the rose and pearl.

blithe smile, lithe limb

she who's winsome, she wins him

gold hair with a gentle curl

that's the girl he chose

and heaven knows

i'm not that girl

- I'm Not That Girl

.

I. This is an ending.

It should have been expected. They could be a romantic comedy, really. She was born on the day his parents died. They were best friends-turned-lovers. They were married and honestly they were probably going to end up with two-point-five kids and a dog and a cute little house with a picket fence because really, they might as well be the American Dream.

(Let's avoid the fact that they're not actually American.)

'It's a girl,' Victoire announces at Christmas. She rests a hand - carefully, lovingly, tenderly - on the baby bump on her thin, petite body, and he wraps his arms around her, eyes only for his wife.

Lily has never seen two people more in love.

It is beautiful, really, she observes, the way that they are in love. They look at each other as if there is no one else in the world. She looks at him like he is a prince out of a fairytale. He looks at her like she is the most beautiful thing in existence. When he puts his hands - gently, softly, adoringly - on her stomach, she feels her heart swell when she sees how both of their eyes light up when the baby kicks.

Why can't Lily have that?

She's happy for them, really, truly, honestly. Victoire is the sister she never had; always watching out for her, doting on her, adoring her. Victoire, Lily believes, was born to be a mother. There is something about her sweet, gentle person and the delicate care that she puts into everything that is irreplaceable. And Teddy. Oh, Teddy. She loves him with every fiber of her being. He doesn't know. It's better that way. Besides, she's been working on this whole 'platonic' thing because honestly? She never had a chance.

He might be Marius in this story, but she is Cosette, and Lily is stuck as Éponine.

Except, you know, she doesn't really intend on dying like that.

She smiles a little to herself; so Victoire's Muggle Studies obsession was rubbing off on her.

.

II. No, it's a beginning.

It is through Victoire's Muggle obsession - the girl is the professor; of course this would happen - that Lily finds her calling.

One day as she's watching a bunch of Broadway musicals-turned-movies with Victoire, eating ice cream because, well, Victoire is pregnant, and, well, Lily is hungry.

'Can you put in Les Mis next, Lils?' Victoire asks when their current movie ends.

Lily wipes away a tear; she sympathizes with the green-skinned witch (except, you know, Elphaba and Fiyero actually fall in love). ''Course,' she says, getting up to switch the DVDs.

They have a lovely day and Victoire has an appointment, so she leaves with Teddy and Lily goes home.

Lily hums. She always has. But this time there's a certain tune that she subconsciously hums as she does her dishes. It's in her shower when she begins to sing - like, honestly, since when does she sing in the shower? - that she realizes.

(Oh. She's good.)

A year and a half later, Lily's bags are packed to go. 'It's just New York,' she says, 'and it's not forever.'

She bids her family farewell, each of them getting a tight, genuine hug, and she presses a light kiss to the head of little Madeline Elphaba Lupin - 'her skin just changed to green, Teddy; it's a sign!' - and gives extra-genuine hugs to both Teddy and Victoire (she doesn't squeeze too hard; another little baby Lupin is on the way).

In their quaint little home, Victoire decorates a nice little bulletin board, and she pins all the headlines from Broadway on it. A lovely, pure, one-hundred-percent genuine smile graces her lips as she pins the most recent one on.

"POTTER STARS IN REVIVAL OF 'WICKED'"

She places it below a snippet from one of her interviews.

"'They say that when one door closes, another one opens, and in my case, it was a stage door. Things, I believe,' Lily Potter, age 24, says, 'happen for a reason.'"

.

III. A good one, at that.

She returns home for every holiday, every birthday, every little thing that she should be there for - isn't that what family is for? And she is a witch. And witches can do that kind of thing easily enough, especially when she has the Harry Potter for a father. The only ones who visit her are Teddy and Victoire, really, other than her parents and James and Al. She enjoys their visits; she takes them sightseeing around New York and loves spoiling little Madeline and little Adelaide. After all, they are her favorite nieces (and only, at the moment, but that's okay).

She loves their visits, she really does, and she loves that she can share her place, her America, her New York with them. She loves that they can see. And really, New York does make her incredibly happy. She does well here, in the Muggle world. She owns a nice penthouse and has more than enough to get by and she loves what she does.

There is something magic about being onstage, to Lily.

She loves her life here; really, she does. However, she misses home. She misses dropping by the Burrow so often and everything from seeing her family to the water hitting her toes and the view from Shell Cottage to their Quidditch tournaments and using magic and that's when she realizes, sitting in her favorite, tiny, hole-in-the wall, family run coffee shop that God, she misses her family, and God, she misses her home.

She has no plans, really; she doesn't know what to do. Besides, she got the role in the revival, and God, she loves performing. It's her 'thing'. So she'll stay.

As most things in her life do, this turns out to be a good thing.

The lovely little coffee shop closes, and she can't go just anywhere. She's too recognizable of a face, and she doesn't really want to use magic to transfigure herself.

She thinks she's okay, she thinks, transfiguring her hair back to its natural ginger hue, rather than the brown-black that it is for her shows. The navy greatcoat buttons, and she very carefully wraps the soft, dark red scarf that Dominique had given her at her going-away party before she moved here - so even when you're in the Muggle world, you'll think of your years at Hogwarts, and you don't forget that you're a Gryffindor, forever and always, she had said- around her neck, and slips on her favorite brown boots, slips the cheap, plastic, neon-yellow (the closest thing to her other house color, of course) sunnies on.

Apparently, she wasn't disguised enough. She ducks into the first door she sees, which happens to be a tiny little bookstore. It smells of coffee, she thinks, and vanilla. Not a bad smell at all.

'And what have I done to deserve the honor of the Lily Potter gracing my presence?'

She spins around.

(This is how it all starts.)

It starts with her slapping him, and then him asking her out to coffee. It's a few dates, that's all; that's all. It becomes more, somehow, and really, she's never known someone who can read her quite like he does.

IV. It's a good thing, she decides.

Sometime in early December, they're curled up on her couch, his fingers playing idly with the ends of her inky - not natural, she tells herself - hair. They watch the Polar Express, because she's never seen it and he assures her that it is, like, the best Christmas movie ever, and he wants to watch it with her before she visits her family in England for the holidays. (Plus, he tells her, the music is incredible.)

By the time "Believe" plays, she's already in tears.

'I'm going to miss you,' he says, his hazel eyes missing the usual light that they hold. 'I'm going to miss you so much. I'll be counting the days until you're back,' he says.

'It's not forever, Jeff,' she tells him, resting her head in the crook of his neck. 'I'll be back before you know it. Aren't you excited to see your family?'

(She never realized that his mother had died and his father had disowned him.)

'That's it,' she decides, 'you're coming back with me.'

Somewhere along the way she happens to mention that her family is magic?

.

V. Of course he's okay with it.

'It just makes you more special,' he tells her, 'it's a part of you and every bit of you is perfect and I wouldn't change a single thing.'

The summer of 2035, they move.

'My home is where you are, Lils,' he says. 'I don't have anyone else.'

It's a little house, no bigger than Shell Cottage, but it's lovely. It's a bit middle-of-nowhere, but they like it that way. It's by this lovely lake, and they have a little boat that they row out in in the middle of the night to look up at the stars.

The stars are wishes, she thinks, but there is nothing in the world right now that she can wish for because she couldn't be happier.

Living near her family again is better than she had ever imagined; her family had loved Jeff immediately, and he had found himself falling in love with the crazy, absurdly large family of magic folk. Lily glows; they have everybody's approval - not that they would have stopped loving each other, but just thinking of it makes the world so much better for her.

He's going out with some friends, he tells her. He has a little bookstore now, in London - she takes him there every morning and picks him up every evening. It is filled with every single fairytale imaginable, and she loves decorating his windows.

(Almost like it was meant to be.)

He's not going out with some friends; no, he's going to her parents house. He leaves as one happy man.

(His hand is in his pocket, fingering the box.)

He tells her to pick the movie; he'll take care of snacks. There's some new DVDs, he tells her, on the second shelf. She reaches them, meticulously reading the names on the spines. Her eye catches on one; she's never heard of this before and Jeff isn't really one for rom-coms.

She freezes when she pulls it out and sees the cover. "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" it reads, above a picture of them from her birthday. Her mouth drops into a sort of 'O,' and when she turns around, he's on one knee, the little velvet ring box in his hand.

.

a/n. so this is kind of what happens when i decide to write a next-gen fic for the first time in a very, very long time. i'm kind of hoping it's okay, or at least half-way decent. the thing is, i ship teddy/victoire. that's not about to end. honestly i've never been a fan of teddy/lily (maybe it was the age difference? who knows), but i see it as a one-sided thing for a while. but yeah. it bothers me that usually it's victoire/teddy or lily/teddy, and it's a love triangle, and then of course the one who doesn't end up with teddy in the end ends up unhappy, or trying to sabotage the other's relationship or something, because that's just not something that i see happening. (plus i like to imagine vic being, like, the big-sister-figure in lily's life.) so i guess this story kind of... conveys my feelings about the whole thing? i don't know. but yeah. i mean no offense to teddy/lily shippers, by the way; if you like them, that's cool. it's just not really my cup of tea. so yeah. i hope you liked it. it actually started out as a mainly teddy/victoire fic, but it turned lily-centric. so yeah. (:

please don't favorite without reviewing, thanks!