(Blackjack09) Part the Ninth

You’re gonna catch a cold From the ice inside your soul.  So don’t come back for me, Don’t come back at all.

“Jar of Hearts,” Christina Perri

Harry hadn’t cared who was staring as he unstrapped Teddy from the bed and quickly lifted him in his arms, grabbing the stuffed wolf in his hand as well as a strange doll that looked like a Muggle clown except somehow friendlier.  A Pierrot, perhaps. 

“There now, Teddy,” Harry said gently, although the boy was clearly asleep.  “I’m here.  You’re safe now.”

One of the men in robes had several bags on his back and Harry smiled at him gratefully.

“You can just give those to Bruce,” he said, indicating Bruce with a tilt of his head.  “Thank you.”

“Not at all, Harry,” the man said, grinning, causing a jolt of jealousy to run through Bruce at the familiar manner of address.  “And don’t worry.  Gringotts made me sign a full confidentiality agreement as well as take an oath that I had no idea what was going on.”

“Trust them to be thorough,” Harry said with a grin before turning back to Teddy, brushing his lilac hair away from his forehead and kissing the top of his head gently.  “Thank you, Bill.”

The man—Bill—nodded his head once, and then walked over to Bruce, handing over a backpack and two small suitcases.  He was far too handsome for Bruce’s liking even with the hideous scars on his face, was built strongly, and had a mass of auburn hair on his head that was pulled back in a ponytail.  A wedding band was also on his left hand, much to Bruce’s relief.

“I’m assuming you want all of us Obliviated?” Bill asked, turning back to Harry who was still cooing over his godson.  He looked over at Bruce with an assessing gaze. 

“Yes,” Harry answered grimly, looking up momentarily.  “I’m sorry, Bill.”

“I would do the same if I were in your position and someone had done the same to one of my children, and we all knew it would probably happen when we accepted the placement this morning.”

“Fleur must not be happy,” Harry remarked, holding out his hand to Bruce, which held the toys and was simultaneously supporting Teddy.  Bruce quickly walked over and took them.

Bill looked at Bruce long and hard again.  “Fleur doesn’t know.  You, Muggle,” he said sharply.  “If you hurt Harry in any way I will find you and I will kill you.  I consider him my little brother, and your wealth and position won’t protect you.”

Bruce glared at him for a long moment and then nodded in understanding.  “Perhaps you should start with this Andromeda Tonks.”

A small smile cracked across Bill’s marred face.  “She’s already in custody,” he replied smugly and then glanced at Harry.  “He’s a good sort.”

“I wouldn’t be here if he weren’t,” Harry whispered in response, and then turned to go, cradling Teddy against him carefully.

With one long last look at Bill, Bruce followed him, thankful that there was a member of staff who had followed them up and was now holding the door open to Harry.  “Have the car called immediately,” Bruce instructed, and the man nodded once, taking out his phone.  If the man proved to be discrete, Bruce would have to find out his name and possibly promote him.  Men like that didn’t come along that often and with Harry and Teddy in his life, Bruce needed loyal employees who could keep their confidence and serve the family well.

Lucius, fortunately, was waiting for them back at reception, and Bruce smiled at his old friend.  “I need a new company directive put into place,” he said quickly.  “No silver.  Anywhere, and that includes employees’ jewelry, to go into effect immediately starting tomorrow.  I’ll need random searches done and there’s only one second chance.  I want nothing hurting Teddy.”

“Of course, Mr. Wayne,” Lucius answered calmly, taking out a notepad.  “An email will be sent out immediately.”

“Forward me a copy.  I’ll need to send it out to the managers of my other businesses before the end of the day.  Thank you, Lucius.”

“As I said, Mr. Wayne, family comes first.”  He looked at the receptionist who was now hanging up the phone.  “It appears your car has arrived, Mr. Wayne. Goodnight to the three of you.” 

Bruce smiled at him as he followed Harry out, who had been staring out the window worriedly a little way away during the entire conversation, and then helped Harry put Teddy in the back of the car so he wasn’t jostled at all.

“He’s beautiful,” Bruce whispered during the ride, reaching out and resting his hand on the back of Harry’s neck.  He tilted his head to the side.  “Are you sure you’re not actually related?”

Harry laughed quietly, looking up at Bruce for a moment, before turning back to the seven-year-old boy in his arms.  “Distantly,” he admitted.  “Andromeda is my second cousin.  It’s complicated.”

“You have similar facial structure,” Bruce added, leaning forward and tracing Teddy’s cheek lovingly.  “If he had black hair, you could even be father and son by blood.”

“Oh, he probably will have black hair at some point, though his mother always favored colors that you wouldn’t naturally find, as I see Teddy does.” He stroked the tufts of lilac.  “His father,” he looked up hesitantly at Bruce.  “His father belonged to a tribe of sorts.”

“All right,” Bruce answered carefully, uncertain what exactly Harry meant.

Harry sighed distractedly.  “His—people—had different customs.  Teddy will probably be stronger than most boys his age and also is allergic to silver like Remus’s people were.  Teddy may also express certain emotions in different ways that might seem—shocking.”

“Such as?” Bruce asked, his brow furrowed.  When Harry hesitated, he leaned forward and kissed Harry’s scar reverently.  “Explain it as best you can.”

“They’re kind of like gypsies,” he said finally, “or Native Americans.  They believed they were descended from wolves, and so much of their mannerisms within the family are wolf-like.  And I won’t make Teddy change—“

“No, of course not,” Bruce breathed out, fear gripping him.  “Not at all.  If I see something strange, I’ll tell you or ask you about it.”

Harry breathed out in relief.  “Thank you,” he murmured, leaning up and kissing Bruce briefly, his face tinged pink as he turned away a second later to look at Teddy.  “He’s much too thin.”

“It’s the poison,” Bruce reasoned sadly.  “We’ll get it out of his system and get the best doctor for him, and once he becomes accustomed to his new life, he’ll start to eat again.”

“I should change,” Harry remarked, and glanced back at Bruce.  “It’s silver colored.”

Teddy finally awoke briefly in the elevator, and instantly arched his head up toward Harry and made a soft whine from the back of his throat. 

“Hi, there,” Harry whispered.  “You’re in America.  You’re safe.  Nothing and no one is ever going to hurt you again.”

Teddy’s blue eyes looked up at Harry, drinking in his form, and he squirmed upward, his face tilting upward.

Seeming to understand, Harry leaned down and gently nudged his nose against Teddy’s.  “You’re safe,” he whispered again.  “Safe.”

The elevator opened and Bruce walked out, holding it open for Harry and Teddy before accompanying them to the penthouse.  A moment later and the door was swept open for them and Alfred was taking the bags from Bruce carefully.  “Master Wayne, Master Harry, and young Master Teddy,” he greeted solemnly, smiling at the boy who was looking around him tiredly.  “I have some hot chocolate if young Master Teddy would like it, as well as pumpkin juice, which I understand is often a favorite among young men his age.”

Harry smiled at him gratefully.  “Thank you, Alfred.”

“Not at all, sir.  I went to that particular shopping district you favor for young Master Teddy’s sheets and posters, and thought I’d pick up a few drinks and foods he might enjoy—including Chocolate Frogs.”

“Chocolate Frogs?” Bruce asked in confusion, and Alfred nodded at him.

“As well as Cauldron Cakes and Pumpkin Pasties,” he continued.

Teddy’s blue eyes widened in surprise and glee.

“Pumpkin juice for now,” Harry decided and then carefully carried Teddy into the main living area.  He settled his godson on the couch, propping him up with pillows and covering him with a blanket Alfred quickly provided.  A moment later and Bruce was handing over the wolf and Pierrot. 

Teddy looked him over suspiciously before clasping them to him tightly.

Alfred then brought over a tray with a glass of what Bruce assumed was pumpkin juice as well as shortbread, which Harry accepted with a smile. 

“Can you drink anything?” Harry asked carefully, holding out the juice to Teddy’s lips.  “I know you’re tired, and it’s late for you.”

“Daddy,” Teddy rasped out and Harry smiled at him gently.

“I’m here,” he promised, “and I’m not going anywhere ever again.”

“Swear,” Teddy whispered, his eyes full of unshed tears.  “Swear, Daddy.”

Harry took a deep breath.  “I swear on my life that I will never go anywhere ever again.”

Teddy shook his head sharply.  “Not like that.  Not like a human.  They lie.  They always lie.”

Bruce looked up at Alfred in confusion, who in turn seemed completely calm at Teddy’s words. 

“Moonlet,” Harry whispered desperately, reaching his face forward and nuzzling the side of Teddy’s cheek, making snuffling sounds that brought a small smile to Teddy’s tear-stained face.  “Drink some pumpkin juice and eat a biscuit, and then I’ll swear the way you want me to.”

Teddy nodded and then glanced at Alfred suspiciously, who was sitting near the tray.

“This is Alfred, his mother was a Squib,” Harry explained to Teddy carefully, accepting the plate that Alfred held out to him and offering Teddy a cookie.

Carefully, Teddy grasped it in his fingers and nibbled it carefully, allowing Harry to place the glass of pumpkin juice at his lips a moment later. 

“Sorry,” he muttered toward Alfred, confusing Bruce even more.

“Not at all, young Master Teddy,” Alfred responded with a slight smile.  “If I hadn’t been a Squib of sorts, I probably never would have met your father—or you—and that would have made me very sad as he’s the nicest man I’ve ever met.”

Teddy regarded him carefully for a long moment and then nodded, seemingly satisfied.  He took another drink of juice and then pushed it away, shaking his head.  “I feel sick,” he explained, sighing and clasping his Pierrot to him more closely.  “Who’s he?” he finally asked tiredly as he looked at Bruce.

“This is Bruce,” Harry explained carefully.  “He’s a Muggle.”

Teddy’s eyes widened.  “A real Muggle?”

“What’s a Muggle?” Bruce whispered to Alfred in confusion, but Teddy heard and laughed softly.

“He is, he is!” 

“I’ll explain later,” Harry said apologetically.  “And, yes, Teddy, he’s a real Muggle.”

“But why?” the little boy asked in confusion.  “Why would you have a Muggle?”

Bruce’s eyes furrowed in slight confusion, and Harry was momentarily speechless.  “Because,” Bruce answered carefully, looking Teddy directly in the eyes, “because I love your father more than anyone and, if you’ll let me, I’d like to love you, too, Teddy—and with your daddy, I’ll try to make sure no one ever hurts you again.”

Teddy looked at him for a long moment, and then turned back to Harry.  “Swear, like you promised,” he pleaded quietly, reaching out to Harry again.

“Of course,” Harry murmured and a moment later, Teddy had pushed his wolf and Pierrot away from him and arched his neck away from Harry, leaving it vulnerable.  “I’ll never leave you again,” Harry intoned quietly and a moment later, much to Bruce’s shock, he leaned forward and bit the neck carefully. 

As soon as he pulled away, Teddy had flung himself into Harry’s arms and was quietly sobbing on his shoulder, clasping Harry desperately to him.  “Daddy.  My daddy,” he whispered over and over again, breaking Bruce’s heart slowly.

“Shh, I’m here,” Harry promised, rocking him back and forth.  “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.  I love you, Moonlet.”

The boy quieted down and finally, after several long minutes, seemed to drop off to sleep in Harry’s arms. 

“Let’s get him to bed,” Bruce said carefully and Harry nodded distractedly, accepting Bruce’s help in getting up as he was carrying a heavy seven year old. 

“I hope he likes Quidditch,” Alfred said quietly as he led them further into the room, past a partition that had been put up around a double bed that had light blue sheets that showed small figures riding brooms.  Strangely, they didn’t seem to be witches but were instead wearing sports like capes and goggles.  Bruce supposed that this might be Quidditch, whatever that meant.  The two walls in the corner were covered with a poster showing a large dragon that seemed to twitch when Bruce stared at it for too long and a proud looking wizard creating sparks out of the end of his wand.

“It’s perfect,” Harry said gratefully, laying Teddy on the sheets.  Carefully, he tucked him in—Teddy was wearing a pair of dark blue pajamas—and Bruce leaned in and placed the wolf and Pierrot down beside him. 

There were two chests of drawers in the enclosed area, and one had a snow globe of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which made Bruce smile.  A moment later and Alfred appeared with Teddy’s bags and carefully began to unpack them, revealing several robes that were less elegant than Harry’s as well as a few books that had been packed.  They all had strange titles that confused Bruce.  A bag was filled with nothing but toys, a strange broomstick, and most of the gifts that Harry and Bruce had sent over the past month, carefully packed by someone who seemed to have guessed they were important to Teddy.  Lastly, Alfred removed a stack of letters that were carefully tied in a ribbon, the top letter in a sloppy hand that was clearly addressed to Teddy at The Grange.

Harry sighed and smiled, reaching out for them and tracing the lettering as if he recognized it.

“Someone you know?” Bruce asked, wrapping an arm around Harry’s waist, thankful when Harry leaned into him a moment later.

“A friend who promised to look after Teddy,” Harry answered carefully.  He looked over at Teddy.  “He was like my older brother, more than Bill could ever be.  Bill, well, he was my best mate’s brother, and I only met him a few times and well, my friend did everything he could to protect me from Crane, being punished brutally for it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where Teddy got the clown.”

“Where is he now?” Bruce asked, kissing Harry’s temple lovingly as Alfred set the room to rights.

Harry shrugged.  “If only I knew.  He would have been the only person I contacted, but he was in and out of Arkham.  I never knew his real name,” he added sadly.

“That’s everything,” Alfred said quietly and set down the unfinished glass of pumpkin juice by Teddy’s bedside.  “I’ll go and finish supper for the two of you.”

“Thank you, Alfred,” Bruce said with a smile, pride swelling through him at the idea of having dinner for the first time with both Harry and Teddy there at home with him. 

Harry walked forward quietly and carefully kissed Teddy on the forehead before nudging him with his nose.  “Sleep well, Moonlet,” he murmured.

As if sensing his presence, Teddy arched forward, bearing his neck again in his sleep, and Harry nipped at it lightly, kissing the hurt away a moment later.

“My cub,” he promised.  Straightening up, he looked over to Bruce and held out his hand, inviting him closer. 

Bruce stepped forward and sat at the edge of the bed, reaching forward hesitantly and brushing away Teddy’s lilac hair from his eyes.  “Goodnight,” he murmured, leaning down and kissing Harry’s son for the first time.  “All of Gotham waits for you, its new prince,” he promised before getting up and leading Harry from the makeshift room.

The overhead lights had been turned off in the penthouse and Alfred had lit candles for the table, giving their home a comforting and romantic feeling to it. 

“Prince of Gotham?” Harry asked as he sat down tiredly on the couch.

“I, like my father before me, am considered the Prince of Gotham.  It’s a Wayne legacy.”

Harry smiled at him. 

“And he’s your son,” Bruce explained quietly, “and I want to spend the rest of my life with both of you.”

“I’ve never had a family before,” Harry answered, leaning against Bruce as the enormity of what happened that day caught up with both of them.  “Only Teddy and he was always so far away.”

“We have one now,” Bruce promised.  “All we need is a dog and a white-picket fence.”

Harry laughed.  “A cat,” he answered automatically.  “I need to check Salem’s school regulations, but if it’s anything like where I went to school, dogs aren’t allowed. Teddy would probably view having a dog like some type of slavery.  Cats are allowed, though—and certain types of birds.”

“A cat then,” Bruce agreed, “when he’s settled perhaps a little more.”

“Yes,” Harry agreed.  “I don’t want to overwhelm him.  He’ll need to get used to both of us and the idea that we’re not going to poison him for some reason.”

“Do you have any idea why they did it, Blackjack?” Bruce asked carefully, running his fingers through Harry’s hair.

“Hatred or prejudice,” Harry responded after a long pause.  “Then again, I’m only guessing, but people hate his father’s people.  Teddy isn’t really one of them, his mother was an outsider, though there was a chance that he’d inherit everything.”

Bruce was silent, just listening to Harry as he breathed in deeply, holding him closer when he shifted against him.

“Andromeda seemed to accept Remus, though, when he married Tonks—Teddy’s mother.  I don’t know why she would turn in hatred on her own grandson.  I can understand the children and the children’s parents in the pictures, but Dromeda and Ginny just defy reason.”

“It’s over now,” Bruce promised.  “He’s here, and he’s safe.  And we’ll make sure he gets better.”

“He’s too young,” Harry said, sadness deepening his voice.  “Far too young for this sort of persecution.” 

Bruce could only hum in agreement, kissing the top of Harry’s head.

Dinner was quiet, neither one of them wanting to wake Teddy although Harry had gone over to Teddy’s room briefly while carrying the Deathstick and turned up a few minutes later, saying that they probably wouldn’t disturb him if they spoke a little louder.  At Harry’s quiet insistence, Alfred had joined them, all three of them clearly thinking of Teddy as they ate the roast chicken Alfred had prepared for them.

“Does he need Wolfsbane, Master Harry?” Alfred asked quietly as he began to take away the dishes.  “I went to a pharmacy and got price quotes on it, in case.”

“No, fortunately,” Harry answered with a sad smile, which darkened. 

“Very good, sir.  Goodnight,” Alfred said quietly, leaving them in peace.

Harry stared into the candlelight, shadows flickering across his face and distorting the sanity in his green eyes.  “Gods, sometimes I hate Remus.”

“Why?” Bruce asked, reaching out and taking Harry’s hand in his own, squeezing it gently as Harry’s dark green eyes met his.

“I was seventeen when I found out Tonks was pregnant,” he admitted.  “Remus was trying to abandon her and Teddy because—because he thought Teddy would be like him.  He only returned because I forced him to.  Told him my dad would be ashamed of him for even thinking of leaving his wife and child because of his own self-loathing.  He never wanted Teddy.  I think he didn’t fight hard enough in the end of the war.  He just didn’t want Teddy, the burden of a son being born into it all.”

“It’s over now,” Bruce soothed.  “Teddy will be wanted and loved by us.  You’re already the person he considers his dad—not Remus.”

Harry offered him a half-smile.  “It’s strange how they fell apart, the Marauders—my father and his friends.  Peter betrayed Dad and got him and Mum killed, Sirius locked in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and then murdered by his cousin, and Remus.  Teddy and I are the only two left.  The last of the Marauders.”

“And you will continue on,” Bruce promised.  “He loves you, Harry.  Desperately.  I could see it in his eyes, even though he distrusts humans.”

Harry snorted out a laugh.  “Yes, he does—and the irony is that he is fully human, with a few quirks.”

“Yes, well, I’m a Muggle apparently, and Alfred a Squib, whatever that means.”  He stood up slowly and reached down for Harry, an invitation in his eyes.

Carefully, Harry stood, cracking his back as he stretched out his tired muscles.  “I promise I’ll tell you soon,” he said, looking Bruce fully in the eyes.  “There are laws against it—but if you’re really going to help parent Teddy, you’ll need to know.”  He paused thoughtfully.  “Actually, I don’t think I can tell you unless you adopt him legally, though that should be easy enough through our government.”

“Strange laws,” Bruce mused, wondering exactly what Harry was talking about, but knowing that it was only a part of the greater mystery that surrounded his past.

“It’s for our safety,” Harry whispered.  “There have been so many deaths, so much fear, and we’re just people who know there is more to the world than you see.”  He looked up and tilted his head up, asking silently for a kiss.

Carefully, Bruce leaned down and claimed his lips, reaching up with a hand and gently cupping his cheek, delighting in the soft pressure of Harry’s lips against his own and the feel of his breath puffing out against his cheek.  After several long moments, he pulled back and looked into Harry’s eyes.  “I love you so much, Blackjack.  Nothing will ever change that.”

Harry sighed and leaned into the touch.  “Even if I tell you the impossible has always existed?”

“Even then,” Bruce promised, leaning forward and kissing Harry once again.  “Even then, Blackjack.”

Leaning away, Bruce blew out the candles on the table, plunging the penthouse into darkness except for a lone candle that was placed next to their bed.  Harry was little more than an outline in the blackness and a moment later Bruce was startled when Harry reached up and kissed him desperately, his lips opening up invitingly. 

Bruce quickly pulled Harry closer, burying one hand in Harry’s hair and then a moment later, pulling away and tugging Harry’s glasses away from his face and tossing them onto the table, only to feel Harry’s mouth on him again, sucking on his bottom lip, bringing a moan from the back of his throat.  Feeling Harry arching against him was heavenly and when Harry’s tongue slid into his mouth, he had to keep himself from groaning again, not wanting to disturb Teddy who was sleeping on just the other side of the wide open room. 

His tongue met Harry’s confidently, swiping against it teasingly before retreating again, letting Harry explore his mouth to his heart’s content.  With a soft moan, Harry pulled away, his head angled up and breathing deeply.

“Is this what it feels like?” he asked quietly, his eyes somehow shining in the near-darkness.  “Falling in love?”

Bruce’s heart skipped and he reached forward and placed his hand on Harry’s beating heart. 

“I think so,” Bruce said, trying to calm his own heart that was racing through his chest.  “I’ve only ever fallen in love with you, after all,” he whispered, smiling as he leaned forward and kissed Harry’s bruised lips gently. 

“Not any of those other women in the papers?” Harry asked, arching up and hooking his hand at the back of Bruce’s neck.

“They were decoys,” Bruce explained.  “Who would suspect a playboy billionaire who parties all night of being the Batman?”

“True,” Harry sighed, leaning up and kissing Bruce slowly again.

Bruce kissed him back just as thoroughly.

That night, Bruce was awakened when a small body wormed its way between him and Harry.  He sighed in happiness as he opened his eyes and saw Teddy looking back up at him.

“Your daddy’s sleeping,” he whispered, leaning forward and kissing Teddy’s hair—it seemed to be pink.

An arm snaked across Teddy and pulled him into Harry’s chest.  “Supposedly,” he mumbled tiredly, nudging Teddy with his nose behind his ear. 

Teddy sighed in contentment and Bruce smiled, letting sleep claim him again.  Everything was as it should be.

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