August 26, 2019, 05:49:00 AM

Author Topic:  apple of my eye [lenny]  (Read 361 times)

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Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
apple of my eye [lenny]
« on: March 30, 2019, 06:12:34 AM »
It was the first Hogsmeade weekend they’d had yet and Donna, who should not have been spending her money and knew it, was spending her money. (She wanted to save up for broom polish and wax, and not on candy and lunch— but she also wanted to go out to Hogsmeade with @Leonard Hardy and buy candy and lunch. You can see the problem.) Anyway, it was OWLs year, and they had to grab their weekends of freedom while they could. Not that Donna wasn’t already grabbing her weekends of freedom, or her afternoons of freedom. Actually she spent altogether too little time revising, which she figured she’d better start improving on soon.

But not yet. First she wanted to buy lunch for herself and for Lenny.

Well, for herself at least. Mostly she just didn’t want Lenny buying her lunch. She’d noticed him back at school with secondhand books and threadbare robes, and had jumped to the immediate conclusion that the reason he was so tight-lipped about his summer was to do with money, which made sense. In her experience, a lot of the things that people refused to talk about were financial, so it was a conclusion that made sense. “D’you reckon it’s more crowded this weekend than usual?” she said, loudly over their food. She was usually a faster eater than he was, by virtue of being a remarkably quick eater, and was nearly finished with her lunch. “I think so. I think every single student who can be in Hogsmeade is in Hogsmeade. All the third years.”

Donna scooped some potato and gravy into her mouth and added, using one hand to hide that she was speaking with her mouth full, “They haven’t been here often enough to know there’s not really anything to do but eat and buy candy, is all. Oh— d’you want to stop by Honeydukes? It’ll be crowded…” She always got the impression that Lenny didn’t like crowds much, but Lenny (bless him) seemed not to like most situations. At least not in the same enthusiastic way Donna did. He was a lot like her sister, that way— not that she’d tell him so.

“Hey, what d’you think about the new teachers?” she added. “I think I’d feel a little better if we weren’t getting so many new ones right before we take the OWLs. But I don’t know, they seem up to scratch, I reckon. At least Becker is sort of fun.”

When the cheque arrived it was placed in front of Lenny, and Donna, before her best friend could do anything gallant or stupid, reached across the table to hold it down and blurted, “I’ll pay. Or we could do separate cheques.” She gave Lenny a questioning glance, hopeful that it would convey that she wasn’t playing around (not that she thought he was someone who ever needed the reminder.)

what's a girl gotta do to get in a proper brawl around here?

Leonard Hardy [ Gryffindor ]
38 Posts  •  15  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 09:03:47 AM »
Looking up from his plate, Lenny gave Donna a small smile and a nod.  Hogsmeade was crowded.  It was always crowded but maybe Donna was right, it seemed like everyone who could be here was here.  Personally Lenny would've enjoyed the place more if it was just him and Donna.  It wasn't such a carefree or relaxing experience for him as it was for most of the students.  He found groups of people exhausting.  They were just so loud and energetic and...  stressful!  He would've stayed back at school because a) the people and b) he didn't exactly have any money to be spending on candy and lunch.  Yet as usual he'd been unable to tell Donna 'no' when she'd asked.  Now more than ever, be was cherishing spending time with his best friend. 

Leonard was developing a new level of fondness for Hogwarts life since he'd all but decided he'd be dropping out after this year.  Even the more uncomfortable or scary parts of school seemed almost special when he considered that he might be experiencing them for the last time.  He'd even started participating in extracurricular activities, something he'd always avoided before.  Joining the house Quidditch team had been a pretty big leap for the boy whose usual idea of fun was finding a nook in the library to hide where no one could find him. 

Unfortunately food didn't hold a lot of appeal for him these days.  The fifteen-year-old didn't have the greatest appetite at the best of times but eating was presently done more out of obligation than a desire.  The mess on his plate was barely recognisable as green beans and steak since he'd been cutting up and moving it around with his fork for quite some time.  Now he slowly and diligently spooned it into his mouth and swallowed.  Donna was all but finished with her meal and he didn't want her to be stuck waiting for him. 

It was true that there wasn't a lot to actually do in the village.  People just came until the novelty wore off or if they needed to do some shopping.  "Honeydukes?  Yeah, sure.  If you like."  Entering the busy sweets store was a nightmare for him but if Donna needed candy then he wasn't going to stand in her way.  Hopefully he could just find a corner to stand in while she fought the other students for access to the best sweets. 

"There's always a new DADA Professor though, yeah?"  He replied to her comment regarding the fresh faces on the teaching staff.  "He seems ok."  Lenny shrugged.  "Rather... enthusiastic."  He personally found Becker's energy a little exhausting.  Teacher's like him made it hard for Lenny to fade into the background the way he would like.  Professor Becker encouraged too much activity and involvement for his liking.  It was true however to Becker's credit that Lenny could now produce a very decent shield charm.

When the cheque arrived, he was mildly surprised by the way that Donna lunged for it.  Lenny would've loved to cover the cost of his friends meal as well as his own, he owed her so much, but he didn't really have the money to spare.  However, the idea of letting her cover everything made him very uncomfortable.  He was trying to give no one any reason to suspect he was having trouble at home, so it was important that he pay his own way.  Especially if she was concerned that he couldn't.  Donna had always been far too observant and he knew she hadn't been buying completely into his assurances that everything was ok. 

"Ah, we'll split it."  He confirmed, reaching into his pocket to fish out some of the few coins in his possession.  As he and Donna were counting out their money, he heard the distinct 'ahem' sound of someone clearing their throat by his ear.  Turning he saw the waiter beckon him to lean closer.  Confused and slightly alarmed by this bizzare behaviour, Lenny hesitated for a moment before complying.

          "Son, just a word of advice.  You'd make a better impression on your date if you paid."  The man whispered in a kindly fashion.

"My what?"  Lenny repeated loudly, confused.  "My date?"  He turned back to stare at Donna with his mouth agape.  Quickly praying that she hadn't heard the exchange, he placed the last of his change on the table before standing up, ready to make his way to the exit.  He kept casting quick glances at his friend, trying to gauge how she was feeling.

Does she think this was a date?

They weren't like that - or at least, Lenny hadn't thought so.  They did spend at lot of time together and there was that time at the end of last term that they'd held hands but - Surely not!  Lenny had no real clue how boy-girl relationships worked.  Could he have possibly done something to give Donna the wrong idea?  How would he even begin to set such a thing straight?  Both of his hands dug into his hair of their own accord, in one of his most tell-tale postures of stress.  "Donna... ummm..."  He faltered awkwardly, unsure how to approach the subject, and then fell silent.

Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2019, 07:24:24 PM »
If she liked, they could go to Honeydukes; Donna, who did like, laughed and said, “Well, what do you want? I’ll buy you candy, if you want some.” It was a bribe— but if he didn’t want to go to Honeydukes, she wanted him at least to admit so. She felt guilty, though, her bribe sitting poorly with her, so she added, “It’s alright, you know. It might be too crowded anyway.” Not that Donna shied away from a crowd, but she knew Lenny would— and she was a Prefect now, and oughtn’t get involved in any sort of candy-related conflict.

There were a lot of ways that she and her friend differed substantially; this was one, her love for practical lessons, and his lack of it. “Very enthusiastic,” she agreed cheerfully. “But hey— at least he’s teaching, right? Could be worse. D’you reckon you’re gonna keep taking it, after the OWLs? I really was gonna drop it— but maybe not, if he stays.”

She swept her hair back with one arm and added, “What classes do you think you’ll keep? I want to dump History of Magic, for sure— and maybe Care of Magical Creatures, if we have Walker again. It’s not worth it.” This was a source of misery for her— though Donna loved animals, and loved learning about them, she did not love Sylvester Walker, and hadn’t since he’d docked Gryffindor a few hundred points last year. She could hold a terrible grudge.

He was, as she’d sort of expected, insistent on paying at least for his own meal; she nodded and leaned over to root through her backpack for a bag of money, half noticing as the waiter beckoned Lenny to listen. As they had a short, whispered conversation Donna dropped the final amount in the centre of the table, and gave Lenny a questioning glance as he gaped, then quickly put the rest of his change down.

“Fuck was that about?” she said, as they were making their way to the exit; she turned slightly to note that he had his hands in his hair and was making a sound like he’d gotten frozen mid-word.

It was probably another thing he’d never tell her, so she amused herself in the interim by making up a wild theory: his coins were all counterfeit, and that was what he’d always been worried about, and this waiter was the first person to ever catch on. Or something improbable like that. She gave him another curious look, and prompted him again— “Lenny?”

what's a girl gotta do to get in a proper brawl around here?

Leonard Hardy [ Gryffindor ]
38 Posts  •  15  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 04:37:09 AM »
Lenny felt bad that his friend was obviously holding back on her candy purchasing aspirations for his sake.  Mustering a smile that he hoped looked enthusiastic, he waved away her offer to purchase him candy.  “That’s alright.  I’ll grab myself something.  We can go together after this.”  The fifteen-year-old’s pockets were very light but he was sure he could scrounge up a knutt or two for a single piece of candy.  He was still stalling, hoping to keep up his meagre charade of being a normal teenage boy as long as possible.  Going into Honeydukes to buy candy was exactly the sort of thing he should be doing. 

Things can always be worse, Lenny thought as Donna continued to chat about their teachers.  As it was though, whether or not Becker as a good DADA professor would have little impact upon whether Leonard would be continuing the class.  He froze up uncomfortably when she started talking about what subjects to keep or drop next year.  ’All of them’, would definitely not be the answer she was expecting.  Still, watching his friend with wide eyes, he half expected her to call him out on his betrayal.  But she didn’t.  Donna remained in the dark about his plans and he was hoping to keep her in the dark as long as possible.  He just wasn’t ready to face losing her yet.

He tried not to look guilty as he gave his non-committal answers.  “I like history.”  Lenny shrugged, knowing that he was one of the few.  “And I like Care of Magical Creatures too, even with Walker teaching.”  He agreed with Donna’s feelings towards the professor but found that he could largely ignore, and be ignored by, Professor Walker and just focus on the animals.  “Transfiguration.  That’s something I could do without.”  Lenny named his least favourite class for balance.  He was not particularly fond of trying to magic things into things they were not.  It felt unnatural. 

As they walked away from the table, it quickly became evident that Donna had noticed the strange interaction he’d had with the waiter.  He struggled to think of how to explain it, afraid that the wrong choice of words might offend or upset her.  The last thing he wanted was to drive Donna away so early in the year.  He really needed her friendship.  But that’s all he wanted from her, just to be friends.  “D- Donna,” he mumbled again as his face grew red.  “I…  I think you’re… a swell girl.  I do.  But I don’t think of you like…  You’re not…”  Leonard knew he was making no sense and so stopped abruptly to give his head a little shake of frustration.  After taking a deep breath, he tried to start again.  “You’re great but I don’t…  ummm… like you.”  Oh Merlin!  That sounded horrible.  “Not that you’re not pretty…   ah…”  Lenny had never had words fail him so completely before.  Rather than stumbling awkwardly over expressing how he thought she was really cool but wasn’t romantically interested in her, he decided to just outright ask her the question that was bothering him.

In barely a whisper, he awkwardly enquired while staring intently at the scuff marks on his shoes.  “Uh, Donna?  Was this a… date?”

Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2019, 07:57:54 AM »
“Well for Merlin’s sake, if you don’t want candy,” Donna began, mostly teasing. If Lenny didn’t want candy she’d still buy some for herself, and he could have however much he wanted. He was acting funny today. Not that he ever acted unfunny. (Nonfunny?)

Maybe Lenny was just a better person than she was, she decided. Had to be, if he could forgive Sylvester Walker for what he’d done to their house. Although Donna’d never had the impression that Lenny cared quite so much about Gryffindor. He kept just staring, like he was expecting her to grow horns. Kind of unnerving, honestly, to have such intense eye contact for so long. She wasn’t entire sure whether to look away or to maintain it— both seemed equally awkward. She compromised by having a longer drink of her butterbeer than was necessary, gulping down about half her bottle, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and grinning at his last bit. “Oh, yeah, I’ve always been just rubbish in Transfiguration,” she agreed, “but I dunno, I think I’ll still try and take it. Supposed to be useful, when you’re an adult. Don’t really know what for.”

Donna hadn’t thought too hard about her future yet, since she had over two years to decide on it, but she thought briefly about it now. She knew already she wasn’t trying for a career in Quidditch, or even a dalliance. Probably she’d work for the Ministry, or Gringotts, or something lame like that. It was a sobering prospect, but she knew even now that she wouldn’t get the NEWTs for anything really prestigious. She scrutinized her friend, tried to figure out what he was going to do as an adult. Probably something intellectual and literary.

She was funneling her money back into her coin purse when he spoke next, mumbling like it was something top-secret. At first Donna expected it to be something big and revolutionary, like Say, Donna, I’ll explain in detail to you why I’ve been so odd for the last four years, but the next bit proved her wrong: it was about her. “Oh,” she said, “thanks?”

This was unbearable, actually. She would much rather this be about why he’d been so odd for four years. Merlin’s arse, what was she meant to say to this?  “Oh,” she said, again, for lack of anything else to say. “Er.” She’d honestly forgotten they were a boy and girl. She didn’t always feel much like a normal teenage girl. And, truth be told, he didn’t always seem like a normal teenage boy.

Was this a date? Had he thought so? “No,” she said, immediately to his last question. “Did you… want it to be?”

Oh, Merlin, that was embarrassing. He’d just said he didn’t like her that way. “Forget that,” she said. “Er. I don’t— I mean, I feel the same. No offense.”

what's a girl gotta do to get in a proper brawl around here?

Leonard Hardy [ Gryffindor ]
38 Posts  •  15  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2019, 08:26:09 AM »
Lenny was suddenly feeling too warm as his face flushed red with embarrassment.  He really wished he could undo everything he had just said.  He opened his mouth to confirm that he hadn’t wanted it to be a date either – only to emit a slight choking sound instead of words.  Could he behave in any way to make it seem like the thought of dating Donna was any more horrifying to him?  It wasn’t his intention at all to hurt her feelings but he had been caught very off guard by the idea.

“Good.”  He finally said before lapsing into awkward silence.  Despite how mortified Lenny was about bringing up the topic, he was hugely relieved that there was not going to be any unrequited romantic feelings between them. 

“None taken.  Offence, that is.”  He added after a moment.  By force of will the Gryffindor boy made himself stop fidgeting with the cuff of his sleeve, look up and meet her eyes.  He even managed the slightest hint of a smile. 

Lenny wasn’t offended in the slightest that she wasn’t interested in him that way.  It was entirely bizarre to think about Donna or any other girl liking him, especially since so much of his time and energy was focused on not being noticed by people.  The fifteen-year-old wouldn’t know what to do if he was told that someone had a crush on him.  As it was, his head had almost imploded at the prospect of Donna having anything other than platonic feelings for him.  The concept of having a girlfriend seemed purely exhausting to the boy.  He could barely maintain the few friendships he had, let alone anything more. 

“Ah, Honeydukes?”  He prompted his friend, hoping to get them moving again and back to talking normally.  As always, he was happy to follow her lead. 

Although he wanted to put the whole subject behind him and pretend this conversation had never happened, Lenny couldn’t help wondering just why he wasn’t attracted to his friend.  They were a teenage boy and girl, right?  It seemed like some sort of chemistry should have developed between them, but it hadn’t.  As he had tried lamely to explain, he did admire Donna, enjoy her company and even (if he thought about it) considered her pretty.  It wasn’t as though he was super interested in girls normally, he was too tightly wound in his own misery to pay much notice them, but he’d never looked at Donna as a romantic option.  That seemed a little strange.

A concerned frown came over his features as another thought suddenly occurred to him.  Lenny blurted it out almost as soon as it entered his mind.  “Hey, do you reckon other people think we’re… like that?”  It wouldn’t be a farfetched conclusion for people to reach, considering how much time he and Donna spent together.  This new train of thought inevitably lead to new worries for him – could his constant presence somehow be preventing his friend from having normal teenage girl experiences with boys and stuff?  “Cause I wouldn’t want to get in the way of anyone liking you…  Or if you liked someone?”  His tone was partly apologetic and partly questioning since he was feeling pretty clueless about the whole thing.  Lenny ran another hand through his hair a bit sheepishly, all too aware that this was a subject they’d never really talked about before.  He was also slightly ashamed that he had never considered what relationships Donna might have with other people.  It seemed selfish of him.

Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 01:10:24 AM »
Merlin’s arse, how awkward. Donna was mollified— slightly— by Lenny seeming just as uncomfortable and awkward as she was. It was immeasurably rude, of course, to just be standing here goggling at him, still clutching her coin purse, but she couldn’t really look away. Lenny was, you know, crisis-ing, and she was so curious as to why he’d even asked, and even though he didn’t seem capable at the moment of answering that question, she wanted to know. He glanced up at her, and even though Donna was tempted to look away and pretend she hadn’t just been dramatically watching him, she kept his gaze for long enough to catch his smile.

(That was a relief, that he wasn’t like, mad at her. Although she couldn’t figure why he would have been, she’d still worried for a second about it.)

“Honeydukes!” she said gleefully. “Let me buy you something, please— you don’t even have to go in, I’ll deal with the crowds.” The crowds, probably were the main objection he’d have to Honeydukes. She ducked behind him and resurfaced on his other side, skipping a little to catch up, giving him a don’t resist look. “Just some chocolate, or something.”

She wasn’t not paying attention to him as they walked, but she was paying more attention to where they were going; she only looked closely at him, almost tripping over her feet with the lapse in focus, when he spoke again, a few yards from the candy store. “Er,” she said. “Don’t know. Don’t reckon I ever make those assumptions, though. Too much romantic drama everywhere, it’s better not to guess.”

There wasn’t that much else she could think to say— she kept walking, paying a little closer heed to her friend. He still seemed deep in thought about it; his next question was harder to answer, so she drifted to the side of the street to think on it. “Er,” she said again. “I doubt you are. I don’t think… girls and boys can just be friends. Like, er, my cousin and…”

She was not sure what was going on with her cousin and the Slytherin Prefect; she changed tack. “My brother’s got a girl friend— girl, friend— who he never dated. And— besides, I don’t really think I like-like anybody right now.”

Of course, having made that claim, she had to evaluate it; she went in her head through the boys she knew. Owain had another crush, Alvar— well, she didn’t know what his deal was. And he was, if not nice, very like her— they got on well. Which, she decided in a split second, she wasn’t going to speculate about with Lenny. Instead she took the last few steps toward Honeydukes, then turned back to say, “What even brought this on? Something happen?”

That seemed blunt— she tacked a “Mate?” onto the end of the sentence, as though that would make it more platonic, in case there was any doubt at this point.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 01:10:31 AM by Nan »

what's a girl gotta do to get in a proper brawl around here?

Leonard Hardy [ Gryffindor ]
38 Posts  •  15  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2019, 08:00:59 AM »
“Umm…  The waiter in the restaurant seemed to think we were a couple.”  Leonard explained with an embarrassed smile.  Now that the issue of whether or not they were a ‘couple’ had been addressed and resolved, he could almost see the situation as sort of funny.  He didn’t laugh but made a little huff of amusement.  “Sorry.  It was a silly thing to get freaked out over.”


Lenny felt that he must be such a burden sometimes, the way he worried about things that normal people wouldn’t and got himself all worked up over nothing.  Honestly, how did Donna put up with him?  At least she hadn’t seem bothered about whether or not he was somehow holding her back from getting a boyfriend.  He wasn’t entirely convinced that people saw things in the same reasonable light that she did but at least that was – “Probably not going to be a problem much longer anyway.”

Shocked, he froze mid-step and stumbled.  Lenny hadn’t meant to share that thought out loud.  It was a reference to his intention to drop out of school, when he would then be out of the picture and not around to dampen Donna’s prospects with his little perpetual raincloud of melancholy.  But Donna wouldn’t know that.  He still hadn’t told her the truth about anything that was going on with him. 

“I meant… like… ah… ah…”  Voice and mind stuttering, Lenny struggled to find some way to cover or deflect from his blunder.  He couldn’t lie though.  It was arguable that he’d already been dishonest towards his friend by omission and that made him uncomfortable enough as things were.  He couldn’t outright lie.  Just thinking about that made him want to throw up. 

Candy was the absolute last thing he wanted just then but he could see the Honeydukes store just there, in front of them.  “Some chocolate would actually be nice.”  He suggested weakly.  Really he ought to be the one buying her sweets after everything, but it would probably make Donna somewhat happy to be able to treat him.  Lenny didn’t doubt that she would think he was avoiding.  After all, he was avoiding. 

« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 08:03:05 AM by Louise »

Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2019, 07:27:19 AM »
“Oh,” said Donna. The waiter. So that had been what that was about? Ridiculous. Boys. She wrinkled her nose— “Real polite of him, getting into our business like that.”

It sort of had been silly to freak out over, but Donna said “Don’t say that,” automatically anyway. (Again she felt a twinge of mild indignation, that dating her would have been such a bad state of things. Logically, that wasn’t whatever Lenny was worried about— but what else could it have been? At least it was mutual, she reassured herself. She couldn’t see herself liking a boy like Lenny, and she couldn’t say she thought any of them were worth her time yet.)

“You have to stop apologising,” she added, only half joking. “I mean it. That was twice in a row, that.”

Donna was still flustered, that was the only excuse she really had for how little attention she paid to her friend until his next words— it wouldn’t be a problem for long. “What, have you got a girl you didn’t tell me about?” she said curiously, turning back to look at him. His tone hadn’t suggested anything of the sort, though— she gave him a frown.

“Lenny,” she started, for lack of anything meaningful to say. It was supposed to be comforting, but she thought her worry was tinging it sourly, giving it an accusatory edge. She tried again. “Well, what’s that s’posed to mean?”

It could have been a girl, but Donna knew better; the first traces of panic ran through her mind. She thought (hoped) she knew Lenny well enough that she shouldn’t have had any sort of suspicions about this, that she shouldn’t have jumped automatically to the conclusion that it was something bad, but whenever she thought about it, she remembered that for all she’d told him about herself, she couldn’t say she knew him half so well, and that scared her a little.

Chocolate, said Lenny. Now he was fine with her buying him candy, good grief. Donna stood staring for an awkward moment, trying to decide between annoyance at his obvious attempt to make her forget this, and wanting to buy him candy. “Alright,” she said finally. “You coming in, too? Or do you just want me to get you some frogs or whatever?”

She couldn’t read his mind— though she’d speculated often— and as she took a few steps backward toward Honeydukes, she added impulsively, “Then we can talk, right? About what that was?”

There— she couldn’t take that back now. Lenny wasn’t dumb— and she didn’t think he thought she was, either— he must have known that Donna noticed things, that Donna could see that there was more going on than he told her. She just hadn’t admitted it until now. She raised her eyebrows and smiled nervously— she couldn’t say for sure if she thought he was going to agree or not, and that uncertainty was killing her a little.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2019, 07:27:33 AM by Nan »

what's a girl gotta do to get in a proper brawl around here?

Leonard Hardy [ Gryffindor ]
38 Posts  •  15  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2019, 03:10:03 AM »
Lenny just nodded, neglecting to provide any real response to any of her questions.  “I’ll wait outside.”  He didn’t think he could deal with the press of bodies inside the store just then but as Donna headed in without him, the young wizard began to regret his choice.  Standing there alone with his thoughts was so much worse

He had promised that he would tell her one day and Lenny always kept his promises.  Eventually.  Had the day finally come?  It was inevitable, unavoidable.  He didn’t feel ready to face it but he probably never would.  As uncomfortable as it had been to discuss whether or not they had romantic feelings for each other, talking about his problems would be a million times more awful.  He’d come up with so many excuses and justifications over the years for not telling Donna what was going on with him – mainly that he didn’t want her to worry.  Yet he had noticed the concerned and slightly suspicious way she looked at him sometimes.  It seemed like at this point he was just as likely to lose her for not telling, as he would for telling.  She had already been more patient than he deserved.

But how much could he tell her?  How could he explain the situation in a way where she would understand what it meant to him?  What would she think of him when she knew?  Lenny was constantly wracked with guilt about his grans’ condition and about keeping it secret.  He was sure that the whole thing made him a terrible person.  It was selfish but she was all that he had, and he couldn’t bear to lose her altogether.  His world had been falling apart for some time now.  Lenny had been scrambling to keep all of the pieces together but knew that soon he would reach the point where he had to let something go.  He could keep Donna and school or keep his gran, not both.  What other options did he have?

It was cruel, it was unfair, but since when had the universe ever done Lenny any favours?

The choice seemed an obvious one – he had to give up school.  His gran needed him, Donna didn’t.  She would be fine without him.  If anything, Lenny held her back.  He just really hoped that she would see things the way he did.  It was part of what he feared most about telling her about his plans, that she’d disagree and try to convince him to stay. 

As she exited from the store with a swish of red hair, Lenny’s heart lurched uncomfortably.  This was it.  No more delaying.  He tried to smile at her but he just felt sick.  He didn’t even look to see what kind of chocolate she handed to him.  Lenny’s throat felt constricted and for a second he forgot how to breathe.  He opened and closed his mouth awkwardly several times without making a sound.  Avoiding her eye, he finally managed to force some words from his lips.  “Ahhh….”  It wasn’t much to start but he gradually found his voice.  “Ummm, what I meant… before...  It… it’s just just that I was thinking… that… ummm… you see…”  He swallowed uncomfortably and continued with his gaze locked firmly on the ground.  “After OWLs, I might… I might not… come… back…”  Automatically he cringed, expecting that Donna would be none too impressed by this.  Still, he muddled on to try and provide some kind of explanation before she could start to raise the questions she would undoubtedly have.  “Umm, I mean, I don’t really need NEWTs so…”  Lenny shrugged as though it was no big deal but then grimaced, unhappy with even this borderline deception. 

He crossed and uncrossed his arms before continuing.  “It’s my gran.”  Lenny stated simply, while scuffing the ground with his shoe.  Part of the reason he was avoiding eye contact was so that she hopefully couldn’t see how red his eyes were getting.  “She…”  He stopped to take a deep breath.  “She… ah, hasn’t been well.  I want to be home more for her.”  There it was – the tip of the iceberg but more than he had ever shared before. 

Feeling drained, Lenny sunk to the ground, uncaring in that moment about what anyone would think of him sitting on the street.  He placed his head on his knees and scrunched up his face, determined not to cry.  That would hardly be reassuring to his friend.  He tried to take deep, calming breaths but they came as short, hitching gasps instead. 

“Please don’t tell anyone.”  He added in a pleading tone, looking up through his fingers.  “They might get the wrong idea.”

Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2019, 06:00:31 AM »
She was happy enough to get into the store, to be affronted by the sweet smells and bright colors and clamouring teenagers of Honeydukes on a Hogsmeade weekend. Almost forgot about Lenny outside with his secrets; she bought them their frogs and a handful of other things she’d decided she needed once she saw them, and then shoved her way out, handed Lenny a frog and looped her wrist through the little bag to open one of her own and bite its head off. “Well?” she said, expectantly— not that he needed any reminders of what she’d asked of him.

(For a moment, as he did his best impression of a dumbstruck fish, she worried she was pushing him too far, that she’d lose him if she kept it up. But Donna Russell was not going to go back on her word. Not now, at least. The best she could do for him was to politely avoid eye contact, to bite the frog’s legs off and let him work himself up to talking. It was a lot of hemming and hawing, but she could be patient with him. (He’d been patient with her for, like, five years.) “What, dropping out!” she said, with some surprise— that was definitely not what she’d expected. Not that she knew what she’d expected. She knew there were things going on with his father, and little else.

And of course she knew, definitely, that “I don’t need NEWTs” was bullshit. Even if she didn’t need NEWTs she was still going to take them— what did Lenny think he was going to do with his life, without NEWTs? Rudimentary potions? Levitate things?

She felt a bit bad for him, though, wringing this out of him when he was so obviously uncomfortable with saying any of it. (Shame, probably— if it’d been her she’d have been embarrassed too, giving up and washing out. Not that she was going to say that to him, when he looked so upset.)

And then… it wasn’t quite what she’d thought. His gran, she mused, turning the words over in her mind— she wasn’t well. “Like, she’s sick?” she said, after a moment. “Or something?”

Donna stood uncomfortably and awkwardly over him for a few moments as he lowered himself down to the street before squatting uncomfortably next to him, patting him on the back in a feebly comforting way. “There there,” she said, “Shhh.”

She wanted to stay like this, supportive and helpful and being nice to him, but she couldn’t help scrunching her nose at his words— “Don’t tell anybody?” she repeated. “What, you’re just keeping it a secret forever? What’ll happen if…” she wasn’t dumb enough to say what she was thinking, so she derailed quickly. “How’s she going to get like, Healers if nobody knows? Is she not seeing any?”
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 06:00:42 AM by Nan »

what's a girl gotta do to get in a proper brawl around here?

Leonard Hardy [ Gryffindor ]
38 Posts  •  15  •  Heterosexual  •  played by Louise
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2019, 08:06:38 AM »
Lenny was so used to not talking about his gran’s condition that he now didn’t know how to put it into words.  A physical illness would’ve been a simple matter to address but it was her mind more than her body that was ill.  “She’s….  she’s not herself.”  He struggled to explain, his chest feeling tight as he reflected on how his gran couldn't remember her own name most days, let alone to feed herself.  “She... forgets.  Where she is or like… how to do stuff.”  That simple statement belied how scary it was, how terrifying it was to have someone you loved look right through you and not know who you were.  Lenny suppressed a shiver and tried to focus on the gentle pats Donna was placing on his back.   

What'll happen if...?

Donna didn't finish the question but he knew what she had been about to say.  It was a question that haunted him daily.  Lenny just shook his head vigorously, the answer was too terrible to face.  There was a part of him that was tempted to pass the responsibility of everything on to someone else, someone older and more qualified.  It would be easier to let somebody tell him what to do.  But the fifteen-year-old didn’t trust any adults to take his interests to heart.  They wouldn’t understand why he and his gran needed each other, how they couldn’t afford to lose each other, and Lenny couldn’t imagine any kind of good future that didn’t have his gran in it. 

He shrank guiltily away from the rest of Donna’s questions.  “That's why I need to be home,” was his evasive non-answer, “so I can take care of her.”  Lenny knew that the situation must sound very strange to his friend but there was only so much he felt like he could say.  Already he feared seeing judgement in her eyes and so avoided meeting her gaze.  What would Donna think if she knew that it was his fault?  That he was the reason his gran was ill in the first place? 

Ultimately, Lenny had been too afraid to get a Healer.  Whatever else, they were sure to deem his gran an unfit guardian.  They would take her away and then try to send Lenny to live with his mum.  Or worse yet, his dad would be out of prison all too soon...  Donna had always been a compassionate friend but he had never spoken about his parents much and so he doubted that she could comprehend what this would mean for him; how he considered a life with one of them to be a fate worse than death.  As far as he knew, her mum and dad were nice. 

Deep down Lenny knew that he was being horribly selfish about his gran; maybe she would really be better off in St Mungo’s, but she was all he had and he couldn’t let her go.  Lenny was no optimist yet he had to cling to the hope that his gran would get better, that if he could just be home more then everything would work out and his world wouldn’t fall completely apart.  “Please don’t tell.  Please don’t.”  He softly begged Donna to keep his secret.  Lenny actually felt a little badly for asking, it was understandably bigger than the sorts of secrets most teenagers might keep for each other.  It was his burden and he didn’t want it to weigh on his friend too.  The young wizard was torn between sharing more, so Donna could see how important it was to keep this information to herself, and protecting her from the worst of the truth.  “I can’t…  I can’t…”  Lenny stuttered and then fell silent, unable to even say what it was he couldn’t do.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2019, 08:09:50 AM by Louise »

Donna Russell [ Gryffindor ]
65 Posts  •  15  •  Lesbian  •  played by nan
Re: apple of my eye [lenny]
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2019, 09:21:38 PM »
Donna knew, at least intellectually, that she was dealing not-well with the news that Lenny’s grandmother was losing her mind with age; she pet him lightly on the back, mind still racing uneasily through the possible disasters that he could be inadvertently causing. “What, forgettin’ seems sort of like something that St. Mungo’s would be able to do something about, though,” she said without much conviction— “I bet Obliviators fuck up all the time, is all.”

She couldn’t understand, she supposed— she couldn’t imagine how he didn’t want someone’s help in this. At the very least, she knew that she was fifteen, and therefore didn’t know best. She supposed she had the benefit of older siblings to tell her she was stupid. He had, what, nobody, as she remembered. Which left him with her.

She wasn’t about to tell him he was stupid, not yet. It wasn’t nice. She was going to be tactful, like, and tell him inadvertently that he was stupid. Donna tried to catch Lenny’s eye but he was dedicatedly not complying, so she gave a few silent, fervent apologies and prayers to Lenny and his grandmother and the pie in the sky and Merlin before she said, tentatively, “Lenny… we’re fifteen. What’ll you do if something happens? You don’t even know how to Apparate or do healing spells. Or— you just can’t take care of her without help.”

Her knees were starting to hurt from squatting; she carefully lowered herself down to sit cross-legged, still rubbing his back with one hand in a futile attempt to be comforting. Much as she wanted to help, all she could think was that Lenny very, very clearly didn’t know what he was doing, that he didn’t know what was best for him and for his gran. He beseeched her not to tell; Donna pursed her lips and decided, for now, not to make promises.

Not that she anticipated breaking it— at least not until she knew, better, what he was saying. At the same time she couldn’t tell whether he realised that this sort of thing wasn’t uncommon: she remembered, fleetingly, that he’d been terrified of alcohol— surely, surely, this was another case of overreaction— right? (If not… then she was out of her depth, which she didn’t want to consider.) Donna chewed on her lip, unsure what she could say— “You can’t what, Lenny?” she said gently, after a long second. The best she could do, at least, was to figure some of this out. (Right?)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2019, 09:21:50 PM by Nan »

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