Raising Teddy

Chapter 8

Leaving the Muggle world was easier than Harry had expected. Of course, he had already done it once so the second time around wasn’t nearly as surprising or shocking as when he was eleven years old. Harry packed all of his things up in his knapsack (expect for Oswald who left with Hermione on Harry insistence) and told his landlady that he would not be renting for another month. She didn’t seem to mind this much and hardly acknowledged Harry at all.

Harry made his way into an alley out of sight of any passing muggles and for the first time in a long time Disapperated. As much as Harry hated the feeling of being sucked into a tube as if he were a piece of dirt being vacuumed, he enjoyed the opportunity to use his magical abilities to the fullest extent. Harry opened his eyes, not realizing that they had been closed and check both himself and Teddy for Spliching. After assuring himself that both of them had made it to the Islington completely unharmed, Harry faced the building he was looking for.

Grimmauld Place residents had long accepted the numerical error that left Number Eleven and Number Thirteen sitting side by side. Harry was one of the few people that knew Number Twelve even existed. The name of it had barely crossed his mind when the building began to materialize out of thin air. Harry approached it and for the first time in a long time opened the door to the home he had inherited from his godfather Sirius Black. Harry carried Teddy through the entry hall and past the portrait of Mrs. Black, Sirius’s mother, that screamed every time there was something loud or something she deemed unfit to be in her ancestral home. Unfortunately for Harry, this seemed to occur very frequently.

He carefully walked through the hall, as quietly as possible. Harry’s eye could the troll leg umbrella stand that Tonks had knocked over nearly every single time she had set foot in her Aunt’s home. Harry showed it to Teddy.

“Your mum” He said. “Knocked this over nearly every time she came here. She was dead clumsy.” He chuckled to himself.

“I hope you aren’t as clumsy as her.” Harry whispered to Teddy. They had passed the portrait of Mrs. Black; unfortunately she seemed to have bat-like hearing and as a result nowhere in the house was completely safe from her insults and blood-curdling screams. Harry climbed down the stairs and walked into the spacious kitchen. The large fireplace was empty and there was a clear inch of dust over the entire room. A spider web had formed from the edge of the table to the floor. It had been a long time since Kreacher had lived in Grimmauld Place. Harry guessed that he had returned to Hogwarts when Harry, Hermione and Ron didn’t return from the Ministry of Magic last September. Harry looked around the room and tentatively raised his voice.

“Kreacher?” He called. There was a loud crack and a small, slumped over creature appeared at Harry’s feet. His bat-like ears sprouted copious amount of fine, white hair and his bulbous eyes fixed there gaze on Harry and Teddy. His snout-like nose was pressed against the floor as he bowed to them.

“Master called from Kreacher?” Kreacher said pulling his nose off the floor.

“Kreacher this is Teddy.” Harry said indicating the baby in his arms. “He’s related to…the Black family.” Kreacher’s ancient eyes transfixed themselves on Teddy.

“The blood of my mistress?” Kreacher whispered.

“Something like that.” Harry said. “Listen Kreacher, I have to go somewhere. I promise I’ll be back, but d’you think you could keep an eye on Teddy for me and clean up around here a bit?”

“Of course Master Harry.” Kreacher said. He bowed again, his nose sweeping the filthy floor. Harry handed Teddy to Kreacher and set his knapsack on the floor.

“Everything you need is in there.” Harry said. “I’ll be back soon.” He walked up the stairs and through the hallway before exiting Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. He waited until he was outside to Disapperate.

Harry had been to the visitors entrance of the Ministry of Magic on two occasions. The first time when he was nearly expelled from Hogwarts and the second time when he thought he was saving his godfather only to lead to Sirius’ death. The visitor’s entrance was quite inconspicuous; a red telephone booth. Harry had his hand on the handle of the door before he changed his mind. Did he want to accept Kingsley’s offer? Of course he did, being an Auror was something he had wanted since his fourth year at Hogwarts. Despite what everyone referred to as his extraordinary powers as a wizard, Harry didn’t feel extremely confident in his ability to protect and defend the Wizarding world.

But you saved them. You saved them all, from You-Know-Who. Seven times. Said the voice in his head.

“I’ve always had help.” He argued.

Not always.

I’m not prepared.

You’ve beat him, face to face. You’ve mastered Death.

“I can’t do it.” Harry muttered to himself. His hand dropped from the handle of the telephone booth and he turned away.

“I have til the end of the week.” He reasoned. “I can decide then.”

Harry didn’t return to Grimmauld Place immediately. He spent a good hour or two wandering around London, watching the Muggles as they went about their daily business.

All these people. He thought. And they never even knew what was going on.

On occasion Harry would see a man or woman dressed in purple or green that would catch his eye and whisper to each other excitedly as the motioned to their own foreheads. This was how Harry knew he was getting close to a Wizarding establishment. He never ventured inside, careful to keep his distance from the storm of witches and wizards prepared to welcome him with opened arms. As the sun rose in the sky, Harry decided that he had left Kreacher and Teddy alone long enough and that it was time to return to Grimmauld Place.

Grimmauld Place was cleaner than Harry had ever seen it. Kreacher had cleaned every surface twice. The floors in the hallway were gleaming and the gas lamps that lined the wall were burning brightly. Harry was halfway down the stairs to the kitchen when Kreacher blocked his path.

“Master Harry has visitors.” Kreacher said. The fake locket Harry had given him last year was hanging around his neck, the bottom of it touching the top of the tea towel he was using as a loincloth.

“Visitors?” Harry asked. He hadn’t told anyone that he was moving, much less given them a change of address.

“Master Ron, the Muggleborn and another Weasley.” Kreacher said an edge of excitement in his voice. He had, with a bit of time, grown fond of Ron and extremely tolerant of Hermione. Harry let Kreacher lead him the rest of the way into the kitchen where Hermione and Ron were sitting with Ginny at the long table. Kreacher had taken it upon himself to serve them tea and scones whilst they were waiting for Harry to return.

“Master Teddy is in Master Sirius’ room.” Kreacher told Harry handing him a cup of tea.

“Thanks Kreacher.” Harry said. Kreacher nodded happily and disappeared into his cupboard.

“What are you doing here?” Harry asked.

“Ron wanted to be the first one to welcome you back.” Ginny said. “I think he’s in love.” Both Harry and Hermione sniggered. Ron made a rude hand gesture to Ginny who returned it happily.

“How’d you know I’d be here?” Harry asked.

“It is your house Harry.” Hermione said, taking a sip of her tea. “You never really wanted to leave it.”

“Are you joining then?” Ron asked him eagerly over the delicious chicken legs that Kreacher had made for them. For the first time in a very long time, Harry felt happy, comfortable and at home. When it reached an unbearably late hour Ron and Hermione bade Harry goodbye and woke a sleeping Ginny. Ginny kissed Harry sleepily on the lips and left grumbling with her brother. Harry, feeling quite tired himself bade Kreacher goodnight and climbed several set of stairs until he reached the top landing where Sirius’ room was.

He pushed the door open, careful not to wake up the sleeping Teddy. Kreacher had, evidently, cleaned this room too. There was not a speck of dust or spider web to be seen. The faded faces of scantily clad Muggle girls looked down on Harry from every direction. He settled into Sirius’ bed and looked over to see Teddy sleeping in his cot in the corner of the room. He had a nasty feeling that Teddy would disappear if he wasn’t in Harry’s sight. Harry was about to take his glasses off when the only magical picture in the room caught his eye. The four Marauders; James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew, were staring down at the two young orphans smiling and waving at the camera.

“Y’know Teddy.” Harry said, taking off his glasses and placing them on a small table next to the bed. “Our dads were friends. Really good friends. They were good men. Sirius too. It’s Pettigrew’s fault we’re here; well not directly but he wasn’t exactly on our side.” Teddy didn’t respond, not that Harry had expected him to.

“I never finished school.” Harry said after a moment. It was something he had been saying a lot recently; saying it however didn’t change anything. “Kingsley wants me to become an Auror. I haven’t a proper education, but he offered me a position. Ron reckons I should take it. Hermione too.”

Teddy didn’t respond and Harry was stricken by the feeling that he was talking to himself.

“Sometimes,” He said. “I really hate having no parents. “

Harry rolled over on his side and fell asleep to the sounds of Teddy’s deep breathing.

The next morning Harry woke up with a renewed sense of purpose. Teddy seemed to sense the renewed spirits of his godfather and changed his hair to a bright shade of turquoise to reflect the happier air that had swept over Number Twelve. Kreacher also seemed to be in better spirits and it showed in his cooking. Although Harry was the only human in the house that was able to eat solid foods, Kreacher had made enough toast, bacon and eggs to feed at least a dozen people. Kreacher insisted that Harry eat several helpings and he did; Harry ate until he became uncomfortably full and he had to almost beg Kreacher to let him leave the table.

Harry decided that it was safe to leave Teddy with Kreacher again and once again set out to the Ministry of Magic. He Apperated to just outside of the visitor’s entrance, and stepped inside the telephone booth before he had a chance to change his mind. Harry looked at the keypad and typed the same numbers Harry remembered Arthur Weasley typing two years ago. He was greeted by a cool female voice asking him to state his name and reason for visiting.

“Harry Potter.” Harry said. “Meeting with the Minister.” A small silver badge slid out of a coin slot it read:

Harry Potter

Meeting with the Minister

Harry took it and pinned it to the front of his t-shirt. The telephone booth began to make its way into the group and Harry felt a swooping sensation in his stomach. Was he doing the right thing? Of course he was. The reassurance didn’t stop him from feeling a tad nauseous as the doors opened into the Atrium. Less than a year ago, Harry had stood in this very atrium, disguised as someone else in an attempt to steal one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes from Dolores Umbridge; they had succeeded but at a great cost. Their infiltration of the Ministry had cost them the security of Grimmauld Place, forcing them so go on the run through the English countryside. On the bright side they had saved about half a dozen Muggleborns from being interrogated by one of the most loathsome people Harry had ever met. Just thinking about Umbridge made the scars on the back of his right hand tingle and he rubbed them self-consciously.

Harry was jerked back to reality when he heard the sound of his name. No one in particular was calling to him; however several small groups were discussing his presence in the Ministry. He ignored these mutterings and passed the spot where the Fountain of Magical Brethren used to stand; there was no fountain or statue there now, just a large circle of floor that had yet to be worn over by the shuffling feet of Ministry employees and visitors alike. Harry walked over to the set of lift and climbed in the one that seemed to be the least crowded. There was one other wizard abroad, a small, weathered man who looked as if he hadn’t sleep in a month. He was covering something in his hand; he whispered to it and, spotting Harry began to whisper more furiously and furiously than he had done before.

“Level four: Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical creatures.” Said a cool disembodied female voice. The wizard and whatever was clutched in his hand got off on the level, leaving Harry alone with several dozen violet, paper airplanes that Mr. Weasley had once told him were interdepartmental memos. Harry continued on the lift, passing levels two and three before the lift doors opened once again on level one.

“Level one: Minister of Magic and Support Staff.” Harry climbed out of the elevator and began walking along the corridor. Only after he had wandered for a while it occurred to him that he didn’t even know where the Minister’s Office was and he was prepared to leave the Ministry and just send Kingsley an owl later that day (of course, Harry didn’t even have an owl he could use to send Kingsley a letter) when he heard his name called out from behind him.

“Harry.” It was Mr. Weasley, the lights overhead shone on his balding head and horn-rimmed glasses. He appeared to have been running to catch up to him and was bent over his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. “Are you here to see Kingsley?”

“Yeah. How’d you know?” Harry asked. Mr. Weasley smiled kindly at him.

“Kingsley’s been anxious to get you into the Auror Department. Hasn’t stopped talking about it all month.” It made Harry’s heart soar to hear the Kingsley thought so highly of him. “Come, I’ll show you his office.”

Harry followed Mr. Weasley back down the corridor and past the lifts. The stopped at a large wooden door at the end of the hall. On it there was a tarnished plaque that said:

Minister of Magic

Beneath it there was a second plaque. This plaque was newer, shiner and bright gold. It read:

Kingsley Shacklebolt

Arthur Weasley knocked on the door three times. There was the sound of shuffling papers and then Kingsley’s deep voice saying “Come in.” Harry thanked Mr. Weasley and opened the door. The Minister’s Office was large and cluttered with papers. Kingsley sat behind a large oak desk and motioned for Harry to sit in one of the comfortable leather chairs in front of it. Harry sat down and Kingsley cleared his throat.

“To what do I owe this pleasure?” Kingsley asked, looking down at Harry in a very Dumbledoreish way.

“I’m in.” Harry said. “I want to be an Auror.”

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