The wind at Shell Cottage died at the cusp of summer, stifled by slow-baking heat. It breathed its last in a lingering sigh, then toppled over the bluff, where its skeleton remained.
Days passed in the eerie quiet, unnumbered like the reeds on the shore. When the quiet finally ceased, a growing rumble took its place.
The man on the sofa, once known as Teddy Lupin, did not seem to sense it as he sat contented to a sleeping medicated stupor. Victoire, however, froze and the pot in her grip nearly slipped from her hand.
Her feet transcribed every vibration, down to the choking hiccups of the engine. She had almost forgotten it in the month it had been gone.
She stepped out onto the porch, raising a hand to shield her eyes from the sun as she looked toward the stretch of road at the edge of her family's property. A lone cloud of dust blemished the sky. As soon as she saw the glint of baby blue metal, her heart began its sickening throb.
He was not supposed to be here.
She stepped into the sand, flinging her shoes back on the welcome mat. She had a way of leaping across the dunes. He whispered in her ear once about fairies and queens and how her skirt fluttered like theirs when she danced across the beach. It was the one quality she had yet to lose.
Victoire reached the edge of the road at the same his time that car stopped. It was a vintage model, the kind that Muggles loved to fawn over, and it looked as young as ever. But for all the marvel, it was still nothing but residual rebellious of his teen years, bought purely to see the reaction on his grandfather's face.
He stepped out onto the pavement, shaking his sandy blonde hair once, and leaving the door open behind him. His eyes met hers for a moment before lingering at her feet. "You still go barefoot," he said, a smile on his lips.
"Why are you here, Scorpius?"
He placed his hand on the fence post where she rested hers, tracing each of her fingers up to its apex. "I want to make sure that your decision is final."
His breath was like spring; it carried its memories. Wisps of his voice against her neck. A palm against the small of her back. She didn't make a move to retract her hand, morbidly fascinated at how much his touch still made her tremble. "Teddy's doing better."
A quiet utterance amongst wicked thoughts.
Scorpius' smile faded into melancholy, the glimmer of his eyes faint. "You know he wouldn't be able to tell the difference if we continue." He traced the veins on the back of her hand. "And... he would want you to be happy."
She knew she couldn't be happy in the way he spun that word, but she could deal with longing, not regrets. Safety, a far cry from the Victoire who liked to leap farther than she should.
"The healers say that he might able to lower his dosage," she said. An excuse so pithy, it evaporated as soon as it left her mouth. "There's some permanent damage, but it's localized."
He reached up to lift her chin and she knew he was looking at her sallow cheeks. She had been trying to scrub the color back in for weeks.
"Domestication," he said, almost in a reprimand.
She pushed his hand away. "Obligation."
She had loved Teddy for so long that she hadn't noticed when she first forgot the feeling. Whether it was his worsening condition or whether it was inevitable, she didn't know. But she still remembered with Scorpius.
She kept the urge abated when she could and, however much she wanted to leap forward, she kept it abated then.
Victoire took her hand from him. "Taking care of him is more important."
His eyes were distant, looking past her. "You'll wither."
She turned head slightly and saw a blurry figure on the porch. Facing Scorpius once more, she pressed her lips together. "You underestimate me."
The corners of his mouth curled upwards. "Never understood you Weasley women and your faithfulness."
She would never consider herself on a similar level to Mama or Grandmama, but she let him put her on a pedestal one last time.
In a sigh, he stepped back into his car and shut the door behind him. He started up the engine and put an arm outside his window, his grey eyes resigned. "I love you."
Like one last dance, Victoire felt the twinge of longing and regret mingling in her chest, but she did not respond.
Scorpius took the wheel and turned the car around. She stood in the gathering dust until the glimmer of his mirrors could no longer be seen.
When she headed back toward the cottage, which always seemed too big for its supports, Teddy was still waiting for her by the entryway.
"Who was that?" asked Teddy as she was about to brush past him. Like a tamed giant, his voice never rose above a whispering hoarse.
She smiled in her accustomed manner, a touch of pity in her lilt. "Someone asking for directions."
Just as she was about to disappear into the shadows of the house, he took her hand, drew it up his lips and kissed her palm. They stood in that position, her hand enfolded between both of his own and clutched as if it were some wonder, as the tired whistle of the wind picked up. At last, he let her go and her limbs rested by her own body once again.
Hanging by the door frame, she leaned across to kiss his forehead and then returned to the neglected pots in the kitchen.
It was enough.
A/N This is a completely random plot bunny inspired by nothing in my life. Unless it's inspired by my stats class where I got the bunny in, which would be really strange because we were talking about Chi squares. I've mentioned that I can't write anything I haven't experienced so many times that I wanted to try my hand at it anyway. So bam, here it is. It's vaguely inspired by the American Midwest. There's that sort of mood to it. Also, there is practically no Victoire/Scorpius on the archives, so here I am amending that.