Title: The Otherworld Pairing: Teddy Lupin/Victoire Weasley Rating: 15+ Summary: ‘If you walk outside on All Hallows’ Eve and fail to return home before the rooster’s first crow, you’ll be doomed to live in the Otherworld forever.’ Wandering outside at night is never a good idea. Especially when it’s Hallowe’en. Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley will have to make it back to castle before sunrise, but will they stop fighting long enough to realise what is really going on?
October had passed in a haze of rainy mornings, dreary afternoons and cold and misty nights, and it seemed like All Hallows’ Eve wasn’t going to be any different. Raindrops ran down Hogwarts’s high, arch-shaped windows, their trails illuminated every now and then by lightening. The dark clouds that had shrouded the castle’s highest towers all day moved fast across the sky, carried on the stormy winds that howled around the castle.
Teddy Lupin felt miserable. He had for quite some time now. He wasn’t sure why, but what he did know was that he didn’t want to get to the bottom of it, as his date to the Hallowe’en dance, Olivia, had suggested. Some things, thoughts and territories were better left unexplored, and Teddy had a feeling that this was one of them.
For some reason, Teddy felt even worse tonight. In that aspect, the Hallowe’en dance had been the perfect way to end this perfectly dismal month of failures and rejections. It had, in short, been a miserable evening. He hadn’t had the faintest idea what to say to Olivia, and dancing had never been one of his hobbies, so the dance had pretty much been a disaster. To make matters worse, as Head Boy, he was not only obliged to stay until the very end of it; he also had to do rounds afterwards.
‘You’re dreadfully quiet tonight, Ted,’ Burgundy Albright, a seventh-year Hufflepuff and Head Girl, remarked as they took the stone stairs down to the fourth floor. She was still wearing the dress she had worn to the dance. Whenever they passed one of the high windows, the deep purple of her dress lit up in the moon’s yellow light.
She was slightly out of breath. Teddy assumed it was because of her short physique: she had to take two steps for every one he took. He forced himself to take smaller steps so that she could keep up more easily.
‘I haven’t got much to say, that’s all,’ he shrugged, not very eager to talk.
A gentle smile appeared on Burgundy’s heart-shaped face. ‘You don’t have to say anything. I was just curious.’
The silence that followed was punctuated only by the occasional crash of thunder and the echoing sounds of their own footsteps. Teddy felt marginally better when they descended the flight of stairs that led to the third floor – the last floor they had to patrol that night. The pale moonlight emphasised the long shadows in the corridor and bathed the marble steps of the stairs in a pearly glow.
Burgundy suddenly stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes wide. ‘What was that?’ She raised her wand-tip to the level of her eye, and aimed a bundle of light at the narrow corridor leading to the Trophy Room. Her dark brown eyes were narrowed in suspicion.
‘What was what?’ asked Teddy apprehensively, closing his fingers around his wand. He screwed up his eyes and peered into the dimly-lit hallway Burgundy had aimed her wand at. He couldn’t see a thing.
Burgundy seemed to hesitate. ‘It was probably nothing,’ she admitted, the smile on her face uncertain. ‘I just thought I heard something.’
‘It might’ve been Mrs Norris,’ Teddy suggested. ‘Neill Winters says she’s gone blind – she’s been bumping into all sorts of things this year.’
‘Mmm,’ Burgundy nodded, but didn’t sound very convinced. ‘Maybe.’
‘Peeves hangs around in these corridors, too,’ Teddy added, wishing they could just walk past the narrow corridor and finish their rounds.
Burgundy gave him an uncertain look, but eventually turned away from the corridor and nodded. The bright silver light that sprung forth from the tip of her wand faded to a light blue glimmer. ‘Yeah, I guess you’re right. It probably just was Mrs Norris.’
But as she turned away, Teddy caught sight of long, golden hair and a dark green dress, which disappeared behind the statue of a humpbacked witch a split second later. Victoire. He would recognise that wavy blonde hair anywhere, and he had watched her dancing in that dress all night, wrapped snugly in the arms of Ben Towlers. His heart lurched into his throat, a bitter anger rising in his stomach.
He caught up with Burgundy and, as casually as he could, said, ‘Burgundy? Would you mind patrolling the rest of the floor on your own? I don’t feel well.’
Burgundy gave him a concerned look. ‘You do look a little peaky,’ she agreed. ‘Perhaps it’s best if you crawl under the covers right away.’
Teddy gave her a faint smile. ‘Thanks. I’m very sorry - I’ll patrol on my own tomorrow, I promise.’
‘Nah, you’re grand,’ Burgundy smiled. ‘Now go get yourself into bed!’
Teddy nodded gratefully and hurried back to the stairs. He waited until the light of Burgundy’s wand had disappeared around the corner and he could no longer hear her footsteps. He then slinked into the narrow corridor where Burgundy had stopped mere moments ago. The humpbacked witch looked scarier than he remembered. Her hooked nose cast a long shadow across her face, and her single eye shone brightly in the light of his wand.
Teddy stepped closer and inspected the statue. He was certain he had seen Victoire here, but she had disappeared in less than a second. She had not yet mastered Apparition and Disapparition, and even if she had, Disapparition on Hogwarts grounds wasn’t possible. She had to have disappeared in another way.
Teddy let the light of his wand trail down the statue of the humpbacked witch, scrutinising every little detail. The soft blue light penetrated the darkness behind the statue. Teddy took another step and aimed the light at the wall behind the statue. Where solid wall should have been, a narrow, waist-high entrance to a dark passageway was hidden, obscured from view almost completely by the witch’s hump.
Worming his way past the statue, Teddy climbed into the corridor, relieved when the waist-high passageway grew large enough to fit his tall posture. He could’ve sworn he saw a fading glimmer of light in the distance, and the spark of curiosity that had set him down this path flickered up.
He rushed through the corridor, his feet barely touching the stone ground as he hurried towards the light.
And then, all of a sudden, it was gone.
He was momentarily seized by an irrational fear, but when he came closer to the spot where the light had disappeared, he noticed stairs and a closed trapdoor. He hesitated briefly. He had no idea whether or not he was still in the castle. For all he knew, this passageway had led him straight to the middle of the Forbidden Forest.
But if that was true, then Victoire could be in danger. If, he thought glumly, it really had been Victoire whom he had seen. But he had come too far, he decided, to give up now. And with his right hand clasped firmly around his wand, he climbed the stairs and opened the trapdoor.
He immediately knew he was nowhere near the Forbidden Forest. He seemed to be in a storage room of sorts, and judging by the huge, mouth-watering amounts of chocolate, fudge and sweets stacked up on the shelves, he had ended up in the cellar underneath Honeydukes, right in the centre of Hogsmeade.
He dropped the trapdoor, and the sound of the heavy wooden door hitting the floor rang through the air, startling even him. There was a rumbling upstairs, almost directly above him, and the cellar was unexpectedly flooded with bright, white light that seemed to come from the top of the stairs.
Before Teddy had time to react, a hand had pulled him backwards and down to the floor. Teddy’s eyes had not yet adjusted to the light when a cold, slender finger was pressed to his lips.
‘What are you doing here?’ a voice whispered in his ear. A shiver ran down his spine as he recognised it. ‘We’re going to get caught!’
‘What am I doing here?’ he whispered, glaring at Victoire Weasley’s pretty, oval face. ‘What are you doing here?’
He had half a mind to carry her down the stairs and drag her back down the corridor, but there was an urgent undertone in her voice that kept him from doing so.
Victoire’s big blue eyes were fixed on the large, rotund silhouette of Ambrosius Flume that had appeared in the doorframe above the stairs. ‘Who’s down there?’ he barked. ‘I know you’re there!’
Teddy’s heart skipped a beat – they couldn’t get caught. He grabbed Victoire’s arm tightly and pulled her closer to him so that they were hidden from Flume's view by two large crates filled with, judging by the sweet smell, caramelised apple slices. Victoire's slender body was warm against his.
‘Don’t let go off me now,’ Teddy whispered to Victoire, placing her hand on his arm. He closed his eyes, tried not to feel Victoire’s fingers digging into his flesh, and concentrated hard.
‘Rotten kids… if I get my hands on you, I'll…’ Flume’s voice echoed through the cellar. The rest of the sentence was lost as Teddy Disapparated, and took Victoire with him.
Victoire gasped, sucking her lungs full with air as they Apparated just outside of Hogsmeade. Her hands flew up to her face to check whether it was still intact. Teddy rubbed the tender spot on his arm, still feeling the imprints of Victoire’s fingers.
‘Teddy! You could’ve splinched us both!’ Victoire quickly checked whether all other parts of her body were still in place. ‘Imbecile,’ she muttered in French, her accent impeccable.
‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ Teddy said dryly, stepping away from her. ‘I was under the impression that I just saved us both a weeklong detention!’
‘I didn’t need any saving until you came along,’ Victoire snapped. ‘What were you doing there anyway? Did you follow me?’
Teddy’s eyes narrowed. ‘What if I did?’
‘You had no right, Teddy! No right whatsoever!’ Victoire’s eyes burned a bright blue. ‘What I do is my business, nobody else’s and definitely not yours.’
‘Your parents asked me to look after you, and that’s what I’m doing,’ Teddy retorted, squaring his shoulders.
‘That was back in first year. I no longer need to be looked after! I’ve grown up, in case you haven’t noticed!’
She couldn’t be more mistaken, and it hurt Teddy to hear her say those words. He had noticed, even though he had tried very hard not to.
‘Sneaking out of school to visit Honeydukes. Yeah, you’re all grown-up, Vicky,’ he bit back, his words laced with sarcasm. ‘That was a very mature thing to do.’
‘Oh, you think you’re all that, don’t you, Mr Head Boy?’ Victoire’s face was contorted in anger.
‘What you did was very reckless and irresponsible, and not to mention just downright foolish,’ Teddy persisted, his anger growing.
Her eyes shot daggers at him. ‘Fine, all right, whatever. What are you going to do about it? Dock some housepoints? Or wait, no, I know - you’ll send mum and dad a letter. Like you did when I went to Hogsmeade with Preston Nettle. Now that was a very mature thing to do.’
‘Victoire,’ he started, but she interrupted him.
‘No, don’t bother.’ She straightened her dress, the fabric rustling softly. ‘I’m going back.’
‘You can’t go back to Honeydukes. Flume will be watching the trapdoor like a hawk.’
She shot him a piercing look. ‘No, really?’ she sneered, one eyebrow arched. ‘Thanks for stating the obvious, Theodore. Where would I be without you?’ She threw her long, blonde hair over her shoulder and lit the tip of her wand. ‘I’ll just walk back to Hogwarts.’
‘We could Apparate to the gate and see if there’s any way to get in undetected,’ Teddy suggested, hurrying to catch up with her as she strode away from him, her head raised high.
‘And risk being splinched again?’ Victoire said snidely. ‘No offense, but no thanks.’
‘I didn’t get my license for being splinched, you know,’ Teddy shot back, taking large steps to keep up with her. ‘I’m perfectly capable of Apparition.’
He briefly considered Apparating to the Hogwarts gates by himself, but it would mean leaving Victoire behind, and although she annoyed him to no end, he would die rather than let something happen to her.
They walked on, the angry silence between the two of them growing heavier with the minute.
The ground was soggy from a month’s worth of rain. The thin heels of Victoire’s elegant shoes kept sinking into the mud, and Teddy’s own leather shoes were so smeared and stained you could no longer tell which colour they were. Teddy reached for his wand and transfigured Victoire’s high-heeled shoes into a pair of Wellingtons.
‘Thanks,’ she said as he transfigured his own shoes, but she still sounded angry.
He nodded slowly. ‘At least it stopped raining.’
Victoire lifted the skirt of her dark green dress to her knees before wading through the mud that stretched across the winding road leading to the castle. The Shrieking Shack loomed up in the distance. Its dark silhouette seemed particularly threatening tonight, and the mere thought of having to walk past it sent a shiver down her spine.
She cast a sideward glance at Teddy, who didn’t seem distressed at all. Knowing that he wasn’t even slightly scared incensed her even further. If he hadn’t followed her and made such a ruckus in the cellar, she would have never been in this mess to start with!
Teddy caught her staring at him, his gaze crossing hers unexpectedly. Victoire made a derisive sound deep in her throat as she turned away from him. Her cheeks felt a little flushed and her heart seemed to be beating unusually fast. It was just because she was afraid, she reassured herself, and she had every right to be. After all, she was blatantly ignoring the only advice her great-grandmother had ever given her.
Victoire could still hear Isabelle Delacour’s high, breathy voice in her ears. ‘Never wander outside on All Hallows’ Eve, child, for that is the night that belongs to the spirits of the dead, the night on which the veil that separates this world from the Otherworld is at its thinnest.’
Teddy scraped his throat, startling her. ‘So how’d you find out about that secret passage anyway?’
She briefly considered not telling him, but somehow felt it wouldn’t be fair to keep this bit of information from him. He had a right to know. ‘James nicked Uncle Harry’s map,’ she said, fishing the thin, wrinkled piece of parchment out of the inside of her robes. ‘It has all of Hogwarts on it.’
She stopped to show him the Marauders’ Map. Teddy took it from her, in obvious awe, his fingers barely touching the parchment. ‘Is this the map that…?’ he asked, his voice trailing off.
Victoire nodded. ‘Yeah. See, that’s him, right there.’ She pointed at the curvy handwriting on the corner of the map. ‘Mr Moony.’
Teddy smiled. It was a sad smile – she thought he would’ve looked happier without it – and she inadvertently felt bad for him.
After having studied the map for a short while, Teddy handed it back to her, obviously reluctant to part with it. ‘We’d better get going,’ he said, glancing at the sky as they started down the path again. ‘You know what they say about All Hallows’ Eve.’
Victoire didn’t, but wasn’t about to tell him. She hoped he would spare her the legend that was sure to follow, because she was already frightened enough without spooky traditional folklore to spice things up.
He didn’t seem to notice her reluctance. ‘They say that on Hallowe’en, the spirits of the dead return to the land of the living, hoping to find a way back to their families.’
Victoire shivered, her eyes fixed on the dark shadow of the Shrieking Shack, which grew larger and larger with every step she took.
‘If you walk outside on All Hallows’ Eve and fail to return home before the rooster’s first crow, you’ll be doomed to live in the Otherworld forever.’ Teddy’s voice was deep and raspy, and if she didn’t know him any better, she would’ve sworn he was trying to scare her on purpose. ‘That’s why the dead will do anything to distract you on Hallowe’en,’ Teddy continued, ‘because if you don’t make it home, one of them will take your place amongst the living, while you have to remain on the other side of the veil, never allowed to live the life that used to be yours.’
‘You just made that up,’ Victoire answered, her voice a little shakier than she would’ve liked it to be.
Teddy slanted a look in her direction. ‘Why would I?’
‘To scare me,’ Victoire said as haughtily as she could, her nose high up in the air. ‘And for your information, Mr Lupin, it’s not working.’
Teddy shrugged. He didn’t reply, and for some reason, his silence aggravated her more than any snappy retort would have.
‘In here,’ he suddenly said. It was only then that she noticed they had reached the Shrieking Shack. The ramshackle building towered above them, silent and tall. Despite of the fallen beams, the broken windows and the loosened roof tiles, there was something majestic about the shack, something ominous and threatening.
She hesitated and lingered at the gate for a moment.
Noticing she had dropped behind, Teddy stopped and turned around to face her, a bemused smile on his face. ‘You aren’t scared, are you?’ He shook his head and grinned. ‘Of the Shrieking Shack? Really?’
‘They say it’s haunted,’ she said, rubbing her arms in order to get rid of the goosebumps that had erupted on her skin.
Teddy made a scathing sound. ‘It’s been silent for over twenty years. I can assure you, it’s completely safe.’
‘It looks like it could collapse any second,’ she protested. ‘Besides, we should be heading back to the castle, not hang around haunted houses.’
‘The Shack is the only way to get back onto the grounds,’ Teddy said, his hand reaching for the large, iron-wrought doorknob of the front door. ‘Unless, of course,’ he continued, ‘you want to enter through the gate and explain to Professor McGonagall why you were outside on the most dangerous night of the year.’
‘All Hallows’ Eve is no more dangerous than any other night of the year,’ Victoire objected, but even she thought she didn’t sound very convincing.
‘Well, it’s your choice,’ Teddy said, his hand closing around the door-knob. The door squeaked on its hinges as it opened. There was a single window on the far end of the room, framed by moth-eaten curtains that did little to keep the moonlight out. An overpowering sour smell prickled her nose. Victoire had to suppress a gag-reflex.
‘I’m not going in there,’ she said, pinching her nose shut with two fingers to keep the stale, putrefying stench at bay.
Teddy shrugged, the movement barely visible in the dark. ‘Fine with me. I’ll see you at breakfast. Give McGonagall my regards.’ He entered the Shack by himself, his dark blonde hair highlighted as he walked into the light that streamed through the room’s single window. His skin seemed white as porcelain, almost translucent, in the pale moonlight.
The stench didn’t seem to bother him. Without hesitating – not even for a second – he walked further into the house, away from the window. The darkness seemed to swallow him whole.
Victoire stood stock-still for a minute, holding her breath, listening for any sounds coming from the house. ‘Teddy?’ she finally called, her voice unsteady. ‘Are you OK in there?’
She got no reply.
Dithering at the door, she tried to make up her mind. She wasn’t sure what was worse – waiting outside all by herself, or going into a haunted shack with Teddy Remus Lupin. When something soared over her head – she thought it was a bat, but couldn’t actually see it – she shrieked and involuntarily almost jumped over the doorstep.
The stench inside the shack was even worse than she could’ve guessed. It seemed to permeate every nook and cranny of the place, sticking to the curtains and the rickety furniture that was scattered across the room. Still a little hesitant, Victoire walked towards the place where she had last seen Teddy. There was a doorframe that looked as if it had once held a door. The hinges were still in place, but the door itself had been forcefully removed.
She took a cautious step into a second room. It was pitch dark inside, the moonlight of the first room unable to penetrate the shadows of this second, larger room. She took another step, the chilly darkness wrapping itself around her. The darkness was as thick as fog. She couldn’t see beyond her own outstretched hands, which groped into the air but caught nothing but cold, damp vapour.
‘Teddy? Where are you?’
Victoire fumbled around in her pocket for her wand. Blue sparks danced off its tip the moment she lit it, but the second the sparks touched the darkness surrounding her, they hissed and crackled before sizzling out completely. She tried not to panic and focussed on controlling her breathing, which was fast and shallow.
‘Teddy?’ she called again.
‘I can see you.’
The words were suddenly there, ringing through the empty room. They knocked the air right out of her lungs. The voice wasn’t Teddy’s. It was slow and deep and scratchy, and it made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.
‘Teddy?’ her voice faltered. ‘This isn’t funny.’
It had to be Teddy, she then realised. Even though his metamorphmagic powers were not very large, he was capable of basic alterations, and he would probably be able to change his vocal cords and throat in order to modify the tone of his voice.
But no matter how often she told herself it was Teddy, she could not fully convince herself. She stumbled back the way she’d come, back towards the doorframe, her wand held out in front of her.
‘You can’t go back,’ the voice snarled, an angry undertone in his words. ‘You can never go back.’
The darkness seemed to become thicker, weighing heavily down on her slender frame.
‘Cut it out, Teddy,’ Victoire said, trying to sound braver than she felt. ‘You’re not fooling me.’
She took another step backwards, but instead of the wooden, rotten floorboards of the shack, her Wellington touched something slimy. She gasped, pulling her foot back immediately. ‘Teddy, just stop it! It’s not funny anymore!’
A heavy silence followed. She couldn’t hear any breathing beside her own, but somehow she knew somebody else was in the room with her. ‘Is this because I went to the dance with Ben?’ Victoire asked, uncertain. ‘Ben’s nothing like Preston, Teddy. Or is Ben “not good enough for me”, either?’
Complete silence filled the room once more. Victoire strained her ears to listen, but all that she could hear were her own rapid breathing and the fast-paced beating of her heart. Her anger rose, her blood running hotly through her veins. ‘Are you even listening?’
Something moved beside her. She nearly jumped out of her skin, her heart hammering against her ribcage.
‘I’m listening... very closely...’ the voice suddenly drawled, the words stretched out so far that she could barely recognise them as such. She had felt someone’s breath in her neck, near her ear – it had been icy cold. She whipped her head around, and that was when she first saw him. There were two eyes, red as blood, right beside her. They were imbedded in deep, dark eye sockets and looked as if large flames flickered in them. A pointed nose and hollow cheeks were the only other things she could see, but the sight was enough to make her scream.
She screamed and screamed until her throat was sore and dry and there was no more air left in her lungs. Then she squeezed her eyes shut and did something she hadn’t done since her seventh birthday: she cried.
Two warm arms enveloped her shuddering body. She took a deep, shaky breath before she dared to open her eyes. The thick darkness that had surrounded her mere moments ago had lifted. The face and the eyes with the red, flickering flames in them were gone. Teddy was holding her, a worried frown on his face. ‘What happened? Are you all right?’ He pulled her close, his hands gently stroking her back.
She was too busy trying to catch her breath to answer. Teddy’s chest was warm against her cold, moist cheeks, and his robes smelt familiar and comforting, like autumn leaves and forest.
Suddenly she remembered the flaming eyes, and the voice, and she pulled away from him. How dare he! How dare he make her cry and then try to comfort her! ‘You’re a right foul git, Teddy Lupin,’ she bit out furiously.
Teddy’s frown changed into a look of surprise. ‘Look, OK, I know I shouldn’t have left you alone out there. I should’ve stayed with you. But don’t you think–’
‘You’re horrible, Teddy, absolutely horrible!’ she cried, abruptly pulling away from him. Only then did she notice the large scratch marks on the floorboards and the gaping indents in the walls. She stared at them in awe, momentarily forgetting her anger. ‘What kind of monster did this?’
Teddy moved to stand beside her. His blue eyes were fixed on the markings on the wall. He seemed a million miles away. ‘My father,’ he answered softly. ‘He used to transform here, as a child.’
‘Oh!’ Victoire gasped. She ran her fingers over a scratch that was as wide as her thumb and deep enough for half of her finger to disappear in. What violence had passed under the roof of this dilapidated shack! And to think what would have become of her own father if the night on which he had been attacked had been one with a full moon in the sky…
Teddy nodded towards a door at the back of the room. It was hanging out of its hinges. ‘There’s an underground passage leading to Hogwarts. It’s the only way to get back onto the grounds undetected.’
‘The only one we can use,’ she grumbled. ‘We would’ve been sitting in front of the Common Room’s fireplace if Flume hadn’t caught us.’
Teddy’s eyes twinkled. ‘And what kind of a Hallowe’en would that have been? I thought you were the adventure-kind-of-girl.’ He was smiling. He looked different when he smiled, Victoire suddenly realised. Happy. Like he hadn’t a care in the world. Handsome, almost. She blushed when she caught herself thinking that.
Running a hand through her long, blonde hair, she felt strangely self-conscious. ‘I’ve had enough adventures tonight to last me till December.’
‘Good,’ Teddy grinned. ‘Perhaps you’ll stop your nightly wanderings, then. It’s about time we headed back to the castle, anyway.’
The way back through the tunnel had been shorter than Teddy’d thought it would be. He could hear Victoire muttering behind him all the way, complaining as the hem of her long dress got caught on yet another branch or tree root. He remembered grinning to himself. Just wait until she had to get past the Whomping Willow!
But the Whomping Willow had been strangely calm when they’d exited the tunnel, although one of its branches did manage to hit Teddy square in the stomach. The sudden impact had knocked the air out of his lungs.
But now, standing near the edge of the Dark Lake, Teddy couldn’t help but smile and feel strangely proud. They had done the unthinkable. They had made it back onto Hogwarts grounds unnoticed.
Teddy stared up at the castle, still in awe of what they had achieved. The castle momentarily disappeared from view as a thick rain cloud moved in front of the moon, obscuring it completely. Teddy’s eyes slowly adjusted to the lack of light.
With a swift movement of her wand and a whispered, ‘Lumos!’, Victoire lit the tip of her wand. The soft, silvery glow emphasised her bright blue eyes and revealed the rosy blush on her cheeks. Teddy thought she had never looked lovelier, but banished that thought to the farthest corner of his mind a split second later.
Frowning in concentration, he transfigured the ivy that climbed up the walls of the castle into a rope-ladder going up to a window on the second floor. When they were both safely inside the castle, Victoire closed the window behind them.
He gave her a hesitant smile. ‘Well… at least we made it back before cock-crow…’
Victoire returned his smile uncertainly. She opened her mouth, about to speak, when a sudden sound startled the both of them. At the end of the corridor, Mrs Norris had appeared, her tail wagging in the air. She meowed as she wandered down the corridor.
Teddy held his breath. From Victoire’s stiff stance, he could tell she was doing the same. Mrs Norris was half-way down the corridor when she lifted her head and looked straight at them. Her large, slit-like eyes reflected green-yellowish in the moonlight. And then, all of a sudden, she made a noise that sounded strangely like a snort, turned around and walked away, her tail still high in the air.
Teddy relaxed, releasing the breath he’d been holding. Perhaps his luck had turned. Perhaps November was going to treat him more kindly than October had.
Victoire dithered at the stairs to the girls’ dormitories. Teddy seemed reluctant to go up to his dormitories as well, his hands stuffed deep into the pockets of his robes.
‘Well…’ he started, but he trailed off, not knowing what to say after that.
‘Look,’ Victoire said softly, trying not to wake the other students as she spoke. ‘Thanks for looking after me and all, but I don’t need you. I would’ve been fine without you. In fact,’ she continued, narrowing her eyes, ‘I would’ve been better off without your help.’
‘But your parents –’ Teddy began.
Victoire cut him off. ‘You’re not my brother, Teddy! My family’s giving me enough trouble as it is, I don’t need you to–’
And suddenly his lips crashed down on hers, and his hands were framing her face, and he was actually kissing her. It took her some time to realise what was happening, and when she did, she couldn’t deny that it felt right.
He pulled back slowly, his face filled with apprehension. She smiled uncertainly before she raised herself to the tips of her toes and brushed her lips across his.
‘Victoire…’ he sighed, and he reached for her hand. His hand was warm, and large, and his slender fingers interlaced with hers. ‘I’ve wanted to do that for a very long time.’
‘Really?’ She felt as though her smile was bright enough to light up the room. There was just one thing she didn’t understand… one thing that was bothering her. ‘Then why did you act the way you did, back in the shack? It scared the living daylights out of me!’
He frowned. ‘I’m sorry I went in without you, if that’s what you mean…’
Her expression darkened. ‘No, that’s not what I mean, Teddy, and you know that full well. I’m talking about those awful things you said, the scary face and the eyes.’ She shivered as she pictured the eyes again, red and filled with a burning hatred.
‘I don’t know what…’ he began, his eyebrows furrowed together. ‘I was already in the tunnel, and the only reason I came back was because I heard your screams. That’s how I found you, Victoire. You were crying.’
The blood seemed to drain from her face. ‘It wasn’t you, then?’ Her voice sounded small and weak, even to her own ears. An icy cold took a hold of her.
Teddy’s frown deepened in concern. ‘What did you see down there, Vicky? What happened?’
Her eyes were large and brimming with tears when she looked up at him.
‘I think I saw one of them.’
This story was written in response to the Hallowe’en challenge. I hope you enjoyed it (and were at least a little spooked!). If you noticed any mistakes/typos, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know.