A/N: This is for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition, Round 10 of Season 5. I'm Chaser 1 of the Caerphilly Catapults.
My optional prompts were 4. (dialogue) "How could you possibly think that was a good idea?", 11. (dialogue) "This couldn't have happened at a worse time.", and 12. (restriction) no character names
One of the young orphan's earliest memories was being forced to wear itchy dress robes and go with his gran to a festival. He remembered being very confused, because most people were laughing and singing and playing festival games, but Gran and his godfather and all their friends looked very sad. Even when the Daily Prophet reporters arrived and started saying, "Smile!" "Smile!" "Smile!" they looked sad. The young boy shyly hid behind elephant ears and did not smile, and for once Gran did not seem to mind.
"Hey! Kid!" one of the reporters said. Startled, the boy's ears popped back to their normal size. The reporter took a picture.
"You're the werewolf and the Metamorphmagus' son, right?"
He nodded, shyly. Those were big words, but he knew what they meant.
"How do you feel on the fourth anniversary of their deaths?"
He frowned. "Annaversury?" he repeated. That was another big word—one he did not know.
"That's right," said the reporter. "It's been four years since your parents died. How do you feel?"
The boy did not know what to say to that, so he tugged on his gran's sleeve and made a noise to get her attention. She looked away from the person she was talking to, then suddenly she scooped him up into her arms, shielding his head, one hand covering his exposed ear, while the other was pressed to her shoulder. Even with these precautions, however, he heard Gran loud and clear as she told off the reporter.
"How dare you speak to him! He's four, or didn't you do the math? How could you possibly think it was a good idea to ask him about his parents? What did you expect him to say, you brute? Or did you just want a picture of a crying four-year-old boy? He may be an orphan, but he's well-loved, and don't you forget it!"
By this time, he could hear his godfather talking to the reporter much more softly than Gran had done. He couldn't make out what was being said, but it wasn't long before Gran and his godfather arrived back at Gran's house.
"This couldn't have happened at a worse time," Gran was saying, shaking her head. She was just visible in the kitchen from where the boy had been told to sit.
"Cheer up," said his godfather, out of view, "We knew he was going to ask about his parents eventually. We're just lucky he's had you to be there for him, so he didn't go asking sooner. When I was four I already hated Privet Drive and my aunt and uncle. I would have given anything for someone to talk to me about my parents, because I knew that parents weren't supposed to treat their children like slaves—I knew there must be something better. You are something better."
"But how am I supposed to tell him? I can hardly bear to think about it myself!"
"We'll tell him all he needs to know. All of us. Look, we'd already planned on throwing a party this Thursday. The whole family will be there. What better time to tell him?"
Gran sighed. "You're right," she said.
The young orphan did not remember what was said at this party specifically, but he did remember the first time Gran took him to his parents' graves.
He was older then, nearly a year older. He stood looking curiously around. Gran got down on her knees and closed her eyes in front of his mother's grave. He could see that she was crying, and she said, "Darling, I never showed you all that I wanted you to know. I assumed you'd always be there. I took your presence for granted, but I always cared, and I miss you, love."
When he was ten, his godfather got up to speak at Christmas. "To your son," he said, toasting the young orphan. "And to you," he said to the ceiling. "We know you're shining down on us from heaven, like so many friends we lost along the way. And I know eventually we'll be together again, one sweet day."
Everyone clapped and there was a moment of solemn silence before they dug in to Christmas dinner.
When the boy first went to Hogwarts, people avoided him. At first he thought it was because he was an orphan. It took him a few years and some very good friends to realize that others were afraid of upsetting him. So he stopped being shy, and started talking about his parents when other students talked of theirs. And he told them about how good Gran was to him, and how he was so lucky to have his godfather.
And over the years, the young orphan stopped asking about his parents, not because he no longer wanted to know about them, but because his big, happy family always knew what to say—always knew when he was thinking about them.
His godfather was the best to talk to. He knew that talking about his parents still made Gran sad, but if there was anyone who knew what to say—what stories to tell—what joke to share about his parents—it was the Boy Who Lived.
By the time he turned seventeen, the boy had turned into a man, and the man couldn't have been prouder to be who he was—to have heroes for parents, and a family who loved him.