Dyslexia: Language disability, many grammar and spelling mistakes ahead, you were warned.
This is a Second Draft: Thank you, Nauze, and I just wanted to try polishing this story up. I rushed through a lot of the other posted draft and I would like to fix the character inconsistencies. There will still be mistakes, but hopefully, I can bring this story's quality up.
Summary: If Harry had gone to see his godson after the Battle of Hogwarts, could Harry abandon Teddy like he had been abandoned? And how does Andromeda Tonks deal with the death of her husband and daughter? This is a story of broken people putting each other back together. No godmoding, no time travel, no Epilogue, no Cursed Child, no moving countries.
KEYnote: No one comes back to life EXCEPT Fred Weasley never died. In this reality, Percy Weasley tells his first joke and Percy dies. Both twins live.
"The things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect." -Luna Lovegood, Order of the Phoenix.
Chapter 1 - The Pits
A few days after the Battle of Hogwarts:
There were so many holes, some many Merlin-damned holes.
Harry stood alone over one twice as wide as the average pit. The tomb marker read Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks Lupin.
Below their names, it read simply: Beloved. Mrs. Tonks had not shown up to attend the funeral.
Of course, Mr. Tonks had been murdered too and with the war, had she been able to attend his? Had Ted Tonks even had a funeral?
Harry wondered how Mrs. Tonks was doing and knew with absolute certainty that she must be heartbroken to have lost so much.
Which returned Harry to what his mind consistently circled back: Teddy Lupin, his godson.
Teddy couldn't be more than a few months old, and though Harry knew logically that Andromeda Tonks was probably the first choice of guardianship for the baby, like Neville's grandmother, Harry still felt that he owed it to his newly orphaned godson to be a part of his life.
Staring at the holes, the demolished castle in the distance, the bodies being lowered into their holes, and Harry was simply done. The Weasleys were putting their lives in order after Percy's death, and everyone else, well, they were doing some version of the same.
But Harry had nowhere to retreat to, Hogwarts was Harry's home and the war had violated the happiness and belonging he associated with the castle. As for his family…
There were the Weasleys and Hermione. In their grief, the Weasleys had unintentionally pushed him off to the side. Even Hermione had clung to Ron and he to her, but Harry…
Ginny was ready to move on with life, to pick up the remains of their youth and live a life worth living.
Harry didn't know how to do that, not really. And strangely, he wasn't sure he wanted. His youth was spent, and all he wanted was…
Harry gazed into the pit Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin had been lowered into. He didn't know what he was going to do, but he knew what he wasn't going to do. He wasn't going to be the sort of godfather who wasn't present, who didn't put his godson first. Above revenge, above reckless behaviour, or above his ambitions.
Looking into that pit, Harry understood that maybe there was someone in this world who needed him as much as he needed someone.
Harry knocked on the Tonks's house.
No one answered.
So he knocked harder.
A baby began to cry, and yet, still no one answered the door.
He tried the doorknob, and to his horror, it clicked open with not even a muggle lock to stop him. He walked in calling, "Mrs Tonks? Mrs. Tonks, are you here? It's Harry Potter."
No one answered and fear pooled in his gut as he followed the sound of a baby crying into the kitchen.
To his everlasting relief, no more tragedies awaited him.
Mrs. Tonks was swaying back and forth, her back to him, facing the windows.
Harry walked around her, into her line of sight. His heart lurched when he saw the empty expression on her face. He instinctively took a step back from her. She looked so much like Bellatrix in that moment, his pulse began to race.
It took embarrassingly too long for him to regain his composure, shoving away memories that were far too fresh to be poking at.
Bellatrix Lestrange was dead.
Andromeda Tonks was that dead woman's opposite. Mrs. Tonks was a widow mourning both her husband and her daughter.
"Mrs. Tonks?" Harry asked, taking a step forward.
She didn't say a word, her eyes didn't so much as flick in his direction.
The swaddled baby in her arms was crying so hard he had started hiccuping.
Harry looked around the kitchen. Dirty baby bottles and formula packages dominated the countertop. The dining room table was covered with a thick blanket, baby powder, wet wipes, and clean diapers. The trash was filled with dirty ones. Harry hesitated between the mess and the crying baby.
Obviously, Mrs. Tonks had been taking care of the baby, even if she hadn't taken care of herself. She looked like she hadn't changed in almost a week, and probably hadn't fed herself in that time either.
There was an open box of crackers and a half-full glass of water on the counter, so maybe she wasn't starving, but Harry didn't truly consider crackers self-care.
The baby quieted as he was thinking. Harry decided then to start with cleaning the room up as Mrs. Tonks continued to sway.
After going back to the front door and then the back door, to lock them as well as adding some basic protection charms. He returned to the kitchen and the packages of the baby formula and prepared a few bottles for Teddy per the instructions printed on the back. Mrs. Tonks never acknowledged his presence.
He took out the trash and found a baby care book on how to change a diaper. When he was prepared as he was going to be, he found the first-floor bathroom, which had a shower. He made sure there was shampoo and soap. He turned on the heat before he went back Mrs. Tonks.
He stood directly in front of her. He touched her wrist and as if she were moving a great weight, her dull eyes slowly moved to focus on him.
"Mrs. Tonks," Harry said gently.
She said nothing, made no attempt to acknowledge him in any way as her brown flat eyes stared at him.
He put his other hand under the bundle in her arms. "Let me take care of the baby. You can take a break. I turned on the shower for you."
Her eyes flicked to the bathroom, she seemed to hear the running water, and she took a half step towards it.
Harry helped lead her there, keeping a hand under the baby, his other he placed on her shoulder. When they got into the steamy room, she moved to start taking off her clothes, which was when she seemed to realize she was still holding the baby.
Very carefully, Harry brought his arms under hers so that they were both cradling the child, "It's okay, Mrs. Tonks, I'm his godfather, I'm just here to help you and him."
She broke eye contact with him, letting go of the baby, the light bundle settling into his arms like it was always meant to be there.
Mrs. Tonks turned her back on him as she began to strip off her sweater and dress.
Harry cradled the baby to him as he left the bathroom. He did not get a good look at the baby until he was back in the kitchen.
His godson was tiny, with a tuft of black hair on his head and blue eyes. He stared up at Harry and Harry's whole world swung on its axle as the blue innocent, patient eyes searched his face.
"Hi, Teddy," he whispered softly.
The baby blinked, which was possibly the cutest action on the planet.
Harry brought a hand up to stroke the baby's cheek.
Teddy's face scrunched up and he began to cry. Not loud but piteous, so unhappy and tired he couldn't have been louder if he wanted to be.
Harry bent his head to sniff Teddy, and he felt his nose scrunch. He brought the baby to the table and as soon as the baby was unwrapped, Teddy stopped crying, seeming to know that he would be out of his dirty diaper soon. He shivered a bit and Harry used a charm to warm up the room.
He followed the instructions to remove the poo and clean Teddy's tender skin. Getting on the clean diaper was harder than he expected, the stupid tabs didn't line up. Teddy was perfectly patient as Harry learned what to do, his godson observing him through the whole process. As if he was a test proctor keeping track of Harry's every movement. The baby didn't seem to think he was failing, indicated by the lack of fussing and crying, but he was also sure he was being slow.
Harry began talking to the infant. Explaining what he was doing and telling him that he had already warmed up his next meal and put the others in the fridge.
Harry couldn't find a new blanket so he pulled off his second layer of robes to wrap Teddy in. Careful to support the baby's head as he brought both him and the bottle into the living room.
Harry sat on the couch, bringing the bottle to the baby's mouth. Teddy eagerly drank down the formula. For a baby, Harry thought he was really well behaved, but then judging by the tear tracks and the dry throat sound he had been making when Harry had first arrived at the house, he might be a bit cried out for the evening.
Mrs. Tonks came out of the shower nearly an hour later wrapped in a bathrobe that was three times too big for her. It must have been Ted's.
She sat down beside him, her bare leg was cold against his pant leg. The hot water had likely run out before she stepped.
Teddy was asleep in his arms and Harry didn't say anything to the woman who looked so much like his enemy. Her tired brown eyes looked huge in her gaunt face, her curly hair was plastered to her back, and water still dripped down her face.
"I couldn't…" she said, voice hoarse and cracking, "her, my daughter's-" She choked.
Harry waited for her to get through the thought, waited for her to put her feelings into words. They were strangers, nothing he could say would comfort her in that moment.
"I couldn't stop her from leaving. I should have never let them go," Mrs. Tonks said finally.
Harry met her gaze, his expression saying he understood even if he didn't know what it meant to lose a child or a husband, he knew loss, he knew grief, and he knew regret.
"What do I do?" she asked him, she asked the universe.
"I'm here, Mrs. Tonks, for as long as you need me, I'm here, for you and Teddy," Harry said with conviction.
He wouldn't abandon them. Teddy would never know what it was to have family who didn't want him.
She was silent for a long moment looking him over. "I haven't slept." She looked toward the stairs apprehensive and Harry had a guess at the air of foreboding that surrounded her.
"Take the couch, I don't need to sleep anytime soon," he said, standing so she could stretch out. He imagined the bedroom she had shared with her husband wasn't what she needed right then.
"Teddy's crib is in the second room down the hall," she said, relaxing into the cushions, she almost seemed to melt into the sofa likely from exhaustion.
"I don't mind holding him for a while longer," he replied, wary of leaving her alone just then.
If hopelessness was a state of being, it existed in Andromeda's drawn face.
She turned away from him, facing the couch's back.
Harry found a throw blanket to cover her with before returning to the kitchen with Teddy. He held the baby through the night, feeding him when he woke crying, and he only had to change him twice more, each time getting easier -well, until he almost got peed on. Harry finally put Teddy down when he slipped back asleep around dawn.
Harry found bread and eggs in the fridge. He made scrambled eggs and toast which seemed to summon Mrs. Tonks with her wild uncombed black hair, clutching the blanket around herself. Harry directed her back to the couch after handing her a plate of food. They ate breakfast together in the growing light of dawn in silence.
When they finished Mrs. Tonks said one word, "Stay."
So Harry stayed.
AN: Though this story is complete and will be updated every week until the edits are done, I would be truly grateful for any reviews or thoughts on the story's content and characters?