Thanks to my beta reader Zsenya for helping me fix
Ravenclaw at Heart
off the bloody light!”
“Yeah, shut it
I slid out of
bed. “Honestly, you might think this
was a dormitory full of Slytherins!
Good thing you didn’t wake Padma; she’d murder you in an instant.” I moved quickly across the threadbare rug
that covered the stone floors and flicked my wand at the lamp on the reading
table. “It’s not so hard to turn off a
fifth-year Ravenclaw girls groaned.
“Just shut the hell up, Mandy Brocklehurst, or I’ll curse you like a
Slythie,” Lisa Turpin groaned as she rolled over. “We have our lovely OWLs to study for in the morning.”
I shrugged and
got back under my warm covers, not willing to argue at two o’clock in the
morning with a half-asleep Ravenclaw girl who knew more charms than Flitwick
himself. We had gone through this
ritual every morning since the beginning of third year: someone would fall
asleep at the reading table with the lamp on while the rest of us slept in our
proper beds, only to be woken at some unearthly hour by a screech to shut the
damn thing off. Ravenclaw girls were
dangerous when what little sleep they got was interrupted.
I waited in my
warm bed until I could hear Lisa’s loud snores, then quietly slipped on my
bunny slippers and tiptoed out of the dormitory, being sure to grab my fuzzy
blue bathrobe from the coat rack by the door.
Not for the
first time in my five years at Hogwarts, I was grateful that my year was only
on the second level of Ravenclaw Tower.
It made sneaking into the common room on nights like these easy.
room was thankfully empty, the embers in the beautiful bluestone fireplace
growing dim. I knelt down by the fire
and tapped one of the logs with my wand, creating an instant fire. Pleased, I took my usual seat in one of the
many deep blue, high-backed chairs that dotted our common room and brought my
legs up to my chest.
This was one
of the few times I had to myself throughout the day. In previous years, I had always managed to find time before a
Quidditch match or at the start of a meal to ponder silently to myself. Now, as a fifth year in the wise house,
every last moment before Quidditch matches and meals was spent pouring over my
spellbooks, reciting complex charms, and listening to the other fifth years
curse themselves silly when they forgot the words to the simplest charms. Honestly, Wingardium Leviosa?
As much as I
loved being a Ravenclaw, I occasionally wished that I had been placed in a less
competitive house. Even Slytherin had
to be better than this. What teenager
wants to spend her sixteenth birthday puking in the loo because she forgot to
do her Potion’s essay? I amused myself
for a moment, wondering what the Slytherins would think if they knew a
Muggle-born Ravenclaw girl secretly longed to
be in their house.
musings were broken suddenly as the wall behind me slid open with a sharp
bang. I rolled my eyes before turning
around. Most likely it was someone out
for a midnight stroll with their Hufflepuff boyfriend or girlfriend, a fourth
or sixth year whose life wasn’t consumed with studying just yet.
It was Cho
Chang. My eyebrows shot up as I noted
her tearstained cloak, matted hair and running mascara. Personally, I disliked the older girl. She was a disgrace to Ravenclaw, moping
around in the common rooms after matches against Gryffindor, moaning about her
dead boyfriend, the ‘perfect prefect’ Cedric Diggory. True, I had felt sorry for her at the end of last year and even
for a bit at the start of this year, but after more than a term of her wailings
and occasional questions about the famous Harry Potter, I couldn’t help but
wonder how in Rowena’s name she had been placed in this house. I braced myself for the worst as she
staggered over to the warm fire and threw herself onto a nearby chair.
to you?” I asked before my brain could stop me. Mentally, I scolded myself. The last thing I wanted was some sixth year
crying to me about her life’s problems.
She blinked at
me, apparently, having just noticed I was there. Again, I scolded myself for being so stupid.
she said between tears. “I d-didn’t
s-see you th-there.” She hiccupped
loudly and I cringed.
I was silent,
watching her curiously as she continued to sob. She had black streaks down her face now, looking slightly like
one of the Muggle teenagers I had seen in downtown London dressed all in black
with frightening makeup. Except they
had never cried like Cho Chang.
“D-do you know
H-harry P-potter?” she managed to ask.
I remained silent as she laughed shakily. “Silly m-me, of c-course you d-do.” She sniffed loudly and wiped her face with the sleeve of her
black robes, smearing mascara all over.
think he’s c-cute?” she asked me suddenly.
I frowned startled. I had never thought of him as a boy I would
want to date. The famous ones weren’t
usually my type, but apparently Cho had a knack for getting involved with them.
he’s all right…” I replied, desperate.
sniffed. “I think he l-likes me,” she
I had known it
since last year, as had most of Ravenclaw.
That boy’s eyes followed Cho around school like a lost puppy. The girls in my dormitory had even started
up a bet over how many years it would take him to get up the nerve to date
her. Perhaps I would win after
“What did he
say?” I could only imagine what would make Cho Chang cry. Hardly anything, and she became the
Britain’s largest waterworks.
down at the floor. “He didn’t say
anything,” she said quietly. “He
asked curiously. I, like any
sixteen-year-old girl, didn’t mind a bit of social news.
She didn’t seem to want to get the words out.
“It was at…our dueling club.”
I sensed a
lie, but didn’t question it. I wanted
to hear the story.
on. “I stayed after the others…I don’t
“He was so
sweet, even when I started crying…I feel so bad, crying while he kissed me…”
She cried? “Was he that bad a kisser?” I asked,
amazed. One would think that a famous
boy like Harry Potter would be fairly decent at snogging pretty girls.
Cho shook her
head wildly. “No, no, he was better
than Ced-” She stopped short; I could see a waterfall coming and quickly
“Did he say
really…he seemed surprised…he patted me on my back and…oh, I just feel so stupid!”
I reached over
and touched her shoulder. “You’re not
stupid, Cho. You’re in Ravenclaw
weakly at me. “Funny, Mandy.”
“So, you two
snogged until two in the morning?” I asked.
“How did you get back without being caught by Filch?”
Cho choked out
a laugh. “It was an easy charm…but it
didn’t last ‘til two. I…I was in the
loo until just now. Oh, you must think
I’m so silly, crying like this, but you can’t understand how I feel…I loved
Ced, I really did, but now there’s Harry, and he likes me, and…well, Ced
was nice to me and everything, but he spent most of his time in the library,
getting ready for those tasks…”
But I didn’t
think she was silly. For the first
time, I seemed to understand Cho Chang, the beautiful Ravenclaw girl who was
losing us the Quidditch Cup. She was
like any other teenage girl, wanting love, wanting to be accepted, wanting to
be understood by a boy, a man, anyone.
I realized that Cedric had meant more to her than most girls’ first
boyfriends, and he had been her third, at least. Though Cedric hadn’t been able to give her his every moment, he
had given her a sort of stardom that continued on to this day. And now there was Potter, that stunning boy
who had made a dramatic appearance into the wizarding world at the age of
one. The fact that he, a famous wizard
known to all the world, liked her, Cho Chang, a girl who some said had
only made it onto the house team as a fourth year because she was pretty, was
something that still amazed her. Sure,
Cho had grown quite popular over these past few years, but she was still a
dorky Ravenclaw at heart.
I stood and
went over to Cho, whose tears had slowed.
“You’re not silly,” I told her, hugging her tightly. “Just don’t scare poor Harry. He’s only a Gryffindor, after all.”
She smiled at
me. “You’re sweet, Mandy. Thank you.”
With one last sniff, she wiggled out of her seat, hurried across the common
room, and headed up to her dormitory, leaving me alone, at last, to think.