August 28th, 2026
Lily stood in the hallway of St. Mungo's, next to Teddy, who was wandering in circles with the air of someone who had been told that he had recently won a small fortune. He had a grin plastered on his face, and stared around the waiting room as though he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life.
Lily, recently graduated from a particularly exciting year at Hogwarts, folded her arms and lifted her eyebrows. "You all right there?" she asked, amused. He didn't answer. "I heard the Chudley Cannons just won the World Cup." Still no answer. Lily rubbed the thick white line of the scar on her throat, a souvenir from her final year at Hogwarts. She was still getting used to the lower, huskier tone of her voice, another reminder of her seventh year. "Is that six house-elves riding a hippogriff past the window, over there?"
Teddy turned and looked at her for a long moment. "Yeah…" he turned the other way.
Lily tried not to snort. "Ted, just go in and be with Victoire and the baby, I'll wait here for everyone else," she told him. Teddy looked at her as though he hadn't heard her properly.
"You. Go. See. Wife," Lily said, slowly and clearly as she pointed to Victoire's hospital room.
"Ah, right," Teddy said. "Thanks, Lil," he said suddenly, grabbing her into a tight hug. "Love you."
There was a tiny tug on her heartstrings. She rarely thought of Teddy that way anymore, but every now and then, it caught her by surprise. "I…I love you too, Teddy."
"Really, Pix, thanks for everything. You've always been there for me. I love you like none of the others; you've been my favorite for as long as I can remember. I don't know what I'd have done without you," Teddy embraced her again. He laughed a little. "I'm really, really glad you survived this year."
Lily felt her eyes fill with tears as she patted Teddy's back. Her throat ached as she laughed as well. "All right, you lunatic. Go be with your family. I'll be here."
Teddy went down the hall, the same goofy grin on his face as he walked into Victoire's room, where she lay holding their newborn, a son whom they had named Remus Lowell Lupin.
Lily sighed and sat down in the waiting room, looking over her shoulder for her family, who would surely be storming through in full force at any moment. She rubbed her scar, a new, but frequent habit. Secretly, she rather liked the mark; she thought it made her look daring, and her Uncle George, assuming the title of "The Holey One," had proclaimed her a real member of the family. Ginny had smacked him hard for that.
Bill and Fleur had been in the south of France when their daughter had gone into early labor; the delivery had been so surprisingly quick that they were just now working their way back to England. Harry and Ginny were at work, and also en route to the hospital. Molly and Arthur, both of whom were well into their seventies now, had been given the message, and were on their way to meet their first great-grandchild. Lily, however, had been the only one close enough that Teddy could imagine calling when he needed help at the hospital, so she had Apparated straight over from the Leaky Cauldron, where she'd been meeting with Lorcan and Alice.
Lily scratched out quick letters to each of her uncles: Charlie, Percy, George, and Ron, with instructions to pass along the message, as she sat waiting. She went to the post room at the end of the hall and sent off four owls bearing the news. After she had released them, Lily stared out the window at the bright blue summer sky.
"You've been my favorite for as long as I can remember…I love you…"
And she loved him too. No longer in the painful teenage crush phase, Lily had come to realize that the love she and Teddy shared, as each other's "favorites," was something larger than any romantic love; not better, just different. It was a love that specially bonded them alone. Lily wasn't envious of Victoire, not when she knew that she wasn't in love with Teddy.
She resolved herself then and there, that when it came to Teddy, she would take the love of a best friend over a romantic love any day. Because the love he gave her was so much more than just love.
"Lily?" Lily turned around to see her Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill. "Wair are zey? Wair is my Victoire?" Fleur's eyes were full of happy tears.
Lily hugged them both, a smile spreading across her face. "In here," she said, leading them to the door.
Uncle Bill kissed her cheek as he and his wife entered. "Thanks, sweetheart," he said quietly. Lily nodded up at him. As he went over to where his wife was cooing over the baby, Lily and Ted made eye contact. Lily folded her arms and smiled at him. Teddy grinned back, then lifted his son from Victoire's arms and passed him to Fleur. Lily nodded to herself and walked back out to the waiting area.
Yeah, she thought, rubbing her throat softly. Me and Ted; that's a love that's more than love.
As a side note, if you want to know where Lily's scar came from, keep an eye out for a multi-chap challenge response that I'll be posting very soon. As always, please do let me know if there's anything you liked or didn't like, or if you think I should work with these two again somehow. Thanks! (Hugs to BlueEyes444 and happyndhilarious, as well as my lovelies who added me to Story Alert! Thank you!)