The creaking of the large oak door disturbed the unsettling silence that had befallen the residence in which Harry found himself standing. The air that filled his lungs was heavy and elicited a small cough from the young wizard standing behind him, peering ever so carefully around Harry's larger form. The rays of sunlight that entered through the open door did little to dispel the sickly atmosphere of number 12 Grimmauld Place. It was only when the door finally closed behind them, eliminating the brief source of light, that the young boy with the mess of blue hair turned to look at his guardian, who had placed his trunk down on the floor.
"Are we going to be staying here?" Teddy asked, his voice uncertain as his gaze flitted over the many ominous portraits. He was interrupted from his observation when Harry's hand started to ruffle his hair, bending down so that he was level his godson.
"No. Not yet, at least," Harry replied, his voice sounding gruff and his eyes tired. "I'm afraid our visit will be cut short this time."
"But why though?"
Green eyes met those of the 7 year old in front of him as Harry breathed out deeply, How do you even begin to explain the premise of a divorce to someone so young? How could he explain that they would no longer be staying in Godric's Hollow for Teddy's visits, or how he would not be seeing James as much as he used to? The divorce settlement had been a hard knock for Harry; and losing the house had been the straw that broke the camel's back. He and Ginny had bought the house together and with the divorce looming around the corner, they had breached the agreement of the marriage contract, leaving the house in the Ministry's possession. All of this, however, was not something that a young mind should be bridled with.
"Things... are going to be a little different from now, Teddy," Harry finally responded with a downcast look.
"What do you mean? Did I do something wrong? Is that why James is gone?" the little voice responded, Teddy's lip trembling ever so slightly. That was the last thing Harry wanted to happen. Without a second thought, he reached out and pulled Teddy close, wrapping him in a tight embrace.
"Of course not. This was nothing you did, alright?" he paused, frowning slightly as he thought over his next words. "Sometimes, when grown ups get angry, they get along much better when they don't live together. They don't fight as much anymore and can become better people. And better parents, too. That's all this is." Harry pulled back and held Teddy at arms length. "We'll still be a family; it just won't be exactly like it used to be."
Teddy nodded slowly, understanding slowly showing on his face. "...Does that mean I'll still be able to visit?" A lighthearted laugh escaped Harry lips as he stood up to his full height.
"Of course it does. Just not at the moment. This place," he gestured around them, "needs a lot of work so that it can be safe for you and James to stay in for your visits. And until it's safe, you will need to stay with your grandmother for a little longer than usual."
A brief look of sadness flitted across Teddy's features before he nodded back, eliciting a small smile from Harry.
"Come on, let's get you out of here."
And with that, Harry ushered his godson out of the house in which he knew he would be spending quite some time in...
It was only now that he realised most of his current family consisted of Weasleys; even Hermione who had married Ron only two years prior, leaving Harry with no one to confide in. He didn't blame the Weasleys though; if he had a daughter of his own, he'd probably take her side too. Fortunately, he still had Teddy and James to take care of. If anything was motivation to get through this ordeal, it was the two of them and the promise he had made to Remus.
Harry peeked at the clock on the wall through his fingers that were currently entangled in his hair, before taking a deep breath and downing the rest of the liquid in the glass. In one swift movement, he placed 10 galleons on the counter and swung his coat of the chair. He was supposed to head back to the Ministry after dropping Teddy off, but couldn't bring himself to face anyone just yet. He was still fumbling with the sleeve of his overcoat when the door of the Three Broomsticks swung open; the exact moment that he meant to exit. Colliding full force with the newcomer, Harry stumbled back, gripping the table behind him in support.
A wave of dizziness overcame him as he moved to stand up straight again; it was definitely not the best idea to combine drinking and stumbling into objects around him. People would start to think he was a drunk. His mind was suddenly filled with all the possible horror stories that would grace his soon to be ex-wife's ears. 'Day-drinking, skipping out on work, a poor example of a father...' Harry shut his eyes for a moment, blocking out the annoying thoughts that plagued him, only to be met with the gentle greeting.
"Hello, Harry Potter."
Harry would recognise that light, airy voice anywhere. Looking up, he finally locked eyes with the pale silvery hues of the eccentric Ravenclaw he had come to know during his years at Hogwarts. A small wave of relief poured over him as a small smile graced his features.
"Hi, Luna," he answered, remembering his state of undress and reaching for the coat which now only clothed his one arm. "Sorry about that. I should have looked where I was going."
"Not to worry, Harry. I could see you were deep in thought. I hope I haven't interrupted anything?"
"Of course not," he replied lightly, now finally slipping into the dark article of clothing. it was then that he noticed Luna's rather whimsical attire. A light red blouse, complete with a bright yellow skirt and stripped stockings. It was certainly unusual, but it was definitely Luna.
"You look... nice today. Are you meeting someone here?" Harry asked, looking back into the pub briefly.
"Yes, actually. Neville and Hannah are meeting me here. We're trying to help him prepare for his final exam. Did you know he wants to teach Herbology one day?"
"Oh? That's really great, Luna. I can't think of anyone better for the job," he replied, reaching up to scratch the light stubble that had started to grow. Ginny had never been quite fond of it, if he had to be honest. His eyes went in and out of focus as he recalled moments of their married life; until he quickly brought himself back to reality.
"I suppose I should be going now. My lunch hour's almost up," Harry explained, his lip quirking up slightly, showing evidence of a smile. "It was good to see you again."
"Likewise, Harry Potter."
Harry then made to walk past her and out of the crowded establishment, though he could have sworn he heard the click of a camera as he passed. Shrugging off the paranoid feeling that seemed to follow him around often these days, he stepped out into the crowded alley, and with a snap, apparated back to the Ministry where one long day of work awaited him.
"Search for the answers I knew all along
I lost myself, we all fall down
Never the wiser of what I've become
Alone I stand a broken man"
- Breaking Benjamin