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Chapter 3 : Belief
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Teddy, ignoring her teasing that he was a baby afraid of a little house, agreed to check everything for her.
He had to admit, even if it was only to himself, that the estate was not so eerie now that it actually looked like a home. The 'deathtrap', as James had called it, was gone, knocked down completely, and a new home took it's place - the moss was gone, the building sturdy, safe and brand new. And it was the 'normal looking house color of brown-red', also James' words; there was no longer rotting black wood holding the house together, but strong brick.
The builders had taken the scaffolding down since he'd last visited the site and the rubbish skips were gone. The front door was open and Teddy could just about see the light wooden floorboards Victoire had given him as an option. It looked ready.
Time to find out.
Taking a deep breath in hope that his uneasiness would disappear completely once he saw everything, Teddy shut his car door and made his way towards the man in charge. Stephen was a small man, his head just reaching Teddy's shoulders, but he had an air of authority, a commanding voice that people took notice of and listened to, and Teddy liked him, trusted him. They greeted each other warmly, having gotten used to each other's company over the weeks, and stepped inside.
The house was huge, open and certainly inviting. It was exactly how Victoire had envisioned it, how her youngest brother Louis had designed it for them. There was plenty of space for Ryan to run around, while being safe for him to do so, the rooms were a good size. The living room, light, warm and complete with a fireplace, was to the right and connected to a playroom for the baby, so he could still be seen. The kitchen was at the back and allowed entrance to the spacious garden, while the family dining room was on the left.
Teddy followed Stephen up the winding staircase and to the master bedroom, with an en-suite. The built-in wardrobe his wife requested was exactly where she wanted it. Ryan's room was next door, decorated with his favorite cartoon wallpaper. Stephen also showed him the four spare rooms, which they would keep for guests, though he knew that Victoire hoped to keep one spare as a nursery in case they wanted another child in the near future.
The top floor was Teddy's office, the one room he was happy to design himself, and he'd kept it simple - the same wooden floor as downstairs, white paint on the walls. Yes, the house was Victoire's and he loved the designs, but the office was his alone and he was perfectly happy with simple.
Stephen led Teddy back to the main hallway. "What do you think?"
What do I think?
Victoire's project was complete, just in time for autumn, as she'd hoped it would be. It was officially a home he could see himself and his family living in, growing in. It was perfect. All that was left was bringing in their furniture.
But he still couldn't shake his feeling. And that worried him more than he liked.
"Vic will love it," Teddy said, holding out a hand. "Thank you, Stephen. I can't believe you finished it in time."
"It was easier to do with a plan to go on," Stephen shrugged, admiring the work of his team just a little. "Your wife knows what she wants and her specific instructions gave us something to work with."
"She's very efficient," Teddy smiled. "A little bossy, but people never seem to click on to that straight away because she's always smiling. That's her trick, you see."
They laughed and Stephen handed him the keys to the house. "Here. Oh, and I have this for you." Stephen pointed outside, then jogged outside to his van, Teddy following curiously. "One of my guys found this under the floorboards, I figured I'd give it to you since it's your house. I have no idea what's in it, I didn't look."
Teddy took the old, dusty folder almost cautiously and wiped the front. It was plain black, nothing special, but old. Not as old as the house itself, but it had definitely been in the house a good few years. He gently held the string keeping the file closed, as though it would crumble in his hands any second, and started to move it away to open it when his phone buzzed in his pocket.
He'd fallen in love with technology as a boy, after hearing of his grandfather's family and growing up with Harry, but only a few members of his own family actually used anything past the television. So Teddy knew, before he even had to look, that it was Victoire, who got one to contact him. He would have guessed his best friend Brandon, but he was on holiday in New Zealand, visiting his family, and would probably be asleep by now.
Just ordered food at your favorite pizza place. Could you pick it up? Can't wait to know about the house!
"I have to go," Teddy said with a smile. He held up the file, deciding to leave it for later, and started to walk away. "Thanks again, Stephen."
Teddy got into the car and drove away, the file forgotten in the back and the feeling leaving the further away from the house he was.
As soon as the sofa was exactly where Victoire wanted it, Teddy collapsed into it. They'd started from top and worked their way down, making sure there was space the whole time they carried furniture in, so the living room was last. There was nothing left to move in. Victoire fell down next to him, squeezing his hand excitedly while their family's voices was heard around them.
"Welcome home," she grinned, looking around. "Now it's perfect."
"Is it time for bed?" Teddy muttered, trying to hold back a yawn and failing. "I'm exhausted and sore as hell. I just want to shower and sleep."
"Well, everything is here and working," Victoire answered, waving her hand to gesture to the house. "Harry has gone to get Ryan from your grandmother, then it'll be just us. You can shower then. I'll get us something to eat, then you can sleep. I agree that my amazing husband deserves to rest."
"Amazing, huh? He sounds nice, I hope he's better for you than I am. Because I'm going to ignore everything you just said and take a nap," Teddy teased, though he was very serious about the nap. Victoire only gave orders; as much as he loved her, she just didn't understand his pain.
He kissed her quickly on her forehead, thanking her when she promised to wake him up for dinner, and stumbled to the stairs when he twisted his body awkwardly to turn around.
"Hey, there's Daddy," Harry's soft, soothing voice said, stopping Teddy at the stairs. He turned to find his godfather watching in amusement, Ryan in his arms and his head on Harry's shoulder. "Nice trip?"
"I twisted my leg and it hurts a little; it was fun," Teddy answered sarcastically. "How's Ry?"
"Andromeda said he screamed for you for over an hour after you left, exhausted himself and fell asleep," Harry said sympathetically. "He was awake for a while before I got there, but he's still tired."
"Aww, come here, dude," Teddy murmured and Ryan happily held up his arms for his daddy to take him. He rubbed his eyes and snuggled his head into Teddy's shoulder.
Harry chuckled quietly, "He reminds me of you. Your screams used to echo around the house until the person you wanted would come. That person varied."
"Well, there's so many of you," Teddy grinned. "And I was the first born, I liked being spoiled."
"I also remember you hated the second born for taking some of the attention away. Then you married her," Harry added with a wink. "The place looks great, I don't think I said so before," he said, changing the subject before Teddy could deny hating Victoire as a child.
Teddy leaned in, knowing his secret would be safe with his godfather. Even if the man didn't share the same feeling, he wouldn't let Victoire know. "It gives me the creeps. Every time I'm alone, I feel like I'm being watched."
"Ted, you said that every rare occasion you went to Malfoy Manor or when you stayed at Draco's estate. You also said it when we lived in Grimmauld Place when you were a little boy," Harry reminded him, shaking his head slightly in amusement. "This place is just old. Or it was old before you knocked it down."
"Do you know what Nicky says about this house?" Teddy asked.
Harry shook his head again, this time an answer to his godson's question. "I haven't seen Nick, he's avoiding the house. He's avoiding almost everyone. Bill says his episodes are getting bad again; he's staying with Kieron and seeing his psychiatrist every day. If it gets worse, he may have to stay in hospital again."
Neither mentioned the place Harry was referring to, the center for mentally ill patients that Harry had helped to set up when a Muggle doctor requested specialist care because Nick needed something more than what his family could give. It was different to the ward in St. Mungo's the Longbottoms were in, Harry told him once - the new place near the hospital was for diagnosed conditions that developed in a person rather than something that damaged a person because of magic.
Nick had been seven years old and their first patient and, sadly, not their last. He was also their most frequent patient.
"I'm actually going to see him now, I want to know how he is for myself," Harry continued. "If it doesn't freak him out, I'll ask him about the house. Though I'm not sure he'll talk; apparently he tried with Vic when you first bought the house and she didn't listen."
"She's been too excited about the house. He should have come to me," Teddy muttered. "She doesn't want him to be right again."
"In her defense, telling her that Regulus Black was in his old house and descrbing how he died in detail wasn't the best idea," Harry mused, the mood dropping bit by bit. "I'll see you soon, okay?"
"Yeah. We're going to take a nap," he replied, his attention to turning to the little boy now sleeping softly in his arms. "Good bye, Harry. Let me know about Nick please. He was fine until he came here."
"It's not your fault, Ted," Harry reassured him, gentle but stern. "Nick has powers that can really hurt him; it can't be helped. They can come at any time."
"I know. It's just not fair."
When Victoire woke Teddy up, Ryan was in her arms and they were both looking down at him, giggling madly. The first thing Teddy did was check his body, his hair, his face - nothing had changed, he hadn't changed color or grown a beak while he slept.
"What?" he asked with a confused laugh.
"Daddy snore," Ryan continued to giggle, imitating snoring noises.
"I feel so loved," he sighed, feigning sadness. He let his bottom lip tremble and his eyes go wide, but Victoire's continued laugh as she whispered in their son's ear that Daddy was sad made sure Ryan didn't stop.
"Daddy sad," he said, slapping his hands in the air.
"Daddy sad," Teddy repeated, then he stuck out his tongue and jumped up. "Daddy hungry. Is Ryan hungry?" Ryan nodded eagerly. "Then we should eat."
Dinner was waiting on the table, Victoire having set everything up before she'd woken him, and for the first time since they'd bought the house, there was quiet. They weren't surrounded by family and work, there was no loud dinners with Louis arguing over said noise, no Hugo complaining about being unappreciated or James trying to diagnose everyone. It was quiet, but it wasn't peaceful.
The silence was unnerving. Teddy found himself nervously looking around until dinner was almost over and Victoire called him on his actions.
"Don't you feel that?" he asked in a whisper, not wanting to Ryan to hear. He wouldn't understand, but he was a curious boy and would try to ask questions. He was too much like his dad, people would joke, with the same metamorphic abilities and werewolf senses. Though his ability was mostly watching his eyes change color randomly when he blinked and his hair change depending on mood, both of which were completely subconscious. And all the senses did was keep them both up at night when the moon was full and Ryan would howl when people asked him to.
It was their curiosity that often got them into trouble.
"When is the next full moon?" Victoire asked instead.
Teddy shrugged. "Six days."
"Then I think your inner wolf is trying to get used to its new surroundings because I don't feel anything," she said kindly, shaking her head at Ryan when he howled again. "That's probably why you've been jumpy throughout dinner, isn't it, darling? Because you've slept through most of your first day."
"Nicky doesn't like it and he's not like me. Louis was okay and he is," Teddy countered, trying to understand. He hadn't factored in his 'inner wolf' before.
"Louis doesn't need to get used to new surroundings, he doesn't live here, and Dominique -" She stopped suddenly, looking sad and lost for a moment. Then it was like she shut down emotionally, her featured hardening until they were completely neutral. "He isn't well."
"He has magic he can't control, he's not sick," Teddy muttered, getting up and dropping his plate into the sink.
"Where are you going?"
"To get used to my surroundings," he called back angrily. He wished he wasn't, but he couldn't help it. He'd watched Nick grow, tried to listen when he'd needed someone to talk to, tried to understand even though he knew he couldn't because Victoire was too scared to.
Her brother was one topic of conversation they differed on.
He didn't think the boy was crazy.
It was almost two in the morning by the time Teddy dropped his work onto his desk and decided he absolutely had to go to bed. He had a meeting in the morning, a late one thankfully, but he still dreaded how he was going to look after a late night.
He was already half asleep when he reached his door, but his senses seemed to be on high alert and they didn't miss the sound of his son muttering in his room. Frowning, Teddy checked the room and found Ryan standing in his cot, staring at the window and making noises, bits of words coming through, though none of it made sense to Teddy at two am.
"Hey, dude, you should be sleeping."
"Mummy," Ryan said, his arms up in the air.
"Mummy is sleeping. Come on," Teddy murmured, lying the little boy back down and covering him with his blanket.
Ryan pointed to the window. "Mummy."
"There's no one there, dude. Though the window shouldn't be open," Teddy said, moving to close it before it got too cold. "Did Mummy open the window?"
Ryan nodded slowly, biting his blanket.
"Odd." He kissed two of his fingers and placed them on the boy's head. Good night, Ryan."
When he left, Ryan started muttering again.
Victoire kept one eye on Ryan and the other on her husband, who was running around looking for something, mumbling to himself. He hadn't spoken to her since he'd left then at the table and it was starting to upset her. She knew why and she felt terrible; she loved her brother and despite everything, she was very close to both of her siblings. She didn't want anything to happen to them. But Dominique's ability scared her, everyone knew it, and she didn't know how to help like Louis and Teddy could. They shared a part of themselves that required control and stability, their wolf genes was something that could present a danger even without turning - it made them moody, more prone to outbursts of agression and violence and they dealt with that every day. They were able to talk to Dominique about control, help him as much as they could. So could their father, so could his friend Kieron and Harry had done so much as well. But Victoire didn't have an ability or a gene that excised similar techniques or enough influence in the world to help. She was stuck being the big sister and it wasn't good enough.
I should have let him talk to me that day.
She hadn't meant to push her brother away when he'd tried to tell her something, but she'd known by the look on his face that he'd wanted to tell her something about his ability and she'd been afraid of what he'd say ever since she'd be eight and he'd been six and he'd told her about the the Black ghost.
I have to fix this.
"Teddy," she called out to him before she even realized she'd spoken. He stopped and turned to her skeptically. "I'm sorry about last night. I love my brother, you know I do, but he's been like this his whole life and it's hard to take what he says into account. But I shouldn't have brushed it off and I'm sorry. I know you love him, too. You look after him. I'll find him and apologize to him as well. And I'll go to him, so he doesn't have to come here."
It was a few minutes before Teddy spoke; she could see his brain turning, trying to figure out if her words were sincere or not. She hoped he believed her because she meant it. She may have pushed confrontations back or forgotten, but she always meant it and she always went to him.
"Have you seen my keys? I've looked everywhere," he said at last. He'd changed the subject, but his smile was soft and his eyes were grateful. He believed her.
"No, sorry. Have you tried your study?"
"I will," he replied, already heading to the stairs. "I swear I put them on the little table by the door yesterday."
"You mean here?" Victoire asked with a small smirk, lifting then up off the little table and shaking them in the air.
"I swear they weren't there when I looked," he muttered. He took them from her and kissed her cheek, then waved to Ryan, who had followed. "I'll be late for work if I don't go now. Good bye, Ryan."
"Bye bye, Daddy!"
Teddy gave one her last look, a whispered 'talk to him' barely leaving his lips, and shut the door. Victoire turned to her son, picking him up when he held up his arms to be carried, and took him into the playroom.
"Should we go and see Uncle Nicky soon, darling?"
"Yes," Victoire agreed. "Nicky is sad. We should visit him," she said. Ryan nodded, but Victoire silently planned a to find a babysitter, wanting to speak to her brother alone before Ryan saw him. She told herself it was so that they could talk openly, but she knew deep down that she didn't want Ryan around in case Dominique wasn't himself, and though she hated herself for thinking it, she knew she was doing the right thing by putting her baby first. Dominique would agree with her, if he was having a bad day he'd tell her to take Ryan away. He'd done so before.
"We'll visit him soon," she said distractedly. "Yes, Ryan? Ryan?"
Victoire watched him curiously as he stared at the wall, occasionally pointing to his toys and talking. Victoire worriedly glanced from the baby to the wall and back, old memories of Dominique as a child coming to her.
"Mummy, play! Mummy play!" Ryan laughed happily, but he wasn't looking at her, his eyes were still on the wall.
"Ryan? Darling, what is it? What's there?" Ryan said nothing, he just turned to face her with an odd look on his face before turning back. Victoire opened her mouth to ask again when the door knocked. "That'll be Nana Fleur, I'll be right back, darling."
Victoire stood up to answer the door, crying out in pain when she fell forward. The fall was so sudden, her cry so loud, that Ryan started to sob and she could hear her mother calling for her, opening the door and rushing in.
"Vicki. Are you okay?" she rushed out, her French accent, usually hardly noticeable after so long in England, suddenly seemed stronger.
"I'm fine, I tripped over Ryan's toy and sprained my ankle," she gasped. Fleur brought Ryan to her, sitting him on her knee and rubbing his back in soothing circles, while her other hand was used to take out her wand and cool Victoire's ankle.
"Thank you, Maman," she said gratefully, using the French term that she couldn't remember using since she was a child.
"Why was the toy out so far?" Fleur asked, pushing it to the side.
Victoire only shrugged her shoulders. She had no idea why it was there. She was sure it had been in the corner when she had been sat done a few minutes before. Victoire glanced around nervously, also sure that she had felt pressure on her back.
Liked she'd been pushed.
A/N: A few things -
-This wasn't meant to be so long, but you need to know why Nick isn't believed. His ability will come back. If you want to know more, feel free to ask me. And he can see Regulus, because I imagine Reggie would be one with unfinished business after dying the way he did... I wonder who else he can see. ;)
-Louis got his wolf genes from Bill. He's the only one; like with Teddy, who Remus thought would be a werewolf like him, there was a chance Bill's children wouldn't have traits, since he's not a full wolf. The genes skipped Vic and Nick.
-Vic is Cursebreaker. Teddy works in Regulation and Control, werewolf devision.
I think that's it. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. :)
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