Disclaimer: Harry Potter and anything related to it belongs to a bunch of companies that I have no ties to.
A/N: Okay, I lied. It isn't an Scorpius/Albus this time… but it is a Teddy/James with just a tiny mention of Scorpius/Al thrown in there for my benefit :D
Part one of a twoshot. :D I love this pairing…
Whooo for writing all of this in one sitting!
Sometimes James felt that his family was just too big to be in his house all at once.
Thoughts like these occurred mostly around the times of holidays, birthdays, Christmases… but they took hold of him and pounded a headache into his skull the most on the random little gatherings the entire family had somehow gotten a memo about and agreed upon throughout the summer. By mid-July, the auburn-haired boy was more than ready to escape home and get back to school for his Sixth Year… As much as he loved his family, they honestly got annoying sometimes.
He left the chaotic ruckus of the joint-kitchen-and-dining-room of the replacement Burrow, his family's modest home, to sit on the front steps. He could still hear the echo of all the noise inside (all of the women hustling around the kitchen, and the men trying to help and consequently getting shooed away), but it was more of a dull background than the usual loud, boisterous bustle.
James sighed, stretching his jean-clad lanky legs out in front of him and looking out at the field where upwards of fifteen broomsticks lay forgotten. He grinned. The field. That was where he was always the most rowdy of all, whether playing Keeper at his house or for Gryffindor at Hogwarts. The shiniest, best-kept broom of the pile was obviously his, and he felt pride swelling when he saw the mahogany handle gleaming in the bright sunlight.
But, after their earlier game (which James's team won), the family all headed inside for dinner. Which left James, tired out and wanting some quiet for a change, alone outdoors. And bored. He was sure he could go inside and harass his little brother Al or tease his cousin Rose in front of their friend Scorpius Malfoy, possibly pull a few pranks with Uncle George, but he just wasn't feeling lively enough to do much but stare into the distance and, if he was honest enough to admit it, wait.
Waiting was all he seemed to ever do for Teddy Lupin.
Wait for him to come over for dinner, wait for him to get back from Hogwarts, wait for the Prefects to finish duty so they could pull a prank…
Always waiting. Always wanting to be able to monopolize his nineteen-year-old friend's time, to have him look at him the same way he did his girlfriend of a year, his cousin Victorie…
But he would only admit that if he was being very honest with himself.
He didn't even notice that he was staring almost directly into the sunlight until the circular light turned darker, the afterimage burning his retinas until he was forced to look away. Nothing seemed clear, suddenly, but he knew it would go away soon enough.
A loud crack sounded, an evidently magical sound, but James didn't take note. The noises that came with magic were always around him, forever breaking the silence that would've been in any normal home.
Closing his eyes, he could still see the light on the inside of his eyelids. Resting his chin on his knuckles, he opened his chestnut eyes again to see an incredibly amused golden pair looking back at him.
"Merlin, Teddy!" James cried in shock, backing up two steps and blushing crimson.
The older man chuckled, the bright hue of his turquoise hair seeming to get only more saturated in his laughter. "Hey James," He said, grinning from still much too close to James.
James swallowed to try to regain some moisture in his now-dry throat. Teddy's face that close… those eyes so bright and intricate when he could see the entirety of the iris… dark eyelashes so long that they very nearly touched his brows… the blush on his cheeks didn't lighten in the slightest.
"Everyone inside?" Teddy asked, standing upright again from his doubled-over position, shoving his hands into the pockets of his slate-gray jeans.
The younger man nodded. "Victorie is in the kitchen," He said, trying to keep his tone from being grudging.
Teddy nodded almost appraisingly, his shaggy hair falling out of its well-kept place and into his eyes. He flicked it sideways, out if his lightly tanned face. "What are you doing out here, then?"
"Waiting for dinner to get finished," James replied, folding his arms over his knees and leaning his chin across his forearms, trying not to look the young man in the eyes.
"You aren't helping?" Teddy stepped forward and sat down next to James, his legs crossed at the ankle in front of him.
He shook his head. "It's too noisy in there."
Ted chuckled again. "I understand,"
James smiled, still feeling a bit shaky in the same way he always did around Teddy.
They sat in an awkward-for-James-but-comfortable-for-Teddy silence for a few minutes, the view in front of them becoming more and more familiar as both of their eyes scanned the distance again and again, James trying to do his best to avoid staring at the man beside him.
Teddy sighed. "I suppose I should go announce my arrival,"
James nodded, his heart dropping slightly as he imagined the overjoyed expression on Victorie's face as Ted held out his arms and scooped her into a warm greeting hug.
Standing up, Teddy reached down and tousled James's already-unkempt long hair. James ducked out of the touch mock-annoyed, but couldn't help but feel a certain heat from Teddy's hand as it touched his scalp, a certain skip in his heartbeat at his smile.
When he heard the door closing behind him, James exhaled noisily and shut his eyes again, this time trying not to see the afterimage of Teddy's face on his eyelids instead of the circle of light from the sun.
There was always something about the man that left James feeling exceedingly confused. It hadn't been a question for quite a while that he felt something abnormal for him. Thus had been true since he was around seven years old, watching the boy boarding the Hogwarts Express and feeling tears spill onto his cheeks, thinking about how lame the time would be without him around. Three years after his infatuated attentiveness of Teddy during any visit and school break, he'd seen the other boy gazing at his cousin Victorie with an incredibly dazed expression over dinner on Christmas.
This had caused more than a simple little sting of jealousy when he saw it, and when Teddy was accompanying him to bed to tell him about his year at school that night, James had, awkwardly as ever, confronted him about it.
"Why do you like my cousin?" James had asked, sitting up beside the fourteen-year-old Teddy in his twin bed with wide, curious eyes.
"What makes you think that?" An amused expression had crossed his face.
"You were looking at her at dinner," He'd admitted.
"Is that so?" Ted paused, smiling. "Well, don't tell anyone, but I like Victorie because she's very pretty,"
"Is that the only reason?" He'd asked, a tingle of immature jealousy coursing through him.
"And… because everyone expected me to," Teddy had replied in an odd voice.
"So?" He'd asked confusedly.
"So I'm odd enough being taken into this family. I want to make everyone happy." The other boy had said, looking down at James's broomstick-themed sheets with a strange expression to match his voice.
"Why did it have to be her?" He'd challenged in his raspy, prepubescent voice, still not understanding what Teddy was saying completely.
"Because she was always there," Teddy had shrugged.
"I'm always there! Why can't it be me?" He'd demanded, anger riling him up.
The older boy had chuckled. "You're a boy, James."
"So?" He challenged, honestly not realizing the oddity in this.
Teddy had looked a bit taken aback at his disregard of gender. "You're only ten,"
He pouted, crossing his arms as his bottom lip stuck out.
Ted had half-smiled. "I'm confused about what you mean by all of this."
Still angry, James had grumbled, "I want you to like me like you like Victorie," Without thinking much.
"You mean you have a crush on me?" The grin had grown, even though the slightest tinge of unease crossed his face.
James had blushed. "No!"
He laughed. "Oh, Jamie… I'm sorry, I just don't see you that way."
The ten-year-old had crossed his arms again. "Well, you should start."
Five years later, James knew that that "fight" with Teddy was what made him realize that he favored boys over girls and Teddy Lupin over any boy, it took him until Christmastime of his same Fourth Year to completely understand.
It was hard to say the least, going through his awkward puberty stage, well, awkwardly, and feeling more confused about his sexuality and growing up every day. Honestly, he didn't want to accept the fact that he was different than any of the other men he was around in his family, didn't want to tell anyone about his odd feelings towards other boys. One in particular.
Teddy had asked him why he was being so moody many times after James's attitude changed because of the fright and confusion and discomfort and loneliness he'd felt because of his odd tendencies, but he'd never really bothered to answer him. They'd never fought before, but James found himself mouthing off the person he'd considered his hero much more often than ever before.
Still, he'd always counted Teddy Lupin as one of his best friends, if not his best friend of all (due to the fact that he'd welcomed him to Hogwarts with open arms, never ignoring him or brushing him off for being so much younger), and he thought he would feel more comfortable telling him first than anyone else.
When he'd admitted it an Easter Break later when they were lazily flying across their makeshift Quidditch pitch, the two words coming out of his mouth in nervous little croaks, Teddy had actually laughed, eyes lighting up, and replied, "I figured as much. I mean, you've had a crush on me since you were ten,"
James had only the energy to smile weakly then, letting his heart race in his chest as he found out that Ted had never forgotten about that conversation they'd had four years prior.
Even though it was apparent that Teddy had never forgotten, James had never gotten any signs from Teddy that he was the same way, or that he had any interest in James at all. James, over the rest of that school year, came to accept (though with a broken heart) that Teddy was straight as a wand, and either way, the now-eighteen-year-old wouldn't see a Fourth Year in any sort of romantic light. He tried his hardest to get over his friend, but found that he really just couldn't. Every time he looked at a guy with interest, his mind somehow drifted to how the attractive aspects of the person reminded him of Teddy. Every time he tried to get his mind off the man, they only slammed back into his thoughts with more vigor. Though he knew that Teddy had some vague idea about how he'd always felt about him, James was ready to tell the boy his feelings in a more eloquent way than he had when he was ten and tucked into his Quidditch sheets.
Something just never seemed right, however. He couldn't muster up the courage to admit something so heavy to his best friend when he watched the man looking at his cousin with such a look in his eyes, could never gather the energy to do so when he heard Teddy speaking to her in soft tones from around the corner… Needless to say, he never got a chance to speak to Teddy about it.
James had often wondered why he reacted so strongly to seeing his cousin Victorie kissing Teddy Lupin. After alerting his family about the sight that'd honestly shocked him enough into some sort of normal reaction, after hearing them wistfully speaking of their future union, he'd drifted back on the train and demanded his own compartment to sit and just think.
The conclusion that wasn't all too hard to come to, with the evidence of every inch of his being aching with jealousy and hurt, stomach churning, heart falling, body feeling cold and empty, was that he was heartbroken over the boy. The strange little crush he'd felt over the years had somehow turned into something much deeper, much more meaningful. Even if he knew that Teddy wasn't going to feel the same way he did, James couldn't help the horrible feeling that came with the realization.
At first, it was almost unbearable to see the two together. They were so obviously happy that it made James sick at his stomach to see the shining in their eyes, made jealousy roar into his throat whenever he saw their cutesy little touches and affectionate gestures as he wondered what it would be like to have Teddy look at him, touch him, kiss him just like that…
Over time, he became desensitized to seeing them. The stabbing pain he got numbed a bit to a dull ache, and he saw that he could live with the fact that the man he was undeniably in love with didn't (and would never) reciprocate his feelings. He got used to hearing the giggling women talking about future plans for marriage, used to Teddy scratching the back of his neck guiltily when he told James that he couldn't do anything that weekend because he was spending time with Victorie.
It was difficult, and heart-wrenching, and made the already-troubled and isolated James feel completely and entirely alone.
But still, the months dragged on and by summer he was comfortable with being around Teddy again, whether alone or in the company of his family; he was able to repress the feelings of longing and loneliness he felt around the older man to a minimum, and any childish ideas he'd had about telling Teddy about his feelings were abandoned.
It was easier to think that Teddy was better off not knowing at all than for James to give himself any false hope that one day they would be together.
"James! Dinner!" Albus's voice chimed from the doorway behind him.
James looked back at his younger brother in a flurry of emotions. His friend Scorpius was standing at his elbow, which caused the corners of James's mouth to rise up sadly. I hope you have a happier story than me, Al…
He stood and followed the pair of First Years to the dining room, scanning the magically-enlarged table (filled with over thirty people) for an empty seat near the adults. Almost instantly, his eyes met with Teddy's animated ones and he was beckoned to sit beside him.
James felt a small pain in his chest, but he still smiled and weaved his way through the children and adults to the seat near the middle of the table.
"Are you all right?" Teddy asked quietly when James sat down.
"Yeah, fine," James lied, "Why?"
"No reason," Ted's eyes stared straight ahead of him, almost scarily emotionless, the toffee-tint of them fading into a gray.
James continued to look at him in concern, wondering what could be troubling the older man…
Despite the circumstances of having to see the happy couple's ostentatious displays of affections, dinner was an anticlimactic feat. There was raucous laughter coming from all ends, jokes and pranks and exploding puddings all around, talks of work and school and Quidditch and James actually found that he was enjoying himself. The feeling of isolation usually ever-present was pointedly missing in the company of his family, the longing for Ted's touch sufficed by the warm brush of their knees due to the table being so cramped.
And if he wasn't imagining it, the usual brightness in Teddy's eyes when he was anywhere near Victorie was missing as well… the affection was at a minimum, and the shy little smiles shared between the two were traded with Ted and James's eyes meeting every once in a while.
Long after all the food was consumed, after the stories had all been told and re-told, idle chat and clanging of plates being passed around to be cleaned began. Hastily, James gave his plate to his mother and he bid everyone a goodnight, ready to remove him from the ideal situation he found himself in to prevent any false hope from bubbling over his tight confines of denial.
His knee still felt warm and tingly where it rubbed against Teddy's as he crossed through the living room to the stairs that led to his room.
"James!" The familiar voice caused him to stop in his tracks and turn around.
"I picked this up for you in Flourish and Blott's. I thought you might enjoy it," Teddy said with more excitement than James had seen since the man went inside the house, holding out a modestly-sized hardcover book.
James reached out and took it, scanning the front cover. "One Thousand and One Quidditch Plays," He read aloud. Excitement and gratitude welled up in him, and he flipped to some nondescript page, looking over the picture diagrams and accompanying text with a wide grin on his face. "Thanks Teddy!" He said with genuine enthusiasm.
Teddy smiled softly. "You're welcome. I hope you enjoy it,"
With a final grinning glance at the blue-haired man, James continued his trek upstairs with the book just under his nose.
There was nothing more interesting to James than Quidditch… Teddy knew that very well. And even though he held somewhat of a vendetta against the bound pieces of parchment, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the pages as his eyes skimmed each before going back to re-read every single one.
He didn't even remember walking through the hallway to his room, closing his door, and sitting down on his bed, lighting the tip of his wand for easier reading in the dim room, as he was too engrossed in the Bludger Backbeats, Parkin's Pincers, Sloth Grip Rolls, and Wronski Feints expertly detailed and illustrated in front of his eyes. He didn't hear the noise downstairs dying down or the cracks of Apparation as his family headed home for the night as long as the book was unfinished in front of him.
Some hour and a half after he retired for the night, there was a knock at James's bedroom door.
"Hmm?" He asked halfheartedly, the acknowledging noise muffled slightly by his hands folded across his chin, his legs crossed with the book sitting in his lap.
"James, I'm leaving," Teddy's voice sounded from his doorway.
"Mhm," He grunted in reply, not even really hearing what the object of his affections said.
"Goodnight," There was a smile in Ted's voice.
James raised his hand in a noncommittal wave. The section about the Transylvanian Tackle was absolutely fascinating…
He heard the door close, but didn't pay much attention to the fact. He was studying the accompanying figure with the text when, out of nowhere, a hand appeared underneath the cover of his book, flipping it closed faster than he could stop it.
Angrily, he looked up to the perpetrator.
His eyes met with now-vivid ocher ones incredibly close up before they fluttered closed, a hand cupping his cheek, and a pair of lips against his.
What…? James thought as everything happened so abruptly. It took him an adrenaline-charged split second to evaluate the situation.
On my bed. Was reading Teddy's book. Teddy walked in. Now kissing Teddy.
Smiling, fire flowing in his veins and lights exploding behind his eyelids, he reached forward and took hold of the fabric of Teddy's shirt, leaning into his touch and kissing back with all of the simplistic enthusiasm he could.
Teddy shifted his head to the opposite side, parting his lips against the other boy's. James was sure that he was in some sort of alternate reality where everything was suddenly in his favor. The feeling of Teddy's lips pressed on his after so many years of waiting… there were no words to describe it, only sensations. Spinning faster than Floo Powder, heart racing like he'd just run from Godric's Hollow to Hogsmeade and back, light in his closed eyes like he'd been staring at the sun for hours…
Affection. Love. Passion. All exploding into that one innocent-enough kiss that was everything that James could have ever possibly imagined it would be.
If James had had it his way, he would've never let those perfectly smooth, perfectly contoured lips leave his own. But, after a few more moments of pure electricity, Teddy pulled away.
James didn't open his eyes, wanting to re-live the short minute of pure ecstasy and feeling just a bit afraid of what he would see in Teddy's.
He heard the older man chuckle breathily. He felt him caress his cheek with his thumb in the affectionate way he'd seen him do to Victorie, the way he'd so longed to feel.
Opening his eyes, he looked up into the golden ones to see them brighter and closer than he ever had. James offered a weak smile, energy still coursing through him.
"Goodnight, James," Teddy said quietly and stood up from where he was half-kneeled on the bed.
"G'night," James replied in a raspy voice, his racing mind hardly able to form any syllables.
With a final crooked smile backwards, Teddy opened his door again and walked out.
A few very tense seconds later, James's quickly flashing thoughts came to an unexpected halt.
I just kissed Teddy Lupin. He thought, his hand moving up towards his mouth to touch his tingling lips.
His mouth formed into a wide, slightly goofy, smile. And it was bloody amazing.
After the momentary focus, he went into another flurry.
If he just kissed Teddy, then where did that leave them? Were they together? Surely not; Teddy was still with Victorie. Does that mean Teddy just cheated on her with James? Shouldn't he feel bad for betraying his cousin like that? Would they kiss again? Would they tell anyone? Did he want to kiss him again? Merlin, yes he did… There was nothing in the world that felt so beautiful to James… even when everything about it was immoral and all-around wrong…
He blamed it on being in love, but something about morals and righteousness and loyalty seemed all too Hufflepuff for James in that moment…
He didn't care what happened, where it left them. James had already been through hell to get where they were (as surprising as it was), so there was nowhere to go but up from there. People would get hurt, he could already feel that in the pit of his stomach, whether it was him or Teddy or Victorie. But James concluded that he would give up all the future happiness in his life to just feel Teddy's lips against him one more time…
James just had to wait until they were together again.
A/N: So I totally looked up all of those moves in Quidditch Through the Ages :D
Right. So, the final chapter should be up pretty shortly. I'll say… Thursday? Cool?
Thanks for reading :D If you wouldn't mind, please review. I won't judge any of your opinions, promise XD