nextgen_mod (nextgen_mod) wrote in hp_nextgen_fest,

Gift for shina_laris (1/2)

Title: Time is the longest distance between two places (your heart and mine). (1/2)
Author: collocations
Recipient: shina_laris
Pairing(s): Teddy/James.
Rating: PG-13.
Warnings: A little AU.
Summary: After being apart for many years Teddy and James reunite again when an accident makes their destinies overlap once more.
Word Count: 12,950.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author’s notes: I had lots of fun writing for you shina_laris! I really hope you can enjoy this some, even if it wasn’t what you had in mind. I tried to include some of your requests in there, sorry if they didn’t come out quite well.
Thanks a lot to Annie for being so understanding when I kept freaking out and to Margot for the awesome Beta reading.

At age six, James Potter the second decided he wanted to be an Auror when he grew up. He didn’t waste any time before voicing his plan of catching bad wizards in the name of the Ministry to his parents. Both Harry and Ginny had celebrated this announcement with claps and pleasant grins, but when James wandered off to look for his third favorite person in the whole world, his parents looked at each other with equally concerned expressions.

“Mommy, Daddy, where is Teddy?” James had asked soon after, not finding his friend in the house and wanting desperately to tell him the news. His mother had picked him up and explained that Teddy hadn’t been around much lately because he was in school. James had nodded, not really understanding much, but agreeing to go play with his little siblings when his father suggested it, keeping in mind his father’s promise to help him write a letter to Teddy soon.

James didn’t have many opportunities to write letters to anyone. He had begun to write complete words the previous year around Christmas-time and he’d written a dozen cards with “Happy Holidays” and “I love you”, before leaving them around the house for his mother to find. Ginny had smiled proudly at each one of the cards before tucking them away inside a shoebox to keep them safe from dust and time.

He stared down at the piece of parchment his father had given him and panicked; the quill in his hand felt too big and the ink was slightly out of his reach, but then Harry sat next to him, smiling soothingly, and James felt at ease. Teddy needed to know about his plan. That was his top priority right now.

Hi Teddy,

I have news! When I grow up I will be a Auror like my father and the bestest one even in the whole world!

PS. Come home soon.

James was happy his father had helped him with the difficult words he didn’t know how to write yet, spelling them out in the air for him to copy, and hadn’t laughed at him for his future dreams. Instead, Harry had smiled some more and let his son tie the letter to the owl’s leg, something Ginny never let them do. He was happy to see James so excited about something in particular; his son could be a little energy ball, but he never focused on something for too long.

Teddy’s answer came two days after James sent the letter and he hadn’t let anyone else read it. His mother found it four years later, carefully folded and hidden inside James’s favorite children’s book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. By then James had completely forgotten about that letter, being too caught up in Quidditch rules, testing pranks on Albus and Lilly, and playing Aurors and Death Eaters with his cousins. Ginny figured her son wouldn’t mind and opened the small note. It simply said:

Hi, James.

I’m happy to hear from you! School is fun, but no one is as brilliant as you, James. I miss you.

P.S. One day you’ll make a wonderful Auror. I love you.

Ginny felt guilty for reading the note just as she finished it. It seemed like something secret and she understood why James hadn’t wanted to share the note with anyone. She shook her head to shoo those feelings away and smiled to herself, happy to know Teddy was gentle and cared about her kids, even if they weren’t real family. Ginny made a mental note to get Teddy a good present for next Christmas and returned the note to its original hidden place.

The year James received his Hogwarts letter Teddy received a broom for Christmas. It was a brand new Flashbolt, faster and with better navigation than its predecessor, the Firebolt, ever had. The landing was also more accurate by fifteen percent and, in general appearance, the broom was simply bloody gorgeous. The present had been given to him ‘With love, from the Potters.’ He felt really grateful.

James got a Weasley sweater, some money from his parents and lovely cards written by Lily and Hugo instead. His brother and uncle gave him prank articles from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and his aunt Hermione sent him some ancient book he would probably never even touch. James couldn’t believe his misfortune. He was so angry at his parents for being so unfair that he refused to talk to Teddy for the rest of the school year.

James missed Teddy sometimes. They had been friends since James could remember, and even though he was hurting for ignoring Teddy on purpose, seeing his face reminded James of the broom. Time passed but his anger didn’t recede one bit, so he decided to stay away from Teddy for as long as he could. At the end of the year everyone went back home for summer vacation and Teddy didn’t spend it at the Potters’ house like usual.

Next year James went back to Hogwarts as a second year Gryffindor. His brother Albus and his cousin Rose started as first years, both as Ravenclaws. Soon after they made friends with Scorpius Malfoy and James continued to be lonely and friendless, even if he was popular enough for being a Potter. He knew deep down that the bitter feeling pulling at his insides was nothing but guilt for being so unreasonable with Teddy. It was not his fault for getting the broom, and James was sure Teddy would’ve let him borrow it without a second thought if he’d asked, but he couldn’t turn back time now that the damage was done.

Teddy began missing all the parties the Potters held for holidays and special occasions. James always got a present from Teddy on his birthday, but there was never a card along with it, so James figured Teddy didn’t really want to talk to him, either. He found out Teddy was busy with Mediwizard training and heard he was still living with his grandmother Andromeda, but he was hardly ever home. For Teddy’s nineteenth birthday most of his relatives went to visit him at St. Mungo’s. There had been a huge surprise party for him - a celebration party that James and Albus had to miss because they were stuck at Hogwarts.

James had never been less grateful to be a Gryffindor. If he’d been a Slytherin, he would’ve probably sneaked out secretly just to go see his friend and ask for forgiveness.

After the party, which seemed like his last chance, the years passed and, contrary to what James wanted and expected, they only grew further apart. He graduated from Hogwarts the same day Teddy became a trainee-Healer in the Dai Llewellyn ward, specializing in creature-induced wounds. His parents and grandparents talked about Teddy most of the evening while they had dinner. James felt that pang of jealousy again, the one that had made him shy away from Teddy the first time, and for a second, just a second of those uncountable days they had spent not talking to each other, James didn’t miss Teddy painfully.

It was easier for Teddy to go on with his life after James had stopped talking to him if he had his mind on something else. He overworked himself due to this, trying to achieve his goals and setting more before the first ones were reached just to forget how empty his heart felt. His friends from school didn’t talk to him anymore; they had all gone off to do their own thing, and Teddy didn’t blame them. They probably had holes to fill in, too.

He was happily oblivious most of the time, especially when he was helping people get better. Teddy could only ignore his confused feelings when he was away from home. There they would hover around him, claiming his attention in the same way his grandmother’s gaze made him uneasy and guilty for not spending more time with her. One of the reasons why he’d decided to become a Healer was to have an excuse to be away. It hurt him to not know the reason behind James’s silence, but he respected his friend’s decision.

Being home meant seeing his godfather and even aunt Ginny sometimes. She always stared at him with sad eyes. The last time hadn’t been an exception, but her voice transfixed a completely different intention.

“Oh, Teddy! Look how big you’ve grown,” she had said back then and Teddy had smiled sheepishly, because really, he hadn’t grown an inch since he was sixteen and she saw him quite often back then. He noticed she’d grown older, too, but she was still beautiful.

“Aunt Ginny, what a surprise,” he’d said, leaning down a little to kiss her cheek and hug her. Ginny smelled like cinnamon on apples.

“How is work? Tough, I suppose, what with those long shifts. Andromeda keeps saying you need a vacation.” She had winked at his grandmother and Teddy felt like he was in for some sort of intervention for being a workaholic.

“It’s good, not as difficult as she makes it sound,” Teddy had replied calmly, staring at his grandmother with disproval before facing away towards the kitchen. “I should leave you two alone, though, so you can gossip some more about me and your kids. I’m sure my grandmother appreciates your being here.” He wanted to say thank you, but he didn’t.

The sad look appeared on Ginny’s face again and she nodded silently. Andromeda chimed in, sensing the tension in the room and asking an even more difficult question:

“How’s James doing?”

Teddy couldn’t help wincing at the question and Ginny looked at him with wide eyes before turning back to face Andromeda.

“He’s good. He started Auror training last week,” she had replied simply and then had turned to look at Teddy again.

“Oh, finally? I remember when he said he’d be the bestest Auror in the world.” Teddy had tried to chuckle, but the tone had not been cheery enough to disguise the bitterness. “I’m glad to hear he’s pursuing his dream.” His voice softened a little at this and Ginny knew these words were genuine.

She was about to add something else, but Teddy cut her off politely, claiming that he had errands to run and went out quickly, not giving her a chance to speak. He Apparated from the backyard of his house into busy London and wandered around the city mindlessly for hours until he considered it safe enough to go back home.

In August of two-thousand-twenty-six Teddy decided it was time to share with the rest of the Wizarding community a promise for a better world he’d discovered.

He requested a private meeting with the Healer in charge of the Dai Llewellyn ward, Augustus Pye, and St. Mungo’s director Perpetua Bonham, to show them the project he’d been working on in the little free time he had. It was a very ambitious project, but he thought it could work and he wanted to give it a try.

He couldn’t sleep at all until the night before the meeting. He was so exhausted for being up all the previous days that he slept like a log until he was late for work, almost missing the meeting.

Teddy arrived at St. Mungo’s not properly dressed or groomed; he’d forgotten to shave and his robe was still at home, discarded carelessly beside his unmade bed. He entered the meeting room and was surprised to find all the Healers in charge and the director waiting for him. He’d not predicted any of this. For a few moments Teddy considered running away and forgetting all about his project, but thinking about all the werewolf bite victims he’d seen in the last three months gave him courage.

“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Sorry I’m late,” he had begun, a little too quiet for his own taste. “I have invited all of you here today to show you something that may help revolutionize the way Healers help wizards and witches,” Teddy continued. A lady sitting next to Augustus nodded and Teddy recognized her as Clara Clovenhoove, the current head of the very difficult Janus Thickey Ward. She looked gentle enough for the position. He cleared his throat then, shaking his thoughts away and noticing he was still being way too vague.

“In the past three years I’ve worked in the Dai Llewellyn ward under the careful direction of Augustus, as you may know already, and I’ve noticed that werewolf bites had become more and more common in the last year.” He paused for a moment, swallowing his terror as he noticed he’d forgotten his notes at home, too. He closed his eyes for a moment and realized he could see them clearly in his mind. Spending so many sleepless nights reading them over to get ready had given results.

“This is an unfortunate destiny for any witch or wizard of England and even the world. Werewolves have been shunned by society since ancient times due to their erratic and violent nature when transformed into a wolf during the full moon of the lunar cycle. In the past, wizards have attempted to enslave werewolves in their human form to keep track of them, but the beasts have always turned against their masters, biting them to inflict the full moon curse onto them.”

“It is terribly painful to go through those transformations. The wolf takes over the human mind and attacks anything alive and moving around them. They can also turn on themselves if they can’t find anything to destroy, making their human body sport magical wounds that turn into ugly scars even magic can’t vanish,” Teddy said, growing more confident as he spoke words he’d been preparing for weeks in his mind. The faces around the table looked at him silently, some with bored expressions, but others, the majority of them, looked at him with curiosity and even wonder.

“The most common victims are small children who can’t tell what is happening to them and live with fear and guilt. They can’t have a normal childhood and their parents are sucked into their pain, if they even decide to stand by the children. Some of them abandon their kids without caring what will happen to them, and these abandoned kids are the ones that grow up to be like Fenrir Greyback.” That name drew a gasp from the crowd; everyone remembered how Fenrir Greyback had tried to create an army of werewolves back in the day when Lord Voldemort wanted to rule England.

Teddy knew Fenrir was the werewolf who bit his father - the father he hadn’t been able to meet because he’d died trying to help save the Wizarding World from falling into darkness. He was proud of both Remus and Nymphadora, but he remembered being very confused about their absence when he was a child.

“What are you trying to get at, young man?” a respectable looking wizard called from the back of the table. Teddy remembered him as the one who looked the most bored a few seconds ago. “We already know the werewolf condition and how dangerous they are. If you’re trying to teach us something new, you’re failing.”

Whispering exploded in the meeting room and Teddy felt himself blushing. The interruption had made him lose his train of thought and his short hesitation gave room for people to start speculating. He tried to regain control of the room but the Healers continue to speak among themselves until Perpetua raised her voice over them, calling silence.

“If you don’t mind, Quentin, I’d like to hear what the boy has to say. This meeting was called by him and I think we should give him room to share his ideas in the way that he likes. Now if you excuse me, everyone, please be quiet so Ted can continue,” she said. Teddy didn’t think he would ever be more grateful to her than at that moment.

“Thank you, Ms. Bonham. Um, where was I?” he said, recalling what he’d said before. “Oh, yes, as you probably know, too, there is no cure for Lycanthropy, and even though most of the symptoms can be controlled by drinking Wolfsbane potion, the human still goes through the transformation. Even if they remain human in mind, they still turn into wolves. Only drinking the potion frequently can help restrain the transformation, but just a ray of moonlight touching them can cause transformation to occur immediately anyway.” Teddy felt this was the perfect moment to state his conclusions.

“The Wolfsbane potion is very useful, but also very difficult to make. It is the only remedy we’ve been using on werewolves since it was created in mid-nineteen-seventies, but it is time to update the ingredients and test the potion to see if we can create a mix that will inhibit the transformation entirely. This is my proposition - to find werewolves willing to return to the Wizarding society and test the new brewing I’ve developed.”

Teddy finished his speech and waited silently for havoc to occur. He certainly didn’t expect the room to break into applause so he stood there, surprised and shocked until Perpetua Bonham shook his hand gracefully and promised him a ward and a team to work with.

James finished the Auror training in two and a half years. He’d been a complete natural - all his trainers didn’t expect to have such a wonderful student in their classes, and Harry Potter hadn’t had a better member of the Aurors in the last ten years. James was willing to participate in any case and he rose through the ranks quickly, getting his own group to lead only three years after making it inside at the age of twenty-four, making him the youngest wizard after his father to become so important in the department.

At first, Harry had been reluctant at first to promote his own son. He didn’t want other members of the department to believe they hadn’t been taken in consideration just because James was the boss’s son, but his diligent and hard-working nature made it impossible for Harry to ignore him anymore. When James was promoted the department received the news with genuine content, and the party that followed was only shadowed by the legendary celebration of ‘when Harry Potter became the head of the department’. Still, Harry couldn’t help being worried when he saw the disappointment in James’s eyes didn’t go away after having his dream come true.

A month after being promoted James found a note on his desk calling him into the head of department’s office. He was used to talking to his dad about work at home, but being fetched in such a stiff manner made him a little nervous.

“Good morning, Mr. Potter, did you call for me?” he greeted respectfully before sitting down on the chair across from his father’s desk.

“There’s no need to be so formal, James. I called you in to assign you something,” Harry assured him with a smile. Even at work he couldn’t bear being strict to his son. Not that he needed to be, but sometimes he worried about what others would think.

“Oh, I see. Um, so what is it?” James asked curiously, suddenly interested in what his father had to say.

“Well, St. Mungo’s began a program last year; it’s a progressive experiment they are making to try reinserting werewolves into society,” Harry explained. “A revolutionary Healer created a new brewing of the Wolfsbane potion to repress all lycanthropy symptoms, and even though most infected wizards and witches have been willing to subject themselves for testing, a small group of rebels is starting to cause trouble.”

He handed James a folder containing several files. Most of them had been involved in several accidents and attacks, but they had escaped being captured by inches. He recognized one of the names, Fenrir Greyback, as the one who had attacked Uncle Bill.

“This werewolf, Fenrir, is he still alive? He must be very old!” James exclaimed, surprised. Harry was deep in thought for a moment before replying.

“We don’t know if he’s still alive. He disappeared after the Hogwarts battle more than thirty years ago, and I remember he must have been over forty at that time.” He paused for a moment and added, “But we can’t overlook anything. Back then there was a gang of beasts he led, and maybe those are the ones resisting now. If the project proves to be useful, the Ministry will force werewolves to take part in the program as an essential registration requisite.”

“But that is unfair! What happens to the werewolves that don’t want to be a part of the program?” James asked, bewildered.

“They immediately go onto the list of potentially dangerous beasts and become a job for the Werewolf Capture Unit. You have to understand, James, that this is a good thing for them. They will stop going through the pain of transforming and the fear of hurting someone because of their nature will fade. People won’t fear them anymore, and they’ll have the opportunity to live a normal life,” Harry replied. “If they don’t want to take this chance, it only means they prefer to embrace their violent nature and plan to overcome wizards one day. That turns them into a threat to us.”

“I understand,” James admitted, seeing things differently now. “What do I have to do?”

“The Werewolf Capture Unit has found a pack in the outskirts of downtown London; they are planning to arrest all of them in a stakeout two weeks from now, after carefully studying their behavior. They asked me to assign an Auror to them as a leader, and I consider you to be ideal,” his father clarified. James was flattered, but he didn’t know if we would live up to Harry’s expectations. Yet, he thought, it was his duty to accept this challenge.

“Alright, when do I have to meet with them?” he asked, letting his father know he would comply with this mission. Harry proceeded to give him the details and their meeting stretched into lunchtime, when they decided to floo home together.

The Fenrir ward opened in February of two thousand, twenty-nine. Teddy had Alfred Johnson, Seth Baddock and Bridget Longbottom as his team. They were all equally excited and hopeful. Bridget was a genius in Herbology. It was probably hereditary. Baddock and Johnson’s abilities included great planning and organizational skills Teddy lacked, and it was in general a flawless team.

The testing began the following week with three adult subjects that arrived on their own. The first brewing of revised Wolfsbane was released and doses were administered to the subjects daily two weeks before the full moon. Each subject was released into a different empty room with tall walls and no ceiling to study their reaction to the potion. Teddy stood with his assistants on a high platform levitating above and waited for the moon to come out from behind the clouds.

“The full moon comes out at five fifteen, on February twenty-eighth of two thousand, twenty-nine. Only five minutes after the start of the full moon cycle,” Baddock recited to the quill floating next to him before it began writing. With this they officially started their testing. “The subjects don’t show any changes yet, the exposure to the moonlight being minimal.”

“This on only the first hour, though,” Alfred said. Being the most factual one he was the less hopeful of all of them. “With thirteen more ahead of us success seems unreachable.”

“Don’t jinx it, idiot!” Bridget had exclaimed, enraged. “We must believe in what we’re creating.”

“This is only the first test of the experiment,” Teddy reminded them calmly. “If it doesn’t work, we just readjust our brewing and the doses before starting again. The full moon will return every month to haunt these men until we can find a solution.”

Teddy had grown confident and wise as the years passed. His job as Mediwizard and Healer had given him an understanding of others and gentleness, something appealing to both men and women, but at thirty he was still single and completely uninterested in looking for a girlfriend. He was not some Greek Adonis, but he wasn’t hideous, either. Andromeda often tried to set him up with her friends’ nieces and granddaughters, but besides a couple of disastrous dates, nothing ever came out of that. When she ran out of options, Andromeda gave up, but deep down she hoped Teddy would find someone to love soon. She was not getting any younger, and now that he avoided the Potters she was scared of dying and leaving him all alone.

Andromeda didn’t share her concerns with her grandson, of course. Teddy would only tell her she was still far from dying and that he could take care of himself just fine, but then he would miss her original point entirely.

Ten hours after the full moon began, one of the three subjects turned into a wolf. He screamed for infinite minutes as the bones readjusted themselves and his skin tore to reveal the beast beneath. Seth grimaced through the entire process as he took notes.

The two remaining men transformed on the thirteenth hour of exposure. Alfred pointed out they weren’t attacking themselves, which let the researchers know the werewolves still had their human mind. When the full moon ended on March second, all subjects were transferred to their original rooms to be fed and assisted before meeting with the Healers.

All of the subjects remembered with detail the shape-shift process and the pain that could only be compared to the Cruciatus Curse. One of them, the eldest whose name was John, had never drunk Wolfsbane potion before and he marveled at the novelty of keeping a human mind in the body of the wolf. The other two, Abelard and Horace, confessed they had been hopeful during the first few hours and, contrary to what the Healers believed, all of the subjects wanted to continue the experiment.

A week later three more subjects arrived, this time an old lady and two kids, a boy and a girl. They weren’t related by blood, but they considered each other family, a pack. Teddy admitted them immediately and new rooms were created inside the ward. The potion was prepared again and the observation continued for months until that fateful week when the full moon didn’t turn any subjects into werewolves.

James loved being an Auror, but he really hated office paperwork. He usually made someone from his group do it for him and was grateful his father overlooked this. What he enjoyed the most was being on stakeouts. The excitement built up slowly as they carefully planned what to do next and played Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who would get the coffee next or land the first punch into the suspect.

He was not having fun tonight, though. James couldn’t believe how boring those mates from the Werewolf Catching Unit could be. First off, they didn’t let him speak, just in case werewolves were close by and heard them. They also didn’t let him bring any coffee, which lead to James feeling drowsy, bored, and moody and, finally, no one wanted to play Rock, Paper, Scissors.

The group he was leading was composed of four fairly tall wizards and a petite witch. They all wore dark long cloaks and hoods like they were some sort of cult. James had refused to wear the same attire just in case he got mistaken for an official member.

For now the job was easy. They just needed to camp in front of some downtown London alleyway between two ancient-looking buildings - a dark and dangerous place Muggles didn’t frequent after dusk. Their tent was concealed behind some abandoned burned-down cars. They didn’t use magic because werewolves could easily pick up on it.

“Shh, we must keep quiet; this time of the day is when they come out, as there is no risk of anyone seeing them,” Laura, the petite girl, had said. She was the expert on beast behavior and, honestly, that was the most ridiculous occupation James had ever heard of. He didn’t comment on it, though.

“What time is it?” Roger had asked. He was the youngest member and by far also the loudest. He couldn’t sit still, but he didn’t want to play Rock, Paper, Scissors, either.

“It’s time to shut up, Roger,” another of the group’s members said, the one who hadn’t removed the hood and, James realized, he didn’t know the man’s name. He was about to ask when a howl tore through the silence and then more came in what seemed like a response from different places around them, some distant, some not.

“It’s only a quarter past six,” Laura said. “We have two hours before the moon becomes full.”

James noticed the tension in the tent and drew his wand out, the rest of the group mirroring his actions. They all stood there for a few minutes, waiting, as more howls surrounded them. Roger started to twitch visibly and James felt nervous. This was Roger’s first mission ever and it was a big one, only one mistake and they could all get hurt; if it happened it would only be James’s fault.

The howls stopped suddenly and Laura frowned, moving slightly to the entrance of the tent, Roger following her close. “Don’t let the howls deceive you,” she whispered. “They can’t transform into wolves unless the moon is full. They should still be human.”

“I don’t get it. If they are human, how is it that we can’t hear them talk?” Roger asked.

“They may have other means of communication,” Edward, the eldest one, pointed out. “Maybe the pitch and the length of the howl mean something.”

Laura retreated back, nodding, but Roger continued to approach the entrance of the tent. James suspected he wanted to take a peek outside and jumped forward to stop him. When Roger opened the tent a ball was thrown at him. He reached for it unconsciously just as James knocked into him from behind to keep him from going out.

James loved stakeouts, but he hated when things went wrong. When he touched Roger something strange happened. The tent around them disappeared and James felt a pull behind his navel, letting him know whatever Roger was holding was a portkey and they were being transported now to who knew where.

They landed in the woodlands of Hampshire, some hundred miles away from London, and even though both Roger and he had their wands out, James suspected they were fucked when seven wizards appear before them from beneath the trees. Their teeth were big and menacing, their nails were long and sharp, resembling claws.

He remembered Laura had said they had two hours. He had to make this quick or else they would be dealing with seven werewolves instead of seven wizards.

Teddy woke up from a nightmare suddenly and noticed he had fallen asleep on his desk and not a bed, like he should have. Bridget looked at him, worried, and Teddy wondered for a second if he looked very bad.

“We were waiting for you to wake up,” she said. He realized immediately it wasn’t about him and he panicked, expecting the worst.

“Did anything happen to Andromeda?” Teddy asked nervously and she shook her head before walking up to him to help him get up.

“There was an attack and two young men were wounded and possibly bitten by werewolves. We don’t know when the incident took place exactly, but they were found this morning in Hampshire by some passerby. We’re lucky they weren’t found by Muggles. Both victims were brought here immediately and treated, but since it’s impossible to tell if they were attacked before full moon or not, we have to wait until they wake up to explain the situation to them.” Bridget explained.

Teddy was confused. If they had been infected, they should have changed by now. The full moon cycle was still active, and if the victims hadn’t been subjected to any treatment, it was obvious they weren’t infected, unless, of course…

“When you say they were treated, what do you mean, exactly?”

“Both men were in a terrible condition when they arrived. They had been close to frozen as they were lying on the snow, unconscious. Their wounds were sealed with magic so they wouldn’t bleed, but as any other werewolf wound they could not be healed b-”

“Were they given any Wolfsbane?” Teddy asked, interrupting Bridget’s speech. She nodded her head slowly, predicting Teddy’s rage.

“Yes, but wait, it was for their own good! They really weren’t in good shape, Teddy, and they could’ve died transforming.”

“But you didn’t ask their permission to do that! Now we have to hold them here for another month before release just to check if they are infected or not.” He knew he was being the unreasonable one, but Teddy still insisted on making Bridget see things his way.

“Their families gave signed permission,” she clarified. “I figured you would have complained about doing something without the patient’s consent, so I made the pertinent arrangements before the potion was administered and, before you ask, it was not our mix, but the original Wolfsbane potion administered, so they will still go through transformation if they are exposed to moonlight.”

“Okay, I understand,” Teddy replied, secretly grateful. “You did a good job, Bridget. Go get Alfred and Seth and fill them in. We must prepare to study these patients if they recover from their wounds before the full moon ends. Also get the rooms prepared - we haven’t used them in some time now that everyone has their doses schedule worked out. I will go see them now.”

Bridget nodded and walked out of the room, leaving Teddy alone with his thoughts. He was proud of the results their project had given - many wizards had found jobs and returned to their families now that their lycanthropy had been controlled, but still there was a small group against repressing the beast within themselves and those were the ones attacking wizards now. This was clearly a message for Teddy, and the reason why his godfather had owled him the month before asking him to be extremely careful when going home from work.

Teddy didn’t expect to find his godfather outside the Dai Llewellyn Ward, but figured Harry would be there for questioning. His face was transfixed with something akin to pain and Teddy felt strangely uneasy.

He passed Harry by and didn’t turn to talk to him because he sensed his godfather needed some time alone. It was probably hard for him to deal with a member of his department being attacked savagely; Harry would most likely think it was his fault. Teddy was about to feel mortified for him when something drove that thought out of his mind entirely. Ginny was in the room.

This confused Teddy beyond belief. Ginny wasn’t only there, she was kneeling over a bed and crying loudly like a child, and Teddy couldn’t tell what was happening until a young man that could only be Albus looked at him with tears in his eyes too and then it clicked in his head.

“Teddy!” Lily called from behind him. “Teddy, you’re here, will you cure James? You can, can’t you?”

Teddy’s world turned upside down when his suspicion was confirmed and he turned his head to the bed where no one else but James Potter was lying. Suddenly, all the feelings he’d kept bottled up through the years came rushing back to him and it took all his self-control to not break down crying right there the same way Ginny had.

“I’m going to try and help him,” he replied, smiling a little to give her some hope. He walked over to Ginny and hugged her. “All is going to be okay. He’s alive, that is the most important thing right now.”

“Yes, you’re right. That’s what Harry said, too.” Ginny sniffed into his shoulder, hugging him back tightly. “Thanks, Teddy, I’m sure James would be very glad to see you if he were awake now.”

“I doubt that,” Teddy replied, sounding a little bitterer than he intended.

“He always talked about you when we were children. Is there a reason why you stopped being friends?” Albus asked him and Teddy looked away, pretending not to be hurt.

“Ask me if I know.” He chuckled.

Albus didn’t look convinced in the slightest. “But I am!”

“I was a rhetorical question. Now I must go. I have lots of patients to check before the evening is through.” Teddy felt a little rude leaving so quickly, but he couldn’t bear seeing his long lost family right now. He patted Ginny’s back gently and added, “He’ll be fine,” before turning around a leaving.

Teddy went home that night. Now that he knew James was there he didn’t want to be at St. Mungo’s anymore. It was raining outside and he decided to walk instead of Apparating to think a bit. It had been a great surprise to find out James had been one of the victims. The other man, Roger, was in better condition; Teddy was sure James had tried to protect him and that’s why he got the worst end of the deal.

He was tired, wet and cold when he finally reached Andromeda’s house. After leaving the hospital room earlier he had gone back to his office for hours until the visiting hours were over before he worked up the nerve to go back to the Dai Llewellyn Ward. To his surprise it was empty, but soon after he found out both patients had been moved to separate private rooms as their families had requested.

Teddy had gone to see Roger first; he was already awake and eating. He greeted Teddy cheerfully enough, blabbering about how bloody amazing that James Potter was. Teddy could tell by the tension in the room that no one had tried to tell Roger the news yet. Their suspicions that he may or may not turn into a werewolf in the near future were palpable to his parents, but they had decided to keep it a secret, and Teddy had no choice but to abide.

When he could finally sneak out, Teddy had paced down the hall a few times before entering James’s room. It was dark and quiet, and he was still out cold. Teddy had felt his heart twist and ache at the sight of the friend he had missed all these years, and he realized then that he’d never tried to get close to anyone after James had decided to stop talking to him. Teddy didn’t know if he was mad at himself for this or not. He was too confused to figure his own feelings out. One thing he had been sure of, though, was knowing James was alive and safe just a few inches away from him, and it made him immensely relieved.

Teddy climbed the stairs leading to his room and took his clothes off, lying on his bed naked and shivering. He would have to deal with James sooner or later; as the Healer-in-charge of the Fenrir Ward he was the one who informed the patients about the options they had if they decided to enter the program. Even if Roger and James hadn’t shown any symptoms of lycanthropy, they still needed to be filled in with the available information. In any case, the patients would be transferred into his ward for further testing on their condition as the full moon approached.

Worked up with fear and frustration, Teddy cried himself to sleep that night.

James woke up on January thirty-first of two thousand and thirty, exactly twelve days after being found. He felt very tired, but also very awake. His family gathered around the bed he was lying on and all of them looked at him with worried expressions.

“What’s with the faces; who died?” he asked sourly, not really liking the strange attention. Lily started crying immediately and his mother cooed him like he was some kind of baby.

“Girls, I think you need to calm down. You’re scaring him,” his father said with a grin. “How are you feeling, James?”

“Sore, what happened?”

“You were atta-” Harry began, but he was quickly cut off by his wife.

“Don’t worry about that now, you need to rest.”

“Mom, I feel like I’ve slept for years. Let me up, I must have fallen behind in paperwork,” James said, trying to get up and finding himself restrained by his mother’s strong Quidditch player’s arms.

“Lay back, James,” she muttered dangerously. “Your boss let you take a sick leave due to your current state,” Ginny glanced at Harry warningly, “so don’t ask any more questions and go back to sleep.”

“Ginny, please, give the boy a break! He just woke up.” Harry chuckled. “Your paperwork is being handled by Morgan, like always. I figured you wouldn’t mind.”

“Huh, you weren’t supposed to know that.” James groaned, slapping his forehead dramatically. “I guess I’ll take up on this opportunity to assure you I do the rest of my job alone.”

“I know, I know,” Harry said.

“I’m happy to see you’re okay, James. Even Rose and Scorpius returned from Italy to check up on you,” Albus pointed out to the visitors and they inched closer to the bed. They gave James their regards and exchanged pleasantries with the rest of the Potters until Lily pulled Rose aside to talk about their honeymoon details. The rest of the Weasleys arrived then and the room suddenly felt too crowded. He passed out three hours later, too exhausted to stay up anymore.

The next day was a weekday. James knew this because his mother told him they wouldn’t be able to visit him now because his father, Albus and herself had to go back to work, and Lily needed to return to school, too. Ginny had told him a Healer would come see him. James was a little concerned about this. All of them had been very secretive about what had happened to him, but James couldn’t do anything but sit and wait impatiently. Just because he knew someone would come, it didn’t mean he was going to be patient about it.

Teddy breathed deeply a couple of times before knocking on the door. “Excuse me, can I come in?” he asked, wondering if his voiced sounded as shaky as he felt. “Yes,” came the reply from the other side and he gripped the door handle and twisted it around before pushing the door open.

“Good afternoon, I’m Ted Lupin, a Healer, and I’m here to talk about your condition.” He paused for a moment to look at the file in his hand for show. “Mr. Potter.”

Teddy looked everywhere but at James’s face until he noticed James wasn’t saying anything. He braced himself mentally and stared at his face, amazed to find surprise and a hint of something else, regret maybe, Teddy couldn’t tell.

“Um, do you mind if I sit down?” he asked, inching closer to the bed.

“No, go ahead,” James said, completely recovered from his surprise. It wasn’t as difficult to talk to him as Teddy thought it would be. He summoned a comfortable chair and sat down, waiting for James to say something.

Silence stretched between them like a great wall they wouldn’t be able to overcome. Teddy refused to let this happen again. He had something important to say for James’s sake.

“Do you remember what happened to you?” he asked first, testing the waters to see how much he had to say.

“No. Everyone is being hush-hush about it, too. Are you going to tell me?” James replied, sounding resentful.

“Yes, I will. You were on a stakeout about two weeks ago, on the eighteenth, do you remember? You and Roger took a portkey by mistake and presumably got attacked by a pack of werewolves,” Teddy began. “You recovered slower than Roger because your wounds were worse; he is up and running now, if you’re wondering.”

James was lost in thought for a moment before speaking. “Ah, I remember a bit now. He was an idiot, that Roger.” He stared at Teddy intently and Teddy felt a shiver go up his spine. He blamed it on nervousness. “How did you reach that conclusion though, that werewolves attacked us?”

“Well, the kind of wounds you had and how those reacted when we tried to treat them led us to said conclusion,” Teddy clarified. “Right now we are worried about your condition and must hold you here until we decide how to solve it.”

“What is my condition, exactly, Mr. Lupin?” James asked, maintaining a cool and collected façade. Teddy wondered if it would be professionally incorrect to be honest about his uncertainty.

“We don’t know yet,” he admitted “First off, you slept for too long. We did everything we could to bring you around, but your body refused to. You were also given a potion to inhibit lycanthropy symptoms, in fear that a transformation would end up killing you in your delicate state-”

He was promptly cut off by James, “Excuse me, Ted, but I’m far from delicate,” he said, dignified. Teddy almost broke into a laugh right then, but once more his self-control saved him from an early death.

“I do not know about that, Mr. Potter. Now, if you let me continue, you were not tested for lycanthropy before you were treated with Wolfsbane Potion.” Teddy regained composure as he spoke. “This means that we could not determine if you were infected by a werewolf bite or not, and you must stay in the Fenrir Ward to subject yourself to the necessary examinations before being released from the hospital.”

“How long do I have to stay?” James asked. He did remember part of the incident now, but he couldn’t recall if they had been able to escape the fight before moon was full or not. When he tried to think about it, his memory became clouded by darkness. Had they really been infected? He wondered.

“Do you really understand what I’m saying? You seem to be taking it too well,” Teddy said, confused.

“Yes, I was attacked and I may be turned into a werewolf when the moon is full, now, how long do I have to stay here?” James insisted impatiently.

“Most likely for a month, considering we have to wait for the next full moon to subject you for testing. Maybe a little less if your condition is normal during the cycle,” Teddy explained. “It’ll take another week for the Wolfsbane to be out of your system and by then the moon will be crescent, so it’ll be futile to expose you to it then.”

“I see. Well, I look forward to working with you, Mr. Lupin,” James said, staring at Teddy again. This time his heart sped up a little and Teddy felt hopeful. Maybe whatever had made James hate him in the past had been put behind now and they could be friends again. Teddy would never admit it out loud, but he was a little bit more than willing. He was almost desperate to have James back.

“Yes, I do too, Mr. Potter. Have a good evening.”

After their meeting, it was time for Teddy to go back to his boring office where there was no company. He reluctantly got up and left the room, deciding to give James time for the news to sink in. Strangely enough, James had taken it a lot better than Roger, who had panicked immediately, claiming he was cursed now and no one would love him ever again.

Knowing his father had been a werewolf too, Teddy told himself as he walked back to the Fenrir Ward that he wouldn’t mind loving a werewolf.

Tags: *fest: 2009, character: james sirius potter, character: teddy lupin, media: fic, pairing: james/teddy, rating: pg-13, type: slash
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