Save the Best for Last

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Because if the world was perfect, there would be a Teddy each for James, Al, and Lilu. ;] Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

Once upon a time—as all the best fairytales start—there was a boy, nay, a young man with shimmering cerulean locks. He was of the working class, a bloke who earned his place in the world. Some thought everything came too easy to him, but this was not true. He earned, deserved every bit of good luck that came his way. After all, he had suffered enough in losing his parents at an early age.

One day while heading home, he walked by the palace, wherein the royal family lived. Sometimes he would imagine what it would be like to be a part of that family, and he imagined a life with the princess and her family, thinking that he could put hard work behind him and finally earn some relaxation.

Then, he met the princess.

Her name was Lily, and it was a well-suited name for such a beautiful flower. She seemed very kind and clever, and she announced that she had seen the young man doing manual labor for those around the village. She admired that, she told him.

"You'd make an excellent prince," she whispered in his ear when her father, the king, wasn't looking.

The young man got to thinking but said nothing. He came to know her parents, and it turned out he had a link to them, for they once had fought in a war alongside his parents. He was sure that, had she still been alive, his grandmother would have loved to meet them.

And then the queen said what was on her mind and ruined the moment: "You and Lily are quite close, aren't you, Ted?"

From there, it was a blur of laughter, of craziness, of Lily's hand in his and her voice in his ear again, sweetly calling him "Teddy." But though he tried to be with her, with the pretty princess, he found that he couldn't. He found that Lily expected too much of him, demanded too much of him. She wanted what she saw, not what she got. And that wasn't relaxing for Teddy, not at all.

So his hair darkened to brown with his mood, as was his power in this magic land, and he left the princess before they were even at the altar.

For a while, the young man worked in peace, away from all the trappings of the royal family. And all was well.

Then, he met the crown prince.

His name was James, and it was a good, strong name for a royal like him. James was kind and a tad fragile despite his jaunty demeanor, and he told the young man that he liked how he spoke with the villagers and got them to laugh and act as though there were no hardships in their easy lives. He admired that, he told him.

"I'd like to be a peasant just like you," he breathed against his lips when the queen was just in the other room.

The young man thought it odd for a crown prince to say something so strange. Then again, the crown prince was strange, liking the young man in such a romantic way. But James was different, and it didn't sound so bad to hear "Teddy" rolling off the tip of his tongue. They already knew the king and queen liked the young man, so what could wrong?

And then the king said what was on his mind and ruined the moment: "You've made James very happy, Ted."

From there, everything dragged on lazily, hazily, and James did nothing but laugh and smile. But he never asked for anything, and he always left the castle to meet the young man at his own home. Yet the young man couldn't handle that, couldn't deal with James. James asked nothing of him, and in some ways it was just as smothering an action as Lily's demanding. James liked what he got, and didn't care for anything more. There was no room for the young man to grow, so he fled the relationship. It hadn't been relaxing for Teddy, not at all.

So his hair blackened with his mood, and he left the land before the family could even guess at what had gone wrong.

For a while, the young man worked in peace, away from all the trappings of the royal family and his hometown. He thought for sure he'd be fine without that family and their nonsense. It didn't matter that the king and queen were his last ties to his parents…it didn't matter that he still yearned to be a part of that family…it didn't matter that he still dreamt of peace and quiet shared with the one he loved…it didn't matter that he hadn't found his love yet. All was well. …all would be well. …all was not well.

Then, he met the other prince.

His name was Albus, and he didn't act very much like a prince. He was a curiosity, because princes weren't supposed to be adventurers. Princes weren't meant to traverse foreign lands in pursuit of "things that didn't bore" them. Albus didn't admire the young man at all, angry at more than infatuated with him.

"What do you want to do?" Albus asked him, staring at him unforgivingly because Albus had yet to decide whether the young man was interesting enough to make the prince stick around.

The young man opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He stared at Albus in silent confusion. Hadn't the young man had a perfect dream all lain out? Hadn't he mapped his future with anticipation? He ended up expressing these concerns to Albus, the first friend he'd made in a long, long time. Well, even if the young man would never be a part of the family he still loved despite his mistakes with Lily and James, he could at least enjoy the time spent with Albus.

And then the prince said what was on his mind and ruined the moment: "I'm in love with you, Ted. Do you love me?"

In that moment, everything…froze. There was no talk of the future and no judgment of the past. There was just Albus kneeling before the hearth in the young man's second home, his green eyes cold and hot at the same time, his face not showing if he'd break into song or crumble into shards at the young man's answer. Why? Why would Albus like—love him? What was so good about him? Surely Albus' qualities were much better than his own. Albus was forthright without being pushy. He looked people in the eye when speaking with them. He wasn't above supping with those from lower classes, almost as though he saw no classes at all. There was no separation, no dishonesty, no suffocation with him.

How could Teddy not love that?

But there was still no relaxation, and Albus knew this. "I'm not forcing anything out of you, Ted. I just wanted you to know."

What Teddy paid no attention to was that, while he'd be in Albus' company, his locks had returned to their cheery turquoise. And when Albus explained that he'd be heading home, those same locks turned blacker than ink.

For a long while, the young man couldn't work at all. He didn't want to dream of life after labor. He didn't want relaxation anymore. He didn't care for the royal family's ties to his past anymore. All that mattered was that he found his love. And he knew he'd found it.

He'd just let it walk out his door.

There was nothing he could do, but he kicked himself for not trying anything sooner, when Albus had still been around. And the young man felt a pain, a loneliness the likes of which he'd never before experienced. All was infuriatingly not well.

Then, a small castle was built.

It was called Lightning Tower, and it was supposed to be a satellite of the royal family's presence in this far corner of the world—after all, the royal family's power and fame were well-known and widespread. The castle had been entrusted to the prince, and Albus often could be seen coming and going as if he had so few duties that he had all the time in the world to get to know the locals and become a lord which they loved. And their lord loved them back.

But his eyes were set on the young man. "Would you come live with me?" Albus asked him, staring at him in the light of the bonfire the people had lit in the town square in celebration of a successful harvest, the result of the prince's brainstorming. He truly was a blessing to this place.

The young man opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He stared at Albus in silent confusion, wondering why he couldn't get his confirmation out. Why couldn't the young man just tell the prince that he loved him?

And then the prince said what was in his heart and set the moment: "I'm still in love with you, Ted."

In that moment, everything was Albus in the young man's vision. He reached for the prince and tugged him to him, tasting everything for which he'd been searching all along: peace, love, and relaxation. The future.

How could Teddy not love Albus?

Albus seemed to know this. "It's nice to have an answer at last," he remarked, smirking.

The young man's locks lightened to the blue hue of cloth dye, and eventually they were turquoise again, and they'd be like that for the rest of his life.

Forever, the young man and the prince lived in peace, sometimes in the trappings of the royal family and always in the comfort of their own home. The young man had thought for sure he'd be fine without that family and their nonsense. But he was thankful that Albus was the one good thing that had come from meeting them at all, because he'd suffered enough and now he'd found his place in the world.

And all was well.

- ^-^3

8DDD This totally was meant to be a drabble, and then it ran away from me and wrote itself—not that I'm complaining! X3 I love doing fairytale-esque stuff, writing or drawing it, and I have to say that the boys made me proud here. They fit my idea of "Goldilocks" better than I'd anticipated! :DDD I love them… -w-

And I thank you, reader, and would love you, too, if you'd drop a review! :}

-mew-tsubaki :}}}