14. Three Way Duel

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"How to deal with a troublesome seeker," Holly read out during our first study session in the library of the new year. "Well you certainly need some help with your seeker," she said. She plopped the book back on the table with a bang, making a group of mischievous Gryffindors gathered around a book nearby all jump and swivel their heads. Holly glanced over them disinterestedly. "That looks like something a prefect should be concerned with."

"Then go give them detention or check it out or something," I said.

Holly made an exaggerated groaning noise, making the Gryffindors jump again. "That requires standing up."

I resorted to the system Sawyer and I had developed to make sure Holly was fulfilling her prefect duties. "How long should we give them?"

"I don't know."

"Say, ten minutes. If they're still there after that amount of time, you've got to -"

"Yeah, I know. I've got to go and be all responsible on them." Holly leaned back in her chair, so it was standing up on only two legs. She rubbed her chin. "Back to the interesting stuff. What did you get him?"

"Parchment," I said.

Holly gave me a confused look. "Not exactly an award winning Christmas present, Essie."

"Scorpius understands, trust me."

"Oh," she said, raising her eyebrows. "An inside joke."

"I also sent him some muggle candy," I said, ignoring her. "Considering how much you and Sawyer seem to like it, I decided some of the Mars bars and whatnot I bought could be for him."

"Chocolate is a good gift for somebody you like," Holly said, nodding.

"I don't like him." I paused. "Well, I do, of course, but not the way that you're implying. We've been over this, Holls."

"Fair enough," she said. She picked up the Quidditch bok again and flipped through it. "It's got nice pictures and everything. Do you think it'll come in handy when your Quidditch practices start back up?"

I shrugged. "I've been reading it."

"Front to back, the boring way, I'm guessing."

"Well, yes, but only because I don't want to miss anything that I might not know or might need to know."

"Why not skip straight to the seeking section and do this little quiz thing they've got?" Holly asked. She tapped the first question with her forefinger. "Can your seeker fly in a fairly straight line with their eyes closed?" She frowned. "Can anyone?"

I snatched the book from her and stuck it in my open bag. "The question is to see whether the seeker has adequate control over their broom. If they're no good at flying, they're not going to be very good at finding the snitch, you see."

"Blah blah blah," she said. "It's a shiny gold thing. How hard can it be?"

"I'd like to see you try," I said.

"Yeah, I may have overstated my Quidditch skills a bit there. I don't think you can fail first year flying lessons, but I probably came fairly close. I'm changing the topic now, okay? Are you and Scorpius continuing your tutoring stuff?"

I nodded. "Yeah. I'm nowhere near as good at Defense as I want to be."

"Or you just want to hang out with Scorpius some more."

I gave her a grudging look. "That, too, of course, but only because we're becoming good friends. Stop reading into things too much."

Holly shrugged, indifferent. Then she flicked her hair behind one shoulder and stood up. "It don't know what that muggle shampoo stuff you bought me is, but it works wonders on my hair. Look! Less frizz and more silky curls! Feel it, Essie, feel it."

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