Summary: Teddy teaches James the finer points of music appreciation… and other things. Slash. Oneshot.
A/N: This one's all yours, Kelsie. I really do love my best friend. Feedback please?
Life never conforms to a syllabus.
Music in the Potter home is scattered. Harry and Ginny listen to the wireless occasionally, usually when both of them are too tired to do anything but laze about and listen to the classics. As a result, the kids have developed the tastes of their friends.
Teddy is appalled when Lily prances into the room crooning the latest pop hit. He is disgusted when he hears Al humming along to the new Revolution tune, most likely a result of his spending so much time with his cousin and her boyfriend.
He has little hope for the youngest members of the Potter clan. But when he catches James going through some of his records one day, he breathes a sigh of relief.
"Looking for some recommendations?" he asks, obviously startling his friend. Teddy smirks and flops down on the couch, spreading his arms across the back and slouching comfortably.
James glances up at him. "Who are these people?" he asks, sounding highly skeptical.
Teddy sighs, shaking his head in disappointment. "Have a seat." He gestures next to him. James looks back at the record in his hands, visibly clenching his fingers around the slip case. After a moment, he nods lightly and sits down, still clutching the album tightly.
Teddy turns toward him and rests his head against his palm, propping his elbow on the back of the couch with a lazy smirk. "You need someone to teach you the finer points of music appreciation."
"Do you intend to teach me, then?" James asks wryly. "Not sure I trust your taste, Lupin."
A long moment of silence settles between them, thick with tension that has been there for months now. Ignoring the prickly sensation at the back of his neck, Teddy grins and reaches over to snatch the album from his friend's grip. "You will," he promises.
The double meaning in the words is hardly lost on him. If James notices, he doesn't comment.
He hardly thinks about the sexual connotations of the records he selects until it's too late to change his mind.
Much of his record collection is made up of muggle punk bands that were formed and disbanded before Teddy was even a concept, much less a living, breathing human being. Many of them, in fact, once belonged to his dad. A tiny 'RL' is marked in the corner of some of his favorite albums, and he gently runs his fingers over the initials – a habit, by now – as James digs through his collection.
There is a connection in music that he has never felt in any other aspect of his life, and Teddy carefully cherishes the memories and stories he has seen and heard of his father when he listens to Bowie and Iggy and, on occasion, The Beatles. A certain feeling of contentment washes over him with every strum of the guitar, every boom of the bass drum, every shout of the lead singer.
And now it is his job to make James understand that feeling.
He furrows his brow and carefully pulls a record from its sleeve, leaning over to place it on the phonograph. He lowers the needle and lays back, staring up at the ceiling as a familiar guitar rift replaces the previous silence.
The amplification spell he had learned in Charms in his fifth year had come in handy when he bought the old antique. Teddy smiles as the jarring notes bounce off the walls of his small flat, filling the space completely.
"Nevermind the Bollocks?" James questions. His voice abruptly pulls Teddy from his reverie and he starts, but composes himself quickly. Rolling his head to the side, he observes as the sixteen year-old boy flips over the garish yellow sleeve and holds it up for inspection, arching his eyebrows.
He smiles. The title of the album is hot pink, set against a solid background, and beneath that is the name of the band that converted him to the line of thought that muggle music is ten times better than wizard music in most cases.
"Yes," Teddy agrees. "We'll start with the Sex Pistols. After that…" he trails off and shrugs lazily, the gesture hindered slightly by his prone position. "Just listen."
Only the slight scratching of the phonograph fills the silence between songs for the length of the record. Teddy has closed his eyes and his body has melted into the carpet by the time silence overtakes the flat.
A quiet, content humming sound comes from somewhere near his right ear and he cracks an eye open, lazily glancing at his companion. James is leaning against the bottom of the couch, smirking slightly and running his thumb over his knee.
The gesture is oddly erotic and the movement of his thumb, combined with the sated expression on his face, makes Teddy's skin feel hot. He clears his throat quietly and tries to shake the feeling as he sits up.
"There might be hope for you yet, James."
"Like there was ever any doubt," James retorts.
Teddy swallows thickly and reaches for the phonograph without looking at the boy.
"Wham, bam, thank ya ma'am," he murmurs, taking a sip of his tea. There is a towel wrapped around his waist as he stares out at the little courtyard below his flat, and his hair is still wet from his shower.
The whooshing sound of someone arriving in his floo interrupts his sing-along and he jumps, frantically checking the clock. James coughs once as he steps out of the fireplace, brushing soot off of his robes, and Teddy realizes that he misread his alarm when he woke up, because he expected another hour to prepare for this arrival.
"Wotcher, James," he greets his friend regardless, holding onto his composure by a thread. James glances up from his task and smiles, his face lighting up. When he notices Teddy's attire – or lack therof, as the case may be – his jaw goes a bit slack. Teddy watches as James' eyes roll down his naked torso, briefly lingering on the knot of the towel before rising back to his face.
"Lupin." His voice sounds thick. Teddy takes a deep breath and drains the rest of his tea, setting the mug on the windowsill and gesturing absently toward his bedroom as he retreats. "Oi! What is this?" James calls.
Ducking his head out the door, Teddy grins. "Bowie," he replies. "It'll blow your mind."
With that, he shuts his bedroom door and sinks against it, picturing James' slack-jawed surprise and attempting to overcome the desire stirring in his groin.
After several sessions, Teddy realizes that the intimacy of his flat is going to slowly kill him.
He scrunches up his nose and his hair turns a violent shade of purple. After a moment's contemplation, his eyes change back to their original brown and the liner surrounding them darkens to a velvety blue. Teddy runs a hand through his hair and grins, satisfied.
Next to him, James sighs enviously and runs a finger along his protruding bottom lip. "Bloody show-off," he mutters. "You know that nose bit is completely unattractive."
"So's jealousy," Teddy retorts. James locks eyes with him in the mirror, still idly stroking his bottom lip. The taller of the two inhales sharply, masking the sound with a laugh that doesn't quite fit his current expression. "Want some help?"
James snorts indelicately, spiking his hair with a shimmering red potion that makes his eyes appear as though they are burning. Teddy feels his spine shift with the shudder that runs down his body. "I can do it myself, Lupin."
"Alright," he agrees coolly, slipping behind James to get to the door. He is barely out of the room when his friend catches his arm and yanks him back into the bathroom, his panic betrayed only by his frown.
"Help me with my eyes?" he asks, holding up a black pencil. Teddy sighs and steps forward, accepting the pencil with a nod. He cups James' face with one hand, tilting his head back slightly.
"Don't flinch," he warns in a low voice. "You can blink all you like, just don't flinch. Understand?"
James locks eyes with him again and nods once, butting his chin against the base of Teddy's palm. "Get on with it, then." He grins, and if he understands the double meaning behind his words, he doesn't betray the knowledge.
Teddy leans closer and carefully strokes the tip of the pencil along his bottom lid.
When James exhales, his breath ghosts across Teddy's mouth, and he nearly makes himself a hypocrite by flinching away.
There is a heavy gasp and the audience erupts in applause, a quick thud suggesting that a crowd-surfer has been forgotten in the climax of the show. Teddy grins, closing his eyes as the body next to him sways smoothly against his ribs. He catches his friends' hand and squeezes softly.
Another tight, overwhelmed gasp touches his ears and he turns his head sharply, opening his eyes. James locks gazes with him and sways closer, laughing breathily against his ear even as the band strikes up a new song.
"It's brilliant," James murmurs. His voice is raspy from shouting and screaming to the beat of the performance. "Bloody brilliant, Teddy," he continues, laughing again and sliding away to get closer to the stage.
Teddy swallows hard and brushes a hand across the front of his jeans. Against his better judgment, he follows James into the crowd and presses close. "Only wish I could've seen the real thing!" he shouts.
James nods in agreement and when they lock eyes, Teddy can't help but smirk.
Later, when they are waiting for the next band to come on, James is staring at nothing with a glazed look in his eyes. After a long moment, he turns that gaze on Teddy, a heavy flush in his cheeks.
"Alright, James?" he asks quietly, returning the gaze with intention.
"What else do you want to teach me?" James murmurs, scooting closer. The cheap vinyl of the booth squeaks in protest at the friction of his jeans, and Teddy fixates on the sound.
"We still have a lot to cover," he replies carefully. "We've barely touched on the Clash and you still haven't heard some of the later bands—"
"Teddy," James cuts him off sharply and leans in, his breath fanning across Teddy's neck. The latter closes his eyes and leans into the touch of James' hand on his thigh, ignoring the voice in his head that's telling him to stop. "What else do you want to teach me?"
His eyes open sharply. "You're sixteen," he says seriously. Though his trousers are uncomfortably tight, he barely moves. "Your father practically raised me."
James rolls his eyes and nips at his ear. Teddy barely restrains a groan. "My dad iloves/i you," he argues. "He wouldn't care." He nips at Teddy's skin again, this time laying a small kiss the base of his neck.
After a long moment, James pulls back and Teddy thinks that the conversation is over, that he can regain his composure and go back to tutoring the younger boy in the ways of punk appreciation, but before he can say anything his mouth is otherwise occupied.
What James lacks in skill, he doesn't make up for in enthusiasm. Teddy pulls back with a grimace and laughs shakily, running a hand through his hair. He locks eyes with James and exhales slowly.
"Pay attention," he murmurs. His eyes flutter shut as he leans forward.
He should know better than to try to plan these things. Teddy has given up on his syllabus.