Harry held Lily’s tiny hand in his. James and Albus had run on ahead, fighting as usual. Ginny was chasing after them, warning them to be careful and to stay in sight. Harry laughed and squeezed Lily’s little hand. She squeezed back, holding onto her father as though he was a life-line. The new, unfamiliar place had robbed her of the ability to talk. She had suddenly become very shy as soon as they had left the car, staying close to her Dad instead of running after her brothers, hoping to share in their fun.
The automatic doors opened, allowing the pair to enter. Lily was a little startled by this. She squeezed Harry’s hand tighter. Train whistles and the high-pitched screeching of breaks dominated the hum of chatty voices that the station enclosed. It had been twelve years since Harry had last made this journey. King’s Cross had changed enormously in that time. Large digital televisions framed the entrance, along with a massive board displaying train times in digitised red letters. New turnstiles had been installed, scanning the tickets of the rushing Muggles that pushed through them. The blacken bricks of the walls had been cleaned, reverting them back to their original, sandy-brown colour. The shop at the entrance had been updated, and new vending and ticket machines graced the lobby. Even the trains themselves had changed; they were strange modern shapes, looking more like silver space-ships than trains.
Nevertheless, there were some things that hadn’t changed. The conductors still patrolled the platforms in their caps and black suits, with the red trim. An elderly man stood at the entrance selling papers, screaming the head-lines out in a harsh London accent. Lily’s eyes moved around feverishly, trying to take in everything. She pointed at the newspapers, clearly gobsmacked that no one was moving in the photographs that littered the front page.
With a flick of his wand, the turnstile moved to let Harry and Lily through. Lily was hesitant, not trusting the strange, alien Muggle contraption in front of her. Harry lifted her frightened frame up and brought her forward. She looked back over his shoulder, her large eyes following the Muggles going through the turnstiles with their tickets. She was still very quiet, but Harry was sure her voice would return to her soon enough.
He couldn’t see Ginny or the boys anywhere. He figured that they had already passed through the barrier. He pressed on, bringing his daughter with him. Muggles rushed this way and that; talking loudly on their mobile phones or else bobbing their heads as they listened to the music piping out of their little white ear-phones.
He put Lily down. She took his hand immediately and half-hid behind his legs as she watched the Muggles reading the non-moving-picture-newspapers or else reading something on a flat screen that they held in their hands. Harry and Lily moved forward through the bustling crowd of Muggles. Lily was giving the space-ship-looking trains suspicious glances. Soon, they reached patch of wall between platforms nine and ten, which concealed the entrance to Platform 9 ¾. Lily’s attention, however, was fixed on the Muggle man who was getting a packet of crisps out of a vending machine. This transaction intrigued her.
“Want to walk through or will a give you a lift?” Harry asked gently, directing his daughter’s attention back to the concealed barrier.
Lily’s large eyes looked at the barrier and then back to her Dad. She shook her head and reached up to Harry. He picked her up. “Hold tight now,” he said, smiling. She tightened her grip around Harry’s neck as he leaned nonchalantly against the barrier, only to fall right through to the hidden world beyond.
Platform 9 ¾ had not changed in the slightest, and this made him smile. Everything was exactly as he remembered it. He might have been eleven-years-old again, walking into this world for the first time. The scarlet steam engine of the Hogwarts Express stood proudly on the platform, gleaming in the sunlight. It puffed bouts of thick, warm steam at various intervals. Families stood in little groups, chatting, hugging and gathering up belongings. Several students were already dressed in their school robes. Prefects were directing nervous first-years onto the train. Owls hooted, toads croaked and cats meowed, while teary-eyed mothers and fathers issued words of advice.
Lily pulled the neck of Harry’s jumper and pointed. He saw them. James and Albus were jumping on Teddy, clinging to the boy’s arms and legs, begging him to not to go. Ginny looked on and smiled, but kept gently reminding her sons not to be too rough. Andromeda was smiling, but her eyes were swelling with tears. Clearly, she was not yet ready for her grandson to make this first big step. Her house would seem so empty without him.
Lily suddenly started squirming in Harry’s arms, obviously wanting to be put down. Harry obliged. Once her little feet touched the ground, she set off faster than a speeding Bludger. She ran at Teddy, jumped and hugged him around the middle, while James and Albus pulled at his arms.
“Come on now, let the man breathe!” Harry said reprovingly to his children. All three backed off instantly. Teddy gave Harry a grateful smile.
“I don’t want Teddy to go!” James said loudly. “We haven’t finished building my fort in the garden yet!”
“It’s our fort!” Albus injected. “You said I could play there too. Teddy said it was for everyone, not just you James.”
James stuck his tongue out at Albus. Harry gave his eldest son a stern look. James returned his tongue to his mouth and smiled innocently.
“We can finish it when I come back for Christmas,” Teddy said consolingly to James and Albus.
“That’s forever!” James said, angrily. He didn’t want Teddy to go away to Hogwarts at all.
“It isn’t really,” Teddy assured him. “I’ll be back before you know it, and I promise I’ll send you and Al and Lily lots of letters!”
“You said you’d send me a Gryffindor banner! Remember? You said!” James reminded Teddy for the hundredth time this week.
“I’ll try,” Teddy replied, though his face displayed a rather awkward smile.
“Me too!” Lily shouted, not wanting to be forgotten.
“Don’t worry, I couldn’t possibility forget about you Lils!” Teddy replied kindly, giving the little girl a warm smile. Lily’s face lit up.
James and Albus were continuing the argument about who actually owned the still-to-be built fort in the garden. Andromeda and Ginny were chatting. So when all eyes were looking the other way, Teddy glanced up at his Godfather with a look of nervous excitement on his face. He was gripping and re-gripping the handle of the trolley on which his school-trunk and caged brown-owl, Durrow, sat.
Harry remembered his first time on this platform. How he had to make the journey by himself, how Uncle Vernon had thrown him from the car and how he had a look of pure pleasure on his face at the thought of abandoning his unwanted, 11-year-old nephew in a crowd of complete strangers between platforms nine and ten. Harry had to do it all alone. He remembered wandering around the station with his caged snowy owl, Hedwig, not knowing what to do or where to go, that is, until Mrs Weasley had given him a helping hand. He remembered how he had envied Ron and his brothers because they had their mother to see them off and look after them when they made this frightening journey for the first time. Teddy’s lot in life was different. He was lucky enough to make this journey with his grandmother, Harry, Ginny, James, Albus and Lily. While Teddy was orphaned before he could walk or talk, before he could even remember his parent’s faces, Teddy had still grown up with a loving family. It was not a traditional one, but it was a loving, supporting and caring one, and that’s all that mattered. All members of Teddy’s adopted family had wanted to come and see him off, and, judging by the wide grin on his face, Teddy really appreciated this effort.
Harry stared at his Godson who had those brilliantly brown eyes and that mop of turquoise hair. He was eleven years old, about to head off for Hogwarts. Harry could hardly believe how fast the time had gone. Eleven years had passed since that chilly night Remus had come to Shell Cottage to tell them all about the birth of his son. Harry felt a twang of grief. Remus and Tonks should be here, they both should be seeing Teddy off to school, but thanks to Voldemort they were robbed of this chance, this happy and, at the same time, sad moment in every parent’s life.
Without thinking, Harry suddenly put his hand to the slightly-bulging lump under his jumper, which concealed the Mokeskin pouch Hagrid had given him for his seventeenth birthday. The time to part had come.
“Ted?” he called, gesturing for his Godson to follow him. Teddy looked bewildered, but nonetheless did as he was told, leaving his owl, trunk and grandmother behind. Harry led him a little away from the group. He noticed that Andromeda’s eyes were tracing Teddy. There was something accusatory in the look she gave Harry, as though she didn’t approve of him taking Teddy away from her when she had precious little time with him left before he disappeared until Christmas. But Harry smiled warmly back at her regardless.
“I want you to mind something for me, for the next seven years, can you do that?” Harry said, fumbling with the pouch around his neck, making sure Andromeda could not see what he was taking out of it.
“For seven years?” repeated Teddy, bemused.
“For seven years,” Harry said, removing a piece of old parchment from under his jumper. “It’s one of my most prized possessions, but I won’t have any use for it for a while, not until James, Al and Lily are old enough to go to Hogwarts. So in the meantime I would like you to mind it for me, because, dare I say, you will find it far more useful than I will.” Harry had decided last night that, while he did occasionally like to peruse the map and look fondly upon the corridors of his first home, it was Teddy who needed the map more than he did.
He handed his Godson the Marauder’s Map. Teddy took it, his eye-brows furrowed in thought. Harry held onto it for a split second, having slight misgivings about giving away one of the few relics of his father he had.
“A piece of old parchment?” Teddy said, as he turned the paper over and over in his hand, trying to figure out if Harry was messing with him or not.
“Not just any old piece,” said Harry slyly, as he removed his wand from his pocket. He tapped the old, dog-eared map and said some well-chosen words: I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Suddenly, messy, slanting writing covered the face of the parchment:
Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present THE MARAUDER’S MAP *1
Teddy read the words, still unsure as to what was going on. “What’s the Marauder’s Map?” he asked curiously, as he watched the spider-web of lines join together and form the corridors and classrooms of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“It’s a map of Hogwarts, showing everyone in the castle, showing where they are, every second of every day,” Harry said dramatically, as he stared down fondly at the piece of parchment. The map was a type of time-capsule. It housed so many of his good school memories, no doubt it had done the same for James, Sirius and Remus, just as it would soon do the same for Teddy.
“Seriously?” Teddy said excitedly, looking in awe at the map.
“Seriously,” Harry repeated, grinning broadly.
“Wow. That’s seriously cool!” Teddy said, his eyes pouring over the map, and following the little dots of the teachers moving around the place. “Ha-ha, there’s Hagrid!” Teddy exclaimed, pointing at the little dot inside the hut in the school grounds.
Harry smiled as he stared down at the small mark representing the very large, half-giant Game-Keeper. For a moment Harry let his mind stray back to Hagrid’s hut beside the Forbidden Forest, as memories of warm-fires, rock-cakes, hippogriffs, baby dragons and Fang the boar-hound flooded his brain. He smiled broadly. Good times.
“But Moony and Wormtail and them, who are they?” Teddy asked, his eyes landing on the title of the map.
“Ah, now I’m glad you asked that,” said Harry grinning. “Remember that picture of your Dad in school, with my Dad and Sirius?”
“Yeah,” said Teddy, wondering where Harry was going with this.
“Well, they were part of a group of four friends, who called themselves the Marauders. They made this map.”
“I bet Moony was my Dad,” Teddy injected, his face lighting up at the very thought. He stared down at the map as though he was holding a photo signed by the entire English Quidditch team.
“Yep,” Harry replied, proud that Teddy had made the connection so quickly, “and Padfoot was Sirius, and Prongs was my Dad, and Wormtail was a boy called Peter Pettigrew. You see, James, Sirius and Peter were your Dad’s best friends, perhaps his first and only friends for a very long time. When they discovered your Dad’s condition, your Dad was terrified they would dessert him, that they would no longer be friends with him.”
“Did they?” Teddy asked, desperately wanting to know.
“’Course not,” said Harry, batting the question away with a lazy flick of his hand. “They did something to help your Dad: they became Anamigi.”
“Seriously?” said Teddy, clearly impressed.
“Yeah, they couldn’t accompany your Dad as humans when he was transformed, so they did so as animals. My Dad was a stag, Sirius a dog, and Peter a rat.”
“Why haven’t I heard about this Peter before?” Teddy asked.
Harry had anticipated this question. It went hand in hand with giving Teddy the map. He would, one day, tell Teddy of Peter’s betrayal, but today was not that day. “That’s a story for another day, I’m afraid, Ted,” Harry said, feeling slightly guiltily. He didn’t like leaving Teddy in the dark by with-holding information, but there was no time to explain today.
Suddenly, the whistle sounded, confirming Harry’s last statement. Prefects began to usher students onto the train. Harry would have to wrap this conversation up quickly.
“They made this map. I know that your dad would like you to have it while you’re at Hogwarts. I know it came in dead handy when I was there,” Harry said hurriedly.
“How did you get it?” Teddy asked, beginning to fold the map away.
“You have to wipe it clean first,” Harry said, stopping Teddy in the act. “Just tap it with your wand and say ‘mischiefmanaged’.”
An excited grin spread across Teddy’s face at the thought of actually using his wand. He took the long thin piece of wood out of his pocket, tapped the map with it and said the words little hesitantly, as though he was afraid they mightn’t work. From the second his wand-tip touched the parchment, the map was wiped clean. It sat innocently in Teddy’s hands, hiding its secrets away from all but the most worthy mischief makers.
“Fred and George nicked it from the caretaker’s confiscated drawer,” Harry answered, suddenly remembering Teddy’s question. “Then, years later, they gave it to me.”
“How’d they do it?” Teddy asked eagerly. “Get it out of the drawer, I mean.”
“No idea,” Harry answered, though not entirely truthfully. He didn’t want to fill Teddy’s head with silly stories that might lead him to believe that crossing the Hogwarts Caretaker was a good idea. “All I know is that it involved a dungbomb and a lot of luck.”
Teddy grinned, before folding the map up and putting it carefully in his pocket.
“Look after it Ted, won’t you?” Harry said seriously, his eyes following the map as Teddy put it out of sight. “There are very few things left of my Dad, save that map, so it means a lot to me, promise you’ll take good care of it?”
“I promise,” Teddy replied, nodding to Harry “And don’t worry, I’ll give it back to you too, when I leave school, so that way James and Al and Lily can enjoy using it too.”
Harry was so glad Teddy had said that. He had misgivings about giving the map to his Godson. What if Teddy didn’t want to give it back? It was a much a relic of Remus as it was of James and Sirius. But Teddy wasn’t selfish like that. Harry should have known that he was doing Teddy an immense disservice by mistrusting him like that. Teddy was a good, honest kid. He would give the map back. “You’re a great man Ted,” Harry said, putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Your Mum and your Dad would be very proud.”
Teddy grinned. “Cheers Harry.”
The whistle sounded again. It echoed around the platform, like an urgent reminder that Harry’s time with Teddy was running short.
“Daddy! Daddy!” shouted James, running over to where Harry and Teddy stood. “I want to go with Teddy, please let me go with him!”
“No me! I want to go with Teddy!” said Albus, arriving moments after his brother.
“Me too!” said Lily, bringing up the rear, though Harry was quite sure that she had no idea what she was actually agreeing to, but was more making that statement to be included in whatever her brothers were doing.
“What house will you be in Teddy?” Albus asked eagerly, looking up at Teddy in awe. Teddy was the first to go to Hogwarts of the new generation and that made him the height of cool.
“He’ll be in Gryffindor,” said James confidently. Harry noticed that Teddy shifted his feet uneasily at this statement. “He has to be in Gryffindor,” James persisted, as though he would not even contemplate another option. “Gryffindor is the best house. Your Daddy was in Gryffindor, you have to be in Gryffindor too, Teddy. And don’t forget about the banner, you promised!”
Teddy was beginning to get very nervous. He was scratching his head and wasn’t making eye-contact with anyone.
“Leave him be, James,” Ginny said, a little sternly. Going to Hogwarts was tough enough without adding House politics into the mix.
However, completely ignoring Ginny’s attempt to spare Teddy from his conversation, Andromeda injected loudly: “Or he could be in Slytherin like his Grandmother.”
“Or Hufflepuff like his mother,” Harry added reasonably, before remembering that he should be putting an end to this conversation, not contributing to it.
“Or you could surprise us all Ted and be in Ravenclaw,” Ginny added kindly, bringing the awkward conversation to its finale.
Teddy gave her a grateful smile, but he looked more nervous than he had done at any point during the conversation. He wanted to please everyone here, but that was impossible. Teddy couldn’t be in all the Hogwarts Houses, he had to be in the one that suited him the most. This was about Teddy, no one else.
“Listen,” Harry began, aware that the train was just about to pull off. “If you have any problems talk to Neville – I mean Professor Longbottom – he’ll look after you!”
“Professor Longbottom?” Teddy repeated, absolutely nonplussed about who Harry was talking about.
“Ah you know him Ted,” Harry replied loudly, not quite reprimanding his Godson. “You’ve seen him around my place loads of times. Tall bloke, obsessed with Herbology, married to Hannah Abbot, the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron?”
Teddy stared at Harry with a blank expression.
Harry rolled his eyes, giving up on trying to make Teddy remember and instead pressed on with the conversation. “Hagrid says you’re welcome to come around his hut for tea anytime you like, but watch out for his rock-cakes, alright Ted? They will probably break your teeth!”
Teddy grinned again, though a little nervously. It seemed that he couldn’t stop grinning today.
“Let’s get your trunk on the train,” Harry said, noticing the items standing on the trolley nearby, almost forgotten. Teddy nodded and together he and Harry lifted Teddy’s school things onto the train, before returning to the platform.
They stared at each other for a moment, before Harry gave Teddy a hug. “See yah Ted,” he said, though his voice sounded a bit high.
“See you Harry,” Teddy replied, hugging his Godfather back.
James, Albus and Lily ran over and joined the hug. “I don’t want you to go!” they each moaned over and over as they hugged whatever part of Teddy they could get their hands on.
After a moment Harry felt Teddy pull away, ending the hug, but Harry held on for a fraction longer than he should have. Harry’s eyes were burning. This is was it, this was the moment. Teddy was leaving. Those special Saturdays of going to Quidditch matches together or of long walks in the countryside together or of playing together with James, Albus and Lily in the garden had come to an end. They would never have time like that again. That passage of Teddy’s life was over. From now on Teddy’s time had to be shared with a boarding school miles away.
“Good luck Ted,” Ginny said, hugging Teddy, while, at the same time, trying to extract James, who was clinging to Teddy’s leg with his whole body.
“NO!” James cried. “I don’t want Teddy to go! I’m going with him!”
Ginny looked at Harry, at a loss of what to do, however, it was Teddy who saved the day.
“If you don’t let me go James,” Teddy said smiling, “how am I supposed to get you a Gryffindor banner?”
James let go instantly, “You promise?”
“I promise,” Teddy replied, ruffling James’s hair. James let out a shout of delight as he went over to stand beside his father.
Lily was crying, hot tears pouring down her tiny cheeks. “Don’t cry Lils,” Teddy said kindly, bending down to hug her. “I’ll write you loads of letters and I’ll see you very soon, promise.”
“I love you Teddy,” Lily said, her tiny arms surrounding his neck, as her tears fell onto his T-shirt.
“Love you too,” Teddy replied winking.
He turned to James and Albus now, hugging them each in turn. “Look after Lily, won’t you?” Teddy said. James rolled his eyes, but Albus nodded determinedly. Teddy ruffled his hair and Albus beamed.
It was Andromeda’s turn now. She shuffled forward and wrapped her grandson in a tight hug. “Send me a letter as soon as you get there. Look after yourself now, promise me that” she said, tears trickling down her face.
“Don’t worry Nan,” Teddy said, hugging her back. “I’ll be fine, honest.”
The train was beginning to pull off now. Copious amounts of steam covered the platform. Andromeda still had not let Teddy go, it seemed as though she was not able to.
“Nan!” Teddy exclaimed, noticing the scarlet steam-engine behind him pulling off. “Nan! The train! I have to go!” He pulled away from Andromeda. Still she did not let go.
“I love you Teddy, you know that?” she said through tears, finally releasing him.
“I know,” he said warmly, hopping onto the train, experiencing a trade-mark Tonks stumble as he did so. “I love you too.”
The train was gaining speed. Teddy was waving out of the little window in the door. He was getting further and further away. White-hot panic erupted inside Harry. “Watch out for Peeves!” he said quickly, walking fairly fast alongside with train, so Teddy could hear him, “and that trick step behind the tapestry on the fourth floor and don’t go near the Whomping Willow or the forest and stay well clear of Filch, that is if he is still caretaker, and – and,” Ginny suddenly yook Harry’s hand and squeezed it. He stopped walking.
“He’ll be alright,” she said softly, kissing Harry on the cheek, “don’t worry.”
Teddy continued to wave out of the window of the train. “I’ll send Durrow along when I get there!” he shouted, his voice barely carrying over the noise of the engine.
James, Albus and Lily started running after the train, waving frantically and shouting indiscernible words, as the sound of the wheels and the whistle stifled their little voices. Andromeda was walking behind them, waving and pleading with Teddy take care of himself.
Harry’s eyes burned again. Teddy was speeding away from him. In a moment the train would turn a corner and he would not see Teddy again until Christmas. Harry had seen Teddy every week, without fail, from the moment he first held his Godson in his arms. Now, he will not see him until December, and that will have been the longest he will have ever gone without seeing Remus’s brown eyes, that mop of turquoise hair and that mischievous grin that made up the bright, happy face of Teddy Lupin.
Harry’s heart panged with grief, and, as it did so, the train turned the corner and Teddy was gone. Ginny gave Harry’s hand a reassuring squeeze. Teddy would be OK. He knew that. He, Harry, had had a brilliant time at Hogwarts. It would have been selfish to deprive Teddy of that experience. All children must grow up. It can’t be helped. That was just one of life’s truths.
James, Albus and Lily had run back to their parents now, but Andromeda stood alone at the end of the platform. Harry took Lily’s little hand in his, and put his arm around his two sons as Ginny stood beside him. And, it was at that moment that Harry thanked Merlin that today was not the day he had to let his small children take the first big step towards adulthood by starting Hogwarts.
The second Harry got home that afternoon, he opened the kitchen window, so as to allow Durrow an easy entrance when he arrived. Ginny rolled her eyes, but kindly did not point out to Harry that Teddy wouldn’t arrive at Hogwarts for another two hours at least.
Harry was edgy all day. He never left the kitchen for too long. He looked at the open window so often that Ginny was surprised that he hadn’t developed a creak in his neck.
"He’ll be just fine, know you,” Ginny said, a little exasperatedly later that evening, handing Harry a cup of tea.
“I know,” Harry replied. “But I can’t help it really.”
“If you’re this bad now, I don’t like to think what you’ll be like when it’s James’s turn to go to Hogwarts,” said Ginny, with a hint of a laugh.
“I try not to think about that myself,” Harry admitted, grinning at his wife.
Once eleven o’clock came around that evening, Harry gave up on expecting a letter and allowed Ginny to close the kitchen window. Teddy was just too excited about being at Hogwarts to send an owl. Harry collapsed into his favourite armchair by the fire in the sitting room and let out a long sigh. He stared down at the fire, the last of its glowing embers dying away. He half-thought about re-lighting them and using the fire to contact Andromeda to see if she had heard from Teddy. But then Ginny reminded him that it was very late and Andromeda would not like him to contact her at this hour of the night.
Half an hour later, Harry went to bed, but didn’t sleep. He was not quite sure why. Ginny drifted off almost instantly. She had to be up early for Quidditch training. Harry had work too, and he knew he would regret it in the morning if he didn’t get his seven hours sleep tonight, but he couldn’t help it; sleep just could not find him. He tossed and turned for what seemed like hours, before drifting into an uneasy sleep with dreams full of owls and unwritten letters.
He woke up early the next morning, and desiring not to spend another hour or so lying in bed and thinking; he got dressed and went down stairs on the off chance that any owls had come during the night. The kitchen was completely owl-free, looking exactly as it had done when he had gone to bed the previous night. He opened the kitchen window again, made himself a cup of tea and then went upstairs to check on his children. All were sound asleep. But Harry was just glad that they were there, that he still had years and years with them before they too went off to school.
He began making breakfast, and soon the kitchen was full of the sound of sizzling sausages and rashers, coupled with the smell of fresh tea and scrambled egg. Ginny came down an hour later, fully dressed in her Quidditch training gear.
“My Mum will be over in about forty-five minutes,” Ginny said sitting down at the table, “to mind the kids.”
Harry put a plate of sausages, rashers and scrambled egg in front of her. “Thanks,” she replied smiling, “Looks lovely.”
Harry helped himself to some breakfast and sat down opposite Ginny.
“Have you been up all night?” she asked.
“Not really,” Harry replied. “Just got up early.” He looked over at the window again.
“Teddy probably isn’t even awake yet,” Ginny said kindly. “Don’t be worrying.”
Half an hour later, Ginny headed to training and Harry began to wake James, Albus and Lily up, so they would be ready when Molly arrived. He had long since learned not to get dressed into his official Auror robes until after he had gotten the kids up, dressed and fed, that way his robes remained immaculately clean for when he headed into the Ministry. This morning, however, the normal morning routine took longer than usual, because Harry’s mind and eyes kept wandering back to the open kitchen window, expecting to see a brown owl fly through it at any second.
But the owl did not come.
It wasn’t until much later, when he was upstairs helping Lily brush her teeth when he finally heard some news, courtesy of Albus and James. The two brothers had burst into the bathroom, fighting as usual.
“Daddy!” James moaned. “Daddy, Durrow came with a letter but he won’t give it to me!”
“That’s because it’s not your letter,” Albus told James. “It says Harry on it, so it’s for Daddy, not you!”
“’Course it’s for me!” James said smugly. “I’m Teddy’s favourite, of course it’s for me!”
“You’re not Teddy’s favourite!” Lily piped up, spitting foamy tooth-paste all over the bathroom mirror.
“You’re all Teddy’s favourite!” Harry injected, a little louder than he wanted. His heart was racing. “Now, could someone please tell me where Durrow is!”
“He’s flying all around the kitchen!” Albus said, his little hand pointing out of the bathroom.
Excitement bubbled inside Harry as he half-ran downstairs to the kitchen. He dash across the threshold of the door, only to find Durrow helping himself to Lily’s unfinished breakfast. Upon seeing Harry, the owl stretched out his leg, at the end of which was a rolled up piece of parchment.
James, Albus and Lily ran into the kitchen, jumping up and down, all demanding to read Teddy’s letter. Harry told them to calm down and be quiet so he could read the letter aloud to everyone. His three children fell silent almost instantly, their large eyes full of excitement and fixed on their father. Harry took a deep breath and read:
Real sorry, I have to be quick, because I’m supposed to be in Charms (that is assuming I can find it...). Hogwarts is deadly, really cool! There is armour and tapestries and ghosts and gargoyles and the paintings move and everything. I got lost trying to find the Great Hall this morning, but it was OK, because I was with a boy from my dormitory, Gerard, and together we found the way in the end. The feast last night was brilliant and Professor Longbottom was talking to me afterwards and everything (still don’t remember meeting him before though, but he remembers meeting me!). He told me that my Dad was his favourite teacher ever, and talked about this class my Dad taught where everyone had to fight a Boggart!! He even said that he would show me my Dad’s old classroom if I wanted, how cool would that be? Oh yeah, I tripped in the boat sailing across the lake and nearly fell into the water! But Hagrid caught me, so it was OK. Tell James, Al and Lily I will send them a big long letter at the weekend, but right now, me and Gerard have to set off and try and find the Charms classroom. Oh yeah Harry, please, please, please don’t be mad, but I’m in Hufflepuff.
There was silence. James looked distraught, but Albus’s and Lily’s eyes were full of wonder and awe. A warm feeling flooded Harry. He was so proud of his Godson. A broad grin spread across his face, he couldn’t help it. He was so proud that Teddy was not following in his foot-steps, or even in Remus’s, but instead following in the foot-steps of his mother, Nymphadora Tonks.
*1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, pg 144 (UK Edition).