At the age of seven, James showed his first signs of magic. His parents were, of course, properly thrilled that they had managed to turn out a proper wizard. They had been a bit afraid that by sheer will James would suppress his powers until the day before his eleventh birthday, just to make them bite their nails and fret as he had done when learning to walk. They had spent two good months dragging him off to doctors to figure out what was wrong with his legs and why he couldn't stand properly. Then they discovered he could walk perfectly well, and in fact was the one secretly switching his father's socks with sausages every morning.
He and Teddy had been showing playing Wizard’s Chess, a game that James would learn to hate as Teddy left for Hogwarts yet never stopped playing in case he had a chance to challenge Teddy once he was attending too.
“Hey, Teddy,” James said from his position on the ground which was, more or less, a supermodel sprawl (if such a thing exists). “You should probably move that bishop to h7.”
Receiving no response, James sighed quite audibly and started tapping his fingers on the board, rattling his pawns a bit and causing one to retch onto a rook, which screamed “HE HAS MOTIONSICKNESS, YOU TWOT.”
“Teddy,” James whined. “You concentrate too hard.”
“Can you stuff it for a minute, James, I’m trying to concentrate.”
Sure, he’d stuff it. But he was going to break Teddy if it was the last thing he did. Unless Mum came out with some sticky toffee pudding and Firewhiskey, in which case said breaking could take a tuck-in-check.
But how to get his attention?
“OH MY BLAZING BRIEFS, JAMES. WHERE DID YOUR CLOTHES GO.”
“No idea,” James replied happily. “I may never find them again. And wouldn’t that be a shame.”
“How did you magic your clothes away?”
“I’ve been harboring the Power of Naked. I’m pretty much a Naked Master, they’re making merchandise and stuff.”
“I’m going to get your dad. No, NO, don’t move, just…stay like…that oh gosh I’ll be right back!”
“It explains a lot.” Ginny shook her head, amused. “All those times I would take my eyes off him for one second and all of a sudden he was completely naked, his clothes nowhere in sight…”
“Ok,” Harry said. “But we can’t let him just. You know. We can’t let him in public if he just gets naked whenever he’s in the mood.”
“Harry, he’s seven. He’ll grow out of it! I remember when it was just me and Ron at home…well. Let’s not get into that, actually. But trust me, it’ll be fine.”
“If you say so.” He smiled at his wife, believing her.
Harry was a complete and utter moron.
I hope everything’s good on the home front! Susan has been writing me since before term started to remind me to send you this present. It’s a Pludasy! If you plant the bulb right away, you’ll have at least thirty come spring. They have an amazing defense mechanism against intruders (not like my Mimbulus Mimbletonia, though, don’t worry), but they’re really pretty to look at as well. Be careful, though, it takes a bit for them to get used to you and they like to lick.
Oh, and Susan sends biscuits.
What I really needed to tell you, though, is that we all got to see…er…a great deal more of your oldest boy than we were quite ready to this morning. He walked into breakfast and he was quite bare, Harry. It’s not that I have anything against it, really, not after rooming with Ron for so many years, but. Well. Maybe you should write and tell him that showing up at breakfast like that his first day of class is not the best way to make friends? The MacMillan boy in particular looked either revolted or incredibly excited.
Oh, wait, I am mistaken. He wasn’t completely in the buff. He was wearing socks—mismatched, if I recall, which I’m trying very hard not to do.
All my love,
“James. Dear, sweet James. What the hell made you think that this was a good idea." Teddy had taken the initiative to cover the first year with his robe and walk him up to Gryffindor Tower.
“I do it at home,” James replied, “and I was sort of going for the big first impression. You know, like in the stories.”
“Oh, you know. Captain Commando.”
“But…Captain Commando wore clothes! He just didn’t wear any pants or anything. But you could never see his, you know, bits and stuff.”
“Ah, but Teddy! He was naked under his clothes. That’s all that really matters.”
“EVERYONE’S NAKED UNDER THEIR CLOTHES. IT’S WHY WE WEAR THEM.”
James sent Teddy a pitying glance. “Think what you may, you poor, Puff bubbus. Just remember that I—“
“—harbor the power of naked. Yes, yes, I’ve heard.”
“It’s the Power of Naked. Don’t think I can’t hear those lowercase letters, mister.”
“Just. Don’t do it again, ok?”
“I make no promises.”
Teddy had stopped in front of a classroom door. “Here’s your Transfiguration class,” he told James. “You better go or you’ll be late. You don’t want to be The Naked Chap and His Majesty No-Clock No-Robes.”
“Righto. Wait, Teddy, one last thing.”
James smiled in what he probably thought was a cocky, sexy, come hither and you shall be rewarded sort of grin. “You liked it, didn’t you?”
Teddy promptly turned and headed to Herbology before he broke his promise to Harry about taking care of his son by turning him into a mango.
“Heeeey! It’s Too-Good-For-Pants Potter!”
“Shove it, Meading, I thought it was brilliant.”
“What, the part where he was completely mental or the bit where you could see—“
“Class is officially starting, boys, if you would be so kind as to give the chairs the honor of meeting your arses.”
Everyone immediately went silent except for that one boy with the big nose that had been sneezing ever since James had first met him on the train.
“Now, I’m assuming you all have done enough homework to realize that Transfiguration is fucking hard and, therefore, I don’t need to give an explanation. However, before I pass out these feathers for our first stab at making magic happen, I would like to congratulate Mr. Potter for giving me a reason to memorize his name before class even starts. I will warn you right now that I have little patience for memorizing names and will probably call you all by whatever nickname I feel like. Furthermore, I don’t give a damn about lame excuses or if Unibrow Meagan killed Mr. Body in the Potions classroom with a revolver. Although, I suppose, the Potions professor would, the wussy old bastard…”
“Isn’t Professor Edgecombe a young lady, though?”
“Still can be a wussy old bastard. Ok, time for Wingardium Leviosa! We’ll wait for this kid to stop sneezing.”
“I neber stop sneezig.”
“Great. That’s wonderful. We’re all going to have a wonderful few years together once I throw half of you out the window, I can tell. Also, in case you bunch of brilliant pipsqueaks haven't noticed, we're not shitting around with floating feathers. That's next class, I believe, so see if you can knock each other out. You all get to read this pretty little booklet I have about why you'd be mentally challenged to try to turn yourself into a minibar.”
James liked Professor Peebles. He would start writing her love poetry on his assignments within a week, and she would always reply with some snarky verse of her own, occasionally giving him detention so that the two of them could have an hour outside of class to talk about Quidditch over tea.
One day he showed some of the graffitied pages to Teddy, who merely raised his eyebrows (purple today) and shook his head a bit before returning to his book. “That’s kind of sick, mate. I wouldn’t show these to actual people—maybe portraits, to see how scandalized they’d get, but never to anyone you hope to associate with in the future.”
“That’s why I’m showing you! Aren’t they brilliant? I spent all of Charms thinking of the extended Lethifold metaphor. ‘The nighttime smothers me/I am being digested slowly/churning juices, all in my head/and then I realize I am dead, dead/for your love has sneaked up just so/I’m sorry, love, now I must go--’”
“—shut up, shut up, this is vile and you know it.”
“Do not try to stifle my muse,” James said, feigning being hurt and curling closer to Teddy. Only he could get away with such a thing, in the Hufflepuff common room no less. He had snuck in so many times already that Teddy’s housemates had started informing him of any password changes to save everyone the hassle.
“Consider it stifled,” Teddy replied, but he was already absorbed in the book again.
James poked Teddy in the ear with his wand.
“You’re doing it again.”
“The thing where you make me feel less significant than a book.”
Rubbing his temples and thwarting off another poke, Teddy spoke in a slow, well-enunciated way that even James couldn’t pretend to misinterpret. “I have classes to study for. I can’t spend every minute of my life talking to you, however enthralling your conversation matter is. Besides, it’s late. You need to go back. And here’s an idea,” he pushed on, trying to be as kind as possible. “Why don’t you arrange something to do with your other friends tomorrow night? We could both use some time apart.”
James’s face was the very model of longsuffering melodrama. “What are you saying, Teddy. That I’m not good enough for you and your books? Was it something I said, something I did? Or something I didn’t do? No, no, I’ll leave now, no more words from me. Obviously you’re not the man I thought I knew…that man was cool, handsome, generous with his ears when I spoke. Not a Ravenclaw reject that would rather go snog a History of Magic text than spend some time with his friend.
“It’s because I’m too young! I embarrass you! Say no more, dear Theodore, I’ve taken the hint. I know when my presence is not wanted. If only you knew the lengths—“
“Oh, be quiet, you ridiculous, ridiculous trout. I’m just trying to make you be more social with your classmates. I’m not going to be here forever.”
“But you’re here now,” James said stubbornly, his act over. “Can I spend the night?”
Dad (and Mum, and all the other little tykes if they can read yet),
I only got four letters from you last week. I am worried that someone got into a freak motorcopter accident on their broom or something so please please please return this letter with a good message ASAP or I might have to cry which would be very unmanly and sort of embarrassing now that everyone seems to think I have confidence the size of Maggy Brunwick’s behind ever since I showed up starkers that first day.
Oh, and I finally beat Teddy at Wizard’s Chess. Tell Uncle Ron that it is ON over Christmas.
Making you proud?,
James (and Teddy, who keeps saying I need to hire an editor and who currently has green hair that makes him look like a pudding covered with mold)
Pee Ess: Would you say that it’s a bad thing if, hypothetically, you and your female professor exchange love notes in a semi-regular basis as long as you know it’s in jest because
James and Teddy of the Fungi,
We are not dead. You mom said we need to “wean” you off letters, since the owls are looking a bit under the weather lately. I think it’s just because yours is ready to lay an egg, but she won’t hear it.
Do not try to seduce your teachers.
How old is she?
EEW HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! WHY IS IT GONNA HAVE A BABY?
Pee Ess: I asked her and she gave me another detention. I also got a wink, though, so I think it means she brought cake this time. I’d say maybe forty thousand and six.
We’ll, er, talk about this over break. I’d rather not in a letter.
Better yet, ask Teddy.