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Chapter 3 : Cat: Of problems and proposals
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This chapter is in Cat's point of view.
Annoyingly perfect CI by broken&blue @TDA.
It was not a dream. Someone really was screaming my name. Brain a little fuzzy, I dragged myself out of bed, following the sound.
"CAT!" The shriek was more urgent this time, and I accelerated. It sounded like Kiwi. I stumbled into the living room, and stopped dead.
It was Kiwi, and the sofa she had fallen in was covered in blood.
"Shit," I rushed over to her side, "what happened?"
Both her hands were tightly pressed to her shoulder, and she moved them away for me to see.
"Splinched," she spat out through gritted teeth, "I would tell you the full story but it kind of hurts, you know?"
Kind of hurts... That girl really had a personal sense of humour. Half the flesh around her shoulder had disappeared, exposing the bone, and it was bleeding like there was no tomorrow.
"Don't move, I'm going to get Dittany. And don't touch the wound," I warned her.
"Where d'you expect me to go, the London marathon?" she winced in pain, balling her hands into fists. "Just hurry up, please... And don't literally go get it, you idiot, use a summoning spell!"
"Of course, sorry, Accio Dittany, you know it's not normal because you're the one injured but also the more rational of us two..." The small bottle flew into my hand and I quickly poured a few drops on her arm.
"Yes, well, I was always the smart one, remember?" The wound was closing up, thank Merlin.
"That's debatable," I smiled weakly at her. "Does it still hurt?"
"A bit, but nothing unbearable. Could you get the blood off? It makes me a bit sick..."
I quickly Tergeo'd everything off, then sat down on the floor next to the sofa. "So, what exactly happened?"
I didn't really know what to expect, but definitely not that she would blush.
"I don't know. I don't remember anything since last night, except that I woke up naked this morning with a naked Oliver Wood next to me."
"Excuse me?" I spluttered. "You slept with Oliver Wood?"
"I just told you, I don't know!" she exclaimed, annoyed. "I don't think we were in any fit state for anything to happen..."
I tried to stifle a laugh, but it didn't work. "Okay, so you may or may not have had sex with Wood. But you think you didn't, because you were wasted. What does this have to do with splinching?"
"Do you have to be so blunt?" she groaned. "Splinching has to do with the fact that I slipped out of bed as fast as I could, grabbed my clothes and Apparated away before Wood woke up, but that since I still have alcohol in my system I obviously screwed something up..."
"Or someone," I grinned cheekily at her.
"I would slap you," Kiwi glared at me, "but it hurts. Anyway, considering the state I'm in, I think I won't be accompanying you this evening, if that's okay."
"I'm not going either then."
"Cat, you have to. It was your first big match, you said so yourself, and people won't understand."
"Too bad for them, I'm not leaving you alone. I'll send Batsoulini to Oliver later today."
Batsoulini, in case you were wondering, is our royal eagle. I don't really like owls. I wanted to train an ostrich to deliver our mail, but for some reason Kiwi wasn't too keen about it. Then I tried to convince her into getting a pelican, but that didn't work out either. So we got Magnum, who is just as efficient as your random owl, except he scares people more, and only eats yoghurt. Yes, you heard me properly. We have a yoghurt eating mail delivering eagle.
"And what excuse are you going to use, if you do send him Batsoulini?" Kiwi asked me doubtfully.
"That you're violently sick, and that I didn't feel like leaving you alone."
"How elegant," she snorted, "thanks very much for that one."
"Well, would you rather have me tell him that you Splinched and then I tell him the reasons why?"
Her face grew stony. "Cat. I need you to promise you will not, ever, tell him about last night. Ever."
"Swear on your mother's grave." Whoa. She was more serious about this than I thought.
"I swear on my mother's grave that I will never tell Oliver Wood, or anyone but Maya, about the situation you woke up in this morning, or what may have happened during the night."
"Thanks. I'm fine with Maya knowing" She smiled. "And nothing happened, trust me."
She sounded so convinced I didn't dare say anything, but deep down I wasn't quite sure about that last part.
Kiwi's arm was fully healed by the end of the weekend, and on Monday we were both back at work. Yes, she works, didn't she say? She's a waitress in a Muggle restaurant. She doesn't think of it as a very rewarding job, which might explain why she didn't mention anything, but it pays for the rent. That's her argument, along with the fact that she's not going to continue that for much longer.
I went back to practice with no worries of having to face Oliver's questions. The note I had sent him was probably enough to dissuade him from asking: Oliver, I won't be over at the party this evening, I'm feeling a bit sick (don't ask, girl problems) and Kiwi's staying with me. I'll be back at practice on Monday, see you then!
I was right, he didn't ask anything. Note to self: always mention girl problems when you want to get away with something and are addressing a male human being.
It started off as a usual practice: Oliver talking, talking, talking away, all of us snoozing away a bit. Then an in-flight match simulation. Then a mock match, Tim, Nicholas and me against Greg, Benjy and Alexander. Then all of us against Oliver and Tim.
When we finally dismounted our brooms later that day, I was battered and bruised all over. Thanks, Greg, for hitting that Bludger away, but it would have been great had your Beater's bat not caught me in the ribs. Toss into the picture sweat, grass and mud, and you had a perfect representation of me.
That wasn't the point. The point was the conversation that was taking place just outside my door once I slipped out of the shower.
"Fuck dude, are you serious?" I recognised Benjy's voice. His question was followed my some mumblings I didn't understand, and I swiftly went over to my bag and popped some Extendable Ears into my own. Hey, being friends with Ginny Weasley had to have some advantages.
"But come on, you have to remember something," Benjy insisted.
"I don't, I've already told you!" Whoops. That was Oliver's voice. Three guesses on what they were talking about. Only the first one counts.
"Look, you don't just wake up naked in a crappy hotel in Diagon Alley and not remember how you ended there."
"Well, obviously, you do." He sounded more and more annoyed by the second.
"Okay, what happened before that?"
"At the club? I danced with Kim, then with some other girl, got her a drink and then I don't remember."
What? No! It was the other way around... But he didn't need to know that, and I listened more carefully.
"D'you think maybe you slept with her?"
"With Kim? No, I'd remember that."
"True, she is fucking hot. I wouldn't mind shagging her myself..."
I would have burst right out of the room to murder Ben on the spot had I not heard the next part.
First there was a whacking sound, followed by a loud exclamation.
If you ask me, it sounded like the squawk of a parrot being run over by a supermarket trolley.
"Sorry, I forgot you had feelings for her," Ben sniggered. Somebody had no sense of dignity, or of Oliver's limits.
... Excuse me, what?
"I do not have feelings for Kim Willows," Oliver growled. "You just don't talk about women like that."
"Yeah, yeah, of course. You wouldn't have reacted like that if I had said the same thing about Cat."
"Cat isn't a woman. She's a Quidditch player." Why thank you, you misogynistic bastard.
"Oliver, you know perfectly well what I mean. You may not love Kim, but you definitely feel something for her."
"How did we even get to Kim? I thought we were talking about what happened two nights ago?"
"For all you know, both things might be related."
"Ben, if you continue with your innuendo I'll tell Cat what you said about Kim and she'll cut your head off."
What an interesting idea. I hadn't even thought about that.
"No but come on, seriously, Oliver. I know you. You can't seriously let me believe that you don't act any different around Kim?"
"Oh for Pete's sake, will you just shut up about it? I may have had a bit of a crush on her when I was younger, but she was in second year, and the age difference was too big."
"It's still the same as it was," Ben interrupted. "Why don't you just admit that you like her?"
There was another whacking noise, similar to the first one. "How d'you want me to admit something that's not true?"
I almost heard Ben roll his eyes. "You are worse than I thought. But fine. Continue living with your illusions."
Footsteps followed that sentence, and I pulled the Extendable Ears out. What an instructive discussion. So Oliver Wood used to have a crush on Kiwi, when he was seventeen and she was twelve. No wonder nothing had happened though, it would have been shocking for ninety percent of the population of Hogwarts. But that wasn't a very surprising piece of information: Kiwi had sprouted like wild grass at a very young age, and by the time she was thirteen, she looked three years older. And of course, a vast majority of Hogwarts boys of all ages were drooling after her. Even Oliver Wood, apparently.
Was he lying about not having any feelings for her today? I had no idea. He acted the same around her as he did with me or Tim. I think. There might have been a bit of flirting going on between the two, but nothing specific. Plus Kim supposedly hated him. After the food fight I was more than doubtful about that, but let her say whatever she wanted. In my opinion, they would probably date sometime in the future, but it would probably be essentially physical and wouldn't last a very long time.
I decided to push the subject away for some time. They were both responsible (ish) adults, and they could manage on their own just fine.
Three weeks after that, Kiwi traitorously abandoned me for a weekend with her parents, and not wanting to stay alone, I invited Maya over.
Just like when we were younger, we cooked together that evening.
"You've changed," I said thoughtfully while sampling the empanada stuffing.
She laughed. "How?"
"Well, for a start you've cut your hair, when I've always seen you with long hair. And, I don't know, you're just more mature, with your training at Saint Mungo's under Healer Kirsty Simmons' orders, and your steady boyfriend. I feel like a child next to you."
"You are a child," she retorted playfully. "And maybe you just think I've changed because you don't see me all the time anymore."
"Yes, maybe. But there is something else, which I know you're not telling me, and that's the reason for the new you. So?"
"You are far too perceptive for your own good," she grinned at me. "Fine. I'm engaged."
"WHAT?! And I have to almost beg for you to tell me this? How dare you? I'm your favourite sister, you should tell me these things!"
"You're my only sister," she laughed. "Sorry, it's just a bit too soon, he only proposed yesterday."
"Tell me," I was jumping up and down, "in detail! Was it very romantic?"
"Nope, not at all. We were eating pasta in front of a movie and he just asked me."
"Are you kidding me?" I shrieked. She stared at me, surprised. "That is romantic! What was the movie?"
"But Maya, that's cute!"
"I never said it wasn't. You need to learn to control yourself."
"Can I see your ring? And can I be maid of honour?"
"Of course you'll be maid of honour, and here," she held out a hand that bore a delicate gold band with two diamonds on it.
"I want one too," I whined.
"You'll get one someday, don't worry. What's the smell?"
"Crap, dinner's burning!"
We manage to save the food, and settled down to eat.
"So," I confronted her, "when are you and Liam getting married?"
"Well, we were thinking March."
"So, since we're almost in November, that leaves you with a bit more than four months?"
"But that's nothing! You need a dress, I need a dress, bridesmaids need a dress, not forgetting flowers, food, location, finding a wizard who can marry you off..."
"Actually, we're getting married the Muggle way. In a church."
"Liam's parents are Muggles. Really Cat, don't you remember anything?"
"I do, I remember my name, age, and residence. That's already a lot for my small brain..."
She burst out laughing. "And you want to be maid of honour? You'd probably turn up in your Puddlemere robes half an hour late."
"I probably would," I agreed. "Seriously though, you want me to be maid of honour?"
"Who else could I ask?"
"Kiwi? Liam's brother?"
"Well, Kim's definitely going to be a bridesmaid, but not maid of honour, unless you suddenly do something very dumb in the coming months that makes me forbid you access to my wedding. Also, Jeremy is already Liam's best man, so that doesn't work either." Her face clouded. "And if mama had been here she would have killed me for not choosing you."
"What about you wear her dress?" I suggested quietly.
"She didn't keep it."
"Of course she did, it's in the attic at dad's place! How can you even think she would have thrown it away?"
"It's in the attic?" Merlin, for a Ravenclaw she could be really slow.
"Yes, I used to try it on as a kid, and after mama died it's the first thing I checked for."
Her mouth fell into a small O. "I thought dad had thrown it out. Do you think... Do you think it would fit?"
"I think so. It may need to be shortened a bit, but for all I remember you two have the same kind of frame."
"We're going tomorrow." It wasn't a question. Hey, at least now you realise the bossy thread runs in the family. It's not just me.
We chatted all night, lying on mattresses we had dragged into the living room, just like when we were children, going from dragons to Quidditch to boys to weddings. And of course, I told her about Kiwi. Her reaction was similar to mine. Ah, the wonders of great spirits meeting!
"She's obviously in denial. Okay, so maybe nothing happened, but the way she just assumes is ridiculous. Has she talked to Oliver?"
"Uh? Of course not, this is Kiwi we're talking about. But he doesn't remember anything either."
I then proceeded to tell her about the overheard conversation.
"He's in denial too, then, though it seems to be at a different scale," she pondered.
"In what sense?"
"Kiwi's only denying one night. Oliver is denying his feelings."
I sat bolt upright. "Maya! We can get Kiwi out of her denial phase!"
"Oh?" She sounded interested.
"You work on brain damage at Saint Mungo's!"
"Don't you learn anything about memory stabilisation?"
"No way. I am not stabilising Kiwi's memory for her to remember." Her voice was firm.
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," I sighed in defeat. "Though honestly I think she actually does want to know, except that she's afraid of the answer."
"And this, my friend, is the moment during which you demonstrate your perfect knowledge of Kiwi's psychology. Good night, Cat."
My sister was the best.
When Kiwi came back on Sunday evening, I had once and for all decided to drop the subject.
But have you noticed? Things rarely go as planned.
"So," she was sitting on one of the kitchen stools, mechanically stirring her tea around. "It turns out I do remember a few things from that night when I ended waking up next to Oliver."
"Oh?" I asked as carelessly as I could manage. I did not want to speak about this, I was going to end up spilling the beans to everyone.
"Cat." Her blue eyes bore a hole through my head. "Don't act like you don't give a shit, because I know it's not true."
I sat down on the stool next to hers. "Sorry. Yes. You remembered. Develop?"
"We did have sex." Her voice was barely audible.
I refrained a clamouring "I told you so!" and instead just asked: "How can you be sure? I mean, less than a month ago, you were positive nothing had happened, and now you say the opposite? Is there any fail-safe way that allows you to be one hundred percent sure this time? You know, just to..."
"Cat," she interrupted me quietly, "I'm sure I had sex because I'm pregnant."
A/N: Protego! I've been wanting to publish this chapter for quite some time now. I think there's nothing to say.
Kirsty Simmons - Her name comes from Kirsty, who was the first to review the previous chapter.
Batsoulini/Maria - I hope you're not mad that I named the eagle after you? If yes, I'll change it, and will find another way to include you into the story.
All of you guys rock: those who read, those who favourite and those who review. I cannot express my gratitude properly.
Review please? Even though you're probably sending death threats my way now!
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