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Harry’s forehead tinged with pain as the three of them walked down the staircase back down to The Great Hall. He sighed involuntarily as his hand reached to soothe the sharp pain.

 

Hermione let out an audible gasp. 

 

“Harry? Your scar-

 

“It’s not my scar… my scar’s fine. Just a headache” he said honestly.

 

“Bloody hell mate… nearly had me going there” exclaimed Ron, who for a split second had a very worried look on his face too.

 

“You should get some rest, Harry. Ron and I can go back, we’ll say you-

 

“I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep even if I tried to, Hermione. I’m tired, but I’m too awake to sleep. Do you know what I mean?”

 

She mumbled in agreement and seemed to decide against lecturing him any further.

 

As they reached the bottom of the staircase - Harry heard a deep, commanding voice in the distance that he instantly recognized.

 

“Keep them in the dungeons for now, Gawain. Savage, Williamson and the professors will give you a hand transporting them.

 

 

Wakanda, Podmore, Proudfoot and I have liberated Azkaban. Might take a week or two before we can get it secure enough-

 

Kingsley Shacklebolt broke off mid-sentence at the sight of Harry, Ron and Hermione as he came round the corner with a tall, bearded man who Harry didn’t recognize.

 

“Been looking for you three all ova’ the place!” Kingsley said with a smile.

 

“This is Gawain Robards… not sure if you’ve ever been introduced.”

 

The name rang a bell to Harry, but he couldn’t think why. 

 

“You were Head of the Auror Office under Scrimgeour,” Hermione declared.

 

That was why.

 

“The very same” Gawain said sternly, as he did so, Harry noticed that quite a few of his teeth were missing. This seemed a bit odd to Harry, as surely a simple spell could have fixed any dental mishaps he had suffered in combat or otherwise. At a guess Harry would’ve said he was only in his mid to late forties, probably around the same age as Kingsley.   

 

“You must be Miss Granger, heard a lot about you” he shook her hand.

 

“Mr Weasley… and ah yes. Harry Potter,” he noted, as he very firmly shook both Harry and Ron’s hand too.   

 

Hermione exchanged an awkward look with Harry, which didn’t escape the now temporary acting Minister for Magic’s notice.

 

“I’m sure they’ll be time for you all to get a bit more acquainted in the coming days, but Gawain’s a busy man y’know,” Kingsley patted Robards on the back as he said this.

 

“I’ll be on my way, Minister. I’ll update you when all the prisoners are locked up safely. Pleasure to meet you all.”

 

Robards addressed the three of them with his goodbye, but only made eye contact with Harry.  

 

Kingsley spoke only when he could be sure Robards was out of earshot.

 

“Gawain’s a fine man, good Auror too. Moody always spoke very highly of him – and there ain’t many at the Ministry you can say that about,” he said, almost smiling, but then seemed to pause and sighed slightly as he thought of his dead friend and former Order member.

 

“Great news about you getting made Minister for Magic though, isn’t it?” uttered Ron, breaking the slight awkward silence.

 

Harry and Hermione quickly added their congratulations too.

 

 

Temporary Minister for Magic,” Kingsley corrected. “But I appreciate your support” he added, with a sarcastic wink.

 

“I hope you get the job permanently, I mean, you have to! Is there anything we can do to help? I could, I mean, we could-

 

“Don’t worry Harry, my boy. I won’t be asking any of you to go canvassing for me or to put in a good word with The Prophet.”

 

Kingsley’s beaming smile couldn’t hide his obvious embarrassment from Harry.

 

“But Harry just finished off You Know Who for good this time! Surely if-

 

“I understand what you’re saying, Ron. I’m very humbled that you all have such trust of me, but I’d rather my actions speak louder than the words of others. I will need the help of all three of you with something else though, if you’d be willing?”

 

“Of course!” Ron said.

 

“Anything you need,” Harry added.

 

Hermione said nothing. Harry thought this was a little odd and he thought he caught a knowing glance between her and Kingsley.

 

“What is it you want us to do?” Harry asked.

 

Kingsley let out a loud laugh.

 

“Oh Harry, my boy, isn’t it obvious?” the temporary Minister for Magic replied.

 

Harry and Ron exchanged a very confused look.

 

“I want you to come and work for me – at the Ministry. Minerva tells me you’ve always wanted to be an Auror, Harry.”

 

Harry was almost lost for words.

 

“Blimey. Well, yeah. Yeah, but-

 

“But what? You don’t have the required N.E.W.T. grades? Harry, my boy. The three of you have accomplished more at 17 than most Aurors achieve in a lifetime! I need good people in the Ministry. People I can trust and rely on. I want all three of you in the Auror department as soon as you feel up to it. You’d be working under Rhea Savage, she’s Head of the Auror department now. Gawain’s got himself a promotion to Head of Magical Law Enforcement.”

 

“What about Pius Thicknesse? Wasn’t he under the Imperius curse? Surely it wasn’t-

 

“Yes Ron… he was under the Imperius curse” Kingsley retorted, before biting his lip slightly.

 

“The trouble is, he’s not come back. Not really. We’re not sure if they messed around with his memory or someone put the curse on badly, but he can’t remember much yet. Just about knows his own name, but not much else and he can barely string a sentence together…let alone perform a basic spell-

 

“That’s awful,” Hermione grumbled.

 

“Yeah it ain’t nice… didn’t even remember his own daughter at first… still, relatively speaking… compared to what we saw at Azkaban… he’s one of the lucky ones,” Kingsley sighed briefly. Harry dreaded to think what sort of horrors he might’ve found at Azkaban. 

 

“We’ve sent him to St Mungo’s for now, ‘keep an eye on him. We hope his memory will come back with time, but he won’t be fit for work for a good while yet.”

 

“Poor bloke,” Ron quipped. Harry agreed, but Hermione seemed to have her thoughts elsewhere now.

 

“Kingsley, before… when you were talking to Mr Robards. Am I right in saying you’re keeping the prisoners here, at Hogwarts?”

 

“You nevva miss a trick, do ya Harry? Yes we’ll be keeping them here for a short while, safest place for them until we’ve put enough measures back on Azkaban. Need to hire a few Aurors too, since we won’t be using Dementors anymore, can’t be trusted. The protective charms have already been cast back over the castle and grounds, so nobody can get in and out.”

 

”But. But… surely you can’t hold highly dangerous prisoners in a school?” Hermione exclaimed in horror.

 

“She’s got a point you know… and what if some of the Slytherins tried to break them all out?” Ron added.

 

Kingsley chuckled. “You don’t think I’d be that reckless, do you? Besides, Minerva would kill me if I even suggested it. No no. The rest of the school year and end of term exams have been cancelled. 7th year students will be permitted to take their exams next year, or resit the entire year if they wish – same applies to muggle-born students that were forbidden from attending this year.”

 

“It was Minerva’s call… to end the school year. The right decision of course. It would’ve been far too hard on the students and faculty to carry on with everything that’s happened, gives everyone time to mourn for those they’ve lost and spend time with those they haven’t.”

 

Harry noticed Hermione’s hand grasp Ron’s as Kingsley paused for a moment, with a solemn look on his face.   

 

“And yes, we’ll keep all of the prisoners here. The school’s teachers will stay on for the next few weeks to assist what ministry staff and Order members we have to stand guard, should any of the remaining Death Eaters attempt a break-out.”

 

Harry’s heart skipped a beat at the thought of this.

 

“You don’t mean that some-

 

“Some did escape, yes Ron. We caught most of them and a further search of the grounds and castle is still in progress, bodies are still being discovered or identified, but so far we think there’s at least 6 known Death Eaters unaccounted for.”

 

“Which ones?” Harry asked, sounding a tad more enthusiastic than he had intended. He thought he saw Kingsley raise his eyebrow at this, but maybe he just imagined it. 

 

“There’s Kenneth Crabbe…”

 

“Crabbe’s dad! Wonder if he knows about his son,” Ron pondered out loud. He made brief eye contact with Harry and they both grimaced at the thought of Vincent Crabbe being burned alive in the Room of Requirement.

 

“Travers and Selywn…”

 

Harry shuddered thinking back to when they’d run into Travers during their break in of Bellatrix’ vault – and Selywn had been with him when they’d blown up the Lovegood’s home.

 

“Jugson…”

 

He’d been there at the Department of Mysteries.

 

“Thorfinn Rowle…

 

“That big bloke from the café” Ron groaned, although Harry’s memory went first to Rowle firing off killing curses the night Dumbledore had died – one of which had inadvertently killed one of his own men. He might’ve even killed Harry that night too if Severus Snape hadn’t saved him.

 

“… and the Lestrange brothers. Rabastan and Rodolphus.”

 

Harry’s thoughts drifted back to witnessing Bellatrix’s death. He wondered if her husband had seen it too – perhaps he and his brother had already escaped, or maybe they’d slipped away in the celebrations that followed Voldemort’s final defeat.    

 

“All very dangerous men. Not to be underestimated. Travers has murdered multiple people, Rabastan and Rodulphus took part in torturing Frank and Alice Longbottom and all of the others have at the very least attempted to murder countless people… and that’s just the crimes that we know about.”

 

“But the war is over. It’s finished. Voldemort is gone. Surely they wouldn’t-

 

“We don’t know what their intentions are, Harry. We have to plan for the worst and move quickly to capture them all as soon as we can.

It’s unlikely with such small numbers and their leader defeated that they’d try anything – and we’ve got to be thankful that we captured the biggest threats. Malfoy, Yaxley and Dolohov have all been apprehended, Lucius actually handed himself in. Of course, we have Molly to thank for Bellatrix’s kindly demise.”

 

Harry saw Ron gleam with pride for a brief moment, before Hermione shot him a glare and Kingsley continued.

 

“We think it’s unlikely that they’d all have managed to escape together unnoticed. The Lestrange brothers are probably together though. I’ve got people standing guard at obvious places they might all try and rendezvous. Rodulphus Lestrange’s house, Malfoy Manor, Tom Riddle’s grave. They probably had safe houses that none of us knew about though. We’ll be conducting raids on all of their official addresses as soon as we can. All official magical portkeys to outside of the country have been temporarily halted until we can get more security at them… can’t take the risk that they’d try and break out using polyjuice. I suspect that they will try and lay low for as long as they can… evading capture will likely be their immediate priority. We’ll have wanted posters plastered in every magical residence and newspaper by tomorrow morning. The muggles will be looking for them too, they’re gonna plaster them all over their papers and television.”

 

“But Harry is right though, isn’t he? They won’t actually carry on fighting with You Know Who gone-

Kingsley looked ready to reply to Ron, but it was actually Hermione who interrupted him.

 

“But it’s happened before, hasn’t it? Last time I mean. Everyone thought he was gone before, but his most devoted followers carried on looking for him… The Lestrange brothers… don’t forget that it was after he was gone that they tortured Neville’s parents with Bellatrix and Barty Crouch Jr. What if they don’t believe he’s gone again this time?”

 

“Hermione’s right, Ron,” Kingsley added, looking quite impressed with her. “Most of these men ain’t rational people. They won’t think like you or I might. It’s not unknown for Death Eaters to go out fighting rather than get brought in. We’ll be starting interrogations of the captured prisoners from tomorrow. We’re hoping to cut some kind of deal with Lucius-

 

“What kind of deal?! You can’t let him off! Not again! He’s-

Kingsley smiled.

 

“Relax, Ron. Don’t worry. We ain’t letting him off that easy! He’s gonna have to give us a lot if he wants to avoid Azkaban – and even if he does… the best he can hope for is house arrest and believe me, he ain’t even gonna be able to go to the bathroom without us knowing about it!”

 

Ron still didn’t seem completely convinced by this. Hermione again reached out to hold his hand, which he took eagerly. Harry looked up and heard running footsteps, he looked over and given the man’s formal attire, he guessed it was someone from the Ministry.

 

“Mr Shacklebolt, sir. It’s the American Minister… she wants a full briefing. Supreme Mugwump, Babajide Akingbade, is after an audience too, as is Claude Peeters of the European Committee of Wizards. I can arrange a couple of portkeys in Hogsmeade if you’d like, but I need to know when you’d like to-

 

“Yes, thank you Basil. I’ll be with you in a moment, just give me a few more minutes,” Kingsley bellowed, before looking back at the trio with an urgent look on his face.

 

“I’d love to stay and chat with you three all day, but there’s a lot to do. Arthur and Molly are having a little Order get together at The Burrow tomorrow night. Suspect I’ll see all of you there, you’ll find out more about what’s going on… and possible employment opportunities,” he said, winking.

 

“We’ll let you crack on then,” Harry replied. Ron and Hermione added their goodbyes and they began to walk away, when Kingsley seemed to remember something.

 

“If I could just have a quick word in private, Harry?” he whispered.

 

Harry felt uneasy and couldn’t think of anything Kingsley would have to say that he wouldn’t mind Ron or Hermione hearing. Ron and Hermione glanced back, hanging on a little, before Kingsley tried to reassure them.

 

“It’s just about your Godson and his Grandmother,” Kingsley said, with a great deal of sadness on his face.

 

“Oh,” Harry stammered out, as Hermione and Ron said goodbye and left them to it.

 

The guilt hit him like a train as he was reminded that Remus and Tonks were both dead. He thought back to the conversation he’d had with Remus when he’d briefly resurrected him along with his parents and Sirius.

 

Remus trusted him, as did Tonks of course, otherwise they wouldn’t have named him Godfather in the first place. But the weight of responsibility he felt for the boy was crushing – was this how Sirius had once felt for him when his parents had died?  

 

“Harry, did Dora or Remus ever tell you the address of her mother’s place?”

 

“Well I think me and Hagrid had the-

 

“No… not for the mission. In the last month or so, did you ever have contact with either of them where they told you it?”

 

“No. I can’t remember what the address was at all if I’m honest.”

 

Kingsley rubbed the small stubble under his chin curiously for a moment, before raising his eyebrow at him.

 

“Curious… but that’s everyone in The Order that I’ve asked now. It’s as I had suspected.”

 

Harry wondered what he meant.

 

“As you suspected?” he asked.

 

“Dora told me the address about a month ago. She was the secret keeper and Remus obviously knew it too as he was living there, but other than that, it seems like I was the only other person they told. That means, given what happened…”

 

Harry thought he saw a hint of a tear escaping Kingsley’s slightly wrinkled eye-lid.

 

“…that I’m now the secret keeper. Since Bellatrix’s husband is still on the loose, it might be wise to keep the fidelius charm on that house until he is caught. It’s pretty unlikely he’d target her, but I’m sure Dora’s mother would appreciate the protection for her and Teddy.”

 

Kingsley then told Harry the address so he would be able to visit them.  

 

“I feel awful for her Harry, to lose your husband and your only child in the space of a few months. You wouldn’t wish it on anyone…”

 

Harry mumbled in agreement as a thought hit him. It felt strange, but he’d truthfully never really given much thought to Andromeda Tonks. His only concern and sympathy had been for Teddy, perhaps because he saw himself in his godson so much. 

 

“…still I guess that having Teddy around will give her a small dose of comfort, at least she’s not completely on her own. And Teddy… that poor little man. Remus was always very down on himself… said he shouldn’t have had a child he couldn’t provide for in this world. But we’re gonna build a better world, Harry…”

 

There was no doubt in it now –a tear had definitely escaped Kingsley’s slightly wrinkled eye-lid.

 

“… I told you I named Rhea Savage the new Head Auror. She’s a fine Auror – a real warrior, you’ll learn so much under her Harry. But that should’ve been Dora’s job. And Remus… Dumbledore recognized what a talented man he was-

 

“He was a brilliant teacher. The best Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher we ever had.”

 

“Exactly. He was always very humbled when you kids said that, not sure he ever allowed himself to believe you all either. But he could’ve had his pick. I’m sure Minerva and I would’ve had a bidding war with him high enough that young Teddy would’ve never wanted for anything in his life!”

 

Kingsley let out a small laugh at this, reminiscing on a future that sadly would never come to pass.

 

“He won’t,” Harry said confidently. “I’ll make sure of it. I won’t let him have the same miserable childhood that I had. I’m sure Andromeda will be a brilliant grandmother, but I will help her, as much as I can and as much as she needs. It’s my fault that Remus and Dora-

 

“Harry!”

 

Kingsley didn’t shout, but he raised his voice in an angry enough tone to silence Harry instantly.

 

“If you do one thing for me in the rest of your life… never… ever… blame yourself for the deaths of this war. They’re on Voldemort and his followers – nobody else. It breaks my heart that Dora, Remus, George, Moody… that they and so many others lost their lives. But they died for something they believed in – making the world a better place. Don’t carry any guilt on your shoulders, Harry. That’s the last thing they would’ve wanted you to do.”

 

The words were hard ones that Harry did not particularly want to hear. He would carry that guilt for the rest of his life, he was sure of it. But he nodded in agreement with Kingsley regardless – he doubted that the Minister for Magic believed his lie, but Kingsley didn’t press him.

 

“Mr Shacklebolt, sir. So sorry to interrupt you, sir. But the American Minister… she’s turned up at The Ministry and err… she’s not happy, sir. Eric Munch has wound her right up, she didn’t take too kindly to being searched with a Probity Probe and-

 

“I’ll be right there, Basil!” Kingsley grunted, with a much more noticeable level of annoyance than the last time he’d been interrupted.  

 

“I think Albus had the right idea never going into politics” he fumed.

 

“I’m sorry Harry, I must go. So much to do. On top of all that I still haven’t found the time to go and tell Andromeda. I feel awful…I should’ve gone to see her first. But she’s never liked me Harry, always said I was going to get her daughter killed. I was the one who got Dora into the Order you see, always was a bit of a protégé of mine. I’ll be damned lucky if she doesn’t kill me when I turn up on the door… and I couldn’t blame her, but I had to sort out the prisoner situation first. I-

 

“I’ll tell her. About Dora and Remus, I mean.”

 

“What? No. Harry. I can’t expect you to do-

 

“You’ve got enough on your plate, Kingsley. It’s the least I can do. And I am Teddy’s godson. It should be me.”

 

“Well…well if you’re sure Harry. If you’re sure-

 

“Positive. I can go and see her right now. It should be me.”

 

“Harry, my boy. If I wasn’t enough already…I am in your debt so much. I’ll see you at The Burrow tomorrow. Oh and just one more thing, make sure your friend Mr Longbottom gets an invite. I got some big plans for that young man too.”

 

Harry and Kingsley then exchanged a warm embrace before the Minister for Magic rushed off with Basil, which left Harry with the unenviable task of telling a mother that her only child was dead… and it was all his fault.

 


 

The effort of apparating on an empty stomach and no sleep took a fair bit of energy out of Harry. It was admittedly, still a much more agreeable arrival than his last visit, when he’d crash landed into the Hampshire home’s back-garden with Hagrid.

 

He walked up to the black door and knocked lightly.

 

If he was honest, he didn’t really know what exactly he was going to say to Andromeda Tonks, but he thought he better be quick - she’d already waited to hear this news long enough.

 

There was no answer.

 

Harry considered knocking again slightly harder, but then thought better of it - as it would only serve to frighten her more if she’d ignored his first knock out of fear.

 

“Mrs Tonks… Andromeda… it’s… it’s Harry Potter.”

 

Harry then heard someone’s footsteps slowly approaching the door.

 

“What was the portkey? What was the portkey you used the last time you were here?”

 

“It was err… it… it was a hairbrush!”

 

The door slowly opened from the inside. It soon became clear that Andromeda Tonks had used her wand to do this. She stood a fair way back from the door, with her wand in her hand, which was still directed at Harry.

 

Harry thought back to the last and only time he had previously met Andromeda. As soon as she’d seen him she had frantically questioned him on the safety and whereabouts of her daughter. He expected this time to be no different…but it was… as she just stared at him blankly, saying nothing.

 

“She’s gone… isn’t she?”

 

Harry swallowed nervously.

 

“Yes.”

 

There was no sign of any emotion on her face.

 

“The war… is it over? Is he defeated?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Andromeda lowered her wand and ushered him inside. He closed the door behind him – the middle-aged witch was already walking towards the living room when he looked back round.

 

Harry glanced at the pictures that covered the walls of the Tonks’ hallway as he slowly made his way through it. He was surprised to note that the vast majority of them were not animated, like most wizard family photos, but instead were stationary like you would find

in a muggle home.  

 

There was one photo where Tonks couldn’t have been any older than Harry had been when he’d first started at Hogwarts. Her hair, fashioned in a bob-cut, was her favourite bright bubblegum pink and she laughed joyously with Ted, Andromeda and an older couple that Harry guessed were Ted’s parents – they certainly wouldn’t have been Andromeda’s. It looked like they’d gone to the seaside for the day.

 

 His glance fell on Andromeda’s buoyant grin and he suddenly felt a bit overwhelmed by it all – the happy family photo was not so happy when you remembered that everyone else in that photo was dead.

 

“Would you like some tea?” Andromeda asked in a well-mannered way from the other room.

 

 He wondered why she was putting on this act for him – pretending as if the death of her daughter hadn’t affected her in the slightest way. This wasn’t what he had expected at all – it was almost as if he’d walked into Mrs Figg’s house instead.

 

“Erm well I-

 

“You’d prefer a hot chocolate? Nymphadora was never a big tea drinker either. That was one of the very few things she didn’t have in

common with her father.”

 

“A hot chocolate would be lovely,” he said.

 

As he came towards the end of the corridor he saw a framed image of what looked like somebody scoring a goal in a muggle football match. Uncle Vernon had only ever shown interest in Formula 1 motor racing, so the teams and people in the photo meant nothing to Harry, but a tall, dark skinned man in a yellow kit looked like he’d just scored past a keeper, who wore green. He presumed the players in red were some kind of beaters that were meant to have stopped the man in the yellow kit from scoring.

 

Harry noticed some writing in the corner of the frame that read:

 

“Anfield, 26TH May 1989. It’s up for grabs now!”

 

The fireplace simmered softly in the warm and toasty living room.

 

Andromeda was already perched on a long brown leather sofa, with a mug of tea in one hand and her wand in the other.   

 

 

“Sit,” she ordered softly.

 

Harry eyed up the vacant armchair opposite Andromeda, but Dora’s mother ushered him to sit on the sofa with her instead. Such was its size that there was still a big enough distance between them that Harry didn’t feel too uncomfortable.

 

Andromeda made a soft movement with her wand and a huge hot chocolate, decorated with whipped cream and marshmallows materialised out of thin air in-front of Harry.

 

“Thank you,” he said.

 

Harry took a sizeable gulp, then placed his mug down onto the side table that Hagrid had once broken.

 

“I take it that he died too… Teddy’s father, I mean.”

 

The somewhat cold manner in which she spoke of Remus irritated Harry, but he chose not to press it. This wasn’t the time or place.

 

“Yes.”

 

“How did they die?”

 

The impassive manner in which she asked these questions made Harry feel massively uncomfortable.

 

“I don’t know. Nobody does. Not yet. They were found together. It looked like it was the killing curse. They didn’t look like they suffered.”

 

Harry thought that Andromeda’s face hinted at her taking a small bit of solace in this, but he might’ve just imagined it as the cold expression remained firmly in place.

 

“Bellatrix. Was she-

 

“Bellatrix is dead too.”

 

Andromeda’s poker face was definitely broken by this revelation. At first Harry thought he saw a glimmer of shock, which then quickly subsided to utmost relief.

 

“How did she… who… who was she kill-

 

“It was Molly Weasley.”

 

She nodded slightly in acknowledgement of her sister’s death. Harry sensed that this brought her no pleasure or enjoyment, but there was certainly no hint of sympathy or sadness either.

 

“Kingsley thinks it might be a good idea if you were to keep the fidelius charm on the house for the time being. Bellatrix’s husband and his brother managed to escape you see, he thinks there’s a chance they might-

 

“He thinks they might what? They might come and attack me?” Andromeda sneered at him in a very derogatory manner.  

 

“Yes. Yes I think-

 

“Nonsense. Those two grunts barely have a brain between them. Rodolphus was a follower, not a leader. He’d always just do anything that Bellatrix told him to, that was always the main appeal for her. His brother, well, as my late husband would say, he was always a few sandwiches short of a picnic. I haven’t left my home in over a year – I won’t be letting those two stop me from doing so now.”

 

“Well. Well if you’re sure-

 

“Of course I am. Besides, I’m sure they are now wanted criminals? The Ministry is not still under the control of-

 

“Yes they are – K-k… Kingsley’s the Minister for Magic now. He’s working on-

 

“Minister for Magic? Is he now?” she scoffed.

 

A sudden realisation then overcame her. For the first time Harry saw genuine emotion on Andromeda’s face – and it was anger.

 

“He sent you here, did he? Kingsley? He was the only one that they’d revealed the secret to. When you first arrived I thought they might’ve told you at some point during the battle. But no. I bet they didn’t. What a coward. He didn’t even have the dignity to tell me of Nymphadora’s death himself-

 

“No. No it wasn’t like that. I offered to come. He was going to and he was really sorry that he hadn’t, but he had a lot on his plate, that’s all. There’s-

 

“I never trusted that man. You would be wise not to either.”

 

Harry bit his tongue and chose once again not to argue with her. He stared vacantly at the carpet for a little while as they now sat in an awkward silence.

 

The silence was then suddenly broken by the sound of a crying baby from the next room. Andromeda rose quickly to retrieve her grandson. She soon returned with little Teddy, who was no longer crying, in her arms – and Harry was afforded his first glimpse of his godson in the flesh.

 

“Teddy… there’s someone I think you ought to meet,” Andromeda whispered to the infant, who acknowledged her with a soft sigh.

 

“Would you like to hold him?” she asked, turning to Harry with a smile.  

 

“Yes. Please.”

 

Andromeda gently passed Teddy into Harry’s now outstretched arms. He’d never held a baby before. He was worried he might mess up and drop him, but Andromeda seemed to notice his nerves and reassured him that he was doing fine.

 

Harry looked down at his godson. He seemed impossibly tiny – it was bonkers to think he’d once been even smaller than this.

 

“Baa-waa,” Teddy uttered.

 

His godson’s little eyes were glowing green, just like his. But then, without warning, they changed to blue. Harry noticed the small tufts of hair on Teddy’s head seemed to flicker from blonde to brown a bit too.

 

“They change a bit more frequently when he’s nervous or excited. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal at that age. Same thing used to happen with Nymphadora. Should stop once he’s a toddler.”

 

But Harry barely heard her, as he was transfixed on Teddy, who was now smiling at him. He stared into his godson’s eyes. He was perfect. He was beautiful. He was-

 

It was too much. The events of the last year. The losses of the battle. All of it hit him at once. Moody. Hedwig. Dobby. Remus. Dora. George. Ted Tonks. Even Snape, who he know knew had died protecting him.

Suddenly Harry became aware that trails of tears were pouring out of his eyes – and soon enough, it was much more than that. He sobbed uncontrollably as he looked down at his poor little godson, who was completely oblivious to the fact he would never know his parents. It wasn’t fair.

 

“I’m sorry,” he cried to Teddy, before turning to face his grandmother.

 

 “I’m so sorry,” he repeated, as he sobbed some more, before Andromeda instinctively reached in and hugged him maternally. He wept into her knitted jumper, begging for her forgiveness for all of the death and suffering that he had caused.

 

Andromeda didn’t respond to his desperate pleas, instead she just shushed him and gently stroked his hair like he imagined his Mother might’ve done – and after a short while, he realized that she too was weeping.

 

 

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