James did a quick glance around and then smiled. "Don't know why I bother checking. It's not like there are many people that come around here," he said with a shrug. He took out his pack of cigs, something that him and Teddy had discovered one summer when in the muggle town near Godric's Hollow. If his mum or dad knew, he would be killed. Slaughtered. It wasn't a regular habit, just the occasional smoke to take the edge off, and after so much eating he could use something to relax. "Just because I feel sorry that you lost, you can have one of mine," he said, holding out his pack for Teddy to take one.
"How very kind of you." Teddy joked, miming a little curtsy thing. He took one of James' cigarettes and stuck it in his mouth, lighting it with his wand. "I don't know why you bother checking, either. Willow hits harder than a bludger." He said, giving the Whomping Willow a slightly shorter name. "We're just lucky she likes us. She? He?" He shrugged, taking a drag.
"I know, I am just oozing with kindness," he grinned before lighting his own cigarette. He blew out a bit of smoke before looking at the tree for a moment. "I'd definitely go with 'she'," he said after a moments thought. "After all, Willow is quite feisty and even temperamental like most girls are."
Teddy laughed, "Never let a girl hear you say that. Every girl in the castle would know by dinner. But you're right, definitely a girl. Besides, Willow is a girls name. I'd probably say 'she' even if she was a guy." He was glad that he finally had some chill time with James. Even though they were a few of the same classes, seventh year was busy and it was hard to see people sometimes. "What's new, James?" He asked, taking a long drag.
"Yeah, definitely don't want all the girls here to hate me," he said with a grin. "And just off the name, I agree. This tree is definitely a girl," he said, giving it another careful look before taking a drag of his cigarette. "Not much is new really. Just settling back into classes." He was quiet for a moment, unsure if he really should say anything but trusted Teddy enough. "Teddy...did you hear about Al?" he asked curiously. He still wasn't sure what to make of the news he learned about his brother this summer, though perhaps that was because he really didn't spend much time with Al in the first place.
Teddy shrugged, "I've heard lots of things over the summer. What in particular?" He asked. He'd been working full time over the summer and between that and the school work he had jump started, he hadn't gotten to visit the Potters very much. Judging by the pause before James asked, though, this was something big.
James dug his teeth into his lip for a moment, unsure of how to really say it. It wasn't that it was something that really bothered him, but he still wasn't quite sure what to think. "He's...well...he's gay," he said after a bit, before taking another drag of his cigarette. "He came out to the family this summer. I just... I had no idea," he said, moving to sit down on the ground and watch Willow as she moved. "I'm a bullocks of a brother for not even realizing...not even being there..." he mumbled.
Teddy sighed and sat down next to James. There always seemed to be some conflict between James and his brother because one was a Slytherin and one was a Gryff, and he tended to watch from the sidelines because he couldn't talk as freely with Al as he did with James. "Wow, that's surprising." He said, "I mean, he has his moments, but I was honestly convinced when he started dating the Emma girl." He tapped his cigarette to get the ashes off as he continued, "You're not a terrible brother for not realizing. What are the odds that he would tell you? I'm sure he was talking to his close friends about it."
James figured that this was going to be serious discussion time since they were both now sitting, as if their positions equated to the solemnity of what they were talking about. “Alright, maybe it’s not terrible that I didn’t realize,” he amended. “But the fact that I’m not even there for him still bothers me. I regret it, I regret it so much,” he said softly, hating the fact that his stupid twelve year old self had isolated Al after his brother was sorted into Slytherin. “We used to be so close when we were kids and now I’m afraid we’ll never get that again because I was a complete fucking arse.”
"What would happen if you just went up and started talking to him?" Teddy asked. He couldn't remember any sort of conversation between the two of them that wasn't forced by them being at a family event. He actually wasn't sure if James had wanted to fix the relationship with his brother before right now. But he probably had. "I mean, have you ever tried fixing it?" He continued after taking a drag of his half gone cigarette.
James let out a small laugh and shook his head. "Al would probably think I've gone mental. Hell, he would probably end up laughing in my face and wouldn't take me seriously. He'd probably think it's one of my pranks or something," he said, taking another long drag of his cigarette. "I wouldn't even know what to say. 'Hey Al, how you doing? Just wanted to apologize for being the biggest fucking jerk ever these past six years. Hope we can put it behind us someday little bro'," he said, his voice slightly mocking as if he was imaging the conversation. "Yeah, wouldn't be good."
Teddy shrugged, "Well, I can try talking to him if you want. Or you could get one of his friends to." He suggested, "It's going to be pretty hard to repair something that's been broken for seven years, though." He figured that James felt bad that this was his last year at Hogwarts and he was leaving his brother on a negative note. Especially with everything Al must be going through this year. "Al's tough. I doubt it keeps him up at night, to be honest." He said, continuing his line of thought out loud.
"Oh yeah, because me talking to one of his Slytherin friends that absolutely hate me is going to go over so well," he said while rolling his eyes. "And do you even talk that much?" he asked curiously. "And yeah, I'm sure he could honestly care less about this whole thing anyway," he agreed. "Honestly if I were to even apologize to him...I'd be quite scared of how he were to react."
"I haven't seen him yet this year," Teddy answered, "But we're on speaking terms. We have conversations." He shrugged, "I think the fact that I just found out he was gay speaks for itself, though." He dropped the cigarette stub on the ground in front of him and squished it with his foot. "You could try talking to Rose. She's really close with Al, isn't she?"
"Yeah, he has no reason to hate you or anything," he said, though James knew that Al's dislike towards him was solely his fault. "Yeah, I wonder what Rose thinks about everything. I mean, she's closer with Al than she is with me since they are the same age," he said, dropping his cigarette butt as well. "Maybe she can bestow some of that Ravenclaw wisdom on me," he grinned.
"I guess that's one of the benefits of having an unlimited amount of cousins, isn't it? You have endless connections." Teddy said, smiling. He shared the same connections too, of course... but it wasn't the same. "Enough about Al. I don't want to talk about Slytherin, I want to talk about what you're going to do with my firewhiskey. There needs to be a party soon, I'm thinking after we win the first Quidditch game." There was no question about them winning, of course.
James was relieved for the change in conversation, for talking about his brother just ended up making him really sad. "Uhh, pretty sure that it's now my firewhiskey, bro," James corrected, not liking how Teddy had made it seem like James hadn't won it fairly. "I'm in complete agreement. I mean, it's going to be a tough game...Slytherin is always a challenge to beat...but the win is in the bag," he said with a nod. "We better win the cup this year," he said, considering it was their last chance and they would be graduating in June.
Teddy frowned, wondering if it was worth the time to argue that putting disgusting pies on the table was pretty much cheating. He decided that even if James did agree with him, which was unlikely, he'd probably just steal the firewhiskey anyways. "Okay, fine. I can just go buy my own, anyway." He said, grinning. "Ugh, we need to win this year." He agreed, imagining how awesome it would be to win the Quidditch cup in his final year. "That would be even better then winning the house cup." He thought it would help Parvati get the cheer leading offer she wanted if they won, too.
James let out a small huff. Perhaps the firewhiskey hadn't been that great of a prize since Teddy really could just easily get more. Must be nice being able to morph and look like an old wizard. "Well, not sure how easy it would be to win the cup anyway. I can't even begin to tell you the amount of points that were docked from Gryffindor last year because of me," he said with a grin. "And seeing as it's our final year...I plan to make it quite memorable. But yes, we'll practice extra hard and extra long and the trophy shall be Gryffindors."
"Really? I think I could tell you." Teddy said, grinning. "There was that stunt in the Entrance Hall, the time you nearly started a food fight, the duel you almost started on the Quidditch Pitch. And, my personal favourite, the time McGonagall found a pack of cigarettes on the common room floor. Thank Merlin she never figured out who owned them." He listed, counting each one on his fingers, "And that's only to name a few!"
James blinked a few times when Teddy began to list some of the things he had done. It seemed so much more troublesome when they were all listed together and he sort of wondered how big his file with detentions was as well. "You know, I'm still upset that food fight never ended up getting anywhere, that would have been seriously epic. You know, we should try and plan one ultimate farewell prank for this year," he suggested.
Teddy nodded slowly, "Okay, but it has to be near the very end. Like after NEWTs and the Quidditch cup." He didn't mind getting in trouble, he just didn't want it to get in the end of something he really cared about. "Maybe we could charm the house cup banners at the end of year feast if Gryffindor doesn't win. Make fun of the winning house. Especially if it's Slytherin."
"Yes, definitely after NEWTs and the cup," he agreed. "We can't sacrifice landing in detention. I like that plan though," he said, figuring that something after the house cup is decided would work best. "After the final tallies for the house cup are made. That way they can't really deduct any house points for whatever we do," he grinned. "And yes, especially Slytherin."
"Not true, according to your dad." Teddy said, "Remember all the stories of them adding extra points in his first year? But you're right that it won't matter for us anyways. If we don't come in first there's really no point in having any points." He shrugged, "I'll start looking into spells. I doubt there's very much protection placed them, either."
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