A big thank you to Gaby-Black, who edited this.
A big thank you to Gaby-Black, who edited this.
At first, it was just them: Teddy and Victoire.
That's how her mother called them on the sunny afternoons at Shell Cottage.
That's how Dominique called them, whining more than calling, jealous that her big sister and her cool friend wouldn't allow her to play with them.
'Teddyvictoire...' she would call, as if it were one name.
That's how her Gran called them at the Burrow, at the family gatherings.
It was just them.
Them in the garden, them on a tree, them in her room, them in his room, them at the War Memorial, clutching hands, them at the family parties, them playing Quidditch, them fighting, them making up. Them in every picture she had of her childhood, them in almost every picture he had of his childhood ('Cause I'm the oldest,' he would say with a smirk. 'But I'm the wisest,' she would reply, pinching his elbow). Them on a broom, them on a bike, them crying, them laughing.
Then, at a certain point, there was a moment when they stopped being a 'them' and they began to be a 'me' and a 'you'.
Victoire couldn't really make out when it had happened.
Maybe it was when he had left for Hogwarts, in his shining new robes that he had wanted to wear even before getting on the train, and she'd cried so much but he had not paid too much attention to her.
Maybe it was when he'd slowly stopped sending her letters ('But he had promised he would write to me,' she'd said, crying, to her mother) or when she'd become a P.S. in the letters he wrote to his Gran (P.S. Say hello to Victoire and thank her for the card she sent me for my birthday).
Maybe it had been when one day (he was 12 and she was 10) she had showed up at his place and had seen annoyance on his face ('It's just... my friends from Hogwarts are here, you know...).
Maybe it had been when she'd finally left for Hogwarts, thinking that finally it would be 'Teddy and Victoire' again, but he'd left her all alone on the train for the whole day, without caring that much.
Maybe it had been when in her first years at Hogwarts he had barely spoken to her. Once he even called her 'Weasley' and not because he wanted to make fun of her or anything, he just called her that way, as if they were strangers, as if they didn't know each other ('You saw my mother changing my nappies, for Merlin's sake!' she wanted to scream, but she didn't dare).
And so Victoire started not to care as well. They just greeted when they met in the corridors, they exchanged a few words ('There's a present from my mum to you.' 'Oh, thanks.' 'Good. Bye!' 'Bye!'), they glanced at each other while studying in the Gryffindor Common Room. They saw each other at the Burrow's and they still sat next to each other (Victoire had the impression that everyone would faint if they didn't – especially Uncle George who, as she would find out later, was carrying a poll on them), but they just made some small talk ('I've heard that the OWL Potions class is quite difficult, is that true?' 'Well, yes, Professor Smith is quite demanding...').
And then, out of a sudden, they started to care again.
Victoire couldn't really tell who had been first, if she was the one who had started feeling annoyed when she saw Teddy speaking to some random girl or if she noticed his penetrant glances at dinner or in the Common Room.
She couldn't really tell when she had realised how much she cared for him, how much the feelings she had once held for him when they were children had become bigger and more powerful than ever.
But she remembered that night when she was alone in the Common Room and he had suddenly entered; he had just finished serving his duties as Head Student.
'Hello,' he said, surprised to see her there (Victoire wondered if it a surprise like, 'oh, that's a good surprise', or like 'I can't believe this, uff, she is still awake.').
'Hi,' she replied, feeling her heart beating faster.
'Are you still awake?' he asked, which was a very stupid question, Victoire thought, because of course she was still awake.
She nodded anyway.
'I couldn't sleep. You know, the OWLs. You've been through this, haven't you? And you have the NEWTs this year.'
After she spoke she suddenly realised that this was one of the longest sentences she had ever spoken to him since they were children.He nodded and he sat close to her, near the fireplace.
'Hey...' he said.
'Do you remember the time when you dared me to put my hand in the fireplace and I almost did it...'
'... and fortunately Dad arrived...'
'... and scolded you for that...'
'... and then he told me to go in my room...'
'... and I told him that it wasn't fair because...'
'... I can't really remember why...'
'... Neither can I...'
They laughed, and she noticed that he had edged closer to her and that he had put his hand on the couch. Very close to her own hand, she noticed, hiding a smile.
They spent the whole night together, remembering their childhood, speaking about their families, and finally talking about those little events that had made Victoire so upset ('I thought you would have got bored to spend time with us, speaking about Hogwarts... I thought you would have been sad...' 'I thought you didn't want them to see me...' 'No, no, no. Really, no.'). They spoke about serious things as well, those things they had never talked about when they were children, as if they were implied: his parents, her Uncle Fred, the War, the scars.
Sometimes they talked and other times they sat in comfortable silence, and at a certain point he touched her hand and they blushed, as if they had never touched each other.
Finally, they saw the dawn through the windows.
'Wow. A whole night,' Teddy said.
'Yes,' Victoire replied, getting up.
'Victoire...' Teddy said.
'I don't know. For existing. For being my friend.'
'You're welcome,' she said, smiling, and put a foot on the stairs leading towards her dorm.
'Hey,' he said.
'What?' she asked, turning her head.
'Remember when Uncle George and Aunt Angelina got married? And everybody was talking about love, how love is magnificent, how love is a wonderful thing and...'
'... yes, I remember,' she said, getting closer to him.
'... and I said...' he said.
'... and you said...' she repeated, fully aware of what the little Teddy had said on that hot August night.
'... that I couldn't believe that it was that magnificent after all.. well, I don't think I knew what magnificent meant, but anyway... because the greatest feeling I felt for a person was for you, and it wasn't love, but it was so great that I couldn't believe that love could be greater than that...'
'... and everybody laughed...' Victoire said, getting even closer to him.
'... yes, and they asked me how I could be so sure that I didn't love you...'
'... and Uncle George said...'
She was so close now that their noses were almost touching.
'... that I was way too little to love, but that one day I would love a person...'
'... and you would understand how great it really was'.
They paused and looked into each other's eyes.
'Now I understand,' he said, very seriously.
'So do I,' she said, in such a low voice that she wondered if he had heard her, but his smile was so wide that she realised that he had.
'A lot of things,' he added, 'Things I had never understood. My parents, for example. The War. Harry and Ginny. Your parents,' he paused. 'A lot of things,' he repeated.
She nodded and wanted to say that it was the same for her, but he kissed her gently, caressing her long strawberry blonde hair.
'I can't believe it's us again,' he whispered, looking into her deep blue eyes.
'Yes, we're a 'them' again,' she said, her hands shaking, a small smile on her lips.
'Teddy and Victoire,' he said.
'Forever,' she added solemnly.
And so it would be.