You and Me

Summary: After Teddy drunkenly kisses her one night, he and Victoire struggle to try to figure out where they stand and how to let each other know

Warnings: Set in the summer before the epilogue in Deathly Hallows. Canon pairings, of course.

*~*

This is her favourite part of the summer – lying here in the warm sand; feeling like the sun was kissing her skin in the most pleasant ways, hearing the waves crashing on the beach with its sound an idle and constant soundtrack of her life.

And everything would be perfect – should be perfect – if it weren't for these little nagging thoughts that give her no rest. And, of course, because it's annoying, and all annoying things in her life relate back to him, Victoire is worrying about Teddy Lupin instead of enjoying the first few days of the summer before her last year at Hogwarts.

Granted they're friends – have been friends since before she could remember. Their friendship is a given; something that it's just simply there – like Grandma Molly's holiday sweaters or the ever-present mischievous smile on Jamie's face.

In fact, they're best friends, if Victoire cared about mushy definitions like that, which she doesn't, not really. But they both know they fit on the definition of what a best friend is supposed to be, so they never discuss it.

Except that he had kissed her last night, truly and deeply kissed, and there was nothing remotely friendly on the way his mouth touched hers. That kiss was nothing like the ones Teddy usually bestowed on her (bestowed being the right word here, for he acts like it's truly a gift to be kissed by him).

No, those everyday kisses are sweet, almost distracted, and they're certainly not given in the proximity of her lips. Nor did they involve tongue or any hair-grabbing action as the unsettling kiss Teddy planted on her last night had.

Okay, so maybe she's a little bit to blame for the tongue-and-hair-grabbing part of the out-of-nowhere kiss. At first, she was caught off guard and had just stood there, being kissed by the boy that had seen her in her nappies.

But then Teddy had to go ahead and growl, just a little bit, and goosebumps had suddenly erupted in every inch of Victoire's skin, just like that.

Goosebumps! Over Teddy!

This is pure insanity. Victoire had never had such a strong reaction when a boy kissed her, and even though there were the occasional butterflies, they were never as strong as the ones she got last night.

No, in that moment, Victoire was one hundred percent sure she'd felt butterflies and that her whole body was covered in goosebumps.

But it was instinctive, right? A girl couldn't be blamed for getting a thrill when a perfectly good-looking male kisses her like his life depended on it. It was just a physical reaction (or was it chemical? She could never tell the difference) to Teddy's surprisingly experienced kissing abilities. And to be fair, what had happened next was only because she had been overwhelmed.

After he growled, Victoire had sighed, involuntarily, of course. And her hands had fisted on the sides of his shirt on their own accord. Suddenly, Teddy had gotten a lot closer, he was everywhere, and every inch of their bodies were touching. It had felt weird, and a little bit good which had made the whole thing even weirder.

She doesn't dwell on that too, because, really – what good can come out of the fact that she had enjoyed been thoroughly kissed by her childhood friend and she'd liked it so much she's almost hoping for an encore.

Not that Victoire will ever admit to any of that aloud.

She would rather break all of her teeth by eating a batch of Hagrid's gingerbread biscuits than have Teddy finding out that she'd enjoyed.

So her secret is safe.

Well, as safe as it can get when one has very noisy and freakishly intuitive family, who will just love to hear about the little kiss they shared on the night before.

*~*

She surely looks cute from a distance, Teddy thinks, as he watches Victoire lying in the sand in her blue one-piece, with all that blonde hair tied into a ponytail and her skin gaining more freckles by the second.

She's worried about something, and Teddy can tell because her nose is scrunched up – one of Victoire's many quirks.

The past night had been a party in Teddy's honour. He'd completed his final year at Hogwarts and he had celebrated a bit too hard.

Now, he's as free as he'll ever get, and even though he woke up this morning wishing he could take back two or three glasses of Firewhiskey, it feels great not having to worry anymore about professors and grades, and having his whole future ahead of him looking like a big question mark, blank and unknown.

Teddy had always liked not knowing exactly what to expect. He liked not really knowing where he would end up in a month, in a year – hell, in ten years. This uncertainty of what laid ahead for him makes him feel alive.

Teddy has a feeling that Victoire is worried about what happened last night between them, though. He can't blame her. What had happened was big, huge even.

He'd kissed her. But not like he usually kisses her, meaningless, little kisses on the cheek or on the forehead on special occasions. No, he had truly and completely kissed her, and without even asking her permission.

And now there's just this... feeling.

The feeling you have when everything is about to change, except that you don't really feel it until after everything had changed. Yes, that feeling.

And whether he would like to admit it or not, there's other feelings too; the ones he has for Victoire for what seems like forever.

But he never told her exactly how he felt. He'd never told anyone, although he suspects that his godfather might've figured it out. Which probably means that Ginny, Ron and Hermione know as well. Hell, possibly everyone else too, and the prospect of having every one of Victoire's relatives knowing how he feels about her makes him feel rather queasy, especially, when he thinks of Bill Weasley.

But they might not know. Teddy hopes, because he has gotten quite adept (if he might say so himself) at hiding this pesky little something he has for his friend.

He's pretty sure she doesn't know, and that she's not even close to figuring it out. Sometimes he thinks that for she can be certifiably dense for such a clever girl, but it's a relief at the same time that she apparently has no clue yet.

Still, Teddy can't quite let bygones be bygones – he wants her, knows he'll never have her, but he still can't stop the stupid, wishful thinking that she might, deep down inside, feel the same way about him.

When he wakes up this morning with an awful hangover and this feeling, a little bit of dread creeps in as well. After all, now he has finally done what he'd wanted for a long time: kissed Victoire. And to put the cherry on the top of that very inebriated ice-cream, Teddy now is worried that his impulsive kiss might be the thing that could ruin their friendship.

Guess he would just have to see for himself.

*~*

"Hey," Teddy says as he settles down next to her in the sand. The hair on the back of Victoire's neck stands up, and his voice sets something alive in her stomach. She's not sure she likes it.

His proximity makes it impossible to think straight. Victoire wishes she could blame it on terrible cologne he's wearing, but Teddy smells was as lovely as always – soap on his skin, just a hint of chocolate in his hair.

"Hi," she adds shyly after a moment of silence.

The dread in Teddy's stomach doubles tenfold. She's like a whole new person around him now. Where's is the normally abrasive Victoire he has come to know and like? Victoire is never shy, and she's never, ever quiet around him.

Which means something is very, very wrong.

"Everything okay?" he asks, just to make sure, because he can't quite bring himself to ask her about last night. It's not like he can just go up to her and say, "Hey, remember that kiss we had last night? What about it, huh?"

And now she's looking at him differently, like she's never seen him before. Does she hate him now? Teddy was sort of hoping they might just forget all about what he'd done and move on.

"Excellent," she informs him, somewhat tartly. Victoire can't help but feel a little bit mad at Teddy. She had kissed him, and now he acts like it was no big deal. He looks all innocent and in control, which nearly drives her up a wall. She feels anything but calm around him now.

And they certainly weren't in control last night.

He smiles that toothy, warm smile of his, and Victoire can only grimace back. She doesn't have the energy to try and act normal around him, even though she had vowed she would. She'd expected him to confront her about the kiss, and about her reaction, but he's just lying by her side, saying nothing. It's confusing.

Teddy is being the king of passive-aggressive behavior, and Victoire can't stand it, and can't help but analyze every breath he takes, every look he gives her as they lay side-by-side on the sand. What was he thinking last night, when he kissed her? Did he like it? Did he hate it?

Victoire just wants something, anything she can hang on to. She hates this, hates not knowing where they stand; not knowing what's next. And this is not turning out like their usual time spent together by the beach. Normally things would eventually end up with him throwing her on the ocean, with her protests and threats of painful death by dismemberment falling on deaf ears.

Instead, he's distant, almost guarded, like he's expecting something to happen at any given moment. As if he's expecting her to say something about last night.

Well, she won't give him the satisfaction, and won't bring up their kiss, as petty as it is, even though she desperately needs to talk about it with her best friend. But she can't, because he was the one doing the kissing, and he is now the one doing the whole let's-ignore-it-ever-happened act.

She does have her pride, you know.

So they spend the next hour in silence, their arms almost touching, staring out at the ocean, and then looking the away when their eyes meet. The air hangs thick and suffocating between them, and it feels wrong for them to be like that.

When her stomach gurgles with hunger, Victoire takes the chance to make an excuse about lunch and stumbles away from the beach, and from Teddy and the painful awkwardness of the morning after.

If he notices she didn't ask him to tag along with her, he doesn't mention it, and he doesn't follow her back to the Shell Cottage.

He also doesn't show up in the next morning.

*~*

He's dancing with Sonia, a teammate from the Gryffindor Quidditich team he'd had a big, embarrassing crush on their fifth year. She smiles as she dances, and her black hair hits his face as he spins her around in the room. It's Saturday night, the club is crowded, and there's a pretty girl with him, making it very clear that she would be more than willing to spend the night at his flat, doing everything but dancing.

Teddy smiles and she kisses him. He goes through all the motions, but even Sonia can tell that something is wrong when he just stands her, letting her take all the initiative and barely kissing her back.

He can't quite forget the look on Victoire's face when he last saw her at the beach, and he can't quite get pass the way her lips felt against his when he kissed her that night. It has gotten to the point where he can't think straight anymore.

It's been two weeks since that stupid, drunken mistake and they haven't spoken since. They have never gone this long without talking, even if it were through letters. And people have started to wonder, started to ask questions – they're not talking anymore, did they have a fight or something?

But Teddy doesn't know, he can't find a suitable answer, one that could possibly explain how his friendship with Victoire has gotten to this place, how one stupid little kiss could have wretched things so bad between them.

And even though he tries his best not to think about it, and Sonia has been the perfect distraction for the past two weeks, tonight he just can't bring himself to focus on this girl, on this moment, on this kiss, because all he can think about is her, and the moment they had shared.

Teddy decides he needs help to figure out how to make things right with Victoire again. So he makes an excuse to Sonia about how he's coming down with something and walks away.

But instead of going home, he drops by her house. It's kind of late, and it's not the smartest thing he has ever done, but Teddy just knewhe had to do that tonight, before it was too late.

He throws some pebbles on her window and wakes her up.

"I need to talk to my best friend," he says. It's the first thing he tells her after two weeks of silence, once she opens up her window. At first, she stares down at him like he's some mutt trying to take a leak on her yard, but he doesn't move and she realizes he's not leaving until he has gotten what he has come for.

So she comes down to talk to him.

*~*

"I did something stupid," he starts, once they're sitting side by side on the front porch of her house.

"There's nothing new in that," she says, very seriously, no hint of mocking in her tone. It's quite obvious she's still mad at him, but at least he's trying to make it better. "You're always doing something stupid."

"This time was different," he continues, "because this time it involved you." Victoire takes a long, deep breath, and to Teddy it sounds almost like she's preparing for battle. "I'm sorry," he finally says and hopes it encompasses it all.

"You're sorry? That's all?" Now she's angrier than she had ever been before, and it's quite scary. "What exactly are you sorry about? Kissing me? Pretending like it had never happened? What, Teddy? What exactly you're apologizing for?"

"Everything, I guess." He shrugs – this is harder than he'd imagined it would be. "I mean, I was drunk and you were there and I kissed you. I didn't mean anything by it, you know."

"Right," she bites out. "Right," she repeats, and he can sense the bitterness in her words. "You kissed me because you were drunk and I was there. It could have been anyone, right? Anyone would do. Me, Dominique, even Grandma Molly."

"No!" He doesn't understand why she's making such a big deal out of this. He's trying to make it easier for them to just move past this. He's trying to put his feelings for her aside so that they can just go on to being friends. "What do you want me to say, Victoire? I'm sorry! I was drunk, and it was you, and you were there!"

"This doesn't even make sense, Teddy!" she spat out. "I'm always me and we never went around snogging before. Being drunk excuses nothing, because I was drinking too, but you were still the one doing the kissing!"

"Then, you went around acting like it hadn't happened, as if it wouldn't change things or it meant nothing to you."

Wait, what?Teddy thought.

"I acted like it never happened because that's what I thought you wanted." His heart was beating wildly inside his ribcage and it was stupid, this whole thing was stupid, because Victoire had never, ever given him any hope she might feel differently about him. But nothing else would explain such a strong reaction from her. "What did you want me to do?"

"I don't know," she whispered, and there was something so fragile in her eyes in that moment that Teddy felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. "But we always talked about everything. Why couldn't you talk to me about this?"

"Why did you kiss me that night Teddy? And don't blame it on the Firewhiskey. I was there too, you know. And you kissed me. You kissed me like you meant it. But then things got weird, and we never talked about it, and you disappeared for two weeks! You went gallivanting around with that girl and it hurt, Teddy, it hurt because you dismissed our kiss just like that, because I couldn't understand why this bothered me so much, why every time I heard about Sonia," she spits the name as if it was a foul thing, "I just wanted to kick you in the shins."

"I'm –" Teddy started, but the sentence died down on his lips when he ventured a quick look on Victoire's face.

"Don't," she told him, her voice sharp and business-like. "Don't apologize, don't blame it on the drink, just… just itell me/i. Okay? Because I hate not knowing."

"And I hate not telling you," He tries to explain, "but this time… this time I can't."

"Why?"

"Because, I'm in love with you", Teddy wants to say, but he knows he can't. It's too much, it's too soon, and neither of them is ready for that. If he says that now, he'll never be able to take it back, and it just might ruin them. "Look, Victoire, can we just pretend it never happened and go back to being friends?"

Teddy thinks he sees something in her eyes when he ask her that, but it's gone in a second and he figures he might've been imagining things.

"Oh, okay," she tells him, after a moment of hesitation. "Okay, I think I can do that."

"So, are we good?" He tries to smile, and joke. "Am I forgiven for mauling you that night? And for the two weeks of awkward silence as well?"

"Yes," and Victoire gives him a half-smile in return. "If that's what you want."

"That's what I want."

"Then we're perfect, Teddy."

*~*

Even though Victoire usually means what she says, lately she's being saying a lot of things she doesn't mean. Like telling Teddy she can just forget about what happened to them, or telling Rosie that yes, the new haircut suits her face better.

But she doesn't know what to do. Not about Rosie, but about Teddy. She feels as if she's standing in the middle of a minefield, and she has to consider the next step she'll take very carefully. It's weird, and it's awkward, and it's everything her relationship with Teddy has become ever since the night where Firewhiskey and instinct had gotten the best of them.

And what is worse, is Victoire can't even begin to fathom why this bothers her so much- and why she can't get that kiss out her head. Every time she closes her eyes, she goes back to that night, to the growling and the goosebumps…

But Teddy has made it very clear from the way he just wanted to forget all about it, that there were certainly no goosebumps there for him.

She questions herself whether it is worth continuing to obsess about a random encounter that it will likely never happen again, especially now that Teddy is seeing Sonia, The Great Slag of all Hogwarts.

And boy is he making sure to let anyone with eyes knows about it, parading her around Diagonal Alley, her uncle's shop, or even taking her to the Burrow last Sunday!

Victoire gets mad all over again when she remembers the way Sonia traipsed around her grandparents' house like she owned the place, helping them set the table for lunch, and trying to charm every person in the house, all the while Teddy acted like a love-struck fool, practically drooling all over the girl.

Dominique was the only that didn't buy the act Sonia was putting on, thank Merlin. She'd openly mocked the girl until their Mum had to intervene and go out of her way to keep Dominique from biting Sonia's head off. And even then her sister had found a way to spill tea all over the girl's clothes before they left.

"You can thank me later," is the first thing Dominique tells her once they arrived home, with their Mum fuming about her sister's manners like there was no tomorrow (and Louis and her Dad trying to hide their laughs). "You can bet that bint will never come pissing around your territory again."

"Dominique!" Their mum admonishes, scandalized.

"Get over yourself, Dominique. Teddy has a right to date anyone he wants, you know," Victoire tells her, struggling with the dark satisfaction she had felt at seeing Sonia all flustered in front of their family. "We're just friends."

"Yeah, right," her sister snorts. "You keep telling yourself that, big sister, but it won't change the fact that there's something there. Otherwise, why did Teddy kept staring at you when he had brought his girlfriend over to meet the family? And if you don't have feelings for him, then how come you got so upset today?"

"I was not up–," she tries to protest.

"And jealous as hell," Dominique finishes, before sauntering off to her room grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Teddy and Victoire, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…"

"Dominique!" Her mum shrieks again, but to no avail.

But her sister is right – Victoire was upset and jealous when she first saw Teddy and Sonia together. And those feelings gnawed at her the whole day, and still persisted after it, getting worse whenever she thought of them together.

And yes, there were times she'd thought Teddy kept stealing glances at her, but those looks meant nothing right? He'd told her himself that kiss was a stupid, drunken mistake and it had meant nothing to him. Even though, at first, she'd had a feeling he was lying, he was with Sonia now, and that could not be denied.

Tonight she will see him at Uncle Harry's thirty-seventh birthday party, and she promises herself to she will act normal, cool and collected, instead of the angered, uncertain mess she were the last time they truly talked. She won't confront him, won't ask for explanations and most of all, will try not to resent the fact he'd been able to write off their little kiss so easily while she was having a hard time doing it.

She will also bring a date.

*~*

Teddy supposes it's sort of his fault, what's happening now. Victoire has brought a boy over to his godfather's birthday, and everybody is talking about how come no one knew Victoire had a new boyfriend? And such a rude one at that.

But Victoire doesn't have a new boyfriend. Or at least she didn't until last week, right? Because she hadn't told him about a new guy, or prospect, as she called them. So maybe this one was just a new friend he has never heard about.

Except that friends, as a general rule, don't kiss each other on the lips. Teddy would know – he stills feels guilty for letting his usually well-buried feelings for Victoire surface that night, when he was inebriated with freedom and Firewhiskey. So, yes, friends don't snog.

Still, this is what Marcus, Victoire's new friend,keeps on trying to do in front of her entire family. What is this guy thinking? She has uncles, many, many uncles, along with a brother, lots of cousins, and one very overprotective best friend.

Even Victoire looks uncomfortable at Mark's renewed attempts at groping her in front of her relatives, and Teddy just knows that he has to do something now. Victoire's dad keeps on getting redder by the second, and George is having a whispered conversation with Ron and Freddie that will surely not end well for anyone in the vicinity.

Now it's time for Teddy's to take action. He knows exactly what he's going to do, and, thanks to Victoire's new boyfriend, there are a lot of volunteers more than willing to get their hands dirty.

*~*

"Who did it?" Every person in the room looks terrified as Victoire paces around, her face tinted with a deep shade of red. She's angrier than anyone had ever seen it before, and the usually noisy room of the house is dead quiet.

"I'm asking a question! Who did it? Who ruined my uncle's birthday andmy date with a perfectly lovely guy?" She points her finger at them like it's a weapon, peeved. "Who was the destructive force behind all this mess?"

"No offense, Vicky," her aunt Angelina chimes in, "but that bloke of yours was anything but lovely."

"What?"

"Well, for one, he kept trying to grope you when we were in the room," Dominique joins, her voice as nonchalant as possible, given the fact that she's currently the subject of her sister's wrath. "He was rude too – kept on ogling me and Roxanne."

"He was not!"

"He also asked Mum why she chose to marry, and I quote, 'a deformed man, when my Dad said you could've gotten anyone you wanted.'" Dominique smiles turns from triumphant to plainly cocky when Victoire splutters, trying to find a possible excuse for Mark's behavior, but still comes up with nothing.

"Well, I suppose he's a bit crude," she haughtily admits, always needing to have the final word, "but this doesn't excuse the fact some of you put itching powder down his pants and then set the Garden Gnomes on him. That was just cruel!"

So maybe Teddy's plan hadn't been exactly sophisticated, but it sure had been effective. Mark left in a hurry, and no one expected him to come back.

Sure, Victoire may not look too pleased at the moment, but they were all doing her a favour. And it was funny as hell seeing Mark turn green once the itching powder started to act; not to mention watching the Gnomes biting his ankles as they ran him out of the Potter's household.

It also didn't hurt that Percy had yelled after him, sounding as posh as he could, "Do come back, will you?" Apparently, though, Victoire hadn't found their collective effort to get rid of the git all that funny as they thought she would.

"Who did it?" she shrieks, and little Lucy immediately starts to cry. "Oh, I'm sorry, Luce, I never meant to scare you, sweetie."

"She's scaring everyone," Jamie mock-whispers to his brother, eliciting snickers from almost everyone but his Dad, who sighs wearily.

"You deserve it," Rosie tells him off, then smacks the back of his head.

"Ow!"

"Rose!" Her mum admonishes while her Dad tries hard not to smile.

"Mum!" Jamie whines. "Did you just see what Rose did?"

"Yes, James, my vision is perfectly fine." His mother glares at him from across the room. "Your cousin was just saving me the trouble of having to walk there and do the same thing myself."

"That's not fair," he mumbles. "It was Teddy's idea."

The temperature in the room drops around ten degrees as Victoire, who was previously wiping Lucy's tears, hears James' confession and turns around to face Teddy. Her face remains expressionless, but her eyes look hurt and enraged at the same time, as if she cannot decide between the two emotions.

"Teddy, a word?" she says, and walks towards the Potter's backyard.

All eyes are on him as he follows her out there, preparing for battle.

*~*

"Why?" They are standing in the shadow of an ancient oak tree, her back turned to him. From her stiff posture, the determined set of her shoulders, Teddy knows he only has this chance to explain, to make her understand that he only did what he thought it was best for her.

"He was irritating," he says, "and he was getting on everyone's nerves. He was getting on your nerves, Vick. You didn't even want to be around him!"

"How dare you?" She explodes, turning around and hitting him in the stomach. He's caught off guard, and she lands breath-taking punches on his middle at least twice before he get his wits back. "Who do you think you are, Teddy? Who gave you the right to decide whether or not I wanted him around? Whether or not I liked him?" She 's pushing him now, with every force she could muster, but Teddy's ready now, and he easily encases her wrists with his hands.

"I never said a word! You started dating that, that bint, and I never said a word! I didn't meddle, and sure as hell I didn't plot with my cousins to scare her away." She's trembling now, and the amount of pain in her eyes is so overwhelming that Teddy's certainty of having done the right thing starts to waver. "What gives you the right to do this to me?"

"You chose her, Teddy." She's near tears now. "You chose Sonia, not me. You were the one that said that our kiss meant nothing, that all you wanted was for us to go back to being friends. You kissed me, you got inside my head and refused to leave, but you still chose her, Teddy. You wanted her instead of me."

"This is what you think this is about, Vick?" There's a lump currently residing in his throat, and he can't think straight, but he knows he has to get this out. "Sonia meant nothing to me. I know that, she knows that, the whole world knows that. We're over, have been over since that awful Sunday at the Burrow."

"Besides, how could I choose her when I never even knew I even had a choice to being with?"

"You know what, Teddy, there's no use in even arguing about this now." Victoire shakes him off, barely listening to a word he's saying. "It's more than obvious now that you and I, we could never work."

"I mean, we barely work as friends anymore."

"Don't say that," he says, and let go of her hands. "I know you don't mean it."

"But is true, isn't it? We hardly talk, and even when we do, it's superficial." She snorts, as if she were amused. "You couldn't even tell me the real reason why you kissed me in the first place."

"I already did," stop pushing it, he wants to tell her. iYou won't like what you might hear.

"No, you didn't."

"I kissed you because I was drunk, and it was you. How clearer can I get?"

"But why me, Teddy? Why me?"

"Because!" Damn it, she's relentless. "Because you surprise me! And your smile, it makes me feel weak, like I'm light-headed or something." Sod it all, he thinks. He's putting everything out in the open. "I kissed you because I've wanted to for ages, and I was drunk, and it was you, and youwere there!"

"Oh."

"Exactly."

"Why didn't you tell me this sooner?" She asks, and he shrugs. "When you acted like it never happened, I thought it was because you regretted doing it."

"Well, I did regret it." She tries to pull away, but he holds her firmly in place. "Listen to me, Victoire. You were the one who wanted me to tell you the whole truth."

"Yes, I do regret that kiss. But I don't regret the act itself, only the circumstances. When I thought about telling you how I feel, that wasn't exactly how I intended to do it, you know. And truth to be told, this moment isn't all that great either. When I said all I wanted was for us to be friends, I meant it. I love taking chances, but when it comes to you and me, Victoire, I get scared."

"Our friendship matters. It matters a lot. You're you, and you're important."

"But how do you feel about me?" She's practically beaming at him. Here it comes, the light-headiness, Teddy thinks. "When you say you and me, do you mean…"

"Yes, Victoire. Do you want me to spell it out?" She nods, with a big, satisfied smiled etched on her face, and damn her if Teddy's stomach doesn't practically flip-flop. Not that he would ever admit to that, anyway.

"It would help," she adds sweetly, as if she doesn't know he's on her hands.

"I love you," he tells her earnestly.

"Well, I love you too," she replies, off-handedly. "But we've always known that. How's that different now?"

"It's different because not only do I love my best friend," he tells her, slowly drawing her closer, "I'm in love with her. And, of course, there are all those un-best-friendly ideas I've been having about her."

"Pervert," she punches him once more, only this time she puts no force behind it. He encircles her wrist with his fingers again, but kisses the open palm of her hand this time. She sighs like she'd sighed that night they first kissed, and Teddy's heart starts to race wildly inside his ribcage.

"We should go," he tells her, and his voice comes out as a near-whisper, though he has no idea why it feels like he should be whispering right now. They are alone in the middle of the backyard, and the day is growing darker.

"I'm perfectly comfortable here," she says, and her breath ghosts across his face, warm and delicious.

"Seriously, we should go," he warns her, trying to focus on the horde of relatives they have inside the house instead of how soft Victoire's hair feels between his fingers. "I'm seconds away from mauling you again."

"I'm not stopping you," and she grins wickedly, bringing her lips even closer to his. "Some might call this," and her arms encircle his neck, "a hint."

"You're off you rocker," he says, and chuckles. "Remember what happened to the last guy who tried to put his paws all over you?"

"Somehow, I think they," she tilts her head towards the house, "might react differently to this. What do you say, Teddy?" She smiles again, now, thanks to his big mouth, fully-aware to the effect it has on him. "I dare you."

Really, no one could blame me, is Teddy's last coherent thought before Victoire's lips move again his, a perfect fit, everything he'd always dreamed about.

When was he ever able to resist a dare anyway?

*~*

"Hey, are you getting goosebumps Over me?" Teddy asks her in a sing-song voice, interrupting their kiss, batting his eyelashes.

Victoire finally kicks him in the shin like she's been wanting to.

*~*

They keep it a secret from practically anyone except Dominique. Well, they don't exactly tell Dominique per se – it's more like she grins at them a lot and makes smacking noise whenever Teddy comes over for lunch at Shell Cottage.

Which is every day, ever since the night Victoire attacked him with her lips on the middle of his Godfather's backyard. Or at least that's his version of the story, and he's sticking with it.

So yes, they just know she knows.

Still, Victoire tries to tell Teddy she's pretty sure every adult in their family already knows about it, though, for they stayed outside a long time on the night of her Uncle Harry's birthday. Anyone with a brain would've been able to figure it out by now.

But Teddy argues he's more comfortable thinking they're in the dark so that he doesn't have to get paranoid about having the whole if-you-hurt-her talk with Louis, or being followed into a dark alley by her Dad and her uncles.

He doesn't really understand why she smiles and shakes her head when he says that, though.

*~*

They have their first argument right around the time they hit the first-month anniversary. They fight about the future – what else is looming dangerously closer?

The day when Victoire is leaving for Hogwarts is practically hours away, and Teddy wasn't ready for the rising feeling of panic he was feeling with every ticking second. And they don't even know what started it, maybe Teddy was mocking Victoire's peculiar habit of mismatching socks, but one minute they're feeling nostalgic about being apart and in the next she calling him an impulsive git with dragon breath, and he's calling her a controlling shrewd with big toes.

It escalates quickly, like everything between them inevitably do, and Victoire tells him that she hates him and the fact that he can make her this mad.

He proceeds to tell her then that he hates that they're spending a year apart, that she wasn't born one year earlier, and that she had painted her room orange.

But then they start laughing, uncontrollably, at how stupid this whole thing is. She soothes him by telling him they'll figure it out – they've been doing fine until now. A few bumps here and there, but look at how far they've come!

He agrees, knowing that she's right – she's always right (and don't you ever forget it, Teddy), but that he'll miss her like he's never missed anyone except his parents. This is crazy, he knows it is, because they've only been together for a month, but in way, they've also been together for their whole lives.

But now she's leaving for Hogwarts without him, and he'll be at his internship, spending the entire year with Luna and Rolf's Scamander entourage of Magizoologists in Switzerland. There will be no Hogsmeade weekends, Christmas, birthdays or anything much together until he returns.

She tells him she knows it will be hard, but that she loves him and she wants to make it work. And he wants it too, with his whole heart, and but it's him and it's Victoire, and that's makes he think they might actually have a chance.

*~*

"I'll see you when I see you," she tells him, fighting hard not to let the smile slip off her face. Her siblings are inside the train somewhere, they've already loaded her trunk in the train, and she already bid her parents goodbye.

He's the only one left, and even though she'd expected it to be hard to say leave, she'd never thought it would be, well, as dramatic as it sounds, excruciating.

"Don't forget to write," he reminds her, always one for writing letters. "Long, mushy love letters filled with how much you miss me annoying you."

"I don't think I'll miss that."

"Wait and see, little ickle Victoire. Just you wait and see." She knows him, knows why he's doing this, trying to make light of the situation, trying to get their mind off the fact that in about two minutes she'll board into that train and they won't see each other again for over a year.

"Okay," and she doesn't mean to, but her eyes fill with tears.

"Hey, now," and he cups her face, looking worried. "No tears, right? We promised. It's you and me, luv." He kisses her softly. "One year has nothing against us, remember?"

She nods and sniffles, putting on a brave face.

He hugs her and says, "I love you."

"Yeah, the same, bla-bla-bla'," she jokes just to make him laugh. "Now come here and snog me senseless before I have to go."

"Since you asked so politely," he mocks, but moves over to kiss her anyway.

Those damn goosebumps put in an appearance, of course they do, and of course there are butterflies as well. Not that she would ever tell Teddy that.

Things are moving along nicely, except there's no growling or hair-grabbing of sorts (even though Victoire manages to sneak around and pinch Teddy's bum for the last time) due to the public venue, still, they're very into it when an annoying creature half-yelps, half-whimpers at the sight of them.

"Teddy! Victoire! What are you doing?"

"I think it's pretty obvious, isn't is Jamie?" Victoire's cross tone doesn't register with her cousin, because he continues to gape at them. "Go tell someone," she orders him, and he disappears as quickly as he showed up.

"I'm actually glad I'll be in Switzerland for a year now," Teddy announces in a dream-like tone once Jamie's out of their sight. "Do you think your father and your uncles will be able to track me down there?"

"Dad's a curse-breaker, remember?"

"Oh, well," he says, and pulls her closer to him again. "I might as well enjoy kissing you while I can. You know, before your Dad rips my tongue out."

"Teddy?"

"What?"

"Shut up and kiss me."

So, he does.

*~*

A/N: Many thanks go to L. and D. for their services as a beta. My overwhelming gratitude, however, goes to the mods at the HP Canon Fest Comm at Livejournal, especially MuggleMama, for being such a patient and understanding team – God knows they deserve it, and much more. If you guys are curious about my updates on my other stories, check my livejournal Sunday night =)