blue forest

Ficlet for Starfishstar: Birthday Celebrations

Title: Birthday Celebrations
Author: huldrejenta
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters: Andromeda Tonks, Teddy Lupin
Rating & Warnings: PG, mention of past canon character deaths
Word Count: 650
Summary: Andromeda, Teddy and birthdays
Notes: Happy Birthday, dear starfishstar! I hope you're having a wonderful day! It's been lovely getting to know you better lately, and I love talking HP characters with you :) You're so sweet, kind and thoughtful ♥
This is unbeta'd.


The first birthday that Andromeda can remember is when she turned four or five. Silence crept through the house that morning like any other, making the sound of heavy raindrops flinging themselves against bedroom windows the only disruption her ears could pick up. Somewhere downstairs anxious house-elves undoubtedly did their best to calm Cissy down before breakfast. Mother’s fragile nerves could only take so much. Andromeda looked for her dressing gown when she noticed a sheet of parchment lying on top of her chest of drawers. It was a black-and-white sketch, crudely, but effectively drawn. A girl and a star, and in the corner a signature in crooked writing: Happy birthday! Love, Bella. Years later, when leaving her childhood home behind for good, the parchment was one of few possessions Andromeda brought with her.

Teddy can vaguely remember the day he turned three. Gran woke him up singing a version of He’s a Jolly Good Wizard that was more heartfelt than beautiful, before opening his curtains to let in hesitant rays of sunlight. The rest of the day was a blur of visitors, food and a sprinkling of items from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. He fell asleep slumped forward on the dining room table, clutching his new aviatomobile in one hand and some leftover lemon drizzle cake in the other.

On what turned out to be Andromeda's happiest birthday, she and Ted travelled to Scotland with Nymphadora. They wanted to show their daughter where her parents had once met. Nymphadora happened to be a lot more interested in climbing rocks and talking to everyone they met than any anecdote Ted could tell. It didn’t matter. Walking together through places where her fondest memories had taken place, Andromeda’s little family now created new ones.

Teddy can’t think of a happier birthday moment than waking up to find a broom beside his bed. But he’s hungry for life and nourishes a hope that his happiest birthday is yet in the future.

Andromeda can appreciate the irony of what she remembers as her angriest birthday. Turning heartache into anger isn’t a skill she’s acquired. It’s much easier to be angry about things that don’t matter, so while she remembers the anger that followed her the entire day, she can no longer recall what set it off.

Teddy’s angriest birthday started with a shock of joy when Harry gave him a letter written by Mum and Dad. Steadying his breath, Teddy curled up, rested his chin on his knees and began reading. But before long, the overwhelming anger he didn’t know was there made him stop. Why did they go there that night? Were his parents really that arrogant? Did they believe that their presence at The Battle of Hogwarts would be the one thing to lean the scale towards victory? As the anger eventually waned, sadness came in its wake. So Teddy held on to the anger, just a little while longer.

This birthday is slowly turning into the most peaceful Andromeda and Teddy have experienced. They’ve spent it talking until words lost their meaning, both of them listening without flinching once. Now they let easy silence settle around them, content to be near each other, to have a cup of tea, to breathe in and out. When the waning day has squeezed all the warmth out of the sun it’s going to get, Andromeda stands up from her chair and lifts a glass. “Happy birthday, Nymphadora,” she says. Teddy walks over to his grandmother and takes her hand, his eyes never leaving the pink-haired, smiling woman in the picture. “Happy birthday, Mum,” he says. “Give my love to Dad for me, will you?” They stand there for a few minutes before they turn and walk into the kitchen. There are plenty of things to be done, and they are ready for them all.
I wish I had something intelligent to say to this! But I did enjoy reading it; it was very well written, and I like that you went back and forth between Andromeda and Teddy. It's nice to see Teddy so loved.
Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. huldrejenta, I can't believe you wrote me a birthday ficlet. I can't believe you wrote me such a lovely birthday ficlet. (I was over the moon with delight even before I'd read the story, and all the more so after!) And of course you managed to include so many of my favorite things, Andromeda, and Teddy, and Remus/Tonks, and characters finding strong, happy moments even in amid the struggles of their lives. !!!!!

I'm not sure how to comment coherently. So many moving moments delivered in such few words! Ones that stood out to me particularly: Andromeda keeping that note from Bellatrix even when leaving her family; the delightful "He's a Jolly Good Wizard" (I want someone to wake me up singing that!); and oh, Teddy, trying to hold onto anger because at least it's better than sadness. And what a twist/bringing-it-all-together at the end, that with all these birthdays of their own they're remembering, the one they're actually celebrating is Tonks'.

So sweet and lovely. And for an extra delight, I arrived home just in time to read this in the last few minutes before midnight, while it was still my birthday – reading this story was literally the last thing I did on my birthday, a crowning delight to a well-spent day. Dear, lovely huldrejenta, thank you!
(Sorry for taking so long to reply!)

Oh I'm so happy you enjoyed this! <3

And of course you managed to include so many of my favorite things
I'm so pleased you think so! Andromeda is a character that's been there in the background for me on a few occasions, but never quite made it to a story, so this was a great chance to give her a little time on-screen :)

Teddy, trying to hold onto anger because at least it's better than sadness.
You know, I do think Teddy had a happy childhood in many ways, but at some point or another he probably had thoughts like "The Order and their side had so many people - I had only two parents, and they both left me - how could they?" *Hugs Teddy*
I'm glad you enjoyed the birthday memories :) It was a pleasure writing you a little something :)

I do think Teddy had a happy childhood in many ways, but at some point or another he probably had thoughts like "The Order and their side had so many people - I had only two parents, and they both left me - how could they?"

Oh, absolutely! You can be totally, ridiculously, wonderfully loved (and I feel absolutely sure that Teddy is, by his wonderful grandmother and his wonderful godparents and surely the whole wonderful, crazy extended Weasley clan) and it still just sucks completely to never have gotten the chance to know your parents. (And to know that your parents made that choice, to put themselves in danger instead of staying home safely with you. OH GOSH, wait, idea: Teddy and Neville bonding over shared experiences fic...? Harry's parents at least tried to hide with him, so maybe Neville would understand Teddy in this sense even better than Harry does?)

Hmmmm, in any case, time to write compensatory fic about Teddy Lupin and his totally awesome life?? ;-)

THANK YOU again for this story! I'm still overjoyed by it!
it still just sucks completely to never have gotten the chance to know your parents
Exactly!

OH GOSH, wait, idea: Teddy and Neville bonding over shared experiences fic...? Harry's parents at least tried to hide with him, so maybe Neville would understand Teddy in this sense even better than Harry does
You know, I think that could be absolutely wonderful. While we don't know precisely what happened when Neville's parents were caught, they at least didn't hide the way Harry's parents did (nor would they have the same reason to do so, I imagine). And both Teddy and Neville growing up with their grandmother. Yes, I'd love to see these two bond!


Hmmmm, in any case, time to write compensatory fic about Teddy Lupin and his totally awesome life?? ;-)
I have to say, I do like the sound of that :)

THANK YOU again for this story! I'm still overjoyed by it!
:-)
This was beautiful. I love the differences and similarities between them. How one held to anger a little longer to keep the sadness at bay, while the other simply can't.

I love their happy birthdays, the differences made by the age, until the reached this moment in which a birthday is peaceful and loving. Wonderful. Made my eyes fill. <33
This is so sweet, apparently so simple, and so moving. Of course it's not simple at all because you've touched on sadness and anger and loss, and I really didn't see it coming at all that the birthday that they were remembering (and celebrating) was Tonks'. And it's perfect because Andromeda and Teddy are so strong, and the ending is one of hope and peace.

I love the birthday memories you've come up with as well; I want to highlight the same ones as starfishstar. What a lovely story.

Edited at 2015-03-15 08:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for such a lovely comment!

Andromeda and Teddy are so strong, and the ending is one of hope and peace.
I'm so glad you feel that way - I wanted the two of them to find peace and have a celebration with joy despite the sadness in the background.
I love the paralels and contrasts, especially:
- Andromeda's first memory is quiet and ominious. Teddy's first is loud and full of loving people.
- Andromeda's happiest birthday is about walking down memory lane, reliving the past, creating new memories. Teddy is about hope for the future.
- Andromeda's angriest birthday is what it is because her anger is about the little things, not the things that causes sadness and loss in her life. Teddy's anger is about the big things, trying to push grief away with anger.
- The last birthday (and I love that it's Tonks's) has a peaceful silence, the opposite of the uneasy silence of the first scene. The first scene is a rainy morning, the last scene is a sunny evening, coming to a full circle.

It's very possible I've over-analyzed this comepletely, lol!
But as usual you pull at my heartstrings seemingly effortlessly with a few, quiet words. Lovely! :-)
Thank you so much! What a lovely comment :)
I'm glad you see the things you do in the structure, I don't think you've over-analyzed ;)
Thank you so much for sharing your birthday fic! That last line killed me. Wiping my eyes now!
Thank you so much for your kind words :) I'm so glad to hear the last line hit you (hopefully in a good way ;))!