do I look?" Harry bit back his immediate response and said instead,
"Lily, you know you're not allowed to touch your mother's make-up." Lily looked down. At first he thought she was ashamed, but he realised it was disappointment.
"Why are you dressed like that anyway?" He couldn't keep the disapproving tone out of his voice. Since when had his little girl liked short skirts and tight tops? And when had she ever put her hair up?
"It's Jake's birthday party today, Dad." Dad? Harry thought, alarm bells ringing shrilly in his mind, but he silenced them.
"There's no way you're going dressed like that. What's wrong with the dress your mum picked out? I thought you looked great in it." Lily made a face.
"Dad, the dress is boring and babyish."
"Least it's respectable." Lily rolled her eyes, bringing attention to the smudged blue eye-shadow and thickly massacred eye-lashes. Harry cringed at the idea of her going out like that. He crossed the room and walked over to the dressing table.
"Come on, let's get this stuff off you," he said it gently enough but she glared at him. He sighed. "Lily, you're too young for make-up." The glare deepened and he knew he had said the wrong thing. Lily had gotten to be very touchy about her age and how she was 'too young to do this, too young to do that, too young to do anything!', as she had ranted one day.
He tried a different tact. "Besides, you don't need make-up or bright jewellery. You're pretty enough without it."
She looked down at that, her glare melting into a look of sadness. "Lily, what is it?"
She didn't answer him, but shuffled in her seat. He lent on the side of the dressing table and took her hand. "Sweetheart, talk to me."
"Jake," she mumbled. "He has a girlfriend." So that was what this was all about. He was about to comfort her but she burst out:
"I don't get it! What does he see in her? She's so mean and bossy and struts around like she owns the place. And she's so over dramatic and oh, it's never her fault, no, it's always someone else's. She's never done anything wrong in her life!" She took a deep breath and black tears rolled down her face. Harry squeezed her hand but didn't interrupt.
"But I know why he likes her. Because she's pretty." She ranted, flinging her arms about, making her bangles rattle as she talked. "She's has these amazing blond curls and these huge blue eyes. And she's tall and skinny and can dance and sing. She's just so damn perfect. And when she looks at me I feel so...so...ugly. Like I'm nothing," She took a shuddering breath and looked about to continue but Harry had had enough.
He calmly picked up a pack of Magical-Makeup-Removers and took a wipe out. He began taking the make-up off her face, wiping as he spoke.
"Lily- love. You're not pretty. You're beautiful. And not just on the outside, but inside as well. Don't look at me like that, you know you are. You are the kindest, most thoughtful person I have ever met. You're full of energy, enough to light up the whole room. You're a fireball with a fierce glare that would scare even me sometimes-" She let out a small giggle at that, "You care about people, love, I mean really care. I've lost count of the times you've cheered me up. And as for how you look. You have the most amazing smile, and the cutest freckles." Harry reached round her neck and took the sparkling necklace off.
"You're hair is always messy and free but it suits you down to the ground and you have your mother's eyes, which is the best thing any girl can ever have. If this Jake boy prefers someone else then that's his loss and some other blokes gain. You just make sure who ever that is, he deserves it. Make sure he wants you for you." He took the clips out of her hair, which fell down around her face as she nodded in understanding. They both looked into her reflection.
"You look beautiful,"
"Thanks Daddy." She smiled at him, and then launched herself on him, hugging him tight.
"Anytime love. Never think you are nothing. Never. To me you are perfect. You are perfect just the way you are."
No child of mine will think there is something wrong with them...
Harry peered around the primary school playground. He turned in a full circle, his eyes scanning over the children playing as they waited for their own parents to turn up. But try as he might, he just could not see his child among them. The panic was beginning to work its determined way up inside when there was a tap on his shoulder.
"Mr Potter?" He turned to see a tall willowy looking woman standing there. She had a firm posture and long muscular legs. He knew that she tended to handle the more P.E side of things but taught maths as well.
"Miss Trist?" Harry looked up curiously at the bright orange hat the woman had on. It went well with her orange tracksuit bottoms and he wondered if she was secretly a Chudley Canon's supporter. Her lips seemed to tighten and he realised he was staring. Shaking himself sternly, he asked, "Do you know where Al is?"
Harry was slightly startled as the usually friendly teacher's eyes darkened.
"Yes, Mr Potter. He is inside. I wonder if we could have a word?"
Harry's eyebrows rose, but he agreed and followed her in. He tried to keep calm. It was probably nothing to worry about. Maybe Al had just caught something off the other kids and they hadn't bothered to ring him up because it was so close to pick-up-time anyway. Or maybe something was wrong with the details they had given the school? They had, after all, been very vague. Either way, Albus didn't get into nearly as much trouble as James, so whatever it was, it couldn't be that bad. Could it?
She led him down a brightly painted corridor, splattered with the children's art work. Harry smiled as he recognised some of them.
"He is alright isn't he, Miss Tirst?" She gave a nod and a hint of a reassuring smile, but that was all. Reaching what Harry knew to be Albus's class, the number 5 clearly on the door, the willowy teacher held the door open for him and he thanked her. He navigated his way around the small tables and chairs to reach the desk tucked away in the corner, where there was Albus, sat in a chair beside the desk. He looked up at his dad, seeming almost nervous. Harry just smiled and ruffled his son's hair.
"Hey Al, you alright?" Albus nodded weakly, not at all as reassured as Harry had hoped he would look. Miss Trist gestured for him to sit, while sitting herself behind her desk. She did not look at all happy, and for a moment he was glad he wasn't the one in trouble, but a glance at Al squirming in his seat changed his mind. Harry shuffled his chair a little closer to his son and waited for Miss Trist to speak.
"Mr Potter-" she hesitated and then it was as if she was the uncomfortable one. "Something - something happened today, and I can't quite explain it. Good heavens, I'm sure no one can." She gave a brief, almost sarcastic laugh, before leaning forward, lowering her voice. "But one thing I am certain about is that your son was the administrator."
Harry glanced at Albus who looked down at his feet, wondering what an 'administrator' was and how much trouble he was going to be in.
"I'm not sure I understand what you are on about, Miss Trist." She narrowed her crystal eyes at him, wondering if he was being insolent or not.
"What I am on about, Mr Potter, is this!" And with that, she reached up and pulled of her orange bobble hat. Curls and curls of long wavy bluish-purple hair tumbled down around her head, landing just past her shoulders. She glared at him, as if daring him to laugh.
"Um, well you look very nice Miss Trist, but I'm a little unsure about what this has to do with my son." Later Harry would wonder how on earth he had managed to keep such a calm and serious face at the sight of this woman, with a mane of wild blue hair and flared nostrils.
"It has everything to do with him!" She almost screeched, losing her usually finally tuned composure. Harry had only seen her like this on a handful of occasions, each one of them occurring in the brief year that James had spent at the school.
"I fail to see how," Harry lied easily. It was entirely probable that Al had produced accidental magic, but he wasn't about to tell that to the hysterical teacher.
"I lost count of the abnormal-" Harry bristled at the word "-things that happened while James was here. The flying plates, the exploding paint boxes, Miss Proton's chair that wouldn't stop spinning whenever she sat down, appearing on the roof, the frog in Mr Jessup's teacup, to name a few - and don't forget the bunny-slipper incident at Easter! And now it's happening again!"
"Albus is not his brother," He reminded her coolly, "and I still have no idea what it is you are accusing him of."
"My hair! My hair!" She yelled. "In case you haven't noticed, it's blue!"
"Yes and it suits you very nicely. When did you get it done?" He asked her pleasantly. Albus eyed his teacher nervously, wondering if she was about to explode. Instead, she pointed a shaking finger at him.
"He- he- I saw him! Your son turned my hair blue!"
Albus slumped down in his seat as if hoping to disappear under the desk.
"Miss Trist, I think you need to calm down. There is no way my son could have done that. I'm sure there is a perfectly logical reason. Now if you'll excuse us?" He stood not waiting for an answer. "I really must get Albus home, his mother will be wondering where we got to."
Miss Trist looked about to demand they stay but Harry cut her off. "Miss Trist, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't jump to such conclusions in future. I'm hoping for my daughter to come here-" he grinned a little, but then added with the voice of a concerned parent, "but I'm a little worried about her being accused of things she can't possibly do. I'd hate to bother the Head about my worries; maybe you could reassure me now?"
"I'll make sure it doesn't happen again, Mr Potter," She in a sickly-sweet voice, her eyes flashing as she pulled her hat on again. Harry gave her a grateful smile, but it looked more like a sympathetic one.
"Say goodbye to your teacher Al," Albus mumbled his goodbye and together they left, Albus shuffling his feet the whole way. Neither of them spoke, which only added to his trepidation, until they reached the car. Still nothing was uttered until the doors slammed shut and Harry burst into peals of laughter.
Albus stared at his dad, completely startled.
"Um, are you okay Dad?"
"Blue!" He cried through his laughter. "You turned her hair blue!"
"Well, she was saying my painting was wrong! Said it was meant to blue, but Luna told me she had seen a purple sky once! But she insisted and I was annoyed 'cus she wouldn't listen to me and..." He explained hurriedly, staring at his chuckling dad as if he was crazy.
"You're not mad?"
"Oh Al, of course I'm not! It's only hair. She can have it put right at a hairdressers or something." Albus brightened considerably at that, glad that he could relish his small victory over his teacher. "Oh Al," Harry repeated, pulling his son into an uncomfortable hug. "You really shouldn't have been so worried,"
No child of mine will be punished for something they can't control...
Harry rocked back and forwards gently and rhythmically in the old rocking chair. The chair had once belonged to his father-in-law, and just as Arthur had rocked his sons and daughter, now Harry rocked his son. He still hadn't gotten over how something so tiny could mean so much, could bring so much joy and, he thought wearily, scream so loudly.
It had taken what felt like an age to get James to quiet down, but it had been managed. The baby now rested peacefully in his arms, staring up at him with innocent brown eyes. Harry found himself getting lost in them as he cradled the child. He was a dad now. He had been for four months, but the news still shocked him. He was a father. It was a truly heart-warming yet scary thought. This little bundle was his and Ginny's responsibility, but he knew they could manage it. He was determined. This kid was going to grow up right. He held James a little closer, never wanting to let him go. His family was the most precious thing in the world to him and the thought of even a part of it being taken from him terrified him.
"I won't let anything bad happen to you, James," he whispered. The baby just blinked up at him. "I won't let anyone hurt you. I'll never hurt you." James reached up a tiny arm and Harry offered him his finger. James held onto it, and Harry lowered his voice even more so it was hard to believe he was talking at all. "I'm never going to lock you up, or threaten you. I'm going to keep you safe. I'm never going to starve you, or put you down. I'm going to support you and encourage you to be the best you can. I'm never going to judge you, or ignore you or raise my voice for no good reason. I'm going to love you, James. I do love you."
He had made much the same pledge to Teddy when he was little, and he somehow knew he was going to make it again.
No child of mine will ever be treated like I was.
Please review! Tell me what you think. (This made my beta cry! Imagine that!) Which part was you're fave? I know James didn't get as much as the others, but I have plans to make up for that, as his second part will play another roll. As for there only been one part on Teddy I'll make up for that with CWT. I wanted to try a little more of Al and Lily as I don't write them as often. Anyway hope you are all well, love ya! –Ami x