The Odd One Out

A HariPo drabble

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. I've come to have an interest in a little-loved slash pairing… -w- Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

Albus looked on with as little interest imaginable, even though that was such a lie. How could anyone let their eyes rest on Teddy Lupin without interest?

But Al was no pervert. He didn't lust over Teddy as certain other Potters did. Al merely was appreciative of Teddy's looks a little, of Teddy's character more. Sure, Teddy was handsome, but his hair and eye colors were always changing so Al thought that he'd be lying to himself if he said he loved them. But it was a different thing altogether to admire Teddy's personality. Teddy was like a small-scale hero, very much like Harry except for the whole defeating-a-Dark-Lord thing. He had a temper, but it often flared to life when his loved ones had been affronted or hurt, not because he'd become annoyed. Teddy was a laugh, but never at another's expense, or at least not cruelly, because everyone laughed when Rose got worked up like Uncle Ron or when the family placed bets on whether Molly sounded more like Uncle Percy or Aunt Hermione.

Al liked Teddy's quiet grin best, however. It often appeared when Teddy had lost his energy for the day but still observed his surroundings and goings-on with attentiveness. It wasn't fake kindness that caused him to grin and pay attention; he just was delighted to be around his friends and family.

That smile was the thing to which Al clung whenever he forced himself to bury his interest. After all, it was bad enough that Teddy and Lily were involved. It was worse that Al knew James was lusting after their god brother despite Lily having Teddy.

It was worst of all to add in Al's…feelings on top of it all.

And on some nights, it was harder for Al to ignore his interest (and that was what he'd call it, because he knew he liked Teddy, but that other l-word was out of the question), because on some nights, Al could hear his parents talking cheerily in the kitchen. The kitchen was beneath his room on the second floor, and Lily's and James' rooms were on either side of his. So while he heard his parents planning Lily and Teddy's future below him, he heard Lily and Teddy whispering sweet nothings to one another to his left, and he heard James' grunts of self-pleasure at imagining an impossible future to his right.

In the middle (he would be stuck there forever, he presumed), Al sat on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, wondering what things would be like not in the future but now, what they would be like if things were different now.

Like…what if Lily had taken an interest in Scorpius, as Rose had? What if James got hard-ons to witches and not to wizards? What if Teddy had married Victoire seven years ago, had decided not to delay an engagement to a relationship that had been platonic at best, had chosen not to acknowledge last year that Lily wasn't a little girl anymore?

What if Al had been Ally, and what if Teddy had looked into Al's eyes and said that Al had the most beautiful, most soul-revealing gaze Teddy had ever seen?

Could it have all been different then?

Even after Al was done with his what-ifs, he still let his eyes drift to a picture pinned to the wall. It was half-hidden by other pictures—photos of friends, family, fellow Slytherins—and it was a rare picture of Teddy with just the three Potter kids. Of course, the picture was three years old, taken during the Potter kids' Hogwarts days. But it was a nice picture. Even James looked nice in it.

But the picture was half-hidden so that Al didn't have to see James looking nice in it, nor did he have to see Lily's bright smile. With it half-hidden, Al could pretend that only he and Teddy had ever existed in that moment, a moment in which Al was becoming a man and was starting to understand that one sought in a better half all of the qualities one lacked in oneself.

There was so much he thought he lacked in himself, and his siblings were proof of that. James would be the firstborn and the first son and the most charming of them. Lily would be the baby and the first daughter and the sharpest of them. And Al…Al would be a repeat, just another son, just another Potter who was kind and didn't have much going for him beside his father's inherited looks and having been Sorted into Slytherin. Being such a let-down made Al stand out…but not enough to catch Teddy's attention, never.

- ^-^3

Ahh, angst, my old friend… I have quite a bit planned for Al and Teddy ever since I thought up this idea recently. I've been thinking more and more as to why I don't write Al much, and I think I've begun to express my findings with this fic alone. But more to come in other drabbles, oneshots! :3

Thanks for reading, and please review!

-mew-tsubaki :']