(1940-01-11) Ludae's Crush
Details for Ludae's Crush
Summary: Hephaesta meets Ludae in the library to hear a confession.
Date: 11 January, 1940
Location: Hogwarts Library
Related: The Clock Strikes Hungry

It's an hour after dinner, and Ludae has been waiting in the library, off to the side in one of the little nooks that allow for semi-privacy. She's got one of her herbology books in front of her, keeping herself occupied with studying even though her nerves are sort of making her fidget a bit. She's leaned over her book, quill and ink out while she takes notes. All the same, she's still chewing her lip a little. It's a nervous habit of her's, one that certainly a lot of people have noticed.

Perhaps Hephaesta and Ludae should have been more specific about their meeting place. The designated meeting time passes, and the minutes tick away as Phae wanders the vast library in search of Ludae. She cannot call out, lest she incur Madam Patil's powerful shush. However, the trademark click-whirr of her steps cannot be so easily muffled as she nears Ludae's nook. At last, Phae peeks around the end of a bookshelf and spots the ginger-haired girl. "There you are," she says softly. "I'm sorry for being late."

Ludae, of course, can hear that familiar noise of Phae moving through the library, which distracts her from her studies practically immediately. She can feel her heart beating in her chest as the other girl draws nearer, but she takes a few deep breaths to keep herself from being overwhelmed by the anxiousness building within her. When Phae finally peeks around the corner, Ludae smiles brightly at her, cheeks flushed a little. "It's okay, Phae," she says, "I was beginning to wonder if something happened, I didn't think you would have forgotten." She chews the corner of her lip again, and gestures to the chair beside her. "Sit with me?" she offers, and after a moment asks as well, "So, what did Samira want?"

Hephaesta nods agreeably, limping over to take the seat beside Ludae. Smoothing her skirt over her thighs, she shrugs distractedly. "She wanted to show me something in the armour gallery. An idea she had for my…for my work. We also hadn't had much chance to talk lately, so we were catching up." Phae's eyes flit to the herbology books curiously, looking for some clue about the nature of the meeting.

Ludae gives a nod of her head. She seems distracted, herself, of course. "Oh, I see. I didn't know you two were such good friends." Again with the lip-chewing as she closes the book she had been reading, not even bothering to mark the page she had been on. "I suppose I ought to be honest with you, Phae, I didn't quite, um… Well, I didn't have any academic reason to ask you here. I wanted to talk to you about something more… well… personal." She glances at the other girl, again fidgeting with her robes a little, as though they felt too constrictive despite their loose-fitting nature.

Hephaesta's brow forms a bemused crinkle. "Alright," she says with a hint of caution, "What is it?" She tilts her head, looking Ludae up and down with a frown of concern. "Are you alright? You seem a bit out of sorts."

Ludae laughs lightly and then smiles, looking down at her lap for a moment, a blush on her cheeks. She sighs softly, and shakes her head. "I suppose I am," she says, "I've just… I've never talked to anybody about this sort of thing before." She chews her lip again, and glances towards Phae again. "I know we don't exactly, um, know each other very well, but I've always thought very highly of you, Phae. I've always liked spending time with you, and well…" Deep breath, exhale. "The truth is I may, um… sort of have a little bit of a crush on you…" Ludae bites her lip again, glancing sidelong at Phae nervously.

Hephaesta's expression turns to relief at the laugh, surely a sign that Ludae is alright. The praise brings a demure smile to her lips. She's been complimented before, though she tries very hard to be modest about her talents. But the revelation about Ludae's feelings widens her eyes, and she freezes in place, sitting stock still. Gareth and Samira were right? She had been so convinced that it wasn't even possible. As her brain tries to process this all over again, she simply stares at Ludae in stunned silence.

Ludae sees that expression on Hephaesta's face and her heart pounds in her ears. She's biting her lip hard enough that she just might hurt herself! After a few moments of anxoius silence, Ludae finally breaks it, stammering for a moment. "I… I'm sorry, maybe I shouldn't have said anything," the girl says, her face turning so red there couldn't possibly be any blood left elsewhere in her body. "I… I can just go and we can forget I said anything…" Hurriedly she starts packing up her things, carelessly enough that she knocks over her bottle of ink, spilling it all over her notes! Ludae cries out in horror. "Aahh! Oh no!" What a nightmare!

If anything can snap a Ravenclaw out of her stupor, it's study materials in peril! Phae gasps and immediately reaches out to catch the bottle and set it right. "Oh dear. Don't worry, I can fix this." She reaches into her robes, withdrawing her wand. "I have to clean up oil and grease all the time. This should work." She touches the wand to the spill and says, "Tergeo." The Cleansing Charm siphons up the ink as if the tip were absorbant, leaving only a slight darkening of the paper. She gives Ludae a hopeful smile. "That's…not perfect. But…better?"

Ludae was already reaching for her wand, to perform the same spell in fact, but Phae beat her to the punch. She lets out a relieved sigh, and puts her wand away, nodding. "Th-thank you, Phae," she says softly, picking up her notes to inspect them for any more serious damage. "They're still legible, thankfully…" She continues to pack her things up, though, her face red with embarrassment. She's at least glad that she chose to say something about this somewhere private, instead of where people could have seen the whole debacle.

"Of course," Phae says softly. With her hands folded before her, she watches Ludae pack, nibbling her lip as she tries to put thought to word. Several times she opens her mouth before finally managing to speak. "I can't forget, you know," she says matter-of-factly. "I doubt you can, either. So it would just be pretending to forget what you said, but neither of us would forget."

Ludae sighs softly at those words, closing her eyes and hanging her head. "I know," she says quietly, "I just… After the events of the Pantomime… I realized how scared I was, surrounded by fire, facing down a twenty-foot snake… There wasn't time to think while it was all happening, but after it was over… Everything hit me like a hundred stunning spells." She sighs again, finally opening her eyes to look at Phae hesitantly. "I've felt this way about you for some time, Phae, but… I didn't want to come between you and…" She just trails off there, not wanting to bring up any painful memories. "I just didn't want to go another year without letting you know that I like you… um… in that way."

Hephaesta's lips pinch up at the near mention of Ophelia. She nods, letting the name go unmentioned. She swallows and lifts her brow uncertainly. "For some time? Why would-…" She shakes her head, taking a different course. "Ludae…you don't want to be involved with me. I'm really not very good at…well, all of that."

Ludae smiles, and rolls her shoulders in a shrug, glancing out towards the larger portion of the library for a moment, and then back at Phae. "And you think I am?" she asks, "When was the last time you saw me with somebody? I know there were rumors going around the school about me and Frieda Mullins, but we were never… well, an item…" She chews her lip again, glancing down at her lap again, hands clasped lightly, still fidgeting a bit. "I've never even kissed anyone before, Phae… So trust me, I'm no better at all of this than you are. You saw for yourself, I almost destroyed my notes in a panic a moment ago…"

A mild blush touches Phae's cheeks at the talk of kissing. "Well, I never heard any rumours about you and Frieda." Or, if she did, she paid no attention. "I don't know what to say. I'm…um…very flattered?" A brief smile brightens her face. "So…what is it that you want? Just to tell me this?" Phae grimaces apologetically as she tries to muddle through how to react. These matters of the heart have always been a confusing place for her.

Ludae lifts a shoulder in a shrug again, still blushing profusely. "Well… I guess to tell you that," she says, "And, uh, I guess to ask if you'd want to, um, do something sometime… You know, besides studying together. Maybe, um, walk near the lake, or go to Hogsmeade together… Or maybe just… find someplace quiet to get together and talk, like we are now…" Ludae smiles shyly, glancing up through her lashes at Hephaesta. "That is, if you, um… want to…"

Hephaesta lifts her hand, unconsciously twirling the tips of her hair in her fingers. The colour resumes in her cheeks as her face grows hotter. "Ludae…are you asking me out…on a date?" She gazes at the red-haired girl in innocent wonder, failing her best efforts to maintain her usual clinical detachment.

Ludae bites her lip, cheeks flushed and hot. "Uh… Y-yeah, I guess I am," she murmurs. She musters a nervous half-grin, then, and asks Phae, "Well, um, what do you think, Phae? Would you… like to go out with me?"

Hephaesta's breath quickens, conflicting emotions warring on her face. Her previous encounter with dating was rather tumultuous, yet also wonderful. She's tried to warn Ludae off from her clumsy handling of others' hearts, yet Ludae persists. Perhaps that's a positive sign. Finally, Phae nods hesitantly, then more certainly. "Alright…yes. A date." Her brow goes up anxiously, unsure if she's responded appropriately.

Hephaesta's anxiety would be quickly relieved, as Ludae's expression practically lights up when she says yes. The redhead almost leaps up excitedly before she catches herself, instead only straightening up quickly in her chair. "You will?" she says, unable to keep the happy grin off her face, "That's wonderful, Phae. I, uh… I didn't really think this far ahead!" Her cheeks flush again, but she's still smiling brightly. "How about this weekend?" she asks, "We could visit Hogsmeade, and maybe have dinner together? That's, uh, that's appropriate for a first date, right?"

A soft laugh escapes Hephaesta and she gives a Ludae a shrug. "I think so? I told you I'm not very good at this. My only relationship was not typical, I think. But…yes, I think dinner would be a good first date. Um…where would you like to go?"

Ludae considers the question for a moment, scratching the back of her neck and chewing her lip thoughtfully. "Well… Everyone always goes to Madam Puddifoot's, but… That place always makes me feel so… awkward." She smiles. "It doesn't seem like a place you would like to go, either," she says, "The Three Broomsticks is a nice place, but… I don't think I'd want to be surrounded by our peers for a first date…" She chews her lip some more, and then Ludae offers, "How about Rosie's? It's a nice place and there aren't too many other students that wander in there…"

Hephaesta's cheeks turn positively pink at the mention of Puddifoots. Perhaps she ought not mention that she has been there…nor what happened there. "Rosie's…that sounds wonderful. So…um…should we go there together? Or meet there? I'm not sure how this is usually done."

Ludae giggles. "I don't know," she says, "I've, uh… Well, you're technically the one with experience here, Phae." She grins a little, blushing shyly, but she shrugs her shoulders. "Why don't we meet there, say… around six? That would leave plenty of time, I think, for dinner and anything we might want to do afterwards."

Hephaesta swallows down the lump in her throat, nodding with growing eagerness. "Alright. Six o'clock, then." Giving in to impulse, she reaches out to lightly touch Ludae's forearm. It's just a brief contact, but for no other purpose than to connect. Suddenly turning fiercely red, she gives Ludae an awkward smile, and turns to hobble hurriedly away.

Ludae flushes deeply when Phae touches her forearm, even if it's only brief, it's contact and it makes her insides twist around and turn upside down with excitement. She smiles at Phae, nodding her head. "Alright… I… I'll see you there." She watches, then, as Phae leaves, lower lip tucked between her teeth to contain her excitement. She stays there for a little while longer, herself. She needs a little while for her heart to calm down before she risks standing up!

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