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Friday

11:23pm: hey :)
11:24pm: ...hello.
11:24pm: lol where did you go? I got you a drink
11:25pm: Sorry, I think you have the wrong number.
11:26pm: haha no it’s the guy with blue hair from the bar. we only met like 5 mins ago. I will be heartbroken if you forgot me already!
11:26pm: Yeah, sorry dude. Definitely wrong number.
11:27pm: what?
11:28pm: The girl you’re looking for gave you the wrong number. Have a good night, man. I need to sleep now.
11:30pm: sorry

Saturday

12:01am: wait why are you sleeping so early? it’s friday night!
12:02am: It’s Saturday now. And still wrong number.
12:02am: no I meant you. how come you aren’t out?

12:27am: hello?
12:27am: Oh my god. Go away.
12:28am: that’s unkind :(
12:28am: I’m sleeping! And I don’t know who you are!
12:28am: I’m teddy
12:29am: I don’t care.
12:30am: you’re kind of cranky
12:30am: A random stranger is texting me at midnight and I have to be up at 5am. Why on earth would I be cranky?
12:31am: lol do you want me to go away?
12:31am: Scroll up. I literally said that.
12:32am: in my defence
12:32am: I'm very drunk
12:33am: That’s a terrible defence.
12:34am: fine. goodnight, cranky stranger who spends their Friday nights sleeping instead of being fun

5:31am: I hope you have a huge hangover today.
5:36am: aw I knew you wanted to talk to me
5:39am: Why are you awake??
5:42am: I haven’t slept yet lol big night
5:49am: That’s insane.
5:51am: lol yeah. why are YOU awake?
5:52am: Work.
5:59am: what? it’s saturday. what do you do?
6:02am: None of your business
6:10am: lol whatever. enjoy your day, cranky pants!

1:22pm: Do you really have blue hair?

4:02pm: sorry I was asleep
4:02pm: yes I do
4:02pm: who is this?
4:06pm: oh wait I remember you! sorry about all that last night/this morning
4:22pm: All good. I’m also sorry for my tired/unkind self. I’m not usually so unpleasant.
4:29pm: nah it's all good. some creep was harassing you. i’d be the same lol
4:30pm: also it wasn’t a girl
4:41pm: Huh?
4:42pm: the person who gave me the wrong/fake number (fake is looking more likely, judging from how very not-charming I remember being). it wasn’t a girl
4:45pm: Oh, right. Cool.
4:47pm: yeah just wanted to clarify
4:49pm: Not really necessary. We don’t know each other.
4:53pm: sure we do. you already know more about me than most people
4:54pm: Do I?
4:56pm: you know my name and that I have blue hair and you know I can’t pull at a bar and have a slight tendency to overshare with strangers
4:59pm: I can’t decide if you sound very sad or vaguely mysterious.
5:03pm: sad, definitely lol
5:03pm: what’s your name?
5:10pm: Why?
5:12pm: we’re getting to know each other
5:14pm: Why?
5:15pm: that’s what you do when you make new friends
5:20pm: We’re not friends.
5:22pm: lol yes we are
5:24pm: You can’t just decide someone is your friend.
5:25pm: why not? how do you make friends?
5:28pm: I don’t.
5:34pm: you don’t have friends? is that why you’re so cranky?
5:36pm: I have plenty of friends but I didn’t make them by just announcing via text that we are mates.
5:37pm: ah, well that’s how I do it, cranky pants. so tell me about yourself.
5:40pm: No. You could be a murderer.
5:40pm: that’s true
5:45pm: No denial?
5:46pm: I could be a lot of things but you’ll never know coz you don’t want to be friends
5:49pm: Well, I could be a fifty four year old creep with bad skin and a comb over.
5:50pm: that’s oddly specific
5:51pm: I can see someone who looks like that right now
5:52pm: lol well i don’t judge so I would still be friends with someone even if they had bad hair and bad skin.
5:56pm: And if they were a creep?
6:00pm: I mean, you haven't asked for nudes yet so i’ve sort of decided you’re not one
6:01pm: That’s foolishly trusting of you.
6:03pm: lol yeah being foolishly trusting is kinda my thing
6:04pm: Okay well this has been fun but I have a thing now and won’t be able to touch my phone for a few hours.
6:05pm: sounds important
6:05pm: are you someone important?
6:06pm: Hah. No.
6:07pm: well have fun. I’m going to the pub to watch the Chelsea/Tottenham game with a mate.
6:08pm: Ah, I see. Hope it’s a good game.
6:09pm: you don’t watch football?
6:10pm: I do. As I said, I have a thing so I can’t watch it on telly tonight.
6:12pm: I’ll let you know how it goes
6:12pm: Haha. Okay, thanks.

7:59pm: YOU ARE MISSING AN INSANE GAME OMG
8:00pm: THERE IS SO MUCH TENSION ON THE FIELD RIGHT NOW
8:10pm: I CAN'T
8:12pm: MCMANUS IS SUCH A CUNT
8:13pm: WHOOPS SORRY I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT WORD
832pm: I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS THOUGH, MYSTERY FRIEND. SO. MANY. FEELINGS.
8:35pm: IF JACKSON DOESN'T GET RED CARDED IM DONE
8:39pm: FUCK
8:40pm: OMG
8:45pm: HOLY SHIT
8:47pm: okay I’m done
8:48pm: JESUS CHRIST CRANKY PANTS
8:48pm: THERE WAS A FIGHT BETWEEN MCMANUS AND LEOPOLD
8:49pm: okay now I'm done
9:30pm: my team lost
9:31pm: I’m fine
9:32pm: I'm not sobbing into my pint
9:32pm: that would be sad and not mysterious of me at all
9:34pm: I hope your thing is fun!

10:52pm: My thing was a lot of fun, thanks.
10:52pm: Sorry your team lost.
10:53pm: McManus is a bit of a cunt, though. I agree.
10:53pm: Shit, don’t repeat that.
10:56pm: ayyyyyyyyyy cranky pants! How you doing?
10:56pm: nah I’d never repeat anything you say! friends keep secrets!
10:59pm: Thanks.
11:01pm: you don’t sound very sorry about my team losing though.
11:03pm: Ah, yeah. Well to be honest I’m more of a Chelsea fan myself so I was pretty happy with the result tonight.
11:04pm: omg
11:04pm: I’m reevaluating this whole friendship
11:06pm: Take your time. We go such a long way back, after all.
11:07pm: wait wait wait what
11:07pm: my head is spinning
11:07pm: you shared something about yourself AND you made a joke?!
11:08pm: is this really cranky pants or did someone kidnap you?
11:08pm: text three dots if you need help
11:08pm: text an eggplant emoji if they’ve got you all bound and tied up
11:08pm: that sounded dirtier than it was meant to
11:10pm: How could I text if I was tied up?
11:12pm: I bet I could do it
11:12pm: I’m very impressive
11:12pm: I can’t tell you all my secrets at once though
11:14pm: What are you doing tonight? I’m surprised you weren’t in bed at 730 after watching jeopardy and eating a microwave dinner
11:18pm: Well, I am fifty four, after all. What do you expect?
11:19pm: lol. Stop making jokes. you are ruining the image I have of you in my head.
11:22pm: What does the image look like?
11:23pm: It's like
11:23pm: An unsmiling, genderless blob. It’s wearing a Chelsea jersey, though. Actually it's kind of smirking smugly every time it makes a joke now. It changes as I learn things about you.
11:25pm: Surprisingly accurate.
11:26pm: I’m a guy, by the way. I shouldn’t have assumed you knew that.
11:27pm: I try never to assume
11:27pm: and hey I just realised I know 2 more things about you
11:30pm: Two?
11:35pm: yeah- you’re a dude and you’re not homophobic. You didn’t stop texting me after I said I was trying to pick up a guy last night. 50 friendship points to you. you’re already better than half the mates I used to have
11:38pm: Oh, right. Yeah. Definitely not homophobic.
11:39pm: Though you haven’t given me much choice in the whole texting matter, to be honest. You’re relentless.
11:39pm: Sorry about your mates. What are friendship points?
11:42pm: Don't be sorry. I’m not. And idk what they are. I just made them up
11:42pm: but now you have 50 of them
11:42pm: if you get to 1000 you get a prize
11:44pm: I’ll keep it in mind. I do like to win.
11:45pm: Headed to bed. These exchanges have been strange and mildly intriguing. Goodnight, Teddy with blue hair.
11:51pm: goodnight future best friend ily!
11:52pm: Oh my god.

Sunday

12:32pm: Do you like Star Wars?
12:35pm: I have no strong feelings about it, positive or negative.
12:37pm: That’s not helpful
12:37pm: I’m trying to prove a point
12:40pm: What point could you possibly be trying to prove?
12:42pm: my best friend is being difficult
12:43pm: so I’m trying to prove her wrong
12:43pm: she thinks phantom menace is the best movie in the whole franchise series
12:43pm: wtf right? who even liked that one??
12:52pm: Well, I’m on your side.
12:53pm: thank you!
12:54pm: I’ve never technically seen any of them but I’m attempting to be supportive.
12:55pm: what?
12:57pm: What?
12:58pm: you’ve never seen star wars????????
12:58pm: do you mean just the newer ones???
1:00pm: I haven’t seen any of them. I don’t have a lot of time for movies. My schedule is usually pretty crazy.
1:03pm: I am so confused
1:03pm: no time for movies?!?!?!
1:04pm: what do you even do for fun?
1:10pm: I’m very active. I like to exercise and play sports.
1:12pm: gross
1:14pm: Did you just call me gross?
1:15pm: you exercise for fun. Idk how else to respond to that
1:20pm: I’m wildly offended.
1:23pm: so am I. I do not approve of your lifestyle
1:30pm: Don’t joke about that.
1:33pm: what?
1:34pm: Nothing.
1:34pm: So how is proving your best friend wrong going?
1:40pm: UGH she’s impossible
1:40pm: I think she’s just trying to rile me up
1:40pm: its working though
1:40pm: I stopped texting her
1:41pm: we have movie nights every sunday night and I really wanted to start rewatching Star Wars
1:41pm: but she’s being like this
1:41pm: because she's the worst
1:42pm: wait scratch that. she just texted and said she is bringing cake home after work
1:42pm: all is forgiven
1:45pm: You really aren’t scared to double text, are you?
1:51pm: lol nah. If I wanna talk to someone I just do it
1:52pm: And then there’s the foolishly trusting thing, of course.
1:55pm: lol yeah
1:58pm: what are your plans tonight anyway?
2:11pm: I’m about to go for a run. I’m also supposed to go to my Gran’s for dinner tonight. It’s my own Sunday tradition with my family.
2:13pm: you don’t sound excited to see them
2:15pm: It’s fine.
2:16pm: but…?
2:18pm: Headed out, now. Want to get in at least ten miles before it starts to storm.
2:20pm: very smooth change of subject. okay I’ll leave it.
2:22pm: if you’re expecting a storm does that mean you're in London too?
2:23pm: that’s where I live
2:24pm: please don't be a murderer lol

7:39pm: I am in London, yes. You’re giving too much away, though. I’m sure there aren’t many Teddys with blue hair in London.
7:42pm: let's make a pact
7:42pm: let’s both agree we never murder the other
7:43pm: or kidnap or anything else terrible
7:43pm: even though I know basically nothing about you
7:43pm: except that you exercise for fun
7:44: You really can’t forget that, can you?
7:45pm: I wish I could. It makes me sad for you. I thought about you running sadly all afternoon.
7:46pm: I’m touched. But I only ended up going for 8 miles so it didn’t take me long.
7:47pm: “only”
7:47pm: Haha. So can you define what would be considered terrible?
7:48pm: why? what are you planning?
7:48pm: Nothing but I think it’s important to clarify these points. Especially if we’re going to be friends.
7:49pm: omg
7:49pm: :) :) :)
7:49pm: I knew I would win you over
7:49pm: was it my charming personality that did it?
7:50pm: I didn’t say we were yet.
7:51pm: potato, potahto.
7:51pm: wait what happened to family dinner?
7:52pm: I’m there now.
7:53pm: ah. going well then? You’re replying extra fast tonight so must be really enjoying their company.
7:54pm: I love my family, but they’re
7:54pm: a lot
7:55pm: like, they’re full on?
7:56pm: Well yes, but also, there are literally a lot of them. It’s very chaotic.
7:57pm: you don't like that?
7:58pm: It’s just hard at the moment. There is some tension between my father and I.
7:59pm: I’m sorry
8:00pm: It’s fine. A lot of it is my fault because I struggle to communicate.
8:01pm: what?? you?? but you’re so open and willing to share so much???
8:02pm: Very funny.
8:02pm: He just has
8:02pm: certain expectations of me
8:03pm: and I know I can’t live up to them.
8:03pm: We used to be close but now there is this huge distance between us.
8:03pm: Fuck, this is why I don’t drink. Please disregard all of that. Three beers and I’m pouring my heart out, Jesus Christ.
8:04pm: I will not disregard and as your future best friend I want you to know I have your back, and I have no expectations of you of any kind. you can be whoever or whatever you want to when you talk to me.
8:05pm: except a murderer. that’s a hard limit for me.
8:07pm: That is honestly one of the nicest things anyone has said to me.
8:07pm: Talking to you is very refreshing.
8:07pm: Fifty friendship points to you.
8:08pm: hooray! I have to go, I’m watching star wars and my best friend is getting mad that I’m on my phone.
8:08pm: I hope your night improves.
8:10pm: Thanks, Teddy with blue hair from London.
8:11pm: no worries, male blob wearing a Chelsea jersey and a smug grin who is probably out for a run in London or doing something else gross right now.
8:12pm: I’m rolling my eyes at you.

8:22pm: FYI. My name is James :)

Chapter Text

Monday

7:30am: JAMES! I know your name! and it only took me two days to get it out of you
7:31am: this is progress, my friend
7:55am: I’m headed to work. you probably don't care because the weekend bubble is over lol but anyway I hope you have a nice day

9:14am: What’s a weekend bubble?
9:20am: you know like, how everything feels different on a weekend compared to a weekday?
9:21am: especially at night
9:21am: it feels like anything is possible
9:21am: there’s nothing that can stop you from living the life you want
9:22am: reality is different on a Friday night compared to a Monday morning
9:24am: I like that.
9:25am: But did you really think I would stop talking to you once the weekend was done?
9:26am: that’s the usual pattern lol
9:27am: What do you mean?
9:30am: lol nah nothing
9:30am: you out being gross?
9:31am: I’m not running, no. I’m still in bed. I have the day off
9:31am: (and nice avoidance).
9:40am: lol thanks
9:41am: omg
9:41am: I swear to god this is true
9:41am: a guy just walked in the store
9:41am: wearing a fucking Chelsea jersey
9:41am: took one look at me in my Tottenham jersey
9:42am: and walked out again
9:42am: your people are the worst
9:45am: What do you mean, my people?
9:46am: Chelsea fans. That’s who you said you went for, right?
9:48am: Oh, right. Yeah, that’s who I like to see win every week, definitely.
9:48am: What kind of store do you work in?
9:50am: weren’t you the one who warned me about telling too much?
9:51am: you could find me in two seconds if you knew where I worked
9:53am: Haha, yeah okay, that’s fair. For the record though, I won’t look for you if you don’t want me to.
9:55am: ohhh. intriguing idea, James from London. let’s do that, then. if we’re going to continue on this delightful path to best friendship, let’s agree to get to know one another this way, and not use the bits and pieces we learn to find each other on social media or anywhere else.
9:57am: Well, I do hate social media.
9:57am: I’m in.
9:59am: :)
10:01am: Shouldn’t you do some work?
10:02am: shouldn’t you get out of bed?
10:02am: I am.
10:03am: prove it
10:04am:

10:04am: and excuse me but you didn’t wake up until four on Saturday afternoon.
10:08am: that’s your room!!!????!?!?
10:08am: I have so many questions omg
10:08am: you’re a musician??? what are you reading?? if you don’t watch movies why do you have a charlie chaplin poster??
10:11am: Jesus, okay.
10:11am: I’m not much of a musician, no. I wanted to be, a long time ago but I had a different career path to follow. Now I just play whenever I can. I’m rubbish, though.
10:12am: I’m reading a novel about Catherine of Aragon. Historical Fiction is my jam.
10:12am: When I was a kid, my dad and I used to watch a lot of old movies together. It was kind of our thing. He gave me that poster when I was about 11. I guess I just like the memories that go with it.
10:16am: this is so much information, I am reeling
10:16am: honestly I am kind of stuck on the fact you read historical fiction. that might be my favourite thing about you
10:20am: That is probably the most boring thing about me.
10:22am: I disagree.
10:24am: Well, we already know your judgement is questionable - you think exercise is gross.
10:25am: only because it is
10:26am: Whatever you say, Teddy with blue hair.
10:28am: also, it seems like a good time to mention I’m a musician
10:30am: Really?? What do you play?
10:33am: guitar, mainly, but I’ve taught myself drums, piano, violin and I recently started watching YouTube videos on how to play the flute. It’s a lot harder than it looks so it’s taking me a while.
10:35am: You taught YOURSELF?
10:35am: Teddy, that’s really impressive.
10:37am: nah, it’s not a big deal or anything. I just enjoy music
10:40am: You must be really talented.
10:42am: :)
10:43am: I need to take a shower and head out. Have a nice day at your mystery shop!
10:46am: lol thanks ttyl

Tuesday

2:46pm: So, I hate to do this
2:46pm: but I’m watching the Phantom Menace and honestly, it’s not so bad.
3:06pm: omg
3:06pm: please tell me you aren't just watching that one with NO CONTEXT ABOUT THE OTHERS??!!
3:08pm: What do you mean? This is Episode One, isn’t it?
3:09pm: YES but you DON’T watch it from 1, you have to start with 4! It goes 4,5,6, and THEN 1!
3:11pm: That’s absurd! Why would I watch them out of order??
3:12pm: omg james. I just
3:12pm: I cannot
3:13pm: I simply cannot
3:16pm: You’re such a dork.
3:18pm: if it’s DORKY to understand and pay respect to the CORRECT watching order of the greatest series ever made, then SO BE IT
3:20pm: I love how not at all dramatic you are.
3:25pm: stop making jokes I am very cross with you right now
3:26pm: Is this our first fight??
3:27pm: yes. I’m revoking 2 of your friendship points
3:29pm: How could you!?
3:31pm: you did this to yourself
3:32pm: for real though
3:32pm: I’m so happy you're watching! you are a part of star wars now, you’re FINALLY LIVING
3:34pm: Maybe this is what I was missing all along.
3:54pm: ummm
3:55pm: so, can I ask
3:55pm: why you decided to watch it?
3:57pm: I guess I was intrigued? It seemed like such a big deal to you so I wanted to see what it was all about.
3:58pm: I’m sorry if that’s weird.
4:00pm: no it’s not
4:01pm: it's like
4:01pm: really nice of you
4:01pm: it's just unexpected
4:03pm: Well, I've been to know to do nice things on occasion.
4:03pm: Plus, that’s what weird text strangers do, right?
4:05pm: haha yeah I guess they do
4:05pm: thank you :)
4:06pm :)
4:08pm: you cant tell me what you think until you see more of them though. you need the full experience before you form any concrete opinions 
4:10pm: Haha, well I better save your number then
4:11pm: Done, Teddy with blue hair
4:12pm:  is that what i'm saved as??
4:12pm: youre james from london in my phone
4:14pm: I am honoured to be given a place in your contacts list.
4:14pm: Unless you're a murderer or serial killer.
4:14pm: If that's the case, I'm less happy about it
4:16pm: well now that you mention it

4:38pm: ??
4:39pm: You can't just say that and then disappear!

4:51pm: sorry sorry hahaha
4:51pm: my phone died and I had to go find Vic's but I don't think it's charging properly. the cord is all frayed and dodgy
4:51pm: I can confirm I am neither of those things though! I was just messing with you. terrible timing for my battery to go flat
4:52pm: Haha, yeah. Where is your charger?
4:54pm: couch monster got it
4:55pm: Sorry, what?
4:57pm: right sorry you don't know what i'm talking about lol. me and Vic (she's my roommate/best friend) have this couch and we are pretty much convinced that there is some kind of monster that lives down the back of it who eats our things because when things disappear into it, they never show up again 
4:58pm: You don't try to find them?
5:00pm: um are you crazy there's a monster down there, James. i'm not sticking my hand down the back of any monster infested couch
5:02pm: Right, obviously. How absurd of me to suggest.
5:04pm: :P
5:05pm: i'm just heading out for drinks with one of the lads. talk later!
5:06pm: Don't get eaten by any couch monsters.

Wednesday

10:31am: I’m quitting 
10:56am: Your job? Did something happen?
11:01am: lol no not my job, I love my job
11:01am: avocados
11:10am: You’re quitting avocados?
11:12am: I have to do it, James from London. It’s a protest. do you know how expensive they are?? I paid nearly 4 pounds for one this morning at the grocers. For ONE. it is OUTRAGEOUS and I won't stand for it.
11:15am: I’ve never had an avocado.
11:17am: sometimes when you talk, I wonder if you’re even a real person
11:18am: how have you never had avocado?? what do you have on toast??
11:25am: Beans, usually. Protein.
11:28am: god, be more english
11:35am: Haha, I’m sorry?
11:36am: it’s fine. you have me now to help you.
11:37am: So how will you protest? Will you make a cardboard sign? Start a petition?
11:40am: honestly, I was just going to not buy them next week. I probably will again the week after when I miss them
11:42am: Solid plan. The supermarket chains will absolutely notice that missing four pounds when they work out their earnings next week.
11:44am: you’re teasing me
11:44am: but i’ll let it slide
11:44am: because you have lived a deprived, avocadoless life
11:48am: I won’t buy any next week either, as my way of supporting you.
11:49am: you wouldn't have anyway!
11:50am: :P
11:50am: Gotta run, I have work stuff. Have a nice day!

9:32pm: I can’t stand my dad right now.
9:32pm: “Try a little harder.”
9:33pm: I’m so fucking angry.
9:33pm: How much harder can I fucking try??
9:33pm: Nothing I do will ever be enough for him.
9:34pm: Maybe this isn’t even what I want, you know? Maybe there’s more I want to do. Maybe there’s something else!
9:34pm: I just
9:34pm: I don’t know what else I can do.

10:27pm: fuck, james, I’m sorry. my phone was charging.
10:27pm: are you okay??

10:46pm: james? I’m here if you need me

11:01pm: Fucking hell. I shouldn’t have sent that. Forget I said any of that.
11:02pm: are you okay??
11:03pm: Delete the messages.
11:04pm: what??
11:05pm: You have to delete what I just sent you.
11:05pm: why? what's going on james? are you alright?
11:06pm: Please, Teddy. Just get rid of them. Swear to me you won’t show anyone.
11:06pm: of course I won’t. I went through and deleted the ones you sent, okay?
11:07pm: talk to me. you’re freaking out. what’s happening?
11:09pm: I can't.
11:09pm: I’m not
11:10pm: you’re not what?
11:12pm: I just can’t have it getting out that me and my dad fight.
11:13pm: I mean, kids and parents fight, right? I’ve heard that’s a normal thing
11:14pm: You don’t get it.
11:14pm: I’m trying to
11:15pm: There are things I can’t tell you about my life
11:15pm: okay…
11:16pm: so you can’t tell me some things
11:16pm: that’s okay. that’s fine
11:16pm: just tell me if you’re alright
11:17pm: I’m a little tipsy to be honest.
11:18pm: I’m not really supposed to drink.
11:18pm: Don’t tell anyone.
11:19pm: I won’t James. I promise. You can trust me
11:21pm: It’s so weird how much I believe that.
11:22pm: I don’t even know you.
11:22pm: You could literally be anyone.
11:23pm: sure you do. I’m Teddy with blue hair
11:24pm: Yeah
11:24pm: And I’m James from London
11:25pm: and we are going to be the best of friends!
11:26pm: I’m okay, I think.
11:26pm: I probably overreacted.
11:26pm: I’m sorry.
11:27pm: please don’t apologise. you’re allowed to feel what you feel. Don’t ever downplay it because you think someone else might not like it
11:27pm: i’m sorry things are tough with your dad. I hope you guys can figure it out
11:28pm: It’s always easier to talk to someone by text or online, especially when you’ve never met them
11:30pm: You’re so much smarter than I am, Teddy with blue hair
11:31pm: lol says the guy who just freaked out tipsy and still managed to use proper punctuation the whole time
11:32pm: I hope I haven’t ruined your night.
11:33pm. nah. i’ve just been reading.
11:34pm: What are you reading?
11:36pm:

11:37pm: Omg!
11:38pm: now who’s the weird one XD
11:40pm: Still me probably.
11:40pm: I can’t believe you’re reading that.
11:41pm: I’m so happy right now.
11:41pm: I don't know what you know about her but get ready for lots of sad feelings at the end. 
11:41pm: Ahh, this is great.
11:42pm: well you watched star wars, it’s only fair :)
11:43pm: i’m glad I could cheer you up a little!
11:44pm: Thank you.
11:45pm: you are very welcome
11:46pm: I might head to bed. Thanks for letting me vent. I don't get to very often.
11:46pm: always here if you need to vent or rant or text furiously. i'm a good listener
11:46pm: listener? reader? idk. you get my point
11:47pm: I do. Enjoy the book. Night :)
11:48pm: good night, james from londong :)
11:48pm: LONDON
11:48pm: jfc

Chapter Text

Thursday

5:34am: I regret everything. My head is killing me. 
5:36am: I’d also like to apologise for my behaviour last night. It was really inappropriate. 

8:31am: dude don't go all formal on me lol it’s totally fine, I get it
8:32am: how’s your head now?
8:32am: and why the fuck were you awake at 530 in the morning again????
8:42am: I’m travelling for work today. We have an event tomorrow and I had to meet everyone at six thirty for the bus.
8:42am: My head feels like it was run over by a herd of angry cows (I can see cows out the bus window right now). I deserve it. It was really idiotic to drink that much.
8:45am: haha cows omg what do you do for work? are you a farmer?
8:46am: and it wasn’t idiotic. you were upset. It happens. don’t beat yourself up over it too much.
8:48am: I’m not a farmer hahaha. I don’t think I could work on a farm. I have a phobia of sheep.
8:49am: what????????
8:51am: There was an incident when I was younger
8:51am: I was chased and run over by one.
8:52am: It was very traumatic.
9:00am: HAHAHAHA WHAT
9:01am: run over by a sheep
9:01am: omg I can’t breathe
9:05am: Don’t laugh!
9:06am: It scarred me for life.
9:06am: Not physically, but like, emotionally.
9:06am: Mentally.
9:07am: I’m troubled, Teddy with blue hair, and my head hurts so you can’t make fun of me.
9:10am: oh god hahaha what a great start to my morning
9:11am: I’m going into a lesson now but just know that I will be thinking about this all day 
9:11am: also, make sure you drink water and take aspirin. dont suffer for the sake of it.

8:29pm: How you doing?
8:35pm: Genuine question or cheesey Joey Tribbiani pick up line?
8:37pm: you watch friends??
8:39pm: Everyone watches Friends, Teddy with blue hair.
8:42pm: haha true, but you're so serious. I can’t imagine you watching sitcoms
8:45pm: It’s my comfort show. I like to watch it when I’m sick or feeling down.
8:46pm: It’s also sort of funny you think I’m serious. My dad is forever telling me I need to be more serious about my life.
8:50pm: I mean, I don’t know you that well but you seem pretty serious. Compared to me anyway haha you get up before the sun does and you exercise for fun
8:50pm: you didn’t answer me, by the way
8:55pm: Oh, sorry. Yeah, I’m fine. Took your advice and hydrated like crazy all day.
8:57pm: that’s good! any sheep related dramas?
8:59pm: NO!
9:00pm: Don’t remind me of that right before bed, god.
9:00pm: I’ll have nightmares.
9:00pm: I never should have told you that. I feel like I’ll never hear the end of it.
9:03pm: aw, look how well you already know me
9:05pm: I meant to ask
9:05pm: You said earlier you were heading into a lesson.
9:05pm: Are you at uni?
9:06pm: nah, high school
9:07pm: WHAT????
9:08pm: hahahah I’m kidding lol omg
9:09pm: That is the LEAST FUNNY thing in the world, Jesus Christ.
9:10pm: I disagree, I’m laughing so hard right now
9:12pm: I get the impression you’re the kind of person who laughs at your own jokes a lot.
9:13pm: well, yeah. when you’re this funny you can’t really help it
9:15pm: So, uni then?
9:17pm: ah, no. I actually teach music
9:18pm: What? Really??
9:20pm: yeah, at the shop. we do lessons for kids
9:22pm: You have blue hair and a couch monster and laugh at your own jokes and you teach music to little kids.
9:25pm: yes, correct
9:25pm: a very accurate summary. I should put that as my bio on my dating profile
9:26pm: Ooh, and you online date?
9:27pm: lol well no, but i’ll keep that in mind in case I ever do
9:28pm: Vic gets me to look through Tinder with her sometimes and seeing the shit she gets sent is enough to turn me off wanting to get on those apps
9:30pm: Like, sleazy stuff?
9:34pm: yeah, SO sleazy. Vic is totally old school beautiful, like Rita Hayworth or Natalie Wood, and guys get so fucking stupid when they try to talk to her and the stuff she gets sent makes me so angry. I hate anyone thinking they can talk to her like that
9:36pm: Yeah, I don’t use those apps but I’ve heard nothing but gross things from my mates who do.
9:37pm: It sounds like you and Vic are close.
9:40pm: yeah we are
9:41pm: she’s been my best friend since we met at school years ago
9:41pm: she’s basically my family
9:43pm: It’s great you have someone like that in your life.
9:45pm: yeah. I mean don’t get me wrong - we have some major issues and one day she’ll probably realise I’m not worth the trouble and move out lol
9:47pm: I’m sure that’s not going to happen.
9:49pm: ah, who knows. I am a lot of work
9:50pm: You seem very easy going.
9:52pm: lol 
9:53pm: I need to sleep. night.
9:55pm: Oh, yeah okay. Night. 

Friday

10:42pm: ayyyyyyyyyyy james from london
10:42pm: hppy anniversy
10:43pm: happy annicvery
10:43pm: anniversary 
10:43pm: lolololol
10:56pm: Haha, what?
10:59pm: it’s our one week frienshipiversary!!
11:01pm: Oh, wow haha. Well happy one week frienshipiversary to you too!
11:02pm: It sounds like you’re out celebrating.
11:05pm: i ammmmmmmmm
11:06pm: i’m out dancing
11:06pm: where are you???
11:07pm: I just got back to my hotel. Work thing ran long tonight. I’m heading home early tomorrow.
11:08pm: Are you out with Vic?
11:10pm: nahhhhhh
11:10pm: just me :D
11:10pm: when its been, like, a hard day i dont like to tell her
11:10pm: she worries
11:12pm: Are you okay?
11:14pm: omg james from london of course I am. I am always okay
11:15pm i just dropped my phone lololol
11:16pm: Do you have a way home?
11:19pm: some dude offered to help me home but he had very suspicious eyebrows
11:20pm: Maybe don't go with him, yeah?
11:20pm: Maybe you should call Vic to pick you up and take you home.
11:23pm: lol i’m not going home I am living the dream
11:25pm: You sound very drunk, though. Can you have some water at least?
11:27pm: oh james you big worrier
11:28pm: Come on, just one glass. Please?
11:29pm: hahaha finnnnnnne
11:31pm: 

11:32pm: Good. Are you drinking it?
11:34pm: of course
11:35pm: i dont feel ver y good
11:35pm: :(
11:36pm: Why don’t you call Vic?
11:37pm: i cant james
11:37pm: its so compliacated
11:37pm: plz dont make me call her she is visiting her parents which never happens and she will be really worriedd
11:39pm: Okay. Can you tell me what club you’re at?
11:41pm: Teddy?
11:43pm: I had to ask someone lololol.
11:43pm: gemini
11:44pm: Okay, yeah I know where that is.
11:45pm: I ordered you a car.
11:45pm: It’s going to be out the front of the club in about five minutes.
11:46pm: You don’t have to use it if you don’t want to but the driver works for me and you can trust him to take you home. You just have to give him your address.
11:47pm: you ordered me car lol
11:47pm: whaqt does that mean
11:48pm: There is a black SUV about to pull up outside the club. The driver is a guy called Gavin. He works for me. He’ll wait as long as you need him to but if you don’t want to go with him, that’s fine too. I just want to make sure you get home safe though I totally get that this might be weird.
11:50pm. omg i can see the car
11:50pm: should i get in lol
11:50pm: this is so weird lol who even are you
11:51pm: who just has a driver to call on 
11:52pm: I’m sorry if I’m being presumptuous. You said you didn’t feel good and you seem really drunk and I was just worried about you getting home. It’s completely up to you if you let Gavin drive you home, okay? But it would be good if you could keep texting me so I know you’re okay.
11:53pm: omg gavin is right here 
11:53pm: hes talking to me
11:53pm: he said
11:53pm: evening sir are you jamesss friend teddy?
11:54pm: he had very kind eyes like a labrador 
11:55pm: Oh my god, don’t tell him that
11:55pm: too late i did he laughed and now i am in his car
11:55pm: james you could be a murdererer and gavin could be in on it god plz dont have him kill me i am so not in the mood for that tonight
11:56pm: I promise there will be no murdering or any other funny business.
11:57pm: funny business lol you talk so proper sometimes
11:57pm: like a script
11:58pm: like you arent saying what you want to say
11:58pm: totes get it though
11:58pm like if we all said what we meant and feel, what a depresing fucking world hahahah for me it would be anyway
11:58pm: this car is so fancy is it yors???
11:59pm: It’s Gavin’s car. He’s my driver.
12:02am: omg he asked if I wanted music on
12:02am: and i asked what he has
12:02am: and he said i can play anything yo ulike sir
12:02am: and i asked for something we could sing to together
12:03am: Gavin doesn't sing.
12:04am: the fuck he doesnt 
12:04am: he put on the horses
12:05am: Daryl Braithwaite?
12:05am: daryl fucking bathriawat
12:06am: this is the ULTIMATE SINGSALONG SONG JAMES
12:06am GAVIN IS A GENIUS

12:06am i love him he is the best
12:07am: he is stopping for burgers coz i asked him to
12:07am: will he just do whatever I ask???? this is great i want hi mto be my new best friend
12:08am: Yeah, he is a great friend. Have water, yeah? Gavin should have some cold bottles in the front.
12:09am: i found them, im in teh front seat. he asked if i wanted to sit in the back and i was like nahhhhh gavvy gav i wanna sit with you up front
12:09am: do you sit in the back????
12:09am: you fucken snob hahahah
12:09am: Haha, the tinting is darker on the back windows.
12:10am: ooooh
12:10am: are you a spy
12:11am: Nope, I’m not that interesting. I’m just a boring snob.
12:13am: aw nah you’re not boring at all, you are very intrigung
12:14am: Intriguing?
12:15am: YEP

12:22am: You okay?
12:22am: YES sorry i was asking gavvy gav questions
12:23am: did you know he has FIVE DFAUGHTERS
12:23am: fucking five and four of them are teenagers
12:24am: Haha yes, I did know that. They’re lovely girls.
12:25am: his wife is called helen
12:26am: fuck he like, loves her so fucking much
12:26am: you can totes tell
12:26am: he is so proud of her. he is telling me all about her
12:27am: its really fucking beautiful man
12:27am: thats what i want you know
12:27am: but nahhhh hahaha thats not bloody likely
12:28am: I’m outside my flat!
12:29am: Is Gavin helping you in?
12:32am: hah yeah he insisted and then i hugged him and he laughed and i said lets hang soon and he said yeah maybe and now i think we are best friends
12:33am: You make friends so easily.
12:34am: hahhahaha no way, i am a disaster of a human being
12:35am: I know the feeling.
12:35am: You in bed?
12:37am: yahhhhhhhhhhh 
12:37am: i have water too before you lecture me
12:38am: Good. 
12:40am: im so sorry man
12:41am: What, why?
12:42am: im so sorry a sheep ran you over
12:42am: and that i laughed
12:42am: and that im laughing now
12:43am: Haha, it's fine, I promise. Get some sleep, yeah?
12:44am: yep okay i am half asleep already lol thansk for gavin i love him so much
12:45am: I’m glad I could help. And that you’re okay!
12:55am: Teddy?

1:00am: Sweet dreams. Hope you’re okay when you wake up.

Chapter Text

Saturday

11:16am: Hey, you okay?
11:24am: shhhhhh why are you texting so loudly
11:30am: That good, huh?
11:34am: everything hurts
11:35am: there’s half a burger on my nightstand 
11:36am: I just tried to take a drink of some very fancy looking water while I was lying down and spilled it everywhere
11:36am: I don’t even care, I’m not getting up
11:36am: this is my life now
11:38am: Haha, oh dear.
11:39am: Is Vic home yet to help you?
11:41am: nah she’s out til Monday
11:42am: how did you know she wasn’t home?
11:43am: You obviously haven’t read back over our texts last night.
11:44am: god no I make a point of never reading my drunk texts. If I don’t acknowledge them they never happened.
11:45am: Ignorance is bliss
11:46am: Haha, okay.
11:46am: Well, I hope your headache doesn’t last too long.
11:50am: someone folded my jeans??
11:52am: Probably Gavin
11:53am: Gavin?
11:53am: Omfg
11:53am: Gavin!
11:53am: Oh no
11:54am: It's all coming back
11:54am: Omg you sent a car
11:54am: You have driver called Gavin
11:55am: you’re a spy!
11:55am: gavvy gav!
11:57am: He called me this morning. He liked you a lot. Thought you were funny.
11:59am: omg I’m so sorry. You didn’t have to help me last night.
12:04pm: Nah, honestly man, it’s fine. Happy to help.
12:06pm: I can’t believe I got into a car with a random bloke called Gavin who was sent by a random bloke I’ve been texting for a week
12:08pm: Better than leaving with a bloke with suspicious eyebrows.
12:10pm: omg I remember him! you don’t understand! His eyebrows both looked like Tom Selleck’s moustache!
12:12pm: Haha, wow.
12:13pm: seriously though. It was really decent of you to do that. I appreciate it, and I’m sorry for, like
12:13pm: I’m gesturing vaguely to all of me right now
12:13pm: I’m apologising for all of me 
12:14pm: It’s honestly fine.
12:15pm: My mum always says I have have this incurable need to help people, even if the help's not wanted. Says I get it from my dad. So yeah, I’m the one who’s sorry if I
overstepped.
12:17pm: don’t ever apologise for sending Gavin into my life
12:18pm: I just found photos of he and I in the car
12:18pm: omg how embarrassing hahaha 
12:18pm: okay
12:19pm: I am going to roll out of my very wet bed and have a shower and then I’m going to watch star wars for the rest of the day wrapped in my blankets on the couch
12:20pm: Ooh nice plan.
12:22pm: I hope your day is much less pathetic
12:22pm: Got back to my flat a little while ago. I’ve just been cleaning because I have no work stuff today.
12:23pm: no spy stuff, you mean
12:24pm: Haha, definitely not a spy.
12:26pm: I might actually watch the next Star Wars movie too, who knows.
12:28pm: yesssss do it
12:28pm: You’re not going to lecture me on the proper watching order?
12:30pm: too hungover
12:31pm: raincheck
12:31pm: we will definitely come back to this though
12:33pm: Haha, okay. 

Monday

10:16am: I caved
10:17am:

10:46am: Oh dude, you were going so well. Five whole days of protesting.
10:48am: maybe I should grow my own avocados
10:49am: is gardening hard?
10:49am: surely not. It’s just putting seeds in dirt and watering them right? I could grow an avocado tree
10:51am: Do avocados grow on trees?
10:52am: oh. I have no idea actually
10:52am: an avocado shrub?
10:53am: That doesn’t sound right either.
10:53am: it’s kind of like they just… pop into existence
10:55am:

10:59am: fifteen years to start growing fruit???
11:00am: I don’t have that kind of time
11:00am: I want my avo toast now
11:02am: Haha, you’re funny.
11:03am: How was the rest of your weekend? Are you teaching the future musicians of the world today?
11:12am: lol I have a couple of lessons later on. most kids I work with are scheduled for after school.
11:13am: sunday was blah. had to help my cousin move. he and his wife just split and I made the mistake of making my six monthly check-in call with him on saturday night and somehow got roped into helping.
11:15am: Unlucky. Moving is the worst.
11:15am: Sucks about your cousin getting divorced though.
11:17am: haha nah they are both fine. It was kind of like an arranged marriage thing? like, they’ve known each other since they were kids and their parents were like those high society snob types and so they were “promised” to each other or some garbage. He says they’re on great terms still. I think they finally just got sick of the charade
11:18am: also he’s gay, which has been frowned on by his family since he was a kid. I’m kind of proud of him?? Like, he’s finally stood up to them and said this is who I am, just fucking deal with it
11:21am: Oh wow, yeah, good on him. That’s a big deal.
11:21am: So, you don’t talk to him much then? Only every six months?
11:24am: ah, yeah I am a bad cousin
11:24am: I just
11:24am: idk I keep my distance I guess
11:24am: I don’t even mean to
11:25am: but it’s like
11:25am: getting close to people means opening up to them and that just
11:25am: ugh i’d rather go running
11:26am: haha I must sound like I have so many issues. I swear I’m fine XD
11:27am: Lol, I mean to be honest I kind of already got the impression you were kind of closed off about, you know, feelings and that. Which is fine. I know I’m like that too so I can’t judge.
11:28am: But going back to that high society comment.
11:28am: Is that your way of telling me you’re one of those people??
11:30am: hahahah I have BLUE hair and terrible tattoos. I wouldn’t be allowed in one of their fancy houses
11:31am: so what happened was my cousin’s mum and my gran were sisters, but gran was disowned when she married my pa, coz he was a labourer and her family all thought he was below her or some rubbish
11:31am: so they went off and lived a normal working class life together and were deliriously happy for like a million years of marriage
11:31am: then gran and cousin’s mum made up a few years ago, so that’s how I ended up reconnecting with him
11:32am: and I see him every now and then, though I think he wants to hang out more
11:35am: Oh my god, your full family history, wow.
11:36am: hahaha god sorry. Feelings are a no go but snobby family history I can babble about easily apparently
11:36am: quick tell me something about your family so I don’t feel so stupid
11:39am: I think my parents are considering a divorce. I haven’t told anyone that. I picked up Mum’s phone a few weeks ago to use Google and she’d been researching divorce lawyers.
11:40am: oh shit sorry man! Is that why stuff is weird with your dad?
11:42am: Nah, that’s because of work stuff. I didn’t tell them I’d seen anything but I dunno. Is it weird to be upset by it at this age? Like, surely by twenty one I should be mature enough to deal with something like a divorce, right?
11:43am: You’re only 21???????
11:43am: I imagine it would be pretty natural to be upset by something like that. I'm not good at parent stuff but if you’ve always known them as a couple, anything else would be weird AF
11:45am: Yeah, I’m twenty one. Twenty two next month. Why, how old are you?
11:45am: If you say you’re in high school again I swear to god I will block your number.
11:46am: hahaha omg I forgot how funny that was.
11:46am: i’m 27. I feel old now.
11:47am: I kind of assumed from the way you talk that you would be older than me by at least a little.
11:52am: Nah, you’re not old! Six years difference isn’t so bad.
11:53am: so hang on, this thing with your parents
11:53am: are you okay? like will you talk to them about it?
11:58am: I don’t know. Mum maybe. I mean, Dad might not even know about it. I can’t imagine how hard it will be for them both if it happens and everyone finds out.
12:03pm: like your family and that?
12:05am: Yeah, them and others. There’d be a lot of people interested. I dunno, I just can’t imagine how it would all go down.
12:06am: well luckily for you, you have a pocket friend to talk to about this stuff now who has absolutely no context about any of it and can be a totally unbiased wall in which to vent against
12:10pm: A pocket friend lol I like that.
12:11pm: ALSO HOLD ON! Can we back up to that terrible tattoos comment.
12:11pm: Spill! What do you have??
12:15pm: hahaha oh you caught that
12:16pm: I have five tattoos
12:16pm: all done in very suspect people’s houses during times of peak inebriation
12:16pm: they’re actually not bad quality
12:17pm: but they’re just sort of a random mess
12:18pm: What are they??
12:21pm: haha I can’t just tell you all my secrets, James from London.
12:22pm: maybe one day
12:23pm: I hope so! I don’t have any but I really want one.
12:25pm: I suppose asking what you want would be no use after I refused to tell you anything, right?
12:26pm: :)
12:28pm: haha fair enough

Tuesday

6:32am: So, I’m out for a run at the moment
6:32am: gross
6:32am: What the hell? Were you just sitting there waiting for me to text you?
6:33am: hahaha nah I was texting Vic to make sure she got to work okay - her car has been playing up - and your message popped up
6:33am: and omg, cocky much? People aren’t just sitting around waiting for you to contact them, James
6:33am: Not true - Gavin is.
6:34am: don’t make jokes this early in the morning. I need at least 6 hours written notice to prepare myself for your humour
6:34am: Shush. Anyway listen.
6:34am: you're much bossier at 630 than any other time of the day, did you know that?
6:34am: I’m trying to tell a story!
6:35am: oh is that what this is
6:35am: I thought you were just obnoxiously texting people before sunrise to brag about how much you like to exercise
6:36am: The sun is already up. I saw it rise like twenty minutes ago. It was spectacular.
6:36am: god you’re the worst
6:37am: tell me your damn story before I go back to sleep
6:37am: Well, there’s this little pub on my jogging route, not far from my flat. It stays open basically all night.
6:38am: Oh, shit, is that too descriptive? I hope I haven’t just given too much away about where I live.
6:39am: are you sure you live in london? There are 6000 pubs that match that description, James. Calm down.
6:39am: Well I don’t know! I don’t go out to places like that!
6:39am: you're such a dork
6:40am: YOU'RE a dork.
6:40am: Anyway, it was like an hour or so ago but I stopped to tie my shoe just near this pub, and I saw this couple come stumbling out the door together.
6:41am: impressive effort by mystery couple on a monday night
6:41am: I overheard them talking, right? And they’d just met a few hours ago and she was inviting him back to her place!
6:42am: ….
6:42am: is that the whole story??
6:43am: Well, yeah. I was really surprised.
6:43am: You were surprised by a couple of horny adults hooking up after a night on the piss?
6:44am: They didn’t even know each other!
6:44am: And they were just going to go sleep together!
6:45am: well yeah I mean, that’s what people do, right?
6:45am: granted, it’s been quite a long while for me (tmi? lol) but people get horny and get pissed and they fuck. Why does that surprise you??
6:46am: Because they’re not even in love!
6:47am: omg
6:47am: james idk if you know this
6:47am: but people don’t technically need to be in love to have sex
6:48am: Shut up, I know that.
6:48am: I’m around people constantly who talk about casual sex and whatever.
6:48am: But if you’re going to do that with someone
6:49am: you should be.
6:49am: Should be what?
6:50am: In love with them.
6:50am: omg
6:51am: Don’t you dare make fun of me.
6:51am: I’m not going to
6:52am: that might be the purest thing I’ve ever heard a grown man say
6:53am: Shut up
6:53am: I just wanted to rant to someone about it.
6:53am: I assumed you’d be asleep and wouldn’t make fun of me until later.
6:54am: awww james
6:54am: I love that you think that way
6:54am: I’m not gonna make fun of you for it
6:55am: Oh. Okay, well. Good. Thanks.
6:56am: just out of curiosity
6:56am: you didn’t chase the couple down and lecture them or anything did you?
6:57am: Thought about it.
6:57am: Decided against it.
6: 57am: hahaha oh god
6:58am: well if you ever do that to some poor unsuspecting couple, please facetime me. that’s a conversation I want to hear.
6:58am: You’re the worst. Go back to sleep.
6:59am: :P

Chapter Text

Tuesday

4:02pm: G, would you mind grabbing some bread on your way?
4:02pm: Shit, sorry. Wrong person.
4:06pm: omg
4:06pm: was that mean for Gavin?
4:06pm: omg James from London
4:06pm: are you having Gavin run errands for you
4:07pm: No.
4:07pm: Maybe.
4:07pm: Only because I had a really long day of work stuff! I’m exhausted!
4:07pm: hahahah
4:08pm: omg you privileged little shit
4:08pm: go get your own bread!
4:09pm: The shop is on his way. It’s not a big deal or anything!
4:09pm: how far is it from your flat?
4:10pm: …
4:11pm: tell me!
4:12pm: Like, a three minute walk.
4:12pm: omg
4:13pm: James from London you get off your arse right now and go get your own bread
4:14pm:  But I had a long day! My legs hurt!
4:14pm: so did Gavin, probably
4:15pm: you could have been there in the time we were texting!
4:16pm: UGH.
4:16pm: don’t you ugh me. Go on!
4:17pm: Alright, alright. I’m going!
4:18pm: good!
 

4:32pm:

4:32pm: I’m half asleep in the bread aisle.
4:34pm: hahaha
4:34pm: but don’t you feel good knowing you didn’t bother Gavin?
4:37pm: No.
4:39pm: I don’t always get him to get me things, just so you know.
4:39pm: I don’t want you to think I’m like that.
4:41pm: surrrrrre
4:41pm: haha nah, I believe you. And I was just teasing. I can’t believe you actually went XD
4:43pm: I can't believe you guilted me into it.
4:43pm: Probably for the best. I was being lazy.
4:45pm: haha. happy to help, I had some free time.
4:46pm: No mini musicians today?
4:47pm: what?
4:48pm: I just meant no lessons today? Coz you have free time?
4:49pm: right lol yeah
4:49pm: nah my 4oclock cancelled. Sick.
4:49pm: second one this week. hoping it’s not going around
4:51pm: Ugh, don’t you dare get sick and pass it on to me.
4:52pm: I’ll make sure I don’t breath on my phone when I text you
4:54pm: Thank you, that’s very thoughtful.
4:59pm: oh! I finished the book by the way! What the actual fuck????
5:01pm: Oh my god, I KNOW. I warned you!
5:03pm: Katherine was so fucking hardcore, and he just fucking did that to her?? I am VERY upset.
5:04pm: Don’t get me started. She’s my favourite of Henry’s wives.
5:06pm: hahaha I love that you even have a favourite
5:07pm: You should read the other books in that series.
5:07pm: If you want, I mean.
5:07pm: You don’t have to, obviously. Not coz I said so.
5:08pm: But if you want to or whatever.
5:08pm: Either way.
5:09pm: lol you’re being weird
5:09pm: Yeah sorry. I’m going to shut up now.
5:10pm: lol you’re a dork
5:11pm: I know.

Wednesday

8:24am: Teddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
8:24am: I’m DYING!
8:24am: You promised you wouldn’t get me sick!
8:25am: UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
8:25am: Everything hurts.
8:25am: I’m quitting life.
8:26am: I’m quitting everything. I can’t.

8:58pm: sorry I was away from my phone
8:58am: are you okay, what’s going on?
9:01am: I am DEATHLY ILL, that’s what’s going on.
9:03am: oh no! Have you seen a doctor?
9:04am: Work are sending over their doctor to assess me at twelve.
9:05am: everytime you tell me something about your job I get more and more confused
9:05am: I might not make it that long.
9:05am: I think Death is at my front door right now.
9:06am: omg you’re so dramatic when you’re sick
9:07am: How dare you. You can’t say that to someone who is dying.
9:08am: is it the flu do you think? or something else?
9:10am: Ugh, I don’t even know.
9:10am: I was feeling a bit off when I woke up at five and then it slowly got worse.
9:11am: I’ve now progressed to being a sixteenth century noblewoman draping myself over a day bed because I’m so distressed.
9:15am: hahahahaha
9:15am: omg
9:15am: I can’t believe you ever called me dramatic
9:15am: I never did
9:17am: 

9:20am: I clearly said NOT AT ALL
9:22am: You were clearly being sarcastic!
9:24am: I can’t believe you’re trying to prove me wrong when I’m DYING.
9:26am: is there someone who can take care of you while you’re so grievously ill? your parents or significant other or something?
9:27am: No, I don’t want them to fuss. Dad will freak out and Mum will worry.
9:27am: And I don’t have a significant other.
9:29am: oh really? Idk why I just assumed you had a girlfriend. Sorry! I guess being a spy doesn’t leave much room for that kind of thing.
9:29am: Definitely no girlfriend.
9:30am: I’m too sick and disgusting to be loved right now anyway.
9:30am: omg lol you big sook
9:30am: are you watching Friends?
9:31am: No.
9:31am: How do you know about that?
9:39am: you told me lol
9:39am: go put it on. it’ll make you feel better
9:42am: Stop bossing me around.
9:43am: you put it on, didn’t you?
9:46am: Shut up.
9:47am: hahaha
9:47am: which episode?
9:50am: The One Where Everybody Finds Out
9:53am: that’s my favourite! Phoebe and Chandler trying to freak each other out is so funny!
9:56am: Yeah, it’s my favourite too. I love the whole Chandler/Monica storyline.
9:58am: which one are you?
10:00am: What do you mean?
10:08am: you know like, how everyone relates to someone on that show? Who would you be?
10:10am: Oh! Hmm.
10:10am: I’ve never thought about it before.
10:10am: I’m not sure. Who are you?
10:15am: Idk janice maybe. Because I’m annoying and nobody likes me hahaha
10:16am: Well, that’s just not true.
10:16am: I think you’re more like Joey, because you’re confident and funny.
10:24am: oh god no haha I am nothing like Joey
10:25am: Chandler then, because you use humour to deflect everything.
10:31am: omg are you psychoanalysing me??
10:32am: Of course not, I’m too sick for that.
10:36am: well, YOU’RE Rachel because you’re a brat but you have a good heart
10:38am: HAHA oh my god, wow.
10:38am: Maybe I’m a bit like Chandler too. I don’t like to deal with emotional things.
10:44am: everybody is like Chandler. we’re all kind of messed up and avoiding having to deal with it.
10:45am: Oh, this got deep quickly.
10:45am: Doc’s here early, brb.
10:49am: lol you just said brb
10:51am: It wasn’t the doc. It was Gavin.
10:53am: oh what an interesting and unexpected turn of events
10:54am: You asked him to bring me soup???
10:56am: I have no idea what you’re talking about
10:56am: we absolutely did not exchange numbers the other night and I definitely didn't call him just before and request that of him. No way.
11:04am: What the hell, Teddy!
11:06am: wait are you mad??
11:07am: No definitely not! I’m just surprised.
11:07am: That was like
11:08am: a really thoughtful thing to do.
11:12am: it surprises you that I can be thoughtful?
11:13am: No! Fuck. I’m making a mess of this.
11:13am: Thank you.
11:13am: That’s what I’m trying to say.
11:14am: Thank you very much.
11:20am: you are very welcome! I hope it helps!
11:23am: remind me to get mad at you when I'm better about you being allowed to get him to do things when I'm not. 
11:23am: Also, Gavin told me you demanded his number so you guys could go drunk bowling together one day.
11:26am: that doesn’t sound like something I would do
11:27am: Are you sure?
11:28am: lol I was lying, it sounds exactly like something I would do
11:30am: Can’t believe you guys would make plans without me. I am HURT.
11:35am: oh good dramatic james is back 
11:35am: you are MORE than welcome to join us on that little adventure that will probably never happen
11:37am: I don’t want your pity invite.
11:40am: would you prefer your own invitation somewhere?
11:42am: Wait, what?
11:45am: lol I was just kidding, don’t worry
11:45am: your secret identity will stay safe
11:47am: Right.
11:49am: It’s so weird. Sometimes I just forget that we don’t actually know each other.
11:49am: In real life, I mean.
11:49am: We’ve only known each other via text for a week and a half.
11:52am: yeah it’s
11:52am: I don’t even know
11:52am: I just get a good vibe from you
11:53am: I like that I’m getting to know you without any outside influence
11:55am: I could be telling you anything, though. Making everything up so you only see what I want you to see.
11:58am: yeah you could. But I dunno, I don’t think you are. Obviously there’s a lot we don’t know
11:58am: but from what I DO know, I think you’re a really good pocket friend and a decent bloke :)
12:00pm: Says the one who had my driver bring me SOUP while I’m DYING.
12:05pm: haha :P
12:06pm: Oh fuck.
12:06pm: Doc just got here, I can see him out my window and my bloody dad is with him.
12:07pm: Oh, shit. Well good luck. Let me know how you go! Feel better!

Chapter Text

Wednesday Continued

6:18pm: You feeling okay?
6:23pm: UGH.
6:26pm: ah I see
6:26pm: anything I can do?
6:31pm: Kill me.
6:31pm: Put me out of my misery.
6:35pm: so we have definitely progressed past distressed noblewoman then
6:37pm: Long past.
6:37pm: I’m now at treasonous king resigned to my execution, waiting for the guillotine to drop and hoping it hurries the fuck up.
6:39pm: why treasonous? That seems like an unlikely crime for you
6:41pm: What other reason would a king be killed for?
6:47pm: idk, murder??
6:51pm: Kings can murder as much as they want. Fact.
6:59pm: I feel like that’s not a fact at all
7:04pm: What would be the point of being royal if you couldn’t kill whoever you wanted?
7:07pm: being sick makes you murdery
7:07pm: I am concerned
7:10pm: Strangely, it’s not the first time I’ve been told that.
7:12pm: concern levels rising lol
7:12pm: maybe I should go…
7:14pm: No, please don’t.
7:14pm: I’ll be good. No murder.
7:16pm: lol okay good
7:16pm: are you actually okay though? How did it go with the doctor?
7:19pm: It was fine. He says it’s just a head cold because apparently he doesn’t recognise the symptoms of death. Gave me some meds and says I’ll be fine.
7:21pm: that’s good!
7:23pm: I suppose.
7:25pm: and so, everything else is okay then?
7:25pm: you’re all good?
7:28pm: You can ask, if you want.
7:31pm: I wasn't sure if you’d want me to
7:32pm: I don't mind.
7:34pm: okay
7:34pm: how did it go with your dad?
7:37pm: It was
7:37pm: weird.
7:38pm: was he being a dick?
7:39pm: No, no, nothing like that.
7:39pm: It’s so hard to explain without like
7:39pm: saying too much.
7:40pm: you don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to
7:41pm: No, I do want to. It’s just so complicated.
7:41pm: This thing with my Dad, it’s like
7:41pm: It’s like he and I are just completely disconnected at the moment and neither of us know how to navigate through what’s happening.
7:42pm: Please don’t get me wrong - he loves me. We’ve always been really close and he’s been my hero my whole life.
7:42pm: But when I decided to take the role I’m in now
7:42pm: it surprised him. It’s the first time I’ve ever gone against him and made a choice based on what I wanted, rather than doing what I knew he wanted me to do.
7:43pm: I didn’t talk to him about it first because I was worried about what he’d say
7:43pm: and I think that upset him.
7:44pm: So now we’re just like, awkwardly dancing around one another and pretending there isn’t this underlying current of tension.
7:46pm: wow
7:46pm: you’re like
7:46pm: really drugged up on meds right now, aren’t you?
7:47pm: SO fucking drugged up, man hahaha I’m not even sure I’m awake.
7:48pm: lol I figured. sober James would never be so open haha. you should sleep. Thank you for telling me all of this!! I hope you don’t regret it tomorrow, and I hope you don’t mind me offering future James a tiny piece of advice, which is that you should talk to your dad and tell him what you’ve told me.
7:49pm: There’s more stuff he doesn’t know though. Stuff that I can’t tell him. I just can’t talk to him about it. He might not be okay with it.
7:51pm: you’ve got a dad who comes rushing over when you’re sick, James. He obviously loves you! I’m sure he’ll understand everything you have to tell him.
7:52pm: Ugh. You really are so much smarter than me.
7:53pm: haha well if you insist
7:53pm: go sleep! rest! heal!
7:54pm: friends reruns can wait til tomorrow
7:56pm: Fine. But I’m going because I want to. Not because you told me to.
7:58pm: ;)
8:00pm: The soup was awesome, by the way. Thank you.
8:03pm: you’re welcome :) GO TO SLEEP
8:04pm: Alright, alright, I’m going!

Thursday

9:34am: you awake?
9:45am: I’ve been up for hours. I went for a run this morning.
9:46am: Gross
9:46am: gross
9:46am: Jinx.
9:47am: hahaha you dork
9:47am: why did you go running though?? that can’t be good for you when you’re sick!
9:50am: Running is always good for you. Fact.
9:55am: I really think we need to have a talk about the things you think are facts
9:56am: are you feeling better?
10:01am: Yeah, loads. Thank you.
10:02am: good :)
10:04am: I still can’t believe you called Gavin.
10:04am: he was so nice. did he seem mad or annoyed at me at all??
10:05am: Nah. I think he likes you more than me lol.
10:06am: Hey. Also
10:07am: don’t say it, future james
10:08am: You don’t know what I’m going to say.
10:09am: I do, and you better not say it
10:09am: I really think I should.
10:10am: don’t
10:10am: it was fine
10:10am: saying it is unnecessary
10:11am: I’m sorry.
10:12am: omg you said it
10:12am: you are the worst, james. The WORST.
10:14am: I know, it’s just that I unloaded A LOT of shit onto you last night and I shouldn’t have.
10:16am: I’m not going to tell anyone
10:17am: No, I didn’t think you would!
10:17am: I just feel bad when I put my drama onto other people.
10:19am: I’m your pocket friend. listening to your drama and being supportive is literally the definition of my job here. and whether you listen to any advice I offer is entirely up to you.
10:21am: I just looked up the definition of pocket friend on urbandictionary.com, and that’s not what it says.
10:22am: I also looked up my name and it had… alarming results.
10:27am: OMG HAHAHAHAHA I looked it up too and I literally spat out my tea
10:27am: “oh yeah he is definitely a James”
10:27am: I guess now I know some interesting facts about you hahaha
10:28am: that website is fucking wild lol
10:32am: Did you look up “Teddy”? 
10:34am: lol yes
10:35am: the site is also incredibly heterosexual
10:35am: “no woman can resist him”
10:35am: well actually that’s probably true. I'm the best. I’m just not interested in them back
10:40am: You’re so humble.
10:43am: I know
10:52am: So how is your day going, apart from learning incredibly true facts about me on urbandictionary?
10:57am: hahahaha
10:58am: it’s okay. I’m going through applications at the moment
11:06am: Applications?
11:10am: yeah, hiring someone new at the shop
11:10am: it is a
11:10am: painful process
11:10am: I would very much prefer to be doing this drunk
11:15am: Oh no, why? Are the applications bad?
11:17am: I mean, the people behind them might be great people but I have no way of bloody knowing because apparently no one knows to spell or use proper grammar anymore!!!!!
11:20am: Ooh yeah, you can’t be messing up spelling on a CV.
11:21am: But like
11:21am: why exactly does that bother you?
11:24am: huh?
11:27am: Lol, well you never use proper grammar or punctuation or anything, do you?
11:27am: So why do you care if these guys do?
11:30am: I can absolutely use proper punctuation.
11:30am: Is this more to your liking, James?
11:30am: Shall I switch to texting in a more formal manner, ensuring I use the correct commas and full stops?
11:33am: Omg stop that.
11:34am: Stop what? If you would like me to stop — which I’ll be more than happy to do — I’ll need you to be more specific.
11:34am: (Yeah, that’s right. I used Em Dashes.)
11:36am: Omg who even are you?????
11:37am: I don’t like this at all.
11:40am: hahaha
11:41am: yeah nah, I just don’t worry about it in text ya know??
11:41am: but if you’re applying for a job at least do spell check! Don’t send me a CV with the word ‘guitar’ spelt wrong
11:47am: Yeah, that’s pretty bad.
11:49am: How come they’ve got you going through them? Shouldn't you be doing lessons?
11:51am: lol oh you know, someone’s gotta do it, right?
12:01pm: Right.
12:02pm: Any decent ones among all the spelling mistakes?
12:05pm: one actually
12:05pm: it just came through a minute ago
12:05pm: she’s a bit younger than the last guy who worked here but she sounds really cool
12:06pm: sounds wicked smart too
12:06pm: self taught guitar, which I fucking love
12:07pm: I feel like I've seen her name somewhere before but I dunno
12:08pm: Sounds like a winner!
12:09pm: I’ve just arrived at a work thing so I’ll talk to you later, okay?
12:11pm: you’re at WORK??? You’re SICK James!!!
12:13pm: I’m fine now. Today won’t be too intense anyway. Just doing some light stuff.
12:17pm: are you just trying to get more soup out of me??
12:18pm: all you had to do was ask
12:19pm: I’ll keep that in mind.
12:20pm: just like
12:20pm: take it easy, yeah? don't hurt yourself.
12:21pm: Yes, mother.
12:22pm: shutup. Okay i’m going to call this girl for an interview
12:24pm: Good luck!

Chapter Text

Friday 

1:14pm: Any more fun applications?

1:39pm: omg don’t even
1:40pm: I stopped reading them
1:40pm: I had to. it was too painful
1:41pm: the girl I talked about yesterday is coming in at 2 for an interview though
1:41pm: I have very high hopes for her
1:41pm: I need her to be brilliant so I can hire her and be done with reading spelling mistakes 

1:58pm: Ooh she might be there by now. Good luck with it!
1:59pm: I hope your phone is on silent.
1:59pm: Whoops.
1:59pm: I’ll stop. 

3:14pm: omg she just left
3:14pm: i’m in love
3:15pm: she’s fucking amazing we are definitely hiring her
3:18pm: Wow, you do the interviewing to? You must be important there :P
3:20pm: yeah she’s really cool and easy going and has great music taste
3:20pm: I realised where I know her from as well, she’s the daughter of some politician who’s always on the telly
3:21pm: totally down to earth though. Wants a normal job like this doing something she loves. She didn’t even want me to know what family she was from in case I thought differently of her. Which is mental coz as if i’d ever judge someone on who their family were
3:24pm: You wouldn’t?
3:26pm: fuck no, course not
3:32pm: That’s good to know.
3:34pm: do you think it’s too soon to call her?
3:34pm: I should play it cool right?
3:34pm: like, be a bit hard to get and all that
3:40pm: Hahahaha!
3:41pm: Are you hiring her or trying to date her?
3:45pm: omg i dont even know anymore
3:46pm: haha nah the day I try to date a girl is the day I shave my head
3:46pm: (spoiler alert - i’ll never shave my head, my hair is fucking great)
3:49pm: Lol, it’s nice that you’re so excited for this!
3:51pm: thanks!
3:52pm: fuck it, i’m gonna call and offer her the job
3:52pm: and then i’m gonna start my next lesson
3:53pm: and then i’m gonna go home and drink vodka to celebrate
3:56pm: Solid plan. Have fun. 

9:29pm: Am I still a blob?
9:38pm: What?
9:42pm: You said a little while back that’s how you picture me - as a blob. I was wondering if that’s been updated.
9:44pm: Oh! hahahaha
9:45pm: yes actually it is changed a little
9:45pm: you have dark hair in my mind now
9:49pm: Why?
9:56pm: Idk
9:56pm: I just picture you with dark hair
9:57pm: and a beard
10:01pm: What, why?
10:10pm: Idk you just sound bearded to me
10:11pm: Why? Is that how you actually look?
10:14pm: No.
10:14pm: Maybe.
10:20pm: omg lol
10:22pm: No, I have like
10:22pm: a light stubble, at most.
10:23pm: I don’t think that counts.
10:25pm: Did you drink your vodka?
10:30pm: James from London are you checking up on me?
10:32pm: No.
10:33pm: Just making conversation.
10:38pm: very suspiciously
10:39pm: well no I didn’t
10:39pm: Vic took it away
10:41pm: What? Why?
10:43pm: eh I dunno she says I need to deal with things and not drink to escape and whatever idk it’s fine
10:43pm: what are you up to??
10:45pm: IS everything fine?
10:46pm: of course :)
10:49pm: Are you sure?
10:51pm: lol james don’t worry about me I’m a-okay
10:55pm: Okay well. If you ever do want to talk or anything, I’ll be there for you. 

10:58pm: You started typing and stopped like six times. Was that the wrong thing to say?
11:00pm: No
11:00pm: not at all
11:01pm: sorry
11:01pm: I guess I just
11:01pm: I don’t really understand why
11:02pm: Why what?
11:02pm: Why I’d be there for you?
11:05pm: I’m just
11:05pm: not really used to people saying things like that
11:05pm: vic does
11:05pm but even we have tension and stuff
11:06pm: You’re like, the nicest person I know. I imagine there’s a line of people wanting to be the ones to look out for you.
11:07pm: I don’t really have
11:07pm: I’m not
11:07pm sjdhjfh
11:07pm: I’m not good at this. I don’t really know what to do right now
11:08pm: Well.
11:08pm: We could talk about what’s bothering you. Or, you could file away my comment for a later date, secure in the knowledge that if and when you do want to talk, I’ll be ready to listen. No pressure. Whatever you want.
11:10pm: I’ve just stared at that message for like 2 mins
11:10pm: why are you so nice to me
11:12pm: Teddy, I don’t know what’s happening in your life, or why sometimes it feels like you don’t believe it when I say nice things to you, but from what I can see of you, you are an exceptionally good person and I like being friends with you.
11:12pm: And I plan to keep being nice to you and saying super corny shit like that until you get weirded out and block my number or something.
11:15pm: i’d never block your number
11:15pm: fuck though
11:15pm: now I like
11:15pm feel all emotional and shit, what have you done
11:17pm: My bad lol.
11:18pm: Hey, I really need to sleep. I have a big day tomorrow but if you do want to rant or anything, you can.
11:20pm: thanks man. I’m gonna go watch a doco in Vic’s room and make her spoon me
11:21pm: What kind of doco?
11:22pm: idk I saw an ad for a new Henry VIII one. Maybe that
11:23pm: Omg you nerd.
11:23pm: hey you were the one who got me into this historical shit!
11:24pm: Well, you’re welcome because it’s brilliant.
11:25pm: Talk later, yeah?
11:25pm: Goodnight, Teddy with blue hair.
11:27pm: Sleep well, james from london
11:27pm: and thank you

Saturday

10:41pm:

10:41pm:

10:42pm:

10:42pm:  


10:49pm: Why do you hate me?
10:51pm: hahahaha
10:51pm: I don’t!
10:54pm: I’ll have nightmares now.
10:55pm: Terrible sheep-filled nightmares.
10:55pm: I’m on my way home and planned to go straight to bed and now I can’t in case there is a sheep in my flat.
11:00pm: I had to make sure you replied!
11:06pm: Why wouldn’t I reply?
11:08pm: because I am very drunk and very happy because chelsea lostttttttttttttt hard tonight
10:11pm: Oh.
10:11pm: Yeah, they really did.
10:12pm: did you watch?? It was a fucking CRAZY game
10:12pm: so many penalties were ignored!!
10:12pm: no one else gets favoured like those two teams do though
10:13pm: refs don’t ever wanna bloody make them look bad!
10:13pm: they’re actually the MOST biased against tottenham, have you ever noticed?
10:13pm: they HATE us
10:14pm: not chelsea or ManU though. They fucking LOVE them 
10:15pm: oh and Man City, obviously but they weren't playing tonight so I'm not mad at them right now
10:15pm: Lol, you think Chelsea get favoured?
10:16pm: Um YES
10:16pm: This is the first game they haven't won in FoREVER
10:19pm: Well, they’re a very good team, after all.
10:21pm: oh please
10:21pm: they have like
10:21pm: 2 great players
10:21pm: and everyone else is average at best
10:23pm: Oh wow haha.
10:24pm: I don’t think I even want to ask who.
10:25pm: Jericho OBVIOUSLY he’s a fucking weapon. did you see the tackles he made tonight, fucking outstanding. he was so impressive
10:26pm: Yeah, I saw. He’s a really great player.
10:26pm: And then there’s potter
10:27pm: what
10:28pm: yeah I mean I guess that one was kind of obvious right hahaha
10:28pm: I
10:29pm: Was it?
10:30pm: lol well yEAH, he’s the best striker in the league, isn’t he?
10:31pm: literally runs circles around everyone else every week
10:31pm: dont get me wrong, chelsea are the worst I hate them but if tottenham had the chance to steal one of their players, i’d tell them to go for potter
10:31pm: they were lucky to snag him
10:32pm: like I was kind of surprised when he signed with them. everyone was, weren’t they?
10:32pm: we all expected him to go sign with mancity and be coached by his dad
10:32pm: but it makes sense, really
10:32pm: where did you go? talk to meeeee
10:34pm: Sorry
10:34pm: I don’t
10:34pm: You think it makes sense?
10:35pm: lol well yeah. like, for one thing, imagine the pressure of being coached by your own dad. and second, imagine your dad is harry fucking potter, biggest football star in a century or whatever tripe it is they say about him.
10:35pm: Like, he’s a legit celebrity. have you ever seen the security around him at games and when he’s out and about?? Fucking mental! I dont blame his kid for wanting to go to a different club
10:36pm: but yeah, I just remember when it happened a couple months back that everyone else was going on about how crazy he was not to team up with his dad, but I was thinking that I kind of got it. He’s gotta make a name for himself on his own, right? And probably doesn't want to always be in his dad’s shadow. good on him for doing what he wants.
10:37pm: I dunno I’m so fucking wasted and I’m just talking shit hahahah rambling on like I know anything about how the bloke feels
10:38pm: sorry Vic always says I get kind of intense about football
10:39pm: it was all I really had growing up
10:42pm: Yeah, I know the feeling.
10:43pm: Ooh vic is home with chips, talk later okay!!!!!!!! Sorr ychelsea lost (not really) (just teasing) Night!!! x
10:44pm: Oh, right, yeah.
10:44pm: Okay.
10:44pm: Good night, Teddy. 

Sunday

12:02pm: ooh shit haha drunk teddy struck again last night by the looks of it
12:03pm: haha oh well, rules are rules. No reliving my drunk texts
12:05pm: Hi.
12:05pm: You don’t want to talk about any of it?
12:07pm: nah, but I just wanted to say really quick
12:07pm: like, while I’m still groggy and half asleep and willing to say things that aren’t veiled in humour or sarcasm (lol who am I)
12:08pm: that this whole thing we have going
12:08pm: like being pocket friends and getting to know each other without outside influences and being kind of anonymous and having no pressure and everything
12:08pm: it’s really like, important to me
12:08pm: and I’m really glad that guy at the bar gave me a fake number and I got to (sort of) meet you
12:09pm: god fuck that felt gross i’m never sharing again hahaha
12:11pm: Jesus, Teddy.
12:12pm: Now you’re making me emotional.
12:12pm: I get it though.
12:13pm: oh good okay phew
12:13pm: coz I dunno, like, I know we are getting to know each other, but I don’t think I’m ready to share who we are yet, if that’s okay. I dunno I was thinking about it a couple days ago
and thought I should say something now so we are on the same page
12:15pm: Right. Yeah. Of course.
12:15pm: I mean, if that’s what you want.
12:16pm: is that okay?? you’re being weird
12:17pm: Am not.
12:17pm: Yeah, no, it’s fine. I just
12:17pm: I don’t want to like
12:17pm: lie to you or anything.
12:18pm: hahaha you never would!
12:18pm: quick let’s talk about something else
12:18pm: remember when chelsea lost last night :’)
12:19pm: Lol
12:19pm: Yeah I remember.
12:20pm: Don’t make me relive it.
12:21pm: hahahah lucky for you I am very hungover. I’m gonna get some more sleep and the teasing will recommence shortly.
12:20pm: Lol okay.
12:21pm: I look forward to it.

Chapter Text

Monday

7:16am: So, I’ve been thinking about this whole aversion to Chelsea you have.
7:21am: don’t swear at me before I’ve had coffee
7:21am: What?
7:25am: “Chelsea” ugh
7:27am: Lol shush.
7:28am: I think maybe it’s just because you don’t know enough about them.
7:28am: Maybe you wouldn’t hate them if like, you knew them.
7:29am: The club in general, I mean.
7:31am: what are you on about
7:31am: if you’re high I’m not judging you, but you should really have cereal or something for breakfast instead of weed if you want to keep being all exercisey
7:33am: I don’t do weed.
7:35am: nobody  “does weed” you dork. they smoke weed
7:37am: Well, whatever, I don’t do that either.
7:38am: Did you know Chelsea are favourites to finish on top this year?
7:42am: reminding me that they are leading points is really not the way to win me over, bud lol
7:45am: Right, yeah.
7:46pm: Ummmm
7:46am: The whole team do a whole lot of charity work.
7:50am: Lol james why do you want me to like your team so bad?
7:52am: What? I don’t.
7:56am: you’re texing me before 8am to try and get me to stop hating them
7:56am: omg james from london are you secretly way more into football than you let on?
7:56am: are you a FANGIRL
7:56am: omg I bet you are
8:03am: Haha no!
8:03am: I just think maybe you should give them a chance
8:03am: before you write them off.
8:06am: nah
8:06am: chelsea and i
8:06am: we’re just not meant to be
8:07am: tottenham is the love of my life
8:10am: Lol fine. But this isn’t over.
8:12am: oooh fighting words
8:14am: I’ll have you waving their flag in no time.
8:17am: I’m not being dramatic but I’d rather eat kale
8:20am: Kale is delicious.
8:22am: how are we friends jamie? I just dont understand you.
8:26am: Jamie?
8:29am: yeah it’s a thing now, just go with it
8:30am: Fine. I have a meeting now. Talk later?
8:32am: i’ll be here, burning chelsea flags
8:33am: Omg you wouldn’t.
8:34am: course not lol but I bet your face was hilarious when you read that
8:35am: I hate you.
8:36am: xx

3:16pm: Did your new girl start today? Sorry I forgot to ask earlier.
3:28pm: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! And lol you don’t have to be sorry
3:28pm: she’s training with one of our other instructors right now
3:29pm: she totally undersold her abilities on guitar, she plays like she’s been at it for 30 years
3:29pm: TERRIBLE development in the situation though, that carries on from our earlier convo
3:29pm: she likes your awful team
3:32pm: She sounds like a winner :P
3:35pm: yeah I thought you’d be happy about it
3:36pm: she is close to your age too ;)
3:40pm: Lol, so?
3:42pm: I could set you guys up
3:42pm: I am a great wingman
3:46pm: Thanks for the offer LOL but I don’t think she would be my type.
3:48pm: Cute musician with brightly coloured hair is everyone’s type
3:49pm: You total narcissist.
3:55pm: hahaha
3:57pm: what is your type??
3:57pm: you’re probs a jock, so like, leggy blondes, right?
4:10pm: Hahaha.
4:10pm: Not exactly, no.
4:11pm: I don’t think I have a type.
4:16pm: well like, out of your previous partners
4:16pm: did you have any patterns?
4:16pm: all brunettes? all into sports? all jockeys?
4:17pm: Jockeys?
4:18pm: well idk what you’re into! I’m covering all my bases
4:22pm: Yes, that is ALL the bases. Brunettes, sports fans, and jockeys.
4:25pm: exactly. So what have your previous partners had in common?
4:26pm: Er
4:26pm: I really don’t know.
4:27pm: I haven’t ever really
4:27pm: like
4:27pm: had a long term partner.
4:32pm: oh that’s cool, lots of people keep it casual
4:32pm: wait
4:33pm: What?
4:34pm: nothing
4:35pm: so you’ve never like
4:35pm: been in love?
4:37pm: Nah, I haven’t.
4:39pm: right yes
4:39pm: okay
4:42pm: Lol what?
4:43pm: no nothing
4:47pm: You’re
4:47pm: Oh fuck
4:48pm: I just remembered what I said the other day
4:48pm: lol yes
4:49pm: Right
4:49pm: Yes okay
4:49pm: So
4:51pm: it’s okay! We don’t have to talk about that!
4:51pm: I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to make it weird!
4:52pm: No, it’s fine.
4:53pm: I didn’t think before I said that.
4:53pm: I forgot I’d made that love comment the other day.
4:55pm: I won’t comment, my lips are sealed
4:58pm: It’s not like a big deal or anything.
4:59pm: I’m not judging you!!!!! It’s nice that you believe what you do
5:00pm: that two people should be in love before they do
5:00pm: that
5:01pm: i’m just locking up the store, give me ten mins

5:19pm: sorry! I didn’t want you to think I just disappeared after learning that about you
5:20pm: It’s okay.
5:20pm: I’m not ashamed of it lol.
5:21pm: I realised that as I was locking up - you didn’t ask me not to tell anyone
5:21pm: Oh, I didn’t even think of that lol. I just knew you wouldn’t.
5:22pm: really?
5:22pm: Well, yeah. I trust you.
5:22pm: that’s
5:23pm: thanks
5:23pm: :)
5:24pm: so what’s the deal then?
5:24pm: like, I think it’s cool obviously
5:24pm: but not a lot of guys your age are virgins
5:24pm: fuck was it too rude to say that?
5:25pm: Haha nah you’re fine.
5:25pm: I know it’s unusual. My brother gives me shit all the time.
5:26pm: It’s just something I’ve always believed. I’m not religious or anything, if that's what you were thinking. I just can’t imagine, like, being that way with anyone I wasn’t completely committed to and in love with.
5:27pm: aw jamie you’re the most adorable thing, I swear
5:27pm: I bet you’re crazy romantic
5:28pm: Hahaha shutup.
5:31pm: it’s just wild to me that you haven’t had a long term gf
5:31pm: you’re such an awesome dude!
5:33pm: I don’t really have time to date.
5:34pm: coz of your job?
5:35pm: Yeah, it’s pretty demanding.
5:35pm: Thank god for porn.
5:36pm: hahahaha omg
5:36pm: I can’t believe you just said that
5:37pm: What? I can’t like porn?
5:37pm: lol of course you can, I just didn’t expect you to be so open about it
5:37pm: you’re always surprising me
5:38pm: Lol, hopefully that’s a good thing.
5:39pm: it is :P
5:39pm: how was last night?
5:40pm: Last night?
5:41pm: didn’t you have family dinner??
5:42pm: Oh, yeah I did. Good memory.
5:42pm: It was fine. My nan got tipsy off a glass of wine and sang Beatles songs to my pop, and then she cried on my shoulder about how my cousin never comes to family dinners anymore.
5:43pm: aw poor nan
5:43pm: She’s all good. Nan gets that she (my cousin) is dealing with her own stuff. She doesn’t really enjoy the stuff that comes with our family being in the position we’re in and I think maybe she needs time to like, figure out who she is on her own.
5:44pm: yeah that makes sense
5:45pm: (and now i’m wondering if you’re royal or something)
5:46pm: Haha not royal.
5:47pm: Was everything cool with your dad?
5:48pm: Eh, it was fine.
5:48pm: sorry, i’m asking too many questions, aren’t i?
5:49pm: No, it’s okay.
5:49pm: would you think I was totally lame if I said I enjoyed hearing about your family?
5:50pm: I’d say you’re mental and don’t know them well enough haha.
5:50pm: We’re a bit much.
5:51pm: you’re really lucky to have such a big family :)
5:52pm: Yeah, I guess.
5:52pm: What are yours like? You’ve talked about your cousin and Vic and vaguely mentioned others but never really say much else.
5:56pm: another time, yeah? I gotta help Vic make dinner.
5:57pm: Okay! Enjoy your night, Teddy with blue hair.
5:58pm: I will, james from london who watches porn and is secretly romantic
5:58pm: Omg.

10:59pm: jamie are you awake
11:02pm: Hey, what’s up?
11:02pm: I didnt wake you did I?
11:02pm: Nah.
11:03pm: Well, yeah.
11:03pm: But it’s fine! Are you okay?
11:04pm: I’m sorry
11:04pm: Don’t be.
11:04pm: Can’t sleep?
11:05pm: I think
11:05pm: I might have nightmares tonight
11:05pm: when I fixate on things it happens sometimes
11:05pm: and I haven’t been able to turn my brain off all night. And so I don’t want to sleep
11:05pm: is that pathetic?
11:06pm: No!
11:06pm: Do you want to talk about it? Sometimes it helps to get it all out.
11:07pm: it’s just
11:07pm: family stuff
11:07pm: I miss them
11:08pm: Are they not around much?
11:08pm: I don’t
11:08pm: can we 
11:08pm: i’m sorry. i can’t talk about this. can we talk about something else?
11:09pm: Yeah, of course. Whatever you want.
11:09pm: Hey, do you have a TV in your room?
11:10pm: er, yeah
11:10pm: why?
11:10pm: Which is your favourite Star Wars movie?
11:12pm: The Force Awakens
11:12pm: Really? I thought true fans always picked the old ones.
11:12pm: how do you even know it’s one of the new ones?
11:13pm: I bought them all on iTunes the other day.
11:13pm: Do you wanna watch it with me?
11:14pm: what?
11:14pm: Do you wanna watch The Force Awakens with me? Right now?
11:15pm: what do you mean? how?
11:15pm: We’ll count down and start it at the same time.
11:16pm: don’t you need to sleep?
11:16pm: Nope, I need to watch a movie with you.
11:17pm: are you trying to help me turn my brain off?
11:17pm: No idea what you're talking about. I always put movies on at this time of night.
11:18pm: liar
11:18pm: I’m starting without you in 3…
11:18pm: wait okay hang on!
11:18pm: I need to open Netflix
11:19pm: 2…
11:20pm: Okay I have it open and paused on 1 second
11:20pm: Okay, ready?
11:20pm: When I send the word go press play.
11:21pm: Are you ready??
11:21pm: I was waiting for the go
11:21pm: You didn’t say anything!
11:22pm: omg just say it
11:22pm: Okay, I’m about to.
11:22pm: Go.
11:23pm: Did you go?
11:24pm: yep playing
11:24pm: read all the writing on screen it’s important
11:24pm: this probably won’t make sense to you without all the other movies
11:25pm: Reading, shush.
11:25pm: I googled it just before and everyone says you can watch this one as a stand alone.
11:25pm: incorrect omg
11:26pm: Lol we’ll see.
11:26pm: Who is the young guy?
11:27pm: Poe
11:27pm: he’s my fave 
11:28pm: Is he your type?
11:28pm: haha yeah I suppose he is
11:29pm: Omg oh no, his plane got shot.
11:29pm: What did he give the robot??
11:29pm: he’s called BB-8. you’ll see later
11:30pm: Aw that Stormtrooper cares about the other Stormtrooper.
11:30pm: you’re such a dork lol
11:31pm: Oooh who is the cloaked person?
11:31pm: wait and see!
11:31pm: you’re so impatient
11:32pm: Omg oh no, the old man :(
11:32pm: Omg Poe is funny.
11:32pm: yessss he’s the best
11:32pm: Kylo Ren is a bit of a dick.
11:33pm: Why is that Stormtrooper being weird?
11:33pm: hahaha yes he can be a bit dickish
11:33pm: just be patient and watch!
11:34pm: The music is so dramatic.
11:35pm: Ooh who’s that?
11:35pm: I’m never watching a movie with you in real life
11:36pm: Okay okay, I’ll be quiet.
11:37pm: her name is Rey
11:39pm: Aw she found the little robot.
11:39pm: BB-8!
11:39pm: That’s what I said.
11:40pm: hey if I fall asleep
11:40pm: thanks for this
11:40pm: you're really nice
11:41pm: :)
11:41pm: I stand by my Kylo is a dick comment.
11:42pm: he’s troubled
11:42pm: Troubled??
11:43pm: yes give him a break
11:43pm: He’s the bad guy haha!
11:43pm: Ooooh the Stormtrooper is good guy!
11:43pm: These two have like
11:44pm: chemistry?
11:44pm: Haha kind of yeah. Is that weird?
11:45pm: lol nah everyone says that
11:45pm: I’m on board.
11:45pm: lol are you?
11:46pm: Yes.
11:46pm: Aw he named him Finn.
11:47pm: i’m drifting
11:47pm: Want me to shut up?
11:47pm: not yet
11:47pm: gonna have nice dreams tonight
11:48pm: Good :)
11:49pm: That guy looks a bit like my uncle.
11:49pm: lol cool
11:50pm: Oh no they crashed!
11:50pm: Is Poe okay??
11:50pm: youll see
11:50pm: Omg oh no where is he??
11:51pm: Teddy?
11:51pm: Are you still there?

11:55pm: We should finish this another day :)
11:56pm: Sweet dreams, Teddy with blue hair

Chapter Text

Tuesday

8:25am: 300
8:32am: Lower, but only because I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night.
8:36am: what?
8:38am: I thought we were guessing how many push ups I did this morning.
8:40am: hahaha casual self brag
8:42am: What is 300?
8:44am: how many friendship points I awarded you after last night  
8:47am: Haha, I wasn’t trying to get anything out of it. You know that, right?
8:50am: that’s the craziest part to me. that’s why you get so many points
9:04am: :)
9:04am: How did you sleep?
9:06am: really well!
9:06am: did i wreck your night entirely though?
9:10am: Nah man, you’re fine.
9:10am: But I do want to finish that movie. I stopped after you fell asleep and I need to know what happens!
9:12am: haha yes deal! Look at you, becoming star wars trash just like me
9:13am: also
9:13am: I wanted to tell you
9:13am: one of my tattoos is of a constellation
9:14am: Omg!
9:14am: Really??
9:14am: Because of star wars??
9:20am: haha yeah really. and no, my nan was named after one and when she passed away I got it for her
9:26am: Oh, dude, that’s so sweet!
9:26am: Were you guys close?
9:30am: yeah we were
9:30am: she pretended to hate my other ones but secretly she loved them
9:30am: I know she always wished she got one
9:37am: Aw, Teddy.
9:37am: Thanks for telling me about it :)
9:37am: Where is it?
9:39am: on the back of my neck
9:45am: That’s really cool.
9:45am: I just have to find out about the other four now.
9:50am: when are you getting your first one??
9:52am: Haha I don’t know.
9:52am: I don’t even know what I want yet.
9:54am: title of my memoir
9:54am: you should get something meaningful
9:54am: omg get a sheep
9:55am: hahahahahaha
9:57am:

9:57am: You’re the worst.
9:58am: Just for that, when I do decide to go get one, I’m not going to tell you what it is.
10:05am: you wouldn’t dare!
10:08am: Yep. That’s what’s happening.
10:11am: jamieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
10:11am: nooooooooo
10:11am: you wouldnt
10:15am: Wouldn’t I?
10:15am:

10:16am: how could you
10:17am: I am wildly offended
10:19am: Well I am deeply traumatised by The Sheep Incident.
10:19am: I am TROUBLED.
10:25am: you’re trouble, you mean
10:25am: I already figured that much out
10:31am: Haha :P
10:31am: so we’re agreed then
10:32am: you will tell me all about it when you decide to get a tattoo
10:34am: Is that what we just decided?
10:35am: yep that’s exactly what happened
10:35am: don’t question it
10:35am: just go with it
10:37am: Lol, and you’re trying to say I’M the one who’s trouble.
10:39am: Are you working today?
10:42am: yeah
10:43am: oh!!!!
10:43am: you‘ll be so proud!
10:43am: I WALKED to work today
10:43am: the whole way
10:44am: and I didn’t even die or complain or anything
10:48am: Congrats!
10:49am: How far is it?
10:52am: not important
10:52am: the main thing is I DID IT
10:59am: Omg, it’s really close to you house, isn’t it?
11:04am: shush!
11:04am: you’re ruining my chance to brag about exercising!
11:04am: it’s not that close
11:05am: okay it’s pretty close
11:05am: but STILL
11:10am: Remember the bread, Teddy? THE BREAD! You made me walk three minutes to the shops and now I find out you’re driving to work everyday when you live right near it.
11:10am: I can’t believe you’ve done this to me.
11:15am: in my defense
11:16am: i’m very lazy
11:16am: and I expect more from you, being the fitness fanatic you are
11:21am: Unbelievable.
11:21am: I am OUTRAGED.
11:26am: you’re very dramatic today. are you sick again?
11:30am: You’re obviously a bad influence.
11:31am: But tell me anyway what prompted this sudden foray into fitness?
11:33am: oh, vic’s still having car problems
11:33am: I made her take mine coz I don’t trust hers
11:36am: Aww you’re a good friend.
11:42am: lol vic would disagree, we had a big fight about it
11:45am: Oh, sorry. What happened?
11:49am: blahhhhh she’s just like, dealing with some stuff with her family
11:49am: her parents
11:49am: i’ve never met them even though we’ve known each other for what feels like forever.  
11:50am: but I know they’re pretty stable financially, and I suggested they might help her out with a new car if she asked
11:50am: and she got really mad
11:50am: she only sees them like twice a year, so it wasn’t a great suggestion on my part. I knew she wouldn’t like it
11:51am: but it turned into this huge argument because I was still feeling kind of emotional from last night
11:51am: I said she was being selfish and was lucky to have a family who care about her
11:51am: and she called me an arsehole and told me to mind my own business
11:52am: and then I threw my keys on the couch and left for work
11:52am: I did a whole big storm out
11:52am: she’ll tease me for it later
11:52am: I yelled over my shoulder that I hope the couch monster gets her when she grabs my keys
11:55am: I don’t know what to do right now.
11:55am: I really want to laugh but it doesn’t seem right.
11:58am: hahaha you can laugh, it wasn’t my best moment
12:06pm: I’m sorry you guys fought.
12:11pm: eh, it’s fine. we fight all the time
12:11pm: I imagine this is what it’s like to have brothers and sisters lol
12:15pm: Haha, yeah pretty much.
12:16pm: So you’re an only child then?
12:18pm: yep sure am
12:19pm: hey i’ll message you later if that’s okay. new girl seems down so i’m gonna take her to lunch
12:23pm: Okay, have fun!

4:32pm: On a quick break from work stuff but forgot to say I hope you and and Vic sort things out.

5:15pm: aw you’re so nice, thanks
5:16pm: I am walking home right now
5:16pm: UGH
5:17pm: it’s so far
5:17pm: I am really struggling
5:17pm: I might pass out
5:18pm: I am basically a fitness god after today
5:18pm: I could run a marathon
5:19pm: six marathons, even
5:19pm: I am the fastest man alive
5:20pm: people will write songs about me and how impressive I am
5:21pm: a bird just swooped at me
5:21pm: I’m fine, I survived
5:22pm: it wasn’t so much swooping at me as flying sort of near me
5:23pm: but it was very traumatising
5:23pm: I totally get the sheep thing now
5:24pm: okay i’m home
5:24pm: and before you judge me for how close it is
5:25pm: usually I have instruments and stuff in my car I have to bring home or take back to the shop after fixing them and stuff!
5:26pm: ooh vic’s here. we’re gonna talk

8:26pm: james!
8:26pm: james!
8:26pm: james!
8:26pm: james!
8:26pm: james!
8:26pm: james!
8:27pm: DID YOU SEE THE NEWS
8:27pm: DID YOU
8:28pm: JAMIE WHERE ARE YOU
8:29pm: POTTER GOT INJURED AT A TRAINING SESSION THIS AFTERNOON
8:29pm: THE NEWS HASN’T SAID WHAT HAPPENED, ONLY THAT HE’S WITH THE MEDICAL STAFF
8:30pm: omg this is huge where are you this could completely derail Chelsea for the rest of the SEASON
8:31pm: omg MESSAGE ME AS SOON AS YOU CAN OKAY I AM HAVING SO MANY FEELINGS RIGHT AND I WON’T EVEN TEASE YOU FOR GOING FOR THEM, I SWEAR

Chapter Text

Wednesday

10:01am: hey i’m sorry if I upset you last night
10:02am: I wasn’t actually happy about potter getting hurt or anything
10:02am: I promise I’m not that mean lol
10:02am: I just thought we could talk about it
10:03am: and it was huge news so I was surprised
10:06am: I’m really sorry if I upset you 
10:06am: or made you think im an arsehole
10:07am: are we okay? 

12:29pm: jamie?

3:41pm: i’m sorry to keep texting
3:42pm: this is probably coming off really bad and obsessive and I don’t mean it to
3:42pm: I just hate thinking you’re angry at me
3:42pm: you probably think i’m a bit crazy by now
3:42pm: and I don’t blame you
3:43pm: I just
3:43pm: please don’t be mad at me

5:49pm: Teddy fuck. I’m so sorry.
5:49pm: I wasn’t ignoring you, I swear to god!
5:49pm: Shit, I dont even know how to explain this.
5:50pm: Stuff got crazy at work last night
5:50pm: I had to leave in a rush and my phone got left in my locker.
5:50pm: My parents carted me back to stay at their place for the night after that, and by the time I got my phone the battery was flat
5:50pm: and they’re both bloody Samsung users and it took me this long to get someone to get me a charger.
5:50pm: I’m so, so sorry you spent all day thinking I was ignoring you!
5:51pm: I wish I could just
5:51pm: Fuck, I wish I could explain better.
5:51pm: Let me know if you’re okay!!!
5:51pm: I’m so sorry.

6:10pm: Teddy?

6:18pm: I’m sorry :(
6:20pm: hi omg no no I’m the one who’s sorry
6:21pm: god, I mean you're not like, required to reply to me as soon as I text you
6:21pm: or explain stuff to me
6:21pm: I just freaked out thinking i’d made you think badly of me when I texted about Potter
6:22pm: I feel terrible.
6:22pm: I didn’t know how else to reach you and my parents had to deal with my work stuff all day for me. They didn’t understand why I needed a charger so badly.
6:23pm: you were trying to get a charger so you could text me?
6:24pm: Well, yeah. I figured you might be, like
6:24pm: I don’t know, worried or something if I didn’t reply.
6:25pm: Sorry, that’s so presumptuous.
6:26pm: no no it’s not. I WAS worried!
6:26pm: are you okay? what happened with work?
6:26pm: unless you can’t tell me
6:26pm: if it’s spy stuff I understand!
6:27pm: Haha! Teddy, I’m not a spy.
6:27pm: I think, though
6:27pm: if I tell you
6:27pm: it might be kind of
6:27pm: revealing. I know you don't want to like, share too much.
6:28pm: right okay, well don’t tell me then
6:28pm: Are you sure?
6:29pm: can you just tell me if you’re okay?
6:29pm: that’s all I really need to know
6:30pm: I’m okay.
6:31pm: promise??
6:31pm: I promise.
6:32pm: okay
6:32pm okay good
6:33pm: Wait, so you're not mad??
6:34pm: what no of course not
6:34pm: I was like, really happy when I saw your messages pop up lol
6:34pm: is that weird??
6:35pm: No.
6:35pm: I mean, I don’t think so.
6:35pm: I was really happy when you just said you weren’t mad at me so
6:35pm: if you’re weird I must be too.
6:36pm: lol well we can both be weird then
6:37pm: :)
6:38pm: and I AM sorry Chelsea are going to lose this year now without their star player
6:39pm: Lol, they’ll be fine. Their “star player” is only out for three weeks.
6:40pm: what????
6:40pm: omg was that on the news? I didn’t hear anything??
6:41pm: I’m googling and can’t find anything
6:41pm: where did you hear that?
6:42pm: Oh er
6:42pm: I mean, it only looked like a grade 1 strained calf muscle to me
6:42pm: so I’m assuming it will only be that long.
6:42pm: Probably could have kept playing tbh
6:43pm: LOL are you a sports doctor now??
6:43pm: is that your secret job?
6:43pm: ARE YOU POTTER’S DOCTOR??
6:44pm: haha imagine if that was true, how wild
6:44pm: for real though, even if it is grade 1, there’s no way they’d let him keep playing, even if he wanted to.
6:44pm: the news was saying they’d force him to rest even if it’s minor. they won’t risk him.
6:45pm: Yeah that’s usually what happens.
6:45pm: must be tough being told what you can and can’t do like that lol
6:46pm: I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not.
6:46pm: no i’m not! It would be total shit having your every move dictated
6:47pm: I wonder what he does for fun. i’d be looking for any kind of escape if I was being pushed around like that. he doesn't even have a gf or anything so I dunno what he does to unwind.
6:47pm: I guess dating would be hard when you’re famous. like you never know if someone likes you for you, you know?
6:47pm: I’d hate that.
6:48pm: Yeah. Me too.
6:49pm: Also, I don’t think he’d ever get a girlfriend.
6:49pm: I’m pretty sure he’s gay.
6:50pm: omg
6:50pm: I just choked on my drink hahaha my shirt is drenched
6:50pm: Potter can’t be gay!
6:51pm: Why not?
6:51pm: I mean
6:52pm: it’s not IMPOSSIBLE but everyone would know, right?
6:52pm: although
6:52pm: well I guess now I think about it there are no openly gay players in the league, are there?
6:53pm: but odds are there are at least a couple of guys who are gay or bisexual
6:53pm: omg do you think he’s been closeted?
6:54pm: He’s probably been advised against coming out.
6:54pm: Convinced by people that the world will only focus on that part of who he is if he does and not on his abilities.
6:55pm: very possible
6:55pm: stuff like that happens in every industry, it’s so messed up
6:55pm: fuck
6:55pm: hmmmm
6:55pm: so what you’re saying is
6:55pm: you ARE his doctor and that’s how you know all this
6:56pm: Lol
6:56pm: No, I promise that’s not what’s happening here.
6:57pm: interesting theory though
6:57pm: I will be watching him very closely next time he’s on telly for any signs you are right
6:58pm: Lol okay.
6:59pm: Hey Teddy.
7:00pm: Yes jamie
7:00pm: I have to tell you something.
7:01pm: ooh okay
7:01pm: i’m ready
7:02pm: Right, yeah.
7:02pm: I, er
7:02pm: I probably should have told you this earlier.
7:02pm: It’s just like
7:03pm: I didn’t know how to bring it up
7:03pm: and now we’ve been talking for a few weeks and I feel as though I’m like
7:03pm: lying to you by not saying it.
7:03pm: It’s not something I’ve really told anyone.
7:04pm: Well, Gavin knows, of course. He knew first. And my brother and sister. But that’s it.
7:04pm: jamie it’s okay
7:04pm: I think I know what you’re going to say
7:05pm: You do?
7:05pm: I mean, I think so
7:06pm: but I hate assuming anything so personal
7:06pm: so I didn’t want to ask
7:06pm: but I kind of got the feeling you were trying to segue into something just before, and I promise you can trust me, Jamie. You can tell me anything
7:07pm: Thank you.
7:07pm: Okay I just need to say it.
7:07pm: I’m gay.
7:08pm: what???
7:08pm: What??
7:08pm: is that what you were going to tell me??
7:09pm: Um.. yes?
7:09pm: omg
7:09pm: LOL OMG
7:09pm: I thought you were going to tell me gavvy gav isn’t really your driver and you two are together
7:10pm: WHAT
7:10pm: TEDDY WHAT THE MOTHERFUCKING FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT
7:10pm: I JUST
7:10PM: WHAT
7:11pm: hahahahaha
7:11pm: omg sorry
7:11pm: you said “gavin knows of course” and my first thought was that you were about to tell me he was your partner
7:12pm: NO
7:12pm: TEDDY NO
7:12pm: Omg just NO.
7:12pm: WHY DID YOUR MIND GO THERE WHAT THE FUCK
7:12pm: hey gavvy gav is a great guy, you could do a lot worse
7:13pm: I know he’s a great guy, he’s WORKED for me for years.
7:13pm: worked it, you mean ;)
7:14pm: STOP
7:14pm: Omg.
7:14pm: Get that out of your head right now!!!
7:15pm: okay okay i’m sorry. right yes serious face this is a big deal okay i’m fine
7:15pm: so you’re gay
7:15pm: surely you knew I wouldn’t have a problem with that, right?
7:16pm: No, I know.
7:16pm: But like I said, it’s not something I’ve told many people.
7:16pm: My parents don’t even know.
7:17pm: i’m honoured you felt like you could share it with me
7:17pm: was this something you figured out recently?
7:18pm: Nah. I’ve known for years. It’s just not something I’m able to talk about
7:18pm: in my line of work.
7:19pm: right yeah
7:19pm: I’m sorry :(
7:19pm: I know how much it can hurt when you can’t be yourself
7:20pm: Yeah, it’s hard.
7:20pm: I hate feeling like I’m lying all the time.
7:20pm: Like, I have to hide myself.
7:20pm: Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.
7:21pm: no god jamie it’s fine! Don’t be sorry!
7:21pm: trust me I get it!
7:21pm: i spent years being scared to tell my Gran
7:22pm: it was so ridiculous of me to think she’d be upset now I look back at it
7:22pm: but I was so scared of it changing the way she looked at me
7:22pm: and I LOATHED the idea of it becoming the thing that defined me as a person
7:23pm: but things work out
7:23pm: things ALWAYS work out, jamie. And even when they get tough, if you have people who care about you by your side, you’ll always get through it.
7:24pm: You’re literally the most amazing person.
7:24pm: I’m so glad I know you.
7:25pm: awww :) :)
7:25pm: likewise
7:26pm: and for real, if things are ever getting you down and you need someone to vent to, I’ll always listen. Judgement free.
7:27pm: Thanks, Teddy :)
7:27pm: I can’t believe you thought I was with Gavin, Jesus fucking Christ.
7:28pm: hahahahaha
7:28pm: it’s not unreasonable
7:28pm: you spend a lot of time together, clearly
7:29pm: you send him on errands
7:29pm: he’s very fond of you, he told me
7:30pm: He’s MARRIED.
7:30pm: And straight!
7:31pm: oh yeah I forgot that part lol
7:31pm: Hold on, you talked about me??
7:32pm: no
7:32pm: You just said you did.
7:33pm: no I didn’t
7:33pm: Teddy!
7:34pm: I may have asked him some questions about what you’re like when he drove me home that time
7:34pm: and when I called him to take you soup
7:34pm: and one other time
7:35pm: What did you ask????
7:35pm: What other time???
7:35pm: Omg I can’t believe you two are talking about me behind my back.
7:35pm: Tell me everything!
7:36pm: Lol I’m sorry!!!!
7:36pm: I was just
7:36pm: curious about you
7:36pm: and wanted to know more about what you’re like
7:36pm: I swear it wasn't bad.
7:37pm: Omg that’s so unfair, though! I can’t ask anyone about you.
7:38pm: do you want to know things about me?
7:38pm: Yes!
7:38pm:You can ask me anything lol
7:38pm: Maybe I will.
7:39pm: Fuck, I have to go now, though. My mum has been calling me for ten minutes for dinner. I cannot wait to get back to my place, seriously.
7:40pm: lol go
7:41pm: this was a really good chat :)
7:41pm: Have a great night :)
7:41pm: I'll be asking you more about this another time!
7:42pm: xx

Chapter Text

Thursday

11:12am: Teddyyyyyyyyy where are you?
11:15am: lol hello I’m right here where are you?
11:16am: At work.
11:16am: But I can’t really do anything so I’m just sitting around being useless.
11:16am: What are you up to?? Entertain me, please.
11:18am: lol are you sick? you’re sounding a lot like sick dramatic james right now
11:20am: I’m just bored. I’m sitting here watching everyone else work and I can’t be a part of it coz of the other day and I’m sulking a bit.
11:22am: omg sulking james
11:22am: i love it
11:23am: I don’t really have anything fun to entertain you with i’m sorry
11:23am: i’m doing inventory at work
11:24am: I have a huge hangover, if that makes you feel better about feeling crappy
11:26am: What? Why do you have a hangover?
11:28am: coz I went out last night lol
11:28am: Really?? After we’d be texting? Or were you already out then?
11:29am: nah, after. I didn’t leave home til about 10. was just feeling stressed and needed to escape for a while
11:30am: I’m sorry. Do you wanna talk about it?
11:31am: lol nah I’m fine
11:32am: Are you sure??  
11:33am: of course :)
11:34am: Well, I definitely don’t believe you, but okay. I’m here if you wanna chat.
11:35am: thnx jamie :)
11:37am: So inventory, huh? How’d you get stuck doing that?
11:39am: lol I didn’t get stuck doing it. I always do it. I could have made one of my staff do it but I think it sends a good message for them to see me doing the crappy jobs too
11:41am: Lol fair enough.
11:41am: Wait, hold on.
11:41am: YOUR staff??
11:42am: Teddy, do you OWN the shop??
11:45am: no
11:45am: maybe
11:45am: ….
11:46am: that could be a thing that’s true
11:47am: Is it??
11:48am: little bit
11:49am: What the fuck!! You never told me that!!
11:51am: to be fair
11:51am: there’s lots of stuff we don’t know about each yet
11:51am: I also haven’t told you my fave colour
11:55am: Is it blue?
11:56am: …
11:56am: shut up
11:57am: Omg wow okay, so you own a music shop.
11:57am: And you give lessons to kids.
12:00pm: yep
12:01pm: that’s an accurate summary of the situation
12:01pm: sorry, I wasn’t like, hiding it or anything
12:02pm: No, no, it’s fine. I’m not upset.
12:02pm: You’re not obligated to tell me anything you don’t want to.
12:05pm: well I don’t mind telling you a bit, now that you know
12:05pm: I have a few staff who work with me
12:06pm: two other musicians who do lessons and two people who work in the shop selling instruments
12:06pm: plus the girl i’ve just hired, she’s learning both roles - the guy I had before her moved to iceland
12:07pm: Who moves to Iceland??

12:08pm: that’s what I said!
12:09pm: That’s really cool though.
12:09pm: You’re, like, a proper business man.
12:11pm: hahaha omg no
12:11pm: do not let this knowledge change your perception of me
12:12pm: I am still very much a chaotic disaster of a human being who makes terrible decisions
12:12pm: I have a hangover right now, remember
12:12pm: because I went drinking on a work night rather than dealing with my feelings
12:14pm: Nope, sorry.
12:14pm: I’m still impressed.
12:15pm: no stop that right now
12:15pm: there will be no praise or being impressed here!
12:16pm: Too late, it’s already happened.
12:17pm: ugh fine
12:17pm: I begrudgingly accept
12:18pm: So can I get a pocket friends discount on lessons?
12:19pm: hahahaha
12:19pm: didn’t you tell me you already play??
12:21pm: Yes but I’m not as good as you.
12:23pm: lol you don’t know if I’m any good
12:24pm: Yes I do. I can tell. I’m very wise.
12:25pm: you’re absurd
12:25pm: That doesn’t make it any less true.
12:26pm: hush
12:26pm: I’m headed out to lunch with new girl, will msg you later!
12:27pm: We really need a name for her, instead of just “new girl.”
12:28pm: I don’t want to say her real name, coz of who her family are. She’s trusting me to keep it quiet.
12:29pm: No, of course. I meant a nickname.
12:30pm: oh! Yeah good idea!
12:30pm: what about Cheese?
12:31pm: Wtf no lol.
12:31pm: what’s wrong with that? She just said she wants a cheese sandwich so I thought it was fitting
12:32pm: I hate cheese.
12:31pm: that’s weird jamie
12:31pm: we’ll call her red
12:31pm: Is that her favourite colour?
12:32pm: lol no
12:33pm: Ooh I love it when you get all vague and mysterious. Okay, Red it is.
12:34pm: Have fun on your lunch date with Red.
12:35pm: try not to sound too jealous ;)

3:16pm: are you still sulking?
3:21pm: Lol no, I just got home. Finally back from my parents after a LONG two days.
3:22pm: ooh is gavvy gav there? Tell him i said hi
3:23pm: He’s not, he just dropped me and had to go.
3:24pm: He has to go buy a canary for one of his daughters coz he accidentally let hers out and it escaped.
3:26pm: omg
3:26pm: classic gavvy gav  
3:28pm: OH!
3:28pm: That reminds me!
3:28pm: I forgot to tease you for the bird situation the other day.
3:30pm: bird situation?
3:31pm: The swooping
3:33pm: omg jamie
3:33pm: YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND
3:34pm: it was terrifying
3:34pm: it was VERY close to me
3:34pm: almost near me
3:35pm: ALMOST near you haha.
3:36pm: YES it was very TRAUMATIC honestly this might be worse than the sheep thing
3:38pm: Omg how can you even compare my near death experience to an Almost-Swooping??
3:40pm: i’m sorry what? It’s escalated to a near death experience now??
3:41pm: you can’t just up the level of the trauma because you want to beat my story!
3:43pm: You don’t even have a story to beat! You NEARLY have one! 
3:45pm: I cannot believe you are downplaying what might very well be the worst bird related moment of my life
3:46pm: Ignoring the fact you have more than one bad bird related moment
3:46pm: Do you think we’re TOO dramatic sometimes?

3:47pm: honestly, I dont think we’re dramatic enough
3:48pm: Red was only saying to me at lunch that she thought I was being very calm and un-dramatic today
3:49pm: Did you tell her WHY you were so subdued?
3:51pm: lol no. I’m a terrible boss but I don’t want her to actually know that yet
3:52pm: Aw, I think you’re a great boss.
3:52pm: You take your staff out for lunch all the time.
3:53pm: Seems like you and Red are getting close though?
3:55pm: yeah she’s really cool
3:55pm: easy to talk too, v chill, which is nice
3:56pm: like you :)
4:00pm: Oh dear, should I be jealous I’m being replaced?
4:03pm: haha never. Theres only one james from london
4:04pm: well actually there are probably a lot of those, but you’re the only one that matters
4:05pm: :)
4:07pm: what are you up to now??
4:09pm: Reading.
4:11pm: more tudor queens?
4:12pm: Haha, yes. I’m at book 3 - Jane Seymour.
4:15pm: WHAT! You read ahead without me, I haven’t even bought book 2!
4:16pm: I didn’t know I was supposed to wait.
4:18pm: I can’t believe you didn’t read my mind and figure it out
4:19pm: How rude of me, I’m so sorry!
4:21pm: omg jamie breaking news on the radio about potter
4:21pm: wtf you were right
4:21pm: strained calf, out for 3 weeks
4:23pm: Oh yeah, I heard.
4:24pm: are you sure you’re not his doctor LOL
4:25pm: Teddy, I swear I’m not the doctor for James Potter or for anyone else.
4:27pm: hmmm okay well i’m still suspicious about this but i’ll leave it… FOR NOW
4:27pm: Upping the dramatics?
4:28pm: trying to, what did you think?
4:30pm: A couple of exclamation marks would have made it more intense but overall it was very dramatic.
4:30pm: ALSO
4:31pm: I just remembered you said I could ask questions about you if I wanted!!
4:31pm: We should play twenty questions.
4:33pm: Oh god always a dangerous game
4:35pm: Oh, I mean, we don’t have to. No pressure. It was just an idea.
4:37pm: Lol nah let’s do it. Maybe then I can stop harassing gavvy gav about you
4:39pm: Omg what??
4:41pm: I’m kidding!
4:42pm: I don’t know what to think anymore. Should we set rules?
4:42pm: Like questions we shouldn’t ask?
4:43pm: let’s just agree to a pass rule, so if we’re not comfortable answering we can say pass, no questions asked, and move on to the next one
4:45pm: Okay deal.
4:45pm: Who starts?
4:46pm: Do you want to? (also i’m just about to start locking up the shop)
4:46pm: (which I own)
4:46pm: (lol)
4:46pm: (so my replies might be slow)
4:49pm: Haha, yes okay.
4:49pm: First question:

tbc

Chapter Text

Thursday Continued

James tapped his thumb against the edge of his phone as he stared down at the screen, the chipped edge of the plastic case catching his skin every time he thrummed against it. He’d been meaning to replace the case for weeks and almost asked Gavin to grab him a new one the other day, but he’d felt guilty and resolved to buy one online, though he’d still not done it. 

He paced the rug in his bedroom and tried to figure out what to say next. Honestly, he’d half expected Teddy to say no when he suggested they play this game and now that he had permission to ask something, the million and one questions that had been swirling around his brain for the past couple of weeks had all disappeared and he was left blank and stupid with a ridge forming on his thumb from getting caught on broken plastic. 

James wasn’t used to this; wanting to get to know someone, wanting to ask questions and caring about what the answer was going to be. It wasn’t that he was a prick or anything; he just hadn’t had the time since he left school to properly get to know anyone or make new friends beyond his teammates. He was always training or playing or doing media days. His mum always said he kept people at a distance but what else could he do? He had no idea how any of the other guys he knew managed to go out and meet people in real life. How they trusted anyone to get close enough to actually be real and share parts of themselves.

He dropped onto his bed and kicked his blankets away, not caring that they fell to the floor. His Gran would go mental if she walked in right now and saw it; she hated unmade beds. She’d probably hate the four half-full mugs of cold tea on his bedside table more. He’d clean up later, he promised, as he tucked his legs underneath himself. 

His phone buzzed again with a new message, startling him.

4:58pm: Helloooooo?

James grinned. He always bloody grinned when he saw Teddy’s name. During training earlier today, one of the guys had noticed him smiling at his phone and asked who he was talking to. When James panicked and stupidly said no one, they all started teasing him about having a secret girlfriend. He was annoyed for about three seconds until he got another text and then he barely heard a word they were saying. He wondered if Teddy would think he was a total creep for how much he loved hearing from him.

He let out long breath. Jesus Christ, he was nervous. Why the fuck was he nervous? And was he sweating a little? He pulled his T-shirt off and tossed it to the floor with his blankets. He was being ridiculous. He made a decision, typed out his question, and hit send.

5:00pm: What did you ask Gavin about me?

There. Not weird or invasive; they’d talked about this already so it shouldn’t scare Teddy off. The reply, thankfully, came almost straight away.

5:00pm: which time?

James laughed out loud. He scooted back and leaned against his headboard, the wood cool against his back, and he was halfway through his reply of ‘every time’ when his phone started ringing. A photo of his sister’s face covered in cake lit up his screen. James loved that picture of her; it was taken two years ago on her birthday, a few seconds after he and Al had launched an attack on her to cover her in chocolate cake and frosting. She hadn’t complained about being too old for cake again after that.

“Hey, Lil,” he said, switching her to loudspeaker so he could go back into his messages. He sent the text off to Teddy and propped his phone against his knees, watching the little bubble as Teddy wrote his reply. James could hear Elvis playing loudly in the background, which meant his parents weren’t home and Lily had free reign of the house.

“Hey, Jamie, are you at training?” she asked.

“Nah, I couldn’t run drills so I got let out early. And don’t call me that,” he huffed.

5:04pm: I asked him why you were so nice to me the night you sent him to pick me up, and he told me you were one of the nicest people he knew
5:04pm: Then I asked what you looked like and he laughed and winked and wouldnt tell me
5:04pm: I most recently asked if you were a spy and he said no but idk jamie, I really think he’s in on the whole thing

 James pressed a hand to his mouth to stop from laughing out loud again.

“You’re not even hurt,” Lily was saying. “Like, barely at all. I bet you can play fine. Your coach is so fucking dramatic, dude.”

“He’s just looking out for me,” James replied automatically. He hated how mechanical he was these days, how the media-friendly answers just fell out of his mouth without him even thinking about it. He hated how fake it made him feel.

5:05pm: Omg, I’ll have to give him a raise as thanks for keeping my cover.

Lily scoffed. James could hear the rustle of plastic in the background and he could picture her lounging on the grey couch in the living room at home with her legs over one of the arms as she unwrapped their dad’s favourite chocolates. She always stole them when he wasn’t home.

“I’m not the fucking tabloids, James,” she said. “If you’re pissed off about being sidelined you can bloody well say it to me.”

“Yeah, sorry. I know. I’m not pissed off, though,” James assured her. “Not about that. I just… I dunno. It’s annoying, but I get it. And like, could you imagine dad if Coach tried to put me back on the field right now?”

“Dad’s the coach of another team, he doesn’t get a say anymore,” Lily pointed out.

James snorted. “Lily, think of who you’re talking about. Do you really think he’d be able to help himself?”

“Fuck, you’re right,” Lily agreed. “He’d be like an angry PTA mum storming into your club like a fucking psychopath.”

5:06pm: I knew it ;)
5:06pm: can I ask now? 

James didn’t even want to imagine it. His Dad loved him, he knew that, but he struggled to sit back and let his kids do things without him. James understood; he knew what a rough time his Dad had growing up with his shitty family and all that, but sometimes he was just… He was too much. James still had nightmares about that time when he was seven and got red carded and his Dad yelled at the ref. To be fair, James had been tripped by another kid, who incidentally was the ref's son, but the scene his dad made had been so embarrassing and it ended up in all the papers. James still cringed when he thought about it.

“When did you start swearing this much, by the way?” James wondered. “Does Mum know you talk like this?”

“Fuck off,” Lily replied tartly. “Look, I need your advice on something, that’s why I called. I asked Al first because I didn’t want to bother you but he’s fucking useless and spouted off all this philosophical garbage that made no sense.”

5:07pm: Go for it. Just on the phone with my sister so might be slow to reply.

“I’m literally right here,” James heard in the background. “My advice was good, James,” Al yelled. “I’m very wise.”

“Wise people don’t need to call themselves wise, Al, you fucking dork,” Lily retorted.

James chuckled. “Did you call me because you think I’ll enable your bad choices?” he asked. “Aren’t I the sensible one? Did we all switch roles and I wasn’t told?”

5:08pm: who was your first crush?

“Not enable,” Lily replied sweetly. “Support. And you’re not the sensible one; Al is.”

“There’s a fine line between enablement and support!” Al yelled.

5:09pm: Omg, oh no.

“Can you go away, Jesus Christ,” Lily said. James heard her moving and the sound of a door shutting. “I love him,” she said, “but he’s terrible at telling me what I want to hear.”

5:09pm: omg is it embarrassing??? Tell me!!

James missed his brother and sister so much sometimes. There were times he hated living away from home, and it was usually when he wanted to see Al and Lil.

“Why do you ask us for advice at all when we all know you’ve already made up your mind?” he asked as his fingers hovered over the keyboard and he tried to decide how to embarrass himself the least.

“I like to include everyone in my—”

“Bad decisions?”

“Sure,” Lily agreed. “So look, I got a job.”

“What?” James barked. He switched speakerphone off and lifted his phone to his ear. “Lily, Jesus Christ. Dad’s gonna kill you. How many times has he said you have to wait until you finish high school to work?”

“God, you sound like him sometimes,” Lily remarked, making James scowl. “I’m sixteen,” she continued before he could get in a word. “I’ve done everything else they’ve wanted. Got perfect grades, behaved in front of the cameras and all that shit. I’m allowed to get a bloody job if I want to.”

“Oh my god, this is your teenage rebellion,” James realised. His back was starting to hurt so he shoved another pillow behind himself. “It’s finally happening. Lily Potter is rebelling against her parents. I joined an opposing team to dad’s, Al decided to study philosophy instead of law, and you fought against them by getting a job and trying to be an adult too soon.”

“Oh my god, will you please fuck off?” Lily groaned. “We’re literally the lamest fucking family in the world, aren’t we? I’ve never even smoked a cigarette, did you know that? What kind of life am I even living?”

“Do you want to smoke a cigarette?”

“Fuck no, but that’s not that point, is it?” Lily said. “We should go on like, a huge bender or something. Me, you and Al. Get pissed and just like, steal a car.”

James laughed. “We’ve gone from smoking cigarettes to grand theft auto.”

“I’m just saying, we should do something crazy to make up for what losers we all are.”

“You’ve already done something crazy,” James pointed out. “You got a job. What advice do you need, then? Is it just how to tell Mum and Dad?”

“Mum won’t care,” Lily said. “Dad is the one who will be a total prat about it.”

“He just wants to protect you,” James reminded her. “He doesn't want to see you get exploited because of who your family is.”

“It’s his fault our family is bloody famous,” Lily complained. “And yours now, too, but he can’t drag me into this and then try to hide me from it all.”

James sighed. “I know, Lils, but...” He rubbed at his face. His stubble was turning into more of a beard. He should probably trim it soon. He wondered if Teddy had a beard.  “Why don’t you just tell me what it is you want me to say?”

“That I’m in the right for wanting to work and my hand was forced by overbearing parents and that’s why I had to go behind their backs.”

“Lil, that’s—”

“Accurate,” Lily cut in. “You know it is.”

“You should talk to them,” James told her. “They’re not monsters. They might be more understanding than you think.”

“Jamie, no,” Lily whined. “That’s not what I wanted to hear! You’re doing this wrong!”

“Don’t call me that,” James said automatically. “Look, I’m sorry it’s not what you want me to say but they’re going to notice eventually, and it’ll be worse if it ends up in the papers and they find out that way.”

There was a beat of silence before Lily swore under her breath. “I fucking hate it when you’re right,” she muttered. “I have to go. Love you. Bye.”

She hung up before James could answer her. He dropped his phone on the mattress and stretched his arms above his head, closing his eyes as the tightness in his joints was eased out. His calf didn’t even twinge when he stretched his legs. He was pretty sure he was fine to play, but fuck, was it really worth the fight with the club and his dad if he insisted on being allowed back out there?

“Oh fuck, Teddy,” he remembered, grabbing his phone again. He had a message from Al, telling him Lily was fine and asking if he had to be at the game tomorrow night. James replied with a quick ‘yeah of course. Have to be’ before switching back to Teddy’s messages.

5:18pm: tell me right now jamie or I swear to god I will ask Gavvy for all the embarrassing stories about you!!!!

James laughed loudly and rolled onto his side, hugging a pillow to his chest. He felt giddy. He was potentially the most pathetic human being in the world but he didn’t care.

5:22pm: It’s bad. I don’t even want to say it.
5:22pm: sayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy it
5:22pm: Do you remember that kids show, Sailor Moon?
5:23pm: YES omg omg

James blushed. Fucking blushed. Like he was thirteen again and the Spanish guy on his dad’s team had just told him he’d be a brilliant striker one day. 

5:25pm: Okay well, when I was a kid I had a huge crush on Tuxedo Mask.

Huge was an understatement; James had been obsessed. When he was eleven he’d had the whole show on DVD and would rewatch the bits where Tuxedo Mask swooped in over and over again until the discs basically wore out. He’d had posters of him plastered on his bedroom wall beside his soccer ones. When he was fourteen and had confided in Al that he was gay for the first time Al had snorted and said “yeah, duh. I saw you kissing a poster of that masked dude years ago.”

He wouldn’t tell Teddy that detail, though. No fucking way.

5:26m: omg hahaha I love it. Your first crush was a cartoon character!!
5:27pm: In my defense, he was very charming and mysterious.

Kind of like Teddy, James’ brain supplied unhelpfully, which brought him up short because where the fuck did that come from? 

5:28pm: haha, looks like you do have a type after all ;)

James stared down at the message. Was Teddy… flirting? It was a testament to how useless James was at this kind of thing that he couldn’t even tell. More importantly, did he want Teddy to be flirting with him? They didn’t even know one another.

He frowned. That wasn’t strictly true anymore, he supposed. They were getting to know each other, both opening up bit by bit. And he'd realised the other day just how badly he wanted to tell Teddy who he was. He wasn’t sure he could drop any more hints without actually just saying the words. He was terrified, obviously. Terrified Teddy would be mad at him for lying, that they wouldn’t be mates anymore once the truth was out there — and that was one of the things that kept him from just blurting it out.

This thing, this friendship, was so different to anything James had experienced before. Teddy made it so easy; he wasn’t talking to James to get anything and he wasn’t interested in being friends because of James’ name. He liked James for James, and that was… Well, it was fucking wonderful.

5:30pm: Is it my turn?

He sent Lily a message too, realising he’d not asked her where it was she’d started working. He rolled off his bed and wandered to the kitchen as he waited for either her or Teddy to reply. He stared into his fridge for about thirty seconds before he decided he couldn’t be bothered cooking and began sifting through his drawer of take out menus.

He’d been so lazy for the last two days. He really needed to sort himself out. Eat right, tidy up, all that stuff. This stupid calf thing had thrown out his routine; he wasn’t even allowed to bloody run right now, which was the thing that annoyed him the most. He decided on ordering Chinese just as his phone buzzed again.

“In a shop,” he read out loud. “PS, take your own advice and talk to dad about all this shit between you two, you prat.”

James groaned and considered sending back the middle finger emoji but he knew Lily was right. He had to deal with it all sooner or later. God, wasn’t it supposed to be easier dealing with your parents once you were an adult?

Teddy’s reply came through a second later.

5:38pm: ask away :)

How was it possible to feel so comfortable talking to someone he’d never even met? How was someone like Teddy even real? James smiled, feeling confident, and then sent back ‘what are your parents like?’

Chapter Text

Thursday Continued

5:41pm: ooph jamie no
5:41pm: hard pass
5:42pm: Oh, I’m sorry.
5:42pm: I’ll think of another one.
5:43pm: sorry yeah
5:43pm: it’s just
5:43pm: not something I want to talk about over text
5:43pm: or like
5:43pm: at all lol
5:44pm: It’s okay, I understand.
5:44pm: I’m sorry!
5:45pm: Have you ever done a walk of shame?
5:46pm: hahahahahaha
5:46pm: omg
5:46pm: I have not
5:46pm: but
5:47pm: I have done the stride of pride
5:47pm: ;)
5:47pm: HAHA
5:47pm: Omg what a great saying.
5:47pm: I’ve never heard that before.
5:48pm: lol it’s the only one night stand i’ve ever had
5:48pm: it was when i was 18
5:48pm: but I wasn’t ashamed of it sooo I couldn’t call it a walk of shame, could I?
5:49pm: Lol, brilliant.
5:49pm: don’t think i’m terrible! I don’t sleep around or anything, I swear
5:50pm: That never even crossed my mind. I just panicked when I had to think of a new question and apparently that was where my mind went LOL.
5:50pm: hahaha
5:50pm: interesting
5:50pm: you’ve been watching too much porn, obviously
5:51pm: Haha, no I haven’t.
5:51pm: I was at my parents for two nights and there’s no way I’d risk watching it there.
5:51pm: My Mum caught me once when I was fourteen.
5:52pm: it was traumatising.
5:52pm: hahahahaha omg oh no
5:52pm: but also
5:52pm: you’re home now, right?
5:53pm: sooo
5:53pm: LOL Teddy, are you asking if I’m going to watch porn?
5:53pm: lol omg sorry i’m being weird i’ll stop
5:53pm: quick I need to ask a question so this isn’t awkward
5:53pm: who is your fave band?
5:54pm: Right now it’s Something for Kate.
5:54pm: And hey, sorry! I’m headed out for dinner now. I didn’t realise the time! Have a nice night!
5:55pm: okay have fun x
5:56pm: :)
5:58pm: Oh, and for the record, I probably will later. I haven’t been running in a few days. Gotta deal with all the pent up energy somehow. Bye!
5:58pm: omfg jamie

Friday

9:21am: Do you have any weird phobias?
9:32am: good morning to you too
9:32am: I might
9:36am: Omg tell me.
9:38am: it’s not THAT weird
9:38am: but like
9:38am: wet suits gross me out
9:47am: Did you have a bad experience scuba diving or something?
9:47am: lol no
9:47am: I mean like
9:47am: a formal suit
9:47am: being wet
9:47am: while I’m wearing it
9:52am: That’s
9:52am: different lol.
10:01am: no omg jamie im serious
10:01am: have you ever experienced this??
10:01am: no don’t tell me I don’t want to know
10:02am: it’s just so disgusting!!!!!!
10:02am: like it sticks to you and just ugh
10:02am: i’m cringing just thinking about it
10:02am: luckily I don’t have to wear suits often but when I do I swear to god it ALWAYS rains and it just makes me want to die
10:05am: Does this extend to other clothes being wet too?
10:10am: no don’t be absurd. it’s just suits
10:13am: Right of course, I’M the absurd one right now.
10:14am: oh I have another one!
10:14am: dinosaurs
10:18am: What?
10:18am: Like, a T-Rex?
10:18am: But they’re extinct?
10:20am: well I mean, obviously I know that
10:20am: but when I was like five or six
10:20am: I snuck out of bed one night to watch tv
10:20am: and Jurassic Park was on
10:21am: and I swear to god it scarred me for life
10:21am: I had nightmare for YEARS
10:22am: and I literally can’t rewatch the movies now because it brings back how I felt back then and I get all freaked out
10:22am: (you can laugh - vic thinks it’s hilarious)
10:25am: Omg I’m not laughing much, I swear.
10:25am: Like, only a tiny amount.
10:25am: Your trauma isn’t hilarious.
10:28am: it’s okay
10:28am: I laughed about the sheep
10:28am: I laugh about it all the time
10:28am: if I’m having a bad day I think about it to cheer me up
10:31am: Omg well now I don’t feel so bad.
10:35am: can I ask you now??
10:37am: About my weird phobias?
10:38am: no we’ve already talked about the sheep enough for one day
10:40am: I could have others.
10:41am: what are they?
10:42am: No, you’re right. I don’t. I’m very boring.
10:45am: omg
10:45am: you’re like
10:45am: the LEAST boring person
10:45am: and that didn’t count as my question
10:46am: you said once you wanted to be a musician but decided to do something else with your life
10:46am: I was just wondering why you picked the other mystery thing (which is actually a spy job but we’re still pretending it’s not)
10:55am: Ummmmmmmmm
10:55am: I feel like I’m being a bit of a broken record by harping on about my Dad all the time
10:55am: but I wanted to follow in his footsteps and do the same thing he did.
10:56am: I don’t regret it at all, don’t get me wrong.
10:56am: I LOVE what I do.
10:56am: But sometimes I wish I had more time for things like music because I really did love it when I was younger.
10:57am: I used to play a little with one of my cousins. Nothing serious or anything, we’d just mess around with it, but then yeah. I guess I got too busy and I don’t remember the last time I touched my guitar.
10:59am: well if you ever want someone to jam with
11:00am: or lessons
11:00am: you know where i am :)
11:00am: (im in your pocket)
11:05am: Lol, thank you :)
11:05am: Did you ever finish teaching yourself the flute?
11:05am: (not my question, this is a follow up to the current question that’s still in play)
11:08am: YES I DID
11:08am: I don’t mean to brag but I’m great at it
11:08am: probably the best ever
11:10am: After only a few weeks of practice?
11:13am: I’m THAT impressive jamie
11:13am: no but I’m feeling pretty confident with it
11:13am: I’m thinking of moving onto something new
11:14am: maybe the trombone
11:14am: I feel like I need to go for a more aggressive instrument after the flute
11:15am: Or the French horn. That seems kind of aggressive.
11:17am: lol vic would love that
11:20am: Hey, by the way.
11:21am: I didn’t like, freak you out last night, did I?
11:21am: With that last comment, I mean?
11:23am: omg no
11:23am: I was surprised but not like
11:23am: in a bad way. It was funny!
11:25am: Oh, yeah good okay. Sorry, it’s hard to know sometimes by text if someone will get your humour, you know?
11:27am: yeah I get it! I was worried I’d pushed you too far with the porn comments lol
11:28am: Just call me out if I ever say something that makes you uncomfortable, okay?
11:29am: okay! Likewise.
11:30am: I have an early lesson today, so i’ll chat to you later okay :)
11:32am: Have fun!

10:14pm: jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamie
10:14pm: whERE R U
10:14pm: i am in enemy territory jamie
10:14pm: BLUE JERSEYS EVERYWHERE SEND HELP
10:16pm: Lol hello, what do you mean?
10:17pm: i’m a t stamford bridge CAN YOU BELIVE IT IM AT CHELSEAS HOME GROUND
10:17pm: Wait, what??
10:19pm: Teddy???
10:20pm: lol YES im right here hello
10:21pm: one of the guys from work had a ticket
10:21pm: his brother got sick and hE asked me to go and I DID
10:21pm: i was goign to msg u earlier but we went out for pre game drinks and thn had during game drinks and now we’re gonna have after game drinks and be sad c chelsea won
10:21pm: im sorry
10:22pm: are you mad at me??????????
10:23pm: No of course not but you’re at the stadium right now??
10:23pm: Where are you??
10:25pm: lol in the carpark
10:25pm: the games over duh
10:26pm: Omg.
10:26pm: Teddy, I’m inside the stadium.
10:27pm: what
10:28pm: I’m here now. Inside.
10:28pm: i don’t
10:28pm: oh my god fuck
10:28pm : jamie what do i do
10:29pm: What do you want to do?
10:29pm: omG I feel so scared allof a sudde n
10:30pm: No, don’t feel scared!
10:30pm: If you’re leaving, that’s okay! I don’t like, expect anything. I just wanted you to know. Just in case.
10:31pm: fuck fuck fuck
10:31pm: jamie im so sorry. Im so drunk why did i do this
10:31pm: i cant meet you like this
10:31pm: are u really here
10:31pm: fuck
10:32pm: you're just in side
10:32pm: you’re so close
10:32pm: fuck ben wants to leave to get to the bar
10:32pm: It’s okay! I feel kind of scared too.
10:33pm: It feels like such a big deal all of a sudden.
10:33pm: it IS a big deal
10:33pm: omf u dnt even understandh
10:33pm: how much i want to meet u!
10:33pm: ur one of my favourite people im not even kidding
10:33pm: and ur right there inside
10:34pm: fuck im talking myself into a panic
10:35pm: Teddy, it’s okay. You guys go. Maybe tonight just isn’t the right time.
10:35pm: But there’ll be a right time.
10:35pm: I mean, I know we haven’t talked about ever meeting.
10:35pm: But like, if you want to, maybe we could someday.
10:35pm: Fuck, my hands are so sweaty hahaha.
10:36pm: so ar emine omg
10:36pm: jamie
10:36pm: im going to meet you someday okay
10:36pm: when im braver
10:36pm: i promise
10:37pm: Whenever you want :)
10:37pm: i’m in the car
10:37pm: fuck m yheart is RACING
10:38pm: what if you were just like sat near me that whole game and i didnt even know
10:39pm: I’d have spotted your blue hair haha.
10:39pm: Are you okay?
10:40pm: yeah i just
10:40pm: idk that was crazy
10:40pm: ben is driving me home i dont feel like going out now
10:41pm: Because of me?? I’m sorry!
10:41pm: no!!! I just like
10:42pm: panicked
10:42pm: you’re right that its a Big Deal
10:42pm: i was just caught off guard
10:42pm: andd wish i was fucking sober right now
10:43pm: im so sorry
10:43pm: Stop apologising, you dork. I sprung it on you.
10:44pm: I want to meet you
10:44pm: one day
10:44pm: I want to meet you one day too :)
10:45pm: fuck im going to be so mad at myself tomorrow
10:45pm: Lol, don’t be. It was probably the right call!
10:46pm: youre too nice to me
10:46pm: You're very easy to be nice to.
10:46pm: lookin g at my phone in the car is making me feel a bit sick. Can i text you tomorrow jamie? is that cool?
10:47pm: Yeah, of course.
10:47pm: Have water before you sleep!
10:48pm: okay i will
10:48pm: Also, you're one of my favourite people too. Just so you know.
10:48pm: xx
10:49pm: xx

Chapter Text

Saturday

Teddy woke up with a throbbing headache, a suffocating weight on his chest, and his cheek pressed against a very damp pillow. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly against the early morning light creeping through a gap in his curtains and moved his head to try and find a less wet spot. He had a vague memory of trying to drink water in the middle of the night without sitting up, followed by deciding that turning his pillow over to the dry side was too much effort. Jesus Christ, how much had he drank? His mouth tasted like an ashtray — ugh, had he smoked last night? — and his whole body ached like he’d been run over by a damn sheep. He almost chuckled out loud at the thought but it quickly turned into a groan when the weight on top of him shifted. He tried to roll onto his side, but thighs on either side of his chest held him in place.

“Get off me, Vic,” he moaned, rubbing tiredly at his face. He hadn’t shaved in two days and his stubble scratched at his palm. Vic had once said he looked better clean shaven because it showed off his strong jawline and Teddy had taken it to heart; he rarely went more than a day without shaving. He wondered what James’ jaw looked like.

A finger prodded his shoulder and pulled him from his thoughts. Teddy reluctantly opened his eyes, just in time to see the plastic cup half full of water in Vic’s hand being tipped down onto his face.

“What the fuck!” he spluttered, reaching out to try and push her off his chest as the freezing water dripped down his cheeks and onto his neck, soaking his already damp pillow. “I’m awake. Get off me!”

“Sorry,” Vic said, not sounding sorry at all. She slid off Teddy’s chest and knelt beside him on the mattress.

She was still in her flannel pyjama bottoms — well, she was wearing his pyjama bottoms, but she insisted they were warmer than all of hers and wouldn’t give them back — but she was wearing a pressed white blouse and her hair was in a tight knot on the top of her head.

“Fuck, I said I’d drive you to work this morning,” Teddy remembered. “I’m so sorry. Give me five minutes and I’ll be dressed.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Vic said, pressing a hand to his chest when he scrambled to sit up. “You’ll still have booze in your system. I’ll just get a taxi.”

"I'm sorry," Teddy said again, using the corner of his doona to wipe the water from his face. “How come you woke me up?”

“Because I hate taxis and if I have to suffer then so do you,” Vic said. “And you were snoring. And also your stupid phone keeps buzzing. I can hear it from my room, and it’s annoying as fuck.”

Teddy groaned again and threw one arm over his eyes. “I’m so sorry,” he repeated. “I didn’t mean to let you down. Last night was just — fuck, I don’t even know. Take my car today, okay? I’ll just get the bus or a taxi if I need anything.”

“Teddy…”

“The keys are in my jeans pocket. Down there somewhere,” Teddy told her, gesturing to the floor with his free hand. “I put petrol in yesterday so you don’t need to worry about it.”

Vic silently climbed off his bed and he listened to the sounds of her moving across the room and the jangle of his keys to try and distract himself from the pounding in his head and the damp puddle under his head. He pulled his blanket up over his face, deciding he needed at least another two days of sleep to shake this hangover. He also hoped it would dissuade Vic from wanting to talk anymore, but the blanket was yanked away a moment later. Teddy was glad he’d at least kept his pants on last night when he fell into bed.

“So, let’s chat,” Vic said conversationally, dropping the blanket on the floor and sitting down beside Teddy. “You were a mess when you got in. You tried to cartwheel down the hallway and ran into a wall.”

“Is that why I’m so sore?” Teddy asked, stretching his legs out. His muscles protested, aching horribly, so he curled them back up. “Can I have my blanket please? It’s fucking cold."

“What happened, Ted?” Vic asked gently. “Why were you so fucked up? Was it parent stuff again?”

“I’m fucked up in general,” Teddy muttered. “I thought you’d be used to that by now.”

“Hey,” Vic said sharply, “don’t say shit like that, Teddy. You are not fucked up, but we do need to talk about what’s going on with you. You can't keep doing stuff like this.”

Teddy, who was a very mature and grown up man, rolled onto his stomach and put his head under his pillow. “I’m fine,” he mumbled against his mattress, ignoring how damp and uncomfortable he was. “Just go to work.”

“Do you have any idea,” Vic said, “how much I hate those two words? Don’t say you’re fine, Teddy. I know you’re not fine.” Her hand was on his lower back, rubbing slow circles the way she did sometimes when he felt sick. He waited for the lecture or the threat to hide all the booze again, but instead she said, “is this… Is it about that guy?”

The thought of James made Teddy groan again, the sound muffled by his mattress. Fucking hell, he’d been there. Jamie had been right there, in the same stadium as Teddy for over two hours. He’d wanted to meet Teddy and Teddy had said no. Fucking fuck!

“No,” Teddy replied petulantly. “It’s not. It’s not about anything.”

Vic stayed silent, her fingers resting lightly on his hip now. That was how she always got to him; she stayed close, made sure he knew she was there for him, pushed but not too hard until he gave in. He hated her as much as he loved her sometimes. He rolled over onto his back again, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. “Maybe it is. I don’t know. He’s not even real, Vic.”

“He is real and you’re being a prat by refusing to tell him anything about yourself,” Vic shot back. “I know you like him, Teddy. You have heart eyes whenever you look at your phone these days. It’s the grossest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Teddy blushed. “Fuck off, I do not. I don’t even know him.”

The words tasted like a lie because Teddy was pretty sure he felt closer to James than he had any right to, and the look on Vic’s face told him she knew that, too.

“You know him well enough to drink yourself into a coma because he upset you,” said Vic irritably. “You could barely stand last night!”

Teddy sighed. He pushed himself into a sitting position and hugged his horrible, damp pillow to his chest. “I wasn’t upset because of something he did,” he told her. “I was upset because I’m a fucking idiot. He was there, at the game last night. I think he wanted to meet me but I panicked and said no because I’d had so much to drink and now he probably hates me.”

“He wouldn’t hate you for that, you idiot,” Vic said, exasperated. “Not if he’s as wonderful as you keep saying he is. It was the smart thing to do. Not everybody thinks the worst of you all the time, Teddy.”

Teddy scoffed. “They should,” he muttered.

A sharp pinch on his thigh made Teddy yelp and he glared at Vic.

“What?” she asked with an indifferent shrug. “You told me to pinch you if you ever started acting all emo.”

“I said that when I was fifteen and thought emos were lame!” Teddy grumbled, rubbing his leg. “How do you even remember that?”

Vic rolled her eyes. “I’m your best friend; I remember everything you say. I also remember we made a pact when we were seventeen that we’d marry each other if we were both still single when we turned thirty, and now that thirty isn’t that far away for us I really need you to meet someone. I love you, Ted, but being married to a guy who won’t fuck me is not my ideal situation.”

You could marry someone to void the pact,” Teddy reminded her. “It doesn’t have to be me.”

“Not a chance,” Vic scoffed. “Do you know how happy it would make my parents for me to meet someone and settle down? I can’t give them that satisfaction.”

“It’s not like they’d ever know; you don’t talk to them,” Teddy said. Vic’s expression darkened and he knew he’d hit a nerve they weren’t supposed to touch on.

“Have you been flirting with him?” she asked, ignoring his comment.

“No.”

Vic narrowed her eyes. “Have you?”

Teddy hugged his pillow tighter. “Fine; yes. A little.”

“Oh god, oh no. You're the worst at flirting,” Vic groaned. “What did you say? Did you use Star Wars pick up lines? I swear to god, if you used those again...”

“I didn’t!” Teddy insisted. “I’m not telling you anything else! Go away!”

“The good thing is he probably didn’t realise what you were doing,” Vic continued with a thoughtful look on her face. “You’re so awkward. Like, it’s so charming but guys never realise you’re into them because you’re just not forward enough. You know, I could probbaly give you some lines that would tell him exactly what you wanted.” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, so Teddy hit her with his pillow.

“I know you haven’t been laid in a year, you tosser. Your lines are rubbish. Besides, I’m trying not to push him too much. I want to be subtle.”

Vic snorted. “Don't want to push him or don’t want to give too much of yourself because you think you're not good enough?”

“Nope.” Teddy shook his head. “I am too fucking hungover for this. You can psychoanalyse me later. Please go away.”

Vic laughed. She stood up and leaned over to kiss Teddy on the cheek. “Stop moping,” she said. “Go text your boyfriend and then text me if you want me to bring you food after work.” She tossed his blanket back to him. “You’re telling me more about this guy later. You’ve been weirdly vague about him and I find the whole thing very suspicious. What was his name again?”

“Jamie,” Teddy said. He could feel himself blushing again and he hated that he was always so bloody obvious about his feelings. “Well, it's James, but I started calling him Jamie. We don’t know each other’s last names.”

“Jamie,” Vic repeated, wrinkling her nose. She reached for his curtains and pulled them shut, blocking out the glare of the sun that was peaking through and steadily getting brighter. “You have petname, ugh. Does he have a job? What does he do?”

“I don’t know exactly,” Teddy admitted. “I know he does the same kind of work his dad does. Oh, and he has a private driver called Gavin, who I actually met a few weeks ago. I think he’s like, someone important or something, but that’s all I really know about his situation.”

Vic was stopped at the door, staring back at him with her lips slightly parted.

“What? Why do you look weird?” Teddy asked as he pulled his blanket back up to his shoulders. Everything was so fucking damp and cold and it was horrible.

Vic shook her head and fumbled for the door handle. “No reason. I don’t -- I have to put trousers on and go to work. Text me about food, yeah?” she said in a rush. “I’ll see you later.”

“I’m going to your bed, mine’s too wet,” Teddy called out behind her.

“Fine, whatever you want,” he heard her reply.

Vic was so weird sometimes. That was why he loved her so much. He rolled off his bed and grabbed a grey hoodie from the floor. The hood flopped over his eyes when he pulled it on — he always bought his jumpers a size too big because he liked how cosy it made them feel — and he pushed it back off his head. He felt like absolute shit and standing up was making him nauseas and he really, really needed more sleep, but first he fished his phone out of the pocket of the jacket he’d been wearing the night before. He had three new messages from James. He bit down on his bottom lip and smiled.


James pulled open the bathroom door and was followed into his bedroom by a billowing cloud of steam from the shower that was still running. He adjusted the towel wrapped around his waist and ignored the droplets of water he could feel sliding from his hair onto his neck as he strode across the carpet and left damp footprints behind him. He’d done another assessment after the game last night and was expecting a call from his coach this morning about whether he could start training today or not. He was fucking desperate to start exercising again. He snatched his phone up from his bedside table but he froze when he saw the caller ID.

He hesitated before sliding his thumb across the screen to answer and lifted the phone tentatively to his ear.

“Hello?”

“James, hi,” his cousin’s airy voice replied, casual as anything. Her voice was distant, like she had him on speakerphone, and he could hear the noise of a car running in the background. “How are you?”

James sat down on the edge of his bed and frowned. “I haven’t heard from you in months,” he said. “Is everything okay? Did your parents tell you I’m living in London now?”

She laughed. “I watch the news, James. I know you’re in London. Everybody knows you’re in London. I’m fine, but listen, we really need to talk.”

James sighed, already imagining the million questions that would be thrown at him by his family when they found out he’d heard from her. She’d been coming and going as she pleased since she was eighteen, constantly flitting in and out of their lives, and they were lucky if anyone besides her parents saw her more than once or twice a year. James hated the way she just disregarded the way it made them all feel, but especially their gran and pop; he knew they still hoped she’d show up every week at Sunday dinner. James knew she’d had a tough time when her parents split up, what with how public and messy it had all been, so he tried to be understanding of her wanting to distance herself from the family, but fuck, she made it difficult when she just acted like everything was fine.

“Talk about what, Victoire?” he asked her wearily.

He heard the car shut off and the sound of her moving about, and then her voice was suddenly much closer to the speaker when she said, “we need to talk about you and Teddy.”

Chapter Text

Saturday Continued

James was not somebody prone to finding himself at a loss for words; growing up with a spotlight on his family meant he was well versed in talking himself out of the tricky questions nosey reporters used to put him on the spot and make him fumble. He could side step surprising and invasive comments and redirect conversations much more efficiently than his dad ever could – something his mum loved to tease them both about – but never in his life had he been blindsided like this.

“Are you still there?” Victoire prompted after his silence stretched out for several moments “Look, I’m sorry to spring this on you this way but I only just realised it’s you he’s been talking to and I’m just like, trying to wrap my head around it, you know? I just thought we should chat. It is you he’s been texting, isn’t it?”

James swallowed around the uncomfortable lump in his throat. “I–” His mouth was dry and his fingers clenched around his phone so tightly he was sure his knuckles must be white. “You’re Vic,” he realised, the sound coming out as a broken voice he didn’t recognise.

Victoire let out a short laugh. “Yes,” she agreed. “He has a thing for giving people nicknames. But apparently you already know that, Jamie.

“I don’t–” James let out a low breath and ran a hand through his wet hair. Water trickled down his neck and back and he shivered. He wiped his hand on the towel around his waist, and then clenched his fingers in the soft fabric. “I’m so bloody confused right now.”

Victoire snorted. “Join the club.”

James could hear the sound of traffic and crossing signals through the phone. A car horn blared somewhere in the distance.

“Where are you?” he asked, because his heart was racing and his head was spinning and he didn’t know what else to say.

“King William Street. I’m pacing outside my work trying to understand how the hell this happened,” Victoire explained.

James sank back against his pillows, letting his head rest against the headboard as he drew his knees up to his chest.

“You know Teddy,” he said hoarsely. “You – Fuck. I might pass out.”

“Dramatic as ever,” Victoire replied dryly.

“Oh my god,” James muttered. “This is – I need a minute, okay? This is a lot.”

“Take your time,” Victoire offered. “I don’t like my job that much; I’m not fussed if they fire me.”

James took a couple of steadying breaths and closed his eyes. His day had been all planned out and the most dramatic part of it was supposed to be dinner with Al and Lily tonight; Lily had been hinting she’d done something to prove how rebellious she was and he was pretty sure he was going to have to be the voice of reason and talk her out of whatever it was.

“Nobody knows,” he blurted out. “In the family, or the public. I mean, Al and Lily do, but nobody else knows that I… That I’m…”

“That you’re gay?” Victoire offered easily. “I’m not going to tell anyone, James, for fucks sake. I don’t care that you’re gay. What I care about is Teddy and making sure he doesn’t get hurt.”

James nodded even though she couldn’t see him. It was bizzare to be talking to someone about Teddy, to have actual confirmation beyond the certainty in his own head that the person he’d been speaking to for all these weeks was out there somewhere and was real. Gavin had met him but this felt… different. Victoire really knew him; she lived with him.

“Is he–” James chewed nervously on his bottom lip. “Did you tell him who I am?”

“No,” Victoire replied. “It’s not up to me to tell him that.”

James exhaled in relief. “I can’t believe this is happening,” he said. “It’s so fucking strange, Victoire.”

“Yeah,” she agreed. “So like, he really just texted you by mistake one day? That’s how you met?”

James stretched his legs out and picked absently at a loose thread on his towel.

“Yeah,” he confirmed. “Someone gave him a wrong number and I guess it was mine.”

“Fuck, that’s wild,” Victoire exhaled. “If I didn’t know him as well I do I’d be suspicious he got your number from my phone but Teddy isn’t like that.”

“He wouldn’t,” James said with complete certainty.

“I know. Plus, I don’t have any of the family saved as their real names. You’re in there as ‘the smug little shit’.”

“What the fuck?” James exclaimed indignantly. “Why? Hugo is the smug cousin!”

“Hugo is the hipster cousin,” Victoire corrected. “You’re the one who used to have a smug little smirk on your face every time I saw you.”

“I did not,” James muttered. And if he had been kind of cocky when he was younger, he grew out it, but he decided bringing that up wouldn’t help his case. “Wait, hang on. So… so he doesn’t know who I am, but does Teddy know who your family is?”

“Yes. He’s always known but Teddy and I...” She sighed. “We both struggle to communicate sometimes, so we avoid talking about our families as much as possible. We’ve never even met one anothers. It’s a touchy subject for both of us.”

“Yeah,” James said. “He avoids questions when I ask about his. What’s he like?” he asked. “No, wait, don’t tell me. It wouldn’t be fair to know things about him when he doesn’t know about me.”

Victoire made a noise of agreement, and then, “Why haven’t you told him who you are, James?”

James’ chest ached. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I mean, I want to. I’ve almost said it so many times. We were both at the football last night and I thought for half a second we might meet up, but...” He closed his eyes, remembering the fluttering of nervous excitement he’d felt for that brief moment last night. He let out a shaky breath. “He seems really set on not sharing who we are. And like, it was my idea to start with, I think – I don’t remember exactly how it happened – but now I just feel like I’m lying to him. And maybe he doesn’t even want to know who I am and I’m worrying for nothing, but it seems like we’re friends and I just… Fuck, I don’t even know what I’m trying to say.”

“Oh, Jesus  Christ,” Victoire said loudly, startling James. “You fucking like him, don’t you? Like, you really like him. Oh my god, James. You two are as bad as each other.”

James’ eyes snapped open. “What do you mean? What does that mean?”

“Look, James. I’m going to tell you something that I probably shouldn’t but if this thing is happening I think it’s important for you to know.”

James swallowed nervously. “Okay.”

“Teddy is the best person I know but he’s very insecure about people leaving him,” Victoire said. “I think part of him even still expects me to disappear one day. He’s been through a lot and I think him being such a prat about sharing his identity is because it’s going to makes things very real for him. Teddy has a thousand friends but he rarely gets close to anyone, James, but I can tell that he doesn’t want to lose you. Not as a friend or anything else. You’re important to him.”

James’ stomach swooped. He let out the breath he’d been holding. “He’s important to me, too,” he whispered.

“Good. Then don’t fuck this up, alright?”

“Do you think…” James hesitated. “Do you think he’s going to be mad when he finds out who I am?”

Victoire laughed. “No, he won’t be mad. He’ll be embarrassed more than anything.”

James frowned. “Why?”

“When you guys figure this thing out ask him about the poster he had up in his room for two months before I bribed him to take it down.”

“What does that mean?”

“Ask him,” Victoire repeated. “Look, I should go, but James, I know you well enough to know you’re a good person but I’d be a shoddy best friend if I didn’t tell you that you better be nice to him or I’ll kick your arse.”

James let out a nervous laugh. “Victoire, I don’t–”

“You need to understand,” Victoire cut in sharply, “that I don’t care about a lot of things, James. I know what our family think of me and that’s fine, but Teddy means everything to me, and family or not, if you do anything to hurt him it’ll be me you have to answer to.”

“Fucking hell, Victoire.”

“He’s special,” she added. “Okay?”

“Yeah. I know he is,” James murmured.

“Alright then.” Victoire sounded satisfied. “Good. I trust you. Oh, also. Do you know about Molly?”

James frowned. “Nan or Little Molly?”

“Would I really call nan by her first name?” Victoire scoffed. “And the other one is hardly ‘Little Molly’ anymore. She’s eighteen.”

“Well, what about her? We see her almost as much as we see you these days.”

"Interesting," Victoire hummed. “Alright. Nevermind then. Hey, I really have to go, but I hope you’re feeling better after the injury the other day. Talk soon, okay?”

“Victoire, wait.”

“Yeah?”

James hesitated uncertainly, then he said, “Come to Sunday dinner sometime. We all miss you. Gran and Pop would love to see you.”

Victoire sighed. “I’ll think about it," she said unconvincingly. "Bye James.”

The line went dead and James stared at his phone in his hand for a full minute before he realised the shower was still running and he was dripping wet.


8:48am: I am DYING
8:48am: I am so hungover jamie send help
8:48am: not literally, i dont want gavvy gav to show up here
8:48am: he shouldnt have to see me this way
8:49am: god i feel so sick though ughhhhhhhh

9:14am: Hey sorry! I was on the phone.
9:15am: oooh secret spy conversations?
9:15am: Ah, no. Just weird family stuff.
9:15am: REALLY fucking weird family stuff.
9:16am: are you okay??
9:16am: Yeah. One sec, I’ll be right back. I just have to get dressed.
9:17am: i’m sorry what
9:17am: “get dressed”
9:17am: the implication being
9:17am: that you are not currently dressed
9:18am: That’s the general meaning, yes.
9:18am: Stop distracting me. I’m trying to find jeans but my phone keeps buzzing so I have to look at it.
9:19am: don’t blame me for your shameless state of undress, this is all on you
9:19am: I was showering!
9:20am: And then I got a phone call.
9:20am: did you talk to your family NAKED
9:21am: No omg.
9:21am: I had a towel on.
9:21am: omg
9:21am: we need to change the subject
9:21am: right now
9:22am: Okay.
9:22am: I was waiting for you to wake up so I could say I’m sorry if I made you feel pressured last night.
9:22am: It was all very spur of the moment and I didn’t mean to freak you out.
9:23am: omg no
9:23am: I’M sorry
9:23am: I was a mess and I feel like I’ve, like
9:23am: fucked this up a bit
9:23am: I just
9:24am: blah okay
9:24am: so I was talking to Vic this morning and she said some stuff about what a prat I am and so i just wanted to say that like
9:24am: I really really like talking to you
9:24am: and I’m always worried I’ll say something to make you not reply and you’ll just disappear out of my life
9:25am: and I just dont want that to happen
9:25am: and I thought it was important I make that clear
9:25am: because i'm bad at all this stuff but I want you to know
9:26am: Teddy, don’t you remember when my phone died and I hounded my whole family for a charger until I got one, just to text you?
9:26am: I’m not going anywhere.
9:26am: And like,
9:26am: God, I hope you don’t think this is weird.
9:27am: Sometimes, when we’re not talking
9:27am: I miss you.
9:27am: And maybe that’s crazy coz I’ve never even heard your voice and we’ve only known one another a short time but I do. I miss you.
9:28am: jamie omg
9:28am: OMG
9:28am: you are the actual sweetest human on the planet
9:28am: omg wow
9:29am: i am still dying but now im GRINNING like an idiot  and ahhhhh jskshfjdhfdj
9:30am: you’re the best
9:30am: :) :)
9:31am: I meant what I said last night. I DO want to meet you one day
9:31am: like it absolutely has to happen once i like
9:31am: stop being such a mess
9:32am: I really hope it does.
9:32am: One sec, I’m on the phone again.
9:33am: stop being so popular
9:33am: don’t these people know who i am
9:33am: i require a lot of attention and they are interrupting
9:33am: i’ll just be here waiting
9:33am: all alone
9:34am: dying quietly
9:34am: SIGH
9:35am: Is this your version of dying quietly?
9:36am: I could be much louder if I wanted to
9:36am: I was respecting your boundaries
9:37am: I don’t have any boundaries.
9:37am: I don’t know what that means but if it was sexual you should know that… well, I still don’t know what it means
9:38am: Hahaha
9:38am: So, I just found out I can’t run or exercise for another three days at least.
9:38am: I’m so annoyed.
9:39am: why???
9:39am: what even happened to you jamie?? you’ve been very vague
9:40am: Yeah, I know. I’m sorry. I think I need to be, for now.
9:41am: right okay that’s fair. But like
9:41am: i hope you’re okay
9:41am: and that gavvy gav is taking care of you
9:41am: should I text him to come take care of you?
9:42am: Haha no!
9:42am: And excuse me, how often are you texting each other? Is this a regular thing??? When was the last time you spoke?
9:42am: no idea what you mean
9:43am: That’s my next question. We’re still playing, right?
9:43am: omg you're the worst
9:43am: fine
9:44am: I sent him a snapchat of this guy singing The Horses on telly last night. It’s kind of our song now.
9:45am: There are so many crazy things in that sentence.
9:45am: How the fuck do you have Gavin on snapchat? I didn’t even know he had it!
9:45am: well why would you? It’s a terrible idea to have people you work with on social media
9:45am: red asked the other day if I was on instagram and I told her I prefer not to add work people on my personal page
9:46am: fav added me a while ago, he found me by my phone number
9:46am: I feel weirdly left out?? I don't even have snapchat and Gavin does.
9:47am: And also, you two have a song together???
9:47am: obviously
9:48am: What do you mean, obviously?? Why is that an obvious thing??
9:48am: I can’t believe my driver and my pocket friend are sending secret snaps and having secret songs together.
9:49am: awww you said pocket friend, i love when you call me that
9:49am: Omg my head is spinning. I can’t believe you have both done this to me.
9:50am: now who’s the dramatic one
9:50am: I need to lie down.
9:51am: lol you dork
9:52am: Ugh. My morning keeps getting worse and worse.
9:52am: You’re stealing my Gavin AND I can’t exercise.
9:52am: I so, so badly wish I could go for a run right now. Like, I actually need it.
9:53am: so you can get out all your pent up dramatic feelings?
9:53am: Pent up frustrations, more like.
9:54am: omg
9:54am: okay THAT one was definitely sexual
9:54am: I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.
9:55am: sure you don't 
9:55am: youll just have to find another way to get the pent up frustrations out, I guess

9:55am: That’s TWO.
9:56am: two what?
9:56am: Two wanking jokes you’ve made.
9:56am: are you keeping count?
9:57am: Maybe.
9:57am: interesting
9:57am: are you flirting with me?
9:58am: I don’t know.
9:58am: Probably not properly.
9:58am: I’m not sure I’d know how.
9:59am: omg lmao
9:59am: same tbh
10:00am: i’ve heard im the worst at it
10:00am: but like, if you were
10:00am: i’d be okay with it
10:00am: Me too.
10:01am: About you, though.
10:01am: Not me to you.
10:01am: I mean like
10:01am: You doing it to me.
10:01am: Flirting!
10:01am: I meant flirting not
10:01am: anything else.
10:02am: Omg okay I’m going to shutup
10:02am: and go die.
10:02am: LOL no please don’t
10:03am: that was the best part of my day
10:03am: you’re so funny
10:04am: I’m mostly just a disaster who is very good at hiding it.
10:04am: well hey, I’m a disaster who’s bad at hiding it. No wonder we get along so well
10:05am: Lol. Well, on this super awkward note, I’ve gotta go do some things, so I’ll talk to you later?
10:05am: you certainly will
10:05am: have a nice day. Hope you find a way to deal with those frustrations.
10:06am: Omg.

Chapter Text

Saturday Continued

James shrugged the bag off his shoulder and yanked open the back door of the car. He was so fucking wound up. Part of him had hoped the decision to keep him on the bench for a few more days might be reconsidered when he got to training, though he’d known realistically it wouldn’t happen. He’d tried to casually bring up how fine he felt but the doctor and the coach were adamant he needed to wait until later in the week before he began anything physical again. He’d had to sit through another afternoon of watching his team run drills from the sidelines and he was so fucking over it. All he wanted to do now was get home and text Teddy to unwind.

He threw his bag onto the back seat, hesitated, and then shut the door before climbing into the front seat instead.

Beside him, Gavin frowned. “Um. Are you lost? What are you doing?”

James pulled on his seatbelt, avoiding looking Gavin’s way. “Nothing,” he replied defensively. “I just feel like sitting up front today. It’s not a big deal.”

Silence followed, and James could feel Gavin staring. “You’ve literally never sat up front before."

“Can’t I change my mind?” James huffed, face warm. He began fiddling with the radio, looking for a station playing music he knew. When he settled on a Beatles song and glanced up, Gavin was still watching him.

“You’re being weird,” Gavin accused, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

You’re being weird,” James muttered. “Can we go? I’ve got to get ready for dinner with Al and Lily.”

Unfortunately, Gavin was the worst person in the entire world and never listened to a word James said.

“Is this about Teddy?” he demanded. “Is it because he called you a snob for sitting in the back?”

“Oh my god, how do you even know he said that?” James groaned, dropping his head back against the headrest.

Gavin shrugged. “He told me.”

“Of course he did,” James muttered. “You two are both the worst.”

“He said you’d say that,” Gavin added.

“Oh my god, cut it out. Stop talking to him more than I do!”

Gavin grinned. “Can't so that. He’s a good guy. I like him.”

“Oh, and excuse me but why do you have Snapchat?”

“My girls are all on it,” Gavin explained gruffly. “Gotta stay up to date with all their snapping and twittering and whatever other horrible apps they’re on. Although,” he permitted thoughtfully. “I do quite like the dog filter.”

“I don't know what that is,” James said, frowning.

“Well, that’s because you're not as cool as me, obviously,” Gavin replied, shrugging again. He pushed a pair of dark sunglasses onto his face and started the car. “Should have sat in the back,” he said, pointing out the reporters waiting just outside the stadium gates.

James pulled his hood up and sank lower in his seat. It would be announced on the news tonight he’d be back at training in three days, but he just wasn’t in the mood to be photographed right now. Cameras flashed intrusively and journalists shouted at the car as Gavin rolled past them. Once they were back on the main road, James exhaled and push his hood down.

“So anyway, about Teddy,” Gavin began casually.

James groaned. “No, nothing about Teddy.”

Gavin leaned over and nudged him with his elbow. “Are you keen on him, then? Is he your bae?”

“Fucking hell. What does that even mean?” James sighed, exasperated.

“I don’t know exactly,” Gavin said with a thoughtful look. “But that’s what the kids say when they like someone.”

“Please stop snapchatting. You’re such a loser.”

Gavin smirked. “Teddy thinks I’m funny. You're just jealous because I know him so well.”

“I spoke to my cousin today,” James blurted out. “She’s Teddy’s roommate.”

The car stuttered when Gavin hit the break too hard. “Vic? You don’t have a cousin called Vic!”

“Victoire,” James clarified. “The one who doesn’t talk to any of us anymore.”

“I thought Molly was the one who didn’t talk to you.”

“Well, she still shows up occasionally, but there’s a lot of tension between her and her Dad right now because she told him she won’t go into politics and wants to play music. Victoire, though, hasn’t been spotted by anyone but her Dad in, like, ten months.”

Gavin shook his head. “Your fucking family,” he said, “is so bloody dramatic. You should have one of those reality shows.”

“Yeah, no thanks,” James replied, wrinkling his nose. “I don’t need more cameras following me around.”

“So, Victoire called you then?” Gavin prompted.

“She said she realised who Teddy had been talking about and she rang me out of the blue.”

“To say what?”

James shrugged. “She threatened me mostly. It was a weirdly reassuring conversation, though. Like, talking to someone who knows he’s real.”

“What, my word wasn’t good enough?” Gavin sniffed, offended.

“Shut up, it’s different. She lives with him. She like, really knows him, G.” He paused, then added. “I think he’s more her family than I am.”

There was a moment of silence and then Gavin said slyly, “so he talks to her about you, huh? He must like you a lot.”

“Please shut up,” James groaned, covering his face. “I regret ever letting slip to you that I’m gay. I don't know, okay? I don't know what this is. It’s all so fucking weird.”

“Nah, it’s not. Kids meet in all kinds of crazy ways these days. Have you heard of Tinder?” Gavin made a face. “People just swipe if they want to have sex with someone they find attractive, but it’s a totally normal and acceptable way to meet someone. I don't think texting is that weird in comparison.”

“But we don't even know each other,” James protested weakly.

“You're getting to know each other. And I know you're freaking out about the whole ‘oh I’m James Potter, look how famous I am’ thing, but Teddy’s cool, man. He’s not going to freak out about it.”

James crossed his arms petulantly. “I do not sound like that.”

“You do a bit,” Gavin said, grinning. “And also, you know I’m right, because I’m cool and wise as fuck.”

James rolled his eyes as the car rolled to a stop outside his flat. He reached for his bag in the back and then paused. “This was nice, sitting up front.”

“God, please get out if you're going to get mushy, James.”

James laughed and opened his door. “You love it,” he shot back.

“You need me tomorrow?”

“Nah, all good.” James shook his head. “I'll need you for training on Wednesday, though, and I've got a rehearsal for the charity day on Thursday. If training goes okay I’ll be allowed to play in Friday night’s game, then the actual charity thing is on Saturday afternoon.”

“Why do you have to rehearse?” Gavin wondered. “Do you not know how to smile and wave at the camera by now?”

“I’m leaving,” James said, pushing the door shut.

Gavin rolled down the window. “Call me if you need anything,” he yelled out. “And tell Teddy you love him!”

James flipped him off as he walked into his building. He pulled out his phone as he stood in the lift and scrolled through his notifications. He replied to a message from his sister first, confirming they were still having dinner tonight, sent one back to his mum apologising for missing her call and promising to call her back later, and then opened the messages he had from Teddy.

3:14pm: <Voice Clip from Teddy with Blue Hair>
3:15pm: <Voice Clip from Teddy with Blue Hair>

James fished his keys from his pockets, still staring down at his phone as he fumbled his way into his apartment. He dumped his bag, grabbed his headphones, and threw himself onto the couch.

He exhaled, giddy with anticipation, and then pressed the tiny play button.

“Hey Jamie! Okay SO I'm in the supermarket right now because Vic is being wildly neglectful by not finishing work yet and I’m DYING of hunger and GUESS WHAT? Avocados are on sale! I feel like I should mail you a bunch because you’re living a sad avo-less life and need to be shown the proper way to live. Anyway I’m very excited, Jamie, it’s a GREAT day!”

The clip ended, and James grinned stupidly down at his phone.

Teddy’s voice was rough and low, like he was trying not to be overheard, but the way he spoke with such excitement was infectious and James could just imagine what it would be like to hear him talk in person. The way his name had sounded when Teddy said it - Jamie - made him bite down hard on his bottom lip and he wanted to hear it again.

He pressed play on the second message and this time Teddy’s voice was a hurried whisper.

Holy fuck - some lady was listening to me record that and looked at me like I was fucking insane oh my god.”

Teddy laughed for the next ten seconds and then the message ended, and James groaned and sank lower into the couch. His laugh. James was fucking doomed.


4:32pm: Omg I heard your voice.
4:32pm: !!!!!!!
4:46pm: LOL omg I hope it was okay to send voice clips.
4:46pm: I had too many things in my hands and I couldn’t text properly
4:46pm: and you made a comment this morning about never having heard my voice so...
4:47pm: No, it was good!
4:47pm: It was great.
4:47pm: I like your voice.
4:49pm: omg really
4:50pm: Is that weird to say?
4:50pm: Sorry.
4:50pm: I just
4:50pm: I don’t know lol I just liked hearing you talk.
4:51pm: it’s not weird!!!!!
4:51pm: maybe if you’re lucky i’ll send more one day
4:52pm: :P
4:52pm: How are you feeling now?? Are you okay?
4:52pm: well I didn’t die
4:53pm: it was touch and go for a while
4:53pm: but I fought through it
4:53pm: i’m just such a strong person jamie
4:54pm: Did you sigh dramatically when you said that?
4:54pm: maybe
4:54pm: shh
4:54pm: stop judging me
4:54pm: guess what I bought SO many avocados today
4:55pm: and then I made a whole heap of avo on toast, it was great
4:55pm: “Avo”
4:56pm: How Australian of you.
4:57pm: ooh I do a killer australian accent
4:57pm: I went there when I was 21 for 2 weeks
4:57pm: so I know all the lingo
4:57pm: chuck a u-ey at the servo
4:58pm: I have no idea what that means.
4:58pm: Australians have like, their own secret language.
4:58pm: “ill be heaps devo if we don’t have a barbie in the arvo”
4:59pm: You’re just making words up now.
5:00pm: hahaha that is a real thing that was said to me once, I swear
5:00pm: OH! Is that where your love of Daryl Braithwaite came from?
5:01pm: hahaha YES
5:01pm: Lol amazing.
5:01pm: I want to hear you do the accent sometime.
5:02pm: lol okay deal
5:03pm: oooh brb vic just got home and she brought take out
5:04pm: Take your time. I’m half undressed and getting ready to have dinner with my brother and sister.
5:10pm: you’ve really got to stop texting me when you're undressing it’s very distracting
5:10pm: omg
5:10pm: why did i say that
5:10pm: x
5:10pm: x
5:10pm: x
5:10pm: x
5:10pm: x
5:10pm: x
5:10pm: don’t scroll up omg hahaha
5:11pm: Omg its too late.
5:11pm: omg oh no
5:11pm: sorry!
5:12pm: Why?
5:12pm: i don’t want to make you uncomfortable!
5:13pm: Omg Teddy.
5:13pm: It’s fine.
5:13pm: You won’t make me uncomfortable.
5:14pm: I REALLY like talking to you.
5:14pm: Like
5:14pm: Probably more than I should.
5:14pm: really??
5:15pm: Promise.
5:15pm: ahhhhhhhhh
5:16pm: <3
5:16pm: well if we’re confessing
5:16pm: when Vic found out I’ve been texting someone and started demanding details
5:16pm: she said
5:16pm: omg I can't say it, it’s too embarrassing
5:17pm: Omg you have to! You can’t just cut off there!
5:17pm: you will think i’m such a loser
5:17pm: Haha, I WON’T. Just tell me. That’s my next question for 20Q’s! What did she say?
5:18pm: oh you don’t fight fair
5:18pm: fine
5:18pm: she said I have heart eyes everytime I text you these days
5:19pm: Omg.
5:19pm: shut up
5:19pm: Tedddyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
5:19pm: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
5:19pm: You have HEART EYES when you text me.
5:20pm:
5:20pm:
5:20pm: Seriously, though. I’m not saying
5:21pm: “please send me mildly inappropriate comments”
5:21pm: but please don't worry about making me uncomfortable, because you won't. 
5:21pm: I’d like to remind you that just because I haven’t done like
5:21pm: anything at all
5:22pm: it doesn’t mean I don’t know how these things work.
5:22pm: Or that I don’t think about them
5:22pm: A LOT.
5:23pm: fuck
5:23pm: hang on
5:24pm: I had to get away from vic and go to my room
5:24pm: Why?
5:24pm: BECAUSE
5:24pm: you say things like that
5:24pm: and I just
5:24pm: aksjdksafhjdkfhdkjs
5:25pm: i think you are going to be very bad for my health, james from london
5:26pm: I’ve gotta leave for dinner, my brother is outside.
5:26pm: He’s wearing a beret.
5:26pm: There is so much mocking to be done.
5:26pm: When I get back
5:26pm: you can tell me exactly what you meant by that.
5:27pm: lol okay
5:27pm: have a great night xx
5:27pm: (eat fast!)


“I’m just saying,” Lily said seriously, pointing at Al with her fork, “unless you’re a struggling artist, Jenny Humphrey, or Samuel L Jackson, you have no fucking business wearing that thing on your head.”

James snorted and signalled the waiter over to refill his wine glass. They were in a private room at the back of their parents’ favourite restaurant, and he and Lily had spent the last thirty-five minutes teasing Al, whose cheeks were becoming more and more flushed.

“Look, whatever, I didn’t expect either of you to understand,” he huffed irritably, pushing his fringe away from his face. It fell back across his forehead a second later. “Scorpius has been studying Rembrandt, and he says—”

“Oh, of course!” Lily chortled. “If darling Scorpius said it looks good, it must be true. You two are so dating.” She gestured for the waiter to fill her glass too, ignoring Al’s spluttered protests that he and Scorpius Malfoy were only friends. The waiter smirked and shook his head before ducking back into the kitchen. “You told him not to serve me!” she accused James.

He sipped at his wine and grinned. “Of course I did; you’re underage. I’m protecting you.”

“Every fucking time,” she muttered under her breath. “I’m basically an adult, but you all treat me like a goddamn twelve year old.”

“Because you were a twelve year old, like, five minutes ago,” Al reminded her.

“Shut up, Pharrell Williams,” Lily shot back.

Al glared at her. “He doesn’t even wear a beret!”

“He wears a stupid hat and so do you!”

“Lily, didn’t you have news?” James cut in before the argument escalated. Lily and Al could argue for hours about absolutely nothing if given the chance, and James did not feel like refereeing a fight between them right now.

“Oh my god, yeah!” Lily squealed. She held out her arm and rolled her sleeve back. “Check it out. Now who can’t rebel properly?”

James gaped at her. “You got a tattoo? What the fuck? Does Mum know?”

“God no,” Lily snorted. “I’m not a total idiot.”

“The permanent scribble on your wrist begs to differ,” Albus scoffed.

Lily narrowed her eyes at him. “That permanent scribble is a J, an A, and an L, so fuck you.”

Al opened and closed his mouth. “You - oh. That’s… really nice of you.”

“I know,” Lily replied tartly.

James reached out to take her wrist and ran his thumb over the letters. “I can’t believe you got a tattoo. Did it hurt?”

“Nah, it was fine. Barely felt it.”

“You know Mum’s gonna freak out,” he warned her.

“Doubt it,” Al scoffed. James and Lily stared at him. “What? Mum has one too. Didn’t you know that?”

“What?” Lily and James shouted at the same time.

Albus frowned at them. “On her back. She has Uncle Fred’s name. Did you seriously not know?”

“Um, NO!” Lily said loudly. “That’s so fucking sweet of her, oh my god. I can’t believe she told you and not me. I’m her favourite.”

“You’re not, I am, but okay,” James scoffed.

“She didn’t tell me; I heard her talking to Dad about it once,” Al clarified. “Lucky she never got Dad’s name I guess,” he added under his breath.

James looked up sharply. “What?”

“Ow - what the fuck, Lils! Did you kick me?”

Lily glared at Al across the table, but quickly dropped her gaze when she noticed James staring at her.

“What’s going on?” James demanded, looking between them.

“Nothing,” Lily said quickly. “We didn’t want to worry you because there’s nothing to even worry about.”

“Yet,” Al added.

“Al. For fuck’s sake! We agreed! Is that fucking hat killing your brain cells as well as making you look stupid?”

“Is having a tattoo making you forget that we all agreed to always tell each other everything so we never have to find out shit through the newspapers?”

Lily exhaled and swore again. James stared between them, a cold dread settling over him.

“Do…” He swallowed. “Tell me what's going on.”

Lily and Al exchanged a glance.

“They’re just…”

“Being really weird,” Al finished. “Not acting like a couple anymore. We think they might be planning to split up.”

James’ heart sank. His fingers clenched around his fork.

“They might have already,” Lily added. “We’re not sure what’s going on, but I don’t think they realise we’ve noticed anything off. We’re assuming we’ll get called for a family meeting or something soon. That’s what they usually do for big stuff, right? Unless we’re wrong. Maybe it’s nothing.”

James closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, one elbow resting on the table. “Fuck,” he muttered.

“You okay?” Al asked.

Without looking up, James said, “I picked up Mum’s phone a while ago and saw a tab open about divorce lawyers.”

Lily inhaled sharply. “So it’s true."

They sat in silence, the only sounds coming from the other side of the wall where the main restaurant was busy and loud. Al was staring down at his plate and Lily looked close to tears.

James pushed his wine to her and she gave him a tight smile before finishing it.

“Thanks,” she said. “Let’s just… Can we talk about something happier? I don’t want to think about having to decide who I’ll live with, or whether they’ll still be friends, or the fucking media circus that’s going to follow us around if this happens.”

“You guys can always stay with me, if things get too hard,” James offered.

“Oh yeah,” Al said sarcastically, rolling his eyes, “moving in with the most famous Potter will really help to get away from the media and drama.”

James grinned despite himself. “You think I’m more famous than Dad?”

Lily snorted. “You know you are. I saw you on the front of a tabloid the other day. It said you weren’t even really injured and had gone to Spain with a married woman to hide from her husband. Dad never had any fun scandals like that.”

“He probably did but the first rule means we’ll never know about them,” Al pointed out.

The first rule - never Google yourself or the family - was something their mum had encouraged when they were younger so they wouldn't be exposed to the harsh words of the media, and except for a single time when he was fifteen, James had always stuck to it. The one article he’d seen was a scathing critique of his abilities compared to his father’s. It had left his confidence shaken for weeks until Al and Lily had forced him to tell them what was wrong and then dragged him to the roof and made him shout “fuck the media” into the night sky. That night was still one of his all time favourite memories.

“I definitely don’t want to know what kind of scandals Dad had when he was young.” James said, making a face. His phone buzzed and he glanced down at it, smiling when he saw Teddy’s name.

“Um. What the hell was that, Jamie?” Lily asked, frowning.

James switched his phone to silent and put it in his pocket.

“James,” he corrected. “And what are you talking about?”

“Who the fuck just texted you?” Lily pressed, a smirk spreading across her face. “You had fucking heart eyes for a second. Didn’t he, Al?”

James flushed. “Fuck off, I didn’t.”

“You did,” Al confirmed. “What the actual fuck, mate?”

“James Sirius Potter, we need good news right now. Tell us what the fuck is going on,” Lily demanded.

“Have you ever noticed how much this family swears?” James wondered, trying to distract them. It was useless, though. Lily crossed her arms and waited. “God - fine,” James sighed. “I’ve, er, well, I’ve sort of started talking to someone,” he admitted.

“Oh my fucking god,” Lily exclaimed.

“It’s not a big deal,” James added quickly, though the fluttering in his chest definitely felt like a big deal.

“Shut up, who is he?”

“Lily, dont ASSUME it’s a he,” Al scolded.

“Don’t start lecturing me on sexuality while you’re wearing that fucking hat, Al, I swear to God,” Lily warned.

“It’s a guy,” James confirmed quickly. “It’s just… new. And sort of complicated. There isn’t really anything to tell yet.”

“Do you like him?” Lily asked.

James bit down on his lip. “Yeah,” he admitted, holding back a smile. “I like him a lot.”

“Oh my fucking god,” Lily said again, grinning. “This is so great. I’m so happy for you. What’s his name? Where did you meet? Is he hot? Oh my god, is he on Instagram? I want to stalk him!”

“Jesus Christ, no,” James groaned. “Neither of you can stalk him!” James warned as Al pulled his phone out. “I don’t even know his last name, so even if I wanted to tell you how to find him, I couldn’t.”

Al frowned. “What? How do you not know his last name?”

“We haven’t… We’re not at that point yet,” James replied lamely.

“At what point? The sharing names point?” Al asked.

“Well we haven’t… We haven’t actually met yet,” James admitted.

Lily gaped at him. “Oh god, did you meet him online?” she asked. She dropped her head into her hands. “We’re going to end up on an episode of Catfish, Al. Nev and Max are literally going to show up at our home and tell us James has been murdered by a stalker fan who tricked him.”

“He’s not a stalker fan,” James protested. “This… It’s complicated, okay? I’m not telling you anything else if you’re just going to judge me.”

“We’re not judging you,” Al corrected. “We’re looking out for you.”

“It’s fine, okay? I’ll tell you more when there’s more to tell. But I like him and I think maybe he likes me and I just… I don’t want this to blow up in my face, or for the newspapers to find out, okay?”

“Fine,” Lily conceded. “But if you get kidnapped and locked in a basement we’re not coming to rescue you.”

“That’s fair,” James agreed. “And hey,” he added gently. “About mum and dad - I did mean it before; if you guys ever want to stay with me, you can. Just let me know if you hear anything, alright?”

Al gave him a strained smile and Lily nodded. James gestured for the waiter to come back with more wine.

He really wasn’t sure what was going to happen with his parents or Teddy or fuck - even his career, but Christ it made him feel better to know he had these two on his side no matter what.


9:16pm: I hope you’re having a nice dinner!

10:21pm: I just got home!
10:21pm: How are you?? Did you miss me??
10:21pm: lol omg
10:21pm: of course
10:21pm: you seem happy
10:22pm: I’m just this side of tipsy.
10:22pm: I have a nice buzz and I’m in my bed and it’s warm and I’m texting you, so I’m just very happy right now.
10:23pm: awwwwwwww
10:23pm: did you have a nice dinner?
10:23pm: Yeah!
10:24pm: It had some emotional moments.
10:24pm: I told my brother and sister about you.
10:25pm: what omg
10:25pm: wow
10:25pm: what did you tell them
10:26pm: Just that I’ve been talking to a guy.
10:26pm: I didn’t know how to describe it so I just didn’t.
10:26pm: lol yeah I get that
10:27pm: that’s kind of exciting
10:27pm: that people in your life know about me
10:27pm: (other than Gavvy Gav)
10:28pm: Yep!
10:28pm: I was excited to tell them.
10:28pm: BUT NOW
10:28pm: you have to tell me what you meant earlier.
10:29pm: when?
10:30pm: You know when.
10:31pm: lol yeah
10:31pm: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease Teddy.
10:32pm: lol god thank fuck I had wine earlier
10:32pm: Ooooh same.
10:32pm: My family always makes fun of me because I love cheap wine.
10:33pm: I have a theory that the more expensive a wine is the worse it tastes.
10:33pm: Just give me an £8 bottle and I’m set for the night.
10:33pm: lmao
10:34pm: my cousin is this fancy af high society type dude. I think i’ve mentioned him before. like, he’s cool, but I reckon if he drank £8 wine he’d explode
10:34pm: He’s missing out. It’s great.
10:34pm: But get back on track!
10:35pm: YOU distracted ME!
10:35pm: Your stalling tactics don’t fool me.
10:35pm: lol omg okay
10:36pm: so
10:36pm: okay
10:36pm: when I said you’re bad for my health
10:37pm: it was because you were talking about how you think about sex all the time
10:37pm: and I
10:37pm reacted to that
10:37pm: in a physical way
10:38pm: Omg, did you get hard?
10:39pm: jesus fuck jamie
10:39pm: you just
10:39pm: omg
10:39pm: yes fine okay that’s what happened
10:39pm i’m going to go die now
10:40pm: Omg, holy fuck.
10:40pm: That’s
10:40pm: Omg
10:40pm: That’s so hot.
10:41pm: is it??
10:41pm: YES JFC
10:41pm: This is not helping my pent up energy problem.
10:42pm: LOL well we already know the solution to that
10:42pm: Are you going to make another wanking joke?
10:43pm: I kind of want to but I’m kind of scared of where it might lead
10:43pm: It doesn’t have to lead anywhere if you don’t want it to.
10:43pm: are you going to
10:43pm: Wank?
10:44pm: yes
10:44pm: Yes.
10:44pm: I think I’ll die if I don’t.
10:45pm: fuck
10:45pm: what ki
10:45pm: What?
10:45pm: Nothing i didn’t meant to send that, i was backspacing
10:46pm Whatever it was, you can ask it if you want.
10:46pm: fuck I shouldn’t
10:46pm: Please?
10:47pm: what kind of things do you think about?
10:47pm: Oh.
10:47pm: you dont have to answer
10:48pm: No I just
10:48pm: don’t want to sound stupid.
10:48pm: You probably know a lot more than I do lol
10:48pm: I would never think anything you said sounded stupid
10:48pm: unless you were saying chelsea is a good team again
10:49pm: You're awful.
10:49pm: I know
10:49pm: tell me what you think about
10:50pm: Teddy are you...
10:50pm: What are you doing right now?
10:50pm: I’m in bed why?
10:50pm: I just
10:50pm: I’m so turned on.
10:51pm: fuck omg
10:51pm: me too
10:51pm: You know I haven’t really done anything, yeah?
10:51pm: So like
10:52pm: I think about all the things I want to try.
10:52pm: fuck okay
10:52pm: what kinds of things?
10:52pm: Wait wait
10:52pm: Are you
10:53pm: touching yourself?
10:53pm: Jamie god are you crazy of course I am
10:53pm: you are doing terrible things to me
10:53pm: I told you - bad for my health
10:53pm: Fuck, good. Okay.
10:53pm: So, sometimes I like
10:54pm: think about what it would be like to suck someone off
10:54pm: yeah?
10:54pm: Yeah. I think about
10:54pm: being on my knees
10:54pm: and having some guy above me
10:54pm: and he just like
10:55pm: has control and is fucking my throat
10:55pm: jesus fuck you’re going to kill me
10:55pm: I don’t even know if I’d be good at it.
10:55pm: god youd be so good at it jamie
10:56pm: I don’t know if I’d like swallowing
10:56pm: but when I fantasize I always do it, and whoever I’m with always likes it a lot.
10:56pm: I bet he does, fuck
10:56pm: Sometimes I think maybe I’d like it if he pulled my hair a little too. Nothing too intense, like just a little.
10:57pm: yeah i get that, i like that too
10:57pm; you’re so fucking hot jamie you have no idea
10:57pm: I
10:57pm: I think about actually having sex a lot too.
10:57pm: yeah?
10:58pm: what do you think youd like?
10:58pm: I think I want to be fucked.
10:58pm: Thinking about having y
10:58pm: a guy over me
10:58pm: taking me apart bit by bit
10:58pm: Fuck, it’s so hot to imagine that happening.
10:59pm: I can’t do this for much longer omg i’m so close already
10:59pm: Me too.
10:59pm: how are you even real
10:59pm: christ jamie
10:59pm: I like you so much
11:00pm: Fuck fuck fuck
11:00pm: i’m almost there
11:00pm: i want you to come
11:00pm: come for me, jamie
11:00pm: shit omg
11:00pm: god im


11:05pm: are you okay?
11:05pm: Yeah omg.
11:05pm: I’m out of breath hahaha.
11:05pm: Shit, Teddy.
11:05pm: I’ve never done that before.
11:06pm: I wasn’t kidding
11:06pm: you’re actually going to kill me
11:06pm: jesus christ
11:06pm:
what kind of porn have you been watching to know that stuff LOL
11:07pm: Haha!
11:07pm: I just
11:07pm: think about that stuff
11:07pm: and I think when I do actually like,
11:07pm: experience it, that’ll be the kind of stuff I like.
11:08pm: Fuck, I can’t believe that just happened.
11:09pm: me either
11:09pm: i’m glad it did
11:10pm: Me too.
11:10pm: :)
11:10pm: :)
11:10pm: I’m so tired now.
11:10pm: I’m gonna pass out, but talk tomorrow, yeah?
11:10pm: yep :)
11:10pm: goodnight james from london, have sweet dreams
11:10pm: Goodnight, Teddy with Blue Hair.
11:11pm: I really hope I get to see you soon <3

Chapter Text

Sunday

Teddy was startled awake by loud swearing and someone stumbling through his bedroom. It was too dark to see anything other than the luminescent glow of the clock by his bed, which told him it just past three in the morning. He listened, semi-conscious, to feet padding across his carpet — wondering if he was this annoying when he stumbled home after a night out — before a heavy weight fell across the end of his bed on his legs.

“Teddy, are you awake?” Vic hissed loudly.

“No,” Teddy groaned, pulling his blankets over his head. “Go away.”

He heard the thud of her shoes being kicked off and shifted uncomfortably, trying to push her off his legs.

“Teeeeed,” Vic whined, drawing out his name as she crawled up his bed. “I’m proper sloshed and I want a cuddle. Let me in.”

Teddy didn’t open his eyes, but he lifted his blankets and let Vic slide in beside him. She rolled onto her side and pressed her back against his chest, letting out a soft, contented sigh as he settled his arm around her waist.

“Go to sleep,” he instructed, pressing a kiss to her hair.

“Mm,” Vic agreed, already sounding close to dozing off. Teddy felt the tug of sleep pulling at him again, but was rudely yanked back to reality when Vic nudged him with her elbow and said sadly, “Teddy, I’ve got bad news.”

Teddy stifled a yawn and nuzzled in closer to Vic. Her hair smelled like his shampoo. He’d have to remember to tell her off tomorrow for using it again. “What is it?” he mumbled.

“I just… I don’t think I could ever be president.”

“It’s probably for the best,” Teddy replied, the yawn he was holding back escaping. “You’re a disaster.”

Vic sighed. “It’s just, whenever I have my period I get so moody. Like, I’d give a bad name to all women because I just get so cranky no matter how hard I try not to. I can’t run a country that way, Ted. I just can’t do it.”

“I mean, I really don’t think it’s something you need to worry about. I don’t think they’re planning to ask you to do it.”

“It’d just be nice to have the option, you know?” Vic sighed dramatically again. By now Teddy was too used to her late night drunken ramblings to wonder what she was on about.

“I really don’t. Please go to sleep,” he said, already letting himself drift off again.

“‘kay.”

Silence settled around them. Teddy hugged Vic closer, sleepy and comfortable and content, seconds from drifting off, and then...

“Hey, Ted.”

“Oh my god, what?” Teddy half laughed, half groaned in frustration. “Why won’t you sleep?”

“Did you talk to James today?”

Teddy’s eyes snapped open and he felt his cheeks heat and his stomach flutter as the messages from earlier came back to him. He hoped Vic hadn’t felt him tense up against her. “I - Yeah,” he said, voice gruff. “Before bed.”

Vic shifted, turning until she was facing Teddy. She draped an arm loosely over his hip. “You sound weird,” she said. “What happened?”

Teddy could smell spearmint toothpaste on her breath and wondered how she could remember to brush her teeth before bed but not how to actually go to sleep.

“We, er—” Teddy hesitated, irrationally nervous, and then said, “Things got… heated. We sexted a bit.”

He’d never been like this about any other guy before, never been nervous to tell Vic or giddy at the thought of the things they’d talked about, but he felt a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. It’d taken him hours to fall asleep after they’d texted earlier, so caught up in worry about what this would mean and whether James would regret it. But right now, lying there in his 3am haze, thinking about James was making him more excited than terrified, and it was such a new and strange feeling.

Maybe that was the secret to him opening up to people; only speak to them when he was too tired to let his insecurities and self-doubt control him.

“Oh my God, no! Ew, Teddy, don’t tell me that!” Vic pressed her face into Teddy’s chest, shaking her head.

Teddy frowned into the dark. “What? It was like, stupidly hot. It was kind of unexpected, but also, like, not? If you know what I mean. I think maybe it was building to that, but it was still a surprise. The stuff he said, Vic. It was fucking—”

“No, no, no!” Vic cut in. She reached up and pressed her hand over Teddy’s mouth. “Stop. No. I can’t hear this.”

Teddy pulled out of her reach. “Why? We always share. You just talked to me about your period!”

Vic rolled onto her back and covered her ears. “No, you don’t understand,” she whined. “I can’t hear about him, Teddy. It’s too weird! You have to stop!”

Teddy rolled his eyes. Honestly, it wasn’t a great idea for him to think about this right now, anyway, and Vic would certainly not appreciate cuddling up to him if he kept talking about the things Jamie had texted him.

“You're so drunk,” he sighed. “We’ll talk tomorrow.”

Vic spoke at the same time. “Just stop. We’ll talk more tomorrow.”

Teddy chuckled and wrapped his arm around her again, tugging her closer.

“We’re so in sync,” Vic sighed happily, relaxing against him. “Justin Timberlake would be so proud.”

Teddy exhaled and closed his eyes. “That was awful. I’m so embarrassed to know you,” he mumbled, nuzzling against her hair again.

Vic rested her hand over Teddy’s, her thumb rubbing slow circles against his skin. “I… I think I’m going to go have dinner with my family tomorrow night,” she whispered.

“What? Really?”

“Mm, I’ve just got some stuff I think I need to deal with, and I… spoke to one of my cousins and they sort of encouraged me to, so...”

They stayed silent for a few moments, but Teddy knew from her erratic breathing that Vic was still awake, still stewing silently about what to do.

“Do you want me to come with you?” he whispered, flipping his hand to link their fingers.

Vic swallowed. “Maybe,” she said softly. “I’m really scared, Ted. I just… I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Well, I’ve got you,” Teddy assured her. “Whatever you want to do, I’ve got you.” He squeezed her hand to reassure her, and she squeezed back lightly.

She didn’t say anything else after that. Teddy fought back sleep until her breathing evened out and he was sure she’d passed out properly; then he pressed a kiss to her forehead, and finally let himself drift off again.


8:12am: Soooooo
8:12am: Good morning?
8:14am: lol hey one sec
8:14am: vics on me
8:14am: gotta escape
8:15am: Lol what?
8:16am: okay i’m free
8:16am: sorry vic came home pissed last night and crawled into my bed and when your msg woke me up she was like, sprawled half over me
8:16am: she is a bed hog
8:16am: i’m on the couch with a blanket now
8:17am:
8:17am: Oh, shit. Sorry to wake you!
8:17am: no it’s okay! 8:18am: im up now so I can text you and see what this show is vic has been telling me about
8:18am: Is it a horror show? It looks like it.
8:18am: it’s like
8:19am: interviews with real life people who say their home is haunted
8:19am: vic is obsessed with ghosts and stuff lol
8:19am: she’s such a nerd
8:20am: Says the guy with the BB-8 figure by the TV.
8:20am: omg lmao
8:20am: shhhhh
8:20am: but also, kudos for recognising him
8:21am: we still need to finish watching star wars together
8:21am: Yes, we do! Soon!
8:22am: Sooo hey, you had a girl in your bed, huh?
8:23am: omg lol
8:23am: I guess I did
8:23am: I dont know if vic really counts as a normal girl
8:23am: shes more like family
8:24am: in the sense that i love her but also she makes me very murdery sometimes
8:25am: Sounds accurate haha.
8:25am: are you jealous jamie
8:25am: No.
8:25am: Maybe.
8:25am: Shut up.
8:26am: hahahaha aw
8:26am: dont worry
8:26am: I dont text her the kinds of things i text you ;)
8:27am: Oh god.
8:27am: Okay yes.
8:27am: We’re talking about it.
8:27am: I didn’t know if I should bring it up.
8:28am: you can always bring stuff up with me
8:28am: soooo regrets? Yes? No?
8:28am: No regrets, just
8:29am: I don’t know. I feel weird.
8:29am: wait what? Weird how??
8:29am: did you not want to do that??
8:29am: No no no, nothing like that.
8:30am: I just don’t want to like
8:30am: scare you off and make you think I’m crazy for thinking it’s a bigger deal than what you think it is.
8:31am: lol jamie
8:31am: it was a big deal for me too
8:31am: I was a bit nervous to bring it up but like
8:31am: god why is this always so hard for me im such a mess lol
8:31am: it just made me like you even more okay
8:32am: not that i need you to do that stuff to get me to like you
8:32am: i dont mean it like that
8:32am: id like you either way
8:32am: but like
8:32am: oh god
8:32am: this is a disaster
8:32am: plz stop me
8:33am: THIS IS WHY I DONT TALK ABOUT FEELINGS
8:34am: Teddddyyyyyyy <3
8:34am: I like that it’s you rambling for once.
8:34am: shhh shut up
8:34am: I just want you to know that its a big deal to me too
8:34am: <3
8:35am: Thank you :)
8:35am: It was like
8:35am: really really fun.
8:35am: I’m kind of embarrassed I said that stuff lol.
8:36am: I’ve never done anything like that before.
8:36am: I cant get over the fact you’re a virgin but you can talk like that
8:36am: the mouth on you omg
8:37am: Shut up omg
8:37am: lol are you blushing
8:37am: jamieeeee
8:38am: You’re the worst lol.
8:39am: i agree
8:39am: soooo i have a question
8:39am: about what happened
8:39am: and you dont have to answer but i guess i’m just curious
8:39am: Should I be nervous?
8:39am: I feel nervous.
8:40am: lol no never
8:40am: I just
8:40am: you said once you wont sleep with anyone you dont love
8:40am: which is amazing
8:40am: but after last night i guess im wondering like where the line is for you
8:41am: Hmm.
8:41am: you really dont have to answer! Im just being nosey lol
8:41am: No, it’s fine! It’s a good question. I’m thinking.
8:41am: I guess I don’t really know.
8:41am: I mean, I told you none of this is because I’m religious or anything.
8:42am: I’ve just always wanted to love the person I sleep with.
8:42am: And I guess I just expected everything else sex related to just fall in line with that.
8:42am: But
8:42am: You are the most unexpected thing, Teddy with Blue Hair.
8:42am: You drive me a little bit crazy and I don’t even know your last name.
8:42am: So
8:43am: I’m still pretty firm on the no sex til love thing
8:43am: but I guess I’m open to… other experiences. If they happen to present themselves.
8:44am: wow okay
8:44am: i
8:44am: okay yeah
8:45am: Lol, are you okay?
8:45am: yes fine
8:45am: not flustered at all
8:45am: totally chill, all G
8:45am: everything is fine
8:46am: Hahahaha okay if you say so.
8:46am: you're amazing
8:46am: omg why did i say that
8:46am: im sorry
8:47am: Don’t be sorry!
8:47am: So are you <3
8:47am: <3
8:48am: I hate to do this but I gotta go call my mum back. I’ll message you later, yeah?
8:48am: yes plz :)
8:48am: xx
8:48am: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


10:14am: James, did you speak to Mum?
10:16am: Yeah.
10:16am: Family meeting tonight.
10:16am: Do you guys think this is going to be
10:17am: you know…………………...
10:17am: We don’t know anything yet.
10:18am: Yeah, don’t stress yet Lils.
10:18am: We’re skipping family dinner, Al. They never fucking skip family dinner.
10:18am: This is so fucked up.
10:19am: At least if it is what we think it is, we won’t be blindsided.
10:19am: Doesn’t fucking make me feel better about it. This is going to fuck up everything!
10:20am: He’s trying to be nice, Lily. Don’t be a jerk. This is shit for all of us.
10:21am: Whatever. I have to go to work.
10:22am: Well, this is going to be a fantastic night. Can’t fucking wait.

Chapter Text

Sunday

There was a black and white cat lying on the front step of his parents’ house when James arrived. He stood staring down at it, watching as it stretched out lazily across the concrete, not bothered in the slightest that it was in his way. The cat belonged to Mrs Jenkins from down the street, and its name was Lisa Houseman (as in Lisa Houseman from Dirty Dancing. Mrs Jenkins was obsessed; she had a Patrick Swayze cardboard cutout in her living room and constantly listened to an old cassette tape of all the songs). His mum had asked her dozens and dozens of times over the years to stop letting the cat roam about — it had taken a liking to their yard and Lily was allergic — but Mrs Jenkins was apparently the only person in the world immune to his mum’s charm, and she kept letting Lisa do whatever she pleased.

James considered shooing Lisa away. She looked up and tilted her head, regarding him, challenging him to try. He rolled his eyes, deciding it wasn’t worth the fight she’d inevitably put up, and fished his keys out of his pocket instead, leaning over to unlock the door and stepping over her.

“Lisa’s commandeered the front step again,” he called out as he closed the door behind him. He shrugged off his jacket and hung it on the coat rack, inhaling deeply. He loved the way his parents’ house smelled. He’d never even noticed its distinctive scent in all the years he’d lived there, but when he’d come back for the first time after moving out he’d been hit by the overwhelming familiarity of it and very nearly moved right back in. If he could bottle the smell or make it into a candle or something, he’d burn it every day in his apartment. He supposed it wouldn’t be the same though; it was everything else combined that made it home — from the cracked tile in the entryway that his dad had been meaning to fix since James and Al broke it eleven years ago, to the dorky family photos his mum made them take every christmas, hung up along the wall by the staircase. Even bloody Lisa was a part of it.

James swallowed down the lump in his throat as he walked down the hallway. He didn’t need to get upset; he didn’t know anything yet. This was just a meeting — his parents had them all the time. They had one every time something really bad popped up in the media to make sure everyone was handling it okay. They’d had one when his dad decided to retire from playing so he could coach instead. They’d even had one when his mum decided to pull down the old tree house in the backyard and was worried about how it would affect them all. This was probably nothing. It was fine. Everything was fine.

Everyone else was already there when he stepped into the living room. His mum and dad were murmuring in hushed voices to one another in a corner. Lily was sat on the couch with her arms wrapped tightly around her knees, and Al was stood staring out the window. The last flickers of dying sunlight filtered into the room as the evening settled around them. James used to love sitting in here by the huge open windows, watching the room gradually fade into shadows as the sun set. It had always felt so peaceful. Now, it felt like some sort of bad sign. The mood was tense, awkward. He wanted to leave immediately.

“Jamie, hi,” his mum said when she noticed him. She stepped around his dad and strode over to pull him into a hug. James towered over her — had ever since his growth spurt when he was sixteen — but she still somehow managed to wrap him up in her arms like he was a child.

“James,” he corrected automatically, and she sighed as she pulled back. She looked nice, James thought. A little nervous, but healthy and well-rested. It gave James’ heart a little kick of hope.

His dad cleared his throat awkwardly and offered James a sort of strained half smile.

“Alright?” he asked as he tapped his fingers nervously against his thigh.

James shrugged. He slipped past his mum and sat down beside Lily, who barely looked up when he nudged her shoulder with his.

“Hey,” he said quietly. “You okay?”

She didn’t answer him, and James didn’t push. She rubbed absently at her wrist and he wondered if her tattoo was itching. He’d heard that happened after a few days.

“Al, do you want to sit down too, honey?” his mum asked. James flinched. She was using that voice. The one she used when she was trying to make them all feel comfortable before she threw something unpleasant at them. His earliest memory of it was when he was seven; he’d been ready to leave for a friend’s party when his mum had sat him down in this same room and used that voice to tell him he couldn’t go anymore because someone had leaked the fact the Potters would be there to the media. He’d heard it countless times when news stories popped up that they’d needed warning about so they could prepare for possible backlash at school.

James adored his mother, but God, he hated that voice.

“I’m fine,” Al replied stiffly, not looking away from the window. James wondered if he hated it too.

His parents exchanged a glance. Harry sighed and sat down opposite James and Lily, and Ginny took her usual family meeting spot beside him on the arm of his couch.

“Okay, well… This isn’t going to be easy,” Harry began.

“This is it then, is it?” Lily cut in, her tone flat.

“I - What do you mean?” Harry asked, shifting awkwardly. He was shit at confrontation, always had been. Well, no, James amended in his head; he was shit at confrontation with family and people he cared about because he hated upsetting anyone. On the field he was a different person entirely.

“This is the ‘we’re getting divorced’ talk, right?” Lily said, hugging her legs tighter.

James waited. Waited for their parents to laugh it off, to tell them how absurd that was. That they were in love, of course they were, and the promises they’d made to each other meant too much to walk away from. That they’d continue being the kind of couple James wanted to be like one day. He waited, but the silence in the room was heavy and uncomfortable, and he knew what was coming before anyone spoke. Harry squeezed Ginny’s hand as he looked apologetically at Lily..

“Yes,” he confirmed gently.

James closed his eyes.

When he’d first signed with Chelsea, less than a year ago, there had been a lot of speculation about his abilities. He’d always thought he handled media and criticism pretty well, but there had been this one article that hit him hard. It spoke about his disloyalty to his family for not signing with his dad. It mocked the way he played, poked right at every hidden insecurity he had about his skills and his decision, and he’d spent two days holed away in his new flat with crippling anxiety, convinced he’d made a mistake and that he should give it all up. It was the only time he’d ever experienced anxiety and panic like that because of people probing into his life.

He could feel it creeping back over him now though. It needled at him, just below the surface of his skin, slow but persistent. He hugged his arms around his chest and exhaled slowly. He felt sick. He felt like the walls were closing in on him, like all the air was being sucked out of the room as he imagined the backlash that was going to come with this. This would be big news. Huge. They’d all be harassed, probably for months. He could just picture the headlines, the speculation, the lies that were going to follow this. Beside him, Lily let out a muffled sob and the sound snapped him back to reality. He was a professional athlete, for fuck’s sake. He could stay in control. He could handle this, right?

“We know this is going to be hard,” Ginny was saying. “We love you guys so much and we didn’t want to do anything unless we were absolutely sure. We never wanted to upset any of you.”

“Your mother and I love each other a lot, and we always will,” Harry added, “but things change. People change. They grow apart and sometimes something that was there before, that… that feeling, the spark, it just isn’t anymore. It’s no one’s fault. It’s… We wish it was different, we really do, but sometimes life doesn’t always let us keep the people we thought we’d get to keep.”

“Gives me such hope for true love in the future,” Lily muttered.

“We wanted to be sure,” Ginny said again. “Obviously we want to keep this as far away from the media as possible for as long as possible, and we’ll give it as long as you guys need us to before we issue a statement.”

“You’re already planning the press release?” Lily asked, shocked.

“We have to be realistic,” Ginny said gently, which James knew made sense in theory, but it only reminded him more of what a shit fight this would be. “You know what the public interest is like with our family. We want to be prepared to deal with the media. We’ve waited until we were certain before telling you guys. We’ve been trialling not living as a couple, and we know it’s hard, but this is the right thing. It’s… It’s what we need.”

James glanced over at Al. He hadn’t moved. Al was like their dad with confrontation. He usually hovered at the edges and listened rather than participating. It made him hard to read sometimes, but James knew him well enough to recognise the slump in his shoulders meant he was upset.

“How many?” Lily asked suddenly, sitting up straight. “How many months has this been happening behind our backs?”

Ginny glanced at Harry. “It doesn't—”

“How many?” Lily repeated. Her hands clenched into fists on her thighs. James knew he should reach out to comfort her, but he sat stone still.

Ginny sighed. “Six.”

Lily’s mouth fell open. “Six months?” she repeated. “You’ve kept this from us for six months?”

“We had to be sure, Lils,” Harry explained. “We didn’t want to hurt any of you or—”

“Oh really? Coz you're doing a shit fucking job of showing it,” Lily snapped.

“Lily, language!”

Lily snorted. “You know what? Fuck this.” She stood up, brushing James’ arm and grabbing her jacket from behind her.

“Lily, sit down,” Ginny said.

“No. I can’t be here. I need to leave right fucking now, but hey, while we’re all sharing secrets—” She glared at their parents as she yanked her jacket on. “I have a job. A shitty, menial job that I fucking love, and I’m not going to quit.” She stormed across the room, paused at the door to look over her shoulder and added, “I have a tattoo as well and I’m not sorry I got it. Enjoy breaking up the family. Bye.”

She slammed the front door and James heard her shout “fuck off, Lisa!” as she went.

“Shit,” Ginny said under her breath, rubbing her face. She looked very tired all of a sudden. James wondered how he’d read her so wrong when he first walked in. Then again, she’d been lying to him for six months, so maybe he didn’t have as good a read on his family as he thought.

“We knew she had a job,” Harry said to no one in particular. “She’s not very subtle.”

“Not the point, Harry,” Ginny sighed.

“I didn’t want this to go badly,” Harry said, still staring at the door.

James’ head snapped up. “What the fuck did you expect?” he said before he could stop himself. “You had to realise how hard she’d take this!”

Ginny gave him a weary look. “James…”

“No, fucking hell. What did you think would happen? What do you expect us to even say?” He pushed a hand through his hair, tugging slightly in frustration. “We’re not fucking kids; we’re old enough to deal with this but it’s a fucking lot. It… it still bloody hurts, alright? And obviously we can't get upset about it because then we’re being selfish, because you're just trying to be happy, and you should, of course you should do that, but this is… it affects everything.”

“James, of course you can be upset. We understand,” his mum said said, moving to sit beside him. “We know this could affect you at work so we want to everything we can to avoid that.” James stood up, dodging her hand.

“I just — I can’t deal with this right now. I have to focus on the club. I can't afford this kind of distraction.”

“James, come on. Don't leave,” Harry said. “We can talk about this.”

“I have things to do,” James snapped. “You're the one who keeps telling me to try harder, to push myself more, aren’t you? That’s what I’m doing.”

Harry flinched. “I know things have been tense between us, but you know I don't—”

“Don't!” James cut in. “Just… don't, okay? I can’t deal with that drama as well as all of this.”

Harry looked like he wanted to argue, but he thankfully closed his mouth and nodded once. James turned to Al, who looked up for the first time. His eyes were red and he gave James a tight lipped smile.

“I’ll call Lily,” he murmured. “Make sure she’s okay.”

James nodded gratefully, and then he turned his back and left.


 

7:37pm: Hey Teddy, are you around?
7:39pm: well hello there james from london!
7:39pm: i’m so happy to hear from you!
7:39pm: i missed you!
7:39pm: how are you???
7:39pm: what are you doing??
7:39pm: come to taco bell!!!!!!!!!!!
7:40pm: Huh?
7:40pm: taco bell jamie it’s the place to be tonight
7:40pm: I didn’t even know there was a Taco Bell in London.
7:41pm: i mean technically we are not in the city
7:41pm: we are out near Dartford
7:41pm: where are you????
7:41pm: come see meeeeeee
7:41pm: i will buy you dinner ;)
7:42pm: I can’t.
7:42pm: Are you with Vic?
7:42pm: yesssssssssss
7:42pm: she was gonna go to some family thing tonight
7:42pm: but she got too nervous and bailed and she really needed a drinking buddy
7:42pm: so we had shots instead of watching our usual sunday movie
7:42pm: and then we NEEDED taco bell jamie you dont understand
7:43pm: not having taco bell was not an option
7:43pm: Of course.
7:43pm: yep so we go an une
7:43pm: uner
7:43pm: uber
7:43pm: lmao
7:44pm: and you should do the same!!!
7:44pm: I can’t come out to Dartford right now.
7:44pm: I just
7:44pm: needed a distraction. Or something. I don’t know.
7:44pm Sorry.
7:44pm: I shouldn’t have bothered you.
7:44pm: wait wait wait why? whats going on? are you okay????
7:45pm: Can you just talk?
7:45pm About anything.
7:45pm: I don’t know, tell me about your night.
7:45pm: are you safe though???
7:45pm: tell me that first
7:45pm: where are you?
7:46pm: Just walking.
7:46pm: it’s raining!?
7:46pm: jamie whats going on??
7:46pm: im worried talk to me
7:46pm: is something happening with the family??
7:47pm: I don’t want to talk about them.
7:47pm: okay of course that’s fine
7:47pm: what can i do?
7:47pm: what do you need?
7:47pm: Tell me about your night. How’s Taco Bell?
7:47pm: it’s okay. We’ll head home soon, maybe. Vic is chatting to a couple of guys we made friends with when we got here but i excused myself and im sitting away from them now so i can talk to you
7:48pm: You didn’t have to do that.
7:48pm: I wanted to
7:48pm: Thanks Ted.
7:48pm: So you made new friends at Taco Bell?
7:48pm: is there a better place to make new friends?
7:48pm: spoiler alert: the answer is no
7:48pm: You make friends everywhere.
7:48pm: haha yes but these ones are really cool
7:49pm: the coolest
7:49pm: one of them is a drummer, he’s in this band i saw years ago. I was a proper fan girl when i realised who he was lol
7:49pm: omg you should see his hair its all long and curly and ugh so so nice
7:49pm: Oh okay.
7:49pm: yeah lol i was so embarrassing but he was fine with it coz hes really cool
7:49pm: Yeah, you said that already.
7:49pm: right yeah lol sorry
7:50pm: ummm what else can I tell you to keep you distracted
7:50pm: the drummers name is dixon and right now i can see him trying to throw bits of cinnamon twist into vics mouth
7:50pm: it’s a bit of a disaster
7:50pm: shes missing every single one because shes a mess and there is food all over the floor now
7:50pm: or maybe dixon isnt a good shot lol it’s pretty funny though I hope the taco bell people don’t throw dixon out
7:50pm: or vic, i guess. i suppose i should be worried about her too lol
7:51pm: You know what? Don’t worry about it.
7:51pm: I’ll talk to you some other time.
7:51pm: what???
7:51pm: did I say something wrong??
7:52pm: Forget it.
7:52pm: jamie no talk to me
7:52pm: whats wrong??
7:52pm can i call you??
7:53pm: No. Just
7:53pm: Just what???
7:53pm: I can’t.
7:53pm: Please leave me alone.
7:54pm: what??
7:54pm: jamie
7:54pm: fuck
7:54pm: im sorry
7:54pm: I dont know what to do right now im so worried
7:54pm: whats going on
7:55pm: i know you said leave you alone but can you please just send me something so i know you're okay? even your location or something so i know where you are and that you're safe??
7:56pm: jamie?
7:57pm: jamie come on please im so sorry please talk to me
7:58pm: i swear i’ll leave you alone, i just want to know where you're at so i know you're safe
7:59pm: jamie?
7:59pm: please
8:01pm:


[Phone ringing - ‘The Horses’ ringtone playing]

Gavin: “Teddyyyyy, my man! I didn’t expect to hear from you! What’s happening? How you doing?”

Teddy: *Chuckling* “I’m okay, yeah. Hey, I’m sorry to bother you--”

Gavin “Like you could ever be a bother. You’re my favourite, just don’t tell James. He’d get all jealous and whiney. He does that sometimes, you know.”

Teddy: *Clearing his throat* “Yeah, I, uh, I’m not. I don’t—”

Gavin: “Hey, are you alright? You sound weird.”

Teddy: *Rambling* “I don’t know if this is even okay. I hope it is. Fuck, I really don’t want anyone to be mad — well, more mad — with me, but I wasn’t sure what else to do, Gav. Maybe I’m reading into things, I don’t know, but he seemed really upset and I don’t know who to tell and he won’t talk to me, he’s just stopped replying, so I can’t fix it myself and I just don’t know and—”

Gavin: “Woah, Ted, hey, slow down, man. What’s going on? Are you okay? What’s happened? Breathe, okay? Talk me through it.”

Teddy: *Exhaling, voice shaky* “I think something’s wrong with James.”


 

James kicked at the cement as he walked, rain sliding relentlessly down his hair onto his neck, his shoes squelching with every step. He didn’t care that he was scuffing up a pair of very expensive trainers that were given to him by a sponsor. He didn’t care that he was probably going to get a cold, or that his phone kept vibrating in his pocket, or that he was shivering uncontrollably. He didn’t want to deal with it, any of it. He was pushing it all away, forcing the feelings back down inside so he didn’t have to face them yet.

He didn’t know where he wanted to go. His apartment would be cold and empty. His parents’ house, well, that just wasn’t an option. He could go and see a friend, but he really didn’t think he was capable of facing anyone right now. Besides, the rain was kind of refreshing. It was freezing, but at least he could pretend he was still the same James Potter from an hour ago while he walked through it, the James Potter who hadn’t run out selfishly on his parents and ditched his siblings and essentially told the guy he cared about to fuck off.

“Jesus fuck, I’m such an idiot,” he muttered.

He wrapped his arms around himself and bowed his head against a gust of wind. Maybe he should just go home, sit in the shower and have a good cry or something. That seemed like a sufficiently pathetic enough way to end the night. He’d need to call Lily and Al at some point after that, make sure they were okay. His parents, too. He’d have to say sorry for acting like a brat. They’d forgive him straight away, be understanding and apologetic, but somehow that made how he’d acted seem so much worse. He was being selfish and childish, he knew he was, and he hated himself for reacting this way, but it hurt and he was terrified about what would come next.

It wasn’t just the publicity he was scared of. There was already so much tension in his family between so many people. Vic was off living with Teddy and wouldn’t speak to them. Molly was gone most of the time and had become withdrawn and secretive. Uncle George was drinking again but everyone was trying to keep it hushed. They were just all a fucking mess. James couldn’t even have a proper chat with his own dad these days without the awkwardness overwhelming them, for fucks sake. What was going to happen after this came out? Would family dinners even happen anymore? Just because his mum and dad were on good terms it didn’t mean everyone else wouldn’t immediately take sides. That’s what had happened with Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur.

A car horn sounded suddenly, startling James from his thoughts. Headlights glared from behind him and he paused as a familiar black car pulled up alongside the curb and came to a stop.

The window rolled down and there was Gavin, looking back at him, elbow resting on the window frame. “Hey. You wanna talk about it?” he asked conversationally.

James’ shoulders slumped. He couldn’t vocalise how grateful he was to see him right then. He shook his head.

“Come on then,” Gavin said gently, gesturing to the passenger door. “I’ll drive you home.”

James managed a nod. The heater was on when he climbed into the front seat, but Gavin wordlessly handed him a thick jacket anyway. It was too big and the sleeves fell over James’ hands, but he still wrapped himself up in it and shrank back into the seat, trying to stop his shivers. Gavin pulled back onto the road and they drove in silence, the only sound the soft hum of the heater and the slide of the windscreen wipers against the glass.

James meant to apologise for dripping water all over the leather, meant to thank Gavin for the jacket, but the words got stuck in his throat and all he could do was stare blankly out the window at the rain pouring around them and the flash of passing streetlights.

He didn’t deserve people like Gavin in his life. He’d been called a role model by a journalist the other day. What a fucking laugh that was. What would all the kids who were being encouraged to look up to him think of him now if they could see what a huge mess of a man he was?

“Whatever it is,” Gavin murmured after a few minutes, breaking the silence as they neared James’ building, “you don’t have to handle it alone. I know what you’re like, James. Don’t shut people out, okay?”

James swallowed. His throat felt dry. God, he was such a selfish prick.

“Thank you for coming to get me,” he whispered, twisting his hands in his lap.

Gavin glanced over and gave him a wry smile.

“Thank Teddy for knowing you needed someone.”


 

Monday

Teddy had slept badly. The sun was barely beginning to show itself when he blinked awake for what seemed like the hundredth time since he’d fallen into bed late last night, and he groaned into his pillow. He’d had to physically stop himself from reaching for his phone every half hour through the night, eventually switching it off entirely so he wasn’t half listening for the sound of a new text coming through. It hadn’t helped though; he’d still tossed and turned and woken up repeatedly, too agitated and worried to fall into a proper sleep.

He groped tiredly for his phone now, letting his eyes drift closed as it booted back up. It was stupid of him to be so nervous, but he knew he’d be disappointed if there was nothing waiting for him, and that was just… God, it was all just a mess. He was in so fucking deep and he had no idea how or when it had happened, but he’d let himself do this, he’d let things get to this point, and now he was lying here feeling like a total wreck after a single fight. Had it even been a fight? He had no idea what’d happened or what he’d done, but he had known he’d fuck it up eventually.

The phone vibrated in his hand and Teddy’s eyes snapped open.

One new voice clip from ‘James from London’

Teddy scrambled to sit up, staring wide-eyed at his screen.

“Holy fuck,” he whispered. His thumb hovered over the tiny play button, stomach twisting and palms sweaty. He was going to hear James. Was going to actually hear him talk. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. What if this was it? What if James was going to say he was through talking to Teddy, that it’d been fun but Teddy wasn’t that interesting after all and hey, someone better had come along anyway, so bye. It had happened before. Teddy knew he was a lot of work, that he was too needy and came on too strong, but fuck, for half a second he’d thought… maybe...

He swallowed and closed his eyes, holding the speaker close to his ear as he pressed play, and he heard a soft, broken voice began to speak.

“Hey Ted, it’s… it’s me. I don’t know if you’ll even want to hear from me but I, um. Fuck, I’m so so sorry Teddy. It’s 2am and I can’t sleep and all I want to do is hear your voice but I fucked this all up so badly. So much happened tonight and I should have just talked to you about it but I was such a dick and I can’t even be upset about everything else that happened because I feel so bad for being an arsehole to you. It’s all I’ve been thinking about for hours. I’m… I don’t even have an excuse. I… Honestly? You started talking about that guy and I got jealous. That’s so fucking embarrassing to admit but I want to be honest with you. I need to be. You’re so fucking good and kind and I just… I don’t deserve you in my life. I know I have no right to get jealous and I understand if you don’t wanna talk to me now. I deserve it for being such a prick, but fuck, I’m so sorry. So unbelievably sorry. Thank you for calling G. Thanks for… thanks for just being in my life. Even if I’ve made you reconsider that now. I hope you can forgive me. God, I really hope you can. I’ll leave you alone now. I’m so sorry. Goodnight Teddy with blue hair. I… I really miss you.”

Chapter Text

Monday

Teddy pushed an errant strand of hair away from his face with a huff of annoyance as he walked into the shop just after nine thirty. The little bell above the door that usually made him smile with its soft tinkering chime was too loud in his sleep-deprived state, though he resisted the urge to turn around and pull it down as punishment for mocking him with its light and cheerful greeting. Somehow, despite having been properly awake since five, he’d still managed to be late today, and even though it didn’t happen often, he absolutely hated letting his team down like that. He hadn’t even bothered to stop for a coffee, so he was tired, irritable, and absolutely not in the mood for customers or sales or really, anything at all today.

He nodded curtly to Jessie on the register, a shitty greeting by his own standards and one he knew he’d feel bad for later and went straight out the back to his office. He threw his bag on the floor and sank into his chair, immediately dropping his head into his hands.

Christ, he wanted a drink. Did it classify as having a drinking problem if he started before ten but hadn’t technically slept properly since last night? Probably.

Outside, the sound of rain against his window steadily grew louder. There was meant to be a pretty big thunderstorm later, so his walk home would be wet and horrible. He wondered if the world was mocking him by making the weather match his mood. Grey and moody and just generally unpleasant. Or maybe it was sympathising with him, letting him know it understood how he felt. Maybe he was like that girl from Men in Black, whose moods caused the rain.

Or maybe the fact he was self-centred enough to think the weather had anything at all to do with him was further proof that he was a selfish idiot who didn’t know what the hell he was doing.

“Today can fuck off,” he declared to himself, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to ignore the press of his phone against his thigh in his pocket.

“Well, that’s not a very positive way to start the day, is it?”

Teddy groaned without looking up, his head resting firmly against his forearms. “Go away, Molly. I’m not in the mood.”

He heard her snort and the scrape of the chair opposite his desk being pulled out. He glanced up as she sat down.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, propping one foot up on the chair and balancing a plastic bowl on her knee. Teddy glanced at her clothes for today; a white shirt with ‘1D’ across the front (“I wear it ironically,” she'd told Teddy once with an eye roll. “I don’t actually like them.” They both knew she was lying) and ripped denim overalls rolled half way up her shins with faded old Chuck Taylors. It was such a dorky outfit but Molly was one of those people who could wear anything and look like she belonged on the cover of a magazine. Same with Vic. That damn family had the best genes. It was very unfair.

“Nothing,” Teddy lied. “I’m - Are you eating spinach?”

Molly glanced down at the bowl and then back at Teddy. She shrugged. “Yeah. It’s my breakfast. I love it.”

“Ew,” Teddy said, making a face. “That’s gross.”

“You won’t think that when I outlive you by thirty years,” Molly replied seriously, waving her fork at him. “Spinach is the healthiest food you can eat.”

It was probably true, but Teddy was in the mood to argue. “How do you even know that? Just because you saw it online or in a magazine doesn’t mean it’s true.”

“Um, because of Popeye,” Molly said matter of factly, as though it was absurd Teddy didn’t know. “Have you seen how ripped he is? Spinach is literally all he ate.”

“He’s a cartoon!” Teddy protested. “It’s a TV show!”

Molly shrugged again. “A TV show based on true events. Probably.”

Teddy barked out a laugh, the urge for confrontation dying as he looked over Molly’s content face as she speared another cluster of spinach onto her fork. “That is the most untrue thing you’ve ever said.”

“No it’s not, I lie to you all the time, you just don’t know it.”

“Wait, what?”

“But you’re avoiding my question,” Molly continued. “What’s wrong? It’s weird for you to be late.”

“You’ve worked here for literally five minutes,” Teddy grumbled. “You don’t know my habits.”

“You also didn’t say hi to Jessie, and when I walked in your were cursing this beautiful day.”

“I - yeah. That was rude of me,” Teddy conceded with a pang of guilt. “I should go apologise to him.”

“After,” Molly said. “Talk to me first.” She settled back in the chair and crossed one leg over the other, bowl held under her chin as she ate.

“I can’t take you seriously if you’re going to sit there eating a bowl of spinach for breakfast looking like it’s the greatest thing you’ve ever eaten,” Teddy told her.

Molly made an annoyed sound but she set her bowl down on his desk. “Start talking or I’ll go get my kale smoothie and make you drink it.”

James probably drank kale smoothies, Teddy thought to himself. Probably thought they tasted good, too, and told all his friends about the health benefits in a really dorky, endearing way. The thought made something in Teddy’s chest jolt and he dropped his head onto his arms again.

What a fucking mess.

“I’m such an idiot,” he groaned, the sound muffled.

Molly hummed in agreement. Why had he hired her again? “So is this about your mystery text lover, then?”

“Oh my god, stop calling him that. It’s gross. And tell Jessie to stop as well! None of you are even supposed to know about him.”

“Well, you shouldn’t sit staring at your phone with a goofy grin on your face all the time. It’s not my fault you’re so obvious.”

“He sent me a voice clip this morning,” Teddy blurted out. “We had a fight, sort of. I think. I don’t know what it was.” He furrowed his brow, remembering the strange messages, wishing he could go back to last night and just figure out what he’d said wrong so he could just not say it. “But then he sent me a voice clip this morning apologising and... I still haven’t replied.”

Molly frowned at him. “So reply then. What’s the problem?”

“I can’t.”

“Why not? Did your phone die?”

“No, it-”

“Did it get stolen?”

No, my phone is fine. It’s in my pocket.”

“So you have no reason not to reply,” Molly surmised. “So why haven’t you?”

Teddy fumbled for the words. “Because it’s… I don’t…I’m not...”

“Ted, what is it?” Molly prompted, her expression softening.

Teddy rubbed at his face, stubble prickling his hands. “It’s stupid,” he said, “but like, now I’ve heard him talk, heard his voice, it’s like… its just too…”

“Real?” Molly offered.

Teddy exhaled, relieved he hadn't had to say it. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Yeah, that.”

Molly reached out for her bowl and took another mouthful of spinach, regarding him for a moment as she chewed. “You’re right. That is stupid,” she said. “Stop being a dope and reply to him.”

Teddy snorted and rolled his eyes. As though it was that simple. “God, you sound like Vic sometimes.”

Something flickered over Molly’s face but it was gone before Teddy could read anything into it. “Well, she was always almost as smart as me,” she replied with a smirk that seemed forced.

“You could talk to her, you know,” Teddy ventured gently. “About… everything. I don’t know you’re family or anything but out of everyone, I know she’d understand. I mean, I don’t talk to her about you — I know how you feel about that — but she knows you’re working here now, and I think she’d be open to it.”

You should talk to your boyfriend,” Molly shot back. She was getting too good at deflecting, at turning things around on him. Probably meant she’d been spending too much time with Teddy.

It worked, though, even though he knew what she was doing. The word boyfriend made his chest ache. He let out a dry laugh. “He’s not my boyfriend. I’m making too much of a mess of it to even consider something quite that crazy.”

“You’re probably not, you know,” Molly said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “You’re like, ridiculously charming, but I don’t think you even realise it. But hey,” she added, eyes lighting up, “if it doesn’t work out with your mystery text lover, one of my cousins would totally be your type.”

“Oh my god, I hope you don’t mean Vic,” Teddy said, making a face.

“Very funny,” Molly deadpanned. “No, one of my eighty thousand other cousins. He’s really cool. Not that I’ve spoken to him in a while, but he can’t have changed that much since we hung out last. I saw a thing about him this morning so I had him on my mind. I can't believe I didn’t think of it before.”

Teddy frowned. “Wait, I’ve never heard about anyone in your family being gay.”

“He’s not out yet; I only know because I overheard his sister talking to him about it once,” Molly explained. “Victoire probably doesn’t know, so maybe don’t mention it, but you’d totally love him. He used to play a bit of music with me back in the day.”

Teddy laughed. “Thanks but no thanks. I’m not keen on setups with guys who aren’t out or who are from families that are splashed across tabloids every other day. No offense.”

Molly rolled her eyes. “None taken. Why do you think I avoid them?”

“Also,” Teddy added, arching his eyebrows in question, “you barely talk to your family so how could do the actual setting up?”

“I-” Molly faltered. “Well, you don’t talk to yours either,” she shot back.

“Excuse me, I’ll have you know I got a text from my cousin three days ago asking me to visit for tea.”

“And did you reply?”

Teddy glanced away guiltily. “I mean, technically no, but I am going to.”

“Mhmm,” Molly hummed. “I’m sure you will.”

Teddy scrunched some scrap paper off his desk into a ball and threw it at her. “I regret hiring you every day, just so you know. If I’d known you were this annoying I would have hired the guy whose CV has music spelled with a k.”

Molly laughed, batting the paper away. “Shut up, you love me. I’m the best guitarist you’ve ever seen. That’s why I’m employee of the week.”

“We don’t have employee of the week, Molly. I feel like I’ve said this to you every day since you started.”

“If we don’t have it then how do I win it every week?” Molly challenged with a smug smile.

“Because you award it to yourself!” Teddy exclaimed, laughing.

Molly grinned, gathering her empty bowl as she stood up. “Answer him,” she said. “Don’t screw up a good thing because you’re scared.”

“I’ll answer him if you talk to your dad,” he shot back, and he regretted it immediately.

Molly grimaced. “He’s still mad at me for telling him I want music to be my career. He’s in Scotland for another couple of days anyway for some work thing.” She smiled, but it was forced and strained. “Maybe I’ll talk to him when he gets back.”

“He’ll come around,” Teddy said gently. “I’m sure he just needs time to get used to the idea.”

“Maybe,” Molly said absently. She shook her head and exhaled like she was pushing it all away, and then she smiled properly at Teddy, though it didn’t quite reach her eyes. “Hey, wanna share hot chips for lunch?”

As someone who avoided his feelings on a daily basis, Teddy recognised the signs of repressing hurt, but he felt like too much of a hypocrite telling someone not to do something he was doing literally right now. Aside from that though, he knew how much worse it made things when someone pushed too hard too soon when the hurt was still too raw to be talked about openly.

“You want chips for lunch after having spinach for breakfast?” he asked, accepting the subject change, and Molly’s expression was grateful.

“Well, yeah,” she said. “I had something super healthy for one meal, so it evens it out when I have something unhealthy later.” She tapped her nose and gave him a knowing look. “It’s simple science, Teddy. Now go text your boyfriend while I trick Jessie into drinking kale.”

Teddy burst out laughing as she left the office, grateful for the thousandth time since they’d met that her application had shown up that day in his inbox.


James pulled open his locker and quickly rifled through his bag, yanking his phone out from under his jeans and switching it back on. He thrummed his fingers impatiently against the cool metal of the door as it powered on, ignoring the sweaty, wet press of his training shirt stuck to his back. His hands were dirty, mud caked under his nails and random strands of damp grass clung to his skin. Training wasn’t usually so messy, but it had been raining since he got here and not even the sky attempting to drown them was enough for training to be called off. He’d gone a lot harder than he should today, though overall his drills had gone like shit, and the tell-tale signs of exhaustion crept over him now that he’d stopped moving. The coach had called him on it a couple of times, had been watching him with a furrowed brow for most of the session, but James’d needed it. He was so anxious, so worked up, and he’d needed to push himself to try and get away from the uncertainty swirling through his stomach.

It hadn’t worked.

He rolled his shoulders. A dull ache was already settled in his muscles that he’d need to stretch out properly, but right now proper cooldown techniques for his body were at the very bottom of his priority list.

(God forbid his dad or coach ever hear him say something like that out loud.)

He entered his passcode (2583) and waited a few moments as his notifications caught up. He had prompts for his social media accounts switched off, knowing he’d never get a minutes rest with the constant pinging of fans liking and commenting and tagging him in things, but his phone buzzed several times with missed calls and texts that had come through in the last few hours. As he scrolled through the names though, searching for one in particular, his heart sank.

“Oi Potter, you alright?”

James glanced up at Lewis, one of his teammates and good friends, and nodded.

“I’m fine,” he said gruffly, stuffing his phone away in his bag and yanking his soggy shirt off over his head. It made a horrible squelching sound when he dropped it on the ground and he glanced down at the water that had dripped around him. He’d been so distracted he hadn’t even realised how soaked he was. He really needed a shower but he decided he’d wait until he got home so he could drown under the hot stream in private.

It was just… He’d really thought he’d get something back from Teddy, even if it was just a message saying ‘fuck off’, or a passive-aggressive ‘okay.’ He’d fucked up and he knew that; he’d been a total prick and Teddy had every right to ignore him, but it still made James’ chest ache to realise this might be it; he might not hear from Teddy again.

He pulled on his favourite grey hoodie, not bothering with a shirt, and shoved the sleeves back when they hung over his hands. He always bought his jumpers two sizes too big because he loved the feeling of being completely consumed in the warmth of them, and right now all he wanted was to be wrapped up and reassured that he wasn’t a total disaster who had just ruined one of the best parts of life. Preferably it would be the strong arms of a faceless stranger who may or may not have blue hair doing the reassuring, but in lieu of that, his hoodie would have to do.

He wondered if he was the most selfish man in the world. He’d been so upset about his parents last night, but then he’d been a total idiot to Teddy and it was all he could think about now.

“You sure?” Lewis was still staring at him, so James pulled on his hood to hide his face, because whether he liked it or not, and much to the chagrin of the team’s PR rep, James was horrible at hiding how he felt. “You look like a kicked puppy. Is it woman troubles?”

James snorted. Of course that would be the assumption, because everyone was straight, weren’t they? It couldn’t possibly be men troubles because of the guy he’d been anonymously texting for weeks and weeks, could it? A snarky retort was on the tip of his tongue but James took a breath and he bit it back down, because it wasn’t Lewis’s fault, not really. It wasn’t like James had ever given any indication either way of what his preferences were. He’d never talked about his love life, or lack thereof, with anyone on the team, and he was the one who had fought to keep his sexuality hidden from almost everyone he knew. It was just starting to rankle him in a way it never had before that people’s default assumption of him was a heterosexual one. Not that he knew what to do about that, or if he even wanted to do anything about it.

He shook his head, pulling his bag from his locker and closing the door. “It’s not woman troubles,” he told Lewis. He scooped up his training shirt and tossed it in the bucket with the other used clothes, and when he turned around Lewis was there again.

He clapped James on the back. “Don’t be embarrassed, my dude,” he laughed. “Honestly, it’s about time. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen you with a bird! You focus on the game too much, man. A bitta female drama’s good for ya. You gotta have fun too.”

James pursed his lips and tried to sidestep Lewis, slinging his bag onto his shoulder, but Lewis stayed firmly in his way.

“So what’s she look like?” he asked. “You have a photo of the woman who finally got the famous James Potter to look away from a football? Bet she’s fit!”

“No,” James said irritably, aware of the curious stares they were getting from a couple of other guys on the team. “Can you just drop it, man? I don’t want to talk about this.”

Lewis laughed again, but he relented. “Yeah, yeah, okay. Sorry, I’m just playing! Go sort out your dramas. I’ll see you Wednesday, yeah?”

James grunted in agreement, nodded to a couple of the other boys and headed for the exit. He was almost through the door, almost free, when someone grabbed his elbow.

“Potter,” Coach Wood said. “A word?”

James very barely avoided groaning out loud. He followed the coach into his office, pushing his hood back down as he took a seat.

“Something's going on with you,” Wood said bluntly.

James faltered. “Er…”

Usually, James appreciated that Oliver Wood was the kind of coach who didn’t dance around issues, that he told you if there was a problem in one breath and then offered a solution with the next. It meant there was transparency between the team and the coaching staff. It meant the team knew they could trust Wood, because he didn’t lie to them about his expectations or sugar coat it when he saw problems with their performance. When that bluntness was directed at James alone, though, when it was directed at something he very much didn’t want to be transparent, it made him shift uncomfortably and feel nervous.

“Look,” Wood continued patiently, “in an ideal world your private life would be your private life, but by now you know how things are at this level, Potter. Issues can bleed into the team without you meaning them to, but it affects everyone, from me right up to the guys at the top who pay us to be here. I know you’ve had a tough few weeks, and that means the expectations on you to perform well are going to be higher, but there’s something else affecting your game outside of that, you made it clear today, so you need to take care of it, because those guys at the top won’t keep either of us around if you can’t give them the results we all want.”

It wasn’t said harshly, it was just laid out as a statement. That was just the reality of this world, James knew, but it stung all the same. There were countless other guys out there waiting for their shot, who might say they look up to him but who would gladly take his place if the opportunity was given to them. He had to play well, all the time. He wanted that. Wanted to prove he was more than just Harry Potter’s son who’d been given a chance because of his name.

“It was just an off day,” James assured him, hoping like crazy Wood wouldn’t push to know what the issue was. Christ, imagine having that conversation with Oliver Wood. “I just need to get my rhythm back, and then I’ll be right back on track, I promise.”

Wood regarded him, and he nodded slowly. “Good,” he said. “Because, to be frank, I do like your father and think he's a good man, and he’s almost as good a coach as me-” James chuckled “- but if there’s still dramas with him because you signed here and it’s affecting your game, as awkward as it may be, I will have to say something.”

James blinked, and oh! Wood thought James was stressed about his dad, thought Harry was giving him a hard time or something.

It would be the perfect excuse, an easy cover to use so people would stop prying, but even with all the drama with his parent's divorce and the tension with his dad, James couldn’t just let him be blamed for his own shitty performance today.

“It's not - it’s not stuff with dad,” James said carefully.

Wood barked out a laugh. “Oh thank Christ!” he chuckled. “Honestly he's a great guy, but I don't fancy being the one to tell him to pull his head in and let you focus. Imagine the media frenzy, they’d have the clubs at war within two articles.”

James stifled a laugh. “If that’s all then-”

“So what's going on then, Potter?” Wood cut in, leaning back in his chair and linking his hands behind his head. “I’ve never seen you the way you were today. I thought you were going to pop the bloody football you were going so hard at it.”

“Yeah,” James sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “It’s...” It wasn't nothing. Teddy wasn’t nothing, and even though he didn’t want to talk about, he still couldn't bring himself to lie and say it was. “I just had a bad night,” he said honestly. “But I won't let it affect my game again. I’m sorry. It was just a one-off, I swear.”

“You sure?”

“I won't let it,” James reaffirmed.

Wood shook his head. “No, are you sure you're okay?”

“Oh.” James blinked. “Yeah, I’m fine. I'll be fine.”

Wood looked unconvinced, but he nodded and let James leave once James promised to say hi to his dad for him.

James just wanted to get home and forget about today altogether. He left the locker room quickly, avoiding anyone else. and he made his way towards the exit wanting nothing more than a hot shower and to sink into bed and watch Friends reruns. He wouldn’t spend the night staring at his phone. He wouldn’t harass Teddy and try to get him to talk, or search ‘guys called Teddy with blue hair’ on the Internet because that would be creepy and even though he’d been tempted many times, he still wouldn’t. When Teddy was ready, if he wanted to, he’d contact James.

At least, that’s what James hoped.

He decided to push it away for tonight. He wasn't going think about it, wasn’t going to drive himself crazy with thoughts of Teddy or his family or the team or anything else. He could switch off, just for one night. He had to.

James’ phone began to ring, muffled by the clothes it was buried underneath, and he stuck his hand into his bag as he walked to fish it out. He’d have to switch it off after this call if he was serious about a night off.

It was still raining lightly outside. He glanced across the parking lot, spotted Gavin’s car, and began to walk over, finally retrieving his phone as he did and looking down at the screen. He halted mid step, his thumb poised over the answer button, his whole body frozen in place as rain trickled down his face.

“Incoming call: Teddy with Blue Hair”

Chapter Text

Monday

James was dying. He was honest to god about to keel over and stop breathing right there in the middle of the carpark and there wasn’t a thing he could do to stop it. There was no other explanation for how hot his whole body had suddenly become despite the cold wind whipping into his face and the drizzle of rain sliding over his skin.

Had his hands always been this sweaty? It wasn’t natural. Was he even breathing? These were all clear signs of impending death.

His phone was still vibrating in his hand even as droplets of water splattered over the glass. The ringtone volume was low but it may as well have been a cacophony of bells ringing right next to his ear it seemed so loud.

“Fuck,” he managed to choke out, and it was such a strange whine of a noise that it pulled him out of his death daze.

What should he do? This was — he wasn’t prepared for this. All the fancy boarding schools and football training camps and media training in the world hadn’t prepared him for what the fuck he was supposed to do when his phone decided to ring out of nowhere and light up with a name he never expected to see.

He could ignore it, just pretend he missed the call and send a text later apologising.

Except.

He definitely couldn’t do that.

Because it was Teddy with Blue Hair and James was only a man and this was going to be a disaster but how could he possibly not answer him when he called?

With a shaking finger James swiped the screen and lifted the phone to his ear.

“Hello?” he said, and wait, what the fuck was that voice? He’d never made that sound before either. Jesus Christ. He cleared his throat awkwardly, fingers gripping the phone a little too tightly, and willed himself to try and be calm. “Hello?” he attempted again.

“Jamie?”

And yes, James was officially going to die today. R.I.P him. He’d had a good run, really. Had some laughs, achieved a bit of success in his short life. He’d made good mates and had minimal regrets. It wasn’t such a bad time for him to go. Would they record his official cause of death as Teddy’s voice? That’s probably what would be written on his tombstone. Lily would think it was hilarious, obviously. She’d visit his grave everyday just to make fun of him. Al would roll his eyes and say he thought James was an idiot and then whisper to Scorpius about it behind his hand. James only hoped that if he wasn’t around anymore, Lily would make sure to tease Al for him, too.

“Er… are you there?”

And fuck, James was still stood frozen thirty feet from the car with his whole team about to make their way outside — the team who now thought he had a secret girlfriend and would see him all frazzled and assume that’s who he was talking to. The phone was still pressed to his ear, and even though he had his hood up he felt entirely exposed, and right there on the end of the line was the boy he sort of maybe —

“Yes, hey, sorry. I — hi. Teddy. Wow. Fuck,” he said in rushed jumble of sort-of-words. It wasn’t eloquent — it wasn’t even a sentence — but it could have been worse.

Teddy laughed and it was a little bit breathless, and it took literally every ounce of willpower James had to keep his knees from giving out right then. When had he become this person? With a shaky — and hopefully silent — exhale he forced himself to walk towards the car, cursing Gavin for parking ten thousand miles away.

“I’m sorry to just, like, randomly call,” Teddy said. “Is this weird? Fuck. I hope it’s okay. I just thought…”

“No, it’s great!” James blurted out. “It’s so good. It’s fine, yeah. Awesome. It’s… great. I—” Was he yelling? He felt like he was yelling. He cut himself off; he was the most embarrassing person in the world, it was actually official. “Sorry,” he mumbled. He suddenly noticed the puddles he was walking through and the cold water splashing up against his legs with every hurried step. Could he drown himself in one, maybe? He was pretty sure at this point that was his only option. “I’m kind of… I don’t know what to say that won’t make me sound like a total wanker right now,” he admitted, rubbing at the back of his neck. His whole body was aching from training and he was probably going to get sick if he stayed out in the cold much longer. “Sorry.”

Teddy laughed again, and as James opened the car door to toss his bag onto the back seat, he decided that if talking about his own cluelessness was what it took to keep Teddy making that sound, then he’d go ahead and commit himself to doing it forever.

“I’m… Yeah, I’m pretty nervous,” Teddy told him. “I’ve been staring at my phone for, like, two hours trying to get up the courage to hit the call button. Pathetic, right?”

James smiled despite how dead and irreversibly humiliated he was. Gavin muttered a brief ‘hi’ as James slipped into the front seat. He had headphones in and didn’t look up from his own phone, and when James glanced over he saw Snapchat open.

“I’m really glad you called,” James said, pulling his hood down and leaning back against the headrest. “I was going kind of crazy wanting to text you. I’m just like… I didn’t expect to hear from you and I feel like I probably needed three days to prepare myself so I didn’t make a dick of myself.” He scoffed under his breath. “So much for that I guess.”

“Jamie, I—” Teddy sighed. James ignored Gavin tapping his arm beside him. “I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your voice message,” Teddy said. “There’s, like, not even a good reason I can give you. I was just kind of freaking out a bit I guess, about… all of this, and like, I don’t know. I should have replied. I upset you then I bailed, and I’m just so sorry.”

“No, god, I’m the one who’s sorry.” James scrubbed a hand over his face and then batted Gavin’s hand away. “I was a fucking prick the other night. I wouldn’t have been surprised if you didn’t talk to me ever again.”

Teddy scoffed and James could hear him moving about, like he was shifting on a bed. James was wearing training shorts, and unless he wanted to make things with Gavin very awkward, he could not afford to think about Teddy in a bed right now.

“I’d never want to not talk to you again,” Teddy said softly, and James’ whole face felt much too warm again. If he was alone he’d perhaps think of something charming to say in reply (probably not), but as it was, he was reminded rudley that was not alone.

“Did the ball hit you so hard today you lost your hearing?” Gavin demanded, punching his arm impatiently. “Stop ignoring me!”

“Oh my god, is that Gavvy Gav?” Teddy asked. “He and I were just Snapchatting. Tell him I said hi!”

“Who are you talking to?” Gavin asked at the same time.

James groaned. “Gav just — no. It’s — Put your headphones back in. I’ll be done in a sec!”

“You’re being weird,” Gavin accused.

“I’m not being weird,” James muttered.

“You’re being pretty weird,” Teddy chimed in.

“You’re both the worst!” James exclaimed, glaring at Gavin and hoping Teddy could somehow feel it from wherever he was.

Gavin’s expression morphed and his eyes lit up. “Oh my fucking god! Is that Teddy? James! Is that Teddy?”

“Tell him it’s me!” Teddy yelled. “Tell him I said hi!”

Gavin made grabby hands for the phone and James had to lean awkwardly out of his way and slap at his arms to stop him from stealing it.

“Gavin, fuck, cut it out, you dick!”

“I can’t believe this,” Gavin said happily. “It’s like my two adopted puppies meeting for the first time. Am I crying? I feel like I’m crying. James, sit still — I want to take a photo of you. Stop doing that face.”

“Oh my god, he’s so funny,” Teddy chuckled.

James groaned again. “Stop encouraging him,” he said to Teddy. “And you.” He pointed accusingly at Gavin. “Just give me a minute and stop taking photos of me.”

“Fine,” Gavin huffed, lowering his phone. “If you want to be selfish and make this moment all about you, go ahead.” He grumbled to himself under his breath as he put his headphones back in. James kept glaring and Gavin snapped another photo defiantly.

“I hate you both,” James announced.

“I love him so much,” Teddy sighed happily. “That was amazing.”

“James.”

James groaned. “Gav, I said —”

“No, here. Take the keys. I’ll wait outside.”

“You don’t have to—”

“I’m giving you privacy.”

“I didn’t mean—

“Take the damn keys, Pot—”

“Okay!” James cut him off and Gavin flinched at the slip up.

“Sorry,” he mouthed before slipping out of the driver’s door. “Also, I got you a coffee.” He pointed to the takeaway cup in the centre console and then shut the door.

“See how great he is?” Teddy said. “That was so thoughtful.”

James watched Gavin wander away towards the sheds, apparently oblivious to how heavily it was raining now. “He’s not so bad,” he agreed. He played with the edge of the take away cup absently. “So are we… like, okay?” he asked tentatively.

“Oh my god, yeah of course!” Teddy said. “Yeah, I’m so sorry if I made you think otherwise. You were dealing with stuff and I was being insensitive and I’m just so glad you’re not mad at me!”

James chuckled. “I don’t think I could ever actually be mad at you. I like you too much.”

There was a pause and James recoiled as he realised what he’d just said. He cheeks burned with embarrassment — he may as well have just thrown the hot coffee in his face. He closed his eyes, as though somehow that would block out what a fucking mess he was when it came to Teddy.

“Oh my god,” Teddy said, and was it James’ imagination or was his voice a little more strained too? “Oh my god. Jesus fuck. I can’t believe you just said that.”

James let out a strained laugh, because at this point he didn’t know what else to do. “Well, I can’t believe you talk exactly how you text.”

Teddy burst out laughing, and James sank back into his seat.

“Everyone says I do that when I get excited. God, but just like, wow. I don’t even know what to do right now. You just said that and now it’s out there in the universe and I’m just sitting here grinning like an awkward twat.”

“Er… sorry?” James offered.

“No, god, don’t be! I’m just, like, all giddy and being weird. I’m so embarrassing. Wait oh my god, were you busy? I’m so sorry. I didn’t even check.”

James smiled and shook his head even though Teddy couldn’t see it. “Nah. Just finished work. I’m kind of disgusting and sweaty and covered in mud, so I’m glad you can’t see me.”

“I still think you’re a spy,” Teddy said in a mock whisper. “A super secret one who has just finished a secret mission probably.”

“Don’t spies wear suits and stuff? What kind of mission would it be where I get covered in mud?” James wondered aloud.

“A gross one,” Teddy said. He laughed loudly again. “This is weird, right? How, like, easy this is.”

James was going to actually pull a muscle in his face if he smiled any wider. “It just kind of… feels like we’re texting. Does that make sense? It probably doesn’t.”

Across the parking lot his team and the coaching staff were beginning to leave the building in twos and threes. He felt a twinge of guilt for bailing so early and not spending any time with the guys recently outside of training and games. Being part of a team was more than just playing football every week; Wood always said they had to build their relationships outside the game too so that by the time they got on the field they knew one another well enough to gel together seamlessly as a unit. They had to know enough to trust each other. He’d really have to try and get his head back into it this week.

“This is better than texting,” Teddy was saying. “You can’t see my terrible grammar this way, and also I get to hear you talk. Oh my god, wait— I have a joke for you. I told it to Vic and she thought it was the absolute best.”

James would start focusing on the team again tomorrow, he thought to himself. The team and his family and what the hell he was going. Right now, his head was only on one thing.

“Tell me,” he said, trying and failing to keep the fondness out of his voice.

“People who don't use punctuation are so wild, because they never... fully stop.”

There was a long, silent pause, and then Teddy burst out laughing and James shook his head, and oh my god, he liked this boy so much.

“Vic didn’t really laugh, did she, Teddy?” James asked when Teddy finally calmed down enough for him to talk.

“Oh my god, no, not even a little, but I do every time I think of it.” He burst into a fresh round of giggles, and James was pretty sure his chest was actually going to explode he was so happy right now.

“That might be the worst joke I’ve ever heard,” he said.

“You mean the best,” Teddy corrected. “Do you want me to tell it again?” There was the sound of a door slamming, and James heard a familiar voice yelling out Teddy’s name. “Oh, shit, I have to go! Vic’s upset! Can I text you later?”

Gavin was walking back towards the car now too, ambling slowly with his hands in his pockets like it was a warm spring day, and was he whistling? James rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, of course,” he told Teddy. “Talk soon.”

“This was the best call ever. Bye, Jamie.”

He hung up before James could respond, but James was still grinning when Gavin got back into the car and began demanding to know everything.


6:18pm: A quote from the lion king
6:19pm: What?
6:19pm: I have a quote from the lion king tattooed on my back. that's another one of my tattoos.
6:20pm: just wanted to tell you
6:20pm: Oh my god. That’s my favourite Disney movie! My brother, sister and I used to watch it non stop when we were kids.
6:21pm: okay but did you watch it on dvd or vhs tape? there is only one correct answer
6:21pm: Lol. DVD. I think Mum and Dad have an old VHS player somewhere? But I wouldn’t know how to use it haha.
6:22pm: good god
6:22pm: that was NOT the correct answer jamie!
6:22pm: unless you watched it on a vcr machine and rewound it so many times you wore out the tape and your Gran had to buy you a new copy, it is NOT your fave disney movie
6:23pm: Hahaha!
6:23pm: It’s not my fault you’re, like, eighty four years old and grew up in the Dark Ages.
6:24pm: omg shut up im only six years older than you!
6:24pm: I just Googled it and DVD players were first released in the UK in 1999, and the Lion King DVD was 2003 aka the year before I was born, so it’s not even that outrageous that I never used a VCE!
6:25pm: ugh it’s just not the same okay
6:25pm: it doesnt feel the same
6:25pm: you don’t get it. You’re not a 90s kid
6:26pm: Hahahaha! Neither are you!!!!!!
6:26pm: 98 totally counts okay
6:27pm: Okay, but do you actually remember anything about the two years you were in that decade?
6:27pm: ………….
6:27pm: shutup
6:27pm: LOL!
6:27pm: You’re funny.
6:27pm: :)
6:27pm: Tell me more about your tattoo.
6:28pm: Am I allowed to know the quote?
6:29pm: yes
6:29pm: but you have to guess what it is
6:29pm: Oh my god but it goes for like an hour and twenty nine minutes. There are so many lines it could be!
6:30pm: did you just google that too?
6:30pm: Maybe.
6:30pm: Ever since you teased me about not knowing what facts are I have been trying to be more accurate with my statements.
6:31pm: omg jamie you dork lol
6:31pm: you’re such a nerd
6:31pm: I love it
6:31pm: now guess my tattoo!
6:31pm: Okay, okay.
6:32pm: Hakuna Matata feels too obvious.
6:32pm: lmao yeah plus it would be a lie -- I have so many worries
6:32pm: “The past can hurt, but the way I see it, you can either run from it… or learn from it.”
6:33pm: hah no. if I was the kind of person who lived by those words I would be much less of a mess hahaha
6:33pm: “I just can’t wait to be king.”
6:33pm: NO BUT NOW I WANT THAT HAHAHA
6:34pm: it is a lyric though. you’re on the right track
6:34pm: Ooh okay.
6:34pm: Ummmmm
6:34pm: Oh my god, I am blanking on every song in that movie, what the fuck.
6:35pm: ugh you’re such a millennial, I can’t believe you. Such disrespect
6:35pm: Haha shut up
6:36pm: I swear to god, if it’s the “Circle of Life” opening lyrics I will throw something at you.
6:36pm: hahahaha i’ll have you know i can sing that part perfectly, i am a
professional
6:37pm: I expect to hear that one day.
6:37pm: lol yes okay deal
6:37pm: do you give up?
6:37pm: UGH yes fine, tell me.
6:38pm: “There’s magic everywhere”
6:38pm: From that song Timon sings?
6:38pm: Can you feel the love tonight, yes
6:38: Is that your favourite song?
6:39pm: no lol
6:39pm: okay so
6:39pm: when the movie first came out, my grandpa was obsessed with it
6:40pm: i like
6:40pm: i never knew him. i’m named after him. I wish i had because i know he was amazing
6:41pm: their families didn’t like them being together coz she was from one of those old money families and he was like a blue collar worker and so she ran away to be with
him. It was a huge scandal back in the day, she was disowned and everything
6:41pm: and like, they had nothing except for this little flat and some old furniture
6:41pm: but he always said that as long as they had each other and were in love
6:41pm: life would be magical, and so what more could they need?
6:42pm: and so my gran told me a story when i first started watching it about how he heard that song for the first time he made her get up and dance with him
6:42pm: and then he started quoting that line to her all the time
6:42pm: it was like their motto for the last few years they had together
6:42pm: And yeah
6:43pm: it really stuck with me i guess
6:43pm: omg ive never told anyone that story before. not even vic.
6:43pm: sorry
6:44pm: Teddy, oh my god. Don’t be sorry for sharing something personal!
6:44pm: That is literally the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard omg
6:44pm: Thank you for telling me <3
6:44pm: my heart is like racing so fast right now hahaha i am not good at this
6:44pm: I’m really glad you feel like you can trust me with it :)
6:45pm: So, does that mean you have a tattoo for each of them? The first one you told me about was for your Gran, right?
6:45pm: yep
6:45pm: I mean, I never saw them together, coz he died just before I was born, but from all my gran’s stories, they had the most amazing love story
6:45pm: And i guess i kind of hope one day i’ll get that too
6:46pm: You will.
6:46pm: I have no doubt at all you will have the most epic love story of all time.
6:46pm: You deserve the very best one.
6:46pm: jamieeeeee
6:47pm: youll embarrass me, stop
6:47pm: it just seems very unlikely
6:47pm: i’d have to trick someone into loving me first and I don’t know if i’ll ever be that lucky lol
6:48pm: Any man with half a brain wouldn’t need to be tricked into loving you, Teddy.
6:48pm: He’d be the lucky one.
6:48pm: ndfjkhfjhfsdkjlf
6:49pm: you’re going to kill me
6:49pm: im like
6:49pm: grinning down at my phone and i dont know what to do help
6:50pm: That was pretty smooth, right?
6:50pm: I’m really impressed with myself after my earlier efforts on the phone.
6:51pm: omg lol you were fine, you didn’t say anything bad
6:51pm: I was a mess. You turned me into an embarrassing mess.
6:51pm: it was cute
6:52pm: I still can't believe we talked in real life
6:52pm: sort of
6:52pm: Its like
6:52pm: You're really real
6:52pm: Like obviously you were real all along
6:52pm: But now its like
6:53pm: Even more real
6:54pm: because we’ve had an actual proper conversation
6:54pm: Lol yeah.
6:54pm: Is that
6:54pm: Are you okay?
6:54pm: Like, I don’t want it to freak you out or anything.
6:55pm: I called you but you’re the one checking if i’m okay with it all lol
6:55pm: I just don’t want to, like
6:55pm: Nothing, nevermind.
6:56pm: omg you cant do that to me
6:56pm: say itttttttttttttttttttt
6:56pm: it’s just
6:57pm: I think about you a lot, you know?
6:57pm: There’s so much I want to know about you.
6:57pm: I wonder about your life. What you talk with your friends about. What you look like when you read my messages.
6:58pm: And part of me is terrified I’ll scare you off before I get to find out.
6:59pm: omg jamie
7:00pm: Too much?
7:00pm: NO
7:00pm: I mean, if i’m being honest
7:00pm: half of my brain is screaming at me to run as fast as I can whenever i talk to you or think about you
7:00pm: because that’s what it does when it sees something that could potentially be a good thing
7:01pm: and it goes against everything inside me to ignore that voice
7:01pm: like its fucking scary as fuck
7:01pm: because my head knows you are definitely a good thing
7:01pm: the best thing
7:01pm: and i’m not used to caring that i could screw something up
7:01pm: but with you, i do
7:02pm: i care so much
7:02pm: fuck why am I saying all this
7:02pm: i just want you to know i’m scared i’ll scare you off too
7:03pm: I want you to know who I am.
7:03pm: what?
7:03pm: Sorry. I just
7:03pm: I know you’ve said you don’t want to, but I need to put that out there.
7:04pm: I want to meet you. I want you to know who I am and I want to know who you are.
7:04pm: fuck
7:04pm: no like i know i said that before
7:04pm: but i want that too
7:05pm: You do???
7:05pm: yeah omg of course
7:05pm: like soon
7:06pm: asap even
7:06pm: Oh my god.
7:06pm: Yes! Omg.
7:07pm: I’m going to a camp type thing for a few days, for work, so i’ll be a bit MIA next few days. We’re not really supposed to have phones.
7:07pm: I get back on Friday but then I have work things on again that night and all day Saturday.
7:08pm: But maybe like, next week?
7:08pm: next week omg
7:08pm: as in the week after this one
7:09pm: omg
7:09pm: okay
7:09pm: yes
7:09pm: i think im on board???
7:09pm: i definitely am
7:10pm: ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh omg
7:10pm: :)))))))))))))
7:10pm: I’m so happy, oh my god.
7:10pm: But also fucking terrified.
7:11pm: There are things you don’t know yet
7:11pm: and it might change your mind about me.
7:11pm: hah not possible.
7:12pm: Should we talk about it beforehand, though?
7:12pm: nah. how about once you’re back from your secret spy camp we figure out the details!
7:12pm: I am so, so far from being a secret spy lol.
7:12pm: we’ll see. Im still pretty sure i’m right
7:12pm: wait so you’ll be MIA? No texting?
7:13pm: Yeah :(
7:13pm: I will when I can, but they’re pretty strict on these kinds of things.
7:14pm: lammmmmmmmmme
7:14pm: but i SUPPOSE i will deal with it and fend for myself for a few days
7:15pm: i’ll send you updates so you're not left out of the excitement that is my life
7:15pm: Haha, yes please do.
7:15pm: Gotta start packing and getting ready for tomorrow. Talk soon?
7:16pm: yes please
7:16pm: have a great night
7:16pm: thanks for being you and for having a great phone voice
7:16pm: ;)
7:17pm: LOL, you too.
7:17pm xxxxxxxxxx
7:17pm: <3 xx


 Tuesday

4:14am: It’s too early. I’m dying. Send coffee.

7:49am: hope you're having fun xx

8:29am: I just saw a duck actually being followed by a line of baby ducks????
8:29am: what the fuck i didn't think that happened in real life
8:29am: 

9:59am: Red and I were bickering and she pretended to throw her juice at me but the lid came off so now i’m wearing orange juice
9:59am: I said “now i smell fruity too” and winked and no one laughed
10:00am: Amateurs
10:00am: It was very funny
10:00am: I said ‘because im gay’ like, to clarify, in case they didn’t get it
10:00am: One of the other guys said im embarrassing and not to explain jokes
10:00am: Red told me to get back to work
10:01am: She might be my boss now
10:01am: why doesnt anyone understand how funny I am???????

1:11pm: ate 10 donuts in two minutes coz one of my students said i couldnt possibly do it
1:12pm: i regret nothing

1:30pm: i regret everything

1:45pm: i had two more
1:46pm: why am I like this

1:59pm: It’s reds fault. She brought a whole bunch and what am i supposed to do? Just not eat them?

2:49pm: do you think the ducks got home okay?
2:49pm: i should have followed them to make sure

3:33pm: gav sent me the funniest snap of him dancing in the car
3:33pm: he said “free from the bossman for four days”
3:33pm: omg don’t tell him i said that. He was just messing around

5:07pm: im at the shops
5:07pm: there are no avocados??????????

5:10pm: im searching every aisle and i cant find any

5:15pm: Just asked a cashier
5:16pm: They said there is a shortage and they are sold out
5:16pm: ??????????????????????????

5:18pm: i think im in shock
5:18pm: also
5:18pm: Im a bit confused as to why a state of emergency has not been declared??????

5:20pm: checked twitter for any trending hashtags about it but couldn't find anything
5:20pm: I’m very distressed, why aren’t people talking about this?????

5:58pm: i’m home now and i’m sulking

6:15pm: vic is making me dinner
6:15pm: it’s suspicious
6:15pm: something must be going on

6:33pm: she is a terrible cook

6:45pm: i think she's making chicken
6:46pm: if i get salmonella and die i leave all my instruments and star wars dvds to you

6:48pm: ugh i miss you xx


“Oh my god, can you stop pacing? You’re making me nauseous,” Teddy whined as he slipped his phone back into his pocket. He pulled his legs onto the couch, tucking them underneath himself as he hugged an old frayed cushion to his chest. There was a splatter of nail polish on one corner from the Sunday afternoon three years ago when Teddy had tried to paint Vic’s fingernails and spilled half the jar, and a burn in the centre from that time the electricity went out and Vic had tried to light a candle with matches but set the cushion alight instead.

They should really throw it out, Teddy thought to himself; it was frayed and faded and horrible, but the two of them were terrible at tossing away things that had memories attached. It was why he still had shoe boxes full of comic books he’d bought as a kid and why Vic hoarded coasters from every pub they’d ever eaten in. He wondered idly why that desperation to hold onto things didn’t also apply to people, but he quickly pushed away that thought for another time, preferably a night when he was a lot less sober.

Vic was glaring at him from across the room. Her hair had half-fallen from its bun and was hanging in random tendrils over her face, and there was a stain of gravy from dinner on her blouse.

“Look, you’re obviously upset,” Teddy said. “Why don’t you just tell me what’s up?”

“Just shut up, Tedward,” she muttered with her back to him. “I’m trying to think!”

Teddy rolled his eyes. “Fine. And that nickname isn’t funny anymore, but I’ll let it go because you’re clearly having some sort of break down.”

“Fuck off.”

Teddy switched on the telly and began flicking through channels, though he kept glancing over at Vic, who had now progressed to muttering rapidly and incoherently to herself while she glared out the front window. He wasn’t sure, but from the occasional comments he managed to hear he gathered it had something to do with her parents questioning her life choices again. She got like this sometimes, and Teddy tried his best to just understand and be there for her, like she did for him when he had episodes. They just really struggled to see one another’s point of view sometimes.

“They just don’t fucking get me!” she exploded suddenly, and Teddy didn’t ask what she meant, just waited for more, but she only resumed her pacing, twisting a yellow stress ball in her hands as she did.

“What did they even say? Was it about you not knowing how to cook or something? Is that what dinner was about?” Teddy called out.

“Go text your boyfriend,” Vic snapped. “Or call him again. I don’t care. Just leave me alone.”

“You’re so pleasant when you get like this,” Teddy hummed, turning back to the telly. He opened the bag of M&M’s he’d brought from the kitchen and began picking out the red ones to eat. He didn’t care what anyone said; they tasted the best.

He eventually settled on watching the end of a broadcast that was wrapping up the sports news for the day. A journalist was standing with an umbrella propped in one hand and his microphone in the other, talking about the latest drama with Liverpool’s coaching staff as the rain fell on him. His suit was damp, and it made Teddy shudder. He was just about to switch channels when the journalist disappeared and the main newsreader appeared on screen.

“We’ll cross now to Lee Jordan, who has been granted exclusive access inside Chelsea’s bi-annual training camp just outside of Leeds this week, to chat about the CFC for Kids Charity Day being held this weekend at Stamford Bridge.”

Teddy ate another handful of red M&M’s. “Vic,” he called mid chew. “Your hot cousin is going to be on TV in a sec.”

“What?”

He hadn’t realised she’d left the room, but Vic came skidding back down the hallway and stood behind the couch. Teddy gestured to the telly using the remote control.

“I’m assuming he will, anyway. They always pick him for interviews, don't they? Remember when they beat West Ham and the coach barely got to say a word coz that woman in the press conference was all over Potter?”

“We’re here live from Chelsea’s training camp with James Potter,” the reporter was saying.

“Told you,” Teddy said smugly. “You know, I really hope I’m wrong and that they don’t just pick him because he’s fit. He’s so talented, he should be — oi, what are you doing?”

Vic had grabbed the remote control from his hand and muted the TV just as Potter started to talk.

“What the fuck? I wanted to listen to that!” Teddy whined. “They’re gonna talk about the charity day!” He tried to snatch the remote back but Vic dodged him easily.

Potter was nodding politely and smiling at something the reporter was saying. He was covered in mud and his dark hair was mussed terribly and had grass through it. Teddy didn’t think he could handle a job like that if it meant he had to be that messy. He’d freaked out just getting Molly’s orange juice all over him. He also didn’t think he could make the whole wet and muddy look appear quite as appealing as James Potter did.

Vic glanced between Teddy and the TV. “I — er, quick, tell me again why I should call my mum,” she said in a rush.

Teddy eyed her skeptically. “You’re being weird.”

“I just really need your opinion,” Vic insisted.

And that was the most suspicious thing Teddy had ever heard. Vic never wanted his opinion on family stuff, because she knew they’d more than likely end up in a fight when they disagreed on the best way to handle things. But if she was asking...

“Fine. But you can’t get mad if you don’t like my reasons,” Teddy warned. “You asked for them.”

Vic nodded curtly and propped herself primly on the arm of the couch. “Go ahead.”

It was almost definitely a trap or a ploy of some kind, but what the hell.

“Well, for one, they love you,” Teddy started. It was an obvious fact but Vic needed to be reminded sometimes. “Just because they don’t agree with your choices doesn’t mean they don’t love you. You don’t like a lot of things they do, but you still love them, right?”

She didn’t say answer, but Teddy hadn’t expected her to.

“Plus, you miss them,” he continued. “Especially your mum. You guys were really close and it hurts you not to have her in your life the way she was before. I know she’s like, a magnet for drama, but that’s not her fault, and you shouldn’t use it as a reason to block her out. Things aren’t like they were a few years ago, anyway. Like, there’s really no reason you couldn’t go see her in France, right? People don’t even know who you guys are there, so it’s really just your own self-destructive tendencies holding you back.”

Vic’s lips were pursed in a thin line and her arms were crossed defensively over her chest, but she still didn’t argue.

“And, like.” Teddy paused, took a breath, and then said in a rush, “you’re lucky you even have a family so I think you’re being totally daft and irrationally stubborn and maybe even a bit selfish by not wanting to mend things with them.”

Silence settled between them. Vic was staring at him and aside from her eyes being slightly wide, he couldn’t read her expression.

He waited for the yelling to start. They tiptoed around this subject constantly; her around his family and him around hers, but there was a line they generally stayed behind and he’d just gone ahead and leapt straight across with a single sentence.

“Great,” she finally said. She yawned and uncrossed her arms, lifting them above her head in a lazy stretch. “I’ll take that all into consideration. Let’s watch a movie.”

“Wait, what?”

Teddy watched her cross the room and switch on the Playstation.

“A movie,” she repeated as she untangled the controller and then flicked over to Netflix. “Rom Com or horror? Actually, I’m in the mood for war. Move over.”

Teddy budged up the couch, still staring at her in confusion as she settled beside him and pulled a blanket over them both.

“I’m so confused. Why aren’t you mad?”

Vic didn’t look at him as she scrolled through movie titles. “I’m a bit mad,” she said, “but I love you and want you to be happy, and that’s more important right now.”

Teddy threw a brown M&M at her. “You’re being weird! What’s going on?”

“Nothing. Just shut up and watch this with me, okay?” she said. She settled on watching Dunkirk, which they’d both seen a hundred times over. By the time the opening scenes began and that first gunshot rang out — it still made him jump every time — Teddy had his feet on Vic’s lap and the old cushion behind his head.

“Wait,” Vic said suddenly, pausing the movie. “Isn’t your shop one of the sponsors for that charity thing?”

“Not one of the major ones, but we chip in, yeah,” Teddy confirmed. “You’ve met a couple of the students I have who benefit from the money donated to the hospital. You’re being so fucking strange today.”

“Right, yeah,” Vic said. “But Chelsea are the main ones? And they host the day?”

Teddy frowned. “Yes. You know this. That’s why I wanted to hear what was said on the news before!”

Vic nodded slowly. “So, you're going to it? At Stamford Bridge? You’ll be there?”

Teddy was actually going to kick her. “I’ve gone every year since I opened the shop. Why are you being weird?”

Vic shook her head. “Just taking an interest in your life. No reason. Shut up, I’m pressing play.”

Teddy snorted, but dutifully handed over the M&M bag when she held out her hand and he decided he’d interrogate her more tomorrow.


 8:34pm: You fucking owe me, James.


Wednesday

7:35am: Front door.
7:36am: what??????
7:36am: Front door.
7:36am: you said that already. go away, i’m sleeping
7:37am: There’s something at the front door for you.
7:37am: omg really what is it
7:38am: I’m obviously not going to tell you. Go and look.
7:38am: but gavvyyyyyyyy
7:38am: I’m in bed and it’s cold out there
7:39am: It’s from James.
7:39am: omg
7:39am: IM GOING RIGHT NOW
7:40am: Oh, but when you thought it was from me you didn't want to move? How dare you treat me this way.
7:40am: hahahah you know you’re the only one who has my heart gavvy gav
7:41am: OMG WHAT THE FUCK
7:41am: IS HE SERIOUS
7:41am: ARE YOU SERIOUS
7:42am: DID HE SEND YOU OUT AT THE CRACK OF DAWN TO GET THESE
7:43am: Lol yes, but I was up anyway. I go running at 5am.
7:44am: you people are so fucking weird, i swear
7:44am: running at 5am what the fuck
7:45am: omg this is so great thank you so much
7:45am: It’s not me you need to thank. Have a good day, Ted!
7:46am: xxxxxxxxxxxxx


7:46am: DID YOU DO THIS
7:46am: 

7:55am: omg jamie
7:55am: i’m eating avo on toast right now
7:55am: The day is saved
7:56am: my life is saved
7:56am: YOU SAVED MY LIFE
7:57am: ugh you are honestly the nicest person
7:57am: thank you so much
7:57am: like
7:57am: this is so thoughtful
7:58am: why are you so nice to me
7:58am: i will never understand

8:11am: how did you even find these
8:11am: like is there just a guy in your spy network who sells avocados on the side?
8:11am: omg like a drug dealer
8:12am: except he does shady deals in back alleys with trays of avocados
8:12am: are these avos stolen?????
8:12am: omg i cant eat them if theyre tainted by crime
8:13am: lol im lying i had two already

8:20am: Lol they are not stolen!
8:20am: I just know a guy.

8:21am: omg hiiiiii
8:21am: you know a guy
8:21am: you have an avo guy?
8:21am: Doesn’t everyone?
8:22am: I wanted to send you something anyway, and I thought they’d be better than flowers haha.
8:22am: SO MUCH BETTER THANK YOU SO MUCH I DON'T DESERVE THIS
8:22am: You deserve all the nice things.
8:22am: I can’t chat, I’m sorry, but just wanted to say hi.
8:23am: and I miss you xx
8:23am: miss you too xxxxxxxxx

8:39am: Vic asked where I got a box of avocados from and rolled her eyes when I said they were from you
8:39am: secretly she thinks it’s very romantic
8:40am: secretly, so do I

8:55am: I think you would like her
8:55am: Vic I mean
8:56am: once you got over being scared of her, that is. She will probably threaten your life when you meet her, like on my behalf
8:56am: not that i’m assuming you’ll meet!
8:56am: and not that i’m saying like she has a reason to do that
8:57am: i haven't told her that we’re like
8:57am: a thing???
8:57am: not that it would be a bad thing, like im not saying i WOULDN'T tell her if that was something that was true but like
8:57am: this has escalated very quickly into being a disaster
8:58am: I just got to work so im gonna go die under my desk bye

10:11am: I think I lost my wallet
10:11am: UGH i’ll have to cancel all my cards

10:18am: found my wallet in my back pocket after I cancelled my credit card
10:18am: I don’t know how it got in there
10:18am: that’s not where it’s supposed to be so you can understand my confusion
10:18am: ugh
10:19am: Should I stop sending so many updates?
10:19am: probably

12:26pm: one of my students threw up on the drum kit and i’m cleaning it up, so that's where i’m at 12:26am: she’s okay, don’t worry
12:26pm: the drum kit, not so much

1:01pm: I should get something healthy for lunch
1:01pm: I need to take better care of myself
1:01pm: yes, i’m gonna do it. #healthylifestyle here i come

1:16pm: I got a cheeseburger
1:16pm: it’s so good, i’m not even a little bit sorry

3:21pm: did I tell you
3:21pm: that I’ve been reading about all King Henry's wives since you first mentioned you were into those stories?
3:21pm: I’m up to Jane Seymour, so I still have a few to go hahaha
3:22pm: No offence to like, history, but Henry was kind of a dick

4:16pm: oh I didn’t update you about Vic
4:16pm: she’s being weirder than ever
4:16pm: that’s it, that’s the update lol
4:17pm: she asked for my opinion on stuff yesterday which is like
4:17pm: unheard of
4:17pm: and then didn’t even yell at me about what I said, which is MIND BOGGLING
4:18pm: also, she’s stopped quizzing me about you
4:18pm: idk she’s just being very suspicious lately
4:18pm: maybe i’m just reading into things idk
4:18pm: i’m sure she’ll tell me when she’s ready

5:20pm: just got home
5:20pm: lol I don’t know why i sent that one i’m so weird

6:11pm: It’s so collllllllllllllllllld tonight jamie
6:11pm: i’m freezing TO DEATH
6:12pm: I don’t even care how early it is, I am tucked up in bed and I am going to watch star wars now

7:29pm: VIC BROUGHT ME HOT CHOCOLATE AHHHHHHHH :D :D :D

8:25pm: Wish you were watching with me xx

10:59pm: Me too. I’d cuddle you to keep you warm. Sweet dreams xx


Thursday

10:11am: I’m not doing so great today

10:30am: I don’t know why I sent that

10:46am: Yes I do. I’m trying to be more open
10:46am: I’m not very good at it

11:00am: I think it feels a bit safer knowing you cant reply right now
11:01am: So don’t feel bad later when you get here and see these
11:01am: I just
11:02am: Sometimes I get kind of down
11:02am: And it can be hard to pull myself out of it

11:05am: I don’t really tell anyone about this
11:05am: I can act pretty normal while it’s happening so I feel like why make a fuss, you know?
11:05am: like im at work right now and no one has any idea i’m on the verge of losing it
11:06am: And people might not take it seriously anyway if they're like “well you seem normal??????”
11:06am: and I don’t want to bother them, like they might have their own stuff to deal with

11:10:am: Idk

11:20am: Sorry

11:23am: Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I want to go back to bed

3:16pm: I hope you're having a nice day xxxxxxxxxxxxx

8:29pm: Feel like a chat? I have a free few minutes.
8:29pm: Yes okay! I’ll call you!

Incoming call from Teddy with Blue Hair


 James: Hello?
Teddy: Are you checking up on me?
James, laughing: Maybe. Would that be bad?
Teddy: Wellllll because it’s you, I’d probably be okay with it.
James: Noted. Well, I’m not just calling for that. I’m also calling for selfish reasons.
Teddy: Oh yeah, and what are they?
James: Just… I. Er. Well, I wanted to hear your voice.
Teddy: Jamieeeeeeeeeeeeee!
James, mumbling: Shut up.
Teddy: You are the sweeeeeeeeeeetest.
James: Shut up, I hate you. I’m hanging up.
Teddy: No, no, no, no, no! Okay, you’re not the sweetest. You’re the worst. Tell me things — I’ve barely talked to you in a hundred years. How’s your camp? Did you cook marshmallows over a campfire?
James, laughing: It’s not that kind of camp.
Teddy: Is it a bandcamp? Is this like American Pie?
James, deadpan: Yes. That’s exactly what it is.
Teddy, giggling: Knew it.
James: No, but it’s been really great. Having a lot fun. It’s been kind of nice to be out of London.
Teddy: Aw, nice. When are you back?
James: We travel home tomorrow.
Teddy: We?
James: Yeah my te — the guys I work with.
Teddy: I wish I got to do cool business trips. Maybe I should just plan one.
James: You should definitely do that. Just write it off as a business expense and go to like, Hawaii or something.
Teddy: Or Rome! I’ve always wanted to see Rome.
James: Yes, perfect. What a great plan. You should get on that right away.
Teddy: Wish I could. I’m dreading tomorrow coz it’s gonna be so crazy busy. I have an event on Saturday and have to prepare, like, ten million things and ugh. I mean, it’ll be a great day, but I’m a mess at the best of times and did, like, no work today, so tomorrow will be completely chaotic.
James: Make Red do it all.
Teddy, laughing: I like the way you think. And the way you talk.
James, choking sound: Nnng
Teddy: Sorry. Is that weird?
James, hurriedly: No, God. Not at all. I’m just kind of a mess too, but it mostly seems to happen when it comes to you.
Teddy, groaning: Oh my god, you're going to actually kill me.
James: It’s mutual. But I have to ask... Are you like… Are you okay? Sorry, I hope it’s not completely out of line to ask.
Teddy: No, it’s okay. I’m fine. Well. Ish. I just have bad days sometimes. I’ve just been in bed since I got home watching Friends reruns.
James: I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you today.
Teddy: No, no, no. Please don’t be. Honestly. I may not have even said anything if you’d been replying, I don’t know. It’s not something anyone else can fix, you know? It’s just something I’ve gotta deal with.
James: I know I can’t, like, fix anything. But just so you know, if you ever don’t wanna deal with it alone, I’m here.
Teddy: Jamieeeeeeeee stop trying to murder me, god.
James, chuckling: Sorry.
Teddy: Same, though. Like… I know the other night was weird and something was up, and no pressure or anything, but I’m literally one text or call away if you need someone to talk to.
James:
Teddy: Hello?
James: My parents are splitting up. That’s why I was such a dick the other night.
Teddy: Oh fuck, that sucks. I’m sorry, dude. No wonder you wanted a distraction.
James: Yeah. Like, I know it’s so fucking stupid of me. I’m an adult, and they’re unhappy, and obviously we’ll all be fine, but like…
Teddy: You said it would be a big drama if this happened, right?
James: I — yeah. You remember that?
Teddy: Of course.
James: Well, yeah. It’s gonna get… messy. Not because of them — they’re great and it’s all amicable. I called them before I left for camp and talked some stuff out with my mum. I’m just worried about how it’s all gonna play out with like… everyone else.
Teddy: The rest of your family?
James: The rest of London basically.
Teddy: You’re so dramatic. But, hey. If you ever need a place to hide, come find me. Your family won’t find you there.
James: I might take you up on that one day.
Teddy: I hope you do.
James: I’m worried about my brother and sister too. They say they’re fine but they’re not as used to things getting crazy as I am.
Teddy: You’re sweet to want to protect them. I wish I could, like, say something that wasn’t completely useless to make you feel better.
James: Talking to you makes me feel better.
Teddy: Well, good. My tendency to ramble is finally good for something.
James: I like that we do this now. Talk properly.
Teddy: Me too.
James: I should probably get going, though. I’m in the hallway of the hotel so I don’t annoy my roommate and my coa… boss could show up at any minute.
Teddy: You’re in a hotel?? That’s not camping, Jamie!
James, laughing: It’s only three star, so it kind of is.
Teddy: Oh, you fucking snob, I swear to god. I’m telling Gavin you said that!
James: Oh my god, don’t you dare! He’ll never let me hear the end of it!
Teddy: Nope, it’s too late.
James: But Teddyyyyyyyyyy!
Teddy: Nope I — hang on, Vic’s here. No, I haven’t seen it. Check the bathroom. It’s Jamie! Do you want to say hi?
James: Teddy, sorry, I really have to go. But good luck tomorrow, okay? You're not a mess and you’ll get through all the chaos.
Teddy: Aw, Jamie. Thank you. Have a good night okay? Vic, fuck off, I swear to god. Do not make kissy faces at me. Cut it out!
James, laughing: Night, Teddy. I miss you.
Teddy: I miss you too! Goodnight!


 9:16pm: :)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
9:17pm: <33333333333333333333333333333333

Chapter Text

Friday

7:46am: hiiii today is going to be super busy for me so i might not be around much to text you
7:46am: kind of presumptuous of me to assume you would be expecting messages from me
7:46am: I’m sure you have better things to do other than me
7:46am: other than TEXT ME
7:47am: you know what? I can see this spiraling into a weird embarrassing monologue like it did the other day so i'm just going to stop right here and say ill talk to you when i can and i hope you have a great day xxxx


8:39am: That’s a shame. I like your weird, embarrassing monologues.
8:39am: I guess I’ll just need to send my own.
8:40am: I was screenshotting your messages at the end of each day so it would be easier to go back and reply to them all. Scrolling up constantly would take too long.
8:41am: And YES, I do intend to reply to all of them because they were the highlights of every day.
8:41am: And so was talking to you. Omg, can you believe that’s a real thing we do now? I could call you later, if I wanted.
8:42am: And if you wanted me to.
8:42am: That’s so wild.
8:43am: I’m on the bus on my way home right now.
8:43am: I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed.
8:43am: That’s the best part about coming home from a trip.
8:43am: I have the BEST bed. It’s the most comfortable place in the world. Me and Gav went mattress shopping a few months ago and bought it.
8:44am: It was so funny.
8:44am: He got told off by the sales lady
8:44am: for his ‘unnecessarily vigorous mattress testing techniques.’
8:44am: (He was jumping on them)
8:45am: Anyway. Back to your messages.
8:45am: Okay, hang on. I need to go back and read the first bunch.

8:50am: Okay, omg, I laughed so much reading these again.
8:51am: I read them in bed when I was first able to check my phone, and my roommate thought I was dying I was laughing so hard.
8:51am: I love that you were so excited about the ducks, omg.
8:51am: I’ve never seen them walk in a line in real life either.
8:51am: And if I did, I would probably melt on the spot.
8:52am: I’m offended on your behalf that no one appreciated your fruit joke!
8:52am: It was very funny.
8:52am: They don’t deserve to hear your comedic genius.
8:52am: You’re the funniest
8:53am: I am so impressed you ate so many donuts!!!!!!!!!!
8:53am: I would die.
8:53am: Or go into a sugar coma.
8:53am: Also, it’s funny that all it takes to get you to do something is someone telling you that you can’t do it lol. Noted for the future.
8:54am: But yes, it was all Red’s fault!
8:54am: Gav sent me a photo of himself flipping off the camera after I left for camp with a message saying ‘I’M FREE!’
8:54am: So what he sent you wasn’t so bad hahaha.
8:54am: I’m very sorry I wasn’t there for the avocado shortage crisis.
8:55am: I considered tweeting about it on your behalf to bring awareness to it.
8:55am: I have a couple of followers, so word might have spread.
8:55am: But then I thought just getting you avocados would be a better way to help.
8:56am: I hope everything with Vic was okay, and I’m glad she didn’t kill you with her cooking!
8:56am: I’m honoured you would bestow your most prized possessions to me, though.
8:56am: Okay, I’m gonna take a quick break and call my mum and reply to some messages, and then I’ll be back for day two.


8:57am: Hey, Victoire. Sorry, I just realised I never replied. What do I owe you for?
8:59am: u did an interview on the news!

9:05am: don’t just disappear! I’m really annoyed at u!!

9:10am: Sorry, was on the phone. What’s wrong with that? I do a lot of interviews.
9:12am: well if u plan to chat to ted on the phone from now on I suggest you tell him who you are because he might be bad at picking up on clues but he’s not an idiot and he will recognise ur voice!!!!!!!!!
9:13am: I had to mute the telly the other day so he didn’t find out that way!
9:14am: Oh, fuck. I didn’t even think of that.
9:14am: I don’t want to have to cover for u, james. I don’t like lying to him and he shouldn’t have to find out from someone else or by accidentally figuring it out.
9:15am: Yeah, I know. You’re right.
9:15am: I’m working on it. I think we’re meeting up soon. I want to do it then.
9:16am: No, u need to tell him sooner than soon. Tell him today.
9:16am: I can’t.
9:17am: why the fuck not??????
9:17am: I’m just not ready for his reaction. Like, I so badly want him to know, I promise. But if he doesn’t take it well, I don’t know what I’ll do.
9:18am: He needs to know asap, james.
9:18am: Why is it suddenly so urgent?
9:19am: I told u -- I don’t want him to find out in some accidental way that catches him off guard.
9:20am: I’m pretty sure he’s going to be caught off guard no matter what.
9:20am: just tell him. He deserves the truth.
9:21am: I know.
9:21am: I will, I promise. I just need more time.
9:22am: ugh. fine. do what u want, but I want it to be very clear to everyone involved that I tried.
9:22am: I’m sure he won’t be mad you. I asked you not to tell him; he’ll understand.
9:22am: And hopefully it’s just for another week.
9:23am: lol right
9:23am: whatever u say
9:23am: i’m going back to work.
9:24am: don’t fucking hurt him, james.
9:24am: I’m trying not to.
9:24am: good
9:25am: have fun tomorrow.
9:25am: Oh, thanks. Didn’t know you followed the club’s events. That’s nice of you.
9:26am: god i hate u two idiots


9:30am: Hey, so you knowwwwwwwwwwww
9:31am: I’m on my way home.
9:31am: My trip is over.
9:31am: Soooooooo
9:31am: We could, like, potentially start making plans
9:31am: to meet up
9:32am: next week.
9:32am: Only if you still want to.
9:32am: I definitely still do.
9:32am: Like, I’m terrified.
9:33am: But I definitely want to see you.
9:33am: Let me know if you still want to and we can figure it out :)
9:36am: Okay so. Day two messages.
9:37am: I can’t believe your first thought was that I must have an illegal avocado supplier.
9:37am: The way your mind works is very intriguing lol.
9:37am: Oh, you had one of your rambles next.
9:38am: I think this might have been one of my favourite ones, where you talked about not knowing what to call us.
9:38am: I mean, I don’t really know what to call us either.
9:38am: The only people who know there even is a Thing are my siblings and I was very vague about it all.
9:39am: But idk, maybe that’s a conversation for after we talk some more and meet up? You might change your mind about me still lol.
9:40am: I would understand if you did.
9:40am: I’m very underwhelming in real life.
9:41am: My favourite part about you telling me a kid got sick on you drums
9:41am: was that you immediately wanted to give the reassurance that the kid was okay.
9:41am: You have such a good heart
9:42am: Oh my god, also. A cheeseburger sounds amazing. I was so jealous of that. I haven’t had one in like three months.
9:43am: And about all this stuff with Vic…
9:43am: I just
9:43am: I’m sorry about it all. For any weirdness you’re having to deal with.
9:44am: I really hope it can all go back to normal for you guys asap.
9:45am: Oooh perfect timing -- we’ve had to stop coz one of the guys is nauseous. I’ll be back for day three shortly!


10:00am: just so you know
10:00am: i am following these messages as i work
10:00am: and you are very distracting
10:00am: and frustratingly adorable
10:01am: and i love it
10:01am: anyway gotta get back to it, so plz carry on
10:01am: xx


10:25am: Omg, I left my phone on the bus and missed you!
10:25am: I’m so annoyed at myself!
10:25am: And why frustratingly?
10:25am: Is it a bad thing?
10:26am: I can shut up, if you want.
10:26am: I’m not meaning to frustrate you.
10:26am: I’m sorry.
10:26am: omg you dork don’t you dare stop, I love your messages
10:27am: its frustrating coz i want to talk to you so badly but I can’t call you right now
10:27am: Oh.
10:27am: Well then.
10:28am: I’ll keep going lol.
10:28am: I’m glad you let me chat to you last night after you had a hard day.
10:28am: I wish I could do more when things aren’t easy for you.
10:29am: Not that I’d know what to do, lol.
10:29am: I’m hopeless at comforting people.
10:29am: When I see people cry I sort of awkwardly pat them on the head or shoulder, and spend the whole time hoping someone more capable at handling feelings shows up to help lol.
10:30am: Not that I don’t want to help. I’m just bad at it lol.
10:30am: Mum says I get that from Dad.
10:30am: Speaking of them, I know I told you I called them, but I thought I’d mention everything is okay-ish.
10:31am: Spoke to Mum again just before, and they are making plans for telling people.
10:31am: I’m dreading it so much.
10:31am: Is it terrible I’m half hoping something bigger happens to take attention away from it?
10:32am: Not anything bad.
10:32am: Blah, I’m making myself anxious.
10:32am: Maybe people won’t even care as much as I’m thinking they will.
10:32am: I’m sure they have better things to do than talk about my family drama.
10:33am: Right okay, enough of this.

10:47am: We just drove past the cutest old couple walking hand in hand.
10:48am: I named them Terrence and Maggie.
10:48am: They are going to an early lunch because today is their 51st anniversary, and then later all their kids and grandkids are coming to visit them.
10:49am: Terrence got one of their kids to help him touch up one of their first photos together and had it framed, and is going to give it to Maggie at dinner tonight.
10:50am: It’s of the two of them laughing in a park, and it was the day Terrence first told Maggie he loved her.
10:51am: Sorry, I need to cut in here
10:51am: how do you know all this????????
10:51am: Omg, you’re lurking!!!
10:52am: lol i told you i was following along
10:52am: Lurker.
10:52am: And I don’t know all of that. I made it up.
10:53am: I forgot you didn’t know that lol.
10:54am: forgot I didnt know what?
10:54am: It’s just a thing I do sometimes.
10:55am: I, like, get kind of sappy when I see old couples in love
10:55am: and make up backstories for them.
10:56am: god i like you so much
10:56am: okay bye
10:56am: Omg you can’t just say that and run.
10:57am: I’m all flustered and grinning and awkward now.
10:57am: I’ll get you back for this.
10:58am: doubt it
10:58am: :P
10:58am: Just you wait.

11:29am: Just got back to London. Got a quick debrief about a thing tomorrow and then I’m freeeeeeeeeeeeee all afternoon.
11:30am: I think I’m going to do something wild.
11:30am: I’m going to take a day nap.
11:30am: I never get to do that.
11:30am: Maybe I’ll go buy a cheeseburger, too.
11:31am: Probably not though.
11:31am: Unless I’m gonna go for a run later.
11:32am: you’re such a dork
11:33am: Stop lurking!
11:33am: never
11:34am: Gotta go into the debrief xxx


1:11pm: I’m hommmmmmmmmmmme
1:11pm: Just had a shower and now I’m crawling into bed and omggggg I missed it here.
1:12pm: I have these really cool block out blinds that make the room super dark, so it’s like it’s night time.
1:12pm: I have literally never been so comfortable.
1:12pm: What should I watch on Netflix?
1:12pm: I’m in the mood for a RomCom.
1:13pm: I feel like you’re definitely the kind of person who is always in the mood for a romcom lol
1:14pm: Shut up.
1:14pm: I bet you cry during them too :P
1:14pm: Don’t you have work to do???
1:14pm: Stop harassing me with these wild accusations.
1:15pm: I’ll have you know I cry during any genre of movie, not just RomComs. A Dog’s Purpose basically ruined my life when I saw it.
1:15pm: omg wtf why would you bring that movie up, i dont need to cry right now
1:16pm: Sorry, sorry. I think I’m just going to watch Friends.
1:16pm: Now that I’m settled, I’m sleepy, and I don’t think I’ll make it through a whole movie.
1:16pm: Awww
1:16pm: bet you’re so cute, all sleepy and snuggled up in your pj’s
1:17pm: No pyjamas. It’s too warm. Just wearing boxers.
1:17pm: JESUS CHRIST YOU CAN’T JUST TELL ME THAT WHILE I’M AT WORK
1:18pm: Oh, sorry. Did I distract you by telling you I’m laying in bed only wearing grey boxer briefs right now?
1:18pm: I didn’t mean to.
1:18pm: That was rude of me.
1:18pm: I certainly won’t mention how almost nude I am again.
1:19pm: skhjkfdfkhd
1:19pm: don’t
1:19pm: Don’t what?
1:20pm: you know what you’re doing
1:20pm: Do I?
1:20pm: One thing I do know for sure:
1:20pm: It’s too hot for blankets.
1:20pm: So I’m just here in my underwear on my back, all sprawled out.
1:21pm: prove it
1:21pm: What?
1:21pm: I think you’re just
1:21pm: teasing me
1:21pm: idk what ive done to deserve this
1:21pm: but if you're going to do this to me
1:21pm: you should
prove it
1:22pm: (if you want)
1:22pm: You want to see?
1:22pm: maybe
1:22pm: Aren’t you at work?
1:22pm: I’m in my office
1:23pm: Alone?
1:23pm: people are coming and going
1:23pm: poor choice of words
1:23pm: but no one can see my phone
1:23pm: And besides i think you're lying
1:24pm: I thought you were busy.
1:24pm: I am
1:24pm: but I’m also a masochist and even though I’m about to be inundated with even more work, if there’s a chance you’re not lying I need to see
1:25pm: Lol okay.
1:25pm:
1:25pm: jesus fuck
1:25pm: hbajskfdhsakfkafkdfkdf
1:25pm: that’s not you
1:25pm: are you kidding
1:26pm: fuck there's a problem in the shop FUCK
1:26pm: Go handle it.
1:26pm: I’ll be here.
1:26pm: What can I do while you’re away?
1:26pm: I could
1:26pm: maybe touch a little.
1:27pm: Thoughts?
1:27pm: Hmmm
1:27pm: I could run one hand down my chest.
1:27pm: And my stomach.
1:27pm: Do it really slowly
1:27pm: and imagine it’s somebody else's.
1:28pm: I could slide it under the waistband
1:28pm: Not all the way.
1:28pm: Just teasing a bit.
1:30pm: god i hate you so much
1:30pm: Im so fucking busy
1:30pm: Shouldn’t have left me all flustered earlier on the bus.
1:30pm: Want me to stop?
1:30pm: yes
1:31pm: no
1:31pm: fuck
1:31pm: i cant walk around work hard
1:31pm: Haha that’s fair.
1:31pm: Rain check?
1:32pm: yes
1:32pm: god
1:32pm: yes
1:32pm: is that really you?
1:32pm: Yes.
1:33pm: Is that
1:33pm: bad??
1:33pm: no fuck
1:33pm: it’s just
1:33pm: i knew you like, exercised and stuff but
1:34pm: you’re hot as fuck
1:34pm: Omg lol no.
1:34pm: yes
1:34pm: i cant even concentrate knowing that’s in my phone
1:35pm:
1:35pm: god
1:35pm: go have a nap
1:35pm: text me later
1:35pm: try not to kill me if it’s before i leave work
1:35pm: Lol okay.
1:35pm: Hope you get everything done.
1:36pm: xxxxxxxx
1:36pm: xxxxxxxxx


10:16pm: hiiii i just got home
10:17pm: we were at the shop til 630 and then Red decided to drop the bombshell on us all that it was her BIRTHDAY and i felt awful for not remembering because it was in her application and everything, so we
went out for a few drinks.
10:17pm: I didn’t have any though
10:17pm: need to be on my game tomorrow for the kids
10:18pm: the day is way too important to them
10:18pm: tomorrow night though
10:18pm: i would recommend you turn your phone off because it’s going to be a mess hahaha
10:19pm: you’re probably asleep
10:19pm: i hope you had a nice night
10:19pm: i’m going to bed now to stare at your photo
10:20pm: why the motherfucking fuck did i say that
10:20pm: i’m not a creep i swear
10:20pm: ugh yes i am
10:20pm: lol
10:20pm: night jamie xxxxxxxxx


Saturday

Teddy’s phone alarm was shrill and unpleasant as it beeped relentlessly in his ear. He’d fallen asleep with his phone on his pillow and it was wedged uncomfortably under his head now. He groaned as he rolled over and fumbled to silence it. His Gran would have lectured him for hours on the dangers of phone radiation if she’d seen him sleeping that way; she’d never liked mobiles and had refused to use the one Teddy bought her years ago. It was still in the box it came in, wedged in the back of his closest somewhere.

The beeping stopped, and Teddy yawned while he hugged his blankets tighter around his shoulders. It was five in the morning and the air was chilly, which meant Vic hadn’t gotten up to switch the heating on yet. Despite the cold and how heavy he still felt with sleep, Teddy smiled to himself. Today was going to be a good day. He loved kids, and he loved seeing their faces light up at these events when they got to meet their heroes and take to the field themselves. He loved that he got to contribute, even if it wasn’t a lot compared to some of the other donors, and it made him happy that despite being the fuck-up he was, he was doing at least one good thing with his life.

When he eventually peeled himself away from the warmth of his blankets he stood under the hot spray of the shower until Vic banged on the door and told him to hurry the fuck up. He dressed quickly when he realised just how long he’d wasted standing there thinking about a certain photo.

His hair was messy and damp so he raked his fingers through it a couple of times to try and flatten it a little. Vic had re-dyed it for him a few days ago so the colour was fresh and vibrant. He gave up trying to tame it and opted for wearing a beanie instead.

Vic had a hot cup of coffee waiting for him when he got to the kitchen, and he picked it up gratefully as he sat down on one of the bench stools.

“You’re up early,” he commented, watching her scroll through her phone on the opposite side of the bench.

“Mm,” she agreed absently. She was twirling a strand of her hair with her free hand, tugging lightly every few seconds.

“You okay?” Teddy asked.

When she looked up her eyes landed on his chest, and she arched an eyebrow.

“Is that what you're wearing today?”

Teddy glanced down at his clothes and frowned. “What’s wrong with it? It’s a football shirt.”

Vic set her phone down. The sleeves of her jumper — of Teddy’s  jumper. Was she ever going to return any of the clothes she stole from him? — fell over her hands and she shrugged them back so she could reach for her own coffee. “You can’t wear a Tottenham shirt to a charity day hosted by Chelsea,” she said, blowing into the cup before taking a sip.

“Why not?”

“It’s… I don’t know. Bad manners. You should wear a Chelsea shirt.”

Teddy snorted. “Not a chance. I’m not being dramatic but I’d rather get punched in the face than ever be seen in a CFC shirt.”

“I should have filmed you saying that,” Vic muttered.

“Why?

Vic just shook her head and picked up her phone. “I’m gonna go back to bed, but you should change.”

Teddy rolled his eyes. “It’s not like anyone there knows me. They're not gonna care what I wear.”

“Whatever you say.” She paused beside him, and then reached out to pull him into a hug. “Good luck today,” she said softly against his hair.

Teddy smiled as she pulled back. “Thanks,” he said. “Do you want to come? I can wait, if you want to get ready. Molly isn’t going, and I doubt we’d run into your other cousin — they keep security pretty tight around the teams, so nobody gets near them.”

Vic shook her head again. “Nah, but…” She took his hand and squeezed it gently. “I’ll be here all day, so if you need anything, I’ll be around.”

Teddy frowned. “What?”

Vic snorted and hugged him again. “God, I don’t know. Nothing. Just go.”

Teddy laughed and kissed her on the cheek. “You’re so weird lately. I’ll bring dinner tonight, okay? I love you.”

“Yeah, yeah. I love you too,” Vic said, shooing him away. “I’ll see you later.”


James thrummed his fingers against his thigh impatiently and tried to keep his eyes focused on the serious-looking people in suits stood at the front of the room. The plastic chairs that had been set up in this makeshift meeting space were hard and uncomfortable, and he hoped the lecture they were listening to would be over soon so he didn’t end up needing to see the team’s massage therapist later.

Gemma, the head of PR, was the one currently speaking, her trademark grimace plastered on her face as she repeated the same things they heard every time the team had to attend one of these events — keep smiling, be vague but positive when answering questions about anyone associated with the league, be seen by the press speaking with the young fans. It was all annoyingly familiar by now, and James hated the whole routine.

The other unpleasant-looking people stood around the room were directors and managers and investors, and James bit back a scoff as Gemma recited her scripted lines about this being “a fun day for the children that we’re all very excited about.” He wondered if any one of them had smiled or actually enjoyed anything other than checking their bank accounts in the last ten years.

He felt a bit like a child being lectured in school. Football wasn’t supposed to be PR and politics — James just wanted to play and be the best striker he could be — but he’d learned a long time ago that playing at this level wasn’t as simple as that. He’d watched his parents navigate this world since he was a kid, much as they’d tried to protect him, Al, and Lily from it, and now he was learning to navigate his own spotlight. He was constantly being reminded now that he had his own reputation to consider, and despite the dramas that followed so many other Potters and Weasleys, so far the PR team actually loved him, because on his own he played well and was scandal free.

He glanced out the window to his left that overlooked the already-crowded field below. He didn’t actually mind doing these kinds of days despite how insistent management were that he get photographed with the right people and how much he got pushed and pulled around. He loved getting to meet the kids who came out to see him and the team. He just hated how polluted everyone’s intentions were. He’d gladly go and meet with these kids away from the media and cameras, would love the chance to sit down and chat with them for longer than it took for a photo to be snapped, but as he’d been reminded time and time again: that wasn’t the way things worked.

Banners for businesses he didn’t recognise had been constructed around the field; his club were the biggest sponsor for the children’s hospital, which meant they were given the job of hosting, and all the smaller sponsors packed their staff and advertisements into whatever space they could. The edges of the the field and the stands looked like one of the Sunday markets his Nan had dragged him to when he was a kid.

A makeshift stage had been erected at one end of the field, something Marty, the groundskeeper, had been grumbling about for weeks. He took field maintenance very seriously and as far as he was concerned everyone should be made to stand in the stands, away from his carefully manicured grass.

James’ phone buzzed suddenly in his hoodie pocket, and after a quick glance to make sure Gemma wasn’t watching, he slid it out.

He’d texted his mum last night, half-asleep and groggy, and had sworn loudly when he read the message back this morning. This was why it was dangerous for him to be allowed to have a phone when he was tired. He couldn’t be held responsible for the things he said when he was toeing the line between awake and asleep. Her reply had been a long line of question marks and then a demand that he call her tonight, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to confront this just yet — and he had no idea what to tell her about why he’d asked if she thought it was possible to fall in love with someone you’d never met.

The new message was from Teddy, and James bit down hard on his bottom lip to stop himself from laughing out loud.

Did you know it takes three sheep to make one jumper?
That’s amazing! I didn’t even know they could knit!

Stop, he texted back quickly. I’m in a meeting. Don’t make me laugh.

Gemma’s nasally voice cut into his thoughts, loud and sharp as she finished up her lecture/rant, and James quickly put his phone away. He wondered what she’d say if she knew about everything happening with his parents, about the shitstorm that was headed his way. His phone vibrated again and he held back his grin. He wondered what the rest of the suits would say if they knew how he felt about Teddy.

Gemma dismissed them, and they all nodded obediently, then the team were lead outside surrounded by security, through the stands and into the blinding flashes of camera lights and shouting reporters.

The club directors always said they’d be limiting the number of journalists they let into events, but James swore it doubled every time.

He heard his name called a few times, questions thrown out about his injury and his dad and was he excited for the day. He smiled politely as he was shuffled to the stage, where they were all seated in two long rows, perfectly on display to everyone gathered on the grass and in the stands, behind a podium that the Chairman stepped up to. His phone felt heavy in his pocket and his fingers itched to check it.

The Chairman began his speech about the importance of community and charity, the importance of giving back, and James wondered idly how much the Rolex on the guy’s wrist cost and if he’d donated half that much today. He twisted his hands in his lap to stop them from wandering to his pocket, and focused instead on the kids bouncing with excitement in front of the stage as they watched the team. He grinned at a couple of boys in blue shirts, and when a girl who looked to be about eight or nine giggled and poked out her tongue, James did it back. He caught Gemma’s eye at the side of the stage and she shook her head sharply, and James hated her a little bit.

A cheque was presented to a representative from the hospital, and by the time the Chairman began listing and thanking the other sponsors, James was only half listening.

“...Leon’s Coffee Emporium, Mathesons, Mini Musicians, O’Hardy’s Hardware…”

James frowned as he looked back to the Chairman, still rattling off names, because one of those was definitely familiar. A conversation from weeks ago hovered in the back of his mind, a throwaway comment he’d made and the reaction Teddy’d had to it… But that was… James shook his head. Maybe he was just remembering wrong.

“We’d like to invite all the children to the field now, along with our players, to begin the game!”

He barely heard the Chairman finish up, barely heard the crowd’s applause and the instructions from management as he and the team were shuffled off the stage and out to the grass. One of the training staff poked him in the arm to get his attention and told him to hand over his hoodie, and James did so as his eyes scanned the banners around the edge of the stadium, just in case. It was ridiculous, obviously, but then again...

He didn’t have time to see if there was a banner with that name on it because teams were formed quickly and a bright-eyed girl of about eight strode up to him with a determined expression and announced that she hoped he was ready because she’d be marking him today.

“Is that right?” James chuckled, planting his hands on his hips to mimic her stance as he grinned widely. “Think you’re ready to keep up with me, do you?”

She pushed her messy curls behind her ears and giggled. “I was born ready,” she declared.

James laughed and held out a hand. “What’s your name?” he asked when she shook it.

“Cassandra, but you can call me Cassie if you want,” she told him. “You’re my second favourite player so I decided you can use my nickname.”

“Oh, yeah, and who’s your favourite? Who do I need to beat to make you like me most?”

“Your dad, obviously . He’s the best.” Cass grinned, and James tried to ignore the tiny tug of insecurity in his chest, because logically he knew she didn’t mean anything by it, and his Dad was a lot more well-known than he was. He knew his Dad had played for years before James was even born, knew that he’d had years of experience that James was nowhere near matching. But even knowing all that, for just a second all the comparisons he’d had to listen to over the past couple of years were brought to the front of his mind. He shrugged them away, not wanting to open that particular door right now when today was supposed to be fun for kids like Cass, but they still hovered there, just out of sight.

The game began, and though it wasn’t serious by any means, the kids gave it their all, showing no hesitation in trying to steal the ball from men double their size.

Cass was as quick as she was sassy, and James didn’t think he stopped laughing the whole game at her trash talk about him being an old man and all her other antics. She was witty and bright, and though her tactics weren’t exactly regulation — at one point James leaned down to fix his sock and she jumped on his back and declared him defeated — she was actually pretty decent with the ball.

“You should join a team,” James told her as the final whistle sounded — Cass’ team won — and she beamed up at him.

“Because I beat you?” she asked eagerly, and James laughed.

“Yep, exactly,” he said, crouching down to give her a hug.

Cameras flashed around them, the shutter sounds loud and intrusive, and James forced himself not to scowl.

“Thanks!” Cass said happily. “I’m gonna go find my mum. Bye!”

She whirled around and whipped him in the face with her curls, and James snorted a laugh before standing up to be ushered toward another group of kids.

He talked and laughed with them for as long as he could, posing for selfies and signing shirts and photos happily. He tried to block out the line of reporters shouting at them all, using this as a story opportunity; today wasn’t about them.

There were loud laughs and happy shouts as people met their favourite players, but then James heard a deeper voice yelling, “oi, Lewis, ya bastard!”

He looked up in time to see a burly guy with greasy hair storming towards Lewis, grabbing him by the scruff of his shirt and shaking him roughly. James couldn’t clearly make out what was being shouted, but he definitely heard the guy yell “I’ll kill ya!” before security tackled him to the ground. Startled kids jumped back and watched on with wide, frightened eyes, and reporters swarmed. James tried to get to where Lewis was standing to check if he was okay, but then Gavin was at his elbow tugging him in the other direction.

“Gotta get you out,” he said close to James’ ear. “Safety procedure. Plus the paps are going wild.”

James nodded and then someone else from the security team was on his other side, ushering him bck towards the tunnel that led to the dressing rooms. It was chaos as parents tried to find their kids and other spectators used it as an opportunity to run onto the field. A quick glance behind him showed the guy who’d run at Lewis wasn’t alone, as two other blokes tried to get security off him and shouted and swore loudly that “he didn’ do nuffin!”

James was furious. This was for sick kids, for fuck’s sake. What if that dickhead had knocked into them or hit one of them by mistake? How fucking traumatised would they be after this?

He must have paused and made to turn back, because Gavin squeezed his elbow and said, “you know I can't let you go back there, James. Let security handle it.”

Cameras followed them as they walked, and James was sure they were fucking multiplying as things got more dramatic, so he ducked his head and let Gavin take the lead, one hand on James’ shoulder now and the other held out on front of them to keep people away. The other security guy was pressed in close to his other side and was shouting at the reporters to back off.

They were halted suddenly by a bigger group of people, a mix of camera crews and fans blocking their path into the tunnel. The head of the security team, a huge guy double James’ size, came pushing through the crowd, demanding they clear out of the way.

That was when he heard him.

“Gavin! Oh my god, what are you doing here?”

Gavin’s head turned sharply to his right and his grip on James tightened.

Amidst all the chaos, James didn’t recognise the sound of his voice at first, though to be fair, people were shouting and cameras were flashing, and he’d only actually heard it a few times.

He leaned forward to look around Gavin, and everything stopped.

James was constantly surrounded by blue — it was his uniform, for Christ’s sake, he saw it everyday — but it may as well have been the first time he’d ever seen the colour, and all his brain seemed capable of chanting right then was ‘blue blue blue’ over and over.

His hair. It was just as vibrant as James had imagined it would be. His eyes locked onto it, all mussed like someone had messed it up or he’d been wearing a hat. It was the first thing James saw, but then.

Then he saw everything else.

Faded denim and a white football shirt that definitely wasn’t a Chelsea one. The hint of black ink along one arm. High cheekbones and stubble and green eyes.

James couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. The noise around him suddenly seemed very far away. It was like he was in a long dark tunnel and there was no air and no sound except for the rushing in his ears and only a single brightly lit blue light at the very end of it.

He didn’t need to ask. Didn’t need to nudge Gavin and make sure.

As soon as he saw him, James knew.

Teddy was looking at Gavin, an uncertain frown on his face, but then his gaze slid over and landed on James.

He’d been in the public eye for long enough to recognise the look of comprehension that dawned on people when they realised who he was, and he saw it flash briefly across Teddy’s face, but then Teddy’s frown deepened, the crease between his brow becoming more pronounced as he glanced back at Gavin, and James saw the moment it happened.

His eyes darted to James again, wide and confused, and he stumbled back a little, knocking into someone beside him that James couldn’t focus on.

James was frozen. They stared at one another, completely immobile. His heart was about to crack through his ribs. He was going to pass out. He didn’t know what to do, but then distantly he heard Gavin apologising desperately, though James had no idea if it was to him or to Teddy, and he was being pulled forward again.

The noise filling the stadium rushed back all at once and James felt dizzy with the intensity of it. He was jostled through the crowd, his head spinning, and the only thing that kept him steady was Gavin’s arm around his shoulders as he was finally pulled out of the crowd.

He was allowed to stop and he sagged against the wall, breathing heavily. The other security guy rushed away, yelling instructions over his shoulder that James barely heard.

“James.”

Gavin was still beside him, and his voice was tentative and gentle. James couldn’t look up though, not yet. He shook his head and Gavin didn’t press.

It had only taken them a couple of minutes to get here, and it’d been less than a minute he’d been blocked by reporters and fans just outside the tunnel, but James’ whole body slumped as though he’d just run five miles.

“Mate, I’m sorry, but I’ve gotta get you inside,” Gavin said. A line of security was blocking access to the tunnel, but a huge crowd was stood outside still.

James nodded and let himself be led inside, but he glanced back just once, and his chest constricted painfully when he couldn’t catch any hint of blue hair among the camera flashes.

Only minutes had passed, but he knew that everything had changed.

Chapter Text

Saturday

Victoire checked her phone for the umpteenth time, sighed at the lack of any new message notifications, and dropped it back to the carpet beside the couch. She was stretched out with a soft black blanket she’d stolen off Teddy’s bed wrapped around her. When she’d first come out here to lay down, her plan had been to take a nap, but then an hour passed, and then two, and she was still nowhere close to sleep. Some terrible reality show was playing on the telly. Victoire couldn’t remember the name — all these shows sort of blended together lately, there were so many of them — and she tried vaguely to focus on what was happening, but it was just background noise.

She glanced down at her phone again, screen still dark. She reminded herself that it wasn’t unusual for Teddy not to text back when he was distracted by work things, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. Had she been wrong not to warn him? She loved Teddy more than anything in the world, but she genuinely thought staying out of this had been the right thing to do.

It wasn’t that she was expecting things to go badly when Teddy found out — she honestly hoped it all worked out the way she knew Teddy had been imagining for a couple of weeks now — but she was nervous. Nervous that this thing that had Teddy smiling and happier than she’d ever seen him would disappear when the truth came out. She couldn’t be the one to tell him. Couldn’t risk being the one to ruin it for him.

James was a good person, but his family was… well, his family was her family, and her family was a mess and under constant media scrutiny. Ted had seen a glimpse of the madness the few times she’d been recognised and photographed, but even after playing out endless scenarios in her head, she had no idea how he would react to this.

She reached beside her for the TV remote — if she couldn’t sleep she may as well find something better to watch to kill time — but it was wedged between the back cushions, and when she moved to try and dislodge it, it slipped down the back of the couch. Victoire swore, considered going after it, then slumped back down instead. Oh well. The couch monster had it now, and she’d just have to keep watching whatever this show was.

She tugged the blanket tighter around herself, but then the sound of a car door slamming loudly startled her and she jolted upright just as the front door slammed open. A moment later Teddy burst into the room, panting and red-faced.

“James Potter,” he choked out, dropping his keys and wallet on the floor. “James fucking Potter, Vic!”

Shit.

Victoire pulled her legs onto the couch, crossed them, and bunched the blanket around her waist. The TV felt too loud for the tension of the moment, but the only way she could fix that was to get up and lower it using the dusty buttons on the side. Although usually she was pretty good at reading Teddy’s moods, right now she had no idea what the expression on his face meant, and the moment felt too delicate for her to move.

“He told you?” she ventured.

Teddy was trying to pull his jacket off but got one arm stuck in a sleeve. He huffed in frustration, finally got himself free, and threw it to the floor before crossing the room and collapsing onto the couch beside her. He dropped his head into his hands and groaned. “I saw Gav and he was — Wait.” He looked up at her and frowned. “What’d you just say?”

Victoire hesitated. “James told you who he was, right?”

Teddy blinked, his mouth open slightly.

“You knew?” he demanded, scrambling to his feet again and staring down at Victoire with wide eyes. “YOU KNEW IT WAS HIM I WAS TALKING TO?”

“Barely,” Victoire said, trying to keep her voice casual despite her heart rabbiting wildly in her chest. “I only realised the other day when you mentioned his driver’s name, so I called him and grilled him a bit, but —”

“YOU DID WHAT?”

Victoire reached out for his arm, worried he’d storm off and terrified this was going to turn into one of their huge fights. “I’m so sorry, Ted. I promised I’d let him be the one to tell you, but I’m so sorry I kept it from you.”

Teddy didn’t storm away, and he didn’t shake her hand off his arm, but he didn’t say anything either.

Victoire held his gaze, watched his expression for any hint of what he was feeling. She hated that she couldn’t tell what he was thinking — she didn’t want to act until she was sure she wouldn’t make it worse.

“I can’t — What the fuck, Vic?!” he finally exploded, throwing his arms in the air. “I don’t — What did you say to him? No, don’t tell me. Jesus Christ. What do — I’m so fucking confused. This can’t be real!”

Victoire was on her feet in an instant, nerves about a fight falling away as the need to make him feel better overtook. “Ted. Teddy. Hey, it’s okay,” she soothed. “I mean, he’s still the same person, right? He’s still Jamie.”

Teddy shook his head frantically. “He’s fucking famous, Vic. He’s — Oh my god he’s your fucking family! You hate him! What the fuck, oh my god. I don’t know what to do right now.”

Victoire rolled her eyes and swatted his arm when he tugged at his hair. “I don’t hate him, Teddy. I literally never said that. Tell me what happened. What did he say when you met him? Did it go badly?”

“He didn’t say anything.”

“What do you —”

“I saw him with Gav! Gavin, who is James fucking Potter’s driver. He saw me too, and he looked fucking terrified, and then security pulled him away and I just... WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!”

He was spiralling. He had a manic look in his eyes and Victoire was not fucking equipped for this. She was barely equipped to handle her own shit. “Ted—”

“I fucking talked about him. I talked about James Potter’s skills and his family TO James Potter. God, no wonder he always went quiet and weird when I did. He must think I’m a fucking moron. Jesus Christ, what have I done?”

“You haven’t done anything Ted — except fall for a guy who happens to be a bit more well-known than you maybe expected, but the good news is I’m pretty sure he’s fallen for you too.”

Teddy let out a high, nervous laugh. “James Potter has not fallen for me and I haven’t fallen for James Potter.”

Victoire couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him like this. Couldn’t remember if she’d ever seen him like this. Teddy was not an open person when it came to his feelings, and trying to get him to stop making jokes when he was upset was usually the hardest part of getting him to talk, but this was so different to anything he’d dealt with before.

Victoire touched his cheek gently and made him look at her. He was shaking.

“Are you sure, Ted?” she asked softly.

Teddy jerked away from her and began to pace.

“Oh my god, I don’t fucking know!” he whined, sounding more like himself. “God, I think I’m freaking out.”

Victoire scoffed and crossed her arms. “Oh, are you? I hadn’t noticed.”

“Oh my god.” He spun to face Victoire, his eyes wide again. “Molly! Oh my god, Molly. I know two of his cousins and he doesn’t know!”

“He knows about me, if that helps,” Victoire offered. “Have you never mentioned Molly when you talk to him about work? You talk about her all the time.”

“I — No. I call her Red because she doesn’t want anyone to know she works there.”

Victoire hummed. “Right, yeah,” she said. “You know, it’s kind of ridiculous no one has recognised her.”

“Can you focus please!” Teddy yelled. “My life is falling apart.”

“Oh my god, now you’re just being dramatic. I just mean like, look at who her family is. Her parents. Her bloody uncle, for crying out loud. How has no one noticed her?”

Teddy opened his mouth, but then he froze on the spot.

“Oh my god,” he whispered, face paling. “His dad is Harry Potter. Fucking jesus. Oh no. Oh my god, oh no. Fucking fuck, no!”

Victoire bit down hard on her bottom lip. She wouldn’t laugh. This was not the moment and she was a good friend and she would absolutely, one hundred percent not laugh. “What is it?” she asked, the effort of keeping her composure making her voice strained.

“I HAD A SHIRTLESS POSTER OF HIS DAD ON MY WALL WHEN WE MOVED IN HERE, VIC! I STILL HAVE IT ROLLED UP IN MY CUPBOARD!”

Victoire tried, she really did, but she lost the battle and she doubled over, wheezing from laughing so hard.

“Holy shit,” she managed. “Oh my god, can I tell James about it? No, you tell him, but let me be there. Oh my god, this is amazing.”

She’d hated that poster for years but now it might just be her favourite thing in the world.

Teddy sank to the floor and sprawled out dramatically on the carpet, an arm flung across his face.

“Fucking hell,” he groaned. “What the fuck am I supposed to do? This cannot be real life.”

“You could call him,” Victoire suggested. “Has he texted you or anything since it happened?”

“I can’t. And I don’t know. I turned my phone off. I was panicking.”

“What the fuck, why? Wait.” Victoire eased down beside him and frowned. “Ted, you’re not going to end things with him because of who he is, are you?”

Teddy didn’t answer her. She couldn’t see his expression, and the panic from earlier was starting to creep back.

“Teddy…”

“I don’t know, Vic!” he said, jerking upright and moving away from her. “Fuck, can we just do something else? Please? I need a distraction or I’m going to go crazy. Let’s go out for a drink.”

“But—”

“I can’t think about it right now, Vic. Please.”

Victoire sighed. “Fine. Obviously you don’t have to do anything until you’re ready. But we’re not going drinking. Why don’t we watch a movie or something?” She opened the drawer with their DVDs and began to shuffle through them. Luckily Teddy was a little OCD with books and movies and had them all alphabetised, so she found the one she wanted easily.

Teddy was on the couch already, shoes kicked off and knees drawn up to his chest.

“Pick a RomCom,” he said.

“I already have,” Vic said. She sat down beside him and slid Notting Hill across the couch.

Teddy stared down at it, then burst into laughter that promptly turned into choked tears.

“I fucking hate you,” he sniffled as Victoire wrapped her arms around him.


“I could be a while. Are you sure you don’t mind waiting?” James asked as he climbed out of the car. His hands shook as he held the door open and looked back inside. He wasn’t sure they’d actually stopped shaking since… well.

Gavin shook his head. His smile was more of a grimace. “Take your time,” he said. “I’ll be here.”

James could tell he wanted to say more, and was glad when he didn’t. He wasn’t ready to hear it, not yet. They’d been silent since he’d been released from security earlier, James’ only words being a request to be taken to his parents’ house. Gav always had a way of understanding James’ moods. Maybe it was a result of being part of the family since James was young and watching him grow up, or maybe he was just a people-person who understood how to read a situation. Whatever it was, James was never more grateful for his tactful silence.

He closed the car door and made his way to the front door. Some time in the last hour, oppressive grey clouds had rolled their way over London, darkening the afternoon sky so much that Gav had driven with his headlights on. James hoped it would rain; if it stormed he might go running. The thought of running until his legs burned with exertion and gave out underneath him — of being pelted by icy rain and thinking of nothing but the ache and the cold — was so appealing right now.

He fumbled with his keys, trying to open the front door, then jumped in surprise when it swung open suddenly and his mum was stood there smiling broadly at him.

“James, I didn’t think we’d see you to — What’s wrong?”

James wasn’t ashamed that he was a man who cried a lot. He didn’t think it made him weak or less manly. But he hadn’t cried in front of his parents in years, and the way his mum’s face fell when she saw his bottom lip quiver made him feel guilty for half a moment for coming here.

He dropped his keys and they clattered noisily against the tiles as his mum swept him into a hug.

“James, honey, what is it? What’s wrong?”

He’d missed his mum’s hugs, missed how safe and familiar she felt, but right now, it wasn’t what he needed.

“Is Dad here?” he choked out. “I need—”

“James?”

Over his mum’s shoulder he saw his dad poke his head out of the living room. He was wearing his ‘house work’ clothes — ratty jeans and an old Manchester jersey — and James wondered briefly if his parents had been packing his dad’s things today.

“Can we talk?” he asked, a desperate edge to his voice. “Please?”

His mum let him go, and she and his dad exchanged a look James didn’t understand, but then his dad’s arm was around his shoulders and he was leading James into the living room, closing the door behind them.

“What’s going on?” he asked as he sat James on the couch. He sounded nervous. James hated that. He hated where they were now, the awkward tension that was eating away at their relationship. When he was younger, his dad was his hero and they’d talked about everything. There wasn’t anything James couldn’t share, wasn’t a problem in the world his dad couldn’t fix for him. He’d never been Harry Potter to James. He’d always just been dad, and when James was stuck in lockdown an hour ago, his thoughts a mess, his heart racing a million miles a minute, the overwhelming urge to vomit refusing to go away, the only person he’d wanted to see to try and fix it all was his dad.

“I fucked up,” he whispered. “Dad, I fucked up so badly and I don’t know what to do.”

“Hey, it’s okay,” his dad said, rubbing his back. “Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out, yeah? Is it about all the commotion today? Something to do with the team?”

James shook his head. He wasn’t surprised his dad already knew; he was a man who had ways of finding out all sorts of things he wasn’t supposed to know about. “I… I think I’m in love with someone. But I’m pretty sure I’ve completely ruined everything.”

His dad was quiet for a minute. He took off his glasses and rubbed at his eyes and then exhaled as he pushed them back onto his nose. “So, a lot worse than a career fuck up, then.”

James let out a watery laugh.

“I didn’t know you were dating anyone,” his dad said guiltily.

“No, we’re not— I’m not—” James sighed. “It’s kind of a long story.”

So James told him. He told him about those first few messages and how intriguing Teddy was right from the start. He told him about how easy Teddy made it to be himself, how refreshing it was to have someone who cared about him without having to wonder if they had a hidden agenda. He told him how funny and smart and insecure and sad Teddy was, how all he wanted these days was to make sure he was happy all the time. He told him how scared he was that his fame would be the reason this ended, that Teddy wouldn’t want to know him now because he’d lied for so long. He told him about earlier today, seeing Teddy for the first time, being certain there was nothing lovelier in the world than his face and then having that first moment ruined by security and how that last glimpse of Teddy’s terrified face was burned into his brain now and probably forever.

He was breathless as he finished up, and his dad stared at him with an odd expression.

“I, er…” He cleared his throat as James waited for a reaction. “I didn’t know you were gay,” he said.

And James realised he’d just accidentally come out.

“Oh, fuck. I, er… I guess I probably should have led with that.”

His dad smiled and pulled him into a hug. “You know I love you, right? I know things have been shit for the past year, but you and Al and Lil mean more to me than the game, and I’m sorry I’ve let things get so bad that you couldn’t tell me any of this sooner.”

“It’s my fault too,” James said. “It’s just like… a lot of pressure, you know? Being your son and all.”

“Yeah,” his dad agreed sadly. “Yeah, I know. Should we talk about that another time, maybe?” he suggested. “Focus on this guy you love first?”

James’ heart leapt in his chest. “Yeah,” he agreed gratefully.

“I… Well I have to ask, James. Are you sure he is who he says he is? I’d hate to see you end up in a situation where somebody has tricked you and tries to use it against you.”

“Yeah, I thought of all that. He, er, he’s actually Victoire’s best friend. They live together. And no.” He cut in before his dad could say it. “I don’t think this has anything to do with her. She figured out he was talking to me before he did, and I get the impression she doesn’t think I’m good enough for him, so I don’t think she was involved in giving him my number. I think it really was just an accident he ended up texting me that night. Like… fate, or something.”

He was immeasurably relieved when his dad didn’t scoff at that.

“This is so not what I expected from today,” he murmured as he ran a hand through his messy hair.

“Sorry,” James said. “I just… I know you have your own stuff to deal with, but I didn’t know what to do.”

His dad yanked him forward suddenly into a hug. “Don’t be sorry. I’m sorry I’ve been such a shit dad lately.” He ruffled James’ hair, but James was too exhausted to push him off. “So are you going to call him now or wait ‘til later?”

James froze. “What?”

His dad pulled back and gripped him by the shoulders. “James, you have to call him. That’s why you came to me, right? Because you needed advice? You’ve gotta call him, mate.”

“But… but what if he doesn’t want to talk to me?”

“What if he’s waiting for your call?”

“I can’t. I don’t —”

He was cut off by his phone ringing loudly from his pocket. He pulled it out and looked down at the caller ID.

“Oh, fuck.”

“Is it him?” his dad asked eagerly, leaning forward to see the screen. “Teddy with Blue Hair,” he read. “Is that him? Does he have blue hair?”

James looked up at his dad with wide eyes.

“What do I do?” he asked frantically, holding the phone out in front of him like it was a bomb.

“Answer it!” his dad insisted.

James balked. “What? I can’t!”

“James, answer the fucking phone!”

“What if he hates me?”

“What if he doesn’t?”

James shoved the phone towards his dad. “You answer it.”

“Nope. Answer it, James.” He dodged James and stood up. “I’ll leave you to it.” He grinned as he backed towards the door.

“Dad, don’t — I can’t—”

“Love you. Find me if you need me!” He opened the door and slipped out. James considered yelling after him, but he bit it back down.

He swallowed and glanced at his phone again. It was still ringing loudly, Teddy’s name flashing brightly on the screen. He was somewhere in London right now, maybe still at Stamford Bridge, maybe at home. He was somewhere in London and he was on his phone, waiting for James to answer his call so he could tell him he couldn’t do this anymore.

James’ hands were shaking again. Had they ever actually stopped? He couldn’t be sure.

He let out a shaky exhale, squeezed his eyes closed, and he pressed the decline button.


Sunday

Darkness was, in Teddy’s opinion, entirely underappreciated. It wasn’t something to be feared; it was something to be embraced and celebrated. People were only afraid of the dark because they were afraid of the unknown, but once they’d accepted the very worst parts of life, of themselves, the darkness couldn’t hurt them anymore. In fact, it could protect them from making the mistake of ever foolishly believing in any good thing ever again.

That was deep, so he texted it to Vic and then put one of his headphone buds in and opened YouTube.

A moment later, his bedroom door burst open.

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Vic demanded.

“Just sharing some thoughts,” Teddy told her from under his blanket. “I want to write a song. I haven’t written any music in a few weeks.”

He heard his blinds being yanked open and so buried himself deeper under the blankets. He didn’t want to see the afternoon sun or acknowledge a world existed outside the cocoon he’d wrapped himself up in.

“You can’t write anything from under there,” Vic said. The bed shifted as she sat down on the mattress. He felt his blanket being pulled away from his head, but he let Vic take it. What did it matter anyway?

“Are you listening to sad songs?” she asked, crawling up the bed. “God, it’s not My Chemical Romance, is it? Do I have to slap you? Fifteen-year-old Teddy would want me to—” She looked over his shoulder, down at his phone. “Oh my god, this is worse than My Chemical Romance.”

“It’s not that bad.”

Vic snorted. “What did you even search to find this?”

Teddy blushed but he didn’t bother trying to hide the screen. “James Potter highlights,” he mumbled. “Fuck off, okay. I’m depressed.”

To her credit, Vic didn’t mock him. She shuffled closer and spooned him from behind with her chin propped on his shoulder.

“Why don’t you call him again?” she asked.

“He didn’t answer and he didn’t call back. He doesn’t want to talk to me. I might be pathetic but I’m not at that level yet.”

“He’s just freaking out and it’s making him be a bit of a dick,” Vic said. “If you’d let me call him—”

“Don’t,” Teddy cut in. “Swear to me you won’t call him, Vic.”

Vic huffed and her breath tickled his neck. “Fine, but I really think you should at last try and reach out. He’s not—”

“No,” Teddy said impatiently. “I’m not going to be some pathetic, lovesick fan chasing after him, Vic. Just drop it.”

“But—”

“Can you just leave me alone?” Teddy said wearily. “Please? I feel pathetic enough being rejected by him as it is. I really, really don’t need to talk about it anymore.”

Vic was quiet a moment, then she slipped out of the bed. She crossed the room and closed the blinds again, blocking out the setting sun, and then she pulled Teddy’s blanket back over him.

“Do you want anything to eat?” she asked. “It’s nearly tea time.”

“I’m fine,” Teddy said, not looking up from his phone screen.

“Alright.” Another pause, and then, “I’m going out. Is it okay if I take your car?”

Teddy yanked the blankets up over his head. “I don’t care.”

He heard Vic sigh. “Call me if you need me, okay? You’re not pathetic, Ted. Please don’t think that about yourself.”

Teddy ignored her, and when he heard the bedroom door close, he squeezed his eyes shut tight against the tears threatening to spill.


Victoire shut off the car's engine and opened the door before she could chicken out. The early evening air was crisp, smelling of burning wood fires and the wildflowers that grew along the edges of the roads out here. She and her gran used to pick them every year when she was a kid, filling up vases and then using glasses and mugs when they needed more room. The house would smell like spring for weeks, Vic always insisting her parents bring her round at least once a week to replace the old flowers, and the bright bursts of colour had always put a smile on her Pa’s face when he came home from work and saw them.

Gravel crunched under her feet as she climbed out of the car and closed the door behind her. The house was lit up, and even from here she could hear voices and laughter and the loud thumps of people running up and down the stairs. She looked over the cars parked in the front yard and out on the grass by the front gate and counted nine. She never remembered there being that many when she used to come here, but she supposed a lot of the kids were old enough to drive now.

She was stalling. She had to do this. For Teddy.

She squared her shoulders, swallowed her fear, and walked up to the front door.

“Who’s that?” she heard someone — maybe Roxanne? — yell. “Isn’t everyone here already?”

“Go answer it!” Lily Luna replied, her voice carrying from another part of the house.

“You answer it!” That one was definitely Uncle George.

“Gran, door!” Hugo bellowed.

“Don’t yell at your Gran to do things!” And that, that was definitely Uncle Harry, his voice just on the other side of the front door.

A moment later, it swung open.

Victoire had no idea what she was expecting from him — she hadn’t seen him in person for maybe two years? — but he didn’t look surprised to see her stood there.

He crossed his arms, regarded her for a moment, and then he nodded and stepped to the side.

“Good,” he said. “Maybe you can talk some sense into him.”

Chapter Text

To say that James’ Uncle Ron was a fan of Liverpool FC would be a colossal understatement. He was, in his own words, “their number one most dedicated fan, and low key obsessed with them.”

“You're so embarrassing. Where did you even learn that expression?” Rose had demanded when he’d said it proudly during family dinner one night.

Uncle Ron had only shrugged and gone back to listing all the reasons James should transfer clubs (which, in James’ opinion, were not particularly persuasive. “Red’s a power colour James, mate. Just look at our family!”)

He was the only one in the family who didn’t support either Man City or Chelsea, and he was very proud of that fact. His childhood bedroom — where James was currently hiding — was a shrine to his passion. Every inch of wall was covered in faded posters and framed jerseys and photos of Uncle Ron with various players. He hadn’t lived in his parents’ house for twenty years, but he insisted his room had to stay exactly as it was — James suspected it was because Aunt Hermione wouldn’t let him put any of his memorabilia up in their own house. When James and his cousins used to sleep over as kids, Uncle Ron always left a note with their nan reminding them not to touch any of his stuff.

He supposed he should feel at least at little weird about lying amongst so much rival merchandise, but James couldn’t bring himself to care as he stretched out on bright red blankets emblazoned with Liverpool logos and scrolled through his Instagram feed. The light from his screen was giving the room an eerie red glow where it hit the walls.

His phone vibrated a couple of times but he ignored it. Lily had been texting periodically, asking him to come downstairs and trying to entice him with photos of the cheesecake nan had made for dessert and promises that she would throw some at Al if he came down to watch. He was also sure his mum was only minutes away from bursting into the room and demanding he join everybody. Either that or she’d send his dad up. They hadn’t told the rest of the family what was going on with them yet, and James did not want to be around with his nan found out.

He didn’t mean to be so rude and antisocial, but just the idea of sitting with everyone right now, trying to talk and laugh and participate, was exhausting.

The noise downstairs had increased significantly a few minutes ago, but James ignored the shouts; random screams and noises in the Burrow were not unusual. It was probably just Uncle George and Fred Jr. pranking someone, or Lily harassing Al, and James really wasn’t in the mood to join in. The bedroom was dark and a little chilly with no lights or heating switched on, and it suited him perfectly right now.

Christ, he was pathetic.

He locked his phone and dropped it beside him, staring up at the roof. He needed to stay off the internet; it was so tempting to go looking for Teddy. All he had to do was find Victoire and he’d be able to look through her followers list and find him. But he couldn’t do that. It wouldn’t be fair of him to do that, not when he was the one who’d ignored Teddy’s call.

He’d wanted to ring him back almost right away, but what was he going to say? “Hey Teddy, sorry I lied about being super famous! Hope you don’t mind that I kind of want to date you but if we do millions of people will know who you are lol bye.”

It was for the best. It had to be. It was better to end things now before anyone got hurt or too attached.

Except.

He was pretty sure that if it was really the right thing to do, it wouldn’t feel this way.

James groaned and rolled over, burying his face into the pillow. He was such an idiot.

“James! Downstairs, now!”

His mum’s voice carried up the stairs, loud and commanding. James huffed in annoyance. Honestly, what was the point of being a famous sportsman if his mum still got to boss him around? He considered, very briefly, ignoring her, but he was pretty sure he’d live to regret it if he did.

He rolled off the bed reluctantly and slipped his shoes back on. The voices and chatter were even louder when he opened the door and made his way to the stairs.

“I got a tattoo, look,” he heard Lily boast. He rolled his eyes; she’d been going on about it to anyone who would listen ever since her outburst with their parents. They hadn’t even been that mad about it, much to Lily’s frustration. He stepped onto the first landing and saw her down in the living room with everyone else, proudly waving her arm about, and he let his gaze sweep over the room before he froze in place.

“Aunt Ginny let you?” Victoire was asking incredulously. She was sitting on one of the couches inspecting the letters inked onto Lily’s skin, the rest of the family crowded into the room watching her. Their nan was red-eyed and smiling as she leant against their pop’s chest, and Uncle Bill was barely suppressing his smile as he sipped on his traditional Sunday night whiskey.

What the fuck was going on?

“I’d have to have known about it to let her,” James’ mum scoffed.

“You never told me I couldn’t,” Lily pointed out.

“Do I have to make a list of all the things you can't do?” His mum shook her head. “Actually, no, scratch that. If I give you a list you’ll just make your way through it and do everything I write out of spite.”

“Aw, you know me so well.” Lily grinned, throwing an arm around their mum’s shoulder. She glanced up at the same time and spotted James. “Oi, James is here!”

All eyes snapped to him, and James tried to make his throat work, but all he could do was swallow awkwardly and stare back at Victoire, who was watching him with a carefully blank expression.

“James, love, come down!” his nan called out, excited and teary. “Your cousin is here, come say hello.”

“James is sulking,” Lily informed Victoire. “Won’t tell anyone what’s going on though, not even me or Al. He’s been a right prat all night and-”

“Lily, enough,” his dad said firmly from across the room, and Lily frowned.

“What?” she asked, confused. “I’m just saying—”

“We need to talk, James,” Victoire said. She stood abruptly and the family looked between the two of them with barely concealed curiosity.

James wanted nothing more than to shrink back into the shadows, to go back up to Uncle Ron’s old room and hide under his Liverpool blankets. Instead, he nodded once and walked the rest of the way downstairs on shaky legs.

“The fuck is going on?” Lily demanded.

“Lily Luna! Language!” their nan scolded, but she was glancing between James and Victoire with a frown as well.

“Garden,” James muttered to Victoire, descending the last few stairs. “Dad,” he added a little desperately, gesturing to the room. “Can you…”

“‘Course,” his dad said, clasping James’ shoulder briefly and nodding. James exhaled. At least he knew no one would listen in with his dad keeping watch.

James grabbed a jacket off the back of a chair as they walked silently through the kitchen to the back door. He didn’t know whose it was — it was a little tight when he slipped it on — but a light wind was blowing, tousling his hair when he stepped outside, so he pulled it tight around himself. The fairy lights that Rose and Molly had draped through all the trees years ago for their pop’s birthday sparkled brightly, lighting up the yard. Their pop was constantly replacing the light bulbs when they went out, but he insisted he didn’t mind, and James suspected he liked to be reminded of that night. It had been one of the last family events where everyone was all together before Uncle Bill and Fleur split up and Victoire moved away.

James stopped when he reached the row of faded gnome statues beside one of the hedges. He’d been scared of them as a kid, and Al used to sneak them into the house and leave them in strategic places to frighten him, much to their nan’s frustration. More than one had been smashed when James panicked and kicked at it.

He let out a shuddered breath and turned to Victoire.

“So, I guess—”

She slapped him hard across the face.

James let out a yelp of surprise, jumping back and cradling his stinging cheek.

Victoire’s glare was cold and intent.

“I told you not to hurt him.”

“I didn’t—”

“Don’t you fucking dare say you didn’t mean to,” Victoire snapped. “He’s at home fucking devastated because of you.”

James shrank back. “He is?”

Victoire looked like she wanted to slap him again. James wasn’t sure he’d try to stop her if she did.

“What the fuck do you think?” she demanded, shoving roughly at his chest. “I told you, I fucking told you to tell him before your stupid charity thing because I was so worried he’d be blindsided but you ignored me! You’re so goddamn selfish, James. Do you think it was easy for him to find out? Fuck, do you think he didn’t freak out as well? But then you went and made it fucking worse by ignoring him? How could you do that to him? He doesn’t deserve this.”

Her voice broke at the last word. She sniffled and stepped away from James, glancing away for a moment and rubbing her sleeve across her eyes.

“You’ve fucked up, James,” she said calmly after a moment. “Do you understand how badly you’ve screwed this up?”

James swallowed, dropping his gaze. He was trembling.

“I know,” he whispered. “I— fuck, I know. How do I fix it?”

Victoire regarded him for a long moment. “Do you want to fix it?” she asked.

“Yes, fuck, of course I do,” he said desperately. And he did, more than anything right now, he realised. That was what he wanted. What he needed. “I didn’t want it to be like this. I just… I panicked, Victoire. I keep making such a mess of this and I don’t expect him to keep putting up with it, but I just thought that once he knew…”

“That what? He wouldn’t care anymore?”

“Yes. No. God, I don’t know. I just… He liked me for me before. It didn’t matter who I was. What if everything that comes with me being who I am is too much for him?”

Victoire’s expression softened, just barely, but James saw it. “That’s his choice to make, James. You can’t just reject him because you’re worried he’ll reject you first, you idiot.”

She sighed and sat down on the damp grass. She wasn’t dressed to be outdoors at night — she’d probably forgotten how chilly the air got out here once the sun disappeared — so James slipped off the coat he’d stolen and handed it over before dropping to the ground beside her. He wrapped his arms around his legs, chin propped on his knees.

The breeze was slight now, just enough to rustle the leaves on the trees. The sky was clear, empty of clouds and dotted with the twinkling lights of the stars that matched the fairy lights.

Voices and laughter, loud and clear, filtered out towards them from the house. It was a familiar sound, comforting in a way he’d never really thought to appreciate before. He was lucky, he realised, to have so many people who cared so much about him.

“He must mean a lot to you for you to be here,” he finally said.

Victoire picked at the grass, not looking at him when she said, “He means everything to me. He’s my family.”

It didn’t sting the way it might have had he heard her say that a few months ago. He was glad she had Teddy and wasn’t by herself. And he was glad Teddy had someone who would stick up for him the way she would. He deserved that; someone who would fight for him.

“I want it to be me,” he blurted out suddenly.

“What?”

James scrambled to his feet, stumbling a little as he tripped on his own feet. “I want to fight for him, Victoire. I need to fight for him. I want… I want him. Even if he says no and doesn’t feel the same and thinks I’m crazy for thinking this could happen. I have to talk to him. I have to try.”

Victoire stood slowly, the coat James had given her hanging off her shoulders awkwardly. She was silent as she watched James carefully, her composure a stark contrast to the meltdown it currently felt like James was experiencing. His heart was racing erratically and his palms were clammy, and he had to speak to Teddy now.

“Are you sure?”

James nodded frantically. He could see the uncertainty on her face, the doubts. She was Teddy’s best friend, his favourite person; he needed her to be okay with this.

“I’ve never been more sure about anything,” he told her. “I want to fix this, Victoire, and then… then whatever he wants. I’ll be whatever he wants. Do whatever he wants. As long as it makes him happy, I’ll do it.”

He expected more questions, more threats even, but Victoire only nodded once and said, “Alright. Good.”

“I won’t fuck it up,” James promised. “I swear to god, I won’t.”

“I would hope not— not now that you know how hard I can hit.” She smirked, and James let himself smile too. “I’m gonna go chat to my dad,” she said, glancing towards the house. “He’ll be furious if I leave without talking to him a bit more. Sorry about the whole…” She trailed off and gestured to James’ face. “Well, not sorry, exactly. But, you know.”

She turned to leave and James reached out to grab her arm. “Hey… You know we all love you, right?” he said. “Everyone is really glad you’re here.”

Victoire’s smile was forced and weary. “I know,” she said. “That doesn’t make it easier. Too much has happened.”

“It’s worth it though,” James persisted. “That’s what family is, right? Remember what my mum used to say? When you care about someone, you want to stick around and get through the hard bits with them. That’s how you know you love them.”

A loud shriek that sounded like Rose yelling at Hugo came from an upstairs window, but James ignored it. Victoire raised an eyebrow at him, and James replayed his words in his head.

“Oh, fuck,” he muttered.

Victoire shook her head. “I can’t believe the two of you,” she sighed. “Go and call him. Make things right.” She hesitated, then added, “He deserves someone who wants to give him the world, James. Don’t chase him if what have you to offer is anything less than that.”


Teddy’s phone was ringing loud and shrill by his ear, and he winced as he fumbled to try and pick it up, his temple throbbing with an unexpected headache. The room was completely dark now, the evening having slipped by while he slept.

“‘Lo?” he mumbled, voice heavy with sleep when he finally managed to get the phone in his hand.

“Edward?”

Teddy groaned and rolled onto his back, flinging an arm over his face and squeezing his eyes closed. He’d fallen asleep in his jeans; he shifted uncomfortably to try and adjust them. He’d only put them on earlier today to appease Vic, to make her think he was going to do something other than lie about in bed all day, but as soon as she’d left, he’d dove right back under his blankets.

“I’m asleep, Draco,” he whined. “Whatever it is, can we talk about it later?”

“It’s half eight. Why are you in bed? Are you depressed?”

“Yes, so you have to leave me alone,” Teddy said. He rolled onto his side and switched his phone to loudspeaker so he could prop it beside him and wrap his blanket tighter around his shoulders. He still felt groggy and his head was fuzzy with sleep, aching horribly. He would need to find aspirin if he wanted to sleep again. The rest of the house was silent and he assumed Vic wasn’t home yet, so he couldn’t even call her to find it for him.

On the other end of the line, Draco sighed. “I can never tell if you’re being serious or not,” he said.

“Because you’re old and not funny.”

“You’re such a brat,” Draco said. Teddy could hear the sound of traffic and vague chatter in the background. He supposed he should feel worse that his cousin, who was twice his age and thought museums were a good time, was out enjoying his Sunday night while he was hiding in his bedroom like a recluse, but he wouldn’t let himself think on that too much. “I’m having a housewarming party,” Draco was saying. “It will be in two weeks and I’d like you to come.”

Teddy groaned. “Why do you want me there? I’m such a brat, remember. Wouldn’t you rather I not get my brattiness everywhere?”

“You never answered me about meeting for tea,” Draco said, ignoring Teddy’s sass. “I figured a party might be more your style.”

Usually, yes. But usually Teddy didn’t feel like he had been punched in the chest repeatedly. Usually his unhappiness just simmered out of sight, below the surface, and could be squashed back down with a drink or two. Dealing with Draco’s snobby friends when he wasn’t sure he could hide how he felt was not something he wanted to do.

“I really don’t feel up to a party, Draco,” he sighed.

“Because you’re so depressed?” Draco asked, completely serious.

Teddy huffed out a laugh. “Yes. Can I go now?”

“No. Look, Edward—”

“Teddy.”

“— you know I hate to play this card, but you and I are family. I know we’re not close, but being family means something to me, and I’d really like you to be there.”

Teddy scrambled to sit up, grabbing the phone and switching it off speakerphone before pressing it to his ear again. “You hate playing that card?” he laughed incredulously. “It’s literally your favourite card to play, Draco. You have a whole deck that is literally made up of just that card repeated over and over again and you play it every time you ask me to come to one of your bloody events.”

“Yes, well.” Draco sniffed, unphased. “You’ll be there then.”

“No. Maybe. Ugh, you’re so annoying.”

“I’ll text you the details tomorrow.”

“I’m not coming if it’s just going to be full of all the twats you work with,” Teddy warned.

“Lovely to chat to you, Edward. Have a pleasant evening,” Draco said in a ridiculous singsong voice.

He hung up before Teddy could retort, and Teddy rolled his eyes as he lowered the phone from his ear. He rubbed at his temple wearily, the pain in his head receding somewhat but still present enough to bother him. Draco wasn’t wrong — being family did mean something — and he knew it was his own fault Draco thought Teddy didn’t believe that.

He unlocked his phone again, intent on calling Vic to find out where she was before he went back to sleep, figuring he’d been a bit of a shit all weekend and should at least make sure she was okay, but he paused when the screen lit up. All his thoughts of Draco and his party were driven straight out of his head. He hadn’t closed the app he was on before he fell asleep, and the last thing he’d been looking at was still there. Which. Ugh.

He’d been stalking James’ [Instagram profile]. This was probably what Vic meant when she said he had unhealthy coping mechanisms. He shouldn’t, but he sighed and clicked on [a photo] he’d spent some time staring at earlier. It was James and his siblings. He couldn't even see James properly but he could tell they were happy. It still didn’t seem completely real that this was who he’d been speaking to all along, and he felt a pang in his chest as he gazed down at the image. Admittedly, outside of seeing him play and the snippets Vic had mentioned over the years, Teddy didn’t know a lot about James Potter the Football Star other than that he was adored by millions and was one of the best strikers the league had ever seen.

But maybe that was why it didn’t feel real; it wasn’t James Potter the Football Star he’d come to know. It wasn’t James Potter the Football Star that had his heart feeling like it was in pieces right now. No, it was James from London who Teddy’d talked to. It was Jamie he’d confessed secrets to and tried to cheer up and spent hours texting with a stupid grin on his face.

He was trying to reconcile that they were the same person, but his head couldn’t wrap itself around the concept, because it didn’t make any sense. Teddy was… well, he was Teddy. Weird and nerdy and a bit too obsessed with music and Star Wars. Why would James Potter want anything to do with that? With him?

He doesn’t, a voice in his head reminded him. That’s why he’s cut you off.

He had to stop this. He locked his phone, making sure he closed out of Instagram completely so he wouldn’t be confronted with the photos again. Until he logged back on later, at least, but he wasn’t thinking about that right now. He was about to toss the phone onto his bedside table and try to get back to sleep, but then it buzzed with a new message.

His breath caught in his throat when he read James’ name.

Holy shit.

He stared at the screen with wide eyes. His pulse began to race and a wave of nausea rolled through his stomach. Was this it? The goodbye message. The ‘sorry, I’m famous and you’re not good enough’ text? Shit fuck bollocks, what was he meant to do now? Where the hell was Vic when he needed her?

He squeezed his eyes shut, willed himself not to be such a coward, and then with shaking fingers, he opened the message.

8:36pm: Hey Teddy. Would it be okay if I called you?

“Jesus fuck,” Teddy whispered. Maybe James wanted to let him down over the phone, make it less impersonal. Teddy could hold it together for this conversation, he knew he could; he’d been rejected and broken up with plenty of times and he was a pro at hiding his feelings from the people who hurt him, but he just… he hadn’t been prepared for this. Usually he kept guys at a bit of distance, not wanting to get too invested from the start when he always expected it to end eventually anyway, but with Jamie… with Jamie he’d thought, just in a brief second of weakness, that maybe it would be different.

And then he was angry. Angry at himself for letting this happen and getting so invested. Angry at James for being so bloody wonderful and making him feel this way. Angry at Vic for not being here even though he’d told her he didn’t want to see her. He was just angry, and if James was going to end things between them, he wasn’t going to let him do it over the phone.

8:37pm: No

He sent his reply, then typed out another before he could lose his nerve, holding his breath as he hit send. If they were going to do this, James could look him in the eye while he did it.

8:37pm: FaceTime.


James hit call right away, not giving himself time to second guess what he was doing.

He was back upstairs in Uncle Ron’s room, sat on the bed with his legs crossed underneath him and the phone held up in front of his face. He was a bit of a mess, hair rumpled and stuck up at odd angles from laying about earlier and running his hands through it too much, and something that looked suspiciously like a gravy stain from dinner was visible on the front of his jumper, but he was too anxious to care.

His family had swarmed on him when he’d followed Victoire back into the house. She was able to slip by them all easily, a trick she’d mastered as a kid when she wanted to escape the chaos of the family, so James had been left alone to try and dodge questions about what the two of them had been discussing.

He’d extricated himself after a few mumbled excuses, feeling entirely too much like he did when dodging journalists as he wove his way through the kitchen. His dad must have realised because he’d raised his voice to tell them all to back off, something James could only remember him ever doing on the pitch.

He’d bounded up the stairs two at a time, ignoring the feeling of eyes on him as he went, and had locked the door behind him before throwing himself on the bed to text Teddy.

The idea of calling was terrifying. He hadn’t considered that Teddy would suggest something else, and now he was staring at his own face as he waited for the call to connect.

It seemed like an eternity passed before the screen changed, James’ face shrinking to a square in the corner when Teddy answered the call and James was met with... a black screen.

“Wait — hold on,” came Teddy’s voice .”Just wait, I need to turn a light on, shit.”

“Er… okay,” James agreed tentatively.

He could hear Teddy scrambling, then swearing twice as he fumbled through the dark room.

“Are you okay?” James asked. “I can call back…”

“No, it’s fine. I just — Hah! Got it!”

The screen was illuminated suddenly as light flooded the room, and James’ breath caught in his throat.

Teddy was grinning by the light switch, smile as bright as the room he was stood in, blue hair as messy as James’, and how was it fucking possible that this was real? A glimpse yesterday hadn’t been enough, he’d known that, but he should have prepared himself somehow for the full of effect of being confronted by Teddy’s smile.

“Hey,” he managed, swallowing down the lump in his throat. Was he staring? He was meant to, though, right? They were FaceTiming, he was allowed to stare. Was he staring too much though? Oh god, did Teddy already think he was a fucking weirdo?

“Hello! I just need to sit down, hang on.” Teddy was still smiling, glancing down at the phone every few seconds as he moved across what James was pretty sure was his bedroom. The phone jostled when he sat, a headboard and a huge framed Tottenham poster coming into view. Teddy must have noticed it on his own phone screen because his grin turned sheepish and he said, “oh, sorry about that,” as he nodded towards it. “Except not that sorry, because they’re the best.”

James scoffed. “The best at milking penalties, maybe.”

Teddy gasped in mock offence. “How dare you! Just for that I’m going to make sure the poster stays in the shot for the whole call.”

“I can handle one poster,” James said. “Look at what I’m dealing with here.” He switched the camera and let it pan out over the walls, watching as Teddy’s eyes went wide as he took in the excessive amounts of red.

“Where the fuck are you?” Teddy asked as James switched the camera back to himself.

“My Uncle’s old room at my Gran’s place,” he explained. “He doesn’t live here anymore but it’s like… his shrine or something. It’s creepy, right?”

“That much red is, like, super aggressive.”

“I know! I slept in here so many times as a kid and I think having to stare at all this stuff is what put me off ever wanting to play for them. Blue is much friendlier, right? ”

Teddy’s expression dropped immediately, and nerves swooped through James’ stomach as the reality of what this conversation could be crashed back over him. James bit nervously at his lip. Teddy had been smiling when the lights came on, he’d been chatting to James — the real James — for the last thirty seconds and hadn’t hated him, and that had to be a good sign, right?

“Er… Yeah. So…” he ventured uncertainly. His mind was blank and he was scrambling to find the things he needed to say.

Teddy looked uncomfortable, glancing somewhere off screen. “So…”

“I’m so sorry, Teddy,” James blurted out, not bothering to feel embarrassed by the way his voice cracked.

Teddy opened his mouth to reply, frowned, and closed it again.

“Why?”

James tried to avoid looking at his own face on the screen, focusing instead on Teddy. God, he still couldn’t believe this was happening. He had to fix this. He had to.

“I’m sorry I disappeared again, and that I freaked out after yesterday,” James rambled, needing desperately to get all of this out. “And I’m sorry that I didn’t return your call, and that I said I wouldn’t be a dick again but then I was anyway. You don’t deserve that, and I feel like I spend so much time apologising to you and that’s not how it should be. You shouldn’t have to deal with me being such a prat and I’m sorry, and if you don’t want to talk to me anymore because I’m an arsehole or because you know who I am, I get it, I do, but I just want you to know that I’m not making excuses for what a prick I am. I just really am so sorry. For lying and just… just for everything, and I —

“Jamie,” Teddy cut in loudly. “Jamie, stop.”

James broke off, a little out of breath from ranting. His face felt warm and he swallowed nervously.

Teddy’s head was tilted slightly to one side, and he was watching James with a confused expression.

“Jamie,” he said again, slowly, “I thought you were calling to tell me you didn’t want to talk to me anymore.”

James gaped at him, because what? “No, fuck, of course that’s not why I called! I love talking to you! Oh god, I’m so sorry I made you think that. Jesus. I’m such a fucking idiot.”

Teddy was still frowning. James was making such a mess of this.

“Why are you sorry for not telling me who you are?”

That, he hadn’t expected. James tugged nervously at the neck of his jumper with his free hand and dropped his gaze. “Well, because I lied. It’s… I know it’s a lot, and I’d understand if you were mad I kept this from you. I shouldn’t have.”

Teddy let out a soft chuckle. “‘A lot’ is kind of an understatement,” he said lightly. “But I told you not to tell me, James. More than once. I’m not mad you didn’t. I get it, honestly. You must have, like, so many people who just want things from you and whatever. Like, I get needing to protect yourself, you know?”

“I know you’re not like that,” James said quickly. “I’ve never thought you were that kind of person.”

Teddy’s lips quirked, but then he shifted awkwardly, avoiding the screen again.

“I’m sorry I talked to you, like, about you,” he said quietly. “And about your family. That’s so weird and out of line and I’m really fucking embarrassed I did that. And, like, I kind of… well, I was kind of upset when I didn’t hear from you after yesterday, but I figured it made sense, because even without knowing your identity, you’re just so… you’re you, Jamie, and I’m me, and I don’t think there’s a universe where any of this makes any sense at all.” He blushed and ducked his head. “Sorry, fuck. Now I’m the one rambling.”

James was fighting back a grin and losing spectacularly.

“Every universe,” he said firmly. “This makes sense to me in every universe, Teddy. Fuck, you’re so…” He shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re real. I’ve wanted to tell you who I am for ages, and I should have, but like… I mean, you really want to keep getting to know me now? Even though I’m—” He gestured to his face.

Teddy’s grin was back in full force. “I mean, it’s going to be an adjustment, you know? I’m still trying to convince my brain I’m actually on a call with James fucking Potter right now and that he’s the guy I really fucking li— Er, the guy I’ve been talking to all this time. And that he wants to keep talking to me. I didn’t think that would happen.”

James shook his head. “Nothing has changed for me,” he said. “Everything I’ve told you… I meant all of it. And I’ve always been honest, I swear, apart from the obvious. I’m still the same person.”

He needed Teddy to know that, he realised. Too many times he’d had to deal with people treating him differently when they recognised him — even old friends from school who he’d thought he could rely on to be real with him — and he wasn’t sure he could handle it if Teddy did the same.

“You’re such a dork,” Teddy said softly, small smile on his lips. “I know you’re James Potter, and I know it’s a big deal and I probably don’t, like, even realise half of what comes with that yet, but just talking to you now…” He shrugged, sheepish expression on his face. “I mean, you’re just Jamie to me. I hope that’s okay.”

James laughed loudly, incredulously. He was pretty sure he was going to hurt his face he was smiling so hard. “It’s okay,” he said happily. “It’s so, so okay.”

Teddy exhaled a shaky laugh. He brushed his hair back off his face as he spoke, and James’ eyes followed the way it promptly fell back to the exact same spot. He wondered if it was soft.

“This is fucking wild,” Teddy said. “We have to FaceTime all the time so I can get used to it and we—” He broke off, eyes going wide. “Oh my god, Vic! You’re her fucking cousin! We talked about it yesterday when I found out she knew! I completely forgot! She told me she’s known for a while!”

James grimaced. “Don’t be mad at her, okay? Like, I asked her not to say anything until I could, and then things got kind of crazy, but it was my fault she kept it from you.”

“Oh, nah, I’m not mad,” Teddy assured him. “But, like, if she tells you anything about me if you guys talk soon, it’s not true, okay? Like, don’t believe her. I know you hardly ever speak— but just in case.”

“She didn’t say anything bad, don’t worry,” James said without thinking.

Teddy narrowed his eyes. “Oh my fucking god, what? You already spoke? What has she told you? It’s not true.”

“No, nothing,” James said hurriedly. “She came to see me tonight. Fuck, did you not know that? Sorry, I feel like I’m dobbing her in.”

Teddy closed his eyes and rubbed at his temple. He huffed out a short laugh. “Of course she fucking did. I only told her she wasn’t allowed to call you— I knew I should have been more specific.”

“Yeah she was… pretty mad.”

“Did she yell?”

The phantom pain of the slap danced across his skin and James rubbed absently at his cheek. “Er… sort of. Ask her about it. I’m sure she’ll love telling the story.”

“Wait, you’re at family dinner,” Teddy reaslied. “She went there?”

James nodded. “Everyone was really shocked to see her.”

“Fuck,” Teddy murmured. “She did that… for me?”

James smiled. “She loves you a lot.”

Teddy ducked his head again, smiling to himself. “Fucks sake, I owe her big time,” he mumbled. James suppressed a groan; did Teddy even know how bloody lovely he was?

He couldn’t begin to describe it, all the feelings jumbled up inside him right then. The universe had already given him more than most people ever got. He knew how lucky he was; surely he shouldn’t be allowed to have more than that.

But Teddy was more. Teddy was so much more, and James didn’t deserve to know him, but he was so fucking happy that he did.

“Were you okay yesterday?” Teddy asked suddenly. “I left just after I saw you, but after all the drama, were you okay?”

“Oh, yeah, fine,” James assured him. “Gavin would never let me get hurt.”

“God, I love Gavin,” Teddy said fondly. James wasn’t jealous. He wasn’t. “They’re calling it a riot on the news, did you see?”

“Yeah.” James sighed. “My manager called me earlier — the club wants me to talk to the media tomorrow. They want someone to put a positive spin on it, and they think if it comes from me it’ll reassure people these kinds of events are still safe.”

Teddy shifted on the bed, scooting back so his back was pressed against the headboard. James wasn’t sure if it was intentional or not, but Teddy brought the camera closer to his face when he moved, allowing James to notice just how bright his green eyes were.

“Do you not want to do that?” Teddy asked. “Is that okay to ask? I don’t know if there are, like confidential things you can’t talk about.”

“No, it’s fine. I’ll tell you anything you want to know; I trust you.”

Teddy beamed. James’ stomach somersaulted. He wanted to make him smile like that all the time.

“It’s fine, though,” he continued. “I just… I don’t like all the politics, you know? I get why they need me to do it, but I just want to play football. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.” He shrugged. “It's just part of the game, though.”

“Sounds annoying as fuck,” Teddy declared, and James laughed.

“Every club deals with it. Oh! I forgot to ask you.” He fixed Teddy with a serious expression. “Did you wear a Tottenham jersey to a Chelsea FC charity day? Is that what I saw yesterday?”

Teddy giggled. James thought he might die from how adorable it was. “Thought there should be at least one person there with taste.”

“How very dare you! You’re the worst pocket friend ever!”

“I am wildly offended!” Teddy gasped. “You are on, like, minus a thousand friendship points for saying that, I hope you know.”

James grinned. He felt like he might be doomed to spend the rest of his life staring at Teddy with this stupid expression on his face, and he was completely fine with it.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’ll earn them all back, I promise.”

Chapter Text

Monday

9:11am: Hi, good morning!
9:11am: Jamie hi!!!!!!
9:12am: Fastest reply ever. Were you sitting there waiting for my message? Lol.
9:12am: not if you think thats lame
9:12am: however, if you think it's sweet and sort of cool
9:12am: then yes

9:13am: Haha, definitely the second one. Why didn't you just text me first???
9:13am: ummmmmmmmmm
9:13am: no reason

9:14am: ????????????
9:14am: i just like
9:14am: i didnt want to come on too strong?

9:15am: Why do I get the feeling that's not it?
9:15am: lol probably because im a terrible liar
9:15am: You don't have to tell me
9:15am: but you know I'd never judge you, right??
9:16am: Yeah, no I know!!!!!!!!!
9:16am: i'm being stupid
9:16am: Tell me <3
9:16am: i guess i'm just still getting used to this whole thing??

9:17am: What whole thing?
9:17am: Knowing who I
am?
9:17am: sort of
9:17am: it more like
9:17am: er
9:17am: I guess i'm a bit more worried now about saying the wrong thing than i was before

9:18am: Oh.
9:18am: I'm still the same person, Teddy.
9:18am: yeah i know!!! sorry this isnt coming out right
9:18am: i'm so bad at this
9:18am: so like
9:18am: i was going to text you this morning
9:19am: and last night after we talked
9:19am: but i kept second guessing myself and thinking, like, what if he thinks im texting more than i normally do
9:19am: and what if he thinks the reason is coz i know who he is now
9:19am: and what if he thinks thats why im talking to him???
9:20am: and then it spiraled into this whole thing where i was convinced you would never talk to me again
9:20am: and now here we are
9:20am: and im sitting at my desk embarrassed

9:20am: Teddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
9:20am: That would not have crossed my mind.
9:20am: You're a notorious double texter hahaha.
9:21am: It would be weirder if you didn't send me a million messages.
9:21am: i know but like
9:21am: No, wait.
9:21am: Before you say anything.
9:21am: I know it's a lot for you, I get that, I really do
9:21am: and if you need time to get used to it, I get that too.
9:21am: But, nothing has changed for me and I trust you and I know you're not talking to me because of who I am.
9:22am: yeah i swear that's not it!!! i dont care who you are
9:22am: wait no that sounds bad

9:22am: Lol, I know what you mean.
9:23am: I really think maybe it's better things happened this way?
9:23am: Like, I feel horrible for lying to you
9:23am: you didnt really
9:23am: but this way, we got to know each other, like, without outside influence? You know?
9:23am: yeah :)
9:23am: Although the implication you cant get to know people when they know your name makes me
sad
9:24am: It's fine. I always knew what I was signing up for. Mostly.
9:24am: So we're okay?

9:24am: yeah omg we're great im sorry
9:24am: :)))))))))))))
9:24am: Yay!

9:25am: omg youre such a dork
9:25am: i cant believe james potter is such a dork
9:25am: why isnt every newspaper talking about this

9:25am: Lol shut up.
9:25am: I'm very cool.

9:25am: only a true dork would call themselves cool
9:26am: Mean.
9:26am: :P
9:27am: I gotta go into a meeting about the weekend. Damage control and all that for the media.

9:27am: sounds lame
9:27am: i hope it's not too painful
9:27am: Media stuff always sucks. I'll probably have to do a press conference this morning.
9:28am: maybe i'll watch
9:28am: Oh my god, don't tell me that. Now I'll be nervous about embarrassing myself in front of you.
9:28am: alright, i wont watch
9:28am: You're such a shit liar.
9:29am: :D
9:30am: Text me later xxxxxx
9:31am: I will!!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


11:14am: james
11:14am: jamie
11:14am: jammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmie
11:14am: URGENT news
11:14am: the MOST urgent

11:15am: Don't.
11:15am: Don't you dare.
11:15am: i sawwwwwwwwwwwww you on the telly just before
11:15am: No you didn't. It wasn't me.
11:16am: i sawwwwwwwwwwwwww you
11:16am: and you got asked ALL SORTS OF QUESTIONS

11:16am: I hate you so much.
11:16am: i would like to send a fruit basket to that one reporter, im gonna need you to get me their name
11:16am: You're the worst.
11:17am: on the card, i'll write Dear Reporter, thank you for being so wildly unprofessional and questioning james potter on his love life in a very serious press conference, because seeing him all flustered and red was DELIGHTFUL
11:17am: I'm blocking your number.
11:17am: i recorded it
11:17am: gonna try and figure out how to make it my ringtone
11:18am: gav will know how, he and i were texting about it just a minute ago, i'll ask him

11:18am: You're both fired.
11:18am: :D :D :D
11:19am: starting a lesson but i'll be thinking about this forever byyeeeeeeeeeeeeee
11:19am: xxxxxxx


12:29pm: why the fuck
12:29pm: did a delivery guy just come into my shop
12:29pm: and hand me a kale fucking smoothie
12:29pm: with a note that says "chelsea rules"
12:30pm: this is just
12:30pm: evil

12:3ppm: PURE EVIL
12:31pm: I thought you might be thirsty after running your mouth so much earlier.
12:31pm: omg
12:31pm: and this is your version of payback??
12:31pm: YOURE A MONSTER

12:31pm: Think of it as a gift.
12:32pm: it's the worst gift of my life
12:32pm: worse than the time vic bought us matching jumpers with her face on them

12:32pm: Did you wear it??
12:32pm: I had to, obviously. it was a present, it would be rude not to
12:32pm: Is that so...
12:33pm: NO
12:33pm: DON'T YOU SAY IT

12:33pm: YOU technically said it.
12:33pm: And you're right: if someone gives you a gift, it's rude not to at least try it out.
12:34pm: i am not drinking this
12:34pm: its just sitting on the front counter right now, next to the cash register, watching me
12:34pm: mocking me
12:34pm: judging me

12:35pm: Drink it.
12:35pm: i wont
12:35pm: ever
12:35pm: never ever ever

12:35pm: Tedddyyyyyyyy, do it for me.
12:36pm: I refuse.
12:36pm: alright I did it.
12:36pm: it was the worst thing thats ever happened to me

12:36pm: Because it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be?
12:37pm: .....................
12:37pm: im hanging up on you

12:37pm: You're texting me.
12:37pm: fine, then i'm ignoring you from now
12:37pm: i cant believe you did this to me

12:37pm: That lasted 2.8 seconds.
12:38pm: STARTING NOW
12:38pm: Lol, okay. Text me later.
12:38pm: no
12:40pm: fine.


1:00pm: James.
1:03pm: Please don't.
1:03pm: I have to.
1:03pm: That was
1:03pm: so embarassing for you.
1:04pm: Your face omg.
1:04pm: Funniest thing I've ever seen.
1:04pm: How did you even see it? Aren't you at school?
1:05pm: One of my friends showed me. God, I can't stop laughing.
1:05pm: What's happened?
1:06pm: James had a press conference this morning about all that shit on the weekend and the reporter asked him about his love life.
1:06pm: Hang on, I'll send you a link.
1:07pm: God, you're the worst.
1:07pm: You spelled BEST wrong.
1:08pm: What love life?
1:08pm: Omg savage burn by Al. Nice.
1:09pm: It's kind of unprofessional of them to ask things like that.
1:09pm: Yes, thank you.
1:09pm: But on the other hand
1:09pm: For fucks sake.
1:10pm: It was really fucking funny.
1:10pm: You're funny today, Al. What's up with that? You with Scorpius?
1:11pm: Shut up.
1:11pm: James, does your reaction to this have something to do with Victoire showing up last night?
1:12pm: Let's go back to embarassing Al about Scorpius.
1:12pm: No, no, I'm with Al. Let's keep going with this.
1:12pm: DOES it have anything to do with that?
1:12pm: and with you locking yourself in Uncle Ron's room talking to that guy you're in love with?
1:13pm: You don't know that's who I was talking to.
1:13pm: And I'm not in love with him.
1:14pm: You're not NOT in love with him.
1:14pm: That doesn't make any sense.
1:14pm: Neither does anything you do lately. You're keeping secrets.
1:14pm: I TOLD you both about him.
1:15pm: Literally all you told us was you were talking to some guy but hadn't met him, and then suddenly Victoire fucking shows up demanding to speak to you and dad starts being weird and then you lock yourself away and when you come out you have heart eyes again and then you take off home before we can interrogate you.
1:16pm: I was surprised neither of you called me, to be honest.
1:17pm: Dad told us not to. And by the way, since when do you tell DAD stuff and not us?? I thought we were all still annoyed with him and mum?
1:17pm: I used to tell Dad stuff all the time.
1:17pm: "Used to" being the key words here.
1:18pm: We talked. Sorted some stuff out. He gave me some advice.
1:18pm: I don't know if...
1:18pm: Blahhhh
1:18pm: I'm sorry I haven't kept you guys in the loop, okay?
1:19pm: What if we have dinner at mine tonight and I'll fill you in?
1:19pm: Fine.
1:20pm: I have a shift until 7. I'll be there after that.
1:20pm: Okay. What do you guys want me to make?
1:21pm: Lmao you mean what are you gonna get Gavin to pick up for you?
1:21pm: I don't always have G do things for me.
1:21pm: Lol woah there defensive much?
1:22pm: You're both the worst.
1:23pm: Love you big bro!
1:23pm: xxxx


1:12pm: what if he changes his mind when he realises what an actual mess i am
1:13pm: oh, so u R speaking to me after all?
1:14pm: im not thrilled u went behind my back but i never said i wasnt speaking to you. you were gone when i woke up
1:14pm: early meeting
1:15pm: and technically u only banned me from phone contact with him, not face 2 face
1:15pm: i should have realised that you had a plan when you agreed so easily
1:15pm: so is everything ok with u both? why would he change his mind??
1:16pm: ive just been thinking today
1:16pm: like i dont care that hes famous, i swear to god i dont. but he's so fucking funny vic, and cool and i like him a lot
1:16pm: why would someone like that

1:16pm: you know...
1:17pm: dont u fucking dare tedward
1:17pm: dont u dare ask why someone like him would be interested in someone like u
1:18pm: im weird vic
1:18pm: and i drink too much
1:18pm: and i fucking hate kale and running
1:18pm: and im just WEIRD and hes an athlete
1:18pm: the weird music kid doesnt end up with the jock
1:19pm: ted
1:19pm: shut the fuck up
1:20pm: ur a brilliant person and if he is stupid enough not to see that then hes not the man i thought he was and he doesnt deserve ur time
1:20pm: did something happen to make u think this? or is this a classic ted spiral?
1:21pm: second one
1:21pm: like he was so nice and reassuring when i talked to him about it this morning
1:21pm: but i keep getting caught up in my own head and second guessing the messages i send him now
1:22pm: wait u actually talked to him about how you felt?
1:22pm: yeah
1:23pm: omg wow character development, good for u
1:23pm: shut up
1:24pm: send him whatever u want
1:24pm: be urself and all the other reassuring stuff
1:24pm: and if he doesnt like it or mocks u or anything else, then he sucks, not u
1:25pm: youre right
1:25pm: i know you are
1:25pm: im sorry
1:25pm: dont be sorry for ur feelings tedward
1:26pm: love u
1:26pm: love u more, see you tonight xxxxxxxxxx


2:14pm: do you think dragonflys have best friends?
2:15pm: Your mind is a strange and fascinating place.
2:15pm: I hope they do
2:15pm: wait no i don't
2:16pm: Why not?
2:16pm: because they only live for like a day
2:16pm: imagine knowing you only get to know your best friend for one
day
2:17pm: what do u think?

2:18pm: Hmm.
2:18pm: I suppose you would just have to make sure you make the most of that one day.
2:18pm: And like, make it as special as possible. Do cool dragonfly stuff all day.
2:19pm: :)))))))))))))))))
2:20pm: Lol what?
2:21pm: nothing. just needed the reminder youre a huge dork too
2:21pm: Haha okay. I have training now so I'll talk to you soon xx
2:22pm: okay xxxx
2:22pm: And just so you know
2:23pm: if I was a dragonfly, I'd spend my one day with you <3