Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing, Scholastic Corporation, and Warner Brothers.
Harry walked in through the door and down the hall. He shook off his coat and placed it on a hook.
"Hello?" he called out.
"In here," a feminine voice called back from the kitchen.
He followed the voice to the kitchen and found his wife of fifteen years. He walked up behind her, placed his hands on her hips, and kissed her cheek.
"Hi," he said, greeting her again.
"Hello," Ginny replied with a soft smile.
"Something smells delicious," he observed.
"I'm making some treacle tart for dessert," she said.
"Ah! Still chasing after my heart, I see," Harry playfully responded. He then turned her around and pressed a kiss to her lips. She smiled into the kiss for a moment and then gently pushed him away.
Noticing the absence of his two children that were not attending Hogwarts, Harry asked, "Where are Al and Lily?"
"They're both at the Burrow. And I got a letter from James today," she said.
"A letter from James? Our James? The world must be ending," he said incredulously.
"I know," Ginny said with a laugh, "I thought the same thing when I got the post."
"Well, what did he want?" Harry questioned.
"He wanted to make sure we knew that no matter what McGonagall said, it wasn't him," she said with a smirk.
"It wasn't him? Did we get a letter from Minerva?" he asked.
"We did, indeed. She wrote to tell us that James, with the help of Fred, filled the Great Hall with worms and renamed it the 'Bait Hall'," she informed him.
"Seriously?" he asked.
With a sharp nod, she said "Seriously."
"Where do they get these ideas? Why would anyone even want to do that?" Harry wondered out loud.
"I have no idea. Now, go away," she said.
"Go away? What did I do?" he questioned.
In reply, she said, "You're distracting me," and then added, "Plus Teddy wants to talk to you. He's waiting in your study."
"Why?" Harry asked.
"How am I supposed to know? He wants to talk to you not me, so shoo," she ordered with a smile as she pushed him towards the door.
"I'm going," he grumbled with a grin as he walked out of the kitchen towards his study.
When he entered, he saw an eighteen year old boy with turquoise hair sitting in a chair facing away from him.
"Hey, Teddy," Harry called out to his godson.
Teddy jumped up out of the chair, surprised to hear someone else in the room.
"You scared me," Teddy said, "I didn't hear you come in."
Harry was concerned. With a werewolf for a father, Teddy had an unusually sharp sense of sound. Harry had never been able to sneak up on the boy, even when he tried to.
"What's wrong, Ted? You're not usually this jumpy," he said with concern as he walked toward the desk and sat in the chair opposite Teddy.
Teddy was silent for a moment and then he answered, "I was just thinking. Got distracted."
"Thinking about what?" Harry pressed.
Teddy lifted his head to look at his godfather and said, "In Auror Training today, we studied the Unforgivable Curses."
"Ah...," was Harry's reply.
"That's all you have to say? 'Ah'?" Teddy replied.
"Well, what do you want me to say, Teddy?" he retorted calmly.
"I want you to tell me that the instructor is an idiot and that you made a mistake when you hired him!" Teddy forcefully replied.
Harry was extremely confused.
"Why would I do that?" he asked.
"Because he's cast all the Unforgivables! He told us he did! He's supposed to be punishing people for breaking the same laws he's broken! I mean, what a hypocrite! How is he supposed to punish people for doing the same thing he did?" Teddy ranted.
Harry gave no reply; He simply looked at his godson with a mix of pity and bitterness.
Unnerved by his godfather's silence, Teddy tilted his head and stared at him. Understanding hit Teddy, and Harry could see it on his face as it sunk in.
Already knowing the answer, Teddy asked, "You've cast the Unforgivables?" His voice was filled with disbelief.
Harry merely nodded, never breaking eye contact with Teddy.
"All of them?" Teddy whispered.
Harry shook his head and said, "No. Not all of them."
"Which ones?" Teddy demanded.
"Teddy...," Harry began. Then he sighed, never giving an answer
"No," Teddy said, "Don't do that. Answer the question!"
Without feeling, Harry replied, "The Imperius and the Cruciatus."
Teddy's lips tightened together and he look away from the only man he had ever considered a father, from the man he most respected, the man he idolized. Tears of anger and frustration were forming in his eyes.
"How could you?" Teddy pleaded.
Looking pointedly at the wall, Harry began to speak in a hard, pained voice, "During war... Sometimes when you're fighting for something so important, it doesn't matter what's right and what's wrong. Sometimes you just have to do what's necessary to protect those closest to you. Sometimes it's about choosing your battles and keeping your head down so you can live to fight another day."
"So whenever things get tough, you just go around casting Unforgivables?" he replied castigating.
"Teddy, you were so young when the War was being fought. Hell, I was so young. But you don't know," he said desperately, "You can't understand, and, Merlin, I hope that you never do. But there comes a point when you're fighting so hard to be good, to do what's right, but you can't. The rules, the laws, they turn on you, Ted. Those things that make us civilized and good, things like morality and honor, they just hold you back. They let the bad guy get ahead."
Teddy just shook his head and curled his lip when he asked, "How can you just... give up everything you stand for like that?"
"Because the rules change in war, Teddy! Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to keep fighting!" Harry shouted, finally losing his temper.
"They change so much that you can just cast an Unforgivable without a second thought?" Teddy yelled back.
"No, of course not! It's the second thought that makes the difference. You cast the curse and then you second guess yourself until you can't bear to any longer. Casting a curse like that, it isn't giving up everything you believe in, Teddy. It's fighting so much harder than you ever have. You sacrifice your… idealism and your purity so that, maybe, someday, someone else, someone like you can keep theirs," Harry pleaded.
Teddy shook his head. He was brimming with anger, with disappointment, with disbelief.
"I need to go," Teddy said, "I... I'll see you later."
Teddy walked out of the study and then out of the house. Harry stayed in his chair, sitting, remembering, hurting.
Minerva McGonagall was sitting in the Headmistress' Office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. On the wall behind her were portraits of her predecessors, all of the former headmasters and headmistresses of the institution. Sitting at her desk, she was reviewing the school's budget for the year. I see I failed to include money for damages caused by James Potter and Fred Weasley, she thought with a shake of her head. Suddenly, the flames in the fireplace turned green and the face of her godson, Teddy Lupin, could be seen in the flames.
"Minerva?" the boy asked.
"Yes, my dear?" she said.
"Can... Can I come in?" he pleaded.
"Of course," she told him.
She placed the budget aside to be reviewed later and stood up from her chair. Her joints cracked and her muscles were stiff. She was finally beginning to feel like the old woman she knew she had become. Three wars, forty-one years of teaching, eighteen years as headmistress, and eighteen years of helping raise an orphaned boy had caught up with her.
The green flames in the fireplace rose and out of the flames walked Teddy Lupin.
"Hello, Minerva," said the young man.
Professor McGonagall walked over to her godson, gave him a hug, and said, "Hello, Teddy."
She led him to the couch and summoned the pot of tea that had been sitting on her desk, as well as two cups.
"Now, tell me, dear, what has you so sad," she commanded as she poured him a cup just the way he liked.
Teddy wiped the tears from his face and spoke to his godmother, "We were talking about the Unforgivables in training today and the instructor told us that he had cast all three of them. So, after training I went to see Harry and told him what had happened."
"I think I can see where this is headed, bairn," she told him.
"You can, can you?" he asked darkly.
"You told him what happened and the lad told you that he's cast them as well," she said.
"Right in one," he said dejectedly.
Minerva sighed. She knew there would be no easy way to handle this situation.
She took a sip of her tea and posed, "May I tell you something?"
"I was there the last time Harry cast an Unforgivable. Actually, he casted it for me," she said.
Teddy looked up at her in disbelief.
"He used an Unforgivable for you?" he said incredulously.
Minerva nodded and continued her tale, "It was just before the Battle for Hogwarts had begun. Harry and Ron and Hermione had been gone for ten months. None of us had heard much about them since they had left the previous July. There were rumors, of course. Your father had seen them in August. They'd been spotted breaking into the ministry and in Godric's Hollow. We knew they had been at the Lovegood's. The day before the battle, we'd heard that they had broken into Gringott's and escaped on the back of a dragon."
Teddy gave a small smile at both the mention of his father and of the legendary break-in at Gringott's.
Lost in her thoughts, her voice became much softer, more desperate, "But I hadn't seen him in so long. And everything had gone to hell. The Carrows had turned my school into a prison, controlling everything and punishing those brave rebels until there was almost no resistance left. But there was some resistance left, of course," she said with a smile. "After all, there is an entire house full of Gryffindors. Those like Neville and Ginerva were never willing to give in. But anyway, Amycus Carrow had spotted Harry in Ravenclaw Tower. He had signaled Voldemort, but then Harry disappeared again. Alecto decided that when Voldemort came, they would blame the students for summoning him... And I couldn't let that happen."
Teddy shut his eyes and his breaths became uneven. Fear for his godmother was consuming him.
"I told Alecto that I wouldn't allow her to do it, to blame my students. Amycus didn't take my comment towards his sister very well. He walked up, so very close to me, put his hand on my chin and held my face up towards his. And then he spat on me. I knew that it was only the beginning. He would have tortured me until Voldemort arrived. He was already angry because Voldemort was coming and they had lost Harry. I knew what would happen but it didn't matter, so long as it was me and not my students," she said.
She looked up, broken from her memories, and glanced at Teddy's face. He seemed so very angry.
The headmistress picked up the story where she left it, "Harry had been in the room the whole time, though I hadn't known it at the moment. He pulled off the invisibility cloak and revealed himself. And then he cast the Cruciatus on Amycus."
Teddy looked out of the window, towards Ravenclaw tower.
"So he used an Unforgivable because someone spat on you? I thought he had a good reason?" Teddy said angrily.
"No," she began in reply, "He didn't just cast the curse because Amycus Carrow spat on me. He did it because he is a good man."
"A good man?! You think that using an Unforgivable makes him a good man?!" Teddy asked furiously.
"Yes," she started, "He used the curse because he was, always has been and still is, a good man. And good men sometimes do unsavory things, Teddy. Especially in a war. Harry got his hands dirty, yes. But no one escapes a war with clean hands. Not Harry Potter, not Kingsley Shacklebolt, not Molly Weasley, not even Albus Dumbledore. And you can call us jaded, but I think we have a right to be. When Harry casted the Cruciatus, he did it to take away power from the Carrows. He fought on their level. And you can argue whether it was the best course of action all you like, but it is done. You can't change what happened and you can't possibly argue that Harry is as bad as Amycus or Alecto."
Teddy was still angry, and said, "So casting a curse like that made him feel powerful? It made him more powerful than the Carrows, did it?"
"Yes," was Minerva's simple reply.
"Yes?! That's all you have to say?" he yelled back.
"Yes! When those Death Eaters casted the curse, they did so for their enjoyment, for fun. But Harry did it to protect me. He changed everything when he crossed that line! He used a curse so bad, so antithetical to himself and what we were fighting for. He did that to himself for us! He stepped into the shadows and into the mud and showed us that we could do what was necessary to win the war! Because to give anything less than our all to the fight was a disservice! Harry gave up some of his own goodness in the fight for the greater good. For all of the remaining innocence and purity and kindness and goodness that Voldemort had not yet managed to stomp out and smother!" she said, getting as emotional as her godson.
They were both becoming furious, though for very different reasons. Minerva knew that she needed to stay calm, so she began a new avenue of conversation.
"Did you know that Molly killed Bellatrix LeStrange in the Battle for Hogwarts?" she asked, seemingly out of the blue.
"Yes. But she didn't cast the killing curse," Teddy said.
"Would it have been worse if she had?" Minerva posed.
Without hesitation, he said, "Of course!"
"Why?" she replied.
"Why what?" he asked in confusion.
"Why would it have been worse if Molly had killed Bellatrix with Avada Kedavra?" she repeated.
He paused for a moment and then he said, "Because...because...just because it would, okay?"
"That's not an answer, fillo," she informed him.
"Well... it didn't matter how Molly killed Bellatrix LeStrange. She killed Bellatrix LeStrange to protect Aunt Ginny," Teddy told her.
"So, you're saying that what matters is the why and not the how," she concluded.
"I guess," Teddy replied.
"And do you think Harry would have used such curses without a reason just as noble?" she questioned.
"I suppose not... but it's just that... Harry's always been good. He always does the right thing. And then he told me that he's cast the Unforgivables? It just... doesn't make any sense," he said, clearly still torn up.
Speaking softly, Minerva said, "No one's hands stay clean in war, child. Albus Dumbledore once told me that there's light and dark in all of us. Even the best of us have a little darkness in us."
Teddy said nothing, so Minerva continued speaking.
"I know that you may not understand or agree with the choices and actions that Harry, or anyone else in the War, made. Harry has done dark things, things that you condemn and disdain, but he is still, I think you agree, a good man. Can you accept that Harry used the curse for reasons that you can't understand? Can you accept that it's been done? No one can change the past, Teddy. Whether or not it was good or bad, it's been done and no one can change that. Can you accept it?" she asked him.
Teddy nodded, almost imperceptibly.
"Can you forgive him?" she asked.
Teddy inhaled shakily, then nodded and said, "Yeah. I can do that."
"Good," she said with a curt nod.
Teddy stood up from the couch and said, "I think I need to go speak with Harry again."
"Oh, no, child," she said, "Not now. He's not ready for that right now."
"What?" Teddy asked.
"Just give him a bit of time before you go back to him? All right? He needs some time to think, just like you needed some time to think," she warned him.
"Fine," he said dejectedly.
"It was good to see you, Teddy. You're a wonderful young man," she said with a kiss to his cheek.
"Bye, Minnie," he said with a cheeky smirk as he stepped back into the fireplace and disappeared.
"Harry?" Ginny called into her husband's study several hours after she had seen Teddy run out of the house.
She heard no response from behind the door, so she slowly opened it. What she saw when she opened the door was her husband sitting behind his desk with a tattered old bag sitting open front of him. On top of his desk, taken from the bag, was a broken shard of a mirror, a snitch, a galleon, and an aged piece of parchment.
"Harry?" she called out again, but her husband still gave no response.
She walked into the office and leaned over his desk, finally gaining his attention.
"Yes?" Harry said as he looked up at his wife.
"What is all this?" she asked him with a curious look on her face.
"Oh.. It's nothing. I was just thinking," he said avoiding answering the question.
But she was not to be distracted, and asked, "About what?"
"Just... you know... everything, really...," Harry responded with a lost look on his face.
"Well, you're going to have to think about 'everything' later. We need to go get Al and Lily from Mum and Dad's," she informed him.
Nodding absentmindedly, he stood up from behind his desk. "Righto," he said.
He grabbed his wand and his wife's hand and they walked out of his office. With a loud crack, the couple disappeared from the house.
Later that evening, Teddy reappeared at the Potter House. He walked through the house calling out for any of its denizens, but he garnered no reply. He gathered that they must have gone out. He decided to wait in his godfather's office until their return so they could speak.
He entered the darkened study and turned on the lights. He sat down in a chair, noticing the items resting on the desk, but chosing to ignore them. He raised his feet and put them on the corner of the desk and sat in silence.
As the time passed, Teddy began to fidget. He started tapping on the desk. After several minutes, he absent-mindedly picked up the golden snitch lying on the table. He turned the snitch in his hand and noticed its age. The snitch had tarnished and its wings fluttered half-heartedly. He concluded that the snitch was quite old, despite being well maintained and cared for. He began to examine it more closely and noticed a sentence etched into the gold.
I open at the close.
His eyebrows drew together in confusion. He wondered at the oddity of it. He shrugged it off and put down the snitch.
Next he picked up the broken mirror. He stared into it. He began morphing his face into different forms and this entertained him for some time.
After growing tired of the mirror, he placed it back on Harry's desk in exchange for the galleon. He flipped the coin several times in his hand, playing heads or tails with himself until he grew bored once more and put it back where it belonged.
He let out a sigh of exasperation and boredom as he looked at the watch on his wrist. It had only been 15 minutes.
He looked towards the desk again. Most specifically, he stared at the letter sitting on the desk. The temptation was irresistible. He was bored and there was a mystery sitting right in front of him. How was he supposed to fight it? But it was not his letter. It was his godfather's. He did not want to invade his godfather's privacy. But then again, the letter looked decades old. What would it matter if he read it anyway? Whatever was in the letter couldn't matter now, decades after it had been written.
Giving into temptation, he grabbed the letter. There was no address on the outside. It was addressed with only a name: Will.
Teddy's head tilted to the side in confusion. Who was Will? He had met nearly all of his godfather's friends, but he had never met or even heard of anyone who went by the name Will.
Maybe Bill Weasley? His full name was William Weasley. But he hated the name Will.
He simply had to read the letter now. It was shrouded in mystery and he never had been able to leave a mystery uninvestigated. He was going to be an Auror after all.
He gently unfolded the letter in his hand. As he read the title line, his eyes grew in astonishment and then horror. He could not believe how stupid he had been. This was not a letter to a man named Will, it was a Last Will. And not just any will. It was his godfather's will. He knew he should stop reading. But he could not. He could not stop reading once he had started.
The Last Will and Testament of Harry James Potter
Date: Winter, 1997ish (Sorry, I'm not exactly sure when.)
Hello. I'm not quite sure how this works exactly, so bear with me. I'm not even sure if this will be considered a real will or if I was supposed to have gone to do this at Gringott's or something. The whole Gringott's thing isn't really an option. I can't really show up in Diagon Alley without being attacked. Undesirable Number One and all that. But if you can, I hope you (whoever you are) can get this to the Weasley family or Hermione Granger so that they can do whatever it is you do with a will.
First of all, if you're reading this, then I'm dead. Not all that shocking, to be honest. Really. I'm not sure I ever really expected to make it out of this war. I'm just happy I lived as long as I did. I wish that maybe I had lived a bit longer, but sometimes, things don't work out the way we want. I'm not sad. I've made my peace with it. That's why I'm writing this. Because I'm pretty sure I won't make it through the end of this war and I want to make sure that the people I care about get everything I have left to give. It's not all that much, but it's all I have.
Okay. So, first, I want all of the money in my vault to be divided equally between Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Arthur & Molly Weasley. Don't let them argue. Money is the least I can give them for all that they've done for me. Please let them know that they've meant more to me than I could ever tell them. I hope that they all have made it through this war. More than anybody else, I hope they are safe.
Second, I want for the Marauders' Map (Ron & Hermione know what I'm talking about) and my photo album to be given to Remus Lupin. It's only right for the map to go to the last loyal Marauder. Please tell Remus, that as a favor to me, he needs to continue the Marauder tradition, and give the map to his kid when it's time for them to go to Hogwarts. Let a new generation of mischief makers run Professor McGonagall mad.
Thirdly, I leave my invisibility cloak to Professor Minerva McGonagall. I figure that cloak's caused enough mischief in its long life, it should have a chance to be on the other side of the rule breaking and maybe it'll help her catch some mischief makers and make up for all the trouble it's caused. Plus, if this war's not over yet, I'm sure Fawkes' club could find some use for it.
If there's anything I've forgotten, divide it up equally between Ron and Hermione who have stood beside me through it all. It's the least I can do for all of the support they've given me.
I'm not quite sure how to finish this, so I'll just end it with one last request that you let everyone I've mentioned in this letter know how much I love them and how much they mean to me. They've become the family I used to dreamed of when I was a kid. I have no regrets. Please let Mrs. Weasley know that running into her outside of Platform 9 3/4 was the best thing that could ever have happen to me. That's it. That's all I have left.
Harry James Potter
A few tears fell down Teddy's cheeks. With a trembling hand, he placed the parchment back on the desk and then moved his hand to cover his face. His breaths were shaky. He bent over in his chair and placed his elbows on his knees.
He did not know how long he sat in that position, but after a time, he heard the Potters enter their house. Teddy sat up straight in the chair and tried to calm his breathing. He wiped his nose on his sleeve and wiped the tears from his face. When Harry entered the study, Teddy's face was still tear-stained. Harry rushed over to his godson.
"Teddy! What's wrong?" he worried.
"I'm sorry, Harry," he said
"For what?" Harry asked in confusion.
"For yelling at you about using those curses. I still don't think it's right, using those curses, but… you're a good man," he answered.
"There's no need for an apology, but if you're offering one anyway, I'll accept," Harry said.
Harry looked over to his desk where his will sat, aged and unfolded. He looked back to the boy and gently asked, "You read that, did you?"
Teddy looked at his godfather with bloodshot eyes and said, "Yes. I'm sorry. That was yours. I shouldn't have gone through your stuff like that. That was awful of me."
Harry put a comforting hand on his godson's shoulder and said, "It's fine, Teddy. It's not unforgivable. Very little is."
Edited: 5 October 2014