The day the earth stood still
The early morning sun creaked through the window, but the young couple inside was still fast asleep. The red-headed women had one hand protectively over her belly that only showed the tiniest sign of her third pregnancy. The smile on her face mirrored that of her husband, who was equally deep asleep as he turned to her and gave a small moan lost in a happy dream. Down the hall two boys were sprawled on their beds and looked just as peaceful as their parents. Duvets drawn up to their chins, on a first look one only saw two mobs so very similar to that a few rooms away. Blissfully unaware the four occupants of the house slept through the fire roaring and the noise of a person stumbling out of the fire place. Suddenly a sharp noise disrupted the eerie silence.
"Haaarry" the voice of a desperate child echoed through the house and upstairs the black-haired man shot up immediately and razed down the stairs. His wife, who had been startled into inaction for just a second, swiftly followed his example. Meanwhile her husband had already reached the living room, where his panicking 10-year-old godson was standing with tears in his eyes.
"Teddy, what happened? What's wrong?"
"Harry, nana … she won't wake up. I tried, but she is sick or something. You need to come help, please." The boy urged and his godfather's eyes had immediately filled with worry. Grabbing a handful of floopowder, Harry exchanged a quick look with his wife, who had watched the scene from the doorframe. As she gave him a short nod to signal that she had the situation here under control, Harry stepped into the fireplace and disappeared into the green flames.
Wrapping her dress robe closer around her, the young women moved to Teddy and gently stroked his hair before crouching down to his level. Sniffling and with a single tear running down his cheek Teddy asked: "Ginny, ... will nana ... will nana be okay?"
"Oh sweetheart, I don't know, but Harry is with her now and he is going to do all that he can. And you did great coming here." She answered reassuringly and then gently put a hand on his shoulder guiding him to the kitchen as she continued: "Come on, let's get you some hot cocoa."
Hastily wiping his eyes with his sleeve Teddy let himself be let into the adjacent kitchen and slumped into a chair while Ginny went about making hot chocolate in silence. There were little words left to say. She couldn't just promise that everything would be okay, like she had done on so many occasions before, because this was no scraped knee or particular bad nightmare. She didn't know if everything would be alright and there was no point in lying to the 10-yer-old. Someone else of her family might have tried to distract the boy with small talk, but Ginny knew him far too well to even try. Much like his godfather, Teddy had a very deep and quiet side to him, even at a young age. What he needed now was time to gather his thoughts, yet get the reassurance that he wasn't alone. So wordlessly she placed two cups on the table, gave him a weak smile and sat across him.
The minute Harry had stepped out of the fireplace at Andromeda's house, he had razed upstairs, but the lifeless women he had found there had only confirmed his worst imaginations. A team of medi-witches had arrived just minutes after he had sent off a patronus, but there was nothing they could do for her. One of them informed him that Andromeda had suffered a heart-attack in her sleep and without immediate help the chances of survival were slim. They had taken her body back to St. Mungo's and Harry had broken down in Teddy's room. There were no tears. It was like he had no more tears left for death, just this horrible feeling deep inside his stomach, the sudden urge to vomit and an overwhelming sense of apathy. He'd have to go and tell Teddy that one of the so few people he could call family had left. That death had claimed another part of his life and that it wasn't fair.
It wasn't fair. No, it wasn't, but he needed to be strong, for Teddy. They would need to move his things into their house, organise a funeral. His head started spinning and he quickly pushed himself off the floor. There was no point dwelling on it. He needed to be strong now. Grabbing a few items for Teddy and stuffing them in a duffle bag he headed back to the floo.
Harry stepped out of the fireplace in his own living room, firmly holding on to the bag in his right hand. His eyes immediately fell on his godson, who was curled up on the couch, a blanket wrapped around him and leaning into Ginny's touch, who was rubbing his back absently. While Teddy remained ignorant of his arrival, Ginny looked up at him questioningly. He just shook his head and Ginny immediately understood, a small gasp escaping her subconsciously. The action caught Teddy's attention and he now realised his godfather's presence in the room.
Straightening up, he said: "Where's nana? Is she okay?"
A painful expression entered Harry's eyes once more as he exchanged another look with Ginny, who got up from her seat, took the bag from his hand. Placing it on the floor next to the fireplace, she gave his hand a reassuring squeeze and said: "I'll go check on Al and Jamie."
As she left Harry took the seat she had vacated and faced Teddy. He took another deep breath before he looked into the anxious, yet somehow hopeful face of the boy across him. It broke his heart that he had to be the one to take that hope from his godson.
His voice shaking ever so slightly, Harry said: "Do you remember how I told you that sometimes the people that love us have to leave us, although they don't want to?"
Teddy nodded his voice barely a whisper as he asked: "Like mum and dad?"
Grabbing his godson's hand Harry answered: "Yes, like your mum and dad. Teddy I wished there was an easy way to say this, but there isn't. Ted, your nana ... she left us today. She's with your mum and dad now."
There, it was out and there was no way back now. Teddy's eyes blinked rapidly several times and Harry could see they were filling with tears while Teddy swallowed hard. Harry gently pulled the child closer and embraced in his warm hug Teddy broke down. Rubbing the boy's back soothingly and not letting go of the tight embrace, Harry listened to the sobbing, sniffling and choking for air in silence. He wasn't surprised that Teddy had broken down so quickly. Other children may have taken longer to grasp what he had been told, might have asked questions. But not Teddy, his godson had long ago learnt what death meant.
As Teddy calmed down a little, Harry loosened his hold on the boy without actually letting go and handed him a clean handkerchief. After blowing his nose and getting rid of the tears with his sleeve, Teddy asked in a small voice: "What's going to happen now?"
Harry sighed. What now? Life would go on. Life always went on and somehow you learnt to live with the loss. Harry struggled to find the right words to say, but after a few moments hesitantly broke the silence speaking to Teddy.
"I know it is hard Teddy. I know it hurts, but it is going to get easier. I promise. And nana ... nana is watching you now together with your mum and dad."
Miserably Teddy nodded and silent tears streaked down his face once more. Harry had loosened his grip on the boy and now only rested one hand on his shoulder in a comforting gesture. Not a word was spoken between them. Teddy's eyes wandered around the room and suddenly he spotted the duffle bag next to the floo. His breath hitched and then the crying started anew. Harry was startled by the sudden outburst of desperate sobbing, yet instantly pulled the child close to him again.
Teddy's head resting on his chest, he spoke soothingly. "Sch, it's alright. Just let it out."
The words were spoken again and again until suddenly the boy pulled away and looked his godfather pleadingly in the eye.
"Can I, ... can I stay here tonight, before ... before ...?"
But Teddy didn't finish the sentence instead tears filled his eyes. Harry's face showed confusion, he couldn't quite comprehend his godson's question. Then a dark thought entered his mind.
Tilting Teddy's head up to look at him Harry asked gently: "Could you finish that sentence for me please?"
With tears starting to roll, Teddy shook his head and Harry sighed heavily.
"I'm your godfather Ted. It's my job to take care of you. You'll never need to ask if you can stay here, because this is your home. You've had a room here for as long as I can remember. Did you think we'd chuck you out on the street?"
Embarrassed Teddy lowered his head and shrugged. "But you have Jamie, Al and the baby. You need my room for the baby."
It pained Harry to have this talk with his godson. Raised with love by his grandmother and a huge adoptive family, the doubts that plague him were still all too similar to his own. It wasn't the first time they had had a talk around this issue.
Determined to erase those doubts once and for all, Harry said: "What did I tell you when James was born and you didn't want to see him?"
Teddy blushed. "That you would always love me just as much and you weren't making room, you were adding some." He said, a small trace of happiness in his voice
"And you think that has changed?"
Harry shook his head interrupting his godson.
"No buts. I want you to stay with us. I will always want you to stay with us, as long as you want it too. No matter how many children Gin and I will have, you will always be my oldest. I didn't kick Jamie out when Al was born, did I?"
"That's different." Teddy mumbled, but again Harry shook his head.
"It isn't and I need you to understand that. You're as much my son as James and Albus."
Shyly Teddy looked up to him and asked: "So you're not sending me away?"
"Never. I'd swear my magic on it."
"Don't do that!" Teddy burst out with a hint of panic in his voice. Chuckling softly Harry replied: "For you Theodore Remus Lupin, for you I would."
Both of them had tears in their eyes as Teddy crushed into his godfather for an embrace once more. But for the first time that day, the tears were happy ones. A mumbled "Thank you" escaped the child buried on his chest and Harry smiled. They would be fine. Despite all, they would be okay, because after all, life went on and the earth kept turning no matter what.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. No money is made from this.
AN: This one-shot is loosely connected to my other story "Teenage Rebellion". I plan of writing a few more tied in to that story-line. Please let me know what you think if you have a minute and thanks for reading & reviewing.