Rainbow Moods

Green is for sulks

Teddy sat in the chimney's small shadow on the rooftop of his Grandma Andy's cottage. His arms were firmly clenched around his drawn up knees and long, olive-green hair were hiding his bowed face like a curtain.

He was sulking.

A soft crack! followed by the rustling of fabric behind him marked the arrival of someone else, but Teddy didn't bother to turn around and look, or otherwise acknowledge them.

The only one who would get mad at his ignoring them was Grandma Andy anyway, and it couldn't be her, because she never came to the rooftop, though Teddy didn't understand why as she could quite easily apparate there and wouldn't even have to climb out of the attic's window like he did. It suited him well, though, 'cause the rooftop made for a great place to get some peaceful time alone and think.

Or sulk. Which he was doing right now, and with good reason, thankyouverymuch, so he did not appreciate the intrusion.

Oh, he knew who it was, of course. Grandma Andy always called Uncle Harry when Teddy retreated to the rooftop. And his godfather always, always came, no matter how busy he was with his job and Auntie Ginny and his friends and now the babies, he always came for Teddy.

Even when Teddy didn't particularly want him.

The child stared resolutely in the distance as he felt Harry lowering himself next to him.

"You know, the way you're staring into thin air with such a scowl, one would think you're up here to study the Morose Thoughthoppers. Which you should really rather avoid, you know, they are quite dangerous and can induce depression. Fantasy books tend to scare them away, though, in case you want advice…"

Teddy scowled. Those sounded suspiciously like some of Auntie Luna's weird creatures; the ones that always sent Auntie Hermione on a lengthy rant about Plausibility of Discoveries and Proper Scientific Methods.

Harry, as usual, wasn't at all bothered by Teddy's silence and simply contemplated the horizon for a little while before continuing: "Anyway, I came up because I thought you might be in the mood for a story. Or in need of it at any rate."

Teddy fought hard not to smile.

Harry and his Tales.

He remembered quite a number of overnight visits with his Godfather when he would sneak downstairs after bedtime just to get a story about his parents or their friends. Uncle Harry always told the best tales, the funny ones that had you laughing right from the title.

Even if he was nine now and not a baby anymore and he wouldn't ever, ever, admit it, especially within hearing distance of Vicky Weasley, Teddy absolutely adored being cuddled close and maybe petted a bit, while listening to the Astonishing Adventures of Professor Boggart Snape, or the Auror Who Was Worried About His Buttocks, or Padfoot the Troublesome and His Amazing Flamethrowing Motorbike.

He frowned. OK, so he positively loved Harry's stories, but he – was – sulking - right now, and wanted to be left alone! Was that so much to ask?

He debated telling his Godfather just that, and maybe to get lost, too, but hesitated because even if he was in a dark mood he didn't like being rude.

The hesitation was his undoing because Harry started talking of a snowy night in his soft voice and Teddy knew he wouldn't stop the tale for the world now.

There was such a thing as going down fighting though, so he kept his scowl and stared in front of himself and pretended he wasn't listening with all his heart. Not at all.

A quaint little village took form through Harry's talented words and Teddy felt like he was breathing the icy stinging air and seeing the Christmas lights and the jewel-bright stained-glass windows of the little church glowing in the dark.

He realized with a frown that this particular story wasn't about his parents at all. Harry was speaking in first person, was talking of Auntie Hermione taking his hand, of he himself stopping dead across a square because he'd spotted 'the Memorial'.

Teddy knew what that was. He'd seen it many times, the obelisk covered in names that transformed whenever someone magical drew near, turning into the statue of three famous people: a man with untidy hair and glasses, a woman with long hair and a kind, pretty face, and a baby boy sitting in his mother's arms. He'd always thought his Godfather looked mighty cute as a baby.

Never before, however, had Harry told him about the first time he'd seen it. He didn't say much about the war – what Teddy knew, he'd found out from Uncle Ron. This story, though, was unfamiliar.

The tale went on. A kissing gate, the entrance of a graveyard. Gouging dark tracks behind them in the deep and untouched snow as they made their way around the church, keeping to the shadows beneath the brilliant windows. Row upon row of snowy tombstones protruding from a blanket of pale blue that was flecked with dazzling red, gold, and green wherever the reflections from the stained glass hit the snow.

Harry's words created images and feelings in Teddy like they always did, but this time there was also a growing, uncomfortable suspicion about what was to come.

Then the Harry in the story found the two graves he was looking for, like Teddy knew he would, and the Harry on the roof spoke quietly of feeling as if something heavy were pressing on his chest, of a grief that had actually weighed on his heart and lungs.

Teddy bit his lower lip viciously, tears stinging his eyes. Grandma Andy must have realized more than he thought about why he was sulking and had clearly told Harry.

He squeezed his eyes tightly. He didn't want to hear this. He didn't! He knew that Harry was an orphan too, just like he knew he should be proud of his parents' sacrifice and not angry at them for leaving him alone, but he couldn't, he couldn't, and he didn't want to hear how his Godfather had been wonderful and told his dead parents that he understood and was proud of them and it was all right when Teddy couldn't do the same, because they weren't here and he missed them and he didn't understand and it wasn't all right, it wasn't!

But Harry's voice didn't stop.

"The headstone was made of white marble, just like Dumbledore's tomb at Hogwarts, and it seemed to shine in the dark. I could read the words engraved upon it without having to kneel or even get very close. James Potter, born 27 March 1960, died 31 October 1981; Lily Potter, born 30 January 1960, died 31 October 1981; The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

Harry had said all that slowly, and now he paused.

"The last enemy that shall be defeated is death..." he repeated softly. "I hated seeing those words there. It sounded like a Death Eater idea to me. Hermione tried to explain that it didn't mean defeating death in the way the Death Eaters mean it… that it meant…" He paused again, and took a deep breath before forging on: "That it meant living beyond death. Living after death."

Teddy pressed his lips together, wary of what he would say, shout even, if he let himself. There was no life after death. There was nothing after death, because if there was, surely, surely those who were left behind would not feel so empty!

He knew he shouldn't think like this, though, so he kept his lips firmly shut on the words that were raging to be said.

"I got so angry then", Harry said quietly, and it shocked Teddy badly enough that he glanced at his Godfather, his determination in feigning disinterest forgotten. What?

Harry gazed at him solemnly and explained: "They were not living after death. They were not living at all. They were gone. Those were nothing more than empty words and could not disguise the fact that my parents' remains lay beneath that stone, beneath the snow, and didn't care anymore, didn't know. They didn't know that I, their only son, was there, they didn't, couldn't care that I missed them and wanted them and sometimes wished I had died with them, they were gone. And I… I didn't care, just then, that I was alive because of their sacrifice, that their being bones and dust was the reason my heart was still beating, I wanted them back. Or to be sleeping under the snow with them, I didn't particularly care which one…"

He fell silent, and Teddy was silent too, wide-eyed and frozen, and unable to believe what he was hearing.

"We left soon after." Finished Harry very quietly, eyes closed. "I couldn't stand another moment there. We walked away through the snow and I didn't look back, not once."

Teddy moved silently closer and pressed himself against his Godfather's side.

His mind and heart were in turmoil.

He'd grown up in the wake of a war. All of the people he knew were mourning someone - a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend. All of them talked about honouring their sacrifice, about living for them, about how they would want them to be happy, how they had died to give the living freedom and peace.

They praised those who had died in the Battle, as if it was a good thing! Like that idiotic lady who came over for tea earlier and had the guts to say it was the way his parents would have wanted to go, 'doing the right thing'. Stupid, stupid woman! They hadn't wanted to go! Teddy didn't want them to be gone!

He always felt so different, so wrong. How could he be the only one who felt hurt and angry at how unfair their death was?

No one had ever admitted to him what Harry just had.

No one had ever acknowledged that the loss of those who were gone hurt - or if they did, it was always followed by 'but I understand' or 'but I'm proud'.

He scooted even closer to his Godfather, feeling close to tears. He didn't notice his hair unconsciously curling into waves and acquiring a pinkish tinge.

Harry put an arm around him and smiled gently.

"I made my peace with their death. My parents' and all the others'. I know, now, that there is Life beyond Death, I know it without a doubt. Death is nothing to be scared of… it is natural… not something to run away from. And you can – you will, I hope, learn to understand that we all must die, and that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying. But it took me a long time to realize, to accept. And… and it doesn't make it all right. It never will be all right. For us that are left behind… it hurts, it always hurts. And that hurt never fades. But that's OK. In the end, even that is OK, you'll see."

He regarded Teddy with sadness and affection.

"You have a right to grieve. Don't let the stories get to you. They weren't just heroes. They were your parents. You have a right to miss them, and to selfishly wish they hadn't fought and died. You have a right to be hurting. Just… just don't let it stop you from living, and loving them, or from loving others... most of all, don't let your grief stop you from doing what is right, when your turn comes. OK?"

And with a last hug, he dropped a kiss on top of Teddy's head and was gone, leaving his thoughtful Godson alone on the roof.

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