Chapter 7 : OH! So, That's What This Is!
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“It’s always tease, tease, tease. You’re happy when I’m on my knees. One day is fine, next is black. So, if you want me off your back, well, come on and let me know.”
“Official copy of your O.W.L scores, signed and magically sealed?”
“Check,” Teddy said as he placed the document squarely on top of the growing pile of others before him.
“Three personal recommendations,” Victoire read from the list she was holding. She was stretched out in front of the fireplace, her feet in the air, as she helped Teddy put together his Auror application for the third time. He just wanted to be absolutely certain that he had not forgotten anything before he sent it off.
“The first from Professor Merryheart of Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
“One from Kingsley Shacklebolt, Former Minister for Magic.”
“Check.” Teddy placed Kingsley’s official looking letter on top of the one from his Transfiguration professor.
“And last, but certainly not least, a glowing recommendation from Ronald Weasley, Auror.”
“Check.” Teddy replied with a grin; the recommendation was so well written that he and Victoire were sure that Hermione must have helped him write it.
Victoire stretched like a cat and mused aloud, “I still don’t understand why you did not want Uncle Harry to write you a recommendation.”
Teddy rolled his eyes. “What? You don’t think a letter from Kingsley carries enough prestige?”
“No,” Victoire said, drawing out the vowel, “it’s just that Uncle Harry is Harry Potter, yeah? Head Auror, Savior of the Wizarding world, etcetera, etcetera…”
Teddy looked down at his application. The day was so dark and gloomy that the firelight cast odd shadows across the parchment. He fiddled with the twine he’d be using to tie it up with. “I just…I just wanted to do this myself, you know?” He looked up at her timidly.
Victoire didn’t immediately retort as Teddy has expected. Instead, she searched his face for a moment. Her statuesque features appeared softer in the glow from the fire, and her eyes danced with affection when she smiled up at him with what appeared to be pride. When she finally spoke, her voice was so gentle, so mature and womanly that Teddy barely recognized it as Victoire’s. “Yeah, I know.”
Teddy was awestruck by how three little words from Victoire, that weren’t those three little words, could spark a fire in the pit of his stomach hot enough to burn down the castle.
“Anyway,” Teddy said to keep himself from slipping into an elaborate daydream, “I thought a letter from Harry would be overkill, seeing as how he’s my godfather, and there is a picture of me on his desk.”
“No way! Does he really have a picture of you on his desk?” Victoire exclaimed in sheer delight at Teddy’s embarrassing admittance.
“Yeah,” he confirmed, amused by how tickled Victoire seemed to be. “Me, James, Al, and Lily. Updated every year, too.”
“Oh gosh!” She rolled on the carpet in a fit of giggles that Teddy felt proud to be the source of.
When her laughter ended, Victoire wiped away her mirthful tears with the heel of her hand and stared pensively at the ceiling. Teddy leaned back on his palms and watched the fire in peaceful contemplation until a hitch in Vic’s breathing called his attention to her. He looked up in time to see her lip tremble and to watch her wipe away some tears that he didn’t think had anything to do with happiness.
“Nothing.” Victoire rolled back onto her stomach, scooped up his application, and slid it gently into a large envelope. “This is all set,” she explained, handing the documents over to him. Teddy took them, but continued to observe his friend in confusion.
Victoire apparently chose to ignore his questioning glance and declared, “I’ve got to go if I want to make it to Hogsmeade on time.”
“Right,” he responded, checking his watch. It was the first Hogsmeade trip of the term, but he had been unsure if Victoire still wanted to go since it was so blustery outside. “I need to replenish my Chocolate Frog supply, amongst other things.”
Other things mainly consisted of the alcohol and party supplies he was slowly sneaking into the castle for the blowout he was planning for the end of the school year. He figured he had spent the past seven years being the model student; he needed to go out with a bang that was almost expulsion worthy and live up, just a little, to the Marauder’s mischievous legacy. Coming off the success of the start-of-term prank, he saw it as his chance to continue to be more Rio de Janeiro, less Zurich, and he was excited. Teddy’s good mood was quickly doused when he saw the look on Victoire’s face.
“I forgot to tell you.”
“Tell me what?”
“I told Lucas Hynes that I’d meet him at the Three Broomsticks for…a date.”
“Oh, who’s Lucas Hynes?” Teddy inquired politely, praying that he didn’t look as crestfallen as he felt.
“He’s a sixth year Hufflepuff.” Victoire said, sounding annoyed.
“Oh! Would you stop looking at me like a wounded puppy!” She snapped, causing Teddy to actually flinch away from her sudden anger. “It’s not like I can be expected to spend all my time with you.”
Teddy had to admit that her words stung. Unsure of how to respond, he simply nodded, and, snatching up the Auror application from the floor, said, “I need to send this off.” He could feel Victoire’s eyes following him as he clambered out the portrait hole.
Up in the Owlery, Teddy used the twine to attach his application to his owl, Athena, and one of the school owls. He apprehensively watched them fly away, yet breathed a sigh of relief when he could no longer see them. He toyed with the idea of going to Hogsmeade by himself and meeting up with another friend. However, the weather was hardly conducive to venturing outdoors. A sudden October chill had set upon Hogwarts. Mist rose eerily off the Black Lake as the cold air met the slightly warmer water, and the wind picked it up and blew it across the grounds along with flurries of snow.
It was downright depressing.
He wandered back to Gryffindor tower and pondered Victoire’s sudden moodiness. For the past few weeks, she had been acting more like tempestuous Dominique rather than her normally happy self, despite the dramatic decrease in taunting. Her mood swung from high to low so rapidly that it left Teddy dizzy. Though, what bothered him the most was the way Vic would cling to him one moment, literally and figuratively drawing him closer to her than ever, and then push him away the next. On one occasion, Teddy had been reclining on a sofa, reading, when Victoire had curled up next to him and draped his arm around her shoulders. She had rested her head on his chest and left it there for the rest of the night. It was those instances that really drove him barmy, because the next day, Victoire had avoided spending time with him. Then he’d feel foolish for thinking he might have received a favorable response if he had told her how he felt while they sat nestled into the sofa. He felt stupid for assuming that Victoire must be feeling some of what he was feeling when she’d look up at him like that from his chest. Didn’t she know what she was doing to him when she came so close? Couldn’t she feel the rapid pounding of his heart from where she rested her head? Did she not feel the heat that consumed his body? Victoire’s touch was at once torture and new air. It was torture, because it never meant what he wanted it to. It was new air, because he ached for it when it was withheld. It occurred to Teddy that Victoire might be using him as a surrogate boyfriend; whenever she needed a little male attention, he was there to provide it. But he didn’t want to be her surrogate boyfriend, dammit! He wanted to be her boyfriend!
Teddy blinked and looked up, bringing the figure of Kara Adams into view. She was holding a thick stack of flashcards and smiling down at him flirtatiously. “Hi.”
“Studying for N.E.W.T.s, too?” She asked, nodding her head to indicate the pile of notes in Teddy’s lap. Teddy followed her gaze and blinked again. He was unable to recall coming back to the common room, grabbing his Transfiguration notes, and settling into a sofa to review them.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Teddy was surprised by how smooth and inviting his voice sounded.
“You don’t mind if I join you, do you?”
Teddy shook his head in an exaggerated fashion and said, “It’d be my pleasure.”
Kara slipped off her shoes and sat down. She laid her head against an armrest and stretched her legs across Teddy’s lap. It was a familiar position from their late night study sessions, though he was beginning to feel doomed to be the human pillow of lonely, teenage girls.
“So…want to quiz me on Charms?” Kara asked, playfully tossing him a set of flashcards as she did so.
It wasn’t long before they were laughing, and it was shortly afterwards that Teddy leaned across the sofa to kiss her. Next thing he was aware of, Teddy was engaged in an intense snogging session with Kara, all pretense of studying gone. They broke apart when they heard a gaggle of first years snickering from a corner. Teddy threw them his best want-to-see-how-fast-you-end-up-in-detention-if-you-don’t-bugger-off look as he pulled away from Kara. Either the first years weren’t very bright, or his look wasn’t very intimidating because they stayed their ground.
“Maybe we should take this somewhere else?” Kara suggested, sounding breathless.
“Good idea,” Teddy replied wondering if the Astronomy tower would be uncomfortably cold.
“Maybe your dormitory?”
It really wasn’t what Teddy had been expecting, but Kara was already heading towards the boys’ staircase. He followed in the least conspicuous way he could muster, but obviously failed when more giggling erupted from the first years.
Ruddy bunch of miniature voyeurs, he thought as he climbed the spiral staircase. When he got up there, Kara had already found his bed and seated herself on it. He walked over to the four-poster and froze.
There was just something about Kara Adams staring up at him seductively from his bed that seemed wrong to Teddy, almost like he was cheating. Which was complete nonsense, because he was not romantically involved with Victoire despite his daydreaming, and she was off with some other bloke anyway. The only entity he could possibly be betraying was his own heart; Kara was not the girl he wanted to be having an all-out snog-fest on his bed with. It made him nervous, and Teddy resisted the urge to bite his nails. Still, it was an extremely tempting offer—Kara, not his nails.
If he chose to continue what they had started downstairs, Kara would become the first girl he’d ever had in his bed. The only other girl that had ever been there was Victoire, but only in the most platonic way. After all, nothing says sexy like a Weasley jumper and a pair of flannel pajama bottoms with fluffy pink and white clouds on them. Though, he did find it intriguing the way Victoire’s midriff peeked out just a little when she’d raise her arms to stretch and…he really, really needed to stop thinking about Vic.
“Are you okay?” Kara asked. It was a justified question since Teddy had just been standing next to the bed staring off into space since they had arrived up here.
He couldn’t shove Victoire or the fact that a different girl was in his bed out of his mind, and the two thoughts swirled together in a convoluted mess. He wondered what would happen if things didn’t go well. It wasn’t promising that they would. In fact, the last time Victoire had been up here, she had sworn off boys, and Teddy had gotten kicked in the groin. The two events were surprisingly unrelated. Still, it wasn’t exactly encouraging. Teddy thought the bed might have been cursed by some former Hogwart’s pupil, bitter about having never gotten any in his whole seven year stint, which would be him if he didn’t stop having a mental argument with himself and kiss the very pretty girl who was sitting on his bed and…and…
Bloody hell! Where’d she learn to do that?
Teddy assumed that there must be a class girls take on how to unbutton a blouse tantalizingly, achingly, infuriatingly slow, because Kara Adams surely must have been the top of her class.
He swore he heard himself whimper, just a little. Her actions were a turn-on, no doubt, but they also embarrassed him. He felt too inexperienced for this; he no longer had any idea as to what was going on or what was expected of him. He wondered if this was second base or third. Teddy only ever had a fuzzy notion of the classic sports metaphor. Things like scoring and ‘beating the bludger’ were fairly obvious, but he was still lost as to where penalty shots ranked on the sports-to-sex scale. He’d have to have Dex explain it to him again later.
It was about that time that Teddy began having a difficult time forming coherent thoughts, seeing as how Kara had finished removing her top.
“You’re not wearing a shirt,” he blurted out in a completely unrefined way.
Kara looked taken aback. A curious affectation for a girl who had just been brazen enough to strip in front of boy she didn’t know very well. “Is that not all right?”
Oh, great job, Ted! You can call that one ‘dropping the quaffle.’
“No, its fine. Fine,” he said, hoping to salvage the situation.
“Oh.” Kara looked unconvinced. “If you’re not feeling up to this right now, we can-“
She never finished her comment, because Teddy suddenly bent down and smashed his mouth against hers. He knew, just knew, that Kara had used those words specifically to goad him. He was a little angry with her, but angrier with himself because it had worked.
His kiss was rough as he wound his hand into the back of brunette locks. Kara was pressed horizontal by his weight, and Teddy could feel her smile victoriously against his mouth. He allowed her to tug his t-shirt above his head. She let his hands roam over her body; he found her knee, and his hand began to creep its way up her leg. He was surrounded by a cacophony of hot breaths and small sounds of pleasure. Teddy had just thought that he probably should have pulled the bed hangings closed when he heard the door swing open, a gasp, and all too familiar voice stammering incoherently behind him.
“Uh! Um…er—I’ll just go.”
Teddy sprang away from Kara as though she was suddenly made of red-hot metal. Unfortunately, the action left Kara’s upper half exposed to Victoire, who stood in the doorway shielding her eyes with her hand. She nearly tumbled down the stairs as she hastily backed away.
“S-s-sorry. Um, oh!”
Victoire turned on her heel and bolted out of view. Teddy followed, pulling his shirt back over his head as he raced down the stairs. He caught up to her just as she placed one foot on the bottom step of the girl’s staircase.
“Vic, wait up!” He called.
She paused for a moment, but seemed altogether determined to keep going and ignore him. Teddy grabbed her arm with just enough force to get her to stop and talk to him. Victoire jerked away from him violently and said angrily, “Please, just don’t touch me right now!” She sounded practically hysterical.
Teddy let go immediately and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender. “I just wanted to talk to you.” He lowered his head to try and look at Victoire’s face, but she turned away so that he wouldn’t be able to. Her refusal to look at him was frustrating.
“Later,” she said with forced calm, though her head was still turned away from him. “We’ll talk later.”
“Oh…ok.” He found it really annoying how often he had repeated those two two-letter words today. He really ought to find something more clever to say.
“You shouldn’t keep Kara waiting,” Victoire spat, her voice sounding choked as she ran up the stairs. Teddy stared after her until he heard the dormitory door click shut.
Feeling thoroughly confused by the day’s events, Teddy turned back towards the boys’ dormitory, nearly bumping into Kara as he made his way up the stairs.
“I think this is over, don’t you?” she asked bluntly, pausing in her flight. Teddy could tell by her tone that she meant their whole arrangement, and not just today’s fiasco.
He nodded and added, “Kara, I’m really sorry.”
She smiled weakly as she slowly continued her journey. Turning back, she said, “I really like you, Ted; I have for years, and I thought maybe…well, its so obvious now.” She used her thumb to wipe away the one tear that leaked from her dark eyes and walked away.
“What’s obvious?” Teddy asked the void. Having received no response, he continued to trudge up the stairs. He opened the door to his dormitory slowly, closing it with his body as he leaned back against it. It was incredible how quickly his afternoon had turned to misery. Kara was crying, Victoire was either so embarrassed or ashamed of him that she couldn’t look at him, and he had the pleasure of feeling guilty about both girls’ distress.
“Fuck," he swore, groaning out his misery.
“I suppose that just about sums it up.”
Teddy recoiled at the sound of another voice. He had assumed he was alone in the dormitory. Turning his head, he saw Brian stroll out of the bathroom. Teddy was perturbed that everyone he thought to be in Hogsmeade was actually in Gryffindor tower.
“Why aren’t you in Hogsmeade?” He asked, voicing his distress. “Where’s Chrys?”
Brian shrugged as began to search through his trunk. “Chrys had a Divination essay that she put off and wanted to come back early.”
“Why were you in the loo?”
There was a momentary silence between the two boys as Brian shot Teddy a why-do-you-think look. When Teddy only blinked in response, he scratched the bridge of his nose and obliged his clearly demented friend, “Well, when Chrys and I came into the common room, you seemed, er, busy with Kara so I just headed up here to use the loo. When I tried to come out, you and Kara were up here, so I just stayed in there.” Brian shifted his weight from foot to foot. He was such a nervous, ungraceful person on solid ground that it was sometimes difficult to remember that Brian was a Chaser for Gryffindor. Or, that he had somehow managed to convince Chrysanthemum Fu, a bossy, intimidating girl despite her mere height of five feet, to fall head-over-heels, madly in love with him. They had gotten together after Brian had consoled Chrys after Slytherin’s brutal defeat of Gryffindor, during which she as Seeker had given up the snitch to Slytherin’s McFarland. They had been inseparable ever since in the most disgustingly adorable way.
“Did you know Denny uses lavender-scented aftershave?” Brian queried conversationally. “I didn’t even know they made lavender-scented aftershave.”
Teddy didn’t respond. Lost in his own head, he wandered over to his bed and sat down with his hand gripping the edge of the mattress and his shoulders next to his ears. Meanwhile, Brian finished searching his trunk and moved on to his wardrobe, flicking through the garments that hung there before bending down to search the pile of clothes that spilled out of the bottom.
“I really like Victoire,” Teddy confessed to Brian with the air of a man telling the Head Auror—well, Harry—that he’d used an Unforgivable Curse on a kitten. He exhaled noisily and the sound echoed around the dormitory.
“Uh-huh,” Brian said, not looking at Teddy as he ran a hand under his bed. “Have you seen my navy-striped jumper? Chrys wants to wear it while she writes her essay.”
Teddy gaped at the teenage boy who was supposedly his best mate, after Victoire of course. Thinking Brian’s non-reaction stemmed from a simple misunderstanding of terms, Teddy attempted his confession again. “No, I really, really like Victoire…in that way. You know, as in to fancy, to have a crush on, to have the hots for.”
Brian finally looked up at Teddy with a mix of confusion and surprise on his face. Teddy breathed a sigh of relief, as that was more of the reaction he has been hoping for.
“Have the hots for!” Brian exclaimed, “What century and continent do you think this is?” With a shake of the head and a chuckle, he continued his search for the sweater.
“Didn’t you hear me tell you that I’m mad about my best friend?” Teddy practically shouted. He was utterly shocked by Brian’s blasé attitude. Some friend, he thought.
“What?” Brian asked. There was a pause while he thought about what was going on. “Oh! You expected me to be surprised about that?”
Teddy put his face in his hands. Now Kara’s “It’s obvious” comment made much more sense to him. Apparently, almost everyone knew he fancied Victoire.
“Sorry, mate,” Brian said, “but we’ve”— he indicated around the room to the other empty beds—“pretty much figured out that you were in love with Victoire the night she was sorted into Gryffindor.”
“I’m not in love with her!”
Brian raised a skeptical eyebrow and scratched behind his ear. “So, you just ran out on a half-naked girl lying in your bed begging you to take third base in order to talk to Victoire, your best friend that you have a mild, simple kind of infatuation with?”
“Right,” Teddy responded grumpily, hating how ridiculous Brian’s blunt summary made the whole scenario sound. He wondered if he honestly was in love with Victoire and just didn’t know it. Teddy flopped backwards onto his bed and stared despondently at the ceiling. The room was quiet, but he knew Brian was still there trying to think of what to say.
“So that was third base?” Teddy asked.
Brian laughed. “I don’t know, mate. You’ll have to ask Dex.”
There was another pause before Brian spoke again.
“Listen, Ted,” he began from where he stood by the door. “Do you think about Victoire constantly?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“Smile and laugh to yourself, like some nutter, when you do?”
“Yeah,” Teddy said slowly, trying to figure out how Brian knew.
“Worry about her health every time a bludger comes within three meters of her? And do you mope when she’s not around?”
“I hate to break it to you, but you’re in love.”
“How do you know?” Teddy asked in awe of his usually awkward friend’s wisdom.
Brian shrugged with a sheepish grin and said, “That’s how I feel about Chrys, and I am in love with her—Ah!” Brian had finally spotted the missing jumper, grabbed it, and left the room without another word. Brian’s exit ended a conversation that neither he nor Teddy would ever admit to having.
A/N: So...what did you guys think? Funny thing, I actually had a difficult time writing the part where Teddy cusses and kept repeating swear words out loud with different inflections, trying to master the correct way to write that sentence. I'm pretty sure i sounded ridiculous! And I have some questions: 1) A good portion of this chapter was meant to be humorous, so did that come across at all?[I'm always worried it doesn't] 2)What do you guys think is up with Victoire's moodiness? 3) And, do you think Teddy is in love with her? ;) Predictions for the next chapter? Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!
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