I've had the vague idea for a while now, but finally put it into focus yesterday. The ending isn't all that great, but I hope it's readable. The Go:Audio song Raise Your Glass is what focussed the idea for me, and so the titled and the lyrics (in italics) are taken from that song, though I wouldn't really class this as a songfic, as I've only taken a few lines.
Raise Your Glass
I'm gonna drink the night away.
He drained the glass, raised a hand towards Hannah to signal another drink. No one else would get away with it, but Teddy had known her for as long as he could remember, so he knew he wouldn't get the "Yeah, right" look that almost everyone else would.
She nodded at him, but he noticed the concern on her face. What's betting, he thought bitterly, she gets a message straight to Harry as soon as she's got a minute free? Tells him he better get down here, before his godson drinks himself into dangerous stupidity.
He's twenty-two years old, for God's sake! If he wants to drink himself into oblivion, he can. He's an adult – in both the wizarding and the muggle world. It's none of their business if he crashes out in the damn street in his own puke.
Not that he wants to, really. He's done it a total of three times so far, and it never gets easier to wake up in your own vomit, confused and feeling generally gross and sick.
Although, Teddy thought, forgetting to thank Hannah when she set another drink in front of him, he's never actually crashed out in the street. Hogwarts, a week before he left. A friend's house. And his own flat, the night after he'd moved in.
The street could be a whole new experience. A rite of passage. It would be hell to wake up on the cold, hard concrete, passer-bys giving him disgusted looks.
And didn't he, after what he'd done, deserve that? Deserve the sickness, the pain, the headache?
Yes, Teddy thought.
"Teddy?" Hannah said quietly. He hadn't noticed her picking her way through the crowd to him. He simply nodded at her, and suppressed a groan when she sat in the chair beside him. "Is everything OK?"
"Yup. Everything's fine. Everything's perfect." Everything could be perfect, if he wasn't such a jerk.
"Teddy, I can tell something's wrong." She persisted.
"Uh-huh. I appreciate the concern, Hannah, but I'd really like to be alone." There was a cool, sharp edge to his voice that shocked her. Little Teddy Lupin, though all grown up now, had never spoken to her like that. Or anyone else, as far as she knew. And the tone hurt her a little – this was a boy she'd babysat, whose birthday parties she'd attended, who she'd watched grow up.
She spent a moment considering her options, then nodded. "OK. Let me know when you need another drink." She kept her own voice cool, impersonal, and professional, then stood and walked away.
Great. He felt even more like a jerk now.
His head bowed, he stared into the depths of the glass. He felt Hannah's eyes on him, and figured he'd get a max of two more drinks out of her before she refused and sent him home.
He didn't want to go home. She'd be there, and he can't face her now.
The street looks better and better.
The voice – even though he was sort of expecting it, dreading it – made him jump a little. But he didn't look up, instead speaking into his glass.
"Hi. Guess Hannah dragged you out here, huh?"
"She's worried." Harry told him, and sat opposite him.
"She doesn't need to be. Neither do you. And if you don't mind, I didn't come here for company."
This time yesterday, he wouldn't have spoken to Harry like that. Not Harry, who's been one of many father figures in his life. Who he's always respected.
And because he did, and because a part of him – the part that's still a teenager with rebellious tendencies – wanted to see how Harry reacted, he looked up. Eyebrows raised, a surprised but faintly amused expression on his face.
"Well, looks like you've got it anyway." Harry said flatly. "Are you going to tell me what's happened?"
"What makes you think anything's happened? Maybe I just want to get stupid drunk for the sake of it." Teddy replied, his head lowered again, and his gaze fixed on his glass.
"Uh-huh. And I guess Victoire came over in tears a few hours ago just for the sake of it, huh?"
His head snapped up. "She was crying?" As if he didn't feel bad enough.
"Trying not to." Harry nodded. "But yeah. Ginny took her into the kitchen – they were still there when I left, so I don't know why she was upset."
"I do." Teddy sighed. "It's my fault." He raised his arms, rested his face in his hands. "I'm such a – such a – they haven't even got a word for what I am. I don't deserve her."
"What did you do? Did you guys have a fight?" Harry asked, with the faint awkwardness that came with relationship discussions.
"No. Worse. Worse than that." He muttered. "She can't have told her parents' yet, or Bill would be here, beating me up."
"Bill? Come on, it can't have been that bad." Harry replied, a half laugh touching his voice.
"If he knew, you'd no longer recognise my face." Teddy replied darkly. He was silent for a minute, then he looked up, met Harry's gaze. "I remember, the story about when my parents found out they were having me. And my dad, he didn't think he was good enough or whatever, so he left. Walked out on her. For ages, I hated him for that."
"It didn't last." He added quickly. "But for a while, I didn't understand how he could have done that. He loved her, didn't he? And I hated him for hurting her, walking away like that. I understood, after a while, though. But I never thought...Whenever people said we were alike, I thought no. He was – haunted, wasn't he? By what he was. And I always thought no, I'm whole, and he was broken. And I figured I'd never do the things he did. Never walk away from someone I loved, whatever my reasons. I was wrong."
Harry paused. "You've ended things, then? With Victoire?"
"I walked." Teddy murmured. "I got scared, and I walked."
"Teddy, what happened?"
He sighed, and raised his glass, and drank more. He waited until it was set on the table again before speaking, his gaze once again on the liquid inside. "She was so happy. So pleased. She came running up to me as soon as I walked into the flat. Hugged me. She was crying a little, but it was all part of the happiness. I figured...I don't know. Something to do with work. Or the family. I don't know. Not that. But I asked her, what had happened. And she said...She said she hadn't wanted to say anything till she was sure, but it was definite, and it was the best news ever. That we...that we're going to have a baby."
"What?" He'd shocked Harry. He could hear it in his voice. But Teddy couldn't look up, not while he was recounting his shame.
"I was so shocked. We hadn't even talked about kids. Not seriously. One day, sure. In a few years. After we were married and could afford a house. Not now. She was so happy." And that kept getting to him. How bright and happy she'd been.
How he'd destroyed it.
"I didn't know what to say. She kept talking – about how she knew it was surprise, but it was so wonderful. About how it wouldn't be easy, but we could manage. And I...I didn't even think it, I just said it, just blurted it."
He had to pause, and hoped that Harry would guess, would say it for him. He didn't.
"I said that I, that we, weren't ready for a baby. A child. Too young, not even married, in my little flat. All the happiness just kinda seeped out of her, and she looked angry, hurt. Said that there was nothing she could do about it now, and I'd just have to get ready. I...I just couldn't – I couldn't think straight. I said something about how I couldn't, couldn't be a father. Couldn't do this." He murmured. He sighed again, raised the glass, and set it down before it reached his lips. "And I walked. I just turned and walked. Just like he did."
He toyed with the glass, couldn't look up. "Like father like son, huh? History repeats. Only he had reasons."
"Teddy...You're twenty-two. That's...A lot of guys your age would have done the same."
"And a lot wouldn't. Guys younger than me are dads. They don't run."
"Uh-huh. I was a little older than you when Ginny first got pregnant, but don't you think I was scared? James was planned – we'd been trying for a year. I was completely prepared. But once it was actually happening, I was terrified, and I didn't feel ready."
"Really?" Finally, he looked up.
"Yes. And if I'd been less prepared, if it had been a complete surprise, like with you, I...I might have run, too."
"You wouldn't have." He sighed it, then finally drained his glass.
"Do you regret it? Leaving?"
"Yes." He murmured, his gaze fixed on the bottom of the empty glass. "If I could go back...I'd stay. But it's too late now."
"Do you love Victoire?"
"You know I do. I have for years." In all honesty, he was a little insulted by the question.
"Then you know what you need to do, don't you? She's probably still at ours. "
His head snapped up. "I can't go back to her. She'll hate me. I've ruined things -"
"Maybe. Maybe not. Aren't you going to fight for her?"
He spent a long moment just looking at his Godfather. Then he stood, and walked towards the door.
With a smile and wave for Hannah, Harry followed.
She didn't, on first glance, look as though she'd been crying. On closer inspection – which wasn't easy in his impaired state – Teddy could see the redness around her eyes, and felt the shame and guilt. Harry and Ginny slipped from the room; after a moment's uncertain hesitation, he crossed to the sofa, sat beside her.
"You're drunk." She muttered.
"A little. I guess."
"I've been thinking." Her voice sounded hollow. "Lots of people manage to bring up kids alone, and I have a family who'll help me – many don't. So the baby and I, we'll manage. You don't have to be at all involved if you don't want to."
"What? Vee -" He tried to interrupt; but she'd spent an hour thinking up the speech, perfecting it with Ginny, and refused to break her stride.
"But you have to decide. You've got eight months or so, but once the baby's born you have to decide how involved you want to be, and you have to stick to it. You have to be consistent – children need that."
She was giving him a way out. He could walk away from everything, everyone he loved. Or he could stay and have a child. (He hated himself for it, but a tiny part of him wanted to run.)
"I'm not going anywhere." His voice was sharper than he'd intended. "I was an idiot, and I know it, but it was just a – a temporary lapse. I'm not going to walk away again."
"Aren't you?" She asked softly, something judgmental in her eyes. "How do I know you won't get scared again, and run?"
She didn't. And he didn't either.
"I didn't have parents, Victoire. How am I supposed to be one?" He whispered it, in a little-boy-lost voice that almost broke her heart.
"I...Harry and Neville managed it." She murmured, knowing it wasn't an answer. After a long pause, she shrugged. "I don't know. My mum, she once told me nothing could prepare you for being a parent, so – so maybe, you know, you're not that far behind. We'll learn, Teddy. We'll have to."
He nodded, but couldn't bring himself to look at her. He couldn't, no matter how he tried, figure out whether or not he wanted this baby.
"You still don't want it." She said quietly. "You don't want us."
He looked up, slowly. "I don't know. I don't know what I want."
She nodded, looked away before he could see the tears that filled her eyes, and stood.
"Eight months, or there abouts. I – I'll be at my parents' house, probably, if you..." She started to walk.
And that's all it took.
Break your silence
Take your moment
He was on his feet and reaching for her hand before it had all finished clicking into place.
"Don't. Don't go – Vee – God, I've been an idiot. I can't believe I was going to – I never meant it, of course I want this – Dammit, I didn't have a dad, I'm not letting my kid go without one too!"
"You're sure? Absolutely sure? If you walk out again, they'll be no more chances, Ted."
"I'm sure. Never been more sure of anything."
"Even though you're drunk? You won't change your mind in the morning?"
"I'm not that drunk!"
She smiled, finally. "Aunt Ginny said you hadn't meant it. That you were just being an idiot and you'd come crawling back. I kinda figured she was right."
"I didn't crawl." It was all he could think of saying, and sounded pathetic to his own ears.
She laughed, threw her arms around him. He laughed, too, so relieved that he hadn't lost her.
(And somewhere, deep in his mind, he wondered if this was how his father felt, when he'd found his way back home.)
"I'm sorry." He whispered.
They both turned at the clink of glasses; Teddy suppressed a wince at the sight of the firewhiskey.
"I know you don't need anything more to drink, but it's traditional." Ginny told him. He wondered vaguely if that was true, or she just wanted to make him suffer a little for being such an idiot.
He accepted the glass, raised it in a toast, then drained it. And smiled.
The night we owe it all to,
Raise your glass 'cause this one's for you.