When a person like, say, Annalise, needs help, you help them. When a person like, say, Elias, needs help, you have the right to stare at them, gobsmacked.
"What?" I gasped, eyes wide, wondering what the hell
was going on. Elias was clever
. Elias was smart
- donít you dare tell him I said that - so why would he need my help? Elias himself bit his lip, as if unsure with what he was about to say. I raised an eyebrow at him, and he looked around us anxiously, as if expecting someone, anyone, to pop out of the shadows unexpected.
"Keep your voice down!" Elias must have been a master of keeping quiet when he needed to, because I would have barely heard him, if not for the fact that he had leaned forward and was now whispering into my ear. "No one can know, understand?" I huffed and rolled my eyes. Was it really that bad to be asking for help from me?
Apparently so, because same as Cameron had done, Elias steered me to the side of the corridor.
"Elias, seriously," I grumbled, pushing his hands off of my shoulders. "Whatís going on, and why do you need my help? And why are we practically behind a tapestry? Is whatever you want to talk about really that bad?" Elias glared at me for all my questions, but opened his mouth to speak, anyway.
"To answer your many, many questions -" It was my turn to glare at him. There were not that
many questions, really. "- Iíll tell you in a minute, Iíll explain it now, itís the only private place in this corridor, and yes." I shook my head at him, exasperated. Bloody hell, we were getting nowhere here.
"I did not understand a word you just said," I muttered, crossing my arms and leaning against the wall, still remembering his instruction to keep quiet. Elias closed his eyes and sighed wearily. What had
he been doing all day to make him this tired? Damn, I was certainly an awful partner. I didnít even know where he had gone all the way through the Gemma-and-Charmaine debacle, not to mention the meeting with Cameron and the run-in with Annalise, William and Rhea.
"Lucy, Iím failing Defence." The sentence itself only came out in the merest of squeaks, but it echoed loud and clear in my head. I blinked rapidly, eyes wide with surprise.
"What?" I repeated once more, except softer and less harsh. I didnít know what Elias wanted to be when he left Hogwarts - all I knew is that it was something to do with the Ministry, and that his future Ministry job needed - no, required
- an Outstanding in Defence Against the Dark Arts. Failing Defence was a very, very bad thing for him. Elias bit his lip again, wincing.
"I know, itís so stupid - I mean, Iím a Ravenclaw, I should be keeping up my grades easily." I wanted so, so bad to tell him off for being so confident in himself, but that wasnít necessarily a bad thing, and I didnít have the heart to do so. No need to bring him down more by being critical, was my opinion. The happier he was, the more we would get done, selfish as it sounds - but itís true. When Elias is in a good mood, he likes doing productive things. Iíve only known him personally for around three days, so that has to mean something.
"And why are you telling me this?" I asked him warily. I still hadnít gotten my head around that part. It was a private sort of thing to mention to someone that you barely knew. Something that should be said to your best friend. Elias snapped out of his daydream world, mouth caught in a grimace.
"Well, I talked to Professor Everest earlier -" Oh, so that
was where he was today. At least that makes sense. "And he said that I need to get a tutor if I want to improve my grades." I was still lost here, though, so I frowned and said so.
"And?" That couldnít be it, could it? Elias bit his lip, glancing around the empty corridor. Why was he still nervous about this? We were the only ones in the corridor, what with everyone else down at the Great Hall for dinner and stuff. In fact, the sudden silence that had settled between us freaked me out slightly. It was almost never
quiet between the two of us. We usually always had something to say to each other.
"Lucy," Elias said in a small voice, and I glanced up at him in concern. "I need you to tutor me in Defence." It took me a good while to digest that. "Please
? I mean, I know itís a really strange thing to ask, but I need the help, and I canít think of anyone better to ask." Aww, that was kind of a sweet thing to say. I could already feel the colour rising to my cheeks as I considered it. It wouldnít make a difference to our relationship-of-sorts - weíd still be working together, but this time working to help Elias do better in Defence. It wasnít entirely all-too-bad of an idea, to tell you the truth.
"I - um -" Why was I stuttering? There was no need for stutters in this situation! I reluctantly sighed, and blinked up at him. "Well, I suppose ..." I never got a chance to finish whatever it was that I was going to say - Eliasí eyes lit up, and he grinned.
"Brilliant!" he exclaimed brightly, looking once more around us before starting for the end of the corridor. "Iíll see you later, right, Lucy? I have one more important bit of business to take care of."
"Wait!" I found myself saying, though Elias didnít turn back to face me. "Elias! What about the -" In that instant, he disappeared around the corner, and I sighed in exasperation, rolling my eyes. It was a wonder either of us could get anything done, what with him disappearing and going random places.
Strangely enough, Elias didnít mention the whole tutoring thing for the rest of the weekend the few times I saw him, so it was with a confused expression on my face that I sat down in Mondayís Transfiguration lesson. Professor Bridge was a very practical sort of person - she liked to keep things neat and orderly and whatnot, which included pairing people up. She didnít like things changing, either, as evidenced by the fact that I still had my partner from fifth year, Billy Switch.
Now, a word about Billy before you meet him. Thereís just two things - one, his full name is William, obviously, but no one calls him that. Even to his parents, heís Billy. If I had to call him ĎWilliamí, I think I would have gagged. The name was more suited to first year William, whom weíve already met. Most people name their kids after Uncle Harry, but Billy was named for Uncle Bill instead - I have no clue what his parents were thinking, but thatís his name and you canít change that.
Last thing - heís more annoying then any other seventeen-year-old boy I know. And that includes Elias. Heís like the older brother that I never wanted to had, including the overprotectiveness, occasional silly nickname and general teasing and poking fun at me. I canít for the life of me figure out why Professor Bridge keeps us seated together. Itís just a recipe for disaster. I donít know how I manage to pass my classes with him disturbing me doing my work.
"Hey, Lucy!" Billy said brightly that morning, grating on my nerves. I am not a morning person. Pippa still has that bruise when I threw her battery-powered alarm clock at her in May. "Having fun being Head Girl?" I winced, then switched to glaring at him.
"Donít joke about it," I sighed, rummaging through my bag to get my textbook, hoping I had it with me. Once, at the start of sixth year, I had to share with Billy because I had forgotten my own, and the things
he has written down in there. Sometimes I hallucinate my own textbook has Billyís scrawl ruining it. "I am now qualified to take points off of you, or give you a detention if I wanted to." Billy pouted, seeing my point.
"Damnit, Lu," he grumbled, narrowing his eyes at me. "You take all of the fun out of life." I would have come up with a witty comeback or something to reply to that, but, you know - I canít come up with witty comebacks, no matter how hard I try. The few times I do are the result of dumb luck. "Anyway, I kind of need your help."
Oh, for heavenís sake. What is the matter with these people? Is it really that hard to be able to do things for themselves? Why not pile all of the ĎI-need-your-helpí stuff on Elias?
"Yeah, okay, fine," I grumbled, against my better judgement, crossing my arms over my textbook. "Hit me with it. How hard can it be?" Billy raised an eyebrow at me, and I mimicked him, but I knew what he was getting at - you should never say things like that.
"You remember Devon Blue? Heís my cousin, in the year below us." I frowned at Billy, not sure what he was getting at. "Well, Iím pretty sure he has a crush on your cousin Lily -" I held up my hands, palms facing Billy, and wildly shook my head.
"No! No way am I going to play matchmaker
-" Oh, Helga, Iím shuddering just saying it. "- to your cousin and mine! If Devon wants to go out with Lily, then fine! He can do it himself -"
"No, no, Lucy, you donít get it." Billy cut across me, clapping a hand over my mouth and pretending I wasnít scrabbling at his fingers so that I could breathe again. "The thing is, Devon doesnít know
"Then whatís the point?" I gasped, sacrificing the few precious moments that I wasnít inhaling Billyís hand. "If heís in denial and whatnot over if he likes Lily or not, then why canít you just wait
for him to find out about his feelings for her himself? Hogwarts doesnít always need matchmakers, Billy! People can go out with each other themselves!" I think I might have said that just a bit too loudly, however, because suddenly everyoneís eyes were on us and Billyís cheeks were pink. He removed his hand properly and began to whisper urgently.
"I wasnít finished," he told me softly, and despite my dislike on the subject itself, I listened to whatever it was he had to say with a touch of curiousity. "We made a deal." Boys and their stupid bets and deals, honestly. Donít they have anything better to do? "Devon knows the girl I have a crush on, see."
knows the girl you have a crush on," I sighed, exasperated, but still wondering where this was going. "Caitlin Altman isnít exactly a nobody." Billyís eyes widened in alarm as he hastily hushed me.
"Well, yes," he admitted sheepishly, getting my point. "But thatís not what I meant. I meant Devon really
knows her, theyíre both on the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, and I asked Devon if he could like mention me or something to Scarlett but he said no because he doesnít really approve of my crush, and we made this deal that he would set us up if I
could get him
a date with the girl he
likes." Billy glanced fleetingly at me, expecting me to get it, but when he saw the look on my face, he continued. "The thing is, I donít know who he likes but I think itís Lily."
All this crush stuff is a whole lot more confusing then I had first originally thought, let me tell you the truth. "So, technically, youíre asking me if I want to come along and spy on Devon and Lily with you," I said slowly, and Billy threw his hands in the air in relief.
"Yes, she gets it!" he cried out dramatically, but I ignored him and ploughed on.
"You also want me to set them up on a date but without the two of them knowing itís a date because you donít know if Devon actually likes Lily or not." Billy nodded eagerly, and I shook my head at his plan-of-sorts, an exasperated look on my face. "Dear Lord. William Edmund Switch - you are completely insane. This is never
going to work!"
"Well, Lucy Sophia Weasley," Billy huffed, looking annoyed with me for using his full name. "You never know until you try, right?" Ugh. The boy had a point. How I hate it when Billy has a point. The only time he ever does is when he wants to drag me into some crazy scheme or another, of which he has a lot of. Gemma never approves of them and usually advices me against them, but Pippa enjoys going along with ridiculous plans like that, so she usually comes along for the ride. At least Iíll have someone else to suffer with, so I nodded in Billyís vague direction.
"If anyone asks, Iím only going along with this because Iím Head Girl and I feel obliged to make sure you wonít get killed somehow in this."
Oh, for the love of Merlin - what the hell did I just get myself into?
A/N: Ugh. This chapter was a pain, and it wasnít as long as I wouldíve liked so sorry about that -.- However, it is needless to say that the next chapter is going to be absolutely huge - weíve got a plot, after all! Sure, this was only skimming the surface of the overall plot, but plot is plot and I shanít complain. No matter how short this was, I hoped you enjoyed it nevertheless :) Howíd you like Billy? By the way, this chapter is unfortunately unbetaíd, because for some reason, Siriusly3 hasnít been online since the 11th, but oh well. I hope there arenít too many mistakes? :p Reviews are most definitely appreciated!