Chapter 1 : Five Thousand Words
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I had the photo album spread out on my bedroom floor; it's hard to say it, time to say it; goodbye, goodbye. – Nickleback, Photograph.
Andromeda Tonks, despite some setbacks, had what she considered a strong relationship with her grandson. He saved her from the loneliness she would have suffered, after the loss of her daughter and husband; she had never been alone before.
There were several setbacks, though. The first was raising a boy; his questions about what he had and what she had a lack of caused more blushing than she had experienced in a long time. This was, of course, tested after a young Teddy announced his revelation during lunch at the Potters’.
The second wasn’t a setback really. It was an affectionate annoyance that people experience with children. They were always so honest, which many considered beautiful. Andromeda thought, after another one of Teddy’s revelations, that they should try looking after her grandson.
“Grandma!” Teddy said excitedly, poking her face gently with his wrinkled fingertips as Andromeda towel dried him (he had just finished his weekly bath), “Look! I have prune fingers!” He paused, studying his fingertips and comparing it to Andromeda’s face, “My fingers look the same as your face, grandma! They’re all old and pruney.”
The third was her own grief; Teddy’s personality was growing shockingly similar to her daughter’s by the day. He even enjoyed changing his nose shape just to irritate her.
The forth was one Andromeda was ashamed of. The forth was her guilt. Andromeda, formally Black, learnt the fact that her own sister murdered her daughter. Her own sister, who resembled her so greatly, was responsible for the loss of Teddy’s mother. Andromeda felt guilty every time she looked at Teddy; was he aware that he was looking into eyes the same shade as the person who took his mother away? Andromeda knew that he couldn’t possibly know, and that she shouldn’t feel guilty, but she couldn’t help the tears welling up in her eyes every time she looked at him.
One Friday, Andromeda brought photo albums with her to the Potters’. Teddy often stayed with his godfather a weekend a fortnight, and he saw the Potters’ twice a week on top of that.
“Hello!” Ginny Potter, balancing her newborn son on her hip, said brightly, “How are you?” She asked Andromeda, as Teddy zoomed through the hallway to Harry’s study.
“I’m well, thank you,” Andromeda smiled, “You’ve settled into the mother role. You seem like a natural!”
Ginny smiled warmly, leading Andromeda into the kitchen. Teddy was sitting on the unit happily, while Harry made him some pumpkin juice. Harry handed him the plastic cup, Teddy’s favourite, and a straw. Teddy slurped from his cup noisily, causing Andromeda to frown disapprovingly. Harry didn’t notice.
She shook her head, “No thank you… could I speak to you alone for a moment, please?”
Harry nodded, looking perplexed. He led her into the pantry and patiently waited. Andromeda cleared her throat – suddenly it was so hard to swallow – and held out the photo albums to him. Harry tentatively opened them, smiling sadly as he flicked through them.
“I’d like you to talk to Teddy.”
Harry tore his eyes away from the pictures, “Oh. About?”
Harry coughed, “Me? Do you really think I’m the best choice?”
A silence filled the space between them. From the kitchen, sounds of Teddy blowing bubbles in the juice with a straw filled the uncomfortable quiet. Harry smiled affectionately.
“I do. You have the same as him; orphaned before you even knew your parents.”
“Look,” Andromeda interrupted, pointing into the kitchen. Ginny cooed at James, bouncing him up and down while he gurgled. Teddy giggled, with bright eyes, “The other day he asked me where his mummy is, because Ginny is James’ mummy.”
Harry let out a breath, his eyes prickling, “What did you say?”
“Heaven. I don’t think he was very happy with that answer. So you could, perhaps, explain to him. You can relate to him. Please.”
He agreed and, with a heavy heart, Harry trudged upstairs while Ginny bid Andromeda goodbye. Now slightly dusty and tattered, Harry’s old photographs lived in the same album as Hagrid gave him. He opened it, smiling down at his parents. Returning downstairs to Teddy, Harry gently called the seven-year old into the sitting-room.
“Teddy,” Harry patted the seat next to him, “Here.” Teddy obediently took the seat next to him, watching him curiously. Harry set the photo albums on his lap, opening one that was the least battered. It was from Tonks’ and Remus’ wedding day. Tonks, dressed in jeans, grinned as she held Remus’ hand. Remus looked younger than Harry had ever seen him in real life.
Teddy poked the picture, “Grandma said that they are my mummy and my daddy.” Harry nodded, as Teddy continued, “They’re in heaven?”
Harry nodded, “With my mummy and daddy.” Harry paused, and continued heavily, “When I was a baby-”
“Like James,” Harry nodded, “My mummy and daddy got taken away.”
“By who?” Teddy widened his eyes a fraction, “Will you get taken away too?”
“Not like that,” Harry hesitated, “It’s hard to explain… you know that bad things sometimes happen to good people?”
Teddy nodded slowly.
“My parents died when I was a baby, and so did yours. Do you know what ‘died’ means, Ted?”
Teddy thought about it, his green hair slowly getting darker, “I think so. It’s when you leave you body behind, and your hear stops beating?”
Harry gently held Teddy’s hand, passing him the next album, “Yeah, that’s it,” Harry pointed to a picture of the Marauders; his father and Sirius in the middle, with Peter and Remus at their sides, “That’s my dad, and that’s your dad… and that’s my godfather.” Teddy touched each of their faces.
“Who’s that? Are they all died now?” Teddy pointed to Pettigrew. Harry stiffened.
“That’s Peter. He was their,” Harry almost didn’t get out the words, “Their friend. Yeah, they’re all dead now.”
“Oh.” Teddy studied their grins, “They look really happy. Do you think they’re all happy now?”
Harry nodded, with a small smile, “Yeah I do.”
“I think that they are all together,” Teddy said confidently, “How did they die?”
“I think,” Harry replied gently, “That’s a story for another time.” Harry felt like he was echoing Dumbledore. He felt stronger. Harry showed Teddy the last album. Inside was a picture of Teddy, Harry and a very pregnant Ginny.
“Ginny looks fat. I remember her like that,” Teddy stated. Harry laughed.
“But she looks beautiful anyway,” Harry chuckled, grinning down at the picture, “This is my family. James too, of course. This is your family too, with your grandma too. See? We’re all happy because, even though people we love very much are gone, we know that they are all together and that they are happy for us.”
Teddy’s eyes met Harry’s. Suddenly, they seemed filled with something Harry had never seen before. It was like he had a thousand questions, but Harry knew Teddy wouldn’t ask them. Not now.
“And,” Teddy whispered, touching the picture of them with non-wrinkled fingertips, “We know we’ll see them again.”
Harry took a deep breath, glad it was over. He let Teddy look over the photographs over and over, knowing how he felt to see a stranger he knew so well smiling up at him.
Sometimes, a picture said more than five thousand words could.
A.n. This one was weird to write. I'm not sure why; R&R please; what did you think? For sixty's "Fill in the blank title" challenge.