She could be having a better day.
Hovering two hundred metres above the ground is – well, it’s usually her idea of fun, but that normally also entails the sun shining and birds chirping and maybe a breeze to go along with it, just to cool her down on a warm day.
But it’s presently cold and rainy, with the barest hints of mist creeping through, and to be honest, visibility is shit and she can barely see two broomstick lengths in front of her. But she supposes she should take some comfort in the fact that all she has to do is hit the Bludger away from her and her teammates, and not anything like flying after a tiny Snitch around the entire pitch. Merlin knows, she’d probably literally chase it into the ground she can’t see below.
It doesn’t help that they’re playing Slytherin today.
They’ve always been sneaky basta—
She blinks her eyes open.
Her vision is hazy, her head feels like the Hogwarts Express just ran over it (and backed up a few times for good measure), and the dim light hurts her eyes – but slowly, slowly, the world swims into focus.
She’s been in the hospital wing more than her fair share of times to know that’s exactly where she is right now, but the question is how—
“Bo,” a familiar voice from her right says, sounding relieved.
“Blimey,” another voice, this one deeper, chimes in. “Is she up already?”
“An hour before Madam Pomfrey said she would – I knew she had it in her! Move over, Wolfie; let me see my bestie before Madam Pomfrey kicks us out like she did the rest of the team.”
Bo tries to twist her head so she can look at her friends, but the movement instantly turns into a half-wince and a hissed whisper as a sharp pain shoots up her spine and ends in her neck.
“Don’t—” the first voice starts. “I mean, Madam Pomfrey said not to overdo anything. She gave you a sprain-relieving paste for your back, but it’ll take some time before—”
“Lauren,” the name tumbles from Bo’s lips before she realizes she’s saying it. She reaches out with a hand, and can’t help the warmth that blooms in her chest as slim fingers tangle in her own. And maybe it’s the leftover effects of whatever sleeping draught that Madam Pomfrey gave her, but she’s suddenly feeling very, very tired. Closing her eyes, she breathes out, “I’ll be fine.”
This is what happened that day:
(And okay, not nearly as important, but perhaps almost as—
Lachlan Ash got lucky and hit a Bludger her way. He’s far from her favourite person, but he’s not a cold-blooded killer, and a hit in the face, even by way of Bludger, is just too obvious to be a Slytherin move. And besides, all’s fair in Quidditch, so there’s not really any hard feelings.
Hale managed to catch her some metres before she hit the ground).
Or so she’s told, anyway.
She spots her in the bleachers one Tuesday afternoon before practice.
It’s snowing lightly now, but she likes the snow, and she can actually see the whole length down the Pitch. It’s—pretty nice, actually, is what it is.
“Hey,” she says in friendly greeting, sticking a hand up as she approaches. She feels like a dork for doing so immediately after, but decides the answering smile she gets is totally worth it. She sits down in the empty space next to Lauren, then shifts so that she’s lying across the bench.
“Hi,” Lauren says back, ducking her head to place a light kiss on her forehead.
Bo attempts to meet the kiss halfway, and Lauren ends up kissing her nose instead. It’s sort of funny, really, and there’s a slight pause before Lauren breaks out into a wide grin. Bo takes this as a sign and leans forward, pressing her lips to the Ravenclaw’s, pushing back gently until they’re both lying on the bench.
It’s a little hard to balance, and so Bo pulls back moments later before they both fall over. Lauren smiles up at her, and it’s hard not to smile back.
Bo likes how everything is infinitely easier when Lauren’s around. It wasn’t always easy, of course; she distinctly remembers a lot of strained silences and refusals to compromise just over two years ago, and Lauren may not be a Gryffindor, but that doesn’t mean she’s spineless, and Bo found that out the hard way.
Not that she actually ever believed that, but it may have slipped out while they were exchanging hurtful words.
Bo’s just glad all that’s behind them now. It’s not so complicated, it turns out, to be with a girl who likes kissing girls.
It’s actually all kinds of brilliant, because she gets to do things like sneak off to the Greenhouses, or the Astronomy Tower, or sometimes (most times) even the broom closet with her sort-of girlfriend, who likes the smell of broom polish, and she doesn’t mean for that to be a metaphor for something filthy—
“Are you sure you’re okay to practice like this?” Lauren’s voice breaks into her thoughts, and apparently that’s something else that Lauren does: ground her, but in a good way. Bo looks over to see Lauren sitting up, a small frown on her face, and she’s suddenly struck with the urge to kiss it away. “How’s your back feeling?”
“Better,” is what Bo says, and it’s not exactly a lie. Her shoulders are stiff and she can’t properly twist around, but there’s only so much Madam Pomfrey and her magical pastes and potions can do. Besides, she’s pretty sure she’ll be in top form by her next game, so there’s no point in saying more and worrying Lauren.
“I should go get everything for practice ready. But I’ll see you tonight? In the Tower?”
“Of course,” Lauren smiles at her, squeezes her hand, and Bo wishes her heart would stop flipping. “You know I’ll be there.”
Dinner on Sunday is a rowdy affair.
For some reason, Hale decides it’s a good day to pull a prank on Ciara – and it’s actually a fairly harmless prank that has Ciara laughing, but Dyson takes some offense to it. Bo’s never thought she’d see the day when Dyson and Hale are on the outs, but this might just be it, because Dyson’s drawing his wand, and—
“I will not have students fighting in the Great Hall like buffoons,” comes the stern voice of Professor McGonagall as she directs glares at both Dyson and Hale. Though everyone else is straining forward to hear what punishment she’s decided to dole out, her next words are lowered, and soon enough everyone loses interest and goes back to their dinners.
She catches Lauren’s gaze from across the hall before she can catch herself, and offers a smile and a small shrug.
She’s still looking in that direction when Kenzi plops down unceremoniously next to her.
“You know, I’m pretty sure she’ll still like you even if you don’t stare at her twenty-four-seven,” is what her best friend says, and Bo feels her face heat up.
“I do not—”
“Don’t even try that line with me, missy. You love her.”
It’s meant to be a flippant comment, but there’s a brief pause and an obvious lack of reaction on Bo’s part, and suddenly she’s realizing that maybe she should have said something. Or at least rolled her eyes; she’s getting good at that, after a lifetime of being around Kenzi.
“Sweet Merlin,” Kenzi says, shocked. “You actually lo—”
Hale chooses that moment to squeeze in between the both of them, and Bo has never wanted to kiss him more.
(She wonders what Lauren would say about that, but then decides that she would probably just laugh it off, because she knows better than to make it into a thing).
“That’s seven inches of parchment on why playing pranks is much too childish for a seventh year,” Hale sighs as he reaches for a drumstick, oblivious to what he interrupted.
“At least you didn’t get detention,” Bo supplies. “We need you for the game on Friday. Can you imagine if we had to replace you with Nate?”
Kenzi makes a displeased noise from next to her, and this time, Bo does roll her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Kenz, you know I think Nate’s great, but Quidditch isn’t exactly—”
“—his strong suit?” Hale finishes for her, spearing some greens and popping them into his mouth.
Bo grins, and the “yeah,” that follows is matter-of-fact.
She can still feel Kenzi’s gaze on her, though, and when she finally looks up and meets her eyes, she finds that the knowledge in them unsettles her.
The thing is, it could be love.
She’s just never really thought about it before.
“I don’t know why you’re telling me this,” Ciara says as she snacks on a pumpkin pasty she stole from the kitchens, looking out to the lake.
“Because you’re one of my best friends, and I need to talk to someone about this?”
“And also because I’m Lauren’s housemate?” Ciara suggests, smirking. She looks at Bo then, regarding her for a moment, and then finally says – not unkindly – “You seem to have it pretty figured out, from where I’m sitting.”
“Yeah,” she sighs. “Yeah. I guess I do.”
Except it doesn’t really feel that way at all.
(What if Lauren doesn’t love her back?)
They’re playing Hufflepuff today.
Lauren meets her at the bottom of the stairs before the Great Hall.
“Hey,” she says.
“Hey,” Bo’s reply is soft as she reaches forward to link their fingers together.
“I just wanted to wish you good luck,” Lauren smiles. “Today. You know, for the game.”
“Did you also want to tell me to be careful?”
Lauren blushes. “Well, yes, but only because—”
“It’s okay. I’ll be careful. I won’t get hit by a Bludger this time.”
“Yes, okay, maybe – you don’t know that,” Lauren says, making a face. “But that doesn’t mean you won’t find other ways to be completely stupid out there—”
“Thanks,” Bo grins, leaning forward.
Lauren stops her before her lips reach their intended destination, rolling her eyes. “You should probably get in there before you miss breakfast,” she suggests, warmth lacing her voice.
Bo puts on her best pout. “But what if you’re right, and I do something completely daft, and I die, and this is your last chance to kiss me, but you wouldn’t do it out of some weird preference that I eat breakfast—”
“You are so dramatic sometimes,” Lauren interrupts, kissing her on her lips.
“But that’s why you love me, right?”
And just like that, it’s out in the open, and suddenly she wishes she could take her words back—
“Right,” Lauren confirms easily as she steps back. “Good luck, again.”
And Lauren isn’t like Bo. She doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, doesn’t rush into last-minute decisions, and is generally someone Bo hopes to be good enough for, some day – and Bo—
Bo turns around, right before she enters the Great Hall.
“I love you too, you know.”
Lauren looks at her for a moment, and Bo feels compelled to add, “Just in case I die.”
“Way to ruin a moment, you complete Gryffindor,” Lauren laughs. “I’ll see you on the Pitch. And afterwards, when you’re still alive.”
It sounds like a promise.