Victoire had noticed that Shell Cottage was uncomfortably quiet during this time of year. With Bill at work, Dominique at school and Louis constantly playing at friends' houses, it left her alone with Fleur. Not that she left her room for long enough to actually speak to her mother. She'd often pop her head around the door, offering Victoire biscuits and tea, asking to talk, offering to take her to the shops or to the café in the town. Victoire would always say no.
It really didn't take long for Fleur to become very worried. It'd been two weeks since Victoire had returned from her assessment at the Lycanthropy Board, coming out positive, with fairly negotiable score of six in danger evaluation. Placing her as slightly above average, but nothing unmanageable. She'd been supplied with a number of tablets and potions, designed to help her cope with her new urges and scheduled changes. She was assured by the Board that the issues she faced would become minuscule in months to come.
But the words of the Board seemed to have had no effect on Victoire. As far as everyone could see, she appeared to be slipping further and further in to a state of idleness and misery, the only thing she'd ever strongly remark upon being her utter refusal to return to school. She was ignoring owls from Teddy, from Jenna. Making a half-hearted effort at the catch up work sent to her by Hogwarts. Every evening, when Bill would return home from work, he'd make some sort of effort to gather his daughter's spirits, to which, she'd simply and generically reply,
'Just let me feel sorry for myself.'
It was a Tuesday evening in early March when Bill and Fleur decided that things had gone too far.
'Pack your trunk.' Bill said abruptly, bursting in to Victoire's bedroom.
'What?' Victoire murmured groggily from her bed,
'Get out of bed,' said Bill, striding over to pull the duvet from her, 'you've been in bed all day every day for weeks,'
'I went for a walk yesterday,' Victoire groaned,
'Where?' Bill snapped, 'to the pantry?' Victoire scowled at him, 'you're not sick, Victoire,'
'I am sick, dad,' Victoire sniffed, 'can't you see?'
'No,' Bill said, 'you're being pathetic,'
'Don't be so inconsiderate,' Victoire sulked, 'I'm a werewolf… my life is over,'
'You're life is not over,' Bill said, raising his voice, 'it's just being wasted,'
'Can't you see I'm mourning?' Victoire shrieked,
'For love of Merlin!' Bill exclaimed, 'since when have you been so melodramatic?'
'You don't understand!' Victoire cried, 'You never had to deal with this!'
'I know it's hard, Vic,' sighed Bill, sitting down on her bedside, 'but you need to move on in your life. This is something that will affect you one night a month, and we can deal with it together,'
'That's easy for you to say,' Victoire sulked, 'I'll never get a job, I'll never have children, I'll never-'
'Have you not been reading all those bloody leaflets the board have been sending you?' Bill sighed, 'All the stuff about the Anti-discrimination acts in the workplace regarding werewolves, about the Lycanthropy civil rights movement, the medical advances being made to prevent it from being a hereditary disorder?'
'No,' Victoire sniffed,
'Why on earth not?' Bill exclaimed, 'look,' he said, handing her one from the pile that was left untouched on her nightstand,
'Not now,' she batted his hand away,
'Why not?' Bill frowned,
'Because I just want to feel normal!' Victoire spat, 'because I want to just forget about all this stupid werewolf business!'
'You want to be normal?' Bill asked,
'More than anything,' Victoire grumbled,
'Then go back to school,' Bill said flatly, standing up to retrieve her trunk. 'That's how you can be normal.'
'I'm not ready.' Victoire protested,
'You're practically healed,' Bill said, 'you're scars are clearing up nicely,'
'I'm not emotionally ready to go back,' Victoire corrected herself,
'The sooner you go back, the easier it will be,' Bill told her, 'if you don't go back now, you may never do.'
'What about changing?' Victoire said, 'I can't do that at Hogwarts.'
'You've got your medicine,' Bill said, 'that'll let you keep you from hurting anyone when you're a wolf, let you keep your human mindset. You can come home for your changes, I'll get in touch with McGonagall.'
'You've got this all planned out, haven't you?' Victoire said,
'Your mother and I want what's best for you,' Bill told her, 'even if it's not the easiest option.'
'Fine.' Victoire snapped, tearing out of bed. 'When are we going?'
'Tomorrow.' Bill said, 'in the afternoon. I'm coming home from work early to see you off.'
'Even better.' Victoire groaned, before setting about finding her robes and books.
'Are you not going to open those?' Bill asked before leaving, nodding towards a pile of sealed letters on the windowsill.
'Oh, those?' Victoire squinted at them, 'probably not,'
'Why?' Bill asked, leaning against the doorframe,
'I- I don't feel like it,' Victoire shrugged,
'Don't you think your friends will be upset that you never wrote back?' Bill frowned,
'They'll deal with it,' Victoire said.
After a rather disgruntled goodbye the next afternoon, Victoire travelled back to Hogwarts via the flu network, landing with a thud in McGonagall's office. After an exchange of paperwork and a semi-motivational speech from McGonagall about 'getting back in to a routine', Victoire was allowed to return to her dormitory for the first time since before the attack.
'VICTOIRE' she heard someone scream as she clambered through the portrait hole with her trunk. The entire room went silent, a dozen heads flicking in her direction, a few jaws dropping. A body slammed against hers.
'Vic, I've missed you so much, how have you been? Why haven't you replied to my letters? How are you? Oh god, it's been horrible not knowing, it's been so lonely in the dorm-' Jenna said all in one go,
'Jenna,' Victoire said breathlessly, 'I've missed you too,' she pulled away from the embrace to see her friend looking teary eyed. 'Oh god, please don't cry,'
'I'm just glad you're back,' sniffed Jenna. 'Come and sit down.' A few fourth years hurried away to clear space for Victoire next to the fireplace, where the pair of them slumped down in the threadbare armchairs. Nick Price and Thomas Blake, a pair of sixth years who always proved to be sufficiently enthusiastic before Quidditch matches were sat on the ground playing an intense game of Wizard's Chess when Victoire approached.
'Crikey, Weasley!' Nick exclaimed as he saw her, 'You had us all shocked there!'
'We were worried our star seeker wouldn't be returning for the cup!' Thomas interjected,
'Oh, don't you worry,' Victoire said flatly, 'I wouldn't miss it for the world,'
'How have you been, then?' Nick asked, which was of course a question that Victoire was inundated with for the next few hours; she'd managed to generate a fairly formulated response of,
'It's been rough but it's getting better,' which was, of course, an absolute lie.
'Shit!' was Millie Boot's reaction as Victoire went to the dormitory to get changed, 'are they going to fade?' she asked, pointing at the scars. They were something everyone had tactfully managed to avoid mentioning up until this point. Victoire felt a lump in her throat. Her eyes glazed over with tears,
'They'll heal in time,' she said, her voice wobbling,
'Oh baby,' Millie said falsely, 'come here, we've all missed you so,' she extended her long thin arms and took her in to a light, awkward hug,
'Thanks Millie,' Victoire sniffed, noticing that Millie was keeping her distance.
'Don't eat me in my sleep or anything, alright?' she quipped,
'Shut the hell up, Millie,' Jenna hissed, 'go down to dinner and leave her alone,'
'Calm down, it was a joke,' Millie snorted,
'Well it wasn't a funny one,' Jenna retorted crossly,
'What ever,' Millie shrugged, disappearing down the staircase.
'Don't listen to her,' Jenna said, 'she's a bitch,'
'You're not scared are you?' Victoire asked,
'For Merlin's sake, of course not!' Jenna exclaimed, 'this isn't the nineties!'
The news that Victoire Weasley had returned to Hogwarts travelled fast within the castle. It wasn't long before Teddy Lupin caught drift of the rumor in a sufficiently dull afternoon potions lesson.
'Mate, I hear Victoire's back…' said Kenneth Brown,
'She is?' Teddy frowned, pausing before crushing his lavender sprigs,
'Yeah, I thought you would have known,' Kenneth said, looking confused, 'didn't you spend like a month by her bedside in London?'
'Yeah,' Teddy sighed, 'I haven't heard anything in a while,'
'Weird,' Kenneth shrugged, 'I passed Pete Le Blanc in the corridor on the way here and said he saw her in the Gryffindor common room.'
'Did he say anything else?' Teddy asked,
'Nah, just that.' Kenneth said, giving his bubbling cauldron a few stirs.
'Right,' Teddy replied, frowning. Why hadn't Victoire told him she was coming back? He hadn't heard a word from her since her departure from St. Mungo's, only hearing the news of her Lycanthropy through owls from Bill, and the rumors that had begun to circulate throughout the school.
It was that evening that Teddy saw Victoire again for the first time, at a distance in the Great Hall, with Jenna clinging on to her arm. He half expected her to look for him, but she barely let her eyes flit across the hall before Jenna pulled her in the direction of an empty space a few meters down the table from him.
'That'll teach her for being such a slut,' Teddy heard Juliet James, a friend of Leah Tucker whisper under her breath. He clenched his fists with rage.
'Why didn't you tell me Victoire was coming back?' Xavier asked, tucking in to a piece of pork pie,
'I didn't know,' Teddy grumbled, not feeling hungry,
'Oh shit, sorry,' Xavier said through a mouthful, Teddy shrugged at him.
'Oh fuuuuck,' Joseph Davies announced loudly to his cronies, Teddy turned to eaves drop on the conversation, 'Weasley's back and she's a fucking munter,' the boys around him jeered and laughed. Teddy held his breath. 'I mean, look at the state of it,' Davies laughed. Teddy jumped to his feet,
'Don't say another word, Davies,' he snapped,
'Oh sorry, are you a bit sensitive?' Davies smirked, Teddy stepped out from the bench and approached him slowly,
'I said, don't say another word,' he said through gritted teeth,
'Don't try to defend it, we both know it's a monster,'
'How fucking backwards are you?' Teddy growled, grabbing him by the throat,
'Let him go, Ted,' Xavier sighed, 'it's not worth it,'
'You're right,' Teddy grumbled, letting go of his shirt before turning his back to him. Davies let out a mocking bark, and before he knew it, his nose was broken.
'Why do I even bother,' Xavier muttered under his breath.
Another update for you all, just apologise for the horrible wait I put you all through! So, Vic's back in Hogwarts, and things are going to get exciting again soon!
Jeez, chapter 38... I hope you don't think this is dragging on too much! I never intended for this story to end up being so long!
Anyway, please let me know what you think, your reviews mean the world to me, and always put a smile on my face. If you have any questions, I always try to PM back!
Lots of love darlings,