: Bruised Like a Cherry (Ripe as a Peach)Author
: Teddy Lupin/James Potter Jr, brief mentions of other pairingsRating
: ChanThemes/kinks chosen
: Everything Old is NewWord Count
: James is ready to move his relationship with Teddy on a step but Teddy's not so sure.Author's notes
: Many thanks to J for the beta – all remaining mistakes are my own. Title taken from Rilo Kiley.
James is strong for his age. He's tall too. And he's certainly determined. But he's only fifteen and it's nothing but Teddy's own willingness to have James pressing him into the wall that keeps him pinned there. James's face is set in a stubborn frown, as if he knows Teddy could break free as soon as he likes, as if he thinks this is just Teddy indulging his beloved godfather's kid.
"You can top," says James.
It's blunt and brutal, but Teddy can hear the note of sincerity there. He also feels the rush of heat that sweeps over him at the offer. He hasn't thought about it before. He hasn't dared to. It's one thing to teach James how to wank, one thing to let James suck his cock, yet one more thing to do these things with him that leave them both sweaty and breathless round the back of The Three Broomsticks at Hogsmeade weekends. But it's another thing altogether to fuck
This is Harry's son. This is Harry's son who is still in school, who isn't Victoire. This is Harry's son, whom Teddy's meant to be taking under his wing and being a role model for, meant to be leading him back from his wild ways. This is Harry's son, with his black eye faded to the colour of a rotting apple and the buttons missing off his shirt.
Teddy can only stare at him. James is leant against him, looking up into his face, as if held up by just the hand Teddy's got cupping the back of his head, tangled in the scruffy black hair. The whole lean weight of James's body is on him and Teddy can feel how warm he is, how his muscles twitch as Teddy shifts, his knee still wedged between James's thighs.
"You. Can. Fuck. Me," says James, as if talking to an idiot, head tilting from side to side with each word. "I'd let you."
When Teddy just goes on staring at him, James stretches up and pushes his tongue between his lips, kissing him hard and messy. Teddy's eyes sink shut at the kiss. James's mouth tastes of cigarettes and that cheap, Muggle chewing gum he likes. It would be so easy to lose himself.
He pushes James back a step and presses his lips together. His hands on James's shoulders are as much about hiding how they're shaking as they are about keeping James from taking matters in his own hands, as he is so prone to do.
"James, you're fifteen, still a minor. I can't…"
"Yeah, Teddy, I'm fifteen
, almost sixteen. I'm not a kid. I know what I want."
James tries to kiss him again, lips parting, face tilting towards him, and Teddy has to tighten his grip on his shoulders. He closes his eyes for a second, gathering his reserves and summoning to memory the fall of Victoire's blonde hair and the curve of her breasts.
"Fifteen or five, you're still just a child in the eyes of the law."
One eyebrow quirks up at that and even full of helplessness and lust, Teddy has to wonder how long James spent practising that in front of the mirror, and how many Gryffindor girls have swooned when that raised eyebrow's been directed at them.
"You're saying there's no difference between me and a five-year old? Are you trying to make me punch you?" James flashes him a bright, brilliant smirk. "You can insult me all you like. I know what I want and I'm not leaving 'til I get it."
He's so cocky
. So sure of himself. So convinced that he'll get what he wants, no matter the price or the consequences. Teddy gets so frustrated by that breathtaking arrogance sometimes. They've argued about it before. It makes Teddy furious to see someone as naturally gifted as he knows James is fail exams and skip lessons simply because he's confident the world will give him his due one way or another.
"Oh come on, Teddy, isn't it about time we fucked? Isn't that what all this has been about?"
James's tone is cajoling, like he knows he's won. Once again, James will have got what he wanted because he's too lucky and stubborn a little bastard to have it any other way.
So it's with no small sense of satisfaction that Teddy spins him about and slams him up against the wall. James makes a soft grunt as the breath is knocked from him. His eyes narrow into a scowl as Teddy leans in close. Even in his fury, Teddy can feel the illicit thrill of being so close to him. He can see James's narrow chest rise and fall with each sharp breath.
"So what's the plan, James? You turn around and brace yourself against the wall, I pull your jeans down and fuck you? That how you want it? Same again next weekend? We keep on doing that every time we meet, me fucking you against walls and over tables, until eventually we get caught? That how you see it going? And what about when your dad finds out, like you know he will? Got what you're going to tell him planned?"
For a moment, he thinks he's got through to him. There's something about the unreadable set of James's face that makes Teddy think he's done the impossible and got his point through James's thick head. And he almost hates himself for it.
Then James raises that eyebrow again and wriggles until he can get his arm free to prod Teddy in the chest.
"And that's the only option, is it? Fuck here or not at all?" He gives a derisive snort and there's the hint of smugness about the twitch of his lips and the smoothness of his voice. "Go get yourself a room, Teddy. And unbunch your panties – I'll worry about the rest."
Nothing gets through to James, especially not pure reason. And Teddy loves him a little for it. He smoothes the pad of his thumb along the bruised skin beneath James's eye, watching James's lips curl into a grin. He loves him more than a little for it.
Being out of James's presence, away from his bad influence, Teddy begins to remember why this is a terrible idea. He sits on the end of the bed in the neatly turned down room in The Three Broomsticks and thinks about the fact that he is twenty-two, destined for a glittering career in the Ministry, has a beautiful girlfriend and that his mother and father did not die in a war so he could fuck obnoxious teenaged boys.
James has a faulty sense of danger, just like his father and, apparently, his father before him. James follows in a long line of people not able to differentiate between sensible and suicidal risks. He is meant to have, like his father and grandfather before him, more rational people who love and care about him to gently point out when he is doing something stupid and risky. Teddy is meant to be one of those people, just like his father was for James's grandfather, and Christ, doesn't that make him feel old?
"Let me guess. This is wrong and bad and the fact I'm even suggesting it indicates I'm horribly scarred by all our inappropriate sex-play?"
In typical awkward fashion, James has chosen to climb in through the window rather than use the door. Teddy hurries over and helps drag him in over the ledge. James tumbles to the floor then smirks up at him. There are coppery lines of brick-dust down his jeans and over his t-shirt. He's scraped his arm in the climb; it's red and raw.
"I'm right, aren't I?" says James. "You're thinking right now about how you're going to run away to a monastery and become a monk, aren't you? You know they don't wear underwear, don't you?"
Teddy smiles despite himself. He stands back to let James get to his feet without help, folding his arms over his chest to resist the urge to touch him.
"How do you know whether monks wear underwear or not?"
The bed creaks shrilly as James throws himself onto it, bounces experimentally on the mattress, then starts kicking his trainers off. He knocks his hair out of his eyes as he glances up at Teddy.
"You'd be amazed
what I know."
A sock flies across the room and Teddy ducks it. Another one quickly follows but by then he's had chance to draw his wand and he manages to avert a smelly-sock-to-the-face incident. James stretches to tug his t-shirt off and Teddy's temporarily transfixed by the hollows and angles of James's chest. He can see his hipbones jutting just above the low-slung jeans. In the fading winter sunlight, James's skin shines rosy gold, stretched almost transparent over his lean body.
Teddy crosses to him and pulls the t-shirt from his grasp. The thin fabric smells of James and Teddy hesitates a moment before he throws it aside. James looks up at him, his face a study of open curiosity.
Harry talks about James a lot, so does Ginny. They both bewail how horribly popular he is at school, but there's always a note of pride in their voices. James missed out on prefect this year, but he's on the Quidditch team and Teddy's seen how the girls watch him as they walk into Hogsmeade together. He's seen James preen and strut under their scrutiny too.
James thinks he's such The Big Man. Only fifteen
"Have you done this before, James?" says Teddy.
James frowns at this. His cheeks flush over his tan but his voice stays level, even achieves a subtle undertone of incredulity that Teddy's asking the question.
"No. Does it matter?"
He starts on his jeans before Teddy can answer. Teddy catches his wrists in his hand, feeling the bird-flutter pulse of James's blood beat against his thumb. James looks up at him, his face is bare inches from Teddy's and his lips are parted in child-like surprise. Biting hard on the inside of his cheek to ease the dryness of his mouth, Teddy raises an eyebrow.
"Does it matter that maybe I'm straight?"
A smile tugs at the corner of James's mouth as soon as the words are said. Something sparks in his eyes and he makes a visible effort to keep a straight face. He tilts his head to one side, looking thoughtful.
"You don't look
Startled, Teddy lets go of his hands and takes a step back. James sprawls backwards onto the bed, legs falling apart and the smirk finally appearing on his lips. Wondering if maybe this is another of James's rather irritating little jibes about Teddy's hair's tendency to change colour as and when it feels like it, Teddy frowns at him.
"What are you talking about?" he demands.
"When you're letting me suck on your tongue or putting your hand between my legs… you don’t look straight then."
The silence that opens up between them is long and ugly. Heat flushes through Teddy's cheeks and he's not sure if it's the effect of the mental images James puts in his head or the ever-present nudges of guilt and shame. His breath catches and he looks away, towards the winterscape beyond the window, and rubs his hand over his face.
Victoire would never look at him again if she knew. Harry would kill him and then hand him over to Ginny to kill him all over again. Harry would never speak to him again
. All that Harry's done for Teddy, been a father to him, and Teddy's repaid the debt by starting this thing up with Harry's underage son.
Self-loathing washes over him, greasy and hot, and it must show on Teddy's face because James stands up on his knees and reaches out to him, catches him by the front of his robe and drags him towards him.
"I'm sorry, I didn't… didn't mean it like that." James is always awkward when he's genuinely sorry. All too often Teddy's heard him give smooth, eloquent apologies that he doesn't mean at all. It's only when he really means it that he gets tongue-tied. He risks a glance at him and see James watching him earnestly. "I'm only being a prick because I want it. I want it, Teddy
, want you."
James's fist clench about the fabric and Teddy sways helplessly towards him. His voice is a fierce whisper.
"I'm not too young. I've been thinking about it, Teddy. Wanking while I think about you fucking me, how it'd feel to have you hot and hard and in me
. What we've been doing, it's fun but… it's not enough. I want more and I want it from you."
Teddy stares at him, at the dust of stubble darkening his jaw, at the glistening curve of his lips and the light of something desperate in his eyes. With a trembling hand, Teddy reaches out to touch the subtle dip between James's collarbones. A delicate tremble goes through James's body but he hides it quickly with a grin, as bright and brattish as the day Teddy first looked at him and thought bad thoughts
"You know you want to," he says and Teddy wonders if it's the same tone he uses to coax his friends into yet more rule breaking.
"If we do this, you'll have to do as I say," Teddy tells him. He's surprised at how level his voice is. He's not surprised by how quickly his cock is thickening between his legs now he's given in to the prospect of fucking James through the mattress. If he's honest, James hasn't said a single word that Teddy could deny.
James nods, unable to keep from smirking, bouncing back onto the bed to wriggle out of his jeans with obscenely childish glee at having got his way. Without thinking too much about it, Teddy starts undressing. He calmly ducks the underpants James throws at his head and keeps his gaze fixed on the dresser across the room. There's a mirror on the dresser and Teddy can just catch a sliver of the reflection of James, naked and sprawled out on the bed, waiting for him.
A hush has settled over James as if seeing Teddy properly naked for the first time has at last driven home to him the immensity of what they're going to do.
When Teddy turns back to him, there's not even the faintest hint of a grin on James's face. He sees James's gaze drop to the straining length of Teddy's cock, already achingly hard, sees him appraise it with curious eyes. It's not like James is a stranger to his cock - he's had it in his mouth, in his hands, ground against his hip – but never like this.
"You can change your mind," Teddy says gently. "We don't have to do this right now."
James glances back up at him and pulls a face.
"Oh your dick's not that
big, Lupin. I'm not chickening out."
Teddy gives a sharp laugh, then - as there's the crash of a dropped tray and smashed glasses from downstairs, the raised voices of laughter and spells for repairing - he checks the lock on the door one last time and climbs onto the bed after James.
James flops onto his back as Teddy moves over him, watches him with warm, dark eyes and his lower lip caught between his teeth. He's slender and lithe, all angles and smoothness, body carved out by the crisp light that filters through the window. He fidgets a little under Teddy's scrutiny, as if not quite sure how to arrange himself, but there's a smile always waiting to happen.
They've never been this naked together. The one time that James dared creep into the guest room and crawled into Teddy's bed, for more soft, harmless touching and exploring, he'd still been wearing his brushed cotton pyjamas. The material was worn thin enough for Teddy to feel the warmth of James's body. It hadn't been anything like this though.
The slide of skin on skin sends a strange hum through Teddy's blood, like he's never had from being naked with Victoire. Maybe it's because he's allowed to put his hands and mouth on her. Maybe it's something else.
Teddy props himself up on his forearms, bracketing James's face. He doesn't rest his whole weight on James; James feels too small laid out like this. But he settles heavily enough for James's eyes to grow wide as he pushes his own cock up against Teddy's. Tentatively, he reaches up to skim his fingertips through the dark hair on Teddy's chest, down over his belly, and Teddy sees his glance towards his own chest, not hairless but hardly comparable.
"What did I say? Still just a kid," says Teddy, teasing gently and watching for the spark of annoyance that'll tighten James's lips.
"Yeah right, like the werewolf blood has nothing to do with it."
"It doesn't." He ducks his head and swirls his tongue about the coppery nub of James's nipple, feeling the shudder go through James's chest, tasting him, sweet and fresh. "Skin as smooth as a baby's bum."
"Less talk about babys' bums, more talk about mine. Unless you're still having issues about me being underage, in which case I object to being called a baby."
Teddy groans against his skin. "For God's sake, James, shut up
"You started it-" James starts to say but Teddy suckles hard on his nipple until James makes an odd, throaty noise and shuts up.
All of Teddy's resistance to the whole idea in general drifts away as he laves attention over James's bare skin. James's cock brushes against Teddy's, the damp head of it bobbing against Teddy's belly. Teddy directs his ministrations in direct response to the high keening sounds they provoke from James or how much they make him squirm. He grazes James’s collarbone with his teeth as his hand slips lower, between their bodies, stroking James’s thighs apart. When Teddy’s fingers smooth the skin behind James’s balls to reach the tightness of his hole, he feels the sudden, faint thrum of tension go through him.
A rush of tender affection goes through him and even though this was all James’s idea, Teddy makes a soft, soothing rumble in the back of his throat and kisses him. He licks James’s lips open and covers his mouth with his own in a kiss that shifts quickly from reassuring to greedy. He has to pull away before he gets too frantic for more. James has chosen him for his first and Teddy is determined to ensure that James will never think of choosing anyone else for his second. James needs to be treated gently and carefully. For all his bragging and bravado, he’s a fifteen-year old virgin and whether Teddy gets images of riding him hard and slick and barely stretched or not, Teddy will make sure that this is about what James wants, not Teddy.
“M’not a girl,” James mutters, as if reading Teddy’s mind. His voice is unsteady. “Don’t have to warm me up first. You need to put your fingers in me, don’t you?” He jerks his hips upwards, offering his arse to Teddy. When Teddy catches his eye, eyebrows raised, James flushes but jerks his hips again. “Read up on it.”
“You read up on-?“
“Not going to ask you to do something to me if I’m not sure exactly
what it is.” After Teddy goes on staring at him, James’s gaze rolls up to the ceiling. He wets his lips and Teddy watches the shiver in his throat as he swallows. “You need to wet your fingers and put them in me - y’know, in my arse. Finger me open. You can use spit to get me wet.”
There’s something in James’s tone that would desperately like to pass as nonchalance. He would like Teddy to think they’re just discussing methods of broom maintenance or that James is passing on something he’s learnt in Potions. But Teddy can see the shaky rise and fall of his chest. James’s tongue darts out to wet his lips again.
“Spit?” says Teddy. “What have
you been reading, James? Using spit would be all very well and good if your body were used to this, or if you didn’t mind not being able to walk straight or sit down for a week. But I think I’d
mind you shrieking at me as I fucked your arse raw.”
He grins at the flush of colour that appears in James’s cheeks, even as he’s surprised that James doesn’t protest that he would never
shriek, not about anything. Compliance from James is both unsettling and surprisingly arousing. Teddy has never thought of himself as a dominant type of man but it would be a lie to say he’s not enjoying James’s obedience.
Reaching for his wand, he keeps his movements slow so as to better savour James’s wide-eyed look of confusion. He rolls the cool, smooth length of wood along James’s inner thigh, watching goosebumps rise, and gives a small, pleased growl when James shivers. He drags the tip of it upwards, rubbing it briefly alongside James’s cock, before slanting it backwards behind his balls.
“What are you doing?” James says, clearly trying his hardest not to respond to the unfamiliar sensation of the wood on his bare skin. “You’re not sticking that in me. Jefferson says his sister’s boyfriend stuck his wand in her and it broke off when she came and that’s why she had to be rushed to St Mungo’s last Christmas.”
Teddy pauses and takes a deep breath - reminds himself how mature James can be why the mood strikes him, reminds himself how much he wants to be fucking his arse. And unfortunately, in that pause, James takes the opportunity to continue.
“When you fuck Victoire, when she comes, would she snap a wand in two?”
“James, if you don’t shut up, I won’t be sticking anything in you. Do you understand?”
The narrow anger in his voice registers with James and James’s expression settles into one of disgruntled submission. Teddy goes back to teasing him with the wand.
“She’s such a cold bitch, I’m surprised you don’t have to thaw your dick after every time it’s been in her.”
He might have said more but Teddy loses patience and pushes the tip of his wand into him. James’s spine is wrenched straight and he cries out. His thighs try to snap shut but Teddy growls and forces them apart with his elbow. He mutters beneath his breath and instantly there’s something clear and slippery dribbling from his wand and down the cleft of James’s arse. Cupping James’s balls, Teddy lifts them slightly so he can get a better look at what he’s doing.
“That doesn’t hurt, does it?” he says while James strains to keep still. His anger is rapidly dissipating in the face of the delightful view of his wand disappearing into James’s slick arse.
James’s breath is coming in short, heavy pants but he shakes his head. Teddy’s about to try working his wand a little deeper when James lifts his hips and pushes backwards, dark pink ring of his arse greedily swallowing the next inch of Teddy’s wand. Teddy’s breath catches in his throat and he groans helplessly. How can he help but imagine James’s arse stretching like that about his cock? Tight, greedy, little hole clinging to him as he pushes in to him and in to him.
, that’s…” He barely recognises his own voice. It’s so strained and hoarse with desire.
“Bloody weird,” James grinds out. “Good though. I think.”
He rolls his hips and Teddy’s wand juts deeper into him. A flash of discomfort tightens his face and Teddy slides the wand out of him before James can decide it hurts too much for him to want to try anything bigger in his arse. The wood comes free, glistening, and James’s arse clenches instinctively at the loss. A breath escapes James’s lips and Teddy can’t decide whether it’s relief or contentment. Abruptly, he feels monstrous for wanting this so much. He touches a finger to James’s sweaty cheekbone and opens his mouth to speak. James’s gaze snaps to him, eyes half-hooded but fierce.
“If you even think
-“ James starts and Teddy raises his hands in surrender, laughing.
“All right!” he says. “All right! You can’t blame me for asking. I don’t want to do anything you don’t want, James. I don’t want to give you any reason to-“
“I want this,” James cuts in. “And you do too. So come on.”
Nothing with Victoire ever makes Teddy feel so complicated and confused. Nothing about her gets to him the way James does. For a moment, all he wants to do is look at James. His hair is dishevelled and there’s a flush damp on his forehead and cheeks and in the dips of his collarbone. He grins up at Teddy but there’s an intensity in his gaze that makes Teddy’s heart beat even harder in his chest, a heavy hollow thump.
“Here, like this,” he says and grips James’s thighs, pushing them up towards his chest.
Then, slowly, he curls his fingers about his cock and draws it down between James’s spread buttocks, the friction of heated skin enough to make his balls tighten. He presses the slick head of it to James’s arsehole and pushes, not even using the force of his hips yet, just nudging him open about him. One glance at James’s face - muscles straining in his neck as he arches, one lip caught between his teeth – convinces Teddy to push harder yet.
It doesn’t seem possible at first, to get inside James. There’s just clenched, unyielding skin, a hole too small to stretch about Teddy. But he goes on pressing and pushing, with careful determination, his own breath sticky in his throat, and gradually, he watches his cock prod between the cheeks of James’s arse and disappear little by little. He feels the sudden give as he penetrates him. A jolt of his hips, a startled sound from James and then the abrupt, dizzying clench of his arse about Teddy’s cock. Teddy knew he’d be tight but the actual sensation of James’s body is something else entirely, hot and clinging and twitching as James instinctively resists.
“All right?” Teddy manages to rasp out. He desperately wants to shove James’s knees up to his chin and pound his arse mercilessly. There’s an almost feverish tremble going through him with how much he wants this. But he knows he needs to give James time to adjust. Maybe next time
, he tells himself, which is probably the most dangerous thing he could think.
“Yeah…. Yeah, s’good,” says James. His voice is shaky but the panicked flutterings of his arse about Teddy’s cock are beginning to ease out. He nods and tries to get a firmer grip on his thighs to give Teddy better access but his hands are sweaty.
“Put your legs up on my shoulders,” Teddy says and when James obeys he realises how much closer it lets him get, how it tilts James’s hips up to him just perfectly.
The heels of James’s feet digging in to his shoulders, Teddy curves his fingers about James’s hip and tries a slow, tentative thrust. It shakes another surprised noise from James but then he braces himself on the bed and pushes back towards Teddy, taking Teddy’s cock deeper inside himself. He’s so tight it feels wrong to be fucking him. But there’s no innocence in how quickly James learns to work the muscles in his arse about Teddy. He tries it once and Teddy snarls and reflexively shoves into him. There’s no surprise in the sound James makes now, just pleasure and amusement. James laughs and wriggles closer until Teddy’s balls are brushing against his spread arse.
“Come on, Teddy, put your back into it! There’s a good lad.”
Tightening his hold on James’s hip, Teddy pins him to the bed and fucks into him with short, shallow thrusts that make James squirm beneath him. He can feel sweat pooling in the small of his back as he drives into James over and over again, hot and slippery. His breath is ragged and increasingly interspersed with growling. The sound of his balls slapping James’s arse is obscene, as are the high, gasping noises slipping free from James’s lips. James keeps trying to brace himself on the bed, fingers knotting about the sheets but the force behind Teddy’s hips slamming into him are moving him rapidly towards the headboard.
Teddy keeps trying to rein himself in because this is James’s first time and he shouldn’t even be doing
this but every time he tries to slow down or be gentle, James clenches about him or writhes until Teddy’s cock manages to slip further into him.
“Careful, James,” Teddy mutters, pushing his sweat-damp hair out of his eyes. “Don’t want to hurt you.”
James laughs and breaks off into a moan as Teddy’s cock finds a new angle with which to pound into him.
“Oh like your cock is capable of causing any permanent damage. Reckon you need a health and safety warning on it, do you?” He snorts and reaches down to fist his own cock, hands slipping wetly over the heavy curve of it. “Not likely.”
His expression slides into something more serious, not overwhelmed so much as awestruck. His hand goes slack about his cock, even though he's still hard. He stares up at Teddy, face flickering as Teddy fucks into him harder than before, but there’s something enduring in his eyes. He tries to reach out to catch Teddy’s shifting shoulders but falters, fingers straining in the air. He swallows and gasps for breath.
“I love you.”
It’s fiercely said, as if James is expecting Teddy to laugh at him for it. His expression goes stubborn when the rhythm of Teddy’s hips stutters briefly and he says it again.
“I love you, Teddy.”It’s just a crush
, Teddy wants to tell him, and Sorry, but I’m in love with Victoire
. But he can’t say either thing because one’s not true and he doesn’t want the other to be. Instead, he curls his body over James’s, puts an arm under his back and pulls him upward so he can press his mouth to James’s. He kisses him as brutally as James made his own declaration and hopes that it will do. For now.
James’s body moves easily with his now, thanks to the suppleness of youth and a natural athleticism. Teddy knows how ruthlessly he’s fucking him, can feel the burn of it in his muscles as he rides him into the mattress. He’s pretty damn certain he’s not hurting
James but this is the fuck he didn’t think he dared take from James this first time. And James just takes it all. And Teddy can’t help but wonder how much more he’d be able to push James a second time and a third, once he’s had more practice.
It’s James’s name on his lips when Teddy comes. He manages to pull free just in time for his come to splatter James’s heaving belly and he lunges forward to catch James’s mouth again in another kiss as the sensation crashes over him, leaving him breathless and crazy. He’s vaguely aware of James crying out incoherently as he bucks under him, aware of his fingers entwining with James’s about his cock to drag him along into orgasm too.
When they’re both boneless and sated, still both coming down from it all, Teddy kisses James sloppily and smoothes his damp hair off his forehead. He knows he’s crooning soothing, meaningless endearments at him, or at least he’s trying to but his voice is just a mumble. James is grinning and panting, looking smug like he’s just single-handedly won a Quidditch match.
The sheets are wet with sweat and come beneath them but Teddy’s too shattered to do anything other than collapse on them and haul James into an awkward embrace. The noise of the pub below and Hogsmeade beyond the window starts to filter back into the room. Teddy feels a strange sort of contentment, brimming to the surface through the endless guilt and shame. Clearly having had enough of the cuddling, James wriggles free and flops over onto his belly. Teddy tries very hard to keep his gaze on James’s face and not let it drift down to his much-abused arse.
"Mr Malfoy said he and Dad used to fuck around. That Dad married Mum because he was expected to, not because it was what he wanted."
Teddy’s stunned into silence. It’s not like he hasn’t heard that particular rumour before – working in the Ministry one hears all kinds of gossip. But he’s never heard it spoken in earshot of anyone from Harry’s circle of friends, and certainly not from any member of the Potter family itself. James goes on watching him as Teddy tries to school his features back into composure. The last thing he wants to do is lend any credence to the story by letting on how widely spread it is. James is fifteen and his mouth has a tendency to run away with itself. Harry’s a very benevolent, forgiving father but Teddy doesn’t want to test his limits by encouraging James to use that piece of rubbish in the next fight he has with him.
"Draco Malfoy shouldn't be talking to you like that."
It’s the best response Teddy can come up with, even better for being very true. He wonders when Mr Malfoy got chance to say something like that to James. It’s not the kind of thing that can be brought up in front of an audience and Teddy doesn't like to think what he was doing having private conversations like that with James.
James shrugs dismissively.
"Whatever. The point is: I know what I want and I'm going to do my best to make sure I get it. I'm not going to be like my dad, Teddy."
Teddy can't miss the note of challenge in his voice.