Chapter 6 : The Color of Love
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“It was your grandmother who realized we weren’t dead. Or rather, refused to let us be dead. You can’t imagine how close we came to being buried alive.” Golden-haired DADA professor Nymphadora Lupin perched herself on the arm of her son’s chair. The years had been kind to her – the lithe form of her body was youthful, and her eyes sparkled with contentment as she touched a lock of her son’s hair. As was her habit, she had slipped into the office unannounced, and made herself comfortable simply by listening to the sound of her husband’s tender voice. “The potions that exploded, the Drought fumes that we inhaled – we were very lucky to have survived. So many others didn’t. We see their names everyday, so that we never forget what they did for us.”
“The Hall of Heroes.” Teddy nodded. The Great Hall had been renamed for those who had not survived the war. Their pictures and names and stories were engraved into the rebuilt walls, welcoming those who came to Hogwarts with a poignant reminder of what had been lost, and what had been gained, in the battle against darkness. And though he was very close friends with many of the images there, stopping to chat with the likes of Dobby the elf and Colin Creevy and Fred Weasley (from whom he had learned more than a trick or two), he was secretly glad that his parents were not among those pictured there. “How did grandma know, that you guys weren’t… you know..? I mean, the Drought of Living Death is supposed to mimic death entirely. I don’t know how she could have figured it out, and remedied you guys in time.”
“She might have had a little help.” Remus said, his eyes resting on the portrait of Severus Snape, which was hung beside the portrait of Albus Dumbledore. Snape leaned against the frame of his portrait and crossed his arms, looking annoyed, as always. Teddy did not make eye contact. That Snape picture had verbally dismantled him more times than he could count. One day, he swore he was going to hang a cloak over the snide bastard. That’ll teach him!
“Remus, honey, did you tell Teddy about the rebuilding?” Tonks asked.
“Not yet. I was just getting there.” He turned to his son. “Naturally, once we had taken care of those who had passed away, there was a lot of work to be done. Kingsley took the Ministry in hand, and is still Minister for Magic today. He’s on his record fourth term now.”
“Fifth.” Tonks corrected.
“Right.” Remus nodded. “And your mother and I, along with Minerva and Filius and Horace, lead the charge to rebuild Hogwarts. Many people wanted it closed permanently, and a new school built elsewhere –too many bad memories, they said. too much bloodshed. But I knew, as did your mother, that to honor the school, and those who died for all that Albus and the Order had stood for, we needed to rebuild. In our minds, Hogwarts didn’t have to be a place of bad memories, but a place of learning, of discovery, of new life and modern ideas. We did some of the rebuilding by hand, and a lot of it using the magic that was still within the very walls.”
“Do you remember when Minerva asked you to take on Defense Against the Dark Arts when the school reopened in the fall?” Dora chided her husband. She bubbled with mischief when she turned to her son. “Your father went pale. He was certain that position was cursed. No one had ever survived more than a year in the job.”
“But you took it anyways!” Ted jumped in. “You’re not scared of curses!”
Remus laughed. “I took it anyways because we needed the money! And it turns out that the curse had been broken, anyways. I was in that position for close to twelve years when Minerva and Filius retired. And then, when I was asked to take over as Headmaster, there was an opening in DADA. I could think of no one more qualified for the job than your mother.”
“You liar!” Gasped Dora. She turned to her son, her eyes a fiery shade of crimson. “Your father made me interview for the job just like everyone else, and it took him two weeks – TWO WEEKS – to decide that I was the best fit! After all those years as the Head of the Auror department, after Kingsley had begged me to stay on at the Ministry, after I squeezed his only son, SCREAMING IN AGONY, out of my very loins-”
“Dora…” Remus groaned, the hint of a sheepish smile upon his face, “ … you know I had to be fair to the other candidates. And to be honest, you did succeed in making those the most miserable two weeks of my life, so…”
His wife raised her hand, and, like an obedient puppy, Remus went silent at once. Teddy had to hide his face not to laugh. This was a recurring argument in their household, and it always ended the same way – with dessert.
“Come here.” Remus said, patting his lap, and Dora took a seat, but still would not look at him. “I love you, you know that.” He murmured in her ear. “And if it takes the rest of my life, and every last dime, I will make it up to you.”
“I want cake.” She muttered. “And a raise.”
Remus chuckled. “Cake, yes. Raise… we’ll see.”
As they began to giggle and sweet-talk on the headmaster’s chair, Teddy saw Snape roll his eyes and walk snottily out of his frame. Dumbledore, on the other hand, tactfully pretended to be sleeping. Teddy endured his parents’ lovey-doveyness with grace, if only because there would soon be cake. He busied himself turning the pages of the photo album, and smiled at the pictures of the party they had all had the day his godfather Harry had succeeded his mother as the Head of the Auror Department. He touched the first galleon he had made ‘babysitting’ Auntie Hermione’s kids – it had gone horribly wrong, as he had caused more trouble than the younger kids. He saw his 11-year-old self waving from Platform 9 ¾. That picture had been taken the day he had boarded the Hogwarts Express for the first time, armed with his books and a healthy knowledge of age-inappropriate magic, as taught to him by his Grandma Andromeda. He skimmed through the photos of himself and his rambunctious school friends – he could see that lot any old time. In fact, they were probably looking for him now, with plans for their latest scheme to peek into the girls’ dormitory.
But in the end, he flipped back to that picture of himself as a baby, the one in which he was reaching for the lupin flowers. It struck him that it had taken a lot of courage and love for his parents to have done what they did – to give birth to a child at the height of a war, to fight on in spite of frightening odds, to cling to hope, instead of hiding from death. To rebuild, with heart and with determination, when almost everything they recognized had been torn down. They had been through so much, and had still come out of it so full of love and joy and life. It was truly a miracle.
He was knocked out of his sentimental reverie by his mother’s voice.
“Your hair is pink, sweetheart.”
“Shit! Uh, DAMN!” Teddy went beet-red, and shook his hair back to its usual sandy color. The metamorphmagus skills he had inherited from his mother were cursed by the fact that whenever he felt his heart bursting with love, his hair turned pink. Victoire thought it was a beautiful thing. Naturally, Ted was mortified by it.
“It suits you, Ted.” Remus said softly. “In fact, if I were a metamorph, I’d be pink from head to toe for most of my waking hours.”
Dora smiled at Remus affectionately, and got up to brew him his favorite tea. “Teddy, don’t forget, you have a test tomorrow.” She warned him offhandedly. “I expect you to get an “O” this time. And if you and Victoire can’t stay out of the Shrieking Shack on school nights, I’ll have the Headmaster tear it down.”
Remus nodded soberly. “Yes. What she said.”
“Yes, sir.” Teddy faked chagrin, and made a note to be more careful the next time he and Victoire snuck out of the school. Best not to be caught again. Remus caught his eye for a brief second, and Teddy had the fleeting feeling that his father knew what he was thinking. His father’s crooked grin confirmed it, but he said nothing of it. Then they all sat down for tea, the conversation turning to the everyday details of normal family life; Grandma’s new (and strange) hairstyle, and the latest model of broomstick (how expensive!), and who was winning (and who had cheated) at Wizarding Chess.
And when the cake was served, they enjoyed it, fully.
The End! I hope you enjoyed this as an alternate (better?) ending to the series. As always, feedback is welcome, and thanks for reading! ~LM
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