Disclaimer: I still do not own Harry Potter…
A/N: Final installment… resolves things :D
On with the story!
Two years to the date after that life-changing day, James sat in one of a few armchairs by the fireplace of the Potter household, distractedly participating in conversation with the ever-large group of people congregated in the room.
On the sofa across from him, Teddy Lupin was looking straight into his eyes with a guilty, apologetic expression. On Teddy's lap sat Victorie, who was also taking part in the conversation, hands absentmindedly stroking unkempt blue hair.
James rolled his eyes, clenching his jaw at the affectionate display. Even after two years, none of his cousin's appeal to such demonstrative actions had worn off. Teddy's hadn't either. However, as opposed to Victorie's, his were shared between two people instead of one.
The auburn-haired Potter was never fully happy with the idea that he was betraying his cousin by cheating with her boyfriend, but after that first kiss, he couldn't bring himself to stop. After two years, Teddy and James's stealth had become expert, the stolen kisses and discreet touches (and some things that would horrify his little brother Al if he ever found out had happened on his bed once) always escaping the notice of everyone else around.
It was a bit awkward at first, and James had to get used to the fact that, even though his attention was partly on him now, Teddy was still officially with Victorie. The fact left an opening for stomach-twisting insecurity on his part, and there had been even a few times with Teddy that he felt hot tears rolling down his face as the thought crossed his mind that the man might love Victorie more than him, that their relationship might just be "fun" for Teddy, that he might not be serious about it like James was…
The first time he voiced these thoughts to Teddy in an incredibly choked voice was the first time that Teddy told James that he loved him, and he loved him much more than he ever did Victorie. He'd said, with a quiet conviction that James couldn't help but believe, that he was sorry he couldn't be with him properly, but the world was too insensitive to guys like them, how he was already an outcast because of who and what he and his parents were, and how he'd wanted nothing more than to make his adoptive families happy…
"How happy can being unfaithful to their daughter make them?" He'd asked bitterly.
James couldn't not understand Teddy's words and the meaning behind them. Still, though, since the first day, James had wanted more than to shout from the rooftops how ridiculously in love he was with Teddy Lupin… he could hardly do anything like that when he had to keep their entire affair a secret from everyone for Teddy's sake.
He forced himself for two years to be content with what they had together, so unlike anything else he ever felt. Their love, pure and honest and straightforward as it was, and his and Teddy's futures were too much to sacrifice for the chance to tell anyone about their relationship…
But that didn't mean that James wasn't exceptionally jealous when he saw Victorie pecking him on the lips every few minutes.
Over time, the insecurity was completely diminished with every word Teddy said with that look in his eyes, every touch he felt was so right, every night he whispered "I love you"s into his skin. By the time he watched Victorie on his lap, giggling into his neck, Teddy's face convincingly portraying amusement, James knew that it was him that Teddy really wanted, the one he thought about when he was away for Auror training, the one that made his heart pound and his mouth dry, the one who could make his hair brighten and his eyes melt.
And as he watched him place a light kiss on Victorie's cheek, he was quite convinced that Teddy imagined James's skin under his lips.
And that thought alone was enough.
Laughter erupted from around him, breaking James out of his reverie.
"All right, James?" Albus asked from the floor beside him.
The younger boy shrugged. "You looked distracted."
James chuckled. "I'm fine, don't worry."
Al nodded and laid his head back onto the shoulder of Scorpius Malfoy.
Golden eyes caught his, now questioning.
Feeling rather devious, a certain heat crawling through his skin, James smirked. "What time is it, Al?"
"Just past midnight,"
"That explains why I'm tired, then," He lied, feigning a yawn. "I'm going to head to bed," James continued, standing and stretching, making a show, sure Teddy could see, to allow his t-shirt to rise up teasingly just above his hip bones.
"G'night, everyone," He said, waving halfheartedly and turning up the stairs to his room.
Once at the top, around the corner and out of sight of anyone, he halted and waited.
After a safe amount of time, five torturously slow minutes, he heard Teddy take the bait and tell the company that he was going to the restroom.
James grinned and continued on to his room, where he turned off the lights, closed the door, and hurried to his bed to lay unconvincingly atop the sheets without removing his clothes or glasses.
Less than a minute after he laid down, skin feeling tight and body refusing to sit still, he heard the door open and close once again, this time with an accompanying click that meant that it was locked.
"James Sirius Potter," Teddy's voice was low and warning and made James's skin crawl with anticipation.
Still keeping his façade of sleepiness, he sat up and turned towards the doorway. However, Teddy was already at the edge of his bed, startling James a bit with his quickness. Almost coyly, he smirked.
Wasting no time, surprising James even more with his fervor, Teddy moved onto the bed, one knee beside each of James's hips, hands pinned just beside the halo of hair surrounding the younger man.
James grinned deviously, excitement coursing through his body as a fire erupted in Teddy's eyes. He reached upwards and fisted his hands in the twenty-one-year-old's collar, but he didn't need much help pulling Ted's face down to his as Teddy knotted his hands in James's hair and bent down into a soul-shattering kiss that made James's body go completely numb.
Excitement suddenly melded with lust and want and need as the kiss did nothing but get hotter and heavier as the seconds of desperate touching turned into minutes of feverish friction.
Breaking apart, both gasped for breath. James's eyes were half-lidded, his mind still cloudy with the aftermath of the kiss, his body feeling hotter than it had in much too long. Their breath mingled between their swollen lips, the air and the scent moving through James's mouth into his throat, running through his veins, into his very bones until he couldn't feel anything but Teddy filling his world.
"Merlin, James," Teddy panted in the younger man's ear.
The sensation of the warm breath at one of his most sensitive points caused a groan to escape James's lips and his hips to raise and roll against Ted's.
A sharp intake of breath sounded from the older man, hands pulling tighter at James's long hair; in turn, he bent down and attacked James's neck with rough kisses and nips and everything else he knew drove the boy over the edge.
Of their own accord, James's hips rose again to rub against Ted's, sliding up the thigh that was now perched in between his legs (no doubt feeling exactly how the older man was affecting him) that allowed their bodies to press against each other from lips to shoulder to hip.
James was writhing as his neck was given so much attention, his body reacting accordingly, Teddy's breath and scent and friction becoming all too much for him to handle as the older man's hips continued to grind into his own.
"James…" Teddy breathed out desperately, and he once again joined their lips, tongues sliding with each other to allow James to taste what he could never describe with words to be so amazing, what he could only experience and fantasize about and love about Teddy Lupin.
The older man took initiative and ran his hands from where they roamed along the younger, skinnier man's body to the hem of his t-shirt, lifting the fabric and moving heated, frantic hands over the feverish flesh beneath.
James arched into his touch, allowing the piece of clothing to raise higher, his arms moving from where they were around Ted's neck, pulling him unbelievably closer, to above his head. Rationality evaporated underneath the desire pumping through his veins, his heart feeling as if it was going to burst any second from what Teddy was making him feel.
The shirt slipped easily over his head, causing their lips to break from each other for a precious second to allow them to catch their breath before they simultaneously melted into each other once more.
James's hands slid down to Teddy's waistband, teasing his fingers along the now-tight cloth, allowing his hands to squeeze the deliciously shapely hip bones just above. "Teddy," He panted as the older man's lips left his own to move down his collarbone to his flushed torso that moved into the sensation, "I love you,"
Biting at the tender flesh of his chest, Teddy hummed in approval, causing James's body to do the same, and replied, "I'm sorry about Vic,"
James let out a breathy chuckle, hands moving to weave his fingers through Ted's fluorescent turquoise hair. "Don't worry about it,"
Teddy backed away from James abruptly, leaving his chest heaving underneath him, hair disheveled, lips bruised, eyes unfocused as ever.
"James," He said, contemplating the man beneath him with serious eyes. "I want to tell them."
The seventeen year old's eyes widened in shock as he rose up on his elbows. "What?"
"I…" He paused, breath heavy, eyes swimming as their lower bodies were still pressing together, "I want to tell them about us,"
"A-all right," James stuttered, the intensity in Teddy's voice causing his mind to blank out for a moment. "Why?"
"I want you, not Vic. It's not fair to her that I'm stringing her along, and not fair to you that I'm keeping you hidden away." Ted reached out a hand and caressed James's strong jaw. "I want us to be happy together, and I want everyone to see that we're happy together."
"What about work?"
"What about work?"
James shook his head. "And my family; you said you didn't want them to feel betrayed."
"I… I don't care if they get hurt. It's our life, not theirs. And I want you more than I want their approval… I love you, James."
Emotion washed over James in a wave that knocked his breathless, tears welling up in his eyes of their own accord. Unable to string together any complete thoughts, James leaned up and pulled Teddy into another searing kiss with more appreciation and want than any before.
Soon enough, James's back was against the bed, Ted's hands wandering his skin. James brought hands that were shaking from the heavy passion of their encounter to the buttons of Teddy's shirt, where he expertly popped each out of their hole and let the material hang open over the wonderfully lean, muscular chest that always rose James's body temperature a few degrees.
Nimble fingers glided over the smooth, taut skin, tracing patterns that caused Ted's breathing to speed up. James could feel that the older man's tolerance was waning by the way his kissing was frenzied, so much less tactful than before. Teddy's hands trailed down James's torso to the button of his strained jeans, where his fingers fumbled with it, trying to remove the article as efficiently as possible.
"Teddy!" A subdued voice chimed from outside the doorway.
Both men froze instantly, their bodies chilling to the bone.
Hastily, Teddy hopped off James's body and his bed, buttoning up his shirt with trembling fingers.
James sat up and pulled his shirt back on, his body aching with longing at the same time it was filled with nervous anticipation.
"Teddy Lu-pin!" Victorie called in a sing-song tone.
Teddy picked his wand up from James's bedside table, flicking it once. "Lift the Silencing Spell when I'm gone," He commanded, face flushed still.
James nodded, and a loud crack! sounded. He knew that he was the only one who could hear Teddy Apparating to the restroom, where the man had said he was going to be in the first place. James grabbed his wand in one hand while the other ran through his hair. He lifted the spell.
About a minute of expectancy later, the sound of a door opening came from down the hallway, and James rounded up his Extendable Ears as quickly as he could, stuck one flesh-colored end through the crack under his doorway, and sat against his door in order to hear.
"What, Vic?" Teddy asked, his tone light.
"Kiss me, Teddy," She said in a sickeningly sweet, breathy tone that caused James's insides to twist. His eyes clenched together when he heard the tell-tale sounds of kissing from somewhere now just beside the staircase.
"Just how many butterbeers have you had tonight?" The older man's voice had a slight edge of annoyance under the friendliness.
"Not many, actually," Victorie replied. James could just imagine her bright blue eyes shining, long blond hair falling flawlessly over her shoulders as she bent her head upwards.
They kissed again. James held his breath, heart cracking steadily.
"Vic, wait. I… I need to talk to you about something." Teddy's voice was much more serious now.
James felt his eyebrows shoot to his hairline, wondering if Ted was actually going to do what he thought he was… his heart began to race, breath remaining locked outside of his lungs.
"Victorie, I think you're absolutely amazing. You're perfect, and the most beautiful girl in the world. And I—I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with you."
"What are you saying, Ted?" Her voice was excited, and James felt very sorry that she was getting the wrong message from what Ted was saying.
"Just listen, Vic. This… is hard to say. I love you, you know that. But, I… I… Well, about seven years ago, I had a fight with someone because they were jealous that I liked you… the person told me to start looking at them like I did you… So I did." He paused and let out an exhale. James couldn't help but smile at the memory of their fight that seemed all so trivial, "And, I—I fell in love with them."
"Who is it?" Optimism still shone in her tone.
"I'd rather not say."
Teddy sighed again. James could picture him looking at the ground, his hands shoved deep into his pockets. "Okay, but don't hold it against him."
"Him?" Her voice was now choked as she realized that Teddy wasn't talking about her. James felt his heart drop. As much as he'd been awaiting this moment for what felt like a lifetime, he never expected that he would hear his cousin's heartbreak first hand.
There was a tense pause.
"Teddy?" She prodded expectantly.
"James." He said quickly. James's heart lifted.
A sob sounded from the girl. "Have you been…?"
"Yes." He said in a strained voice.
Another sob, a more violent one. "How long?"
There was a silence for a few moments. "Two years,"
Victorie was no longer holding back, crying with rattling breaths.
"Victorie, I'm so sorry. You deserved so much better, and…" He exhaled. James could hear that he was holding back tears. "I'm truly sorry that I did that. And that I hurt you."
"Teddy…" She sobbed.
"I'm so sorry, Vic." He said quietly.
"How could you…?"
"I… We… didn't mean for it to happen. We just… couldn't help it. I understand if you don't believe me." He paused, and then whispered, "I'm sorry, Vic."
"Are… are you two happy together?" She asked after a moment's silence.
"What?" Both James and Ted were taken aback by the question.
"Are you and J-James happy with each other?"
"Yeah," Ted replied softly, a smile in his voice.
"Well," She waited for a second, her cries quieting, "I'm glad that… you're happy. Even if it's not… with me,"
James felt a swell of affection for his cousin. He expected hostility and death-wishes and all of the worst reactions from her when she found out, but he was reminded of just how kindhearted and selfless she was by her response. He could imagine that it was the reason Teddy fell for her in the first place.
"Thank you so much, Victorie," Ted had a very sad note in his voice.
He heard her walk away then, most likely down the stairs by the way that her footsteps grew quieter and not louder. Feeling shaky and numb and excited and guilty and every other emotion under the sun, he gathered his Extendable Ears and set them down on the desk right beside the door, leaning against the piece of furniture in shock.
"All right, James?" Teddy asked, standing in his doorway.
James hadn't even noticed the door unlocking or opening, but the sight of Teddy's conflicted face was enough to bring him back into reality. "You just… broke up with Victorie," He stated the obvious.
He nodded forlornly, hands deep in his pockets just like James suspected they would be.
"Now… we can be together?" James said confusedly.
A smile perked up the corner of Teddy's mouth. "Yeah, I guess we can."
The younger man felt his mouth break into a wide grin and then, instantly afterward, mould against Teddy's.
After a chaste kiss that somehow seeped with prevalent tones of liberation and pure happiness, James backed away from Teddy, arms around his neck, still grinning. "You're not a taken man anymore,"
Teddy smiled just as widely as James, tightening his hold around his waist. "Yes I am." He countered, dipping his head just slightly to press his lips against the only slightly-shorter boy's for a half-second.
"Want to go downstairs?" James asked, feeling like he should parade around the man he could now call his own.
"Not really," Teddy said slyly, looking pointedly at the bed behind James.
James's eyebrow quirked upwards, the suggestion in Teddy's request heating his body again.
"Where is Ted?" A voice passing by the foot of the stairs caught their attention.
Teddy, looking grudging, took James's hand and led him to a space around the corner of the stairway. James's heart leapt at the feeling of their fingers laced to where anyone could plainly see them if they were to walk up the stairs.
"Didn't he say he was going to the restroom?" James recognized the second voice as his little brother.
"Oh, he probably got caught upstairs with James." His Uncle George's voice said nonchalantly.
There was a comfortable silence until the sound of rasping sobs broke through it. James's heart fell, and when his eyes caught with Teddy's, he could tell the boy felt the same way he did.
"What's wrong?" His mother asked Victorie.
"Teddy… just broke up… with me." She said between choking cries.
There was a collective gasp from the room. No one expected such a sudden break-up when they were all counting on wedding bells.
Half of the crowd offered their sympathies, while the other, more curious, half asked, "Why?"
Teddy's grip tightened on James's hand, his eyes shut tightly. James felt anticipation crawling up his bones.
"Because… he said he—"
"Fell in love with James," Ted cut in, moving into sight at the top of the stairs.
There was another unified gasp mingled with a few snickers and uncomfortable coughs; James could tell a good few of the crowd was waiting to see if it was a joke or not.
Teddy now fidgeted, his hands shaking; James stood awkwardly half-behind him, their hands still together. Everyone already knew he was homosexual, but no one suspected that Teddy was… especially with the younger cousin of his girlfriend.
There were a few disapproving glares from his family members that were closer to Victorie, a few hurt glances, a few questioning ones, but even more approving or indifferent ones. James felt a wave of pride as his little brother grinned up at him as if James was his hero. Glancing towards his parents, he saw confusion and a bit of disappointment, but overall consent. The corners of his mouth turned upward, his heart lifting as he realized that even after all that he was putting Victorie through, all of the lying and covering up the fact, his family was going to be okay with him being together with Teddy.
They were going to be together after so much waiting.
"Well," Uncle George broke the stiflingly awkward silence, "At least we don't have to worry about James getting pregnant."
The room filled with laughter, but all James at Ted could manage were weak, relieved smiles.
On gelatin legs, James tugged Teddy back in the direction of his room, wanting to get away from all of the attention.
Once back in the hall, they heard a call of, "Don't forget the Silencing Charm!", a scandalized, "George!", and all of the accompanying laughs.
James actually laughed as he turned his doorknob.
Teddy chuckled lowly from just behind him. "You think he's kidding," He said in James's ear, causing goosebumps to erupt all along his arms.
Obediently, James headed to his bed, shooting one last glance backwards to Teddy to see his face plastered with a predatory smirk.
Sitting down on the bed, he waited for his love to join him.
A/N: So, things got pretty heated for a second there… that was fun to write :3
This pretty much wrote itself when I was in California on vacation… going to San Francisco only spurred on my slashy tendencies :D
A Scorpius/Al next time… or possibly a Rose/Scorpius… pssh I don't know XD
Hope you enjoyed! Remember to review, add to favorites, etc...!