edgewareroad: (TiRN.)
[personal profile] edgewareroad
Title: In the Way
Author/Artist: [livejournal.com profile] edgewareroad
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: It really only merits this rating for a little cursing.
Word count: 1,401
A/N: Written for the Teddy/James Winter Hols Fest for Prompt 32: “Victoire always gets in James' way.” Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] mabonwitch for organising this Fest and to my dearest [livejournal.com profile] clovermews for letting me write James-POV fic. Also, I would just like to throw it out there that I actually love Victoire.
Disclaimer: James “He’s snogging her!” Potter and his metamorphmagus belong to J.K. Rowling (the Magnificent).

At this point, James was beginning to think that his eldest cousin might actually be pure, unadulterated evil. She had always been annoying, certainly—with her perfect Veela hair and her affected French accent—but James was now forced to consider the very real possibility that her goal was actually to destroy his life. Possibly even to dance on the ashes of his broken dreams.

In retrospect, he probably should not have told Teddy at Christmas. Or, more accurately, he probably should not have dragged a very surprised-looking Teddy into an empty bedroom on the second floor, shoved him up against the wall, kissed him hard, and pulled away only to say, “There. Okay? Now you know.”

Granted, his timing could have been better, and there could have been fewer members of their family around.

It was not, however, his fault that Victoire had chosen the exact moment Teddy had opened his mouth to speak to poke her head around the door without knocking.


“Why don’t you and Teddy go and get the pudding?” had seemed like the perfect opportunity, seeing as Teddy had been silent and unable to look James in the eyes for all of dinner.

Even if it was going to be a rejection, there was no way Teddy would do anything apart from letting him down gently, and James was frankly ready to get it over with.

As the door to the kitchen swung shut behind them, Teddy finally looked up from his shoes. James could literally see the tautness of his muscles as he struggled to keep his appearance neutral. James knew what Teddy was doing; if he hadn’t been carefully controlling his hair, his eyes, James would have been able to read him like a book.

“James, I—“ Teddy began, but snapped his mouth shut and turned to look in panic as the door swung open again.

“Bonjour, boys. I have come to make sure you don’t forget the cuillères!” said Victoire, sashaying right between them to the cutlery drawer.

“Oh, you must hurry. Vite! Vite! Vite!” she continued, but she cast a glance over her left shoulder, looking James up and down before smirking. Tossing her hair, she took hold of Teddy’s wrist and pulled him back toward the dining room without so much as checking to see if James was following.

James thought about smashing the dish of treacle tart he was holding against the kitchen wall. Really he did. Then he realised that there was no reason for Lily and Hugo and his Gran to suffer for Victoire’s depraved, unholy behaviour. Instead, he settled for feeling his own blood pressure rise and kicking the counter, which hurt rather more than he had anticipated and left him limping all the way back to the table on his own.


As Victoire leaned across Teddy’s lap to pick up the battered book from the coffee table, James thought To dance in the ashes. Definitely.

Teddy and James had been sitting on opposite ends of the sofa, awkwardly avoiding each other’s glances, when Victoire had come to sit very nearly in Teddy’s lap. Ignoring James’s scowl, she’d placed a dusty volume on the table in front of them and whispered into Teddy’s ear. Teddy’s eyebrows knitted, but he nodded to her. That’s when she’d draped herself all over him under the pretext of retrieving the book, while James seriously contemplated hitting a girl for the first time in his life.

As Victoire opened the book across Teddy’s lap, James realised that it wasn’t a book at all. Staring up from the pages were the faces of James’s grandparents, sometimes laughing, sometimes dancing, sometimes making faces. Page after page was covered with well-worn snapshots, until there, on the seventh page, was Teddy’s dad. He had a blue scarf, scars running diagonally across his handsome face, and, most jarringly of all, Teddy’s eyes.

James saw the weight of what Teddy was seeing hit him. James saw it in his shoulders, in the subtle blue highlights that shot through the back of his hair before he set them right. James saw it in the things Victoire would never notice.

When Teddy finally glanced up at Victoire and smiled sadly, it hit something dangerously close to James’s heart. He felt prickling in his eyes but clenched his jaw and dug his fingers into his palms because fuck if he was going to cry like an idiot and fuck if he was going to be jealous of Victoire when that was exactly what she wanted.

That was when James bolted.


Outside, it was quiet and still and bitterly cold. James, furious, barely noticed the stinging at his eyes and nose. The entire back garden was covered in a layer of frost. It crunched under James’s trainers as he made his way around to the side of the house. He hated the way everything bloody sparkled in the moonlight. He hated pretty much everything at the moment, though, so perhaps the frost wasn’t entirely to blame.

Finally out of sight from any of the many lit windows, James leaned against the side of the house. He balled his ungloved hands into fists and let his head fall back against the solid support. He felt stupid and livid and embarrassed and crushed, and he wanted to stay out here, unseen and unmissed for the rest of his life.

James couldn’t have said how much time passed before he heard someone else crunching across the grass toward his hiding place. He thought about making a run for it, but Teddy stepped around the side of the house, wearing an old Gryffindor scarf and a sad expression, and it was too late.

“James,” he said softly, closing the distance between them.

“I get it,” James snapped, unable to stop himself, unable to listen to Teddy placate and soothe and tactfully reject him. “You like Victoire—You want Victoire. Just forget the whole thing. I shouldn’t have done it, okay? Can we let it go? I just really cannot deal with hearing about how you, unlike me, are actually completely straight and how you think of me as--”

Before James knew what was happening, Teddy’s lips were on his, his body pressing James against the side of the house.

But Teddy pulled away just as quickly as he had leaned in. “Oh God. I’m sorry! I shouldn’t—“ he began. He sounded a bit hysterical.


“No! I mean, yes. I mean, a bit. I really don’t know—It’s just that…You.” Possibly more than hysterical.

Teddy,” James said with forced calm, reaching out for the hands that Teddy had tangled in his own hair, which was still a carefully-controlled brown despite his hysterics. “Tell me.”

“I never wanted Victoire, James. I want you,” Teddy said finally, looking right into James’s eyes. “I like you. That scares me, but it’s true.”

“So you want to…?”

“I don’t know,” Teddy answered quickly. “There’s a lot more to this than that.”

“That’s not a no,” James pointed out.

“That’s not a no,” Teddy confirmed, collapsing against the support of the house beside James.

They stood there for a moment in silence, Teddy looking a bit like a deflated soufflé and James feeling as though his heart were about to pound out of his chest. Then James looked sideways at Teddy, and Teddy looked back at him. They both burst out laughing, and then they were kissing again, their noses cold against one another’s cheeks. James was bracing himself against the house with one hand, snaking the other around Teddy’s waist to pull him closer. When Teddy reached up to wrap his arms around James’s neck, James felt a strange pull in the pit of his stomach. He smiled into the kiss, and Teddy pulled back to look at him.

“It’s freezing, James,” Teddy said quietly, unable to control the goofy smile tugging at his own mouth. “You’re freezing. Where’s your jacket?”

“I was angry,” James said, shrugging, by way of explanation.

Teddy rolled his eyes, still powerless to hide his grin, and shrugged out of his coat. Throwing it around James’s shoulders, he began to rub James’s upper arms in a futile effort to warm him.

“Quite the gentlemen,” James smirked. Teddy didn’t even bother to hide the way his hair went pink as he buried his face in the crook of James’s neck.


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