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Chapter 5 : A Late Night Visit
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Victoire woke up later that night to someone banging on their front door. When she rolled over, she saw that Teddy had his wand in his hand and was already pulling on a pair of pyjama trousers. She squinted at the clock as he made his way into the hallway. It was almost 3am.
She heard him unlock the door and crack it through the open bedroom door, and then the unmistakable sound of her sister’s voice. “Where is she?”
“Dominique, it’s 3 in the morning,” Teddy said tiredly. “Couldn’t this wait?”
“No, it couldn’t,” Dominique snapped, and Victoire heard the click of her shoes as she entered the flat. After a moment, the silhouette of her sister’s frame appeared in the doorway, and Victoire barely managed to hold back a groan. “What the hell, Victoire?”
Victoire rubbed her eyes, sincerely hoping that the appearance of her sister was just a very bad dream. She had no such luck. “How did you find out?” she asked as she grabbed a jumper off the floor and pulled it over her head.
“Quinn Dedworth.” Dominique pointed her wand at the lamp. “Illuminatum.”
The room suddenly filled with light, and Teddy followed Dominique into the room. He stopped just inside and leaned against the door. His mouth was pressed into one thin line of obvious disapproval, which Dominique was just as obviously ignoring.
“Van told him?” Victoire couldn’t help but feel a little stung. She knew that Van was close to his brother Quinn – they’d shared a flat for years – but she had really thought that he’d keep his mouth shut about what had happened for at least a couple days, especially since Quinn worked with Dominique.
Dominique snorted and pushed her pale blonde hair back from her face. “Yeah, right. Like he’d do that to you.”
Victoire felt her body relax a little, and she let out a sigh. When she glanced up at Teddy, his gaze was determinedly fixed on the floor. “So how did you find out, then?” she asked her sister.
“Quinn said that Van said that things hadn’t gone great when he got home last night, but wouldn’t get into detail. I went to ask you what that meant this morning, but then you weren’t there, so I found Van, only he wouldn’t tell me anything. Then I got Hannah to pressure Micah—”
“Dominique, how many people did you accost to find out something that your sister would have told you in a couple days, anyway?” Teddy asked pointedly, and she shot an annoyed glance in his direction.
“Teddy, go make some tea or something,” she snapped, and turned back to Victoire. Teddy closed his eyes, and Victoire knew from previous rants on the subject of her little sister that he was reminding himself that she was young and immature and didn’t know any better.
Given that Dominique was eighteen at this point, Victoire doubted that it would stave off a blowup for much longer.
He glanced over at Victoire. “I really would love some tea, if you don’t mind,” she said softly, and he sighed.
“All right,” he said, and turned to leave the room. When his back was to her, he must have muttered something to Dominique, because her eyes flashed dangerously, but he left without further incident.
“Dominique, you need to stop doing that,” Victoire said tiredly, pulling her knees up to her chest. “One of these days, he’s going to lose it.”
Her sister shrugged. “Yeah, well, for him, what does that mean?” She lowered her voice, and said, in a rather poor imitation of Teddy’s voice, “Dominique, you are being annoying, please stop.”
Victoire actually managed a laugh. “You should have heard him earlier today.” She related the conversation between Teddy and Uncle Harry that she’d heard earlier in the day; by the time she finished, Dominique looked rather impressed.
“Good for him,” she said. “He needs to learn how to be a jerk sometimes.”
Dominique didn’t actually dislike Teddy, any more than he disliked her. Victoire knew that they cared about each other, and Dominique’s reaction to their engagement had been unadulterated enthusiasm and excitement.
The issue was that Dominique was impatient, impetuous, and occasionally a bit callous, where Teddy was exactly the opposite. And when it came to any problem Victoire was having, they were both utterly convinced that their way was better and the other’s would only end up doing her more harm than good.
“So Micah told Hannah?” Victoire asked, bringing the subject back around to her sister’s invasion of her flat. Dominique nodded, and Victoire wrinkled her nose. “Sucker.”
Hannah Randall, who had been one of Dominique’s best friends since they’d met at the Leaky Cauldron a few summers before Victoire started at Hogwarts, was very, very sweet. She was so sweet and genuine that you often forgot that she wasn’t naive and innocent as well.
Add that to the fact that Micah had been considering asking her out since she’d joined Werewolf Capture that summer, and Victoire wasn’t surprised he’d cracked.
“Stop trying to change the subject,” her sister said irritably. “What happened? Micah said you were injured, but you look fine to me.”
Victoire opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again before she could speak. Her mind had suddenly gone blank.
“We’ll see if she’s still fine next full moon,” Teddy said from the doorway as he carefully carried the mugs of tea into the room.
Dominique’s eyes got wide. “You—” Victoire nodded, and her sister closed her eyes. “Shit.”
Teddy handed one of the mugs to Victoire, and she took it gratefully. He turned to her sister. “Sorry, Dominique. It’s been a long night. I didn’t want to sit around my kitchen pretended that it takes awhile to make tea. I made you a cup, though.” He gave her the other mug before settling back in next to Victoire. When she went to kiss him on the cheek, she could smell scotch on his breath. She raised her eyebrows at him, and he shrugged.
“That’s all right,” Dominique replied. She was blowing on her tea and did not appear to have noticed the exchange. “I didn’t know you’d yelled at Uncle Harry today. If I had I wouldn’t have been such a jerk.”
Teddy seemed to consider saying something, but ended up deciding against it.
“What happened?” Dominique asked again, and Victoire sighed. She knew that her sister was not going to leave until she’d been told what had happened.
By the time Dominique left, Victoire was absolutely exhausted.
“I’m sorry about her,” she said as Teddy pulled back the covers and crawled back into bed with her.
He sighed. “It’s fine,” he said, reaching out tentatively for her. She wriggled over so that she was closer to him, and he threaded his arm around her waist. “She didn’t want me hovering.” He was not quite able to keep the irritation out of his voice, but Victoire didn’t call him on it. This was their problem, and she knew better than to get in the middle of it.
Instead, she turned to him and said, “Scotch, though, Teddy? Really?”
He smiled and lowered his head a little to brush his lips against hers. “Occasionally, I need a drink to deal with your sister, especially when it’s three in the morning and you’ve been attacked by a werewolf.”
“I’m sorry about her,” Victoire said softly, resting her head against his chest. “She’s just…” her voice trailed off, and he shook his head.
“Vic, don’t get me wrong. I love your family. They’re terrific. They’ve treated me like I’m a real part of their family since we started going out.” He laughed, and she could feel the vibrations of it ripple through his chest. “I think I have more family being an orphan than most people who have parents have.”
She turned her head a little to kiss his collarbone. “My family adores you.”
“I know,” he said. “Your parents didn’t even really hold those nights you didn’t go home over Christmas holiday in your seventh year against me, and I’m sure they knew exactly what we were doing.”
Victoire had not been so lucky. Her parents had known better than to try and stop her from leaving the house – she was of age at the time, after all – but they’d subjected her to a long lecture about being careful when she was intimate with Teddy and about how he was really a very nice boy but even so she shouldn’t feel the need to rush into things just because he was older.
By the end, she felt so uncomfortable and awkward that she’d wished that they’d just sent her to her room like they did when she was fifteen and out all night with Fred and Micah.
The only redeeming thing about the entire exchange was that her sister had eavesdropped on the conversation and then spent the next six months quoting it whenever their parents were not in earshot.
“And I really do like your siblings,” Teddy added. “Dominique just gets under my skin sometimes, especially when she barges into our flat at three in the morning.”
Victoire shifted her body into a more comfortable position and closed her eyes. “That’s my sister,” she said. "Let's go to sleep."
Victoire allowed Teddy to convince her to stay home for the next couple days, but between the articles splashed across the front of the Daily Prophet both mornings and having absolutely nothing to distract her from her anxiety, Victoire put her foot down after that. Spending all her time sitting at home moping wasn’t going to solve anything, and even with visits from both Fred and Dominique, it was probably doing her more harm than good.
And besides, everyone needed to see her and know that she was fine; otherwise, the rumors would start flying.
Dominique approved wholeheartedly of her decision, but both Teddy and Fred seemed to think that it was a bad idea. According to Dominique, the trouble with them was that they were both Gryffindors who thought with their hearts, and they just didn’t understand that Ravenclaws could compartmentalize things and control their emotions.
Which had, predictably, led to some sniping between the three of them that had both given Victoire a headache and validated her decision to go back to work.
Victoire loved her sister dearly, and she even thought that Dominique was probably right. However, she also thought that Dominique badly needed to learn how to use tact and diplomacy.
The thing that all three of them did agree on was that her spells bouncing off the wolf was very, very strange. She’d had no word on any of the developments of the case, so she had no idea if whatever Van had snatched from around its neck had even been identified.
Which was yet another reason to go back to work. She thought it was very peculiar, too, and she wasn’t going to find any answers sitting at home.
She’d no sooner stepped out of the fireplace at work on her first day back, however, when Lavender appeared and asked her if she had a moment.
Though it was phrased as a question, Victoire knew far better than to interpret it as one. When one of your bosses asks you if you have a minute, you need to have a minute.
She therefore followed Lavender into Seamus’s office without saying anything, though when the door closed more loudly than she’d been expecting it to behind her, she jumped. When she whirled around, Lavender pointed at the chair in front of the desk.
Victoire sat, and Lavender settled herself behind the desk and leaned forward. Her face was impossible to read.
For her, anyway. She rather wished that Van was here to interpret for her; he’d always had a strange fixation on Lavender that she’d never really been able to understand, though she suspected it was why he was perpetually single.
“Should you be back at work?” Lavender asked, and Victoire shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
“I’m fine,” she said. The statement came out sounding a little more defensive than she’d meant it to.
“No, you’re not,” Lavender said flatly. “No one is fine that quickly.”
Her tone made Victoire feel slightly unsettled; it was as if Lavender knew about the nightmares. But she couldn’t; Teddy was the only one who did, and Victoire was quite sure that he hadn’t told anyone except maybe his godfather.
Then Victoire flashed back to something her uncle Ron had said shortly after she’d joined the D.C.B., before her aunt had elbowed him and told him to shut up. He’d mentioned Lavender being locked up in the permanent ward at St. Mungo’s for years after the war, because she’d had a complete nervous breakdown.
Victoire hadn’t really believed him then. The idea of Lavender laying mute in a bed in St. Mungo’s was so at odds with the very capable woman who helped run the division that she’d assumed he was just exaggerating again.
Now she wasn’t so sure.
“I’m coping,” Victoire said after a moment. “People bothering me about whether I’m sure I’m all right just makes that harder.” That was the main reason she hadn't told her parents yet; she knew them, and she knew how much they'd try to help and only end up making it worse.
Her tone, however, had been sharper than she’d expected, and she winced. They might be more informal in the D.C.B. than some other divisions were, but Lavender was still her boss. “Sorry. I—”
Lavender shook her head. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “I’ll stop bothering you about it, but if you need help, or someone to talk to…” her voice trailed off.
Victoire could not possibly imagine going to Lavender for comfort, but she nodded anyway. “Why didn’t my spells work?” she asked, changing the subject.
Lavender eyed her for another moment before reaching into one of the drawers and pulling out something wrapped in a cloth. She put it on the table, and as she slid it toward Victoire, the fabric fell to the side, revealing a chain with a golden locket on it.
Victoire stared at it, and felt her heartbeat start to accelerate. “But.. but that’s…”
“A shield charm,” Lavender supplied for her. “Produced by Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes.”
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