"No!" Louis let go of his trolley and ran towards the edge of the platform, his half unbuttoned shirt pulled up by the wind, revealing a thin layer of muscle. He stopped right at the edge and raised his arms to his head, threading his hands into his blond hair. "Oh, come on!"
He kicked his foot against the floor, hitting a lone stone, which he picked up and threw on the tracks, aiming for the passing train that he was meant to be on. He watched the Hogwarts Express leave, muttering curses in French.
"So close," the voice from behind him chuckled, not even trying to keep a serious face. Louis turned around slowly, his eyes becoming narrower, until he was full on glaring by the time his eyes made contact with the voice's. "Do you realize you only ever speak French when you swear? And you never swear in English."
"We would have made it if it weren't for you," Louis growled, his voice low and venomous. "You and your slow-ass car."
Teddy Lupin rolled his eyes, not at all bothered by the young blond's tone. "I was not going to break the law just because you overslept. I didn't have to bring you here, you know." He moved away from the wall and placed a hand on the handle of Louis' trolley. "Can't you apparate close by, like, to Hogsmeade or something?"
Louis shook his head. "Didn't pass my test, did I," he muttered bitterly. He looked up, a sudden thought coming to him, he could see it on his face. "Can you apparate us?"
He took in Louis' excitement and shook his head guiltily. "Not exactly possible," he said quietly.
Louis looked confused. "Why? It's not like you c -" He stopped, watching the man avert his eyes. "You passed your test, didn't you? You didn't pass your test. No way! Teddy Lupin can't apparate."
Teddy crossed his arms over his chest. "It's a stupid way to travel anyway," he said defensively. Louis laughed softly, causing Teddy to smile back, unable to resist. At least he had got the blond to stop sulking, even if it was him he was laughing at. Teddy took hold of his trolley and held out his hand to place on Louis' shoulder, guiding him off the platform. "Come on. We'll get in the car and I'll just drive you there. We'll explain everything to the headmaster once we are there."
"Really?" Louis asked him disbelievingly, his eye-brows raised. Teddy hated long journeys; he got travel sick.
Teddy shrugged softly against his better judgement, his smile wavering slightly. Louis could see the wheels turning in his head, debating whether or not he should back out and find another way to help him get to school. But he nodded. "How hard can it be? It's a few hours drive, that's all."
Louis could have sworn he'd gone a little pale, but that Teddy would make himself uncomfortable just to help made him grin like an idiot. They stopped in front of the car and he leaned against it casually as he watched Teddy load his trunk back into the boot and make sure everything was neatly in place so he could close it properly. "So, it will be like a road trip?" Louis asked him hesitantly. "Just the two of us?"
Teddy looked up slightly and nodded, his original smile back. "Yeah." He took off his jacket, not needing it in the current summer climate, and threw it into the back seat, then he stood beside the younger man. "If we go now then, not including any stops we may need to make, we should be able to get to school just after the rest of the students. Including any stops, I say about an hour later."
Louis chuckled, realizing neither of them had actually thought this idea through properly. The look on Teddy's face proved that. "You actually have no clue when we'll get there. You just made all that up."
"I did," he admitted slowly. He turned and clapped Louis on the back. "But I guess we'll find out. Odds on us getting there in time?" He called from over the car before getting in.
Louis smirked and shook his head, getting in. He fastened his seatbelt quickly and turned to his designated driver. "You're sure about this?" Turning on the engine, Teddy only nodded. Louis stared out right in front of him and leaned back. "I say your slow-ass car will get us there two hours after everyone else." He glanced at Teddy from the corner of his eye and smirked. "At least."
Teddy held out his hand, waiting for the blond to take it. "You're on."
Louis threw his head back against his seat, laughing as Teddy's face became a harsh shade of red. "It isn't funny," he moaned, removing his hand from the wheel to swat his arm. "Stop laughing!"
"Can't help it, sorry," he stuttered between laughs.
"Come on, Louis!" He whined. "I told you my worst experience, the least you can do is not laugh." He continued to. "I hate this game, I wish I hadn't told you." He tapped Louis on the arm, lighter this time. "It's your turn. I want your worst experience, Lou."
Louis took deep breaths, calming down, and nodded. "It's only fair," he said. "Erm, I walked in on a friend sleeping with his girlfriend about three years ago. They were too, uh, busy to notice me. That was a pretty horrible experience for me."
Teddy stared at him incredulously for a second before turning back to the road. "No, that cannot count; it didn't happen to you. Mine happened to me. Yours is nothing compared to that!"
Keeping his eyes on the passing view from outside his window, Louis leant his elbow against the glass and pressed his cheek to his open palm. "No offense, but not only were you caught, but you noticed her. Everything is going to be worse than that." He turned slightly, looking at Teddy from the corner of his eye, and chuckled lightly again. "Victoire caught you half naked with another guy just a week after you broke up with her." His laughter died off slowly and he kept his gaze in front of him.
Teddy watched him quietly; his expression seemed to be one of sorrow and when he spoke again it was more quiet than last time. "That's gotta hurt."
Teddy shrugged lightly. "She got over it after a while, she understood why we broke up. She laughs about it sometimes, which, as you now know, I hate. I wouldn't think it really hurt her." He cast a glance at the blond. "Louis?"
"Where are we now?" He asked suddenly, changing the subject. He sat up straighter and any evidence that something was wrong had disappeared. "The sun is setting so we shouldn't be far."
"We should just be entering Scotland now, we won't be long," Teddy replied, doing what Louis wanted even though he wasn't entirely sure what that was. "Just cross your fingers I can actually find Hogsmeade. After that, we won't have a problem."
Teddy breathed in and out heavily and opened the window a little more than it already was. "Are you okay?" Louis asked. "We can stop if you need to, I don't mind being late if you're unwell."
He shook his head lightly, so not to risk becoming lightheaded or sick, and continued to drive. A little slower this time, Louis noted. "I'm fine."
They continued their journey with small talk, their last game of Truth over, until Louis placed a hand on Teddy's chest, interrupting what he was saying. "Do you see that? That light?"
Teddy slowed the car down and moved forward to see out of the window. "I see it," he murmured. "It can't be a star. A plane, maybe?" Music played and a light flashed from inside the car, beside Teddy, but he didn't want to stop and make Louis any later. "That's my phone. Can you reach across and get it? It's in the pocket."
Louis removed his seatbelt and reached across, feeling his way around in the dark. He placed a hand on Teddy's thigh to balance himself. He heard Teddy's deep intake of breath. "Sorry, I can't reach."
"It's fine," he whispered.
Louis found the phone and sat back in his seat. Only Teddy seemed to notice his hand was still on his thigh. "I don't know how to work this." Teddy talked him through it, too busy trying not to move to laugh at Louis' inability to work with Muggle technology. "It's a message from Harry," he said finally. "It says to follow the light, that will lead us to school." He looked up. "It must be one of the teachers."
Teddy drove in the direction of the ball of light above them and it was less than hour later that Teddy stopped the car in front of the gates of Hogwarts. A staff member would come to open the gates and let Louis in, they knew, and he would be back in school as he should be. He leaned back in his seat. "So, who wins?"
Teddy laughed. "The bet we made this morning; did I get you here in time or was I at least two hours late?"
Louis checked his watch, matching the time he was usually at school by, and smirked slightly. "So close," he told him. "Due to traffic on the way up and your stop to be sick in Newcastle, you got me here two hours and six minutes late. I win. What do I win, Teddy?"
He shrugged. "We said anything. What do you want?" he asked.
"I want -" Louis stopped and turned his whole body to face the brunette, tucking his leg underneath him. "I want to know something that's been bugging me all day; why did you choose to drive me across the country to bring me to school when you know that if we had gone to Harry, he would have let me use the fireplace in his office to floo to school. I could have stayed at home with you until it was close enough to be here for the feast. So, why?"
Teddy stared right ahead, his fingers making patterns on his knee, where Louis had placed his hand. "Isn't it obvious?" he said at last, his voice low, and he turned his head. "We wouldn't have been alone if we had done that, Dom and Vic and others would have been there. There's no way we would have been able to talk like we did. I like it when we talk, we can talk to each other about anything, we always have done."
"Me too," Louis said honestly. They could see a dim light above them and shadows of teachers coming their way. Now or never. "My worst experience, the one I talked about today, you remember it?"
"It was you and Vic I caught." He could have sworn Teddy had paled slightly. "I hated it, seeing that, because I was jealous of her. She had you, I didn't. That's why it's my worst experience. You broke up a couple of weeks later and I was so happy, then she caught you with that guy."
He took a deep breath, watching Teddy stare back, his face passive. "It was supposed to be me, not him. You were supposed to wait for me."
"That explains why you looked so sad when I said it, you were thinking about it," he said. "Hurt? You weren't talking about me or Victoire, were you? You were talking about you."
"I was." Louis unbuckled his seatbelt and opened the door before Teddy could say anything else. "You don't have to say anything. I don't expect anything from you, I just had to tell you. I couldn't keep it to myself anymore. By the time we see each other again, we will have forgotten all about this."
He got out and shut the door. Teddy heard him open the boot and take out his trunk. Then he came to the open window. He didn't have hold of any of his bags, so Teddy assumed he had used a Shrinking spell to put them into his pocket. He place his arms against the window frame.
"Maybe one day you'll feel the same, maybe you never will, and that's okay," he said, smiling softly. "But just know that I think you're amazing and anyone you date should consider themselves lucky to have you. And I'll always be jealous of them, I'll always wish it were me. I'll always love you, Ted." Louis leaned forward and placed a lingering kiss on the other man's cheek. "Just know that."
The gates opened and Louis patted the roof of the car once. "I'll see you at Christmas. Oh, and I'm glad I missed the train today. I've loved today."
He walked away, his back to his friend, and entered the grounds. As soon as the gates closed, he turned around to wave good bye. Teddy stood with his arms resting on his open car door and said something Louis couldn't understand. He waved and turned back to school. He could sense the teacher behind him, though he had no idea who it was; he didn't care.
This day would never have happened if he hadn't overslept. He would never have told Teddy of his feelings if he had gotten on that train and he knew he never would have. Whatever happened between them now, he couldn't say. But he wasn't afraid to know. However unrequited his love was, he knew he would always have Teddy.
He let out a quiet laugh, thinking of today. Louis Weasley had missed the Hogwarts Express and that was good.
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