Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all characters find themselves in. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think.
Thanks for sticking around until the end, love you all.
Where We Belong
Sirius was pissed. He was pissed to a degree he rarely reached, especially now that he didn't have to spend time with members of his family. It was because he was so pissed off that he wasn't with three of the men he considered part of his true family since apparently his bad mood was a serious downer and James thought he needed to cool down before he killed an innocent bystander or worse, one of them. And the real pisser was that he didn't even understand why he was so angry, Sirius thought as he made a sound of deep frustration. He knew who he was angry at, but he didn't know why he felt like he could burst out of his skin, so full was he of passionate, burning, unsettling emotions. That he would be pissed off over the map and Jamie's disappearance from Hogwarts was understandable, but he was so much more upset than even James, which made no sense.
He just knew he wanted…needed to see the redhead one last time. It was important.
Kicking dirt in front of him Sirius caught a flash of color out of the corner of his eye, turning to spot two figures waving towards…a familiar form retreating in the direction of the Shrieking Shack.
Sirius was hopping the fence and running towards that person without thinking in a flash, unaware of the fact that Lily stopped their headmaster when the older man spotted him and moved with the intent to stop his student and call out a warning to Jamie. Sirius saw none of this, his only thought to get to the redhead before the other man disappeared again.
He could see the exact moment the other man sensed him coming, Jamie turning around to face him squarely without making any move to run or apparate. Sirius knew the man would do either, just like Jamie knew he wouldn't draw his wand on him. This was meant to be done face to face this time.
Jamie waited until Sirius was close enough and then slapped a hand over the shocked Gryffindor's mouth before he could speak, his other arm coming around to haul Sirius up against him, trapping him there.
And then Jamie took down all his shields and let the other man see just how he was feeling.
Feeling rather like the man hand punched him as hard as he could in the stomach Sirius stared into those anguished brown eyes and felt his mind and body purge itself of its dark intentions, unable to BEAR the idea of causing this man even just a little bit more pain. All he could do was stare helplessly into those eyes and wish he could take some of the weight off the other man's shoulders, release him from whatever demons had him by the throat.
"Thank you." His voice soft Jamie wasn't ashamed of the fact that he could feel tears welling up in his eyes. "I didn't want my last memory of you…to be one of anger and accusations. We'll save that for when we meet next, all right?"
When the Gryffindor nodded automatically Jamie smiled and then lowered his head, pressing his lips against the hand he'd placed over the other man's mouth in a final, heartbreaking final goodbye.
He shouldn't have felt the brief kiss, but somewhere inside of himself he did, so that Sirius didn't move when Jamie let him go, or protest when Jamie placed a chain around his neck, the one with the stag charm on it.
"For luck…and to remind you of me."
And with that Jamie apparated before Sirius could find the words that he desperately needed to say to the other man.
Jamie was waiting for his parents when they appeared in the middle of the Quidditch pitch with the device that would take them all back to their own time. He didn't register the fact that his mother had changed her shade of red to his own as part of her disguise, or that his father had likewise changed his key identifiers, just in case they had company. He couldn't see through his tears period as he hurled himself into his mother's waiting arms, his father moving to sandwich him between them so that his parents held him in their safe and constant embrace.
And then the device was activated once more, and they were gone from the time they did not belong in.
A Week Later
Walking towards the Quidditch pitch with his hands jammed into his pockets Jamie felt something twist inside him with every step he took, like a spring being wound around and around, just waiting to explode. Those thoughts had his right hand came out of his pocket to reach up to rub over his jumper covered chest, right where his heart would be. Stupid to think that would help, but he did it anyway. That the grounds looked the same didn't help any, but then maybe they only looked the same now. Even after a week at home Jamie still didn't fully comprehend what he'd done, mostly because no one could tell him whether his present before he'd gone to the past had changed as a result of his trip back in time. Had things changed and his memories just been altered while they'd slipped between times? Was it just wishful thinking on his part, to hope that the things he'd done hadn't negatively affected the timeline?
With some help from his family he'd found the people whose lives he'd brush up against, finding out that Colin and his cop had made a good life for themselves in Surrey, Tess the same with her family in London. The mother and daughter he'd saved were both still alive…and the daughter had been part of the group his Grandpa Ted had gone into hiding with during the second war. Her husband was a Muggleborn. So of course he had to wonder now if the permanent knee injury Teddy's grandfather had sustained on the run was his fault since his godbrother's grandfather had gotten the wound while coming to Fiona's aid when they'd been discovered hiding in the woods. Grandpa Ted had just waved that idea off and had pointed out that perhaps he might have ended up dead too if the girl's husband hadn't saved them both, so he was to stop wondering the what ifs and enjoy being home again.
Everyone agreed out of Andromeda's earshot that Grandpa Ted wouldn't have dared die back then given how pissed off Grandmother Andromeda had been at him for running off in the first place.
And maybe it was a mistake to come to Hogwarts already, his parents hadn't wanted him to come though they'd let him go. Man was he ever lucky there, Jamie thought, not for the first time. Not to mention he was officially his father's favorite son for the foreseeable future, though his father had smiled as much as he'd tried his level best not to cry over the pictures and videos he'd brought back for him.
Though hands down, his father's favorite present had been the cookies. Asking Lily to bake him cookies had been one of his greatest brainstorms of all time if he did say so himself. He was pretty sure his father wouldn't trade even one of his mother's cookies for all the gold in Gringotts.
Smiling a little at the thought Jamie soon lost it as his brows furrowed in confusion. What the hell?
There was someone sitting on the stump, someone he recognized both because he knew the man intimately and because Wren's height wasn't that common and even in the dying light of twilight the man's pure white hair distinguished him from his surroundings.
Even more disturbing was the feelings that rushed through him, feelings he shouldn't be having. It was like the first time, Jamie thought with a mixture of self disgust and astonishment as he watched the other man get to his feet, obviously waiting for him to come to him.
"What are you…doing here?" Jamie breathed, knowing in some corner of his brain that he was being rude but too shocked to care or apologize.
"Waiting for you." Was the other man's simple response. "I figured it wouldn't be long before you came by to see your two sets of initials."
Just staring at him Jamie didn't know what to say or think. He knew that Wren had visited his house after his disappearance to find out if they had news of him, his parents had told him. If Wren had wanted to see him why hadn't he come by the house like everyone else to see that he was indeed back and in one piece? Wren didn't like crowds, but that had never stopped the man from doing whatever the hell he wanted regardless.
And then Wren started to speak and Jamie forgot about everything but the other man's words.
"I knew you that day we met. You could have blown me over with a feather, seeing you coming towards me with that damn charm around your neck in case I wouldn't have the sense to know who you were." Wren's gaze was steady, his face revealing none of his thoughts. "I couldn't believe that the person I'd been told to wait for, the great treasure I'd been searching for, was a redheaded terror of a teenager with designs on my body and mental wellbeing."
Holding up a hand to silence Jamie the older man continued with his story. "I wasn't nearly as unaware as everyone thought I was when I was in that coma. After I nearly had my soul sucked out by the Dementor I could hear my grandparents, other members of my family willing me to live, to wake up and just look at them. But trying to wake hurt to a degree I can't put into words and eventually I didn't even want to. I didn't want to be in a world without my parents, but I couldn't figure out how to die and join them either. I just existed, this vegetable in a hospital bed with just enough awareness to know that I was in limbo, a place where no one and nothing could reach me. And then one day, from the darkness, someone appeared. Someone I didn't know, a man with the face of a fallen angel. He spoke to me and said that if I stayed in the darkness much longer I'd be lost and that I was wrong to think there was nothing worth existing for in the world I'd left behind. That there was someone I was destined to meet who would be worth all the pain if I was only brave enough to soldier on until I found him. Someone who would need me as much as I needed him. I told him that even if I wanted to I wasn't strong enough, and that's when he smiled at me and fingered the charm he wore round his neck. He said that neither of us was strong enough to join the living alone, but together we could do it. That he was willing to face the pain of living again if I was. I woke up to the sound of two healers dancing around the room, celebrating the fact that word had just come from Hogwarts that the Chosen One had killed Voldemort and the war was finally over."
Jamie just stared, having no idea what to say.
"I was different, everyone said so. But they all figured it was because of what I'd been through and for the most part I believed them. Until Hogwarts. Until I entered a building I'd never been in and I…knew it. I recognized it in some part of myself. I found hidden passages, did so well in my classes that I came off as smarter than I actually am but really…it was like relearning skills I already knew. But I ignored all that, ignored it and lived my life until that day I saw you. I saw you, James Sirius Potter, and for the first time since I woke from that coma I wanted something. That I was faced with something that…that mattered, without any rhyme or reason. I looked at you and thought you were mine, the charm around your neck that day…like a collar stating my claim over you, that you were…meant to be mine." And for the first time since he'd started speaking Wren looked away and off into the distance. "It was those emotions, thoughts that made me feel terror for the first time since I woke up too. Because as I made it clear to you from the start I choose not to love, trust, or place any value on the people in my life. My family I'm stuck with but otherwise…so I let you go. Because at first I told myself that it would just be an affair, to get you out of my system…to prove to myself that I didn't lo-couldn't be..." He swallowed hard, unable to continue that sentence. "I ended things because you…mattered too much…and then you disappeared. You stop existing in this time and place and…and it turns out I still have a heart capable of dying."
In some part of Jamie's mind he wasn't surprised when Wren turned to give him his back. It was what the older man did on those very rare occasions when his seemingly impenetrable body armor got pierced. But that wasn't what he was really thinking about. He was thinking about the fact that Wren, his Wren, hated rats with a deep intensity…and couldn't bear small, enclosed spaces. Had had to talk the Sorting Hat into putting him into Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor because he had wanted to be in the same house his parents had been in. Wren, who had always been able to read him like a book, as though he knew exactly how his mind worked even though his former teacher had never been the prankster, bad boy type. Had formed an almost instant bond with his own father when they'd met…when Wren never actively sought connections with anyone.
A man who looked like a fallen angel…wearing his good luck charm around his neck.
The charm he'd given Sirius Black…whose soul had last been seen…the night before Voldemort had died.
But the man refusing to look at him was Wren Owens. Was the only Wren Owens he'd ever known, Jamie thought as he automatically lifted a hand to play with the chain that was no longer around his neck. He didn't know, hadn't been born to know what the other man had been like before he'd ended up in St. Mungos. So to look at the man and think he was Sirius was wrong. And not just because the man's name wasn't Sirius Black, but because Wren wasn't Sirius. There were similarities…but differences too. The man before him had lived a very different life and…and…
And he was moving before he could think his actions through, stopping when there was half a foot between them, reaching up to place his hands on the taller man's tense shoulders. "Do you…know who that fallen angel was?"
The sound the man made was too humorless to be called a laugh. "When I went to see your father after you disappeared I noticed a picture on his mantle. I've been there countless times but strangely…I never looked at that one. He was there, in the picture of the original Order of the Phoenix…right down to your chain around his neck. Sirius Black." Wren shook his head, his long braid swaying back and forth with the movement. "He would appeal to you. But don't worry…I didn't say anything to Harry."
"A little young for my tastes."
Slowly Wren turned around to face him, his large hands coming up to tenderly cradle Jamie's face between them, eyes knowing. "No one knows you better than me. And I'm me, James, don't think otherwise. Don't tell yourself otherwise."
He couldn't have said why, but something shifted, lightened as he placed his hands over top of Wren's. "And that's who I am to you." James stated, a small, real smile curving his lips as he finally understood something about why he'd reacted to the two men so differently at first meeting. Why this just might be right. "I'm James. And…you're Wren. That's who we are."
"That's who we are."
"And how does Wren Tiberus Owens…feel about James Sirius Potter the Second?"
Reaching out when Wren tried to look away from him James forced him to turn and look at him. And knowing that he couldn't trust his head or eyes now, did what he thought his friend Albus Dumbledore would advise at a time such as this.
He let his heart decide.
Lifting up onto his tip toes James closed his eyes and gently pressed his lips against Wren's, a soft, searching kiss that gave him all the answers he'd been looking for.
When the kiss finally ended James wrapped his arms around the other man's neck and buried his face there, breathing in the comfort of Wren's scent, the feel of the Ravenclaw's arms as they came around him to hold him close. He was okay now. He was where he was supposed to be.
"You know…I told them that one of the first things I was going to do when I got home was jump you."
"Yup. So this would be your cue to pick me up into your arms and carry me to the nearby castle."
The sound the older man made this time was a rusty but real chuckle as Wren pulled away from him. "That's so not going to happen." And shoving his hands into his pockets the Muggles Professor started walking towards the castle in question, a small, knowing little smile on his lips.
"Some fairy tale prince you are." James called after the man, bidding his time until the man was far enough away before he ran at Wren's back, grabbing the man's shoulders from behind and using them to boost himself up so that he could once again wrap his arms around the man's neck….and his legs around the Ravenclaw's hips so that he was riding piggybank.
Nuzzling his cheek against Wren's James's voice dripped with innocence. "Yes?"
Sighing the sigh of someone who'd been made to suffer horribly and expected things to only get worse, Wren started walking again, his hands moving to support James's weight so that the man wouldn't fall off. "You're going to be the death of me, you know that, don't you?"
"But not for a long, long time." James informed him with absolute certainty. "And you'll die a very, very happy man."
"Is that a promise?"
"It is indeed."
And as the two headed towards the castle figures that were invisible to human eyes watched them go.
Lily did a victory dance while her husband just smiled ruefully and shrugged his shoulders in a 'what are you going to do' manner.
Remus grinned, and standing apart from the others Regulus nodded his head once in acknowledgement and acceptance.
And Albus Dumbledore smiled and then disappeared with the others, looking forward to the a day, which would be a long time coming in this realm, when he would see the two retreating men once more, under a tree with a pitcher of lemonade ready and waiting.