Disclaimer: Apparently JK Rowling wanted Teddy to end up with Victorie, whereas I think he belongs with James. So, clearly, I am not her.
A/N: I've always said that I refuse to post any work that I personally dislike, or that I think is bad. This… is somewhat of an exception. There are plenty of things wrong with it, and some of it borders on crack that I know is somewhat awkward when I write it… The rest is just… kind of cheesy, and I found myself using the word "heart" way too many times than I would have liked. My hesitation about it has caused it to stay half-typed in my "Fanfiction" folder, even though I wrote it all in one sitting back in the middle of August.
But, it's still fluffy and cute enough, and I figure there will be at least one person in this internet universe that enjoys it.
So, here it is. :)
When Christmas struck, the Burrow was never quiet for even a second. And as much as James Potter loved to be obnoxious and noisy every once in a while, sometimes with the stress levels of the people in the kitchen and the boisterousness of the rest of the family scattered about the house, it got to be a bit much.
So, as he stood from his seat amongst the other "kids" on the couch, he caught eyes with Teddy Lupin, who was reclining casually beside the fireplace. A telepathic conversation ensued, a silent agreement made, and Teddy moved his head to suggest leaving the room; James nodded and followed the twenty-two year old out the back door.
The younger man stretched his arms over his head once out in the clear, crisp winter afternoon. Being Christmas, it was incredibly cold, and the pair was silently commending themselves on their smart choice to wear multiple layers of long sleeves and jackets.
"James, let's go check out the shed," Teddy suggested after a minute of comfortable silence, voice shaking slightly from behind chattering teeth.
The brunet looked at the run-down old shed a ways in front of them and then to his turquoise-haired best friend. "Why? It's just Granddad's Muggle stuff," He said. He'd never been in the little shack before personally, but everyone had had been always told him how boring it all was.
"I know, but I've never been." Teddy shrugged broad shoulders, shaking his straight, shaggy hair out of his eyes.
James didn't see a reason why they shouldn't go, as they wanted nothing more than to escape the chaos of the Burrow. He shoved his numb hands into the pockets of his dark blue jeans and followed Ted's path to the shed, finding it rather difficult to keep his eyes off his friend's maroon-covered back and smooth blue hair.
He ran a hand through his own long, wavy auburn hair. Stop thinking about him like that. You're only seventeen. He's twenty-two. And either way, he likes girls.
The door was unlocked, so Teddy held open the door and the two simply walked into the magically-enlarged dusty space. Every flat surface was covered with Muggle artifacts, from what looked to James like broken cellular telephones to ride-on lawn mowers to pink erasers.
The young man wasn't sure what the others were thinking; this place was absolutely fascinating.
He picked up and inspected what looked like an ill-kept paintbrush, finding that he stepped on something soft on his way over. Looking down, he recognized it as an ordinary brown teddy bear missing a button eye.
James grinned and held up the bear for his friend, who was browsing through sheets of stickers. "It's you."
Ted chuckled at the pun. He picked up some stickers and weaved through the rows of tables to James. Peeling one from the sheet, he said, "Hold out your hand,"
The Potter obliged without a second thought, holding down his left fist and setting the bear down beside him next to a line of coat hangers.
Ted placed a sticker there with an image of a typical yellow smiley face with the words "You're awesome!" over it.
James laughed at it but didn't take it off, turning back to all of the stuff. Something sparkling caught his eye, and his brows rose slightly as he saw a gold engagement ring with a rather boastful square-cut diamond in a black velvet box. "Look at this," He said, impressed, picking the box up gingerly.
The older man snatched it from his hand with a devious glint in his eye that instantly took James back to the days at school when they'd played endless pranks together.
Teddy knelt down on his knee, holding the box open.
James snorted, trying to pretend that the scene didn't make his stomach turn cartwheels.
"James Sirius Potter," He began, looking like he was fighting laughter by the way his lips were twitching.
"Yes, Teddy?" James said mock-breathlessly.
"Will you make me the happiest man in the world and be my wife?" He asked dramatically, bright hazel eyes shining with humor.
The Potter scoffed and indignantly crossed his arms. "Wife?"
Teddy rolled his eyes, face now plastered with a grin as all attempts at drama were forgotten. "Husband, whatever,"
James laughed, but then put his act back on. He gasped melodramatically, both hands coming to his mouth. "Teddy, what are you saying?"
The blue-haired man deadpanned. "Was I really not clear? I asked you to marry me, you daft—"
"Yes, Teddy, a thousand times, yes!" James pretended to cry.
A grin spread across Ted's handsome face again, and he jumped to his feet, taking the ring out of the box and taking James's left hand in his own.
They both laughed at the motivational sticker still there.
He tried his hardest to play it off as part of his act, but James's hand was actually shaking as Ted slipped the ring on his third finger.
"It fits," Teddy remarked, and then smirked. "You have girl hands."
James looked down and fisted his hand, feeling rather self-conscious. "I do not!"
Teddy chuckled. "Anyway," He said, and then scooped James into his arms, twirling him around.
The younger boy's breath was gone instantly from the contact. "Put me down!" He half-gasped, half-laughed.
Ted ignored him, continuing to squeeze him almost painfully around the middle, turning in small circles until he abruptly stopped and said "What's that?" He dropped James on the spot.
James, rather amused by the older man's lack of attention span, continued to smile as he stumbled for balance and had to use a table for leverage after the unexpected drop.
The Lupin picked up a bright orange circle of plastic, brow furrowed. "What does it do?"
"I think that's a hula hoop. You put it around your waist and try to keep it up by spinning it." He explained, remembering seeing some kids with them.
Teddy nodded slowly, as if absorbing its function. He stepped into a small open space on the floor and stepped into it. "Like this?"
"Yeah, now spin it about move your hips to keep it up." James pantomimed the movement with his hands.
Ted spun it and circled his hips in a valiant effort, but the toy fell to the ground. "Damn," He picked it up and tried again.
James couldn't stop smiling at the look of sheer determination on the man's face as he fought with the child's toy. He turned to a table near him and sifted through silk flowers and piggy banks and rubber ducks.
"James, look! I'm doing it!" The twenty-two year old exclaimed.
The brunet looked up from the table.
Teddy stood with an almost giddy expression on his defined face as he circled his hips back and forth, arms held out for balance.
James laughed good-naturedly at his friend's happiness, but his eyes soon widened, blood growing a bit hot in his veins as he took special note of the fluid movement of Ted's lower half…
Hastily, he turned his back to prevent quite the embarrassing problem, walking to the shelf with the stickers and choosing one with a befitting bear's face with the words "Good Job!".
Eyes trained on the excited hazel of Teddy's, James moved towards him and, paying no mind to the hula hoop, stamped the sticker in the middle of the taller man's forehead.
"Hey, you messed me up," Ted protested as the hoop stopped.
"Sorry," James said airily, crossing behind Teddy to another shelf with shiny objects.
Teddy set the hoop aside and continued to browse.
James admired a few safety pins and broken scissors before he heard Teddy saying, "What's this for?"
Turning to him, the brunet inspected the instrument in his hands. It looked quite odd, almost like a "Y" with two white ends facing each other that met and joined with a rubber cord, a flat silver circle at the very end.
"I think…" James paused, thinking back to Muggle Studies, "That's called a thestloscope. No, a stethoscope,"
Teddy tied it around his head. "What does it do?"
"Muggle doctors use it to listen to your heartbeat." He said.
"Really?" The older man's face grew interested.
"Yeah, you put these two ends in your ear," James moved the ends for Ted, whose face was much closer than he cared to recognize, "And you put this part wherever you want to listen." He guided the man's had to the metal piece, which he placed over Teddy's own heart.
The blue-haired man's eyes widened. "Whoa, you can hear it!"
James smiled and nodded. "That's the point."
"Shh!" Teddy said, waving his hand and then looking down to his chest. "Wow…" He said in a genuinely amazed tone.
The shorter man began to sidestep Teddy to continue to look around when Teddy took a hold of his wrist. "What does yours sound like?"
Rolling his eyes, James allowed the older man to place the silver end over the right side of his chest.
"Wow, it's going faster than mine," Ted's brows rose after a second of focused listening.
James's stomach fell at the same time. Way to give yourself away… He mentally reprimanded himself. As hard as he tried, though, he couldn't simply will his heart to slow.
"Is this normal?" Teddy asked after a stretch of time, confused.
The brunet shrugged, feeling quite shaky.
"Hmm…" The older man looked contemplative, gaze straight at James's still-boyish face.
"Hey, it just got faster!"
The younger man was borderline-mortified. "R-really?"
Teddy nodded, brows still knitted together. He removed the stethoscope from James's chest back to his own.
Now nearly desperate for escape, James turned again and tried to walk away.
"Wait," He grabbed his wrist, not letting go.
James was very aware of the simplistic contact.
A moment after he listened through the stethoscope to the heart James embarrassingly knew was pounding, Teddy's brows rose and he said, "It's going even faster than before!"
Then let go of my damn wrist! James thought, his face flushed.
As if Teddy could read his mind (and James only took one mortified second to realize that it was possible he said that aloud), he let go, seeming hurt.
The Potter didn't need to ask whether or not he'd thought aloud by the way that Teddy was looking at him. He squeezed his eyes shut. "Sorry, I just—"
"Wait, is it going faster because of me?" Teddy asked, incredulous.
James's stomach fell even further, bones chilling. He avoided Ted's eyes as he scanned the foreign objects in the shed. "Well, it's just that—"
A shiver coursed through his body as he felt Ted's hand boldly comb through his hair. "W-What are you doing?"
Teddy was grinning mischievously and James was reminded that underneath his innocent, naïve exterior there lived a master prankster and troublemaker, "Your heart is racing, James."
Dread crept up from his feet. "Listen, Teddy, I can explain—"
"Do you like me, James?" Ted asked, pseudo-innocently brushing his thumb across James's cheekbone.
His breath choked. "W-what? No, I—"
"Your heartbeat says otherwise," The Lupin said cheekily, hazel eyes blazing with something that made James feel fidgety.
"That's just because I—"
"I wonder what would happen if…" Teddy daringly cradled the younger man's strong jaw and began to lean forward.
James's heart stuttered and his breath choked in his throat; he knew Teddy heard by the way a smirk grew on his face as he paused only centimeters away.
The room suddenly felt heavier than when they'd walked in.
James's glasses-shielded chestnut eyes were wide and fearful. As much as he'd wanted Teddy to kiss him since the first time the confused thought crossed his mind back in Fifth Year, there were also dozens of reasons why they shouldn't.
Now, when the sought-after opportunity was so reachable, those reasons were popping up in his mind quite adamantly. They were all still incredibly valid.
"Don't look so scared, James. I'll think you're having cardiac arrest." The Lupin said smoothly, not even giving James a chance to breathe or react before he tilted his head and closed the distance between them.
Though at first James's eyes felt like they were going to fall straight from their sockets, they soon closed as his stiff body settled into the chaste that made him feel lightheaded, fireworks brighter than Weasley's Wizard Wheezes signature Catherine Wheels igniting between them, James's blood pulsing in his veins, heart pounding in tripe-time. He knew Teddy heard loud and clear.
Their lips together just felt so perfect despite every taboo of the act.
Even after only a few seconds when Teddy pulled away, James was completely breathless.
"Why did you do that?" He demanded, voice weaker than he would have liked.
Instead of answering, Teddy, a rather uncharacteristically serious expression in his eyes, removed the stethoscope from his ears and placed them in James's.
James heard the embarrassingly rapid beat of his own heart, the sound only causing his face to redden further. He avoided the older man's hazel eyes.
Again wordlessly, the other man guided James's hand to Teddy's chest, where he laid his hand affectionately over James's.
It took a moment for James to hear anything clearly, but when he did, he was quite alarmed.
Teddy's heart was beating even harder than his own was.
He moved his wide eyes from the artifact-covered table to Teddy's face.
The man now smiled. "Needless to say, I wanted to."
James's pulse sped again, this time unheard by Teddy. He smiled.
Unless he heard wrong, James thought the blue-haired man's heart skipped a beat.
Teddy squeezed his hand lightly. "I've been waiting for two years for you to finally turn seventeen so I could tell you how… how I feel."
James could do nothing but continue to smile, cheeks tingeing, at Teddy's uncharacteristic awkwardness.
"So that we could be together… legally," Ted smiled, flushing bright red.
Teddy did break up with Victorie when James was fifteen, the younger boy remembered. He looked down sadly. "There's more than just our age difference as a problem, Teddy, think about it."
"I have, James. Do you think I wasn't worried as hell when I was falling in love with a fifteen year old when I was twenty and already in a relationship?" His tone was tinted with anger.
The mention of love made James's body go numb with joy for a moment. "But… we're both guys, Teddy, and I'm still in school, and you're already settled into your job at the Ministry, and won't it be weird to have to tell people that you're dating someone barely legal?" He ranted all in one breath.
Teddy looked indignant. Almost roughly, he knotted his hands in James's hair and pulled their lips together.
It was a repeat of before: colors exploding in front of closed eyes, heartbeat pounding in his ears.
Only one heartbeat.
Instantly alarmed, he pulled away. "Your heart stopped!"
Teddy chuckled airily. "Yeah, I guess you just have that effect on me," He paused, playful eyes growing serious again. "If my work, if society, can't handle that this is real, then it's their problem, not ours."
James couldn't help but melt a little, all reservations about a relationship with the man he loved fading with each of Ted's arrhythmic heartbeats.
Feeling infinitely braver, infinitely happier than he could recall being for quite a while, he wrapped his arms around Teddy's neck, whispering a brave "I love you" against his lips before they met in the most sensual press of lips either had ever experienced.
The heat was scalding, especially in the dead of winter in a poorly insulated shed. The passion was undeniable, as years of need and desire translated into the slide of lips and touch of tongues. The meaning was sealed in the minute space where breath was shared.
It was indescribably flawless.
It left everything to be desired, a promise between lovers that good things were to come.
When they walked back to the house some hour later, hand in hand, forgotten ring still on James's finger, equally disregarded matching stickers on his hand and peeling off Teddy's forehead, stethoscope around his neck, hula hoop in tow, neither could imagine a more perfect time to be shamelessly happy than at Christmas at The Burrow.
A/N: I hope it didn't seem like total crap.
(And I don't think anyone really understands how hypocritical it is for me to say that XD)
Anyway, please review and favorite and add me to Author Alert for more :)
Till next time,