From: Your Secret Santa
Title: 1br walk up, eat in, full bath, floo incl
Pairing: Teddy Lupin/Victoire Weasley
Summary: Teddy Lupin learns to live alone, with a lot of help.
Warnings: Underage sex – Victoire is 17.
Author's notes: ~12,500wds. With thanks to my speedy and long suffering beta and our great and long suffering mod! I hope you enjoy it, tehgiantsquid!
Archiving: Originally posted here.
"Hullo, Gran." Teddy lowered his trunk and gave his grandmother a hug. Steam swirled around the Hogwarts Express as it puffed behind him and the platform filled with excited children shouting and waving at their families, spilling out from the train like brightly wrapped sweets with not a school robe in sight.
"All right, Teddy?" She asked, giving him that keen look that always made him squirm when he had done something wrong. He grinned and turned his hair vivid purple.
"All right, Gran."
She grinned back and reached up to tousle his gaudy locks.
"Teddy!" A young voice called from behind him and he turned as they were suddenly awash in ginger with the arrival of the Potters and Weasleys. As he looked around he realised it was only the Potters and the Ron Weasleys, with the Bill Weasleys bringing up the rear. James was making more than enough noise to make up for those absent, however.
"Teddy! Show Dad the new one! Dad, you've got to see this!" James could be heard piping over the sudden increase in noise as greetings flew fast and furious.
"James Potter! Don't mob the poor boy! You've had him all term, give everyone else a chance." Ginny Potter flashed a quick warm, smile and Hullo, Teddy while pulling her eldest away with a roll of her eyes.
"But Mum, Dad's got to see this! C'mon, Teddy!" The boy bounced like an India rubber ball and began expounding in garbled detail over the magnificence of 'the latest' to anyone who would listen.
"Well, Teddy?" his godfather said, smiling ruefully over the cacophony and giving his hand a warm shake. "What's this I hear from your Gran about a programme at St. Mungo's?"
Teddy shook hands with Bill Weasley as he said to Harry, "Yeah, I've been accepted to the healer trainee programme, contingent on my NEWT scores of course. And they think I'll be eligible for the Plimpton Curse Damage specialisation, with the two year stipend. Orientation for the intensive pre-training is July 1st."
"That's brilliant, really excellent. Will you be flooing from home?" asked Harry.
Teddy glanced at his grandmother who was in conversation with Fleur Weasley, no doubt sharing some point about the planting season that they had missed the last time they had had tea. Tinworth was a very small village, and the gardens were a perennial passion that had sucked in even relative newcomers like Mrs Weasley.
"I'm moving to London. Easier than flooing from Cornwall every day. And Gran's found a few places that might suit. We're taking a look at them tomorrow."
Harry nodded and clasped his shoulder. "You'll be all right with that?"
"Gran signed over the vault from Mum. The money from the Ministry was a lot more than I'd thought. I'll be all right if I'm careful."
"You are the careful one. Right, let us know when you're moving. With this many hands we can have it done in no time at all."
"Only Hufflepuff in Gryffindor, yeah? I will."
Harry chuckled at the old joke and looked down at Lily who had squeezed between them, and was leaning back against her father and staring up at Teddy with big eyes.
"Teddy! Can you really turn into a hippogryff?" She asked breathlessly.
"Is that what James is saying?" Teddy laughed. James chose that moment to surge back over to their quiet knot of conversation, dodging around the adults speaking with Teddy's Gran, and bringing with him Al, Rosie and Hugo. Louis slouched in behind them while his sisters snickered at something Hermione was saying.
"It's totally wicked!"
"All right, all right," Teddy said. "But after that build up, everyone will be disappointed." Louis snorted and Teddy winked at the younger boy.
"Just do it already, Teddy. He's going to burst something if you wait any longer." Louis said, as blasé as someone who had been witness to early attempts in the Gryffindor Common Room over the course of the year, as indeed he had.
Teddy laughed again and then took a deep breath. Concentrating carefully on not concentrating too hard, he called the shape to himself and then let out the breath in a long, slow exhale. As he did so, he felt his purple locks shift into a stiff, rustling fall about his shoulders.
"Not quite a hippogryff," he said, his hair transformed into a helm of perfect silver grey and blue barred hippogryff feathers. Focussing again, he shifted a few muscles and fluffed out the feathers like a bird.
"Wicked!" Breathed Al. And then the children were clamouring to touch the feathers and ask if he could do the whole transformation. He assured them that it was a metamorphmagus trick and he had not become a hippogryff animagus until their parents finally pulled them away.
He could hear Hermione's Yes Rosie, there's the conservation of mass in Metamorphmagery which is quite different from that of Animagery. It's more like Transfigurative spells.... as Ginny turned to him.
"I'm sorry we can't stay any longer Teddy, but there's a function at the Ministry tonight of all things, and Bill and Fleur are taking the horde home with them. And we really must fly to the hotel if we're to be ready in time." She kissed him and patted his cheek fondly and there was a fresh whirlwind as farewells were made in typical Potter-Weasley fashion.
"Come on," his Gran said, and he turned to look at her in the suddenly quiet patch of platform. She tugged on one of his feathers. "Turn this into something that won't shock the Muggles. I only have you for a week before you're off into the world, and I have plans."
Chuckling, he shrank his trunk and tucked it into his pocket and returned his hair to its previous purple hue. They walked arm in arm from the platform, Teddy quite forgetting to look back at the train one last time.
Living alone, Teddy reflected, was very different from living with his Gran or living at Hogwarts. But it did not follow that the difference was a bad thing. His neighbours were pleasant if unremarkable, and disinclined to pry. His windows faced a small park with actual trees and grass and a pond with properly obstreperous ducks. That was a bit of luck, too. He took his lunch there, when he could. And every morning at 5am the entire apartment filled with the heavenly scent of baking bread from the shop on the corner. It was a brilliant way to wake up.
Neighbours who were not nosy was a very good thing considering moving day. The little flat could not hold all the people who had come to help, indeed more people than actual boxes and pieces of furniture he had needed moved. Gran had come, of course, and Harry had brought the family. And where there was Harry, there were often Ron and Hermione and their children. And Victoire had come on the strength of her new Apparation permit and brought along Dominique, and Louis. She had said she should see how it was done in preparation for her last year at Hogwarts, especially since he had been sly and not said anything about it at school. He had said that was what she got for being an outlier in Ravenclaw, and she had thrown a cushion at him. Louis had brought Lucy and Fred.
It had been very loud, very chaotic, and most of the children had spent the time running from window to window exclaiming over the view rather than doing anything of use. One would think they had never seen squirrels or pigeons before. Still, his belongings had been unpacked and put away quicker than winking, thankfully with no one seeing his pants. Curtains were hung and cupboards filled with shopping without his ever having to lift a wand. The only cartons left were the two he had placed before the sofa with a cloth over, in lieu of the only bit of furniture he was lacking.
It was dead embarrassing, however, to have the Chief Warlock stop by to review the wards. Kingsley left the casting to Harry, but quipped it was good to keep his last appointee as Minister on his toes.
Once he was moved in and his Gran had put away her wand, they had piled out and sampled a local chip shop to much acclaim by the children and more measured praise by the adults. Then everyone had deposited he and his Gran rather breathless at his front door and gone noisily on their way.
"You've a Floo; I made sure of that. Don't forget to use it." Gran had said, trying to look stern and failing miserably.
"Yes, Gran," he had said meekly, and she had hugged him hard before Apparating home. He had walked up into his little flat and suddenly been entirely alone for the first time in, well, ever. He had straightened a tumbled cushion, chuckled again at the pygmy puff plushie named 'Philpotts' that Lily had made for him as a house warming, and looked about slightly at loss. It had been just he and his Gran for as long as he could remember, but they had hardly lived cut off from the world despite Tinworth's size. As if a direct link to the heart of the expansive Weasley family through Harry and Ginny and Ron and Hermione was not enough, Bill and Fleur Weasley's remote little cottage had been a brisk walk or a short broom flight away, and their children had visited often, lured by Gran's shortbread and Teddy's company. And as one of the few integrated Muggle-Wizard villages, Teddy had grown up with footy on the Common as well as pick up Quidditch. London, with its anonymity through numbers and open secrecy, would be nothing like a house with no locks and being welcome to bounce into any home on the street to use the loo without asking.
Still, loneliness was a rarer commodity than he had expected. The programme at St. Mungo's was quick to settle and the intensity helped fuel burgeoning friendships. Neighbourhood shop girls were beginning to recognise him and smile at his hair. He might be guilty of slightly augmenting his physique for their benefit as well, but nothing excessive. Of course, in the week since he had moved in his Gran dropped by with a casserole and stayed for tea, and the Potters stopped by on their way to Fortescue's and asked him along. As was typical for an outing with the Potters, their numbers inevitably increased as Victoire and Dominique met them at the shop having lost Louis to helpless adoration for the latest Razorwing broom.
"It's Flourish and Blotts for me this summer," Victoire had sighed, spooning up another mouthful of triple raspberry fudge ripple, with sprinkles. "St. Mungo's sounds fabulous, well not fabulous, but better than Flourish and Blotts."
"I thought you were asked to help out at the Wheezes?" Teddy had asked, gesturing vaguely westward with a spoonful of almond pear parfait.
"Mm, out front mostly and sometimes in back with the spell research which is all right and everything, but I'm not sure I want to work for Uncle George. He's brilliant and all, but Aunt Angelina is expecting again and he's gone off his nut with the romantic gestures. Last time I visited the shop, the place exploded in flowers singing her praises every twenty minutes. Drove me spare and she's not even there. She's still going to work. So yeah, Flourish and Blotts may not be exciting, but then it's not exciting!"
"Not even a little bit. The customers seem all right with it, no matter how bad the poetry is, and Merlin is it bad. I think he does that on purpose. It's nothing compared to turning into a hedgehog for eating a choccy biccy, I suppose, but I don't think I could take it all day and then go home to that rowdy lot." She had pointed at Dominique daintily eating her apricot pistachio sundae whilst sitting on a loudly squawking and laughing James. "Louis isn't like that of course, not much at least, but he's taken to listening to the most dreadful music turned all the way up. It can't be because they're all Gryffindors, right? You're a Gryffindor and you're quiet enough. Oh, right, only Hufflepuff in Gryffindor. Well, I'm the only Gryffindor in Ravenclaw and I say they all need a tranquillity potion or something."
Teddy had laughed. "It all sounds rather brilliant to me, but I've just got an empty flat to come home to. And you must admit the job at the Wheezes is better all around."
"Oh, you can say that, you're not stuck in it all day and night. Have you ever tried to read anything serious with bumpa thump bumpa thump you hate me and I bumpa thump coming through the walls? Mum and Dad put up Imperturbables but they don't keep the walls from vibrating."
"You should take it anyway. It'll give you a leg up, even if you are the boss's niece. Not that anyone could hold it against you, they'd probably think you deserve hazard pay. And you'd have to look awful hard not to work for a Weasley or a connection. You lot are everywhere!"
Victoire had thrown her straw wrapper at him. "Serves you right if I show up on your doorstep raving about how chartreuse is going to eat my head and the ladles are all barmy and planning revolution."
Which is perhaps why he was not really surprised to find her sitting on his doorstep one evening. Her arms were wrapped loosely around her long legs, chin resting on a knee, and she was frowning vaguely off at the squirrels scolding and chasing each other in the park. He saw her from a full block away, sun gleaming unmistakably from her strawberry gold hair but she did not notice him until he had come nearly up to the steps.
"Hullo, Teddy," she said, in a tired voice. "Got a quiet corner where I can curl up and maybe froth at the mouth for a bit?"
"Something happen?" he asked, concerned. She shook her head.
"Just a long day. Took a shipment of supplies in, three separate tour groups came by, and an experimental product decided to explode and turn everything it touched yellow." It was then he noticed her shirt and jeans and even the tips of her hair were liberally splashed with yellow-green blotches.
"Chartreuse, yeah. Who knew chartreuse really would try and eat my head. I'm just lucky I duck fast. From what we can tell it has to wear off on its own. So, what do you say?"
Stepping past her, he opened the door and silently bowed her in. She chuckled tiredly at his grandiose flourish, waited as he collected his post, and then trudged up the stairs behind him.
"Something to drink?" He asked as she sank onto the sofa and sighed.
"Mm, lemonade if you have it?"
"Always do." He cracked a new bottle with a hiss and poured two glasses, handing her one as he settled into the armchair to sort his post.
It was quite for several long minutes before Teddy looked up again to see Victoire thumbing through the book on the war he'd left on the cartons cum coffee table.
Victoire looked up with a much more pronounced frown. "Isn't this that book Aunt Hermione said was libellous, poorly written trash?"
"Er, yes?" She cocked a dubious eyebrow at him and he scraped his hand through his hair. "It's got a chapter on my Mum and Dad. I wanted to see what it said, you know. Not what Gran's told me or Harry or anyone else."
He sighed. "Libellous, poorly written trash. Nothing real about them, nothing at all about what they were really like. Just a corny, over-dramatic love story full of Mum being a top flight Auror taken in by Dad and his 'buckling swash' ways. When he wasn't some pathetic tramp who couldn't keep a job even while he was a filthy werewolf who had everyone fooled so he could rip the heads off innocents and eat their entrails. She tries to reconcile all of that by saying Mum 'redeemed' Dad, like he was some sort of voucher, and they died in each others arms. There's a cameo by baby me, even. It's actually kind of funny if you like that sort of thing."
"Right." She dropped the book onto the carton, disgusted. "Well, I know not to bother reading it myself, then."
"... You were going to read it?"
"I thought about it. Aunt Hermione's opinion is good, but her standards are pretty high. Sometime you just want something light."
"Well, if you don't mind piss poor writing, arguments you can fly a car through, and a book that questions the sanity and motivations of just about everyone we know, by all means take it with you."
"No, thank you. I don't like books that make me want to rip them apart from the spine. Makes me feel like a bad Ravenclaw."
He laughed at that and they talked about the summer and the annual Tinworth Blooming Gardens feud and his work at St Mungo's until Victoire looked at the time and had to dash off home. Teddy reheated the last bit of casserole and grabbing a roll purchased from the dangerously seductive bakery on the corner, sat on the sofa and picked up the book as he had done the past two nights. Suddenly he had no stomach for it, and he set everything back down. He looked over at his bedroom seeing in his mind's eye the photograph of his parents embracing, arms crossed above the beginning swell of his mother's belly. Next to it was the shallow bowl lined with his father's handkerchief on top of which rested the fine Muggle pocket watch that had been his grandfather's. His Gran had put them there herself, just like home. And in his sock drawer, the furry, hot pink scarf that he liked to imagine still smelled of his mother's perfume, although it really smelled more of clean socks.
Eyeing the book with new displeasure, he removed his bookmark and banished the book to the bin. Then he summoned his well loved volume of The Jungle Book and smoothing past the inscription from his Gran to his mother, he opened it to Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.
Living alone had its ups and downs. Realising that there was no one to object if dinner was ice cream eaten from the tub with a serving spoon was one of the ups. Realising that there was no one else to cook real food if he did not want takeaway was one of the downs. And after the third week of doing his own dusting, washing, and general straightening up and cleaning, Teddy had come to the conclusion that either he had a very quiet poltergeist or he was running mad.
Simply put, things should remain in their proper places when one lives alone. Or to put it differently, how does one lose a hand crocheted and teased bright blue pygmy puff named Philpotts in a flat with three rooms?
Teddy assumed that singleton socks were a fact of clothes washing, and as most of his socks all matched each other it was not a significant problem. He expected he would find one clinging to something somewhere one day and the cosmic conservation of socks would remain untroubled. He also assumed his habit of chucking his clothing in the vague direction of the washing basket was to blame for his inability to locate the red striped tie Ginny had given him. Not getting yelled at for scattering dirty clothing about or leaving his sock drawer hanging open was another positive, the flip side being there was no one else but him to put it to rights later.
Philpotts, however, was a different matter. He would have remembered knocking it onto the floor, seeing as it kept pride of place with his grandfather's watch. He had no memory of doing any such thing, and yet the thing was still missing. It was, in fact, so very missing that after the summoning charm had failed he had cleaned the entire apartment from front entry to awkward nook in the loo, even looking under the sofa and discovering an actual plump puffskein which he left to its devices. Still he could not find it. Thus he came to the conclusion not only that Philpotts was missing but that his dirty socks and tie were also well and truly gone.
He mentioned this to Victoire one evening as she washed salad greens. This summer had become a curious echo of every other for as long as he could remember, with he or she and her siblings bounding in and out of each other's kitchens. Only this time it was just her, visiting his kitchen in London several times a week to decompress after work, she said. She had flooed her parents that particular evening to ask if she could stay for dinner for once instead of dashing off home as usual. He had virtuously avoided watching her stoop before the hearth. That was different, too. Noticing, that is. This was Victoire. However well grown she had become, seemingly all in the last year as he had never really thought that about her last summer, she was still, well, Victoire. It did not matter that she had long legs, straight red gold hair that ended right in the middle of her back in a sleek curtain, a face just like her mother's except for the firmer jaw and softer mouth, and that light dusting of freckles across her nose. Not one bit. Especially not after she had laughed at him for, as she put it, tarting himself up for the shop girls. And so, he avoided stray untimely thoughts and discussed his disappearing trifles instead.
"It can't be a poltergeist," she had said. "You're not repressed enough. Or are you?" She then peered at him suspiciously and he had stuck his tongue out at her. "Oh, very nice. But not at all repressed. Maybe you have a neighbour with issues."
He had laughed and thought no more of it; it was just a garden variety mystery of no particular concern. Wizards led lives with bigger mysteries than that every day. It was no where near as interesting as his programme or, if he would admit it, Victoire. At least, not until he came home after a very long day observing casualty healers to realise his father's handkerchief was missing. He had spent the last of his shift trying to distract a three-year-old from the consequences of pulling a boiling cauldron over herself while the healer applied neutralisers and burn salve, as well as trying to distract said three-year-old's parents who were beside themselves with guilt and horror.
This time it was Victoire who found him sitting on his front steps frowning into the distance.
She sat next to him on the step and bumped shoulders. "All right, Teddy?"
He looked up at the flat which had seemed pleasant if slightly quirky until he had come home that afternoon, and shrugged.
"I can't find my handkerchief."
"You don't use a handkerchief. You're a heathen slob who prefers to drip or use his shirtsleeve." She reminded him.
"My Dad's handkerchief, it's missing out of my room." A handkerchief that had been worn nearly transparent, first by his father and then by himself. It had always been soft against his toddler's fingers when he had still needed a dummy of some sort. Even if he could no longer remember it tied around an ice cube when he teethed.
"Yeah, like the other stuff I haven't been able to find." He swallowed. "It's not like it's important, right? It's just an old handkerchief. I have other stuff of his, and Granddad's watch is still there." He suddenly felt unacceptably young.
Victoire leaned against him silently for a moment, a warm, firm weight.
"Right, this has gone on enough, I need your floo." She jumped to her feet and dragged him up by his hand. Pulling him behind her, she marched up into his flat and tossed a pinch of floo powder into his small fireplace.
"Shell Cottage!" The Floo connected with a splutter and resolved into Fleur Weasley's face. She glanced at their still clasped hands before looking at her daughter.
"Mum!" Victoire cut off her mother's greeting. "I need to talk to Dad, it's important."
"Manners, ma petite, or Teddy will think you were raised by porlocks. Bonsoir, Teddy."
"Hullo, Mrs Weasley."
"Mum, it really is important." Victoire said, impatiently. Her mother rolled her eyes and turned away from the floo. Teddy very clearly heard her call out Bill, your very rude daughter is calling to speak with you, do come at once. She says it is important.
"Er, is this really necessary?" Teddy asked quietly. Victoire shook his hand and said shush! as her mother turned back to them.
"Of course, you could speak with me. But alas, I am only the mother."
"Oh, Mum, I need to ask Dad about wards. For Teddy, here." Her mother raised a perfect eyebrow, and Teddy squirmed.
"It really isn't that important, Mrs Weasley. It's just a little-."
"Don't be ridiculous, you can't have things go missing in your own place, it's just not right!"
"Missing?" Mrs Weasley looked from one to the other in growing concern.
"Nothing significant, really. Just little things. I can't even be sure-"
"Nonsense!" She said, forcefully, and turning called in a much louder voice, Bill, you are wanted!
There was a pause and the faint sounds of someone saying something like Here now, what's all this screeching about?, when Bill Weasley suddenly appeared next to his wife in the floo. He too looked at their still clasped hands before looking questioningly at his daughter and then Teddy.
"What's all this, then?"
Teddy's Sorry, Mr Weasley was drowned out.
"Dad, Teddy's been having things go missing, just disappearing while he's out. Can you come look at the wards? Uncle Harry set them and Mr Shacklebolt looked over them, but maybe they left something out?"
"Between them? Neither are likely to miss anything."
"But Dad, come anyway? Take a look at them and see if anything broke through? Maybe there's a poltergeist in the building or something? It's creepy. Whatever it was even took his father's handkerchief."
Mr Weasley frowned and turned to Teddy. "Is this true?"
"Yes sir, but I'm not even certain... it was just dirty socks and the like before. I'm sure it's nothing."
"Hm, best to be safe. I'll- ouch - we will be over in a moment. Don't touch the wards." At that they ended the call.
Victoire pushed Teddy in the direction of the sofa and then whisked over to the kitchen.
"Er, do they know how to get here?" He asked her as she put the kettle on.
"I told them after the first time I visited. If I'm going to be here a lot, they should know. Anyway, everyone knows where you live." He blinked.
"Everyone in the family. Why wouldn't they?"
"Oh. Right," he said. "Um, but this. It's not really a big thing. And I'm on my own now, I should be able to t-." Victoire leaned over the counter separating the kitchen area from the living room and shook her finger at him.
"Stop that. I don't care; it's not right. It's not just anything, and I don't see why we can't help you just because you live here now. Merlin's pants, you moved to London, not the other side of the world." She was disturbingly like her mother sometimes.
"Er, all right," he said awkwardly. They were silent, listening to the kettle rumble its way towards boiling when two faint cracks were heard down the stairwell. A moment later Teddy let Mrs Weasley in while her husband lingered outside tracing ward nodes with his fingers.
"Hello, Teddy." She kissed him on both cheeks and then lifted the bag in her hand and shook it a little. "I've brought supper. I hope you like coq au vin as that is what we are having. Dominique and Louis have run off with their friends this evening and so it is just us. Oh, Victoire is that tea? Very good, your father will want a cup."
Teddy was rather at a loss as Mrs Weasley proceeded to set his table, spread a much more elaborate meal than he had anticipated for the evening, and talk volubly the entire while as Mr Weasley silently walked the perimeter of his flat, a look of abstraction on his face.
Teddy answered her questions about his progress in the programme at St. Mungo's, the friendliness of his neighbours, where he did his shopping, when he was going to get a proper coffee table, and indeed so very many things that he was thankful when Mr Weasley returned from examining the scene of what Teddy had by then decided was the most humiliatingly minor 'crime' possible. Right after remembering he had neglected to close his sock drawer, or fold the massive pile of clean washing on his bed. At least it was all clean.
"Your wards are strong, well laid, and they haven't been breached or broken in any manner I can see. Thank you, sweetie," he said as Victoire handed him a mug of tea. "Mm," he continued after a sip. "There's a slight chance someone very good could breach and then re-erect the wards as if they'd never been broken, but that's extremely difficult to do well. And all these wards have Harry's signature, which makes it even harder. I doubt that's been done. You're warded against Wizarding malice as well as Muggle. No one nor their House Elves can cross your wards without invitation and the flat won't show up in most searches, as well. Nothing as strong as an Unplottable or a Fidelius, but it's a good, robust ward against surveillance. And the usual against flood, fire, etc."
Teddy was taken aback. "Isn't that a little excessive? I thought he'd just warded against burgling and fire." Mr Weasley pursed his lips but it was Mrs Weasley who answered.
"Nonsense, of course Harry would do everything sensible with the wards. Just because one does not think there is a need for a thing does not mean one does not still do one's utmost to be careful. And here, too, it is a very good thing as we know someone has not come into your flat and trifled with your things, yes? I know you were thinking such, and it is a very uncomfortable feeling indeed, and very good and useful to have it disproved."
Teddy managed to feel even younger and more ridiculous at that, but relieved nonetheless. Mrs Weasley was correct, after all. The idea of someone coming into his flat and fingering his belongings had been rather unsettling no matter how unlikely a scenario it had been.
Mr Weasley continued. "Since you mentioned possible poltergeist activity, I added a layer to the Wizarding malice ward to block PEUHs and the like."
"Psychic Entities-Undirected and Hostile. I also added pixie traps. They're more common than people think and cause all sorts of trouble. You might even have a disgruntled brownie in the building although I'd expect the neighbours to have mentioned one. Still, a pixie trap would catch it."
"Thanks. I'm sure it's nothing, but, yeah. Thanks." Teddy said, reflecting that all he needed now was for his pipes to back up so he could call Kingsley Shackelbolt for plumbing advice, to make his inability to fend for himself complete.
"No worries. Just call if anything else strange happens. Now, what's this about coq au vin?"
However embarrassed Teddy was, it could not last before even just three Weasleys, a bottle of wine, and the best meal he had had all week. Dinner was a much more pleasant affair than he had anticipated just an hour before. And when the Weasleys took their leave, preceding Victoire down the stairwell to Apparate from the vestibule like all polite Wizards, he was mellow and grateful when Victoire lingered for a moment.
"You'll be all right?"
"I'll be fine," he said, laughing sheepishly. "This place is locked up tighter than Gringotts. What could happen? Thanks, you know, for helping."
"You're an idiot, Teddy Lupin. But I like you anyway." And she kissed him softly on the cheek and then lightly ran down the stairs to join her parents.
Living by oneself was brilliant, Teddy decided. Utterly beyond words brilliant. At least, this is what he thought after he saw Victoire again. Initially, it had had its drawbacks. Once he had got over the shock of Victoire kissing him in a way totally unlike the fond maternal pecks of the other women in his acquaintance, he had the entire apartment to himself and no distractions from wondering exactly what it meant and if it meant what he thought, was he going to do anything about it. First argument for it was Victoire herself, and that had occupied his thoughts pleasantly for the rest of his glass of wine.
It was not until he was drying the plates that it occurred to him that Mr Weasley could fold him into a pretzel if he hurt his little girl. Not that he intended to, or that thought Mr Weasley would. At least, not without warning and a fifteen minute head start. So, that was all right.
It was not until he was drying the glasses that it occurred to him that Mr Weasley's temper was nothing in comparison to Mrs Weasley's, and he had to sit down at that. He still remembered the incident with the bullies when he was eight. And the time the Perkins kid turned Dominique's hair green. He went a little green himself at the memory.
By the time he had folded his mountainous pile of washing which was necessary if he was going to bed rather than sleep on the sofa again, his mind had turned over the kiss and decided that he was delusional. And he firmly held the image of a furious Fleur Weasley in his mind to keep from disappointment at that conclusion.
That image melted away ridiculously quickly the next evening when he opened his door to Victoire. Before he could say 'hullo' she had pushed him back against the door until it hit the wall and kissed him soundly.
A slew of benefits to living alone crystallised in his mind as he fumbled them out of the way and closed the door, and then simply hung on. He tumbled them in the direction of the sofa but missed and they bounced to rest on the armchair after kicking the cartons askew.
Snug against him, she giggled and then sighed into a long, slow snog. Her mouth tasted like tea and her lower lip was as soft as it looked, softer even. It was tender and mobile as it moved against his. He slid his tongue along the plump curve and pulled her tight as she curled the tip of her tongue around his in welcome and pulled him into her mouth for the first time. He groaned into the hot slide of their mouths and pressed closer.
She smelled like sweets and potions ingredients and whatever she used for shampoo and she fit the curve of his arms perfectly. They kissed until his leg was numb from the loss of circulation and her stomach growled too loudly to be ignored.
"Hullo," she smirked, as she leaned her forehead against his.
"Hullo," he said in return, squeezing her hard and shifting a little to give his leg some room. "Bolognese?"
"Yeah, that'd be brilliant."
They rose, and he shook out his leg as she laughed at him, and together they threw together dinner as quickly as possible while suddenly conscious of every brush of a hand and bump of a hip. After, they took themselves to the much more comfortable sofa to whisper and snog until it was time for her to go home.
Victoire visited more and more frequently and stayed just a bit longer each time, pushing the limits of her curfew. Teddy bounded home from hospital every day and the flat was cleaner than it had ever been except when he knew his Gran would be visiting, although he still did not manage to close his sock drawer reliably. At least everything was folded rather than spilling over onto the floor. He filled his cupboards with quick and easy to prepare foods to leave more time for the now almost nightly extended snog on the sofa. The wards obliged and nothing else went missing, St Mungo's was uniformly fascinating and fulfilling, and his new friends teased him about the spring in his step.
It was nothing like kissing Livia Pennington or fumbling behind the Quidditch shed with Mandy Featherstone. It was brilliant, and fun, and comfortable and they could talk or be silent as the mood struck. And if he was left more often than not with the inspiration to take himself in hand after Victoire had gone for the evening, well, he did not really mind at all.
This delightful state of affairs lasted ten days and he was contemplating asking her to the cinema on his day off. On the eleventh day, his mother's scarf disappeared.
He stared at the spot in his drawer where it had been, several socks tumbled about on the floor. Victoire first knocked and then simply opened the door and found him looking blank.
"What is it, Teddy?" She asked softly, sliding an arm around him.
"It's gone. Mum's scarf is gone. This doesn't make sense. Who would want Mum's scarf? It's just-" a scarf he would whisper to when he was little, and bury his nose in and breathe deeply and get fuzz up his nose which was a good a enough reason to get drippy wasn't it? And not because it was hard sometimes to be brave for Gran because it had to be harder for her, right? Because she had known them, really known them, and he had not. It was just the scarf he had apologised to when he had come home after his first year at Hogwarts and said he wanted to be a Gryffindor to have something of Dad, even if the Hat thought Hufflepuff. Even if the others didn't believe him when he joked about it because he was so much like his Dad. And he wasn't. Gran knew. He was just like his Mum and not just because of his hair, but she didn't say so. It was their secret.
He heard Victoire go to the Floo and make a call and then put the kettle on before she came back in. Tea, he thought. Right, English people drink tea when they have hysterics.
"Teddy. You should tell Uncle Harry."
"What? Why? It's just a...." He trailed off at the look on her face.
"Teddy Lupin, you are the most frustrating person alive. Stop being so stoic all the time. It may be just a scarf to anyone else, but not to you. And it still doesn't make sense. I've called Dad, but Uncle Harry set the wards, and he's an Auror and might know something. So do something already, all right?"
He shook himself. Right, no point in whinging without action. He had learnt something in all those years in Gryffindor, even if the whole leaping before looking thing still struck him as idiotic.
So he had called Harry, who had seemed concerned, but not entirely surprised once he explained why he was calling. When he opened the door later to Harry, Bill and Ron Weasley, and of all people Kingsley Shackelbolt, he felt bewildered all over again.
"It's just a-," he began. Harry smiled, but that did not ease the seriousness of his expression.
"Just a precaution. Humour us. Oh, and this is from Gin." Teddy took the covered dish and watched as once again the wards were gone over and the dresser checked for Wizard space and all manner of strange things that Teddy had not considered possible let alone likely.
"A wormhole? Is that even possible?"
"Not likely, but you never know," Ron winked at him before going to examine the taps in the loo. Mr Weasley handed him three puffskeins from under the sofa and proceeded to check his cupboards for transfigured creatures.
Teddy tucked the puffskeins behind the aspidistra his Gran had given him and dusted his hands as the four men gathered around his table.
"Right, well nothing wrong with the wards, still." Harry nodded at Mr Weasley. "But we had to check. Never be too certain."
Harry gave him a small smile. "Humour a bunch of paranoid old men, yeah? We still remember some bad times when not everyone had good things to say about war heroes or their children."
"Wait, have you been keeping track of me?" Victoire made a moue at him and rolled her eyes. "You have! I should be offended or something! Wait, does Gran know? I can take care of myself, you know."
"She does, and you'll just have to live with it. You're one of ours and we're too old to change." Teddy spluttered a little at that, and Harry slung an arm around his neck and affectionately squeezed. "I'm your godfather, I get to do this. Not that we need that excuse, but there you have it. We have your back. It's just the way it is. And if that means we ward you in against anything but act of God, you'll just have to suck it up."
Kingsley Shackelbolt cleared his throat. "Which has nothing to do with this except it rules out everything we've tested against. This flat is as clean as one eighteen-year-old male can make it." And he cocked an eyebrow at Teddy who suddenly realised just how long it had been since he had cleaned his shower. "I suggest a surveillance charm inside the flat."
That got Teddy's attention fast.
The others nodded and he suspected Ron was laughing at him.
"But I live here! I mean, I do things!" Now he was sure Ron was laughing at him. Harry gave Ron a little shove and tried to hide a grin.
"It makes sense. You've things going missing when you're not home and it's not coming up on any of the wards. We'll keep watch to see who or what it is and catch it that way."
Teddy gaped as he watched Harry pull out his wand in preparation for the spell.
"Uncle Harry?" Victoire interrupted
"Does the whole flat have to be watched or can it just be where it happens? So, not the loo and places?" Harry looked at the others and smirked a little at Bill who was eyeing Victoire.
"Teddy, have all the thefts been in your bedroom?"
Teddy blinked. "You know they have."
"Right, then the spell only needs to be over the bedroom, yeah?"
"That would be less effective." Mr Shackelbolt cautioned.
"It has certain drawbacks," Harry agreed. "But it should let us see what's causing the trouble even if we don't know how it gets in. Teddy?"
"I'll take it!" This time Harry did not stop Ron from laughing outright and went to the bedroom to set the charm.
That done, the four took themselves off after an invitation to Teddy and Victoire to join them for a beer which was politely declined. Several knowing looks exchanged, a thoughtful one from Mr Weasley to his daughter, and a mild reminder for her not to be home too late and they were gone.
"Merlin," Teddy groaned as he leaned against the door. Victoire had the temerity to laugh at him, and he grimaced at her. "I can't believe they wanted to watch the whole flat. Even the loo! Bad enough I can't wank when I wake up anym- er...." He blushed scarlet and she was suddenly helpless with peals of laughter.
"Oh, please!" She choked out. "Like it's a great mystery. Don't all boys wank once they realise they can?"
She was just standing there, laughing into her hands with glee and not expecting anything. It was too tempting. He kicked aside his long suffering cartons and tackled her to the sofa, mercilessly tickling her in revenge. She shrieked and laughed and breathlessly cried no fair, squirming as he found spots he had not essayed since he was ten and she was nine.
"Oh, stop!" She gasped out, still laughing and pushing at his chest. "I can't-! No fair, you're bigger now!"
Fingers still, he was suddenly alive to her lying trembling beneath him, panting and hair sticking in little tendrils to her shining, happy face. Oh, he thought.
He shifted sideways and slid down against the back of the sofa, taking his weight off of her and waited for her breathing to calm before he kissed her. Oh, Merlin he thought, his blood zinging through him even as he tried to calm his own breathing. He stretched a little, restlessly trying to get comfortable and then stilled, his eyes flying open as her thigh nestled firm against the heavy bulge making his trousers so uncomfortable.
He looked at her like he had been struck with a Petrificus. And her eyes were big as she panted against him, neither moving towards nor away.
"That's...." she cracked, licking her lips which normally would have distracted him, but now only sent more blood south, if that was possible.
"Er, sorry?" He tried jerkily to pull away, which was difficult pressed as he was between her and the back of the sofa, when she stopped him.
"No," she said. "No, it's all right." And then she was pulling him down again, pulling him onto her and arching up into him, soft against his chest, her breath panting in his ear, pulling his hand to the patch of skin bared by her rucked up shirt, and oh, Merlin....
He could swear he could feel every tooth on the zipper of his flies as he rocked against her and she pressed up against him. It was awkward and a little nervous and he could not even express how every thing she did in that moment turned him on the more. Especially when she ran a hand up under his shirt and scratched. He moaned breathlessly and sucked her lower lip into his mouth, thrusting his tongue against hers as he finally gave in and pressed his full weight into her embrace.
Squirming and writhing together urgently, unable to catch their breath, it was like a re-enactment of the five minutes previous, but infinitely more aware of each other, infinitely more focussed and intimate, fingers tracing trembling paths leading to helpless gasps of a different sort.
He opened his eyes. He was awash in her, the scent of her hair and her sweat was on his own skin, he was drunk with it. He was exquisitely uncomfortable at the bunch of their clothes and the rasp of buttons and zippers and cloth against tender flesh. Still he hung on and watched her neck arch, her mouth open in a soft, surprised cry as her thighs clamped hard around his. She looked incredible, incredible as he surged against her, helpless to stop and wanting more than anything to follow her into that bliss.
The next time he rolled to the side was after several minutes of panting and soft kissing. Finally too cramped to stay still any longer, they stretched a little and straightened their clothes. He grimaced at the wet patch in his pants, and caught a similar look of discomfort on her face before he smoothed her hair off her face and kissed her again.
"Your bottom lip," he mumbled the next time they parted enough to speak. She looked at him like he was barmy.
"What?" She asked, trembling on a laugh.
"It just wants kissing, wants kissing all the time."
"Oh," she said. "Well, that's good, then." She paused. "Are you all right?"
He sat up and she followed as he looked at her incredulously. "All right? I'm beyond all right, I'm simply brilliant. What could possibly make you think I wasn't all right, unless...," he paused, eyes growing impossibly round. "You don't suppose the monitoring charm can hear what goes on out here, do you? Hey!" He ducked as she whacked a cushion at him.
"No, you prat! Are you all right from before that." She thwacked him with the cushion again, her face bright red.
"Oh," he said, recalling. "Oh. Um, well yeah, I guess. It's not like I can do anything about it, and seems like everyone is on the case and, well, yeah." He paused again and worried his lower lip for effect. "You really don't think that monitoring charm can hear out here, do you?"
This time he accepted the thwacking as his due. He was worried, yes, and even a little disturbed, but it all seemed terribly far away with Victoire in his arms. Or sitting with her on the sofa eating cottage pie from Ginny. Or when she agreed to go to the movies on Sunday and have a proper night out of it. She even promised to tart herself up if he promised not to.
That night, when he locked up and went to bed, the last thing on his mind was her parting injunction to get a proper coffee table already, and not the state of his wards.
Living alone was brilliant until one discovered that one was not really living alone. Teddy did not come to this conclusion when Victoire began to spend all her spare time with him, when he wasn't spending all his spare time with her. He enjoyed that immensely, and not just because the skin of her back was unbelievably soft and he was allowed to touch it. For one, he never knew the cupboard in the back of the Wheezes was sound proofed from the inside before. He did not question such good fortune, he merely rolled with it.
Nor did he think it whenever his Gran called or visited, which was on average once every two weeks and functionally more when he would visit her and return to London laden with enough courgettes to feed a small army and yet another casserole or stew, or once an extremely large batch of pesto.
Not even the combined hurricane force of visiting Potters and Weasleys other than Victoire, punctuated by the less frequent but no less memorable Shackelbolts, Longbottoms, Finnegans, Thomases, Johnsons, and even on one memorable occasion, Malfoys, contrived to make him feel his flat was not his own. He enjoyed his time with them as always. Yes, even the Malfoys.
And, if anything, being able to invite friends from school or St Mungo's to his flat increased his sense of well-being as the lord of his own exceedingly small and yet perfectly adequate three room manor.
Seven days had once again gone by with the wards silent, the pixie traps empty, and the surveillance charm catching nothing but that first morning when Teddy had forgot it was there until he was well advanced in addressing his morning wood.
A flying roll out of bed and a crab walk to the loo cannot be recommended as a way to get up in the morning, in either respect.
The suspense of living in expectation of some bizarrely inconsequential theft just so they could catch some impossibly canny burglar faded before the other distractions such as receiving his NEWT scores which were even better than anticipated. But chiefest distraction amongst them was when he would be able to see Victoire again. At eighteen, it was frankly impressive that he could keep as much as he did straight. And he expected nothing the day in mid-August when he Appartated home early, directly into his living room with the bulky, long awaited coffee table in his arms.
Rather ugly, extremely heavy, but solid wood and only a pound at the Muggle thrift shop, he had wrestled it to an alley before giving up and Apparating it home without even bothering to shrink it first.
He set it down with a resounding thunk, and glanced up in time to see a flash of purple and grey streak out of his bedroom, up the side of the cupboards to disappear with a struggle where a small gap showed between the high ornamental fronting of the cabinetry and the ceiling.
Gaping, Teddy dashed to the kitchen and heaved himself onto the counter, awkwardly peering at the gap not even two finger widths in height. He was met with a faint draft and distant scuffling. Jumping hastily down, he ran into his room to see the damage, and found his sock drawer once again jumbled and the squashy purple socks Hagrid had given him as a leaving gift missing.
Victoire found him five minutes later, still laughing.
"Teddy! Snap out of it, what is it?" She shook him, and he batted at her hands and pointed to the kitchen. "Oh, you!"
Flouncing to the Floo, she called her father and Harry to say something had happened and Teddy had clearly gone round the twist because he wouldn't stop laughing. Then, as had become her routine, she put on the kettle until, as she put it, Teddy calmed down enough to come out and act like a normal human being again. That set him off again, and she rolled her eyes.
"It's a squirrel," he said, finally able to stop sniggering.
"The thief. It's a squirrel. Fat, grey bugger just like the ones in the park. It ran up there and out through a hole. I surprised it when I got home. It had these socks Hagrid gave me and it made it up the cupboard all right." He started laughing again. "It wedged them into the crack, squeezed itself through fat little stomach and all, with its little feet kicking and its tail switching madly, and then when it had got through, it pulled the socks in after and made off with them."
"... You're telling me that all these weeks, all the wards and all the worry and it's a squirrel?
Teddy nodded and made little flicking gestures with his fingers. "Kicking like madmen. And we had wards against people and magical creatures. Not squirrels."
"But why didn't your summoning charms work, then?"
Teddy shrugged. "It must have them wedged in some place. And I didn't make them too strong. Just for inside the flat, yeah? Oh, Merlin, what's Harry- no, what's Mr Shackelbolt going to think!" At that, Victoire finally gave in to the giggles as she hopped up on the counter top in turn to peer with her wand into the gap.
A knock on the door turned out to be Harry and Mr Weasley. He was grinning like a loon and showing Mr Weasley a crystal ball.
"I watched the last bit of surveillance, last ten minutes. Caught red pawed!" He said, grinning as Mr Weasley began to guffaw. "We're all so brilliant, never thought to check for non-magical, non-human interference. I'd twit Kingsley on that one, but I missed it too. Is that where it gets in?"
"Yeah, through a hole. What do you think; can we find where it comes out?"
"Nothing easier," Said Mr Weasley. "There's an old trick we use on digs. Everyone go outside and look for smoke." With that, Mr Weasley took his daughter's place on the counter and began spelling a thick, white smoke to crawl through the gap and into the hole.
Outside, they squinted against the afternoon sun until Victoire called out and pointed at the roof on the side near the bakery. Smoke curled thick and white from a gap under the eaves of the third storey flats, hidden from the street by the protrusion of the window below it, and the leafy overhang of a plane tree. Teddy retrieved Mr Weasley and after considering, they went up and asked permission of the neighbour above him to look at the hole.
Mrs Teesdale was chatty, long-winded, and inclined to gossip on about people they did not know, but did not appear to require any response to her conversational gambits. She was also quite happy to accommodate them without ever properly realising who she had in her living room.
Teddy stood on the window ledge, Harry gripping his belt firmly to keep him from overbalancing as he ducked branches and prodded at the hole. Caught on a corner of verdigris flashing to one side of the poorly fitted window, right where the tree branch was closest, were two tufts of fibre, a woolly purple the exact colour of his missing socks and under it, a loose bit in hot pink. It was just out of his reach, so holding his breath, he carefully lengthened his arm enough and retrieved the bits of thread. He returned his arm to its normal length before jumping back in to show off his prize.
From there, it was a simple, if slightly long matter to thank Mrs Teesdale, and make their way back to the street where Harry looked at Teddy.
"So, Teddy. Summoning charm or Sympathy spell?" Harry asked, grinning.
"Sympathy spell, I want to see where the bugger's been taking my stuff."
They followed Harry and his discreetly flicking wand into the park, to the base of a large red oak.
"I'd say that would be it," Harry pointed at the knothole halfway up the tree and well above their heads.
"Right, give me a leg up, yeah?" Teddy asked, and they surreptitiously gave him a boost until he was firmly situated with a good view of the knothole. Three minutes later after prodding it gingerly with his wand, he had retrieved the handkerchief, tie, and scarf only slightly the worse for wear, and jumped down.
"Like I thought, wedged in proper," he said as he dusted off his hands and trousers. They were all looking amused when he finally looked up again.
"Why did you leave everything else?" Victoire asked.
"Er," Teddy paused. He had not really given it any thought. "Well, the socks from Hagrid don't fit and I don't suppose he'd mind?"
"Hm," was all Victoire said, and then she was kissing her father goodbye as he and Harry said they had to be off, and declined stopping up for a cup of tea.
"Just block that hole!" Harry laughed as he walked off with Mr Weasley.
"You're not going to block that hole are you," Victoire said as she followed him into his flat, straightening the coffee table as he put away his treasures and then folded and finally banished the cartons.
"... Maybe? If it gets cold? I like waking up to the smell of baking bread and I don't know, it seems pretty harmless now that I know where it lives, too." He sat on the sofa looking pleased, and she straddled his knees, draping her arms around his neck.
"It's a squirrel, not a pet, Teddy," she said before kissing him.
"Mm.... It'd be a pretty poorly behaved pet if it was one," he managed when she finally let him speak again.
"What's for dinner?" She asked dreamily, tracing his jaw with her mouth.
"It was... something? I don't know, over there...." He gestured vaguely towards the kitchen and she snickered.
Sighing, he let himself be pulled to his feet and they managed to throw together something acceptable in a relatively short amount of time. Talk brought them down to earth a little, as the summer was drawing inexorably to a close.
"Not quite two weeks left," Victoire was saying, fiddling with her fork and tracing abstract shapes in the gravy on her plate. Teddy took her hand and shook it a little, until she looked at him.
"I'll write if you will," he said, grinning when she stuck her tongue out at him. She was a notoriously poor correspondent. "And I'll visit," he added. "Every Hogsmead weekend. I'll find out when they are and be waiting at the gates for you, promise."
"You don't have to do that." She flushed a little, and looked pleased. "Everyone will stare."
"Let them stare, I've got better things to look at." She smiled then, and leaned into him a little before getting up and helping to clear the table.
He was describing the latest diagnostic spell he had learned as he washed the last of the dishes and Victoire dried, when she interrupted.
"Do you think Harry took down the monitoring charm?"
He looked at her in surprise.
"I... don't know. But, wait, look the crystal is still here and I think it's only keyed to the one, so even if the charm is still set there's just us to see. Why?"
"I want to see something," she said, and she made him put down the scrubbie and follow her into the bedroom.
It was still bright in the room, the late afternoon sun sending enough golden light to set fire to her hair. More than enough to see her glittering eyes and her open mouth and the tremble of her hand as she held a small square foil packet out to him.
"Mum taught me the charms, but Aunt Hermione gave me a book and a box of these and said they were easier if-"
He stepped in, wrapped his arms around her tense shoulders and closed his hand over hers, turning it to look at the condom wrapper. An involuntary snort escaped him when he saw it and she pulled back from nestling in his shoulder to look at him.
"They're the same brand Harry gave me when he asked if Gran had given me 'the talk'."
Her lips twitched and she gave a nervous giggle that soon swelled into a full on laugh.
"You don't suppose Uncle Ron and Uncle Harry buy at the same chemists?" She leaned against him, soft and relaxed now, and snickering naughtily. "I hope they didn't run out when the made off with boxes for us."
"Maybe Harry, but I can't imagine Hermione would be that short sighted." That made her giggle again, and he took the little foil packet and tossed it on the bed.
"We don't have to- mmf!" He began and was cut off as Victoire, nerves apparently gone, twisted in his arms and sealed her mouth against his, pushing at him until he was against the bed, until he had bounced down against that welcome flat surface and taken her with him. Oh, his body knew this. They had done this before, this hot wet slide of mouths and tongues and that lower lip of hers he could not resist. Even the warm hands tugging at his shirt, reaching under and exploring his skin with delicate caresses and the occasional light scratch.
Then it detoured into the unexplored as she pulled away from their usual fall into hot, impatient friction against each other. He was bereft as her mouth and hands disappeared. He opened his eyes in time to see her, mouth wet and red and panting, eyes dilated and looking at him so full of want, before she pulled off her shirt and with trembling hands, unclasped her bra and let it fall to the floor.
Oh Merlin, he thought, suddenly grateful as he had never been before for the long, summer days. Oh Merlin, Oh God, he thought as he watched, fascinated at the blush rising in skin he had touched but never seen. She glowed like the sunset with heat and power and desire. The nipples of her amazing, impossibly perfect breasts peaked and hardened as he watched. Then her hands were at his waist, tugging at his shirt and he woke to the fact that he was over dressed.
Dragging his shirt over his head as quickly as he could, he reached for her, pausing for just a heartbeat before pulling her down on top of him for a brief, delicious meeting of skin to skin, then rolling them over so they lay side by side.
She dug her fingers into the light furring on his chest and tickled her way down to where it thickened to a line down his stomach, eventually disappearing into his waistband. He gasped and then tried to make his point again.
"We really don't- guh!" He was cut off this time as Victoire pressed the heel of her palm into his erection and he jerked helplessly, harder than he had ever been. Biting his lip hard, he thought of anything at all to calm his breath and bring himself back from the brink. Not on! he thought and he must have muttered it out loud for she snickered.
"Why?" She asked, her hand still on the bulge in his trousers, but at least not pressing now.
"Nrgle," he uttered, and tried again. "I'm eighteen, I'm not supposed to unf have to hold on!"
She went quiet at that and took her hand away and he lay there with his eyes closed, just trying to calm down. When he finally opened them again, she was watching him, a small smile on her face and she reached over to smooth his hair back, playing with the bright ends a little.
"All right," she said, and then she rolled onto her back, never breaking eye contact, and slowly undid the flies to her jeans. And then he caught his breath as she reached over, slowly undid the button of his trousers and delicately pulled down the zip without touching him at all.
He rolled onto his back then, and then nearly kicked himself for he had missed the moment when she had slid out of her jeans and knickers entirely. She was kneeling there beside him looking uncertain, the foil packet in her fingers.
He shed his trousers and pants remarkably fast after all that delay. He pushed them down and kicked them off and sighed at the cool air that met his erection as it slapped up against his stomach, finally free. He looked up at her staring at him, a look of surprise and pleasure on her face, and curiosity, and hunger as she traced his contours and his quirks with her eyes. They were both panting now, and they had only taken off their clothes.
Hesitantly, she reached out and he lay perfectly still when she touched him. Her warm fingers felt like they were leaving burning trails on his skin as she smoothed down his belly and ghosted over his erection. It jumped as she hovered her hand over it, and they both gasped at the brief, unplanned contact. Finally, unable to bear it any more, he reached out and took her hand, wrapped her fingers around him and pulled once, firmly from base to tip before letting go.
She left her fingers circled loosely around him and he could feel his pulse beating in his flesh, beating against her palm as she stared at him, eyes black with want but uncertain what to do. He took the condom from her and opened it as she sat back. He carefully remembered to pinch the tip as he worked the slippery sheath all the way down.
"Victoire!" He called softly, and she started and blushed. "What do you want?"
She hesitated and then firmed her chin. Lying down beside him, she whispered. "Kiss me."
They kissed. Oh, he knew how to do this with her. They had practised all summer, kissing and touching and growing closer. But this restless slide of skin against skin was new and exciting and they twisted eagerly, hungrily against each other until she pulled him onto her and pleaded with her eyes and mouth, oh please she mouthed, oh please and he had only the presence of mind to make sure the condom was still in place before he was pushing into her. And oh God, oh God she was tight, unbelievably tight. He thought he would hurt her, knew he would hurt her as she whimpered, biting her lip, and then he felt something give way and he suddenly slid home.
Pulling her close and holding still, he murmured "I'm sorry" and she shook her head impatiently and shifted. And then suddenly they were together, thrusting and pulling and twisting in the same heated rhythm they had learned through the barrier of clothing. But it was so much sweeter to watch the tremors build through her and flush through her skin, to feel her arch her back and without intermediary press her soft breasts against his straining chest, to feel her speeding heartbeat and to be able to lick and suck at her neck, her collar bone and taste the salt of their intermingled sweat as she thrashed and whimpered and sobbed, as he met her cries with helpless groans and sobs of his own. And to feel her hot and slick and tight around him, tighter yet and so intimate, gripping and clutching with all of her as her legs pulled and her hands clung as she throbbed and shuddered and he was there, nothing but sensation as they surged into one another, lost to all but the intolerable pressure building in their blood, chasing that heat, that closeness until he trembled on the precipice with her and they fell.
They dozed for a little before the darkening sky reminded them of Victoire's curfew. Teddy closed his arms around her and buried his nose in her hair, breathing deeply.
"You're not allowed to go," he murmured. "You have to stay forever and be my love."
"Mm, I'd like that," she said sleepily, "But you know I can't. But I'll come again tomorrow. And I'll write, when I'm at Hogwarts."
"It's not the same," he groused, before sitting up and smiling down at her. "But come again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, until you have to go."
"I will," she said, kissing him softly before biting his lower lip firmly and grinning at his yelp. "And you're brilliant, but Aunt Hermione's book has lots of ideas. I'll bring it, why don't I?"
And somehow, they managed to get her dressed and out the door with only minimal diversions into further escapades before her parents could call out the dogs. Assuming they did not already have a very good idea what she was getting up to, and with whom. Which they did.
Teddy slept very well that night and did not notice that the crystal ball had changed until the next day. Having slept exceedingly well, however, he noticed it immediately, and promptly saved it to show Victoire.
Teddy buried his face in Victoire's shoulder, feeling it tremble as she laughed.
He turned to look at the aghast young James Potter who had happened upon them in his very carefully chosen as-private-as-possible nook, given the hordes of school children and the great, steaming train engine not fifteen yards away, for a proper leave taking of untold months, even though there would be Hogsmead weekends and Quidditch matches, and Christmas hols and then Easter to tide them over. Given all that he felt justified in his response.
"Hullo, James. Be a good fellow and buzz off."
If anything, Victoire laughed harder at that, and peeked out behind his shoulder to greet her young cousin.
"Hullo, James. Why don't you go see where Louis is?"
"But, what are you doing? That's Victoire!" James appeared to have heard not a word either of them had said.
With a rueful laugh, Teddy straightened and then leaned in to James conspiratorially.
"I've come to see her off, yeah? Now, go away."
James appeared for all the world as if some great earthquake had just happened, changing everything he knew.
"James, please be a dear and go away. Teddy and I were having a private conversation. Let your parents know I said 'hullo', all right?"
James looked from one to the other. "You weren't having a conversation, you were snogging!" With that he ran off like the hounds of hell were after him. Or like he had gossip, which had about the same urgency.
"Now, where were we?" Teddy murmured before sucking her delectable lower lip back into his mouth.
"Mm...." was all Victoire said.
They snogged through the first warning, and then through the second when Dominique finally showed up, rolled her eyes and pulled Victoire away.
Parchment crackled in his pocket with the cool, hard weight of the monitoring crystal. She had given him this first letter to read when he got home. Teddy had pressed her to take the crystal ball but she had refused. After all, he lived alone and the chances that someone else would find it and watch it were much less than in a nosy girls dormitory. He had to admit the truth of that but was disappointed nonetheless. But then she had pressed up against him and whispered to him that he should read her letter in his room and then save it to show her later. That had led to the kiss that James Potter had interrupted.
Teddy Lupin wondered how mortified Hermione Weasley would be if he ever thanked her for that book she had given Victoire. It would be a long year, but there were letters, and Hogsmead weekends and Quidditch matches and Christmas hols, and Easter and then there would be the long, golden days of summer again.
Teddy watched the train roll from the station, then turned and walked to the Apparation point.