A/N: For some reason, Christmas inspired me to write this. I'm a huge Teddy and Victoire fan, it's practically the only thing I've been consistently reading for the past years, so it's about time I wrote a decent fiction about them. I love those fics on which Teddy is a werewolf or something like it. This is my attempt at one of those. Let me know your thoughts!
Summary: Victoire discovers Teddy's secret and she is determined to show him that she will always be there for him. In reality, the both of them discover much more.
Disclaimer: HP and all of its characters belong to JK Rowling.
Thank you so much for reading and Merry Christmas!
Everybody knew what was going on behind the wooden door, inside that tiny, cold and stony room. She had only seen it once, when she and Teddy had needed a secluded place to drink the stolen firewhiskey from Uncle Harry's personal winery. But at that time it had been filled with boxes and old furniture covered with cobwebs and dust, which she was sure were now removed so he could have more space to move around.
She pressed her ear against the damn door. She wanted to hear him, to know that he was alright; but the Silencing Charms cast upon it and the several intricate spells her uncles, aunts and own parents had performed didn't allow her to hear, least of all see, anything. It was as if absolutely nothing was happening, while the rest of the family happily celebrated Christmas downstairs.
During the family dinner, her aunts and uncles would look at each other worriedly, secretly sending messages to each other; messages that she had managed to decipher long time ago. From time to time, one of the adults would disappear for several minutes and then come back, look at the rest of the adults and give them a reassuring nod, which meant that everything was alright, that the situation was under control. Of course, her little cousins - and even the not so little - were oblivious to any of this. It made her sick, because all of this was very, very wrong. How could they leave him so alone and uncared for? How could they eat, drink, laugh while he was locked up in that room?
Nobody in her family knew she knew, aside from him. Because if her parents knew she knew, they would never let her go near him around the full moon again, which was - of course - completely ridiculous because he was Teddy and he would never do anything to hurt her.
She turned the doorknob in another attempt to open the door, but again it was pointless. She had tried this several times but the doorknob simply twisted and twisted and twisted endlessly, as if it had no latch. She sighed and pressed her forehead against the door, defeated.
Her mind wandered a year back, when she had overheard that conversation. She had been sleeping over at the Potter's and she had woken up because she felt thirsty. As she walked towards the kitchen, the unmistakable voice of Andromeda Tonks came from Uncle Harry's study. It caught her attention, because it sounded tired and shaky. So she changed her destination and simply stood there, paralyzed.
"But how is that possible, Harry? After all this time?" said the old woman.
"They don't even know," replied Harry. "The Medi-wizards and Healers said that it might be because of his coming of age. They said that his child and teenage hormones mixed with his metamorphmagus genes might have held this particular allele at bay. But now that he is an adult -"
Harry was interrupted by a hopeless sob from Andromeda Tonks, who was immediately comforted by her grandson.
"It's ok, Gran," he said. "Everything will be alright."
"Healer Saunders has been extremely helpful. She said she would arrange for the Hospital to prepare a special room for Teddy, so he can...spend...the next full moon there," added Harry.
"Oh?" sniffed Andromeda. "That's so nice of her. But is it really necessary? Can't he just stay at home?"
"Well, they still -" started Teddy, but immediately stopped talking. Victoire wondered if something had happened inside the room. They were all very silent for a few seconds; seconds that felt like ages.
"Teddy, are you feeling alright?" asked Harry, clearly worried at Teddy's abrupt lack of speech.
"Yeah," Teddy replied and Victoire could picture the frown upon his face. "I was saying, Gran, that they still need to run some tests. So they need me at the Hospital during the full moon."
Andromeda started to sob again and Victoire felt she had already heard enough. Slowly, she retreated and - thirst forgotten - went back to the guest room.
She sighed and turned the doorknob once more, just out of habit. She hoped that he could hear it moving, so he would know that she was there - waiting. She also hoped that he could smell her perfume; he had explained to her that the days prior to the full moon his senses were a thousand times more alive. So she had chosen his favourite scent, maybe it helped him to relax a bit.
She pressed her forehead harder against the wooden door. She felt so helpless and powerless, because he was suffering and she couldn't do absolutely anything to help him; she couldn't comfort him, or hug him, or hold his hand. So, she guessed it was a bit silly to resent her family; she somewhat understood why they chose to eat, drink and laugh. The helplessness, the despair and anguish the situation generated were enough to drive a person mad. Victoire herself felt she was about to lose it if the freaking knob kept twisting pointlessly, if the stupid door didn't open and if the annoying spells didn't break. So - yes - she understood them; they were simply doing the best they could under such a delicate situation. Teddy himself had probably asked them to enjoy Christmas and let him be. She considered leaving and going back to the dining room, but then she remembered his eyes. That look he gave her a few months ago, the night before she parted for her sixth year at Hogwarts.
It was also the night before little James started his first year at Hogwarts and Grandma Molly had decided that he needed the encouragement of all his cousins, so she had required all the kids to spend the night at The Burrow for moral support. It had been chaotic in the house during the entire day and only after dinner had it quietened down. Victoire had offered to clean the dishes and the kitchen, so her Grandma would be finally able to rest after a long and exhausting day.
Victoire wasn't particularly fond of house chores, especially if she had to do them the muggle way, but her Grandma deserved the little gesture. It took her two hours to complete the task; the clock struck eleven and a half when she finished. She was about to turn the lights off when she glanced through the kitchen's window. At first, she was surprised to see him sitting alone on a faraway broken bench in the back garden, but then she remembered - three days until the full moon. She wondered if he needed some company.
She took two bottles of butterbeer and walked to his side. Without speaking a word, she sat next to him and handed him one of the bottles. He smiled at her gestured and accepted it.
"Couldn't sleep?" she asked and he shrugged. "Something on your mind?" she added.
"I think you know what's on my mind," he replied calmly.
"What do you mean?" she questioned nervously.
"I know you were hearing us that night at Uncle Harry's," said Teddy.
"Oh," she replied. "I'm sorry, Teddy, I didn't mean -"
"It's alright," he cut her off. "In fact, I'm kind of relieved that you know."
"Oh," she said again.
"Have you told anyone?" he asked.
"Of course not!" she said.
"Thanks," he said and offered a grateful smile.
They didn't speak for a while; the both of them were still processing the confessions they had just made. A heavy weight was lifted off their shoulders; there were no secrets now between each other and it felt really good. It felt like their bond was composed and strong, and it was the encouragement she needed to ask him all the questions that had been running through her head since that night.
"So...how...is it?" her cheeks turned pink at the silliness of her inquiry, but she really wanted to know. She hadn't heard anything about Teddy's situation after that night at the Potter's. She wanted to know what those examinations consisted on, what had the Healers found?
"Well, turns out I'm not a werewolf after all," he said.
"Really? That's great!"
But he didn't look too excited or happy about it.
"In a way it is. I'm not entirely...normal...either," he explained.
She didn't dare to comment again, instead, she focused on him - the way he was sitting, with his shoulders slouched and his head pointing down at the ground. He looked demoralized, beaten.
"Apparently my metamorphmagus genes do control the werewolf ones, so I don't really transform during the full moons. But...those nights are still not nice," he smiled sadly.
"What do you mean?" she whispered.
"Well, it's like...I'm not myself," he stared at his hands. "I think bad things, terrible things...my head hurts, my body aches. I'm not entirely sure of what's going on half the time."
"Did the Healers give you anything to ease the pain?"
"Yes," he laughed. "Hundreds of different potions to drink, but after the full moon. They tried giving me the Wolfsbane Potion, but it was a disaster. I spent the entire week after the full moon vomiting. Since I'm not really a werewolf, it doesn't have any effect on me, quite on the contrary, it's very risky for me to use it. So no, there is nothing that would ease the pain during the night."
"Teddy," she whispered and tenderly placed a hand on his bare arm. She had hoped that the little gesture would relax him; she was trying to show him her support. But he stiffened instead and shook her hand off.
"Don't do that again Vicky, at least not during times like these," he said sternly.
She was taken aback by his reaction, hurt even. Teddy had always been a bit of a bad boy, but he had never been rude to anyone - especially not to her.
"I'm sorry," he added. "But...the days before the full moon are just as terrible. I smell and...feel... everything differently, much more...intensely."
"Did I hurt you? You get weaker during the full moon?" she asked, not entirely following what he had meant.
"Not precisely," he gulped and everything about him suddenly changed. His gestures, his posture, his expression - it was as if he was refraining from doing something. His cheeks were flushed and it was harder for him to breath. "A touch is not just a touch, Victoire. It makes me...want stuff."
"Oh," she said; her eyes widenend at the realization of what he had meant. "I'm sorry," she added.
"It's ok," he panted. "You didn't know."
His gestures and expression kept changing and - for a few seconds - Victoire thought about leaving him alone. But it was ridiculous, he would never do anything that would make her feel uncomfortable.
"When did you realize something was changing?" she asked, trying to change the subject, to distract him.
"It started after I turned seventeen. It was a progressive thing. Initially I just felt sick, but as time went by it got worse. The first episode happened at home, last summer. My Gran freaked out so she called Harry. And well, he took me to St. Mungo's."
"What about School?"
"At first I spent the night at the Hospital Wing, because I was more...manageable. But the last months I ended up going to the Shrieking Shack, how ironic is that?"
"Teddy," she whispered, because she knew that it was a sour topic. He loved and hated that place. On one hand, it was one of the few things he had left from his father; it was a concrete proof of Remus Lupin's existence, of his friends and the good times they had had. On the other, it was where he became what he hated to be, what had almost kept him apart from his mother.
Teddy placed his head between his hands; elbows resting on his knees. It was so sad for her to see him like that; it was so unfair.
"I hate this, Vicky," he added softly.
She stood up and kneeled in front of him - screw it if he didn't want her to touch him. She placed a hand on his chin and lifted his face, so he would - finally - look at her right in the eyes. She wanted to say so many things, but no words came out of her mouth. Instead, she simply looked at him. And if his body language showed defeat, his eyes showed destruction and solitude; there were so many things missing. It was as if a Dementor had sucked the beautiful sparkle those hazel eyes once had; they were empty and vacant. What could she possibly say to fix it?
He tried to remove her hand from his face, but her grip tightened and she never stopped staring into those dull, lifeless eyes.
"Teddy," she said. "You are not alone."
She couldn't go back to the dining room. He needed her there, to show him that he was not alone. That she would never leave and that she hadn't lied that night - he was not alone.
And then, without even thinking, she did the most unexpected thing - she kissed him. It was short and sweet, but full of meaning. He was caught off guard at first; he was not entirely aware of what she had done, but it didn't take him long to catch up. He closed the space between them once more.
It had only happened once, it had been their first and last kiss but it had been enough to know where her loyalty lie - behind that door, with him. She caressed her lips with her fingers, remembering the tingling sensation his own lips had produced that night, as he grabbed her hair, pulled her closer and kissed her wildly.
She pressed her forehead harder and harder against the door, then removed the hand from her lips and in one desperate attempt she placed it on the door, with her fingers outstretched. She pushed the door with her hand and forehead - with all her might - thinking that maybe, just by mere luck, the door would open.
When they broke apart, none of them dared to speak. They didn't want to talk about the full moon or about any of his problems anymore. She pressed her forehead against his and closed her eyes. She felt his hot breathing, the throbbing veins of his forehead, the beating of his heart against her chest and the warmth of his body; the smell of his musky cologne. She was starting to understand what it was to feel everything the same way as he did - differently and intensely; it was as if every cell in her body was screaming for him to touch her, to grow nearer, to kiss her and whisper her name. She didn't want to leave, she wanted the moment to last forever. She wanted him to kiss her again and never ever stop. Was this how he felt every full moon now? Could this be what he had meant?
She didn't want him to feel like this for any other girl, because she knew that she could never feel like this for any other boy.
She pushed the door again, cursing her uncles and aunts for being such skilled wizards and witches. She hadn't seen Teddy at all since she came back from Hogwarts for the Winter Break. She had to see him; he had to know that she was still there.
And suddenly, she felt him. She didn't know how or why, but it was him behind that door, placing his forehead and outstretched hand against the wood, matching her own. Both, her forehead and palm, suddenly felt so warm. She could picture him behind the door in the exact same position as hers and she smiled, because Teddy knew she was there.
She would have stayed like that for hours and hours until the sun came out, when he would finally leave that goddamn room. She closed her eyes and just lay there against the door, completely forgetting about her family, the dinner and Christmas. All her attention was now placed on that stupid piece of wood, on her hand and forehead and that familiar tingling sensation. Her senses sharp and attentive to any sound or movement that he could be making.
She opened her eyes, simply to check if by any chance she was able to see any shadows moving through the small gap between the floor and the door. But she soon realised that she was no longer alone in the corridor. At the other end of it stood his grandmother with a startled look upon her face. But she didn't care how ridiculous she looked, pressed against the door. She was not moving away from him, specially not tonight.
For some reason, Andromeda Tonks was not too surprised to see Victoire Weasley standing there. What did surprise her, though, was the tender look on the girl's face as she held on to that door as if her life depended on it. A thousand images came to her mind; the most intense, heartfelt and profound being that of Dora's. And in a fraction of a second, she saw her own daughter in Victoire's longing eyes. Andromeda simply gave the girl a small smile before turning around and walking down the stairs, back to the dining room.