“So,” Teddy coughed after Defense Against the Dark Arts, swinging his slightly longer brown hair across his face. “Do you need any help around the castle? Help with homework? An escort to dinner?”
“No,” Axil answered flat out. She believed that Teddy was paying her too much attention and she couldn’t wait to get away from him after a double DA/DA lesson. “I’m just going to go to my common room and study. I can’t for the life of me figure out my astronomy homework. None of the schools I’ve been at have had Astronomy.”
She immediately regretted saying this, because Teddy’s face lit up. “I have nearly five years of Astronomy experience,” he announced, pressing his chest out proudly.
“Wonderful for you,” Axil mumbled, shuffling her feet faster.
“I could help, if you want,” he said, trying to catch her eye. “Astronomy really is my best subject.”
“Well, aren’t you the wonder dog,” Axil sneered, looking for an escape route.
“Hey now, it’s not funny to make fun of one’s wolfy features,” Teddy taunted.
The word “wolfy” set off Axil’s internal alarm. She jumped and looked at Teddy, whose teeth had grown sharp and eyes had grown golden yellow, his brown hair much shaggier. He licked his lips as if he were hungry.
“STOP!” Axil yelled, drawing attention of classmates in the corridor. “You aren’t funny,” she continued, this time quieter. “Seriously. Stop it.”
“What, are you afraid of wolves?” Teddy laughed.
“No,” Axil answered much too quickly. “I just don’t find you funny. At all. Don’t you have friends? Why are you bugging me?”
“Of course I have friends,” Teddy replied. “But I’ve been friends with them for years. It’s not every day that I get to make a new friend. Besides, I find you interesting.”
“There’s nothing about me that you find interesting,” she said. “You find me interesting because I’m half veela and you can’t help it. You find my eyes interesting. There’s not a thing about me you find interesting. You don’t even know me.”
“Well, I’d like to get to know you, if you’d give me half the chance,” Teddy grunted. “Just let me help you with your astronomy homework. I won’t try anything. Promise.”
Axil considered this. On the one hand, she couldn’t stand Teddy following her around. On the other, she really did want to do well in her classes. She figured if maybe she received good marks, her father would let her finish out the rest of her schooling at Hogwarts. She had fallen in love with the grounds and the castle, even if she couldn’t quite navigate it yet.
“Fine,” she groaned at last.
“Wonderful,” Teddy flashed and unintentional wolfish grin. “After dinner, we’ll go up to the Astronomy tower. That way I can help before the firsties have their lessons.”
“Right,” the smile Axil returned was bland. “Wonderful.”
Teddy led the way to the Great Hall, and much to Axil’s delight, there was barely anyone there yet. Gabrielle sat alone at the end of the Ravenclaw table, checking her reflection in a pocket mirror. Axil quickly ditched Teddy to join her sister.
“Hey, Gaggy,” Axil greeted with an affectionate nickname from their childhood. “Where are your groupies?”
Gabrielle shrugged, snapping her mirror shut. “I’m sure they’ll be here soon.” She then rounded on Axil. “So, who was the cute guy you walked in with?” she asked.
“Cute guy?” Axil echoed. She then peered at the Gryffindor table where Teddy sat, staring. “Oh, that’s Teddy. He’s annoying. Apparently his dorm mate is in love with you.”
“Is he?” Gabrielle peered around Axil at the Gryffindor table to see a boy next to Teddy, with floppy blonde hair, staring dreamily back at her. “Well, dating a fifteen year old wouldn’t be so bad. Besides, I hear that Gryffindors are the crème de la crème of Hogwarts guys. If I don’t settle down soon, I’m going to have these guys after me all year. Oh, hi, Robert!” It seemed that all the Ravenclaw seventh year boys had gathered around Gabrielle.
Axil cast another look over her shoulder at Teddy. He seemed to be holding his blonde friend back. He looked at her questioningly, as if to ask if it were okay that his friend come over, and Axil just sighed and shrugged.
Within seconds, Teddy’s friend was squeezing his way in between Axil and another boy. Teddy took her other, empty side.
“Hey, how’s it going? Name’s Harker,” Teddy’s friend said, swinging his hair out of his face and offering a hand to Axil. He then turned his attention to Gabrielle, no doubt picturing their beautiful blonde quarter veela children.
“He’s excited,” Teddy said, taking a dinner roll from a plate in front of them.
Axil ignored Teddy and Harker and piled potatoes onto her plate, proceeding to poke and prod at them. She really wasn’t hungry for this kind of food. What she wanted was meat. Red meat. And she didn’t see any up or down the table. She looked at Teddy out of the corner of her eye, wondering if he were the type of person that would know how to sneak into the kitchens.
“Yes, I am that type of person,” Teddy answered, without even being asked.
“How did you know what I was thinking?” Axil snapped.
“You were just giving me that look that isn’t really a look wondering if I’m a trouble maker or good boy,” Teddy told her. “And for your information, I’m both. Get it from my dad. Apparently he and his friend founded Hogwarts magical mischief.”
Axil raised an eyebrow, as Teddy leaned in closer.
“I even have a map of the entire school,” he whispered just low enough so she could hear. “With every room, every password, every person marked.”
“Impressive,” Axil nodded. “So you know how to get into the kitchen?”
“Of course,” Teddy nodded. “But why, are your potatoes not good enough?”
“It’s not that…” Axil started, trying to explain it in a way that didn’t out her. Then a bright idea hit her. “I’m just hungry for something else. It’s – um – that time of the month.”
“Ohh,” Teddy blushed. “Why don’t I just tell you then? You can meet me back here after you’re done.”
“Perfect,” Axil smiled her most charming smile.
With this, Teddy granted Axil with the directions on how to get to the kitchens and how to get past the portrait. She followed his directions with precision and found herself in front of a portrait of a bowl of fruit. She tickled the pear, and found herself in the kitchen with bustling house elves around her.
“What can we do for the miss?” asked a house elf, tugging at the hem of Axil’s skirt.
“Could I please have some meat? Really rare, red meat?” she asked hopefully.
The house elf bowed to her and rushed off deep into the kitchen. She returned with a plate of red beef and ushered Axil to a small table. Giddily, Axil ate the meat and counted days. Today was Wednesday, and the full moon was on Friday. That meant she had the weekend to recover. Thank God. Not that it was always that bad. Being half veela and half human only made the human part of her werewolf, which caused the genetic anomaly in her eyes, and made the lycanthropy easier to control. In fact, on more than one occasion she had been able to change into her wolf form on nights other than the full moon. However, the closer it came to the full moon, the stronger the urges came, and the full moon change was inevitable.
When she was finished with her meat she thanked the house elf and went back up to the Great Hall. She was relieved to see that Teddy had switched back to his own house table, but Harker was still talking with Gabrielle. She seemed to have shifted all her attention to him, much to the other boys’ disappointment. Axil found Taylor to have drifted to the middle of the Gryffindor table, sitting with another blonde girl. She wondered if this was the girl that Teddy spoke of earlier, because they both seemed to love the attention they were getting from Gryffindor third and fourth years.
“Feeling better?” Gabrielle asked as Axil took her seat again. There was concern in her eyes for her little sister.
“Yeah,” Axil answered, rubbing her tummy. “Just those monthly cravings. Yum, yum.”
“Good,” Gabrielle smiled and turned her attention back to Harker.
Suddenly, Teddy was back. Axil rolled her eyes as he asked, “Ready to go?”
“Go where?” Gabrielle asked curiously, shifting her attention once again.
“Teddy here is going to help me with Astronomy,” Axil told her standing up and gathering her things, which were thankfully not under anyone’s rump. “I’ll see you later.”
The walk up to the Astronomy tower was long and silent. Axil took the time to study Teddy’s features. She had been so focused on getting away from him that she had no time to take in what he actually looked like – that is, if it was his real features, not just ones he chose. His jaw was strong, his hair shaggy and brown. His nose was short and crooked at the bridge as if it had been broken. His eyes were a soft yellow – YELLOW!
“What the Hell, Teddy?” Axil screamed in the middle of the empty corridor they were in. “I TOLD YOU TO STOP IT!”
“Stop what?” Teddy asked, taken aback. “I’m not doing anything. I haven’t said a word!”
“Your eyes!” Axil exclaimed. “I told you to stop doing that with your eyes! It’s. Not. Funny.”
“I happen to like yellow eyes,” Teddy replied. “What’s the big deal? You really are afraid of wolves, aren’t you?”
“No, I’m not,” Axil growled. “I just don’t think it’s funny that you’re making fun of my eyes. Or wolves. Or implying that I am a wolf.”
“I didn’t imply anything,” Teddy gaped, back against the wall.
“You know what?” Axil said, backing away. “I can do my astronomy chart on my own. You’re too much for me to handle.”
“I’m too much to handle?” Teddy called after her. “At least I’m not the one having mood swings over eye color!”
Axil didn’t even motion to let him know she heard. She just kept on walking until she reached the familiar corridors that lead to the Ravenclaw common room. She muttered the password and made her way to the fifth year girls’ dorms, and didn’t say a word to the dorm mates she hadn’t bothered to get to know. She just collapsed on her royal blue four poster bed and closed the curtains.
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