James and Albus Potter were dead.
Was this it, then? Was this the end of the Potter line, the end of the family that had been so good to him that he felt that they were as much his own?
Teddy heaved again, his stomach cramping with the strain, and he sank slowly to his knees.
They had been his siblings in all ways except blood, and, now, they were all gone. He had failed. He didn't know how he was going to tell Harry--who had suffered so much already--about his beloved children. Hell, Teddy didn't know if he was going to live long enough to be able to tell him at all.
He felt sick again at the thought that this could be the end of all of them: the Potters, the Weasleys, and even the Lupin name would die with him. It seemed as if all the darkness that the preceding generations had fought back against was coming for them now. As the eldest, Teddy knew a little better than the others of the costs of that war, and, in the back of his mind, he could see the spiteful smirks of the families' old enemies upon hearing the news of the murders (news Dex would break if given the chance). All of them, their Dark Marks faded but not forgotten, the Goyles, the McNairs, the Malfoys...
Teddy was drawn out of his thoughts by the feel of cool, feminine hands on the back of his neck. Still shaking, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve. He could tell Victoire was crying, though her effort to keep quiet was aided by Hugo's agonized shouts and the quick footsteps of Lysander and Rose as the raced forward to investigate.
"I'm so sorry, my love," Victoire said with a deep shuddering breath. "I'm so sorry."
Teddy turned into the security of Victoire's embrace as he finally broke down. He loved her more in that moment than ever before. Her cousins were being murdered, and Victoire still had the strength to comfort him as they knelt together on the floor. He didn't care what a piece of parchment told him; Victoire wasn't his sin. She was his salvation, his light in the darkness that was quickly consuming all of them. And Teddy would be damned if he let anyone take that away from him.
Somewhere in the background, Rose gasped in surprise, but Teddy ignored it as he clung tightly, desperately, to Victoire. But then...
"Al," Rose croaked in shock, "Al! He's alive! He's not dead!"
The world seemed to right its dangerous tilt just a little to Teddy, as he and Victoire separated to go over to where Al lay. Rose had her ear pressed against his chest, listening closely, while Hugo watched her from where he knelt near James.
"I can’t Ennervate him!" She exclaimed, "he must be knocked out. But, his heart is beating--listen!"
Teddy bent over to listen and nodded in confirmation. A widespread array of emotions raced through him then, ranging from the deepest grief to utter relief.
"So...what happened then?" Dex asked, stepping forward from the door for the first time. "It doesn't fit that the murderer would just leave Al alive."
"I-I don't know," Teddy replied, composing himself. He held his wand aloft trying to get a better view of the room in the light. A heavy piece of wood lay nearby with a dark stain on it. He brought his wand back to Al and looked closely at his head. Some of the raven locks were matted with a sticky substance, blood. "The two of them must have fought the killer. That's what the noises were. They got the best of James, but Al probably managed to get their wand away from them at some point because--"
"--they used a piece of wood to hit Al in the head, " Rose finished. She had followed Teddy's movements intently.
"Exactly," he nodded, "they were probably looking for their wand to finish the job when they heard us coming."
"Do you think they found it?" Hugo inquired, peering into the darkness of the attic. Teddy held his wand aloft again.
"Hard to say," he replied.
"I think the more pressing question might be if the killer was here a few moments ago, where are they now?" Dexter interrupted.
A sudden and intense silence fell on the room as they contemplated this. Then Rose gasped again.
She scrambled to her feet and began rushing out of the owlery, Hugo following her closely.
"Rosie," he called after his sister," wait up!"
"Let's hurry," Teddy directed, levitating Al with his wand as Dex did the same for James' corpse.
Lysander saw a small stick laying on the floor where Al's body had been a moment before. Snatching it up so he could give it back to Al when he woke up, Lysander hurried to catch up with the others.
With the addition of the two Potter brothers, their journey down the stairs was slower than before. Victoire, Dominique, and Lysander kept looking out for any sign of trouble, but did not stray across any until they reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Scorpius!?" They heard Rose cry from the corridor. There was a mix of relief and confusion in her voice. "What are you doing out here?"
The others exchanged curious glances and quickened their pace down the stairs. They arrived just in time to hear Scorpius speak under his breath, a definite plea in his voice. Teddy listened closely while he slowly lowered Albus's body down.
"He just wanted to be alone, he kept saying he wanted to be alone. He told me he wanted to be alone."
"Wh-who? Brian?" Rose asked, but Teddy and Dex didn't wait for a reply. They rushed past the others and into the parlor where their suspicions were confirmed.
Brian still sat in the chair, he'd been in earlier, his hand gripping Chrys's. His head hung peacefully onto his chest, and it reminded Teddy of all the times he'd seen him fall asleep in class back at Hogwarts. But, this was different, because Brian Munderson was still and lifeless, his corpse positioned like a man defeated long before death ever reached him.
Teddy and Dexter stared at the body, each one of them looking completely worn out, their non-reactions a result of the harrowing day. It was expected at this point, expected that people were going to keep dying. Someone was picking them off one-by-one, like pulling pumpkins from the vine. Anyone could be next. And if they didn't start doing something about it, there was a good chance it could be themselves, or--Teddy shuddered at the thought--Victoire.
Anger flared up suddenly and violently in Teddy as he stood there contemplating this. It mixed with his sense of duty that it was his job to protect the remaining family members, and especially the woman who should be his wife--who would be his wife if it weren't for this.
Yes, someone was picking them off one-by-one, and Teddy had a suspicion as to who.
A/N: I hate this chapter. I’ve had it written for ages, just been delaying putting it up because its so not good…but, I hope you enjoyed it anyway! Who does Teddy suspect?