I-I

Dedicated to Tasha9315.


"I still can't believe you actually took Ancient Runes, of all subjects."

"Shut up, Al. I don't have time for your sniveling stupidity right now."

Teddy Lupin couldn't help rolling his eyes. To think that his morning had to begin with the annoying voices of bickering Potter boys instead of a nice cup of hot chocolate. He was just about to get some from the kitchen as he descended the stairs.

The Potter family—and most of the Weasley's extended side—would often spend their Christmas-New Year holiday at Grimmauld Place, Number Twelve, the house that once belonged to Harry Potter's godfather, Sirius Black. Mainly because it was closer to the heart of London—with so many of Teddy's cousins still schooling at Hogwarts, the young man could imagine all the chaos just to get the whole lot of them to King's Cross and catch the Hogwarts Express on time… with all their sanity intact.

Teddy could see in his mind's eye how his godfather, Harry, had to put himself in between his two sons, James and Albus, to prevent them from trying to hex each other. Uncle Ron would be cracking sarcastic jokes to his two children, Rose and Hugo, with Aunt Hermione threatening to use the Silencing Charm on his mouth if he wouldn't stop blurting out swear words every now and then. Aunt Ginny would yell at her brother George to get a room and stop flirting with his wife, Angelina, while their children, Fred and Roxanne, would me making faces behind their parents' backs…

He permitted himself a chuckle at the thought. Rowdy as they were, he still loved them all the same. (Bill and Fleur Weasley's amazingly gorgeous daughter, Victoire, would always have a special place in his heart… but that's saved for another time.)

Teddy almost dropped the mug in his hand when he entered the dining room, his eyes widening at the sight before him. Rolls of parchment and books written in runic letters were scattered around the long table; at the end of the paper maelstrom sat James, scribbling away on the parchment with an eagle-feathered quill… still in his pajamas, with a quilt over his shoulders.

"Teddy!" Albus greeted cheerily as he ran up to the young man. The latter noticed the young boy was already fully dressed, all ready to leave at a moment's notice. "Are you going to do Christmas shopping with us today?"

"Yeah, I guess."

Albus then dropped his voice to a staged whisper. "Look at Jamesie. He's gone mad."

Teddy walked over and set down his mug on the table, picking up the nearest runes book he could reach. "OWLs can make any slackers buckle up if they want to stay in Hogwarts." He shrugged, turning the book over in his hand. "But I've to admit that this is unexpected. Why Ancient Runes?"

"Anything's better than Divination," James' muffled voice replied from behind a mountain of parchment rolls.

"Don't let your Ravenclaw friend hear you say that," Teddy smirked, setting the book down. "Or he'd be making a prophecy of your impending doomsday next."

"Whatever. Just leave me alone."

"Of course we'll gladly do that, dear brother," Albus chortled, his voice trailing as he left the dining room and went up the stairs. "Poor Jamesie, stuck in a musty old house rushing his homework—on Christmas holidays!"

James muttered a curse under his breath, clearly pissed at Albus' sing-song chant echoing around the house. "He better shut his trap before—"

"HOW DARE YOU DEFILE THE NOBLE HOUSE OF BLACK? BLOOD TRAITORS! FILTHY MUDBLOODS! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, YOU—"

"—YOU SHUT UP, YOU BLITHERING BITCH!" James had stormed out of the dining room to the portrait of Mrs. Walburga Black, unleashing his pent-up fury at her before he shut the curtains in her face.

Teddy made a mental note to himself to never get on James' nasty side.

He picked up his young cousin's half-finished essay. He couldn't understand any of the strange symbols—he never took Ancient Runes when he was at Hogwarts—but one of the latinized translations caught his eyes.

"Shouldn't this be eihwaz, not ehwaz?"

James came back and scrutinized at the part that Teddy had pointed out to him. "You're right," he said, looking up at the man. "How d'you know that?"

"Just recalling one of those stories Uncle Ron used to tell us," Teddy replied with a wink, returning the essay to James. "Something that Aunt Hermione had told him when they were in their OWLs year."

"Really. Thanks anyway." James gave Teddy a curt nod and went back to his seat, scratching his cheek with the quill's feathered end.

Teddy froze. Something about that gesture triggered a strange feeling deep inside him. Something… familiar. But what was it?

"…Do that again."

"Huh?" was James' irritated response.

Teddy continued to stare at his cousin with unblinking eyes. "The way you scratch your face with the quill makes me feel… nostalgic."

But why? It felt as if he had seen that gesture countless times in his life. One that made him feel warm inside… like he was seeing an old friend.

That's impossible! He was years apart—and much older—than the boy before him. What was he thinking?

James didn't seem to share his odd sentiment. "Look, if you're done making fun of me, just go away and let me finish this damned work in peace."


Forum: The Houses Competition
Year/Round: Year 1, Round 8
House: Gryffindor
Category: Drabble (additional)
Prompt: James/Teddy (pairing)
Word Count: 896
Rating: T for a bit of language and darker humors
Beta: lovelyhanna