James walked out of the birthing room, cradling a small bundle wrapped in white sheets. 'We have a son,' he whispered, tilting the baby so they could see the shock of black hair, and the small, red face. 'This is Harry. My beautiful boy.'
Remus recognised the bespectacled boy with messy hair the minute that he walked into the train compartment.
Tucked into the corner, Remus huddled beneath his cloak and peered surreptitiously through the folds of material, soaking in every detail of the boy he'd last seen twelve years ago, a babe in arms.
Lily and James' son — their beautiful boy — was their love made corporeal in a perfect blending of the two of them. His face and his body and his personality echoed his parents with every expression and move and mood, and seeing Lily's almond-shaped green eyes staring out at him from James' face nearly broke Remus' heart.
Harry was the strongest argument for nature over nurture that Remus had ever seen. The fact that Harry held his head at a certain angle, and gestured with his right hand whilst talking, his left tucked into his pocket, spoke of genetics at work. He had inherited aspects of the way Lily and James held themselves, and manners of speech that he was too young to remember, at least consciously.
Lily's green eyes, dimpled chin and slender build had been passed on to her son, but none of her grace. She had moved like water given form, fluid yet controlled, but Harry — Harry moved like his father, somewhat stiff and a little awkward, and Remus was willing to wager all of his meagre belongings that Harry was a born flyer, that a broom would bring out his form of grace. James had been elegance personified in the air, his moderate clumsiness left behind on the ground as he soared with the birds. Everyone had always said that James would eventually grow into his body, but he had never had the opportunity, cut down before he had even really had the chance to live.
Harry's spirit, though sadly battered by circumstance, was pure. His hot-headedness came from his father, but his kind heart came from Lily. He had all of his father's loyalty, but none of his cockiness, and his inherited mischievousness was tempered with a sense of duty.
The toddler that had called Remus 'Unca Moo' was now a teenager, slight and comparatively short, but filled to the brim with a thirst and a spark for life. His friends adored him, the feeling was obviously mutual, and Remus was forcibly reminded of his friendship with James and Sirius —Hermione was Harry's Remus, and Ron was his Sirius.
When the air chilled and the happiness began to leach from the room, Remus watched as Harry reacted to the presence of the Dementors in the most dramatic way the werewolf had ever witnessed, evidence of terrors in his past.
He tended to Harry, setting a pattern for their future relationship, settling the boy on the seat and insisting that he eat a slab of chocolate. Harry sized him up with those green eyes of his, nodded, and broke off a square of Honeydukes' finest, his act unspoken acceptance of this intense, shabby stranger. The building blocks of their friendship were set firmly in place that day on the Hogwarts Express.
In the four years since their reunion, Remus had watched Harry blossom from a quiet, emotionally awkward boy into a teenager on the very cusp of manhood. Harry had endured trials that nobody, regardless of age, should experience, and he had come through the other side whole, if altered. He'd faced Voldemort twice, watched as Sirius and Dumbledore died in front of him, but he remained resolute.
He'd fallen in love, too, with the girl he was destined to be with, though he'd left her in a misguided effort to protect her. Ginny was a force to be reckoned with, and about the only woman Remus could imagine being strong enough to deal with Harry. She fought her corner like a wildcat, and was devoted to Harry, even after he ended the relationship. People would insist on comparing Harry and Ginny to James and Lily, but really, the couples were nothing alike, with the exception of outward appearances.
Remus had been jealous of James for many years. Despite his tragic end, James had been blessed with everything Remus wanted for himself — a family. A wonderful, beautiful wife and a gorgeous little baby boy, something Remus felt would never be his. Even without the laws restricting his kind, who would want a broken old werewolf with veritable rooms full of emotional baggage?
Then Tonks literally fell into his arms, tripping over a stool and clutching onto him to break her fall, and she'd apparently made up her mind that he was going to be hers. A blink of her guileless eyes, and he was under her spell, though he fought it desperately with protests of his being too old, too damaged, too tainted for someone as young and whole and pure as she.
Dora took him seriously for a while, pining for him when he withdrew into himself to mourn the death of his brother by choice, her vivaciousness no match for the shadow of Sirius' memory.
But it wasn't long before her natural tenacity came to the fore and she fought for him with the passion with which she approached everything in her life, bright, sweet and witty, and determined to make him love her.
She really didn't have to fight so hard. Loving Dora was as easy and as natural as breathing, and his heart and his soul were hers within the space of a heartbeat, though he still had dark moments where he doubted that he deserved her.
In the space of a year, he went from being just Remus, to being Remus and Tonks, and ten months after their marriage, Remus and Tonks became Remus and Tonks and Teddy, and he finally had a wife and a beautiful boy of his very own.
Just as Harry was a mix of James and Lily, Teddy was unmistakably the child of Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. His heart-shaped face and Metamorphmagus ability was all Dora, but he had inherited his nose and his amber eyes from his father. Of course, the choice of turquoise hair was peculiar to Teddy, Dora's preference being pink.
When Remus held Teddy for the first time, he suddenly understood how James and Lily had so easily sacrificed themselves for their child. Remus wanted to lock the rest of the world out, and cocoon himself and his little family in protective walls. Teddy and Dora were the most important things in the world to him, and the thought of life without them was unbearable; if it came to it, he would die to ensure that they lived in his stead. His love for them burned so fiercely in his chest it was like an ache, and it consumed his entire being.
And so it came to this. The final battle was fast approaching, and Harry was soon to step up to meet his destiny, as prophesised before he was even old enough to sit up. The Boy Who Lived was shortly to be the Man Who Defeated the Dark Lord, and the forces of Light were poised to join him at a word.
Remus would be fighting at Harry's side.
He had always intended to play his part in the final confrontation, but his desire to fight for the security of the society that rejected him was inspired by a need to do the right thing by the child of his friends.
Now, that need was joined by an utter compulsion to protect Dora and Teddy. He was willing to fight in their name and lay down his life in order to ensure their future, even if it was a future without him.
A soft voice drew Remus out of his introspection, and he looked up to see the silvery glow of Kingsley's patronus standing in front of him. The lynx repeated his message, and Remus knew that the time had come for the Wizarding world to make its stand.
He drew his wand, and walked out of Ted Tonks' study and through to the kitchen, where Dora was drinking tea with her mother, Teddy nestled in the crook of her arm. The two women had grown closer than ever in the weeks since Ted Tonks' death, and Andromeda had clung to her daughter, needing her strength.
'It's time,' he said quietly, reaching for the cloak that hung on a hook by the back door. He draped it around his shoulders, and then knelt at Dora's side, gazing alternately from her face to that of his son. 'I love you both. If I don't come back, I need you to know how very much I adore you.'
Dora looked at him, her eyes burning fiercely. 'I'm coming with you.'
He surged up off his knees, the proximity to the full moon sharpening his temper. 'No! I won't allow it,' he snapped. 'Teddy needs his mother.'
'And he doesn't need his father?' she asked, calmly. 'Remus, if we lose this fight, Teddy will be as good as dead. He's the child of a half-blood and a werewolf, with a blood-traitor for a Grandmother and a Muggle-born Grandfather. That's not going to make him popular.' She pressed her lips to Teddy's forehead, her hair falling down onto his face, pink and turquoise mingling as she covered him in desperate, loving kisses.
Tears rolling silently down her face, Dora handed Teddy to her mother, and turned back to Remus. 'I'm coming with you, and you can't stop me. I can't watch you go off and fight on your own, knowing that you might not be coming back.'
He pulled her into a tight embrace, needing her close. 'Dora…'
'Remus,' she replied, tilting her head back to look at him. 'We're both doing this for our son. For each other. I need to do this.' Her hair darkened from pink to purple, before cycling through shades of blue and stopping at turquoise, a match to Teddy. With a shake of her head, her hair was pink again, and a few streaks of turquoise were scattered throughout. 'We're ready. We'll fight together and if we die, we'll die side by side, knowing that we went down trying to make the world a better place for our son.'
Remus' body suddenly felt too heavy for him to stand even a moment longer and his knees buckled, but Dora held him up, held him close, pulling him into a kiss that strengthened his resolve and renewed his courage.
He let go of her, and moved to take his son from Andromeda, tracing each dear little feature until the feel of his son's face was etched into his fingertips and his heart. He cradled a nine pound and two-ounce miracle in his arms in the form of a perfect six-week-old baby. His beautiful boy.
Echoing his wife, Remus covered Teddy in kisses, from the tips of his toes, up his dimpled little legs to his round, milk-filled belly, along his soft arms to his tiny, but perfectly formed fingers, finishing with a kiss on the end of his upturned nose. He memorised the feel of the soft, unmarked skin and the smell of clean, content baby, struck with the knowledge that this would probably be the last time he saw his child.
Teddy went back to his Grandmother, opening his eyes to stare up at his father as he was settled into Andromeda's arms. 'Look after him,' Remus implored her, his voice breaking. 'Look after my beautiful boy.'
Andromeda nodded, and surprised Remus by laying her hand against his cheek. 'Be careful, both of you. Look after my beautiful girl.'
They all embraced, enfolding Teddy in the middle of their huddle, and Dora was the one who pulled away first, slipping her hand into Remus'.
'Mum, I love you,' she said, her voice steady and strong even as her hand trembled in her husband's grasp.
Andromeda nodded, her face taking on the icy cast that was the mark of the Blacks, and her defence in times of crisis. To outsiders, it would look imperious, cold, but Remus recognised it as the sign that his mother-in-law was struggling to keep her emotions in check. 'I love you too.'
Remus looked at his wife, his beautiful, strong Dora, and knew that he couldn't let her go to battle. He took her hand, and raised it to his lips. 'Dora, please say you won't come with me. I couldn't stand the thought of you not being in this world. Please. Please.'
She bit her lip, and then kissed him, soft and sweet. 'I won't come with you,' she said, her hands clutching at his robes before pushing him away. 'Go. Go, before I Stun you and lock you in a cupboard. GO!'
He turned on the spot and Disapparated with a small pop.
Dora looked at her mum. 'I'm going,' she said flatly. 'I didn't say I wouldn't follow him.'
'I know,' Andromeda whispered, as her daughter spun away into nothingness, leaving her with a small, sleeping child that was completely unaware of the fact that the world was seemingly coming to an end.
Andromeda Tonks watched as the marble tomb sealed itself shut over the bodies of her only daughter and son-in-law, her grandchild sleeping peacefully in her arms.
Remus had done as he had promised, looking after her daughter until the moment he stepped in front of a bolt of green to save her, only to have her fall seconds later, struck down by a matching curse from her own Aunt. They'd fallen side by side, united in death as in life.
People filed past her, murmuring their respects, and she nodded automatically in acknowledgement of each of them, not registering individual faces or voices.
That voice got her attention. She looked up into the grief-stricken face of Harry Potter, shocked that a seventeen-year-old boy could look and sound so old and broken.
'Harry,' she said numbly, and she was suddenly aware that tears were streaming down her face. She hadn't cried since Ted died, not even when Kingsley Shacklebolt had turned up on her doorstep to tell her that Voldemort was gone, but Remus and Nymphadora had paid the ultimate price.
Harry took the seat next to her, his own tears spilling onto his cheeks. 'I'm sorry that they died. I'm sorry you've lost everybody.'
'Not everybody,' she said softly, looking down at Teddy, cradled safely against her bosom. 'This boy is my blessing. I — I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have Teddy.'
There was movement next to her, and she realised that Harry was peering around to look at the child. 'Er - he's -- he's my godson. Did Remus and Tonks tell you?' Gingerly, he reached out and touched Teddy's face. 'Wow.'
'Do you want to hold him?' Without waiting for an answer, she tucked the infant into Harry's arms, showing the boy how to position his hands. 'I want to raise him,' she said. 'I won't abide you taking him away from me, but I would welcome your presence in our lives.'
Harry nodded, and stared down at Teddy, seemingly awestruck. The baby stirred, opening big golden-brown eyes that suddenly turned green in an echo of his Godfather's. 'He's amazing. Beautiful.' Teddy's hair turned black and messy and Harry laughed, some of the sorrow lifting from his face, and he suddenly looked seventeen again, young and full of potential. 'Beautiful,' he echoed again, his eyes welling up with more tears, but for a different reason this time.
"Look after my beautiful boy."
Andromeda passed her hand over Teddy's tufty black locks. 'He's a beautiful boy,' she agreed, softly. 'And as he grows up, he'll need us to tell him how very much his mummy and daddy loved him.'
Harry looked up, Teddy's hand wrapped around one of his fingers, and he smiled. 'I can tell him how his mum used to trip over the umbrella stand, and how his dad used to pick me up off of the floor and feed me chocolate.' His smile was sweet and genuine and he looked like something dead inside him had just been laid to rest.
Andromeda placed her hand on his arm, and felt some of her despondency leave her. This young man was going to be a good Godfather to her grandchild, and she knew that Remus and Dora would have been happy to know that Harry had survived, against all the odds.