these accidents of faith
these accidents of faith and nature
they tend to stick in the spokes of you- Sunlight Through the Flags, Snow Patrol
She catches his eye across the room, and okay so she can say 'hello' in six different languages but that doesn't mean she will.
She hates him easily. He's so… so… so Teddy (and, Merlin, he was always going to be his own adjective) and she watches her female cousins fall one-by-one, slowly and painfully and oh, she hates succumbing to clichés but here she is right in line with the rest, hearts thumping painfully whenever he walks in the room.
She decides to hate him pretty quickly. After all, that line between love and hate is so thin that it takes almost no effort to cross from one to the other and besides Lucy's always been about crossing lines.
The languages are a prime example of that, she supposes. It had started because her mother, her darling Muggle mother, had sat down with her at night, leaving Molly with their father, and wove Lucy tales of beautiful, far-off lands with people that spoke strange languages and how the only way to communicate with them was through a language of charades because there was that language barrier and nobody knew how to cross it.
Lucy, aged three, decides that crossing barriers is going to be her thing. After all, in a family of redheads she sticks out like a sore thumb with her blonde hair, and she thinks that if she's going to have something to mark her out she'd much rather it was a talent for something rather than hair colour, of all things.
So she'd asked as nicely as she could for her mother to take her to a language class.
"Which language?" Audrey had asked, not believing for a second that this phase of Lucy's would last longer than a month.
"Any," Lucy had replied, and there she is two days later sitting in a class for French.
Percy doesn't understand this obsession of hers, and he grows quickly sick of hearing his four-year-old daughter chattering away on the phone to Aunt Fleur to practice her language.
Two years later, having spent a month staying with Victoire and Dominique and Louis' grandparents, Lucy is comfortable in French.
"Fluent," Percy tells people proudly. "My daughter, six-years-old and fluent in French!"
Lucy doesn't bother to correct him, just tugs on his sleeve and whispers in his ear and asks for lessons in a different language.
And thus begins the Spanish.
She finds herself a Spanish friend at Muggle primary school somehow (Lucy has always been about getting things done), and soon Audrey and Percy and Molly are enduring two long phone calls a night – one to Aunt Fleur and the other to Eirene, and Merlin they have no idea where this talent of hers comes from but they're not going to stop her if she really does love it as much as she seems to.
Molly grows and turns into a perfect little witch, already in control of her magic by the time she's nine.
Lucy's magic is wild and uncontrolled, driven by her emotions and feelings – but by the time she's nine she can speak French, Spanish and Russian at least passably. It's a crazy ear this child has got for languages, and Audrey has to admit she likes the look of shock on people's faces when she takes Lucy out and people on the train are talking in one of these three languages, and Lucy will butt in just for the practice.
Then she goes off to Hogwarts with Molly, and Percy and Audrey wait with baited breath, desperate to know how their daughters are doing. Molly, naturally, comes home with top grades and a new sort of serenity clinging to her.
Lucy comes home with average marks, crumpled uniform and conversational Mandarin.
Percy doesn't know whether to be proud or to cry.
Molly finds her sister a little freakish, staying well out of the way when Lucy is on the phone practising one of her four languages with a variety of friends, but Lucy accepts it and moves on.
You see, there is some logic behind this madness of hers. She sees all these problems about her, lives spiralling out-of-control, people with nothing to drive them onwards. She worries that one of these days she'll have no goals, no willpower, not anymore.
So, rather than risk that trap of indolence, she sets her sights on a new language and she conquers it and, Godric, it feels better than anyone could possibly imagine when she can pass a group of strangers talking in a foreign language and understand every word they're saying as easily as if they were talking English.
Lucy has always been a girl on a mission.
So she carries on through school and Molly turns into this perfect little princess, everything their father ever wanted, and Lucy practises her languages with the sort of dedication usually only seen in brides dieting to fit into their wedding dresses, throwing herself into them mindheartsoul, barely even speaking English any more in her determination to master them, to control them, to conquer them.
Her grades get poorer and her father gets angrier and Lucy does the only thing she knows how to do, and starts learning a new language.
She picks German because she likes the rough cadences and the poetry, sinking into it as though she was always born to speak it. She finds herself a penpal from the Durmstrang Institute and she spends a lot of time writing to him, shutting herself away from her family to further delve into German.
Percy throws his hands up in despair and focuses on Molly, encouraging her in her perfection. Audrey stops and listens at the door to Lucy speaking on the Muggle mobile phone she'd insisted on having for her fourteenth birthday, and she never understands a word of what her daughter is saying but, heavens, she doesn't think any mother has ever been more proud.
Lucy, with her five extra languages, is a girl with a steely confidence and the knowledge that there are a great many places she could end up in the world and not have any difficulty getting around. She knows about countries and she knows about people and she knows a whole lot about grammar and inflection.
And, on her sixteenth birthday, she starts to know a little bit more about her family.
She watches and understands the way Victoire positions herself closer to Teddy any time anybody else is in the room, the way Teddy sits there obliviously as multiple teenage hearts twinge painfully, eyes darting in his direction.
Lucy, for someone who can say anything in six different languages, is surprisingly good at being quiet and observing. That might just be a natural consequence, though, because an ear for languages certainly requires a lot of listening.
So she sits in a corner and she listens to the babble of conversation and her focused brown eyes travel around the room and watch the way Victoire frowns unhappily as Lily blazes across the room and throws herself at Teddy, his hair changing to a bright green (that, now she thinks about it, is the same colour as Lily's eyes) as he hugs her tightly back.
Lucy doesn't know why it is that all these girls should pine so desperately after this one boy, so she makes him her next task. She sits a little closer to him and volunteers to help with the washing up when he does, talking to him easily and comfortably and striking up some strange sort of friendship.
(Lucy's always been a talker.)
And one night he looks at her, and maybe really sees her for the first time, and gosh he's far too old for her but she can feel her heart beating faster and oh, the sudden realisation of what it is that her cousins feel for him is like a dagger in her soul.
She feels her heart tearing, because he can never be hers, so she steps back and throws the plate she'd been washing back into the sink, and then she bolts from the room and she decides to hate him.
She avoids him successfully for nearly two years, managing to be deep in conversation in French with Dominique or Aunt Fleur or Victoire whenever he's in the room, or away staying with a foreign friend when there's a large family outing.
But then he's there, in her house, because it's hers and Molly's birthday and Lucy had just wanted a few friends but Molly had wanted all her friends and all her family, so now here's Lucy in the middle of this party which she hates, trying to keep at least forty people in between herself and Teddy.
But he corners her (ofcourseofcourse) and he's smiling down like something is funny as she feels the wall at her back and tucks her hair behind her ears and tries to pretend that she hates him, reallyreally hates him.
"Go away, Teddy," she says firmly, arms folded and one pale eyebrow perfectly arched. "I don't want to talk to you."
"Not even if I'll talk German to you?" he presses, lips pulled up on one side in a half-grin.
"You don't speak German," she retorts, and she wishes he would just go away because this isn't fair, it's not right. He belongs to Lily – no, wait, she means Victoire – and why is he doing this?
"Would it make a difference if I did speak German?" he inquires, head slightly tilted, hair going slowly purple.
"What are you doing, Teddy?" she asks, and oh that burn is starting somewhere in her chest. "What are you trying to achieve here?"
"I… it's your birthday," he says lamely, looking slightly taken aback, taking a step away from her. "I was trying to be nice."
"Yeah, well, don't," Lucy replies, and now he's looking hurt and what right does he have to look as hurt as that? She's the one who should be hurt, because he's just toying with her while he waits for Lily and/or Victoire to return from talking to Molly, keeping himself distracted by pulling another naïve little Weasley girl further and further in.
Lucy stares up into his confused face, her blonde hair a messy halo around her palepale face – and then she runs for it.
She collapses up into her bedroom, face against the blue sheets, and then she opens her mouth and screams for the infuriation of loving him so.
Because Lucy Weasley can speak six different languages, but she can't speak hatred at all.