Sansa loved the holidays. She loved watching the snow fall outside as she curled up by the fire, she loved knitting sweaters for her family every year, and she loved the big Christmas tree that the house elves put up in the entrance hall every year. What Sansa didn’t love, though, was spending her holidays stuck with the three stupidest quidditch-playing romantically-clueless idiots in the school.
Arya and Gendry would be positively insufferable if they weren’t so adorably enamoured with each other. Her sister was clearly beginning to realize how attracted she was to Gendry, but had not yet broken up with Ned. Gendry became visibly annoyed any time Arya’s boyfriend was mentioned, but otherwise spend the break making heart-eyes at his seeker. It was becoming painful to watch, really. The two of them were practically inseparable, studying together, practicing quidditch on the snowy pitch, exchanging knowing glances about herself and Pod.
Pod. Perhaps he was even worse than Arya and Gendry. Sansa was almost certain he liked her. She could see it in the way he gently adjusted her hand positioning during Charms class and in the way he blushed when she smiled at him. She had given him every opportunity to ask her out and …nothing. Even Arya and Gendry had noticed, which Sansa found rather ironic, considering how blindly flirtatious they were with each other.
Someone had to instigate some romance in this castle before Sansa went mad.
“Pod,” she said as she sat down on the arm of the sofa and lightly touched his shoulder, enjoying the way it made him blush, “How many times do you think Arya has to touch his arm before your captain realizes she likes him back?” The duo in question were sitting by the fire, discussing some move Arya had been trying out on the quidditch pitch. This apparently required a lot of playful shoving of Gendry’s shoulder on Arya’s part. Pod glanced at Sansa and her hand, which was still casually resting on his upper arm. He swallowed.
“Er, I’m not sure,” he said with a nervous laugh, “Suppose she’s still got a boyfriend, so he might -,” Sansa scoffed.
“A boyfriend doesn’t stop them from liking each other, Pod,” she said this quietly so that the other two wouldn’t overhear. She was pleased to see Pod lean closer to hear her better. “Look at them, heads together, whispering away.” Pod nodded.
“As soon as she’s single, I’d say he’ll go for it,” he said cheerfully. Sansa felt her heart sink.
“What if she was already single? If she was single and touching his arm and whispering in his ear, would he have made his move already?” She asked, hoping desperately he would hear what she was saying and come to his senses and bloody well ask her out already. Pod nodded.
“Oh yeah,” he said, “Definitely.” Sansa let go of his arm and stood up. She had no idea what might inspire Pod to act, but she was getting tired of waiting.
“I’m off to bed,” she declared, heading for the portrait hole. Arya and Gendry nodded briefly in her direction before resuming whatever conversation they were having, Gendry now rifling through some old book and leaning close to Arya to show her the diagram on the page. Sansa rolled her eyes and sulked all the way back to the Ravenclaw common room.
Pod was absolutely fucked. He had, beyond all sense and beyond all reason, fallen for Sansa Stark. Sansa Stark! The pristine, elegant, perfect Sansa Stark who, until this year, he had never been able to work up the nerve to even speak to. He hated Professor Baelish for pairing them up (well, he hated Baelish for a few reasons, come to think of it). Being forced to speak to Sansa Stark and having no choice but to spend time with her and get to know her was a cruel and painful way to spend his final year at Hogwarts.
And now they were friends, and he was fucked. He did his best to not stare at her when she spoke, to not think too hard about her friendly smiles or the way she would touch his shoulder. He tried his best to ignore every bit of affection she offered him because as much as he enjoyed her company, the longer he spent as Sansa Stark’s friend, the longer he would have to endure this cruel sting of unrequited love.
Pod knew Sansa liked him well enough, but certainly not the way he liked her. He was average-looking at best and yes, he had an unexpected amount of success over the summer picking up the muggle girls in the village near his home, but Sansa Stark was well out of his league. She dated handsome, confident guys, guys who carried their shoulders tall and who looked like something out of the Quality Quidditch Supplies catalogue without a hint of an effort. Gendry, for example, would be a perfect candidate, were he not busy happily explaining how motorbikes worked to an enraptured Arya. Pod could practically hear Gendry’s heart rate speed up when Arya demanded he show her how to ride one someday.
God, those two were sickening sometimes.
Sansa leaned close to him and he steeled himself. “Gosh, she’s so into him,” she laughed quietly, though Arya and Gendry were chatting so enthusiastically across the dinner table that Pod wasn’t sure anything could distract them from each other. He nodded and grinned.
“I think your guess that they’ll hook up by Valentine’s Day might be a winner,” he beamed. Sansa’s smile was terribly pretty.
“If they can keep their hands off of each other that long,” she chuckled. “Though a Valentine’s Day confession would be awfully romantic, wouldn’t it. It’s the perfect day to tell someone how you feel, don’t you think, Pod?” He frowned and shrugged.
“I suppose so,” he said. “Though Christmas is just as romantic, really. All of the fairy lights and mistletoe.” He glanced at her, and for a moment he thought her blue eyes were shining.
“Oh, I agree,” she said softly, “Christmas would be a wonderful time for it, too.” He felt a sting in his heart as he looked at her, wishing for a moment that the feelings to be confessed were his own, that he could tell her how very much he liked her and how very much he wanted to spend an entire evening under a sprig of mistletoe with her. He wrenched his eyes from her and back across the table.
“It’s too bad they’ll have to wait until Arya dumps Ned,” he said glumly, and Sansa sighed in agreement, poking at her turnips with her shoulders slumped.
Sansa had done everything - everything - she could think of. She wore a pretty golden dress and she had done her hair perfectly. She had drawn Podrick away to the window a few minutes before the countdown, commenting on how pretty the grounds looked, how pretty the snow was. She had stupidly thought that he might comment on how pretty she was.
“Do you not think it’s pretty, Pod?” she had asked, and he had only nodded, looking a little bit uncomfortable.
She had applied her lip gloss and told him how good this particular flavour tasted. She had twisted her hair around her finger, batted her eyelashes and - she winced as she recalled it - straightened her shoulders so that her boobs stuck out slightly. And she had nothing to show for any of it.
Now, Pod was bowing awkwardly as he bid her goodnight in front of the Ravenclaw common room. He turned to leave and she took a deep breath.
“Wait,” she said, and he spun back in confusion. She thought fast. “Let’s give Arya and Gendry a few more minutes alone. Maybe he’ll work up the nerve to tell her how he feels.” Pod raised his eyebrows.
“Er, alright then,” he shrugged. He looked at his feet and she twisted a finger through her hair again.
“How do you think he’d do it,” she offered, and Pod blinked at her.
“Dunno,” he said, “I still think he’ll wait til she’s single and then make a move.” Sansa felt her face fall.
“So no chance of romance tonight, then?” She asked hopefully, and Pod shook his head. “Right then,” she said coolly, “I’ve got to sort out this riddle if I want to get to bed. Night, Pod.” She turned away from him and crossed her arms, wondering what on earth it might take for him to act on his feelings.
Sansa was a funny girl, Pod decided as he slumped back to Gryffindor tower. He offered the password gloomily and saw Arya and Gendry step apart. They seemed to have been standing rather close. Gendry immediately busied himself with the confetti on the floor and Arya was looking over at him longingly. Pod felt a brief wave of sympathy for them both until he remembered that their attraction was mutual and that they would, in all likelihood, work it out eventually.
He, meanwhile, was stuck in romantic purgatory, hopelessly fond of a girl who would surely never see him as more than a friend.
Gendry entered the dorm a few minutes after Pod had turned out his light.
“Happy new year, Gendry,” Pod said as cheerfully as he could muster.
“If you say so, Pod,” his companion grumbled, throwing his shirt onto his wardrobe and flopping onto his bed. It was a long while before either boy fell asleep.