There are claw marks in your footprints…

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Because Teddy/Al needs more love. Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

"Teddy, why don't you go have a rest? Grab a drink or something," Harry told his godson.

They were at the Ministry—in the Auror Office, to be more specific—and Teddy had been having an off day. He'd been on the force for years now, long enough that Harry seriously was considering retiring and handing the squad over to Teddy. Besides, with Al and his friend, Scorpius, completing their Auror training, Teddy and the others knew Harry was the most at ease that he'd ever been since the Second Wizarding War. Even though things were rather quite in the Wizarding world, things also felt much more secure with Aurors in charge—Aurors who knew what they were doing because they had been trained by the best.

"Teddy," Harry repeated. He narrowed his eyes at the Metamorphmagus, as if that would be enough to get Teddy to take a break. It worked, but only because that look reminded Teddy very much of Hermione's, and everyone listened when Hermione used that look.

"Got it, Uncle Harry," Teddy complied, and he rolled his shoulders as he left the office and headed for the Atrium. Though he knew that Harry had implied Teddy leave the building, Teddy thought it better to sit by the Fountain of Magical Brethren in the lobby. It was a relaxing sight, and Teddy was glad Minister Shacklebolt had had the statue recast to replace the Magic Is Might one that had been here…sheesh, almost thirty years ago.

Nothing like a statue to make a bloke feel old.

Teddy darkly smiled at the thought, but he did feel relaxed looking at the statue. Before, the artwork had shown a wizard, a witch, a centaur, and a house-elf, though—based the pictures he'd seen—Teddy had always felt that the wizard and witch had taken up a little too much of the scene. The current design was much better.

In the middle was a tree, something like Yggdrasil of Nordic lore. The water sprouted from its foliage, and the same four characters from before were present. But things had changed. Sitting by the tree's base was an older witch. By her side were a school-age wizard and a house-elf. Rounding the tree trunk was a protective-looking centaur, and all four gazes were on the witch's book, a magic text. Each being was more proportionately positioned in this fountain, and Teddy liked it more than the original, especially as he knew that the older witch was homage to McGonagall, the centaur to Harry's early ally Firenze, the house-elf to Dobby, and the wizard—

The teenage wizard was either an Animagus or a werewolf. That one, Harry had never revealed.

The thing was, when Shacklebolt had had a new Fountain of Magical Brethren created, he'd asked Harry for his opinion. Harry had had some ideas, and he'd had his fellow Gryffindor, Dean Thomas, design it at the time. But when Teddy was little, Harry sometimes told Teddy that the wizard in the fountain was Remus, his father. Other times, he said it was Sirius or Harry's own father, James.

Teddy had never quite decided which one he wanted the wizard to be. Werewolf by nature or Animagus by choice. But on days like today, sometimes Teddy felt the wizard should be a werewolf.

Almost like him.

He shook his head and dropped his eyes to the dark wooden floor of the Atrium. He knew he wasn't a werewolf as his dad had been, and he knew he should be just as grateful as his parents must have been when they'd seen no harm come to him during the first full moon after his birth. But sometimes…sometimes Teddy's blood just itched. Sometimes his bones ached and sometimes his annoyances raged into anger. Bill had never had to deal with much after meeting Greyback, and his three kids had never showed any symptoms of his attack, but Bill hadn't been made a full werewolf, and his children also had Veela blood running through their veins. None of them would ever know how Teddy sometimes felt.

"Teddy."

He picked his head up, half expecting to see Harry storming towards him. But it wasn't Harry. It was Al, and Teddy had forgotten how similar they could sound, besides how similar they looked. "Hey, Al, need something?"

"Dad said you were on break."

"Oh, yeah. No worries. I'll be back after maybe another five minutes. You know, keep him happy by staying away long enough."

Al dropped into the seat on the other side of the table from Teddy. "I think I could do with a break myself."

Teddy quirked on eyebrow; normally turquoise, his eyebrows and hair had turned mousy brown earlier today. Even though he didn't recall his mother, apparently he had still picked up that habit of hers. "As I remember, I had left you and Scorpius to duel with some of the newbies."

Al smiled. "Oh, Scor promised he wouldn't wipe the floor with them."

The way that Al said such a thing with such a sweet, gentle smile made Teddy laugh. "Then you may join me."

The other wizard laid his hands on the table, stretching. "I don't recall asking for permission."

Teddy mock-gasped. "Albus Severus Potter, not ask for permission? Whatever happened to the by-the-rules boy I knew?"

He made a face. "'Boy'? Seriously, Teddy?" He rolled his eyes, one of the few things that showed he was part-Weasley, not only Potter.

Teddy grinned. "I know you're not a boy anymore, I know." His eyes locked with Al's green ones for a split-second longer than normal, but Teddy turned away, looking at the fountain again instead. He regarded the rising heat on his neck as him wearing one too many robes, and he thusly shrugged out of his heavy outer-cloak.

Al said nothing but followed his line of sight. "Ah, I see…"

"See what?" Teddy asked.

"The fountain is quite nice to look at," Al stated, and as he was looking at it now, too, Teddy glanced at his profile. "You know what I always wondered?"

"What?"

"If the boy was a werewolf, or something."

Teddy blinked. "Why would you think that?" The thing was, while Harry might've joked with Teddy as to whether the wizard of the fountain was a werewolf or an Animagus, Ginny had told Harry to stop confusing him. As a result, Harry hadn't been allowed to tell James, Al, and Lily either, so as not to confuse them. But it was pretty incredible that any of them had thought enough about it.

"Why not?" Al retorted, and he was facing Teddy again. "The house-elf looks like Dobby, based on all Dad and Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron have said. I think one would be stupid not to see a younger Professor McGonagall in the witch. The centaur's got me stymied, but there's something about the wizard. I don't think he's purely magical in one sense. That grin of his—it's wolfish." Al smiled again.

But this time, his smile didn't help Teddy relax. "Despite what Uncle Harry says…there's no pride in having wolf blood. I know my dad hated it. Even if the wizard is supposed to be modeled after a young version of my dad—which I've kind of wondered, too—I can't say I admire it."

Al nodded. "But, Teddy…there's nothing wrong with having a wolfish grin." He touched Teddy's shoulder. "You act as though you're a werewolf, though. Why are you being so hard on yourself? Any other time any of us have seen you staring at the Fountain of Magical Brethren, you were always smiling. So why the change of heart today?"

Teddy glared at him. "It's not a change of heart, Albus," he growled, his tone harsher. "Sometimes I do feel as if I'll change. And it bothers me."

Al didn't flinch at his darkened mood. "I don't think anything bad will happen, Teddy. It's just a part of you, something that's simply heightened every now and then."

"Well, I hate it."

"I love it."

Teddy stared at Al, that sweet smile still lingering but now adamant.

"I love the wolf." Al stood and gripped Teddy's shoulder. "You should love it, too, mate. Even if you're scared of it, I won't be. Neither will the others." He hugged Teddy, tightly, as though they should never break apart…but then Al was standing back, winking at Teddy. "Hey, we should both get back now before Scor thinks I've skipped my shift and tattles to Dad." He ruffled Teddy's hair. "And you, my good wolf, should take a look in the mirror. Anytime you begin thinking like this, look at your reflection and see what I see now—Teddy." Al raised his eyebrows and turned and jogged off in the direction of the lifts, leaving Teddy behind and wondering about the endearing things Al had said.

He brushed some of his fringe aside, a slow flush creeping into his cheeks at the image of having his hair ruffled. Really…!

Nothing like Al to make a bloke feel young.

- ^-^3

Okay, so this is more like pre-slash, I s'pose…but still, sweet! A bit of drama, a bit of humor, and Al's sweetness actually works with Teddy, IMO. Ah, Teddy…everyone wants you. -w-

Thanks for reading, and please review!

-mew-tsubaki :3