... Somewhere Along The Line
A/N: A short follow up to my oneshot A Weasley Tradition. Highly recommended that you read that first or you aren't likely to get this, though it actually has it's own point. Thought I'd write in a completely different style... pretty much just for the sake of it, and to get used to it for a long Ginny fic I've got coming up soon... Thanks to beta Carla! Reviews are much appreciated. ;D
"Oh," says the distraught little voice. "It's you."
"Who were you expecting?" You hear yourself ask, shutting the door, blocking out the noise from the kitchen below. Your niece lets out a 'mermmph' of indifference, and slumps her head back onto the pillow on what used to be your room, the green walls not as bright as they used to be. You sit on the edge of your old bed, fiddling with the new soft lace doona, watching a now dressed Victoire sobbing silently into her pillow, mirroring what you so often did yourself at age twelve.
"I... I though Mama might have come back," Victoire sniffles after a moment, and it's unusual to see the normally prim and composed girl in such distress. "I shouldn't have yelled at her before. I think I quite upset her." She rolls over, her bloodshot eyes apprehensive and watching you intently.
"It's okay, Vicci," you tell her, scooting up to sit cross legged at the end of the bed. "Mums always understand everything."
"No-one understands, Aunt Ginny," she tells you quietly, her voice stricken with heartbreak, deep brown eyes wide. "They all just laugh at me, like I bet they're doing now." She realises how vulnerable this seems to have left her and brings her arms to her chest protectively, looking and acting as a spitting image of her mother's haughty behaviour.
"Only Ron and Harry are laughing now," you tell her, going on when you realise she doesn't look consoled in the slightest. "And they're not laughing at you, they're laughing at something else. A completely different reason."
Her brown eyes roll sceptically "Whatever," she mumbles after a moment. The two of you sit in a tense quiet, you making it plain that she is expected to talk. "It's not fair," she explains finally.
"That you like Teddy, he's oblivious and it sucks?" You figure you might as well go straight for the jugular.
"I don't like him, Aunty Gin," she tells you huffily, sitting up and leaning against the headboard. "I love him. Mama just laughs at me, and Dad gets annoyed at the idea, but he's so clever and so funny and so..." she trails off. "They underestimate me; they think I'm too young. I suppose you do too." She raises her eyebrows disdainfully.
"I don't think you're too young," you tell her, and she arches an eyebrow sceptically. "I know exactly what you're going through."
"I don't think you do," she says sourly, flicking her long silvery red hair over her shoulder, now looking at you with a sort of longing emotion you can't quite place. "How can you know how much it hurts to know that he doesn't like me?"
"Prior experience," you add shortly. She snorts; and it's rather shocking from her petite Veela figure.
"As if anyone would ever reject you," mumbles Victoire, and you start as you realise that dirty look on her face; it's the last thing you'd ever expect from a daughter of Fleur's. Jealousy. "Uncle Harry loves you so much, and all your brothers dote on you too." She picks at her chipped pink nail polish and sighs in an overly twelve year old girl way. "I wish I had that. Someone who cares."
"Victoire," you mumble in a low voice, knowing exactly how she is feeling but wondering why on earth she is. "Your parents, brother, all your aunts and uncles, your cousins-"
"I know that," she tells you regally. "But I want to be..."
"The centre of someone's attention?" You ask her. She nods mutely, and thinking of Ron's constant suffering as being known as Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred or George's youngest brother, you wonder what it must be like to be her, that perhaps this sort of reaction from Fleur's daughter shouldn't be so unexpected. "Vic... You're only twelve, and-"
"And what?" She asks, sitting up straighter and, sticking her chin out, much like her mother would.
"And it will happen... somewhere along the line," you tell her lamely. She looks less than impressed, reminding you again of Fleur.
"How do you know?" She demands, and you only raise your eyebrows at her snooty behaviour; she'll get it soon enough.
"Do you know why they're laughing down there?" She shakes her head slightly, watching you warily as you stand up. "Believe it or not, the world's not out to get you. They're laughing me actually."
"Why?" She blurts, dropping the ever patronizing tone. She jumps slightly at her outburst, immediately putting her facade to the world back on. "I mean, why would they laugh at you?"
"Well, when I was ten," you tell her, smiling at the complete irony of the situation. "Ron bought home his best friend who I had a bit of a thing for. I didn't realise he was over, and came bursting into the kitchen in my pyjamas. Embarrassing, hey?"
"You don't need to mock me," she tells you sourly.
"I'm being deadly serious." She starts at your sober tone. "That's why what happened downstairs was funny, Vicci."
"Oh," she mutters, and after a moment, looking up at you earnestly adds "sorry I didn't believe you."
"It's okay," you tell her with a grin.
"So he rejected you and Uncle Ron stopped being friends with him?" Victoire asks, and you think your divination skills must be picking up, as the answer is already in your mouth.
"No, I went on to marry him."
"You were married to someone else before Uncle Harry?"
You can't help but snort at the look of shock on her face. "Or it was Uncle Harry."
"Even after you embarrassed yourself horribly?" You nod in response, and she falls silent for a long moment. "Does this mean that one day I could marry... Teddy?" Her face blushes the furious Weasley red (another tradition) upon saying his name.
"I'll give you the same advice Hermione gave me," you tell her, and feeling rather wise, you decide to add a bit. "Don't think about getting married or something, because you are twelve and shouldn't have to worry about anything more than that. Just be yourself around him, let your guard down a little, and I'm sure he'll come around eventually."
She gets up and wraps her petite arms around you tightly. "Thanks Auntie Gin," she mumbles into your shoulder, and you think that perhaps under the stuck-up exterior, she's a little less like her mother, and a bit more like Bill.
"C'mon," you tell her, pulling her to her feet and wiping her eyes with your sleeve. "Put on a brave face, smile, and come eat some breakfast."
Taking a deep breath, running a hand nervously through her luxurious hair, Victoire exhales and steps out of the room confidently. If Teddy Lupin got to see the Victoire Weasley you just had... well, as your husband had so aptly put it, Teddy was a goner.
A/N: Feel free to leave feedback!