Teddy Lupin's ears pricked up at the sound of the doorbell. Finally, it was here, the day that he had been waiting for all year.
He pulled his eight-year-old socks on and his eight-year-old shoes, threw on his eight-year-old shirt, and ran down the stairs. Finding that something was missing, he quickly returned to his room to pull on a pair of trousers. His big-boy, eight-year-old trousers. They were nothing like his seven-year-old trousers. These were special.
Uncle Harry was coming over today, with Victoire and Uncle Charlie. He was finally
going to play Quidditch.
He raced down the stairs in his new shoes when he heard the knock at the door. He could hear his grandmother opening the door and inviting Harry inside. “Uncle Harry!” Teddy squealed as he raced over to hug his godfather.
“There’s the special birthday boy!” Harry said, grinning. “Are you ready for your first Quidditch lesson?”
“He’s talked of nothing else for days,” Mrs. Tonks remarked, looking down at her grandson fondly.
“Is Victoire with you?” Teddy asked hopefully of Harry.
Harry smiled, bemused. “Yes, she and your Uncle Charlie are out at the pitch already. Come on!”
Grabbing his godfather's hand, Teddy raced down to the small pitch, tripping over small gnome holes on the way. Upon the sight of the high, white goals and the hovering Charlie, Teddy stopped, frozen in his tracks.
"What if I fall off?"
Harry bent down in front of his godson, staring him straight in the eyes. "Well, I guess I'll just have to catch you then, won't I?"
And Teddy, with the mind of an eight-year-old, felt safe. There was no doubt whatsoever that Uncle Harry would take care of him.
Happy birthday, Teddy!”
Teddy immediately perked up at the sight of Victoire Weasley running towards him, her blonde hair flying behind her. He smiled widely. “Thanks, Victoire!” She grabbed his hand and the two of them raced over to the broomsticks on the edge of the pitch. Charlie landed by Harry and strode towards him.
“Hey Harry, you ready for this?”
"Of course," Harry said, grinning. “I wouldn’t want to miss this for the world.” He and Charlie walked over to where the two kids were already picking up the broomsticks with interest.
going to ride the Shooting Star. It's my dad's old broom. What about you, Teddy?"
Victoire picked up a broomstick from the small pile as she spoke. It was a dark green, with orange bristles.
Teddy shrugged, and turned to Harry
"Which one was yours?"
The older wizard pointed to the one on the end, grinning, as he saw the remnants of a feather dangling from the front.
"Where's the feather from?" Teddy asked curiously.
"It's a snowy white feather from my first owl, Hedwig," Harry answered. "She passed away awhile ago."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Teddy said somewhat awkwardly. He looked away.
"It's okay," Harry said reassuringly. "Come on, let's get you flying!"
He led Teddy over to where Charlie and Victoire were waiting by a chest. As they approached, Charlie opened the chest with his wand and it flew open, revealing three balls, two of which were tied down, and a small locked compartment that caught Victoire's attention.
"What's in there?"
Charlie just smiled and unclasped the ball on the right, pulled it out, and held it out in his palm.
"This one's the Quaffle. It's-
"Thrown around by the Chasers. They try to get it in the hoops. Ten points per goal!"
Charlie was stunned by Teddy's interruption.
"And I thought you knew nothing about Quidditch?"
Teddy blushed and smiled sheepishly. "I've been studying.... a bit."
Victoire rolled her eyes.
"Right," said Charlie. "There are usually three Chasers on a team, but when we play, there'll just be one."
"What are you doing, Uncle Harry?" Victoire asked suddenly. Harry was kneeling on the ground, fumbling with the straps of the other two visible balls.
Harry grabbed a bat. "Stand back," he warned Teddy and Victoire. They exchanged nervous glances before taking tentative steps back.
Harry released the strap and the jet black ball shot straight up. It came back down just as quickly as it had ascended and with a strong whack!, Harry averted the ball from hitting anyone.
Victoire emitted a girlish squeal as Harry dropped the bat to the ground, readying himself for the returning impact of the Bludger.
Wrestling the jittery ball back into the box, Harry grunted.
"Say 'ello to the Bludger. Nastiest piece of work on the pitch."
Victoire and Teddy took a step back.
Once the ball was clipped back in, Charlie pulled Harry up from the ground.
"Bludgers are hit around by the Beaters, who aim them at players on the other team, and advert them from players on their team."
Victoire tilted her head. "Do you get points?"
Charlie shook his head. "Not these balls. Bludgers are meant to stop the other team from scoring points."
Teddy was nodding, but Victoire looked a bit put out.
"But Uncle Charlie," she protested, "If Chasers can only score ten points for the Quaffle, then how are you supposed to win?"
"The Golden Snitch!" Teddy shrieked. He seemed immensely proud of himself. Victoire shot him a confused look.
"But there aren't any more balls to play with."
“The Snitch is very special,” said Harry. “We keep it in here.” He pointed to the small compartment that Victoire had pointed out earlier.
With a small, almost inaudible click, the compartment popped open. The Golden Snitch fluttered out, and hovered a few inches from Victoire's nose. Her eyes shimmered.
"I like this Snitch already."
Charlie laughed, "Don't get too starry-eyed. There's only one Seeker per team."
Victoire slid her hands to her waist and pursed her lips. "Are you saying I'm not good enough?"
Teddy muttered under his breath.
"Shut up," the blonde snarled. "I could beat you any day."
"But you've never been on a broom!" Teddy countered, taking a similar stance.
“Have too!” Victoire shouted. The two glared at each other.
"Tell you what, guys," Harry said quickly, wanting to avoid conflict. "Maybe this first game, we'll play without the Snitch. That way, you guys can try out the different positions. You can each be Chasers, and Charlie and I will be the Keepers - Keepers guard the goal posts," Harry added, noticing Victoire's questioning stare.
"What about the Bludgers?" Teddy asked offhandedly.
"Well...we don't have to play with them, if you don't want-" Charlie began.
“No, let’s play with them!” Victoire said, clearly wanting to take advantage of Teddy’s hesitation. “After all, they’re part of a real
Teddy rolled his eyes. Must Victoire always show him up?
"Fine. We'll play with the Bludgers."
Charlie and Harry exchanged looks. They had clearly gotten themselves into...something.
They were just about to head a few feet into the air when a light voice called over to them.
thinking about starting without us, now?"
Bright-eyed Ginny and poised Fleur were making their way over to the pitch. Teddy and Victoire launched themselves at their aunt and mother.
"You've come to watch us!" they cried.
"Watch?" Fleur said, lifting her nose into the air, "Why, we ‘ave come to play."
"Play?" Teddy repeated, a bit confused. "I thought you didn't like being on a broom, Aunt Fleur."
Fleur huffed. "It is my Victoire's first time on a broomstick. Do you think I would let 'er play wizout me?"
Charlie and Harry exchanged glances, but they shrugged.
"Okay, how about this," Harry began. "Teddy and Victoire, you two will be the Chasers. Charlie and Fleur will play Keeper, and Ginny and I will be the Beaters.”
“What about the Seeker?” Ginny protested. “And why are we playing with Bludgers their first time?”
Harry shifted his weight from foot to foot, "Well, they wanted-
"Do you think I care what they wanted, Harry James Potter? What is it with you? They're tiny little things! Bludgers could kill them!"
Fleur shook her head, "It is good zat we got 'ere on time. What would 'ave ‘appened wizout us?"
Ginny turned to Teddy and Victoire, "Do I sense that we have two little seekers on our hands?"
The two grinned.
Harry released the Quaffle from its case, tentatively holding it under one arm. Ginny quickly surrounded the playing field with the usual enchantments to make sure that the Snitch could not escape.
In a deep announcer’s voice, Harry proclaimed, “Players mount your brooms. On my whistle, then. 3-2-1 Tweet!
” He touched two fingers to his mouth in a piercing whistle.
It was immediate disarray. Harry threw the Quaffle into the air and Ginny caught it laughing. She made to swoop towards Charlie’s goal when she noticed that the two children were merely gazing up into space.
“What’cha guys doing?”
“Waiting for the Snitch,” Teddy answered, giving Ginny a confused look. “That’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it?”
“Not exactly,” Harry cut in. “You’ve got to fly around for it. Seekers have to be the best flyers on the team.”
“Were you the best flyer on your team, Uncle Harry?” Victoire asked, enthralled.
“Well,” Harry began, “I wasn’t bad-”
“Stop showing off, Harry, we’ve got a game,” Ginny interrupted. Grinning, Teddy was the first to push off of the ground.
Victoire and Teddy slowly ascended into the sky. Five feet, Ten feet, fifteen feet! Soon, they were at eye level with their teammates.
Teddy was looking down.
"Just look up, Teddy! It's not that far down, really!"
Teddy nodded, albeit a bit shakily, and started to move forward as Ginny let out a loud whoop from the other end of the field.
Harry was flying at full speed towards Ginny’s end. The baskets that served as goal hoops looked very small from Teddy’s vantage point. They were diminishing in size and it seemed that his godfather was getting smaller by the minute.
Ginny’s outstretched hands deflected the ball from the goal. She laughed as Harry tried to wrestle it from her hands. Suddenly Ginny caught sight of Teddy and released the Quaffle, leaving Fleur to swoop for it.
“Teddy! Lean forward. You’re rising too high.”
“I can’t! It’s too high!”
“You’re fine, Teddy,” Harry called encouragingly. “Just lean forward slowly. You know I’ll catch you if you fall.”
Cautiously, Teddy leaned forward on his broomstick, and he evened out his height.
“Uncle Harry, Uncle Harry!” Victoire was tapping him on the shoulder.
“Where did the Snitch go? I can’t see it anywhere!”
Harry smiled. “That’s part of the game. You have to look really carefully for that flash of gold because the Snitch moves really quickly and tries to escape the Seeker.”
Victoire looked nervous. “But that could take hours!”
Harry laughed. “Hey, no one said it was easy!”
“Harry!” Ginny said indignantly. “You shouldn’t talk like that. The poor child will never find it.”
“Will so!” Victoire replied. “Watch me!” The girl zoomed off, narrowly avoiding Harry as he swerved to the side to avoid collision.
“Bet I can get to it first!” Teddy shouted, going as fast as he could after Victoire. He didn’t want to fall off, but he couldn’t let a little girl beat him. He would show prissy Victoire who was boss.
“Teddy! Watch out!” Ginny screamed as he headed straight for collision with the goalpost.
Teddy swerved to the left, his elbow brushing against the white metal.
Victoire frowned and swooped downwards, keeping a careful eye out for a flash of gold.
Harry did several loop-de-loops in the air.
Ginny collided with Harry mid-swoop.
Victoire shouted, "I SEE IT, I SEE IT!"
She pointed frantically at the middle of the small pitch. "Right there!"
Ginny cheered, "Go get it!"
Teddy was searching desperately in the direction that she had been pointing to. He just didn't get it. How could someone see something so tiny, so far away?
Harry saw Teddy squinting into the distance, watching rather than following Victoire’s movements. Harry flew up to him.
“I’ll give you a hint. Lower your stomach towards the broom, focus on her broomstick, and fly faster than those airplanes we sometimes see.”
“’Cause once you catch up, you will probably be able to see the Snitch.” Harry laughed as Teddy shot through the air and glanced back at his godfather, as though asking for approval.
Teddy was a good flier and was soon on Victoire’s tail.
“I’ve almost got it!” Victoire shouted as she raced towards the gold glint, the adults cheering her on. “And…there!” With a magnificent swoop, Victoire snatched the Snitch out of the air, holding it triumphantly above her head.
“Got it!” Victoire shouted at Teddy, waving the Snitch under his nose. “See, it’s not that hard, is it? But I showed you!” Behind her, Fleur sighed as she moved towards her daughter. It looked like it was time for a little mother-daughter talk on how to win, if the dejected expression on Teddy’s face was any indication.
“You okay, Teddy?”
Teddy turned around to see Harry coming towards him. The eight-year-old looked crestfallen. “How could I have lost to a girl?”
Ginny laughed. “Don’t worry about it. I had male Seekers losing to me all the time at school.”
“Yeah,” piped up Victoire. “Maybe us girls are just built better for flying.”
Teddy scowled. “I don’t like this game much, Uncle Harry. The girls are always going to win it.”
Harry shook his head. “That’s not true, Teddy. Victoire’s just kidding. There’s nothing anatomical about a girl that makes her a better Seeker.”
Teddy scrunched his nose. "What's anatomical mean?"
Harry sighed. "Never mind that. Just don't listen to Victoire," he whispered. "Girls aren't better than boys, they just look better on brooms."
Teddy rolled his eyes, "Uncle Harry? Girls are nasty."
Dumbfounded, Harry watched as Teddy walked away, and up the hill to the house.
Ginny caught her husband's eye as she hugged Fleur and Victoire.
"Go talk to him," she mouthed.
When Harry followed Teddy into the house, Teddy suddenly turned around and stared his godfather in the eye.
“Why aren’t I as good as you? Were you really bad at my age too?” Teddy asked.
“You’re not bad, Teddy. You are young and the more you work at it the better you will get. I bet in no time you will be better than me.”
“You worked really hard to be this good then,” Teddy pronounced.
Harry’s face turned a deep maroon color. He bit his lip, wondering about the worth of honesty in this situation.
“Er…I trained a lot in school,” Harry conceded, trying not to point out his natural knack for Quidditch. “I can see natural talent in you, though,” he lied. In truth, Teddy was a bit awkward in the air, but practice could fix that. “And there are things more important than Quidditch.”
“I know,” Teddy sighed, shuffling his feet. “Like what Mum and Dad did.”
“Right,” Harry agreed, ignoring the stabbing pain in his heart. “Do as well as your Mum and Dad, and I’ll admire you much more than if you were a Quidditch star.”
Teddy smiled sadly at Harry. “Do you ever miss your Mum and Dad, Uncle Harry?”
Harry nodded. “I think about them every day. But I know they’re not really gone.”
Teddy looked at him, confused. “What do you mean?”
“Because the ones we love never truly leave us,” Harry said softly, recalling the words Dumbledore had spoken to him so long ago. “They live on inside our hearts, and they’re watching over us above.”
“Is that why you like flying so much? Because you’re flying up to where your parents are?”
Harry thought for a moment, and then replied, “Yes.”
Teddy smiled. "Do you think Mum and Dad saw me fly today?"
Harry nodded. "I think they were cheering you on as loudly as they could. Did you hear them?"
Teddy liked to think that he did.
“Come on,” said Harry, ruffling Teddy’s hair. “Let’s go back out to the others.” Teddy nodded and he followed Harry to the door. Just as they were about to step outside, Teddy pulled him back.
“Can we fly again sometime? I want to see my parents.”
Harry smiled. “I promise we’ll fly again really, really soon.”
Teddy grinned back at him and they walked together back to the pitch.
“There he is, the birthday boy!” Ginny exclaimed when she saw him. “We were just about to start another game. Want to play?”
“Maybe I’ll even let you win!” Victoire giggled.
Teddy looked at Harry, who nodded encouragingly. “Yeah, I want to play again.” He turned to the rest of the group. “Are all of you going to play with us?”
They nodded, and together, the group kicked up from the ground, Ginny releasing the balls and Snitch into the air.
Together they played, hard and for hours, soaring through the skies, watched above by those they had lost, until the sky was streaked with orange and gold. As Teddy passed the tops of the highest tree, he thought he could hear his parents cheering him on as he soared on into the sunset. He grinned back and waved, happy to feel their comforting presence. He knew, right then, that his Uncle Harry was right. The ones he loved would never, ever leave him. And every time he played Quidditch, he knew they were always watching him and cheering him on.