Author's Note: *Disclaimer, I don't own anything recognizable*. So, here we are at long last, my friends. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you, especially those of you who have been here from my very first posted chapter. If anyone cares, I specifically waited to update until today so that this story began March 29th 2009 and is now COMPLETE on March 29th 2013. I can't express in words how amazed I am that this is over. Without a doubt, this is the first major project I have seen through to the end so far in life. Truly, thank you for being a part of it. And now, I present the final chapter (and Epilogue) of Piano Man.
Draco smiled at him. "I'm glad. You know, this is where you first kissed me," he said teasingly.
"Is it?" Jake feigned shock.
"Yep. Except I did something stupid and ran away," Draco told him. He leaned forward and ran his nose under Jacob's jawline, stopping at his ear to place a kiss there.
"Yeah, that was pretty stupid," Jake breathed.
"Think I should make up for it?"
Jacob snorted but grappled for the handle of the car to open the door and fell back inside onto the seat. "You can try," he challenged as he pulled the wizard down with him.
When he was young, Harry had once been dragged to the mall by Aunt Petunia. It was a major shopping day and the half-ounce of concern that the woman held for her nephew convinced her that a leash should be secured to him so that he wouldn't be stolen or, (as was more likely) decide to run away. Harry had hated the humiliation of the metal clasp clipped to the collar of his t-shirt that day. It had been, quite literally, a dog leash. One that had been left on the hook for when Aunt Marge visited with one of her many awful bulldogs, as a matter of fact.
At age 7 that he was he would have much preferred to hang onto the strap of his Aunt's handbag, as he had seen Dudley do time and time again, or rather just stayed home in his cupboard with the old paperback book that he had stolen from the bookshelf at school. That day, he vowed to never secure his own child in such a way if ever there came a day that he had a child, that is.
Knowing his hands would likely be full today, however, Harry had strapped a furry monkey backpack to Teddy's small shoulders and allowed the boy to walk on his own chubby legs while the gryffindor wrapped the end of the monkey's long tail around his own wrist. Teddy squealed with happiness and toddled forward as far as the stretch of the backpack would allow him and then looked over his shoulder at his godfather.
"Go!" he whined, pointing ahead of him.
"I know, Pup," Harry said as he picked up several cups from the counter of the airport Starbucks. The girl at the counter smiled. "He's a cutie," she told him.
"Thanks," Harry replied.
"You are too," she said coyly, leaning forward and resting her chin on her hands.
"Sorry, not your team," he told her with a awkward grin.
"Ugh, seriously?" she scoffed. "All the attractive ones. I think you do it on purpose to drive us crazy."
"You're on to us!" Harry joked. The girl laughed and wished him a good day before greeting her next customer.
Harry placed three coffees into a cardboard cup-holder which he picked up in his left hand and then balanced two muffins and a bagel in the crook of his right elbow.
"Hey, Mini! Want to be a big helper?" He asked with false excitement, hoping the child might want to carry the small brown paper bag that was full of various packaged snacks for Jacob.
"Nope," the boy said cheerily. He was now squatting down and examining the designs on his little shoes, which were very cool and very important.
"Oh. Right then." Harry hitched the diaper bag more firmly up his arm and snatched up the paper bag between his thumb and forefinger before finally moving away from the dining area.
"Next time, someone else is on Starbucks duty and I'll take you for a change separately," Harry grumbled. Teddy grinned toothily up at him, happy to make things difficult.
They made their way slowly through the maze of airport terminals before they finally arrived back at F4.
"About time, Potter!" Draco called out to him, making no move to stand and take some of his burden.
Edward, on the other hand, quickly sprung to his feet and took first the drinks, then the muffins and bagel, then the brown bag and diaper bag from his lover, settling them all on the small table next to their uncomfortable plastic chairs.
"You could have called me," the vampire murmered as he leaned forward to kiss the skin just behind Harry's ear.
"Wanted to do things the old fashioned way," Harry answered, calling Teddy to him and scooping the young child up despite his protests.
"Can't get much more old fashioned than me," Edward boasted, tucking his thumbs in his boyfriend's belt loops.
Draco chuckled. "Wait 'til you see Diagon Alley," he commented. "Now that's old fashioned."
Jacob, already halfway through a muffin, swallowed loudly. "Ok, explain once more and I've got it," he said confidently, gesturing to the coins in Draco's hand. The pureblood sighed and Harry expected that this had been going on the entire time he'd been gone.
"Galleon, Sickle and Knut," Draco said, indicating each coin with his thumb. "They are gold, silver, and bronze, respectively. There are 17 Sickles in a Galleon, and 29 Knuts in a Sickle, so there are 493 Knuts to a Galleon."
Jacob nodded. "I'll remember it this time, I swear. And it's real gold? Not like, foil?" he asked skeptically.
Draco plonked the galleon down into his boyfriend's palm so he could feel the weight. "Does it feel like there's a sweet wrapped up in there?"
Jacob turned the coin over in his hand. "Cool."
There was an electronic "ding" that resounded through the area, followed by the crackle of a microphone as an airline worker began to speak aloud to the terminal.
"Flight 761B to Heathrow Airport is now boarding. We ask that all passengers that require family boarding please come aboard now, as well as our taller guests requiring extra leg room. Finally, American Airlines invites our Rewards members to please come aboard."
The quartet of gentlemen gathered their belongings and Teddy and made their way to the gate, each fishing paperwork from their pockets. When all was said and done, Harry and Edward were seated side by side on the plane with Teddy wriggling incessantly on the vampire's knees and Jacob and Draco were beside them across the aisle.
Far too long later, Harry was ecstatic to be deplaning. Teddy had alternated between screaming his head off, happily running up and down the aisles of the jet, babbling with or poking increasingly irritated passengers, and only sleeping in intermittent bursts throughout the entire flight.
Draco had hissed at him to "give him a sleeping draught already, Harry!" but Harry was already stuffing the poor kid full with potions to keep his hair brown for the duration of the journey and wasn't willing to pump any more ingredients into his little body.
The wizards waited patiently for their boyfriends to go through a more complex customs security, finally emerging together in a large greeting area. The system was unique for them. Kingsley had arranged for Edward and Jacob to easily slide into the country. Nothing official truly had to be documented with the muggles, as the two would be living in the wizarding world with their significant others- flying under the radar anyway. Jacob had received a student visa that would allow him to complete his education at a high school, but other than that the government knew nothing about their presence in England.
"Where to from here?" Jacob asked as an awkward lull settled over the group. Teddy was now conveniently tuckered out and snoring against Harry's neck.
"Well, our trip is over, I guess," The Gryffindor said with a deep breath. "You and Draco go back to his and get settled, Edward and Teddy will go back to mine with me. It'll take a while to get acclimated to being back again," he said.
"How long do you give it before there's a camera in your face?" Draco asked quietly.
"Depends. Might release a statement just to get it over with," Harry answered. "You?"
"I'll make a run to the shop for a book or something and hope no one tries to kill me," the blond said with false positivity.
Jake blanched. "Oh come on, they like you now," he assured the wizard. "We saw the paper."
Draco grinned. "Regardless, you're staying home the first time I go out."
Harry adjusted his grip on Teddy and shifted slightly. "I want to get out of this entryway," he said. "There's a hall down that way. It'll be a good apparation site. Good?"
"Excellent," Draco answered.
The group meandered down the hall, which apparently lead to a wall of unused payphones.
"Thanks for everything, Harry," Draco said, putting his hand out to shake. "See you soon."
"Yeah, Draco, of course. You too." He shook Jacob's hand as well while Edward took Draco's.
The werewolf and vampire nodded cordially to one another before each wrapping an arm their boyfriends' waists.
Harry gripped Edward's hand where it rested at his hip and squeezed Teddy against him before spinning abruptly.
With a snap, he opened his eyes and found himself amid the blank walls of his flat outside of Diagon Alley.
He inhaled the woody, dusty scent of the empty room. "Well," he said, with a half grin, "this is home."
Edward cupped his jaw and leaned forward to kiss him slowly.
"It's been a long time since I've had a home to consider mine."
"No super-hearing vampires listening in here," Harry agreed. "I'm glad you're here."
Jacob felt solid ground beneath his feet and sucked in a breath. He felt Draco push away from him quickly and Jacob held up hand as he swallowed thickly. "I won't throw up I promise," he gagged. He coughed, stood up straight and thumped his hand against his chest. "I'm getting better at that," he claimed proudly.
Draco crossed his arms across his chest. "If you say so, Babe." He conjured a chair with a wave of his wand and pressed Jacob into it. "Stay here," he said firmly. "I don't know what has been left around here, so don't move or touch anything until I come back, ok?"
The Quileute looked around, only now taking in the vast entryway that they were in. The ceiling was high and vaulted, the floor was marble and the gleaming walls were etched stone and rock. There was a magnificent staircase just ahead and a foyer that opened into a large room that he couldn't see from the angle that he was at.
"Stay," Draco said firmly, pointing a finger at him.
Jake lolled his tongue out and woofed.
"Cute," the wizard smirked, ruffling his thick hair. Then he spun on his heel, muttered "Point Me," and wandered away.
Jacob breathed in the air of the huge area that he was seated in, expecting it to taste stale from the time it had been left unoccupied. Instead, the air was clean and not at all musty. His stomach growled and the sound echoed in the silence around him. "Ugh, I'm hungry," he complained to no one. The airline meals seemed centuries ago.
A loud crack had him bolting from his seat with a shout before he could comprehend what he was seeing.
A small thing, like what Kreacher had been, was trembling nervously on the floor, its knees knocking together.
"Skitch is apologizing, Sirs." It squeaked. "Skitch didn't mean to startle you, Sirs. Skitch only wanted to offer a snack to you, Sirs. If it pleases you, Sirs, Skitch will startle his-self with the fourth floor boggart, Sirs."
Jake calmly settled the chair back onto the ground- he had lifted it in front of him as his first reaction. "Um, no, I'm sorry I was startled, it wasn't your fault, uh- Skitch. I'd love a snack but Draco told me not to touch anything til he gets back. Could you, uh, stop bowing and stuff?"
"If it pleases you, Sirs." Skitch whimpered, straightening up. Now that Jacob could see him properly, he could tell that the small elf was very young- there were no lines on his face as Kreacher had had, and his face was chubby with baby fat. The loin cloth around his waist was pristine and a crisp white, and it reached to his mid-thigh.
"Master Draco loves Skitch, Sirs. Skitch will find him now, Sirs, and ask his permission to make Sirs a snack. Skitch has been missing Master Draco, Sirs. And Skitch shook and shook and shook and hid in the hamper when Master Lucius returned but now Skitch has heard from the shopping elves that Master Lucius is gone for good, Sirs! And there will be no more burnings, Sirs!"
The elf seemed to be getting progressively excited before he caught himself and calmed again. "Skitch will go get permission from Master Draco, now, Sirs."
"Uh, ok, thanks," Jacob said.
The elf snapped away and Jacob righted himself in his chair again. After another five minutes, he heard squeaking chatter approaching from the large room beyond the foyer. Sure enough, Skitch emerged from the doorway, tugging a placating Draco along by the finger.
"Skitch found him all on his own, Master Draco!" The elf was shouting proudly. "Skitch heard him say he was hungry and Skitch knew, Master Draco! Skitch knew just where to go and Skitch did everything right except for startling the Sir!"
"That was excellent, Skitch. I'm proud of you." Draco said when the elf paused for breath. "Now, allow me to introduce you properly to the friend that you found." The pureblood reached over and pulled his boyfriend up by the hand.
"Skitch, this is Jacob. Or you may call him Jake. This is his home now too," he brushed some hair out of Jake's eyes and captured his mouth in a short kiss, and the elf positively squealed with delight.
"Oh Master Draco you is in love!" he jumped up, pulling on his own ears in glee.
"Yeah," the pureblood confirmed. "I definitely am."
"I think we've got a fan," Jacob muttered in Draco's ear as the elf watched them with wide eyes, apparently waiting for them to kiss again. The pureblood laughed.
"Come on," he tugged his boyfriend's hand. "Skitch will bring us a snack while I take you on a tour."
"Can I see your room first?" Jacob asked with a smirk in his tone.
"Look at you!" Molly Weasley cooed as she plucked Teddy from Harry's arms and snuggled him closely.
"Sure, Molly, I'm well! Yes, things are good, and all that, how about yourself?" Harry said sarcastically.
The woman tsked and pointed a finger at him. "Cheeky!" And then she couldn't help herself and pulled the Gryffindor into an incredibly warm hug, squeezing Teddy who whined "noooooooooo" and kicked his feet to be put down.
Molly appeased the boy, who toddled around her legs and let himself into the house.
"Precious," the witch praised him, adding "He's certainly grown up, Harry."
They smiled as an uproar of greetings for Teddy came from inside the Burrow. The child was apparently being greeted by a house full of redheads.
"Er, Molly? I need to tell you something," Harry began, reaching up to ruffle the hair at the back of his head.
"Of course dear!" She looked up at him, waiting for him to speak.
"I, uhm, brought someone with me. From America. To live with me, I mean. We're together," he finished with finality.
Molly grinned mischievously and Harry spoke again before she could hug him or make one of the happy motherly noises she tended to make.
"He's a man," Harry said quickly. "The person I'm in love with, that is. His name is Edward."
Harry felt his cheeks burn as he waited for Molly to react.
"Harry," She said finally, imploringly. "Were you afraid to tell me this?" She asked, sounding hurt.
"Oh my dear," She reached out, cupping his face in both her hands and pulled him close. "I love you just as much," she said firmly, patting his cheek the way she did when he was a little boy. Then she craned her neck to peek over his shoulder. "You did bring him, didn't you?" she asked him, scandalized as though he had considered leaving his partner elsewhere.
"Of course," Harry laughed. "We just figured I'd let you know first, and then, when I was ready, he'd follow."
"Well are you ready yet?" the woman asked. "I want to meet the gentleman who has stolen your heart!"
Harry smiled, feeling a weight he didn't know he had float away from his shoulders. "Edward," he called over his shoulder, knowing the sound would carry to the vampire who stood hidden in the trees at the edge of the property.
"Something you need to know about him though, Mrs. Weasley" Harry began. "Edward is a-"
said individual zipped into place beside Harry and wrapped his arm around the wizard's waist, turning his golden gaze on the witch and smiling softly.
"—vampire," Harry finished.
Molly seemed to gape for only a moment before she nodded and smiled. "Well," she said, waving her hands. "I try not to judge. Hello, Dear" she greeted.
"It's a pleasure," Edward responded, charming as ever.
"Edward has a very strict diet, Molly," Harry informed her.
"Animals only. I swear," the vampire clarified.
Molly visibly relaxed. "I always knew you were the sensible one, Harry," she praised him. "Come now, we've been waiting!" And she turned to lead the couple into the Burrow.
"Speaking of Ron," Harry interrupted, pulling her attention back. He fidgeted with the hem of his shirt. "Are he and Hermione here yet?"
"They're in the kitchen."
"Could you send them out here?"
"Of course." She smiled. "And Harry dear, please don't fret so. You are loved here." She entered the house and her voice calling for Ron and Hermione echoed back out onto the front step where the couple stood.
Harry sat on the stoop beside an old pair of boots and smiled when he felt Edward join him, pressed close to his side.
Their fingers intertwined and rested on Edward's thigh. The Gryffindor leaned his head against the juncture of Edward's neck and shoulder.
"You okay?" Edward asked, running his thumb over the back of Harry's hand.
"Yeah. Just jet-lagged."
There was a creak of the heavy front door and Harry quickly jolted up to look at his two best friends.
"Ooooh I knew it!" Hermione squealed immediately, reminding Harry that while he was no longer leaning on him his hand was still clasped with Edward's. "I told you, Ronald!"
"Erg, Mate, you cost me 20 sickles!" Ron complained loudly, digging his money pouch out of his pocket.
Harry got to his feet, Edward still beside him.
"You…bet?" he asked, disbelievingly. "You bet on my sexuality?" He asked again.
"What? No, man, why would we do that?" Ron asked seriously. "We've known about that for ages. Hermione bet that you'd bring him home with you and I said it was just an 'I'm on vacation and letting loose thing.' No offense, Mate," he added as he looked over at Edward. The vampire raised his hands in an "I'm not involved" gesture.
The color drained from Harry's face.
"Yes," the two chorused.
"Harry we really thought it was important that this was something you brought to us. We didn't want to confront you with it. It's not like we were going to accuse you or anything. We have no problem with it," Hermione said quickly.
The boy who lived said nothing, just swayed silently on his feet as he processed this.
"You okay?" Ron asked.
"He's been seriously stressing about this," Edward informed them. "Really worried about telling you. I think you startled him."
In seconds there was a warm hug between the three best friends, and if a few tears were leaked no one mentioned it.
"Mr. Potter! Do you have anything to say in response to the allegations that you were seen at the park with your godson and a male lover?"
"No comment," Harry responded as he brushed aside the journalist. He blinked as a camera flashed at him and scowled.
"Mr. Potter, who are you living with?"
"Mr. Potter did Draco Malfoy and his muggle partner turn you into a homosexual?"
"Mr. Potter did you hire a nanny for your godson?"
"Mr. Potter critics are saying that you are too young to raise Theodore Lupin, do you have a comment?"
Harry looked up sharply in response. "To that? Yes." He said firmly.
"First, I'd like to state that I was rewarded custody of my godson by the family wizenagemot when his original caretaker was deemed unfit. If the court found me to be a fit parent then no one else has the right to say otherwise. Second I respectfully request that you scratch his name from any and all of your written works. If I see his name in print you will be receiving a Legal Owl from me within an hour of printing. As to my private life, it is just that, private. I thank you kindly to treat it as such."
He clenched his wand and jaw as he quickened his pace through the ministry and finally made it to the door he was seeking. He wrapped sharply and let himself in without waiting for a response.
Kingsley smirked. "I can feel the déjà vu already," he chuckled. "Will you wave to them on your way out today too?"
Harry snorted. "Not likely. They've been downright rude today! You know they had the nerve to talk to me about Teddy? And they called him Theodore. Ew!"
Kingsley laughed his rumbling laugh. "So what can I help you with today?"
"A press conference," the wizard sighed dramatically. "One where I can do all the talking and then be gone without any questions or badgering."
"You'd need to take that up with The Prophet, Harry."
"But I don't want to. Can't you arrange it?"
The minister steepled his fingers and rested his chin on them, leaning forward in his desk. "There are times that I forget you are but a teenager, Mr. Potter," he mused. But then he became serious. "Listen, Harry. This is not ministry business. This is a very personal matter. Personal for you. Not me. I apologize, but there is nothing I can do for you. If you want a protective detail, I can grant you that. But I will not organize a coming out for you."
"What do you suggest then?" Harry asked.
"Draco's method worked for him," the man chuckled.
"Making out against the window at Quality Quidditch Supplies under the bludger display. He had to have planned that. Did you see the photographs?" Harry said with a laugh.
Indeed, the entire wizarding world had. Draco had the Quileute pressed against the glass windows of the shop, both men sporting casual muggle clothing as they kissed thoroughly. There was a large poster mounted behind them that read "WE HAVE REGULATION BALLS." The angle of Jacob's girth conveniently covered the 3rd word so that each newspaper and tabloid was papered with the image of two men kissing, highlighted by the blaring "WE HAVE BALLS" statement.
"I can't beat that," Harry complained jokingly. "But seriously, what do I do?"
"Harry, why should it be a big to-do? What did you say when the reporter mentioned Teddy earlier?"
"I told them the truth and set the record straight, then asked for privacy."
Kingsley opened his hands. "That's that then," he said.
"But what, Harry? You owe nothing to those reporters. For your own sanity you will appease them by telling the truth so that you can spend your life with Edward. Otherwise nothing would require you to say anything at all. I realize the press has made your life about pomp up until now, but that's just it- up until now. Go on, Harry. Take control."
Harry breathed heavily. "Fine. Okay. Yeah. Thanks, Kingsley, I will." He pushed himself up from the seat he had taken and headed out the door, closing it gently behind him.
"Merlin, I'm good," Kingsley muttered to himself.
The painting behind him scoffed.
"Mr. Potter, you were recently seen entering Gringotts with the same pale man that we have been trying to learn more about since your return from vacation. What can you tell us about him?"
A reporter hustled alongside the wizard's quick strides, attempting to keep a quill steady as he balanced a piece of parchment on a flimsy notebook. Harry slowed and stopped. There was a new packet of blood-pops in his pocket for Edward and he fiddled with the wrapping nervously.
He breathed and flicked some hair away from his face.
"His name is Edward- he's my age, and he's living with me and my godson. He is my boyfriend and we have been together for 8 months. We would appreciate our privacy and respectfully ask that you do not crowd or overwhelm us any longer when we are in public. Edward has only recently been introduced to the wizarding world and the flocking press has been creating emotional distress. I thank the media in advance for their understanding." (This last part was a stretch. Edward had found the media attention funny if anything, though Harry figured there was no harm in milking the situation.)
The reporter dashed off a final note with his quill, seemingly in awe that he had received the story at last.
"Anything else?" Harry asked not unkindly.
"Er, no, Mr. Potter. Thank you very much and congratulations on your happiness."
"Thank you," Harry answered, surprised. "Have a good evening." He gathered himself, continued his walk out of Diagon Alley and headed home.
Harry was greeted at the door with a kiss from Edward and a squeal from Teddy. The wizard couldn't help the grin that split his face at the simple domesticity of it all.
"How'd it go?" he asked.
"Smooth sailing," Edward reported proudly. "He woke up around 2:45, I changed him, got him some juice, and put him on the floor with some toys. He hasn't complained yet."
"Hermione stopped by," Edward led as the two sat side by side on the couch to watch Teddy play.
"I asked her to."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Everything okay?" he asked slowly.
"Well I've been reading a lot of your old textbooks when you're sleeping, and there was something I wanted her opinion on."
Harry nodded. "And?"
Edward fished a small vial from his pocket. "It's an aging potion," he said softly.
Harry took it. "What?"
"It's really, really, diluted. Hermione developed it fairly easily once I explained my thoughts to her."
"And those thoughts are…?" Harry was positively flummoxed.
"I know that you know that I don't want this lifestyle for you," the vampire explained, gesturing to himself and indicating his immortality. "And I know that you don't want it for yourself. So here's my solution. Once a year, on your birthday, I'll take a dose of this potion. It'll age my appearance in increments, so that you're not dating a teenager when you're middle aged."
Harry closed his fist tightly around the vial, processing the information. "And what happens when I…"
"I'll take care of it," Edward said with his teeth clenched. "If a potion or spell won't do it I'd go to the volturi. I want to be there with you for that next great adventure."
"Will it make you too old to hunt or anything?"
"Definitely not. Strictly appearance altering, but it will follow the pattern in which I'd age if I could. I'll still be me, just aging. With you."
The longing and contentment in Edward's voice was what assured Harry that this plan was going to be carried out. "You're sure it works?" He asked once more.
"We're positive. Tested it on some of my hair. Unfortunately I might be going grey by 40 it seems."
Harry scoffed and ran his fingers through Edward's thick mop. "I'm sure you'll be as dapper as ever," he hummed.
17 years later:
"Blow them out already, Uncle Harry, before I eat my cap instead," Teddy goaded his godfather from where he leaned against the kitchen wall.
"Hush, Brat, I can still send you to your room," Harry quipped at the dusty-haired teenager.
"Hey, only if you send Bree in with me too," the young man answered cheekily with a wink. The girl in question blushed furiously and punched her boyfriend's arm.
"Ouch," he joked, turning away from her. "You wound me!"
"Be a gentleman, Ted," a smooth voice chided. Edward appeared beside his partner, holding the vial he had grabbed from the bathroom cupboard.
"Sorry Uncle. My apologies, Brianna."
The witch pressed up on her toes and pressed a kiss to Teddy's cheek. The hair that peaked out from his cap turned blue.
Harry Potter, now 35, eyed the smattering of candles on the small cake and blew them out in one breath. He felt Edward's cool hand settle on his shoulder and leaned back against him as the vampire uncorked the vial. With a quick motion the fluid was swallowed and they watched the man still for a moment. It happened slowly- only noticeable because they watched it occur- a slight line at the corner of each eye, a shift in his jawline, the hair on his head perhaps a hint of a shade lighter. Harry smiled at him and kissed the underside of his jaw.
"Still handsome?" the vampire asked
"As handsome as ever," the wizard confirmed.
"If you two get mushy over that cake I'll chuck up the particularly delicious supper we just had," Teddy claimed from the wall again.
Harry snuck a quick kiss anyway. "Just for that you're getting the last serving, Teddy," Harry told him. He plucked the candles from the cake and sliced it quickly, passing a piece first to Bree, then putting one aside for himself, then cutting a narrow sliver of it, which he tossed at his godson with a flick of his wand.
"Oi!" The metamorphmagus shouted, raising his own wand to stop the piece in midair. Suspending the cake there, he bent forward and stuck his tongue out to catch a glob of falling icing. "mm, it's good!"
"Edward made it," Harry told them.
"It's delicious," Brianna commented. "Thank you again for having me."
"I told them we would need to have a small party that you could come to," Teddy told her as finished off the small floating bit of cake and made to cut himself a real slice. "Because otherwise you'd be tossed in with the whole family, which is overwhelming even when you've grown up around it."
"Really?" Bree asked. "Tell me about it."
The three men laughed lightly. "Well first Molly tries to cook everything and then she cries when someone tries to help," Harry began.
"And then Uncle Ron shouts at Aunt Hermione for making his mum cry," Teddy added.
"That's usually when Hermione storms off to wash something or take care of the little ones for a while," Edward interjected.
"Yes, Love. And is that before or after you go outside to have a fight with Jacob?" Harry ribbed the vampire.
"Neither," Edward said simply. "Our fight comes after Draco gets into it with Ginny over something stupid and I tell him to back off her, and Jake decides he should wrestle me in the backyard in defense of his partner."
"And then…" Teddy leads with a grin,
"And then I toss the mutt around in the trees for a bit to make his swollen ego deflate," Edward finished with a chortle.
"I like Uncle Jake though," Teddy said conspiratorially to his girlfriend. "We've always gotten on great. He and Uncle Edward like to get into it, but they don't mind each other really. It's just a good way to blow off energy for them."
"Speaking of," the vampire says, catching his dark-eyed reflection in a mirror that hung on the wall, "I'll need to get going soon."
Bree became quiet and pushed the last of her cake around with a spoon. Edward sensed that and awkwardly stood. He brushed a kiss to Harry's head and put a few plates in the sink to wash later before calling his 'see you later's' and disappearing out the front door.
"You get used to it," Teddy said quietly to his girlfriend. "He's really really safe, I swear."
"I'm not afraid or anything," She assured Teddy. "They told us first year that he was careful and only hunts animals. Teddy, we took class with him for 7 years don't you think you'd know if I was afraid? I'm just not so good with the idea of blood in general, that's all."
Teddy visibly sighed and caught his godfather's knowing eye.
"Good," the boy said, rubbing his girlfriend's back. "I didn't think you were, but you know, I'd just need to know that the person I'm dating can handle my family. We're a little…"
"Unique?" Harry asked sardonically. The elder wizard stood from the table and put his own dishes in the sink.
"Special..?" Teddy corrected.
Harry grinned and came back to the table. He put his hand on Bree's shoulder and squeezed gently. "We just want you to feel comfortable here, Brianna. As long as you'll put up with Teddy, we're happy to have you," he said.
"Thanks, Mr. Potter."
"Anytime. Alright you two. I'm going to retire to my own room for the evening. Please keep things appropriate and don't stay up too late."
The two teenagers blushed furiously but chorused
"Goodnight Uncle Harry," "Goodnight, Mr. Potter. Happy Birthday."
Harry walked up the stairs of their home- they had left the apartment behind when Teddy was four and needed more space to run and play. It was a home that had been deeded to him from somewhere in the Potter line. They were fairly secluded, with plenty of wooded area for Edward to hunt in close by. The wizard changed into his pajamas and brushed his teeth, leaving the toothpaste, two bottles of water and a bottle of Listerine on the counter for Edward to use when he came in later.
The following day would be Saturday, and they were convening at the Burrow with the Weasleys, Draco, and Jacob. On Monday he would return to work at the auror office at the ministry while Teddy interned in Interspecies Relations 4 floors below. Edward was off for the summer. As a result of his constant studying and a lack of anyone else qualified or willing, he had been teaching Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts for the last eleven years. It was a hobby to him- fetching various creatures from the forest and introducing them to the students. Harry had a feeling that Edward had a bit more sense and a lot more speed than Hagrid had had, therefore maintaining a much safer class than he had ever been in. It was a bizarre lifestyle that they had. They had yet to escape the pressures of the media, but they made it work. Whenever things became too chaotic, they made the haul to wherever the Cullens laid their roots. Once, they returned to Forks with Draco and Jacob for their yearly visit to Billy. It had been strange. They visited the high school for lack of anything else to do in the small town and Edward comfortably met with his old educators for the first time in his existence now that he was physically aging. They had spun tales of muggle careers and lifestyles while being congratulated on making it through the long haul as a couple. It felt strange to be an actual adult. At times when he had been at Hogwarts, the idea of a life and a future had felt like a pipe-dream. But here he was.
Harry crawled between the sheets and snapped the lights out. He snuggled down into the comfort of his and Edward's bed. He rolled over a few times, trying to get comfortable but not truly tired. Finally, he wriggled under the comforter and shoved his pajama pants off. Soon after, his boxers and top followed, making a small pile of clothes on the floor beside the bed. He leaned over and reached into the bedside drawer to pluck a few materials out which he set on the nightstand. He hummed to himself one of the songs his partner had been playing recently and smiled. Naked, he sank back into the sheets and closed his eyes. Edward would be back in an hour or so. It was his birthday, after all, and Harry deserved to be taken care of.
IT IS COMPLETE FOR GOOD!
I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading this story as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you. Sorry if things didn't turn out the way you planned, but this has always been the end result of this story in my mind.
No sequels or one-shots, but if you have a burning question about the plot you may ask me in a review or PM and I'll get back to you.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have been with me throughout this story. Honestly you've experienced the ups and downs that I have and I so appreciate this little world we have for ourselves in this corner of the internet. Friends near and far- you are all very dear to me.
If anyone wants to create FAN ART for this story, PLEASE CONTACT ME!
Find me on Tumblr, my name is: perpetuating-pez
I follow back!
One last bid for prayers for my mom. Although my fanfiction is a personal secret and not one that she would approve of- this story is definitely dedicated to her. Not because of the content or anything (She's never read Harry Potter OR Twilight...) but because this story was a journey that took me YEARS to complete. I knew I was undertaking it and wouldn't give up until I had finished it. Well, my mom has been dealt a hand with cancer- and I know she's going to keep fighting and pushing through until she beats it. So mama, if I can actually finish something for once in my life, you can beat this for sure.
As a wonderful woman, Ellen DeGeneres says, "Be kind to one another."
Peace, Love, and Beautiful Things,