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For Almost Always. by ilharrypotter

Format: Song fic
Chapters: 2
Word Count: 8,460
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Drama, Romance
Characters: Teddy, Victoire
Pairings: Teddy/Victoire

First Published: 04/21/2011
Last Chapter: 05/09/2011
Last Updated: 05/09/2011

Summary:
Gorgeous banner: littlemissy @tda.






He can’t give her any more than almost.

She can't give him any less than everything she has.

Kate Voegele; Forever & Almost Always.


Chapter 1: Forever.
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]


Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or this beautiful song by Kate Voegele.


Hey, guys! I hope you enjoy this two-, possibly three- part song fic as much as I have enjoyed writing it. This song is called Forever and Almost Always, and it's sung by Kate Voegele. It's absolutely gorgeous and moving, and if you haven't listened to it before... you should. It's quite possibly my favorite song, just because of how it sounds. And the lyrics are amazing too!


I'm on spring break now! Work, studying for AP tests, and trying to find a prom date... well, that sounds like a lot to do, but I think we all know I'll be writing fan fiction instead. I wouldn't be me if I didn't. <3


-Paige.





 




 

 


 

So the story goes on down the less traveled road,


 

It's a variation on the one I was told,


 

And although it's not the same,


 

It's awful close, yeah.


 


 


 


 

 


 

“Victoire, listen to me!”


 

 


 

“I don’t want to do this right now, Teddy.”


 

 


 

The couple stands in the middle of a seemingly-perfect kitchen. Black and white photographs of the beautiful pair cover the walls that surround them – dancing at an outdoors wedding, holding hands over an elegantly set dinner table, sitting on the floor with numerous cousins in front of a massive Christmas tree, standing next to Victoire’s younger sister at her graduation.


 

 


 

Victoire picks those photographs to fill their kitchen in order to remind her that, on the surface, this relationship is perfect. The beautiful pair seems like they have everything anyone could want; isn’t that how it always seems to go? They seem so perfect together – so happy, so content, so comfortable with each other. It’s only on the surface, though – fights like these remind her that the pictures she loves tell a lie.


 

 


 

Teddy hates them. He curses them daily. He hates seeing their happiest moments surrounding him, when some of their least happy moments occur right here in this very kitchen. He hates watching Victoire’s photograph-self smile and laugh and kiss him, while in real life she’s crying because of the angry words the two shared.


 

 


 

Victoire closes her eyes for a moment, hoping that Teddy won’t Disapparate before she can open them again. She thinks back to the night before – the quiet Saturday night they spent curled up together on the sofa in the living room, watching a movie on the Muggle television Teddy purchased on an impulse months before and eating Honeydukes fudge. They laughed at the same parts in the movie; they held hands underneath a warm blanket; they fed each other chunks of fudge; Teddy pretended to smear chocolate on her cheek and then kiss it off; Victoire tousled his hair and curled against his chest. They were happy – she was happy.


 

 


 

Those were the moments she knew she was in love – the moments she wished would take over all of the bad ones. Evenings like those, spent enjoying the company of one another, make Victoire think that her fairytale ending isn’t all too far away – she knows she will never have the perfect ending everyone always reads about, but who wants to live a life exactly like a story book? She was content last night in his arms – content with their love story and their life.


 

 


 

Then the morning came. She walked downstairs at a leisurely pace, poured herself a cup of coffee, and called out to Teddy, who she expected would be reading The Daily Prophet and drinking his morning tea as he usually was when she woke up on Sundays. He wasn’t there. Mornings when Teddy isn’t there… that’s always when the fights begin. Victoire doesn’t know where he goes, what he does, or who he’s with when he disappears; all she knows is that when he finally returns – sometimes as late as five in the evening without any contact to let her know where he has run off to – he never feels compelled to tell her where he’s gone. He’s never drunk or covered in lipstick stains or bruises, but she worries nonetheless – it’s the lack of signs that worries her more than real signs of his escapades would. 


 

 


 

He Apparates into the foyer at two in the afternoon. Victoire sits in the kitchen – she’s stayed here for most of the day, hoping he would turn up eventually – and sips from a porcelain teacup. Teddy walks into the kitchen and stares at her in silence.


 

 


 

“Where were you?” she asks him, although she knows it’s the worst way to begin their conversation.


 

 


 

Teddy rolls his eyes – today, they’re a shade of green. His angry color. He doesn’t answer her.


 

 


 

“Well?” she raises her thin eyebrows high over her eyes.


 

 


 

“I was out,” he responds, trying to avoid her like he always does.


 

 


 

“Out where?”


 

 


 

Diagon Alley? Hogsmeade? Somewhere else across the country? Will he bother to tell her if she continues to ask? Is he with another woman? With his best mates? With his boss? With only himself, nursing his moodiness with a pint of firewhiskey? There is never any sign of an answer from Teddy; Victoire tries not to assume – it will only drive her crazy – but she wishes he would give her some form of a response.


 

 


 

Out, ’Toire,” he repeats with a stony glare, using his nickname for her; when he does this, Victoire thinks of happier times once again. He crosses the kitchen, casts a disgusted look towards the happy pictures on the wall over the kitchen counter, and reaches for the teapot of boiling water Victoire left on the stove. He makes his cup of tea in one of the porcelain cups Victoire sat out on the counter for whenever he came home, all the while staying quiet while the tension in the room builds up.


 

 


 

“Why don’t you ever tell me where you go? I wake up, and you’re not here – do you know – ”


 

 


 

“Will you just shut up?”


 

 


 

“Teddy,” Victoire’s voice breaks, and she stares into her teacup. Maybe a shape will appear in the tea leaves in the bottom of her cup – maybe some sign would appear somewhere to tell her that, despite the hardships she faced, her fairytale ending wasn’t too far away.


 

 


 

“Oh, ’Toire – ” Teddy murmurs, and he rushes across the kitchen to her. Whenever he realizes he’s gone too far, pushed too much, he’s remorseful. He reaches out to put a hand on her shoulder; she shakes him off, refusing to look up from her teacup as she continues to wait for the sign that will never come. “’Toire, I’m sorry.”


 

 


 

“I don’t care,” she responds – lies. Such lies. She cares. She always cares. But she does her best to pretend otherwise. She hates to let him know when he’s upset her, even when it’s so evident on her face.


 

 


 

“Victoire, listen to me!”


 

 


 

“I don’t want to do this right now, Teddy!”


 

 


 

Victoire throws back her chair and stands in front of Teddy, taking the most defensive stance she can manage against him – as if he’s going to attack her. Teddy never attacks her, but Victoire defends herself nonetheless – she defends her heart, her soul, everything she’s given to Teddy in the past six years of their relationship.


 

 


 

“Victoire, please,” he whispers, reaching out for her again.


 

 


 

“Teddy,” she warns him.


 

 


 

“I love you,” Teddy reminds her, his eyes flashing suddenly from green to blue – to mimic her own blue eyes, she knows. Whenever he’s somberly apologizing for lashing out at her once again, his eyes will change to blue; it’s how she can tell his sincerity from his lies.


 

 


 

Victoire, despite how strong she wishes she could be, folds immediately, and she falls against Teddy’s chest, letting him fold her into his strong arms. When he tells her he loves her, no matter what he’s put her through beforehand, she falters for a moment, and then she loses her defense entirely.


 

 


 

“I love you too, Teddy,” she mumbles into his chest.


 

 


 

She hates to be so weak – to throw down her defenses the minute he apologizes and tells her he loves her. It’s pathetic, really. It’s sad, depressing, ridiculous – she feels like a disgrace when she does this, but she knows it will never end. This is the man she loves, and she will have her happy ending with him one day – even if it isn’t what she’s always expected, even if it means she must give up day after day trying to hold her ground.


 

 


 


That’s how it always goes.


 


 


 

 


 

In an ordinary fairytale land,


 

There's a promise of a perfect happy end,


 

And I imagine having just short of that,


 

Is better than nothing.


 


 


 


 

 


 

Love is a funny thing, Victoire muses to herself. She’s known that for her entire life, but whenever she’s with Teddy, it feels like she’s reminded of it more and more.


 

 


 

Love is supposed to fill your life and your soul, it should make you feel whole and content, it should make your life better. Not worse. Not more complicated. When you fall in love – when you really fall in love – it’s supposed to be forever. It’s supposed to be something you don’t doubt for a single second, something you believe in every day; a happy end will be forthcoming, eventually. There’s never a doubt of that when you’re in love.


 

 


 

Victoire runs her hands through her long blonde waves, knotting her fingers in her loose, buttery, golden curls. She gathers her hair up in a loose bun on the top of her head, releases it after a moment, and shakes her hair out over her shoulders. It’s easy to tell when Victoire is thinking over something with diligence and persistence – she plays with her hair more than usual.


 

 


 

When she was a young girl, she dreamed of her happy ending – of her fairytale love. Maybe she’s found it now. Maybe that’s what Teddy is supposed to be – her Prince Charming, her knight in shining armor, the man she dreamt of when she was a tiny girl. Maybe her fairytale love is what she’s got right now, whether or not it’s what she thought she deserved so many years before. She hates to think about that, but she knows it’s true.


 

 


 

Has she settled? Victoire has never been the type of girl to settle. When she was a young girl at Hogwarts, everyone had high hopes for her. Her professors knew she would do great things. She would change the world. She would achieve more than any student they’d taught in many years. She would be the girl everyone talked about. She would never settle for anything less than what she deserved – and what she deserved was everything she could possibly want. A fairytale fell into that category a long time ago; can she lie and say that she no longer desired a fairytale once she met Teddy, or can she tell the truth and admit that Teddy is not everything she’s ever wanted?


 

 


 

She closes her eyes and lets out a long breath. She knows that she has settled. She knows that she gave up a lot of potential lovers in order to be with Teddy. She knows that her relationship with Teddy isn’t everything she hoped it would be. She settled, and every day, she settles for him again. However, Teddy loves her, and that’s good enough for her – good enough. Not the best. Not the most amazing. Not the closest to perfect. It’s good enough. Is she, of all people, in a place to grow upset and unhappy with her relationship, simply because it could be better?


 

 


 

“He loves me,” she reminds her condescending reflection as she leans over the bathroom sink, staring at her gaunt face in the smudged, foggy mirror.


 

 


 

The shower runs and steams up the tiny room, wasting hot water as it has been for ten minutes at least, but she makes no move to turn it off. Teddy doesn’t interrupt her when she’s in the shower – not after a day like today, anyway – and she needs solitude. She needs time to think, time to absorb the day’s events, times to remind herself that she puts herself through everything for a reason – whatever that reason may be.


 

 


 

“He loves me,” she repeats.


 

 


 

Pushing back the shower curtain and dropping the towel she’d wrapped herself in, she steps under the scalding stream of water and lets it soak through her long golden curls. As the water spreads through her hair, she lets go for the first time all day; her own salty tears mingle with the shower as they trail down her face. She never cries unless she’s in the shower. She hates to see her tears fall. It’s a sign of failure – of weakness, of falling apart, of losing control. The tears are indistinguishable when she’s in the shower; she prefers that.


 

 


 

For a third time, she whispers to herself, “He loves me…”


 

 


 

He loves her. He disappears at random times and doesn’t come home for hours; he provides no explanation for these lengthy absences. He grows angry when she questions him, and he yells at her. He tells her to shut up. He doesn’t listen to her. But he loves her.


 

 


 

She’s never been the kind of girl who found such behavior to be excusable. Yet, he loves her, so she lets it go without a word.


 

 


 

To Victoire, any kind of love, be it excellent or miserable, is better than nothing.


 


 


 


 

 


 

So you'll be mine,


 

Forever and almost always,


 

And I'll be fine,


 

Just love me when you can, yeah,


 

And I'll wait patiently,


 

I'll wake up every day just hoping that you still care.


 


 


 


 

 


 

At the sound of a loud roar – coming from Teddy’s parted lips – Victoire’s eyes fly open, and she sits up abruptly, glancing from side to side to check her surroundings. When she realizes in her exhausted, barely-awake state that it is Teddy from which the noise emanates, she closes her eyes and sinks back against the pile of pillows at the head of the bed they share. His arm is flung across the bed underneath her, and his fingers curl around her waist; Victoire settles against his chest again and sighs deeply.


 

 


 

If someone saw them right now, would they know that only a few hours ago, they were screaming at one another? Would they know that Victoire crumpled the minute Teddy reminded her that he loved her, instead of holding her ground? Would they know she cried for an hour in the shower and blamed the Would they know that the perfect couple, the couple that had been together since they were fourth years at Hogwarts, wasn’t so perfect after all?


 

 


 

Victoire finds it hard to believe that herself based off of just this one moment – of the way he adjusts his position to fit her body, of the way she fits into his arms and falls comfortably against him as she sleeps, of the way his breathing comforts her as she presses her face against his ribs. It feels perfect enough. Enough. That’s always the word.


 

 


 

She’s happy enough. They’re together enough. He’s home enough. He tries well enough. She smiles enough. He kisses her enough. He does well enough. He’s good enough for her. Their relationship is good enough for her. Everything about them is good enough. And that’s the way they’ll always be, forever and always. Almost always.


 

 


 

Why is that all he can ever give her? He can only give her good enough and almost and somewhat and kind of. Never anything that implies that he loves her with all he has, that he puts everything he can into their relationship, that he’s never given up for the slightest second, that he would never do anything to hurt her or break what they had. He can’t give her any more than almost.


 

 


 

But Teddy is Victoire’s – whether he is hers entirely or partially, that is how their life goes and will continue to go. For a little while, anyway. She knows this. She’s accepted this. She isn’t freely overjoyed by this, but she’s content enough. As long as he loves her, she’ll be okay. He’s her entire world. She’s loved him for so long; she can’t imagine how it would feel to lose him. As long as she knows that he loves her… but she can’t even count on that anymore. She can count on so little in her life – especially when it boils down to Teddy.


 

 


 

She looks at his long, sleeping frame, biting her lip. When he opens his beautiful eyes in the morning, is he still going to love her? That lanky body, those strong muscles, that sculpted face… will they be hers in the morning? Will he be hers in the morning? Sometimes, she can’t tell if he will be. When she wakes up to find his body missing and his side of the bed cold, when she wanders downstairs and finds him gone and the newspaper unread… she doesn’t know. She’s unsure, and she hates it.


 

 


 

But on the days when he opens his beautiful eyes and looks down at her with love… well, those are the days she lives for. The days when they’re okay and happy are the days her life is the most complete. When the two of them have a good day, it’s a great day to be alive. He touches her kindly, he kisses her passionately, he holds her to him, and he lets her know that she’s his entire world. Teddy treats her like a princess on those days. The way she should be treated.


 

 


 

A strong, proud woman would leave and find someone else. Someone who didn’t put them through so much turmoil and uncertainty – someone who loved them every day, regardless of their mood or their temper. Someone who wouldn’t leave on a whim with no explanation, coming home after hours only to start a fight once he Apparated into the house.


 

 


 

Victoire always thinks herself to be a strong, proud woman. She has dignity – she’s French, after all – and she’s a confident woman. However, she doesn’t have the strength to leave him – he’s everything to her. He loves her. She loves him. So, instead of standing up for herself and walking out the door like the witch she should be, she sits and waits, hoping that the days when he loves her become more frequent as time goes by.


 

 


 

Her wishes go unheard. Those days never come around soon enough.


 


 


 


 

 


 

In the corner of my mind, I know too well,


 

Oh, that surely even I deserve the best,


 

But instead of leaving,


 

I just put the issue to bed and outta my head.


 


 


 


 

 


 

Victoire knows she doesn’t deserve this life. No one deserves this life – especially not her. She deserves romance, flowers, chocolates, presents… she deserves love and attention. Loyalty. Trust. Laughter. Smiles. Kisses. Hugs. Affection. She deserves to be someone else’s everything – every day, not just once or twice a week. Once or twice a week is only good enough. She deserves more than just good enough. She deserves perfection and happiness.


 

 


 

She walks into her uncle’s shop – Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes in downtown Diagon Alley – and throws her cloak down on the counter. The store isn’t crowded yet; it’s early Monday morning, and the shop only opened thirty minutes before right now. Pranksters don’t like to start early on Monday mornings. Neither does Victoire, who drops by the shop early every Monday morning to help Uncle George with his books before she Apparates to the Ministry.


 

 


 

How does that compute? she wonders to herself. She’s twenty years old and one of the many representatives in the Department of Magical Cooperation that travels almost daily to France in order to maintain good relations between the Ministry of Magic and the Frenchmen’s magical regime. She’s one of the youngest and simultaneously most important workers at the Ministry at this moment in time – relations with France are strained, and her flawless French is deeply respected and needed – and yet, here she is, settling for such a mediocre relationship.


 

 


 

A girl like her should have more than this in her life. She knows this. She can’t forget it. She’s reminded of it every day.


 

 


 

“Uncle George?” she calls out, walking back into the office behind the counter.


 

 


 

Her uncle is hunched over his desk, his forehead resting on a stack of books. His eyes are closed, and his lips are parted. He snores softly. Across the room, George’s wife and Victoire’s aunt, Angelina, sits on a stool and prods some sort of invention with her wand. She looks up from the object when she hears Victoire calling for George, smiling at her niece before casting an amused look at her husband.


 

 


 

“He never manages to stay awake for long,” Angelina chuckles. She pats the empty stool next to her, which Victoire hurries to take without so much as a hello. “Your eyes are swollen. Have you been crying?”


 

 


 

Nothing gets past Aunt Angie. Victoire took another long shower this morning before she left the house, and, as usual, she burst into tears the minute the water soaked through her long curls. She wonders when she last took a shower without crying – it’s been months, at least.


 

 


 

“A little bit,” Victoire responds, resting her elbows on the counter and propping her head up in her hands. She sighs. “We had another fight yesterday.”


 

 


 

“Did he leave again?”


 

 


 

“Yes.”


 

 


 

“Did he explain why?”


 

 


 

“No.”


 

 


 

Aunt Angie merely makes a tsk-tsk noise, continuing to poke the unknown object with her wand. She waits a few moments before she says anything to Victoire, and when she does, it’s clear that she’s trying her best not to offend her. On too many occasions, someone has shared with Victoire their view of her situation, and she never hesitated to curse at them and Disapparate. Whether they were right or not, she could never listen for too long. Aunt Angie tries to avoid angering her so severely.


 

 


 

“Sometimes I wonder if you don’t deserve better than what you’ve found,” she tells her niece hesitantly.


 

 


 

“Everyone wonders that,” Victoire responds vaguely.


 

 


 

Her empty responses are known well and hated by her family. They know she’s trying to get out of really discussing the problem. It’s what she’s always done in all types of situations – the blame, for once, cannot fall back on Teddy.


 

 


 

“Do you?”


 

 


 

Victoire takes a deep breath and looks up at the ceiling. “Every day,” she murmurs softly. Then, she covers her mouth with her hands – as if she can’t believe she said such a thing aloud, outside of the safety of her shower.


 

 


 

“What are you going to do about it, ‘Toire?”


 

 


 

She sighs. That’s the question she asks herself every day. Victoire tells herself she’s going to leave him. She always thinks about it, and it sounds so good. She’s tried to do it before. She’s gotten close – so close she could taste freedom, taste the possibilities, taste the chances she could be taking if she were to just leave him. Then, every time, she shakes her head and continues on; nothing ever changes. She never lets it change.


 

 


 

Instead of answering her aunt, she pushes back the stool and jumps down to the ground. The sound startles George from his slumber, but he doesn’t say anything to the two ladies. He can see from Victoire’s posture that he’s missed far too much.


 

 


 

“I’ll start balancing the books now,” Victoire informs Angelina, an abrupt and predictable end to their conversation. “I need to be at work soon.”
 


 




 


So, I hope you all go and listen to this beautiful song now. Expect to hear more from me soon. :) 


-Paige.


Chapter 2: Free.
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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.


A/N: I typed up a really long, awesome, great author's note to go along with this. But it never fails that when I type up a really great, awesome, long author's note... it disappears and HPFF whines to me about my 0-word chapter. Which is NOT true, because this is more than a 0 word chapter. Clearly. Ugh.


Anyway! Now that I'm getting all my ducks in a row... this story has been completed. I hope everyone enjoys this 2-part song fic. The rest of my stories are still in progress, but updates will be few and far between until June. School is, despite AP tests being almost over, taking hold of my life. Whenever work lets me have a life, of course.


Now: mushy dedication time.


this story is for every girl who has been in Victoire's place - identical situations, worse situations, better situations... it doesn't matter. If you've been in a relationship where you've settled and given all you had for a boy who didn't deserve you, this story is for you. Find strength and make it through if you're living like Victoire right now; if you've lived like Victoire in the past and made it through on your own, I applaud you - you'll always deserve better than that. And if you've never been in this situation, I hope and pray that you never do.


-Paige.









Oh, and just when I believe you've changed for good,

Well, you go and prove me wrong,

 

Just like I knew you would,

 

When I run out of second chances,

 

You give me that look and you're off the hook.

 


 


 

 

 

“Good morning, beautiful.”

 

 

 

Victoire wakes up to the sensation of Teddy’s soft lips brushing against her bare shoulders and the back of her neck. As a shiver runs down her spine, her eyes flutter open and she rolls over to face him. His strong arms slide around her waist and pull her against his chest. His lips capture her own, and the passionate kiss, in her barely-awake state, sends her mind spinning around in wild circles. She responds with enthusiasm, wrapping herself around him and entwining her legs with his.

 

 

 

“I love you,” he murmurs as he separates their lips and begins devouring a line down her neck, nipping here and there at her smooth flesh. He reaches the thin strap of her nightgown and pushes it over her shoulder so that he has full access to the skin underneath. As he kisses back up to her waiting lips, he continues to whisper to her, “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

 

 

 

“I love you too, Teddy,” she responds, pulling his face back up to meet her. She missed this.

 

 

 

This morning doesn’t feel so far away. It feels like only five minutes have passed since Victoire was wrapped in Teddy’s arms and being kissed like she was the most beautiful girl in the world. This morning, Victoire felt beautiful, loved, and perfect. She felt happy. She felt like, just maybe, everything had finally fallen into place – like everything was fixed.

 

 

 

She knows, however, that her perfect morning has disappeared and has been replaced by a horrible afternoon; she realized that the minute she woke up from the short nap she took after lunch. When Teddy Apparated into the kitchen after being gone for three hours with no warning or explanation beforehand, she knew they would fight – and here they are.

 

 

 

“You never change, do you?” she asks Teddy, hands on her hips. Her temper rages. She challenges him with flashing eyes. “I always think you’ve changed – I hope you have! – but you never, ever do.”

 

 

 

“Why do you want me to change so badly anyway?” he grumbles in response, as if he has no idea what hell he puts her through each day. “I thought you loved me. Doesn’t love mean accepting the other person’s flaws?”

 

 

 

“One can only accept so many flaws!” Victoire raises her voice a little, narrowing her eyes. Teddy is far too nonchalant tonight, when she’s so clearly angry. She hates when he doesn’t show his emotions during a fight; then, she always feels like she’s fighting a brick wall. “I’ve reached my bloody quota with you, Teddy!”

 

 

 

“What are you going to do, Victoire?” Teddy counters, his eyes darkening and his hair turning a multitude of colors spontaneously, and she knows that this will not end well.

 

 

 

Once his appearance begins to change – not by choice, but by the stewing anger within him – there’s no turning back. There will be no simple “I love you” to solve the problem tonight. It will end in tears – Victoire’s tears and Teddy’s tears. Neither will see the other cry, as Victoire runs to the bathroom – a closet will suffice if she can’t make it to the shower, or any room without a mirror for her to see herself – and Teddy Apparates from the house to some unknown location, but cry they will.

 

 

 

“Are you going to leave me?”

 

 

 

The way he asks that, it almost sounds like a suggestion. Victoire wishes it was a suggestion – one she could take seriously and act upon. She would love to leave him sometimes – maybe not permanently, but just long enough to get the message through his head. She didn’t deserve what he put her through, but she’d never learned how to escape. She’s stuck.

 

 

 

“Yes, I am,” she responds, crossing her arms over her chest and looking away from Teddy. Then, she twirls around in a circle; with a fragile crack, she Apparates into the bedroom that the two of them share.

 

 

 

Victoire grabs her wand from her table by their bed, waving it around her as she summons her belongings from the closet, the armoire, drawers around the room, under the bed – she has clothes and shoes everywhere, and she regrets her tendency to shop now as she tries to pack it all. She feels like a crazy person, flourishing her wand and gesticulating wildly as she sends shoes and jumpers and dresses flying into her open trunk. She’s never done something like this before – she’s never packed up her belongings. She’s never considered leaving enough to do such a thing. She isn’t even sure if she’s really considering it now.

 

 

 

Yet, she feels strange – exhilarated. As she watches her clothes fold themselves in neat stacks inside her trunk, she realizes that, for the first time, she’s at least trying to escape. She’s trying to regain her lost dignity. He’s pushed her too far, made too many mistakes, and she’s finally at the end of her rope – she’s reached her breaking point. And it feels incredible.

 

 

 

Then, Teddy Apparates into the room. He stands before her, watching as she drops her arms to her sides and lets her wand fall to the floor. She stares at him; the last of her clothes fall gently into her trunk with light swooshes – the only sound in the otherwise silent room.

 

 

 

“You’re leaving.”

 

 

 

“Yeah, I am,” she gestures towards her trunk. “Clearly.”

 

 

 

“Why?”

 

 

 

Victoire sighs deeply. Why? That’s such an idiotic question, isn’t it?

 

 

 

“Don’t leave me, ‘Toire,” he murmurs.

 

 

 

She looks at him. He’s giving her that look. Oh, that look. The pouting lips, the wide eyes, the innocent, apologetic, dejected slump of his entire body… that look. The look all arseholes manage to learn before a certain age, so that they can use it on the girls who love them most. Here Teddy is, taking advantage of the fact that he’s the King of the Look. She hates it. Victoire hates it.

 

 

 

“I love you, ‘Toire,” he tells her.

 

 

 

And just like always, she folds. She rushes to his waiting arms, and she curses herself inside her head as he kisses her and whispers in her ear.

 


 


 

 

 

Because you're mine,

 

Forever and almost always,

 

Oh, and I'm fine,

 

Just love me when you can,

 

And I'll wait patiently,

 

I'll wake up every day just hoping that you'll still care.

 


 


 

 

 

Victoire stares angrily at her image in the mirror.

 

 

 

Merlin, she’s a beautiful girl. That’s not what angers her so much – her reflection comforts her and consoles her, and her reflection reminds her that, despite Teddy being the way he is, she’s none the worse for it. Not on the outside, at least. On the inside, she’s going crazy. She’s falling apart. But he loves her, so she’ll be okay in the end.

 

 

 

She wonders how many times she’s uttered such a phrase to herself in the confines of her bedroom when Teddy isn’t there to console her. A lot, she assumes. She wonders why she finds that so comforting – so reassuring. He loves her, so it’s okay. He loves her, so she’ll survive. He loves her, so being miserable is acceptable. If she wasn’t in the situation herself, she’d laugh at the girl suffering through all of this.

 

 

 

If she wasn’t the one crying when Teddy came home in a fury and yelled at her, she would find this situation pitiable. She would roll her eyes as she watched the pathetic woman gain a little bit of confidence, try to leave, and then crumple back into herself when her man held his arms out for her. She would talk in whispers to her friends as she observed – “Silly girl, can’t she see what he’s putting her through? Why do you think she sticks around? Oh, she must be out of her mind.She knows herself well enough to know that, if not in this situation herself, she would have no understanding for anyone else going through the same thing.

 

 

 

So why is it okay to live through it herself? Why is she so understanding about all of Teddy’s mistakes and misgivings, as if they don’t matter? Why does she let him tear her apart every day, even though she’s miserable and falling to pieces around him? Why does she let it happen? It wouldn’t be acceptable for any other woman to do it – so why does she?

 

 

 

Because he loves her, she reminds herself. He loves her.

 

 

 

Oh, she hates her reflection. She hates what he puts her through and the situation he’s created for her, but she hates herself more than anything else. Every single day when she lets another mistake, another string of angry words, and another fight pass by without a struggle, she hates herself even more. She is the one who sits by and lets it happen. She never leaves. She is given all the reasons in the world to leave, but she doesn’t. She goes to sleep with tears in her eyes after a fight between them, and she wakes up to his unexplained absence on more occasions than she should, but she doesn’t leave.

 

 

 

Victoire will be fine. She knows she’ll be fine. That’s how strong girls have to live when they’re in a bad situation – they can’t give up and walk away, even when there’s a million reasons to do so. She’s a strong girl, and she’ll make it through – she’ll wait it out, because she loves Teddy and Teddy loves her the same. That makes it all worth it, she knows. It doesn’t stop her from hating her reflection more than she hates anything else, but she knows that it’s all going to work out eventually.

 

 

 

Everything will be okay in the end – that’s what Aunt Angelina always says to her. “Everything will work out in the end, dear.” She hears her knowing voice ringing in her ears and sees her concerned eyes peering down on her as she stares in the mirror. Does Aunt Angelina whisper about her as she passes by at family affairs in a depressing state, a living ghost after a fight with Teddy leaves her emotionally exhausted? Do her family members cluck their tongues and share their opinions on her relationship, wondering why she sits through it? They seem supportive and loving on the surface, but she wonders if that’s a ruse – if on the inside, they snicker at her obvious stupidity.

 

 

 

The possibility of being a joke to other people horrifies Victoire, but she doesn’t make a move to change her predicament. She’s lost so much control in here years since Hogwarts, but she doesn’t try to take it back. She misses the stability she once clung to so desperately, but she doesn’t try to retrieve it and banish the chaos, the fear, and the uncertainty from her life.

 

 

 

She just sits and waits, watches her reflection, thinks about Teddy and her life and how much she wishes that things were different. She waits and will continue to wait, because he loves her, and that is all she’ll ever need.

 


 


 

 

 

Oh, oh, what am I still doing here,

 

Oh, oh, it's all becoming so clear.

 


 


 

 

 

“Where were you?” Victoire asks Teddy as he walks into the house in a huff after six hours of absence. Her eyes are cold, her voice unconcerned, and she grips the handle of a teacup in her hand, wondering how much strength it would require to fling it mercilessly at his skull. Probably not a lot, if all she wanted was to break the porcelain; if she wanted to break him, it might take a little bit more effort.

 

 

 

A few weeks have passed since she tried to leave Teddy and take everything with her; even longer since she visited Aunt Angelina and Uncle George at the shop; even longer since she’d thought for a split second that everything was going to be okay between the two of them. He leaves almost every weekend for hours at a time; she doesn’t even work up her emotions enough to cry when she comes downstairs to find him gone.

 

 

 

Just a few weeks ago, she consoled herself and dried her own tears, reminding herself that Teddy loved her and would always be next to her – so she had no reason to leave him. Lately, she finds it difficult to think such things. He’s left too often and screamed too much. Her heart aches when this happens, but she knows that in the weirdest of ways, it’s giving her strength.

 

 

 

Each time he comes home angry and grows frustrated with her when she demands an explanation from him, she’s given yet another reason, another specific example, to go to her room and pack up her things. She collects these reasons, tucking them in the back of her mind. When Teddy is at work or disappears for no reason, she stews over these reasons. She debates the pros and cons of leaving him – mostly pros, very few cons, she’s learned recently – and she wonders when the perfect time to make her escape will make itself clear.

 

 

 

The sudden change in heart is inexplicable to Victoire. She knows not what day she decided that this no longer could continue. No one had to push her to her breaking point – other than Teddy, of course – and she didn’t just wake up one morning desiring to leave him. But suddenly, suddenly, she found the urge to leave growing. It expanded and filled her entire body, and before she could realize what was happening, she was plotting her escape.

 

 

 

She loves Teddy. She always has loved Teddy and always will love Teddy. She doesn’t deny that, and she doesn’t plan to deny it in the future. When she leaves and she’s kilometers away from him, she’ll still think about him every day, and when she finds a man worthy of her who will give her everything he has, she’ll still remember her first love – the one she lost and the one she left.

 

 

 

Whatever type of emotion there is between Teddy and Victoire, she knows, is love. It’s its own type of love, strange and unique and dysfunctional and horrible, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is indeed love.

 

 

 

Victoire, once upon a time, thought that love was enough – and it is, sometimes. When it’s the right kind of love, it’s more than enough – it makes up for every flaw, every fault, every fight, every misunderstanding. But when it isn’t the right kind of love – and the love between Teddy and herself, she knows, has never been that kind – it has no power. It has no strength, and it has no ability to make up for anything.

 

 

 

She sees that now. It’s clear to her now. Their love isn’t strong enough to keep her here. It isn’t strong enough to do anything. She’s the strong one.

 

 

 

Where were you?” she asks a second time when it becomes clear that Teddy isn’t going to answer her question in the near future.

 

 

 

Teddy looks at her with ignorant eyes.

 

 

 

Does he not see the change in her? She sighs to herself, because she knows that he doesn’t. He can’t tell that she’s been growing angrier and more hostile as time passes by the two of them; he can’t tell that her lack of contentment has grown so strong that it’s taken over every part of her that once believed his love was enough to keep her satisfied.

 

 

 

Then she smiles. She can make him see.

 

 

 

“I was out,” he answers, as he always does.

 

 

 

“Where?” she pushes farther. She never does this.

 

 

 

“Out,” he replies. He still doesn’t see it.

 

 

 

Where?”

 

 

 

Teddy locks eyes with her. His eyes are flashing different colors at her; his hair is as well. The colors change rapidly as his anger flares, but as he takes a deep breath, they finally settle at dark shades of blue and black – not his usual colors, she notices.

 

 

 

“I went to the pub,” he finally gives in.

 

 

 

“Why?”

 

 

 

“To drink.”

 

 

 

“Who were you with?”

 

 

 

“Few mates of mine.”

 

 

 

Victoire nods her head and takes a sip of tea. Oh, the porcelain cup could go flying through the air right now if she propelled it forward with the right amount of force. She knows she would find that more than pleasing – the sound of it crashing and breaking as it collided with his face and then crumbled on the floor in shatters. Oh.

 

 

 

“Is everything alright?” he asks her.

 

 

 

She finds this funny. Usually, they’d be fighting by now. She’s realized a decrease in the fights between them; as she grows more indifferent and crouches in wait for the right moment to leave him, she finds no reason to speak against him and start a fight. Victoire wonders if this is a reason to stay. Then, she remembers just how happy she would be if she threw the teacup at his head – just how pleased she would be to hurt him just once, the way he’d hurt her so many times.

 

 

 

“Everything is fine, Teddy,” she responds. She parts her lips for another sip. Does he notice her strange behavior? She wonders, truly, if he can put the pieces together and decipher what’s happening today – if he’s thinking, right now, what has gotten into her and what she’s going to do. “Perfectly fine.”

 


 


 

 

 

You'll be mine,

 

Forever and almost always

 

It ain't right to just love me when you can,

 

Oh, I won't wait patiently,

 

Or wake up every day just hoping that you'll still care.

 


 


 

 

 

“You’re leaving me?”

 

 

 

Victoire doesn’t respond. She slowly folds one of her thick winter jumpers and adds it to the top of a neat stack, which she proceeds to place deep in the bottom of her magically-expanded trunk. She keeps her lips firmly pressed together; any words she lets pass from her lips could easily be used against her in the future – by her own self, she knows. So she stays silent.

 

 

 

“Victoire,” Teddy presses further. He reaches for her, trying to take her arm and pull her away from her trunk as she continues to fold clothes.

 

 

 

Her entire wardrobe exists in piles surrounding her. She kneels on the floor in front of her open trunk, diligently folding her belongings and not saying a single word. The perfect moment came today; after finding that he could not provoke her into a fight by being evasive and vague, he grew angry and provoked a one-sided argument in that manner. She didn’t yell or scream as he did. She simply hardened under his fiery glare, rolled her shoulders back, and left the kitchen, walking upstairs to their bedroom as casually as he had entered the house so many times after hours of absence.

 

 

 

It feels good to be the one in control.

 

 

 

She shakes her arm away from Teddy, refusing to lock eyes with him.

 

 

 

“’Toire, come on,” he encourages her to talk to him, to stop packing, to stay with him. “’Toire, please. Don’t leave me. I love you – please don’t leave me.”

 

 

 

Victoire remains silent. His words are empty. For once, they hold no attachment to her heart. They make no attempt to pull her back. His words mean nothing to her. His words are nothing. He is nothing.

 

 

 

When she finally places her final items of clothing in her trunk and closes the lid, ignoring Teddy’s pleading all the while, she pushes herself to her feet and looks down at him. A few minutes before, he collapsed on his knees on the floor next to her trunk; she raises her eyebrows and watches him.

 

 

 

This man… the man she’s supposed to love… he doesn’t look like much in this state. She wonders, watching his gaunt face and his clearly broken eyes, why she loves him – why she once felt so pulled to him. He never treated her the way he should – he never gave her the fairytale she desired from him and deserved from him. She’s done with trying for him – he’s never tried for her. She didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve to put up with him. He was – and forever will be – a lucky man for even catching her attention for a moment, and she expects him to realize this.

 

 

 

Their forever, if it was ever even that, is over.

 


 


 

 

 

Forever and almost always,

 

No, it ain't right to just love me when you can, baby,

 

Ain't gonna wait patiently,

 

I won't wake up every day just hoping that you still care.

 


 


 

 

 

Victoire walks into her uncle’s shop, dragging her trunk behind her by the handle. Children and their parents stare at the oddities and the products that fill the shelves and the displays all around the shop; their laughter makes her smile. It’s been a few days since she’s laughed and smiled, and she feels her heart warming to be around so many other careless, happy, free people. She can be one of them now – free.

 

 

 

No longer is she settling. She’s free to do as she desires. She’s free to stay with her aunt and uncle, to meet men who treat her right, to spend

 

 

 

Uncle George stands behind the front counter. He isn’t used to seeing her on days like today. “Hello, miss,” he calls out to her, giving her a jaunty wave and a big smile.

 

 

 

It’s almost as if he knows why she’s here – as if he knows what major change in her life has taken place. She wonders if it’s evident on her face just how free she is.

 

 

 

“How can I be of service to you?”

 

 

 

“I need somewhere to stay,” she answers him matter-of-factly.

 

 

 

When she left their house this morning, she knew she would need somewhere to go; the first option that entered her brain was not her parents’ home, where she felt more than unwelcome, but with her aunt and uncle. She belonged in their family more than her own anymore; her mother could barely look at her after she ran off to be with Teddy, and her father never argued with Maman. Dominique and Lysander would be almost as welcoming as her mother would, as she’d cut off most ties to them after she moved in with Teddy. Her other aunts and uncles had too much to deal with without taking her on as a boarder, and she felt no urge to burden her once-friends with her presence after throwing out their friendships only to keep her relationship with Teddy.

 

 

 

Her only option remained here with Aunt Angelina and Uncle George – even if it wasn’t her only option, she knew, she would still come here first.

 

 

 

“Have a spat with the man of the house, did we?” her uncle questions.

 

 

 

From the grin on his face, Victoire knows that he doesn’t think it was merely a spat – he can tell that she’s left. Maybe she’s smiling. Maybe she looks as happy as she feels. Maybe everyone can see it written across her face – she’s free.

 

 

 

Victoire nods her head. “You could call it that – a spat,” she tells him with a smile. Then she looks down at her trunk and widens her eyes, raising her eyebrows, hoping he understands. “You have a spare bedroom, don’t you?”

 

 

 

Aunt Angelina runs from the back room to Uncle George’s side, after clearly eavesdropping for a moment on their conversation; she smiles wide in greeting at Victoire and nods her head vigorously. She, too, knows what has happened, without even having to ask.

 

 

 

“Of course we do,” she answers for her husband, giving him less than a second to even process Victoire’s question. “It’s been waiting for you for ages.”

 

 

 

Victoire rushes into her aunt’s arms as she throws them out for her.

 

 

 

“I’m happy for you, Victoire,” Angelia whispers to her.

 

 

 

She thanks her aunt, and she wonders if Angelina knows even half of how happy she is. She’s free. She’s gone – she’s escaped. She has everything she could possibly want, and she’s far, far away from the man who’s never treated her like she was worth anything to him. She’s no longer settling for someone who doesn’t deserve to be with her. She has a chance, an opportunity, potential.

 

 

 

Smiling against her aunt’s shoulder, Victoire finds it comforting that when she wakes up in the morning, she won’t worry about Teddy – she won’t concern herself about whether or not he still loves her. For even if he does, even if he doesn’t, it won’t affect her – she’s free until she no longer wants to be. 


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