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I chewed slowly and deliberately, trying to take my mind off the couple in front of me. I hated how Victoire's eyes lit up and her cheeks flushed when Sam talked to her... He didn't deserve to make her happy.

Sam and I weren't the best of friends, let's say. We both saw each other as a threat. I wanted to be the man in Victoire's life; that's all I'd ever wanted. Now Sam was back... Things weren't looking up. He'd had harsh words with me once. He told me that I was to stay away from Victoire for my own good. I laughed in his face. We had been best friends all of our lives. Nobody was going to come between us that easily.

He had even tried to duel me! The fool. I had inherited my parents' talent at defence against the dark arts; Sam stood no chance. He left me alone after that. Victoire finished with him soon after.

I never expected him to come crawling back, let alone that Victoire would accept him. I didn't trust him for one minute. What incredibly bad timing.

The sad thing was I didn't think Victoire had even missed me during our month apart. I had missed her desperately, but she seemed indifferent. I had thought I was so close to convincing her to give me a try... In came Sam.

I tried not to let my bitter sentiments show on my face but I had the feeling I didn't success; Victoire kept giving me the evils.

"So, Teddy," Sam said with a false smile. "What is it you do these days?"

"I'm training to be an Auror," I said happily, proud of myself.

"I hear there's not much work anymore, after the war and everything." Sam passed me the carrots smugly.

"Wherever there is good, there is evil to counter it," I looked pointedly at him. "Or try."

That shut him up. I turned to Rose, who was sat on my right. "How's the boyfriend?"

Rose yelped and turned a magnificent shade of maroon. "I- I don't have a boyfriend," she replied squeakily

I knew she didn't, but I felt a lot better teasing her than making small talk with arse-face in front of me. "What about this Scorpius fellow Uncle Harry told me about?"

Rose laughed scornfully. "He's a Slytherin. And a Malfoy."

"So?" I said, elbowing her by accident. There were rather to many people cramped around the dining table for comfort. "I've heard he's a looker."

"You're welcome to him," Rose said sweetly, shaking her dark brown hair. "He's more your type than mine."

I pretended to look hurt. "How so?"

"He walks, talks and looks like a girl."

With that, Rose turned away to talk to one of her uncles on her other side. I had been humiliated by my best friend's younger cousin. I looked away and met Victoire and Sam's amused faces; i scowled in return. It was definitely one of the worst Christmases I'd ever had.

I arrived at The Leaky Cauldron in a disgruntled heap. It must've been at least eleven o'clock by now. What was I doing here all alone at Christmas? I kept asking myself that question over and over again. I was not having a good time with work mates nor was I eating stupid amounts of Christmas pudding with Victoire. I hadn't even visited my poor, lonely grandmother. I was a failure of a man, and a terrible person. Guilt squirmed inside me as I ordered the first drink of the evening; it definitely wasn't the last.

The evening passed in a smoky blur. More drinks were ordered. I talked to nobody except the barman who asked "What'll it be, Ted?"

What a miserable, lonely existence this was. I had the world at my feet; a fantastic job, plenty of girls, family who cared and the best friend I could ever ask for. Then I had to go and sleep with her. And everything changed. My performance at work slipped because I constantly thought of Victoire, the girls weren't what I wanted anymore and I hardly spent any time with her these days. The only constants in my life were Gran and the Weasleys.

Why did Sam have to turn up now? Why couldn't he bugger off and leave Victoire to me. He never had been any good for her. These bitter thoughts buzzed around my head as I ordered another shot of vodka-rum. My vision blurred and I passed out...

Somebody was cursing me. Was it the Cruciatus curse? Or just the plain old Avada Kedavra? Well I wasn't dead, so that was something. Maybe I was paralysed, that's why I couldn't feel my limbs... My eyelids fluttered open briefly and I thought I was blind. WHAT was that light? I shut them again quickly. There would be no more of that 'seeing' stuff, that was for sure.

"Teddy?” said someone with the voice of an angel. Oh, Merlin's pants. I WAS dead.

"Go away," I grunted, though I'm pretty sure the angel only heard, "Gunuwah."

I realised I had fingers and tried to heave myself up. That lovely angel helped me up and I tried opening my eyes again. The angel stood in front of me, her golden hair shining in the sunlight. She was beautiful... Although a little on the chubbier side.

"Teddy?" I looked into the angels eyes and gasped in horror.

"Victoire?" I felt sick. What was she doing here? I asked her as much. “Whayadoongear?"

She looked at me for a second and banged down the mug she had in her hand.

"Drink," she ordered.

It was coffee, as I knew it would be. I couldn't function without it, as Victoire well knew. I drained it in one.

"Thank you," I said. "Now please leave my flat so I can wallow in self pity alone."

"Teddy?" Victoire laid a concerned hand on my arm. "You're still at the Leaky Cauldron."

I looked around me in dismay. I was not in my own bed, as I had assumed (assume makes an ass out of you and me), but I was in one of the rooms above the bar. Which meant I had been carried upstairs in a drunken stupour by the staff. How mortifying!
I looked away from Victoire's red lips and out of the window to hide my embarrassment.

"Does it mean that much to you?" Victoire asked gently.


"Our friendship."

"Oh," I said glumly. "I guess so. But I really hate Sam."

Victoire failed at her attempt to hide the smile from her lips ."I know. He's not too fond of you either."

I licked my dry lips. "I meant what I said, you know. I do lo-"

"You never said it, Teddy," Victoire said, standing up. "And I don't want to hear it now."

I bristled. "Then what the bloody hell do you want?"

"I want us to be friends. And I want to give it a proper go with Sam. He's a really great guy."

"I'm sure," was all I said. Shortly afterwards she returned to work downstairs, leaving me to my thoughts. What the hell did she see in Sam? I couldn't even begin to comprehend it.

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