'Falling' is the story of Ted Lupin and Victoire Weasley transitioning from being close friends to being in a relationship. It covers the eighteen months or so prior to the Epilogue scene in 'Deathly Hallows', and commences with Vic in her fifth year and Ted months from finishing at Hogwarts. Although the first chapter is told solely from Victoire's perspective, the story as a whole will deal with both Ted and Vic's point of view. And while it is ostensibly a Ted/Vic fic, Andromeda, the Weasleys and other assorted characters from the series will appear.
I am not JK Rowling - I only wish I could write as well as she does - nor am I related to Warner Bros. or any publisher that has ever had anything to do with Harry Potter.
Victoire Weasley kept her eyes tightly shut, hoping that if she ignored the alarm clock going off beside her bed it would stop annoying her, and permit her to return to the lovely dream she had been enjoying moments before.
“Turn that monstrosity off!” a voice yelled from the other side of the room.
Victoire groaned, and flung her arm out wildly from the bedcovers, fumbling around for either the off-switch on the alarm or her wand. Finding the former first, she hit the off button, turned over and allowed her dream to engage her once more.
“Vic…..Vic……Vic, its time to get up. You went back to sleep. Again. Victoire.”
“Humph?” Victoire replied, recognising the voice of her best friend, Natasha Rivers.
“You over slept again,”, an amused Natasha told Vic as she prised her eyes open. “Come on, you need to get moving - unless, of course, you want to stay at Hogwarts over Christmas, or explain to your parents why you missed the train.”
“Okay, okay, I’m moving”, said Vic as she sat up, and shielded her eyes against the bright, piercing sun currently shining into Gryffindor Tower. “Anyway, I packed last night in case I overslept.”
As Natasha recommenced the packing she had clearly interrupted, Victoire threw off the covers, looked at her clock and noted that she had a little over an hour and a half until they left for the Hogwarts Express. She grabbed her toilet bag and wandered into the large bathroom that was attached to their dormitory. She had packed the night before, and would definitely make the train. It was so like Nat to bring it up….really - it had just been that one time she’d missed it. And she’d been a first year at the time. And it hadn’t even been Christmas or the summer, just the Easter fortnight, Victoire mused as she splashed some fresh, lukewarm water on her face and brushed her teeth.
When she returned to the dormitory, Victoire saw that Nat had finished packing, and was sitting on her bed reading Victoire’s most recent copy of The Quibbler, a crooked smile plastered across her face.
“I’ll be two minutes - just need to get changed and then we can go down for some breakfast”, Victoire informed her. “You enjoying that, then?”
“I was just reading Luna’s theory on some new species of creature she’s discovered in Tibet. Apparently prolonged contact with it helps prevent bad dreams”, said Nat. “I like Luna. She’s completely barking….but in a good way.” Victoire grinned.
“You’d understand Luna a lot better if you’d met Xeno Lovegood before he died”, Victoire told her as she wrapped an old cardigan around herself.
“I remember him a bit from when I was little. Luna’s wildest theories seem nothing compared to his mildest ones.”
“If nothing its entertaining”, said Natasha as she and Victoire moved out of the dormitory and in search of any breakfast that might be left in the Great Hall. “Will Luna be home for Christmas?”
“I think so”, said Victoire slowly, trying to remember the last letter her mother had sent her. She’d only received it a few days ago…..
“I think maman said she would be. She usually comes to Gramma’s or wherever for dinner - Aunt Ginny always invites her. I can’t WAIT for Christmas Day! I love opening all my presents, and Christmas dinner is always so much fun.”
“That’s because there’s so many of you”, said Natasha astutely as they entered the Great Hall. “Not quite the same if you’re an only child of an only child.”
Victoire scanned the Gryffindor table, and nodded towards a group of people sitting towards the middle. Natasha smirked at her as Victoire moved forwards towards her boyfriend of three months, Hemingway Lyttleton. Victoire had liked him since just before the summer holidays, and they had got together a few weeks after coming back to Hogwarts for the autumn term.
Her parents were not yet aware of Hem’s existence, at least not of his promoted status from Ted’s friend to her boyfriend, and she’d had to plead more than once with Ted, and with her brother and sister to maintain that. Her mother would say that she should concentrate on her OWLs this year, and not boys. Her father would say that she shouldn’t be dating seventh years - and then he’d quiz poor Ted endlessly.
“Morning”, said Vic, kissing the top of Hem’s auburn hair before squeezing herself and Natasha into seats next to him.
“Sleep in again?” an amused Ted asked from the other side of the table.
“It is good for your health to have at least eight hours sleep every night”, Vic retorted, making a face at him.
“Yeah, but the night before we go home for Christmas - you want to make sure that you don’t miss the train, Vic”, he added, grinning.
“That was once, and I was a first year at the time. Are you ever going to let me forget it?”
“Nope!” Ted and Natasha replied simultaneously.
An hour and a half later, Victoire found herself in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express with the same group of people. Cuddled up to Hem, and listening to him talk Quidditch, she looked round at them. On the other side of her was Natasha, her best friend, whom she had first met on the train to Hogwarts in her first year. Of all the Gryffindors in her year, Nat was the only one she’d connected with. Maybe it was the fact that she was the only muggle-born, and therefore the only one that didn’t already have what they perceived as being an in-depth knowledge of Victoire’s family. Maybe their personalities just complimented one another. They had quickly become firm friends, and had remained so since.
Then there was Ted. Nat was her best friend. Ted was more than that. She had known him for longer than she could remember. He was an intrinsic part of her life. Until he had gone to Hogwarts, he was the only child outside her immediate family around her age. She had not realised until those two years when he was at school how much she had relied on Ted always being there. And since she had come to Hogwarts as well, Ted had always looked out for her.
Next to Ted were his best friends Rowland Vance and Wesley Burke. Victoire smiled to herself as she recalled them staying with Ted for a few days during the summer between his first and second years at Hogwarts, and feeling slightly hurt that the three boys had been more interested in each other’s company than in hers for most of the time. They were both into Quidditch, playing in the Gryffindor team, and during the summer quite often went to matches with Ted.
Finally, she glanced at Matthew Hopkins, Hem’s best friend. She didn’t know Matt that well, but she was slowly getting used to him. He could be quiet, sometimes so much so that you almost forgot that he was there. And at others he could be the life and soul of any party. It was almost like he was two sides of a coin - and you were never really sure which of the two you were going to get on any given day.
And that brought her back to Hem………Victoire always felt that it was the little things you liked about a person that mattered in a relationship (not that she’d really had one before Hem). Like how he scrunched up his nose when he smiled, and how he could excel at anything he tried without ever trying too hard. She loved his eyes, too, loving to watch how they veered from green to brown. She had once observed to Nat that Hem had very autumnal eyes. He was the best looking Gryffindor, and she couldn’t quite believe that he had asked her, little Victoire, to be his girlfriend.
“There you are!” Victoire’s thoughts were interrupted by what she could only describe as An Arrival. Ted’s on/off girlfriend Caro Wickham had wandered into the carriage wearing an outfit that made her look like some sort of muggle hippie that Vic had seen in a Muggle Studies book. Victoire watched as Caro flung her arms around Ted’s neck, almost choking him, and then pressing her lips to his in a way that seemed to cut off a good proportion of his oxygen supply.
Victoire glanced at Nat, raising an eyebrow. For the life of her, Vic had never been able to understand - looks and lack of clothing aside - what Ted saw in Caro. She knew that Ted wasn’t shallow enough to choose a girlfriend based on looks alone.
“Ying and yang. Balance”, Nat muttered to her for the thousandth time. Nat had a theory that Ted, down-to-earth and, well, normal, needed someone as wild and passionate as Caro to balance him out.
“Hey, you”, said Ted once Caro had permitted him sufficient breath to speak. “How are your friends?”
“They’re fine”, said Caro dismissively. “We were just planning our New Year party at Mattie’s. Are you sure you can’t come, babe? Mattie and Alberta both have dates. Their boyfriends are coming.”
“Caro, you know I always go to Harry’s party”, Ted told her, rubbing his thumb over her palm. “I asked you to come with me, but you had already decided to go to Mattie’s. You could change your mind and come to Harry’s with me.” Victoire groaned inwardly. She put up with the girl at school, but at home, and with her family, she tried to minimise their contact. Caro wasn’t too fond of her, either. She seemed to think there was something suspect about Ted and Victoire’s friendship, and was unwilling to believe that they had never been more than friends.
“Ted, you know they don’t really get me, those people”, said Caro. “Your grandmother always looks at me like I’m some sort of freak.”
“No she doesn’t”, Ted tried to assure her. “She just doesn’t like to see that I’m growing up is all. I’m all she has, really.”
“She doesn’t like me”, Caro reiterated, folding her arms across her chest.
They were interrupted by what Victoire felt would be yet another awkward conversation by the arrival of the food trolley. While everyone bought pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs, Victoire carried on a non-verbal conversation with Ted about Caro, raising her eyebrows and patting his arm as she passed him on her way back from buying some chocolate. She handed him a piece, and he smiled back at her. As much as she was there for Ted when Caro was being a drama queen (which was most of the time) and vocally sympathised with him, she had never bluntly told him how much she disliked the girl. Besides, it gave him plausible deniability when he was refuting Caro’s claims that Victoire hated her as much as Andromeda did.
The remainder of the train ride passed without incident. Louis and Dom, Victoire’s younger twin brother and sister came by for a visit with their friends, Caro and Ted left them all for a while, going for a “walk” around the train, and they had all changed into their muggle clothes as dusk began to fall outside, as they neared London.
“I can’t believe I have a two hour drive after this”, Natasha moaned, as they pulled into platform nine and three quarters. “You’re so lucky, Vic. Wish my parents could floo from the Leaky.”
“Trust me, I don’t really get home that much quicker than you do”, Victoire assured her. “Aunt Ginny, Uncle Harry and the kids will be there to meet Ted. We’ll all get a couple of muggle taxis to the Leaky, and then spend so much time talking to Hannah over a few Butterbeers before we floo……”
“Yes, but in theory you could be there almost instantly is my point”, said Nat.
“I guess”, Victoire agreed. “Now, in case I lose you in the crush when we get off, are you really, really, really sure you can’t come to Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry’s New Year Party?”
“I’m sure”, said Nat, looking downcast. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my folks, but sometimes I wish I had more freedom to see everyone during the holidays. They expect me to spend most of my holidays with them……and that includes New Year.”
“Well, I’ll owl you loads, and I’ll see you back on this contraption in a couple of weeks”, Victoire promised as she hugged her best friend.
“You’ve chosen wisely”, Ted promised Nat, his hands entwined with Caro’s. “You would be classed as one of the kids, banned from firewhiskey and deemed in charge of the young ‘uns. In which case you have to deal with Percy and Audrey’s paranoia that their little girls might get roped into a tough boys game, or hear a swear word; James and Al will get tired and fight, then start picking on Lily and Rosie when they get bored of that…….”
“Yeah, that’s true”, Victoire admitted, nodding.
“Hey you”, said Hem, bringing Victoire’s attention round to him. “I’m going to miss you so much, babe.”
“I’m going to miss you, too”, Victoire admitted shyly. “We better say goodbye here.”
“Still haven’t told the parentals, then?” he whispered in her ears.
“Do you really want to go up against my father and my five uncles?” she asked smartly.
“Probably not”, Hem admitted before kissing her goodbye in a manner that suggested Victoire would not be allowed to forget him over the next couple of weeks.
She was going to miss him so much. Victoire always felt as if she was being torn in two. When she was at Hogwarts, she loved spending time with her friends, but missed her family horribly. During the holidays she loved spending time with her family, but missed her friends terribly. And until she finished school, and could flit from one to the other with more ease, she was doomed to feel the same way. At least she had Dom, Louis and Ted at school, though. And Ted at home.
Victoire allowed Hem to lift her trunk on to the platform for her, gave him another quick kiss goodbye, and grinned wonkily at Nat. Her best friend shook her head, smiling, and they descended from the train, looking around the platform for familiar faces.
“You ready?” she heard Ted’s voice say.
“Oh. There you are”, said Victoire vaguely. “Seen Dom and Louis?” Ted shook his head.
“Not since they popped in earlier”.
“I better get going”, said Nat. She hugged Victoire again. “Have a fabulous holiday, and I will owl you as soon as I get a chance.”
Victoire watched Natasha walk off, and then turned back to Ted. She jumped slightly as she saw the blue haired boy standing beside her. While they were at school, Ted usually kept his hair a sandy brown, except for special occasions, but once they were home for the holidays he liked to change the colour.
“You could warn me before you morph, you know”, Victoire told him, here eyes searching the platform for her brother and sister. Ted simply shrugged.
“What’s the fun in that?”
“There they are”, Victoire muttered, waving at Dom and Louis wildly. “Good, now we can get going. We always seem to be off the train quickly, yet practically the last through the barrier.”
“Hey, Vic”, said Louis, approaching them. “You say goodbye to your boyfriend?”
“There will be NO mention of Hem during the holidays, is that clear?!” said Victoire warningly. “Remember……it might be me now, but it will be you two in a year or so. Cover for me now, and I’ll cover for you when the time comes, deal?”
Dom and Louis just shrugged, and continued dragging their trunks in the direction of the barrier. Although they had not given her a categorical answer, Victoire knew that they would keep her secret. Dom and Louis did not want too much attention drawn to their own private lives, and they knew that Victoire would keep her word about covering for them.
Of the four of them, it was Victoire that pulled her trunk through the barrier to the muggle world first. A smile planted firmly across her face, she spied her parents, aunt, uncle and cousins instantly. She ran - as well as she could with such a large trunk in tow - towards them, flinging her arms around her parents, and then her aunt and uncle.
“It is so good to see you all!” she exclaimed happily. “I’ve missed you all so much - Lily you’ve grown so much since September!” She hugged her small cousin tightly.
“I’ve grown too”, James pointed out, straightening himself up to his full height.
“I am so ‘appy you are all ‘ome”, gushed Fleur as she hugged the life out of Louis.
Glancing around her, Victoire could see that they were attracting quite a lot of attention. Between the owls and the Holyhead Harpies t-shirt James wore, they were not the most inconspicuous of groups.
“We better get a move on”, Harry suggested, clapping Louis on the shoulder. “I think there’s a couple of trains just about due in, and we want to beat the rush to the taxi rank.”
They all moved through the station, chatting wildly at 100 miles an hour. As Victoire babbled away to her mother about school, and asked questions about family plans for Christmas and New Year, she could hear her father talk to Dom and Louis about the Quidditch season, and their friends, and her cousins quiz Ted on Hogwarts.
It always felt a little strange to Vic, wandering around the muggle world like this; to be surrounded by people whose lives were in some ways so alike, and in others so removed from, her own. She saw a girl of roughly her own age, perhaps a year or two older, saying goodbye to what was presumably her boyfriend. They could have a conversation comparing Hem to the boy she saw in front of her, yet if she started talking about Quidditch and Gringotts and Diagon Alley, the girl would have looked at her as if she belonged in the closed ward at St. Mungo’s.
Victoire found herself snapped out of these thoughts by her mother’s query on the volume of homework she had been given for the holidays. Evidently Ted had been groaning about Christmas homework during exam years, and how it would stop him spending the majority of his holidays with James, Al and Lily as they had asked.
“Urgh, lots maman”, Victoire replied in disgust. “I have at least one essay for each subject, and some rune translations to do. It is supposed to be Christmas, the season of goodwill.”
“Yeah, well, I’ll go you essay for essay”, said Ted grimly. “Just need to balance it out, Vic - a day of hard studying followed by a day of fun, that sort of thing.”
They had now arrived at the taxi rank, and split easily into three. Vic found herself in a taxi with Dom, Louis, the owls and four Hogwarts trunks; Ted was claimed by James, Al and Lily to share a second; Bill and Fleur slipped into a third with Harry and Ginny. It was not far to the Leaky Cauldron, but wandering through muggle London - particularly in the midst of the Christmas shopping season - was not the best of ideas. Besides, no matter what the season, they invariably came across some animal rights activist or other, who took them to task over their owls.
“I can’t wait for Christmas”, said Dom. “It always seems so much closer when we get off the train. And I love the holidays…..two whole weeks of long lies in bed, and maman’s French cooking. And I love waking up on Christmas Day and smelling the sea.”
“Me too”, Vic agreed. “I’ve still got some shopping to do, though. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it finished tomorrow afternoon - I could go and visit Uncle George and everyone then.”
“I made a final attempt at getting Nat to come to Uncle Harry’s New Year party”, Vic added. “But she said she has too much family stuff going on in the holidays to get away.”
“Is that awful girlfriend of Ted’s going?” Dom asked. Vic shrugged in response.
“Not supposed to be, but you know how contrary she is. It would be just like her to spend weeks planning a party with her friends, only to walk out ten minutes after its started to go and see Ted.”
“Does Ted have any idea how often you two have a moan about Caro?” Louis asked, raising an eyebrow. “As far as I can see, if he wants to go out with her, that’s his business, not ours.”
“It looks a lot different when you are the one he comes to when she goes into one of her strops”, Victoire told him. She did not mention that Caro disliked her as much as she disliked Caro.
“But no, to answer your question, I don’t think he realises what I think about her - and he isn’t going to. Understood?”
Louis nodded, but they were prevented from talking further as they had arrived at their destination, and the taxi driver had turned round to request his fare. As Dom and Louis shifted all of their luggage onto the pavement, Vic removed some muggle notes and coins that her father had given her at King’s Cross from her purse, counted the numbers on them, and handed them over to the driver.
Stepping out of the taxi, Vic noted that they were the last to arrive. As the taxi moved away, Harry indicated that they should get inside, out of the cold, and they moved towards the inconspicuous entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. Vic smiled at the slightly harassed - but amused - look on Ted’s face as he held his trunk in one hand, and Lily’s hand in the other, while James and Al jostled for his attention, telling him about everything they had done since they’d last written to him. Ted never complained about being an only child the way Nat did, and Vic had a suspicion that it was because her cousins never left Ted alone long enough to feel like one.
“Ah, here come my favourite customers!” Vic heard Hannah exclaim as they walked in. As the door closed behind them, she saw Hannah come out from behind the bar, and walk over to greet them.
“Just come from King’s Cross, I see. Yes, Neville will be home for the holidays tonight, too. Did you all have a good term? Now, I think Butterbeers all round, hmm?” She turned to the girl helping her behind the bar, and nodded at her to get the drinks.
“Cream sodas for these three”, said Ginny, indicating James, Al and Lily, as her eldest son looked up at her in hope.
“But, mum - “
“But I’m going to Hogwarts in the summer.”
“My answer is still no, James”, Ginny stated firmly.
Victoire thanked Hannah for the Butterbeer, which warmed her so much that she realised she had actually been quite cold, and then curbed her smile at the sight of a sulky James running past Al to reach Ted first, and begin questioning him about when each member of the current Gryffindor Quidditch team was due to leave school. She then fell into conversation with her aunt, as she spied Harry’s attention being taken by Hannah.
“Hectic, as usual”, replied Ginny when Vic asked how her preparations for Christmas were going.
“Almost all of the Christmas presents I have bought are over at The Burrow, because James and Al spend every moment they think I’m not looking searching for their presents; Christmas dinner is pretty much sorted - we are having it at our house this year, and I just need to speak to everyone to sort out for sure what they are bringing; work is pretty busy at the moment because there are always lots of matches on around this time of year - Harry’s been able to take a couple of weeks off, though, so he won’t be back until after New Year. It’ll be slightly easier next year when its just Al and Lily at home. Al and James together is - well, the same as its always been.”
“Either they are fighting or they are as thick as thieves and up to mischief together?” supplied Vic. Ginny laughed.
“Yeah, that about sums it up”, she agreed. “The three of them drive me to distraction sometimes. I’ll never understand how your grandmother coped with seven of us.”
“I heard James quizzing Ted about the shelf life of the current Gryffindor squad”, smiled Vic. “He’s obviously looking forward to Hogwarts.”
“Whatever you do, do NOT mention the ‘Q’ word around James”, pleaded Ginny. “He talks about nothing else. Its starting to feel like my work is coming home with me.”
“I really hope for his sake that he does get into the team”, she continued, her face softening slightly. “Harry was - I was - his grandfather James was. Percy is the only uncle he has that didn’t make the team. Not that he was ever interested enough in Quidditch to try out for the team. Angelina played for Gryffindor as well - in fact, she was captain the first game I played. Charlie made captain too, and me in seventh year - and Harry and his father. It’s a lot to live up too, I guess.”
“Louis is on the team this year too. Beater.”
“Yeah, I think I remember Fleur telling me. Now, how are you, Vic? How’s……everything?”
“Its fine”, Vic grinned. Of all her aunts, Ginny (also her godmother) was the one she found it easiest to talk to. Maybe it was the fact that Ginny was her father’s youngest sibling, and with the age difference between them had always felt a little bit more like an honorary big sister rather than an aunt.
“I have lots more work to do this year - I can’t wait for my OWLs to be over and done with. I have more studying and homework to do than I have time for, but I’ll get there.”
“Remember, if you ever need any help, Hermione will always be happy to write up a study timetable for you”, said Harry, joining them. Vic laughed, knowing that Hermione would do so if she asked, and said she would think about it.
“We ’ad better get going”, said Fleur a little while later. “Eet is getting quite late, and unless you wish to eat your dinner just before bedtime….”
Once they had said goodbye to Hannah, and reminded her that she and Neville were expected at the New Year party, and Ginny and Fleur had arranged to meet the following evening to discuss Christmas dinner with Hermione, Angelina and Audrey, they began to move towards the fire to floo home. As she stood in the fireplace, waving goodbye, and muttered ‘Shell Cottage’, Vic spotted her brother having a whispered conversation with Ginny - probably about the chances of going to a Quidditch match during the holidays.
Victoire had always hated the sensation of flooing, but until she, Dom and Louis could all apparate, she was stuck with it - and it was, at least, better than spending hours in a car at the beginning and end of each term. She always ended up coughing up dust, no matter how tightly wedged shut her mouth was, and her hair seemed to be covered in soot, darkening her strawberry blonde locks. After stumbling out of the fireplace, Vic shook herself off, and skipped over to the window to gaze out at the cool, blue ocean, white waves and dusty sand.
Vic heaved a sigh of relief. She was finally home.
EDIT: Feedback link is:
Last edited by MissGryffindor; March 20th, 2012 at 3:01 am.
Hey, thanks to blueowl and dlskin for their feedback! Glad that you enjoyed the first chapter.
Hope that you enjoy this next one as much.
Ted yawned widely as Andromeda placed a plate of warm bacon, sausages, eggs and tomatoes in front of him. He always slept fitfully the first night of the holidays, and the first night of a new term as he adjusted to a different bed.
“What do you have planned for today?” Andromeda asked him as she sat down opposite with him with a cup of camomile tea. “Any last minute Christmas shopping to do?”
“Nope”, Ted replied through a mouthful of sausage. “I finished it all in Hogsmeade last weekend. I promised James and Al I’d go over for a while today. Harry’s finished for Christmas too.”
“How about Ginny?”
“I think she still has some things to do at the office today”, said Ted. He was always welcome at Harry and Ginny’s, and James, Al and Lily were pleading ceaselessly with him to come over, but he had an inkling that his godfather would be particularly grateful for his visit this particular day. Harry may be the saviour of the wizarding world, but he still had difficulty in keeping the peace between James, Al and Lily on a permanent basis.
“Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet, Grams?” Ted asked her. Andromeda nodded. He knew that she did not buy much - a few things for him; small gifts for James, Al and Lily; some home baking to take to the Burrow on Christmas morning; little nik naks for a few friends.
“I saw Cissy the other day”, said Andromeda conversationally. She looked at Ted as if she were unsure what to make of it, and wished to gauge his opinion.
“And?” Ted raised his eyebrows. His grandmother barely spoke about her family, though he knew that she inevitably ran into Narcissa from time to time.
“She said hello, but she couldn’t stop. She had Draco’s boy with her. Must have been taking him Christmas shopping.” For as long as Ted could remember, his grandmother and her younger sister had been taking very slow steps towards reconciliation. What had started as a mere nod when they passed one another in the street, had over time progressed to polite, stilted conversation should they meet in a shop, or restaurant. And from what Ted had heard from Harry, the war had changed the Malfoys. While they still held similar views, they were much less vocal about them, and a tad more tolerant. Perhaps, Harry had mused, the loss of Bellatrix had led Narcissa to contemplate reconciliation with Andromeda.
“He’s the same age as Al, isn’t he?” Ted asked. Andromeda nodded.
“Yes, they’ll be in the same year at Hogwarts, though I doubt in the same House. And speaking of Al, it is almost eleven - you had better get moving”, she informed him with a smile. Ted grinned back at her then moved around the table, kissed his grandmother goodbye, and headed for the sitting room fireplace.
“Let me know if you’ll be back for dinner, Teddy”, she called as he left.
“Will do!” She always called him Teddy, never Ted - that name was reserved for his late grandfather.
A few moments later, Ted was stumbling out of the fireplace into Harry and Ginny’s house on the outskirts of Godric’s Hollow. Ted loved this house. It had the comfy, cottage-like feel of The Burrow without the outside appearance of being held together by magic. He had stayed here for weekends throughout his childhood, and could recall the house getting larger, fuller and noisier as James, Al and Lily were born.
“Teddy!” Lily exclaimed, running towards him and grabbing him into a tight hug. “You came!”
“I said I would, didn’t I?” he replied, allowing her to take him by the hand to the sofa. “What have you been doing today?”
“I was decorating my bedroom for Christmas with some things that mummy left me. Daddy caught James and Al looking for their Christmas presents in his study, so he’s trying to distract them by teaching them Wizard’s Chess, but he isn’t very good at it. Uncle Ron showed Rosie and me once, and he’s much better. “
“I wouldn’t tell your dad that, Lils”, grinned Ted in a whisper, recalling that he had also deferred to Ron’s instruction on the subject.
“What do you want for Christmas?” Ted asked Lily.
“Hmmmm”, her face was scrunched up in thought, squishing her freckles together. “I want some new books, and new pads and paints for drawing, and a cat.”
“Do you think you’ll get them?” Ted asked.
“She’ll have to wait ‘til Christmas Day to find out, won’t you?” said Harry. Ted turned to see him standing in the doorway.
“Hey Teddy!” James yelled, entering the room behind his father. “I beat Al at chess - demolished him - you should’ve seen the state of his pawns!”
“I’ve only just started learning it”, Al retorted defensively.
“And you’re much better at it than I was when I first started”, Harry jumped in, probably sensing the same potential for an argument that Ted could.
“Daddy, can we go outside and make snowmen?” Lily asked, pointing out at the masses of snow that Ted had failed to notice.
As Lily smiled her sweetest smile at her father, Ted smirked at the sight of Harry weighing up his options. If he said yes, it could descend into a snowball fight that James would use to show off. If he said no, they could mess up the house that Ginny seemed to have cleaned very recently, and would make his afternoon miserable fighting and moaning.
“Fine”, Harry agreed. “But - rules. You wrap up warm, you stay in the garden where I can see you from the window, and NO, I repeat NO using snowball fights to pick on anyone. Is that clear?” All three nodded quickly in agreement.
“Are you coming outside too, Teddy?” James asked. “You can borrow a hat and scarf and gloves from me if you didn’t bring any.”
“Teddy’s practically a grown up, your stuff will be too small for him”, Al put in. James glared at him.
“No fighting, boys, I told you earlier” Harry warned them. “Ted’s going to stay inside so that I can actually get a chance to speak to him for once. We’ll come outside with a carrot and buttons to finish off your snowmen once you’ve finished.”
“Why don’t you just use magic?” James asked as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“Because its more special if you don’t”, Ted told him.
Soon, Harry and Ted were sitting in the kitchen, drinking mugs of steaming hot chocolate, watching James, Al and Lily try to build a snowman each.
“They’re going to have to watch how much they gang up on Lily”, said Harry after he’d told James and Al off for throwing snowballs at their sister. “She’ll get back at them well enough as soon as she’s got a wand in her hand. Ginny was the same. Though she had six brothers, and not two to contend with.”
“Is she going to get her cat for Christmas, then?” Harry nodded.
“Ginny’s going to go to the Magical Menagerie on Christmas Eve to pick it up, and she’ll leave it at The Burrow until Christmas morning”, Harry told him. “We’ve already picked it out.”
“How about you? Have you thought anymore about what you want to do after Hogwarts?” Harry asked him. “You don’t have much longer to decide.”
“I know”, said Ted. He had, in fact, come to a decision of sorts longer ago than he had known. He just didn’t know if it was a rational decision, or a purely emotional one.
“I uh, I think I’d quite like to work in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures”, said Ted a little tentatively.
“You want to join the Ministry?”
“I want to join the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures”, Ted clarified. “I want to work on legislation and campaigns to improve awareness and tolerance and understanding of lycanthropy just like Hermione did for house-elves.”
“Your father?” Ted nodded.
“I think about them all the time. Still, I - especially at Christmas. I miss thinking about what presents to get them. I mean, I know you can’t necessarily miss something that you’ve never had, but - “
“You can”, said Harry simply. “You’ll never stop thinking about them, and you never should. They would be so proud of you if they were here. And if you’re serious about the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, you should speak to Hermione about it. She’ll be able to tell you who to speak to, who to apply to for it.”
“Thanks”, said Ted gratefully. Harry grinned.
“Did I ever tell you about your father the Christmas before he married your mother?” Harry asked. Ted shrugged. He loved to hear stories about his parents over and over again and always pretended he had forgotten being told them before.
“He spent most of it moping”, Harry told him. “I didn’t realise at the time about him and your mother - no one had mentioned it to me. He was talking about the prejudice he faced as a Werewolf, and I interrupted him to say that he simply had a problem, I think was the word I used, and he burst out laughing. Turned out my father always referred to it as his “furry little problem”. “Ted grinned.
“Strange to think of your parents moping around after each other”, said Ted a tad wistfully.
“From what I’ve been able to figure out, my father was as bad as, if not worse than, yours”, said Harry. “And speaking of - how’s everything going with Caro?”
“Fine”, Ted shrugged. “We have our ups and downs like any other relationship. Caro loves drama, but that’s one of the things that attracted me to her in the first place”, he admitted.
“You serious about her?”
“I don’t think I’ll be proposing any time soon, but at the same time I can’t see us breaking up - at least not permanently - in the near future either. I mean, Caro sulks and screams and says its all over, but she doesn’t really mean it. The girl can shout and scream for England, but ten minutes after she’s said its all over, she’s back again, pleading for forgiveness.” Harry smiled and chuckled slightly.
“I’m so glad that I have Ginny, and I don’t need to worry about girls anymore”, said a relieved Harry. “But how does Caro fit in with your friends? That’s always important - more so than you think at the time. How does Vic get on with her?”
“She’d never say it to my face, but Vic can’t stand her”, said Ted a tad gloomily. His life would be so much easier if his best friend and his girlfriend got on, and Caro stopped dropping very unsubtle hints that she thought he and Vic were secretly attracted to one another.
“She’s jealous”, said Harry instantly. “As much as you see Vic as family, she won’t understand that. I had this problem with Ron once - years ago. Took him almost seven years of us being friends to get that I looked on Hermione as my sister.” Ted chuckled. He found it funny to think of Ron arguing with Harry over Hermione.
“Caro and I will be fine”, Ted assured him. He - well. If Ted was honest, he wasn’t in love with Caro. He was besotted by her, and they got along well, and in some ways she was an amazing girlfriend, though. And they’d be fine. And he could see himself falling in love with her one day, so they were headed in the right direction.
“I asked Caro to come to the party at New Year, but she already arranged a party with her girlfriends.”
“Daddy! Teddy! I finished!” Lily shouted, interrupting them as she knocked on the window.
Vic, meanwhile, sat at the kitchen table, attempting to study while the sounds of the WWN wafted down from Louis and Dom’s rooms. No matter how long she looked at her Potions essay, it did not seem to make sense. And she had to get a good mark in Potions to take the NEWT. Nat was an expert at Potions, she would be able to help. Setting her Potions essay aside with a mental note to owl Nat with a letter asking what in Merlin’s name they were supposed to write, Vic picked up the Rune translations she had been set. Here at least was a subject she could do as easy as breathing.
Within an hour, Vic had finished all of her Ancient Runes homework, and was just picking up her Muggle Studies essay - Muggles culture in the 1920s - and contemplating the Jazz Age, when Dom came downstairs for some pumpkin juice.
“Such a shame you have to spend so much of the holidays studying, Vic”, said Dom as she poured out her juice, a smile plastered across her face.
“Laugh you may, sister dearest, but you’ll be in exactly the same position next year”, Vic responded smartly. “And what in Merlin’s name is that awful dance music I can hear? It sounds like someone being thumped against a brick wall.”
“In that case, if there’s one thing that boy needs for Christmas, it’s taste in music”, said Vic, wishing that she had not already bought her brother’s present.
“Are you going to be studying all day? Too much work and no play makes Vic - “
“Another hour, and then I’ll be done”, Vic assured her. “I got maman to agree that I could go into Diagon Alley after to go Christmas shopping. She said you could come too, if you wanted. And then made it clear to me that I was responsible if you did anything stupid - so be warned you better not. I was also planning on going to see George and Angelina.”
“Yeah, I’ll come”, Dom agreed. “I need help choosing a present for Louis.”
“I thought we just agreed he needed good taste in music?!” They both laughed at this.
“What are you two laughing at?” said Louis, wandering out of his bedroom into the open plan kitchen, dining and living area.
“Nothing”, said Vic innocently.
“What are you up to?” she added, noticing the lack of horrific music and the broomstick at her brother’s side.
“Quidditch. Duh”, said Louis. “I’m going over to Archie’s for a game. His parents have lots of land, so the nearest house is miles away. Pierce and Benny are going too. Archie is desperate to uphold the Bagman family honour and get onto the Quidditch team when your darling Hem and his mates leave at the end of the year.” Dom snorted.
“Archie has about as much chance of getting into the team as a muggle-born first year that has never been on a broom before”, said Dom smartly.
“Uncle Harry had never been on a broom, and he made the team in his first year”, Louis retorted.
“Guys. Studying”, said Vic holding up her book on 20th Century muggle culture, and looking to avoid an argument.
“And I have to say that I agree with both of you. Louis - you are right about Uncle Harry. Dom - you are right about Archie. I am not an expert on Quidditch, but he won’t make the team in this lifetime, no matter how much practice time you put in with him, Louis.” Louis just shrugged, and replied that Archie was his mate and that he would put in as much time as it took.
Dom and Louis then went their own ways, the former for a walk on the beach and the latter flooed to his friend Archie’s house, leaving Vic alone with Muggle Studies. She did quite enjoy this subject, and loved the culture section they were studying at present. Muggles weren’t that different, really, in some ways.
Now, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington……….
A few hours later, having completed her Muggle Studies essay, Vic found herself in Diagon Alley with Dom. They quickly finished their Christmas shopping - somehow it seemed easier when you had someone else with you, advising on what to buy for those you had difficulty shopping for (like Audrey and Percy who always gave the impression of having everything they wished for) - and then headed to Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to see their aunt, uncle and cousins.
Vic pushed open the shop door to find a manic rush of customers shopping for last-minute Christmas presents as Vic and Dom were. She looked up at the counter, and quickly identified a slightly frazzled uncle.
“Come on”, she said, nudging Dom, and subtly pushing her way through the crowds. They passed through the customers, and eventually arrived at the counter George manned. He came round and greeted them warmly.
“My favourite nieces!” he exclaimed, pulling them both into a tight hug. “How are you both?”
“Fine”, said Vic, replying for both of them. “We’ve just been finishing our Christmas shopping.” She lifted up her bags as evidence.
“And you didn’t think to do that here?!” asked George in a mock-hurt tone. He smiled widely at them.
“Ange and the kids are upstairs”, he said. “You two go on up, and I’ll be as quick as I can.”
Vic and Dom passed through the curtain to the storeroom, and climbed the staircase to the flat in which George, Angelina and their cousins lived. Vic knocked on the door a little apprehensively. Freddie and Roxie had a tendency to be as hyper-active as James at his best. Or was it worst?? After James, Al and Lily, Roxie and Freddie were the cousins she most dreaded being asked to look after. It was a nightmare to stop them from fighting each other, or fighting you, and they were never, ever calm. Percy may be the most over-protective parent in the world, but at least Molly and Lucy did as they were asked.
“Hello?” Vic called as she opened the door.
“Vicky!” a voice screamed at her, and she looked down to see Roxie almost strangling her middle.
“Hey Roxie”, replied Vic, struggling a little for breath, having been so thoroughly winded. “Your dad just said to come on up.”
“Vic, Dom, good to see you!” said Angelina, coming into the hallway with Freddie in tow. “See you made it home okay from Hogwarts yesterday!”
“It was once, and I was in first year!” said Vic, a tad sensitively.
“I just meant that it was good to see you”, said Angelina. “I take it that Teddy keeps going on about that train in first year, then? I see you’ve been finishing your Christmas shopping. You looking forward to the big day?” Vic and Dom both nodded, and answered Roxie and Freddie’s questions about what they wanted for Christmas as they were settled on the sofa and handed steaming mugs of Butterbeer.
“How’s Hogwarts?” Angelina asked. “Still the same as always?” Vic and Dom nodded.
“I can’t believe I teased Ted so much about OWL year”, Vic admitted. “Its not as bad as he said it was - its worse.”
“You’ll survive”, Angelina grinned. “You seeing anyone at the moment?”
“Well, between prefect duties and studying, I don’t really have time for a boyfriend”, said Vic, hoping that Dom’s face did not wear a look that betrayed her plea of innocence.
“How are you?” Vic asked, changing the subject. “Everyone looking forward to Christmas?”
Freddie and Roxie shouted out what they wanted, until Angelina calmed them down, and then sent them in search of chocolate biscuits to offer to Vic and Dom.
“To think Christmas used to be one of my favourite times of year”, sighed Angelina. “Anyway, they are both looking forward to it. And my brother’s wife had a little girl a few days ago, so they’ve got a new cousin to make them hyper over as well.” Vic smiled.
“Awww”, said Vic. As the eldest cousin, she was used to babies.
“Hmm”, said Angelina. “They called her Abigail. The gale part might be right - she’s as loud and as wild as heavy winds. And she’s only a newborn. Louis enjoying playing for the Quidditch team? I have to say I miss it more than I usually admit.”
“He loves it”, said Dom. “In fact, he was off playing Quidditch this afternoon with one of his friends that has no chance of ever making the team.”
“Are you going to Aunt Ginny’s Christmas summit tonight?” Vic asked Angelina. “Maman is going. I don’t quite know why you bother because you always end up making the same things every year, but I suppose its tradition.” Angelina nodded.
“Our lives would probably be easier if we were all domestic goddesses like Audrey”, said Angelina. “As it is, I can be counted on for the odd sticky toffee pudding or chocolate fudge cake, Hermione for a decent soup, and your mother for what Grandma Molly calls under-cooked meat.”
“And it stops Grandma Molly from thinking someone is taking feeding us up away from her”, put in Dom. “The last time I went over there she told me I was far too skinny, and made me three sponge cakes. And then when I couldn’t finish them she made me take the two and a half I hadn’t finished home with me. Could have been worse, Louis gets four portions forced on his plate when he‘s there. Growing boy, and all that.”
At this point Roxie and Freddie came back into the room with a large plate half-filled with biscuits and full cheeks. Vic grinned as she accepted one of those her cousins had left for their guests.
“And what have you two been up to while I’ve been at Hogwarts?” Vic asked them as she moved over on the sofa to allow Roxie and Freddie room to sit next to her.
“Daddy got tickets from Auntie Ginny to take us to the Quidditch match last Saturday”, said Freddie. “England were playing France in a qualifying match for the European Championships.”
“Did they win?” Vic asked. The only Quidditch she followed was Gryffindor’s progress in the inter-house cup. And that only vaguely. Nat, who had never known Quidditch existed until the age of eleven, kept up with the House team’s progress better than Vic did.
“No”, said Roxie. “But mummy knows one of the coaches, so we got to meet him after, and the rest of the team. They all signed Freddie’s top for him, too. He’s got it on the wall in his room now.”
“Wow”, said Vic, feigning enthusiasm. “That sounds exciting. Who is your favourite player, Freddie?”
“Don’t know”, said Freddie, shrugging. “I wish Auntie Ginny still played.”
“Ted’s always going on about some Harpies chaser that I can never remember the name of”, said Vic. “What’s she called again, Dom?” She turned to her sister.
“Ellie Allenby”, said Dom promptly.
“The pin up of the Quidditch world”, grinned Angelina. “She’s always in that Quidditch magazine George buys. I think she was just starting in the team when Ginny left. Hey, Vic, did you hear that Luna’s back for Christmas? She got home about a week ago.”
“Yeah, maman wrote to me”, said Vic. “Is she still seeing…….urgh, I always forget his name. Rolf! Rolf, that’s it!”
“She is”, Angelina affirmed. “I think he’s coming to Christmas dinner too. That makes - “ Angelina counted the family up on her fingers - “twenty nine of us.” Vic whistled. She thought of Nat, sitting down to Christmas dinner with her parents and grandmother. Even if her own part of the family had Christmas dinner themselves they would outnumber the Rivers family.
“Vic, its half past four. We promised maman we would be home before five”, said Dom suddenly. Vic looked up at the clock over the fireplace.
“Yeah, early home today and we are in a good position to go out shopping again during the holidays”, Vic muttered.
“We should really get going” Vic told Angelina. “Maman wants dinner early tonight with going to Aunt Ginny’s and everything. I wish Uncle George had managed to get upstairs, though.”
“He hasn’t finished before seven this week”, said Angelina dismissively as she hugged Vic, and then Dom goodbye. “Its always the same at Christmas and during the summer. Well, I suppose I won’t see you two until Christmas Day, then.” Vic nodded.
“CHRISTMAS!” yelled Freddie, jumping up and down next to Vic.
“Bye, Vicky”, said Roxie, hugging her tightly again.
“Bye guys”, said Vic, moving towards the fireplace, and accepting the floo powder her aunt was holding out for her. What Victoire would give to be able to apparate………….
Last edited by MissGryffindor; April 15th, 2011 at 12:52 am.
Vic woke early as usual on Christmas Day. It was the only day of the year on which she did this, making it something of a momentous occasion. Yawning widely, she moved towards her curtains, and drew them back, shivering slightly against the coldness of the room. It was a beautiful day outside. As the days were so short, the sun was only just rising even though it was around eight o’clock. Unable to hear anyone else moving around, and gazing longingly at the bright sun, rising low in the east, Vic bit her lip, and quickly dressed in the nearest warm clothes she could find. Leaving a note for everyone else, she was soon pulling the kitchen door closed behind her and heading down to the beach.
In spite of the brightness of the sun, the waves crashed against the sand, and a cold wind pushed Vic onwards as she wandered along the dunes, picking up the odd seashell to add to her extensive collection. As much as she loved her family to pieces, she sometimes envied the Nats of the world that lived in small families, and didn’t constantly have to deal with their family’s presence. To not have to worry about what a sister or brother or cousin might say……
But the fact was, Vic wouldn’t change her family for the world. It just meant that these small bursts of solitude were that much more precious to her. A smile grew upon her face, though, as she realised that she missed Hem. It had only been a few days since they had parted, and Vic had been so busy that she’d had little time to herself, but given that time now she realised that she really did miss him quite a bit. She did not expect a present from him - they had exchanged gifts the day before they had left Hogwarts for the holidays. Ever mindful of her parents finding out she had a boyfriend, Vic had wanted to avoid a parcel arriving for her on Christmas morning.
It had only been a couple of months, but Vic could feel herself falling for him. He was, after all, the most popular guy in Gryffindor, he was on the Quidditch team, and he was older than her. He could pretty much have chosen any girl in the school. But he had chosen her, which gratified Vic’s vanity. She’d had to put up with the odd glare from girls often a year or two older than her, jealous at her status as Hem’s girlfriend, but had just ignored them. Particularly the girls that shared the fifth year dormitory with her and Nat - Ava, Kara and Erykah.
Coming back closer towards the house, she could see Dom standing outside: everyone else must be up, and waiting for her to return to open her presents before they went to The Burrow for a late Christmas breakfast. Breaking into a light jog, Vic increased her pace and widened the smile on her face. It was Christmas!
“Should have known”, said Louis, shaking his head, as Vic came in the back door and kicked off the plimsoles she had worn for her walk on the beach. “You know, Vic, the one day of the year you are actually up first, and you still manage to hold us up.”
“It was so pretty out, I had to go for a walk on the beach”, shrugged Vic. What did Louis understand of the beauty of sunrise in winter?
“Can we just get on with the present opening?!” exclaimed an impatient Dom, fidgeting as she kept glancing towards a large present in the middle of her pile.
“We ‘ad better ‘urry”, said Fleur in agreement. “Eet is almost ‘alf past nine now, and we are expected at your grandmuzzers in an ‘our.”
“Me first”, said Louis instantly. “I’m the youngest!”
“Only by ten minutes”, said Dom, grabbing a present and proceeding to open it as quickly as Louis opened his.
Vic looked at her pile of presents thoughtfully. She had a system on Christmas Day - any presents she could identify were opened first, leaving her surprises ’til last. She opened what she correctly assumed were the dress robes and long dress she had asked her parents for, and the chocolate from Louis, and the new scarf she had talked to Dom about - as well as the box of Weasley‘s Wizard Wheezes products George and Ange always handed out. Grinning, she opened a rectangular present from James, Al and Lily. It was a five year diary in a deep purple that Vic knew would actually last her the full period stated on the outside. Ginny MUST have had more than a hand in this. Though she supposed Lily may have been responsible.
One present touched her more than others, though. Upon opening Ted’s gift she found herself looking at a framed photograph of them fighting when they were little. Vic guessed that she was three and Ted five. A soft toy of some sort was being fought over, and as Vic watched the picture, she saw that it ended up splitting in half. She smiled, then giggled, then quickly moved her hand to her cheek to stop the tear that was starting to descend there.
“What’s that?” Dom asked her.
“Ted gave me a photo of the two of us when we were little”, Vic told her. “We’re fighting over a stuffed toy. What’s that you’ve got?” Vic paid more attention than she normally would to Dom’s present from Uncle Charlie, a dragon-hide purse with matching bag. She wished that she had bought Ted a better present - what was a Quidditch biography and the new Harpies robes compared to what he had given her?!
Half an hour later, Vic was smoothing down the short dress she wore over her black leggings as she exited the fireplace at The Burrow, taking advantage of the half-second she had to herself before her grandparents hugged the life out of her, and her grandmother scolded her for not eating enough. Vic was always amused when her grandmother had the same conversation with Louis. He ate at least four times as much as she did, and remained as skinny as he always had.
Looking around her after she had greeted her grandparents and answered all of their questions about how she was doing at Hogwarts, and thanked them for their present of a scarf and jumper, Vic looked around for Ted. Unable to spot him or Andromeda, she looked for Harry and Ginny. Her aunt and uncle were talking to Ron and Hermione in the living room, and so Vic headed straight there, leaving Dom, Louis and her parents to go through the same Christmas greetings she had experienced with her grandparents.
“Merry Christmas!” Vic exclaimed as she hugged each of aunts and uncles in turn, thanking them for their presents.
“Did they all like my presents?” Vic enquired about her cousins apprehensively. She was the type of person that liked to give better presents than she received. Which was why she was so nervous about seeing Ted.
“Oh Vic, thank you so much for Rosie’s book”, said Hermione fervently. “She is so interested in Hippogriffs right now, it is just what she wanted.”
“And Lily loved her stuffed animal”, said Ginny. “In fact, it was one of two cats she got today. Harry and I gave her a kitten for Christmas.”
“Awww”, said Vic, cooing. If anyone asked, she replied that she loved cats, but sadly couldn’t have one as she was allergic to them. Truth be told, they were not her favourite animal.
“What has she called it?” Vic asked.
“She hasn’t decided yet, she’s too excited”, said Harry.
“Is Ted not here yet?” Vic asked. “Its just - he gave me an absolutely amazing present, and I REALLY want to thank him.” Harry shook his head.
“He and Andromeda should be here soon, though”, he said, glancing at the clock on the wall.
Vic was halfway through asking Ginny how she was getting on with her preparations for that evening’s dinner, when James wandered in, looking for either Ted or Louis.
“Louis is in the kitchen and Ted’s not here yet”, Vic told him. “Happy Christmas, James. Did you like your presents?”
“They were alright”, James shrugged. “I got the Quidditch stuff I wanted.”
“Don’t you have something else you’d like to say to your cousin, James?” said his mother pointedly.
“Oh, yeah, thanks for the hat and fudge you got me”, said James mechanically. “I’m going to go and see Louis. At least he’ll talk to me about Quidditch, and won’t fuss over Toffee like the children.”
“James, you are only a year older than Al and Rosie”, Harry reminded him.
“What toffee?” Hermione asked. “I told Hugo he wasn’t to eat any sweets until after he’d eaten a proper meal.” She started for the stairs, to go and reprimand Hugo, when James spoke again.
“Toffee is what Lily’s called her cat. She says its because that‘s what its colour reminds her of. I think it’s a pretty stupid name for a cat”, said James. “I’m going to find Louis.” He left the room.
“I think Toffee’s a very sweet name”, said Hermione softly as she sat down, clearly relieved that Hugo had not been up to mischief.
“Its just as good a name as, say Crookshanks”, said Ron innocently, referring to Hermione’s now deceased cat.
“Merry Christmas”, said Percy, coming over to join them. After wishing Percy and Audrey the same, Vic muttered something about finding Dom, and wanting to speak to her grandmother. She’d heard from her mother that Percy had just been awarded a minor promotion, and she didn’t want to spend her morning listening to a list of his new powers and responsibilities.
Re-entering the kitchen, Vic saw her parents still talking to Grandma Molly. Looking out of the window, she could see her grandfather heading out to the barn, possibly in search of newly-lain eggs. Dom, Louis and James were nowhere in sight.
“Did you not want to hear all about Percy’s promotion, Vic?” her father grinned at her.
“I’m sure that maman covered everything when she told me the other day”, Vic smiled back. “How are you Grandma? I love your new robes.”
“They were a Christmas present from your grandfather”, Molly said happily, swishing the emerald green material. “I told him he should not have been so frivolous, but its always nice to get a treat. And I loved your record, Vic. We shall listen to Celestina once everyone arrives.”
Vic gave her grandmother a weak smile, avoiding looking in the direction of her parents. Maman hated Celestina Warbeck.
“Do you need a hand with anything, mum?” Ginny asked, walking into the kitchen. Molly shook her head, and so Ginny struck up a conversation with her brother and sister-in-law. They were all discussing Christmas presents when Andromeda and Ted arrived, swiftly followed by Angelina, George, Roxie and Freddie, bringing an extra Christmas present with them.
As Molly squeezed and fussed over Charlie, whom she had not known would be able to make it home for Christmas, Vic pulled Ted aside to thank him for her Christmas present, nudging him in the ribs.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were giving me such an amazing present?!” Vic demanded of him. “I would have got you something better than a book and a set of Quidditch robes!”
“Vic, only you could thank someone and insult them at the same time”, said Ted grinning, before hugging her and wishing her Merry Christmas. “And you know, the key thing about a surprise is that you don’t know what it is in advance.”
“Surprises are over-rated”, Vic responded, grinning.
“See, now that is both mature and naïve at the same time”, said Ted.
“Well, I think that is everyone here now”, said Molly, recovering herself from Charlie’s appearance. It was clear that whatever she had been given, his arrival was the best Christmas present ever. “Ginny, if you and Fleur could start taking round the orange juices, I’ll get the cooking finished, and Victoire and Teddy, you can lay the tables……”
They were soon sitting down to a much anticipated breakfast, not having eaten a meal since dinner the previous evening, and in some cases, not been allowed sweets in the interim. Vic had found herself surrounded by Lily, Roxie and Rosie, who were all talking to her at the same time about their Christmas presents; Vic had to remind Lily that she was allergic to cats when her cousin offered to fetch her new kitten, Toffee, to show her off. Rosie was in full force about Hippogriffs, and how her father had promised that when they went to Hogwarts in May for the remembrance service commemorating the Battle of Hogwarts, he would arrange for Hagrid to introduce her to one.
"Are you all getting dressed up for dinner tonight?" Vic asked the other girls. Roxie shrugged, but Lily and Rosie nodded happily.
"Mummy bought me a new dress for the Christmas party, and for Uncle Harry's New Year party", said Rosie, smiling. "Its really pretty, and black, and it has red roses on it."
"How about you, Lils?"
"I'm going to wear the dress that I got for my birthday." She paused for a moment. "Al and James said dressing up is stupid."
"That is not true", said Vic firmly. "Its them that's stupid. Girls, when you are as old as I am, you will have realised that all boys are stupid." Well, to a certain extent……
"Even me, giver of your favourite Christmas present?" asked a grinning Ted, passing Vic on his way back to his place at the other end of the table.
"Especially you", retorted Vic smartly, shoving him. "Nah, Ted is one of the less stupid ones", she told them.
"Why aren't you getting dressed up, Roxie?" Rosie asked her. Roxie shrugged.
"I'll just wear whatever I come to first. I like all my clothes equally. Well, my pyjamas are my favourite, but I don't think I'd be allowed to wear them to Christmas dinner."
"Perhaps not", Vic grinned.
"What are you wearing?" Lily asked her.
"My most favourite dress", said Vic instantly. "Dom hates it, because I wear it whenever I can. It is long, and black, and I always wear it with silver jewellery. I think it makes me look more glamorous."
"I think you are glamorous in your normal clothes, Vicky", Lily told her.
"Thanks sweetie", she replied, smiling as she ruffled her cousin's head.
Later that day, Ted yawned widely as he flopped down on his bed, stuffed full, and concerned that he would therefore be unable to do justice to his Christmas dinner. He was supposed to be getting ready to go over to Harry and Ginny’s - they were due to leave in about ten minutes time - but he knew it would only take him about two to change into the new deep blue dress robes that his grandmother had given him as one of his Christmas presents, telling him that the colour matched exactly the shade of blue he usually wore his hair in during the school holidays.
As much as he loved going to Harry and Ginny’s, he wished that he could go to sleep for an hour or two, and then make an appearance. Ted looked around him at his presents - the robes, some books that his grandmother had given him (probably more in the hope rather than the knowledge that he would read them) the vintage records by bands from twenty or thirty years ago that he had been given by James, Al and Lily, the Harpies robes and biography that Vic had given him. Merlin that girl could make a fuss over nothing. Part of him knew that he probably should have warned Vic. Having known Vic her entire life, he knew as well as she did that she liked to give better presents than those she herself had given, but he’d gotten a cheeky pleasure out of the mildly annoyed look on her face.
Out of the corner of his eye, Ted also spotted Caro’s gift - well, gifts - a photo album with pictures of them both she had collected, and tickets Ginny hadn’t even been able to get him, for a Quidditch match in the summer that he’d believed to be sold out. He just hoped that the pretty jewellery Vic had helped him pick out had been good enough for Caro.
Pushing himself, Ted got up and changed into his new dress robes. Looking into the single mirror in the room, he figured they were not actually that bad. They would look better with slightly messier hair, though. Scrunching up his nose, Ted added some thickness and then mussed it up a little. The advantages of being a metamorphmagus.
“Are you ready yet, Teddy?” Andromeda called.
“Just coming, Grams”, Ted shouted back. He looked around the room, and grabbed the bottle of Old Ogden’s finest he had bought at Diagon Alley on Christmas Eve to take to Harry. He also smiled at the picture of his parents that he had framed and kept on his bedside table. Missing them always felt worse on Christmas Day. The thought that they should have been here too, giving him robes and records and too many sweets; coming to Harry’s for Christmas dinner with he and his grandmother. Pulling himself away from these thoughts, Ted left his room, and hurried downstairs.
His grandmother was waiting in the sitting room for him, sitting on the sofa wearing what Ted privately referred to as her ‘regal’ dress robes, which were a deep purple colour with black lining. She smiled at him as he walked in.
“Your new robes suit you very well”, she told him. Ted nodded.
“Yeah, thanks again, Grams. Are you ready?”
They apparated to Harry and Ginny’s back porch. Even before he could apparate himself, his grandmother had always brought him this way, using side-along. She hated the mess she ended up in when she flooed the same way Vic did, but kept the connection to the floo network for Ted, allowing him to go over to his friends houses - or to Harry and Ginny’s - whenever he wished.
“Teddy!” Lily shrieked as he entered the back door, and immediately found himself squeezed round the middle by one of Lily’s hugs.
“Let Ted and Andromeda get in the door, Lily”, Ginny laughed coming over to greet them. “Its freezing outside! Merry Christmas - again”, she added as she hugged Andromeda and Ted in turn, before thanking him for the Old Ogden’s.
“I think Harry will be thankful for this later”, she whispered to him. “He’s had Al and James ten times as hyper as usual today after we got back from The Burrow while I got everything ready.”
“Ah”, said Ted, grinning.
“Wow, you look lovely, Lily”, said Ted, following her through to the massive living room while his grandmother lingered to speak to Ginny. “Have you been playing with your presents all afternoon?” Lily shrugged.
“A bit”, she said. “I was setting up a corner of my room for Toffee, and playing with her. She’s sleeping just now.”
“Well she’s probably tired, Lils”, said Ted. “She’s only little, and it is Christmas Day.”
He looked around him to see a positively harassed Harry telling off James and Al; Charlie sat in the corner with Percy and Audrey, Lucy and little Molly sitting on the sofa opposite talking, and Hermione was walking in behind him.
“I came over early with Rosie to help Ginny”, Hermione told him after hugging him and wishing him Merry Christmas again. “Ron and Hugo shouldn’t be too much longer, though. Lily, why don’t you go upstairs and get Rosie now that everyone is starting to arrive.” Hermione smiled as her niece obediently headed for the hallway, and the stairs.
“Poor Charlie”, she whispered to Ted. “I think he came over early to get away from Molly’s fussing, but he forgot that Percy and Audrey are usually quite early for family parties.”
Ted nodded, taking the hint, and walked over to rescue Charlie, turning the conversation to how long he would be home - was he staying for Harry’s party at New Year? - and how he was getting on at the new dragon colony he had moved to run in Romania. Charlie smiled gratefully, and soon Percy and Audrey turned to speak to their daughters about something. Charlie mouthed a silent ‘thank you’ to Ted.
Everyone else turned up in dribs and drabs, with Ron and Hugo arriving last, having apparently spent most of the time they were supposed to be getting ready in mucking around with Hugo’s Christmas present. Hermione shook her head slightly as Ron smiled sheepishly at her, then shrugged. Following their arrival, everyone piled into the dining room around the magically extended table. As they walked in, Ted pulled Vic aside and whispered that he was glad to see that she was wearing her new earrings from Hem. He smirked to himself as he recalled Hem’s visit to Gladrags Wizardwear in Hogsemade before Christmas, desperate to find something pretty for Vic.
“Sssh!” Vic hissed in reply. “I told maman they were a gift from Nat!” Ted laughed as he sat down in his assigned seat between James and Al, about halfway down the table. He still couldn’t understand why Vic didn’t just tell her parents about Hem. He was one of Ted’s friends, and had been since they were puny first years, and a good guy. Andromeda and Harry and Ginny had met him quite a few times - he had even stayed at Ted’s a couple of times during the summer holidays, so he wasn’t entirely unknown to the family. And they’d all been fine with Ted seeing Caro. Mostly. She told him it was because Hem was two years older than her - almost three when you remembered that he was born in September and she in May - but Ted figured if she was as serious about Hem as she claimed to be, she would have told Bill and Fleur.
Ted helped himself to some of the starter - a French fish dish that Fleur had made - and answered James and Al’s quick fire questions about what he was doing for the rest of the holidays and reminded them that he had to sit his NEWTs in a few months time when they teased him about studying during the holidays.
“Are you not eating any of this starter, James?” Ted asked him, noticing that James wasn’t pausing in conversation to eat like he and Al were having to. James shook his head.
“If I skip this and only have a little soup and a little turkey, I have more room for sweets, and for Auntie Ange’s sticky toffee pudding”, said James wisely.
“Well make sure you do have soup and turkey, otherwise you might find that you’re not allowed extra pudding and sweets”, Ted warned him. He had made the same wise - or so he had thought at the time - decision when he’d been a couple of years younger than James, but his grandmother had caught him out and prevented him from eating any more sweets until Boxing Day.
The starter was followed by a soup Hermione had made, and then Audrey’s meticulously dressed turkeys (they had five extra large ones between them all). As he ate his third helping - which included a generous portion of Ginny’s potato surprise (mashed potato mixed with butter and cheese) - Ted’s new robes started to feel a little tight. He pulled himself in, again marvelling at the perks of being a metamorphmagus, and vowed that he would not help himself to a fourth plate.
James had obviously taken Ted’s warning seriously, as he was on his third helping the same as Ted was; on the other side of him, Al was on his second. Ted grinned as he looked up the table at where Vic was sitting next to Luna, having finished her food. Vic only ever had one helping if she could manage it, but her grandmother was sitting opposite her, encouraging her to eat more of everything while Vic protested that she wished to be able to fit into her clothes the following day. At the other end of the table, Lily, Roxie and Rosie had also finished and were getting restless as they set down their cutlery and started to chat, waiting for everyone else. Like James, they were probably desperate to get to the pudding course.
Soon, everyone was finished their turkey, and Ginny, Hermione and Molly came round to collect his plate, the latter making sure that everyone had eaten far more than as good for them.
“You are all growing boys, you need your strength”, she said as she passed them by. Harry then refilled everyone’s drinks and they all stood up and tried to move around a little to make further room for their pudding.
Ted went round to make sure that his grandmother was alright. They had been part of Weasley/Potter family occasions for as long as he could remember, and he knew that Ginny and Harry and the kids visited his grandmother while he was away at Hogwarts, but he also knew that he was much more at home, and knew everyone better than she did.
“I’m fine, Teddy, stop fussing”, she told him, smiling. “You have far more interesting things to think about, I’m sure, than your poor old grandmother!” Ted grinned. She had probably been having as much fun as he had. She usually sat near Ginny and Molly and Arthur, whose company she always enjoyed.
“I’m stuffed”, Ted added. “Still have room for pudding, though”, he added, winking at Angelina as she passed on her way to the kitchen to start sorting out the desserts.
“Thanks for making James eat some proper food”, said Ginny, who had returned to the table and was seated next to Andromeda. Ted just shrugged.
“He can be a nightmare about things like that”, Ginny continued. “And I heard what you said to him - if I’d said that he probably wouldn’t have listened. He has reached an age, apparently, at which it is very uncool to listen to a word your mother says.”
“He’ll be fine once he goes to Hogwarts”, said Ted. “When he’s at home, being the eldest goes to his head.”
“I’m the eldest, and I don’t let that go to my head”, said Vic, smiling smartly.
“Unless you want something”, said Dom darkly. Vic stuck her tongue out cheekily in response, and they were then interrupted by Angelina starting to serve the pudding.
“Right, I have sticky toffee and chocolate fudge brownie”, she said as she entered the dining room. Who wants sticky toffee?” Ted returned to his place and took the sticky toffee. As much as he loved all the cooks equally, Ted pondered his love for Angelina’s sticky toffee pudding as he attempted to fall asleep that night. He would quite gladly - as would James, he figured - have given up the rest of Christmas dinner to eat everyone else’s sticky toffee pudding. He couldn’t quite believe that this was his last Christmas as a Hogwarts student. This time next year he would meet James from the train instead of the other way around. He would be working, and like Harry, Ron and the rest of them would have to rely upon his holiday allowance to get time off.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; April 23rd, 2011 at 12:32 am.
With Christmas itself over, Vic found herself spending more and more time completing homework assignments and studying, and less than she had wanted to enjoying the holiday feeling. She had owled Nat the day after Boxing Day to ask about her Christmas and the Potions essay they had been tasked with. She had included information about Christmas at the Burrow, and at Harry and Ginny’s, and the presents she had received, including the beautiful diamond earrings from Hem (she wasn’t sure if they were real diamonds, or if it was just a charm, but the effect was the same). Nat had replied a day later, and her reply had been followed by heavy flurries of snow, so Vic had been practically housebound, unless she used the floo network to visit one of the family.
Nat had enjoyed her Christmas but complained to Vic - as she always did - of being an only child surrounded by grown-ups who had lost a little of the magic of the day. She had also included detailed information about the Potions essay they were due to complete for the day after term began again. Reading Nat’s letter, Vic understood what their task was. Nat always explained everything to her so much more clearly than Professor Winstanton, an older woman that spoke quieter than Vic had ever known a person to speak, and as a consequence Vic was forced to sit at the front of this class.
Although Vic was by no means an only child of an only child - she had a brother and sister as well as almost a dozen first cousins - she still missed her best friend during the holidays. She spent so much time with Nat at Hogwarts that she was more like a sister than a friend, which made it a little strange not seeing her during the holidays.
Today - the day before New Years Eve - she was sitting at the kitchen table finishing her essay on Inferi for Defence Against the Dark Arts, while her mother, Dom and Louis were over at Harry and Ginny’s. Louis was taking advantage of their lack of heavy snow to play Quidditch with Harry, James and Al, and her mother was helping Ginny with some appetisers for the New Years party the following evening.
She tried to imagine what it would be like to come up against some Inferi. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like, yet to her parents and aunts and uncles this had been a very real possibility. Imagine, people you had lost coming back, not as ghosts, but as something that could……it was NOT something Vic liked to contemplate. Vic shivered, and took up her quill again, dipping it in her ink bottle.
Inferi are used only by the truly evil, as a weapon against crowds and individuals. Imagine your deceased family members coming back to life - would you have the courage to attack them? Victoire wrote.
Her good intentions to complete her essay and therefore her holiday homework did not last as long as she would have liked, though, and half an hour later, Vic was setting aside her work to write to Hem. She felt a little guilty about sending her owl Hibou out in the current weather, but she figured owls were outdoorsy animals really, and he wouldn’t mind that much, right?
She bit her quill nervously. She had replied to his letter sent on Christmas Day with her present, thanking him, and at the same time feeling guilty that he had sent her something extra, while she had not. That was he and Ted that had out-presented her this year, though with the former she mostly felt guilty that she had not had the foresight to do the same thing. Some girlfriend she was if she could neither anticipate Hem giving her an extra present nor think of one to give him herself. Vic wasn’t quite sure how to start her letter. It was Hem, and she still felt a little awed around him, and everything…..
Hope you are having fun, and looking forward to New Year. I can’t wait ‘til Ginny and Harry’s party tomorrow night. I love getting dressed up for it, and its great when everyone in the family gets together, and Ginny and Harry invite all their friends, too. Ted and I will probably be on kiddie patrol as usual, though. Not that I mind, my cousins are amazing. I just wonder when they are going to realise that Ted and I are pretty much adults too.
I know I told you before, but I’m going to say it again - I LOVE my earrings!!! Had to pretend that they were from Nat to stop all the questions about who gave them to me, but it was sooo worth it to be able to wear them on Christmas Day. And they were perfect with the dress robes I wore to Ginny and Harry’s party in the evening.
I’ve been having what have quite possibly been the dullest holidays of my life. Most of my days so far have been spent studying and doing homework. I know, I know….too much studying makes Vic a dull girl, right? But with all of the work I have done, the rest of my holidays should be a breeze. As far as studying is concerned, I have learnt this year that the best thing to do is to look on the positive side as much as possible.
I have to say that I miss you more than I thought that I would do. Its great being at home with my parents, and my cousins and everyone and all, but I also miss seeing you every day. Grandma Weasley always says its when you lose something you’ve really come to rely on that you realise how much it means to you, and I guess I took seeing you every day at Hogwarts for granted.
Can’t wait to see you after on the Hogwarts Express next week, and hope you have a fabulous New Year!
Vic folded up the parchment on which she had written her letter, and tucked it into an envelope before addressing it. She found it a little weird writing to her boyfriend, but she supposed it would become easier in time. There hadn’t really been anyone before Hem. Sure, she’d kissed the odd boy at Hogsmeade after a visit to Madam Puddifoot’s or the Three Broomsticks, but she’d not really been in an actual relationship before she and Hem had got together. It had been a little nerve-wracking at the start, but Vic had just about managed to get used to it all.
She figured it was actually his friendship with Ted that had settled her. Ever since she had been at Hogwarts, Vic had been sensitive about her family’s participation in the war against Voldemort. She hated the idea of being known merely as the ’daughter of’ or ’niece of’ one of those fighting for their freedom. She wanted to be known and liked for being Vic, and nothing else. She knew that was part of why she and Nat had become friends, and it was part of how she and Hem had got together. Being friends with Ted for two years before she started at Hogwarts he had accepted her as Ted’s friend and she had always been that - never as a Weasley.
She watched as Hibou flitted out of the kitchen window, apologising to him though he could not hear her, for being sent out in this weather. Vic herself had closed the kitchen window as quickly as possible to avoid the cold. She grinned to herself, thinking of Hem as she sat down again to her homework.
While Vic studied, Ted stood in his room, fidgeting and occasionally looking at his clock as he got ready to meet Caro at Diagon Alley. He had owled her a few days before and arranged to meet her at the Leaky Cauldron for a day in Diagon Alley. At school it always seemed like either his friends or hers were always around, getting in their way. It was so hard to arrange time alone for just the two of them, and sometimes it felt like the only time they really had alone was in an empty classroom or in Hogsmeade, and not in the real world. So, he had asked her to meet him at the Leaky this morning. He had spent all of his free time since Christmas Day either at home studying, and completing his homework essays, or over at Harry’s.
When it was finally eleven, Ted wandered downstairs casually, and went towards the fireplace connected to the floo network.
“Will you be back for dinner?” his grandmother asked. Ted shrugged.
“I’m not going over to Harry’s today, I’m meeting Caro”, Ted told her. “So I’m not sure how long I’ll be.”
“Oh well, I was only going to make pasta salad, so it doesn’t really matter”, she said. His grandmother never made that much for dinner the day before New Years Eve, knowing that there would be far too much to eat at Harry and Ginny’s party the following evening.
“We’re just going to Diagon Alley for a couple of hours to do some shopping”, said Ted.
“Well, you have fun then”, said his grandmother. “And pick up some dittany if you are anywhere near an apothecary - I’ve almost run out.” Ted agreed, and then noticing the time flooed to the Leaky Cauldron, not wanting to be late for his date.
He was, of course, early. As much as he teased Vic for her horrendous time keeping, and the time that she had almost missed the train home, Caro was almost as bad. She was never on time for any dates they arranged. And so Ted sat for almost forty five minutes in the Leaky, chatting to Hannah about nothing important while he waited for Caro to arrive.
Caro seemed to drift into the room, wearing a skirt and floaty top, grinning widely at Ted. She did not apologise for her timekeeping, but simply wrapped herself around him and whispered that she had missed him more than she could say.
“I missed you, too”, said Ted as he went to kiss her hello.
“Ah, young love”, said Hannah, grinning. “I’ll see you at the party tomorrow night, Ted. I’ve arranged enough cover for Neville and I to come along. Have a good day, both of you.”
“Cheers, Hannah”, Ted replied as he took Caro’s hand and led her through the Leaky to the back wall that connected the pub to Diagon Alley.
“I really have missed you”, Ted repeated as he tapped his wand against the bricks. “Time seems to have passed really quickly, though. I can’t believe that we’re finished Hogwarts in six months time.”
“What have you been up to that time has passed so quickly?” Caro asked, her eyebrows drawing a little closer together. “When I’m away from you its like time stands still, Ted.” He swallowed his laughter at the ridiculousness of her reply and asked her where she wanted to go.
“Ma made me promise to pick up a book for her - one of those trashy romances she loves - “ Caro rolled her eyes at this. “And I want to look at robes, and I figured you’d want to go to that Quidditch shop.”
“Yeah, that would be good”, said Ted. One of the best things about Caro was that she accepted his love of Quidditch. One of the Ravenclaws in Ted’s Potions class had a girlfriend that despised it so much he couldn’t even mention the Q word around her, and she would never dream of attending one of the House matches at Hogwarts, never mind setting foot in a Quidditch shop.
“I also need to swing by the apothecary before I go home”, he remembered. “Grams is almost out of dittany.”
“I’m starving”, Caro announced. “I must go to Gringotts, and then we have to have some lunch.”
Ted hated Gringotts carts, and so while Caro went down to her vault, he popped into Bill’s office to say hello, and then waited for Caro in the foyer. She was sensitive enough about Vic as it was without him aggravating her by mentioning Bill. When Caro returned they headed down Diagon Alley towards Flourish and Blotts, and settled themselves at a table in a pretty restaurant across from the bookshop.
“Ma brings me here every time we come for my books before school starts”, said Caro. “At least, she used to. I suppose we’ll still come here, but it won’t be the same, it won’t be part of getting ready to go back to Hogwarts. Are you going to speak to Harry about joining the Auror Office after the summer?”
“I, uh, I don’t think I’m going to become an Auror, Caro”, said Ted. He had only spoken to Harry and an extremely helpful Hermione about his true plans for after Hogwarts. That reminded him, he’d have to speak to his grandmother before he went back to school. Like the rest of them, he supposed she assumed he would be joining Harry as he had always proclaimed he would do as a child. ‘I want to fight the baddies with Harry when I grow up.’
“I spoke to Harry about it, and I think I’m going to join the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.”
“You’re going to get some crummy Ministry job?” She seemed pretty shocked, and Ted couldn’t blame her. He never really spoke to her much about his father.
“Sweetie I don’t want to spend my days filing any more than you want me to, but I want to do a job that actually means something.”
“Being an Auror means something”, said Caro stubbornly. “Or are you having a go at me designing robes?”
“No, Caro what you are going to do is so creative. There are so few people capable of that”, said Ted earnestly. “Its just - my father - I want to make him proud. I want to make sure people know that he wasn’t a monster, that there are a lot of people in his position and that they are that - people.”
“Ted, you don’t know what would make him proud, you never knew the man”, said Caro. She seemed to sense him recoiling instantly as she slammed her palm over her mouth.
“Ted, I’m so, so sorry - I should never have said that, I’m so sorry.” She left her seat and walked round to him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. “You are right, he would be proud. You don’t want to listen to me, I know nothing, right.”
“One roast beef dinner and one salmon salad”, said the waiter, interrupting them as he brought over their food.
“The roast beef is mine”, said Ted, forcing himself to smile at the poor guy. He knew that Caro hadn’t really meant what she’d said. It was difficult for her, not having lost anyone through the war she found it difficult to relate to his situation. Besides, he should have remembered that Caro’s own father - who was prone to cheating on her mother - was a touchy subject.
“Ted - “
“Its nothing”, he reassured her. “Is your lunch nice?” She nodded repentantly.
“I know - I’ll get you something in that Quidditch shop. An extra Christmas/I love Ted present, hmm?” Ted smiled, and nodded in agreement. Her heart was in the right place, and that was all that mattered to him in a person.
“I should really get James something there too”, said Ted thoughtfully. “Its his birthday soon - eleven - and Quidditch is all he thinks about.”
Once they had finished their lunch, they picked up the book Caro’s mother had ordered from Flourish and Blotts, and Andromeda’s dittany before heading to Madam Malkin’s to look at some new robes for Caro.
“I need some new dress robes”, she told the assistant. “Brown or purple or maybe a nice red. Nothing pink.”
“I’ll get some material from the back, miss”, said the woman, scurrying off.
“Are these for the party tomorrow night?” Ted asked, thinking Caro was cutting the time pretty close if they were.
“No, I sorted out my dress robes for that weeks ago”, said Caro breezily. “This is for….whatever.”
“Here we go, miss”, said the assistant, returning. “I brought the colours you asked, and in all different materials. Would you like to try on the silk first?”
“I will only try on the silk, I don’t really like anything else”, said Caro, as she stood in front of the woman, arms stretched out. She looked down at the red material surrounding her. “I like this. I will take the red.” The assistant took the necessary measurements, and asked Caro to come back in an hour to pick them up.
“Well, I suppose we are almost finished our shopping, now”, said Caro wistfully. Ted nodded. In spite of their little argument about his future, he had rally enjoyed himself today. He hadn’t realised how much he had missed Caro since school had finished for the holidays.
“Yeah”, Ted agreed, looking at the watch Harry had given him on his seventeenth birthday last spring. They had spent so much time talking after they had eaten, once Ted had finished his pudding (Caro only ever ate one course whatever the meal) that they had spent a good part of the afternoon in the restaurant. He’d vaguely had half an idea of going to George’s shop, but there would not be time for that now.
Ted took Caro’s hand in his free one again as they left Madam Malkin’s and moved towards Quality Quidditch Supplies, one of Ted’s favourite shops. Ever since Harry and Ginny had brought him here as a small child, he had loved to return to the store, which stocked every Quidditch merchandising item that Ted could think of. Today, with it being the school holidays, it was quite busy, and once they were inside, they became enveloped by the throng of shoppers wanting to buy the latest robes, quaffles and brooms.
“We should have come earlier - I hate being crammed in like this”, said Caro as they wandered between Harpies scarves and Portree mittens.
“Its always like this all the way through the Christmas holidays”, Ted told her. He came in here at least once or twice every school holiday.
Ted randomly picked up a record with Quidditch fan songs on it. There was the Wimbourne Wasps warble, the Chudley Canons chant, and about a dozen others. He laid it aside. Quidditch fan songs were not his type of music. Ted preferred vintage rock.
“How about a new scarf?” Caro asked. Ted shook his head. He had dozens of Quidditch scarves.
“Ginny gave me enough free Harpies ones to last me a lifetime”, Ted informed her.
Caro cast her eyes around for an alternative, and seemed to come across something that fitted her intentions.
“What about these?” she asked, returning with a pair of Harpies robes, the new set that the team was playing in this season.
“Oh, I already have them, sweetie”, said Ted. “Vic gave me them for Christmas.”
As soon as his eyes met Caro’s, Ted realised how stupid he had been. They seemed to be on fire, and yet they were nowhere near red or yellow or orange.
“Victoire gave them to you for Christmas?” said Caro testily.
“Yeah”, said Ted. “You know what she’s like - wants to give a better present than she’s been given. She’s always been like that.” He fervently hoped that accusing Vic of being an obsessive Christmas shopper might help matters…..
“And what did you give Vic?” Caro asked, her voice edging louder and louder with every word she spoke.
“Just a framed photo of us when we were little, fighting over a teddy bear”, said Ted, hoping that Caro would take on board the emphasis of the ‘Fighting’ part. She did not.
“You gave her a photo?!” Caro exclaimed. “Ted that is something that you give a girlfriend, not a normal friend. I knew it, I’ve always known it, you are into Victoire, aren’t you?”
“You like her more than ME!” Caro yelled for the entire shop to hear. He was in such deep trouble.
“Car, I have told you countless times, Vic is like family to me, like my sister or something. If I had an actual sister, that is something I would give her for Christmas. I gave Ginny something like that for Christmas once, and you’re not going to suggest I’m secretly into her, are you?” Ted defended himself.
“You like her more than me”, Caro repeated stubbornly. “I’m going home, Ted, to recover from the stress you have caused me! I’m sure you’ll find some sympathy in your precious Vic - clearly she’s more important to you than I am - you’ve never given me a framed photo of us as a present!” And with that, Caro turned on her heels and flounced out of the shop, leaving Ted hanging his head in his hands. It was useless trying to go after her; she would never speak to him in this mood, but would eventually return to him in time. Once she had calmed down, and realised that she was being silly. Vic might be pretty, and fun, and totally get him, but it was Caro that Ted wanted. He did love Vic, just in a completely different way.
As he removed his hands from his face, Ted looked around to see their audience tacitly returning to their own business and purchases. Caro was walking out of the door, slamming it behind her.
How could he have been so stupid as to say that Vic had given him those robes? He should have said they had come from his grandmother, or Harry and Ginny, and begged Vic to protect his little white lie. But then, Caro was his girlfriend - he should not have to tell little white lies as far as she was concerned.
Smiling awkwardly, Ted walked out of the shop, and into a mobbed Diagon Alley. He looked towards Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Though slightly tempted by the thought of going in, and looking over the new stock while indulging in a little Butterbeer and sympathy with George, he was not really in the mood to discuss his argument with Caro. He could almost feel the ‘I told you so’ comments raining down in him from Vic and his grandmother, and from Rowland and Wes.
Ted moved down Diagon Alley and then disapparated in a quiet corner back to his grandmother’s house. He fixed a smile on his face, told himself that he had enjoyed a day with his girlfriend, and then walked in the front door.
“I’m home!” Ted called out to Andromeda.
“And in time for dinner”, she replied happily. “I’ll add a little to the pasta salad.”
Ted followed her into the kitchen, where she was preparing the meal.
“Did you and Caro enjoy yourselves?
“Yeah, we had a great time”, said Ted, feigning enthusiasm. “We went for lunch in a lovely little place opposite Flourish and Blotts, and did some shopping. Oh, and I got your dittany.” He handed it over, and told his grandmother about his meal and buying Caro new robes. As he was doing so, Ted realised that he had forgotten to buy a birthday present for James.
“How is your book?” Ted asked, changing the subject, and indicating the novel Andromeda was reading.
“Alright”, she shrugged. “I’ve read better, and I’ve read worse. Would you like some crusty bread with your pasta salad?” Ted nodded, and moved towards the cutlery drawer to begin setting the table.
“I know its not much, but we have the party tomorrow night, and there is always lots of food there”, said Andromeda. “I promised Ginny I would take along some nibbles as well. Just some cheese bites, and a few cakes.”
“We always eat too much at that party”, said Ted. As he and Andromeda ate their dinner he answered politely any questions posed to him, but his mind was on one thing - Caro.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; April 29th, 2011 at 10:33 pm.
“Vic, we’re leaving in fifteen minutes!” her father yelled upstairs to her. “Whether you’ve finished getting ready or not!”
“I’ll be down in a few minutes! I‘m almost ready!” she yelled back, biting the corner of her lip. She had been almost ready for half an hour, having put on her favourite black dress and heels, along with the necklace grand-mere had given her for her birthday a couple of years before, and Hem’s Christmas earrings. The only difficulty was her hair. She had tied it back three or four times, and then reverted back to her loose, poker-straight locks.
“This is ridiculous”, she muttered to herself. Vic had originally intended to have her hair loose with wavy curls, but she had not noticed in time that the Sleakeazy potion she used for this was finished. Aunt Hermione was so lucky to have naturally curly hair.
“Are you nearly ready yet?” Dom asked, wandering into her room. Her sister was wearing her new blue dress, a present from their Aunt Gabrielle. “Dad wants to leave soon. Even maman is ready before you.”
“Almost”, said Vic. “I just can’t decide what to do with my hair. What do you think?”
“The lovely Victoire is asking little Dom for fashion advice? I’m going to have to record that in my diary”, said Dom dryly. Vic stuck her tongue out in response.
“I’m just looking for ideas. No need to inform your diary just yet”, said Vic.
“Leave it how it is. You suit it down and straight like that”, said Dom.
“Are you sure you’re not just saying that to get me out of here and downstairs to go?” Vic raised her left eyebrow.
“Nah, that’s just an added extra”, Dom grinned.
“Vic, how do you live in this mess?” Dom added, looking around her.
“Organised chaos I believe is the phrase, sister dearest. Now, where did I put my black velvet bag? Oh yeah, its under my jacket.”
Vic retrieved both, and followed Dom out of her room. They walked downstairs to find Louis sitting on the sofa with a couple of his friends, listening to the Quidditch results on the WWN with their father, while maman was in the kitchen area, sorting out some things to take over to Harry and Ginny’s.
“Finally”, said Louis as Vic and Dom sat down.
“Glad to see that you’re finally ready, sweetheart”, grinned her father, offering her some Bertie Botts he had placed in a bowl to share. Vic shook her head. She’d had the gross ones too many times.
“Maman, do you need any help?” called Vic.
“No, I am ready. We should be getting on. Ginny will be wanting zee things I ’ave prepared for her.” Her mother came through to see them.
“You are looking very pretty, Victoire”, she said, smiling. “Et tu Dominique.”
“Yeah, totally”, said one of Louis’ friends, nodding fervently. Vic gave him a watery smile and turned to her mother to say that they should leave now.
“Maman, do you mind if I side-along with you and the party food? I don’t want to ruin my outfit”, said Vic, giving her mother her most pleading smile.
“I’ll floo back, I promise. Its just that I hate having to spend the first ten minutes of the party in Lily’s room sorting out my hair and everything,” she wheedled.
“Just zees once”, said Fleur, smiling at her eldest daughter. “But you will ‘ave to carry some of ze food for me.” Vic nodded happily, and watched with pleasure as everyone else went through the fireplace. For some reason she was more excited about this new year than any other. Maybe she was enjoying such things more with age. And now she was older, she did appreciate the family more given that she was away from them for so much of the year.
Ted had not taken long to get ready, and was in some ways not looking forward to the party. He half wondered if he should go to the one Caro and her friends were having, but decided against it - he had done nothing wrong, and would not ask for her forgiveness when he had done nothing worth forgiving.
He and his grandmother were always amongst the first to arrive, usually preceded only by Ron, Hermione, Rosie and Hugo, who always stayed over at the Potters at New Year. This year was no different, and when he walked in the back door, into the kitchen, he was almost floored by James, Al and Hugo running past him.
“No running in the house!” Ginny yelled after them as she mixed a few drinks into a punch.
“Ted, you’re here. I’m so glad to see you!” she hugged him, and then greeted his grandmother. “They’re like this every year - they get so hyper playing with one another that all but Rosie are fast asleep when it gets to midnight.”
“Ginny, have you seen those awful plates we were given by your boss?” Harry asked wandering into the kitchen. “I figured we could use them tonight, and it wouldn’t matter if they were broken.”
“Hermione’s already laying them out”, Ginny replied as she laid aside the punch she was working on, and began putting together a salad.
“Great”, Harry sighed. “Hey Ted, how are you? What have you been up to?”
“Not much”, Ted shrugged. He didn’t want to go over his argument with Caro. “I finished all of my essays for school, and went to Diagon Alley. How about you?”
“Lily lost another tooth, Al stayed over with Rosie and Hugo a few nights ago and came back an expert in chess. He beat James, who wasn’t amused, and dragooned Al into playing Quidditch so he could prove he was better than Al at something”, said Harry. Ted grinned.
“Welcome to my life”, said Ginny.
“They’re good kids really”, said Harry fairly. “As well as that, Lily and I spent an afternoon drawing, and James and I played Quidditch with Louis and Al one afternoon, and we’ve done lots of other things too. We went over to Ron and Hermione’s yesterday afternoon, and they all had lots of fun, and tired themselves out, which was fun for the rest of us.”
“How is Toffee getting on?” Ted asked.
“Good” said Harry. “Lily is very good with her. And she’s a good cat. She doesn’t scratch Lily when she doesn’t want to play, she just goes off on her own.”
They were interrupted by Ron and Hermione, who had set up the seating and tables in the sitting room. Hermione went to help Ginny and Andromeda, but Ron engaged Harry and Ted in a conversation about Quidditch. It was almost ten minutes later that the fire in the kitchen lit up, and the Bill Weasleys began to file through the kitchen.
“Where’s Vic?” Ted asked when the fire remained dormant after Bill had entered the room.
“She’ll be along in a moment”, he replied. “She’s apparating with Fleur. You know what women are like. They don’t want to spoil what they are wearing.” Ted grinned.
“I think that’s right”, said one of Louis’ friends. “Anyway the law should be different, you shouldn’t have to be of age to apparate.”
“Archie, she’s not here yet to hear you suck up to her”, Louis laughed. “Ted, you know Archie and Pierce, don’t you?”
“Hey”, said Ted, smiling at them. He wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of Archie Bagman. He could be a little annoying, particularly when flirting with Vic, with whom he had been obsessed since the start of his second year.
“Louis, could you do me a favour and try to calm James down before he breaks something. Again”, Ginny pleaded. “Go and talk to him about Quidditch or something.”
“Fleur and Vic will be along in a few minutes, Ginny”, said Bill. “Ow!” he added as she slapped his hand when he tried to taste some of the food she was preparing.
“Harry, why don’t you, Ron and Bill start setting up the drinks in the sitting room?” suggested Hermione. “Ted, you go to. Too many cooks, and all that.” Ted found himself shooed into the sitting room with Harry, Ron and Bill.
“Butterbeer?” Harry asked, handing a bottle to Ted. He thanked him, and wandered over to the window. He suddenly had an overwhelming desire to get absolutely hammered, and forget all of his issues with Caro.
“Who else is coming tonight, Harry?” Bill asked him.
“All the family, obviously. Hannah and Neville. Luna and Rolf. Ginny invited a few people from the Sports section of the Prophet, and a couple of her ex-team mates - “
“Former Harpies?” said Ron, his eyes lighting up.
“Ron, you’re married”, Bill reminded him, grinning.
“I didn’t mean it seriously”, Ron grumbled. “Did you remember that Dean and Seamus are coming?”
“Yeah”, said Harry. “That was a weird conversation when I told Ginny about that one - ‘by the way, your brother has invited your ex-boyfriend over for new year‘.” Ron just shrugged.
“He’s still our mate, though - and he stayed with Auntie Muriel during the war. Kingsley going to make it?”
“Hopefully. We haven’t seen him for a while. Hagrid’s coming too, and Hestia said she’d try to make it.”
“Is your girlfriend coming, Ted?” Ron asked him. Ted shook his head.
“I saw her at Diagon Alley a couple of days ago, though, and its not that long until we go back to Hogwarts.”
“Last six months. Did you ever think you would make it?” Bill grinned.
“Yeah, feels weird”, said Ted. “But, onwards and upwards. It’ll be strange not going back in September. But James will be going instead. And isn’t Lucy starting then as well?” Harry nodded. Percy’s eldest daughter Molly was already at Hogwarts, a Ravenclaw first year.
“I thought this was a party!” Vic exclaimed, coming into the room with some nibbles Ginny had given her to set on the sideboard.
“Hey Uncle Harry, Uncle Ron”, she said, hugging both uncles in turn.
“I guess the party can start now that you’re here”, said Ted, feeling himself smile a little. At least with Vic he never had to pretend that everything was alright. Well, he didn’t have to with Harry either, but there was no way he would be able to really talk to Harry tonight.
“Well, let’s put some music on. Do you have any Weird Sisters albums Uncle Harry? Ted and I used to love those when we were little.”
“Ted still loves them”, the man himself pointed out. He set his Butterbeer down and pulled the gramophone and a pile of records from the cupboard.
It did not take long for the party to get into full swing, and soon the sitting room was a lot more crowded. On her way to sneak a glass of the punch Ginny had made, Vic was able to avoid all aunts and uncles, her grandparents and one of her teachers. She was not able, however, to avoid Ted, who had been corralled by Percy, and had been looking for an escape route.
“Miss Weasley!” said Ted, mock sternly, and scaring Vic out of her wits. “Should you be having one of those?”
“I won’t tell if you don’t”, said Vic.
“Only if you will allow me to join you”, said Ted. “And here, let me make some changes to your drink “ - he pulled his wand out of his pocket and charmed the punch to change colour.
“See, now it looks like pumpkin juice. The advantages of being of age.”
“I knew there was a reason I was friends with you”, said Vic, smiling. “I’m hiding from Louis’ awful friend. He made some comment about hoping to kiss me at midnight.” She shuddered. She and Ted were usually in charge of the smaller cousins, but tonight they had bribed Dom and Louis into taking on the job. It was costly but completely worth it.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to protect you from him”, said Ted. “I’ll get Louis to remind him that your boyfriend is one of my best mates, and I wouldn’t like to see him mad.”
“I wish Hem were here”, said Vic, looking down into her glass. “I’m sure he’s having fun with his family, though. I guess you’re missing Caro too.”
“Yeah, goes without saying”, said Ted automatically. He felt Vic look at him a little quizzically. He just shook his head a little and mentally thanked George, Harry and Ron for interrupting them.
“Hey, its my favourite niece!” George said, hugging Vic.
“A little less favourite, and a little more the only one old enough to babysit for you, I think”, said Vic smartly, grinning. “How are you Uncle George? Is everyone else here?” George nodded.
“All present and correct. How are you, Ted, having fun?” Ted nodded forcefully.
“Have you decided yet what you’re going to do after the summer? If you’re interested, I’m looking for a trainee assistant manager”, said George.
“No, I, uh, I think I’m going to join the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures”, said Ted. “I basically want to do what Hermione did for house-elves except for werewolves. Making everyone realise they are people, really, and helping them with basic information when they’ve just been bitten, and everything.”
“Ted, that’s amazing, why didn’t you tell me before?” said Vic, swatting at him. “You know, your father would be so proud of you for doing that.”
“Would he?” Ted asked a little nervously, biting his lip.
“Yeah, he would”, said Harry, a finality in his voice. Only Harry really knew how much Ted missed his parents. More than once Ted had wondered if his father had foreseen Ted becoming an orphan at a young age, like Harry had, when he’d asked him to be godfather.
“Roxie’s asleep up in Lily’s room”, Ginny told George as she joined them. “You’ll need to wake her now for the midnight countdown, if she‘s going to be up for it.” George nodded.
“You can wake Lily and Hugo up as well”, Ginny added as George left to go upstairs. A glance at Vic’s watch told her that it was five minutes to midnight.
“Do you remember that year you fell asleep and went mental when we didn’t wake you up, and let you sleep through?” Ted asked Vic. She started to pout. One of the things Vic hated about being part of such a big extended family was that there was almost always someone that remembered something stupid she’d done when she was little.
“I was six at the time, though”, Vic pointed out. “Another charming drink?” she handed her glass to Ted.
“And I’ll need my midnight champagne.” Strictly speaking, Vic was allowed one drink - a single glass of champagne to greet the new year. It had taken her since her birthday to get her parents to agree to it.
“It’s a great party, Aunt Ginny”, said Vic, smiling. She looked at the crowd around her. Her parents were speaking to Angelina and Neville and Hannah; Louis and his friends were with Dom and James; Uncle Charlie and Hagrid were slowly getting very drunk; her grandparents were talking to Andromeda and a couple of people Vic recognised as being former Order members. Turning her head round full circle, she saw Ted, who had returned with her drink.
“One charming drink for a charming girl, and one glass of new year champagne”, said Ted, mock bowing as he handed over her drink. She wondered just how many he’d had. There was something bothering him, she knew that much. But the middle of this crowd wasn’t the place to talk about it.
“Cheeseball”, Vic replied, smiling softly at him. “Remember you were going to speak to Louis for me.” He left the group to do so, and Vic was pulled into conversation with Ginny.
“Is Ted alright?” Ginny asked. “He seems a little odd tonight.”
“He hasn’t said anything yet, but I think there is something bothering him”, said Vic, sighing. “And I can pretty well guess what it is. Anyway, do you have much time off work now that the rush of Christmas matches is over?”
“A little”, said Ginny. “The season closes for a couple of weeks in January, so I don’t have to do into the office as much. I do have a meeting with a publisher, though.”
“Yeah, they are looking at commissioning a series of Quidditch biographies. Ten best players of the twentieth century, or something like that, and they want to meet me to see if I’d be interested.”
“Do you think it’ll happen?” Vic asked. “Are we going to have a book writer in the family?”
“I doubt it”, laughed Ginny. “I am going to go to the meeting, it might be useful to make some contacts in case I’m interested in something like that in the future, but for the moment I think I’ll leave the writing of tacky biographies to Rita Skeeter.”
“Yeuch”, said Vic. “I remember her. She accosted dad and maman in Diagon Alley one day, years ago, when she wrote that book about Uncle Harry. She wanted to interview them for it.”
“I’ve sorted that thing for you”, a returning Ted muttered under his breath. Vic nodded, and thanked him, but before she could speak further, Harry attracted everyone’s attention.
“Thank you!” Harry said, grinning, once everyone fell silent.
“I just want to say a quick thank you to you all for coming. If there’s any kids upstairs asleep, and you want to wake them for the countdown, you better go and do so now……..the new year starts in two minutes!”
“We better go and grab everyone!” Vic exclaimed, happily. She always counted down to the new year with Ted and her brother and sister. They soon located Dom, who felt it unfair that Vic was allowed champagne while she and Louis were not.
“You are both two years younger than me”, Vic pointed out, smiling. “Is it long now?” she asked Ted. He shook his head.
“I can’t believe how quickly the last year has flown by, and this one will probably go even quicker”, said Vic sadly. She hated time passing her by so quickly.
“A sign of old age that, Vic”, said Louis smartly.
“Time to countdown”, Harry shouted.
“Ten….nine…eight…seven…six…five…four…three…two…one ….Happy New Year!”
As usual, a batch of indoor fireworks donated by Uncle George went off, causing his mother to exclaim a little in fright, and Toffee the kitten to run faster than Vic guessed she ever had before, upstairs in the direction of Lily’s room. Vic watched the fireworks for a moment, and then drank her champagne before she hugged the life out of Ted, Louis and Dom. Smiling at Louis’ friends, she muttered something about going to find her parents and grandparents.
She did the rounds, hugging all of the family and wishing them a happy new year. Charlie and Hagrid had succeeded in getting each other drunk - as was the annual tradition - and her uncle wished her a ‘new year happy’; Freddie and a newly wakened Roxie jumped up and down, and ended up tugging at her hair while she talked to George about the fireworks; the ever-practical Percy and Audrey were talking of leaving soon, as it was past Lucy and Molly’s bedtime, and asked her if she was interested in sitting for them in a few days time before she went back to school; she practically had to queue as was usual to hug Harry and Ginny, but a watchful Lily soon spotted her and dragged her parents over.
Vic was just looking for Dom again, when she felt someone standing behind her.
“You fancy a real drink?” Ted whispered in her ear. Vic raised her eyebrow at him questioningly. He took a half-empty bottle of firewhiskey from behind his back.
“Why not?” said Vic. Maybe with a couple of them in him he would tell her what was wrong. As she had said to Ginny, she was pretty sure it was the same thing it usually was these days - Caro.
“I’ll grab a couple of glasses and my jacket from the kitchen and meet you outside in a couple of minutes“.
“Deal”, Ted replied. He watched her go, and then snuck out of the front door. Walking round to the back of the house, he took a swig from the bottle, coughing as it burnt his throat. This was what he needed right now. He was going to get hammered and forget everything what was wrong. It would probably be a stupid idea, but for the moment he just wanted to forget, and this would be a good way to do so.
“Ted, its freezing out here”, Vic complained as she walked over to him. “Can you do a warming charm or something?”
“I can do better than that. Here, hold the bottle for me a second.” He handed it to Vic, and conjured up a small, magical fire for them behind one of the massive old oak trees. They settled down on the grass at the back of the tree, using it as something to rest against.
“That better?” he asked. Vic nodded. Ted poured a small amount into each glass, and handed one of them to Vic.
“Cheers”, he said, tapping her glass with his.
“Urgh!” Vic spluttered as she swallowed her drink. She had never had firewhiskey before, and had not been prepared for how much it would kill her throat.
“Ted, this is vile”, she said, giggling. “And on top of this, I’ve probably had too much punch already. How many glasses of that punch thing did I have?”
“Six or seven”, said Ted, pouring himself another drink. “Its new year, Vic, no one will notice or care.”
“Maman misses nothing”, Vic reminded him. “But, you are right, it is new year, and Vic has been a good little girl all holidays. Apart from the whole secret boyfriend thing.”
“Why don’t you just tell them? I’m sure they’ll be fine with it”, said Ted. Vic raised her eyebrows and looked at Ted incredulously.
“With me having a boyfriend two years older than me? Dad will go ballistic”, said Vic, rolling her eyes. “What did you fight with Caro about?”
“So you figured that out, then”, Ted chuckled as he poured out a fourth consecutive drink for himself.
“Ted, you’re quite clearly miserable“, said Vic bluntly. “So yeah, I figured you two had a fight. Come on, you’re not to drink all of that yourself. Let me be a good friend, and help you finish it.” She took the bottle from him and filled up a glass for herself while he started to talk.
“It was stupid”, said Ted. “We - we were having lunch in Diagon Alley the other day, and she - she said I should be joining the Auror Office instead of doing a crummy Ministry job, and that how did I know what my parents would have wanted for me anyway.”
“Oh, Ted, I - “ she snuggled up beside him and put an arm round his shoulders. “Your father would be proud of you doing a job like you want to at the Ministry. It is a job that means something - lots of something. Look how much Hermione achieved when she worked there.”
“My mother was an Auror.”
“I know”, said Vic softly. “What happened next - did you just leave, or what?” She swallowed her drink in one to stop herself from screaming for the world to hear just how much she hated Caro right now. How dare she……..
“No, she apologised. I should never have brought up my father. You know as much as I do she can’t stand hers”, said Ted. “She said she’d buy me something as an apology. A present. So we went to the Quidditch shop, and she said she wanted to buy me the new Harpies robes.”
“The ones I got you for Christmas?” Vic asked. Ted nodded. Something clicked in Vic’s mind.
“Ted, you told her I already gave them to you, didn’t you?”
“You’re good”, said Ted, chuckling to himself. “Wow, I really am feeling sorry for myself tonight. Sorry, Vic. I would have talked to Harry about it, but - “
“Harry has a few dozen guests to look after, and I’m your friend, Ted, you never EVER have to apologise for speaking to me about something like this”, said Vic earnestly. That drink was going to have to be her last. She could hear herself starting to slur her words a little.
“She yelled at me in the middle of the shop about how I liked you more than her, and that I’ve never given her a photo of us as a present or something stupid like that, and then she stormed out. I didn’t go chasing after her, though. Figured I didn’t do anything to apologise for.”
“Good for you”, said Vic, patting his leg encouragingly.
Ted turned and looked at Vic.
“You looked nice tonight, Vic, I wish Hem had been here to see you”, said Ted. “You and him will be happy once you’ve figured out the part where you tell your parents.”
“I hope so”, said Vic. “And I’m sure that you and Caro will work everything out. You usually do.”
“Its just that she doesn’t like me being such good friends with you”, said Ted. “She doesn’t understand it. In the world of Caro men and women can’t just be friends.”
“That is not true”, Vic protested. “We are. Louis is friends with lots of Dom’s mates, and vice versa. Maman still keeps in touch with Viktor every now and then. Uncle Charlie works with lots of women in Romania and he doesn’t go out with every single one of them.”
“Caro says you’re too pretty”, slurred Ted a little. Vic removed the bottle from his grasp.
“Hey, I was drinking that!” he protested.
“I think we’ve both drunk enough”, Vic giggled.
“Caro’s right, you know”, said Ted, looking at Vic closely. “You are pretty. Pretty as a picture, Vicster.”
“Now I know you’ve had too much to drink”, Vic laughed. He hadn’t called her Vicster in years. Not since they’d been about nine and seven respectively, and Ted had gone through a phase of wanting to annoy her all the time.
“Don’t sell yourself short”, said Ted quietly. “You’re also a lot of fun, and the only person I could really talk to about this. Even if Harry hadn’t been so busy - I would still have wanted to talk to you.”
“Thanks, I think”, said Vic. She shivered slightly in spite of the fire that Ted had conjured. Noticing it, Ted wrapped his jacket around her shoulders, on top of her own.
“Thanks”, she said, pushing her hair out from underneath the jacket, and tucking it behind her ear. She stared at the brightness of the fire.
“Vic, I - “
“What?” she asked, turning her head back towards Ted. Afterwards she would say to herself that she didn’t quite know how it had happened. One moment she was turning round to face Ted, the next his lips were upon hers, and she was kissing him back. It was so easy, came so naturally to her, that it was like breathing. She moved instinctively towards him, and Ted lifted up his hand to the back of her head, and drew her closer to him.
“Victoire?! Vic, are you out here?” Bill’s shout brought them back down to earth. Vic regained the ability to think again, and withdrew her lips from Ted’s.
“I’m just out here talking to Ted”, she called, hoping her voice sounded normal.
“Well, come back inside to say goodbye to everyone, we’re leaving in a couple of minutes”, he replied.
“I should go”, said Vic, standing up.
“Yeah, I should go“, she repeated. “Here.”
She removed Ted’s jacket, and handed it back to him. He looked a little speechless at present.
“Bye, Ted”, Vic added as she walked towards the back door. What in Merlin’s name had just happened? One moment they had been talking as they always had, and the next……..
One consequence though. In spite of all that she had drunk, after kissing Ted, Vic felt as sober as the Supreme Mugwump.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; May 6th, 2011 at 11:50 pm.
A few days into the new year, it was a slightly nervous Vic that settled herself into a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. She had neither heard from Ted nor contacted him herself since Harry and Ginny’s party. Most likely he was as embarrassed and confused as she was. He had not been on the platform when Vic had arrived at King’s Cross, and she had not waited for him before finding a compartment.
Vic had filled her time manically, not wanting to leave time to brood. Brooding meant guilt, and she preferred to avoid that particular feeling. She had thrown herself into studying for her OWLs, written extremely long letters to her aunt and grandparents in France, babysat for Percy and Audrey while they attended a Ministry function relating to Percy’s department, and been delighted when Ginny, Harry and her cousins had come over for dinner - because it saved her from going over there and possibly bumping into Ted. And she had sworn to herself that next year, she would drink only the single glass of champagne she was given by her parents.
She had also guiltily written a lengthy letter to Hem, telling him much she missed him. Vic had debated with herself as to whether she should tell him, but had decided instantly against it. Too many people had too much to lose, and she did not want to ruin Hem and Ted’s friendship for the sake of absolving herself.
Chewing on her lip, she removed the latest Witch Weekly from her bag, and tried to engross herself in it. There was an interview with the new bass player for The Ridgebacks, Vic’s favourite rock band, and a quiz on ‘Which famous witch are you?’ to keep her amused until Nat turned up.
“I always forget you manage to be here almost first”, said Nat, heaving her trunk into the compartment midway through Vic’s read of The Ridgebacks interview. Vic stood up and hugged Nat before helping her heave her trunk onto the rack. They both collapsed onto the comfort of the cosy seats.
“I am so glad to see you”, said Vic, beaming. “I got all your letters and everything, but how were your holidays really?” Nat sighed.
“I got everything I asked for at Christmas, and we went to my father’s cricket club for new year - not that busy, but better than being at home just the four of us”, said Nat. “And…….my grandmother’s sick.”
“Oh”, said Vic sympathetically. “Is she badly sick? I’m sorry Nat, I don’t know anything much about muggle illness Why didn‘t you tell me before?”
“Its not really something you want to put in a letter. Her memory is going. It was never great - she was always forgetting something - where she’d put her spectacles, what time she was meant to meet someone. But now….now its where she is and what things are for. Its really sad. Its got so much worse since I went back to Hogwarts after the summer.” Vic moved over and put her arm around Nat comfortingly.
“I’m sorry, Nat.”
“Its just - they didn’t tell me. Not until just before I saw her. I hate that - that they hid everything from me. Didn’t want to worry me when I should be studying for my exams, my mum said.”
“I’m sure their hearts were in the right place - I - ”
“Hey girls!” They were interrupted by Hem coming into the compartment with his friend Matt. Vic nodded to Nat to indicate that they would talk about this further later, and got up to greet Hem.
“Hey you”, said Vic shyly, kissing him hello. She hoped that he couldn’t feel her guilt seeping through her lips to his. That he couldn’t see ‘I kissed someone else’ written all over her.
“Now that’s the kind of hello I like to get”, said Hem when they parted. “I missed you, Vic.”
“I missed you too”, she replied, smiling at him.
“Doesn’t their lovey-doveyness make you want to vomit?” Matt grinned, looking to Nat for support.
“Nah, I’ve seen worse”, said Nat loyally. “Is Ted not with you boys?”
Vic moved a little uncomfortably at the mention of his name, but luckily Hem mistook it for wanting to move closer to him, and pulled her as close as he could. She could feel his breath ghost over her neck as he replied to Nat.
“We haven’t seen him. Rowland and Wes got distracted by a couple of Ravenclaw girls, they’re in a compartment at the other end of the train. We figured Ted was here. He must be with the lovely Caro.”
“Yeah, with Caro”, echoed Vic, practising saying the girl’s name with restraint. She still hadn’t forgotten the latest Ted/Caro argument.
Ted had got on the train not too far behind Vic. Lily had developed a touch of ’flu in the last day or so, and was in bed with a Pepper-Up potion, so only James, Al and Harry had come with Ted to Kings Cross. Having met Dom waiting for some friends on the platform he knew that Vic was on board.
He had got on the train and started looking for her, desperate to apologise for what had happened at new year. Ted could still not explain just what had happened. All he could recall was drinking far too much, mumbling to Vic about Caro, and then kissing Vic. How stupid that was! As much as he wanted to forget everything with Caro, he figured that perhaps some small part of him wanted to hurt her, to get back at her. How better to do that than kiss the one girl he knew would infuriate her?
All Ted knew was that he had to apologise to Vic as soon as possible. He had wanted to do it in person, and so had avoided owling her. He had, however, been too cowardly (some Gryffindor he was!) to floo her, partly because he knew it was likely Louis and Dom would be there, and might get suspicious when Ted wanted to speak to Vic in private, even though they never had before. He had used any excuse, really, to avoid it - shutting himself up in the house to study for his NEWTs.
And then there was Hem. He hadn’t just kissed an old friend to ease his own pain. He had kissed his friend’s girlfriend. He felt like he’d cheated Hem as much as he had Caro. Through all of their arguments she had never, to his knowledge, kissed anyone else. Not like he had.
Ted had been wandering along the corridor in search of Vic, hopefully alone, when he had found himself yanked inside a compartment.
“Hey, what is this?!” he muttered, before looking up to see Caro staring back at him.
“Hey”, said Ted softly.
“Oh, Ted, I’m so sorry”, Caro sobbed, throwing her arms around him. “I’ve been miserable ever since that day we were in Diagon Alley. I know you want me and not her, I know you do, its just that she‘s so very pretty, and every guy in Gryffindor wants her.”
“This one doesn’t”, said Ted. “Honest, I want you, not Vic. She is my friend and that is all. Yes she is pretty. She is also unbelievably messy - according to Dom, anyway - and always thinks she knows better than me.”
“That’s not possible”, smiled Caro as Ted brushed away her tears.
“Caro, I hate it when we argue”, said Ted. “I love making up, but I hate the fight that makes it necessary. I should never have thrown Vic’s gift in your face.” He had sworn to himself that he would not apologise for what he’d said, but he figured he owed her one for kissing Vic, and since he couldn’t directly apologise for that……..
“No, Ted, I should never have said anything about your father or Vic”, said Caro reasonably.
“How was your new year party?” Ted asked. He knew how much she had been looking forward to it.
“Horrible!” she exclaimed. “I drove the girls mad, I was so miserable. They tried to get me to go over and see you after midnight, but I didn’t want to.”
“I was miserable too. Got absolutely hammered, and woke up the next day feeling rotten”, admitted Ted, heaving an internal sigh of relief that Caro had not taken her friends’ advice. He also did not mention that Harry had put him to bed on a camp bed in Al’s room, made his excuses to Andromeda, and given Ted a hangover potion the next morning. In return, Ted had thought it right to tell Harry just why he had ended up in that state. He had not, however, mentioned anything about his conversation with Vic beyond the fact that she knew what had happened.
“So….we’re alright, aren’t we?” asked Caro quickly, wrapping her arms around Ted’s neck. “You and me?”
“You and me”, smiled Ted. He tilted his head, and then moved in slightly to kiss her. They argued so much, but he didn’t quite know what he would do without Caro. He kept smiling as he kissed her, and wrapped his fingers behind her neck, bringing her as close to him as possible.
They spent the rest of the trip to Hogwarts ensconced in the same compartment, making up and catching up. Ted reflected that apart from the magic of his first trip on the Hogwarts Express, this was probably the best trip he’d had on the school train. They were only interrupted by the arrival of the food trolley, from which Ted purchased copious amounts of chocolate.
“Ted, I don’t really care if you just want to work at the Ministry”, said Caro as they were just coming into Hogsmeade station. “It might not be cool….but I like you just the you are.”
“Thanks”, said Ted sincerely as he changed his hair back from his holiday blue to sensible brown for school. “That means a lot to me. And just so you know……I wouldn’t change a single thing about you, either.” He bent over and kissed her.
“I guess we’ve only got a few months left here, to spend most of our days together. We should make the most of it”, said Caro firmly. Ted agreed with her, and started to bring their trunks down from where he had stored them on the rack.
“Finally here”, Ted yawned. It didn’t feel like it was the same day in which he had woken up at home, and flooed over to Harry’s.
“I can’t wait for the feast”, said Caro. “Ma’s food is nowhere near as good as the Hogwarts elves, bless her.”
The train stopped, and they disembarked, heading straight for one of the carriages. Perhaps it was for the best that they did not bump into any of their friends on the way there, and ended up in one of the first carriages.
“I love my friends, but sometimes its nice to be just the two of us”, said Caro, snuggling up to Ted, and echoing his thoughts.
“Yeah”, he muttered. Maybe if they spent more time together, just the two of them, they wouldn’t argue so much? But then, at the same time he didn’t want to become one of those people that abandoned their friends whenever they were in a relationship.
“Did I tell you? My father is paying for me to go on holiday with Mattie and Alberta after school is finished”, said Caro excitedly.
“Yeah, he told me the other day. I’ve been trying to guilt him into it since last summer, and he finally caved. I think it had something to do with me noticing a necklace that he most certainly did not end up giving ma for Christmas”, said Caro. “We’ve pretty much been planning this trip for years. We’re going to Greece. Mattie’s obsessed with the place.”
“That’ll be fun”, said Ted, smiling. “Just remember to come back……..its so much sunnier out there you might never want to leave.”
“But, you wouldn’t be there”, said Caro as they pulled up to Hogwarts.
“Come on”, said Ted, smiling as he helped Caro down from the carriage. “Let’s go and get good seats for the feast.” Good seats meant around halfway down the table - far enough away from the door that you didn’t catch cold with the draught, and far enough from the front that the teachers did not see your every move and were out of earshot.
Ted put his arm around Caro’s shoulder, and they walked into the great hall. The Christmas decorations remained, as they were not usually taken down until the first full day of term, and they seemed only to have been preceded by those who had remained at school during the holidays. Ted waved at a Hufflepuff he knew that had stayed behind to study for his NEWTs, knowing that the library was deserted, and he and Caro found themselves in their preferred seats.
Part of Ted was dreading his friends coming in. As much as he wanted to see them, he knew that Vic would be with Hem, and so would definitely be sitting next to he and Caro, something that had not always been the case before Hem and Vic had got together. He hoped that Hem would not pick up on anything unnatural between him and Vic.
Luckily for Ted, Caro’s friends arrived first, and immediately hugged her when they realised she and Ted had made up.
“Ted, if you had seen our poor Caro even a day or two ago”, breathed her friend Mattie. “She could barely smile. We’re so glad that you’ve made up!” They took seats opposite Ted and Caro, and started chatting away about their journey - had Caro and Ted heard the commotion when a couple of third years started a brawl in the corridor?
“No, we didn’t hear anything”, said Caro, smiling at Ted. “We had a lot to catch up on.”
As the talk descended into clothes and make-up, Ted was rescued from giving his opinion on the new sleakeazy potions by the arrival of Wesley and Rowland.
“Sorry we didn’t make it along for the trip”, grinned Wes as he greeted Ted. “We got distracted by a couple of very pretty Ravenclaws.” He pointed them out for Ted.
“The blonde one is in Care of Magical Creatures with me”, said Ted. “I think her name’s Angelica Bobbin. Don’t know about the redhead.”
“Abbey Summerby”, Rowland informed him. “They were a lot of fun. We fixed up a double date for the Valentine’s Day Hogsmeade visit. How was your Christmas?”
“Not bad”, said Ted, grinning. “Same as always, I guess. How about you?”
“Same”, agreed Rowland and Wes.
“I wish everyone would hurry up and get here. I’m starving”, Wes moaned as his stomach grumbled.
“How?” Rowland asked. “You ate half the food trolley on the train!”
“I am a growing boy!” replied Wes in mock hurt. “And I gave a good few of those cakes to Abbey and Angelica!”
“Yeah, yeah”, said Ted, grinning.
“So how was the train for you, Tedward?” asked Rowland.
“Ted is not short for Edward, so don‘t call me that”, Ted reminded him for the four thousandth time. “And it was good. I didn’t make it along to the compartment either. I spent the trip with Caro.”
“Poor Matt”, said Rowland, shaking his head. “You left him with just Hem and Vic?! It’ll drive him demented.”
“I’m sure Nat would have been there as well”, said Ted dismissively. He looked up and the toast and eggs he’d had for breakfast did somersaults in his stomach. Vic, Hem, Matt and Nat were coming down the space between the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables.
“See”, said Ted, feeling his voice a little higher than normal. “The four of them are coming over now.”
Vic held Hem’s hand tightly; partly because she wanted to, partly for comfort and protection. She needed him to be there when she faced Ted for the first time, as she knew she would during dinner. They followed Matt and Nat down the side of the Gryffindor table, and took seats close to, but at the same time far enough away from, Ted. She smiled at him, and waved, and then sat down next to Hem, with Nat on her other side. Matt climbed under the table and sat down next to Rowland and Wes and started teasing him about something.
“Can’t wait for the food”, said Hem, grinning. Vic smiled, and took advantage of his turning to Caro’s friend Mattie to speak to Nat.
“We’ll talk tonight”, Vic promised. “Once I get back from rounds.” Nat nodded.
“Ted and Caro look very tight”, Nat commented. Vic made a noise under her breath, and then told Nat an abridged version of their holiday argument.
“Its his life”, said Nat, sighing. Vic shrugged her shoulders. She knew that a small part of Nat thought that her dislike of Caro was stupid, but she didn’t really care too much. Ted was her friend, and she did not want to see his heart repeatedly broken by a selfish little witch.
“Welcome!” came the voice of their Headmistress, Delilah Derwent. “I am happy to see that you have all returned for yet another term. There are no announcements to make, and so I hope that you all enjoy your dinner. Let the feast begin!!”
The platters that lay in the middle of the table were filled with meat, potatoes and vegetables, and side dishes of salad.
Vic helped herself to some beef, potatoes and vegetables, and started to ask Nat about her holidays again. Nat admitted that she had bumped into an old friend.
“We went to muggle primary school together”, she said. “I hadn’t seen him for years, and then his family went to that new year party at dad’s cricket club that I was telling you about. His name is Dylan, and I have to say he did not look as attractive the last time I saw him as he did at new year.”
“Interesting”, said Vic, smiling, glancing down the table to where Ted and Caro sat. “Did you spend a lot of time with him?”
“A little”, Nat admitted. “ Obviously its only been a few days, and my parents had so much planned, but we went to see a movie at the muggle cinema, and we went out for dinner afterwards.” Nat smiled shyly.
“It was lots of fun”, she added. “Vic?” Nat clicked her fingers in front of Vic’s face, and she found that she was looking down the table again.
“Yeah, you had lots of fun. Sorry”, Vic apologised. “Are you going to write to him?”
“I dunno”, Nat shrugged. “Obviously I can’t tell him where I really go to school, but I don’t want to lie to him. I think I might just write to him as an old friend, and then see what happens. I told him I’d be home at Easter and in the summer, so we might meet up then. But he could also meet someone else at his school.”
“If its meant to be, everything will work out, that’s what my mother would say”, said Vic firmly.
“Yeah”, said Nat, nodding. “We did get to spend some time together at that new year party, too.” Her face lit up a little.
“Obviously we couldn’t kiss quite on midnight, given that everyone was around, but we snuck off a little after.”
“Where does that come from, anyway?” Vic wondered aloud. “The kissing someone at midnight thing?” Nat shrugged.
“It’s a shame Hem couldn’t make your aunt and uncle’s party”, said Nat, patting Vic’s arm. “He could have been your new year kiss.”
“Yeah”, said Vic, wondering how different everything would be now if that had been the case.
Later that evening, Ted took advantage of Vic going off on rounds to claim that he needed to return a book he had taken home for holidays to the library. Picking a random book from his trunk, he set off after her as she passed through the Fat Lady’s portrait.
"Vic?" he called after her. She turned round, recognising his voice instantly, and stopped in her tracks.
"Who are you patrolling with tonight?" Ted asked.
"Wright", she replied. A Hufflepuff. He had time, then. Their dormitories were far away from Gryffindor Tower.
"Vic, I am so sorry", said Ted, shaking his head. "I was upset and drunk and I took advantage of you. I should never, ever have done that. It wasn't fair to you, to Caro or to Hem. He's been one of my best mates for almost seven years now, and I should never have done that to him."
"Ted, you weren't the only one there", said Vic fairly. "If I remember rightly, I was also drunk. And I also made no move to stop you. I owe you an apology as much as you owe me one. You are my best and closest friend, and I don't want this to ruin our friendship."
“Neither do I”, said Ted quickly. “You know everything about me, and there isn’t anything that I don’t tell you, and I don’t want to lose the one person I have that with just for the sake of one drunken kiss.”
“I just feel so bad about what I did to Hem”, said Vic sadly. “I like him so much, and yet I was stupid enough to do what I did…..but I could never tell him. Besides, you‘ve known him for seven years now, and I would never ruin your friendship just because I feel guilty about what happened.”
“No, it would just make it worse”, echoed Ted.
“So….”, said Vic.
“So……”, repeated Ted.
“So we just go back to how everything was before?”
“Yeah”, said Ted. “What else is there?”
“Nothing, I guess”, said Vic thoughtfully. Why did she feel like she was missing something in this conversation?
“Vic, I really want to make a go of things with Caro. I know that you don’t exactly like her, there’s no point pretending, but I figure really good friends don’t have to. For all the bad you see in her, there is ten times that in good. Anyway, I want to make it work”, said Ted.
“I want to make things work with Hem”, said Vic.
“Yeah”, said Vic.
“Ted, I love you, but I’m not in love with you”, said Vic, as she moved over to hug him.
“See, that’s just how I feel”, he agreed, pleased that they had found some common ground.
“Friends?” said Vic.
“Friends”, Ted agreed, smiling. “I should get back to Caro.” Vic nodded, and watched as he walked away from her, and turned round the corner back towards Gryffindor Tower. She had a sudden feeling of having forgotten something, but couldn’t for the life of her figure out what it was.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; May 15th, 2011 at 4:09 pm.
Over the next few weeks, Ted found himself far too busy to dwell on the mistake he had made at new year, and any effect it may have had on his friendship with Victoire. Every class he entered resulted in homework - even Hagrid’s - in addition to the revision he had to complete in his free time. Ted barely had enough time to spend with Caro, never mind any of his friends. For once, he was glad that he had decided not to try out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team with Wes and Rowland in their third year. On top of that, the work they were completing was so much more complicated than that which Ted had encountered at Hogwarts thus far.
In Transfiguration class at the end of January, Ted sat through an entire lesson on human transfiguration without understanding much of what was being said by their teacher, Professor Willoughby.
“What exactly are we meant to be doing?” he whispered to Caro when they started the practical part of the class.
“I thought you would know”, she hissed back, shrugging.
Ted looked around him. Since they had started using non-verbal spells at the beginning of sixth year, it had become more and more difficult to figure out what the lesson was on based on the spells that were being cast by his classmates. Looking around today, however, it seemed that human transfiguration into animals - or elements of animals was the focus of this class.
“Looks like we’re meant to be transfiguring parts of ourselves into animals”, said Ted. “I’ll give you a hand with this.”
“What makes you think you’re so amazing at this?!” Caro retorted angrily.
“Car, I’m a metamorphmagus, I can change my appearance at will, and that includes animal features”, said Ted. “Don’t blame me - blame my mother, its her I inherited it from.”
“Forgot about that”, she replied, and accepted his help on the incantation. Her face went purple as she tried to complete the spell non-verbally.
“Urgh!” she exclaimed. “Why can’t I get it?!”
“”You’ll get there”, Ted assured her a little bit later.
“Easy for you to say”, said Caro.
“Ah Ted, Caro”, said their teacher, making his way around the room. “Ted, you’ll find this easy enough with a little practice. Caro. From what I could see you were doing well. Just flourish your wand a little more and you’ll be there.”
“See, I told you”, said Ted, taking her hand as their teacher walked onto towards the next pair. “Now, this is my subject. Divination? I wouldn’t have a clue and you are amazing at that.”
“Suppose”, said Caro, grinning. “Urgh, I can’t wait to be out of here in some ways. I mean, when are we ever going to use some of this stuff?!”
“It’ll be useful at some point”, said Ted, shrugging. “You never know when the useless rubbish you commit to memory will be useful to you. And if Hermione were here, she’d tell you that no knowledge is useless.”
“Well bully for her”, said Caro. “Like I said, I can’t wait to get out of here. I won’t be told what to do all day every day, and I won’t have to put up with silly little children like those who go to school here. Last night those stupid first years kept interrupting Mattie and Alberta and me when we were talking about our holiday in the summer. We were talking about this place in Greece that Mattie wants to go to. Some muggle writer she’s into died there, and then these first years came running past shouting and screaming like children.”
“They are”, said Ted.
“Children”, Ted answered. “Probably for the best then that you’ll have left by the time James gets here. He’s much more hyper than all of those first years put together.”
“Well, I would never have any, disrupting my life like that”, said Caro firmly.
“Really”, she said. “I like my life the way it will be when I leave here, answering to nobody but myself.” Ted smiled at her. He had never really thought about it before, but he supposed that children figured into his life plan somewhere. He loved looking after James, Al and Lily, and enjoyed spending time around the other Weasley children. As an only child, he had also always figured on a large family like that which the Weasleys enjoyed. But then, he was only seventeen, as was Caro. And the opinions held at that age were never permanent.
“Well, you are progressing with this work”, said Professor Willoughby, interrupting their conversation. “I want you to practice what we have worked on for our class on Thursday, and we will see how far you have come. I would also like you to complete for me, by next Monday, an essay - totalling at least 3 feet - on the reasons for human - animal transfiguration, full and partial. I would also like you to consider in this why wizards and witches choose to undertake the animagus transformation.”
The class groaned collectively, and Ted mentally worked out the hours he would lose to this essay. Between this and the others he had been assigned that day - Transfiguration was his last class before dinner - he would be lucky to spend half an hour with Caro that evening, outside of completing their essays.
“I officially hate this year”, said Ted as he and his fellow Gryffindors returned to the Tower after Transfiguration. They all nodded in agreement.
“I thought seventh year was meant to be fun”, said Wes. “I didn’t realise I would spend it in the library.”
“How much of this are we going to use in the real world?” Rowland asked, echoing Caro’s sentiments.
“I suppose we won’t ever know until we have to use it”, said Ted, thinking of the stories Harry had told him.
“Well, homework still sucks”, grumbled Rowland.
It was not only the seventh years that were having homework thrown at them. Vic could not remember the last evening that she had spent even in simple studying rather than completing homework. Undertaking eleven OWLs, she spent most of her time in the library, and was assigned even more homework than Ted was. On top of this, her prefect duties meant that she helped to patrol the corridors two evenings a week.
The evening of the day that Ted had spent in Transfiguration, Vic spent in the library completing her assigned essays. Having finished her essay on Hippogriffs for Care of Magical Creatures and that on unicorn blood for Potions, she found herself in the library on Thursday night completing her essay on Ellimbury trees for Herbology.
“So, what do Ellimbury trees do?” Nat asked, turning round to look at Vic. She just shrugged in response.
“Maybe Hem would know”, said Vic, hopefully. “We can ask him to look over what we’ve written once we’ve finished. If he doesn‘t, there‘s always Ted.” She glanced through her Herbology notes.
“Hmm”, Nat agreed. “What about our defence essay?”
“Its on Unforgivables”, said Vic. “That’s a pretty easy subject.”
“You think?” Nat asked. Vic nodded.
“Yeah, we just have to write about what they do, the consequences, and any circumstances under which we would use them.”
“Would you?” Nat asked. “Would you ever use an Unforgivable?”
“I don’t know”, said Vic thoughtfully. “Of course, you can take the moral high ground and say you would never do anything like that, but how do you know what will happen in the future?”
“You would commit murder? Or torture someone?” Nat asked, shocked.
“Like I said, I don’t know”, said Vic. “In a war, maybe, to protect myself or someone else.”
“Yeah, but that’s what stunning is for, Vic”, said Nat. “You don’t just automatically Avada Kedavra them!”
“My grandmother did”, said Vic quietly.
“What?!” Nat hissed back.
“Don’t tell anyone, I’m not supposed to know. I found out by accident on one of the memorial days a few years ago, I overheard….anyway, Ted knows too because I figured he should, but Dom and Louis don’t, and I figure my cousins probably don’t either”, said Vic.
“Who?” Nat asked curiously.
“Bellatrix Lestrange”, said Vic. “That’s why I told Ted. She was his great-aunt. She was also the woman that killed his mother.”
“Ted’s mother was killed by her own aunt?!” Nat exclaimed.
“Shush!” Vic implored. “I don’t want anyone else to overhear us. But yeah, she was. I don’t know exactly what happened with my grandmother, but Aunt Ginny’s name was mentioned. Think about it, though, a mother killing to protect her child? Who is to say we wouldn’t do the same? That’s what I’m going to be writing in my essay anyway. That until you are in that position, or any other when you might kill, you don’t know for sure how you will react.”
“What did Ted say? When you told him?”
“He’s always known who killed his mother”, said Vic. “He just said he wished in some ways he could say thank you to Gramma, which is bizarre, I know. I think he just put more effort into her Christmas present that year, and she had no idea of why he was suddenly so generous - or why he hugged her tighter than he ever had before the next time he saw her. Listen, Nat, you HAVE to promise me that you won’t breathe a word of this….even to Ted, its very private to him. I don’t know how much even Hem and the rest of them know about his mother’s death beyond the fact that she died here. Nat, my own parents don’t know that I know.”
“I won’t say anything”, Nat insisted, though her blue eyes were now as wide as Vic had ever seen them.
“Well, we better get a move on with our Herbology homework”, said Vic. “These essays will not write themselves, unfortunately. Do you have Goshawk’s latest works there?”
They stayed in the library until it closed that evening, and then carried their books back to Gryffindor Tower, studying in the common room until just after eleven. While Nat worked on, Vic took a break to spend some time with Hem just after they returned to the Tower. She felt guilty that they were not spending much time together, but the fact that they were in different years meant that they were not assigned the same homework, and so there was little point in them doing much studying together.
Vic also felt guilty that she had not spent much time with Ted recently. He seemed to be working as hard as she was, and spent any free time he had with Caro. She was still a little confused over what had happened at new year. She knew that forgetting it was for the best, but there was a little voice at the back of her head - one that she always silenced almost immediately - that questioned whether or not she actually wanted to forget it.
When Vic and Nat finally headed up to their dormitory, they could hear the voices of their dorm-mates from within the room. As much as Nat and Vic had immediately clicked as friends, they had equally instantly disliked their dorm-mates, Erykah, Kara and Ava. All three seemed, even at the age of eleven, to be so distant from Nat and Vic as to make friendship impossible. Now, with the girls in their fifth year, Nat and Vic tended to avoid the other three as far as possible. The main reason they had remained in the common room so long was to avoid the other three, who they knew would probably not be studying, and would distract them.
As soon as they heard the voices, Vic instantly pressed her finger to her mouth, indicating to Nat that they should be quiet.
“Why he is going out with Weasley I will never know”, said a voice Vic immediately identified as Ava’s. She grinned, and made a face at Nat.
“She’s what, a quarter Veela or something like that, isn’t she?” said Kara. “Maybe she’s using some of her powers to keep him in line. He’d be better off with you though, Av.”
“Maybe he likes her”, Erykah put in. “I dunno. If you wanted him you should have asked him out before they got together. They seem happy enough, but he’s leaving at the end of the year. Most relationships don’t last when someone leaves, and the other has to come back here for another year - or two.”
“I’ll get him at some point”, said Ava dismissively. “I always get what I want.”
“And who”, said Kara. Vic could almost see Kara grinning widely at Ava. The way she looked up to her friend could really be quite sickening sometimes.
“Though, it would probably annoy Weasley more if I got near that dufus she’s always hanging around. The weird one, what’s his name again?”
“Ted Lupin”, Erykah said. “But if you went for him you’d still have to get past psycho Wickham. She’d crucio you in a second if you went near him.”
“I was thinking about asking Eb Masters to Hogsmeade for Valentine’s Day”, said Kara. “What do you think?”
“He’s a loser”, said Ava instantly. “Kisses like he’s in the middle of gargling.” Sick of eavesdropping and keen for her bed now that they were no longer talking about her, Vic started shuffling her feet and talking about her runes translations before opening the door, to make it look like she was just now coming up the stairs.
“Hey”, said Nat politely as they entered the room. Erykah smiled, but otherwise she received no response. As conversation was not exactly encouraged, Vic grabbed her washbag and headed for the bathroom to brush her teeth before bed. She wished that it was Friday so that she could have a long lie the next morning, but reflected positively that the week was almost at an end, and she was close to two very long sleeps.
With the amount of work she was undertaking, Vic found herself heading for the library on Sunday with Nat to complete their weekend homework. Not that Vic felt like she’d had a weekend. Aside from the extra couple of hours in bed, it felt like a normal weekday. Friday night had been spent in her prefect duties, patrolling the corridors, Saturday in studying and completing homework, and Sunday felt like an extension of Saturday.
While Nat completed her Divination homework, Vic worked her way through an essay for Arithmancy and completed their Transfiguration essay, which Nat had already finished.
“I hope all this work we are doing is worth it”, said Vic as she glanced out the window, and saw the Sunday sun setting. “We better get decent OWL results out of it.”
“I’m probably better off than you“, said Nat fairly. Vic looked at her questioningly.
“My parents are muggles, they don’t understand Hogwarts grades”, Nat explained. “If I just pass everything, I’ll tell them I got all As. That is the muggle equivalent of getting Outstanding for everything.”
“Smart”, said Vic.
“I try my best”, shrugged Nat.
“I think as long as I try hard, they’ll be fine with whatever I get”, said Vic. “Your OWL results don’t condemn you for life. I mean, look at Uncle George - he’s an extremely successful businessman, and you can count his OWLs on one hand. And he never sat for his NEWTs.”
“That’s another thing”, said Nat. “My parents have nobody to compare me with. No one else in the family has ever sat Hogwarts exams.”
“The benchmark in my family is generally considered to be Aunt Hermione”, said Vic. “And I know that no one expects me to do as well as she did. In the nicest way possible, of course.”
“How did Ted and Hem do?” Nat asked.
“Ted passed everything well, apart from History of Magic. He just scraped an Acceptable in that. He got Outstandings in Defence, Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures and Potions. I’ve never asked Hem, but he’s pretty smart, so I figure he did well.”
“If I didn’t know that you’d known Ted for so long, I’d think it weird that you knew more about your boyfriend’s mate than you did about your boyfriend”, said Nat. Vic shrugged uncomfortably. She should know Hem better; she made a mental note to do so.
“Let’s go back to Gryffindor Tower”, said Vic, glancing at her watch. “We deserve to enjoy at least some of the weekend, and none of the essays I have to finish need to be done for tomorrow, and you’re the same. What do you say?”
“I say we have a weekend, we might as well enjoy the little of it we can”, Nat agreed. “Let’s be as frivolous as our esteemed dorm-mates.”
“I doubt I’d go that far”, Vic laughed. “But maybe in my pursuit of fun I will become more worthy of my boyfriend.”
“I don’t think, in Ava’s eyes at least, anyone but her will ever be good enough for him”, said Nat, starting to pack up her books. She lifted up an Arithmancy book that Vic had been using.
“Are you wanting to take this out?” she asked. Vic shook her head.
“Nope, I finished all my Arithmancy stuff”, she replied. “All these books can go back to their shelves apart from the blue one I need for Astronomy.”
Once they had gone through the tedious process of returning books to the appropriate place on the shelves, and taking out those they needed under the watchful eyes of the elderly librarian Madam Pince, Vic and Nat left the library, and headed in the direction of Gryffindor Tower.
“I know its only the end of January, but I can’t wait for the Easter holidays”, said Vic, yawning. “Two whole weeks of staying in bed until at least nine or ten, and we’ll be at home as well so I’ll be in my own bed…..”
They turned a corner on the sixth floor, and saw a couple in the distance, obviously escaping from their common room. As they came closer, and the couple separated and stared at each other before almost immediately rejoining their lips, Vic realised who it was - Hem and her dorm-mate, Ava Ackerley.
“What the hell!” Nat exclaimed loudly.
“Ah, its Weasley and the other one”, said Ava, smirking at Vic and Nat.
“Her name is Natasha”, Vic reminded Ava. “You’ve shared a dorm with her for five years, remember?”
“Whatever”, Ava shrugged, her smirk remaining.
“Vic, I - “
“Don’t you dare even try explaining this away!” Nat interrupted Hem. She grabbed Vic’s arm and started off in the direction of Gryffindor Tower. Hem was soon running after them.
“Vic, she kissed me, I - she just kissed me!” Hem exclaimed.
“You kissed her back”, said Vic, speaking for the first time. “Hem, we saw you. You separated, and then started kissing again. Lying to me actually bothers me more than you kissing her. That makes two kisses. Once you can explain away as a mistake - or her forcing herself on your lips. Twice, its because you both want it.”
Hem hung his head a little. He at least had the grace to look embarrassed.
“I really like you, Vic”, he said.
“I really like you too”, said Vic in a small voice. “But if you weren’t pushing her away just now, and I - I really can’t feel much about it, Hem, other than being angry that you lied to me, so maybe we’re not meant to be together.”
“Are you saying that you want to break up?” Hem asked, biting his lip.
“I think so”, said Vic, nodding and surprising even herself. “Nat, I want to go. Now.”
A stunned Vic felt herself being helped towards Gryffindor Tower by a determined Nat, who kept muttering about how much of a jerk Hem was.
“You’re lucky you found out now, and not after you’d fallen completely in love with Hem”, said Nat sensibly before she gave the fat lady the current password. Vic nodded insensibly, still a little shocked. In the space of ten minutes she’d gone from being Hem’s girlfriend to being single once more.
The instant they entered the common room, Ted swooped down on them.
“Vic?” he asked. “What’s wrong. Are you okay? You’re paler than white. You look like a vampire.”
“Trust you to be there with the compliments”, Vic mumbled appreciatively as Nat patted her on the back.
“We just walked into your scumbag of a mate cheating on her with Ava”, said Nat, glaring at Ted.
“Nat, its okay”, said Vic. “Remember, you heard her as much as I did the other night, going on about how much she wanted him.”
“You’re defending him?!” exclaimed Nat. Vic shrugged.
“Vic, I - “Ted began. Vic lifted her hand.
“I just want to go to bed”, she said. “Ted, please promise me that you’ll still speak to him. I don’t want us splitting up to wreck your friendship.”
“Whatever”, said Ted keenly. He looked at Nat, who nodded.
“I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow, Vic”, Ted added.
“Let’s go upstairs”, said Nat, directing Vic.
They walked upstairs, Vic pleased that she had not seen Dom or Louis. She did not want them doing something stupid, like getting detention for cursing Hem for her sake.
“I can’t believe he did that”, said Nat once they had reached their dormitory.
“Like I said to Ted, we heard her the other night, Nat”, said Vic softly.
“I know, but still………….” said Nat. “He cheated on you. “
“I know”, said Vic calmly. She seemed to have recovered her composure. She glanced around the room, and made sure that they were alone.
“Muffliato!” she waved her wand in the direction of the door, pleased that her aunt had taught her that spell.
“Vic?” Nat asked questioningly.
“I know you think I’m stupid, not making a big deal out of him kissing her”, said Vic. Nat nodded.
“The thing is, I can’t seem to get mad at him for it.”
“Huh? Vic is there something I’m missing?” Nat asked. “You’re not that mad at him, yet you just broke up with him? And I thought you really liked him.”
“I thought I really liked him too. But I can’t have a go at him for doing something that I did myself”, said Vic quietly.
“Okay, okay”, said Vic, raising her hands. “I can’t hate him for kissing someone else when I did too.”
“You kissed someone else? When?” Nat asked. “Never mind when, who?”
“Yes, new year, Ted”, said Vic, answering each question in turn.
“You kissed Ted?!” Nat exclaimed so loudly that Vic was relieved that she had cast the charm she had.
“Well, actually he kissed me, a bit like the way in which I’m assuming Ava kissed Hem”, said Vic. “It was at new year. He and Caro had gotten into that big fight I was telling you about just a few days before, and he was miserable over it. We were both drunk, and it just happened. I’m not proud of it, and I’m not sure he is either. I don’t know, Nat - one minute we were talking about Caro, then he told me I looked really pretty that night, and then he was kissing me. My brain just sort of froze. I - I kissed him back. I didn‘t stop him. Just like Hem didn‘t stop Ava. How can I be mad at him for doing something I did myself?”
“Wow”, said Nat softly. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“I dunno”, Vic shrugged. “I didn’t get a chance on the train, and then the first night we were back he caught up with me when I was heading out for prefect duty. He said that we should forget about it, and go back to the way things were.”
“Wow”, Nat repeated. “You know, part of me always expected this to happen.”
“Well, now its happened, but it won’t again. He’s with Caro”, said Vic.
“Does that mean you want it to?” Nat asked. Vic raised her eyebrow questioningly.
“If you aren’t going to be kissing again, is it because he’s with Caro, and if he wasn’t you would?”
“I don’t know, I never really thought about it”, Vic admitted.
“Then let me ask you this”, said Nat. “Who is the better kisser - Hem or Ted? And don’t think about it.”
“Ted”, said Vic automatically as she picked at a section of her duvet. She looked up at Nat.
“I never realised that”, she said. “I mean, I never really thought about it.”
“Maybe you should”, said Nat quietly. “And figure out what it is that you want.” Vic smiled weakly.
“What part of me wants is to go back twenty-four hours and not leave the library when we did, or take another route here”, said Vic. “And like I said, Ted and I are friends, nothing else.”
“If you say so”, muttered Nat.
Ted yawned widely as he sat up in bed on the morning of Valentine’s Day and began to rub his eyes. He’d been up late chatting with Wes and Rowland, and hadn’t got to sleep until after two. If today hadn’t been a Hogsmeade trip he would probably have spent most of the morning in bed asleep. He and Caro had made plans to go to Madam Puddifoot’s - something that Wes and Rowland had laughed at until their Ravenclaw dates had told them they would be heading to the same establishment.
“I want to go back to sleep”, Wes groaned when Ted threw a pillow at him and shouted that it was time to get up.
“And what about sweet little Abbey?” Ted asked.
“Okay, okay, I’m getting up”, said Wes. “Would hate to disappoint the little lady. Where’s Rowland?”
“Shower”, said Ted. “He woke me up just before he went in. Matt and Hem have already headed down to breakfast. I feel kinda bad about Hem. He’s taken to avoiding me as much as is politely possible for friends ever since he and Vic broke up. I don’t see what he’s so bothered about. She told me herself not to bother him about it.”
“If you ask me he’s mental”, said Wes firmly. “Giving up a girl as smart, funny and pretty as Vic for Ava Ackerley? That girl is a witch in more ways than one. I still haven’t forgotten what she did to that Slytherin she used to go out with when he dumped her. Poor bloke couldn’t sit down comfortably for weeks.”
“Vic isn’t perfect”, grinned Ted. “I guess I’ve known her too long…..Anyway, I agree with you about Ava. That girl is not good news.”
“Well, if Vic was my girlfriend I wouldn’t let her go as easy as that”, said Wes.
“I didn’t know you liked her”, Ted shrugged. For some reason he felt a little uncomfortable. He shrugged it off.
“Ted, you do have eyes don’t you?” Wes laughed at him. “Then you haven’t failed to notice that Vic is probably the prettiest girl in the school. She is also, as I said, smart and funny.”
“Why have you never asked her out, then?”
“Because she would never go out with me. And because it would weird you out. You and I know each other a lot better than you and Hem do. Besides, as Vic once pointed out to Hem - she has five uncles backing up her slightly scary father.”
“Bill is not scary. You’re just being silly now”, said Ted.
“You only think that because he doesn’t see you as a threat. You’re part of the family, ergo he doesn’t see you as potential boyfriend material.”
“You seem to have put a lot of thought into this”, said Ted, absently starting to pull some clothes and boxes of Honeydukes chocolates from his trunk.
“You shouldn’t have”, said Wes, batting his eyelashes as he spotted the chocolates.
“They are not for you, you big loser. They’re for Vic, Dom and Nat. You know I always give them chocs on Valentine’s Day.”
“I know that. But does the lovely Caro? This is your first Valentine’s Day together.”
“No”, Ted admitted. Surely she wouldn’t make a fuss. After all, they hadn’t cost much. And it wasn’t like he was only giving them to Vic. It was an old tradition that the two of them had started years ago as an excuse to get presents in between Christmas and their birthdays. Louis and Dom had joined in as well, and it had become a bit of a thing amongst the older children. During Vic’s first year when Nat seemed to be a permanent fixture, Ted had expanded his chocolate giving.
“Are you two girls still not ready?” interrupted Rowland as he exited the bathroom. “Burke, we have a good impression to make with these girls. Lupin, Caro would hex your backside off if you were late on as important a day as this.”
“Lucky for me then that she already warned me that she would be taking hours to get ready this morning”, retorted Ted.
“Oooh, chocolate!” Rowland exclaimed.
“Enough with the chocolate!”
Twenty minutes later the three boys were wandering into the great hall, Ted carrying a pile of chocolate boxes like a delivery boy. He immediately spotted Dom, Vic and Nat sitting together with a couple of Dom’s friends, Emme and Leigh Anne.
“Happy Valentine’s Day ladies”, said Ted. “I bring seasonal greetings and chocolate.”
“Seasonal greetings? Hate to break it to you Ted, but Christmas was almost two months ago”, said Dom smartly.
“You wound me”, grinned Ted before placing all three boxes on the table and giving the girls a collective hug.
“Now, I have one for Dom, one for Nat, and last and very much least, I have one for Vic”, said Ted, handing out the boxes.
“Ha ha”, said Vic as she handed Ted his box of mint chocolates - his favourites - and a card. He opened it and started laughing.
“Uncle George had them in his shop”, Vic shrugged.
“Ah Vic, thank you so much” smiled Ted.
“Here’s mine”, said Dom, handing over a parcel.
“And mine”, said Nat, doing the same.
“Is it someone’s birthday?” said a voice from behind Ted. Caro had joined them.
“Hey, Happy Valentine’s Day beautiful”, said Ted, hugging her and kissing her cheek. “You look amazing.”
“What’s with all the packages?” Caro repeated.
“Family tradition”, said Dom. “We all exchange boxes of chocolate on Valentine’s Day.”
“Vic and I came up with it when I was about eight”, Ted explained. “We saw it as an excuse to get a present; we were feeling a bit left out when we saw the grown-ups all getting gifts.”
“I’m going to get breakfast. Come on, Ted. We need to plan our day.”
“I better go”, said Ted bashfully. “I hope you girls all have fun in Hogsmeade.” He could hear Dom muttering something about being whipped as he walked over to join Caro. It could have been worse. She’d just asked him to join her for breakfast. It wasn’t like she’d started a massive argument in the great hall. Again.
“We should get going as well, Nat”, said Vic once Ted had sat down further up the table with Caro and his friends.
“Yeah, it would be good to get all our shopping done before it gets too busy”, agreed Nat. “Then we can just spend the rest of the day in the Broomsticks.”
“See you guys later”, said Vic as they left the table. They took their chocolates with them, and ate the full boxes on the way down to the village.
“Ted has very good taste in chocolates”, Nat commented as she stuffed a lemon flavoured one into her mouth.
“You say that every year”, Vic reminded her.
“This feels weird“, she added.
“Well, I know we’ve spent this trip together the past two years, but with Hem and everything, I guess I’d figured that this year I’d be spending it with him”, Vic admitted.
“Are you regretting ending it?” Nat asked tentatively.
“Nope. No way”, said Vic emphatically. “It was completely for the best. When both people have kissed someone else, it means that the relationship is doomed to failure.”
“Have you thought about that too? About what I said about Ted?” Nat asked.
“Yeah, I’ve thought about it”, said Vic, looking resolutely in front of her.
“It was a moment of drunken madness”, said Vic. “That’s all. And one that we should put behind us. The only purpose it has served is to make me realise that Hem and I weren’t right for one another. Without what happened with Ted, I would have probably thought about taking him back after he kissed Ava. And that would have been wrong.”
“Seriously wrong”, agreed Nat. “I will say one thing, though - with what we overheard her say that night, part of me thinks that she was actually disappointed you didn’t put up any kind of fight for him.”
“Yeah, I think so too”, said Vic. “Now, I have to go to Gladrags for a few things, and I have to go to the new Quality Quidditch Supplies store for a birthday present for Uncle Ron. Oh, and I could do with some more ink and parchment. I have far too many relations to keep in touch with. Where do you need to go?”
“Honeydukes and Gladrags”, said Nat. “My mother wants something to wear that is, and I quote, ‘witchy’.”
“Witchy”, Nat repeated.
“Let’s go to Gladrags first”, Vic suggested. “Its always busy, we’ll beat the rush. I have to say, it feels so good to be out of school, and away from everything. An entire Saturday without homework. I haven’t had that since the holidays.”
“And that’s how it’ll be from now on“, said Nat grimly. “Sixth and seventh year will be just as bad, maybe worse, even though we’re taking less subjects. That’s obvious from what we’ve seen in the common room. Those poor people that have to stay up later than we do just to get their homework done on time.”
“Like I keep saying, I can’t wait for the Easter holidays”, said Vic. “Even with the homework, it’ll be good to go home and have some long lies and walk on the beach, and…….just everything about being at home.”
“At which point you will owl me and say that you miss Hogwarts”, interjected Nat.
“I am way too predictable”, said Vic, shaking her head.
“Yep, ‘fraid so.”
The girls finished their shopping quickly, and managed to get to the Three Broomsticks just after eleven, sitting down with steaming hot Butterbeers to block out the cold February air, and plates of roasting hot goulash soup to fill their now empty stomachs.
“This is amazing”, said Nat through a full mouth. “Magic is seriously the best ingredient when cooking. My mother’s - bless her soul - is awful.”
“Maman always cooks French food at home”, said Vic. “This is amazing too, though.”
Vic looked up and glanced round them. The pub was already mobbed. As well as the usual interesting bunch of locals, there were also some groups of Hogwarts students. She could see some third year Ravenclaws sitting at a table by the door, chatting away; there were some Slytherins standing at the bar - as much as Vic tried to avoid the usual prejudices, she seemed to have succumbed to them, as they all appeared to be a miserable bunch; there was a rather raucous table not too far away from them, a mixture of Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, with the odd Ravenclaw and even a couple of Slytherins sitting together. Finally, there was a table of Gryffindors, five of them, and one of them was glancing - no, staring - in her direction.
He grinned at her, showing off even white teeth which set off his eyes, and somehow made them a deeper, more sea-like blue. He had brown hair, not sandy like Ted’s natural colour, but a darker, almost black shade. He was, in a word, attractive.
“Nat, who are those people?” Vic asked, indicating the table of Gryffindors.
“They’re in the year above us”, said Nat. “I can’t remember the names of all of them. But the one staring at you is called Evan something.”
“Cute”, said Vic. “His staring is a little weird though. Kinda creepy.”
“Victoire Weasley, just be glad that you have someone interested in you”, said Nat firmly. “Some of us are destined to end up old maids.”
“Don’t be silly”, said Vic, equally as firmly. “Once these boys have grown up, they will forget the Ava Ackerleys of this world, and concentrate on amazing people like you and me. Besides what about that guy you met in the Christmas holidays?”
“I think they already noticed you, Vic”, laughed Nat. “But I suppose you do have a point about Dylan.”
“He is cute, though”, Vic repeated. “Know anything else about him beyond his name?”
“He’s in the Quidditch team; Louis could probably tell you more than I can. I only know him a little from Charms Club in second year”, said Nat. “Hmm, sometimes I wish I hadn’t given up Charms Club.”
“Nat, I can’t ask my little brother what he’s like”, Vic protested. “He’ll ask too many questions and poke fun at me. It was bad enough telling him that I’ve split up with Hem.” Vic had tried just pretending that their relationship had come to a natural end - which, in a way, it had - but Louis had spotted Hem with a smug Ava and added two and two together. It had taken a lot of persuading to stop Louis from hexing one or both of them. Dom had been just as bad.
“When I went to Charms Club with him three years ago, he was a nice guy”, said Nat. “Smart, too. I only went because I was having trouble with some of the stuff we were doing in class, but it seemed like he really enjoyed the subject.”
“The blonde girl opposite him is Quidditch captain, I think”, said Vic. For someone whose family had dominated the Gryffindor team sheet in the past, she had little interest in the sport.
“Felicia, isn’t it? Felicia Thornton?” She remembered the girl’s name because Louis used it in an ungentleman-like way when she’d shouted at him during a match.
“Yeah”, agreed Nat. “I think so. Do you know any of the others?” Vic shook her head.
“Interesting”, said Vic under her breath. She glanced over at the table again to see Evan still looking over at their table, and smiled shyly at him. Maybe he was just what she needed to get past everything that had happened in the past few weeks with Ted and Hem.
“Hey, there’s Dom and Louis just come in”, Nat pointed out, waving at them. Vic looked up and saw her brother and sister and some friends coming over to their table.
“Get all the shopping you needed?” Vic asked her sister.
“I think so”, said Dom. “I wanted some more purple ink, but there wasn’t any left in the shop. They had to order it in for me.”
“Did you remember Uncle Ron’s birthday present?” Vic reminded her. “Its only a couple of weeks away.”
“Damn”, said Dom. “You know I always forget something, Vic. Remind me tonight, and I’ll order some stuff for that broom Aunt Hermione got him for Christmas from the catalogue.”
“I’ll split the cost with you, save me going shopping”, said Louis. “What’s that you’re having? It smells amazing!”
“Goulash soup”, replied Vic. “So, none of you have dates for Valentine’s either, then?” They all shook their heads.
“Quite right”, said Nat encouragingly. “Independence and all that. You enjoy your chocolates, Dom?”
“Yeah, Ted has good taste in chocolate”, Dom agreed. “Though not so much in the establishments that he chooses to frequent.” Vic looked at her quizzically.
“I saw him and the psycho going into Madam Puddifoot’s”, she elaborated.
“Dom, don’t call her a psycho”, sighed Louis. “Whatever you think of her, she is your friend’s girlfriend. How many times? Its like a broken record!” Dom shrugged.
“Hey, Louis, come over here a minute!” They all turned round as the blonde girl Vic had noticed with Evan earlier had called him over.
“Maybe now we’ll find out some more”, said Nat to Vic in an undertone.
“Sit down”, she continued, gesturing to Dom and the rest of the fourth years. “Any gossip?”
“That **** you used to go out with is being paraded around the village by Ava Ackerley”, said Dom. “These eejits” - she indicated Archie and Benny, Louis’ friends - “along with Louis got a week’s detention from Filch for the mess they made coming in from mucking around on the Quidditch pitch.”
“Yeah, how dumb can you get?” asked Emme, grinning. “The rest of us figured out how to avoid him in first year.”
“Whatever”, said Archie, glancing furtively at Vic. She rolled her eyes. Why couldn’t Louis’ friends have crushes on Dom, and not her?
“Is that about Quidditch?” Nat asked, gesturing over to where Louis was talking to the table of Gryffindors. “That’s Felicia, the captain, isn’t it?”
“Yeah”, said Archie. “Evan and Eddie are on the team as well - Chasers. And I think Mark is reserve Keeper. The other girl there is Persephone, Eddie’s girlfriend. She’s the only one of them not on the team.”
“Wow”, said Nat, smiling. “You know a lot about the Gryffindor team.”
I love Quidditch”, shrugged Archie. “And I’m getting better at it all the time.”
“Urgh”, said Louis as he returned. “I was looking forward to my free Sunday. I stayed up ‘til after midnight last night finishing my homework to make sure I got one. And now Felicia’s organised an extra practice for tomorrow to prepare for the Hufflepuff game in a couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Quidditch - I just don’t love getting up at seven on a Sunday morning for practice.”
“Poor Louis”, said Vic mockingly. “How about your team mates over there? They as happy about it as you are?”
“If they are, do you really think they’re stupid enough to say so in front of the captain?!”
“I don’t know”, shrugged Vic. “You were stupid enough to trail mud into the castle and get caught by Filch.”
“Dom!” he shoved his twin playfully.
“What?!” she exclaimed. “Its not like I was lying or anything!”
“One of them was asking about you, Vic”, Louis commented. “Evan - asked if you were alright after what happened with **** face.”
“Oh?” said Vic casually, her interest in Evan outweighing her annoyance at Louis‘ comment on Hem.
“He’s a sound guy, Evan. The only one on the team with the patience to deal with Felicia when she flies off the handle.”
“That would be very shoddy broom work”, said Dom, her mouth twitching at the edges.
Madam Puddifoot’s was as busy as The Three Broomsticks when Ted and Caro arrived and settled themselves at a window table. Ted smiled weakly at the lurid pink and red decorations that surrounded the small café. He’s been here a couple of times before - with Caro - but the owner seemed to have gone all-out for the day.
“Its lovely in here today”, said Caro, smiling as she lifted a menu in one hand, and lifted one of Ted’s hands with the other.
“You’re lovely”, grinned Ted, playing with her hand. If he concentrated on Caro he could block out their truly awful surroundings.
“Oh, I have your present here”, he remembered, taking a box from his jeans pocket. He handed it over.
“I hope you like it”, said Ted nervously. He watched as she opened the box to find enclosed matching earrings and bracelet, silver with red stones, Caro’s favourite.
“Ted - they are so beautiful!”, Caro exclaimed, before coming round to the other side of the table and thanking him thoroughly and non-verbally.
“Thank you so much, Ted”, Caro gushed again when she had regained the ability to breathe out.
“Would you like to order now?” asked the waitress, coming over to their table.
“Yeah, thanks”, said Ted. “I’ll have peppermint tea - no sugar - and a baked potato with butter and cheese. Lots of cheese.”
“Peppermint tea?” said Caro, glancing at him.
“I had it at Hermione’s during the holidays”, said Ted. “She swears by it, and I’ve sort of picked up her addiction to it.”
“I’ll have a black coffee without milk and sugar and a fruit cup”, said Caro. “And I don’t want any raspberries in the fruit cup. I hate raspberries.”
“Two minutes”, said the waitress as she left.
“I’m so pleased to be in here with you”, said Caro, lightly twisting the ends of Ted’s hair around her finger. “To think, on this day last year, I was so into you, and you didn’t even know it yet. And now, in just three little weeks we’ll have been together for a whole year. Are you happy?”
“Of course I am”, smiled Ted. “Put your present on now, they’ll look nice with what you’re wearing.”
Caro obediently affixed the earrings Ted had given her, and handed him the bracelet to fasten it around her right wrist.
“Looks amazing”, said Ted, grinning widely at her. The waitress returned with their order, and laid it down on the table, sending Caro back to the other side after sniffing Ted’s peppermint tea.
“Do you have anything planned for the Easter holidays?” Ted asked. Caro grimaced as she nodded softly.
“Ma and I are going to Ireland to visit some ancient muggle aunt of hers in Cork”, said Caro glumly. “Apparently she’s not got much time left, and ma wants to spend as much of it with her as possible. I’m heading straight over there once the train gets in.”
“I’m sorry”, said Ted, picking up Caro’s hand again. She just shrugged.
“At least I’ll be able to take my designing things with me. Apparently the old trout sleeps about fourteen hours a day, so I’ll have plenty of time for that”, said Caro. “And I’ll have to put up with Ma’s awful cousin and her snotty little children. They’re so loud, and always just - there - never give you any peace. I have to keep going for walks to get away from them when we’re there.”
“Just make sure you don’t get too close to any of those Irishmen you meet on your walks”, grinned Ted. “And owl me as much as you want to.” She nodded.
“I am so lucky to have you, Ted”, said Caro bashfully. “I know that sometimes I say and do things I don’t mean, and I don’t always deserve you.”
“Caro - “
“No, I do”, she repeated. “But you, Ted, mean so much to me, and I am so happy that I have you.”
“Me too”, Ted smiled. He wandered round the other side of the table and put his arms round her.
“I like that you’re not fake, Ted”, said Caro seriously, as she wrapped her hands around his neck and drew him closer to her. “You’re real to me.”
A slightly confused Ted could only mumble a reply as Caro affixed her lips to his.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; May 27th, 2011 at 10:33 pm.
Vic yawned widely as she and Nat took their places at the Gryffindor table for breakfast. They had been up late playing wizard’s chess the night before, and so Vic had been woken earlier than she had wished that morning. It was Sunday, the weekend after Valentine’s Day, and the late-running chess game the night before aside, Vic was exhausted. Every single one of her teachers were piling on the homework at present in preparation for the OWL exams, and Vic was unsure when she was supposed to fit in time to actually study for them.
“I need more sleep”, she said, turning to Nat.
“Vic, you had more than nine hours”, Nat reminded her. “Besides, we have three feet on human transfiguration for Willoughby due on Tuesday, an Astronomy test Tuesday night, three and a half feet on colour and concealment charms due for Rackharrow for Thursday - even Hagrid’s given us homework on unicorns!”
“Yeah, yeah”, grumbled Vic. She had forgotten the mountain of homework that awaited her after breakfast.
“Here, have some orange juice”, said Nat, handing her a jug and glass. “You should eat more for breakfast, too. Set yourself up for the day. That’s what my grandmother always says.”
“Yeah, and I’m starting to think you’re channelling mine”, Vic muttered as she poured herself some juice, still struggling to keep her eyes open.
“I heard that”, said Nat. “Listen, Vic, I know that homework and studying are not two of our favourite things, but we both need to do well to pass our OWLs - otherwise we won’t be able to do the NEWTs we want, and we’ll be stuck doing something awful like NEWT level Astronomy.”
“I like Astronomy”, said Vic mildly. “But I get your point. To the library it is.”
“Mail”, said Nat, pointing at Vic’s owl Hibou, which was currently swooping down in their direction.
“Hey, Hibou, how are you boy?” said Vic softly as she removed the letter from her owl‘s pouch. She stroked his beak, and handed him small pieces of bacon before turning to her letter as he returned to the Owlery for some sleep.
Her parents wrote twice a week, sending the letters so that she received them on Sundays and Wednesdays. She’d almost had a fit in her third year when they had written back quicker, and was instantly convinced that something was wrong, though it turned out only to be that they were going to visit her aunt in the south of France for a long weekend, and wanted to write to her first.
Vic opened the letter lightly, reading it as she munched on a piece of toast and jam.
Thank you for your last letter. Your father and I were pleased to hear that your schoolwork is going so well. Just make sure that you leave enough time to eat properly (I sound like your grandmother!) and keep getting a good night’s sleep.
I have good news! Your father has been promoted to the head of his division at Gringotts, and is very excited. He will have to go away more now than he did before, but he is very happy, and I am pleased for him.
We went for dinner with Harry and Ginny last night, and James, Al and Lily asked me to remind you that they all miss you, Dominique and Louis! They have all grown again, even though we only saw them a couple of weeks ago. We will see everyone for Sunday dinner, and I will tell you all their news in my next letter.
I had a letter from your tante Gabrielle to say that she is looking forward to seeing you all in the summer. She is just back from her holiday in Italy, and says she has a present for you.
Hope that you are well, and looking after yourself. Say hello to Ted for me.
Write back soon and give us all your Hogwarts news,
Hugs and kisses,
PS - Papa says to remember that your Uncle Ron’s birthday is in a couple of weeks!
Vic grinned as she re-read the letter. She tried to remember where in Italy her aunt had planned to visit, but couldn’t; she would have to re-read one of the previous letters. Being a bit of a hoarder, Vic kept every card, letter and note she had ever received.
“Hey, Nat - what - “ Vic’s blood ran cold as she looked up to see tears running down her best friend’s cheeks.
“What happened?” Vic asked, putting her arm around her friend.
“My mother’s written to me”, Nat breathed, holding up a letter. “She writes to say that my grandmother is ill…..worse than she was at Christmas. And that…..and that there’s little hope of her living much longer.”
“Oh, Nat, I’m so sorry”, said Vic. She thought back to when her grand-pere Delacour had died a few years ago. Vic had been devastated, and it had taken her months to get back to some semblance of normality.
“Come on, let’s get out of here”, said Vic, helping Nat out of her seat and walking her out of the Great Hall and back upstairs to Gryffindor Tower. Luckily their dorm-mates were not around. They were unlikely to be in the library, and had, Vic mused, probably gone to enjoy the sunny day that Vic had noticed as soon as she had woken up. The type of sunny day that appears at the end of winter and leaves you confused as to what season it is supposed to be.
“What exactly does the letter say?” Vic asked when she had settled Nat down a little, and handed her a box of tissues. Nat handed her the letter.
I hope that everything is well with you, and that you are enjoying your schoolwork as always.
In answer to your last letter, we have no fixed plans for the Easter holidays, and my latest book is a mystery thriller, The Woman In White - you would love it! Your father is working as hard as usual, and Evie Langton next door had twin girls the other day - they have called them Isabella Rose and Imogen Ramona, such beautiful names.
My pottery class is going well, and I made some mugs that you’ll be able to see next time you come home. They don’t look like the fancy, shop-bought ones we have, but homemade is always special, right?
Natasha, in writing the above I’m trying to avoid saying that which I wish I did not have to say………
I don’t want to worry you when you are just a few months away from such important exams, but nor do I want you to be unprepared.
Your grandmother’s health has deteriorated since you were home at Christmas. She had a stroke a few days ago, and the road to recovery is a long one. The doctors have told your father and I that there is little hope of her making that journey. They have asked us to prepare for what will happen. They say that it is merely a matter of time.
I wish you were here with us, and not all those miles away, but I know that you have Victoire and other friends to help you through this. Please do not be stubborn and accept any support that they offer you.
I will write again as soon as I have any news. I have also written to your Head of House to let him know what is happening, and am in touch with him.
Big, big hugs and all my love,
“Oh”, said Vic quietly as she came to the end of the letter. “She’s right, you know. You are stubborn. And I know what you are going through. I didn’t cope well when grand-pere was ill. But then, we didn’t expect him to have Dragon Pox at his age…..”
“I know you’re there”, said Nat softly through some snuffles. “Its just - my grandmother has lived with us since before I can remember. She was there every day when I came home from school; she was there with me every evening that my father was working late and my mother was off at some evening class or other - we used to play dominoes. Its - its just a little muggle game. She’s like a parent to me.”
“Ssssh”, said Vic softly, hugging Nat as she let go in a fresh flood of tears.
It took a long time to calm Nat down, but when Vic did, it was like her friend closed herself off a little as she announced that they should go to the library - their homework would wait for nothing, and she needed a distraction - besides, her mother had said herself that she was in touch with Professor Longbottom. If - and this was the only time in this speech that Nat shook a little - there was any news, he would surely find them.
Vic and Nat spent the best part of the day in the library completing their outstanding essays, and when they left for the last time, exhausted, at around nine o’clock that night, their homework was pretty much done. The only essay they both had outstanding was that on the Goblin Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, which was not due until the following Friday.
They were a corridor or two away from the fat lady’s portrait when they bumped into Neville.
“Professor”, said Vic warmly. She glanced at her watch. There was still a couple of minutes before their curfew commenced.
“Victoire, Natasha”, said Neville warmly. “Don’t worry, Victoire, I’m not about to punish you for being out after hours - aside from anything else, given the books you’re carrying you’ve obviously been to the library. No, Natasha, I was coming to look for you.”
“Oh Merlin”, Nat gasped. Vic felt Nat collapse beside her as the Charms books she had taken out of the library fell to the floor.
“We should probably go to my office”, said Neville pointedly, as he picked up the books Nat had dropped while Vic helped her stand up straight and put an arm round her shoulders.
“I think that would be a good idea”, agreed Vic. They followed Neville to his office nearby; an office that Ted had once told Vic had traditionally belonged to whomever was the Head of Gryffindor House, due to its proximity to the Tower. When they got there, Vic helped Nat into a chair, and rubbed her back soothingly.
“Its my grandmother, isn’t it?” gasped Nat in between sobs.
“I’m afraid so”, said Neville softly.
“Her mother wrote to her”, Vic explained. “She got the letter today.”
“Ah”, said Neville. “As you seem to have surmised, Natasha, your grandmother passed away late last night. I have just received the owl from your mother. I put one of the school owls at her disposal as soon as I learnt of the situation. I have already apparated to Worcestershire and advised her that you will floo to the Leaky Cauldron and spend the night there. Hannah will look after you, and in the morning your mother will arrange train tickets for you to travel home. Victoire will keep note of the work you have missed here.”
“I can go home?” Nat asked, her eyes swollen as she looked up at Neville. He nodded in response.
“You can go home”, he said aloud. ”Natasha - if it means anything to you - my grandmother brought me up after my parents were attacked by Death Eaters. I know how you must be feeling right now. My thoughts are with you and your family.”
“Thank you, Professor”, sniffled Nat. “Can I go now?” Neville nodded.
“Vic, I - “ Nat dissolved into tears again.
“Its alright”, said Vic soothingly. “Don’t worry about me. Just think about yourself and your parents. I’ll be fine here, and I’ll keep up with everything for you. I’ll get Dom to come in and make sure that I’m properly awake for classes every morning.” Nat made a weak attempt at a laugh while Neville stoked the fire in the corner of the room.
“I’ll be back in a few days”, Nat croaked as she hugged Vic goodbye.
“I’ll miss you. Give my - tell your parents I’m so sorry”, said Vic. Nat nodded, and then moved towards the fire before flooing to the Leaky Cauldron.
“Hannah will look after her”, Neville assured Vic.
“I know”, she agreed. “I better go back to Gryffindor Tower. Its almost half past nine. I’ll keep a note of all the work we do - and arrange Dom as an alarm call.”
“Good night“, said Neville as she left the room.
Vic walked softly and sombrely back to Gryffindor Tower, her head spinning. One thought struck out amongst the others, though - before she went to sleep tonight she was writing letters to both of her grandmothers. Nothing overly exciting, just to see how they were doing. She would have to go and see Dom first, though…………..
Vic had always wondered at the lack of observance in men, and she found herself with reason to as it was not until Tuesday evening that Ted approached her, having noticed that Nat was missing.
“Where’s Nat?” Ted asked her, coming over to the table Vic was studying at in the common room.
“She had to go home”, Vic told him. “Her grandmother died.”
“Oh”, said Ted softly.
Ted sat down in the chair opposite Victoire. She didn’t seem to notice, and returned to her essay as he appraised her. He realised uncomfortably that as much as he’d moaned that Hem had not been speaking to him much recently, he and Vic had not really spoken seriously for a while. Not since the Christmas holidays. They’d spoken in passing, and when Nat was there - but they hadn’t been alone together since the night they’d returned to Hogwarts. Ted shook his head.
“How are you doing?” Ted asked pointedly. Vic shrugged.
“I liked Nat’s grandmother”, said Vic softly. “She baked us cookies when I went to stay there during the holidays. I know it sounds stupid, but when I came back here on Sunday night, the first thing I did was write to grandma Molly and to grand-mere to see how they were. Just to say hello and catch up and stuff.”
“That’s not stupid”, said Ted firmly. He didn’t know what he would do without his own grandmother. He supposed if she hadn’t been there Harry would have, but as much as Harry meant to him it wouldn’t have been the same.
“I’ve just been trying to keep busy”, Vic told him. “Studying and stuff. I got a letter from Nat just after dinner time to say that the funeral is on Friday and she’ll be back at some point over the weekend.” Ted nodded absentmindedly.
“How is everything with you?” Vic asked him.
“Fine”, shrugged Ted. “Time seems to be going by so quickly, though. I can’t believe I only have four and a half months left here. James owled me about a Quidditch match Ginny took him and Al to - fifteen hours it went on for until the Magpies Seeker caught the snitch.”
“James must have loved that”, smiled Vic.
“Yeah, he - “ They were interrupted when a sixth year that Ted recognised from the Quidditch team came over to them.
“Hey, sorry - I - I don’t think we’ve really met, but my name’s Evan”, he said to Vic. “I just - I noticed your friend wasn’t here, and your brother Louis told me at Quidditch practice what happened with her grandmother. I just wanted to say how sorry I am.”
“Oh”, said Vic. Ted could pick up the slight hint of nervousness in her voice.
“I’ll make sure Nat knows”, said Vic more assuredly than she looked. Ted raised his eyebrows. Evan smiled at Vic.
“I should probably go back to my Defence essay”, said Evan softly. “See you Victoire.”
“Bye”, said Vic. Ted must have had a strange expression on his face, because when she turned back around to look at him, she was jumpy.
“What?!” Vic said instantly.
“Looks like you’ll have no issues replacing Hem”, blurted Ted, wondering at the same time why it bothered him that Vic seemed to be moving on so quickly.
“Ted, that’s the first time Evan has ever spoken to me”, Vic protested.
“So he said”, said Ted. He shook his head. Why were they wasting their time talking about this guy they both hardly knew?
“How are you making it to your first class on time?” Ted asked her, changing the subject. He knew that Nat was responsible for waking Vic up each and every morning, A task for which he had privately determined that Nat deserved sainthood.
“Dom”, said Vic.
“What’s it costing you?”
“A better birthday present than usual and copious amounts of Honeydukes chocolate”, answered Vic.
“Good bargain”, said Ted. “But then, I would do just about anything for chocolate.”
“Ted, you would sell your soul for a good bar of chocolate”, said Vic astutely. She knew him far too well.
“If we ever find ourselves in a war, you better not tell anyone that”, said Ted. Vic shrugged smartly.
“Your mother have any news last time she wrote?”
“Not really”, said Vic. “Just that tante Gabrielle had a good time in Italy and to remember Uncle Ron’s birthday - its in a couple of weeks. I already got his present, though.” Alarm bells went off in Ted’s head. Between his exams and Caro and figuring out what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, he had completely forgotten.
“I’ll get him some chocolate frogs or a bottle of firewhiskey or something”, said Ted, mentally planning a rule-breaking visit to Hogsmeade. Yet another advantage of being a metamorphmagus was that he could sneak out of school in ordinary robes and pretend that he was someone else and nobody he met was any the wiser.
Ted turned round and saw Rowland and Wes poring over an essay for Herbology that was due in a couple of days time.
“I should go back to my Herbology homework”, said Ted softly. Vic nodded.
“Yeah, I should get back to my Arithmancy homework”, Vic agreed.
Ted wandered back over to the table Rowland and Wes were sitting at, but he was unable to concentrate much on his Herbology homework. He vowed to speak to Hem the next day to sort out their friendship and remind him that Vic had no issue with it, to write to his grandmother (and to Nat, whom he had become very friendly with in the past few years), and to stop being stupid about the guy that had come over and spoken to Vic. He supposed that what had happened with Hem, him going off with that stupid, annoying Ava Ackerley had made him more protective of Vic.
The following morning, Ted had an opportunity to make amends with Hem, as they were paired together by Professor Rackharrow in Charms.
“This is stupid”, said Ted, after Hem had spent ten minutes muttering on nervously about the charm they were supposed to be practising. Hem looked up at him strangely.
“We’ve been friends for almost seven years”, Ted clarified. “You’ve stayed at my house during the holidays; I’ve stayed at yours. Vic told me everything that happened. As much as I think you’re stupid for cheating on her with that - thing, Ava, Vic told me that I shouldn’t think about it, and its her and not you I’m going to listen to when it comes to that.” Hem nodded.
“Let’s just stop being eejits and go back to how it was before. Mates”, said Ted.
“Ted, I - “
“Don’t worry about it”, said Ted, waving his hand dismissively. “Its all forgotten.”
“Don’t thank me, thank Vic.”
“I don’t even know how it happened”, said Hem. “I really wanted things to work out with Victoire.”
“Well, that’s all in the past”, Ted shrugged. “Now, you’re better than Charms than I am. What in Merlin’s name are we meant to be doing?”
As much as Ted had long ago outwardly forgiven Hem, and cleared the air for Vic’s sake, he still felt a little uncomfortable around him. Wes might say that he couldn’t believe that anyone would ditch Vic for Ava; Ted hated the dishonesty more than anything. And he felt like his family had been rejected. After all, Vic was Harry’s niece, and Harry was the same as family to Ted.
Ever protective, Ted also went about asking Wes and Rowland about Evan, figuring that as fellow Quidditch team members they would be able to shed light on him. He would have asked Hem, but he figured that with he and Vic only having just broken up, the timing wasn’t the best.
“He’s a decent guy”, shrugged Wes one night in the library, when they were supposed to be studying. “I only know him from Quidditch. He plays fair, and he’s one of the few of us that can control Felicia when she goes off in one of her moods.”
“Why?” Rowland asked. “What is he to you?” Ted muttered something about Vic.
“Oho!” grinned Wes. “Now we’re getting down to it. So, you do fancy her, then.”
“What?” said Ted. “No. I just want to make sure she’s alright after what happened with Hem. Its not like she’s seeing this Evan guy anyway. I do not fancy Vic, I have Caro.”
“Sure”, said Rowland. Ted pretended that he did not see his friend rolling his eyes.
“We should get back to this essay”, scowled Ted inwardly. He should never have brought up the subject.
“Ted, its alright, its just us”, said Rowland. “Even with Caro, if you fancy Vic, you should just say so. We would understand. She’s pretty, funny, smart, great to be around. Who wouldn’t fancy her?”
“Me”, said Ted firmly. “So, where were we on this Potions essay? The book says that the main indication of a Caution Concoction is a blue-ish tint with a streak of yellow through. What have you both written about it so far?”
“What you’ve just said”, said Rowland. “We were interrupted by your questioning.”
“We should get on with our essay”, Ted reiterated. “I think we’re supposed to write about when the potion would be used, as well. I think we should write about recklessness, and Quidditch matches.”
“Quidditch matches?” Wes asked, leaving Ted slightly relieved that conversation had veered away from Vic.
“Yeah, because some people have no caution when they’re playing it”, explained Ted. “Think about it, do Seekers really think of the dangers when they start a match? They’re usually the ones nobbled by the opposition, and think of all the bludgers flung at them. Would a logical person really even start a game as Seeker?”
This started a conversation on Quidditch, distracting Ted from what his friends had said. He shook his head, though. They had to be wrong about what they said about Vic. There was nothing between him and her. He had never told them about what had happened at New Year, but that had been a blip, a misunderstanding. He had been drunk. One thing was for sure, though - he knew now that he could never tell them, because they would never let him live it down if he did.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; June 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 pm.
The following Saturday morning found Ted and his fellow seventh years sitting at a table in the corner of the Gryffindor common room perusing leaflets Neville had given them in their career consultations earlier that week. The leaflets reminded each of them what various prospective employers were looking for in terms of NEWTs and personal qualities, and information on the jobs they were applying for.
“Ted, I hate to do this, but can I ask your advice?” asked one of the girls, Olivia Ogden, biting her lip slightly. Ted raised his eyebrow questioningly.
“Its just that I’m applying to be an Auror”, she explained. “And I know your godfather works there, and I was wondering if my application should be more geared towards the practical side or the academic side? I know Professor Longbottom said it should be practical, but….”
“I just want to get it right”, she finished.
“You can’t use Ted as a free pass to the Auror Office!” Caro exclaimed, rising from her seat.
“Sit down, Car”, said Ted, touching her arm gently. “Its alright. Um, Harry prefers that you excel at the practical side, but there are people on the selection panel who prefer the academic stuff. So I would make it as balanced as possible, but lead with the practical stuff - the fact that you’re Gryffindor champion at Duelling Club, that sort of thing, because I think Harry probably gets the last say.”
“Thanks”, said Olivia gratefully. Ted just shrugged. He’d had help from Hermione on what to say in his application, so he felt it was only fair that he should help someone else with theirs. He made a mental note to mention that to Caro if she brought the subject up later.
“Where are you applying, Ted?” Olivia’s friend Bessie asked.
“The DRCMC”, said Ted.
“I still can’t believe you’re not applying for the Auror Office”, said Matt Hopkins. “You’d be a shoo in, turning up at the interview - ‘Mr. Lupin, I see from this that your godfather is Head of the Auror Office and the saviour of all mankind, welcome aboard’.”
“I would never use Harry to get a job, and even if I tried, he would treat me the same way as everyone else anyway”, said Ted. “Besides, you don’t have to join the Auror Office to do good.” He burst into laughter.
“What?” Wes asked.
“Nothing”, said Ted. When he’d asked Hermione’s advice about the DRCMC, she’d told him that in spite of being with the Wizengamot, she’d once told the then Minister of Magic that she had no interest in a career in magical law enforcement because she hoped to do good in the world.
“How’s your application going?” Ted asked Caro.
“Fine”, she shrugged. “I already sent away a folio of my designs, and got pretty much accepted based on that. They just need a written application with some of my ideas about the future of fashion, and that sort of thing.”
“Well, I’m hoping that this application is just a back-up”, said Wes, stretching his arms. “And that one of these Quidditch scouts that’s been coming to our matches makes me an offer.”
“Would you play for anyone, just to get started?” Hem asked him. Wes shrugged.
“Even the Canons?”
“Even the Canons”, confirmed Wes. “I’m better than the idiots they have playing for them right now, so I’d look amazing alongside them. And it would be a good place to work up to a better team, getting first team experience.”
“And if the big Quidditch offers don’t come in?” Caro’s friend Mattie asked.
“Then you are looking at a trainee Obliviator”, sighed Wes.
“Its not that bad”, said Rowland, who was applying for the same job. “You’d be doing different things every day. There might even be days where there isn’t anything going on, and you can just sit in the office, listening to Quidditch on the wireless and reading the Prophet.”
“So ambitious, Rowland!” grinned Matt. “Wouldn’t you both be better off applying to the Department for Magical Games and Sports or something, like me?”
“Yeah, but then we’d have to look at your ugly mug every day forever and ever, and that might just destroy our souls”, said Wes solemnly, before ducking when Matt threw his quill in Wes’ direction.
“Its kind of strange that we’re sitting here, applying for these jobs, and in six months time we’ll be doing them”, said Olivia quietly.
“I don’t think it’ll sink in until September 1st and I’m not getting on the train”, said Ted. He’d be going to King’s Cross that day anyway - it would be James’ turn to go to Hogwarts, and he’d get to see Vic, Dom and Louis off as well - and Molly and Lucy.
Ted looked down at his application form, and bit the end of his quill. He’d filled in the administrative sections - his name, date of birth, wand type, Hogwarts House - naming Neville as his reference (he was sure Neville would give him a good one) and the subjects he had studied at OWL level and those he would take NEWT exams in. Given his change in career choice since he’d chosen his NEWT subjects, he was glad that he had chosen Care of Magical Creatures - he figured that would look good on his application. And while some of the creatures Hagrid introduced the class to were a little unconventional, his classes were never anything approaching dull, and he was extremely knowledgeable as far as his subject was concerned.
Now, all he had to do was fill in the scary part - the essay on why he wanted to work for the Ministry, and why he was the best choice for the job. He’d spoken to Neville about this part when they’d had their career talk on Tuesday. He was a little wary about writing about his father’s history in his application. It was the main factor behind his decision to apply there, but he didn’t want to become some sort of oddity in the office, should he get the job. He wanted to ease himself in gradually, and tell people slowly. The world had moved on, but he knew that there were still anti-werewolf prejudices - particularly amongst some of the older people at the Ministry. If he’d been more organised, he would have completed a draft of this a week ago, and sent it to Hermione to see what she thought of it…
Ted picked up his quill, and began to write.
The subject of lycanthropy has always been one that found interest with me, from childhood. Being in the position of relation of someone who was unlucky enough to be bitten, I know of the prejudices faced by those unlucky enough to share that fate, and believe that the Ministry should be as helpful and sympathetic as possible to those who suddenly find their lives turned upside down. The Ministry campaigns on this issue……
Ted got no further as they were interrupted by Ava Ackerley coming over from where she’d been sitting next to her friends on the sofa, and wrapping her arms tightly around Hem, and giggling idiotically in his ear. Ted raised his eyebrow. Ava seemed to have come over to their table pretty suddenly, and having been talking to Hem earlier, Ted knew she was well aware of what the seventh years were up to.
Catching Ted’s eye, Wes nodded towards the girls’ staircase, as Vic came down from her dormitory, followed by Dom and a couple of her friends. Ted rolled his eyes. Ava seemed to be going out of her way to throw her relationship with Hem in Vic’s face. Not that Ted could figure out anything Vic had ever done to Ava to deserve it (he made a mental note to ask her about it). The girls waved at Ted in passing - their heavy looking bags indicating that they were bound for the library - and headed through the portrait hole. He waved back, and shook his head in Hem and Ava’s direction.
Ted could just imagine the conversation Vic and Dom were having, Dom abusing Ava, and Vic trying to calm her down. He sometimes found it strange that Vic was older than Dom - they could be as protective of each other that you got the impression they were twins rather than sisters. Not that Ted had ever mentioned that to either of them - he valued his life, and preferred to have a bat-free nasal area.
“I don’t know how you stand sharing a dormitory with that girl”, said Dom vehemently as she and Vic studied in the library later. Her friends had returned to Gryffindor Tower, but Vic had remained with Dom in the library to work on some Ancient Runes homework - a subject Dom was alone amongst her friends in studying.
“I don’t really have much of a choice”, Vic pointed out, shrugging.
“But she’s such a little *****!” Dom exclaimed.
“Dom!” Vic admonished. “Don’t let Grandma Molly hear you use that word, or she’ll be scourgifying your mouth faster than you can say Merlin.”
“Doesn’t stop it being true, though”, said Dom stubbornly.
“Yeah, well”, said Vic, sighing. “When school is finished I will never have to set eyes on her again.”
“Vic……do boys prefer girls like Ava?” Dom asked in a small voice.
Vic turned to look at her sister. She was wringing her hands - a sure sign of nervousness in Dom - and a look of hope was plastered across her face. Who was Dom interested in? She had never confided in Vic before.
“It depends on the boy in question”, answered Vic diplomatically. In her opinion, if a girl threw herself at him, most boys would accept the offer. Not all of them, though - she couldn’t see Ted doing that, for example.
“Dom, whatever these boys want now will change as they get older”, said Vic wisely. “Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway. But then, maybe you should be asking someone who has had more than one boyfriend. I do know one thing, though, Dom - don’t change yourself. Don’t change yourself for anyone. If a guy doesn’t like you for who you are, then he isn’t worth bothering about.”
“I guess - I mean - you’re right about that”, said Dom thoughtfully.
“So who is he?” Vic asked, unable to contain her curiosity any further.
“You promise you won’t say?” Dom warned her, raising her wand.
“Well, I don’t think an Unbreakable Vow is appropriate but I won’t go about telling everyone”, said Vic, smiling. “So?”
Dom motioned for her sister to move in closer.
“Its Pierce”, Dom whispered.
“That posh friend of Louis’ that always acts like maman is some kind of princess, and calls her ma’am?” asked Vic, trying not to laugh. At least it wasn’t that twit Archie Bagman that kept staring at her, and agreeing with everything she said just to please her.
“He’s not that posh, just polite”, defended Dom. “You don’t think I’m too loud for him or anything?”
“Ying and yang”, said Vic, think of how Nat described Ted and Caro’s relationship.
“Sometimes opposites attract to form a balanced relationship”, clarified Vic.
“What do you think I should do?” Dom asked.
“If you’re serious, then ask him to Hogsmeade next time there’s a trip”, Vic suggested. “And make sure he realises that its just the two of you.”
“Yeah, I think I will”, said Dom quietly.
Vic just nodded, but privately she thought Dom very brave - Vic had never asked anyone for a Hogsmeade date before, and wouldn’t know how to even start going about it - what to say, how to act. She was lucky in that guys seemed to ask her.
“Oh I forgot - “, said Vic, digging into her bag and pulling out an extra large bar of Honeydukes best chocolate and handing it over to Dom. Her sister looked at her suspiciously.
“What do you want?” Dom asked her cautiously.
“This is to say thank you - for everything this week”, said Vic. “You were the one that asked for it in return for being my human alarm clock!”
“I didn’t realise you actually meant to get me something”, said Dom, her eyes lighting up as she took the chocolate.
“Of course I did!” exclaimed Vic. “Listen, we better think about getting back to the Tower and dumping our bags - its almost dinner time.”
“Yeah”, agreed Dom. “Thanks for helping me with the Runes homework. Of course, it would have been a lot less time consuming if you had just handed me your old Runes assignment from last year……”
“Professor Bennett is pretty smart”, said Vic, stowing her books in her bag. “She would have been able to tell straight away if you’d just copied my work.”
“I hope there’s lamb chops for dinner”, said Dom as they left the library and headed back to Gryffindor Tower to dump their bags. “We haven’t had them for ages.”
The next morning, Ted found himself up first. Waking just after seven and unable to get back to sleep, he headed down to breakfast first and helped himself to eggs, bacon and toast. Looking about him, he could only see a couple of Ravenclaws and a Hufflepuff at the other tables. Nodding at them, he wondered if they were insomniacs, naturally early risers or hoping to get to the library when it opened at 8am to study or complete homework.
As he sipped the pumpkin juice he had poured for himself, Ted made a mental note of the letters he had to write that evening. Since his first year, Ted had always used Sunday as a letter writing day. He hadn’t written to his grandmother in a couple of days, and he hadn’t written to Harry and everyone since the previous weekend. He thought back to his application to the DRCMC, which he had completed and sent off the day before. His grandmother had been a little wary during the holidays, when he had mentioned his change in career direction, but had ultimately accepted it the way that, he assumed, she had accepted his parents’ marriage. Ted was his father’s son as well as his mother’s - and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Ted knew that she had always expected him to follow his mother and godfather into the Auror Office, but he was pretty much all she had left - and he was well aware that she would accept most things to ensure that he remained close to her.
Ted yawned as he climbed the stairs after his breakfast, heading straight for the library once he had finished his breakfast. He had brought his study materials with him to avoid disturbing everyone (he knew the rest of the dormitory would still be asleep) and was in any case keen to get a head start before everyone else came along and started distracting him. He was just passing an old statue when he came across Nat, heading back to Gryffindor Tower.
“I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother”, said Ted sincerely. “I - I’m not really too sure what I would do without mine.”
“Thank you”, said Nat softly. She looked more delicate than Ted had ever seen her, and though she had always naturally been very skinny, Ted could tell that she had lost weight she couldn’t spare.
“And thank you for that letter you wrote”, said Nat. “It meant a lot to me.”
“Is this you just back now?” Ted asked. Nat nodded, a slightly haunted look upon her face.
“The - the funeral was on Friday. I took a train into London yesterday afternoon, and stayed overnight at the Leaky Cauldron like I did on the way home. I just flooed into Professor Longbottom’s office just now”, she explained to him.
“So Vic doesn’t even know you’re back yet?”
“No one does - well, other than you and Professor Longbottom”, said Nat. “Why?”
“Nothing”, said Ted. He remembered something from the previous day.
“Nat, I may be able to get sense out of you”, he began. “Yesterday, all of the seventh years were filling out our application forms for studying and working after we leave Hogwarts. I was filling in the essay part of my application to the DRCMC when Ava suddenly came over and started throwing herself over Hem just because Vic was on her way downstairs. Has……has Vic ever done anything to Ava to make her like that over Hem, or is she worried he still likes Vic or something?”
“You really don’t understand girls, do you Ted?” laughed Nat, though her laugh didn‘t quite reach her eyes.
“No, Vic has never done anything to Ava. She doesn’t have to. Vic and I were coming back from the library one night, I think, and we overheard Ava in the dormitory, talking to her friends about how she wanted to take Hem away from Vic - she sounded determined to do so. Merlin knows what she has against Vic, but it probably doesn’t amount to much. Jealousy most likely.”
“That Vic is prettier, smarter and funnier than she could ever be”, explained Nat. She was right, he sighed. Ted really did not understand girls.
“You’re right”, he said aloud. “I really don’t understand girls. Anyway, I am heading for the library - hopefully I’ll get my homework finished and some studying started since yesterday was pretty much about my application form and not schoolwork. Its great to have you back, Nat. She hasn’t said so, but I can tell that Vic missed you. So did I, come to that.” He pulled her into a hug - something he had seldom done before - and then headed on up to the library, thoughts of his Herbology essay occupying his mind.
Vic was delighted to have Nat back, but she could sense that a part of her best friend wasn’t really there when she spoke to her. Vic didn’t force her to confide, though - Nat could be as stubborn as Vic when she set her mind to it. Besides, Vic knew that when Vic was ready, she would confide in her as always. Vic spent most of Sunday catching Nat up on what she had missed in class and out, and was very interested to hear about Nat’s conversation with Ted - like him she did not know what she had ever done to Ava, but it was like her to be vindictive towards Vic.
When the two girls headed downstairs through the Gryffindor common room on their way to breakfast on Monday, they came across their fellow fifth years, including a thoughtful looking Curnow Crowther, staring at the common room notice board.
“What’s going on?” Vic asked Curnow, who was slightly on the edge of the group.
“Professor Longbottom has put up the times for our career talks this week”, said Curnow. “To talk over what we want to do after Hogwarts and the NEWTs we want to study.”
“Oh”, said Vic, absentmindedly. She hadn’t figured on working that out for at least another year. They had until NEWTs to apply. Ted had only figured out about the DRCMC recently.
“What is it you want to do?” Nat was asking Curnow as Vic noted that her appointment with Neville was at half past eleven on Wednesday - during Arithmancy, a favourite subject.
“My mother is determined that I do something useful and join the Ministry”, said Curnow, shaking his head. “But I love Potions, and I think I’d quite like to work in St. Mungo’s or as an Apothecary, maybe open up my own place or something after I‘ve done an apprenticeship.”
“Really?” said Nat. “I’m going to apply to work at St. Mungo’s. I want to be a Healer.”
“Oh?” asked Vic. “You never said so before. I thought you were as undecided as I am?”
“I want to be a Healer”, repeated Nat. “Its…….its been on my mind for a while, but I figure that was because its what I want to do.”
Vic smiled, but she was pretty sure that Nat’s decision had more to do with her grandmother’s recent death than any longstanding flirtation with that profession. She hadn’t mentioned it before.
“When is your meeting?” she asked Nat.
“Thursday at twelve - hey that’s during History of Magic. Yes!!” Nat smiled - for perhaps the third time since her return the previous morning.
“Mine’s during Arithmancy on Wednesday”, said Vic, wishing that her meeting with Neville was during History of Magic. “Listen, we better get down to breakfast - its Monday and we don’t want to miss the pancakes and syrup the house elves make on Mondays.”
“Yeah”, agreed Nat.
“I envy you”, Vic said shyly to Nat as they sat down to their pancakes five minutes later.
“Why?” Nat asked, looking puzzled.
“Because you know what you want to do with your life”, admitted Vic. “I don’t have a clue. Even with all the family doing such different stuff - Aunt Hermione and Uncle Percy at the Ministry, Uncle Harry and Uncle Ron at the Auror Office, my parents at Gringotts, Uncle Charlie and his dragons, Uncle George and his shop, and everything Aunt Ginny has done - I don‘t know if I can see myself doing any of those things. I‘ll probably end up picking my NEWT subjects based on what I enjoy most, and what will give me the most options for applying to different places.”
“I’m sure you’ll figure it all out sometime”, said Nat, helping herself to a second portion of pancakes. “After all - didn’t you say that Ted only just figured out what it is he wants to do?” Vic nodded.
“I guess so”, a nodding Vic admitted, feeling more positive.
One thought stuck with her throughout the day, though - there were no certainties in life, and she couldn’t even make a decisive decision on what to do with the rest of her life.
In spite of Vic’s fears that she did not know what she wanted to do for the rest of her life, Neville assured her that she was not the only one and that in his own fifth year he himself had been equally clueless. He advised her to speak to her relations about their jobs, and what they entailed, and to work hard for her OWL exams. Vic, he assured her, was right in thinking that a wide range of NEWT subjects would allow her to put off her decision until her seventh year.
And as much as Vic did not want them to, her OWL exams seemed to be creeping ever closer. February had rapidly become March, and it was now less than three months until her exams started. She had half considered asking Aunt Hermione to make up a study timetable for her, but in the end had decided that it wouldn’t be fair to put Hermione to that much trouble when she probably wouldn’t follow it anyway.
One Tuesday evening she and Nat found themselves in the Gryffindor common room, studying for a Muggle Studies exam. Since the war, Muggle Studies had become a compulsory subject for all Hogwarts students from first to fifth year. And according to Hermione, the teaching of the subject had also improved.
“You have such an advantage in this subject”, Vic said to Nat as she tried to get her head round how the muggle government worked.
“Well think of the advantage you had over me when we first started”, said Nat fairly. “I barely had a clue how to hold my wand, never mind cast spells. And that’s before we even get started on the topic of flying lessons……”
“So you reckon you are entitled to this advantage, then?”
“Absolutely”, said Nat. “And it is really easy. In Britain, there are two Houses of Parliament - the House of Commons, which is elected by the people, and the House of Lords, which is made up of a selection of peers. Life peers, people who have inherited a peerage, things like that. Also, when some members of the House of Commons retire - usually ones that have been in the Cabinet - they are made peers and join the House of Lords.”
“So who makes laws?” Vic asked.
“Well, the House of Commons debate laws - they are called bills - and once they have a majority decision on it, they send it to the House of Lords for approval. The House of Lords either approve it or reject it. If they reject it, the House of Commons can change it or try to get the House of Lords to approve it again”, Nat explained.
“And if they approve it, then it automatically becomes law?” asked Vic.
“Yeah. No”, said Nat. “Well, technically it does have to be signed by the head of state.”
“Is that the person in charge of the House of Commons or the House of Lords?”
“Neither. The Head of State is the reigning king or queen.”
“That is just mental”, said Vic, shaking her head. “How in Merlin’s name does that work?”
“Well, at least the House of Commons are elected by the people”, said Nat fairly. “Look at the Wizengamot - that isn’t elected by us or our parents. Which means that it is so much easier to get unpopular laws through.”
“I guess”, Vic conceded. In truth, she hadn’t really thought much about it.
“Right, this section is giving me a headache”, said Vic firmly, rubbing her temples. “Let’s move on to something else.”
“There is our History of Magic essay due for the end of the week”, said Nat. “Neither of us is finished it.”
“What’s it on again?” Vic asked. She had so many essays due that she had trouble keeping up with them sometimes. She had started carrying around a diary filled with lists of when homework was due, and what she had to write in each assignment. It seemed never-ending.
“The founding and early years of Hogwarts”, said Nat.
“These things last”, said Vic. “I mean look at Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin - they pretty much ended their friendship over the pure-blood issue, and it stayed with us ’til modern times.”
“There’s lots of things in the muggle world that last that long”, said Nat. “I guess it all comes back to what they teach us in Muggle Studies - magic and muggle, not really that much difference.”
“Yeah”, agreed Vic. “Right, History of Magic essay it is.” Rummaging through her bag she found the essay. Glancing over it she saw that she had already done most of the work - how the four founders had come together, and the establishment of the school itself, She really just had to do a few paragraphs on the split between Gryffindor and Slytherin and her conclusion.
“I actually don’t have much to do on this”, said Vic, smiling a little. “How about you?”
“Just the conclusion”, said Nat. She looked over Vic’s essay. “I have stuff to do for Divination - I’ll work on that after I’m done.”
“Dream diary again?” Vic asked, raising her eyebrow. Nat nodded.
“From what I get from speaking to your relations, the teaching of Divination really hasn’t moved along much in the past twenty years.”
Vic was writing the details of the Gryffindor/Slytherin split, and how Salazar Slytherin had a vindictive and prejudiced side to him in the creation of the Chamber of Secrets - she shivered as she wrote those words, thinking of her poor aunt - when she and Nat were interrupted.
“Is this yours?” came a vaguely familiar voice.
Vic looked up to see Evan standing beside their table, holding up a few sheaves of parchment. Looking at the table itself, Vic could see some of hers missing; it had obviously fallen off while she was working.
“That’s mine. Thank you”, said Vic softly. He hadn’t come over to speak to her since the night she had been talking to Ted when Nat was away, but she had caught his eyes across the common room or the library since, and she had to admit that he was growing on her. One thing was for sure - Evan wouldn’t do to her what Hem had.
Evan handed her the parchment.
“Thank you, Evan”, Vic repeated. She liked saying his name out loud. It kind of rolled off her tongue. He smiled back at her.
“No problem”, he said. “Having a nightmare with OWLs?” Vic nodded.
“I hated last year”, said Evan sympathetically. “Its like - you have so much homework, yet you are expected to study all the time.”
“Exactly!” Vic exclaimed. “There are not enough hours in the day to do both. Makes me wish I had a time turner or something.”
“You’ll get through it somehow”, Evan assured her. “And then, once the exams are over, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. And why you spent hours studying some obscure spell or topic that never came up in any of the exams you sat.”
“I hope so”, said Vic. “Don’t you, Nat?” she turned to her friend, who had been staring at her parchment ever since Evan had come over.
“Yeah”, said Nat. “I just can’t wait for that day, though, when we finish our last exam. We are so having a party that night.”
“I actually can’t remember the night of my last exam”, admitted Evan, grinning. “Someone had brought a bottle of firewhiskey back after the Easter holidays, and we drank it to celebrate. All I can remember is waking up the day after with a thumping headache.”
“Yeah, firewhiskey has the same effect on me”, agreed Vic instantly. “I had some at new year, and the next day was awful. I recommend avoiding having it on the same night as champagne.”
“I’ll remember that”, smiled Evan. “Listen I better get back to my Defence homework - Professor Robards will have my guts for Quidditch robes if I don’t finish my essay on defensive protection for Thursday. I’ll see you another time.”
“Bye”, said Vic. She watched as he walked back to where the rest of his friends were sitting at another table. She could see the Quidditch captain, Felicia Thornton, turning round and looking at her appraisingly, and one of the boys Evan was sitting next to nudging him.”
“He is so into you”, said Nat, interrupting Vic’s thoughts.
“He’s growing on me too”, Vic admitted. “Hey, I forgot to tell you - he spoke to me before. When you were - when you were away. He said he was so sorry to hear about what had happened.”
“You never told me that”, said Nat, surprised. Vic hadn’t mentioned it because it would have involved mentioning Nat’s grandmother, and since Nat didn’t seem to want to talk about her time at home for the funeral, Vic had left it at that. Nat was the kind of person that held things inside of her, and only talked about things when she was completely ready.
“Yeah, I was talking to Ted one night, and he just came over and introduced himself and said he’d heard why you were away, and that he was sorry. I don’t think Ted knew what to make of it all. He said something about me moving on from Hem pretty quickly”, said Vic.
“Did he really?” asked Nat, an odd look on her face. Vic raised her eyebrows.
“What?” she asked.
“You don’t think he was jealous of Evan or something?” said Nat tentatively.
“Nope”, said Vic emphatically. “He is into Caro, not me. You only have to see the two of them together.” She indicated the couple, closely entwined on the chairs next to the fireplace.
“Hmmm”, said an unconvinced sounding Nat.
Evan seemed to crop up a lot over the next few days. He seemed to be in the great hall for meals at the same time as Vic and Nat, and in the library when they were. In fact, he came over and spoke to them when they were in the library, ostensibly studying for Defence, the week after he had last spoken to them.
“I got a letter from Aunt Hermione today”, Vic was telling Nat. “Thanking me for Uncle Ron’s birthday present. She was telling me about Rosie and Hugo, too - apparently Hugo and Grandpa Arthur have been playing around with the batteries in the shed at my grandparents‘ house, and they‘ve managed to get something Hugo was given by his muggle grandparents working again.”
“Hugo is the one that’s into muggle stuff, isn’t he?” said Nat. Vic nodded.
“He’s the only one of us that’s really taken after Grandpa Arthur in that way, which I think Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron find a bit weird, given that she’s muggle-born, and so Hugo has two muggle grandparents.”
“You have so many cousins, its hard to keep track of them all”, said Nat softly.
“Hey”, said Evan as he joined them. “Studying hard?”
“Defence”, said Vic. “ Professor Robards set us an essay on defensive jinxes and hexes.”
“Yeah, I think I remember that one”, said Evan, grinning. “Be sure to mention stinging jinxes - he likes them for some reason.”
“Will do”, said Vic, smiling.
“Actually, I think I’ll go and see if there are any books on that”, said Nat tactfully. Vic watched her turn the corner in search of books.
“You know, you seem to know quite a bit about me, but I know nothing about you”, said Vic fairly, smiling at Evan.
“What do you want to know?” Evan asked her.
“Anything”, said Vic, shrugging.
“I hate dance music”, said Evan seriously. “All my friends love it, but I can’t stand it. I listen to it for their sake, but I really don’t see what they like about it so much.”
“Me too”, Vic giggled. “Louis listens to awful dance music - Dom and I were saying at Christmas that we should get him proper musical taste as a present! I don’t know what it is that he listens to, but its horrific!”
“Maybe it’s a Qudditch team thing that’s passed me by”, said Evan thoughtfully.
“Maybe”, Vic agreed. “So, what do you listen to then?”
“Old magical rock”, said Evan. “I like The Weird Sisters, and The Potion Makers, and I’m also quite into Vampires Anonymous.”
“Yeah, I quite like that as well”, Vic agreed. “I suppose my family has quite eclectic musical tastes. Dom, Ted and I like pretty much the same stuff as you; Louis is into dance music; Grandma Molly loves Celestina Warbeck; Maman hates Celestina Warbeck…..”
“Oh, I didn’t realise you were actually related to Ted Lupin”, said Evan.
“Well, technically I’m not, though coming from pureblood families somewhere along the line, I suppose we are related in some form by marriage”, said Vic.
“Ted is my Uncle Harry’s godson“, she explained. “And he’s family by nature if not by name. He’s been at every family event I can remember.”
“Evan, are you coming back to the common room?” asked Felicia, coming over to where Evan was.
“Huh?” said Evan.
“We’re all going back to the common room now”, said Felicia. “Eddie and Mark got shouted at by Madam Pince for being too loud, though she’s so deaf now I don’t think she could actually hear what they were saying, and so we’re all going back to the common room to finish our Charms homework.”
“I should come too, then”, said Evan. “Otherwise Mark and Eddie might not understand their Charms homework.”
“Yeah, Nat said you really liked Charms”, blurted Vic. Evan looked at her strangely.
“Nat went to Charms Club for a while when we were in second year”, explained Vic. “She was having trouble in class, so Rackharrow thought she would benefit from it.”
“Ah”, said Evan, understanding her. “Anyway, I should really go. I’ll see you sometime soon, Victoire.”
“You too”, said Vic, smiling. She watched as he left her table and wandered away. Hmmm, as well as being quite cute, Vic had to admit that he had a very attractive bum.
“Well?” Nat hissed as she rejoined Vic, minus any books.
“I knew you didn’t have to go and get a book!” said Vic instantly.
“Never mind that”, said Nat dismissively with a wave of her hand. “Did he ask you out for Hogsmeade?”
“No”, said Vic. “But I think he’s growing on me, a bit.”
“That’s good”, said Nat encouragingly.
As Ted sat in the common room the following evening, he shook his head viciously. The amount of studying he was doing was beyond a joke; besides, about 90% of what he was learning would never appear in any of his exams. He rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands and put all of his books and parchment back into his bag. Looking over towards the fireplace, he could see Wes, Rowland, Hem and Ava, along with Caro and her friends. He’d been forced to get used to Ava Ackerley’s presence over the past few weeks, but while he had relented and forgiven Hem at Vic’s request, he still had no time for the girl that had come between them.
“I never want to open another textbook again”, sighed Ted as he threw himself down on the floor, next to Caro’s chair.
“My poor Ted”, said Caro soothingly, running her fingers through his hair. She stood up, and then helped Ted up from the floor, seating him in her armchair before placing herself on his knee.
“Anyway, I don’t want to talk about studying and exams any more”, said Ted. “What were you all talking about before I came over?”
“Quidditch”, said Caro, as if it was a swear word. Ted grinned.
“Who do you think is going to win this season?” Hem asked.
“Portree have a good chance”, shrugged Ted. “But I’m going for the Harpies.” Rowland and Hem s******ed at him.
“What?!” Ted exclaimed. “I grew up going to see the Harpies every week. I was on first name terms with them and everything. They all thought I was adorable.” This just made them laugh louder.
“The Magpies are in good form at the moment, they could mount an end of season challenge”, said Wes reasonably, once the laughter had subsided. “Their Keeper is playing really well, too, so they’re not losing that many goals, which means that even if they don’t catch the snitch they’ve still got a good chance of winning the match.”
“How many games are left until the end of the season again?” Rowland asked.
“Seven or eight”, said Ted. He knew from Harry’s last letter that he was looking forward to the end of the season as Ginny would be home a lot more at the weekends.
“At least we know who is going to win the cup here”, said Rowland smartly.
“What, Ravenclaw?” asked Ted in mischievous mock-innocence.
“You know its going to be us”, said Wes as he high-fived his team-mates.
“I’m hungry”, groaned Caro’s friend Alberta. “I should probably have eaten dinner. Anyone want to come down to the kitchens to grab some fruit or a salad?”
“We’ll come with you”, sighed Caro, indicating herself and their friend Mattie. She turned to Ted.
“You should go if you want to”, Ted shrugged. He wasn’t the type to give or withhold permission for his girlfriend to go somewhere. Ted had never been possessive.
“I won’t be long”, she kissed him goodbye, and waved constantly as she walked over to the portrait hole.
“Watch out for Filch!” Ted warned, laughing.
Ted glanced around the room; as it was around eleven, most of the students had headed up to their dormitories to get ready for bed. There were a couple of sixth years Ted knew a little, Warren and Kitty, who were hidden away in one of the corners; one of Dom’s friends whose name escaped him was completing an essay at one of the two occupied tables - the other was being used by Vic, who seemed to have fallen asleep.
He grinned to himself as he looked over at her. She was alone at the table; he vaguely recalled Nat complaining of being tired and going to bed early when she had passed by him on her way upstairs. Whatever homework it was that she was attempting to complete was sprawled out over the desk, and the book she’d been taking notes from was doubling up as a pillow, her long strawberry blonde hair falling over the desk beside her.
From beside him, he could vaguely hear Wes - or was it Rowland? - saying that one of them should go and wake her up.
“I’ll go and wake her”, said Ava smartly, standing up from her position on Hem’s lap.
“No”, said Ted firmly, turning round and facing her. Of all people, she was going nowhere near Vic.
“Well, she shouldn’t be up past her bedtime”, Ava commented under her breath.
“Last time I checked, you and Vic were in the same year”, Ted reminded her coolly.
“My birthday is in September”, Ava asserted, her hands on her hips. “I’m almost a year older than Victoire.”
“Whatever”, said Ted dismissively. He turned away from the rest of them and moved towards the table where Vic sat.
“Wake up sleepy”, Ted whispered, rubbing Vic’s back. He smiled as she seemed to come to, and sat up, rubbing her eyes.
“Ted?” she said vaguely.
“Yep”, he replied. “Vic, you’re in the common room - you must’ve fallen asleep studying for - “ He picked up the book she had been sleeping on.
“Ancient Runes”, yawned Vic. She glanced at her watch.
“Oh well, at least it isn’t the middle of the night”, Vic shrugged. “How are you?”
“Same as always”, grinned Ted. “Listen, I bumped in to Molly and a couple of her friends in the library tonight. Sweet kids - every time I go over to say hi to her they always seem to be very impressed that she knows a seventh year boy!”
“Yeah, they were both a little in awe when I went over to speak to her the other night, and helped them with their homework”, said Vic. “It’ll all get a bit more chaotic next year when James and Lucy are here too. Where do you think they’ll end up?”
“I think James would leave if he was sorted anywhere other than Gryffindor”, said Ted instantly. “Given that he’s already got himself pencilled in for the Quidditch team - since Harry was the youngest player in a century, he wants to be the youngest captain. Lucy - I’m not sure. I think either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, maybe more Gryffindor than Ravenclaw.”
“Hmm, I think Ravenclaw”, said Vic. “Lucy is a year younger, but she’s really protective of Molly. I think she’ll be determined they should stick together. And Lucy is just as smart as Molly is - it just doesn’t matter to her as much to be smart.”
“So has that guy asked you out for Hogsmeade yet?” Ted asked, biting his lip. He didn’t want to see her get hurt twice in quick succession.
“No, he hasn’t”, said Vic, grinning. “He’s a nice guy. He won’t do to me what - he’ll treat me well. And I haven’t said that I’ll said yes even if he does ask me.”
“Oh?” said Ted. He’d pretty much accepted it as a foregone conclusion that she would say yes.
“Nat is determined that I should, I think”, said Vic. “She makes herself scarce whenever he comes over to talk to us - to talk to me.”
“Really?” said Ted, quietly.
“Anyway, I better go to bed. My Runes homework isn’t due until the end of the week, and I’m almost done. I can finish it after my prefect rounds tomorrow night”, said Vic.
“I’ll be going myself soon. Caro’s gone to the kitchens with Mattie and Alberta. I should wait up ‘til they get back, though”, said Ted as he helped Vic pack up her study things. Caro wouldn’t be happy if she returned to find he’d gone up to bed.
“Night, Ted. Thanks for helping me pack up”, said Vic as she pulled him into a hug.
“Night”, said Ted, smiling as he noted a few strands of Vic’s hair catch themselves in the strap of her bag, and helped her untangle them.
“What in Melin’s name is going on?!” Ted cringed inwardly as he turned to see Caro staring back at him, seemingly about to breathe fire. He was in so much trouble.
Vic groaned inwardly as Caro, flanked by her friends, walked over to where she and Ted stood. She hated being caught in the middle of their arguments.
"I said, what is going on?" repeated Caro, her voice growing louder with each syllable.
"Vic fell asleep, I woke her up", shrugged Ted. "We talked, she said she was going up to her dorm, and then she got her hair tangled up in her bag, I was just helping her de-tangle."
'Poor Ted', thought Vic.
"Well, I did offer to wake her up", said Ava smartly from over beside the fireplace. "But you were adamant you'd do it."
"Really?!" exclaimed Caro as Wes and Rowland hushed Ava. Vic started to move away, mumbling about wanting to go to bed.
"Ted, there is something weird about your so-called friendship with her!" Caro yelled. "She gives you Christmas presents that a girlfriend would give a boyfriend, and you are just as bad! You are closer than a lot of couples I know."
"Caro, I - "
"Don't interrupt me!" Caro yelled. "You are so into her, Ted, why do you keep lying to me? Why? I have forgiven you and that girl so much - "
"Caro, she has a name. As much as you cannot stand her, Victoire has a name", said Ted stubbornly. "And she's like family to me, that's why we're so close."
"I said don't interrupt me!" she screamed. Half way up the staircase, to where the stairs up to the boys and girls dorms began, Vic turned round, and saw behind her people coming down from bed to find out what was going on.
"See, you have no respect for me, and what I want. Its her - always her - its only ever been her!" Caro screamed, her friends standing staunchly beside her and glaring up at Vic.
“No wonder you wanted me to go down to the kitchens! You wanted me out of the way so you could spend time with her!” Caro yelled even louder as Ted tried to protest his innocence.
"What is going on?" Dom asked Vic, coming downstairs in her pyjamas, yawning.
"Oh", said Dom, shaking her head as she looked down at the argument below. "She's gone psycho again. What did you do? Talk to Ted?"
"Yeah, pretty much", Vic muttered.
"Hey", said Wes coming over to split up the argument. "Its after eleven, most people are trying to sleep - though by the looks of things you've woken them up again!" He indicated the staircase Vic was standing on, where what seemed like two-thirds of Gryffindor House had assembled.
"Caro, I think you should go upstairs. You too, Ted. If you want to argue this out, you can do it tomorrow", Wes added. “In private.”
"He's right", said Ted. Vic knew how much he hated being the centre of attention like this.
"I'm going to head up to bed as well", said Vic to Dom. "I'll tell you all about it in the morning." She turned and walked up the remaining stairs to the second from top floor of the Tower, wishing that - for Ted's sake - she had gone upstairs as soon as she'd felt tired.
A week after the argument between Ted and Caro, it was still being muttered about in Gryffindor Tower, and in the great hall, where the seventh years sat divided. Vic couldn’t help wondering each time hushed voices greeted her if she was just being paranoid, or if they had just been talking about her own involvement in the fight. Dom, Louis and their friends had been very sympathetic - as had Evan, who had very sweetly come over to speak to her and Nat in the library the following evening to ask if she was alright. And to make it clear that he thought Caro was talking rubbish.
On the Friday of the week following their argument, Vic glanced at the notice board on her way down to breakfast, and found a smile growing across her face as she saw a notice for the next Hogsmeade visit in a couple of weeks time, just before the Easter holidays.
“Excellent!” exclaimed Nat as she and Vic walked down to breakfast. “I am running low on sugar quills and chocolate - both studying necessities……I could do with some more quills, parchment and ink as well, I think. How about you?”
“Bits and pieces”, said Vic, shrugging. “I’m just glad to get some time away from here, though - it’ll be good to stretch our legs properly and forget about studying and homework and exams for a few hours.” She’d also have to buy her cousin Lucy’s birthday present - she would be eleven the day after Vic returned for the Easter holidays, an important birthday.
She’d taken advantage of the attention focused on her after Ted and Caro’s fight, and sought refuge in the library to put her far ahead in the completion of her homework. She was now in a position where she could arrange study time, and was devoting between two and three hours a day to her exam revision.
“I’m looking forward to this afternoon”, sighed Nat. “Divination followed by Care of Magical Creatures - Friday afternoon is always so much more relaxing compared to the rest of them.”
“I have Arithmancy just after lunch”, said Vic. “I’ve been thinking about taking it next year, for NEWTs. Have you thought yet about what subjects you’re going to take?”
“Professor Longbottom told me about what I’d need to get into St. Mungo’s when I went to see him for our career talk the other week”, said Nat. “Potions, Herbology, Transfiguration, Charms and Defence. I think I might actually do Care of Magical Creatures as well -Hagrid knows a lot about natural remedies, and I guess it would be useful to know a bit about the different injuries you can get from magical animals. I don’t really have that background knowledge.”
“He’ll be pleased”, Vic smiled as they entered the great hall. Glancing down the table, she saw Caro and her friends about half way down the table, and Ted and some more of the seventh years further down, towards the head table.
“Hey, Vic!” she turned to her right to see her sister sitting with some friends ten or so feet away, waving wildly. They walked down and took some seats beside them.
“Morning”, said Vic. “Did you see the Hogsmeade notice?” She looked at her sister who nodded softly.
“Looks like I‘ll be going to Hogsmeade on my own”, Dom whispered in Vic’s ear. It took Vic a moment to recall at such an early hour what Dom was talking about - then she remembered Dom had been keen on one of Louis’ friends, Pierce.
“Well, if he said no then its his loss and not yours”, Vic whispered back firmly. “And you will not be on your own, you have me, Nat and all your friends to go with, remember?”
“Well, strictly speaking I didn’t actually ask him”, Dom admitted in an undertone. “I just heard him say to Benny that he was going with some Ravenclaw fourth year, so……”
“Ah”, said Vic sympathetically.
“What are you two whispering about?” asked Dom’s friend Leigh-Anne mischievously. “Is it that thing we were talking about last night to get back at - “
“NO!” Dom exclaimed vehemently, shaking her head.
“Get back at who?” asked Vic suspiciously.
“The psycho”, muttered Dom guiltily. “Seriously, Vic, you should hear some of the things she’s been saying about you - and Ted.”
“Its fine”, said Vic, even though that was far from being the case.
“The likelihood is that she and Ted will patch up their differences in a week or so”, embellished Nat. “It would make it awkward for Vic - and for you and for Ted - if you did something.”
“Exactly what I was just about to say”, said Vic as she helped herself to some scrambled eggs and toast. “As much as I can’t stand the girl, there is always the probability that she and Ted will get back together, and I am not going to give her ANYTHING she can use against me when that happens.”
“Sausages?” asked Nat. Vic shook her head. She tried to limit treating herself to weekends.
“Morning”, came a voice from behind them. Vic turned round to see a smiling Evan passing them on his way out of the hall; his friends wandered on ahead of him.
“Morning”, said Vic, pleased that her mouth wasn’t full. “How are you?”
“Not bad. Yourself?” he asked.
“Good”, said Vic smiling. “I can’t wait for tonight, though - Friday night is always my favourite part of the weekend, when you’ve still got it all to look forward to.”
“Really?”, Evan smiled. “Hey, I, uh, I don’t know if you saw on your way down, but there’s a notice upon the board in the common room - “
“Evan!” One of his friends had come back and was calling him. “You better hurry up, otherwise we’ll be late! We’re in greenhouse five today, remember?”
“Yeah, I better go”, he agreed. Greenhouse five was furthest away from the school, and was the closest of any of the classrooms to the forest.
“I - I’ll talk to you later, Victoire”, he said as he picked his bag up from the floor and followed his friend - the one Vic thought was called Mark - out of the hall.
“Bye!” Vic called after him. She turned round to see four pairs of eyes looking at her expectantly.
“What?” said Vic defensively.
“He was so going to ask you to Hogsmeade”, said Nat. “I’ve been telling you that for weeks now.”
“Yeah, I think he was”, Vic agreed, before finishing off her breakfast.
“Well?” asked Emme, Dom’s friend. “Are you going to say yes?”
“Hmm, possibly”, said Vic grinning. She had pretty much made up her mind a few days ago.
“We should actually get going to class as well”, said Nat.
“What have you got first thing?” Dom asked.
“Muggle Studies”, replied Vic as she removed her bag from under the table. “How about you?”
“History of Magic”, groaned Dom, stabbing her fork into a sausage. “Giant Wars of the 15th Century. Not exactly the most riveting of subjects.”
“History of Magic is one subject I will not be sorry to see the back of, I must admit”, said Vic. “See you later.”
As she and Nat left the table and the great hall, moving through the castle to their Muggle Studies lesson, Vic thought seriously about Evan. She would say yes - when he was able to finish asking her. He was a lovely, sweet guy, and not at all the type to do to her what Hem had. She might even actually be able to tell her parents about him - a boyfriend one year older was better than one with two years age difference. After all, Uncle Harry was a year older than Aunt Ginny………
Vic did not have to wait long. When she was writing her Astronomy essay that evening, Evan came over to the table she and Nat were sitting at in the common room.
“Damn it!” muttered Nat as soon as he said hello. “I’ll be back in a minute - need to go upstairs and get another set of quills from my trunk……” Vic shook her head slightly at the obvious attempt at tact Nat had made.
“Obvious, much”, she muttered to herself under her breath.
“Hey”, said Vic, grinning. “How was your day, then?”
“Not too bad”, shrugged Evan. “I have Friday afternoons free, the way my timetable works, and then Quidditch practice after dinner, so it was quite a laid back kind of day. Eases me into the weekend. How about you?”
“I only wish it was as free as that”, said Vic. “But this afternoon wasn’t too bad - Arithmancy and then Care of Magical Creatures. Hagrid knows my family pretty well, so I’ve known him since I was little. I don’t think I’ll be taking his subject next year, but I’ve learnt a lot from him, and his classes are always quite informal.”
“And with minimal homework, according to Persephone”, grinned Evan. “Anyway, this morning - before we were interrupted by Mark, I just wanted to ask if you’d seen the notice for Hogsmeade in a couple of weeks - for the visit, I mean - and if maybe you wanted to go with me?”
“I suppose I’ll be able to fit you into my schedule”, smiled Vic coyly. “On one condition, though.” Evan looked at her quizzically.
“Promise me that you will not, on any occasion, force me through the door of Madam Puddifoot’s”, said Vic solemnly.
“I think I can manage that”, he laughed. “Listen, I need to go to the library to get some books for my Herbology essay - I’ll see you later.”
“See you”, Vic replied, waving him off.
“Well?!” hissed Nat.
“Well what?” asked Vic innocently.
“He asked you out for Hogsmeade….”
“Yes, that”, said Nat pointedly.
“I said yes”, said Vic, putting her friend out of her misery. “On the condition we don’t ever go anywhere near that awful teashop.”
“My guess is that’s probably a condition most guys would be able to live with”, grinned Nat.
“Wait - if I’m going with Evan - who are you going to go with? Do you want me to - “
“Vic, its fine”, interrupted Nat. “This is your first date. There is no way I am going anywhere near the two of you. I’ll go with Dom and the rest of them.”
“If you’re sure”, said Vic, biting her lip. As much as Nat was keen on her and Evan getting together, and sociable and everything, Vic could tell that she was still not over her grandmother’s death. When Nat thought no one was looking, Vic could see a look of pain and grief falling over her eyes, a haunted look she recalled from when her grand-pere had died.
“I am sure”, said Nat firmly. “And think of the look on Caro’s face - you going out with Evan limits her argument that you and Ted are in some sort of secret relationship.”
“I guess”, shrugged Vic. She felt a sudden shiver coming over her. As well as worrying about Nat, she was concerned for Ted. They had both kept a tactful and polite distance from one another over the past week. They still spoke, but there was always at least two or three other people there. If there was one thing Vic hated about Caro, it was the distance the girl put between her and Ted - in spite of his argument that he could go out with her and still have the same friendship with Vic that he’d always had.
“We better get on with this essay”, continued Vic, shaking her head. “I’ve still got to write about Jupiter’s moons and the properties of the planets.”
“And after that we have the pleasure of our Potions essay”, groaned Nat.
“You know you secretly love Potions”, chided Vic.
“I guess”, Nat admitted. “Right, Astronomy. Focus…”
The following morning, Ted Lupin sat cross-legged in the grounds, staring at the piece of parchment in front of him. It was a beautiful sunny day - the kind that made you think it was summer rather than spring, but that was not at the forefront of Ted’s mind at present. He stared straight ahead of him at the stone statue erected in remembrance of those who died in the Battle of Hogwarts, their names etched on it, forever remembered in granite.
“Figured you would be here”, said a voice behind him. Ted turned round to see Vic looking down at him. Ted raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t even heard her coming up behind him.
“Wes said you wandered off somewhere with a letter”, Vic elaborated. “I think he and Rowland were actually worried about you.”
“Give them something to think about other than Quidditch and those Ravenclaw girls”, Ted mumbled to himself.
“They all got their letters from the Ministry today”, Vic continued. “They wondered if you got yours. I was….I was worried in case you didn’t and maybe there was something wrong at home or something. Is your grandmother sick? Or is it something to do with Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry, or James, Lily or Al?”
Ted handed her the letter. He had already pretty much memorised it.
Dear Mr. Lupin,
Thank you for your application to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.
We believe that your experience and aspirations make you an excellent candidate, and are pleased to say that you have been successful in your application to the department. We would like to invite you to an interview in the Ministry during your Easter holidays.
Please present yourself to Isadora Cavendish in the DRCMC on 10th April at 10am. We also require you to bring your OWL results.
We require you to confirm your attendance at least one week prior to the above date.
Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
“Ted, that’s amazing!” Vic exclaimed once she had read the letter. “Well done!”
“My experience and aspirations make me an excellent candidate”, said Ted, repeating what was written in the letter. “What if the only reason they’re giving me an interview is that they think I’m some sort of freak because my father was a werewolf? I should never have mentioned I even knew one in my application……”
“No”, said Vic. “One thing you are not is a freak, Ted. My father was attacked by a werewolf too, remember? They mean that the fact you have close knowledge of it is a good thing - it means they know that you’re serious about this, and that you‘re not walking into the job with extreme prejudices against werewolves.”
“I think you’ll find it was my grandmother’s cousin that was Sirius”, said Ted, quietly.
“I mean what I said”, Vic informed him, thwacking him lightly on the shoulder. She sat down next to him.
“I figured you would be here”, Vic repeated, as Ted stared silently at the statue. “This is where you always come when something bothers you.”
“How did you know that?” he asked, surprised. He thought he was the only one that knew.
“I know everything”, said Vic, an element of superiority in her voice.
“Its just….I don’t know”, he shrugged.
“I miss them”, he said quietly. “I should be writing to them, telling them I’ve got an interview, not Harry and Ginny.”
“Harry treats you like a son”, said Vic. “You know, for a while when we were little, I thought you were. Though I was a little confused about where your grandmother came into the equation.” Ted grinned softly.
“I used to pretend he was my father, sometimes, when I was little”, Ted whispered so that only he and Vic could hear - not that there was anyone near them, anyway.
“I used to pretend to myself that actually Harry and Ginny were my parents, and there had been some kind of mix-up at St. Mungo’s or something. I guess I just didn’t want to deal with the fact that they were gone.”
“They might not be your parents in blood, but they treat you like their own child”, said Vic. “And they are going to be very proud when you tell them that you’ve got an interview. Maybe Aunt Hermione will go over some interview questions with you before you go, since she used to work in the department?”
“I guess”, said Ted. Then a thought struck him.
“You know, Vic, I never stopped to ask Wes and Rowland if they got in. Some friend I am”, said Ted glumly. He really was feeling sorry for himself today, wasn’t he?
“Don’t be stupid”, said Vic, thumping him softly on the shoulder. “They were worried about you, you know. So was I when I was walking down here. How’s……how’s everything with Caro?”
“The same”, shrugged Ted. “She isn’t speaking to me, and walks off in the opposite direction every time she sees me in the halls. When we have the same class, she sits on the opposite side of the room flanked by her friends and won’t even look at me, never mind speak to me.”
“I’m sorry”, said Vic. “If my hair hadn’t got tangled up like that - “
“Vic, don’t”, said Ted, raising his hand. “You know as well as I do that you are in no way to blame for this. Don’t try to make me feel better by implicating yourself in this….in this mess - its all about Caro‘s insecurities, not you. I think I should go back up the Tower. I should write to Harry and tell him I’ve got an interview. I haven’t written to them all in a few days anyway. I‘m due to write a letter. I should write to my grandmother as well.”
“Okay”, said Vic. “I’ll walk you up.”
They stood up and brushed the grass and leaves off themselves before heading back up towards the school.
“I can’t wait for Hogsmeade in a couple of weeks”, said Ted. “I need to get my grandmother a present - its her birthday just before we go home for the holidays.”
“So it is”, said Vic. She had a look on her face that told Ted she’d forgotten.
“Its Lucy’s too, just after we get home”, said Vic. Damn it - that was two presents he had to buy.
“Yeah, I know”, said Ted, pretending he hadn’t forgotten about it as much as she’d forgotten his grandmother’s birthday.
“I think I’ll end up going with Matt - everyone else has dates”, said Ted, shrugging. “You and Nat want to meet up with us in the Broomsticks or something?” Vic turned a light shade of red as he said this. Ted raised his eyebrows.
“I have….a date”, said Vic shyly.
“That guy that was talking to you before?” Ted asked. He tried to remember the guy’s name - it began with an ‘E’, he could remember that. Eddie? Eric? Evan - that was it.
“With Evan, yes”, said Vic. “He asked me last night. I think - he seems like a really nice guy, and when we’ve been talking we seem to get on pretty well.”
“Good”, said Ted, a detached voice coming from his throat. “I’m glad - after everything that happened before, I mean.”
“Me too”, said Vic instantly. “He won’t treat me badly. And I have to say, I’m really looking forward to it.”
“Good”, repeated Ted.
“You said that already”, said Vic awkwardly.
“Sorry”, said Ted. “I’m pretty tired, Vic. I’m really happy for you - I hope everything goes well.”
“Did you hear about the lead singer of The Ridgebacks?” Vic asked, changing the subject. “It was in the Prophet - he quit the band.”
“Really?” said Ted, feigning interest. “Did he say why?”
“Something to do with wanting to take time out and live a ‘real life’”, said Vic. “But everyone knows it has something to do with that Harpies Keeper.”
“Yeah”, nodded Vic.
“You should be a gossip reporter for The Prophet”, laughed Ted. “You pay enough attention to it.”
“Only the stuff I’m interested in”, said Vic defensively. “Besides, I think I’ll go into something more…..worthy…..than that.”
“You could always replace him in The Ridgebacks”, said Ted.
“I don’t play a musical instrument and I can’t sing”, said Vic flatly as they climbed the stairs to Gryffindor Tower.
“Is that really that much of a big deal?” teased Ted.
“You know it is”, Vic replied. “Listen, I told Nat I would meet her in the library to finish our Charms essay. I should go and meet her. Are you - ?”
“I’ll be fine”, Ted assured her. “I’m going to write to Harry. Go meet Nat.”
“I’ll speak to you later”, said Vic. She glanced both ways up the corridor, and then hugged him tightly. He shook his head as she walked away from him. She shouldn’t have to worry about who saw her hugging him. She was, after all, his best friend.
Ted continued up the corridor in the direction of Gryffindor Tower. He contemplated Vic’s Hogsmeade date. That Evan seemed a decent guy, like she’d said. He made a mental note, however, to quiz Wes and Rowland about him again, as they were also on the Quidditch team. They must have some idea of what he was like. As long as Evan didn’t treat her like Hem had, that was all Ted cared about, he told himself defensively.
When Ted reached the dorm room, it was empty; everyone else must be in the library or out in the grounds. Given the homework they had all been given, he assumed it was more likely to be the former, in spite of the weather. He searched through his trunk and picked out some parchment and ink, along with a quill. Ted sighed heavily.
Hi Harry, Ginny and anyone else that happens to be reading this - yeah that means you, James, Al and Lily!
Hope you are all well - everything at Hogwarts is going fine, aside from all the homework I have to do! We have another Hogsmeade weekend coming up, just before the holidays, too. It’ll be great to get out of here for a few hours and go to the Three Broomsticks and Honeydukes! Especially since my chocolate supply is running low!
The main reason I am writing is that I got a reply back from the DRCMC, and I have an interview with them when I’m home for Easter!!
James - hope you enjoyed that Quidditch match between the Tornadoes and the Harpies you were going to. The Prophet said it was a really close match in spite of the score. Al and Lily, I hope you enjoyed it too - let me know how Toffee is and what you are up to at your muggle school. If you need any help with anything then I’ll get Vic’s friend Nat to help you - she’s muggleborn, and pretty smart, too.
I can’t wait until the Easter holidays to get a break - NEWT year is deadly. I can’t wait to get some of my free time back!
Remember to let me know how everything is going for you!
See you soon,
PS - Don’t worry, I’ll get some chocolate from Honeydukes for you!
PPS - Harpies for the league!!
He laid down his quill and re-read what he had written, crossing some things out and adding others. Really, what he wanted to do was ask Harry about his parents again, particularly his father. Would Remus Lupin be proud or slightly embarrassed of the son that fought for a werewolf’s rights, and perhaps attracting attention to the fact that he was one? For all the stories that Harry had told him, there was still things that he wondered about - what would his parents have thought? How much did they think about the rights of werewolves? Or did the fact that his father was one affect him more than them?
‘Never mind, dad’, thought Ted. ‘Whether you wanted me to or not, I’m going to fight for those that are victims like you. And I’m going to make their lives easier than yours was. I swear.’
Last edited by MissGryffindor; July 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 pm.
Vic sat down nervously at the Gryffindor table on the morning of her first date with Evan. She poured her pumpkin juice out a little shakily, and then helped herself to scrambled eggs and toast. When she and Hem had started going out, it was after knowing each other for a number of years through Ted. Evan was still, to a certain extent, an unknown quantity.
“Calm down”, said Nat softly.
“Easy for you to say”, muttered Vic. “Do you think I did the right thing? Saying yes? I mean, when it comes down to it, how much do Evan and I actually know each other?”
“That’s why you’re going on a date”, said Nat as if it were obvious. “To get to know each other better.”
“I guess”, said Vic thoughtfully.
"It'll be fine", Nat reassured her. "And because you're just getting to know each other, you'll have a lot to talk about. If there's a gap in the conversation, just ask him questions about himself - what kind of music he likes, which team he supports, matches he's been to, that sort of thing?"
"I have to talk to him about Quidditch?" said Vic, a tad downhearted.
"I just meant that as an example", shrugged Nat. "You don't have to mention the Q word if you don't want to. But...he's on the team, so odds are you'll have to talk to him about it at some point. Might as well get it over with."
"We've talked about music before", said Vic, feeling a bit more confidently. "Its just that before....well, we'd known each other for years because of Ted." Other than Caro, Louis and Dom's friends were the last new people she'd had to get to know, and that was three years ago.
"I know. Maybe the fact that you and Evan are starting off on a different footing is a good sign that this will be a very different relationship", said Nat hopefully.
"Here's to that", said Vic, raising a glass of pumpkin juice. "You're going with Dom and the rest of them?"
"I am", Nat affirmed, nodding. "We are going to spend the day frivolously, spending more money than we can afford and then head to the pub."
"Remind Dom she has to buy Lucy's birthday present", said Vic. "She won't have time after we go home; its the day after the holidays start."
"Will do. Its my gra - " Nat paused. Vic raised an eyebrow before it hit her - Lucy had the same birthday as Nat’s grandmother.
"I mean - my grand old friend from primary school has a birthday about the same time", Nat finished, the excitement at her day out vanishing from her eyes.
"Nat - I - I remember it is too", said Vic softly.
"I'm such an idiot", Nat muttered. Vic could see small tears forming in her eyes. Nat took a deep breath in and then smiled softly.
"You're not", Vic muttered quietly.
"Morning", said Dom, interrupting as she sat down opposite them with Leigh-Anne and Emme.
"Looking forward to your date?" Vic nodded. She and Nat would talk about this tonight, after they got back from Hogsmeade. Dom turned to her left, looking towards the door she had just come through, and burst out laughing.
"What?" Vic asked through a mouthful of scrambled eggs.
"Louis", said Dom simply, pointing to just beyond the door, where Vic could now see her brother and her date engaged in some sort of discussion that filled Vic with dread. She saw the aggressive body language, and felt her heart sink. Louis, two years younger than her, was playing the protective brother. Vic sighed heavily. She only hoped that Evan didn't scare too easily.
"Go and get him", said Vic, her eyes narrowing. "Dom, go and stop that talk. It is not up to Louis to single-handedly decide that he is going to play the protective brother. If I wanted him to talk to Evan about this, I would have asked." She wished she'd had the option of not telling her brother and sister, but since Louis was on the Quidditch team with Evan, and Nat was going to Hogsmeade with Dom, she hadn't really had too much of a choice in the matter.
Dom left her seat, and walked out into the hallway. Vic could see her literally grab Louis by the sleeves of his much-worn Gryffindor top, and drag her twin in to breakfast, muttering away to him.
"What?!" said Louis as Dom reached her seat again.
"No!" said Vic as vehemently as she could with a smile plastered across her face in case Evan was watching.
"I was just - "
"Well, don't", said Vic sweetly. "Now, I am going. Louis - stay out of my way today. I mean it! The rest of you have a lovely day, and I'll probably see you in the Three Broomsticks." She quickly hugged Nat, still concerned about her best friend, and walked down the aisle to the door where Evan still stood.
"You look lovely", said Evan, grinning as she met him.
"As always", he added.
"Sorry for Louis", said Vic as they moved towards the main door out of the castle.
"Don't worry about it", Evan grinned. "He was just - "
"Well, he doesn't need to", said Vic firmly.
"I should warn you, though, Louis is the tip of the iceberg", said Vic wickedly. "Aside from Ted, there's my father and five uncles playing protector."
"I'll...bear that in mind", said Evan. He looked more than a little nervous.
"Just kidding", laughed Vic. "They're really not that scary."
"Where would you like to go?" Evan asked after a bit. "I really just need to go to Honeydukes, so I'm pretty free."
"Well, I need to go there as well", said Vic. "My love of chocolate knows no bounds. Its all Ted's fault, really. He's the one that got me addicted to it. Though my addiction is nowhere near as chronic as his. And I need to go to Gladrags as well - its my cousin's birthday in a week or so, and I need to pick up a present for her."
"Then the Three Broomsticks?"
"Why not?" Vic agreed.
"How old is your cousin going to be?"
"Eleven - an important birthday, so I want to make sure I get her something nice", said Vic. "I thought maybe a charm bracelet or something."
"Is she looking forward to coming? I know I was - and its always so much easier if you have family here already."
"Yeah, she is", said Vic smiling. "Her sister is in Ravenclaw - first year, and my cousin James will be starting after the summer as well, and of course there's Dom, Louis and I. Do you have many relatives here?"
"Not as many as you", laughed Evan. "No, there is just me and my older sister Estella, and she left a couple of years ago. She works for the Ministry in Australia now, she's an assistant in the ambassador's office."
"Wow", said Vic. "Sunny. You don't have any cousins, or anything?"
"Yeah, but they're all muggle - they don't go here. Both my parents were muggle-born", explained Evan.
"That must be a little weird for you", said Vic thoughtfully. "I mean, all my cousins know they'll be coming here - well, strictly speaking they have to wait for their letter, but you know what I mean. They know all about this place, they even come on Memorial Day for the service. It would be weird for them to go to a completely different school and study completely different things and live a - live a completely different life."
"I guess", said Evan, shrugging. "They don't know about what I study here. Their parents do, but they don't. I only have three cousins anyway. One on my father's side and two on my mother’s." Vic just laughed.
"Sorry", she apologised. "My mother's sister, Tante Gabrielle doesn't have any children, but my father has - had - he comes from a big family. I have nine cousins, all younger than me. Molly - she's the first year Ravenclaw I was telling you about - is the oldest after Dom, Louis and I - and Roxie is the youngest. She's only seven." As they passed through the gates and left the Hogwarts grounds, Vic reflected that this conversation thing wasn't as hard as she'd worried it might be.
"Where to first?" Vic asked as they arrived in the town.
"Gladrags?" asked Evan. Vic grinned. He was obviously on his best, most obliging behaviour.
"Yeah, why not", said Vic. "It always gets busy later on - we won't be in there for as long if we go now." They walked across the street to the wizarding clothing shop. The windows were full of life-like mannequins in brightly coloured robes and signs proclaiming the special offers in their Spring sale. Vic opened the door to find that they were the only customers. She smiled at the sales assistant, who wished them good morning, and headed over to the jewellery stand.
"This looks pretty", Vic muttered as she picked up a delicate charm bracelet, which had immediately caught her eye. It was silver, and had just-recognisable shapes of a cat, a witch’s hat, a broomstick, and a wand. She glanced at the price tag. Two galleons, four sickles. Vic bit her lip and mentally recalled how much she had budgeted for this. After all, she’d already ordered for delivery something for Andromeda’s birthday, which was the following Wednesday. She would have enough left over after this to buy Lucy some chocolates in Honeydukes as well.
"Its...nice", said Evan, seemingly unsure what to say.
"I think I'll get this", said Vic decisively. A look at the rest of the jewellery stand revealed nothing as appropriate or pretty. Besides, it would increase the amount of time she and Evan could spend getting to know each other. Vic walked over to the counter to pay for the bracelet.
"One galleon, two sickles", said the assistant, a smiling woman with warm brown eyes that Vic estimated to be around her parents' age. "Would you like it gift-wrapped?"
"Please", said Vic, nodding. "I thought it was two galleons, four sickles?"
"Its on sale", said the woman, pointing to the stand. Vic hadn't noticed the 50% off sign. "A birthday present?"
"My cousin", said Vic politely.
Vic handed over the exact change, and then accepted the gift-wrapped package in return. As it was on sale, she could afford to buy Lucy her favourite dark chocolates, with the creamy mint centre, rather than just an extra-large bar of regular dark chocolate.
"Thank you", Vic said to the woman. She followed Evan out of the shop, and into the street. Glancing up at the gathering clouds, Vic shivered slightly, wishing that she had thought to bring a jacket with her.
"Cold?" Evan asked.
"A little", Vic admitted. She hated admitting to it - like she was admitting she wasn't responsible enough to have gotten herself ready that morning without assistance.
"I'll warm up in a bit, though", she added. They walked the short distance to Honeydukes, where they found about a quarter of those making the trip. Vic could vaguely make out her dorm-mate Erykah with a date, though thankfully Erykah's friend Ava was nowhere to be seen; Ted's friends Wes and Rowland were in a corner with their Ravenclaw dates; Carnow, a fellow fifth year Gryffindor was just finishing his shopping, and was paying at the check-out.
Vic loved the smell of Honeydukes, particularly the section devoted to all things chocolate. If it wasn't for the lack of healthy properties, she would eat it all day every day. She instinctively grabbed onto Evan's arm and pulled him through the crowd, heading for the chocolate display. She wanted to get Lucy's present before they were sold out.
"Excellent, there's still some left!" she muttered to herself, grabbing a box before turning to Evan.
"Sorry", said Vic apologetically. "I just wanted to make sure I got a box of these before they sold out. Trust Lucy to like the best-selling brand.....what kind do you want?"
"I'm just after a couple of packs of string-mints, some sugar quills, and some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans", Evan shrugged. "I don't really have that much of a sweet tooth."
"Sensible, that", grinned Vic. She looked down to see that she still had one hand on Evan's arm, almost linking her own with his. Smiling shyly at him, she decided it could stay that way until they both needed two arms to carry their shopping.
"Here, let me take that", said Evan, reaching out his hand and taking the box of chocolates from her.
"Thank you", said Vic. This was starting to be a very promising date.
By the time Vic and Evan reached Honeydukes, Ted was long gone. He had ordered a book from Flourish and Blotts for his grandmother’s birthday, and therefore didn't have any other shopping to do, and had left the school early to make sure that he reached his favourite shop first. As Vic had pointed out on numerous occasions, he really did have a chronic addiction to chocolate, and so Ted had stocked up well, buying three super-size bars of milk chocolate, three boxes of mixed with flavourings, and two galleons worth of loose truffles. As Caro was still not speaking to him, except to yell at him every few days, Ted had gone to Hogsmeade with his only other unattached friend, Matt.
"You are worse than a woman with that stuff", Matt told Ted as they left Honeydukes and walked towards their only other stop in Hogsmeade - the Three Broomsticks.
"I'm not an alcoholic or a drug addict, and I don't smoke. As far as addictions go, I figure chocolate isn't that much of an unhealthy one", Ted shrugged. They walked into the Three Broomsticks to find only two of the tables occupied, and the coveted one beside the open fire place empty.
"I'll get the first lot of drinks", said Ted as he left his shopping with Matt at the table before heading up to the bar.
"What can I get you?" the young redhead behind the bar asked.
"Two Butterbeers please, Lila", said Ted, smiling at her. "What is there on the lunch menu today, then?"
"Aunty Rosy's made a vegetable soup, and there's venison pie, a pasta, and fish surprise", Lila answered as she handed over the two steaming glasses of Butterbeer. "One galleon, two sickles, please."
"Here", said Ted, handing over the gold and silver. "I'll probably order lunch in a while. Cheers, Lila."
Ted returned to his table, where Matt was sitting, flicking through a Quidditch Quarterly he'd had delivered that morning.
"How old do you reckon Lila is?" Matt asked Ted. "She's quite pretty, actually."
"Well, I don't remember her from when we started at Hogwarts, but that doesn't mean she wasn't there", said Ted. "I would guess early 20s. You going to ask her out after we finish school?"
"Maybe", he shrugged. "I'd leave it 'til then, anyway. She probably wouldn't go out with a schoolboy. A mover and shaker at the Department of Magical Games and Sports, who could get her match tickets.......that's another story." Ted grinned.
"You know you could just as easily end up working in something to do with gobstones."
"I don't think so", said Matt smugly. "I popped in over the Christmas holidays and spoke to this lovely little witch. She was very interested in me, and very keen to forward any application I made towards the Quidditch League of Britain and Ireland. I've kept in touch with her, as well. No gobstones for me."
"Smooth", said Ted. He shook his head. Matt was just as much of a ladies man as his best friend, Hem, was; he was just a lot more subtle about it.
"I'm sure you and Caro will work everything out in the end", said Matt. "You always do. And you can't blame her for being jealous of Vic; most guys would give anything to go out with her."
"I guess", said Ted, scuffing his shoes along the stone floor. He'd tried to fill his time as much as he could since the Big Fight Night, as he had come to refer to it as in his mind. Mostly, he'd studied, and he had to admit that his homework was getting done a lot quicker now that Caro wasn't there to distract him from his work.
"Listen, while we're on the subject, I just wanted to say....cheers for how you've been with Hem the past few weeks. You didn't need to forgive him like you did for what he did to Vic. I don't even know if I could have, if I'd been in your position. But it could have been really awkward for everyone if you'd made a big deal of it with him", said Matt gratefully.
"Don't worry about it", said Ted. "Actually, you have Vic to thank. She said that Ava seemed out to get Hem from her whatever, and that she didn't want what had happened to wreck the fact that were mates." Ted did not add that he'd forgiven Hem partly for Vic's sake, and partly out of guilt. After all, what kind of hypocrite would he be for disowning one of his mates for kissing a girl other than his girlfriend when Ted had done the same thing - with Hem's own girlfriend.
"Speaking of Vic....", said Matt, looking past Ted to the door. Ted turned round to see Vic coming into the pub, arm in arm with her date. Ted's heart sank a little at the sight of them, looking so happy. He kicked the table leg as he thought of the Caro situation.
"Hey Vic!" shouted Matt, calling Vic and Evan over.
"Someone's been to Honeydukes", said Vic, grinning as she pointed at Ted's shopping. He shrugged and grinned at her in spite of his mood.
"Addiction is an illness", said Ted in mock solemnity. "What did you get?"
"Just a few bits and pieces", she shrugged. "I got Lucy the most beautiful charm bracelet for her birthday."
"Oooh, that's soon", said Ted. He'd forgotten. Given the number of birthdays he had to remember, he should really have a calendar with them all noted.
"Yep", Vic nodded. "Sorry, I should have......you guys know Evan, don't you? Evan - Ted and Matt." The three boys nodded and muttered at each other, as Vic shook her head slightly.
"Well, we should go get ourselves a table, Victoire", said Evan, grinning as he slipped her hand into his.
'Smooth', thought Ted.
"Yeah, we should go get ourselves a table", echoed Vic. "See you guys later."
"See you", said Ted. He watched as they walked over to one of the little, semi-private booths in the corner. Evan left Vic there, and then went over to the bar for drinks.
"Earth to Ted?" Ted looked round to see Matt waving a hand in front of his face.
"Sorry", said Ted. "I just - after everything that happened I just want to make sure this one treats her right."
Matt muttered something under his breath that Ted didn't quite catch.
"Another drink?" asked Matt.
"Why not?" replied Ted, glancing over to the corner where Vic sat, smiling to herself, as she re-arranged her hair, using the window as a mirror. Ted shook his head. Vic being happy was a good thing; he couldn’t let that get him down just because things weren’t working out for him and Caro at the moment.
“Here we go”, said Matt, placing another tankard of Butterbeer in front of Ted and interrupting his thoughts.
“Hey, did I tell you - your godmother is mentioned in the latest Quidditch quarterly”, said Matt, indicating the magazine he had brought with him. “Greatest chasers of the century so far.”
“Strictly speaking Ginny isn’t my godmother”, said Ted. “She’s just married to my godfather.
But I see her like that. What does it say?”
“Just - Ginny Potter, Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies, and the years she played; her scoring statistics. She was the highest scoring Harpy every season she played.”
“I know”, said Ted, smiling. “Harry used to take me to her matches every week during the season. She would probably have made the England team if she hadn’t had to quit when she was having James.”
Ted glanced over to the corner, and saw Evan moving in to kiss Vic. At least one of them was happy.
A thought occurred to Ted.
“Hey, do you mind going to Scrivenshaft’s?” Ted asked. “I just realised, I need some more ink and quills. Actually, given the homework and studying I have to do, some more parchment wouldn’t go amiss either.”
“Sure”, said Matt. “We can go after lunch.”
“Speaking of, I’m starving”, said Ted. “How about we have something now? I feel like a good bowl of vegetable soup, or some venison pie.”
The following afternoon, Ted found himself in the library, completing an essay for Herbology on Venomous Tentacula. He had just reached the conclusion - and therefore the end of his four and a half feet, when Vic came over to join him.
“Hey”, she said, grinning at him. Obviously she had noticed as much as he had that Caro was not in the library today.
“Hey”, said Ted. “What are you up to?”
“Finishing my Runes homework”, said Vic. “I had a translation to do. Pretty hard one as well. How about you?”
“Herbology”, replied Ted, holding up one of the books he had been taking notes from.
“How was your date?” Ted asked.
“Good”, Vic replied. Ted noticed that her face became brighter as she spoke.
“We - Evan’s lovely. He is very kind and considerate, and great fun to be around”, enthused Vic.
“Great”, said Ted, smiling.
“I’m sorry you and Caro didn’t make up in time for Hogsmeade”, said Vic in a small voice.
“The way the world works I guess”, Ted shrugged. He really hoped that they would sort everything out before the end of term that Friday, or at least before his birthday towards the end of the Easter holidays.
“Its weird, but I really cannot imagine you being here next year”, said Vic softly.
“I guess me too, in a way”, agreed Ted. “Hogwarts has been my second home for seven years, and I’m expected to just leave it without a second glance. I’m looking forward to work, though - with what I’m doing, I mean. I really think that it will be - or will lead to - something that can really make a difference.”
“Its going to be weird, not having you here”, said Vic. “And - I’m really going to miss you.”
“You’ll have Evan, though”, said Ted bluntly.
“Its not the same, though”, whispered Vic.
“No”, said Ted. “Its not.”
“Its going to be like going back to before I started here, and I was at home around people, but you weren’t there”, said Vic in a small voice.
“Oh, I meant to tell you - I got a letter from maman”, added Vic.
“Well, it is Sunday”, replied Ted, remembering the Saturday that Vic had received a letter from her parents and freaked out because it wasn’t their usual day for writing.
“We’re not going to France this summer”, said Vic. Ted could tell that she was disappointed; she’d gone there every summer for as long as Ted could remember.
“Why?” he asked.
“Maman says that Tante Gabrielle and grand-mere are coming over here this year” shrugged Vic. “I don’t know why, though. I’ll miss France. Its like a third home to me.”
“Third?” said Ted, grinning.
“After home and here”, answered Vic, as if she were stating the obvious. Ted grinned. He laid aside his essay.
“I’m hungry”, he stated. “How do you feel about a trip to the kitchens for some chocolate pudding?”
“Bring it on”, smiled Vic.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; July 8th, 2011 at 10:45 pm.
Ted found a wave of nostalgia rush over him as he woke up on the morning of the Quidditch final. It was the last weekend in April, the first since their return from the Easter holidays, and Ted was about to attend his final Hogwarts Quidditch final. It seemed to him as if the past few months had been full of ‘final’ events. His last Christmas holidays; his last Valentine’s Day; his last Easter holidays. In two months time he would leave the security of Hogwarts forever, and there was a small part of him that could not quite believe that his seven years there had gone by so quickly.
A quick glance around the room told him that he was the last to rise; Hem, Wes and Rowland were all on the team, and would have gone down to breakfast early. It was one of the things that Felicia had started when she’d taken over the captaincy at the beginning of that year. The team ate together, early, and then headed down to the stadium before most people came down. She said that it focused them all, and meant that they all avoided any taunting from opposition supporters. Matt, the only other seventh year boy not on the team, seemed also to have left before Ted had awoken.
He kicked off the covers and looked at the watch beside his bed; it was a little after nine. There was more than enough time to get down to breakfast, eat a large meal, and then head down to the stadium. It would be strange to see Vic so interested in a match. Even though Louis had joined the team at the beginning of the year, she had never really been interested before this week, but all she had talked about for the past few days was the match.
As Ted got dressed, he mused over Vic’s sudden conversion to Quidditch. Even when she and Hem had been going out, she had not been so interested. Obviously she was far keener on Evan than she had been on Hem. Or maybe it was that Hem had known her for so long, and had expected her aversion to Quidditch would remain, no matter what relationship she had with one of the players. Whatever, it was clear that Vic and Evan’s relationship was progressing quickly. Every time he went to the library to study, complete his homework, or take out a book, they could be found at a corner table, surrounded by Evan’s friends and Nat. Ted even had an inkling that Evan might be introduced to Bill and Fleur at some point, unlike Hem.
Vic and Evan’s relationship stood very much opposed to his and Caro’s. They were still not on speaking terms, and he’d been forced to admit as much to Harry, when no owl arrived with a birthday present for him during the holidays. Ted had too much pride to admit the same to his grandmother, and laid on heavily the story of Caro’s great-aunt, lying ill - dying, in fact - in Ireland. Harry had been sympathetic, though, and had assured him that he had done nothing wrong, had been vehement in fact that there was nothing untoward in Ted’s friendship with Vic - they were, after all, practically family. Ted had been very humbled at this; he’d felt guilty that Harry knew nothing about what had happened between he and Vic at new year.
Ted walked down to breakfast, grinning as he walked through the common room; Gryffindor flags and banners covered the room, and everyone he passed was, like Ted himself, wearing either a t-shirt, jumper or scarf decorated in Gryffindor colours. There was a little cursory hissing when he passed a group of Ravenclaws leaving the great hall, but Ted took it in jest. The only ones that took heavy heckling from the opposition were the team themselves. A glance at the table showed him that Matt had obviously already headed down to the stadium; the only other seventh years there were Olivia and Bessie. Caro and her friends never attended matches (apparently they were too loud) and instead slept later and breakfasted with almost the entire great hall to themselves.
Halfway up the table were Vic and Nat, sitting with Dom and a group of her friends. Ted grinned at them, and walked over, taking a seat next to Dom, and opposite Nat and Vic.
“Morning ladies”, said Ted. “Looking forward to the match?” Vic and Nat nodded, their mouths seemingly full.
“Should be good”, Dom added. “I always like it when it works out that the top two teams play each other in the final match. That way it actually means something.”
“Definitely”, agreed Ted. “I remember my first year, Ravenclaw were pretty far ahead of everyone else. They won all three of their matches, and all the last match between Slytherin and Hufflepuff decided was who finished last.”
“It’s a strange feeling, being excited about Quidditch”, said Vic thoughtfully. “But given that pretty much half the team is leaving after this year, I’m guessing they’ll all be trying more than ever to win. Not that Felicia would ever let just that motivate them - the girl is a fanatic. Everything she does in her spare time has some relation to Quidditch. She has a one-track mind, that girl.”
Since she and Evan had started seeing each other, Vic had also started spending time around Felicia.
“Yeah, we’ll be watching almost a completely different team next year”, said Nat.
“I’m sure James will try out”, said Vic. “He’s a first year so he has almost no chance, but his obsession with Quidditch is more than equal to Felicia’s so she might take to him. Now, Hem, Rowland and Wes are all leaving, so that leaves what positions free?”
“Keeper, Chaser and Beater”, said Dom promptly. “And Evan’s mate Mark is reserve Keeper, so probably they’ll be looking for another Chaser and Beater.”
“I think there’s a reserve Chaser as well”, said Ted. “But that doesn’t really matter - Felicia had a full try-out at the beginning of the year, and she’ll probably do the same again next year. You never know who has improved, who hasn’t practiced at all over the summer. And there are quite a few sixth years on the team. They might want to concentrate on their NEWTs.”
“James prefers Chasing”, said Dom.
“Your cousin will have to be good to get in”, said Dom’s friend, Leigh-Anne. “Usually they’re not keen on first years getting into the team. My brother left a couple of years ago, and he said he never saw anyone younger than third year on the team.”
“James has been on a broomstick since he was in nappies”, said Ted as he helped himself to some more sausages and bacon. “And he knows what it takes to make it professionally.”
“My aunt Ginny played for the Harpies, remember?” added Dom, as the others raised their eyebrows at what Ted had said.
“Well, I for one will be glad when the match is over”, said Vic. “Its very stressful worrying about Quidditch when there’s OWLs to think of. We’ve only got about four weeks or so until they start, and all the revision we’re doing in class is showing me that my own revision hasn’t even covered a quarter of the stuff I should know. And that’s with me studying at least two hours a day on top of my homework during the week, and trying to fit in at least six or seven hours at the weekends.”
“Don’t worry about it”, Ted assured her. A glance at Vic told him that he should’ve known already that she was stressing over exams. Whenever she was really worried about something her eyebrows seemed constantly knotted, like they were growing ever closer together, and a slight line would reveal itself at the very top of her forehead.
“Seriously, don’t worry about it”, Ted repeated. “Yes, your studying might not cover everything, but everyone else is in the same position, and most of what you’ve learnt won’t even be on the exam.”
“That’s what Evan said”, said Vic, a small, soft smile growing across her face. Ted felt a pang of envy. He was used to being the one that Vic came to for advice like that. Maybe that was why it had taken him so long to realise that she as stressed; because she wasn’t asking his advice as much as she had formerly. But then, it had taken him reiterating Evan’s advice for it to sink in…..
“See, it must be true, then!” said Ted. “Now, its just after ten - you all ready to head down to the stadium?”
They all stood up, and left their seats in the hall. As they stepped outside into the cool, morning air, the sun seemed to come out a little more, and Vic found herself warm enough when they reached the stadium that she took off her scarlet red jacket, chosen that morning because at least red was one of the Gryffindor colours.
They didn’t have to wait too long before the match started. About ten or fifteen minutes after they had taken their seats next to Matt, and to a couple of sixth year girls that Vic didn’t know that well, the flying teacher Professor Davies walked onto the pitch, carrying the chest that held the quaffle, bludgers and snitch they would use during the match. At the same time, the Quidditch commentator Julianna Jessop (a Ravenclaw in Vic’s year) came into view in the teacher’s box, flanked by Professors Longbottom and Willoughby, the Heads of House for Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.
“Good morning, and welcome to the final Quidditch match of the season!” echoed Julianna’s voice. “Today’s game will see the Quidditch Cup decider between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor!”
“And now, welcome today’s teams onto the pitch.”
Vic looked down to see the two teams walk out, and twelve of the players took off from the ground, leaving the captains to walk over to Professor Davies as Julianna announced the teams.
“For Gryffindor, hoping to win their first title in three years, we have Thornton, Burke, Summersby, Thacker, Vance, Weasley and Lyttleton.”
“WHOOP!” Vic yelled, cheering at the mention of Evan and Louis’ names.
“And, looking for their second Quidditch Cup in as many years, we have the mighty Ravenclaw team of Entwhistle, Boot, Bradley, Winter, Cuthbertson, Jones and Cadwallader!!”
“Now, captains Felicia Thornton and Edmund Winter shake hands and receive their fair play briefing from Professor Davies. They take off, and join their teams while we wait for the start of the match. And….let’s go! The bludgers and snitch are out and off, and its Ravenclaw Chaser Benjamin Bradley with the quaffle! He dodges Gryffindor Chasers Thacker and then Summersby, but is stopped by a well-placed bludger from Vance! Gryffindor Chaser Burke catches the quaffle, dropped by Bradley, and heads for the Ravenclaw goal….he dodges two Ravenclaw Chasers and just escapes a bludger from Beater Cuthbertson! He shoots - he scores! Ten points to Gryffindor!”
Vic found herself jumping up and down between Ted and Nat, cheering wildly, as if she had been a Quidditch fan all her life. She grinned as they calmed down a little, and re-directed their attention to the match. Ravenclaw evened the scores a few minutes later with a penalty from Xavier Boot after Louis had fouled him. A grumpy looking Louis did not seem amused as Felicia shouted at him while play resumed.
“We’re doing alright, aren’t we?” Vic asked Ted ten minutes later; the score was fifty-twenty to Gryffindor. Wes seemed to be able to do no wrong, and Louis and Rowland seemed to have perfected their bludger hitting.
“Excellent”, Ted nodded. “But it won’t mean anything if Ravenclaw catch the snitch. Wes will be pleased though. See that group of people at the back of the teacher’s box?” Vic looked over and noted the group of men and women that were not on the teaching staff.
“Are they parents?” Vic asked as the Ravenclaw Chaser and captain Edmund Winter scored a third goal for his team.
“Scouts”, said Ted. “Wes is really hoping he gets and offer from one of them, and they way he’s playing today, I reckon he’s in with a chance.”
“Good”, said Vic, nodding. She genuinely liked Wes; he’d always been a good friend to Ted, and to her. When Ted and Caro argued, and Ted found it hard to counteract Caro’s assertions about Vic, it was always Wes that stood up for her to Caro. She knew that Andromeda had been a little apprehensive when she’d found out that one of Ted’s best friends was a Burke, but Wes was as unlike the superior pure-blood stereotype as her own family, and his father no longer spoke to most of his relations, in the same way that Andromeda had divorced herself from the Black family.
“Is Felicia a good Seeker?” Vic asked after both teams had scored another two goals each; the score was poised at seventy-fifty, in Gryffindor’s favour.
“She’s….maybe not as good as Harry was in his day, but she’s probably second only to the Hufflepuff Seeker, Stanton. The only reason they win fewer games is that they don’t have anyone that can Keep well enough, so they lose more points that way than they gain from catching the snitch. Their tactics are pretty much to catch it as soon as possible; Ravenclaw’s are the opposite. Their Seeker isn’t having her best season, but they’ve been scoring lots of goals, so that hasn’t mattered so much, except -”
“Except what?” Vic asked, once they had finished cheering Wes’ fourth goal, and Gryffindor’s eighth.
“Except today they’re not keeping up with us as far as goals are concerned. And we need goals - if we draw, Ravenclaw win the Cup on points difference. We need to win to beat them to the title”, explained Ted.
“Yeah, Ted, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue!” yelled Matt, who was jumping up and down wildly on the other side of Ted and pointing to the other side of the stadium where Felicia and the Ravenclaw Seeker, Jasmine Entwhistle, were diving at high speed towards a barrier.
“Come on Felicia!” yelled Ted, almost deafening Vic, who instantly put up a hand to cover the ear nearest to Ted.
“She’s got it!” gasped Nat, nudging Vic wildly.
“And Felicia Thornton catches the snitch!” Julianna’s voice echoed round the stadium as she announced the result of the match.
“Gryffindor win the match by two hundred and thirty points to fifty. This season’s Quidditch Cup winners are Gryffindor!”
“WHOOP!” yelled Vic, deciding she may as well join in the noise making. “We won!!” She hugged Nat, and then Ted, Matt, her sister and just about everyone else around her, then watched as the Gryffindor team went up to the teacher’s box to be presented with the trophy by their Headmistress, Professor Derwent.
“We are so going to party tonight!” yelled Matt, grinning at Ted, Vic and Nat. Vic saw Nat raise an eyebrow.
“Its our last year!” protested Matt, clapping Ted on the shoulder. “We have to go out with a bang! Especially after we won. It won’t be too wild.”
“What do you say, Vic? Can we afford a night off from studying for OWLs?” asked Nat, grinning.
“I don’t think I have much choice, do I?” laughed Vic. “I doubt any of you lot will let me study, and I doubt Evan or Louis would let me either. So, what do you two have planned, then?”
“A few drinks, some cake and chocolate, some music”, shrugged Ted.
“How are you going to get you hands on all that food and drink?” asked Nat, a hint of suspicion creeping into her voice. “Did you bring stuff back with you after the holidays or something?”
“Ask us no direct questions, and we shall tell you no lies”, said Matt mysteriously.
“Humph!” Like it isn’t obvious”, said Vic. She turned and pointed at Ted.
“You are going to morph, and sneak out into Hogsmeade, aren’t you? While the rest of them raid the kitchens.”
“Did you have to take all the mystery out of it?” asked a disappointed Matt.
“Matt, I know Ted too well for any kind of mystery”, Vic pointed out. “It’ll still be a great party, though. Even if a couple of us are less surprised than the rest.”
“You better get going”, Matt said to Ted. “And remember, we need everything on that list we made up.”
“I have it here”, grinned Ted, indicating his jeans pocket.
It did not take long for Ted to sneak down to Hogsmeade, and pick up everything on the list he and Matt had made. They’d compiled it a couple of nights before, when the rest of the dorm had been at the final Quidditch practice before the match, determining that their final post-match party had to be the best they had ever been to. He went into the Three Broomsticks, where he picked up a couple of large bottles of firewhiskey and a few cases of butterbeer from Lila. Ted also visited Honeydukes, spending all the galleons the seventh years had been able to pool on chocolate. On Hermione’s advice (though she did not know he would use it for this purpose) he used an undetectable extension charm to avoid looking suspicious as he wandered back in the direction of Hogwarts, and ensure that he got everything past any teacher he might bump into. And that it would not arouse the suspicions of Filch, should he meet the ageing caretaker.
The feeling of nostalgia he had felt that morning coursed through Ted again as he entered the school itself, and made his way back up to Gryffindor Tower - having first ensured that he had morphed back into the form he always took when at school, his natural look.
“Here we go!” grinned Ted, as he met Matt at a table that had been set up in the corner of the common room. Ted could see that cauldron cakes, sausages and crisps, chocolate éclairs and other snacks had already been laid out on the table. It was evident that some of the food had already been eaten; from what Ted could tell the party had been underway for a while now.
“Perfect!” exclaimed Matt, clapping Ted on the back as they looked at their completed table.
“And you’ve still got the extra upstairs?” asked Ted in an undertone. Matt nodded. He had brought back some more firewhiskey at the start of term. There was one bottle for the seventh years alone for this evening, and another for the end of their exams; Wes had one for the last night before they finished Hogwarts - as did Ted and Rowland.
“We HAVE to do something about this music, though!” shouted Ted, so that most of the room could hear. “Let’s have some good classics on!” Those in charge of the music couldn’t have been too amused at this, as Ted found himself assailed by cushions all of a sudden.
The party soon got rowdier and rowdier as everyone realised that there was alcohol there. Ted and Matt were sensible enough, though - only the team and sixth and seventh years got anywhere near old Ogden’s finest. More than once Ted found himself hoping that James didn’t make the team the instant he arrived at Hogwarts - poor Vic would have some trouble keeping him from joining in everything the team did - and that included indulging in some firewhiskey.
It was not until later on, about nine that evening, that Ted started to really feel the effects of the firewhiskey and butterbeer that he had been drinking. He found himself progressing slowly from woozy to grinning like an idiot and agreeing with just about everything that was said to him. One of the reasons that he had never worried about having the odd tipple was that he had never been an angry or morose drunk - well, other than at new year, and he really didn’t like to count that. Ted tended just to be much more laid back and often more pliable than usual.
It was a great party. He had spoken to Evan and Vic for a while; Evan seemed a decent guy, but Ted vowed to keep an eye on him in any case (if he remembered of course). As he’d walked away Ted found himself thinking mostly of Vic’s response when Evan had offered her a glass of firewhiskey, as he accidentally stubbed his toe against the carpet. She had just smiled shyly, and then raised her hand in refusal, before muttering that she really didn’t think she and firewhiskey mixed all that well and butterbeer was perfectly fine for her. Ted had just smiled, guilt hitting him a little, knowing that it had been down to him that she’d been drunk that night. And that what had happened as a consequence was also completely down to him.
He was talking to Wes and Rowland about their plans for the summer week they had between the end of Hogwarts and the commencement of their working lives when they were interrupted by a loud cough beside them, designed only to gain attention. Ted turned his head to the right to see a teary-eyed Caro staring back at him.
“Oh Ted, my Ted, I’m so, so, so, so sorry!” she exclaimed dramatically, flinging her arms around his neck and drawing him closer to her as she sobbed wildly. Ted didn’t notice the numerous pairs of eyes on them.
When he looked back at this moment years later, Ted would realise that his own tipsy state prevented him from realising the extent to which Caro was inebriated herself. At the time, all he could think was that the loneliness he had felt on and off the past few weeks had lessened somewhat with her renewed proximity.
“Ted, I should never, ever have said all those things to you. I hated my holidays, they were completely miserable and wretched. Ireland was far too misty for me, and nothing looked pretty with you and I not talking. Everything I drew, it was all black, and dark, and wrong”, she burst out.
“I know I shouldn’t think or say those things I said to you that night, but sometimes it just gets so that I think I’m not at the centre of your world any more, and that’s all that I want. For it to be just me and you”, she insisted.
“I got you a birthday present; its still in my trunk upstairs.”
But Ted had no time to respond to what she was saying, as Caro immediately kissed him more forcefully than he could ever remember her having done before, and Ted found himself wrapped up in her on one of the couches. He kissed her back as forcefully as she had kissed him, feeling some underlying intensity that he didn’t quite understand. His resolve that her behaviour had been unacceptable instantly crumbled as she cried into his shoulder.
“It’ll be alright”, he whispered to her as they separated to regain their breath. He could feel hers ghosting over his neck.
“Everything will all be alright, I promise.”
He had missed her, had missed the drama around her; he had missed the excitement that she brought into his life.
“I know”, she whispered back. “Everything will all be alright as long as I’m with you.”
She moved in to kiss him again, and they spent the remainder of the night engaged in much the same activity, surfacing only for a couple more drinks, and to catch their breath.
Being as engrossed in Caro as he was, Ted did not see Vic, glancing over every few minutes from the other side of the room, nervously biting the corner of her lip, a sad look ghosting over her eyes each time.
Ted grazed his hand along the etchings of the stone statue in the Hogwarts grounds. Erected as a memorial to those who had died during the Battle of Hogwarts, it was the centre-piece of the annual Memorial Day service. His fingers lingered over two names carved forever in the granite.
Nymphadora Tonks Lupin
It was May 2nd, and it had been eighteen years since - as Harry had told him - Nymphadora Tonks Lupin had run after her husband, into the battle that had raged at Hogwarts the night Voldemort had been defeated for good. And now, her son stood, alone, staring at the statue that held the names of her, her husband, and the rest of the victims of Voldemort.
Before he had even started at Hogwarts, Ted had come here every year after the battle to commemorate the loss of those that gave their lives that night. Harry, Ginny and his grandmother had always brought him, and he had sat on either Ginny or his grandmother’s lap, listening to speeches made, and eerie songs sung by the merpeople in the lake.
Ted recalled the time he had spent in this very spot recently, when he had received confirmation from the Ministry that his application to the DRCMC had been accepted. He had hoped then that what he was doing would make his father proud; he hoped again that this was the case.
Harry had told him more than once of the night of the battle; how his father had told Harry that he hoped his son would realise that he was fighting for a world in which he would be free. At least once a month, Ted reflected on those words, and wished that whatever the state of the world, his father was here instead. And his mother.
He sat down on the grass, under a tree, opposite the statue, staring at it. All of a sudden he felt an intense wave of jealousy towards Harry, a wave which tended to repeat itself every few months. Harry had known his father, had been taught by his father, and had fought alongside him. Ted had no memories of Remus Lupin whatsoever.
Harry had fought alongside his mother, had spent time with her at Grimmauld Place between his fourth and fifth years at Hogwarts. Ted had no memories of Nymphadora Tonks Lupin whatsoever.
Unlike Ted, who always woke before dawn on this day, Vic slept late, and had to be woken by Nat. Although it was a Wednesday, there would be no classes today because of the Memorial Day service.
"What time is it?" Vic asked sleepily as she opened her eyes.
"Just after half past nine", replied Nat. She was already dressed, and sat down at the end of Vic's bed.
The service usually started around twelve, but those attending begun arriving at least a couple of hours before. Her parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents were all coming, as they always did. The only year any of them had missed was the year Vic had been born, when her parents had been unable to attend.
"I should get dressed", said Vic, rubbing her eyes. She got out of bed quickly, throwing off the covers. Even though it was the beginning of May, Gryffindor Tower remained notoriously cold in the mornings. Vic glanced at the end of her bed, where a pile of birthday presents were awaiting her, having been left there by the house elves during the night.
"I'll open them tonight", said Vic as she opened her trunk and pulled out a fresh set of clothes. She'd got into the habit over the years of leaving her present opening until the evening. It always made her feel awkward that her birthday wasn't like everyone else's, particularly in her own family. As well as being her birthday, it was also the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, and consequently the death of her Uncle Fred. And of Ted's parents.
"Happy birthday, by the way. I've got your present in my trunk still - I'll give it to you when you're opening them tonight", said Nat. She did not smile, though. Vic and Nat had been friends long enough for Nat to know and understand how Vic was on her birthday.
Once Vic had dressed, they went downstairs to the great hall for breakfast. Vic didn't feel particularly hungry, but she helped herself to a piece of toast and some juice. Looking down the table, she noted that Dom and Louis were sitting together. Although they were twins, and their groups of friends spent a lot of time together, they never made an issue of sitting next to each other in class or for meals - except from today. She looked over at the Ravenclaw table, but could not see her cousin Molly.
"Morning", mumbled Evan as he kissed the top of Vic's head.
"Happy birthday", he said. "I have your present here." He handed her a small wrapped cube.
"Thank you", said Vic, hugging him tightly. "I'll open it later - I always open my presents at night."
She kissed him on the cheek, and then sat back down in her seat, inviting him to join her.
"Is that another Vic thing, then, opening your presents at night?" Evan asked.
"Nope", she shook her head. The smile Evan had put on her face flickered.
"Its a - today is my sixteenth birthday, but its also Memorial Day, and my Uncle Fred, and Ted's parents and everything, so.....", she trailed off as Evan nodded in understanding. He changed the subject.
"We should do something together this weekend", he said. "Maybe get a picnic from the kitchens and go and study outside in the grounds, or just sit outside. If its sunny enough, I mean."
"That would be fun", said Vic, nodding. "You can help me with my Charms essay that's due on Monday."
"See, there was me thinking that you were going out with me for my amazing looks and personality, but really its just because you want to pass Charms, isn't it?" he asked, shaking his head in mock dismay.
"And I tried really hard to hide it", said Vic, nudging closer to him and putting her head on his shoulders. She closed her eyes for a moment, and as she did so she heard Caro's distinctive dulcet tones behind her.
"Where is he?" Caro asked whomever she was with. "I went upstairs to see him this morning, and he'd already left the dorm. I came down here, and he's not at breakfast either. Do you think he's in the library?"
They were clearly talking about Ted. Vic bit her lip. She knew well enough where Ted was - the same place he always was at this time on this day. Vic had two choices - she could turn round and tell Caro where Ted was, or she could go and look for him herself, and make sure he was alright.
Vic turned round, but by the time she had, Caro had gone. It was probably for the best. She was not sure if Ted would have wanted her to go down. As much as Caro was his girlfriend, Vic knew that she understood more than Caro did what today was like for him.
"I need to go", said Vic, standing up. "I - she - Caro's looking for Ted, and I have a pretty good idea where he is. I just - I want to go and make sure he's well, not alright, but - you know what I mean."
"Oh", said Evan.
"I'll see you soon, before the service", said Vic. She kissed him goodbye, feeling a little guilty.
As she walked away she could hear Nat explaining to Evan that she was the person here that Ted had known the longest, and sometimes - like today - that was what mattered.
Vic walked out of the school, saying hello as she passed Neville coming in the front door. It was a bright, sunny day, and the clouds seemed to be on some sort of holiday. Her guilt about leaving Evan like that stayed with her as she walked down to the statue that commemorated the loss of those killed during the Battle of Hogwarts. They had only been together for a few weeks, but already it felt in some ways as if she had known him for years. They were so comfortable and natural with one another, which was the opposite of how things had been with Hem.
That still didn't make it feel any less like she was abandoning Evan for Ted.
He was sitting on the grass, facing the statue. His hair, usually sandy brown at school, was pink now - the way her parents and aunts and uncles had always told him that his mother preferred to wear hers.
"You'll get grass stains on your trousers if you stay sitting down there like that for too long", said Vic softly. She crossed her arms, as he turned round to look at her.
"Hey", said Ted. He stood up and smoothed out his trousers.
"I heard Caro say that she couldn't find you, that you'd been missing for a while. I figured you would be down here", said Vic.
"Yeah", said Ted, staring out into the distance.
"You've been here for hours, haven't you?" asked Vic astutely. He nodded.
"Have you even had breakfast? You still have time if you haven't."
"I had some toast first thing in the kitchens, before breakfast was out in the great hall", said Ted. "I wasn't really hungry. I'm not now, even."
"Do you ever think - I mean, all these people that have their names on this thing, my parents, your Uncle Fred, and the rest of them. They gave their lives that night, and this is all that's left of them."
"I don't think that's true", said Vic in a small voice. "And neither do you, not really. Every day the family think of Uncle Fred. He lives on in Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and Uncle George, and little Freddie. And your parents live on in your grandmother, and in the memory of my parents and all the aunts and uncles. And they live on in you. You've chosen the job you have because you want to make sure people don't suffer the way your father did; you can change your appearance just like your mother did."
"I know", Ted whispered. Vic could see small tears escaping from the corner of his eyes, and pulled him into a tight hug.
It was a long time before they parted, and returned to the castle.
When they reached the front door, Ted muttered his thanks to her before heading upstairs.
Vic was about to go into the great hall to see if Evan was still there, when he called her name from the other side of the entrance hall.
"Victoire." She turned round, and smiled at him.
"I'm sorry about before", she said when he'd come over to her. "Its just that today is always really hard for Ted. He was pretty upset, and I think maybe its worse for him this year because this is his last one at Hogwarts. Caro - she didn't lose anyone that night, like Ted and I did, and we've known each other so long. Dom, Louis, Molly and I are the closest thing he has here to family."
"You are an amazing friend Vic", smiled Evan. "And I think that deserves some sort of reward."
"Ooh", said Vic. "And what kind of reward were you thinking of?"
"I was thinking about this.....", said Evan as he moved in and kissed her softly. She was just getting into the kiss, when she was interrupted by someone else calling her name.
"Victoire!" Vic groaned inwardly as she broke away from Evan's lips and turned round to see her mother standing ten feet away from her. She hadn't intended on mentioning her relationship to her parents until she went home for the summer. While she'd never contemplated telling them about Hem, somehow it was diferent with Evan. Maybe it was the fact that the age difference was less, or that everything felt a lot more calm and comfortable.
"Maman", said Vic warmly. She moved away from Evan to hug her parents.
"Qui est il?" asked her mother pointedly. Vic turned to see Evan still standing where she had left him, looking a tad awkward. She walked over, and took him firmly by the hand to meet her parents.
“Dad, maman, this is Evan”, said Vic, sounding more confident than she felt. “Evan, meet my parents.” She gestured between them, and hoped that they would like him.
“Eet is nice to meet you, Evan”, said Fleur. “How long ‘as zees been going on, Victoire?”
“Not long”, said Vic honestly. “I would have said something at Easter, but when I came home we’d only been to Hogsmeade once, so….” She trailed off, and hoped again that they wouldn’t be too mad at her. And she was telling the truth, really.
“Well, I hope that we will hear more about you soon, then, Evan”, said Bill, smiling. Vic was unsure whether her father was being nice, or pretending to be in order to scare Evan.
“I should go”, said Evan, turning to Vic. “Today is a family day, you should all spend it together. It was very nice to meet you, Mr and Mrs Weasley. I’ll see you later, Victoire.
“Bye”, said Vic, hugging him tightly. Gryffindor she may be, but she was not brave enough to knowingly kiss him in front of her parents.
“And why ‘ave you never mentioned zis Victoire?” asked her mother.
“I was going to when I came home for the summer”, said Victoire. “Its just - like I said, when I was home before, we had only been on one Hogsmeade date. I wanted to make sure that it was actually something before I told you. And I wanted to do it in person. He really is a nice guy, I promise. He’s so polite, and courteous. And smart. He’s….someone that will look after me properly.” She hoped that would be enough to win them over.
“He’s a Gryffindor”, stated her father.
“Yes”, said Vic. “His parents were both muggle-born; they were in hiding during the war.”
“Well, I ‘ope we meet him again”, said her mother. Vic smiled - Evan was obviously on approval.
“And ‘ow is everything else, Victoire?” asked her mother. “From your letters, I can see zat you ‘ave been studying ‘ard.” She nodded.
“OWL year is pretty tough”, Vic nodded. “Is everyone else here?”
“Yeah, they’re all down by the memorial”, said her father. “Molly, Dom and Louis are down there too. Ted wasn’t, though. Have you seen him today?”
“Yeah, he was pretty upset”, said Vic. “I was actually just back from seeing him when I met Evan. I think Ted just went back upstairs to freshen up. We should head down, too - its almost half past eleven.”
When he’d left Vic, Ted had gone upstairs to throw some cold water over his face, to freshen up. He knew that he did not have long until everyone outside Hogwarts that attended the service arrived. All of a sudden, he could not wait to see his grandmother, Harry, Ginny and everyone.
Once he had composed himself, Ted left the bathroom attached to his dorm, and headed downstairs to go out to the grounds again. Had it been anyone other than Vic that had come across him in the grounds earlier, he would have been embarrassed. Maybe it was the fact that her uncle had died that night as well, but he had always felt that she was the only one that understood what this day was to him.
Ted had barely left Hogwarts castle itself when he bumped into Harry.
“I was going to come and look for you”, said Harry, hugging him tightly. “Vic said you were upstairs. I thought I would come and look for you.”
“I was just coming down”, said Ted. “How are you? How is….everyone?”
“Good”, said Harry, but Ted could tell that he was nervous. He knew how much Harry dreaded this day coming round. They all did.
“How’s the studying going? Are you getting enough sleep?” Harry asked.
“Its going fine”, replied Ted as they started to walk back down to the lake. “How’s grams?”
“She’s down beside the lake with Ginny and the kids”, said Harry. “She’s been quiet, but she’s doing okay. She’s looking forward to seeing you. Oh, and just to warn you, because I figure you knew about it - Bill and Fleur know about Vic’s boyfriend. They ran into them in the entrance hall.”
“Oh, right”, said Ted flatly.
“What’s he like?”
“I don’t know him that well, but he seems a decent enough guy”, shrugged Ted. “He’s on the Quidditch team with Louis, so you’re probably better off asking him.”
“How about Caro? Have you two sorted everything out?”
“Yeah, we made up at the party after the Quidditch final”, said Ted.
“Post-match Quidditch parties have always been the place where that sort of thing happened”, said Harry, gazing into the distance with a small, soft smile growing on his face.
“I know I’ve probably told you at least a dozen times, but Ginny and I got together at one of those parties”, he added. “I was convinced she and Dean were going to get back together after the match, but I went into the common room, forgot to think, and just sort of grabbed her and kissed her.”
“Yeah, you have told me that story about a dozen times”, said Ted. “You should tell James more often, though - it freaks him out hearing about you two getting together.”
“Because he’s eleven years old and most things to do with his parents embarrass him”, said Ted simply. He knew why Harry was confused, though - it was different for those that had reached the age of eleven without their parents.
“Teddy!” Lily yelled his name, and ran over to wrap her arms around him.
“Hey, Lils”, said Ted, taking her hand. “How are you?”
“Good”, she nodded. “We had to do projects for school on a country we wanted to visit, and I did mine on France, and Aunt Fleur helped me and the teacher said it was one of the best in the class.” She was beaming as she said this.
“Good for you”, said Ted. “And how is Toffee?”
“She’s got bigger. She likes playing with string”, said Lily. “If you have some, then she chases after it for hours and hours. And she likes tuna and trout, but she doesn’t like chicken. I wanted to see if she liked chocolate, but daddy said I wasn’t to give her any.”
“Quite right”, said Ted. “Why waste chocolate I could be eating on a cat?”
“Teddy, I think you eat too much chocolate”, said Lily solemnly as they reached the spot where her mother and brothers were standing with Andromeda.
“I’ve been telling him that for years, Lily”, said his grandmother.
“Hey, Grams, how are you?” Ted asked. He kissed his grandmother’s cheek, and then hugged her tightly.
James and Al greeted him, and started talking about Quidditch, and what they had been doing since he’d left to come back to school after the Easter holidays. They were still chatting away twenty minutes later when Harry suggested that they find themselves some seats.
Ted had been to this service each and every year since its inception the year after the Battle of Hogwarts. It commemorated not just the loss of those that had died that night, but every single person that had died at the hands of Voldemort and his supporters. It wasn’t until he was about James or Al’s age that he had started to notice signs that this day was approaching. George became either excessively loud, or increasingly withdrawn; his grandmother would cry more often due to (she claimed) whatever book she was reading; grandma Weasley was quite jumpy and her husband spent more time than usual in his shed, pottering around with his muggle artefacts. And then there was Harry, who hugged tighter, and yet at the same time seemed to withdraw into himself a little.
Once the service had ended, and Ted had been told off by Caro for being missing when she had been looking for him, and everyone had started to drift into groups to talk before returning home, or back to the castle, and Hagrid and Hermione had taken Rosie off to meet a hippogriff, he told Harry that he needed to speak to him about something.
“Is everything alright?” asked Harry. He sounded a tad nervous. “I mean, is everything really alright with school, and Caro?”
“School and Caro are both fine”, assured Ted. “I mean, it would probably be easier if I only had one of them in my life, but in a few weeks time that will be the case. No, I wanted to - I wanted to talk to you about my parents.”
“What about them?” asked Harry.
“Anything and everything”, said Ted, sighing. “I just - I know you’ve told me so much, but sometimes I feel like you’re keeping something back about them. I don’t know.”
“I’m not”, said Harry.
“I want to know about that night. Merlin, Harry, I’m older now than you were that night. Only by a few months, yeah, but still”, said Ted. “I just - I have to know exactly what happened.”
“Ted, I don’t know any more than I’ve already told you”, said Harry. He took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“I was……we were all fighting for our lives that night, for the survival of our whole world. I didn’t see what happened, I only know what I was told after by other people”, said Harry.
“I think Bellatrix had wanted to kill your mother for a long time before that night - she certainly went after her that night at the Ministry when Sirius…..when Sirius was killed, and again when I left the Dursleys. They were duelling, and….your mother was an amazing witch. She wouldn’t have got into being an Auror if she wasn’t. And your father - all I know is that it was Dolohov. They fought for you - so that you could grow up in a world where you weren’t afraid every second of every minute of every day.”
“Sometimes I wish they were still here, and screw the state of the world”, said Ted bluntly.
“I’ve wished the same thing more than once about my parents”, said Harry. “But part of being an adult is accepting that dreams are just that, and that you have to live in the real world. It may not be perfect, but its what you make it. And you and I have both been incredibly lucky to have found surrogate families. I sometimes wonder how different all our lives would be if Tom Riddle had found that too.”
“Yeah”, said Ted quietly. “Listen, I’m sorry. I’ve been a bit of a wreck today - you’re lucky….Vic caught the brunt of it.”
“They loved you so much, and they would be so proud of you”, said Harry firmly. “Yes, its hard - I know its hard, when you see everyone with the one thing you want so badly and can never have. But, no matter how much you want to, nothing you can do will bring them back.”
“Now, how about we go back and see everyone else? They’ll be wondering where we are.” Ted nodded, and followed Harry back to where everyone else was gathered, talking. He fell easily into conversation with Ginny and Professor Longbottom.
Ted also thought about how he really had to thank Vic for being there for him today. Only she and Harry and his grandmother seemed to be able to connect with him when he was like that. He really hoped that she liked the birthday present he’d got her. It was really awkward for Vic, Ted knew, having a birthday on this day. He really hoped that she liked the birthday present he’d gotten for her. When he’d been over at Shell Cottage during the Easter holidays, he, Vic, Louis and Dom had got chatting to a muggle artist on the beach. While the others were talking about something else, Ted had secretly arranged to buy a picture of the beach, and then had it framed for her.
One thing was for sure - Vic was a friend he could not do without.
An exhausted Vic threw herself on the sofa in the Gryffindor common room late on a Tuesday afternoon five days into her OWL exams. She had just returned from the library, where she had been studying for her Ancient Runes exam, due to take place the next day. Nat was currently in her Divination exam, and Vic had been studying with a couple of Ravenclaws taking Runes.
“Hey”, said Evan, coming up to her. “How are you?”
“Frazzled”, said Vic honestly. “Its like….its like my brain only has a finite capacity for information, and yet I seemed to have exceeded it about three times over!”
“As much as I don’t want to freak you out, I would say that is completely normal”, said Evan sympathetically.
Vic groaned. She’d been looking for assurances that things could only get better from hereon in.
“You’ll survive”, Evan assured her as he began to massage her shoulders. Vic could slowly feel the tension in them recede, and then disappear.
“I know that OWLs seem worse now than they did two months ago, but you’ll manage to pull through them, like I said before, and then you’ll wonder what all of the fuss was about.”
“I hope so”, murmured Vic, wishing she could believe that was the case. She had sat three exams so far - Transfiguration, Charms and Herbology, and though quite confident about them, she was panicking about those still to come - all seven of them….or was it eight?
“Oh, that’s amazing”, Vic breathed, as she felt the tension leave her massaged shoulders.
“Vic?” said Evan.
“Hmm?” she murmured.
“I’ve been thinking - I met your parents.”
“That you did”, she confirmed. Her parents seemed to have taken to Evan; there had been no remonstrance via her owl, Hibou, regarding him. Vic could only assume that they accepted, if not approved of, her relationship with him.
“Well, I was wondering. When we go back home for the summer if maybe when we get to platform nine and three quarters, you might like to meet mine. They’re not scary in any way, and since they have never asked any of Estella’s boyfriends any weird or nosy questions, you should be safe enough.”
“Oh”, said Vic. “But - with my parents - it was an accident; it wasn’t planned. I mean, they just happened to see us together.”
“Oh”, said Evan quietly.
“Can I think about it?” Vic asked quickly, noting the despondent tone of his voice.
“Sure”, said Evan.
They were rescued by Nat coming in and throwing herself down on a chair opposite Vic. She was in the middle of rambling about how she was convinced she’d failed her Divination exam when Felicia came over to remind Evan that they had Quidditch practice before dinner, and that it was never too early to start planning their defence of the Quidditch Cup.
“Did I interrupt something?” Nat asked as Evan went upstairs to get his broom and Quidditch gear.
“I mean, I try to give the two of you as much time alone together as possible, but if I’m ever in the way, please make sure that you - “
“Its nothing”, said Vic, raising a hand to stop Nat. “Just that - well, he asked me to meet his parents when we go home for the summer, that’s all.”
“At Kings Cross?” Vic nodded.
“The thing is, I said I would think about it, and he kind of froze up a little” said Vic.
“Yeah. Oh”, sighed Vic. She ran her fingers through her hair.
“I really said the wrong thing, didn’t I?”
“Vic, who am I to say what the right or wrong thing is?” said Nat. “I think Evan would rather you’d said yes straight away, but if you don’t feel ready, then you don’t feel ready.”
“We have only been going out for a couple of months”, said Vic slowly. “I mean, I know that we’re getting on so well, and I love spending time with him and he’s….amazing. But - I don’t know. Its like there’s something invisible, something I can’t see holding me back a bit.”
“Vic….its probably Hem”, said Nat. “I mean, after what he did to you, maybe there’s part of you that is holding back because deep down you’re scared of getting hurt again.”
Vic nodded, but was unsure if that’s what it really was. After all, when Hem had cheated on her with Ava, she’d found it hard to get angry with him. What she couldn’t work out was whether that had been because she’d kissed someone else as well, or if it was because she’d just been attracted to Hem, and not really felt anything for him.
“I guess”, she said finally. “I have Runes tomorrow - what’s your next exam again?”
“Care of Magical Creatures on Thursday”, replied Nat. “I suppose I should be relieved that I have a day off from actually sitting exams tomorrow. Is your exam in the morning or afternoon tomorrow?”
“Afternoon”, said Vic absently. Her mind could not leave the matter of Evan alone. She knew that she’d hurt him by not agreeing instantly to meet his parents. Maybe Nat was right after all - maybe it was everything that had happened with Hem that was holding her back. And she’d never been introduced to ‘the parents’ before. Vic knew that she was all at sixes and sevens at the moment anyway, with being in the middle of her exams. Nat was right…..she was just looking for another explanation that didn’t exist because she was so stressed out.
That had to be it.
It was not only the fifth years that were constantly studying and stressing over important exams. Ted and the rest of the seventh years were working harder than ever, and were in a tougher position than the fifth years - they could not re-sit their exam the following year as they were leaving Hogwarts in four weeks time.
On Thursday afternoon, Ted found himself queuing up outside the great hall for his Transfiguration practical. He’d sat the theory paper that morning, and felt quite confident. Besides, as he’d told himself earlier that day….if a metamorphmagus can’t ace at least part of a Transfiguration exam…..
“Lupin, Ted”, called one of the examiners finally.
Ted stepped into the hall, and was ushered over to a tall, elderly man with a slight stoop. He grinned at Ted, trying to put him at ease.
“How are we today, Mr. Lupin?” asked the examiner.
“Fine, thank you sir”, replied Ted in as even a voice as he could manage.
“Let’s start with something simple, shall we? Human transfiguration - please turn your hair, eyes and eyebrows blue.” Ted scrunched up his face, and then grinned at the examiner.
“But…you didn’t use your wand”, said the examiner. “I take it then that you are a metamorphmagus?” Ted nodded.
“Ah, well then. And now if you could please take the box in front of you and turn it into a doll’s house.” Ted waved his wand, and the small, shabby box was transformed into an intricate doll house, one that would usually belong to a child more than usually careful of their toys. In fact, it was akin to one that Percy’s wife, Audrey, kept in their house, a relic from her own childhood.
“Excellent, excellent”, muttered the examiner. “And would you now please, in succession, transfigure the object into a mouse, a sofa, a wireless and kitchen sink.” Ted obliged, and looked to the examiner for approval.
“Excellent, excellent”, repeated the examiner. He had a few more tasks for Ted, who obliged instantly to each request. Eventually, they came to the end of the exam, and Ted walked out of the great hall, a smile on his face, feeling confident that he had done well in his second examination. But then, after the disaster he’d had in the Potions practical, he’d felt that things could scarcely get worse. Ted had tripped over a lace and added twice as many newts’ eyes as he had intended at the second stage of the potion, causing it too bubble over and spread all over the desk he’d been using. At that moment, he had inwardly cursed his inheritance of his mother’s clumsiness.
Ted lingered in the entrance hall after he’d finished, waiting for Caro. Thanks to the alphabet, she was second to last of all of them to be called. Almost everyone else seemed to have disappeared to their common rooms to chill out, or to revise for their next exam. He knew that those taking NEWT level Astronomy had their practical exam that evening.
As he was glancing at his watch, trying to calculate how long his practical had taken, and how long it had been since it had finished, he heard Dom’s voice.
“Hey Ted”, she said. He raised his head and looked at her. She looked exhausted, and was covered in mud.
“Been making mud pies again?” he asked smartly.
“I wish. Herbology”, she replied, using a mucky hand to brush her hair out of her face, and leaving a strip of mud across her cheek.
“I am starving, but all I want to do now is collapse in a hot bath”, she sighed.
“What were you doing in Herbology that got you so muddy?” Ted asked.
“Replanting Bursh Bushes”, replied Dom.
“That was horrific!” exclaimed Louis, joining them. He looked slightly battered and bruised, and Ted could vaguely recall going through the class they’d just been in himself. Neville had told them that he always made sure they had this class at the end of the day because the Bursh Bushes fought back so much they were always exhausted at the end of it.
“How was your exam?” asked Dom.
“Not too bad”, said Ted. “Hopefully I’ve done well enough to get a decent grade out of it. And its over with - two down, four to go!”
“What do you still have to go?” asked Louis.
“I had Potions the day before yesterday and Transfiguration today”, began Ted. “Then its Defence on Monday, Care of Magical Creatures on Tuesday, Charms next Thursday, and my last ever exam is Herbology a week on Monday.”
“We haven’t even started our end of year exams yet”, muttered Louis. “Still, it would be easier to study if Felicia didn’t still insist on at least two Quidditch practices a week. Half the team isn’t coming back next year! I swear, that girl is insane.”
“No she’s not”, argued Dom. “She’s just dedicated. Which is why she is captain, and you never will be, the moaning you do.”
“Hey, what was that for?” Louis protested. Dom just shrugged and muttered that being captain involved more dedication than Louis had.
“Anyway, I’m going to head upstairs now. Get the mud off”, grimaced Dom. She turned and walked away. As she did so, Ted could smell a waft of Caro’s perfume from over his shoulder. He turned round.
“Hey”, said Ted, grabbing his girlfriend and kissing her.
“Ted!” Caro exclaimed with a grin. “How do you think you did?”
“Okay”, Ted shrugged.
“Okay?” said Caro doubtfully. “The guy who can change his appearance at will thinks he did just ’okay’?”
“Whatever”, shrugged Ted. “Was better than Potions for sure anyway.” But then, it could only have been worse if he’d turned up and performed precisely none of the spells he had been told to.
“I have Divination tomorrow”, she said. “What’s your next exam?”
“Defence on Monday”, replied Ted. “Listen, it feels like all we talk about at the moment is exams. How about tomorrow night it’s a forbidden subject - we’ll talk about anything else, and spend some proper time together?”
“Sounds good to me”, Caro nodded, and a wide smile grew across her face. “What did you have in mind?”
“I thought - a walk in the grounds, and then maybe some time alone in the old Charms classroom on the third floor that never seems to get used?”
“Sounding better and better to me”, Caro responded as she grabbed Ted, then kissed him soundly. His suggestion had obviously been taken very, very well.
While Caro was sitting her Divination exam the following afternoon, Ted went down to the kitchens and spoke to the house elves about the surprise picnic he had planned along with his walk with Caro, and left harbouring a large basket holding various goodies, such as salads, salmon, chocolate cake and sandwiches.
“How was your exam?” Ted asked Caro once he had greeted her with a kiss later that afternoon.
“Not bad”, she shrugged. “Divination isn’t the be all and end all of NEWTs and it won’t decide my future, ironically enough, but I think I passed. I mean, you know as well as I do that I took the subject because I enjoyed it more than for where it could get me once I leave here. Did you get much studying done for Defence?”
“A bit”, said Ted. “I spent enough time with Harry going over the practical stuff during the Easter holidays that I’m pretty confident for that part of the exam.” Having been separated from Caro at that point, he had done nothing but spend time at Godric’s Hollow and Shell Cottage.
“Wish I had someone to help me like that”, muttered Caro.
“I guess Defence isn’t that much of a big deal for you”, said Ted. “I mean, since you don’t really need it to design amazing looking robes.”
“I suppose”, Caro conceded quietly.
“So….we should go outside now”, said Ted, changing the subject.
“But what about dinner?”
“I have that sorted”, he grinned, and pulled out the picnic basket he had hidden.
“Ooooh! Picnic!” exclaimed Caro as she threw her arms around his neck.
Once they had detached themselves from one another, Ted and Caro headed out of the castle and into the grounds. They found a nice, level patch beside the lake and sat down on a rug that Ted had somehow had the foresight to bring.
“That was amazing”, said Caro once they had eaten. “But I’m going to have to go on very long walks around the grounds to work that off! Or maybe a run…..”
“Nonsense”, said Ted, grabbing her tightly. “You look perfect to me, and that’s all that matters.”
“That might just be the sweetest thing you’ve ever said to me”, said Caro, before pressing her lips tightly to Ted’s. They did not part until breathing became an issue.
“We should go for a walk”, said Ted as he shrunk the picnic basket and put it in his pocket. The advantage of magic…….
Ted took Caro’s hand and they started to walk around the edge of the lake, as it started to get dark, and the moonlight began to hit of the lake, and reflect it more prettily than magic could imitate.
“Having fun?” asked Ted. Caro nodded, beaming.
“You are so amazing”, she told him. “I’ve never really met anyone just like you.”
“I’m going to take that as a compliment, whether it was meant as one or not”, Ted told her firmly.
“It was and you should”, Caro replied, grinning at him.
“Did you see the rumours in the Prophet that The Weird Sisters might be doing a reunion tour?” said Ted. Caro shook her head.
“It would be amazing - I’d love to see them play live. Harry and Ginny have - they played here the last time the Ministry tried to revive the Triwizard Tournament. Ginny said they were pretty good. I asked Harry what he thought, but he said he didn‘t really remember the music.”
“When were they last together?” Caro asked. “I forget.”
“About ten years ago”, said Ted. “I was too young to go to their last gig, apparently.”
“My poor Ted”, she shook her head.
“We should go if there is a reunion gig”, said Ted. “It would be fun. I know The Weird Sisters don’t really play your kind of music, but since we’ve never been to a gig together before…..”
“I suppose”, Caro conceded. “But it’ll cost you a dinner in a fancy restaurant first, though.”
“Deal”, said Ted, and shook her hand.
“Mattie, Alberta and I have all been talking about getting a flat together in Diagon Alley somewhere….after we’ve started work, I mean”, said Caro. “What do you think?”
“Well, you’ve spent the last seven years sharing a dorm with them, so I guess you at least know that you’ll all be able to share and get on still”, said Ted. “I suppose I haven’t really thought about moving out.”
“You’re planning to stay at your grandmother’s?”
“I guess”, said Ted. He really hadn’t thought about it. Maybe he should though. After all, he was an adult in the eyes of wizarding law. Maybe he should start acting like it.
“We’re all going to bring little bits of furniture each from home, and I’m pretty arty so I’ll be able to decorate, and Mattie can cook”, said Caro. “We’re going to look for somewhere once we come back from our holiday in Greece.”
“Sound like you have everything sorted”, smiled Ted. “Just remember to invite me to the flat warming party.”
“Funnily enough, you’re top of the guest list”, said Caro, leaning closer in towards Ted.
“Good”, he said, smiling.
They continued their walk around the grounds until they reached Hagrid’s cabin, and seeing him turning out his light through the window prompted them to check the time.
“Wow, its getting on for eleven”, said Ted, checking his watch. Strictly speaking, seventh years had to be back in their common room by ten o’clock, unless they were doing prefect rounds.
“We should really be getting back”, he added.
“I’ve had fun tonight”, said Caro as they walked in the main doors, grateful that Filch had not yet locked them for the night.
“Me too”, agreed Ted. He liked it when they could spent time together without bickering. This was the side of their relationship that everyone against it seemed to ignore.
“It was really good to just chill out for the night as well, with all the studying we’ve been doing. I wish our last exam was next Friday instead of the following Monday. That would make for what could have been one of the best weekends ever”, he added.
“Well, I didn’t take Herbology”, said Caro wickedly, grinning ear to ear. “So my last exam is Charms next Thursday!”
“Alright for some”, said Ted, shaking his head. “And I thought I said exams were a banned topic tonight?”
“I really did have fun tonight”, repeated Caro, smiling softly at Ted. “I like it when we’re like this.”
“Me too”, Ted agreed. “We should do this more often.”
“Agreed”, said Caro, hugging him tightly.
Vic wandered along a ground-floor corridor, glancing at her watch. She hated having to do her prefect rounds on a Friday night. Particularly at the moment, as she’d designated Friday evenings her no-revision time, a few hours she could spend relaxing and not submerged in library books. To make it worse, she was partnered with Zeus Wright this year, and she’d always found him to be rather on the dull side.
All of a sudden she could hear loud, happy laughter coming from nearby. Sighing heavily, as she hated having to give anyone into trouble, Vic followed the laughter, turning into the corridor where some old, disused Charms and Muggle Studies classrooms were.
“What’s all the noise?” Vic asked Wright, noticing him as she came round the corner.
“Just a couple of seventh years trying to de-stress in the middle of exams”, he shrugged. “Besides, I figured you and Ted Lupin were pretty tight. You’re good mates, aren’t you?”
“That was Ted?” asked Vic.
“Yeah, looks like he and his girlfriend were trying to chill out and forget about exams. From all the laughing, I guess they must have enjoyed themselves”, said Wright. “From what I’ve heard, he and that Caro are a bit of an odd couple, always fighting or something. Looks to me like they were doing anything but that.”
“They made up after the Quidditch Final”, said Vic softly.
A part of her wished they hadn’t. Vic felt awful, but she wanted Ted to be happy, and despite his protests, she did not think Caro was the best route to achieving that. Ted needed someone a bit more grounded, who understood him better than Caro did. Someone who did not fly off the handle at the slightest provocation, and was clicked into his sense of humour. Someone who appreciated his little foibles. Like she and his other friends did.
As Vic blinked, she could see Ted and Caro making up at the Quidditch after-party. Her heart had sunk when she’d seen them. For once, she thought that Ted had separated from Caro for good. For his own good.
“…..be going back to the dorms now.”
“What?” said Vic, shaking her head.
“I said we should be heading back to our dorms now”, said Wright. “We’ve checked all the floors, and there doesn’t seem to be anything going on that I saw. How about you?”
“Nothing really, just a couple of fourth years sneaking back to your common room from the kitchens”, smiled Vic.
“See you later, then”, said Wright. “Have a good weekend and try not to study too hard!”
“Will do”, replied Vic. “You have a good one as well.”
Vic walked slowly back up to Gryffindor Tower. She rolled her neck, trying to get rid of the stiffness she felt in her shoulders. Most likely it was tension related to her exams. She really had to calm down a bit and relax. Wright was right. She smiled at that. She should take a break - a small one - over the weekend. She would, and she would spend some time with Evan.
She still felt guilty about Tuesday afternoon. Things had been a bit awkward with them since, and Vic had mostly sought refuge in the library, studying there as late as possible, and then returning to a study table in the common room with a large pile of dusty tomes that had held little to help her in the exam she was studying for. They had talked, but they had both been over-polite, and distant.
“Venomous Tentacula”, said Vic as she reached the fat lady’s portrait.
Passing through into the common room, she saw Nat curled up on an armchair reading an old, battered novel that her mother had lent her; Evan was sat among his friends on some seats in the corner, looking part of, yet apart from, the group. She sought his eyes, and smiled as they met. Vic motioned with a nod of her head for him to come over and speak to her.
“Can we talk?” she asked biting her lip. Evan nodded sheepishly.
“I’m sorry”, she said instantly. “I’m sorry I made you wait for me to say yes, I would love to meet your parents.”
“Its alright”, said Evan earnestly as his face brightened, and a smile began to grow on his face.
“I shouldn’t have sprung something like that on you in the middle of your exams”, he added.
“Don’t worry about it”, said Vic, shaking her head a little. “I just - I think the whole thing with Hem kind of got to me more than I thought at the time. I think that’s why I held back like I did. I know that you won’t do to me what he did - I just…..when someone’s betrayed your trust, I guess its hard sometimes to give it to someone else. Does that make sense?”
“I’ll mention it to my parents next time I write”, he said, pulling her closer and eliciting a nervous giggle from Vic.
As Evan pressed his lips to hers, Vic felt the tension in her shoulders ease a little, and she began to relax. She’d clearly found the antidote to her exam stress………….
Last edited by MissGryffindor; July 16th, 2012 at 9:05 pm.
"I could get used to this", said Caro lazily as she stretched out on the rug Ted had conjured for them. They lay by the lake, sunbathing, in the middle of June. The weather seemed to be celebrating the end of their exams, as they were in the midst of one of the most intense heatwaves that Ted had ever known.
"Well, you'd better, because this is what it'll be like when you're in Greece in a couple of weeks time", replied Ted, grinning at her.
"I'll just need to remember that anti-sunburn spell", she murmured, turning towards him. "And I'll need to remember to bring you back a present."
"That you will", he agreed. Ted turned on his side to face Caro, and moved his head towards hers.
"How do you fancy being blonde for a night?" Ted whispered.
"But I though you said you like me just - "
"I do", Ted interrupted, raising a hand to stop her. "I was just thinking maybe we could sneak into Hogsmeade tonight. There's some local band or other playing at the Three Broomsticks, I saw the posters when we were in the village last weekend. We'd just have to.........disguise ourselves a little."
"Oooh, I like that idea!" Caro agreed instantly. "I could be a blonde for a night. But how will we get there?"
"Well, we won't be able to get out the gates, and I don't know about you, but I don't really fancy sneaking out through the edge of the forest", said Ted grimly. The security was too high, and only teachers knew how to break the enchantments to get to the village.
"Well, we can't apparate", said Caro impatiently.
"Don't worry, I've got it all figured out", said Ted, biting his lip. "We'll have to go through the passage under the Whomping Willow that I told you about. We can immobilise the tree, sneak through the passageway to the Shack and then its only a few minutes to the Three Broomsticks from there."
"But Ted, that'll probably be muddy; I'll get my outfit dirty", groaned Caro.
"You can clean yourself up pretty easily", sighed Ted. "You are a witch, aren't you?"
That night after dinner, Ted and Caro snuck off with a change of clothes each hidden in Caro’s bag, leaving everyone to the assumption that they were yet another of those anonymous Hogwarts couples that snuck off to a disused classroom for some privacy on a Saturday night. Having changed into normal robes, they cast disillusionment charms, and headed for the Whomping Willow.
As he immobilised the old, volatile tree, Ted mused that there must be some irony in the fact that both he and his father’s friends had used this way of sneaking out from school. He glanced at his watch; the gig was due to start in half an hour or so.
Caro made a few noises of discontent, but otherwise did not complain too much about going through the passageway, as upon their arrival in the Shack’s hallway, she had plenty of room to clean herself up once they had removed the disillusionment charms they’d cast.
Ted scrunched up his nose, and shut his eyes, turning his hair the same shade of electric turquoise blue that he usually wore at home.
“You know, I find that hair colour oddly attractive on you”, grinned Caro before casting the charm to colour her own hair blonde. She then moved in and grabbed Ted towards her, kissing him forcefully.
“You know, before I started at Hogwarts, I almost always had it this colour”, said Ted as he took her hand and indicated that they should leave the Shack and start to move down towards the village.
“Then, when I got my Hogwarts letter, my grandmother sat me down and explained that I should go for a more well, normal, look at school. She said she’d had the same talk with my mother before she started at Hogwarts too. Something about respecting teachers, and school rules, and fitting in, and not showing off because I was a metamorphmagus.”
“Well, I think you look cute with blue-ish hair”, Caro repeated as they walked down the narrow path that led to Hogsmeade.
“Well, I think you look cute with blonde hair”, muttered Ted as he moved in to kiss Caro, who seemed to be giggling. With such interruptions, they only got to The Three Broomsticks a few minutes before the gig started.
The pub was quieter than it was on the afternoons Ted had spent there on the designated afternoons students were permitted to visit the village, but there was still a reasonable attendance. Once they’d taken one of the three tables left, Ted headed for the bar while the band started to set up their instruments.
“A Butterbeer and a glass of elf-wine, please”, said Ted. He felt in his pocket for the galleons he’d brought with him as Rosmerta poured their drinks.
“One galleon, three sickles”, she said, holding out her hand. Ted handed over the money and turned round to walk back to his and Caro’s table.
The band - who had named themselves The Demented Dementors - were quite good. They played a combination of well-known songs, and those they’d written themselves. They also played the kind of wizarding rock music that Ted had always loved. Halfway through the set, there was a break. Ted used this as an opportunity to go back up to the bar for more drinks.
As he was waiting for the drinks he’d ordered, Ted turned to his left to see an all too familiar face looking down at him.
“Alright Ted”, said the man. “Didn’t know you were ‘ere.”
“Hey Hagrid”, said Ted, forcing a smile as he paid for his drinks.
“Caro and I just came to see the band, felt like a night out, listening to some music.”
“You won’t say anything, will you?” Ted added, lowering his voice. “I mean, we’re finishing in a couple of weeks, and….grams……”
“Yer secret’s safe with me”, nodded Hagrid smiling. He looked over to where Caro sat, and smiled at her. Ted could see Caro paling at the sight of a teacher.
“How did you recognise me anyway?” Ted asked.
“Yer hair”, said Hargrid softly. “Yeh used to have it like that when yeh were little, before yeh went ter Hogwarts. And I remember yer mother wore her hair that colour once - and yeh look a lot like her.”
“Oh”, said Ted quietly. And then he recalled that he’d met Hagrid on countless occasions before starting at Hogwarts. He should have gone for a look he’d never had before if he didn’t want to be recognised.
“You should come over and say hello, once its finished”, said Ted as he noted the band were starting to take their places beside their instruments again. Hagrid nodded, and moved to stand at the back as Ted had known he would.
“He recognised you”, Caro hissed as Ted sat down. “It’ll all be alright, you said. A few charms and some disguises….”
“He isn’t going to say anything”, Ted assured her as The Demented Dementors started playing again. “He’ll be over after to talk to us.”
Caro snorted, but with the band starting to play again, loudly, there was little she could do for the moment other than listen to the music.
The second part of the set took a little over an hour, and it was just after eleven when they finished their encore, and started to pack up their instruments, as Lila announced that they would be playing there again in a few weeks time.
“What do you think about coming here when they play again?” asked Ted, who had enjoyed the performance. The band had clearly grown up listening to the same old, wizarding rock he had.
“I’ll be in Greece then”, said Caro. “With Mattie and Alberta. Maybe Wes and Rowland will come with you.” Ted made a derisive snort in response. Both of them lacked what Ted referred to as ‘musical taste’.
“Its not really their sort of thing”, he told her. “But I think I know someone else who would come with me.”
“Um, Harry - or maybe Ginny, actually”, said Ted, thinking fast. He shouldn’t have said that out loud - it was not his godfather or Ginny he’d been thinking of, but Vic. She loved the same kind of music he did, and would really appreciate coming to listen to a set like this. He just couldn’t remember her holiday curfew. Or even if she had one.
Luckily, Ted was saved by the appearance of Hagrid.
“Yeh enjoy the music, then?” he asked gruffly, a large flagon of mulled mead in his left hand.
“It was alright I suppose”, shrugged Caro. “Its really more Ted’s thing than mine, isn’t it?” Ted nodded, hoping that the band - who were not that far away - had not heard what Caro had said.
“Well, I really enjoyed it”, said Ted, perhaps a decibel or so louder than he would normally have spoken.
“How about you, Hagrid?” Ted asked. “Did you enjoy it?”
“They were very good on their instruments”, he said. “Knew what they were doin’. How are you two getting’ back, then?”
Ted quickly explained about the Shack.
“Yer definitely yer father’s son”, grinned Hagrid fondly. “Yeh can come back with me if yeh want. A couple o’ disillusionment charms should do it.”
“I knew there was a reason you were my favourite teacher”, grinned Ted.
“And yer definitely yer mother’s son at that”, Hagrid grunted.
The two seventh years wandered back to the edge of the grounds with Hagrid talking inconsequently about the gig, and their plans for the summer. Ted always saw Hagrid during the holidays on Harry’s birthday, and then the next day at Shell Cottage for Bill and Fleur’s wedding anniversary party. The rest of the time he seemed to spend at Hogwarts; although there were no classes during the summer, the animals residing in the forest continued to require care.
“Yeh better disillusion yerselves now”, said Hagrid, as they reached the gates to the castle grounds. “Just in case, yeh know.”
Ted and Caro cast the appropriate charm, and it seemed immediately as if Hagrid were simply returning from a night out in Hogsmeade. As they passed through the gates, Ted heaved a sigh of relief that it had been Hagrid that had come upon them, and not any of the other teachers, though he assumed that the only other one capable of recognising him with blue hair, and the other changes he had made to his appearance, was Neville.
It was not long until they reached Hagrid’s cabin, and after bidding him goodnight, Ted and Caro continued on up to the school. He hoped that Filch had not yet closed the main doors, but he had a back up plan if that was the case.
“Damn”, said Ted, as he realised that, for once, Filch had placed security at the top of his priority list.
“What are we going to do?” Caro hissed in his ear. “We can’t stay out here all night!”
“Come along here”, said Ted, taking Caro’s hand, and leading her round to the back of the castle, where the first floor was lined with some disused classrooms.
“Alohomora”, said Ted, pointing his wand at one of the windows. Luckily enough, it opened, and he gave Caro a leg up to let herself in, before levitating himself through it.
“That was a close one”, she sighed, grabbing Ted’s hands tightly in her own as he adjusted to standing up straight again.
“We still have to get up to the tower”, Ted reminded her, grinning.
Luck remained on their side, however, and at quarter to twelve they snuck, giggling, into the common room, having made a stop at the toilets to change back into the clothes they’d been wearing before their outing.
“Night”, grinned Caro, before kissing him and then heading up the stairs, and then out of sight, to her dormitory.
“Smooth”, came Wes’s voice from over beside the fire. Ted could almost hear the grin in his tone. “How was the gig?”
“How did you……?” Ted asked in wonderment. He had not spoken a word of his plans to anyone other than Caro.
“We saw you eyeing up the poster when we were in Hogsmeade”, interjected Rowland.
“Ah”, said Ted. “The band were amazing - loved their own stuff as well as the covers. We bumped into Hagrid, though - luckily enough he let us off with it. Even helped us sneak back into the grounds. The band are playing at the Broomsticks again in a couple of weeks. Might be worth a trip to Hogsmeade to see them. And what did you two reprobates spend your Saturday night doing?”
“I would love to tell you all about our night of debauchery”, said Wes. “Only we didn’t really have one - spent the night eating carrot cake we’d managed to pick up in the kitchens, and playing chess. Might as well declare ourselves middle aged……….”
“I’m sure its not that bad”, laughed Ted. “Besides, the Magpies’ newest Chaser needs to keep himself in good shape, right?”
“True, true”, agreed Wes with a grin. He’d received an offer from the team a couple of days after their exams had finished. When Ted had written to Ginny to let her know (the only time he’d been ahead of her as a sports journalist on such matters) she’d replied that the scouts always waited until their targets had taken their NEWTs because they didn’t want them to foul up their exams just because they had a spot at the team. The only thing was, Wes signing for the Magpies left Ted with a dilemma - just who was he supposed to support when they played the Harpies?
It was not only Ted that was more relaxed following the completion of exams - for Vic it felt as if a massive weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She was far more mellow, and revelled in the time she was able to spend with Evan and her friends. And as much as Vic adored Hogwarts, she was looking forward to going home for the summer and seeing her family again - something that seemed so much closer this side of her exams. As well, in her classes the teachers tended to use the post-OWL exam phase to give the students a taster of the NEWT coursework, to help them make an informed decision about which subjects they wished to continue with in the following two years. Well, all except Professor Binns, who droned on as previously.
“Excellent lesson!” said Professor Robards as the fifth years rounded off their second last Wednesday of term with Defence.
“Now, as I said at the start of the class, this is the sort of advanced defensive magic you will study, should you continue with this subject next year - something I hope as many as possible of you will. As much as I loathe to give you homework at this point in the year, we will be continuing with this in our class on Friday afternoon, and so….practice, practice, practice. Whether you wish to continue with Defence Against the Dark Arts or not, it shall stand you in good stead for the future.”
At that point the bell rang, and everyone moved to the edges of the classroom and gathered their bags, starting to gossip about what there might be for dinner, and how they planned to spend their evenings.
“Miss Weasley? A moment, please”, said Professor Robards. Vic nodded to Nat to wait for her outside, and went to the front of the class, her brain working furiously to try and figure out if there was anything she had done drastically wrong.
“Professor?” she said tentatively as the noise behind her receded.
“Good work today, Victoire”, said Professor Robards. “Have you thought about your NEWT choices yet? I only ask because I think you and Defence are very well suited to one another. Your written work has always been first-rate, and your practical skills have gone from strength to strength this year.”
“I do intend to keep studying this class next year, Professor”, Vic assured him. “When I had my career talk with Professor Longbottom, I told him I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, and so he advised that I do a - a range of subjects, to help me delay my decision.”
“I’m glad”, said Professor Robards. “And don’t forget, I run a Duelling Club for the sixth and seventh years twice a week. I realise with coursework and your prefect duties it might be a squeeze on your time, but you would be an asset to the group.”
Vic nodded, stunned. Obviously all the time she’d spent studying and practicing with Hem and Ted, and the seventh years, and then with Evan and his friends had paid off.
“Well, I won’t keep you any further - you should head down to dinner. But think about what I’ve said, Victoire”, he finished.
“I will, Professor”, said Victoire, nodding. “And thank you.”
She repeated their conversation to Nat as they walked downstairs to dinner.
“He’s right, you know”, said Nat. “You were the best in the class today - and the last time we only did practical duelling practice, for that matter.”
“You have to come with me, though”, said Vic. “To Duelling Club, I mean.”
“Well, consider….we may get to hex our esteemed dorm-mates. With permission….”, Vic pointed out.
“Well, in that case - how can I refuse”, laughed Nat as they walked into the great hall, and spotted Evan sitting half way down with his friends. A grin on her face, Vic headed for her boyfriend.
“Vic, I just want to say thank you”, said Nat as they finished up brushing their teeth that night. Vic raised an eyebrow.
“I know I haven’t been the easiest person to live with these past few months”, she elaborated tentatively. “After what happened with my grandmother, I mean. I know - I know we haven’t really talked about it, but I think I’m finally getting there. I know its taken a while, but….I really think I‘m getting there.”
“Good”, said Vic, moving to hug her best friend tightly.
“And Nat? If you want to, anytime - I’m here.”
They returned to their dormitory to find Ava gossiping with her best friends, Kara and Erykah; mostly with regards to Hem.
“I am sorry”, she said in a falsely sweet voice a couple of minutes after Vic and Nat had come back into the room, as if she had only just noticed they were there.
“I mean, it must really upset you Weasley, hearing all about Hem like this.”
“You’re alright Ava”, said Vic, grinning back at her in the same false manner. “I think I’ll manage.”
“But still, to be as humiliated as you were, when he started going out with me……….”
“I think I’ve just about managed to live through it”, said Vic. “Though, I should actually be thanking you - if you hadn’t split Hem and I up like that, Evan and I wouldn’t be together. So - thanks Ava! Night!” And with a smug look on her face that only Nat in the bed next to her could see, Vic closed the hangings around her bed and settled in for an early night.
“Just watch out, she’ll be smarting from what you said to her for days”, Nat warned Vic as they left the common room to head down to breakfast the following morning. Vic shrugged.
“Really, Nat, what can she do?” said Vic. “We’re going home for the holidays in less than a fortnight - the brain capacity she has, she’ll have forgotten all about it by the time we get back after the summer.”
“What have you been up to, then?” came a voice from behind them. Vic whirled round to see Ted, Wes and Rowland. Nat told them what had happened the night before. Ted shook his head and laughed, while the other two took it in turns to high-five Vic.
“Where did that cheek come from?” Ted asked.
“I had a good teacher”, she replied smartly, poking a finger in the direction of Ted’s chest.
“An innocent little thing like me?” said Ted mockingly. Vic raised her eyebrow in response, and then joined in the laughter as they headed down to breakfast. She loved Thursdays - Caro had a free period first thing, and preferred to stay in bed late and then grab some fruit from the kitchens.
“Any plans for the weekend?” Vic asked. “Your very last one at Hogwarts?”
“Final Gryffindor Quidditch practice”, Wes interjected. “You should come down and watch - most people do for the last one. Especially those wanting to try out after the summer.”
“I doubt we can include me in that category”, scoffed Vic. “The co-ordination - or lack thereof - that Ted displays on the ground, from time to time, is nothing to what I’m like on a broom. Take after maman rather than dad’s side of the family in that way.”
“I know someone we can include in that group, though”, said Ted. “I spoke to Dom last night - she’s planning on trying out for Chaser for next year. She showed me a letter she’d got back from Ginny, asking for advice. Don‘t say that I said anything, though - I think she wants to keep it as low-key as possible.”
“James will be thrilled”, said Vic as they reached the great hall, and found some seats near the front.
“James likes Chasing best”, she explained to Nat. “I think he likes the glory of goal-scoring, hates being beaten when he’s Keeping, and to be honest, he is a bit too scrawny to be a Beater. He won’t be too pleased when he finds out his mother is giving tips to the competition - and it’ll be worse if she beats him to the open spot on the team.”
“I doubt Louis will be very happy either”, said Ted. Vic looked at him questioningly.
“Vic, they have pretty much the same classes, they’re in the same House, they spend most of their time together, albeit in a large group. Quidditch was the only thing Louis did by himself”, he explained.
“He’s never said anything to me about that before”, said Vic. She liked to think that both Dom and Louis told her - well, not everything, but the important stuff at least. Then she thought about the little things, like the ways Louis tried to separate himself from Dom. His different taste in music; suddenly declaring a year or two ago that he supported Pride of Portree as well as the Harpies.
“Maybe you are right”, said Vic slowly as she spread some jam on her toast. “Well, I hope she gets on the team. And yes, I think I will come and watch. Like you said, it’s the last practice of the season - and Evan will be there as well. I suppose going to practice sessions is something a dutiful girlfriend should be doing?”
“Definitely”, said Wes, nodding.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to”, said Ted. “We all know Quidditch isn’t really your thing, Vic.”
“No, I think I will“, she replied. “Besides, given the length of Felicia’s practice sessions, it’ll probably be the easiest way of seeing him at all on Saturday, and it is our last weekend together.”
Vic glanced at Ted. He was sitting, playing with his food, looking very thoughtful.
“Are you alright?” she asked him.
“Huh?” said Ted.
“You’re not eating your breakfast”, Vic pointed out.
“Not really hungry”, said Ted.
“But you - “Rowland began.
“Maybe I’m coming down with something”, he said hastily. “I think I’ll just have toast, same as you.”
“Sure”, said Vic uncertainly. She remained concerned, though. Something was bothering Ted, that much was certain, and yet he had seemed fine earlier. What exactly had changed his mood?
Vic didn’t have much time to brood over this, though, as Evan turned up with Felicia, Eddie and a couple of other sixth years. Distracted by Evan‘s presence, Ted’s moodiness left her until that evening, when she found it even more difficult to fathom.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; August 5th, 2011 at 10:28 pm.
Ted stood still, memories flooding through him, as he stood in the doorway of the great hall; it was devoid of life, Ted being the first down to breakfast. It was early, not yet seven, and his last day at Hogwarts. The train would be leaving Hogsmeade station in just over four hours, and Ted would not be returning with everyone else, with Vic, James and the rest of them, after the summer holidays. He would see the castle again - the Memorial Day service guaranteed that - but never again would Ted walk through those doors as a Hogwarts student. Looking down the great hall to the top table, where the teachers took their meals, Ted could still vividly recall sitting on a stool in front of them, being sorted.
For some reason it felt like the end of his childhood.
“There’s always one”, said a voice behind him. Ted turned round to face Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, the Gryffindor ghost.
“Hey, Nick”, said Ted. “What do you mean, there’s always one?”
“There is always a student, each year, that finds it hard to say goodbye to the place that has been their home for seven years”, said Nick.
“There has to be more than one that feels that way”, said Ted wistfully. “I can’t see anyone not missing Hogwarts.”
“Some miss it more than others”, said Nick wisely. “And now, I must go - apparently Peeves is about to upset some crystal balls in the Divination department. He always did have a way of waking students up on the final day of term……..”
And with that, the ghost wafted away, in the direction of the seventh floor.
Grinning, Ted moved away from the entrance to the great hall, and headed for the place he knew a good meal was available all day every day. The kitchens. He realised now that he had subconsciously been visiting places for the last time over the past twenty four hours. Certain classrooms, the library, even the room of requirement of all places!
“Morning”, said Ted as he entered the kitchens, smiling at the elves. Thanks to the laws Hermione had pushed through, they all wore slightly strange outfits of their own choosing, and would be starting a fortnight’s holiday once all of the students and teachers had departed for the summer.
“Morning Master Ted!” they squeaked in unison, as they worked feverishly, preparing the breakfast that would soon go up to the great hall. He’d visited the kitchens often enough over the past seven years to have reached a first name relationship with the elves.
“How are you, Sissy?” he asked one of them.
“I is very well, Master Ted”, squeaked the elf in return. “I is going to miss Master Ted; he is leaving Hogwarts today.”
“That I am”, Ted agreed, sitting down. “And I couldn’t sleep that well last night - I don’t suppose one of you has a minute or two to give me a cup of tea? I know you’re very busy right now, with breakfast and everything, and if its too much trouble - “
But before he could go any further, Sissy was serving Ted some of his favourite tea, along with a couple of blueberry muffins.
“Fanks”, mumbled Ted, a mouthful of muffin impeding him.
Ted heard a noise behind him, and turned round to see the rest of his dormitory looking back at him.
“Figured this was where you would be”, said Wes, taking a seat next to Ted.
“Probably a good thing you decided against being an Auror - you’re too predictable, mate”, added Rowland, as he shook his head, smiling away at the rest of them.
Ted reflected that Rowland was lucky he was hungry, otherwise the muffins Sissy had given him would be heading in Rowland’s direction right now.
They stayed down in the kitchens until the elves served breakfast; at this point, they moved up to the great hall, and feasted further until the remainder of the Gryffindor seventh years came down, and ate their breakfast. Having eaten, they all checked their watches, and headed in the direction of Professor Longbottom’s office.
Neville - as Ted had always called him in his head, though he had tried to be as respectful as possible in person when at school - had spoken to them all at some point over the past few days, and invited them to his office after breakfast on the final day of term.
“Come in”, said Neville’s mild voice when Olivia Ogden knocked on the door.
“Ah, my seventh years”, he said softly once they had all come in, and Alberta had closed the door behind them.
“It is traditional at Hogwarts for each Head of House to say goodbye to each of their students on their final last day of term. It must seem so strange to all of you.” Ted felt himself and one or two others laugh nervously.
“Well, I just want to wish you all good luck. You are all Gryffindors, but you are all different people; you are all off to do new and exciting things. For example, Wesley - I believe you may be in a position to provide me with complimentary Quidditch tickets in the future? And Olivia, you are to join the Auror Office. Whatever each of you are planning for the next stage in your lives, I hope you enjoy yourselves, and I hope that you remember Hogwarts, and all that we have taught you here”, said Neville. They all grinned back at him.
Neville handed them all a glass of mulled mead, proposed a toast, and then moved amongst them to say goodbye and wish them well individually. As he drank his mulled mead, Ted had to admit that Matt’s hangover potion - which they had all taken upon getting up that morning - seemed to have evaporated the effects of the firewhiskey they’d all consumed the night before, to commemorate their last night at Hogwarts.
For Ted, this was not goodbye in the same sense as it was for everyone else. Neville was such good friends with Harry and Ginny that he would still see his former Head of House and Herbology teacher on a regular basis - as soon as Harry’s birthday, perhaps sooner, as Neville could quite often be seen helping his wife, Hannah, out at the Leaky Cauldron on busy days during the holidays.
“And good luck to you too, Ted”, said Neville as he reached him. “I know you’ll do well in the DRCMC. You’re one of those people that have gone into a job because you feel something for it, and not for what it will bring you.”
“I guess”, said Ted, smiling.
“I knew your father when he taught here at Hogwarts. He and Harry were the best Defence teachers I ever had. And I fought alongside he and your mother more than once. This is what they fought for - a world where you could come to Hogwarts, and not have to worry about Voldemort. They would be immensely proud of you”, Neville finished simply.
“And unlike the rest, for you it is not goodbye - we shall still meet at Harry’s”, Neville grinned as he clapped Ted on the shoulder, and then moved on to speak to one of the girls.
Ted smiled as he turned back to speak to Wes and Rowland. He had been really lucky in being sorted into Gryffindor, and having Neville as his Head of House. It had made the transition to school so much easier for him, knowing Neville and Hagrid. Ted knew that he’d led a pretty sheltered life before Hogwarts, spending most of his time at his grandmother’s or Harry’s; his grandmother being, perhaps, a tad overprotective.
“Its strange to be leaving school”, said Wes wistfully, “I think I’m more……that it means more to me than I thought it would.”
“I don’t think it’ll really hit me until its September 1st, and I’m seeing James and Vic and everyone off on the train, and not going with them”, said Ted.
“Evangeline said she couldn’t wait to leave school”, said Rowland, referring to his elder sister. “Then when it came to the end of seventh year, she bawled like a baby all the way to King’s Cross on the train.”
“Oh yeah”, said Ted, recalling the end of his fourth year. In some ways that seemed like only yesterday - as did sitting his OWLs, the first year Vic had come to Hogwarts, he and Caro getting together. It was like the past seven years had simultaneously taken forever, and been over in an instant.
The three boys reminisced with their classmates and Neville until it was almost time to leave for the train. Then, they went back up to Gryffindor Tower for the last time to get their things.
As Victoire took a seat next to Evan in one of the front carriages on the Hogwarts Express, her mind jolted a little, as she thought of the differences between the scene in front of her, and the one she recalled from exactly a year before. Now, she sat with Evan and his friends - Felicia, Eddie, Mark and Eddie’s girlfriend Persephone. Nat alone was the constant from the year before. Then, they had sat with Ted and his friends. Ted and Caro undergoing one of their temporary separations, the two girls had been welcome; Vic had sat beside Ted and opposite Hem, on whom she’d started to have a bit of a crush. She supposed that Ted would be in a compartment with Caro and the rest of the seventh years.
“So, what does everyone have planned for the summer?” asked Persephone, looking round at them with a broad smile. In the few months she’d been going out with Evan, Vic hadn’t known Persephone to do anything but smile.
“Two months of nothing”, said Mark.
“Well, nothing but some Quidditch practice”, he added hastily after seeing the look on Felicia’s face. “How about you, Persephone?”
“Hmm, not much either”, she said, curling up on the small space of bench left to her as she leant in to Eddie. “I think I’m going to visit my godmother for a few days. She stays in the middle of London, so I’ll be able to get some shopping done. I’m hoping that Eddie and I will get to see a bit of each other. Apart from that, spend some time with my little brothers and sisters, really.”
“Sounds good”, said Evan smiling.
“Well”, began Eddie. “Apart from spending as much time as possible with this beautiful girl - and getting in my Quidditch practice - I suppose I’ll just be going to some games. I don’t know if my parents have sorted out a holiday or anything. They’re pretty much last minute people, organising portkeys at twenty minutes notice, that sort of thing. We went camping in Lithuania a couple of years ago - that was pretty cool.”
“How about you, Victoire?” asked Mark. “What have you got planned for your summer?”
“Just the usual, really”, Vic shrugged. “Though a little less of it this year, though. Usually I go to France for a couple of weeks, but tante Gabrielle and grand-mere are coming over here this year - it’ll be so good to see them. I only get to once a year, unless they come over for Christmas. Um, Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry both have birthdays, so there’ll be family parties for that - my cousin Rosie has a birthday too, and its my parents’ wedding anniversary. Nat’s coming to stay for a few days at some point, and I usually get roped into babysitting for most of my cousins at some point. Aside from that, I’m really, really hoping that Evan and I will get to meet up, and Ted’s over quite a bit during the summer - though maybe less this year, now that he’s starting work in a couple of weeks.”
“Well, I really, really hope that you’ll be able to fit me into your busy schedule as well too”, grinned Evan, kissing the top of her head lightly.
“Vic, its twelve”, said Nat. As a prefect, Vic had to help patrol the corridors, and had been assigned a half-hour timeslot early on the trip.
“Urgh”, muttered Vic as she stood up and took out her wand. “Back in a bit.”
Patrolling the corridors on the trip back to King’s Cross at the end of term wasn’t really all that bad Vic reflected as she looked into a couple of carriages in the middle of the train. The seventh years were always subdued, well aware this was their last time on the train; couples about to be separated for the long summer holidays were more interested in each other than causing trouble; younger students were stuffing their faces with sweets from the trolley, trying to eat as many sweets as possible before they got home and were bullied into limiting their junk food intake by their parents; feuding classmates were smug in the knowledge they wouldn’t have to see the person that antagonised them for just over two months.
In fact, Vic did not come across any trouble until she was almost finished her half-hour…..when she looked into one of the carriages and saw Dom and Louis glaring at one another, wands drawn.
“What in the name of Merlin are you two up to?!” Vic exclaimed as she opened the carriage door, hands on her hips, glaring at the two of them with more ferocity than they did each other.
“She is so infuriating - “, began Louis.
“He just can’t accept - “, yelled Dom at the same time.
After a few more seconds, however, Vic gathered that Louis had found out Dom was going to try out for the Gryffindor team after the holidays, and wasn’t happy about it.
“It’s the one thing I have where I’m just Louis, me by myself!” he finished stubbornly.
“Enough!” said Vic. “You can talk about this tonight. At home. Without wands.”
“Whatever”, said Dom, glaring at her twin before pushing past Vic and heading out into the corridor; Vic had seen her friends a couple of compartments down.
“Vic, I - “, Louis began to protest.
“Just leave it. Wait until we get home”, Vic repeated.
“Fine”, said Louis mutinously as he sat down with his arms folded.
“Grrr”, muttered Vic, shaking her head as she closed the carriage door behind her.
“Someone’s a bossy big sister”, said a teasing voice. She turned to see Evan grinning at her.
“Your half an hour was almost up, so I thought I’d come and meet you”, he said simply.
“Dom and Louis were having a fight”, said Vic. “The only trouble on the train, and its my family that’s causing it!”
“What was it about?” Evan asked.
“Oh, nothing important”, shrugged Vic. “Just Quidditch.”
“Is it terrible that I found you very cute when you were angry?” asked Evan, smiling at her. Vic couldn’t help but grin back.
“How cute?” she asked.
“Very”, said Evan, drawing her closer, and pulling her in for a kiss.
It was not long before the train pulled into King’s Cross, and Ted was pulling down his trunk, and helping Caro and her friends with theirs. He hugged everyone, and promised sincerely to keep in touch; he would see many of them at work in the Ministry, in any case. It felt strange to say goodbye and know that he would not be making the return journey with them at the end of the summer. All of the seventh year Gryffindors had taken the trip together - even Olivia and Bessie, who usually sat with a group of friends from different houses.
When they got down to the platform, Ted and Caro were soon the only two left, as the rest apparated home, or found the rest of their families.
“I know I’m going to see you in a couple of days before you go away, but I’m still going to miss you”, Ted told Caro, holding her tightly.
“Me too“, agreed Caro. “Its always strange when term ends, and I go home, and you’re not there at breakfast every morning, chatting away about everything and nothing.”
“Think about it, though - we survived!”
“School!” Ted exclaimed, grinning.
He was in the midst of saying an extremely non-verbal goodbye to Caro, when he heard a familiar voice behind him.
“That’s disgusting”, said James conversationally.
“Don’t knock it, kiddo! One day you’ll understand”, said Ted wisely as he grabbed James into a tight hug.
“How are you, anyway? How was the Portree game the other night?”
“Amazing! Herbishly scored twelve goals, but the Tornadoes still won - their Seeker caught the Snitch just before Herbishly could score to make it a draw”, said James.
“You’re talking Quidditch”, said Caro. “I should leave now. I’ll see you in a couple of days, Ted.” She kissed him softly, and then disapparated.
“Where is everyone?” he asked James, who pointed over to where a group, comprised mostly of redheads, were assembled.
Vic, meanwhile, found herself in the midst of a mass of hugs as everyone in her compartment fought to say goodbye before they disembarked and lost one another. She hugged Nat tightly, promised to owl her, and made her swear that she would come and stay as usual during the holidays.
“I will”, Nat promised. “Have a good time, and I’ll see you in a few weeks. Have a good one, Evan.”
“You too”, he replied, before turning his attention to Vic.
“Ah. We’re alone”, he added once Nat had left.
“That we are”, Vic agreed.
“I just wanted to say goodbye to you properly in here”, he said. “Our parents will be outside, and I can’t really say as non-verbal a goodbye in front of them as I can when its just the two of us,”
“I suppose I can manage that”, said Vic looking as thoughtful as she could manage, just getting her words out before Evan kissed her more thoroughly than he ever had before, and she was sure that as they descended from the train, her cheeks were bright red.
“There they are”, said Ted, pointing out his parents and waving. Vic smiled nervously as she held Ted’s hand; she always sent her owl Hibou on home before her, magically fitting his cage into her trunk, which she dragged behind her with her free hand.
As Vic walked next to Evan towards his parents, her heart was pounding. She’d never met a boyfriend’s parents before. Her only boyfriend before Evan had been Hem, and she’d never met Mr. and Mrs. Lyttleton; she doubt, in fact, that they had been aware of her existence. Evan’s parents, however…..Vic knew that she had to make a good impression, and was secretly terrified. As she swallowed a deep breath, they reached a smiling, middle-aged couple. Evan seemed to be the spitting image of his father.
“Hey, mum, dad”, said Evan as he hugged his parents in turn, and kissed his mother’s cheek.
“This is Victoire”, he added, stepping back to present her to them. Vic smiled nervously and held out her hand to shake his mother and father’s in turn.
“Hi”, she said shyly. “Its really nice to meet you, Mrs. Thacker, Mr. Thacker.”
“Its lovely to meet you too, Victoire”, said Evan’s mother politely. “And what a lovely name - Evan tells me your mother’s family are French?” Vic nodded.
“My mother moved here after she left school, and met my dad, and they were married a couple of years later”, Vic explained. “I go to France quite a lot to see my family there.”
“I think I know some of your relations from the Ministry”, said Evan’s father. “Percy Weasley, and his father Arthur?”
“My uncle - one of my uncles, rather - and my grandfather”, she clarified. Vic hoped that this was something in her favour.
“I should be going”, said Vic, seeing her parents, aunt, uncle and cousins in the distance.
“It was lovely to meet you”, Vic repeated. “I hope we get to meet each other again soon.”
“Me too”, said Mrs. Thacker approvingly. Vic heaved an internal sigh of relief; she’d obviously made a good impression.
“I’ll owl you tonight”, Evan whispered as he hugged Vic goodbye before kissing her softly on the cheek.
“You make sure you do that”, said Vic. “We’ll have to meet up in Diagon Alley or something in a couple of weeks. I should be able to get there for the day. I can floo to the Leaky, or George and Angelina’s.”
“Sounds like a plan”, he agreed, resting his forehead on Vic’s.
“See you soon”, said Vic, smiling as she left them, and walked over to where the family waited for her. Vic noted instantly that she was the last one over; she noticed as well that Molly seemed to be coming with them too. Where were Percy and Audrey?
“Victoire!” exclaimed her mother, hugging her tightly. “Eet has been too long!”
“Its good to see you too, maman”, said Vic, hugging her mother just as tightly in return, before turning to her father.
“Sorry I took so long, I was meeting Evan’s parents”, Vic explained as she hugged her father. “Its so good to see you all!”
“Hey Vic!” said Lily, skipping over to her elder cousin and pulling her into a tight hug; as the eldest female cousin, Vic knew that she was the one the younger girls all, for better or worse, looked up to.
“Lily!” said Vic. “How are you? Glad to be on holiday?” Lily nodded.
“Was that your boyfriend?” Lily asked boldly.
“Yes, it was”, said Vic. “His name is Evan. He’s in Gryffindor, like me.”
“Does Teddy know him?” asked Lily. Vic nodded.
“We should get going, I think, now that everyone’s here”, said Bill. Vic could see him puzzled at the fact that Dom and Louis, who usually got on, were pointedly staying far apart, and were talking to anyone but each other. As they headed for the muggle taxi rank as usual, Vic found herself walking beside Ginny, her godmother as well as her aunt.
“I take it that was the boyfriend, then”, Ginny said to Vic, as Harry engaged Molly, who was standing on the other side of Ginny, in conversation about her first year at Hogwarts.
“Yeah”, said Vic shyly. “It was.”
“Cute”, said Ginny, grinning at her. Vic laughed.
“You’ll have to bring him over sometime. I have to make sure that he’s good enough for my eldest goddaughter”, she added.
“I’ll get right on it”, laughed Vic. She turned and nodded in Molly’s direction and raised her eyebrow.
“Audrey’s mother was taken into hospital, so Molly’s coming home with us for a few hours”, said Ginny in an undertone.
“Ah”, said Vic. Audrey’s father, a pure-blood, had married a muggle, and although she accepted the magical side of her husband and daughter, she preferred to live a thoroughly muggle life.
“Is it anything serious?” Vic asked.
“Broken leg”, said Ginny. “She tripped and fell down the stairs.”
“Hey”, said Ted, coming up on the other side of Vic.
“Same to you”, said Vic. “I, uh, I didn’t see you on the train. I figured you and the rest of them were mourning your last time on the Express.”
“Something like that”, grinned Ted. “I didn’t know you were meeting Evan’s parents - big step that, isn’t it?”
“I guess”, shrugged Vic. “I’m really sorry - I thought I’d told you.”
“No, you hadn’t”, said Ted, almost inaudibly.
“I just figured, since he met mine, it was only right I should meet his. You’ve met Caro’s haven’t you?” Ted nodded.
“Yeah”, he said, holding her trunk as she stepped into a muggle taxi with Molly, Lily and Dom. “I have.”
Last edited by MissGryffindor; August 13th, 2011 at 11:15 pm.
“Vic! Wake up!” Dom yelled in Vic’s ear as she shook her sister, trying to wake her.
“Go away”, Vic muttered as she attempted to turn over in the hope that Dom would go away. It was just over two weeks into the summer holidays, and Vic had become accustomed to the lie-ins this had afforded her.
“I take it then that you don’t want to see your OWL results……”, sighed Dom.
“What?!” Vic exclaimed, sitting up so fast she became a little dizzy from the head rush.
“Your OWL results came”, said Dom, handing her an envelope. “The owl delivered it about five minutes ago. Hey, that’s funny isn’t it - an owl delivering your OWL results! Be cool if a newt delivered your NEWT results too, wouldn’t it?” Vic raised her eyebrows at Dom, wondering just what her sister had eaten for breakfast as she opened the envelope.
“Well?” said Dom expectantly. “What exactly is it I have to live up to when I sit my OWLs, then?”
Vic skipped over the guff about the pass and fail grades and looked at the results of hours and hours of studying when she’d wanted to be outside, enjoying the sunshine, and late nights her love of sleep could ill afford.
VICTOIRE APPOLINE WEASLEY HAS ACHIEVED:
ANCIENT RUNES O
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES E
DEFENCE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS O
HISTORY OF MAGIC A
MUGGLE STUDIES E
“Yes!!” Vic yelled, punching her fist in the air. “I passed everything - even History of Magic! And I got four Outstandings!”
“Let’s see”, said Dom, snatching the parchment from her, and casting her eyes over Vic’s results.
“You got Outstandings in Runes and Arithmancy?” said Dom in disbelief. “Wow, you’re really smart, Vic.”
“Coming from you, that means a lot, sister dearest”, said Vic, unable to remove the grin that had spread across her face.
“If this came today, I wonder if the NEWT results were sent out as well”, said Vic, thinking of Ted. They’d actually managed to spend a lot of time together over the past fortnight. With Caro on holiday in Greece with her friends Mattie and Alberta, Ted had split his days between Shell Cottage and Harry’s house in Godric’s Hollow, something that had pleased Vic more than she had thought it would. Her friendship with Ted had started to drift a little since she’d started seeing Evan, and Ted and Caro had got back together after the Quidditch match. Vic felt certain that the healthy state of Ted and Caro’s relationship was probably due in great part to the fact that she and Ted hadn’t had much of a chance to spend the time they wanted together, Caro being jealous of every second Vic spent in Ted’s presence. She felt pretty sure Ted would have told Caro - who had been due to return from her holiday the previous day - he’d spent most of the time she was away over at Harry’s.
In reality, Ted had spent half of his free time over at Shell Cottage in the past fortnight, watching the muggle surfers with interest with Vic; playing Quidditch with Dom and Louis, who seemed to have called a truce of sorts; talking late into the evening with Vic about their post-Hogwarts plans, and listening to music. She and Ted had also gone to the Broomsticks a couple of nights ago to listen to The Demented Dementors, a new band that Ted was interested in.
“I hope Nat got her results today as well”, said Dom.
“Me too”, said Vic instantly, feeling a little guilty she’d thought of Ted’s results before Nat’s. But then, Ted’s results would determine his future more than Nat‘s would. He had to get at least four NEWTs at Exceeds Expectations or above to get into the Ministry of Magic.
“Vic! Ted’s in the floo - he wants to talk to you!” yelled Louis.
“He must have got his NEWT results!” exclaimed Vic. She flung off the bed covers and hurtled downstairs in her old, comfy pyjamas, clutching the parchment she had retrieved from Dom that listed her exam results. Downstairs, she could see Ted’s head looking back at her in the dancing flames.
“Did you get your results?!” she and Ted excitedly asked each other at the same time.
“I did!” said Vic. “How did you get on? Did you get what you needed to start at the Ministry?”
“Yep”, replied Ted, grinning. “Three Outstandings - and I even managed to pass Potions after that nightmare of a practical exam. Only got an Acceptable, but at least I passed! How about you?”
“Passed everything!” said Vic, and she told him her results.
“Well, you’re a better person than I am if you passed History of Magic”, laughed Ted. “I failed miserably. But then, I did use that period to do my homework, so maybe that explains everything.”
“So what exactly did you get?” asked Vic bluntly. “Other than your Acceptable in Potions, I mean.”
“Outstandings in Defence, Transfiguration and Care of Magical Creatures, and Exceeds Expectations in Charms and Herbology”, said Ted. “Hagrid will be pleased - I don’t think anyone has got an Outstanding in NEWT Care of Magical Creatures for a couple of years now.”
“Have you told Harry yet?” asked Vic. “He’ll be really proud, you know.”
“I’ve only told you and Grams”, said Ted sheepishly. “She was here when the owl came, and you were the first person I though to tell. He’ll be at work now, the same as your parents; I’ll send him an owl and floo Ginny and the rest of them after I’ve flooed Caro.”
“How did she enjoy her holiday?” asked Vic in a strangled voice.
“Lots”, said Ted. “She said I should go with them next time - apparently there was lots to do in the magical areas of the island they were staying on.”
“Great”, said Vic, forcefully. Despite the fact that Ted and Caro had been getting on so well recently, Vic could not - would not - forget the past, and how Caro had treated Ted at times. He could do so much better than her, if only he consigned her to the past. But, valuing her friendship with Ted, Vic did not say this to him. She did not want to lose Ted to Caro.
“So when do you start work, then?” Vic asked. “I’m sure you’ve told me, but….”
“Next Monday”, Ted replied. Today was Wednesday, so that was in just five days time.
“Well, you better come over before then, because we won’t get to see you as much when you are hard at work all day”, smiled Vic. She had almost said because she would not get to see him as much now, but checked herself in time. A selfish attitude got you nowhere, and really, Ted came here to see Dom and Louis as well as her - in fact, the three of them were due to go to a Quidditch match together in a few weeks time. Ginny had managed to procure them tickets for some cup final or other.
“Will do”, grinned Ted. “Listen, I should really owl Harry and floo Caro and Ginny, and since you look like you’ve only just got out of bed, you should have some breakfast, and owl your parents and Nat. And Evan.”
“I guess”, said Vic, looking down shyly at her much worn pyjamas. She should really get some new ones. Yes, they would take a bit of time to wear in, but they could be as comfy as these ones. She should really have got dressed before she’d come down to speak to Ted. Not only were her pyjamas ancient, but Vic quickly realised she hadn’t even brushed her hair.
“See you soon, guys!” said Ted, before his head disappeared from view.
“I’m going to write some letters”, said Vic as she drifted back upstairs. As much as she loved her sleep, she was far too awake now to return to bed.
Back up in her room, she quickly sent her owl, Hibou, to Nat, giving her own OWL results, and Ted’s NEWT scores, and asking for Nat’s OWL results in return. Vic then sent the family owl to her parents to tell them of her results, and, after much pleading and promises of chocolate, she sat down to write to Evan, having obtained permission to borrow Dom’s owl, Ecrit. As Vic picked up her quill, she felt a little guilty that, although she had written to Evan every couple of days since she’s come home, she had not thought of him as much as she should have; her thoughts had been with those she’d spent time with - like Ted.
Hey, how are you?
Hope that you are enjoying your holidays as much as before, and as much as I am enjoying mine! Have to say that I do miss the castle a bit, though! And it goes without saying that I miss you as well.
The other piece of parchment is a copy of my results - I can’t believe I managed to pass everything! Even History of Magic!! I’ve owled Nat to see how she got on, and Ted flooed me this morning to say that he passed everything too, even after the disaster he had in the Potions practical. It means he’s got the grades he needed to start at the DRCMC next Monday. Its been great seeing so much of him the past couple of weeks, when Caro’s been away. If only she didn’t hate me that much, Ted and I would get to spend more time together - like friends should!
We definitely have to meet up soon; its been too long since the end of term, and I miss seeing you every day. Would you like to meet up in Diagon Alley some time in the next week? Let me know when you’ll be free - we can go for lunch at the Leaky and do some shopping or something. I can’t make Saturday, though - its Rosie’s birthday, and Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron are having a big, family party for her. I hope she likes the modelling set I got her, for building hippogriff replicas (she’s been interested in them for months!) though she’s so polite that she’d never admit hating it!
I saw an amazing band at the Broomsticks the other night with Ted - The Demented Dementors - they’re pretty new, but you’d love them! You’ll have to see them live sometime, they put on a great show. I think there was a review in the Prophet yesterday too.
I better cut off here - its almost eleven, and I haven’t even had breakfast yet! Write back soon, and let me know when you could meet me in Diagon Alley.
She sealed the parchment, and handed it to Dom’s owl, Ecrit.
Sighing, Vic cleared the ink and parchment from her desk, and felt a weight she hadn’t known was there lift from her shoulders. She’d well and truly survived OWL year! Although most of the holidays had yet to pass, she’d already determined what subjects to take for her NEWTs. Dropping Care of Magical Creatures would be a bit of a bind, and she’d always enjoyed Astronomy, but Vic reasoned that she couldn’t study everything. Even if she got a time-turner to go to the classes, there was still the homework that went along with it, and she’d have apparition classes after Christmas to think of as well.
It also started to hit her that she only had two years of school left; she wondered if Ted had been struck by that when he’d received his OWL results, and if the last two years had sped by for him.
The following Monday, it was a slightly nervous Ted that stepped out of the elevator onto level four at the Ministry of Magic. He’d only ever been on this floor once before, when he’d come during the Easter holidays for his interview (something that, in his mind, had seemed to exist only to confirm if the impression you’d given in your application had been accurate). Most of Ted’s previous visits had been to level two, where Harry and the rest of the Auror Office were located.
He walked along the corridor to the ’Beast’ division, a department he still winced at the naming of. If only that had been one of the things Hermione had changed when she’d worked in the department…..
Glancing in the ceiling-high windows, Ted could see cubicle after cubicle, full of workers already starting their day. The letter he’d received a few hours after his NEWT results had stated that he was to arrive later than normal on his first day. Having spoken to Matt and Rowland, who were starting with the Department of Magical Games and Sports and the Obliviators respectively, it seemed that this was the norm. Ted stepped inside the same door he’d entered upon arriving for his interview, and came to the first desk where Stanley Winters sat.
“Hey”, said Ted, tying to attract Stanley’s attention. “I’m Ted Lupin, I don’t know if you remember me from when I came for an interview a couple of months ago? I’m supposed to start today.”
“Yeah, I remember you, kid”, said Stanley, sighing. He was a middle-aged man that looked as if he’d been born his current age. His dark blond hair was thinning dramatically, and his ice cold blue eyes had bags the size of nifflers under them.
“Isadora, the perky little witch that interviewed you, she’ll look after you - she’s over there” - he pointed at a desk on the other side of the room.
“Thanks”, said Ted gratefully. He walked over to where Isadora sat, a small smile forming as he remembered her from his interview. She could only be a few years younger than Harry, and was the most outgoing, bubbly person he’d ever met. Ted couldn’t imagine her in a situation where she’d be out of place, or lost for conversation.
“Hey, Isadora”, said Ted, smiling at her. “I’m Ted Lupin - Stanley said to come over and speak to you; I don’t know if you - “
“Of course I remember you, Ted”, she said, smiling as she stood up to shake his hand. “Don’t worry about Stanley - his wife’s just had another baby. Their sixth in eight years, and I think one too many for him, though he forgets its her that has to stay at home and look after them all day.”
“Really?” said Ted, unsure quite what to say.
“So, I figured before we hit you with the hard stuff, I’d take you on a quiet tour of the department, introduce you to a few people.”
“Sure”, said Ted as he followed Isadora over to a set of cubicles in the middle of the office space.
“This is Willa, Albie and Pandora, they’re junior assistants to the Head of the DRCMC; guys, this is Ted, our fresh Hogwarts meat”, she said as Ted grinned nervously at three twenty-somethings he vaguely recognised.
“Hey”, he said.
“You’ll be seeing a lot of them”, affirmed Isadora. “They also serve the department as a whole. Ted will be working with me on our lycanthropy register and campaigns.”
Ted nodded, unsure what else to say.
“Next we have Gifford Robins, senior assistant to the Head of the DRCMC”, said Isadora as she introduced Ted to a bushy-bearded wizard with smiling eyes. As before, Isadora explained that Ted was to be working in her team.
“Good luck”, said Gifford, grinning. “Constantly on the go, this one.”
“I’m sure I’ll manage”, replied Ted.
“I would introduce you to the Head of the DRCMC - he likes to meet everyone when they first join the department - but he’s on holiday at the moment”, explained Isadora.
“Oh, here come the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures”, she said, as a group of approximately a dozen people in sombre Ministry robes walked past them.
“They always seem to use our meeting room for anything other than a hearing. Merlin knows why.”
“Morning, Isadora”, said one of the wizards as he passed by.
“Morning Ellis”, she replied, smiling.
“Ellis was in charge of my section when I first started in the department”, Isadora explained. “Until he left for a simpler life in the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures.”
“An old man likes a quiet life”, he said, smiling.
“You’re not that old”, Isadora reminded him. “This is Ted, Ellis - he’s just left Hogwarts, and is starting with us today.”
“Just left Hogwarts?” asked Ellis thoughtfully. “Hmm, maybe you know my boy, Evan, Evan Thacker? He’d only be a year younger than you - in Gryffindor, plays for the Quidditch team?”
“I do actually”, said Ted. “Well, sort of. Its really more his girlfriend that I know - Vic’s a family friend.”
“Oh, you know Victoire?” asked Ellis. Ted nodded.
“Well, she seems a nice girl - met her at the end of term, actually, at King’s Cross.”
“I’ve known her since she was born”, said Ted grinning. “Vic’s smart, funny, and the best friend I’ve ever had - I remember when I was eleven, and she was nine, she was desperate to come to Hogwarts with me; she ended up taking an ageing potion that her uncle was experimenting with for his joke shop - thought it would age her up enough to come to Hogwarts with me. Then when she did come to Hogwarts, the first year she was there, Vic overslept the day the Easter holidays started, and she missed the train. And she’s allergic to cats - any time she goes over to her aunt’s they have to hide her cousin Lily’s cat because the allergy potions she’s tried make her sick.”
Ted looked at Isadora and Ellis and stopped; he couldn’t quite read the look on their faces.
“Like I said, incredibly smart”, repeated Ted. “Passed all her OWLs, I don’t know if Evan said - even History of Magic, which I said to her makes her a much better person than I am.”
“I should be going”, said Ellis, smiling. “I shall see you again, I suppose, Ted. As always, Isadora.”
“Bye, Ellis”, said Isadora. “So, I think that was pretty much everyone I wanted you to meet - the rest of them are on holiday, with everyone being off from Hogwarts at the moment.” She walked him back over to the set of cubicles they’d started at.
“Well, this is you”, she said finally, indicating a desk and supply of ink and parchment diagonally opposite her own. “You’ll be working with me primarily, although if there is any big rush in the department, then its all hands on deck to get the work finished.” Ted nodded.
“As I explained at your interview, I’m working on a project to register all werewolves, and to manage Ministry campaigns to ensure that the public is as accurately informed as possible - meaning that they are aware of the dangers without the old prejudices everyone used to hold. Not everyone is a convert, but I think its all pretty worthwhile.”
“Me too”, Ted agreed firmly.
“I also hope, in the not so distant future, to extend the project to encompass the provision of advice and services to those bitten by werewolves, to ensure that they get accurate information and the appropriate support as soon as possible”, said Isadora.
“Why?” asked Ted. What had happened to his father had promoted that attitude in him, but what had led Isadora feel this way?
“Because I know what it is like, to a certain extent, to be the victim of prejudice, for something that cannot be helped”, she said simply. “My youngest sister is a squib. I started off at the Ministry dealing with prejudice generally - worked with an amazing woman on it, Hermione Granger, I don’t know if you’ve heard of her? - and somehow seemed to end up here.” Ted nodded approvingly.
“How about you?” she added. “I know we covered it a little at your interview - you said someone in your family was bitten by a - by a werewolf?”
Ted looked around him, making sure that nobody was listening in to something that was none of their business.
“My father”, said Ted simply.
“Oh, no!” exclaimed Isadora. “How terrible for your mother! What did she do?”
“He was a child; it was before they were married”, explained Ted. “She never really saw him as one, just as the person he was for the rest of the month. And apparently they got to know each other quite well because my father and my grandmother’s cousin were good friends. Apparently it was Fenrir Greyback that did it; my grandfather had offended him in some way or other, and this was his revenge upon the family.
“I - I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t go about telling everyone”, said Ted. “Its just - I prefer that people get to know me for me without everything that’s gone on in the past before they start to judge me or anything.”
“I won’t say anything”, smiled Isadora. “Though, I have to say, I do now understand more than I did before why you applied for this job.”
“Thank you”, said Ted gratefully.
“Now, let us go about changing the world……what I want you to work on first is a leaflet campaign - to be inserted into the Daily Prophet - concerning the pains felt, and hardships endured, by werewolves - particularly upon the first full moon after they are bitten.”
“Okay”, said Ted, nodding.
“I have here first hand testimonies of such, and I need you to convert them into something we can put on a leaflet”, said Isadora. “I also need you to write about the - the effects of the transformation on a person.”
“Ted, I have a feeling you may find parts of this work difficult to cope with - on a personal level, I mean, just - just let me know if it ever becomes too much for you to deal with.”
“It won’t”, he said firmly.
Ted spent the rest of the morning going through first-hand accounts of the full moon from those who had just been bitten by werewolves; the pain of the transformation, and the injuries they incurred. In some, it would have made them disgusted by those in suffering; it made Ted respect more, and think more of, his father. Made him think more of the victims of those that had forced themselves to bite another, and those that had accidentally inflicted another with their illness. One thing was for sure - no matter what, Ted was not turning his back on the path he had chosen to follow. He might find it uncomfortable at times, but that would just make him all the prouder when he actually achieved something.
At lunchtime, Ted yawned slightly, and Isadora, looking at her watch, grinned and asked him what he was doing after work, to recover from his first day.
“Not much”, he admitted, stretching out. “Just going to my godfather’s for dinner, and then going to see my girlfriend.” Caro had moved in with her friends Mattie and Alberta following their return from the holiday they’d enjoyed together in Greece; Ted had been over to their London flat a couple of times, including their flat-warming party the previous Saturday.
“What is it your girlfriend does?” asked Isadora.
“She’s in fashion”, he replied.
But before Ted could speak any further, they were interrupted by Sally Moon, whom Ted vaguely recognised, but was unable to place.
“Hey, Issa”, she said, grinning at the woman opposite Ted. “You ready for lunch?”
“Starving”, affirmed Isadora. “Oh, Sally, this is Ted - my new minion, of sorts. Ted, this is Sally - my dorm-mate from Hogwarts, though that seems eons ago now. She works in the Auror
“Hey, Ted”, said Sally. “I have to say, I’m surprised you didn’t join us.”
She obviously recognised him.
“I have a greater calling”, said Ted, grinning. He must have met her a few times when he’d been in the office with Harry.
“See you after lunch, Ted”, said Isadora. “You have plans, I take it?”
“Yeah”, said Ted. “One of my mates started his Obliviator training today, and another started at the Department of Magical Games and Sports - I figured I’d meet them in the cafeteria.”
Ted had lunch with Matt and Rowland, and was pleased to hear to they were as tired out by lunchtime as he was; they had all enjoyed their new jobs immensely, but were worn out by the concentration a new skill or subject requires. Matt had worked his magic within the department, and had been assigned to a section organising the Quidditch league, and Rowland had been assigned to a couple of - what he described as - very pretty female supervisors.
Despite the exhaustion he was already suffering from, it was an enthusiastic Ted that returned to level four after lunch to resume his work. He had just sat down at his desk when Isadora swooped upon him. Ted gulped nervously afraid that he had done something drastically wrong on his very first morning.
“So, Ted”, said Isadora, a look on her face that Ted recognised but couldn’t quite place.
“So?” he asked nervously.
“I had lunch with my friend Sally today. She’s an Auror, and she seems to have met you before.”
“Oh?” gulped Ted. He had a feeling as to where this was heading.
“When you said that you were having dinner with your godfather, you never said that your godfather is Harry Potter”, said Isadora in awe-struck tones.
“I tend to call him Harry”, sighed Ted. He remembered when he’d started at Hogwarts, and a few of his fellow students had seen Harry drop him off at platform nine-and-three-quarters. It had always been hard for Ted to marry up the Harry that everyone seemed to regard as a god of some sort, and the Harry that had changed his nappies, told him off when he misbehaved, and sometimes found it difficult to keep the peace between James, Lily and Al.
“How, in the name of Merlin - “
“Our fathers were friends at Hogwarts - very close friends”, explained Ted. “And then my father taught Harry there as well. They fought together too, more than once. And I would appreciate it if this didn’t make its way round the department until I’m ready to tell people. I don’t - I don’t want people to think that they can get to Harry through me, and I prefer to keep certain things private, if at all possible?”
“I won’t breathe a word”, said Isadora. “I know that, being as outgoing and so forth as I am, some people mistake it for me being a gossip, but if you don’t want me to say anything, then I won’t.”
“I would appreciate it”, said Ted gratefully.
“You’re a hard one to make out, Ted Lupin”, said Isadora thoughtfully.
“I try my best”, shrugged Ted as he returned to his work, feeling that he was doing something his father would have been proud of. Even if they had barely met.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; September 2nd, 2011 at 5:18 pm.
Vic stumbled down the stairs on Saturday morning, having finished moving copious quantities of her belongings into Dom’s room; her aunt and grandmother were coming to stay for a week, and with Vic’s room being the largest, she was forced to make way for the visitors. After babysitting for Roxie and Freddie the day and night before while her aunt and uncle were at a wedding, she hadn’t had time to move her things the day before, and had been woken by her mother at eight o’clock that morning to do so. It was now a little after nine, and Vic had still not woken up properly.
“I’m finished”, she mumbled, before yawning and sitting down at the table, where her mother had laid out breakfast.
“I theenk zat is ze last of what we ‘ave to do”, said her mother, offering Louis some more scrambled eggs. “I did ze cleaning yesterday when you were at George and Angelina’s, Victoire.”
“You have an owl”, said Dom, indicating the tawny beauty sitting on the windowsill that Vic recognised as Evan’s owl, Wilberforce.
“Hey, Wilby”, said Vic. “What do you have for me today?” Vic took the letter from the owl, promised to write back later that day and send it off with her own owl, Hibou, and gave Wilberforce a couple of owl treats from the kitchen cupboard.
Settling back down at the table, feeling slightly more awake, Vic helped herself to some toast, and opened her letter.
I had an amazing time at Diagon Alley on Monday - we should definitely go again - can you make next Tuesday or Wednesday?
I haven’t really been up to much since I saw you last. I went to the England v Estonia international on Thursday night. Mark, Eddie and Felicia managed to get four tickets at the last minute. It was an amazing match - the Estonian Beaters are two of the best I’ve ever seen play. It would be great if one or both of them could come over here to play.
Eddie spent most of the night complaining that he hasn’t seen Persephone for the last ten days. Her grandmother has dragon pox, and she’s spent most of her time looking after her younger brothers and sisters. Felicia just laughed at him, and said he was turning into a girl. She said after the game that we could definitely incorporate a couple of the England and Estonia moves into our Quidditch training, so you better warn Louis!
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you - I had one of the strangest conversations with my father ever on Monday night after he got back from the Ministry. I think I told you dad is on the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures? Well, he ended up being introduced to Ted by one of his old colleagues. He told dad you were wicked smart, and that you’d passed all of your OWLs (which he already knew, because I told him when I got your owl with a copy of your results). Ted then told dad some really kooky stories about you, which I have to say I loved!
I have a vague recollection that you told me you were allergic to cats, though I didn’t realise allergy potions made you sick. I loved the stories about the ageing potion you took to try and get to Hogwarts when Ted went, and that you overslept and missed the train home for the Easter holidays when you were in first year!! I know you said how much you loved your sleep, but I guess I didn’t realise how much!! Please tell me more of these stories, I’d love to hear them.
Hope you are enjoying your holidays; let me know what you’re up to with your aunt and grandmother, and if you can make it to Diagon Alley next week.
Missing you lots and lots,
"I’ll throttle him”, Vic growled to herself. She had hoped she’d made a good impression on Evan’s parents at King’s Cross, in the two or three minutes she’d spent with them - and her OWL results would have added to that. And now, with those stories Ted had told, they would think she was a complete weirdo!
“Oo is your letter from, Victoire?” asked her mother.
“Evan”, she replied. “I know grand-mere and tante Gabrielle will be here, but he wants to meet me in Diagon Alley at the beginning of the week, maybe Monday or Tuesday? I would only be away a couple of hours.”
“We’ll see”, said her father. “It depends on what Gabrielle and your grandmother want to do. They may want to go to Diagon Alley themselves, in which case you could go with them, and meet Evan for a while.”
“Thanks”, Vic smiled. She would see Ted the next day at The Burrow; Grandma Molly had invited the entire extended family over for Sunday dinner. She would be able to have words with him then about just what he’d said to Evan’s father.
“What else does Evan have to say?” asked Dom, peering at Vic’s letter.
“Nothing much”, said Vic, shrugging. “He went to that England match you and Louis were listening to on the wireless on Thursday night, with Felicia, Eddie and Mark. Apparently it was a good mach.”
“I’ll say”, said Louis through a mouthful of bacon. “England only just scraped a win after they caught the snitch - the Estonian beaters were too effective; the Chasers had real trouble scoring any goals.”
“Felicia thinks the same, according to Evan’s letter”, said Vic, grinning at her brother. “Apparently she’s going to use some of the moves she saw at the match in your Quidditch training.” Louis groaned.
“The girl is obsessed. One track mind - all on Quidditch”, he grumbled, stabbing a sausage with his fork.
“If you’re really that disinterested, maybe you shouldn’t be on the team, then”, said Dom pointedly. “I think Felicia’s attitude is just what you need in a captain.”
“Bet you’d like that”, muttered Louis.
“I heard that!” Dom bit back.
“Enough!” said their father. “Dom, you and Vic are finished eating, go and get dressed before your aunt and grandmother get here. Louis, finish what you’re eating, and then you can feed the chickens, alright?”
Half an hour later, Vic found herself in a very uncomfortable position in the middle of the sofa; Dom and Louis were glaring mutinously on either side of her, and she knew that any attempt at conversation with one of them would lead to the other claiming she’d taken sides, and an attempt at general conversation with both of them would lead to a fight.
She was saved by her mother calling the three of them from the kitchen, where she’d been looking out of the window for the past five minutes.
“Zat is them!” Followed by an almost inaudible “Oh.”
“Bonjour!” called tante Gabrielle as she stepped into the house behind her mother, holding hands with a third person, one Vic had not known was coming, and from the look on her mother’s face, Vic could tell that she had been in the dark as well.
“Surprise!” said Gabrielle. “Zees is my fiance!”
As her mother and aunt hugged, babbling away in French, Vic hugged her grandmother tightly, and saw her father shake hands with Gabrielle’s fiance.
“Ah, Victoire, Dominique, Louis, you ‘ave all grown seence I saw you all last summer!! She enveloped the three of them in a tight hug.
“And Beel!” she exclaimed. “Eeet is so good to see you also!”
“Oh, wow”, muttered Dom fervently as their aunt’s fiance stood in front of them, and they got a closer look.
“I’m Dominique”, she said, introducing herself. “I’m - I play chaser as well!”
“Chaser?” said Vic, confused.
“Zees is my fiance Michel, he plays Queeditch for ze French national team”, said Gabrielle. “Your muzzer’s friend Viktor introduced us a few months ago, and we are getting married next summer, when you all come to veesit us!”
“Wow”, said Victoire. “Congratulations!” she went over to hug her aunt tightly. As with Ginny, the age different with tante Gabrielle meant that Vic had come to see her as more of an honorary older sister than an aunt.
“Michel, zees is Victoire, she ees ze eldest; and zen Domique and Louis are tweens.” Michel nodded; he seemed to be quite quiet, unlike her outgoing, chatty aunt. Only a smiling look in his dark brown eyes told Vic he was pleased to be there.
After lunch, while Michel and her grandmother unpacked, Vic went for a walk on the beach with her aunt. It was a sort of ritual they’d built up over the past few years when Vic had gone to France, that they would go for a walk and catch up while everyone else got their things sorted.
“What do you theenk?” asked Gabrielle as she and Vic walked arm-in-arm along the beach; they’d taken their shoes off, and Vic could feel the sand crunching between her toes.
“About Michel?” asked Vic. Gabrielle nodded.
“He seems very nice - quite unlike you, but maybe that’s a good thing. You talk so much that he can’t get too much in anyway! I have to admit, although Dom - and probably Louis - recognised him, I didn’t have a clue who he was, I’m afraid. Quidditch has never really been my thing, though I’ve started going to the school matches more often now”, said Vic.
“You weel like ‘im more when you get to know ‘im”, said Gabrielle. “Ze first time we met, he ‘ardly said a dozen words to me. But, we met again soon after, and zat was zat.”
The content and relaxed smile on her aunt’s face told Vic that she was happy with Michel; Vic could remember as well as her aunt could that this was not her first engagement. Gabrielle’s first fiance had run off a few days before the wedding, with one of her best friends from Beauxbatons; Vic had been ten at the time, but she could still recall the devastation in her aunt’s eyes.
“Zat is all for me”, said Gabrielle. “Et toi, ma petite Victoire, your muzzer says zat you ‘ave a boyfriend also?”
“Evan”, confirmed Vic. “The reason I actually make it to Quidditch matches now. He’s amazing, you’ll really like him. He’s cute, smart, funny, and treats me like a princess.”
“You know, I always zot zat you would end up weeth ‘arry’s godson”, said Gabrielle thoughtfully, dragging Vic over to paddle in the sea.
“Ted?” said Vic. “No. We’re best friends, that’s all. He has a girlfriend and I have a boyfriend.”
“Ah well, maybe in ze future I weel be proved right.”
“No”, said Vic vehemently. “Ted and I will only ever be friends.”
“As you weesh”, shrugged Gabrielle, who started talking all about her wedding plans, which involved Vic being a bridesmaid.
Vic, however, only took in some of what her aunt was saying; what she had said was right, she and Ted would only ever be friends. He’d made that more than clear to her after their new years kiss. Besides, he had Caro, and she had Evan. Evan, who she was becoming closer and closer to, and who treated her like a princess. Vic shook her head, Ted was her friend, nothing more, nothing less.
And that was the way it was going to stay.
After she’d written back to Evan, to let him know about her aunt’s engagement, and that they would all be going to Diagon Alley on Tuesday - if he could meet her for a couple of hours? - Vic obtained permission to visit Ginny and Harry. Her mother thought that they should warn people that there would be an extra person for dinner, and avoid any awkwardness, given that Michel seemed to be quite shy; Dom had volunteered to floo everyone, but Vic, keen to see Ginny, had obtained permission to go instead to Godric’s Hollow.
She spluttered as she exited the fireplace in Ginny and Harry’s sitting room, and then immediately sneezed. Looking over at the sofa, she saw Lily’s cat, Toffee, curled up asleep.
“Atishoo!” Vic sneezed again, more violently that the first time.
“You’re the only person that sneezes as soon as they step into the house”, laughed Ginny. “Lily!! Can you come and move the cat please, Vic’s over!”
“She’s upstairs, doing some drawing”, explained Ginny, as Vic heard a door upstairs open, and someone walk down the stairs.
“Vic!” exclaimed Lily as she came into the room, and ran over to hug her cousin.
“Hey, Lils! Enjoying your holidays?” asked Vic. Lily nodded, smiling.
“I was playing at Rosie’s earlier, and I’ve been to play with some of my friends from school at the play park”, said Lily.
“Lily, the cat?” reminded her mother. “And tell your father and the boys that Vic’s here.”
“Harry’s trying to beat them at chess”, explained Ginny, laughing. “They’ve been getting lessons from Ron on the side, and now he finds it impossible to win. I thought Gabrielle and your grandmother were coming today?”
“They did”, said Vic, nodding. “Maman just wanted to give everyone a heads up - they’re not alone. Tante Gabrielle is engaged, and she’s brought her fiance, Michel, with her, but he’s really shy and introverted, and she doesn’t want everyone taking him the wrong way. He seems really nice, though, and Dom spent most of lunch quizzing him about Quidditch - he plays for the French national side - Chaser, I think.”
“Not….Michel Giquel?” said Ginny. Vic nodded.
“Well, thanks for the warning. James is going to be in awe of him all afternoon - actually, that may keep him quiet for once”, mused Ginny.
“How are you, Vic? I haven’t seen you in a week or so? Come back down to earth after your OWL results?”
“Good”, she said, nodding. “I met Evan in Diagon Alley on Monday, and the weather’s been lovely at home, so I’ve been down on the beach every day.”
“Alright for some”, grumbled Ginny. “We’ve had nothing but rain, and trying to make sure Al and James - particularly James - are amused inside is a nightmare, to say the least, though I was going to bring them over at the start of next week, so they could spend some time on the beach?”
“That’ll be fab”, said Vic, smiling. “We’re going to Diagon Alley on Tuesday, but we’ll probably be around the rest of the time.”
“Hi Vic”, said Harry, wandering into the room. “How are you?” Vic repeated what she’d told Ginny.
“It’ll be nice to see Gabrielle again”, said Ginny. “I think she’s only been over five or six times since your parents got married.”
“How’s the boyfriend?” asked James. “Ted says he’s on the Quidditch team.”
“See, James, there was me thinking you were interested in my personal life, and then you brought Quidditch into the conversation”, sighed Vic with a grin. “He plays Chaser.”
“I would like to remind you that I’ve yet to meet him”, said Ginny, handing Vic a steaming mug of hot chocolate. “I want to make sure he’s good enough for my eldest god-daughter.”
“I’m sure we’ll - some time”, muttered Vic shyly. She was saved from further interrogation about Evan when Ted stumbled out of the fire.
“Oh, its like you were all gathered here to meet me”, he said, grinning. “Hey, Vic, Dom just flooed us and told us your aunt got engaged.”
“I know”, said Vic. “I volunteered to come here because I hadn’t seen everyone in a while. How interesting to see you here, Ted. I wasn’t expecting to have the pleasure until tomorrow.”
“I had a letter from Evan today, Ted”, Vic continued. “He told me what you said to his father - what in the name of Merlin possessed you to tell all those wacky stories about me to my boyfriend’s father?!” She stood up.
“I wanted to make a good impression on those people, Ted, and they will not be impressed with a girl that can’t seem to make the Hogwarts Express on time, vomits every time she takes an allergy potion, and takes ageing potions!” Vic exclaimed. She could hear James stifle a giggle in the background.
“Vic, I - “
“Ted Lupin, the day the Reasonable Restriction for Underage Wizardry was passed was a good one for you, because if I could use my wand right now, I’d be hexing you with every spell I could think of!”
“Remind me never to get on your bad side, Vic”, said Harry, standing up.
“I only - I told him how smart you were, and how you were a better person than me because you passed History of Magic”, Ted protested. “And….well, I didn’t really think that you would mind me telling those stories - I think they’re funny, and those little things make you Vic, and not just some random girl. I thought they showed that you were quirky, and different. If I didn’t know you, then being told those stories would make me more interested in you, and getting to know you.”
“I hate it when you do that”, sighed Vic heavily. “When you do something that makes me mad, and then say something else that makes me mad at myself for being mad at you.”
“What?” asked Ted.
“You’re forgiven, this time. Just don’t do it again”, elaborated Vic. “Listen, I better go. Maman will be needing help with the dinner, and I should get back to tante Gabrielle and the rest of them. I’ll see you all at The Burrow for dinner.” She quickly hugged everyone goodbye, and promised to hear all about Ted’s first week at work the following day.
“See you”, said Ted as he watched Vic re-enter the fireplace, and then disappear.
“Dinner won’t be too long”, said Ginny. “I thought we’d have steak pie tonight? And I’ve made some soup as well.”
“Great”, said Ted, nodding. He turned to Harry.
“Can I talk to you?” he asked. “About…something. In private?”
“Sure”, said Harry. ”We can go into my study.” Ted followed him across the hall, James, Al and Lily grumbling in the background. Harry’s study had started off as somewhere that he could do any paperwork he needed to do at the weekend, instead of going into the office, and had rapidly turned into being more of a small office for Ginny to write up articles at home, before sending them into the Prophet.
“Muffliato”, said Harry as he and Ted sat down.
“I think they have some extendable ears upstairs”, he explained.
“Crafty”, said Ted. He looked up to see Harry looking at him expectantly.
“Are you and Caro having problems again?”
“Actually no”, said Ted. “For once, everything with Caro seems to going really well. She’s even barely mentioned Vic since she came back from holiday. Maybe now that she and Vic and me and Vic aren’t going to be seeing so much of each other, she’ll stop using her as a way into an argument.”
“I suppose”, said Harry. “You were lucky with Vic, earlier - I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her.”
“Yeah, I guess I’m that used to trying to worm my way out of being in trouble with Caro”, agreed Ted.
“No, I - I wanted to talk to you about Diagon Alley”, said Ted.
“Yeah. I was talking to one of the girls in the DRCMC yesterday, Willa Caldwell, I don’t know if you know her?” Harry shook his head.
“Well, she’s getting married next week, and her landlord needs to let the flat she had in Diagon Alley to someone else. She was wondering if I fancied taking on the lease.”
“I didn’t know you were thinking of moving out”, said Harry.
“I wasn’t really”, Ted admitted. “I hate the thought of leaving grams all on her own in the house; its so big for just one person. And - she and I get on so well that I never really felt like I needed to move out.”
“I don’t know”, said Ted thoughtfully. “Maybe its seeing Caro and her friends in their flat, and thinking I should be growing up, and moving on like they are. Maybe it feels like the next natural step in my life. I really don’t know.”
“How long do you have to decide?” asked Harry.
“Well, I went to see the flat today, and I told the landlord that I’d owl him tonight or tomorrow. it’s a nice place; kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and a couple of bedrooms. Well, one of them is more of a boxroom, really, I suppose”, said Ted.
“It does sound nice”, said Harry. “You know, I left home when I was seventeen, Sirius when he was sixteen - Ron when he and Hermione got married. It really depends on the person, I think, and what is right for them. If it feels right for you to move out now, don’t let worrying about Andromeda hold you back. She was living in the house by herself when you were at Hogwarts, remember? And you’ll still be over there a few times a week to visit, and for dinner, won’t you?”
“Yeah, I will”, said Ted.
“And you better still come over here for your dinner at least three times a week”, grinned Harry. Ted laughed.
“I suppose if I’m over here three or four times a week, and over at grams the rest of the time, I’ll never actually have to make myself dinner”, mused Ted, grinning.
“Can you cook?”
“Not particularly well”, he admitted. “Anything more complex than a stew, pie or casserole, and everything ends up tasting like dried prunes.” Harry laughed.
“Listen, we better go back through - Ginny will be serving out dinner in a couple of minutes. I think Andromeda will be fine with it, but if she’s not, I’ll talk to her about it for you.”
“Thanks”, said Ted gratefully.
He followed Harry out of the study, and into the kitchen, where James and Al had just finished setting the table for dinner. He was resolved now to take the flat as Willa had suggested. After all, Harry was right; his grandmother had spent months at a time living alone when he was at school, and if just now felt like the right time to move out, then it probably was. His parents had obviously known what they were doing, because Ted had really lucked out in the godfather stakes.
Last edited by MissGryffindor; August 27th, 2011 at 10:17 am.
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