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“Hey, Teddy-bear, wake-up…” I hear Ginny’s voice say as she shakes my shoulder.

“Go away…” I mumble into my pillow, “and don’t call me Teddy-bear…” She ignores me. The dawn is creeping in through the gap in my curtains.

“C’mon, get up, or you’ll miss the train. First year at Hogwarts, remember!”

“No, I’d forgotten…” I mutter under my breath sarcastically as she leaves the room – no doubt to get breakfast ready. I know I have to get out of bed, but my eyelids are still heavy with sleep… maybe if I close them… just for a few seconds…

More time must have passed then I thought because the next moment:

“Ted Remus Lupin, get out of bed now!” I groan and stumble out of bed as I hear Ginny yell up the stairs. I lazily swing my dressing gown on and plod sleepily down the stairs, yawning widely and scratching my head. I go into the kitchen to see Harry trying to feed baby Lily, who is screaming.

“Morning, Teddy. Sleep well?” he asks cheerfully. I have no idea how that little baby can wake him up so early in the mornings and yet still be so cheerful.

“Hmm…” I shrug.

“Most informative, Teddy-bear.” He nods with a slight smile on his face.

I scowl.

“Don’t call me that, I hate being called that.” I’m lying, actually. I don’t mind being called that at all, in fact, I really like it. Harry and Ginny have been such great surrogate parents to me that I take comfort from them calling me that. However, I am eleven-years-old now, and how many eleven-year-olds do you know called Teddy-bear? Exactly.

“Oh, okay then. We’ll call you Teddy-weddy-woo-woo instead, shall we?” chips in Ginny from the stove, putting on a mock baby voice, a smirk sliding its way across her face.

“Oh, shut-up, Gin-Gin,” I tease back. Harry and Ginny just laugh.

***

“Now, honey, have you got all your things?” Ginny asks, fussing over me. She keeps smoothing my hair down and insisting I turn it a “normal” colour (I have it electric blue – what’s so unusual about that?), while trying to wipe imaginary dirt off my cheeks.

“Watch it, Ginny, you’ll have his head off!” says Harry between chuckles as Ginny begins to rub so hard against my cheek with a wet handkerchief, that my head is lolling from side to side. With a final hug and kiss, she waves goodbye to Harry and me as we walk outside and get into the gleaming car parked in the drive. It’s Arthur Weasley’s car, technically, but it is passed around the family a lot. It looks just the same as a Muggle one from the outside, but Arthur added some… extra features to it on the inside.

Technically, I should be staying with my Grandma now, but she decided to give Harry the “honour” of seeing me off to Hogwarts. Plus she can’t drive.

It’s a long drive to London. I keep asking Harry why he doesn’t just make the car fly, and he laughs and says, “The last time I did that, I nearly got expelled from Hogwarts.” That story lasts a long way, and then I ask him a question that I’ve never quite had the guts to ask…

“Harry?”

“Yeah?”

“Why did my mum and dad make you Godfather? Why didn’t he just make Grandma Godmother? I mean, he wanted me to grow up with her anyways, why did he make you Godfather and make you and Grandma… well, share me?” There is no other way of putting it. Harry looks sideways at me, a cheeky grin on his face.

“Getting bored of me?”

“No, it’s just… I just wondered because you’re… well… you’re very young, for one thing. You must have been about eighteen when they died.” Harry gives me what I think is meant to be a smile but comes out more as a grimace.

“I was seventeen. You know I told you how they were killed fighting Death Eaters?”

“Yeah, d’you mean the rogue ones that were around for a few months after you killed Voldemort?”

“No… it was actually during the Battle of Hogwarts that they were killed…”

“Really?” I ask, impressed. I knew that Death Eaters had murdered my mum and dad, and that they were both quite high up in the Order of the Phoenix, but I never knew that they had been in the Battle of Hogwarts.

It’s not that Harry and Ginny refused to tell me, it is just that I never really ask more than I need to know. Grandma says it’s because I’m shy, like my Dad.

Plus, while Harry and Ron and Hermione are all quite keen to tell me stories from when they were at Hogwarts, they don’t seem comfortable sharing many stories from their fourth year up. They’ll tell them, but not in the adventurous, excited and reminiscent voices they do for the others. Probably because they’re what Grandma refers to as “The Dark Years”.

Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot about the Horcruxes and the Prophecy and the Deathly Hallows, but these subjects have some kind of taboo about them – the adults just don’t like talking about it, so I don’t ask them about it, unless they bring it up first.

“That still doesn’t answer my question, though,” I say slowly, “why are you my Godfather, when you’re so young? I mean, your oldest child is four for Merlin’s sake!” Harry smiles, and adopts a very mysterious aura.

“Hmm, why indeed? Get my rucksack and I’ll show you,” he adds, dropping his spooky voice. I reach over into the back seat and get Harry’s bag. I like Harry’s rucksack. He’s had it all the way through Hogwarts, and the war, and it’s covered in graffiti and doodles from him and Ron. It’s really scruffy and dirty; Hermione says he should get a new one. I’m glad he doesn’t though. He’s attached to it, and so am I.

“There should be a blank piece of parchment – really old looking,” says Harry, coming into a roundabout. I see the parchment lying on top of Harry’s invisibility cloak (he carries it everywhere… ) and I take it out, turning it over in my hands. It is old; all dog-eared and faded.

“Put your wand against it, and say ‘I solemnly swear that I am up to no good’.”

“What?” I say between laughs.

“Just do it.” I cock an eyebrow at him, but he’s focused on the road as a massive silver four-by-four pulls out suddenly in front of us, and he swerves to avoid it. Harry’s driving is mental sometimes.

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” I say dubiously. Almost at once, words form on the parchment in black ink.

“Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs are proud to present… oh… holy… Merlin,” I whisper in an awed voice, and I hear Harry chuckle next to me. Harry has told me about the map, but I never knew that he still had it.

“Your dad helped make that map,” Harry says, a little quietly, I notice. “He was Moony – that was his nickname. Wormtail was a traitorous bastard, I won’t talk about him; Padfoot was my godfather, he was a brilliant man, and Prongs… was my dad.” I look up at him, and he’s smiling proudly, his eyes bright.

“Watch that truck!” I yell suddenly, and Harry yanks on the steering wheel to dodge it. I am thrown against my window (Harry had drifted onto the wrong side of the road – I told you he was mental) and Harry regains control of the car, muttering a red-faced apology over the noise of dozens of car-horns. I un-stick myself from the window.

“So…” I begin, pretending nothing had happened, “my dad and your dad were friends at Hogwarts? That was the reason?” Harry nods, but he looks a little uneasy, and I decide not to push it any further.

“You can have that map, if you want,” Harry says casually, but I can tell he’s really nervous about giving it to me.

“Can I?” I ask excitedly. “Really?”

“Yeah, course. On one condition; when my kids go to Hogwarts, you let them use the map as well, because my father was a Marauder, too.” I nod.

“Of course,”

“Oh, and Hermione would probably tell me to tell you not to use it for mischief-making purposes,” he says in a bored voice, rolling his eyes, “but then there’s really no point in it. So only use it for mischief-making purposes against people who deserve it.”

I grin.

“Deal.”

“And only people who are either smaller, stupider or can’t run as fast as you.”

“Got it.” We have arrived at the station. We get out of the car and Harry gazes around sheepishly. Then he transfigures a leaf from a nearby bush into a parking ticket and sticks on the inside of the windscreen.

“That’s cheating!” I say, but I’m laughing. Harry winks.

“What Hermione doesn’t know won’t hurt her, so mind you keep your mouth shut.” He leads me into the station. It’s very crowded, and my trunk and new barn owl, Echo, don’t help the curious stares and mutterings. Harry gazes up at the sparkling glass ceiling, reminiscently, and I wonder what he’s thinking. I’ve never heard any stories about Kings Cross apart from his first year, and he never mentioned the ceiling. I shuffle close behind him, holding onto the side of his jacket for comfort, suddenly feeling quite nervous and scared in this huge, bustling crowd.

A man walks past in a suit, with about six pagers clipped to his belt and an earpiece for a phone. He’s carrying a briefcase that looks so full of papers that I’m surprised it hasn’t split and a heavy looking laptop under his arm.

“Yeah, tell my wife and kids that I’m sorry, but I’ve got an urgent meeting… yes, I know it’s her eighth birthday, but I’ll just have to miss it again this year… look, you’re meant to be my PA, you sort her out…”

Harry sighs. “If I ever become that obsessed with my work, will you please do the decent thing and kill me?”

I laugh.

“Will do.”

Harry glances at his watch. “We’ve still got ages – d’you want some chips?” I nod eagerly and Harry takes me into a nearby McDonalds. Grandma never lets me in McDonalds, Ginny doesn’t understand what it is and Harry only takes me very rarely (he says he doesn’t want me turning out like his cousin), so it’s a big deal when I am allowed, and I make the most of it by ordering as much as they’ll let me get. When we finally have our food (the spotty teenager at the counter kept forgetting what we were ordering), we sit down at a table away from most of the crowd. Harry hadn’t got any food for himself, so he just picks at mine. He plucks a chicken nugget from the box and squeezes it, wrinkling his nose in disgust at all the grease that dribbles down from it.

“How can you eat this crap?” He’d get a short, sharp slap round the back of his head for saying that if Grandma or Molly Weasley were here.

“You brought it for me,” I point out, munching on a burger. He wipes his fingers on an equally greasy napkin and leans back in his plastic chair, looking up at the great, glittering ceiling again. He looks quite sad. I chew more slowly before swallowing, a frown on my face.

“What’s wrong?” He jumps and looks back at me.

“Nothing,” he says bracingly. “Just me being an old fart.” I laugh.

“You’re twenty-eight! Hardly old!”

“Young in the body, old in the head,” he sighs theatrically. “Now, are you going to stop scoffing all that fried grease and get a good seat on the train, or are you going to eat some more and sit next to some Slytherins?”

“I think I’ll head down to the train now,” I saw hastily, and I jump up. We head towards the barrier between platforms nine and ten. I gulp. Harry glances around – because we’re early, there aren’t any witches or wizards, and the Muggles don’t tend to see magic things, even if it’s under their nose.

“Go on then – you know what to do,” he says, smiling. I look up at him, turn slightly green with nerves, nod, clamp my eyes shut and run at the barrier.

I’m through. Ahead of me is a magnificent, majestic, amazing scarlet train, with great black wheels the size of dustbins, and thick grey smoke coming from the front, where the Hogwarts crest is just above the golden letters, which read:

The Hogwarts Express

I feel a hand on my shoulder and I look up to see Harry, grinning broadly.

“Wonderful, isn’t it?” I nod, lost for words. My dark brown (for today) eyes survey platform Nine and Three-quarters. There are a few wizarding families already here, but they all seem to be older than me.

“You look worried,” Harry states, a knowing smile on his face. Harry’s always smiling, but he always looks sad at the same time. It confuses me a lot.

“What if… what if they don’t like me?”

“Who?”

“You know…” I gesture around at the thin air, as if hordes of students were surrounding us. “Everyone. What if they think I’m weird?”

“Why would they think you’re weird?”

“Because I always have my hair in weird colours,” I mutter, blushing.

“Have it in normal colours then.”

“No! I like my hair,” I say stubbornly.

“Then what’s the problem?”

“I… what if… you see…” I splutter, waving my arms. I must look really stupid, because Harry’s obviously struggling to hold in a laugh.

“I’ll miss you, kid,” he says, pulling me into a hug. “You’ll be fine – everyone will like you.” He’s not talking in his usual joking way anymore. He’s being quite serious. The clock has ticked closer to eleven o’clock, and loads of people are coming in and boarding the train. Harry helps me to load my trunk onto the train, and then we go back out onto the platform. I put Echo, who is in her cage, obviously, down by my feet and I hug Harry again. This is the first time I’ll be away from home.

“Don’t let other kid’s pick on you,” Harry says, ruffling my hair.

“They won’t – I’ll tell them that I’ve got you as a godfather, and that you’ll come and get them if they so much as look at me funny.” Harry laughs.

“You’ve got your mothers spunk, you know that? But you look a lot like your Dad, apart from when you’re changing the colour of your hair and such.” I grin, but Harry suddenly looks uneasy. “Hey… Ted…” I immediately tense up. He must be saying something serious; else he’d call me Teddy. “If anyone… says anything bad about your Dad, just know that he was a wonderful man.”

“What would they say that was bad about him?” I ask, frowning.

“Just… kid’s say stuff sometimes… stuff that they hear from their parents… prejudice stuff…”

“What would they be prejudice about?”

“There are a lot of things, but…” he sighs. “Don’t worry about it, Teddy-bear.” He ruffles my hair again. “Go find a compartment.” I give him one last hug.

“Bye!” I say, excitement bubbling up inside me. Then I pick up Echo, and run onto the train.



A/N You see that little box below? That's called a review box - feed it reviews to make it happy and to tell me whether I'm any good at writing! :) Neglect it and it will die... :(

~Evie

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