Chapter 5 : Our Wet, Awkward English Summer
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“I thought you passed your exam with flying colors. I thought the examiners said it had been years since they encountered anyone who took so naturally to the Apparition process,” Victoire teased as she trudged up the grassy slope towards Shell Cottage, pulling Teddy by the hand behind her.
“Your point being?” Teddy asked grumpily, knowing exactly where this was going. He stopped walking abruptly causing Victoire to pull up comically.
She spun around to face him. Her hair spilled out from the hood of the sweatshirt she had borrowed from him. Teddy had warned her that she would be cold if she insisted on wearing that ridiculously skimpy excuse for clothing, known as the tube top, to the concert.
“It’s summer,” Victoire had said, dismissing his comment as she stowed the cardigan she had used to hide her outfit from her father in a nearby tree. Teddy and her had used the small hole in the wood to hide “treasure” they found on the beach when they were kids.
“It’s England,” he replied. It was also the rainiest summer on record for over a decade. Victoire had given him her don’t-worry-so-much look, and Teddy had dropped the subject. Now, he felt just touch bit smug to see Victoire engulfed in his Puddlemore United hoodie.
Victoire’s laughter broke through the disapproval she was trying to feign.
“Then tell me, young man, how we managed to Apparate a full mile away from my house?”
“Only if you can tell me who was poking me in my side upon departure?”
“I haven’t the slightest,” Victoire shrugged with a wide, mischievous smile. Teddy looked down at her and smiled back, unable to resist her infectious happiness. He was struck by how close she was standing and how easy it would be to swoop down and kiss her. He was embarrassed by how much he wanted to do just that and by how tempted he was to run his hands through the silky hair that spilled out of the front of her hood.
An uneasy silence fell between the pair. It had been years since one had occurred, but since the train home they seemed to be happening with alarming frequency. Or, at least they were on Teddy’s part. As these tense moments were usually preceded by thoughts like Vic looks beautiful in the moonlight, Victoire might still have viewed them as the same comfortable silences they had always shared.
At any rate, Teddy’s new feelings persisted in cropping up at the most inconvenient times despite his efforts to dismiss them, leaving him desperate and praying for Victoire or an outside force to do something to cut the awkwardness before he broke down and did something brash.
“What time is it?”
Teddy heaved an inward sigh of relief as Victoire grabbed wrist in a most unromantic way to peer at the watch his grandmother had given him for his seventeenth birthday. Rough as her action was, it still sent a shiver down his spine.
“Merde,” Victoire spat upon deciphering the time, “Daddy’s going to kill you if I’m not home in ten minutes.”
“You’re my chaperone,” Vic said, returning to her former teasing tone.
“Well,” Teddy responded, sucking in air dramatically, “seeing as how I don’t want to die…” Teddy burst into a full sprint, pulling Victoire’s hood over her eyes as he passed.
“Te-ed-dy!” He heard her cry from behind him as he raced up the hill.
“Last one there is a Blast-Ended Skrewt,” he called childishly over his shoulder with a laugh.
Teddy reached the front door and was just about to knock when Victoire, who would’ve made a fantastic Muggle track star, leapt onto his back. Teddy lost his balance and was pushed forward, his head colliding painfully with the wooden door. He swayed, stumbling backwards, and remained upright for a moment before collapsing in a heap on the ground with Victoire still perched on his back.
“You’re supposed to stay standing!” She squealed in between giggles, playfully punching his arm. Teddy rubbed his aching head with the heel of his hand.
“Oh, oh, Ted,” Victoire sympathized, scooting around to face him and gingerly touching the rapidly forming welt. Unable to control herself, she burst into laughter again.
They sat on the ground together, intertwined like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. One of Victoire’s slender, denim-encased legs was draped over Teddy’s outstretched limbs while her other leg was behind him, supporting his lower back. She was alternately clutching her side and pushing lightly on his shoulders; she had reached the point where she no longer made noise when she laughed. Vic’s hysterics did nothing for Teddy’s pain, and he continued to stare sourly at his best friend until she brought her hand up to smooth the hair back from his forehead. On the outside, Teddy became very still, but his heart raced uncontrollably and heat rose to his cheeks at such an uncharacteristically gentle and feminine touch from Victoire. She placed a hand on either side of his head, just above his temples. She straightened up and leaned forward until they were mere centimeters apart. She kissed him once, sweetly, on the forehead. Victoire pulled back, but kept her hands in place. Teddy opened his eyes, despite having been unaware of closing them. His chocolate colored orbs locked onto Victoire’s laughing blue eyes. His breath hitched. His heart felt near to bursting, and, for a moment, it seemed that the whole world was made up of Victoire—her eyes, the soft pressure of her hands in his hair, the heat that radiated from her body—and the distant sound of the crashing waves. The moment was so intense that Teddy felt sure he had reached a juncture, sure that something was about to happen; that they’d kiss or that he’d give up denying his feelings and confess to both Victoire and himself that he was mad about her. But before he could swallow the lump that had lodged in his throat, Victoire spoke.
“Now you know what happens when you try to sabotage a Weasley in a foot race.” She flashed him a wicked grin and removed her hands.
The moment passed, the juncture was demoted to an instance. Teddy snorted through his nose and began to laugh as Victoire did too.
Not two seconds had passed before the front door was pulled open, bathing the duo in light from the house. Teddy looked up and found the formidable outline of Bill Weasley staring down at him.
“Hi, Ted. My daughter injure you again?”
“Something like that.”
Victoire rolled her eyes. “Teddy decided to knock with his head.”
“As revenge for beating—“
“Cheating,” Victoire corrected. Bill smirked.
“—for, uh, arriving at the front door first, your daughter launched herself onto my back. I lost my balance and hit my head.”
“Teddy,” Bill laughed, “Don’t you know that you’re supposed to remain standing?”
“I told him that, Daddy,” Victoire said brattily as she extracted herself from Ted and stood to go into the house. Bill gave Teddy a hand up. They followed Victoire as she bounded off towards the kitchen, dancing to a music neither one of them could hear.
“You didn’t let her have anything to drink, did you?” Bill inquired, observing the antics of his eldest daughter.
“She had a Muggle soda during the concert,” Teddy replied, recalling a sweaty and breathless Victoire declaring herself to be dehydrated. A dutiful Teddy had trapsed off towards the bar to stare helplessly at the chalk menu.
“Do you have anything non-alcoholic?”
The bartender, a tall, painfully thin wizard with lanky, mouse colored hair and tattoos covering his arms, blinked at Teddy. Apparently, that was the most absurd question anyone had ever asked him.
“Her dad made me promise,” Teddy stated, thoroughly annoyed. He was quite certain that the bartender knew exactly who the “her” was in that sentence as most of the room had been staring at Victoire the entire night. In fact, the longer Teddy stood here engaged in a staring contest with the lanky wizard, the more nervous he became that Victoire would be overcome by male suitors. He was beginning to understand Bill’s anxiety.
The bartender reached under the counter and pulled out a metallic, red can. “We have this to mix with the firewhiskey,” he said, his bored facial expression never changing. “It’s a Muggle import.”
“Fine,” Teddy said, “how much?”
The bartender blinked at Teddy again, and he felt his patience draining. “I only know how much it costs with the firewhiskey.”
Now it was Teddy’s turn to gape at the wizard. “Fine,” he repeated, feeling like a broken record, “why don’t you give me the firewhiskey and pour that into a separate glass for my friend.”
Teddy handed over the silver, and picked up his drinks. He tossed back the double shot of alcohol the bartender had poured, and tried not to cough as it scorched a trail of fire down his throat before he took the soda to Victoire.
“You realize that stuff’s just caffeine and sugar,” Bill reprimanded casually, as though Victoire was five, not fifteen.
“Yeah,” Teddy said slowly, watching Victoire twirl around before leaping gracefully onto the countertop. That explained why she had begun poking him in the side and all of her super-affectionate gestures since.
Victoire grabbed an apple from the bowl on the counter and took a bite out of it. “Hungry?” she asked.
“Starving,” Teddy answered, hopping up onto the counter next to her. She handed him the apple she had bitten into, and picked a new apple from the bowl for herself. Teddy munched on his own fruit, unperturbed that it was half-eaten.
“You two going to be up for awhile then?” Bill asked. Teddy observed the way Victoire was swinging her legs against the counter.
“Yeah,” Victoire slurred, mouth full of apple.
“Just keep it down; you know how your sister gets when she’s woken up.”
It was a well-known fact that waking a sleeping Dominique was akin to trying to steal a golden egg from a nesting Hungarian Horntail, or, at least, that’s how Harry had described it. The tactics for survival were similar too—run, fly, and always make sure to avoid the fiery breaths, also known as “morning breath”, and the spikes, i.e. Dominiques perfectly manicured nails. It was testament to how fearsome of an event it was that Victoire stopped banging her legs against the counter immediately.
“There are leftovers in the fridge if you’re still hungry,” Bill said as he left the kitchen, no doubt noticing the decimated fruit bowl. “Goodnight, behave,” he added with a smirk. The two teenagers sat very still as they listened to the creaking of the stairs.
“Leftovers,” Teddy stated once they heard the click of the bedroom door.
“Leftovers,” Victoire agreed. She hopped off the counter and crossed to the enchanted refrigerator, an idea adopted from the Muggles and a more modern version of Andromeda’s icebox. Victoire bent over to rummage through the fridge, bringing her hand up to brush the long hair from her face only to have it fall forward again and obstruct her view.
“Stupid hair,” she mumbled. It wasn’t a statement that required a response, so Teddy didn’t feel compelled to make one, settling instead on grunting in non-commital agreement. As it was, he was too busy enjoying the vista she presented him with. He stared, shamelessly enraptured by her figure, just like all the other men had been that night.
Asphodel’s Plain was proof to Teddy that with a little creativity and planning, you could hide almost anything from Muggles. It was the Wizarding rock club to play—doubly so, as it was the only one in Great Britain that he could think of—and it was started by Heathcote Barbary and Merton Graves after the Weird Sisters retired. It was located, of all places, in a Muggle Tube station. That made getting there a highly coordinated event, as it would be odd if there were a sudden rush of young people into the subway station none of which actually got on a train. So each set of tickets came with specific instructions on how to arrive at the famed music hall. Teddy and Victoire had Apparated to a dark alley by a subway station two stops away from their destination. A train had just left the platform when they arrived, so Teddy stopped to listen to a subway saxophonist playing a melancholy jazz tune. He didn’t notice Victoire wandering over to the edge of the platform to peer curiously at the under workings of the tracks until the next train arrived, coming in at top speed and blowing its horn. Victoire jumped back in fright and alarm, and Teddy grabbed her elbow to steady her.
“Is this the right one?” She asked him, looking hesitant to get on.
“Yep.” And he steered her through the automatic doors and into a seat. The only other two occupants of their car were two teenaged Muggle girls who kept throwing surreptitious glances in Teddy’s direction. Victoire, who seemed to be enjoying the train more now that she was on it, narrowed her eyes in their direction.
“What?” Teddy asked. He had been oblivious to the girls while reading the advertisements on the walls. He wondered how complicated non-magical life must be since Muggles apparently needed all that stuff.
“It’s just rude.” Victoire leaned in to him to whisper conspiratorially. She nodded her head in the direction of the girls.
Teddy turned to look at them, and the girls giggled and waved. He hesitantly waved back.
Victoire was giving him an incredulous stare when he turned back to her. “Its rude,” she repeated, “to check out a bloke that’s with another girl.”
“But were not with each other…in that way,” Teddy said, feeling a strange fluttering in his chest.
“Well, they don’t know that, do they?” Victoire snapped, looking miffed. She crossed her arms over her chest and tapped her foot on the metal floor of the train. She cheered, almost instantly, when the giggling girls got off at the next stop.
Teddy really didn’t get Victoire’s point until they arrived at Asphodel’s and the gawking began. There was no doubt Victoire was gorgeous and her laughter infectious, but they had only just come down the slide that started at the Authorized Personnel Only door at the top and ended twenty feet below in the long, entrance way to the club when the bouncer was already attempting to give Victoire a hand-up with the slyest grin that Teddy had ever seen.
“She’s all set, thanks,” Teddy said, whisking Victoire down a hallway lined with band posters and flyers for concerts. She just smirked up at him with a see-what-I-mean look on her face.
After handing over their tickets, Teddy and Victoire found themselves in a cavernous room with a large stage at the front and a bar, with a few tables and chairs in the back. The middle was just open floor space, rapidly filling with people. Dust would fall from the ceiling every time a train passed above them. The duo headed towards the floor, only to be subjected to forty minutes of mopey love songs by a solo, acoustic act called Broomside Disclosures.
“And the Crup fell in love with a kneazle,
And he was a masochist, and she a sadist,
And you’d think it’d work, but it don’t
Oooohhhh, it just hurt.
And this Crup can’t take anymore
of this crappy, puppy Cruppy love.”
Victoire giggled at the last line of the chorus, garnering several scandalized looks from a group of depressed looking witches in the corner. She turned to Teddy and said, “You play and sing better than this bloke, I don’t know why you don’t write music too, and save us from this shit.”
Teddy smiled at the compliment, but feeling unable to take anything too seriously in the face of such angst, crooned into Victoire’s ear, “And the dish ran away with the spoon, but the cow had already jumped over the mooooon.”
Victoire snorted and tried to hide her smile from the grumpy witches. “A definite improvement.”
Their attention was called back to the stage, when the singer reached the climax of the song and changed from the third person to the first with great emotion.
“And I, the Crup, fell in love with you, a kneazle…” He sang, breaking out into tears. The witches in the corner began to sob. Victoire rolled her eyes, and Teddy just looked on, horrified.
Finally, Broomside Disclosures reached the end of his set and the happy, poppy Wendelin came out onto the stage to cheers and screams. Victoire jumped up and down, and began to dance and sing along to all the songs. Occassionally, she’d tug on Teddy’s hand trying to get him to dance, but he resisted. At first, he was just happy to see her enjoying herself even if he didn’t care for the music, but eventually, he felt the need to stand close to Victoire like a sentinel, on the watch for all the male eyes straying towards her. A little ring had even begun to form around her as the wizards stopped moving to the music and openly stared. This was unusual, and Teddy figured it must have something to do with her sweat and happiness mixing with the Veela pheromones. The strapless top certainly didn’t help matters; after all, Teddy realized with a jolt, he had been watching her, too.
In between sets, Teddy pulled the Puddlemore United hoodie over his head and handed it to Victoire.
“No, I’m too warm already,” she said, pushing it away.
“Please, just wear it,” he begged. Vic looked up at him, obviously confused. “They are all staring.”
Victoire looked around her for the first time and noticed all the wizards running their eyes over her. “I’ll wear it if you dance with me.”
Teddy grimaced as the lights came down and the next song started up. He took one more look at the gawking men and said, “Deal.”
Victoire shoved the hoodie over her head, and grabbed Teddy, pulling his hips close to hers like all the other couples. “They probably won’t do anything if they think you’re my boyfriend,” she explained with a smile. Teddy smiled back, surprised he was able to muster that much of a response as being this close to Victoire was making his head spin.
“Deviled eggs!” Victoire exclaimed, pulling a plate from the back of refrigerator.
“Not the ones from the family dinner two weeks ago?”
Victoire sniffed the plate and scrunched up her noise. “Yeah, I think so,” she replied as she shoved the plate back into the fridge, instead of throwing them out like Teddy had expected. He laughed, but cut himself off short. He turned his eyes upward, listening for signs of an approaching dragon.
“I think we might’ve won the Galleon draw.” Victoire declared.
“Meat?” Teddy asked hopefully. If he had to pick a favorite food it would have to be anything that began its journey as a cow, though bacon followed for a close second. He figured it was an inherited trait from his father.
“Not just meat,” Victoire echoed, turning around with a ceramic serving dish in her hands, “Pot roast.” Her eyes fell onto to something to Teddy’s left, and he looked down to see a French loaf sitting on the counter.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Sandwiches,” they said in unison. The sandwich was the perfect late night food as it involved very little dish and service ware. At Hogwarts, the two of them often snuck down to the kitchens—a task made easier by the Marauder’s Map Harry had given him—for late-night sandwiches, courtesy of the House-Elves.
Victoire moved towards the oven to warm the roast.
“Wait,” Teddy interjected dramatically, pulling out his wand. “Let me.”
Two minutes later the beef was warmed, the bread was toasted, and the sandwiches were assembled.
“You know, you being seventeen is kind of awesome,” Victoire said, in between mouthfuls.
They sauntered outside and over to their favorite tree. It had been their preferred spot since they had learned to climb trees, as it contained many branches perfect for footholds and sitting. Now that they were older, they mainly just sat on the springy ground, enjoying the shade after an afternoon on the beach and talking. With their backs to trunk, they had a stunning view of the moon reflecting off the ocean with the gentle, lapping sound of the water soothing their ringing ears. They sat for hours, finishing their food, recapping the evening, and laughing over inside jokes. They talked about everything and nothing; Victoire tried to teach Teddy a silly hand-clapping game, but his coordination failed him. Eventually, she gave up the attempt and stretched out on the ground, resting her head on Teddy’s thigh.
“So,” Victoire began, “Truth?”
“Truth?” Teddy repeated, confused.
“Did you or did you not actually have fun at the concert?”
Victoire grinned, nodded, and said, “ Ok, your turn.”
“Ask me a question.”
“OK, what was your favorite part of the concert?”
“No, it has to be something embarrassing,” she corrected, pulling out strands of hair that the breeze had blown into her mouth. “Stupid hair,” she grumbled.
“You asked me about the concert.”
“That’s because it was embarrassing for you to admit that you had fun, what with your reputation,” Victoire explained, complete with air quotes.
“Fine,” Teddy groaned, “who was your first kiss?”
Victoire snorted and whacked him on the arm. “You. Remember?” She responded loudly. “Merlin, you’re horrible at this game.”
Teddy just sat there looking confused; sifting through memories like the pages of an encyclopedia looking for an entry he had missed. “If you’re talking about that time at George and Angelina’s wedding when I was five, that doesn’t count.”
“I wasn’t; I was talking about the time at the Quidditch match.”
“Oh,” Teddy blurted, his eyes widening a little in surprise that he had forgotten. He supposed that he had suppressed the memory out of embarrassment; the adults’ teasing had been endless. “That.”
“Wow, now I feel kind of offended,” Vic teased and with a yawn asked, “Truth?”
“Truth,” Teddy responded wearily.
“Who do you fancy?”
Teddy felt stricken, like he had just seen a Grim. “What makes you think I fancy anybody?” He retorted, probably more defensively than the situation called for. Panic seized at his chest.
“Well, you’ve been acting funny lately, putting more effort into your appearance and stuff.”
So she had noticed, Teddy thought.
“I thought it might be Kara.” Victoire yawned again.
Ah, yes, the ever-present Kara Adams debate.
“She does spend an awful lot of time in Flourish and Blotts.”
Kara Adams was an incorrigible bookworm in Teddy’s year, who came into his work at least once a week to stock up on reading material. She was pretty, very smart, and very studious. Therefore, Teddy would often find himself alone with her working on the same assignment in opposite corners of the common room after everyone else had gone to bed. They talked, found that they got along pretty well, and, every once and while, would snog. They had discussed going out once, and had come to the conclusion that they were both too busy and dedicated to be bothered.
“This way,” Kara had explained scientifically, pushing her glasses back onto the bridge of her nose, “we can satisfy our teenage hormones and maintain an amicable acquaintance that doesn’t interfere with our schoolwork or any other personal relationships.”
Victoire wasn’t pleased when Teddy told her about his arrangement with Kara. She thought it was strange, impossible even, for two people to come together and kiss repeatedly and not develop any emotional ties to one another. Teddy had teased her for being so romantic, and they had never spoken about it again. Though, now that he thought of it, Vic might have been just a little jealous. Not about the kissing part, but about the fact that Teddy stayed up late to talking to another girl after she’d gone to bed. After that, Victoire had also started to stay up late with Teddy, her eyes wandering over to where Kara sat scratching away every five minutes or so. Then she had gone out with Roger, and Teddy had gone back to snogging Kara Adams.
Teddy felt that her suspicions about Kara were the reason Victoire had started this silly game in the first place. She expected him to like Kara, and then she could gush on and on about how she was right and make plans for him to woo her. However, it wasn’t studious, pretty, pragmatic Kara that he fancied; it was Victoire—beautiful, energetic, affectionate, easy-going, detention-getting Victoire. His best friend, whose hyperactivity usually resulted in his injury, who begged him to share the Double-Decker Chocolate Delight at Florean Fortescues with her, only to eat most of it herself, who had inadvertently stolen half of his jumpers because she never brought her own and always forgot to give them back, a girl he could never say no to—that girl, that was the one he was mad about. There didn’t seem to be any use in denying it anymore, though he still doubted the wisdom in telling Victoire. But, she had asked for the truth.
“Vic..Victoire?” Teddy began, looking straight ahead at the ocean feeling that looking at her would rob him of his courage to tell her.
There was no response.
“Vic?” Teddy looked down at the blonde head resting in his lap. Victoire’s breathing was soft and even and her eyes were closed. She had fallen asleep.
A/N: I think this might be one of the longest chapters for any story that I've ever written. so what do you think? Too long? boring? So, much music went into this chapter! Asphodel is apparently a flower used in potions and apparently, grow's in Hades. A Crup is like a wizarding dog that looks like a jack russel with a forked tail, and a kneazle is an agressive cat-like creature. *taps finger to chin* I wonder where i got the inspiration for my emo song? Anway, I hope you enjoyed it. Please, review. Tell me if you like chapters this length or if you'd like them a little shorter or what not. Thanks!
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