Chapter 1 : A Promise
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A/N: This was written for the Kiss in the Rain Challenge by Indigo Seas.
I think the idea for this changed no less than eleven times. No joke. I counted. I was ready to give up but, thankfully, I decided to try just once more. And I’m glad I did. This was a lot of fun to write. Hopefully you like it!
”First romance, first love, is something so special to all of us, both emotionally and physically, that it touches our lives and enriches them forever.” – Rosemary Rogers
“Te... Teddy?” A small, silver-haired girl of four nervously asked the boy sitting next to her. The boy, Teddy, looked up at the sound of his name.
“What?” He asked the girl, his hazel eyes curiously looking at her. The girl did not meet his eyes; instead, her gaze remained focussed on the lake in front of her.
She bit her lip as she shook her head and answered, “Nothing.”
Teddy gave the girl a puzzled look. Even at the tender age of five, he could sense that something was troubling her. Her small forehead was contorted in a frown and her fingers were slowly shredding a piece of grass she had plucked from the ground next to her. She was not known for her nervousness and Teddy wondered what could be bothering her.
It was late one Sunday afternoon and the two found themselves by the lake which ran through the woods behind The Burrow. Bored with the adults’ chatter, the two had finished their lunch quickly and run off together, as they always did. Heeding warnings from his godfather to not go too close to the lake, Teddy had grabbed the small girl’s hand and the two had stumbled through the long grass until they reached the spot where they were sitting.
Teddy was gathering smooth, flat stones and putting them in the pockets of his trousers. His godfather had recently begun to teach Teddy how to skip stones across the surface of the lake and Teddy was determined to perfect the skill and make his godfather proud. A particularly smooth stone had caught his eye, and he was now turning it over in his small hands, admiring the smooth surface and dark grey colour of the stone. He was about to place it in the pocket of his trousers with the other stones he had collected, but he paused and looked back at the girl. Her small shoulders were slumped and Teddy sighed.
“Victoire?” He asked, quietly. The girl did not respond and continued gazing quietly at the lake in front of her. Teddy placed the stone gently on a large leaf on the ground next to him where he would be sure to remember it before turning to her.
“Tori?” He used her nickname, the one that only he was allowed to use. This time, Victoire looked up and her clear blue eyes met his. She opened her mouth to say something, hesitated and the frown marring her face deepened as she asked her question.
“Teddy, d’you... d’you love me?”
Teddy was stunned. He blinked a few times, not sure how to answer the question. Of course he loved her! He had told her so, only a week earlier in this very spot. He may have only been five years old, but he knew it was true. He was in love.
“‘Course I love you! I told you, ‘member? I said that I loved you!” She nodded.
“I know. I said it back to you! But... well... we should do something more pernanent. We have to make a promise to each other.” Teddy rolled his eyes.
“It’s permanent, silly!”
“Fine. Pernanent. We have to do something pernanent.” Teddy chose to be the bigger person and not correct her again.
“I dunno,” Victoire said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Well,” Teddy said, thinking fast. “I could give you a flower!” Teddy had seen his godfather and other uncles with their wives and knew giving flowers was a sign of deep affection. He was willing to do everything to perform his duties as Victoire’s life partner to the best of his ability, and the flower was a start.
“Yeah, but I can’t give you a flower. Boys give girls flowers but not the other way ‘round, silly!” Victoire said this with a roll of her eyes. “It has to be something we both do.”
She was right. Teddy had never seen any of his aunts give his uncles flowers. He may love Victoire but the thought of receiving a flower was something that even he could not handle. Flowers were so... so girly. And Teddy was a man.
“So, what can we do?”
“Well. Maman always tells Daddy that he should cut his hair.” She studied his hair for moment. “But... I like your hair. I don’t want you to cut it.” As if on cue, Teddy’s hair changed from its usual blue to a deep green hue.
“I like your hair, too.”
Everyone always seemed to marvel at Teddy’s forever changing hair, but he had always found Victoire’s silvery waves much more appealing.
“We could, um. We could...” Victoire nervously peaked at Teddy out of the corner of her eye and swallowed. “We could... kiss.” Victoire whispered the last word as if it was tainted.
“Kiss? On the lips?”
Teddy was floored. Victoire nodded, a little shyly.
“But... but... that’s what grown-ups do!”
Teddy was bewildered. Kiss? A girl? On the lips? He loved Victoire, he knew that. But was he willing to go to such great lengths to prove his love to her?
“Yeah. But it would mean we will always love each other! And Maman and Daddy always do it!”
“Uncle Hawee and Aunt Ginny do it, too!”
She had a point. He had seen his godfather kiss his Aunt Ginny several times. But did that mean he had to kiss Victoire, too? Couldn’t they settle for something a little less elaborate?
Teddy opened his mouth to decline but Victoire met his gaze once more and Teddy’s little heart broke when he saw her eyes were sad. This was really important to her.
He sighed. “Okay.” He had a bad feeling about this but figured that if it made Victoire happy and reaffirmed their love for one another, he could live with that. It was like his Uncle Harry always told him: always make sure to make your girl happy. It was the gentlemanly thing to do and Teddy was nothing short of a gentleman.
“Okay,” Victoire echoed.
Teddy sighed and twisted himself around so that he was sitting in front of her. What was he meant to do now? Stand up? Tell her he loved her once more? Get down on one knee as he had seen that man do in the park the other day? His gaze fell on her small hands and he shrugged to himself. Holding her hand seemed like something he could do. And if Nana Molly could hold Grandpa Arthur’s hand like Teddy had seen her do on many occasions, maybe it wasn’t so bad. His trembling hands reached out to take her small ones, but the moment his palms touched hers, she yelped and jerked her hands away.
“Your hands are sweaty and icky!” She was looking at him with a horrified expression and proceeded to wipe her hands on her pale green dress.
“Well, it’s hot! What am I s’posed to do?” Victoire sighed.
“Fiiiine. Do it again.”
Teddy nodded and took her hands in his once more. Yeah. This wasn’t that bad. Her hands were a bit cold, but he didn’t mind. She looked down at their joined hands and back up at him.
“How do I know? You’re the one who said we had to kiss!”
Teddy was beginning to think this was a lot more complicated than he had originally thought. How did people do this every day? Just this morning, he had seen his Uncle George kiss his Aunt Angelina twice. Twice! As Teddy was discovering, kissing someone once was trouble enough. But twice? Teddy had a newfound respect for his Uncle.
“Yeah, but you’re the boy! You’re meant to know what to do! And you’re older!”
Normally Teddy took great pleasure in informing he was older and, therefore, wiser than her. This was not one of those times. But he was not about to let this bother him. The fact remained that he was older than Victoire. A whole sixteen months older than her. He had experienced so much more in life. He had to take charge.
Teddy sighed. “Okay. Let’s just... do this. Nana Molly said there was cake. So we should do this fast.”
“Yeah,” Victoire nodded. “Before Uncle Ron finishes it all like he did last time.” She smoothed the skirt of her dress with one hand, keeping hold of Teddy’s hand with the other, and looked at Teddy expectantly.
Teddy moved to lean in, but hesitated and stopped. He felt as though he had to say something, as though he had to validate what he was about to do. Victoire waited patiently but, upon noticing Teddy was not moving, she looked at him in confusion.
“Shouldn’t we... I don’t know. Shouldn’t we say something, like a promise?” Victoire blinked.
“Promise? For what?”
“That we’ll... you know. Be together forever.”
From the look Victoire was giving him, Teddy was wondering whether he had said the right thing. After considering his words carefully, Victoire nodded her acceptance.
“Okay.” A small frown appeared on her face.
“But what do we say?” Teddy thought for a minute before speaking.
“Well they said all those things at Uncle Ron’s wedding. We could say that.”
“D’you remember it all?”
“‘Course I do, I’m older, remember? Here. Say what I say.”
Though the wedding had been a few months ago, Teddy remembered the celebrant’s words clearly. If nothing, Teddy had always had an excellent memory.
Teddy looked solemnly at the small girl in front of him before speaking. “I take you to be my lawful leaded wife until death do us heart.” Victoire opened her mouth to repeat the words back to him, but closed it after a moment and looked at him sceptically.
“Are you sure that’s what they said?” Teddy huffed in impatience.
“Yes! Just say it back to me!”
“Okay, okay.” Victoire tucked a piece of strand behind her ear before reciting the words back to him.
“I take you to be my law... law... what was it?” Teddy sighed.
“My lawful leaded wife until death do us heart.”
“My lawful leaded wife until death do us heart.” She paused.
“Now we... you know...” Teddy gulped. “Kiss.”
Somehow, giving his promise to Victoire out loud made it all the more nerve-wracking and Teddy swallowed nervously. Before he could change his mind, he started to lean in. Victoire’s eyes widened and her tongue darted out and licked her lips sub-consciously. Teddy pulled away, thoroughly disgusted.
“Ewwww! I’m not kissing you now! Your spit is all over your lips! And that’s just gr-”
Teddy’s voice was cut off as a loud clap of thunder boomed above them. Neither of them had noticed the dark grey clouds that had slowly been filling the sky in the last hour. Both of them jumped up and looked up at the sky as the heavens opened and a torrent of rain suddenly gushed down to the ground, completely drenching them both in seconds.
“Teddy!” Victoire squealed and flung her arms around Teddy.
“Teddy, we have to do this now! Before my Maman comes and gets me in twouble!” Teddy, who had fallen against a tree trunk on Victoire’s impact, looked at her in amazement.
“Now? But... but... It’s raining!” Victoire shook her head impatiently.
“You’re such a baby, Teddy! It’s just water!”
And with that, the four-year-old grabbed him by the back of his head and planted her lips on his.
The kiss was clumsy and more a mashing of lips together than anything else, but it struck something deep inside Teddy. His heart started beating harder than it ever had in his short life and he closed his eyes; for some reason, he was very aware of Victoire’s hands were. However, his bliss only lasted a few seconds before Victoire pulled away and grinned at him.
“Come on, Teddy! We have to go before the grown-ups come looking for us!”
Teddy stared at her for a few moments, trying to understand what had just happened and why he suddenly felt like he had to sit down. Victoire stared back at him and frowned when she realised he wasn’t moving. She reached forward, grabbed his hand and tried to pull him along.
“Come on! You do want cake, don’t you?”
Victoire pulled on his hand and, though his knees still felt a little bit weak, he had no choice but to follow her, lest he fall to the ground and embarrass himself in front of her.
The two ran through the rain, back through the long grass to The Burrow. As they neared the house, Teddy, after feeling the stones in his pockets thump against his legs, remembered the beautifully smooth stone that he had so carefully left by the lake. A pang of sadness ran through them, but after stealing a glance at their joined hands, he grinned to himself.
It was a small price to pay.
Edited 27/03/2010 for grammar and detail.