Chapter 8 : Rhapsody
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Teddy stared up at the ceiling, his hands folded behind his head, attempting to sort out his feelings for Victoire. Could he really be in love with her?
Maybe. Probably. Yes?
Was that what this was then, this constant longing and uncertainty was love?
Well, Teddy thought, love wasn’t nearly as fun as people made it out to be.
But then he wondered if that was because his love was of yet unrequited. He tried to imagine how different it would feel if he knew Victoire loved him back. He supposed that would take care of the uncertainty part and the longing when she was near him. Though, he supposed the longing would only return ten fold when she had to go back to Hogwarts and he stayed behind to work. But then there would be a day when they were both graduated from school and working; they’d probably have a lot of time to spend with each other once they no longer had any schoolwork to occupy their time. They could use that time to do the things that adult couples did, whatever that was (antiquing?). They’d have their own flats too, most likely. No flatmates and no parents all sounded good. Maybe they could get a place together after a while…
Teddy brought his hand up and slapped himself on the forehead to keep from slipping further into his daydream. Had he gone barmy? They were still in school, and he was thinking about living with Victoire! Even crazier since Victoire didn’t love him even if he did love her.
Which brought him full circle to the original question. Did he love Victoire?
Well, of course, you do, he thought, you’ve been saying that for years.
But, am I in love with Victoire?
Teddy was blown away by how such a small, ubiquitous two-letter word could create such a distinction. Slip it in front of love and suddenly you’re playing a whole new game. A game that he did not feel prepared to play.
Teddy rolled over onto his stomach and groaned into his pillow; he wasn’t accomplishing anything except to talk himself in circles. Bored, and in desperate need of something to amuse himself with, Teddy sat up and pulled his father’s journal from his bedside table. He scowled at the picture bookmark and the happy faces of him and Victoire’s picture selves. Tossing it aside, he read that days entry. The page was creased, as though it had been crinkled and smoothed again after a scuffle.
Well, I’ve officially began to study for my N.E.W.Ts today, much to the amusement of Padfoot and Prongs, who are determined to not begin studying until the Spring. I wish I could say that they’d regret their actions when it came test time, but they’d probably be able to scrape by on their tests anyway. Though, considering the interesting development that occurred today between James and one, Miss Lily Evans, Prongs may find himself sequestered into the lib—
LILY EVANS KISSED JAMES POTTER TODAY ON THE LIPS.
Uh, James is excited about this new development and felt the need to commandeer my journal to write about his ‘red-letter day’. He felt that I was not doing this event—grand event, he tells me—enough justice by calling it an “interesting development”; it’s more like the second-coming of the angels, he says. So there you have it.
Things are going well between Anne and I… I think. I’m afraid that she’s waiting for me to ask her to Hogsmeade or something since we snogged at Sirius’ house-warming party this Summer. And I would, too, except that…Well, just except.
Anyway, Padfoot keeps trying to get a good shot at the page to charm James’ comment red, so I think I’ll stop now.
Teddy tossed the journal aside with disgust. Great, he fumed inwardly, great.
He found it irksome that everyone’s love life was just swell and better than his at the moment. He was really glad Harry was conceived and alive and all that, but what he really wanted to be reading about was how Lily still hated James, and Anne had started dating some non-wolfish bloke; he needed a journal entry that commiserated with him, not one where everything was going well. It was short too, hardly even long enough to be entertaining. He didn’t even know why he kept reading it; he’d been having more and more strange dreams. Sometimes they correlated to the entries he’d read and sometimes they didn’t, but they always involved a werewolf. Teddy was beginning to feel sleep deprived because of it. He thought that he really ought to just toss the journal into his trunk and not think about it again.
He snatched to book off the bed with the intention of doing just that, but hesitated. It was the one possession he had that made him feel truly connected to the father he never knew and the name he carried. He couldn’t just toss that away. Rolling his eyes at himself, Teddy relaxed his grip on the book, gently slipped the photograph in to mark his place, and put it back into the drawer. He picked up the harmonica that was in there, a gift that Arthur Weasley had found in a Muggle junk shop and given to Teddy. He tried playing a few notes, but, instead of experiencing the relief that always came with music, he felt unsatisfied and restless. Tossing the harmonica back into the drawer, he reached for the guitar leaning against his bedside table. He thought about what he wanted to play, tuned, breathed deeply and got halfway through the song before he gave it up as a lost cause. Quickly and anxiously, he slipped on his shoes and left the dormitory in search of his peace.
He tread a path through the hallways like he had a hundred times before. He remembered the days before he found the Room of Requirement; how as a first year he’d gotten detention for roaming the hallways after hours in search of his first, his best, and most beloved instrument—the piano. Teddy could always count on the piano to ease his sourest moods. The feel of the ivory keys always made him feel as safe as the plush dragon in the Weird Sisters t-shirt had when he was four. The piano, to Teddy, was like a large, not very warm, tonal security blanket. And he needed it now to keep his thoughts from galloping through his head.
He needn’t have bothered with the other instruments; he should’ve known they wouldn’t have helped on an afternoon like this. Back in first year, he wrote to Harry about how playing the bass for Flitwick’s ensemble wasn’t cutting it, and how he’d gotten detention because he went searching for a piano. The family had rallied together to solve the small woe. Harry bought him an acoustic guitar for Christmas, Arthur had found the harmonica, and the others had sent along various small percussion pieces. Though he appreciated their efforts and loved the guitar—it made him feel so cool--Teddy kept his eye out for an opportunity to sneak into the choir room for a few minutes with the accompanist’s piano until Ron made a simple, but brilliant suggestion:
“Why doesn’t he just go to the Room of Requirement?”
“What’s the Room of Requirement?” Teddy had asked immediately as the adults all stared around at each other in shock. Each face bore the same why-didn’t-I-think-of-that look. Harry had then told Teddy that if he went to the seventh floor and walked past the tapestry with the dancing trolls three times, that a room containing anything he needed would appear.
“So…” Teddy had responded, “If I walk past the dancing troll tapestry four times—“
“Right. If I walk past the dancing troll tapestry three times then a room with a piano will just appear?”
“Or, a room full of chamber pots,” Ron chimed in.
“What’s a chamber pot?” Ever inquisitive James had asked. The explanation of what a chamber pot was lead to a chorus of “ewws” and scrunched faces from the Potter boys, and at least two weeks worth of “No, you’re a stinky chamber pot” and “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to dump my chamber pot on you.” Teddy didn’t think Ginny had ever truly forgiven Ron for that.
So, here he was again. On the seventh floor walking past the tapestry three times. The door appeared; he opened it and found his comfort zone. It was not the grandest piano out there, just an upright that was very similar to the one at his grandmother’s. He liked it better that way.
Settling on the bench, his fingers rambled over the keys waiting for a split decision from him to form the noise into notes and chords. Teddy began with a sonata. It was a piece that had been rolling around in the back of his mind all afternoon, and with every note, he could feel his frustration leak out through his fingertips as though the faithful instrument were absorbent. But it was a duet, meant for a piano and a violin, and the sonata lost its essence without its counterpart; he always thought that the pull of the bow along the string was the composer’s way of pulling the soul of the listener along with the music. Teddy slowed to a halt, cursing himself for never learning the violin or, more practically in this situation, for not being able to play more than one instrument at once. He let his hands wander aimlessly over the keyboard, thumping out familiar chords every now and then. He paused. He hit a key. And then another and another, slowly forming a new pattern. However, his original creation faltered when it took on a familiar sounding tune. Teddy retracted his hands from the keyboard looking ashamed, as though he felt unworthy of touching them. He sighed and, once again, resigned himself to the fact that he’d never be able to create music. He could play until his fingers had calluses inches thick, he could listen until his ears bled, but never would he be able to form something that wasn’t just a bastardized copy of another great man’s work.
Well, if there was to be no composing in his life, at least there was Liszt. Teddy still couldn’t believe, even as the sheet music magically appeared on the stand in front of him, that Franz Liszt, a virtuoso so exceptional and strange, had been a Muggle! Then again, Teddy supposed that music was a type of magic unto itself.
Teddy barely needed the sheet music as he played, he’d chosen this piece so often. Yet, it was a difficult piece and the concentration required to hit all the correct notes and keys cooled his feverish mind. His thoughts became streamlined; rubbish and inconsistencies were eliminated until only two things remained—the notes on the page and a fact.
He loved, was in love with Victoire.
It made so much sense. It was so easy to admit. And it was so simple, compared to the music of Franz Liszt.
He’d worry about whether or not he had the guts to tell her after he finished because this—this—was bloody fantastic. Teddy didn’t feel like he was playing anymore; it felt more like flying, freeing and exhilarating, though his feet continued to work the pedals and his hands were most definitely not clutching a broomstick but flowing over the keys and hitting notes like it was their destiny. Every once and a while, he’d glance up through his hair, now turquoise of its own accord, to make sure he was on track as he poured everything he had into the music. It wasn’t perfect, and his well-trained ear picked up on his mistakes. But it didn’t matter either; this was something that he did for himself and himself alone. Teddy had to admit that it felt glorious to be so selfish.
He continued to play even after he’d finished the piece, dabbling here and there with some jazzier pieces, slipping into pop songs. Only when his stomach began clambering for food did he stop. Feeling much better about his life, Teddy stood, stretched, and opened the door only to have Victoire tumble through it and onto his feet.
“Are you okay? What are you doing here?” Teddy rapidly fired off. He bent to help Victoire to her feet, but hesitated to touch her when he remembered their encounter from earlier.
“Hello to you, too,” Victoire retorted as she stood, “Yes, I am okay, and I was worried about you when you didn’t show up for dinner and you weren’t in your dorm. I figured I’d come looking for you here.”
“Oh,” Teddy replied, suddenly beginning to feel awkward, “Why were you leaning up against the door?”
“Well, it wasn’t a door, was it? It was a solid stonewall until you decided to open it up.” Victoire said cattily.
Teddy laughed, but continued his interrogation. “But that just begs to question why you were leaning up against a solid stonewall?”
He was surprised to see Victoire blush. “I was just trying to see if I could hear you playing.”
Flattered and embarrassed, Teddy gazed skeptically at the much talked about stonewall. “Any luck?” He asked.
Victoire shook her head, and said, as she shut them into the Room of Requirement, “Listen, Ted, about earlier…”
The use of “Ted” by Victoire meant that she was going to speak about something serious or upsetting, and it only served to remind Teddy of his epiphany and the question he had left unanswered: Do I tell her?
Love, he reckoned, wasn’t something you kept to yourself. Even if you tried, it would probably just find a way to show itself and then without the comfort of one being in control of it. But there was always the risk that Victoire would not only not return his feelings, but also take it badly. It could ruin their friendship, or it could make him very happy.
Teddy met Victoire’s eyes for a moment, increasing the tense silence that had fallen on them. She looked as though she was contemplating what to say, or maybe she was waiting for him to say something.
“I’m sorry.” They said at the same time.
There was another momentary pause, and a few seconds of uncomfortable chuckling before Victoire asked, “What are you sorry about?”
“About this afternoon; you were upset.”
“You shouldn’t apologize for that. That was my fault, and I over-reacted. It’s not like you were doing anything wrong.”
Teddy shifted his weight uncomfortably. He didn’t know how to explain to Victoire that the whole incident with Kara had felt wrong, even if it wasn’t immoral. Also, he had technically been breaking at least four school rules at the time. “Well, what are you sorry about then?” He inquired.
“Where to begin,” Victoire sighed, flopping onto a cushy sofa that had suddenly appeared in the room. “First, I’m sorry I yelled at you and pushed you away. I know that hurt your feelings. Second, I’m sorry I just barged into your dormitory without knocking—sorry for myself and you and Kara on that one. It was stupid of me to assume that you’d just be sitting around waiting for me to come back to school. And lastly, I’m very sorry that I was mean to you before I left for Hogsmeade. In fact, I was looking for you to apologize for that when I walked in on you and Kara.” Victoire put her face in her hands when she was done with her speech, as though overcome with the weight of her transgressions.
“You’re right,” Teddy responded teasingly, sitting on the sofa next to Victoire, “you should be sorry.” He elbowed her playfully in the ribs.
“Shut up,” she mumbled into her hands. “Do you forgive me, though?”
“Shut up, but do you forgive me!” Teddy exclaimed, “what a way to make an apology.”
“Of course, I forgive you. And I’m still sorry that you were upset.”
Victoire just smiled and shook her head. They enjoyed another silence, while Teddy contemplated telling her about his feelings.
“Vic, I love you.”
Nah, Teddy thought, too childish sounding.
He tried again. “Victoire, I am in love with you.”
Too formal. He supposed that since they were the only two people in the room and he was looking right at her that he could just say the all-important phrase.
“I love you.”
Victoire, who had been sitting with her face resting in her palms, reached out a hand and patted Teddy’s knee. “I know.”
That was far too relaxed of a response for Victoire to have understood what he meant. He’d have to put that damn two-letter word in there.
“No,” he clarified, “I am in love with you.”
She stiffened, and Teddy could see her eyes widen even in profile. There was a deafening silence as Teddy let Victoire absorb what he had told her.
“Please, tell me that you’re joking.” She turned to look at him.
He shook his head solemnly no.
Victoire’s face contorted into anger. She jumped up from the sofa screaming, “I hate you. Stay away from me!”
“Vic, wait—“ Teddy called after her, but she had already stormed out of the room.
“Yoohoo, earth to Teddy,” Victoire called, waving her hand in front of his face. Teddy was pulled from his daydream, and he realized that he was still sitting on the sofa next to Victoire in the Room of Requirement.
So maybe it isn't such a good idea to tell her, he thought as he surveyed Victoire. She was looking at him expectantly, like maybe she had asked a question. Her eyes were wide and sparkling, her mouth turned up prettily into a smile, and he reconsidered, thinking that maybe he could tell her.
“I am in love with you.”
That didn’t seem so hard, despite the apprehension he felt watching Victoire stiffen and her eyes grow wider with realization.
“Please, don’t tell me that you’re joking? That this is only a dream?”
Teddy shook his head solemnly no.
“Oh, Teddy,” Victoire cried, throwing her arms around his neck, “I love you, too!”
They began to snog desperately on the sofa…
“Yoohoo, earth to Teddy…again!” Victoire said, this time snapping her fingers in front of his face. “What’s up with you today?” She asked when he came to.
“Nothing, nothing,” he responded, waving her hand out his face. The second scenario was even less likely than the first, despite being more pleasant, and Teddy came to the conclusion that he would need more time to formulate a better plan of attack before telling Victoire that he loved her.
“What’d you say?” He asked as Victoire stood up to leave the room.
“I asked if you were hungry, because you missed dinner.”
“I missed dinner!” Teddy cried in disappointment; his stomach gave another rumble.
“Yes, but don’t despair, because you have me to take of you.” Victoire responded brattily, holding out a napkin filled with chicken and rolls.
“Thanks,” he said, truly grateful that she had thought of him despite the fact that they had been arguing earlier. Curiosity bubbled up inside of him, and he suddenly had to know something. “Vic, why did you get so upset earlier?”
Victoire shrugged and joked, “You mean other than for being mentally scarred by Kara’s state of undress?”
Teddy rolled his eyes, and said as they left the room and it dissolved behind them, “Yeah, other than that.”
Victoire looked pensive a moment before she spoke. “It sounds ridiculous, but I guess I’d never thought of you as an, um, sexual being—like you weren’t a bloke; you were always just Teddy.”
Teddy swore his heart had actually plummeted to his stomach.
“And it was just weird, yeah? It freaked me out.”
This was just getting better and better.
“I mean, its not like I could ever think of you in that way.”
Teddy was gutted. He thought that literally being slashed navel to neck wouldn’t have been nearly as painful as Victoire’s words. It was an amazingly quick turn around from realizing he was in love to being heartbroken.
“Teddy?” Victoire called from a few paces up the hallway. He’d stopped walking abruptly after her last comment. Despite the fact that his appetite had completely vanished, he bit into a piece of chicken.
“This is good,” he lied. He swallowed and smiled brightly at Victoire as he caught up to her. “How was your date?” He asked as he continued to eat, hoping against hope that he sounded normal, playful even, though he felt like the entire castle was spinning.
“Well,” Victoire mused playfully, unaware of Teddy’s distress, “Other than Lucas being a pompous bore, not so bad.”
She turned her face away as she filled him in on the details of her date, and Teddy let the smile fall from his own now that she couldn’t see him.
A/N: Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it. Reviews make my day, so please feel free to leave one! Oh, and a specials thanks to WonkyWand007 who told me that they were 'gutted' by the end of chapter five, and I liked the phrasing so much that I used it in this chapter. :)
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