Not my best work, admittedly, but I'm blocked on my other stuff, so this is an attempt to get over that.

Forever and Always

She was mad. In fact, Victoire Weasley didn't think she'd ever been this mad.

And hurt. And humiliated. God, the humiliation. She sort of wanted to crawl under a rock and die.

"How could you get it so wrong, Wealsey?" She muttered to herself, kicking at a discarded branch. It didn't move, her foot got caught, and she stumbled, catching herself before she hit the ground. She flushed, thought no one was around to witness it. As if she didn't feel stupid enough as it was?

She felt like kicking herself. Instead, she fisted her hands in her hair and tugged, disgusted with herself. She'd been wrong, very, very wrong, and had humiliated herself, made her best friend feel guilty and awkward, and got herself hurt in the process.

"Hearts don't break." She reminded herself. Wasn't she far, far too smart to fall for that old cliché? But she pressed a hand to her chest, where she'd swear there was a dull ache.

She'd been thinking, for a long time now, that she loved Teddy. Properly, not like best-friend/family kind of way, but in love with him. And it was scary and weird but – but...

Well, he obviously didn't feel the same. She'd tried to kiss him – because surely this, this feeling couldn't be one-sided, and when she kissed him he'd realise and...well, she'd been wrong about that. She'd tried to kiss him, and he'd moved back so fast he almost fell over. He'd looked horrified, and she...

She'd ran away. She'd ruined a life-long friendship.

She sat on the grass, thinking that she'd be back at Hogwarts in a couple weeks anyway. It didn't matter. By Christmas, he'd have forgot and – and what if he didn't and she'd lost her closest, oldest, best friend forever?

"I'm scared." She could admit that, because it was Teddy, and he wouldn't laugh. She could admit that going to Hogwarts terrified her, so badly that she hardly slept last night and she felt like she might throw up.

"I know. It is scary." He told her reassuringly. "But it's OK. You'll be OK."

"What if...what if I don't make new friends?"

"You'll always have me." Teddy replied. They were getting closer now, Victoire thought, and felt her stomach roll. Soon she'd be in the castle, being sorted.

"What if the other people are mean? Or the teachers? What if I go too close to the forest and get hurt -"

"Vee, don't be scared." He looked right at her. "You know I'll always protect you. I'll always be here for you."

She nodded a little. "OK. OK." She still felt sick, but it was slightly better now. 'Cause she had Teddy.

The memories seemed to tangle, there were so many. Who could blame her for getting confused, she though angrily. Sure, it had seemed innocent when she was eleven, but all her friends had agreed that he definitely felt more for her. So why hadn't it worked out?

"Vee." His voice was quiet; the blood rushed to her head.

"I'm sorry." She said the words quickly, staring hard at the grass. "I don't know what I was thinking. I'm sorry I...embarrassed you."

He sat in front of her, but she still didn't look up. "I'm sorry." He said quietly. "You just caught me off guard. I know I hurt you."

Of course he knew. Who in the world knew her better?

"Don't blame you. My fault." She muttered. There was a beetle, crawling up a blade of grass. She watched it crawl higher, higher, then fall.

"Vee...It's not that I...I mean, we're...We're practically family."

"I'm sorry." She murmured again.

"I've known you your whole entire life."

"I know. I understand." He needed to leave her alone now. She was desperately afraid she might start crying.

"Vee. You know how important you are to me. I'd do anything for you. Anything."

"You're the best friend I ever had." She whispered. "I don't want to lose you. Please, don't leave me."

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm not leaving you, ever. Vee." She looked up. His face was just slightly red, and there was something in his eyes she couldn't quite read. "I'm sorry. I think I maybe...signals. There were probably signals."

Mortified, she lowered her gaze. He was making excuses. For her. It would have been less embarrassing, she decided, if he'd looked at her in disgust, told her cruelly that he had no attraction towards her whatsoever.

"Thing is, Vee, I...it's awful of me, and I understand if you – if you want to stay away. I...I've been...for a while...Jeez. It's never been this difficult before." He pushed a hand through his turquoise hair. "I like you, Vee. For a while, I – It's – you probably think it's disgusting, I understand if you hate me. I love you, so much. I'm so in love with you."

She looked up so fast her head spun. He was looking at her, his expression miserable. "Maybe I have been all along. Can you be in love as a little kid? It just, it hit me, when you came home, at the beginning of the holidays. I'd missed you so much, and as soon as I saw you, my, my heart started to..."

"Beat faster." She murmured.

"Yeah. And – and I felt nervous. I've never felt nervous around you. And...and it hit me, it hit me then that I – that I'm in love with you. I'm sorry."

"Sorry?" She felt hysterical There was a bubble of laughter in her throat, even as her eyes dampened. "Don't you know how long I've been waiting to hear you say that? Jeez, Ted, coming home, seeing you...It was different, so different, but still you, and like looking at you different. That didn't make sense." She didn't think she'd ever make sense again.

"You...you're not disgusted? We've been best mates forever, Vee, and practically family -"

"We're not family." She said, forcefully. "We've never really felt like family, though, have we? I never thought of you as family – don't take that the wrong way – you were always my best friend. But I think I always sort of thought we'd...end up...together..."

"The rest of the family, they'll hate me." He said. He wasn't sure it had completely registered, that she felt the same way but he knew that they couldn't be together. Not really. Life just wasn't that kind.

"Don't be ridiculous."

"It's true. They, they see me as family, and they'll think it's wrong. And you're still in school, and -"

"And they've had a betting pool on when we'll get together for years." She felt calmer now. Everything was alright, really.

"What?"

"It's true. I found out at Christmas. I tried to join, but they figured I had an unfair advantage." She shrugged. "It's OK, Ted. No one'll have a problem with us being together." She hesitated, suddenly doubtful. "You, ah, you do want us to be together, don't you?"

She didn't think she could take another rejection.

Slowly he nodded.

She leaned forward, slowly, slowly, and this time, he let her kiss him. The broke apart after several second, and Victoire felt herself flush again. She realised she was probably being irrational, probably reading far too much into this, but thoughts kept intruding. Thought like forever and soulmates and a lifetime and...well. She wouldn't get carried away and think about a future she wasn't quite ready for.

"So, ah, who wins the pool?" He asked, desperately trying to lighten the mood. It was weird, amazing but scary, to realise this was it. This was his future, his forever – she was his future, his forever. They were young; he didn't care. This was right and perfect.

"Um..." She wrinkled her face in thought. "I'm pretty sure it's Uncle George."

And he laughed. He couldn't help it. Grinning at her, he nodded.

"Figures."