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Chapter 5 : Chocolate Frog Cards
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Ted helped me to my feet, asking if I was all right.
I nodded, forcing myself to gain control over myself. "Yeah, yes, I'm-I'm fine, just-just stubbed my toe. Hurt, it-it really hurt." I knew he didn't believe me, but I didn't care, and he didn't question me further.
Slowly, for I was walking oddly on my "hurt" foot, Ted and I made our way back to the compartment. The silence that hung over us was uncomfortable, but not so much that it made me nervous.
When we reached the compartment, which was empty as Shrouder was apparently charming the witch with the food cart to get us all something to eat, Ted opened the door and asked me again if I was okay.
"Yeah, I just want to get off this foot," I told him, not entirely meeting his beautiful blue eyes. "I'm a bit tired," I added, laying on the seat I had previously been sitting on. I didn't realize it was true until I closed my eyes, knowing full well that Ted knew the entire time I wasn't being truthful, but I couldn't talk about it just now, not yet, so I hid it.
I heard Ted sit down across from my head, and, for a few minutes, the only sound I could hear was the train rattling rhythmically along the tracks to Hogwarts, and I hoped that place would begin to feel like home.
The compartment door opened, there were sounds of Ted and Shrouder talking, and something being dropped in a heap following the closing of the door. I kept my eyes shut, I wasn't yet certain that I was ready to open them, at least not until I felt a weight on my stomach that had almost knocked the breath out of me. I had a feeling what had happened, but had to open my eyes to be sure.
My suspicions were correct; Shrouder had sat on me, treating my stomach as if it were a part of the seat. He was dangling a Chocolate Frog and a Pumpkin Pastry in front of my face.
"Wakey, wakey, frogs and pastries!" he said with a huge grin.
I had to laugh.
"Would you get off of her, Shrouder?" Ted said, rolling his eyes. He grabbed Shrouder by the part of his robes covering his shoulder and yanked him off. "She's laying on the seat, not trying to become one."
I giggled as I sat up, although I was grateful to Ted; Shrouder may not have been that heavy, but I was small enough for him to squish if he really wanted to.
"Ah, right," Shrouder said with a wink, "I forgot about your jealousy issues, Teddy-Bear." He promptly sat down next to Ted, and swung his legs up into Ted's lap with a big grin, something I doubted he ever took off. "There, she's not touching me, so I'm all yours," he said, batting his eyelashes.
I laughed and reached for a Chocolate Frog as Ted sighed as if to say "it's easier to live with it", and reached his hand into a box of Bertie Bott's as Shrouder happily sucked on one bean he claimed was peppermint, but looked a dark, murky green color.
"Just make sure you don't choke on that, Shrouder. I don't want to have to perform some Heimlich/CPR combination on you like that time you swallowed a Levitating Sherbet Ball."
I chuckled as Shrouder responded with "No worries, Teddy dearest, for this bean is far smaller than a sherbet ball, and were I to swallow it whole-" here, he stopped and gagged for a moment or so, causing more alarm in myself than in Ted, it seemed, but he continued like, almost, nothing had happened "-I would not choke, I would just swallow... it."
"Really?" Ted asked, the hint of a tease in his voice. "How'd you come up with that assumption?"
Before Shrouder could answer, however, Ted stuck a dark brown, chocolate-looking bean in his mouth, and instantly started choking on it until he spit it back into his hand. "Mud," he said disgustedly.
Shrouder, and myself for that matter, was too busy laughing to respond. Thankfully, it didn't take too long for us to calm down.
Taking a bite out of my chocolate frog before it could hop away, I turned over the card. The face of my Headmaster looked back at me. Even though I had gotten well over a dozen Albus Dumbledores, it was my favorite one. The way he supported Muggle and Muggle-born tolerance among purebloods was incredible, just remarkable. In a way, he was my idol.
"Who'd you get?" I heard Ted ask.
"Dumbledore." I was reading the back for the millionth time since I got my first Dumbledore card.
"Haven't you had Dumbledore before?" Ted asked, confused.
"Yes," I answered slowly, knowing I was far too interested in an all too common card, "but my family isn't very fond of him. Or half the people on the cards for that matter." I was almost ashamed to admit this, but it was all too true.
Neither of the boys knew how to respond to this, I didn't think, or they didn't want to. For a few minutes, we sat in silence as the train rattled on.
"Hey," Ted said gently, shoving Shrouder's feet to the floor. "Let me see that." He reached out for my card. As I handed it to him, he asked, "Do you mind if I bend this?"
Of course I didn't, I had repaired so many frog cards damaged from rips or burns that one from being folded - although I doubted Ted's objective was to destroy the card, but if I didn't like what he did with it... - would have been a treat. I shook my head, giving him permission to bend it, and he proceeded to fold the card in a way I'd never seen before that had both Shrouder and I intrigued.
When he finished, Ted pulled his trunk off the rack and positioned it like a table in the middle of the compartment. He placed the card on the trunk and sat back so Shrouder and I could take a closer look. The face of Albus Dumbledore was the only part left, for the most part, that wasn't folded underneath itself, and it was raised upon the rest of the bended card.
We looked at Ted expectantly, and were met with a questioning expression.
"I hate to burst your enthusiastic bubble, Teddy-Bear, but we don't know what to do with this thing."
"I thought you were half and half," Ted retorted.
"I am, but dear old Mumsy decided to abandon her beloved Muggle world. What is this?" Shrouder pointed to the folded card.
With a slight smile, Ted reached forward and used a finger to put some pressure on what was now the base of the card. When his finger slid back off the card, Dumbledore leaped forward a couple of inches.
"Oh, look, my lovely Anda," Shrouder said, sitting next to me and swinging an arm over my shoulders. "Teddy-Bear made something half-way interesting for a change!"
"And I suppose you still think your drawing of McGonagall kissing a potted catnip plant is interesting?"
"Of course," Shrouder answered. "That was interesting enough to win an award."
"Yet you burned it the minute McGonagall walked by; why was that, if the drawing was so interesting and award-worthy? Didn't you think she would have appreciated it, or found it interesting at the least?"
"Some art is too interesting for the mature mind to appreciate or even comprehend its interestingness," Shrouder said in a tone I suppose he found wise, or that held a mocking wisdom.
"Can I-" They seemed done with the McGonagall picture at the moment, so I held out a finger to the folded card. Muggles really do have an ingenuity about them.
"It's your card. Just push down gently and let it slide out."
I did just that, and for a while, we amused ourselves with the leaping card. Finally, Shrouder grabbed two more Chocolate Frogs, stuffed both in his mouth, handed the cards to Ted, and demanded, through a mouthful of chocolate, that he fold them like he had mine.
Soon after, we were racing the Chocolate Frog Cards - myself with Dumbledore, Ted with Paracelsus, and Shrouder with Cliodna - around the trunk. The compartment, being that of the Heads, may have been slightly bigger than the rest, but that didn't stop us from squishing each other as we turned a corner, racing to get our cards in the empty box of Bertie Bott's that marked the finish.
I looked out the window as the train began to slow to see a slight drizzle covering the village of Hogsmeade. Ted, Shrouder, and I grabbed our trunks, pulled on our cloaks, and put what was left of our candy, and our racing Chocolate Frog Cards, into our pockets before attempting to join the main stream of students headed for the horseless carriages, or the carriages I thought were horseless until my second year.
The three of us climbed into one, but, before it left, a fourth person came in. Bellatrix, as if I hadn't seen enough of my sister already.
"Andromeda," she asked, her tone almost accusing, "what are you doing in here?"
"I- um, I-" I couldn't stop stuttering incoherently, avoiding the gaze of everyone on the carriage. As much as I hated to admit, I was afraid of my sister, of what she'd tell our parents as well as what she was capable of.
"Don't worry, hun, I wouldn't leave my little sister to sit with a Mudblood and a half," Bella went on, ignoring the glares she was receiving from Ted and Shrouder. "There's room in my carriage, come along now." She jumped out of the carriage, expecting me to follow.
Hesitantly, I shot Shrouder and Ted, especially Ted, an apologetic look.
"Andromeda!" I heard my sister call. At least her tone wasn't bossy or snap to it, just impatient.
Slowly, I followed her to another carriage where her boyfriend, Rodolphus Lestrange, and his younger brother in first year, Rabastan, were already sitting.
As the carriage began rolling towards Hogwarts, I fought against the tears forming in my eyes. Why did I always have to let them control my life? Why did my name and house always have to matter? I wasn't one of them, yet I was treated like I was. Always.
No, not always, I realized with a slight smile, ignoring the conversation of the Black and Lestranges beside me. Ted and Shrouder, they didn't care. They didn't give second thought to my house, or my name.
I smiled, realizing that I had one of the things better than a friend, I had two.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed this chapter, seeing as how I actually like the way it came out.
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