2/5/11: Yay, I actually updated! Plotwise, there's not too much excitement going on, but I'm just trying to get my writing mojo back. It's short, I know, but you get a nice introduction to Dean. He's my favorite non-main character in all the books, so I love giving him a main part in this story. :)

Chapter 2: Spilled Ink and a Very Good View

It had been two weeks since what I now refer to as The Toenail Incident. Thankfully, since then I had not managed to land Harry in the Hospital Wing again. Unthankfully, however, the only reason I had not managed to land Harry in the Hospital Wing again is that we hadn't spoken since that day.

Well, that's not entirely true. The morning after The Toenail Incident, he accidentally bumped into me on his way out of the Portrait Hole for breakfast and thanked me for helping him with his Charms essay, although I hadn't actually been such a great help. I had focused less on the necessity of teacups with legs and more on trying to not make an utter fool of myself. Which I had ended up being a miserable failure the moment I tried my hand at flirting and flipped my messy brown hair over my shoulder, consequently knocking over a bottle of ink, which proceeded to drown and demolish his essay. Yes, I know. I'm a complete dunderhead.

So when he flashed a charming grin at me the next day, all I could do was blush profusely and apologize to him for what seemed like the millionth time in less than twenty-four hours. He had told me not to worry about it, that Hermione had siphoned off all the ink and managed to salvage his essay, and hurried to catch up with said Girl Genius and Ron without a backward glance. Not that I was expecting one, anyway. But that didn't keep me from pathetically hoping.

The next two weeks consisted of me simultaneously admiring Harry from afar and spending increasing amounts of time with Dean and Seamus. Which wasn't that odd, seeing as Dean was my closest friend, but he usually split his time between Seamus and me rather than the three of us hanging around together. I wasn't complaining, as Seamus was a nice, funny bloke with a wicked cool Irish accent, but his constant presence prevented me from confiding my newfound fancy to Dean. Not that Dean would care, seeing as whenever I tell him I've struck a fancy for a new fellow all he does is tease me to no end, but I always tell him everything. My current obsession with Harry was no exception.

It was the fourteenth of November – a frigid, chilly Tuesday. I was walking down to the Quidditch pitch with Dean, surprisingly sans Seamus. The sandy-haired Irish boy had detention with Flitwick, as he had somehow managed to send our pint-sized Charms professor sailing across the classroom during our afternoon lesson. Even to this day, I'm still not entirely sure how that had happened. We weren't even working on levitation charms.

"Remind me again why I have to sit in the stands for three hours to watch a bunch of blokes fly around in circles," I grumbled, looking cross as Dean and I walked across the grounds. "It's bad enough going to matches."

"Because I love you, and the cost of my love is an afternoon spent on the Quidditch pitch, watching your best mate of all time trounce his competition," Dean replied cheekily. I scowled.

"But it's going to start raining soon! I don't like getting wet." I looked up at him and pouted, hoping he would see my side of things and let me head back to the nice, warm, dry common room. As if.

He shot me a pointed look. "You're a witch, you bugger. Conjure yourself up an umbrella and stop your whining."

I opened my mouth to retort but couldn't think of a decent comeback. I scowled again and stuck my tongue out at him. He laughed, and I scowled some more.

"Don't be such a downer, Raleigh!" he teased lightly, slinging his arm around my shoulders. "It won't take long, I promise. Harry said Angelina just wants to run a few speed drills and then test our scoring skills. It'll be an hour, tops."

I grumbled, but no longer tried to protest. In all honesty, at the mention of Harry's name I no longer loathed Dean for coercing me into accompanying him down to the pitch. I had forgotten Harry was on the House team, and would thus be at the tryouts, giving me a full hour of staring time. This thought brought both a smile to my face and a reminder to my head. I still hadn't told Dean about my fancy.

I opened my mouth to admit to Dean how bloody sexy I thought Harry Potter was, but the words never came out. Rain began to pour, and I emitted a squeal instead. Dean chuckled and, being the gentleman that he is, flicked his wand, making an umbrella appear out of thin air. He opened it and held it over the both of us, and we laughed as we splashed the rest of the way to the pitch, teasing and joking and having a jolly good time.

We parted ways once we reached our destination, him going through the Gryffindor changing room to the center of the field and me climbing the stands. Besides Hermione, I was the only one there. She smiled at me as I entered the Gryffindor seating section, and I went to sit beside her.

"Here for Dean?" She inquired, watching as my best friend joined the cluster of people on the ground. Standing in front of the cluster was Angelina Johnson, the captain of the Gryffindor House team, with the rest of her team forming a line behind her: Fred and George Weasley, the beaters; Katie Bell, Angelina's fellow chaser; a seventh year boy I did not recognize, who I assumed must be keeper; and, of course, Harry Potter, seeker extraordinaire.

I nodded in response to her question. "Here for Harry?"

"And Ron, too." I squinted my eyes and, sure enough, I saw a blob of ginger standing next to Dean.

"Why are they holding tryouts?" I asked, my eyes following Dean as he kicked off into the air with the other potential chasers. "I know they need to replace Alicia Spinnet, but what happened to her?"

Hermione face twisted into a look of disgust. "Apparently, Sprout caught Alicia and Roger Davies shagging in a broom closet. They got two weeks' detention, and when McGonagall wrote home to Alicia's parents about it they were so furious they asked McGonagall to ban her from the team."

My eyes widened at the news, but I had to admit I wasn't too surprised. This may have been the first time Alicia was caught gallivanting by a professor, but it certainly wasn't the first time she was caught at all – Neville Longbottom was scarred for life when he entered the wrong classroom in our fourth year and found the former Gryffindor chaser in a very compromising position with Lee Jordan.

Hermione and I sat in friendly silence, breaking the quiet occasionally to cheer on Dean or Ron. When Dean wasn't racing around the pitch or attempting to score goals, I averted my attention to Harry, who chatted amiable with the Weasley twins for the majority of the tryouts and joined in with Hermione when it was Ron's turn to face the keeper at the goalposts.

When the tryouts were over, Dean and I lagged behind Harry, Ron, and Hermione on our way back up the castle. Dean gave me a play-by-play of the tryout as if I had not just spent my evening watching it, and I threw in a "Really?" and "Blimey, no way!" every so often to appease him as I kept my eyes forward and enjoyed the view of a certain tousle-haired boy's backside.

All in all, it was a productive evening.

Reviews would make my day! Tell me what you like, what you didn't like, what you think might happen... Anything at all. :)

Until next chapter! ~Sheila