Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you - Run, Snow Patrol.
Teddy didn't understand what was going on. One minute he was falling asleep with Louis at his side, their hands joined as though they belonged that way, and the next he was standing over the bed, watching Louis cry on his shoulder.
Was this supposed to happen?
He watched everything around him as if it was all part of a play; it didn't feel real. It couldn't be real. He was meant to die, he did die from what he could tell, but why was he like this? He seemed like a ghost, yet no one could see him; he was more like a ghost he had read about in Muggle stories. A haunted spirit, forced to wonder the earth in search of his unfinished business. But what was his unfinished business? And how was he supposed to know what it was if no one could see him?
Is this what happens to all ghosts before they become, well, ghosts?
Did he have to go through this alone, until he figured it out and could be seen? Teddy sincerely hoped not.
So, he stayed and he watched; he watched his body being taken away to prepare for his funeral; he watched his family cry; he watched Harry try to be strong and handle everything while his grandmother tried to fight off more tears, eternally grateful she had his godfather; he watched Louis curl up in a ball on the bed until his father had to force him out of the room; he watched Louis stare aimlessly at nothing, to numb to do a thing, while everyone else got ready.
He watched Louis break.
It was the day of the funeral when Harry finally told him the truth; why Teddy was gone. It was going to come up in his speech, that Teddy died because he was good, because he did what he knew was right, and he wanted Louis to know first, he felt his nephew should know from him personally, not like that.
Teddy wished he could thank the man who had helped raise him. But Louis didn't take it so well. "How could you?"
That was the first time Louis had uttered a word since that morning last week and there was a spark in his eyes, a small reminder to everyone around him that he was still alive, still breathing, but they were filled with such sadness, such disappointment in the man stood in front of them, that Harry couldn't even argue his case, remind the blond of his promise. He just let Louis push past him, and make his way into the church.
"Please don't blame Harry for not telling you," Teddy pleaded to deaf ears. "It's not his fault, it's mine; I told him not to, I made him promise me." Teddy stopped in the middle of the aisle, even though Louis continued to walk away. "You know you just would have been angry if he had told you earlier; you'd have pushed past him like you did a moment ago, gone straight to me and demanded to know why. So don't blame Harry when it's me you're pissed at!"
Teddy let out a low growl and balled his hands into fists. He felt like an immature child; he wanted to stamp his foot and scream at the world for being cruel like he did when he was five and his grandmother wouldn't let him have sweets before dinner. But he didn't care, being dead didn't do a thing to curb his anger and he had to let it out. "What's the point of all this if no one can fucking see me!"
He didn't receive an answer. All it did was leave him feeling emotionally drained and tired. He swallowed down all the guilt he felt build up for yelling at Louis, even if the man would never know of it, and followed him to his seat. He wondered briefly what would happen if he were to sit next to Louis; would people notice his presence if they were to sit on him or would they just go through him noticing absolutely nothing?
Teddy moved to the front, dropping himself to the floor; he'd sit opposite Louis instead. He didn't want to know what would happen. It wasn't worth knowing.
He didn't pay much attention to the funeral; he kept his eyes on the church full of people. He saw family, friends, friends of friends, work colleagues, people he couldn't remember or didn't even think he knew, they all came, whether to pay respects or to support loved ones and he felt nothing but gratitude for each and every face. No one would be alone in this, they wouldn't let each other.
At the very back, Teddy spotted his great aunt, Narcissa Malfoy. He didn't know her very well, had only met her a few times in his short life, and he knew she was here for her sister. They continuously tried to make their relationship better and, despite there still being issues between the two sisters, Teddy knew Andromeda would be forever grateful. Besides her stood her son and his wife, no doubt there for Narcissa, but also for their own son, who would be at the funeral for Teddy, as well as for James and Al.
Teddy scanned the room for Scorpius, finding him on the second row in front of him. He was stood on the brothers' right. Teddy kept his eyes on the boy, still marvelling over how quickly Scorpius had become friends with James and how close he had become with both brothers. He watched Lily take the young Malfoy's hand in her own, squeezing tightly as fresh tears slid down her pale, already tear-stained face. There were only a few people who knew of their relationship; it was new and private, but they had told him. Teddy found himself grateful for that. Her dark red hair was pulled back into a messy pony tail, only to keep it out of the way, and Teddy knew she hated it; she couldn't hide anything from people around her the way she usually did. Everyone could see the grief on her face, in her brown eyes. It killed Teddy to see it on her face. She was one of the strongest people he knew.
Another minute and his eyes were back at the front bench. Andromeda kept her gaze in front, refusing to show weakness around others, she wanted to stay strong. But Teddy knew her too well; he knew the small shakes of her shoulders and the movements of her jaw were her trying to hold the tears back. Harry stood beside her, his arms folded in front of him, with Louis and Dom on his right. He'd been watching the three the most throughout the funeral; right at that moment he hated that Louis could hold a grudge. He didn't want tension for any of them, but no matter how many times Harry tried to show some comfort Louis would pull away. Harry had given up after he had heard Louis whisper to his brother, given the situation Ted's only guess was him wanting to switch places.
Dom had shook his head, took his hand and told him everything would be alright instead. Dom was the other strong one in the family, probably stronger than Lily even, and Teddy wished he could count on the man to get through to Louis, to help him. But Dom had all but cut himself off from his family, from the world. The only people happily willing to still talk to him were Louis and his friend Kieron Nott, who Ted had noticed by the entrance.
The rest of the family had given up when Dom had; leaving only Louis and Kieron to make sure he slept when he needed it and ate when he should. But neither could stop his drinking and that was the problem. But Louis had not given up on his brother; Teddy could only hope Dom would return the favor.
Teddy stood up slowly, his eyes still trained on the surprisingly sober brother, when he heard people leaving; he was being buried. His body would lie to rest with his parents.
The walk to that final resting place seemed to be the longest of Teddy's life. Everyone gathered around except Nott, who stood apart from everyone else. They left him, not bothering to include him. The only thing Teddy hated when alive was the blame thrown on Dom's friend. Fleur acted as people assumed any mother would and blamed the other child for their own kid’s mistakes, calling Kieron a bad influence. But Ted's gut instinct told him that wasn't true and they didn't want to believe that.
Of all the days in the world, it was his funeral when he pitied Kieron Nott, not even for a moment thinking he should be feeling sorry for himself. But he wouldn't let that happen; it wouldn't bring him back.
He could hear James' words ring in his ears. You're too good, Ted.
One by one, the crowd began to thin, until only himself and Louis stood over his headstone. It was only small, with just his name and the dates of his birth and death to prove he was there, but Teddy didn't mind. He knew there was going to be a bigger one soon, with a message written on. His eyes moved away from the stone, flickering to his parents' stone. He wondered if this had happened to them or if they had crossed over naturally. Did they have unfinished business? Had they been stuck here, watching him grow up and knowing they couldn't talk to him?
He thought not, he hadn't seen them since he died. He wasn't sure if spirits could even see other spirits, but he hoped they had left peacefully, were happy in heaven or wherever ghosts went instead of staying. Teddy hoped there was a heaven, a better place for him after this.
The clouds rolled overhead, thunder was heard in the distance, and the sky began to darken. Louis hated storms and no one was there to talk to him through it. Finally turning to face the blond, he knew straight away that his features showed the same fears. Louis was stood by Teddy's side, his eyes on his name.
"It's gonna be okay, Lou," Ted said, despite knowing he couldn't be heard. He had to tell him anyway. "It'll get better, I promise. I know, I've seen it, and it does. When have I ever lied to you?"
Teddy shut his mouth quick; Louis was mad at Harry because Teddy lied.
"I want to hate you," he whispered. "For God's sakes, Ted, you lied to me. I was with you when you died. I want to hate you for it, but I can't bring myself to," he wiped tears away. "Because I love you. I wanted to spend my life with you, properly and not as friends. God, I was going to tell you on your birthday."
Teddy's eyes widened at his words, disbelief about Louis' feelings mixed with confusion over his birthday being mentioned. He glanced back over to the small headstone, to the date of his death; April fourth. Which meant his birthday was on Friday, April eighteenth.
Then it made sense.
"I would have been thirty in a few days," he whispered, not surprised he had forgotten. He and Louis had talked about it for weeks, a simple party at a venue of their choice to celebrate with family and friends. Instead they'd come to his funeral. "I would have said yes."
"We could have been happy," Louis replied and Teddy thought for just a second that he had actually been heard. But Louis just turned and walked away and reality came back; Louis would never hear him. No one would.
Teddy watched Louis make his way back to Dom, who he realised had waited for his brother, and stared ahead in confusion.
He could have sworn Dom had been watching him.
A/N: Finally got chapter two up, I hope I've done it justice because it was so hard to write... Mainly because of my love for Teddy and Louis, my poor boys...