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Chapter 1 : Crystal
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“W-what? What’s happened?” I stammered, my heart thumping rapidly in my chest. I groped around helplessly, the world spinning dizzily in front of me.
I heard a familiar voice laughing loudly in front of me.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the world came sharply into focus as my eyes adjusted. The jovial face of Teddy Lupin, complete with bright ginger hair and emerald green eyes, loomed in front of me. Stupid metamorphagus.
“What was that for?” I asked, irritated beyond belief, yet also relieved that it was not some cold-blooded murderer come to give me a heart-attack. But even so, no one, especially not Teddy, disturbed my sleep. It was a known rule.
I glared up at him, as he continued to roar with laughter. Do boys ever grow up? However, he finally calmed down enough to explain.
“It was funny,” he finally said, barely able to contain his glee. I groaned, rolled my eyes briefly and lay back down again, grabbing my pillow and jamming it down over my ears. After all, it was the Christmas holidays; I was allowed to sleep in.
“I can’t hear you,” I mumbled into my mattress in a singsong voice, “Now go away,”
However, he was persistent.
“No, get up Victoire,” he commanded urgently, grabbing my arm and trying to tug me out from under my pillow. “Seriously, you’ve got to see this,” he wasn’t laughing at me any more thank goodness.
In response I buried my head further into my mattress. “I’m trying to sleep,” I muttered, knowing full well I would have to come out from under my pillow sometime, or I would suffocate.
He seemed to deliberate the best way to get me out of bed for a moment, before suddenly yanking off my covers. I groaned, feeling the cold air smother me. I had known Teddy my whole life though; I guess I should have expected it.
In fury, and most probably insanity caused by sleep deprivation, I threw my pillow at him. However, he, being a Quidditch star, dodged it using his good reflexes.
“You’re so predictable,” he chortled, but he seemed satisfied that I was finally out from under my pillow.
“You’re so annoying,” I countered. However, I knew he had won, for I realised to late that I was sitting up in bed. Before I could lie back down again; he grabbed my wrist and towed me out of bed, much to my irritation.
He enthusiastically bounded over to my window, dragging me along with him. Then he made me stand in front of the closed curtains.
“Close your eyes,” he whispered in my ear, and despite the fact that it wasn’t actually that cold, it sent shivers up my spine. He’s my best friend, I reminded myself half-heartedly, nothing more.
I obliged and closed my eyes. Then I heard a zipping sound, signifying that he had pulled open the curtains. I heard his voice in my ear again.
“Okay, you can open your eyes now,” he said, his voice low. I did as I was told.
I gasped. In front of me, the world had been transformed.
It was a sea of white. No, an endless ocean of white that stretched out into the distance. The treetops were smothered with pure, crisp white snow, sparkling and glinting in the early morning sun like millions of crystals. Below the trees, the once lush, green field -which my parents’ owned- had been transformed into a winter wonderland, the thick layer of snow perfect and level, completely blocking out the grass below from sight.
It was more than just beautiful. It was breath taking, wondrous and magnificent. It was…magical.
I sneaked a glance at Teddy, to see he was watching my reaction, grinning. “It’s beautiful,” I commented. He nodded his agreement.
“And to think you would have preferred your beauty sleep,” he chuckled. I jokingly glared at him.
“You know I’m not a morning person!” I defended, playing along with the ‘witty’ banter.
“Well, I had to wake you up. Who else can I pelt snowballs at?” he smirked. I pretended to look shocked.
“Are you challenging me to a snowball fight?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he teased, “Would it ruin your hair?” I punched him lightly on the arm.
“You’re on,” I said, accepting his challenge. After, I am just as good as him in the area of chucking snowballs at people. Grinning broadly, he replied,
“Meet you outside in ten minutes,” I grinned too, feeling giddy at the thought of a snowball fight. I hadn’t felt so care free and happy all holiday. And his smile was definitely infectious.
“See you there,” I called, as he sauntered out of my room with one last cheerful grin.
I don’t think I have ever changed so quickly in my life. Normally, seeing as I’m part veela and all, it takes me ages to pick an outfit, not to mention choosing accessories, make up and so on. But today was different. I didn’t care how I looked for once as I threw on an old jumper and some jeans (Muggle clothes are very comfortable). After all, it was only Teddy Lupin, my best friend since forever who would see me.
I thundered down the stairs of shell cottage, not caring about waking my parents- they slept through anything. I finally arrived in the hallway and hastily planted a pair of old boots onto my feet before shrugging on my coat. Only just remembering to put on some gloves, I stumbled out of the door, out into my sea of crystals, my winter wonderland.
I felt a sense of immense pleasure and happiness when I stepped out of the house and heard a low crunch from beneath my boots. Closing the door behind me, I walked forward slowly, taking in the beauty of everything. I giggled when I looked behind me to see my footsteps carved into the snow, perfect moulds of my boots.
“Victoire, over here,” I heard Teddy call suddenly from somewhere behind me. I smiled frivolously and turned to the sound of his voice, to see him leaning elegantly against the side of the house, his hair now a chocolate brown colour. However, before I had time to marvel his graceful stance and new hair, something cold and wet suddenly collided into my shoulder.
“What-, I started but I was cut off as another ball of the powdery, cold substance splattered over my coat.
I barely had time to register what was happening before I heard Teddy again, amusement clear in his voice.
“Think fast,” he called, and then I heard and felt another snowball make contact with my coat. I screamed in a girly manner and started to run for cover.
“You cheater!” I accused, as I made for a large snow-covered oak tree, which happened to be near me. I heard his carefree laugh behind me, unfortunately not any farther away. He was following me. Oh fudge.
“We never made any rules,” he shouted, and this time his voice sounded closer. He was gaining on me. Then again, at least he wasn’t using his wand. Now that would be unfair, seeing as he was seventeen, and I was only sixteen.
“Boys,” I muttered under my breath, realising that maybe now- while I was being hunted by a guy potentially armed with snowballs- was not a good time to roll my eyes.
Exhilarated, I tried to run faster- I knew he was getting closer. However, as much I urged my body to go faster, I realised I was getting slower. My feet kept on sinking into the snow, restricting my speed. I realised, that soon, he would be in shooting range.
Finally, I reached the oak. It was my sanctuary, my place of safety from the torrent of snowballs that would surely come. However, I didn’t have much time. Hiding behind the tree and scooping up as much snow in my gloved hands as possible, I attempted to pack the snow together into what passed as a snowball.
“You can’t hide from me,” I heard Teddy’s voice on the other side of the tree. He was probably waiting for the right moment for his attack. Well, he had made a mistake! I now had snowballs, and I wasn’t afraid to use them.
I decided on a surprise attack. Leaping up from behind the tree, a snowball in each of my hands, I aimed briefly and threw them with as much force as possible towards him, hoping desperately that they would make contact.
It seemed I caught him by surprise. My first snowball missed, but the second struck him in the chest, causing him to drop one of the snowballs he had been holding. He looked surprised, which was a little offending. I can aim just as well as him.
“Hah!” I cried victoriously as I managed to dive out of way of the return snowball, landing in the snow. “I got you! Admit it!” I laughed loudly, feeling like a child again. He pretended to roll his eyes, most probably an imitation of me at some point.
“You got me once,” he corrected, “Which isn’t that great considering the other four times I got you,”
“Whatever,” I said- the best remark I could come up with. He ambled up to me, offering me a hand. I gratefully took it and he pulled me up.
“So does that mean I win?” he asked, as I brushed down my cloths.
“Well, I guess…but only because you cheated and caught me by surprise!” I added, determined to find a reason to justify his victory. He however ignored my outburst and instead smiled happily.
“So what do I get for winning?” he asked cheekily. Teddy Lupin can be so infuriating sometimes.
“If you think I’m going to give you anything…” I started, eyeing his mischievous expression warily. I should have run then. But as usual, I ignored my instincts and stood rooted to the spot.
Suddenly he pounced, leaping up, and tackled me into the snow. The snow softened the fall, cushioning us as we fell through thin air into the cold, wetness. I had my breath knocked out of me, surprised by his action.
I found myself staring up into the perfectly blue sky. I noticed a weight on my stomach and –after a moment to get my breath back- propped myself up on my elbows to see Teddy sprawled on top of me. I chuckled, trying to shove him off. However, he wouldn’t budge.
“Get off,” I commanded, still trying to push him off of me. He laughed.
“What’s the magic word?” he mocked, refusing to move. I groaned. However, knowing there was probably no other way to get rid of him, I corrected my original command.
“Please get off,”
“Teddy,” I whined, still trying desperately to push him off. “Get off right now! You’re crushing my intestine,” Somehow this seemed to work and he finally sat up next to me, raising his eyebrows.
“What?” I asked, “You do know what an intestine is, right?” I smirked slyly. However, Teddy didn’t reply immediately. He seemed to be thinking hard about something, an unusually serious expression on his face. Finally, he spoke.
“You really need to work on your sarcasm,” he finally replied, looking (and sounding) so unbelievably serious that I couldn’t help but giggle.
The giggling soon broke out into full out laughter. I wasn’t even sure what I was laughing about anymore, because it hadn’t been that funny. But I didn’t care, it was a pleasant feeling, and I hadn’t laughed so much in a long time.
My laughter must have been contagious, because after a few moments I heard Teddy joining in. And then suddenly we were both rolling around in the snow, laughing about absolutely nothing. And that in itself was quite funny.
Finally, after five minutes straight of constant laughing, I managed to control my laughter enough (mainly due to my aching sides) to speak.
“What are we laughing about?” I asked, smiling giddily. Teddy broke out into another fit of random chuckling.
“I have no idea,” he finally admitted between peals of laughter.
After that, we both spent another two minutes laughing, before the urge finally subsided enough to leave us in a comfortable silence. We both sat still -side by side- and stared out across the vast field of snow, admiring it, or just revelling in the perfection of the moment. Neither of us felt any need at all to break the silence, and I liked it like that. Right now, it was just like it had always been with us. We were the best of friends again-just like before Hogwarts- and we knew each other just as well as we knew ourselves. I hoped that would never change.
I found myself instinctively staring him from the corner of my eye. I realised he had changed his appearance again. Now his hair was a sandy brown colour, sticking up at odd angles. His eyes were amber, his skin paler than usual. And then I realised with a sudden jolt that it was his natural form, how he really looked. I had only ever seen it once before.
I think he noticed that I was watching him, because he met my gaze and our eyes locked. I didn’t look away and blush, because he was my best friend. I was allowed to be myself around him.
But then suddenly something different happened. He began to lean forward. Our eyes were still locked, his seeming to never blink. I did my best to stay calm, to keep a cool head and not show how nervous I was. I had never been nervous around him before.
His face was so close to mine now, his hazel eyes meeting my blue ones. My heart thumped wildly against my ribs, threatening to break free. Why was the dam thing misbehaving like this now? I wondered. Was it because…I liked Teddy Lupin, as in, more than just friendship? But that wasn’t possible. I mean… what if he was just like all of the other boys, and only liked me because of my looks? I thought frantically. What if us being together ruined our friendship? What if…I’d run out of what ifs.
In one fluid motion, he swept down and then suddenly his lips crashed down onto mine and…he was kissing me. I was kissing Teddy Lupin…my best friend.
I lost myself. I held onto him, trying to make the kiss last as long as possible. Inside me, my heart went erratic, pumping so fiercely I was afraid he would hear it. Every nerve in my body was on fire with passion, my mind gone completely blank. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe. And then, it was all over.
We both sat back, breathing heavily, staring into each other’s eyes. What I had just felt…was that love? And where would we go from here? I realised now we had smudged the line between friendship and…more.
“W-what now?” I finally stammered when he did not speak. He smiled at me, not a stupid grin, but a real, sincere smile.
“We go back inside?” he suggested. I wondered vaguely through my disorganised thoughts how he could be so calm.
“Be serious,” I snapped. He put his hands up in surrender.
I breathed in deeply, attempting to clear my head. I closed my eyes for a moment, before opening them again. He watched me fervently, without interrupting.
I looked up.
“Where do we go from here?” I finally asked, “Are we still just best friends, like before?” He laughed.
“Of course not!” he exclaimed. “Haven’t you figured it out yet?” I think it was a rhetorical question or something, for he continued on, not expecting an answer. “I like you Victoire, I really like do. You’re the smartest, funniest, kindest and most beautiful girl I’ve ever met,”
He meant it? He liked me, and not just because of my looks?
“Really?” I asked weakly, but smiling all the same. I couldn’t believe this was happening. It seemed too perfect to be real.
“Really,” he confirmed, cupping my face in his hands and kissing my forehead softly. He smiled crookedly down at me, seeming completely at ease. I couldn’t help but blush profusely. Maybe I had liked Teddy all along after all.
“Well then, I like you too, Teddy,” I murmured, voicing what I had just realised as I snuggled up to him. He chuckled lightly, putting his arm around me.
“I should hope so,”
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