Chapter 1 : Gryffindor Loyalty
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I’m surprised when Oliver brings up Shuntbumps during breakfast.
The expected topic of conversation is more along the lines of this year’s Quidditch Cup, the Gryffindor team alignment, the quorum for today’s tryouts, maybe throw some charts in and a couple of statistics in. Or just nothing at all; we’re normally quiet before big events. Not a brutish old broomstick game that is only occasionally played by children nowadays.
“Shuntbumps?” I repeat, frowning. He makes a confirmative head nod/hum in response, as his mouth is occupied with his food. “What about it?”
“I don’t know,” he shrugs. “I was just wondering why we never play that anymore.”
“Um, because it’s stupid?”
“It’s a children’s game, Oliver.”
“I rest my case.”
“Well,” I say, running out of arguments, “Quidditch is more fun.”
This he cannot refute, so he keeps quiet and returns to his food. Praising Quidditch is a sure-fire way to win any argument, especially if you’re arguing with Oliver or Kennilworthy Whisp.
I really don’t know where he was trying to get with this; why would anyone play Shuntbumps when they can play Quidditch? Why would anyone do anything else when they can play Quidditch?
Truth is, Shuntbumps isn’t actually about anything. Bumping people around, actually. A good excuse for hitting your siblings without getting scolded about it, plus you get to do it on a broom. I was never fond of it as a kid; I tended to be more a bumpee than a bumped because of my small size and lack of strength and all around being a girl whose childhood playmates consisted of her older brothers and their male friends.
Of course Oliver likes it. Being as big and burly as he is, he could bump everyone off in a manner of seconds. I bet he’d love to play Shuntbumps with Flint above a rocky surface. Preferably in winter.
I describe the scenario to him, which elicits a laugh. By the time we leave the Great Hall, a pack of bloodthirsty werewolves, three dragons and the rest of the Slytherin team have been added to it.
“Are you nervous?” asks Alicia while we’re waiting for the tryouts to begin. The two of us are sitting in the grass of the Quidditch pitch. Angelina is also here, but she’s using the time to finish up her Arithmancy homework.
There are around a hundred more people here, but I have no idea who most of them are. You see, all I do is practice and go to classes, and the latter only because I’d get kicked out of the team if I let my grades slip. The only reason why I know people outside of the team is that I help Oliver in his “gathering information” (really just an euphemism for stalking) about the teams of others houses.
I shrug in response to her question, because I’m really not nervous at all, but I think it would seem conceited to say so. Alicia, on the other hand, is obviously about to go mental; she’s been non-stop jumping from one topic of conversation to the other for the ten or so minutes we’ve been here. Thankfully, this leaves little room for me to talk, as I’m not much of a conversationalist myself.
“Calm down, Licia. You’ll do great,” says Angelina in her typical confident tone of voice that leaves no place for disagreement. This shuts her up effectively.
I don’t think any of us has any reason to be nervous. These tryouts are just a formality; Oliver and I spent all summer planning this Quidditch season. We’ve both been on the team for three years, since our Second, and he’s been captain ever since Charlie accidentally blew up one of the greenhouses a year ago and McGonagall deemed him too irresponsible for the job. Charlie was a seeker, and an awesome one at that, but he left last year along with my brother, Ethan, who was a Chaser like Angelina and me. Since Alicia was already in reserve, she’s the obvious choice for the third Chaser spot, which leaves only the Seeker position empty. But Oliver, being Oliver, by which I mean obsessive to the point of mania, is determined that we have the best team ever, so he’s holding tryouts for every position. Yes, even his.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the guy. He’s my boyfriend. Ethan used to make fun of us, calling Quidditch Oliver’s other woman, but to me it’s simple: I love Quidditch, Oliver loves Quidditch, therefore I love Oliver.
He’s standing alone in front of the excited crowd. I offered to accompany him earlier, but he said it would be unfair. As Fred and George, Charlie’s brothers and our Beaters, plop down beside us with identical grins, Oliver clears his throat.
“Now that we’re all here,” he begins, a jab to Fred and George’s tardiness, “I’d like to welcome you to the tryouts for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.” Most people don’t notice that he’s talking, so he clears his throat again and says more loudly, “Er, welcome to the tryouts for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Yeah, so those of you who don’t want to get on the team can leave or go watch from over there or jump off the Astronomy Tower or something. Just, don’t be here.”
“Same goes to first years, non-Gryffindors, people who don’t attend this school, people who can’t fly, and Sophia Capper.”
A petite blonde girl sitting near the back of the crowd gets up with a huff. Sophia is Edward Goldstein’s, the Ravenclaw Seeker and Captain, girlfriend, and is suspected to help the ‘Claws with strategy, despite actually being a Gryffindor. Other than her, nobody moves.
This, I can tell, drives Oliver nuts. On one hand because there are obviously people from other houses here (honestly, that we’re not cunning doesn’t mean that we can’t tell the difference between a scarlet scarf and a green one), and on the other because he does awful with big crowds. He does awful with small crowds (as in, three people) too, which speaks pretty lowly of me because he’s always been considered the social one of the two.
I sort of want to get up and pat his back in support or something, but he would get mad at me for making him seem incapable of holding himself together in front of everyone and consequentially diminish his authority, so I don’t.
“A galleon says he’s going to start threatening people in ten seconds,” one of the twins says into my ear; Fred, I think – he’s always the one trying to provoke people, George is more the mastermind. The other one starts counting down with his fingers.
I frown. “You guys don’t have a galleon.”
“Ah, but the question is, do you?”
I have no time to answer, because just as George puts the last finger down, Oliver explodes.
“IF YOU’RE HERE BECAUSE YOU THINK QUIDDITCH IS ‘FUN’, THEN YOU’RE SEVERELY MISTAKEN. QUIDDITCH IS SACRIFICE. QUIDDITCH IS PRACTICING FOUR HOURS A DAY, EVERY DAY. QUIDDITCH IS GIVING ALL YOU’VE GOT, AND THEN SOME. IF YOU’RE NOT WILLING TO DO THIS, I WILL MAKE YOU. AND I’M NOT AT ALL AGAINST BODILY HARMING ANY OF YOU.” Suddenly, he seems all the more burly. “QUIDDITCH IS ABSOLUTELY NO FUN. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND, PEOPLE.”
Damn, that was hot.
Hey, why is everyone running away?
I discreetly wipe the drool off my chin, thinking that something must be really wrong with me if I get turned on by tyranny. Passion, Louise, not tyranny, passion.
“Now that that’s settled, let’s begin,” says Oliver with an expression that’s a cross between satisfaction and frenzy.
The twins, whose badly concealed guffaws weren’t enough to convince to people that Oliver was exaggerating, are now staring at me expectantly. Huffing, I rummage my pockets for a galleon and put it into Fred’s open hand.
They high-five each other before George tells me, “You did know you never agreed to the bet, didn’t you?”
Oh, damn it, not again.
“Give it back,” I demand, which only makes them laugh harder.
“Don’t worry, Louise; we’ll be sure to name you between our first benefactors.”
They’d better. I swear to Godric, if I hadn’t met those boys I’ve be four times as rich. They’re constantly tricking me into giving them money.
Angelina shakes her head in disapproval. “Come on now, before Oliver finishes going mad.”
As predicted, I did well.
I scored nine out of ten quaffles, against Oliver, no less. Only Angelina and Alicia had a perfect score, and one Second Year, Kitty Ball, if I remember correctly, scored the same as me. She looked really sweet; maybe I can talk Oliver into making her reserve.
Unsurprisingly, no one but Fred and George showed up for Beater. No one is stupid enough to purposefully put themselves close to the twins when they have bats or other potentially harming device, much less go against them. Likewise, there was a grand total of one candidate for Keeper besides from Oliver, another Second Year kid, looked like an anorexic toad next to him. Let’s just say that the only thing he succeeded in was making a complete fool of himself. Though I must give him points for his courage; not everyone would have stayed after Oliver’s display of lack of self-control.
The Seekers were a mess, though. Two didn’t know how to fly and one fell out of her broom while trying to catch a little bird that she confused with the snitch. The rest of them are still up there, searching.
Oliver’s parting words to Charlie were, “I guess we could play without a Seeker,” and I’m starting to think we’re going to have to. It would require us to have at least a one-hundred sixty points lead when the opponent catches the snitch, which is hard but not unheard of. That means a lot of effort from the Chasers and the Keeper, and maybe focusing the Beaters’ attack on the other team’s Seeker. It can be done, I reassure myself. It can.
Everyone else is sitting around waiting for someone to catch the snitch so Oliver can say that they all suck and send us home. Angelina already finished all her homework and is now French-braiding Alicia’s hair. Fred fell asleep promptly after coming down, and George stripped me off all my money by showing me debt notes that I don’t remember signing, and he made me sign another one when I ran out of currency.
Finally the snitch is caught, by a nice Hufflepuff that was watching from the stands and took pity on us when he saw the elusive little ball fly by, and Oliver tells us to gather 'round.
“For those of you who made the team, practice starts on Monday at five in the afternoon. Don’t be late.”
I smile, barely able to contain my excitement. The only thing I’ve been anticipating more than this is the Quidditch World Cup, but that’s still three years, ten months and six days away. Approximately.
“First off, I want to say that you all did great out there.” His poor attempt to be nice earns him a collective exasperated look, which he ignores. “Unfortunately, there are only seven players on a Quidditch team. So after much thinking, I’ve come to decide that this year’s Gryffindor team will be as following: Oliver Wood, Keeper; Fred and George Weasley, Beaters; Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet and Katie Bell, Chasers.”
I can see that Oliver’s mouth is still moving, but my ears don’t register the words. In fact, the only thing going through my brain at the moment is Katie Bell Katie Bell Katie Bell KatieBell KatieBell KatieBell KatieBellKatieBellKatieBellKATIEBELLKATIEBELLKATIEBELL
People are starting to cheer and clap now. I feel as though I’m about to explode, and I am, too. Judging by Angelina’s expression, I also look the part.
Then I catch Oliver’s eyes, and I can’t help remembering our earlier conversation about Shuntbumps and how this feels exactly like playing that game did.
If you are hoping to hear how my (now ex-)boyfriend’s loving gaze makes everything in the world fall into place, then you should go read something else. A cautious, sort of sheepish, sort of apologetic smile begins to form on his face, and that does it. At the sight of it, something finally snaps inside of me.
I glare at him with all my might, but the hot, burning feeling behind my eyes tells me that I’m about to start crying. So I storm off, feeling as if the world is going up in flame behind me.
Author's note: so I doubt anybody remebers, but I uploaded this ages ago only to decide that I hated it and never went back to it until a week ago when I found it on my computer and decided to rewrite it.
I'm warning you from the beginning, do not take this story seriously, as it is supposed to be a tribute/satire to all the Oliver/OC stories out there. So if the plot seems a tad too familiar o cliché, just stick around (please?).
I'd love you forever if you say anyting. Really, I'm not picky.
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