Harry knocked on the door of the house he first entered when he was about to turn seventeen. It was a small, cosy home with a pleasant Muggle-feel to it. However, when Harry first arrived here all those years ago, he had felt anything but pleasant. He had crashed-landed in the garden with Hagrid on a flying motorbike, while trying to escape Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The memory flooded back to Harry; how he was hurt and utterly terrified beyond belief that Hagrid was dead. Every single time he approached this house, Harry remembered that night with a shiver, the night George lost his ear, the night Mundungus fled, the night Mad-Eye Moody lost his life. However, these particularly frightening memories were always pushed to the recesses of Harry’s mind upon the sight of his little Godson, Teddy Lupin.
Harry and Teddy were forging new happy memories in this house. It was here that Harry witnessed some of Teddy’s first steps, and it was here that Harry heard Teddy recite his first words. And it was here that he and Teddy played and laughed and had fun together. With time, Harry knew, these happy memories would wash away the thoughts of the dark night he first entered this house. What magic cannot mend, time will heal, as the old saying goes.
Harry knocked on the large wooden door. He was coming to mind Teddy for the day, so his grandmother could head down to Diagon Alley to do some shopping.
Andromeda opened the door, her brown hair beginning to show signs of grey now. She smiled at the sight of Harry, but there was something in the smile that didn’t make her kind eyes light-up, the way they should have done if she was genuinely smiling.
“Hello Harry,” she said, her voice warm but full of a strange stiffness.
“Hi Andromeda,” Harry replied brightly.
There was still something in her face that resembled her murderous sister, Bellatrix. It gave Harry the creeps, as though someone tried to take Bellatrix’s face and make it more kind-looking. Bellatrix had murdered Tonks, robbed Teddy of his mother, and if Molly Weasley hadn’t have finished her off, Harry certainly would have.
“He’s in the kitchen, finishing his breakfast,” Andromeda said, now that those greeting pleasantries were finished. “I should be back at around six, or there abouts. His lunch is in the fridge and I’ll make him dinner when I get home.”
“That’s fine, thanks,” Harry said, trying to sound appreciative that she had made Teddy lunch, so he wouldn’t have to.
Then, Andromeda fastened her travelling cloak, walked down the short hall-way, and into the kitchen to kiss Teddy goodbye and to tell him to be good. She returned not a minute later and left the house, without a second glance at Harry.
Harry was well used to her behaviour. Hermione had provided the explanation for it. Andromeda was jealous that Teddy liked Harry more than her. It was an insane thought. Teddy, of course, loved them both the same, but Harry was only there for the fun-times, he didn’t have to discipline Teddy or make him eat his dinner or any of those other horrible tasks parents, or grandparents in this case, have to do. No, Harry was only here to play with Teddy, tell him great stories and laugh with him. So it was more that Andromeda resented the look of happiness on the little boy’s face every time he saw Harry, a look that was only saved for Harry, not for her.
Harry more than understood Hermione’s explanation. Andromeda had lost everything in the second war: her husband and her only child, and now the only piece of them she had left was Teddy and she didn’t want to lose him or have him push her away. Harry understood that, it made sense to him, so he took Andromeda’s cold treatment with a smile. It would pass soon enough, Harry knew that, once Teddy was old enough to properly appreciate all his grandmother does for him.
“Hiya Ted,” Harry said brightly, as he walked into the kitchen. And before Harry had the door fully open, a turquoise blur ran at him and hugged him around the middle, nearly knocking him over. “Alright there?” Harry asked as he tried to keep his balance, and hug Teddy back at the same time.
“HARRY!” Teddy shouted, squeezing Harry more tightly.
“Easy there Ted,” Harry said, “you’re cutting off the circulation to my legs!”
Teddy released Harry and smiled up at him with his wondrously bright brown eyes, exactly the same as Remus’s had been. Then, Teddy closed his eyes in concentration and opened them again.
“Look!” the boy exclaimed and Harry did look and Harry laughed. Teddy now had jet-black, messy hair, green eyes and a scar, although it was merely a straight line down the forehead, not a bolt of lightning.
“Wow Ted, if I didn’t know any better I’d say you were me!”. At first it had been endearing, but now Harry felt weird seeing Teddy physically change his appearance to look like Harry’s. It made Harry uncomfortable in a way he could not quite put into words.
“I’ve been practising!” Teddy explained brightly.
“It’s great Ted, but please go back to being Teddy Lupin now, will you?”
“Why?” Teddy asked.
Don’t tell me he has entered the ‘why’ phase, Harry thought.
“Because you’re you, aren’t you? I think you should just be you, Ted,” Harry answered, “because, you know, there’s only one Teddy Lupin, and he’s just brilliant, just as he is.”
“I want to be just like you Harry, I want to defeat all the bad wizards and save the world, just like you.”
Harry had no idea what to say to this. He was both touched and a little uncomfortable at the thought of Teddy wanting to be just like him. He loved that his Godson admired him so much, but at the same time, Harry felt Teddy should just be Teddy.
So Harry spent the entire morning playing with his Godson. They played Quidditch in the garden. Teddy was riding the toy broom-stick that Harry had given him for his birthday. It only rose about a foot off the ground, allowing Teddy’s toes to skim the grass, and thus give him the sensation of flying, without the danger of falling. Harry had bewitched three goal-hoops to float off the ground behind him. Harry was Keeper, albeit, not an airborne one, and Teddy was Chaser. They didn’t use a real Quaffle, but instead a light, round-shaped sponge-ball, so no one would get hurt and nothing would get broken.
But before the game could start, Teddy asked a question: “Why don’t you play Quidditch anymore?”
That’s twice why has been said now, not a good sign.
Harry smiled. “I do play sometimes, with Ron and Ginny, in the orchard behind the Burrow.”
“But why only sometimes? Don’t you like it?”
“I do like it, Ted. I love it. I just don’t have much time to play anymore.”
“Because I’m an Auror now, and I have to mind you of course. Would you prefer me to go play Quidditch and not see you every Saturday?”
“No!” Teddy replied, horrified at the thought of not seeing Harry every week. “I like it when you come over and play with me.”
“Me too, Ted,” Harry said kindly, “now what do you say we play some Quidditch now, eh?”
Teddy nodded and the game began.
The boy flew up the garden, sponge-ball in hand. “And Lupin tears up the pitch,” Harry began, shouting in an excited voice. “He dodges a Bludger,” Harry shouted, and at this detail of commentary, Teddy swerved his broom, avoiding the imaginary Bludger. The child was becoming a better flier every time Harry saw him. “He’s going for goal, only the Keeper to beat, he shoots,” Teddy threw the ball at the right hoop. Harry could have saved it, but he didn’t, he wanted Teddy to get a goal instead. “He scores! What a great goal from Teddy Lupin, I’m tellin’ you, this kid is one to watch!” Teddy did a lap of the garden, cheering with both hands in the air.
Harry stopped commentating. “Ted, put both hands on your broom – Ted!”
Teddy crashed into the flower pots. Harry ran to him. “Ted, are you alright?” Teddy got up, pushed the dirt off this robes and picked up his broom. He looked fine. Harry laughed. “You’re just like your mum,” Harry found himself saying with a smile.
“Why?” Teddy asked.
Five ‘whys’ in the space of an hour, this isn’t boding well.
“Because she was a bit clumsy too, always knocking things over or tripping over things.”
Harry laughed again. “I don’t know Ted, it was just the way she was, I suppose.”
“Was my Dad clumsy too?”
“No,” Harry said, liking the fact that Teddy was asking questions about his parents. That was important, and what was more important was that Harry answered these questions. “Your Dad was one of the most careful people in the world.”
Seven. Why seems to be cropping up a good bit now.
“Because that was just the way he was.”
Once Teddy seemed exhausted of why questions, for the time being at least, they went inside for lunch. They had vegetable soup and bread and, after Harry had put the last piece of food in his mouth, Teddy put in his request:
“Tell me a story, Harry,” he asked brightly.
“The one where you defeated the humongous snake in the Chamber of Secrets, or the one where you played with the giant chess-set or the time you went swimming in the lake to save Ron.”
“OK,” Harry said, smiling at Teddy’s excitement, “but which one do you want?”
Teddy thought for a moment. “Tell the one where you save your Godfather from all the dementors.”
Harry smiled and told the story. He paused and whispered in the right places for dramatic effect. “There were hundreds of dementors, circling all around us,” he began. “I felt their icy cold, and heard their rattling breath. They were everywhere, and they were trying to get Sirius. I had to stop them. They nearly had his soul, they were about to kiss him. I was shaking all over, because I was so scared. I pulled out my wand and but the spell didn’t work. I felt like I was drowning. I could no longer remember the words of the spell.”
Teddy had heard this story so many times that Harry was surprised that he was not sick of it by now. But Teddy just watched Harry with rapid attention, taking in every single word as though it were the first time he had heard it.
Harry continued his story and tried to finish dramatically, “and the silver stag burst out of my wand and charged all the dementors down, driving them away as though they were nothing powerful at all.”
“And was Sirius OK?” Teddy asked.
“He was,” Harry replied.
“You saved him?”
Teddy was silent for a moment, then got off his chair at the table and went over and climbed onto Harry’s knee. “I’d save you Harry,” he said softly. “I’d fight a million billion dementors to save you.”
Harry felt his heart swell and his eyes burn for a moment. “I know Ted,” he replied, for that was all he was able to say. His Godson’s words had meant more to Harry than he could ever express.
“What do you say we de-gnome the garden?” Harry suggested brightly.
“Yeah!” Teddy said excitedly. He loved de-gnoming the garden.
Harry and Teddy spent the afternoon hiding the bushes, waiting for the muddy, potato-headed gnomes to show themselves. Then, the pair jumped out of their hiding place and chased the gnomes around the garden. Teddy kept falling over, but he could not stop laughing. Harry thought Teddy’s laugh was the nicest thing he had never heard in his life. It filled him with the same wondrous feeling as Phoenix song.
Harry dived over two potted-plants and managed to seize a gnome by the foot. He picked it up, swung it around and around over his head and threw it over the hedge.
“Can I try the next one, can I?” Teddy pleaded excitedly.
“’Course,” Harry said. Teddy had never been able to throw the gnomes very far though, let alone over the hedge.
Suddenly, Teddy jumped into the bushes after a gnome. A minute later, he came out with twigs and leaves in his hair, dirt on his clothes, and a small gnome in his little hand.
Teddy had finally caught a gnome all by himself. Harry found himself beaming with pride. “Go ahead, throw him.”
And Teddy swung the gnome around and around. “Not too fast now,” warned Harry. But Teddy didn’t listen. He kept spinning and spinning, faster and faster. Then, Teddy tripped and fell. The gnome flew from the boy’s hands and soared, head-first, into the wall of the shed, before falling to the ground with a dull thud. It did not get up.
The smile was instantly wiped off Teddy’s face and he turned horribly pale. He started to tremble. “I didn’t mean to, Harry, I didn’t mean to!”
“Shh, it’s alright,” Harry said soothingly as he approached the fallen gnome.
Teddy slowly got up, still shaking, and followed his Godfather.
“Is it dead?” Teddy asked, shaking so badly. He grabbed Harry’s leg from behind, hiding himself from the scene that lay ahead.
“No Ted,” Harry said reassuringly.
That’s eight times now.
“Because it’s moving – see its chest moving up and down?” Harry pointed at the potato shaped gnome, trying to show Teddy it was alright.
“If I stop moving does that mean I’m dead?” Teddy asked.
“No,” Harry said, not liking the morbid turn this conversation suddenly took.
I think I’m beginning to dislike that word.
“Because,” Harry said, not knowing what he was going to say. “Because you’re still there, on the inside.” Harry picked up Teddy’s little hand and placed it on the boy’s chest. “Feel your heart beating? That shows that you’re not dead, that your still there on the inside.”
“What does dead mean?” Teddy asked.
Harry had no answer for this question. He didn’t even think there was one. “Dead means gone,” Harry said finally, thinking that was the best explanation.
There was a long silence as Teddy watched the gnome’s chest rise and fall gently as it breathed. Then two of its friends came, picked it up by its hands and feet and carried it back to the gnome-hole in the bushes beyond the garden.
Harry put his hand on Teddy’s shoulder in a reassuring way. “It’ll be alright, it was only knocked out, it’ll be fine tomorrow.”
Teddy said nothing.
Harry knew that he had to do something to brighten the mood. “Come on Ted, let’s will play exploding snap inside, what do you say?”
Harry turned towards the house and stretched out his arm for Teddy to take. The boy did not take it.
“Why do I live with nana?” Teddy asked slowly.
Ten times, that confirms it, he’s in the why-phase.
Harry turned back around suddenly, caught a little off guard; this question had come out of nowhere. “You know why Ted,” Harry said, trying to be gentle, “your parents, you know, they’re ... dead.” It sounded so cruel saying it like that, Harry knew exactly how hearing those words felt, but he wasn’t able to put it any less bluntly. “They died fighting in the big Battle, at Hogwarts, the final battle against Voldemort. Your Nan told you that last year, d’you remember?”
“I do,” Teddy said, searching for words, “but I don’t understand.”
“What don’t you understand?”
“Why did they have to die?”
Harry was drawing a blank. He had no idea how to answer that question, let alone answer it in a way a five-year-old could comprehend. “To be honest Ted,” Harry began, buying time, searching for the right words, “they didn’t have to.”
Damn, that came out wrong!
“Then why did they?” Teddy persisted.
Harry was at a loss as to what to say. He had dug himself into a hole here, no question. “Because,” Harry began, not knowing what to say next, “because they made a choice, a choice between what was right and what was easy.”
Wow, never thought I would be quoting Dumbledore at a time like this.
“I don’t understand,” Teddy said slowly. This did not come as a surprise to Harry. He had expected Teddy not to comprehend this, as it was such a huge concept for a six-year-old to get his head around.
“You see Ted,” Harry began blindly, “they had a choice, they could’ve stayed with you, or they could’ve gone into battle. But they chose to fight, because,” Harry paused again, searching for words that seemed to have escaped his brain that his point. “Because they knew they had to fight, that fighting was the right thing, because if they didn’t fight, then they could be dooming you to live in a word full of darkness and bad-wizards and death, a world where you would be scared and in danger all the time. It would have been easy to just stay with you, because they loved you so much, but instead they did what was right, as they saw it anyway, even though it was so much harder. They went to fight, to fight for you Ted, so you could grow up in a safer world.”
Harry hoped the boy would understand what he was doing a bad job at explaining.
Teddy furrowed his brow in thought. “They were very selfish,” he concluded harshly.
“Ah, Ted, don’t say that,” said Harry as calmly as he could, those words had struck him as hard as any blow. “They weren’t selfish,” Harry refuted, with a hint of desperation for Teddy to listen, “far from it, in fact.”
“They were,” Teddy persisted.
Those words, uttered by Remus’s and Tonks’s only son, caused Harry’s stomach to turn over. Nevertheless, he smiled weakly and asked: “Why do you say that?”
Oh great, now I’m using why too.
“Because they left me all by myself,” Teddy said sadly, with his eyes fixed on his shoes.
Harry felt his heart tug. A knot formed in his throat now, making swallowing and speaking difficult. Teddy looked up at Harry, with brown eyes that mirrored his father’s. Harry knew words would not work right now, so he did the only thing that made sense: he picked Teddy up, and placed him on his lap. Harry meant the gesture to be warm, so it would make Teddy know he wasn’t alone.
“They didn’t Ted,” Harry said finally, finding his voice again. “They left you with your Nan and with me, didn’t they? They knew you wouldn’t be all alone.”
“They were selfish,” Teddy said defiantly, as he picked at the material of Harry’s T-shirt.
This conversation is going nowhere pleasant.
Harry knew that he had to do something or else Teddy would be left with his horrible thoughts forever. Harry knew that if Remus was alive today, he would die completely at the thought of his son saying and thinking such things.
Well, as much as I dislike reliving it, it’s time to tell him.
“Listen, Ted,” Harry began rather heavily. “I’m going to tell you a secret, alright?”
“What kind of secret?” Teddy asked in a hushed whisper, his large brown eyes x-raying Harry, the way Dumbledore used to.
“A secret I’ve never told anyone Ted, a secret that you have to keep between you and me, can you do that, little man?”
Teddy nodded vigorously, as curiosity had captured his voice and was currently holding it hostage.
“When I was going to fight Voldemort...” Harry began slowly, trying his best to explain this is the way Teddy would understand.
“In the big battle?” Teddy asked eagerly, his voice rushing back to him.
“Yes, in the big battle,” Harry said, shuddering slightly at the thought.
“That my parents died in?”
“The very same,” Harry said, trying to sound warm and bright, even though the tale was far from a happy bed-time story.
Harry hit a wall. He had no idea how to explain the next bit. He hesitated, thinking very quickly, trying to put everything in simple terms. “Well, you see Ted, I found out that for Voldemort to die, I also had to die as well.”
“You?” said Teddy, both surprised and confused. “But you’re not dead, and Voldemort is!”
Now we’ve hit the complicated bit.
“I know Ted, but at the time I thought I had to die in order for Voldemort to die.”
“Why?” Teddy asked.
I want to hex whatever idiot invented the word ‘why’, thought Harry.
“Because there was a special connection between me and Voldemort.”
“Your scar?” Teddy asked.
Harry’s eyes widened in surprise. Teddy was a sharp lad alright. Harry had not expected him to work that connection out, let alone work it out so quickly. “Yeah,” Harry said, “my scar.”
“Did Voldemort have a lightening scar too?”
“Sort of, yeah,” Harry said. Technically that wasn’t true, but comprehension of the story would be easier if Teddy thought it was. Getting into the details of Voldemort taking Harry’s blood, his mother’s sacrifice, in his own veins was far too complicated for a six-year-old to grasp.
“So what did you do?” Teddy asked, clearly noticing the glazed look that covered Harry’s face whenever he was thinking.
“Well,” Harry started again, “I saw your Dad and Mum dead, and Fred Weasley-”
“Ginny’s brother?” Teddy asked excitedly.
“Yes, Ginny’s brother, I saw them all dead, and loads of others, all kids I went to school with and I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t want anyone else to die like that.”
“So what did you do?” Teddy asked, caught on Harry’s every word and holding his Godfather’s T-shirt tightly in his small hand.
“I went to Voldemort,” Harry said. “And I was going to let him kill me.”
Wow, that sounded very melodramatic.
“Why?” Teddy asked.
We’ve come back to why again.
“Because if I died, Voldemort would die,” Harry said, explaining it as best he could.
“But you’re not dead,” Teddy pointed out, his face scrunching up as he tried to get his head around the concepts he was hearing about.
“I know,” Harry said, trying to see if he could explain it in a better way, “but when my mother died for me, she protected me and that kept me safe, and that kept me alive and allowed Voldemort to die, and not me. But I didn’t know that would happen. I thought I would die.”
“You did?” Teddy asked in amazement, looking up at Harry in adoration, with his large brown eyes boring into Harry’s again.
“So what did you do?”
“I walked to Voldemort, I walked to death,” Harry said simply.
I’m sounding melodramatic again.
“I did. But I was so scared Ted, so scared.” Harry was not ashamed to admit that. There was nothing wrong with being afraid.
“But you’re brave,” Teddy pointed out, confused once again by Harry’s words, “You’re never scared.”
Harry let out a laugh, he couldn’t help it. “That’s not true Ted,” Harry replied, rubbing Teddy’s arm. “I’ve been scared loads of times.”
“Really?” Teddy said, the adoration returning to his little face.
“Yeah, being brave just means you still do things, even though you’re really, really scared.”
“So what happened?” Teddy asked keenly, dismissing Harry’s wise words.
“Well, this time I wasn’t brave enough,” Harry sighed, trying not to remember how much he trembled, or how fast his heart pounded in his chest, as though it wanted to escape before the end came. “There were dementors everywhere, and I had no strength to fight them off.”
“So what did you do?” Teddy was hooked on Harry’s every utterance now.
“Do you remember the ‘Tale of the Tree Brothers’?”
“Beedle’s story, that nana reads to me?” Teddy said, confused again at why this was being brought up now, at the most exciting part of the story.
“The very same,” Harry said, smiling at Teddy’s good memory. “Do you remember the stone that calls people back from death?”
“Yep!” Teddy said brightly
“I had it.”
“You had it?” Teddy was surprised and astonished now.
“I had it”
“How?” Teddy asked.
How is better than why, at least.
“Dumbledore left it to me.”
Teddy cast a nervous look left and right, as though checking if the coast was clear. “Did,” he began, in a voice so low that only Harry could hear, “did you use it?”
“I did,” Harry whispered back.
“But in the story it was wrong to use it,” Teddy said, shocked that his great Godfather had done such a thing.
“I know Ted, but I was going to die too, or at least I thought I was, so it was alright.”
“Why?” Teddy asked again.
Great, we’ve come back to why again.
“I wasn’t really calling them back to life,” Harry explained, “It was more that they were coming to fetch me and bring me to death.”
“You did you call?” Teddy said, still whispering, as though afraid of the very concept of calling people back from death.
“My Mum and Dad.”
“You saw your Mum and Dad?”
“I did,” said Harry, knowing full well that, at this very moment, Teddy was imagining having the stone and calling his own parents back. “And Sirius,” Harry continued.
“Your Godfather?” Teddy asked.
“Exactly. I called back my parents, Sirius and-”
“Who?” Teddy cut across him, desperately hoping that the next person Harry called back was who Teddy hoped it was.
“Your Dad,” Harry said, smiling broadly.
“My Dad?” Teddy said in astonishment, his large eyes swelling at the very thought of such a phenomenon.
“Yes, your Dad,” Harry answered, enjoying the look on his little Godson’s face.
I knew I hadn’t heard the end of that word.
“Because he was like a Dad to me, your Dad was.”
Harry gave Teddy a moment, or two, to picture the image in his head, to enjoy the idea that his Dad was like a Dad to his orphaned Godfather. “So what happened?” Teddy asked suddenly, having imagined his fill of his Dad coming back to help Harry.
“I was so scared Ted, so scared of dying that I asked them to stay with me, to stay with me until it happened, because I didn’t want to die alone, die far away from those I loved, die in a clearing full of bad-wizards.”
Harry shuddered. He couldn’t help it. Teddy gripped his T-shirt even more tightly, as though the small boy was terrified too.
“And did they stay?” Teddy asked, his voice trembling.
“Of course they did,” Harry said with all the warmth he could muster as he ruffled his Godson’s turquoise hair. Teddy didn’t draw away or protest, but let Harry mess up his hair. “But do you know what else Ted?”
“I spoke to your Dad.”
“You did?” Amazement overwhelmed Teddy’s face and eyes again.
“What did you say?”
“I said I didn’t want him to die,” Harry said, forcing his voice to stay steady. The knot in his throat had returned as he sat here with Remus’s son, about to tell him the last words his father had spoken.
“You said that?” Teddy asked, again stunned by the story.
“I did. I said I didn’t want him to die and that I was so sorry that he did die.”
And, right on queue:
“Because I loved your Dad, and you were just born Ted,” said Harry, ruffling the child’s hair again and rubbing him very softly and playfully on the arm. “And I knew that wasn’t fair.”
“You’re right, it wasn’t,” Teddy sighed, his eyes falling back on his shoes.
Harry’s stomach twisted at the slight of his Godson looking so upset and forlorn.
“But do you know what your Dad said to me?” Harry said brightly, readjusting Teddy on his knee, and lifting the boy’s head up with his hand.
“He said ‘I’m sorry too, sorry I will never know my son, but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand, I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life’.” *1
There was silence. Teddy looked at Harry, and Harry looked squarely back him. The boy’s expression was unreadable. Then, Teddy furrowed his brow, “I don’t understand.”
Harry’s heart sank slightly. He had not managed to explain it properly. Perhaps, now was not the right time, perhaps, he should try telling the story again when Teddy was older.
“What don’t you understand Ted?” Harry asked patiently.
“How could he think that I could be happy without him?”
The knot in Harry’s throat swelled and completely robbed him of his voice. Harry felt his eyes burn intensely for one moment, but it soon passed. Not knowing what else to do, Harry picked Teddy up off his lap and wrapped his arms around his little Godson. Teddy put his arms around Harry’s neck and held on very tightly.
“He didn’t mean that you be happy without him Ted,” Harry said, his voice slightly higher than normal. “He meant for you to be happy in a world where you are safe and free, instead of in a world where you would be in danger, discriminated against and hunted down. He died fighting so the world would be safer and happier, so you would be safer and happier.”
“I still don’t understand,” Teddy repeated for the umpteenth time today.
Harry laughed slightly, and released Teddy from his hug, so he could look his Godson in the eyes. “I’ll tell you now Ted, that you are going to get sick of grown-ups saying this, but you will understand, one day.”
“Why?” Teddy asked.
And we come full-circle back to why.
“Because you’ll be older and cleverer,” Harry said, ruffling Teddy’s hair again.
There was silence again. Teddy snuggled up on Harry’s knee and leaned in, resting his head on his Godfather’s chest. Harry put his arms around Teddy and just enjoyed this moment: holding his Godson in his arms, thinking sadly about what Remus and Tonks would give to do this one more time.
“Tell me the story again, Harry,” Teddy said quietly, grasping Harry’s T-shirt tightly in his hand once more.
“The story about my Dad and how he came back to help you and how said he was sorry he died because he had to leave me.”
Harry smiled and messed-up Teddy’s hair again. “’Course Ted.”
And Teddy sat on Harry’s knee, holding his Godfather’s T-shirt firmly, as he heard the story of how his Dad – his Dad – came back from the dead to help his Godfather defeat Voldemort. Teddy’s frame trembled and his eyes watered, but he did not cry, he simply closed his eyes and tried to picture it all in his head. He tried to imagine his dad’s voice, and what it sounded like. He tried to imagine his Dad telling Harry that he was so sorry that he would never know his son, a son who was living, breathing and hearing right now, a son who would give anything in the in the whole wide world to hear his Dad say those words to him in person, just once.
And as Harry told the story again, and held Teddy on his knee, as only one thought circulated in his mind: Why did you have to die, Remus, and you Tonks, and miss out on moments like this?
*1 Paraphrased (slightly) from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, pg 561 (UK edition).