Heroic Tendencies

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. This pairing was discovered by me, so please gimme a little mention if you write them! Thanks! It is one of many of Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings, which you may find in Mor's and my forum, "Mew and Mor's Weird Pairings Fan Stories," found here (Just take out the spaces!): http : / forum. fanfiction. net/ forum /Mew_and_Mors_Weird_Pairings_Fan_Stories /76194 / Read, review, and enjoy! And check out and join the forum FUN! This is a SEQUEL: It follows the third Jamestin oneshot (really, a drabble), "20 something potatoes of love," so I strongly suggest you read that first (though reading J2—"Things That Tie Us Close"—will have this make the most sense).

For Mor, Kylie, Jo, Bethie, Lovisa, and Rose. Because you are all heroes of fanfic. :}

- ^-^3

The sunlight was so warm on James' skin as it poured in through the crack between the curtains. Normally, the eldest son of Harry Potter would've slogged out of bed, closed the curtains, and then slogged back into bed. But not today. Today, he was perfectly fine with the extra warmth which only added to the heat pressed against his chest.

That heat was body heat. Justin Finch-Fletchley's back was spooned with James Sirius Potter's front, but the only one who was aware of that fact was James. Justin slumbered peacefully, a soft, non-disruptive snore escaping him every few moments or so.

James carefully pulled his arms from Justin's waist and paused to make sure he hadn't disturbed him. Seeing Justin remain still, James kissed his shoulder and got out of bed.

His first action was to pull those bloody curtains shut. In lieu of the sun, he turned on a nearby lamp and left it as dim as he could but could still dress by it. He found his jeans on the floor and yanked them on, and gathered his other garments, as well. The wizard hurriedly dressed and left the room and the office, and scampered off to the kitchens. Kreacher and Winky were already up making breakfast. Though Kreacher only made food for the Slytherins (mainly, the remaining purebloods), Winky was delighted to whip up a small meal for James to take with him. She also didn't bat an eyelash when he asked for enough for two people; Winky didn't really care as long as she had a job to do.

When James returned, he found Justin groggily sitting up in bed, one arm lying on a propped-up knee and the other acting as a stand to keep him upright. The supporting hand was in the spot James had vacated moments ago, and Justin was staring sadly at it.

The smile on James' face fell. "What's wrong?"

Justin looked up and pouted. "I woke up because I was cold."

"'Well," the Gryffindor said as he held up the breakfast tray, "I brought something to warm you up." He placed it on the nightstand by Justin's side of the bed. "I've got to—whoa!"

Justin had yanked him by the arm and on to his lap and proceeded to nuzzle his neck. "Mmm, much warmer than any breakfast could make me…"

James felt his face grow hot. "Justin! You may not eat me for breakfast."

"Always so lewd, James," Justin remarked, but he had that glint in his eye that told James he'd have to give in to him.

"I may have the crude language," James stated, "but I'm not the pervert who currently has 'bedroom eyes'—again."

"You love 'bedroom eyes'!" the teacher laughed. He released James and chuckled as the younger wizard smoothed his rumpled clothing. "Ah… At least it's Saturday."

"Yeah," James said with a roll of his eyes. "We're so lucky. Justin, it's a lot harder for me to sneak out of here with students milling about. Even spells to hide me are troublesome. What if someone bumps into me?"

Justin stood and started dressing. "James, if you're that worried about it, then just stay."

James sighed. "I've been telling you, I'm trying to find a decent apartment in London. Now that you're well into the new school year, things aren't as hectic at Ollivander's, so I really need to find an apartment before I start as his apprentice next month."

"I know, I know…" Justin pulled a jumper over his button-up shirt, paused, and undid the top two buttons. He frowned. "It's just…nice. Normal. Regular life, with you around." He turned to James, who was gathering some of his stuff and packing it in his messenger bag. "By the way, is it all right to toss your clothes in your drawers in the laundry? I was going to clean up in here a bit."

"Yeah, that's fine. Uh, just let me see if I'll need anything first." The hazel-eyed wizard opened both drawers—Godric, was it bad that he had so much in Justin's room at the castle?—and grabbed three shirts before closing the drawers. "'Kay, I'm good." He stood and went over to Justin. "I hope to narrow it down from five places today. You'll see them soon, don't worry."

Justin gave him an uncomfortable look. "It's not that I'm worried about…" He drew James to him and rested his chin on the top of the younger wizard's head, his hands clasped at the small of James' back. "Aren't your parents wondering where you are?"

"'It's ten o'clock—do you know where your children are?'" James quipped with a grin. "Jus, if I hear any more of that from you, I'm going to think I'm some booty call."

The teacher's face burned bright red. "James!"

"Ah-ah-ah, inside voice," James said in a McGonagall voice. "Justin, I'm an adult now. Trust me, they're more worried about Lily and her future detentions—and they know she's at Hogwarts." He lightly pecked Justin's lips. "They needn't worry about me. Now I've got to go."

"Fine… One more, then you're free," Justin stated, smiling.

"Justin…"

"Just one."

James kissed him again, but Justin had the early morning energy most other people lacked. He was quite all right with nibbling on James' lower lip before deepening the kiss…and starting to unzip James' sweatshirt…

- ^-^3

Three hours later, James walked into the Potter house and tried to close the front door as quietly as he could manage. There was the tiniest of clicks as the door latched…and Ginny emerged from the kitchen.

"James, where've you been?" she reprimanded. She flicked her wand, hanging up his bag for him. "Come on," she groused, having him follow her into the kitchen, "your breakfast isn't that cold."

"Ah, Mum, you didn't have to cook for me…" But when his eyes fell on the bowl of eggs and plate of toast and bacon, his stomach growled, causing Harry to glance over the top of The Quibbler and raise an eyebrow. "Thank you," James said sheepishly, promptly taking his seat in front of his plate.

"You never answered my question," Ginny said as she placed a tall cup of orange juice beside him. She sat down next to him and gathered up her long hair. "I thought Curt's house was only an hour away by broom."

James snorted into his drink and coughed. He'd forgotten he'd fibbed to them that he'd be at the Jordan residence for the past couple of days. Also, as James had one of the nicest brooms on the market—the ultra-fast Zephyr Flyght—there was no wiggle room over slow traffic or the like. His mind went into overdrive as his mouth opened. "Well…I went to Curtis' at first, yeah, but then we changed plans and all went to Troy's. Troy's mum made a really delicious marble cake."

Ginny and Harry laughed. "Who would've ever thought Lavender was the housewife type?" Ginny asked rhetorically. "Oh, Merlin…"

Harry put The Quibbler down. "By 'all' you mean just you boys, right? I can hardly imagine Lee letting his daughter stay over at her boyfriend's house, even if her brother's there, or you." He paused for thought. "Although, Lania is Marietta's daughter, too…"

James waved his parents off, knowing he'd avoided trouble. He'd only known Troy's and Curt's parents as Troy's and Curt's parents, so Ginny and Harry's comments meant nothing to him. Besides, Seamus and Lavender always welcomed him into their home, even if he did live a while away. Lee liked him, too, and Marietta—rather, "Mrs. Jordan," as she insisted—at least tolerated him. James had a feeling she'd always thought he'd swipe up Lania, who was now in her final year, but little did Marietta—Mrs. Jordan—know that it was Troy of whom she'd have to be wary on her daughter's behalf…as well as her son's, as both Jordan siblings wanted Troy. Months and months ago, Troy'd been with Curt; now Troy was back to Lania. James' head hurt every time he thought of the love triangle, and it made him very happy to have only Justin by his side.

Of course, coming back to a Justin train of thought reminded James why he'd been explaining himself in the first place. "Quickie," my ass! he thought as his face grew hot. He couldn't believe he'd stayed another hour and a half with Justin, only to scramble and make the normally two-hour journey from Hogwarts home in just under another hour and a half. Yeah. He'd have to get Justin back for that.

Ginny cleared the table and put some dishes away. "So you're going to London today, right?"

"Yeah, apartments," her eldest answered as he rolled his shoulders. "I hope to have one picked out by Halloween."

"Three weeks?" his father asked. "Isn't that a little hasty?"

"Dad, I've been looking for a while now. And I've narrowed it down to five. Hell, after today it may come down to two or three."

Harry nodded. "All right… When you do decide, let me know and I'll send someone from the Ministry to check it for any traces of Dark magic—"

"Dad, no, these places are fine—"

"—or I could make the sweep myself—"

"Dad." James stared dead on at his father. "Dad, I know the spells to check. And the wards and crap to put up," he added before Harry could interrupt again. "You need to realize one of these days that I can take care of myself. Both of you," he added when it appeared Ginny wanted to open her mouth. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some paperwork to go through and a nap to take before I head to London this afternoon. It was a long flight, as you said, Mum."

James moved quietly upstairs to see if his parents had anything to say without him around; he even used his pair of brand-new Extendable Ears—a graduation present from Uncle George, much to Auntie Ange's chagrin—but the sharpened hearing yielded nothing of interest. James tucked the item back in his pocket and made his way to his bedroom. The paperwork covered his bed, but it was a welcome sight, so he collapsed on the mattress for a snooze, regardless. Though he knew of one sleeping place he liked a whole lot more…

- ^-^3

"Ms. Pergola."

"Mr. Potter."

James grinned at the witch and she waved her wand and unlocked the front door to the flat in downtown London. Isis Pergola followed him inside before glancing down at her clipboard. "I think you know the specs by now—two bedrooms, one living room, one bathroom, a small kitchen and dining area, all with basic amenities." She snapped her head back up, her black curls bouncing. "Must we even see the last place? You keep visiting the other three and spend the least amount of time at the fifth because you always drag your feet here."

"I don't like making hasty decisions, Ms. Pergola," James replied, and he moved into the living room to get a good look through the area's large window. The view outside was spectacular.

The middle-aged witch heaved a sigh. "I'm just more concerned that this place will be snatched up because you dawdled. You're obviously in love with this place—why don't you just sign for it now? I have the contract here with me."

The wizard frowned. It was sorely tempting to grab that paper from her and sign his name on it. Isis was right; he did love this place. It had a full bathroom with both a shower and bath, and the bedrooms were equally cozy. The living room gave him ample space for him to kick back and the kitchen was out of the way but large enough to suit his needs and fancies. "I'll…"

"Yes…?" Isis pushed, her copper eyes damn near glowing.

"…have to think about it some more." His shoulders sagged as she sighed. "Let's go to the last one."

"All right," Isis said, "but don't come crying to me when you go to put a deposit on this place and I tell you someone else already did."

James nodded as they left and visited the last apartment. Isis had a strong point, but James never rushed anything. He certainly didn't want to rush anything that would likely take most of his monthly paycheck, too.

After wrapping up the day with Isis, James found his decision came down to his ideal place—the fourth one—and the last apartment. The only reason why the last apartment was still on his list was because it was so cheap: it was a good fifty Galleons cheaper a month than the one he really liked. But that was another thing; he really liked the other one.

It's just another thing to deal with on my to-do list, the wizard noted when he returned home for the night. He spent the rest of the evening working on the prototype wands he'd shown Ollivander a while ago, until Ginny called him down for dinner.

- ^-^3

"I'm going to need a cosigner," James was telling Justin the following week. So much for not making hasty decisions.

Justin whistled. "Okay, I could probably—"

"Oh, no, that's not what I mean!" James waved his hands to dismiss the thought. "I wouldn't make you do that. My parents have offered to cosign, and help me out with the deposit until I get my feet on the ground."

"Ah, so you're going to pay them back?"

The younger wizard rubbed the back of his neck while he and Justin strolled the perimeter of the Forbidden Forest. "Not exactly… They said it was a graduation present. Mum was all, 'We didn't do much for your momentous occasion!' And Dad was all, 'Having a party's not nearly enough.' Or something like that. I was so glad to hear it that I don't think I listened to much else…"

"It's been known to happen," Justin mused with a smile, and James rolled his eyes. Justin would be the one to say that.

"Actually, considering all that's going well…" James cleared his throat and stuck his hands in his pockets. Justin stopped ahead of him and turned halfway back to him.

"What?"

"…I was wondering how it would be, telling them."

Justin's eyes widened, but he didn't look too happy or sure of James' idea. "James, that's a huge decision."

"I know."

"One you shouldn't make on your own."

"I know…" James chewed on the inside of his cheek. As great as things were now, Justin was right. Coming out to his family was not something from which he could return. It wouldn't be like a joke he said and then followed up with, "Psych!"

That, and it would be a big step for Justin, as well. Though Hannah Abbott and Ernie Macmillan, Justin's mates, knew about James and Justin, no one else did. No one else in Dumbledore's Army knew about Justin's romance…although, come to think of it, James couldn't recall Justin having ever said he'd liked other blokes. He asked him as much.

Justin shook his head. "Can't say I really have… I thought at one point that I might have had a crush on my Housemate, Zacharias Smith, but that disappeared on its own." The Muggle Studies teacher paused in his thinking. "Actually…I really haven't had any romance until…"

"Until my sixth year," James finished for him impishly. He laughed at the slight blush that bloomed on Justin's cheeks.

"Well, can you blame me?" Justin, still red-faced, grabbed James' hand and relaxed. "But…I know it. I know I love you, I do."

The eldest Potter son smiled gently at Justin's display of his heart on his sleeve. Times like these made James agree with what Justin had said about them having a normal life together. It just seemed so…simple.

Too simple, even.

James shrugged without Justin noticing and they headed back toward the castle, releasing their hands once they got close enough. "So can you meet me next weekend in London? I want you to preview my two options before I sign anything."

Justin laughed, at ease again. "It's really all up to you, luv."

"Hey, I just need to if you like the place, how roomy it is…if I need a bed and a couch…"

"Why bother with furniture at all?" Justin snickered.

- ^-^3

Justin liked the place well enough, and with his parents helping him out, James found he was able to land the fourth apartment—the best one—in the nick of time. Isis Pergola had glared at him when he and his parents had gone to her office to sign the appropriate documents. But James could've sworn he saw her smirk as she filed things away.

Harry took the day off work to help Ginny and James move James' things into his new place. He had ample space now, and Ginny thought that maybe he had too much space.

"Merlin, I'm afraid of visiting you in the future," she remarked. "If your room was a pigsty in our little house…"

"I should be able to handle this on my own," James reassured his mother. "It looks pretty clean right now; keeping it clean won't be too hard."

"Until one thing gets tossed on the floor," his father teased. His parents laughed whilst James shot them dirty looks.

"Anyway…thank you guys, for doing this." He looked around the flat—his flat—and…frankly, felt at home. His hazel eyes met brown and green ones.

Ginny sighed and leaned against Harry. "Well, it is hard on us, you moving out… You're our son, James."

"Our firstborn," Harry added wistfully.

"Oh, Godric, I think I can see my baby self in your eyes, Dad," James joked. He grinned, though, and hugged them. "How about we just celebrate my new place with dinner instead?"

Dinner with them was quiet and easygoing, and the desire to tell them about Justin crept up in the back of James' mind again. He ended up respecting Justin's wishes, however, and bid his parents goodnight after the meal. When he closed the door behind them, the click the latch made was so thick and heavy, that one idea echoed in the room:

This place was really James', and all James'.

He took it easy in his remaining days of freedom before going to start under Ollivander. Although, when he finally started his wandwright's apprenticeship, it wasn't that bad.

"Always best to work between rushes," Ollivander told him as they walked through the rows and rows of boxed wands. "Wand-making is a laborious process, so it's a good thing that we stock up. After all—"

"'There's only one wand for every witch or wizard,'" James quipped automatically.

Ollivander smiled and nodded. "I see you were really listening."

"How can I forget when I got my wand? Larch, unicorn hair core, ten and a half inches, slightly springy." James produced his wand as he described it. "No two wands are alike."

Ollivander nodded again as he began pulling boxes left and right and placing them in James' empty arms. "Exactly. Which is why you are to study these here examples and make notes on them. Not every possible combination has been made yet."

James paused to do the calculations in his head. "Well, with three average cores, seven average integer lengths, and thirty-eight typical wand woods, we're looking at seven-hundred-ninety-eight combinations, not even counting the numerous flexibility possibilities and unusual wand lengths."

"Yes, we are, indeed." The older wizard grabbed a few scrolls of parchment and placed them on James' pile, as well. "But you forgot about the hilts."

The young male grimaced. "Of course…no two hilt designs are the same, either."

"You'll do well to remember that, too, my young friend." Ollivander looked around the shop. "It is strange…"

"What?"

He shook his silvery head. "Neither my son or daughter have any interest in the shop. Since almost four-hundred B.C.…and I have finally taken on the first non-Ollivander-family apprentice."

James' heart went out to the man, for he was sure Harry was still not wholly settled into the idea that a son of his wasn't an Auror. "I won't disappoint, Mr. Ollivander."

"No, you won't." But Ollivander said it more out of appraisal than in scolding. Though saddened somewhat by his children, he appeared to see something in James that James thought he'd seen himself.

- ^-^3

Though Halloween was right after that, James did not have much time to stop for celebrations. Ollivander worked him hard, expecting James to have three new hilt designs per day, present two new combinations per week and explain why the combinations ought to be made, and help Ollivander rework the inventory list whenever Ollivander so demanded it of him.

Weeks flew by at the bat of an owl's wings. James was allowed a free weekend in November, which he gladly took. He hadn't had much time to respond to letters from anyone, including Justin, and it felt a lot better to get out on his broom than remain holed up and sneezing at the dust collected on some wand boxes.

James felt impish on the cold winter morning, and he hovered outside Justin's office window. Luckily Justin was in there, but it was quite amusing to just hover and watch the Hufflepuff move around for a good few minutes—passing the window even!—and not notice James until he finally dropped something and picked it up.

When Justin straightened up, he blanched and then blushed upon finding his young lover. He seemed to bark, "JAMES!"

The Potter son grinned and laughed before landing and winding his way to Justin's office. Justin met him outside.

"Don't do that again!" he yelled. "You nearly gave me a heart attack!"

"I didn't mean to—it was just supposed to be a happy surprise." James looked up at the older man. "Aren't you happy to see me?"

"Of course I am, but honestly!" He shook his head as they returned to his office. James went right for the sweets basket sitting on the windowsill and collapsed in a chair.

"Oh, how I've missed you, pumpkin tarts…"

"Thanks for the wonderful endearment, James," Justin snickered. He shook his head and relaxed.

"That's not that a bad idea—my Pumpkin Tart." James howled with laughter as Justin shot him a look.

"Great…now I'll never get out of that one…"

"So how are you doing?"

Justin glanced at him as he sat down at his desk. "You haven't read a word I've sent, have you?"

"Nope. I've been working, luv."

Justin shrugged, for he more than understood that statement. "Things are fine. No one has been as outstanding as you were in my class," he added with a quirked eyebrow. "But I'm pretty good."

"Good enough you need a date?"

"That'd be nice."

James got up and suggested they grab lunch at the Three Broomsticks. They ended up at the Hog's Head instead, and James asked as they sat down, "So do you have plans for Christmas yet?"

Justin paused to think. "Hannah and Ernie haven't said anything about dragging me along…though I think they're growing closer than they realize, so I'm fine with giving them time on their own. But so far, nothing."

"So perhaps we could…?"

"If you can, yes, that'd be fantastic." But the Muggle Studies teacher's face faltered. "But what about your plans?"

"My plans? I've my own place. As long as I make an appearance at the Burrow, I can't say I'll be bogged down by much, so my plans are completely un-ruined and free."

"'Un-ruined'?" Justin echoed with a tiny chuckle.

"Don't make fun of my creative speech."

"So that's what we're calling it these days…" Justin cupped his cheek in the palm of his hand. "You really think you'll be able to get away after only 'making an appearance' at the Burrow?"

James looked at him. "What do you mean?"

"Doesn't the Weasley-Potter clan…I dunno, besiege the Burrow? You know, the lot of you arrives there for the whole break or something like that."

"Things were different when we were little. But with the family so big…we're all kind of squished. So now we don't all stay there, though usually the younger ones do."

"So Victoire doesn't…?"

"Nah, not since Vic moved out six years ago. She breezes in and out, spending the rest of her days with Neville or at Madam Malkin's." James held up his fingers and began ticking off names. "Molly's only a year older than me, but she's already accomplished a name for herself in the Obliviator Squad, so she spends half the break with the family, the rest in the office. Dominique, Rose, and Al are all the same age, so they'll be home for Christmas, as will the youngest, Lily, Hugo, the twins, Lucy, and Louis. Oh, and Teddy's getting on in his years, but he still counts himself as one of us." James waved his hand dismissively. "The only difference is that Lils isn't allowed to sneak up and see him in his room anymore, since she has such a huge thing for him."

Justin shook his head, another chuckle emerging from him. "What is with you young people loving us old folk?"

"Oh, wrinkles are so hot, definitely," the Gryffindor prodded, and they laughed since Justin was old but not old-looking. James made a conscious decision to make more time for Justin, because time spent with him was time spent wisely…and perfectly.

- ^-^3

Sadly, the days dragged on from after their date until the Yule break. James thought he was starting to see the swirls on his designs swim on the parchment before him.

"You're going to collapse if you're not careful," Ollivander warned him.

The hazel-eyed youth frowned and dropped his quill beside his work on the desk. He rubbed his eyes. "How can you do this and not need spectacles, Mr. Ollivander?"

The wizard nodded knowingly. "We Ollivanders have excellent eyesight, dear boy. The only object we ever need for our sight is a magnifying monocle, which rarely gets used either way. Once we learn a wand, we never forget it and never have to study it in detail ever again."

"My memory's good…but not that good."

"Ah, but you have potential."

James perked up a bit at the compliment. Though Ollivander was very polite, he wasn't often so kind. "Sir?"

Ollivander took a minute to sit in the chair beside James and elaborate. "Mr. Potter, do you understand why I have had you doing these various tasks?"

"Um, to test my work ethic…?"

"Despite how they might seem, not one action I've had you do is trivial. These practices and jobs show that your young mind is fresh and imaginative. I never had to do these things."

James sat up as straight as his chair's back. "Sir?"

Ollivander smiled apologetically. "That's right. I never did for my father what you are doing for me. But do you know what you are in the process of proving to me?"

"What?"

"That I may just be able to die peacefully someday, knowing that while this store may not be owned by an Ollivander forever, it will most certainly be in the right, safe hands."

A silence settled between them, and James dropped his gaze to his parchment. No one had ever told him such a wonderful thing—certainly not Harry in the least. The kinds of things that stuck out in James' mind about his father were not quite the best of memories: there was the row they'd had when James dropped Quidditch, there was the fight about James' future when James chose O.W.L. classes meant for a wandwright and not for an Auror, and then there had been (of course) the disappointment that James had not grasped the Patronus Charm as quickly as Harry had. And Harry had been younger than James was, too, when he had managed to produce a fully-corporeal Patronus. James had only managed to do it at age eighteen.

Now here was Ollivander, saying he thought he might one day trust James with his family business.

As much as James loved Justin, Ollivander's trust had to be the best Christmas present ever.

- ^-^3

"Seriously?"

Ginny's face was utter amazement when her son told her the good news. James was stopping by the Potter home before retiring to his apartment for the start of his little vacation. Ollivander had a family of his own, so he was more than ready to give James a full ten days to celebrate Christmas and the incoming year.

"Just…holy crap," Ginny gasped as James nodded emphatically.

"Mum swore!" Lily yelled across the house as she walked into the kitchen where Ginny and James were.

"Oh, shut up, Lily," her mother groaned. "Your father doesn't care, and everyone else in this household has heard worse come out of that perfect little pout of yours."

Lily gaped at her mother for a moment. "You actually told me to shut up!"

"You should be used to it by now, hearing it from Al and me," James pointed out.

Lily stuck her tongue out at him and sat at the kitchen table. "So what has Mum cursing?"

James reiterated his story to his little sister, who had a similar reaction. Then, of course, Al walked in, wondering about the hubbub, and Harry appeared last, though he didn't seem surprised.

"Ollivander's a good man," he mused aloud. "I'm glad he sees something in you, James."

"Thanks, Dad," James replied. But in his heart he wasn't really grateful. Harry sounded at most responsive but not reactive. It was almost as though James had announced he had gotten into Gryffindor. Big whoop.

"So you're coming home for Christmas, right?" Ginny asked as she stirred a fondue.

"Sorry, what?"

Ginny looked at him. "James, didn't I say…? When you moved into your place, one of the things I said was that you would be home for Christmas. It would be different if Ollivander needed you, but you just said you have a long break."

He wanted to kick himself for telling his mother as much…and for not listening all that well a few months ago. If he had heard that, then he most certainly would've cleared up that detail right away. He didn't have enough time with Justin as it stood—now he was meant to have none?

"You made plans, didn't you?" Al asked, sighing. "Mum's been talking about Christmas for ages, James…"

"And what about you?" Lily asked Al. "Just because you couldn't get time with your girlfriend…"

"Whoa, what's this?" James asked with a smirk. "I couldn't have possibly missed something this juicy in a letter!"

Lily and James laughed. "You did! Al finally started dating Calytrix Zabini!"

"Oh my…! You didn't!"

"Callie sounds like a perfectly respectable girl," Ginny scolded James and Lily. "And if Al likes her, then so do I."

"Not to mention that Blaise is an okay bloke now," Harry stated. "Even if Pansy is her mother, Calytrix seems fine to me." Harry had only seen Calytrix a few times, though, since he sometimes guest-lectured in Parkinson-Zabini's D.A.D.A. class.

"Worst of all, she gets on well with Lils," Al moaned to his brother. Lily bitched about Al's comment before Ginny brought up locations again.

"So you'll at least be here?" Ginny pushed. "I'll grab your things for you, if you'd like."

"NO! No, that's fine," James said, thinking of his mother hypothetically finding his stash of Justin's letters, or the few photos he had of Justin and of Justin and himself. "I'll—agh, yeah, I'll go get a few things…"

He stopped by his apartment and had to think—shirts, jeans, pajamas—and he knew he'd also have to get presents for his family at some point, too. But yeah, there he was, only a few months later, back in his old room with no privacy whatsoever.

- ^-^3

The last thing you want to hear when you wake up in the morning is the word "penetration."

James was unlucky in this regard, however, when he woke up a few mornings before Christmas Eve and realized Lily had barged into his room at…oh. Okay, so it was noon and granted he shouldn't have still been asleep then…but Lily had no business interrupting his delicious—er, wonderful dream.

But Lily bounced in anyway, as though they weren't eighteen and almost-fourteen respectively. She shoved some magazine in front of his nose and pointed to one guy stabbing another guy with a sword. "See?"

Oh, that kind of penetration… James blushed, for reasons known only to him.

"James, look at this penetration!" Lily ate up the picture.

"Holy shitting Merlin, Lil, where'd you get that violent thing?" he queried as he pulled on a sweater over his pajamas.

"Callie," she answered.

"Oh, yes, because that answers everything."

Lily followed him with her teal eyes. "It's an American, Muggle comic. Callie likes them—partially because it pisses off her pureblood mum and dad." Lily continued to flip through the comic. "Gotta love a Gryffindor born to pure Slytherins."

The oldest Potter rolled his eyes as Lily sauntered out. This was the kind of normal interaction he had always expected with his siblings, but Lily… Well, there really was no getting used to Lily Luna Potter.

Downstairs at the breakfast table, Harry was clearing up the details of the break. "We'll all be here for Christmas, but Molly and Arthur are going to want to see everyone on Christmas Eve in a couple of days. But we'll have Christmas here."

"As we've been doing since Al and I hit our teens," James remarked.

Their father nodded. "My point is that no one gets to go off and do things with friends until all the family business is said and done. So, Al, you can see Calytrix and Scorpius after the twenty-fifth. Lily…well…"

"I get it, no ransacking any pantries early for treacle tarts with Roxanne, Freddie, Hugo, Lucy, and Louis," she finished for him, including all of the other youngest cousins.

"And no flying off to see Troy, Curtis, or Lania right after presents are opened," Harry said with a look to James.

"Got it," the eldest son replied.

"What about Professor Finch-Fletchley?" Al asked his brother. "I've heard around that you stop and visit him occasionally.

James' heart jumped into his throat. "I—I—well—"

"Oh, we forgot about Justin," Ginny stated, looking to Harry. She glanced back at James. "You're still sort-of mates with him even after school, aren't you?"

"Not 'sort-of' mates, Mum, he is a friend," James asserted, hoping he didn't sound too forceful. Was it a trick of the light, or had his parents exchanged a…curious look when Justin had come up?

Harry and Ginny acknowledged what he said when Harry followed up by saying he couldn't see Justin until after Christmas Day, as well. The topic then turned to what Lily and Al wanted for the holiday, but James silently ate. He already had a great place, a great guy he loved, and his job was highly demanding but he got paid for it. He didn't feel the need to ask for much of anything else.

After breakfast, James went up to his room to flip through his sketchbooks of hilt designs. He'd also been creating margins to fill up with notes about everything else Ollivander had asked him to research, so James spent a good few hours squinting at his rushed, tiny writing, trying to decipher it. Sometimes he thought his writing looked like chicken scratch…

The remaining days until the day before Christmas Eve were similar, with James splitting his time between family and studying. Dear Merlin, if only Troy and Curt could see all the studying I've been doing after Hogwarts, they'd dissect me to see if I still had my mischievous gene!

On the morning of the twenty-third, James awoke to the sound of tapping at his bedroom window. He picked his head up off what he thought was his pillow; in reality, it was a pile of now crumpled parchment with ink running in places from coming into contact with his drool.

Lovely, he thought as he waved his wand to clean up his mess.

He turned to his window quickly after and saw a brown owl hovering outside his window. He let the bird in, and the owl perched on his display of prototype wands. James cursed, since the bloody thing clearly had a parcel attached to its foot, and James didn't want the prototypes to be weighed down enough that they'd break.

He removed the package and Summoned an owl treat from Al's room since Al had an owl, and the fed owl flew right back out the window. Getting a better look at the package, James noted that it had a letter on the front, and both items were from Justin. He happily and hurriedly opened it:

Dear James—

Thought I'd send part one of my Christmas present to you so I won't forget. Hopefully this will make up for my obliviousness last year. When should I drop by your place?

Cheers, luv Pumpkin Tart.

—Jus, xoxo

James chuckled at the "Pumpkin Tart" that had replaced a crossed-out "luv," but he appreciated the sentiment. He opened the package and wanted to melt. Justin had given him Justin's old Hufflepuff scarf. Justin's initials were embroidered on the underside of the end with the Hufflepuff badge, and—though worn—it was still in good condition. Plus, it smelled of Justin, which had James' stomach doing giddy little flip-flops.

I should probably let him know that my plans have changed, James observed. He grabbed a stray piece of parchment and scrawled out the family's plans for the next two days. Randomly, it hit James that he again had forgotten about getting gifts for any of his family or Justin even, and he needed to do some shopping. James finished his note with a mention to meet him outside of Godric's Hollow in an hour.

The hazel-eyed wizard dressed warmly, leaving the letter atop the yellow scarf as he went downstairs to eat. "'Morning," he said to his mother and sister.

"Good morning," Ginny replied. She passed him a plate of eggs and bacon. "Did you sleep well?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah, yeah."

"I ask because you have ink on your cheeks, darling."

James' cheeks pinked as he swiped up his napkin and scrubbed his cheek raw; he also felt a bit of stubble on his jaw, too. Oops. I can't forget to shave…

Ginny smiled bemusedly at his forgetfulness. "What do you to say to a little game of Quidditch once your father and brother get up?"

Lily pouted and gave her brother a glare. "First things first—James, I think my earring came out in your room."

"What earring?" he asked as he drank his pumpkin juice.

"This one!" she elaborated, holding her open palm to him to show a little green leaf. "The ones Teddy got me for my eleventh birthday. I think it fell out—"

"—when you barged into my room the other day?" James scoffed. "I haven't seen it."

"But it has to be there, I've looked everywhere else…!"

"No matter… I'm not sure I can hang around to play, Mum," he said. "I, er, have some errands…"

"You forgot about gifts again, didn't you?" the two witches asked rhetorically.

He grimaced. "Well, if you lot would like coupons again for free chores…"

Ginny shook her head. "No, no, I'll let your father know that you have to go out. Just be back in time for lunch. And put on another robe!" she called as he finished his food, thanked her, and exited the kitchen. "I'm freezing just looking at you!"

- ^-^3

Not surprisingly, Justin arrived early. "I haven't been waiting that long, honestly!" he lied as he and James went on their way.

"Justin, you have a nice coating of snow on your hair," James said, brushing it off to emphasize his point. He laughed and kissed Justin's cheek.

"Thanks… But it wasn't a problem, really. It's just—it feels like it's been half a year since we last had a proper date. I'm almost glad you forgot to do all your shopping."

James stuck his tongue out at Justin as they walked. He'd decided it would probably be safest to stay kind of close since his mother was expecting him back in only a few hours. That, and it was a nice thought to have the chance to show Justin where he grew up.

As he relayed memories and anecdotes of notable places—"Lily accidentally levitated above those monkey bars, and Al tripped and broke his nose on the sidewalk there after Scorpius first implied Al might like Calytrix"—he also made a mental list of what he needed to buy. He figured a keychain for his dad would do; Harry still liked to drive like an average Muggle car every once in a while, and James hoped that a keychain that could be spelled to keep the keys in his pants' pockets would make for a decent gift. James already knew of a cloak he wanted to get for his mother, but he felt a bit iffy about it, for he couldn't exactly remember its price… For Al, he planned on getting replacement pawns for his Wizard's Chess set. The last time the two of them had played, Al hadn't put it away immediately, and the missing pawns were so long gone that not even a Summoning Spell could bring them back. As for Lily, James assumed something shiny or possibly dangerous would do; for the life of him, James couldn't fathom how Al and not their little sister had been placed in Slytherin!

Figuring out his friends would be easy—Curt would probably get something Quidditch-related since he was a reserve for the Chudley Cannons, Troy would get a new alarm clock since he was forever late to his Auror training sessions, and Lania would get something…er, girly. Cosmetics, maybe? James wondered if maybe it'd be best to send a letter to Uncle George to ask for some new WonderWitch product.

As for Justin… James sighed inwardly. Last Christmas, he'd gotten Justin a scarf. Okay, so it was kind of stereotypical. But now Justin had given him his own Hufflepuff scarf, and James wanted to give Justin something just as valuable to him, something just as special. Not to mention that Justin had said the scarf was only part one of his gift to James…!

"Any Yule or New Year's wishes?" Justin asked out of the blue.

"Hmm…to impress Ollivander further?" He blinked, realizing he hadn't told Justin, and thusly explained what he meant.

Justin gawked at him. "Holy shit."

"WHOA! Since when does meek little Justin Finch-Fletchley curse?" James inquired with a guffaw.

"James, c'mon, you know what I mean. I mean…" He shook his head, thoroughly impressed. "I've been teaching Muggle Studies for a while, yeah, but my predecessor didn't seem that hopeful for me."

"The pay's good—not the best, but good, and as long as I don't live beyond my means, I'll do well for myself."

The taller man frowned a bit. "Sheesh…"

"What?"

"Since when did I start dating the older wizard?" Justin gave him a tiny grin, though, for he meant that James had grown. And it was true; James had gone from being a good but lazy student to a young man who actually knew a thing or two about life. It was nice that Justin knew that, too.

"Praise me, praise me!" the Potter son teased as they hit the first store.

Justin nodded and shrugged. "If you insist…" Then he snaked his arm around James' waist and started nuzzling his neck in a very tempting and exciting way.

"Oh, bugger. You do that now when I quite obviously don't have enough time for it?"

- ^-^3

Fortunately, James had enough time for his shopping. He couldn't find what he wanted for Curt and Lania, but he managed to get something for his family. And he even found a pleasant little knick-knack for Justin: It was something used in baking, though James didn't fully understand how it worked. But he knew Justin would love it since Justin, though not a very good cook, loved to bake and wasn't too bad at it.

Maybe he'd finally learn to make those pumpkin tarts James loved so much. Hey, a guy could wish!

James dropped Justin off at Justin's door, where again Justin teased him. "Hey, come on, Jus… Not now!"

Justin grinned, too much of James' personality having rubbed off on him. "I know, I know. But it would be lovely if the mood wasn't ruined, right? If it remained—how'd you put it—'un-ruined'?"

"Git." James snogged him long and well before he finally Disapparated home.

At the Potter residence, all the lights in the house were on as it began to darken outside early. James was feeling better about being home now, his giddy feeling from seeing Justin promising him enough energy to ride him through the rest of the break.

Inside the front door, he removed his cloak and shook the snow off. "I'm home!" he called, his face frozen in his stupid smile. I've gotta tone it down, though, otherwise I'll just dig a hole for myself, he internally scolded. But he came out of his ponderings when the house remained oddly quiet. "Hello?" he yelled.

"In here." Ginny had said it, but his mother's voice was so quite that he'd nearly missed it.

James' gut twisted. His mother was rarely so quiet. The only times when she got like that were when Uncle Fred or lost friends came up in conversation. Then he got to thinking of what might have happened—and considering how much of the family either worked in the Auror Office or some other part of the Ministry, his imagination stopped producing hilt designs and started to tell him it could be this or that person for a multitude of reasons. "What is it?" he asked softly as he entered the kitchen. His parents were sitting at the kitchen table, neither of them looking at him. Al sat at the table, too, looking angry, and Lily's face was both red and pale at once, but her eyes looked wet and she was pouting. It vaguely occurred to James that he had yet to see his god-brother, and he opened his mouth to ask after Teddy—who was also an Auror—when Harry cut him off.

"Where were you?"

The question was weird. "Out," James replied automatically. "Didn't Mum tell you? I was shopping…" His words trailed as he looked at his father. "Please, just tell me what's wrong, guys. I'm freaking out here." Which was true; his heart was pounding a kilometer a minute.

"What is…this?" His father pushed a letter on the table towards James, which James saw for the first time.

His face went red. It was Justin's letter, and it was accompanied by Justin's scarf, as well. "It's—a letter," he dumbly answered.

"We can see that, James," Harry said, looking at Ginny and not him.

"It's a joke, right?" Ginny asked, her voice breathy. She wasn't crying…at least, not yet. "Right, James?"

"I…" But his mouth was dry. How could he have ever thought it would be okay to tell them about Justin when their reaction…

…was this?

And now his own mother wanted to be told that a loving little note was…a joke?

"Please, tell me it's just a joke—" Ginny begged.

"You can't be serious—" Al voiced.

"I found my earring…," Lily said quietly. Oh. Now it made sense as to how James had been found out. Likely Lily had either been too curious of the present on James' bed or Ginny or one of the others had passed by and looked in from Lily leaving the door open whilst retrieving her damned jewelry…

"You're too young to know what you think you want—" Harry began.

"Please, it's got to be a joke—"

"In all honesty, a teacher, brother?"

"—is ridiculous! Is this the truth or are you pulling our leg?"

"Yes," James interrupted them, "I love a man." He blinked, and hoped that his heart had been right in choosing to override his wits and just give his family the truth to see if they'd accept it.

Again the words he had just blurted—"Yes, I love a man"—sounded in his head, an echo bouncing off the walls of the large family kitchen that now seemed quite suddenly and severely small, getting tinier with each dragged-out second that passed as his family quietly processed and reacted to his statement. As James wet his lips after coming out to his loved ones, his eyes darted to each family member in turn, going round and round, a disastrous mockery of a carousel or—as he thought better—a well-done impersonation of a spinning gun barrel in a horrid game of Russian roulette he'd seen in one of those Muggle programs on their telly. His eyes were constantly drawn back to his father, who shot up from his seat at the table, narrowing his own eyes at his oldest child with a kind of sick epiphany dawning on his wizening face, the touches of gray hair on the sides of his face appearing much more silver in such a miniscule moment. In contrast, his mother stared at James with open shock, her eyes having never shone so brightly and coldly, metallically copper. The eldest Potter clenched his fists at his sides as her brow knit together in a devastating portrayal of confusion, the tiniest of creases forming between her eyebrows, taunting him with the idea that he had done this, he had just aged her once-beautiful face with numerous lines that would now age her ten years. James blinked and cleared his throat, tearing his eyes away from her and moving to speak when Al scoffed, shaking his head and certainly wondering how he could've missed something so important about his sibling who was older by only two years, and now memories flashed in both their minds, memories of nearly two decades of their closeness, Al searching for hidden meaning, little innuendos he might have missed before, James cherishing all the times his shadow, his companion had never once judged him. Now he came to the conclusion that Al would never see him the same way, and Lily's pout drew his eyes right to her pale face, those dark eyes never having been sadder, that fiery color of her red hair never having seemed so dull, so flat, and her form never having looked so defeated, for she was feeling defeated, she was feeling as though all the light had vanished from her world, for here was her big brother, the brother on whom she had always counted on remaining strong and steadfast…static. James, the eldest child—no, he was not a child anymore, but a man in love with another man—moved after his sister first, his footsteps leaden as she backed away and disappeared from the room, causing a chain reaction in the room of their brother's continued scoffing in disbelief, their mother's hollow yet quiet, shuddering sobs, and their father's angry shouts that no, James had to be wrong, James was not old enough or experienced enough to know he really loved another man, an idea that both revealed Harry's insecurities over having the "perfect" family and simultaneously cut into James, as there would doubtfully ever be any reconciliation for his "moral crime" of simply…being who he was. Yet James would not walk out; he sat down, listening without hearing the sounds around him, seeing without watching the scene unfold before him, wanting to speak but staying quiet until someone in the household regained their right mind and dared to utter the word he had been yearning for since he had just told them, since even that first minute he had looked into Justin's eyes, mouth dry, eyes wide, heart swelling, as he realized it was more than just friendship between the two of them—yes, he wanted that one word, that damnable, hard-to-grasp word of acceptance: "Okay."

But "okay" did not come.

- ^-^3

James grabbed his things—including Justin's scarf and letter—and left before anyone could even think the word "lunch." It was warmer outside in the below-freezing temperature than it was inside the Potter house. But James didn't give a flying fuck.

So much for putting off telling them.

He crashed into his door, unlocked it, threw it open, and threw it shut behind him. The wizard tossed his bag on the floor and barely made it to his couch before his legs gave out from under him.

He had pushed the idea of telling them about Justin out of his mind for a little while, since Justin had been nervous about it. But now that James' hand had been forced, he heard his conscience kicking him where it hurt most, saying, "Told you so." Over and over again, he heard it in the silence of his flat and in the deafening noise of his wireless blasting on full-volume—

"Told you so."

"Tooold you so."

"Told. You so."

"Told you. So."

"Told youuu so."

"Told you sooo."

"Told. You. So."

"TOLD YOU SO."

James Sirius Potter was not the type one would call a "crier." But his eyes were redder than Godric Gryffindor's robes and were sorer than someone's face covered in boils from a jinx. His head throbbed painfully, too, and James lost all sense of time and place.

His appetite thankfully remained, but no matter how badly he stuffed himself, he still felt empty.

When his headache subsided on the twenty-sixth, he shook his head, unable to believe that he'd spent the last several days in isolation. James, once he gathered his strength, used his fireplace to first call Ollivander, saying he might need a few more days as he was sick. After Ollivander gave him the extra time, James Floo-called Justin, saying one thing: "I've got to tell you something."

Justin arrived quickly afterwards, pounding on the door. When James let him in, he saw Justin's concerned expression and the sweat that had broken out on Justin's brow. "Oh, Merlin, James! What—" But he shut up and cupped James' face, kissing him sweetly, deeply at having seen the broken look on his young lover's face. When Justin backed off, he drew James into his arms, tighter than he ever had before. "James, when you called like that, I went into panic-mode! Are you okay? What's happened?"

"They know," James rasped, and he found himself crying again, though he was quieter this time, and his tears were absorbed by Justin's cloak. James gripped Justin's back so hard that his fingers dug into Justin, but the Hufflepuff made no indication of pain save for what he could feel in James' posture. Now more than ever, James felt so grateful that he had Justin. Not just as a lover, but as a friend, someone true. In that small moment, James knew that no matter what happened, Justin would always be true to him in any capacity.

Before long, James allowed Justin to close the door and lead him to the couch, where James leaned against Justin as he told him everything.

"I can't believe how stupid I was," James spat. "Right there, on my bed!"

Justin shook his head. "No, James, I should've sent you a shorter letter or called you first, to make sure you were home. I wasn't thinking when I borrowed Ernie's owl and told it to take that stuff to you directly…"

"Justin, I should've known better. I'd hid the other letters, and the pictures…" The eldest Potter grimaced and hid his face in Justin's shoulder. "I wasn't—I wasn't paying attention!"

"No, James." The older wizard stopped his companion and tilted James' head up so they looked each other in the eye. "James, you weren't expecting Lily to enter your room, or lose an earring, or return for the earring when you weren't there."

"But I should've known better!" James growled. "I've had two siblings my whole life, so I know how they are. My whole life!" Though as he said it, he was unsure if they'd ever consider him to be their brother again.

Justin's eyes hardened. "Don't try telling me I don't know anything, James. I was an only child, yes, but I had roommates at Hogwarts, who were sometimes nosier than any siblings we went to school with. You still can't plan for people being impulsive."

This humbled James and he was finally quiet for a long while. "I love my family," he finally said, "…but I don't want to be separated from you." James closed his eyes. He had never felt as good, as safe, as plainly right as he did with Justin. And he didn't want to be forced to cut all ties with Justin when it was clear to the both of them that their relationship was good for Justin, too.

Justin was quiet for several minutes. "I wouldn't let you go for anything, James, I promise you that."

"Good," James said, and he leaned against Justin, his strength gone from all the tears he'd shed. He fell asleep, and his dreams in contrast to his conscience took pity on him, and it didn't feel as hard to breathe. He'd lost one home, but he had another. Always.

- ^-^3

A few days later, on New Year's Day, James woke on the couch as usual, and Justin was dozing in the chair beside the couch. James smiled a bit at the sight, and then paused to wonder what had awoken him.

A knock sounded impatiently at his door. He assumed the person had probably been there for a little while, considering their insistence. James got up and groped the coffee table for his wand; if it was his dad or Al, he was going to use an automatic Silencing Charm, that was for sure.

The person knocked again and James peered out the peephole. Stunned, he opened his door, and Victoire hugged him immediately, squeezing the air out of him.

"Oh, revered Rowena! James!" she gasped. Behind her, Neville, Uncle Percy, and Aunt Audrey stood with equally concerned looks on their faces. Victoire cupped James' cheek and looked him over as though she were his older sister or mother and not his eldest cousin. "Dear Merlin, just look at you. Are you all right? Your glasses are all smudged and tearstained, James."

He blinked, still shocked at those standing at his door. "What are you all doing here…?" Of course, as he asked, the answer came to him. "Who said it?"

"Al," Audrey confessed. "Al brought it up to Dominique and Rose, and…" She pulled a face, but she definitely felt for her nephew.

"And then the cat was out of the bag. Of course." James turned. "Well, I'd love to show you guys my new place under different circumstances."

They followed him inside and Victoire looked around. "This is nice, James, very cozy."

"It's right for me," James admitted. A soft snore echoed in the room, and he froze, having forgotten about Justin. "Oh, uh…"

"Justin's here, isn't he?" Neville asked as he hung up his and Victoire's cloaks.

James nodded. "He's been here the past couple of days, just keeping me calm." He rubbed the sleep dust from his eyes. "I really need to stop sleeping on the couch…"

As Neville went to wake his friend, Victoire, Percy, and Audrey trailed after James as he went to the kitchen area. Victoire sat down and watched him as he got himself a glass of gillywater. "James…"

"Why'd you come?" he inquired. He faced them—Victoire, with her concerned blue eyes, and Percy and Audrey, his aunt's hand gripping his uncle's shoulder.

"I wanted your side of the story," Victoire stated. "Al said some pretty outrageous things and—"

"Well, he's right, I am with Justin," James said, annoyed. "Anyone else going to berate me like my own father did?"

Victoire bit her lip. "None of us are going to berate you, James. Nev and I came because…we're just like you and Justin."

"But different genders."

"True, but recall that my mother had a cow when I started seeing Neville in public. Dad almost Curse-Broke him when I moved out, even."

"You also moved out of your family home and right into Neville's," Percy reminded his niece with raised eyebrows.

"Oh, that's all in the past, Uncle Perce. My point is that I know exactly what it feels like, having to do all the sneaking and running around."

James' heart warmed, and he wanted to take back all the bad things he'd ever said about Victoire. He hadn't expected an…ally out of her. Though she made a really good point. Instinctively, James looked to Percy.

Percy grimaced and sighed, the tension in his shoulders leaving him. Audrey placed her hand on his arm and whispered something to him. He sighed again. "I…know how it feels, too."

James and Victoire blushed. "Who did you run around with?"

Percy growled. "No one! But, James…" He removed his horn-rimmed glasses. "I was the family outcast for so long… It—" He took a deep breath. "It took a war and a death in the family to bring us back together. I don't want history to repeat itself."

His words were humbling, and the Potter feel a shiver skitter across his arms and up his spine. Of all of them, Uncle Percy was the one who spoke about Uncle Fred the least, because he still saw his moment of ill-timed humor as being the distraction that had cost Fred his life. James and the rest believed it to be rubbish—Uncle Fred had died in a blast that was no one's fault but the Death Eaters'—but talking someone out of his set beliefs was like trying to win at arm-wrestling with Hagrid. It just wasn't gonna happen.

But still, here was Percy, uptight, rigid Percy saying he and Audrey were behind James one-hundred percent. Perhaps. Who knew if Percy was really okay with James and Justin anyway? James asked them all as much.

"I'm sick of hearing about age differences," Victoire spat. "Can't people understand that simple detail of witches and wizards living for long times and therefore rendering ten or even twenty years meaningless?"

Audrey, who nodded in response to Victoire's vehemence, fetched a blanket off the couch when she saw James shiver. "James, it's cold in here. The last thing you want to do is add a cold to your list of worries." She draped the cloth around his shoulders and rubbed his back, and James wondered why his own mother couldn't be as supportive. Oh, right. She's my own mother, he thought. His thoughts strayed briefly, wondering if Ginny disliked the age gap, too, even though there was also a year between her and Harry.

Before Percy could voice his own thoughts, Neville and a yawning Justin walked into the kitchen. "Sorry about that," Justin said. He nodded to Percy and Victoire. "Percy, Vic." He waved kindly to Audrey. "I'm, um, Justin Finch-Fletchley."

"Audrey Weasley," James' aunt said, and she smiled. She seemed to like Justin, so that was good.

Justin fidgeted as the kitchen settled into silence. "So…"

Neville sighed. "Justin, you're the worst-kept secret since the Order of the Phoenix."

The silence was broken as they easily chuckled at the joke, and the arrival of guests turned from a pity-party into a night in with friends and family. Audrey and Percy ducked out for a bit to buy food, but Neville and Victoire stayed, Neville and Justin caught in some discussion.

James glanced at Victoire. "What Uncle Percy said about a war bringing the family together again…" He shook his head and glanced at Justin in the living room before looking back at the strawberry-blonde witch. "It feels like a war, for sure."

Victoire eyed him and twirled a lock of her hair around her finger. "James—it is a war, a family one…you've just got to figure whether you want to fight it," she muttered. Her eyes darkened, but that veiled look disappeared when she followed it up with, "Just don't overthink it. Your thoughts are a dangerous place to be when everyone else is questioning you." She stood up straight and wagged a finger at him. "Don't go questioning yourself, or I'll skin you and make you into a very nice set of robes."

He laughed, somewhat comforted by her confidence. But he also had to fear that she would do that if he wasn't careful.

- ^-^3

Life after that was…quiet. It was odd to think that Christmas had turned into such a disaster. Half the time, James forgot about it, lost in his work and the words of his mentor.

The other half of the time, James remembered the explosion all too well. When he thought he might have a panic attack at the memories, he'd pause to either write or call Justin. Around his birthday, he went to see Justin at the castle. He was still careful because it was one thing for the family to know, but it was a whole other can of Flobberworms to start rumors at Justin's workplace.

"We've got to stop meeting like this," Justin said as he hugged James to him in his office.

James sighed. "I know. But when your pumpkin tarts are that irresistible…"

Justin snorted, and they both broke out laughing. "I don't think you quite meant it that way!" the professor joked.

"Well, now that you mention it…" James laughed again, and his mind drifted. "Say…how do you think your folks will react, if you ever tell them?"

"You mean 'when,'" his companion corrected. James' heart squeezed as Justin stared at him. "James, I plan on telling them someday soon—not too soon, but soon enough. So don't ever think I want to hide you. I feel like, agh," he mumbled as he scratched his head. "I feel as though the topic is delicate and needs to be delivered when everyone's ready for it."

James pursed his lips. "…I don't know if my parents were ever going to be ready for it."

Justin frowned. "I think Ginny will come around, because family's so important to her. Harry… Hell, I've no idea about Harry." He shook his head. "I consider us friends, but I don't think anyone—not even your mum—will truly grasp what runs through the mind of the Boy-Who-Lived. He's a bit like Dumbledore in that regard," he added as an afterthought.

"Don't go telling him that. He'd probably consider it praise," James quietly hissed.

"All right, all right… Birthday presents will make you a good, happy James once again." Justin disappeared into his room and reappeared a second later, gift in hand. "This was actually meant to be the other part of your Christmas present… Sorry it's three months late."

James shook his head. "Jus, it's fine, trust me. I don't think I could handle much else on the brea—" His sentence stopped short as he opened the long box and discovered a beautiful—"Is this titanium?" he asked, drooling over the knife.

"Haha, it is… Titanium-steel mix, the clerk said. I dunno if that's possible, but it's a nice thought, at least. It should stay nice and sharp, too."

"I could really use this, too. With all the whittling and carving I've been doing for Ollivander, my old silver knife was ready to give up the ghost." He grinned. "This is perfect, Justin."

"Thank you," Justin said after a smooch. Then he pouted. "But it was the rest of Christmas, like I said… I want to do something more, something for your birthday…"

"Quickie?" James impishly suggested. He wrapped his arms around Justin's waist. "Justin Finch-Fletchley, as long as I have you permanently by my side, I'm fairly sure I need little else. Water and food who?"

- ^-^3

The new knife was probably the nicest thing James now owned, besides his flat. Technically, he didn't own the flat, but the idea was along similar lines.

Actually, he thought as he shelved some re-marked inventory in the shop, I should probably think about paying Mum and Dad back for the deposit and the past few months' rent. He made a face. Merlin, that'll set me back…eh, I guess I don't have to eat for a while. I could probably stand to lose a few pounds, considering Justin's had pumpkin tarts every time I've seen him…

The more he dwelled on it, the more he was certain he wanted to pay his parents back, even though they had assured him—in the beginning—that their help was part of his graduation present. But he didn't want to be indebted to them in any way. There was no telling how long things would remain awful between them, and the last thing James wanted was one of them hysterically and spontaneously yanking their signature and leaving James stranded.

Of course, he could always move in with Justin…but James still wanted to be on his own for a bit, to understand what it meant to fend for himself.

Which of course only brought up the idea of his parents supporting him once more.

James grunted as he passed Ollivander in the narrow row, and his mentor took note.

"Mr. Potter, please focus."

"Sorry, Mr. Ollivander."

Ollivander shrugged. "It is nothing now, but there will be fresh blood soon! If we, the wandwrights, are not in tip-top mental shape, how can we expect to rightly match the witch or wizard with her or his true companion?"

Ollivander's question meant something else to James, who smiled. Ollivander had a way of helping without realizing it sometimes. How long had James been moping anyway? Surely Justin was sick of comforting him for so many months on end. Perhaps it was time for James to care for Justin and see what Justin needed…other than a right good romp between the sheets.

As April dragged on and May came to pass, June was suddenly on them, along with the end of the school year and the start of Ollivander's busy season. James was still trying to think of something special for him and Justin to do when Justin appeared in the shop on a weekend.

"You aren't supposed to be here! What about students who might need help studying?" James chastised as Justin followed him around the shop. James was working, grabbing boxes left and right on a list Ollivander had given him. These wands were so old that they needed to be checked and certified to see if they were still sellable. Ollivander was fairly sure they were—"They were made by Ollivanders, after all"—but James thought it better safe than sorry.

"No one seemed to be freaking out when I left for the day," Justin said. "I—agh, James, are you listening? I've been doing some reading of my old textbooks—"

"You journeyed from Scotland to England to talk schoolbooks?"

"That's not the point! But, rereading Modern Magical History, I came across an idea: handfasting."

James slowed and paused. He looked over his shoulder at the other wizard. "It sounds familiar, but barely."

Justin grinned, looking quite triumphant and pleased with himself. "Handfasting's had a surge in popularity over the past few decades, since it seems more sacred than marriage to some—"

The words made James' mind a blank sheet of parchment. Come again?

Justin appeared to know what James was feeling. "I know. I know what I'm saying, James." He put his hand on the shelf behind James' head and bent slightly, looking his love in the eye. "It's my belated birthday present to you. I…I want to marry you, James Sirius Potter."

James gaped at him. "Justin, that's a loaded sentence."

"No, it's not. And it's not something I woke up and suddenly decided, either," Justin pushed as they resumed bustling around the store.

Good thing Ollivander was out of earshot, for James hadn't said anything about Justin. Then again, his personal and professional aspects of his life he kept separate. Or tried to—it was a tad hard to do when your loved one was proposing in the middle of your workplace. Still, James could not believe his ears. Here Justin was, asking the biggest question of their lives in earnest. James' face crumpled as he considered what marriage might mean. "But—but," he spluttered, the boxes in his arms abruptly feeling like heavy trolls, "but do you know what that means?"

"It means two people coming together over a common bond and a common love to reinforce said bond and love for as long as they remain to have breath in them," the older man answered as though he were reading it right from the book.

"No, Jus, I mean marriage, us. Two wizards." James dropped the boxes and knelt to collect them, but his hands were shaking. Justin knelt before him and gathered the boxes while James shut his eyes. "Justin, you can never go back from marriage."

"Well, there's divorce and then there's poison."

James shot him a look for horsing around. "Justin, we've been together for two years now. We're still…young, in some aspects, and…" He paused for breath. "Our definition of a family would never be the one that we grew up hearing about."

Justin placed the boxes in James' arms, his eyes hard. "James, there's no set age for finding a—a soul mate. And after facing what you have, you think the prospect of marriage is scary?" He sighed, and some of the tension in his body language disappeared. "You did a brave thing, being honest with them. Now let me be brave and face the best thing that's ever happened to me, and make it even better." He raised his eyebrows, waiting for James to respond.

The hazel-eyed wizard stood with his love and took several deep breaths. Was this it? Did things boil down to this…or were they going to grow from here? Could things actually be even better, as Justin had said? And could James forgo his small, teenage dream of the house like his parents' that would inhabit his own family, in the normal sense of the term? James turned away, knowing his answer.

"James? James, please wait! I'm sorry, I—"

"Go finish your studying, Justin." He sheepishly glanced at him over his shoulder. "Well? We should probably figure out what handfasting entails, shouldn't we?"

The look on Justin's face was reminiscent to James of Teddy's expression when he came "home" to the Potters. He came at James, who dropped the boxes again, and picked him up to kiss him. Poor Ollivander nearly had a heart attack when he saw them.

- ^-^3

The following week, James went to see Victoire in Madam Malkin's up the street. Victoire was ecstatic to hear about Justin's "birthday present" to James.

"Merlin, James, why didn't you just spit out 'yes'?" she chided him.

He blushed. "And you would, if it were you and Neville in the same position?"

She scoffed. "Of course I would. I'm not daft. Why else would I have been in Ravenclaw?" She gave him an honestly-James look and grabbed a nearby cloak. "So, you'll probably need a nice set of dress robes."

"Why? For what?"

"James! You're getting married!" she barked. "Godric, I'm jealous… I always thought I'd be the first one in the family married, but Teddy and I just didn't work. Neville's a keeper, though," she finished, nodding. "How different is the handfasting from a normal ceremony, anyway?"

"Dunno," the wizard replied truthfully. "Justin's wrapping up the school year, so we'll still need to look into it more carefully before moving forward."

"Oh, I know! Why not ask Uncle Percy? He's bound to know something." Before James could protest, Victoire scribbled out a note to their aunt. "And if Aunt Aud pesters him, we might even get an answer back today." Victoire smirked, looking much too smug for her own good.

While they did not hear back that day, Audrey did as Vic suspected and spoke with Percy. Percy arranged for James to meet him at the Ministry that weekend.

"I'm sorry for not giving Finch-Fletchley more credit," the Weasley man stated as he met James in the Atrium. "Justin… That's quite an idea he's got. Have you had any time to read up on it yourself?"

"No," James said. "You—"

"I've done some superficial research." They went to the lifts to get to Percy's office. "Handfasting is centuries old. From what I've gleaned, it can be a trial marriage or a legally-binding one." He looked to his nephew.

"Oh, definitely binding."

Percy nodded. "You two will need rings, and someone with the authority to perform the ceremony. There's ribbon required, too."

"Okay. I'll ask Vic—"

"Not that kind of ribbon. This'll come from the spell needed. It'll be, ehm…a little bit like a version of the Unbreakable Vow." Percy winced at the horrified look on James' face. "Hey, are you serious or not?"

James regained his composure. "No, no, I'm serious about doing this…but wow." He cleared his throat. "Rings shouldn't be too hard to decide on; neither of us is big on 'shiny' things, so we'll get something that suits us. But what about the 'someone with the authority'?"

Percy grinned—which was a tad intimidating. "Ah, thank you. That brings me to the next part of your coming today." He led James to yet another office. The only difference was that James somewhat recognized this place, and when he saw a familiar Indian woman organizing papers on her desk as he'd seen her do over a year ago, things clicked into place.

"Ah, hello, Percy," Padma Patil said, looking up to see them.

"Hey, Padma. Is the minister in?"

She nodded. "He's had a busy day, so the scoundrel's probably catching a bit if shuteye while I'm not looking…"

Percy coughed. "Uh, 'scoundrel'?"

Padma blushed and shook her head. "Never mind. C'mon. Oh, James!" she said, finally noticing him. "Here again?"

James smiled politely, for he knew he and Justin had made her workday ten times harder when they'd stopped to see Kingsley Shacklebolt last year. It had been Justin's idea to have Kingsley help James with the Patronus Charm, though, and it did help in the end. And now, over a year later, James and Justin were probably going to steal any chance of a break Padma might have had today…heh.

Padma knocked before opening the door. "It's Percy, sir, and James Potter."

Kingsley turned in his chair behind his desk, surprised. "Hello, Percy. Nice to see you again, James."

"Hello, minister," Percy said. "I've actually come for a favor."

Both Padma and Kingsley eyed him, as Percy rarely asked for such things. "Yes?"

"Can you perform a handfasting ceremony?"

There were some things that not even Kingsley Shacklebolt could take in stride. "Ah…sorry?"

"A handfasting ceremony, can you officiate it?"

James felt lighthearted, watching his uncle berate the Minister of Magic on his behalf. But the highlights of why they were asking did come into play. Kingsley didn't know what to say when James and Percy were done.

"I was thinking you might have the authority and knowledge to do it," Percy ventured.

"Flattery will get you nowhere, Percy," Kingsley said. "And, though I like you, James, I'm afraid of what might happen if I fell into poor favor with your father."

Padma glared at Kingsley. "Are you the minister or not? Harry is the Boy-Who-Lived, but you're the Minister of Magic who rebuilt the Wizarding world." She crossed her arms in front of her chest, and she and Kingsley stared at one another for several moments, some silent battle happening in that eye contact that Percy and James couldn't understand.

Percy turned to the youngest wizard in the room. "All right, then, I should be able to find the right books, James, and look up this magic—"

"No, that's quite all right," Kingsley interrupted. He cleared his throat and broke his stare to face Percy; Padma looked rather pleased with herself off to the side. "Something this serious and solemn should be done right…"

"Thank you, minister, for offering your services."

"I'm just not sure when I could—"

"He has nothing planned next Sunday," Padma blurted. "And I'll make sure that that doesn't change, Undersecretary's honor." She grinned, and James laughed.

"Thank you, Minister Shacklebolt," he stated simply and sincerely. He and Percy left afterwards, Percy urging him to write or see Justin immediately to ground their plans.

"You're going to need witnesses, too," his uncle said as they returned to his office.

James frowned. "Well…you and Aunt Audrey have been so kind to me… Would you come?"

Percy blinked, and then his face flushed cherry red all the way up to his ears. "I—I'm honored you'd consider us." He shook himself of the sentimentality. "But you each need two witnesses. Audrey and myself would count for you, but Justin will need two, as well."

"That's fine. I'm sure Vic and Neville would be more than happy to come. I'll go talk to her now, even." James paused, ready to head out, when he turned back to his uncle. On a whim, he jogged behind the desk and hugged his uncle. "…thank you, Uncle Perce, so much." He released him and exited the Ministry, having successfully twice in one day made Percival Weasley act like an average, normal Weasley as Percy yet again blushed.

- ^-^3

"No, not next weekend" was Victoire's reply to James' request.

He had long since caught Justin up on the plan for Sunday. Justin was merely glad that they were doing this after the school year, so Justin wouldn't be bogged down with grading papers and exams and such. They'd already bought rings—two plain, gold bands (mostly thanks to Justin, as James was beginning to feel the pinch now that he was setting aside money from each paycheck to repay his parents)—and had set aside nice robes for the occasion. James' were new, made by Victoire herself.

"Though she's only Madam Malkin's apprentice, she does a bloody good job," Justin commented Saturday night. They were at James' flat since it was closer, and Justin was staying the night. He eyed his own robes draped against the back of the chair in the living room. "Maybe I should've asked her to do something about mine…"

"Yours look great," James assured him. "Besides, Vic and Neville already left on their vacation yesterday, taking Frankie with them."

"Yeah, I know… They need the time, since I don't think Frankie will ever get used to Vic dating his dad."

"Why can't Hannah take him?"

"She and Ernie are leaving for a long break in France. Ernie's closing his shop while they're away, and Hannah asked Zach to take care of the Leaky Cauldron, so Frankie's going with Neville and Victoire." The Hufflepuff half smiled. "I would've offered to take him since I have before, but…" He gestured between them. "Things are a little different this time."

James smiled. "I'm glad you're loyal to your friends, and to me. But even you need a moment to yourself, luv."

The taller wizard nodded. He disappeared into the guestroom to change for the night, and James sat on the couch in his pajamas, his stomach unsettled. So the day was nearly here. He wouldn't be a Potter after tomorrow; he'd become a Finch-Fletchley. His thoughts left him alone for a second when Justin reentered the room. "Can I ask…why'd you get the place with a guestroom?" He laughed and ducked to avoid the cushion James threw at him.

"Pardon me for thinking I might ever have a friend over." James rolled his eyes as they went to his bedroom and got under the covers. "Goodnight, Justin."

"Goodnight, James," Justin breathed. He kissed James' cheek and settled behind him, one arm on James' waist and his head on the same pillow as his lover's.

Normally James slept quite soundly in Justin's arms, or with Justin in his. But that night James was wide awake, his heart beating wildly in his chest. How could Justin sleep like a log? James was too wired, too—too on fire. He tried going to sleep, even resorted to counting hippogriffs. When that didn't work, James snuggled into Justin and counted something else: the hours until their handfasting.

Seventeen hours to go…

Fourteen hours to go…

Nine…

Six…

Along the way, he did fall asleep. The last thing keeping him awake was his worry about the witnesses needed on Justin's behalf. But he told himself they'd figure it out either way.

Morning broke softly, and the couple got up, ate, and changed into their nice clothes. "Got the rings?" James asked with wide eyes as he frantically patted himself.

"I do! I do, James…" Justin's face broke out in a happy smile. "Hmm. I wonder if we really do get to say 'I do.' I think I like it, a lot."

James took a momentary sigh a relief as they headed out. "I wouldn't mind saying that," he agreed, a pleasant warmth purring in his belly. But the warmth dissipated when they walked into the Ministry of Magic. "But your witnesses…"

"I know," Justin acknowledged. Silence settled between them and they took the lift to Kingsley's office.

As Padma had promised, things around the minister's area were calmer than usual. Padma did appear, and she looked prettier than the past few times James had seen her. "Hey, guys," she said, a wet chuckle caught in her throat. "Oh, Justin…"

Already, Justin's eyes were wet. "I take it you're staying to watch?"

"I've never heard of the minister fulfilling such a request—plus, you are a good friend." She took them to the office and opened the door. "Minister, Justin and James are here."

Kingsley looked all business. "Hello, gentlemen." When he smiled, though, the business aura turned into a welcoming one. "Good to see you again, Justin."

Justin nodded. "Have Percy and his wife arrived yet?"

At the mention, a panting Percy arrived at the open doorway, Audrey right behind him. His glasses were askew, and Audrey had her arms crossed, her finger tapping and eyebrow raised. "Sorry we're late!"

"What 'we'?" Audrey remarked as she went and hugged James. "You were the one who insisted on working right up until the last minute."

Percy blushed and didn't argue. Instead, he looked around. "Wait, are we two people short?"

"Vic and Neville couldn't make it," James answered with a shake of his head.

"But Justin needs his own witnesses."

Justin looked at Padma and Kingsley. "Well…can't you guys…?"

"Miss Patil could, but not me," Kingsley responded sympathetically. "The magic says the ordained authority serves that role and that role only."

Justin bit his bottom lip and exchanged a nervous glance with James. "Then…"

"Now what?" James asked, feeling a little panicky again.

"I'll be right back!" Justin said as he abruptly made for the door. "Give me five, ten minutes tops!"

None of them stopped him, but James had to wonder what Justin was thinking. With all of their possibilities out the window, maybe Justin was going to grab the first familiar face he saw in the Ministry.

When six and a half minutes had passed, the lot of them were all eying the door, hoping Justin would turn up out of the blue. The first three minutes had been an agonizing eternity already. Couldn't they just get this over and done with by now—

"BUGGER!"

James and Percy stared at the door, and the others followed suit, as Hannah and Ernie walked in, Justin right behind them.

Hannah growled under her breath. "This had better be a matter of life-and-death, Justin Samuel Finch-Fletchley!"

"It is, kinda," Justin stated. He shifted from one foot to the other. "I need you two to be my witnesses. …I'm marrying James."

The look on Hannah's face was priceless, and Ernie took a step away from her, clearly having an idea of what might happen. But Ernie appeared glad enough for them. "Ehm, as long as this doesn't delay Hannah and me too much longer, I don't think she'll hex you…"

"Enough delays!" Audrey pushed. "If everyone's here of their own free will, then I say let's begin."

Kingsley raised his eyebrows. "…what she said." He shrugged and motioned them into place, with James and Justin before him, Padma to his side, Percy and Audrey behind James, and Hannah and Ernie behind Justin. "Ready?"

James glanced at Justin, to find Justin doing the same thing. James nodded. "Yup."

"In the near-forgotten traditions of our ancestors, we are here in this moment to see a bond that goes beyond the normal measure of devotion," the Minister of Magic began in his deep rumble. "We shall see a magic like no other, and a promise, a vow made that cannot be undone unless the magic is chosen to be undone." He paused and looked at James and Justin in turn. "Do you both understand the meaning of your actions and of your being here? If so, say 'I understand.'"

"I understand," they replied in unison.

"Very well. Let the handfasting begin." Kingsley withdrew his wand and pointed it at them. "Please turn and face one another."

James faced Justin, and they extended their left arms as the minister next instructed.

"The rings, please."

Justin took them out of his pocket and passed his to James.

"By these rings, you are swearing that your lives are hereby tethered to one another, an unending circle that cannot distinguish where one life ends and the other starts, two beings that are now one. If you so agree, exchange rings."

Justin slid the ring onto James' ring finger easily. James' hands shook badly, though, and he was so thankful for Justin's patience as he finally got the larger band on his companion's finger.

"Please grasp the other's arm."

The two wizards clasped the other's forearm, and Kingsley placed his wand on the joint where their wrists met. He said no incantation—likely he was doing this nonverbally—but real, scarlet ribbons slithered out of his wand's tip and snaked around their arms, one strand tying Justin's hand to James' arm and another tying James' hand to Justin's.

"If you have any words you'd like to say for yourself now, then do so."

James looked into Justin's dark eyes. This small sliver of time could not possibly encompass all that James wanted to say in such an amazing scene. He frowned…but his heart lifted as Justin just sweetly smiled. Oh. Maybe he didn't have to such much of anything at all, then. "…I do."

Justin chuckled. "I do," he echoed, definitely liking that James had done what they had been wondering if they would have the opportunity to say.

Kingsley smirked slightly to himself, catching on, and Padma softly snickered behind him. The minister kept his wand where it was and concentrated harder. The ribbons extended past the men's arms until the tips hovered over their hearts. For a heart-stopping second, the tips froze—then they pierced their hearts, dissolving and pushing the wizards with the force of the magic. But James and Justin did not let each other go, and their grips did not slacken in the least. At last, Kingsley pulled his wand away slowly, and the weight of the handfasting magic lessened until James felt as though it hadn't yet happened. "As the parties understand not their terms or conditions but promises they've made that are now burned into their hearts…" Kingsley grinned widely. "I now pronounce you wizard and spouse."

James blinked, and a fit of absurd giggles bubbled in the back of his throat as Justin yanked on their joined arms and snogged the life out of him. Percy made a gagging noise, Hannah said she would be sick, Ernie politely looked away, and Padma and Audrey "aww'd" over them.

When they took a breath, Justin cocked his head to one side. "So this makes you the Mrs., right?"

"Hmm, I guess… I'm now James Sirius Potter Finch-Fletchley… Hey, I've got five names—I must be Dumbledore!"

There was a collective groan at his awful joke, but James thought it was plenty funny. But amazing beat out funny right then, for he was fairly sure that Dumbledore had never been as bold as he was then and there. There was only one question left:

Could he and Justin be any bolder…?

- ^-^3

Tipping the scale at 15,000+ words, this is now technically a novella. I'm very proud of myself, of the boys, of Hannah for not going all Bellatrix on Justin in the best scene… This story has been something I've wanted to write for ages, and I can't believe it's finally done. I actually wrote the confession paragraph ("Again the words he had just blurted…") as my last graded writing assignment for high school and, though I made some edits for this fic's publication, that confession is exactly what I've had in mind—a drawn-out moment that could've happened in the blink of an eye. I got a perfect grade for it, and it even made it into my school's literary magazine. Senior year of high school was perfect, even if only for that.

So here you have it. I have finally written a wedding ceremony…or something like one. So many ups and downs happened in this single story that I'm still reeling, but I'm just glad that James agreed it was probably the right timing for him and Justin to be together—for good. As I'm around James' age as I write this Jamestin (James turned 19 here, and I'm 18 currently), I tried my best to handle his maturing mind, as James has grown quite a bit in these fics.

Now the boys will grow more. You'll just have to wait and see. ;] J5 will be "All We Need Is Now," so please look forward to it, luvs.

Note: Other M&MWPs, found by me (so I'd appreciate some cred if you used them)—Victoire/Neville and Padma/Kingsley ('cause it was definitely hinted, *lol*), as well as Lee/Marietta. And Calytrix Zabini, Troy Finnigan, and Curtis and Lania Jordan are all my OCs, with a purpose! Lastly, some wand information was gleaned from the Pottermore site, so yay me. B)

Thanks for reading and please review! This has gotta earn more than a sentence or two, right? I mean, even the confession or the handfasting alone…

-mew-tsubaki ;3