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Chapter 1: happily-ever-after
( he was five, and she was a princess. )
Come on, Teddy. The sound of her laugh was like a million tinkling glass beads – she sounded like a fountain of forever to him, endless and beautiful – and he was quite sure that the sound was his favorite thing in the world.
In fact, everything about her was his favorite thing in the world.
He realized that this might not be the most normal of emotions, but when you’re five and she’s four and nothing else matters, everything is okay.
Come on, Teddy, she pulled on his hand, play princess with me.
He made a sound of disgust, but inside he was sparkling with the feeling of her hand in his. She widened her silver doe eyes at him, pouting her pretty pink lips.
Be my prince, Teddy. Pleading now, tugging on his hand with more intensity. Please Teddy, be my prince.
So he saved her from a dragon.
And they lived happily-ever-after.
( he was eight, and she was the only exception to the cootie rule. )
He didn’t like Bethany. He didn’t like her one bit. He didn’t like her boring brown hair, or her loud laugh, or her crinkly brown eyes, or the way Victoire liked playing with her so much.
In fact, he was quite positive that Bethany had a horrible case of cooties and should be avoided at all costs.
After all, he wouldn’t want Victoire to get infected.
Ew, no way, Bethany! That’s gross!
He glanced up when he heard her voice. Maybe she had come to her senses after all!
But Victoire was laughing with Bethany, her nose crinkled in amused mortification. He couldn’t help but smile a little bit – he did rather like that crinkling. It was so Victoire, and he couldn’t think of having her any other way, because she was his nose-crinkling, giggling, squealing, laughing, sparkling best friend.
Oh come on, Victoire, please? It’ll be fun!
So the two girls had approached the boy, giggling the whole time with a nervous sort of excitement.
Teddy, Bethany could barely get the name past her lips, and he inched farther away to avoid infection, Teddy, Victoire wants to marry you!
Victoire squealed and hit her friend, who erupted into a fit of giggles.
She glanced at him shyly from under her eyelashes, and he grinned with a boyish burst of energy.
Of course I’ll marry you, Victoire.
So he put a plastic ring on her finger and kissed her happily on her blushing cheek.
And they lived happily-ever-after.
( he was eleven, and she was losing her best friend. )
Come on, Victoire, just one more year!
At this, she cried harder into his shirt, and he looked up with a distinctly lost expression, silently begging someone to save his poor, tactless self.
He never did like it when she cried.
It made him feel helpless.
And also like he was breaking a little bit in the heart area.
People like Victoire, he reckoned, should never have to cry. Because she was like a fallen angel, and he was a little boy in love, and everything was right and perfect and beautiful.
Please don’t go, Teddy, Victoire sobbed against his collar, Please don’t leave me.
He felt his heart break a little more. Maybe he didn’t have to go to Hogwarts…
I’ll be back before you know it.
She looked up at him, heartbreakingly beautiful, and he almost caught his breath in wonder.
So he promised her forever.
And they figured out a happily-ever-after.
( he was fourteen, and she was curious. )
Why not, Teddy?
Because it’s weird, Victoire – you’re my best friend!
It’s not a big deal. We’re just experimenting.
He sighed, because it really was a big deal, and thirteen years of waiting for a kiss just didn’t cut it when the kiss he finally got would be one ‘just to see what it felt like.’
Victoire… Except she was looking up at him with that expression that she knew made him melt a little bit inside.
Come on, Teddy. Please?
Why me? He asked her instead, his eyes probing into hers. At this all of her fearlessness fell away and she blushed deeply, sending her gaze towards their feet. He wasn’t okay with that, he realized – he liked having her endless eyes looking right into his. The rich silvery-blue – with the texture of a spiderweb glistening with morning dew – was a shocking color, and if he looked into it long enough, he almost could feel himself falling.
But she always caught him just in time.
Because you’re my prince, and you promised me forever.
So he held her face between his hands and kissed her as softly as he could.
And as her lips moved timidly against his, he soared on the inside, happily-ever-after.
( he was sixteen, and she was heartbroken. )
He hated it when she cried. He really, honestly hated it. If he could run through the world and get rid of all the things that made her cry, he would do it without a second thought.
He missed her smile. He missed her happiness. He missed her sparkle and her iridescence and all of her flawed perfection. She was perfect because she was Victoire. And nothing could change that about her.
Please don’t cry, Victoire. He gently pushed her curls away from her face, his heart cracking as another tear rolled down her face.
I can’t help it. She hunched her shoulders inwards. He hated that she cared so much about another boy – if he left her, then he clearly didn’t matter at all.
He wasn’t worth it. He tried again.
But I loved him, Teddy. I really did. And she raised her earnest, tear-streaked face to his, and he was sure that the ache in his chest had never been stronger. He wanted, in that moment, to just tell her – tell her that she was his everything, that she meant the world and more to him, that he would do anything for her because he loved her, oh Merlin he loved her so much it almost hurt.
But with all of those words pounding around in his heart, he found himself unable to utter a single sound. The feeling was overwhelming, and he was speechless – because he wasn’t even sure if there were words. But he was a Best Friend, and Best Friends always knew just the right thing to say, even when they were struggling with a million other words that needed to escape.
Maybe if you smile for me, I’ll take you to the kitchens and we can get some ice cream.
She looked up with a childlike hope, still sniffling slightly. Chocolate?
He couldn’t help but grin at how incredible she was. If I’m feeling generous, I might even let you cry on my favorite shirt some more.
So, almost helplessly, she smiled for him.
And they ate three tubs of ice cream and felt as though they could achieve that happily-ever-after.
( he was seventeen, and she missed him. )
How’s Auror training? Uncle Harry says you’re having a lot of fun, but I heard it’s really hard. Don’t hurt yourself, klutzy. When are you coming back? Hogwarts isn’t the same without you. Please come visit me soon. I miss you.
He unfolded and folded the note over and over again, wishing that he could do something, wishing that he knew just the right thing to say to her. I can’t come, I’m too busy, just didn’t seem the right thing to say, no matter how truthful.
After all, he knew in his heart that he could never be ‘too busy’ for Victoire.
He could have been Atlas and he would drop the world from his shoulders without a second thought if she called.
Victoire – I miss you too. I’ll surprise you with a visit when you least expect me. Study for your NEWTs so we can be Auror Partners together, okay? NO PRATTY BOYS. I swear I’ll hex him this time. Cheers, Teddy.
Every time he signed off, he started off with ‘love’, but always changed it last minute. Why? He wasn’t sure why. But he was quite sure that he made the most cowardly Gryffindor Auror in existence.
So he folded the note, tucked it into his pocket, and charged headfirst into the practice battle.
And as he stunned someone away from his teammate, he wondered when he was finally going to get his happily-ever-after.
( he was nineteen, and she was frustrated. )
He wasn’t sure why, but she was.
Annoyed, that is.
He glanced at her nervously from under his fringe of hair again, but she was sitting in front of him, arms crossed, a definite pout to her lips as her usually warm eyes (but now stone cold) stared resolutely in front of her.
He wished he could make it better. Whatever it was, he didn’t like it because it made her mad. He loved happy Victoire so much more – she glimmered with life, and it was infectious and impossible to stay away from her glow.
He pushed his pasta around his plate and glanced up at her again. She looked more beautiful than usual, he noticed – there was a slight blush to her cheekbones, a little sparkle on her eyelids, a little dark blue on her lower lid. Her eyelashes were a bit longer, her lips a bit more plump, and her clothing just a bit nicer.
He was confused.
He also felt rather trollish in comparison, wearing nothing more than a pair of jeans and a simple dark blue collared shirt.
Er, Victoire? Is something wrong? He wished his voice didn’t come out so timid-sounding. She merely gave him another exasperated look and continued to stare around the restaurant.
Maybe she didn’t like fancy restaurants, Teddy thought desperately, abandoning all pretence and just outright staring at her face.
She brought her annoyed look to his face again. What?
What’s wrong? He searched around her face again.
She sighed, her eyes softening a little bit. Nothing, I guess.
Well, it’s obviously something. Why couldn’t she just tell him?
Well, you obviously don’t care. She didn’t sound mean or bitter, just resigned.
He was shocked either way. Of course I care, Victoire! You’re my best friend.
She sighed. I know.
So, what’s wrong?
Don’t worry about it.
She shook her head, a slightly trembly smile at her mouth, and put some pasta in her mouth, swallowing as she reached for her glass of water. He reached out and stopped her hand just in time, trapping it against the table under his. Her eyes flew to his face.
I am worrying about it, because I do care and I don’t like it when you’re upset. Please tell me what’s wrong.
She took a deep, prim breath and dropped her eyes back to the table.
He almost wanted to reach across and push her chin up again, because he didn’t like not being able to look at her eyes. But he stopped himself, because that was something that he just knew he could never do.
Excuse me, I’m so sorry for interrupting –
His eyes latched onto a lady who was smiling in front of their table.
Not a problem; can I help you? He kept his voice polite, but he wanted nothing more than to go back to Victoire. Her hand was soft and warm under his, and he had to restrain himself from brushing his thumb back and forth against the skin.
I just wanted to tell you that you two make the most beautiful couple I have ever seen. The lady smiled indulgently again, and he froze, shooting a horrified look to Victoire, hoping she couldn’t figure out that he loved her and that the lady’s words had affected him more than anything.
Oh! Oh, we’re not – she’s not – we’re just – he stuttered helplessly. She’s my best friend. We’re – we’re best friends.
The lady’s grin slid off her face almost simultaneously with Victoire yanking her hand out from under his. He looked over at her, but she had turned her face away.
I’ll see you tomorrow, Teddy. Thanks for dinner, it was…fun.
Her voice was flat, and his heart ached.
But she fled the restaurant so fast he could barely see it.
She loves you, you know.
The lady was still standing there, and he turned a bewildered gaze onto her.
Of course it’s not impossible.
But he knew it was, because she was beautiful, endless, effervescent Victoire and he was just Teddy.
Trust me. She loves you.
He glanced at the lady again. She was looking expectantly at him.
So he thanked her breathlessly, dropped some money on the table, and ran out of the door.
And he chased his happily-ever-after.
( he couldn’t think past his heartbeats, and she was crying. )
Why didn’t you tell me?
He winced as the words left his mouth – he could have started this conversation off a million better ways. But with Victoire around, he never really was that great at thinking. His brain usually felt kind of mushy.
She shook her head and two more tears rolled down her face. I ruined everything, Teddy, I’m so sorry.
He blinked in shock. What?
I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you. I ruined our friendship – you’re never going to want to talk to me again –
That’s all he could say. Just Victoire. But Victoire meant so much more to him – it meant ‘I love you’, and ‘I trust you’, and ‘I’d give up the world for you’. But he didn’t know how to convey that to her. All he could think of was how perfect and whole this moment made him feel – how endless and free this knowledge made him. She loves me. She loves me, she loves me, she loves me, oh Merlin, she loves me.
He felt like he was turning to jelly again.
Victoire, remember when you were four, and you wanted me to play princess with you?
She shook her head, her face glistening with tears, her expression one of confusion. She was so beautiful that he almost forgot to breathe again.
I loved you then. He continued. She closed her eyes.
Remember when you were seven and we got married? I loved you then.
Remember when you were ten and I left for Hogwarts? I loved you then.
Remember when you were thirteen and I gave you your first kiss? I loved you then.
Remember when you were fifteen and whatshisface broke your heart? I loved you then.
Remember when you were sixteen and I was at Auror training? I loved you then.
There was heavy moment of silence.
So what in the name of Merlin, he started, sounding oddly furious, makes you think I don’t love you now?
She let out a breathlessly choked laugh, her expression incredulous and overjoyed and a million shades of perfection.
So he kissed her, and he dated her, and he married her.
And they finally lived happily-ever-after.
“My life isn’t measured by the breaths I take,
But the moments with you that take my breath away.”
-Fighting for Air, Far East Movement.
er...SURPRISE?! lol you probably hate me for writing something else instead of my insane number of novels i'm supposed to be writing. but it's okay - i'm furious at myself because i'm supposed to be studying and i'm writing at all instead.
REGARDLESS - i literally wrote this in an hour and kinda fell in love with it :) please tell me what you think!!