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Falling



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Old September 2nd, 2011, 8:51 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 21


“And you’re sure that you’re alright with it?” Ted asked his grandmother tentatively. Since he’d spoken to Harry the night before, he’d become more and more sure that moving into the flat in Diagon Alley was what he wanted.

“Of course I am”, laughed his grandmother. “I did manage quite well enough on my own when you were away at school, you know. And - I don’t know if I ever told you this, but your mother moved out when she left school as well, you know. Teddy, its not like I’ll never see you again - you’re moving to Diagon Alley, not the other side of the world.”

“I will still be around - lots”, Ted assured her. And he knew that she did have a small group of close-knit friends that were always in and out of each other’s houses.

“I must say, I am a little, well, relieved”, Andromeda admitted. Ted looked at her questioningly.

“I did wonder - you and Caro have been together for more than a year now - I did wonder if, perhaps, you had decided to get married.” Ted snorted.

“You really don’t have to worry on that score, Grams”, laughed Ted. “We are nowhere near marriage. Besides, I have no intention of getting married until I’m at least twenty-one.”

“Good”, she said. “I always feel you need some life experience before you settle down; make sure that you’re getting married to the right person. That said, I did not wait long after I’d left Hogwarts to marry your grandfather.”

“Yeah, but that’s because your parents would have forcibly married you off to some inbred pure-blood otherwise”, Ted pointed out as he helped himself to a banana.

“Teddy”, said Andromeda pointedly.

“Sorry”, he said sheepishly. He knew how much she hated him to speak like that about the family she had run away from. Whatever they had done, they were still her family. Ted knew that the only one she didn’t feel that way about was Bellatrix.

“When will you be moving out, then?” asked Andromeda, changing the subject back to his departure.

“A week or two”, said Ted. “Willa is moving out in a few days, but I don’t know if the landlord wants some cleaners or decorators in first before I move in. And, I was sort of hoping that maybe I could take the old sofa we hadn’t got round to throwing out yet?”

“I suppose we could manage that”, said Andromeda wryly. “And now, we had better be going. Molly is probably having kittens, having to cook dinner for so many people, and I don’t know about you, but I’m quite keen to meet this Frenchman Dominique was telling us about yesterday.”

“Yeah, you’re right”, said Ted. “Oh, before we go, I better go upstairs - when I was clearing out some of my Hogwarts stuff the other week, I found a really old Vampires Anonymous album. It was the first one they ever released, and I know Vic doesn’t have it, so I thought I’d lend it to her.”

He ran upstairs and picked the album up from the desk that sat in front of the massive bay window in his bedroom, heaving a sigh of relief that his grandmother had been so understanding. After speaking to Harry the night before, he’d thought that she possibly would be. Ted quickly glanced around the room before leaving it; he’d slept in this room since he’s been born. It would be strange to sleep anywhere other than here, Hogwarts, or at Harry’s.

“Got it”, said Ted as he returned downstairs. He closed his eyes, picturing a lovely, ramshackle house that he’d always been entranced by; when he opened his eyes again, he was faced with The Burrow. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and Ted could see George and Arthur setting up some tables outside.

“Hello Ted, Andromeda!” called Arthur, waving at them. “Beautiful day, and so many of us - Molly thought it would be lovely to eat outside.”

“Sounds perfect”, said Andromeda. “I’ll go and see if she needs any help in the kitchen.”

“Hey, Ted”, grinned George. “How goes the life of work and responsibility?”

“Not too bad”, nodded Ted. “I thought studying for NEWTs was tiring, but its nothing to going to work all day, every day.”

“Welcome to reality, kid”, George replied, clapping Ted on the shoulder.

“How are you?” Ted asked. “Been up to anything?”

“Not much”, shrugged George. “Been experimenting with a few new things for the shop, but I won’t say any more than that at the moment - don’t want to jinx it! Angelina’s cousin got married a couple of days ago - luckily Vic came and watched the kids for us. Apparently they aren’t keen on children, and wanted a ‘grown-ups only’ affair. Humph - see how long that aversion lasts.” Ted smiled. Roxie and Freddie were hyper at the best of times, and Ted knew that Vic dreaded babysitting for them for any length of time.

“Who else is here, then? I think we’re actually early for once”, said Ted.

“Ron’s lot just arrived a few minutes ago, and the Frenchies are here as well; I think Fleur was determined they’d all be first, since there’s so many of them. What’s with the record? You going to play us some music after dinner?” said George.

“I brought it to lend to Vic”, said Ted, as they walked towards the house. “Its - I know she likes the band, and she doesn’t have this one.”

“Teddy! How are you”, exclaimed Molly, coming over to hug him. She looked at him appraisingly, and he knew that she was estimating how much ‘feeding up’ he needed.

“Grandma Molly”, said Ted, hugging her. He’d fallen into calling her that when he was little, and still liked it; it made him feel like he had more than one grandparent.

“You know, Teddy, I can’t quite believe that you’ve left school and started work……it seems like only yesterday……..and Victoire will be next, only a couple more years left at school”, she muttered as she caught sight of an over-flowing pan and went over to correct it.

“And zees is Teddy!” exclaimed a voice Ted vaguely recognised. He turned round to see Vic’s aunt, Gabrielle, beaming as she walked over to him. “You ’ave grown so much seence I see you ze last time!”

“Congratulations”, spluttered Ted as he found himself in a tight hug; Gabrielle was deceptively strong.

“Vic told me about your engagement”, he added once she’d let go.

“Ah yes, eet is so exciteeng!” she gushed. “Michel!” She called over her fiance, and muttered something to him in French. He then held his hand out, and shook Ted’s.

“Bonjour”, he said, nodding.

“Michel does not speak so much Eengleesh as maman et moi”, said Gabrielle fondly.

“I should go and find Vic”, said Ted. “I brought something for her.” He indicated the record, and wandered off in the direction of the sitting room, where Vic was sitting on the sofa, talking to Rosie.

“Hello, ladies”, grinned Ted as he sat down beside them. “How are you, Rosie?”

“Good”, she replied. “I was telling Vic about the history project I have to do for school during the holidays.” Hermione had insisted that Rosie and Hugo go to a muggle primary school, as James, Al and Lily did; she’d told Ron that it had never done her any harm, and that all learning was useful.

“Homework during the holidays should be banned”, said Ted. “Thank Merlin I will never, ever have to do any more of it again in my life!”

“But I’m really enjoying it”, insisted Rosie. “I’m doing it on the English Civil War, and mum took Hugo and me to some of the battlefields for it. Its really interesting, and mum says that there were some big wizarding battles at the same time, so it’ll be useful for when I go to Hogwarts as well.”

“Rosie, you are so like your mother”, said a grinning Ron from the opposite sofa. “Thank Merlin you inherited her brains rather than mine.”

“I think you’re smart, daddy”, said Rosie loyally.

“You and the village idiot”, laughed Ron. “Come on, I think Freddie, Roxie and Hugo are looking for you to play hide and seek outside.” Ron and Rosie left, leaving Ted and Vic behind.

“I brought you this”, said Ted, handing the record over to Vic. “I was clearing out all of my old Hogwarts stuff, and moving it up into the attic, and I found a box with my name on it that I must have put up there a few years ago, and this was in it. I know you don’t have it, and I thought you might like to borrow it.”

“Wow!” said Vic, awe-struck. “This is their first album, there was so few copies made of it. Thank you so much! I’ll give it back as soon as I’ve got every song imprinted on my brain!” She moved over on the sofa and hugged him tightly.

“Thank you so much, Ted.” He promised to tell her all about his new job, and another surprise he had for her after dinner. She ran off to quickly floo home so that it wouldn’t be left lying around with half a dozen or so small kids running wild. By the time she returned, they were all assembled, apart from Harry, Ginny, James, Al and Lily.

“I wonder where they can be?” said Molly, sounding worried. “Ginny knew when we would be eating. Maybe someone should floo them or something? Dinner is almost ready.”

“I’m sure there’s nothing wrong”, Arthur reassured her. If you want, I can floo - “ He was interrupted, however, by the fireplace sparking to life, as Ginny, and then Lily, Al and James respectively came tumbling out of the fire.

“I’m so sorry we’re late”, Ginny apologised profusely.

“Where’s Harry?” asked Ron.

“He’ll be along in a minute. Are we dreadfully late? The food isn’t ruined, or anything?”

“Its alright; I was just about to serve up. We can set a plate or two aside for Harry”, her mother assured her. She turned to her three recently arrived grandchildren, hugged them tightly, and then sent them outside to play until the food was laid out.

“Off you go, then”, said Ginny, smiling at them.

“Harry’s uncle died last night”, said Ginny, once James, Al and Lily had gone outside. “Heart attack. Dudley called on the telephone; Harry’s speaking to him just now. Thank Merlin we have one.” They’d had it installed when James started school, Ted recalled. In case any of his muggle friends found it strange he didn’t have one.

“I didn’t even know Dudley had our number”, Ginny added. “Harry really won’t be long. I didn’t tell the kids - well, they’ve never met him, and I didn’t want to spoil the rest of their day. We’ll tell them tonight, I think, once we get home.”

Ginny had just finished greeting Gabrielle and her fiance and mother, and Molly was handing Ted and Vic some cutlery to go and set the table, when Harry walked in the back door.

“Hey everyone”, he sighed, coming in. “Sorry I’m so late.”

“’Arry Potter!” exclaimed Gabrielle. “Eeet ‘as been too long, I theenk!” She hugged him tightly, and introduced him to her fiance.

“I am very sorry to ‘ear about your oncle, ‘Arry”, said Gabrielle sympathetically. “Were you very close to ‘im?”

“Not really”, Harry admitted. “He didn’t really like me much. The funeral is on Wednesday; I said to Dudley we would go. All five of us.” He turned to Ginny, who nodded back at him.

“It was strange, speaking to Dudley again. He said Marge was coming down today to stay for a few days”, Harry grimaced.

“Marge?” said George thoughtfully. “Isn’t she the one you - “

“George!” exclaimed Ginny warningly. “Don’t you dare mention that incident where any of the children could be eavesdropping - you’ll give James ideas.”

“Yeah”, agreed Harry. “If he knew half of what I got up to when I was younger, he’d think he could get away with it as well. I’m already concerned about giving him the Marauder’s Map when he goes to Hogwarts…….” Ted stifled a laugh as he and Vic wandered out of the kitchen to lay the cutlery out on the table. Harry had told him most of the stories he’d neglected to tell James.

From what Ted could tell, young James took after both his namesakes, and was destined to break as many rules at Hogwarts as both of them and his father put together. It was a running joke with Harry and Ginny that whenever James played a prank or misbehaved, that whomever caught him blamed the other for naming him, and argued that he’d been fated to cause so much trouble when he’d been named for the two greatest troublemakers Hogwarts had ever produced.

Ted would miss the Marauder’s Map; Harry had given it to him when he’d started school, and told him that both their fathers had helped to write it. Now, James would have it, though Harry had been adamant when Ted had returned it at the beginning of the summer that when Al and Lily went to Hogwarts, James would have to share it. While Harry had told him that their fathers had used the Map to help them cause trouble, Ted had mainly used it if he wanted to use a secret passage, or sneak down to the kitchens for some chocolate cake on a Saturday night.

As one of the eldest, Vic’s company was sought after by the younger children at large family dinners, and she was usually claimed by Lily, Roxie and Rosie, who all liked to think they were older than they actually were. Today, however, she was seated next to her uncle Percy’s daughters, Molly and Lucy. Molly was painfully shy around strangers, and very much took after her bookish mother’s side of the family; Lucy, though a year younger, was really quite protective of her elder sister, and Vic had an inkling that she’d inherited more of the Weasley mischief than she sometimes let on. Ted on the other hand, seemed to have been abandoned by James (who usually clamoured to sit beside him at every meal) in favour of Michel.

“So, are you looking forward to Hogwarts, then?” Vic asked Lucy as she helped herself to pudding. Lucy would be joining James in starting at Hogwarts after the summer holidays.

“I can’t wait!” said Lucy, looking excited. “Molly has been telling me all about her classes and friends, and the castle always seemed amazing when I’ve seen it at the Memorial Day services. What is your favourite subject, Victoire?”

“I don’t know”, said Vic thoughtfully. “I really like Runes, but then Defence is always interesting as well. I have to say, I’ll be sad to lose Astronomy and Care of Magical Creatures from my timetable. What’s your favourite subject, Molly?”

“I like Charms and Potions”, she replied in her quiet, lady-like voice. “And Astronomy.”

“My friend Nat really likes Potions”, said Vic, smiling. “She tries to hide it, but I know she secretly loves it. How is your grandmother after she broke her leg? I meant to ask your mother earlier, but I didn’t get a chance to speak to her before dinner.”

“Getting better”, said Lucy. “She still has to wear lots of bandages and everything. And she has crutches. But she can get out of bed and come and sit in her chair in the sitting room when we go over. The muggle hospital mum and I took her to was amazing - its so different from St. Mungo’s.”

“Good”, said Vic. “Read any good books recently, Molly?” Her cousin was the most voracious reader Vic knew, excepting, perhaps, their Aunt Hermione.

“I read the new book by Fernando Casparno”, said Molly. “I really liked that - about a witch and wizard fighting against evil forces in the eighteenth century. And a book about Artemisia Lufkin; she was the first witch to be Minister for Magic.”

“Wow”, said Vic. “I have to say, Molly, you really put my holiday reading to shame; since I finished for the holidays, all I’ve read is the Prophet, the Quibbler and the a couple of old editions of Witch Weekly.” She went a little red, and Vic thought it best to change the subject. Molly always went red when praised. Before she could, however, her Aunt Audrey came over to make sure that Molly and Lucy had both eaten enough. Both nodded instantly.

“Lucy was telling me that your mother’s feeling a bit better now”, Vic said to her aunt. “I was really pleased to hear that.”

“Thank you”, said Audrey, smiling softly. “Actually, Victoire, that does give me the chance to - my mother has an appointment at the muggle hospital this Friday, and I hate to think of my father taking her alone. Would you be able to sit with Lucy and Molly for a couple of hours in the afternoon?”

“Of course”, said Vic, nodding. “Any time.” Lucy and Molly were by far the easiest cousins to look after.

“You finished?” Ted stood behind Vic, and was quickly patting her shoulders.

“Yeah, I am”, said Vic, untangling herself from the bench. “See you later, girls!”

Vic and Ted went for a walk in the adjacent orchard, sitting down at the foot of an ancient apple tree.

“So, what’s the surprise news you have for me?” Vic asked as they sat down. “After what you did to me - yes, I know I said you were forgiven, and you are! - and because you know I really can’t wait for surprises, please, please, please tell me that first?” She laughed at the look on her face.

“How much sugar have you eaten today?” grinned Ted. “I’m moving into a flat in Diagon Alley; someone at work put me onto it, and I’ll me moving in a week or two. I wasn’t really sure if it was something I should be doing, or even something I wanted to do, but I talked it over with Harry last night, and spoke to Grams this morning.”

“I can’t see Andromeda having a problem with it”, said Vic. “And I think its fantastic. When do I get to see it, then?”

“When I move in, pretty much, I guess”, shrugged Ted. “Its not big, or fancy, but its enough to get me started off.”

“Well, I’ll bring over some of maman’s cooking for you”, said Vic. “I know you can’t do anything complicated.”

“And you can?” asked Ted.

“Well, not to maman’s standards, but its still edible”, Vic asserted. “More than edible, and if you’d never eaten maman’s food, you would think it was delicious.” Ted laughed.

“I’m sure it is.”

“So, how is life in the DRCMC?” Vic asked. “I haven’t had a chance to see you properly since you started“. After spending so much time with Ted while Caro was in Greece, Vic had found it doubly depressing when she’d had to miss out on his company after he started work.

“Good”, said Ted, nodding. “My supervisor is pretty cool. She’s quite possibly the chattiest person I’ve ever met in my life, but she’s nice. Her best mate is an Auror, so she figured out Harry was my godfather the day I started. I have to say, though - she hasn’t said anything to anyone about it. I asked her not to; I don’t want people to think I would rely on his name to get me anywhere.”

“Being a Weasley, I suppose I’ve always known that I don’t really have much of a choice on that score”, said Vic philosophically. “Everyone knows about the family. Or thinks they do.”

“So, what have they got you doing there? The stuff they told you about at the interview?” Ted nodded.

“At the moment, I’m working on a leaflet for the Prophet, and some more for the Healers at St. Mungos to give out”, said Ted.

“That’s good”, said Vic. “You’ve only been there a week, and already you’re doing something real.”

“I know”, said Ted. “Its just - one of the things I have to do for research is read over statements by werewolves of what a transformation is like, especially the first time, and Vic - I can’t help but think what it must have been like for my father. He was only a child, then. What would it have been like for him? Would he even have known WHY it was happening?” He had started to scratch his left arm, seemingly unaware that he was doing so.

“Hey”, said Vic, grabbing his hands to stop him scratching himself and shifting so that she was kneeling, facing Ted.

“Don’t think about that. It was decades ago, and however much you might want to, you can’t go back in time and change it. You can’t, Ted.”

“I know”, he muttered.

“You need to focus instead on how proud he is right now. Wherever he and your mother are, they are watching you, and they are so proud of what you are doing to help people like him. That is what you have to think about, Ted.”

“Thank you”, said Ted, hugging her tightly. “You’re right; you’re always right. I just - I think too much about it sometimes. And I knew it was going to be hard.”

“I don’t know why, but I find it easiest to talk to you about this stuff”, said Ted, swinging his and Vic’s hands, which she now realised did not seem to want to part.

“I do”, said Vic quietly, looking down. “Its because it could so easily have been me as well. Its sheer luck that Greyback didn’t finish the job on my father like he did on yours.”

“Maybe”, agreed Ted.

“How are Wes and the rest of them getting on?” asked Vic after a while. “Don’t tell them this, but I think I might miss them next year - well, maybe not Hem, after what happened.”

“They’re getting on fine”, said Ted. “I see Rowland and Matt in the cafeteria at the Ministry for lunch most days. They’ve both landed on their feet; Matt gets to spend each and every day absorbed in Quidditch, and Rowland swears that his Obliviator training supervisors are the prettiest women he has ever met. Hem - Matt says he’s enjoying Healer training. Wes is being trained pretty hard by the Magpies. He owled me the other night, and said writing a letter, eating dinner and having a bath were all he had the energy to do each day after training.”

“You going to see him play when the season starts?” Vic asked. Ted nodded.

“Truth be told, I don’t actually know when the season starts”, she admitted.

“Mid-August”, grinned Ted. “Pre-season games start in a couple of weeks.”

“This is weird”, Vic admitted. “Its strange thinking of you going off to work every day, living in the real world. And I still have two whole years of Hogwarts to go.”

“Have you decided for sure what subjects you’re going to take next year?” asked Ted.

“Runes, Arithmancy, Potions, Defence, Herbology, Charms and Transfiguration”, said Vic.

“Seven subjects? Do you plan on having a social life the next two years?” said Ted.

“Its only one more than you did”, said Vic stubbornly. “And I want to keep my options open.”

“I promised Audrey I’d watch Lucy and Molly on Friday while she takes her mother an appointment at the muggle hospital”, said Vic. “Roxie and Freddie were horrific the other day, but then I suppose they live right next to the store cupboard of a joke shop.”

“What do you think of your future uncle, then?” asked Ted. “He seems like a really nice guy.”

“He is”, agreed Vic. “I’m just really glad to see Gabrielle happy again, after what happened before. He’s quiet, but I think they compliment each other really well. Ying and yang - balance; that’s what Nat would say.” Ted grinned.

“I can’t believe its been so long since I saw her last”, admitted Ted. “Sometimes it seems like time is standing still and yet racing ahead at the same time.”

“I know exactly what you mean”, said Vic. “And since I only get to see maman’s side of the family once a year, it makes the time we spend together mean more. Tante Gabrielle and I went for a walk on the beach yesterday, but it meant more than if I was going for a walk with Ginny or Angelina, for example, because I can go for a walk with them whenever I want to. In fact, when we were on our walk, she said - “ Vic hesitated, and saw the expectant look in Ted’s eyes. No, what Gabrielle had said, her presumptions about Vic and Ted should stay within her for now. She didn’t want Ted to think she was making suggestions that she was certainly not making.

“She was asking about Evan”, said Vic.

“Oh”, said Ted.

“I told her a little about him - she’s going to meet him when we go to Diagon Alley on Tuesday. He wanted to meet up there this week, and tante Gabrielle wanted to go shopping so it worked out really well”, she said, smiling slightly. Vic looked down at her watch.

“We’d better be getting back”, she said. “Its pretty late on in the afternoon - everyone will be heading home soon.”

They walked back to the house to find that Percy, George and their families had already left, and that Ron’s lot were just leaving.

“We ‘ad better be going as well”, said her mother.

“Ted, could you go and track down Dom and Louis, please?” asked her father. “I need to speak to Vic for a moment“. Vic watched as Ted left the room in search of her brother and sister, and felt a growing dread inside her. She had a feeling that she knew what her father wanted to speak to her about. He walked her over to an empty corner of the kitchen.

“What is going on with Louis and Dom?” he asked simply. Vic looked up into her father’s mangled, concerned features, and sighed heavily. She hated telling on Dom or Louis.

“Dom wants to join the Gryffindor Quidditch team”, said Vic flatly. “There’s an open spot for a Chaser; the spot James is after. Louis - well, he’s not happy about it. He says that the Quidditch team is the only thing he’s ever had that’s just his, and not his and Dom’s.”

“Ah”, said her father comprehending. He shook his head, his ponytail swaying.

“I thought they’d called a truce on it”, said Vic. “I should never have mentioned Felicia’s name yesterday. She’s one of Evan’s friends, and she’s the team captain. I think it started them both off again.”

“Its not your fault”, said her father bluntly. “If they are both as mad at each other as I think they are, then if it wasn’t that it would have been something else.”

“I guess”, sighed Vic.

“I don’t know”, said her father as he fidgeted with the corner of his denim shirt. “F-Fred and George never argued. They’re the only other twins I know - knew, other than my uncles, and they died when I was little.” Vic shrugged.

“Thanks for telling me”, said her father.

“They’re both going to go mental at me”, said Vic, shaking her head.

“It’ll be fine”, her father assured her. “They won’t dare get on the wrong side of your mother while there are visitors in the house.”

“I guess not”, said Vic, returning his wry grin. She noted that Louis and Dom had been located as her mother called them over.

“Bye”, said Vic as she hugged Ted in farewell.

“And thanks again for lending me that album. I’ll make sure I return it - “

“When you’ve ‘got every song imprinted on your brain’”, laughed Ted. “I’ll floo you in a couple of days to catch up on everything.”

“You do that”, smiled Vic as she turned and flooed back to Shell Cottage.

Ted, meanwhile, walked over to the sofa where Harry and Ginny were sitting, and sat down next to his godfather.

“I’d like to come with you on Wednesday”, he said.

“You don’t have to”, said Harry. “You never met Uncle Vernon, and you’ve only just started work. It won’t make the best impression.”

“I’ll work the time back”, Ted assured him. “And I think of you guys as my family, so if it’s a family thing, then…..”

“Okay”, said Harry, nodding as he looked at Ginny, who seemed to be on the same wavelength as Ted.

“I warn you, though”, said Harry. “We’ll have to act and travel like muggles, so…”

“I think I can manage that”, grinned Ted.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; September 2nd, 2011 at 9:18 pm.
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  #22  
Old September 9th, 2011, 10:54 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Posts: 244
Re: Falling

Chapter 22


Ted woke up and massaged his neck, looking out at the country fields next to the motorway. It was Wednesday morning, and he was on the way to Little Whinging with the Potters. Harry had insisted that they all pass as muggles for the day, and Ted was wearing a muggle suit of his grandfather’s that had been adjusted to fit him. It had itched, until Ted had charmed it not to.

They were travelling up from the Potters' house in the West Country to Surrey in an inconspicuous Ministry car that Harry had borrowed. In spite of the fact that they’d only been on the road for a little more than an hour by Ted’s watch, James was already declaring himself bored, and asking if they were almost there yet. Al and Lily had both returned to sleep as Ted had, and Ginny was gazing out the window as Ted was now.

“You know, this reminds me of when we used to drive up to London to catch the Hogwarts Express”, said Ginny, leaning over the back of Ted’s seat. The car had three rows; James sat beside Harry in the front (Dudley‘s directions to the church in hand), with Al and Ted behind them and Ginny and Lily in the back.

“I miss that car”, she added fondly.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in one for any length of time before”, said Ted. “Grams and I always used to floo to the Leaky, and then get a taxi to King’s Cross. I think one year we got the Knight Bus because I was desperate to go on it.” Ginny laughed.

“You didn’t need to do this, you know”, she reminded him.

“I know”, said Ted. “But you and Harry have always done so much for me. You’ve always treated me like one of the family, and this is a family thing.”

“I don’t really know them that well”, said Ginny. “But from what Harry says, Dudley turned out all right, and he knows that we’re coming, so I guess there will be at least one welcoming face. And Harry says Mrs. Figg still lives nearby. She was in the Order.”

“That makes two, then”, Ted pointed out. “ I think I vaguely remember her from the Memorial Day services, but I don’t think I’ve ever been introduced to her. What should I say, when they ask what I do for a living?”

“We just adjust it slightly”, said Ginny. “I’m a sports journalist and Harry works in high-level law enforcement and intelligence. That’s what Harry and I tell the parents at the kids’ school, anyway. For you, I think we‘ll just say that you work in putting together equalities legislation.”

“Smart”, said Ted.

“She’s not just a pretty face, are you?” said Harry from the front. Ted could hear the smile in his voice.

“I try”, grinned Ginny.

Though he didn’t think their journey overly long, Ted estimated that James had asked his father at least a couple of dozen times just how much further it was to their destination by the time they arrived in Little Whinging. It was only as the car pulled up that Al woke, yawning widely, his hair more wild than usual, and Lily had to be roused by her mother. Glancing at the other cars around the church, Ted estimated that while not first, they were by no means last.

“Now”, said Harry, turning round at the front of the car. “No magic, no arguing, no misbehaving. These people either don’t know that magic exists, or don’t want to know that it exists. The exception will be Mrs. Figg, but you can’t talk about it with her anyway. Don’t be surprised if you hear I went to school somewhere other than Hogwarts. For today, Hogwarts and the magical world do not exist, is that clear?”

“Just - just pretend you’re at school”, he sighed finally.

They got out of the car, and Lily instantly hissed to her mother that she needed to use the bathroom. As they went off in search of one, Ted stood on the grass with Harry, Al and James. Looking at his godfather, Ted could see Harry was nervous. In all the years he’d known him, Ted could only ever remember seeing that look on Harry’s face when his three children were born. Though an adult, it unsettled him somewhat. To Ted, Harry was in place of a parent, and represented continuity and stability in his life.

“These trousers are weird”, commented James. Ginny had spent a fraught day in muggle London with James, Al and Lily the day before in a children’s clothing shop to get them kitted out.

“Well, you only have to wear them for a day”, Ted reminded him. “I don’t much like mine, either.”

“Have you ever been to a funeral before, Teddy?” asked Al.

“Only the Memorial Day services”, said Ted. “Apparently I was at the first one, after - after my parents died.”

“Oh”, said Al, looking like he wished that he’d never asked.

“Its alright”, Ted reassured him.

“Do you recognise anyone?” asked Ginny as she and Lily returned from the church bathroom.

“A few people, vaguely”, said Harry. “A couple of neighbours. There’s a group of people over there roughly our age that I think must be Dudley’s friends.”

“Revisiting the past in your head?” said Ginny so softly that Ted guessed he was probably the only person other than Harry that had heard her.

“There’s Mrs. Figg”, said Harry, pointing to a batty looking woman, wearing an old, woolly black cardigan and skirt. Some of the posh looking people seemed to give her a wide berth. Harry, however, waved her over.

“Harry, bless my soul, its been far too long!” she exclaimed, before hugging him and Ginny in succession.

“Its good to see you, too”, said Harry.

“I did wonder if you would be here, once I’d heard what had happened”, she said. “I must say, you’re a better person than most.”

“I don’t know if you remember my godson, Ted?” said Harry. “Remus and Dora’s son.”

“And no longer a child - I knew your parents well, my dear. Your father particularly. An excellent man.”

“Thank you”, said Ted. “I think so too.”

“And you live with Harry?”

“My grandmother”, said Ted.

“Of course, of course”, she nodded. “And this must be your three little ones.” Harry introduced her to James, Al and Lily. They were still catching up, when two large black cars arrived, one carrying the coffin, and the other the family.

“We should go in, now”, said Harry softly. They entered the little church, and took seats towards the back, alongside Mrs. Figg. Harry seemed to be going out of his way to be as inconspicuous as possible.

Ted didn’t really know quite what to make of the service; as he’d told Al, he’d never really been to a wizarding funeral before, never mind a muggle one. They sung a couple of songs from a red book, and the minister read a lesson, before Harry’s cousin Dudley stood up and made a speech about his father’s life.

He could see two women at the front, one stick-thin, the other massive. Ted knew them by description to be Harry’s aunt and her sister-in-law. The larger one seemed stoic, and did not require the tissues offered to her. The other, Harry’s aunt, did. It set Ted off, wondering. His grandmother had never had that luxury. His grandfather’s body had never been returned to her for a funeral. Then, his parents had died, and she’d had a double funeral to arrange.

It seemed like they’d hardly got started, and the service was over. Ted noted Dudley nodding in their direction as he helped his devastated mother out of the church. Being at the back, Ted, Mrs. Figg and the Potters were among the last to leave. As they got back out onto the grassy area, the sun seemed to be coming out, in spite of the day, and Ginny asked Harry what was due to happen next.

“The burial”, said Harry. “I don’t know if - “

“We came all this way just for that?” Ted heard James grumble. He cleared his throat and looked at him warningly. James looked back at him sheepishly; Ted knew he was one of the few people who could make James feel genuinely guilty.

They were prevented from speaking further when Harry’s cousin, Dudley, actually came over to them. He was a heavyweight man who looked older than he was, and Ted wondered if that was anything to do with the boxing career Harry had told him about. He knew that Dudley had given up participating in the sport a couple of years before, and switched instead to organising matches, and training young boxers.

“Harry”, he said gruffly, looking unsure as to whether he should hold out his hand to shake Harry’s.

“Big D”, Harry replied. Ted saw James and Al glance at each other.

“We’re just off to the cemetery just now - close family only, you understand.” Harry nodded. “You should……come to the house, though. In about an hour. Mum and my wife will be serving tea and things. She would - I’ll tell her that you’re coming.” Harry glanced at Ginny, who nodded.

“We’ve come all this way”, she said, echoing James’s sentiments.

Harry and Ginny went back to Mrs. Figg’s house for tea. After a glass of milk and some stale chocolate biscuits, James, Al and Lily started to become restless, so Ted suggested taking them to the play park over the road.

“Do as Ted tells you, and do NOT leave the park, is that understood?” said Ginny as they trooped out of the house.

Lily indicated to Ted that she wanted to tell him something privately.

“That lady’s house smells funny”, she whispered in his ear. Ted laughed.

“It’s a cat smell, Lily”, he told her.

“But Toffee doesn’t make our house smell like that”, she pointed out.

“I know, Lils, but Toffee is only one cat, and Mrs. Figg has lots and lots of them; remember she was saying that she feeds cats that don’t have proper homes as well?” Lily nodded.

“This looks a lot like the play park at home”, said Lily. “Did you know the man that died?”

“No, I never met him”, said Ted. “He was your father’s uncle, but when I was growing up, they didn’t talk to each other much.”

“I talked to a girl in my class at school in the village yesterday, and she said she’d been to three funerals before”, said Lily, holding up three fingers, and looking very impressed at what her school friend had said.

“Well, I think that’s very sad”, said Ted. “That means she’s known three people who have died.” Lily looked a little downcast.

“Now, how about I push you on the swings, Lily bean”, he said, bringing a smile back to her face as he took her hand. “James! Don’t push that roundabout too fast!”

“Do I HAVE to?” he asked mischievously.

“Remember what your mother said about behaving yourself today”, said Ted pointedly. “And if Al’s sick, you can clean it up.”

“Fine”, he grumbled, and left the roundabout, moving instead to the monkey bars, something that he’d always said actually required some skill and agility.

Ted settled Lily on one of the swings, and started pushing it while she giggled slightly.

“Having fun?” he asked her.

“Yes!” she exclaimed. “Push me higher, Teddy! Higher!”

“I don’t think so”, said Ted. “Otherwise I’ll be the one in trouble with your mother. What are you doing for the rest of the week, Lils?”

“We’re going to Uncle Bill and Auntie Fleur’s tomorrow to go to the beach”, said Lily. “Mum wanted to go yesterday, but they were all going to Diagon Alley, and we had to go shopping for new clothes. My socks are itchy, Teddy. They’re hurting my legs.”

“Well, you can go bare foot in the car on the way home”, Ted compromised. “But you need to keep them on now, I’m afraid. Do you like going to Shell Cottage?” Lily nodded.

“I like Vic lots. She’s really funny, and she’s always really nice to me”, said Lily.

“Vic’s the nicest person I know”, Ted told her.

“Is her boyfriend nice?”

“Yeah, I guess”, said Ted. “How about you, do you have a boyfriend, Lils?”

“No!” giggled Lily shyly.

“Yes she does”, teased James, who along with Al had joined Lily on the swings. “She always plays with that boy that lives down the road, doesn’t she Al?”

“What - oh, yeah, yeah she does”, agreed Al, after glancing at James.

“No I don’t!” Lily protested. “I play with his sister!”

“Don’t tease your sister”, warned Ted. “Remember - as soon as she’s eleven, she’ll be able to get back at you ten times over!”

“Thank you, Teddy”, said Lily. “Can you push me higher now?”

“No”, said Ted flatly.

“Time to go!” Ted looked up to see Harry and Ginny crossing the road, and calling to them. As Al and James ran on ahead, Ted helped Lily off the swings and took her hand as they walked to join her parents at a more sedate pace.

“Its not far to where we’re going, so I’ve just left the car at Mrs. Figg’s house”, said Harry as they set off down the road. “Its strange the way her house looks exactly the same now as it did when I used to go there when I was younger. Like its stuck in the past or something.”

“Here we are”, said Harry a few moments later. He indicated a large square house, virtually identical to all of the others in the street, which had about half a dozen cars parked in and around the driveway.

“I like the flowers”, Lily said to Ted as they walked up the pathway. “Look - there’s some lilies as well.”

“They your favourite flowers, Lils?” asked Ted, grinning. She shook her head.

“Rosie and me decided that lilies would be her favourite flowers, and roses would be mine”, said Lily. “And that would make it fair. Roxie said she would like both of them the same.”

“I think that’s a very good idea”, said Ted.

“It was Rosie’s idea”, said Lily. “Rosie’s very clever.”

“So are you”, said Ted loyally. They walked in the door behind James, Al, Ginny and Harry, and were shown into the sitting room by Harry’s cousin.

“This is my wife, Priscilla”, said Dudley, gruffly. “I think you remember her brother Piers, Harry?”

“Vividly”, he said in a tone Ted found it hard to identify.

“The kids are outside - Peregrine, Pryce and Prudence”, Dudley added.

“I have heard so much about you”, began Priscilla, until she was interrupted by the arrival of Harry’s aunt.

“Aunt Petunia, I was very sorry to hear what happened”, said Harry. “I know how much Vernon meant to you.”

“Th-thank you, Harry”, said the woman shyly.

“I - I don’t think you’ve met my wife, Ginny”, Harry said calmly to his aunt. “You might remember her family, though. I went to stay with them several times.”

“Erm, yes, I think I do”, she said. She seemed to be chewing her tongue. Ted wondered what kind of fault she could possibly find with the Weasleys, the most loving family Ted had ever met.

“You brought your children with you”, she added.

“Yes, this is James Sirius, Albus Severus and Lily Luna”, said Harry. Ted thought he saw her eyes flash in recognition as Harry said Al’s name, but he could not be sure. “And Ted is my godson.”

“L-Lily?” she said softly.

“Yes”, said Harry.

“Sit down and have a cup of tea”, said Priscilla. “You must be very worn-out, Petunia, after everything that’s gone on.” She patted her sympathetically on the shoulder. Petunia nodded, and sat down.

“I like your flowers”, said Lily shyly.

“Thank you”, said Harry’s aunt.

Harry and Ginny sat down awkwardly on a sofa, leaving only a single seat empty. Ted sat down on it, with Lily on his knee, while James and Al kneeled down on the floor awkwardly.

“Did you….come far?” asked Dudley.

“We stay in the West Country; in the village my parents used to live in”, said Harry. “Ginny’s parents aren’t too far away, nor most of her brothers.”

“You come from a large family, then?” asked Dudley’s wife.

“There are - were - seven of us”, said Ginny. “My brother Fred died about eighteen years ago. There’s just six of us now.” Ted noted, though he was sure no one else did, that Harry’s hand tightened around Ginny’s as she spoke. It was so strange for him to see his godfather like this; when Ted had been younger, Harry had seldom spoken about his childhood beyond the occasional comment that Ted had been so much better off than he had growing up.

“You should go outside and play”, Dudley’s wife said to James, Al and Lily. Ted nodded at Lily, who had looked up at him expectantly.

“I like swings”, said Lily, turning to Dudley‘s wife. “Are there swings outside?”

“Sorry sweetie, there’s not”, she replied. “Perhaps you could go to the park, though - just round the corner?” She left, and returned with three children, the two boys around James and Al’s age, and a girl a couple of years younger than Lily.

“Perry, Prue and Pryce will take you to the park”, said Priscilla.

Before they could leave, Ted heard a loud bark, and a bulldog rushed into the room followed by the large woman Ted recognised as the sister of Harry’s late uncle.

“Oh, you came then, did you?” she said to Harry.

“Yes”, he replied simply. Ted could feel the tension in the room.

“I take it these are your brats?”

“These are my children, yes”, Harry replied calmly. Ted looked over at James, and had to work hard not to laugh at the look of incredulity intermingled with amusement that crossed his face.

“And this is my wife”, he added, indicating Ginny.

“Humph. You must have been little older than he is when you had that one”, she interposed, and Ted could tell she was talking about him.

“Ted is my godson”, said Harry. “Though I treat him the same as my own sons. His father and mine were close friends at school.”

“Is this your dog?” interrupted Lily, bending down to pet it before it growled at her, and she removed her hand.

“Yes”, replied the woman. “This is Trigger. He was sired by a previous dog of mine, Ripper.”

“I prefer cats to dogs”, said Lily mildly. “My cat is called Toffee. I do like dogs as well. We have a picture at home that Daddy got in a market of a big, black dog. He says its like S - “

“Snuffles”, interrupted Harry. “My godfather’s dog. Children, why don’t you all go to the park like Priscilla suggested, hmm?” As James and Al passed him, Harry could tell that they were both disappointed at being sent out, and wanted to stay and see if a proper argument developed.

Ted fell into conversation with a woman that seemed to live next door about the state of the country (all that was involved for Ted was nodding), and soon a considerable amount of time had passed. He’d drunk tea, and eaten some chocolate cake, which he complimented Petunia for. He was enjoying a second slice, when Lily came racing into the house.

“Big boys - James fighting - bleeding - “ she breathed, and Ted ran out of the house, shouting that he would deal with it, heading to the play park in which he’d earlier swung Lily on the swing-set. Ted knew that James would react better to him coming to break up a fight than his father; he looked up to Ted like he was an elder brother. He could see two boys a couple of years older than James surrounding him as he defended himself.

“Get lost”, said Ted, growling at them. He dragged James and Al back to the house. The children they’d gone with were just watching. From what one of them was shouting, he could tell that they knew the two boys James was fighting with.

“What have you been up to?!” exclaimed Ginny as they walked in the front door, and the first thing she saw was James’s bloody nose.

“They called Lily a weirdo”, said James, blood trickling down his new white shirt. “They asked Lily what her name was, and started making fun of her because of her middle name, and her red hair. Then they started on Al, saying he was a wuss. I had to fight them!”

“You never have to fight anyone”, said Ginny severely. “James Sirius, how many times have I told you to control your temper?!”

“Lots”, muttered James as someone gave Ginny tissues to stem the bleeding.

“He is in so much trouble”, Al muttered to Ted. “When mum double names you, you’re really in for it.”

“In the name of - we came here for a funeral”, hissed Ginny. “There WILL be repercussions for this, young man. You are grounded for the next week!”

“But I was sticking up for Al and Lily”, James protested.

“You don’t need to fight to stand up for someone, James”, said Harry.

“Like father like son”, said the large woman triumphantly. “I see that the reformation school my brother sent you to had no effect on the next generation! You were violent, and now your son is too! Why you are allowed to roam the streets I will never know, and now your son is following in your hooligan footsteps!”

“James did wrong, I will acknowledge that, but he did it for the right reasons”, said Harry hotly, “He was defending his brother and sister.”

“That is how it always starts off”, she asserted. She started to argue with Harry as Ted turned to Lily.

“Are you alright?” he asked her. She was shaking slightly.

“Those boys were scary”, she said, leaning into Ted. He hugged her tightly.

“They said I was a lunatic because my middle name is Luna, and I said that Luna is my godmother and that’s why mummy and daddy called me that, and they laughed at me because I have red hair, and James got angry”, said Lily. “He said that they shouldn’t say things like that to me because I was little, and then they started teasing Al because he wasn’t arguing with them, and then James hit one of them.”

“I understand why he started the fight, but he shouldn’t have. You should have come back here”, said Ted, wondering where this streak of responsibility had come from. Merlin, if he’d been in James’s position, he would have done the same thing.

Ted hugged an upset Lily again, and Harry came over and whispered that they were leaving. Ted saw Harry hastily shake hands with his cousin, and they quickly left the house, the odd speck of blood still trickling from James’s nose as none of them could really repair it magically until they got back to the car.

“All I asked was for you to behave yourselves for one day”, sighed Harry as they buckled themselves in, and he repaired all of the damage done to James.

“That was all I asked - one simple, little thing!”

“But - “. said James, trying to defend himself.

“But nothing”, said Ginny. “I know why you did what you did, and I think it is amazing that you stood up for your brother and sister, but you should NEVER resort to violence to resolve anything, is that understood?!”

“Yes”, muttered James, turning round huffily to face the front. Harry sighed as he started the engine magically.

“I have to say”, Ted muttered to Al as they pulled away. “A day out with you lot is never dull.”





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; September 9th, 2011 at 11:02 pm.
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  #23  
Old September 16th, 2011, 10:23 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 23


“Is this everything?” Andromeda asked as she handed Ted a mug of peppermint tea. He nodded in reply.

Ted had just completed his packing for the big move to his flat in Diagon Alley. It was late on Sunday afternoon, and he had intended to move in the day before. Taking Wednesday off to go to Surrey for Harry’s uncle’s funeral had meant that Ted had worked Saturday, and delayed the move. He had hoped that Caro would be able to help him move, and set off some homely touches to the décor, but she’d flooed him that morning to say that her friend Mattie had just been dumped by her boyfriend of four years, and she needed her friends to rally round.

The bedroom that had been his since the day he was born was full of boxes that had been filled in his spare evenings that week. The posters of old wizarding rock bands that had adorned the walls had been taken down; the framed pictures of those he had lost - and which Ted considered to be his most treasured possessions - were carefully wrapped and packed at the top of a box marked fragile. As well, there were a few dusty boxes that Ted and his grandmother had found in the attic, which turned out to be full of his father’s things.

“Its strange, but this room seems full and empty at the same time”, said his grandmother, smiling softly, a look of sadness on her face.

“Are you sure - “ began Ted heavily.

“Teddy, its fine”, she said, interrupting him. “I just can’t believe that you’re all grown up now.”

“It just doesn’t seem eighteen years”, she added, almost inaudibly, and Ted knew she wasn’t just talking about how long it had been since his birth.

“No, it doesn’t”, he agreed.

“Ted, you still here?” yelled a voice from downstairs.

“Up here!” he replied; he’d managed to corral Wes and Rowland into helping him move. Harry had offered himself, Al and James, the latter still technically being grounded, but Ted had turned down the offer. It wouldn’t take long, and as he’d explained to Harry, he wanted to get himself settled before they all came over. He also felt a bit guilty about asking Harry to spend one of his precious weekend days shifting boxes instead of spending quality time with his children. Besides, his grandmother wasn’t going to come over until he’d unpacked. She told him she wanted to make sure he did it himself.

“Hey guys”, said Ted as they wandered into the room.

“Wow”, said Wes. “I know you said you’d packed, but….”

“You were still expecting to come here and find half of it still waiting to be done?” supplied Ted, grinning.

“Something like that”, he shrugged. “How goes it, Mrs. T.?”

“Fine, thank you Wesley”, she replied. “Would you boys like a cup of tea? Teddy’s just got his.” Rowland and Wes both nodded enthusiastically, and Andromeda quickly retired to the kitchen.

“Caro not here yet?” asked Rowland. Ted told her about Mattie’s boyfriend.

“Eesch”, said Rowland, making a face. “Mattie’s probably better off without the guy anyway. Remember in fifth year, him and his mates made everyone’s life miserable?”

“Rowland, they just wanted to make sure they passed their exams”, sighed Wes. “They’re Ravenclaws, that’s what they do. Study. They had our best interests at heart. I think.”

“Trying to force exam revision timetables on everyone, and going on about exams every single time you spoke to them does not sound to me like having someone’s best interests at heart”, said Rowland darkly.

“I remember their stampedes in the library, having to be first to take out some book whichever professor we’d had that class had been talking about.”

“Poor Rowland”, laughed Ted, slapping his friend on the back.

“You have a lot of junk”, said Wes, changing the subject. Ted shrugged.

“I’m not really the type to throw things out. Vic’s the same, maybe I’ve caught it off her”, said Ted thoughtfully. He was nowhere near as bad as she was, though. At least Ted didn’t keep every card, letter, piece of paper he’d ever been given. Vic did, though.

“Really”, said Rowland, raising his eyebrows suspiciously.

“What?” said Ted defensively. “Friends catch habits off one another. You both do that sarcastic laugh only Wes used to do, and you even walk a little alike.”

“Hardy ha”, said Wes, folding his arms. “One day, Lupin, you are going to wake up and realise what you have right in front of you.”

“And we will both be there to say ‘I told you so’ as soon as we can”, added Rowland.

“Here’s your tea, boys”, said Andromeda, coming back into the room. Ted hoped she hadn’t heard what his friends had been saying. He wished they’d stop teasing him about Vic. They’d been doing it on and off for a couple of years, even with Caro and now Evan in the picture.

Once the three boys had finished their tea, they started banishing Ted’s boxes and the furniture he’d scrounged from his grandmother, and a couple of other sources, to his new flat, before flooing there. Luckily, Willa’s new husband worked in the Department of Magical Transportation, and so Ted had found it easy enough to transfer the floo connection into his own name.

“So, what do you think, boys?” said Ted, standing in the middle of the sitting room. It wasn’t big, and the furniture and boxes crowded it even more. Off to the left were the two bedrooms and bathroom, and to the right the poky kitchen. Thank Merlin for Harry and his grandmother constantly inviting him over for dinner!

“Not bad”, said Rowland, nosing around.

“Could be better, but not everyone can start off their lives at eighteen in a palace now, can they?” agreed Wes, laughing.

The day after Ted’s big move, Victoire Weasley found herself spending a quiet Sunday morning on the beach with her godmother and two of her cousins.

“Its so beautiful here”, said Ginny, her red hair billowing in the wind.

“Yeah”, Vic agreed. “I always want to live by the sea. I could never live in a city, like Ted.”

“Have you seen his new flat yet?” asked Ginny as she packed up the picnic basket beside them, and motioned for Al and Lily to come over from the vast den they had been building.

“No”, said Vic. “I don’t think he wants anyone over until everything is in order.”

“Yeah, we got that impression as well”, said Ginny. She turned to a disappointed Al and Lily.

“Time to go home, kids.”

“Do we have to?” asked Lily sadly. Vic knew her cousin loved coming to visit.

“Yes, we do”, said Ginny.

“You can come back very soon, though”, Vic assured her. “Both of you can come over whenever you want when I’m at home - you know that. Right?” They both nodded.

“You’re very good to them”, said Ginny as she handed Al the empty picnic basket to carry back to the house. Vic shrugged.

You’re very good to me”, she replied.

“Well, in that case, you can do me a favour”, said Ginny.

“Oh?” said Vic. She could handle two of them at once, but not three, and fervently hoped that she was not about to be asked to babysit. She didn’t have to do it often - usually Ted was the one that watched James, Al and Lily on the odd occasion that Harry and Ginny went out for the evening.

“I still haven’t been properly introduced to that boyfriend of yours”, Ginny pointed out.

“Evan?”

“Unless there’s more than him hidden in the woodwork?” Ginny grinned.

“No….no, there’s just Evan”, said Vic.

“Bring him to Harry’s birthday party”, said Ginny as they set off back along the beach to Shell Cottage.

“Really?”

“Why not?” shrugged Ginny. “I’m sure everyone would like to meet him. And I’ve told you before - I want to make sure that he is good enough for my eldest god-daughter.”

“You make me feel old when you say that”, Vic pointed out, nudging Ginny with a grin.

“What, saying you’re older than a ten year old?” Ginny replied. Her other god-daughter was Rosie.

“Well, when you put it like that, I suppose it doesn’t, but - what about everyone else?” said Vic, biting her lip. “Gramma will try to marry me off to someone I’ve been going out with for less than six months, and with me being the oldest - I have five uncles, all of whom will want to meet him, and question him. And there’s dad. I know dad and maman seemed to take to him when they met him at Hogwarts, but that‘s completely different to throwing him into the dragons’ den with the entire family.”

“You’ll both be fine”, said Ginny confidently.

“How do you know?” asked Vic incredulously.

“Aside from Harry, they were all my older brothers, and they never did Harry any harm, now did they?”

“I suppose”, conceded Vic, not wanting to point out that since Harry had pretty much saved the wizarding world, there was not a sane set of brothers alive that would object to a war hero for a brother-in-law.

“So you’ll bring Evan along with you?” said Ginny. Vic looked at the interest in her aunt’s eye. She clearly did genuinely want to meet him for Vic’s sake.

“I’ll ask”, said Vic, laughing. “I can’t promise anything, though.”

“Asking is good enough for me”, said Ginny as the house came into sight.

“Do Evan and Ted get on well?” asked Ginny. Vic hesitated.

“They don’t not get on”, said Vic slowly. “But they don’t really know each other that well, I suppose. They don’t really talk to one another.”

“How long does James have before he’s allowed his freedom again?” asked Vic, changing the subject. She’d been intrigued by Ted’s story of what had happened at the funeral he’d gone to with her aunt, uncle and cousins, and although she agreed that he would never, ever have been let off after starting a fight at the funeral, they were both in agreement that James had, at least, started the fight for the right reasons.

“Wednesday”, said Ginny. “And he’s been a nightmare, so it can’t come soon enough for Harry and I as well as James.” Vic giggled.

“Sorry”, she apologised, opening the door.

“I wouldn’t worry about it”, said Ginny in an undertone. “Merlin knows Harry and I were in trouble more often than not at that age - and older. Feels a bit strange sometimes having to be the responsible parent and everything.”

“Louis and Dom back yet?” Vic asked her mother as they walked in.

“Non”, she replied, shaking her head. “Zey should be home soon. I told zem zey ‘ad to be back ’ome for when your friend got ‘ere, Victoire.”

“Cool”, said Vic. Nat was coming to stay for a few days. Vic couldn’t wait. With Ted working now, she had nobody to spend time with outside of her siblings and cousins, and was looking for some variety in the conversation. Aside from anything else, while Dom and Louis were no longer fighting every chance they got, the cold, cordial rapport they had established - which mostly involved them only speaking politely to one another at meals - was almost as bad as, and often worse than, their fighting.

“We better get back to Harry and James now”, said Ginny. “I think they were spending their morning sorting out some things in the attic.”

“Bet James is having a ball”, said Bill, coming into the room to join them.

“Don’t even….”, said Ginny. “Right kids, we better head for the floo.” Al and Lily both groaned. Vic hugged them each in turn, and then hugged Ginny goodbye before seeing them to the fire.

“Remember what I said”, grinned Ginny as she stepped into the fireplace.

“I said I would ask, and I’ll do that now”, replied Vic, smiling. “I’ll floo you when I find out.” She waved as they flooed back to Godric’s Hollow.

“So what have you to ask, then?” asked her father, smiling.

“Oh - um, Aunt Ginny wants me to invite Evan to Uncle Harry’s birthday party”, said Vic shyly, biting the corner of her lip.

“Really?” he responded. Vic could not identify the look on his face.

“Stop teasing ‘er, Beel”, said her mother, coming over. “Your fazzer and uncles weel all be on zeir best behaviour, Victoire.”

“I should go upstairs and owl Evan, like Aunt Ginny asked”, said Vic, wanting to remove herself from this conversation. “And don’t worry about the state of my room - its all tidy for Nat coming. I made sure of that before I went down to the beach.”

She wandered upstairs, and into her bedroom. Not that her dormitory at Hogwarts, up in Gryffindor Tower, wasn’t amazing, but Vic had long since decided that no bedroom in the world was as good as her own at Shell Cottage. It curved, ever so slightly, and there wasn’t a straight line anywhere. On the walls, the imprints of the shells on the outside indented into her room, and the whitewashed effect made it look even more a room found in a house beside the sea. The effect was set off by a large framed picture of the beach that Ted had given her for her birthday that hung above her bed. It was beautiful, and blended in so well with everything she already had.

She sat at her desk, which was under the window that afforded her a view of the rugged coastline and crashing waves. Grabbing a quill and some parchment left over from the letter she’d written to Nat a few days ago requesting confirmation of her travel plans - specifically when she would be arriving - she started to write to Evan.

Hi Evan,

Just a quick few lines to say hi - hi. Okay, I’ve now said it three times. Anyway, Nat will be here for a few days in about an hour or so, but I wanted to quickly pass on an invitation.

Its my Uncle Harry’s birthday on the 31st, and there is always a big extended family party for him that Aunt Ginny organises, and she wanted me to ask if you’d come too. Aside from the family, there will be some of Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny’s friends - Ted’s girlfriend came last year, and I’m guessing she will again this year. Aunt Ginny really wants to meet you. Professor Longbottom and his wife and Hagrid are always there too.

Hope you’re still enjoying your holidays - let me know what you’ve been up to.

I haven’t been that busy, really. Aunt Ginny was over this morning for a while with Lily and Al, and I was watching Lucy and Molly for Aunt Audrey and Uncle Percy the other day. Lucy spent most of her time quizzing me on Hogwarts - she can’t wait to start on September 1st! Aside from that, I’ve just been catching up with Ted when he pops in (he‘s been really busy the last few days getting all of his things sorted for moving into that flat I told you about), and trying not to make it look to Dom and Louis like I’m taking sides with the other!

I really do hope that you can make it to Uncle Harry’s party. Of course you would come here first, and we could floo there together. I’ll even give you a quick class on who everyone in the family is………..and warn you who to avoid!!

I better go now - I can see Nat’s dad’s car coming along the road to the house. I’ll send this when Hibou comes back.

Missing you,

Vic

xx


A smile on her face, Vic folded up the parchment, put her letter into an envelope, and went downstairs to meet Nat.

“So how are you really?” Vic asked Nat an hour later, when they were back upstairs in her room, and her parents had left, to drive back home after a chat and restorative cup of tea and slice of cake.

“Like I said, good”, said Nat, smiling. Looking closely, Vic could see that she was telling the truth. She was pretty much back to the Nat of old. Finally, she seemed to be getting past the devastation of her grandmother’s death that Spring.

“And how are you really?” continued Nat.

“Good”, said Vic, nodding. “Dom and Louis are still - well, they’re still not getting on properly. Apart from that, everything has been good. I am a little nervous, though. Aunt Ginny asked me to invite Evan to Uncle Harry’s birthday party next Sunday.”

“Ah, time to meet the family”, said Nat, understanding.

“I really hope they don’t freak him out”, said Vic.

“Your family aren’t as scary as you think they are, Vic”, laughed Nat. “And speaking from personal experience, I would say that its better to just get it over and done with. Otherwise you will just keep worrying about it.”

“From personal experience, huh?” said Vic, raising an eyebrow. “Do you have something to tell me, then?”

“I might do”, said Nat coyly.

“Spill the beans”, said Vic, offering her friend a bar of chocolate, which she instantly ripped open.

“Well, do you remember that guy from my muggle primary school that I met up with at new year, Dylan? My close-to-midnight kiss?”

“No way!” exclaimed Vic. “You didn’t tell me anything about that in any of your letters. So, either you have been keeping it to yourself - and shame on you! - or its only just happened.”

“Shame on me, then”, replied Nat.

“Its just made such a difference, having someone new in my life, someone that hasn’t been there the past few months when I’ve been a mess”, she admitted.

“Like a little bright spark coming along”, said Vic.

“Yeah, something like that”, agreed Nat. “And on the subject of how much of a mess I’ve been - I know I said something before, but I just want to thank you again for just being there when I was like that.”

“Its in the best friend manual”, said Vic. “Now, tell me all about Dylan. Is he cute? Is he funny? What is he interested in apart from you?” Nat laughed. As she did so, Vic realised just how much she’d missed this side of her best friend.

“Cute - yes. Funny - yes”, Nat answered. “Interested in muggle music and football.”

“Does he have a favourite team?” asked Vic, trying to recall if any football teams had ever been mentioned in Muggle Studies - she remembered they’d had a lesson or two on the sport itself, and even had a go at playing.

“Oh, what is it again?” said Nat, trying to remember. “I remember it sounds like ice cream - Aston Villa, that’s it!”

“What’s that got to do with ice cream?” asked Vic, who had never before heard of the team.

“Villa sounds like vanilla - which, coincidentally, is Dylan’s favourite flavour of ice cream”, reasoned Nat. Vic just laughed.

The girls spent the remainder of Sunday catching up, and Monday on the beach, with Vic quizzing Nat on her new boyfriend as much as possible, and confiding in Nat further her concerns about introducing Evan to the rest of the family. After dinner on Monday evening, once they’d cleared the dishes away and sat down on the sofa to listen to their favourite music show on the WWN, they were interrupted by the sight of Ted’s face in the fire.

“Hello ladies”, he said, causing Vic to fall off the edge of her seat in fright, and Ted and Nat to laugh at her as she stood up again, well aware that her face was as red as the sofa.

“Don’t do that”, she told Ted slowly. “Just - don’t do that.”

“How are you both?” They told him about what they’d been up to since Nat’s arrival the previous afternoon.

“Its good to see you again, Ted”, said Nat, smiling. “Vic says you’re enjoying work.”

“As much as a person can enjoy working away all day every day”, he grinned. “I’d actually forgot you were coming. I was flooing Vic to find out if she wanted to come and see the new flat.”

“Of course we want to see it!” said Vic.

“Are Dom and Louis there as well?” asked Ted. “If you’re both coming over then they may as well do too.”

“Nope”, said Vic, shaking her head. “They’ve taken to spending as much time apart as possible by staying out of the house as much as they can. Dom is over at George and Angelina’s, and Louis is at Archie Bagman’s.”

“That little eejit still have a thing for you, or has he given it up now that you have Evan?” Nat asked Vic.

“Thankfully, I haven’t seen him much recently, so I don’t really know”, said Vic.

“Ah well, it’ll just be you two ladies then.” Ted left the fire, and Vic called to her parents that she and Nat were going over to Ted’s.

“Don’t be too late!” called her mother as they helped themselves to floo powder.

“Won’t be!” Vic yelled back. She hated flooing, but she’d been desperate to see Ted’s new flat ever since the previous weekend, when he’d first told her about it.

Although he’d only moved in the previous day, Ted had already done most of his unpacking. There was so much that would remain in boxes for a while anyway, and the rest hadn’t taken long to put away in its rightful place. The mismatched mugs his grandmother had given him crowded a corner of the work surface in the kitchen, the pictures he’d brought were all displayed atop a cabinet in the sitting room, and his clothes were neatly stacked in the wardrobe.

“Wow”, said Vic, coughing as she came tumbling out of the fireplace.

“Its nothing to home at Grams, and I haven’t got round to changing the colour of the walls yet, but I like it so far”, said Ted, looking around the sitting room. It felt more like his new home with all of his own things out, and his wizarding rock posters covering one of the walls.

“Ted, its amazing”, said Nat. “Its actually a little strange seeing you with your own place - I mean, you’re only two years older than us, and you’ve just finished Hogwarts.” He shrugged.

“Its also nothing to the place Caro and her friends have got”, said Ted. “Its about five minutes away from here, and massive.

“How…how is Caro?” asked Nat politely. Ted smiled at her for making the effort. Vic seemed to have lost the energy even for that, and seemed now only to work at acting as if she had no opinion at all of his girlfriend. Given that Caro never so much as spoke to Vic now, he figured she was at least entitled to that.

“She’s fine”, Ted replied. “I haven’t seen her since she flooed me yesterday.” He told Nat about Mattie being dumped, and that Caro had said she would come over as soon as she could leave her friend.

“Actually, you two are my first guests”, said Ted a little sheepishly. “Other than Grams - I was over there tonight picking up a couple of records I’d left, after I had dinner at Harry and Ginny’s, and she came back with me to see the place.”

“Why haven’t Harry and Ginny been over?” asked Vic. “Because of James?” Ted nodded.

“He isn’t allowed to come over until Wednesday, because it would be considered a treat, and he is grounded”, said Ted, grinning. “Harry had offered him as help for unpacking, but I figured it wasn’t really fair to ask Harry to give up his Sunday to help me unpack and stuff, so I just asked Rowland and Wes.”

“Poor James”, said Vic, shaking her head.

“It was actually quite funny, though”, said Ted, thinking back to earlier that evening. “Tonight, after dinner, when we’d finished eating, James was cleaning the dishes, and grumbling away about how he's had to do it every mealtime since he was grounded.”

“Poor James”, repeated Vic, though she giggled a little now, and Ted grinned back at her.

“Would you like the five knut tour of the place?” asked Ted. The girls nodded, and followed him around.

“Well, as you can see we are currently in the sitting room. It includes a table and a couple of chairs Harry and Ginny gave me, and an old sofa that Grams never got round to throwing out, as well as my record player and wireless. I will never miss a Quidditch match on the WWN. And through here, we have the kitchen, where I will probably never make anything other than a cup of tea or a sandwich. Thankfully, my dinners will probably continue to be supplied by Grams and Harry and Ginny. Now, back through here we have the doors to the bathroom and the two bedrooms.”

He showed them both bedrooms; his own was smaller than the one he’d had at his grandmother’s house, but was still big enough to hold a double bed, wardrobe, desk and a chair or two. The other held only a camp bed and a chest for storing a few things. It would probably only ever be used if one of his friends stayed over, but it was still nice to have the extra space.

“So, how long are you over for, then?” Ted asked Nat. He knew she always stayed at Shell Cottage for a while during the holidays, but the duration of her visit tended to vary from year to year.

“Until Friday”, she replied. “And then it is back to Worcestershire, and Dylan.”

“Dylan?”

“My boyfriend”, said Nat. She explained how they’d known each other years before, and started to reconnect the past few months.

“Aw, that means you’ll miss Harry’s party this year”, said Ted. Nat had been to a couple since she and Vic had become friends at school.

“Well, Vic couldn’t very well take two dates to the party, could she?” said Nat, grinning.

“Huh?”

“Evan is coming to Harry’s party”, said Vic. “Aunt Ginny asked me to invite him. And I got an owl from him this afternoon to say yes.”

“Oh”, said Ted, wondering why this annoyed him. Caro would be there, so why shouldn’t Evan be? Perhaps it was because, in spite of the fact that Vic and Evan had been going out for a few months now, Ted hadn’t really got to know him yet.

“I’m sure he’ll enjoy it”, said Ted softly.

“Me too”, replied Vic.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” said Ted. “Sorry - I seem to have left my manners lying around somewhere!” The girls accepted his offer, and Ted headed to the kitchen. Harry’s party still on his mind, he remembered he still had to get something for his godfather, and resolved to spend Saturday shopping for a present.




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  #24  
Old September 23rd, 2011, 9:02 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Joined: 4012 days
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Re: Falling

I know I don't say it often enough, but thank you so, so much to everyone who takes time out of their lives to read this fic. It does mean a lot to me. And extra special thanks to those who leave feedback - thanks to nevillesgal, marauderfan, blueowl and PotterGirl654 for the feedback they left on the last chapter!

I really, really, REALLY hope you all like this one!



Chapter 24


Vic sat nervously on the sofa, staring almost ceaselessly at the fireplace and pausing only to glance at the clock every minute or so, just to make sure that it hadn’t stopped, or started to go slow. She was wearing her favourite sundress, white with pretty blue, pink and lilac flowers, knee-length and strapless, and a white cardigan, eagerly awaiting Evan’s arrival. They had arranged to meet at Shell Cottage before going to Godric’s Hollow for Harry’s birthday party. Evan had never been there before, or met Harry and Ginny, and Vic had also wanted time to see him before they went, to try an acquaint him a little with who everyone was.

She had also managed - Merlin knew how - to talk her mother into letting her and Evan go with her mother via side-along apparition. As with new year, she wanted to avoid the coaly, dusty look that came from using the floo network. It would not match the almost entirely white outfit she had selected.

It was now ten past eleven, and he had promised to be there by quarter past.

“He isn’t late yet”, Dom pointed out as she slouched on the chair opposite, idly flipping through a magazine. She had yet to start getting ready for the party.

“I know, Dom. I can tell time”, said Vic irritably. And then, the fire lit up, and Evan spun out onto the hearth rug, coughing slightly.

“Hey”, said Vic.

“Hey yourself”, he replied as she moved over to meet him.

“Ah, Evan, eet is so nice to meet you again”, said her mother, coming over and preventing Vic from doing more than hugging Evan once he had removed the dust from his clothing.

“You too, Mrs. Weasley”, said Evan politely as he held his hand out to shake hers.

“Evan and I are going for a quick walk on the beach, maman”, said Vic, smiling.

“Say ’ello to your fazzer on your way out”, said her mother. “’e is feeding ze chickens.”

‘By which she means re-acquaint your father with Evan’, thought Vic as she stepped out the back door, and into the garden.

“Wow”, said Evan. “Its beautiful here. So wild, and rugged, and beautiful. It must be amazing to live somewhere like this.”

“I think so too”, said Vic. “We should go and say hi to my - “

“Vic, why is there a gravestone over there?” interrupted Evan, pointing.

“That’s Dobby’s gravestone. Uncle Harry buried him here”, said Vic softly. “I’ll explain when we’re on the beach. Just - let’s go and say hello to my father now. Look, he’s waving us over.”

They walked over to the chicken coop. Her mother had always hated chickens, and so her father fed them instead, with she, Dom and Louis helping during the holidays.

“Vic, Evan - nice to see you again”, said her father. Vic heaved an inward sigh of relief. He didn’t look like he was playing the over-protective father today.

“Mr. Weasley”, said Evan politely. He shook her father’s hand as he had shaken her mother’s a few minutes earlier.

“Vic going to take you for a walk on the beach?” Evan nodded.

“Don’t be too long - we need to leave at twelve.”

“Won’t be”, said Vic as she grabbed Evan’s hand and started walking quickly down the rocky path that led to the beach. Although it was massive, and popular with muggle artists and surfers alike, Shell Cottage was the only house on the horizon. Those in the nearby village of Tinworth were out of sight, hidden behind a dip on the landscape.

“Vic, slow down!” laughed Evan as they reached the sand, and Vic removed her sandals.

“Sorry”, she apologised. “Its just that with us being away at school so much, I take as much as I can get of this beach. Don’t know what I would do without it.”

“My sister can be a bit like that about the beaches in Australia”, said Evan. “So…..you were going to explain to me why someone is buried in your back garden?”

“Dobby was an elf. A free elf. He died here”, said Vic. “I don’t really know the precise details. Just that he saved the lives of one of my aunts, two of my uncles, and a few others, and was killed in the process. I would also appreciate it if you mentioned none of this at Uncle Harry’s party.” Evan looked at her quizzically.

“Dobby was killed by Bellatrix Lestrange”, elaborated Vic. “And given she also killed Ted’s mother, Uncle Harry’s godfather - her own cousin - and Merlin knows who else, as well as torturing Professor Longbottom’s parents into insanity…..well, she isn’t exactly the family‘s favourite topic of conversation.”

“Wow”, breathed Evan.

“Yeah”, said Vic, nodding. “The main reason we don’t mention her, though, is Andromeda, really.”

“Who?”

“Ted’s grandmother. She was Bellatrix Lestrange’s sister.”

“What?!”

“They didn’t speak after Andromeda eloped with a muggle-born. That seems to be the reason she saw fit to kill her own niece. Though given Harry‘s godfather was her cousin, maybe she had a thing about killing off family members she disagreed with.”

“So…you’re telling me that Ted’s mother was killed by her own aunt?” said Evan incredulously. Vic nodded.

“So, I would really appreciate it if you don’t mention Dobby or Bellatrix. Believe me when I say it would be a conversation killer”, finished Vic. She hesitated, but decided against telling Evan that Bellatrix Lestrange had been killed by her grandmother. She hadn’t even told Dom or Louis. Her own parents didn’t know she knew. Nor did they know that Ted knew. For some reason, it seemed like a confidence too far. She shouldn’t even have told Nat.

“Anything else I should avoid talking about?” asked Evan. Vic could see that he was starting to get a little nervous.

“Just the war”, said Vic. “And Death Eaters. And Voldemort. As long as you avoid those subjects, you should be fine. Also, please don’t tell Uncle Harry he saved the world, or is a hero or anything. It weirds everyone out, especially Ted. He‘s always said that he can never match up the Harry he knows with the one that everyone treats like he‘s Merlin. To him, Harry is simply his godfather - someone who has always acted in place of his own father.”

“Quidditch is a good subject”, Vic assured him.

“Really?”

“You’ll be James’s favourite forever if you talk about it”, said Vic as they sat down amid one of the sand dunes. “He starts at Hogwarts in September, and really wants to join the Gryffindor team. He’s convinced he won’t be sorted anywhere else. I‘m sure I‘ve told you this before.” Evan laughed. Vic was relieved. She couldn’t have scared him too much then.

“Uncle Harry, Aunt Angelina, Aunt Ginny and Uncle Charlie all captained the Gryffindor team”, Vic continued. “Uncle Ron, dad and Uncle George played for the team too. So did my Uncle Fred, before he died. Its sort of a family tradition.”

“Quidditch seems a safe enough topic”, said Evan. “And what do your uncles do? How many of them are there, again?”

“Five if you include Uncle Harry, who is my uncle by marriage. Uncle Charlie works with dragons in Romania. He’ll end up in a corner with Hagrid and a bottle of firewhiskey singing old songs. Apparently he takes after our Uncle Bilius. Uncle Percy works for the Ministry. He is Molly’s dad - Percy is married to Audrey. If you are speaking to them, keep the conversation on how smart you think Molly is, and how much Lucy is looking forward to Hogwarts. Do NOT speak to Uncle Percy about the Ministry unless you want to die a premature death from boredom.”

“Okay”, laughed Evan.

“Uncle George is the one that runs Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. His and Aunt Angelina’s kids are Freddie and Roxie, the ones I hate looking after. They are constantly hyper. Watch out for any merchandise they have on them, because he likes them to test out new products he‘s working on, make sure they cause sufficient mischief. Uncle Ron is one of the easier ones to talk to, but he has a protective streak the size of Gringotts, so watch out for that. He’s an Auror.“

“Aunt Hermione will talk to you about anything but Quidditch. Rosie is going to Hogwarts next summer, and is interested in Hippogriffs and muggle history at the moment. Hugo is the only one that has inherited my grandfather’s obsession with all things muggle. Mention to either of them that you have muggle relations, and they will talk to you for hours.”

“Anyone else?! You have such as big family, Vic”, grinned Evan.

“Oh - we better be going back”, said Vic, glancing at her watch. They stood up and brushed the sand off their clothes.

“Um, only Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. They both like to talk about Quidditch. Aunt Ginny is also my godmother, and she’s the one that asked me to invite you. I know she refers to me as her eldest god-daughter, but the other one is Rosie, and she’s ten. James has a one-track mind as I’ve said before, Al is a lot more thoughtful than James, but he quite likes Quidditch as well, though he isn’t as obsessed. Lily likes cats and drawing. Please don‘t ask to see her cat - Toffee is adorable, but I‘m very much allergic.”

“I will quite possibly get everyone mixed up, but that is what you are there for”, said Evan, smiling as they reached the rocky path again.

“Exactly”, said Vic as she grabbed him and kissed him, realising there would be little chance of doing so at any other point of the day.

She’d obviously told him enough, as when they arrived in a sunny Godric’s Hollow, he had very few questions to ask her about the family. As they walked into the Potters’ back garden, there was a barbeque set up, lots of her cousins were running around, and the party seemed to be well underway.

Vic thanked her mother for letting her and Evan side-along, and stood on the edge of things with him as her mother went to drop off some cooking she’d done for the party.

“Well, are you ready then?” said Vic apprehensively.

“I guess its now or never”, said Evan, taking Vic’s hand. “Who do you want to introduce me to first, then?”

“Aunt Ginny”, said Vic automatically. After all, it was she that had invited Evan in the first place. It would also be a good way of easing him into the family. She spotted her aunt talking to James over beside a table groaning with the weight of food on it.

“Vic…who is that your father is talking to? He looks vaguely familiar, but I can‘t quite place him.” asked Evan as they made their way over to the buffet table. Vic looked in the direction Evan was pointing towards.

“Oh, I think he’s talking to Kingsley”, said Vic.

Kingsley? Kingsley Shacklebolt?”

“Yeah” said Vic.

“Your father is on friendly terms with the Minister of Magic?!” squeaked Evan.

“He’s just Kingsley”, laughed Vic, shrugging. “I’ll introduce you later, if dad doesn’t. He really is one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever met.” Evan shook his head in disbelief.

“Aunt Ginny?” said Vic a tad uncertainly as they reached her aunt and cousin.

“This is Evan.”

“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Potter”, said Evan. “And thank you for the invite - Vic told me it came from you.”

“Don’t worry about it - and call me Ginny”, she said. “I hate this whole Mrs. Potter business. Makes me feel old.” She laughed. Vic grinned. She knew that her Aunt Hermione found it equally odd being called Mrs. Weasley.

“Vic’s told me a lot about you”, Ginny added. “We’ll get to know each other properly later, when everything is a little less manic. Oh, and don’t let any of my brothers scare you. They aren‘t nearly as fearsome as they like to think they are.”

“I won’t”, grinned Evan as Ginny walked back inside, calling for Hermione to come and help her.

“Vic says you play for the Quidditch team”, stated James, who had remained behind.

“Yeah, I play chaser for the Gryffindor team”, said Evan. He turned to glance at her. Vic nodded.

“Vic said you’re really into Quidditch”, Evan added. Vic smiled. Here was someone Evan could not fail to impress.

Ted had come to Godric’s Hollow early, much to the chagrin of Caro, who had been forced to get out of bed much earlier than she would have liked to accompany him. He knew that now, as she found herself preparing a salad in Harry and Ginny’s kitchen, she was so far away from her comfort zone it was out of sight.

“Sorry”, he whispered in her ear as he grabbed her round the waist.

“I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

“You better”, said Caro.

“Ted, you’re going to have to stop distracting my help”, said Ginny as she came into the kitchen.

“Sorry”, said Ted sheepishly, moving to lean on the kitchen worktop.

“Actually, Ted, can you go and help Ron?” said Hermione, following Ginny into the room.

“Where is he?”

“He’s through in the sitting room trying to pick out some records, could you help him choose some and take them out to the garden along with the gramophone? And we’ll need to get some chairs set out in the back garden as well. You know how Muriel can be.”

“I’m a hundred and twenty five years old, boy - do you expect me to stand while young whippersnappers like yourself laze about?!” said Ted, imitating Muriel’s voice to a laughing crowd as he walked through to the sitting room to rescue Ron, who really had very little interest in music, from the pile of records surrounding him.

“This pile yes, this pile no”, said Ted a few minutes later, indicating the records he’d sorted out. He loved being tasked with choosing the music; it meant he avoided bands he really hated.

“Cheers”, said Ron gratefully. “How is the food getting on? Hermione never lets me anywhere near our kitchen, never mind anyone else’s.”

“Nearly ready”, smiled Ted, as Ginny shouted for James and Al to come down and start taking food outside. Lily was outside playing with her cousins, and Harry had gone to start setting up the barbeque.

It was not long before Ted found himself back outside, cheeseburger in one hand, and Caro’s hand in the other, enjoying the party, when he felt a tap on the shoulder. Turning round, he found himself facing a smiling Neville.

“How are you, Ted?” asked Neville. “Enjoying your freedom?”

“Hey Neville”, said Ted, smiling. “Yeah, it’s a little weird, admittedly, but I’m in the process of adjusting. I don’t know if Harry told you, but I moved into a little flat in Diagon Alley last weekend. With that and starting at the DRCMC, it makes Hogwarts feel like a million years ago.”

“You’re enjoying the DRCMC, then? Its - you made the right decision?”

“Definitely”, said Ted, nodding. “How are you? Enjoying the holidays?”

“As much of it as I can”, laughed Neville. “One of Hannah’s bar staff had her baby a month early, and so I have - believe it or not - been seen pouring the odd flagon of mead.” Ted grinned at the thought of his teacher behind a bar. It seemed wrong on many levels, but Ted figured Neville was more than just his job, and who wouldn’t help out with their wife’s business? From the broad smile on his face, he could tell that Neville had probably enjoyed it more than anyone would have thought.

“And how are you finding the fashion world, Caro?” he asked, turning his attention to her. Caro’s face lit up, and she chatted away to Neville about the robe designing and making she had been doing, and how the team of designers she was working with were preparing a new range of robes to be sold in Gladrags and other fashion stores. Ted smiled as she spoke. He adored the way her eyes lit up when she spoke about things that interested her.

Turning his head at the sound of laughter, he saw Vic and her boyfriend talking to James about something; all three were doubled-over with laughter, looking like someone had hit them with a tickling jinx or something of the kind. Ted’s eyes narrowed. He’d forgotten Evan would be coming.

Ted was still unsure about his opinion of Evan; he had to admit that he didn’t really know him well enough to form one, either. He seemed a nice enough guy, and he was certainly treating Vic a lot better than Hem had (not that it would have been overly difficult to do so) but there was something - something Ted just couldn’t quite put his finger on - that stopped him from actually liking the guy. He felt slightly ashamed about it as well. Vic was his best and oldest friend, and he owed it to her to at least make an effort to get on with her boyfriend. After all, Vic made an effort of sorts with Caro.

“What do you think, Ted?” said Caro, drawing his attention back to her.

“Hmm?” said Ted. “Sorry, I was just looking for my grandmother. I just remembered that I need to ask her about something.”

“She’s over there”, said Caro in spiky tones, pointing in the opposite direction from where Ted had been staring.

“So she is”, muttered Ted. “It wasn’t important or anything; I’ll speak to her about it later. Sorry, what was it you were asking me?”

Having riled Caro, Ted spent the next couple of hours on tenterhooks, making sure that she didn’t start a fight at Harry’s party of all places. She could shout at him as much as she wanted anywhere else, but she was not going to ruin Harry’s birthday party. He found it hard as well, to get to speak to his godfather, other than when he’d been over at the barbeque picking up his lunch. Old school friends, former Order and D.A. members and the extended Weasley family - particularly those he did not see very often - clamoured for his attention.

He laughed when anyone questioned him about his famous godfather, and assumed that Harry lived the life of a celebrity. Ted knew that in reality his godfather had daily battles with James and Al to make sure they brushed their teeth before going to bed, and found himself racking his brains as he tried to remember everything he’d learnt at his muggle primary school so he could help the children with their homework.

With the food serving over, though, and the candles on the cake blown out (after Harry had muttered as he did every year that he hated having people making a fuss of him) Harry was able to sit down, and Ted grabbed a seat alongside him while Caro went to the bathroom.

“Ted”, said Harry, smiling as he sat down. “Having fun?”

“Yeah, it’s a good party”, said Ted, looking around at the groups of people standing or sitting in the sun, chatting and catching up while the smaller children played some sort of chasing game. James had hoped they would be able to play Quidditch, but his request had been denied by his mother, who’d reminded him he could play it at any time, while his father’s birthday came around only once a year. Harry had jokingly put in that once a year was enough for anyone.

“Caro enjoying herself?”

“I think so”, said Ted slowly. “She hasn’t moaned about anything, so that’s always a good sign. You enjoying the party?”

“I’ve never been into large parties, but its good to see everyone and catch up”, said Harry. “And Ginny’s always glad of an excuse to invite Charlie home for a few days. Even Kingsley was able to come this year. I hadn’t seen him out of the office for a while, so it was good to have a proper catch up. Oliver was hoping to come, but the England team have a couple of big matches coming up at the start of the season, so he’s taken the team off to a weekend training camp before the pre-season matches start. I hadn’t seen Demelza and Jimmy for a while either. Looks like Vic’s boyfriend is going down quite well.”

“Is he?” said Ted. “I haven’t really spoken to him.”

“Bill and Fleur seem to like him”, said Harry. “But I’m getting the impression you don’t.”

“I don’t not like him, I just don’t really know him”, said Ted, shrugging. Harry didn’t force the issue, but changed the subject, asking Ted how Wes was getting on with the Magpies, and if he’d got tickets yet for any of the pre-season matches, which were due to commence in the coming days.

It wasn’t just Bill and Fleur that appeared to like Evan, and Vic grinned as they sat at a table in the shade with a Butterbeer each, talking to Ginny, who seemed to approve wholeheartedly of Evan.

“So how long is it that you’ve been together now?” asked Ginny, helping herself to a chocolate frog.

“Four months”, said Evan. “We went to Hogsmeade together at the end of March, just before the Easter holidays.”

“Tell me you didn’t take her to Madam Puddifoot’s, Evan”, groaned Ginny, grinning. “My niece deserves better than that!”

“Actually, her condition for going out with me was that we didn’t set foot in the place”, said Evan.

“I knew you’d been brought up right”, laughed Ginny, putting her arm around Vic.

“So, has Vic been taking you round and introducing you to everyone, then?” Ginny asked Evan.

“Yeah. James spent about an hour quizzing me on how to get onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and asking if I thought he’d get in even though he’ll just be a first year; we spent a considerable amount of time having an interesting - though I don’t know that’s quite the right word - conversation with Vic’s aunt…..” He turned to Vic. “Sorry. I’ve forgotten her name. The one that told me my eyes were a strange colour, and asked if I charmed them.”

“Auntie Muriel”, said Vic and Ginny in unison.

“You got off lucky”, Ginny assured him. “When Harry and I got married, she asked if I’d ever used a love potion on him at any point in our relationship.”

“Oh”, said Evan. Vic smiled at the uncomfortable look on his face.

“She hates it when I speak to maman in French”, said Vic. “She doesn’t speak it, so she can’t understand what we’re saying.”

“Which is why you speak to your mother in French in front of her”, said Ginny.

“Exactly”, nodded Vic.

“My apologies for James”, said Ginny. “He eats, sleeps and breathes Quidditch, and sometimes forgets there are other things in life.”

“Its alright”, laughed Evan. “Vic said if I got stuck for conversation, I should talk about Quidditch.”

“But you hate it”, Ginny said to Vic.

“Yeah, but I’m in a minority in the family when it comes to that”, said Vic. “And Evan likes Quidditch, so…..”

“Wow”, said Ginny. “Well, Evan, you have impressed me if you’ve softened Vic’s stance on Quidditch to the point where she can mention the Q word.”

“Thanks. I think”, he said, grinning. Vic smiled at him, and squeezed his hand. His introduction to the family seemed to be going flawlessly, Auntie Muriel’s barbs aside.

“They all adored you!” said Vic, smiling as she and Evan walked hand in hand round the trees at the back of the Potters’ garden.

“I’m glad - for you more than me”, said Evan. “I really wanted to make a good impression. I knew you were nervous about it.”

“Thank you”, said Vic smiling as she leaned against a tree.

“You know, your uncles aren’t nearly as scary as I thought they would be, after what you told me about them.“, said Evan.

“Aunt Ginny can be scary too - I have a feeling she had a word with them all.“

As Evan moved in to kiss her, Vic was too distracted to notice it was the same tree she’d been under when Ted had kissed her.

Twenty feet away from Vic and Evan, Ted was not getting along as well with Caro.

“We’ve been here for hours, Ted”, she said, hands on her hips. “When are we leaving?”

“I told Ginny I’d stay for a while after and help her tidy up”, said Ted. “Its not fair to expect Harry to do it all on his birthday, and the kids can’t do magic. It won’t take long.”

“Humph. Well, I’m going”, said Caro. “Besides, Mattie still isn’t at her best, and poor Alberta’s been cooped up with her all day, listening to her wittering on about how she’s lost the love of her life.”

“Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow night, then”, said Ted. “I’m going round to see Grams for dinner - I think Harry and the rest of them are coming over as well - but I’ll call round and see you after.”

“Aren’t you even going to walk me to the floo?!” Caro demanded. Her voice was starting to rise, so Ted, scenting trouble, quickly took her hand and started to walk back to the house with her, and kissed her goodbye beside the fireplace. Caro hated the sensation of apparition, and avoided it whenever possible.

Once she’d gone, Ted went back outside, and wandered round the garden. Turning his head, he saw Vic and Evan kissing under a tree. Instantly he realised it was the tree he’d kissed her under at new year. Ted’s arm automatically went to cover his stomach, and he looked down expecting to see something on the ground having bounced off it. Nothing was there, yet it felt like he’d just been kicked in the gut by something. Perhaps George had given Freddie or Roxie something new he was developing for the joke shop? He had said, had he not, that he had something new in the pipeline that Sunday at The Burrow.

Ted looked back over to Vic and Evan, and then blinked as he felt like he was hit again. As his eyes fluttered shut, and then opened again, Ted saw not Evan kissing Vic under that tree, but himself. He saw himself kissing Vic, and sensing her sweet, soft lips that tasted like berries. Recalling their new year kiss, he started to really feel it. He’d been too drunk at the time to take much in consciously, to realise how much he had enjoyed it. How much he had wanted it; he hadn’t thought about it since. He had been too freaked out to realise how it had felt….like he’d been coming home to the place he was meant to be.

Merlin, how he wished it was he in Evan’s place at that moment!

Blinking again, and feeling almost in shock, Ted saw himself untangling Vic’s hair in the common room; he saw himself hugging her tightly whenever something had upset him; he saw himself tenderly tucking her hair behind her ear just before he’d kissed her; he saw his appetite waste away to nothing when she’d announced she’d go to a Quidditch practice just for Evan despite her detestation of the sport; he saw himself holding her hands in the orchard next to The Burrow a mere fortnight before, seemingly unable to let them go.

More than anything, Ted felt truly for the first time the jealous twinge he got each and every time Vic so much as mentioned Evan’s name.

Just when had he started to fall for his best and oldest friend?

Unable to process properly what was going on, Ted looked away from Vic and Evan, and sat down on the grass. He liked Vic?

He liked Vic.

Why, in the name of Merlin, hadn’t he figured this out when they were both single? And what about Caro? He still felt something for her. It wasn’t as strong as this newly-realised feeling he had when he thought of Vic, but it was still something. And Evan seemed to be here to stay.

Why couldn’t he have figured this out before?!

Just what had happened? When did he start falling for Vic? Why?

‘Duh’, said a voice in his head. ‘She’s pretty, smart, great fun to be around, and is completely tuned into you, just like you’re completely tuned into her. And you enjoyed that kiss so much, you could only block out the amazing feeling it gave you for so long.’

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of someone calling his name. Looking up, and over to where the voice was coming from, Ted identified it as Ginny’s. Scrambling up, he took a final quick glance at Vic and Evan, and felt that pang of jealousy again. He walked over to Ginny.

“Ted…..are you alright?” she asked, concerned. “You look like you’re in shock or something.”

“I’m fine”, said Ted, trying to arrange his features into what he hoped was a content and relaxed look.

“Probably over-tired”, he added. “Its been a busy few weeks.”

“Maybe you should go home, then”, said Ginny. “Hermione and I will be able to clear up on our own - “

“Don’t worry about it”, said Ted, interrupting her. “I really don’t mind helping.”

“Well, if you’re sure”, said Ginny, though she was still looking at him like she was trying to figure something out. Ted fervently hoped she didn’t.

“We’re going to leave now”, said Vic, coming over to Ted and Ginny, her hand entwined with Evan’s. Ted groaned inwardly, wondering precisely what he’d done to deserve their happiness and togetherness thrown in his face mere minutes after realising that the only thing in the world he wanted was Vic.

“Thanks again for inviting me”, said Evan. “It was lovely to meet you.”

“You too, Evan”, said Ginny, shaking his hand. “Hopefully we’ll get to meet again sometime.”

“See you soon, Ted”, said Vic. She let go of Evan’s hand long enough to hug him. Knowing full well he shouldn’t, Ted held onto her tightly, and for longer than he normally would have. Why, in the name of Merlin had it taken so long for him to figure out how much this, just hugging her, meant to him?

“See you soon”, said Ted as Vic took Evan’s hand again, and headed back into the house. Ted stared after them until they were out of sight.

“Nice guy”, said Ginny. “Vic deserves someone like him, don’t you think?” Ted nodded, knowing that was what he was expected to do. Inside, however, all he could think was that it should be him, and not Evan that Ginny was talking about.

“Are you sure you’re alright, Ted?” asked Ginny again.

“Fine”, he replied, forcing himself to smile.

Sleep did not come easily to Ted that night, and as he tossed and turned and counted dragons and hippogriffs in an attempt to fall asleep, wishing he had a sleeping potion in the flat, Wes and Rowland’s voices echoed through his mind, repeating in turn the same four words.

I told you so.’



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Last edited by MissGryffindor; September 24th, 2011 at 12:11 am.
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  #25  
Old October 1st, 2011, 12:19 am
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 25


A bleary-eyed Vic wandered into the kitchen on Saturday morning the weekend after Harry’s birthday party, rubbing her eyes in an attempt to force herself to wake. It was almost eleven, and Vic had only been woken by the sound of her owl, Hibou, tapping noisily on the window, having brought her a letter from Nat. The letter remained unopened on her desk; Vic wanted to be able to understand what was being said, and that required actually being awake - something she was not likely to be for another half an hour or so.

Vic yawned widely as she helped herself to some breakfast, and sat down at the table.

“Morning”, said her father, coming in and helping himself to an apple. “Or should I say afternoon?”

“’s not midday yet”, said Vic through a mouthful of cereal. “Where is everyone?”

“Your mother has gone shopping in Diagon Alley, Dom’s over at Emme’s and Louis went for a walk on the beach”, he replied, sitting down opposite her.

“You had an owl”, he added, and handed her a letter stamped with the Hogwarts crest.

Vic opened the envelope to see a letter similar to the one she had received every year since the age of eleven, listing the books she required for the coming year. It was shorter than usual, now that she had reduced the number of subjects she was taking.

“Dom and Louis get their letters as well?” asked Vic, once she’d read the parchment. About a dozen new books - that would soon fill up a good proportion of her trunk.

“Yeah”, said her father.

“They still talking?” He nodded in reply. The day after Harry’s birthday party, during which Dom and Louis had not spoken a single word to one another, her father and Uncle George had suspiciously co-ordinated days off, and George had flooed over for a day at the beach with Angelina, Freddie and Roxie. Vic, who had spent the entire day with her aunt and inexhaustible cousins, didn’t know what exactly had been said, only that Dom and Louis had been reminded by their father that they still had a living twin, while Uncle George did not. While they were not yet back to being as close as they had been formerly, they were at least speaking to one another.

“James and Lucy will have got their first Hogwarts letters today”, said Vic, realising she should have picked up on that sooner. “They’re both so excited about going!”

“You were too”, grinned her father. “Of course, you did try and go two years earlier, with Ted, but - “

“Don’t mention that”, growled Vic, as her father laughed at her.

“Its not funny!” Vic insisted, though even she had to laugh with him in the end.

“I remember your grandmother cried when I got my first one”, said her father fondly, once they‘d finished laughing. “The rest of them were desperate to come with me, the same as you were to go with Ted. You’ll miss it when you leave, you know. I did.”

Vic was unsure how her father managed to be so nostalgic about the place in which he’d been mauled and almost killed, and had later lost his brother and friends. But then, maybe the good memories he had of the place outweighed the bad.

“What are your plans for the weekend, Vic?” her father asked her.

“Hmmm, I was hoping to see Ted, but I don’t know if he’ll be free”, said Vic, a tad glumly. Ted had owled her on Monday evening to say that he didn’t think he’d be able to come over that week, as there was some rush or other on in the department, and he would have to work extra hours. She supposed he would be spending his free Saturday with Caro. Louis and Dom were due to go to see Wes play for the Magpies with him the following afternoon, though, so perhaps she might go along to his flat with them for five minutes to say hello.

“I might go along with Louis and Dom tomorrow, to say hi for five minutes before they go to the game”, said Vic. “And then floo straight back. In any case, I need to give him back that Vampires Anonymous record I borrowed. Aside from that, I might go and see Angelina, Hermione or Ginny.”

Approximately halfway through the summer holidays when she received her Hogwarts letter - and therefore a reminder that in just a few short weeks she would be going back to school - Vic became very much aware of the fact that in no time at all she would be separated from the family until Christmas, and the visits she made to her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins became more frequent.

Vic finished her cereal, and set the bowl and spoon on the counter beside the sink.

“You better go and get changed”, said her father, glancing at the clock. “Your mother won’t be that much longer, and she’ll expect you to be properly awake and dressed by the time she gets back.”

“Yeah, she will do”, agreed Vic. She skipped upstairs, and picked up the letter from Nat that she’d left on her desk before going downstairs to breakfast. Now, feeling slightly more human, she removed it from the envelope and lay down on her bed, starting to read.

Dear Vic,

Hope you are still enjoying your holidays - our Hogwarts letters can’t be that far away, though. I can’t believe its less than a month until we go back. The time has passed really quickly these holidays!

I am so glad that Evan got on well with everyone, and I’m pleased for your sake that your Aunt Ginny had a word with your uncles to behave themselves - though from an outsider’s perspective, maybe them teasing him would have shown you just how much Evan is prepared to put up with for you!!

To answer your question about Ted - no, I don’t think its strange that he and Evan don’t spend much time together, or talk a lot. Evan is probably a little bit intimidated by the fact that your oldest friend is a guy, though given he and Felicia are such good friends, he could never say anything about it. To be honest, we’re going back to school in a few weeks. Ted isn’t coming with us, and Evan is, so they wouldn’t be able to spend time getting to know each other for most of the next few months anyway. Don’t worry about it - you think too much sometimes!

Everything here is the same as before I came to see you. I spend most of my time at arts and crafts fairs and classes with my mother, or going out somewhere with Dylan. He took me to the muggle cinema last night to see some film about aliens. He seemed to enjoy it, though I can’t say I really understood it. There didn’t seem to be much of a story behind it in any case.

I don’t know that I’ll be able to see you again before school starts. As usual, mum and I are coming up to London on August 29th or 30th, and we’ll have a couple of days shopping and visit the theatre and do some sightseeing. I’ll get my NEWT books then, so I won’t see you at Diagon Alley with you most likely going shopping well before then to avoid the last minute rush! Let me know if you can make it up to London for a couple of hours then, though (maybe we could go and see Ted as well, or go for a couple of Butterbeers in the Leaky?) and tell me EVERYTHING you get up to!

Well, I better go now - Dylan and I are going to some adventure park with a couple of friends of his to go on the rides! Eek!!!

Write back soon,

Nat


Vic grinned, and looked around for parchment to write back. As she reached for her quill, she heard her mother’s voice downstairs. Vic laid her writing stuff aside, and quickly ran to her wardrobe, to pick out an outfit and get dressed, before she got into trouble.

Ted Lupin stretched out on the sofa, the Sunday Prophet in hand, as Caro sat at a table a little way off, working on some designs that needed to be finished for the following morning. It seemed to Ted that she’d been at it for hours, and yet she assured him she wasn’t even half-finished.

He glanced at some of the lighter articles - Celestina Warbeck was planning a tour of wizarding towns and villages; a wizard with an unpronounceable name had invented a new cooking charm; a cat had saved his squib owner by attracting the attention of muggles when she was stuck up a large tree - before turning to the sporting section. Ted quickly flicked through the latest scores from the group stages of the Gobstones World Championships, and arrived at the Quidditch news.

Most of this section of the paper was taken up by the new team profiles he knew Ginny had spent most of the last few weeks putting together, detailing the squads for the coming year, along with interviews with some of the new signings (including Wes), and the match statistics for the established members of the team. She’d gone round training sessions, and sat through friendly matches, for all of the teams to work on these profiles.

There was also a list of friendly matches due to be played within the next few days, the last before the season started, and Ted soon found the match he was due to be seeing live that afternoon - the Magpies at home to the Cannons. Wes would be playing, the coach a firm believer in using pre-season games to test out her new signings, and Ted had managed to wrangle some tickets. It had not been difficult, and this was by no means a tough prospect for the Magpies, but he was still pleased to be going. He’d hardly seen Wes since they had left Hogwarts, and he was used to seeing both him and Rowland regularly away from school.

“This is no use!” exclaimed Caro. Ted lowered his paper to see her vanishing a pile of scrunched up pieces of parchment, before burying her head in the arms of the Harpies sweatshirt she’d borrowed from him, complaining that his flat was too cold, even with warming charms.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. He set his paper aside, and walked over, kneeling beside her at the table.

“Its just - I can’t concentrate or something”, she sighed. “Its just not working for me today.”

“Have a five minute break and a cup of tea, and maybe some chocolate”, advised Ted, hugging her before setting off for the kitchen.

“I find everything always seems better after a cup of tea and some chocolate.”

“Ted, chocolate is not the answer to everything”, said Caro as she stood at the kitchen door while they waited for the kettle to boil.

“Well, to most things then”, he grinned, shrugging.

“Tedward? You there?” Ted heard Rowland’s voice calling him from the fireplace as he finished pouring out Caro’s tea. He handed it to her along with a plate of chocolate biscuits, and then went to see what Rowland was after.

“Stop calling me Tedward. It isn’t my name now any more than it was when we were eleven”, Ted reminded Rowland’s face, which was now in the middle of his fire.

“It was funny when we were eleven, and its funny now”, retorted Rowland with a grin. “No, I just wanted to let you know that I can’t come to the match this afternoon.”

“Why?”

“I’ve been called into work”, Rowland growled. “My supervisor warned me they did this once every six or seven months - pull the whole department in on a Sunday for training exercises we know nothing about in advance. And it had to be today.”

“Doesn’t sound like there’s much you can do about it”, said Ted sympathetically.

“Hopefully I’ll still be able to meet up with you and Wes for a few in the Leaky after”, said Rowland. “Never know - I might end up in there before you. Well, I can hope.”

“Its fine”, said Ted. “You better head over to the Ministry. I’ll see if I can find another use for your ticket.”

“See you later, mate”, said Rowland as he left.

“Don’t suppose you fancy coming?” Ted asked Caro, who looked at him incredulously.

“Where have you been today, Ted?” she exclaimed. “I’m going to be working on this until late tonight as it is, without coming to a Quidditch match of all things for Merlin knows how long!”

“No, right”, said Ted. He tried to think - he hadn’t spoken to Hem since they’d left Hogwarts, and besides, he doubted Louis and Dom would be pleased if he turned up at the match with the guy that had cheated on their sister; he knew Matt was away visiting some cousins for the weekend; he didn’t really know anyone in the department well enough yet to randomly invite them to a Quidditch match at short notice; it would be unfair to invite James when he couldn’t ask Al along, and Ginny would probably be at the match working, so he couldn’t ask Harry.

Ted was still pondering who to offer the extra ticket to when the doorbell went. Puzzled, Ted went to answer it; the only person who had ever used it was his neighbour, who had come over to introduce himself a couple of days after Ted had moved in. He opened it to find Dom, Louis and Vic standing in front of him.

“Hi”, said Ted, surprised. He had expected they would floo over.

“Hey Ted”, said Vic, grinning. She hugged him tightly. Ted held onto her awkwardly, fully aware that every sense he had was prickling; he could smell the sand in her hair from her Sunday morning beach walk, the vanilla that was in her shampoo, and even the cherries she’d had earlier that day.

In the week that had passed since Harry’s birthday, Ted had thought more about Vic than anything else. Whether he was at work, over at Harry and Ginny’s or his grandmother’s, relaxing in the flat, or even - quite shamefully - spending time with Caro, Vic was never far from the centre of his thoughts. He’d owled her at the beginning of the week to say that there was a flap on at work, and so he wouldn’t be able to see her that week - this was half-true…..there was a rush on, but Ted hadn’t had to do much overtime, only an extra half-hour or so a day. The truth was, he’d wanted some distance from her to try and figure out how he felt.

But all the distance had done was prove to him how much he wanted and needed Vic.

And now, here she was, hugging him like the best friend he was, and all he could find himself thinking was how much he wanted to be more. He knew that he shouldn’t think that way - she had Evan, and he had Caro, who was in his flat at that very moment - but Ted could not help it. He was brought back to reality by Vic talking to him.

“….thought I’d bring back that Vampires Anonymous record you gave me”, Vic was saying. “We were over at George and Angelina’s with dad and maman for lunch, and I thought I’d come along and give this back to you before I go home. Its amazing - the last track is definitely my favourite. Especially the bit with - “

“Hem, hem.” Ted could hear Caro’s voice travel from the other side of the room.

“Oh”, said Vic in a small voice as she looked in Caro’s direction. Ted saw her take in the pile of work Caro had brought with her, and the ancient Harpies sweatshirt she had to know was his. For a moment he felt guilty - almost as if he was cheating on Vic by being here with Caro.

“Sorry, I was probably being quite loud”, said Vic. Ted watched as she glanced around her, and then went to sit down on the sofa.

“Cool place, mate”, said Louis, glancing around. Dom nodded in agreement.

“We’re not late, are we?” asked Dom.

“No, no”, said Ted. “Actually, its just going to be the three of us today. Rowland just flooed me a few minutes ago - he got pulled into the Ministry on some training exercise or other - and Caro has some designs to finish for tomorrow, so she can’t come either.”

“That’s fine, I don’t mind it just being the three of us”, said Dom as she sat down on the sofa next to her sister. Ted had a mad idea.

“Why don’t you come with us, Vic?” he blurted out. He knew he shouldn’t ask her; she hated Quidditch, and as much as he wanted nothing more than to spend time with her, Ted was not sure yet how much he could trust himself not to blurt out how he was starting to realise he felt about her. Ultimately, Vic would be going back to Hogwarts in three or so weeks, and the distance between them would make it easier for Ted. Or at least, he hoped it would.

“Me?” she seemed surprised.

“Yeah, why not?” said Ted.

“We’re going to see Wes after the game, and I know you haven’t seen him for a while. He‘s been asking after you as well.” Merlin, he was using one of his closest friends as an excuse for inviting her - what was he coming to?

“Um, I guess I could”, said Vic slowly.

“Excellent”, said Ted. “You should floo Bill and Fleur, though, let them know. Will they still be along at George and Angelina’s?”

“Yeah, they said they’d be there for a while. They’re waiting for me to get back before we go home”, explained Vic. “Yeah, why not. Do you mind if I use your fire to floo them?” Ted assured her that would be fine, and then turned round to see Caro fuming at him. He went over to the table her work was laid out upon.

“Ted”, she said warningly.

“What?” he said, feigning innocence. He knew she’d be mad.

“Caro, you told me yourself that you had too much work to do. I’m going with her brother and sister, so its not like its just the two of us, and Wes did say the other day that he wanted to catch up with Vic before she went back to Hogwarts”, reasoned Ted.

“Besides”, he added. “I’ll come straight back here after the match is finished, and we’ve seen Wes, and pick you up to go to the Leaky.”

“The Leaky?” she repeated.

“Yeah, I’m meeting Wes and Rowland for a few drinks there”, said Ted. “After the match - we agreed on it ages ago. And I told you before.”

“You did”, she confirmed. “Well, don’t be too long then. I may actually listen to the match on the WWN - in case they mention Wes.” There was no longer any mention of the mountain of work she had to complete for the next day.

“I’ll leave it on before I go”, said Ted.

“Maman and dad say that’s fine”, said Vic, redirecting his attention.

“We should go now”, said Ted. “The seats in the VIP area aren’t assigned, other than those the owners use, so we should get there early.” He hugged Caro, and then handed her his wireless, which was playing the match preview programme, featuring the match commentator. Ted recognised the voice as belonging to George’s friend, Lee Jordan, the WWN’s senior commentator.

They flooed to the stadium, and then headed for the VIP section. In spite of only being in the team for a few weeks, Wes had managed to get them amazing tickets. They were in the section reserved for friends and family of the players and coaching staff, and Vic could see Dom gawping at one or two of the other spectators sitting close to them. She soon whispered to Vic that the girl sitting seven or eight places along from them was the girlfriend of one of the Canons players, and the lead singer of a dance music group Louis liked. Glancing at her brother staring at the girl, Vic grinned widely.

“I got us some programmes”, said Ted, handing them out as the match started.

It was a mark of how disinterested she was in the sport that Vic spent most of the first half an hour of the match reading the programme rather than watching the game.

“What’s the score?” she eventually asked Dom.

“A hundred and twenty to thirty to the Magpies”, said Dom, before shouting in celebration as Wes scored the Magpies’ thirteenth goal.

“This game is immense!” exclaimed Louis, cheering wildly. Vic laughed. She was enjoying herself, spending time with Ted and her brother and sister, but beyond hoping that Wes played well and his team won, the Quidditch side of things held little interest for her.

She watched as Wes made another move towards the Canons goal, but before he could score shouts rang through the stadium as the Magpies Seeker, Shanice Carter, caught the snitch. The match was over, and the Magpies had won two hundred and eight points to thirty.

“Yes!” yelled Dom beside her, jumping up and down and almost deafening Vic.

“Wes played very well”, Vic commented to Ted, who was sat beside her. She could smell peppermint somewhere around her, and wondered if being in the VIP area meant free mints.

“Yeah, he did”, Ted agreed. “Hopefully this helps his case for starting in the first team when the season starts next weekend.”

“I wonder if Ginny is here”, said Vic. It hadn’t occurred to her before now, but she knew that her aunt went to a lot of the pre-season games. Maybe she was at this one?

“I don’t know for sure”, said Ted. “Wes gave me passes for us to go downstairs after the match to meet the team, and the press are always there as well. If Ginny is here, we’ll see her downstairs. In fact, we should start heading down now - the rest of the families and friends seem to have started heading down.”

As Vic looked around her, she saw that Ted was right; only half a dozen people other than herself, Ted, Dom and Louis were still sitting in the section they’d been in. Vic had been grateful for the enclosure VIPs sat in, as she could not use her wand outside of school to repel the rain that was hammering down, and hated relying on someone of age to perform such spells on her behalf.

They left the enclosure and walked down a set of stairs and along a corridor, Dom, Louis and Ted talking nineteen to the dozen about the match.

“What did you think Vic?” Ted asked. He looked at her expectantly.

“I had a great time”, said Vic honestly. “And like I said, I thought Wes played very well. I’m looking forward to seeing him again. I can’t remember the last time I went so long….” Wes and Rowland had stayed with Ted during the holidays when he’d been at school, and so she was used to spending time with them away from Hogwarts.

“I had a great time too”, said Ted. He looked proud of himself, as if he had achieved something he didn’t think himself capable of, but Vic couldn’t place why that would be the case.

They were soon outside the dressing rooms of the opposing teams.

“Should we really be down here?” Vic whispered to Ted as Dom and Louis tried to locate a quill to get their programmes signed.

“Yeah, like I said - Wes gave me passes to let us pretty much anywhere”, Ted whispered back. Vic shivered. There must be a draught somewhere.

“Hey, there’s Aunt Ginny”, said Vic a moment later, and started waving at her aunt, who came over immediately.

“Vic!” she exclaimed, hugging her tightly. “Of all the places, I never thought…..”

“Ted had an extra ticket”, said Vic. She explained that Rowland had been called into work on a training exercise.

“You enjoy the match everyone?” asked Ginny. Dom yelled loudest, and launched into a speech about the good and bad points of the game, and how the Canons could improve, which resulted in her being a person of interest to the gathering Canons supporters, while Vic caught up with all of Ginny’s news - though she did notice that her aunt kept a close watch on the dressing room doors.

It was the Magpies players that emerged first, and while the captain was being interrogated by the Quidditch press, Wes came over to where Vic and the rest of them were standing.

“Where’s Rowland?” he asked once he had received their congratulations and hugged everyone.

“Had to work”, said Ted. “So Vic came along instead, since Dom and Louis were coming.”

“He’s still hoping to meet us at the Leaky later - in fact he said he hoped he’d get there before us”, added Ted.

“Haven’t seen you in ages - how have your holidays been?” Wes asked Vic. She explained about her aunt’s engagement, Nat coming to stay, and spending time with Ted, and with Evan.

“I’ve spent most of my days training, which can be horrific”, said Wes, making a face. “But I get to play Quidditch for a living, so I can’t really complain.”

They talked for ages, about lots of different things, the most important of which was the future - something that made Vic realise that Ted and Wes - and the rest of their friends - were not coming back to Hogwarts with her after the summer. She’d known this since - well, forever, really - but dealing with it was another thing. Vic couldn’t quite imagine a Hogwarts without Ted, and wondered just how different an experience it would be. And for once, this was NOT a new experience she was looking forward to.





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  #26  
Old October 7th, 2011, 9:58 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 26


Ted felt a tad guilty about his lateness as he looked at his reflection in the mirror, and then discarded the outfit he was wearing. His visitors would all be here in a matter of minutes, but Vic was going to be among them, and Ted was unsure what to wear. It had taken a few attempts, but he had finally achieved the art of acting casually around her, as if they were mere friends - which they were - and that he did not have any feelings for her beyond that - though he did. Merlin, he did!

Knowing that if he was not ready when they arrived an impatient James would accuse him of being a girl for taking so long to choose an outfit, Ted picked out a pair of jeans and an old Weird Sisters t-shirt he had found in one of the boxes he’d been given by his grandmother that was full of his father’s things. For some reason, he suspected this particular item had once been his mother’s. From what Harry had told him, Ted found it hard to believe this particular band had been a favourite of Remus Lupin’s.

Ted yawned as he quickly checked he had everything he would need for their trip to the shops of Diagon Alley - a full moneybag, his sanity (though he doubted he would return with it) and his wand. The clock atop the fireplace read eleven fifty seven. Harry had said they would all be over at twelve. It was now mid-August and with the Hogwarts Express leaving in a mere fortnight, Harry had asked Ted if he would like to come with them when they went shopping for James’s Hogwarts things. It had taken Ted all of a second to say yes, but he had become a little more nervous when he had discovered at dinner at Godric’s Hollow the night before that Dom, Louis and Vic would also be joining them.

Before he could consider his nerves any further, the fire sprung to life and one by one Harry, James, Al, Lily and Ginny all tumbled out onto the sitting room floor.

“Hey Teddy!” exclaimed James, once he had finished coughing. “Can you believe it - I’m finally going to get my Hogwarts things! Got my letter a whole flipping week ago!”

“James you know well enough that your father couldn’t get any time off work before today to come shopping with us - something both you and he insisted on”, said Ginny. James just shrugged and asked if he could put the WWN on to listen to the commentary of the Portree match, which had started at half past eleven.

“Go for it, you know where the wireless is”, grinned Ted.

“Nice t-shirt”, said Harry, grinning.

“Thanks”, said Ted bashfully. “Is….everyone else coming for twelve?”

“Bill said they would be”, said Ginny.

“Anyone for tea while we’re waiting?” said Ted. “Vic’s usually late so we should have time.” Ginny and Harry accepted the offer, and Lily asked for pumpkin juice, something Ted had started to buy in especially for her.

“Here you go”, he said a few minutes later, returning to the sitting room and handing Harry and Ginny their tea as James jumped up and shouted; Portree had just scored a penalty, which put them forty-twenty ahead.

“Is your girlfriend coming with us, Teddy?” asked Lily when he handed over her glass of pumpkin juice.

“Nope”, said Ted. “Caro’s away in Ireland with her mum at the moment; she won’t be back until Tuesday or Wednesday.” Caro’s great-aunt had died on Thursday, and she had gone over with her mother to help with the funeral arrangements. Mrs. Wickham had been close to the aunt that had died, and Caro had told Ted how distraught her mother was.

“Oh”, said Lily. She didn’t comment further, instead taking a seat on the sofa beside her mother as she slurped her juice.

“How are you Al?” asked Ted. “Be you this time next year, getting ready to go to Hogwarts.”

“Wish I was going this year”, said Al.

“Nah, cool people this year, uncool people next year”, commented James from the other side of the room.

“James”, said his father warningly.

Ted proved to be right about Vic’s punctuality - or lack thereof - as it was almost half past twelve when she, Dom and Louis came tumbling through the fire.

“I’m so sorry, I slept in, and then I couldn’t find my Hogwarts letter”, said Vic apologetically. She hugged Ted quickly before moving over to greet her godmother.

They went to George’s shop first, so it didn’t feel to Ted like they were actually shopping. Vic and Dom looked at the Wonder Witch things with Lily, while James whispered to Ted that he had saved up his pocket money for the last few months so he could buy as much as possible for taking back to school with him.

Ted felt a little guilty as he watched Vic with Dom and Lily, as if he were spying on her or something, but he couldn’t help it. He could watch her laugh and smile all day long. She laughed and smiled a lot more than Caro did. Although Ted knew he shouldn’t, he often found himself mentally weighing up one against the other, comparing the two of them.

The shop was incredibly busy, but George still found time to come and speak to them all, and - as far as Ted could see - help James choose some things to take to school with him. As they left the shop later, he overheard Harry ask James what he’d bought, and then change his mind, telling his son that perhaps it was best if he didn’t know.

They had left Flourish and Blotts until last mainly because of the weight of the books meant that it would be impossible to do any more shopping after they had been there. Vic groaned as she saw the crowds forming outside. During the summer and at Christmas, the wizarding bookshop held a series of book signings where new and established writers could meet their public. And at each and every signing there were massive crowds that made it impossible for the casual shopper to get in and out in a short period of time. While Vic loved shopping, today she just wanted to pick up her school books and leave. Shopping with a hyper-active James had been tiring, and he and Al had been bickering more than usual. Personally, Vic thought each was well aware that they would miss the other, but she knew neither of them would ever admit it.

Another signing”, she sighed, turning to Ted. He looked at her quizzically.

“There was one the last time I was here”, she elaborated. She and Evan had met up a couple of days after Harry’s birthday, and he’d popped in here to pick up a book his mother had pre-ordered, only to find he and Vic had to queue for half an hour because of the crowds.

“Teddy! There’s a sports section here!” exclaimed James. “Come and look at the Quidditch books with me!” As Ted was dragged off by James, Vic turned to Ginny.

“There was one of these the last time I was here”, she sighed. “I just wish they’d keep these things for when its quieter - when I’m at school.”

“They have these events now because they know the shop will be busy”, said Ginny. “Oh my - Harry, is that Lavender?”

“Who in the name of Godric is Lavender?” said Dom.

“Today, a book signing with top wizarding romance novelist Lavender Brown McLaggen”, said Louis, reading aloud a pamphlet he had been handed by one of the shop assistants.

“McLaggen? Do you think that’s a relation of Genie’s?” he added. Dom groaned. Eugenia “Genie” McLaggen was a Gryffindor in the year between Vic and her younger brother and sister. Vic knew that her sister couldn’t stand the girl. Dom detested Genie’s pretentiousness and vanity.

“You don’t suppose he is here?” she caught Harry whispering to Ginny as they approached the Potions section of the bookshop.

“Do you know her, then?” asked Vic, indicating a woman of around Harry and Ginny’s age, who sat at a table near the cashier’s desk, signing the inside cover of books with a pretty pink quill.

“Lavender was in the same year as Hermione, Ron and I at Hogwarts”, said Harry. “She was in Gryffindor with us. In fact, she fought in the Battle of Hogwarts - she was quite badly injured….by Greyback, actually. That’s why she wears such thick make-up.”

“Oh”, said Vic, feeling a little guilty. “Was she……was she as lucky as dad was?” Ginny nodded.

“Why do you never invite her to any of your parties?” asked Vic. “I think I’ve met most of the other people you went to school with.”

“Um”, said Harry, glancing at Ginny. “Its….well, it’s a little awkward, you see..…”

“What Harry is struggling to say is that your Uncle Ron was daft enough to go out with her for a few months when they were in sixth year”, said Ginny. “She took to calling him Won-Won, and she and Hermione never got on after they started going out. I for one am delighted that he finally saw sense. Even if it did take a near-death experience. And her husband gave Harry a cracked skull in a Quidditch game once, so………”

“Oh”, said Vic, almost lost for words. Looking up at the table again, Vic saw a flash of light brown hair, and then realised she was looking at Genie McLaggen. So this was her mother, then.

“We should really go over and say hello, I suppose”, she heard Ginny say.

“Guys, we’re going to say hello to Lavender and then get James’s books”, said Ginny, turning to Dom, Vic and Louis. “My guess is James will be stuck in the Sports section for quite a while. Why don’t you three find your books, and we’ll meet at the cashier’s desk?”

In agreement, they all separated; Dom and Louis, who were taking most of the same subjects and would be buying most of the same books, went off together, taking Al and Lily with them, and Vic wandered off alone. She was pleased that Dom and Louis seemed to be getting on a lot better than they had at the beginning of the holidays. They had now reached the stage where they could spend time together without rowing.

For all that the shop was busy, Vic found the books she was looking for quite quickly, and went over to see Ted and James, who were looking at Quidditch books.

“You know James, its nice to see that you are actually willing to read a book”, Vic whispered in his ear, making James jump and Ted laugh.

“Very funny”, said James, sticking his tongue out at her in jest.

“You managed to find all your books, then?” asked Ted, nodding at the basket Vic carried.

“Yep.”

“Its really weird at the start of sixth and seventh year, doing so few subjects”, said Ted, shaking his head.

“Your mum and dad have gone looking for your books, James”, she told her cousin. “They’re also going to say hello to the woman signing books.” She told Ted and James how Ginny and Harry knew Lavender Brown McLaggen….leaving out the part about her dating Ron.

“Really?” said Ted. “My grandmother reads her books. I know she doesn’t have the new one yet…..in fact, when I was over for dinner the other day she mentioned in passing she was really going to have to get round to getting it. One of her friends told her its excellent.”

“You should try and get it signed as well”, suggested Vic. “Show her what a perfect grandson she’s got.” Ted’s hair turned red slightly, but once Vic had blinked it was as blue as it had been before, and she thought perhaps she may have imagined it.

The three of them trudged over to where Harry and Ginny stood in the queue to meet Lavender; they had already found all of the books James would need, and their basket was full.

“You managed to drag this one away from the Quidditch section, then?” Harry said to Vic, indicating James.

“I am a Weasley”, said Vic, grinning. Ginny just laughed, and told James that if he wanted, he could have one of the Quidditch books he’d been looking at. James ran off instantly, and Ted explained to Harry and Ginny that Andromeda read Lavender’s books.

“Next please!” sighed an unhappy-looking middle-aged wizard, and Vic moved forward, noticing that the wizard’s face changed dramatically when he realised he was ushering Harry Potter forwards.

“Just thought we’d come and say hello”, said Harry awkwardly once Lavender had hugged him and Ginny and scolded them for not keeping in touch.

“Have you come to buy mum’s new book?” asked Genie. She thrust a copy of ‘A Wizard’s Dilemma’ in front of them.

“We just came over to say hello, really”, said Harry. “Our eldest, James, is starting school soon, and we came in to buy his books.”

“I’ll buy one”, said Ted, rescuing Harry.

“My grandmother is a fan”, he told Lavender. He took the book from Genie and told Lavender his grandmother’s name.

“This is my godson, Ted”, explained Harry. He turned to Vic. “And this is my niece Victoire.”

“Victoire……a good name for a novel, that is”, said Lavender thoughtfully.

“Its French”, said Vic. “Maman badgered Dad into giving us all French names.”

“I think you’ll remember my sister-in-law”, said Ginny, who explained Vic’s parentage. Lavender looked impressed, which Vic found a little strange. It wasn’t like her parents were like Harry, or Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron or something.

“Are you two at Hogwarts with Genie as well?” she asked Vic and Ted. Vic nodded, but Ted explained that he had just left, and was now working at the DRCMC.

“Good”, said Genie approvingly when Ted had told her what he was working on. “Someone should know what monsters werewolves are.”

“Excuse me?” said Vic icily.

“Genie, its alright”, said her mother, pulling her into a hug. “She’s very protective of me.”

“Your mother is not the only victim Fenrir Greyback had, Genie”, said Vic harshly. “The job he did on my father was worse than the one he did on your mother, but neither of them fared as badly as Ted‘s father. But not all werewolves are like that, are they Ted?”

“No”, he said, almost inaudibly. He gazed off into the distance, not really looking at anything in particular. Vic was so angry. She hated it when people voiced such opinions around Ted. She knew that everyone was entitled to think what they liked, but they didn’t have to express their prejudices so openly. She took Ted’s hand, and rubbed her finger over his palm soothingly. His hair started to turn red again, and Vic knew it was because he was so angry.

“You are right”, said Lavender gently. “In fact, apart from Harry the best Defence teacher I ever had turned out to be a werewolf.”

“What?!” said Genie incredulously.

“Hush, Genie”, said Lavender. She glanced around her, and Vic could tell instantly that she didn’t want to create a scene that might have an impact on her book sales.

“Um, I think we should really be making a move”, said Ginny tactfully. “We had better go and pay for these books, and round up the kids.

Vic kept hold of Ted’s hand until they reached the till, and she had to reach into her purse and pay for the books. She would have to wait until they returned to his flat to speak to him properly. For the first time, she thought Dom was right about Genie McLaggen. When she turned round, Ted seemed a little brighter, as he talked to James about the Quidditch book he had selected.

“Well, that was an eventful trip”, said Ginny as they reached Ted’s flat a few minutes later. Vic nodded, but her eyes followed Ted into the kitchen, where Lily was pestering him for some pumpkin juice while James showed off all his new Hogwarts things to Al, even though his younger brother had seen everything in the shops.

“I’m sorry if I embarrassed everyone by arguing back”, said Vic. “I just…..I can see where she is coming from, since Greyback is her only experience of werewolves, but she’s just wrong!”

“I’m sure our views on it would be the same if all we knew was what she does”, said Louis fairly. Dom just made a derisory snort, and went to speak to Al and James.

Ted came back out of the kitchen with peppermint tea for them all, and the conversation quickly turned to James going to Hogwarts. Vic couldn’t quite believe that in only a few days she would be returning to school. The summer had passed her by so quickly, and she felt slightly bereft at the thought of going back there without Ted. She was so used to him and his friends being there. Gryffindor Tower would be very quiet with only Nat, Dom, Louis and their friends for proper company. Though James would probably liven things up a little.

“Thank you”, Ted whispered to Vic as she hugged him goodbye, the last of his visitors to leave.

“Its nothing”, she said.

“No, it is”, repeated Ted. “You didn’t have to say those things - Merlin, I should have said something.”

“Don’t worry about it. And don’t get used to such vile things”, asserted Vic.

“Its strange”, she added, changing the subject. “Shopping for my Hogwarts things and knowing you won’t be going back this year.”

“We both have owls, Vic”, Ted grinned. “We can write to each other as much as we want to.”

“I guess”, she agreed. “But that doesn’t mean that I won’t miss you being there, coming to the kitchens with me at eleven o’clock on a Sunday night because we fancy some chocolate cake, or helping me with my homework or something silly like that.”

“I’m sure Evan can do both of those things”, said Ted in a tone Vic couldn’t place.

“Evan’s my boyfriend not my best friend, he won’t replace you”, she assured him.

“Good”, said Ted. He hugged her tightly again, and then Vic moved towards the fireplace, wishing that she and Ted were the same age, and that he was coming back to Hogwarts with her.

Vic laughed loudly at a joke Ted had just told.

“You’re so funny”, she said once she’d recovered the ability to breathe properly.

“Nah, we just have the same sense of humour”, said Ted, laying his head on her shoulder. They sat in Harry and Ginny’s back garden, underneath their tree. It was twilight, and a fire magically lit by Ted was the only light they had.

“I suppose we do”, agreed Vic. “I guess that is what comes from knowing someone so well.”

“I guess it is”, said Ted. She could feel his head nodding against her neck. Vic was so comfortable she wanted to stay like this forever, and told Ted so.

“Me too”, he whispered. And yet, he shifted, moving so that he sat opposite her, and took her hands in his.

“What is it?” said Vic, raising her eyebrows at him.

“I just…I can’t go on like this”, he whispered. “Ever since that time I kissed you……..”

“I thought we agreed that we weren’t going to talk about that”, said Vic. She hung her head a little. She actually could not remember agreeing to anything of the sort…….it had been Ted and not Victoire that had taken charge of that conversation.

“Maybe I’ve changed my mind”, said Ted. Vic looked up again, boring her eyes into his. She wanted him so badly, and didn’t know how she would be able to deal with him rejecting her again.

“Oh”, she said quietly.

“Its just- there’s something between us, I think.”

“Me too”, said Vic instantly. She could see he was struggling with something and took a chance, placing a hand behind Ted’s neck and pulling him forward, so that their mouths collided. And this was it. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up, and she felt like she had never done anything so natural, so meant to be. She felt Ted’s tongue on the edge of her lip, and parted her mouth. Never before in her life had Vic wanted something so much that it physically hurt.

“I want you”, breathed Ted once they had parted. “Just you.”

“Me too”, said Vic throatily. “I don’t care about anyone else. All I want in this world……is you.”

She moved in and kissed him again, and then -


Vic screamed internally with shock as she sat up in bed. What had she been doing dreaming about Ted? It had been so vivid, so real. Almost as if she had really been there. And why did she think of it as their tree, hers and Ted’s, when she had kissed Evan under it mere weeks ago?

Unsure quite what to think, Vic glanced at her alarm clock; it was almost six o’clock in the morning. Glancing at the window, she could see the first light of dawn seeping through her curtains. Shivering slightly, Vic got up out of bed and wandered over to her desk chair, and sat down in it, her duvet wrapped around her as she opened the curtains, gazing out. The new day was starting to make its presence known over the sea and cliffs her view afforded her.

Having finished settling herself, Vic was forced to think about her dream as she stared out at the horizon. The mere fact that she’d got up, out of bed, rather than simply turning over and returning to another dream clearly meant something, she decided. It was Ted. Ted, who was her best friend. Ted that was part of almost every memory she had. Ted that had kissed her. Ted that, she now realised, she might actually want to kiss her again.

Vic thought back over the past few months, starting with their kiss at new year. She had fought so hard since then not to think about it, but now…..now it was ALL she could think of. She’d told Nat that it was better than any kiss she’d shared with Hem, which was true. If Vic was honest, it was better than any she’d shared with Evan. Vic groaned. She should not be thinking such things, making such comparisons. But then, the fact that Ted’s kiss was the one that stood out shouldn’t matter…..there was more than that to a relationship.

Ted.

Vic shook her head. Ted had Caro and she had Evan. As she’d said to Tante Gabrielle that very summer, Ted was her best friend, and would never be anything more. He had been adamant that they did not think or discuss their kiss any further, and they had not. In fact, it had not once been mentioned since their awkward discussion in that corridor the first night back at Hogwarts after the Christmas holidays. And he and Caro seemed to have become closer the past few weeks, since they had left Hogwarts. Perhaps, Vic thought wryly, it was because she was around them less often.

She thought back now to that kiss, the best she’d ever had - not that there’d been many - the longing for Ted she had suppressed for so long starting to make itself felt. It had just felt so right…..like coming back home to Shell Cottage after a long visit away. Yes, that was it - it was like coming home. But then Evan did mean something to her. In fact, he was coming to mean quite a lot to her.

If it had not been so early in the morning, she would have dressed in an old t-shirt and jeans and gone for a walk on the beach to clear her head. As it was, her parents would wake up and freak out if they found her bed empty. And they would know straight away that something was wrong by the mere fact that she was up so early. This was not something she wanted to discuss with them. Nat would be the best person to talk to, but Vic did not want to put anything about her dream in writing. Doing so would make it…make it real, and Vic was not yet sure she wanted it to be real.

And aside from anything else, she was thinking of her own feelings alone. The fact was, Ted and Caro were becoming closer. Even if she did have a crush, or something equally ridiculous, on Ted, the fact was he had a girlfriend he cared about, and he would not be splitting up with her anytime soon. Especially not for her.

It was just a dream, and maybe it should stay that way, a random dream she’d had one night that meant nothing other than she was going back to Hogwarts, and would miss Ted being there.

Vic returned to bed. She would think about this again, properly, in the harsh light of day. Six thirty in the morning was not the time to think of such life altering things. That said, as Vic pulled her duvet over her head, she knew that one person would occupy her dreams as she returned to sleep. Ted.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; October 7th, 2011 at 10:12 pm.
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  #27  
Old October 14th, 2011, 6:14 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 27


A nervous Ted glanced imperceptibly at his watch; it was now almost ten o’clock, and he needed the meeting to finish within the next half hour. It was September 1st, and Ted had promised James he would be there to wave him off on the Hogwarts Express. At present, he was sitting through the weekly departmental staff meeting where each section within the DRCMC caught each another up with what they were working on. Glancing around the room, he identified various other people he knew would be heading to King’s Cross soon. Luckily Isadora had spoken first, and so Ted had only been required to look engaged in the discussion for a short period of time.

“Well, I think we shall leave it there for today”, said the Head of the DRCMC, Cuthbert Mockridge, a little later. “By my watch, it is now a little after ten past ten, and I know that some of you have family to see off on the Hogwarts Express. We shall adjourn here, and meet again at the same time next week.”

Ted heaved a sigh of relief as left the meeting room.

“That you off now, Ted?” asked Isadora as they dropped off their notes from the meeting at their set of desks.

“Yeah”, he said, nodding. “I won’t be long; just going to wave off James, and then I’ll be straight back, and we can talk about that new idea you had last night.”

“I didn’t know you knew anyone going off today, Ted”, said Albie Cartwright, looking surprised. Ted had got to know quite a few of the younger members of the department over the past few weeks, particularly Albie, Pandora Macdonald and Willa, the previous tenant of his flat.

“I thought you didn’t have any brothers and sisters?”

“My godfather’s eldest”, said Ted as he and Albie walked towards the door out into the corridor. “His kids are the closest thing I’ve got to younger brothers and sisters. Besides, he always used to come and see me off on the Express.”

“My niece will be going next year”, said Albie. “My older sister’s girl. A year away, and she’s looking forward to it already!” Ted grinned.

“See you later Albie!”

Ted disapparated to an alleyway round the corner from King’s Cross station. He glanced at his watch again. It was now a little after twenty-five past. Knowing James, they would be early. He had talked about nothing other than Hogwarts and Quidditch for the last fortnight.

As he wandered through the barrier to platform nine and three quarters, Ted felt a wave of nostalgia rush over him. He would miss Hogwarts, and it was only today that working, and not going back to school, was starting to feel real to him. He’d had his time at school, it was James’s turn now; next year Al and Rosie would be going, Freddie the year after, then Lily and Hugo, with Roxie the last of the cousins to start school the year after Lily and Hugo.

“Hello, Ted.” He spun round at the sound of Percy Weasley’s voice.

“Hi”, said Ted, going over to them. Molly was quietly going through a bag, making sure she had everything she needed, while Lucy’s eyes were drinking up every sight and smell as she prepared to go on the train for the first time.

“Excited?” Ted asked her, smiling. Lucy nodded.

“You’ll have lots of fun”, he assured her. He asked after Audrey’s mother, before excusing himself to go and find James - and Vic, if she was there, taking advantage of some Ministry figure or other coming over to speak to Percy. He knew Vic was seldom on time, but he hoped to see her, alone, before she boarded the train. Ted hated the thought of having to say goodbye to her with Evan hovering around.

“Teddy!” Before he could find either James, Vic or one of their siblings, Lily’s voice reached him through the crowds, and he spotted Harry and Ginny over the heads of the returning schoolchildren.

“Hey everyone!” said Ted, hugging Lily. He turned to James.

“Got everything?” James nodded.

“I have everything I need”, said James. Ted wasn’t quite sure he wanted to know what everything was, but he was pretty sure it included the map he had returned to Harry at the end of last term, and the invisibility cloak he knew Harry had taken to school, as well as copious quantities of gadgets he had purchased from his uncle’s joke shop. Ted wondered precisely how many Skiving Snackboxes James had been able to sneak into his trunk.

James’s new owl, which he had named Chaser after his favoured Quidditch position, hooted mildly in his cage, and Ted spotted a Firebolt XL among James’s things as well. The position the school held on first years and brooms had changed since Ted had started at Hogwarts, and first years could now bring their own brooms and try out for the Quidditch team - though most did not make it onto the team until second year at least. The new policy had been implemented when Professor Davies had taken over the post of Quidditch and Flying teacher in Ted’s fourth year, and insisted that the first years would learn faster if they used their own brooms.

“You’ll be going next year”, said Ted assured Al, who looked a little downcast at the sight of his elder brother going off to school without him. The two boys were closer than they would admit.

If he gets his letter”, said James, grinning. “Hey, there’s Louis!” He ran off to see his cousin before his parents could tell him off.

“You will get your letter”, said Ted. “You both will - you and Lily. James is just excited he’s going to school, like you will be next year.” Al nodded, and Ted made a mental note to take him out somewhere for a treat in the next week or so; a Saturday spent in Diagon Alley, perhaps.

Then, looking off into the distance, Ted could see Vic with her brother, sister and James. He muttered to Harry and Ginny that he should really say goodbye to Vic and the rest of them, and started to walk over to where she stood. He was dreading saying goodbye to her. They had spent a lot of time together over the past couple of months, particularly at the beginning of her summer holidays before he had started at the DRCMC and when Caro had been on holiday with her friends. A small part of Ted wished that he had known then what he did now, and that he had used it to get a sense of whether she might feel about him in something like the way he now realised he felt about her.

He and Vic had not spent more than the couple of weeks she spent in France most summers apart since his second year at Hogwarts, and Ted was not looking forward to weeks spent away from her. In fact, he had thought over the past few days that he might find some pretext or other to be in Hogsmeade when the students were allowed into the village. She would be with Evan, but being a metamorphmagus, he could be there and she wouldn’t even know it. Right now, he felt he could and would go to such extremes just to see her smile. And he thought himself absolutely pathetic for doing so.

“Hey guys”, he said as he finally reached them.

“Ted! I didn’t know you were going to be here!” exclaimed Dom as she hugged him.

“I’m sure I said he would”, said Vic. Ted had told her last night he would be there to wave James off when they’d all been to The Burrow for dinner. Molly and Arthur Weasley liked to see all of their grandchildren the day before the Express returned those that were old enough to school.

“You probably did tell me, and I just forgot”, shrugged Dom, turning to Vic. “Oh, I can see Emme and Leigh-Anne are here already! I better go and say hello!” Ted laughed as Dom ran off to greet her friends.

“I thought she only saw them a week ago?” he asked, grinning.

“She did”, Vic confirmed. “But she missed them, like we all miss our friends.” She looked down at the ground. Ted detected a shyness about her that he had never seen before, and wondered at the cause of it. But then, perhaps he was misinterpreting something.

“Like I will miss you”, said Ted softly.

“Like I’ll miss all of you”, he added, remembering that James and Louis were still with them.

“Its quarter to now, we should really be getting on the train and trying to find a seat. I‘m off to say goodbye to dad and maman”, said Louis. He turned to Ted.

“See you at Christmas, mate.”

“Will do”, said Ted, clapping him on the shoulder. “Keep in touch - send me an owl if you’re ever bored enough!” Louis laughed, told Vic and James he would see them on the train, and then returned to his parents.

“You should go and say goodbye to your mum and dad as well”, Ted said to James. “I’ll be along in a minute.”

“See you on the train”, Vic called after him as James bounded back through the crowd.

“I’m going to miss you”, said Ted simply. “Its going to be weird not having you around.”

“Yeah, I think so too”, Vic replied softly.

“Hi Vic!” said an excited voice from behind Ted. As Vic looked at her boyfriend and smiled, before hugging him tightly, Ted had never been less pleased to see Evan.

“I was just saying goodbye to Ted”, she explained. Ted tried to smile, but if he was honest he thought it would probably look more to others like a grimace.

“Owl me, and I’ll see you at Christmas”, said Ted. He pulled her into a tight hug, his senses attacked by the smell of the beach she’d brought with her, and the vanilla scent that was in her shampoo. He didn’t want to let go, but knew he had to.

“Make sure you owl me back!” shouted Vic as Ted walked away, muttering that he should get back to James and the rest of them. He was not pleased; he had wanted to say goodbye to her alone. Though what else would he have said? He couldn’t tell her how he felt. Not yet. Not when they were both involved with other people. And he still felt something for Caro. No. He would see what this term brought, how they got on apart. For all Ted knew, Vic might have half-forgotten him by Christmas.

“Well, I guess this is it, then”, said Ted when he returned to the group of Potters that had started to attract a little attention from the odd passer-by.

“Try not to spend all your time in detention, don’t agree to duels, and don’t take advantage of Neville just because we know him”, said Ginny warningly.

“Don’t forget you’re going to Hagrid’s for tea on Friday, James”, said Harry. “He owled me the other day, remember? And don‘t forget your cousins are there as well if you need anything.”

“Enjoy yourself, and remember to write”, added Ginny. She hugged James tightly.

“Mum….gerroff!” exclaimed James. He allowed his father a quick hug, reminding his parents at the same time that they were not to embarrass him before he even got on the train.

“See you at Christmas”, said Ted, giving James a high-five, and recalling fondly his own first trip on the Hogwarts Express. They had all come to drop him off, though he doubted even James remembered that. He had only been four at the time, Al three and Lily one.

“Remember to owl me too!” he said to James as Ginny and Harry helped James into a compartment.

“Owl us tonight to let us know how the Sorting went”, said Ginny.

“Duh, I’m going to be in Gryffindor!” exclaimed James from the compartment window.

“Owl us anyway”, said Harry, compromising.

They watched a few minutes later as the scarlet train steamed away from the station, Lily running along the platform with it, waving at James. She came back to them looking a little glum.

“I wanted to go too”, she said.

“It won’t be long”, Ted assured her. “Vic will tell you….the time I was at Hogwarts before she started absolutely flew by.”

“Really?” said Lily hopefully. Ted nodded.

“How about we go to Diagon Alley for some ice cream, and then stop in to visit Freddie and Roxie?” suggested Ginny. Al and Lily nodded excitedly.

“Are you coming with us, Teddy?” asked Al.

“I can’t. Have to go back to work”, said Ted. “I’ll be over for dinner tonight, though, so I’ll see you then.”

“Yeah, I have to go into the office as well”, said Harry. “But I’ll try not to be too late tonight.”

“See you tonight”, said Ted. He walked back towards the barrier. When he reached it, he turned round to wave, but they all seemed to be in a deep discussion with Bill and Fleur, and so he passed on through, and headed back to the alley behind the station he had used earlier to apparate back to the Ministry.

On the Hogwarts Express, Vic was quickly separated from Evan again as she took herself to the first compartment on the train, and the traditional meeting of the prefects and new head boy and girl. This year, the Headmistress had selected a Ravenclaw, Edmund Winter (also captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team), and a Hufflepuff, Becca Jones.

As Edmund and Becca made a short speech about how pleased they were to be chosen, and welcomed the new fifth year prefects (which Vic noted included Genie McLaggen) Vic thought back to Ted on the platform. She wished that they had been able to speak alone properly, something they had been unable to do since the dream she’d had a few days ago. There always seemed to be someone around - usually Dom, Louis or one of her cousins - and she had lacked the courage to go to his flat alone, fearing that Caro would be there. Even if they had been alone, she was unsure what she would have said. If she would have said anything at all. Mostly what she wanted was time alone with him to see if what she had dreamt was real, some sub-conscious feeling coming through. Or if it was just a metaphor for missing him when she went back to school.

As the meeting came to a conclusion, Vic took her assignment of patrolling the train corridors between two thirty and three and left the compartment, heading for the one further down the train where she knew Nat and Evan were sitting with his group of friends, catching up on anything they had missed out on over the summer and looking forward to the new year.

“Hey”, said Vic as she shut the compartment door behind her.

"So, who are the new head fun stoppers?" asked Evan's friend Eddie.

"Becca and Edmund", said Vic. There was a collective groan from the seventh years in the compartment.

"What?" she asked.

"Becca is a nightmare", said Felicia. "Forced fun, and an obsessive organiser. Poor Edmund won't know what's hit him."

"I never knew fun could be forced", said Nat.

"Trust me, it can", Felicia replied. "You're both sixth years now; you can come to Duelling Club and see her in action, trying to organise it like she's the teacher. She even makes suggestions to poor Professor Robards about how we can all learn practical defence better."

"Well, she's always been alright with me before now", shrugged Vic. "Though I do remember her making a lot of suggestions at prefect meetings last year. I thought she was just being enthusiastic or something." She sat down in the spare seat between Nat and Evan, opposite Persephone, Eddie, Mark and Felicia.

“I suppose it could have some positives, though”, said Felicia, thoughtfully. “If Edmund is too busy with his studies and being bossed around by Becca, it’ll limit the amount of time he has to concentrate on Quidditch, and I think Ravenclaw will be our biggest rivals for the title again this year.”

“There’s always a bright side”, said Persephone, smiling.

“And for our Felicia, it usually involves Quidditch”, added Mark.

"What's your patrol time?" Evan asked. She told him.

"I miss anything?" she asked.

"Not much", said Evan, shrugging. "We were just catching up on anything we missed over the summer, and looking forward to this year. Its strange to think its our last one at school."

"Yeah, Ted said that a lot last year", said Vic. "Well, its only natural isn't it? To think so much about leaving somewhere that you've lived for most of the year for seven years?"

"Exactly", agreed Persephone.

The remainder of the train journey passed peacefully and quietly, and on her patrol she was pleased to pass a compartment that included James and a group of other chattering first years, and another that included an excited Lucy playing a game of exploding snap with Molly and a couple of her friends looking on.

As she sat down at the Gryffindor table that evening, however, it felt to Vic as if something were missing, and she realised that this was the first year she hadn’t sat next to Ted and his friends for the Welcoming Feast. It was strange not having them here.

“It’s a little weird Ted and the rest of them not being here”, said Nat, voicing Vic’s thoughts. She nodded in response.

“I didn’t really get much of a chance to say goodbye to him properly”, said Vic. “He said to owl him, though. I think I’ll write in a couple of days, see how he is - if he’s missing it here!”

“In case I forget, tell him I said ‘hi’”, said Nat. Vic’s stomach grumbled.

“I hate this part, waiting for the first years to arrive”, Vic muttered to Evan, who sat on the other side of her. “I’m starving, but at least the Sorting usually distracts me from that!”

As Evan squeezed her hand, the doors opened, and the Deputy Headmaster and Charms teacher Professor Rackharrow entered, leading a troop of very nervous looking first years to the front of the hall where a tatty looking old hat sat upon a stool. All conversation around the hall ceased, and although Professor Rackharrow did not use a sonorous charm, his voice travelled easily about the room.

“I shall call out each of your names in turn, and when I do please step forward and sit down on the stool then place the Sorting Hat on your head”, he told them. “I can assure you that while you hear what it has to say, no one else will.”

Vic stretched her neck to the left a little as she sought out her two younger cousins. She could see James standing casually near the back, and Lucy off to the side. Their Sorting would come towards the end.

“Anderson, Delilah”, said Professor Rackharrow first. Vic saw a small girl with honey blonde hair step forward, and look terrified as she sat upon the stool. A few seconds later the hat declared her a Ravenclaw, and Delilah went to join her new Housemates, sitting diagonally opposite Vic’s cousin Molly.

It was at least another ten minutes before the silence of the hall was broken as Professor Rackharrow said, “Potter, James.” Vic felt a little uncomfortable as she heard the odd whisper from her own and nearby tables.

Potter? Do you think he’s related to the Harry Potter?”

Couldn’t be his son or something, could he?

Vic felt eyes on her; they knew her to be related to Harry by marriage, and she could not help but blush. She hated her family to be a topic of gossip. Trying to ignore them, she watched as her cousin James stepped nonchalantly up to the stool. As he himself would have predicted, the hat took a matter of seconds to declare him a Gryffindor. James cheered as he made his way down the steps to where the rest of the new Gryffindor first years sat at the House table. She saw him wave at Louis and Dom, and then catching her eye, at her. Vic waved back, smiling, pleased that James had got his wish.

Lucy was the final student but two to be Sorted. As the hat declared her a Ravenclaw after a couple of minutes (the longest of all the students in her year) Vic looked over at the Ravenclaw table where a look of relief washed over her clapping cousin Molly’s face. As Lucy neared the table, Vic saw Molly beckon her sister over to sit next to her.

The remaining two first years were Sorted, Professor Derwent welcomed them all back to Hogwarts, and then the tables bulged with every type of food imaginable. A ravenous Vic - who had declined the sweets offered by the witch on the Hogwarts Express - took a large portion of fish, potatoes and vegetables. Further down the table, she could hear Ava Ackerley loudly describing her summer to anyone who would listen.

“Of course, I told him a few weeks ago that we should end everything when I came back to Hogwarts”, she heard Ava say. Vic assumed that ‘him’ was Hem, and rolled her eyes. Ava could not be more wrong if she thought Vic still felt anything for her ex-boyfriend.

“She isn’t still going on about that, is she?” Nat muttered to her. Vic shrugged.

“To be honest, I don’t really care”, said Vic as Evan, having finished his dinner, wrapped an arm around her waist.

After dinner it was the responsibility of Vic and the other Gryffindor prefects to show the new first years the way to Gryffindor Tower, however Vic asked them to remain seated as she watched Evan, Nat and everyone else leave the hall. They looked at her quizzically as each and every other set of first years followed their designated prefect out of the room.

“Professor Longbottom, the Head of Gryffindor, likes to come and welcome every new group of first years before they go up to their dormitories”, explained Alexandra, one of the seventh year prefects.

“Thanks Alexandra”, said Professor Longbottom as he came and stood beside her. All of the first years turned to look at him.

“I would just like to repeat Professor Derwent’s words of welcome”, he began. “As Alexandra has just told you, I am Professor Longbottom. I will be your Head of House whilst you are at Hogwarts. Any time you have a problem, however trivial it may be, you can come and see me. Any questions you have, I will try my best to answer. I like to arrange individual meetings with my new first years in their second or third week, just to see how you are all getting on. The times for these will be posted on the notice board in the Gryffindor Common Room.”

Vic smiled as he told them that even he had once been a first year, and knew how nerve-wracking it could be. He’d made the same speech when she had been a first year. Finally, once Professor Longbottom had introduced all the prefects to them, and explained that the seventh year prefects would meet them in the common room the following morning to take them down to the great hall for breakfast, the first years stood up and started to make their way out of the hall.

“Good to see you in Gryffindor, James”, she heard Professor Longbottom say to her cousin. “Your parents will be proud.”

“Thanks, Nev - I mean, thank you Professor Longbottom”, replied James. Vic grinned to herself. He had obviously been warned by his parents.

When they finally reached the common room, Alexandra and Stephen, the two seventh year prefects, showed the new first years to their respective dormitories leaving Vic free for the remainder of the evening. She could see her brother and sister with their respective group of friends, laughing and joking; Evan appeared to have gone upstairs (she’d told him that she wanted to go straight up to her dormitory, reminding Evan that she usually overslept on the first day of term, even with Nat there to wake her up, and so she liked to have everything ready the night before); there was no sign of Nat, either.

The loud laughter of Ava Ackerley ringing in her ears, Vic waved to her brother and sister and then headed upstairs to her dormitory, where she found Nat unpacking a few things she would need for the next day.

“Hi”, said Nat, yawning. “How are the first years?”

“They seem alright”, shrugged Vic as she sat down on her bed. “James looked pretty hyper, but he appears to be starting to make friends already. They were mostly in awe of the place, but James has been here before, which I think diminishes a little the impact this place has on you when you start in first year.”

“Maybe”, agreed Nat. Vic heaved a sigh as she stood up, opened her trunk, and started to take out her pyjamas, washbag, a set of clothes for the next day, and the new books she had bought at Flourish and Blotts.

“Ava spoke to me when we came upstairs from dinner”, said Nat in a derisory tone. “She said that she was surprised - pleasantly surprised according to her - to see that you and Evan are still together.”

“Yeah, she seemed to make a point at dinner of saying that she broke up with Hem, which makes me think he broke up with her”, said Vic. She then realised that, for the first time today, it was just her and Nat in the room.

“Muffliato!” said Vic, pointing her wand at the dormitory door.

“Vic? Is everything alright?” asked Nat nervously. Perhaps she was thinking back, as Vic was, to another time Vic had used that spell to ensure them a private conversation in the dormitory. It had been the day she’d caught Hem cheating on her with Ava, and had finally told Nat that she’d been equally unfaithful.

“Nat, when you did Divination for OWLs, you studied dreams, didn’t you?” said Vic pensively. Natasha nodded in response.

“Yeah, it was even part of our exams”, she said. “Why?”

“I had a dream a few nights ago, and I don’t know what it means”, said Vic hurriedly. “I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and I can’t quite work out if it means the obvious thing, or if its just a metaphor for - “

“Vic, calm down and tell me what the dream was”, said Nat. Vic sighed.

“I dreamt that I kissed Ted. It was strange, I was kissing him in Aunt Ginny’s garden, where he kissed me at new year. And I thought of it as our tree - mine and Ted’s - but that’s bizarrely where I kissed Evan when he came to Uncle Harry’s birthday party with me”, said Vic. She gazed past Nat and out of the window into the moonlight.

“I can’t stop thinking about it, and over analyzing it, and wondering if it means that I want Ted, or if its just a metaphor for how much I’ll miss him now that he’s left Hogwarts and I’m still here”, she finished softly.

“It just - it seemed so real.”

“Vic, I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know”, said Nat. “Based on the dream, I mean. It could be argued that given you were kissing him under the same tree as what happened at new year, the interpretation is that your dream is about familiarity - or the loss of it. You think of Ted as part of Hogwarts, and now he’s left everything will be different.”

“So I could be right then?” said Vic. Nat nodded.

“Or…..it could be that knowing you were coming back here without Ted, something within your sub-conscious pushed something to the fore - something you’d been ignoring for a long time”, said Nat.

“Urgh!” exclaimed Vic. “I thought about it that night, and I have done ever since. The truth is, I enjoyed that kiss much more than I should have, and I think I preferred it to…..to Evan. But then, I feel something for Evan, I really do. And I want us to stay together. I think I’d want that regardless of whether Caro was in the picture.”

“I suppose what it comes down to is - do you think it was a metaphor, or do you want to think it was a metaphor?” said Nat.

“How do you mean?”

“Do you think of Ted as just a friend, or do you want to think of him as just a friend, and therefore you’re willing to accept any other explanation there is for the dream you had.”

“Oh”, said Vic in a small voice. “I don’t know. I really don’t know.”




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; October 14th, 2011 at 6:19 pm.
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  #28  
Old October 21st, 2011, 9:58 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 28

 

On Wednesday afternoon during the second week of the new term, Vic left her study things at one of the tables and went to look for a book she needed on non-verbal charms. In the last class before lunch Professor Rackharrow had asked that they all read a chapter from it before the next class on Friday and Vic wanted to get to the book first.

“Gotcha!” she exclaimed to herself as she located it. She was just about to go back to her study table when she heard light sobs coming from the next aisle.

“Hello?” said Vic softly. She went round to the aisle she’d heard the noise from and was surprised to find her cousin Lucy sitting cross-legged on the floor, crying. Vic remembered from speaking to Lucy after her first day of classes that the Ravenclaw first years had Wednesday afternoons off.

“Lucy! What’s wrong?” she asked. Vic knew that her Aunt Audrey’s mother was still in the process of recovering from the broken leg she’d suffered almost three months ago.

“Vic?” said Lucy. “Oh, Vic, I’m so sorry.” She started to cry harder than ever as Vic wrapped an arm around her and pulled her cousin into a hug.

“What’s the matter?” repeated Vic. “And don’t say you’re sorry again, you have absolutely nothing to be sorry for.”

“I miss mum and dad, and grandfather and grandmother, and gramma and gramps and everyone”, said Lucy.

“I know I have Molly and you and everyone here, but it isn’t the same.”

“I missed everyone when I came to Hogwarts too”, said Vic. “Its perfectly natural. I mean, you haven’t been away from your mum and dad for more than a night or two in your life, and now you won’t see them again until Christmas.” Lucy nodded, and Vic could see some tears dripping down her cheek.

“I was lucky”, said Vic. “I had Ted just like you have Molly, and you must consider her a part of home you have brought away with you. Pictures help too. Do you have many with you?”

“Just one of me and Molly with mum and dad”, said Lucy.

“Well, you must owl Aunt Audrey and tell her you want more - as many as you can fit on the table beside your bed”, said Vic firmly. “And anytime you feel like you’re missing home then you must tell Molly, or come and spent time with me or one of your other cousins.” Lucy nodded and wiped away her tears.

“It’ll get better”, Vic told her. “You just have to give it time. Are you still enjoying your classes?”

“Yes”, replied Lucy. “I really like Potions.”

“Good”, said Vic. “And have you started to make any new friends yet?”

“Delilah and Ciara”, said Lucy promptly.

“Hmm”, said Vic. Thinking her cousin needed some home comforts and a distraction, she told her how to get into the kitchens, and advised her to take her new friends along for a treat.

“Are you sure we’re allowed to?” asked Lucy.

“Ted and I used to go quite a lot”, said Vic. “I recommend the chocolate cake.”

“Thank you Vic”, said Lucy. She stood up, hugged her elder cousin, and then left to find her friends. Vic smiled, but made a mental note to keep a close eye on Lucy. Her cousin had been so excited about coming that she seemed to have forgotten that she would miss everyone and everything she was leaving behind.

Vic told Evan about it when he walked her down to dinner that evening, having met her from her Ancient Runes class.

“I can be such a mother hen sometimes”, she told him. “I think I get it from Gramma Weasley.” Evan laughed.

“Or maybe its something to do with being the eldest of so many cousins”, he suggested.

“How was your day?” she asked him. Evan shrugged.

“Transfiguration was pretty brutal. Its getting more and more advanced, and sometimes I understand about ten percent of what is being said in one of the lessons”, he sighed.

“But, on the bright side, I somehow managed to get through the day with a minimal amount of homework, so I’m pretty much free tonight. Maybe we could hang out?”

“Sorry”, said Vic as they entered the great hall. “Its Wednesday - I have prefect rounds tonight. That as well as two long translations to do for Runes that have to be done by Friday, eighteen inches on the Unforgivable Curses for Robards - that is due on Monday, but I‘ll still need to start it as soon as possible - fifteen on the uses and properties of salamander eggs in potions for Winstanton and I have a couple of chapters to read on human transfiguration before tomorrow afternoon.”

“Regretting taking seven NEWTs yet?” asked Evan as Vic sighed heavily.

“No”, she replied, shaking her head. “Its hard work, but I’m enjoying all of the classes I’m taking and it means I can keep my options open for when I leave Hogwarts.” They took seats around halfway down the table with some of the other seventh years. Nat had Care of Magical Creatures at the same time as Vic was in Runes, and she knew Nat preferred to take everything back up to their dormitory and wash up before coming in to eat.

Mark, Eddie and Persephone were discussing their Herbology homework over Shepherd’s Pie while Felicia pored over a piece of parchment.

“You finally decided on a timetable, then?” Evan asked her. She nodded.

“I’ve been working out a training schedule for this year’s Quidditch team”, said Felicia in response to Vic’s blank look. “Tryouts are a week on Saturday - I like to give people a little time to settle in, so that when they try out the know whether or not Quidditch is going to be too much of them on top of homework and whatever else they do in their spare time.”

“I’ll let Dom know”, said Vic, making a mental note to tell her sister. “I know she wants to try out this year.”

“No need”, said Felicia as she laid the parchment aside and helped herself to some dinner. “I’ve already posted a notice in the common room.”

After dinner, a quick walk with Evan in the grounds that seemed to have become a daily occurrence, and a read of the assigned chapters in ‘Human Transfiguration for Beginners’, Vic found herself running off for prefect duty. Ever since her return to school, her workload had meant she seemed to spend most of her time running off to something.

Bored, Vic turned into the Transfiguration corridor. She knew that she should feel honoured - or so Aunt Hermione, Aunt Audrey, Uncle Percy and her grandmother told her - to be a prefect, but right know all she could think about was the time it was taking her away from Evan and the massive pile of homework currently waiting for her at a study table Nat had bagged for the two of them in the common room.

She heard a clatter further on, lit her wand, and moved forward. There seemed to be nothing there. She looked around.

There was a squeaking noise and a muffled giggle from behind her. Vic swung around, but again she seemed to be alone in the corridor. She sighed.

“James, take that cloak off”, she said. Nothing happened.

“James. I know its you, so you might as well come out from under that thing. I know you’ve got Uncle Harry’s invisibility cloak with you, your mother - “

At the mention of his mother, James lifted the cloak so that Vic could see him and one of the other first years.

“Thank you”, said Vic. “Its after nine.”

“I know.”

“First years are supposed to be back in their common rooms by eight”, Vic reminded him. “You know that well enough. What were you doing?”

“We were just on our way back from the kitchens”, said James’s friend. He pulled out piles of sweet treats the boys had clearly been given by the house elves, who seemed unable to say ‘no’ to any student asking them for extra food.

“Come on then”, said Vic.

“Where are you taking us?” asked James’s friend warily.

“Gryffindor Tower. And I want you to stay there”, Vic told them. “Why didn’t you take that map with you? The one Ted used to have.”

“I did”, said James, holding up a piece of ancient parchment that Vic recognised instantly.

“We put the cloak on when Ritchie saw your name”, explained James. Ritchie - Vic knew she would have to try harder to learn the names of all the new Gryffindor first years. Professor Longbottom expected all of the prefects to know their names.

“Only, it was dark, and we didn’t notice that stand there so I bumped into it”, said Ritchie.

They finally reached the fat lady’s portrait, and Vic watched as the two boys went in.

“Don’t let me catch you out after hours again soon James - otherwise I might have to recommend to Professor Longbottom that you have detention……oooh, next Saturday for example?” said Vic sweetly.

“But that’s when the Gryffindor tryouts are”, spluttered James. “You wouldn’t?”

“I just might”, she replied. “I am sick of covering for you - this is the third time I’ve caught you out after hours and its only the second week of term! You’re not going to take advantage of me any more. Cousin or not.”

“Yeah”, said James, turning to go into the common room when he called after her. “Oh - I got a letter from Teddy today.”

“Did you? That reminds me, I need to reply to the one I got from him the other day”, said Vic thoughtfully. “Goodnight boys.”

Vic glanced quickly at her watch as the fat lady’s portrait shut, enclosing James and his friend in Gryffindor Tower. It was almost nine-thirty, and her patrol was until ten. A little over half an hour to go. She headed upwards, in the direction of the Owlery.

Wandering down a corridor, her thoughts turned to Ted.

It had been strange, settling back into Hogwarts life without him there. Somehow, however, she seemed to have adjusted. But perhaps it was just that the amount of schoolwork she had limited the time she could spend missing him. It still felt to her like there was something missing with him not being here, but between her schoolwork and Evan, her prefect rounds and spending time with Nat and her friends, Vic had precious little free time to ponder her best friend.

Vic had no idea why, but since she had returned to school, she and Evan seemed to be closer than before. Maybe it was the time they’d spent together over the summer, the meeting of each other’s parents or something else - all Vic knew was that they were closer than they had been before the summer holidays.

But Ted……she still thought of the dream she’d had about him. There had been none since, but Vic could still see everything as vividly as she’s dreamt it that night. Could still feel Ted’s touch, his kiss. Could still remember how she had felt. Thinking honestly about what Nat had said to her the night they’d come back to Hogwarts, Vic knew that she wanted her dream to mean nothing. It would mess up at least four lives if she truly felt something for Ted, and she wasn’t prepared to risk everything only to lose him as a friend.

Some Gryffindor I am’, she thought to herself.

Mostly, she remained confused. How could she feel something more than friendship for Ted when she and Evan were starting to become closer, and she was starting to feel so much more for him? However she felt, Vic knew that she was in the process of making a decision of sorts - that whatever her feelings for Ted, they must be suppressed and denied. For everyone’s sake. She would concentrate solely on Evan and her feelings for him. As she had told Tante Gabrielle over the summer, Ted was her best friend. And that was all he would ever be.

Ted grinned as he sat down at a table in the Ministry cafeteria on his Friday lunch hour, reading Vic’s most recent letter. It had arrived that morning, just before he‘d left for work. Not wanting it to be left lying until he returned home that evening after dinner at Harry and Ginny’s lest Caro arrive before him and see it, and desperate to read what she’d written, Ted had brought it with him. He’d had a busy morning, and this was the first opportunity he’d had to read it.

Dear Ted,

Thank you for your last letter. And yes, everything is quite as manic as you had predicted! Tell Wes and Rowland I said ‘hi’ back, and that I actually miss them too. Maybe you could say that my workload is bringing on temporary bouts of insanity??

Everything at Hogwarts is the same as it always was, and yet its completely different. James is a nightmare. I know they already have one, but Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny deserve the Order of Merlin for looking after him! We haven’t even been back here a fortnight and I’ve already caught him out of bounds three times. In the end I had to threaten him with detention during Quidditch tryouts. Don’t tell James, but I probably wouldn’t have been that mean.

In some ways I hate being the eldest cousin…..it means
I have to be the responsible one.

Quidditch tryouts are a week on Saturday, and I am dreading them. James and Dom are both going to be competing for the same spot on the team because I can’t see Evan and Eddie losing theirs. And I’m worried that if Dom makes the team it might spark off more rows between her and Louis. Maybe not straight away, but after a few weeks of training. He’s always whinging that Felicia works them too hard, but I know he loves Quidditch and doesn’t really mean it. Dom just takes it at face value and has a go at him for it.

Wasn’t life so much easier before Hogwarts when it was just you and me, and sometimes Dom and Louis, playing silly games?

Let me know what you are up to. It feels so strange that you’re miles away, going to work every day and seeing all the family whenever you want, and I’m here at Hogwarts like I was before.

I hope everything is still going well with you and Caro. You never mention her in your letters.

Say ’hi’ to Aunt Ginny and everyone for me the next time you’re over there for dinner, and to your grandmother.

Missing you!

Love,
Vic


He rubbed his finger lightly over where she had signed her name, re-read what she’d written and laughed about her tales of woe and James. He heaved an internal sigh of relief that it was Vic and not him that had to deal with James at school. Ted made a mental note to write back that withholding the privilege of Quidditch might actually be one of the few things that would teach James a lesson, and turned his attention to the cheese sandwich he had bought for his lunch.

“Hey Ted”, said Rowland sitting down opposite him.

“Hey”, said Ted as a pretty dark-haired girl sat down next to Rowland. Ted raised his eyebrows.

“Ted, this is Marigold”, said Rowland. “She works in the same team as me. Mari, this is Ted - we were at Hogwarts together.”

“Hello”, she said shyly. “Which floor is it you work on then?” Ted told her.

“So, you are one of the poor people that has to put up with Rowland every day?” said Ted, grinning.

“It is a true honour to work with me”, said Rowland cheekily. He picked up the letter from Vic that Ted had laid down on the table.

“Leave that”, said Ted.

“What is it - oh, a letter from the lovely Victoire”, said Rowland. He turned to Marigold.

“You see, Wes and I aren’t really Ted’s best friends”, Rowland told her. “The best friend is Victoire, his godfather’s niece. She’s two years younger than us, and still at school.”

“And for years he and Wes have been teasing me about her”, finished Ted.

“Do you want to be more than friends with her, then?” asked Marigold.

“Don’t be silly”, said Ted in what he hoped was an off-hand voice. “I have a girlfriend and Vic has a boyfriend - “

“Who you can’t stand”, Rowland pointed out.

“Its not that I can’t stand him, I just don’t know him that well”, said Ted, repeating the stock answer he gave whenever anyone said that about Evan.

“What’s wrong with Vic being my best friend? We’ve known each other our entire lives - her parents were apparently the first people outside the family that my father went to tell that I’d been born.”

“Have you even tried to get to know Evan? The whole thing drives Caro mental”, said Rowland, laughing.

“Caro?”

“My girlfriend”, said Ted, emphasising the second word.

“Hmm“, said Marigold. She laughed. “I actually knew a Caro once - the daughter of a friend of my father’s. She was a few years younger than me and a bit of a - but I doubt it’s the same person.”

“Yeah, doubt it”, said Rowland, though he hid his mouth behind the palm of his hand in order to, Ted suspected, hide his laughter.

“I should be going”, said Ted after a while. “My lunch break is almost over, and I’ve got a pretty hectic afternoon scheduled.” He stood up, vanishing his rubbish.

“It was nice to meet you, Marigold”, he said to her.

“You too”, she replied. Ted left the table, and as he headed for the lift he turned round to see Rowland with his arm around her, the pair of them laughing wildly at something.

Ted had not been exaggerating when he’d said that he had a hectic afternoon scheduled. After a quick meeting with Isadora and a couple of the departmental assistants, Ted sat down to his desk, and his report on lycanthropy laws abroad. Isadora had come up with the idea a week or so before of researching this, and seeing if there were any practical legislation that could be used in Britain. Since then, he’d been spending a couple of hours a day on the subject.

He had started by reading up on international lycanthropy laws - like the one passed by the International Confederation which stated that werewolves had to obtain the permission of both their home and destination countries if they wished to travel abroad - and was now looking into the laws used to govern werewolves by other European countries.

“Some of these laws are barbaric”, Ted muttered to himself as he read the Liechtenstein Charter of Werewolves Rights, a misleading title for a document that, in Ted’s opinion gave werewolves no rights at all. Each and every werewolf in Liechtenstein was locked up in cages at the Ministry each full moon, and was not permitted to take Wolfsbane. If Ted had his way, the Wolfsbane Potion would be handed out free by the St. Mungo’s Healers each and every month.

“How are you getting on?” asked Isadora halfway through the afternoon.

“Well, I don’t think the laws of Liechtenstein will be of much assistance to us”, said Ted flatly. “But overall the research has brought up a few good ideas.”

“Excellent”, said Isadora. “Because I have arranged a meeting for next Thursday with Rushton Roush, the Head of - I hate saying this title - the Head of the Beast Division within the DRCMC to discuss your research so far, and to talk about where its taking us.”

“Oh. What would I have to do?” asked Ted.

“Turn up and tell us what your research has uncovered and be prepared to fight for any laws you have come across and wish to rewrite to be implemented in this country”, said Isadora.

“Next Thursday?” repeated Ted.

“Yeah. I’ve got the meeting booked in for three, so that’ll give us time to prepare after lunch. That said, I think we should also get together on Tuesday and sort out the basics of what we’re going to say”, she replied.

“Excellent”, grinned Ted as he wrote a reminder down in the diary he kept at his desk. “Anything exciting planned for your weekend?”

“Not much. Well, I’m helping my sister move into a new house”, said Isadora. “She’s just finished studying law at a muggle university, and her new house isn’t far away from her offices.”

“Good for her”, said Ted. He remembered his very first day, when Isadora had explained that her younger sister had been born a squib. Isadora laughed.

“You know, its strange - I’m a witch and she’s a squib, and yet we’ve chosen to go into very similar lines of work. I try to pass as much equalities legislation as the Wizengamot will let through, and she is heading in the direction of Human Rights law”, Isadora told him. Ted grinned, remembering what Ginny had said about how she and Harry adjusted their careers slightly when speaking to muggles.

“How about you? Any plans for the weekend?”

“I usually go to my godfather’s for dinner on a Friday”, said Ted. “Then just spending time with my girlfriend, going to visit my grandmother and I’ve got tickets for the Magpies match on Sunday.”

“Who are they playing this weekend?”

“Appleby Arrows”, replied Ted. “My friend Wes plays for the Magpies - well, he sometimes starts for them and sometimes doesn’t. Its his first season.”

“So he’s your ticket tout”, said Isadora with an understanding nod.

“I couldn’t afford to go every week if I actually had to pay”, said Ted bluntly. His salary covered essentials and the odd luxury, but not season tickets for the Montrose Magpies.

He would probably take Al with him this weekend; he knew both Al and Lily were missing James and Wes had managed to procure a second ticket for him. Ted had still to ask Harry and Ginny’s permission, but he’d wanted to make sure he could get the extra ticket before he invited Al. He also intended to take Lily out for a few hours on Saturday. For so long, Harry had given Ted little treats like this when he was feeling down, and Ted wanted to be able to give something back now he was in a position to do so.

Ted arrived early at Godric’s Hollow that evening for dinner with the Potters.

“I’m here!” he called as he stepped out of the fireplace and dusted himself off. When he was coming here straight from work he always used the floo network, feeling that it was rude to apparate into someone else’s house, however well you knew them, and he didn’t have to go outside when using the floo network.

“Teddy!” Lily’s voice was the first to reach him, and she came running into the sitting room from the kitchen.

“How are you Lily bean?” Ted asked as he hugged her.

“I was helping mummy with dinner”, Lily informed him importantly. “We’re making fish and chips.”

“Homemade fish and chips”, added Ginny wryly from the doorway. “Not the greasy stuff you can buy in muggle restaurants. Come and talk to us in the kitchen, Ted. Harry isn’t back yet and Al is over at his friend’s house for dinner tonight.”

“Sure”, said Ted as he walked back through to the kitchen where Ginny was starting to set things out for dinner.

“What would you like to drink?” Ted paused thoughtfully.

“Would you think less of me if I said that as uncool as it sounds I would really like a peppermint tea?” grinned Ted.

“No”, said Ginny. “In fact, I might think more of you.”

“Well, there’s a lesson right there, then”, replied Ted. He took the tea Ginny offered a minute later.

“Oh before I forget, Vic said to say ‘hi’”, Ted told them. “I got a letter from her this morning.”

“I keep meaning to write to her; I’ll get round to it this weekend”, said Ginny.

“How is she?”

“She sounds overworked but she seems to be having fun as always”, said Ted. He would tell Harry about what she’d said on the subject of James once they were out of Lily’s hearing. Harry and Ginny wouldn’t want her getting ‘ideas’.

“Sixth year is always a nightmare”, confirmed Ginny. “Mine was even worse because I spent most of it - well, it’s an adjustment going from OWLs to NEWT level work. Didn’t you find that?” Ted agreed. They talked a little about Hogwarts to Lily and the sort of things they had learnt to do there until Harry arrived a couple of minutes before dinner was ready.

“Have you heard much from James yourself?” asked Harry as he ate his dinner.

“A bit”, said Ted. “He seems to be making friends and settling in well.” Ginny nodded in agreement.

“He wrote to us the other day to say Quidditch trials are a week on Saturday.”

“Yeah, Vic mentioned that in her letter”, said Ted. He told them it looked like Dom and James would be competing for the same free spot on the team.

“That could get ugly”, commented Ginny. “Dom can be just as competitive as James.”

“I think that’s what worries Vic”, said Ted through a mouthful of fish. “She doesn’t want to get caught in the firing line.”

“James can’t do much harm to her; he hasn’t learnt enough”, said Harry.

“If I was Vic I’d probably hope neither of them got it - save trouble all round”, said Ginny, arranging her knife and fork on her empty plate. “How is Caro?”

“Fine”, shrugged Ted. “I’m meeting her in a few hours, actually.”

“Off to the Leaky, then?” asked Harry. “Its where the young ones in my department seem to go on a Friday night.”

“Young ones?” scoffed Ginny. “You’re hardly ancient.”

“We’re just going to have a quiet night in”, laughed Ted. “Listen to the WWN and catch up, that sort of thing. She’ll probably bring round some of the designs she’ll be working on over the weekend as well.”

“Anything planned for the weekend?” asked Ginny.

“Well, I wanted to ask you about that actually”, said Ted, taking the opportunity. “I was wondering if Miss Lily would like to accompany me to Diagon Alley for ice cream tomorrow.”

“Miss Lily has already arranged to go to her friend’s birthday party tomorrow”, said Harry.

“Next Saturday?” asked Ted. “I took Al out last weekend, and I wanted to take Lily out too.”

“She’s free next Saturday. All we’ve got on that day is Hermione’s birthday dinner - well its her birthday a couple of days before, but……”, Ginny trailed off. She turned to her daughter.

“Would you like to go out for the day with Ted?” Lily nodded excitedly.

“Can we go to the magical menagerie and get some toys for Toffee as well as going for ice cream?” she asked. Ted nodded.

“I also have an extra ticket for the Magpies match on Sunday”, added Ted.

“And I wondered if Al wanted to come.”

“I’m sure he’d love to”, said Harry. “But you know - you don’t have to keep treating them. The expense alone - “ Ted lifted his hand up and reminded Harry of everything he had ever done for him.

“I only used to get to see Al, Lily and James during the holidays. Now that I’m not at Hogwarts I want to spent time with my honorary brothers and sister”, said Ted firmly. "Besides, Wes can get me complimentary tickets."

After pudding - Ginny’s homemade Apple Crumble - she and Lily left to go to the other end of the village and pick Al up from his friend’s house. Ted promised he wouldn’t leave until they returned, and headed to the sitting room with Harry and a Butterbeer each.

“I had a letter from Vic this morning”, said Ted. He told Harry of its contents.

“I knew giving him that cloak was a mistake”, sighed Harry. “But I figured with it being family tradition…..”

“I’m sure your father and mine used it for more mischief than James ever will”, said Ted, trying to reassure him.

“Vic had the right idea anyway”, said Harry. “Threatening him with anything to do with Quidditch was what Ginny and I always did. Smart girl that one.”

“Yeah, she is”, agreed Ted with a grin. He looked at the clock above the fireplace. It was almost seven thirty. Ted wondered what Vic would be doing right now. Perhaps she would be sitting in front of the fireplace, looking forward to the weekend, or returning some books to the library. He knew that her night for prefect duty had changed, so she wouldn’t be doing that……

“Earth to Ted?” said Harry. Ted was brought out of his daydream.

“Sorry”, he apologised bashfully. “I was just thinking about….nothing.”

Although he wanted to leave it until Christmas at least to see how things went with he and Vic apart, he was desperate to speak to someone about his feelings for her - to obtain advice without mentioning her name. To say that he seemed to have acquired a crush or something similar on a girl that was not Caro, and what was he supposed to do about it?

Wes and Rowland were no use and the moment he mentioned even the smallest attraction to another girl they would assume it was Vic anyway. He didn’t feel confident enough to speak to his grandmother, whom he suspected of disliking Caro anyway, and so had plumped for Harry.

The only thing was, whenever Ted tried to broach the subject, he seemed to become tongue-tied and lost his nerve.

Some Gryffindor he was.

So, instead, he chattered away about the weekend Quidditch fixtures, and how it was strange not being at Hogwarts, and other nonsense, not paying attention to what he was saying, thinking solely about Vic, and what in the name of Merlin he was supposed to do with his feelings for her.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; October 22nd, 2011 at 10:40 am.
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  #29  
Old October 28th, 2011, 7:54 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 29



Ted sat nervously outside the door of Rushton Roush's office, everything he and Isadora had discussed a couple of days before running through his head as he recalled everything they wanted to bring up during the meeting.

"It'll be alright", Isadora reassured him. "You've done so much work for this; I can't remember ever going into a meeting so prepared."

"Thanks", said Ted shyly. A glance at the grandfather clock across the corridor told him that their meeting was due to start in five minutes. Isadora had told him that another meeting was due to finish just before their own started, but the silencing charms that were used for high-level meetings in the Ministry meant that Ted could not tell if the meeting was close to completion, or was set to overrun.

"Remember, this isn't a final meeting or presentation, its just to catch him up on where we are so far and anything we've already identified as a law we want to make out of the project", said Isadora. Ted nodded.

A few minutes later, a series of wizards filed out, chattering away, and Rushton Roush beckoned Isadora and Ted into his office.

"Sit down", he said, drawing a pair of chairs over to the other side of his main desk with his wand. Ted could see that the previous meeting had clearly taken place around the massive committee table at the other end of the vast office.

"Now, my notes tell me that you want to discuss the progression of your research into lycanthropy laws abroad, to see if there is any that can be adapted for our own purposes, is that correct?" asked Roush. His elderly eyes pierced through them, and Ted felt instantly that this was a serious person. He hoped that Roush would also prove to be a fair one.

"That's right", said Isadora. "Its actually Ted that has been undertaking the research. Under my supervision, of course."

"Of course", said Roush. "And your findings thus far?"

"Well, as we've said, this is an interim report", said Ted. "There are still vast amounts of information to go through, and as yet I have only been able to looked into laws currently enforced in other European countries. The findings I have made have, however, been encouraging. I think there are some laws that we can adapt for this country, definitely."

"And those are?"

"Firstly, I have come across a scheme used in Switzerland that I think merits further investigation", replied Ted. The Swiss scheme had come closest to what Ted truly wanted, free Wolfsbane each and every month for every werewolf - something he knew he was unlikely to get.

"Under the Swiss scheme, Healers are required by law to give detailed information and support to werewolves once bitten", began Ted. "There is a list of what they have to go through with them." He stood up and placed a piece of parchment in front of Roush.

"All Healers must give out copies of instructions on how to brew Wolfsbane, and one with specialist knowledge of such bites must hold a weekly surgery and clinic for werewolves to monitor their health."

"And how do you think that would work in this country?" asked Roush.

"Well, Ted and I have discussed that and come up with a version of the Swiss model", said Isadora. "Ted?"

"We have come up with a scheme whereby Healers must hand out instructions for Wolfsbane when releasing any newly-bitten werewolf from hospital, and call them back for bi-monthly check-ups to coincide with the period after the full moon."

"Why?" interrupted Roush.

"Because the person to whom a werewolf is most dangerous is themselves, sir", said Ted softly, thinking of the reports he had read about transformations, and how much his father must have suffered.

"You do realise that there remain members of the Wizengamot that think werewolves should be exterminated?" said Roush kindly. Ted nodded, and then continued.

"I also think that the scheme should include a support group for werewolves, to be held either at St Mungo's or in the Ministry - the DRCMC - where werewolves can come along and talk about their condition with their own kind, and the effect it has had on their lives. There should be support for those seeking employment - practical support on how to obtain a job, as well."

"Is there anyone actually trained for something like this?" asked Roush.

"Not professionally", said Isadora. "But if someone with experience was put in the job, then maybe it could work. Someone that has a sympathetic attitude and is willing to be open with these people and help them to be open with each other."

"You'll have a hell of a job finding someone that fits those credentials", said Roush. "Anything else I have to look forward to in the report?"

"There were laws passed about twenty years ago, written by Dolores Umbridge, that essentially force werewolves to live on the edge of society", said Ted. Laws that, according to Harry, had severly hampered his father's attempts to forge as normal a life as possible.

"In France such employment laws regarding the bureaucracy that puts off employers from hiring werewolves have been rescinded, and there has been a reduction in those werewolves sent to Basillon, the French wizarding prison, as a consequence. Simply put, make it easier for werewolves to find work, and fewer of them will be forced to steal and hunt to eat."

They spent a further hour in Roush's office, discussing Ted's findings thus far, and when Ted and Isadora returned to their desks, they felt as if they had begun to accomplish something real.

"Well done", said Isadora, smiling. "You really went for it in there. I was very impressed."

"Thanks", said Ted a little shyly.

"Of course, there's no guarantee that he'll accept any of our ideas in the end, but at least we've shown him that we mean business." Ted grinned as he laid his things down on his desk.

"Oh, and Ted?" He turned round to face Isadora.

"If he does end up endorsing our plan for the support group, and the work with St. Mungo's, I can think of no one more dedicated and qualified than you to take up the position."

"Really?!" he exclaimed. Isadora nodded, muttered she had another meeting to go to, and left Ted to his thoughts. He had to admit, it would be amazing to do it! He imagined himself working out of St. Mungo's a couple of afternoons or days, even, each week - speaking to men and women that had been bitten, their familes; holding support groups to talk things through and help these people find a job. He knew that it was something that might have helped his father.

After the highs of Thursday, Friday passed in a blur, and by the end of the day all Ted could really remember for sure had happened was his now regular lunch meeting with Rowland and Marigold (now his semi-official girlfriend) - and sometimes Matt as well - in the Ministry cafeteria.

By the time Saturday came around, Ted was exhausted, and groaned when his alarm went off at ten thirty. He was due in Godric's Hollow at eleven to pick up Lily. He had promised to take her shopping in Diagon Alley, followed by ice cream; the same as he had done for Al a couple of weeks before. Half past ten....he grinned at the realisation that hundreds of miles away, the Gryffindor Quidditch trials were in progress. Either way, he expected news from Vic and/or James by the close of the weekend.

Ted quickly showered, shaved, and grabbed some toast before flooing to Harry's house. As he tumbled out of the fireplace, he could hear Al complaining that he wasn't going as well.

"....always left out", he could hear him grumble.

"Al, you know that isn't true", said Harry's patient voice. "And remember, you went to Quidditch with Ted last weekend - and Diagon Alley the weekend before. Lily didn't do those things."

"Whatever." Al stormed into the sitting room, wandered past Ted without saying a word, and continued up the stairs, at which point Ted heard a loud bang.

"I see I'm popular, then", said Ted, walking into the dining room where he found everyone else.

"Don't even ask", said Ginny, raising her hands. "Listen, I really have to go - the Saturday match starts at twelve, and I need to be there for the pre-match." She hugged Lily goodbye and told her to behave, kissed Harry, shouted up to Al that she was leaving, and then disapparated.

"You about ready, then?" Ted asked Lily. She nodded.

"Do you have your money bag?" Harry asked Lily. She shook her head.

"And a cloak in case it gets cold?" added Ted. Lily shook her head again.

"Well, go and brush your teeth, fetch your money bag and cloak, and then you and Ted can get going", Harry told her. Lily skipped off, leaving Ted with Harry.

"I need Lily back at three at the latest", Harry reminded him.

"I know", grinned Ted. "You told me yesterday."

"Did I? So I did", said Harry. He shook his head. "Al's been a bit of a nightmare the past couple of days, moping about and everything."

"He misses James", said Ted immediately. "He just won't admit to it."

"Yeah, that sounds about right", agreed Harry. "How are you?"

"Not bad", said Ted. "Listen - when I bring Lily back, could I talk to you about something? Privately?" Harry nodded.

"Yeah, that sounds fine", he agreed. "Nothing wrong, is there?" Ted shook his head.

"Just....silly stuff", said Ted shyly. They were prevented from talking further by Lily's reappearance.

"Have fun, and behave for Ted. Do everything he tells you to, alright?" Lily nodded and hugged her father tightly.

They flooed into the Leaky, where they were fussed over by Hannah and had a Butterbeer and pumpkin juice before heading to the shops. It was a busy day, and Ted held Lily's hand tightly, the small redhead skipping along beside him.

"We'll do our shopping first, and then go for lunch and ice cream", said Ted. Lily nodded.

"Can we go to the Magical Menagerie to get biscuits for Toffee?" she asked.

"Of course we can", said Ted and started off in the direction of the wizarding pet shop. "What kind of biscuits does Toffee like, then?"

"Gingernut ones", replied Lily. "Al was naughty this morning. He wanted to come with us, too."

"Al misses James", said Ted flatly. "But I don't think he'd ever admit it."

"That's silly", said Lily. "I always say when I'm missing James."

"Lily, I'm going to let you into a secret that will change your life forever", said Ted, bending down to whisper in her ear. "Boys can be silly sometimes." Lily laughed.

"I already knew that, Teddy", she said, sounding older than her eight years. "Mummy told me."

They picked up the biscuits for Toffee, and Ted bought some owl treats, before making a quick stop in Flourish and Blotts where Lily wanted the latest book in the adventure series she followed. It soon became apparent that Harry had meant what he'd said before about Ted spending his money on Al and Lily; as had been the case then he'd taken Al out, Lily seemed to have "saved up" a lot more pocket money than was normal for a child that age. Lily eventually admitted that her mother had given her money for her shopping so that Ted didn't have to pay for everything.

"Don't tell mummy I said!" implored Lily as they left the book shop.

"I won't", laughed Ted. He glanced at his watch. "Now.....we just have time to pop into Uncle George's shop, and then go for some lunch and ice cream." Lily cheered as they entered the wizarding joke shop. Ted immediately spotted George over in the far corner, talking to one of the staff assistants.

"Ted! Lily!" George called them over as soon as he caught Ted's eye. He took a grinning Lily over to see her uncle.

"Did you have a good day out with Teddy, then?" asked Ginny as she took Lily's cloak from her. She nodded.

"We had chicken, leek and ham pie for lunch, and then lots of ice cream", said Lily. "I liked the sundae Teddy had better, though. I want that one next time. It had lots of chocolate on it."

"That's surprising", said Harry. "Ted eating chocolate - its unheard of."

"Don't be silly, daddy", said Lily. "You know that chocolate is Teddy's favourite."

"That's you told", Ginny said to Harry once they'd all finished laughing.

"Can we go again another Saturday?" asked Lily excitedly. Ted nodded.

"If you're allowed to", he told her. "In a few weeks?"

"Now, why don't you go upstairs with mummy and start getting ready for going out, hmm?" said Harry, ruffling Lily's head as he shared a glance with Ginny. Lily started to walk out of the room with her mother before turning round at the door and thanking Ted for taking her.

"See you soon, Lily bean", grinned Ted as they left.

"So, you wanted to talk to me about something", said Harry. "Why don't we go for a walk in the garden?" Ted nodded. They stepped outside the back door, and onto the grass. Although mid-September, it was still warm enough that it felt autumn was being kept at bay, and the sun was fighting hard against the encroaching clouds.

"Its....silly really", said Ted, gazing at the tree at the back of the garden he now viewed as his and Vic's.

"It can't be that silly, otherwise you wouldn't want to talk about it", reasoned Harry.

"True", said Ted distantly. "Its just that recently I've started to feel.....something......for a girl that isn't Caro." He knew he had to tread as carefully as possible; he dreaded letting slip a vital piece of information that would let Harry know he was talking about Vic. He wasn't quite ready to have that conversation just yet.

"I know its stupid and its probably nothing, but nevertheless, its there", sighed Ted. "And the strangest part of it is that the past few weeks Caro and I have been getting on better than we ever have - since we got back together after the Quidditch final. I mean, its probably just nothing - a crush, right?"

"I guess", shrugged Harry. "I have to be honest, Ted - this really isn't my area of expertise. Other than Ginny I've been on one date - a date that ended with her storming out of Madam Puddifoot's and everyone staring at us. I suppose there was the Yule Ball, but the girl I went with spent the night dancing with one of Fleur's friends from Beauxbatons. I got lucky that Ginny was normal and actually liked me." Ted laughed.

"What?" said Harry, sounding affronted.

"Its just - the number of people that have told me how heroic you are, and how you've saved the world, yet you're worse with relationships than a teenager", said Ted.

"I suppose when you put it like that", said Harry. "I have to say Charlie has the right idea - dragons are far less complicated. Anyway, as far as your problem is concerned, do you know much about this girl? Does she feel the same way about you?"

"We've had....moments", said Ted. Actually I kissed her a few feet away from where we're standing.

"So she isn't seeing anyone, then?" asked Harry.

"Actually she is", said Ted. "Which makes it a little more complicated." Though I wouldn't be sorry if she left him for me. If I'm honest, there's something unidentifiable about him that annoys me.

"How did you meet?"

"We have some....friends in common", said Ted, stretching the truth. That friend would be you, and the rest of her family.

"Do I know her?"

"Probably not." Actually, she's your niece.

"Hmmm", said Harry. "To be perfectly honest, you'd probably be better off speaking to Ginny about this."

"Oh", said Ted softly. He couldn't quite imagine himself doing that. Ginny would see through him far quicker than Harry would and within five minutes she'd have him admitting it was Vic and that he'd actually already kissed her.

"Well", said Harry hastily. "Listen, if you'll take my advice, you'll forget about this other girl. You are both in relationships, and who knows what could be going on in hers? If you have been getting on well with Caro and are happy with her, should you be risking that for someone that may not even feel the same way?"

"So you think its just a crush, then?" said Ted.

"I do", said Harry, sounding more like someone trying to be confident in what he was saying than someone who was.

"You're right", said Ted. "You're absolutely right. Now, I think we should go back inside. I want to say hi to Al, and you should probably start getting ready for dinner at Ron and Hermione's."

"Ted - if anything does happen, anything else to do with this, you can come and talk to me about it. You do know that, don't you?" said Harry as they walked in the door.

"Of course", said Ted, knowing full well that the conversation had been a disaster, and that he was no further forward because he couldn't bring himself to tell Harry the truth. He hadn't got the advice he wanted because he hadn't told Harry the real circumstances. He'd received an answer to a made-up problem.

And later that day as Ted sat curled up on the sofa in his flat, his arms wrapped around Caro as they listened to her favourite band on the WWN, he couldn't help but think that regardless of whether or not his feelings were for Vic or any other girl in the world, he should not be thinking such things while he was with Caro, and should put them out of his head.

The only problem was, this was Vic. And should and could were not the same thing. He should push how he felt from his mind, but he knew that he could not and would not do so, leaving him stuck in as much of a mess as he had been before.

That same Saturday, Vic was unable to sleep late, and was woken early by a nervous Dom coming into her dormitory and shaking her awake.

"Vic? Vic?" hissed Dom.

"Humph", mumbled Vic, turning back over to her left side and attempting to return to her dream. Having inherited the Weasley stubbornness, Dom did not give up and started to shake Victoire.

"What?!" Vic moaned. "What's wrong?"

"Its tryouts this morning", said Dom's voice. "You said you would come and watch me."

"I did? I did", said Vic, still a little disorientated. She rubbed her eyes and then opened them to see Dom standing next to her bed, already dressed in her Quidditch things; Nat was in the background, and seemed to have already progressed to dressing and brushing her teeth.

"What's the time?" asked Vic, yawning.

"Almost nine", said Dom. "Well, it starts at ten, and I need to be down at the pitch in plenty of time."

"Why don't you go down to breakfast and Vic and I will follow you?" suggested Nat. Dom left, and Vic murmured that she would just have another five minutes sleep......

"No", said Nat flatly. "You promised Dom, and you know as well as I do that if you go back to sleep then you won't wake up again until after the tryouts have finished."

"Spoil sport", muttered Vic as she threw off the duvet and stretched out.

She knew, though, that she should go. Aside from the fact that she'd promised Dom, her cousin was also trying out, and Felicia wanted everyone to take part in the trials, including the current team, and so Evan and Louis would also be competing for the six team spots alongside Felicia.

In spite of Vic's insistence that Nat was a spoil sport, a little over half an hour later the two girls were sitting in the Quidditch stands, along with at least three quarters of Gryffindor and quite a few students from other Houses, awaiting the start of the trials. Both had received owls that morning, and were passing the time left until the tryouts started by reading their letters. While Nat read her most recent letters from her mother and boyfriend, a slightly conflicted Vic read the one she had received from Ted.

Vic,

You'll probably get this on Saturday - good luck for watching the trials. I'm glad I don't have to watch Dom and James go up against each other. If James doesn't get in, do me a favour and remind him that his mother didn't join the team until fourth year and she still made it professionally.

I do get how hard it can be in sixth year. You probably went into it the same way that I did, thinking that because you're doing fewer subjects that you'll have less homework, but somehow it works out the opposite. Just hang in there - you are smart enough to pull off doing seven NEWTs!

Wes and Rowland both say 'hi'. Wes is starting to get into the Magpies team more, and Ginny says that he's doing quite well. She knows more about Quidditch than I do, so I'm going to take her word for it! Did I tell you about Rowland and that Obliviator he has started seeing? Her name is Marigold, and she's a few years older, but she seems to see something in him in any case!

She seems pretty sound, and I have lunch with them most days, and sometimes with Matt as well. I told him about what you told me Ava had said, and you were right as always! Hem dumped her as soon as he started at St. Mungo's. He told her that he wanted to concentrate on his Healer training. As far as she is concerned, I have to say that it couldn't happen to a better person, being ditched like that!

I'm taking Lily shopping in Diagon Alley on Saturday, and then going to see Grams for dinner on Sunday. Wes will probably pop in after his match as well.

Its strange to see him so focused on something; almost as if he decided to grow up overnight. Caro's coming over after I've taken Lily out as well. We won't be that late - they're all going over to Ron and Hermione's for dinner on Saturday to celebrate Hermione's birthday.

Work has been busy - at the moment I'm working on research for what will hopefully turn into some new laws, and part of it might include setting up more support for newly-bitten werewolves, and a support group, working out of the DRCMC or St. Mungo's, probably St. Mungo's, along with the Healers. Isadora said today that if it all worked out she would recommend me for it! It would be along with what I'm doing at the moment and not instead of, and I really, really hope it works out. It would make me feel more like I'm actually doing something. I'm beginning to understand how Hermione worked here for so long.

I better stop off here. Its really late, and I have to be up early for work tomorrow. Looks like Wes isn't the only one becoming sensible in old age!

Write back soon.

As always its strange writing to you, and not speaking practically every day.

Missing you,

Ted


Vic smiled softly as she read the last couple of lines. She really missed Ted as well, and wasn't quite sure when she would get used to him not being at Hogwarts. If she ever did. That said, she was finding it easier to put the feelings she was unsure of out of her head with Ted so far away. It was easier for her to maintain to herself that Ted would only ever be her best friend when she didn't see him every day.

"Ted have any news?" asked Nat, interrupting her thoughts.

"Not much", shrugged Vic. "Rowland has a new girlfriend. Marigold. Apparently they work in the same department. How about you? Did Dylan or your mother have much to say?"

"My mother was going on about the book she's reading, the choir she's joined and the life drawing class she's doing at the moment. Dylan says he misses me, and he's working really hard at school. He wants to be a Sports Psychologist, and he needs really good grades to get into that", said Nat.

When they'd first come back after the holidays and Nat had received what looked like an extremely thick letter from her mother, she'd explained to Vic that as she could not tell Dylan to give the school owls she used any letters he wanted to send to her, she'd told him to pass them to her mother in a sealed envelope so that only one package would be sent onto her at school. She'd also told Vic she'd had to tell some little white lies about how they couldn't use muggle technology to keep in touch, telling him that her school was very old fashioned, and concentrated on the academic rather than technological side of things. She'd also talked about some Skype thing that Dylan had wanted to use to keep in touch, but Vic hadn't understood much of it, in spite of her good OWL grade in Muggle Studies.

Vic looked round, and saw that none of her dorm-mates other than Nat had come down.

"Ted says we were right about Hem and Ava", she whispered to Nat, and told her what Ted had found out from Matt. Nat shook her head and laughed.

"If she hadn't said anything it wouldn't be a big deal. I mean, it doesn't bother me either way anyway, but she doesn't have to be the way she is", said Nat.

Their conversation soon came to a halt as those wanting to try out for the team were gathered together on the pitch and split into the positions they wished to try for. Not many had turned up to compete for the open Keeper position - Evan's friend Mark had been the reserve Keeper last year, and she could only see another two Gryffindors looking to oust him. Again, there were few competing for Beater. Louis had done well last year, in Vic's biased opinion, though Rowland had left and so there would be at least one new player in that position. Most of the prospective players seemed to be trying out for Chaser; two of the Chasers from last year's team had returned - Evan and Eddie.

Vic watched as Felicia tested out their flying ability first of all, and then sent about half of the flyers to the stands. She was pleased to see that Dom, Louis, Evan and James all made this cut. Louis's Quidditch mad friend Archie Bagman had not. As Vic and Nat were joined by Eddie's girlfriend Persephone, bearing gifts of buttery toast and a flask full of hot cocoa, Felicia was splitting the remaining flyers into teams for some test games. Evan and Dom were paired in the same team, and Vic waved at them both as they took off from the ground.

"You came down early", said Persephone.

"Dom woke me up", replied Vic. "I thought you would be early too." Persephone shook her head.

"I knew it wouldn't get down to the good stuff until now", said Persephone.

"Quidditch has never really been my thing, so I try to balance being a supportive friend and girlfriend with maintaining my sanity." Vic laughed.

"I know the feeling", she agreed.

Vic was no expert when it came to Quidditch, but as far as she could see the battle for Chaser was fast becoming a four-way race. Evan, Eddie, Dom and James scored the most goals by far in their test games, which each took about ten minutes. This was precisely the situation Vic had dreaded. She suspected that Evan and Eddie's experience would see them through if it came down to it, leaving only one free spot on the team.

"That's it now, isn't it?" said Nat when the game Louis had been playing in finished.

"I think so", said Vic as Felicia gathered all of the trialists in the centre of the Quidditch pitch. Vic sucked in a deep breath. Felicia had not used the 'Sonorus' charm, and so she could not tell exactly what was being said. After a moment or so, some of the trialists stepped to the side.

"There's Mark", said Persephone. "And your brother. Oh - I don't know who the next one is. Do you?" Vic and Nat shook their heads.

"And Evan, Eddie - yes! I thought they would both get back into the team!" Persephone continued. Vic forced herself to continue looking down at the group, and watched as Dom became the final member of the new Gryffindor team.

"Look! Dom made the team", squealed Nat, clapping. Vic joined in, but as much as she was extremely proud of Vic, she also felt for James.

"Let's go down and meet them", suggested Persephone as she stood up, and brushed some toast crumbs from her skirt. "By the time we get down, Felicia should have finished talking to them."

The three girls walked down the stairs to the tunnel the players came out of when matches were played, and then onto the pitch. They were not the only ones. Vic saw Genie McLaggen and a couple of other fifth years as well; the other Beater must be in the year below her, Vic assumed. Now they were close to the team, she recognised him from the common room, but could not recall his name. As for Genie, Vic did not even look at her; though they were both prefects Vic had not even spoken to the girl since term had started. She was still angry about what had happened in Flourish and Blotts.

Felicia was telling the team about what she expected from them. Vic was surprised to see James and a couple of other people remaining. Why were there so many of them there? She started to listen more closely to what Felicia was saying.

"Well, we'll have our first practice session on Thursday at eight", she told them. "And I'll go into more detail then about some of the ideas I have for this year's team, and some of the training and match strategies I want to try out. I expect all of the reserves to be at each and every practice session as well. If any of the first team is injured, then you'll need to fit into the system we have without any issues." That at least explained James's continued presence to Vic; her cousin had obviously been chosen as a reserve.

"See you all later", she said. "And congratulations!"

The group around Felicia broke up, and Vic found herself following Persephone to where the seventh years remained on the pitch, shouting to Dom, Louis and James that they had done really well and that she would catch up with them later.

"Well done", she told Evan after a congratulatory kiss.

"Thanks", he said, grinning. "It was pretty tough today. I have to admit, I was a little sceptical about your cousin. I thought he might be all talk, but he has amazing potential."

"Well, you know more about Quidditch than I do", laughed Vic. "I just hope he isn't too disappointed."

"He shouldn't be", said Felicia, interrupting them. "He and your sister were evenly matched, but I went with her because of her age. She's a bit older and he's small and skinny; Dominique will find it easier to fight any physical battles on the pitch with other Chasers trying to snatch the ball from her. Given he hasn't even had a Flying lesson with Professor Davies, James did amazingly well. Raw talent. A year as reserve and coming to training every week, and next year he could very well be the best Chaser on any of the teams. Evan, are you coming up to the library in a bit? We have that Potions project to work on, remember?"

"Yeah, I'd forgotten about that", said Evan. "Meet you in the library in an hour?"

"Half an hour. We really need to get a move on - its due in a week or so. I also have my Divination study group at four, and I need to fit in lunch somewhere as well", said Felicia, starting to walk off the pitch.

"Half an hour, then", agreed Evan.

"Potions project?" asked Vic.

"Yeah, Winstanton paired us up and gave us all a group of potions in class the other day - Felicia and I got concealment ones - and she asked us to spend the next couple of weeks brewing the potions and writing reports on their positives and negatives, and properties and things like that", he replied.

"In a way I got really lucky - Felicia is probably top of the year when it comes to Potions. "

"I was hoping we could spend some time together today", said a disappointed Vic, who had finally got on top of her homework (by spending the whole of the past week studying and working until almost midnight) and the outstanding work she had was in various states of completion, though the earliest any of it was due in was Tuesday.

"Tonight", he promised. "Now, I better go and have a quick shower and grab my Potions stuff." He kissed her, and then ran off in the same direction Felicia had gone, leaving Vic standing in the middle of the Quidditch pitch with Nat, Persephone, Eddie and Mark. They spoke about nothing of importance for the next twenty minutes or so, until Nat said to Vic they should really get a move on and return to the Tower.

"Its freezing out here", said Nat as she and Vic returned to the school. "Even wrapped up, and with warming charms. We should go to the library and get a move on with that Herbology essay we have due in on Tuesday."

They picked up their Herbology notes and books from Gryffindor Tower - stopping only in the common room for Vic to do as Ted had asked and remind James of when his mother had joined the team - and then headed to the library, talking vaguely of the essay subject they'd been given, and how Professor Longbottom always gave them such practical homework, learning about plants that would actually be of use to them when they left school.

Although it was Saturday and not far into the school year the library was quite busy, and it took Vic and Nat a couple of minutes to find a table. She saw Evan and Felicia laughing at a table nearby.

"Wish I enjoyed studying that much", grumbled Nat. Vic waved at them; Evan caught her eye and waved back, grinning widely at her. Felicia waved a quill in front of his eyes though, and his attention was re-directed to the Potions project he was working on.

"How far have you got in your essay?" asked Nat. "All I've done is the introduction."

"About halfway through", said Vic. "I got some done the other day when you were at that Care of Magical Creatures thing."

As hard as she tried, Vic found it difficult to concentrate. She glanced at her watch. Ted and Lily would be in Diagon Alley right now; Vic wondered which shops they would go into other than her Uncle George's, and if they would stop at the Leaky.

"Vic? Earth to Vic?" sid Nat.

"Hmm?" said Vic, turning her head.

"Are you alright? I've just spent the past minute and a half trying to get your attention."

"Sorry", said Vic sheepishly. "I'm just a little....distracted." Nat laughed.

"You'll be able to see him later."

"Huh?"

"Evan. He and Felicia won't be working on their project all day", elaborated Nat.

"Oh. Yeah", said Vic. She did not correct Nat's assumption that it was Evan she was thinking about. After all, that was the way it was supposed to be. And Nat was right, she and Evan would spend time together later. Time that would enable Vic to banish inappropriate thoughts about Ted from her mind.

"I think I'm just going to reply to my letter before I get started on my homework", said Vic. "I want to know more about Rowland's girlfriend, and Ted will probably want to know about James."

"I'm sure James will tell Ted himself", muttered Nat, not looking up from her work.

"Yeah", said Vic softly, and yet she still reached for some spare parchment and began to write to Ted. Conflicted and confused, Vic found that it was easier to be with Evan, and to remind herself that she did truly feel something for him so far removed from Ted. But she could not leave her best friend out of her thoughts.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; October 28th, 2011 at 9:04 pm.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:13 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 30



A tired and dishevelled Vic used her elbow to brush her hair out of her eyes, wishing that she had tied it up in a tighter knot for this particular Herbology class. They were dealing with Piffle Plants, which stank in spite of the perfumery charms that she had cast, and which fought valiantly against being planted, preferring to lay askew on the ground, as close to the earth as possible.

"I'm glad this is the last class of the day", said Vic. "I'm going to go and have a bath when we're finished here. A long, hot one. With lots of bubbles." Nat snorted.

"How are we getting on, girls?" asked Professor Longbottom, passing them. He inspected their work.

"Good, good", he said, smiling. "Just make sure that you enclose them tightly in the manure - as tightly as possible - to prevent their escape."

"How can he stand the smell of these things?!" Nat exclaimed once their teacher was out of earshot.

"I suppose he's immune to it by now", shrugged Vic. "I hope that owl order Quidditch stuff I ordered for Evan's birthday comes tomorrow morning; its his birthday on Friday, and if it hasn't arrived then I won't have anything to give him."

"I'm sure it will", Nat assured her. She sighed.

"What's wrong?" asked Vic.

"I'm tired. I didn't sleep that well last night", said Nat. "I kept waking up and thinking I'd forgotten something."

"Someone's birthday? An anniversary? A piece of homework?" suggested Vic as she tightened her grip on another Piffle Plant and started to force it into its new pot.

"No....my parents both have birthdays in the Spring, and Dylan's is in December. Anniversary - its my parents' wedding anniversary on Monday!" she exclaimed. "How could I have forgotten?"

"How many years?" asked Vic.

"Twenty", said Nat. "Damn. How am I supposed to get them anything in time?!"

"We'll think of something", said Vic. "If it comes to it, I could owl Ted and ask him to pick something up in muggle London for you and send it on. Or you could make something."

"Yeah", said Nat.

"If you just finish the Piffle Plant you are potting just now, that's us just about out of time for today", said Professor Longbottom. "For our next class on Friday, I would a foot of parchment on the uses of Piffle Plants in improving the environment, or in Healing potions. The choice is up to you. Next lesson we will be moving on to look at Aconite, so I would like you to do some background reading in the library before class. Again, I will leave it to you to decide what chapter of which book you read."

"I like how he gives us a choice like that", said Nat as she and Vic left the greenhouse and headed back to the school. "It kind of makes you feel like you're in charge of your own learning a bit, doesn't it? And it means that if there's something you're particularly interested in, then you can do a lot more reading on it."

"Yeah", agreed Vic tiredly. She was already thinking ahead, of her bath.

"Vic!" Dom shouted at her from behind. As Vic turned round she saw her sister running towards her.

"Hey", said Dom. "You just have Herbology?" Vic nodded.

"I just had Care of Magical Creatures", Dom added. She shivvered as she told them of the Fire Crabs they had been studying in that lesson. Listening to Dom, Vic was relieved that she had chosen not to take that particular class.

"Can I talk to you for a minute?" she asked, biting her lip.

"Oh. Sure", said Vic awkwardly.

"I'm going to go to the library and pick up some books for our Herbology homework. We should really get it done tonight", said Nat. Vic smiled in thanks and started to walk off towards the black lake with Dom, wondering what her sister needed to talk to her about that she couldn't discuss in front of Nat.

"You're going to think I'm worrying over nothing", Dom began. "Its just that I have Quidditch training tomorrow night. The first training session. And I'm just worried that.....that I won't be good enough."

"I might not be Aunt Ginny, but I know enough about Quidditch to see that you were amazing at the trials", said Vic. "You, Evan, Eddie and James stood out from everyone else."

"Its just that after the way I fought with Louis about trying to get into the team....I guess I don't want to embarrass him or anything", said Dom in a small voice.

"You won't", said Vic confidently. "And you get on well with Felicia, don't you?" Dom nodded.

"You'll be fine", Vic reassured her. "Once you've finished training tomorrow night you'll wonder what you were so worried about."

"I guess", said Dom, not sounding her usual confident self.

In spite of Dom's nerves, she returned from training the following evening full of excitement for the next session, telling Vic all about it as her sister wrapped Evan's birthday present. The following evening, the night of his birthday, they snuck away from his friends a little after eight, and headed up to the Astronomy Tower.

"I actually miss studying Astronomy", said Vic wistfully as she gazed out of the tower, up towards the sky.

"Why didn't you continue with it then?" asked Evan, taking her hands in his.

"Eight NEWTs would have been a bit much", grinned Vic. "Even Aunt Hermione didn't......"

"I've always thought it was beautiful up here at night", she added.

"Personally I prefer looking at you to looking up at the sky", said Evan, drawing her closer to him and into a kiss. He found her lips instantly, and her heart gathered pace, beating quickly. His lips were so sweet and soft, and she never tired of kissing him.

After what felt like an hour or two to Vic, they parted, desperate for breath.

"I'm sure I've told you this a thousand times before, but you're amazing", said Evan, smiling at her. A true smile, one of those that reached his eyes.

"In that case, we can make it a thousand and one", grinned Vic. She allowed Evan to take her hand again and move over to the rug he had brought up with them so that they would not have to sit on the cold, stone floor. They sat down, leaning back on their elbows and turned to face one another.

"Well, I think its been a perfect birthday", said Evan. "Apart from the going to classes thing during the day! But you've made up for that tonight."

"Its been a tame birthday, I think", said Vic. "Quiet. No big party in the common room with firewhiskey and cakes someone has snuck out of the kitchen."

"We'll have one of those parties when we beat Slytherin in the first game of the season at the start of November", Evan assured her. "Nah, I figured I have my whole life to have birthday parties like that...might as well have my last quiet celebration with everyone here, rather than spend it getting drunk and not being able to remember it." Vic laughed.

"I suppose Ted must have felt like this last year....almost constant nostalgia; doing so many things and thinking its the last time you would do that at Hogwarts", said Evan wistfully. "This place has got to me more than I thought it would when I was eleven. Are you still undecided about what you want to do when you leave?"

"Yeah", nodded Vic. "Are you still feeling that way as well?" Evan nodded.

"My parents are great, though, not pushing me towards anything", he said. "I think it would be great if you could spend time after Hogwarts trying out lots of jobs and then trying to figure out which fits you best."

"That's an interesting idea", said Vic, thinking it might be something that would help her.

"Now", she said. "It is your birthday............"

"It is", Evan confirmed, grinning back at her.

"And I would not be a dutiful girlfriend if I let you go back to the common room looking like you'd just been for a walk by yourself."

"Oh? And how should I go back to the common room looking, then?" Evan asked.

"Like you've been thoroughly snogged", laughed Vic, her face lighting up with the fun and laughter inside her as she grabbed the collar of Evan's shirt and pulled him in towards her. She wrapped her hand around the back of his neck as she brought her lips to his, and then ran her hand through the back of his hair, listening to the sweet sounds of contentment it brought to him.

"We should get going", Evan said a while later. Once Vic had left Evan - or rather his lips - alone, they had cuddled together on the rug, and muttered rubbish to each other as they lay gazing up at the stars. The Astronomy Tower was, in Vic's opinion, one of the most beautiful places in the castle, in spite of what had happened there all those years ago.

"What's the time?" asked Vic, yawning.

"Not far off eleven", said Evan, showing her his watch. "There'll be a class coming in here soon."

"I still think that's barbaric", said Vic, thinking back to her third year when it had been her class that had come up here on Friday nights. "Having classes on Friday nights........"

Evan gathered up the rug he had brought, and they climbed down the stairs and started to head in the direction of Gryffindor Tower. One advantage of being in that House was the proximity to the Astronomy Tower; she'd have had a good walk on her hands if she'd been sorted into Slytherin or Hufflepuff. Vic felt a cold draught blow through her at the thought of being a Slytherin.

They met a couple of the ghosts, but were not disturbed by them. They also managed to avoid Filch's cat. The previous one, Mrs. Bennet, had died mid-way through the Autumn term of Vic's fifth year and been replaced by Mrs. Elton. When they reached the corridor along from the fat lady's portrait, Evan stopped, turning to face Vic.

"What?" she asked, wondering if there was something wrong. He just smiled a slightly crooked smile at her.

"What?" Vic repeated.

"Sometimes I can't quite believe that you agreed to go out with me", Evan said candidly, dropping the rug and taking both of her hands in his.

"Well, we all have moments of temporary insanity", joked Vic.

"Touche. I just want you to know how wonderful I think you are, Vic. You are the most amazing person I have ever met in my life. You're smart, funny and the most beautiful girl I have ever seen."

"Stop", she said shyly.

"No", he said, shaking his head. "I just wanted to say.......and don't say anything yourself, you don't need to.......I just wanted to say that I think I might be falling in love with you."

"Oh", said Vic softly. This she had not anticipated.

"Like I said, don't say anything", said Evan. "Just....think on it. And as soon as I know for sure, you'll be the first to know."

Evan let go of one of her hands, bent down to pick up the rug, and started moving in the direction of Gryffindor Tower, taking a dumfounded Vic with him. She had felt herself that their relationship was progressing recently, that they were becoming closer and closer. But in love? She had never been in love before. She knew what it was to be attracted to someone, to have a crush....but love? She felt a lot for him, but did it reach that far?

And then, there was the complication of Ted. Her best friend and the feelings she had for him that she was pushing away.

"Dumbledore", Evan said to the fat lady, once they arrived at her portrait. She nodded, and moved to allow them entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

"Hey guys", called Evan, walking over to his friends, a wide grin on his face. Vic followed him, forcing a blue-haired boy she should not be thinking of at this moment from her mind.

The blue-haired boy was, however, finding it very difficult to banish Vic from his mind. He had forced himself to stop making comparisons between her and Caro - something that he felt was due, in part, to the fact that he and Vic were separated by her return to Hogwarts and were not regularly in each other's company. At least at work, forced to concentrate on what he was doing, Ted could force the Vic issue out of his mind for eight hours a day.

Fridays were not usually busy in the DRCMC, with the approaching weekend in the air depriving even the most dedicated of workers of their motivation and work ethic. On this particular Friday, though, there was a sense of chaos and hurry in the air as everyone tried to pull together the details of their pet prospective laws in preparation for the annual official opening of the Wizengamot on October 3rd, the anniversary of the first meeting of the wizarding court. At this, the Chief Warlock would detail some of the laws due to come before the court in the ensuing months. Each department was tasked with providing a number of laws for the opening, and everyone was working hard to ensure that all of the necessary information and documentation was ready in time. The research that Ted had been doing was set aside for the moment, and was in any case not far enough advanced to be put before the court. He was instead helping to write the outline for laws concerning vampires with Albie, Pandora and Willa.

"What about the clauses regarding self-defence against a vampire?" asked Pandora as they pored over a seven foot long piece of parchment a little after seven on Friday evening. "Did we remember to include those?"

"Yeah, we did. Look - here and here", said Albie, pointing at two lines of script.

"And the bit about magical travel restrictions?" asked Ted, referring to the addition to the law that would require any wizard using magical transportation - including apparition - accompanied by a vampire to report it first to the DRCMC.

"Seventeenth paragraph", confirmed Albie.

"And we're done", said Willa, smiling. "I'll just take it to Isadora, and get it signed off as drafted and we will be free to go." She rubbed her neck. They had been working extra hours all week, and it was starting to show. The rest of them yawned as Willa took the parchment over to the other side of the room where Isadora and some of the other section heads were gathered, poring over sheaves of parchment.

"Whoever did that first, don't do it again", said Pandora, coming out of her yawn. "Its contagious."

"It was him", said Albie and Ted simultaneously, each pointing at the other. Pandora laughed as Willa rejoined them.

"Well, that's us free to go now", Willa confirmed. "Actually - anyone else fancy a quick Butterbeer or firewhiskey or two at the Leaky before heading home?" The rest of them quickly agreed and, pleased that after only a couple of months he seemed to be accepted within the department, Ted said he would join them too. Knowing he would be working late, he had refused invitations to dinner with Harry, and with his grandmother, not sure how late he would be eating.

They picked up their cloaks and headed down to the Atrium and the floo connections which would take them straight to the Leaky. As it was Friday night, it was starting to get a little busier, and the waitresses serving food were run off their feet.

"Let's get that table over there", said Pandora, pointing to one in the corner. As she led the way over, Albie muttered that he would get the first round of drinks and went to the bar. Ted went sat down on the furthest away seat which faced out towards the bar and allowed him to see everything that was going on, and the two girls sat down on either side of him.

"Albie will be forever, look at that lot", said Pandora, pointing at the queue at the bar. She turned to Ted.

"Do you come here much?" she asked him. "Now that you live in Diagon Alley."

"Every so often", he said, nodding. "I used to floo home from here at the end of the school term when I was at Hogwarts."

"Oh? Why?" asked Willa. "If you don't mind me asking, that is!" Ted grinned.

"My godfather and his wife and kids always used to come and meet me off the train, and they live in the West Country, so it was easier. And then after second year Vic started, and her family live in Cornwall, so......"

"Vic's your friend that is still at Hogwarts, is that right?" asked Willa. Ted nodded and explained that Vic was his godfather's niece and the two families were very close.

"Did you know that the woman who owns this place is Professor Longbottom's wife?" asked Pandora. "We were shocked when we started coming here and found out. I don't think she looks like a school teacher's wife."

"Yeah, I did know", said Ted. "I was in Gryffindor, and Ne - Professor Longbottom was my Head of House. Besides, he knew my parents a little." He felt that he should at least maintain some level of respect for Neville, and he hated showing off by mentioning how well he knew certain people.

"Hannah's really nice", Ted added. He was saved from further conversation on the matter by the arrival of Albie and the drinks he had bought at the bar, a Butterbeer and shot of firewhiskey each. He sat down, shuffling his chair closer to Pandora, his girlfriend, Ted had recently learnt, of almost a year. The two had met through the DRCMC, having been in different Houses at Hogwarts and not shared the same group of friends.

"Cheers! Here's to a hard week and a well-earned drink!" said a smiling Albie as he raised his glass of firewhiskey.

"Cheers", said the rest of them, raising their glasses as well, before all four of them downed their drinks in one go. Ted could feel the burn of the magical liquid slipping down his throat.

"So, does anyone have any exciting plans for the weekend?" asked Willa.

"Albie and I have two days of blissful nothing planned", said Pandora. "You?"

"We're still trying to get the house in order, and since both of us are useless at household spells it isn't really progressing too far. And its my mother-in-law's birthday on Sunday, so we're going over to my sister-in-law's house for dinner", said Willa. "I didn't realise marriage would rob me of my weekends." She laughed to show that she didn't really mean what she said.

"How about you, Ted?" asked Albie.

"Nothing much", shrugged Ted. "Quidditch tomorrow, and then dinner at my godfather's on Sunday. Tomorrow should be a good day out. Wes managed to wangle four tickets, so Rowland and I are taking Caro and Rowland's new girlfriend."

"And I'm sure they'll find Quidditch a very romantic date", grinned Willa.

"With Wes playing on the team, we get pretty good tickets", admitted Ted. "Its strange to see one of my mates playing professional Quidditch when only a few months ago I was watching him in the final for Gryffindor." He did not mention that they were VIP tickets and that he regularly mingled with celebrities at these games - something that had been a factor in Caro agreeing to go.

"So, have you settled in alright with us at the DRCMC?" asked Albie. "The fresh Hogwarts meat we got last year lasted about three months before she decided that she would rather work in a magical junk shop."

"Interesting change of direction", said Ted. "Yeah, I'm liking it, and I think I'll stay."

"Good", said Pandora. She yawned. "I have to stop doing that. Oh, did anyone hear about that new band that are playing here next weekend? The Demented something or other."

"The Demented Dementors?" said Ted.

"Yeah, that's them", said Pandora.

"I've seen them in Hogsmeade a couple of times. Good band. I might come along and see them, then", he said. They had now finished their Butterbeers, and Ted was about to offer to go and get another round when Hannah, helping out by clearing away glasses and catching up with customers, came over to their table.

"Teddy! How are you?" she asked, beaming at him. "Did you and Lily get all your shopping last weekend?"

"Yeah, we got everything", Ted assured her. "I'm doing fine, just out for a couple of drinks after a busy day at work. How are you?"

"Same as always, same as always", she said. "And Neville tells me that James made reserve Chaser at the trials? Harry and Ginny will be so proud! I remember seeing them both play at school - of course I was in a different House, but everyone was desperate to see Gryffindor beat Slytherin for the Championship! I think James wants to play professionally like his mother, though it'll have to be for a different team."

"Yeah, I think that's what he wants to long term", agreed Ted. He could feel the back of his neck redden as he caught glimpses of the looks Albie, Pandora and Willa were sharing.

"I'll have to tell Neville that I've seen you", said Hannah. "Now, are you wanting the same drinks again? Four Butterbeers and the same of firewhiskey?" Ted nodded. "I'll fetch it so you don't have to wait in the queue - "

"You really don't have to - "Ted began, but Hannah raised a hand to stop him before he could go any further.

"Its funny", said Albie as Hannah bustled off towards the bar. "The only Ginny I can remember playing professional Quidditch in the past twenty years or so is Ginny Potter. Coincidentally - "

"Alright, alright", groaned Ted. "What is it you want to know?"

"How exactly do you know Harry Potter and his wife?" asked Willa. She looked very impressed.

"Our fathers were part of the same group of friends at Hogwarts", said Ted, shrugging. "His father, mine, and my grandmother's cousin Sirius. Harry and my father knew each other before and during the war."

"And he kept in touch with you after your father died?" Willa asked. Ted hesitated, and then realised they were going to find out sooner or later. Besides, Hannah may well say something anyway when she returned with their drinks.

"Please do not go around telling everyone - in fact I'd rather it stayed within the four of us", began Ted. "But, well - he's my godfather."

"The Harry Potter is your godfather", said Albie in awe. Ted groaned loudly. Hannah returned with their drinks, and Ted paid her for them, adding his galleons firmly to her tray when she tried to give them to him free of charge.

"Please don't be like that", pleaded Ted. "Harry hates it, and I do too. To me, he was just my godfather. I didn't ask for a famous one. It just sort of happened. And like I said, I would really appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone. I don't like people thinking they can get to Harry through me, and I don't use him to get ahead." They seemed to have accepted what he had said, because the conversation soon changed back to music, and Albie and Pandora talked about a gig they had been to in Hogsmeade the week before.

Ted stayed at the Leaky until about half past nine, when he left the other three and returned to his flat, where he made himself some toast in front of the fire. As he sat muching away, Ted cringed at the thought of what Albie, Pandora and Willa could be saying about him in the pub. They would have found out at some point or other, he reasoned, and it was better that it happened in a pub and not in work. Or in front of Harry. And as he caught sight of an old picture of him with Vic, Dom and Louis (which Caro only tolerated because he and Vic were not side-by-side or alone) Ted felt profoundly grateful that his job and his new friends had helped him forget, for a few hours at least, a girl that was fast becoming unforgettable.

Ted slept late the next morning, and only his alarm going off at ten-thirty roused him. As he yawned and stretched, he mused that the extra work he had been putting in had obviously tired him mentally. The Saturday Quidditch matches started early, around twelve, and Ted had arranged that he and Caro would meet Rowland and Marigold at the stadium a little after eleven thirty.

After a quick shower and breakfast, Caro arrived and they flooed to the stadium.

It was busy outside, with the Magpies and Wasps supporters starting to gather. Ted took Caro's hand and started to make his way through to the side entrance to the stadium used by match and team officials and guests of the players. When they had made it up to the area where the VIPs were seated, a quick look around the room told Ted that Rowland had not yet arrived.

"Ted...is that who I think it is?" Caro whispered as she pointed at a slim redhead wearing sunglasses, sat alone and sour faced in the corner. "Is that really the lead singer of Punk Porlocks?" Ted nodded.

"Yeah, I think it is."

"Wow", gasped Caro. Ted smiled. She had always been excited by the idea of celebrity; perhaps it was being the godson of Harry Potter that made Ted feel the opposite. When it came down to it, people like Tatya Rowelle were just like everyone else deep down. It was just that their pictures made it into the Prophet, and not merely Aunt Ethel's photograph album.

"Rowland and I usually sit over here", Ted took Caro over to a set of chairs that he knew had countless cushioning charms placed on them.

"This is heavenly", Caro murmured as she sunk into one of the chairs, and lay her head back on the rest. "You need to bring me more often." Ted laughed.

"If I'd known that converting you to Quidditch was so easy I would have done it ages ago!"

"Can I get you anything to drink?" A waitress had come over to take their order.

"I'll have a Butterbeer, please", said Ted. "Caro, would you like a Gillywater as usual?"

"Yes, that's fine for now. No olive." She turned to face Ted, and took his hand. "What is Rowland's girlfriend like? I know you told me her name, but I've forgotten it - Metrolyn, or something, wasn't it?"

"Marigold."

"Huh. That's funny. I knew a Marigold once. Awful, bossy girl. Thought she was Merlin's gift. The daughter of one of my father's friends. Friends, hah! His clients, more like." Ted just nodded. Whenever Caro belittled her father - which was on a regular basis - he had to bite his tongue and stop himself from reminding her that she was lucky to have one.

The waitress returned.

"One Butterbeer and one Gillywater." She laid the drinks down on the table between Caro and Ted's seats.

"This has an olive in it", said Caro petulantly. "I asked for it without. How hard can it be to remember a couple of drinks?!" She spoke loudly enough that a few people turned and looked at them, much to Ted's mortification. He felt for the poor waitress as she apologised profusely and went to get a replacement. This was made worse by the fact that Rowland and Marigold turned up at their seats just as the waitress had turned to walk away.

"Thought you'd be sitting here." Rowland attempted to sound cheerful, but Ted could feel the day already starting to worsen as he noticed the daggers in Caro's eyes at the sight of Marigold.

"Mari, this is Ted's girlfriend - "

"Caro and I have already met", Marigold informed him in cool tones. He vaguely recalled the first time he'd met Marigold; she had mentioned at the time that she had once known a Caro. Just like Caro had said only a few minutes before that she'd once known a Marigold.

"One Gillywater." The waitress had returned, and she took Rowland and Marigold's order.

"Just double check what she brings back", said Caro cattily. "She managed to get mine wrong."

"I'm sure it'll be fine." Marigold took the seat furthest away from Caro.

Things did not improve during the match as every attempt Ted and Rowland made at conversation faltered. In the end, both were forced to speak only to their own girlfriends, to make sure that Caro and Marigold didn't feel completely abandoned. Ted hoped that they would be able to sort out their differences at some point; Rowland was one of his best friends and that wasn't going to change just because their girlfriends found it hard to spend time in shared company.

The Magpies squeezed a victory even though the Wasps Seeker had caught the snitch, due in part to the six goals Wes had contributed to the game.

"Let's go down and meet Wes", Ted suggested, taking Caro's hand. As they walked out of the VIP area and down to where the changing rooms were, he groaned inwardly at the look of superiority on her face. It never boded well.

"Ginny!" Ted called her name as he caught sight of a flash of red hair. She turned and smiled at him.

"How are you? Come over here!" They walked over to where the press had gathered.

"How are you?" Ginny repeated after making sure that none of the players were about to start leaving.

"Good. Busy at work, but enjoying my weekend."

"Nice to see you again, Caro. You too Rowland."

"Hey Ginny. Oh, this is my girlfriend Marigold. Mari, this is Ginny Potter. She writes for the Prophet."

"Nice to meet you", stuttered Mari. "I'm a bit of a Harpies fan."

"Good. Us girls must stick together." Ginny grinned at her. "Listen, I better start pushing my way to the front; try and get a few interviews. Ted, remember you're coming over for dinner tomorrow. And come in plently of time - Lily wants to draw you."

"Me?"

"She has to draw a picture of someone she looks up to for school, and she would like to draw one of you."

"Oh. Yeah, I'll be there early. See you tomorrow, Ginny." He couldn't help but feel proud that of everyone she could have chosen, Lily had picked him.

She snuck through gaps to the front of press area just as the players began to exit the changing rooms, starting with the Wasps Seeker.

"I have a migraine coming on", Caro announced. "Ted, I want to leave now."

"Can't you wait a couple of minutes? Wes won't be that long."

"No, I need a pain potion now." She was insistent.

"We should go then." He turned to Rowland. "Could you apologise to Wes for us and let him know that I'll floo him to sort out meeting up one night during the week?" Rowland nodded.

"It was nice to see you again Marigold. Catch you later, Rowland." Caro remained silent, and did not speak again until they had flooed back to Ted's flat.

"Ted, get me a pain potion. I'm going to lie down." Ted went into the bathroom and opened the cabinet he kept his pain and hangover potions in. He removed a vial of the former and took it through to Caro.

"Here you are." She sat up and downed it in one go, the same as he had with his firewhiskey the night before. He sat down on the bed.

"Urgh. Thank you. I'm going to need to sleep it off."

"Okay." Ted stood up and started to leave the room, magically darkening it for her.

"I can't believe Rowland is going out with that girl. Besides, she has to be what - a good four years older than him? Can't she find someone her own age?"

"I don't think age necessarily matters as long as you mesh as people."

"Thinking of your precious Victoire, are you?" Caro spat.

"Actually, I was thinking of my mother, who was more than ten years younger than my father. You need to get some rest. Give me a shout when you wake up again and I'll make us some peppermint tea." He stepped out of the dark bedroom and into the light of the sitting room, sighing. Caro was always impossible when one of her migraines took hold. She would be alright after a long sleep and another pain potion or two.

He switched the WWN on and cast a charm to ensure it did not disturb Caro. He was looking for the latest Quidditch Quarterly when he was distracted by a tap at the window; Ted recognised the owl as Vic's Hibou. Grinning, he let Hibou in, and removed the letter the owl had brought him. Finally, something was starting to go right today.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; November 6th, 2011 at 2:30 pm.
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Old November 11th, 2011, 11:37 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 31



Vic was unsure if it was her workload or something else that was causing time to speed by so quickly, but before she knew it she was waking up one Saturday to the realisation that she had been back at school for six weeks. She yawned as she thought of her visit to Hogsmeade that morning. She and Nat had plans to go to the Broomsticks and Honeydukes, and to see if Gladrags had their usual autumn sale. Evan, like the rest of the Quidditch team, would be staying behind for an all-day practice as part of their preparation for the Slytherin match due to take place three weeks from today.

Vic picked up her washbag from the cabinet beside her bed and wandered into the bathroom where she brushed her teeth and splashed water in her face. Today was the first full day she had given herself off from schoolwork since the beginning of term and she was determined to enjoy it. And with Dylan at his muggle school and Evan at Quidditch practice it would give Vic the opportunity to spend some quality time with Nat.

"This is a first", Nat informed Vic through a yawn as she re-entered the dormitory.

"What?"

"You being first up. I think we may have to record this in our diaries, calendars, the Daily Prophet........."

"Ha!" Vic threw a pillow at her friend and laughed.

"Whoever that is, keep the noise down", came a muffled voice from the other side of the room that Vic identified as that of Kara Towler. Rolling her eyes, Vic started to choose an outfit for the day, deciding that the chill the weather had taken over the last few days would necessitate a wool-based approach.

Once she and Nat were dressed and had located their scarves and gloves - and Vic a chic little black beret that she thought made her look very French - they headed down to breakfast with their woolens in their handbags.

"Do you need to go to Scrivenshaft's at all?" Nat asked Vic. She shook her head.

"I ran out of quills, ink and parchment about a fortnight ago so I owled Ted a couple of galleons and asked him to pick me up some in Diagon Alley. Its partly his fault I was running so low anyway - all the letters I write to him and the family. Do you need to go?"

"I could do with some more supplies. I figure we should hit Honeydukes first before it gets too busy then go to Gladrags and Scrivenshaft's. After that we can hopefully get into the Broomsticks early enough to bag a table by the fire."

"Sounds good to me", agreed Vic as they entered the great hall for breakfast. She quickly glanced down the Gryffindor table and identified Evan and his friends, sitting about half way down.

"Morning." She kissed Evan's cheek and then sat down next to him, taking some toast and a banana.

"Do you need anything from Hogsmeade?" Vic asked Evan. "I don't mind; Dom and Louis already asked me to get them a few things from Honeydukes."

"Nah, I'm fine." He waved his hand indifferently. "There'll be another chance to go into the village in a few weeks and I'm not that desperate for chocolate that I can't wait."

"Then you've got more willpower than I do." Vic's addiction to chocolate was as old as her friendship with Ted. "I wish you were coming with us."

"Me too. But I also want the team to win the title in my last year."

"Exactly", put in Felicia, who sat opposite them wolfing down bananas."You're not the only one giving up a day in Hogsmeade. I would have liked to have spent the day in the Broomsticks with Stephen, but being Quidditch Captain means making sacrifices." Out of what had seemed to Vic like nowhere, Felicia had started a relationship with Stephen Walters, one of the seventh year Gryffindor prefects. Stephen now whispered something in Felicia's ear that elicited a giggle.

"What are you doing today Persephone?" asked Vic.

"Oh, I'm not going to Hogsmeade", she said, shaking her head. "I have three essays due for Monday and another two for Tuesday, plus an ongoing project that I'm behind on. So....I shall be spending the day in a quiet corner of the library."

"Yuk."

"Yuk."

As everyone around her spoke, Vic glanced up at the ceiling to see if Hibou had any letters to bring her; she was expecting one from Ted, and quite often received one on a Saturday from one or other of the family. Her owl was nowhere to be seen, however, and Vic's attention was in any case grabbed by the impending exit of the Quidditch players, which was signalled by Felicia standing up and giving Stephen a swift goodbye kiss.

Vic almost choked on a piece of toast in her rush to finish it before she kissed Evan goodbye, and avoided looking at Nat for a couple of minutes after, as she knew it would force her into fits of giggles. The great hall was quickly filling up now, as all of the students going into Hogsmeade started to filter in, excited about the day's shopping. Only those in third year or above were permitted to enter the village, and so Vic quickly ran over to the Ravenclaw table, where her cousins Lucy and Molly were eating breakfast with their friends.

"Would you like me to get you anything from Hogsmeade?" Molly shook her head.

"Could you get me some Toothflossing Stringmints at Honeydukes?" asked Lucy hopefully. "I really like them. I have a few sickles in my trunk to pay for it."

"Don't worry. It'll be on me", Vic assured her. "Assuming they have some left, of course. Everything alright?" Lucy nodded, smiling happily.

"I got 104% on a Potions test we had this week", she told her elder cousin proudly.

"Sounds like I'm going to have to work harder in Potions then!" laughed Vic.

"I'll try and get those mints for you, Lucy. Do you two have anything planned for today?"

"I have an Astronomy essay to do for Monday", said Molly.

"I'm going to explore the grounds with my friends", Lucy told her.

"Stay out of the Forbidden Forest", Vic reminded her as she moved away.

"See you at dinner!" Ever since that afternoon in September when Vic had come across a homesick Lucy crying in the library, she'd checked in with her cousin every couple of days, making sure that she was enjoying herself. It seemed to Vic that Lucy had finally adjusted to being at Hogwarts.

As Vic walked down to the village with Nat, the sun started to come out and confuse her as to what season it was supposed to be. After all, the leaves had yet to descend from the trees, and they remained green, delaying the transition to the orangey-red colour that Nat liked. The two girls quickly completed their shopping, and found themselves amongst the first arriving at the Three Broomsticks.

"Ahhh, this is the life", sighed Nat as she and Vic laid down their shopping bags and warmed their hands on the open fire place as a couple of Butterbeers steamed on the table between them.

"Definitely. You don't think its too early to start my Christmas shopping?" Vic bit her lip nervously.

"For me - yes. I can count the presents I have to buy on my fingers. For you - no. You have more cousins than I have fingers."

"No I don't. I have nine cousins, so unless you lost some fingers carrying those shopping bags........"

"Well, it feels like you have more cousins than I have fingers, and it amounts to the same thing", Nat protested. "My point is, you have that many Christmas presents to buy, I'm surprised you didn't start two months ago."

"I do have a lot of relations", conceded Vic. "Its Evan and Ted I'm stuck on, though. Boys are so much harder to buy for. Especially when they get older. James and the rest of them will be happy with some sweets and something from the Quidditch shop."

"Definitely", agreed Nat. "I have no clue whatsoever what to get Dylan for Christmas. I already have your present in mind; my father is happy enough with socks and a book; my mother likes something magical."

"So Chocolate Frogs are off the list for Dylan, then?" laughed Vic. "Seriously, though. There must be some kind of muggle equivalent of what I get Evan?"

"Football stuff, I guess", shrugged Nat. "I'll see. Maybe I'll get lucky, and he'll start hinting in his letters that he wants something in particular."

"Maybe." Vic was more than unsure what to get both Evan and Ted - she couldn't even begin to get ideas, never mind start to rule things out. She had bought the former some Quidditch things for his birthday, and so wanted to get something more personal for Christmas, and with Ted she wasn't sure what was special enough. Usually she had figured out by now what to get him, but perhaps the time they were spending apart was affecting Vic, because this year she had no idea.

Vic must have been looking downcast, as the next thing she knew, Nat was reassuring her that she would be able to spend the rest of her weekend with Evan.

"I wish", said Vic, before gulping down a mouthful of Butterbeer. "He told me yesterday that Winstanton was so pleased with the way things went with those projects she'd assigned that there would be another one. He has a project on Healing potions to do for next Thursday. And between Quidditch and her other commitments and study groups, the best time to work on it for Felicia is tomorrow."

"Why?"

"There's Quidditch practice on Monday night, Duelling Club on Tuesday night, and they'll need Wednesday night after Quidditch practice to make sure everything is completed."

"They really need that much Quidditch practice?"

"The first match is in three weeks and its against Slytherin. Quidditch isn't my favourite thing in the world, but I do NOT want us to lose to them!" Vic exclaimed. Nat just laughed. Being muggle-born she did not have the same inherent anti-Slytherin attitude as Vic and many of the other Gryffindors.

"Besides, from what Evan has said, Felicia is interested in playing professionally, and it would help her case if she won the Championship as captain in her final year."

"How is Dom enjoying being part of the team?"

"She seems to be enjoying it; and she and Louis haven't been arguing much since we got back to school, which is a bonus. The summer holidays were awful until dad sorted them out."

"Oh, that's my drink finished. I'll go and get us another couple. You want to order lunch yet?"

Vic and Nat remained by the fire in the Three Broomsticks for the remainder of the afternoon, returning to the castle a little after four laden with their purchases. Vic had more to carry than Nat, having been given shopping requests by Lucy, Dom and Louis and used the visit to start her Christmas shopping. Both girls had also been easily tempted into splashing out in the current Gladrags sale.

As they entered the front door, they spotted Dom and Felicia talking away in the entrance hall.

"Dom!" Vic called her sister's name and waved when she turned her head.

"I've got your shopping." Vic smiled at Felicia, who sighed heavily, muttered to Dom that they would finish their conversation later, and walked off without so much as a 'hello'.

"Sorry. Did I just interrupt something important?"

"We were talking about Quidditch stuff", shrugged Dom. "Like she said, we can finish the conversation later. I know Felicia wanted to get upstairs and have a long soak anyway. She worked us all pretty hard today." They started to head upstairs towards Gryffindor Tower.

"Was the village busy?"

"No more than usual", shrugged Nat.

"I got the stuff Louis asked for as well", said Vic. "Is he still down at the stadium? I know that awful friend of his usually likes to fly for a bit after practice."

"You shouldn't be so mean, Vic", teased Nat. "The boy really likes you."

"Archie Bagman needs to learn at some point that I am not interested. I also never have been, and never will be", said Vic sweetly.

"Louis went to the hospital wing." Dom had started rifling through a Honeydukes bag Vic had given to her.

"What?! Is he alright? What happened?" Images of a severly injured Louis ran through her head, but were soon checked by the realisation that if their brother's injuries had been severe Dom would not be nonchalently walking along the corridor with them, trying to decide which bar of chocolate to eat first.

"Calm down. Louis is fine. No, its that new Beater, Curtis Kirkwood - didn't get out of the way of a bludger the reserve sent at him quickly enough. Louis took him to get patched up. They play quite well together, him and Louis. Get on off the pitch as well. I didn't know Curtis really before this year - I don't know that Louis did either actually - but he seems a nice guy. Rotten taste in friends, though."

"Hmm." Vic recalled the day of the Quidditch trials, and thought she knew where Dom's mind was heading.

"Phoenix", said Nat as they reached the fat lady's portrait. As the three girls entered the common room, Vic quickly noticed a group of seventh years gathered in the corner - including Evan. She grinned widely and ran over to where he sat, her shopping bags bumping against her legs.

On Wednesday evening, Ted stumbled out of the fireplace at Godric's Hollow for dinner with the Potters. It was already halfway through October, and a glance out the sitting room window as he shook off the dust from the fire told him that the nights were starting to draw in.

He was halfway through shouting out 'hello' when three redheaded children ran past at full speed, almost knocking him over.

"Hi, Teddy!" he heard one of them, Lily, shriek back at him. Ted shook his head, laughing, and moved through to the kitchen where he found Harry and Ginny with Ron and Hermione. Something clicked in Ted's head as he recalled Harry mentioning the other day that they would be over for dinner as well.

"They're trying to catch Al", Ginny explained as she handed him a Butterbeer. "He's the oldest so he gets to be the one that's chased."

"I think I used to use that argument with Vic, Dom and Louis, actually", said Ted, thinking back to when he'd been younger and Harry had taken him over to Shell Cottage.

"Yeah, and the twins used it with Ron and I", added Ginny. "How are you Ted? Anything life altering happen since we saw you last?" Ted grinned.

"Not that I can think of. I am glad its almost the weekend, though; I've been working pretty hard the past few weeks."

"I've always found it hectic around this time of year as well", agreed Hermione. "Are you still enjoying the DRCMC, Ted? I loved it there."

"Definitely."

"I spoke to Rushton Roush the other day; he told me about the project you and Isadora Cavendish are working on."

"I didn't know you knew Roush?" said Ted. Hermioned nodded.

"A very sweet man; his wife was killed in the first war. Excessive use of the Cruciatus curse, and then - well - he is married to his work now, I think. I worked with him when I was trying to get the Promotion of Elfish Welfare bill through the Wizengamot. He told me about what you're hoping to do. He likes to warn the more, shall I say liberal, members of the court when there might be something controversial coming. I hear you want to reverse those awful laws Dolores passed."

"Yep. My ultimate goal - which I probably won't reach in the near future - is to get a law passed that would make it obligatory for Healers or Apothecaries to hand out free Wolfsbane to werewolves every full moon."

"Wow", Hermione gasped. "Well, if it ever reaches the Wizengamot you will have at least one vote in favour."

"Thank you."

"Sometimes I think I could have done more to help house-elves", she said thoughtfully.

"Hermione, you have done so much", Ginny assured her. "Dobby would be very proud of you. Wouldn't he?" She looked round at the assembled company, who all nodded.

"You could almost even say you've done too much", said Ron. "I mean - "

"Too much?" said Hermione tersely.

"Well - "

"Dinner's almost ready, why don't we go into the dining room?" said Harry.

"Hermione, do you want to call the kids?" Harry turned to Ted.

"Like I've taken a time-turner back twenty years every time they have that argument", he mumbled. Ted just grinned, and then offered to help Ginny take the vegetables through. Early on in his relationship with Caro, Ted had sought Harry's advice about the many arguments they seemed to have. Harry had replied that Ron and Hermione had argued almost every day for seven years and still did sometimes, and yet they were one of the happiest couples he knew.

"Teddy, I passed my spelling test today", Lily told him proudly. "We have one every Wednesday, and Miss Fitzgerald said that I got all of my answers right!"

"Well done, Lily bean. How is school for all of you?"

"I'm doing a project on Australia!" shouted Hugo.

"I want to leave muggle school and go to Hogwarts", muttered Al.

"I wish I could go to my muggle school and learn everything there and go to Hogwarts", said Rosie. "I really like everything I'm doing at school. We've even started learning some French!"

"You'll have a head start, you can ask Auntie Fleur anything", Ted told Rosie.

"And it will be less than a year now and you and Al will be going to Hogwarts. Hugo, I don't know much about Australia, but I'm sure that you'll do very well on it."

"Why doesn't your girlfriend come for dinner as well, Teddy?" asked Rosie, a piece of cauliflower just hanging onto her fork.

"She has dinner at her own house, or with her family", said Ted. "She shares a flat with two of her friends, and they all like to cook together."

"Oh."

During pudding - a delicious Blueberry Crumble - the conversation turned to Quidditch, and Al asked Ted if he could take him to a Magpies game again soon.

"Yeah, we'll get something fixed up soon", Ted promised him. "I need to double check with Wes when he can get me an extra ticket, and when they have a home game."

"It must be exciting to be friends with a famous Quidditch player", said Rosie.

"Are we not exciting enough for you, Rosie sweetheart?" asked her father, his eyes full of laughter.

"Of course you are", she assured him, before turning back to Ted. "I'm not very interested in Quidditch, but daddy played at Hogwarts with Auntie Ginny and Uncle Harry. And Auntie Angelina and Uncle George."

"James is going to play Quidditch", said Lily. "Properly. Like mummy did."

"If he's good enough", said Ginny. "Eat up before your pudding goes cold, Lily - I know you don't like to have to eat food that's had too many warming charms put on it."

As Ted ate his own pudding, he thought over his last visit to a Quidditch match, when the Magpies had played Wimbourne Wasps, and decided that he was probably better off taking Al to a match than Caro. At least Al was only interested in the Quidditch, and would talk to anyone that spoke to him.

An eleven year old was far more low-maintenence than Caro. Ted hadn't gone to their last home game, which had been against the Harpies; he had been to too many Harpies games with Harry when he had been growing up and Ginny had played for them to be able to cheer for another team against them - even if that team did include one of his best friends.

By the time they had finished eating and talked their way through tea afterwards, Ted realised that it had suddenly reached half past eight.

"I better get going. Wes and Rowland are coming over at nine." He stood up to leave.

"We'll see you on Friday night?" Harry asked him. Ted nodded.

"Oh Ted I forgot - mum asked me to find out if you and Andromeda could make Sunday dinner this weekend."

"I'll ask her tomorrow night", he promised Ginny. Ted doubted his grandmother would turn down the invitation; she and Grandma Molly had always got on very well together, and Ted knew she felt like through her and Grandpa Arthur, he had a surrogate set of grandparents.

At home, Ted quickly checked his cupboards and made sure that he had enough crisps and Butterbeer in for Wes and Rowland. It had been ages since the three of them had been able to get together and catch up properly. Ted saw Rowland in the Ministry cafeteria virtually every day, and they saw Wes after Quidditch matches, but they had not really had a chance to just chill out and have a proper conversation, all three of them, since they had left Hogwarts.

They arrived early, leaving Ted relieved that he had noticed the time when he had, and returned from Godric's Hollow in time.

"Cheers", Ted raised his Butterbeer bottle once he had handed others to Wes and Rowland.

"Cheers!"

"Ah", Ted savoured the first gulp of his drink.

"No Caro tonight, then?" asked Wes. Ted shook his head.

"I thought it would be cool for us to hang out without the girls for once."

"That and the fact that every time I've seen Caro in the past couple of weeks she's managed to get in at least a dozen digs at Mari each time", put in Rowland.

"Mate, I've apologised so many times, I really don't know what it is with those two", said Ted, cringing. Personally, he thought Marigold was a lovely girl, and just what Rowland needed.

"Its not your fault", Rowland reassured him. "Mari says that too. She thinks you're amazing. Minus your taste in girls."

"Everyone has a flaw", shrugged a laughing Ted. "I've told Caro that you're one of my best friends, and Mari comes as part of the package deal. She knows I'm not going to start ignoring you just because she and Mari had some vague bust-up years ago."

"You're lucky you're single", Rowland told Wes. He laughed strangely.

"Actually......I'm not", he admitted.

"Spill", said Ted, aware that he sounded like a fourteen year old girl.

"I've been sort of seeing someone for a few weeks. We agreed we wouldn't tell anyone, but......"

"Who is she? Do we know her?" asked Rowland.

"Sort of. I met her through work."

"Work?" laughed Ted. "So she plays Quidditch or works for the Magpies backroom staff - are you seeing a Quidditch player?!" Wes joined in the laughter.

"Tedward, given that your godfather is married to an ex-professional - "

"DON'T call me Tedward......it still isn't funny."

"But I think it is too", said Rowland devilishly.

"Definitely", said Wes. "Katya does too."

"Katya?" said Ted. "The girl you're sort of seeing is Katya Markova?" Wes nodded, smiling. Katya Markova was a Russian Keeper that the Magpies had signed the summer before Wes joined the team, and although she was only twenty she was on the fringes of her national team. She was also one of the Quidditch pin-ups for teenaged boys. Ted knew that more than one poster of her hung in the dormitories of Hogwarts.

"Wow. I'm acually impressed", said Rowland. "She's pretty, smart and an amazing Quidditch player. What does she want with you?"

"Women remain a mystery to me", said Wes. "I actually have no idea what she sees in me. She finds my English ways amusing, though."

"I'm still going to ask George if he's sold you any love potions recently", Ted told him. "So when do we get to meet her?"

"I don't know. Its up to her, I guess", Wes was starting to squirm.

"We're the only people you've both told, aren't we?" said Ted astutely. Wes nodded.

"I'll see if she wants to, though. I could bring her over some time, I guess. When she's ready. And speaking of gorgeous women, how is Victoire?"

"She's fine", Ted told him. "Working hard. She writes a couple, sometimes three times a week to complain about her workload, moan about trying to keep James in order and get everything she wants done in the hours she has every day. She says she's really liking Duelling Club as well."

"How's the boyfriend?" Wes asked. Ted hoped neither he nor Rowland had picked up on the smile Ted had felt grow across his face as they mentioned Vic.

"Fine, I guess", Ted shrugged. "She doesn't really mention him much."

"Yeah, because she's secretly in love with you and is trying to make you jealous by going out with him", said Rowland, a tone of superiority in his voice.

"If she's only seeing Evan to make me jealous, why doesn't she ever mention him? Well, hardly ever?" Ted asked, raising an eyebrow. Looked like Wes was not the only one of the three to whom women remained a mystery. Merlin, with the way Caro could be sometimes, Ted had to admit that all three of them were clueless.

"Oh."

"Yeah, oh." As much as Ted wished that Vic could be secretly attracted to him as much as he was to her, he was doubtful that was the case.

Unfortunately.

"Anyone want another Butterbeer?" They had all finished their drinks, and so Ted summoned some more from the kitchen, turning the subject to their plans for Christmas and New Year. They didn't ask his; Ted's plans for the festive season had been the same since they'd first met him at Hogwarts. The three boys spent the rest of the night talking about the past and the future, and it felt a little surreal to Ted that only a few months ago they had been talking about the exact same thing in the Gryffindor Common Room. A lot had happened in the past four months.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; November 12th, 2011 at 9:20 am.
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Old November 18th, 2011, 8:58 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 32



"What in the name of Merlin.........."

"What have you found now?" Ted asked his grandmother.

"I think its your first broom. The one Harry gave you for your first birthday."

"Oh, yeah." Ted walked over to where his grandmother stood on the other side of the attic, holding up Harry's first birthday present. When Ted had been older, Harry had explained that his own godfather had given him a toy broomstick for his first birthday, and he had decided to carry on the tradition. Starting out young had not helped though; Ted's lack of co-ordination had been as obvious in the air as it was on the ground.

"It was very amusing watching you try to fly on this", she said, her eyes sparkling at the memory. "Is this a keep or a not keep?"

"Keep. For sentimental value if nothing else." After weeks of it casually being mentioned when he came over to dinner, Ted had finally agreed to spend a free Saturday helping his grandmother clear out the attic. It had soon emerged that this had not been done in much detail since before he had been born. There were countless boxes that were piled in a corner that were covered in dust, and others Ted recognised as being those he had stored there before moving out. When Ted had moved out, they had located a group of boxes containing his father's belongings, and he had a suspicion that this was probably when his grandmother had started thinking about clearing out the attic as a whole.

"Teddy, if we keep everything then this place will remain the mess its been for more than twenty years. No, we have to get rid of some things."

"I picked out a bunch of things to get rid of", he pointed to a corner full of bags for his grandmother to take to the charity shop in Diagon Alley.

"Those clothes were too small for you, and I could tell that part of you still wanted to keep them."

"Fair point." He took the toy broomstick, and laid it in the part of the attic they had set aside for things that would be kept. "I will, however, make sure that you're kept to the same standards when we get to anything you have stored up here."

"Teddy, I don't have much up here. Its all your things, and - everyone else that's ever lived here. Listen, we've been at this for more than an hour now. You keep going and I'll go downstairs and make us a nice cup of that peppermint tea you've got me addicted to."

"Okay."

Ted could have hit himself for saying that; he should have remembered. His grandmother had walked out of her own home with only a few pictures, her wand and the clothes she stood in. Everything in the house was born from the life she'd had with his grandfather and was in the main part of the house; his grandfather's old things and most of his parents' belongings were stored in the attic, along with anything he had outgrown. Ted knew that he should say something when she returned, but his grandmother had never really been one to talk about how she felt too much. Most of the time she talked round it rather than about it.

Instead, he moved back to where he had been working with renewed vigour. He opened a box that was marked 'Leave it! Do not throw out!' with a grin. Whomever had written this certainly had his sense of humour. Inside was a pile of pictures - muggle and magical - of his mother as a child; some old bracelets that seemed to change colour; hand-drawn pictures of magical creatures and a small family; a well-worn copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and some muggle fairytale books.

Ted crossed his legs and started to rifle through the box in more detail, making a conscious decision to claim its contents. He touched the bracelets and lifted them out; there were half a dozen of them, and although they had changed colour when Ted had first touched them, they did not now. He was looking at them closely, thinking that she would one day have worn them - perhaps she had done so when out one night with his father - when a voice interrupted him.

"She loved those", his grandmother almost whispered as she handed Ted his cup of tea. "They were a Christmas present from your grandfather when she was about fourteen, maybe fifteen. He found them in what was ostensibly a junk shop. It isn't there anymore; the owners were killed in the second war."

"Oh. I - I just opened it. I didn't know what was inside. Do you.....do you mind if I keep it?" Ted asked in a small voice.

"Of course. After all, all of this will be your own to keep one day. Now, let's look at these pictures." She took them from him and started going through them.

"Ah, this was when your grandfather's family came to stay....we had to use a muggle camera for that.....and this was Christmas, and then your mother's birthday party.......this is your mother with Sirius - he came to stay for a few days the summer after he'd left home, poor lamb. The boy was happier than I'd ever seen him, and he used to play silly games with your mother. We shared a guilt, Sirius and I - I that I had not been able to save Cissa and Sirius that he had not been able to save poor Reg. I was Sirius's favourite."

"And why wouldn't you be?" Ted asked pointedly. There were few members of his grandmother's family that he liked the sound of, and having been taken to Grimmauld Place by Harry - who still checked in on the house every few months - he thought his grandmother was much better off without people like Walburga Black in her life. His grandmother just smiled softly and starting flicking through the old muggle fairytales, which she said his grandfather had insisted on buying and reading to his mother, replicating his own, muggle upbringing.

"I'm sure it was more by default than anything else. I was the only one of the cousins that he could be himself around. Anyway, these pictures....there's one of your mother in her Hogwarts uniform taken before she went off to school for the first time.....and another when she came home that Christmas." They looked through all the pictures, until Andromeda pointed out that they wouldn't finish the job in a month of Sundays if they didn't get a move on.

"I thought you gave me all of dad's stuff when I moved out?" Ted called across the attic when he found a box full of notepads, diaries and old books. The first one he had pulled out, a book on werewolves, had his father's name written on the inside of the front cover.

"No, not all of it. I think there were some more. Harry helped me box everything up, so I don't know for certain how many there were. Have you found another?"

"Yeah. Its mainly full of books. I'd like to keep it."

"We are supposed to be clearing out the attic, not gathering boxes for you to fill your spare room with, Teddy." He laughed.

"I know. But I would like to go through everything." His grandmother had walked out on her parents when she'd been around the same age as him; Ted had never known his parents and was desperate for every little keepsake he could lay his hands on. When they finally finished, there was a large pile of things to be vanished or taken to the charity shop, and another sizeable pile for Ted to banish to his flat.

Ted stayed on for dinner, before returning to his flat and the boxes he had requisitioned from his grandmother's attic. He started with the last one, which held the notepads, books and diaries. Starting off with an anti-dust charm, Ted pulled them out one by one, making a couple of large piles. The first notebook had a series of study notes in what he could now see was his father's neat handwriting, all for NEWT level subjects.

"We took the same NEWTs", Ted muttered to himself as he cast an eye over them. "The exact same ones, and I never knew."

He found a diary that covered the years that Harry had never been able to shed any light on: those between the fall of Voldemort when Harry's parents had died and when his father had gone back to Hogwarts to teach. Ted quickly set that and others like it aside, making a mental note to read them soon. He would have to tell Harry anything he found out. There was a Prophet clipping from years before, yellowing, that featured a picture of a man Ted quickly identified as Sirius Black under the headline 'Key Death Eater sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban'. His father had written a single word across the picture: Why? Underneath it was another clipping; one which included a wedding picture of Harry's parents.

He was going through a second box, one which included pictures of people Ted did not recognise and assumed were from his father's family, when Caro tumbled through the fire. Ted was surprised to see her; it was quite late, after ten-thirty, and he knew that she had a lot of work to do over the weekend. They did not have plans to meet up until the following day, when a table was booked in one of Caro's favourite restaurants for lunchtime.

"What are you - I didn't expect to see you here", said Ted once he had kissed her.

"I was bored. Well, blocked. I needed to get out of the flat for a little while. What in the name of Circe are you doing?" They sat down on the sofa.

"Oh. You know how I told you Grams and I were going to clear out the attic?" She nodded. "Well, we found a lot of stuff that belonged to my parents and I brought it back here to go through. This box is full of my father's things - books, diaries, newspaper clippings....."

"Anything interesting?"

"I haven't really had a chance to look at anything properly yet. You want a Butterbeer?"

"Please." Ted summoned a couple of Butterbeers and asked her how she had enjoyed the party she had been to the night before, held to celebrate the birthday of her friend Alberta's mother.

"It was lots of fun", she assured him. "There was a massive marquee in the garden, and floating fairy lights that led you from their house out to where the party was. I think there were a couple of hundred people there at least. And Alberta's family had arranged it as a surprise, and her mother knew nothing about it. We were dancing until at least two or three in the morning."

"Sounds great."

"What did you do with your Friday night, Ted?"

"Nothing much. I went to Harry's for dinner, and stayed over there for a while after. Lily has been trying to teach Toffee, her cat, some tricks and she wanted to show them off to me, but Toffee isn't even a year old, so she still has a bit to go before she's up to Lily's standards; Al and I arranged to go to the Magpies match on Wednesday night - with it being half-term at his school, Harry and Ginny said he could go because he won't need to be up early the next morning. I fancied a bit of a walk when I got back here, so I headed down to the Leaky to see if anyone I knew was in and ended up having a couple of Butterbeers with Rowland and Mari."

"Humph. Well, it sounds like you had a good time in Godric's Hollow anyway."

"I had a good time at the Leaky as well. Listen, Car, unless you tell me what the deal is with you and Mari - I mean, the girl has never been anything but nice to me, and she makes Rowland pretty happy too - "

"Fine", she sighed heavily. "But of course she's going to be nice to you, she's going out with one of your best friends. She wants to get on your good side."

"Caro - "

"Do you remember I told you that we knew each other because her father was a friend - well, client would be more accurate - of my father's?" Ted nodded, before silently summoning them another couple of Butterbeers.

"When I was twelve my father took me over there during the summer holidays. My mother was visiting an old friend in Ireland that had just had a baby and she hadn't taken me with her. Even then I knew how he was. Most of Marigold's family were there, including her aunt Acacia. There was a big hiding game going on with all of Marigold's cousins, and she and I played as well. I went to hide in the summer house, but before I could go in I saw my father and her aunt through the window. He was snogging her in full view of anyone that went past."

"Oh." He moved over closer to her on the sofa and wrapped an arm around her comfortingly.

"So this is why you don't like Mari? Because your father kissed her aunt?"

"A little." She nestled her head into the crook in Ted's neck. "I told Marigold all about it, and told her I was going to tell my mother when she got back. Marigold said I was being stupid, and that her aunt was getting married in a few weeks. She said I was making it all up. She called me a liar and she called me stupid, and so I refused to speak to her for the rest of the visit and made it clear to my father that I did NOT want to go back there."

"Did you tell your mother?"

"She already knew. Well, sort of. She asked who else had been there, and the way she tensed up when I mentioned Acacia's name....I knew she knew."

"So that's why you hate her."

"Yes", Caro whispered.

On Tuesday evening Vic shovelled down her Fish Pie and made a quick trip to the library to return some Herbology and Ancient Runes books before Duelling Club. She was really enjoying going every week, and found that she was much better at practical Defence than she had ever thought. Duelling Club was run by their Defence teacher Professor Robards, and was only for those in NEWT level classes, though those who had not opted to study Defence at NEWT level were also welcome. It also gave them extra time to practice defensive moves and duelling skills they had learnt in class, and was invaluable for those hoping to become Aurors.

"You ready to go down?" she asked Nat upon her return to the common room. Nat nodded. Vic glanced across the room to where Evan. Felicia and the rest of the Quidditch team were huddled in a corner. They seemed to be breaking away - at least, Louis and Curtis Kirkwood, along with the reserve Beater, had moved off to another part of the room - and so Vic started walking over to where the remainder of them were, hoping to get Evan's attention.

".......there was something going on", she could hear Felicia say. "Well, lets give them a taste of their own medicine!"

"Are you sure it should be...."said a voice she identified as Dom's.

"I think we're all up on the plan", James put in as Vic reached them.

"Hey guys. What's going on? Strategy session?"

"Something like that", said Felicia vaguely.

"You know what, if its something to sabotage the Slytherin performance next Saturday then maybe I shouldn't really know", said Vic, holding up her hands.

"It means that as Prefect I won't be lying when I'm asked if I knew what you were up to."

"Smart move", Felicia told her. The Quidditch Captain turned from Vic back to her remaining teammates. "I'll want to know what happened once I get back."

"Duelling Club?" said Evan, taking Vic's hand. She nodded, smiling, and they started to move towards the fat lady's portrait, Nat behind them chatting away to some of Evan's friends.

"Duelling Club", she confirmed. "You know I'm really starting to look forward to Tuesday nights. I didn't think I'd like this as much as I do." They walked out of the portrait hole and started to head downstairs. "Do you have
Quidditch training tomorrow night?"

"Yeah. Sorry. And every other night this week. Once the Slytherin game is over and done with we'll be able to spend some more time together. I just need to get through til next Saturday. Professor Longbottom is pretty cool; he usually lays off the homework coming up to a match. Some of the other teachers are the same way, but not all of them. Winstanton would die before letting up on homework for something as trivial as a Quidditch match." Vic laughed. Professor Winstanton, who had taught Potions since a year or so before Ted had started Hogwarts, despised Quidditch and gave detentions to those who even mentioned the 'Q' word in her classroom in the run-up to matches.

"Its fine. I'm pretty much resigned to the life of a Quidditch girlfriend. I remember what it was like at the end of last season. Oh well, at least I'll have my homework up to date!"

"See, light at the end of every tunnel", Evan grinned at her as they reached the great hall; dinner always finished a little earlier on Tuesdays to allow Duellling Club to start on time at seven. It usually lasted for about an hour and a half, although if they were working on something new then Robards usually kept them until almost nine.

"Okay, everybody into your usual pairs", Professor Robards instructed them once everyone had arrived; he had ordered them to choose partners at the first meeting and to be careful as they would remain in that pair for the remainder of the year. Vic had paired up with Nat, while Evan partnered Felicia.

"Now, tonight I want to concentrate on non-verbal duelling. If your opponent doesn't know what jinx or curse you're going to put on them, its harder for them to repel it. Unless they are an accomplished legilimens, of course. I don't want you to worry about using complex spells; as long as its non-verbal, you can still to disarming and jelly-legs for all I care. On the count of three off you go, and I'll walk around amongst you as usual. One, two, THREE!"

Vic stood opposite Nat, nodding in return to her raised eyebrows and thereby agreeing to attempt an attack first. They had started using non-verbal magic in class at the beginning of the term, and Vic found that it took a great deal more concentration than she could sometimes manage. Tonight, though, she focused as much as she could, and on a simple charm as Robards had recommended.

'Expelliarmus', she thought to herself. Across from her, Nat seemed to be straining, probably trying to repel whatever Vic was throwing at her with a Shield Charm. Neither of them lost their wands on the first couple of tries, although Vic thought - perhaps optimistically - that she saw Nat's wand shake a little.

'Expelliarmus!' Vic thought again, this time with more force. She jumped up, a broad smile on her face as Nat's wand was whipped out of her hand and a few feet away from where they both stood.

"Yes!" exclaimed Vic. Throughout the rest of the meeting they progressed, and by the end both were able to perform Shield Charms and various basic defensive spells non-verbally.

At the end of the meeting, Robards called them all back together, congratulated them on their work and said that they would finish off the meeting with some straight-on duelling practice. Back in their pairs again, they would all duel until there was one pair left standing, and both verbal and non-verbal magic could be used. The winner of that duel was usually presented with a large bar of Honeydukes chocolate.

"And go!" called Robards, having made sure that he now stood where the head table normally was, out of the way of stray jinxes.

"Densaugeo!" shouted Vic, pointing her wand at Nat, who ducked and avoided the charm that bounced off the wall and hit a nearby Ravenclaw.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Nat responded.

"Protego!" The spell returned in Nat's direction, but she was once again able to dodge it. "Impedimenta!"

"Incarcerous!"

"Rictusempra!" Her tickling jinx finally caught Nat, who fell into fits of laughter until Vic walked over, helped her flailing friend to her feet and muttered,

"Finite."

"Well done", said Nat once she had regained the ability to speak properly.

"Thanks." They watched as other pairs completed their duels and stood off to the side. Vic could see that, as always, Evan and Felicia were very well matched, and they were one of the last few pairs left duelling in the middle of the hall; all were comprised of seventh year students.

Felicia must have sent a full body-bind curse at Evan as he toppled over onto one of the mats that Robards always set up around the hall to make sure that anyone falling had something soft to land on. There was only a single pair - a seventh year Ravenclaw and her Hufflepuff boyfriend - remaining as Felicia and Evan came to stand next to Vic, Nat and the other Gryffindors standing next to them.

"Come on Amanda!" called Felicia, clapping on the girl Vic recognised as one of those in Felicia's Divination study group.

"Yippee!" she added a few moments later as her friend won and the great hall broke into applause for a victorious Amanda and her boyfriend Gregor Macdonald.

"Excellent meeting again", said Professor Robards as he handed Amanda a large block of chocolate. "I shall see you all in class, or failing that at the same time next week."

The Gryffindors went back up to the Tower, chattering away incessantly until they reached the fat lady's portrait. Vic was followed in by her dorm-mate Erykah Blake. Of the three other girls Vic and Nat shared a dorm with, Erykah was the most tolerable of the group, and the only one that attended Duelling Club; she was also the only one of her three friends to study Defence at NEWT level. Vic recalled whispering her delight at the lack of Ava Ackerley in that class on the first day of term; Nat had just laughed and commented that attack was more Ava's style. Vic smiled politely at Erykah, holding open the door for her.

Vic glanced at the clock above the fireplace and yawned as she saw that it was a little after nine. She would have to go upstairs in a minute or two and work on some of her Runes translation before bedtime; it was due on Thursday, and she still had about a quarter of it to complete. Noticing her sister in the corner, Vic went over to speak to Dom, but was halted when something invisible knocked her to the floor.

"James!" Vic exclaimed automatically as she stood up. "Take that thing off! Now!" Her cousin did as he had done every other time she had caught him, and came out from under the cloak.

"Sorry you fell", he said. "I tripped over something."

"Your lace?" She pointed down at his left one, which had come undone.

"Oh."

"Yeah, oh. What in the name of Merlin were you doing out of the Tower?! How many times have you been reminded that first years have to stay here after eight?"

"Lots", he answered.

"Enough is enough - "

"Wait", came Felicia's voice. She walked over to where James and Vic stood.

"Its not his fault."

"What?"

"I - I overheard one of the Slytherin team mention to Robards that he wouldn't be at Duelling Club tonight, so I checked with Davies to see if the pitch was free. It wasn't; they were having a practice session tonight to make sure that I wouldn't see it. Then James said he had an Invisibility Cloak so we had the idea of him going along under it."

"I made some good notes", he told them.

"And what about Dom or Curtis or Louis?" asked Vic. "Couldn't someone who was allowed out at that time have gone to watch the Slytherins practice?"

"Its his cloak", said Felicia. "And he's always done well by the team. Besides, I'm Quidditch Captain, not a Prefect."

"Fine", sighed Vic. "Next time, though, James - I swear next time I'm going to Professor Longbottom." She turned to Evan and kissed him goodnight. Nat followed her up the stairs to the dorm as Vic ranted about the impossibility of James doing as he was told, and the awkward position she was being put in when he broke rules for Quidditch reasons. After all, Felicia was Evan's best friend and she didn't want Felicia to hate her the way she hated Caro, nor did she want Evan to be put in the same uneasy situation Ted often was.

Her dorm-mates fell silent as Vic and Nat entered, which made Vic suspicious as always that they had been whispering about her or Nat just moments before. The only noise came from a hyper-active owl flying around Vic's bedposts.

"You have an owl", said Ava needlessly.

Vic smiled as she walked over to her bed where Flynn, her grandparents' owl had now settled. She had only been a small child when her grandparents had brought Flynn home from the Magical Menagerie, but Vic could still recall the shake of her father's head when he'd first seen the tawny, and the laugh as he'd said that he hadn't thought it possible to get a more scatter-brained owl than the last one - or a more hyper-active one than her Uncle Ron's.

There were four letters, one each for her, Dom, Louis and James. She opened the letter addressed to her to see her grandmother's untidy scrawl.

My dear Victoire,

How are you, my dear? I hope your studies are going well and that you are working hard - make sure you look after yourself though! I hope you're eating properly. You're a growing girl and you need to feed your brain.
Rosie, Hugo, Al and Lily are over for a visit and they're all out in the shed tinkering with that muggle rubbish your grandfather insists on keeping out there, so I've got a chance to write to you all at school. I don't know if your mother will have written to tell you yet, but Luna and Rolf are FINALLY getting married! Your aunts and uncles are out for dinner with them tonight. Ginny says the wedding will be in the Spring and Lily is going to be a bridesmaid.

I hope Flynn isn't too much trouble when he delivers this; he's been worse than usual recently.

Your grandfather sends his love, and we're both looking forward to seeing you all when you come home for Christmas in a few weeks.

Lots of love,

Gramma


"Luna and Rolf are getting married!" exclaimed Vic, showing the letter to Nat.

"And Lily's going to be a bridesmaid....I'll have to get new dress robes. Yellow, I think - I remember a wedding maman and dad went to years ago and Luna saying you should always wear yellow to a wedding for luck." Vic ignored the muffled giggles coming from the other side of the room.

"Excellent", said Nat.

"I'll have to owl Luna a congratulations. I haven't been to a wedding for ages....that'll make two next year, Luna's and Tante Gabrielle's." Vic yawned. Although it was not yet half past nine, she was exhausted already. Duelling Club always took a lot of energy out of her.

"I think I'm going to have an early night", said Vic. Nat snorted.

"What?"

"You have an early night after Duelling Club every Tuesday." Vic just laughed and grabbed her washbag, heading to the bathroom to brush her teeth before bed.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; November 18th, 2011 at 11:17 pm.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 11:35 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Chapter 33



At the beginning of November Vic and the rest of Hogwarts woke one morning to find the grounds a crisp, frosty white. The first snow of the year had yet to fall, but the countdown to the shortest day of the year, and the start of the Christmas holidays, had begun in earnest and as Gryffindor took the full points available in a slender victory over Slytherin, Vic stood in the crowd surrounded by warming charms.

On the Thursday that followed Gryffindor's winning start to the Quidditch season, Vic headed straight to the library after dinner. Now that Evan was able to spend more time with her as the next Gryffindor game was not until February she found herself more and more pushed for time when it came to her homework; he was, to put it midly, a distraction. A very welcome distraction, but a distraction nonetheless. Tonight he had Charms Club until just before eight and Vic had determined she would spend the time between dinner and Evan's scheduled appearance in the library completing a Runes translation that was due the next day, and making a start on an essay on the Draught of Living Death that had to be handed in the following Monday.

The library was busy this evening, as it usually was on Thursday nights; most students used this night to complete as much homework as possible before the weekend started at the end of Friday classes. Vic waved at her cousins Molly and Lucy, who were sitting near the entrance with their friends, working through various assignments, and at some of Evan's friends, as she tried to spot Nat, who had finished eating before Vic and left to bag a table in a quiet corner. She eventually located her near one of the stacks of books dedicated to the study of History of Magic, which was visited only by the most diligent of students.

"Hello", said Vic as she sat down and started to remove a pile of books and some parchment, quills and ink from her bag; she had made a quick trip to Gryffindor Tower after Arithmancy (which, luckily enough, was on the same floor as the Fat Lady's portrait) to get everything she would need before going down to dinner. In amongst her things Vic found the letter she'd received from Ted that morning and had yet to answer, having spent her only free period doing some final preparation for the Potions test she'd had just after lunch. She'd written to his grandmother a couple of days before, however, to wish her a happy birthday for the coming Saturday.

Vic,

Excellent news about the Gryffindor victory, though I have to say James beat you to it! That said, I preferred your short analysis of the match to his four feet. If his homework essays are as in-depth as that he won't have any problems in passing all of his subjects! I also hope that he isn't giving you as much trouble. You need to stop giving him one more chance......next time he screws up make sure he is punished, otherwise he'll think he can get away with anything.

I haven't really been up to much. It was Wes's birthday a couple of days ago, so we went to the Leaky for a few drinks last Saturday and then back to the flat. Thank Merlin for silencing charms, otherwise my neighbours would have been complaining about the music being played at two o'clock in the morning! He spent his actual birthday with his new girlfriend, who Rowland and I have yet to meet properly. The truth is - and none of us have yet figured out how he managed to get her to go out with him! - his new girlfriend is Katya Markova. I asked Wes if I could tell you because he barred us from telling everyone and he said that was fine. He also says you can tell Nat because we both know you will - but NO ONE else. Wes doesn't want his life dissected in the Prophet or some tacky magazine by the Rita Skeeters of this world.

Work has been going well, and the project I told you about is getting closer and closer to being finished. Once it is, the next step is for Isadora and I to sit down, go through all the research and try and turn it into some new laws. I know its a little narcissistic of me, but I like the idea of someone sitting down years from now and knowing that they're reading about a Ted Lupin-penned law! Isadora mentioned this week that she has spoken to Roush and Mockridge again about the idea we had on setting up something with St. Mungo's to help werewolves, and she's made it clear that I'm her first choice for any liason job that comes out of it.

Finally, I need to ask your advice on something. Yes, you CAN gloat about this next time you see me! You know I told you about what Caro had said about the thing between her and Rowland's girlfriend Mari? Well, I told Rowland about it, and he talked to Mari, and it turns out there's more to it......looks like someone overheard the two of them arguing, told the aunt's fiance and the wedding was called off, leaving the aunt to spend the next few years with firewhiskey as her main companion. Mari blames Caro for this because it was her that brought up the subject, and I really don't know what to do. I think meeting each other again dredged up this whole history and all they can think about is how they felt at the time, and now Rowland and I are caught in the middle. Mari is fine with spending time with me, but she hates anything that involves Caro too, though she just ignores her. Caro makes digs and I hate this being stuck in the middle stuff!

What would you do??? Hope what I have said makes some kind of sense to you.

I wish we were both in the same place and I didn't have to wait ages for your amazing wisdom to get back to me!

I am hoping to start my Christmas shopping this weekend (yes, you may faint in shock at how organised I am!) - can't believe its only a few weeks until you're back for the holidays.

Miss you.

Write back soon,

Ted


Vic bit her lip as she read through it a second time; she would have to leave this to the side until she had finished her homework. She didn't want to give Ted the wrong advice, and this needed careful consideration. Poor Ted; it sounded like Mari and Caro (Vic couldn't believe she was thinking this!) made some pretty valid points and Ted was caught in the middle of a mess he had nothing to do with. Shaking her head, Vic wondered - not for the first time - just when life had started to get so complicated.

Miss you

Vic really missed Ted as well; it was still strange writing to him, knowing that a response could take a couple of days, rather than talking to him and getting an instant answer to a question. It had been more than two months now since she'd had that dream in which she'd kissed Ted and it hadn't recurred as far as she could remember. That did not stop Vic having small doubts about the meaning of it, as much as she had told Nat that she thought it meant nothing more than she would miss her best friend being around all of the time. Sighing, she quickly completed her Runes translation and then moved on to her Potions essay.

"What do you think about the use of aconite in this potion?" asked Vic.

"You're much better at Potions than I am."

"You mean why is it used instead of flutterby bushes?" Vic nodded. "I think because of the reaction it causes with the shrivelfigs. You'd probably end up with a melting cauldron if you switched the two."

"I can see you're studying hard", said Evan as he stood over their table, a grin plastered across his face. He laid down his books and study things and leant over the table and kissed Vic quickly.

"I was until my second favourite distraction arrived."

"Second favourite? Who or what beats me to the number one spot?"

"Chocolate." Evan muffled a laugh as they spotted the elderly librarian, Madam Pince, passing nearby as she made a round of the library to check that nobody was using the Restricted Section without the appropriate permission.

"Come help me find a book on the Salem Witch Trials", said Evan, taking Vic's hand.

"But we don't study History of Magic anymo - oh, yeah, silly me!" Vic gave Nat an apologetic look as her friend rolled her eyes and returned to her Care of Magical Creatures assignment.

"How was Charms Club?" Vic asked, giggling slightly as Evan looked for a secluded and undisturbable spot amongst musty historical tomes that even her Aunt Hermione might not have read.

"As good as it could be without you there." Evan leant against a wall and pulled Vic towards him slowly. He kissed her softly and slowly for Merlin knew how long, until they finally ran out of breath and parted.

"Hey", he whispered.

"Hey."

"Vic....do you remember my birthday?" She nodded.

"Do you remember what I said to you just before we got back to the Tower?" Vic nodded again, this time more nervously. Her heart had chosen this moment to start beating so fast and loud that she was pretty sure Evan could hear every thump. He wasn't about to say what she thought he was......was he?

"I'm sure now", he almost whispered to her. "Its been quite a few months now, and you are the most amazing girl I have ever met in my life. You are smart, funny, gorgeous and just, well, you. And I know for sure now that I love you."

"Oh", said Vic. Her heart started beating even faster and she had a head rush as she tried to process what was going on. Evan was looking at her with concern mixed with expectation; Vic could tell instantly that he expected her to say the same thing back, or at least to indicate that her feelings were headed in that direction. She'd had since his birthday to think it over, but had pushed it from her mind and never really come to any sort of conclusion. In the end, she thought honesty was probably the best policy.

"I've never been in love before", she said quietly. "You - I feel more for you than any other guy I have ever been attracted to you, and I think about you so, so much. I absolutely adore....maybe even love.......everything about you. If that's love, then......then I love you too."

"I'll take that", said Evan softly before capturing Vic's lips once more; they remained in the History of Magic stacks for quite a while, and when they returned to Gryffindor Tower hands tightly fastened a little after nine and with large, soppy grins on their faces, Vic still had most of her Potions essay left to write.

"I'm going upstairs; I can't concentrate with you distracting me", laughed Vic after spending an hour curled up next to Evan on the sofa. "And if we're going to spend any time together this weekend I need to finish my homework." She kissed him lightly and then made her way up to the dormitory where Nat lay slouched on her bed reading a book her mother had sent back with the school post owl that had taken her last letter. Their esteemed dorm-mates were nowhere to be seen.

"You and Evan were worse than usual tonight", commented Nat with a smile, looking up from The Thin Man.

"Evan told me he loved me", said Vic quickly as she sat down at the end of Nat's bed as her friend sat up straight.

"Wow", she gasped. "And? What did you say?"

"I - I told him the truth. I told him how I felt about him, and if that was love then I was in love with him."

"Wow", repeated Nat.

"I should probably write to maman", said Vic thoughtfully. She had hidden everything with Hem from her mother, delayed mentioning her relationship with Evan until her parents had found out for themselves, and forgotten to mention the new year kiss with Ted, and so she figured that she owed it to her to mention this as soon as possible. Besides, they had seemed to really like Evan and to trust him.

As Vic pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill for her letter she came across Ted's letter; lacking the concentration to reply to it this evening, Vic decided she would dwell on it further tomorrow and reply then. It would also give her a chance to seek out Nat's advice, so that Ted had more than one other perspective to consider.

She scribbled a few lines about how her classes were going, and how she was looking forward to Christmas, before casually mentioning what had happened that evening, leaving out the part where she and Evan had spent most of it snogging in a remote part of the library. Happy with what she had written, Vic sealed the letter and determined to rise early for once to send it before breakfast; it was past curfew and therefore too late to go up to the Owlery before bed.

Vic yawned and stretched out on her bed, re-reading Ted's letter. She smiled at the mention of Wes and Rowland; she considered them to be her friends as much as Ted's and was looking forward to seeing them - and perhaps meeting their new girlfriends - when she was home for the holidays.

"You get another letter from one of the aunts or uncles?" asked Nat.

"Ted. I was just re-reading it", said Vic. "I'll write back tomorrow. He's
actually looking for some advice. I'll tell you about it tomorrow."

"Oh. Are you going to tell Ted about Evan?"

"What about Ev - oh, the love thing?" Nat nodded. "I guess. There's no reason why I shouldn't, is there?"

"None....except they don't really get on."

"They just don't know each other that well."

"You know until tonight a small part of me still thought - well, it doesn't really matter now."

"What?"

"Promise you won't get offended or anything?" Vic nodded.

"Enough with the suspense, what is it?"

"Until you told me about what happened with Evan tonight there was still a small part of me that thought it was Ted you really wanted."

"Ted? Why?"

"You kissed him, you dreamt about him, and I can tell you miss him more than you say you do. And I know you think about him more than you say you do." Vic shifted uncomfortably on her bed.

"He kissed me, and I thought we agreed that dream didn't mean anything?" Vic insisted. "But.....I do miss him. A lot. Ted is a massive part of my life. He always has been and he always will be."

"I know that - you know what, forget I said anything. I am happy for you and Evan. Really, I am. I just had a theory it might go another way, but you've bunked that. Listen, I'm going to head to bed, get some sleep."

"Yeah, I think I will too." Vic closed the hangings around her bed, but while she could hear soft snores from Nat's bed, and then the chattering followed by silence that indicated the rest of the room had come up to bed and gone to sleep, Vic found herself unable to fall into an equally peaceful slumber. The truth was, Nat had made a very good point. In spite of her feelings for Evan, Vic did think about Ted, and the dream she'd had about him, more than she should.

On Saturday morning, Ted woke early and shaved before a quick breakfast. It was his grandmother's birthday, and with working all week he hadn't had enough time to go to Flourish and Blotts to pick up the book he had ordered as part of her present. He looked out the window, but did not see any sign of a recognisable owl; Vic's reply had not yet arrived, and Ted had been looking forward to hearing from her. Knowing how much Vic hated his girlfriend, Ted had wondered in passing if his mention of Caro had been a mistake.

Intending to apparate to Godric's Hollow from Flourish and Blotts, Ted grabbed a parcel from the sofa, containing the rest of his grandmother's present. He had looked through quite a bit of the boxes he had brought back filled with his parents' things, and had come across a photograph he didn't think his grandmother knew he had. It was of Ted, his mother and grandmother, and Ted could only have been a day old; he supposed his father had taken it. Ted had used a replication charm to make a copy, and framed both of them; one sat beside his bed and the other was wrapped up for his grandmother. He fervently hoped this would not make her cry in the middle of the birthday lunch Harry was holding for her.

Stepping out into Diagon Alley, Ted could see that the streets were already bustling even though it was not yet ten o'clock. He walked past Quality Quidditch Supplies and Eeylops in the direction of Flourish and Blotts, stopping only when he was interrupted by someone shouting his name.

"Teddy!" Smiling at the accent which could only belong to one person, Ted turned round to see Fleur coming out of the Apothecary opposite.

"You are up early today. I used to sleep a lot at ze weekend, but zen I 'ad cheeldren, and zey get up so early and I never got back into ze habit of a long lie", she said after hugging him tightly.

"So that's where Vic gets her tendency to over-sleep from", he grinned.

"Actually, I am usually asleep at this time on a Saturday. Its my grandmother's birthday and I'm just going to pick up part of her present."

"Zat is today?" Ted nodded. "But Beel and I zot zat eet was next Saturday. Mon Dieu! And we told 'arry we would be zere for ze lunch. Ah, we weel be."

"Don't worry about it. How is everything? Any news?"

"Nuzzing really. But zen - I 'ad a sweet leetle letter from ma Victoire. Eet came zis morning before I went shopping."

"Yeah, I'm due a letter from her myself."

"Zen maybe I should not spoil - "

"Spoil?" Ted suddenly became unaccountably nervous.

"Victoire says zat Evan and she are in love. Is eet not sweet?" Fleur was practically cooing as Ted forced a smile across his face, trying to hide the fact that he felt as if a knife had been pushed through his heart.

"Adorable", said Ted. No wonder Vic's letter was delayed. Why would she have time to think about a stupid letter from him when she had Evan, who she was apparently head over heels in love with, to spend time with? No, he shouldn't think these things. Vic wasn't like that.

"Morning", Bill approached them, shaking hands with Ted and explaining he had just dropped in to see George for a couple of minutes. Fleur told him about the mix-up with dates over Andromeda's birthday, though it turned out Bill had already realised after speaking to George.

"We'll be there", Bill reassured him. "We didn't really have much planned for today anyway. We should get going if you want to get back and get ready sweetheart."

"I should get going as well", said Ted, maintaining his forced smile. "I have to pick up something for Grams, and then pick up Caro. I'll see you in a couple of hours." Ted waved as Fleur and Bill went round the corner and out of sight.

So Vic and Evan were in love. Boyfriend 1, Ted 0.

It wasn't like Ted hadn't anticipated something like this happening; he'd just buried it deep enough that he didn't have to think about it. He knew that he had no right whatsoever to be angry with Victoire and Evan. Of course Evan was going to fall in love with Vic - who wouldn't fall for her? - and Ted had a girlfriend himself. Never mind the fact that he hadn't told Vic how he felt
about her.......

No, he was going to have to start realising that Vic had a boyfriend, one she was serious about. And Ted's dreams about he and Victoire were destined to remain just that. He had a girlfriend, and maybe he should start paying more attention to her instead of moping around thinking about his unobtainable best friend. He and Caro had been together for more than a year and a half now, on and off, and Ted knew that he had to start trying to focus on what he actually had rather than what he would probably never have.

As much as Ted felt for Vic, she was his best friend and he wanted her to be happy.

Although Flourish and Blotts was as bustling as the street outside, as most people seemed to be gossiping and browsing rather than buying, Ted was in and out of the shop quickly, and hurrying to the other end of Diagon Alley to pick up Caro. While his flat was amongst the hustle and bustle of the shops, Caro and her equally-wealthy friends shared a larger flat in a more up-market part of the wizarding street.

Ted entered the building and climbed the stairs to the second floor, where a note outside one of the doors said 'Philpott, Small and Wickham'. When Ted had told Harry and Ginny about the note, Hermione - who was picking up Hugo and Rosie at the time - commented that it sounded like a firm of muggle solicitors. He knocked lightly on the door, and called out Caro's name. It was not his girlfriend, however, but her friend Alberta that answered the door.

"Morning, Ted", she said as she let him in. "Car's almost ready. You want anything while you're waiting?" Ted shook his head.

"How are you?" he asked her. "Still seeing that Unspeakable?"

"Oh no, we broke up simply weeks ago. Did Car not tell you?"

"Yes I did, he's obviously just forgotten", said the girl herself as she breezed into the room in a pair of lilac robes. "Is this alright? I didn't want to get too dressed up, but I didn't want to look like I hadn't made an effort. I have to keep making a good impression on your grandmother, Ted. She doesn't like me."

"That isn't true", Ted insisted, knowing that while his grandmother had never used the words 'hate' or 'dislike', she wasn't exactly Caro's biggest supporter either.

"Anyway, you look lovely." She smiled broadly and held out her hand. For once, Caro had consented to apparition, something she usually dreaded. They said goodbye to Alberta, and then apparated to the Potters' back garden in Godric's Hollow.

"Before we go in......" Ted took Caro's hand and pulled her round to face him, trying to force thoughts of Vic from his mind.

"I was thinking, I haven't really been paying enough attention to you recently - or to us. I've been caught up with work and other stuff, and I shouldn't have let anything like that come between us, so I want to make it up to you. I think we should go away for a couple of days next weekend. Somewhere nice that neither of us has ever been to before. Willa that works in my department and put me onto the flat, her husband works in the Portkey Office, we could get one easily through him."

Ted spoke quickly and without taking a pause. He knew that this was partly a reaction to hearing about Vic and Evan, but he had been right earlier; Caro was his girlfriend, and he had not treated her as well as he should. It was time to start making up for that.

"Really!" she squealed, wrapping her arms around his next tightly and almost choking him. "Can we go to Paris?"

"Paris?!" said Ted in a strangled voice. Somehow, he'd always had it in the back of his mind that the first time he went to Paris, it would be with Vic.

"Yeah, we should go to Paris", he said more confidently. After all, his intention was to try and start thinking about Vic as just his best friend again. This seemed like a good first step.........right?

"I'll speak to Willa on Monday.....and I know Fleur is coming for lunch - maybe she could recommend somewhere to stay. I can't afford too much, but something like a Parisian equivalent of the Leaky wouldn't be too bad."

"Oh, Ted I'm excited already!" Caro exclaimed as her face lit up.

"Ted, were you thinking of coming inside at all?" Harry was standing at his back door, looking out at them. Ted laughed, and took Caro's hand as they headed indoors. He was immediately hugged by Lily.

"Hi Teddy!" she exclaimed. "Aunty Dromeda is here!"

"Is she?" Lily nodded.

"I've been showing her a new trick I taught Toffee. We're going to have cake later. I helped mummy make it yesterday."

"Then I'm sure it'll be lovely." He followed Lily into the sitting room, where his grandmother sat on the sofa next to Ginny.

"Happy Birthday, Grams." Ted stooped down to kiss her cheek and then handed over her presents.

"Teddy, you really didn't have to", she protested. Ted held up his hands.

"Never let it be said that I'm not the perfect grandson", he said solemnly, to the amusement of the gathered company.

A little later they all descended on the dining room, where Ginny, Hermione and Molly had all laid out a series of nibbles for everyone to choose from. Ted felt a little guilty; he should really have been here earlier and helped out more. Although the company was mostly comprised of Weasleys, it was his grandmother's birthday. They had gone for a lighter lunch option with the food as his grandmother usually went out for dinner with a group of her girlfriends on her birthday. There were about seven or eight of them and they were, in Ted's opinion, deceptively wild. His grandmother usually had to take a pain potion the following day.

Ted took a plate over to the bay window seat where Caro was talking to Fleur and Ginny.

".......of course we want to stay somewhere chic", he heard Caro say as he approached. She was obviously looking for a recommendation for an hotel in Paris.

"Zere is Ze Parisienne", said Fleur. "Eeet isn't expensive, and zere are always lots of people zere."

"Caro telling you about our trip?" grinned Ted, thowing an arm around her shoulder. Caro nodded. "You should go and get some food."

"I'm not very hungry", Caro protested. "I had a big breakfast."

"You never told us about your trip when you were over last night, Ted", said Ginny. "Is it something you've just decided on?"

"I've been thinking about going away for a weekend for a while", he admitted. That was partly true. He had, however, considered going camping for a night or two, and asking Harry and Al along. "Don't mention anything to Grams yet, though - I'll tell her when I see her tomorrow afternoon. I want today to be about her birthday, nothing else."

As Fleur started to tell Ginny all about Vic and Evan, Ted noticed out of the corner of his eye that his grandmother was momentarily alone, and went over to speak to her. Although it was tradition for her to open her presents after they'd all eaten cake, he asked her to leave opening his second one until she got home.

"Why?" she asked him.

"Its a personal gift, and I'd rather.....please? For me?" She laughed and hugged him tightly.

"I am very luck to have you, Teddy", she told him. "And I don't know what I'd do without you."

The following Friday evening, Caro arrived at Ted's flat promptly at seven, and re-packed most of what he had ready. Ted grinned as she shook her head at the Weird Sisters and Vampires Anonymous t-shirts he had gathered just before Caro's arrival. It was only just prior to their scheduled Portkey time of seven forty-five that Caro was satisfied Ted had everything he needed. Moments later, they were in the reception area of the quiant little hotel in Paris Fleur had recommended, filled with stone walls and colourful pictures.

They checked in at the small reception desk, and were then shown up to the third floor. Ted and Caro spent the next two days wandering around the muggle and wizarding streets of Paris, eating in tiny cafes and appreciating - or rather Caro spent time appreciating - the fact that they were in the fashion capital of the wizarding world. But as far away from home as Ted had run, he was unable to escape the thought of the person he wished he was viewing this city for the first time with - Vic.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; November 25th, 2011 at 11:37 pm.
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  #34  
Old December 2nd, 2011, 11:24 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Thank you soooooooooooo much to nevillesgal, blueowl and PotterGirl654 for their feedback - I know I don't say it enough, but it really does mean a lot to me, and it motivates me more than you know.


Chapter 34



Ted sighed heavily with exhaustion as he fell onto his sofa, Butterbeer in hand. It was late on Sunday evening, and he and Caro had just returned from Paris. Keen to have a long, hot bath and to make sure she had everything ready for work the next day, Caro had swiftly returned to her own flat and Ted had simply summoned a cool drink, figuring that his washing could wait until the next day or two.

It had been a good trip, an interesting one. Ted had never been abroad, and spending time in another country had been a bit of a culture shock at first - though he had soon got into the spirit of things and by the end of the trip was unfazed by the hustle and bustle of the wizarding quarter. There was a little cafe they had discovered the first morning, and Ted had dragged Caro back for another look earlier that day - twice - for another coffee. It was a sweet, little out of the way place that to Ted seemed to personify Paris. Though just why that was he wasn't quite sure.

He snorted at the memory of how much he had thought of, and missed, Vic over the past forty eight hours. Although Ted had determined as soon as he had heard Fleur blurt out how in love and happy her daughter was that he would forget about her and move on - well, move back to his relationship, really - it had not been as easy as he had thought, or hoped, it might be. His resolve had first been weakened when he'd received her letter last Sunday, the day after he had seen Fleur, and then it had collapsed as he had walked through Paris, listening to the locals speaking in their native tongue and reminding him of Vic's use of the language her mother, aunt and grandmother had taught her. Ted had run away from Vic and his feelings for her, but he had not been able to hide from them.

Ted picked up the letter he had received from Vic the previous Sunday....

Ted,

I am so, so sorry about how long its taken for me to write back to you - though it is
all for YOUR benefit, I promise! I wanted to get Nat's take on the Caro/Mari thing, and that delayed me replying to you.

Nat's first thought was that you and Rowland should lock Caro and Mari in a room, without wands of course, and tell them that they can't leave until they've sorted everything out. Both of us think that may still lead to trouble though, and in any case there is little chance you and Rowland would actually do that.

We both agree - as it seems you and Rowland do as well - that they will have to learn to co-exist and spent time together. Its not fair on you and Rowland otherwise. It isn't your fault or his that your girlfriends knew each other years ago and had a massive falling out. Its just one of those things that happens.

Nat thinks that you should ask Caro, Mari and Rowland round and have it out with both of them and force them to talk and then put everything behind them. I think that you should speak to them both separately (less chance of someone being seriously hexed that way) and talk to them about how the other one feels. Caro needs to know about what happened to Mari's aunt after that day, and Mari needs to know that Caro was completely unaware of that - and Mari should know what Caro's father is like. They both need to understand where the other person is coming from before they can move on. I don't know if you'll take any of our advice, but there it is!

And FYI, Ted Lupin, I rarely gloat!

I told Nat about Wes's girlfriend and then had to explain who Katya Markova is (you're lucky you ended up taking me to that much during the summer with Dom and Louis, otherwise I would've known as little about her as Nat!). I hope they're happy and that the Rita Skeeters keep away. Can't stand that witch. I would love to see both of them during the holidays. Only a few weeks now and I will be home, sleeping in my own bed, and walking along the beach. As much as I love Hogwarts, I cannot WAIT!!

I really, really, really hope that you get that liason job. I can tell that you really want it and there would not be a more fitting tribute to what your parents fought for - that better world where people who have been wronged, or hurt, are helped and not ignored. I have my fingers and toes crossed for you.

Everything here is the same as it always is. The homework is piled on and on, and the castle is as cold as it usually is at this time of year. I think Dom is a lot more confident Quidditch-wise now that she has played in a match and won. She and Louis still seem to be getting on, though he spends more time now with the other Beater in the team, Curtis Kirkwood, who is in the year between me and Dom and Louis. Dom likes Curtis too, but she doesn't really hang around with the two of them because one of Curtis's group of friends is Genie McLaggan.

I'm really enjoying Duelling Club. I don't know if I have said so before, but this has been the big surprise of the year for me. I always knew I would go when I started sixth year, but I don't think I realised how much fun it would actually be.

I better stop writing now, because it late and I have been yawning for about the last half an hour. But....I do have something I should tell you. Evan told me he loved me last night. I didn't really know what to say. I mean, I am more attracted to him than I was to Hem, or to any other guy I've ever had a crush on, and I feel more for him than I did for anyone else. I love being with him and spending time with him. I said back that if that's love then I love him too. I think I do love him.

I know you don't really like Evan, and that's fine - after all, Caro and I are hardly best friends. I just wanted to let you know what was going on with me.

Write back soon!

And I miss you too,

Vic


He felt a goofy grin come over his face as he re-read what she had written. The fact was, as far as getting over Vic was concerned Ted was back to square one, and if it was at all possible he felt more for her now than he had two days ago. The scattered, unsure feelings she had written to Ted confused him as they were at odds with the impression he had from Fleur. Perhaps Vic was downplaying her feelings to him because she knew he wasn't keen on Evan.

Ted made a mental promise to himself to write to Vic the following evening about his time in Paris. She had seemed excited when he'd told her he would be visiting the French city, and said that she wished she could go to Paris soon as well. Ted knew that Gabrielle usually took Vic, Dom and Louis to the wizarding quarter when they went to France on holiday, and they had not been this year. Yawning, he banished his empty bottle of Butterbeer to the bin, and went through to his bedroom before falling asleep fully clothed on top of his bed just after he had set his morning alarm.

Walking into the office the next day, Ted wished that he'd had the foresight to take a holiday that day. Late nights in Paris as he and Caro tried to make the most of a city they had never seen before had left Ted with little sleep, and he was counting the hours until he had completed work and visited Harry's family and his grandmother, and could then return home to his bed and sleep for ten hours or so.

"Morning", said Ted, forcing brightness as he walked past Stanley Winters, the first person he met each morning. Stanley grunted in response; he'd announced at the end of the last week that his wife had just found out she was pregnant again, with their seventh child. Ted mentioning that his godfather's wife had been one of seven children had apparently not helped.

"Ted! How was Paris?" asked Isadora as he sat down opposite her. "I've always wanted to go, but never quite got round to it."

"You should. It was amazing. And......I brought back French sweets." He laid out a couple of boxes of sweets he'd bought in Paris out on his desk. He hadn't brought in the chocolates, but there were fruit-flavoured things, and one or two other things. Ted found, however, that he spent most of his morning distracted as people kept stopping by his desk to help themselves to his sweets. Ted was pleased, however, to find that Isadora had arranged a meeting with Roush and Mockridge in two or three weeks' time to go over the research he had just completed.

He flooed from the Ministry to Godric's Hollow absolutely exhausted, though he did not want to show that off to Al and Lily. Ted didn't want them thinking that he didn't want to be there with them. And it would only be a couple of hours, then he could floo to his grandmother's, say hello to her and give her the present he had brought back, and then home to bed!

As soon as Al and Lily realised Ted had sweets with him, he was treated like a prince, and they argued about who would sit beside him at dinner.

"Me", said Al stubbornly.

"But Teddy always sits next to me", protested Lily.

"Does not."

"Does too."

"Hey", said Ted, stepping in. "If I'd known how much trouble a box of sweets would cause I wouldn't have brought them back. And to settle this, you can BOTH sit next to me, alright?" With Al and Lily placated, Harry served dinner, Ginny - Ted felt the better cook of the two - was at an England friendly in Poland, and wouldn't be back until the Prophet portkey left the next morning.

"Sorry it isn't much", Harry apologised. "I never was much good at cooking. I mean, I could fry the odd rasher of bacon and a sausage or two for breakfast, but with the Hogwarts house-elves, and then Molly and Kreacher and Hermione to look after me, I didn't really learn many cooking spells or recipes."

"Its fine", laughed Ted, as he looked down at the sausage casserole in front of him. "I can't say much; the most I can make myself is a sandwich or a slice of toast."

"I like to help mummy with the cooking", said Lily.

"How about you, Al, do you like cooking?" asked Ted. Al snorted.

"Cooking is for girls", he replied.

"And what are you going to do if you ever have to cook for yourself, then?" asked Ted.

"Go to someone else's house like you do", he shrugged in response, helping himself to some food while Ted and Harry exchanged a look full of silent laughter.

In spite of everything the dinner was actually delicious - though Ted wouldn't ever have the guts to tell Ginny that - and he stayed for a while after, telling Harry, who had never been there, all about Paris, and listening to Al and Lily's tales of excitement about the weekend they'd had.

Later, Ted fell, coughing, out of the grate in his grandmother's house, and the first thing he saw was her bemused face looking down at him. He spent an hour or so there, before returning home where he remembered to write to Vic. Falling into bed as dramatically as the night before, Ted wished that he had a time turner to go back to a couple of hours before and extend his sleeping time.

On Wednesday morning, Vic sat through her Runes period taking in very little of what Professor Bennett was saying. She cast her mind back to this morning, when Hibou had brought her not one, but two letters - the bi-weekly missive from her parents to let her know that everything was fine, that grand-mere had recovered from her 'flu attack after a week or so on Pepper-Up Potions and that Uncle Charlie had confirmed he would be able to come home for Christmas, and one from Ted, telling her about his trip to Paris with Caro and enclosing a small postcard of the wizarding quarter all lit up at night, people flitting in and out of the image.

Vic,

Just a quick note to let you know about my holiday. Its just after nine, and I am exhausted! I got back last night, and should really have taken today off work and caught up on my sleep. Between the late nights and all the walking I did, I tired myself out ten times over. Once I've sent this off, I am going straight to my bed. Don't tell James though - he'll only make fun of me for needing so much sleep and start calling me an old man!

Paris is the most amazing and vibrant city I have ever seen. I know I haven't actually seen many, but it was like visiting another world. I know you've spoken about it lots of times, but I guess you have to go there yourself to appreciate it properly. I saw all of the main sights, wizarding and muggle, and I loved the place so much I even enjoyed a short fashion show Caro dragged me along to!

I'll need to go over and visit your mother in the next couple of days - I brought her back a box of chocolates to thank her for recommending the hotel we stayed in. It was lovely, and very, very French.

Anyway, I loved Paris and will have to plan another trip.

I have no other news, really. Everyone is fine. I think my grandmother was slightly concerned that I might come back from Paris engaged, but she cheered up when I saw her and gave her the French scarf I brought back for her and reassured her that I don't plan on getting married anytime soon.

I really, really, really need my sleep now - even more than you usually do! - so I will say goodnight now, and I'll write again as soon as I get a chance.

Say hi to everyone for me.

Miss you,

Ted


The postcard he had enclosed with the letter was now in the pocket of her robes. It was just the type of present Ted gave; small and simple and yet with so much heart. Every present he had ever given to her had actually meant something. When she thought back even to the last year......the framed photograph he had given her last Christmas and the painting of the beach by Shell Cottage......

It was odd, the first thought she'd had when Ted had mentioned his trip to Paris was that he shouldn't be going to France without her. Vic had always had some subconscious instinct that the first time Ted went to France it would be with her....and her family, of course. Then the mention that Andromeda was worried he and Caro would come back engaged. Of course, proposing in Paris was as common in the wizarding world as Vic had read it was in the muggle, so that was nothing strange in itself. Vic couldn't comprehend the idea of Ted as an engaged, much less a married, man - particularly if the woman involved was Caro. She knew that one day he would meet someone and marry; Vic just hoped that it wasn't Caro. If Ted married Caro, Vic would lose her best friend. Not immediately, perhaps, but in the long-term it would be easier for him to side with his wife over his best friend, and to stop spending time with her when it antagonised his wife so much.

The sudden commotion around her told Vic that class was over. She glanced up and saw that Professor Bennett was magically erasing everything she had put up on the blackboard. Vic quickly shoved her quills, parchment, ink bottle and books back into her bag and headed after Louise Carwell, one of the Ravenclaws she regularly studied for Runes with, to find out if they had any homework to complete for their next lesson.

That evening, after a study session that had seen Vic finish very little of her Runes, Arithmancy and Herbology homework as she was distracted by the presence of Evan and thoughts of Ted, she stamped out a pile of books in the hope that she would be able to finish at least some of her work before she went to sleep and took them to Gryffindor Tower. Wednesday was Vic's night for patrolling the corridors as part of her prefect duties, and so she left her bag and books on her bed and headed down to the ground floor to meet Wright. The head boy and girl had retained the same pairings as the previous year for this, and matched new fifth year prefects with a seventh year. Vic had not been happy with this; though Wright was a harmless Hufflepuff rather than a slimy Slytherin, he could bore for Britain if he wanted to.

One advantage, however, of being Wright's partner, was that he was generally fine with them splitting up for some of the partol, and so it was separately that they usually found themselves hurrying third - fifth years back to their respective common rooms just before nine. The first and second years had to be there by eight, and the sixth and seventh years were permitted to be in the corridors until ten. It was engaged in this task that Vic found herself coming across a familiar first year - along with his friends - on a sixth floor corridor near the staircase up to Gryffindor Tower, her awareness of not being alone heightened by the stifled giggles she could hear.

"James", sighed Vic. She couldn't believe he had been caught again! Though it seemed from the sight of a couple of the friends under the cloak he removed that he hadn't given himself away. She recognised the boy Ritchie from the last time she had caught him, and knew the others to be called Mark, Augustus and Milton. His entire dormitory......and they were all carrying a pile of sweets and biscuits each. Merlin alone knew how all five of them had managed to fit under that thing.

"Hi, Vic", said James, smiling at her and clearly hoping that she would take pity on him. Again!

"James, this is enough. I have covered for you time and time again - I would have turned you in last time if it hadn't been for Felicia, you know that. Come on boys, follow me." She knew that he would still be in his office, having taken the odd trouble-maker or two along there during her rounds; he stayed late a couple of nights a week to complete his marking.

"Vic, where are you taking us?" James whispered.

"Not to Filch if that's what you're worried about. But I'm hardly taking you to Hagrid, either. I have lost count of the times I warned you James."

"But I'm your cousin."

"A fact that does NOT entitle you to special treatment, and I should never have let that cloud my judgement before. Part of coming to Hogwarts is learning to follow the rules. I know Uncle George and Uncle Fred and your grandfather all got up to things they shouldn't have at school, but your genetics do not mean that you have to copy everything they did."

"Mum - "

"Your mother would have punished you long before now, James, don't try to pretend otherwise." He grumbled at this, but seemed unable to make any further retort. His face did however seem to brighten up a little when he saw the nameplate on the door Vic knocked on, Professor Longbottom.

"Come in", said a voice. Vic opened the door and walked in, the five boys behind her.

"Sorry to bother you, Professor, but I caught these five coming back from the kitchens after their curfew. They were on the sixth floor, giggling away. I thought you would want to see them yourself."

"Ah", he said. Vic had to concede that James and his friends did at least look a little downcast at the disappointment in the tone of their Head of House's voice.

"I'm not going to listen to any stories, and I'm not really too bothered about which of you was the ringleader. But, the curfew times are laid down for your safety, and to give the older students a sense of responsibility as you progress through the school and are permitted to remain in outwith your common rooms later into the evening. You shall all receive a detention, which I shall inform you of at a later date. Now you will return to Gryffindor Tower - you will go straight there - and you will not pull this sort of stunt again. It is not as amusing as you seem to have thought it was at the time. Understood?"

"Yes, Professor", they muttered.

"Go. Victoire, you stay here a moment." He waited until they had all left before speaking again. "I'm sorry - I imagine it must be hard for you to have to report James like that." Vic shrugged.

"I should have reported him before", she admitted. "This - it not the first time I've caught James. The other four, I've caught one of them with James, coming back from the kitchens, once. I should have ignored the fact that he's my cousin and treated him like everyone else."

"I got detention in first year as well, for being out after curfew."

"Oh."

"Funnily enough, it was your Uncle Harry and Aunt Hermione that were with me - I went to warn them that Mr. Filch was after them......I think Ron was in the Hospital Wing at the time......I know that first years want to test boundaries and they want to seem cool in front of their friends. They'll be punished for this, and if they do it again then they will be punished once more." Vic smiled.

"You're not in any trouble, Victoire, don't worry about that. I don't have any siblings or cousins, so I don't know what I would do in the same position. Yes, you should have reported James earlier, but we don't always do the right thing first time."

"Thank you, Professor. I should get back to my rounds, Wright will be looking for me." Vic started to walk towards the door, then turned round, a thought occuring to her.

"If you really want to punish them - particularly James - and make them think twice about doing it again, you may want to time their detention to coincide with the Ravenclaw match against Hufflepuff a week on Saturday. Aunt Ginny always used to use Quidditch as a way of punishing James, said it was the only thing that really worked. Use that match, and you'll be able to do that without harming Gryffindor's prospects by taking their reserve Chaser away from training."

"Good idea", he grinned.

"Just don't tell James I mentioned that. Ever." Professor Longbottom laughed, and Vic left the room, pleased that whatever else had happened that day, her rounds had occupied her mind for a couple of hours with something other than Ted.

As Vic considered writing that night to Ted, and joking about her turning in James, she determined that she really had to set her mind aside from her best friend. Apart from the fact that she had Evan - someone she was in love with - Ted had Caro. And as much as she hated her best friend's girlfriend, Ted clearly thought enough of her to take her to Paris, and for Andromeda to think that there may be an engagement in the offing. If there was one certainty in this world, Vic knew it was that she should stop thinking about Ted so much.....somehow, she just had to.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; December 3rd, 2011 at 4:26 pm.
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  #35  
Old December 9th, 2011, 11:37 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Thank you once again to nevillesgal, blueowl and PotterGirl654 for their feedback - you guys rock!!


Chapter 35



On the last day of November, Ted looked at his watch to check the time. It was Friday and, he now noted, just after three o'clock. Ted had to leave promptly at six this evening; Harry and Ginny were having a dinner party and had invited Ted and Caro. He had arranged to pick Caro up just after six to floo over to Godric's Hollow.

"Ted? You want to go over some of this now?" asked Isadora. Ted nodded. They were preparing as much as possible for the meeting with Roush and Mockridge regarding the werewolf laws they wanted to pass, and which was due to take place the following Friday.

Ted picked up a pile of parchment and wandered over to Isadora's desk. They had already been through their plans to link up with St. Mungo's - Ted and Isadora had already met tentatively with a couple of Healers about this - and were now working on the other measures they hoped to put before the Wizengamot.

"Now, about the laws passed by Dolores Umbridge", began Isadora. "I have spoken to a few people about laws that were passed just before and during the war, and the feeling is that an omnibus law repealing everything she had passed should be sufficent."

"Rather than trying to pass dozens of laws that remove her measures individually?"

"Yeah."

"Well, it'll give me more satisfaction than you know to pass that one", said Ted grimly. "After what she did to my father and godfather, it will be a personal victory."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, those laws made it almost impossible for my father to get a job, and she had a habit of trying to bully my godfather that year she taught at Hogwarts. According to Harry, Dolores was far from my father's favourite Ministry offical. Also, I think it was her sacking after the war that gave Harry the greatest pleasure." Isadora grinned.

"Well, we can get rid of her laws in one go. It looks like a lot of departments went down that route. I think that's what we should start off with. Then we could look at passing the law making it illegal to remove someone from their job because they are a werewolf, or to refuse someone a job based on those grounds."

"Excellent." They discussed their tactics for another half an hour or so, deciding that they would start off small, and then try to pass the more.....controversial of their laws. The St. Mungo's plans would feature third on the list, after the Lycanthropy Employment Act.

"Ted?" said Isadora quietly as he was just about to move to his desk.

"What?" He turned round to see her biting her lip and looking at him nervously.

"I know you really want that liason job - assuming of course we manage to get it - and you know I really want you to get it as well."

"Yeeeessssss....."

"Well - it would help if Roush and Mockridge knew about your father....about why you feel so strongly about this. If you want, I could tell them."

"No. I knew they'd have to - that more people here would have to know sometime. I just wanted everyone to get to know me for me first. Makes them look bigots if they turn on me just because of something my father couldn't control. If it comes up in the meeting we have with Roush and Mockridge, then I'll tell them myself. I'm not going to hide behind you." As Ted returned to his desk he heard Isadora say through a burst of quiet laughter that she was proud of him.

Just before six thirty, Ted and Caro flooed into the Potters' house in Godric's Hollow and instantly came face to face with the chaos of a Potter/Weasley gathering as Freddie, Roxie and Lily ran past, screaming their hellos as they ran into the hallway and up the stairs. Ted grinned as he took Caro's hand and wandered into the kitchen, the hub of the Potter home, and the place he knew he would find everyone. Willa and a few of the other, younger, members of the DRCMC had asked him to the Leaky for a few, but Ted wouldn't skip a party with the Potters for the world.

"Evening", said Ted with a grin as he walked into the kitchen. He could see that though not first to arrive, they were by no means last. George, Angelina, Bill and Fleur stood with drinks, chatting away to Ginny, who was cooking, and Harry, who was gathering cutlery with which to set the table.

"Ted! Lovely to see you", said Ginny, moving over from the stove to hug him tightly. "Nice to see you again, Caro. Would you both like a drink?" Minutes later, they were holding a Butterbeer and Gillywater respectively.

"Who else is coming again?" asked Ted.

"Just Ron and Hermione and the kids", Ginny replied, stirring something and then checking what looked like a pie of some description. "I asked Luna and Rolf, but they are away in Swaziland at the moment on some expedition or other and won't be back until next Tuesday or Thursday, I can't remember which. It was a 'T' day anyway. And Percy and Audrey already had dinner plans with his boss."

"That smells lovely", said Caro. "What have you made?"

"Thank you. Chicken, ham and leek pie. There are potatoes and vegetables to go with it as well." They had just started talking about their mutual shock realisations that the following day was the first of December, and therefore the unofficial start of the festive period, when a slightly harassed looking Ron came through the back door, followed by Hermione, Hugo and Rosie.

"Hey kids, the rest of them are upstairs. I'll order the pizza in a few minutes. Just head on up." Harry turned round to the rest of them. "The cat's asleep under the stairs. Merlin knows how she can sleep with all the noise they're making, but....."

"I've always found that animals adapt to their surroundings and circumstances much better than humans do", said Hermione briskly.

"Harry, Roxie is on a vegetarian kick at the moment, so make sure her pizza doesn't have anything identifiable as meat on it", Angelina told him. "My sister-in-law has given up meat partly in the hope that it'll help her shift the last of the baby weight left over from when she had little Allegra last Christmas and partly because some Quidditch player or other she idolises is one, and she's converted Roxie to the cause." Harry laughed.

"I'll order a couple of vegetarian ones and a couple of meat ones, then", said Harry. "Actually, I should really order now; they'll start getting busy soon." He moved out into the hallway, where Ted knew the telephone was kept. Ted had been in awe of it the first time he had seen the instrument, and had been extremely excited when he had been permitted to actually use it for the first time.

"How was your trip?" asked Hermione. "I haven't been to France for years; my parents took me once when I was younger."

"Excellent, thank you", said Ted. "We loved it. Paris is beautiful, and I really, really want to go back sometime."

"Its a beautiful country", said Hermione, nodding in Fleur's direction. Angelina and Caro started a conversation about fashion - Angelina asking for advice on a Christmas present for her clothes-conscious sister-in-law - when Harry asked Ted if he wanted to come with him to pick up the pizzas.

"Don't worry, I won't be long", Ted assured Caro as he put on a coat Harry handed him. She would be alright; she and Angelina were deep in conversation about fashion, and if that topic came to an end then Ted knew Ginny would look after Caro.

"Wow, its cold", said Ted as he and Harry stepped outside the front door. Both immediately cast warming charms; the coats they wore were designed to deflect suspicion from any muggles they passed.

"Al and Lily getting excited about Christmas yet?" asked Ted as they walked along the street to the muggle take-away.

"They've dropped a couple of hints about what they want, but that's all", said Harry. "How about you? Have you started your shopping yet?"

"I've got a couple of things. Some people are hard to buy for, so I'm usually running around at the last minute with things still to do." Vic could be one of those people, but it was worse this year; he was stumped for present ideas. While Ted wanted to get her something really special, he also wanted to avoid over-stepping the mark and giving her something that screamed 'I like you more than I should so please leave your boyfriend and go out with me instead'.

"Listen, while its just you and me, I just want to say how relieved I am that you've worked through your confusion about you and Caro."

"Hm?"

"That girl that you had a crush on - I take it that's over and done with, what with your trip to Paris and everything."

"Oh. That", said Ted softly. "Yeah, it turned out the relationship she was in was more serious than I though. I should never have thought anything of it. I'm trying to figure everything out with Caro. I owe it to her to try to sort things out and move forward with her." And I should really be more loyal to her and stop thinking about Vic. But I just can't seem to do so.....

Ted instantly and smoothly changed the subject, talking about how he would like to expand his holidaying horizons now that he had been abroad for the first time.

As far as Ted could remember, Ginny had always been a marvellous cook; she had been cooking for him since he'd been a small child, spending the odd weekend with Harry and Ginny. Tonight was no exception, and there was none of her dinner left over when Fleur became the last of them to put down her cutlery for the last time.

"That was amazing", sighed George. "Mum taught you right, Gin."

"Thanks. There's still pudding to come. I made an apple and blackberry crumble and custard."

"Will that be ready soon?" asked Ron hopefully.

"How are you still hungry?" asked Hermione, who was patting her stomach and had already declared herself fit to burst. Her husband simply shrugged his shoulders and muttered that he was always hungry, and she should know that by now.

"I'll put it on to warm up now", said Ginny as she gathered the plates together and then took them through to the kitchen. She must have been getting the childrens' pudding as well, because Ted could hear her yelling for them to come down for ice cream.

Conversation broke out up and down the table; Ron, Harry and George started talking about Quidditch, Hermione was asking Caro more about France, and Angelina was asking Fleur for news of Dom, Louis and Vic. Ted joined in with the Quidditch conversation, talking about the festive matches taking place over the next few weeks.

"........pretty much decide whether or not Appleby have any chance of the title", Ron was saying. "They're playing the Magpies, Harpies and Portree. If they can will all of those matches, then that puts them in a good position for the rest of the season."

"Yeah, they've definitely got the toughest few weeks of the top teams", agreed Harry. "Are you going to many of the Magpies matches over the next few weeks, Ted?"

"A few. They're playing at home next weekend and the weekend after, and then again on the 28th. One of those games is against the Kestrels and I know the one just after Christmas is against the Falcons, but I can't remember who the third one is against; they're playing away at the Arrows stadium on Sunday." He made a mental note to write to Vic about the Falcons match; Wes had told, rather than asked, him to bring her to that match so that she could catch up with him and Rowland and meet Mari and Katya.

"You must get pretty good seats when you go", said George.

"They're not too bad", Ted shrugged. He turned to Harry. "Al seems to like them anyway. If I forget could you tell him that I've got an extra ticket for the Kestrels game? I just need to double check the tickets to see if they're for next weekend or the one after." Harry nodded.

"Al looking forward to James coming home for Christmas?" asked Ron. Harry laughed.

"He is, but he would never ever admit it to anyone. And you can bet that they'll spend a fair bit of the fortnight winding each other up, James showing off about being at school and Al pretending that everything here is so much better without his big brother around."

"Sounds familiar, eh Ron?" said George, nudging his brother.

They were all interrupted by Ginny arriving with pudding, which proved to be just as delicious as the pie they'd just eaten and left them all stuffed full as they sat in the sitting room drinking tea and Butterbeer afterwards. Around nine, Caro nudged Ted and whispered in his ear that they really should be going.

"Yeah, we probably should", he agreed. Caro raised an eyebrow at him, and Ted reminded her that the bathroom was at the top of the stairs.

"Young people today, can't handle a night out, eh?" grinned Bill as Caro stood up. The rest of them laughed.

"What can I say, I like my peace and quiet."

"Don't I know it", said Caro as she was leaving the room. "When we were in Paris I wanted to see everything, all the nightlife and so on - but Ted would have been quite happy sitting in some cafe we found in the magical quarter. On the Rue de L'Auvergne, I think it was. Ted couldn't get enough of it."

"I'll give the kids a shout so they can come down and say goodbye", said Ginny, following Caro out of the room.

"Teddy, ze cafe you went to in Paris....deed it 'ave lots of French pictures? With a leetle old lady sitting in ze corner?"

"Yeah, that sounds about right - well the little old lady was only there once. Why? Do you know the place? Its not owned by relations of yours that I have now mortally offended by not automatically knowing who they are, is it?" Fleur laughed.

"You are so funny, Teddy! Non, zere is a leetle cafe on ze Rue de L'Auvergne zat Victoire adores. A sweet place zat we always go to for ze 'hot chocolate."

"Its probably not the same place", said Ted hurriedly, a million thougts about Vic and how perfect it would be if it were the same place running through his head. "After all, there were dozens of cafes on that street. It would have to be a pretty big coincidence for it to be the same one. I mean, the odds on that....."

"Ludo Bagman would give you pretty good ones", put in George with a grin. It was in the midst of their laughter at this quip that Caro, Al and Lily entered the room.

"What's so funny?" asked Lily.

"Ludo Bagman", replied Ted. "Come here for a hug, Lily bean." When she came over, Ted hugged his surrogate little sister, and grinned at Al, before telling him about the Quidditch tickets. Al's face lit up.

"Ted, we really should be going", repeated Caro.

"Yeah", he said vaguely. "Nice to see you all again." He wandered round them, hugging and shaking hands.

"Ginny, that food was amazing. I don't know when this weekend I'll be hungry again", Ted told her as he hugged her tightly. "See you all soon!"

He was so completely screwed.

Vic suddenly became aware of a hand waving between her face and the lunch she was staring at. Looking to the direction the hand was coming from, Vic saw a concerned Nat looking back at her.

"So you are still with us then?"

"Sorry", muttered Vic. "I was....thinking about something."

"Anything exciting? It was like you were off in another world."

"Not really." Liar. "Just thinking about my Arithmancy essay."

"Must be a corker", Nat grinned.

"Sorry I'm late", said Evan, joining them. "There was loads of clearing up to do at the end of Potions." He kissed Vic's cheek before sitting down on the other side of her from Nat. He had brought Felicia and her boyfriend Stephen with him.

"I'm so glad its almost the weekend", said Stephen as he helped himself to some of the sausage casserole that was laid out on the table. "Just this afternoon and tomorrow and then - two whole days where I decide how I spend my time and not whoever had the job of sorting out this year's class timetable." Vic grinned; she too was looking forward to the weekend. It was only just over two weeks until the end of term and all of her teachers seemed to view the approaching holidays as a sign that their students would like longer, harder essays to complete, as well as the odd end-of-term test.

"Do you have to have practice tonight?" Stephen asked Felicia. "Its really cold out....wouldn't you be better off snuggled up to me next to the fire in the common room?" He wrapped an arm round her. Felicia made a face at him.

"And it'll probably still be cold when we play Hufflepuff in February so we have to be used to playing in those sort of conditions. You saw how well Ravenclaw did in their match last weekend - they annihilated Hufflepuff."

"Yeah, so they'll be a pushover", said Stephen as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"No, so we need to equal or better their result. This thing could still come down to points difference, we have to be ready for anything. We have to work harder, not take it easier if we want to retain the cup. I thought maybe with Edmund being Head Boy this year that might take away some of the time he had to spend on Quidditch, but looks like he really lucked out with Becca being so organised about everything."

"You should come down and watch us, mate - get an idea of just how hard we have to practice", suggested Evan between mouthfuls.

"No", said Felicia harshly. "We don't need any distractions. If Stephen comes down then everyone will start bringing someone and it'll turn into a party - and it gives the other teams a chance to use Polyjuice to infiltrate our practice sessions."

"Wow!" Stephen exclaimed. "I'm not sure I really realised before just how seriously you take Quidditch." Felicia gave him a look that clearly said if he had a problem with that now was the time to say something, and Vic bit her tongue at the thought of the lengths Felicia had gone to spying on other teams. She clearly gave as good as she got, even if that meant playing dirty.

"You're really quiet", Evan whispered in Vic's ear.

"I'm tired, that's all", she said, pushing away her plate. She wasn't hungry and didn't know why she'd taken so much food; it was a terrible waste.

"Are you sure you're alright? You've been quiet like this for a couple of days now......"

"I'm tired", Vic repeated. "I have six essays and two translations to do by the beginning of next week, as well as end-of-term exams in all of my classes over the next week or so. Actually, that reminds me - I need to go and get a couple of books out of the library. I'll see you guys later." She kissed Evan goodbye and waved her hand lightly in Nat's direction to let her best friend know that she was alright.

On her way out, Vic smiled at James, who waved back at her. He had been silent for a couple of days after she'd got him into detention, and then suddenly started talking to her again as if nothing had happened. James had, however, complained to her after his detention that he suspected his mother had mentioned something to his Head of House before he'd started school about using Quidditch to punish him. Feeling guilty, Vic had mentioned this in the next letter she'd sent her aunt; she knew her godmother would see the funny side of things.

Wandering up to the library, where she did have to pick up a couple of books for her charms essay on protection and security charms, Vic allowed her thoughts to turn to the real reason she had been wandering around in a dream world for the past two day - Ted. She'd figured her thoughts a couple of weeks before were just dread at the thought of him marrying Caro, who would then take Ted away from her. But then two days before, she had received a letter from Ted. As well as telling her about the approaching meeting he had that could have a lasting impact on his career, Ted had casually mentioned that he'd supposed her parents had told her of their certainty that they both loved the same cafe in the magical quarter in Paris. He was sure that couldn't be the case, given the sheer number of them, but it had hit Victoire hard. There was a sweet little cafe Tante Gabrielle had introduced her to when she'd been ten or eleven, and since then they had gone a couple of times each year during the summer holidays. And there was a part of Vic that she suddenly realised had wanted to introduce Ted to that cafe herself.

A little piece of jealousy inside her that had grown and grown to the point where she wanted to physically rip it out from her gut.

She'd started thinking more and more over the past few days about Ted. No, that was a lie. She'd been thinking about him more and more in recent weeks that all of a sudden it had crept up on her - the fact that she thought of him more often than her own boyfriend. Merlin, was her head in a mess! Vic had started thinking again as well of that dream....that dream that, unknown to anyone else, she'd had once again two nights ago, after Ted's letter had arrived.

Vic shook her head; she had to stop thinking about Ted. She had to - there was no other option. Ted had Caro and she had Evan. She loved Evan. That became her mantra.

By that evening, Vic's mantra must have been having some effect because Nat commented as they completed their Herbology homework in the common room that she seemed much brighter and alert than she had the previous couple of days. They were just finishing Professor Longbottom's essay when Persephone, the girlfriend of Evan's friend Eddie, wandered down from her dormitory carrying copious amounts of red and gold tinsle, which she hung up around the fireplace in addition to the decorations that had been put up by the prefects and house elves earlier that week.

"There! What do you think?" she asked once she'd finished. Persephone stood back and looked at her handiwork,her happy nods indicating that she was more than satisfied with her work.

"Excellent", said Nat.

"Fabulous!" seconded Vic. She had always loved Christmas.

"I really do think its amazing", repeated Vic, hearing the stifled laughter of her dorm-mates Ava and Kara from where they sat with their friend Erykah nearby.

"I'm a bit of a Christmas fanatic", Persephone admitted. "I suppose it comes from having so many younger brothers and sisters. I'm used to being excited about it. How about you two? Do you have anything exciting planned for the holidays?"

"Catching up with my boyfriend and my parents, really", said Nat. She explained to Persephone - though Vic was sure she already knew - that Dylan was a muggle.

"How about you, Persephone?" asked Vic.

"Big family Christmas. There are six of us, plus numerous cousins, aunts and uncles and it just descends into a massive party with far too much food..."

"Sounds a lot like my Christmas", said Vic, grinning. "There's usually about thirty of us sitting down to Christmas dinner."

"Try forty - fifty", said Persephone.

"That's a lot of Christmas presents", whistled Nat.

"Persephone telling you about her massive family, then?" said Eddie as the Quidditch contingent appeared as if from nowhere.

"Of course I have", she replied, before kissing him softly.

"Hey, you never said what you were doing for Christmas, Vic", Persephone said after detatching herself from her boyfriend's lips.

"Oh, just the usual I guess. I have a big family as well, and there's Christmas brunch at my grandparents' house then dinner at night at Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny's house.....they usually have a party at new year as well. Oh, and I'm going to the Magpies/Falcons match between Christmas and new year too; I know I've told you before that Ted's friend Wes plays for the Magpies. He's got me a ticket for that match so I can meet his new girlfriend and Rowland's Mari as well."

"Magpies/Falcons?" said Felicia in awe. "That could end up being a top of the table clash, you know."

"Oh. To be honest, I'm just going to see Ted, Rowland and Wes. Its been weird not having them around." The conversation became about Christmas and the approaching holidays, and looking around her, Vic couldn't help but feel excited that the festive season was upon them, and think of the holidays that were rapidly approaching.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; December 10th, 2011 at 5:51 pm.
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  #36  
Old December 17th, 2011, 1:04 am
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Thanks again to nevillesgal, blueowl, James_Potter7 and jag0324 for their feedback. You shall all rock out this Christmas!!!!

I can't quite believe how far through this fic we are already, but here goes.....

Chapter 36



Ted let out a deep breath he didn't know he had been holding in; he and Isadora had finally finished the presentation they had been working towards for months, this meeting having been delayed further by Mockridge's last-minute trip to a conference on Vampires in Uzbekistan. It was now the middle of December, and Ted felt like he was starting to really accomplish the things he had set out to do when he'd begun the process of applying to work in the DRCMC.

"You have both evidently put a lot of work into this project", said Mockridge. "I know you are passionate about this issue, Miss Cavendish, and I can see that young Mr. Lupin here shares your enthusiasm."

"Thank you, sir", said Isadora as Ted nodded. He was desperate to hear what they thought about the content, and how much of it they were willing to let them attempt to turn into law.

"I concur", said Roush. "Now, as to the laws you wish to pass. I see no issue with the Omnibus measure to repeal the laws brought in by Dolores. Do you Cuthbert?" Mockridge shook his head. "I believe that several other departments have passed such laws relating to areas of their responsibility. The majority of the Wizengamot feel that the draconian legislation of that era should be repealed in almost all cases. You will encounter some resistance from old-timers, and indeed from some newer members, but the last war aside we've yet to pass a law - in this department at least - following a unanimous vote."

"We know that there will be some resistance and prejudice to fight through", said Isadora. "But we are more than capable of standing up to the challenge, and it will ensure that the legislation we pass faces the scrutiny required to give it as much polish as possible."

"Quite so. As Roush says, you may face a fight - not on the Omnibus bill, but on some of the other items on your shopping list."

"We figured that would be the case", said Ted. "But we would like the opportunity to at least try to get them passed into law."

"We feel its better to have fought for it and lost than not to have fought for it at all", added Isadora, turning to Ted and giving him a comforting smile.

"Well, in that case you'll have a great deal of fighting to do", said Roush. "Now, next there is the matter of the Lycanthropy Employment Act. I certainly have no issues with this, though again I think some members of the Wizengamot will. Cuthbert?"

"I concur. Next we have the liason post you wish to set up with St. Mungo's Hospital. I believe you have already had meetings with some Healers regarding this?" Ted and Isadora nodded, and then she went through details of the discussions they had held with the Healer-in-Chief of St. Mungo's and some of the senior Healers.

"Yes, I have spoken with the Healer-in-Chief, and he certainly had no issues with it - in fact, he seemed to think it an excellent idea to further out-patient care. After all, at the moment all the Healers have time to do is give them the basics of dealing with and monitoring the condition", said Roush. He turned to Mockridge.

"Mr. Lupin, Miss Cavendish has been most insistent about your name being at the top of any list for such a post. Now, both Rushton and myself are hesitant, to say the least, about handing such responsibility to someone so young and inexperienced."

"I understand", said Ted.

"Miss Cavendish has also hinted that there were extenuating circumstances that would make you the person for the job. We also looked at your original application to work in the department, in which you stated that you actually knew a werewolf - something that had been a factor in taking the decision to apply."

"Yes, that's correct", sighed Ted. He took a deep breath and mentally crossed his fingers that they would not instantly turn against him because of what he was about to say.

"My father was bitten by a werewolf." He was pleased to note that their faces showed curiosity rather than revulsion.

"Was the offending werewolf punished?"

"I doubt it", snorted Ted. "I never met my father's parents, but I think that they wouldn't have wanted to bring any attention to the fact he had been bitten. They managed to keep it secret for years from what I've been told. For Greyback to be punished, they would have needed to report it, but to do that would have made it public."

"Fenrir Greyback?" said Roush in surprise. "But I thought he - your father was bitten as a child?" Ted nodded.

"When he was about six or seven years old. Like I said, there's a lot I don't know. What I do know is that only his closest friends and family knew for many years that he had been bitten. And his teachers, of course."

"Teachers?" Mockridge was almost apoplectic. "You don't mean to say he went to Hogwarts?!"

"Yeah. Dumbledore apparently - "

"I might have known", said Roush. "You know as well as I do Cuthbert that they are few wizards alive today as eccentric as Albus Dumbledore could be at times."

"True. But, your mother - how can she have married him knowing what he was? How could her family have let her?"

"Because she loved him", said Ted stonily. It seemed to him that Mockridge's tolerance was more evident in theory than in practice.

"And given that my grandparents married without the consent of my grandmother's parents, I think they didn't want to lose their daughter the same way. My grandmother said once that the fact that my father had been such a good friend to her cousin, the only family member that had time for her after she married, counted for a lot too. So I know how it feels to face the prejudice that the werewolves I would be helping. And.....my father died during the Battle of Hogwarts before I was a month old, as did my mother, so he won't benefit from any of these laws we're trying to pass. But I like to think that he would be proud of me for trying."

"Well, that I was not expecting", said Roush. "Wait a moment.....Lupin - was your father the Remus Lupin that was fired from Hogwarts after going on the rampage during a full moon?"

"He did not go on the rampage", said Ted hotly. "He missed out taking ONE dose of Wolfsbane because he was in shock after finding out that someone he had thought dead had actually been alive and in hiding for more than a decade, and that the friend he had thought a traitor was innocent. And he wasn't sacked. He resigned. And in spite of it all, Albus Dumbledore still had enough faith in him to get him involved in the Order of the Phoenix again." He could feel the tips of his hair turn red and checked his anger. It wouldn't do to lose control now; Ted wanted the liason job they were hopefully creating more than ever.

"I think what Ted is trying to say is that he understands that werewolves are first and foremost a victim. They have been bitten. They do not chose to have this happen to them", said Isadora, possibly sensing Ted's feelings.

"Yes, well", said Roush heavily, looking at Mockridge and making Ted wish that he had learned legilimency. "I think we have established that you have a unique background and Miss Cavendish is right - any newly-bitten werewolf would have a strong advocate in you, Mr. Lupin."

"Thank you", said Ted quietly.

"Rushton and I will consult with a cross-section of members of the Wizengamot to get some feedback on the legislation you have proposed, and we will meet again with the Healer-in-Chief about the possibility of setting up a liason post with St. Mungo's Hospital", said Mockridge. He stood up, as did Roush.

"Miss Cavendish, Mr. Lupin." Mockridge left, quickly followed by Roush, leaving Ted and Isadora alone in the meeting room.

"Wow!" exclaimed Isadora.

"Thanks, by the way. I think it was - I shouldn't have got riled up like that. Its weird....sometimes people say stuff to me or around me about my father, or about werewolves generally and I just get really quiet and can't say anything. Others - well, you saw how I was."

"Did your grandparents really elope? When I was a teenager I was desperate to elope - I thought it was the height of romance."

"They did. Her parents didn't approve of her marrying a muggle-born. Of course, that probably wasn't the term they used.....but, yeah. They eloped, she left the house with only the robes she had on and her wand. I worry about her a lot given what happened to my grandfather and my mother during the war, but the truth is Grams is tougher than she looks."

"I can't imagine banishing someone from my family because of who they married."

"My grandmother comes from a very old, very traditional family", Ted assured her. "She was lucky my grandfather came along and saved her from it, really. If he hadn't she would have been forced to marry some upstanding pure-blood that she was probably related to just like her sisters were. I think she made the right choice even if it did come at the price of being burned off Aunty Walburga's family tapestry."

"Wow. They sound pretty hardcore."

"Yeah, and determined to disown anyone with a liberal attitude to half-bloods, muggle-borns and muggles. My mother was only the second one in the family not to be sorted into Slytherin. The first was disowned before he was of age and ended up moving in with his best friend's family. He's dead now - he died a couple of years before I was born - but I would have liked to have known him. He was a good friend of my father's."

"So you don't speak to anyone on your mother's side of the family other than your grandmother?"

"Nope. My grandmother doesn't really either. She sees her sister every so often, bumps into her in the street, and they say hello. That's about it. They didn't used to, not for years, but Grams says the war 'changed' her sister."

"Roush was right about something in any case - you do have a unique background." Ted laughed nervously.

"That I do", he admitted, starting to gather together the papers they had brought with them. "I hope that what I said isn't going to get round the department in ten seconds flat, though. I don't want to be the object of people's pity. That's worse for some reason than being a victim of their prejudice."

"I agree. And if word does get around, it won't come from me." Isadora started laughing.

"What?"

"Its just - you mentioned your father was involved in the Order of the Phoenix." Ted nodded. "Ten guesses which member of the Wizengamot Roush and Mockridge will speak to now that you've mentioned that?"

"Probably either Hermione or the Minister", said Ted, scratching an itch on the side of his face.

"I meant Hermione, but that brings up another interesting point - with the whole Order thing do you know the Minister of Magic?"

"A little", Ted admitted. "Well, he knows my godfather and he knew my parents. He actually worked with my mother when she joined the Auror Office, aside from all the stuff with the Order."

"You should have mentioned that in the meeting! Mockridge is sick of heading the DRCMC - he wants promotion, and if you'd said that you knew the Minister......we could have whatever we wanted!" Ted laughed.

"I really don't know him that well. I see him a few times a year, he asks how I'm getting on, and tells me the odd funny story about one of my parents", shrugged Ted. "And I would really like this to not be spread around. I don't want people thinking they can get to him through me, or that I have some kind of influence with him - something that, in truth, is non-existent."

"Well, they won't hear it from me. You're an odd one, Ted Lupin."

"Yeah, I've been told that before."

Miles away at Hogwarts, winter had really started to set in, and the grounds had been covered in snow for more than a week now. Vic only left the castle to go to Herbology, and on seeing those that took Care of Magical Creatures return from their lessons rigged out in scarves, gloves and woolly hats, was glad once again that she had not taken that particular subject. In fact, Potions, in which she could warm her hands on the small fires that burned to heat their work, had become Vic's new favourite subject.

As she warmed her hands yet again while her Essence of Enthusiasm was bubbling away, Vic held her hands as close to the flames as possible, adding to the almost permanent warming charm she walked around Hogwarts surrounded by.

"What are you laughing at? I'm cold", insisted Vic as she caught Nat laughing at her. "I live in Cornwall. Its warmer there."

"True. But I hardly live in the North Pole, and I manage fine", Nat responded as she cleared away some of the ingredients they would no longer need.

"I guess. I'm glad its finally Friday."

"Me too. Its today Ted has that big presentation, isn't it?" Vic nodded.

"Again, finally. It was meant to be last Friday but it was postponed."

"Only another week and you'll be at King's Cross meeting him."

"Actually I think he'll be meeting me. Or more accurately he'll be meeting James."

"Vic, he's your best friend. He'll be meeting you as well."

"I guess", she smiled softly. Vic had done a lot of soul searching over the previous few weeks, and could only come to one real conclusion - she was completely and utterly confused. She still felt so much for Evan, and yet she was starting to feel more than friendship for Ted as well. Though perhaps what confused her more than anything was that as she thought back to January and onwards and her reaction to their new year kiss as well as the kiss itself, it hit Vic that maybe she'd started feeling more than friendship for Ted for longer than she'd figured on. Not that she'd told anyone. Nat seemed to sense something was up, given how distant Vic had been recently, but perhaps she, like Evan, put it down to Vic's stress over her schoolwork.

"Do you have any of these end of term assessments left?" Nat asked as they gave their potions a final few stirs.

"Just Arithmancy on Monday and Runes on Tuesday. We've had everything else. You?"

"Care of Magical Creatures on Tuesday, though knowing Hagrid I doubt it'll be as horrific as the other ones." Vic smiled; she'd always had a soft spot for Hagrid.

"I'm really looking forward to Hogsmeade tomorrow", said Vic. "I still have some Christmas shopping to do. As it is I think I'll need to go to Diagon Alley between when we get home and Christmas Day."

"Yeah, I'll need to get the stuff for Dylan and my father once I get home as well. I cannot wait to see Dylan! Its alright for you, having your own Gryffindor Tower boyfriend, but I haven't seen Dylan for three and a half months. I know I've written to him, but its not the same."

"It isn't", agreed Vic, thinking against her better judgement about Ted. "You want to tell him everything, yet you can't because really your letters can only be so long and you forget little things that you wouldn't if you saw him everyday. And you.....you wish you could see him at the end of the day, to talk about how everything was but you can't be in two places at once and a letter is never the same as a conversation. Its so much harder to really talk properly."

"Exactly!" exclaimed Nat as Professor Winstanton called time on their potions and asked them to bring a named sample to the front. "If I didn't know you better Vic I would say that you're in a long distance relationship too."

"I was just thinking about how it was between Evan and I during the holidays", blurted out Vic, saying the first thing she thought of. "I figured it would be roughly the same for you and Dylan while we we're here. Though obviously you have the added thing of him not knowing you're a witch and studying things like this and Transfiguration and not whatever it is you've told him you're taking."

"History, Literature and Politics", said Nat promptly. "That's what I've told him I'm studying. I read a lot, and I know enough about the other two from my mother and from reading when I've been at home to blag my way through it. I also picked subjects he wasn't interested in so we couldn't compare coursework."

"Crafty. Are you sure that you wouldn't have been better suited to Slytherin?"

"From what I hear, my scandalous muggle blood would bar me from entering that hallowed House."

"So close and yet so far."

"That's always the way", said Nat as she wrote her name on a label and affixed it to a tube holding a sample of her potion and turned to head to the front of the class to hand in her work.

That evening, they headed to the library after dinner. They would not study that night - Vic had declared in first year that doing homework on a Friday night ruined the start of the weekend and took away its magic - but they did have some books to return to the library, having taken them out to finish a Charms essay in the common room after curfew the previous evening.

"I think I'm going to look at inter-species with a focus on reptile to mammal, or maybe the other way around", said Nat as they discussed their Transfiguration projects on their way back to Gryffindor Tower. Willoughby had asked them all to pick an area of the subject and present detailed essays and discussion groups on the subject. As it would take up so much time, their presentations would commence after the holidays and last until mid-February with one or two classes a week devoted to it.

"I've been thinking about doing mine on the Animagus transformation", said Vic. "I know it sounds simple, but its pretty complex." She hoped that perhaps the journals Ted had told her about included details of the process, but wasn't sure if she should ask him to let her see something so personal.

"I think that would be really cool, being an Animagus", said Nat dreamily.

"Yeah, unless after years of work you found that your animal self was something really dull."

"True. Its a pity you can't find out what your Animagus form would be until you've actually done all the work and finally made the transformation."

"I think I'll speak to Uncle Harry about it over the holidays. His father was one. So was his godfather."

"While I love having the best of both worlds, being here and then having my muggle family at home, I have to admit that I do envy you having such an encyclopedic knowledge of this world in your family. Whatever you need information on, one of them knows something about it, or has done it, or knows someone that's done it." Vic laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"I envy what you have sometimes. The knowledge of a completely different world."

"I guess its human nature to want what you can't have."

"Yeah", said Vic, thinking of Ted. "I guess it is."

"Honeydukes", said Nat as they reached the fat lady's portrait; the password had just been changed earlier that day.

As they stepped into the common room, the first thing Vic saw was Evan tightly cradling a tearful Felicia in his arms, and she ran over to the fireplace, where they sat opposite Persephone, Eddie and Mark, to find out what had happened. Felicia was a tough cookie, who rarely cried. She seemed to Vic at times to be above such human emotions.

"What's wrong? Did something happen?" asked Vic urgently.

"Sorry, I'm just being silly", said Felicia, her hands clinging tightly onto Evan's robes. "Stephen and I just had a stupid argument."

"You're not being silly", insisted Evan as he rubbed Felicia's back with a concerned look on his face.

"I am", Felicia responded as she drew out a tissue and started to blow her nose. "I should never have said that I'd thought about an all-day tomorrow. That's what set him off."

"I'm sure it was all just a misunderstanding", said Vic, kneeling down and looking at Felicia with just as much concern as Evan was. "What exactly happened?"

"We - I mentioned that I had considered organising an all-day practice for tomorrow because we're all going away for the holidays next week and I wanted to make sure everyone was in good condition before the break. In the end I decided against it because I figured it wasn't fair to cut in on what could be some people's last chance to get Christmas presents, and I scheduled a couple of sessions for next week. Stephen said I should never have even thought about scheduling it for tomorrow because it was "our" time away from the castle and everyone and he implied - or maybe it was just that I thought he had implied - that Quidditch was nothing compared to our relationship, and then the yelling started."

"When I came in from dinner there was a lot of yelling", added Evan. Felicia managed a small, forced laugh at this.

"I think maybe he just didn't realise how important Quidditch is to you", suggested Vic. "I mean, I know Stephen a little since we're both prefects and he's always come across as really nice."

"He is a nice guy", said Persephone from behind Vic. "Its just - when people are angry or upset they say things they don't really mean."

"Exactly", said Vic.

"He's up in the dorm just now", said Evan. "You should go up there and talk things through with him. My mother always says you should never go to sleep on an argument."

"And we all know she gives the best advice", said Felicia with a soft smile. "As well as making the best chicken soup ever. Yeah, I'll go up and talk to him about it. Wouldn't want to be without a date for Hogsmeade tomorrow - that would be tragic."

"Well the sarcasm is back", said Mark as Felicia went upstairs.

"I was really worried", said Vic as she sat down in Felicia's place beside Evan. "I thought something really awful had happened, that someone had died or something. But I suppose to Felicia it was something awful."

"Not really", said Eddie. "As much as she likes Stephen I think Quidditch is probably the most important thing in her life just now. Well, its more important than him at least. I think its the thought of that getting to her more than anything."

"I hope they make up", said Nat. "I mean, its almost Christmas and I hate being miserable at this time of year."

"Me too", agreed Vic, snuggling in closer to Evan.

Felicia came back down about an hour later with Stephen in tow and a large grin on her face, seemingly having made up with her boyfriend. Later on that night, Nat took advantage of an empty dorm room to ask Vic about Felicia.

"Vic, I'm going to say something that might make you mad, but please know that I'm only saying this because I'm your friend and its therefore my job to look after you."

"Okay."

"Its just - I've had this theory for a while, and I never really mentioned it, but after tonight........I think Felicia has a thing for Evan." Vic burst into laughter.

"Really? You think so? I don't see it."

"Its just - she's always around him and his partner in every project he has to do, and I don't know, it just seems like as much as possible everywhere he goes she follows."

"They take the same classes and they're best friends", Vic argued. "That's it. Girls can be best friends with a guy without one of them being attracted to the other." As she said that she felt guilty again about not saying anything about her growing feelings for Ted to Nat.

"I agree they can. I'm just saying in this instance the girl is attracted to the guy."

"I'm not going to get all.....Caro about the fact that my boyfriend's best friend is a girl. I know what it is to be the suspected best friend in love and I'm not going to put Felicia through that. I know from experience how horrible it is, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone", said Vic as she pulled on her pyjamas.

"Like I said, its just an opinion. More of a thought, really. I'm just saying you should watch out. I may be wrong. I may be right. We'll find out at some point in the future."

"I'm sure its not", muttered Vic as she went to brush her teeth. But as she hung over the sink in the bathroom attached to their dormitory, she though about how she would feel if that were the case and found it hard to come up with a reaction. Oddly, what she did feel was guilt - guilt that she had more than friendly feelings for her best friend and couldn't bring herself to admit that to anyone. Merlin, she had difficulty enough admitting it to herself.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; December 20th, 2011 at 8:11 pm.
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  #37  
Old December 23rd, 2011, 8:09 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Thanks yet again to everyone who left feedback. To you, and to everyone else who reads this fic, I hope that you and your families and friends all have a VERY Merry Christmas!


Chapter 37



"This term has gone by so quickly", said Persephone as they all settled into their compartment on the train. "I know that everyone says their last year at Hogwarts goes by the quickest, but I never really believed it until now."

"I agree", said Evan. "Its like this term has disapparated or something. In only a few months we'll be on this train for the last time."

"That's kind of depressing, actually", said Persephone, snuggling into Eddie. "I can't believe that we're so close to leaving."

"I'm not thinking about that. I'm just looking forward to Christmas", said Stephen. He seemed to Vic to have been very careful about what he said over the past week, since he and Felicia had made up, and had not commented on anything Quidditch-related once.

"Me too", Vic gazed dreamily at the white fields and mountains they passed. "I can't wait to see everyone again, and go for walks on the beach and sleep in my own bed." As much as she loved Hogwarts and spending time with her friends, a part of Vic always missed her sweet little home on the Cornish coast, and the room that was all her own. Living for so much of the year in a dormitory with four other girls - three of whom she did not get on with - Vic valued the privacy that being at home afforded her.

The talk then turned to Christmas and their plans for the holidays. Vic listened to everyone describe their plans for Christmas dinner, and new year parties, and complain about how the festivities would be punctuated by the various essays they had been assigned to complete over the holidays. Listening to those in their seventh year, Vic was pleased that she was not due to sit her NEWTs for another year and a half.

"Oh, I completely forgot with the rush of leaving, but I had an owl from my parents this morning to say that my sister will definitely be coming home from Australia for Christmas and new year", said Evan.

"Really?!" exclaimed an excited Felicia. She sat up straight and a big grin grew across her face. "I haven't seen Estella since she moved away. Tell her to floo me so we can catch up properly. You can only say so much in a letter, and I want to see all the photographs she's told me about." She turned to Vic.

"You'll love Estella if you get a chance to meet her."

"Oh", said Vic. She felt a little nervous. From what she'd heard about his sister from Evan, and the fact that she and Felicia seemed to get on really well, Estella sounded like someone very different from Vic. Very sporty and like Felicia a lot more into Quidditch than Vic was.

Vic had to patrol the train corridors for a while mid-afternoon as part of her prefect duties, and ended her timeslot in the carriage her cousins Lucy and Molly sat in with their friends Beatrice, Athena, Delilah and Ciara, all six of them playing a game of exploding snap and eating chocolate frogs.

"Only four days until Christmas", said Lucy's friend Ciara. "I can't wait. It'll be great to be home again and see ma and da and the family. And go wandering through the middle of Dublin on Christmas Day, hearing the bells calling everyone to Mass......"

"I'm really - " Vic found herself interrupted by a knock on the compartment door. Turning round, she saw Evan peering through the glass and grinned. "I better be going. I'll see you when we get in girls. Enjoy the rest of the trip, and you know where I am if you need me."

"Bye Victoire!" they chorused as she wandered out into the corridor to join Evan.

"You were taking so long that I thought I'd come looking for you in case something was wrong", said Evan as he wrapped an arm around Vic.

"I just got talking to Lucy and Molly. Lucy is really excited about Christmas, but she says she'll miss Hogwarts - I think that's a good thing, though, given how homesick she was in September."

"I'm actually glad I've got you on your own for five minutes." Vic looked at him quizzically.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. I don't know if I've ever mentioned it - probably haven't - but its my mother's birthday during the holidays, and I would really like you to come to the party. Meet everyone properly. There will be some muggle relations there so you'll have to be careful about what you say to who, but I would still really like you to come. So would my mother. She wants to get to know you a little, and it would give you a chance to meet my sister."

"Wow", breathed Vic.

"I mean, I figure since I met your family during the summer - "

"No, I would love to, I really would", said Vic earnestly. "Obviously I would need to make sure it would be alright with my parents, but I don't think it would be a problem. When is her birthday?"

"The 28th."

"Ah. That's - that's the day I have the Quidditch match", said Vic. "I told Ted I would go. I haven't seen Wes or Rowland since the summer, and Ted said they really wanted to introduce me to their girlfriends."

"That's an evening match?" Vic nodded.

"I think it starts around seven thirty. Ted said he would pick me up at seven so we could get decent seats, and be able to sit together, all four of us."

"I should have said, it'll be a lunchtime party. Maybe Ted could pick you up from my house?"

"I guess that would work", Vic smiled.

"Good. Now, I suppose we better head back to our compartment before they send out a search party or something."

"Oh, I don't think we need to head back there just yet", said Vic with an evil tint to her smile as she grabbed the front of Evan's robes and brought him in closer.

"Maybe they can wait a little bit longer", he murmured against her lips.

Ted wandered through Flourish and Blotts with an air of desperation following him. He glanced at his watch for what he now discovered was the fifteenth time in just over twenty minutes; the Hogwarts train would arrive at King's Cross in a little under an hour and he had spent the afternoon of the first day of his holidays searching the shops of Diagon Alley for a suitable present for Vic. He had never found it difficult to think of something before. But then, he hadn't felt like this about her before.

He looked around him. Flourish and Blotts - really? What had made him think that he would find something amazing for Vic here?! Ted felt like he had seen the inside of every shop on the street - he'd even gone into Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes to look at the Wonder Witch range. While George's products were top notch, Ted had too much of a conscience to buy something like that for Vic, and from her uncle of all people. They were things that a boyfriend bought for his girlfriend, not something a best friend would give.

What he needed was something personal, something that he could give without everyone realising how he felt about her. Something that he could give without Caro realising that she was right about how he felt about Vic. But at the same time it had to be as special as Vic was.....then it suddenly hit him. He already had something in his flat that he could give Vic. A present that he could add to some chocolates from the Diagon Alley branch of Honeydukes, and which she would love. And Vic was the only person he could see himself giving it to.

Ted quickly glanced at his watch yet again and headed out of Flourish and Blotts and along Diagon Alley to Honeydukes. The heavenly smell of chocolate hit him as soon as he entered the doors of his favourite shop. He picked up a deluxe box of Vic's favourites, and a couple of large bars for himself. If he ever had to give up a food for one reason or another it would never ever be chocolate. On the contrary, if Ted could only choose one food to eat for the rest of his life it would be chocolate.

After he'd waited for what felt like forever in the queue, Ted paid for the chocolate and dropped his purchases off at his flat before passing through the Leaky Cauldron and waving a quick hello to Hannah and her staff as he headed for King's Cross. In spite of the length of time he'd had to queue in Honeydukes, Ted reached the barrier to platform nine and three quarters fifteen minutes before the train was due in. He felt incredibly nervous. It had been a little over three and a half months since he had last seen Vic, and although they had written to each other two, sometimes three, times a week, it was not the same thing.

"Teddy!" He had only been waiting a minute or so when the dulcet tones of Lily Potter announced her arrival. She came running over to Ted and hugged him tightly.

"Hey, Lily bean. How are you? Excited to be seeing James again?" Lily nodded.

"How about you, Al?" He shrugged in response, a moody look on his face. Ted guessed that he was probably looking forward to seeing his older brother again but would never admit to it.

"How are you?" Harry asked. "Enjoying your holidays?"

"Definitely", nodded Ted. "I saved them up, so that's me until the day after the Hogwarts Express goes back."

"Me too."

"Alright for some", smiled Ginny. "There are still matches for the next week or so before I get my winter break. Did you tell Ted what Hermione said yet?"

"What?" Ted frowned.

"That's right - I haven't seen you since Wednesday night. Don't worry, its nothing bad. Hermione told me yesterday that she's been approached by Mockridge and Roush about the laws you and Isadora Cavendish are looking to pass."

"I figured she would be. I told you what happened, and when I mentioned dad was in the Order, I thought it would be her or Kingsley they would talk to......."

"Yeah, she said something like that", grinned Harry. "Apparently they mentioned your father and Hermione told them that we all thought he was the best Defence teacher we ever had and exactly what happened that night. Well, almost exactly. She sort of left out the part where she and I helped a wanted criminal escape on a condemned hippogriff."

"Yeah, Hermione does have those little bouts of memory loss", agreed Ginny. "Shame, really." Ted grinned.

"She also let slip that your father knew Kingsley quite well, amongst other things. Hermione knows that you would ever use anything like that to get somewhere, but she seems to have been as riled up as you were and told them that she would be voting for whatever you put in front of her and that she'd already told you that."

"Yeah, Isadora told me yesterday that apparently they'd both come round on a few things and that they now found that I was qualified enough to be considered for the job if they work out a liason thing between the Ministry and St. Mungo's. That must have been after they'd spoken to Hermione." Ted hated the thought that his connections with the likes of Harry, Hermione and Kingsley had advanced his chances in this way, but maybe in this instance it had been the right thing. Roush and Mockridge had clearly wanted his story corroborated and Hermione was one of the few people that were in a position to do so.

As the train's arrival time approached, they were joined by Percy and Audrey, and then by Bill and Fleur. Finally, students started to filter through the barrier from platform nine and three quarters. Ted looked expectantly through the crowds for any signs of the Potter and Weasleys he was waiting for.

James was the first of the cousins to appear, running through the barrier and over to them, jumping up and down as he high-fived Ted in greeting.

"Hogwarts is awesome!" he proclaimed. As he told them all about his first term, and Quidditch training, chatting away at a hundred miles an hour, Ted kept an eye out for Vic. Finally, he glimpsed her coming through with Nat and with Evan and his friends. Ted started unconsciously to move towards them.

It was Nat that noticed him first, running over and then hugging him tightly. As she did so, Ted looked over her shoulder and felt like he had been kicked in the gut as he saw Vic kissing Evan goodbye. One thing was for sure, the old cliche about absence making the heart grow fonder had some basis in fact. If nothing else, seeing Vic had shown Ted that he did not feel the same way about her now as he had during the summer; he felt more.

"I'll owl you tonight to let you know if I can come to your mother's party", whispered Vic as she hugged Evan goodbye.

"Miss you. Love you", he murmured in return.

"Me too." He gave her another quick kiss and then disapparated.

"Hey", said a familiar voice behind her. Vic whirled round to bring herself face to face with Ted. A little bit dizzy, as she hugged him tightly she decided that whirling around with such speed was a bad idea.

"Ted, I have missed you so much - I am so excited to see you!" Vic squealed, and in that moment her feelings for Ted and the confusion it had caused and everything she felt for Evan fell away, and it was just her and Ted, two best friends that hadn't seen each other in months.

"I missed you too", he told her. Vic took a tiny step back and looked up at Ted, and those feelings came flooding back to her. Pushing them to the side, she asked if he had been waiting long.

"Not really. I finished for the holidays yesterday, and all I really had to do today was some Christmas shopping. I just saw Nat."

"Yeah, I said goodbye to her just before we came through the barrier. I'm going to stay with her for a couple of days after new year. She wants me to meet Dylan, and I love staying at her house anyway. Living properly like a muggle for a few days. I think its facinating!"

"But you can't use magic outside school until you're of age."

"That's not the point. I live with people who can." Ted laughed. "And I should really go and see those people." She dragged her trunk over to where her parents stood and hugged them one by one, Ted just behind her.

"Hey Ted", said Bill as Vic hugged her mother. "How are you? Ready for Christmas?"

"Mostly. You?"

"Pretty much the same." He turned to Vic. "Where are Dom and Louis?"

"They should just be coming, I think. Dom and her friends were sitting at the back of the train, so she'll be near the end of the crowd. Louis is probably talking to someone." As she spoke, Louis came through the barrier chatting away to his fellow Gryffindor Beater, Curtis Kirkwood, and a group of Kirkwood's friends. Over the past few months, Louis had started spending more and more time with them.

"Isn't that the girl from Flourish and Blotts?" said Ted as Vic clocked Louis saying goodbye to the group around him, which included Genie McLaggan.

"Yeah, Dom still can't stand her", muttered Vic. "But she and Louis seem to get on well enough. She's good friends with the other Beater, Kirkwood."

"Oh."

"I don't really like her either, but Louis says she's sorry for what she said."

"It honestly doesn't matter." Though Vic could tell that it sort of did a little.

As Vic had said, Dom was seated near the back of the train and was almost the last to come through the barrier. While they waited, they were joined by Ginny and the rest of the Potters, and Vic had a chance to catch up a little with her aunt. As she did so, Vic was extremely conscious of the fact that Ted remained standing next to her, and aware of almost every slight movement that he made.

She was so completely screwed.

With Dom through, they all took muggle taxis to the Leaky as usual and huddled into the warmth of the wizarding pub where they were greeted by a happy and festive-looking Hannah, who wore earrings in the shape of Christmas trees and had tied her hair up with tinsel. After saying 'hello' to Hannah, Vic instantly headed for the warmth of the fireplace, where she was quickly joined by Ted carrying a couple of butterbeers.

"Thank you", said Vic as she then allowed the warmth of the drink to slip down her throat. "That was sooooo good!" Ted laughed.

"So, what do you have planned for the holidays?" asked Ted. "I know you said that you were staying with Nat for a few days. You're still coming to the Magpies match on the 28th, aren't you?"

"Definitely. I can't wait to meet Mari and Katya. They both sound nice. I just hope they don't treat me like I kid because I'm not of age yet."

"Trust me, they won't. For one thing, it'll be apparent in about ten seconds flat that you're twice as mature as Wes and Rowland put together." Vic laughed.

"I guess. Actually I wanted to talk to you about that day. You see, its also Evan's mother's birthday that day, and he's invited me to her party to meet his family. Its a lunchtime one, so it won't really clash, but if maman and dad say I can go would you be able to pick me up from Evan's instead of mine?"

"Um, yeah, that should be fine." Vic could see that he looked a little put out. "I'm sure that Bill and Fleur won't object."

"And you're sure it wouldn't be any trouble for you to pick me up from there instead?"

"Vic, I would go anywhere for you." Vic chuckled nervously. He obviously spoke as a best friend, and yet there was a part of her, a part that she tried to silence as quickly as it had spoken, that wished he spoke as more than that.

"Hey Vic", said Ginny, coming over to join them. She glanced behind her. "I just wanted to say thank you and sorry for having to deal with James all term. I'll be having words with him to make sure that he doesn't put you in an awkward position like that again." Vic was horrified.

"But I don't want to cause any trouble or anything, I mean - "

"Don't worry, it won't look like you said anything. I'll imply that Neville said something. It'll also make him think that I'm in touch with Neville about what he's up to more than I actually am."

"Sneaky", said Ted.

"I know", she grinned. "Actually, I'm glad you're here too, Ted. I keep meaning to say to you, and then James reminded me when he mentioned her name. Katya Markova."

"What about her?"Ted asked warily.

"I saw her and your friend Wes after the last game. Now, I am a Quidditch journalist, and I will only write about Quidditch. But not everyone is like that."

"Got it", said Ted.

"Ted's taking me along to the next match against the Falcons - he's going to introduce me to her, and to Rowland's new girlfriend", Vic told her aunt.

"Good. It should be a good match, though I know Quidditch isn't really your thing. How's Evan and everything between the two of you?"

"Its.....its really good", said Vic softly. "I'll come over one afternoon and we can sit and drink hot chocolate and have a proper chat about it." She didn't want to force Ted to stand there while she spoke about the boyfriend she knew he disliked.

"Sounds good."

"I actually also wanted to pick Uncle Harry's brains - and yours, Ted."

"Oh?" he said.

"Yeah, I have to do a Transfiguration project, and I'm doing it on the Animagus transformation. I thought maybe Harry might know something because of his father and Sirius, and I wondered, Ted, if you found anything about it in those journals you were telling me about."

"I haven't found anything specific, but I haven't looked at all of them yet. You could come over one afternoon and we could have a look through them and see if there's anything. I would be really interested to see if there was as well", said Ted eagerly. "Actually, why don't you come over tomorrow afternoon? I mean, I know that you're probably not that keen to go straight into your homework at the start of the holidays, but if I provide butterbeer and Honeydukes best chocolate...."

"Then its not really studying", grinned Vic. "Yeah, its a d - a definite thing. Are you sure you want to spend your holiday from work helping me with a Transfiguration project?" She looked at him doubtfully.

"I want to spend time with my best friend. If that means helping you with a project, then so be it."

"Excellent. My poor parents, though; I've only just got back and all I seem to have done today is think and talk about and make plans to be out of the house!" As they laughed, Harry and James came over to stand beside them. As James began to talk to Ted about Quidditch, Vic repeated her request to Harry.

"I wish I could help, but I don't really know anything", he said apologetically. "I know their animal forms, and that it took them a couple, three years, and that they were unregistered. Beyond that........I know someone who does know more though. Prof - Minerva. I can't seem to get out of the habit of calling her 'Professor'. She's coming to the party at new year; she's an Animagus, and she'll be able to give you a few titbits on her own transformation."

"That would be cool", smiled Vic.

"Ted, are you coming back with us for dinner?" Ginny asked, getting herself a reproachful glance from James as she interrupted him.

"No, I'm meeting Caro and her mother for dinner", he replied. "We've got a table booked at Mario's for six." Vic felt her good mood sag a little at the mention of Ted's girlfriend.

"Um, Ted, its twenty past six", said Ginny.

"Already? But - Merlin, my watch has stopped!" A look of panic crossed his face, and as much as she hated Caro, Vic really felt for him; Caro was going to go mental at him.

"I better go - James, I'll come over after dinner and we can finish this conversation then. Vic, I'll floo you tonight to sort out tomorrow, okay?" Vic nodded, and was pleasantly surprised that Ted hugged her tightly before running out the back door full of apologies.

As he ran down Diagon Alley, Ted's mind was caught between thoughts of Vic and how much he wanted her and thoughts of how much trouble he was in with Caro and his guilt at how late he was. He should have kept a closer eye on the time at the Leaky.

As Ted walked, breathless, into the Italian restaurant Caro and her mother adored, he saw them sitting in a small corner at a candle-lit table for three, a smile on Mrs. Wickham's face and Caro's set stonily as she awaited him.

"I'm so sorry", said Ted as he reached their table. "I got a bit distracted - James was going on and on about Quidditch and joining the Gryffindor team and I got a bit caught up with everything. And my watch stopped as well. I really am sorry Mrs. Wickham."

"Don't worry", said Caro's mother. "And how many times have I asked you to call me Bridget?"

"You knew what time we were meeting", said Caro angrily, interrupting them. "There was plenty of time for you to hear what James said and to get here on time."

"Caro, I - "

"You don't have to pretend. After all, it wasn't just James on the Hogwarts Express, was it? You were with her as well, and it was her that held you back. I know you, Ted. What was the excuse this time?"

"There was no excuse. When I realised what the time was, James was telling me about his Quidditch season." He knew instinctively that he should not mention Vic and how long he had been talking to her.

"You don't need to pretend to me. You were talking to Victoire, weren't you? When will you admit you see her as more than a best friend?!"

"Caro, I was talking to James when I realised I was late, he sees me like an older brother and he had a lot to tell me about his first term at Hogwarts. And Vic is my best friend, yes, but she has a boyfriend. One she is in love with. There is nothing going on between us, I promise you." As much as I want it to.

"See, you won't admit it will you? You won't admit how you feel about her? Ted, I've had enough of her. The past few months we've been great together and you know why? Because she hasn't been here. Because we haven't had her in between us. And this won't work with her in the middle. I'm going home now." Caro removed the napkin she had been wearing and slammed it down on the table.

"I've had enough", she turned round as she went to leave the restaurant. "Its either her or me, Ted. I've had enough." She stormed out of the restaurant and Ted could feel the eyes of the remaining diners on him instantly. He sighed heavily.

"Its alright", said Mrs. Wickham, patting Ted's shoulder. "She'll come round. Caro knows deep down how you feel about her; she just needs to let off steam."

"I know", Ted whispered.

The thing was, he wasn't entirely sure that he wanted Caro to come round. For the first time, he had not denied he felt more than friendship for Vic, and he wasn't sure that he could. Maybe he and Caro splitting up for good was for the best after all. The fact was, he wasn't sure he wanted her to calm down and forgive him. Maybe it was just for the best for them to split up.....because he knew that he felt more for Vic than he did for Caro. It was time to stop living part of the lie he had found himself exisiting in.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; December 23rd, 2011 at 11:12 pm.
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  #38  
Old December 30th, 2011, 9:31 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Hey! Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Thanks again to everyone who left feedback, you are all amazing!!

Enjoy - and a Happy New Year to you all when it comes to your timezone!!


Chapter 38



Ted woke up a little after ten the following morning with a pounding headache. He had sat up late into the night thinking, without coming to any real conclusion other than that fate might be doing him a favour. He got up, brushed his teeth and shaved, and then dressed. The previous night, he had flooed Shell Cottage not long after his return and arranged to meet Vic around two. She had asked how his dinner had been. Ted had muttered that it was perhaps best not to ask, and returned to his flat and a dinner of chocolate before quickly apparating over to Godric's Hollow to catch up with James for half an hour. Thoughts of what his dinner had comprised the previous night reminded him now that he would have to go back to Honeydukes for more for his studying session with Vic.

After a quick few slices of toast, Ted put on his cloak and headed down to the street. It was as full of Christmas shoppers - perhaps more so - than it had been the previous day. He nodded at a blonde woman carrying a small child, vaguely recognising her from his early years at Hogwarts. Luckily Honeydukes had restocked, and so he picked up a few large bars as well as sachets of hot chocolate and a box of peppermint creams. Just enough, by Ted's reckoning, to do a couple of chocoholics for an afternoon in.

As he left Honeydukes and headed back towards his flat, he heard his name called out and turned round, finding himself face to face with Dom and Vic.

"I was shouting your name for ages, but you didn't turn round. It was like you were off in another world", admonished Dom.

"Sorry", he replied bashfully. He held up the Honeydukes parcel. "I was just getting some chocolate in - for our study session this afternoon?"

"Excellent", smiled Vic. "We've just been to see George and Angelina. Freddie and Roxie have both grown so much since the summer. Uncle George was really busy, but then he always is at Christmas. We've been trying to finish our Christmas shopping as well. I've just got to pick up a new set of England robes for Louis at Quality Quidditch Supplies. Dom and I are pooling our galleons to get him something special this year."

"Sounds good. Do you want me to come with you? It must be past twelve now - we could finish your shopping and then go for lunch at the Leaky?"

"Sounds good to me." Dom looked at her sister, clearly hoping for agreement as much as Ted was.

"Definitely", said Vic.

They started off along the street, Dom chatting away about the presents she'd bought, and was Vic really sure about that scarf she'd picked up for Fleur at Gladrags? Ted was just pleased to be spending time with Vic, though he felt dishonest somehow. As if he were conning Vic by making her think that he was spending time with her solely out of friendship.

Quality Quidditch Supplies was mobbed, and there was hardly room for half of the people that had crowded in there, never mind all of them. In the end, Dom asked Vic for her share of the money and sent Ted and Vic outside to wait for her.

"She'll be in there for ages; probably wants to get rid of us so she can do some shopping for herself as well", Vic told him with a grin.

"She's enjoying playing for the team, then?"

"Definitely. She loves it, and I'm really glad she and Louis seem to have worked out their differences over it."

"You still feel the same way about it."

"Still not for me", she laughed. Ted smiled. He really was too far gone over Vic now. He'd even started to think about how cute her laugh was.

"Felicia?" Ted turned round to see the current Gryffindor Quidditch captain just about to enter the store and halted by Vic.

"Victoire, Ted. Out doing some Christmas shopping?"

"Yeah, Dom sent us outside to wait because the shop is so crowded. We're just about finished, and then we're going for lunch. You?"

"Christmas shopping. Listen, I better go, I've got at least half a dozen people still to buy for. I'll see you on the 28th. You are coming to Mrs. Thacker's party, aren't you? Evan flooed me last night to invite me. It'll give me a chance to catch up with Estella too."

"I am. I'll see you then." Ted watched as Felicia nodded at the two of them and then opened the door, shoving her way into the shop.

"Sometimes I find it difficult to talk to Felicia", Vic told him.

"Oh?"

"Yeah, just because our interests are so different. I don't always know what to talk to her about. If it wasn't for Evan, I don't know that we would be around each other. Not in a bad way - because we hated each other or anything - just because Evan is pretty much all we have in common." Ted listened as Vic told him Nat's theory about Felicia liking Evan. Ted had to admit to himself, as horrible as it sounded, he sort of hoped a little that maybe it would prove to be true. Because knowing Felicia a little through Rowland and Wes being on the team with her, Ted knew that she was the type of person that would never EVER give up on getting something she wanted.

"I'm sure she isn't interested in him like that", said Ted, wrapping an arm protectively round Vic's shoulder. "They're friends, that's all. And she seems to be quite close to his sister as well."

"She is. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about meeting his sister. I think that.....that she and I will have as little in common as Felicia and I."

"Vic, you'll be fine. Who wouldn't like you?" She glanced at him nervously as he breathed this, and then muttered something about seeing where Dom was. As Vic disentangled her shoulder from Ted's arms and went to peer through the window to see precisely what was taking Dom so long, Ted internally cursed himself for saying something like that. He really had to watch what he said and how he said it. Ted didn't want his feelings for Vic to ruin their friendship. If nothing ever happened between them, he might be able to live with it if only they remained best friends.

"She's talking to Felicia", said Vic as she came back to stand next to Ted, though he noticed Vic kept a slight distance between them. "Merlin knows how long she'll be; the two of them can talk Quidditch for hours."

It was at least twenty minutes later that Dom came trailing out of the shop, yet another bag in hand, and muttering about how much better it would be if next year she did all of her Christmas shopping by owl order and how desperate she was now for her lunch at the Leaky.

Although the wizarding pub was busy, Ted and the girls got lucky when they entered as the group of people sitting next to the fire got up and started to walk towards the door that would take them out to the muggle world. Ted quickly guided them over to the table, and grinned at his luck as Vic and Dom warmed their hands on the fire.

Ted picked up a small menu that was laid out on the table, and handed one each to Dom and Vic. He glanced through it though he didn't need to. Ted had eaten here quite a few times and pretty much knew the menu by heart. Deciding on the spaghetti bolognese he would have had the previous evening, he asked Dom and Vic what they wanted.

"Pasta salad", said Dom glumly. "I need to be careful I don't over indulge over the holidays. Need to be speedy enough to score lots of goals in training, otherwise I'll have James after my position." Vic laughed, and told her sister that she was entitled to a few holiday treats and suggested they both go for a run on the beach the following morning. Dom then changed her mind, and said that she would have the beef stew.

"Hello! Back so soon?!" said Hannah with a grin as she came over to their table. "I know this one is in here quite a lot, though. You girls been buying some presents?"

"And then some", said Vic, smiling.

"I took pity on them", Ted told her. "Your cooking is so much better than mine."

"Ted, you can barely make anything more than a sandwich, of course that's the case", Vic retorted.

"You wound me!" She raised her eyebrow at him.

"Okay, you're completely right. And I think we'll have Butterbeers all round?" The girls nodded. "And I'll have the bolognese."

"Beef stew."

"Salmon."

"I'll make sure your order miraculously makes it to the top of the list", Hannah grinned at them and then went away to get their drinks.

"Its really busy in here today", commented Dom as she started to look for something in one of her shopping bags.

"Yeah", agreed Ted.

"So, you come here quite a lot, then?" Vic asked him. Ted shrugged.

"I come here every so often with some people from work. Sometimes with Wes and Rowland maybe after a match. Its not like I'm in here every night or anything." Hannah returned with their drinks and promised that their food wouldn't be too long.

"Its always strange to think of you, living your life, just doing normal things like going to work and visiting Harry and Ginny and your grandmother, while we're at school", said Vic softly.

"So, you think about me when you're at school then?"

"Of course I do, you're my best friend."

"Well, yeah." Ted laughed nervously. He really had to stop looking for things that weren't there. He was halfway through telling Vic how hungry he was when a voice behind him interrupted them.

"Ted? Is that you?" He turned round to see Isadora Cavendish smiling back at him.

"Hey, Isadora. You finishing your shopping for the big day, then?"

"Trying to, which isn't at all the same thing. Are you going to introduce me?"

"Oh, sorry. Girls, this is Isadora, who - for want of a better word - is pretty much my boss. Isadora, this is my best friend Victoire and her sister Dominique. I just rescued them from their Christmas shopping like a proper knight in shining armour." Vic laughed, and Ted grinned widely at her.

"Its nice to meet you", said Vic. "I hope you're luckier than we were; maybe with it being lunchtime the shops won't be so crowded."

"Next year I'm doing it all by owl order. But then I say that every year", said Isadora wistfully, pulling over a seat to sit with them for a minute. They had been chatting away for a few minutes when Vic looked at her watch and muttered that she wanted to go to the bathroom before they ate.

"I'll come too", said Dom.

"I should be going", said Isadora. "I need to be over at my sister's just after two. It was nice to meet you." Ted was surprised when Isadora remained where she was once Dom and Vic had gone to the bathroom.

"So", she said.

"So?" Ted was nervous; Isadora had a look on her face that said she knew something secret.

"You're an odd one, Ted Lupin."

"Yeah, I remember you telling me that when you found out what kind of family I come from."

"I was right then. But tell me.......precisely how long has it been since you started falling for your best friend?"

"How did you - "

"Please, its obvious to anyone that looks for it. If you don't want her to know, I would recommend not looking at or speaking to Victoire." Ted groaned, but at the same time he felt a huge weight he hadn't realised was there lift from his shoulders. Finally, someone else knew.

"I figured it out about five months ago", he admitted. "I saw her kiss her boyfriend under the same tree where I drunkenly kissed her last new year and its like everything I didn't understand became clear. I wished then I hadn't told her after that it had been a mistake. It took me too long to realise it wasn't. But she does have a boyfriend. And she loves him."

"Ellis Thacker's son - I remember now, you met him once, and went on about Victoire like you'd been given a Babbling Beverage."

"Yeah, looking back maybe that was yet another sign that I should have picked up on."

"My poor Ted."

"Thank you." She looked at him quizzically.

"I haven't told anyone", he elaborated. "Not really. Well, I told Harry that I was attracted to a nameless girl and asked his advice on how to deal with it. He thinks I'm over it. I didn't tell him it was Vic and that I wasn't. It helps to know that someone else knows."

"What about your friends? Obviously I take it your girlfriend doesn't know."

"She's been accusing me of having more than friendly feelings for Vic for ages. We had a huge fight last night about it again. She's not talking to me, and I think maybe its time I stop leading her on. It isn't fair to Caro for me to be with her when I feel the way I do about Vic. And as for my friends.......they've been teasing me for years about Vic. All I would get is a lot of laughs and a 'We told you so.'" Isadora laughed.

"Well, let me know if you need to talk about it."

"Will do." Isadora stood up.

"And I repeat again what I said earlier, and what I said that other time - you're an odd one, Ted Lupin. But then, odd and I have always been great friends." Ted laughed.

"Have a good Christmas."

"You too."

Ted smiled as she walked away and out through the door that led to Diagon Alley. Part of him had lived in fear of someone else finding out how he felt about Vic, but now that it had actually happened, the main feeling he had was one of relief. And at least now he knew that it this thing with Vic got too much for him, he had someone he could talk to about it.

"I'm full", proclaimed Vic as she laid down her knife and fork after emptying the plate of salmon and vegetables she had eaten. She took a gulp of butterbeer, and started to feel even fuller.

"Yeah, the food in here tends to have that effect on you", agreed Ted.

"Almost as good as the house elves", mumbled Dom as she gave up on her stew. "Merlin, is that the time? I'll need to get going soon."

"Are you sure you don't want to come to Ted's with me?" Vic asked her sister, biting her lip nervously. She was a little apprehensive about spending so much time alone with Ted, and hoped that she wouldn't say anything stupid. He's my best friend, that's all, just my best friend. But then, when they'd been standing outside the Quidditch shop she'd started seeing things that she knew were not there. At least, not for Ted.

"I'll only be in the way. Besides, I have to get this lot wrapped before Louis goes snooping. Thank Circe he decided to go round to Archie's with Pierce and Benny for a few games of Quidditch."

"Yeah, he'll be there for a while", agreed Vic. "I don't know if you two are up for one, but pudding is certainly not on my agenda."

"Nor on mine", Ted assured her. "I want to leave space for all that chocolate I bought earlier." Vic laughed.

"Yeah, I won't be having any either. In fact, I don't know that I'll be able to eat all of whatever maman is making for dinner after all that."

Once they had all let their food settle down comfortably in their respective stomachs, Dom gathered up all of the shopping she and Vic had accumulated and flooed back to Shell Cottage to spend the remainder of the afternoon wrapping up her presents while Vic and Ted put on their scarves and hats and coats once again to go back through Diagon Alley to his flat. It seemed lazy somehow to floo rather than walk, and Vic insisted that she would rather walk off at least some of her lunch.

"Ah, fresh air", she sighed as they left the Leaky Cauldron and passed through the barrier to Diagon Alley. "I even brought quills, ink and parchment with me today." She indicated the bag she had brought with her, and which held everything she had already done towards her project. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing.

"I didn't get a chance to look through anything last night."

"That's alright. I didn't want to ask with Dom there - you know how she can get - but how was last night, really?"

"Awful. Of course Mrs. Wickham was lovely as always. She's never been anything but nice to me. But Caro......she - she said I had to choose between you and her, and that the reason we'd got on so well recently was that you weren't there."

"Oh."

"I'm really sorry, Vic. I don't think that's true. At least, it isn't for me."

"Thank you."

"Besides, if I was forced to, I would choose you every time. Girlfriends come and go, but best friends are forever."

"That's your mother's Hufflepuff loyalty coming out in you", said Vic wryly. She looked at Ted. He seemed to be transfixed with a scene in Fortescue's, the ice cream shop. Vic followed his gaze.

"Oh Merlin", she gasped. Cuddled closely and sharing a sundae of some description were her brother and Genie McLaggen.

"No wonder he asked Dom and I when we would be finished our shopping!"

"How long?" asked Ted curiously.

"A while, looking at the two of them! He told me he was spending more time with Curtis and the sixth years because he was sick of Bagman going on about how he fancied me! He used me as an excuse and alibi!!"

"I wonder why they keep it secret?" They watched as Louis wrapped an arm round Genie before moving in to kiss her.

"Because Dom hates her, and Louis knows it. And as much as he wants to differentiate between himself and Dom, to make other people see them as separate entities and not merely twins, he wouldn't deliberately hurt her like that."

"I take it then that you won't be telling Dom, then?"

"No, and please don't tell her yourself. I know Genie won't be your favourite person after what she said....but for me - I don't want Dom and Louis arguing like they were in the summer. Or worse. It was awful for dad, especially with Uncle Fred.....you won't tell, will you?"

"No. Its not my place to."

"Thank you." They turned and went on down Diagon Alley towards the block of flats where Ted lived, Vic still reeling from what she had seen. Louis and Genie McLaggen?! She hoped to Merlin that Dom didn't come across them one night accidentally in an abandoned classroom somewhere. They were obviously doing what they could to keep it from her, and Vic hoped that it was all over and finished with before Dom found out it had even started. As for herself, she wouldn't speak of it to Louis. He clearly didn't want them to know, and she wanted to respect that. She knew herself what it was keep something like that inside, alone.

"Ah, its lovely and warm in here", said Vic as she removed her woollens and laid them down on Ted's sofa. She glanced around the room, and could see that it was pretty much as it had been before the summer. Ted had clearly done little to decorate or add to his furniture.

"I'll make us some hot chocolate", said a voice from the kitchen. "Then I'll bring through the boxes from the spare room.

"Great. I'll just get my stuff out and ready. Thank you so much again for doing this Ted. I really hope you don't think I'm prying into your dad's business or anything. I mean if there's anything you don't want me to see then please just say.

"Don't worry about it", Ted handed her a mug of steaming hot chocolate that she recognised as coming from the sachets sold in Honeydukes. "And its not like there would be anything in these journals you couldn't know about. Given my family history, I don't know there's anything that could or would shock."

"I guess." She watched as he wandered through to the spare room and brought back a few boxes, laying them down next to where Vic sat cross-legged on the floor.

"I think Grams thought I was a bit mad. After all, we cleaned out the attic that day to get rid of stuff, and yet most of it made its way into my spare room."

"I'm sure she understood you wanted things to remember your parents by."

"She did. Its just different for her because she walked out on hers."

"I can't imagine doing that", admitted Vic. "Maman and dad - I don't know what I would do - oh, Ted, I shouldn't be saying....when you don't......"

"Its fine." He wrapped an arm round her shoulder and ordered her not to worry. She really didn't deserve someone like Ted.

Ted opened one of the boxes and pulled out a small pile of hardbacked books bound together with string.

"Wow", she breathed. "They look so neat, and tidy."

"Yeah, I inherited my messiness and lack of co-ordination from my mother. Now, this one is from third year, which Harry thinks is roughly when they started working towards it, and I think this one is from his fourth year." He started flicking through pages of writing.

"That's mental. I barely have time to keep up with my homework. Even then I can't really say I had that much free time in third or fourth year that I could look into becoming an Animagus."

"I know. And when you think that Harry's father was on the Quidditch team and all four of them spent so much time in detention......I think they would have been fun to be around, though. So what made you want to do your project on this, then?"

"I don't know. It took me ages to decide, but then nobody else was doing it, so I figured why not? Nat's doing hers on inter-species from mammal to reptile. Or the other way around. I took some notes from books in the library the last few days of term. Its weird - I found a couple of dozen books about the Animagus transformation generally and a little on how to do it, but none by Animagi on their own experiences. That's really what I'm looking for here."

"Here, I think I found something - look - " Ted handed her a book, and pointed to a paragraph dated 18th January 1975.

"1975? He would have been, what, in fourth year then?"

"Yeah. Read."

18th January 1975

Is it possible to feel scared stiff and completely relieved at the same time? To feel eternally grateful and to think that someone (or in this case someones) has gone too far in trying to do something to help you?

I'd known for months that something was up.....the way they seemed to be doing something secretive together when I came back from the hospital wing or the library. I figured it was natural, that they were just moving away from me. After all, who would blame them? But to know what they're trying to do for me. Never in my life have I ever....

My parents are stuck with me the way I am. They're not and they are doing something to help me.


I always knew Sirius was a bit mad. He admits it himself. Its the Black blood, he says. And the way they've been marrying each other for centuries. And James was brought up allowed to do whatever he wanted. The advantages of being a pampered only child. Then Peter - he'd do anything James or Sirius asked him to. Of all the mad things they've done I think this tops the list.

The Animagus transformation????

For Merlin's sake, how could they attempt something so stupid, so loyal, so selfless? Just for me? What have I done to deserve it? To deserve them?

They're quite a way through the process. Been trying since last year apparently. Since McGonagall's class on it when Sirius said he thought her transformation was pretty cool. At least now I can help with their research. They never were that good at the studying side of things. Much more practical.

James and Sirius have got to the stage where they can turn into their animals for a few seconds. Peter is a little further behind. They don't know for sure yet what he'll be. A stag and a dog.

I can't write any more. I just can't believe it.


"Wow", said Vic softly. "I wouldn't tell your grandmother about her cousin thinking their entire family were mad, but wow. So he didn't know until they were quite a way through the process?"

"Looks like. And Grams would probably agree with that statement."

They looked through the remainder of that journal, which lasted until the end of 1975, and at the next, but did not uncover anything relating to the progression of the Animagus transformation. Ted's father had written about his own gratitude and how commented every so often at how far through they were and their decision to use their animal forms to create nicknames they could use when together. In the end, they spent most of their afternoon catching up properly, talking about little things they had seen and done over the past few months and not been able to fit into any of their letters for one reason or another.

"Sorry you didn't find anything", said Ted as he handed Vic yet another block of chocolate. She was glad that she'd suggested a run the following morning to Dom; she was going to need it after all of this.

"Its alright. And Uncle Harry said he would arrange to talk to Minerva McGonagall about it at new year, so I'll be able to get some first hand insight into it then. And it has been really interesting. Your dad seems like he was pretty cool. I think its really good too for you, to be able to read all this stuff." She smiled over at him.

"Yeah, I think so too. So, is that you pretty much ready for Christmas, then? I mean, you just have your wrapping to do?" Vic nodded.

"And then floo everyone to drop them off on Christmas Eve. Well, apart from Evan and Nat's. I'll send Hibou with them tonight, once they're wrapped. You?"

"Everything brought and wrapped", he confirmed.

"Merlin, its after five; I should be getting home. I don't want to be late for dinner."

"What are you up to between now and Christmas apart from dropping off presents?"

"Homework, homework and homework, unfortunately. I have some more notes for this to put together, as well as at least one essay for every subject and a couple of Runes translations. Sixth year is really starting to hit. Maybe I shouldn't have chosen seven NEWTs, but I couldn't pick out one of them to drop. I enjoy them all."

"Yeah, but surely not enough to destroy your sanity."

Oh, that was destroyed the moment I realised that maybe I want to be more than your friend.

"I dunno. Oh, I'm going over to see Aunt Ginny tomorrow. I forgot about that." She started to pack up her things. "How about you?"

"Going over to see Grams for the day."

"The perfect grandson."

"Something like that", he grinned. She hugged him goodbye and hoped that he didn't notice she held on a little too tightly and a little too long.

"I'm sure everything will work out for you and Caro, you know", she compensated. "It usually does."

"Nah, I think this is it for us."

"What's so different this time?"

"I dunno." He seemed to Vic to sound a little evasive. Perhaps he had already moved on to someone else....that boss of his, perhaps? She seemed to be a lot older, but then Ted was very mature in his outlook.

"It just feels different this time. I guess I've finally had enough. Besides, she made it clear this time I had a final choice - you or her. And I told you earlier, I chose you."

"I'm sure it'll all work out", Vic repeated. She turned and took out the powder from the small bag Ted kept on the mantle before stepping into the fire.

"Shell Cottage!"

As Vic stumbled out of the fireplace and into the sitting room, only Louis seemed to be around. He looked up from his copy of Quidditch Quarterly.

"Hey, how was Ted?"

"Good. We didn't manage to find much for my project, but we still had a good time. He fed me up on Honeydukes. I'll need to run it off tomorrow between homework and going over to see Aunt Ginny. How about you.....how was it over at Archie's."

"Same as usual", Louis shrugged. He couldn't have seen them, and Vic didn't want to force a confidence out of him or make him think she'd been spying on him. Aside from anything else, she was hardly in a position to judge him for keeping secrets.

"Where is everyone?"

"Maman went over to Gramma's for something, dad isn't back from work yet, and Dom is upstairs."

"Cool. I should go and put my stuff upstairs." Vic wandered up to her room, opening the door and immediately wishing she hadn't left the window open like that. She'd have to ask her mother to cast a warming charm when she returned.

Vic collapsed on her bed with a sigh. She'd done it; she'd survived an afternoon alone with Ted in spite of the sea of confusion she'd found herself standed in the middle of. And now she knew she could do it, the rest of the holidays would be alright. Hoping that the way she felt would disapparate as soon as possible, Vic picked herself up off her bed and headed for Dom's room to borrow some wrapping paper and ribbon.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; December 30th, 2011 at 9:45 pm.
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Old January 6th, 2012, 9:00 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Thanks again to those who left feedback - you are all amazing!

Happy 2012 to everyone!


Chapter 39



As she sat down on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate with Dom, waiting for their parents and Louis to rise on Christmas morning, Vic contemplated just how much had changed since she'd opened her presents the previous year. For one thing, she was now working towards NEWTs rather than OWLs, and was therefore just a few months away from being of age. Her aunt was engaged to an international Quidditch player and would be getting married the next summer. Luna and Rolf were now engaged as well, and Victoire knew that Luna had asked her god-daughter Lily to be a bridesmaid. Ted was no longer at Hogwarts with her but part of the big outside world, making a difference. And then there was her love life...........

This time last year, Vic had been two months into her relationship with Ted's dorm-mate Hem. They were no longer friends, and Vic had a suspicion it was because Hem had cheated on her. Vic now, as much as she had at the time, thought that a tad excessive. After all, she had cheated on Hem herself - with Ted. This time last year she hadn't known what it felt like to kiss him, what it felt like to want him as more than a friend. Now she did, and she was completely conflicted about whether or not she wanted to have that information. And Evan - she hadn't even known who he was this time last year. Now, they had been together for more than nine months and she had told him she was in love with him.

Vic sighed heavily as she contemplated the difference a year made.

"I know. I want them to come downstairs too", grumbled Dom.

"Hmm?"

"I said I want them to come downstairs too."

"Oh. Yeah."

It did not take long for her parents and Louis to come down, though Vic suspected Dominique's "accidental" fall over the footstool next to one of the sofas and subsequent shrieks of surprise may have sped matters up considerably.

"Here, this is from Dom and I", said Vic as she handed Louis his joint present. She watched with a nervous smile on her face as he opened the England Quidditch robes they'd bought him.

"Wow!" he exclaimed. "Thank you so much - these are amazing!"

Vic then grabbed her present from George and Angelina and opened it to see the standard box of Wonder Witch products and joke merchandise. This would last her well into the new year. Nat had given her a bottle of her favourite perfume, her grandparents a jumper and some homemade muffins, and there was a large book from Percy and Audrey amongst her other presents. Evan had sent a gorgeous silver heart-shaped necklace and a pretty pair of black gloves she had noticed in passing in the window of Gladrags the last time they had been in Hogsmeade together.

The last present Vic opened was from Ted. It was wrapped in beautiful paper that looked silver or gold depending on how the light hit it, and had a tag on it which stated 'To Vic, Merry Christmas - I hope you love these as much as I think you will. Much love, Ted.' Deciding instantly that regardless of what the present was, she was keeping the tag like the silly teenage girl she felt at that moment, Vic ripped open the paper to find a set of antique-looking intertwining bracelets that seemed to change colour as soon as she touched them and an extremely large box of chocolates.

"Wow", gasped Vic as she dropped the paper and chocolates and examined the bracelets. They really were beautiful; antique perhaps. He must have found them in some obscure store in Diagon Alley.

"What is zat you 'ave, Victoire?" her mother asked. Vic held up the bracelets and said they were a present from Ted, explaining that they seemed to change colour.

"That's weird", said her father. "I remember Tonks used to have a set that were quite like that. They - "

"Not like zat, zat! Sweet Circe! Zey are - "

"Maman? Dad? Are you trying to say that these - that this - " Vic was shocked. She couldn't accept something like this. It was a family heirloom. But they were so beautiful she hated the thought of returning them.

"I'm sure zat Teddy would 'ave asked hees grandmuzzer first", her mother reassured her as she caught Vic's eye.

"Woah", said Dom, listening in and coming over to where Vic sat, dumbstruck on the floor. "They really used to belong to Ted's mother?"

"It would seem so." Her mouth was really dry and she mumbled something about getting some pumpkin juice for them all now that they'd finished opening their presents. Of all the things to give her! She didn't deserve something like this; they should be kept until he married and had a daughter he could give them to. Tears stung at the back of her eyes and the bracelets fluctuated between red and gold and blue and grey and black as her emotions changed by the second.

It was an extremely nervous Ted that apparated to The Burrow with his grandmother. He was not entirely sure how Vic would have taken his Christmas present.

"Morning! Merry Christmas!" exclaimed Grandma Molly as he opened the back door of The Burrow. She pulled him into a tight hug and looked him up and down, assessing precisely how much feeding up he required.

"Merry Christmas to you, too!" he replied, handing over a box of chocolates and toffees and a bottle of Old Ogden's finest.

"Teddy, you didn't - "

"I wanted to. Is - are we the first here?"

"Percy and Audrey are through beside the fire, talking to Charlie with George and Angelina. Ron and Hermione are here as well, and the children are all upstairs playing with the cat. Arthur is upstairs looking at some muggle thing that Hermione's parents gave Hugo." Like Ginny, she had to put the cat upstairs when Vic - who was allergic - was coming over to visit and Ted knew full well where Arthur was - he and Hugo always spent Christmas Day figuring out the muggle presents he'd received from his Granger grandparents.

"I'll go through and say hello then." He left his grandmother talking to Grandma Molly in the kitchen and went through to the sitting room where a beautiful fire roared brightly, and a tray with glasses full of champagne or pumpkin juice was laid out on a side table.

"Merry Christmas!" said Ted as he entered the room. He grabbed a glass of champagne and found a small seat next to the fireplace."Everyone get what they wanted?"

"Hermione gave me a book", said Ron in disgust. "I thought you got over giving presents like that when we were in sixth year!"

"Oh, be quiet Ron! He's going to be starting driving lessons after new year because I want him to get a muggle license before Rosie starts at Hogwarts in September. I bought him a book on the Highway Code to get him started off."

"I know a bit about cars", said Ron stubbornly as Ted noted stifled laughter coming from George and Charlie.

"Driving a flying Ford Anglia to rescue Harry or to get to school because you couldn't get onto the platform at King's Cross does not count as knowing 'a bit about cars'. Nor does tinkering around with that bike Harry inherited from Sirius."

"You flew a car to school?" said Ted. "Somehow Harry omitted that tale when he told me about his time at Hogwarts."

"He probably didn't want you to get any 'ideas'. And it wasn't as exciting as it sounds. The detention we got wasn't much fun either."

"Nor", said Harry coming into the room. "Was the Howler you got. And you're lucky James went straight upstairs after he got the life hugged out of him by Molly. He's the one I'd really be worried about getting ideas."

"Sometime you're going to tell me the full story", said Ted as he hugged Harry and wished him a Merry Christmas.

"So mum says its just Bill and Fleur we're waiting on then", said Ginny as she came in and started hugging everyone.

"You never said if you got what you wanted for Christmas", George said to Ted.

"I did well enough", he answered evasively. In reality, the only thing Ted wanted was Vic. He had never really been into material possessions, in spite of the toys Harry had insisted on giving him when he'd been a child, preferring to have those he liked and loved around him. But the fact was, the one thing he wanted was one he was unlikely to actually get.

"Oooh, interesting answer! And what did the lovely Caro give you for the holidays?"

An earful.

"I haven't seen her to exchange Christmas presents yet." And he didn't plan on doing so either, sticking to his instincts from the day of their last meeting. It was over. For good. But Christmas was not, he felt, the time to announce that. He'd speak to Harry about it after the new year and say that there had just been one argument too many and that he didn't really feel that way about Caro anymore. Harry would then spread the word through the family and Ted wouldn't have to speak of it anymore. It was a coward's way out, and certainly not the Gryffindor way, but Ted didn't want to ruin Christmas with talk of his problematic love life.

And as he thought of his problematic love life, he caught sight of Vic's lovely long, blonde hair through in the distance and wandered round to meet her, delighting in the open-plan design of The Burrow.

"Merry Christmas", he said softly behind her, making Vic jump a little. She turned round to look at him.

"Ted!" She flung her arms round him, and Ted could swear he felt tiny droplets fall on his shoulder.

"What's wrong? Did something happen? Is that why you're all so late?"

"No, we're late because I couldn't decide what to wear; I've grown a couple of inches and my favourite dress is too short now." He stood back a little from her.

"But Vic, you're wearing it."

"I know. It took me ten minutes of panicking before I realised that maman could put an extension charm or something on it for me." Ted laughed.

"What?!"

"Nothing, just - nothing." He wanted to tell her how adorable that was, but given everything he thought it probably wasn't the right thing to say.

"Ted, I - this Christmas present - "

"Did you like them? I was worried you wouldn't."

"I love them, but Ted I can't - I can't accept them."

"Yes, you can."

"No, I can't. You should keep them and give them to your daughter when she comes of age."

"I wasn't aware I was expecting the imminent arrival of one. I told you the other day - best friends are forever and you are mine so I give you them. They aren't a family heirloom or anything. My grandfather found them in a junk shop and thought my mother might like them because they could change their appearance the way she could."

"But Ted - "

"How about this for a compromise? You say I should give them to a daughter I might have some point in the future?" Victoire nodded. "How about I make you godmother and you can give them to her then? Would that work?"

"I guess......"

"So you'll keep them then?" She nodded and hugged him tightly. Ted whispered that he wanted her to have them, really, and that she was the only person he had ever thought of giving them to.

"But what about - "

"No. Never. I told you - best friends are forever." And he knew that she really did appreciate them, because for the first time in her life, Vic made no jokes or reproaches about someone out-presenting her.

At brunch, Ted sat between James and Al - always a precarious position - and helped himself to a little of everything. He had not eaten anything earlier that day because he'd been too nervous at the thought of what Vic would say about her Christmas present. Now, he was famished.

"If you eat too much, you won't have any room for pudding when we have dinner later", James advised him.

"I'll be fine. I haven't eaten since I had dinner at your house yesterday, so I should have some room left. Unlike you and Al, I haven't been stuffing my face with sweets for the past two hours."

"I haven't", said James as Al snorted on the other side of Ted.

"You've eaten twice as much as I have, and that's saying something", he informed his older brother. But James was unabashed.

"Well, I'm older. I have a larger appetite."

"I know you have a larger appetite", said Ted.

"I suppose Victoire told you that. Did you know she got me detention once? Did I remember to write about that?"

"You did and she did what she's supposed to do."

"Humph."

"Humph nothing - you get caught breaking the rules, you get punished."

"I'm sure YOU broke the rules when you were at Hogwarts."

"But I made sure I didn't get caught", said Ted smartly before stuffing a forkful of bacon and sausage into his mouth.

"So.....it doesn't matter what you do as long as you don't get caught......." His eyes lit up in a way that made Ted think Harry was right to worry about his eldest son getting any 'ideas'.

"It does matter what you do", Ted told him. "And don't bring Vic into it. It isn't fair, making her choose between you and doing what she has to do."

"That's what mum told him", said Al.

"Shut up! You don't know anything about it."

"Do too!"

"Do not!"

"Do too!"

"Both of you will know about it from your mother if you keep arguing like that", Ted reminded them in a low voice.

From the other end of the table, Vic looked at Ted with a sense of trepidation. She really wasn't sure how, but somehow Ted had managed to convince her to hold onto his Christmas present. Well, for now at least. She hated that it was distracting her from her brunch and from spending precious time with her family. She hated that it was the only thing she was really thinking about. But she loved both the bracelets, and the fact that it was Ted that had given them to her.

Merlin, she was so, so screwed!!

She got back to Shell Cottage at around two, leaving about three hours before they had to be at Godric's Hollow. Excusing herself with a yawn, Vic wandered upstairs with a vague murmur about writing a couple of thank you letters; she owed Nat and Evan one each and felt a twinge of guilt in her stomach as she thought of her boyfriend. While she adored the necklace and gloves he had sent, she loved the bracelets from Ted even more. Even if he had coerced her into keeping them against her instincts. Vic hated herself for making such comparisons and knew that she had to put them to the back of her mind, but ever since she had come home from Hogwarts for the holidays the time she had spent with Ted, the physical proximity of someone in the very same room as her, she was finding it harder and harder to not think about her best friend.

All Vic knew was that she had to fight it; she just had to.

Picking up an piece of parchment, she determined that her letter to Nat would come easier.

Hey Nat,

First off, Merry Christmas! I hope that you're really enjoying yourself and that Dylan has given you something amazing that you really, really deserve and will be able to show off to me when I come to stay next week! And thank you so, so much for that lovely perfume. I would say how did you know it was my favourite, but we've shared a dorm for five and a half years so its hardly surprising!

Its the middle of the afternoon, so I have some free time between brunch at Gramps and Gramma's house and Christmas dinner at Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry's to chill out and enjoy my presents! I got the usual really from the family, and what I asked for from maman and dad. Dom gave me a book of Vampires Anonymous songs that is charmed to sing to you when you tap your wand on a song title (though I'll have to wait until I come of age in May to take advantage of it outside school) and Louis gave me lots and lots of chocolate. There is something Louis-related I want to talk to you about, but I'll wait until I see you at new year.

Evan sent an adorably gorgeous silver heart necklace that I'll wear to his mother's birthday party and a pair of those black gloves I was looking at in Gladrags' window the last time we were in Hogsmeade. But the most amazing present I had was from Ted (though you can't tell Evan that). He gave me a set of bracelets that change colour which once belonged to his mother. He and Andromeda cleared a load of stuff out of the attic a couple of months ago and he took away boxes full of things that belonged to his parents - I think I told you that, actually........

I told you that he and Caro had yet another fight the day we got back from school, and he says it was the last, that they won't be getting back together. He seems to think it'll be different this time, but who knows?! We couldn't find anything in the journals he had about the Animagus transformation and Uncle Harry didn't know much either, but he says that he's invited a former Transfiguration Professor of his (yet another ex-Order member) over for new year, so I'll be able to speak to her about it a little and get an insight into what its like for someone attempting it.

I think Aunt Hermione might be getting to be a bit of a bad influence on me, because its Christmas Day and I'm talking about our homework! Yuk!

Anyway, I hope that you are really enjoying your Christmas and eating more turkey and pudding than is good for you - I will tonight, for once!

Let me know when is a respectable time for me to arrive on the 1st! Dad says he can bring me by side-along, so whenever is good for you will be fine.

Have fun,

Vic.


Vic laid down her quill and wandered over to the window; it was cold and crisp outside, and she had a sudden urge to go for a walk on the beach to clear her head. She quickly removed the dress she'd been wearing and threw on an old pair of jeans and the powder blue jumper her grandmother had given her for Christmas along with a Gryffindor hat and scarf, not caring that it didn't really match properly and went outside, calling behind her that she wouldn't be long. And she wouldn't; it wasn't long before she had to start getting ready to go to Godric's Hollow and steeling herself to be in Ted's presence again with everything she had felt this morning would take longer than choosing a set of dress robes.

Ted sat on his sitting room floor, eyes closed, leaning against his sofa as he listened to the obscure Demented Dementors recording Vic had given him for Christmas. He'd asked her at The Burrow that morning how she'd managed to get it for him, and grinned softly as she told him of the owl she'd sent to Ginny asking her to speak to the music editor at The Prophet for advice on locating any recording they had made.

"Teddy?" came a voice. His eyes popped open to see his grandmother standing in front of him.

"Is something wrong?" he asked, yawning; he hadn't slept much the night before.

"You said you'd be over at half past four and its now quarter to six. Ginny will be starting to wonder where we are."

"Sorry, I got a little caught up. I'm dressed, though."

"You are. We should probably go straight away." They apparated to the Potter's back garden and Ted walked into the house first, apologising to Ginny.

"He was fast asleep", said his grandmother, following him in.

"I was not, I was resting my eyes while I listened to a record."

"Must have been quite a boring one Teddy", she responded, grinning at him.

"Nope. Quite the opposite actually. It was a comforting resting my eyes thing. Like a child's bedtime story thing. Anyway, I wasn't asleep. I am sorry, though. Are we last?"

"'Fraid so", said Ginny, handing him a Butterbeer with one hand and his grandmother a Gillywater with the other. "Go on through; we'll start serving the food out in fifteen, twenty minutes or so."

As soon as he entered the Potters' sitting room, Ted's attention was commandeered by Al, who started asking him when they could go to a Quidditch match again.

"I'll let you know when I have a ticket to take you again", Ted promised him. "I do have an extra one for the Falcons game, but I'm taking Vic."

"But she doesn't even like Quidditch. Isn't that a waste?" James piped up.

"I'm taking her so she has a chance to meet up with some of my friends; its not an issue of whether or not she likes Quidditch. I should be able to take you sometime next month, Al, and I'll try to take both of you when you're home at Easter, James."

"Cool", said Al softly. "I had lots of fun when we went before. You get amazing seats - just as good as mum does!"

"Obviously playing is much better than watching", said James. "And the training I've been doing at school has been awesome. If Dom goes on a bad run, then I reckon I'll be well in there!"

"Don't let Dom hear you say that", muttered Ted. James just shrugged and wandered off to speak to Louis about something.

"You'd think he was on the team the way he talks about it", muttered Al.

"Well, he's not; he's a reserve and he trains with them and when you go to Hogwarts you'll get a chance to try out to do the same", Ted assured him.

"I guess."

"I know."

When it came to dinner, Ted was grabbed by Lily, who complained that she hadn't had a chance to speak to him all day, and dragged off to the end of the table where she sat with Rosie and Roxie. As he took frequent furtive glances at the other end of the table where Vic sat and laughed with Dom, Ginny and Luna, Ted felt extremely guilty that he was not listening properly to what Lily and her cousins were saying to him. He smiled and nodded as they talked about their Christmas presents and thought ahead to the end of the meal, when he might be able to talk to their cousin.

At the end of dinner, Vic dropped her napkin onto the empty pudding plate with a sigh of relief at the meal being over. Her stomach couldn't take any more, and she hated missing out on Angelina's sticky toffee pudding. It was that last mouthful of it that had pushed her over the edge. The giggling at the stories Ginny had been telling her and Dom about when she and Luna had been at Hogwarts together hadn't helped matters either.

"You look stuffed", Ted informed her with a smile as he sat down next to her on the sofa, handing her a cup of peppermint tea.

"Thank you", she replied wryly. "You're really addicted to this stuff, aren't you?"

"Yep. And I thought I might work at converting a few more to the cause." Vic laughed.

"What?!"

"Nothing, I just find it amusing that the cause an eighteen year old boy is trying to convert people to is the drinking of peppermint tea."

"Yeah, I can see why that would be funny", grinned Ted. "I saw Wes last night; he flooed in for five, ten minutes. He's really looking forward to seeing you after the match. He wanted to ask if maybe we could all go back to my flat for a while after, so that you can get to know Katya - and Mari, obviously - a little better."

"I'm sure my parents wouldn't have an issue with that. After all, you're only a floo away, and they know I'll be alright as long as you're looking after me. They trust you."

"Cool. I'll let Wes and Rowland know. And stock up on butterbeer and stuff."

"Don't forget the peppermint tea!" Ted laughed.

"Um, I forgot", began Vic. "Speaking of our outing to the Magpies game, I wanted to give you something." She dug into her handbag and pulled out a piece of parchment, handing it to Ted.

"What's this?" He opened it up.

"Evan's address. I brought it with me in case I didn't get a chance to see you over the next couple of days with all the homework I have to do - I want to get as much as possible done before I go to stay at Nat's - and you need to know where it is if you're going to pick me up for the match. That is......I mean, that's still alright with you, isn't it?"

"Yeah. Yeah, it is", he said quietly. "I hope you enjoy yourself. It'll be good for you to get to know Evan's sister. I remember her a little from Hogwarts."

"Yeah, it will be."

As Ted wandered off a little later, his attention claimed by Harry, Vic hung her head in her hands at the thought of him, and of the mess her life had become.

Why did everything have to be so complicated????

"Those bracelets suit you, you know", said Andromeda, a soft yet sad smile on her face as she sat down in the seat next to Vic that Ted had vacated.

"Oh. Thank you." Vic felt a little awkward; after all, Ted's mother had been Andromeda's daughter. Her only child. "Um, I - "

"Don't worry about it. He asked me before he gave them to you. Obviously I would much rather he gave them to you than that awful girl, but please don't tell him I said that."

"I won't." She was surprised; Andromeda usually kept her opinions about Caro to herself, and Vic knew that although Ted had his suspicions about his grandmother's feelings towards her, she had never confirmed them.

"I hear that you are going to a birthday party in honour of your boyfriend's mother in a few days?" Vic nodded. "Teddy told me. You must really love him, Evan."

"Oh? I mean, yeah", said Vic, shifting awkwardly in her seat.

"I thought so when I came over and saw that your bracelets had turned red, that you must be thinking of him. Red was the colour they turned when Dora spoke of Remus."

"Hmm - urgh - umph!" An embarrassed Vic spluttered and smiled, trying to hide from herself and from Andromeda the fact that it had not been Evan she had been thinking about when the bracelets had turned that colour.

It had been Ted.




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Last edited by MissGryffindor; January 7th, 2012 at 9:12 pm.
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  #40  
Old January 13th, 2012, 9:52 pm
MissGryffindor  Female.gif MissGryffindor is offline
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Re: Falling

Hey. I cannot BELIEVE this fic is hitting the big 4 - 0. Wow.....

Thank you to the fabulous nevillesgal, marauderfan, blueowl, urania and James_Potter7 for their lovely feedback. You guys rawk!

Hope you all enjoy this.....feedback link is at the bottom as always


Chapter 40



It was an extremely nervous Vic that was dropped off by her father at Evan's house. She had spent more than two and a half hours getting ready, and had discarded almost every item of clothing she owned as a potential outfit at least three times, finally opting to wear a simple black halterneck dress that just passed her knees, and which Hermione had once told her looked 'very 50s'. Her outfit choice had been made even more complicated by the fact that she was going to a Quidditch match immediately after the party. She had, however, opted to wear both the silver, heart-shaped necklace Evan had given her for Christmas and the mood bracelets from Ted, which she had worn each and every day since she had received them.

As she knocked on the door and waved goodbye to her disapparating father, Vic breathed in deeply. It would be alright. No, it would be excellent. She had already met Evan's parents in the summer at King's Cross, and they had been lovely to her. They would be again today.

"Hello", said a voice as the door opened to reveal a girl that looked almost identical to Evan. The dark brown hair may have been longer, far past her shoulders, but the shape of her face and those sea-blue eyes could have been stolen from him, and she was within a couple of inches of his height.

"I'm Estella", said the voice. "I'm assuming you're Victoire?" Vic nodded.

"Yeah. That would be me. Its really nice to meet you. Evan's told me so much about you."

"He's told me a lot about you too. All good, so don't worry! Please, come in." Estella smiled as she opened the door wider and Vic walked into the house, gazing at the wide, open staircase that faced her. The house looked so sleek and modern! So very different from her quaint little seaside cottage. She allowed Estella to take her coat and scarf and started to panic that she was completely out of her depth.

"Vic!" She turned to see Evan coming towards her, arms outstretched.

"Welcome to the madhouse!" he exclaimed as he hugged her and kissed her softly on the cheek. "I see you met Estella?" Vic nodded.

"Thank you again for inviting me. I just hope that your family like me as much as you do."

"Well, we won't go that far. I would be very jealous if they did like you as much as I do. But I'll settle for them being nearly as fond of you as I am. That's still liking you quite a lot!" Vic grinned nervously.

"He hasn't stopped talking about you since I got back", said Estella, shaking her head lovingly in her brother's direction. "Its all been 'Vic says this' or 'Vic thinks that' - "

"I'm not that bad", Evan protested.

"I'm sure you're not", Vic reassured him. "And I wanted to make sure - I'm not late, am I?"

"No, you're not. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few people that are early."

"Oh?"

"Well, a couple of my aunts came early to help my mother prepare, which has held her back because they're both muggles. Felicia is here as well - she told me she saw you in Diagon Alley, actually, when she was out Christmas shopping - she came over first thing to help out with decorations and to catch up with Estella."

"Yeah, I did see her in Diagon Alley. I was Christmas shopping with Dom, and we bumped into Ted. He took us out to lunch after."

"Lucky you. Listen, I better take you through to meet my parents again."

"And I should get upstairs and get changed", said Estella. She started up the staircase, and Evan took Vic's hand. He directed her through the sitting room, where Felicia was putting up banners and balloons, and into the kitchen, which was the size of her parents' and Gramma's and then some.

"I see you're wearing my necklace", he murmured softly.

"Yeah, I - its beautiful."

"Mum, dad, you remember Victoire, don't you?" said Evan. Vic smiled nervously at the assembled group. As well as Mr. and Mrs. Thacker, there were a couple of middle-aged women Vic had never met before, and assumed to be the aunts Evan had spoken of.

"Yes, I do", said Evan's mother, removing the apron she wore and walking over to them. "Its lovely to see you again, my dear. I am so pleased that you could come."

"Me too", smiled Vic. "Happy birthday, Mrs. Thacker." Vic handed over a gift bag which held a pretty scarf she'd picked out at Madam Malkin's, and a large box of Honeydukes chocolates.

"Victoire, you didn't have to - that's lovely of you. Thank you so much!" Vic accepted the hug she received awkwardly.

"Its nice to see you again", said Evan's father. "I believe I met a friend of yours at work, once. The protege of a former subordinate of mine."

"Yeah, he told me", said Vic. "I hope you don't take anything he said against me."

"The tendency to oversleep, the cat allergy or the attempts to increase your age?" he quipped.

"Um....."

"Don't worry. Friends always seem to be willing to tell the most embarrassing stories."

"Well, my best friend does at least", agreed Vic. She turned to Evan.

"That reminds me, I did tell you that Ted would be picking me up at seven, didn't I?" Evan nodded.

"I wish I was going to the match with you. Top of the table clash and everything."

"I'm not going for the sport. I'm going because I never get to see Ted except during the holidays, and to see Rowland and Wes and meet Mari, Rowland's new girlfriend." She had not told anyone other than Nat about Wes and Katya Markova.

"Well, is nobody going to introduce me?" asked one of the aunts. Vic looked over at her; she was a redhead with streaks of grey breaking through, and light brown eyes that seemed to sparkle with intelligence.

"This is Aunt Susie", Evan told her. "Aunt Susie is married to Uncle Edmund, dad's older brother. Aunt Susie, this is Victoire."

"Victoire, hmmm. French or German?"

"My mother's family are French."

"Ah. There was a Victoire of France. A daughter of Louis XV, if I remember correctly."

"Aunt Susie is interested in foreign royal families and their connections with each other", said Evan.

"Oh?"

"Yes, I am. Now, there was a French princess known as Victoire of France. I believe there was also a Marie Anne Victoire of Bavaria, who married the Dauphin. Of course she never did become Queen; she died before her husband and father-in-law."

"The Dauphin?" asked a confused Vic.

"The title given to the eldest son of the French king!" Aunt Susie looked shocked. "Do you not know.......Gracious, are your family republicans?!"

"I'm sure Victoire only meant which Dauphin", said Evan hastily. She nodded automatically.

"The eldest son of Louis XIV. Such a sad case; the daughter-in-law died first, as I said. Then the son died, then the grandson and grand-daughter-in-law." Vic smiled weakly, she had an extremely vague knowledge of the British royal family from Muggle Studies, but knew very little of the French - beyond the fact that one no longer existed.

"Are you named after either of the princesses?"

"Not as far as I know." She did not like to mention that her name was merely an allusion to the fact that she was born on the second anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts.

Evan quickly introduced her to the second aunt, Aunt Jessica, who was married to his mother's brother Ben, and then said he would take her on a tour of the house and garden.

"Sorry about that; I should have warned you about Aunt Susie", Evan apologised.

"Its fine; I just wish I'd known to look up the history of the French royal family before I went to a birthday party", laughed Vic, though she wished he had told her. It would have made her introduction to his family so much easier if she'd known background reading was involved.

"Aunt Susie believes in monarchy for every country, and she isn't afraid of saying so. She thinks that it keeps everyone in their place."

"I'll try to remember that."

It was not long before everyone else arrived, and Vic thought she had finally got a hold of who everyone was. It was only now that she appreciated how difficult it must have been for Evan to keep track of all of her relations when he'd met them en masse for the first time at Harry's party the previous summer.

"Here you go", said Evan, handing her a glass of orange juice as he returned to where she stood with his cousin Emma. "What were you girls gossiping about while I was away, then?"

"Oh nothing", replied Emma, a wicked smile on her face. "I was just telling Victoire about the time Estella broke your nose with that bat when we were little."

"Really?"

"Yeah, and I have to say that I wish I'd had this information before", grinned Vic. "Especially after all of that embarrassing stuff you found out about me from Ted."

"Ted?"

"My best friend", smiled Vic. "We've known each other since...well, since forever."

"That's a bit weird, isn't it? How Evan's best friend is a girl, and your best friend is a guy."

"I don't know. I can't say I've ever thought about it", said Vic. "Evan tells me that you're finished school in the summer, the same as he is. What are you doing after?"

"University. I'm planning on studying to be a doctor like dad. I've been trying to talk Evan into joining me."

"And I've told her that as much as healing people is a big deal, science really isn't my thing. In fact, I'm not completely sure what is my thing."

"Me too", said Vic. "I've still got a year and a half to go, and I still have to figure out what I'll do."

"What about your family?" asked Emma. "Is there a profession that your family usually goes into?" Vic thought hard, and remembered the advice Ginny had given her the previous week.

"Um, my parents are in banking", she began.

"Banking?!" said Emma with a thunderous look on her face. "Your parents are those overpaid, overvalued - "

"Emma, her parents work in a bank, in a branch; they aren't stockbrokers or anything", interrupted Evan. He turned to Vic. "She's going through an anti-establishment phase. Got a bee in her bonnet about bankers and their bonuses."

"Ah", nodded Vic, pretending she understood. "Well, that's what maman and dad do. Uncle George has a joke shop, Uncle Charlie works with animals, Uncle Ron is in law enforcement with Uncle Harry, Uncle Percy works for the government, Aunt Hermione in a court, and Aunt Ginny is a journalist. That's on my father's side. And on my mother's side Tante Gabrielle is an artist. She lives in the South of France."

"Oh. That's......quite a big family, then", said Emma.

"My father had five brothers and a sister."

"Wow. Well, that's a lot of different paths you could follow." Vic smiled.

"I've been trying to get Evan to follow mine", said Estella, joining them with Felicia. "And come out to join me in Australia when he finishes school."

"And I said I would think about it", he said pointedly. "Its a big decision to make, travelling to the other side of the world like that." He squeezed Vic's hand as he said this.

"I would love to go somewhere like that", said Felicia wistfully. "Those pictures you showed me were amazing. Those beaches.......they have to be the best in the world."

"Well now, I can't agree with you there", said Vic. "I know I haven't seen the pictures, and I'm sure the beaches in Australia are lovely, but in my eyes there is not a prettier beach than the one I live next to."

"There's also the fact that you can walk along the Australian beaches on any given day without freezing - even in winter", said Felicia. Vic smiled weakly.

There was a buffet laid out about halfway through the afternoon, at the start of which Evan's mother thanked everyone for coming, and to her two sisters-in-law for helping her with the food. Vic helped herself to what added up to a main meal; she didn't know when and what she would eat later. There hadn't been anything more than nuts and crisps available at the Quidditch stadium the last time she'd been there, and Ted was unlikely to have anything more filling than chocolate in his cupboards.

"Glad to see you have a healthy appetite", said Evan's Aunt Jessica, who stood behind Vic in the queue at the tables the buffet was laid out on. "So many young girls your age don't eat enough for a sparrow, never mind a human being."

"Gramma is always telling me I don't eat enough", smiled Vic. "But the truth is that I'm going to a sporting event later, and then to my friend Ted's house and he can't cook, so this will be both lunch and dinner for me."

"Well, good on you anyway, Victoria."

"Um, its Victoire, actually", mumbled Vic as she helped herself to some cold chicken. She took her plate over to a small table where Evan sat with Felicia and his sister.

".......nah, I think the Falcons will take it. They usually get better as the season goes on, while the Magpies are the opposite", Felicia was saying.

"Victoire's going to the match tonight", she added, turning to Estella.

"Wow, how did you manage to get tickets? I would LOVE to be at that match! Felicia's going to stay for a bit after and listen to it on the wireless with Evan and I. How in the name of Circe did you get tickets?!"

"I didn't. Well, not personally. Ted had an extra one and he asked me along so I would have a chance to meet up with some of his friends. I'm not really that into - should we be talking about the Q word around so many muggles?"

"Variance on a silencing charm, only the four of us can hear what we're talking about", said Felicia.

"I usually use 'muffliato'", said Vic. "Anyway, as I said Quidditch isn't really my kind of thing."

"Sickening, isn't it", said Evan with a grin. "Seats in the VIP box and she doesn't even mind what happens in the match!"

"I do care", laughed Vic. "I want the Magpies to win. They deserve to; Wes has always been really good."

"Wes?" Estella was confused.

"A friend of Ted's; he was on the Gryffindor team with Evan and Felicia last year. That's how Ted always gets such good tickets."

"You know one of the players?!"

"Yeah."

"I would have loved to have played professionally. Just not good enough, though. I did have a trial with the Harpies when I left school but it didn't work out. I enjoy the muggle sports I get to play in Australia, though. Surfing is amazing."

"I've seen some of the muggles trying that out on the beach at home", said Vic.

"Vic's aunt played for the Harpies", Evan told his sister through a mouthful of roast beef.

"Really? Of course, Weasley - your aunt is Ginny Weasley?" Vic nodded uncomfortably; this conversation then usually headed towards 'didn't she marry Harry Potter?'"

"Felicia wants to play professionally, don't you?" said Evan, perhaps noticing Vic's discomfort. The conversation then descended into Quidditch generally, and which team Felicia would like to play for. Vic sat silently, Evan's hand in hers, as the other three occupants of the table chattered away for what felt like hours about quaffles and bludgers and Quidditch manoevres that sounded to Vic like they were illnesses.

Ted apparated to the neighbourhood Vic had given him an address in, and was pleased to see that he didn't startle any muggles with his arrival. He was a little nervous; Christmas Day was the last time he had seen Vic, and he'd found the entire day a little awkward. Ted knew, however, that for the sake of his and Vic's friendship he had to push his feelings for her to the side and not let them ruin it.

He walked up the driveway of a large house, and knocked on the door. The sound of music drifted through from inside, and Ted could hear the chatter of raised voices. He hoped that someone would at least have heard the door.

"Can I help you?" asked a redheaded woman. Ted noticed that she took in his blue hair and Ridgebacks t-shirt with suspicion.

"Um, I'm Ted. I'm here to pick up Victoire."

"The French girl? Well, you better come in." Ted entered a massive hallway and followed her through to a crowded room, spotting Vic instantly at a table near a door leading through to some other room. He recognised Evan and Felicia as two of the three with her; as the third turned her head a little he vaguely recognised her from Hogwarts. This, he assumed, was Evan's sister.

"Ah, there she is over there. Follow me." The woman wandered over to the table a little ahead of Ted.

"Victoire? Your lift has arrived."

"Ted!" He couldn't do anything but grin at the wide smile that grew across her face as she got up and hugged him. He also noted that she wore the bracelets he had given her for Christmas, and a dress that made him wish he had made more of an effort with his outfit.

"I'm so pleased to see you, I've heard nothing but Quidditch for the past three hours", she whispered quietly in his ear.

"I'm sorry I'm a little early; I wanted to make sure I would be on time, and I didn't know how hard it would be to find the house."

"Don't worry about it, mate", said Evan. "Why don't you sit down and stay for a drink or two? I'm guessing you probably won't need to be in your seats early."

"Actually we sort of do. We need four seats rather than two, and Rowland is never what we could call early, so if we can get a move on we probably should."

"Yeah, he's got a point", said Vic, turning to Evan.

"I'll go and get your coat", said Felicia helpfully, and got up, heading back through to the hall. She returned a couple of minutes later with Vic's coat, and with Evan's parents in tow.

"Felicia said you were leaving", said Mrs. Thacker. "Thank you so much for coming."

"Thank you so much for inviting me", replied Vic as she put on her coat and scarf. "It was lovely of you." She turned to look at Estella.

"It was great to finally meet you as well."

"You too. I can't say you're exactly how I imagined you, but I can see that you and Evan are really sweet together."

"Oh. Well, thanks, I guess", smiled Vic. She kissed Evan goodbye and followed Ted outside into the driveway.

"Merlin, its freezing!" she exclaimed, shivvering as the cool night air hit her.

"Here you go", said Ted, casting a warming charm around her.

"Thanks." Ted waited until they were sheltered by the shadows of a group of trees before taking Vic's hand tightly and apparating to the Magpies stadium.

Although it was just over an hour until the match started, fans of both sides were comfortably seated and seemed to have been for a while now, and the VIP box was already a little full.

"Perhaps I should have arranged to pick you up earlier", muttered Ted.

"Ted!" He glanced over a couple of heads and saw Rowland waving him over.

"Don't say I ever said anything about him always being late; he usually is, though", he told Vic as they went over to where Rowland and Mari sat.

"Heard the preview programme on the WWN earlier and it sounded like this would be a big one so Mari and I figured we should get here early", said Rowland. "You got something to tell me?" Rowland pointed at Ted and Vic, and Ted looked down to see that he was still holding Vic's hand from their apparition.

"I just picked Vic up from her boyfriend's house", said Ted pointedly. "It was his mother's birthday. Vic hasn't passed her test yet so she had to side-along with me." He deliberately didn't look in Vic's direction in case she realised how fast his heart was thudding through his chest.
He let her hand drop slowly and then removed his coat while Vic hugged Rowland.

"Mari, this is Victoire", said Rowland, smiling at his girlfriend. Ted hoped that the two of them would get on better than Mari and Caro had. But then, that wouldn't be too difficult.

"Its nice to meet you", said Vic, handing her coat to Ted. "Ted's told me loads about you."

"All good, I hope", grinned Mari. "We ordered butterbeers for you both, I hope that's alright?"

"Yeah, that's fine. I was at my boyfriend's house, like Ted said, and his parents are both muggle-born, so there was muggle family over for her birthday party which meant I've been on orange juice all day. Nothing to pumpkin juice, and even less to butterbeer!" Mari laughed as Vic sat down in the seat next to her.

"That bracelet is beautiful."

"Yeah, its a mood bracelet; Ted gave it to me for Christmas..........."

"How's Caro?" muttered Rowland.

"Don't even ask."

"You two still not speaking?"

"Nope. And I don't see us doing so again."

"Oh."

"Yes. Oh."

"Does this mean that you might finally.....you know?"

"Rowland, where did I say I'd picked her up?" He looked at where Caro and Mari sat, chatting away like old friends. "Besides, she is my best friend. That's all. That's all its ever been."

"I'm one of your best friends but you don't hold hands with me." Ted raised his eyebrows. "I'm not saying I want you to, just that you're different with her."

"That's because she's a her, Rowland." Ted sat down next to Vic, but shifted his chair round so the four of them could speak properly before the match started.

"Did you sort something out for after the game?" Vic asked Ted. He nodded.

"We're all going back to mine for a few butterbeers, and get caught up properly without fighting for seats in the Leaky or something. Did you - is it okay - "

"I was told that as long as I had Ted to look after me, I could stay out for a bit after. I really need to be up early in the morning, though. I promised Aunt Hermione I would watch Rosie and Hugo for a few hours for her. Its Hugo's birthday next month, and she and Uncle Ron want to spend the day picking up some presents for him." She turned to Mari. "The downside of being the eldest cousin is that you are an unpaid babysitter. Ted and Rowland are used to me complaining about it."

"She doesn't really mean it, though", Ted put in. "She likes being the cool, older cousin. And Rosie and Hugo are both well behaved."

"Yeah, they are", she agreed. "Though I never, ever play chess with them; Uncle Ron has taught them far too well." Ted laughed.

"But its good you can come over for a bit after. Wes and Rowland were pestering me for weeks to arrange something to meet up with you so you could meet Mari and everything. But given your hectic schedule, I think we should be glad that you managed to fit us in."

"Do you have a lot of plans over the next week or so, then?" Rowland asked.

"New year at Godric's Hollow as always, and then I'm spending the rest of the holidays with Nat in Worcestershire. You remember Nat?"

"Yeah, I do. How is she?"

"Fine. I can't wait to meet her muggle boyfriend, Dylan. She's been talking about him for months and I haven't had a chance yet to make sure he's good enough for her. Nat deserves someone fabulous. So, how long is it you two have been seeing each other then?"

"Oh, about five-ish months now, pretty much", said Mari. "How time has flown by! How about you and - I think Rowland said its Evan your boyfriend is called?"

"Yeah, it is. Its about nine months for us now. I can't quite believe its been so long either."

"So, looks like its just Tedward that's all alone", said Rowland, wrapping an arm around Mari's shoulders.

"You make it sound like I'm some lonely old guy that hasn't had a girlfriend in decades. And stop calling me that. Its not my name and never has been."

"Yeah, but its always annoyed you when I've called you Tedward", grinned Rowland. "And I haven't done so for a while."

"I told you it would be evident pretty quickly", said Ted, turning to Vic with a smile he couldn't quite stop forming. She laughed.

"What?" asked Mari. "Am I missing something here?"

"I told Vic it would be evident pretty soon after you met her that she was more mature than Rowland and Wes put together." Mari laughed.

"What?!" Rowland seemed affronted. Further friendly dispute was prevented by the arrival of a waitress who took a repeat order. As he ordered another two butterbeers for himself and Vic, Ted could hear Mari tell Vic that whatever else, she was at least twice as mature as Caro. He smiled as she blushed slightly at the comparison. As much as he knew Vic had always despised his now former girlfriend, he was also well aware that she pretended the opposite was true as much as possible to spare his feelings and avoid any awkwardness.

They chatted away until the match started, Ted telling Vic that he had been to Godric's Hollow earlier that day and knew Ginny would be at the match. She had smiled when he'd said they should try to find her after the match to say a quick hello. The match itself, which had been billed as the highlight of the season thus far, fell a little flat on its face when the Magpies Seeker caught the snitch after only eleven minutes, meaning that Wes's second minute goal and a Falcons' penalty were the only two goals of the match.

"Well that was dull", said Rowland as they wandered down to the area where the changing rooms were, and where the press gathered. "All over in less than fifteen minutes. None of them can even have broken into a sweat. And those poor people that were late getting in; all they'll have seen is Hutchinson catching the snitch, if that."

"I actually think its quite amusing", Vic whispered to Ted. He laughed.

"Why?"

"All those people, all that hype and it lasted as long as it did? All those galleons that were bet on this match.....how many people thought it would be such a short match?"

"True, anyone betting on a match that short will have won a fortune", Ted agreed. And she did have a point. They walked along the final corridor to see the press huddled together. Ted instinctively grabbed Vic's hand and pulled her through to the front where Ginny stood.

"Ginny!"

"Vic! Ted reminded me this afternoon that you would be here." Ted jostled with some reporter or other to keep his and Vic's places next to Ginny as they spoke. He knew they would be pretty testy; the debrief would be short tonight. With the match being over so quickly there wouldn't be much to talk about.

"...... bout you, Ted? You enjoy what little Quidditch there was?" Ginny asked him.

"Yeah, it was alright. Good thing James wasn't here, though. If I'd brought him to this match he would be complaining that there hadn't been enough for him to see. I said I'd take Al again soon, and the pair of them the next time James is back from school."

"You're too good to them, Ted", smiled Ginny.

"No more than Harry was to me", he replied softly.

"Hey!" exclaimed Vic as she was pushed by one of the queuing reporters.

"We better move back a bit", growled Ted in the direction of the reporter that had jostled Vic. "I'll see you for dinner tomorrow night."

"I'll see you soon, Aunt Ginny", said Vic as she hugged her aunt goodbye, Ted still holding onto her hand for safety. He then pulled her back through the mass of people until they found Mari and Rowland.

"Its mental at the front there!" sighed Ted, completely out of breath.

"Did you get to see Ginny?" asked Rowland. Ted nodded. They could now see flashes going off, and shouts coming from the front, which told them that the players had started to come out. It was not long before Wes pushed his way through to them.

"Vic!" Wes exclaimed, pulling her into a tight hug. "Its so good to see you; its been far too long!"

"Its good to see you too!" she replied.

"Katya will apparate after us in a few", Wes muttered to them under his breath.

"We should get going, then", said Ted. He turned to Vic. "You okay to side-along with me again?"

"Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"

"Just making sure", he grinned. Moments later, he and Vic were in his sitting room, joining Mari, Rowland and Wes.

"Whew!" said Ted. "Now we've escaped the gutter press, let's have a butterbeer or three each." He headed through to the kitchen, ignoring Wes's query as to whether Ginny was part of what he referred to as the 'gutter press'. When he returned a couple of minutes later, three butterbeers in each hand, Katya had arrived and been introduced to Vic.

"Vere 'ave you been 'iding Victoire?" Katya asked him.

"Hogwarts", grinned Ted. "She's safer there, away from this lot!" He lifted his arms to shield himself from the cushions now being thrown at him.

"Hey! This is my flat - I could just throw you all out, after all."

"Humph. Like you would", laughed Wes.

"Vell, I like Victoire. I think zat it would be good if she here more. She is fun", proclaimed Katya. Oh, if only. If only she could be here with us, with me, all of the time.

"A year and a half, and then I will be free", said Vic.

"Don't knock it", grinned Ted from the floor. "You'll miss it all when you leave." He turned to Vic.

"I forgot to ask you on Christmas Day - did you speak to Louis about what we saw? He didn't say anything so I didn't think you had."

"Nope", said Vic as she shook her head. "Its not really any of my business. To be honest, I hope its all over and done with before Dom finds out it even happened."

"What?" Wes asked.

"Ted and I spotted my brother and his secret girlfriend the other day", said Vic.

"Can't be that secret if you saw them."

"He asked when Dom and I would be finishing our shopping. He didn't know we were going to run into Ted and that he would take us out to lunch. Dom went home straight after, and then Ted and I came back here."

"To work on her Transfiguration project on the Animagus transformation", added Ted before Rowland and Wes thought they had further information to use in teasing him.

"Well, Louis, Louis", said Rowland, his fellow Gryffindor Beater from the previous year. "Who is he seeing then?"

"Genie McLaggan, and you cannot tell anyone you or Vic or I know", said Ted.

"Who? I don't remember her", said Rowland.

"She's in the year above Louis and a Gryffindor", said Vic. "And pretty much one of Dom's least favourite people, even before what she said in the summer."

"What did she say in the summer?" asked Mari. "Your life seems so interesting."

"Yeah, she even makes Ted's sound that way", grinned Rowland.

"She said....it was nothing", muttered Ted. "It doesn't matter, anyway. Would anyone like another butterbeer?" He hoped that Wes and Rowland, who knew how private he liked to keep certain things, wouldn't ask any more questions. He was still unsure about how much they had told their girlfriends about his family background. When he returned to the sitting room, butterbeers in hand, they were laughing about times Vic, Rowland, Ted and Wes had spent together at Hogwarts.

They sat and chatted away for another couple of hours about Hogwarts and life and their relationships, their drinks turning from butterbeer to peppermint tea (which Vic complained Ted's kitchen reeked of) until the clock showed eleven o'clock, and Vic said she needed to get home to get a decent sleep before going over to Hermione and Ron's the following morning to mind Rosie and Hugo.

"Are you sure you have to go?" said Wes.

"'Fraid so", nodded Vic. "You all know how much I like my sleep, and I have to be up at nine to go over to watch Hugo and Rosie."

"You do like your sleep", agreed Ted. He looked around him and then hastily added the fact that Vic had once missed the Hogwarts Express because of her love of sleep.

"Are you going to remind me of that for the rest of our lives?"

"Yep. Me, Nat, Louis, Dom......." Vic laughed, and then her face seemed to soften.

"I don't know that I'll be able to see you again before new year and the party.....between my coursework and everything else I promised to do."

"Oh. Well, I'll see you at the party if not before then", said Ted.

"That's what I said."

"I know."

"Okay." Ted watched as she hugged Rowland and Wes tightly, and told them she wished they could have spent more time together over the holidays.

"It was great to meet you both", she said to Katya and Mari. "Hopefully I'll get to see you again at Easter." She turned to Ted.

"Bye, then. Thanks again for taking me to the match that wasn't really a match." Ted laughed.

"As long as you had a good time, I suppose it doesn't really matter." He was completely aware of the fact that four sets of eyes were watching he and Vic say goodbye.

"I guess." She hugged him tightly, and he could feel her dress swishing against his jeans. Ted wished he could hold Vic like this forever.

"Well, goodbye, then."

"Bye", said Ted softly as Vic threw down the floo powder and shouted ' Shell Cottage!'

"Ted, I adore her, why aren't you going out with her?!" asked Mari as soon as Vic had disappeared through the flames.

"Not you as well", he said a moment later, needing a pause to compose his thoughts.

"What do you mean, not me as well?"

"He means that Wes and I have been teasing him about Victoire for years", Rowland informed her.

"Oh yeah, I think you mentioned something about that."

"That's because I did."

"I agree", said Wes. "Mari speaks sense. You and Vic, you just - you mesh. Its natural."

"Guys, will you just leave it", said Ted. "Vic is my best friend, and that is all. All it has ever been, and all it will ever be. She has a boyfriend she is in love with, and I have been in a relationship for pretty much the last couple of years. It is not a mesh thing; it is not natural. We are friends. End of."

"Okay, okay, you don't have to be like that over it. We were just joking", said Wes.

"Well don't."

They seemed to realise that Vic and he were an off-limit conversation, because for the rest of the night, the only mention of Vic was Mari and Katya saying how much they had liked her, and how they would never have guessed she was still at Hogwarts. Ted, on the other hand, thought of nothing else. He'd had an opportunity tonight to tell his friends how he really felt about Vic, and hadn't taken it. Part of him thought he never would. To them, the concept of he and Vic together was part of a joke, of teenaged teasing. To Ted, that may have once been the case - now, it was everything but.





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Last edited by MissGryffindor; January 13th, 2012 at 10:05 pm.
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