fragile ivory and scented cinnamon


He couldn't remember how old he was when she was born. Nine, ten—the ages all blurred together. Perhaps he was older; perhaps he was younger. She always seemed to know, though; she always seemed to know everything.

He remembered what she looked like, though. He remembered the soft dusting of red curls and the rosy cheeks, the cinnamon freckles sprinkled on ivory cheeks. He remembered the brightness of her dark brown eyes as she stared up at him.

At once, she reached out her tiny, fragile arms, as if to say that she trusted him. She trusted him to hold her. Little Teddy basked in this small victory and took her from her mother's arms, being as careful as if she were a porcelain doll, valuable in her own right.

The baby shifted in his arms, then lifted her chocolate eyes to stare at him. He allowed her to take him in, though his heart sped up again. What would she think of him? He hadn't been around a baby since Rose and Albus were little, and she was more adorable than he could have ever imagined.

At last, her tiny face split into a smile, or at least as close to a smile as such a young baby could get. She let out a small gurgle and her limbs flailed, as if she was trying to grasp at something beyond her limited reach.

Unsure of what to do, he simply patted her on the back. "There, there, little Lily… it's okay." He gave her a small, reassuring smile, hoping it would be enough to calm the small child.

After just a moment, she stopped moving, as if she was calmed simply at the sound of his voice. She seemed to move her head so that it was closer to him, and he tensed a bit.

"Yeah," he muttered, smiling down at her. "Yeah, you're safe now."

He hadn't expected her to like him, actually. When he was little and James was born, James had screamed, kicked, and yelled whenever Teddy held him. Albus just shot him sideways glares.

Most of all, he hadn't expected to like her. James and Albus were ugly, wrinkly little things with stinky diapers; that was all he had ever thought about them. But as she snuggled deeper into his chest, her tiny little eyelids fluttering shut, he thought that she was kind of adorable in her own special way.

That was, until she woke up five minutes later with a stinky diaper. Then it was time for her to go be adorable with someone else.

By the time she was three, Lily Luna had everyone wrapped around her pinky finger. She'd proudly display it at times—when asked "Lily, where are your family?", she'd point confidently to her pinky and say "Wight hewe!" She had all the confidence of a roaring lion and all the cunningness of a slithering snake, so it was often debated where she would end up.

"A Potter in Slytherin!" Molly Weasley the first would hoot, eyes bright. "Can you imagine?"

Everyone would laugh, that is, everyone except Harry himself. Then Harry would glare at them over his glasses and tell them darkly, "I wouldn't mind."

Teddy agreed, for once. He had spent nearly three years at Hogwarts; he knew how horrible the Slytherins could be. Yet there was one Slytherin boy in his year that he didn't mind, and his name was Jason Nott. Despite his traditional upbringing, Jason Nott was surely not a horrible person. Most of the time, he was fun to hang out with and perhaps play a bit of Quidditch with.

Teddy did continue to debate on which house Lily Luna would end up in, though. At times, he was sure she would be a Slytherin, such as the time that she drug him out to her 'secret forest'.

"I have homework, Lily," Teddy sighed, feeling his resolve peel away. "Even though I'm on vacation, the professors still assign homework, and a lot of it."

"That's stupid of them," Lily scowled, crossing her arms across her chest and poking out her bottom lip. She widened her eyes to make her look innocent and stared at him. "But you can take a little break? For me?" Her speech was fast and not all of her words were pronounced correctly, but he heard her nonetheless and it tugged at his heart.

At last, he finally gave up and decided to simply give in. With a dark smile, he told her, "Fine, but only for a bit. Then you must go inside and play with someone else."

"Everyone is boring," Lily informed him, glaring at the house, where everyone seemed to be having a perfectly good time without her. "You… you is not boring." It was the most she seemed to be able to say, because after that she clamped her mouth shut and entwined her hand with his.

"We've got a forest to see, huh?" he asked, a small smile appearing on his face. Maybe he was masochistic, venturing with a three-year-old to see her 'magical forest'

Normally, Lily wasn't a happy child. She was always demanding, always wanting, always asking for something more, but as they stepped into her magical forest, her face lit up at once. She slid her fingers further into Teddy's and gave his hand a firm squeeze. "Do you see it, Teddy?"

"Do I see what?" he asked, confused. All he saw was the expanse of trees and the occasional flower. Nothing more, nothing less. His confused gaze travelled over to the still-ecstatic Lily, who shot him an amazed smile.

"The magic," she told him sharply, her eyes bright.

He didn't see it as he looked out at the empty field, but as he looked into the little girl's eyes, he thought that he saw the magic there.

Time went by, and little Lily grew up. He watched her transform from a small, petulant little child into a beautiful young lady. Of course, Teddy grew as well. He graduated from high school and began to consider going into training to be an Auror, much to Lily's dismay. She would always tell him that she liked him the best of anyone in her family and that she didn't want him to go away.

That summer, Victoire Weasley came to stay with the family. In some ways, Victoire reminded him of Lily. She was petulant with a fast temper and quick words, but she was beautiful. Her hair was a soft shade of gold, and her eyes sparkled like sapphires. So when she kissed him underneath the apple tree, who was he to resist?

Much to his credit, he tried to keep away from Victoire, but it was almost as if Victoire was the sun and he was the so easily compelled earth. She was the center of the universe and he was merely a planet, forced under her control.

This, like most things, did not please Lily. In fact, one day, when he was snogging Victoire, she stormed up to the two of them and crossed her small arms. "Victoire, you cannot eat Teddy," she declared, in one of her many attempts to sound older than she was.

Victoire pulled away at once, her pale cheeks darkening. "Why not?"

"Because he is mine," Lily declared, entwining her fingers with Teddy. "He is my best buddy, not yours."

Of course, that enraged Victoire, but she had enough maturity not to go after her young cousin. Instead, she just stared Lily down for a moment and then laughed, ruffling Lily's hair. "Lily, he'll always be your best buddy." He could hear the implications in her words, though—he'll always be more to me. It kind of scared him, the fact that she was so possessive over him.

That summer, he went with the family to see Victoire off. As usual, Lily was not pleased about this. The tiny girl glanced around the station before obviously deciding that it was time for her to make a racket.

She was like a firecracker, he thought. It didn't take much to set her off.

The nine-year-old dissolved into tears, and Teddy decided that it was time for him to make a disappearance. He kissed Lily's cheek quickly and took Victoire's hand, leading her off into a corner.

"I'll miss you," he told her, because he always knew the right things to say. The hard part was that he always wondered if he was telling the truth. For a Gryffindor, he had always been such a very good liar.

Of course, that made Victoire want to kiss him, and he let her. There was something about her that made him not want to pull away, but there was also something that made him think that for some reason, she just wasn't enough.

She was pretty; that much was a given. And he knew that she was a good person that deserved to be loved by a guy. However, he also knew that guy was not him. He could not give her what she was looking for.

Somehow, he was almost relieved when James interrupted them.

He gave Victoire a tiny smile. "Guess it's time for you to go, right? Unless, of course, you want to go back and face your family after that little squirt has squealed it all over the place…."

"No thanks," Victoire smirked, picking up her suitcase from where she'd discarded it on the ground. "Have fun with that."

Leaning over, she gave him a short kiss goodbye. He tried to feel, tried to make the kiss passionate, tried to reassure himself that she was good for him. To make a long story short, it didn't work.

As amazing as Victoire was, she lacked passion. She was a vanilla-scented girl, beautiful but plain, indignant but reserved. His eyes traced her up and down as she pulled away and walked off to the train.

He returned to the family alone, and at once, Lily seized his hand. Batting her small eyelashes, she asked innocently, "Teddy, am I still your favorite girl?" All of her words were pronounced incorrectly, all of her sounds jumbled up until they reminded him of gibberish because of her tears, but he could understand her better then than he ever had before.

All of the rest of them were looking up at him expectantly, so he reached down and scooped up the nine-year-old. "Always, Lily."

It was a promise of some sort, and it satisfied the young girl. She leaned over and kissed his cheek before kicking him in the leg. "That's for making me cry."

Laughing, he set her down, but all he could think was what he had realized in that moment—Lily Luna Potter had an abundance of passion.

He wasn't sure what that meant.

As Lily Luna got older, the magic faded from her eyes. It was replaced by true and honest fiery passion, something he had never really experienced before. She was passionate about everything—life, friends, problems, and guys. With just a smile, he thought that she might be able to melt even the hardest of hearts.

He went to Auror training for two years before they told him that he had not passed the training. To him, this felt like the deepest of disappointments. It was as if someone had stabbed him through the heart. Then, they gave him another option.

"Hogwarts is looking for another security officer to help keep the school safe and turn in rowdy kids," one of the training officials informed him, crossing his arms across his chest. "Would you be interested, Lupin?"

It took only a moment of consideration before Teddy's eyes lit up. "Of course, sir."

In a matter of days, Teddy was signed up and sent his welcome letter. Of course, it was the same year that Lily Luna was to start at Hogwarts, so she was thrilled to have her best buddy tagging along with her.

"Will you eat with me in the Great Hall?" Lily asked brightly, as if she honestly believed he would.

Biting his lip, he shook his head slowly. "Lily, you know that I would love to, but I'm going to Hogwarts as an employee, and I don't think that they allow us to eat with the students."

"That's stupid," Lily replied, her objection to this rule clear in her tone. "Can you sit with me on the train, at least?"

"Sure," he told her, unsure of whether his words were true or not. They had to allow them to sit together on the train, at least.

He took her fragile hand in his own and led her to the train, feeling her quiver beside him. It was a strange occurrence, Lily being scared, and he didn't much like it. "Chill out," he whispered, "you'll be just fine."

She lifted her big brown eyes to his and nodded like she believed him.

Somewhere between the train and Hogwarts, Lily regained her confidence. When she was called up for her turn with the Sorting Hat, she lifted her head high and smiled as if she was the only one in the room that mattered. To Teddy, she kind of was.

Her cousin Hugo had just been sorted into Hufflepuff, and he took off the hat slowly and walked over to his table. There was a spattering of applause, and Teddy smiled for the poor kid. But when Lily put on the hat, the room immediately fell silent.

She sat there for a moment or two, not a long time, but longer than it had seemed to take for Hugo. Then there was a reverberating "SLYTHERIN!" that echoes off the walls, and the Hall sat in stunned silence.

He could not say that he had not seen it coming. He knew it was a distinct possibility, but somehow, it still stunned him. Maybe it was because it was Harry's daughter that was climbing down from the stool—Harry, the Gryffindor role model—or maybe it was because everyone else was in shock as well. A Potter in Slytherin!—such a controversy was unheard of. She didn't seem fazed at all, though. Instead, she simply climbed down from the stool with a big smirk that obviously claimed that she was better than everyone and walked to her rightful table, sitting down beside the younger Malfoy girl.

Everyone watched her, but no one applauded. A shock of shame ran through Teddy as the slightest speck of sadness ran over the poor eleven-year-old's face. She never was the type to cry at the smallest thing, or even to show when she was sad, but he knew that she was now. So, with a determined smile on his face, he began to clap slowly.

Her head shot up at once, and the smirk returned to her face as the entire Hall began to clap in time with Teddy. He could even see Albus mouth "I'm proud of you" to her from where he sat at the Hufflepuff table, and this made Teddy very happy.

Grinning, he shot Lily a thumbs-up. She gave him two back.

He and Victoire dated for two more years, and he often wondered why. Why was he interested in her? Sure, she was stubborn, but she was not passionate. She did not have the same joy for life that he did, nor did she ever stand up for what she believed in. To be honest, she was really a nice girl, and a beautiful one at that. She deserved better than him, and he wanted someone with more fire than she possessed.

He tried explaining this to her; really, he did, but it seemed when girls were being dumped, they did not listen to reason. Instead, she threw a teapot at his head. It busted just beside where he had been standing.

"Are you mad?" Teddy questioned, but instead of giving him a nice answer, she just stormed out the door and slammed it behind her. He stared after her for a moment before picking up the pieces of his broken teapot.

"Well," he said brusquely to himself. "I guess that's that."

It only got worse from there, though. She made every effort possible to ignore him, freeze him out, and pretend as if he was the biggest jerk in the world simply because he had ended things with her. And of course, the rest of her family supported her completely in her campaign to turn the world against him.

Everywhere he went, there was yet another Weasley/Potter there, glaring at him over Hogwarts: A History or making a point to 'accidentally' trip him. It was tiring, really, and as much as he adored the Potter/Weasley family, he was at the point where he desired not to see any of them whenever he patrolled the hallways.

That was, except for Lily, though she always did seem to be the exception to all of his rules.

He sat alone in the library, where he was meant to be patrolling and keeping an eye out for unruly students. Instead, he was being tormented by the constant flow of Weasleys.

Roxanne, who was a seventh year and really should have been above such frivolities, cast him a dirty look as she stalked past him. He sighed, leaning back in his chair as if he was a rebellious fourth year again.

"Having fun?" Lily asked sharply, pulling out a chair and sitting down as if she owned the place.

"Aren't you shunning me as well?" Teddy replied, not even bothering to disguise the irritated undertone in his voice. "You know, like the rest of your amazing family?"

She just smirked, a picture of the confidence that she had seemed to gather over the past three years. No longer was she the young, innocent girl that still believed in fairytales; now she was Slytherin through and through, cunning, witty, and fiery. "No, Lupin." She'd taken to calling him that when she had a point to prove. "If you think that I'm like my family, you're wrong."

"Yeah, you're one unique kid," he told her, rolling his eyes. "Seriously, why?"

"Because you're my friend," she informed him, "and I like you better than all of the idiots in my family."

That made him laugh, a deep laugh that reverberated off the walls of the room. He smiled at her. "You know what? Thanks, Lily."

"No problem," Lily replied gruffly. "Just don't spread it around, you hear?"

He took her hand softly, and she gave him a tiny smile that somehow lit up the entire room.

"You know," Teddy laughed, "you're not as scary as you try to be."

In Lily's fourth year, Victoire came crawling back to him, and once again he could not resist. Within just a moment, they were back together again, back to their normal letter correspondence, and he found himself just as bored and trapped as before. It was not as if he could cut it off then, though; he would be seen as the worst boyfriend ever in the history of the world. And perhaps he was.

Victoire seemed pleased. Every day, she would mail him a letter filled with how very much she loved and missed him, along with all of the details of her incredibly mundane days. Most of the time, he would not bother with a response. He did not feel the need to write her sappy letters about how wonderful his day had been, when really it had been filled with snotty little kids and superficial occurences.

However, her letters grew all the more desperate, and at last he was forced to begin to pen letters back to her. Apparently, she did not like when his letters were 'short and sweet'. His lovely response of 'Victoire—I am fine. I love you. Have a nice day. –Teddy' earned him a Howler in front of the entire Great Hall, which diminished both his pride and his reputation.

His free time was also largely diminished. Most of his free time was spent penning letters back to Victoire, or meeting her in Hogsmeade so that she would not have to feel alone. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he didn't really care if she felt alone. Everyone felt alone at some point.

He began to slip further and further into sadness. Some nights, he just sat by the fire, unable to so much as sleep. She had started to pressure him about marriage and the like, and the truth was that he just was not ready for that. He wasn't eager to get married, to be forced into commitment, and least of all did he want to be forced into commitment with Victoire.

He wasn't the only person who seemed affected by this, either. Lily seemed to be shooting him acidic glares in the hallway, which kind of alarmed him. She never seemed to talk to him anymore, either, and to make matters worse, she was parading a new guy around the school every single day. They looked just as smitten with her as he had been when Lily was a baby and she would smile that childish smile at him.

He couldn't tell her no, and neither could they.

At last, he got tired of the icy glares and cold ignorance. Crossing his arms, he stalked over to the fifth year. "What is your problem, Lily Luna?"

"My problem?" she retorted, standing up on the toes of her feet. It was now obvious to him that she had grown a heck of a lot. When she stood on her toes, the tip of her head was nearly up to his nose. And besides that, she looked more defiant and fiery than ever, which sort of scared him. "My problem? What is your problem, Lupin?"

"I haven't got one," he replied after a moment his life was absolutely fine; he couldn't think of any 'problems' off of the top of his head.

"You haven't got one?" This seemed to infuriate the terrifying redhead all the more. "Look, Lupin, you dumped Victoire a year ago. I was the only one who was there for you, I supported you, and now, a year later, you've gotten back together with her. You won't even make time for me, your supposed best friend!"

"Well," Teddy replied, feeling ashamed all of a sudden. He had been wrong, that much was obvious. The problem now was how he was going to fix it. "Are you up for ice cream next Saturday?"

"Ice cream!" Lily fumed, her pale cheeks turning a rusty shade of red. "I'm not five anymore! Ice cream will not solve all of your problems in life."

"Lollipop?" he offered, scratching the back of his neck. "I have a few in my office."

Her eyes focused on him for a moment. Normally, he thought of her eyes as being much like her mother's, calm, warm, chocolaty brown eyes, but now they were dark, searing eyes that pierced all the way into his soul. He took a step backward, steadying himself against the cold wall as she hissed, "I hate you. I hate you, Teddy Lupin."

Then she took off running, her form-fitting robes billowing in the breeze behind her as she ran, and all he could think was that she definitely was not five anymore.

"Lily Luna Potter."

Her head was down, her bright red hair spilling into her face. When she finally lifted her eyes to look at him, she gave him a look full of disdain and hatred, the same icy stare he'd been receiving for the past year or so. She cocked an eyebrow as if to ask what he wanted.

"What are you doing out of bed?" he continued at last, feeling nervous.

"Hunting for Nargles," she spit sarcastically. "I had a bad dream, Lupin, though I don't see how that is any of your business."

"I'm the school security guard, and you're wandering around after hours, little Potter," he informed her, stepping closer to her. Her breath hitched audibly in her throat and she took another step back, causing his heart to hurt a little bit. Was she scared of him? It was a horrible thought.

He took a look at her. In the past few years, she'd shot up and slimmed down. The fact that she had curves could no longer be ignored. In fact, if he hadn't known her for years and years, he would consider her to be very attractive, but the image of baby Lily kept flashing up in his mind. She definitely wasn't that little baby anymore. Somewhere along the line, she had grown up and become a young lady, one that he wasn't sure if he actually knew anymore.

"Go ahead," she retorted at last, her voice trembling. "Give me detention. See if I care. What day?"

The thought was almost ludicrous. "I'm not giving you detention," he told her sharply. "I just…" He placed a hand on her shoulder, staring into her still cold eyes. "I'm sorry."

As if it was a reflex, as natural as any other, she slapped his hand away. Coldly, she informed him, "You're not sorry. Don't lie to me, Lupin."

"Lily," he said, his voice dark and deep and rough, but she did not stop there. One thing he did know about Lily was that she did not know when to stop.

"Just leave me the heck alone," Lily hissed, looking him in the eyes for the first time in what felt like ages and signifying that what she was about to say was completely honest. "Just go off and marry Victoire, see if I care. Have a happy life without me, Lupin. You don't need me in your life, and to be frank, I don't need you in mine."

With that, she turned and began to walk away. Over her shoulder, she called, "Go ahead and give me detention if you so wish. See if I care! Dad'll be pleased."

He stared after her, regret filling his every bone.

That night, he couldn't work up the strength to even so much as write his usual letter to Victoire, so he wrote a letter to Lily instead, and he did not regret a thing, not even when Victoire sent him yet another Howler.

She grew up. That was all he could think as she waltzed down the hall, her short skirt riding up to show just enough skin. Somehow, he could not take his eyes off of her.

When had baby Lily turned into a grown woman? She was beautiful, more beautiful than Victoire, he thought at times. She had a natural beauty about her, the kind that was envied by makeup artists and others of the like. She was bright, fiery, passionate—in fact, if he was being completely honest with himself, Lily was everything that he was looking for in a girl.

Most of the time, though, he wasn't quite so honest with himself, because he was nearly twenty-seven and she was sixteen. He was hardly a paedophile.

That didn't mean he didn't notice her, though. Every time he passed her in the hallways, he made a conscious effort to smile at her, one that she normally did not return. Though he honestly did not see her smile often at all, it still made him kind of sad.

That was, until one day when he passed her in the corridors. Like always, she was surrounded by a gaggle of pretty Slytherin girls. Her face was slathered with makeup, her eyes big and dark, but this time, when he smiled at her, she actually smiled back.

"Hi, Lupin," she said, harshly as usual, but with a bit of humour behind her tone. The group of girls behind her all giggled as once, as if they were robots programmed to giggle at just the right time.

"Oh," he said, his eyes widening. "Hey, Lily."

She just grinned at him, swishing her robes behind her as she walked off. Absently, he wondered what had just gone down, but he did not bother questioning it.

It was that weekend that everything went down in flames. He met Victoire at Hogsmeade, as usual, but the mood seemed significantly darker than usual. She spent half of her time glaring at him and the other half looking as if she was trying to produce fake tears.

It was about halfway through their lovely meal that he decided that he had to say something. Raising an eyebrow at his 'girlfriend', he asked her, "What is wrong?"

"What's wrong with you?" she retorted, looking kind of pleased to finally be able to release whatever had been building up inside of her. "You ignore all of my letters, only reply 'when you feel like it', and you don't even look at me anymore, not really. It's like I don't even mean anything to you, Teddy! Do you even care about me?"

"What?" Teddy's eyes widened. "Of course I care about you! Would I be dating you if I didn't?"

"I don't know, Teddy," she spat, crossing his arms. He thought absently that he had never seen her this worked up or this passionate about anything. It was a shame, really—if he had seen this side of her before, this might have never happened. He found it slightly ironic. Relentlessly, she continued. "You know, all of my friends are getting married, Teddy. Married. Meanwhile, my boyfriend can't even work up the nerve to break up with me, even though I can tell he has wanted to for ages—"

"Hang on," Teddy replied, feeling a bit shocked. He'd never even considered the possibility of marriage, never thought it an option for him, but now she was bringing it up as if it was something she'd spent hours debating. "You want to marry me?"

"Well, no," Victoire placed a hand on her chin. "Not if you don't love me."

"I do love you," he stated, and he knew it to be true as soon as he said it. He saw something flash in her eyes, but he had to diminish it before she grew false hopes. Never had he wanted to break her heart. "I do love you, but not in the way that you want me to, I don't think." He put a hand on hers. "I'm sorry."

"It's fine," she said sharply, standing up and shooting him a small glare that quickly diminished into a smile. "I'll see you later, then."

Somehow, he knew it was the end but he couldn't bring himself to so much as frown. Instead, he just waved at her. "See you later."

It felt more like a new beginning.


He glanced up as the door to his office opened, raising an eyebrow at the girl who entered. Her eyes were blazing, face looking more ecstatic than he had ever seen her. All of his thoughts were fixated on her, the girl who had just walked into his office.

"Happy birthday, Lily," he told her cautiously. He reached down under his desk, his fingers trailing along the hard wood until he finally was able to grasp the edges of the cake. Setting it down in front of him, he said plainly, "I got the house elves to cook you up a little treat."

"You couldn't have cooked it yourself?" she questioned, laughing. Plopping down in front of him, she grinned down at the cake. "Silver icing. It's perfect."

"It reminds me of when you were one," he smirked at her, his mind traveling back years and years to when she was just a small thing, not the whirlwind that she had become. "You had a cake like this, but you didn't exactly use your fork."

Smiling slightly, she took the lid off of the cake and picked up the fork. Then she lifted her head slightly and raises an eyebrow. "It looks really brilliant, actually. I'm glad someone in the castle has some cooking skill, since you seem to severely lack any kind of culinary talent."

Leaning a bit closer, Teddy pretended to take a whiff. "It smells rather strange." He sniffed it again, knowing fully well that it smelled perfectly normal. "Smell it, will you, Lily? Your nose is probably working better than mine. I smell some fish…"

Giving him a look that clearly asked what drug he was on, she leaned close and took a whiff of the cake. Just like a cunning Slytherin, he moved quickly and pushed her face into the cake.

She shot up at once, laughing and swatting at him with both of her strong, bony hands. "Merlin, Lupin," she gasped, licking icing off of her nose, "I hate you."

As she laughed, he considered that she was one of the most beautiful girls he'd ever seen. She had a natural sort of beauty, one that her green tie only accentuated. While he was caught off-guard, though, she seized the opportunity and smeared some of the icing from the cake all over his face.

"Potter," he spit, the icing flying from his lips. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Revenge," she laughed, pressing her warm fingertips to his nose and swiping downward, taking a bit of the icing from his nose before licking her finger. "You taste pretty good, Lupin."

That startled him. He could feel the adrenaline coursing through his veins just from being around her, being so close to her, feeling scrutinized under her gaze. The picture in his mind of baby Lily was starting to fade away, being replaced by the woman she was now. She was of age, really, and she was just beautiful, and all he could think about was her—

She broke the distance between them after a moment with all the fiery spirit of a Gryffindor, wrapping her arms around his neck as she kissed him. He knew it was wrong, somewhere deep inside, that the age difference was a pretty big factor and that it was Lily, the girl he had known for ages, yet somehow he could not bring himself to pull away. Instead, he just pulled her closer, enjoying the soft, gentle scent that seemed to exuberate from her and the soft curve of her lips.

As she pulled away, she stared at him, as if she was trying to gauge her reaction. "Sorry," she finally got out, smirking from ear to ear. "Except not really, because that was amazing."

Then, with her thin arms crossed, she took her cake and walked out the door. And who knows, she just might have taken his heart with her.

A year later, she graduated.

He was there to witness it, there to pull her off of the stage and snog her in a closet instead of the typical graduation celebration. Her family insisted on taking her out for what Harry called 'a traditional wizarding celebration', but the eighteen-year-old shot him one of her infamous glances that detailed her plans for the rest of the night.

That night, in between kisses, Lily asked brazenly, "Lupin, are we dating?"

That caused him to pull away instantly. He stared at her, stared at her eyes, and attempted not to stare at her body. His thoughts swam with the images of her—with her undeniable passion and beauty, and really, who was he to refuse?

(His thoughts seemed familiar, somehow, but he chose not to dwell on that.)

"Sure," he whispered against her ear, feeling a shock run through him just from being so close to her. More images ran through his mind, much to his chagrin. There was young Lily, baby Lily, and the more the images ran, the guiltier he felt. He pulled away a bit, keeping a comforting hand on her shoulder. "But maybe we shouldn't tell anyone just yet."

"Wasn't planning on it," she retorted, pressing her lips to his again. This time, he didn't allow her to speak anymore.

"Lily," he whispered on Christmas Day. They were the only two in the room, well, excepting Victoire's daughter, a blonde, chubby beauty. Though his jealousy was undeniable, he was happy that she'd found happiness so quickly. "Lily, I want to tell you something."

"Yes?" she murmured, leaning closer to him. It was a tough cycle, secret dating—every time someone walked into the room, they had to jerk apart. He enjoyed the times of peace like these, when there didn't seem to be anyone in the vicinity.

At last, he blurted out the words that had been on his mind. "I love you." They sounded desperate even to his ears.

She nodded, turning to him and kissing him. In an attempt to avoid sounding like a girl, he tried not to keep tabs on the fact that she didn't say it back, but it was unavoidable. Did she not love him? Did she not value his feelings? It somehow felt like a blow, like a slap in the face.

He tried to concentrate on the inevitable happiness of the day, but it felt more like a letdown.

It wasn't long after Christmas that they were caught red-handed kissing in the kitchen one morning. A stubbly Harry walked into the kitchen, rubbing his eyes and holding his glasses with one hand. "Good morn—" he began, but he startled and threw on his glasses once his eyes fell upon Teddy and Lily. "Sweet Merlin, what the heck is going on here?"

Lily jerked away from Teddy as if he was on fire, her eyes filled with worry. "I can explain!"

"I'm sure you can, Lily Luna," Harry replied coldly, setting down his mug of coffee. "So please do so before I hex your darling boyfriend all the way to New Zealand."

Lily gulped, glancing back at Teddy before folding her hands and beginning to speak. "Well, I mean, he and I—well, we were friends for a long time, and well, you see, things happened, and—I don't need your approval, all right?"

"I never said you did," Harry told her calmly, but his eyes remained filled with flames. "Theodore, explain yourself now."

"I love her," was all he managed to get out, and he hoped it would be enough. He'd heard numerous stories about Harry's unwavering belief in love, and if he loved Lily— since he loved Lily—he thought Harry might spare his life.

Harry did not say a thing, though; he simply turned to Lily and asked the question that Teddy had been wondering for what felt like ages. "Do you love him?"

Lily didn't answer. Instead, she bit down on her lip and crossed her arms. "I told you before that I am not trying to prove myself to you. Whatever happened to the freedom to be myself?"

"You're a child, Lily," Harry reminded her, scowling from ear to ear.

"I'm eighteen! I'm legal," Lily retorted.

"Well, then get a job and get out of here," Ginny Potter contributed as she stepped into the room, looking about as happy as Harry. Harry looked like he was about to catch her up, so she cut him off. "I heard."

"You people are insufferable," Lily huffed, storming out of the room. For a moment, Teddy stood there awkwardly, unsure of what to do. Did they want proof of his love for Lily? Proof that he was completely over Victoire?

Harry just stared at him before shaking his head. "Leave."

He did so at once, feeling a wash of shame fall over him. Harry was the one that had brought him up, his father figure throughout the years, and now it was as if Teddy had committed some horrible crime just by loving his daughter. It was a horrible feeling, really, knowing that you had let down someone that you loved.

He could've sworn he saw smoke coming out the chimney, though the Potters never used their fireplace.

It was the next day, during yet another of his afternoon strolls, that the unimaginable occurred.

There were never any Muggle cars on Teddy's street, at least, none that he could remember. None until that day, at least. The sky was dark, clouded over with various dark-coloured clouds. The sun was hidden in the midst of them. It was the perfect weather for a walk, Teddy decided.

He stepped out, paying attention to nothing but his own thoughts for once. He considered his feelings for Lily, his past feelings for Victoire, and the obvious anger of both Harry and Ginny. For once, he had no idea how to fix any of his problems.

The one thing he needed to hear right then was an 'I love you', and that was something that he would not get.

Sure, he had heard it from Victoire before, but it had seemed empty, emotionless, though they were normally the most emotion-filled words in the English language. He'd heard it from Harry, Ginny, and his grandmother, but it was as if they were obligated to love him.

He hung his head, and his emotions seemed to go down the drain with him.

Perhaps that was why he didn't hear the car coming.

One moment, he was walking, the next, he was on the ground. Pain seared through him, and bit by bit, his vision started to fade.

"Lily," he cried, but there was no response.

When he drifted into consciousness again, he could hear a soft yet blunt voice somewhere close to him. Someone was sitting by his bed, talking to him, unaware that he was awake.

"Teddy, you're an idiot," the person told him, and a jolt of shock ran through him—was that really the proper thing to say to someone who'd just been hurt? After a moment, the person continued, her voice thick with tears. "But I love you. I guess you wouldn't know that. I've never told you before. But I am now."

It was obvious who the person was, and her pain doubled his pain. Slowly, he forced his eyes to open.

Her hand went to his arm, and she told him repeatedly that she loved him, as if she was convincing herself as well. He didn't say a word—somehow, it felt like too sacred a moment to interrupt, and besides, it was the words he had always wanted to hear.

She loves you, he told himself, she loves you, and maybe that was all he'd ever need.

"Come lay with me," he managed to whisper at last. She startled in shock, but instead of whispering how glad she was that he was alive, she just climbed into the bed beside him. It felt strangely as if she was five again and he was reading bedtime stories to her, but there was a new closeness between them that had not existed before.

"You're not going on those stupid walks anymore," she murmured at last, pressing her lips to his forehead. "I am not losing you, you idiot. I can't believe you would even be so idiotic as to not see that car, Lupin—"

He chuckled, sliding his fingers through hers, before cutting her off. "I love you."

"I love you too," she told him at last, and it was just as pleasing as the first time.

He didn't remember when she was born, not really. He was too young to know it was an event of significance.

But he did remember the important things—her graduation, the first time she said she loved him—and maybe that was all that mattered.

A/N: Well, hopefully this wasn't too bad. It took me a lot of effort and time to write this, so any reviews and opinions would be greatly appreciated. Please don't fave without reviewing and please do review.

This fic is for two amazing people I know, Aimy and Ellie, lonely hands and robb-starks (I figured that since it's 7K long it's long enough for two dedications). And see, Aimy, Teddy's not a pedo, and Ellie, I didn't kill Teddy, so hopefully you'll both be pleased. Merry Christmas, guys, and I love you both!