Chapter 1 : Lay Your Weary Head To Rest
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Teddy Lupin stared in the mirror, trying to figure out how exactly this had happened.
He’d really screwed up this time.
Scowling at his reflection, he pushed his light brown hair out of his eyes. While he normally preferred blue, he couldn’t bring himself to change it from its natural color just now. It fit his mood better anyway.
His normally bright blue eyes looked back at him, now a dull, murky shade that made him look as empty as he felt.
It was rare that his mood ever sunk so low that his powers were affected, although Teddy couldn’t bring himself to care.
What did it matter what he looked like, when his best friend was lying in St. Mungo’s, hanging onto life by a thread?
What did matter was that it was his fault.
He’d let their harsh words get to him. He’d failed to rise above it. He’d been rash and reckless, and hurt others because of it.
As he closed his eyes, images flashed across the inside of his eyelids. The group of kids teasing him. A flash of light bursting from his wand. Her face, pleading with him to stop. Her, lying on the floor, unmoving as her long blond hair darkened when it mixed with the blood. Madam Bones, face grim and pale as she examined her. The excruciatingly long walk to the Hospital Wing as he and several others carried her, ever so gently. Flooing to St. Mungo’s, pacing anxiously outside her room. Panic filling him when he caught sight of nearly a dozen redheads, all wearing similar tight-lipped expressions.
Teddy turned on the cold water, letting it run through his fingers for a moment before splashing his face, not caring that it trickled down his neck and into his shirt. It woke him up, shocking his nervous system and forcing him to gather his thoughts.
Soon, his family would find him, although they probably wouldn’t want to be his family after this. He needed to be prepared for the chaos that it would bring.
Why couldn’t he have held it together? Why couldn’t he have ignored the teasing like he had thousands of times before? Why had he snapped like that?
Life had been great. Better than great.
He had the best friends he could ask for, an amazing family (even if they weren’t related by blood), and a girl he loved more than he could have possibly imagined.
Now he was going to lose them all, and it was just because he couldn’t stand a little teasing.
“There you are. I’ve been trying to find you. Are you hiding out in here?” a voice came from behind him, echoing off of the lavatory walls.
Teddy jumped, whipping around to face the source of the voice, knees knocking together as they shook. He felt a jolt of electricity run through him, putting him on high alert.
“Possibly,” he murmured, breathing deeply when he recognized the person leaning against the wall behind him.
Harry grimaced, looking as if he’d tried to give Teddy a reassuring smile, but thought better of it. “Whatever for?”
“You know full well why, Harry.” He locked eyes with his godfather in the mirror, a stony expression plastered on his face.
“If it’s because you’re avoiding the mass of Weasleys out there, I don’t blame you,” Harry chuckled. “It’s why I came to find you.”
Teddy repressed a smile. If there was one thing that was most important to the Weasleys, it was family.
He’d always considered them family until today. Now he was quite sure that they would want nothing to do with him.
“Well, forgive me for wanting to avoid the people who will probably hate me for the rest of my life.” Teddy rubbed his hand down his face in order to avoid looking at Harry.
Harry’s eyes widened in surprise. “Why on earth would you think that?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Teddy snapped, again, quickly losing control of himself. “It might have to do with the fact that it’s my fault that she almost died! I was stupid, and selfish, and reckless, and it’s nearly killed her when it should have killed me! It IS killing her, because the Healers have no idea how to fix her!”
He was breathing heavily, gripping the sides of the sink for dear life, as it was the only thing keeping him upright at the moment.
“I let those stupid kids get to me. They cornered us in a deserted corridor after classes. They’ve been saying the same things for years - that I’m a freak whose parents deserved their fate. That Dad deserved to die because he was a werewolf and Mum because she married him. That the only reason why anyone hung out with me was because they pitied me for being a half-werewolf, half-freak orphan who just happened to be friends with the famous Harry Potter.” Teddy blinked away the tears that were forming in his eyes.
“Why don’t you tell me what happened?” Harry asked calmly. Not in his Auror voice, which was the one Teddy deserved. In his Dad voice--the one he used with James and Albus and Lily and...and with Teddy. Teddy, who wasn’t worthy of it at all.*
“Vic-cto-toire tried to calm me down, like she always does, but this time it didn’t work. I couldn’t calm down, and I reacted. I hexed one of ‘em as Tori was pushing me out of the way, and she got hit by about six spells at the same time - they were aiming for me - and was blasted into the wall. There was so much blood…” He trailed off, looking at the floor in shame, pushing back the sobs that were building up in the back of his throat.
Teddy barely registered that his fist collided with the mirror until he heard a bang and a clash, as it shattered into pieces. He fell to the ground, finally letting out the loud, ugly sobs he’d been holding in. He buried his face in his hands, completely unaware of the blood pouring down his wrist from the cuts on his knuckles.
“It’s my fault. IT’S ALL MY FAULT! SHE’S GOING TO DIE BECAUSE OF ME! IT SHOULDN’T BE HER! IT SHOULD BE ME! I’M THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE DEAD!” he screeched, numb to the gentle arm wrapping around his shoulders and pulling him in close.
Harry just gripped his godson tightly. “Teddy, I know what it’s like to be teased and picked on because of your parentage. I know what it’s like to blame yourself for what has happened to others. I know that it hurts, and that it feels like you shouldn’t have to watch others suffer because of you.”
He stopped, and breathed deeply, having to swallow several times before he could continue. “I want you to know that I will always be here for you. I am not going anywhere, regardless of what has happened or what will happen. I also know that none of the people waiting outside of Tori’s room blame you for what happened. They’ve already heard the story from Professor McGonagall, and the only thing they want is to see you and let you know that it’s all going to be okay, because they are your family, no matter what,” Harry said gently, his voice soothing Teddy, whose sobs began to subside.
“You just need to keep going. No matter how bad things get, you just need to carry on. It’s the only way things will get better, I can promise you that. You’ve just got to keep on fighting. Your parents fought with everything they had so that you could live a better life. Don’t give up on yourself now.”
The room was silent for several minutes as Teddy finally quieted down. Slowly, Harry released him and took a look at his injured hand. With a few murmured spells, Teddy’s hand was cleaned and bandaged.
“Now, I’ve talked to McGonagall and she’s okay with you staying home for the next few days. So why don’t we get you home and so you can sleep? I’m quite sure Andromeda is worried sick. I’ll just pop in see how Tori is doing first. Last time I checked, the Healers thought that she was clear of the worst.”
Teddy nodded mutely, still numb to everything around him. He was only faintly aware of Harry getting him up and escorting him out of the lavatory as he replayed the day’s events over and over again in his mind's eye.
He tried to remember what Harry told him. He needed to carry on, to keep moving, because that was how things would get better.
Before he knew it, he was in his room, being tucked into bed by his worrying grandmother, who kept fluffing up his pillow and asking him if he needed anything.
He just shook his head, staring off in the distance as Harry dragged her from the room, turning the light out in the process.
Teddy looked at his bedside table, and picked up the one picture he owned of his parents, drawing it closer to him. His mother sat, leaning into his father, glowing with pride at the bundle she held in her arms, a little Teddy sporting bright blue hair. His father had his arm wrapped protectively around his wife and son, occasionally leaning down and kissing her on the forehead or making a funny face at the baby.
“I wish you were here. More than anything else in the world, I wish I had you two,” Teddy whispered, running a finger across the image. “Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if you were here. Maybe it’d be easier to keep going if you were alive.”
He closed his eyes, allowing a single tear to trail down his cheek before wiping it away. “I’ll try to keep going, since that’s what you would have wanted. I just don’t know how.”
He stared at the picture for a long time before setting it back on the bedside table, facing it as he fell back into his pillow.
As he drifted off, he could have sworn he heard a gentle voice singing what he’d been told was his mother’s favorite song in the gentle breeze outside his window.
Carry on my wayward son,
There’ll be peace when you are done.
Lay your weary head to rest,
Don’t you cry no more.
I feel like Tonks would have been a fan of rock music, no? Somehow I could totally picture her loving this song.
Huge credit goes to J (infinitely-jesting/RavenclawFTW) and Penny (Penelope Inkwell) for beta-reading this for me! Both of your edits and suggestions made a huge difference in the quality of this story! Thank you guys so much!!
*This paragraph was written by Penny, who graciously allowed me to use it, because it worked so well in this story! Thanks again!
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