Note the First: This was written for the Easter Challenge at the Reviews Lounge Forum. Go check out the whole story with all its participants!
Note the Second: This takes place in the world of His Parents' Son and Family Tradition. It's not necessary to read those first, but you might not be quite as confused.
DISCLAIMER: I own only Emily MOrrigan. Everyone else belongs to JK, that genius. Enjoy!
An Accidental Proposal
Teddy Lupin was not one to be easily intimidated. His best friend worked as an Unspeakable, his godfather was Harry Potter, and he spent most of every day training as a magical psychiatrist with imprisoned ex-Death Eaters who had all, at one point, wanted his mother or his father or both to be very much dead. Not to mention the fact that during his years at Hogwarts, his pranks had led him to face the wrath of every irate teacher in Hogwarts at least once, and, even scarier, the wrath of his irate grandmother. No, Teddy Lupin was not easily intimidated.
Bill Weasley terrified him.
It hadn't always been this way. There was a time when Teddy had thought Bill was one of the coolest adults he had ever met, and wanted to be just like him in almost every respect once he had grown up.
But now things were different because now Teddy happened to be dating Bill Weasley's eldest daughter, and that changed everything. Especially considering that Teddy hadn't really gone about beginning to date Victoire in the best way, which had led to her being miserable and hating him for an entire summer. Even though he had fixed things as soon as humanly possible – well, nearly – and Tor now very much did not hate him, Teddy, despite all accounts that Bill Weasley liked him, knew in the inherent way that boyfriends of daughters know, that Bill actually wanted to take every painful and damaging curse he had learned in his many years of working for Gringotts and use them on Teddy's fragile and unsuspecting body.
But this story is not about Teddy's fear of Victoire's father, at least, not directly. It does factor into the story, and will be mentioned at least once or twice before the story is over. But this story is about Teddy and Victoire, and it is set during the Easter holidays the year Teddy turns 23 and Victoire turns 21, and it does not actually begin with Teddy and Victoire. It begins with Teddy going to visit his godfather the morning before Easter, an official-looking envelope clutched in his hand.
It was Ginny who opened the door and welcomed him inside, then shouted good-naturedly for Harry to get his nose out of that spell and get his arse downstairs if he wanted to see his godson. Teddy grinned. There weren't very many people who would speak like that to the Harry Potter, but nearly all of them had, or had at one time had, the surname of Weasley.
"No kids today?" Teddy asked, glancing around the empty house with a bit of surprise. He knew they were all home from school for the holiday. Ginny rolled her eyes.
"Oh, they're all over at Ron and Hermione's playing Quidditch, because apparently, they don't get enough of that during the school year."
"As if you didn't do the same thing every time you were home for a holiday," came a new voice as Harry came down the stairs. "Besides," he said, kissing his wife briefly. "Our children and nieces and nephews are spread out over three different Quidditch teams at school."
"So you'd think they'd get enough of playing against each other!" Ginny said, with the air of one winning an argument. Harry laughed, then turned to his godson.
"And what brings you to our corner of the wizarding world, Teddy?" Teddy was quite glad he'd finally been asked, because he had been holding his news in for so long that he thought he might burst if he didn't get to say it out loud to someone soon.
"I have news," he said carefully, trying and failing to restrain the grin now forming again on his face.
Harry took one look at him and said, "So, are you finally going to make an honest woman out of my niece?"
"No," Teddy said automatically, "I –" Suddenly, what Harry had just asked fully hit him. "No!" he said hurriedly and forcefully, completely taken aback by the question. Marriage? Him and Tor? Married? His mind reeled, and he almost missed Ginny smacking her husband's arm and saying, "Harry!"
Harry looked completely unabashed. "I just thought –" he started.
"I haven't even been dating her that long!" Teddy said, more from just having his thoughts spill out of his mouth than in conscious response to Harry's statement. Harry gave his godson a look, one eyebrow raised.
"Teddy, you've been dating her for almost three years."
"Exactly!" Teddy said, as if all his points had been made for him. "You dated Ginny for three years before you married her."
"This is my point," Harry said simply.
Teddy stood there, trying to bring himself back, but Harry had thrown him completely off his message, and he could no longer really remember why he had gone to see them in the first place. "No, Tor and I aren't getting married," he said. "I mean, I haven't asked her. Not that I intended to. I mean, not, you know, right now. I hadn't even really considered it, I mean, not seriously. Well, I had, but not –"
"Teddy!" Harry said sharply, taking him by the shoulders. Taking a deep breath, Teddy managed to stop babbling.
"No, Tor and I are not getting married, we haven't even talked about," he forced himself to say calmly. "My new is, I got my results back. From the test. I'm certified. Officially. And I've been hired by Mungo's." He held up the envelope. A smile spread across his godfather's face.
"Congratulations, Teddy," he said sincerely, pulling his godson into a hug while Ginny clutched at his upper arm, waiting for her turn to hug him. For a few moments, the entry hall of the Potters' home was filled with the echo of congratulatory remarks and with smiles that positively lit up the space.
Once the praise and pride had run their course, though the smiles never quite left, Teddy admitted he had to get going. "You sure you can't stay for lunch?" Ginny asked. Regretfully, Teddy shook his head.
"No. Em's taking me out to celebrate." He was on his way out the door after saying his goodbyes when his godfather's wife's voice stopped him.
"Teddy? You and Tori really haven't talked about it?" Awkwardly, Teddy turned, and shook his head. She cocked her head to the side. "Why not?" she asked softly. Teddy half shrugged, not really knowing how to respond.
Harry answered for him. "He's afraid of your brother," he whispered loudly into her ear. Teddy frowned.
"I am not!" he said defensively. Ginny laughed, not unkindly.
"Bill? There's nothing at all to be afraid of, Teddy, he loves you! Now, if it were Charlie, you'd have something to worry about." Teddy nodded, not really reassured.
"Uh, thanks," he said, eliciting another laugh from Ginny.
"Bill and Fleur are holding an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids tomorrow. You planning on being there?" she asked. "I mean, can you overcome your fear of my eldest brother–"
"This is excruciating," Teddy muttered, but there was a smile on his face. "And yes, I will be there, seeing as how I've already been told that I will be. A knowing smile crossed Harry's face.
"Ah, women," he said, earning another light smack from his wife. "Well, we'll see you then. I imagine you'll be sharing news there as well."
Teddy left his godfather's with the uneasy feeling that Harry hadn't been referring to his new job.
He made the mistake of mentioning both the conversation and the uneasy feeling over his lunch with Emily Morrigan, his best friend and an Unspeakable who worked with love in the Department of Mysteries, the very person who had been, when you got right down to it, responsible for him and Tor being together in the first place.
"Well, he's quite right," was Em's immediate response. "You should ask Tor to marry you. You should have asked her a long time ago."
Teddy sighed. "I should have known better than to ask you," he muttered, but without any real animosity.
Emily put down her glass and leaned across the table, looking at him with a shrewd, calculating gaze. "Teddy, you and I have been here before," she said plainly. "And I would have thought that your experiences in the past would have taught you that I'm usually right about these things." Teddy grimaced. Unfortunately, he couldn't argue with that.
"Look," he said, trying to reason with her. "I have reasons for holding off on this right now."
She gave him a long, penetrating look before she said, "Teddy, Bill Weasley is not that frightening."
Teddy skipped asking how she had known that's what he'd meant and went straight to, "That's because you're not dating his daughter." Emily acknowledged this with a slight nod of her head.
"True enough. Have you heard that Professor Longbottom and his wife are expecting?"
The next morning, Teddy Apparated to Shell Cottage ten minutes before he was expected. He was far from being the first one there, however; he could hear the shouts of all his young almost family members almost before he appeared in Tor's front yard.
She saw him out her bedroom window on the second floor. A grin on her face, she waved enthusiastically, then disappeared. A grin on his own face, he hurried to the door much faster than he had been moving before. He vaulted onto the front step as the door opened.
"I've missed you, sweetheart," he said.
"Well, thanks, Teddy," came a male voice that Teddy knew all too well. "I've missed you, too," said Bill Weasley, a half-smile on his face. Teddy's heart plunged into his shoes and he swallowed hard.
"Good morning, sir," he said faintly.
"Good morning," Bill said cordially, leaning on the doorframe. "Come in, Teddy." Nodding and refusing to make eye contact, Teddy slipped inside the front hall. Thereafter passed a few of the most excruciating moments of Teddy's life.
"Teddy?" came his girlfriend's voice as she appeared at the top of the stairs. Oh, thank God, he thought with an audible sigh of relief. She grinned and almost danced down them and flung herself into his arms. "Oh, Teddy, I've missed you!" Teddy was very aware of Bill's eyes following every move he made.
"Missed you, too," he mumbled.
"And what were you two talking about?" she asked, looking between Teddy and her father.
"Oh . . . nothing," Teddy said in a voice that was embarrassingly higher than his usual tone. Tor smiled widely.
"Come on," she said, standing on tiptoe to kiss him briefly. "Let's go out back." And she took him by the hand and pulled him out of the house. Teddy didn't have to look back to know that Bill's eyes were following them all the way outside.
Once in the back meadow, Teddy was met with the greetings, laughter, and chaos that always came along with a Weasley family gathering. Within five second of his stepping outside, four people had shouted greetings to him, a basket had been hung on his arm, Molly Weasley had offered him food, and his chocolate egg had nearly been knocked out of his hand as George's nine-year-old daughter Roxanne ran shrieking after her older brother. Teddy grinned. He was home.
It took fireworks from both Harry and Bill to restore as much order as a Weasley gathering ever had.
"Okay, listen up," Bill said loudly. "The rules are simple. There are two hundred eggs hidden in the lower meadows. You can work by yourself or in teams of two, but if you're in teams, you can't split up, or you'll only count separately. You will have thirty minutes to collect as many as you can. Don't even think about using wands; for one thing, most of you are underage and there are several members of Ministry Law Enforcement present and related to you. Two, that would be cheating, and all the eggs you had so far collected would be distributed to all your siblings and cousins. Three, the eggs are unSummonable and unRevealable anyway, so it wouldn't do you any good."
There was a small ripple of laughter across the family, on top of disappointed groans from James and Fred. Bill grinned in their direction. "Sorry, boys, but we know you better than that. Now then, some of the eggs will be worth more than others. No, there's no obvious way to tell, but as a general rule of thumb, if you have to work hard to get it, it'll probably earn you a few extra points. The team with the most points at the end of the half hour wins a prize All right. On my mark . . ."
The next moment, several more fireworks had blasted from the end of Bill's wand, and the eleven Weasley/Potter children were off, shrieking and laughing, across the meadows.
"Come on," Tor whispered in his ear, after looking over his shoulder to make sure all the adults were now engaged in conversation. She took his hand again and led him off toward the line of trees that surrounding her property.
"I'm pretty sure there aren't any eggs up here, Twa," Teddy pointed out as they crossed the boundary into the upper meadow and turned a corner.
"I know," she said, looking back over her shoulder. "Which means there won't be any siblings or cousins up here to interrupt us." She turned and smiled at him, still holding his hands. He might have been more enthusiastic if he hadn't still been able to feel her father's eyes on him. Luckily, Tor sensed his mood, and she was more than content to just sit at the edge of the treeline, their backs braced against a fallen log, watching the antics of the hunters below them.
"I'm so proud of you," she said once they had settled, his arm around her shoulders.
"Hmm?" he said, frowning into the distance, distracted.
She sighed. "Teddy," she admonished. Teddy forced his attention to her.
"Sorry," he said, running his free hand through his hair.
"Is everything all right?" she asked softly. He smiled down at her.
"Absolutely," he said, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "I'm here with you, aren't I?" That made her smile, and she turned her face to his. He kissed her, long and sweet, reveling in the by now long familiar jolt of rightness. In three years, it hadn't gone away.
After a time, they lapsed into comfortable silence, and Teddy was left alone with his thoughts. He was almost 23. And he loved her, his Tor, his Twa. He loved her, and knew without a doubt that she loved him. And he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her; he'd known that since the first time he'd kissed her.
They'd come a long way together, he and Tor. Harry was right. Harry and Em and Ginny. He wanted to marry her. So what was holding him back? Well, her father for one thing, though in the long run, Teddy knew he wasn't going to let that stand in his way. It was the asking, he supposed, though he really didn't know why that should be all that difficult. It was two words. All he had to do was open his mouth and say, "Marry me."
Very suddenly, Tor stiffened beside him. When he turned to look at her in question, he found that she was staring at him in shock. Frowning in concern, he thought frantically, trying to figure out what would have caused her to look at him that way. The question died on his lips, however, as the answer hit him.
"Merlin, I said that out loud," he breathed, horrified. Numbly, she nodded, still staring at him.
"Yeah, you did," she said faintly. He pulled his arm away from her to run both his hands through his hair. He'd just proposed. To Tor. Without any sort of planning at all. Just . . . proposed.
"D'you –" she started to say, but her voice didn't seem to be working well. She closed her eyes, swallowed, and tried again. "Do you want to . . . take it back?" she asked softly. Slowly, he shook his head.
"No," he said slowly. "I don't, I–" Taking a deep breath, Teddy shifted so that he was fully facing her, sitting back on his heels. He took both her hands in his. "I don't want to take it back, Twa," he said softly. "I meant it. I do . . . want you to marry me. If – if you will."
"Of course I will," she said softly, immediately.
"Okay, um . . . good then," Teddy said, trying to work through what had just happened. He was brought out of his thoughts by a stifled laugh. "What?" he asked Tor.
"I – I'm – sorry!" she gasped, no longer able to hold her laughter in. Teddy dropped her hands to cross his arms and look affronted. "It's just – you ask me – and then – all you say is – 'good then'?" And she collapsed back against the tree trunk, shaking with mirth. Teddy frowned at her for a few moments before slowly overcoming to the humor himself.
"Oh, yeah? Laugh at me, will you?" he said, and threw himself down beside her and began tickling her. She shrieked and tried to wriggle away from his fingers, but it was no use. A brief but fierce struggle ensued. Tor fought valiantly, but in the end, she was simply no match for Teddy. The battle ended with both of them on the ground, Tor on her back, Teddy half on top of her. "Give up?" he asked, breathing hard.
Laughing and out of breath, she nodded. With a smile, Teddy reached above her head and picked a small daisy. Tor peered up at him. "What are you –" she started to ask, but Teddy shushed her with a look, then returned his concentration to the flower. Deftly, he tied it into a small loop, then tapped it with his wand. Smiling at his handiwork, he put his wand away again and picked up Tor's hand. Carefully, his eyes never leaving hers, he slid the glass flower ring onto her finger. Her eyes shining with love and amused disbelief, she shook her head. "Wow, Teddy. You're really quite something, you know that?" she said. Teddy grinned.
"Indeed I do. And you love me for it."
"Indeed I do," she responded, then pulled his face down to hers.
They occupied themselves in this manner for some time, and Teddy knew he'd never been happier. That is, until a rather unhappy thought occurred to him and he groaned involuntarily.
"What?" Tor asked him.
"I'm gonna have to talk to your dad," Teddy moaned in some distress. Tor laughed.
"Oh, Teddy, he's not that scary!" she insisted with a smile.
"Says the girl who has him wrapped around her fingers," he grumbled, but with Tor right there, smiling up at him, he couldn't stay discouraged for long.
They spent another long few moments happily engaged, and then Teddy made the mistake of thinking, Nothing can ruin this moment.
It was just then that a new voice rang out. "You know, even if Teddy was maybe not paying attention, I would have expected my daughter to remember that I didn't hide eggs this far up the meadow."
Wondering what he had done to earn the horrible luck of not being struck by lightning at that moment, Teddy flopped onto his back, hiding his face in his hands and letting out a nearly incoherent groan that sounded suspiciously like, "Oh, god."
Tor, however, merely sat up and smiled up at her father. "Hello, Daddy," she said. Bill Weasley nodded.
"Hello," he said. "Tor, your cousins and siblings are waiting quite anxiously for you, as they want to see who won the hunt. Although," and he glanced down at their nearly empty basket, "I don't think they have much to worry about, as it doesn't seem to appear that you're going to be winning much of anything." Teddy peeked out from behind his fingers and immediately regretted it. Bill was standing in every boyfriend's dreaded position: legs spread firmly, arms crossed across his chest, and one eyebrow raised as he looked at the pair of them.
"Oh, I don't know," Tor said to her father, glancing at Teddy. "I think that depends on what you classify as winning."
Teddy swallowed hard. Feeling rather more vulnerable than was comfortable, he struggled to his feet, then held out his hand to Tor. If Teddy had realized that she was offering him her left hand, he would have been far more strategic concerning where he placed his fingers. As it was, he didn't realize this fact until it was far too late. Bill had already seen the ring.
Teddy and Tor realized this at the same moment, as Bill's eyebrows raised even higher, and his eyes flickered from Tor's hand to her face to Teddy and back again. Hastily, Tor hid her hands behind her back, and Teddy took deep, steadying breath, screwing up his courage. He was a Gryffindor, damn it, and the moment had come.
"Now, Dad," Tor started, but Teddy stopped her with a hand on her shoulder.
"Twa, why don't you back down to the house and help your mum," he suggested. He glanced at Bill and swallowed. "I've need to talk to your dad." Tor smiled at him, then stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek.
"Don't be scared," she whispered.
"Easy for you to say," he whispered back.
"Just hold your ground."
"Right. But if I'm not back in ten minutes, come look for my body?" She swatted him lightly on the arm before walking away, one last look back at the pair of them.
When Teddy had thought earlier that day that he was unable to imagine any scenario more awkward than standing in that entryway after having called his girlfriend's father 'sweetheart,' he had been quite mistaken. He wasn't entirely sure why standing in the meadow, trying to ask for Bill Weasley's daughter's hand in marriage was more awkward, but it was.
It didn't help that Bill was just standing there, staring at him, waiting for him to speak. As determined as he had been a few moments ago, he now found himself completely unable to say a single, bloody thing.
Finally, Bill opened his mouth to say something, and that was all the push Teddy needed. "Sir, I want to marry your daughter," he blurted out. Then he closed his eyes and seriously considered fainting.
"I gathered," Bill said evenly.
"So, um . . ." Teddy swallowed. "Can I?" he finished awkwardly, very, very hesitant to look at Bill as he asked this. There was a long silence.
"Teddy," Bill said finally, "I have it from several very strong sources that you are afraid of me. Is this true?"
"Yes, sir," Teddy said immediately.
"Teddy, I assure you, I am not that frightening," he said. Teddy nodded.
"So everyone keeps telling me, sir," he said, still not looking at the older man. He was experiencing a moment of mild panic, as he was fairly sure one was supposed to be able to feel one's legs and hands under normal circumstances.
"Teddy, relax," was the next thing he heard, and then Bill Weasley had him by the shoulders, and he had no choice but to look up into his face. He forced himself to take a deep breath. "Good," he said, and Teddy noted that his eyes were very like Tor's. Somehow, that didn't make the situation any easier.
"Teddy, you love my daughter," Bill said, and Teddy opened his mouth to answer.
"I – wait, was there a question in there?" Teddy asked. Bill laughed.
"No, Teddy," he said with a smile. "Just a statement. I know that you love her. I think I've known it longer than you have." With a pang, Teddy remembered the horrible beginning of their relationship.
"Wouldn't take much, sir," Teddy muttered, looking down. He heard Bill sigh.
"Teddy, the name's Bill. Use it please."
"Yes, sir – Bill," Teddy forced himself to say. Bill's piercing eyes held his for a moment, and then he released him, both physically and from his gaze.
"Are you going to hurt her?" he asked, looking down across the meadow.
"No," Teddy said immediately. Then his gaze followed Bill's to that familiar blonde figure who was now dancing around in a circle with another, smaller, blonde figure. Teddy felt another pang, remembering once more than awful summer. "At least," he said, in a smaller voice, "not intentionally. And if I do, I'll fix it as soon as I can. I don't ever want to see her hurting."
"Nor do I," said Bill softly, and in that moment, they were united in a common goal, and because they were, something changed. "Yes, Teddy, you may marry my daughter. You have my permission and my blessing, if that's what you need. In fact, you had them both long ago."
Teddy turned his head to look up at the older man. Bill met his gaze, and both men smiled. "Thank you," Teddy said.
"Actually, I don't have much choice," Bill told him. "I'm terrified of what Victoire would do to me if I refused you." Teddy smiled at that. "A word of wisdom to you, Teddy, she's the one you need to be afraid of." Teddy laughed.
"I'll keep that in mind," he said. Then Bill put an arm around Teddy's shoulders and walked him down the meadow back toward the house.
"Teddy," he said at one point along the way. "Not that I don't admire your transfiguration skills, but for the wedding, make sure you get a real ring, would you?" Teddy looked down, smiling at the jibe.
"I would have for this, but I hadn't really planned it," he admitted.
"That's really what you want to tell your future father-in-law?" Bill asked, and for a moment, the panic flared up in Teddy again, and he glanced hurriedly up at Bill, wondering if it was too late to backpedal. Bill laughed out loud when he saw Teddy's face. "I'm joking, Teddy!" he said, and Teddy smiled nervously and concentrated on returning his heart to its normal pace.
"I knew that," he mumbled.
"Just slipped out, huh?" Bill questioned. Embarrassed, Teddy nodded. After a brief, amused glance, Bill said, "You're not the first." Teddy stared at him, but all he said by way of explanation as he pushed open the gate to his yard and ushered Teddy through, was, "Welcome to the family, Teddy."
Teddy smiled. "Thanks, Bill," he said.
And this is where our story ends. It began with news of a new job and it ends with news of a marriage. And while it would not be completely honest to say that Teddy lost all fear of the man who became his father-in-law, it can be said that when his newborn daughter was placed in his arms for the first time, Teddy found that he could not blame Bill in the slightest.
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