"Are you allowed to talk?" he asked the security wizard who stood guard at the entrance to the tents.
"Yes," replied the wizard, not turning his head to look at Teddy.
"Well, you're doing far better at looking like a muggle than some of the others," he continued.
The security guard smiled, and the bristles of his handlebar mustache ruffled a bit. "You see that fellow over there? In the nightgown?" He nodded his head ever so slightly in the direction an old man gathering water near the Salem Witches Institute tents. "He's had a ministry agent trying to convince him to wear pants for three days now. Said he's worn it to six World Cups and hasn't ever had a muggle look at him funny."
"Bloody Hell," said Teddy, laughing, and though the wizard still hadn't moved, Teddy could hear a low chuckle rolling through his throat. "Maybe not a muggle… Do you mind?" he asked, raising a cigarette to his lips. "My aunt won't let me do it in the tent."
The security wizard shook his head, and Teddy brought a lighter to the end of his cigarette.
"Oi, you see that girl there?" he asked. She was walking through an extensive row of tents; a long sheet of pale blonde hair fell nearly to her waist and swung behind her as she moved. "How old do you think she is?"
The security wizard moved his head minutely. "'Bout sixteen, maybe."
He took a long drag on his cigarette. "Perfect… Reckon she's part veela, by the looks of her," Teddy said, his mouth spreading into a wolfish grin.
"Well, try to contain yourself," the guard teased. "It appears she's coming this way."
She grew prettier the closer she got to them, tall and graceful, her lips full and pouting. When she stopped to speak to the check-in witch just a bit ahead of them, Teddy's grin spread wider.
"Hello there, love," he said, and was pleased when she smiled at him and coyly ran her fingers through her hair.
The check-in witch handed her a map of the tents, and the girl made her way to them.
"You staying here?" he asked her, even more impressed with her up close. Her eyes were a deep blue, and her pale skin was smooth and unblemished.
She looked confused for a moment as she regarded him, and he wondered if she misunderstood him. But her lips—which he rather enjoyed looking at—soon parted to reveal a row of little white teeth as she smiled at him. "Oui," she replied.
"All by your lonesome?" he asked, leaning closer to her.
"No, my family iz coming shortly," she said, although he hardly listened. He much preferred to watch the way her mouth curved around her words. "My brozer became distracted wiz ze souvenir carts along ze way."
"I've got to say, love," he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. "You look awfully familiar. Have we been out somewhere before?"
Gently, she plucked the cigarette from his mouth and took a drag off it herself, watching him as she released the smoke.
She placed the cigarette back between his lips, and her fingers brushed the sensitive skin. Fuck me, he thought.
"I zink I'd remember a boy wiz blue 'air," she said, and reached up to twirl her finger around a turquoise lock.
"Actually, it's not always blue," he said, and turned the bit of hair around her finger a bright, bubblegum pink.
"Impressionnant," she said with a laugh.
"You like that?" he asked, his arm finding its way to her waist. "You could see more if you let me show you around."
"She doesn't need to be shown around," huffed the check-in witch, clearly exasperated with him. "The Potter/Weasley tent is only just there."
"Weasley?" he asked, immediately dropping his arm from her side. "Weasley? Hold on—"
"Hello Teddy," said Victoire in her usual accent, her eyes bright with laughter.
She walked past him, through the guarded tent entrance, leaving him behind to gape at her.
"Are you related to her?" asked the security wizard.
"No," exclaimed Teddy. "Not—I mean, we're a part of the same family, but we're not—oh, fuck all."
He followed her toward the tents, and as he walked behind her, he watched her hair flash in the sunlight. It skirted her waist, nearly reached her arse—my, my, her arse—no, fuck, don't look at her arse… It is gorgeous, though, looks like—no, stop.
"Why would you bloody do that?" he asked as he caught up to her.
"Serves you right," she said, smiling. "S'not my fault you didn't recognize me."
"Well, you look different, real different," he said defensively, shoving his fists into his pockets.
"Tends to happen when you don't see a person for a few months," she said. "If you'd spent less time on that flying motorbike this summer, and come 'round to the Burrow more often, you might've noticed."
"I'm not going to apologize for spending the summer on my motorbike, for Merlin's sake. Even if it means I—"
She stopped abruptly and Teddy nearly fell into her—he had been so fixed on her that he hadn't noticed they'd reached the tent. She reached out to steady him, catching his arm.
She wrapped hers around his shoulder once he'd righted himself. "You like that?" she asked, mimicking him. "You could see more if you let me show you around. That ever worked out for you?"
"Oh, yeah. Loads—especially on my motorbike," he said cheekily. "You'll see."
Her lips parted as she smiled; her eyes bright and daring. "I'm sure," she said, brushing past him as she entered the tent.
He could still feel it even after she'd gone—the warmth of her, the shape of her. He ran a hand through his hair, scratching at the back of his head. "Fuck me," he muttered, smiling wickedly.
"What did you just say?" Ginny asked sternly as she came through the flap of the tent.
"What? Uh, nothing. Oh look, Bill's here," he said quickly before rushing inside.
"Oh no," Bill said over the music, his shoulders slouching.
"What?" George practically shouted, and Teddy could hardly blame him.
There was quite the reunion going on. If wasn't often that all twenty Weasleys, five Potters, a Lupin (although, honestly, he was an honorary Potter), Lovegood, Scamander, and two Longbottoms got together, let alone in a tent at the World Cup. And to add to the merriment, Harry had invited the Bulgarian Quidditch team over as well—much to Ron's chagrin. Which, altogether, made for quite the raucous party.
"Can you see Victoire?" Bill asked.
"Is she wearing your old earing?" asked Ginny.
George laughed fully. "Looks like you've got your work cut out with that one, mate." He clapped his hand on Bill's back before adding, "Although that Bulgarian bloke seems happy to help."
Teddy looked over and saw Victoire leaning against the kitchen support beam wearing rather tight trousers and a fang dangling from her ear. Her blonde hair brushed over her bare shoulders, and he thought of his lips doing the same.
Apparently, so did the Bulgarian Chaser, who leaned in to whisper in her ear, and lingered a little too long for Teddy's liking.
"Oi, you" Ron called, cupping his hands around his mouth. "You there—Levski—GET. OFF. MY. NIECE."
Levski turned around and looked in their general direction, scanning the crowd for who might've yelled. Clearly not concerned by the great group of gingers watching him from across the room, he turned his attention back to Victoire.
Krum briefly interrupted his conversation with Hermione and Fleur to say in his gruff voice, "He doesn't understand English so well. Just a few words." His eyes narrowed as he took a closer look at him teammate. "How old is that girl?"
"Fourteen," Bill responded tersely.
Krum chuckled. "Oh, you might want to do more than yell at him then. Levski likes blondes."
Teddy couldn't say he blamed the Bulgarian player. He'd been watching her all afternoon, remembering how she felt up against him, the curve of her waist… When he heard her laughter, he knew she'd caught him staring. For a moment he thought to look away, embarrassed—that is, until she winked at him.
"I'll take care of it," Teddy said and started pushing his way through the crowd.
"Teddy," Fred shouted, cutting across Teddy's path with Louis and James at his heel, hardly slowing down long enough to talk. In their arms, they each barely managed to carry several packages of fireworks. "We found Wildfire Whiz-bangs in Dad's trunk. We're going to go set them off in the garden. Want to come?"
"Yeah," said Teddy, eyeing the explosives. "Be there in just a minute… Don't light anything without me."
"Do… you… dance?" he heard Levski ask, leering over Victoire, his arm just above her shoulder.
She laughed lightly. "I'm capable of it, yeah."
"Do you dance like veela?"
"Gunna stop you right there," Teddy said, pushing himself in between Levski and Victoire.
"Hello," said Victoire, her eyes brightening.
"Hi," he said, thoroughly enjoying the nearness of her. He had to remind himself that her father and several uncles were watching. "Some of the little ones have found fireworks—want to come see?"
"Yeah," she said, her voice a low hum. "But first…" she looked over his shoulder to her father, ensuring he wasn't looking, and grabbed Teddy's hand. "Follow me."
She pulled him into the kitchen behind her. He could feel her quickening pulse through her palm.
"Look," she said, a spark in her eye. "The Bulgarian showed me where they keep the Firewhiskey."
Teddy smirked wildly, then attempted to restrain himself. "Victoire… aren't you a little young?"
But she had already poured herself some—quite a lot, actually—before looking up at him. "You want some, yeah?"
I want you, he thought, watching the way the fang that dangled from her ear pulled gently at the thin skin of her neck.
"Yeah," he said, his voice low. "'Course."
She handed him a plastic cup, then looked around the corner. "I think we're clear," she said, grabbing his hand again, and ducked out the back.
"Finally," shouted Fred as they emerged out into the stretch of grass behind the tent. He held a Catherine wheel whiz-bang above his head, while Louis attempted to light the wick with a match.
"Louis," Victoire called, "le moment tomber!"
"No," yelled Louis. "I'll be fine!"
"Let me do it," he said, handing his cup to Victoire. "I'll show you how to do it right."
Teddy took the firework from Fred. "First, you do not—ever—hold them right above your head. It'll set you on fire and then you'll look like this." Slowly, his hair fell away down the center of his scalp, and his skin took on that excruciating appearance of a third degree burn.
"Wicked," whispered Fred.
"No, not wicked. Painful—alright, maybe a little wicked," said Teddy as his hair returned to its typical turquoise. "There's a stand, just there. So all you have to do is pull the chord, and—"
The Catherine wheel shot into the air above them, spitting out sparks the same color as the sun setting behind it. Spinning, twirling and turning, it slowly began to expand.
"Blood hell," breathed James, "do you think it'll explo—"
He was answered rather promptly with a great BOOM and a shower of little glimmering flames.
"I want to set off the dragon next!" he shouted, running toward their pile.
"So," Teddy said, returning to Victoire. "Can you really do the veela dance?"
She took a sip of her Firewhiskey and nodded. "A little…" she smiled shyly. "It's not as strong as it would be if were full veela."
"Merlin's beard," he said. "I'd hope not—wouldn't be able to take you anywhere." A wicked grin stretched wide across his face. "You ever done it for anyone before?"
She took a large gulp from her cup. "Yeah but it was an accident," she said, biting at the edge of her lip. "Do you—do you remember after Gryffindor won the final Quidditch match at the end of last year?"
"How could I forget?" he said, his voice a bit smug. "Best catch of my life—so far."
"Do you remember, when we were celebrating in the Common Room… when Robbie Parker fell through the portrait hole?"
"No," he gasped, his eyes widening. "No, that was—" he roared with laughter. "He nearly broke his arm! Well, fuck all—now you've got to show me."
A sly smile lit her face. "I could do that," she said.
His laughter faltered a little in surprise. He hadn't been serious.
"Really?" he asked quietly.
Her eyes glittered when she spoke. "We'll have to find somewhere a bit darker… but I think you'll stand up better than Robbie."
Teddy wasted no time hooking an arm around her waist and pulling her into the nearest dark corner between the tents. He glanced behind him, and saw Fred, James, and Louis still enraptured with the fireworks.
"You sure?" she asked once they were well hidden.
He nodded, biting at his lower lip. "Yeah," he said, and no sooner did his mind go entirely, blissfully blank.
He could've sworn he heard music, although he knew, vaguely, that there wasn't any. She moved languidly: her hips rolling from one side to the other, her arms writhing above her, fingers playing at hair that moved like silk. The last bit of lingering sunlight outlined her form, bringing to sharp clarity the curve where her narrow waist swelled into hips, the shape of her breasts. He could not remember when she had begun or if she would ever end—until she did.
He dimly registered an unusual warmth on his cheek, and realized, slowly, that it was her hand.
"Teddy," she cooed. "You alright? I stopped about a minute ago."
"Yeah," he breathed, wrapping his hand around her wrist.
A coy smile played at her lips. "Good."
She leaned closer; he could sense the heat of her skin. And then he felt her lips, soft and flush against his. She moved with a teasing fragility, applying only the gentlest of pressure. After no more than a moment, he couldn't stop himself from wanting more—from biting greedily at her bottom lip, from lowering a hand to her waist, tangling another in her hair. He felt her smile into his a kiss, and a high sigh of satisfaction reach her lips.
"Wait," he said, unclear why he withdrew from her. Oh, right. "I'm a bit—nearly a good deal—older than you."
"I know," she hummed, and returned to his lips. "I like it."
"But your parents," he managed between kisses.
"Mum won't care," she whispered with a laugh.
"And your Dad?"
She moved to the thin skin of his neck, biting gently just beneath his ear to the response of a low grunt from Teddy.
"He doesn't have to know," she whispered, her breath stirring the nerves just under his skin.
She leaned into his hips, and nearly giggled at the groan she earned in turn.
"Besides," she teased. "I don't think you could stop if you tried."
Slowly, he ran his hand under shirt, reveling in the way her skin raised in response to his touch.
It was quite a feat to find a table large enough to fit all twenty-six of them—one that, apparently, proved to be impossible, as five tables of varying shape and size had been pushed up against each other in the space just off the kitchen.
"Gran, is that sausage?" asked Roxanne, her eyes not yet truly open as she shuffled toward the tables.
"And bacon and hashed potatoes and eggs," said Molly.
"Ooo, bacon," said Albus as he walked in behind her.
They had all awoken early in anticipation of the match, the adults finding their way to the kitchen far earlier than the children, who were just now filing in.
"Dominique," said Bill, as he tucked into the table, "Has your sister gotten up yet?"
"She's in the shower," Dominique replied between bites of toast. "A certain someone in the cot above her couldn't wait 'til breakfast and spilled his morning butterbeer on her."
"Hey," said Louis. "You don't know it was me!"
"Who else would be drinking butterbeer in your cot?" asked Dominique, clearly of the opinion that there was no greater git than her little brother.
"There could be a ghoul—"
"In a tent?"
"He and Hugo played Exploding Snaps all night and never once slept," said Rose, sounding very much like her mother, although she had inherited her father's bright red hair. "It's no wonder they were drinking butterbeer to stay awake."
"Bullocks," muttered Ginny as she opened the morning paper, then quickly looked up at her children. "Do not repeat that."
"What's wrong?" asked Molly.
"They printed the gossip column on the front page," she said, discarding it to the table with a look of disgust.
"Dumbledore's Army Reunites at the Quidditch World Cup Final," read Hermione, her own paper in hand. "Isn't that a conflict of interest—to print an article about their own reporter?"
"They relax the rules on Rita, since she's just a gossip columnist," said Ginny with a roll of her eyes.
"That's entirely unethical," responded Hermione indignantly. "Especially if they're going to place it on the front page."
"So long as the Prophet's the most read paper in Britain, it's not likely to change," said Arthur. "Kingsley sure tried."
"What's snogging?" asked Fred.
"S'What we kept catching your Aunt Ginny and Uncle Harry doing before they were married," George said with a devilish grin.
"And a little after they were married too," added Bill, smirking.
In the same moment, Molly asked, "Where did you hear that?"
"S'In the paper, Gran" said Fred, reading from the cast-off first page. "Teddy, what does it mean?"
Teddy glanced over to Harry, who didn't seem too bothered by the conversation to start with. Harry had long been used to Rita Skeeter's articles stirring trouble, and generally made the effort to ignore them.
"Uh, to kiss…" he said, "with a lot of feeling."
"Like with tongue?" asked Fred, a devious thought clearly forming in his eyes.
"Er… yeah, sometimes," said Teddy. "Why are you asking me?"
"'Cos it mentions you."
"What? Let me see," said James, nearly knocking his brother's plate of bacon off the table as he grabbed the paper. His eyes brightened with a troublemaking glee as he began to read, "'No doubt Potter will be distressed to know that his sixteen-year-old godson Teddy Lupin—a lanky half-werewolf—"
"Lycanthropy is not genetic," sighed Hermione. "It is transferred from one infected person to the next through a bite, as it clearly states in Micine's Lycanthropy and Legend."
"With bright blue hair," continued James, "has been behaving in a way unbefitting of wizarding royalty since arriving on the VIP campsite. It might be asking too much that the always-busy Potter keep a tighter rein—Merlin, she sounds like a bint—"
"James," Harry quickly cautioned, although it was clear to James that his father and Uncle Ron undoubtedly enjoyed his comment more than they hoped to let on.
"—on this wild boy, who was entrusted to his care by his dying parents, but one shudders to think what will become of Master Lupin without urgent intervention. Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Bill Weasley might like to know that their beautiful, blonde daughter Victoire seems to be attracted to any dark corner where Master Lupin happens to be lurking. The good news is both of them seem to have invented a method of breathing through their ears—"
"Can you really do that?" asked Louis with great interest.
"Course not," said Teddy, a pink flush rising at his neck. "That's total rubbish."
"Hang on," said James. "Let me finish. 'I can think of no other reason how they have survived such prolonged periods of what, in my young day, was called 'snogging.'"
Fleur looked up from her strawberries and oatmeal to see a faint red hue tingeing the cheeks of her normally cool-mannered husband.
She laughed, and said, "I woz worse at 'er age."
"So you stuck your tongue in Victoire?" Fred asked, an expression of disgust and delight mingling on his face.
"No, of course not!" said Teddy quickly.
"Dominique," said Bill. "Please go get your sister."
"Why does she get to do it?" asked Louis.
"Did you stick anything else in her?" James asked mischievously.
"No!" said Teddy. "Merlin's beard, it's Rita Skeeter!"
"Not even a lip or—" James continued with unstoppable mirth.
"Just remember, little man," Teddy said, cutting over him, "this is your first year at Hogwarts, and I've got the Marauder's Map."
"What's the Marauder's Map?" asked James quickly, turning to his father.
"Keep talking and you may never know," said Teddy.
"Is that why we kept finding your pants in the Hogsmeade shop?" George asked.
When Teddy didn't answer, only smirked proudly, George grinned. "Bravo. Knew it'd be right in your hands."
"What is the Marauder's Map?" James nearly yelled, but wasn't heard over an outburst from the sleeping tent.
"For fuck's sake, Dominique, I'm not going to go out there starkers!" Victoire could be heard shouting. "What is so important that I don't have time to put on knickers?"
Fuck, please don't come out here in your knickers, Teddy thought. It would be near impossible to convincingly say he hadn't snogged her—and would not like to continue snogging her—that, in fact, he would not prefer to be snogging her right at this moment—if he couldn't stop staring at her.
Fortunately, when Victoire stormed into the kitchen, Dominique snickering behind her, she was fully clothed. Although, as he watched the hem of her skirt skim the soft flesh of her lower thigh, it was near impossible not to think of his hand finding its way there.
"Somebody bloody well better have blown up the Quidditch pitch," she said to no one in particular. "Why did Dominique literally just drag me out of the shower?"
"You made the Prophet," said James instantaneously, making no effort to contain his merriment.
"What?" she asked, moving toward him. "Give it here."
"I don't think—" he began, attempting to hide it under the table.
But Victoire was too quick for him. Just as he had started to hide the paper, she reached over and yanked the hem of his shirt over his head and tucked it through his collar.
"I don't see anything but Rita Skeeter's bullocks," she said after grabbing it out of his hand.
"Look at the bottom," came James' muffled voice through his shirt, still every bit as pleased. "She said you and Teddy were snogging."
"What and you lot believed it?" she asked, tossing the paper down on the table.
"Not necessarily," said Bill, eyeing his eldest daughter. She was wearing his old dragon fang earing again. "But you did disappear for quite a while last night…"
"Was she not the same woman who called you a long-haired pillock?" Victoire asked her father, smoothly deflecting his observation.
Molly made quick work of handing her a plate of sausage and hashed potatoes and suddenly her voice was full of sweetness. "Oh, thank you, Nan."
"You're welcome, dear," said Molly warmly, who kept to herself that she saw nothing wrong with Teddy and Victoire finding an interest in each other, and thought it rather fitting that her son with an earing had a daughter just the same.
"Yes," Bill admitted as he watched his daughter take the seat next to Teddy. "So… you're saying you two—" he gestured with his knife and fork between the two of them—" didn't—"
Victoire new it was risky to sit next to Teddy while attempting to convince her father they hadn't snogged. But, she figured, for a bold lie she needed a bold move.
"Obviously not," she said coolly, tossing her silvery blonde hair over her shoulder. "Teddy's a part of the family."
"Alright then," Bill said. Although, truth be told, he was not entirely convinced.
As Teddy accompanied the Potters to the Quidditch pitch for the final match, it was not the endless stream of witches and wizards—some covered from head to toe in the colors of their team—hurrying with highly infectious excitement toward the stands, or the wizards at souvenir carts shouting their offers in every language—from English to Troll—that enthralled his attention, but the particular way Victoire moved through the crowd just a bit ahead of him. Most notably when she turned rather casually to him over her shoulder, winked, and bobbed into a dark corner just at the start of the stands.
He looked 'round quickly to see if anyone else had spotted her before ducking in himself.
"And the paper said I was the one lurking in dark corners," he said with a shake of his head, and was just able to manage the words before her lips reached his.
He brought his arms around her waist as she leaned against him, absorbing the heat of her. Her fingers trailed over his neck and into his hair, raising the skin that met her touch.
"Don't ever manage to get anything right, do they?" he asked, and at the sight of his self-satisfied smirk, she nipped at his bottom lip.
"I dunno," she said, laughter in her whisper, "I like the sound of a blue-haired wild boy."
"Do you now?" he asked, kissing just beneath her ear. "And you haven't even seen me on my motorbike."
She reached for his chin and brought his mouth to hers again. She was gentle as she kissed, her lips just barely sweeping over his, and he could not place precisely why this spurred him forward more than any other thing she'd done before. It was the briefest of contact, but his nerves jumped at hers, aching when she retreated. And soon his hand was descending from her waist to her hips to her arse.
She grew into his kiss, wrapped herself around him, and her mouth widened to a smile as she felt his reaction.
"Come on," she said, retreating, her mouth just a breath away. "Won't be much of a secret if they notice we're gone."
"I've been known to be quite a lazy secret keeper," he said, pulling her back to him.
She giggled as he kissed around her face. First one cheek, then the other, her forehead, the tip of her nose. He was thrilled by the look of her—her face flushed and her lips swollen. She peaked around his shoulder.
"A few of the little ones are still at that cart," she observed. "We could say we noticed they stopped."
He nodded against her shoulder, her fang earring scratching at his forehead.
"Teddy," she breathed as he kissed along her neck once more.
"Alright, now I'm satisfied," he said. "If we come 'round over there, it'll look like we came down the stairs."
But when they approached Louis, Albus, Roxanne, Fred and Hugo near the cart, Roxanne was not so easily fooled.
"Were you two snogging?" she asked, a miniature Viktor Krum marching around on her shoulder.
"You going to believe Rita Skeeter now too, eh?" asked Teddy.
"No," she said. "But you two just came from over there with a funny look on your face."
Shit, thought Teddy. She had always been clever.
"'Course we have," said Victoire, thinking fast. "That bloke over there's entirely starkers—just got the Brazilian flag painted over his wobbly bits. How else were we supposed to look?"
Roxanne narrowed her eyes, not entirely sure if she believed them, but said, "Alright," then spun around to look at the wizard. "Blimey, what happens when he sits?"
"Uh, why don't we just look in the other direction," said Teddy, turning her away. He'd already been made to tell her brother earlier what snogging meant, he didn't think George would be too thrilled if he had to explain the male anatomy to his daughter.
Trumpets began to blare with great fanfare from highest height of the pitch, and the last stragglers remaining began to storm the stairs.
"Alright, you lot," said Teddy, "you know what that means."
"Time to see Brazil crush Bulgaria!" Albus shouted, hands raised in the air.
"That's right!" called the naked man, and Victoire was glad they were far behind him in the crowd.
They wound their way up the stairs, the throng thinning the higher they climbed.
"Would it have been unreasonable to build a lift?" Hugo asked as they neared the top.
Victoire laughed. "We're nearly there, just one more row."
She wondered if the stadiums were always so posh. The seats, even at the ground, were lined with velvet, and the stairs were covered in a plush purple carpet. Once they reached the private rows, wizards at each level had offered them a gilded program, and when they found the private family box, they were each handed a pair of omnioculars.
She was mildly surprised to see a security wizard standing guard at the door, but she supposed it wasn't often that so many of those who had fought in the Battle of Hogwarts socialized publicly together.
"Where's Mum?" Albus asked, taking a seat between James and Lily, notably the only member of his family in Brazilian green.
"Over there in the press box," said James, pointing across the pitch. From their perch above the field, they could just see her red hair next to Rita's blonde.
"Betcha anything Ginny's going to hex Rita Skeeter by the end of the match," said Charlie, his omnioculars on his sister. "They're about to have a row already."
"What are they?" asked Fred, thoroughly impressed, as the mascots took the field.
"They, son," said George, his omnioculars narrowing on them along with Fred's, "are veela."
Victoire burst into laughter as every man in the box beside her father became more than a bit slack jawed at the sight of them. Bill, it seemed, had grown far too used to Fleur to be truly affected by them anymore. A bit of drool was starting to collect on her Uncle Ron's chin, and she noticed her Aunt Hermione give him a quick elbow to the ribs.
"I have seen you on your motorbike, you know," she said quietly to Teddy.
At her words he regained focus, and turned to her. "Really?" he asked.
"Yeah, you were at Diagon Alley with some girl."
"You sure it was me?"
"I zink I'd remember a boy wiz blue 'air," she teased.
"Is that what I owe to your current fondness for lurking in corners?" he asked, his hand brushing her knee, and she laughed.
"Although, if I had known that you… that you," he said, faltering. "Uh—"he looked from her face to her chest to her legs—"that, um, you had—"
"Yeah, imagine," she said, her voice a low hum. "We could've been doing this all summer."
His eyes widened minutely, he had not expected her to be so direct. Then, he smiled broadly. "Well, there's still a week 'til the start of term."
"Look at them," shouted Lily in delight when the Curupiras took the field. They tumbled forward from a large pyramid, stealing hats from the crowd nearby before launching one another into the air yet again.
Bill looked over to his daughter and noticed a familiar look in her eye. It reminded him of her mother, of time spent giving her English lessons while they were still dating. She'd always have that look, right before she—oh, no.
"Victoire, trade seats with me," he said, quickly rising to his feet.
"Why?" she asked, readily defiant. "Is it because of what Rita Skeeter wrote?"
"Maybe," he said, inching toward them. Though the way they sat together hardly worked to dispel Rita's article—each bent toward the other, Teddy with his hand nearly on her bare knee, Victoire with her ankle linked around his.
"So I can't sit next to Teddy because some binty old slag—"
"Victoire," he said, caution flashing across his scarred face. "You'll still be sitting near him, I'll just be in between you. It's alright with Teddy, isn't it?"
Teddy's face went blank, and his hair started to turn pink at the roots. "Uh, yeah—um, yes, yes, it is."
Victoire sunk sulkily into her new seat, propping her feet on the railing before them, her skirt rising slightly up her thigh. Teddy pretended not to notice.
"What N.E.W.T.s are you taking?" she asked him.
"Victoire, you can ask him what classes he's taking later," said Bill. "Do you see the players? They're about to kick off."
"Yeah, I see them," she said, casting a cursory glance toward the pitch.
"Yes!" said Neville, jumping to his feet as the players rose in the air. "Do you see Krum? He's already looking for the snitch."
"Potions, Transfiguration, Defense Against the Dark Arts," said Teddy. "But I'm thinking of dropping Herbology, it's getting a bit boring—"
"Herbology isn't boring," said Victoire, now sitting up.
"Here, here," cheered Neville. "Remind me to award you ten point when we return to Hogwarts, Victoire."
"See," she said, smiling. "And you can't possibly hope to master a potion without a solid foundation in Herbology." She was leaning over her father's armrest now as she spoke to Teddy. "If you don't fully understand the properties of your ingredients, you might as well be boiling water."
Teddy chuckled. "Alright, maybe I'll reconsider."
"You really ought to," she said, her enthusiasm unwavering. "Plus, if you ask nicely, Professor Longbottom will let you have a go at the Venomous Tentacula."
Nearly forty minutes passed before either one even so much as glanced at the pitch. And when they did it was only due to Gonçalo Flores flying so close to their box that Albus, hardly more than a green streak of exhilaration, had rushed forward to cheer him on, nearly tumbling over the railing. But when they saw Ron reach forward and pull him back by his collar, their attention returned to each other. Bill sat between them, wondering if it was having a greater affect on him than his daughter. Actually, as he looked between the two of them, he was certain it was.
It had started shortly before the family had visited Fleur's parents in France in the early summer—the boys. Men too, he noticed, were paying attention to her in ways that seemed excessive. When Fleur's father saw him redden and nearly stun a boy that had begun to follow her—a dazed look in his eye—while they were in a nearby village, he had laughed. Ah, he said, eet iz always 'ard to see others fall for ze charms of our daughters zat we found in zeir mozer. He saw that this had been no help to Bill, and continued, Youth! Love, pain, lust, eet iz all ze same at zeir age. But soon zey will discovair ze difference, and zen it will be eazier to be ze fazer.
He looked over to Fleur, who was watching the game with mild interest, nodding when Louis nearly roared at a well-struck bludger by the Bulgarians. She was not the least bit concerned over their daughter, and her reminders that she had been quite a bit wilder hardly helped.
"And the snitch has been sighted," bellowed Lee Jordan, Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.
"Oi, you two," said George, leaning over the seat back toward Victoire. "Why don't you take advantage of this dark corner and trade seats with me and Roxanne."
"We're watching," said Victoire, although her smile indicated she was quite thrilled at the idea of not sitting next to her father any longer.
"Yes, you're doing a fine job of watching each other," George said as he climbed into their row.
The campsite was ablaze with revelry, and the raucous cheers were only rivaled by those coming from James Potter within the family tent.
"And when he dove for the snitch!" shouted James, launching himself from a side table and onto the couch. "Did you see him? Did you see him?"
"Yes, James," said a tired Dominique, who has following Fred's lead and heading off to bed. "We saw him."
"And we saw him when you replayed it for us on your omnioculars," said Rose, who was leaving along with Dominique.
"And when you reenacted it for us after dinner," called Albus from the sleeping tent.
"It nearly looked like Silva was going to beat him to it, but never doubt Krum!" he said, rolling off the couch and onto the floor. "Never doubt Krum!"
He jumped back up to the side table and was mid-leap when a blast of blue light caught him and slowly returned his feet to the ground.
"Bed," said Ginny, and James knew well enough not to challenge the look in her eye.
She settled into the couch once she heard his footsteps receding, the evening Prophet in her hands.
"I think we ought to frame this," said Harry, who was reading his own copy. "You jinxing Rita is probably the best thing the Prophet will ever print."
"I do wish they hadn't printed our commentary simultaneously," she said. "But, we'll just cut that part out."
She waved her wand, and Rita Skeeter's bits were snipped away and fell to the floor.
"Although," George said with a troublemaking smirk, "some of her coverage of Teddy and Victoire was not entirely untruthful."
Harry shook his head, chuckling. "No, it wasn't."
"And do you think that's appropriate?" Bill asked, Fleur tucked under his arm, reading her French newspaper.
"Are you going to start writing reports on proper cauldron thickness now?" asked George. "You're beginning to sound like Percy."
"You wait until Roxanne turns fourteen," Bill said to George.
"Eez eet really a problem, mon cher?" Fleur asked, tilting her head to look at him.
She smiled, her eyes meeting his, and he softened. He began to play at the ends of her hair, awed by how lovely she was.
He beamed dreamily, wanting to give her what she wanted. "I suppose no—Fleur! No, she's too young!"
He looked around the room and saw only Harry not grinning or sniggering at him. "Harry, I'm sure, as Teddy's godfather, you'd agree this is a bit excessive for their age."
Smiling wryly, Harry said, "When I was fourteen Voldemort rigged an inter-scholarly competition to kidnap me, steal my blood, and use it to come back from the dead. I don't think mine is quite the childhood we should be using to decide what's normal. But, at sixteen, was I tucking off to dark places to snog my girlfriend?" He glanced over at Ginny, his smile broadening. "Yeah, s'much as I could."
"Don't think I haven't forgotten that," said Ron, his eyes brows raised.
Ginny's chucked a pillow at him. "We had to survive your Lavender phase. Never seen so much spit passed between two people in my life." But then her brow furrowed slightly as a thought dawned on her. "He has been fairly reckless this summer—"
"His Gran only died in April," said Harry. "S'long as he and his mates don't skip out on Hogwarts to kill a dark wizard, he's a far sight ahead of me."
They heard a great BOOM thunder not far from the tent, then another, and a third in quick succession.
"You think it's the Bulgarians?" asked Ron.
"Sounds like one of our whiz-bangs," said George, rising to his feet to draw open the tent flap.
As soon as the canvas parted, he began to roar with laughter.
"That's Rita's tent," said Ginny, recognizing the gaudy turrets that were currently threatened by fireworks at the perimeter of the guarded tents.
It only took one more before the tent itself was blown skyward, revealing Rita Skeeter sitting rather close on a loveseat to the Bulgarian coach, who appeared extremely alarmed at their sudden loss of roof.
Victoire and Teddy were now running with great speed toward their tent, stopping every few paces to double over with uproarious laughter.
"No," said Harry, now standing next to George. "You don't think they—"
But before he could finish, a giant whiz-bang in the shape of a W launched itself into the air, its orange and gold sparks glittering against the night sky. Victoire shot up, cheering at the letter, her hair flying out around her and her eyes bright with life. Teddy watched her, as thrilled by her as she was by the firework. He wrapped an arm around her waist, and she turned to him, still laughing and breathless from running. She brought her arms around his neck and rose onto her toes with such familiarity that Harry was sure this was not the first time they kissed.
"Not snogging, my arse," muttered Bill darkly.
Victoire twirled around, giggling as she broke away from his kiss, and spun him with her before running off toward the tent again, his hand in hers.
"Wait 'til we tell Fred and James," Harry heard her say.
"Best not to give them any ideas," he called in return. He'd prefer to keep his roof firmly attached to his home.
"Or, at least wait 'til they're at Hogwarts," said George. "Think it'd be a nice trip down memory lane for McGonagall."
Teddy's face paled at the sight of them, and he dropped Victoire's hand. He supposed there was no chance of lying now, no matter how lazy it may be.
"What," asked Bill, "is that?"
He gestured to the W still sparkling in the sky, and Victoire gave a non-committal shrug.
"'S'a firework," she said, ducking past her father and into the tent.
"Not snogging her, eh?" asked George with a wink before Teddy could follow her and Bill inside. "Expected you to be a bit slicker than that."
"Well, she was the one doing all the lurking," he said, grinning.
But his grin soon fell when he entered the tent.
"She invaded my privacy, so I invaded hers," Victoire said proudly, casting her silver-blonde hair off her shoulder.
Teddy watched as her fang earing moved in her hair, unraveling where he had tangled it when they kissed.
"It's not like it can't be righted," she continued, face to face with her father in the center of the room, his head nearly reaching the canvas top. "We only blew it off the pegs."
"That's not the point," said Bill, a red flush mingling with his scars. "Someone could've gotten hurt—you could've gotten hurt—the tent could've caught fire—"
"I cast a flame-retardant charm before—"
"You used magic out of school?" asked Bill, nearly shouting. "With all the ministry officials here?"
"They're not going to be able to track it," she said, her voice thick with defiance.
Even with the great big W hanging over the tent, she was so confident Teddy was inclined to believe her. He supposed he'd never seen her angry before. Oh, sure, he'd seen her pissed, and it wasn't unlikely that it was a result of his doing, but now, as he watched her argue—and rather impressively stand her ground—he swore her bones were sharper, her blue eyes fiercer, and her form move with a greater grace. This Victoire was new to him.
His eyes trailed her hair as it swung around her waist. He thought of how soft she was and nearly reached out to touch her.
"Not able to track it?" asked Bill, his voice thick with incredulous sarcasm. "You set off Weasley's Wizardng Whiz-bangs and the last one was a massive W!" His eyes shifted from Victoire to Teddy, then back again, and Teddy had been on the receiving end of that look enough to know what was coming. "You two—whatever you are or aren't doing—you're going to stop."
"What?" snapped Victoire, her eyes narrowing on her father. "That's bullocks, Teddy's family, I'm not going to stop talking to him—"
"Then you can treat each other like family," he said firmly. "But this—" he gestured between the two of them, noticing how Victoire leaned inconspicuously against Teddy—"stops now."
This was hardly the first time Teddy had been told by a father to stop snogging his daughter. And, he had found that this wasn't a terribly difficult threat to work around, especially once they were at Hogwarts—they'd just have to be more careful with which broom cupboard they chose—or, if it was a night when he had prefect duties, they were blissfully in the clear. But there was something about Bill that made him take the demand more seriously. Perhaps it was because, in many ways, they were family, and this was not some random bloke he'd likely never see again, but one of his many would-be uncles.
He retreated from Victoire, ready to respect Bill's request, and saw Bill's shoulder's relax.
But it seemed his daughter had other things in mind. Victoire laughed fully, entirely unconcerned by what Bill had just asked of them.
Fleur, who was considerably better at reading Victoire, stepped closer to her husband. She recognized the attitude her daughter possessed while tossing her hair to one side, the darkening look in her eyes, and the particular way her mouth rounded into a smirk. "Weelleam, perhaps you've been too strong—"
Fuck, thought Teddy. He'd forgotten that cutting streak of hers—although, it hardly did anything to discourage his attraction toward her, as he still found himself watching the way her chest rose and fell with each breath. If anything, he thought, and had to keep himself from leering, it attracted him further.
"No, Maman," Victoire said, laughter still on her lips. "Not at all."
But there was no mirth in her eyes, only daring, and it was clear to Bill he had not won this round. She looked between her parents, her eyes settling on her father. "I'm going to bed."
Teddy followed her out of the room, not wanting to linger. Briefly, he looked to Harry, who merely shrugged, and Teddy knew that his godfather was not at all bothered by his interest in Victoire.
As they passed into the next tent, she turned on her heels, his hair brushing his skin as she spun.
"You were awfully quiet in there," she whispered darkly.
In the dim light he could see the fierce expression had not yet left her eyes. "Um… yeah, your Dad was pretty clear—"
"And that's alright with you?" she asked, a little distance creeping in her voice.
Teddy scratched at the back of his head. He was pretty sure there wasn't any right way of answering that. "Well, he's your Dad, and he's sort of my family too, and you are a bit young."
"I'm fourteen," she said stubbornly.
"You only just turned fourteen in May," he said, stuffing his hands into his pockets.
"And you only turned sixteen in April."
"But that's still two years."
He looked down at his shoes, or pretended to, really—it was too dark for him to see them. But if he looked at her, he may admit that two years hardly seemed like any time at all when they were snogging… or dancing… or talking.
"Didn't seem like very much when I got here yesterday," she muttered.
He couldn't think of what to say to that, but she was already walking into the sleeping tent by the time he realized he ought to.