They walked in silence, side by side, up the winding path, towards the Entrance Hall.
“Well,” Teddy began tentatively. “What- what did you think of them?”
“Oh,” Victoire exclaimed, startled. “I thought they were just lovely. I’ve always known they were great people, but, wow. You’re mother’s amazing, Teddy.”
She offered him a brief smile, and then turned away nervously.
“Yeah, I thought so too.”
She nodded curtly, still not looking at him.
“Alright, I fold. What’s the matter?”
Still looking away, she answered, “What’s the matter with what?”
“With you. And don’t bother pretending there’s nothing, I’ve known you ever since you were born, Victoire Weasley, and there’s something on your mind. Tell me,” he commanded gently.
“You’re honestly asking me that?!”
It was his turn to be startled as she whirled around, her hair whipping fiercely, her eyes narrowed dangerously.
Clueless, he ventured to ask her, "What is it?"
“I’ve just spent the better part of an hour telling two people who I previously thought to be dead all about myself! Of course there’s something on my mind! I simply can’t figure out if we’re both deranged or if this is just a dream!”
“They’re still dead, Victoire, nothing has been said otherwise.”
She continued to glare angrily.
“Excuse me, but from what I know, dead people don’t usually talk!”
“You sat next to the Grey Lady at breakfast today.”
“She is a ghost, Teddy! An imprint of a living person! This is different, as you very well know!”
She stared back at him defiantly, daring him to contradict her, and in that moment, Teddy fully saw her as the granddaughter of Molly Weasley.
“Look, Victoire, I know it’s weird, but who are we to question it? I have a chance of a lifetime here, and I'm not going to take it for granted.”
But she shook her head.
“This isn’t right, Teddy. It just isn’t. You should tell Harry.”
“No!” he cried, outraged. Here was someone he loved, trusted, and she was about to take away the best thing that ever happened to him.
“Look, I am so, so sorry you never had a chance to meet them, and I know how happy you are that you’re getting a chance now, but it feels all wrong!”
“What’s wrong with them?! You didn’t dare insult them to their faces, but now that they’re out of hearing range, you’re just going to badmouth them? I didn’t expect this from you, Victoire!”
Victoire shrieked shrilly.
“There is nothing wrong with them! They’re amazing people, and I know! But this situation is crazy, it’s wrong, it’s-”
“It’s my parents!”
He was angry now. His hands, balled into fists, shook as his hair flashed different colours madly.
“You’ve never known your parents!”
“I trust them! There’s nothing wrong with-”
“Teddy! They’re dead!”
His anger stopped, only to be replaced with a hard, cold fury unlike anything he’d ever felt.
“Thanks for reminding me.”
“Teddy...” Victoire approached him gently, her arm outstretched, her voice lowered to barely above a whisper. “You know there’s something wrong, otherwise you wouldn’t have objected to telling Uncle Harry. When has he ever stopped you from doing something that was good for you? He loves you, he wouldn’t-”
“He wouldn’t understand,” Teddy said, his voice flat, a tone of finality in his words.
“Oh, don’t try to pull off teenage angst. It doesn’t suit you.”
Teddy turned away, fuming. How could she? Why didn’t she understand that there was nothing wrong, it was all good? That this was important to him?
Her voice floated towards him.
“I don’t want you to get hurt. And with all this, it just seems inevitable.”
“I thought you, of all people, would be happy for me. And they’re my parents, they won’t hurt me!”
“Look, Teddy, Harry will understand. Of course he will. He lost his parents too, he’d understand. And if he says it's fine, it's good, I won’t bother you, but please, I think-”
“Harry never got this chance. He wouldn’t understand,” he cut her off coldly. “Listen,” he started, turning to return her defiant glare. Fury radiated off him, and Victoire stepped back warily. “No one asked you to be a part of this. I’m sorry you were dragged into. But it’s fine. You can get out of it. I never want you to return to that clearing again. All you’d do is sweet talk them and then bitch about them behind their backs. You are such a bloody girl. And if you ever so much as mention any of this to anyone, you will be very sorry Victoire Weasley.”
With that, he stalked off, leaving her behind, wide eyed and tearful.
Teddy smiled wryly.
“Swallow, James. That’s the way. Now talk.”
“See, I knew you were made Head Boy for a reason. What’s the matter with you?”
For such a clueless kid, James could be pretty insightful.
“Nothing,” he lied.
“Had a row with Vic?”
“What makes you say that?”
“My friend Kyle said he saw my “pretty cousin” storming up the stairs.”
“Oh... yeah we had a little argument. Nothing major.”
“Don’t worry, I don’t really think the Threstrals should be freed either. Seriously cool bit of flying they did back in Dad’s fifth year. I was hoping I could hijack one and take it to Timbuktu or something.”
Teddy laughed, and readily grasped onto the excuse.
“Yeah, she didn’t like it very much when I mentioned I liked them around.” Quickly changing the subject, he grabbed the treacle tart off the tray on the Common Room table.
“So you found the kitchens then?”
“’Course I did,” James replied. “First day back. All by me onesies.”
He grinned mischievously and stuffed another pasty into his already full mouth.
“All by your onesies, huh? No sidekick?”
“I suppose Kyle did help a little bit...” he admitted.
Teddy rolled his eyes. The kid was a hoot.
“Speaking of, if you want the Cloak or the map, just give me a yell. They belong to you, anyway.”
James eyes lit up immediately, and a goofy grinned spread over his features.
“No Teddy, James gets into enough trouble already without your help.”
They jumped and looked around wildly, before sighing in relief as they found the source of the voice, for sitting patiently in the fireplace was the head of Harry Potter.
“Dad! Get out of here! No one else gets visits from their parents!” James exclaimed wildly as he scrambled to the fireplace, shielding it from sight with his body.
Teddy, however, greeted his godfather with a grin.
“Harry!” Even while uttering the cheerful greeting, Teddy felt a pang of regret well up inside of him. He had never kept anything from Harry before.
“So my dear niece is still lobbying to free the Threstrals then? Fleur won’t be pleased. Suppose I better not mention anything.”
“Good idea, Dad, they’re both part Veela.”
“How’re you doing, Ted? Is everything okay?”
Teddy nodded stiffly.
“Of course. Just a little stressed, you know, with NEWT prep and Head Boy duties and all.”
Harry laughed, before spluttering and spitting out a mouthful of ash.
“Forgot about that stuff,” he muttered. “No, actually," he resumed, "I don’t know. Never had the privilege of NEWTs, myself.”
“Nah,” Teddy replied, grinning. “You got to ride a dragon and camp out in forests.”
“That’s the life.”
“No, seriously, what’s going on? You look a bit haggard. Aren’t they feeding you properly? Vic hasn’t teamed up with Hermione and orchestrated a house-elf strike, has she?”
“Don’t give them any ideas.”
“How’s Mum? And Al? And Lily? Do they miss me much?” James piped up. He was trying to face his father while still covering up the grate, which resulted in him sitting in a rather awkward position with his head tucked underneath his armpit.
“They don’t miss the chaos and destruction, but I suppose they miss your good looks somewhat,” Harry replied teasingly.
“Oh, that’s good. Tell them sorry, but the girls of Hogwarts need me much more than they do.”
Teddy rolled his eyes.
“Harry?” he asked quietly.
“Teddy?” Harry seemed to understand that Teddy was about to open up, and tried to peer at him through James’ outstretched arms.
“Would you find it weird if-”
Teddy never got to finish his sentence as footsteps sounded behind him. James was waving his arms wildly in front of the fire, while flailing his legs in an attempt to further hide the fireplace.
“It’s Kyle! I don’t want him to think I’m a little kid! Get out before someone sees you!”
Harry huffed in frustration, and a cloud of ash rose up and settled on James.
“Write to me, Teddy,” was his final command as he disappeared from the fire with a pop.
Teddy sighed before getting up and walking to his dormitory. If it weren’t for James, he probably would have heeded Victoire’s advice and confided in Harry. But now that the moment was over, he didn’t think he could muster up the courage again.
The next morning, Teddy awoke to find his face smothered with a big pillow.
“Why do you keep waking me up?” he complained grumpily as he sat up. Jason simply grinned from the window.
“You don’t want to miss breakfast, do you? Head Boy and all.”
“Shut up, Jay.”
His head was throbbing in a way that he associated with Firewhisky. The last, and only time, he had tasted the drink was when Victoire’s aunt Gabrielle had come to stay, and she had plied him with enough Firewhisky to fill a fishbowl.
“I’m not hung over, right?” he asked stupidly.
Jay laughed. “Doubt it. It’s not like we had a celebration or anything like that last night. Nah, mate, Quidditch season doesn’t start for a good two weeks. First match of the season, Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw! Should be pretty good, I heard Ravenclaw have got themselves a new Beater.”
“Whatever,” Teddy mumbled. With his head still throbbing, he threw on his robes before following Jay out the dormitory in a daze.
“What’s the matter with you, anyway?”
“No idea what you’re talking about.”
“You sick?” Jason was starting to look worried as he peered into Teddy’s face. “Maybe you should go to the Hospital Wing or something...”
“I’m alright. Just hungry.”
“Okay, if you’re sure,” Jason conceded warily. “Just don’t collapse on me or anything.”
“Let’s get you some food, then.”
Suddenly, Victoire whirled past with her group of friends, and without so much as a flick of her hair, stalked past Teddy.
Beside him, Jason whistled softly.
“What’d you do to piss her off?”
“Nothing! What is it with you and all these questions today?”
“Alright, alright, sorry for being concerned.”
They walked in silence to the Gryffindor table. Teddy plopped down into his seat angrily.
“Toast,” Jason said solemnly as he passed a buttered slice to Teddy.
He grinned sheepishly, guilty about his earlier outburst. “Thanks, Jay. Sorry about...”
“Don’t mention it.”
Teddy lay his throbbing head on the table as chuckling, Jason shoved another piece of toast into Teddy’s hair.
“What if I don’t turn up to class?”
“Hmm? But you said you were fine! Oh crap, you’re sick aren’t you? I knew it. I knew I should have taken you to the hospital wing!”
“Calm down, its fine.”
“Crap, I knew it! Does this make me the world’s crappiest best friend or what?”
“Seriously, it’s fine! Just don’t feel like going to class this morning, that’s all. Besides, it’s just Charms. Flitwick won’t care, I’ll write an extra essay or something.”
Jason nodded his head uncertainly.
“Teddy, mate, I hate to sound like a nag, but are you sure nothing’s wrong?”
He sighed wearily. “Yeah, just want to clear my head.”
“Alright then, I’ll cover for you.”
“Teddy Lupin, you can’t! Get to class!”
“Stop sounding so uncannily like Ginny. Leave me alone, Victoire. I don’t want to talk to you, or didn’t I make that clear enough yesterday?”
The pounding footsteps behind him continued, and quickened.
In response, Teddy lengthened his stride, hurrying away from the fuming girl trailing him.
“I know where you’re going!”
“Good,” he called over his shoulder. “Then you’ll know I don’t want you there. Leave me alone Victoire, I’m sick of you and your meddling.”
Surprisingly fast, she caught up with him and grabbed a fistful of his robes, pulling him back.
“Teddy, you can’t! You can’t ditch your life, your classes, your friends, now that you’ve got these... these voices!” Her words were angry and sharp, yet she stood before him, pressed close, on the verge of tears.
“My parents, d’you mean?”
“No. These voices. You can’t. You want to fail school, is that what? Fat load of thanks that’ll be to Harry, Ginny and your grandmother, won’t it? Because they were the ones that have been there for you Teddy, not a couple of mystical voices in the forest!”
“Don’t talk about my parents that way. They’ve been there for me too, just tucked away out of sight.”
She was crying now, tears streaking endlessly over the planes of her cheeks, as she continued to grab onto him imploringly.
“Please, listen to yourself. Please, just go to Charms.”
Teddy stood quietly. He didn’t ask how she knew his timetable.
“Or I’ll be writing letters. I don’t care if you never speak to me again, Teddy, I’ll write to my aunt and uncle, and I’ll write to Andromeda. Go to class and promise you’ll never skip class to go lose yourself in them again.”
“Then will you leave me alone?” Teddy questioned.
“Yes. Yes, I promise.”
He pulled away from her, and startled, she fell back down onto the soft earth. And for the second time in two days, he left her staring at him as he strode away from her, and from himself.
A/N: Hi, I'm Penni and I've been AWOL for two years :) But I'm back and completely committed to finishing this story. I really hope you'll continue to stick with me, since I loved the support I got last time. Please, please review and I will try to update as soon as humanly possible!
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