A/N: This fic is a follow-up/sequel to What Happens in Patagonia by MandyinKC. Story cover is by Moony247 (moony247. deviantart art/ teddy-remus-189722402). Quotes that are not dialogue are from Rita's actual article, which I do not own, along with the characters and most of the history in this fic. I have no idea how to cite an internet article written under a penname for a fictional newspaper on a password-protected website and am quite happy to remain ignorant, since I haven't needed a current copy of the APA's Publication Manual for ten years now. Let's just say JKR wrote "Dumbledore's Army Reunites at Quidditch World Cup Final" as Rita Skeeter, and you can find it on Pottermore :)
Thanks to Mandy for the inspiration and the beta :)
Christmas holidays 2014
The Potter Residence
"Hmm?" Harry looked at his godson over the top of three boxes of ornaments. The kids had wanted to wait for Teddy before putting up the tree, and judging by his early arrival this morning, his first full day home from Hogwarts, Teddy was excited to help. They were working in front of the curved windows at floor level, separating the Christmas decorations from everything else in the cluttered attic.
"How did you and Ginny get together?" Teddy shoved a box of ribbon and bows towards the stairs.
Harry lowered his boxes beside it, raising a cloud of dust. After the events of last summer and seeing the tension between Teddy and Victoire yesterday, Harry had wondered if Teddy might initiate a conversation about girls this week. "You've heard that story."
"You came back to Gryffindor Tower after detention and found out you'd won the Quidditch Cup, and she ran up to you and you kissed her," Teddy said impatiently, setting aside a box labeled Lily 2008-10. "But there has to be more to it than that."
"I don't know. How did you know she liked you?"
Harry sat down on an old Hogwarts trunk and summoned a stack of boxes to sort. "I didn't, not for certain. But she had just broken up with her boyfriend a few weeks before and didn't seem upset by it. She was friendly and … I suppose you could say flirty, though nothing like she was after we got together."
Teddy grimaced at the mention of a flirty Ginny but pressed on. "Didn't she have a crush on you when she was little?"
Harry smiled, remembering a cute redhead in pigtails. "She did. The first summer I stayed at the Burrow, she couldn't even talk in front of me. Blushed bright red and knocked over whatever was nearby. I felt bad for her because Ron and the twins teased her something awful."
"But after a while she stopped following you around?"
"Mmm, somewhere around fifth year, maybe?" An entire box of paper snowflakes, courtesy of his daughter. With a sigh, Harry directed it towards the stack going downstairs.
"Were you friends? Like Ron and Hermione?"
"Not like Ron and Hermione, but yes. We didn't have any lessons together, and Ginny had her own group of friends at school. I mostly saw her at Quidditch practice."
An advantage Teddy didn't have. He and Victoire were both Gryffindors, but as far as Harry knew, they had no extracurriculars in common.
Teddy found two boxes of wrapping paper and began combining them by sliding the smaller rolls inside the bigger ones. He always fidgeted when he wanted to talk but didn't know what to say, a habit that usually drove Harry crazy. He'd never been one for beating around the bush and decided to try to speed things up a bit.
"I noticed you didn't spend very much time with Victoire yesterday," he said as innocently as he could.
"She was with Dom and Molly," Teddy muttered, shoving a thin tube into the box hard enough for it to bounce up a bit.
"How was it at Hogwarts after Rita's article?"
As part of her "coverage" of the Quidditch World Cup in July, Rita Skeeter had written an article about Dumbledore's Army. She had not limited her gossip to the adults, accusing Teddy and Victoire of inventing "a method of breathing through their ears." Both teenagers had been understandably upset at the blatant lie, but sensitive Victoire had taken the public announcement of her private crush very hard.
Teddy scowled. "We spent about the first two weeks trying to deny it, but that just seemed to stir the cauldron, so we decided to let it alone."
"How did that work?" Harry opened another unlabeled box, found Quidditch equipment, and sent it back to the corner. Maybe after Christmas he'd get Teddy to help him sort and label everything. Ten years of "sending it back to the corner" had made the attic one hell of a mess.
"Eh." Teddy glanced at him out of the corner of his eye, then stomped the empty box flat without magic. "We stayed out of each others' way, and the gossip died down eventually. But Vic still drew a lot of attention anyway."
Teddy shrugged. "She's a pretty girl."
With her mother's coloring and a blend of both her parents' classic bone structure, Victoire was quite a bit more than pretty. Harry walked over to the stairs and cast a nonverbal homenum revelio. Four people, two floors below them, all in the sitting room. Excellent. Ginny wouldn't notice anything missing from the kitchen until it was too late.
"The other boys are noticing, huh?"
Teddy nodded, but his flat expression gave nothing away. He was getting better with Metamorphasing (or not) under stress.
No response. Harry summoned two butterbeers and the leftover roast Molly sent home with them yesterday, then closed the door at the bottom of the stairs.
"Sit down, Teddy," he said, drawing up Ginny's trunk beside his own and setting a butterbeer on the corner. "Tell me what's going on."
Teddy took a long drink before answering. "I think … I think I might fancy her. And I thought since you don't have any family either, except for Ginny's, maybe you could help me figure out what to do. Because—" He took a deep breath. "Because I know I can't screw this up. Not for me, and not for Vic."
Harry sliced off a section of beef with his wand and passed it to his godson before cutting some for himself. "Last time we talked about Victoire, you said she was just a kid."
"She's fourteen!" Teddy protested.
"She was fourteen then, too."
"Yeah, well, maybe I hadn't really looked at her in a while."
Teddy made a meal out of finishing his roast. Harry waited, enjoying his mother-in-law's cooking even when stone cold.
"She's beautiful," Teddy whispered. "She's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. She's smart and kind and patient and I—" He swallowed. "I don't think I can go back to thinking of her as a cousin."
Harry had been afraid of that. He understood Teddy's attraction to his niece, but he also remembered the pressure of your girlfriend's family being your only family, the risk that a problem in one relationship would ruin the other. He didn't think either Teddy or Victoire was ready to handle that.
"She's young, Teddy."
"Ginny was only a year older!"
"Ginny was nearly sixteen," Harry corrected. "With the experience of two long-term relationships. She had an idea what she liked and wanted, and she wasn't afraid to put me in my place. Has Vic ever even been to Hogsmeade with a boy?"
"She went with some Ravenclaw prat last weekend," Teddy said, kicking a stray bell. Despite the perfect aim that sent it jingling all the way down the stairs, his fist clenched.
"That was the first time, wasn't it?"
"She's young, Ted. She's also shy and sensitive and she likes you. In short, Vic's a bit too naive right now to be with a bloke who's two years older than she is. I think you've been around enough to know what I mean."
Rita had exaggerated, but her description of Teddy as a "wild boy" was not entirely unfounded.
"It's not like that."
"It's a little bit like that," Harry countered.
Teddy dropped his head at Harry's knowing look and said nothing.
"You and Victoire have been friends your whole lives. That's not something to jeopardize on a whim. Push too hard, or too early, and not only will you not be dating her, you could ruin your friendship for good."
"I don't want that."
"Then wait a while. Give her some room to grow up. Give yourself some time to make sure this isn't a passing fancy or a jealous streak because you're not the only boy she pays attention to anymore. If your feelings are true, they'll still be there when she's ready."
Teddy finished off his butterbeer. "How long will that be, do you think?"
Harry fought to keep his face straight. "I don't know. Why don't you ask Bill?"
Teddy collapsed backwards with a groan as Harry laughed.