The month that followed was a haze of happiness. I had, of course, asked Skylar to be my girlfriend, to which I received a resounding yes. Newton, far from being a third wheel, was arraigning so many double dates with us and his Frog Choir sweetheart that I was having trouble finding times to schedule quidditch practice (which, I admit, I had been neglecting since the start of Sky and I's relationship). But I could no longer ignore the approaching match against Hufflepuff. Despite their shabby reputation, I had heard rumors that the new seeker they had been training almost had the talent of my father.
"Dash! The snitch isn't a run away pig, you don't tackle it, and Felix, swing that bat like you mean it. Jordan, that sloth grip roll is sloppy, hold your feet in more, and Harley, your passes need to be faster or the other team's chasers are going to snatch that out of the air!" I shouted from behind the our goal hoops as I observed our team. "We need to work harder if we want to smash Hufflepuff!"
I tossed the quaffle into the pitch, which was caught quickly by Ali, one of our best stratijizers, who then faked it to Jordan and passed back to me after briefly dodging a ferociously hit bludger from Felix. I hooked left and grabbed the bottom of the goal hoop, swinging underneath and, while I was momentarily upside down, I chucked the quaffle through the goal hoop. The team cheered, and we gathered in center pitch.
"Nice job today guys. I think we will squash hufflepuff. practice every day next week, since the week after is christmas break. See ya on Monday!" We all walked to the locker rooms together and doused our cold bodies in steaming water. After I had changed back into my usual muggle tire of a leather jacket and denim jeans, I was stopped abruptly by Dash Scamander, fourth year, son of Luna Lovegood Scamander, my seeker.
"Hey Teddy. I was just wondering if you could stay a bit after practice on Monday and help me out with my defense tactics?" He asked, but he didn't make eye contact, which I found odd.
"Sure thing Dash, but you are already pretty good at your tactics already. Are you sure you're ok?" I asked, putting my hand on his shoulder. He flinched when I touched him, and he didn't answer my question.
"Thanks, Ted. Bye." And he shouldered his broomstick and took off across the grounds. I looked at him for a while to make sure he made it back to the castle, then I met Skylar, who was waiting for me on the stands, and we made our way back to the castle together.
"- and then on Monday after your quidditch practice, you and Sky, and me and Veronica can all meet at Madam Pudifoot's for tea. Then we can go to-"
"Newt!" I said, exchanging an exasperated look with Sky, who snorted. "I've got to tutor Dash Scamander on Monday after quidditch. And really, we go on double dates every couple days. Can't you chill a little bit, Mr.Romance?" Newt rolled his eyes.
"Fine. Me and Vera will go by ourselves. But I get to make the plans for Valentines day. " And he stomped off to the library in a huff. I laughed, but Sky shivered.
"C'mon. We can go grab some Butterbeer before dinner," I said, wrapping my scarf around her nose. "But don't tell Newt or Vera." And we walked hand in hand down the winding path through the grounds, into the village, and out of sight.
***********Monday, December 15***********
Quidditch Practice was the coldest one yet. The Ravenclaw's teams breath was frost among the air, and our numb fingers had trouble grasping the quaffle (Or in Felix or Matthiew's case, their beater's bats). I eventually called practice off early, and was halfway to the locker rooms when I remembered my promise to Dash. I reluctantly turned and walked back to center field, straddling my broom and kicking back into the air.
Nothing eventful happened. I just helped Dash with his defense moves, even though he didn't really need it. Nothing odd happened until the end. As we dismounted our brooms and I turned to the locker room, I remembered that I had to ask Dash if he needed anymore help. But when I turned around he was gone, though his broomstick was laying on the ground where he had just stood.
"Dash?" I called, spinning around, my eyes flicking to the bushes nearby. "Dash?" The hair on the back of my neck tingled, and I snatched Dash's broom from the ground and sprinted to the locker rooms, deciding to shower in the castle, and soared on my broom back to the entrance hall. After a quick shower, I changed in the 6th year dormitory, and walked out to knock on the door of the fourth year's dorm. A tall, skinny boy with glasses and blonde hair answered the door. He raised his eyebrows.
"Hi, I'm Teddy. Is Dash here?" The boy rolled his eyes.
"Very funny. Go away." He made to close the door, but I stuck my shoe in it.
"Whats funny? I need to speak to Dash."
"Listen dude. You think that just because you're a sixth year that I'm intimidated by you? You're wrong. Now stop it, before I call Professor Flitwick, because you are not the first person to play this prank."
"Prank? What prank? I need to speak to Dash Lovegood Scamander, fourth year Ravenclaw, seeker for ravenclaw quidditch team? Ring a bell, you lunatic?" I growled, annoyance lining my voice. The boy's face turned red, and he slammed the door. I yelled with frustration and pounded my fist against the door. What was with this guy? But the door didn't open. I raised my wand and the door swung open with a loud bang, and I barged in on 5 fourth year boys, all reading on their beds, with startled expressions, as they clutched their precious books to their chests.
"DASH SCAMANDER!" I shouted, as the boys cowered on their four posters. "You better get out here right now, and stop this weird crap!"
"Dude!" Said the same blonde boy, looking slightly disturbed now. "There isn't a Dash Scamander in this dorm. Never has, never will be. Look at our name tags for proof! All the beds are full!" And sure enough, each of the beds had a name plate at the foot, but none of they bore Dash's name. Slowly, I backed out of the room and sprinted to the owlry, heart pounding and blood rushing. I had a letter to send.