Chapter 1 : The Hogwarts Express
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In reality, it was more like 10:25am when they exited the Leaky Cauldron.
“You know they’re going to kill us if we miss the train,” Victoire had said to Fred as they made their way down the street.
Fred had given her an easy smile and said, “Oh, don’t worry. We’re not going to miss the train.”
They missed the train.
Victoire would later blame it on Fred for jinxing them. Fred would blame Victoire for spending an extra ten minutes in Flourish and Blotts absorbed in a book that detailed the author’s encounters with a variety of magical beasts and the near-mortal wounds he had suffered as a result. Victoire would counter that Fred really hadn’t needed those extra trick sweets, and it would have been just as easy to order them, and that standing in the queue had set them back five very important minutes.
In the end, it didn’t matter whose fault it was, because as they sprinted into King’s Cross, hoping against hope that Fred’s watch was at least five minutes fast, they were confronted with the very unpleasant sight of their parents leaving the station.
Fred grabbed her hand and pulled her into a group of muggles. “What, like our own parents won’t recognize us?” she hissed.
Fred gave her a disgusted look. “At least I’m trying,” he snapped.
As they walked by the clock, Victoire glanced up at it. It read 11:13. She groaned. “Fred, you idiot, who sets their watch slow?”
He looked from his wrist to the clock. “Oh. That is what I did, isn’t it? That was stupid of me.”
She glanced over to the doors. Their parents were gone. “Now what do we do?”
“Be thankful our trunks were with them?” he suggested, and she laughed despite herself. The situation they were in right now was bad. If they’d had their trunks, it would have been so much worse.
“Do you happen to have floo powder on you?” She was not surprised when he shook his head. “Damn.” Victoire edged past a large group of people who looked so awestruck by the station that they had to be tourists to lean against a wall where she could examine the contents of her bag without getting jostled. However, when she checked her purse, she found that she had about ten sickles, which was nowhere near enough to buy some.
She looked up at Fred, who had a rueful expression on his face. “I’ve got nine sickles. I spent all my money this morning.”
Victoire leaned back against the wall. “Yeah, I have ten. We’re not getting anything with that, and I can’t get into our vault at Gringotts without Mum or Dad with me.”
“Neither can I.” She was just beginning to think that they were going to have to go to their aunt Ginny’s house and admit to missing the train when Fred’s face lit up. “Hey, here’s an idea: let’s go to Teddy’s. We know he’s still in the country, we saw him last night.”
She blinked several times as she processed what he was saying. The idea of Teddy having his own place – in London, no less – was just odd, and she wasn’t really used to it yet. “Fred, you are a genius.”
“You’re just figuring that out now?” he asked as they made their way out of the station.
Half an hour later, they were standing in front of the red brick building. “Now what?” she asked.
“It was my idea to come here,” Fred said reasonably. “Now it’s your turn.”
Victoire sighed. The trouble was, while they knew Teddy’s new address, they had never actually been to the building, and did not know his flat number. “Well, let’s go inside. Maybe there will be some list in there.”
Fred looked skeptical, but followed her up the stairs and through the door at the top.
There was no list. There were several rows of red mailboxes set into the wall just past the vestibule, but while the name “Teddy Lupin” was on one of them, the mailbox did not give his flat number.
She looked at Fred, who had gone over to peer at one of the doors to a first-floor flat. “There’s no name on this, either,” he said, looking over at her.
Victoire stifled a groan. “I don’t fancy knocking on each individual…” her voice trailed off. A tall and balding man had just emerged from one of the doors further down the hall.
“Let’s ask him,” Fred suggested.
Unfortunately, the man had no idea who Teddy Lupin was, but once he had ascertained that they were really a witch and a wizard, he pointed them to the wall at the end of the hall and told them that they could just walk through it to find the landlady. Sure enough, when Victoire and Fred had plunged through the wall, they found themselves in a bright room with an enormous fireplace on the far wall and a desk with a woman sitting behind it on the near one. After she was satisfied that they were indeed Teddy’s friends, she directed them to a flat on the fourth floor.
Standing in front of it, Victoire was starting to feel nervous. It was entirely possible that he was still asleep, or wasn’t home, or—
“Here goes,” Fred muttered as he knocked.
They waited for a minute, and then Fred knocked again. This time they heard a door open inside. The locks on the front door slid back, and Teddy yanked it open. He had clearly just gotten out of the shower; his hair was still soaking wet, and he was only wearing a pair of trousers.
He looked positively bewildered to see them. “V. Fred. What are you doing here? Don’t you need to get to the station?”
Victoire grinned at him sheepishly. “Well, there’s a thing about getting to the station.”
He stepped back and ushered them inside. When they’d entered the flat, he closed the door behind them and the locks reengaged automatically. “Which is?” he asked, going into what had to be the bathroom, judging by the steam drifting out of it and the towel that he emerged with a moment later to dry his hair with.
“We kind of already did,” Fred said. “And we missed the train.”
Teddy lowered the towel and stared at them. “Wait, are you serious?” They nodded. “You actually missed the train?” They nodded again, and he threw back his head and laughed. “Jesus.” He tossed the towel back into the bathroom and opened the door directly across the hall from it. Victoire peeked inside and saw him rummaging around in a chest of drawers for a minute before taking a shirt out and pulling it over his head. “What, and you didn’t fancy admitting it to your families, so you decided to come bother me?” he asked, rejoining them.
“Pretty much,” Victoire admitted. “It’s really only that we’ll miss you so much, with you not being at school anymore.”
Fred latched onto this train of thought immediately. “We really will,” he said earnestly as Teddy motioned them into the kitchen. “We must have just decided subconsciously that we couldn’t bear to get on the train without you.”
Teddy rolled his eyes. “Yeah. Right.” He opened the fridge to pull out a carton of eggs and a package of bacon. “Are either of you hungry?”
Victoire and Fred exchanged a look. “Yes,” they said together.
Teddy snorted. “Well, it won’t be food off the trolley, but it probably won’t be terrible, either. Are either of you thirsty?”
When he’d finished, he divided the eggs, bacon, and toast among three plates and waved his wand to levitate them over to the table. They settled very gently, and he looked pleased with himself.
Victoire picked up her fork and immediately began to eat. Teddy had definitely been selling himself short – this wasn’t just not-terrible, it was quite good. She and Fred both finished before Teddy, and he looked bemused. “Hungry, were you?”
“Starved,” Fred said. “That was great.”
Victoire nodded in agreement. “Come make me breakfast every day.”
He rolled his eyes as he popped his last piece of bacon into his mouth. Once he’d swallowed, he said, “All right. When you finish up at Hogwarts, come be my roommate. I’ll make you breakfast every day if you’ll do my laundry.”
She grinned. “Sounds good to me.”
He smiled back and picked up his wand. With a quick flick, he moved the dishes from the table to the sink, and with another wave, the water turned on and the sponge began to wash them on its own. He turned back to them. “What are your plans for the rest of the day?” he asked, motioning for them to follow him into the living room.
Victoire glanced at Fred, who shrugged. “We don’t really have any,” she said, walking over to the shelf that held a number of framed photographs. Many were of his grandmother and her uncle Harry’s family, but she also spied several of him with his friends, and, to her surprise, a few number of her.
She glanced over at him. He had settled into the couch, and Fred had opted for a deep burgundy armchair. “I feel special,” she informed him. “I didn’t think I was worth more than one photograph on your table, and you have three.”
Fred glanced at him curiously. Teddy rubbed the back of his neck and smiled at her. “Oh, come on, V, you know I love you.” She felt an odd leaping sensation in her stomach, and she went over to join him on the couch.
“How many pictures are there of me?” Fred asked, cocking his head to the side.
“One,” Victoire said. “You’re with me.”
Fred snorted. “Figures. I’m really hurt, Teddy. I feel unloved and unwanted.”
Teddy rolled his eyes. “I’m sure,” he said dryly. “It’s really not a big deal.”
Victoire wondered briefly why he was taking their teasing at all seriously, but put it out of her mind. Teddy could be a bit odd sometimes. Not that she didn’t love him - she did – but sometimes, he could be a bit odd, especially lately.
Teddy looked away from her and asked, “So how were you planning to get to school?”
Victoire and Fred exchanged glances. “Well, we’re kind of broke,” she said.
“And by kind of, she means very,” Fred added. “We’ve got nineteen sickles between us.”
Teddy let out a laugh. “So you want to borrow some money?”
“Or floo powder,” Victoire said quickly. “We were thinking we could just floo to the shop, and hope that nobody notices that we weren’t on the train.”
He looked at her skeptically, and then glanced over at Fred. “Won’t your sister notice that you weren’t there for her first ride on the Hogwarts Express?”
Fred winced and ran a hand over his face. “Probably,” he said after a moment. “But I’ll make it up to her.”
Teddy surveyed them both for a minute, and then heaved a sigh. “All right. I’ll give you the floo powder to get you to the shop.”
“Thank—” Victoire started to say, and he held up a hand.
“It’s not a big deal. Really.” He glanced over at the clock. “What are you going to do between now and when the train gets in?”
Victoire shrugged, and Fred said, “I’m up for anything.”
“Anything?” Teddy’s eyes glittered, and Victoire and Fred exchanged a wary look. What had they gotten themselves into?
A/N: Yay, new fic!
I was considering actually writing out their day, but I kind of like just leaving it on this note for the moment - I may expand the story to include another chapter or two at some later point, but right now, this is just a one-shot. :)
If you want to read more about these characters, you should check out some of my other fics. "Fish Out of Water" features all three, "Fortune Favors the Bold," "Cloud Nine," and "Dark Side of the Moon" focus more on Victoire/Teddy, and "In a Brown Study" is about Teddy.
If you have the chance, I would greatly appreciate a review. :)
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