There's so many wars we fought,
There's so many things we're not,
But with what we have,
I promise you that,
We're marching on
Victoire looked around the crowded train station and tightened her grip around her bags. Behind her, Harry and Ginny were saying their goodbyes to James. It was his first year at Hogwarts, and he looked a bit nervous to be leaving home for the first time. Victoire stepped aside to give them their privacy. She sighed, wishing Teddy were there, but he was busy being a grown up. He was currently at the Ministry of Magic in the midst of his Auror training. Teddy had been doing extremely well in his training, according to Harry. He'd passed the Concealment and Disguise portion of his training easily due to his handy little metamorphmagus abilities.
Victoire smiled, remembering the summer she'd spent with Teddy.
Victoire rolled over and grinned. Teddy was fast asleep beside her. His dark purple hair was slowly shifting to blue. She giggled and pressed her lips against his.
"Good morning," Teddy replied with a yawn.
"Your hair's blue," Victoire told him with a small laugh.
Teddy cracked a small smile. "Is it sexy?"
Victoire kissed him. "Actually, it is."
"Really?" Teddy raised his eyebrows. "Blue hair turns you on?"
"No, you turn me on," she replied, trailing her lips down to his neck.
"Damn it, Weasley," Teddy moaned. "You're killing me."
Victoire grinned. "How much time before you have to go to work?" she asked.
Teddy checked his watch. "I've got some time."
"Excellent," she murmured before bringing her lips to his.
Victoire and Teddy had spent most of the summer playing house. On the first day of summer, Victoire had helped Teddy and Finn move in to Number 4 Grimmauld Place. Victoire had to admit the manor looked gorgeous with the renovations Andromeda and Ginny did.
She spent most nights there. Her parents thought that she was either spending most of her nights sleeping over at Sienna's or Grace's houses. Finn and Luke were still at Quidditch camp, so Victoire had hardly seen either of them since school ended. Skylar still hadn't returned from Madrid, but they'd been writing to each other all summer. It sounded like Skylar was loving Spain. Sienna spent most of her day in the studio with the band, and she'd kept herself busy writing songs and searching for a new apartment for herself. Victoire and Teddy occasionally popped into the studio to see Sienna and hear some of the new songs she'd written. Grace and Henry's new little sister had been born over the summer, and they had gone to see Heidi and the baby at the hospital. According to Grace, the baby looked exactly like Heidi. It looked nothing like a Rhodes. Since the hospital visit, Grace hadn't gone to see her dad or her new little sister again. Mrs. Rhodes—now officially Ms. Miller—had taken Grace and Henry on a vacation to France because they were both having such a hard time with the new baby. The trip hadn't done much to lift Grace's spirits. She returned angrier than ever with her father.
Victoire opened Teddy's drawers and peered inside. After a moment, she pulled out a pair of her shorts and a clean shirt. Teddy watched her with a smile on his face. "You might as well move in, you know," he told her as he pulled on his ministry robes.
Victoire glanced at him. "Why's that?"
"Because there's more of your crap in this house than mine," he replied.
Victoire looked around. He wasn't lying. Half his closet was full of her dresses and sandals. She had two of her own drawers in his room. His bathroom contained her own toothbrush and even shampoo and conditioner. Even the living room was strewn with her books and belongings. She blushed. "Sorry about that."
"Don't apologize," Teddy murmured as he wrapped his arms around her. "I like playing house with you. It gives us practice for when we're married."
Victoire blushed. "Don't be ridiculous."
"You're embarrassing me!"
Teddy laughed. "Because I think about marrying you one day?"
"Teddy, stop it! We're too young to be thinking about that."
He kissed her. "Alright. Alright."
Victoire pulled him back and kissed him deeply. "Are you sure you have to go to work today?" she asked breathlessly.
"Unfortunately," he muttered, staring at her longingly.
Victoire sighed and pulled away from him.
"What are your plans for today?" he asked her.
Victoire shrugged. "The usual. Gracie and I are going to bring Sienna and the band some lunch. They're showing us a new song today! Can you make it to the studio during your lunch break?" she asked hopefully.
Teddy sighed and shook his head. "I'm doing lunch with Harry and Ron today."
Victoire pouted. "But it's my last day before I leave for Hogwarts!"
"And I will meet you tonight at the party as soon as I get off work," Teddy promised her.
Victoire grimaced. "It's the last party of the summer. I'm gonna try to convince Gracie to go. She's been so weird and distant lately."
"Well, her dad had a baby with another woman this summer. I can't imagine she's thrilled."
"Good point," Victoire sighed. She stood up on her tiptoes and kissed him. "Have a good day at work."
"VICTOIRE WEASLEY!" Skylar shouted across the train station. She had climbed on top of her luggage and was waving her hands over her head to get Victoire's attention.
"SKYLAR!" Victoire squealed, sprinting toward her best friend.
The two girls embraced tightly, Victoire dropping her bags with a thud beside her.
"Where's Gracie?" Skylar asked eagerly, looking around.
Victoire took in Skylar's appearance. She looked tanner than usual and her hair was much longer than it was a few months ago. "Skye, you look great," Victoire said, amazed.
"Thanks," Skylar replied, beaming. "So, do you!"
"How was Madrid?" Victoire asked. "I wanna hear everything!"
Skylar smiled, thinking of her summer wearing designer gowns and strutting down runways. She'd met so many famous designers and models. Her dad had even made it out to one of her runway shows.
"Were there any cute Spanish boys?" Victoire asked slyly.
Skylar laughed. "Well, there were plenty of them."
"Anybody special?" she asked. "Did you meet your dream Italian man?"
Skylar gave her a small smile. "No Italians," she replied with a light laugh.
Victoire was about to ask for more details, but then she spotted Grace and waved her over. Skylar turned around and smiled at her small friend.
There had been somebody special, though he hadn't been Italian.
Alexander didn't look like the usual boys Skylar dated. Alexander…he looked like a man. He had a scruffy beard and muscular arms that Skylar always found herself staring at. She had met him in a small bar in Spain. Some of the models had taken her there after the show. They were seated in a booth in a dark corner. Several Spanish blokes had gathered around them like lovesick puppies. At the beginning of the summer, Skylar had been quite taken with the blokes from Spain. They were all handsome and had cute accents when they attempted to speak English; however, as the summer progressed, Skylar had quickly grown bored of all the boys fawning over her. They were all the same.
The other models loved the attention all the guys were giving them. Skylar, on the other hand, remained unimpressed. She excused herself and made her way to the bar.
"Algo para beber, senorita?" the bartender asked her politely.
Skylar sighed and thought about it. "You got any English brandy?"
"Godric, you are so British." Alexander was looking at her, shaking his head disapprovingly.
"And so are you," Skylar said, noting his perfect English. "And a wizard!"
Alexander turned to the bartender and said something in rapid Spanish. The bartender laughed and nodded before pouring a drink for Skylar.
"What is this?" Skylar asked, her eyebrows raised.
"Try it," Alexander advised. "It's on me."
Hesitating, Skylar peered down at the shot glass. She picked it up and gulped down the drink. Finn would've been proud. Skylar shuddered as the alcohol burned down her throat.
"I swear, the alcohol here is stronger than in Britain."
Alexander smiled. "So, what is a British witch doing in a muggle bar in Spain?"
Skylar motioned to her friends in the booth surrounded by all their admirers. "We just had a show. This bar was recommended to us." She narrowed her eyes at him. "And what are you doing here?"
Alexander shrugged. "Traveling. You're only young once, right?"
"So, why aren't you sitting with all your friends. You lot seem to have a lot of admirers." He chuckled at all the blokes giving Skylar googly eyes.
"You're going to laugh," Skylar said, blushing. "I'm homesick. I miss British food and having everybody understand what I'm saying when I speak English. And you know, the milk here comes in really odd packaging."
Alexander burst into laughter. "The milk?"
Skylar shrugged. "It's the little things that get to you."
"When are you heading back to Britain?" he asked.
"End of the summer," she replied.
"Me too. Hopefully." He clapped his hands together. "I've got a job interview."
"Job interview? Sounds super grown up and serious."
"Well, according to my parents, it's about time I got super grown up and serious." Alexander shrugged. "I don't mind, though. I've had my fun traveling and learning." He gazed at her before sticking out his hand. "I'm Alexander, by the way."
"Skylar," Skylar replied, shaking his hand. "Skylar Grey."
"So, Skylar Grey," Alexander said. "Can I buy you a drink?"
Skylar hesitated. "Okay. But only because I miss being able to carry on a conversation in English with somebody."
Not ten minutes later did Skylar find herself fiercely snogging Alexander in the bathroom.
"I didn't meet a cute Italian boy," Skylar replied finally. "I met somebody better."
"Yeah?" Grace said, exchanging a smirk with Victoire. "And did you break the poor bloke's heart?"
Skylar considered it. She and Alexander had spent the entire summer together. She'd never met anybody quite like him. He was more mature than any of the guys at Hogwarts. He was well-read and well-travelled. He knew what was going on in the world and he was unbelievably smart. Everyday he'd take her to some exotic place in Spain, whether it was a beautiful muggle vineyard or an ancient wizarding location. He'd take her to the most amazing bars and clubs, and she'd met the most fascinating people with him. He'd even introduced her to his mentor, an aging British man who was a brilliant researcher on the dark arts and defenses against it. At first, Skylar had been embarrassed to invite Alexander to one of her runway shows. She thought her modeling was trivial compared to all the research and work he was doing. But Alexander loved coming to her shows and cheering her on backstage. After every show, he'd take her to a new restaurant and rave about how much prettier she was than the other models. Skylar loved being with Alexander. Everyday was like an adventure with him.
She hadn't intended on falling for anybody that summer. At the beginning of the summer, she'd been doing a lot of heartbreaking. It was a different bloke every night and different clubs and bars every night. Alexander had gotten under her skin, though. He wasn't the typical bloke, following her around and drooling over her. He fascinated her.
Not to mention, Alexander was quite experienced in other departments as well. Skylar had never met somebody who kissed quite as well as him. Every time he kissed her or even touched her, she got tiny shivers going up her spine.
It was hard to leave him. She never even said goodbye. They both knew it was just a summer fling and neither talked about the future or leaving. Skylar never told him on which day she was going to be sent back home. She'd woken up the day before in her hotel room, lying beside him. Skylar had snuck out with all her belongings and left Spain without looking bad. Saying goodbye to him would've been too hard, and she hated to admit that. She had to keep reminding herself that he was just a summer fling. He didn't mean anything.
Standing beside Victoire and Grace made it easier. The summer had felt like a wonderful dream. But just that: a dream. Going back to school with her two best friends was real life, and it sounded pretty damn good to her.
"So, are you over the modeling thing yet?" Grace asked as they climbed onto the train.
Skylar looked at Grace and smiled. "Gracie, I'm just beginning." She beamed at her friends. "The designers really seemed to like me and my look. I've even been signed by an agency!"
"Wow," Victoire said, looking impressed. "You really are serious about this, aren't you?"
"Vic!" James opened the door to his compartment. He waved to her eagerly. "Can you believe it?"
Fred grinned. "We're finally going to Hogwarts!"
Victoire smiled at them, remembering her own excitement five years ago. "You guys already made friends?" she asked, raising her eyebrows at the gang of eleven-year-old blokes gathered in the compartment.
James glanced back. "Oh, yeah. We were talking about which house we wanted to get sorted into."
Fred nodded. "I think I'd jump off the Astronomy Tower if I got sorted into Slytherin."
"Good call," Skylar said, nodding.
Victoire hit her arm. "Skylar!" she hissed.
Grace looked at Fred and James. She was so short that the two first years were already nearly her height. "Slytherin's not that bad. You're biased because you're Weasleys."
James looked at Victoire. "Teddy says that if I get sorted into Gryffindor, he'd never speak to me again." There was a hint of fear in his voice.
"Teddy's an idiot," Victoire told him with a small laugh. It was almost painful to hear Teddy's name. She'd spent every single day with him that summer. It was going to be miserable without seeing him everyday.
"We should get going," Grace said, gesturing to the crowded aisles. "I don't want to get a shitty compartment."
Skylar looked at Grace, her eyebrows furrowed together. "Gracie, are you okay? You seem a little more depressing than usual."
Grace looked at her, her dark green eyes piercing through Skylar's dark brown ones. "I'm fine," she finally said simply before turning around and heading down the aisle.
Victoire and Skylar exchanged looks. "I'll see you lot at the Sorting Ceremony!" Victoire said cheerfully to her two younger cousins before following Grace and Skylar down the narrow aisle.
"There's an empty compartment here," Grace said, stepping inside. She forced her trunk into the overhead compartment before plopping down in the seat by the window. Skylar and Victoire followed in her lead without saying anything.
Grace stared out the window miserably. It was crazy to think that a year ago, she'd been sitting in a much more crowded compartment with Skylar and Victoire. At the time, Teddy and Skylar had been dating. Grace still couldn't believe that had happened. Finn and Sienna were still friends with benefits, although neither benefited emotionally from that situation. Grace had still been furious with Victoire and had refused to speak to her most of the train ride. Collin had been trying to win her back. Luke and her still hadn't made anything official, which sucked. She remembered spending most of the train ride buried in her book while Teddy grumbled about Luke and Victoire. Meanwhile, Finn and all his burly seventh year friends made a lot of noise. It was amazing how much had changed over the course of one year.
"So," Skylar said cheerfully, "what did I miss this summer?"
Victoire sighed and thought about it. "Sienna's album is nearly finished and it sounds great! She's still living with her parents though, which is driving her mental I think. She's been looking at a few apartments for herself. Teddy's training is going really well. Oh, and Finn and Luke got signed to a team!"
"No way!" Skylar gasped. "I can't believe I didn't know that!"
"It's supposed to be a secret until the Chudley Cannons release a statement with the names of all their new recruits."
"They got signed to the Chudley Cannons?" Skylar yelped. "That's an actual team!"
"Uncle Ron was over the moon," Victoire said with a laugh. "I reckon he's expecting free tickets to every game."
Skylar looked at Grace. "Are you proud of your boyfriend?" she teased.
Grace blinked. "He's not my boyfriend anymore."
Victoire froze. "Wait—what?"
"Luke and I broke up," Grace replied.
Grace checked her watch and looked around impatiently.
"Would you like to order yet, miss?" The waiter was watching her with a pitying expression.
Grace sighed. "No, I'll wait another five minutes for him." She gestured to her empty glass. "Just another butterbeer, please."
Grace looked around the restaurant one more time.
"Gracie!" Luke took the seat across from her. "I'm so sorry I'm late!"
"Forty-five minutes late," Grace told him, shaking her head. "This is the fourth time this has happened."
"I know. I know. I'm so sorry. It's just…Finn and I had to stay later than usual today." Luke gave her a nervous, apologetic smile.
Grace peered down at her menu. "Luke, I've barely seen you this summer. The only time we get to spend together is at these stupid lunches and you can't be bothered to show up on time."
"Gracie, I'm so sorry," he apologized. "I'm trying my best, really. It's just…we only get every other Sunday off to go home."
"And it's Sunday!" Grace exclaimed. "Why weren't you here?"
Luke sighed. "Finn and I got signed today."
Grace's eyes widened. "What?"
"The Chudley Cannons…they really like me and Finn together. They think we make a good team."
"Wow…congratulations," Grace said. She looked stunned. "Does this mean you don't have to go to camp anymore…if you've already been signed?"
Luke hesitated. "Actually, now me and Finn are going to be training with the Chudley Cannons. It's more intense than ever."
Grace sighed. "Which means you're still going to be gone all the time."
She took a deep breath. "This isn't working, is it?"
Luke shook his head. "I barely get to see you."
"And it's only going to get worse when I head off to Hogwarts," she added. "If long distance isn't working for us now…I don't think it's going to work in the future either…"
Luke stared at her. "I really wanted it to work…"
Grace felt a lump in her throat. "Me too…but it's too painful. I miss you so much and it hurts being away from you."
He nodded. "I know the feeling."
The two of them sat in silence for a moment, letting the moment sink in.
"It was nobody's fault," Grace said sadly. "It was just too hard to make it work long distance."
"Gracie, I'm so sorry," Victoire said softly. "But if Teddy and I can make it work, then you and Luke can too."
"We tried," Grace said, her eyes watering. "Our relationship just wasn't strong enough."
There was a knock on the door. Danielle peered inside and smiled. "Hey, guys! I just came by to say hi."
"Dani!" Skylar shrieked, throwing her arms around Danielle.
"It's good to see you too," Danielle said with a small smile. "How are you lot doing?"
"Not too great," Victoire told her. "We miss our friends."
Danielle nodded. "I know. It's going to be weird without those two idiots annoying me year round."
"You're talking about Teddy and Finn?" Grace asked with a light laugh.
Danielle nodded. "And it's going to be even harder without Chris. I always hoped he'd find his way back to me."
Victoire's easy smile faded away instantly. "Yeah, me too."
"But life goes on right," Danielle said, forcing a smile. "Chris would've wanted us to carry on, to keep going."
"Yeah, he would've," Victoire said softly.