Author's Note: This story was partially inspired
by B Bennett's most excellent "Watching Harry" (and I do believe
that now nearly every single one of her stories has inspired other fanfic--how
awesome are you, B?). It also goes along with my own series, "Moody
Slavic Man". This scene is from the middle of Moody Slavic Man,
Chapter 7, from Ivan's point of view. It was in my head and wanted
out, so I let it.
Viktor Krum and his world belong to J.K.
Rowling. Ivan, Ilana, and Edina belong to me, but they are very happy
to share Viktor's world.
by Elanor Gamgee
Ivan Pashnik gripped the ship's rail and
leaned out further over the lake. The light of the lately-risen moon reflected
all along the water, but he still couldn't see anything beneath the black
surface. He sighed and pulled back to lean his elbows on the rail.
His eyes were drawn once more to the dark
figure soaring through the air in the distance. "Sloth Grip Roll,"
he muttered to himself as the black shape turned over and hung from its
broomstick momentarily, then rolled back over and sped off in another
direction. Ivan shook his head. Viktor shouldn't be doing this to himself.
But Ivan knew that no one, least of all little Ivan Pashnik, would be
able to stop him.
Ivan himself had been out here for three
solid hours, and he had no doubt that Viktor had been at it ever since
he'd stormed out of the Great Hall at dinner. This was what Viktor did
whenever he was upset or angry; he retreated into the solitude of the
skies. Maybe others believed his story that he was getting in extra training
when he did this, but Ivan knew him too well. He had seen Viktor do the
same thing after the Vultures had lost to the Quiberon Quafflepunchers
a few years ago; Ivan knew that Viktor had been furious with himself for
failing to catch the Snitch.
But this was different. He had never seen
Viktor show any interest in a girl before-in fact, he himself had often
teased Viktor about that very fact. And Viktor had seemed to be making
up for lost time this year, if his utter distraction at every single meal
had been any indication. So it was no wonder that Witch Weekly
article had come as such a blow.
Ivan and Edina had both followed Viktor
from the Great Hall after he had read it. He had told them to leave him
alone, so they had gone back to Slytherin table in confusion. It had been
Edina who had snatched the magazine angrily from the pug-faced girl's
hand, giving her a nasty look that stopped her laughing, for the moment
at least. Ivan had loved her for that.
The two of them had bent over the magazine
and read it quickly, and it soon became apparent what had sent Viktor
stalking from the Hall. Ivan had looked over to the Gryffindor table and
seen the girl-Hermione-laughing and talking with her friends. And his
heart had sunk for his friend.
So he hadn't been the least bit surprised
to see the dark shape in the distance, moving against the sunset, as he
had returned to the Durmstrang ship that evening. Viktor hadn't even gone
to the Quidditch pitch, but instead was soaring out above the lake and
the Forbidden Forest, seemingly not caring who saw him. Ivan knew that
this, more than anything else, betrayed how upset Viktor must be. Viktor
valued his privacy above all else. It had always been that way, even before
he'd become famous. When Ivan had first met Viktor, he'd been quiet and
reserved, and ridiculously shy. Ivan had tried to draw him out over the
years, and he liked to think that he had succeeded, somewhat.
When Ivan had first entered Durmstrang
Institute, he had already known many of his classmates. Most of them were
children of his father's friends. Ivan hadn't understood at that time
what that meant-what the mysterious secret was that everyone in his family
seemed to know, but no one would talk about. It hadn't been until his
sister Ilana had finally explained it to him, at age fifteen, that he
understood what the secret meetings were about, or who the strange men
were who would occasionally come and sit behind closed doors in his father's
study, talking in booming voices full of words that he didn't understand,
and then departing quickly, always at night. It hadn't been until then
that he'd understood the meaning behind his mother's pursed lips and tight
expression whenever his father boasted proudly that his children attended
Ilana herself had already graduated by
that time, so apparently she had felt safe in revealing the truth to him.
She was four years older than Ivan, and had found an apprentice position
in Hungary for a well-respected apothecary. Ilana had always loved potion
making. Ivan grinned to himself as he remembered her jealousy when he'd
written to her that he now had Severus Snape for Potions class. She'd
sent him an entire letter telling him how undeserving he was, and then
had ended it with "I miss you terribly! Love, Ilana." That was
He wished she were here now. Maybe she
would be able to tell him how to improve things for his friend, because
other than sitting out on the cold deck all night and making sure Viktor
didn't drown himself, Ivan had no ideas. Ilana was a good source for questions
of love-she'd written him reams of advice about Edina, which he'd followed,
more or less-and she'd had more boyfriends than he could count. That was,
of course, he thought proudly, because she too possessed the natural Pashnik
charm and good looks.
Ilana had met Viktor, of course, back
when she herself had been a student, and her words about him came back
to Ivan now as he raised his head and watched Viktor execute a perfect
dive above the lake. "He reminds me of Uncle Anatoly,"
she'd said, giving Ivan a thoughtful look, "Sort of…serious and
sad." Ivan hadn't thought much about it at the time; after all,
he'd only been 4 years old when their uncle had been killed, mixed up
in-whatever their father had been involved in. Ivan didn't like to think
about it, even now. But he had vague recollections of the man who had
been his favorite uncle, once upon a time. He remembered grave blue eyes,
and a thick brown beard, and a face that rarely smiled. He could no more
explain why this man had been his favorite uncle than he could explain
why Viktor Krum was his best friend. Edina had asked him many times why
he bothered with Viktor, when Viktor so often made it clear that he just
wanted Ivan to go away. Perhaps what he had answered in jest to Edina
was true-maybe he did like a challenge. Or maybe he just felt that Viktor
needed him, and, in some odd way, he needed Viktor.
"He's still up there?" came
a soft voice behind Ivan, making him jump. He turned to see Edina, wrapped
in her thick fur cloak and looking worriedly up at the sky.
Ivan smiled in spite of his worry. Seeing
Edina always had that effect on him, no matter what the situation. "Yes,"
he said, following her gaze. "He hasn't been down at all."
Edina came to stand beside him at the
rail. She pulled her cloak tighter around her, and they stood there in
silence for a moment.
"Do you think it was true?"
The question may have seemed abrupt, but
Ivan knew what she meant. He loved the way they could pick up a conversation
they had left off hours ago, as if there had been no interruption. "I
don't know," he said honestly.
"She does seem to spend a lot of
her time with Harry Potter."
Ivan nodded. "I know," he said,
"If it is true, I'm not surprised he's so upset."
"Do you think he knew before?"
Ivan raised his eyebrows at her. "Look
at him. Do you think so?"
Edina sighed and leaned her elbows on
the rail. "No, I suppose not. I guess it was a shock for him."
She paused. "She seemed so nice, though, at the Yule Ball."
Ivan took her hand in his. "I know.
I didn't think she'd be the type to do something like this, even if she
didn't like him."
Edina squeezed his hand, but her eyes
were on the sky above. "Poor Viktor," she sighed. She turned
to Ivan, and a strand of her hair blew across her face in the breeze.
Ivan tucked it behind her ear and put his arms around her waist, pulling
her close and suddenly feeling very pleased and grateful that he knew
she was his. She buried her face in his neck, and he could feel her breath
stirring on his skin. He couldn't imagine ever being without this.
"You should go in," he murmured
after a few minutes. "You'll freeze out here."
"And you won't?" she said with
a smile, lifting her head and looking at him.
"No, I'm fine. Someone needs to make
sure he doesn't do anything stupid. Well, more stupid, anyway," he
said, nodding his head in the direction of the dark shape in the distance.
Edina nodded. "You're a good friend,
Ivan Pashnik," she whispered, "whether he realizes it or not.
He's lucky to have you. And so am I." She leaned forward and kissed
him lightly on the nose.
"Of course you're lucky," said
Ivan swaggeringly, to cover the warm flush of pride and pleasure he felt
at her words. "You both are, and I am just glad one of you realizes
it." He nodded decisively. Edina smiled at him, and Ivan smiled back,
knowing that she could see right through him and not minding one bit.
He pulled her into a breathless kiss, and for a moment, forgot everything
"Go on in," he said softly,
when their lips had parted at last. "Stay warm." He leaned forward
and kissed her gently on the forehead.
"You too," she said, squeezing
his hands. "I'll see you in the morning."
Ivan watched as she went back in, then
turned his attention once more to the figure above, now executing a perfect
Plimpton Pass. He looked at his watch. "Four hours and still going,"
he muttered, now truly starting to worry that Viktor might injure himself.
But what could he do, besides watch from the sidelines, and maybe make
a joke or two about the situation in the morning? That was his role, after
all. That was what being Viktor Krum's best friend entailed, and, until
that changed, Ivan would do it the best way he knew how.