"I can't," he whispers. "I can't do this. God, Tory, I love you so much, but I can't do this. I can't do it."
"Don't call me that," I snap, and he flinches.
He steps away, heartbreak in his eyes. It isn't fair; he's breaking up with me—aren't I supposed to be the heartbroken one? "I'm so sorry. So, so sorry."
I raise one of my delicate yellow eyebrows at him and he walks away, shoulders slumped and hair a melancholy blue. He doesn't look back.
Only when he is out of sight do I allow myself to cry, tears pouring from me at an alarming rate. I cry for our relationship, doomed from the start. I cry for his grandmother, oblivious to the true Teddy. And, most of all, I cry for myself, because I fell in love with a boy who just can't stay.
He's long gone now, and I'm just another mystery. I'm tempted to run after him, shouting for him to wait, but I don't, because I need to be strong, just for myself, cry fest non-withstanding.
I guess I've always kind of known that Teddy wouldn't stay, but I ignored it, being the naïve little girl I wish I was. It was easier to pretend that I would get my happy ever after, so I did.
I turn away from the garden that will always mean heartbreak to me, and walk straight into Teddy. "Sorry," he mutters. "Forgot my wand."
I look into his eyes, my own probably tearstained. They're grey, a color I've never seen on him before. I reach up and slap him, my hand leaving a red mark on his pale cheek.
"What was that?" He asks, reeling backwards.
"What do you mean? You just dumped me!" I shout.
"You have got to be kidding me. You're mistaking me for Teddy? God, you need glasses." The boy complains.
"Scorpius Malfoy," I say flatly.
"The one and only," he says, glaring down at me, already taller than me at only fifteen years old.
"Scorpius!" Dominique calls. "Where are you?"
"Coming!" He shouts back. Then he turns to me. "If you don't mind, my best friend needs me." He walks off, obviously angry about being slapped.
"He'll get over it," another voice adds.
I turn to see Rose. "I don't care."
"And Teddy will come crawling back," Rose says, ignoring me. "I know him too well."
"He won't be back, Rosie. I know Teddy better than you," I say.
"He'll be back," she says confidently, hopping off the fence she's been sitting on. "But stay away from Scorp anyway. Dad hates him, so I'm going to marry him one day."
"You do that," I say, shaking my head in disbelief at the audacity of my thirteen year old cousin.
"You're nineteen," she calls over her shoulder. "You've still got a lot of life to live, so go out there and live it!"
I walk away, wondering about that. I've always molded myself around my family—who am I without them? I raise my head, wanderlust in my veins.
Three hours later, goodbyes have been said and there's a bag packed and ready lying on my bed. "You don't have to do this just because Teddy broke up with you," Mum says, her eyes pleading with me, begging me to stay behind.
"I can't, Mum," I say. "There's so much world, and I want to get out there and live it. I'm going to take life by the hand, and enjoy myself."
She looks at me sadly. "If you must, dear."
"I have to," I say, and with a quick turn I've apparated to Scotland, in the middle of nowhere. Another crack and I'm in a small town called Leadworth.
"You appeared out of nowhere," a small girl informs me.
"That's because I'm magic," I whisper to her with a grin.
She smiles back and shows me her sketch pad, open to a page with drawings of unicorns and aliens. "I want to go somewhere magical. My aunt doesn't like it, though. She doesn't like me daydreaming."
I ruffle her hair. "It'll get better, I promise. It always gets better."
She nods, taking my hand briefly. "Good luck, Disappearing Girl."
I smile and with wave to her as I disapparate. It's a nice looking town, with pretty houses. I can smell the sea from where I'm standing. "This will do," I say.
"Hello," an old man says.
"Hi!" I respond cheerfully, lifting my bag over my shoulder.
"Welcome to the Sandcastle Motel," a bored looking man says as I attempt to check in.
I turn on the Veela charm. "Hello," I grin.
He snaps to attention. "How may I help you?"
"I'm looking for a room," I say, trying to make my tone sound at least a little seductive, though I'm not certain how much luck I'm having.
"Right," he stutters.
Five minutes later I have a room key, his number, and a slightly less heavy heart. I drop off my bag and begin walking towards the beach, my cover-up barely doing its job.
"Hi," a girl about my age says. "Do you know how to get to the Docgfish brewery?"
"No, sorry. I actually just got here," I say, smiling.
"Me too! Are you heading down to the beach? I'm Lynda, by the way. Lynda with a 'y.'"
"Nice to meet you, Lynda with a 'y.' I'm Victoire." I say, extending a hand.
She shakes it. "I hope to see you again!"
I nod and wave as she walks off, glad to have met at least one person in this new town. The beach is nice, but the sand and squawking seagulls quickly annoy me, and I decide to make sure my next stop is nowhere near a beach. I feel like the lost crow among the seagulls, pretending to be one yet completely different than those around me. I can't say it's a good feeling.
The sky is a bit grey, so I stand up to make my way back to the Sandcastle Motel and the cute boy, though he's nowhere near Teddy in terms of cuteness.
The next day I pay and as soon as I'm not surrounded by people I disapparate, ending up in a forest somewhere. I follow a badly marked trail to find out it's a fort. There's no one there, and I can hear cars rushing nearby and so, in disappointment, I disapparate, hoping for somewhere better this time.
My wish seems to come true, as it's after closing time in the Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C. I perform a disillusionment charm, and I wander around the beautiful gardens until about two am, when I realize how tired I am. It takes all of my energy to apparate into Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione's house to ask Rose if I can stay there, as her parents will be gone at a convention for a week.
"What is Tory doing here?" I hear Hugo, Rose's younger brother, ask as I wake up.
"She's left home and is traveling around the world," Rose explains.
"She hasn't gone far," Hugo remarks.
"Yes I have," I mumble, still trying to wake up. "I've gone very, very far, you silly goose. As far as America. I'm over seventeen, remember."
"Apparating license," Rose reminds Hugo.
"I remember," he snaps.
"Sure you do," Rose retorts, and I remember arguments with Dominique and Louis that were about the same as the one unfolding in front of me. If my memory serves, it can take hours for it to all wind down.
"Let's not go into this," I beg, sitting up and pushing my blond hair out of my face. It's messy, but I'm lucky I have very straight hair instead of curls, something I've never been properly grateful for.
"Right," Rose says immediately, turning away from Scorpius. "I can make pancakes."
"Yes!" Hugo cheers. They run off into the kitchen, and I'm grateful for cool older cousin status—I can do whatever I want and they'll listen to me. It gives me a few seconds to relax before I worry about what I can do next.
There's a knock at the front door, and Hugo runs to get it. I know who it is as soon as I hear, "Hey there, little man," but Hugo confirms it anyway by shouting that it's Teddy.
"He can't come in!" Rose shouts back.
Hugo relays this message, but I can't hear Teddy's reply. "He says it's urgent."
"Tell him it doesn't matter!" Rose is beginning to get impatient—I can tell from the tone of her voice.
"He says he needs relationship advice!"
I sputter and stand, hoping he hasn't spotted me. Whatever he had to say will have at least a bit to do with me. I'm certain that he will ask if it's okay to start a new relationship so soon after ending an old one, and I'm almost afraid to listen in. I do mean almost, and so I disillusion myself and creep closer to where Teddy and Hugo are talking.
"What do you need to ask about?" Rose asks, leaning on the doorframe.
"I'm madly in love with someone," Teddy begins, "but I made a stupid mistake."
"What kind of mistake?" Hugo asks.
"I broke up with her," Teddy says.
I feel my heart catch in my throat. He can't mean me, can he? Unless he's been seeing several girls at the same time… but Teddy isn't like that. Is he?
"So go after her," Rose says, as though it's obvious. And maybe to her, it is, but she's only thirteen years old, so what does she know of love and the trials that come with it.
"I don't know where she is," Teddy says. "Her mum says she's gone on a road trip or something, but she's apparating instead of driving."
Rose takes a deep breath. "She'll be in London later. About two o'clock. On London Bridge."
I wonder how she got that information—I haven't told her anything about my plans. I don't even have any, actually. Then I realize that she's giving me the perfect setup to meet Teddy again and change my future. It's all my choice, and I only have a few hours to decide.
Teddy leaves after a few more moments of pleasantries, but I'm too shell shocked to listen. London Bridge. Two o'clock. Will I go?
Rose serves breakfast, and no one mentions what I overheard. At one fifty two I stand up. "Where are you going?" She asks.
"Nowhere," I respond, "and everywhere." Just the next step of the journey that has ended up being rather short.
I apparate, Rose's round face the last thing I see before I go. She's waving, I think, but then I'm in an alcove near the bridge. I step out, right into a tall redheaded man with a beak shaped nose. In front of my eyes, he shifts, his hair becoming turquoise and his eyes green.
"Teddy," I say.
"Victoire," he replies, his voice as deep as ever, and sucking me in like usual.
"No," I say, mostly to myself. "Just no."
"What?" He asks.
"You broke up with me," I attempt to explain myself, "so why am I here?"
"I'm in love with you," he says. "And you love me back. That's why we're here."
"It doesn't work like that, Teddy," I say. "You can't ditch me and then expect me to come running back with open arms. I'm not that girl."
"I know you aren't," he says. "I don't want you to be. That's why I wrote you a speech."
"You wrote me a speech?" I ask, running a hand through my hair.
"Yes, I did. Don't interrupt, please, because I'll lose my place."
"Sure," I say.
"Victoire Grace Weasley. You're the first one born of you generation, because I'm not really a Weasley, except in spirit. You're the most beautiful girl in the world, from your blond hair to your toes, and yes, even that one you broke when you were five that didn't heal quite right. I love all of you, even the imperfections, which only make you more perfect.
"I'm a bit of an idiot. I didn't see what I had when I had you. You were the best thing in my life, and then I just walked away. I'm not sure why—I talked myself into it, saying it was the best thing for you since I was a flake and wouldn't be good in the long run, but the simple truth is that I'm head over heels in love with you, and that scares me. It terrifies me, actually, because I've never felt this way for anyone before, and suddenly you're here, lighting up my world. I love you, Tory. I love you more than anything else."
Tears are running down my face and Teddy is looking at me for approval, but I can't get anything past the lump in my throat, so I grab his t-shirt, pull his mouth down to mine and ignore the old lady loudly disapproving of us.
When I finally pull away, I look up at him. "Don't think this doesn't mean we won't have a long and detailed conversation of things you need to improve," I say hoarsely.
He begins to laugh, and soon I've joined him, and we stand there together near London bridge just laughing our heads off.
This is for the One Hour Challenge. I had to write Teddy/Victoire, and my prompts were "grey" and "No, just no."
I don't own HP.