Chapter 1 : It's Complicated
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She was the first thing he noticed as he walked through the front door of the Burrow that evening. He could feel her…
He wasn’t supposed to look at her like that. He would give too much away, scanning her body with his piercing grey eyes, imagining how her milky, smooth skin felt under his calloused hands. He was supposed to picture her red tresses tied in ribbons and bows, not running through his fingers as he breathed in her scent, capturing her lips under his own.
But the way she was looking at him, her chocolate brown eyes daring him to move forward and take her like he had the night before, made it extremely difficult to put on his façade.
“Teddy Lupin! My word, are you still growing dear?” Molly Weasley exclaimed as she rushed forward to engulf him into a crushing hug, giving him a reprieve from his reverie.
“Mum, he’s an old man now, I think I can actually see some wrinkles…” George Weasley said before Teddy could respond, as he came forward from behind Mrs. Weasley and grasped his hand, “How’s the big 3-0 treating you, Ted? I heard there was quite the celebration at the Cauldron last night? I’m kind of disappointed that I missed my invitation. I’m sure the owl just got lost…” He said with a wink.
Teddy laughed, “Sorry mate, I checked for senior citizen specials, but they were plumb out of prune juice, and I just didn’t think in your aged state, you could handle much else.”
“You’re words wound me, didn’t anyone teach you to respect your elders?” George replied, clutching his hands over his heart in an mock horror.
“Now hush George, for heaven’s sake. We finally get him to come to a family function and you’re already harassing him! Now shoo, everyone else wants to see him,” Mrs. Weasley finally interrupted, her voice tinged with annoyance and affection, as she pushed in-between the pair and ushered Teddy into the house.
As Teddy finally began making his way through the mass of people, he couldn’t help feel a little apprehensive. He hadn’t been to a Weasley function in months, and only few and far between since he and Victoire parted ways. And if they only knew what he was up to now, he cringed at that thought.
The Burrow was decorated to the hilt with Gryffindor banners, obviously celebrating the end of Percy’s youngest daughter Lucy’s final year, and was literally busting at the seams with the Weasley family. When the rest of the brood noticed his presence he was practically pummeled with hugs and handshakes from every direction. Any uneasiness caused by beautiful redheads and ex-grilfriends lifted almost immediately as he let himself be consumed by the love and laughter filling the burrow.
He spotted that familiar head of blonde curls from across the room, and they locked eyes for a moment, sharing a small smile. He could tell she was happy, and he was glad. She really was a wonderful person, and deserved only the best. They had quite the run, he and Victoire, and it had ended in a trainwreck of angst and anger. But he noticed, as he saw the man next to her slip an arm around her slight waist, that he no longer felt that pang of jealousy in the pit of his stomach. He had put her through a right hell at the end, and he only wanted her to be happy. If Thomas Leery was the man that could make her smile like that, so be it…even if he happened to be a righteous git.
He shook himself out of his thoughts once more, and immediately found himself looking for that familiar shinning red hair.
Now most people who entered the Burrow on an occasion such as this would be overwhelmed with bright orange tresses, but Teddy would recognize her locks anywhere.
And he almost immediately did, as he saw her inconspicuously sneaking out the back door and heading towards the gardens. Trying his best to slip through the hoards of people without causing any suspicion, he followed her.
Lily Potter stepped outside of the Burrow, grateful for the warm summer breeze as she slowly walked into the garden. Her family was amazing, but overwhelming at the same time, and Teddy Lupin’s presence defiantly wasn’t helping.
As if on cue she heard footsteps echoing behind her. She didn’t even need to turn around to know it was him.
“Quite the party,” he spoke awkwardly, she could tell he was unsure of himself by the slight tremble in his voice.
“It wouldn’t be my family if it wasn’t,” she spoke, finally turning to face him.
He was a sight, that one, fit and trim from his work as an Auror, his shaggy hair (which was fire red at the moment, she assumed for the occasion) framing his face. You couldn’t blame any girl for falling for him. She was certain many had.
Silence stretched between them for a moment, as Teddy cautiously stepped closer towards her, glancing cautiously behind him towards the Burrow.
“You left this morning without a word,” she said softly when he reached her, placing his hand on her uncovered arm.
“I know,” he murmered, still keeping his gaze downwards as his fingers gently began tracing a pattern on her skin. “I’m sorry…”
Lily could feel the anger rising in her stomach, and she immediately stepped back, glaring daggers at the man before her.
“You’re sorry? We’ve been dancing around each other for months, ever since I entered the program. You’ve been playing me and you know it!” She spat, he still refused to meet her gaze.
“I haven’t been playing you Lily, its just complicated and you know it,”, he spoke, his tone still soft and soothing, which only infuriated her more.
“It didn’t seem complicated last night, in fact I remember you…” she knew she was yelling now, part of her wanted someone to come out and hear what she had to say. Obviously Teddy didn’t, because he practically bounded towards her, clapping a hand over her mouth before she could finish her sentence.
“Are you crazy? You want someone to hear us out here? Is that what you want?” He hissed, as she immediately swatted away his hand in annoyance.
“Of course not, I wouldn’t want to shatter your impeccable reputation. How selfish of me! ” She snapped as she turned away.
“Lily, you know that’s not it, you know how I feel about you. But we’ve had this discussion a million times before, and you and I both know the repercussions of…us. Not only would you’re father most likely curse the shit out of me, your brothers not being far begind, but I could lose my job, and…and my family.” His voice was tinged with desperation and anger.
He sighed, obviously exasperated, and she felt him draw nearer to her, his warm breath sending chills down her spine.
They stood there for a moment as a silence fell between them while Lily contemplated the argument she had heard many times before. Under ordinary circumstances, she might have actually felt sorry for him, but then last night flashed through her mind. The images of their bodies intertwined, the warmth of his fingers caressing her skin, the taste of his lips against hers, everything that it meant to her, she couldn’t even stand it. She turned around so their faces were barely inches apart; pushing herself up on her toes so her lips were next to his ear.
“Maybe you should have thought of that before last night, before you ripped my knickers off with your teeth.” She snarled through clinched teeth, as she shoved him back and began stalking deeper into the garden, only to be stopped by his grip on her arm.
“Dammit, let me go,” she proclaimed, doing her best to yank her arm free while fighting back the tears that threatened to overcome her, “You got what you wanted from me last night, now just let me go!”
“That’s not fair Lily, it wasn’t like that, you know I…” He stopped mid-sentence, looking to the sky in frustration as if begging God for help, and running a hand through his hair once more to calm himself before finally locking her gaze.
“You’re only nineteen…” his voice was once again steady, “I’m your trainer…you’re father practically raised me! And then there's that whole mess with Victoire...”
He shook his head and pulled at his hair, as if trying to pull thoughts out of it himself, before looking at her with a strained smile.
“You know I actually remember giving you piggy back rides in this garden, who would have guessed we would end up here, ten years late talking about this…” He said softly, laughing humorlessly, never breaking her gaze, and daring a step closer towards her.
“It’s just…so fucking complicated. ” He mumbled under his breath.
Lily blinked back tears, wiping them away with the back of her hand. She knew what he was saying and she wouldn’t let him see her cry. She didn’t stop him when he reached for her, engulfing her in a hug and placing a kiss on her temple.
She accepted this for a moment, enjoying the warmth of his embrace, before gently pushing him back. The fire of her anger had been replaced by grief that was now welling in the pit of her stomach.
“I know it’s complicated Teddy, I get it. But the difference between you and me, is I love you enough that those complications…they just don’t matter.” She said quietly as she backed away, quickly making her way back towards the warmth of the Burrow.
She could feel his eyes watching her as she went.
The night had waned on for a few hours after Lily had returned to the festivities and she had allowed herself to be caught up in the love and excitement that was her family. It was a nice distraction from the conversation she had with Teddy in the garden, and she was glad to escape.
She and Teddy had both managed to avoid each other for the rest of the evening, until she finally departed for her flat in Diagon Alley.
She was relieved to find the apartment empty, a note from her roommate that she would be staying over at her boyfriends that night restin on the kitchen counter. She needed some time to think.
She slowly made her way down the hallway to her bedroom, collapsing on her bed immediately upon arrival. The tears weren’t far behind as she immediately smelled the remnants of his cologne on her pillow.
She didn’t know how long she has been laying there, curled in a ball clutching at her comforter, but when a knock sounded from the front door she knew it was late. Standing, she slowly made her way down the hallway and through the living room, peaking through the peep hole in the door and standing rigid as she instantly recognized the mop of flaming red hair.
“Lily, I know you’re in there. I can here you breathing,” His voice sounded muffled from behind the door.
Lily stood in silence for a moment, toying with the idea of ignoring his plea and returning to cry alone in her warm, comfy bed, before relenting and undoing the latch.
He just stared at her as he slowly walked in, when she suddenly realized she must look a mess and immediately began smoothing down her hair and rubbing at her swollen eyes.
He only smiled, “Don’t…you look beautiful.” He said softly, taking a step forward and brushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
She was rooted to the floor for a few moments, gazing straight into his eyes and reveling in the moment, until that night’s previous conversation flooded her memory. She pushed away his hand and took a step back, folding her arms defiantly across her chest.
“Why are you here?” she asked, her voice firm, commanding an answer from him.
He gazed at her for a moment, cool grey locking with deep green, as if contemplating an answer.
“You said something tonight, something…something you’ve never said before. Did you mean it?” he finally asked, his voice much quieter than before, his facial expression looking timid and giving him the appearance of someone much younger than he.
She knew what he was asking, and was almost offended by his need to question her.
“You know I did.” She stated, her tone resolute and her stance unwavering.
He merely continued to gaze at her, never breaking eye contact, before daring to take another step forward. She responded by taking a step backwards once more.
“Bloody Hell, Lily,” he muttered, running a hand through his hair, the flame red slowly transforming into cold black strand by strand, telling her exactly how much she was getting to him.
“No more games Teddy,” she said firmly, although her voice was not much more than a whisper, “I can’t do this anymore. You came here to say something, so say it.” She secretly hoped he didn’t notice the tremble in her voice.
He continued to look at her, his gaze unwavering, as he opened and closed his mouth a few times as if searching for what to say, before he finally spoke the words she had been waiting to hear.
“I love you too.”
The words came out easier that he had expected. The first time he spoke them to Victoire, it had been nothing but a jumbled mess. But with Lily, it’s as if they were meant to be spoken, and to her only.
He wasn’t surprised when she didn’t respond immediately; he knew she wouldn’t want him to know his words affected her. That was one of the reasons she would make a great Auror, and one of the reasons he loved her. He knew her well enough to know that she was going to make him work for this.
“I know I haven’t treated you like you deserve, and I know tonight I said some things that I shouldn’t have, but don’t for one minute think that it’s because I don’t love you. Because fuck, Lily, I love you more than anything.”
He could feel his throat begin to constrict, and he immediately swallowed, praying he wouldn’t start crying.
“I was scared Lily...I was bloody scared, that’s all. And now, I don’t care what happens. I’m willing to face it all, because watching you walk away like I did tonight is something I never want to have to do again. And yeah, we’re going to fight, because that’s what we do. I’m telling you now; I’m going to botch this thing up…a lot…because I suck at the relationship thing. And we’re going to catch a lot of crap from our family, and our friends, shit, probably strangers on the street, and it’s going to be tough. But hell, nothings worth it if we’re not together…”
He could see her eyes begin to glisten, a single tear trickling down her cheek. This time, when he stepped forward, she didn’t move back. Instead she flung herself at him, burying her face in his chest as he wrapped his arms tightly around her, placing a kiss on her the top of her head He could feel his shirt become moist as she cried, and he could have sworn he heard her mutter “you suck”, in between her sobs.
He gently pulled back, lifting her chin so he could see her eyes, and was pleased to find her beaming up at him.
“I mean it Teddy, no more games,” she said, her voice not above a whisper, but still strong and firm.
“No more games,” he replied, smiling while leaning down to kiss her lightly on the lips. Sensing the lightness of her mood , he pulled back and continued, “But just so you know, when you tell Harry, I’m going to be far, far away on a very important mission of an extremely serious nature.”
Lily rolled her eyes, and playfully swatted him on his chest, “What, ‘mission save my own ass’? What happened to we were in this together?”
“Hey now, can you really blame me? I can already see the headlines. ‘Boy Who Lived Castrates Metamorph Auror’. Now that’s one that would make even Rita Skeeter proud.”
“Shut up you idiot,” Lily laughed, taking his hand and pulling him forcefully down the hallway, “and get in my room before the headline changes to ‘Daughter of Boy Who Lived Castrates Metamorph Auror’.”
“Oh, I like my women feisty,” Teddy joked as Lily pulled him into her room, shoving him down on her bed, and closing the door with a click behind them.
They would deal with the rest of the world tomorrow, but tonight Teddy Lupin’s world was Lily Potter.
This is the first story I’ve written in ages! I’ve been thinking about this ship for awhile and decided to go ahead and give it a try. I’ve thought about expanding this into a chaptered story, because I really think there is so much you could do with this ship. It’s full of overdramatic possibilities! So let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!
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