Another closure fic
- Title: Legacy
- Author: sannea
- Rating: G
- Warnings: SPOILERS FOR BOOK 7, set between final chapter of Deathly Hallow's and epilogue
- Summary: Written straight after reading the book as a way of closure
- Notes: I'm really glad to have found this community and have someone to share the TR Lupin love with. I hope you guys don't mind me posting here :-)
Hogwarts, 14 years after the final battle with Voldemort
Harry looked around fondly at what to him could never be anything but ”Dumbledore’s office”. It still had the curious mix of mysticism and cosiness he remembered from his teenage years.
The books on the dark arts still adorned the shelves and the pensieve gleamed mysteriously at the centre of the room in the early afternoon light as he sat patiently waiting for the arrival of the current headmistress of Hogwarts.
The swish of a skirt and rapid footsteps approached and Harry quickly rose and turned around to greet the greatly lined and wise-looking face eagerly taking in his presence.
“Harry, I’m so glad you could spare me the time. It’s so good to see you,” Minerva McGonagall said in a warm, kind and yet authorative voice that belied her real age.
“Oh no problem Miss McGonagall,” Harry said, pleased. “Neville Longbottom has kindly helped me out in a matter for the ministry so I was here anyways.”
“Besides I’m always happy to be back here. This has always been the first real home I’ve ever remembered having and I’m thrilled that my own James will be starting next year,” he added and shot his old teacher a fond lopsided grin.
“You must call me Minerva, Harry” she replied and indicated the chair as she sat down herself, “After all I’m no longer your teacher.”
Harry sat down and looked up hurriedly, not missing the implication of that stressed word. “Is everything alright with Teddy?” he asked quickly. His godson was of course still under the care of his maternal grandmother but Harry had always felt his responsibility towards Lupin’s son most keenly and seeing the boy grow up as the image of his mother but with his father’s quiet pensive mind had been nothing short of both a privilege and a pleasure even if Harry had often felt awkward from inexperience and the occasional painful ache of loss that still assailed him as he was allowed to follow the growth that the boy’s parents had been so unjustly denied.
Minerva sighed and shuffled a few papers before her in an uncharacteristic gesture before answering.
“Well, we do try to look after the children who for various reasons are perhaps less fortunate than others. Particularly with those lacking parents…” she started hesitantly.
Harry smiled warmly at her again, having greatly benefited from such attention himself at that very crucial time of his life.
“And I must confess that although a teacher should never have favourites, I have grown exceedingly fond of young Lupin. He shows such promise, you know and yet the death of his parents has always weighed heavily on his shoulders. Well that and of course there will always be those who even in these more enlightened times will hold his paternal parentage against him.”
They shared an understanding look before she continued: “He’s always seemed such a brave and well-adjusted boy for all that he’s been through and that is why it worries me exceedingly to have seen him become increasingly brooding and angry these parts couple of months since summer. Naturally one expects boys at his age to experience anger towards authority. He is after all in his fourth year and I certainly recall Remus having his own share of detentions with your father Harry. But this has gone beyond that. I fear he spends more time in detention these days than out of it for no apparent reason and seems not only brooding but genuinely unhappy. I have hitherto delayed contacting his grandmother. After all she is no longer quite young and I should like to think we can handle whatever troubles arise with the children while they are in our care.”
Harry opened his mouth to speak as a horrible thought occurred to him.
“No, no, “ McGonagall quickly reassured him, sensing his distress.
“It’s not that. We’re quite certain that apart from his dislike of overly cooked meat and occasional nightmares at full moon he has no symptoms of his father’s affliction and naturally we have been keeping a close eye on him to see if some delayed reaction would appear during his adolescence. No, the problem seems emotional and in some way connected to his father but he refuses to speak of it and I must confess when Neville told me you were coming, I decided to grasp the opportunity in the hope that you might have a talk with him and perhaps have more luck in opening him up. Especially considering your connection to his father.”
“Of course,” Harry said fervently with a wave of guilt flushing over him, “Teddy hasn’t written as much lately but I had no idea something was wrong. I’ll be happy to speak to him if you think that might help.”
“Excellent, “ Minerva smiled at him gratefully and swung her wand, “I expected as much, so I’ve already called for him.”
Moments later the door was flung open defiantly as the young man with mousy brown hair and rumpled clothes walked through the door, head bowed and eyes staring defiantly at the floor.
Harry felt another strong pang of guilt at the sight of the lank, dreary looking mop of hair and thought, not for the first time, that Lupin had not thought it through clearly when he had placed the partial responsibility of his son in Harry’s hands if Teddy could be this unhappy without Harry even having a clue. Again he regretted the vacation which had taken the family away and prevented him from seeing the teenager of to the Hogwart express as usual.
“Ted, I’ve called you out of your detention because you have a visitor,” Minerva’s voice caused the young man to look up momentarily. At the sight of his godfather, his eyes filled with a glimpse of quicksilver pleasure that however quickly dimmed before he mutinously lowered them again.
“Wotcher Harry. Only…I haven’t finished my detention,” he muttered and bit his lower lip in a seeming attempt to stop it from quivering.
A crestfallen Harry regarded his reaction. Teddy had always seemed to enjoy his company and the noisy comfort of his and Ginny’s home. He’d always been far more than a visitor and yet now it seemed detention was preferable. Something had to be very wrong indeed.
Harry looked up at the portraits of venerable previous headmasters. Snape looked down at him haughtily and raised one sarcastic eye brow before leaning back with bored gesture, trying to hide his obvious interest but of course, to his right, Dumbledore smiled at Harry as always, silently offering comfort behind a twinkle of those well-known blue eyes.
“Ted, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in detention these days. I shouldn’t think you’d be too eager to return to it,” Minerva said sternly. “In fact I was hoping that maybe talking to your godfather might help see you through whatever problems you are facing and prevent me from having to contact your grandmother as I shall soon be forced to do.”
“I don’t have any problems. I just want people to leave me alone!” Ted said and shuffled his feet angrily.
Minerva sighed and her eyes met Harry’s imploringly as she rose and quietly abandoned the room.
Harry cleared his throat and rose slowly, approaching the youth.
“Something is wrong if you’re landing yourself in that many detentions. Now if it was my James I could believe it. He’s probably genetically disposed what with me and his grandfather. But so far you’ve had the perfect academic record much like your father in fact so surely…” Harry began helplessly, angling for any opening to the subject.
“I told you, I wouldn’t have any problems if people would leave me be. I’m so sick of hearing about my father. So maybe I’m not like my father? So what? Who’d want to be anyways? Just because you’re always making him out to be this big hero because you feel guilty over getting him killed.”
“Teddy!” Harry said shocked despite his better judgement. He could not reconcile this angry young man with the image he still had of a turquoise haired toddler seeking his affection in lieu of the lost father.
“You know, it’s true that I have always felt guilty that I lived when so many good people died, your father included. But if I’ve described him as a hero that’s because he was one. Despite all the adversity he’d faced in his life, he was one of the kindest and most caring men I’ve ever met.” Harry said fervently, grabbing Ted’s arms as he spoke.
The teenager wrenched free from his grip. “Well maybe to you, he was. But he didn’t care much about me did he? He couldn’t even be bothered to stick around, could he?”
“Your father would have done anything to have seen you grow up. The fact that he died, doesn’t change that or the way he felt about you. In fact he died trying to make the world a happier place for you!” Harry felt anger start to simmer through his body as he recalled his friend’s last words spoken ghostly on the night of what had been his death and nearly Harry’s own.
“Then why did he leave?! And why didn’t anyone see fit to tell me? Why let me think that he loved me and mum if he couldn’t even be bothered to stay with her when she was pregnant?” Ted cried out with angry tears in his eyes, looking for the first time in Harry’s memory almost lupine. Harry felt his own anger abate immediately at the sight and the hair which was now, impossibly for the boy’s age like his father turning almost prematurely grey.
“Who told you that?” Harry asked and immediately cursed himself for the confirmation he had just let slip. The look in his godson’s eyes told him that despite any reluctance Ted might have developed in that respect, he had certainly inherited his father’s quick perception.
“I overheard gran talking with one of her old neighbours. Mrs. Clinktile was rattling on about how unlucky gran had been with her only daughter being married to such a creature and how it was to be expected that he’d leave when she became pregnant and that it was only a shame she’d gone after him and died too.”
“Oh Teddy,” Harry sighed and grasped a slender shoulder in his one hand. “I wish you’d talked to me sooner so that you wouldn’t have had to carry this on your own for so long.”
“Look,” he continued, “I know what its like to have never known your parents. You want so much for them to be good people. People that you wish you’d known and then when you hear something to the contrary you can get so confused because all you ever have is other people’s account of them and it hurts so much that you can never be sure what to believe.”
He turned slightly sideways and raised the other hand as well, raising the boy’s chin and looking intently into his eyes and seeing the proof that he was on the right track.
The tremulous, vulnerable look that met him almost broke his heart. The last time he’d seen a person so shattered had been at the house of his own godfather when he had accused Lupin of being a coward. And now of course the time had come to revisit that scene for his son’s benefit however shameful it still made Harry feel.
“I remember feeling that way about my own father and in fact it was Remus who reassured me and put things in perspective. I hope I can return the favour and do the same for you now.” Harry continued.
Ted remained silent except for a tiny sniffle that he tried to hide even though his newly acquired grown up veneer was slipping more and more with each word from Harry’s lips.
“Come, “ Harry said suddenly as inspiration finally struck. “I think its best if perhaps I start by showing you rather than merely telling you how your father felt about you.”
He dragged his charge towards the middle of the room and to Ted’s confusion touched the tip of his wand to his forehead and drew out a small silvery wisp of air and let it float to the mirror-like surface of the pensieve.
“I want to show you a memory from shortly before your parents were killed and I was in hiding with my friends,” Harry began.
“You must understand that these were terrible times where all we seemed to hear about were friends or relatives being murdered and people being wrongly accused for something over which they had no control. Like your father being a werewolf or aunt Hermione being muggleborn,” he explained.
“If you look down into here, you’ll see a memory that I think will explain louder than any words how much your father cared.”
Ted’s forehead creased in exactly the same manor of his father before he hesitantly leaned forward. After the initial magical interlude, Harry and he found themselves at the small cottage looking upon the Bill, Fleur, Hermione, Ron and a younger version of Harry as Remus swept through the door and burst out the joyous news of the birth of his son.
The adult Harry looked at the exchange with fond reminiscence and noted the surprised and yearning expression of Ted as he looked upon the smiling, bewildered and ecstatically happy expression of his father. The effect was exactly that which he had hoped for. But then no one could have seen Remus Lupin that night and not known without a question of a doubt how deep his pride and love was for his wife and son.
After finishing his second glass of celebratory wine Lupin disappeared through the cottage door again and Harry drew a reluctant Ted through the pensieve and back into the office of Hogwarts.
“But if he didn’t leave, then Mrs. Clinktile was lying. Why didn’t gran say anything?” Ted implored and looked up at Harry confused.
Harry sighed again and contemplated how best to describe what had happened. One thing he was determined not to do however was to fall into the trap that the adults led by Dumbledore had once fallen into with him and thought that he was too young. Ted deserved the truth and Harry would have to have faith that he was old enough to understand it and further more could forgive his father for his selfdoubts and his grandmother for whatever lingering tiny bit of resentment for her daughter’s fate that she had kept so scrupulously from her grandson but maybe still felt. He scratched his scar absentmindedly.
“I think, I need to start at the beginning and you’ll have to bear with me but in turn I promise to tell you the truth alright?” he asked Ted who nodded in return.
At his gesture, they settled into the comfortable old armchairs to the side of the room.
“Remember how I’ve told you about your father teaching us for a year?”
“Yeah, I remember,” said Ted a little quietly, shades of his mother’s heart shaped face clear in his expression “You always said he was the best teacher you’d ever had.”
“He was!” Harry confirmed and then continued: “But I don’t think I ever told you the truth about how he was and how he looked in those days”
“What do you mean?” Ted asked confused and a little suspicious again.
“I mean, being young and at the time not knowing what he was, I don’t think we noticed just how ill he sometimes looked and how some of the other teachers would treat him. When you’re young you tend to think that all adults are supposed to look old but the truth is your father did look quite old and quite tired for his age. What we did notice however was how shabby he used to be dressed. Your father was very poor, I think and Dumbledore being able to withstand the censure of some of the more conservative of the parents in giving him a job was something he could never take for granted.”
“But what does that have to do with him and mum?” Ted asked, squirming uncomfortably in his seat.
“Its something of your father’s life that perhaps we’ve neglected to tell you because it isn’t very pleasant and it’s much easier to tell you of all his other heroic achievements even though overcoming the obstacles he had to face in life and still be a whole human being was perhaps his greatest achievement of all. It’s something I feel I should actually apologize for doing since I, more than any, know the importance of knowing the whole person. It’s also a part of his life that is essential for you to know in order to be able to understand why he reacted the way he did. I hope to Merlin that even if you are subjected to the remnants of the superstition and the censure that follows from being your father’s son, you will never have to know the full extent of what he had to endure. I know I never understood fully until right before you were born or I should never have spoken to your father the way, I did.”
Harry leaned across the arm of the chair before Ted could even formulate a question.
“Mrs. Clinktile wasn’t lying as such. Your father did leave your mother for a short period when she was pregnant with you but certainly not because he didn’t care, on the contrary.”
Harry paused and looked at Ted, now eagerly swallowing his every word and the greyish brown strands of hair showing signs of a bluish tinge. For a moment Harry debated the use of the pensieve again but decided against it. Yes, Ted was almost grown but on the other hand there was no point in subjecting him to his fathers anguish when there were no means to alleviate it now. Better to leave him with the sight of Remus in the cottage, happiness smoothing out the lines of premature aging, suffering and self doubts had put on his face and tell the rest of the story in his own words. The small inner voice that told him this would also enable him to tell the story from a slightly improved point of view as to his own behaviour, he guiltily chose to ignore.
“Remus came to find me, Ron and Hermione when we were seeking out the horcruxes.“ Harry took a deep breath and made another decision not to get further into that story than what was common knowledge that Ted had already heard several times.
“He wanted to help us or at least come along as protection. I remember we were confused because we asked about Tonks,…about your mother and he said, she was with your grandparents which didn’t make any sense. That’s when he told us about the baby. I got angry with him, much in the same way that you are now, I reckon. I couldn’t believe he’d go off with us and leave you and your mother behind and I said some pretty awful things to him. Things that, even if they might have some truth to them, I shall always regret having said especially when I realized his true reasons for wanting to throw himself at Voldemort rather than facing a life with you and your mother.”
He reached across and grabbed his godsons arm reassuringly before continuing his story.
“The truth is that your father would much rather face almost certain death than be the cause of pain and shame to you and your mother. His precise words were that through marrying her, he had made your mother an outcast and that even if by some miracle you escaped sharing his fate, you’d still be a hundred times better off without a father of whom you’d always have to be ashamed.”
“But that’s….I’ve never…I mean, except for now but I didn’t mean that. I didn’t mean it!” Ted stumbled as clear drops of tears toppled from his eyes and slid painfully down his face.
“I know!” Harry replied, feeling his own eyes sting and holding his arm even tighter. “I remember Hermione, she was always so much better with this stuff than me, told him that no child could ever be ashamed of him. But don’t you see. That’s why I should have told you more about his back ground sooner. The very reason you find it hard to understand his reaction is because through his sacrifice you will hopefully never have to go through what he did.”
“So…so after that he went back to my mother?” Ted asked in a very small voice.
“Yes he did and I know from others that he and your mother were very happy together. Except for that night when he came to tell us of your birth I never saw him again until the evening he was killed… “ Harry paused, unable to go on.
“Out there…” Ted swallowed and looked towards the tower window that overlooked the grounds of Hogwarts.
“Yes,” Harry confirmed and the startling realization of how much the location of Hogwarts and the connection to his father’s death must weigh on the young wizards mind made him decide to share another memory if only by words.
“There is something else” he said to Ted, “something I have never spoken of to another person. Not even Ron or Hermione who were there that night but not with me at the time.”
Ted looked at him, tears still welling silently as he sniffed and drew an arm across his face.
“Right before I faced Voldemort the first time that night…” his voice trailed off before he started again, more determined, “I saw something, or rather someone. It was the people I had lost who were most dear to me. My parents, Sirius and your father. Perhaps it was because I was so close to dying. They weren’t ghosts but they weren’t living either exactly. They were like….condensed memories. So maybe it was all in my head but it felt real and that’s why I’m telling you.”
Harry bit his lip and silently forgave himself for the simplification since he did not want the now vulnerable Ted to go through the same process of having to resist the terrible temptation he had faced over the deathly hallows.
“Your father looked younger and less worried than I think I’d ever seen him. I told him how sorry I was that he’d have to die when he’d just gotten you.” Harry tried desperately to swallow the lump forming in his throat at the sight of Ted silently imploring him to go on.
“He told me that he was sorry too. Sorry that he would not get to know you but that he hoped you would understand that he had been trying to make the world a happier place for you to live in.”
Harry rose and sat on the arm rest of the other chair and pulled the boy up and against his chest.
“So you see, you must never, ever believe that your father didn’t care enough to stay. Like your mother, he loved you far more than his own life and he would have been so proud to have known the man you are turning into to just as you can be proud to be so very like him.”
Ted closed his eyes with a long tremulous sigh and returned the fierce grip while Harry looked down on the strands of hair slowly turning from pale bluish grey to a familiar deep vibrant turquoise and silently renewed his promise that Lupin’s forgiveness and gratitude in form of making Harry the godfather would not go to waste. Like Harry, Ted Remus Lupin might be an orphan but he would never be alone and Harry would see to it personally that he would never again have to doubt his father’s legacy.