Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling has the rights to them, not me.
A/N: This is my first time writing anything but MWPP-era fic, so concrit would be greatly appreciated.
Teddy Lupin was not having a good day.
He'd just finished a twelve-hour shift at St. Mungo's, where he worked, barely starting on his residency. Upon coming home, Teddy had found a Howler waiting in his drawer. He had only realized it was there when it exploded and covered all of his clean clothes in soot. The magnets on his fridge told him the Howler had come from his girlfriend. To top it all off, the Daily Prophet had not announced him Wizard of the Year, nor had he won the lottery.
So, he did what any sensible man of twenty-five would do, he sat at his kitchen table and contemplated sticking his head in the stove.
"How's Frenchie doing?" James asked as he entered the kitchen.
Teddy didn't say a word. Instead he chose to marvel at the fact that James could run a hand through his hair, which not only was messy by genetics but also was mussed from sleep, without getting caught. The hazel-eyed boy began to rummage through cabinets. After discovering some cereal, he repeated, "How's Frenchie doing?"
"No 'good morning'?" Teddy replied sullenly, "And don't call her Frenchie."
"Victoire is my cousin. I've been calling her Frenchie since I was twelve," James said, tossing a handful of cereal into his mouth.
"Just don't, alright?"
James ate another handful of cereal and watched as Teddy drained his mug. The older man shifted his hair color from blue to champagne before finally settling on brown and then left for his room. James shook his head and poured out some milk for the cat.
"What do you think, boy?" James asked the feline, "Did Frenchie and Teddy get into another fight?"
The cat, who had been given the unfortunate name of Dog by an nine-year-old Lily, only gave James a rather nasty look before returning to its milk. James shook his head again and wondered, for what seemed like the millionth time, why he had wanted a cat for Hogwarts. Still, he gave Dog a nice scratch behind the ears before Victoire Weasley appeared in the fireplace.
She was all strawberry blonde hair and female rage as she rushed past her cousin, heading straight for Teddy's room. After five minutes and a fair bit of cursing (in English and French), Victoire entered the kitchen. She sat down at the table and studied her nails for a bit, not saying a word. James took the bait and asked, "Have another row with Teddy, eh?"
"Je ne regrette rien ," The woman spat out, "He's being a bastard."
"Really, how would that be?" James asked, feeling genuinely curious.
Teddy wasn't the sort to have bastard tendencies. The boy was and always had been almost painfully polite to everyone. Even so, he would get into rows with Victoire they could become really nasty. These rows had been becoming more frequent too, which was amusing and somewhat troubling to James, who always got front row seats. However, when his cousin started inserting random bits of French, James knew it was bad.
"Enre nous?" Victoire asked, eying the fireplace from which she had recently appeared.
"As long as you stick with my native tongue, Frenchie," James replied, grinning just a bit.
The woman sighed heavily, but nodded. Like most of her cousins, James knew only bits of French and couldn't really be bothered into learning. Though, if it hadn't been for her mother speaking it around the house, Victoire knew she wouldn't have learned the language either.
"Maman told me that if we don't get engaged soon, I should leave him," She said, frowning, "When I told Teddy, he acted like a complete arse."
"Aren't you two a bit young for settling down?"
"Maman had me when she was twenty-three, two years younger than Teddy is now. Plus, she and Dad got married when she was only twenty."
"Yeah, but that was during the war. Everyone got married young," James replied, "You just need to give Teddy some time."
"You're taking the mickey, right? We've been officially together since I was twenty. Four years, Jamikins, that's a long time."
"I know, Frenchie. He's a bloke, though. We get all scared when girls go on about marriage and shit," James said and offered his cousin a grin.
Victoire kept a frown on her face, which was a shame, because her Veela heritage made the young woman's smile quite dazzling. James was looking to cheer his cousin up, so he offered her the cereal box. She'd seen him eating from it through their entire chat and made a disgusted face before standing up.
"Maman wants me to help prepare the cottage before Dominique and Louis return home. I'm afraid I'll have to be leaving now."
James nodded, Victoire's younger siblings were still at Hogwarts. Dominique was in her fifth year, same as Hugo and Lily. Louis towered over both of his sisters easily, though he was the baby of that family. James thought he'd be turning fifteen soon, but having so many cousins made it difficult to keep all of the birthdays straight.
Either way, it didn't matter, because Victoire was still standing in the kitchen. She was giving her cousin an expectant look. James, who'd always been close to her, got the message and stood so he could give her a quick hug. "I'll talk to Teddy for you, Frenchie. If you need me, send an owl or something, alright?"
The brown-eyed girl kissed his cheek and replied, "I promise. Merci, James."
"It's nothing, Victoire. I'll see you at Christmas."
Victoire nodded and then stepped into the fireplace. In a flash of green flames, she was gone. A moment later, Teddy reemerged from his room. The man looked around before sighing with relief and then returned to the kitchen. Soon enough, the kettle was boiling and he asked, "Would you like some hot chocolate, James?"
The younger man shook his head. He was under the firm belief that Teddy wasn't really British, since the Metamorphmagus refused to drink tea and instead was a hot cocoa junkie. Teddy would even drinking the instant Muggle kind, which James had tried once and then spat out.
"So, Frenchie wants to get married?"
Teddy's voice grew sullen again, "Please don't start with this James. Let's just talk about Quidditch or something, yeah?"
That made James's eyes light up. He, like all of the Potter children, was a complete Quidditch fanatic. As he started on a tirade about all of the fouls during the last Cannons/Harpies match, Teddy nodded along and gave his opinion every now and then. As much as he liked the sport himself, the older man had the more pressing matter of Victoire on his mind.
Teddy cared a great deal for her. After all, Victoire was not only pretty, but she was extremely smart and fine with her boyfriend taking her out to dinner with teal hair. Still, Teddy wasn't sure if he was ready to promise her, or anyone, the rest of his life. It wasn't like Victoire to push the subject either, but her mother liked Teddy and wanted grandchildren as soon as possible. (Fleur had been all too happy to tell Teddy this one of the times he went to Shell Cottage for dinner.)
The idea of children of his own wasn't very appealing to Teddy at the moment anyway. Sure, he liked helping out and playing with all the little ones at Potter-Weasley events. As a Healer, he occasionally did rounds in wards especially for kids too. However, the idea of little Lupins running about, breaking things and making messes made Teddy feel ill. Violently so.
"I need to go send Lily an owl," Teddy said, standing up and cradling his mug of cocoa to his chest.
James looked a bit put out, since he really wanted to discuss the Cannons line up for next year. However, when he glanced at the clock, he realized he was running ten minutes late for work. He hurried off to get dressed, shouting over his shoulder for Teddy to send Lily his love.
Teddy nodded and got out a quill and a spare bit of parchment. About half an hour and several crossed out lines later he had,
I hope you're doing well with classes and all. Work is good and I'll have tons of fun stories to tell at Christmastime. Victoire wants to get married and I'm scared out of my bloody mind. If you could give me any advice that'd be great. Tell the rest of the Weasley-Potter clan I said hullo and take care of yourself.
P.S. James sends his love as well.
Studying the letter once more, he sighed before folding it up and calling his owl over. The bird opened one eye before sticking out her leg. Teddy tied the letter on with a bit of string and stroked the bird's feathers before opening the window and sending her out. He watched the bird fly off, wondering idly if Lily would get his letter by the end of the day. Finally, Teddy tore himself away from the window to take advantage of his time alone and get some of his holiday shopping done.
When he returned a few hours later, having bought several gifts, there was no owl waiting for him. Teddy gave a little sigh, then went to hide his purchases from James. Once that was done, the Metamorphous found himself with nothing else that needed doing, so he was forced to distract himself until either Lily's letter or James arrived at the flat. (It didn't help that Teddy's favorite distraction was Victoire.)
In the end, Teddy wound up trying to teach Dog how to sit on command. It was a long, unsuccessful process, because James' cat seemed to hate everyone in the world with a frightening passion. The two exceptions to this were James, who Dog regarded with passive aggressive dislike, and Lily, who could make the cat lay in her lap and purr.
By the time James came home from work, Teddy was nursing a bite wound in the kitchen. The cat had disappeared, but the Metamorphous was willing to bet he'd wake up in the middle of the night with Dog trying to smother him in his sleep. James laughed when he heard how Teddy got hurt and shook a box of cat food, hoping to comfort his pet.
"That cat is the devil, James. I want it gone," Teddy said angrily, "The bloody beast tried to eat me."
The dark-haired man snorted. Since James had moved in, Teddy was constantly saying how he wanted Dog gone, because the cat had misbehaved. It never happened, mostly because Lily loved the cat. If Teddy threw Dog out on the streets, the redheaded girl would be upset. Lily had inherited the Weasley temper, so making her mad usually ended with either shouting, violence, or a mix of both. So, terrified of the wrath of one sixteen-year-old girl, Teddy allowed the cat to stay.
Eventually, James gave up on trying to find Dog and joined Teddy at the table, not saying a word. The older man stared at him, wondering what could make such a thoughtful look appear of his quasi-brother's face. James rarely took time to think things over, he'd always preferred spontaneity, because he felt it showed people's true nature. Finally, the black haired man asked, "How do you plan on settling things with Victoire?"
"I don't want to get married, James," Teddy said, examining his wound, "I'm only twenty-three."
"Aunt Fleur had Victoire when she was twenty-three, and was married at twenty. My parents got married as soon as Mum turned nineteen."
Teddy gave James a dirty look, knowing that the younger man had talked to Victoire and was on her side for this argument. It was obnoxious, because if Teddy knew that if he had a problem with Lucy or Roxanne Weasley, James would support him fully. Victoire, however, had been James' favorite cousin and one of his best friends since he could talk.
He told James this and the younger man shook his head. As he left the room, James called Teddy a prick and told him to patch things up with Victoire before dinner with the Weasleys for Christmas. As soon as he left, Dog appeared. The cat was expecting his treat and there was no way Teddy would be giving him one. The wizard pulled his feet off the floor just as Dog lunged at them, preparing to sink his teeth into Teddy's ankle. The cat then circled the chair, making the theme from 'Jaws' come to Teddy's mind.
Knowing that James would not be coming to save him and he'd left his wand in his room, Teddy hugged his knees to his chest. Dog wasn't one to easily give up on his prey, meaning the Metamorphous was planning on spending half of the night in the chair.