Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations all characters find themselves in. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy this last chapter. Thanks for sticking with it till the end!
A Year and a Bit Later
Lifting his free hand up Louis adjusted his scarf so that it better covered his eyes, smiling as he did so because he found it terribly ironic that Teddy had decided to use one of his own accessories against him. Not that he couldn't remove the blindfold of course, obviously he could since Teddy's hand only held one of his hostage, but that would ruin the other man's surprise and he definitely wasn't doing that. He was pretty sure that he was finally going to get a look at what Teddy had been so wired about recently and there was no way he was missing out on that. He'd been trying for weeks now to figure out what his lover was up to and had thrown himself wholeheartedly into seducing the information out of him.
His undeniable talents in that area had netted him some information, but not nearly enough to satisfy him.
They were still outside, he could feel the warmth of the sun on them and hear the sounds of foot traffic, but there weren't a lot of people around them since they'd only been stopped five times now to be questioned as to just why he was blindfolded and being led around by Teddy. A surprise was all the answer Teddy would give them, but they weren't questioned seriously since they were part of the Weasley family and therefore automatically seen as both stubborn and slightly bent.
"You know, we could have avoided these people and the blindfold if you'd just apparated us to wherever it is we're going."
Teddy's voice was a mixture of excitement and amusement when he pointed out that Louis had never objected to being blindfolded before.
Shuddering automatically at that Louis's smile curved into a full fledged grin as he asked if that would be a part of whatever Teddy had planned for them once they finally got to their destination.
"That could be arranged." A Christening of sorts, the older man thought with a grin of his own. "And we're almost there."
Pleased to hear that Louis decided to concentrate instead on swinging the hand that was holding him, enjoying the fact that Teddy's hand was his to hold, especially in public. When they'd first come out as a couple, after the Great Family Implosion of last year, Teddy had been really shy about public displays of affection, the Black in him no doubt. He'd gotten the man used to holding his hand again, though they were still working on Teddy letting him snog his brains out while they were out and about. The foolish man seemed to think that was something that should be reserved for indoors.
When they came to a stop Louis cooperated when Teddy asked for his hand back for a moment, his straining ears catching the sound of a key going into an old lock, a door being opened and Teddy gone for a minute or two before the other man was back and taking his hand, leading him into a building of some sort.
Gently kicking the door closed behind them, Teddy led Louis to the middle of the front room. He felt like a billion butterflies had just erupted in his stomach but he had had weeks to plan and prepare for this and damn if he was going to go through another week of Louis trying to seduce his secrets out of him. He wouldn't survive without spilling his guts.
So after taking a deep, calming breath Teddy reached out and untied the scarf he'd borrowed from their closet, stepping back a little as his hands dropped back to his sides with the scarf in one of them. "Surprise."
Blinking at the sudden return of his eyesight Louis's eyes focused on Teddy's face for a moment before he slowly turned his head to glance in one direction and then the other, his brain trying to understand what he was being shown.
That someone had put a lot of time and effort into restoring this building was his first thought, Louis's discerning eye admiring the glow of well polished and cared for hardwood floors, the intricately fashioned copper chandeliers that provided the light, and the truly amazing and huge fireplace he could see off to the one-the fireplace.
Walking over to it Louis ran his hands over the mosaic of blue and green tiles, the artist who'd created it making it seem like you were looking at the sea, like it was as deep and changing as the real thing. It seemed to move before his eyes, and if there had been a fire in the hearth Louis could only imagine the brilliance and beauty of it.
He'd heard of a fireplace like this before, knew of the restaurant that had once housed it.
The Singing Heart had been THE restaurant back when their grandparents had been growing up. Known throughout the Wizarding World for its beauty, innovation, and superior food, the crème de la crème of their world had flocked here in droves, reservations all but impossible to get. Gran and Granddad had told him many stories about this place, most notably that this was where the two had become engaged. Granddad had been good friend with the owner's grandson, which was how they'd gotten in, and in honor of the occasion they'd been given one of the best seats in the house, to the right of the fireplace.
With his heart in his throat Louis walked over to the spot where the table must have been, sniffling a little as he thought of what this small piece of his family's history represented. This was where Molly Prewett had agreed to marry Arthur Weasley after the man blurted out the question before their drinks had even arrived, the pressure too much for him to handle.
Unaware that his eyes were watering up until Teddy was gently wiping his eyes with his handkerchief Louis met the other man's soft gaze, letting his love tend to him before he wrapped his arms around Teddy's waist. Leaning forward so that their foreheads were touching Louis closed his eyes on a sound of contentment. "You fixed 'The Singing Heart'."
The restaurant had not survived the first war, the owners' refusal to serve or support Voldemort and his people their death warrant. There had been significant damage done to the restaurant too, it not enough simply to end the lives of the family who'd been pouring their hearts and souls into the place for generations. The nearly gutted place had been left standing as a symbol and reminder, the fireplace becoming legendary because it alone had somehow survived the destruction of its home intact.
"It took some doing to get Brewberry to sell it to me, but your food swayed him in the end."
"I was far from the first to approach him about buying this building, there have been plenty of people who wanted to use the history of the place to their advantage. Some of them probably wanted to pay homage to it too, but Brewberry felt like he owed it to the family that he lost to only sell to someone he knew they'd approve of. Who would love it the way they had." Teddy's lips curved naturally. "He didn't want to sell it to me because not only did I fail the cooking and restaurant questionnaire he'd created long ago for all potential buyers, but I didn't have the right kind of hands."
"The right kind of hands?" Louis asked, confusion and shock making his brain feel incredibly slow and fuzzy. Cause there was nothing wrong with Teddy's hands, Teddy's hand were friggin amazing.
"They're not chef hands." Teddy explained, stroking them up and down Louis's back. "Even when I explained that I wouldn't be the one running or cooking in the place he wouldn't budge. Not even the fact that I'm the Chosen One's godson swayed him, and that was a complete first even though I'll admit that that was the first time I actually played that card, I was so desperate to convince him. Finally I hit on the idea to start bringing him stuff that you'd made at home or while you were working, smuggling the dishes to him as bribes. That finally did the trick, at least enough that he asked a couple ghost ancestors of his to shadow you secretly to make sure you really were as great as I said you were. They concurred and gave their blessing, apparently."
Drawing back a little Louis stared at Teddy in shock, the man's words only now registering. "You…for me…this…?"
Misinterpreting the look he was getting Teddy paled just a little as hurried to explain his actions before he blew this.
"I know you always intended to buy your own place, that you didn't want to rent a building because you didn't want to deal with a landlord or have to worry about being kicked out before you had the money to buy it. You wanted your restaurant to be one hundred percent yours, paid with money you earned, and I get that. But I also remember how much you loved to hear Gran tell the story of Granddad proposing here, how disappointed you were that it wasn't still around and that you couldn't even look through the windows because they were boarded up." Deep breath. "You always said that when you had a restaurant of your own it would be just as good as 'The Singing Heart', you even considered naming yours something similar to honor it, for a while. This place, Louis…it needs you as much as you need it. I'm not giving it to you, and it's not mine to keep. I have a contract that states I only own it until you have enough money to buy it from me. You can even pay me more than I paid if you want. I know I overstepped myself here…but I knew in my bones that this was meant to be yours. It's been empty long enough."
He knew that he should be talking, that there was a lot he needed to say and express, but Louis just couldn't for the life of him get past the fact that Teddy had up and bought this building for him. It wasn't in his nature to be speechless, but he just didn't…
"I just had it cleaned up, nothing else. The actual kitchen area looks pretty damn crappy but I figured that given the amount of times you've rearranged our kitchen for no apparent reason I shouldn't even attempt to touch back there. Or hire someone to. Especially since a lot of its probably out of date and-please say something. You're really freaking me out with the not talking. You always have something to say."
"Just…just give me a minute."
Stepping away slightly, Louis took Teddy's hand again so that his lover would know it wasn't meant as a rejection before turning his attention to scanning the building once more, his mind altering and changing what he saw into what could be. What it would be if he were to someday call it his own. The tables placed for optimum flow and position, decked out in blue tablecloths-no, blue and green tablecloths of various shades, no one the same, like the fireplace. Each table would be named after the color it was decked out in except for one, the table he'd place to the right of the fireplace in honor of his grandparents. That would be the lovers' table, the setting reserved for the most romantic of evenings. Maybe they'd even keep a wall hanging of sorts beside it, where couples who'd celebrated their relationship at that table could sign as a lasting testament to their bond with the place. And it wouldn't do to go overboard with the blue and green color scheme either, that would just be too unoriginal and unimaginative, but there would be touches of the colors throughout, Louis decided, paired up with the blinding white of china and the warm copper of the chandeliers that cast their warmth above them now.
The glow of candlelight, the scents of delicious food in the air, and the sounds of voices from all over the world, wizards and witches who'd heard that this was the best place to eat and were more than willing to pay whatever he chose to charge for even the smallest of portions.
And there'd be familiar voices too; faces Louis knew as well as he knew his own. It took little imagination of his part to see his grandparents sitting at their table, sharing a dessert and completely unaware of everyone else around them for the moment. Over in the corner Hugo was proving once again that he was a bottomless pit whose stomach could never really be filled, his sister watching with fondness while Sev and Alexei's expressions were a combination of disbelief and morbid amusement. Cousins in desperate need of some adult time after a long day with the kids, sisters making the men in the room go slack jawed with admiration until his maman passed by, finishing them off…and Teddy…waiting for him at the table to the right of the fireplace this time, content to steal a couple moments with him when he had the chance to put up his feet with the man who would move heaven and earth for him if he asked him to.
Who loved him more than anyone or anything in the world.
Looking down at their joined hands as the imagined world faded away and the reality set in, Louis knew that the hand he held would always be there for him to take in his. To lead him when he needed guidance, or to help him pull Teddy into whatever fun activity he thought they just had to try together. To comfort the other when they were sad or needed to be reminded that they were never alone, or to show anyone who saw them that they were together and belonged together. To join their bodies, even if it was just their fingers laced together.
Bringing their hands up Louis kissed the back of Teddy's. "I'll pay you half of what you paid and it will be our restaurant."
Teddy's confusion was written all over his face. "But I don't know anything about the business…and you always said you wanted to go it alone, that that's why you wouldn't let any of us help you out with a loan."
Louis laughed, the idea of Teddy even trying to work in the restaurant industry absolutely hilarious to him. Not that there wasn't certain parts of it that the other man would excel at, because there were, but by and large Teddy would be as out to sea as he would if he was suddenly asked to come work in Teddy's office in some capacity.
"That's not what I meant. I mean you doing the books or helping me find someone to do them would be great, especially once I get really busy, but what I meant was…" How should he put this? "Businesses flourish when the people who run them, work there, love what they're doing with all their heart and soul. When they put everything they have into being the best that they can be. I'm…I'm going to put everything I am into this place…and…and I want it to be partly yours so that you know, always, that I'm yours too."
Pulling on Teddy's hand Louis moved them back to their earlier spot by the fireplace, the blonde maintaining his hold on Teddy's hand as he dropped down on one knee.
"I'm probably not going to do this well, I always figured I'd be the one on the receiving end and that everything would be perfect like something out of those silly romance novels girls seem to love so much. I don't have a ring either, which is also wrong, but I'll get one and I'm asking you here and now anyway. Because we aren't perfect, no one is, but you and me…we're absolutely right.
Teddy Remus Lupin…would you do me the honor of becoming my husband?"
Dropping down to his knees and not even feeling the sting when they hit the hard floor, Teddy reached out with his other hand, cupping Louis's cheek with infinite tenderness. "If I'd known that all I had to do to get you to propose was buy you this place…I'd have bought it for you years ago and a brand new kitchen on top of it."
"It's not that you bought this for me. It's that you love me. Because I can't see my future without you in it and I don't want one without you because I love you even more than you love me." The sound Louis made was part amusement, part nerves. "So is that a yes?"
"It's not possible for you to love me more, but yeah, yes. Yes I'll marry you."
With a whoop of glee Louis threw himself at Teddy, the two crashing to the floor with the former sprawled over the latter, love and laughter in his eyes. "I object, I love you more."
"We'll just see about that."
Pressing their lips together the very enthusiastic snogging that followed was horribly messy and uncoordinated, both men too busy grinning like idiots and caught up in the moment to give a damn. They were going to get married. They would have their home in Grimmauld Place and a second one here, homes that they'd build together to the best of their ability.
It wouldn't always be perfect…but it would be right.
And knowing that absolutely, Louis's voice contained not a hint of doubt as he spoke the familiar words.
"Love you muchly, Teddy bear."
"Love you muchly too, Hummingbird."