One More NightPosted by v_snape on 2007.09.26 at 13:09
Date: 31th August 2017
It was the evening before Victor was to take the Hogwarts Express. He sat in his room and listened in the darkness for any signs of his father’s return. He licked at the blood on his mouth: the right corner of his bottom lip was swollen and tender, and various parts of his body ached from Edmund’s earlier temper tantrum. It had been perhaps an hour since his father stormed out of the apartment, and Victor couldn’t even remember what had brought on the sudden rage, only that it had hurt.
He slowly got to his feet, but remained low to the ground; subconsciously continuing to hide from the man who probably wasn’t even in the same building anymore. He moved over to his chest to make sure its contents were still safe. The lock on the front was still in place, but bent. There was a splatter of blood, suggesting Edmund had tried to break in and cut himself. Victor remembered one of his father’s hands had been wrapped in cloth when Victor returned from the library. Perhaps that was why Edmund was so cross, but it didn’t matter now. Victor had been forbidden from leaving for school. His father wanted him home, but Victor couldn’t stay. He thought of Albus and Rose, and the others he had met. He just couldn’t stay home.
He checked that the lock still worked with the key he’d hid under his owl’s cage. It did. It was something to be grateful for, and the chest itself didn’t look damaged. After he opened it, it didn’t appear that anything inside was broken either.
“Thank God.” he whispered. He closed and relocked the chest and set to gathering the rest of his things: his owl, his wand, and a warm jacket. It looked cold out tonight.
As carefully and as quietly as he could, he slipped out of his room and checked for any signs of life. He then went about kicking empty scotch bottles out of the way to clear a path for the chest he’d have to drag out. He threw on his coat, stuffed the wand in a side pants pocket, and fetched his owl and chest. It was a difficult trip, but Victor had the Snape tenacity that refused to let him quit.
The 4 flights of stairs down were surprisingly easy to clear. The chest, it seemed, was long enough to stay on the stair’s edges and mostly slide down. Only twice did it get away from Victor and slam against a far wall with an incredible thud. Luckily, no one bothered to get out of bed to scold him for the ruckus.
At the end of each flight of stairs, Victor would have to run back up to were he left his owl and return only to have to set the cage down again. The stairs proved too tricky to maneuver the chest over with only one hand. Once outside, he dared smaller and smaller gaps of space between himself and his bird, until his untrusting nature forced him to carry the cage with him as he dragged the chest along the pavement.
Victor settled onto the bench at the bus stop. He knew he didn’t have the money, but hoped that perhaps someone would pity him enough for the change come morning. He couldn’t sleep, and after a while of waiting, he took the wand out of his pocket and examined it. He lifted it higher so he could see it properly in the light of a nearby street lamp when something made him look up and out to the street.
A bus, swerving dangerously around a corner towards him, made Victor jump behind the bench for protection. He was a bit surprised to see it screech to a stop in front of him, but figured it must be a private bus company looking for riders. Its purple and gold coloring was nothing like the TFL busses he used during the daytime, and Victor had never seen a triple-decker bus before.
Victor read the giant gold lettering on the side of the bus. Knight Bus…
As the bus doors opened, a young man stepped out onto the sidewalk. “You comin’ or what?”
“Sorry, I don’t have the money.”
“Then what’d you stick your wand arm out for? You daft?”
Victor scowled. “No. I, is this a wizarding bus?”
The man smiled. “Oh, I get it now, sorry. Yeah it is, can take you anyplace you needs to go on land, if you gots the money.” He leaned against one of the bus doors, not really minding the wasted time.
“But, I need to get to the Hogwarts Express Station.” He picked up his owl and put his wand pack in its pocket. “How else am I supposed to get to school?”
“Not my problem really. Besides, the Hogwarts Express doesn’t leave ‘till morning. What were you gonna do ‘till then?”
“It doesn’t matter. Please take me. I’ve got no other way to get there.” Victor walked into the light of the bus.
The conductor took a step back. “Blimey, what happened to your face?”
“Nothing, fell…on a yeti.” Victor looked to one side, more embarrassed than anything.
The driver leaned over to the conductor. “Have a heart. It looks like the kid’s already had a tough night.”
“Alright, alright. Come on short stuff, this trip’s on the house.” He smiled and waved Victor aboard.
“Really? Thanks!” Victor clamored inside with his owl. “Oh wait, my stuff.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll get it for ya. My job after all.” Victor watched as the conductor hefted the heavy chest into the luggage compartment and climbed back aboard.
“You just sit yourself down, we’ll getcha there.”
Victor grinned and ran up the stairs to sit in the up most compartment, soaking up the view with the knowledge he would make it to Hogwarts after all. Down below, the conductor turned back to the driver.
“You heard the kid, King’s Cross Station!”
Ernie pulled away from the curb with a snort and a smile. “Yes sir. Right away sir.” And they went off with a bang.
It was barely after midnight when they arrived and the conductor moved Victor’s things to a nearby bench.
“There, come morning the train’ll pull up right here.” He pointed to the railroad tracks.
“Thanks.” Victor looked around the empty train station. It was hard to imagine how many people would be there when he woke up the next day.
“You sure you’ll be ok?”
“I’ll be fine, but thank you.” Victor set down his owl next to the chest and glanced at the bench; a good as any place to sleep he supposed. He looked back up at the conductor and smiled as best he could. “Well, goodnight then.”
“Goodnight.” The conductor tipped his hat, and without looking back, returned to the Knight Bus, and waited for Ernie to close the doors behind him. “What?”
“Finck he’ll be a’right alone in the cold?”
“It’s what he wanted isn’t it?”
“Well…” Ernie didn’t look as sure.
“Come on old man, other people are waiting on us.” He sat down on one of the nearby beds and glanced out the window as Victor settled onto the bench to try and get some sleep. “Poor kid.”