Who: AJ Singh, Alicia Spinnet
Where: Falafelly Good
When: 30 June 2001, after the Dance-A-Thon has begun
“If a patient presents with skin of a mottled green and blue, particularly in the lower extremities, and sneezes in the sunlight…” AJ had reached the point now where he could close the book and rattle off entire paragraphs from memory. That seemed like unmistakable progress. So when his stomach rumbled, he decided he deserved a proper dinner break, instead of mindlessly stuffing his face while holding his textbook in the other hand — as had become his habit.
He rummaged through the kitchen but apparently over the past few days he’d managed to devour every snack in the house.
The house was silent. Oh, right… Audrey had gone to the Dance-A-Thon. And now no one was around to cook for him. Well, he’d just have no choice but to go out into the wide world, wouldn’t he? Some nice greasy falafel sounded like it would hit the spot.
Once at Falafelly Good, he inhaled his first serving quickly and then immediately ordered another, partly for the excuse to linger and put off returning to his books. “If a patient presents with skin of a mottled green and blue…” See, he’d retained it. And how much longer could he keep re-reading the same content? At a certain point, you’d crammed your head full of all that could fit.
He was licking the last of the tahini sauce off his fingers and begrudgingly considering heading home when he spotted Alicia, and suddenly he lit up with a better idea.
“Spinnet! How goes it?” He threw an arm around her shoulder and didn’t wait for her to reply before he continued. “Why aren’t you at the Dance-A-Thon?”
Alicia hadn’t seen AJ when she walked into Falafelly Good, but when he showed up at her table halfway through her meal she smiled. He seemed happier and more energetic than he usually did these days, which was good. Lately it seemed like he hadn’t been allowing himself to have much fun.
“I was at the Dance-A-Thon,” she informed him, “but being a spectator got pretty boring.” She wasn’t sure how spectators did it, really. Why would anyone enjoy watching people do things instead of doing things themselves?
“Falafel sounded more fun,” Alicia shrugged, nodding toward her plate and taking another bite of dinner.
AJ nudged her over a bit so he could sit more comfortably in the half of her chair he’d claimed for himself.
“You know what sounds more fun? Dancing. What do you say?” And, despite the two plates of his own he’d just finished, he gestured toward her falafel in the universal sign of ‘can I have a bite?’
Alicia resisted AJ’s pushing, though she relented after a minute. It wasn’t arm wrestling, after all. She could give him this one.
“Didn’t you just eat?” she shrieked indignantly, pulling the plate farther away from him. “Mine. Let me finish eating and maybe then I’ll have the strength for dancing.” Alicia took an extra big bite of her falafel, chewing exaggeratedly and making mmm noises so AJ would know just how good it tasted.
“Getting full is a sign of weakness,” AJ informed her, mock-seriously, and whiel her hands were occupied he grabbed a sip of her drink instead.
“Alright! Let’s go dance. Eat faster. Now that I’ve had a taste of the outside world, I don’t want to have to go back to my books.” He made a face.
“I’m eating as fast as I can!” Alicia replied through a mouthful of falafel. It may have jumbled her words together, but at least it proved her point. “I won’t let those books take you hostage.”
She put one more bite of falafel in her mouth, then pushed the plate over to AJ. He’d finish what little was left. She jumped up from the chair and did a few stretches. Have to be limber to win a dance competition, after all.
AJ grinned through the last bites of her meal as he watched her limber up. Merlin, but he loved his fellow Gryffindors. Game for anything! Pushing back from the table as he swallowed the last bite, he made a show of swinging his arms around in an ineffectual attempt at loosening up. While it might not have done much for his athletic preparedness, it did help him shake off the last of his preoccupation with the textbooks waiting for him at home, and a small pang of guilt for not inviting Lavender, as he’d told Parvati he would. But sometimes you just had to be spontaneous!
“Alright, twinkletoes,” he said, catching Alicia by the waist and giving her a gentle push toward the door. “Let’s show them what we’ve got.”