Disclaimer: If you recognize them, I don't own them.
Thank you so much to my amyzing twinny, Beth (EllaBethh), for supporting me in this crazy endeavour of writing all 28 het, non-incest Next-Gen pairings from the moment I told her about it over two months ago, for giving me prompts whenever I asked, for inspiring me, for helping me through every writer's block I've had, and for generally being awesome and the best twin I can ask for. Hope this is worth the wait, twinny! :D
He catches her eye across the backyard, and she feels an unfamiliar sensation swirling deep inside her.
(Because, really, they're too similar – she all ivory-diamond-glamour; he all snow-forest-charm – and this is completely ridiculous.)
"You look beautiful," he tells her, the compliment lingering in the air between them as she draws in a breath.
"Thank you," she replies, her mind whirling, trying to shove away memories of that night, when his voice was huskier and his eyes were darker and his hands were all over her body instead of clutching a wine glass – when those expensive, designer clothes they're wearing were scattered all over the floor of her bedroom – when the lights were dark and everything inside her was burning.
"Congratulations on your engagement," he tells her, voice light, words cold.
"Thank you," she repeats herself, fingers digging into the hem of her satin dress. "I think Lily's calling you."
He smirks and wanders away towards his new girlfriend, and Teddy approaches her and swings her onto the dance floor, and she almost forgets the boy with the forest-green eyes and the warmwarm hands. Because those days, when she and Teddy weren't together and the kisses that made her breathless belonged to him, are long-gone now, aren't they?
She collapses on the dewy grass, giggling with all the innocence of a little girl, her cinnamon curls fanned out around her, and she reaches up with her tiny hands and latches onto him, tugging him down on top of her, and there's sunshine shimmering all over the two of them, and it might just be the best afternoon of his life.
"Lorc," Roxanne begins solemnly when they're both stretched out on the grass, hands entertwined, "we'll always be best friends, right?"
"Of course," he answers immediately, no other option even occuring to his seven-year-old mind. "You're my best friend. Always."
Roxanne beams. "And forever."
On impulse, he leans over and kisses her cheek. She giggles and jumps up, and their game is renewed, always and forever continuing onward into the days of dragon-slaying knights and princesses locked in towers and rough-and-tough pirates and damsels walking the plank.
(But always and forever rarely lasts.)
It would be ohsoeasy to just forget – but she's Rose, and she never did go for the easy things in life.
He's a charmer, for sure, all vanilla hair and stormcloud eyes and mischievous smirks that set her every nerve on fire. Every time he touches her, whether it's a brush of his arm or his lips on hers or his body pressed tight against hers in the dark of the night, she feels electricity rushing through her body, and surely that's love, right?
One night, Scorpius presses a kiss to her collarbone and breathes against her throat, "I think we need a break."
She jerks away from him, her body suddenly cold in the autumn breezes swirling around the Astronomy tower. "From what?"
"From this," he mutters, his fingers tracing absent designs all over her body, and she wishes he didn't make her feel like this so she could be properly mad. "Rose, this whole friends with benefits thing isn't working for me."
"Fine," she snaps, scrambling up and reaching for her clothes. "Let's take a break."
"Rose, wait!" he protests, but there isn't that hint of desperation in his voice that she wishes was there, so instead of listening, she throws on her clothes and storms out of the tower.
(And, yeah, maybe she did steal his shirt and jeans at the same time so that he had to walk all the way down to Slytherin dorms in his underwear – but she figures she was justified.)
Her fingers tangle in his, brown sugar twined with white vanilla, and he pushes once, gently, and her back is against the willow tree, her blue eyes fluttering shut with a sigh of delight as he ghosts kisses up and down her neck, hands roaming her body, his breath hot on her skin, and for just a moment, everything is perfect.
"Don't," she whispers when he loosens his grip on her body, arms sliding away from her waist and his hair turning that dark shade of navy blue that she'd never really liked because it meant he was about to walk away and pretend that this – TeddyandRoxanne – didn't exist. "Don't leave."
Teddy presses a kiss to her lips, his mouth sweet and chocolatey and sinful all at once. "I'm not going anywhere."
"You were about to," she insists, a fire that hurts sparking inside her, becaue damnitall, she thinks she might actually want this, actually want TeddyandRoxanne intead of TeddyandVictoire, want them to be real, serious, true love (but they're not going to be). "You're still waiting for Victoire, aren't you?"
He stiffens, drawing back fully. "Roxie, I – "
"No," she whispers, stepping sideways, out of his reach, away from him. "I can't do this."
Roxanne turns and, with the tattered remains of her pride and dignity, walks away from him.
Happily-ever-after isn't supposed to start with an argument in a tree house, so perhaps she should have known then – it was never going to be happily-ever-after for them.
He'd been shouting, and so had she, and she's completely forgotten the reason for the argument by now, only that it made both of them mad and stubborn, which was never a good idea. Lily and Lorcan had escaped the warzone early into the argument, so it was only them in the sweltering heat, yelling at each other.
And then he kissed her.
It wasn't romantic and sweet, either – he just grabbed her arms and drew her in for a kiss that made her feel like she was on fire. His lips were hothothot on hers, his free arm wrapping around her waist and pulling her close, and everything was all passion-fire-love-hate, and she just kind of melted into the kiss.
One kiss turns into another. And another. And another.
And then one morning, she wakes up in his bed, her clothes abandoned on the floor of his bedroom, his arm draped loosely around her waist, their naked bodies pressed together, skin hot against skin, but instead of feeling like she's on fire, she just feels cold.
They never really speak to each other again.
She's got these prettysparklybright blue eyes, and they sometimes remind him of a world far, far away, and maybe that's why he can't stop thinking about her.
"I'm sorry about Lily," she tells him at Lysander and Rose's wedding, looking like a vision of beauty in ivory silk, blueblue eyes all lightbrightshine.
"I'm sorry about Teddy," he returns with a wry grin, then extends his hand. "May I have this dance?"
Victoire smiles, bright as sunshine, and takes his hand, and he sweeps her onto the dance floor without a thought to the age difference, or the funny looks they're getting, or Lily's hazel gaze sharp on the two of them, or Teddy's indigo eyes locked on their backs as they dance.
"I might regret this tomorrow," she tells him, right before she leans down and presses her lips to his.
"I won't," he whispers after tasting her sweet, honeydew kiss and wondering why Teddy ever let go of a girl like her.
"Then again," she amends, laughing as he spins her around. "I might not."
"Hi, Scorpius!" greets Victoire, breezing into the living room of Malfoy Manor ahead of Teddy and bending down to hug her boyfriend's little cousin, all silken silver sundress and dancing blue eyes and airy beauty that's unique to her. "How are you doing?"
Scorpius blinks big grey eyes up at her with all the childlike innocence of his eleven years. "Hi, Vicka," he greets, a little bit shyly, as he returns her hug. "I'm – I'm fine. Hi, Teddy."
"Hey, there, squirt," Teddy grins, wandering past and ruffling his cousin's blond hair. "Where are your mum and dad?"
"Dad's in the kitchen, eating, and Mum's upstairs getting ready for lunch with Aunt Daphne," Scorpius tells him, pointing towards the kitchen. Teddy smiles in thanks and heads off to go annoy Draco while Victoire smoothes down her dress and takes a seat on a couch near Scorpius.
"So, you'll be starting Hogwarts soon, won't you?" she asks conversationally, gracing him with a smile that makes him blush. "Are you excited?"
Scorpius nods, hopping up next to her. "Yeah! I want to be in Ravenclaw, like you," he tells her adoringly.
Victoire laughs and brushes down his hair. "Oh, you'll love Ravenclaw. And you'll fit right in," she beams. "Promise. Tell you what, after I go make sure your father hasn't killed my boyfriend, why don't you try and see if you can answer some of the riddles they ask."
A wide smile stretches his cheeks. "All right!" he grins as she stands up to go check on Teddy and Draco.
"See you later, Scorp," she calls, smiling, and heads into the kitchen, leaving a lovestruck little boy behind her.
Lily sits, curled up in the shade of a maple tree in the quaint garden where Teddy and Victoire are celebrating their engagement, and she knows it's terribly cliché, but her heart breaks a little bit more every time she sees the smile Teddy flashes Victoire, the smile that used to be hers and hers alone.
When he finds her, after an hour of dancing with Victoire, the first words out of his mouth are, "Hey, Lily-flower, are you feeling all right?"
She offers him the same smile she's given her brothers, her father, her cousins, and her friends when they ask, but – shocker – he isn't fooled by her façade (he never has been). "I'm fine, Teddy. Really. Just…just tired, is all."
"Liar," he grins, kneeling down and extending a hand to her. On impulse, he turns his fingers purple and surprises a laugh out of her. "Wanna dance? I bet I can make you feel better – or, at the very least, dizzy."
His golden eyes are already accomplishing that well enough. "I'm not in the mood, sorry," she tells him. "Raincheck?"
Teddy frowns, puzzled. "Um, sure. If you want."
She won't cry. She won't cry.
He stands up and leaves.
Originally, he doesn't think it's love, mostly because he doesn't want to sleep with her.
Roxanne is just a bouncing ball of laughter and sweets and sunny smiles, and she's too sweet for him to sleep with, really, so he settles for being her friend, because she's funny and smart and ohsopretty with her cinnamon curls and chocolate eyes and brown sugar skin, and sometimes, he can live with just friends.
(It's not like he's in love with her, anyway.)
She lays her head on his lap one night, blinking those soulful brown eyes up at him. "Hey, Ly, what's going on with us?"
"Pardon?" he asks, bemused. "What's going on with us?"
"I mean," she sighs, "you don't look at me like you look at other girls."
"Because you're different from other girls," he tells her immediately, automatically, because it's true. "You're actually my friend instead of a friend with benefits, y'know? And that's what I like about you."
She studies him for a moment, brown eyes bright and disconcerting, then reaches up, wraps an arm around his neck, and pulls him down for a kiss.
"Yeah," she says lightly when they break apart, "we're better off as friends."
No, Lysander wants to say, still a little dizzy from the kiss, no, we're really, really not.
Tap, tap, tap.
Blue eyes close for a moment, then slide over to the pencil tapping away happily on a fair, freckled cheek. Auburn curls slide over the little yellow muggle device, obscuring the pink eraser that's making the distracting noise. Or perhaps it would be wiser to blame –
"Rose," Lorcan says, daring to cross Rose's little bubble of personal space. "Could you please stop that tapping?"
She looks up at him, raising an eyebrow. "Pardon?"
Nobody interrupts Rose Weasley when she's in the middle of thinking, even when her thinking involves tapping a pencil against her cheek which is rather distracting when you're trying to do Charms homework. He knows nobody else in Gryffindor, what with James gone, would have the courage – or stupidity – necessary to tell her to stop. Which is weird, considering they're Gryffindors.
Lorcan grits his teeth and forges on. "Please stop that tapping. It's distracting me."
Rose crosses her arms and levels a hard stare on him. "What do I get in return?"
"My peace of mind."
"That's not good enough."
"I'll take you on a date?"
All considered, it's not a bad exchange.
"Not that I'm complaining," Roxanne announces brightly, leaning back and crossing her arms behind her head, "but why, exactly, did you take off your shirt?"
Scorpius turns to smirk at her, running a hand through his white-blond hair. "Because it's hot and it's summer and you know you like seeing me shirtless, Roxie. Don't even try and pretend." Sunlight glints in his eyes, all danger-rebel-danger and she's got to admit, she's always had a thing for bad boys.
But she's Roxanne Weasley, so she winks at him and says, "Not when they're almost albino, my dear Scorpio."
His smirk fades into a scowl. "Don't call me that."
There's a moment of silence.
Then, "Are you going to come into the pool or what?"
"What," she answers absently, tipping her cowgirl hat equipped with about seven different prank items down over her head. "Not in the mood."
Scorpius kneels down, reaching out to flick a stray cinnamon curl out of her face. "Mind if I stay with you?"
"But then you'd have taken your shirt off for nothing," she points out, grinning at him.
"Are you sure?"
To be honest, she's not entirely sure how they ended up making out in the backyard of the Potters' house. It's not really the kind of thing she does – that is, kissing her cousin's boyfriend behind her back. She's Molly, after all, the sugar-and-spice gardener girl, and she's meant to be with Lysander or someone, not him.
"We can't do this," Teddy murmurs, breaking apart from her, his lips tinted bright pink from her Strawberry Bubble lipstick. "We can't, Molly. I – there's Victoire, and I just – I can't."
"Then why did you kiss me?" she demands, crossing her arms and hoping he forgets to stop touching her because his hand is warm on her waist and the sensation burns her in a kind of way that makes her appreciate his touch all the more.
"It was a mistake," he insists, running his free hand through his inky-black hair anxiously. "Please, Molly. I'm sorry, but this can't happen again."
She glances away, over at the window where she can see Victoire regaling Lily with tales of New York and Broadway, and sighs. "Fine. I suppose we won't mention it ever again, either?"
Teddy half-smiles. "You're the best, Molls."
Does it not occur to him, she wonders as he leans down to kiss her cheek, that the only thing he does to Weasley girls not named Victoire is lead them on?
Because she's Molly Weasley (the second), and if there's one thing she's got in spades, it's determination, so he probably shouldn't have been all that surprised when she marches up to him and demands to know if he likes her or not.
"Wha—what?" he asks, floored by the possibility that his little spitfire of a best friend had noticed his (don't say it) crush on her. "What are you talking about, Molls?"
She crosses her arms, blue eyes blazing. "I'm talking about the way you're always hugging me and smiling at me and looking at me, and then you turn around and go flirt with some other girl like you're trying to make me jealous – as if you could do that with tarts like Adrianna Wilkins, anyway – and then come right back to me after you break their hearts. I don't like mixed messages, Lysander."
"I…" Lysander stares at her, hopelessly confused. "Of course I like you, Molls. You're – you're my best friend – "
"Not like that," she huffs. "You know what I mean, Ly."
His heart hammers in his chest for the space of a couple of heartbeats, and then he's leaning down, closer and closer, and he can inhale her pine-tree smell and practically taste her strawberry lipgloss, and she's got her hands tangled in his blond hair, and he's pulling her even closer without realizing he's doing it –
"Guess that determination of yours came in handy," he grins when they part, before claiming her lips in another strawberry-flavored kiss.
She likes to dance on her balcony sometimes, spinning and twirling to the rhythm of the night breezes, and he likes to watch her sometimes, leaning against the wall, entranced by the beauty of her motions and how fluidly she can move it without even concentrating.
Dancing comes as naturally to her as flying does to him, and maybe that's why he goes up to her one night and asks –
"Do you ever dream of dancing, Lucy?"
Under the starlight, she seems to shineshineshine. "Every night, Lorcan. Why?"
"Because it seems like something special," he answers, shrugging and running a hand through his sun-gold hair. "And special things deserve to be dreamed about, don't they?"
"Not any more than normal things," she points out, crossing the balcony to reach him, a smile on her face that shimmers like the stars. "But it's the special things that deserve action."
And she's special, after all, so it seems only natural to reach over and cup her cheeks and kiss her like he's wanted to do for years, kiss her like he's been dreaming about – because he still dreams about special things, like Lucy – and then she's kissing back and the rest of the world doesn't even seem to matter.
He's alone when she finds him, sitting on an armchair in the Ravenclaw Common Room with an upside-down Transfiguration textbook in his hands, grey eyes focused on the loveseat where Rose is giggling at some joke her new boyfriend had told her.
Sometimes, Molly really hates being a Ravenclaw. How is it, after all, that the most drama-prone members of the Weasley family circle had ended up in Ravenclaw?
"Need help studying?" she asks conversationally, though she's younger than him by two years and Transfiguration is his best subject, so that's highly unlikely.
"I'm good," Scorpius mutters, his gaze flickering over to her once before returning to Rose and – Jake, was it? "Does he have something I don't?"
Molly winces. "Rose?" she suggests.
Scorpius glares at her.
"Oh, cheer up," she sighs, exasperated. "There's nothing wrong with you, all right? You're a great guy, and you have dozens of girls all over the school swooning over you, so forget my cousin and go chase one of them instead, why don't you?"
"I don't feel like it," he replies shortly.
Molly rolls her eyes. "Hogsmeade weekend is coming up…" she points out, hoping to elicit a response but getting none. On impulse, she asks, "Go with me?"
His eyes widen.
(They get married.)
Up the tree, turn right, left, left, right, push aside the leaves –
"Found you," Teddy grins, and she sighs. "Come on, Nika, what are you doing up here?"
Dominique huffs, rocking back to lean against the trunk. "Hiding."
"From who?" he presses, reaching a hand out to her, but she bats him away from her. "Nika. What's the matter?"
"You're marrying my sister," she says, or at least, that's what he manages to make out because she's dropped her head onto her knees and her voice is muffled. "That's what the matter is, you rainbow-haired freak of nature."
"You love me," he retorts instantly before comprehending her first sentence. "Wait, why do you care about that?"
Dominique lifts her head, a scowl painted on her pretty face. "Why do you think? You just said it. Honestly, for someone with such good eyesight, you're so damn blind."
"First of all, I'd have thought you knew by now that emphasizing words doesn't work with me," Teddy remarks. "And second – what did I just say?"
She's silent for a moment. Then – "I love you."
He's silent for a longer moment. "Oh."
(It's hard, though, to fight against a fairytale.)
Pretty is one word used (often) to describe Miss Lily Luna Potter. Drop-dead gorgeous are another three used, even more often than pretty. Lysander knows this perhaps better than anyone else – he is, after all, her best friend.
But watching her wrap herself around Marcellio Zabini, giggling and flirting and batting her lashes like a pro, she might just be the ugliest thing he's ever seen.
"What do you think you're doing?" he demands after dragging her away from a smirking Zabini, observing her in concern as she tilts her head just right so her blue-streaked-fire curls spill downdowndown and her sharp, ohsojaded hazel gaze pierces him.
"What do you mean, Ly?" she asks, pouting prettily – she's Lily, and she's the queen of pretty things. That's all her life seems to be, these days. "I was just chatting with good old Zabini – "
Lysander grits his teeth. "I don't mean just Zabini. I mean all the guys you flirt with, all the time. Do you have some sort of twisted reason for doing it, Lily? You're starting to worry me, which takes a lot, considering I've known you since forever. This isn't you – "
"Don't tell me what I am!" she snaps, hands settling on her hips, firefire curls blazing around her head like a halo of silken red wine. "How do you know what is or isn't me, Lysander? What gives you the right to judge me?"
"I'm not judging you!" he cries, exasperated. "Get off your high horse! I'm your friend, and I'm worried about you."
"Then you'll leave me alone," she sniffs, her words decisive, and turns to flounce off.
Lysander grabs her hand, swivels her around, and kisses her like he's never kissed any girl before, letting his lips meld against hers in an explosion of her cinnamon-honey sweetness and his mango-lemonade citrus, flickering fire upon solid earth, his arms warm and lanky around her slender frame, her hands tracing a path of electricity up his chest, and it works.
By the ocean, collecting seashells – that's where he always finds her. It's kind of become a tradition now, so, she's not at all surprised when his warm, familiar voice says, "Hi," right behind her while she's searching for the glimmer of a seashell amongst the white sand.
"Hi, Lorc," she greets, not even turning around – she knows what he looks like, and she knows he's smiling at her, and that's all she needs to know. "What are you doing up so late?"
"What are you doing up so late, Seashell Girl?" he retorts teasingly, reaching out to tweak an orange-gold curl of hers.
"Collecting seashells," she replies, smothering a giggle and instead favoring him with a smile. "Your turn."
"Watching you collecting seashells," he answers immediately, his hair-twined fingers letting go of the curl and trailing down her body, inciting electricity wherever he touches, till he reaches her hand, interlocks their fingers, and pulls her around to face him. "How many have you found?"
"Ten," she tells him, trying to pretend her breath isn't lost at the sight of him, his sunny hair and sunny smile eclipsed by the haze of silver moonlight around him. "Why?"
"Just wondering," he laughs – he always asks her that, and she knows it – and squeezes her hand. "Mind if I join you?"
"Not at all," she beams. "As long as you can find enough seashells to keep up with me."
He takes that as a challenge and spends the rest of the hours until midnight bleeds gold dawnlight by her side, collecting seashells.
Blue. Blue. Blue. Sparkly. Blue.
"You never cease to amaze me," Scorpius laughs, running his thumb over the back of Lucy's hand, marveling over how she can make something so simple as adding glitter nail polish to one nail and not the other seem so extraordinary. "You're a sparkly blue rebel, then?"
"Or just an ordinary girl with a fondness for blue nail polish," Lucy giggles. "And glitter."
"Right," Scorpius drawls. "There's nothing ordinary about you, Luce."
Lucy lifts her free hand and brushes a strand of blond hair out of his eyes. "That's only because I know you, Mister It's Totally Possible To Fly Without A Broom."
"Shut up," Scorpius grumbles as she tries to smother her laughter. "That was only one time!"
"Talk about 'never cease to amaze', yeah?" Lucy teases, ruffling his hair.
Scorpius reaches up, snatches her hand away from his precious blond locks, and brings it down to his mouth level to press a kiss to it. "Love you, Lucy."
Her blue eyes sparkle like the polish on her nail and the dreams in her mind. "Love you, too, Scorpius."
Perhaps she's not the first Weasley girl – perhaps not even the last – to fall head over heels in love with Teddy Lupin, and perhaps she doesn't have Victoire's ethereal shimmer or Lily's fiery sparkle or Dominique's warm glimmer, but she's still so lovably Rose, something different from all the others.
Perhaps he can't be entirely blamed for whatever this is fluttering between them like a thread in a tapestry or a wind in a meadow, something that might be his biggest sin since he left Victoire's safe perfection in search of adventure.
(After all, can he beg absolution from a crime that wasn't his fault?)
Rose's touch is electricity, not satin or fire or starlight, on his skin, her every kiss infused with startling passion, startling enough that he wasn't sure, at first, that this was the kind of adventure he wanted after dealing with Lily's blazing fire and Dominique's everchanging winds – certainly not after living with Victoire's light sunshine.
"Do you love me?" she'd asked when he was having doubts, one hand splayed on his bare chest, over his heart, her other hand tangled in his turquoise spikes. "Really, truly, madly, deeply?"
He'd taken a deep breath – with Weasley girls, one could never be sure if they were about to grant you absolution or execution – and leaned down to press his lips to hers. "Yes."
And maybe that's enough.
Swirls of color bloom from her paintbrush, sweeping across the empty canvas in a cacophony of brightness and silent noise and dreams, twisting and tiwrling and forming shapes out of her imagination, beauty out of chaos, dreams out of wishes.
"That's pretty," he murmurs, leaning over her shoulder to look at the painting taking shape. "Why don't you show more people your art, Lucy? You're brilliant."
She tilts her head, dipping her paintbrush in water to free her hand so she can brush back loose blond curls from her face. "Thank you," she says instead of replying, instead of smiling, instead of answering the question he's been wondering for years – she's Lucy, though, so he hadn't really expected her to answer that.
Instead of pressing the point – she doesn't reply well to nagging, he's learned from experience and four years of being her best friend – he laughs and touches her arm, bared by her silver silk sundress, and wonders if what this is between them is a sin as he traces designs on her skin.
"You're thinking too loud," Lucy complains, her voice light against the heavy thoughts in his mind as he thinks of Molly – his girlfriend – and Lorcan – his twin, in love with Lucy – and how, for their sakes, he should stop this friendship before it becomes something more, but he can't.
"Sorry," he murmurs, and maybe he seals his fate as a sinner in that moment when she turns her head and smiles at him – maybe they're both sinners for loving each other against the secure perfection of MollyandLysander and LucyandLorcan, because LucyandLysander wouldn't – couldn't – shouldn't work.
Yet, maybe it does.
Deep in the forest surrounding his home, there's a little static clearing ringed by evergreen trees. And in that clearing, Lorcan finds Lily, curled up under the shade of a tree with her curls fire on the bark and her eyes bright as she reads an urban fantasy book with knife-wielding angels on the cover.
"Did you run away?" he asks her, amused, stopping in front of her and looking down at her tiny form – she's got the stature of a dancer instead of a Quidditch player like her brothers, and it's especially obvious when her body's curled like a ball and the only thing he can see are her head, arms, and legs from the knees down.
"Mm," Lily huffs, which is her way of saying yes, he knows, as she looks away from her book to pierce him with her hazel gaze. "Did you follow me?" she retorts, challenging, daring, just like he'd expected – she's Lily, and she's more than a bit predictable, though she likes to deny it.
"You bet I did," Lorcan laughs, kneeling down beside her and reaching out to tug on a fire-bright curl of hers. "Why are you out here, Firecracker? Did your brothers do something stupid again?"
Lily sighs, bookmarking her page and setting her book aside. "No, Lorc. You did," she informs him with startling honesty, hazel eyes reflecting the light of the fading sunset as she looks at him, almost betrayed, almost unhappy – but she's Lily, and she's never unhappy, so he doesn't know what to say.
"What'd I do?" he demands, amazed at her accusation – she's his best friend, and the last thing he'd ever want to do is hurt her. "Lils," he adds, almost pleading, when she looks away and refuses to answer. "I can't fix it if I don't know why you're hiding out here."
"Lucy asked you out," she murmurs, dropping her gaze to the static (everything's static in this little slice of heaven) green grass, absently pulling on a blade the color of her brother's eyes. He stays silent, expecting an addendum like and you didn't tell me, but it never comes.
Lorcan takes a deep breath and cups her cheeks, bringing her head up so he can truly look at her again. "I said no," he informs her. "For you, Lils."
Maybe her running away to the forest was a good thing, he reflects dizzily. It certainly makes it easier to kiss without interruptions.
All she'd like is to be able to pretend – she's an actress, after all, but it's funny how she can only slip into somebody else's mind and heart and soul without every being able to understand her own.
"Penny for your thoughts?" he asks her, tracing the length of a loose red curl down her face with a sugar quill, his grey eyes brighter than the silver necklace looped around her neck, sparking with the mischief that had made her fall head over heels in the first place.
"Nothing," she murmurs, flipping a page in her book without every comprehending the multitude of words glaring up at her, too distracted by his effortless charm and the way his eyes skim over her body, almost like she – like he thinks – that she's pretty.
(But she's nothing compared to the spicy sweet perfection of Rose, or even the dreamy light of Lucy or the starbright dazzle of Dominique, so she lets that thought fly out of her mind like she's tried to make her feelings fly out of her heart.)
"You look distracted," he muses, dropping the sugar quill so his fingers touch her cheek, warm and butterfly-inducing on her skin. "And you're normally so focused."
Lily's heart jumps. "Why do you say that?" she breathes, tapping her own (non-sugary) quill on the table.
Scorpius half-grins. "I know you, Strawberry – " And she'd be lying if his nickname didn't still make her heart rate triple. " – and I know that you're almost never distracted, unless you're on a sugar high. What's up with this new brooding Lily, huh?"
"I'm not brooding," she laughs, feeling a blush warm her cheeks even after he's withdrawn his hand. "I'm just thinking."
"Loudly," he points out, grinning fully at her, and then he's suddenly leaning over, his breath washing over her, minty-fresh and making her dizzy. "Think a little louder, Strawberry, and I might be able to figure you out."
He wanders out of the library, trailing behind him a pathway of lights – not spotlights, but fairy lights, that dazzle her into feeling like this thing blazing between them might actually count for something – and for the first time, she thinks she might want him to do just that.
Everything about her makes him feel like he's dreaming, and sometimes, that feels like the best feeling in the world, makes him feel like he can do anything, even swoop down and kiss her and make her his princess and be her knight in shining armor like in those fairytales she's always reading.
And other times, it feels like a constant cloud over his head, because she's Lucy, the girl with stars shining bright in her eyes and dreams swirling around her, keeping her encased in her fantasies and away from any sort of real love he could give her.
"Dreaming is good for you," she'd told him once, trailing her hand down his chest and lighting fires everywhere she touched, a smile brightening her face. "It keeps your hopes up, gives you something to believe in, and we all need that."
Teddy had fixed her with a mystified indigo gaze. "What if it gets your hopes up for nothing, though? Not everyone gets their fairytale ending."
"Not everybody needs a fairytale ending," Lucy had reminded him, stepping closer so her fair curls brushed his cheek. "You didn't need Victoire to be happy, did you?"
"I suppose not," he'd muttered, torn between wishing she'd step away and stop making him feel like this and praying she'd never leave his side. "But don't you need Narnia or something?"
Lucy smiles every time somebody brings up Narnia. "No, of course not. All I need is to be happy. Isn't that what everybody needs?"
"You just said we needed something to believe in."
"That, too. Can't we have both?"
That day, he'd kissed her for the first time.
"You know, Rosie," he remarks casually as he saunters into her mahogany office, blue eyes scanning the rows of beautiful, colorful glass items that line her shelves with admiration, "I never really had you pegged as a glassblower."
Rose perches on the edge of her desk, adjusting her white reading glasses, a smile bright on her face. "I don't think many people did," she said matter-of-factly, piling some paperwork together. "Everybody expected me to go into the Ministry."
Conversation lulls for a moment as he leans to examine a delicate blue glass bowl, swirling with pastel pink spirals and hosting a collection of sweets to satisfy even Lily's sweet toth.
"And don't call me Rosie," she adds suddenly, her order cracking the silence like a whip and bringing a smile to his face.
"Well," Lysander chuckles, "at least you haven't changed too much, have you – Rosie?"
Rose narrows her eyes. "You're incorrigible," she huffs, but there's still an amused smile splayed on her face, a relic of the times when they could joke easily and freely between themselves without worrying about silly things like love and distance and unfulfilled dreams.
"You love me, anyway," he replies lightly, finding the tightening in his chest directly correlates to how much he misses her and how much he wishes she still lived in England. Italy is far too far, center of wizarding art or not. "Hey, what's this?"
Lysander's hand cradle around a sword of glass, lovingly blown to resemble Excalibur – he'd always been a bit of a King Arthur geek – with intricate swirls of silver and gold shading the glass, dazzling him with the reflected sunlight filtering in through the nearby window. On a notecard near the sword, his name is written in Rose's neat, tidy cursive.
"Oh," Rose sighs. "That was supposed to be your birthday present. I guess I forgot to hide it – not that I had much warning when you fell through my fireplace," she mock-chides.
A grin lights his face. "You made this for me?" he asks in wonder.
"No, the other Lysander with a birthday next month."
"Darn. I can't kiss you in thanks, then?"
"…No, feel free to do that."
With one hand curled around the glass Excalibur's hilt and the other snaked around her waist, he obeys her order with all the delight of a recently crowned King Arthur.
By the time he builds up the courage to approach her, the sun is bleeding wine-red dusklight all over the star-spangled skies and she's already finished her gardening – he finds her kneeling in the shade of a leafy tree at the end of her garden, looking at something in her hands.
"Molly?" he asks, keeping his voice light and quiet because he knows how much she hates the sound of shouting, ever since her parents' divorce. "Aren't you coming in for dinner?"
She tilts her head up, blinking against the fading sunlight to flash him a smile. "Yeah, I am. I just – I found this, and I had to stop. Look at it."
Bewildered, Lorcan kneels down beside her, inhaling her leaves-and-roses scent as subtly as he could manage, and she unfurls her hand to reveal what she's been cradling. It's a medium-sized bird's egg, colored the same shade of blue as her pretty eyes.
"It's a robin's egg," Molly explains, holding it out so he can brush one finger over the smooth eggshell. "I thought it was about to hatch, but maybe not. I'm not good with animals. Are you?"
Lorcan half-grins at her, completely forgetting about the gala he'd been about to ask her to in favor of soaking in the sight of her rarest smile, the one reserved for him. "A little, yeah. Mostly with magical animals, though. We should take this in and have your sister look at it, though. She's great with all living things. Except plants, obviously – that's your territory."
Molly giggles, brushing a red curl out of her face. "Lucy's not that bad at gardening," she points out, cupping her hands around the egg again and standing up. "Are you coming?"
"Oh, yeah, I am," he says quickly, hopping up to join her. "I meant to ask you something, you know."
"What is it?" she asks, turning to face him so she's walking backwards, and in the red-gold light of the sunset, with her curls fire around her face and her eyes bluer than the egg in her hands, she looks like a dream, like a breath of heaven, and he feels his world spinning around as he leans forward, an apocalypse wrapped up in the kiss he presses to her lips, every notion of their previous romances – MollyandLysander and LucyandLorcan – history, and every cliché firework and butterfly and dream-come-true feeling soaring inside him.
"Will you – " Lorcan takes a gulp of air when they part, his hand still cradling her cheek, her breath warm on his face. "Will you go to the Gala with me?" he murmurs.
Molly smiles, brighter than the petals on her blooming flowers. "On one condition," she tells him, stepping closer so she's fully wrapped in his arms, her body heat a steady comfort against the cool winds whipping through her garden. "Kiss me again?"
"Gladly." Mindful of the egg, he swoops down to kiss her again, and the second time is even better than all the dreams and fireworks in the world.
"Oh, well, hello, Me, I'm I."
"Very funny, Nika. Can I come in, or are you indecent or something?"
A grin lights her face as she swings the door open. "Or something," she answers cheerfully, smoothing down the lavender silk skirt of her bridesmaid dress. "Although I could use some help zipping this stupid dress up."
Within a moment of her fixing her most emotively imploring blue eyes on him, he's melted. "Turn around," he grumbles, though he knows she can see the smile playing on his lips. "Don't you have a sister to do this for you, anyway?"
"Victoire? Oh, no, she's far too busy running around and making sure everything is perfect," Dominique says cheerfully. "For all of her creativity in planning a wedding, she's remarkably uncreative when it comes to actually being a bride."
Scorpius fumbles with her zipper. "You make no sense sometimes, you know that?" he tells her lightly.
"Thank you, kind sir," she chirps in a dead-on mimick of one of Lucy's fanciful fairytale princess. "You know, it's just a zipper," she adds, raising an eyebrow at his lack of success in his battle with her zipper. "Why is it taking you so long?"
"Your gratitude is overwhelming, milady, truly," Scorpius drawls, finally winning over her zipper and tugging it up. "There you go. Now are you ready to walk down the aisle?"
"No," Dominique pouts, hands flying up to finger-comb her elegantly-styled orange-gold curls. "Victoire's not going to let me out until my hair is hairsprayed into perfection."
Scorpius sighs, reaches up, removes her hands gently, and slides a crystal headband he'd grabbed off the vanity into place amongst her cascade of curls. "There. You look beautiful. Now are you ready? The sooner we walk down the aisle, the sooner Victoire does, and the sooner we can eat."
Dominique flashes him a smile that sets his heart racing. "I don't feel like it," she informs him brightly, probably just to be contrary. With Weasleys, word games are all about supremacy, and he knows from experience it's impossible to win against her.
"You're impossible," he grins, rolling his eyes and grabbing the last raspberry off a bowl set on a table in one corner of her dressing room. "Say, where did you get these?"
"Don't eat that," she chides just as he's about to pop it into his mouth. "I stole a bowl off the refreshments table. Vicka didn't even notice. No, don't eat that!"
An idea forms in his head. "If I give this to you, will you come with me and get the wedding started?" he teases.
Dominique props her hands on her waist. "Is that your pitiful attempt at bribery?" she demands, hiding a smile. "Because you can eat that if you want."
Scorpius raises an eyebrow and deliberately bites into the raspberry. An instant later, he spits it back into the bowl. "That might be the most bitter raspberry I've ever eaten. You set me up!"
"Maybe." Dominique smiles innocently at him. "Are you ready to walk down the aisle?"
Scorpius mutters a curse and follows her out. Two years later, before she walks down the aisle as a bride, he makes sure there's a bowl of raspberries sitting in her dressing room.
Being surrounded by family might just be the best feeling in the whole wide world, and Victoire Weasley would toast to that.
"Sweetheart, aren't you worried about Cyrille? I think she's actually managing to overwhelm Lily, and you know how Lily was at that age," Teddy laughs, coming up behind her and wrapping an arm around her shoulders as they watched her multitude of cousins play with the latest additions to the family tree.
"Absolutely unmanageable?" Victoire suggests, smiling as her youngest daughter, all of five years, barrels into her exhausted godmother with the boundless energy of a little child playing tag, bringing Lily down to the grass with her. "She'll be fine. If anyone can handle an exploding ball of sunshine, it's Lily."
Teddy chuckles. "I think Al might be better equipped to deal with Cyrille. He's actually lived with Lily." On cue, Albus appears at his sister's side, rolling his eyes and scooping his goddaughter up into his arms so Lily could get to her feet. "See?"
"He's just practicing," Victoire smiles. "Nessie's due any day now. He's going to have to learn to put up with the pitter patter of little feet soon enough."
He tilts his head so his shock of turquoise hair brushes her neck and presses a kiss to her cheek. "Speaking of the pitter patter of little feet, did you go to the doctor? What's the verdict?"
She beams and moves his hands to her deceptively flat stomach. "I was going to tell everyone at once, so we could get the congratulations over with in one fell swoop," she tells him softly.
His eyes widen and turn golden. "Seriously? Oh, goodness, Torie, that's amazing! Our fifth child, can you imagine? Are you ready? Wait – are you feeling all right? Do you need anything? Can I get you – ?"
"Teddy!" Victoire laughs, leaning into his hug. "Relax. I'm not even two months in. I feel fine. Instead of worrying over our fifth child, why don't we search for our current four in the mess of our family out there?"
Her husband takes a deep breath, then spins her around to kiss her fully on the mouth, entangling his arms around her and keeping them there even after she breaks the kiss with a smile on her face.
"I see Remy," he adds after a moment of silence filled with love and affection and the joy that comes of a new baby. "James is helping him pretend he's a dragon, so he's pretty much the highest thing in the air. And Aurora's over there with Lucy under the maple tree, reading a Narnia book."
Victoire smiles brightly at him. "Oh, good. She was hoping to finish The Silver Chair this month," she says cheerfully, laughing as Teddy locks his arms securely around her waist and twirls her around. "What about the twins?"
"Cyrille's up on Fred's back at the moment, and Caleb – " Teddy pauses for a moment to search for their youngest son in the mix of the crowd. "Oh, there he is. Louis is feeding him some cake. Um, is that good for him?"
Victoire raises an eyebrow. "He's five. It's fine," she giggles. "Now, why don't we go and tell Mum and Dad they're having a new grandchild?" she suggests, interlocking their fingers togther.
"They're going to ask if we're trying to rival your grandparents," Teddy jokes as she pulls him along into the midst of the family. "Are we?"
"Oh, no," Victoire says quickly. "This is our last one, all right?"
Teddy chuckles. "All right," he agrees, grinning, and reaches down to kiss her one last time, surrounded by perhaps the best family in the world.
Author's Notes: Merlin's beard, this is my 90th fic. :D I decided to go all out for this one (though how I'm going to top it for 100, I really don't know), and write all of the het, non-incest Next-Gen couples I could think of. I started this over two months ago, and I'm finally finished, and I couldn't be happier. I really hope you all liked it, and if you read, please drop me a review to let me know what you thought! :D
Don't favorite without reviewing, please and thank you :)