This nightmare is yet another deviation, adopting a twist all the more heartbreaking for him. He's never seen Hogwarts yet, so his mind makes up visions of the room. He's never seen the faces of the Death Eaters, so his mind has to make up visages for them, and they appear as demonic, fire-breathing creatures, almost too powerful for anyone to fight, let alone his parents. But this time, rather than just observing the battle, Teddy is fighting with them. He's holding a wand, clumsily, searching the crowd of faces, desperately seeking the two he's known all his life through photographs.
His heart's pounding as he weaves through the crowd of people, mindlessly dodging spells which would've surely killed him had this been reality and not merely a twisted dreamscape. But he's caught in that terrible place--not knowing this is a dream, and unable to stop it even if here were aware--and has only one thing on his mind. Finally, he rounds a corner and catches sight of his parents. For a brief moment, an almost debilitating wave of relief flows through him, but as he's about to stand beside them and fight, they're both killed. The Death Eaters disregard Teddy entirely, moving onto other prey, and he's left alone with an echoing silence, tempered only by the heavy pounding of his heart and the sobs gradually building at the base of his throat. He falls to his knees between them, one hand reaching for his father's hand, the other touching his mother's cheek. But there's nothing: no movement, no words, no admonishments or heartbeats or breath. There is only stillness and frozen breaths, and their faces blur as his eyes fill with tears.
"Shhh, Teddy Bear," a voice parts the fog of dreams. It's a distant sound at first, but familiar, and the soft, lilting tones soothe as they simultaneously rouse him. "Just a bad dream."
The voice is so like Gran's, but...not. It's female, though. Not Gran, or Molly, or Ginny, or Hermione. None of them. Then who--
Warm arms engulf him now, clumsily moving his body to rest against her chest. Her free hand smooths the wet, spiky hair from his forehead, still whispering gently in his ear. "It's the full moon. This always happens..."
She says the last part with a twinge of regret, wishing there were something she could do to spare him these dreams.
Finally, his eyes open and he peers up at her face, framed by the moonlight. It can't be. It's a face he's grown up with, but never been this close to, though he's longed for it. Her hair is duller than in the photographs, perhaps because of the worry clearly swimming in her eyes. But it can't be, can it?
"Of course, m'love, who else?"
His entire body is trembling as he shifts closer, sinking more deeply into her embrace, relishing every sensation suddenly overwhelming him: the safe, loving touch she offers; the steady staccato of her heartbeat, offering reassurance just by making noise; the smell of chocolate and tea and...moonlight. It's almost enough--almost--to convince him that this is real. But as he relaxes even more, his hand reaches up furtively, the tips of his fingers landing purposely on her cheek, seeking a confirmation of the warmth that only life--not dreams--can offer. At last, he accepts that perhaps his mind, so caught up in the vividness of the nightmare, was simply playing another cruel trick by attempting to convince him a life without his parents had been his true existence. Teddy drops his hand so that he can wrap both of his arms around his Mum's middle, nuzzling his head against her chest and involuntarily morphing his hair to match her faint shade of pink. Just before he drifts off to slumber once more, the comforting touch surrounding him seems to fade, and he's too lethargic to wonder whether it's his mother slipping off to her own bed, or another realm beyond this one, where her phantom presence can only be felt in that deceptive realm between wake and sleep.
Word Count: 829