“Oh Pobrecita! Tragic little teacup, did he go and shatter you again? But the way that you’re crying is more like a lion, who licks her wounds before she seeks revenge.”
- The Lion and the Teacup by Bishop Allen
The rest of the train ride back to London passed more or less uneventfully. At least, there were no more dark confessions on either Teddy or Victoire’s part. At one point, however, there was a loud bang that shook the carriage. Teddy and Victoire had one moment to exchange curious glances before their compartment door was wrenched open, letting in a rancid smell and Freddie and Roxy Weasley.
“Hide us!” They screeched before diving beneath the seats on either side of the compartment, no easy feat considering how tall they both were. Not a moment later, the compartment door was violently opened again revealing the disgruntled forms of a group of Slytherins, each one of them covered in feathers and what appeared to be rotten eggs.
“Weasley,” the middle one, and apparently the leader (probably because he was the ugliest), growled upon catching sight of Victoire, “where are your cousins?”
“Which ones?” Victoire asked innocently, the affect minimized by the fact that she was holding her hand over her mouth and nose.
The ugly Slytherin blinked and stared blankly for a moment. Obviously, he had forgotten how many Weasleys there were and was now trying to figure out which ones he was after. “The one’s who did this so I can teach them a lesson.”
Teddy made a noise of mock disapproval from his side of the compartment. The Slytherins jumped as a unit, apparently only now registering his presence. “I wouldn’t be so hasty to make threats,” Teddy said casually, slipping his robes back over his shoulders as he stood, revealing the silver Prefects badge shining there.
The ugly one mumbled something incoherent, gave a signal to the others with his hand, and turned out of the compartment. The Slytherins trudged off, a trail of feathers flitting out behind them.
As soon as the compartment door slid shut again, there was an outbreak of giggling from below the seats.
“Ok, guys,” Teddy said, “spill.”
“We’ve been stealing eggs from the kitchens for months,” Freddie explained as he extracted himself out from under Victoire’s seat.
“But we just didn’t know who,” Roxy joined, after unhooking a reddish brown braid that had gotten caught on the underside of the seat.
“But then we saw them.”
“A whole compartment full of them, everyone of them a—“
“Slytherin,” Fred finished for his twin sister.
“And then it was just a matter of a flick of the wrist, and—“
“Wingardium Leviosa,” Fred squeaked in an uncanny impersonation of Professor Flitwick. “And a firework for good measure.”
“I do hope the House Elves don’t mind too much that we destroyed a few pillows,” Roxy finished up reflectively. Obviously, some of Hermione’s lectures had gotten through to the twelve-year old.
Fred and Roxy fell silent then, looking at Victoire and Teddy with a mix of excitement and apprehension. They looked remarkably similar to each other, even for fraternal twins. They were tall and athletically built, with skin like caramel, a head of tight red-brown curls (though Roxy wore hers long and braided), George’s jaw, and mischievous brown eyes. It had become apparent to the entire family that they had also inherited their father’s penchant for troublemaking when at the tender age of five-and-a-half they put ants in their Uncle Percy’s socks. Molly Weasley had burst into tears of joy on the occasion (fondly remembering her lost son’s antics) while George had never looked more proud, and even Percy had managed a small, nostalgic smile in between his frantic scratching. After that first reception, who could blame them for seeking an audience now?
Victoire and Teddy looked at the twins, then looked at each other, and then back at the twins before they burst into laughter. The apprehension drained away from Fred and Roxy’s faces and they made themselves at home in the compartment chatting excitedly about their plans for the summer. Teddy pulled out his guitar again and made them all laugh with a silly song about a hippogriff and the numerous animals he befriends, changing his appearance whenever a new character arrived.
Victoire’s sister, Dominique, and Percy’s daughter, Molly—who just finished their third year—dropped into the compartment to tell them all that a gang of smelly Slytherins were on a war path to find Roxy and Fred. When they had asked where their cousins were, the girls had pointed to each other. A distinctly ruffled looking Louis Weasley, going into the second year with Fred and Roxy, arrived shortly after the other girls, saying he just had to dive into a loo to hide from a "bunch of feathered trolls" chasing him and screaming “where are your cousins?”
Unfortunately, it had been a girl’s restroom. Louis sat on the floor upon finishing his story, seeing as all the seats in the compartment were now taken.
The ugly Slytherins came back into the compartment shortly before the train began to slow, marking their imminent arrival in London. The leader blinked a few times after throwing open the compartment door, the characteristic question dying in his throat as he saw all of the Weasleys and Teddy together in the same compartment. Teddy had even decided to imitate Molly and Louis’s flaming red hair for the occasion. The Slytherins stood awestruck.
“Just keep walking there, smelly,” Dominque said, raising the wand that had been resting in her lap.
The ugly Slytherins seemed to think it best to obey.
The threat neutralized, the cousins dispersed back to their own compartments and friends, leaving Teddy and Victoire alone in their compartment once more. Teddy had just finished repacking his guitar when the train began to sidle up to the platform.
“I swear, Uncle Harry has a sixth sense about what compartment we’re going to be in,” exclaimed Victoire.
Teddy turned to look out the window, where a large number of redheaded adults stood together on the platform, surrounding a tall man with messy black hair holding a small, redheaded girl in his arms. Teddy and Victoire waved to the Weasleys and the Potters. He swore he saw George pass a smirking Bill Weasley a handful of gold and had the distinct impression that George had bet that Harry wouldn’t be able to pick the compartment.
Leaving their packed trunks for the conductors to remove from the train, Teddy and Victoire made their way down the narrow corridor running into Roger Davies II and his cronies along the way.
Victoire pulled up instinctively, drawing nearer to Teddy in the process and drawing his attention to Roger and his friends. The boys’ eyes were roaming over her, a common occurrence that Teddy, like Victoire, usually ignored. Though it now filled him with a sense of protectiveness. Ever since Roger had spread those disgusting stories around Hogwarts, there seemed to be a slightly different gleam in the eyes of the gawking boys, and Teddy hated to imagine the thoughts that ran through their minds. Still, that wasn’t nearly as bothersome as Davies himself. While the others finished their audit of Victoire quickly, Davies eyes lingered in their assessment. His lips twitched into a smirk that suggested he had an intimate knowledge of what lay beneath her t-shirt. The dull, throbbing anger that Teddy had felt since Victoire had told him about her break-up flared up with a passion that, even in his highly-charged state, Teddy recognized had a tinge of possessiveness to it. He glared at Roger, who smirked wider.
Spurred on by Teddy’s protectiveness, Davies reached a hand out towards Victoire’s arm. “You know, Victoire...” Teddy heard him say, but the rest of the words were drowned out by an odd sort of ringing in his ears as he watched Victoire’s reaction. While her expression remained blank, she stiffened and clenched her jaw. The hair on her arms stood on end. She was frightened, a rare occasion for Victoire and such a subtle display that Teddy was quite sure that only he knew her well enough to pick up on it.
Almost without thinking, Teddy stepped forward and clasped her hand in his own, hoping to ease her fear as he did years ago before they leapt from the cliff. The action also pushed Roger’s hand away just as his fingertips brushed against her arm. He turned to Roger and growled in a dangerously low voice, “Don’t ever touch her again, Davies. Don’t look at her. Don’t speak to or about her. Do you understand?”
Teddy was surprised to see Roger’s wicked grin falter a little as he stepped back from him, and he was even more shocked by the mingled look of awe and worry on Victoire’s face as he steered her past Roger and into the slightly roomier vestibule area of the train car. But before they could step off the train, before the heat subsided from Teddy’s face, before the ringing could drain from his ears, before his racing heart could slow, Roger just had to open his mouth.
“Who do you think you are, Lupin? Her brother? Or, now that I’ve had her, do you fancy yourself her boyfriend?”
A part of Teddy’s consciousness that wasn’t involved in the swinging back of his right fist knew that punching Roger Davies II sneering face wasn’t the most adult way to deal with this situation, especially if he wanted that Head Boy badge. Still, he turned to face his foe, fist curled and flying. It all happened so fast that Roger didn’t even have time to be shocked by this sudden burst of testosterone from mild-mannered Lupin.
But to Teddy, it seemed as if time and space slowed down to give him just enough time to process why he was punching Davies, other than for being a smarmy git. It wasn’t so much that he had frightened and hurt his best friend by spreading lies and rumors around Hogwarts, but that the effect of which dimmed Victoire’s bright smile and chased the laughter from her eyes. While others might look upon her like a marble goddess, Teddy knew she was far from being made of stone and that her true beauty lay within the spirit Davies was slowly crushing to serve his own pride. Tampering with such brilliance was like ripping the melody from a song, leaving the right hand to wander aimlessly over the keyboard never knowing if it was being dissonant or harmonic.
And Victoire was Teddy’s favorite song. Each day spent with her was like a new movement to an infinite symphony. The bass was provided by his heart beating in time to her footsteps as the walked down to breakfast. Victoire’s voice was the melody, and her words and inflections were variations on the same spirited theme, ranging from confidential whispers to crescendos of delighted laughter. Occasionally, the music was punctuated by a sob that only Teddy was allowed to hear and pierced his heart like the lonely cry of an oboe. And everyday ended as it had started, with his heart keeping time with her footsteps as she headed up the girl’s staircase to bed.
That was it. That was the moment. The moment when his knuckles collided with Roger Davies II face was the first time it ever occurred to Teddy Lupin that his feelings for his best friend might have developed into something more.
There wasn’t much time to dwell on his epiphany after that as time returned to normal speed and, all of a sudden, Teddy found himself engaged in a fistfight. He ducked to avoid Roger’s retaliatory blow, converting it into a tackle that sent both teenage boys flying out of the open doorway of the Hogwarts express onto Platform 9 ¾ to a chorus of gasps and alarmed screams. Teddy barely heard Victoire cry shrilly that Roger wasn’t worth it, but anger continued to pound in his ears blocking all reason.
His opponent narrowly missed cracking his head on the concrete, but could not dodge the wallop that Teddy delivered to the side of his head. Roger was now throwing blind punches to Teddy’s side. Teddy pushed down on Roger’s shoulders in an attempt to stand and extract himself from the fight. Roger clung fast to the front of his t-shirt causing the two of them to log roll over. Teddy took one punch to the face from Davies, but moved his head in time to avoid the second, causing Roger to punch the ground instead. Cradling his injured hand, Roger didn’t move in time to avoid taking Teddy’s knee to his groin. He retreated, hunched over with his back to the scarlet steam engine. Teddy wasted no time in standing and moved menacingly forward to confront his opponent.
“I warned you,” he growled, “that if you ever talked about Victoire that way again that you were going to pay, didn’t I?” Roger stood petrified. “Didn’t I?” Teddy brought his fist back again.
A strong hand gripped his raised fist, holding it back. “That’s enough, Ted.” Harry, his godfather, instructed. His voice cut through Teddy’s anger like a knife. The pounding rage suddenly died, and Teddy became aware of the chugging noise of the train, the distant laughter and conversations of other students and their families, and Victoire’s shallow breathing from where she stood beside him. He turned to look at his godfather, who released his arm. Teddy slowly turned on the spot and took in the shocked faces of the Weasleys, the Potters, and his grandmother. It looked as though even Molly and Arthur had shown up to welcome their grandchildren home for the summer. Feeling sheepish, he swept a hand through his hair, straightened his t-shirt, and began to walk towards the family.
“Fuck all, Lupin. Didn’t your parents teach you any manners, or haven’t you got any?” Roger Davies sneered from his position by the train.
Both Teddy and Harry bristled in orphan camaraderie, but it was Victoire who swung around and delivered a downward thrusted punch to Roger’s nose, sending a sickening crunching noise through the air. Roger cried out in pain and clutched his broken and bleeding nose. She curled one delicate hand around the front of his robes, lifting him slightly.
“Leave us alone, Davies,” she spat before releasing him. Roger just gaped at her with wide eyes as though a butterfly had just attacked him. Victoire turned to join Teddy and Harry standing a few feet away. Teddy and her engaged in a ridiculously long and complicated hand shake, that involved both hands and one foot each and had served as their “secret handshake” since the age of eight and six respectively. But Teddy knew they were growing up when immediately upon finishing their ritual a look of extreme annoyance came over Victoire’s face as she noticed a crack in one of her rose colored nails.
“Mum,” she cried with a heavy sigh, and strode forward to show Fleur her broken nail. Fleur, lips pursed together, gave her daughter an extremely disapproving look though Bill Weasley, who considered all non-relative males and Teddy as threats to his daughters’ safety and comfort, looked pleased that his ‘little princess’ just beat the tar out of some bloke.
Teddy turned to Harry as mother and daughter began conversing in French. “That was the first fight I’ve ever been in.” He said proudly.
“I’d say you did rather well,” Harry said, looking on the verge of laughter. “Though, I guess we’ll have to have a talk about how much I disapprove of such behavior later.”
Teddy merely shrugged, as George threw an arm around his shoulder and said in a jovial voice, “Teddy, have I ever told you to never bet against your Godfather?”
Teddy laughed out loud, as the family swept him up for a round of bone-crushing hugs and animated greetings.
It wasn’t until much later that night when Teddy was in bed, that he was able to reflect on his newly discovered feelings for Victoire. It seemed strange to think of her in any other way than the truly platonic, and so he tried to dismiss his earlier revelation as runaway sentimentality brought on by the highly emotional situation. He vowed to put away his sheet music by the great Romantic composers for a little while, less they turn him into a complete fool. Still, Teddy couldn’t sleep and, with a resigned sigh, turned his bedside lamp back on and turned on his side to stare at the tri-fold picture frame on his bedside table. The faces of his parents and his infant self smiled back at him, and the next picture was of the Potters and himself, taken at a Quidditch game four years previous. Yet, it was the third picture that captivated his attention until he finally dozed off. Victoire laughed down at him from where she was poised on his picture self’s back—after ambushing him with a pie tin of whipped cream—with her arms and legs wrapped around his torso.
A/N: As always, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please, keep reading and reviewing!