Notes: This is my very belated Christmas gift for my lovely friend Tamara. I hope you enjoy it! I apologise, too, because I do not speak French, so I really do hope I used the two or three words and phrases correctly.
Teddy Lupin stuffed his hands deep into his jean pockets, staring up at the barrier which stood firmly between platforms nine and ten. It had been two years since he'd passed through the barrier last; he assumed that to be the last time until he would send his own children off to Hogwarts on the magnificent scarlet steam engine, resting on the tracks on the other side. He had thought that, any way.
Then, his plans changed.
In a few brief moments, she had turned his entire world upside down.
"You do realise," she said, closing the back door with a tiny click; at last, the two of them were alone on the back porch of the Potter house, after a wonderful family dinner before the children returned to Hogwarts, "that this is the last time we'll see each other until the Christmas holidays, don't you?"
"I do," he mumbled, leaning against the railing. "Though I'm certain you're thrilled to be returning to Hogwarts."
Victoire allowed herself a smile, a beautiful smile that made Teddy's heart stop for a moment, all air disappearing from his lungs; not that he'd ever let on, of course.
"I'm going to miss you, Teddy," she said, inching ever nearer to him.
"I'll miss you, too," he told her in response, wrapping his arms around her for a moment; she felt so warm against him in the cool summer night air.
"Teddy," she breathed, looking up at him, her eyes shiny and her pale cheeks full of colour, "I love you."Teddy sighed, staring now at the ground. He'd waited so long to hear her say those words, and when they finally came, he'd done nothing. He merely muttered some response about how it was "getting late", and how she "ought to finish getting ready for school", and how he "ought to be getting home".
And by the time he realised he'd made a mistake, she'd already left.
Now, he stood before the barrier, his gateway to her, the only thing standing in their way, still hesitating.
He always hesitated.
Now, he realised, the time for hesitating, the time for being careful and protecting himself... those times were far in the past.
He took a deep breath, quickly walking through the barrier. He took long strides along the platform, gazing around, hoping against all reason that he could find her in the throng of students and parents waiting around.
He pushed through the people, some of them hardly noticing him and running straight into him in their rush to navigate the crowded platform. He was losing hope with every step he took, when he suddenly caught sight of Victoire's glimmering blond hair, pulled into a ponytail on the back of her head, her long locks waving and dancing down her back as she chatted animatedly with a few of her fellow seventh years.
She turned slightly, glimpsing him in return. A confused smile flitted across her face; quickly excusing herself from her friends, she approached him.
"What are you doing here?" she asked him. "Not that I don't enjoy seeing you..."
He smiled slightly, nervously running his fingers through his hair, hoping that it hadn't changed colour again (a sure sign to those around him that he was nervous). "I didn't want to leave things the way we did last night..."
She nodded solemnly, the smile falling off her face; she casually took his hand and led him onto the train, into an empty compartment so that they might have the slightest chance at a bit of privacy.
"I'm sorry," they simultaneously said, the moment the compartment door closed.
Teddy smiled sheepishly. "What are you sorry for?"
"For all this," she sighed, looking away. "I shouldn't have said it. I just thought that, maybe—"
Teddy suddenly pressed his lips against hers, silencing her with a heated kiss.
She stared confusedly at him. "I thought—"
"If you think I'm not madly in love with you," he breathed, "then you're out of your bloody mind."
"I have spent two years focusing on all the things that could go wrong if I told you how I feel; there's always some unbelievably stupid reason in my way, preventing me. And I realised, after all this time, that I can't always let these stupid fears get in my way. It's time that I stopped listening to logic and reason, stopped hesitating, and I just... followed my heart, instead."
Victoire couldn't help but laugh, the way she always did when she felt overwhelming excitement or happiness. "It's about time."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, standing on her toes and kissing him again.
"So tell me," he said, grinning broadly between kisses, "am I a good kisser?"
She laughed again, just as he'd hoped; he loved that laugh more than any other sound in the world. "Magnifique," she whispered. "Not that I would expect any less."
"What are you doing?" asked an excited voice from behind the two of them. Victoire looked as though she was about to laugh again, but Teddy looked slightly exasperated.
"I'm seeing her off, James—"
"It looks like a lot more than that!"
Teddy put his hand to his forehead. "Give us some alone time, please?" he asked pleadingly.
James frowned slightly, turning and running off.
"I'll bet you a galleon," Victoire told Teddy, taking his hand and turning him around, "that he's run off to tell my aunt and uncle."
"I refuse to take you up on that bet because I completely agree with you," Teddy sighed. He cupped her chin in his hand, lifting her face up for another kiss.
The steam engine's whistle suddenly blew, and the couple sighed.
"Promise me you'll write," she told him, stealing one last kiss before he left, walking toward the door.
"I will," he smiled, stepping off the train. "Every chance I get."
She waved as the train began moving. "Je t'aime!" she called, blowing a kiss as the train steadily picked of speed.
Teddy waved in return, smiling broadly as she was pulled further and further away.
"Je t'aime," Teddy muttered, watching the crimson train finally disappear around the corner.