open eyes

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. What can I say? Angst is awesome for Al and Teddy. -w- Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

It was a day like any other.

"All right, we've got four wannabe Death Eaters lurking in Muggle London, looking to break into the Ministry," Harry told the Aurors. "Minister Shacklebolt has already been moved, and the Ministry will be on lockdown after we leave."

Hermione was standing in the doorway, ready to leave the Department of Magical Law Enforcement early. "Harry, you be okay. I'll let Ginny and Ron and the others know—"

"I don't plan on being late for dinner, Hermione," the Boy-Who-Lived said a little darkly. He must've sensed his tone, for he took a breath and motioned to Teddy and Albus. "Don't worry—I don't think they'd let anything happen to me."

"More like let Dad run off on his own to hunt them down," Al told his aunt.

"We'll bring him back in one piece," Teddy assured her.

"You mean you'll bring them both back in one piece," the witch corrected, gesturing to both Potters.

Teddy grinned. Though they were of slightly similar personality, one thing that Harry and his second son definitely shared was strategy. And that strategy was often "hunt the bastards and kill 'em if they're going to kill you." Er. Not that Hermione needed to know that Harry sometimes liked to indulge in the shoot-first-ask-questions-later option. But only a few times…! "I promise," he said, giving her a one-armed hug before she left.

"Let's get the show on the road, then," Harry said, and he motioned to his old classmate, Fay Dunbar, one of the few from his generation that was still on the force. "Fay, you take Rutgers and Burgess to the east side." He pointed to Scorpius and one of the remaining newbies. "Scorpius, you and I will have Abbey join us in the south."

Teddy looked at the remaining newbie and said, "So I guess that leaves me and Al with Stevens in the west." The handful of other Aurors had fanned out along the perimeter of the Ministry, and two of Harry's other old classmates, Stephen Cornfoot and Kevin Entwhistle, had gone to guard the Minister, so this set of nine would be responsible for containing the threat.

Harry nodded, and Teddy didn't miss the fleeting look of disappointment on his face. It always appeared when they had to split up, because—as proud as Harry was of Al—he'd never be able to work alongside him under normal conditions. It was a rule he and Hermione had enforced in magical law enforcement, drawing on Muggle examples. No family members were allowed to work, to serve together, for the sake of the family.

And, no matter how close Al and Teddy were, Al and Teddy weren't related in any way anyone knew. So Teddy protected Al for Harry.

"Let's move out," Harry ordered, and they were all gone from the Auror Office in the swish of a cloak.

"Stevens, stick close," Al told the witch as she, he, and Teddy exited on the west side of the Ministry.

Teddy nudged Al when Stevens had her head turned. "Hey—don't go all vigilante on me today, luv. This isn't routine patrol."

Al blushed and glared at him. "Keep your eyes on Stevens today, not me. If we can focus on the Dark wizards and on keeping her okay, then we shouldn't have any problems."

The Metamorphmagus bit back a retort. He didn't like it when Al got a little bossy at work, but he knew Al had a point. And that was the problem with them both working in the Auror Office. Because they were their own little family, having been romantically involved since two years after Al had left Hogwarts, the same year Al had started his Auror training.

With four years gone by already, it should've been easier to focus at work. But it wasn't when Teddy wanted only to protect Al from danger. He couldn't say anything, though, to Harry. Everyone thought Teddy had only offered to split an apartment with Al because it was close to work. No one of the Weasley-Potter clan knew the truth except Lily, because no matter what Teddy did he still found a best friend in that delightfully meddling girl.

What was often a brisk survey through this part of Muggle London became a snail's pace as Teddy, Al, and Stevens scanned every face that passed them. They couldn't look only for wizard fashion; no, they had to analyze each countenance in a second and determine whether they be magical or not.

It was painstaking and nerve-racking.

The three of them spread out more to cover more ground, but ten, twenty, twenty-five minutes passed. Nothing happened. Teddy began to wonder if it had been a false alarm.

Al looked to him and they locked eyes, the same thought running through the younger wizard's mind. Teddy shrugged and motioned to the witch. "Hey, Stevens!"

She turned her head and zipped up her red sweatshirt the rest of the way. "Yes, Lu—"

THUD.

It happened so fast. Teddy only had time for his eyes to widen in horror as Stevens' body was backlit with green light before she hit the ground. Several Muggles around her saw her drop and ran, and a few women screamed, setting off a chain reaction.

Al was by Teddy's side in no time flat, on instinct more than anything else. "Do you see him?" he blurted, his chest heaving as adrenaline coursed through his veins.

Teddy shook his head and made a dash for Stevens' body—but a spell struck him and he ended up flattened on the ground as another spell whizzed overhead. Picking his head up, Teddy saw Al dueling a man in black robes like those of a Death Eater. Cripes. So much for this being a false alarm. Teddy also didn't appreciate Al casting a spell on him…but as it probably had saved his life, Teddy wasn't complaining.

He dragged Stevens' body to the corner of a building, but Al yelled for his help. And Teddy could see why. Between attacks, the Dark wizard was still throwing the Killing Curse around, and two, no, three, no five Muggles had gone the way of their own comrade, just like that.

The Metamorphmagus ran forward and began throwing all the hexes he knew. It was frightening to see someone his age fending off both him and Al at once. It was more frightening to see some of the bloke's spells getting through, and Teddy doubted he felt half as bad as Al looked.

"T-Teddy…!" Al gasped after he'd managed to knock the Dark wizard off his feet.

Teddy turned his head, his heart in his throat. The way Al was clutching his side…that wasn't good. "Shit, Al. Come on—whoa, no, don't do that!" he yelled when Al dropped to his knees.

Al shook his head. "It hurts…" He could barely get the words out.

"I'm getting you to St. Mungo's—now," the older man hissed.

But that was not in the plan, for at that moment a shining white stag galloped into view, and the Patronus had Harry's voice. "The west and east were distractions. Two are in the south! Regroup! Regroup…" His voice faded out with the Patronus, and Al stood with Teddy's help.

"Go back to the Ministry, at least!" Teddy begged as he led Al over to Stevens.

Al closed the witch's eyes. "No, we need to go—"

But another spell sped past them, missing Al's head by half an inch. Both of them looked over their shoulders in time to see the Dark wizard get back on his feet. But he didn't raise his wand again. Instead, he Disapparated.

Al's face drained of all color. "Damn. I doubt he was out when Dad's Patronus arrived."

The sense of dread that had been growing in Teddy's gut since Stevens had fallen now ballooned. "Stay here with Stevens," he ordered, and he kissed Al to make him compliant.

The Potter nodded.

Teddy stood and Disapparated—but something felt off. He felt heavier than he should've. And when he landed by the drugstore in the south end, he understood why. Al had bloody Side-Along Apparated with him. If he'd had the breath to spare, Teddy would've torn him a new one.

But Al pointed, and Teddy knew to shoot off a Stunning spell at one of the three Dark wizards in the vicinity. Their fellow from the west had joined Harry's opponents, and it appeared that the one from the east had arrived, too. But Teddy didn't see Fay, Rutgers, or Burgess, and he had to ignore his wild imagination as curses and jinxes flew in every direction.

"Scorpius!" Al yelled. The Malfoy heir had been Blasted all the way across the street, and he landed with a sickening crash amongst a set of rubbish bins. Al still knelt by Teddy's side, and he clung to his leg. "Either go over there, or get me over there."

Teddy grunted, casting a quick Shield Charm. "Not now, Al. We can't exactly move."

"He's my best friend, Teddy!" Al barked, furious. But it was hard to tell if he was red in the face from his anger who from his injury.

The older wizard grimaced. He cast several other protective charms, which were immediately useful, and he ran to Scorpius. He kept darting his eyes to the Dark wizards while checking on the blonde. Scorpius didn't move, so Teddy cursed and slapped his face a few times. "Oi…oi, you git! You're still family…but Al won't move until he knows you're fine. Hey! Hey, Scor!"

Finally he stirred. "Sweet Salazar, my head throbs…" He sat up. "And my cheeks sting." He threw Teddy a look. "Seriously? You slapped someone to revive them?"

Teddy rolled his eyes. "Later, Scorpius, please." He gave him a hand up and they rejoined the fray.

While Teddy had been preoccupied, Fay and Burgess had turned up, but Rutgers was nowhere to be found. Teddy didn't want to ask what had happened to him.

"Lead them away from the Ministry!" Harry bellowed. He was fighting two on his own, and Fay had another covered while Burgess and Abbey took the last. Scorpius went to help Harry, but he told the Malfoy to help Fay instead.

"Already tried that, Harry!" Fay sniped. Her Full-Body Bind met in the middle with her Dark wizard's Flagrate, and the power of the two spells pushed the foes apart. "Malfoy! Get the rest of the Muggles out of here!"

Scorpius did as told and cleared the crowds for three blocks in every direction. When he returned, Fay needed his help once more.

Al stood, leaning on Teddy. "Ted—go help Dad, please."

Teddy propped him up, gently securing Al around the waist. "Uncle Harry will kill me if I go anywhere near his battle right now."

"What about your promise to Aunt Hermione?" he retorted breathily, his forehead bumping into Teddy's shoulder as he winced in pain.

"That promise was to keep both of you safe," Teddy corrected.

As he said it, one of Harry's opponents took a Stunning Spell quite hard, and he was definitely out cold. That left the other three, but Burgess and Abbey looked as though they could use a hand.

"This time," Teddy said, looking at Al as he hid him in the shaded vestibule of a ritzy-looking building, "don't join the fight. You're already hurt." He ran off before Al could protest, and it helped Teddy to breathe just a smidge easier when he saw that Al stayed put. "Burgess, Abbey, let's not double-team any longer, shall we?"

The other two wizards nodded, knowing exactly what Teddy meant. The three of them formed a triangle around the confused Dark wizard, and on Teddy's signal they all cast Incarcerous, and the Dark wizard didn't know what to make of being bound by so many ropes from so many directions. Each Auror secured his end of the rope into the street's pavement. It was easy to Disarm him and Stun him from there.

Teddy motioned for the newbies to join Fay and Scorpius then, but he himself went to Harry's side.

"I've got this," the father insisted.

Teddy threw a hex, which gave Harry the chance to catch his breath. "I can see that."

Harry gestured around them. "Tell me this is the end of the threat."

"Maybe it is!" the Dark wizard snarled, and he shot a spell at Harry and Teddy which they easily missed. However, the Dark wizard had been expecting them to dodge it, for right after he'd sent one spell, he'd shot off another. But that, too, missed them.

It was not intended for them, though.

It flew over their heads, and while Harry might not have understood the gravity of the situation, Teddy sure as hell did. They turned in time to see the spell shatter the glass of the front where Al was hiding. Al covered his head and ducked, but the spell was like a speeding bullet and kept going despite having broken the windows. And it struck Al.

"AL!" Teddy screamed. He wheeled around—but his anger ebbed when he saw Harry charge the Dark wizard. That was not good. "Harry! Harry!"

Harry swung his wand arm in a sharp, downward arc, and Teddy didn't need to hear his godfather's words to know what incantation he was using. The Dark wizard suddenly was covered in slashes, gashes, and was coughing up blood. He was on his back like his compatriot, and Harry kept getting closer and closer.

"Harry!" Teddy barked. He ran to the man and forced him to drop his wand. "Harry! You can't use Sectumsempra on people!" his hissed. Harry had ceased the spell, but he still didn't look at Teddy. "Uncle Harry…I'm just as worried about Albus as you are."

Finally the father looked up and met Teddy's eyes. Harry was back to normal. Then Scorpius called out to them; he was heading for Al after having restrained the last Dark wizard with Fay.

"Oh, Godric…," Teddy breathed, more to himself than to anyone in particular. He and Harry went for the second Potter child, but Fay and Scorpius blocked them. "What the hell? Let us see him!"

"We shouldn't touch him!" Scorpius retorted.

"That's my son," Harry argued. He fought Fay, who was holding him back. "That's my son!"

"Don't you think we're concerned, too, Harry?" she tried to say as evenly as possible. "Burgess!" Fay called to the newbie. "Get a Healer team here—now!"

The newbie complied, and Abbey began to clean up the area. Fay and Scorpius couldn't move Harry and Teddy away, though. "Don't make me break you like a twig, Malfoy," the Metamorphmagus spat. He flinched as he watch Al convulse.

Scorpius gave him a sharp look. "Teddy, I love him like a brother, too. But you know as well as I do that it'd be a bad idea to touch him and have the spell transferred or have its effects spread to us."

Teddy bit down on his bottom lip so hard that he almost drew blood. "No, Scorpius," he said lowly.

"No what?"

"You're the only one here that loves him like a brother."

The confusion the statement produced allowed Teddy to shove him out of the way, and Teddy went to Al, though he was careful not to touch. And it was so hard, so damn hard not to touch him, not when Al was writhing in pain. He felt a shadow over him as glimpsed Harry; apparently Fay had given up on holding him back any longer.

"The Healers should be here by now," Teddy griped, his vision going blurry the longer he watched Al.

"They are," Harry said, and he stepped to the side with Teddy as the Healers Levitated Al out of the building's entryway. Casting further magic on him didn't appear to worsen his condition thankfully, but the Healer who inspected him on site couldn't figure out what spell had been used, and so they moved Al to St. Mungo's.

"Shit, Uncle Harry…," the Metamorphmagus breathed. "…why? Why are there still Dark wizards?"

"They give us a job," Harry answered hollowly. He removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "Come on, Teddy… We should begin clean up until the Obliviators get here."

Luckily they didn't have to wait long for the Obliviator Squad, and as they got to work, Molly told her uncle that his Aurors could leave the field. "We've got this under control," she assured him and Teddy. She frowned. "Is it true, about Al?"

"We're going to St. Mungo's now," Teddy replied for Harry. "Fay and the others will take care of our Dark wizards, but be careful if they decide to start fighting back again."

Molly nodded and hugged both him and Harry. "I'll get to the hospital as quickly as I can after."

Teddy nodded, and he and Harry briefly returned to the Ministry to find the lockdown order had been withdrawn. "Padma says she and the Minister are okay—I guess Stephen and Kevin didn't run into any problems protecting Kingsley and his secretary," Harry said when he picked up a department memo off his desk.

"We need to let Aunt Ginny, Lily, and James know," Teddy reminded him.

"I know…" Harry sent his Patronus home to his wife and daughter, and Teddy used the Avis spell to send a hawk to James. It was probably best that James wasn't disturbed by a Patronus at work, as Ollivander might've had a heart attack.

Then they left the Ministry and Apparated to St. Mungo's. Teddy didn't like the place very much for its too-clean stench. It reminded him of the times he and Ginny had come to collect Harry because he'd had a nasty encounter with a Death Eater. One would think that defeating Voldemort should've made Harry into some kind of super-Auror, but he wasn't invincible. The times Harry had landed in the hospital had decreased as his and Ginny's children were born and grew older, but he'd still end up here every once in a while.

Things felt so…off with Al being the patient.

When they arrived at the correct floor, the lead Healer saw Harry and informed him that they had removed the curse—"some kind of original special," he'd said—and that Al was resting while the rest of his injuries were fixed. "He has some internal bleeding from an unrelated spell, but we're being extra careful as it's his kidney." The Healer blathered on about how they had to keep a Filtering Charm going at the same time, since that kidney was in so condition yet to help the other filter all of Al's blood. "He'll be fine, but you and the rest of the Aurors on the frontlines need to seek medical attention."

"Later," Harry said, and Fay and the rest joined them then, so the Healer went about checking over the others.

"You've got a little…," Teddy mumbled, gesturing to the side of his face.

Harry touched his temple and, seeing blood, wiped it with his sleeve. "I don't hurt, so it's not mine."

Teddy pursed his lips. "Uncle Harry…"

"I know. I shouldn't have used that spell." His expression changed, and his eyes darkened as Teddy knew Al's would never do. "But when you've lost enough friends and family as I have, Teddy…" He shook his head. "You hold on to what's left."

A silence hung in the air between them for a few minutes, broken only by the wails of a mother. They turned and saw a Healed Fay grimly informing Rutgers' mother. The poor woman fell to her knees just as an older couple entered the hallway. They were Stevens' parents.

"Shit…" Harry shook his head. "This never gets easy."

"Stay," Teddy insisted. "She was with Al and me, anyway." He went to the couple and didn't force a smile. "Mr. and Mrs. Stevens?"

"Where's my Robby?" Stevens' mother asked. "I want my Robby back!"

Mr. Stevens had not yet gone to pieces as his wife had. But he couldn't look Teddy in the eye. "Roberta…is she…is she gone…?"

Teddy licked his dry lips and nodded. "She…" He paused. Did he tell them the truth? Or did he tell them she had fought bravely? But that was a lie…it was a comforting thought, but it was a lie… Teddy met Mr. Stevens' eyes. "She fought bravely. She was a strong witch."

The lie softened the look on the father's face before he and his wife sat and finally mourned together. Teddy took it as his cue to leave.

Harry had been allowed to enter Al's room, and Scorpius now stood in his place. He looked at Teddy. "You all right?"

Teddy exhaled. "I'll be better once I see Al with my own two eyes."

Scorpius watched him slip into a chair. "Teddy, what you said before, about Al…"

Color flooded Teddy's cheeks. He hadn't been thinking earlier. "Forget what I said, Scorpius."

"I didn't make Head Boy of Slytherin for nothing. I know what you meant."

Teddy shot him a look. "Well bloody la-di-da. But can you please start this some other time when Al's not in a hospital?" He got up and went to the doorway, peeking in. "Uncle Harry."

Harry motioned him inside. "He's asleep, but he looks okay." Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and it was a wet sigh. Though he ducked his head, Teddy knew that he was crying. Some things could even make the great Harry Potter just a man sometimes.

"Hey, Al," the Metamorphmagus whispered, taking the chair since Harry remained standing. "Hey, Alabaster," he said more quietly so that only Al might hear. "We're here. We love you and want you to wake up soon. So stop scaring us, okay?"

Al's chest rose and fell in response.

Merlin, it was torture to see him like this… But Teddy left the room shortly afterwards, as James and then Ginny and Lily arrived. After all, no matter how close Al and Teddy were, Al and Teddy weren't related in any way anyone knew. Two men didn't exactly comprise a family.

Two hours passed in agonizing torture as Teddy waited outside the room. He'd allowed a Healer to fix him, and he'd convinced Harry to get patched up, too. But inside the room it was still Potters and Potters only.

Eventually Lily emerged and embraced her god brother. "Oh, Godric, Teddy!" She squeezed him so tightly that he thought she might break a few of his bones. She patted his cheek. "I'm glad you're all right. But Al…"

"I know," he said, nodding his head. "When he was first hit, I told him to leave the field. I just wished he'd listened."

Lily gave him a brittle smile. "Well, that's one Weasley trait we all have—that stubbornness." She glanced at Scorpius, who was watching them openly. "Don't you have to go get something to eat, Scorpius?"

Teddy held up a hand to stop her. "He knows, Lils. I told him."

Lily furrowed her brow. "Al's not going to be too happy."

"I only wish he'd told me sooner," Scorpius remarked, but he did leave the corridor to give them privacy.

She watched him go. "It slipped out, didn't it?"

"Kind of…"

The redheaded witch folded her arms in front of her chest. "He's still not awake, you know."

"I know."

"But I'm going to convince Mum and Dad and James to go get something to eat, too. Or at least something to drink." She stared at Teddy, her teal eyes intense. "I think he'll wake up for you alone."

Teddy wanted to cry at the sweetness of her words, but he nodded instead. "That would be nice."

"I think it'll actually happen." She sat him down and kissed the top of his head as though she were Ginny and not Lily Luna. "Just give me a sec, all right?"

As promised, the four Potters exited the room, but Harry insisted that Teddy stay and watch over Al. Lily covertly winked at him and ushered her family out of the way. Teddy entered after they'd rounded the corner.

Al was still asleep on his back as Teddy had seen hours ago. His chest was still rising and falling, but he'd regained some of his color—at least, as much color as someone so pale could regain.

"Hey, Alabaster," the older wizard said softly. He brushed Al's jet fringe aside and kissed his forehead, and he rested his forehead against Al's. "Hey, come on, luv. It's time for you to wake up.

Al's chest rose and fell.

Teddy sighed and sat back in the chair, taking Al's nearby hand in his. "Come on, Al. I heard Fay venting to Burgess and Abbey. They weren't even Death Eaters. They were just nameless wannabes, as Uncle Harry had said. They were only fledgling Dark wizards." Though, as he said it, he knew it was a lie. They had most certainly not been fledglings, not to hold their own against nine—well, seven—Aurors. But Teddy brushed that thought aside. "Come on, Al…please, just open your eyes…" After all, it had just been a day like any other.

Al's chest rose and fell.

The Metamorphmagus grimaced. "Scorpius knows, by the way. I'm not really sorry for that. And I'm not going to be sorry if your family walks in and sees me hovering over you like this, luv. Because, dammit, I'm not letting you go until you goddamn look at me, Al!" He huffed, and his vision blurred again.

Al's chest rose and fell.

Teddy gripped Al's hand and leaned his head on the edge of the bed. "Merlin, Al… Come back to the people who love you… Come back to me. I love you, Alabaster. I love you so much."

Al's fingers twitched and slowly folded around Teddy's hand, though weakly. Al knew. He knew because he felt the same way, even if squeezed fingers were the only things that could convey that.

- ^-^3

:') I'm so proud of this… So much action, so much drama, so many near-scares and real scares… But Al lives! :'D Poor Teddy, though… He really should convince Al to go something else for a job… It's not that Al's crap at being an Auror; it's just that he's as much of a distraction to Teddy as Teddy is to him. They love each other too much… Oh, boys… Other notes: Fay isn't an OC, there is a Star Trek reference towards the beginning of the fic (can you spot it?), and I first had the idea to use the Avis spell kind of like a Patronus in another, unrelated story I've posted. But that's all rambling. :']

Thank you so much for reading, and please do review!

-mew-tsubaki :'}