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Ravenpuff

Part 4 - Journal date: 6th of September, 1993


Quidditch tryouts tonight. Roger is all excited, proud, and, although he doesn't want to let it show, also a little nervous at the thought of being the one to decide about everything this year.

I didn't even have to ask whether I was allowed to come and watch. He just turned my way and said, "Coming?" before he left the common room with his team mates and those who would be in competition for a place in the team. It was as if I had been invited from the start and he was only making sure I still had intention to follow them.


- - -

(Journal date)

"Coming?"

Leander stares at Roger, puzzled, for a short moment, then he smiles and gets up from his armchair without hesitation.

"You're not taking part in the test, are you?" Lancelot Fawcett marvels, looking up from his chessboard for the first time in about an hour.

Bryan Jones sniggers and stops writing his Arithmancy essay to exchange an amused glance with his friend.

"Well, he could!" exclaims Felicia Murray, Lancelot's girlfriend and usual chess partner.

"Him? He hasn't ridden a broomstick since first year, and he would rather have never done it!" Bryan replies, laughing. "You should know. You were there, too."

They didn't really intend to be offensive or anything, and Leander himself has to admit they have good reasons to laugh - after all, he has never been good at sports, and Quidditch is not an exception. However, he wishes they would understand, as Roger more or less does, that what seems to be harmless teasing for most people sounds like hurtful mockery to those who lack self-confidence.

"Leave him alone!" another girl suddenly protests, to everyone's surprise.

She's in 4th year and Leander has never spoken to her. He doesn't even know her name – only that she's a friend of Cho's.

"It's okay," he mumbles without looking at her for more than half a second. "They're right, anyway."

Then he hurries out after Roger, who let the others walk far enough ahead so they can talk without being overheard.

"Looks like Sarah's got your best interests at heart, doesn't it?" he says in an amused tone. "You should go to Hogsmeade with her some time. Bet she would love that."

"What?"

Leander stares, looking as stunned as if Roger had just suggested him to take part in the Quidditch tryouts for real.

"I don't even know her," he adds quickly, feeling so uncomfortable he wishes he hadn't left the common room, after all.

"But she looks quite good, doesn't she?" Roger insists.

Leander shrugs.

"You ask her out if you want," he says shortly.

- - -

I do like Quidditch. I can't play, of course, but watching is really nice. It may sound stupid – and I admit that it is, in a way – but there are very few things that can make me as happy as I am when Roger scores, and none that can make me forget about my usual reserve like a Ravenclaw victory does. Not only do I cheer with the others but, last time, I practically threw myself into Roger's arms to congratulate him on the splendid way he had feinted the opponent Keeper.

Tryouts might be long, though, so I brought my notebook. At least, if I get bored, I can write about who seems best or worst to me.


~

Some of those people are good, as far as I can tell. Not as good as Roger or Cho, but there are definitely more good flyers in Ravenclaw than people tend to think. Not because our House is known to hold the best brains in the school does it mean that sport is not our thing. (Well, it's not mine, obviously, but who would dare say it's not Roger's?) It's only prejudice, I suppose. And nonsense. Like believing that no Gryffindor has ever thought before acting or that Hufflepuffs can't ever be selfish. There probably are even a few decent Slytherins, though they're certainly not on the Quidditch team. And it depends on what you call decent, too.

Anyway, back to the tryouts... There's a girl applying to the vacant Beater position, and she's not bad at all. Bet Roger would say she's less "girly" than I am, since she's able to hit those Bludgers with a strength I'm not sure I could show and a confidence I'm definitely sure I could never show. In anything. One of the boys who played earlier did better, though, so I suppose Roger will select him. Which means Cho will remain the only girl in the team, because those who tried for Chaser weren't very good. Actually, one of them was so lousy I thought even I wouldn't have done worse – yes, she did
that bad! But it might be because she's only a second year and was impressed by all those older students.

I would quite like to have another girl in the team. Gryffindor has three, and Hufflepuff had two last year – one of them was even the captain, but she was a 7th year, so she has left now. Lucky we have Cho, or some might think we're like the Slytherins, who never allow girls to play on their team... If I were a Slytherin girl, I think I would start a petition against Marcus Flint's habit of selecting players who would be better placed on a boxing ring than on a Quidditch pitch.

(I really write the most ridiculous things sometimes. "If I were a Slytherin girl"... Honestly!)


~

Back to the dormitory. As I was expecting, Roger chose the boy I mentioned as Beater and another one, who seems very good too, as Chaser. Then he joined me outside the Quidditch pitch and...he asked whether I approved his choice! As if my opinion was of any worth! I said yes, of course – and I meant it. But I couldn't help mentioning the Beater girl... 

- - -

(Same day, later)

"It must be hard to decide who should be on the team," Leander remarks while walking along with Roger in the school park near the Quidditch pitch, "and even more to announce the results. I would have been so sorry to tell that girl she missed the Beater place even if she was so good!"

"I was sorry too, really. I wish I had two positions to offer... But I told her I would ask her if we ever need a substitute Beater this year, and I said to make sure she won't miss the tryouts next year, since we'll need a new Beater again."

"Hope she'll be the best," Leander says, smiling. "Actually, I'm sure it was only bad luck that made her miss the Bludger once. She was amazing until then, and again right after."

"I know," Roger replies with a slight note of regret. "But I had to be fair. And, strictly between ourselves, I must say I'm glad she doesn't look like Cho, or I would never have been able to select a boy instead."

He gives a little laugh and Leander merely looks at him, not very sure of whether he finds the comment funny or shocking. Roger seems to take the silence as disapproval, anyway.

"I didn't say she was ugly or anything," he adds to defend himself. "Only that she didn't look like Cho... But there are not many girls who can be compared to Cho, are there?"

"I suppose not," Leander says non-committally, wondering for the second time this week whether Roger fancies Cho and vice-versa. For some reason, he doesn't like the thought of them together.

"Don't tell me you've never noticed how pretty Cho is!" Roger exclaims, clearly shocked. "I know you never seem to look at girls, but still...some things are just obvious!"

"Yes, of course, she's pretty," Leander replies feebly.

Not that he thinks she isn't but, honestly, he doesn't care. This doesn't sound like something he could tell Roger, though.

"Do you...like her?" he asks hesitantly.

"I wouldn't say no to a date with her," Roger says with a wide grin. "Do you think I could ask?"

Remembering the way Cho had clung to her new captain when the dementor had entered their train compartment, Leander has hardly any doubt about what she would say.

- - -

I shouldn't have let the conversation slide on the subject of girls. Well, of course, it was more about Quidditch at first, and I couldn't have expected Roger's comment about the Beater girl being much less pretty than Cho. But I probably should have known it would have been better pretending I agreed, and certainly not asking whether he liked Cho. Curiosity kills the cat...and makes shy boys die with embarrassment when their questions turn against them. 

- - -

(Same day, later)

"Would you ask Sarah, Marietta or another of Cho's friends to go to Hogsmeade with you?" Roger suddenly asks. "So we can stay all together and it'll be less...awkward, you know?"

Leander can't think of anything to reply. He just looks up from his Runes translation to fix wide eyes on Roger then automatically checks that none of the fourth year girls is near enough to have heard that.

"I'll ask for both of us, if you want," Roger adds quickly.

As if that were the only problem!

"You want me to date a girl?" Leander marvels - in a low voice, after having taken another glance around to make sure no one's paying attention to them.

He knows immediately that the wording wasn't very wise and he blushes violently as Roger comments, laughing, "Well, if you prefer dating a boy..."

"I don't want to date anyone!" Leander hastens to protest, still very red in the face.

- - -

Honestly, what did he think? Did he really imagine I would agree to go out with Sarah or Marietta just to keep him company on a date with Cho? And since when does he need me to support him for those kinds of things? I'm the shy one, after all. He has never shown any sign of shyness before, as far as I know. I really don't understand.

Could it be only because he thinks I will be mad at him if he leaves me alone on a Hogsmeade weekend? He knows I don't like to stay with other people and probably wouldn't go to Hogsmeade at all if he "abandoned" me... But I don't care, actually. I would give him some gold so he could buy my favourite sweets at Honeydukes and that's all.

I won't go out with anyone. No way. I'll go to Hogsmeade with him alone or not at all. Period.

If I was any good at humour, I would have replied "Is that an offer?" or something when he said "If you prefer to date a boy..." But that's the kind of thing I always think of afterwards. Pity, it would have been funny.

Or not.
 

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