Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Title: Things Fall Apart.
Prompt(s): Staying put. Tiny green journals. Pretentious modern art. Fountains. Albus/Scorpius. Floaty dresses.
"'Everything that comes together falls apart,' the Old Man said. 'Everything. The chair I'm sitting on. It was built, and so it will fall apart. I'm gonna fall apart, probably before this chair. And you're gonna fall apart. The cells and organs and systems that make you you—they came together, grew together, and so must fall apart. The Buddha knew one thing science didn't prove for millennia after his death: Entropy increases. Things fall apart.'"
—Looking for Alaska by John Green
This is how it starts —
A baby girl and a young boy in a hospital room, the world topsy-turvy. When he holds her, the world falls down. She links her little finger in his, pink and fresh-faced and wailing. The world restarts.
She's wearing a floaty dress the poofs out at her waist and reaches just above her knees. When she plops onto the chair and crosses her arms and pouts, she looks almost like a cupcake. With red-haired frosting and green-eyed sprinkles.
Teddy clucks her under the chin and kisses her forehead. "Don't get your spirits down, darling," he hums, and they dance together, her stepping on his feet and him nearly dropping her onto the floor.
(He never quite does let her hit the ground.)
Victoire cuts in after a few minutes and —
Maybe it's just because she's seven years old and doesn't know what love is yet.
Maybe it's because she's seven years old and still requires a never-ending charm on her candle to sleep.
Maybe it's because she's seven years old and the day before they'd baked a cake together, and she'd dotted flour on the tip of his nose and he let her lick the bowl, hugging her and whispering, "Happy early birthday, Lily Potter," in her ear.
Maybe it's because she's seven years old and he's seventeen and she loves him already and he's never going to look at her the way she likes.
He takes her to a Muggle museum in London that he likes, and they stand around together, looking at pretentious modern art. Lily doesn't quite know what to do, so she watches the Muggles around them.
They all stand with their hips tilted and their index finger and thumb underneath their chins, and stare at the same painting for ages before nodding at each other and moving on.
Lily and Teddy proceed to copy them for about ten minutes before Teddy links her elbow in his.
"I'll treat you to fish and chips if you treat me to the first door out of here," he murmurs sheepishly.
She doesn't hesitate to tighten her grip on him. "Race you there."
They don't even mind when the guard yells at them. They would've left eventually had they not gotten kicked out.
She develops a liking for Scorpius Malfoy her fourth year.
Teddy doesn't like him. He thinks that Scorpius is too witty and too mischievous, and a bad influence on Lily.
(Never mind that his father'd been one of the most legendary Hogwarts pranksters, and that Lily herself had successfully managed to owl him a Hogwarts toilet seat her second year.)
When she comes home for winter holidays, Teddy doesn't like her thigh-high skirts and ripped-up stockings and unbuttoned Oxford shirts and laced boots. He spins her around and frowns when she lands back on the ground, and looks at her hard.
She watches Scorpius pass, laughing with Albus, and plots in her head.
"I know you, Lily Potter," Teddy tells her later that night, when they're lying on the damp grass watching fireflies. "And I know who's no good for you."
He holds her anyway when she cries in the summer, when Rose and Scorpius return holding hands. He holds her when she laughs in her fifth year when she catches Albus snogging Scorpius in the bathroom, and both times she relishes the feeling of his hands on her waist and his nose changing, all different shapes and sizes, trying to make her laugh.
There's fountains of tension between them.
"I'm sorry, but I didn't get the memo that said that I wasn't allowed to date without your permission," Lily snarls.
"Well, let me send it again," Teddy retorts with the same viciousness.
She narrows her eyes. "Eighteen. Fresh out of Hogwarts. An internship at a dragon reserve. You'd think I'd have enough judgment to decide who and when I want to fuck."
Teddy's eyes widen. "Don't say things like that," he pleads.
"I'm not a little girl, Ted." She steps away from him, angry. "You're not my father. You're not my brother. You're not even my cousin. You can't tell me what to do — especially not now."
"I know! I know." Teddy's eyes fall closed. "You're still my best friend, Lily, and I just don't want you to be with someone who's not right for you."
Lily throws her hands into the air. "And who is right for me? Let me guess — you! Har-har-har, Ted, what a great fucking joke! Let me guess, The Quibbler's here, they've got pictures, and it's the front page of next month's issue! Lily Luna Potter, duped by her childhood crush once again! No. Not me. I know who and what's good for me, Teddy, and it's realism, not believing in stupid fairytales."
She walks away.
When she comes home the next day, the kitchen is all strung up with faerie lights and silver-and-green ribbon. There's a large banner on the wall that reads, 'THIS IS NOT A PRANK.' There's a cheesecake on the table with red frosting and green sprinkles.
Teddy stands underneath the banner, his hands clasped behind his back, goofy smile on his face.
"I figured I needed to get a stronger message across," he explains.
She stays put this time, at least for long enough for him to kiss her.
Their first date is accompanied by Albus and Scorpius, and is as awkward as shopping for hairbrushes for porcupines.
"Is it weird?" Teddy mutters in her ear halfway through dinner. "Being on a double-date with your first crush?"
Lily rolls her eyes. Albus and Scorpius are too busy reenacting the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp to notice their whispering. "No, especially not when he's my date, silly."
"Honestly, Lupin, sometimes you're so clueless it's a wonder you passed a single NEWT."
He can't even help it.
He takes her home before dessert and snogs her silly.
They're moving his things into her flat, and she's gone back downstairs to help James Floo more boxes in through the fireplace. He stays upstairs, stuffing things into the drawers when he finds them —
Tiny green journals — dozens. Some of them filled with drawings — of colourful eyes, dyed hair, lopsided smiles. Others with writing. Poems, and stories, and song lyrics. One of them just reads the same three words over and over for pages long — I LOVE HIM I LOVE HIM I LOVE HIM.
He realises with a start that the journals speak, draw, sing — of him.
Things fall apart, he thinks, but they've all been together at one point.
This is how it starts —
A baby girl, a woman, and a man in a hospital room, the world hot and dirty and full of life. When he touches her hand as she hands him the baby, the world falls down. The little girl links her finger with his, and the woman reaches out and takes his other hand. "Love you forever," he mouths, and smiles.
The world keeps spinning.