Chapter 1 : Christmas Eve Without You
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Big thanks to my awesome sister for betaing and coming up with the title!
Side note: This does not fit in with my Albus Potter series. It is a stand alone one-shot that is in no way related to that series, which is why I've used the canon Weasley cousins. However, you may notice some similarities between them and my own Weasley cousins. Yes, this was intentional.
The Burrow was completely filled to capacity with people when I Apparated to its backyard. Light was streaming through the windows and I could just make out the sight of Uncle George doing his impression of Viktor Krum's wronski feint from the Quidditch World Cup decades ago. I smiled and shook the snow off my head as I walked quickly to the back door. Warmth and the smell of Nana Molly's gingerbread biscuits flooded through the door as I wrenched it open and entered the kitchen.
A quick glance at the half-empty casserole dishes and platters on the table told me that I was the last one there and had already missed dinner. Luckily Nana Molly always made more food than her gatherings needed, no matter how large they were. Christmas Eve usually took the cake, though, in terms of sheer amount of food. It was already past nine and I had just gotten out of work. Being in Healer training meant that I had to work the shifts no one else wanted, such as Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.
I turned from where I was hanging up my cloak to see Nana Molly entering the kitchen. “Nana!” I exclaimed.
She wrapped me in a huge hug and planted a kiss right in the middle of my forehead. “Victoire, dear, how was work?”
“Long,” I replied. “Glad to be done.”
“There's still plenty of food left. And you just missed Celestina Warbeck's Christmas show. It was wonderful! If only you'd been able to get out a few minutes earlier...” Nana Molly's voice trailed off as she began to pile a plate high with food.
I was secretly glad I'd missed Celestina Warbeck. Both my mum and I agreed that she was awful and I was fairly certain that Nana Molly was the only one in the family who actually enjoyed listening to her warbling out Christmas carols. We all put up with it because we really couldn't complain when Nana fed us this much.
After saying hello to no fewer than five of my cousins, two of my uncles, four of my aunts, and my parents I weaved my way through the den and found a seat next to my cousin Lucy and Dom, my only sister. Balancing my plate on my lap, I began to appease my rumbling stomach.
“Oh, hey, Vic!” Dom said. “We were wondering when you'd show up.”
“I got away as soon as I could,” I said in between bites of shepherd's pie. “Is everyone else here?”
“Yeah, everyone and then some.” Lucy giggled.
“What?” I asked, glancing around. I didn't see anyone who wasn't a Weasley or Potter. Plus, Teddy's grandmother, Andromeda, who was deep in conversation with Aunt Ginny.
“James brought his girlfriend,” Lucy replied.
“Oh,” I said. I didn't know much about James's girlfriend, besides the fact that her name was Eliza and she was in Hufflepuff. However, Lucy was only 14 so the concept of James bringing his girlfriend to Christmas Eve at the Burrow was probably just funny to her. “Where is she?”
“She and James disappeared a half hour ago,” Dom answered. “No one seems to have noticed.”
“I'm going to go find Lily,” Lucy announced as she stood up. There was a mischievous glint in her eyes. Lucy, much to her father's dismay, had inherited Uncle George's ability to cause as much mayhem as humanly possible. Lily was her partner in crime, even though they were a year apart and in different houses.
Dom groaned. “Lucy, don't. Just let James be.”
“I wasn't going to do anything,” Lucy muttered as she walked away.
“That's going to be awkward,” Dom said. I burst out laughing and grinned at her. We would just have to hope that Lucy and Lily were unable to find James and Eliza.
Dom left a short while later to get another Butterbeer, leaving me alone on the couch to watch a game of Exploding Snap that had began on the floor in front of me. Albus, Rose, Hugo, Molly, and Roxanne were playing. Hugo and Molly were both covered in ash, while Roxanne's face remained ash-free.
There was nothing more perfect to me than Christmas Eve at the Burrow. It was one of two times a year that my entire family got together. The other time was right before the school year began and I hadn't been able to go to that this year. Christmas Eve was better, though. There was an excitement in the air that hadn't dissipated as we grew older. Even though we were all well beyond the days when we believed that Father Christmas delivered our presents every year, Christmas was still, for lack of a better term, magical.
Most of our family traditions had been created on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, too. Nana Molly would knit everyone a jumper and we would all wear them on Christmas. Uncle Ron would pretend to hate his, but we all knew he secretly loved it. Uncle George, Uncle Ron, and Uncle Charlie would all get so drunk from eggnog and firewhiskey on Christmas Eve that they would sing Odo the Hero with their arms around each other. That was always Nana Molly's cue that we all needed to go to bed. Everyone spent the night at the Burrow on Christmas Eve, despite how crowded it was. Then, early on Christmas morning, Lily would wake everyone up. As the youngest, she saw this as her job, a job that had once been mine when I was little.
This year was different, though. This was the first year where we weren't all here. Teddy was missing. Teddy, the honorary Weasley. Teddy, the boy who had teased me when we were little yet always played dolls with me when I asked. Teddy, the boy who told me everything about Hogwarts even before I got my letter the summer I was eleven. Teddy, the boy who clapped the loudest when I was sorted into Gryffindor. Teddy, the boy who kissed me for the first time on the Quidditch Pitch at the end of my sixth year, after he won the Quidditch Cup for Gryffindor. Teddy, the boy who I had grown up with and could not imagine my life without.
This year Teddy was on a mission. His first mission as a new, fully certified Auror, to be specific. I had absolutely no idea what he was doing on the mission as it was “classified information” as he put it, but the point was that he was gone on Christmas Eve, for the first time. When he first told me about it I pretended to not let it bother me, but it did. The fact that it bothered me made absolutely no sense either, since I had also chosen a career that would require me to work holidays. It could just as easily have been me who had to work all of Christmas Eve.
“Victoire, are you okay?”
Dom had returned with two Butterbeers and handed one to me. I nodded quickly and turned to wipe my eyes. I hadn't even realized I'd started crying. Merlin, was I really crying over the fact that Teddy wasn't around on Christmas Eve? He'd be back in two days and we'd celebrate again then. Not the end of the world.
“Teddy?” Dom asked.
I nodded again. “I don't want to talk about it. I just wish he was here, that's all. But how are you? How's the internship?” I needed to talk about something besides Teddy or else I'd start bawling and receive sympathetic hugs and pep talks from all of my aunts who had all “been there”, which was of course true, but I didn't want to hear it.
“I'm quitting,” Dom replied. “I hate it.”
For the past three months Dom had been working at Gringotts as an intern. That meant that she basically had to get coffee for the rest of the wizards, witches, and goblins who worked there. Dad had secured it for her because she needed “direction” in her life. It was no secret that both Mum and Dad didn't like the fact that Dom had been flitting from job to job ever since she graduated Hogwarts two years ago.
“Have you told Mum and Dad?” I asked.
“Nope. Nor have I told them that I'm going to France in January. I'm going to live with Grandmere and Grandpere and paint,” Dom explained. “I'll tell them after Christmas. I don't want to ruin Christmas.”
I wasn't surprised. Dom's real passion was art and I had known from the start that the internship would be a failure. Going to France would probably give her more “direction” than anything Mum and Dad had tried to do.
“That sounds amazing,” I replied. “You might even be able to sell paintings there. Your stuff is really good.”
Dom smiled. “Thanks.” She glanced at the clock. “Come outside with me.”
“Are you mental?” I asked. “It's freezing.”
Dom rolled her eyes. “Just do it.”
I sighed and got up, following Dom through the crowd of cousins, aunts, and uncles. Over the years I had learned to just stop asking “why” with Dom and just do what she said. It had a funny way of always working out.
“All right,” I said as soon as we'd closed the door behind us. “Tell me more about this art-”
My voice cut out like someone had cast a silencio charm on me. I blinked to make sure I wasn't seeing things, but his figure did not disappear. In fact, it drew larger, as he walked towards me. I was frozen in place and it wasn't due to the cold. I was vaguely aware of the door opening and closing again, as Dom left me alone in the yard.
Standing in front of me, wrapped in a black cloak, was Teddy. As he drew nearer I could see that his hair was its standard turquoise and his cheeks were rosy. I could feel a warmth come over my body, despite the swirling snow around me. He was here. Teddy was here, for Christmas Eve.
“Teddy,” I whispered. My feet unfroze and I ran towards him, my cloak flying out behind me.
“Vicky,” he said as we embraced. He planted a quick kiss on my lips and I hugged him as tightly as I could. He smelled like a mixture of pine and aftershave. I inhaled deeply. It was Teddy's scent.
I let go and then grabbed his hand. We began to walk towards the open field behind the Burrow, staring up at the stars as we went.
“You got done early,” I said. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too,” he replied. “I couldn't miss Christmas Eve with you.”
“But, what about your mission? Won't you get in-”
Teddy stopped and put his fingers to my lips as he moved to stand in front of me. “Shush,” he said quietly. “Don't worry about that.”
I pushed his arm down and leaned in to kiss him once more. His lips were warm and kissing them sent a shiver through me that had nothing to do with the snow. We broke apart and I smiled at him.
“Victoire,” he said as he took my hands in his. “You were my first friend. My best friend, through the days of running through the field behind your house when our only worry was whether my grandma would make us eat brussel sprouts at dinner. Through our Hogwarts days when we stayed up late pretending to study for Transfiguration when we were really plotting ways to get even with the Slytherins or trying to find all the secret passages out of Hogwarts that George told us really did exist. Nothing felt more right as when I kissed you on the Quidditch Pitch six years ago. We've been together our whole lives, Victoire, and I cannot imagine the rest of my life without you.”
I was biting my lip in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the tears from streaming down my face as Teddy knelt down on one knee in the snow. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny jewelry box. Flipping it open to reveal the most beautiful diamond I'd ever seen, he looked up at me with his trademark grin.
“Victoire Weasley, I never want to live without you. You were my childhood best friend, my Hogwarts co-conspirator, and my girlfriend. Will you add a fourth title to that list and become my wife?”
I stopped biting my lip and burst into loud sobs. “Yes, yes, of course I will!” I held out my hand and Teddy's hand shook as he slipped the diamond onto my ring finger. It fit perfectly.
Teddy shoved the ring box back into his pocket and pulled me towards him, planting his lips on my own. My tears were still dripping down my face and they leaked into our kiss, but I didn't care. Teddy and I were going to be together forever and that was all that mattered.
We broke apart and grinned at each other. We turned back towards the Burrow and Teddy tilted his head at the house. I giggled. I knew what he was getting at. We had made another Christmas Eve memory and now it was time to let everyone else in on it.
As we walked back I noticed Dom standing near the door. She had a big grin on her face. I stopped and looked at Teddy.
“Wait,” I said. “You and Dom, did you...?”
“Plan this whole thing?” Teddy asked, grinning. “My mission ended earlier today. It was never supposed to go until after Christmas. You're impossible to surprise so I enlisted Dom's help and we figured this was our best bet.”
“Teddy!” I exclaimed. “I should be mad at you, you know. I thought I was going to have to spend Christmas Eve without you.”
“But it was worth it, right?” Teddy asked.
I sighed and smiled up at him. “Yes, of course it was.”
We walked hand in hand through the snow the rest of the way to the Burrow. I glanced down at my hand, where my new engagement ring sparkled on my finger. The magic of Christmas Eve had come through in a big way this year. I was engaged to my best friend, and there was no greater feeling in the world than knowing we would spend the rest of our lives together.
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