Chapter 1 : No Apologies
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I wait patiently for him to come out of the bathroom. What a girl, he’s taking forever; I think he’s been in the shower for about twenty minutes. He’s way too infatuated with himself. Yes, he’s got rather good genes, but still. Twenty minutes? I look down at the box and notice it’s the chocolate that Uncle Harry gave him in his stocking, the really good kind, with tons of different flavors and enough chocolates to last a month. I pluck one out, and hoping it’s not some awful flavor like orange cream, and pop it in my mouth.
Mmm, Salty caramel. I let it melt on my tongue and make fun of Teddy some more. Teddy and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember. As the oldest, we were always kind of paired together, and since then, we’ve done just about everything together. When he went off to Hogwarts when I was ten, and he was eleven, I was crushed. I missed him so much during the year. So I wrote to him every week; worried that he was off doing better things and making friends without me. Once I got to Hogwarts myself, I saw that Teddy would always make room for me; I was his best friend first.
As the years went on, our friendship changed. This was inevitable, of course. I came out of my shell and opened up to new people. I made new friends, tried different things, and realized that branching out wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
I watched Teddy grow up too. He was always very well liked and often had his group of friends following him around or a trail of girls after him. It was his personality- charming and charismatic and genuine. He wasn’t like most of the other boys in his year- alright enough, but often obnoxious and irritating. Teddy somehow managed to escape that phase of teenage-boyhood.
During my fourth year, and his fifth, Teddy was in his first serious relationship. He was really happy at that point, but we did grow apart. I was admittedly angry at him for letting someone get in between us. It didn’t help anything that I was going through a rough patch as well and so Teddy’s distance only made me feel as though he was tossing me off for someone else.
We grew out of this. We’ve certainly learned to be best friends first and not get too attached to each other all the same, we learned about space. It was good for us. We still fought of course, but I think that we had both matured enough to not let petty things get in the way. He certainly rubbed off on me. He is way to mature for his own good.
Lately, I see less of Teddy than I like, but that’s only because he’s in his final year of Hogwarts and extremely busy with NEWTs and applying for jobs. I try not to think too hard about when he leaves school and goes off to live his life; I don’t want to imagine not seeing him on a regular basis.
This year, I was especially excited for Christmas holiday. It meant seeing spending uninterrupted time with the whole family. It’s Christmas, anyway; the best time of year. What with all of the snow and Nana Molly’s food and mistletoe and of course, presents.
After everyone else went to bed we watched It’s A Wonderful Life. We both knew a majority of the lines and we recited them with the movie as went. It was something we did every year; it was our tradition.
But then he turned to me and broke the tradition a bit…
“Here, Victoire, hold on a moment. I’ve got something for you.” Teddy placed a small box in my lap; dark red with a silky, silver bow tied to it.
“But Ted, you’ve already got me something right? Under the tree?” I already knew what it was; a new set of quills I had been raving about in Flourish and Blotts, and a copy of Anna Karenina. I suppose I was a bit of a bookworm, and Anna Karenina is no small feat.
“Yeah, but… I saw this and thought of you. Just open it, Vic.”
“Oh, but now I feel bad I didn’t get you two gifts. Now our gift giving balance will be off.” I frowned, tilting my head. “Let me tally this off, the Christmas of 2015, Teddy Lupin outnumbered me and now I have to get him and equally superb gift as a belated Christmas and early-”
“Victoire!” He cut me off sharply. I looked at him sheepishly. “Just open the damn gift. Or I’m taking it back.”
I looked at him, horrified. “No! You cannot take back a gift. That’s just- it’s just- blasphemy.”
He looked a little exasperated and waited for me to open it. Slowly, and with meticulous care, I untied the ribbon and threw it at Teddy. It landed in his hair. Inside was a silver charm bracelet, with a few charms already on it; a werewolf, a broom, and a book. It was beautiful.
I leapt at Teddy and wrapped my arms around his neck. “Teddy! It’s amazing, oh thank you! I love you so much! Now I’ll have to get you something so that you can love me equally as much.”
He held me in his arms. “I already do love you Victoire.”
Was I just imagining things? Was I making up the underlying tone in his voice when he said that? Or the charm bracelet? Of course Teddy wasn’t thinking that. There was no way that Teddy, my Teddy, Teddy Lupin, who I’ve known since I was born, was thinking of me like that.
I pop another chocolate in my mouth and contemplate some more, zoning out a bit until I hear the door open.
“Oh, hey Vic.” Teddy says, barely glancing up. It’s not exactly a rare occurrence for me to show up in his dorm, on his bed, eating his chocolate. It happens quite often actually. I get easily bored and aggravated with my annoyingly girly door mates and have to escape to Teddy’s. Guys are far easier to deal with than girls.
“Hi. You know, you take really long showers and spend longer than I do in the bathroom. If I didn’t know you better, I’d suspect you were secretly a girl.” I nod thoughtfully at him.
“Hey, I am not a girl. I just enjoy showering… er, after a long Quidditch practice.” He scowls a bit and then walks to his dresser. I snort at him.
He turns around, squints his eyes. “Did you just snort?” But before I can answer, he sees the chocolate box, hidden (or not so much), by the pillows.
“Vic!” His eyes widen in angry realization.
“What?” I ask innocently, discreetly shoving the chocolate box out of site.
“What do you think? Don’t try and hide the chocolate, I saw it.” See? This boy is a Nazi when it comes to his chocolate.
I look at him with my most convincing puppy dog eyes. “But. But Ted. It’s cold out. And I just got out of a potions lesson and I needed it and-”
But his body sailing towards the bed and onto me cuts me off. “Ugh…” I groan loudly.
He pins me down, sufficiently pressing the air from my lungs. “Gern fram ee.” I moan from beneath his body, my face squished against his chest.
“Not until you apologize for going into my prized and private chocolate stash.” He says matter-of -factly. Geez, he can sound so haughty sometimes. No way am I apologizing, I am not sorry for that delicious chocolatey experience.
“No.” I try and meet his eye and squint, attempting a glare, but I don’t think it has much effect as my face is shoved away from him and flush against his chest. Ugh.
“Say it…” He coaxes.
“Say it or I wont get up and I’ll start tickling you and there won’t be anything you can do about it because you. Cant. Move.”
“I’m unga ick you.” I attempt to shove my heel into his calf, but he doesn’t budge. He laughs at me.
He slides his hand up my sides and tickles me. I automatically twist my body away, laughing. I try to hit him but he’s go my arms pinned pretty good, so I opt for some choice swears.
“Stop-” I giggle wildly. “Bloody-” I try to slap his hands away. “Prick- you- erg.”
I give up reluctantly and plead, my voice muffled into near incoherency. “Urkay! Ted- Gerroff, I’ll say it.”
“Happily.” He props himself up on his arms, still squishing most of my body, but releasing the pressure on my chest. Ah, relief. He looks at me expectantly.
I sigh loudly, and then meet his eyes. “Teddy Lupin, I’m sorry I went into your chocolate stash without asking.”
“And?” He prompts annoyingly, raising his eyebrows.
“And… I won’t ever do it again.” I say in a rush, pressing my lips into a firm line.
“Thank you.” Teddy finally says, smiling cockily, but not moving. I can see almost every detail on his face; he’s so close to me. I notice that the freckles that usually appear in the summer, have disappeared, and that his hair is back to its natural light brown color, and that his cheeks and jaw are growing scruff, he must be going for the whole unkempt, disheveled look. At least it suits him. He swipes his tongue over his lips quickly. He still hasn’t moved.
I press my lips together, ignoring my increasing heartbeat. I’m very aware of my body, and his body, pressed close together. It’s silent in the dorm; I can barely hear our breathing, and I can tell that Teddy is being cautious.
This is Teddy. The rational part of my brain says.
But things are different now. The truthful part of my brain says.
But it’s Teddy! And he probably doesn’t really think of me like that.
Obviously he does, idiot, or else he would have moved and he wouldn’t be looking so nervous.
By now my heartbeat is so loud, he can probably hear it. Seriously. It’s beating o fast that it’s reached my throat and I can’t say a thing because it’s currently blocking my airways. I swallow a few times. It doesn’t help. I look up briefly to meet his eyes; his eyebrows are knitted together slightly, as though he is concentrating very hard.
Okay, but wouldn’t it be weird? I mean; it’s Teddy.
But then, as if he’s decided, he ducks his head down, brushing his jaw against my cheek, and his stubble scratches across my skin. I have no idea what I’m doing but I turn my head to press my lips into the spot right behind his ear. The smell of him is so strong; I have to hold my tongue not to let out some sort of moan. That would be embarrassing.
Teddy presses his forehead to mine, as if he’s asking if it’s alright. I don’t say anything, but then his lips are on mine and every single cell in my body is pulsing.
What the hell is going on? Since when is it okay to kiss Teddy Lupin? That’s right, never! Not like this. Not when I have my hands tangled in his hair, and not when he’s placing a line of kisses down my jaw.
Oh Merlin, Ted.
I can’t help it. I press my lips into his and it’s no longer tentative and slow, it’s feverish and desperate. Even though my hands are shaking; and my heart is beating so fast into my throat I can barely breathe; and my mind is still screaming at me; I wrap my arms around his heck and pull him closer. I can’t stop.
I never thought one person could crave someone else so greatly. To literally be trying to consume some part of someone else, almost ravenously. Is it lust? Not wanting to let Teddy go, literally? He’s just that good.
Teddy gruffly slides his hand up my shirt so that his fingers grace my shoulder blades and I noticeably shiver. He doesn’t stop; instead, he grips my back so that he pulls at my skin slightly, so that I can feel his fingers pressing into me, leaving their mark. He’s leaving his mark.
And I’m trying to leave mine. My mind is spinning as I feverishly kiss him back. Is it crazy that not moments ago I was questioning my relationship with him? That I had never really thought of Teddy as more than my very best friend? I feel as though I should have seen it before- the bracelet, the way we’d been making sure to see more of each other, what with our time together at school running out. Was he only doing this out of fear, or some sort of coping mechanism because he was graduating soon?
I try and clear my head of the confusion and focus on him instead. It’s not too hard to do, to be honest.
I untangle my hands from his hair, and run my thumb along his jaw. He makes some sort of noise in his throat that is currently undistinguishable. The scruff on his face is like tiny shocks to my hands each time my fingers rub up against them, but I keep at it.
At some point the realization that this is not in fact, just a casual mess about, occurs to me. This is clearly more than something casual or off the cuff. I haven’t ever felt this way when I’ve kissed a boy before, not the mindless need for someone. He’s kissing me and I realize that he’s no longer just my best friend. The realization hits me suddenly and without much warning, and it’s all rather cliched and perfect. I suppose this is just how these sorts of things go.
His hands are still tracing circles on my back. Dear, god Teddy. I discreetly attempt to take a whiff of him, inhaling his very familiar scent that now sends a tingle down my spine. I bury my nose in his neck and and it is all at once butterfly-inducing and extremely comforting. Once again, I bite my tongue as not to embarrass myself greatly.
He finally lifts his head to look at me and a smile plays at his lips. They are slightly red and his eyes are wide open, staring. It’s a bit intense to be honest. I giggle and cover them with my hand. He shoves it away and kisses me quickly again.
I see his eyes travel to my wrist, where my sweater has ridden up to reveal my bare skin, as well as the silver charm bracelet he gave me. I haven’t taken it off since Christmas, and immediately I feel my cheeks burn hotter than I’m sure they already are.
He pulls away from me, a cocky grin on his lips. “Now, wasn’t that apology worth it?”