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Chapter 5

Sitting in the great hall for breakfast it was hard for Leif to keep his mind out of the gutter or the forest to be more precise. “Hey Leif how goes it with the batty one.” Allen said with a smirk. “ I hope well cause me and Megean are ready to take it to the next level if you know what I mean.”

“No Allen, I don’t know what you mean, care to tell us.” Leif said rather on edge.

“Well when a girl loves a boy a lot she likes to do things for him. Amazing things ..” Allen started his face blissful.

“Right I’m going to stop you there, and just leave it, cause I really don’t want to hear what you have to say.” Leif said taking a drink from his tea. The boys all around snickered as Allan glared.

“When does Quidditch practice start up this year?” Mikko started trying to bring Leif out of this black mood.

“Yeah.” Piped in Dario from Mikko’s side. “When do we get to kill Gryffindors?”

Leif rubbed his stubble covered chin and gave a wistful smiled. “Well tryouts will be next week on Monday. And I think we will start practice on the Monday after that.”

“So soon?” Complained Ciro.

“You want to win Ciro?” Leif barked.

“Yeah I guess.”

“Good then you will be at every practice this year, on time, so we can show those Gryffindors who owns that pitch.” Cheers came from all round even a weak one from Ciro who saw the time with his girlfriend quickly slipping away.

 

Avalon skirted through the halls trying harder than normal to keep herself out of view. The last thing she needed right now was that baboon coming and ruining her study time. She let out a breath as she walked into the library. Finally safe she thought as she made her way to the back table. She was even in such a good mood she gave Madame Pince a smile if you could call it that. But the look that Madame Pince gave her made her falter in her steps. Her eyes seemed to say My God girl run run while you still can. But Avalon ignored the warning and by Merlin’s beard she wished she had not.

As she rounded a book shelf she came face to face with a smirking Leif Haroldson. “Ah Avalon I’m so glad you decided to join me. Care to sit.” He said grabbing her arm and depositing her in a chair at the now hated table. He sat down across from her and leaned back in his chair his hands resting on the back of his head and he had the most annoying smirk on his face. They sat that way for quite a while before she sighed and pulled out her charms book and flipped it open.

“I was wondering if you would go to Hogsmeade with me.” His voice so full of confidence she was surprised he didn’t choke on it as it come out of his mouth.

“Umm.. not that does not sound inviting but I am going to have to say no.” she said not even looking up from her book her voice dry with sarcasm.

Sarcasm really really. He was furious at her insolence but kept his surface just as cool and cocky as always. “Are you sure it would provide a free meal and you could be seen on the arm of the most attractive boy in the whole school.” He tried again not wanting to bring out the big guns just yet.

“Yeah I’m sure.” She said flipping the page.

Leif leaned forward across the table till his face was close to hers and gave a little smirk. She looked at him from under her eyelashes and waited for what he had to say. Which was about to destroy her day/week/year. “Well that’s just fine with me Avalon I guess I will just have to tell the head master about your visits to the forbidden forest at all hours of the night.”

That got her attention. Her head shot up and her eyes opened wide in disbelief. “How did you find out?” she demanded her voice rather shrill, this made him smirk even wider. She glared in response.

“If you’re going to play with centaurs in the forest I think you need to be a little more careful.” He said pulling away.

“What do you know.” She asked her voice accusingly.

“Oh I think we both know the answer to that question.” She wanted to slap that smirk right off his mouth and his mouth right off his face. “So I will be meeting you at let’s say 11 outside your common room.” He took her silence and glare for a yes. “Alright splendid can’t wait.” With that he left her to stew and to feel totally cheated not to mention violated.

 

True to his bloody word he stood leaned up against the wall outside of the portrait hole with a smirk on his face. He was dressed sharply in a pair of muggle jeans and a rather soft looking gray wool coat, upon seeing his clothes she looked down at her uniform slightly embarrassed. “You’re late.” Was his greeting as he pushed of the wall and came over to walk with her.

Maybe if I don’t talk he will get bored and just leave me alone she decided. Well what she didn’t bet on was the fact that Leif could talk and talk and talk and not seemed phased at all that she was not responding. In fact he seemed to be enjoying it

“So that is how me and Mikko became mates.” He finished as he looped his arm though hers as they reached the path to Hogsmeade. She looked up at him and he looked down at her and gave her a smile that would normally make all the girls melt. And Avalon realized suddenly her knees were becoming a little melty as well so she quickly looked up the path. Leif smirked and joined her gaze and to his delight he saw Allan with Megean draped over him. When Allan saw Leif and who his companion was the grin on his handsome face vanished and was replaced with a look of slack jaw awe. Leif smiled even broader and pulled Avalon even closer to his side. “Allan how good to see you out and about” Leif said as they came along side the other couple. “This is my date Avalon and I imagine this is Megean.” He said happily.

“So nice to meet you.” Megean said sweetly sticking out what hand was not buried in the depths that was Allan. Leif felt a little sorry for Megean she seemed a nice girl and she was saddled with a wanker like Allan. “and it is nice to meet you to Avalon .” she said kindly holding out her hand but Avalon didn’t even bother to look up to see it extended she kept her eyes on her shoes avoiding all eye contact.

He nudged her and said “It looks like we are shy today.” rather like you would say about a child which made her blood boil. “Well it was a pleasure seeing you.” He told them excusing Avalon and himself and continued on the way to Hogsmeade still talking a mile a minute. “Well that was fun wasn’t it?” He laughed pulling her along.

Avalon managed to zone him out and take in her surroundings which were beautiful. The road they walked on was fenced around with low stone walls and beyond those were fields of tall green grass and wild flowers which still glittered with dew from the morning. The sun shone brightly which was rare here in Scotland.  “Are you listening?” he asked suddenly his voice slightly irritated.

“hmmm.?”

“I asked if you wanted to go get some food.” He looked down at her his eyes narrowed. She only shrugged and he narrowed his eyes even more so. “Well I’m hungry and since you don’t care I guess we will get some fish and chips.” With that he whisked her to little shabby building with a hanging sign with 3 very old looking broomsticks carved on it. The establishment smelled rather like a locker room would she decided, like to many bodies mashed together and old food. They found a cramped table in the corner and sat down and for once Leif wasn’t talking, he was only looking at her annoyed. He realized now she had been ignoring him the entire time they had been walking here.   She liked him better when he was talking she decided.

The waiter came over and asked them what they fancied. “Two fish and chips and two butter beers.” Leif said not even taking a look at the menu the waiter was holding out for him to grab.

“Right I will get that right out.” He said and like a flash he was gone disappearing back into the sea of bodies.

“Well, tell me about yourself.” He said spinning his ring on the table top. It made the most annoying whirring sound as it spun on the rough table top. Like a snake Avalon’s hand shot out and slammed the ring into the table with the palm of her hand. Leif looked so startled she almost laughed.

“I don’t like loud or annoying sounds as I think you have gathered.” She hissed as she brought her hand back into her lap.

“Well now we are getting somewhere.” Leif perked up and slipped his ring back on. “Now where are you from?”

Avalon sighed and slumped back in the booth. “I’m from a town called Barry in Wales.” She said finally.

“Hmm Barry you say. I’ve never heard of it. I myself am from Reykjavik if you can believe that.” He said as the waiter gave them their food and drinks.

“Is that all kiddies.” The waiter asked.

“Yeah yeah.” Leif said waving him off.

“Reykjavik really?” Avalon said perking up “I have always wanted to visit there the volcanic activity in Iceland is really quite amazing.”

“Yeah, I really don’t know much about that.” He said taking a drink dismissing the subject.

“If you’re from Iceland how are you able to go to Hogwarts.” She asked her eyebrows raised.

“My family has 2 estates one in Reykjavik and one in Scotland so I was able to come because I have an address in the UK. Not to mention my father came here as well.” He told her looking smug at the fact that he was so rich Avalon was not as impressed as he seemed to be.

After that little chat they both sat in awkward silence till Leif finished his food and butter beer. When he looked over he found that her plate was all but full and so was her mug. Well that was a waste of 10 quid he thought standing. “I’m going to pay.” With that he left her and entered the throng of bodies. Avalon sat for a while but the lack of natural sunlight and the horrible smell made her feel so claustrophobic she had to get out of there or she was sure she would explode. She made her escape towards the door trying desperately not to touch any of the people who seemed hell bent on getting in between her and that door.  She finally burst through the doors and out into the open air which she breathed in greedily rather like a fish tossed back into water.

When she got her heart beat back to normal she set off to explore. Yeah so she ditched Leif but oh well maybe next time he would be smart enough not to trust her she thought with a smile. When she looked down the main drag through Hogsmeade she saw down the left side the forest start to be visible and she could just make out the outline of a rather dilapidated looking house set up on a hill. Her interest peeked and she made her was avoiding the many students who clogged the normally barren main street.

 

Leif was furious. He had bought her a meal and a drink and even let her loop her small thin arm in his rather large and muscular one and she ditched him. He shoved into the doors and they opened there hinges cracking and creaking at the force he applied.  He stormed out into the streets shoving down a rather unlucky 3 year who happened to get relatively close to him. As he made his way down the street he close lined a few more third years and maybe punched a rather smug looking Gryffindor he was unsure it was a bit of a blur. He finally shoved his hands in the pockets of his gray wool coat and stomped his way to the shrieking shack so he could throw rocks at is. It was therapeutic ok!

As he made his way to the shack he bent down and picked up stones that caught his eye and put them in his pockets. When he reached the stone wall that surrounded the rather crushed looking structure he hopped up and sat letting his feet dangle above the ground. There he sat chucking his pre selected stones at the windows and metal gutters only getting satisfaction when glass shattered or the metal gave out a pang.

 

Avalon skidded to a halt. Did the fates really hate her so much? She had continued up the path to see if there was a better view of the shack from farther up the road but unfortunately she had no such luck. Now she had made her way back to find none other but the bane of her existence sitting on the wall right in front of the best view of the building. She quietly started backing peddling and trying to get back to where she had just come from when he looked over and spotted her. Damnation! There was no way to just pretend she hadn’t seen him since she was walking backwards and looking so guilty.

“Hey there you are.” He said happily hopping off the wall and coming over to her. She let out a final sigh and admitted defeat. “Thanks for hanging at the pub for me.” He said sarcastically.

“Yeah sorry but it was a bit too crowded in there for me.” She said tucking some hair behind her ear.

“Yeah I’m sure.” He said putting his hands back in his jacket pockets. They stood like that rather awkwardly. Why does he keep following me we have nothing to say to each other, we have nothing in common she thought angrily wrapping her arms around herself.

“Wow did you see that.” He said suddenly looking at the tree line of the forbidden forest.

“No.” she said turning her head to join him in the surveillance.

“Did you see that.” He said pointing at something she could just make out. “Come on lets go see what it is.” He said wrapping his arm around her shoulders and leading her off toward the forest. “You really can’t see that?” his voice rather smug.

“Yes I can see it I just don’t know what it is yet.” She said rather snippily. This made him smile more. Ah so she did have emotions he thought with a smirk. As they approached the tree line she saw what it was and let a rare smile upturn her lips. It was a threstral. It stood in the green of the forest the black contrasting the green.

“What the hell is that?” Leif’s voice said interrupting her thoughts. “It is like a zombie horse.”

“Don’t you read at all.” She asked looking up at him.

“Yeah I read.” He said defensively. “When it is worth reading.”

“Well if you had read or even paid attention to Care of Magical Creatures you would know that this is a threstral.” Her voice filled with wonder. “They are so magnificent aren’t they?”

Creepy more like Leif thought but he didn’t want to annoy her further.

“Come on his herd must be close.” She said tightening her grip on his arm and this time she dragged him into the cool darkness of the forest. They soon heard the sound of hoofs and a few whinny’s. Avalon let go of his arm and took off in front of him. He had to smile at her excitement it was infectious. As they walked further the trees grew farther apart and just up ahead a large herd of thestrals grazed giving the forest an eerie look.

“Aren’t they majestic?” Avalon said her voice filled with awe. With that she left him and went to walk among them. He reached out and grabbed her arm to stop her but she was too quick. He gritted his teeth stepped forward as well. There was no way he would look the coward. Unlike Leif, Avalon seemed to float among them rather like a creature of the forest herself while Leif seemed totally like a fish out of water. A few of the young were curious enough to approach them which made Avalon grin from ear to ear. Here she was again giving wild animals smiles that he had never seen grace her face before. I guess I will just have to turn into a horse before she notices me   he decided bitterly. But at that moment she turned to him smiling quieting his thoughts “Come on maybe they will let you pet them too.” She said reaching her hand out for him.

Her smile made him gulp and he took her hand gingerly. Her smile light up her face making her even more beautiful. “Don’t be scared they are just babies.” She said almost enjoying his fear.

“I’m not s-s-scarred.” He insisted.

She only nodded, a knowing look on her face, and took his hand in hers and placed his it on one of the small thestrals noses. “You know what is so amazing about thestrals?” she asked quietly

He only shook his head looking down at  her hand still over top of his.

“You can only see them if you have seen death.” Her voice was quiet but seemed to still boom in his ears. He looked down at her to see her looking up at him with wondering eyes. He quickly looked away.

“So you can see them too?” he asked pulling his hand away and putting it along with his other in his jacket pockets.

“Yes I can see them” she said turning back to the ghostly animals smiling and rubbing the young ones nose. “Hunting must be bad.” She said simply.

“Why do you say that.” He asked curious.

“Thestrals mostly hunt live prey it is very uncommon for them to eat plants.” She said her head cocked as if really trying to puzzle something out.

Suddenly there was a shift in the whole atmosphere. The thestrals stamped there hoofs and they whinnied nervously. The air seemed to grow thick and their surroundings darkened almost as if a storm and blown in. Leif felt so uneasy he almost bolted.

“What’s going on?” He asked nervously stepping closer to Avalon.

At first she just looked like she was focusing hard but then her face paled. “We need to leave.” She said flatly. “Now.” She grabbed his arm and started to drag him out of the forest. Leif happily followed he felt so uneasy he would have picked her up and carried her out if he had a chance.  When they got back to the road she did not even slow she kept on walking not looking back.

“Hey,” Leif said coming to a stop “what the hell was that?”

She didn’t answer she just let go of his arm and kept walking.

“Hey” he called running to catch up with her. He grabbed her shoulders and spun her around. “What was that out there.” He asked again firmly.

“I don’t know what it is.” She said her voice filled with dismay. “But I do know it does not belong.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean all those creatures, they belong in that forest, it is natural for them to be there whatever that was, it does not belong there.” She shook off his arms and continued on her way. “Come on” she called. “We need to get as far away as possible.”

“What do you know about that.” He said after he had caught up with her.

“Not enough to say anything but it is dangerous.” She said looking at him. “That forest is not a safe place to just go adventuring in. We should never have gone in there.”

“Are you kidding me?” Leif exclaimed. “You go in there all the time by yourself and get naked.”

She pinched his arm. “Will you be quiet.” She sighed and blushed embarrassed.

“Sorry” he grumbled.

“I can go in there, I have protection unlike you” she told him kicking at a stone in their path.

“Like in need protection.” He laughed.

She skidded to a halt. “Yes you do.” She said giving him a serious look. “That forest is dangerous even for a hot shot like you.”

Leif just nodded and continued walking leaving her behind this time. He whistled absently as she jogged to keep up with his pace.

“You are really not this pompous are you?” she asked looking up at him.

He barked out a laugh. “What does that even mean?”

“This is like an act right?’” she said her eyes focusing on him as if trying to read the answer in his face. “You really are not this self absorbed.”

“I’m not self absorbed I’m just confident.” He told her with a smirk.

She only raised her eye brows and turned back to the path. When they reach the village the sun was setting and most students had wandered back to Hogwarts. “Shall we head home then.” He asked her taking her hand in his. She tried to wiggle it free but he only tightened his grip. So she nodded and they went back to the castle that way hand in hand. But unlike most couples Avalon was not snuggled against his side rather she was trying to keep as much distance between them as humanly possible. Making them an awkward sight indeed.

please comment my pride is taking a beating!

 
 
 

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