Lucius did not want to do it, but the grip he was losing on the banner forced him into action.
“Tanya!” Lucius shouted, hoping his words could cut through the deafening crowd. And to his surprise, it did.
Tanya swerved her broom towards his direction and hesitated for a few seconds before coming to his aid.
“What on earth are you doing here?!”
“Wild bludger. I need your help,” Lucius replied as he struggled to hold on.
“Why should I help you? You’re not my friend,” Tanya said, turning her broom away.
Lucius was in shock at her response but he still managed a few words. “Please, I could die!”
“Why don’t you call your friends for help?”
It wasn’t the right moment to make a point but it was the perfect moment. Lucius was starting to think of descending by himself when the question caught him off guard. No matter who he was or how influential he became, Lucius did not have friends. It was the way he did things that put him above his housemates but made him alone.
As he shook his head in reply, Lucius felt his sweaty palms slipping from the banner. When he realized what was happening, he was already sliding down with his hands barely gripping onto the cloth.
“I can’t die like this!” Lucius thought out loud.
Just as those words escaped his lips, Tanya swooped down and reached for the back of his cloak. She was not strong enough to pull him up and her broom began tilting to his side.
“Grab the broom!” Tanya yelled.
Lucius flailed his hands and managed to grip onto the broom with one hand, but that did not stop them from the fall. As Tanya struggled to pull him up and control her broom, Lucius’ attempt to climb up made it worse.
“Stop! Just hold on!” Tanya said.
For once in his schooling life, he listened to another student and halted his attempts. Tanya tilted her body to the other side and slowly descended towards the black lake. When Lucius’ legs touched the waters, the drag pulled them both in.
As the two of them pushed their heads out of the water, Tanya said, “Great! We’ll lose the game now.”
“You can still get back in,” Lucius replied.
“And what? Leave you here for the giant squid?”
“He’s quite docile,” Lucius said.
“I’m not that kind of a person,” Tanya simply replied and reached for her broom that was hovering above the water.
As she climbed on, she said, “Come on, I’ll get you back on solid ground.”
Lucius did not need to think twice about following her orders and he pulled himself up. He did however, hesitate on holding her waist but when they took flight there was no hesitation left.
When they finally landed in a school courtyard, Lucius awkwardly thanked Tanya for saving his life. Tanya merely responded with a nod before disappearing into the sky. She had a game to get back to, and when Lucius heard that the match dragged on for another hour, he didn’t feel so bad about the handicap he caused Ravenclaw briefly.
Strangely, when he found himself feeling sorry, he did not stop himself. He used to shut out thoughts that would alter his judgement, but he could not bring himself to do so that day. The thought of almost dying or being at risk to death made him think about his life. Maybe Lucius really needed friends after all? Maybe they were more of a help than a liability?
As the match ended and the news of Slytherin’s victory reached Lucius’ ears, he decided not to gloat over it. And during dinner that night, Lucius kept to his own promise.
The Slytherins were having a celebration, while the Ravenclaws tried not to look too upset. There were still a few more games to go so neither Gryffindor nor Hufflepuff felt the sting of the win. It was a pretty ordinary night in the great hall, except for the occasional cheers.
When dinner was over, everyone headed back to their common rooms in a not so orderly manner. Lucius neglected his prefect duties again and decided to have a talk with Tanya.
“Tanya, wait up,” Lucius called out when he saw Tanya monitoring the Ravenclaws.
“I’m on duty, you should be too,” Tanya pointed out.
“Just one second.”
“You don’t owe me alright, I don’t keep tabs when I help someone,” Tanya replied.
“No, that’s not what I wanted to say,” Lucius quickly said.
“I just wanted to say thank you, again. And you’re right, I don’t have friends.”
“You’re welcome. Maybe you should start making some.”
Lucius gave an awkward chuckle. “It doesn’t work that way for me.”
“Right, because you’re a pureblood and all that.”
“No. It’s just not the way I was brought up. My father always said that friends would do me more harm than good.”
“No offense to your bloodline, but your father is wrong.”
“Maybe…” Lucius trailed off as he recalled his father’s story about the Dark Lord while he was in Hogwarts.
“You know what, let’s prove your father wrong. Do you want to be friends?”
Lucius was not sure if he heard her right, as he last recalled Tanya hating him. Was she really offering her friendship? There was an internal tug-of-war, and Lucius could not believe it was such a difficult question to answer.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Lucius should say yes or no to Tanya’s offer!)