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Chapter 3 : The Smile
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“What?” Harry said distractedly, as he was pulled from his broodings back to the sitting room in the Burrow.
“Teddy, you should get him something.”
“Get him something?” Harry repeated, still confused.
“You’re his Godfather, you should get him something because you weren’t able to when he was born.”
“Oh right, yeah,” Harry said, still feeling as though his brain was water -logged.
“Harry, you’re all over the place.”
“I know, I’ve just been thinking.”
“You’re always thinking.”
“Well, I haven’t had much time for it, being hunted by Death Eaters, so I’ve a lot to catch up on,” he said, smiling.
Ginny smiled back, stroking his hair with her hand. “I still think you should get him something though.”
“Teddy!” Ginny said, a little exasperatedly.
“Oh yeah,” Harry said, shaking his head, in an attempt to make it run properly. “What do you get babies?”
“Toys or clothes.”
“I’m not getting him clothes Ginny,” Harry said flatly.
Ginny laughed, “Get him a toy then.”
Harry had no experience with toys, apart from watching Dudley jealously from a far as he played with the expensive presents his Aunt Marge and parents had bought him. Come to think of it, Harry didn’t know what toys wizards had.
He was not in the mood for shopping. He liked to decide what he wanted before he dragged himself into a shop to get it, thus ensuring his time in the public-eye was at a minimum. While the wizarding shops were once a place of wonder and awe to his younger self, now, after spending nearly eight years in the wizarding world, they had lost their appeal. Of late, entering a crowded shop was the last thing he desired. All Harry knew was that he wanted his first present to Teddy to be something special, something he would like, something he could always keep. However, nothing came to mind.
Aside from the present, there was a more pressing issue consuming Harry’s thoughts at the moment: Remus Lupin. Harry knew Andromeda would tell Teddy everything about his mother, but it would his, Harry’s, job to talk to Teddy about Remus. But, the fact that he was a werewolf complicated things. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with Remus at all, he automatically had a bad name once the word ‘werewolf’ was associated with him. Harry had to come up with some way of introducing werewolves to Teddy in a way that made them good, so when the time came for Teddy to know what his Dad was, he would understand that werewolves were alright.
Harry and Ginny went up to London to Diagon Alley, with the intention of buying Teddy a present. They apparated onto the Charing-Cross Road, right in front of the dilapidated, innocuous looking Leaky Cauldron. Ginny entered the pub first, and once Harry crossed the threshold, heads turned in his direction, and whispers were immediately exchanged. Harry kept his gaze on the dusty wooden floor and as Ginny’s hand guided him onwards, her soft voice telling him to ignore everyone. Tom the barman grinned at the paid of them, revealing his toothless mouth, and Harry nodded stiffly in response and continued out the back to the dustbins. Ginny closed the door behind them, stifling the chatter that had broken out, no doubt about Harry.
“You’d think they’d be used to you by now,” Ginny sighed.
Harry doubted they would ever get used to him, he doubted there was anywhere he could go now where eyes would not follow his every move. He wished people would just leave him alone and stop staring at him, or at least wait until he was out of the room before they started their whispering.
Harry removed his wand from his pocket and took a moment to marvel at how familiar and calming it felt in his hand, before he tapped the special brick in the wall. He and Ginny took a step back as the entrance to Diagon Alley revealed itself.
The street was slowly returning to the bustling shopping hub Harry had once known it to be. Shops were being reopened, others repaired or repainted. Ollivander’s Wand Shop had been restored to its former glory and the man himself promised to be back making wands soon, after he took a short holiday for his health. Gringotts was rebuilt, after Ron, Hermione and Harry had brought a dragon up from the cavern of vaults below, only to have it burst through the bank’s roof into the world beyond. Full-control had also been returned to the Goblins, though Harry was not entire happy with this, from experience, he didn’t like Goblins much. Slowly, very slowly, things were reaching some degree of normality. Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, however, remained closed. Harry wondered if George would ever have the strength to walk through its doors again. Harry didn’t blame him for keeping it closed, even now Harry didn’t want to look at the place.
He spent most of the afternoon being dragged from shop to shop, being shown brightly coloured toys that whirred and popped. He tried his best to ignore the turning heads, the staring eyes and hushed whispers, but it was very difficult. No matter what shop he entered, he had attendants running at him, babbling: “Can I help you Mr Potter?”, “Anything particular you’re looking for, Mr Potter?”, “How are you today, Mr Potter?”, “If you need anything, just ask Mr Potter!” or something along those lines. Harry forced a smile, and assured them all that he was fine, and that he just wanted to have a look around.
Ginny showed him teddy-bears that moved and talked, not in the way Muggle teddies talked, where the simply repeated a pre-recorded phrase, but actually talked, where you could have a real conversation. He saw colourful books with moving pictures, wizard hats that made funny faces when you stared at them, miniature owls that really flew on a mobile over a baby’s crib and toy phoenixes that glowed and filled the room with a lovely, calming lullaby. Harry liked all these toys, but still, none of them felt right for Teddy.
While he browsed, Harry was occasionally interrupted by witches and wizards coming up to him, shaking his hand, and thanking him from the depths of their souls. Harry never knew what to do in these situations. He just forced a smile and accepted their thanks, even though deep down he wished they would leave him alone, at least for a while, so he could grieve and try and mend his ailing heart.
“Harry you’re impossible,” Ginny said wearily when they left the tenth shop, where he had looked at every toy in the place and still had not found anything that came near to being what he wanted.
“Let’s get an ice-cream,” Harry replied, noticing that Florean Fortescue’s Ice-cream Parlour had been reopened. It was now under new management, as kind, old Florean had been murdered by the Death Eaters. They never managed to find his body.
Ginny ordered them both a sundae and they sat under the canopy outside the shop. Harry didn’t really want his ice-cream. While the sundae tasted the same as it had done all those years ago, when he sat here finishing his homework on those happy summer days, there was just something inside Harry that prevented him from taking more than two or three bites. He took no pleasure in the taste of food anymore.
He wished they hadn’t decided to eat outside the shop, it meant that he was in full view to all the passersby, who slowed down to look at him as they walked. Harry felt like an animal being goggled at in a zoo. He didn’t like it. Next time, he would bring his invisibility cloak.
“Maybe we should give shopping a miss, for today anyway,” Ginny said, sensing Harry wasn’t enjoying this day out.
Harry nodded and they returned to the Leaky Cauldron. He was considering disillusioning himself before he walked through the little tavern again, but he didn’t have time, as before he knew it Ginny’s warm, soft hand had brought him through the sea of eyes and mutterings out into the Muggle world beyond. Harry let out a sigh of relief, at least Muggles didn’t know who he was or what he had done.
Instead of returning to the Burrow, Ginny’s hand brought him through Muggle London, thinking that a walk there, where no heads turned in his direction, would do him good.
There was silence between the two of them. It wasn’t awkward, but comfortable. Each understood the other, and though words were not exchanged, each other’s company was all they needed. Harry watched the double-decker red buses drive by, with advertisements for shows in the West End, or new films in the cinema. He walked down crowded streets, where people were dressed in suits or hoodies and kept their gaze on the surrounding shops, or their shoes. He saw chemists, book-shops, clothes shops, sweet shops, shoe shops and music shops. They were dull and boring, but at the same time calming. Ginny’s eyes feasted on the environment, she rarely had the pleasure of being in Muggle London and it appeared she had inherited a piece of her father’s fascination with Muggle things. Harry explained how the automatic doors in the shops opened and shut when a person approached. He told her what Muggle chemists sold, and how ATMs worked.
As they walked down the bustling shopping streets Harry’s eyes soon found the window of a small toy-shop, hidden away between two large retail stores. Harry found himself making a bee-line for this shop, where he stared in the window. It was filled with Muggle toys: footballs, board games, teddy-bears, dolls, action-figures, colouring books, cars, planes and lego models. But, there, sitting innocently in the middle of the window display, was the perfect present for Teddy.
Harry could not help but smile from here to ear. At last, he had found it.
Half an hour later, after Ginny had gone back to Diagon Alley to exchange galleons for Muggle money, to spare Harry the ordeal of wading through the whispering crowds of eyes, the two of them left the little toy shop, with a large paper-bag in hand. Harry began to get excited. He wanted to go see Teddy now and give him his present; however, he had to wait three days before he had the pleasure of doing so.
Harry knocked on the door of Andromeda’s house, relishing the feeling of excitement that was flaring up inside him, because it was alien emotion to the ones he had been feeling of late.
Andromeda opened the door and smiled at Harry. She looked better than she had done the day of the funeral, but her face was still riddled with the grief of losing her only daughter.
“Hello Harry,” she said. Her voice was stronger than it had been in days.
“Hi Mrs Tonks,” said Harry brightly. “I’ve got a present for Teddy, would it be alright if I gave it to him?”
Andromeda nodded, and let Harry inside. “He’s in the sitting room,” Andromeda said, gesturing towards the room on their left.
Harry entered and he found his Godson lying on the same blue blanket he had done on the first night Harry met him. However, when Harry’s eyes landed on Teddy, and his heart sank a little, as his Godson’s hair was still dull-black.
Andromeda looked at Harry, as though reading his mind. “I’ve tried everything, and still he won’t change his hair colour. He seems happy enough, but judging by his hair, I guess that’s not true.”
Harry sat down cross-legged on the floor by Teddy, concealing the paper bag enclosing his Godson’s present behind his back. Andromeda left to get a cup of tea.
Teddy seemed happy enough, lying on the blanket, his large eyes staring around the room while his little legs kicked and his tiny fists batted the surrounding air. A small pile of toys lay beside Teddy. He only had a few, not even a hundredth of the amount Harry remembered Dudley having. There was a large sponge ball, a teddy frog that croaked and changed colour every time it was touched, a large model hippogriff that really flew around the room, and a phoenix that lit up and sang, just like the one in the shop had.
“Hey Ted,” Harry said softly and he touched Teddy’s little fist with his finger, “how are you doing?”
Teddy’s eyes found Harry and he stared at his Godfather, with a fascination and wonder that was so different from the expressions of the crowded masses in Diagon Alley. Harry smiled back.
“I’ve got a present for you Ted,” Harry said happily. “I realise it’s a bit late, but better late than never, right?”
Teddy continued to stare at Harry, unblinkingly.
“Now, a lot of thought went into this present,” Harry explained. “I spent ages and ages trying to find it. So I hope you like it now.”
Teddy brought his hands up and reached towards Harry, almost in anticipation. Harry pulled the brown paper bag out from behind his back and Teddy watched it, soaking up his new image that had come into his life.
“What do you think’s in here, Ted?” Harry asked. “You’ll never guess. Close your eyes now.”
Teddy didn’t close his eyes, but continued to stare at the brown bag, his brain trying to comprehend what this new invader into the house was. Harry opened the bag, and from its depths pulled out a teddy-wolf. It was large and grey and white, with big marble-glass eyes, pointed ears and a long muzzle. While it did not look like a werewolf really, it did look cute and friendly, which was the perfect way to start introducing wolves as good things in Teddy’s life. Remus, though a werewolf, was a good man, and Teddy should know that, right from the beginning.
Harry held the wolf up for Teddy to see. “It’s a wolf Ted. Do you like it? I think it’s great.” Teddy stared at it with his large brown eyes and he continued to look at it for a long time. Harry used the wolf’s soft paws to cover its glass eyes. “Where are you gone Ted?” Harry said, “Wolf can’t see you, where have you gone?” Then Harry removed the wolf’s paws from its face, “Ah there you are Ted, he can see you now.”
And it was then, at that moment, that the smile started to creep across Teddy’s face, like the first reluctant rays of sunlight at dawn, and before Harry knew it, Teddy was laughing, really laughing. The sound brought Andromeda back into the room, her eyes glistening with tears, but, for a change, they were happy tears.
Harry continued to play peek-a-boo with the wolf and Teddy continued to laugh. Soon Harry and Andromeda were laughing too. Over and over Harry played peek-a-boo and over and over Teddy laughed. Harry found a wonderful feeling fill him, similar to the one phoenix song gave him. It was happy, and it was hopeful, and Teddy was its cause.
Harry next pointed his wand at the wolf, and muttered the spell he had used to make a pine-apple tap-dance across a desk in Charms class. Soon the wolf was dancing, to and fro, in the air above Teddy. It was incredibly ungraceful, and Harry knew Hermione would have done a better job at this enchantment, but he did not care. The wolf was dancing, albeit badly, and Teddy was laughing. Nothing else mattered.
Harry picked the wolf up again, and hid it behind his back. “Where did the wolf go Ted?” he said perplexedly. “Did you see him? Where’s he gone?”. Teddy stopped laughing, and looked a little worried. He stared at Harry and Harry smiled. “Oh look Ted, here he is!” and Harry pulled the wolf out from behind his back and Teddy was laughing again.
Teddy seemed drawn to this toy, more so than any of the others. Harry put the wolf down and started play with the other toys, but Teddy’s eyes never left the creature, he stared at it, transfixed, as though he knew that he had some deeper connection with this animal, that it was part of him somehow.
Abandoning the other toys, Harry continued to play with the wolf for Godson’s amusement and Teddy continued to laugh, and Andromeda continued to smile at the happy sight she could hardly believe she was witnessing.
Then Teddy’s hands reached out, touching the wolf in his Godfather’s hand with his tiny fingers. He was feeling the fluffy fur, running his hand over it, enjoy the touch. Then, Teddy grabbed the wolf’s paw in his tiny fist and tugged it from Harry’s grip. Harry let go and watched Teddy drag the wolf across the blue blanket, before the baby pulled the wolf’s ear into his mouth and began to chew.
And it was at that moment, that Teddy’s hair suddenly turned bright turquoise.
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