Meant to be
A HariPo oneshot
Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not me. Despite my love of Al/Teddy, I do still ship James/Teddy… ;P Read, review, and enjoy! *Written as a birthday present for jojor99, who definitely needs something good to read…let alone the time to read it! :')
The first time James felt something for Teddy, he went for it. It was before his fourth year, long after Teddy had broken up with Victoire. A fourteen-year-old James had found himself spacing out in a Charms class, daydreaming of naughty things…with his god brother. He hadn't thought anything of it at first, but when the summer came and Teddy was around so often, all James could think of was getting his hands all over the older bloke. So James told Teddy about his feelings.
Teddy blushed and chuckled. "Ah, um… James, not to be mean, but…ah… I think it's okay, once in a while, to let your hormones get to you. But that doesn't mean you want me."
"Are you sure?" James asked, removing his glasses so that Teddy could see those big, brown eyes of his.
Teddy still hugged him, though, despite the odd suggestion. "I'm sure, mate. Besides, I can't exactly say I swing that way."
James nodded, but he was a little disappointed. But Teddy was right. Who was James to think that Teddy wouldn't laugh at what he'd said? Hell, James wasn't even sure that he himself really was gay—all he knew was that he could appreciate both Teddy's personality and looks.
The first time Teddy felt something for James, four years had passed since James had confessed about his wet dreams. Also, James was no longer in doubt as to whether he liked witches or wizards, because Xerxes Smith was known in the family as James' better half.
Maybe it was one of those things where one didn't realize what he could've had until it was gone, Teddy assumed. There James was, turning up at the Burrow for Christmas with Xerxes, and Teddy's mouth…went dry. His initial thought was that he hadn't seen James in a while, as James and Xerxes had gone travelling for a year after school. And maybe, just a bit, Teddy was feeling randy towards almost anything, for he'd been having a dry spell for two years, ongoing. For all he knew, he could've just as easily seen something in Al or, for Merlin's sake, Lily!
But the Metamorphmagus ruminated on the idea of James in his life as something other than a relative…and that idea didn't leave Teddy alone. Besides, Xerxes might've been a good guy, but he wasn't Teddy.
Teddy woke up one morning, butterflies in his stomach. Godric, he had to say something or it would just eat him up inside.
He went to James' flat, happy to find Xerxes absent, and he smiled as James let him in. "Hey, what's up, Teddy?"
"Ah, nothing much…" Teddy fidgeted. Teddy fidgeted. In all the years he'd been living on earth, Teddy had never known himself to fidget, especially not in front of his god siblings.
If James noticed, he didn't say anything. "It's a bit unusual for you to come visit," the Potter remarked as he began to make tea. "I hope nothing's wrong."
"No, nothing of that sort," the older man said dismissively. "The thing is, James…" He had to close his eyes to summon his courage. He could feel his face grow hot as he opened his mouth—and nothing came out. Teddy opened his eyes, disheartened. How was it that a younger James could've said something much bolder than what Teddy wanted to say now?
James narrowed his eyes at him, and then a look of understanding appeared on his face. "Teddy…," he began.
Teddy almost didn't want to hear the words that came next.
"C'mon, mate. Now of all times? And Xerxes…" James shook his head, removing his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose in exasperation. He sighed and looked at Teddy—who nearly melted, seeing those eyes now. "No, Teddy."
"Besides," the other wizard said, his tone regretful as he forced half a grin, "are you sure it's not just because you've got no girlfriend and you were thinking of old memories?"
Teddy's face fell. James was completely right. There was nothing serious about what Teddy felt—how could there be? Teddy was a creature of habit; it felt natural to have someone by his side and in his arms. James was a creature of commitment; it was natural for him to put another's feelings before his own. …but he wouldn't put Teddy's first, he couldn't. There was Xerxes to consider.
James didn't forget that Teddy came to see him that time. He didn't tell Xerxes—that would be a meaningless argument—but he didn't forget it, either. Instead, James held on to the memory, almost as though that could've been the start of them. It wasn't, but James hoped that Teddy would move on from it anyway. There was someone out there for him, surely. James knew Xerxes was that person for him, because Xerxes fit perfectly into his life in every way.
Or so he thought. Then James' best mate, Troy, went to work for a routine day of Auror training. He never came home.
James also wouldn't forget going to the Auror Office that day. Yes, to the Auror Office he went, because there had been no reason for anyone to go to St. Mungo's, not in the shape Troy had been left. James arrived, and the wailing of Lavender over her son struck a chord with James. As he approached Lavender and Seamus, James could see his other best mate, Curt, with them, crying. James tried to imagine what Curt was feeling, but he couldn't. Troy had been James' best friend, his brother without blood. But Troy had been Curt's soul mate.
Harry and Teddy and the other Aurors tried to explain to James how it had happened, but James didn't really listen. Instead, he sat nestled between Lavender and Curt, each of them gripping one of his hands for dear life. It didn't seem real when Seamus signed later that night for him and Lavender to take their son's personal belongings home. And it seemed even more surreal when they gave Troy's travel cloak and wand to Curt.
James sat and watched them leave, the three of them going to Curt and Troy's flat, as Seamus and Lavender were in no condition to go home. James hung his head, weariness cajoling him. He could've done with Xerxes showing up then, even if Xerxes did get pulled away from the Quidditch match he was supposed to be commentating.
Someone sat beside James, and he turned. It was Teddy. He opened his mouth to say something, but then he bit his bottom lip and wrapped an arm around James' shoulders. And James broke.
After sobbing for the loss of his friend, James picked his head up and tried to see things with his blurry vision. A fuzzy figure that James took as Xerxes finally appeared.
"The match ended ages ago, so I went home and fell asleep… I only just got word," Xerxes said. "James, I'm so sorry."
They were kind words, and they were sincere, but they weren't what James needed at this, the worst moment of his life. In fact, he didn't need any words. He needed only what Teddy had given him—that presence of someone who understood and didn't have to explain it.
Xerxes hadn't really done anything wrong, which was why James didn't tell him until a month had passed that he hadn't needed those words. And when James did finally tell him before he headed out the door, it was ironic—because then James would've liked words, any words at all. But Xerxes had none to offer.
Teddy did not get his hopes up. Comforting James was one thing. Wishing James had come home with him, had come home to him, was another.
Following Troy's death, the atmosphere in the Auror Office tensed. Harry seemed more concerned, too, since Al and Scorpius had signed up for training, too, after graduating from Hogwarts. No doubt that he didn't want to happen to his own son what had happened to a friend's son. Teddy felt similarly.
However, his concern for James grew. James had moved back home with his parents and Lily—Al and Scorpius shared a large flat with their girlfriends, Calytrix and Rose—and he seemed content to live the life of a bachelor. His occupation didn't help; sure, he did good work for Ollivander, but people didn't often fall head-over-heels for wandmakers.
Teddy began to wonder if James ever would fall in love again. Most of the others in his family seemed matched up—Victoire was pregnant with her first child with Neville, Molly already had a kid with Corner from the Ministry, Dominique had married Lysander, and so on and so forth. About the only abnormal one was Lily, who was more interested in dragons than wizards for the moment (or was it a moment, considering she was leaving for Romania soon to work with Charlie?).
And Teddy? The Metamorphmagus did the silly thing and stared at his reflection in the mirror. He gave it some thought. What was he doing…?
Ah, right. He was waiting for James.
Godric, it sounded so ridiculous, to be holding out for James. But Teddy had learned years ago that he didn't find James only outwardly attractive; he liked James for James, too. And, when it came down to it, Teddy really just wanted James to be happy.
It was summertime, and most of the family was spread out in the Burrow's backyard, on the edge of the marshes. Harry, Bill, Scorpius, Arthur, and Hermione were all talking about the great loves in their families.
James smirked as Lily asked about their mother and father. Harry blushed as Ginny laughed and said, "You've heard the tale a thousand times, Lily—I was the only girl who could get your father to do a damn thing!"
"Ginny!" Hermione bitched, gesturing to Molly the younger, who covered her little daughter's delicate ears.
"Oh, come off it, Hermione—the girl will only hear worse out of Michael's mouth." Half of them laughed at Corner's expense.
"All this time in the family, Hermione," interjected Bill, "and you've not yet learned to roll with the punches?" Fleur exchanged a sweet look with him, and James thought of his aunt and uncle's story. Everyone in the family knew that Fleur had been the one for Bill.
"Even my parents got it right" was what James overheard Scorpius state to Al, who nodded.
But the voice from a little behind him made James alert. "What about my parents? Were they really so…?"
"Dramatic?" Harry finished for his godson.
James could sense that Teddy nodded. The Potter pursed his lips for a second before deciding to scoot backwards and sit beside him. Teddy briefly glanced at him and gave him a fleeting grin, but his attention was aimed at Harry, as Teddy never could hear enough about his parents.
"Remus and Tonks reminded me of the stories of my parents that I'd heard from Sirius," Harry said, and Ginny, Hermione, and Ron all nodded. "I mean, there was a lot of opposition in the beginning, but then the stubborn one—Remus, of course, in this case—came around. Then…" His words trailed off as Harry seemed to try picturing one of the last times he saw them. "Then everything was just right for them. They were the brightest light in the other's life, and they made a room brighten up when they walked in together." He grinned at his wife and siblings-in-law. "You lot remember when we were heading out that night, before…" He gritted his teeth for a moment, no doubt thinking about what really had happened on the night when seven Harrys had left Privet Drive. "Anyway, remember when Tonks tried to tell us that she and Remus married? And that she was pregnant?"
Kind smiles and nostalgic chuckles passed through, and James removed his eyes from the adults to glance at Teddy, who was frowning.
James nudged him. "Hey, you all right?"
Teddy moved in an action that wasn't quite a shrug. "I just…sometimes wonder if my parents really were so great together."
"Why do you ask?" They tuned out the others as more stories were shared for the hundredth time.
"Well… I mean, I've some letters of my dad's, from the first war."
James wasn't surprised. All he'd heard about Remus, he wasn't surprised to hear that the man had been as anal as Hermione that he'd keep letters that long.
"And they just make me wonder if Dad was right for Mum. I mean, if Mum was right for Dad. Agh, I dunno…" Teddy rubbed his temples. "Never mind, James. It doesn't matter."
But that one thing did matter, and not because of the topic but because it mattered to Teddy—it wouldn't have bothered him so much if it hadn't mattered. And if it mattered to Teddy, if it concerned him…then James felt it mattered to him, too. After all, Teddy mattered to him, didn't he? Of course he did.
It was only two weeks after that summer day when Teddy stopped by the Burrow again. He'd been going through some old things he'd gotten a while back after Andromeda's passing, and he'd found a toy he thought Victoire's daughter might like. But since she and Neville hadn't been home, he figured that he could at least drop it off to Arthur or Molly, who'd pass it along.
He let himself in, and he was a bit surprised to hear Harry's voice coming from the kitchen. Victoire and Neville weren't there, either, but Arthur and Molly were definitely home. They were the ones talking with Harry in the kitchen.
"What? No, why do that?" Molly retorted after Harry had asked something. "There's no need to say anything. For all we know, it was some passing fancy."
"Or," Arthur suggested, "we might've seen something that wasn't really there."
There was a pause. "…no, I think you were right." Harry sighed. "I mean, my godfather was known for being a major flirt, but he never had any serious relationship outside of the Marauders, y'know? And as close as he was to Dad, there was always something about how he and Remus got along…"
Teddy swallowed the lump in his throat.
"Harry, dear," Molly said. "We don't know if it was ever reciprocated. Maybe Sirius did and Remus didn't. That's just the thing—we'll never know."
"Which is why I agree with Molly that we don't say anything. It would only stir up unnecessary hostility," Arthur stated.
"Yeah, but Tonks…" The three of them were quiet. "I mean, what if she was only a replacement…?" Harry's words were whispers.
Teddy closed his eyes as those three went silent again. They didn't know anything for sure—but he did. And he couldn't figure if his heart was heavy or light for knowing what he did.
Behind him, a noise sounded, and Ginny appeared. "Oh, Teddy." She blinked. "I didn't know you were coming by."
"Unannounced, sorry," he said, keeping his tone even as the others emerged from the kitchen. "I just wanted to stop by and drop off something for Vic, when anyone next sees her. You know Aurors' schedules—I get so busy that I can't always remember to eat."
"Teddy." Harry's voice sounded apprehensive. "When did you, uh, get here?"
"I just came in, before Aunt Gin," the Metamorphmagus lied. "And I need to go—I've got a thing, so I'll see you."
Harry definitely looked ready to call out to him and stop him, but—as Ginny had not been a part of the conversation—he said nothing and let his godson go.
It was only two weeks after that summer day when Teddy showed up at the door to the Potters' home in Godric's Hollow. James answered, as his parents had gone to the Burrow and Lily had finally departed for Romania. He wondered if Teddy knew he'd be there by himself.
When James answered the door, he felt so small. Teddy leaned against the doorframe, but he made no move to enter. Instead, he stared down at James, quiet and thinking.
James opened his mouth to say hello when Teddy interrupted.
"Want to go get a drink?"
A few thoughts rolled around in James' head. First, what was Teddy doing—asking him out? James rejected that idea; the time for them had passed, even though it had never happened. So…was Teddy really asking for a friend to get drunk with? Yet again, that seemed impossible; James had never known Teddy to get drunk. Hell, barely any in his family would! Though Mols, Louis, and Freddie were quite the sight when they did get sloshed…but that was beside the point. Teddy must've been looking for an ear. James decided to question later why Teddy wanted his company and not someone else's. "I don't, not really."
"Oh." Teddy swallowed, trying to make his voice not sound so scratchy from lack of use. "Then can I come in?"
"Didn't say you couldn't," the Potter replied as Teddy moved around him and entered the living room. James closed the door and followed. "Teddy, are you all right?"
Teddy turned, and his gaze was centered squarely on James' face. "No," he answered, and he returned to James for a hug.
James wished his face didn't redden so. He pulled away a tad to get Teddy to look him in the face again. "Teddy, what's going on?"
Seventeen seconds passed. Then Teddy said, "I think I've gone crazy." And then he kissed James.
It was a fleeting thing, and James wondered if they'd speak of it again. But Teddy stayed for the evening, not saying why he'd dropped by to begin with and not saying anything about the kiss. Even when James flitted about the kitchen preparing some dinner for them, all Teddy did was sit there and watch with a timid yet silly grin on his face. And maybe…maybe James could forget whatever had brought him over, because Teddy had come anyway. So maybe the time for them had not passed.
Sometime after that, Teddy lay awake in his bed, James sound asleep in the crook of his right arm. It was two in the morning.
When he had thought about it before, it had been after he'd started to have feelings for James. The thing was, he'd discovered his father's letters a while after he'd felt anything for James. And all the letters had done was thrown Teddy into chaos.
He was the only person alive who knew that Harry's guess was right. Tonks had been a replacement for Sirius in Remus' life. It was an odd sort of fit, but Teddy guessed that his dad had come to terms with the fact that Tonks had made herself fit into his life. Teddy was glad she'd been pushy. The loss of Sirius to Azkaban in the first war had been bad enough for Remus. The permanent loss of Sirius to death had nearly torn him to shreds. But Teddy's mother had healed at least some part of his father, for Remus had thought it the right thing to do, to love again and to hide away his letters with Sirius from a time long since gone.
But Teddy was in turmoil. It wasn't that he thought, Oh, Dad liked blokes, so I do, too. That wasn't it at all. Instead, the heart of the matter was a name. Rather, many names…and two in particular.
The entire Potter-Weasley clan had long since grown accustomed to naming children after deceased loved ones. Only Lily was odd in that her middle name came from the very-much-alive Luna. But when Teddy thought about it, and he did so quite often as an adult waiting for the others of his "generation" to catch up to him, he realized that they were all like their names.
Victoire was not that much like her French grandmother, from where she took her middle name, but she was always a triumphant one. She was walking, talking Victory. By comparison, Dominique was more reserved than her sister, and so "Gabrielle" was an appropriate middle name for her, as Fleur and her sister were different in the same way.
Molly was a coddler and family leader just like her grandmother, and Fred was as clever a git as stories said of his namesake. Al was both calculating and shrewd, and he knew how to manipulate people when it suited him. And, of course, James was as much a laugh as his grandfather had been.
But for him and James, Teddy was not as bothered by their first names. No, instead he was bothered by their middle names. Sirius and Remus. Sirius. Remus. Or, as it kept playing in Teddy's head, Sirius&Remus, Sirius&Remus, Sirius&Remus.
And Teddy wondered if they were resigned to some kind of fate. Maybe they shouldn't have gotten together at all. Maybe this was only Sirius and Remus coming to haunt them and trying to be together once more.
It was two in the morning, and Teddy lay awake in bed, troubled by his thoughts. James turned on his side, facing Teddy, and Teddy's heart both soared and sank.
Sometime after they were caught snogging on the stoop to the Potter home and Ginny laughed and told them it was about time, James sat in the living room, waiting for Teddy to arrive. It wasn't as though he couldn't move everything without anyone's help; he had spells for that. But it was the meaning of the moment. James was leaving his parents' home again, but this time he'd be moving in with Teddy. And for good.
James had caught Ginny hovering at the top of the stairs so often that day, hoping to eavesdrop, that he finally got fed up and told his dad to take his mother out to lunch. Naturally, Ginny forgot everything else, as they hadn't been on a date in so long.
An hour passed after the house quieted, and then Teddy showed up. James hopped up from the couch, and he felt stupidly childish as he nearly ran to let Teddy in. But no one had ever made James feel so giddy all of the time. Now he figured he finally knew how his mother felt about his father. If Teddy had asked James out on a lunch date right then, James would've been whisked away by the sheer delight in his heart.
But Teddy's smile was weak, and James was reminded of that very first day Teddy had kissed him, and he thought back to their first date and their first "I love you" and their first time and their first everything.
"James…you can't move in with me." Teddy closed his eyes and shook his head. "I… I've been wondering for so long now if we really love each other…and I don't think we do. We're not being Teddy and James. We're being Remus and Sirius, finishing a love that had only been born and never had the chance to grow." He shook his head again before he left. "I'm so sorry, James."
That was a first, too.
Though he'd been the one to end it, Teddy knew that it was half a lie he'd told. He knew that because his heart had torn in two when he'd convinced James that they weren't really in love. Maybe James was only the Sirius to his Remus…but, for Teddy, he'd really loved James. He'd never loved anyone so much. Once upon a time, it'd be natural to have someone, anyone by his side. But then it'd become as natural as breathing to care so much for James. And Teddy felt as though he could no longer breathe. He tried to remember, which was stunning because one wasn't supposed to consciously breathe. It was supposed to happen without them knowing.
Teddy sat, emotionally gasping for air, when James kicked in the door. Teddy jolted, shocked at the pissed look on James' face. But then Teddy realized that James had come to argue, and he couldn't let that happen. He had to make James understand.
"All right. I'm going to pretend that I didn't hear that bullshit just now," the Potter remarked as he fixed the door with a flick of his wand. He stomped over to the couch from where Teddy rose, and he looked up at the Metamorphmagus. "What are you going on about, us not living our love but someone else's? And what's all this about Sirius and your dad?"
Teddy grimaced, James' tone bothering him. He told him about the conversation between James' grandparents and father. And then…then he showed James the letters.
James read them. Each and every single one was victim to his scrutiny, and Teddy thought he'd go nuts in the ensuing silence that was disrupted periodically only as James shuffled through parchment and reached for the next letter. When he was done, it was after midnight, and Teddy's stomach growled. He was starved for conversation, too, and he wanted to strangle James for being silent for so long. It wasn't like him, and Teddy hated it when James wasn't himself.
"I almost wish there was something hot in there to read," James stated. "I mean, shit! As interesting as their letters were, there was no imagination fodder."
Teddy blushed. "James! That's my dad you're talking about!"
James raised his eyebrows, visible over the rims of his glasses. "Then you're the pervert for saying that you're only living out your dad's old love." He leaned on the back of the chair in the living room, facing Teddy. "I get it. Your dad loved Sirius the most. Your mum…" He bit his lip.
"Was second-best, I know." Teddy sighed.
"But that means squat when it comes to us."
"How can you say that?"
"Because I'm all right in the head!" He laughed at the glare he received. "Oh, Teddy… I think these letters have just put a nasty thought in your head, luv. Besides, I'm much too studious to be Sirius reincarnated, and you're much too outgoing and brash to be Remus reborn."
Teddy bit his lip, his argument starting to crumble around the edges. "Yeah, but…"
James got up from the chair and went to Teddy, leaning against him and sighing contently. "Look, Teddy. If there's one thing I learned from school, it's that there's no such thing as Reincarnation magic. It doesn't exist. People resemble other people; it just happens, especially amongst family and friends. Now, unless you have another reason for breaking up with me, I'm going to pretend that you never said any of what you did earlier today and I'm going to move in here. Is that all right with you?"
James groaned. "Fine! Here's my final counterargument: If Sirius and Remus were so good together—"
"—then maybe you and I are meant to be," the Potter concluded. He leaned up and snogged Teddy, leaving no room for further argument.
I've had this idea for a little while now, but I only really figured out how to execute it a day ago. To be honest, yeah, I was kind of nitpicking the fact that so many of the next-gen names come from other charries, which does kinda bug me, even if I did give Vic and Dom their middle names… However, I like it when James is a bit pushy. Though I think Teddy's a stronger personality…James tops. XDDD Note: Victoire/Neville and Mols/Michael are two M&MWPs, so a mention would be nice if you used them. Also, my OC Xerxes makes his appearance! I actually have plans for him. And sadly, I've killed off my OC Troy again…cookies if you know where he first bought it! ;P
Not too bad for a belated bday pressie, eh, Jo? ;] Again, happy birthday, luv! I hope it was a nice surprise. :')
Thanks for reading, everyone, and please review!