A Ride on the Hogwarts Express
Disclaimer: Harry Potter doesn't belong to me.
Summary: Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley had friends ever since they were little. They were the best of friends, and only friends. Right?
A/N: This is my response to the 'Location, Location' Challenge over at the HPFC Forums. My location was 'Hogwarts Express Compartment C'. I hope I do it justice! Huge thanks to my beta Toni.
Teddy Lupin groaned as he tried to find a free compartment on the Hogwarts Express. After five years of being at school, Teddy would have thought that between his Gran and Harry that somebody would have gotten him to the station with a few minutes to spare. All the other students must have thought he was barking, rushing on to the train, while adjusting his robes without tripping over.
As usual, Victoire was trailing him. Her parents managed to get her and Dominque to the station on time but every time, Victoire dutifully waited for him until those last hurried minutes. At first, Teddy wasn't happy about Victoire hanging around him. They were at Hogwarts now and Teddy had his own friends but after the first time he tried to ignore her, his heart nearly broke in two. They had sat together on the Hogwarts Express ever since.
Victoire huffed from behind him and Teddy fought the urge to roll his eyes. French women always pretended to be so fragile and delicate but Teddy had seen Victoire playing in the dirt. He knew better. He spied an empty compartment and grabbed her hand.
"I reckon this one's free!" he said as he practically dragged her into the compartment. Flicking her hair, Victoire sat down and inspected her nails.
"You nearly broke a nail that time, Teddy," she scolded. Teddy merely shrugged in response.
"You'll get over it!" he said, a smile playing on his lips. Ever since he had been old enough, he had loved to torment Victoire. As a baby he had climbed into her makeshift crib at the Burrow and tried to turn her hair blue, just like his. Instead he only managed to turn his hair the same colour and mimic Victoire's nose. At the age of seven, he had chased her and flung mud at her until she cried. When he went to say sorry, she had turned around and playfully launched mud right back at him. At age eleven, he had convinced her that to be Sorted into Gryffindor, you had to set the Sorting Hat on fire and she had retaliated by practicing on his new broomstick.
He and Victoire had been inseparable for the longest time, even after Teddy had left for Hogwarts. He had written to her more than his Gran or Harry that year. When Victoire had been sorted into Gryffindor the following year, Teddy Lupin stood and clapped and cheered. They were best friends.
Over the summer, Gran had accompanied his Aunt Narcissa to a chateau in France and had left Teddy to stay with the Potters. Teddy had spent the summer flooing between houses, dragging Victoire to visit all the family members. Uncle Bill had even taken him and Victoire to visit Uncle Charlie in Romania. Something had certainly changed between them on their trip to Romania. For the first time, Uncle Bill had insisted they sleep in rooms on the opposite ends of Charlie's reserve house. Teddy looked utterly confused. As usual, Teddy had managed to sneak into her room in the middle of the night. The sound of dragons and the smell of fire had framed their first night in Romania together. Victoire had lit a small lantern in the room and her features looked ethereal in the firelight. Teddy had taken a long, hard look at her that night and could have sworn that his heart skipped a beat and Teddy finally figured out why Uncle Bill had wanted their rooms far, far away.
At the tender age of fifteen years old, Teddy was officially in love with his best friend.
Now he was in Sixth Year, embarking on the two-year journey to his N.E. and Victoire was starting her O.W.L year. While Teddy had become insanely in love with Victoire over the summer, he had absolutely no idea whether those feelings were returned. Not knowing was driving him mad.
He was going to use this time they had together on the train ride to Hogwarts to see what he could find out. Not knowing was surely killing him and each moment he was forced to not snog her was maddening. What if Victoire only wanted to be friends? It would break his heart, surely, and perhaps not knowing was the safer, easier option.
Just as Teddy was settled on the seat opposite Victoire, the door screeched open, revealing Dominque. "There you are!" she said happily and sat next to Victoire, yanking her hair out of her low ponytail. "Could you please do Maman's braid charm on my hair? I'm about to go talk to Robbie Nott!"
Teddy couldn't help pull a face as Victoire smiled sweetly and began braiding her sister's hair with her wand. "Tell the bugger to sod off," Teddy said to her. "He's a bloody Slytherin and you shouldn't be talking to him. Little git," he added for good measure.
Dominque paid no attention to him and jumped up the moment Victoire was finished with her hair. "What do you know, Teddy Lupin? You only ever hang out with Gryffindors!"
Teddy grinned in response and summoned an apple from his carry-on bag, taking a bite. "Don't fix what isn't broke, I reckon, what do you think, Vic?"
Before Victoire could answer, Dominque had poked her tongue out and closed the door behind her, only to open it back again.
"Come to lecture me on the finer points of slithering snakes?"
"I forgot to tell you, Uncle Ron and Uncle Harry are on board. Something about checking the train for jinxes after a prank letter came to the Ministry. I managed to dodge them but you'd better hope they don't come find you," she warned and with a final glare at Teddy, she closed the door for good and presumably went to find Robbie Nott.
"Your sister is mental."
"Accio apple," said Victoire sweetly and Teddy looked on as she took a large bite out of the other side of the apple, a twinkle in her eyes. "I think she's quite sane, thank you Theodore."
Victoire then innocently stretched her legs across the carriage and planted them on Teddy's lap.
They were going to need to have that conversation, and soon. Teddy cleared his throat and tried to summon that spectacular Gryffindor courage that was supposedly running through his veins. A sharp knock then sounded at the compartment door. Both Teddy and Victoire turned to see both Harry and Ron waving frantically. They awkwardly waved back and turned back around to each other.
"Maybe if we ignore them, they'll go away," Victoire hissed under her breath.
Sure enough, Ron pushed open the compartment door.
"Wotcher Vic, Teddy!" enthused Ron, who beckoned Harry to follow him into the compartment. They pushed past Victoire's legs and took a seat on either side of the carriage—Ron next to Victoire and Harry next to Teddy.
"What are you doing here?" Teddy asked Harry rudely.
"Teddy, what a dreadful way to speak to your godfather! There's no need to be rude, is there?" Harry beamed at Victoire and nudged Teddy with his shoulder.
"Uncle Ron, Uncle Harry, what are you doing here? Not that it isn't lovely to see you, of course."
Teddy glared at Victoire and silently cursed her ability to charm just about anybody. It certainly worked on him.
"Some sodding wank...er, idiot, decided they'd anonymously owl the Ministry and say that the train had been jinxed so the students had better not go to Hogwarts this year. We spent the past week checking out the train and the tracks and there hasn't been anything there. Some stupid Slytherin making a joke, probably," supplied Ron.
"They needed a team to make the train journey so here we are," added Harry. Here they were, indeed.
"Oh, right," said Victoire. "Well, lovely to see you..."
"We're gonna patrol the train a bit more but it'll be alright if we bunk in here with you, yeah? Great," Ron said before standing and shoving his bag on the top rack of the compartment. Harry stood, alongside Ron but before either of them could move, the trolley lady opened the compartment door.
"Anything from the trolley, dears?"
Harry's eyes lit up. Ron shook his head. "We can't, mate. Hermione will kill us if she finds out we ate..."
"The whole lot, please!" said Harry excitedly, causing Victoire and Teddy to look on in utter confusion.
"Are you mental?" Teddy hissed as the trolley lady began unloading the sweets into Ron and Harry's arms. The trolley lady simply rolled her eyes and shut the compartment door. Ron had already shoved a chocolate frog in his mouth and held out the chocolate card.
"Check it out, Vic, you can have this one!"
Victoire reluctantly took the card out of Ron's chocolate-covered hand and sighed audibly as she turned it over. "Ron Weasley."
Harry and Ron began to laugh and Victoire leaned back, resigned. Teddy shook his head.
"Here you go Teddy. Just...don't tell your Gran, yeah?" Harry said as he piled some sweets onto Teddy's lap.
Teddy's chance at having 'that' conversation with Victoire were now officially ruined. It was going to be a long train ride.
Harry and Ron grinned as they watched Teddy and Victoire race out of the compartment when they arrived at Hogsmeade.
"Bloody hell, Bill was right!" said Ron as he shoved some leftover chocolate frogs into his rucksack for Rose and Hugo. Harry followed suit.
"Reckon we got there just in time," he commented. "Not too sure what he hoped to achieve though. They'll have the whole term and another three train rides to sort it out."
Ron shook his head. "Teddy's a bit more like Lupin than he is Tonks. It'll take him probably another year to get the bollocks to tell her how he feels."
"Yeah, you're probably right. Best not to tell Bill that I've already given Teddy the Marauder's Map though. Can't imagine what sort of mischief he and Vic will get up to this year."
With a final check of the train, Ron and Harry disapparated, not before noticing that Teddy's hair had changed to a beautiful blonde and his nose had slightly altered its shape.