Family and Friends


This will be my first post Canon, but obviously non-compliant with the Epilogue (it has no right to exist) fiction. I have always been partial to the characters of the three true Marauders. This story is my take on the relationship between Teddy Lupin and his Godfather.

It germinated from the idea of a bunch of 'what if's. What if, the recuperating Magical World wanted to study Teddy Lupin? What if, the godfather who's too young to be a father due to age, but is basically an older soul due to experience, forced to take up the mantle of fatherhood? What if, the two face betrayal just as heinous as Sirius and his godson? What if, history repeats itself? Will Harry learn from the mistakes of his godfather and put his son first? What will happen when the seemingly criminal actions of the Man-Who-Won give magical Britain a body blow? Will peace survive? How will friends react? Who will remain friends?

There will be no conscious bashing, no pairings, romance if referenced will not be integral to the plot, and there will be slight vigilante action.

Read on, folks!


26th October, 1998

Harry Potter, Man-Who-Won, de facto 'Leader of the Light', defeater of the most feared Dark Lord of the past century, was sitting at the table in what he called his home for the there and then, Number 12, Grimmauld Place. He was reading a letter by Andromeda Tonks (and after her recent reinstatement into the family) nee Black. It was not any letter. It was her last before her death exactly a month before. It was bittersweet for him in many ways. Andromeda was again a daughter of the House Black. Once again she could proudly bear the name. Her Daughter, one of Harry's dearest friends – Nymphadora Tonks-Lupin, was buried in the Black Family Plot. It was not a thing to savour, but it had been an acknowledgement from the new Lord of the Family, that Tonks bore the blood and had the right to wield the magic of the House of Black, and therefore, so did any child that she would bear.

Andromeda was also the grandmother of the Heir of House Black.

It had been one of the biggest troubles, apart from the escaping DEs and the rats that jumped the sinking ship of Voldemort's year-long reign of terror. Contrary to the expectations of many, Harry had not savoured the freedom that came with the Death of his nemesis. He did not pursue any the charms of any of the women that tried to woo him. He did not bask in the glory of all that he had 'achieved', for the losses he had suffered far outstripped everything that he could rejoice about. He had done many important things, but he had done nothing of what was expected he would do.

Flashback:

Harry had first of all settled all his dealings with the Goblins. They were the ones who could have caused the most problems. The plan to steal the cup from the Lestrange Vault was doomed right from the outset. The three had violated every treaty and rule of dealing with the Goblins. When Harry had gone to Gringotts to settle the matters, he had been brought before the High King, Director Ragnok. He had been sentenced to death, without trial. What had saved him was his last wish. He had only asked to tell them the truth about the Cup and all the other things that had occurred. This had revealed Griphook's duplicity. It had infuriated the High King. He had brought forth the traitor and forced the story from him.

In the end, it had been ruled that Harry had worked to save Magical Britain, and that the Lestrange family was in fault for keeping such a dark artefact within Gringotts. While the actions were certainly not appreciated, they had been deemed necessary. Had the three humans been caught, the war would have been lost forever. It would have destroyed Gringotts too. In that way, Harry was deemed to have helped Gringotts also. Griphook, on the other hand, had been deemed a traitor. He had placed his greed above the honour and honesty expected of him. He had betrayed Gringotts by extension due to his actions. The executioner's blade had therefore changed its victim and Griphook had become a name to hate in the annals of Goblin history.

There was still the matter of the compensation for their actions, however. It turned out that Aberforth, who had died three weeks after the battle, had split the Dumbledore monies equally between Harry and Neville. The Goblins had swiftly distributed the bequests, and Harry's half also satisfied them. In that moment, Harry had also showed the rare spark of intelligence that he always suppressed for reasons unknown to himself. He had made a deal with the Goblins that gave away the Lestrange wealth – barring any artefacts not containing dark magic and also any family Heirlooms – in exchange for them killing all the remaining Lestranges covertly. With the sizable income up for grabs, Rabastan, Rudolphus and Demetrius the last three Lestranges, found bullets riddling their brains and hearts. It had quickly reduced one of the Ministry's biggest headaches.

The next order of business had been attending every one of the sixty-two men and women who had died defending Hogwarts. It had been heart-wrenching for Harry, but it had also hardened him. He was no longer Potter enough now. He was just as much Black. He had been extremely stoic while offering his condolences to the families of all those who had died. He had accepted their thanks and he had borne the stares and let the accusatory glances and words from several of those distraught by their losses wash of him. He had lost all visible emotion from his face. He had not cried when he had lost all his family – no, nearly all his family. He would not let others' grief affect him. He had been just as blank as they come, and Justin Finch-Fletchley, who had become a friendly face, had called him 'Spock'. He had been one of the few who had stood by Harry in the days after when he needed a friendly person to share those tired glances with, in the absence of his usual close group.

He had employed Gringotts (again) for the job of searching for Hermione's parents, and had covertly extracted every detail from the witch who consoled the 'love of her life' after he lost one family member, and seemed to have forgotten about her parents. Just as difficult for Harry to digest was the fact that she seemed to have forgotten about their godson. It was a curious thing that had happened. Perhaps due to the experiences, or perhaps it was just to be, but Harry, and Ron and Hermione had somehow drifted apart. It had taken only one week at the Burrow for Harry to know that he was not wanted, not needed by these people, who probably blamed him for the death of Fred Weasley. Nobody, he also realised, had paid much heed when he had silently decamped to Grimmauld Place to stew in his sorrow alone, once again.

Hermione had come around to hug the stuffing out of Harry only when her parents had returned the following week. The awkwardness that prevailed during the meeting told both the friends that they were probably not as close as they thought themselves to be, and also that there was a rift, a chasm that would probably never be healed. It became all the more awkward, when the Grangers, miffed with their daughter's behaviour and her ignoring and forgetting them initially, as well as clear disapproval of Ronald Weasley, decided to live with Harry when they found out that their House had been destroyed. Things became so difficult that they had found it nearly impossible to reconcile with their daughter, who was now rebelling against her parents by steadfastly standing by Ronald. Harry had not intervened, and that course of action had only widened the differences between the three friends. True, Hermione still turned to Harry first when Ron and she had yet another fight. These fights were repetitive, and irritating. Harry listened to her patiently and offered support if he felt that she needed it. He also tried to mend the Granger family by directing her to them. But for the most part, Harry realised that she had made her bed. It was up to her to either lie in it or to remake it. Personally he knew that she had to take the latter option.

Neville, one of those that Harry trusted greatly, had not come out of the battle unscathed. The torture by Voldemort through the burning hat, had taken its toll on him, and though he was sane, it would take him more than a year to completely recover from his injuries. He had fought on and killed Nagini as well as two Death Eaters on a burst of pure adrenaline.

Luna had closeted herself with her father within the Rookery. Harry burned with anger at the thought of whatever she might have undergone, but he never found out what had happened to her then. He had tried time and again to reach her, to no avail. When he did find out about her fate and the reason around mid-August, it had served to create a Monster of Sorts. She had been brutally violated by the DEs. Though the Malfoys did not actually participate in the act, they goaded their friends nonetheless. Luna had sent a note to the only person who had attempted to get in touch with her. It turned out to be her suicide note.

Ginny his ex-girlfriend had proved to be no more than a nuisance when Harry had found that keeping himself busy was an excellent way to keep away the grief which gnawed away at his heart. She constantly whined about the fact that he did not pay enough attention to her starting two weeks after the battle. It had made Harry very wary of even thinking of getting back with her, and he had pushed that off again and again. She also complained about not being the most important person in his life at that point of time.

It was in this situation, that people like Justin, Susan Bones, Daphne Greengrass, Theodore Nott Jr., Angelina Johnson, Oliver Wood and the Patil Twins had stepped in. Barring Daphne and Nott, and Oliver Wood, the rest had all been in the DA, and were familiar with Harry. But the Slytherin girl had wormed her way into Harry's circle of friends of her own accord. True, she had a motive, and that was to save her sister from the clutches of Draco Malfoy, but she had stated this fact very early. The Patil twins had nearly lost their family, and their business. Harry had used the Black family fortune to revive it. What had started off as a business relationship, had instead, slowly started becoming a very firm friendship. Justin had become a friend while the two worked together in the rehabilitation, repair and reconstruction of Hogwarts. Susan Bones was another matter altogether. She was Justin's girlfriend and had become a friend by association. She was Amelia Bones' niece. It was from her that he learnt that Amelia and Sirius were to be married. All along, she had practically been family, but neither had known about it. Theodore Nott was the real surprise. He had fought against the Death Eaters in the battle, and had a fake eye to show for it. He had once been a person cast in the same mould as Draco, but over time, he had taken a position against Voldemort. It also was influenced by the fact that Theodore would be discriminated against by Voldemort's regime – he was differently oriented. Theodore had been secretly in love with Jeremy Michel, a sixth-year Hufflepuff muggleborn, who had been kidnapped and killed by the DEs. It had fuelled Theodore's anger against the DEs. He had become a Mad-Eye Moody of sorts. He hit the Hit-Wizard training with a vengeance and had pledged a personal war against the remaining DEs and sympathisers.

Oliver Wood had started off by badgering Harry to join his team, the Puddlemere United. His seeker had been murdered, and he did not want any other person apart from his best seeker. It had led to an ongoing banter between the two, something that had lightened Harry's mood immensely. Angelina Johnson, another team-mate had also been roped in to convince Harry. While she was not part of the Puddlemere United set-up, she had taken it upon herself to get both George Weasley and Harry out of their respective funks.

Life had changed irrevocably for Harry, and he was finding it very challenging to keep up. But there was one person who would be the light at the end of the tunnel – and most certainly not an oncoming train – for him.

Flashback Ends.

The one thing that Harry wanted most, however, was to meet his newest and littlest family member, Teddy. And that was where all the problems centred. Like a man obsessed, he kept attempting to meet his godson. He had sent letters to Andromeda, but they had been returned. He had tried visiting her home, but had been repelled by the wards. He had finally taken to camping outside the place, when Andromeda had relented.

It had been glaringly obvious that she blamed him for the deaths of Tonks and Moony. But Harry was nothing if not determined in the matter. He kept at it. He reinstated Andromeda, who'd accused him of trying to bribe her. He let her say what she wanted to. He kept on with his plan of getting to know his godson. For several hours a day, he played with Teddy, learnt to change him under Andromeda's grudging guidance, started to take care of him, babysat him and on the whole, learnt the ropes of fatherhood.

Andromeda too, had started letting her resistance drop. The last of the Black Daughters became a mother/aunt/teacher of sorts to Harry – he was expected to impart discipline and knowledge to his godson, after all. She had given him a crash course in deportment. She had also taught him the ways of family magics. Harry on his part had wholeheartedly shown her everything that he had. Teddy was now his son, and he wanted to reassure his grandmother.

It was during one of these discussions that Andromeda finally revealed why she had set her anger at Harry aside. She had cancer. The disease, unbelievably uncommon among magicals had gone undetected so long, that it had reached a near terminal stage. It was also then, that her dormant morphing capabilities made up for the unusual changes in her appearance that would have probably alerted someone.

Andromeda was dying. And she knew better than to not plan for her grandson. That was also what her letter was about. Narcissa, who had wormed her way out of her trial along with her son, by pushing the blame onto Lucius (who'd been then kissed), had been visiting. Andromeda could see the glint in her eye each time she looked at Teddy. It held curiosity, which masked the malice and greed. Andromeda hated and distrusted her sister. She had therefore written to Harry to formally adopt Teddy. She did not want her grandson with those despicable excuses for human beings; with people who pillaged, murdered and got themselves branded after bowing to another. And however much she disapproved of Dora's choice of husband and also the godfather to her grandson, Harry was certainly a better option than Narcissa and her family. She had been forthright about that, and Harry appreciated her honesty. That was a courtesy few had accorded to him.

It also included the solution that would keep away those vultures. Casting the mother and son from the Black family and calling sanctions on them for DE activities as well as calling all debts and the dowry would make the Malfoys Knut-less. That would be enough to protect Teddy in the interim. The letter also stated that he would have to protect Teddy from the Ministry. Harry could not make much from that, but in spite of the change in the Ministry reign, he had no reason to trust them, so he happily complied.

31st October 1998

Ginny Weasley was not a happy girl. The war had ended. Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived had become the man-who-won, after the defeat of Tom Riddle. She was now painting mental pictures of her wedding with Harry Potter. For years she had feared that the bookworm would be the biggest worm in her apple, but she had gotten together with her prat of a brother. How and why, she really did not want to know. She had hoped, oh! She had hoped that Harry would now pay attention to her exclusively. But the person who emerged from the war was no longer the person who had been her boyfriend briefly a year ago. It was something that even she could see. He had a shadow in his eyes, contempt for the world, an insane amount of paranoia, and every action of his showed that he was in pain. But there was something else. There was a slight madness in his eyes that she could not place, at first. He held several scars, mental and physical, and he would not let anyone close enough to help him heal.

True, the first week after the battle, most people had drowned in their respective sorrow and ignored him. She felt rather guilty about it, now that she thought about it. But Fred's death was her first brush with the mortality of a family member. Remus was not even real family for Harry. And that was where she had been wrong. She should have realised, she groused, that Harry would cling to whatever semblance of family he had. Since the last of that had been torn from him he would be inconsolable. But then she found out that there was one more person who unwittingly stood between her and her craving for the idea of being the one Harry loved solely. That they had all left him alone to stew, almost out of habit, because 'Harry always bounces back', escaped her mind completely. Within the first three weeks itself, Harry had shown that this new person meant more to him than she ever would.

It made Ginny feel like a monster. She was jealous of a barely three month old baby. But that had been the level of Harry's determination to go after his godson. He had literally stalked Andromeda Tonks when she attempted to close him off from little Teddy. He had hounded her every step. She knew for a fact that he had camped outside the Tonks' home because she had helped him find the tent to do so.

But it wasn't merely the need that Harry showed to see his godson that irked her. No. Once upon a time, she felt jealous of Hermione Granger because she could see how his face used to light up at just the mention of her name. Somehow, things had turned out to be very different. And Harry had lost the sense of happiness, particularly after the death of his godfather and Hermione's injury. But now, it was again not her, but the little baby that brought a similar yet different expression of pure joy and happiness on his face. It was the happiness that she had never seen when he was with her. That fact made her feel terribly envious of the baby.

It also explained a lot. All those inexplicably dark emotions that she could see in his eyes died away. She had also finally placed the reasons for the changes. It was the year after her third when she had first met Sirius Black. The man had terrified her. He looked gaunt and emaciated, his eyes carried the hurt, pain and guilt that only several years of Azkaban could have caused, and he seemed to border on insanity that he had once joked was a Black family trait, at the best of times. And yet, whenever Harry, his safety and his escapades at Hogwarts were mentioned around him, the man's whole demeanour seemed to change. He then became the man who felt happy in the darkness that surrounded them, simply because his godson was safe and alive at the moment. He seemed to lose the manic gleam that his cold grey-blue eyes held. And it was the same with Harry. Little Teddy had become his world now. And it hurt.

She had tried to be happy for the two. She really had. But she felt that she had a limit that had been crossed. She had often wondered why Remus and Tonks had given that responsibility to Harry. She did not even know who the godmother was. It would have been easy to foist the responsibility on her. She did not want that responsibility, for she rightly thought herself to be too young. Unfortunately, she thought the same about Harry too, and she couldn't be farther from the truth. All she wanted was for Harry to revel in the glory of his momentous victory for a while, to accept his fame and the adulation he was bound to receive. She saw Teddy as an impediment in her plans for Harry.

She never realised that others' plans for Harry were the same sort of prison that Number 12 Grimmauld Place had been for Sirius.

In such a situation, along came Draco Malfoy. It was late that September, when Malfoy had shamelessly returned to the school he had helped destroy. How he had ever come to talk to her she never knew, but he had. And that one conversation had struck her a blow she never recovered from.

FLASHBACK:

"Weaslette," called the hated voice.

"Get stuffed Malfoy," Ginny gritted her teeth.

"Well, well, well, very angry aren't we? The little redhead is angry because boy wonder is paying more attention to the little brat of the beast and my cousin? Hmm. Not that I don't sympathise. Nobody ever thought that Cousin Nymphadora was into bestiality." Malfoy had clearly not lost his irritation causing qualities. Ginny did not bother to answer, however much she wanted to.

"You are then!" Malfoy continued lightly, as he went away.

FLASHBACK ENDS.

That had set the pattern. Every two or three days, the blonde haired boy would turn up and eventually he placed the idea of getting Teddy to the Department of Mysteries in her head. Somehow, Draco's suggestions had taken her mind by fire. What if Teddy bit Harry when he started teething? Would he make Harry a werewolf? What if Teddy became a werewolf later in life? Would he affect their children? She had not thought about those matters till then, but now she saw Teddy as a danger to Harry. She had also decided against mentioning this to Hermione. She did not want the bookworm meddling.

She had only once tried to talk to Harry about the matter. The resulting response had shocked her. Harry had only looked at her and not said a word, but that look alone told everything that needed to be told. She had never seen Harry look at anyone bar Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange with that much hatred. She had for a moment felt that Harry would kill her, and when he had stood up abruptly, she thought that she was done for. He had not done anything of that sort, but the threat had been clear. She had known in that moment, that Harry would do for Teddy whatever it took to keep him safe. He would do anything, just as Sirius would have done for him. For the first time in all the time that she knew him, Harry Potter had scared her.

Yet on that Halloween Day, Ginny, Ron (only for support) and an Unspeakable and an Auror were heading to Number 12 Grimmauld Place to take Edward Remus Lupin-Black-Potter into custody (they were of course ignorant about the last two names – Harry did not trust Ginny much after her suggestion – just as they did not know that a lot had changed with Harry also). Harry had made the colossal mistake of keying the two into the wards and also bringing down the Fidelius Charm. That meant that they could bring another person with them. And they betrayed Harry spectacularly.

Harry was playing with Teddy when they entered. Instantly, Kreacher was at hand. The wizened old elf, on being told that the new heir had the gift of the House of Black had gone as close to ecstasy as was possible for him. A side of Kreacher – a caring and loving nanny – had been unveiled. What he had now sensed was a threat to the heir. His Master, The Black, had clearly sensed it too, for he had now pointed his new wand at the new entrants.

"What is the meaning of this?" Harry asked, his syllables trembling in rage.

"Harry, listen here now, you must know that Teddy has to be studied, don't you? You wouldn't want him to hurt our children, don't you?" Ginny started. In the periphery he could see the Auror and Unspeakable inching towards him.

"Kreacher, take Teddy, and leave." Kreacher hastened to comply, when he was struck down by a curse by the Unspeakable who dived towards the baby. And in that moment, the Master of Death, the defeater of Voldemort made his appearance. In a fluid motion he blasted the diving man with an overpowered stunner and a kick to the neck. In the following instant, the remaining three were disarmed. For good measure, he also stunned and bound them.

The Auror, he knew, was probably only following orders. He had nothing against the poor bloke. He revived him first. One of the perks of being the Master of Death as well as the last living Peverell was the fact that the wand could now only work for him. The other advantage was that his spells, and those of his children, would be undetectable and untraceable using that wand. "Who sent you here?" Harry's voice was menacing, and in that moment, the Auror feared him just as much as anyone of Voldemort's remaining supporters. That the Elder Wand (not that the Auror knew it) was alight with a deathly green light did not help matters.

"I was un-under or-orders..." he stammered out. "These two came to the Ministry and sought the Unspeakables. I was ordered to come here, sir." Harry had suspected that. But he could not keep things to chance. "Legillimens!" he cast. Carefully, he removed all memories of the entire saga. He had had to learn memory magic to bring back Hermione's parents after all.

He moved on next to Ron and Ginny. He couldn't believe the two. They were once his friends. Then again, he mused, Wormtail was his father's and Sirius' friend too. He went after Ginny too. She had listened to Malfoy, then. A loose end, he decided, that needed to be taken care of. As he delved deeper and deeper into her mind, unravelling the small nuggets, knots and nodes of memories, thoughts and beliefs, he was revolted. Ginny was really nothing more than a spoilt brat. Each thing that she got was a conquest, a prize, that once won would be discarded. It pained him to realise that he, everything he had done, his actions, his name, fame, and most importantly any attention and affection were all one such prize.

If Ginny repulsed him, Ron wasn't too far. While he had not done anything bad to her, Hermione was Ron's prize. And why was that so? Simply because she cared for Harry and Ron was jealous. In that moment, Harry's decision was made. He hid every memory of any interaction between the two Weasleys and him in a safe secreted away into their minds with a Parseltongue password (Harry had not lost that ability), placing only a sense of vague acquaintance, while at the same time aggravating Ron's discomfort with Hermione, along with a suggestion to leave the book, "Twelve Ways to Woo you Witch" where she could see them. Cruel though it would be, Harry was doing her a favour. It would be her choice thereafter. Then again, knowing her as he did now, she could defend Ron by claiming that it was his "cute, fumbling attempt to gain her affections".

That by itself would not have worked. But while it was not perfect, a similar modification to the Unspeakable's memory would provide an excellent alibi. He would have the memory of having obliviated the three. And funnily enough, the undetectable and untraceable nature of magic was something only the Unspeakables had managed.

The acts done, he turned to Kreacher. He had learnt what the Unspeakable had done to him. By forcibly simulating a betrayal and freedom, the Unspeakable had killed Kreacher. Even in his last moment though, the elf had protected the child. Harry knew what he had to do. He gave Kreacher the same sort of burial he had given Dobby. He set up a new Fidelius on the House, secreting the knowledge within himself, before vanishing with Teddy to Gringotts. Making arrangements for Winky to take care of Teddy after bonding with her, he broke through the Malfoy wards. And that meant that he completely shredded every trace of protective magic on the house, obviously alerting its currently absent occupants.

Making himself comfortable in the sitting room after disabling all the elves, Harry sat down right in throne like chair where Voldemort once sat, awaiting the harried return of Narcissa and Draco.

"Ah, disowned and disinherited cousins," he said with a bland voice, not letting his hatred show. "How nice of you, it is, to join me."

"What are you doing here, you filthy half-breed?" spat Draco. He had realised that Harry had found him out.

"Why, am I not allowed to exchange pleasantries?"

"What do you want Potter?" Narcissa asked in a guarded manner. She certainly seemed to be the woman in control of herself.

"You make a mistake their Lady Malfoy. I am Lord Potter-Black." The grimace on her face had barely passed when she found herself disarmed, petrified and bound. "You made a grave mistake, Malfoy," Harry said, twirling his wand between his fingers with a curious expression. "You should not have tried to hurt the Heir and Future Lord Black. I made a mistake too. I did not realise that you were the dog-in-the-manger. I should've. Never mind, then. I have come here to tie up the loose ends. Funny and ironic, is it not? My godfather died at the hands of your insane sister, while he strove to protect me from your lot, and now I will protect my godson, while still the darling of the Wizarding world, having eliminated all the Lestranges, having got Lucius kissed, by exterminating the last of his enemies, cousins?

"It was very creative of you, Draco. Goading the Weaslette into doing the dirty work for you – we could have made a Slytherin of you, after all. Alas! You will not find the opportunity. Goodbye, Malfoys. Your line ends here."

He hated every moment of what he was doing, but he had a godson to protect. He stunned the mother and son, and left them in a secluded alley with bullets in their heads. From there he went about removing his last vestige of familiarity. Like their two youngest, the rest of the Weasley family also forgot all about Harry.

He then proceeded to upgrade the Lupin account, meagre as it was, into a trust Vault for Teddy, and put in all the Malfoy money into it. The Goblins were very happy to invest it all, with a 10% income promised to them. He took Winky and Teddy back home. He could not now live in Britain anymore.

He wrote letters to each of his friends, except the Weasleys, leaving them all a goodbye gift of sorts each. Hermione got a gift too, but not a letter. That job was her parents'. Just to ensure though, that she wouldn't be totally out of the loop, she received a Patronus message – "Ron and Ginny were the Wormtail for my son and me. No Weasley shall ever remember me now." Making a last tour of all the places in Britain that held a special place in his heart, Harry closed down all the Houses of Potter and Black, leaving the country for greener pastures, where he could protect the little life now cradled in his arms. Harry Potter and his son had escaped the isles of Great Britain.