Teddy is liquid.
When people ask about being a Metamorphmagus, this is what he tells them. Most people are solid, but Teddy is liquid.
Sometimes he feels sorry for solid people and their stifling, unchanging bodies, their restrictive masks. Teddy has been known to change his features to please his mood. He never strays too far from his natural face because he likes being told he looks like his father, but by this time his friends and family have learned to recognize an assortment of Teddies usually by the vivid color of his hair.
In fact, being liquid is such a necessary part of Teddy’s life that he can’t imagine coping without it.
When Victoire decides at the age of 14 that she’s a lesbian, Teddy is the first person she tells. They’re sitting by the Black Lake on the first warm day of the year and Teddy’s not entirely sure how he’s supposed to respond.
Victoire lets out an exasperated sigh, which Teddy supposes he deserves.
“Sorry,” he says, thinking it over. “Huh. So…what are you going to do now?”
Victoire shrugs, dragging her toes through the dirt. “I don’t know. Start dating girls, I guess.”
“Aren’t you a little young?”
Victoire gives him a warning glare, and it’s such a familiar look that it puts Teddy back at ease. “Don’t even start. You were going out with what’s-her-face when you were 14. God, she was awful.”
Teddy smiles because she’s right. “At least you’re not the one who had to put up with her.”
Victoire grins back. “Well, let’s hope I have better taste in girls than you do.”
Suddenly Teddy is uncomfortable again. He’s not sure why the idea bothers him; he’s known some gay people over the years, and he’s always thought of himself as ridiculously open-minded. Maybe it’s just because he knows her so well. Maybe he just needs time to get used to it.
“Are you going to tell your parents?” he asks.
“Of course not! And if you say anything to them you’re dead. And don’t tell Uncle Harry or Aunt Ginny either.”
“What about my gram?”
“You don’t tell her anything anyway.”
“True enough,” Teddy concedes. “So no worries then; my lips are sealed.”
“And they better stay that way,” Victoire adds.
“What do you want me to do, use a permanent sticking charm or something?”
“I think an unbreakable vow’s good enough, don’t you?” Victoire looks up at him in mock innocence, and Teddy laughs.
“Well it’s nice to be trusted.”
“Hey, if I didn’t trust you I wouldn’t have told you.” Her smile fades back into uncertainty. “So…are you okay with this?”
For some reason he still isn’t, but he’s sure he will be, so he says, “Of course.” And adds, as an afterthought, “Are you?”
“I think I’ll live.”
“No, really Victoire.”
Victoire thinks it over, then shrugs again. “I don’t know. It’s probably going to be awful when people start finding out. But it’s not like I mind being different, you know what I mean?”
With a straight face, Teddy triples the size of his ears. “No, I have no idea what you mean,” he states, which earns him a shove.
The conversation dies down and the two of them turn their eyes to the lake to watch the sun set. Victoire leans over to rest her head on Teddy’s shoulder, and Teddy brushes his fingers through her hair. He vaguely wishes he could hold on to this moment for longer.
And just like that, he realizes why he doesn’t want Victoire to be a lesbian; it’s because he fancies her.
Teddy and Victoire first became close at the huge Weasley family dinners that take place each month. As an unofficial member of the Potter family, Teddy has a standing invitation, and it was natural for the two oldest children to pair off.
In the summer before his seventh year, Teddy gets the brilliant idea of showing up to one of these dinners as Percy. Just for kicks. He lets Victoire in on the joke because he needs someone to explain his absence, which she manages flawlessly. Everything goes well at first. Teddy has been studying Percy’s movements and habits, and manages to fool even his mother. If anyone tries to strike up a conversation, Teddy simply starts talking about cauldron regulation, and he’s immediately left alone.
They’re already seated at the table and the air is thick with the smell of food when the real Percy finally arrives. Teddy can’t wait to see the reactions.
“Sorry I’m late,” Percy huffs as he enters the room. “I got held up at–“
Percy freezes, staring open-mouthed at his double. Teddy is ready to crack some joke, but before he can speak, every single wand at the table is trained on him.
“Who the hell are you?” Harry booms in his best Auror’s voice.
Teddy sheepishly changes back, muttering, “It’s just me. Sorry. I was just messing around.”
Everyone seems relieved, but Harry is still angry. He begins lecturing on appropriate humor when sitting at a table of war veterans, but he’s cut short when George suddenly falls off his chair, laughing hysterically. Harry can’t help but grin, and Teddy’s mistake is quickly forgotten.
Later, when Teddy gets home, his gram tears into him with the usual. What were you thinking? What am I going to do with you? Your mother was a handful too, but she would have known better. She only changed her hair! They’re empty words. He already knows all about his mum’s sense of humor, and he’s heard stories from Ginny about some of the faces she used to pull. Teddy likes to think he knows his parents fairly well by now, and doesn’t appreciate them being used against him.
That night there is a full moon. Teddy is restless and still angry at his gram, so he sneaks outside as he sometimes does to elongate his own snout and grow fur. His dad may have been ashamed of what he was, but Teddy is proud that neither of his parents were solid. It’s more meaningful to him than their status as war heroes.
He sits outside staring at the moon until he feels calm enough to get some sleep.
“Come on, Teddy. Please? Pretty please?”
“It’s going to be weird.”
“No it won’t, I promise.”
“Why do you need me there anyway?”
Victoire sighs in desperation. “I already told you. Alice might be there with her new girlfriend, and there’s no way I’m facing her on my own.”
“But why me? Wouldn’t it make more sense to ask a girl?”
“Teddy, they’re lesbians, not Death Eaters. No one’s going to hex you for being male.”
In the end, Teddy gives in, because he can’t say no to Victoire. He lets her drag him to The Black Cat, a small, anonymous lesbian pub tucked away in a corner of Hogsmeade. But as soon as they enter, he knows he was right. Everyone in the cramped space is staring at him, and he can feel the disapproval.
Victoire seems oblivious, just relieved that Alice decided not to show. Two people wave them over to their table, and Victoire makes the introductions.
“Teddy, this is Miranda and Claire. This is my friend Teddy. Don’t worry; he’s harmless.”
They immediately warm to him, and it occurs to Teddy that the problem isn’t being a bloke. It’s the fact that he and Victoire looked like a couple. The idea of being mistaken for Victoire’s new boyfriend pleases him, even though he knows it shouldn’t, especially when he already has a girlfriend back at Hogwarts.
“So,” Claire asks, “How did Victoire finally manage to drag you in here?”
“Oh, the usual,” Teddy replies. “Physical threats and irresistible charm.”
“That’s how I get all the boys,” says Victoire.
They order drinks and chat, and Teddy enjoys himself so much that he’s embarrassed about his earlier anxiety. Miranda is a sixth year, but Claire is studying for N.E.W.T.s like him. They complain for a while about exams and their upcoming Muggle Studies essay. Claire wants to write about muggle views on homosexuality, but their professor doesn’t seem to think it’s “appropriate,” which Teddy agrees is bollocks. Teddy, on the other hand, is fascinated with plastic surgery, but he’s having a hard time devoting forty inches of parchment to it.
Claire suddenly claps a hand to her forehead and says, “I remember now. You’re the shape shifting bloke.”
Teddy grins, and his hair goes from green to blue. “That’s me.”
“That’s so cool,” says Miranda. “What else can you do?”
“God, don’t encourage him,” Victoire moans. Then she brightens and adds, “Oh, Teddy, show them the one with your ears.”
Teddy happily goes through his usual repertoire to everyone’s enjoyment. When he gets bored, he starts asking for challenges.
“Can you do animals?” Miranda asks. Teddy won’t turn into a wolf for them, but he manages a crude Hippogriff beak instead.
“What about a bird?” Claire offers. “The other kind, I mean. I want to see Teddy as a female.”
Miranda pokes her and smirks. “You would.”
Teddy thinks it over for a while before making the necessary changes. He adds just enough fullness to his lips, smoothes out his jaw line, lengthens his hair and lashes. Then, as a final touch, he slims his waist, widens his hips, and grows a pair of small, round breasts. By the looks on everyone’s faces, he’s fairly successful.
Miranda whistles appreciatively. “You better watch out, or all the girls in here are going to start jumping you.”
“Starting with Victoire,” Claire teases.
Teddy looks over at Victoire and winks, but Victoire doesn’t react. She’s staring at him in a way that suddenly makes the room feel warmer. It only lasts a moment before she rolls her eyes and says, “If only Alice were here to see that.”
When Teddy returns from Hogsmeade, his girlfriend Samantha is furious. Victoire’s right; he has lousy taste in women.
“You were with her, weren’t you?” she demands.
Teddy throws his hands in the air. “You said you were hanging out with your friends today, so I hung out with mine.”
“But you didn’t hang out ‘with your friends.’ You hung out with a friend.”
“Well what do you want from me? You already know she’s gay.”
Samantha sighs and crosses the room to wrap her arms around his waist. “I’m sorry, you’re right,” she says against his neck. “It was sort of a rotten day. I was hoping you’d be back sooner.”
“Do you want to talk about it?” Teddy asks, rubbing her back.
“Not really, no.” Samantha pulls away to run a hand over his chest. “I’d rather do something else.”
Sex with Samantha isn’t the best sex Teddy’s ever had. Not because they always have to rush before their dorm mates get back, although that’s part of it. It just that Teddy can’t do any of the things he wants to do. When he’s with someone he likes to use his hands, his eyes, his mouth, everything. Samantha only seems interested in his cock. Which is fine, and Teddy knows he’s lucky to be getting anything, but sometimes he feels as though Samantha would be just as happy with any faceless bloke. Or a dildo.
Afterwards, as they’re getting dressed, Teddy catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Without thinking he asks, “Do you find me attractive?”
Samantha snorts and plants a kiss on his cheek. “You’re such a girl, Teddy, you know that?”
That night, Teddy stands in front of the same mirror to find out how he had looked as a bird. To his surprise, he looks like another version of himself.
Samantha breaks up with him just before his birthday, and Teddy’s relieved. They’ll be graduating soon, and he had no plans to continue the relationship outside of school. Since he never considered the two of them as serious, he’s surprised when Samantha feels the need to explain her decision.
“You’re a sweet bloke, Teddy, you really are, and I really enjoy our time together. I think I’m just looking for something else. I don’t know. Besides, you’re always spending all that time with your new friends, so I hardly see you anyway. It’s like we’re in two completely different places, you know? I just don’t really get you sometimes. But I’m sure you’ll find someone who does, I mean, I really want that for you.”
Her words stay with him for the rest of the day, because he had no idea he was so difficult to ‘get.’ The ‘new friends’ comment doesn’t come as a shock. His mates have been complaining about the same thing. Once he and Claire had realized how many classes they had in common, and how many opinions of those classes they shared, they took to studying together frequently. This led to an easy friendship. Now he spends a fair amount of time with Claire and Miranda, and of course Victoire, and some of their other friends as well, both gay and straight.
For reasons he can’t comprehend, some of his mates find this behavior a bit queer. Never mind his string of girlfriends over the years, or the fact that he’s spending less time with blokes and more time with birds. With graduation just around the corner, it’s not worth trying to figure out their logic, so he doesn’t let it bother him. He’s beginning to realize how few of his mates he’ll actually keep in touch with.
When his 18th birthday arrives, he lets his mates throw him a huge party in the common room. Someone manages to get their hands on firewhiskey, and by the end of the night half the partygoers are snogging. Teddy, however, has remained too sober to enjoy himself properly. Instead he watches everyone else, their solid bodies and their solid personalities and their solid behavior. He ducks out early, but doubts anyone will notice.
A few days later is Victoire’s birthday, so Claire and Miranda throw the two of them a joint party. This one has cake in addition to the alcohol. It’s a smaller affair, and Teddy enjoys himself much more. They talk about everything from exams to politics to life after Hogwarts, and although Teddy’s marks are high, he has no idea what he wants to do.
“You should come work at the Ministry with me,” Claire suggests. “It’s going to be dull at first, but once you work your way up you can really start changing things, you know? They need more people like us over there, not the brainless gits they usually hire.”
“No, not Teddy,” Victoire says. “He’s going to run off and join the circus. Right Teddy?”
“That’s right. I’ll be a one-man sideshow act. Bearded lady, man with three arms, half-man half-squid… I’ll do it all!”
“Oh that reminds me,” Miranda says. “Tracey hasn’t seen it yet. Show her the one with the nose, you know what I mean.”
Teddy is slightly pissed, and happily complies. He gets a few more requests, and when Miranda asks to see him as a witch, he doesn’t hesitate. Teddy has a habit of studying people, and lately he’s been thinking a lot about gender, so this time around he puts some of his observations to use. He adjusts his posture; he corrects his mannerisms. Everyone’s impressed, and Teddy eases into the role, continuing their earlier conversation and even flirting with some of the girls, who roll their eyes at him. No one asks him to change back so he doesn’t.
When the party winds down to a close, he and Victoire are the last to leave. Victoire has been strangely quiet all night, and although Teddy is now properly drunk, it hasn’t escaped his notice. He places a hand on her arm and asks, “Is something wrong?”
Victoire stares at his hand. “No, of course not. I’m just tired.”
Teddy is aware that she’s not looking at his face, and then he is aware that he still looks like a girl. It takes a moment to connect those two thoughts. “Does this bother you? You should have said something, I’ll change back…”
“No.” Victoire finally looks up at him. “No, it doesn’t bother me.”
Victoire is giving him that look again, the one that makes the temperature rise, and before Teddy can tell himself what a bad idea it is, he leans down and kisses her. He doesn’t even have a chance to enjoy it before she pushes him away.
“You’re drunk,” she says. “You shouldn’t have done that.” And then she leaves.
He and Victoire don’t talk about the kiss, because there’s nothing to talk about.
Teddy finishes school, and the two of them spend most of the summer together. They try to enjoy themselves, but September comes fast, bringing with it Teddy’s entry-level job at the Ministry and Victoire’s return to Hogwarts. He doesn’t go to the station to see her off because he doesn’t want it to seem like he’ll miss her more than she’ll miss him.
Teddy’s job is miserable. He didn’t think it would be quite this bad. In fact, when Claire first suggested it, the idea sort of appealed to him. He imagined that working in the heart of the wizarding world would be exciting, if not for the work then at least for the bustle and the interesting people. Maybe if he were selling Prophets in the lobby instead of doing paperwork in a cubicle, it would be.
As expected, he doesn’t see any of his schoolmates too often. And Claire, who actually cares about her job, usually stays after to put in extra hours. With no close friends to speak of, and no idea where he’s going with his life, it often comes as a relief for Teddy to step out of his own skin.
This is when he takes to walking around muggle London as a woman.
At first it’s a challenge, a goal to take his mind off of how aimless his life’s become. It’s more difficult to pull off than he expects. He watches muggle women in cafes, and he picks up on the basics, but it takes a while before he can smoothly put them into practice. He doesn’t care about being the most feminine bird; he just enjoys learning a new way to express himself.
Then it becomes a matter of research. Teddy’s fascinated by how differently he’s treated as a woman, although there’s no rule to how people will react. Sometimes he’s given special treatment, sometimes he’s ignored. Sometimes he’s flat-out leered at or hit on, which always startles and horrifies him, but if Victoire has to put up with it, why shouldn’t he? When he talks to other women, usually to take mental note of their speech patterns, he can sometimes sense camaraderie, and sometimes disdain. Sometimes there’s no difference at all, just the vague notion of being perceived in another way.
When Teddy goes to a store one day to buy more appropriate female muggle clothes, he knows it’s no longer a game. It’s become a form of stress relief to discard his masculinity on occasion like a burdensome winter cloak. Sometimes he can hardly concentrate at work, he’s so anxious to change bodies, and when he does it’s liberating. Other days, being female is far too restrictive, and he’s just as happy being a bloke.
Teddy tries not to analyze it too much. He’s at a difficult point in his life right now, and he’s sure it’s just a phase to help him get through it.
Winter rolls around, and Victoire comes home for the holidays. They spend hours just talking and catching up, and although Teddy feels like he’s accomplished nothing in the past few months, they never seem to run out of things to discuss. It’s a welcome relief from his earlier lack of social life, and he’s reluctant to give her the time she needs with her family.
Teddy is reading on his bed on a particularly cold day while Victoire is off shopping with her parents. When his regular body starts to feel a bit bulky, he shifts to female and settles back in. He’s not worried because he knows his gram is out for the day, and he doesn’t look up from his book until he hears a faint brush of fabric.
Victoire is standing in the doorway with wide eyes, and Teddy quickly changes back in panic. “Fuck, Victoire! How long have you been standing there?”
Victoire doesn’t answer, and for a few terrifying moments doesn’t say anything at all. When she speaks, it’s barely over a whisper. “How often do you do that?”
Teddy doesn’t know how to respond, because suddenly ‘three or four times a week’ sounds unhealthy. “I don’t,” he snaps, hopefully in a tone that implies the subject is closed.
But Victoire won’t let him off that easily, and he sees that familiar warning glare. “Don’t bullshit me, Teddy.”
Teddy really doesn’t want to have this conversation, not now, especially not with Victoire. It’s a train of thought he’s been avoiding for a reason. “Look, I wasn’t expecting anyone to show up today. I was just messing around. Drop it, all right?”
Victoire stares at him for a while, then walks forward and sits on the bed next to him. She pauses then says, “Will you show me?”
“Is it okay if I see it again? You…you don’t have to change back just because I’m here.”
Teddy stares at her in disbelief. His face is flushed with shame and his heart is pounding.
He hesitates, then changes. It’s a natural, easy transition by now. It’s liquid, just like the rest of him.
Victoire tries to keep a straight face, but there are a host of unreadable emotions in her eyes. Teddy is breathing hard from fear. He’s afraid that she’ll leave and their friendship will fall apart. He’s afraid that she’ll tell him why he can’t do this anymore. He’s afraid that she’ll try to make him solid.
The threat of being confined to a single gender makes him realize for the first time just how much he needs this. And that’s the thought that terrifies him most of all.
Victoire, usually so in control, seems unsure of what to say next. “So…what…what is this? For you, I mean. What is this for you?”
Teddy has never felt so vulnerable before in his life. “I don’t know,” he replies honestly.
She searches his face for what he might not be telling her. “Do you think…will you…” She takes a deep breath and tries again. “Can I help you figure it out?”
Teddy is convinced that this moment does not actually exist. Nothing about it feels real: not the way he nods his head; not the way Victoire smiles, or places her hand on his.
“You look beautiful, by the way.”
Somehow, with the way she looks at him, he believes it.
In the days that remain before Victoire’s return to Hogwarts, she and Teddy are inseparable. They walk through London together; they go to the muggle cinema. They sit in each other’s rooms and read out loud. The activity isn’t important as long as they’re alone or with strangers and Teddy can be a woman.
Somehow Victoire makes him feel authentic, as though being female is another acceptable, natural way for him to be. She’s the only one who has ever seen both sides of him, and it makes them feel closer than ever.
Teddy is reluctant to actually talk about it, but Victoire is persistent. At first she wants to know if this is a permanent change. The idea of being a full-time bird is just as unappealing as being a full-time bloke, so the answer is an immediate ‘no’. Then she asks him what he wants to be called. As far as he’s concerned he’s still the same person, male or female. They try out a few names, but none of them feel right, and by the time they reach ‘Betty’ he can hardly keep a straight face. So ‘Teddy’ he remains.
Mostly they talk about what it’s like to be a woman. What’s different, what’s the same. How he enjoys walking with his hips, but can’t do it in heels. How he’d much rather have his tits without a bra. How he has a hard time remembering not to laugh too loud. He explains that he prefers eyeliner to lipstick, but won’t go anywhere near foundation. He’s mortified to admit how much he enjoys wearing panties, but Victoire wheedles it out of him, which leads to the confession that he’ll shrink down his cock just for comfort’s sake. Teddy keeps waiting for Victoire to draw some brilliant conclusion from these pointless facts, but she just lets him talk, urging him on with more questions.
On the last day before Victoire returns to school, they’re sitting in Teddy’s bedroom watching the snow fall past the window. Teddy is female again, but they’ve stopped talking about it, and he’s starting to feel anxious.
“You’re leaving tomorrow,” he says.
Victoire looks at him and nods.
“So…what am I going to do? Bugger, that didn’t come out right. I mean what do you think I should do? About this?” He gestures towards his body.
“What do you want to do?” Victoire asks. Another damn question when all he wants is an answer.
“How should I know? I only know what I don’t want to do. I don’t want to be stuck one way or the other.”
“Well, there you go,” says Victoire as though the matter is settled.
“You’re not helping,” he replies petulantly. “I can’t very well be a witch whenever I feel like it. What am I going to do at work? What am I supposed to say to my mates? And bloody hell, it’s going to be a miracle if I ever get laid again.”
“Well, some people will get it, and some people are going to be miserable pricks. We’ll just have to figure out who’s going to be okay with it.”
“No one’s going to be okay with it.”
“I’m okay with it.” She says it with such open sincerity that Teddy has to fight down a sudden swell of gratitude and longing. They’re silent for a moment while he considers tomorrow.
“I’m going to miss you,” he says.
“I’m going to miss you, too,” she replies.
And without warning, she kisses him.
Only this time Teddy is sober, and after a few seconds he pushes her away. It takes all his willpower to break the kiss, which makes him furious. “Don’t fuck with me, Victoire!”
“I’m not,” she says hastily. “God, Teddy, I wouldn’t do that to you.”
“Then what the hell are you doing?”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I just thought…”
“You thought what, it would make me feel better?”
“No! I just thought you wanted to. That maybe you fancied me.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Because…” She takes a deep breath. “I fancy you.”
Teddy covers his face with his hands and groans. “Don’t say that. Shit. You can’t do this to me.”
Victoire is silent. Teddy is on the verge of apparating anywhere but here.
“So…you don’t?” she asks. Teddy looks over at her in disbelief.
“Of course I fancy you, what are you, blind?” He can’t comprehend why the look on her face would resemble relief. “But I can’t let you get involved with me. I’m seriously fucked up!”
“Stop it, Teddy, you are not fucked up.” Now Victoire is determined, much more like the Victoire he’s grown up with. “What, you think I didn’t give this any thought first? I know what I’m getting myself into.”
“But I’m not…”
“I know; you’re not going to be a witch all the time. I’m not asking you to be. I swear I don’t want to change you. But I think this can actually work.” She hesitantly touches his cheek. “If you want to try.”
Victoire is giving him that look again, the one that makes him feel as though she finds him beautiful, and Teddy can’t help himself. He leans into the touch and into her lips, and after all this time he’s finally kissing her properly.
“Are you ready?” she asks.
They’re standing outside The Black Cat during Victoire’s Hogsmeade weekend, and the fact that they’re holding hands feels strangely obscene. Teddy’s not sure if it’s because he’s a girl, or because five minutes ago he wasn’t one. He nods, and Victoire squeezes his hand in encouragement.
As soon as they enter the pub, all eyes are on him. It’s worse than that first time. Now he recognizes people and he knows they recognize him. Now the disapproval is deserved: he actually is Victoire’s girlfriend.
They find Claire and Miranda, and Claire immediately jumps up from her seat. “Teddy!” she exclaims, giving him a tight hug. “How is it that we work in the same building and yet I never see you?”
Teddy grins with relief and they sit down. “Well, first of all, you’re in a different department. And second of all, you actually work.”
The longer they talk, the more comfortable Teddy becomes. He can still feel unfriendly eyes on his back, but at least Miranda and Claire are accepting, and Claire is even eager to discuss his “new gender expression.”
“Well, I think it’s great,” she says after asking him some questions. “People shouldn’t take gender so seriously…it’s all learned behavior anyway. Remind me to lend you some of my muggle books.”
Teddy is amused by Claire’s insistence that there isn’t any difference between genders whatsoever. If it were true, he’d have no reason to want to be both. But he thinks he understands what she’s getting at; he taught himself to be female, just as Claire and Miranda and Victoire have been taught since birth. “You’re just trying to turn me into one of your muggle feminists.”
“You already are a feminist, Teddy. I’m just trying to help you talk like one.”
Teddy laughs and gestures around the pub. “So that’s my problem. I don’t talk right. If I start discussing the - what was it? – the heterosexist patriarchy, then I’ll be welcomed into the fold?”
Claire waves a dismissive hand. “Most of them are just surprised, that’s all. The rest of them can fuck off. You’d think being a dyke would make you a bit less narrow minded, but some of them think it’s an exclusive club or something.”
“We must have just sneaked past the bouncer on our way in,” says Victoire. “It’s a good thing, too. We haven’t gotten a chance to properly forge Teddy’s lezzy documents yet.”
“Victoire, keep your voice down!” Miranda whispers with shifty eyes. “You don’t want the Queer Police showing up again.”
“I remember what happened the last time,” Claire says. “They tried to throw me out.”
“And why is that?” Teddy asks, amused.
“Just because I’ve shagged a bloke or two.”
“So what did you do?”
“I did what any self-respecting lesbian would have done: gave them the two finger salute and snogged my girlfriend.”
Summer cannot come soon enough, and when it does, Teddy and Victoire can finally be a couple. Their families are thrilled about their relationship and don’t mind giving them plenty of privacy. It’s assumed they never show public affection because they’re shy.
Teddy knows that Victoire would be out to her parents by now if not for him. He feels guilty when he asks her about it, but she just pokes him and smiles.
“What’s another year in the closet when you have company?”
Even so, when they go to the Weasley dinners, he sees what she refuses to tell him. He sees her tense whenever the words “marriage” or “kids” are innocently thrown at her. He sees how she withers under her mother’s proud gaze. He shares her discomfort when Mr. Weasley claps him on the shoulder like a son. Teddy is allowing Victoire to pass as something she’s not, but she’s far past the stage of wanting to pass. It’s Teddy who still needs time.
On one particularly mortifying occasion, Harry pulls Teddy off to the side to find out if he and Victoire are sexually active. Teddy is telling the truth when he grudgingly says ‘no.’ Later, when Victoire asks, “So what did Uncle Harry say?” Teddy is honest with her as well. It’s an uncomfortable moment for both of them.
What Teddy doesn’t tell Victoire is that he’s been practicing.
It’s not easy, especially since he has to work from memory, but he finds a small mirror and he does he best. He soon becomes adept at shrinking his penis to a small nub, retracting his balls altogether, creating an opening that wasn’t there before. He’s fascinated that this, too, can be a part of him.
Then, to make sure he has the mechanics correct, he masturbates. This proves to be an even greater challenge. He can’t immediately figure out what to do with such little surface area, and his makeshift vagina doesn’t seem to be working properly at all. He wonders why his past girlfriends never mentioned his ineptitude. But he continues to practice, and before long Teddy grows accustomed to the pinpoint throb of a clitoris, and the strange sensation of having his own fingers inside of him. The first time he orgasms as a woman feels like his first time ever.
The summer has almost come to an end when Victoire nervously asks him, “Just out of curiosity. Can you change… everything?”
Teddy is somewhat proud of his achievements at this point, so he swallows hard and says, “Do you want to see?”
Victoire unbuttons his trousers, and he steps out of them, concentrating on looking perfect for her. He stands in front of her half nude, and shivers as she kneels down to inspect his work.
She lifts a hand but stops herself, looking Teddy in the eye. “Is this okay?”
Teddy nods, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. “Have you done this before?”
“Yeah. Have you?”
Teddy laughs nervously. “Not quite like this.”
Their first time together is awkward and strange. But at the same time it’s all hands and mouths and touching and seeing and tasting, and even though he has no idea what he’s doing, not once does Teddy miss his cock.
For the first time, Teddy sees Victoire off to school. This year Teddy is far more prepared to go it alone, but far less willing.
They find an empty compartment on the train and begin snogging. It’s risky; they know it’s risky, but they’re becoming careless in the face of another year apart. They don’t even remember to cast a locking charm. And when James Potter barges in on them, freezes, and runs away, they both know they’re in trouble.
“Oh crap, do you think he recognized me?” In his panic, Teddy nearly chases after him with his female body, but Victoire grabs him and draws him back in.
“I think we need to talk,” she says.
The tone of her voice terrifies him. “Don’t worry. He probably won’t say anything, and if he does we’ll just say he made it up. No one’s going to–“
Victoire shushes him and looks him in the eye. “Teddy. You know that I love you, right?” What she means is: I’m going to stand by you when the shit hits the fan.
He takes a deep breath and says, “I know. I love you too.” Which means: I think I’m ready if you are.
James Potter outs them after all, and Victoire only has a few minutes to make her family understand.
“Yes, I’m a lesbian. Yes, I love Teddy. And no, I don’t see how that’s a problem.”
She has her mother’s confidence, and Teddy is proud of her even though he knows she’s falling apart under the calm surface. Her parents are confused more than anything. No matter how clearly Victoire states the situation, it doesn’t seem to sink in.
The train whistles in warning, and suddenly Victoire is leaving him to fend for himself. She kisses him goodbye despite his being male, and her parting glance is a combination of apology and encouragement. The Weasleys stay just long enough to threaten Teddy with Unforgivable Curses if he does anything to hurt her, and then they’re gone as well. Teddy turns to Harry and Ginny.
“I think we should go talk with your gram,” Harry says.
The two of them apparate to Teddy’s home, and when Harry begins to explain, his gram loses it. She screams at Teddy and he screams back, and the argument is all too familiar. What on earth is she going to do with him? What would his mother think if she were alive? He is not to see that girl again. Harry tries to intervene, but the fight is already over and Teddy’s gram has left on the verge of tears.
“Can I stay with you tonight?” Teddy asks.
Teddy is exhausted, but he’s not allowed to sleep until the kids are in bed and he has explained himself to Harry and Ginny over cups of tea. He tries his best, but he doesn’t quite have the words to describe what he’s doing, and all he can think of is ‘being liquid.’ Maybe he should borrow those books from Claire after all.
Harry and Ginny are trying to be supportive, but they clearly don’t get it.
“What happens when you get tired of it?” Ginny asks. “Victoire doesn’t expect you to keep up the role play forever, does she?”
“It’s not role play,” Teddy says. He can’t bring himself to look either of them in the face. “I know it sounds messed up but…it’s just part of me. It’s still me. Just…a different part.”
“So you want to be woman,” says Harry, trying his best to hide his discomfort.
“No. I don’t want to be a witch or a wizard. Or…no, that’s not right. I don’t want to be just a witch or a wizard. I need to be somewhere in between.”
Teddy shrugs. He doubts there’s a way to describe the feeling of creating your own identity, of embracing every part of yourself regardless of social convention, of expressing who you are externally at any given moment just as easily as turning a dial on the wireless. Not unless you’ve experienced that freedom for yourself.
“And Victoire…?” asks Ginny.
Harry and Ginny exchange a look that probably translates to something along the lines of, ‘What are we supposed to do now?’
“I’m not sure your dad would have been okay with this,” Harry says.
“My mum would have been,” Teddy replies. Harry and Ginny look dubious, but somehow Teddy is certain. His mother, at least, would have understood.
Ginny asks Teddy to be male around the kids so they don’t get confused, and in the two weeks it takes him to find his own flat, he feels more constricted than ever. But the moment he moves into his new place, somewhere he can act and look however he wants whenever he wants, he’s overcome with giddy exhilaration. Teddy is suddenly ready for the next phase of his life, and the following week he quits his job at the Ministry. They were probably planning to fire him anyway.
He starts working at George’s shop instead, which pays about the same, and is a hell of a lot more enjoyable. George makes him a full time manager, and encourages him to impersonate the customers as they enter. The ensuing confusion and alarm never ceases to amuse them.
The other manager is Paul Jordan, a relative of one of George’s old mates, who left Hogwarts a few years before Teddy.
“So you’re the other Ministry defector,” says Paul on Teddy’s first day.
“You too, huh?”
“Don’t even get me started,” Paul groans. “It was bloody miserable! The worst two months of my life. I only took the job because I had these grand plans of wreaking havoc everywhere I went. But I had no idea how strongly they enforce their rules over there. Did you know they actually charm the women’s toilets to keep blokes out?”
“Actually, I did.”
“I mean, I wasn’t going to spy on them or anything. I just had this brilliant idea for a photography series, but I needed access to both loos.”
“Oh, you’re a photographer?”
Paul grins. “I like to think of myself as a professional starving artist. Although George here keeps me from actually starving. Right, George?”
“Oi, I forgot to mention,” George shouts back from the storage room. “Teddy’s going to be coming in as a bird sometimes, so don’t call security.”
Paul blinks back at him. “Wait. Seriously?”
Teddy hesitantly nods, and tries to fight back a familiar rush of shame. Paul studies him for a moment, perhaps trying to determine if this is some elaborate prank. Teddy wonders if he’ll have to quit this job as well.
“Huh.” Paul looks thoughtful. “Have you ever heard of performance art?”
When Teddy shakes his head, Paul grins and immediately begins to plan their future collaborative project.
Victoire lets Teddy know by owl that her parents have not disowned her. She won’t give him the details of their discussion, only enough to assure him that they’re still together. She writes that her parents have resigned themselves to the fact that this is as straight as she’ll ever get. It’s hard to tell over parchment if she’s joking.
When Victoire leaves school, she lands a job copywriting at the Daily Prophet and moves in to Teddy’s flat. They’re both relieved to be done with the long distance nonsense, and even though Teddy has been there for almost a year, they decide to celebrate with a housewarming party. Teddy secretly doubts people will come; he’s barely kept in touch with anyone over the past year.
Teddy is mistaken. There are just enough guests to make the tiny apartment feel happily cramped. Claire and Miranda are the first to arrive, so they help set up the decorations while Claire eagerly discusses her new promotion. Then more of Victoire’s friends show up, most of whom Teddy remembers from school. They’re all happy to see him again, and spend some time catching up and trading Real Life experiences. Next to arrive are a few of Teddy’s old mates, the ones whom Teddy was sure he’d never see again. In fact, Victoire had to force him into sending the invitations in the first place. But they turn up in the usual fashion, armed with alcohol and music, and they want to know when Teddy turned into such a reclusive wanker. Teddy wants to know when the hell they became respectable. Finally Paul shows up, extremely late, bringing with him a strange collection of art friends and Weasley products.
There is an unspoken understanding at this party. To accept the invitation is to accept Teddy. So although he’s more nervous than he’s ever been, he forces himself to become female as soon as he feels the urge. There is a definite, palpable shift in the mood as everyone grows accustomed to his new body. But a few minutes later they’re chatting comfortably, and if anyone treats Teddy differently it’s simply because they’re treating him more like a woman. Teddy switches back and forth a few times during the night just because he can, and when he gets a request for that one with the ears, he does that too.
The last guests stay well into the morning, and Teddy and Victoire decide to leave the mess for later. They quickly make love, then curl up under the sheets.
“I’d say that was successful,” Victoire yawns.
“You say that now. You’ll be saying something else once you’re sober enough to realize how much your friends wrecked our flat.”
Victoire hits him lightly on the arm. “My friends? Who’s the one who suggested testing out the indoor fireworks?”
“Hey, Paul is just an enthusiastic employee. The fireworks were strictly business.”
“Well I hope he didn’t destroy his camera in the process, because I want copies of those photos.”
“You just want the one where he caught us snogging,” Teddy murmurs into his pillow.
“Damn straight,” Victoire sighs, and a moment later she’s asleep.
Teddy is overwhelmed with a general contentment he hasn’t felt in a while. Before he drifts off as well, he decides that he’s grateful for being liquid. But he’s also happy to have something solid sleeping next to him.