Chapter 1 : Leap
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“Children, wake up! Hold your mistake up, before they turn the summer into dust. If the children don’t grow up; our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.”
The ocean spread out before Teddy’s eyes, shimmering like silk beneath a tremendously blue sky, and he couldn’t resist changing the color of his eyes to mimic the glittering blue expanse.
“On the count of three,” Victoire said, holding out her hand for him, her best friend, to take. Teddy could tell that she was nervous by the way she stood so still, the breeze whipping her long blonde hair out behind her like a flag. He grasped her hand and felt her relax a little.
The inseparable duo stood with their backs to Shell Cottage, dressed only in their bathing suits. Their shoes, clothes, and wands lay discarded on the ground behind them. In front of them, the land ended abruptly in a sheer cliff that dropped fifteen feet into the salty depths below.
They had been planning this moment since they had arrived home from Hogwarts for the summer, waiting for the most benign weather, the distraction of the adults, and the absence of Victoire’s younger relatives. This day, Harry’s birthday to be exact, had dawned bright and warm and the family had assembled at Shell Cottage to celebrate. Currently, all the adults were busy cleaning up the mess made by Roxy and Fred’s rather fantastic addition of their father’s fireworks to Harry’s cake and restraining the little ones from eating the remains from the grassy lawn. When Teddy and Victoire slipped away, his grandmother and Molly Weasley Sr. were attempting to salvage the rest of the food from the table while Ginny was attempting to remove cake from Harry’s robes, and the other adults were all wrestling cake splattered children into the house to get cleaned up.
So here they were, facing the precipice. Conditions were perfect.
“1…2…3,” Victoire counted off with a shout. Hands still clasped they took off running towards the edge of the cliff, and with a great leap they jumped off the edge.
Relinquishing the control that his last three years of Hogwarts had attempted to teach him, Teddy let the magic flow freely through his body. Beside him, Victoire did the same, allowing them to remain in the air longer than gravity should’ve allowed. They easily cleared the narrow strip of pebbled shoreline beneath the cliff before they began their plunge into the water below. Teddy was overwhelmed by the sound of breaking waves, whistling wind, Victoire’s delighted shriek beside him, and the rapid beating of his own heart, all the sounds reverberating in his ears like a natural symphony.
That leap off the cliff had been the most exhilarating moment of Teddy Lupin’s young life. Until now.
Teddy stood chest deep in the Great Lake on the eve of his graduation from Hogwart’s with Victoire standing on his feet to remain comfortably above the water. The full moon hung above them, basking the scene in a silvery glow. Their laughter had died out a few seconds earlier, perhaps because their proximity to one another made them acutely aware that they were clad only in their underwear. And they were not children anymore.
Teddy couldn’t be sure if Victoire was uncomfortable because her blonde hair was covering her face, and, without thinking, he reached up to brush it away. His hand lingered on her cheek, and he brushed his thumb across her smooth skin. Victoire looked up at him, prompting his heart to beat even more rapidly than it already was. He hesitated for a moment, wondering if he was about to make a mistake, but he took the risk and kissed her.
Victoire remained very still for a moment before responding, timidly at first and then passionately, moving her hands up from where they had rested on his upper arms for balance to wrap around his neck, her fingers curling into his torquoise hair. He wrapped his arms around her waist, cradling her elegant back, and causing their torsos to press together. And this lasted for a blissful thirty seconds, before Victoire suddenly pulled away. Confused, Teddy kept his arms around her until she placed both palms on his chest and shoved him away.
“Vic?” he asked, a terrible feeling of dread crashing over him.
She didn’t respond except to look up at him, misery and fear twisting her delicate features, tears seeping from her blue eyes. “Why,” she sobbed, “Teddy, why?”
“Why did I kiss you?” he asked still in shock over the nasty turn of events.
Victoire nodded violently and wrapped her arms protectively around her slender waist. “I trusted you. I thought you were d-different from all—all the other—b-boys.”
Teddy clamped his jaw shut instinctively, too frightened, too unused to speaking about his own emotions to respond. Prompted by his silence, perhaps sensing that she was being shut out, Victoire turned away from him and began walking back to the shore her sobs slowing with every step. And, like a fool, Teddy let her go, carefully averting his gaze when she stepped out of the water and slipped her silver party dress over her head. And when she began walking back towards the castle, he didn’t call her name and didn’t make to go after her. He just stood there in the water, feeling as though he had ruined everything.
Cold water swallowed Teddy as he plunged into the ocean, shooting painfully up his nose and stinging his eyes. The current tugged on him, loosening the grip he had on Victoire’s hand. As he was buoyed back up the surface a wave crashed over him, sending him tumbling in the water and pulling Victoire from his grasp. He frantically scrambled through the water, inhaling deeply as he broke the surface. Immediately, he began searching for Victoire, fear nagging at him with each passing second he didn’t see a head of blonde hair or laughing blue eyes. His own hair changed from his favorite turquoise color to a sandy brown as he lost control of his metamorphagus abilities.
Vic!” he cried, twirling in the water, “Victoire!” Another wave passed blocking his view, but when it cleared he spotted Victoire floating face up, eyes closed, in a couple of inches of shallow water near the shore. He swam to her as fast he could, struggling to walk through the water when it became too shallow to swim.
Panic seized his chest, making it painful to breathe as he knelt beside her, grabbed her by the shoulders, and called her name. “Vic,” he half-sobbed when she didn’t respond. “Help!” he shouted, hoping that the adults had noticed their absence and were looking for them. “Help!”
There was a snort of laughter.
Teddy looked back down at Victoire’s unconscious form, which appeared to be biting back a smile.
Her eyes flew open as she broke into wicked giggles. Teddy went red in the face as anger and embarrassment swelled inside him. “The look on your face!” she gasped through her laughter.
“It wasn’t funny!” Teddy yelled as he turned away from her in anger, water lapping at his shins.
“Come on, Ted!” she said, continuing to laugh, “it was a little funny!”
“You shouldn’t pretend like that; I thought you were really hurt.” He said through gritted teeth, refusing to look at her.
Her laughing stopped. “Hey, Ted,” she cooed, reaching forward to touch his shoulder lightly. He shrugged her hand away violently. “Teddy, I’m sorry. I didn’t think I’d scare you that much.”
“Well, yeah…whatever.” He snorted.
“You really care about me, don’t you?” She said, tentatively placing her hand on his shoulder again. He didn’t push her away this time.
“You’re my best friend, Vic.” He said meekly.
“I love you, Teddy!” she cried as she jumped on his back, causing them to both topple over.
“Ugh, Vic!” he said a little breathlessly as Victoire was on top of him. “How much did you eat today, ” he teased.
She ignored his jibe and commenced tickling him.
“Stop, stop, please,” Teddy laughed at he tried to squirm away.
“Admit that you love me and I’ll stop!”
“Vic, come on…please!” Teddy futiley attempted to curl into a ball to protect himself.
“Say ‘I love you too, Victoire’ and I will cease my torture.”
“Fine,” he gasped, tears running down his cheeks, “I love you too, Vic.”
“You mean it?” She asked, stopping her torture as promised.
“You’re my best friend; Of course, I love you,” was his honest answer, though he added playfully, “But I only said it because I really have to pee, so get off.”
Victoire pulled a face that suggested just how gross she thought boys were and hastily stood up.
Teddy stood and turned to run back up the narrow winding path back up to the cottage from the beach neighboring the cliff, but instead found a steady stream of adult relatives running down it. Harry and Bill were in front, with their wands out and at the ready. As they reached the bottom of the path, Bill and Harry were overtaken by Fleur, who was clutching Victoire’s discarded sundress to her chest and crying for her daughter.
Victoire and Teddy quickly found themselves surrounded by anxious adults who morphed into angry adults when they learned that Teddy and Victoire had leapt from the cliff above them. Neither he nor Victoire mentioned the trick she had played on him, allowing the adults to believe that Teddy had called for help as a lark. They stood in the kitchen of Shell Cottage, wrapped in the towels that Harry had conjured for them, hearing a lecture on The War and about how stupid it was to willingly endanger themselves. But nothing was a bad for Teddy than Harry’s words. Not Bill and Fleur’s anger, not his grandmother’s terrified face as she ran down the path towards him, or having to spend the entire last month of the summer away from Victoire, made guilt twist inside him like it did when Harry, who had so far remained silent, turned his penetrating green eyes on him and spoke.
“You look so much like your father right now,” he said quietly. Teddy actually found this statement quite annoying as that was what everybody said when he was upset and lost the ability to metamorph, It caused his appearance to revert back to the sandy brown hair and chocolate eyes that he had inherited naturally from his father allowing the less noticeable features, like the shape of his jaw and his thin build, to amplify his resemblance to Remus. But Harry wasn’t done speaking. “I hate having to say this, Teddy, because I hated it when Remus told it to me in my 3rd year but I think I should. Your parents died so that you could have a brighter, happier future, don’t throw their sacrifice away for a laugh.”
After that, the rest of his time at Shell Cottage passed in a daze as he dressed, was finally allowed to use the restroom, and made his goodbyes. He heard someone call after him as he walked across the lawn with his grandmother. Turning around, he saw Victoire break free of her mother’s grasp and run towards him. She threw her arms around his neck in a hug, and whispered into his ear, “Thank you for not telling them about the trick I played.”
“No problem, Vic.”
As she pulled away, she smiled and said quietly, “Jumping off the cliff was worth all this mess, you know?”
Teddy smiled back at her and nodded, waved goodbye, and walked to the apparition point where his grandmother was waiting.
Teddy didn’t know how much time had passed before he finally decided to get out of the water. He dressed slowly, reflecting on the moments that had brought him to this point.
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