"I need to go," he could barely see her eyes in the darkness, only her silver-blonde hair was visible in the pale reflection of the crescent moon. "Just for a while. But you'll be in school anyway, you'll barely notice." He sounded like he was trying to convince them both.
"I'll wait for you," she said quietly. "It's what I want." She reached out to take his hand, "I know you need to go, I want you to," her other hand touched his cheek softly. "I won't stop you." She brought her face close to his and kissed him softly, "Just promise you'll write."
"Of course," he promised, leaning his forehead against hers.
"And promise you'll be careful," she whispered.
"I promise." He kissed her, caressing her cheek, "I'm not leaving you, you know that."
She nodded, her hand holding his tightly, "I know, Teddy, I know."
They sat there on the edge of the lake, leaning against each other as they looked out across the vastness of the lake and of the forest, "I love you," he whispered against her jaw. "I love you, Victoire. But I'm,” he took a deep breath. “I’m scared."
How had they gotten here? To such tender goodbyes? Teddy never meant for it to happen, he hadn't meant to fall in love with the girl he had grown up with, the girl who was nearly related to him. But he had. And now he had to leave her.
They had grown up together as they were both so much older than the other cousins. They had played together, scraped their knees together, gotten in trouble together. When Teddy had been sad about his parents, or about his "lack" of family it was always Victoire who knocked sense into him.
It had been hard leaving her for his First Year of Hogwarts, but he knew she could never be lonely with so many cousins. And she reminded him he'd make tons of friends.
And when she came to Hogwarts he didn't abandon her, but rather introduced her to all his friends and kept an eye on her while she made her own. They were Housemates and soon were teammates. And before he knew it he was noticing how truly beautiful and truly wonderful she was. And how other boys were noticing too.
When she was old enough - although still too young by Teddy's overprotective standards, she flirted with boys occasionally, sometimes unknowingly. It wasn't until one day, when Teddy was trying to re-organize a play at practice that he snapped at her.
"Stop flirting with Bartlett and catch the Quaffle, Victoire."
He had rarely seen her so angry. But for the sake of his Captaincy she didn't blow up until after practice. He knew everything she said was true and he was ashamed of himself for snapping and embarrassing her. And himself.
He apologized that night in the common room, his eyes the dark brown they became when he was hiding something. Victoire noticed but kept quiet. She accepted his apology and everything went back to normal.
Except Teddy found himself watching her more and getting angry when boys - especially older boys - talked to her. She never blushed, but she rarely led them on. To them, she was only a pretty face with some Veela blood. But not to Teddy. To Teddy she was so much more.
One night in late November, after he watched her yet again ignore the advances of a handsome Ravenclaw Quidditch player, he decided to gather up his Gryffindor courage and tell her how he felt. He didn't know how she would react: repulsion? Horror at losing a best friend? Disbelief that he could have such strong feelings for a 15 year old girl? (She was nearly 16, he reminded himself. And he nearly 18).
She was studying, alone, in one of the plush chairs that Harry had always raved about when Teddy was younger, the fire slowly dying. His hair was a faint pink, the color it always got when he was nervous. He waved his wand, the fire roaring back to life and Victoire looked up at him, a wide smile on her beautiful, perfect face, her deep blue eyes wide with surprise. "Thanks," she said, patting the seat next to her. "Where were you?"
He shrugged, "Around," he sat next to her, leaving some space between them. He looked up when she had closed her book and turned to face him, one leg draped over the edge of the couch.
"What's wrong? Your hair's pink," she laughed quietly when it turned a darker shade of bubblegum pink in embarrassment and nerves. "Sometimes you're too easy to read."
"Only for you," he said quietly, willing her eyes to meet his, hoping it would be easier that way.
Her eyes met his and held his gaze, "Teddy?" she breathed, slightly unsure of what was going on.
"Victoire," he began softly. "I, well, just hear me out first, yea? I don't want you to run away mortified or laugh at my face until I've finished." He watched her nod slowly, her eyes roaming over his face, trying to figure out what he was trying to say before he did. "I, well, I know you're only 15, but Godric. Victoire, I can't help but get so jealous when other boys flirt with you. You're only 15 and I know we grew up together, but I think I'm falling for you, Victoire and -"
She pressed her perfect, soft, pink lips to his, effectively ending his speech. He remained still for a moment, shocked, before he returned the kiss with equal fervor, pressing his body towards hers, relishing in her breathy sigh. "Teddy," she whispered as she pulled away slightly, touching his face gently. "I've been hoping you'd notice me like this for years," she giggled when he kissed her again. "I don't care that I'm only 15 and you only 17, or that we've known each other forever," she murmured against his lips. "That makes it easier." She paused and looked up, laughing at his turquoise hair that now had streaks of silvery-blonde hair, "You've got Delacour-colored streaks in your hair, Teddy."
He grinned, kissing her again, "Victoire streaks, you mean."
They took their relationship slowly and kept it a secret, afraid of what their cousins would say and how quick their very large family would find out. Victoire could not convince him, no matter how many times she tried to tell him, that everyone would be fine with it, would be overly excited; he was still worried they would “shun” him or kick him out for snogging their "too young" daughter. They would wait until everyone left the Gryffindor common room before snogging, sitting in front of the fire and talking. Neither had ever been so happy.
It was harder to sneak around during the holidays however because there was always a cousin or an aunt or uncle or surrogate brother around every corner; they were nearly always together, and occasionally Teddy would sneakily take her hand or caress her arm. But neither of them wanted to be caught unsuspectingly by one of their family members.
Teddy hadn’t meant to fall so quickly in love with her; he knew he would leave her alone at Hogwarts the next two years and he had planned on traveling, on getting a job somewhere outside of England to get away, briefly, from his very large and very famous family. He wanted to do things on his own, to better understand the parents that he had never met without the stories of his uncles, grandparents, and Harry. He would tell her they should "slow things down", that she should be able to date other people if she wanted to while he was gone, but she vehemently refused. It was only Teddy she wanted and she wanted him to know that. She wanted everyone to know that.
But he knew that making their relationship known right before he left her for two years would only make his family angry. He didn't want to break up with her and he grew angry at the thought of her with other people, but he wanted what was best for her.
"You're what's best for me, Teddy. You don't just see a pretty face when you see me."
"I do see that pretty face though, love."
She hit his arm, "You know what I mean, Edward Remus Lupin."
She understood his misgivings on telling their family: he was afraid if they broke up the entire family would side with her and kick him out. But she knew this wasn't true: she had no intention of breaking up with Teddy and she knew their family could never hate him. He was a part of that family and Uncle Harry would die before kicking Teddy out.
She understood his desire to get away from everything as well. He couldn't yet control how his emotions affected his Metamorphmagus and it drew constant attention to him. And nearly everyone in the Wizarding world knew who he was: the Orphan Boy of the Old Werewolf and the Young Metamorphmagus Auror who was raised by his Grandmother, of the Ancient House of Black, and The-Boy-Who-Lived-Twice Harry Potter. Even his potential finances and inheritance were known to nearly everyone (it was reported that he was to inherit a great sum from his grandmother because he and the Malfoys were the only remaining members of the Black family, and that Harry had put nearly all of Sirius' inheritance in a special vault just for him). People wrongly pitied him and expected "great things" from him while there was the occasional werewolf-insult thrown about. She knew that the normally calm Teddy could become vengeful and angry when someone insulted his parents, especially his father.
Victoire was too often compared to her mother, too often complimented on her good looks and charming Veela-infused demeanor that her intelligence and opinions were overlooked and her occasional sharp tongue raised too many eyebrows. But Teddy understood her. He saw the real Victoire, knew she wasn't a miniature of her mother, knew that she was as adventurous as her father. He knew – and loved – the real Victoire.
But she knew it scared him, falling in love with her. It didn't scare her: she knew what she was getting in to, knew that Teddy was the only one she could ever love. Would ever love. When they kissed, she knew that no one else's kisses would be as good, as sweet, as passionate. And she didn't want to try.
She needed Teddy to know this, know how she felt. She knew she needed to be the one who said 'I love you' first if only because Teddy was too scared of hurting her, of "ruining" her chances at another boyfriend while he was gone.
And that was why they were there under the nearly-full moon one night the beginning of May, and Victoire was telling Teddy she loved him. And he was kissing her. And he was telling her he loved her too, against his better judgment, he was being selfish. He wanted her for himself. For always.
That was how they got here, a month later, saying these tender goodbyes. Teddy hadn't meant to fall in love with the little girl he had grown up with, but he had.
He was madly in love with Victoire Weasley. And no one else knew it.