Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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Temporary Leave Recommended
Effective by May 1.
Teddy scoffed at the words once more before crumpling up the yellow paper and tossing it into his trash bin. He forgot how many times he read those words only to regret it. Harry had delivered the decree himself, sad-eyed yet firm.
“I’m sorry, son,” he said, “but I have half the ministry breathing down my neck. Maybe some time off will do you good.”
If anyone knew how to kill someone nicely, it was Harry. Not that Harry ever needed to do any killing nowadays but Teddy certainly felt like he was dying. Years of training, both physical and mental, and people saying “Don’t fuck it up,” were rendered useless with one call (a terrible, bad call but there was still only the one).
“If some mass murderer was on the loose and you get an anonymous tip, wouldn’t you at least check it out?”
Teddy always left out the part where he apparated straight into the London tube station and almost crashed four trains.
As much as it made sense in his own head, the ministry still found Teddy Lupin’s use of poor judgment as enough reason to strip him of his duties for at least the month of May. Disappointment was inevitable, but the young auror promised himself that he would be optimistic about the situation and make the best of his free time. A vacation suddenly didn’t look too bad. Brochures and hotel listings for a trip to Brazil were researched and gathered. He even bought a muggle football as those were supposedly popular with even the wizards in South America. However, Teddy had greater things to worry about than what color pattern was best for his “ground quaffle.”
Harry Potter, savior of the wizarding world, honestly felt bad about having to dismiss his godson. Searching for any sort of advice, his bleeding heart turned to his sister-in-law Fleur Weasley, and suddenly Teddy’s plans for Brazil went out the window. Fleur was convinced some sea air would set everything right, and her makeshift nephew didn’t have to go all the way across the world to get it. Teddy protested, shouted, and acted like a petulant child throwing a tantrum, but Fleur Weasley’s mind was made up, and once that was done, there was no going back. Shell cottage would be his prison for the next month.
Teddy wanted to kick his godfather.
31 days in Brazil would have been heaven. 31 days in Honeydukes would not have been bad at all. But 31 days at Shell Cottage with his ex-girlfriend Victoire and a murderer still on the loose just seemed like punishment to Teddy.
He sighed, looked at the clock hanging over the mantle in his small flat, and quickly apparated once he saw the second hand reach the 12. It was 6 o’clock, and a certain Weasley was waiting for him.
Her mother was not going to get a Christmas present.
Victoire Weasley waved her wand in circles around the boiling pot with more force than she should have, but no mercy was shown on the tomatoes and spices. Victoire felt betrayed. When her mother decided to move to a huge villa in France with her father, who supported her? Victoire did. When her dad was reluctant to go out dining and dancing, who took Fleur’s side? Victoire did. When her father, Bill, finally did cave for a date night, who looked after their other children? Victoire did.
All signs indicated that Victoire was the image of a perfect, loyal daughter, yet her mother, Fleur, persisted on testing her patience. Fleur was not helping anyone by allowing Teddy Lupin to stay in Victoire’s home. In fact, Fleur was doing nothing at all but giving her, Victoire, more work! As if her restaurant and private life weren’t enough to manage. It wasn’t as if Teddy was some poor boy on the streets anyway. He was a grown man who wanted a beach vacation.
“If I knew mum was sending ex-boyfriends as lodgers, I wouldn’t have taken this bloody house,” the young blond murmured.
Victoire stopped stirring and poured her abused stew into the copper pot beside her. She looked at the counter before her. Potatoes au gratin, tomato bisque, green beans, and a roasted chicken all smiled back at her. Whenever she was happy, sad, anxious, or angry, Victoire cooked until her fingers bled. Today, she was three out of four.
She glanced at the clock: 5:59 pm.
Shell cottage had changed very little. With a pop, Teddy saw the same old, whitewashed house he had visited so many times before. The same flowers bloomed, and Dobby still dreamt under the stars in his white tomb. Chills climbed down Teddy’s spine. Any reminder of the war did that to him. He willed his eyes to look at something else, anything else.
The crash of waves broke him from his trance. Teddy shook his head before starting towards the front door, his luggage levitating slowly behind him. As he stood at Victoire’s front door, he looked at himself in a nearby window. It had been difficult to muster up any sort of appearance for Teddy. His recent loss of a job and the tension between him and Harry had put too much stress on his morphing abilities.
“Just relax. You’ve done this a million times,” Teddy quietly spoke to himself. He squared his jaw and thought about his nose and how nice it would be if were a little smaller, “Come on, Teddy.” Nothing, “Oh sod it, she doesn’t care what you look like anyway.”
He knocked twice before seeing a lithe silhouette dancing through the white shades and approach the door.
“Hello Ted,” Victoire flashed a smile so bright and sweet, Teddy swore it could have been genuine, “You’re right on time!”
He chuckled awkwardly, “Good to see you Victoire.”
The two stood under the archway of the door awkwardly. It had been eight years since they dated and seven since the two of them talked for more than ten minutes at a time; they were both uncomfortable. Victoire cleared her throat before reaching for a brief hug. The two withdrew with matching, meepish smiles. “You can levitate those bags right into the sitting room.”
Despite how pleasant the small talk had been, Victoire was thankful that Teddy’s stomach had already been rumbling. Dinner meant food in their mouths, which meant less time to talk, which meant smaller chances of either of them bringing up the elephant in the room.
“This is good.” Teddy managed to utter in-between bites.
Victoire smiled, “I know.”
A giggle escaped Victoire’s lips, “Well you are talking to the best chef in Cornwall. I get paid to have my ego inflated.”
“Best chef? Oh ho, wasn’t it yesterday when you were baking in one of those muggle easy bake ovens?” Ted jeered playfully, “I believe I was forced to eat one of those undercooked muffins. It was hardly “best chef” material.”
“Everybody needs a guinea pig, Ted.”
“I believe animal testing is generally frowned upon now, Chef Victoire.”
Victoire laughed into her wine glass as Teddy finished up his plate, leaving behind only one string bean, and a sliver of soup. He patted his flat stomach with a happy sigh, “Satisfied?”
“I would never tell her, but I think that might have been better than one of Molly’s meals.”
“Oh don’t even mention that! As a Weasley, I’m sure that just thinking it is considered blasphemous,” Victoire joked, “Like having only one child or refusing to wear a knitted jumper on Christmas.”
Victoire reached for their empty plates and walked to the kitchen, Teddy’s voice accompanying her as she began to rinse, wash, and dry with her wand. “You know what you should make next time, Victoire?”
“Those bell peppers you made for our first anniversary. Those were divine.”
And there it was: the elephant. Victoire was sure if she turned away from the sink she would see the tusks and the trunk. Ted was right of course; the bell peppers were divine. So were the chocolate covered strawberries she made as dessert, and the chocolate smeared kisses that later followed, and the chocolate colored bra she would have revealed to him even later that night.
“Um, yeah. I can definitely make those!” Victoire replied after a moment’s silence. Teddy’s blush went unnoticed in the other room.
‘Am I a prat for bringing ‘us’ up?’ he mused to himself.
Victoire let out a deep breath and closed her eyes. She could handle this. She was an adult, and this is what adults did. They ran into old lovers, tried to avoid intimate memories, and chuckled awkwardly when they were somehow brought up. No grand fights or accusations of betrayal and adultery. No. They were just young. He lost interest, and she preferred professional quidditch players at the time. Wrong people, wrong place, wrong time.
Victoire and Teddy talked for a bit before both felt the lure of sleep. As they trudged up stairs, Victoire stopped at her room. Wine and sleep tinged her cheeks and eyes pink. Her hair fell out of her pin in waves, and although only dressed in a grey sweatshirt and jeans, she defined youth and beauty. A long, delicate finger pointed down the hall, “You’re over there.” With a ‘goodnight’ and a swish of her long hair, she disappeared for the night.
Teddy walked softly into the room his hands weakly pushing the door open. His clothes came off quickly, and soon he stood in only his boxers. He peered at himself in the mirror. Teddy didn’t see himself, the happy boisterous uncle and aspiring hero. Teddy didn’t even feel like Teddy. Teddy felt like Ted, bad auror and perpetual bachelor. Sighing, he plopped into bed and rolled around until comfortable. Teddy just wanted to sleep, but all he could think about was his youth sleeping in the other room in the form a very pretty girl. Ahem, woman. Victoire was dreaming a less lighter sleep than Dobby, but dreaming nonetheless of family, or recipes, or Hogwarts, or broom closest, or scrawny blue haired boys who seemed to only stutter when she was around.
And what was to Teddy dream of? Losing his job? Being alone for the past eight years?
For the first time in his life Teddy Lupin felt old.
Author’s Note: Hi! I hoped you enjoyed the start of the story so far. I figured the HP fandom could use a little bit more Teddy/Victoire love, so voila. As most TL/VW stories center on their time at Hogwarts, I wanted to try my hand at an adult relationship between the two. This is a romance, but it’ll deal with Victoire and Teddy’s own personal problems as well. As you can see, Teddy’s already bummed out, hopefully it’s just temporary?
So please review! Or ask questions if you have ‘em.
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by Miranda Lupin