character(s)/pairing(s): harry, teddy + harry/luna
rating/word count: pg, 1947 words
summary: Written for the Fall Fandom Free-For-All. ozmissage asked for Post-series AU. Harry raises Teddy. Sometimes Luna helps and this is what I came up with.
Six months after the war, Harry packs his bags and leaves England.
There’s no ticker tape parade, no farewell address. He leaves in the dead of night. Leaves behind an adoring public. Family and friends. A lover. A child.
The life never did feel like his, more something he stepped into accidentally or borrowed. Something gifted to him as a result of his and his mother’s sacrifice. The longer he stayed the harder it was to accept that the war had ended and these things were his to keep.
So he did what he knew best, he looked for something else to fix.
When Teddy is two, his grandmother dies.
By this time, Harry is off in some third world country rebuilding magical schools that Death Eaters had razed during the war. Anything to keep him out of England.
Teddy’s grandmother dies, suddenly, and Hermione owls Harry with the news that he’s just received custody of a toddler - a baby he barely knows outside of a few fireside chats and distant letters from Andromeda. An orphan.
Harry holds Teddy for the first time in 18 months by a gravestone six rows up and eight stones to the left from where Harry’s parents are buried.
Teddy smiles up at him, his hair turning a brilliant shade of green and Harry decides he can fix this.
Hermione brings him books on parenting. Enough that he could build a whole library. He barely has time to breathe let alone read.
Ron brings knitted jumpers and enough diapers to last him three months courtesy of Mrs. Weasley.
They bicker over whose gift is better. Well, not explicitly but Harry pretty sure the challenge exists.
Ron’s offering proves more practical, but Teddy seems to like napping to the sound of Carolyn Wesson’s The Importance of Time Management in Child Rearing book on tape.
Considering Harry sleeps when Teddy sleeps, he tells Hermione she won.
Harry thinks about seeing Luna a few months after Teddy’s settled in.
He gets as far as the edge of her family’s property before he turns around and heads home.
Parenthood comes easy, except when it doesn't.
There are times Harry feels like an expert, nights Teddy sleeps soundly through the night and meals that confine themselves to the plate, Teddy's mouth and the short trip between the two.
And then there are times that his whole house is kind of like something out of a war zone. Crayon on the wall, spaghetti on the floor, toys scattered everywhere and sights and sounds and smells that one could only accurately describe in a nightmare.
The latter is more common than the former.
Lucky for Harry, he's pretty comfortable with chaos.
Once his return is officially discovered, the Aurors offer him a spot, no questions asked.
He turns them down for Teddy's sake.
He's pretty sure that there is no real danger for an Auror in a post-Voldemort world, but that doesn't mean that he should tempt fate.
The boy has already been orphaned twice, who's to say a third time isn't in the cards.
Instead, Harry opens a pub. It happens to be two stores down from the apothecary Luna works at it.
Before Harry had left England, there had been this thing between him and Luna. It probably could have had a name if he hadn’t left so suddenly.
Luna didn't hold it against him. He knows this is why he chose her. She still sent him letters and birthday cards while he was gone. Still signed them with love.
When he starts up shop down the block, Luna greets him at the door on his first day, smiles as if no time has passed and asks how fatherhood is treating him.
No one has dared called him a dad yet. Not even Teddy.
Luna wants to meet Teddy.
This is a few days after Teddy’s third birthday.
Harry would agree this makes sense. Harry loves Luna. Harry loves Teddy. They need to at least like each other for this to work. Of course, Harry knows that Luna will have no problem liking Teddy. She likes Harry and he's twice the trouble Teddy is on a good day.
It's Teddy he has to worry about.
Teddy's not very fond of anyone who isn't Harry.
For starters, the Weasleys scare him – all of them. Harry thinks it's overwhelming for Teddy because there's so many of them and with the red hair and freckles they all kind of look the same. He hides behind Harry's leg whenever one of them tries to approach him.
Teddy's not very fond of Hermione either. It probably has to do with the baby voice she uses whenever she talks to him which even Harry has to admit might come across as condescending instead of cute to a child as smart as Teddy is. Hermione's working on it, but as long as she's married to a Weasley, it's not like it'll make much of a difference.
And Teddy tries with Neville at least, but after a few minutes of placating the young professor, Teddy will crawl up on Harry's lap and bury his head in his neck in what has come to signify please make that person go away
This isn’t to count everyone else that Teddy refuses to acknowledge or out right cries in the face of. Neighbors, acquaintances, people met in passing on the street.
And well, Luna is…well she’s Luna.
As it turns out, Harry has nothing to worry about.
Luna is amazing with kids, even a child as skittish as Teddy. All she does is smile at him and he’s a goner.
Harry knows the feeling.
Teddy is four when Harry decides he and Luna should get married. This is two years after he took custody of Teddy, one year and a half after he and Luna officially resumed whatever it was they had going. (Harry lied; even when they’re together he has no name for it)
Luna’s been living with them for seven months and the timing seems right.
It takes a lot to get her to say yes. She doesn’t understand his obsession with marriage, with the whole tradition. She doesn’t know why he needs a piece of paper to prove that she’s not going to leave him, especially after she stuck with him through the whole existential crisis after the war. Of course, she doesn’t say that last part, but Harry knows she’s thinking it.
Of course, Harry agrees but there’s more to it than that.
“I can’t make you Teddy’s guardian unless we’re married,” he blurts out finally. “I looked into it after you asked.”
And Luna had asked, in what a way that was both polite and blunt, ‘who’s going to look after him if you die’ and of course, Harry tried not to think about his own mortality since a good chunk of his adolescence was spent considering it, but he realized better than anyone no one could live forever and nothing was guaranteed.
She never asked to be Teddy’s guardian, but he never considered anyone else.
Luna looks stunned. “We need to be married?”
“Get the papers and I’ll sign them.”
Harry laughs. “Well that was romantic.”
“Be honest. You don’t want the big fancy wedding either.”
“Of course not.”
(In the end, they do have the big fancy wedding – five tier cake, shiny wedding gown and lots of birds and sparkling champagne – all for Teddy’s sake, of course)
Teddy calls Luna ‘Mom.’
He still doesn’t call Harry, ‘Dad’.
Luna worries about it more than he does. Teddy and Harry have come to communicate without words and when he does call him Harry it carries just as much emotion as the word ‘dad’ ever wood.
Still, he’ll admit it would be nice if he heard it just once.
Teddy is six when Luna finds out she’s pregnant.
Teddy does not take the news well. He hides himself in his room and refuses to come out, even for Luna. Harry manages to coax him out from under his bed with the promise of hot chocolate and a story and for a moment, Teddy forgets he’s mad at Harry.
“I’ll still be your favorite, right?” Teddy asks when the story’s finished.
“I’m going to love you both equally,” Harry promises. Teddy’s frown won’t seem to vanish though so he adds, “But you’ll always be the first born.”
Teddy peers up at him curiously, “That’s important, right?”
“Of course it is.”
Naming the baby is the hardest part.
Harry can only think of borrowing names from dead people and Luna's choices all sound like a garden variety of herbs.
Teddy wants to name the baby after a zoo animal.
Harry doesn't know what would be worse at this point Lily, Basil or Duck.
This goes on for six months, until Luna is due any minute and they have resolved themselves to picking out of a hat when the baby finally arrives.
And then one day Teddy toddles into the baby's room as Harry and Luna are assembling the crib. (Or more accurately, Luna is doing all the charm work as Harry tries not to get in her way.)
"Cat," Teddy says.
"What was that sweetie?" Luna says, as she continues her work.
"That's the baby's name. Cat."
Harry and Luna both look at him. This is nothing new.
"Yes," he shrugs as if saying just thought you both should know and then leaves. Harry and Luna stare at each other.
"He's suggested worse you know," Harry says. Pig, Goose and Tiger all come to mind. Of course, they were all on his preliminary list. According to Teddy, there were a lot of animals to choose from.
"Cat," Luna says, rubbing her stomach.
Harry's eyes light up, "Short for Catherine."
Luna's eyes flicker towards his and he tries to look away quickly so she won't realize what he's up to. But when he looks back, her smile tells him she's upping the ante. "Catherine Rosemary."
Catherine, as it turns out, was Harry's maternal grandmother. And according to Luna, rosemary goes great on chicken and helps align the chakras or something.
In the end, everyone wins.
Their daughter arrives on Christmas morning.
They spend the morning together as a family. Teddy feigns disinterest at first but then Cat looks up at him and coos and he won’t leave her side. Eventually, Luna shoos them off, tells them to spend sometime at home celebrating Christmas. Neither of them wants to leave but Luna won’t take no for an answer. She promises they’ll still be there in a couple of hours. Harry doesn’t know whether to believe it. Everything feels like something out of a dream.
Harry lets Teddy open his presents and they play outside in the snow for awhile before collapsing in front of the fireplace so they can roast marshmallows. When they finish the last s’more, Harry tells him to go get changed so they can get back to the hospital. Teddy doesn’t move for a second.
“Dad?” Teddy says. He uses the word carefully as if he’s not sure whether he’s allowed. Harry’s breath catches but he keeps himself from overreacting, knowing it will just make Teddy feel uncomfortable.
“Thank you,” Teddy says, and he leaves before Harry can even process what’s just happened.
Harry doesn’t know what it’s meant for, but he feels something warm twist its way inside his chest before settling there. He smiles into the fire and whispers, “No thank you.”
The truth is Teddy is the one who did the fixing.