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Nobody's Child. by MargaretLane
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: Nobody's Child.
Teddy Lupin pulled down the large photo album and laid it on his bed.
Opening the first page, his mother waved a pudgy toddler’s hand up at him, grinning mischievously. He had looked through the album enough times to know exactly what he would see if he flicked on through the pages. His mother as a little girl, starting Hogwarts, with friends, starting her Auror training. Pages and pages of photographs. He liked the later ones best. It was strange to see his mum as a little girl, even smaller than him.
There were less photos of his father. Once he’d asked his grandma why. He was only about five then and hadn’t known that much.
She’d lifted him up on her lap to explain.
“Well, you see, your Mummy was our little girl. I was her Mummy. So I’ve a lot of photos of her. I didn’t really know your Daddy until he married your Mummy. And there weren’t all that many people I could ask for photos from.”
His grandma shook her head. “That’s something you’ll have to wait until you’re bigger to find out.”
He’d wondered about it ever since, but she still hadn’t told him. He wished she would. He was seven now, after all. That was surely big enough to hear whatever it was.
It made him feel a bit sad sometimes, that there were only two pages of pictures of his Daddy. He turned to them now. There was one picture right at the top of his Mummy and Daddy together.
“That was their wedding day,” his grandma told him.
In most of the others, his Daddy was alone, except for one, where his Daddy was holding him in his arms. He wished he was there to do that now.
Usually he didn’t mind too much not having his parents. He missed them of course, but he had his Grandma and Harry, and Ginny. He lived with his Grandma, but went to stay with Harry nearly every weekend.
But not this weekend. Oh, no, he couldn’t come this week, Harry’d said, because the baby was due and Harry and Ginny might have to go to the hospital. They didn’t even know if he was going to come this weekend or not, but Harry’d rather wait around in case he might than spend time with Teddy.
Stupid baby! he thought, kicking the leg of the bed. He wasn’t even born yet and he was already causing trouble.
What worried Teddy was that if he wasn’t allowed to go and stay with Harry now, just in case the baby might be born, what would happen once it was? Would Harry ever want him to come and stay?
Much as he wished Harry was his Daddy sometimes, he wasn’t really. Instead he was the Daddy of this stupid baby.
He was a big boy now. He knew things. Daddies always loved their children. That was what it meant to have a Daddy or a Mummy. It meant you had somebody who always loved you best. And Teddy didn’t want Harry to love another little boy more than he loved him.
A tear dropped down on his Daddy’s photo.
“I wish you were still around, Daddy,” he muttered. “You’d love me best, wouldn’t you? And it wouldn’t matter if you had another baby, ‘cause I’d be your son too.”
He couldn’t tell anybody how he felt. His Grandma would just shake her head and say “That poor little baby. He isn’t even born yet and you’re feeling jealous of him already. It’s not nice to be cross with people for things they can’t help and he can’t help having Harry for a Daddy,” and he didn’t know what Harry would say. Harry wanted him to be excited about the new baby. Teddy could tell from the way Harry had told him about it.
The only person he could tell was his own Daddy.
“It’s not fair. Harry always liked me best. He used to tell me I was the best boy in the whole world. Bet he won’t say that anymore. He’ll think this stupid baby is the best. If you were alive, you’d think I was better, wouldn’t you? I can read and I always lay the table for Grandma. He won’t be able to do that for ages and ages. You’d be proud of me, wouldn’t you, for being such a big help?”
He was really crying now. His daddy was smiling up at him from the photo, but it wasn’t the same as having him really there to put his arms around him and give him a big hug, like other boys’ daddies did; like Harry would do for his little boy when he got big enough. “I really, really wish you were here, Daddy.”
Over the next few days, he found himself drawn to the photo album more and more. With every day that Harry didn’t come to see him, he wished even harder that his daddy was alive.
Harry had promised he’d come and see him once the baby was born.
“Just be patient,” his Grandma said. “Babies take their own time.”
“I get in trouble if I don’t come when I’m told.”
She chuckled. “It’s not quite the same thing. You wait and see. Harry’ll be here just as soon as he can.
Another weekend passed and still there was no sign of Harry. Finally, on Monday, while he was staring once more at his father’s photo, his Grandma called up the stairs.
“Teddy, Harry’s here!”
He slammed the book shut and raced downstairs.
“I’ll leave the two of you alone,” his Grandma said.
Harry just looked at him for a moment, then knelt down in front of him.
“Hey mate, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” he muttered.
“You can’t fool me like that.” He ruffled Teddy’s hair. “Whenever your hair’s brown, I know something isn’t right. So why not tell me, eh?”
Teddy squirmed awkwardly. “Well, I was looking at the photos of my Daddy.”
Harry hugged him tightly.
“You know,” he said. “My Daddy died when I was a baby too.”
Teddy nodded. Harry had told him that before and so had his Grandma.
“I was at Hogwarts by the time I got any photos of him,” Harry continued.
Teddy stared at him. “How come?”
“My aunt and uncle didn’t like him, so they didn’t have any. I was really happy when I got some, but it was kind of sad too, because it reminded me that I’d only ever see him in photos. My Mum too.”
Harry paused. He seemed to be waiting for an answer. Adults sometimes did that when you were in trouble, but Teddy knew that that wasn’t why Harry was doing it now.
“Sometimes I wish my Daddy was here and not just in a photo,” he admitted. “Your baby will be lucky, ‘cause he’ll have a real Daddy.”
Teddy looked up nervously. He hoped he hadn’t sounded as jealous as he felt or Harry might tell him off.
But Harry just nodded. “Yes, he is, isn’t he. He’ll never have to ask anybody what his Mummy and Daddy were like, or look at photographs to see what we look like. It’s always sad when your Mummy and Daddy aren’t around, isn’t it?”
“But you have lots of other people who love you. Me and your Grandma and Ginny and Ron and Hermione and...”
Teddy started squirming in his embrace.
Harry paused and looked at him. “There’s something else, isn’t there?”
Tears started to run down Teddy’s cheeks.
“What is it mate? You can tell me anything, you know. I promise I won’t be cross.”
“I wish you were MY Daddy. I want you to love me best! It’s not fair! I’ve no Daddy.” He began to cry even harder.
“Your Daddy was my Daddy’s best friend,” Harry began quietly. “And he was a great teacher. I sometimes wished that he was my Daddy. When you were born, I loved you before I even saw you, just because you were his baby. And when he died...” He stopped for a moment. “When he died, I missed him so much, but I loved you even more, because you were the only thing left to remind me of him and he reminded me of my parents. Nothing could ever make me love you less.”
“But you haven’t asked me to come stay with you for ages and ages.”
“Not because I didn’t want you. That was because, well, babies come kind of suddenly and when they do, Mummies and Daddies have to go to the hospital.”
“Why?” Teddy asked.
“Never you mind,” Harry said, but he was grinning, so Teddy knew he wasn’t cross. “You’ll find that out when you’re bigger. But sometimes it happens in the middle of the night and there’d be nobody to mind you, if we had to go away in the middle of the night. But he was born last night, so you can come and stay whenever you want now, so long as it’s ok with your Grandma, of course. I came over to ask you if you wanted to come and see him.”
“I guess,” Teddy said.
“And you know, Ginny and me are going to need your help now.”
Teddy screwed up his face, trying to think what he might mean.
“Why?” he asked.
“Well, we’re going to need a big boy to show our baby what good children do, as he gets bigger. And we’ll need somebody to help us feed him and make him laugh.”
“Of course. After all, you’re practically going to be his big brother, aren’t you?”
Teddy nodded enthusiastically.
“And you know what we are going to call him?”
“James Sirius, after your Daddy’s two best friends. I think your Daddy would have liked that, don’t you?”
“So, you ready to go see him?”
“Yeah! Can you take me by side-along Apparition?”
“Hmmm, I don‘t know about that,” Harry said.
“Oh, all right. Come on.”
At the hospital, Teddy looked at the baby in Ginny’s arms. He didn’t seem that interesting really. He didn’t do much but just lie there and cry if anybody else tried to take him. Even Harry! But he supposed he’d get more interesting when he got a bit bigger and learned to do a few things.
Somebody would have to teach him, of course. He could teach him how to ride a toy broom and write his name and what were the best things to buy at Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. It was kind of cool to think of him as his little brother, he supposed.
“Well, what do you think?” Harry asked.
Teddy shrugged. “I think he’ll be more fun when he gets a bit bigger.”
Harry laughed and hugged him again.