Raising Teddy

Chapter 4

Mrs. Weasley was enamored by Teddy from the moment Harry brought him into the Burrow. She knit him so many hats, blankets and jumpers that Harry was beginning to think they would need a flat of their own. Harry let Mrs. Weasley carry on with her pampering, she was so excited to have a baby in the house and Harry suspected that Teddy’s presence helped take her mind off of Fred’s death. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley assured Harry that he and Teddy were welcome to come a live permanently at the Burrow if they wanted and at the very least they were allowed to stay for as long as they needed. Harry appreciated their generosity but nonetheless he began a secret search for a flat in muggle London. He still hasn’t told Ron and Hermione about his plan to vacate the wizarding world for a bit; everyone at the Burrow had enough on their plates anyway. At Andromeda’s request Mr. Weasley agreed to arrange the funerals of Tonks and Lupin; At Harry’s request they were going to be buried in Godric’s Hollow. Fred’s funeral was to be in Ottery St. Catchpole in two days’ time and everyone in the Burrow was busy making preparations. Fred was rather well liked at Hogwarts and the news of his death had spread fast not only through the network of Hogwarts students but also through the rest of the wizarding world as his death had been reported with the others through The Daily Prophet. Already the Burrow had received a rather large influx of owls as people sent their condolences. Mrs. Weasley became increasingly shut off as the funeral drew nearer and George was still nowhere to be seen. Bill and Fleur came by nearly every day to help the remaining Weasleys, Hermione and Harry make finalize the plans. Charlie and Harry were making their way to the plot where Fred was to be buried and Charlie was telling Harry about his plans to return to Romania.

“I’ve been away for four months.” Charlie said. “The War wasn’t as bad there as it was here…but people still felt it.”

“Voldemort wasn’t trying to get foreigners?” Harry asked ignoring the shutter Charlie didn’t even try to hide.

“He was.” Charlie said. “But I think he was more focused on the…home front.”

“When do you go back?” Harry asked kicking his feet in the dirt.

“To Romania?” Charlie shrugged. “Soon hopefully. Maybe. Hagrid’s written me. Says he’s a bit overwhelmed about going back to teaching Care of Magical Creatures.”

“Hagrid’s going to stop teaching Care of Magical Creatures?” Harry was shocked. Hagrid loved teaching Care of Magical Creatures, teaching that class was something he had dreamed of and fought very hard to do even if his methods were a bit unorthodox. Charlie shrugged again.

“He wants me to think about it. To be honest,” Charlie dropped his voice as if what he was about to say was very secretive and dangerous information “I prefer the dragons to students.” Harry laughed the first real laugh he had in weeks. Charlie smiled at Harry and led him into the hillside. The plot the Weasleys had secured for Fred was far enough from the Burrow to be out of the way, but close enough for anyone of the Weasleys to visit at any time. Charlie handed Harry a spade that had been conjured out of thin air.

“Bill told me you like to dig.” Charlie said with a grin. Harry gave him a wry smile and began to dig Fred’s grave with Charlie. Harry shoved his spade in to the ground again and again. Charlie, though he was bulky and strong, stopped several times over the course of their dig to rest. Harry dug well into the evening and didn’t stop until he was satisfied with the depth of the grave. Charlie was leading Harry back to the Burrow when he broke the hour-long silence between them.

“We could’ve done it by magic you know.” Charlie said quietly.

“What?” Harry asked panting as the two of them climbed up a rather large hill.

“The grave. We could have done it by magic. Saved us time…and sweat.” Charlie said. Harry shrugged. “I understand why you wanted to do it by hand.”

“You do?” Harry asked surprised. He had always assumed that he was the only one who felt crushing guilt over what had happened. That he was the only one who could understand…what it was like to feel responsible for the loss of so many lives.

“You feel like it’s your fault.” Charlie said. Harry could feel a lump in his throat, growing larger and larger the closer they got to the Burrow, all he could do was nod.

“I felt the same way. “Charlie said.

“You did?” Harry asked.

“Yeah. When I first started working in Romania. There was this dragon, a Romanian Longhorn. Anyway, she’d laid a couple of eggs and it was my job to make sure they hatched properly. I was tired, almost all our dragons were sick, I feel asleep for one moment. The mother died, just dropped dead. The eggs got cold—too cold for us to save them. We lost five dragons. And it was all my fault.” Charlie shook his head, clearing his mind of the memory. He caught sight of the almost tortured look on Harry’s face and grimaced. “I know it’s not the same Harry. But it’s the best I can do. Look, the point is no one blamed me for the dragons and no one is blaming you for what happened at Hogwarts.”

“But—I—they died. Because of me.” Harry choked out. Charlie stopped walking at the top of the hill and Harry stopped beside him

“Harry.” Charlie’s voice had a serious tone to it. Harry had only met Charlie a couple of times but he had always known him to be adventurous, carefree and not at all serious. “Everyone who died in The Battle of Hogwarts…They chose that. It wasn’t about you. It was about fighting for what they thought was right. Yes, you were a significant part of the battle. But you can’t blame yourself for the actions of other fully grown adults.” Harry nodded stony faced and started walking again.

“If you think like that,” Charlie said. “It’ll tear you apart.” Charlie pulled ahead of Harry and the two of them finished the walk to the Burrow in a serene silence.

Mrs. Weasley fused over the two of them as soon as they returned to the Burrow. She sent Charlie straight upstairs to wash up before dinner but she stopped Harry just as he was about to follow him.

“Harry, dear.” She said. “Arthur wants to speak to you in the garden shed.” Harry nodded and gently patted a gurgling Teddy on the head before making his way back outside. The Weasleys shed was small and cluttered with what Harry could only describe as “muggle rubbish.” Several rubber coated orange extension cords hung down from the ceiling like limp snakes and there were at least four bins overflowing with different kinds of plugs. On one shelf Harry saw two rubber ducks that reminded him of the very first time he had met Mr. Weasley.

“Er—Mr. Weasley?” Harry called. There was a clang and the sound of glass breaking and Mr.Weasley’s head poked out from behind a row of shelves. Mr. Weasley was a tall, thin wizard with sparse graying red hair on his balding head. Mr. Weasley pushed his horn-rimmed glasses higher up on his nose and extracted himself from his recently created mess to greet Harry.

“Harry.” Mr. Weasley pulled a rag out of the pocket of his robes and tried frivolously to wipe something that looked suspiciously like axel grease off of his forehead. “I wanted to talk to you out Remus and Tonks.” Harry felt his chest tighten and his stomach clench.

“What about them?” He asked letting out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding.

“I just wanted to let you know, “Arthur said. “That I’ve spoken with Andromeda and she agreed to bury Remus and Tonks in Godric’s Hollow. It’s going to be at the end of the week.”

“Alright.” Harry said hollowly. He turned around to leave the shed.

“She wants you and Teddy to be there.” Arthur said. “She wants you to make a speech.”

“I don’t want to make a speech.” Harry said.

“Humor her Harry. Please.” Arthur said. Harry nodded and before Mr. Weasley could say anything else to make Harry feel any worse about the situation, he walked out of the shed and into the Burrow and straight into Ginny’s room.

Harry collapsed on Ginny’s bed face first and waited to fall asleep. He could hear Mrs. Weasley calling him, telling him dinner was ready but Harry wasn’t hungry. He punched Ginny’s pillow into wat he thought would be a more comfortable shape, but it wasn’t. He threw it across the room in retaliation.

“If you get throwing things about like that I might just kick you out.” Ginny said from the doorway.

“What do you want?” Harry asked irritably.

“I believe it’s my bedroom.” Ginny said coolly. “I came to check on you. Mum’s worried you’ve slipped away out a window or something.”

“Why would he slip out a window if he could apperate?” Ron asked from behind Ginny.

“Why would I apperated when I could slip out a window?” Harry said. “I hate the way apperation feels.”

“Come off it.” Ginny scoffed. “You’ve done it hundreds of times.”

“That doesn’t make it any more comfortable.” Harry said darkly.

“Will the three of you come downstairs already?” Hermione asked. “Your mum’s been asking for nearly five minutes.”

“I don’t think it’s been that long.” Ron rolled his eyes. Hermione stalked away muttering something about Ron that she’d normally be embarrassed to say. Harry told Ginny and Ron to go ahead downstairs and made his way to the Weasley’s toilet to wash off the dirt and sweat that clung to his skin from his dig earlier with Charlie. After Harry had scrubbed every visible speck of dirt off of his hands, arms and face he descended the stairs to the Burrow’s kitchen and found that night’s dinner was already in full swing.

“I hope you don’t mind dear.” Mrs. Weasley said handing him a plate full of food as he took a seat in between Ginny and Ron. “We started without you.” Dinner at the Burrow that night was a much more pleasant affair than it had been the night before. Ginny attributed this is Fleur’s absence (which Ron argued had no bearing on how cheery everyone was); although she did admit to Hermione, Ron and Harry later that evening that Fleur was beginning to grow on her.

“I guess she isn’t that bad.” Ginny said as the four of them sat in her room. Harry was holding Teddy and watching him as he changed his hair from red to black, he hardly listened to the rest of the conversation going on around him as he watched, mesmerized, as Teddy drifted into sleep. Harry put Teddy in his cot and told everyone to shut up or clear out because Teddy was going to be waking up in two hours no matter what and Harry’s only chance at a bit of sleep was whenever Teddy was asleep. Ron and Hermione bade Ginny and Harry goodnight and left the room whispering to each other. It was at that moment Harry realized just how tired he was. His head began to ache and his arms and legs were sore from all the digging he and Charlie did. Harry fell onto his camp bed and drifted to sleep without even taking his glasses off.

The next day at the Burrow went by in a blur. Mrs. Weasley shut herself off in the bedroom she shared with Mr. Weasley except for the few times a day she came out to cook and take care of Teddy, something Harry insisted he could do on his own but the crushed look on Mrs. Weasley’s face made him change his mind. Mr. Weasley was constantly coming and going from the Burrow, making arrangements for Fred and meeting with Andromeda Black to make arrangements for Remus and Tonks. Harry spent most of his time between helping Mr. Weasley and playing a half-hearted game of quidditch with Charlie, Ron and Ginny. The next morning was somber in the Weasley house. Mrs. Weasley wouldn’t come out of her room at all not matter how much Mr. Weasley and Bill coaxed her. Hermione, Ginny and Fleur were in the kitchen trying to make breakfast for the myriad of guests at the Weasley Home.

“This is terrible.” Ron shouted, spitting out his eggs onto his plate. “Hermione, please never cook again.” Hermione scowled at Ron. Harry laughed into the cup of coffee Ginny had brought him and nearly spilled it down his front which earned a howl of laughter from Ron. Harry emerged from his mug sputtering but smiling.

“I’d like to see you try and cook.” Ginny said coolly to Ron. “You can’t even cook a piece of toast without burning it.” Hermione laughed rather loudly at this and Ron stabbed his rubbery eggs moodily. Harry pushed his mug closer to the center of the table and began trying to put the smallest set of dress robes he had ever seen on a smiling, babbling Teddy. Dressing Teddy was harder than he had anticipated. Up until this point, Mrs. Weasley had taken care of Teddy for most of their stay, this Harry came to realize, included changing his clothes. Harry found this to be much more difficult than he originally anticipated. Teddy wouldn’t stop moving and thought Harry’s frustration was very funny. After Harry managed to dress Teddy, Hermione offered to keep an eye on him so Harry and Ron could change into their dress robes.

“How long d’you think this will take?” Ron asked donning the dress robes Fred and George had bought him two years ago.

“I dunno.” Harry said. “I haven’t been to many funerals, have I?”

“It better be short.” Ron said darkly. “I don’t think I can handle this any longer.”

“Fred was your brother.” Harry said sounding shocked. If he had any brothers, he would have been devastated by their deaths. Ron seemed to not care.

Harry adjusted his robes and straightened his glasses and followed Ron out of his violently orange bedroom and to the yard of the Burrow. There they met Ginny and Hermione, who was still holding Teddy, patiently waiting for them. Harry grabbed Teddy out of Hermione’s arms glad to have something to focus on that wasn’t Fred’s Death. The five of them followed the throng of visitors down the hill to the grave that Harry and Charlie had dug several days before.

Several dozen mismatched wooden chairs were arranged in rows in front if Fred’s grave. Bill motioned the five of them toward the front where he had saved four chairs. Harry and Ginny sat at the end of the row, Teddy held firmly in his arms. Hermione was on Harry’s left and Ron was on her left, next to Ron was George. Harry hadn’t seen George since Fred had died. His hair was tousled and his eyes were red and puffy. If Harry had to guess, he would have thought that George hadn’t slept in days. Harry looked around the gathering and spotted Lee Jordan looking down trodden sitting several rows behind the Weasley’s, Harry and Hermione. Angelina Johnson, Harry’s old Quidditch teammate, was sitting teary-eyed with Katie Bell, Alicia Spinnet and Oliver Wood, also former Quidditch players. Hagrid was wearing his nicest, horribly hairy tie and jacket and had fashioned his own chair in the back of the crowd. Harry watched as a pointy-chinned blond haired wizard slid into the crowd as inconspicuously as possible.

“Is that Malfoy?” Harry asked through gritted teeth. Ron and Hermione whipped their heads around.

“If that git is here…” Ron said darkly.

“Leave it alone.” Hermione hissed. “The ceremony’s staring.”

Fred’s body was on a small wooden table and shrouded in a magenta cloth covered with the Weasley Wizard Wheeze logo, something Harry thought was done on George’s assistance. The same wizard who had officiated Bill and Fleur’s wedding was there standing over Fred’s body. Harry tuned out most of what he was saying. Teddy had fallen asleep, his hair the same ginger color as the Weasley’s around him. Harry vaguely acknowledged each of the Weasleys as they got up and talked about Fred; how great he was, how he always made everyone laugh. Harry felt his stomach tie itself in knots. The small, tuffy haired wizard said a few more words and Harry watched as Fred was lowered into the ground and his body was covered with dirt.

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