A/N: I meant to get this up sooner, but after rereading a few passages of DH, I realized my descriptions of the Tonks' backyard were completely wrong. When I started editing that part, I realized there were a few other things that didn't make sense about that chapter, either, so I spent a while changing it. On the upside, this is nearly 1,000 words longer than the previous versions!
I've tried my best, but apologies if this isn't completely DH-compliant. It's very difficult to write about people other than Harry & co. during the war while still making it true to what was happening at the time. As always, please let me know of any typos (I do reread my work, but I can't catch all of them) or whether I've missed any facts that should make this more compliant with DH. And while I try my best to write in a British style (complete with words like "colour" and "centre," as I find it a fun challenge), I'm American, so let me know if anything reeks of the States.
Hopefully, I'll be able to update again this weekend. :) Anyway, I hope you enjoy this chapter about Teddy and his mother meeting for the first time! xxx
Pregnancy and Nymphadora Lupin, née Tonks, were not best friends. Actually, it was fair to say that they were more like enemies.
First off, there was the bloody morning sickness. About eight weeks along, she had recently begun waking up with the urge to empty everything from her stomach, even if she had barely eaten anything at all. Strong fumes especially made her nauseous, and she often had to hide in her old bedroom to escape the scents from her mother’s breakfasts.
Then there were the mood swings. Tonks had always had the strong urge to hex anyone who called her Nymphadora, but she had usually made an exception for her own mother. Now, if her mother so much as started to call her that, she would yell at her. This would usually launch a whole different discussion about how “Tonks” wasn’t even her surname anymore, though she wasn’t even living like a married woman at the present.
Tonks was bloody sick of her mother reminding her that Remus was gone. She knew he was gone. She thought of him every time the baby made her sick or when her morphing, yet another strange side effect of her pregnancy, spun out of control, and her hair changed colors at random intervals (had he not abandoned her, she rather thought he would have been amused by this side effect). She didn’t need her mother constantly reminding her that she had been against her marriage from the start. She already knew it, dammit!
She was pregnant in the middle of a bloody war with no husband to help her. The last thing Tonks needed was her mother to make things worse.
Now, she stomped outside for fresh air. A conversation that had started with, “Do you want a biscuit, Nymphadora?” had ended with, “It isn’t my fault Remus left you!”, and she was in no mood to spend any more time with her mother.
The Tonks’ House was located in a small town outside of London. Like the Burrow, it was unknown by muggles, though the recent Disillusionment and Fidelius charms had made it and its inhabitants completely invisible. They had also redone the protective charms covering it, though they could not be sure that the Death Eaters would not force their ways in again. Andromeda had spent hours pruning the plants in the garden, but she had never been able to make their small pond any less muddy.
Tonks plopped down next to the pond. The pond had always been her favourite place from her childhood. She had often thought that she and the pond had much in common: they had never been fixed by Andromeda’s various attempts to clean them up, no matter how hard she had tried. While Tonks knew she was being unfair, especially since her mother’s marriage to a muggle-born had been far more scandalous than her own marriage to a werewolf, a part of her felt that getting pregnant with Remus’s child had cemented her as a disappointment in her mother’s eyes.
She hated it here. Her own flat had been littered with dirty dishes and clothes on the floor, and she missed it terribly. Though she and Remus had only lived there together for a short while, she could clearly visualize him sitting at the table, rolling his eyes at her cleaning habits.
She didn’t want to raise her child in a house run by a woman even more focused on cleaning than Molly Weasley. She wanted him or her to grow up in a looser home, where he or she didn’t have to always make his bed. She had once thought that Remus would be the parent to make their child clean his room, but she didn’t anymore. It hurt too much to think about the possibility of him coming back.
She was startled from her thoughts by the distinct feeling she was not alone. There, standing among the pruned trees, was a boy, who had seemingly appeared from midair. Her first thought was apparation, but he looked a good few years too young for apparating age. He had blue eyes and dark hair that framed his thin face.
The most remarkable thing about the boy, however, was not the fact that he had appeared from nowhere, without as much as a decisive pop. The most remarkable thing about the boy was that he had somehow managed to get by the protective charms and was looking straight at her, when every other person who had walked by since the disillusionment charms would have ignored her.
He raised his hand and then smiled in a crooked, strangely Remus-like grin.
“Wotcher,” he said.
He should have, Teddy reflected a few minutes later, picked a word other than “Wotcher.”
Still, he had had his reasons. As soon as he had set eyes on Nymphadora Lupin, a mere few seconds after arriving in 1997, common sense had flown out of his head. All he had registered was his mother, looking straight out of the pictures, if a little paler, with her heart shaped face, short bubblegum pink hair, and fierce dark eyes.
This was all so outstanding that he had to restate the fact in his mind. He was standing not five feet away from his mother, whom he had never seen in person, in a time that was not his own. His mother, who had died when he was less than a month old.
Under the circumstances, it was not surprising that he had accidentally uttered his mother’s favourite phrase.
Now, he put his hands in the air like someone in a muggle film, as Nymphadora Lupin pointed her wand at him. She was shooting him a glare, looking every bit the intimidating auror, despite the fact that he was a good few inches taller than he was. This was strange in itself. Though Teddy had always heard his mother was on the smaller end, it was still disconcerting to stand at least five inches above her. Most boys at least had the advantage of gradually surpassing their mother in height, not standing taller on what was, for all intensive purposes, the first day they met (for Teddy’s mother, their actual first day, and for Teddy, the first day he actually remembered).
That, however, was irrelevant at the moment. The legendary auror was pointing her wand at him, and though decent in defense for his age, Teddy was still no match for a trained auror.
“Tell me,” she said, her eyes flashing dangerously, “what the hell did you do to Kingsley, to make him cave?”
“I didn’t do anything!” Teddy said. She continued to glare at him.
“I suppose you’re here to capture my father, are you? Or perhaps a Death Eater, like my dear aunt. You should know that I’m a trained auror, so I’m more than a match for a boy like you.”
“I’m not!” Teddy said. “I mean, I’m only fifteen; I’m not old enough to work at the Ministry. I-I don’t know what you’re talking about with that, err, Kingsley guy. Actually, I’m muggle-born, so I wouldn’t want to work for the ministry anyway.” He stated the lie he had rehearsed. “My parents were killed by Death Eaters a few days ago, and I’ve been on the run ever since. Since I’m muggle-born, so I don’t want to risk going to Hogwarts, not that term has started yet, anyway.”
“Be as that may be,” Tonks said, her wand wavering, “how do you see me? I’ve done strict spells to make sure a thing like this wouldn’t happen. Besides, if you truly aren’t a Death Eater, there’s no way you could have forced yourself past the protective charms. We cast it so that no one besides select friends would be able to escape them.”
“I don’t know,” Teddy said; he had forgotten to account for these spells in his travels. “I can just see everything here, as clear as day. Maybe there’s some sort of loophole with the spell you were using. Are you sure it worked?”
“I thought it did, although it might be time for another check,” Tonks said. “I trust Kingsley with my life, but perhaps I ought to check with him just in chase. But never mind that. You still haven’t answered the most important question of all. How the hell did you manage to appear here out of thin air, when you’re clearly too young to apparate?”
Teddy took a breath to calm his hammering heart and hoped desperately that she would buy his explanation.
“I don’t know how I did it, not completely. I was at a muggle market near my house because I had run out of food, when I saw the same Death Eaters who killed my parents coming in. I hid behind a barrel of apples, and they didn’t see me, I don’t think, but I knew it was only a matter of time before they did. It was then that I wished more than anything that I could go someplace safe. All of a sudden, I felt like I was being squeezed, and the next thing I knew, I was here.” He gave an impression of a forced smile. “Since you’re an auror, I guess maybe my magic knew you’d be someplace safe.”
His mother’s eyes were still narrowed. She shook her head and continued pointing her wand at him.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing happening before. And Death Eaters in a muggle market? I’m afraid I still don’t trust you, kid. This is all a bit difficult to believe.”
“It’s the truth, I swear it,” Teddy said. “You see, the, well, Death Eaters killed my parents before I knew what was going on, and I was able to hide from them so that they didn’t find me. Only, they were really upset that they hadn’t succeeded in getting me, so I think they went to the market to try to find me.” He scrunched up his face in an imitation of fear. As a metamorphmagus, acting had always come easily to him. He’d practiced imitations from an early age in order to supplement his morphing. Andromeda hadn’t been too pleased when he’d once come out of his room in a perfect imitation of her, complete with the looks and mannerisms. James, Al, and Lily, at least, thought his impressions were hysterical.
“I’m really sorry for intruding,” he added, this time not entirely dishonestly. “I understand why you’re so confused, especially when I’ve never heard of such a thing happening myself. But I really need a place to stay, and I dunno where else to go. I’m afraid that the Death Eaters will find me if I go back.”
He put on an expression of fear. He was relieved when his mother’s face softened, and she finally put down her wand.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
This, at least, was a lie he had rehearsed. “Theo Abbot.”
She frowned. “I don’t recognize your name from the newspaper of the muggle-borns who didn’t appear for questioning, and if you had been questioned, I doubt you’d be standing here before me.”
“I-I never got any notification,” Teddy said, taking an extra pause to think of a good lie. He tried to remember everything Harry had told him about the Umbridge and the Muggle-born Registration Commission. His godfather had always been honest with him about his adventures, mostly because he’d wanted Teddy to know that there had been a very good reason his parents had left him to fight. “I think they were hoping to roundup a lot of muggle-borns my age before the Hogwarts Express took off. I’m not going back, though. I know those Death Eaters will catch me if I do.” He put on another sad expression and faked a shudder. “I don’t want to think about those Death Eaters now, though. What’s your name?”
She stared at him a long moment before answering. “Call me Tonks. It’s probably best not to tell anyone your full name in a time like this, but that’s what everyone calls me, so you’re not missing much.”
“Is that your last name?” Teddy said, as innocently as he could. He’d always loved hearing Ginny’s impression of his mother snapping at people who called her Nymphadora.
A strange shadow fell over her face. “Used to be. I mean, it still is, pretty much, so for all intensive purposes, yeah.”
Teddy stared at her. If their conversation about the Ministry hadn’t added up, he would have wondered if he’d landed in the wrong time, because her words simply didn’t make sense.
His mother frowned at him. He wouldn’t get used to thinking those words: his mother. “Look, weird question, but have I met you before? Cause you’re staring at me like I have a dungbomb on my face, and the last time I caught someone staring at me like that, it was cause they were a year or two ahead of me at Hogwarts.”
Teddy’s heart skipped a beat. “N-not that I know of,” he stammered. “I was just, uh, admiring your hair. I mean, it’s really pretty; I’ve never seen such a pink colour before.”
She studied him closely. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” she said finally. “Don’t think about copying it, though; no matter how adventurous you are, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t look good with pink hair. Anyway, I’m a metamorphmagus. Turning your hair pink would be harder for you than it is for me.”
He wanted to tell her that she was wrong. He wanted to scrunch his eyes together in order to concentrate and match his hair to her colour, in a way he hadn’t since he was only a few weeks old. Still, Teddy knew he could not do any of these things. He couldn’t tell her whom he was just yet, no matter how much he desperately wanted to.
Instead, he held out his wand. She frowned when he motioned for her to take it. “Look, we’ll strike a deal, all right? I’ll give you my wand, and you can keep it in exchange for me staying for a few days. I really need someplace to stay, and that way you’ll know that I have no way to harm you. I know there’s no way to be sure in times like this.”
“How do I know you don’t have another wand you’re hiding from me?” Tonks said, not taking the wand.
Teddy looked straight into his mother’s eyes. “Would you like me to do an Unbreakable Vow to prove it?”
Her eyes widened. Though even in his own time, Teddy knew the gravity of Unbreakable Vows, he guessed that in this time, tossing around the possibility of death was even direr.
“No, it’s all right,” she said. “Just the fact that you’re willing to do one is enough, I guess.”
His mother studied him for a long moment. Teddy squirmed, certain that everything he was hiding was visible on his face. But instead, she surprised him by taking his wand. She muttered a spell and pointed it at him. Teddy felt his hair turning warmer, in a similar way to whenever he morphed.
“All right,” she said, stuffing his wand in her pocket and grinning for the first time. “Look into the pond. I told you that you wouldn’t look good with my hair.”
Teddy followed her suggestion. Through the murkiness of the water, he could just make out his newly turned bubblegum pink hair.
Teddy couldn’t help it. He laughed. He might have looked cute with pink hair as a baby, but he looked right silly now. His mother took another look at him and began laughing, too.
“There,” said Tonks, once they had regained their breaths. “In my experiences, Death Eaters never have much of a sense of humour. Next time you want to test whether someone’s a Death Eater or not, try to see if you can make them laugh. I’ve always had luck whenever I tried to test them by screwing my nose into a pig’s snout. Of course, there was the added cursing part after that, but at least it did the initial trick.”
Teddy’s smile grew. “So I pass the test?”
“I think so. I can’t say whether you can stay for certain, as I’ll have to talk to my parents about it, and I do plan to keep your wand just in case, but I’m no longer afraid you’re going to curse me, no.
“Look, I’m awfully sorry about your parents and the scare those Death Eaters must have brought you,” she added. She reached out to pat Teddy on the arm, and he felt immediate warmth running through him. “It’s a right shame what this war has done to families. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that sooner, either. The former head of the Auror Department, he was my mentor, and…well, perhaps I did take his heeding for ‘Constant Vigilance’ better than I let on.” She smiled again. “Though I can’t say he ever approved of my plan for scoping out Death Eaters, either.”
“It’s all right,” Teddy said, thinking back to everything he had heard about the war. “I think I can understand that. Better to be prepared, right?”
“Right,” Tonks said. “Still, perhaps I’ve been too quick to let you off. After all, you still haven’t asked me the most important question of all.”
Teddy had heard enough about his mother to recognize the impish tone in her voice. “What? What your real name is?”
His mother made a face. “No, though with my luck, my mother will answer that question soon enough. No, the question I was expecting was whether or not I was going to return your hair back to the way it was before.”
Teddy took another glance at her reflection in the pond, then gave her his biggest grin yet.
“Leave it,” he said. “That way, you can drag me in and tell everyone you’ve caught a Death Eater with the same hair as you.”
She laughed again, and her eyes began to twinkle. “All right. That sounds good. It’s only supposed to last a few more minutes, so we’ll have to hurry if we want it to work. I think we still have some breakfast left, as well.”
She began leading him up the hill to their house, then turned to him halfway through. “You know, you’re not so bad. For a fake Death Eater, that is.”
Teddy smirked back. “You’re not so bad, either. At least, for someone who won’t even tell me her real name.”
“Oh, get off of it,” she said, rolling her eyes, but Teddy recognized her tone as good-natured. Wondering if he had ever felt so happy, Teddy followed his mother the rest of the way up to their house.