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Just Play Your Cards Right by Dracana
Chapter 1 : Just Play Your Cards Right
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 44

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“What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you get out of school, Teddy?” his friends ask, innocent grins written across their faces. Teddy watches them, their innocent stares, their broad grins. They know nothing. They are just there to fill up the vacant spaces when he needs them, the company he draws towards him when he wishes.

Imbecilic bastards. They do their part.

“Something important,” he informs them, his eyes flashing to meet theirs, and for a brief moment, they frown, for there is a secret locked behind that gaze. A secret they will never grip hold of. Teddy has a lot of secrets. He likes to think of himself as superior to others - never can they wriggle their maggot-like comprehending into his mind. “Something that I will be renowned for forever.”

“Like what?” enquires Victoire, her gaze locking flirtatiously with his. His head moves to appraise her, a small inclination, a rotation that allows full observance. She’s beautiful, as ever. The blue of her shirt compliments the stifling luxury of her bright eyes. Hair, silken in a glimmering cascade that glints as gold in the sun, briefly captures his attention. He has other things on his mind. Victoire he releases. She can wait her turn.

“Oh, you know,” he smiles, the tilting edge of a knife that slits across his face, but a warm jovial flicker to outsiders. “Kill my godfather.”

His friends laugh. They think he is joking. They are too insolent to take him seriously. He watches them, his mind writhing with both disgust and disapproval, but he quirks a smile and laughs lightly. Such a sound shakes like a ripple through the air. It means something. It is just a pretence to what he is feeling underneath.

His soul is charred. His mind is chained. At night, he dreams of those who have fallen, those parents he could once have come to love, yet of their love he was deprived. Because of him. It was always because of him. Teddy’s heart is aching, his bones bruised with longing thoughts that stretch deep, that poison him into solitude, that separate him from others of his age.

His exams are finished, the last day of school approaches. Years of plotting, years of twisting such desire through his veins. Shattered dreams embark upon fortified promises. For Teddy will have his revenge.

It’s raining. The sound of pounding drums. Relentless, it slides in tears against the windows, sobbing, a desperate plea for a final change of mind. His ambition is set. This is his destiny.

“Teddy?” Ginny’s voice climbs the stairs, an ascent of tone that reaches his ears in familiarity. He frowns. She is another pretender, a fakery. She thinks she has him fooled. She thinks she has caught him like a little fly inside her web. Teddy knows better. He swears she will pay.

Tap. Tap. Tap. The sound of the raining drums. His cheek is pressed against the glass, the bite freezing his skin. His blood rages with awareness. There’s the sound of footsteps on the stairs.

Not yet, he instructs himself. Not yet.

“Are you hungry? You didn’t come down for dinner.”

He stares at her, his eyes smouldering with fire, until he quickly locks it all away behind bars, banishing the raw emotion and replacing it for pretence. He may as well sink to her level. The pretender. The vermin. His eyes seem to glow with warmth and now he offers her a smile, watching as the door opens and she stands against it, her cheeks lightly flushed behind a curtain of red hair. She pushed it aside, placing it behind her ears. He always liked her hair. It reminds him of the fire that burns inside him, that promises the taste of revenge.

“I’m fine,” he tells her, his body turning slightly to drive her away. He faces the window still, his hair falling darkly across his eyes, and he longs to pull his legs towards him, to hide his face against his knees. But he doesn’t. No, that might get her suspicious. That might cause a flaw in the plan. There can be no flaws. It will destroy all his years of waiting. It will make him crumble inside. The hope has built a house upon sand. It will take only one loose emotion to collapse it all.

“You’re quieter than usual tonight, Teddy. Are you sure there’s nothing wrong? Nothing you want to talk about?”

He’s always quiet. She knows this. She’s using pathetic excuses not to leave. He resists the urge not to leap at her, to snap at her and scream. Instead, he bites his tongue and swallows the evil words and the bitter taste in his mouth. He nods, a small inclination of his head, but then pauses, realising what he’s done. An error. He should have shaken his head, not moved it.

She takes it as an opportunity to sit on the edge of his bed, the duvet creasing into wrinkles of disarray as she perches there, head tilted. He hates any mess, and flaws in perfection. He sees it as foreshadowing. He will not be able to kill Harry tonight. The crease in the covers tells him that it will more than likely go all wrong.

“You can tell me anything, Teddy,” she speaks his name again, like sugar on her tongue. Long, slender fingers reach out to stroke through his hair, and he forces himself to remain still, not to turn his head away from her touch. “I’m here for you.”

“I know,” he says softly, his voice barely a whisper, lost upon the air, but she sees his lips part and takes note of what he most likely said. She drops her hands from her hair and nods, getting to her feet and crossing the room to stop at the door. Her hand rests briefly on the handle, and for a moment, she looks back. Teddy thinks she is going to say something, but she doesn’t. She just looks at him, and then walks away, closing the door softly behind her.

He is safe.

It is the middle of the night. Teddy has not slept. He remains, his eyes staring upwards, pupils dilated, watching, waiting. His ears listen hard. The sound he is waiting for soon arrives.

The shutting of a door. The sound of footsteps across the carpet of the house. Teddy blinks, and listens harder. The footsteps continue, along with the shuffling as his godfather pulls off his cloak. There is the familiar sound of boots dropping onto the floor, and then a brief cough and the music of cutlery as he eats his meal. Teddy can picture him, feasting upon the flesh of meat, chewing his way through one of the garden chickens that died today. He lies still, pondering, his heart racing, an eternal throb against his chest. It grows painful, until he sits up, his mind split upon indecision, his legs swinging round as his bare feet touch the frozen floor.

He lights up his wand, separating the shadows from the room, watching as they fall back and he finds what he is looking for. A simple book, stuffed away into the bottom of his trunk that he has not yet unpacked. There is no need. He will be leaving soon anyway. A rundown London flat in the cheep side of Brixton promises him that. Afterwards, he will ask Victoire to move in with him. If her parents can bear to let her go.

His father and mother didn’t have a lot of money, but everything they had, they left inside their will to him.

He pulls open the book and scans the pages. He wrote them when he was small, eleven at the most. The words are simple, laconic, but they drive into his mind with meaning. Thorough importance. They are the words that have driven him all his life.

Cold, brutal murder. Teddy denies this acknowledgement. He tells himself that he deserves revenge.

1 - Murder my god father.
2 - Get away with it.

He mutters “nox” beneath his breath. The light plunges out and the darkness swarms in once again.

“Not tonight,” he assures himself as he hears Harry’s footsteps on the stairs. “Not tonight,” he adds, at the sounds of lips crashing against one another, the calm movement through the thin walls informs him of Harry and Ginny’s intimacy. “Not tonight.”

He is sitting, his back pressed against a bench. A cigarette is placed at the corner of his mouth, and he is smoking, eager to distract himself from the numbing cold in whatever way he can. His clothes are of black, a suit complimenting his lithe body.

He is prepared. He is waiting.

“Just play your cards right,” he murmurs to himself, his hand straying to his pocket to find the familiar pack of cards he keeps there. He picks them out, scanning them callously. The cards will tell if this is the time. They always do.

He turns them over, so that the dark side faces up; his fingers trail across them, his eyes half-closed with longing. He stops, the sense of a feeling telling him that this is the one, and sliding his fingers between the fanned cards, he pulls one loose and turns it, his eyes glinting. He has picked the King of Hearts.

This means luck. It is his favourite card. Tonight will be the night. The game is on.

He stands and finishes off the cigarette, smudging it to ash on the ground. One step forward leads him to the telephone box. It is six-thirty exactly. Harry is prompt. He can never linger too long at work. Sure enough, Teddy sees the flicker of movement, and Harry steps out.

His godfather sees him, passing a warming smile. That smile withers Teddy inside. He knows what this man has done. He is guilty.

Harry walks up to him and throws his arm about his godson’s shoulder. “Teddy,” he says, giving him a squeeze. “What are you doing here?”

“I thought I would come to greet you from work.”

Harry beams, his eyes bright behind his glasses. He begins to walk, and Teddy falls into step with him, digging his hands into his pockets. Harry likes to think that the two are very close. Teddy thinks that they couldn’t be further apart.

“Have you begun to look for work yet, Teddy? You’re graduated now, and your grades were excellent. Hermione asked me just today. She thinks you’ll make a good Auror.”

“How can I?” he asks, somewhat disdainfully. “They don’t take werewolves in the Ministry.”

“That’s not true,” Harry corrects him, a smile warming his lips. “They will take you. The Ministry isn’t the same nowadays. It’s improved.”

Teddy shrugs. “I don’t want anything to do with the Ministry. They didn’t support me. It was McGonagall who allowed me into the school. They were the ones protesting against it.”

Harry nods. “I know. But I don’t think that -”

A car passes, splashing a rinse of water from a murky puddle that is black against the gloom. Whatever the rest of Harry’s sentence was, Teddy doesn’t hear it. He continues walking. His time is running out. They will find a Muggle-free zone soon. They will be able to apparate away from here. He can not allow that to happen. He picked the King of Hearts from the pack. This is his only chance.

“My father would have known what to do,” he comments briefly, his head bowing as he eyes the heat that leaves his mouth, melting through the air like a powder of dust. “He would have talked to me, helped me, supported me. He would have known. I know he would.”

Harry pauses. They have reached the other side of the road. Teddy has never talked about his father before. He has never expressed feeling to anything. Harry is astounded. He shifts uncomfortably, unsure of what to do. Finally, he places a hand of comfort on Teddy’s shoulder. Teddy pushes it angrily away.

Don’t do that.”

“Teddy -”

“All my life, you’ve pretended that you don’t even know.”

“I don’t understand,” Harry furrows his brow in the attempt of concentration. “Know what?”

“Know what you’ve done. But I know. I know the truth of it. That you killed them.”

“Teddy, I don’t -”

“Don’t lie to me,” he spits, turning sharply and standing still as he faces his godfather, his eyes writhing with fury. “I’ve researched it. Hermione told me your godfather loved you, but you couldn’t have that, could you? You had to be the saviour, the one who battled it out all on your own.”

“What are you -?”

“And so you killed him,” Teddy continues, his confidence at its full now. “You made sure he died when he was fighting for you. Your parents, they died because they had to save you. Everyone died because they had to fight for you! Poor, innocent little you! Whining Harry, the Boy-Who-Lived, the man who is now intolerable, because you stand there, pretending you know nothing about it. That you’re innocent and you didn’t do it on purpose!”

Harry is staring at him now. A cold, flat stare that pierces Teddy’s skin with its hurt. He pushes the matter away and grows stronger from his accusations, what he perceives so angrily as the truth. It is raining now. It is always raining. Another coat of misery, another restless cold.

“My parents. You took them too. My mother was fighting in a war that you caused - my father went out there too! They died because you couldn’t just bring yourself to give in. You were so selfish you wanted to live and everyone ended up dying for you -”

A harsh impact connects with his face. Teddy crashes to the floor, his lip bleeding, and he glances up, startled at the man who he so very much hates. People are staring, and Harry looks oddly guilty. He pulls Teddy roughly to his feet, taking his arm and dragging him down a back alley.

This is not going according to plan.

“I did not mean for any of that to happen,” Harry hisses, his voice vastly insistent. “I tried to sacrifice myself for the others. I didn’t want them to die, I didn’t want -” He stops, frustrated, his hands clawing at his face. He takes in Teddy’s bleeding lip and closes his eyes, blocking the sight of the blood that trickles down his godson’s jaw. He opens his eyes once more, his sense of control clearer now. He bites back the anger that has threatened to climb in, and he watches Teddy with a long, serious stare. “Almost everyday I hated the fact that others, my family and my friends, were dying around me - for me. But then I realised, it wasn’t just that. Teddy, I was just a tool, something to defeat for the light to crumble. Once I was gone, Voldemort would have had his power. People defended me because it wasn’t just me they loved. They loved the world as it was around them. They loved the memories of a distant path. Your father particularly, regretted the death of his friends -”

“Because of you!” Teddy retorts, his voice rising to a scream above the rain. “He regretted the death of those friends, Lily and James Potter, who had died for you!”

Harry looks like he wants to hit him again, but somehow, he holds himself back. He is watching, his stare empty, the expression of hurt sealed away. When he speaks, his voice trembles, it almost cracks, but he manages the words he wishes to say, to proclaim his innocence above the sound of the rain.

“You can believe what you like Teddy, but I loved your father, and I loved your mother too. They were good people, kind people, and in the end, they died together. They did what they thought was right, and I‘m sorry that you didn‘t have a chance to know them, but it’s not my fault.”

Teddy shifts a little. He is uncertain now. Harry’s words shake through him, before he shuns them like poison. He takes a couple of steps back, his footfalls heavy on the slick path. Suddenly he turns, the agony in his heart evident now on his face, and with a quickening pace, he begins to run. He hears the sound of Harry’s voice calling after him, and he increases his speed, racing towards the distant cars.

“Teddy, no!” Harry cries, and Teddy can hear him from behind, can sense the impending footsteps. He runs faster, towards the wash of yellow headlights, the horns of drivers.

Harry catches him, snatching at his arm roughly, and Teddy skids and goes crashing to the ground. His head strikes the pavement, hitting hard, the collision driving white lights to his eyes. He blinks and releases a faint groan, and a shadow falls over him. Green eyes blaze into his, concern echoed in his godfather’s face, an extended hand blurring his vision. He frowns and lifts his head, reaching out hands as if to take Harry‘s, but at the last possible moment, his feet strike out, and he kicks. He legs smash into chins, and a pained yell escapes Harry’s throat. And suddenly, he is falling backwards.

Teddy sits up, his expression hopeful. Moments seem to freeze, time standing still, and through it, Harry is falling, down, down, down, his mouth opening to produce a desperate yell.

Teddy watches.

A car is approaching.

Time crashes back again, and suddenly everything moves too fast. The scream of breaks, the squeal of a horn. The blur of lights flash across Teddy’s eyes, and for a moment he can see nothing. Then comes the thump, the fatal collision that certifies an end.

Revenge is at its height. Teddy feels it’s wave swarm him with warmth, and then slowly wash away. The world goes on as usual, people climbing out of their cars, the sounds of alarms, the frantic talking of Muggles. Someone is at his side, touching his shoulder, shaking him out of his daze. Teddy lifts his head, his eyes sinking into a stranger’s of stone grey.

“You alright, son? You hurt?”

He turns away, silence embracing him. Slowly, he gets to his feet, turns and walks away.

It’s over. The rain continues to fall. The blood will be washed away.

“Teddy? You mind if I put my stuff here?”

He turns, a small smile twitching across his face. Victoire is in the doorway, her luscious blonde hair descending to her waist. She tilts her head and flicks a strand away, her gaze tracing him as she slowly returns the smile. He notes the vase of flowers in her arms and slowly nods, watching as she places them on the windowsill. She claims it will “brighten up” the place.

He’s not sure about that. Somehow, the flat seems ever dull.

Harry’s funeral was two days ago. Ginny asserts it is usual for Teddy to want to be away, to remain as distanced as possible from the whole affair. She seems to think he feels uncomfortable around her and her children, as if he is misplaced. She assures him that this is not so, and he mutters something about giving them all time to grieve.

No one suspects him. How could they? He’s just Teddy the orphan. Teddy Lupin, werewolf and recent witness to the tragedy of his father.

“Good,” says Victoire, wrapping her smooth arms around him body and raising her lips, warming them against his. She bites on his lower lip and he accepts the flirtation of her tongue against his, before she walks a finger along the length of his cheek, laughs lightly, and turns away. She is unpacking. She has moved in.

Whilst she is busy, Teddy finds his way into his room and takes out the small notebook that contains the small list he has lived by for the past six years of his life. He picks up a quill and places it between his teeth, tilting his head and smoothing his thumb across the neat page.

He puts the ink to paper and neatly draws a line through both number one and number two. He closes the book with a satisfactory air, still a little indecisive if he is contented or outraged. He has had his revenge, but nonetheless, even soil over a coffin couldn’t take away the hurt and throb for the parents he had lost.

He locks the book away.

The taste of revenge had not been sweet. It had not filled him with the sense of justice he used to promise himself it would all those years ago. Now, he just feels empty. There is no touch of pride, no tug of guilt.

He’s just Teddy. His father’s son, his mother’s child. Teddy Lupin, the one who put to death the boy Voldemort could not.

“Want a game of hearts before dinner?” Victoire asks, sitting down beside him and kissing his neck heatedly. He turns to face her and she sends him a suggestive grin. “You might get desert as well”, she adds, her lips sealing his to make sure he knows what she means, “if you play your cards right.”

Author's Note: So I'm slower at writing stories these days, but this plot bunny attacked me and so I've spent the last day or two wrestling it out of my mind and putting it to paper. Thus, we have it, a story of revenge, and I just adore Teddy.

Anyway, thank you for reading, and please don't forget to leave a review.

Oh, as an after note, I'm aware that Teddy isn't actually a werewolf. I just wrote it this way to provide stronger reasons for his misjudgement and anger.

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