A/N: I started this an exercise. It turned into a challenge. 78 unique relationships among the Weasley-plus-Teddy kids. 78 under-300-word scenes. Here's the first twelve. Please don't yell at me for starting a new story! I'm still working on the others. This one's a quicky.
Couple things: I'm cannon here. Teddy/Victoire is the only intended pairing. Also, several of these snippets fit into storylines I've mentioned in 'Days in a Year' or hope to integrate into longer stories. If they're frustratingly tease-y/ambiguous, my apologies. Search for more details in my other stories or let your imagination go free :)
Teddy and Victoire – First Kiss
She was laughing at him, at how he got himself into these messes even now that he was of-age and needed to be rescued. He blushed beet-red in the summer sun as they walked back to the castle – the last walk he would take up this lane as a student headed home – with wild flowers blooming and birds singing. He punched her arm, but not too hard, never ever going to tell her that it was over her and her honor that he'd lost his temper with those prats in the first place. Sometimes he didn't think she knew how pretty she was and what people would say because of it.
She gave him a retaliatory shove and soon they were chasing each other up the road, swatting and ramming like they'd done when they were little kids. But when he caught her around the waste and swung her half around, when her sweet-smelling, rosy-gold hair was tickling his chin and she leaned her head back so that her face was inches from him… suddenly they were in a whole new world.
Teddy and Dominique – Rules
There were rules, she informed him when Teddy swung himself onto the stone wall beside her, curious to know why she was sulking. He often forgot that she was four-and-a-half years younger than him because she rarely acted it, but once in a while, the eight-year-old in her would come out. There were rules that had to be followed, she said sourly, even if they were stupid rules that only got her into trouble.
"Well," he said, nudging her with his shoulder. "There's a rule that friends have to pick your side once in a while, no matter what."
"But you're Vic's friend," she said skeptically. Victoire was angry with her. If Teddy picked her side, he'd be picking against Victoire.
Teddy grinned at her. "There's no rule says I can't be your friend, too."
Teddy and Louis – Confusion
"We're mates, right? Even though you're Head Boy and I'm only an ickle firstie?"
"Yeah," Teddy laughed, cuffing Louis lightly around the ear. "I've known you your whole life. Of course we're mates."
Louis furrowed his brow. "So… we're mates, so I like you. But you're my sister's boyfriend, so I should hate you. Which one is it?"
Louis waited patiently while Teddy attempted to suppress his chortling. "Both, mate. Both." He said at last, clapped Louis on the shoulder, and walked away, leaving him just as confused as ever.
Teddy and Molly – Sorrow
Her father told her not to stare, but she couldn't help it. Boys weren't supposed to cry. Not when they were ten and almost off to school. They weren't supposed to hide their faces in their grandmothers' shoulders or have their godfathers scoop them up like little children. Dominique snapped at her for gawping and Victoire turned her to face the front again with not a word.
He was always around, though she didn't understand why exactly. He wasn't a Weasley or a Potter. She didn't know him well – he was too busy with Victoire or with Aunt Ginny's babies. But she knew he was the boy that lost his parents, and that must mean he could cry for the rest of his life. On May second, anyway, the Day of Tears. She didn't blame him. There was nothing in the world she could think of that was sadder.
Teddy and Lucy – Mistake
Teddy poured the baby gently into the cradle of Lucy's arms. His daughter fit snuggly against her chest, her hand cupping the downy blond hair dusting the crown of Isobel's head. He watched in puzzlement as Lucy sank down into an empty chair at the Burrow's kitchen table, eyes filling and lips trembling. The hoots and laughter of her cousins, aunts, and uncles drifted in through the door on a summer breeze.
"Do you think a mistake can be a miracle, too?" she whispered, so quietly that Teddy scarcely heard.
He knelt in front of her, playing with one of Isobel's tiny pink hands. Lucy and Molly he had never known as well as the rest. In fact, this was the first private moment he could remember the two of them sharing. But that didn't stop his heart melting for her. Maybe it was because he'd just had a daughter of his own, or because she was close to Lily's age, but he would have given quite a lot to fix everything for her.
Teddy and Fred – Hope
The mead was dark and strong, the last of the wedding bottle he and Victoire had steadily been stealing sips from whenever life got difficult. Teddy drank down half his glass in one swallow, and looked across the table at Fred. He just stared morosely into the murky depths of his drink. He was twenty years old, a businessman like his father with his own flat and a girlfriend and success on his fingertips, but he looked half a boy just now, lost and miserable.
"I feel like it's my fault, but I don't really know how," he mumbled.
Teddy heaved a deep sigh. "Yeah, sometimes I let you take the blame, too," he admitted. "But just as often I feel like it's my fault. But we're not responsible for James. We can try, but he'll do what he wants; he always has."
"But he's my best mate," said Fred as if that trumped all arguments.
"And he's my little brother in everything but blood," Teddy shrugged, taking another sip. "We can try our best to look out for him, but in the end, all we can do is hope he figures things out for himself."
Teddy and Roxanne – Hide
"It's not what it looks like."
Teddy felt his eyebrows shoot up as he raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. He'd only come in here looking for Lily.
"It looks like you're studying," he ventured bemusedly.
Roxanne slowly turned back to the desk, sliding a pair of wire-rimmed reading glasses off her nose and fiddling with them. Her dark ringlets fell over her face.
"Is… that not what this is?" Teddy asked, taking a tentative step forward and perched on the edge of one of the twin beds.
He could have just asked if she knew where Lily was and pretended to have never noticed anything amiss, but he was intrigued. Molly and Rose viewed schoolwork as an Olympic sport, and Al had always loved a good story, but most of the rest wouldn't be caught dead with a book. A lot of them had been blessed with a penchant for being naturally gifted, but to study was practically heresy, especially for Fred. He wondered if that was why a dark flush had crept up Roxanne's cheeks.
"I don't need to," Roxanne told him defensively, abandoning her glasses to run her fingers restlessly along the spines of the books stacked in front of her. "I just like to. So I like knowing things, what's the matter with that? It's not like I flaunt it."
"I think it's brilliant," Teddy told her honestly. She turned a skeptical eye on him, as if searching for sarcasm. He didn't know why. She was not generally shy or easily embarrassed, and he only picked on James and Fred and Dominique. "Why do you hide it?"
She shrugged, seeming to mull the question over. "I guess it's kind of nice to have a secret in this family."
Teddy and Rose – Clear Skies
"You know, I don't need a babysitter anymore," Rose told him. "I'm twelve."
"Yeah, probably," Teddy shrugged, flopping down on her bed and bunching up a princess pillow to rest his chin on. "But then what would I do all day, huh?"
Rose huffed and turned back to the letter she was furiously scribbling away at. "Where's Hugo?"
"Sugar crashed on the couch," Teddy said unconcernedly.
"I told you not to give him anymore ice cream."
"I think it was the jelly beans that did it. I warned him against those."
A few minutes passed in silence save for the scratching of Rose's quill and the creak of the bedsprings as Teddy absentmindedly bounced the mattress.
"Who ya writing to?" he asked at last, unable to contain his curiosity.
"Nobody," she muttered, but a maroon blush was creeping its way up her cheeks.
He sat up, smirking. "The same nobody Al was teasing you about last Sunday before you punched him?"
Rose stood up, creased her letter with a purposeful pinch, stuffed it into an envelope, and carried it over to her large gray barn owl. "Maybe." She let the owl clamp the letter in its beak and carried it over to the open window. Teddy rolled off the bed and followed her, trying to get a look at the name on the envelope. "But Al was being a prat. We're just friends."
"Of course," Teddy agreed as she threw the bird out into the deep blue sky, blush flaming in her cheeks. But there was a satisfied smile on her lips as she watched it disappear into the cloudless horizon. Teddy wondered if she even saw the clouds gathering in the distance.
Teddy and Hugo – Words
Hugo didn't understand. Maybe he was too little or just lucky, but he didn't get it. They were just words, just things other people said. You didn't have to listen.
"But you have to hear," Teddy told him quietly.
He was upset, that much Hugo could tell. People were calling him names at school. Hugo had tried to teach him the rhyme about rubber and glue, but Teddy said it wouldn't work. Then he remembered something else his mummy told him.
"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me," he recited carefully, running his toy truck up Teddy's spine.
Teddy turned his head so that his tawny eyes looked right into Hugo's big brown ones. He probably shouldn't have said it, but he couldn't help himself. "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words alone can kill me."
The car slipped out of Hugo's pudgy fingers. He probably didn't understand, but maybe the look on Teddy's face had given him an idea, because his lip trembled and his eyes filled up. Teddy sat up hastily, wishing he'd kept his mouth shut. He let Hugo crawl up into his lap and snuffle into his shoulder. Well, it was stupid to teach kids that words didn't mean anything anyway.
Teddy and James – Trouble
When the door slammed, Teddy knew they were in trouble.
From the time he'd been born, James had caused havoc and reveled in chaos. He'd spit up on Teddy's Christmas jumper, torn the pages out of his favorite picture book, and put his shoes in the toilet. He'd learned his first word from Teddy. His first swear word. James had stolen his wand the night before Teddy's first time to school. He'd destroyed Teddy's bedroom, broken his broom, and gotten him grounded for an entire Christmas break all over a stupid turtle. And that wasn't even counting the canary creams in his Christmas cake, the dung bombs in his school trunk, or any of the six toad incidents.
Teddy knew James would never ever grasp exactly what an upheaval his existence had caused in Teddy's life. But damn it, James was his upheaval. And he'd stand here all night if he had to.
"Open the bloody door!" he ordered, hammering the battered, paint-peeling door to James and Fred's flat. "Jamie, I want to talk to you!"
But he didn't get an answer. For the first time in his life, James wouldn't answer him. Yep. They were in trouble.
Teddy and Al – Stumble
Teddy winced as tiny nails bit into his palms, but he didn't let go. Al wobbled dangerously as his wandering foot found the carpet again and he squealed. Teddy took a shuffling step forward to keep up with him. Across the room, James was hanging like a monkey from the windowsill.
"Nanana, can't get me!" he sang gleefully, poking his tongue out at his little brother and dropping back to the floor to tear past them in the opposite direction. Al howled in high-pitched frustration and almost overbalanced, swinging his whole body forward to try to go faster. Teddy caught him and set him back on his feet.
"James, knock it off," he snapped, annoyed. "You're bigger than him. It's not nice to tease."
But James paid no attention, just kept ricocheting around the room like a pinball because he could and his brother couldn't. Teddy sighed. "Don't mind him, Al. He'll run into a chair or something and be wailing any minute."
But Al did not seem much consoled. He let out another shriek and threw himself forward with such force that he almost broke Teddy's grip.
"Hang on, Alby," Teddy told him, struggling to keep a hold on the baby. "You can't do it by yourself. You'll fall." Al might have been a month past his first birthday, but he looked tiny and very breakable and Teddy wasn't going to let him fall.
But he was stronger than he looked. With a writhing tug, he wriggled free, and his momentum carried him forward one, two, three stumbling steps before he crashed to the carpet. His first steps. And his first fall.
Teddy and Lily – Spider Web
A breeze ruffled the springy grass, and Lily seemed to sway with it, long red braid dancing. She sat cross-legged, leaning over the low, leafless branches of a shrub, sketch pad in lap, pencil in hand. Quiet as the wind, Teddy crossed the lawn and knelt down beside her.
"Hey, bud. Whatcha drawing?"
She offered him the sketch pad. The delicate, crisscrossing weave of a spider web, glistening in silver pencil between the emerald flush of leaves. And in the middle of this pretty tapestry, she was drawing the spider in all its spindly eight-legged, hairy glory, a thick, black-brown blot in the middle of the page.
"You hate spiders," he reminded her, raising an eyebrow as she bent closer to examine the real live thing sitting in its web in front of her.
Lily shrugged. "But I like their message."
"What, trap helpless prey in a sticky web?"
Lily gave him the scornful look she reserved especially for him because he liked to wind her up and snatched her sketch back. "No. That beauty can come from hideous things, like the spider weaving its web."
Teddy sat back on his haunches, looking at her.
"You're doing it again," he accused.
He pulled her sideways into a headlock, ruffling her hair and making her drop her sketch pad. "Growing up when I'm not looking."
A/N: Hope you liked the first installment. As mentioned above, this is for a challenge. My connect-the-Weasleys challenge. Check it out on the HPFC and join the fun! I wanna see your take on these people and these words. And maybe you could drop me a line here?