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Chapter 14 : Trains
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A HUGE thanks to all my reviewers, seriously. Without you guys I wouldn't be at this point and I don't think I'd have written as much as I have. You all deserve a freakin' cookie or something. S2
Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own HP or the wonderful world these characters live in, that all belongs to JK Rowling. And as for Beauty and the Beast, the credit for that either goes to Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont or Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve.
We began walking and though I no longer needed to be on Malfoy’s arm, I never removed my own from his. The mere fact that I wasn’t alone in all this was a comfort enough, but his arm was acting like a support at the moment and I needed it; I’d never needed the support more.
We kept the conversation fairly simple. Mainly comments on the weather or how crowded areas of the street were. The muggles driving and how rude people could be when in a rush.
After walking a few blocks, we’d finally made it to one of the many stations for the underground. I made my way to the counter and purchased two day tickets for the metro. I placed my small pouch of muggle money back into the bag and Malfoy and I made our way to the turnstiles. I handed Malfoy his ticket and he gave me a blank look. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Hermione handed the small ticket to me and I felt myself panic. I’d obviously never done this before and I had no idea what to do with the ticket. She began laughing and I felt myself glare which made her cover her mouth with her hand in an attempt to stifle the laughter.
It was so odd, watching her disguised as my mother. My mother, who hardly ever laughed or even smiled these days. Hermione, who I hadn’t seen do much of that either and yet here she was, completely in her environment looking like my mother and laughing. The thought of my mother in this situation laughing was nearly enough to have me laughing myself.
“Watch me do it, and then you can follow.” She said, still smiling.
She took the ticket and approached the line of odd machines. There was a small slot on the side closest to us into which she put the ticket. It was sucked in immediately, causing the light on the back to go from red to green and a set of small doors to slide open, allowing her to pass through. As soon as she was on the other side, the doors slid back into place, blocking entry once more. She took the ticket from another slot on the opposite side and stood there looking at me expectantly.
I stepped forward and placed the ticket into the slot. It was immediately sucked out of my hand and I felt myself jump back slightly, causing a few people to stare at me. I held my head high as the light turned green and the gates opened. I nearly ran through, half expecting the doors to slide shut on me. The ticket came out on the other side and I grabbed it, finding myself staring at it with wonder.
“The things muggles come up with.” I said and Hermione laughed once more. This time, I felt myself smiling at the sound of her laughter. It was nice knowing that she was able to find humor in this whole situation.
I offered my arm to her once more and she smiled, taking it immediately. I liked that this had become habit and that she was okay with it. We walked for a bit, surrounded by hundreds of people and I found myself enjoying this far more than I’d expected.
We made our way down a flight of stairs which opened up at the bottom to reveal a series of tunnels. I looked around, completely in awe. Hermione glanced at me and smiled.
“Incredible, isn’t it?” She asked quietly. “Sometimes, I would come to the city and explore for a while. I’d usually bring a book with me and just hop onto one of the cars, not really caring where it was headed. I’d get off at a random stop and go find a nice place to read. I must have read in just about every part of the city. Some I couldn’t stay for long, and sometimes I would be reprimanded when I got home. Other times, my parents figured I had merely been at the park all day. They knew I was smart and I usually didn’t get in trouble much…” she trailed off and I could tell she was upset after having mentioned her parents.
“Well, where to?” I asked, still unsure of how all this worked.
“Let’s find a map and I can see which ones we need to take to get to the proper stop. Then we can take a bus that will get us a little further out of the city and it’s not a far walk from there.” She said, beaming.
She began walking, pulling me with her until we came across a large map that had a huge map of what I assumed was the entire underground.
“We’re here.” She mumbled, pointing to a spot on the map labeled with a red dot. “We need to take this train, and get off at this stop before catching this one.” She said pointing yet again, “and get off here.” She broke off, tapping the map once more and turning back to me.
“You lead, I’ll follow.” I gestured forward with my hand and she smiled.
I found myself being towed once more by Hermione, before we came to a platform loaded with people. A train pulled up a few seconds later and a voice sounded from above, “Mind the gap.” It said and I looked around for a gap before I was being ushered forward by Hermione. We approached the train car and I realized the ‘gap’ the voice had been talking about was the gap between the ground and the train. She jumped on, pulling me with her as the doors slid shut behind us.
She let go of my arm and grabbed onto a pole with two hands before the train lurched and I toppled into her.
“Grab on!” she said, laughing as I tried to right myself. I managed to get a grip on the pole and pulled myself off of her.
“Sorry.” I muttered, looking away. Several people were staring at me and I turned back to her, suddenly embarrassed.
“I should be sorry. I should’ve warned you.” She said, smiling in obvious amusement.
There was an announcement and this time it said something about the name of the next stop. A few seconds later, we were slowing and another group of people waited when we came to a complete stop. The doors opened and several people stood inside the train, making their way off as a new wave of people boarded.
“Let’s sit.” Hermione said as a couple seats opened up to the left of us. I obeyed, grateful I wouldn’t fall again, and we sat down.
The doors slid shut once more and we were off. This process repeated several times before Hermione jumped up as we approached a stop.
She held her hand out to me, “This is us.” I took her hand and she helped me up as the train slowed. The doors opened and she tugged me off, still holding my hand.
Towing me through the crowd, Hermione muttered a few apologies to strangers when we got in the way. Suddenly, we were in a wider set of tunnels before Hermione went through a side tunnel and I found that we were at yet another platform.
She glanced up and sighed. “We’ll have to wait a bit.” I looked to where she was looking and saw the time before it faded to another screen that said the time of the next train. We had about 10 minutes to spare before it came.
This platform was far less crowded and there were benches lining the walls. She pulled me over to one before sitting down, sighing and closing her eyes.
“Take another drink of the potion.” I said quietly and she opened her eyes, nodding. She pulled the flask out and quickly opened it before taking a sip. Her face contorted into a look of disgust and she shuddered.
“No matter how many times I take this potion, I never get used to the odd feeling.” She said, shaking her head.
“You’ve taken it before?” I asked suddenly and she blushed.
She looked down and slid the flask back into the bag, “Once.”
“When?” I found myself asking, curious. Not many people had taken this potion and it wasn’t as if it were something she could find in her own home.
She muttered something and I couldn’t hear her.
“Hmm?” I asked and she looked up, I nearly burst out laughing at the sight of my mother’s face a nearly tomato red color.
“Second year.” She shook her head. “It didn’t end well.”
“I well… I… turned into a cat.” She took a deep breath, “And well, as you probably know, this isn’t exactly meant for anything but human transfiguration and I ended up staying in the hospital wing for weeks. I kept coughing up fur balls and the horrid tail was so annoying.”
I found myself staring at her in shock. How had she managed to do something like that? And how and why was she taking that potion when we were only twelve years old?
“Why were you taking it? And how did you come by it? I mean, it’s not exactly the easiest of potions to make.” She laughed and looked at me seriously.
“If I tell you, you have to promise not to get mad.” She said, looking sheepish.
“I promise.” I said, knowing there wasn’t anything she could say to make me angry at her.
She took a deep breath and launched into the story.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?! What's going to happen next?! Will Crookshanks be rescued? How will our dear Draco react? ANYTHING! Tell me your thoughts. Your concerns. Ask me questions! I always respond! :) I love all my dear readers. Thank you guys.
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