The Life of a Begonia Petal
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This is for those who wanted to see a little bit more with James/Thea. Read, review, and enjoy! *Note: This follows "James Likes Cougars!" and makes a bit more sense if you read that first; also, there are some early quotes taken from that oneshot, as well.
1-James' fifth year, winter
"You're Potter, the Chaser?"
James nodded. "Yeah. James," he added, offering a hand to shake.
"Alethea," she said, and she shook his hand. Was it his imagination, or did she hold it a second longer than one normally would?
2-James' fifth year, spring
"Your Common Room or mine?"
Alethea laughed—not quite the answer he'd been hoping for, though. "James, remember when you asked me why I liked you?"
He frowned a bit. "As I recall, I just asked why."
"But I knew what you were implying."
He smiled wickedly, living up to the grin of his middle name's namesake. "If that's what you are to infer, Miss Alethea."
She giggled as she wrapped her arms around his waist. "You're cute, a klutz, and a total laugh. And…," she continued, looking up to him, "you really show your capacity for love when you're with your siblings and cousins."
3-James' fifth year, summer
James sighed. Yes, he knew that this was coming, but he'd never wanted it to arrive. He looked to Alethea for an answer.
True to her carefree and honest personality, she laughed. "James, don't look at me like that! You knew this was comin'!"
He heaved another sigh. "I know, I know… But I still don't want it to happen."
His Thea wrapped her arms around him on this beautiful summer day. She kissed the top of his head, which was in reach only because she was standing stairs above him. "James, I love you. My graduating Hogwarts does not and will not change that."
He gazed up into the witch's warm black eyes and slowly grinned. "My father laughed at me when I told my family about you. My Grandmum Lily had been older than Granddad James, you see."
Alethea laughed. "But it doesn't run in the family, as I take it he said. Your mum's younger than your da."
James stood, keeping one arm around her waist as he looked out at the inner courtyard. "Yeah…" He squeezed her. "I just feel as though this year shouldn't end." He teasingly gave her a reproachful look. "You shouldn't seduce younger men, Miss Chang."
"Aw, come on! It was so much fun! It didn't even take much," she added, batting her eyelashes at him. "In fact, it was very easy."
James tickled her for that answer, but his smile faded on the inside. He would go on to his sixth year, but she would be done with school. Could they really make it last?
It was painful for him two weeks later when he watched her walk in front of her classmates, friends, family, and faculty. He considered it a good sign that they hadn't broken up since she was graduating. It was an even better sign that she'd wanted him to come to graduation.
Unfortunately, he'd met her family there.
Her mother, Cho, was nice enough, but something about her made James nervous. He felt as though she would never fully approve of him—and he didn't even know why. When—months ago—he'd told his family about Thea, he'd been surprised to learn that his parents had known hers. But they'd never given him the backstory.
Thea's grandparents—Cho's parents—were very welcoming, though. They seemed to love James as much as Alethea did. But her Grandda Amos openly despised him. And James didn't even know why!
James hoped that he would learn some of this history, but Cho's family was not going to be very forthcoming, and the rest of the summer wasn't, either.
4-James' sixth year, autumn
Hello, Miss Chang. How are you? You must be missing me. Probably not as much as I miss you. It's horrendously lonely walking in the halls without seeing you pass by me.
Troy Finnigan, James' best friend, peeked over his shoulder. "Aw, thass a bit 'arsh, innit? You're not lonely—you 'ave me!"
James rolled his eyes and picked up a pillow from the couch. He threw it across the Gryffindor Common Room at his mate. "Shut it, Troy! I'm just working on my weekly letter to Thea."
"'ow's she doin'?" Troy asked, coming back and plopping down beside James.
The Potter son half-smiled. "She's working as a temp in the Ministry. She hopes to become an inventor in the Charms Patent Office."
Troy whistled. "Makes sense. She liked D.A.D.A. a lot, too, roight? Like you."
James nodded. "She's good at what she does, but she has to climb up the ranks in even that department. I have faith in her."
5-James' sixth year, winter
He was so angry, so blind with rage, that he could not see a thing. Not even his nose in front of him.
The number of letters from Thea had been dwindling the past two months. Finally, he'd gotten a missive from her today. All it told him was that she, essentially, was too busy for him. She suggested they take a break. "Oh, you should focus on your studies," she wrote. "A good education opens the path to a bright future."
He didn't need that future. He needed Alethea.
Somewhere deep inside his gut, he'd seen this coming, too. Her graduation had only been the beginning. There was no way that they were going to survive. They'd be lucky if they even made it to his seventh year.
This sucked, he decided.
Lily came and found him in the Owlery. She stepped daintily—she always did, really, ever since Teddy had said he kind of liked feminine girls—and approached her oldest brother with caution. "James? What are you doing up here?"
James sighed. He did that much too often. He'd been doing it even more since he'd met Thea. He patted the window ledge, motioning for Lily to join him.
Lily sat down, her big teal eyes on him. "It's Alethea, isn't it?"
James nodded. "Yeah… She's…she's changed."
"It isn't Christmas yet, but maybe you should send her a present. Christmas is only a few weeks coming, anyway."
"Maybe I should…" He ruffled his baby sister's hair. "Thanks, Lils. I guess I just needed a little bit of encouragement."
"Troy's looking for you, too. He was worried—but he told me not to tell you that."
James chuckled and waved it off. "He won't hear a word from me."
6-James' sixth year, Christmas
Please accept my gift for you. I know it's not much, but I wanted to send you something as beautiful as the love I feel for you. It's okay if you throw it away, just… Please just open it and consider me for one minute.
It was painful, too, to be writing that. He felt them crumbling, though it had not even been a year for them. He stuck the letter in its envelope, regardless, and he tied her present up with a copper bow. The packaging was blue—her Ravenclaw colors.
He sent it using his owl, Coral. The snowy owl—similar to the one his dad had had at his age—flew out and quickly disappeared against the backdrop of white.
James hoped it would mean something to her.
7-James' sixth year, late winter/early spring
He'd gotten one small letter from her. It was only a few words long, but his heart had jumped for joy when he'd first read it.
…I'm sorry. I love your gift. I will treasure it forever.
She'd even used her nickname. With that, he knew things were still possible between them.
But he still missed her so much. He wanted to hold her, to wrap his arms around her slim waist and pulled her into a mind-fogging kiss, one that she'd never experienced before. He wanted to see her petal pink lips curve up in that mischievous smile that only he ever saw. He wanted the corners of her eyes to narrow as they did when she was trying to hide her grin.
He wanted those beautiful onyx eyes to look only at him.
Hopefully, they would again.
8-James' seventh year, the end of summer
No, this was awful. His anger was coming back in waves, along with his sadness.
He hadn't had one piece of mail from Alethea since her thank-you note. It tore him up inside to realize that her "treasure it forever" could just as easily mean that she would appreciate the gift and not him for the rest of her life.
James was weary, but not quite desperate yet. He'd easily fended off plenty of other suitors, but no one else seemed to acknowledge him when he said that he was taken. They just kept coming at him.
His cousin, Rose, teased him about it. "You're easily the most eligible bachelor in all of Hogwarts," she told him at the beginning of the school year.
"No one believes that you've given up your playboy ways," his younger brother, Al, told him.
"Maybe you could pick them up," Scorpius Malfoy—James' brother's best mate and Rose's boyfriend—remarked to Al.
Al blushed. "Hey! I'm just not girl-crazy!"
"You're fifteen—you should be!"
James smiled a bit at this glimpse of normalcy as Rose calmed them down. He just wished Alethea was there to smile with him.
But he wouldn't see her—not yet.
9-James' seventh year, Christmas break
James growled under his breath. Of course! Just when he'd finally coerced his parents into taking Al and Lily out to do something so he could have the house to himself, when he'd just sat down and reclined to read a brand-new book—someone had to go and knock on the front door!
He thought it might've been one of them, returning for something forgotten. Or maybe it was Troy. Yeah, it had to be Troy. Troy had told him he'd be stopping by at some point so they could hang out.
"Troy, you should've told me," James complained when he threw open the door. He froze.
"Funny. He should've told me, too. Oh, wait, he did." Alethea walked past him and turned around in the vestibule. "He told me that you'd be sulkin' at home over break. He also told me—ordered, rather—to make some free time and come visit you." Her smile softened. "Happy Christmas, James."
Though he was really happy to see her, his heart broke in two. How could she just turn up? And how long would she even stay?
She kissed him, and he nearly melted at her touch.
"How long?" he rasped, breaking away from her slightly.
"I've just come to visit you today," she answered. He knew she didn't lie; she was always honest with him.
"And you really want to?"
"Yes, I want to see you." She cupped his face in her hands and looked at him incredulously. "James… James, I've been stupid. I can't prioritize correctly." She looked down and squeezed his hands in hers. "I still want you in my life. I've just been so bogged down with work."
"'But'? There's no 'but.'" Alethea led him into the living room, and they sat down on the couch. "I still want you in my life," she repeated. "I'm just wondering if the work I'm putting in is worth it. The Charms Patent Office… What was I thinking? There's no way I can handle any more of my meaningless tasks. It's as though they're dangling the job in front of my nose."
James laughed. "Thea, it was you who told me to worry about my future."
He kissed her nose. "Then you should work for it. You've always wanted to work in that office. As you told me, we need a future."
"I don't want my future. I want you."
James blinked. It was like déjà vu; he'd thought that same kind of thing about her almost a year ago. He slowly smiled. "…I feel the same way. But maybe we should try a little harder at what we do. I'm here to support you, Thea."
There were tears in her eyes, but he kissed them away. "It's very hard doing something I hate just to get my dream job." She tucked her head into the crook of his neck. "I hate being away from you, James, I really do."
"It makes me hurt inside when we're apart," he admitted. He tilted her chin up. "Alethea, I love you. I don't just like you. I love you. Hogwarts thinks I've gone crazy because I haven't even looked at one girl since I met you. Even though you graduated, I'm still crazy for you."
"James, I love you." She disappeared in his arms then, swallowed up by his kiss and his embrace.
But their love—it was not going to disappear. Sure, it would waver sometimes, but it wasn't going to vanish as though someone had cast Evanesco.
When James saw that the one thing she did not remove that time was the locket pendant he'd given her, he smiled. It was a symbol for their love, which was complete with this one experience.
10-James' seventh year, Easter holidays
Alethea's letters had been spotty since their consummation, but there were more now, like how it'd been when she'd first written him after Hogwarts. It didn't bother him as much, because he knew she was his.
Then the Easter break had come.
"What the hell is this?!" he barked at Troy. He tossed a small pile of letters at his best friend.
"James, it's not What you think," Troy stated a little shakily. He didn't like his best mate being so angry with him.
James shook his head and sat down on his bed. Right as they'd been ready to head home for the break, James had found a stack of letters when the boys had been packing. They were Troy's, and they all came from James' Thea. "What the hell am I supposed to think, Troy?!"
"Alethea's not cheating on you, you dimwit!" Troy yelled at him. "She loves only you! You're bein' a roight jealous pig, James!"
James stood, closed his trunk, and turned his back on his friend. "Troy, leave me alone right now. I don't want to talk to you at the moment." Really, he didn't know if he ever wanted to talk to him again, but James tried to ignore that pang of pain as he met his brother and sister on the train.
Was Alethea really just going to do this to him? He loved her so much and he thought that she loved him, too. But maybe Thea had finally learned to lie….
11-James' seventh year, the day before last of the Easter holidays
"You're in such a funk, James. Get out and go do something," his mother told him with a frown.
"I don't want to—and it's not a funk." He walked out of his room, Ginny following him. He stopped in the kitchen. "Discovering that your girlfriend's cheating on you with your best friend does not put one in a funk, Mum."
"Don't take it out on the bread," Ginny stated as he angrily slathered two pieces with butter and grabbed the turkey from the fridge. "And don't take it out on us, either. We're your family. We love you and we don't want to see you unhappy. But it doesn't help when you refuse to be anything other than depressed." She walked up to him and hugged him. "Just talk to me, James. I'm your mother and you're my son. Please don't push me away."
James slackened in his mother's arms. "I'm sorry… I just, I need to talk with Alethea."
"You mean yell at her."
"No, I'll talk with her."
Ginny turned him so they faced each other. "James, just promise me that you won't ever make a girl cry. Especially that girl. I'm sure you don't have the full story here."
James grumbled at that. "Maybe not, but you should've seen the stack Troy had." He didn't see Ginny's eye-roll as he headed out, though.
12-James' seventh year, later that same day
James had owled Thea, asking her to meet him on Diagon Alley. He hoped that they could talk things over, over a glass of butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron or over a scoop of ice-cream at Florean's.
But that was not to happen.
He was passing by Eeylops Owl Emporium and looked inside. It had crossed his mind that Lily had made little noises about wanting an owl ("Like Teddy's," she'd said) for her birthday. Though her birthday was far off, he could at least start looking. But he couldn't look at the barn owls inside.
Because all he saw was Alethea laughing—with Troy.
James entered the shop and rounded the shelf corner. He wanted to hear what they were saying.
"James…he…doesn't… I…care, but…" Alethea's words came to him as bits and pieces.
Troy chuckled. "Yeh, 'e's…but…'im… Don't…worry, now… …time will tell."
James peeked between two snowy owls' cages. He caught Troy's half-hearted smile, and Thea patted his mate's arm. Seeing that ate away at James. He leaned forward a tiny bit to try and hear what Troy said next, but the shelf wobbled slightly, causing some of the cages to clang loudly together. This made Troy and Thea turn.
Troy's face drained of all color. "What did you 'ear?"
"Barely anything," James growled. He left the store in a huff; Troy and Alethea ran after him.
"James! I'm bein' deathly serious!" Troy caught up to him—he always could since his legs were nearly as long as James'—and tugged on his arm. "What did you 'ear?"
"Nothing! Honest!" He faced them. The trio was almost near the entrance to Diagon Alley behind the Leaky Cauldron.
"James, you have ter be completely 'onest with me!"
"I am! But neither of you two are!" He gestured wildly to both of them. "All I am is in the dark!"
"So you two were dating behind my back? Right? That explains you're absence and waffling," he said to Thea. "And that explains your lack of joking as you normally do," he snapped at Troy.
His best mate frowned. "I told you before that she loves only you."
"So you what? Have a thing for her? As if that's so much better!"
"James, there's nothing goin' on between us!" Alethea yelled at him sternly. She glared at him—the first time she'd ever done that. "Troy's been helping me decipher your moods, gauging your reaction. I wanted to make sure you're doing okay. I hated having to leave you at Hogwarts."
James' eyebrows shot up. "So you were spying on me? As if I'm some thing?" He faced Troy. "And what? You're suddenly the James expert? There's no way you'd exchange that many letters if you didn't have a thing for Alethea!"
"I don't 'ave a thing for 'er! I 'ave a thing for you!" Troy bit down hard on the inside of his cheek to keep himself from backing away from his confession. "So yes, I am a bit of a James expert. I was just sharing my information with her."
James blinked at him and looked to Alethea, who was just as surprised as he was. "You didn't know?" he queried dumbly.
"Not until a second ago," Thea replied slowly. She blinked and blushed. "You… You haven't, y'know…watched him or anything?" she asked Troy, stepping in front of James and pushing him a little out of Troy's reach.
Troy groaned. "No! What do you take me for? I'm not some lecher!"
Thea breathed a sigh of relief. "Good. Because he's mine." It made James crimson when she said that, but it still confused him that it had not been him versus Troy for Thea. It had been Troy versus Thea for him all this time!
Troy smirked. "He's my roommate."
James blushed deeper. "No offense, mate, but I'll be a little more careful changing around you."
"So you're not scared off?"
"No, but I'm a tad uncomfortable." He pushed Thea gently towards Troy. "Why couldn't either of you be honest with me? I'm fine with things when they're explained."
Both of them grinned ear-to-ear. "Yes," Thea said, "but calming you down enough to explain is the hard part."
"Makes it 'ard ter luv you, mate," Troy tacked on with a shake of his head.
Thea pointedly looked at him. "But he's mine, Finnigan. Hands off."
James laughed at his best mate and girlfriend. Finally, he felt things were going right.
Behind them, green smoke wafted out from under the door to the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny stepped out, a frantic look on her face. Al and Lily were with her.
"I begged him not to work this weekend" was the first thing out of Ginny's mouth.
The laughter flew away and James' faced was etched with despair. "No, Dad can't—"
"He's at St. Mungo's. C'mon, we've got to go." Ginny grabbed his hand and, hiding her silent tears, brought him into the fireplace inside the inn. They used the Floo Network to reach the hospital, and Alethea and Troy came right behind them.
James wished Fate was a person so he could Avada Kedavra her ass.
Why, when he finally made someone new a complete part of his life, did he have to sacrifice one of those already there?
Why was there such a thing as equivalent exchange?
13-James' seventh year, two days after the end of Easter break
The oldest Potter son was pacing outside his father's room, as he had been for the past three—almost four—days. Harry was still asleep and, though the medical staff had refused to term it a "coma," James knew his father was unconscious.
Ginny had been there with Harry at the hospital the whole time, except for the beginning when she'd fetched James. Various family members were coming and going, taking care of the two of them. Albus and Lily had only missed one day of school before Ginny insisted that they return to their classes. However, James was seventeen and wouldn't be budged from his father's location. Besides, seventeen was the adult age in the Wizarding world. Technically, they couldn't make him go back if he refused even to finish out the year.
"I still can't believe this bloody thing happened," he mumbled.
Alethea peeked in on his parents and frowned. She stepped back and sat down on the bench outside the room. "James, why don't you sit down? You'll wear yourself out, pacin' like that."
He acquiesced and sat beside her, resting his head on her shoulder. It was just him, Thea, and his mother at the hospital right now. Troy had to return to school, and his grandparents were worrying about his parents. His various aunts and uncles were off doing Merlin-knew-what. There was cause for concern for Uncle Ron, Uncle Percy, Aunt Hermione, and Grandpa Arthur, though, since they, as Aurors or those assisting the Aurors, were trying to track down the Death Eater who'd used the Cruciartus Curse on his father.
James grimaced. His dad was so famous for defeating Voldemort—but some random Death Eater had surprised his father and tortured him to the point of near insanity? It wasn't right. Unfortunately, it wasn't wrong, either. It was a sign that the Boy-Who-Lived was getting old.
"I want him to be okay," James choked. He buried his head in Thea's embrace as he, out of James Sirius Potter character, cried.
"Shh… Shhh…," Alethea cooed. "It'll be okay… He'll make it, James… He always has… He always does… He always will… Always…"
14-James' seventh year, midsummer, a few weeks before graduation
It was the last Hogwarts Hogsmeade trip that James would have. Graduation for him was only a few weeks off, and he had to really wonder what he wanted to do with his life.
He'd already sworn to himself that he would not become an Auror. That occupation was cause for too much concern and too much heartbreak. It was something that James would never forgive Harry, though he still loved his father. He would never forgive Harry for being an Auror.
James scratched his head as he and Troy bought some treats from Honeydukes. He wanted… No, he couldn't say that. Not yet…
"Sumthin' on your mind?" Troy asked him. He glanced at James' arms. "You've got quite a bit there."
James put some of the items back. "Yeah, no… I… Yeah, something's on my mind."
Troy quirked an eyebrow. "Care to tell me about it?"
"Er… I dunno… I think I should talk to Thea first."
His best mate rolled his eyes. "Mate, that girl is one you should hold on to. She's always come first in your life."
"Not always first. There's my family, too." James smiled. "But I'm glad you agree." James grabbed a bunch of Ice Mice. "I think I'll talk to her—soon."
"Is now too soon?"
James turned around and nearly toppled over when Thea leaped on him. He caught her, though he couldn't swing her around since the shop wasn't that big. "Alethea!" He kissed her, and Troy made gagging noises behind them.
"Get a room, you two!"
"Gladly," James quipped, and he laughed with Thea at Troy's expression as the couple left the store. James hugged her to him, despite the warm weather. "Your surprise visits… I think I'll miss them."
"Is that so?" Thea stuck out her chin. "I could make a habit of dropping by wherever you are."
"Ah, but you'll always know," James said as they came to the outskirts of the little Wizarding village. "Alethea, will—"
"Marry me," she blurted.
James blinked. Was she just finishing his sentence, or…?
Alethea, red in the face, turned to him. For once in her life, she felt and appeared unsure. "Marry me, James Sirius Potter."
He blinked several more times. "I…uh… What..?"
Thea kissed him and squeezed him tightly. "James, life's too short for us to be apart and angry with each other every now-and-then. I want us to be together so we can glare at each other directly."
Finally, he released his laugh. "Oh, my… Oh my Merlin!" He picked Thea up and kissed her heartily. "Thea, you beat me to it by three seconds!" He put her back on the ground. "I was just about to ask you to marry me, Alethea Qiu Chang."
She blinked as he had and broke into a fit of giggles. "You're joking! …oh my Merlin, you weren't joking." She smiled, though, and batted her eyelashes at him. "I'll accept yours if you accept mine."
"Done and done."
Her locket pendant clattered against its chain as he picked her up again to kiss the life out of her.
15-James' first summer out of Hogwarts, July
"Happy eighteenth birthday, James!"
Surrounded by friends and family, James blew off the candles on his cake—and was jokingly pushed into it.
"George!" Aunt Angelina scolded his uncle. "It's his birthday! Don't ruin it by playing jokes on him!"
"Aw, Ange, if I don't play jokes on him, some other creature will."
"It's true," Aunt Luna spoke up. "Nargles will torment you for the rest of the year if they can't get you on your birthday."
At that, everyone laughed. Even James, whose face was covered in blue icing. Beside him, Alethea wiped a bit of the icing off and stuck her finger in her mouth. She smiled. "Delicious."
James smirked and cleared his throat. "I thank everyone for coming today—of course, I'm surprised we can throw such big celebrations anymore, considering how big our family's grown." Everyone laughed. "But it'll only get bigger."
Beside him, Thea reddened. "James!" she hissed so low that only he could hear. "Don't you do what I think—"
"We actually already did this a few months ago, but I'm ready to do this formally now," he said, turning to Alethea. He stood and knelt on one knee—he loved hearing the gasps of his family members and the squeals of Lily and Rose and his other female cousins. "Alethea, will you marry me?" He procured a box from inside his jacket pocket and opened it to reveal a silver ring set with a solitaire cut spinel stone.
She gasped at the color of the stone and opened her locket. "James… It's…"
He nodded. "It's a shade darker and redder than that begonia petal I froze in there for you."
She closed her locket and had to push the hair that had fallen over her shoulder as she leaned down and kissed him. "Yes, James. I'll marry you."
He kissed her back and pumped his arm in the air. "We've got another Potter on our hands, Dad."
Harry smiled at his eldest son and put an arm around his wife. "That we do."
16-About two years later
Lily stomped her foot. "James, get out! Get back in place! It's bad luck to try and see the bride before the ceremony!"
He smiled at his baby sister. "But it's good luck to see the latest addition to the Charms Patent Office's staff."
"James, you can congratulate me later!" Thea hollered from inside her room. "Get back to your place!"
"I'll Hex you if you don't!" Ginny added.
He tugged at his tie and went back to stand beside Troy, his best man. He knew exactly what nasty Hex his mother would use, too.
17-Twelve years later
"This is probably the biggest send-off a kid's ever had," a little boy with warm black eyes and reddish brown hair stated. "Mum, Dad, you didn't have to tell everyone when school started!"
James and Alethea laughed. "You're lucky that all of the Wizarding community isn't here, really."
"With you working under Ollivander, it's a surprise Diagon Alley isn't closed down for today," Thea joked.
Behind them were Harry and Ginny, Al and his girlfriend, Lily and Teddy with their young daughter, and Molly and Arthur and Cho and Cho's parents; Amos Diggory wanted nothing to do with James, a feeling extending towards his son, so he was absent. Oh, and Ron, Hermione, Rose and Scorpius and their son, and Hugo were there, too. James knew Troy would've wished he were there, too, but Troy's deciding to become an Auror ended up costing him his life. It only gave James more ammunition against becoming one himself. Luckily, his love for D.A.D.A. had lead to him to find work helping to protect others. What better way to protect others from harm than by making the best wands he could? And Thea protected others, too; she was the head of her department now.
"I just want to go to Hogwarts in peace," James and Thea's son grumbled.
"Ric," Thea said, ruffling his hair, "Having a big family comes in handy. We all love you. When you're happy, we'll celebrate with you. When you're sad, you've got a lot of shoulders on which you can cry."
Ric laughed. "Mum… Yah, I know." The whistle sounded behind him. "Well, I'm glad I'm already in my school robes. I wonder what house I'll be in…"
"Ravenclaw!" James said at the same time that Thea said, "Gryffindor!" Everyone laughed at them.
"Maybe I'll meet you guys halfway and be in Hufflepuff," he said. He boarded the train. "I'll write during my first week, okay? I love all you guys!"
Thea blew her son a kiss. "We love you, too, Ric!"
"Mum! Don't blow kisses at me! That's gross!"
18-Seven years later…
"Cedric Troy Potter!"
James patted his wife's hair as they watched their one and only son graduate from Hogwarts. It seemed like a life time ago that it had only been Thea graduating, leaving James at school…
Then it had been James' turn, leaving Al to run things with Rose and Scorpius. Later, they had passed it off to Lily and Hugo…
And more and more Potters, Weasleys, Malfoys, and Lupins seemed to follow….
19-Some number of years later…
"Mum, Dad, she said yah!"
Alethea and James looked up from their game of Wizard's chess. James frowned, something for which Alethea hit him. "What?" James complained. "I just don't like Rana much."
"Her daughter's a wonderful girl, though, James!" Thea turned to her son. "Ric, that's wonderful news. I'm sure that Diana Thomas–Wolpert will make a wonderful Diana Potter." She snickered just slightly. "I think she won't object to takin' a much nicer name, either."
Cedric frowned. "Mum…"
"Haha… Oh, I'm jesting with you, Ric!"
"Nice one, Thea," James sniggered. "You got scolded~" he stated in a singsong voice.
20-More years after that
"James! James! Get your bloody arse down here!"
He came crashing down the stairs and grabbed the bag from his wife. "Okay, okay! I'm ready to go! Wait—it's happening already?! I can't believe this!"
"Start believing, because it's happening!" Thea threw the Floo powder and both of them dashed into St. Mungo's maternal ward. "Potter family!" she told the clerk.
They were directed to a waiting room, but Thea heard Diana's cries and Cedric's "uuughs"—he was probably in the delivery room with her.
Rana and Nigel met them in the waiting room, along with Dean, Diana's grandfather, Harry, and Ginny.
The wait drove everyone nuts. When Cedric finally came out to his family, he shuddered. His sweater had splotches of blood… "It was bad in there…," he rasped.
James' heart jumped into his throat. Thea groped for his hand, and he held his wife.
Ric sat down on one side, not next to anyone. "They had to staunch a lot of bleeding."
"And…?" James couldn't believe his word could come out as something other than a whisper.
Ric inhaled and exhaled a few times. "And twins were born. A girl and a boy."
There were gasps and sighs of relief all around. Ginny chided her grandson for walking around with his bloodstained sweater.
"What are their names?" Alethea asked her son.
"Aella and Bran," Ric said proudly. "Diana's in quite a bit of pain, but she's okay. Thank Merlin…" Ginny held her grandson.
See? Only more of them would come out of the woodworks… … Oh, god, that was such a disgusting pun.
21-Too many years after that to count
"Don't go yet!" Somehow, she still had strength enough to hit him.
"Can't I die in peace, Thea?"
"No. I don't want you going before me."
James had enough energy to chuckle. "Alethea, we're going at the same time. Old age has finally gotten to us."
She paused and opened her locket. "And to think that this petal will live on forever."
"No. We've just about met the life of a begonia petal. …I love you, Thea."
"I love you, too, James." She closed the locket. As they drifted off to the sleep from which they'd never awake, the spell tied to the petal lifted, and the locket filled with ashes.
22-A while after that (or, "One for the Road")
"Haha! You've got that right!" Aella Potter-Higgs laughed at her granddaughter.
"Don't encourage her, Ally!" Bran scolded his sister.
"I don't think you want her to fall for a joker like that," James said as he floated down to join the family reunion.
Cedric grinned. "I think it's hilarious that the ghost of a joker lives on."
"If you hadn't been a laugh, I wouldn't have stayed around," Thea told her husband.
"And the ghost banter begins…," Cedric quipped, and his wife, Diana, laughed.
"So you weren't entirely won over by my good looks?" James asked, feigning shock.
Thea laughed and did a loop-de-loop, coming back to her husband's side. "No, James. But you sealed the deal before your proposal."
James beamed. "Yep. And we lasted corporeally for the life of a bloody begonia petal."
"Well, my spinel still lives on," she commented, noting the heirloom piece on Aella's left hand.
"What's a gemstone compared to love?" he asked incredulously.
Thea laughed again. "Nothing, love. Nothing."
O.O Holy crap. This story ended up being a kind of series of drabbles—for 26 pages! W-wow… I don't really care if you read this and hate it because there are so many OCs; I had a warning at the very beginning that you should read "James Likes Cougars!" first. Since this played out the rest of their lives, of course I could only have OCs. J.K. didn't give us THAT much history, folks, *lol*.
However, this story is dedicated to Morghen and BlueMango, who wanted to see at least one more story for James and his Thea. I hope I delivered, guys!
My comments on the story: I'd never expected to like Alethea so much…but I did in the end. And I feel as though so many years have passed for me, though I wrote this story in just a day. I feel very proud to have come up with—no, "discovered" is better—Thea. I think she and James worked perfectly together. They had their ups and downs, but their family could only grow, as James said. I chose a begonia just because it was a pretty pink; it's Thea's favorite flower, by the way. As for Troy being gay, I really didn't intend that, but I'm glad that he revealed that to James, Thea, and me. Who wouldn't fall in love with James Sirius Potter? :)
Thanks for reading, and please review!
2016 note: I think my comments from 2010 still stand, and I didn't do much to the story except edit it. There's still something charming to me about Thea and her and James together…although my opinion has changed on naming kids after deceased loved ones, so Cedric Troy Potter will only exist in this universe. :']