It was beginning to dawn on Victoire that she might have made a terrible mistake. It should have been foolproof; the peace of Shell Cottage was surely more conducive to revision than the air of desperation hanging over the Gryffindor common room. Unfortunately, she had left one rather important factor out of the equation.
Teddy Lupin was standing behind her, plaiting her hair, and the way his long fingers were grazing the back of her neck was making it very difficult for Victoire to memorise the proper theory of the Protean Charm. She still wasn't exactly sure how he'd sweet-talked her mother into letting him stay, but she suspected that the orphan card might have been played. Very few had the power to resist the Teddy Lupin Eyes Of Pathos.
As Teddy's fingers brushed her ear, a small sigh escaped her lips. He kissed her gently on the side of her neck, and she dropped her quill.
"Right! That's it!" she said, slightly shrilly. "You have to go over there. Right now."
"Why are you being so hostile?" grumbled Teddy, as he plonked himself down on her bed. "I'm always nice to you."
It seemed to Victoire that this was the problem.
"You do realise that these are my NEWTs? And that I would quite like to pass them?" she said, using all her willpower to keep her eyes fixed on the textbook and not on him.
"You'll pass them," said Teddy, a hint of pride in his voice. "You're brilliant. And," he added as an afterthought, "you have my shining example to look up to."
Victoire rolled her eyes.
"I saw that," warned Teddy, "you horrible child. I got excellent NEWTs. Anyway, I'm not going to be at the shop forever, I've told George. I'm just waiting for you."
She dropped her quill again, and slowly turned to look at him.
"Well," he said, looking suddenly uncertain, "aren't I?"
Victoire smiled, and turned faintly pink.
"You," she said, "are a very distracting person."
Teddy stretched out on the bed, grinning, and Victoire resolutely avoided looking at the pale, exposed skin of his stomach where his faded Weird Sisters t-shirt had ridden up. And she absolutely did not think about touching the hip bones that were just jutting out over the waistband of his jeans. Cursing silently, she turned back to the textbook.
After a few vaguely productive minutes, she became aware of a disturbing snuffling sound.
Victoire sighed. "Are you smelling my pillow?"
Teddy surfaced, peeking over the top of the pillow as he clutched it to his chest.
"Possibly," he admitted sheepishly. "It does smell very nice. Like strawberries, or something."
This was impossible. She couldn't concentrate on anything while he was in her room and touching her hair and sprawling all over her bed. Because when he smiled at her like he was smiling now, it felt like her insides were melting, and she could barely remember her own name, let alone the exact wording of Golpalott's Third Law.
"Oh, bugger it," she said out loud, smacking her head down onto the desk so hard she saw stars. "Ow."
Teddy was beside her in an instant, pulling her up out of the chair and putting his arms around her waist.
"This is all your fault, you know," said Victoire accusingly, as he kissed the place on her forehead where the bruise was going to be.
"How'd you work that one out, then?" he asked softly, kissing her on the cheek, high up, by her ear. "I'm trying to help you revise."
"That would be lovely if it wasn't a gigantic lie," said Victoire, but she was smiling, and she wound her arms around his neck anyway. His hair was bright red today, and it made his eyes look darker than ever.
"You've got ink on your nose," said Teddy, "and freckles. It's early for freckles. Have you been on holiday?"
"You are ridiculous," said Victoire fondly, before she kissed him. She laughed into his mouth as he lifted her off the ground and hugged her tightly to him, spinning them around.
"Right," she said shakily when he put her down. "Revision." She reluctantly let go of him and sat back at her desk. She could still feel the imprint of his hands on her skin.
"I hate term time," groaned Teddy, flopping back onto her bed. "I never get to see you, and I like seeing you. Mind you, my dad's old map… I know when you go to bed."
He grinned, maddeningly, and Victoire threw her textbook at him.