Chapter 6: Secrets

Teddy rose up from the wooden bench hurriedly after Victoire kissed his cheek. Alex wolf whistled and Teddy bent down to pretend to tie his shoelace to hide his reddening cheeks.

"Oh hot dayum!" Marissa leaned back for emphasis, "Tori's getting it on!" Teddy stumbled to his feet in time to see Victoire flip Marissa off. Marissa raised a hand to her mouth, pretending to gasp as Victoire shook out her hair and took Teddy's arm.

"Let's leave these children to finish their lunch, Ted." Teddy obediently nodded and walked with Victoire up the stairs that led to the fourth floor. She was exceptionally feisty today. Teddy grinned widely and ruffled his hair when he noticed she still hadn't let go of his arm. Suddenly, she turned and sniffed his shirt.

"Um. Vic? May I ask what in the hell you're doing?" Victoire blushed slightly, but recovered quickly.

"You know, you smell the same as in my first year of Hogwarts. Like licorice. Been snacking on your stashed licorice wands, fatty?"

"Hey! I am not fat!" Teddy made a face. "And maybe I happen to like licorice."

"Oh, I can tell by that belly you've got going on there. Better hit the weights soon." Teddy playfully shoved her and continued walking towards the moving staircase. "Is that what that stain is on the cuff of your pants?" Teddy looked down and was greeted by a swift wallop on the back of his head. "Got you!" Victoire crowed, and danced about on the spot.

"Whatever. I let you do that." Victoire rolled her eyes after she had caught up with him, and they began walking on the stairs as it swung to the left.

"Speaking of your pants, I know somebody who already wants to get in them. If you know what I mean." Victoire gave a cheesy wink and nudged Teddy in the side. He groaned.

"I honestly could care less. M'not interested."

"Oh, sure you are. All seventeen year old guys are."

"Maybe I'm not most seventeen year old guys then."

"All your friends are." Victoire challenged

"You think I'm like Alex?"

"Not necessarily. But birds of a feather…" Victoire let the unfinished phrase hang in the air.

"Well, I'm not a bird. And what kind of birds flock together, anyways?"

"Geese? Ducks?" Victoire giggled, "So that's what your patronus must be. A duck!"

"Ew! Never. I bet yours is a hedgehog or something."

"Impossible!"

"Ah, I wouldn't doubt it, oh grasshopper." Victoire raised an eyebrow at him.

"Grasshopper?" she asked, lip twitching slightly.

"Muggle movie." They both muttered at the same time. Victoire grinned.

"You and Aunt Hermione, I swear. You'd think you were muggles, with your movie theaters and telly-fones, and Merlin knows what else."

"Well, she is muggle born, you know."

"Oh hush up. Here, we're at my classroom." They had wound up in a well-lit corridor, which featured a predominant oak door flanked by wire brackets that held torches.

"Have fun in Arithmancy!" Teddy gave her an enthusiastic thumbs-up, complete with mocking grin.

"Just because you can't add six and two together, Teddy." Teddy frowned.

"Can too! It's eight."

"Oh-ho! Very good, I see you've been practicing!" Victoire put on her best primary school teacher voice. "A gold star for Teddy!" Victoire stood on her tiptoes to pet his head, but still came short about three inches. Teddy chuckled before bending his head down and allowing her to pat his head.

"Thanks! I've always wanted the cherished gold star!" Teddy cried, his voice dripping sarcasm.

"You know, you look nice today Teddy. Decide to change your look for the new school year? Or will you be back to turquoise tomorrow?"

"Actually, Miss Sarcasm, this is me naturally." Victoire's mouth turned up in a large smile

"NO way! I haven't seen you naturally in almost a year. You're pretty Ted!" Teddy scowled

"I'm not pretty. Not even close."

"Fine then. Handsome. That better?"

"Nope, because you're still lying." Victoire opened her mouth to protest, but Teddy waved her off. "It's all right, honestly! I've got a big nose and thin lips. It's okay. Now, it's you we have to worry about back at home. All the boys are lined up after you."

"Pshaw." Victoire huffed. "Their brains are all full of mush."

"Whatever you say. Just don't be surprised when a few guys ask you out."

"And you know this how, oh-almighty-and-all-knowing-one?" Victoire tapped her foot impatiently.

"Word gets around. Especially on the Quidditch Pitch." Teddy smiled "Your class is bound to start soon now. Go have fun!"

"Sure sure. Have fun in Transfiguration! Try not to fall asleep yet, it's only the first day."

"Hey!" Teddy cried indignantly, "I happen to be quite proficient at Transfiguration, unlike some people I know." He glared at Victoire meaningfully.

"Yeah right, you wish. Now hurry up or the teacher will have your skin. Meet me here after class?"

"Of course. Bye Tor!" Teddy gave a cheery wave at Victoire as she closed the door behind her and headed down the hallway.

**********

Teddy hurried out of Transfiguration as soon as the teacher dismissed the class and walked down the hallway towards Victoire's classroom; he arrived just in time to see all the students leaving the room. Victoire emerged, giggling as a brunette he recognized from the Ravenclaw Quidditch team muttered something in her ear. Teddy narrowed his eyes.

"Hey Tori!" Victoire turned around, and her grin stretched even wider on her face than previously.

"Oh, hey Ted! This is Adam-"

"Spence. Yeah we know each other from Quidditch." Teddy gave a half hearted grin in Adam's direction.

"'Lo." Adam grunted. "We were just talking, ehm, about our classes. Crazy teachers, they are." Adam rolled his eyes. Victoire giggled.

"Yeah. Sure." Teddy replied dryly. "Come on, Victoire, we're going to be late for our next class."

"Oh, all right. When did you get so responsible?" Victoire muttered. Teddy took a step towards the right, waiting for Victoire to say her goodbyes.

"Bye, Adam! It was lovely to see you again!" Victoire beamed as Adam bent down and gave her a swift hug. Teddy's eyes narrowed still.

"I'll see you tomorrow, yeah?" Adam asked. Teddy stared down at his shoes.

"Of course. Bye now!" Victoire cried. Teddy gave a short wave goodbye, and Adam returned it before walking in the opposite direction. They walked in silence for a few minutes until Teddy broke it.

"You like him." It wasn't a question.

"What do you mean, like? Well, I can hardly fancy him, I just met him this morning! And besides, we're friends! He's so funny, Ted, we had the funniest conversation during class." Victoire giggled. It was that laugh. "And he is rather cute, you know." Victoire left him at the threshold of the classroom that was nearly full with students already, skipping inside to see her friends. Teddy slumped against the cold stone wall and closed his eyes.

"All right, all right, back to your seats!" A harsh voice issued from inside the class, and Teddy shook his head before trudging to an empty desk in the classroom, near the front. Silence blanketed the room. "Well, well, so nice to see you, Mr. Lupin. I would have thought you had dropped the course due to last year's, ah, not so exemplary performance." Teddy scowled and looked up into the cold, fishy eyes of the Professor Wallace, her pale skin and tightly coiled blond bun making her appear to blend in with the white wall behind her. The class sniggered as he shot her a death glare.

"Now, I can see that most of you had me last year for your Foreign Language One class; this pleases me. Those of you that had Professor Goring last year will have to deal with it. I am not here to baby you. I am here to instruct you in the many ways to communicate in the Wizarding World.

In this class, your curriculum will include the basics of languages such as French, German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, as well as magical languages like Mermish, Gobbldegook, and Troll."

"What about Parseltongue?" The entire class whipped around to stare at Doug Campton. He shrugged.

"No, Mr. Campton. No Parseltongue." The professor snapped. Teddy sniggered. What an idiot.

"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted," Professor Wallace said as she glowered down at Doug, "Regular classes will begin tomorrow, as I have not been prepared to have to teach imbeciles as well as regular people. No talking and no leaving until the bell rings." The entire class groaned, and Teddy stretched as he turned around in his seat. Victoire was there, two seats behind him, but he avoided her eyes and instead looked to his right.

"Amber!" a petite girl with wide brown eyes and shoulder length auburn hair turned around in her seat.

"Hey Teddy! How was your summer?"

"Ah, it was really nice. I'm glad to be back from Quidditch camp, though."

"Aha! So that's where you've been. All the girls were talking in the second floor lavatory about how big you've gotten." Teddy, remembering his conversation with Victoire concerning his licorice eating habits, frowned.

"I'm not fat, you prude. I'm a growing boy." Amber groaned and flopped onto her desk.

"You idiot, I'm talking about how muscled you've gotten. Haven't you noticed?" Teddy shrugged.

"Not really, I guess the Quidditch exercises are catching up to me. Anyways, how was your summer?" Teddy asked suddenly. He hated it when conversations led to things like this. He didn't take compliments well. Amber seemed to notice.

"Nice trying to steer the conversation away from your newly developed biceps, Teddy." Teddy groaned. "Nevertheless, I'll humor you. I went to Australia on holiday with my mum and dad."

"No way!" Teddy exclaimed, "What did you do?"

"Oh, the usual tourist stuff. We saw that one opera house, and a giant banana statue thing."

"Sounds… interesting." Teddy coughed to hide his laughter. "Did you at least see any kangaroos?"

"I did, actually. Did you know they eat kangaroo jerky there? It's sickening. I saw a package in a shop." Amber shuddered.

"What, kanga-jerky?" Teddy gave a grin as Amber groaned at the bad joke. "Well, seriously, it's not that different from eating regular meat. You know, cows and pigs and sheep and chickens…" Teddy's mouth watered as he thought of the dinner waiting for them after this period.

"Ugh, don't talk like that, Teddy. I'm sensitive when it comes to animals."

"So am I, but I always enjoy a nice slab of beef on my plate at dinner." Teddy grinned blissfully.

"Ugh. How can you talk like that?"

"Like what? You eat meat too." Teddy raised an eyebrow as Amber grew flustered.

"Yeah, well, I don't anymore. I've decided I'm a vegetarian now." Teddy was silent for a minute as his eyes widened of their own accord. And then he burst out laughing.

"You? Not… eat meat?" Teddy cried, "You know, Amber, they don't serve tofu at Hogwarts." he bursted into a renewed fit of laughter, "You'll never last!"

"Of course I can! I can do anything I set my mind to, unlike you, you… you great pig." Amber huffed and crossed her arms.

"Actually," Teddy continued cheerfully, "I prefer my pigs roasted, covered in honey and served with a potato and a small side salad." Teddy cackled as Amber glared reproachfully at him.

"I bet you couldn't last two weeks without eating any meat, whatsoever! You'd whine and moan until you pitifully crawled on your hands and knees to ask for my forgiveness."

"Oh really? Do I smell… a bet?" Teddy wrung his hands together.

"Yep!" Amber crowed proudly.

"Fine. I know bacon-loving-Amber-Blackwell will never last two weeks without her precious pork products. If you crack before then, then…"Teddy thought for a moment, and looked up, an ecstatic expression lingering about his face. "If you crack, then you have to kiss Old Sluggie."

"P-Professor Slughorn?" Amber moaned and covered her eyes.

"Yep!" Teddy replied smugly, "On the lips. At breakfast, where everyone can see you."

Amber's lips moved, but no sound appeared to escape.

"I'm sorry, Amber. Didn't catch that." Teddy smiled evilly.

"But… but he has a great mustache." Amber whimpered.

"All the better to tickle you with, my dear." She blanched.

"Fine. If you crack and eat any kind of meat products before the two weeks is up, then you have to…" Amber looked around the room, tapping her chin, apparently recovered from the initial shock of the bet's consequences. Teddy immediately glanced backwards at Victoire, who was joking around with another girl. He had recognized her contagious laugh at once, and a smile automatically lit his face. He glanced around to see Amber gazing sideways at him.

"What are you looking at?" he scowled. Amber's mouth lifted in an evil grin.

"You; if you lose the bet, then you have to kiss Victoire Weasley. On the lips." Teddy heard her laugh maniacally as his eyes widened to the size of bludgers.

"Oh no. Oh no, no, no." he frantically searched her eyes for a sign of remorse. He found none.

"Oh yes!" Amber cackled evilly and punched the air in success, "I've found your weakness, Teddy Lupin!"

"Please, no." Teddy whispered.

Amber's smile fell slightly. "What's the matter, Teddy?"

"I… can't. I just can't."

"Sure you can." Amber's wide smile returned. "As long as you don't eat any meat for two weeks, then you don't have to."

'It's too big of a risk, Teddy.' 'The meat! Think of the meat!' 'Don't do it, you'll regret it later.' 'Yes! You can finally have an excuse to kiss her properly!' A million thoughts were scrambled throughout Teddy's brain, and he desperately searched for just once that made sense.

"Fine. I'll do it." he announced, his voice mercifully sounding surer than his thoughts were. He flashed a cocky grin, a là Alex.

"Good. I look forward to hearing about your, ehm, escapades with one Miss Weasley." Amber quirked her eyebrows with a smile.

"Fine. Then I look forward to you rubbing your poor, innocent little lips against Sluggie's mustache in front of the entire school." Teddy gave her a sideways grin just as the bell rang, signaling the end of class. Teddy grabbed his things and exited with Amber in tow.

"Yeah right, Lupin. What's with your obsession with me and Slughorn, anyways? Some kind of sick fetish?"

"Oh, YES." Teddy laughed at once, "I just love the thought of you and Slughorn getting it on in the dungeons. Makes me hot."

"EW! Images, Teddy! Images!!" Amber looked like she was about to throw up her lunch over the entire hallway

"MMM yes, I just love the thoughts of students and teachers together. Minnie and Patrick… You and Sluggie… Hagrid and Alex…"

Amber was in hysterics, unable to staunch the tears of laughter springing from her eyes.

"T-Teddy!" Hagrid-is-not-gay!!" she doubled over, laughing uncontrollably, and the wave of students parted around her towards the Great Hall's doorway.

"And you'd know how?" Teddy raised an eyebrow, "Been cheating on poor Professor Slughorn?"

"No! He and Madame Maxime have a thing, you prick." Amber raised herself in a dignified manner. "And besides, everyone knows Alex thinks of himself as a ladies' man. Which, he kind of is." Amber grumbled the last part.

"What are you going on about?" Teddy shook his head as they passed below the doorway, "Alex is not a ladies' man. Remember his last girlfriend?"

"I'm not talking about girl friends, Ted. Haven't you noticed the way all of these girls have been swooning over your entire group this year?"

"No!" Teddy rebuffed, "And it's only the second day of term."

"Even so, there's been talk going around. I just thought you might like to know."

Teddy rolled his eyes. "Whatever, Blackwell. Lies, all of them."

"Yeah right. Oh, here comes your secret lover. I'd better go!" Amber made her way towards a group of seventh year Gryffindor girls as Teddy grew red in the face. Sure enough, he felt a hand tap his shoulder.

"Oh hey-" Teddy stopped dead in his tracks. "Um, you're not Victoire."

Alyssa lowered her hand. "Oh. Sorry, just little old me."

"Yeah, that's nice." Teddy replied in monotone. "AMBER! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" Amber spun around immediately about 5 yards away.

"Oh, it's ON LUPIN!" Amber stuck her tongue out before turning back around and chatting to her friends again. Alyssa continued looking at Teddy, twisting her hair with one finger and biting her lip.

"Um. I've got to go." Teddy looked down about two feet with wide eyes at Alyssa as she grabbed his forearm.

"Wait!" Alyssa cried. Teddy blinked.

"Hey Teddy! Oh." Teddy whipped around at the sound of Victoire's previously cheerful voice.

"Victoire!" Teddy glared at Alyssa until she let go of his arm. "Wait!" Victoire kept walking until she reached the Gryffindor table and sat down. "Victoire, please." She looked up at him, her eyes boring steaming holes through the back of his skull before she turned back around to face the table again.

"What's wrong?" Allison appeared beside Victoire, who just shook her head and stood up.

"Come on Allison. Walk with me around the lake?" Allison nodded quickly and they set off. Teddy groaned to himself.

"Why me?" he smashed his open palm against his forehead.

"It happens to the best of us." Teddy peeked through his fingers to see Nearly Headless Nick nodding sagely at him from across the table. He groaned again before resting his cheek on the table.

"Hey Teddy." Patrick sat down beside him, watching the students either wander around and talk with friends or go outside or to their common rooms before dinner started in an hour.

"I made a bet." His words came out slightly garbled thanks to his face's position on the table top.

"Ah. Who's it with?"

"Amber Blackwell. We both can't eat meat for two whole weeks! I'm going to die, Pat!"

"What's the prize, then?" Patrick grinned and rested his hands on the oak table

"If she eats meat before the two weeks are up, then she has to kiss Slughorn."

Patrick burst into laughter, "What!? Slughorn! On the lips?"

"At breakfast, for everyone to see." Teddy said, smiling slightly despite himself.

"Oh! That's great. What happens if you eat meat, then?"

"Iahvtokissviconthalips."

"Eh?" Patrick cupped a hand behind his ear

"I. Have. To. Kiss. Vic. On. The. Lips." Teddy muttered.

"No way!" Colton arrived at the table, seemingly just in time to hear Teddy's proclamation. "Why!?"

"A bet." Teddy groaned.

"Wow. What do you have to do?" Colton asked, cocking his head

"I can't eat meat for two weeks."

"NO! You have to eat meat!" Teddy looked up this time to see Alex red in the face.

"I can't, I have a bet. No meat for me. No delicious sausages, no mouth watering meat pies, no more chicken, beef, pork, turkey, sheep. I can't even eat bloody fish!" Teddy got up from the table and the group made its way to the Gryffindor common room. Despite Colton being in Hufflepuff, he was in there almost as much as his own common room. He winced sympathetically

"But you have to eat meat, Teddy!" Alex sputtered, flapping his arms up and down, "You HAVE TO."

"Why does he have to eat meat, Alex?" Patrick asked with a slight frown, "There are such things as vegetarians, you know."

"I know that, dumbass." Alex cried, "He needs it for QUIDDITCH!" Colton gasped and nodded at once.

"Yeah, Teddy! You need the protein to help you in training. The first match for you guys is only in December!" Colton gestured violently at the match dates on the sheet of parchment he was holding. "That's only a couple of months away from now!"

"Oh bugger." Teddy exhaled slowly as they reached the Fat lady's portrait. "I forgot about Quidditch."

"How can you bloody forget about Quidditch!?" Alex cried as Patrick muttered the password, "You're captain! And I'm the most brilliant Beater in the school!" Colton rolled his eyes. He too was a Beater, but for Hufflepuff's team.

"Come on, I'll tell you everything in the dormitory." Teddy huffed, and stopped in his tracks.

"Calm down before you give yourself a brain hemorrhage, Alex." Marissa rolled her eyes at them from her spot on the scarlet couch.

"He's not eating meat! For two bloody weeks!" Alex gestured wildly at Teddy, who merely shrugged as he flopped down on a cushy chair.

"And? I was a vegetarian for four months. It wasn't that hard." Marissa looked up from her Muggle iPod to raise an eyebrow at Alex, whose mouth hung open.

"How did you survive?" Teddy asked quickly from his place by the fireplace.

"Easy. Just get some frozen vegetarian food frozen from Muggle shops and store it with a freezing charm. They have all sorts of things; veggie burgers, fake chicken nuggets, vegetable spring rolls. They're actually quite good." Marissa dragged her thumb across the touch screen on the iPod, searching for a particular song by the looks of it.

"Thanks Marissa. You're a life saver." Teddy collapsed into the overstuffed armchair. Maybe he could pull this off after all.

"What, have a bet or something?" she asked casually and looked up from the device. Teddy nodded.

"Yep. Can't eat meat for two weeks."

"Or what? What do you have to do if you eat meat? Does it involve any nasty curses?" Marissa asked with a grin

"No. I…I have to kiss someone." Teddy skirted the subject

"Uh huh. Now, why is that such a big deal for you? Surely you've kissed girls before." Marissa smirked at him

"I fancy her." Teddy blurted out, and then covered his mouth with both of his hands. What an idiot move that was.

"Oh! Interesting. Who's the girl?" Marissa's grin reminded Teddy of the Cheshire cat from a Muggle film he'd seen with Hermione. He shivered.

"Nobody." Teddy glanced around the common room. Thankfully, nobody else was in the room at the moment.

"Oh please. At least give me a hint. Is she... in Gryffindor?"

"Yeah." He mumbled. Marissa prodded him mercilessly.

"Is she… above fifth year?"

"Yeah." He sank further into his chair.

"Is she… blonde?" Marissa's manic grin was still fixed on her face.

"NO!" Teddy shouted out much too quickly and jumped out of his chair. Marissa cackled behind him as he ran up to the boy's dormitories, followed by Patrick, Colton, and Alex.

"See you later, Teddy! I do believe I have some exciting news to tell VICTOOOOIRE!" Teddy stopped in his tracks and looked back down at Marissa, who was humming to herself tunelessly.

"Marissa." Marissa raised her eyebrows in feign surprise at Alex, who was glaring down at her with such malice it would frighten off a dementor. "If you say a word to Victoire, then so help me I will skin you alive."

"Oh, don't get your knickers in a bunch sweetheart. I won't say a word." Marissa made a lock-and-key motion to her lips and resumed humming to herself with a wide smile on her face as Teddy raced away from her and all his troubles.

**********

OH MY GOD. I am so sorry. BAD KAYLA *smacks over the head with lamp*

I wrote this a while ago, and then my computer crashed. And then I put off writing it over again. But now that I finally did, It turned out better than the original n_n