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“Cronus Rising”


“Chapter Eight: Number 12 Grimmauld Place


            The furniture was covered in large, off-white cloths. Thick layers of dust were piled on top of the fabric. The house had the distinct smell of an elderly person. It was the scent that used to linger around his grandmum’s house and the scent that currently resided in the Burrow.


            Teddy tightened his grip around his godfather’s hand. Two nights ago, Ginny and Harry returned home from the Witch Weekly party covered in cuts and scratches with torn clothes and dismal faces. There was only one time that Teddy had been that scared, that was when Ginny was bleeding and wheezing in an alleyway after Cronus had attacked them.


            Wizards and witches busied in and out of their flat for days with plots and plans and hushed whispers. That was how Teddy found himself in the decrepit house. Harry had told him in the most serious voice, “The Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix can be found at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Repeat that to me now.” Teddy had, trying to mimic his godfather’s tone.


            Two houses peeled away from each other to reveal Number 12. The people through the windows did not seem bothered that their houses were moving. Teddy didn’t know whether to laugh or be frightened. Before Grandmum died, Teddy would have thought it was a neat trick and beg his godfather to do it again. Nowadays, he didn’t know what to trust anymore.


            The front door behind them burst open. Chattering flooded through the house. Teddy whipped around to see the familiar face of Luna Lovegood and her boyfriend (whose name escaped Teddy’s mind) and a man who sometimes visited Harry.


            “Hullo, Harry,” Luna greeted in a dreamy tone.


            “Luna, thanks for coming.”


            Harry’s hand slipped from his godson’s. He rushed forward to hug Luna and then shake the hands of the two men.


            “Teddy,” his godfather addressed him, “you remember Luna and Rolf?”


            “Hi.” He smiled sweetly at them.


            “This is Neville Longbottom. We work together at the Ministry.”


            “Hi,” Teddy said again as he glanced around at the faces in front of him.


            “Merlin, Harry, every time I see Teddy, he looks more and more like Professor Lupin,” Neville commented.


            Teddy smiled tightly in his direction before wandering away from the adults. He looked around the entranceway with mild interest. The wallpaper was yellowing and peeling away to reveal weathered bricks underneath. A large portrait hung on the wall with dusty curtain covering it. Teddy peered at it and reached out a hand to poke it when someone grabbed his wrist.


            Jumping around with a shriek dying in his throat, he saw Mrs. Weasley standing behind him with a stern look that clearly read don’t touch anything. It was scary how his Grandmum and Mrs. Weasley shared the same looks.


            “Harry, dear, is everyone here yet? People are getting anxious,” Mrs. Weasley said in a sweet voice as she pulled Teddy close to her.


            “Nearly,” he replied. “One more person is coming and we can’t start without him. Could you show Luna, Rolf and Neville to the kitchen? I’m going to wait for him.”


            “Of course. Teddy, you’re to go upstairs. There’s a bedroom on the first floor. Victoire is already up there.”


            “I wanna stay with Harry,” he replied quite adamantly.


            Mrs. Weasley opened her mouth as though to shout so Teddy threw his godfather a pleading look.


            “He can stay with me until the meeting starts. Then, it’s straight upstairs.”


            For a moment, he thought Mrs. Weasley was going to argue with Harry. Her lips were drawn into a thin line and her head was cocked slightly to the right. Instead, she motioned for Luna, Rolf, and Neville to follow her down a staircase.


            “When you go upstairs,” Harry started with a grimace, “promise me you won’t look at the walls.”


            “Why?”


            “Because I daresay they will give you a fright.”


            Teddy’s bottom lips slipped between his teeth. It was a habit he picked up ever since Grandmum died because bad news seemed to be at every turn. He glanced up at his godfather through his sandy fringe. Several of the cuts on his face were scabbing over. A large bruise peeked out from under his godfather’s t-shirt. It was slowly turning a sickening yellow.


            “Harry, where are we?”


            “I own this house,” he replied miserably.


            “You bought a house?”


            “No, Teddy,” Harry chuckled softly. “I inherited the house.”


            Narrowing his eyes in confusion, Teddy shook his head to tell his godfather he didn’t understand what that meant at all.


            “You see, when people die, they have what’s called a last will and testament. In a person’s will, they leave their possession and money to people. When my godfather died, he left me this house in his will along with all of his money and everything else he owned.”


            “So…” Teddy’s brow furrowed, “your godfather bought a house and left it to you?”


            “Well, he didn’t buy the house either. He inherited the house from his parents when they died.”


            “So, basically, a lot of people died and the house just passed on to different people and that’s why it smells like old people and is all dusty?”


            Harry laughed. 


            “Exactly.”


            “Harry?”


            “Mmm?”


            “Am I going to inherit this house some day?”


            “Probably,” he replied thoughtfully. “Unless I burn it down to collect the insurance money.”


            Before Teddy could question what that meant, the doorbell rang. Harry jumped which, in turn, made his godson jump with him. Harry looked from the door to the curtain-covered portrait as though he didn’t know which one to go to. He chose the door which Teddy thought was smart.


            A tall, thin man stood in the doorway. Platinum blonde hair was combed neatly on top of his head. His features were prominent and pointed at sharp angles.


            Harry stepped aside to allow the man entrance. The stranger strolled inside with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his black robes. Cold, gray eyes surveyed the house until they landed upon Teddy. His face was void of any expression but he stared none-the-less. Teddy squirmed.


            “Malfoy, this is my godson T-”


            “I don’t care,” the man called Malfoy interrupted loudly.


            Teddy wished the man would stop staring at him. His eyes desperately sought out Harry who was staring at the stranger with a hard look.


            “A son of a werewolf.” He sneered. “Shouldn’t be allowed to breed if you ask me.”


            “No one asked you,” Harry hissed through gritted teeth.


            Finally, the stranger’s eyes drifted away to look at Harry. Teddy let out a breath he did not know he was holding.


            “Teddy, go upstairs with Victoire. Stay up there until someone comes to get you,” Harry said harshly, his eyes never leaving Malfoy.


            He scampered off to the staircase. His hand gripped the railing tightly. Looking behind his shoulder, he saw his godfather and the man squared off against each other with clenched jaws and sneers. Hurrying up the stairs as fast as he could, Teddy wished he hadn’t.


            Tacked onto the peeling paper on large wooden plagues were heads. Except, they weren’t human heads but that wasn’t a comforting feeling. They were heads of creatures that Teddy had never seen before in his life. Their eyes were large and lifeless. Their mouths hung open and their blackened tongues were just barely visible through the gums. Large, floppy ears protruded from their heads.


            Teddy ran down the hallway until he reached the bedroom. Once inside, he slammed the door shut. His breathing was jagged and his heart was beating so fast that it felt as though it were going to burst through his ribcage at any second.


            Turning around, he noted Victoire sitting in the middle of the floor. There was a picture book resting in her hands and her face was so close to the pages that her nose was touching. What puzzled Teddy more was that the book was upside down. He didn’t mention it to her though.


            After ten minutes of squirming and being bored, shouts and screams floated from the downstairs. Teddy and Victoire crept quietly to the door and stepped out. The heads on the walls were staring down at them, but Teddy paid no attention. He was more concerned at what was going on.


            Reaching behind him, he gripped Victoire’s hand into his. She was making stifled mousy noises. Her body was pressed up against his back. They inched down the hallway and peered down the stairwell.


            The pasty blonde man stormed up the stairs into the main hall. His cheeks were painted a flushed red. His wand was clenched at his side. Teddy stepped to the right to cover as much as Victoire as was humanly possible.


            A blur of messy black hair charged up the stairs and gripped Malfoy by the elbow and whipped him around. Harry stared at him, jaw tight and eyes blaring. Teddy had never seen his godfather so upset before.


            “I’m done,” Malfoy hissed.


            “You can’t be done!” Harry shot back. “You made me the Unbreakable Vow. You stop now, you’ll end up six feet under.”


            Teddy crouched down and pulled Victoire with him. They could not be seen. Harry would be upset if they were caught eavesdropping.


            “I will not tolerate Weasley’s snide comments!”


            Victoire made a strangled sob in the back of her throat. Whipping around, Teddy clamped a hand over her lips. Her eyes were larger than usually and illuminated oddly under the green-tinted lighting. They were staring at something beyond him and it was causing her chest to heave and tears to brim her eyes.


            Glancing behind them, Teddy noted the ugly heads on the walls. Victoire apparently had not seen them on her original journey upstairs. The very sight of them was scaring her silly.


            Teddy let his hand slip from her mouth. He pulled the tiny girl into his arms akin to how Harry and Ginny would hold him whenever he was upset. Her fists clenched the fabric of his t-shirt. He could feel her wet tears soak through his shirt. She stayed silent, however, and that was all Teddy wanted.


            Turning his attention back to his godfather and Malfoy, they were not the only ones who had gathered in the tiny entrance hall. Victoire’s dad was there, his red hair tied back at the nape of his neck. His arms were crossed and his eyes surveyed the scene in front of him. A strict-looking woman stood next to him. Peppered hair was pulled back into a tight bun and moon-shaped glasses slide down her nose. Behind them was Kingsley Shacklebolt.


            “Mister Malfoy,” the woman started, “often the right thing to do is the hardest to accomplish. Severus Snape knew what he was getting himself into the moment he signed away his allegiance to Albus Dumbledore.”


            “I’m not Snape!” he hollered. “Potter isn’t Dumbledore!”


            Straining, muffled screams could be heard from somewhere downstairs. Nobody paid attention to them. Teddy craned his neck to see if there was anyone else there but failed to spot anyone.


            “Nobody said you and he were,” Bill Weasley said softly.


            “You agreed, Draco,” Kingsley said calmly. “You agreed and now you must follow through with our plans.”


            “He’ll kill me!” Malfoy shouted. “He’ll kill me as soon as he finds out I’m playing double agent!”


            “It would seem, Mister Malfoy, that your ambitions outweigh your drive to achieve them,” the woman said sympathetically.


            “I’ll talk to Ron,” Harry added. “He’ll keep his mouth shut at meetings.”


            Somebody moved from the stairwell behind Kingsley. A flash of red appeared and Teddy noticed that Ginny had joined the group. She threw a glance at the people but moved on. By the time Teddy realized that she was coming up the stairs to check on him and Victoire, it was too late. She spotted them squatting at the top of the stairs.


            She shooed them away from the stairs and into the bedroom they were supposed to be in. Following behind them, she snapped the door shut quietly. 


            “You two were told to stay here,” she said softly.


            “Sorry,” Teddy replied.


            A guilty smile crossed his features as he looked up at Ginny. The large gash in her head was still clearly visible on her pallid face.


            “You need to stop listening in on conversations that have nothing to do with you, Teddy,” she said lightly. “If we don’t tell you something, there’s a reason for it.”


            “Ginny, it’s not fair,” he said stubbornly.


            “There are a lot of things that aren’t fair.” She frowned. “You wouldn’t know what’s going on.”


            “I know you and Harry got hurt.”


            “We did,” she whispered and closed the space between them. “We don’t want you getting hurt.”


            Her soft hands enclosed over his. Victoire, feeling left out, crawled between them and flung her arms around her aunt’s neck. One of Ginny’s hands left Teddy’s to circle around Victoire’s waist.


            Teddy nodded despite himself. The door creaked open and Harry stood in the doorway. He propped his body against the frame and crossed his arms. Teddy wanted to run to him but kept still. Was he angry that they were eavesdropping?


            “Gins, can you take Victoire downstairs? I’d like to talk to Teddy.”


            Leaning forward, Ginny gave him a quick peck on the cheek before standing up. She swung Victoire up in the air and settled the girl on her hip. They ambled out of the room, stopping briefly so Ginny could whisper something into Harry’s ear. He nodded before stepping inside the bedroom and closing the door.


            “The summer before my fifth year at Hogwarts, I stayed in this house with the Weasleys and my godfather. This room was Ginny and Hermione’s. Ron and I shared a bedroom upstairs.”


            Harry crossed the room and sat down on the nearest bed. The springs screeched in protest at the weight. Teddy slowly walked towards his godfather and climbed up on the mattress to sit next to him. His feet dangled off the side and swung lazily. His trainers hit the wooden frame rhythmically.


            “Those were dark times, Teddy,” he whispered. “It was filled with taboos, snatchers, disappearances, and death. I know you don’t understand why you’re not allowed to know what is going on. I would be upset if I were you. You see Ginny and I coming home bloody and cut up. It would terrify anyone.”


            Teddy glanced over at his godfather. His legs stopped swinging and a lump formed in his throat.


            “I’m trying my best to ensure that those times don’t repeat themselves. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have enough time for you or that I don’t care what is going on in your life. I wasn’t the first person to notice you suddenly stopped changing your appearance. Is that by choice?”


            Teddy’s lip found itself tucked securely between his teeth. His heart was hammering in his chest. He shook his head in the negative.


            “Your mother’s abilities were affected by her emotions. When she was incredibly upset, she could not change her appearance at will anymore.”


            Tears were burning his eyes. Harry was all fuzzy and a giant blob next to him. The tears ran down his face.


            “What’s wrong, Teddy?”


            A comforting hand found itself on his back. Harry rubbed circles until he gently squeezed his godson’s neck.


            “Grandmum is dead,” he gasped out between stifled sobs. “You and Ginny are always hurt. Cronus wants us all dead. I want my mum and dad and grandmum!”


            Teddy collapsed into his godfather’s arms and soaked his shirt. He shook violently. All of his anger, frustration, and grief were rolling out in giant waves. They wrecked through his body and left him feeling exhausted.


            Teddy didn’t remember leaving Grimmauld Place and arriving back at their flat. His eyes opened to find himself curled up in his own bed with the covers wrapped carefully around his body. Moony was stuffed under the crook of his arm. Across the room, the Holyhead Harpies dolls were playing a game of Quidditch silently on top of his dresser.


            Blinking back sleep, he carefully extracted himself from the covers. Sliding off the bed, his feet hit the cool hardwood floors with a soft thump. With Moony clenched tightly in his arms, he padded out of his room.


            The living room light was on. He crept along the wall to see the back of his godfather’s head on the couch. The television was off and the paper lay discarded on the end table. Ginny was no where to be seen.


            He ambled into the living room and his godfather turned almost immediately. His eyes were lackluster behind his thick, black glasses. His hair lay rumbled on his head more than usual. Dark circles resided under his eyes.


            On the coffee table lay a stone basin that Teddy had seen on several occasions in the past. He never knew what it did and never asked. Somehow, before, it never seemed important enough for questions.


            He sat down on the couch next to his godfather, his gaze situated on the basin. Peering into it, he saw a swirl of a man laughing. The man looked oddly like his father. This only made his heart race in anticipation.


            “This is a Pensieve,” Harry commented as he inclined his head towards the basin. “It allows a person to store their memories. Once the memories are in the Pensieve, you can watch them sort of like a moving picture at the theater.”


            Teddy nodded. He had been to a Muggle movie theater many times before. Ginny and Harry used to take him sometimes on the weekend. The first time they went, Harry had a deep discussion with Ginny on how it actually worked afterwards. Teddy didn’t pay any attention to that.


            “I don’t have very many memories of your mum,” Harry said sadly. “I do have quite a few with your dad. I stored my favorite memory I have of your dad in the Pensieve. I thought we could watch it together.”


            Teddy was on the edge of the cushion. Moony was long forgotten next to him. Taking Harry’s hand, the two leaned over the Pensieve and found themselves falling in. Teddy closed his eyes tightly until he felt the ground beneath his feet once more.


            Cracking an eye open, he was standing in a kitchen. A teenage version of his godfather sat at the kitchen table with a mug laced between his fingers. Teddy let go of present-time Harry and wandered to give his younger version a good glance over.


            The younger version of Harry looked just like older Harry. They had the same untidy mop of black hair. Thick, black glasses sat perched on their pale noses. The lightning bolt scar shone brightly through the fringe of their bangs. The only difference was that younger Harry looked more miserable than his godfather.


            The door to the kitchen swung open and a man stepped inside. Long, black hair was tied messy into a ponytail. Pale eyes glanced lovingly at younger Harry. He took a seat next to him, a sad smile etched onto his face.


            “What are you doing up?” the man asked.


            “Couldn’t sleep,” Harry mumbled.


            “Bad dream?”


            Harry did not respond.


            “Yeah, me too.”


            “That’s my godfather Sirius Black,” older Harry spoke up.


            Teddy turned to his right to see his godfather standing next to him, his hands in his pockets.


            The door to the kitchen opened once more and Teddy froze at the man who entered. His hair was sandy and streaked with gray. Amber eyes shone brightly under the pale lighting in the kitchen. Lines covered his face.


            “Daddy?” whispered Teddy.


            “Glad to see you all waited up for me,” his dad said with a tired smile.


            “Where were you?” questioned Harry.


            “Order business,” he replied with a wave of the hand and sat down across from Harry and Sirius.


            Teddy inched forward and slid into the empty seat next to his father. His gaze did not leave his dad. He had seen pictures before but never had he seen his father so up close and personal. Everyone was right, he did look a great deal like his dad.


            They had the same hair, the same eyes, the same nose, and even the same lips. The only difference between them was his dad’s various scarring.


            “We weren’t waiting up for you,” Sirius supplied, “because you would not approve of our topic of conversation.”


            “Why is this giving me horrifying flashbacks to a less than ingenious idea that you and James cooked up that would land us in detention?” his father pushed.


            “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sirius replied. “You’ve started to lose your memory in your old age. All that gray hair is getting to you.”


            Teddy propped his elbows on the table and rested his chin in his hands. His eyes bore into his father with curiosity and love. He was only vaguely aware that his godfather took a seat next to him at the table.


            “You know, Harry, there was a time when Remus used to be fun,” Sirius continued with a smirk, “a time when he wasn’t so serious and brooding and wasn’t dead tired at one in the morning.”


            “I wish I could tell a there was a time story about Sirius, but I’m afraid, Harry, that your godfather has always been childish and annoying,” his father replied playfully.


            “Touché, Moony!”


            “Thank you, Padfoot.”


            “I’ll take any stories about when you guys were at Hogwarts,” Harry spoke up with a smile in his eyes. “I mean, if Remus isn’t too tired.”


            Sirius let out a bark-like laugh and wrapped an arm around Harry’s shoulders. Even his father chuckled and leaned back in his chair until he was balancing on its hind legs.


            “Which one should we tell him?” Sirius thought out loud.


            “As long as it doesn’t involve your escapades with girls, I am game for anything.”


            “I think we should tell him the story of the dare war.”


            “Dare war?” Harry asked excitedly.


            “Yes, you see, Lily and James had this phase at the end of our sixth year when they dared each other to do outrageous things,” Sirius supplied.


            “Somehow, we got roped into the dare war,” his dad replied with a frown. “I don’t like this story.”


            “Of course you wouldn’t! Just wait until you heard the dare James gave Remus.”


            “Merlin, I hated James for weeks after that.”


            “Until he sent you a bouquet of chocolate flowers and all was forgiven.”


            “I didn’t care for the flower aspect of it. I was more interested in the chocolate.”


            Teddy listened rapidly to the tales of the Marauders. His smile grew larger at every word and his gaze never left his father’s face. Halfway through the first story, his godfather had gathered Teddy up in his arms and situated him in his lap. The two cuddled up together and listened to the tales of their fathers at school. All the worries of attacks, deaths, and Cronus slipped from Teddy’s mind.




Hope you enjoyed the new chapter! Thank you for all the wonderful reviews! Last chapter reviewed the most reviews yet! I replied to them all so do check my comments back. Please, keep up with the reviews. They are very inspirational and really make me want to get the next chapter to you as soon as I can. :)

For anyone who reads "Wings of Time," the new chapter should be out later this week.  Sorry for the delay on that story.

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