After about 30 minutes of vigilant watching Leif fell quite asleep his face pressed into the crack of his potions book in a very uncomfortable way. He was quickly woken a few hours later with a sharp flick to his left ear. He jerked his head up with a snap to look up at Madame Pince’s glaring eyes.
“Library is closing Mr. Haroldson.” She said rather snippily.
“Oh, yeah, right sorry.” He said closing up his book and packing up his bag while Madame Pince returned to her desk. As he walked by her desk on the way to the exit he suddenly remembered why he had come here in the first place.”Madame Pince?” he asked in a whisper.
“Yes Mr. Haroldson?” she asked annoyed he was still about.
“Did that girl Avalon already leave?”
“Ms. Hascall left only moments ago why do you ask?” She questioned her eyes searching his face.
“Oh, no reason” He said putting his hands up as if to ward her off. He put his hands back to his side and stood there a bit as Madame Pince went back to sorting books.
“Can I help you with anything else Mr. Haroldson.” Madame Pince hissed.
“I’m sorry but did you notice if she was heading back to her common room.” He asked her putting his hands on her desk.
Suddenly with a snap she slapped a ruler down on both his hands. “I don’t know what you are up to Mr. Haroldson but you leave Avalon Hascall out of it. She does not need the likes of you coming about.” She growled at him. Yeah she growled like a wild creature. With that he fled not asking another word. This whole shirking about and finding answers business was proving difficult.
Leif went back to his dormitory rather rejected. Even deduction Gryffindor points did not cheer him up. He skulked around till he had to go on patrol and wander the halls pouting. When his shift was done Leif made his way back to the common room slowly. By chance alone he spared a glance out of a window and to his surprise he saw a figure rushing off in the direction of the forbidden forest. As head boy he felt it his obligation to check out the situation which seemed shady indeed. He quickly ran to the nearest exit and followed the figure which was not much more then a speck in the distance but luckily he was able to make up a lot of ground due to his hard earned endurance on the Quidditch pitch.
He followed the figure quietly into the forest hiding behind the odd tree and bush when the figure would look over their shoulder. Finally the figure came to a stop in a clearing far into the forest. Leif took refuge behind a rather large bush and squatted down looking at the figure holding his breath as slowly the hood was removed and almost shoulder length brown hair was revealed. What really took his breath away was the face of the figure when it turned toward his hiding place. Avalon. She cast off the dark cloak to reveal a knee length sleeveless white dress which combined with her bare feet made her look rather like a forest nymph.
Suddenly a sound of hoofs to his side made him jump and almost swallow his tongue. He turned toward the sound but saw nothing but the darkness of the forest. When he turned back to look at Avalon she was calmly stacking rocks in a most curious way. One rock on top of the other until the top rock was too small to support anything. More and more little rock towers she made and to Leif’s surprise on second look of the clearing he saw that those were not the only stacks but in fact the whole space was filled with rock towers. It gave the place a rather odd other world look about it.
It was then the owner of the hoofs made an appearance as a large rather mean looking centaur. It was amazingly large and was armed with a dangerous looking bow and a full quiver of arrows. His coarse hair on his head and body was a jet black that reflected the moon light making him look almost blue. He expected the centaur to reach back into his quiver and grab one of those sharp arrows and quickly end what was Avalon but instead it came forward careful not to disturb any of the rock towers and bowed before Avalon putting out his hand which she took carefully. The centaur drew her closer to him and helped her climb onto his back. Once she was perched on him side saddle like some queen of old he flew off into the forest without a look behind him but she on the other hand did and it felt like she looked right into Leif’s soul as she rode away.
When they were out of site he let out a breath that he seemed to have been holding forever. Never did he imagine this bet would take him into the forbidden forest and into the audience of centaurs. He made his way out of the forest and back to the castle puzzling over what he had just discovered. What was she doing in the forest to begin with? How was this centaur involved? What did those stones mean and where the hell did she go? These questions were going to ruin his sleep he could just tell.
Striding into the dormitory he flopped down on his bed and pushed his face into the comforter. He turned his head and saw Mikko’s blond hair peeking out from his covers. He quickly got up and strode over and jumped onto his friend who made an audible groan. “Your back” His dear friend moaned as he was being squished.
“And troubled” he moaned again.
“She is proving to be a real mystery.” Leif told his best mate unfazed that Mikko was squirming trying to breathe under his weight. “To be honest I’m not quite sure what to think at the moment.”
“Well why don’t you get off me and we can have a conversation.” Mikko bellowed as he fought under Leif who smirked and moved. Mikko came up breathless and looking rather like an alley cat fresh from a fight with his blonde hair in disarray. “So?” he asked “Tell me the details then.”
Leif told him all about his adventure in the forest and Mikko himself was rather puzzled about the whole situation as well. “The real question is” he said “where is she going”. Leif nodded in agreement rubbing his bristly chin. “I say you take your broomstick next time and follow her. Find out what in the name of Merlin she is doing out in the Forbidden Forest with a centaur.”
Leif nodded, indeed this was a mystery he had to solve if he hoped to win the bet. Even though he had till February to have her to confess her undying love for him, he didn’t want to wait to the bloody end to get it. He had to know everything about her since the looks she threw him made him feel like she already knew everything about him. With a plan forming in his mind he left his friend and let him return to sleep and once again flopped on his bed pondering what he just learned and what he planned to do about it.
When he next saw her next all he could see was the image of her in that white dress looking so beautiful with the moon light shining on her pale skin making her light up like some angelic being. It was hard for him to imagine that this girl who sat like she was trying to disappear into her chair was the bold girl in the forest taking the hand of the dangerous looking centaur. Suddenly she turned to him and their eyes connected. Leif blushed at being caught staring and quickly turned away. But even with the embarrassment of being caught he couldn’t resist a few glances her way throughout class.
After classes had ended for the day, Avalon made her way to the library slowly lost in deep thought on the uses for fenugreek, an herb from Egypt, which they had just learned about in potions class. She sat happily alone pulling out her books pleased with herself. Then she noticed her plan for derailing Leif which she thought had worked swimmingly, had in fact failed. She had thought she had put this arse face off her trail with her comments but he was more persistent then she had given him credit for. She had been sitting happily only moments before absorbed in her Herbology book but then like a spider he crept up on her and now hung around where he was not wanted. Now she was going to have to figure out another way to lose him. “Hey” he asked her sitting down beside her. It was all she could do not to sigh audibly. “You going to play nice today or do I need to get you a muzzle.”
She shot him a look that could have killed any normal person but sadly he had an ego the size a of a baby rhino and was immune to eye shankings. And to her disgust he only smirked at her look and turned to pull out his books. He acted strange this boy. Like he knew something, she didn’t like it. But most of all she did not like him. Even though she lived her life in the shadows she was not blind or stupid for that matter. She saw how he treated girls and knew she was no exception. She spent the afternoon puzzling over this new found attention he was paying her. She decided she was the target of some bet or dare that would test his supposed honor. Boys have the most interesting ideas when it comes to values.
It was dinner time so they both packed up and made their way to the great hall. She thanked whatever deity was watching over her for shutting him up on the walk there. They separated and ate dinner in their normal fashion. She left early from her lonely table and went up to her dormitory to pick up a spare quill. On her way back to the library she saw a tall figure striding ahead of her. It was Leif and he was beating her to the library and to her spot. This is exactly why she hated people, because they were rude. Well get ready Leif to wait for a while cause I won’t be coming tonight she thought with a smirk. Sure enough he turned into the library and was out of site. Looks like the common room for me. As much as the thought of sitting out where people were liable to be about and talking loudly about things she did not care about it was better than enduring moments with that baboon.
She awoke with a start. She decided then that studying on her bed was from now on out of the question. Avalon swore as she saw the sun had already set and it was quite dark outside of her window in the girls 7th year dormitory. If she was late they would be worried maybe even upset and that was the last thing she wanted to happen. She quickly rose and stripped down and pulled her dress over her head trying not to wake the sleeping girls around her. She grabbed her cloak on the way out and flung it across her shoulders as she descended the stairs.
It was dead quiet in the common room but she did not want to stick around to find out how dead it really was. With her luck some prefect couple would be snogging on the couch and bust her. So out the port hole she flew and out into the halls of Hogwarts which by night she knew well. Better than most professors she expected which was a benefit to be sure. Quite a while back she had found a small door, quite an odd size really, that led down to the grounds. It was never lock because it was in such an odd place and an odd size. She suspected students never noticed it and professors were just as oblivious.
The moment her lungs filled with the night air as she crawled out of the awkwardly sized door she felt relaxed and quite at home. She could not understand for the life of her why people spent all their time indoors when they had such a beautiful place around them. She pulled up her hood and started walking at a quick pace to the tree line of the Forbidden Forest.
He was about to give up. He was so close he could almost feel the fire warming his frozen hands. He was plopped down and leaning his head against the castle wall keeping up watch in a semi comfortable position. Why did this girl have to be so difficult? Most birds were more interested in makeup, hair, and well him but not her. She got her kicks romping around in forests filled with wild beasts that would rather kill than look at you. He sighed and ran his hands through his hair cursing himself for getting involved with this stupid bet. Sure he had quite a lot more time to get her to fall in love with him then Allan had to get Megan into a broom closet but Megan put out a hell of a lot more then Avalon.
The truth of the matter was that this bet really didn’t even make a lot of sense it was more for bragging rights then for the money. The bet was full of loop holes like what if both succeeded or both failed. But it didn’t really seem to matter because here he sat freezing his arse off waiting for some crazy bird to show up and slink into the forest. And right on cue there she was. Leif smiled and mounted his broom and took off quietly.
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