Fic: Until We Meet Again, part 2/2 (Harry/Teddy, NC-17) for ciraarana Author:hollycomb Recipient:ciraarana Title: Until We Meet Again Rating: NC-17 Pairing(s): Harry/Teddy Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. All characters engaging in sexual activity are 16 years or older. Summary: Harry Potter, now considered a dangerous loner by Wizarding society, has financially provided for Teddy Lupin for the boy's entire life. Emotionally, however, he has been completely unavailable, until the summer before Teddy's final year at Hogwarts, when Teddy finally connects with his remote benefactor. Warnings: EWE Word Count: 18,755 Author's Notes: Thank you so much to my betas, C & E, for all their help.
Teddy waited for Harry to return, but soon August was nearly over, and a letter from Hogwarts detailing the books he would need for his seventh year arrived. Harry had left money for this, of course, and enough for several new sets of robes, a new pair of boots and dress shoes and the Muggle trainers that were fashionable weekend wear at school, and enough spending money to stuff himself on every trip to Hogsmeade. Teddy went to Diagon Alley alone and greeted his school friends when he ran into them, but mostly kept to himself. He was miserably in love and didn't want to speak to anyone, see anyone, do anything. He'd spent the remainder of his summer dragging about the mansion like an invalid, barely looking at Kreacher or the sunsets that seemed to grow more spectacular as the days shortened, drinking brandy and drawing Kreacher's wrath by poking about in Harry's things. He no longer cared about any illusion of trust that he and Harry might have shared. He'd trusted Harry with his heart, and Harry had taken it away, along with everything else that mattered.
He never found anything of interest in his searches and was nowhere near understanding what Hermione had warned Harry about in her letter. He was constantly afraid that Harry would return with even graver injuries than he had arrived with previously, but was more worried that he wouldn't return at all. By the time Teddy was packed and leaving for Hogwarts, he hadn't. He left the mansion on the morning his train would leave for school, and it echoed at him, hollow and dusty, when he turned back one last time at the front door, holding his suitcase before Apparating away.
Once he was back at school, Teddy began to return to reality and understand how infantile and naive he'd been all summer, trapped in that motionless museum world and waiting for a man who had no real regard for anyone anymore, whoever he had once been. He accepted the advances of a Ravenclaw girl in his Defense Against the Dark Arts class, and caught her when other students blew her backward with overenthusiastic disarming spells. Her name was Penny and she was adorable. Teddy wasn't really interested in kissing her, and she was terrified of everything in the general vicinity of his lap, so mostly they did their homework together and held hands in the Leaky Cauldron. Penny's friends were extremely cloying and obnoxious, and Teddy got the feeling she couldn't stand his mates with their dumb jokes and nasty smirks. By Halloween he was avoiding her when he could, not meanly, just enough to get some time to himself. He would skip Quidditch games to stay in his dormitory and have the pleasure of a long, indulgent wank, and these were the only times he allowed himself to think of Harry.
In his dreams, Harry was an inscrutable shadow who came to him in the middle of the night and took him without hesitation. Teddy poked pathetic fingers into his arse, thinking of the way it would feel, the whole weight of Harry Potter poured onto him, into him, and he'd had no idea he could ever want these things until he'd felt the great burden of Harry pressing him into his mattress, his hot mouth open on his skin. It made a kind of sense, at least when his pants were bunched around his ankles and his hand was working madly on his cock, that he should want Harry to finally make some unbreakable claim to him, to come to him, vulnerable but hungry, the way Teddy had always wanted. He had spent so much time trying to convince himself that he didn't want anything from Harry that finally admitting he did was like breaking down a wall that had held back an ocean. It felt good, but he was drowning all the same.
Penny invited him to spend Christmas with her family, and Teddy could think of nothing he'd like to do less. He told her he was sorry, but he had to spend the holiday with poor, lonely Harry Potter, who would have only his house elf if Teddy made other plans.
"What is he like?" Penny finally asked. Teddy had preferred her to other admirers chiefly because she was not at all nosy when it came to Harry. Even as she asked, she seemed only politely interested, not frothing at the mouth for information like so many others.
"He's a disaster," Teddy said before he could stop himself. "I'm all he has."
"How awful! And after everything he did. I suppose it was a lot to deal with, and him being so young."
"I suppose. The way he was raised -- well, there was really no chance of him being normal, was there? You really can't blame him for shutting himself up the way he has."
"Oh, no! I don't blame him at all. I just feel for you, having to spend Christmas that way. It can't be very cheerful."
"No," Teddy said, dreading the thought of the empty house he would now have to return to, lest Penny find out he spent his Christmas at Hogwarts as usual. "It isn't."
When the holiday came, he loaded himself down with books, miserably preparing to spend the free time studying. He couldn't imagine what else he would do, especially with the house shut up for the winter and the mountains blanked over with snow. He hoped his warming charms would be up to the task; they were generally weakest when a wizard was in bad spirits. He tried to at least look forward to Kreacher's cooking, which was superior to that of the house elves the school employed.
Penny bid him a tearful farewell at the train station, and he waved from the platform as she pressed her rosy-cheeked face to the window. He thought for a moment that maybe he could love her, that they could make a real family together, with two living parents and children who didn't have to wonder what they'd been like. Teddy would teach at Hogwarts and Penny would -- what? Stay home with the children? Teddy had no idea what her career ambitions were, but he was fine with whatever she wanted. They could get one of those cottages just outside of Hogsmeade, with a big bathtub like the one in the prefects' bathroom, which Teddy had always envied. The thought was surprisingly depressing, and he Apparated away as the platform began to empty out.
When he arrived in the main hall of the mansion in Northumberland, he thought for a moment that he had Apparated to the wrong place. It looked like a Muggle department store, decorated so elaborately that it was a bit disconcerting. There was a giant Christmas tree that rivaled the one in the Great Hall where the front table that once held Hermione's letter had been, sparkling with lights and ribbons that cascaded down its fragrant branches. Garlands had been wound around the banisters on the double staircases, and a massive wreath was hung over the circular second floor window that looked out on the snow-covered mountains. Teddy stood gaping in the foyer, not sure what he was waiting for, half-expecting a surprise party to break out at any moment, but the lights that had been enchanted about the tree, garland and wreath just flickered quietly, like melting frost. He had written to tell Kreacher he would be home for Christmas this year, but he hadn't expected anything near this extreme. Kreacher was fond of going overboard with his cooking, but generally kept an austere house, aside from a few flower arrangements.
"Young Master is here!" Kreacher shouted, bounding out from the direction of the kitchen. Teddy flinched, disturbed by this reception; Kreacher had never been near this excited to see him. He had his arms thrown out as if he was going to embrace Teddy's legs like a child.
"What on earth is going on?" Teddy asked, setting his books down.
"Master, Master!" Kreacher called over his shoulder, ignoring Teddy's question. "Look who has come!"
Teddy's heart dropped through his chest like a block of ice, and it burned hard when Harry stepped from the dining room and into the foyer, hands in his pockets. He was clean-shaven and his hair was shorter, as neat as he could manage. He was dressed as if he was going to take Teddy out to a party, in pressed trousers and an untucked black Oxford. He was, however, in his stocking feet, and Teddy stared at the gold tips of his socks in stunned silence, not knowing what to say. His cheeks blazed when he remembered that he hadn't seen Harry since they'd been in bed together, unless he counted his lurid dreams.
"Would Young Master like a drink?" Kreacher asked. He was practically bouncing on his heels, and it occurred to Teddy that he probably got just as lonely here without Harry as Teddy did and that it must be truly awful during the school year without even Teddy moping about the place. He smiled and nodded, and Kreacher trotted off.
Teddy took a deep breath before drawing his eyes up to Harry's. He wouldn't be taken in again by whatever the hell Harry was up to. Harry smiled warmly, as if nothing had ever gone wrong, but Teddy wouldn't fall for that, either.
"I'm glad you came for Christmas," Harry said.
"Yeah." Teddy stared at him. He didn't know how Harry was expecting him to react. Were they pretending nothing had happened at all?
"I'm sorry about leaving the way I did," Harry said, his face changing. He looked good, more color in his face that Teddy had seen in years, and his eyes were not so deeply shadowed.
"We don't have to talk about it." Teddy gathered his books and walked toward the stairs. Harry stopped him, placing a hand on his elbow, and Teddy turned to him with an indifferent expression. He would not smile or scowl or do anything to let Harry know how hard it was to see him again.
"Let me help you," Harry said gently, and Teddy struggled not to curse his nerve and jerk out of his grip. More than anything, he wanted to dump the books in a heap and put his arms around Harry's shoulders, tuck his face against his neck and wrap his legs around his waist. He wanted to be carried up the stairs.
"Thanks," he said as Harry took most of the books from him. They could send them up to Teddy's room with their wands, but they were both too awkward to manage spellwork, and anyway it wasn't bad to have the excuse to walk together. As they did, Teddy thought of the night Harry had come into his room and carried him to bed. What had he been doing sneaking into his room, anyway? Was he watching Teddy sleep?
They came to Teddy's room and laid the books in stacks on his desk. Teddy took his school robes off and hung them over the back of his desk chair. It was a bit chilly in his room, and he wrapped his hands around his elbows, stood stiffly and tried not to look at Harry.
"School is going alright?" Harry asked.
"Of course," Teddy said irritably. He sat on the edge of the bed, then stood, uncomfortable in the presence of this bed's history.
"Teddy," Harry said, and the tone of his voice betrayed his thoughts. Teddy shook his head.
"Did you have a nice trip?" Teddy asked. Harry frowned.
"I've been back for months," he said. "I was -- doing something I shouldn't have, and I've stopped. It's a long story, I suppose. I'm going to be here now, Teddy, if you should ever need me --"
"Well, I'm nearly done with school," Teddy said. He walked out of the room in a hurry, not looking back. Harry had been home for months and he hadn't even written. "I'll be working and I'll have a place of my own."
"Right," Harry said softly as Teddy left him standing in the room.
Dinner was served in the formal dining room, snow falling heavily outside. Kreacher lit candles and refused Harry's invitation to join them, as usual. He was a traditionalist, like many elves of his age. Teddy was sorry that Kreacher wouldn't be there to distract them from each other, and he could see that Harry was sorry, too.
"Are you disappointed that I'm here?" Harry asked, somewhere between the soup and the lamb chops.
"You didn't know. I should have written, warned you."
"I don't need to be warned about you," Teddy snapped. Harry stared at him pitifully, and Teddy looked down at his plate, irritated with his deference. He wasn't sure what Harry was apologizing for now, but he was tired of it, generally. He wanted Harry to sweep the plates from the table and fall upon him with a growl, like they were characters in some terrible novel. Harry only sipped from his goblet of wine sheepishly, his lips beginning to turn purple. Teddy tried to decide what would be less painful: having an angry fuck with Harry before he disappeared again, or letting the opportunity pass and leaving Northumberland forever, sending Harry's cheques back if he tried to support him after school.
"How did you spend Christmas when you were living with your grandmother?" Harry asked, his voice a bit strained. Teddy groaned.
"Oh, fuck," he muttered. "Do we have to bother with small talk?" His cheeks were burning, but he pretended to be unaffected, picked at his silverware as if he was bored.
"I need to speak with you," Harry said, standing from the table. The plates clattered and the silverware rattled, as if Harry had disturbed the whole landscape. Teddy's eyes went nervously up to Harry's. Perhaps he'd gotten too comfortable. Harry looked like he was ready to hex him across the room for a moment, then his face set back into its pitying slant.
"So speak," Teddy said. "I'm not stopping you."
Harry looked stunned; Teddy had never been petulant with him before. Teddy was rather surprised himself, his heart thundering between his ribs like an alarm, a sign that he should turn back. Harry took his napkin from the place it had stuck onto his trousers with static cling and threw it onto the table.
"Don't talk that way," Harry said. It was more of a pleading request than a demand. "It's not like you."
"So why don't you put me over the table and spank me, Father?" Teddy said, and he heard the words from across the room, as if he had nothing to do with speaking them. Perhaps he'd had too much to drink. Harry's mouth was hanging open.
"Or maybe you just don't know anything about me," Teddy said. "How would you? You've never made much of an attempt -- and that's fine! I never expected it! But don't tell me I'm not acting like myself, because you might think you've bought the right to treat me however you like, but you can't claim to know me, alright, okay?"
Teddy left the table, unable to look at Harry, to see any betrayed or angry or sorrowful expression on his face. The air in the house seemed frigid, even in the presence of the glowing lights and twisted pine fronds that seemed to grace every corner of the house. He shut himself in his bedroom and sank to the floor. He considered packing his things, but he knew that Harry wouldn't throw him out. He had no place to go. Now, officially, he had no one.
He crawled over to the fire Kreacher had lit in the bedroom's fireplace and curled up on the thick rug by the hearth. He was half-hoping that Harry would come to his room in the night and lift him into bed again, and fully expecting him to be gone the next morning.
Teddy woke up on the floor at sunrise, his neck incredibly sore. He felt his way to the bed, moaning unhappily, and wormed under the blankets but couldn't get back to sleep even when his icy limbs were warmed. He rolled onto his back and remembered the scene at the dinner table with dizzy embarrassment. At least this time he wouldn't be surprised when he went downstairs to find that Harry had fled the scene. Guiltily, he realized that he'd been trying to make sure it would happen. He didn't want to glide out of his bedroom like an idiot again only to find that he'd been abandoned. Now he was prepared to face the reality of this perpetually empty house. He slumped out of bed, his eyes still puffy with sleep, and left the room in his t-shirt and sweatpants, his feet bare and freezing as he made his way down the stairs.
He'd actually wondered if Kreacher would take all of the Christmas decorations down in despair, or perhaps out of spite for Teddy after he'd driven Harry away, but they were still sparkling merrily in the grand lobby. Teddy yawned as he made his way to the kitchen, which was dark and cold. It was too early for even Kreacher to be awake, but he had missed most of dinner and he was too hungry to try and sleep, so he rummaged in the ice box until he came up with some cold bubble and squeak. He found a fork and ate some out of the pan at the kitchen table, listening to the wall clock tick out the seconds.
When he was finished, he moved blearily through the house, its windows glowing blue with dawn, the sky outside dull and cloudy. He was headed in no particular direction when he came to Harry's study and stopped. The door was open. It was never open, even when Harry was away.
Teddy peeked inside, and saw that it was mostly in order, except for the sprawled form of Harry on the sofa at the far end, beneath a large, octagonal window with a stained glass design. Teddy stood in the doorway and stared for awhile. Harry was asleep, his glasses askew, a blanket that had surely been set in place by Kreacher laid across his belly and pulled down over his feet. He had his arms folded over a book that was open on his chest.
So Harry hadn't gone. Maybe he'd expected Teddy to leave. It didn't really feel that way, though. Somehow, Teddy felt drawn into the study, no longer humiliated by the events on the previous evening. He felt closer to Harry, as if they had taken down another wall. He came to stand beside him, and saw that the book he was holding was a photo album. He slipped it carefully from Harry's hands and sat down on the floor with his back to the sofa, opened it up and looked at the pictures inside. He recognized Professor Granger, rolling her eyes and trying not to smile, parchment spread out in front of her and her quill scribbling busily even when she looked up at the picture-taker. There was a picture of Harry sitting under a tree on campus with Ron Weasley, laughing so hard that Teddy hardly recognized him. Ron was jabbing him in the side and egging him on, his cheeks red as if he'd just told a dirty joke. He looked a lot like his sister, and Teddy thought of the stories he'd heard about her and Harry dating briefly at Hogwarts.
Teddy turned the page and saw pictures of other teenagers he didn't recognize, one of them with his arm around young Neville Longbottom, who was fat-cheeked and did look rather doofy. Finally, he came across the pictures he'd been looking for: his dour father, who always seemed to be only trying to smile, and his mother leaning beside him in neon-blue pigtails, her clear face shining with happiness.
He felt a warm hand slide through his hair, and for a moment it scared him, but by the time he turned he knew that it belonged to Harry, not the ghost of one of these people he didn't know. Harry let the back of his fingers stroke down Teddy's cheek, then seemed to remember himself and took his hand away.
"Let me show you something," he said. He reached for the book, and Teddy handed it to him very carefully, as if the pictures were fragile miniatures of those people Harry had loved and lost, not just faded images. Harry slid his feet to the floor to make room for Teddy on the sofa, and he climbed up beside him to watch him flip through the book. Harry seemed smaller than he ever had, though he still dwarfed Teddy's skinny frame. His shoulders were sloped like a scolded child's as he came to the picture he wanted Teddy to see. It was a picture of four boys, and Teddy recognized Sirius Black from his history books. He knew, too, that the boy beside him, grinning widely, was his father. Teddy had never seen such an old picture of him, but he recognized him easily, because he looked just like him.
Teddy's father was staring at Sirius like he was the sun, brilliant and hard to look at directly. Sirius was oblivious, holding the attention of everyone in the photo, but Teddy's father seemed to be hearing something that the other boys couldn't.
"Your father was happy," Harry said. "He was happy for awhile."
"A short while," Teddy said. He reached over and shut the book, couldn't stand it. Why was his father never caught looking at his mother that way in photographs? Harry sighed and set the photo album on a table beside the sofa. He didn't stand or speak, just sat beside Teddy like he was waiting for the right words to come.
"I was trying to change the past," Harry said. "That's where I've been for the last -- three years? Four? Fourteen? There was an ancient Egyptian time turner, and a spell, very dangerous, very expensive. I'm supposed to have saved everyone, but I couldn't see what good it had really done. So many people were still gone, or ruined, alone. I thought, if I could go back far enough--" He looked at Teddy. "I was losing my mind, you see."
Teddy picked up the blanket and pulled it around himself. It was cold in Harry's office. He wasn't sure why Harry was telling him this now, but he was almost certain that he had never told anyone else, though maybe Hermione had guessed.
"I couldn't decide how far back I would go," Harry said. "I knew I wanted to save Ron, but what about his brother? His family was never the same after Fred's death, and Ron would hate me if I had the chance to save him and didn't. And I wanted to save your parents, too, Teddy, I wanted to save you from having to grow up without them. But then I thought, what about Sirius? Remus would -- well. And what about my parents? Why not? Why not go back in time and save Dumbledore's sister while I was at it? I thought that I could fix everything, but there was nowhere to start, because nothing had ever been completely right."
Teddy stared at Harry, willing him to stop talking, to put his arms around him and kiss him and promise not to go. He only sat there with his lips parted and his eyes unfocused, as if he'd lost his train of thought.
"What stopped you trying?" Teddy asked. "Why did you stop trying to figure out where to start?"
"The concern of one of the few friends I haven't managed to lose," Harry said. Teddy thought of Hermione's letter. "And you." He turned to Teddy at last, and Teddy waited for him to grab his chin and pull him close, but he didn't. "You, the way you are now, despite everything that's happened to you. Despite everything I've allowed you to live without."
"I'm sorry," Teddy said. "About what I said last night."
Harry shut his eyes and winced as if Teddy had stabbed him. Teddy's eyes watered, and he grabbed Harry's knee.
"Don't apologize," Harry said. "You have a right to feel that way. But I do know you, Teddy. I do."
"Harry," Teddy said, and when his voice broke, Harry seemed to understand what he needed. He slipped his arm around the small of Teddy's back, and held his face with his other hand. It was so big across Teddy's cheek, his thumb at the corner of Teddy's mouth.
"I wanted to save people again, the same people, I wanted to go back and do it right," Harry said. He stroked his thumb across Teddy's bottom lip, as if to still its trembling. "And you were right here all the time."
"I don't need saving," Teddy said, trying to keep his voice even, not wanting to dissolve into something boneless and blind like he had when Harry leaned over him in bed.
"I know." Harry kissed him chastely on the lips. He tasted like brandy and brood flower, like a mislaid orphan, and Teddy had always wanted to save him, too. He let out a choppy breath and leaned into the warmth of Harry's chest, sank deeper when Harry's arms folded around him, and blinked tears onto Harry's sweater. He'd thought he understood how badly he needed this, but he couldn't have known how stupidly complete it would make him feel. Harry rocked him slightly, like a child with a doll, and stroked his hair.
“Will you do something with me?” Harry asked, sitting back to look at him. He wiped Teddy's eyes dry with two soft swipes of his thumb.
“Anything,” Teddy said, and admitting this made him shudder. Harry seemed to pause, then smiled.
“Come on,” he said, pulling Teddy up from the sofa.
Sledding on the hill beside the back patio wasn't exactly what Teddy expected, but he had no objections. Harry dressed him in his own winter clothes: Harry's coat, the sleeves hanging down over Teddy's hands, his knit cap and an old scarf with the Gryffindor colors. The effect was such that Teddy felt as if he was still enveloped in Harry while he rode a sled he had transfigured from an old shutter that had fallen off the carriage house down the snow-covered banks. He had been willing to tolerate the afternoon spent sledding just to please Harry, but it was much more fun than he expected, and the release of energy was much needed. They were both out of breath and red-cheeked as they climbed to the top of the hill for their twentieth descent.
“I always wanted to try this,” Harry said when they reached the top. The bright winter day sparkled around them, crystalline and quiet, their shouts and laughter echoing down into the valley.
“You've never done it before?” Teddy asked. He wasn't sure why he was surprised; he hadn't, either.
“I've never done a lot of things,” Harry said. “I've been in stasis. That's Hermione's diagnosis, anyway. She's right, as usual. I feel like I've come out of a coma.”
Teddy didn't know what to tell him. He sat on the front of the makeshift sled, and Harry sat behind him, wrapped his arms around Teddy's waist and let his legs spill out around him. Teddy felt his hot breath on the back of his ear, and he scooted back into him, grinned at the steep drop ahead of them.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Harry said, and Teddy blushed as if he'd asked him something else, because Harry seemed to be answering another question. Sitting in front of him, it was easy to forget that he wasn't just another boy who had grown up alone. He was a man who had been all over the world, a hundred pounds heavier and seventeen years older. He'd had double the life that Teddy had, so far, going on years alone. If his experiences were taken into account, he'd already had ten times the life of anyone else in the world.
Harry used the backs of his heels to push them over the edge of the slope, and the wind blasted fast and cold in Teddy's face as they flew down the hill, Harry whooping behind him like they hadn't already done this nineteen times. Teddy laughed, and when they crash-landed into a bank of snow at the bottom, he let himself tumble off the sled along with Harry, who still had his arms around him. He stayed still until Harry leaned up to check on him, panting down into his face.
“You okay?” he asked. Teddy just smiled and kissed him. He licked the cold from Harry's lips until they were warm and soft again.
“You don't have to do this,” Harry said, speaking into Teddy's mouth, his eyes closed.
“Yes, I do,” Teddy said. “I have to do everything with you. I think I'll die if I don't.”
Harry crushed him back into the snow, kissing him until the backs of his ears went numb. He just laughed into Harry's mouth, feeling the heat of his blush against his cheeks. Harry might know him, of course he did, but Teddy could still surprise him.
They sat by the fireplace in the second floor parlor for lunch. It was the room Harry had crashed into the previous summer, bleeding and sprawled on the floor. Teddy stared at the carpet, which had once been soaked fat with Harry's blood while they sat together with their backs to the fire, eating sandwiches off of plates they held in their laps.
“How many times do you reckon you've almost died?” Teddy asked. He felt like a different person already, but maybe the change had been happening since the summer. Just a year ago, he wouldn't have dared to ask Harry anything so bold, though Harry had always humored his questions about the past.
“Enough times, I'd say,” Harry answered. “I think I'll retire from nearly dying.”
When Teddy was finished eating, he set his plate on the hearth and walked to the door. Harry watched him, and Teddy turned back to smirk with phony confidence. He didn't know how to seduce someone, or what to do afterward. He just knew that he felt found but not yet delivered. He walked down the hall and into Harry's bedroom, sorry that Kreacher always kept the beds made up. He had hoped to find the ransacked evidence of Harry's time spent alone in the bed, mussed sheets and rumpled pillows. He took his shoes off and pushed pillows out of the way, climbed under the covers and lay down as if he could sleep. His heart was pounding, his whole body like an itchy trigger wanting to be pulled.
He closed his eyes when he heard Harry shut the bedroom door behind him, and kept them shut as he listened to Harry's shoes drop to the floor, then his sweater and trousers. When Teddy opened his eyes, Harry was standing in his undershirt and shorts like an awkward teenager who didn't know what to do next. Teddy rolled onto his side and smiled at him.
“You have done this before, haven't you?” Teddy asked, mostly joking.
“Yes. But you haven't. Have you?”
“Of course not. Don't you know? I was waiting for you.”
Harry shut his eyes, and Teddy glanced down at his lap to see that he was already beginning to tent his shorts. He kicked the blankets away and reached down to undo his own trousers, let Harry watch him squirm out of them.
“Come here,” Teddy said. He took his sweater off and threw it onto the floor beside Harry's. “Come on. I'm cold.”
Harry walked to the side of the bed and took Teddy's face in his hand. He studied him, and Teddy thought he could feel Harry's heartbeat in his fingertips, but maybe that was his own.
“This isn't just a different way of going mad, is it?” Harry asked, directing the question more to himself than to Teddy.
“I'm pretty sure it is.” Teddy sat up on his knees and pulled his undershirt off. Harry's eyes wandered over his naked chest, soft and unmarred, his nipples hard and flushed pink in the chill of the room. Harry swayed on his feet and licked his lips, but didn't touch him. Teddy had never seen someone swoon before.
“But at least this way, you'll have me for company,” Teddy said. “When you go mad.” He was actually a bit afraid that Harry would, at least temporarily. He was breathing fast already, his shorts barely containing an unmistakably perpendicular shape now, and his eyes were wide with unfiltered desire.
“You know what the most frightening thing was, all the time?” Harry asked. He ran the back of his fingers down the length of Teddy's side, watched him shudder under his touch. “I knew that I could do it if I wanted to. I could go back and fuck with the past, change whatever I wanted, ruin things maybe, and no one would be able to stop me.”
It went through Teddy like a thrill, and he let himself fall backward onto the bed, bent his knees and spread his legs open, enjoying the knowledge that the sight would make Harry's cock twitch, and that he was about to submit himself to a man who was so powerful he was afraid of himself, and rightly so.
“Will it hurt?” Teddy asked when Harry climbed onto him. He could feel the heat of Harry's cock through the thin fabric of his shorts, pressing against the soft skin of his inner thigh.
“It shouldn't,” Harry said. He kissed Teddy's face with a kind of cautious reverence, moved his lips gingerly over his cheeks and nose and the corners of his mouth. Teddy put his hands under Harry's shirt and felt for the scars he remembered, running his fingertips over them with the same worshipful grace. He tried to ease into the pace Harry was setting, sleepwalked and cozy, to still his frantic need for a hand around his cock and fingers up his arse. He rubbed his lap against Harry's until their cocks brushed together, and Teddy fell limp onto the bed, cursing as his balls tightened and the beginnings of an orgasm threatened to blow his brains out.
“Wait,” Harry whispered, and he licked his way down Teddy's neck, into the hollow of his throat. Teddy brought his shaking hands back to Harry's sides and whimpered happily when his tongue moved down to circle one of his nipples, then the other. He pulled them through his teeth, and Teddy made wordless noises of encouragement, lost control of himself and jerked his hips up to rub his cock against Harry again. Harry laughed onto his skin, and Teddy was ashamed of himself. He tried again to be still, and to steady his gasping breath.
“Can I take these down?” Harry asked, his fingers slipping under the elastic waistband of Teddy's shorts.
“Jesus, yes,” Teddy breathed, and Harry grinned. He pulled Teddy's shorts off and tossed them onto the floor. Teddy spread himself open, his cheeks bright red as Harry sat back to look at him. His mouth was hanging open, and he seemed dazed, his eyes wide and hungry. Teddy tried to laugh, but it came up as a weird sort of hiccup. His cock was standing up shamelessly, the tip red and shining with the precome that had been leaking into his shorts since he climbed into Harry's bed.
Harry settled between Teddy's legs and licked his balls, cock, and parts of his body that he didn't even know he had, secret places between his legs. He had one of Teddy's arse cheeks in each hand, and he spread him just a bit wider as his tongue darted along the hot circle of his arsehole. Teddy flailed and panted, even the wild rise and fall of his own chest getting him off. He clawed at the sheets, flexed his toes and arched his head back, out of his mind with the cool air in the room dusting his skin in every place that Harry's mouth was not.
“You want your cock sucked?” Harry asked, his thumb playing over Teddy's arsehole, not opening it, just rubbing it like a promise.
“Yeah,” Teddy cried. “Please, please.”
Harry had barely fit his mouth over Teddy's prick before he was shooting come down his throat. He moaned Harry's name loud and long, his orgasm shaking through every nerve, sharp and languid at the same time. He deflated as the last waves buzzed through him, tense muscles unwinding. Harry swallowed every drop, pulled back and licked his lips, wiped his chin.
“Fucking fantastic,” Teddy murmured. Half asleep, he reached for Harry, ready to return the favor, though he was afraid he'd be absolute shit at it. Harry flopped onto him with a dumb grin, as if sucking him off had been his life's goal and now he could die happy. Teddy laughed at the idea; he felt drugged and stupid and so safe, with Harry stretched over him and the snow falling again outside, boxing them in.
“C'mere,” Teddy said, sitting up and pushing Harry back so that he was on his knees. Then he got a better idea. He climbed off the bed and motioned for Harry to sit on the edge of the mattress. Harry followed his lead, slipping out of his shorts as he did. Teddy knelt on the floor and stared at Harry's prick, long and thick and full, pointed right at his face. Harry was breathing sharply, and he dragged a hand through Teddy's already messy hair while he tried to work up his courage.
“It's okay,” Harry said. “I'm fit to burst already. Just mind your teeth.” He let his hand slide down the side of Teddy's face, and then pushed a finger between his lips. Teddy sucked on it greedily, and Harry watched him practice with a glazed-over look.
“Yeah,” he said, his voice coming from someplace deep, barely recognizable. “That's it.”
He was clearly exaggerating about being fit to burst, because it took Teddy quite a bit of licking and groping before Harry let go and allowed himself to moan, his head tipped back and his eyes shut. Teddy could barely fit half of Harry's cock in his mouth, the thickness more of an obstacle than the length, but he ran his tongue up and down the shaft and over the insides of his thighs, stroked his hairy balls and traced the fat vein at the base of his cock with his thumb. When Harry came they were both caught off guard, and he had time only to issue a sharp ah! before he'd pumped his come all over Teddy's face.
“Oh, God, I'm sorry!” Harry said, still breathless and recovering. Teddy just laughed, and licked a sample from the corner of his mouth. It wasn't the greatest thing he'd ever tasted, had a kind of murky flavor unlike anything else he'd tried (there were rumors of semen-flavored jelly beans in packs of Bertie Bott's, but no one he knew had ever found one), but it was Harry's, and he didn't mind it dripping from his eyelashes. Harry took his wand from his discarded trousers and cleaned Teddy up. He made a pitying sound and kissed Teddy's cheeks, pulled him into his arms.
“That was a rather rude introduction for you,” he said, smoothing Teddy's hair back into place.
“It's okay.” Teddy wrapped his naked body around Harry's, loved the sticky warmth of his damp skin and the broken landscape of his scars. “It was bound to happen sooner or later.”
Harry laughed and pulled him down under the blankets. Teddy fit himself tightly against him, rolling so that his back was pressed against Harry's chest, Harry's cock softening against the crack of his arse. Harry was still moaning under his breath, like the aftershocks were picking their way through him, and Teddy loved the feeling of Harry's body moving against his with every sound and sigh and shuffle. Harry pushed his face down to Teddy's shoulder and nuzzled his neck with his nose.
“God,” he said, his voice thick with the start of sleep. “Feels good to finally do this with someone I love.”
“Yeah,” Teddy agreed, reaching back to palm the sweaty skin on his arse under the blankets. He forced himself to stay awake so that he could experience the slow progress of Harry losing consciousness around him. First his arm went heavy over Teddy's side, then his breath got stronger against Teddy's neck, and finally all of his muscles seemed to dump their weight onto Teddy, his massive form completely relaxed. Teddy opened his eyes with some effort, wanting to memorize the light in the room and the pace of the snowfall at the window, almost wishing that he could stand at the opposite wall and watch the scene from afar. He needed a visual, proof, could hardly believe it even as he felt it in his bones. Harry loved him, wanted him, and needed him, really. He was part of something at last, joined with the only person he had ever wanted to belong to, warm and safe and tucked in tight.
Teddy woke up slowly, wondering for a moment where he was. When he recognized the window across from the bed as the one in Harry's room, he smiled and rolled over. Harry was asleep on his stomach, his hands stuffed under his pillow. He blinked awake when Teddy gripped his shoulder, sighed and moved his forehead against Teddy's. The light was almost gone outside, the snow still falling.
“I've been lying here wondering,” Harry said, his lips moving over the bridge of Teddy's nose. “Am I a creep for doing this with you?”
“Sure,” Teddy said. “But you're my creep, and I'm grateful for it.”
That more or less settled the matter. They had an early dinner in the dining room and talked about Teddy's future. He didn't really have any ideas about it.
“Beware of that,” Harry said. “It didn't get me very far.”
“This from the person who told me to take my time deciding what to do with my life?”
“That was actually a rather different person who wrote that letter, but what I really meant was not to let anyone pressure you into becoming something in particular. In my case, it seemed so right to be an Auror, and it was what everyone expected. Nobody knew how exhausted and threadbare I felt, and I didn't want anyone to know. I didn't want to let everyone down.”
“Well, nobody's asking me to do anything so dire. Hermione thinks I should teach.”
Harry waved a dismissive hand. “She thinks everyone should. Tried to get me to come on as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.”
“You should! Then we could be together while I'm at school.”
Harry smiled wistfully, and Teddy looked down at his plate. Perhaps it was a foolish thing to say; it wasn't as if he would walk down the halls holding Harry's hand for all to see.
“It will be a long time still before I can return to Hogwarts,” Harry said. “But thank you for the invitation.”
Teddy ate in silence after that, afraid that he'd been too presumptuous. Maybe Harry was just getting something out of his system; maybe this was just a transitional period, and after he'd done some healing he would move on to wizards or witches his own age, who could hold scintillating dinner conversations about the war years.
“I'd been thinking, actually,” Harry said when Kreacher brought the pudding. “Of maybe, I don't know. Taking you on a sort of gap year. If you'd like. You don't have to, but –”
“Really?” Teddy said, beaming. “Where would we go?” It didn't really matter; he'd never been out of England. He imagined peering over the side of the Great Wall with Harry leaning beside him and telling him the magical history of the place, pictured the two of them in a jungle somewhere, curled together in a tent with birds and monkeys screaming in the trees, and on a beach, Harry's hand spread across his sunburned stomach.
“Wherever you like,” Harry said. “I've done so much traveling by myself. I've been – longing for a companion. And now that you're done with school. Well, it was a thought I'd had.”
“Sounds brilliant,” Teddy said, holding his spoon in his fist like a child. “Can we go to bed now?”
What he really wanted, more than promises and advice and their feet together under the dining room table, was Harry inside him, locked into him like an unbreakable bond. He had heard about old magic, spells that didn't need to be spoken, things forged in real love that outlived even their casters. Making love to the mythic figure who had haunted his life like an unreachable shadow for five years was the closest he could imagine coming to such magic.
Harry was gentle that night, and infuriatingly slow, but Teddy understood that he wasn't the only one doing something this sacred and serious for the first time, so he didn't complain. Harry ran a bath for them in the big, marble tub in the master bathroom, cleaned him with soapy hands and stroked a careful finger around his arsehole until Teddy was dazed and begging him for more.
“Have you ever tried it?” Harry asked, the pad his forefinger resting over Teddy's entrance with just enough pressure to make him whine and pant.
“Yeah,” he huffed. “At Hogwarts. I would think of you and fuck myself with my fingers.”
That effectively increased the pace of things, and soon Teddy was on his back in Harry's bed, wet and laughing. Harry sucked his cock to shut him up, and pulled away before he could explode in Harry's mouth again. His fingers were thicker than Teddy's, but he was more patient than Teddy had even been with himself, and he stretched him out slowly, whispering does that feel good, do you like that? The only word Teddy knew was yes.
He did burst into tears when Harry pushed into him with his cock, though not because it hurt. It did hurt, but whenever Harry started to slide back out, Teddy would grab his elbows and beg him not to, and for a moment it would not hurt so much, until he inched in further, and they would repeat the process. It took a long time, that first night, and when Teddy went blind with tears, Harry would stop moving and bend down to clear his eyes.
“We can stop,” he said at least five times.
“No, we can't,” Teddy said, and Harry seemed to recognize the truth in that. When he was finally pushed in completely, his balls snug against Teddy's arse, they breathed into each other's faces triumphantly, and Teddy managed a shaky grin. Harry rested his head against Teddy's chest, listened to his heart raging between his ribs.
“Why do you even want this?” he asked, as if he was speaking not to Teddy but directly to his heart.
“Because,” Teddy panted, looking up at the ceiling. “Ever since that day in St. Mungo's. When you came to get me. I barely knew you, but when you held me, I just – fit.”
Eventually, they did seem to fit together effortlessly. By the end of the Christmas holiday, Teddy could throw himself over the side of the bed and let Harry thrust into him with nothing held back. Teddy would grip the sheets and egg him on, and he'd be dizzy by the end of it, his own come spilled down the side of the bed. Harry showed him things he had only heard the vaguest mentions of in the boy's dormitory at school, like the morning he slipped beneath the blankets, pulled Teddy's arse cheeks apart and licked into him until he was bright-cheeked and cursing in blubbered ecstasy. Once, after a bit of post-dinner brandy, he really did put Teddy over his knee and spank him until his cock was hard against Teddy's stomach, and Teddy moaned happily, calling him Father and begging for mercy. They didn't talk about it afterward, but they did it again the next night, sober, Teddy on his knees and holding onto the headboard this time.
Harry showed him other things, too. When he came upon Teddy reading his schoolbooks with daydream nonchalance, he would sit behind him, pull him into his lap and scratch soft fingers down the back of his neck while he gave him tips on spellwork or quizzed him on potion ingredients. If Teddy bent into the ice box searching for a can of pumpkin juice Harry would touch the small of his back as he passed as if he couldn't help himself. As Teddy brushed his teeth Harry would stand behind him and put his face into Teddy' hair, shut his eyes and inhale deeply. If he thought Teddy looked cold, he performed warming spells that rushed over Teddy's skin like hot summer wind, and if he was having trouble sleeping he took the muscles at Teddy's shoulders in his big hands and rubbed them until they melted like taffy. Kreacher continued on with his duties as if he had always expected Harry and Teddy to fall in love.
“What do you suppose Kreacher thinks of us?” Teddy asked one evening after Kreacher had come upon them in the kitchen, Harry holding Teddy's hips while he sliced up an apple.
“He spent most of his life in the noble house of Black,” Harry said. “I doubt anything could shock him.”
When the day came for Teddy to return to Hogwarts, he felt completely unprepared for the change of the scenery. It seemed as if he'd been in the company of only Harry and Kreacher for years, though the holiday had passed quickly. He packed up his books with melancholy determination, telling himself that it would soon be summer, though the months between the Christmas holiday and the end of school seemed insurmountable, cruel punishment.
“Write to me,” he begged, clinging to Harry. They were standing in his bedroom, Teddy dressed and ready to go, and the sun was up fully. He was going to be late for his first class.
“Of course I will.” Harry stroked his cheek, felt the soft stubble that had begun dusting Teddy's unshaven face only very recently. “Though I don't know what my letters will be like. 'Dear Teddy, today I ate breakfast, wasted time wandering the house, had lunch, missed you terribly, forced down some dinner, wanked myself off whilst sniffing a sweater you left behind.'”
“I can leave behind some underwear if that would make things more exciting,” Teddy said, laughing against his neck.
“I've no objections to that,” Harry said. “But I really do need to get about the business of figuring out what to do with my life.”
“Yes, me too. I suppose we'll have our gap year for that.”
“Indeed.” Harry kissed him again, and moaned a sad little protest into his mouth. “And a stretch of suffering before that. At least you'll have your schoolwork to distract you.”
“Right, I'm sure you really envy me that. I'll trade with you if you like. You can take my N.E.W.T.s, and I'll spend the months moping around this place and taking long naps.”
“I think you've done enough of that for one lifetime,” Harry said sadly. “I'll never forgive myself for leaving you here alone.”
“Well, it was for the best,” Teddy said. “That you and I should be kept apart until I was of legal age.”
“Cheeky.” Harry shook his head and grinned, let his arms slip from Teddy's waist. “You'd better hurry.”
“Okay.” Teddy stared at him, and thought of Hogwarts, the classrooms filling up, his mates wondering why he was late and poor Penny probably already suspecting that it was over, since he hadn't written her at all. He couldn't seem to make himself Apparate, and began wondering if he should use some other form of transportation to avoid splinching.
“Go on, then,” Harry prodded, stuffing his hands into his back pockets to stop himself from reaching for Teddy at an inopportune moment and ending up on the train platform outside Hogwarts.
“I'll see you soon,” Teddy said, trying to reassure himself.
“I'll write to you tonight,” Harry said. He smiled, and Teddy took him in one last time: rumpled trousers, navy sweater that was a bit too tight, his eyes earnest and bright behind his glasses. Teddy wanted to say something foolish, like I can't believe you love me or I'd rather die than leave you now, but he Apparated away before he could embarrass himself.
He landed clumsily on the platform, which was nearly empty, and took one of the last carriages up to the castle. His only companion was a mousy girl who had her nose buried in a copy of Hogwarts: A History. Teddy watched the familiar landscape pass and thought about the chapters at the end of that book, about The Boy Who Lived and the Battle of Hogwarts, and he could hardly connect that figure with the person he had just left behind after a long and bittersweet shag at the crack of dawn. He got the feeling that Harry often felt that way about himself, as if he were a person stuck in the body of a legend. After the war, people came up to him for years just to tell him they couldn't believe he hadn't died, as if they'd found the whole thing a bit anticlimactic.
Classes passed in the usual blur of note-taking and whispered gossip, and Teddy broke up with Penny at dinnertime, so he wouldn't have to sit with her and guiltily endure her sweet glances. She seemed more annoyed than anything, and told him it was just as well since he was leaving school soon anyway. Teddy sat with the other Slytherins and gulped down a quick dinner before heading to his room to check for letters.
As promised, a letter from Harry was tucked neatly under the corner of his pillow by his clever owl, Pigwideon. Teddy cracked a biscuit in half and fed some to Pig, who knew Teddy well and didn't seem eager to leave. He stayed perched on the back of Teddy's desk chair, preening himself, as Teddy read Harry's letter:
I do not know how you endured this place alone. It seems to grow larger and quieter every hour. I do have Kreacher for company, and I have quite a few friends I've lost touch with whom I've spent the afternoon writing to, so don't worry about me. I thought I'd grown used to and even fond of being alone, but it's amazing how quickly that feeling dissolves when you find someone who is worth a damn to spend your days with.
I hope your first day back went well. I hardly remember my own last year of school; it was after the war, and everything felt odd and different. We were all trying too hard to pretend we could restore things to 'normal.' I was so frightened at the thought of the vast future after Hogwarts and no great quests to fill it with that I actually asked your Professor Longbottom to marry me. She's a smart girl, and had by then deduced that I was rather in love with her brother (long before I had; we had this conversation many years later), so she laughed it off as politely as she could. Anyway, by then I think she had fallen for Neville along with every other girl in school.
And here I am, writing about the past. But I think I must write and talk about it. Regardless, I am no longer afraid of the future. I think about you constantly (hours since you left, I'm sure that's shocking) and I'm planning a fantastic trip for the two of us. Currently I'm hoping to keep it a secret and surprise you, but I may be unable to contain my excitement about certain destinations and begin writing to you about the details. Which would you prefer?
I'll close this letter here so that I'll have something to say in my next one. I was never a big writer of letters, I'll warn you, and I'd much rather have you here in my arms with nothing at all to say.
Until we meet again, You have all of my love, Harry
Teddy read the letter only once and tucked it back under his pillow. He reached over to stroke the soft feathers on the breast of Harry's owl, which had once belonged to Ron. Part of Harry would always be trapped in the nightmares of his past, but like the nightmares themselves, this was not something that could be corrected. The present was not a place where the past rested until it was healed; it was only a succession of days that could be filled with new mistakes and joys or ignored in favor of remembering. Teddy thought about the way Harry had always signed his letters before, and perhaps the missing second line had been there all along, invisible and unsaid. Until we meet again, You have all of my love, as if that love was a cold and fragile thing Teddy held for him until they came together to revive it.