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The Unbreakable Vow by subtle_plan

Format: Novella
Chapters: 7
Word Count: 16,154
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Harry, Bill, Fleur, Ginny, Teddy, James (II), Victoire, OtherCanon
Pairings: Teddy/Victoire, Bill/Fleur, Harry/Ginny, Other Pairing

First Published: 01/01/2009
Last Chapter: 11/24/2010
Last Updated: 11/24/2010

Summary:

At one point during their childhood Teddy and Victoire make an Unbreakable Vow, swearing to never fall in love with one another. Naturally they were quite unaware of the consequences their childish actions would one day have and how they would come to regret them.

Ten years later the pair face mutual attraction, infatuation, temptation and lust; all of which they have to banish in order to stay alive.


Chapter 1: The Unknowable Vow
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Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley were meant to be.

It was something everyone knew. Everyone, except for Teddy and Victoire of course.

Though born exactly two years, one month and nine days apart, they were the closest friends growing up. It was hard to imagine one without the other, they might as well be Siamese twins judging by the way they stuck together, through thick and thin, through better and worse. They were black and white, fire and ice, different, yet inseparable.

When Harry and Ginny married they took Teddy with them to live by the coast, right next to where Victoire lived in Shell Cottage with her parents; Bill and Fleur. That way Harry and Ginny could wake up to the sound of the waves, and the sound of Teddy and Victoire laughing as they ran rampage in the garden amongst Ginny's freshly planted begonias.

As the years went by the two families extended, but one thing that never changed was the inexplicable bond that seemed to exist between the two eldest children in both the families. No matter what happened, no matter which problems arose, Theodore had Victoire's back, and vice versa.

One sunny morning by the coast, to the sound of the waves washing the rocks on the shore, Teddy came running upon the beach with footfalls softened by the sand and screams that were nearly drowned by the ocean.

"Vicky!" he called. "Vicky!"

There was no answer, except for the screeching of several seagulls circling him from above and eyeing the battered bag slung around his narrow shoulders with undisguised interest.

After scanning the beach to find that Victoire had gone ahead, Teddy began to follow the shoreline. He walked, his trail of footprints washed away by the waves as he wandered further and further away from home.

Finally, a long way down the beach, he came upon a formation of cliffs and rocks that cut the beach in half and made proceeding impossible. Teddy, however, rather than turning around and heading back for the twin cottages, walked straight towards the sleek, black stone-wall and ran his fingers over it. He walked along it like this, his fingers keenly running over the wall like five-legged spiders, until they disappeared into a narrow crack that was so snug that an adult would have had no hope of squeezing through, yet it was large enough to admit Teddy's now eight-year-old body.

Inside the rocky prison it was dark and clammy, with a distinct smell of sea-grass and salty water.

"Vicky?" Teddy called again, and, stumbling, he blindly navigated through the rocky corridor until he reached a tall grotto lit up by tiny cracks between the stones that enclosed it. Brilliant sunlight and eerie shades of jade-green and blue reflected of the ocean made specs of light dance upon the moist walls.

In the center of the cove sat a petite frame, huddled on the sandy ground with its arms hugging its knees. When Teddy approached with echoing footsteps the person turned to reveal a face looking as though it had been carved by angels.

"Teddy!" Victoire exclaimed, and she hurriedly got to her feet. Standing she was almost a head shorter than Teddy and she already greatly resembled her mother in looks. She had the same pale skin that almost glowed in the dark of the cavern, the same, wavy locks of platinum blonde hair cascading down her back, the same slender, almost elvish build, and the same, sparkling, dark blue eyes framed by thick lashes.

She approached Teddy eagerly and once she stood before him she bounced on the balls on her feet until she almost reached his height and a malicious grin tainted her winsome features. "So, did you get it?"

Teddy nodded, and he fumbled in his bag to retrieve 'it'. Out from the depths of his pouch he brought up a long, thin holly wand, making Victoire gasp for salty air.

"You did get it!"

"I told you I would." Teddy said, modestly excited, and he twirled the wand between his fingers. Victoire looked awestruck and her eyes followed the wand's every pirouette in Teddy's fingers.

"Wow." she said, after merely gaping at the twirling wand for over a minute straight. "So... Can you use it?"

Teddy nodded, and a small frown appeared between his brow. He waved the wand impressively and shouted "Lumos!", a yell that echoed through the grotto for a moment before a somewhat vague light momentarily appeared on the tip of the wand. "Did you see that?" he said, with eyes that shone of excitement as they reflected Victoire's gleeful face. "I did it, Vicky!"

"Let me try it!" Victoire said, hurrying to wrench the wand away from Teddy's grip to wave it herself. However, before she managed to think up an incantation the sound of someone sneezing made both her and Teddy freeze.

A moment later a girl stepped into their grotto, with her blond head bowed. She looked like she could be a clone of Victoire, only with a few imperfections. Her cheekbones were somewhat wider, her face more childish and her hair a few shades darker than Victoire's silvery blond.

"Dominique." Victoire hissed. "You followed me?"

"I followed your boyfriend." Dominique answered, glancing quickly at Teddy before her large eyes turned back to her sister. "You're not allowed to play with wands!"

Victoire chose to overhear the latter. "Yuck," she said, scrunching her nose as she shot a glance in her best friend's direction. Teddy looked equally repelled as he met her sapphire gaze. "He is not my boyfriend."

"Are you sure?" Dominique taunted. "Because James told me he saw the pair of you k-i-s-s-i-n-g behind Aunt Ginny's greenhouse yesterday."

"You can spell?" Victoire retorted mockingly, unfazed by the accusation.

"James is a liar." Teddy said, his hair turning a violent shade of crimson along with his face, though no one really noticed the transformation in the gloomy darkness.

Naturally they had done no such thing. In fact, the closest Teddy and Victoire had come to intimacy was at Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione's wedding, when Teddy had been forced to hold Victoire's hand while they had played ring-bearer and flower-girl. Both had scrubbed their hands for half an hour afterwards, until their skin had been red and raw and their mothers had forced them to come out of the bathroom and behave properly.

"K-i-s-s-i-n-g!" Dominique chanted, making the letters ricochet off the walls until the air resembled a verbal alphabet soup. "Everyone's talking about it, how the two of you are going to become girlfriend and boyfriend one day, and how you will get married!"

She said the last word with an indecent grimace, and made a kissy mouth, like a fish.

"No, we won't!" Victoire barked. "In fact I can make a vow, here and now, that I will never as much as think about kissing Teddy. Ugh, he's like my brother! Here, hold this," She handed the holly wand to her younger sister before turning to Teddy and holding out her hand with an expression of contempt.

Teddy took it hesitantly, his expression reflecting hers as they held hands beneath the wand in Dominque's slender fingers.

Through the gloom Victoire looked up into Teddy's face. A ray of sunlight penetrated the leaky solace and illuminated his brown eyes, making him squint comically.

"I promise," Victoire said with a light voice, smiling brilliantly into Teddy's squinting face. "That I will never feel anything more than friendliness towards you, Teddy."

When Teddy did not immediately respond Victoire gave his hand a painful squeeze. "Ouch! I promise I won't ever kiss you, Vicky." he said, with an air of finding the display unnecessary, yet a little bit enticing all the same.

Dominique yelped suddenly, and Teddy and Victoire gasped as a hot snake of fire shot out from the tip of the wand and encircled their hands, hot, but still not burning.

"Did you see that?" Dominique said excitedly, grinning almost as radiantly as her sister had a moment before. "I did magic!"

Trying to hide the fact that she was impressed behind a mask of urgence, Victoire coughed. "Hello? We're making a vow here!" When the excitement died down and all eyes were focused on her again, Victoire continued in a deep and somber voice, very unlike her own; "Do you, Teddy, promise you will never marry me?"

Teddy answered in a voice equally deep and somber, nodding importantly as he spoke. "I do."

A second, thin bond of fire spat out from the wand and encircled Teddy and Victoire's clutched hands.

"Do you mind?" Victoire barked at her sister, who looked confused and mildly apologetic.

"I'm sorry!" Dominique said hastily, looking from the wand to her sister. "Please, go on."

Victoire said, after shooting Dominique a last look of contempt through the darkness, "I promise that I will never, ever fall in love with Ted Remus Lupin."

"And I swear to never, ever fall in love with you, Victoire Gabrielle Weasley."

It was as though a force of darkness blocked out all the holes and crinkles between the rocks, making the grotto fall into blackness. For a second there was no sounds, no light, no nothing, and then there was a force like an explosion shooting out from Harry's wand, making Dominique, who was holding it, shout out in fear.

A thick, orange snake of flames and fire burst out of the wandtip and bound Teddy and Victoire together by the hands. For a moment it was there, and the next moment it was gone, restoring the grotto to its normal state.

All three children looked at each other in fear and excitement.

"Let's not tell Harry or Ginny, or your mom and dad." Teddy said slowly. "In fact, let's not tell anyone at all."

Chapter 2: The Best-Friend Reunion
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A/N: Hi, and thanks to all of those who reviewed the first chapter :) It means a lot to me.

I just wanted to leave a small note saying that, even though I intended for the story to be entirely canon, I have chosen to alter the ages of some of the children in the Potter and Weasley clan. So if you notice something off in the fact that Teddy is in school with Rose and Albus, that would be the reason.

Happy reading!




"It's gonna be nice to see Victoire again, right?" Harry said, giving his godson a jovial pat on the back as they made their way through King's Cross Station.

Teddy sighed and shrugged noncommittally. A low snigger was heard from behind, but when Teddy turned his head to glare at James, the thirteen-year-old looked perfectly innocent in his Muggle-disguise. Albus, who was walking by his side, looked like he was nauseous, constipated and febrile all at the same time. His face was changing color at a speed that surprised even the Metamorphmagus of the family. One second his cheeks were flushed, next second he was white as a corpse only to turn a nasty shade of pale green a fraction of second later.

Lily was hanging from Teddy's right hand, weighing down heavily on his arm. He had worked out over summer, yet he was still not strong enough to dangle her entire body from just one limb.

"Teddy!" she said, giving his sleeve a jerk. "I need to ask you something!" her voice was urgent, her hazel eyes were shining and her freckled cheeks were flushed with emotion. She looked as though she was bursting to ask him one of the big questions in life like What's the purpose of life? or Where do we go when we die? or Where do babies come from?


Teddy bent down, a tad anxious as he did so in case of the latter, and he felt her warm breath tickling his ear. "Is Victoire your girlfriend?" she whispered before giggling so violently that his eardrums hurt. Little Lily Potter backed away and stared up at him in anticipation for the answer.

Teddy merely shook his head once before straightening up and heaving a deep, silent sigh.

It was undeniable that Teddy had missed Victoire greatly over the past couple of months. This summer was the longest period of time they had ever spent apart. Victoire left for France with the rest of her branch of the Weasley-clan the day after school ended, she was coming in directly from the airport to King's Cross. Teddy would have written her letters, had he not known that she would be too busy doing whatever they did in France to respond to them, and chances were slim that she would even take the time to read them. He could see her for his inner eye: shopping for baguettes, standing at the top of the Eiffel-Tower and look down at the insignificant ants surrounding her, shopping at the Champs-Elysees and walking the halls of the Louvre with a pair of reading glasses perched on her nose, pretending as though she was sophisticated only because she knew it would cause the cultural boys to drool all over the carpet.

Teddy returned from his mental trip to Paris to find that their group of six had gained in numbers. Ron, Hermione, Rose and Hugo had joined the party, at a time unbeknown to him. The adults were chatting animatedly about the coming school-year with an excitement that suggested that they were happy to get rid of half their children. James was telling Albus and Rose wildly exaggerated stories from his one year at Hogwarts, in which he appeared to have fought off a battalion of dragons and dementors. Lily and Hugo were playing catch while laughing madly and risking getting trampled by a dozen Muggles pushing heavy trolleys.

Everything was returning to it's usual state.

The only thing missing was Victoire.

"Do you two want to go first, Albus and Rose? Since this is the start of your adventure?" Hermione's voice was always so gentle, so kind, so unlike Ginny's when she was yelling her throat sore at her rueful sons.

Harry, who had been about to simply walk through the brick wall, stopped abruptly and stepped aside to let the freshest Hogwarts students to go through first. Somehow Teddy ended up last in line, and as was his and Victoire's custom when they walked through the portal onto Platform 9 3/4, he closed his eyes. This was the first time he did it without her by his side.

The first impression that met him on Platform 9 3/4 was a squeal.

"C'est Teddy!"

The second was an unfamiliar, wet sensation on his cheek, and he opened his eyes to find none other than Victoire Weasley with her arms wrapped around his neck and her eyes reflecting his bedazzled expression.

"Wow." Teddy said, coughing dryly, fighting dumbfoundedness as he stared down at his best friend, or rather right at her, because it turned out Victoire had stretched to his height over the summer. "Vicky!"

She smelled like morning croissants, like King Louis XIV's extravagant garden, like fraises à la crème. Her flaxen hair was more flaxen than ever after a summer under the French sun, every feature of her face looked as though it belonged in the Louvre and her mouth, which had just planted a wet kiss on Teddy's cheek, had suddenly sprouted lips. Red, luscious lips that Teddy could have sworn had never been there before.

Teddy was speechless, because the person in front of him was not his best friend. It was a girl, an actual living, breathing girl, seemingly transforming into a woman before his very eyes. Victoire had never been a girl before, she had just been Victoire, his best friend, his partner in crime, his one confidant. And now she was standing her, fifteen-years going on woman.

"You've... changed." Teddy said finally, a statement which Victoire countered with a tinkling laugh that made Teddy's back sprout a million tiny goose-bumps.

"You've changed, too." Victoire said, her azure eyes wandering Teddy's body to take in the muscles he sincerely hoped showed through the shirt, his recklessly long hair, which he prayed gave connotations to rockstars and not hobos, and his face, on which he now brandished a subtle stubble he had purposefully left when shaving and wondered if she would even notice.

When she was done critically observing him she wrapped her long, slender limbs around him once more and gave him yet another wet kiss, this time on the other cheek. "I've missed you!"

A few steps away Harry pulled Ginny away from the trolley and the rowdy kids, who appeared to be too busy reconvening with family and friends to listen anyway. "What did I tell you?" He mouthed to his wife, observing Teddy and Victoire through his spectacles with a very smug grin around his mouth.

Ginny raised an eyebrow at her husband, before following his gaze. "Unless I'm mistaken, I think I was the one who made a bet of five galleons and the Chocolate Frog card of Armando McHerring that the two of them would end up together, when you gave up hope after they spent the entire last summer pretending like they still had cooties."

Teddy could not explain the sudden rush of blood that seemed to pump to his head, like poison. The only thing he could think of was Victoire, and how she had to have picked up some veela-tricks or something while staying with her grandmother over the summer. Still, it seemed unnatural how a kiss or two to his stubbly cheek could put him under her irresistible enchantment. He, who had seemed completely immune up until this point.

Victoire giggled as she disentangled herself from her friend. "Your hair is turning red." She pointed out, with a coquette smile.

Teddy coughed harshly. "I'm... eh... trying out different colors. Searching for my style." Closing his eyes, scrunching up his face and feeling suddenly aware of how unattractive he must look while doing it, Teddy made his hair turn lime-green. A few passing second-year girls laughed loudly and rudely, and pointed, making Teddy's hair turn back to red again.

Victoire was about to giggle, but someone else beat her to it.

"Nice color, Teddy," came a voice dripping honey, and Teddy looked over Victoire's shoulder to see Dominique standing there. She was beautiful, of course, yet her brilliance paled in the shadow of her older sister. "Had a good summer?"

"Oh, fine, fine..." Teddy said distractedly, waving a clumsy hand and accidentally poking Victoire's nose with a stray finger. "Oh my- Sorry, Vicky. I'm sorry!"

"'S'okay," Victoire said, clutching two long-nailed, Frenchly manicured hands to her perfect, pert nose. "No, really, Teddy. I'm fine." she reassured him quickly and let her hands down. Teddy had lifted his wand in an almost threatening fashion, and she would rather have him not try and fix her nose with the result of risking expulsion from Hogwarts for attempted murder, especially not considering that he was just one year away from graduating the place forever.

Or maybe she would have him expelled, because that way he would have another year left to keep her company, and she would only have to face one year alone rather than two. Even though they did not have any classes together, Hogwarts without lunches with Teddy, walks around the lake with Teddy, lazy study-sessions in the library with Teddy and midnight food thievery from the kitchens with Teddy just didn't seem like Hogwarts at all.

"Oh, you're Head Boy!" Dominique squealed, pointing at the silvery badge fastened to Teddy's chest before she threw herself around his neck, nearly drowning him in blond hair. "I knew you would get that! I knew it!"

Teddy smiled stiffly, and patted Dominique's back twice.

"Hey, Teddy," Victoire said, after silently observing his rather awkward conversation with her sister without listening to a word either said, reflecting on how awkwardly grown-up her best friend had become after just one summer apart. Though always awkward, he had never been this grown up before. "Can you come over here with me, just for a second?"

"Uh, sure." Teddy replied, looking mildly confused but compelled to follow Victoire's lead away from Dominique and the rest of the Weasleys and Potters, who undoubtedly were only minutes away from noticing how sweaty and restless Victoire's presence made him.

Victoire walked determinedly away, to the very end of the station, to a dark and deserted corner halfway hidden behind a pillar of red bricks. She came to a sudden halt a feet away from the solid wall and turned to face a bewildered Teddy, who wondered if she had found a secret portal leading to Platform 9 1/2 or something down that alleyway.

"Vicky, what're you-" he started, but he was interrupted as a pair of unfamiliar, ambrosial lips collided with his.

Teddy had never kissed, or for that matter been kissed, before, and all he could do was to try and keep up as Victoire's lips worked against his. He could feel her body grinding his, her long, blond hair tickling his neck and cheeks, his own back crashing hard against the brick wall, overwhelmed by hers.

All his senses were full of Vicky. In his mind one name rang crystalline and clear; Victorie.

Victorie Weasley.

"Victorie..." he whispered, disentangling his limbs from hers rather forcefully and inhaling sharply the musty air on the platform.

"Yes, Teddy?" Victorie murmured, her voice uncharacteristically husky, and her fingers slowly climbing up his chest while tickling him through his T-shirt.

"I..." Her blue gaze was intense as she stared at him, smiling, her lips drawing ever closer to his until Teddy managed to dodge them and put at least a foot of distance between himself and Victoire. "I think I have to throw up."


Chapter 3: The Kiss That Meant Nothing
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"It didn't mean anything." Victoire said in earnest, gazing straight across the compartment at her best friend, who was staring determinately at anything but her eyes, as though she had seriously wronged him and therefore owed him a fat apology. "It was just a kiss. Seriously, Teddy, what did you think? Did you actually think that I..?" she trailed off into a pregnant silence.

Teddy did not open his mouth to answer, perhaps in fear that doing so would allow another waterfall of vomit to escape him. He had already managed to puke on Victoire's new, French Chanel dress, a feat which explained why the part-veela was already dressed in her school-uniform barely half an hour outside of London, and in turn was upset with him for being the reason that she had lost her chance to show-off her new Parisian wardrobe. There were red roses of fluster set high upon her cheekbones to underline her aggravation, but Teddy did not appear to notice.

"Did you?" Victoire demanded, when Teddy failed to respond within her time-limit. She should have known better than to expect her best-friend to act cavalier about this matter and laugh at the fact that she had kissed him. Whilst Victoire was impulsive and did whatever she wanted to, whenever she wanted to, Teddy overanalyzed everything before he acted. He analyzed what the things people said really meant, what he was going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner the following day, how to formulate each sentence that escaped his pale lips. He was no doubt sitting there now, across the compartment, wondering wildly what Victoire's intention of kissing him had been. Had it been just another spur-of-the-moment thing? Or did it mean something more? Was she in love with him?

Victoire could practically hear these thoughts through the silence, and they annoyed her to no end. Deciding she could take it no more, she snapped her slender fingers angrily in front of Teddy's gray, glazed orbs, making the boy wake up from his daze with a jerk at long last.

"What?!" Teddy asked in a fierce tone of voice that was uncharacteristic for usually goodnatured teenager. Victoire's skirt had slid dangerously far up her slender thighs, or perhaps it was just a few inches too short now that Victoire had stretched into a giantess. Nevertheless, it was quite distracting for him to discover himself wondering what color underwear she was wearing rather than listening to her talk like he had done all his life. "Did I do what, Vicky?"

Thankfully, Victoire seemed to be too upset to notice the covert glances Teddy regularly shot her bronzed thighs. "Think that it meant anything! Did you honestly think that the kiss meant something? And be honest."

"Of course I didn't." he lied, trying to summon a look of utmost disgust on his face at Victoire's accusation, as though the very thought was ludicrous.

There was a short-lived silence before Victoire gasped with the dramatic air of someone making a huge, universal realisation. "You're Head-Boy!" she said, his Head-Boy badge reflected in her eyes, giving the blue pools a silvery sheen.

"Well observed." Teddy said, glancing down at the badge, too. He was pretty proud of it, even though he was trying to play it casual so as to not hurt Victoire's feelings or worse; risk sounding pompous. "I thought-"

"Your meeting!" Victoire interrupted him matter-of-factly, and when Teddy simply stared blankly at her she added: "The Prefects' meeting! Go! Now!"

Under the throes of her urges Teddy slunk out into the hallway, leaving Victoire alone in the compartment. The awkward atmosphere that had came as extra baggage with the kiss left alongside Teddy, making the air left in the enclosed space seem empty and silent. Victoire hated silences, and she waited for just long enough for Teddy and his awkward aura to be out of sight before she, too, slipped into the now empty corridor.

As she climbed up the midway of the rattling train a small frown creased her usually flawless brow.

If the kiss had meant anything?

Of course it meant something.

It meant that she was happy to see him, that she had missed him, that she was excited at the approaching last year of his presence. And, though she would never admit it to Teddy, it meant that she had become curious as to how good of a kisser he was. If he came close to comparing to the various French guys she had snogged over summer, or if he simply sucked, like she suspected he would.

But did it mean that she was interested in him? That she wished to be his girlfriend, or that she wanted to repeat the rather clumsy display of teenage affection again?

Of course not.

Much like an antique vase from the Ming Dynasty, Victoire Weasley was a 'Do not touch' object, made for no other purpose than to gaze at from afar. No touching, not unless she wanted to be touched, and if by an odd coincidence she did want to, everything that happened happened on her premises. Without being megalomanic, Victoire liked to be in full control of every situation. She enjoyed being untouchable, to be stared at from all directions and longed for by boys who would do anything for her if she'd let them. The truth was, like any girl, Victoire liked to be desired, even if she pretended to find popularity a pain in the arse.

"Victoire!" A voice rang through the corridor and this time it was Victoire's turn to be buried in a mane of blond locks tickling her cheeks. "You look absolutely gorgeous, as always!"

"Lindsay?" Victoire said when she managed to escape the massive amounts of crisp hair and identify her attacker. "You look... blond."

"Isn't it neat?" Lindsay said, twirling a lock of dyed hair around a finger. "My sister was practicing colorization-charms over summer."

Victoire lifted a perfect eyebrow. It was a lie, she knew, because Lindsay's hair bore the unmistakable traits of being chemically treated and manhandled with Muggle hair-products. The locks that had been chestnut before summer were now the exact shade of Victoire's long, platina-blond mane, although they lacked the smoothness, the sheen and the gentle curl of veela hair. And not to mention, Lindsay was an only child.

Just about then half a dozen more girls peeked their heads out of the the compartment in which they all had been gathered for what had, no doubt, been a gossipy sewing circle. They all squealed at the same time, sounding like six tone-deaf sirens singing, before ambushing Victoire like a pack of savage dogs, howling out about how much they had missed her, how beautiful she was; how they were dying to hear all about France and the boys they assumed she met there.

Whilst Victoire was caught in the midst of her admirers, several boys from the various Quidditch teams walked by, every single one tiptoeing to stare over the female flock to catch sight of the pack-leader. A few even condescended to wolf-whistling at the tall blond whose head towered above those of her female classmates.

"I'm dying to hear all about your summer!" A redheaded Gryffindor named April said, the moment Victoire had been abducted in the girls' compartment and found herself squeezed almost uncomfortably snugly between Heather and Lindsay. "How was it?"

The rattling room fell immediately silent. Six pairs of eyes turned to the newcomer, who bit her tongue behind her perfectly pouted lips, but looked perfectly unfazed on the outside as usual.

"My summer was," Victoire began, but the sentence stopped there. It was as though the minute she finally had the chance to brag about her revolutionary experiences in the French sun she had nothing to say. "...er, fine."

"Fine?" All five said in unison, and it sounded like a chant inside Victoire's head.

"Fine..?"

"Fine?"

"Fine!?"

"Did you meet any guys?" Mary asked in a low voice, leaning forward with her elbows upon her naked knees. She, too, had changed into a school-uniform early, which struck Victoire as strange seeing that when they had embraced each other in the hallway Mary had most definitely been wearing a pair of washed-out jeans and a t-shirt sprinkled with Muggle cartoon-characters.

"Well," Victoire began shyly, and a sudden, vivid image of Teddy with his eyes scrunched up against her kisses on the train-station appeared in her mind. He had almost looked as though her kisses hurt, which stood on end with everything the various French boys she had practiced French kissing with over the summer had commented after their lessons. "There were a few boys..."

"A few?" Leigh repeated, turning big, bright green eyes to stare at Victoire in awe. Leigh was their youngest recruit, third year, hungry for influence and inspiration. "How many?"

Victoire began counting on her fingers. "There were Victor, Marius, Pierre, Jean, Hector and-", she brought up the other hand. "-Michel. I guess that makes a grand total of six."

"Six.?"

"Six?"

"Six!?"

Victoire was definitely back where she belonged, you could tell by her brilliant smile as the others fell silent around her, processing this latest piece of boundary-breaking information. She was the center of attention, the social butterfly, fanning out its wings to sprinkle experience and inspiration over her awestruck caterpillars.

"So you snogged a total of six boys this summer?" Heather summarized, rubbing her hands eagerly together as though she wanted to eat the details for dinner.

"Oh, seven, if you count Teddy snogging me outside on the platform right before the train left." Victoire let slip on purpose, smiling subtly, her cheeks attaining a healthy blush again. She didn't know why her head seemed to suddenly demand twice the amount of blood it usually did, but she thought it might have something to do with Teddy's reaction post-snog. Not that she cared, but did he actually find her so appalling that he had to throw up? She had thought her lips would leave him star-struck; she had certainly not predicted that they would leave her covered in puke.

"Teddy." Lindsay repeated, with a frown, looking deeply in thought as thought.

"Teddy?" April said blankly. "Who's Teddy?"

"Yeah, who is Teddy?" Mary asked, tilting her head as she gazed up at Victoire. "Does he go to our school?"

All six of the girls turned big, mascara-lashed eyes to stare expectantly at Victoire.

"Teddy." Victoire said slowly, looking from one to the other as though an overdose of sunlight had made the lot of them dim. She hadn't befriended the six girls plainly based on how pretty they were and how skilled they were at listening, but also for their a convincing display of being able to comprehend what she was actually saying. Now, however, it seemed she was losing the lot of them. "Teddy Lupin?" Victoire stared around, bewildered. "Tall, gangly, awkward. Seventh year, former prefect, my best friend-"

"I thought we were your best friends." Lindsay interrupted, sounding deeply wounded at the news-flash.

"Wait." Heather said. "He was a prefect last year, you said?"

"Right!" Victoire was glad someone caught up at last. "He's Head Boy this year, and-"

"Hey, Lindsay, do you remember when he was trying to yell at us that one time for practicing magic in the library?" Mary asked, turning to Lindsay with a smirk that split her freckled face in two.

Lindsay burst out in laughter, the tears she had tried hard to summon after the shocking revelation that she was not Victoire's best friend forgotten. "He trailed of mid-sentence and forgot why he was yelling at us, and ended up skulking out of the room like a tomato. Even his hair turned red! He's such a queer."

Victoire had just been about to given Lindsay a smack for talking that way about Teddy, but the last word of her row efficiently wrecked Victoire's train of thoughts. "Teddy's gay?"

She couldn't believe it, but everything suddenly made sense in light of this newest revelation.

Teddy was gay.

Victoire had misinterpreted the way he had shamelessly stared. He hadn't been bedazzled by her suddenly curvy body and her increased amount of endorfine. On the offside he had been repulsed, and when she had led him away to snog him he had thought it so dirty to have her tongue touching any part of him that he had to throw up to get rid of the sweet taste of her.

Teddy Lupin was gay.

Victoire got to her feet before she knew what she was doing, and she was surprised to find her thighs trembling. When had he found out, and why, oh why, hadn't he told her? She was supposed to be his best friend, the first to know, although now that she was officially a girl in his books she was likely to get fired from that the circle of trust quicker than you could say 'Hippogriff'.

"Where are you going?" Mary asked, gazing up at her idol with big, brown eyes, like newborn sparrow about to be abandoned by its mother. "Victoire, are you okay? You look a tad pale."

"Oh, I'm fine." Victoire said waving the concern away with a lofty hand.

Teddy was gay.

Chapter 4: The Coming Out of Closets
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Victoire avoided Teddy for the rest of the train-ride to Hogwarts, not knowing that Teddy was doing the same thing to her. In fact, the once inseparable pair managed to stay out of one another's sight for several days after the kiss that had meant nothing to either had occurred, because that's usually what people do when they are embarrassed.

To Teddy it seemed easier to stay away from Victoire, not only because it enabled him to postpone another awkward conversation in which Victoire demanded of him to tell the truth, but also for the simple reason that he was no longer sure that he was in control of himself. There seemed to be an overdose of hormones running through his veins, leading him to gaze longingly over at Victoire at the breakfast-table or in the hallways when he knew she wouldn't see him stare because she was too busy chatting up the entire Gryffindor Quidditch team to notice a weedy youth with eyes that secretly scorched her.

Victoire, on the other hand, was dealing with the kiss in her own way, sharing stories from France with her girlfriends until four in the morning and spending most of the classes the following schooldays either sleeping or flirting with boys non-verbally. There were many ways to flirt with the young men at Hogwarts, and Victoire was skilled at all of them. Sometimes she gave the boys a simple smile, which no doubt left a lasting imprint on their retinas that they could cherish for weeks. Usually, however, she was more promiscuous than that, pulling up her skirt unnecessarily high, unbuttoning her blouse to show a maximum of cleavage, smiling inwardly when she felt that the boys were, one by one, falling victim to her beauty and charms.

She did not, however, banish Teddy from her mind. Though still angry at him for barfing on her dress, and for not revealing to her his deep, dark secret, and now also for not talking to her and ignoring her for days straight as though she was the one who had done something wrong, Victoire was worried for her best friend. The train-ride to Hogwarts had been revealing in more than one way; not only did she discover the reason why Teddy had treated her like an asexual being her whole life, but she also discovered that Teddy was, to everyone but her, more or less invisible.

Now that she actually paid attention from afar, she could see Teddy walking alone through the hallways without anyone taking notice, and him sitting alone at lunch, barely poking the various foods with the three tips of his fork as though he was on a diet trying to get even skinnier than he already was, just to prove that it was possible. The only other person who seemed to acknowledge that Teddy was not a brick on the wall was Dominique, who at the very least smiled at him if they were to pass one another in the corridors. Victoire wondered why she had never noticed it before, when she realized that Teddy hadn't actually been alone before. He had always had her, walked through the hallways with her, sat with her at the lunch table, gone for walks around the silver lake with her and spent hours trying to tutor her in Defense Against the Dark Arts in the library, with the result that the librarian hushed them whenever he got too eager explaining and demonstrating how different spells worked.

Three little words could clear everything up, and bring everything back together to their usual state. 'I am sorry.', but, even if she had been, Victoire wasn't sure Teddy wanted to hear them from her, and neither was she sure he deserved it when he treated her the way he did.

Desperate for this to end, Victoire climbed all the way to the Owlery one chill night in the middle of September to burrow a tawny and send a letter to Teddy's godparents, explaining the difficult situation that had arisen.

"Dear Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny," she wrote, in neat, cursive letters. "Teddy is gay." She paused, tickling her chin with the end of her eagle-feather quill. There wasn't really a lot more to say than that. She wasn't good at putting her thoughts into words, and even if she had been she doubted the Potters would be interested in a monologue about how Teddy had puked on her expensieve Chanel dress, how he had been ignoring her ever since and how that boy really needed to learn some manners.

"Just thought you would like to know." Victoire finished the letter with an impressive signature, dotting the I's in her name carefully, before turning and walking straight into a soundless someone right behind her.

"Teddy!" she hissed, once the identity of the person became known in the moonlight. "What are you doing, sneaking up on me like that?"

"I'm not gay!" Teddy said angrily, by that conveying that he had read the letter over her shoulder. He tried to grab for the letter and ending up nearly falling into a pile of bird droppings. Teddy had inherited his mother's natural clumsiness along with her unusual ability to change her appearance at will. "Don't you dare send that letter, Vicky."

Victoire laughed loudly, once more dodging Teddy's groping hands. "Why not? I'm doing you a favor hauling you out of the closet! God knows you've been there long enough."

"Give me that!" Teddy said, launching at Victoire for a third time and missing the slender target by mere inches, accidentally banging his head against a perch on which five still sleepy owls had been sitting, huddled together. The quintet of birds squeaked loudly at the sudden impact and flew away in alarm, leaving a bleeding Teddy to grab the perch for support in their wake. He had a gash on his forehead, and dark blood was trickling down towards his left eyebrow.

Victoire, who had laughed rudely at first at the comical display, was possessed by a sudden feeling of, maybe not sympathy, but at least a feeling of warmth towards the wounded. She approached her friend cautiously, and with the sleeve of her cashmere sweater she wiped away the blood from his pale skin.

"You're not gonna try to kiss me again, are you?" Teddy asked, eying her wearily from beneath her wrist.

Victoire flared up at once, her features growing almost inhuman in her rage, in a way Teddy had never seen them before. Perhaps it was a trick of the moonlight, because a second later she looked as beautiful as she always did, albeit angry. "No, because I'm so disgusting that you wouldn't want me besmirching your lips!"

"Who said you were disgusting?" Teddy said, confused, for once a step behind rather than two ahead. "I never said that."

"You kinda did, when you threw up on me!" Victoire screeched, making several owls stir in their sleep and open amber eyes to stare at the winsome part-veela, as though unable to comprehend that a creature that sweet could make such unpleasant sounds.

Teddy looked more bewildered by the second, as Victoire trapped him in a corner and stared him down as though hoping to kill him by sight. "I'm sorry about your dress, okay?" Teddy said finally, after staring into Victoire's glowing, lash-framed eyes. "I knew I shouldn't have eaten that big a breakfast. But seriously... What lipstick do you use?"

Victoire's eyebrows flew upwards. "Why? Do you want to buy the same one yourself?" she taunted, in spite of herself slightly humored by the question. Now that she had proof and comfort that Teddy could stand less than an inch away from her without looking sickened she felt more confident and bold in his presence, the first inkling of a smile pulling the corners of her lips upwards. "Hate to break if to you, Teddy, but I don't think cerise is your color..."

"Oh, shut up." Teddy growled, before lifting an eyebrow. "I thought it was chili or something. Maybe I'm allergic..."

"What do you mean?" Victoire asked him, imitating his expression of one eyebrow raised.

"It hurt." Teddy said, with a twitchy shrug like a little boy admitting that he was afraid of the dark. "When you kissed me I felt this burning sensation, like your lips were fire and mine were ice."

"Well, you were a bit frozen, that's for sure." Victoire said, which earned her a sharp glare from Teddy.

The owls were starting to stir, one by one opening their eyes to gaze at the couple standing amidst rat-carcasses, the bony remains of mice and age-old owl droppings. In the starlight Victoire Weasley looked surreal; it was nearly impossible for any human being, part-veela or not, to look like she did in the darkness. Her skin, which in the sun looked tanned after summer, was milky white and almost seemed to emit an eerie light of its own, and, as though Victoire was made of diamond, it appeared to sparkle. Her eyes glowed, not yellow like the countless, blinking owl-eyes surrounding them, but bright azure, like the Pacific Ocean on a cloudless day. She was delicate, flawless, beautiful, yet nearly scary in her own, prepossessing way.

"So you're not gay?" Victoire said finally, after a long silence.

Teddy rolled his eyes, but did not dignify that question with an answer.

"Good." Victoire said, snickering. "Because I would be really mad if you hadn't told me. I don't want there to be any secrets between us."

"Me neither." Teddy muttered, wondering vaguely if the fact that he thought that Victoire had gotten simply gorgeous over summer counted as a secret. Just in case, for good measure, he crossed the middle finger over the index behind his back as he smiled dazedly over at Victoire.

"So," Victoire said, and a grin spread across her finely carved features, as though it was the sun rising to cast a beautiful landscape in its light. "I was your first, wasn't I?"

Teddy scoffed, but did not answer.

"The thing about your first kiss," Victoire continued later that night, when she and Teddy were the only two left in the Gryffindor Common Room. "Is that it is constant."

The pair of them were laying outstretched on the heart rug, staring into the flames of the burning fire into which Teddy had thrown Victoire's letter the second the two had gotten back from the Owlery and watched with a serene smile as it curled up in the embers.

"Constant?" Teddy repeated, the glow of the fire lighting up his features, which greatly resembled those of his father before him. "What do you mean, constant?"

He was avoiding looking at Victoire, instead burying himself in a thick book to keep his eyes from wandering on their own to take in Victoire's pretty face and limber body. He didn't actually read a single word of 'Hogwarts; A History'; a gift from Hermione for his seventeenth birthday. For that he was too distracted by the mere presence of Victoire, the fact that she was sitting next to him, so close that he could imagine the warmth to come from her rather than the fireplace.

"Constant, as in unchangeable, as in something you can't ever change." Victoire said and laughed. "I am your first, and you can't do anything about it."

Teddy muttered something inaudible and pretended to be buried the thick book, rather than his own thoughts. He was happy beyond words at the rekindled friendship with Victoire, but he wished they would keep the kiss taboo. He wasn't particularly proud of the whole puking-episode, nor was he a fan of any topic that made him blush and his hair turn red to match his face.

Victoire smiled over at her friend, watching how his hair, usually black as coal, turned the same shade of red as most of her relatives'. It seemed at times that Teddy had inherited more of the Weasley-genes than Victoire, even though he was only very distantly related. Victoire was her mother in miniature, though not so small anymore. The fact that she was only one eight veela, rather than one fourth like Fleur, did not show. If anything she was even more perfect than her mother, and it seemed she had every boy in Hogwarts under her charm.

Every boy, unless you counted the one next to her.

Chapter 5: The Second Sister
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Dominique Muriel Weasley was a lot of things.

She was one of the most promising students the Hogwarts staff had ever seen, what with her knack for potions, charms and magical creatures alike, her witty retorts and her undivided attentiveness in every class.

She was also a normal sixteen-year old girl; competitive, brilliant, and easily the prettiest girl in fifth year with veins in which flowed veela-blood. She was a well-liked girl by the entire Hogwarts population, with the possible exception of a few female students intimidated her striking beauty.

Some would say that Dominique was the whole package; brain, wit and beauty. Those people had not yet had the pleasure of meeting Dominique's sister, Victoire.

Victoire was the whole package, brain, wit and beauty reaching far beyond that of her younger sibling. Dominique seemed doomed to be forevermore caught in her sister's shadow, to be second best, to be the ugly duckling waddling a few steps behind the swan.

Dominique's eyes were darker, less radiant, and the lashes which framed them were shorter and fewer in number, and no amount of mascara seemed capable of equalizing them to Victoire's. Her hair possessed a golden sheen, which usually looked pretty enough, but next to Victoire's long mane of silvery blond hair, once a year on the Christmas cards, it looked downright dirty.

She was smaller, stockier and less graceful than Victoire, and even though Victoire was barely scraping by in most of her classes, the teachers were bedazzled by her beauty and Dominique was certain that they purposely lowered their standards under the influence of Vicky's radiant Veela charm.

Yes, it really seemed that Dominique had met the upper man, or rather, the upper woman. Nearly a foot shorter than her sister, and less graceful in every way, there was no wonder that every boy that came close to the sisters in France lost no time in striking up a conversation with the eldest and, perhaps unintentionally, ended up ignoring the younger sister completely. Dominique hardly noticed thought, because, unlike Vicky, she was used to being ignored.

She had been ignored most her childhood, when she had so desperately desired to to join the firm Teddy-Victoire duo. Victoire had usually shooed the unwanted intruder away with a few sarcastic and rude comments, whilst Teddy, well, Teddy had been worse.

Influenced by Victoire's boldness, and torn between the wish to stay on his best friend's good side and his own golden heart, he had chosen what he might have thought was the kindest resolve, which incidentally had turned into the harshest: Ignorance. Someone once said that ignorance was kind, yet Dominique knew this to be a lie.

Even blunt rejection would be better than the non-committal indifference she experienced whenever she tried to make a move on Teddy, whom she had been in love with for as long as she could remember.

Dominique knew that Teddy was anything but perfect, but she reasoned that that might be exactly why they were meant to be. Both Teddy and Victoire paled when put beside Victoire, whilst together Dominique believed that they could shine. She did not remember falling in love with Teddy; she had just always been, and now, after thinking for years that he would sooner or later lose his appeal, she had finally come to terms with the fact that she seemed to be destined to forever love her childhood sweetheart.

She couldn't point a finger towards what drew her to the tall, gangly youth either. He wasn't particularly easy on the eyes, yet the summer had done him some credit. The sun had given his usually white skin a healthy glow, he had officially proven that he could pull of the recklessly long, rockstarish hairdo, and, even though he seemed even more awkward and jittery this year than the one before, Dominique found him all the more charming. He made her heart pound against her chest so hard she was certain he could hear it from miles away. He had to know by now, he had to, had he only saved a second of his time for her and only her.

"Good morning, Teddy!" Dominique said almost unnaturally cheery, sliding into the chair directly opposing Teddy where he sat slunk over the breakfast table. Normally the spot was occupied by Victoire, but every since they had returned to Hogwarts after summer Victoire had seemed unnaturally distant and the golden duo was rarely ever seen together, and even when they were caught in a clammy corridor together, they did not talk. Dominique didn't know what had happened between them, neither did she care. All she needed to know was that her heart sprouted wings and fluttered every time she found Teddy by the table, all alone in the crowded Great Hall, bent over a plate of bacon, toast and boiled eggs with an expression of impending doom.

Today, she noticed, Teddy seemed a little less sober than he had done for the past few weeks, and Dominique was happy to see that he was eating healthily again, helping himself to a second serving just as she sat down.

"Hi, Dominique," Teddy said, barely glancing up at her and flashing her a smile before he returned to applying blueberry jam to his morning toast.

He never looked right at her, long and hard, and allowed himself the time it took to notice all the small things; a new set of earrings, the subtle layer of gloss on her lips, her usually straight hair falling in soft, golden curls thanks to a new shampoo one of her friends had lent her. She knew better than to think that he would gawk, Teddy wasn't a gawker, but she had at least thought that his jaw would drop just a notch upon seeing the transformation prominent enough to her own eyes that she had finally dared to approach him and be bold enough as to sit down opposite him, in the seat once belonging to her older sister.

Teddy seemed to be immune as always to her enhanced appearance as he tucked in on bread with marmelade, washing it down with pumpkin juice before taking yet another bite. Dominique twirled a golden lock around her finger, eyeing him discreetly, smiling softly as she saw a streak of bluish-black jam across his pale cheek. Before she knew what she was doing she had reacted instinctively and extended a hand, with a silent laugh reaching across the table to where he was sitting, with blueberries smudged on his perfect face.

When her fingertips made contact with his skin it was like a chemical reaction, a sensation spreading from his hot skin, up her fingers, through her veins and to her suddenly pounding heart. She was momentarily paralyzed, a small gasp escaping her as her gaze met Teddy's wide eyes across the table.

Teddy choked on his toast, undoubtedly caught by surprise by the sudden, unexpected intimacy as Dominique's slender fingers caressed his cheek, and it was as though he saw her, for the first time, for just a second, before his attention was swept away once again by the arrival of Dominique's impeccable, insufferable sister, who slid into the seat next to Teddy and stole the show.

The moment had passed, and Dominique's suddenly cold, numb fingers fell to the rough, wooden tabletop between her and the reunited duo across from her, in another world in which only the pair of them existed.

"Morning, Teddy!" Victoire said brightly, and Teddy swallowed hard to press the piece of blueberry toast down his throat. He coughed, and Victoire patted his back jovially and laughed, easily ignoring her sister's scowl from across the table. "Alright?" she asked, battling to keep her voice serious as Teddy's coughing fit came to an end.

"Never better." Teddy said, and he erupted in a weak smile, his eyes shining mahogany as he looked at Victoire, who, reassured, turned to the fully laden breakfast table and started piling a little bit of everything onto her plate. She seemed perfectly oblivious to the many pairs of eyes she had attracted by her mere arrival at the Gryffindor table. Hell, even people from other tables were eyeing her curiously, seeing how she looked particularly radiant this morning, without having done anything noticeable to enhance her already enhanced looks.

No one noticed the girl sitting across the table for the revelation, because next to Victoire everyone faded away into nothingness.

Dominique hastily gathered her things, offered Teddy a 'see you later' to which he did not respond, and then scurried away from the Great Hall.

Typical, she thought, as she headed towards the Transfiguaration classroom on the fifth floor. That the second she had bolstered up the courage to approach Teddy with the intention of building up an unbreakable bond of trust between them, getting him to get to know her, and then, finally, as an act of kindness, invite him to Hogsmeade with her that weekend to cheer him up and, hopefully, make him fall for her, something like this happened.

The sudden reconcilement of the two best friends rendered all her plans useless, and, with hunched shoulders and a rainy cloud above her head, Dominique turned her back on the boy she loved.

What had happened?

Dominique had observed the pair for almost a fortnight, ever since they had returned from summer vacation. She had seen how the two previously inseparable friends had grown apart, how Teddy had eaten breakfast alone, and how Victoire had spent her days speaking to anyone but Teddy, showing off her tan and her sun-kissed hair. And typically, the very morning that Dominique finally felt she had built up the courage needed to strike up a serious conversation with Teddy, not just a meaningless 'Good morning' or 'How are you?', the best friends reunited once more and Dominique found herself on the sideline.

She took a detour into the girl's dormitory on the second floor, relieved not to hear Myrtle moaning in the cubicle at the end. Dominique walked over to the cracked mirror and found herself staring at a pale face, a pair of sapphire eyes and an abundance of long, wavy locks of antique gold. Was really all this for nothing? All the trouble she had gone through making herself pretty for him; all the restless, sleepless nights practicing different ways to ask him to Hogsmeade before the approaching weekend, been wasted, and that just because Victoire reappeared by his side as a constant, sickeningly sweet attachment?

The door opened, and a somewhat plump girl with brown pigtails entered, shooting Dominique a curious glance as she passed by on her way to the cubicles. Dominique turned on the tap and let the sound of running water fill the air, so that the intruder would not think Dominique was a narcissist who snuck into deserted bathrooms between classes just to admire her own reflection.

The water was still running when the chubby brunette returned from the cubicles to wash her hands, and Dominique had still not reached a conclusion on wether or not to throw in the towel when it came to Teddy. Quickly, feeling the other girl's eyes on her dry hands, she stuck them underneath the running water and caught sight of a streak of blueberry on her pale skin, courtesy of Teddy, before the blackish blue substance mixed with the clear water and disappeared down the drain.

"No." Dominique said suddenly and straightened up, turned off the tap and attracted the attention of her neighbour quite efficiently with her strange mannerisms. Without drying her hands she stormed from the second floor ladies' room and back from whence she came, to the Great Hall, she strode up between the rows of Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors enjoying breakfast until she was all the way back to the spot she had previously left, pleased to find it vacant still, and even more pleased to find Teddy still sitting opposed to it, still tucking in on morning toast.

For once in her life, Dominique completely ignored her sister's presence. She was brilliant, beautiful, and every last bit as good as Victoire, so why should she put up with constantly being overshadowed like this? It was time for some action.

Dominique coughed, loudly, with the intention of gathering Teddy's attention, seeing that the youth seemed too bedazzled with Victoire's banter about the boringness of Professor Binns to notice her reappearance at the Gryffindor table.

Both Teddy and Victoire snapped their heads towards the unpleasant sound. Victoire scrunched up her nose. "What? You forgot something?" she asked sourly, a remark which Dominique chose to ignore as her blue eyes burned into Teddy's brown ones, and, finally, she felt as though he saw her, really saw her, and realized that she was there, really there, as solid and real as the girl sitting beside him.

Dominique licked her lips nervously, but she could not help herself; she was smiling, somewhat shyly, but the corners of her lips still pointed skywards as she continued to look into the eyes that just now were discovering hers. "Teddy," she said, and her throat felt sandy, even though her words escaped her like finely spun silk. "Will you go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?"



A/N: Sorry for the long wait, everyone :) Well, I'm not quite pleased with how the chapter turned out, but I'll let you be the judges ^^, Please review and tell me what you think :)

Chapter 6: The Despoiled First-Date
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Hogsmeade-weekends were Teddy and Victoires’ weekends together.

Ever since their third year at Hogwarts the two best friends had visited the little village together on each given opportunity, just the pair of them, testing new sugar quills at Honeydukes, filling their pockets with Zonko’s merchandise and, in case of bad weather, chatting over each their steaming butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks.

Whilst Teddy usually found himself sharing Victoire’s attention with at least ten ardent admirers and a gaggle of giggling girls, he could almost always count on Victoire to reserve a few sunlit hours for him on Hogsmeade weekends, and, tough she would scarcely admit it, the Hogsmeade-weekends usually came as a much-needed break from the everyday popularity in the castle for Victoire. With Teddy there was no pretending, there was no need to; he already knew her through and through and provided her a chance to act on her every impulse, turning her into a seven-year old girl again as she ran from Honeydukes to Zonko’s with a bright smile on her face, or else grasped his hand when she thought she heard a sound from the Shrieking Shack which soon turned out to be the hoot of an owl rather than the wail of a ghoul.

And now this had happened.

Teddy Lupin was taking Dominque Weasley, her sister, to Hogsmeade, on a date, or at least that was what it had sounded like when Dominique had asked him by the breakfast table the the day before yesterday and Teddy had stuttered a blushing yes.

Victoire had pretended to have a bad head cold, faking a throaty voice from beyond the covers while Lindsay, Mary, Heather and the rest of her female flock had gotten dressed for Hogsmeade that morning. She was not exactly sure why, but she had wanted, for once, to be alone. Once she was sure the last stragglers were not returning to reapply lipstick or change into a new outfit, Victoire descended the staircase to find the common room crowded with first and second years, the only students without permission to spend every other weekend in Hogsmeade. This collided catastrophically with her plans for solitude by the fireplace and she wondered how she could forget that not all Hogwarts-students were allowed the privilege of leaving the castle on Hogsmeade-weekends.

“Respect for the elderly!”, Victoire snapped at a diminutive first-year, who responded at once by jumping aside to allow the part-veela her seat in the most comfortable chair in the room. Victoire fell into the preheated cushions, looking sullen.

Teddy was taking Dominique to Hogsmeade.

A feeling unfamiliar to Victoire welled up inside of her like hot lava.

She had always found her little sister to be rather a pest. She remembered vividly how Dominique had dogged her and Teddy before they had started school as though she was Victoire’s imperfect shadow, always one step behind them. Rather than complimenting and fawning over Victoire’s flawlessness, like Victoire’s Hogwarts entourage, Dominique could always be counted upon to pick out her shortcomings, like a painful reminder that nobody‘s perfect. Victoire suspected that this was why she had always, as far as she could remember, disliked her sister. Admittedly Dominique had cut her some slack after starting school. The two were hardly ever seen together at Hogwarts and Victoire thought that only a select few, Teddy amongst them, knew that they were sisters. There were enough Weasleys to go around, Victoire reckoned, and she sincerely hoped that people would assume Dominique was only a distant cousin of the inscrutable Victoire Weasley.

Dominique and Teddy?

What did Dom have that Victorie didn’t? Surely, the answer was nothing, though why, then, had Teddy chosen to spend the day with Dominque rather than her older and much more attractive sister?

As Victoire sat, mulling things over in her head, she noticed that she might not, after all, be the only person above second year left in the common room.

A group of seven red-clad boys of varying shapes and sizes had just come down the staircase leading from the boys’ dormitory. The group’s shepherd caught Victoire’s attention at once, leaving the group in his broad-shouldered shadow unnoticed. Simon Wood, a vision in scarlet Quidditch robes, was captain and keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and, although he had no inkling of it, most definitely a worthy contestant for Victoire’s heart. Victoire admired the muscles that seemed to swell underneath his shirt for a few seconds, wondering if hooking up with him would suffice to make Teddy jealous, when her attention was dragged to one of the boys standing behind Simon.

James Potter, looking unnaturally pale, clutching a broom in his hands and looking up at Simon with apparent awe on his face.

“I thought we would start early this year, whipping you all into shape before the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw in November.”, Simon boomed, as he marched through the common room, making first and second years turn to stare. Victoire noticed a second-year who seized this opportunity to cheat at Wizard Chess, swiftly rearranging the pieces whilst his opponents’ pawns yelled in protest and one of them actually charged forward and bit the dishonest boy’s finger. “It may seem like a long way away now, but Quidditch-season will be here before you know it and I want all of you to be in the best, ruddy shape you’ve ever been in before that time comes. Understood?”

“Yes, sir!”, the rest of the team chanted in unison.

The team lined up before the portrait of the fat lady and began filing out through the portrait hole, James Potter making up the rear. He was the youngest on the team and by far the smallest, his head barely reaching up to the shoulder height of his teammates.

And it was then, as Victoire watched him moving his weight from one foot to the other, looking pleasurably excited and nervous at the same time, that the idea struck her. He looked almost extraordinarily like his father, her uncle, the famous Harry Potter. The only person he looked more alike was quite possibly his grandfather and namesake, James Potter the first, whom shared his hazel-colored eyes.

Silently as a cat Victoire snuck up on her cousin until she was standing half a foot behind him, then she hissed his name softly to make him turn.

James jumped a foot into the air, hit a one of the beaters with the handle of his broom and then spun around to face her.

“Victoire?” James sounded surprised and shot a precautionary glance at the rest of the common room to make sure he was the only James in the vicinity. When he realized that he was, in fact, the person to whom she was speaking, he finally turned his undivided attention upon his older cousin. “What do you want?”, he asked, his tone and expression both mistrustful.

Victoire raised her eyebrows, taking a mental note to remind aunt Ginny to teach the bloke some manners before covering her voice in honey. “I was wondering…”, she caught herself fluttering her eyelashes seductively at him and forced herself to stop, before rumors arose that Victoire Weasley was a pedophile guilty of incest. She coughed dryly, then smiled sweetly down at James in what she hoped was a sisterly fashion. James looked impatient, the last of his teammates having just squeezed out of the portrait hole.

“Listen, I have to go to practice-”, James said, making to follow the rest of the team when Victoire grasped him by the shoulder and looked at him with an expression he had never seen there before. It was not arrogant, bribing or gloating, but pleading, and desperately so.

“I was wondering… whether I could burrow your grandfather’s cloak for the day?”

***


“You look… nice.”, Teddy muttered awkwardly, having no idea how to treat this situation, having no previous dating-experience to boast about.

His feelings for Dominique had up until two days ago been entirely elder-brotherly and up until the day before yesterday he had been certain that she had returned his feelings in a younger-sisterly way.

“Thank you!”, Dominique beamed, taking an extra twirl before him in the entrance hall so that he could admire her attire from all angles.

She really did look nice, Teddy reckoned, once he plucked up the courage to shoot her a second glance. She looked nice in a sort of uncultivated way, very unlike the way her older sister seemed to radiate beauty. Dominique was wearing a pleated skirt together with a tight-fitting cashmere sweater the exact, dark blue color of her eyes. Her thick, honey-colored hair fell loosely down her shoulders and gave her a rather untamed look; a sharp contrast to Victoire’s usually long, sleek and lustrous hairdo .

From Dominique’s ears two silvery hoops dangled disharmoniously as she tilted her head and stared up into his face. “Should we get going?”

“Ehm… Yes.”, Teddy said, coughing to cover up his momentary stream of consciousness. “Yes, we should. Definitely.”

Teddy wondered for a moment whether she expected them to walk down in the village hand in hand or not, though was rather relieved when she started to talk while gesticulating clumsily. “So, it’s a nice day, isn‘t it? I love fall, how about you?” She indicated the cloudless sky, then tucked a few strands of hair behind her ear and glanced over at him expectantly.

“Autumn is nice.”, Teddy agreed, dumbly.

“So…”, Dominique said, obviously struggling for something to say. Small beads of sweat appeared on her forehead repeatedly every time she used her sleeve to wipe them away. Teddy, however, was far too preoccupied with his own thoughts to notice. His attention was a long ways away, with Victoire, whom he had barely seen for the past two days. He wondered where she was, if he and Dominique would bump into her in Hogsmeade or if she had blocked herself in her dormitory, pouting. He could imagine her lush lips, rosy in color, soft and wet and searing against his…

He noticed Dominique looking at him, expectantly, as though she had just asked him a question, and Teddy realized he hadn’t heard a word of what she had been saying. “Umm, what?”, he asked guiltily, shaking his head, shaking away the vision of Victoire and replacing it with Dominique’s rather stern look. He had a feeling of having been busted, as though Dominique could perform leniency and had just read his Victoire-infected mind.

“Nothing.”, Dominique answered, in a voice that had lost some of its shine. “Nothing at all.”

***


Victoire watched the pair from underneath James’ cloak. It was a good day, the sky was blue and cloudless and the sun was warm. September meant that the path students followed from the castle to the village of Hogsmeade was covered by a carpet of crisp, dead leaves. Victoire might not be visible, but to her annoyance she was still audible, which meant that she had to keep at a distance from Teddy and Dominique and found herself unable to eavesdrop on their scarce conversation. She trailed after them at a safe distance, her eyes shooting bolts of lightning at them whenever one turned to talk to the other. She hoped they would feel the stings, though knew they couldn't. She debated on whipping out her wand, playing a few tricks on Dominique such as making her trip or else making her skirt fly upwards, although she could think of both these mishaps leading to unneccesary body-contact between her sister and Teddy, and as she definitely did not want that she decided to leave them be for the time, though ideas kept cropping up as she walked along in their wake.

They reached the main street of Hogsmeade at last. Victoire had never before appreciated just how great the distance between Hogwarts and Hogsmeade actually was: the path had always seemed quick and easy when she had strolled down it with Teddy by her side.

Victoire watched her sister’s profile through narrowed eyes and her fingernails dug into her palms as she saw Teddy turning to debate with Dominique where they should go first. After a minute or so they seemed to land on Honeydukes and Victoire followed suit as the two entered the sweetshop together.

Mercifully the shop was so crowded with students Victoire could throw caution to the wind, sneaking up on Teddy and Dominique until she was breathing down their necks. The air inside Honeydukes was so warm, toasty and sweet-smelling anyway, she rather doubted they would be able to sense her presence a few inches from their privacy.

“I love these!”, Victoire heard Dominique say, rattling a box of every flavor beans.

“Oh, me too!”, Teddy said excitedly. “I remember last year Victoire got one that tasted like vomit. She wouldn’t eat for a week-”

Victoire saw, to her delight, the rippling grimace that very fleetly passed over Dominique’s face. “Weird.”, she said, placing the box back on it’s shelf and turning back to Teddy. “You would have thought she would have gotten accustomed to the taste by now.”

Victoire was on the verge of kicking her sister in the shin, though before she had the time, or Teddy the time to answer, Dominique had taken hold of his sleeve and pointed straight at Victoire. “Look!”, she said excitedly, grinning, jumping up and down.

For one horrible moment Victoire thought her cloak had slipped off her, until she realized that Dominique was pointing straight through her, at a display of fizzing whizzbees in a range of new flavors. Victoire barely had the time to dive out of the way as Dominique lounged forwards and ten minutes later the three of them made their way out of the sweetshop, Teddy and Dominique clutching each their box of fizzing whizzbees and a fresh supply of sugarquills.

“These actually make you hover an entire foot above the ground.”, Dominique said interestedly, studying the box whizbees.

“Where do you want to go now?”, Teddy asked her, and Victoire noticed that he looked slightly more relaxed now than he had done on the way down from the castle. His shoulders were not quite as tense and he was actually smiling now, his cheeks pleasurably tinted with red from the heat in Honeydukes.

“You pick.”, Dominique said, stuffing the whizbees into her bag.

“Ehm…”, Teddy said slowly, regaining some of the nervous twitchiness as he looked around, seemingly for inspiration. “Have you ever been to Madame Puddifoot’s?”

Victoire gaped and actually cleaned out her ears with the tips of her index fingers, sure she had not heard him correctly, though by the time she was done Dominique and Teddy had already set off in the direction in which Victoire knew that the teashop in question lay. She could not believe it. Madame Puddifoot’s had a distinct reputation of being a couple’s place, meaning a place where couples went snog in public without being frowned upon.

Teddy was taking Dominique to Madame Puddifoot’s? Victoire had never been there herself, though she had been dying to go ever since Mary had gotten back from her date with Eric Finch-Fletchley there the previous year. From what Victoire heard there had been pink and white confetti strewn around by live cherubs fluttering a few feet below the ceiling. The walls, Mary had heard from Madame Puddifoot herself, were infused with amortentia, which resulted in the shop smelling accordingly to what attracted every individual in there. Victoire had been hitning heavily that she would like to go, hoping that Teddy would pick up the hint and take her there accordingly, if not to snog her then at least for a spot of tea and an experience to remember, but the most exciting thing he ever suggested when the two of them were in Hogsmeade together was to hang around the Hog’s Head and pet the goats there.

Victoire’s lip curled into a sneer as she watched Teddy holding the door for Dominique before entering after her. Above the door hung a sign which read, in spirally golden letters, ‘Madame Puddifoot’s’. Victoire entered and only narrowly avoided walking into Teddy, who had stopped dead on the threshold and hoisted a skeptic expression upon his pale face.

“Come on.”, Dominique said, catching sight of his expression and laughing. “It was your idea, now come on!” She pulled him by the sleeve as she had done in Honeydukes and dragged him along to a table in a corner.

Victoire breathed in the air. Mary had been right, she reckoned. It was one of the most pleasant scents she had ever inhaled. It smelled like jasmine flowers and hairspray. Like salty sea air on a summer’s day by Shell Cottage. Like Teddy’s aftershave on September the first, when she had kissed him for the first time...

Her throat constricted, the scent suddenly overwhelming her, and yet she held her breath and pushed on through until she reached the table by which sat her best friend with her sister. She positioned herself right beside their table, so close, in fact, she was afraid either of them would hear her breathing. However, the tea-shop was so full of chattering and clattering, babbling and giggling that unless she was within a few inches of their hushed voices she would not be able to overhear their whispered conversation. However, the conversation had yet to begin when Madame Puddifoot came bustling along the aisle, only narrowly avoiding to trample Victoire as in her eagerness to chat up the newcomers.

“Oh, my dears, how lovely of you to stop by!”, she cooed, her twinkling eyes taking them in. “First time here? I don’t think I’ve seen either of you here before.”

Teddy and Dominique grumbled their agreement, Teddy’s hair flaring pink for a moment, though that could easily be a trick of the lights or the horrid, cotton candy-colored walls. Victoire listened as they ordered each their tea and received them within a minute, a fat cherub floating hastily by to shower them in confetti before he fluttered along, leaving them seemingly alone at last.

Teddy swallowed hard and began shoveling spoonfuls of sugar into his pinkish tea, seemingly avoiding Dominique’s gaze. “It smells good in here, doesn’t it?”, he remarked distractedly, without looking at her.

Dominique had yet to touch her tea. She was staring at Teddy, unblinkingly. “Yeah.”, she said, and a slight crease appeared between her eyebrows. “What does it smell like, you think?”

Teddy’s tea threatened to overflow the cup which held it, forcing him to stop the act of sugaring it. “Like… I dunno.”, he said, lifting the cup between his hands and taking a sip of the tea. He smacked his lips together thoughtfully, looking out over the room and ignoring the snogging couples seated by the tables. “It smells like Herbology, kind of. Like plants and wet soil. And it smells like strawberries, and fresh bakeries… Oh, and sea breeze.” He stopped his ramblings and took another hasty sip of tea.

“You love her, don’t you?”

The boldness of this statement earned Dominique a spatter of sugary, pink tea. A few droplets still clung to her eyelashes after she had wiped her face with her napkin, Teddy meanwhile shouting apologies and leaning over the table, attempting to dab at her with his own napkin. A few of the other couples in the shop had turned to look at the comical scene, some of them snorting into their tea cups.

Dominique slapped Teddy’s clumsy hands away. “Don’t.”, she said, her voice sounding oddly hollow, her eyes oddly blank. Whilst she had previously not blinked at all she was now making up for it by blinking continously, her eyes flashing open and shut like a flickering light bulb on the verge of going out. “Answer the question, please.”

“What question?”, said Teddy innocently, and Victoire was sure that it wasn’t a trick of the light this time. His hair had definitely turned pink, the exact same shade of the confetti nestled in the roots of it, courtesy of the fat cherub now bobbing above a snogging couple in the far corner.

Victoire's heart was suddenly beating very fast, dizzyingly fast, in fact, and she leaned on the edge of the table for support as she looked up at Teddy’s face. He had a prominent jaw line from this angle and Victoire noticed a stubbly area which he must have forgotten to shave that morning. She saw his flickering, dark brown eyes, the eyes that had so often admired her. She looked down at his hands upon the table, his fingers thicker and longer than hers, yet nevertheless slender and delicate as they wriggled in apparent unease. His lips, thin, pink, a small cleft in his bottom lip that she had never really noticed until just now…

“You love her, don’t you?”, Dominique demanded and her eyes were sparkling with tears now. “Victoire? You love her.”

Victoire held her breath now, gazing up at Teddy, the world standing silently still for hours on end. Then he opened his lips, closed them again, repeated this gesture for a moment, resembling a fish out of water. Victoire felt a twinge of annoyance, followed by a jolt of panic as she tried to draw breath.

She couldn’t breathe.

She opened and closed her mouth, as Teddy had done a moment before, yet no air filled her lungs. She was left gasping, soundlessly, as the panic took hold of her and she felt herself lose control of her own body. Her arms flailed, one of her hands catching the cloak and ripping it off in one fleeting movement to reveal her sitting crouched on the floor next to Teddy and Dominiques’ table, pink-faced and open-mouthed.

She heard several gasps, Teddy and Dominiques’ prominent amongst them.

“Vicky!”, Teddy shouted, but tears were flowing freely from Victoire’s eyes now and her mouth was an open hole, like an 'O', begging for the air that wouldn’t come though she needed it so badly.

She fell over on the floor, heard a sound of breaking china, soles of shoes squeaking against the wooden floorboard and then… Nothing.

Nothing at all.

Chapter 7: The Shocking Truth of the Situation
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The rain was pounding against the windows in the hospital wing, threatening to break the old glass. Apart from Victoire the infirmary was completely free of patients, but what it lacked in wounded students it made up for in visitors. At least two dozen people were gathered around Victoire's bed. Bill and Fleur were there with Victoire and Dominiques' younger brother Louis, but so was Victoire's posse of gossipy girlfriends, all of the Weasleys' cousins, a few ardent admirers bearing red roses, Teddy, and finally, leaning against the wall in the corner and looking rather morose, Dominique.

Dominique didn't understand what had happened. One second she was out on a date with Teddy, sitting safely in a corner of Madam Puddifoot's gruesome, pale pink coffeeshop. The next, Victoire had appeared out of nowhere and dramatically collapsed. Dominique had later learned that Victoire had approached James and asked to burrow his invisibility cloak, and she could easily guess herself to the rest of the story. Victoire had followed them on their date, no doubt with the intentions of spoiling it to ensure that Teddy never found true happiness with anyone but her. How she had come to gasp for air and lose consciousness, however, remained a mystery not even Madam Pomfrey seemed to be able to solve.

There was a collective intake of breath by Victoire's bed, making Dominique forget her musings and look up. Victoire had just stirred, and a second later her eyes fluttered open.

"Victoire!", Fleur squealed, pushing a few members of Victoire's fanclub out of her way as she enveloped Victoire in a hug. "Tell mommy what 'appened!"

Victoire appeared to be utterly flabbergasted as she took the hospital wing into full view. Dominique was surprised she could see anything from between those thick, heavy lashes.

"I... Suddenly I couldn't breathe.", Victoire began, her voice sounding less of a melody than it usually did. If anything it sounded like a croak. "Everything went black..."

Typical Victoire, Dominique reckoned. Skipping straight to the drama, not bothering with the dirty details of how and why she had come to be in the coffeeshop in the first place. In spite of herself, however, Dominique felt a surge of relief go through her body as she watched Victoire sitting upright in bed. No matter how insufferable she found her sister to be she had not actually wanted her dead; even if Victoire dying meant that Dominique got a clear shot at Teddy.

Madam Pomfrey came bustling into the ward. She was extremely old by now, and should probably have retired at least twenty years ago. She was so frail-looking, wrinkled and white-haired, that Dominique found it surprising that she didn't keel over when Teddy carried Victoire's limp body into the hospital wing earlier that day.

"Visiting hours are over!", Madam Pomfrey snapped as she started to shove the large crowd gathered around Victoire's bed out of the room. A few of the boys who had waited by Victoire's bed for hours to give her the roses looked devastated, but Madam Pomfrey's mind was set in stone and there was no point arguing with the bossy old lady. Slowly but certainly the crowd began to thin, until only Victoire's closest family was left gathered at her bedside.

"Teddy.", Victoire suddenly moaned, and Dominique turned to see Madam Pomfrey trying to shoo a hesitant Teddy from the room by waving a threatening bandage at him.

"Let him stay.", Bill told the Matron. "He's her best friend, and he's as good as family."

Madam Pomfrey lowered the bandage with a disappoving look on her wrinkly face, begrudingly allowing Teddy to step up to Victoire's bed. "Hi.", he said shyly, smiling down at the patient.

"Teddy...", Victoire said weakly, and Teddy sat down by her side, taking her hand in his and pushing a few blond looks away from her pale, flawless forehead.

The sight of the sickening display of affection was simply too much for Dominique. She made her way towards the door, casting one last glance over her shoulder only to find that no one in the room even noticed that she was leaving.

Unlike Victoire, it seemed she didn't need an invisibility cloak to disappear from view.

***


Three days later, after recounting the story of how she had lost her breath about three hundred times for Madam Pomfrey, Victoire was finally allowed to leave. The nurse had come no closer to finding out what was wrong with Victoire, and had finally concluded that Victoire had some Muggle-disease known as "asthma". Before she had showed Victoire off she had given her a number of inhalers with the instuctions of keeping them with her at all times in case another fit of breathlessness should occur.

Victoire had expected that the whole school would have changed completely in her absence, but she returned to find that everything seemed just about the same. The only difference was that she was given even more attention now that everyone knew she had been in the hospital wing, and the teachers even exempted her from homework for the next fortnight. If anything, the situation had improved, and Victoire found herself almost wanting another fit of whatever-it-was just to see how much it was possible to further boost her popularity at Hogwarts.

The whole spying-on-Teddy-and-Dom disaster was rather embarrassing in hindsight, though, and Victoire found herself once more dodging Teddy at lunch and in the hallways, just so she could avoid prying questions on what she was actually doing under the invisibility cloak in the middle of Madam Puddifoot's. Instead she found other ways of keeping herself occupied; namely sucking up to the increased attention she was given from all angles.

"It was absolutely horrifying!", Victoire admitted to her girlfriends one day as they were sitting by the lake, enjoying what could very well be the last day of decent weather that year.

The statement she had made rang true, even if she had embellished the circumstances of how she had come to find herself in the coffeeshop to the extreme, making it sound as though she had been there on a date with the Quidditch captain of the Ravenclaw team rather than spying on her best friend and sister. Luckily the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain was an obnoxious git who considered himself far above talking to any of her friends, so the truth would hopefully remain a secret until Victoire's dying day.

"Yeah, but at least you got to go on a date with Dan Corner!", Lindsay pointed out with a dreamy sigh, and Victoire turned to see her staring towards the Quidditch stadium. In the distance you could see seven strapping boys dressed in blue swerving around on their broomsticks.

Victoire frowned and tried hard to think of something to say to avoid being asked about exactly what had gone down on her supposed date with Mr. Corner. She spotted Teddy sitting alone under an oak tree not too far away, bent over his textbooks as usual.

April followed her gaze towards the youth, frowning. "Isn't that that weird prefect, Lupus, or what's his name? Oh, and what was he doing in the hospital wing? He didn't even bring you any flowers!"

Victoire merely continued to look at Teddy, barely noticing that anyone had said anything. Teddy's hair was unusually long, and it looked oddly windswept considering that there was only an inkling of a breeze on the grounds today. It was also black; the color he wore it on the days when he was feeling particularly dispirited.

As she watched him, debating on wether or not she should swallow her pride and go over there to him, he looked up. His eyes met hers, and Victoire suddenly had the same, chocking feeling that she had experienced in Madam Puddifoot's; only this time it was of a much smaller magnitude. Nevertheless she found herself rummaging through her bag in search of her inhalor, because, as awestruck as all of her classmates had been when she had retold the thrilling tale, it had frightened her to death.

Victoire located the puffer, put it to her mouth and inhaled, hearing her friends gasp in admiration and astonishment. She caught Teddy eyeing her with a curious frown, and she took another puff for good measure before she faced her friends' expressions with a dazzling smile.

"I have asthma.", she announced, and the girls immediately drew the conclusion that asthma was the most glamorous disease in the world.

***


Truth was, Teddy did feel dispirited.

He tried telling himself that this was just a reaction towards the fact that Victoire had blatantly ignored him ever since she was released from the hospital wing, and yet he could not quite shake the feeling that he was actually ill. He thought about consulting Madam Pomfrey about it, but the lady had grown pretty loopy in her old age and he did not fancy getting a funny diagnosis for what would probably just turn out to be a bad case of the blues.

Still, Teddy did not feel well. He walked around feeling queasy all day long, and once or twice he had even had to run to the bathroom to throw up after catching sight of Victoire in the hallways. It was almost as though he was having an allergic reaction to his best friend, Teddy reckoned, and he wondered vaguely if one could develop allergies against Veela hair. The odd thing was that he had been hanging around with Dominique an awful lot in Victoire's absence, and even though Dominique was every bit as part-Veela as Victoire, he tended to feel better when he was around her. She wasn't Victoire, but she did make a great substitute whilst Victoire was off enjoying the popularity her latest debacle had earned her.

"What's wrong, Teddy?", Dominique asked him one day. They were sitting at the Gryffindor table for lunch, although Teddy had rarely felt less hungry. Victoire was sitting a few seats down from them, and every other minute her loud, melodious laughter would carry through the Great Hall and make Teddy's stomach jerk uncomfortably.

"Nothing...", Teddy answered evasively, picking at a pickle with his fork.

"You look kind of sick.", Dominique pointed out before leaning over the table and putting her hand against Teddy's forehead. "Merlin, Teddy, you're burning up! I think you have a fever. Maybe you should go to the hospital wing?"

Teddy shrugged, glancing in Victoire's general direction to see her chatting animatedly to Simon Wood; the Gryffindor Quidditch captain. His stomach made yet another uncomfortable turn. He should have been a Quidditch player, rather than Head Boy.

Dominique followed his gaze, and she looked rather indignant by the time his eyes finally landed upon her again. "You really do love her, don't you?", she asked him suddenly, and Teddy remembered the question Dominique had asked in Madam Puddifoot's, which he had escaped having to answer when Victoire had unexpectedly, but conveniently, revealed herself to be sitting crouched down by their table, gasping for air. The hospitalization of Victoire had completely driven the question from Teddy's mind. At least it had until now.

"I- No, of course not!", Teddy said, and his hair grew red until it resembled the shade characteristic of the majority of the Weasley clan.

Dominique seemed to consider his splutter for a moment, whilst Teddy tried battling against his thoughts and the nausea. The truth was that he didn't know how he felt about Victoire anymore. It had been a shock when she returned to France and he found himself suddenly attracted to her; a girl he had looked at as a sister for the entirety of his life. However, this school-year so far had certainly put their friendship to the test; and the term had barely even begun. Victoire was now back to ignoring him completely, yet Teddy had no idea whatsoever what he had done to deserve this cruel behaviour.

He was barely listening when Dominique spoke again. "Good.", he heard her saying from what seemed a great distance considering that she was sitting right across the table from him, only seperated from him by a pitcher of pumpkin juice and some shepherd's pie. "Because you did make a vow not to fall in love with her, remember?"

"Hmm?", Teddy said, returning to the conversation with some difficulty, his haircolor growing darker again as the initial shock of Dominique's previous question began to wear off. "What are you talking about, Dominique?"

Dominique looked rather exasparated at his lack of attentiveness. "We went to that cavern down at the beach.", she said slowly, and a vivid picture of their childhoods' favorite hiding place came into Teddy's mind, making him smile for a moment before Dominique wiped the smile off his face with the rest of her sentence. "-and you promised Victoire that you wouldn't fall in love with her. Ring a bell?"

Speaking of bells chiming, Victoire chose that exact moment to laugh ringingly at whatever lame joke Simon Wood had just uttered, and Teddy compensated by showering the table with sick.

When he recovered enough to look back up at Dominique again his eyes were huge and round as galleons, and his hair had turned the exact same shade of snowy white as his face.

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