Slow On the Up Take

By: Tenshi Chupip

*I don't own the Harry Potter universe.

He stared at her from across the great hall, as he often did when she didn't join them for meals. Tavis Longbottom felt his heart fluttered a bit when her musical laughter reached his ears. He watched with a small smile as the object of his affection give her house mate a playful shove for the bad joke that was told. When she finally looked over at him Tavis blushed red at having been caught, even though she was waving and smiling. Great Godric's Ghost she had a beautiful smile. Tavis nervously waved back before looking far too interested with his breakfast.

The trouble had started in September when Head Mistress McGonagall announced she would be retiring at the end of the year and wanted to do something special in celebration. The celebration would be in the form of a ball before the Christmas holiday.

That announcement was four months ago.

The ball was next week and he still didn't have a date. James had landed a date very quickly… or rather he had come up with a scheme rather quickly. But taking your little sister didn't count in Tavis' book. Even if it was because birds thought the doting big brother thing was irresistible. The more invitations James declined in lue of taking "The real light of his life" the more girls flocked to him. Being bribed with five galleons, Lily would become mysteriously ill just before the dance and be unable to attend last minute. James, of course being distraught with worry over the condition of his precious baby sister, would need some comfort. Probably in a broom closet.

Probably in several broom closets.

Tavis wasn't sure which part of his best friend's plan irritated him more. The fact James was doing it, or the fact that it seemed to actually be working. Pushing his friend's insane scheme to the back of his mind, Tavis went back to sulking. He needed to find a date himself, and soon before it was too late. There was only one girl he actually wanted to ask, problem was he was too scared to ask her. Sighing in frustration again, the blond haired young man glared at his breakfast again.

"Oh for the love of Merlin!" James exclaimed, tossing his fork onto his plate. He had been subjected to his best friend's moping about for weeks now. "Will you just go and ask her so I can eat my breakfast in peace!"

"What?" Tavis looked up in confusion.

"Your moping is throwing off the deliciousness of my bacon, and that is an offence I do not take lightly," James glared. "Now go ask Alyssa to the ball before I hex you into next week."

"I can't ask Alyssa to the ball!" Tavis exclaimed in a hushed voice.

"Why not?"

"Be…because…because I…"

"Because you're too much of a coward to ask a girl you've been best friends with for almost ten years to spend a couple hours with you, even though she spends all of her free time with you anyway?"

"She spends all of her free time with us, not me," Tavis said hotly. "And I'm not a coward."

"Go on then," James said, picking his fork back up and resumed shoveling mouthfuls of eggs in. "The worst she says is no. It just means you have to find another girl."

"I don't want another girl," Tavis replied under his breath.

"Just go ask her," James said. "Why would she say no?"

"I don't know, maybe because she was asked by someone else?" he said. Someone better. "Someone smarter, more handsome, someone she deserves."

"She told us both yesterday no one has asked her yet," his friend replied. "Look, I know how you feel about my cousin, known longer than you have probably, so put your big wizard knickers on and ask her before someone beats you too it."

Tavis chuckled, "Alright, I'll do it after charms, yeah?"

James smiled for a moment before his expression suddenly changed to a worried one, "Er... sorry, Mate."

Tavis furrowed his brow in confusion before slowly turning around. When he finally spotted what had managed to disturb James, he felt his world stop.

Across the room at the Ravenclaw table, a platinum blond boy was smiling and laughing with Alyssa. He bent down and appeared to be whispering a question in her ear. Alyssa blushed and looked over to James and Tavis for a moment. For a split second, Tavis thought her expression was one of disappointment but it was gone before he could get a good look. Blushing again she turned back and nodded to the boy in front of her. Tavis could feel his heart crack just slightly. Scorpius Malfoy just asked Alyssa to the dance, and she had accepted.

James looked at his best friend with sympathy.

"Tav… I'm sorry…"

"Forget it," Tavis shoved himself off the bench and grabbed his books. "I'll see you in Charms."

With that he practically ran out of the Great Hall. Tavis could feel tears threatening but was too proud to give into them. He was almost seventeen years old for crying out loud, he did not cry. Tavis had never been so angry with himself before. He should have asked her months ago, but his fear got in the way. Now Malfoy of all people had asked her! There was no hope for him now. Sometimes Tavis wondered why the Sorting Hat put him in Gryffindor in the first place. Weren't Gryffindors supposes to be brave? How brave could he possibly be if just the idea of asking a girl to a dance terrified him.

Tavis was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he almost didn't hear his name being called.

"Tav!" Alyssa shouted, jogging after him, juggling her books. "Tav, wait!"

Tavis halted and allowed her to catch up. "Oh… hey, Lyssa," he forced a smile. "Sorry, didn't see you."

Finally reaching him, Alyssa smiled as she was finally able to force her books into the uncooperative bag. "I have to go see Professor Flitwick before my Runes class, want to walk with me?" she asked.

"Always," he smiled back.

They walked in silence for a few moments when she blurted out, "Scorpius just asked me to the dance."

"I saw that," Tavis said, trying to hide the bitterness in his voice. He wanted her to be happy, even if it wasn't him who did it. Damned if it wasn't killing him though. Though he was able to force out, "I hope you have a good time."

"Who are you going with?" she asked, innocently.

"Uh, no one actually," he replied.

"What?" Alyssa sounded surprised. "I thought you must have asked someone months ago."

"Why would you have thought that?"

"Well, I just figured since you didn't ask me and well I thought you… we…" Alyssa blushed for a moment and looked away. "Well I mean, we're best friends and I figured I'd end up going with either you or James."

"Oh," was all he could muster to say, trying very hard not to kick him self.

"I just thought you were going to ask, since James would rather go with someone he can make out with, and that definitely does not include me."

"What? Not one for the pureblood tradition of snogging your cousin?" Tavis teased.

"Well considering I'm not a pureblood and was raised in an environment where incest is just down right disturbing, then I'm gonna go with no," Alyssa joked back. "Besides, I'll sooner deck James than kiss him."

Tavis laughed. She was so perfect. She was brave, funny, and smart.

"And beautiful," he reminded himself. Great Merlin did he think she was beautiful. She had inherited her mother's hair, dark brown and curly. She had cut it very short in fourth year and was teased so mercilessly, she brewed a hair growth potion eight days into the term. Tavis wouldn't admit to it, but he was glad she did. He and James had both hexed the jerk who made her cry about her hair, but the short cut she had gotten just wasn't good on her. Now it reached her mid back and was a wild mane of silk. Her eyes were a bright blue like her father and he never got tired of looking at them. Her skin was fair so the few freckles she had on her nose and cheeks stood out.

Tavis opened his mouth to say he was sorry, and to possibly beg her to tell Scorpius never mind and go with him instead, when he spotted the said Slytherin walking towards them. He didn't fail to notice that Malfoy ignored him standing there.

"Alyssa," Scorpius called, holding up a small notebook. "You dropped your Potion notes outside the Great Hall."

"Oh, thank you," Alyssa replied, taking the notebook. "I probably would have panicked if I found that missing later. You're kind to return it."

"Not at all," he smiled charmingly at her. "Wouldn't want a lovely creature such as yourself to loose whats important to you."

Tavis rolled his eyes and Alyssa blushed.

"Yes, well thank you again, Scorpius," Alyssa said, stuffing some books into her back pack. "If you'll excuse me though I must find Professor Flitwick."

"Until later then," Scorpius took her hand and brought it up to his lips.

Alyssa blushed deep red before muttering a goodbye to both of them and speed away.

Tavis snorted in irritation, finally drawing Scorpius' attention. He placed a look of indifference on his face, "Longbottom."

"Malfoy," Tavis glared.

"Alyssa and I are attending the ball together next weekend," Scorpius grinned in what seemed like triumph at Tavis.

"You don't say?" he all but growled.

"It is of course to be expected. I wouldn't lower myself to going with anyone but the most beautiful and intelligent girl in school. She may not be an actual pureblood, but half blood is better than muggle and her other qualities fill in the half that are," he said. "Who are you going with, Longbottom?"

When Tavis didn't answer, Scorpius smirked, "You couldn't find a date could you?"

"I would have had a date, but you seem to have beaten me too her," Tavis glared again.

"Ah yes, your well known crush on Miss Dursley," the blond boy sniffed. "It's just as well if you think about it. If you actually loved her, you'd want her to have the best now wouldn't you? And let's face it, Longbottom. I am the best."

With that Malfoy walked off, leaving Tavis standing in the middle of the hall, seeing red.

TBC

A/N: I'm going to be doing a couple of random stories about the kids at Hogwarts, nothing extensive but I can never just leave well enough alone R&R darlings!

~Chu