FANDOM: Harry Potter
SUMMARY: Sometimes staying home is the best holiday.
NOTES: This has been on my hard drive for about a year, and I'm pleased I got this tidied up in time to post on Boxing Day this year! Thanks to theemdash for the beta. Happy holidays to everyone! :D
"I could have been on a beach right now."
Teddy snickered, impressed by the sheer amount of pout in James's voice. "Oh? And what would you have been doing on this imaginary beach? And with whom?"
James stretched out on the couch, his freshly de-socked toes wiggling in the warmth of the fire. "Ohhhhhh. I don't know. Some island boy in skimpy shorts?" He smirked. "I believe that answers both questions, actually."
"Classy, James. Quite classy." Teddy rolled his eyes, pushing at James's feet as they wiggled their way towards his face. "You'd end up with sand in your trousers. Beach sex is always better before you've actually had it."
They were alone in the house, enjoying the quiet day after Christmas. As much as Teddy loved the Potters and Weasleys, they could be exhausting in great numbers. Teddy had arrived late on Christmas Eve, and this was the first time he'd really had a chance to enjoy Ginny's decorations and admire the tree. The pile of unwrapped gifts beneath it was impressive.
"That mean you've had it?" James asked, looking over at Teddy with one eyebrow raised. "I've always known you've got an exhibitionist streak—"
"Snogging at the platform wasn't exhibitionist, you plonker!"
"—but somehow I can't imagine you screwing on a public beach."
Teddy sat up straight, his back against the bottom of an arm chair. "First, it was a private beach. Second, we didn't have sex, but making out gave me sandy trousers anyway, so I feel I can accurately extrapolate the seriousness of sexy sandy trousers anyway."
"When was this?" James grinned brightly at him. "And who was this?"
Teddy sighed in pleasant remembrance, his hair shifting to a very light brown, nearly blond. "Wasn't Vic. No one you ever met. It was at Gran's vacation house in Spain, with a local."
For a few moments James was quiet, waiting for Teddy to continue, but he quickly got impatient. "That story sucks. You can do so much better. Details, man!"
He glanced at James, then looked down at the ground again. "He was my first bloke, actually. Well, first one I kissed and had the bollocks to do more than vaugely flirt with. I don't even remember his name now."
James's face softened. "Sorry, mate. I didn't mean to . . ."
Teddy shook his head. "It's all right. It's stupid, really. I ought to be over it by now." He wasn't talking about the nameless Spaniard and when Teddy's hair darkened, stopping just a few shades before black, Teddy was certain James knew who he was talking about, too. "Did . . . did I ever tell you what happened?"
"No," James said, shaking his head, his own dark brown hair mussed and disheveled. "I never wanted to push, but if you want to talk about it . . ."
"I think maybe I do." Teddy took a deep breath, then stood up and walked to the window. The late afternoon was melting into night, though the snow had kept a grey overcast all day. The Potter homestead was out of the way, though charms on the family car made it simple enough for the rest of them to drive into town today. "Will it ever stop snowing?"
James took the slight deflection easily enough. "They were saying ten inches, maybe a full foot."
"Mm. Glad we're not Muggles who need to shovel the walk." He didn't really want to talk about the weather; he just didn't really quite know how to start talking to James about him.
"Did you ever have to shovel with . . . him?" James's voice was quiet and gentle, and Teddy couldn't help but smile. The tough conversations were always easier with James to give him a push.
"We spent Valentine's bundled up and going up and down his street, digging out people for tea or hot chocolate." He chuckled a bit. "There was a gang of kids who hated us, they were trying to make money. We finally agreed that we'd stay to the north side of the street, they could have the south."
"You didn't use magic at all?"
Teddy shook his head, still looking out the window. "No. Even though he knew and all, I never felt comfortable using magic at his place." He could hear James shift, and he turned to see that James was sitting up now, and from the way James suddenly stiffened, he wondered if James had been about to stand up. "That wasn't the problem, though. Ultimately, I mean." He looked back around, keeping an eye on James's reflection.
"I hadn't thought him being a Muggle was the issue. I'd hoped that he hadn't had an issue with you being a wizard, either."
"He liked when I did use magic. But . . ." Teddy swallowed; this was more difficult than he'd expected.
Reflected in the window, James rose and came to stand just behind Teddy, looking out the window. "Cor, it really is snowing hard." Teddy just nodded. "l don't really want to be on a beach right now," James said, his voice quiet as though he'd confessed a large secret.
Teddy turned and smiled softly. "No? So where would you be if the Floo Network wasn't shut down?"
James shrugged. "Probably here still. I like Boxing Day at home."
Teddy looked around. "Your family doesn't agree?"
"Hah. They like Boxing Day sales. And returning the shite gifts I got for them."
"Pfft. I liked what you got me, James. Thank you, again," he added with a smile.
"Yeah. Well." James shrugged, and if Teddy wasn't mistaken, that wasn't simply the fairy lights making his cheeks a bit pink. "I didn't have a tradition of shite gift-giving to maintain with you."
Teddy thought about the undoubtedly expensive pair of dragonhide and sheepskin gloves tucked under the tree with all the other gifts. James was such a good friend—he deserved to know the truth. "He accused me of seeing someone else behind his back."
James's eyes popped open wide. "What? Are you fucking kidding, Ted?"
"I wish I were." Teddy couldn't help but smile at the incredulous look on James's face, glad to have his unwavering and immediate support. "He told me he'd suspected it for a while, and in April he finally called me out on it."
"But you wouldn't! You wouldn't ever."
Teddy sighed. "I know. And of course I told him that. He refused to believe me, though." James walked away, and Teddy could tell that he was fuming. "Jamie, it was months ago. I'm over being angry."
"I'm allowed to be angry now, though!" James still was turned away; he ran one hand through his hair roughly, making it stand on end. "Fuck, Ted, I wish you'd told me then, I'd've put him right!"
"I don't think," Teddy said, his voice just a little unwilling, "that you racing to my defence would have helped matters."
James turned, looking so much like Ginny when hacked off that Teddy had to hold in a chuckle—James would smack him if he knew Teddy's thoughts. "Why?"
"I . . ." Teddy sighed, sliding down to sit against the wall and his eyes closing. "He thought I was fucking around with you."
He kept his eyes closed, but the silence in response was just as telling as James's facial expressions. After several moments, and just before Teddy opened his eyes to find out if James had left the room to laugh heartily, he sensed James approach and sit down next to him, close enough to feel the heat from his body.
"That's . . . we started to hang out together a lot more that winter, didn't we?" James's voice was quiet.
Teddy nodded; he opened his eyes, too, but kept looking straight ahead. "Yes. He thought I preferred you because you were a wizard."
"Oh . . . that's daft."
Teddy chuckled. "Yeah, totally daft." There wasn't a lot of conviction in his words, though.
"Clearly you'd prefer me because I wouldn't assume that you being mates with another bloke meant you were cheating."
"Oh, clearly." Teddy turned and looked at James now, letting out a laugh when he found that James was already looking at him with his tongue hanging out. "Oi, don't stick that out unless—" He cut off, his normal quip about putting a stuck-out tongue to good use feeling inappropriate in this conversation. "Er."
James shook his head. "I'm sorry, Teddy. I'm sorry that our friendship caused that trouble." He dropped his voice to a whisper. "Why didn't you tell me back then? I would have backed off, given some space so he could have seen that it wasn't the case."
Too quickly, it seemed, they'd gotten to the other difficult part of this talk. "I . . . I wouldn't have wanted you to back off." He swallowed. "Not even to save things with Colin."
James's face looked so sad. "But . . . Teddy, you two were . . ."
Teddy knew what James was going to say, and he shook his head. "No. We weren't." He picked at some pine needles that were on the floor, fallen from the tree in the corner and tracked throughout the lounge. "I . . . I wasn't. I mean, at the time, I . . ." He took a deep breath, trying to figure out how to say what he needed to say. "Colin was wrong about me cheating on him, yes." Gathering some courage, he looked back at James. "But I wasn't surprised when he told me he thought it was with you."
James didn't say anything to that, just looked steadily at Teddy.
"You're brilliant, Jamie. And I don't even remember what moment it was when I realized just how brilliant you were, but I know that when Colin broke up with me because he thought I was sleeping with you, I could only think that I wish I had, because that would've been really fantastic."
The squeak that came out of James's mouth was sort of adorable. And, therefore, quite troublesome.
"I'm sorry. I know . . . I know that's weird and awkward." Teddy closed his eyes again, not wanting to see James's face as he got shot down.
Instead, however, he felt James's fingers brush his hair back behind his ear. "Don't apologize," James whispered, his voice very close to Teddy, and Teddy's eyes opened in surprise. James was quite close, his warm brown eyes still wide. "And please don't say that's weird or awkward."
Teddy's heart, which had been remarkably calm until now, began to pound. "Why not?"
"Because I've wanted to kiss you for months now, and I think it'd be really fantastic." Before Teddy could respond at all to that, James leaned in and kissed Teddy firmly, Gryffindor bravery intensifying and persuading Teddy to kiss back. The kiss was chaste, but not the casual peck that Teddy would share with his mates, not the kind of kiss he'd left on James's cheek so many times in the last year alone.
"Teddy," James said, his voice just the softest of whispers as he pulled out of the kiss, "your hair is purple."
"Is it?" Teddy asked, though he knew exactly what shade his hair was at the moment—he always knew, even when he didn't consciously change it. "You know what that means?"
"What does it mean?"
Teddy grinned, lifted his hand to cup James's cheek, and pulled him close to kiss again, more intense this time as he opened his mouth to James, and James eagerly pressed his tongue against Teddy's. The house grew silent in absence of their conversation, the quiet only punctured by the wet sounds of their kiss, the brush of clothing, and the occasional sigh or soft moan. Until . . .
"Oh, Merlin's bollocks. Daaaaaaad! You owe Mum five Galleons!"
Teddy pulled back, startled, and looked to see Lily standing in the middle of the room, arms crossed and her pose full of attitude, a smirk on her face.
"Oi!" James rose up on his knees, gesturing towards his sister. "What the hell, Lil? What the bloody hell?"
She rolled her eyes, flicked her dyed-black hair over her shoulder. "You don't want to get caught snogging, then you shouldn't do it in the lounge!"
"What's going on?" Harry's voice, sounding distinctly amused. "Who's snogging?"
Teddy glanced at James and saw that his cheeks were that sweet pink again. "Er . . . ."
Harry looked down at his son and godson, and he shook his head. "James, I thought you were heading to the beach with your mates." James coughed, muttered, "Floo's down," into his hand as he tried to hide a smile, but Harry wasn't buying it. "No, it's not. Snow's not that bad."
Teddy turned and gaped at James. "You... you liar!" He started to laugh, playfully shoving the younger man. "You bloody little, sneaky liar."
Now James looked back at Teddy, grinning. "Well! I thought you were going to be going home today, but when you said you wanted to stick around, I . . ." His grin softened. "I thought maybe I'd have a chance to . . . talk."
Lily snorted. "Talk, he says. Right, you weren't doing any talking right now!"
Harry put his hand on her shoulder and pulled her back gently. "Come, Lily, let's help your Mum with dinner."
She turned and put her arm around her father's waist. "And youuu can give Mum your five Galleons!" She laughed, muffled as Harry tried to cover her mouth with his hand, and then they were out the room and around the corner, leaving Teddy alone with James again.
"Apparently," James said, sliding closer to Teddy once more, "my parents had some sort of bet about us." He rested his head on Teddy's shoulder, not a new position for them, but there was a new sensation to it now, and Teddy brought his arm around James's shoulders, running his fingers along James's arm.
"Apparently," Teddy agreed. "Quite honestly that is not the kind of reaction that I'd expect."
"No. It's not." James chuckled. "I like it, though. I'm glad for it."
"Do you think they'll make us stay in separate rooms?" Teddy grinned. "Or might I finally I get to spend the night over here in a real bed, rather than the transfigured couch?"
James shook his head, leaning in to push his face into Teddy's neck. "The Floo works, Teddy. I think we both have serviceable flats and beds to choose instead of a couch or my childhood bedroom . . . ."
Teddy turned his head and cupped James's cheek again, brushing his thumb over James's skin. "I dunno," he murmured. "Might serve them right for placing bets about us." He leaned in to kiss James again, determined not to let the family take the mickey out of them too much.
At least not tonight, anyway.
x-posted to teddyjames and hp_tng