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Keep Away by Mistress

Format: Novel
Chapters: 27
Word Count: 124,033
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Mild violence, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: Fred, George, Oliver, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 03/06/2008
Last Chapter: 12/03/2010
Last Updated: 12/03/2010

Summary:
I could kill him. I could ruddy kill him. How was I supposed to try out for his blasted Quidditch team if I couldn't even FLY?! I'd show him. I'd show Oliver-pompous-Wood if I had to fall on my face a thousand times. Which  I did. Oliver/OC

SEQUEL "Hide and Seek" now posted


Chapter 1: Spreading the Word
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A/N: The timing in this fic makes is slightly AU, considering Harry should be Seeker and Wood should be two years ahead of Jane and not one. I also did something quite a few other people did while writing Oliver/OC and eliminated the trio, but they kind of took away from the story so I felt it was the right thing to do. Enjoy!

Maybe this year I could try it. I had been watching for such a long time and hearing Ang and Alicia and Katie talk about it, but I had never really done it. Fred and George made it sound like an orgasmic ritual with body paint and awkward piercings, but I knew that was rubbish. Still, though, every time I watched Quidditch from the stands I felt a pang of regret for not learning to fly properly.

Hell, it was my sixth year and I should be able to have some fun.

I looked at the broom in my hands. It was old and I took it from the broom shed, but I knew it worked.

I stared it down.

It stared back. Somehow.

“I can do this,” I said quietly, putting it down between my legs. “Maybe when I tried to fly my first year it was just a fluke.” I sighed. “Ok, so I’m rubbish at flying. I just want to…maybe if I want it bad enough I’ll just take off like one of the Finches players.” Another sigh. “Maybe I might be able to stay on this time.”

The air was warm against my face as I kicked off against the dirt of the Quidditch pitch. I didn’t feel the early autumn air for long, however, because I was barely a meter off the ground before I fell sideways and I was given a facial by some earthworm-filled soil.

“That look is really you.”

I groaned. Out of all the people that could possibly witness my sorry excuse for a broom ride, I had to hear the Scotish drawl of the one man I hated the most at Hogwarts: Oliver Wood. I could see him walking toward me, smug expression of satisfaction on his face, as he held his expensive Nimbus at his side.

I stood up, quickly wiping the dirt from my face in any attempt to make myself look decent—or at least that I had meant to wipe out like a git. “Yeah thanks, Wood.” I dusted off my pants hurriedly and picked up the sour broom beside me. “It’s the newest feint.” I rolled my eyes.

Wood chuckled. “Jane Perry, you’re something else.”

“Why is that?” I let him continue despite my wanting to strangle him for, well, anything.

“Because you spent the last five years telling everyone that Quidditch was rubbish because you couldn’t play and here you are out on the pitch trying to get a ruddy broom in the air.”

Even though I knew he would take a shot at my now filthy attire, I wasn’t directly expecting him to see through me. I frowned. “Shut it, Wood. I just wanted to make sure this broom worked…for some first year upstairs…wanted to test it out.” I knew my face was getting red but I didn’t care. I couldn’t stand him or his know-it-all attitude.

“Do you need help learning to fly?”

My face was hot again, this time with a little more anger than humiliation. “Shut up, Wood!” I said, hoisting the broom over my shoulder. “It’s broken! I can fly just fine! I told you lot I have motion sickness so I can’t get too high.”

Wood was laughing as he mounted his own broom and trailed behind me as I walked back toward the castle.

“What are you doing?”

He smirked. I hated his smirk. “I’m following you.”

“Why?” I said loudly. “Don’t you have some blond fifth year to snog or something? Fan pictures to sign? Captain-ing to do?”

Wood chuckled lightheartedly. His dark eyes sparkled as he sprawled out on his broom, hands propping up his head as he glided next to me. “I tested every broom in that closet this morning because McGonagall wanted them safe for First Years to learn how to fly next week. No one has touched that broom since then.”

I stopped on the grass long enough for my lips to go from red to white. “Stop lying, Wood.”

He was looking at me strangely, like he knew something I didn’t. There was a playful smirk tugging at his lips as he watched me. “There’s a Seeker position open this season, Perry.”

“Sod off, Wood,” I said, resuming my pace toward the castle.

He laughed lightheartedly from behind me and kept going. “I heard you talking to yourself too.”

Trying to compose myself, I kept walking. He was not going to get inside my head. I would not let him. “I told you to sod off. That means I want you to go the hell away.”

“Why didn’t you even tell your mates you couldn’t fly?”

“WOOD SHUT YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW!” I couldn’t help it. My brown hair flew all over my face as my fists clenched up, one around the broom so tight that I could almost feel splinters seeping into my palm.

He was still laughing. “No need to get so upset, Perry. I’m just observing.”

“You do a lot of that,” I retorted. “You need to observe your way out of here.” Yes, it was a completely lame come back compared to our usual snappy retorts but I wanted to die. I wanted to shove the cheap broom so far down his throat that he would be forced to never play Quidditch again because of some circumstance.

Wood smirked at me. He sat up on his broom again, still hovering. He was an obvious Quidditch player—even people that did not know him would be able to pick him out of a crowd because of the arm muscles forcing his t-shirt to stretch. He was a Keeper, all right, but he was a damn cocky one which is why I never paid mind to the muscles all the girls swooned over.

“I suppose I’ll just observe my way back to the castle then,” he said quietly, eyeing me. I really think he lived to drive me insane.

It went back so long, Wood and I at each other’s throats. We had known each other since my mates got onto the Quidditch team, but the first time he actually met me was my fourth year, his first year as captain. Angelina had entered our dormitory with a bloody nose and the other two were both helping her fix it and limping because of the grueling practices they had been having.

After being completely fed up with Oliver high-horse Wood and his before-dawn practices and hundreds of bleacher sprints, I marched downstairs (dodging flecks of Angelina’s blood) and poked him hard in the chest.

“Look here, Wood!” I said loudly. “I’m sick of you! You’re a rubbish captain with your crack of dawn practices and your teammates aren’t doing good in their classes because of you!” If I would have thought it through before I did the marching I would have thought of something much more clever to say.

“So you’re mad?” He was very calm and collected, an attractive fifth year boy with smooth hair and a small group of girls around him.

I then realized I had an audience. “Yes! Bloody yes I’m mad!”

“Are you sure you aren’t mad because they made the Quidditch team and you didn’t?”

My eyes were the size of tea saucers. “What the—fucking NO I’m not mad I didn’t make the team! I don’t even LIKE Quidditch!”

“Don’t like Quidditch?” Wood asked. He was irritatingly calm about the entire ordeal as if he dealt with the friends of his players daily. “Well, I don’t think we can even talk. I don’t speak with people that don’t like Quidditch.”

I thought about throwing several things at him, including a log from inside the fireplace.

“Or,” he said suddenly, cutting of my list of things that I wanted to throw at him, “are you just mad because I’m taking your friends away from you?” Wood raised a brow.

“No I’m not—that’s not even what I’m talking about!”
He nodded. “Yes, of course it’s not.” He yawned. Wood actually yawned, then added. “That’s nice, though. I’ll tell the girls you really care about them and to meet me at the pitch a half hour early to do a hundred sprints.”

I stared right back at him, my finger still close to his chest. “You—you’re horrible!” Without thinking of a single interesting or insulting thing to say, I turned and marched my unproductive way right back into the dormitory and opened one of Angelina’s Quidditch magazines to try and find out what all the hype was about.

I continued walking back up to the castle, trying to ignore the Quidditch captain floating behind me, watching my every move. For some reason, I paid attention to the way I walked with the broom over my shoulder and made sure not to slouch too much. My dad had been telling me that for years, but being watched was awkward enough already without me slouching and looking like a prat.

“I just can’t believe it,” Wood said, breaking the silence. “After all these years of you telling me how ridiculous I am as a captain—”

“I meant every word.”

“—that you don’t even know how to fly.”

“What does that have to do with you being a rubbish captain?”

“Nothing,” he answered joyfully, “but I just got you to admit you can’t fly.”

I couldn’t help it. I threw the broom at Wood and he ducked just in time.

“Touchy! Touchy!” he chimed, circling through the air and coming back down to pick the broom up off the grass and carry it to where I was walking, now fuming. “It’s not like I’m going to tell anyone.”

I narrowed my eyes. It was common knowledge that anything Wood or I knew about each other was fair game to spread rumors about (when he made a bet and had to dress in drag for a show in Hogsmeade) or ruin lives about (when I had a girly crush on Lee Jordan and Wood spilled the beans over cereal in the Great Hall after my long night of homework. Needless to say, Lee did not find the bags under my eyes at all attractive).

“What do you want?”

He smirked. “Whatever do you mean, Perry?”

I stopped again and folded my arms. “Don’t play stupid, Wood. What do you want? I know you want nothing more than to tell the whole damn school that Jane Perry can’t fly…so what do you bloody want?” It made me wonder if the sole reason he even came out to the pitch was to find something out to humiliate me with it.

Wood thought for a moment. At least it looked like he was thinking because he put his thumb and index finger to his chin in mock impression of the gesture. “Ok! I know!”

I wrinkled my nose and looked around to make sure no one was around listening to our strangely calm conversation. “What, Wood?” I said through gritted teeth.

“Why don’t you tell them, anyway?” He stared for a moment, curious. “I mean they’ve been your best mates for six years now and you never told them you can’t bloody fly.”

“None of your business,” I snapped. “What do you want, Wood?”

Wood let his Nimbus float back and forth for a moment before looking back over, his mahogany eyes obviously enjoying the torment he was putting me through. “You have to try out for Seeker.”

I almost lost my footing even though I was standing perfectly still on the ground. “Ex-excuse me?”

“Yeah. You have to try out. You can use a better broom though.” Wood pulled the broom closer to his eyes for inspection. “Yes, this is just rubbish. I’ll see that you get a good one for try-outs.”

I gaped at him. “You can’t be serious.”

“Oh, I am, Perry.”

My teeth were nearly grinding together. Oliver Wood had taken things too far with this one. Either way I was done for. If I refused to try out, Wood would simply let the secret slip over some sort of food in the morning. If I did try out, my secret was out anyway. I looked at him.

“Fine,” I said lightly. I would not let him best me in this.

Wood beamed. “Great. See you on the pitch in a couple of weeks.” He blew me a sarcastic, pompous kiss, and flew back toward the castle with the beat-up broom still in hand.

I groaned, dragging my feet the rest of the way up the path. He was a lousy git.

But, I thought, opening the doors and walking into the Entrance Hall, I could get away with it. I couldn’t stop him from telling if I didn’t try out, but I could stop myself from being complete rubbish at the Seeker try outs.

I could learn how to fly.

That optimism was erased before it had a chance to make me smile. If I were to learn how to fly, who would teach me? I paused outside of the Great Hall for a moment. The only person that knew my silly secret was Oliver Wood and I would rather throttle him and then myself then ever ask him for help, the lousy git.


The girls were in the dormitory when I arrived. Each looked up as I clicked the door shut and collapsed on my bed.

“Rough…studying?” asked Angelina. She was browsing through her large Potions book from her own bed, feet kicked up on a few pillows.

I nodded. “Library was extra crowded today,” I replied with a sarcastic grin. I’d almost forgotten my library lie before I left to try and figure out the whole ‘flying’ thing. “I had to elbow some third years just to get a table.”

Angelina raised a brow, probably wondering if she should ask me what was really making me act like an irritated git. She decided against it, however, and placed her eyes back in the book. I admired Angelina for her studious nature, but I would never be able to pull that off. She was organized and in control and she weighed her options at every choice—even breakfast.

Alicia, however, was quite the opposite and it was obvious. She had a Charms essay due the next day, but her nose was in a Quidditch magazine as she took a quiz about Which Quidditch Position Would You Play? I watched her for a moment. She bit her tongue a few times and erased some answers. Alicia, at least to me, was the life of the group. She made things worth doing—even if Angelina disapproved and it was completely against the rules.

And then there was Katie. Quiet, romantic Katie. At the moment she was desperately trying to finish a Transfiguration essay even though it was not due for another three days. She did those kinds of things and it was my theory that she did it just to explain facts to us that we didn’t know (and didn’t care to know). Katie was always full of something random and uninteresting. It was also common knowledge that she had an infatuation with George Weasley. The only person it was not common knowledge to was her and George.

“Finish your Potions essay?” asked Angelina, closing her book lightly.

I made a face. “No.”

“You were in the library for an hour!”

“I told you…it was too crowded. I couldn’t concentrate.”

Angelina narrowed her eyes. She was about to reply when Alicia cut her off.

“This is RUBBISH!” she cried, chucking the magazine across the room and knocking a few hats off of the coat rack. “Keeper? I’ll bloody show YOU Keeper!”

Katie snorted. “We’d better go tell Oliver he’s off the team.”

“Good,” I muttered.

“Oh, don’t get Jane started,” said Angelina loudly, laughing a bit. “Once she gets something in her head she’ll find a way to do it.” She paused, faking a striking thought. “Oh! Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. I might find out what sleep is for once in my sodding life.”

I nodded wholeheartedly while the others laughed.

Alicia leaned back, now magazineness and looking for something to occupy her mind. Her eyes turned toward me. “Janey, do you ever think you’re going to get along with Wood?”

“Why in hell would I go and do that?”

She made a face. “Well, because it’s kind of hard to get together with the team when two of the members hate each other.”

“I’m not on the team.”

“You might as well be. I reckon you’re on the team but you just don’t play.” Katie smiled. “You’re the cheerleader.”

“Oh, brilliant. Cheerleader.”

“I’m serious,” said Alicia. “You two loathe each other and all you do is fight when we get together. Hell, even if you two are across the room there’s something said.”

I didn’t even know why she was asking me this again—we have had that conversation several hundred times over the past couple of years and each time I try to explain to her that I would like nothing more than to see Oliver sodding Wood wiped off the planet along with his pompous face and his obnoxious wink.

“Look,” I said, getting to my feet and putting on some slippers. “I don’t want to get along with Oliver Wood and he doesn’t want to get along with me. He’s a real asshole and maybe when he learns to treat people fairly I might say something nice…but until then (and by then I mean when hell freezes over) I hate his bloody guts.” With that, I turned and left the dormitory, heading down the spiral staircase and into the common room.

It was surprisingly vacant for a Thursday afternoon except for two red-haired twins laughing in front of the fireplace. I breathed a sigh of relief. If anyone was to make me feel better it was these two.

I sank into a comfy chair beside them and smiled. “Hey, boys.”

Fred looked up and shot me a devilish grin. “Janey! I’ve heard the news!”

I raised a brow and yawned. “What? That Alicia is really destined to be a Keeper?”

“That you can’t ruddy fly, love!”

My entire stomach sank to somewhere around my ankles while my temper flared up quickly. “What in the—where did you hear that load of rubbish from?” I could feel my face get hot and my nails were slowly tearing the upholstery on the chair.

Fred raised a brow and elbowed his twin. “Oliver Wood.”


A/N- I would really love to see what everyone thought that read this (especially if you enjoyed it because I love to hear from people that did like it). Let me know :)


Chapter 2: Perry Practice
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My arms flew into the air, narrowly missing the lamp beside me. “OLIVER WOOD!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!”

Fred’s eyes widened and he held up a hand to quiet me. “Jane—Jane don’t—”

“Oliver Wood…Oliver bloody Wood.” I was on my feet now, pacing back and forth and trying to dig up some sort of revenge on the fly.

“What about Oliver Wood?”

I knew who it was before she finished her question. Libby Williams was standing a few meters away with her arms on her hips and a quizzical expression on her brow. Leave it to the number one member of the Oliver Wood fan club (or as I called them, the shriekers) to hear his name while passing.

“He died in a bar fight!” I cried angrily. “Now go set up funeral times!” I chucked a throw pillow at her resulting in Libby giving me an offended glance as she made her way out of the portrait hole. “I bloody hate her!”

Fred and George tried their best to calm me down. “Jane, let me explain!” Fred said, pulling me back into the chair.

“He didn’t just go telling every bloke he saw. There’s a reason,” explained George. They were smiling.

Why would Oliver Wood tell the twins something he’d sworn not to tell—well, he didn’t particularly swear not to. That wasn’t the point. The point was that he put some rubbish about trying out for Seeker in my head only to humiliate me anyway!

“Wood told us about what you have to do,” Fred whispered so that only his twin and I could hear. “He said you have to try out for Seeker or he goes and tells the whole school you can’t fly.”

I nodded. That was obvious.

“He told us,” continued George before I could interrupt with Wood-hating words, “because he thought we could help you learn to fly.”

I held up my hands. “Look, guys. No offense, but Wood is full of it.”

“What do you mean?” George raised a brow.

“I can fly just fine. I learned like everyone else in our first year,” I said with a snigger. “I told you lot already, I have serious motion sickness. Wood saw me out on the pitch earlier. I was testing out a broom low to the ground because I can’t fly higher or I’ll get sick. He’s just spreading rumors again, boys.” I shot them my most convincing grin.

There was no way I was going to let this happen. Sure, the twins could definitely help me learn to fly, but there was no way the both of them could keep their mouths shut for a couple weeks until try-outs. Fred would eventually blab to Angelina about where his spare time not snogging her was going and George would pick up a bottle of whiskey and explain about my not kicking off properly to the entire common room. It wasn’t happening.

“Really? You can fly fine then?”

I nodded heavily. “I can fly fine, boys. Wood is just a silly prat.”

Fred smiled, more than likely thinking of spending more snogging time with Angelina. “Well, good to hear then. I think I’ll go finish my…erm…Potions essay for tomorrow. See you, Janey.”

I waved, heading out through the portrait hole and making my way downstairs. Once out of earshot, my temper flared right back up. Wood wanted to help me learn to fly by telling the two people most likely to tell the entire blasted school! What a sly man he was.

Bloody hell, I’d lost all of my power against him. I didn’t even have an argument, which did not come in handy once I knocked into him just before the top of the marble staircase.

“Wood!” I cried. “Watch where you’re going!”

Wood laughed at me and I watched a smile brighten his tanned face. “Perry, where are you going in such a hurry? Quidditch practice?”

“Don’t be stupid, Wood.” I tried to walk around him. I did not need this right now, especially since he held all of the cards in his hands.

“Talk to the twins yet?”

That did it. “YES, I TALKED TO THE DAMN TWINS, WOOD!” I cried, shoving him with my pointer finger. “I thought we had a deal! I can’t believe you!”

He looked slightly taken aback. “We do have a deal—”

“Deal my arse! You telling them breaks our damn deal, Wood!”

“Hold it, Perry.” He held out his arms and placed his hands gruffly on my shoulders. I stood for a second, frozen because his hands gripped my shoulders so hard. “I didn’t do that to break our deal. I did that so they could help you learn so you won’t make a prat out of yourself at try outs.”

“I don’t know why you even want me to try out to be your sodding Seeker, Wood. I don’t even like Quidditch.”

Wood cocked a brow. “Yes, that’s why you’ve subscribed to the Quidditch Weekly magazine for two years now.”

“I mean I don’t like playing it!” I cried, wriggling away from his hands. “I know you’re doing this just to humiliate me and I’ll have you know I’ll try out just FINE!”

“Will you?” He smirked again in his usual, arrogant way.

“Yes. And I don’t need Fred and George’s help to do it. I can do it myself you good-for-nothing prat!” With that, I stepped to the side before he could block me and made my way down the stairs. At least I had the last word even though I knew learning to fly was going to be my downfall.

“Maybe Johnson or Spinnet will want to help you…I’ll ask them…”

“WOOD! DON’T MAKE ME COME BACK UP THERE!”

He chuckled as he walked away, back toward Gryffindor Tower, an obvious skip in his step.



I found a different broom in the back of the outdoor closet this time and I examined it closely before plucking cobwebs off of the ends. I didn’t know what I was examining for, but it looked sound. It looked like a broom.

The pitch was deserted like that morning and I walked to the center of it, wind whistling through my long brown hair (every once in a while knocking a piece of it into my mouth or eye). It was nice, being on the grass that I watched from the stands. I felt almost powerful. Playfully, I lifted the broom above my head in imitation of winning the Quidditch Cup.

“Thank you, thank you!” I cried, laughing into the hard autumn wind. “I’d like to dedicate this win to the years of reading Quidditch Weekly and to this broom that finally got its chance!” I paused, laughing harder now. “And with this win I would like to make my first act as Quidditch-Cup-Winner to name myself captain and kick the bloody Scotsman off the team!”

I smiled to myself, imagining the cheers pumping through my ears. Sure, it was a lofty goal but it was nice all the same. Mounting the broom, I took in a deep breath. This was it—the moment of undefined truth. I bent my knees and kicked off as hard as I could.

I was flying—wind in my hair and face toward the sky. Unfortunately, once I was off the ground I didn’t know exactly what to do—so I experimented. I pushed my body forward into the broom, but it took off toward the other end of the pitch so quickly that before going even four meters my face was implanted in the grassy pitch.

It was a soft landing even though my mouth was full of dirt. I sat up, dusting off my robes and trying to wiggle the blades of grass out of my hair, and I looked around. No one had seen (thankfully), but I wasn’t taking any more chances. There was no way I would be able to continue in the day light.

I picked up the broom, cursing at it quietly as I made my way across the pitch.

“Jane! Jane, I’m glad you’re here!”

I turned. The girls were walking toward me dressed in their Quidditch robes and holding brooms.

Alicia grinned. “I’ve got to show these lousy gits who’s boss. Keeper…I ruddy swear.”

Angelina chuckled, stretching out a few feet from me. “We’ve been taunting her about her true calling since you left.” She looked over at the seething Alicia. “And don’t worry, Jane, Wood isn’t coming.”

“What do you mean? Why would he?”

Katie mounted her broom, letting the dying light capture her face. “We called an emergency practice but we told Oliver that Alicia would fill in!”

“I swear to MERLIN I’m going to bloody KILL YOU!” Alicia took off after her, waving her hands around like a mad woman.

I groaned. “All right, you girls have fun.” I smiled, making my way past Angelina.

“Where are you going? I was hoping you’d be the other Chaser while Alicia fulfills her life dreams.” Angelina poked me with her broom. “C’mon, Jane, you never fly with us. You’ve got a shelf full of Quidditch magazines and you can never fill in.”

“I don’t feel good.”

“You never feel good!” Angelina countered.

This was a hell of a time for them to finally be asking me about playing Quidditch. I thought for a moment while glancing up at Katie swerving in and out of the hoops away from Alicia. It had to be Oliver that pressured them into this.

“Look,” I said, holding up my hands. “I told you I have severe motion sickness. I’m going to bed.”

Angelina frowned. “All right. I’ll send the Keeper up in a bit.”

My eyes went to the size of tennis balls. “Wha—huh? Why would you do that? Why would I want to see him?”

She raised a brow. “Erm…I meant Alicia, but if you want me to send up Wood I have no problem doing so. Maybe the two of you can reconcile something so we can go out and have a dinner in Hogsmeade together.”

“Leave it alone, Ang.” I threw my broom over my shoulder, huffing, and continued on my way. All the way back to the castle I could hear Alicia screaming vulgar things at Katie.



Things didn’t seem to be looking up. Every time I tried to learn, someone came and interrupted me or I ate so much dirt I was full. I tried. I tried until the poor broom was splintering at the ends and my hems were six inches deep in mud. Nothing seemed to be working and it didn’t help that Fred was gloating at dinner about try-outs only being a week away.
I spent hours in the common room pouring over books on techniques, cursing myself for not just learning when I had the chance. The twins figured I had a paper to do and the girls were gossiping too much for their own good and stayed away from me and my books. To them, gossiping in the dormitory probably looked a lot better than quizzing me on whatever I was working on.

The Thursday before Saturday’s try-outs I stood on the pitch, having reserved it privately for the afternoon. I started my routine the same way, mounting my broom, taking a deep breath, and then eating dirt. I had improved considerably. Now I got at least six feet in the air before falling to my doom.

“This is rubbish!” I cried, falling to my knees in the grass and throwing the broom as far as it would go. “I don’t WANT to try out for sodding SEEKER! I don’t even LIKE Seekers!”

“That’s not very good team spirit.”

My face almost went back into the dirt.

“Perry, you just haven’t practiced enough.”

I turned around to see Oliver Wood smirking at me. He was holding his broom over his shoulder, standing back so that his weight was shifted on one leg.

“Oh, wonderful. It would have been nice to have the entire summer to practice or maybe a little lead way on the date of the try-outs. Must be nice to have that kind of power, Wood.” I stood up, dusting off my pants. “I don’t need you out here tearing the mickey out of me, you know.”

“I know,” he said. “I came out here to teach you to fly.”

“I do NOT need your help, Wood.”

Oliver bit his lip. He folded his arms and surveyed me, something I found increasingly annoying. “No, I’ve been watching you for a few days now and I think you need my help.”

“If it wasn’t for YOU, I wouldn’t even have to try out for this bloody position and I could go back to reading my damn magazines and going to games. I don’t need your help of all people. If I needed help, I would ask…someone else.”

“But not the twins,” Oliver replied. “No, not them. And not the Chasers…they’re excellent fliers, by the way. I should know. Who then?”

“Anyone but you,” I snapped, walking away to grab the broom. “Now bugger off, Wood!” I pushed my right leg over the broom and kicked off. And then ate dirt. Some even got into my hair.

“Let me help,” he said, pulling me off the ground. “You just need to adjust your balance.”

“Don’t touch me.” I turned and walked toward the large hoops, flipping my hair as I went. I took a deep breath, staring at the stupid broom in front of me. I should just forfeit and Oliver would get the privilege of telling the entire school (or just Gryffindors who would be at the practice, but they would tell the entire world) that I was a fake.

“Are you sure?”

I narrowed my eyes and brushed my hair onto my back. I could do this. I glanced over at him, still standing in the same position. I could beat him at this even if I didn’t get made stupid sodding Seeker of his team.

“Balance on both legs, Perry.”

“GO TO HELL, WOOD!” I did it though, balanced with both of my knees slightly bent.

“Grab it with your right hand in front of your left if you’re right handed!”

“I told you to go jump off a cliff!” I adjusted my hold.

“Make sure you’re sitting correctly on the broom and then kick off my bending your knees at the same angle!”

This time I didn’t reply, only bent my knees and kicked off as gently as I possibly could. My toes skimmed the grass for a few meters until I landed abruptly, but that was the first time I had not completely landed face-first in the Quidditch pitch mud. And it was the worst possible mud—mixed with insects and the leftovers from the bottoms of people’s shoes.

“Nice flying, Perry!” Oliver turned, snickering to himself, and walked toward the exit to the pitch.

I made a face, stepping away from the broom for a moment and staring around at the grass that was in tact instead of interrupted by large shoe skid marks and face prints. “Oy, Wood!” I cried, running a few steps after him before I stopped.

“Hmm?” He turned.

“Sod off.” I smiled.

He returned it and left the pitch. “Keep practicing, Perry. I’ll call the Canons about you.” I could have sworn there was a wink before he vanished into the darkness toward the castle.

Rolling my eyes, I took a seat on the nearest bench. Perhaps this was not going to be as difficult as I thought.


On Saturday morning I remembered why I hated the actual playing of Quidditch. Angelina woke me around six in the morning. I had no idea what six was. I didn’t know six existed until Ang pointed at the clock.

“Wake up, Jane. It’s time to get moving.”

“For what? Fire? Apocalypse?” I muttered.

“Quidditch,” she replied with a cocky grin.

“Same bloody thing.” I pulled the covers over my eyes, but they vanished soon after from the well-placed wand flick of Alicia. “Why am I getting up again?”

“Because Oliver told us you’re trying out for Seeker.”

I shot up in bed. “Excuse me?”

“Last night in the common room after you’d gone to bed,” said Katie with a smile. “We asked for the list of people trying out for the spot and your name was on it.”

“So naturally, we figured it had to be a mistake,” said Alicia, narrowing her eyes and ruffling through her wardrobe for something.

“But no,” continued Angelina, “dear Oliver assured us that it was true. So we decided that you were going to wake up with us this morning.”

“And tell us exactly why you decided not to tell us you could fly or that you were trying out for Seeker…this late in our stay at Hogwarts.” Alicia folded her arms.

I pressed my face into the nearest pillow. “Oliver Wood is a git and I hate him.”

“Yes, we all know that rubbish. Get on with it,” said Katie. “We’ve got Quidditch soon.”

I pushed the pillow down so the girls could see my eyes and even though my lying was horrible compared to anyone else at the school, I managed to think something up that was relatively convincing. “I…erm…I had motion sickness before but then I was testing out brooms a few weeks ago and I didn’t feel any discomfort. So I…I saw Oli—Wood and he told me to try out and I didn’t want to…but I agreed anyway.”

Alicia raised a brow and stared at me hard. “Why?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think I’m any good but I figured I’d give it a go anyway since I’ve never tried. I don’t expect to make it or anything, but it sounded like…fun.” I had to swallow before the final word. I tried to look the girls in the eye, but both of my eyes were watering with guilt and in the end I told them I had to go to the loo and sort myself out since it was so early.

I could hear them talking in the other room.

“What’s up with her?” asked Katie.

“Bloody hell if I know. I bet her and Wood snogged for a while or something.”

“Alicia! That’s ridiculous. You know those two would rather be lunch for the Squid than even look at each other,” said Angelina. “I bet this was something Oliver cooked up. I’m going to have a word with him about messing with Jane. She seems vulnerable right now.”

“THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S SIX IN THE BLOODY MORNING!” I cried from the other side of the bathroom door.


The pitch was dry when I arrived on it, my shoes barely sinking into the dirt. I was wearing my regular robes and had the old beat-up broom with me. Catching sight of a few of the other people trying out for Seeker, I noticed they were all dressed in Gryffindor garb and sporting new broom models. There was one that had only just been released.

I wanted to get this over with more than anything.

“Perry.” Oliver put his hand on my shoulder and smiled at me briefly. “I have a present for you.”

“Death? Is it death, Wood?”

“Don’t be so dramatic,” he said, but laughed. He held out a broom. “This is for your try-out.”

I stared at the well-polished broom in front of me. “Wood…”

“Yeah, I know it’s my broom.”

“Wood, I’m going to break it.”

He raised a brow. “I didn’t think you hated me that much, Perry.”

“No! I mean I’m going to fall on my face and your broom is going to be in little tiny pieces all over the grass right next to where my head is.”

Oliver squeezed my shoulder tightly. “Good luck, Perry.” He turned, smiling, and walked toward the changing rooms where the team was sure to be waiting and Angelina would be ready to corner him.

“Wood?”

He turned again, this time without the broom from the previous evening. “Yeah?”

“Why are you making me do this?”

Oliver shot me the infamous Wood-grin and shrugged. “I’m not making you do anything, Perry. Good luck.”


The Seeker candidates were gathered at the north end of the pitch beside a large crate that presumably housed a snitch or two. The group varied between a lot of second and third years, to a few well-mannered fifth and sixth years, and then one seventh year. There was a girl who could have been a fourth year, but I had no idea. She was sort of dodgy-looking and no one was speaking to her.

When the team came out, I knew I would be jeered at. The girls refused to meet my eye out of confusion since this was obviously weird to them. I looked at Oliver and wondered if he had cracked to Angelina about my inability to fly. He was looking cheerful and Angelina was pale and anxious-looking, so I doubted he spilled anything.

Fred and George, however, were a completely different story.

“Janey! We’ve heard about your natural-born talent!” Fred cried, slapping his brother on the back with his Beater’s stick.

“Apparently we heard Wood wrong that time! I wish you would have told us sooner—would have kicked that other git off the team!” George said with a grin.

I tried to ignore them, but they were double-teaming me. A few girls in the audience giggled, but the twins paid them no mind. Both of them could have any woman in the world and yet neither of them had anyone but each other. In the most brotherly sense possible.

“All right!” called Oliver and the group quieted. Fred and George were still making faces and there was an awkward sign in the crowd behind the captain that said: WE HAVE FAITH, PICK THE RIGHT SEEKER. THEN MARRY ME. It was apparent that Oliver was trying his best to ignore the fan base behind him.

“Here’s how this is going to go. I’m going to release the snitch. You lot are going to fly in groups of four searching for it. You get points for technique, finding it the quickest, and actually finding it at all. You’ll do this a couple times just in case you’re paired with a prodigy or some rubbish like that.”

I nodded, understanding completely that I was about to look like a moron not only in front of my friends, but the Oliver Wood fan base as well.

“Oliver! Oliver!”

He turned around, annoyed since he was about to blow the whistle and let the first four into the air. “Bloody WHAT?”

“Where’s your broom?” asked the girl with the sign.

I blushed and quickly hid it behind my back.

Chapter 3: In the Air and the Wing
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When I kicked off, I thought of what Oliver had said on Thursday night. I bent my knees and held my right hand above my left. I didn’t crash into the ground. On the contrary, I flew. I was on a broom and I flew. Ok, it wasn’t good by any means. Hell, it was shaking all over the place and my hands were nearly numb, but I was flying. What I did not take into consideration, however, was the fact that I had never been incredibly fond of heights. One can see why I missed the sensation of the wind whipping through my hair because I was clutching my broom so tight.

I was grouped with one of the second years with strawberry blond hair, a burly fifth year with hair down to his shoulders, and an overly perky third year that kept giggling as she searched for the snitch. Each one didn’t look like they were sitting on a violently vibrating broomstick.

Even though I had no intention of being the Seeker for the Gryffindor team, I looked for the snitch to make it seem like I wanted it while trying to get Oliver’s broom to calm down. Fred and George were scoring me below, but not based on my flying.

“She gets another two points for having long hair,” said Fred.

“Add four for it being clean,” George added with a chuckle.

“Nice shoes,” said Fred.

“And they’re clean!”

“Shut it!” cried Oliver, jabbing George in the ribs hard. “I’m trying to concentrate.”

“You have a tough decision to make when that last bloke caught the bloody thing within a minute,” Fred replied, making a face. Oliver pushed him.

As I flew around shakily, finally getting used to being several feet off the ground, I started to look around. I had seen photos before of what it looked like being up in the air, in the middle of a Quidditch pitch, but I had never experienced it with people all around me. They were all watching and cheering. I felt their eyes pressing against me as I searched for the tiny snitch.

I thought I saw it a few times, circling around the posts, but it was far too soon to make a grab for it. I had to make them think I couldn’t do it. I enjoyed Quidditch, but not enough to play it. Ever.

Finally, after ten minutes or so of listening to the twittery third year giggle and moving my fingers around the shaking broom, I lost straight balance and ended up in a dive toward the grass, tightening my hands on the broom like Oliver had explained to the team to do some odd years ago, and went for what I thought might be the snitch. I reached out, realizing the snitch was actually there, and grabbed it in my outstretched hand. Then I fell off my broom because I had never been taught how to balance with one hand on a shaking broom.

It was a good twenty foot fall before my body slammed into the ground and I tasted a familiar taste.

“Jane!”

I peeled my face out of the dirt and rubbed my head. Everything was spinning, but I managed two see two red-heads in front of me, along with three…or six…girls.

“Jane, are you all right?” asked Katie, taking my hand.

“Erm…”

“That was one hell of a dive!” cried Fred. “Left! Right! Left! SLAM!”

“Quit being a prat,” said Angelina.

“Is…” I muttered, trying to see straight while wiping off my tongue with my free hand. “Is Wood’s broom all right?”

The twins burst into laugher, Fred actually falling back onto his arse.

“Oliver lent you his broom?” asked Alicia. I could tell by her voice she was giving me her narrowing-the-eyes-in-suspicion look.

“Yeah. I was borrowing one. It was rubbish,” I said. I still couldn’t see well and my head was pounding. The grass felt dry and crisp under my fingers.

“The woman almost DIES and she’s asking how Oliver bloody Wood’s broom is!” George said, laughing hard. He fell down beside his twin.

“Move on.”

I looked up and a tall figure pushed past the small crowd trying to talk to me. Oliver leaned down. “You ok, Perry?” he asked.

“Erm…sure. Cuppa tea and I’m dandy.” I tried to smile.

“You fell at an odd angle,” he said as if I had not even replied. “You twisted around so that the broom fell on you…instead of the broom padding any of your fall.”

“Yeah. Erm…I told you I would break it so I made sure I didn’t.” I rubbed my head again. The people in the crowd were talking loudly and the sun was hurting now more than ever. “I’m going to…I don’t think I want to play Quidditch anymore…”

Angelina chuckled. “Did you give the spot to that Danny bloke, Oliver?”

He nodded. “Caught it quick all four times I tested him, didn’t he? I’m putting you on reserve, Perry.”

Fred and George each choked. George ended up having to pound his twin’s back because there was some sort of phlegm that got stuck.

“Excuse me?” I looked up at the two or three Oliver Wood’s beside me. “There’s no way I’m going to—”

“That dive was brilliance, Perry. A little more practice and we’ll have you ready for a game if Danny boy ever gets sick.” Oliver reached out and took my hand. His was warm. “C’mon, trouper, let’s get you to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey’s going to have my head about this. Someone always seems to get injured during my try-outs…” He knelt down and pulled me to my feet.

I swayed a bit while I listened to Katie scold George for being so insensitive. Oliver then bent down, placing his arms under my knees and back, picking me up. I fell limply into his arms and Oliver carried me off of the Quidditch pitch. I could hear the Wood-fans behind me groaning and folding up their posters.

“I’m proud of you, Perry.”

I moaned slightly, trying to lift an arm to shield the sun. It didn’t work because I could hardly feel my arms so I pushed my face further against Oliver’s chest to block the light. “Proud?” I said wildly. “I could have died up there and you know it.”

“I know it, but you didn’t. You flew great.”

I rolled my eyes. “I couldn’t even turn without stopping, Wood. Don’t give me that rubbish.”

“Ok. For you, you flew great.” He laughed a bit and paused to open the door to the castle.

“I still hope you jump off a cliff, Wood. Don’t think you carrying me in here makes that any different.” I snorted.

“Of course not, Perry. Once you’re in that bed I’m back to plotting every way I can possibly spread a rumor about you.”

The hospital doors opened and Oliver placed me gently on the nearest white bed. My vision was worsening by that point and I could barely make out a figure and the windows across the room. He pulled off my shoes and sighed gruffly.

“Sorry I almost killed you, Perry,” he said at least.

“Thanks, Wood.”

He turned and I could hear his footsteps. Then he stopped. “For what?”

“You know for what.” I turned my head the other way, yawning and groaning because my body was protesting me being awake. I could hear Madam Pomfrey bustle into the room and scold Oliver for a player getting hurt…again. I closed my eyes as she examined me. I couldn’t tell if Oliver had left or not because of all the extra noise.

After Madam Pomfrey left to fetch something to help my headache, I thought I smelled a bit of cologne before I let sleep get the better of me.


Angelina and Alicia were on either side of my bed when I woke up the following day, my head still aching but much better than before. I could hear Katie’s voice in the hallways and George whining. Fred was pounding on the door.

“They want to see you,” said Angelina, noticing my eyes had opened.

“Katie won’t let them,” continued Alicia. “She thinks they’ll be rubbish for your recovery.”

“I only fell,” I said, sitting up. The room spun for a few seconds but then leveled out.

“Twenty feet,” Angelina reminded me. “How do you feel anyway?”

I shrugged. “I’ve been better. Have you lot been here this whole time? You’ve eaten, right?”

Alicia laughed, pulling a magazine out of her bag. “Not the whole time. We’ve been here for a few hours and we were here yesterday for a bit. Wood’s been here most of the time.”

“Oliver Wood?”

“No, Didier Wood,” snapped Angelina. “Who else is called Wood around here?”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Why has he been here so much?”

She shrugged. “I think he feels guilty about something…he had the same look he always has when he’s guilty. Caught him muttering something but I couldn’t make any sense of it. Something about sickness and not being able to fly right and some sort of a bet that wasn’t really a bet.”

I pretended not to understand a thing she was talking about. “I have a bone to pick with him,” I lied. “When is he supposed to be back?”

Alicia checked her watch. “In a few minutes actually.” She stood up and stretched. “I’m glad you’re awake. Watching a sleeping person is tiring.” She yawned. “Ang, you coming?”

Angelina nodded. “If you need anything, let us know, Jane. We’ll be around. Madam Pomfrey said you should be out a few hours after you wake up.” She smiled lightly at me and followed Alicia out the door. Then she blew up at Fred and George, leaving me in fits of laughter for several minutes.

The door opened seconds after my laughter subsided and in entered a very subdued looking Oliver Wood. He stared at the floor all the way to the side of my bed and then sank into the chair on my right. He bit his lip.

“Hey, Wood,” I said, trying to sound less than horrible.

He did not reply at first. Something on the floor seemed to be very interesting. “Madam Pomfrey said you’ll be out in a little bit.”

“Yeah. Ang told me,” I said slowly. I wasn’t sure what he was getting at.

“I’m sorry,” he said, just as he had said the previous day.

“Sorry for what?”

Oliver chewed on the bottom of his lip. “For almost killing you. As much as you get on my ruddy nerves, Perry, I didn’t mean to almost kill you.”

“Wood, forget it,” I said, reaching out and touching his arm. It was warm. “I fell twenty feet, not two hundred. I’m fine. I had a bump on the head and I caught the damn snitch. Game over.” I smirked.

Oliver stood up and my hand fell away from his arm. “Erm, all right then. I should go.”

I raised a brow. “All right. Apparently you’ve been here long enough. I guess whenever I need you to feel guilty all I have to do is nearly die.”

He chuckled a bit and headed for the door. He was almost there before he turned around. Oliver must have sense the power was in my hand. “By the way, I’m keeping you on reserve. There’s a team dinner next week.”

I groaned. “Go date a Slytherin, Wood,” I said before flopping back into my pillows.


Danny Ellis was very excited he was made Seeker. So excited, in fact, that he planned a party for himself. He had other third and fourth years bring in food and music while everyone looked on in complete confusion.

I stood near the door, well aware that Danny’s pompous glare was on me, and fixed my nails that had chipped during the fall. A lot of the girls that had been holding “Marry Me, Wood” signs were giggling from the sofas and every once in a while shooting me a death glare. I tried to ignore them, but sometimes they got the better of me and I let out an audible laugh.

“Janey, Janey, McBrainy!” cried Fred, throwing an arm around my shoulder roughly. “What kind of party do we have here?”

“One thrown by a bunch of fourth years?” I asked slowly.

He nodded. “One thrown by a punch of inexperienced fourth years, dearie! Georgie-poo, we must alter this at once! To the cellar! To the stores! To the party!” There were a few cheers and random people followed the twins out of the portrait hole to get whatever it was that they were getting.

I rolled my eyes and retreated upstairs, unable to take any more of the “she had Wood’s broom” talk. The girls were there doing their usual things and I ignored them, plopping down on my bed.

“Your head still hurt?” asked Alicia, ripping out a page in a magazine and setting it next to her.

“No, I’m fine. I just don’t want to deal with Danny Pompous Ellis anymore.”

“Oh no,” whispered Katie. “Tell me he’s not…”

“Throwing himself a party?” I asked and the girls gasped. “Oh, yes. He’s doing it. The twins just went to supply the party fluids.”

Katie groaned. “That twit. I told Wood he was no good…bloody tosser.”
I raised a brow at Katie. “Well said. So are you lot going to go now that Fred and George have supplied the goods?”

“I’ll probably head down after this essay,” said Angelina, not looking up from her Charms book. That was something I hadn’t done yet. “Katie’s going.”

I shot Katie a perplexed look. “Yeah? Why the sudden interest?”

“Sudden?” snorted Alicia. “Yeah, about as sudden as a glacier, this one.”

“Meaning?” I pressed, sitting up and watching Katie fade a darker shade of red.

“She’s just now realized George is fanciable,” explained Alicia. “After fighting with him the entire bleeding weekend she’s decided he’s a nice bloke. Well done, Katie. Now you know what we all know. You fancy George.”

“IdonotfancyGeorge!” Katie cried, throwing a pillow toward Alicia.

I chuckled, searching through a few of my books. “Good luck to you, Katie. Maybe you’ll be able to tame a Weasley.” With that, I snorted.

“What will you do then?” Angelina asked, finally glancing up. “Are you going to Danny’s arrogance party?”

I shook my head. “I don’t think I’m really up to having Seeker status stuffed down my throat at this point.” Of course I was lying, but I needed an excuse to get away from everyone for a while. I was still trying to take in everything that had happened in the past few weeks, especially with Oliver Wood sitting next to my bed for hours because I made him feel guilty. “I’m just going to head downstairs.”

“Will do, spinster,” chuckled Alicia. She got another pillow chucked at her.


It seemed as if the rest of the castle was partying as well. The corridors were barren except for the random prefect wandering around with a dark glare and a flashlight. I shuffled from room to room, staring down at the hard floor and running my fingers down the marble of the staircase.

I think I was avoiding the party.

I knew I wasn’t going to be made Seeker. Hell, I would have swallowed a gorilla before I wanted to become Seeker and wake up before the sun to fly around on a stick and catch a little bloody ball. But part of me didn’t want Danny Ellis to have it either. He wasn’t a bad kid, but he wasn’t a knight in shining armor either.

What did I know about knights? I had been hanging out with the Weasley twins for the past six years.

“Lost?”

I turned around, my fists tight in hopes that I wasn’t about to be completely busted for being out of bed after hours. Perplexingly enough, I was standing across the Entrance Hall from Roger Davies, the tall debonair Ravenclaw Quidditch captain. Alicia always talked about him at night when we couldn’t think of anything better to talk about. She went on and on about how fit he was and how his hair would always shine when they were out on the pitch. I never paid much attention until I looked at his hair in the light from the torches. Shiny.

“Oh,” I said stupidly, shifting backward slightly. “No. I’m just taking a walk.”

“I hope no one catches you,” Roger said, smiling warmly and walking closer. “Jane Perry, right?”

“That’s right.” I didn’t know what to do. He was walking toward me and I didn’t have a thing to do with my hands. “What are you doing out so late?”

“Same as you. I wanted to walk.”

I nodded. “It’s a good night for it…erm…warm.” And now I was talking about the weather with the dishy Ravenclaw captain. How smooth of me. I was a regular Casanova.

To my surprise, Roger laughed. Apparently he had overlooked my idiocy and sweaty palms. “You’re right. I had a rough day with finalizing my roster for the year. Speaking of which—I heard you’ve made reserve Seeker. Well done!”

“Yeah. It was quite an accomplishment,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’m glad Ellis got it, though. He’s loads better than I am.”

“Too bad he’s a right tosser,” muttered Roger and I laughed. “But you’re on the team! Maybe he’ll get hurt so you can play!”

“Oh, don’t say that!” I was laughing a bit, but I was being completely honest. I had a tiny stroke of luck by listening to Oliver and practicing my rear off, but I knew better than to think it was anything more than luck. If I were to try flying for any longer of a period of time I would be falling forty, not twenty feet. “I don’t need to play. Being on the team is enough.”

Roger nodded. “You’re modest, then. Maybe you’ll get your shot.” He looked around the empty hall. “Do you want to run down to the kitchens and snag a cup of tea or something with me?”

I stared at him for a moment, confused. Why did Roger Davies want to have a cup of tea with me? I almost snuck a glance at myself, but then I remembered after I was out of the hospital wing I vowed to make myself look presentable with some cosmetics and a nice shirt under my robes. “That sounds wonderful, Roger. I’d love to.”

He then, gentlemanly enough, offered his elbow to me and we walked a few steps (me feeling rather tingly) toward the staircase.

“Perry! There you are!”

My stomach dropped.

“Wood—what’re you doing down here?” Roger asked, looking up at the top of the stairs where Oliver was standing with an odd look on his face.

“Davies, what are you doing?” Oliver’s tone was flat and irritated.

“What do you mean, mate? I’m taking Jane for a cup of tea. We were both walking around and—”

“It’s after hours, Davies,” barked Oliver. “Don’t worry, though. I won’t tell the Head Boy on you. You’ll get banned from Quidditch or some nonsense. I’ll just take Perry back upstairs so she doesn’t get in any more trouble than she’s already in.”

I raised a brow. Trouble? When did this happen? I looked at Roger who seemed as puzzled as I was. “Wood, what in Merlin’s name—”

“Let’s go, Perry.”

Roger leaned down. “You’d better go. I think something might have happened.” He smiled lightly and planted a tiny kiss on my cheek. “I’ll see you soon then?”

I grinned in return and nodded as Oliver tapped his foot impatiently. “Sure. This was…erm, nice. See you, Roger.” I walked as slow as I could up the marble staircase, catching a glimpse back right before I reached the top, but before I could see any expression on Roger’s face my elbow was snatched by Oliver and I was rushed off in the other direction.

“Oliver Wood—bloody hell, what’s this about? What happened? Has Katie finally—?”

“Out of all the people in the world, Perry? That bloke is a creep,” Oliver snapped.

“Who—Roger?” My face fell. What was he even talking about?

“Yes, Davies! He’s a creep, Perry. Creep.”

“Ok, subject change,” I snapped, grabbing my elbow back from him quickly. “Roger has nothing to do with why you came and got me. What happened upstairs?”

He didn’t reply as we walked, but stomped his foot a little with each step.

“Wood!” I stepped in front of him on the fourth floor landing and shoved him backward slightly with my pointer finger. “What’s going on? I don’t understand.”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Make me understand!”

He groaned a bit. “The girls were all wondering where you were. That’s all. I volunteered to come find you since it’s after hours and you could have been killed or something.”

“Yes, because Hogwarts is like the wrong side of London all of a sudden.” I rolled my eyes. “You’re a pompous idiot, Oliver Wood. Can you not mind your own business?”

“What are you—I am! I told the bleeding Chasers I would come get you! They’re YOUR friends, you should understand!”

“Stop acting like the world revolves around you, Wood. You’re not doing anyone any favors, least of all my mates.” I folded my arms. “I’ll go back up to the common room…to the party…but not because you want me to. Because Roger is probably gone and the entire purpose of the walk to escape things is standing right in bloody front of me.”

Oliver looked dumbstruck but angry.

“So,” I continued, not giving him enough time to even formulate a thought, “stay away from me tonight. And if the CHASERS want to know where I am, I’ll be in the girl’s dormitory. GOT IT?”

He narrowed his eyes.

“Good.” I turned and walked up the remaining stairs to the Gryffindor Tower. After I pushed the portrait hole open I wished I hadn’t. The music was so loud I could hardly hear any random thought flying through my head.

“JANE!”

Eugh. The Weasley twins had arrived at the entrance to whisk me away into one of their circles.

“Come on, Janey!” Fred put his arm around my shoulders.

“Careful,” I said as the music threatened to deafen me, “Wood might think you’re a ruddy creep.”

He raised a brow.

“Nevermind.” I sighed loudly. “How’s this party?”

Fred squeezed my shoulders tight. “It’s ruddy horrible—but we’ve got a plan!”

Chapter 4: Arrogant Ellis
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I looked over at Fred with a confused expression on my face. “You’ve got a plan?” I repeated, the music sinking deeper and deeper into my brain. “That’s nice, guys, really, but I don’t think—”

“Sit right there, Janey,” Fred said, shoving me down on a nearby sofa and walking over to a table now packed with glass bottles.

George leaned back beside me. “We’re going to make this an actual party.”

“And how are you going to do that?”

“By being ourselves, obviously,” he said with a grin, “and teaching little Danny boy how to throw a real party.”

Fred was standing on one of the end tables now with a few drinks in hand. “Ladies and gentleman!” he called and the music was turned down several notches. “I would like to present the newest members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team—Danny Ellis and Jane Perry!”

There was clapping and I blushed a bit.

“Even though Jane is the legs of the pair, Ellis proved himself worthy by throwing himself a party!” cried Fred and the room laughed. “So now, since Danny boy is obviously oblivious in the art of party-throwing, I give you—the table of goodness!” He pointed to the large table filled with liquor bottles. “Help yourselves! Our lovely bartenders will be able to pour any drink you’d like! Have fun and be sure to catch a glimpse of Perry’s legs before you say goodnight!”

I narrowed my eyes as everyone laughed again (Angelina hit Fred hard). This was his brilliant plan? Get everyone liquored up and have them stare at my legs? Why hadn’t I just walked upstairs?

George put a sloppy arm around me. “What d’you want to drink, Janey?”

“Nothing, thanks, George,” I said, removing his arm and standing up. “I think I’ll pass on the party.”

He made a face. “Why? Don’t want to boast about your position on the team?”

“I don’t really want to boast about my reserve position, no,” I said, smiling a little. Katie was across the room getting a drink from one of the seventh year bartenders. “Why don’t you go teach Katie the art of booze, huh George?”

He stared for a moment, but in the end agreed and I watched him wander over to Katie, who was red in the face upon seeing him.

“Think they’ll finally end up together?”

I turned, my expression immediately hardening. “Sod off, Wood,” I said. “You’ve already screwed up enough of my night.”

“Because I didn’t let you have a tea party with that git Davies?” Oliver folded his arms.

“Because you thought you had any say over what I did,” I retorted, narrowing my eyes. With that, I smirked pleasantly at his speechless expression and made my way up the spiral staircase and into the girls’ dormitories.

To be alone in there was a rare treat and I used the time to catch up on some homework that I hadn’t even thought about since before trying out for that stupid Quidditch team. What was he getting at anyway, I thought as I turned the pages of my Potions book. He had originally been trying to humiliate me, but that didn’t work and I was almost killed in the process. Was he still trying to out me by getting me to spill my secrets during a team dinner or a game in which Ellis was hurt?

Blimey, what if Ellis got hurt?

I’d have to play. Real Quidditch. I just couldn’t do that…Ellis had to stay healthy no matter what—even if I wanted to throttle the little git for breathing.

I laid back against the pillows and stared at the ceiling. It had been a while since I had any peace and quiet, and it was about time I get some.

I must have drifted off to sleep listening to the distant sounds of party cries, because I jerked awake when Alicia came rushing into the room a few hours later.

“I can’t ruddy believe this!” she said, slamming the door behind her.

I rubbed my eyes and sat up, staring at her blurred figure. “Eh?”

“Now Ang has Freddie boy and they’ve been snogging for the better part of two hours under the staircase…and Katie and George finally went somewhere to be alone…good that they’ve noticed each other but here I am with NO ONE!”

“Well, I’m here,” I muttered, unable to think of something with substance to say.

“No, you’re there, Jane. I was down there. Both the other girls were gone AND both the twins…my amusement!” Alicia cried, flopping down onto her bed. “And what’s worse is Wood is so bloody excited about something that happened earlier that he’s not even worth having a conversation with.”

“Excited about what?”

“What do you bloody care? You hate him anyhow,” Alicia snapped. Then her expression softened and she took a deep breath. “Sorry. Sorry, I’m not mad at you, Jane. He didn’t say what it was…just that it was about Dodger.”

“Roger Davies?”

She nodded a bit. “Yeah, something about a tea party.” Alicia shrugged. “I need to find me a man, Jane. Fast.”

“Who do you fancy?” I asked, now fully awake.

“I don’t fancy any of these blokes,” she replied, covering her face in pillows. “I should just jump on a plane to the States or to France or some rubbish.”

“What, no Switzerland?”

“Too indifferent to me,” Alicia said and then chuckled.

I stood up. “I’ll go take inventory of the boys,” I said, brushing out my hair. “Then I’ll come back and report to you. We’ll find you someone worth your time…even if it is a Hufflepuff.”

“Don’t you dare,” she breathed, but giggled a bit.

The common room was still packed when I walked down there and a little bit louder than when I left it. Everyone seemed to be impacted by the drink and girls were practically falling all over boys. I could see Angelina and Fred under the stairs.

There was Henrik Lyand. He was a tall seventh-year, but didn’t know rubbish about Quidditch and knew everything about Transfiguration. He was cute, though. Nate Eltopeo was the same way—couldn’t tell a snitch from a Quaffle (which made me wonder how these two blokes roomed with Oliver Wood for so many years). He was less cute, but had a nice body.

Who was I kidding? Alicia wouldn’t even hear the name of a bloke if he didn’t have either Quidditch skill or knowledge. Certainly not Roger…I almost blushed to myself as I looked around the room. I mean, it could be Roger that I tell her, but I would by lying to myself if I thought that peck on the cheek felt like nothing.

Oliver Wood was sitting on the sofa with several of his fan girls around him on the floor. It looked like he was telling some exciting story about catching a Quaffle. Libby was beside him, her hands clutching his arm in anticipation to the story. What a bunch of bollocks.

Wood. I could tell Alicia she should try and make a move with Captain-man. How would that go over, though? Alicia had always seemed to think of Oliver as a big brother and less a….well, man. Oh well. It was worth a shot, especially with Henrik and Nate being the other two close contenders. I turned.

“Perry! Oi, Perry, come finish my story!”

I groaned. Oliver was drunk and wanted me to finish his damn story. I turned back. “What, Wood?”

“C’mere!” he cried, breaking contact with Libby and outstretching his arms. “C’mere and tell the girls what happened.”

“We were there,” muttered Libby darkly, “we saw what happened.”

I did not walk over for Oliver, but instead to keep the scowl on Libby’s face. “What story are you telling, Wood?”

He smirked drunkenly and put an arm around Libby, eliminating the scowl. “The one about practice. You caught that damn snitch pretty good…but what I want to know…is why didn’t you catch it sooner, Perry?”

I chuckled lightly at him. “Because I didn’t see it sooner, Wood.” Poor drunk Wood. I smiled at Libby, who scowled again.

“Yes, you did,” he continued. “I saw you look right at it, going for it, and then stopping and turning the other way. I wanted to know why.”

Having not expected that, my eyes widened and my cheeks started to turn red. Now I was wishing I had consumed a few drinks so the blush could look natural. “Wood, you’re drunk.”

“Sure I am!” He raised his glass in cheers with himself. “But I know what I saw.”

“Okay, then,” I said, backing up. “I’m just going to go talk to Alicia upstairs now…”

“Tell her Lee is available,” said Oliver, laughing.

I raised a brow.

“It’s obvious she wants to get a bloke since both of her mates have them and Lee just broke up with his pansy of a girl,” Oliver said. “So tell her Lee is available.”

I went out on a limb. “Why, you with Libby here?”

Libby went an intense shade of magenta while the girls around them shot her dark glares.

Oliver, on the other hand, laughed. “I’m a single stud, Perry. But, if the right girl wanders along, I might be willing to make an exception.” With that, he laughed.

Not wanting to both with a drunken interpretation, I walked back upstairs to find Alicia sleeping soundly on her bed, slobbering a bit on her pillow. I would tell her that Lee was available the next morning, if she still cared.


Turns out the next morning she didn’t care at all. Alicia spent most of the morning sulking while Katie made kissy faces at George and Angelina and Fred snogged over toast. Alicia spent the bulk of the following school week sulking and took is so far as to not let any of the Chasers or Beaters copy her Charms work. I, however, had a full list of answers before the start of class.

Even as we walked over to the team dinner on Saturday night, Alicia was slumped with her arms folded. Ang and Katie didn’t notice—their arms were locked with Beaters’ arms and they were both laughing at some joke or another.

I glanced over at Ellis, who was walking with a skip in his step. “Why so happy?” I asked.

He grinned at me, reminding me irritatingly of Oliver as he did so. Very pompous. “Because, Perry, I’m going to a team dinner with the ever-victorious Gryffindor Quidditch team. And I’m on the team.”

I nodded. “Sure, buddy,” I muttered as we entered Hogsmeade. “I just hope your try-out wasn’t a fluke.”

“You wish it was a fluke,” he retorted quietly so only I could hear.

I wheeled around. “You’re a twit, you know that?”

“I’m a talented twit, Perry.” Ellis brushed past me and into the pub.

Oliver had reserved the back room of The Three Broomsticks so we could have a decent team dinner without the distractions of drunks and other Hogwarts students. It was dark in the back, but several candles lit enough to see Oliver at the head of the table (already drinking a pint).

I took a seat toward the end of the table, not wanting to be anywhere near him at the moment. Alicia plopped down beside me.

“All right,” Oliver said as he stood up. “This is our first team dinner this year with the entire team. I’m glad you all could make it.”

“You bloody made us,” said Fred. He was ignored.

“So, we need to talk about teams and tactics. We need to talk about our first match against Hufflepuff. We also need to talk about Ravenclaw because the way the teams are set up, we’ll probably end up facing them in the Final if we get that far.”

“Talk about Ravenclaw now?” asked Angelina, leaning back in her chair and raising a perplexed brow. “Wood, it’s still early in the year. We shouldn’t even be thinking about them now.”

“Hi, nice to meet you,” Oliver said, “I’m Oliver Wood. The captain.

She scowled. So did I.

“Anyway, about Hufflepuff…” He pulled down a screen and slides began to flash before the group. It was boring since none of the Hufflepuff players were much good anyway—not even a good feint out of them. Still, Oliver insisted on pointed out the breaks in pads on the Chasers and how one of the Beaters couldn’t hit from his backhand if his life depended on it. I yawned several times.

The food eventually came, but I was hardly hungry because I had been snacking on chips from inside of my jacket pocket. It was good food, and helped me ignore some of the speech Oliver was making up until I heard the words, “Roger Davies”.

“He has to be stopped,” Oliver said loudly, taking a bite out of a chicken wing and chucking it back onto his plate. “That bloke is trying everything this year to get under my skin.”

“Apparently he’s trying it on Perry.” George snickered and Oliver shot him a surprisingly dark look. “I heard they met up in the Entrance Hall the other day—tell me, Janey, you going to date the bloke? All the girls fancy him.”

“I don’t think you need to know either way, George,” I muttered, tossing my napkin at his face.

“I bet she is,” Fred said, surveying me from the other side of the table. “He’s got the looks…”

Oliver rolled his eyes. “Jane isn’t going to date the enemy. She knows how damaging that would be to our team.”

My eyes snapped up. “Excuse me?”

He ignored me. “But anyway. Davies is dangerous. The only reason he’s even interested in Perry is because she made reserve. He’s trying to screw with me.”

“If I only made reserve, why isn’t he going for someone else? Like Alicia?” I said loudly.

“Why don’t you just shove it in my FACE that I’m single, Jane!” Alicia cried suddenly.

“Erm,” I muttered. She was staring down at her untouched food. This was so unlike her to be flustered by something like having a boyfriend. “I’m single too, Alicia.”

“Who cares who is single?” Oliver said loudly. “He’s using you, Jane and I’m going to protect you from that.”

Ignoring the fact that he called me Jane, I looked up at him darkly. “And how are you going to do that?”

“I’m going to have you use him right back.”

“Do WHAT?”

“Use him right back. Find out his secrets. Find out what he’s ruddy up to.”

“I most certainly will NOT be doing any of that,” I said loudly. This was ridiculous. Roger was a nice boy and he was charming over all. “Change the subject, Wood.”

“Then you’re condemning the team to fail!”

“I’m the RESERVE! I don’t think arrogant Ellis here is going to crack.”

Despite my obvious dig, Ellis nodded triumphantly.

“FINE!” Oliver cried, throwing the screen pointer onto the table. It landed on George’s potatoes. “Then DO NOT DATE ROGER DAVIES!”

I stood up quickly, almost knocking over a glass of water. “I’ll do whatever the bloody hell I want to do, Wood! You least of all are going to have any influence on what it is—you know what? I have better things to do than hear you go on about Hufflepuff’s pad problems and how Roger is out to get everyone!” With that, I turned toward the door.

“Team dinner isn’t finished, Perry.”

“Sod off, Wood,” I muttered, slamming the door behind me as I left.

The Three Broomsticks was packed with people. I tried to fight my way through, occasionally hearing pieces of conversation or taking an elbow to the ribs. Finally, when I managed to get outside into the chilly fall air, I plopped down on a wood bench.

The nerve of him. It was his stupid fault I was even on the team. Either that, or my pride, but my pride was never at fault as much as he was so that couldn’t even be in the equation. I tried out for the stupid position. I wasn’t good enough. Arrogant Ellis got it—that should have been the end of the story. Nevermind that I saw the snitch a few times before I caught it, Ellis was just flat-out better. The end.

Now, after I finally found someone I thought was attractive that MAYBE I wanted to think about seeing again, all of a sudden I’m condemning the team to a certain death. Would their brooms catch fire if I was to have tea with Roger? I wouldn’t think so. Even if he wanted to use someone to jab the team, it would be the single girl ON the team, not the single SEEKER that doesn’t have a shot in hell of ever MAKING the team (and it should stay that way).

“All by yourself? I thought dear brotherly love Wood scheduled a team dinner for tonight.”

I glanced up. “I could say the same for you…minus the team dinner bit.”

Roger smirked and took a seat beside me on the bench. “I’m enjoying the air…I do that a lot, hence when you caught me in the middle of my walk.”

“Did it finish well?” I asked, smiling at him.

“The end was not nearly as eventful as the middle, I’ll tell you that.” Roger chuckled and leaned back. “So, tell me, what’re you up to?”

“Getting away from sodding Wood for a while,” I replied. “He really gets on my nerves…sometimes I don’t think he realizes that I’m only a reserve on the team and I don’t need to know all this crap about the Hufflepuff Beaters…”

Roger nodded. “About the gaps in their pads?”

I nodded. “Heard it before?”

“He was telling me about it last year before Ravenclaw played the Puffs. Really boring nonsense.”

“So,” I said, remembering the conversation that I had just finished with Wood. Apparently I could not date Roger Davies. “How about that cup of tea?”

Roger smiled widely. “I thought you’d never ask, Jane.” He stood up and offered his arm as he had done the previous weekend.

I took it and smirked as he led me off toward some café as he talked about how beautiful the trees were in the fall. That had nothing to do with Quidditch. Getting in my head—rubbish.

I chanced a glance back at the pub and was surprised to see Oliver Wood leaning against the doorway with a scowl on his face. I flipped my hair when I turned back toward Roger.

Going to get tea definitely qualified as a date.




A/N: Yeah, it was a short filler chapter, but I assure you--more is to come! And hopefully quickly now that school is over for the summer and I only work. I hope that you enjoy--reviews are wonderful and spark my inspiration, also favorite quotes are welcome! Thanks for reading!


Chapter 5: The Last Costume
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Roger wasn’t nearly as manipulative as Oliver had made him out to be. In fact, after talking and joking over tea, we made our way back to the castle and he opened a few doors for me on the way. He didn’t mention Quidditch once. Instead, we talked about our families, interests, and even studies came up once or twice (but that was shortlived).

He seemed seriously enthralled in everything I had to say, which was a nice change coming from a room full of talkative Chasers and boys that talked about my ruddy legs.

“I’m glad we did this,” Roger said as we walked up the marble staircase hand in hand. “It was a lot of fun…something nice to get my mind off of Quidditch.”

I smiled warmly. “I’m glad we did too. Let’s…let’s do it again sometime.”

Roger chuckled and nodded as we reached the landed on which we would part. “All right, here’s to…sometime.” He beamed, catching my hand in his grasp and kissing it gently.

I blushed. Roger was quite handsome, I noticed as he walked away toward the Ravenclaw common room. He had shiny brown hair and gleaming eyes and there were times when he stared at me that I could barely breathe. I kept the starstruck mentality all the way until I entered my own common room.

“You’ve been gone ages!” Katie cried, rushing over to me. “Are you all right? Where in Merlin’s name did you go?”

The other two Chasers were there (Fred and George weren’t, which was odd) and Alicia was still sulking from the looks of it. Angelina looked up.

“Did you go all the way to France? I would have gone with you, you know,” she said.

I shook my head, a smile still planted on my face. “No, I didn’t need to. After I left I ran into Roger.”

“Dodger? He was in Hogsmeade?” said Katie. “Pity! I would have wanted to stare at him.” She giggled girlishly.

I nodded. “Came right up to me after I left the pub. We went to have tea.”

“You went on a date,” muttered Alicia, pulling out a magazine.

I blushed again. My face was starting to get used to this new red hue. “I…erm, I guess so. You could call it that.”

Katie squealed. “That’s so romantic! Where did you go? What did you do?”

“You know, Jane,” Angelina said, cutting of Katie’s need for the juice, “we thought you’d went off with Oliver for a bit.”

“Why would you think that? I hate that git and you lot know that.” I raised a brow.

“Because he went after you,” said Angelina. “And then he never came back. Fred ended up finishing his chicken.”

I stared at the girls. “I saw him when I was leaving from a distance, but I didn’t know he didn’t show back up.”

Ang shrugged. “Nope, dear Captain Oliver is currently missing in action,” she said slowly. “Probably ran into Libby or something like that.”

I chuckled and made my way toward the spiral staircase. To my surprise, Katie and Angelina followed me all the way up to the dormitories. I turned around in confusion as they closed the door with a snap.

“We have a problem,” Katie said hurriedly, not meeting my eyes and fumbling with her new makeup case. I didn’t know Katie wore makeup.

“Oh?” I said lightly.

“Alicia hates us,” Angelina said to cover up the awkwardness.

“I’m sure she doesn’t…”

“No, I’m pretty positive she hates us,” Ang continued. “She is always snapping at everyone and being horrible to the twins and I don’t really know what to do.”

“Have you tried…” I paused, thinking for a moment. “Talking to her about it?”

“Well, no.”

I snorted. “Why not?”

“Because she insists nothing is wrong!”

I leaned back onto my bed. “Tell her it’s obvious that she’s not the happiest with you lot right now and then set up a girls’ night with all of us. We can…you know, do girly things like paint nails or some rubbish.”

Katie set down her makeup case. “Do you think that would work?”

“Well, considering I haven’t seen the pair of you come up for air in about a week, I think Alicia will agree to it if it means she can actually talk to you when you don’t have a Weasley twin attached to your face.” I smirked and the pair breathed a sigh of relief. “Set it up for tonight. Get some junk together and we’ll all have a good night.” I stood up.

“Are you staying for it?” Angelina said, watching me make my way to the door.

I nodded. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll be right back. You two talk to Alicia since, well, I have nothing to do with any of this, and I’ll be back.” With that, I smiled and left. Alicia was still by the fire, but didn’t look up when I passed and exited into the corridor.

Again, it was after hours, but this time I was on a mission. What drove me on this mission was unclear. I just sort of walked down the hallway, pulling my robes tighter around me, and made my way outside into the chilly night air.

The Quidditch pitch was dark and vacant when I reached it. I lit my wand, still unsure of why I was there. My feet just took me there. Was I expecting Roger to jump down from the stands and sing me a ballad? Or did I want to practice Quidditch so if Arrogant Ellis got his big head stuck in the fireplace I could cover for him?

“Perry, what are you doing out here this late?”

I flew around, losing balance and sending myself down into the grass. My wand was a few feet away. “I could ask you the same question. Planning practice drills for the crack of dawn?”

Oliver stood over me. His cloak was drifting a bit in the wind, but other than that he was still. I think he was trying to ignore me. “So are you going to tell me why you didn’t catch the snitch yet, Perry?”

Caught off guard, I nearly choked. I grabbed for my wand and straightened up, irritated. He just wouldn’t let it go, would he? “No, I’m not going to tell you, Wood.” His name was spat out of my mouth as I tried to make myself as tall as him. Fail.

He towered over me with his overbearing somber expression. His eyes were dark and stale. “Why not? Are you afraid?”

His arrogance dumbfounded me. “Why would I be afraid? I didn’t want to catch the snitch so I didn’t.”

“You didn’t want to try out for the team.”

“That’s a completely different situation,” I said, gaping at him. “If I didn’t try out, I would have been outed by a very annoying git. If I didn’t catch the snitch…”

“You wouldn’t make the team?” Oliver snorted. “That worked out real well.”

“Oh, you’re a right arse, Wood!” I cried, finally realizing what he was doing. “And to think, I came out here—”

“You came out here to find me? Did the rest of the team tell you I didn’t come back? How very noble of you, but I think I can take care of myself.” Oliver rolled his eyes.

“I just wanted to make sure you were alive,” I snapped.

“And if I wasn’t?”

“I would have laughed and kicked you a bit!”

To my surprise, Oliver chuckled. “You would have kicked me? What a heart you have, Perry.”

My expression softened. “Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t have kicked you exactly…but I wouldn’t have run for help…right away.”

He smirked. I still hated that smirk, but it gave me a warm chill in the cold weather. “Well, as long as it wasn’t right away, I suppose I can understand.”

I smiled a bit and looked to the grass. This was awkward. I was tolerating him. “So what now, Wood?”

“What do you mean?”

“You thwarted me into making a prat out of myself by trying out for your ruddy Seeker position even though I can barely stay on a broom. Then, because I didn’t want it more than the world, you stuck me on the damn team. Now, since you are still holding a full deck of cards in you stupid bloody hand, what now?”

“Now, I think,” Oliver said, bringing back the smirk, “you have to tell me what you see in Dodger.”

Though I was caught off guard, it wasn’t completely unexpected. I pulled my robes tighter around me and fixed my stare at a single blade of grass. “Well,” I muttered, “I guess he’s handsome and charming…and knows his stuff with Quidditch…and he likes to talk to me. Oh, and he likes to hear what I have to say instead of just talking himself.” I raised a brow at him.

“Was that a dig at me?” Oliver said, laughing. “So, I’ve got everything else, right?”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m handsome and charming…well, of course I am. I know my Quidditch stuff…but, according to you, I don’t like to hear you talk.” Oliver smirked.

I hoped he was joking. “I, don’t… I don’t understand.” I was stammering, just giving away any cards that I still had.

“So that’s what Davies has that I don’t?” He was almost laughing now. “Should I take lessons? Tell me, Perry, what is your favorite flavor of slushy drink?”

I narrowed my eyes. “That isn’t funny, Wood. He really cares.”

“I care. I care so much it hurts. Really, hurts.” Then he kicked me in the shin.

I gaped at him. “What in the BLOODY HELL!” My shin was exploding in pain—was he wearing steel-toed shoes? What was that about?

He was laughing.

Stupid bloody prat Oliver Wood! I was fuming, staring him down with daggers in my eyes. He seemed to notice because he took off running toward the entrance to the pitch, his cloak flowing in the wind behind him.

“YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!” I cried, running after him with a limp. “Why would you DO that? WHO does that?”

Oliver raised his hand as he crossed the grounds. “Love hurts, Perry!” he cried.

“What?” I had run so much that I slowed to a walk, clutching my sides. I wasn’t out of shape, but I wasn’t the next Quidditch star either like stupid pompous Wood.

“Break up with Davies!”

“Go jump off a ruddy cliff, git!”

Oliver smirked from several meters ahead of me. He was almost at the door now, yelling back to me. “Break up with him and I won’t out you!”

“You won’t out me anyway because I can fly now!”

“You can stay on a broom—there’s a difference!”

“Tell that to the captain that let me on a Quidditch team!” I called back, laughing.

“Break up with him and I’ll tell you a secret of my own!” Then he was gone, the big doors closing behind him.

I frowned. It was probably some rubbish about him being kicked as a child.


“What took you so long, Jane?” asked Katie as she scooped vanilla ice cream into beige bowls. “We thought you’d fallen in the toilet or something.”

I shrugged. “Just went for a walk is all. Had to…clear my head.”

“Did you fall over a rock?”

“Why would you say that?” I replied nervously.

“Because you limped into the room,” Angelina said, raising a skeptical brow.

“No, down the stairs,” I said quickly. “Silly balance, it’s all bollocks. So how about this party—how are things coming along? Ice cream? Nail polish? Hair curlers?”

The girls nodded. Katie gave everyone a bowl and a spoon. Alicia was ripping out pages of a Quidditch magazine so they could all take quizzes and Angelina was putting the books in a bag that she would need in the library the following day.

We sat back on the floor for a while, laughing and discussing things other than boys (except they all wanted to know about the Roger date that afternoon). Alicia seemed happier at that point, joining in to share her viewpoint on a new brand of concealer that wasn’t worth two knuts.

After hours of laughing, I plopped back on my bed with a new shade of pink on my nails. The rest of the girls did the same and Katie blew out the candle closest to her bed.

“I’m glad we did this,” Angelina said into the darkness, yawning loudly.

“Me too,” Alicia said quietly. “And I’m sorry, guys.”

“For?” Ang said.

“For being such a prat. I didn’t mean to take out my singles-anger on you. Ang, you’re happy with Fred and Katie, well, you finally bloody realized that George is the right bloke for you. And, well, the only bloke I’ve seen for weeks is Wood because of Quidditch and he’s a right piece of work that I would never in a million years consider. Oh, and Ellis. Yeah, I’ll date Ellis.”

I snorted loudly. “Perfect couple. The Keeper and the Seeker. Two souls apart, but so close together.”

“Will you lot get off that Keeper rubbish!” Alicia cried. “I will never be a bloody Keeper!”

“I love how you retort on that before you say anything about dating Ellis. Class act, Alicia. I’ll tell him in the morning,” Katie said with a yawn.

I rolled over, listening to Alicia mutter darkly under her breath.

“So, Jane,” said Angelina, “did you find Oliver or not?”


I was surprised to find out that Fred and George wanted to throw a party for Halloween. Not surprised because it was a party, but because they actually wanted to organize it instead of just get the booze.

A few weeks had passed since I had run into Oliver on the Quidditch pitch. I still hadn’t broken up with Roger (were we even technically dating? That was never made perfectly clear) and he still hadn’t mentioned my not being able to fly to anyone else. He did shoot me some pretty angry stares when he saw me talking to the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain every so often.

The party was set for the night of Halloween in some lake house. I had personally never heard of a lake house sitting out next to the lake (did the squid take it down?), but I left that part up to Fred and George for them to figure out. Since it was the pair of them, I had faith there would be a lake house at some point.

The day before the big party, the Gryffindor common room was chaotic. It seemed that everyone except a few random people had not gotten costumes. Most of them rushed into Hogsmeade to get a sexy nurse costume or a prisoner shirt, but I sat by the window for a little bit watching the leaves fall from the trees onto the grass.

It was peaceful, watching the leaves hover before hitting the ground and I knew a little bit of peace was what I needed before one of Fred and George’s parties.

Unfortunately, I was only able to have a minute or two of it before Libby rushed into the room carrying a shopping bag and an annoying grin.

“I’ve got it! The last one left!” she cried with an excited squeak.

I glanced over, chancing it because of curiosity. What could Libby possibly have? A nose job? A bullet in the head? No, life wasn’t that good.

“What is it?” asked a second year.

Libby had obviously been waiting for someone to be as excited as her because she threw open the bag and pulled out something that made me choke a little when I looked at it.

“It’s a bunny costume!” she shrieked.

I raised a brow. It looked like a bit of spandex with a tail. The costume was pink with bright sequins lining the torso and had a bushy, round tail at the rear. There was a headband attached with big, pink bunny ears and a pair of high, white heels. I snorted, unable to contain my laughter.

Libby heard and wheeled around to face me. “You don’t like it, Perry?” she said loudly.

“I think you’ll be the hit of the forest, really,” I said with a smirk and Lee Jordan chuckled from nearby.

“What are you going as then? The green goblin? You wouldn’t even need a costume.”

“Apparently you’re green, Jane,” Lee said seriously. “I’m so sorry to hear that.”

I smirked. “Libby, I can’t believe you stole my costume. I was going to be a slut bunny. Now I’ll have to take back my whore heels and everything.” I pouted. “Now I’m just depressed.” With a roll of my eyes, I stood up and grabbed my purse so I could head into Hogsmeade. “But maybe it’s for the best. You do look the part of slut bunny, Libby. I’m surprised all of the blokes can’t keep their hands off of you.” With a wink, I vanished through the portrait hole, my insides still quivering at the thought of Libby actually wearing that. Gross.

When I arrived at the costume shop in town, my stomach dropped. Nearly everything had been purchased for some party or another. I was staring at slim pickings the night before the big party. Why did I wait that long? Then I silently reminded myself that I was watching the leaves fall. That sounded even stupider in my head.

There was a clown suit and a few pirates, but they were all far too big. I would be a swimming clown. After wandering a few more aisles I found a blond wig and a mouse costume. The mouse was cute, but the only size left was an extra small and I doubted my breasts would fit in that.

“Is there anything else left in a medium?” I asked to the sales clerk, a sober-looking woman leaning over a magazine at the counter. She looked up and pointed to two costumes still hanging in the corner. I advanced, but knew I was in for a disaster. I was right.

The first costume was a full-out costume from some movie called Star Wars. It was a long gown with big side-hair buns that just looked plain awful. I made a face. The other was not as bad, but still made me quiver. It was the only sexy nurse left in the place. The dress barely skimmed the model’s thighs and forget about covering up cleavage. Blimey. There was a little hat to go with it and heels on sale at the other end of the store.

I groaned.

I was going to be a nurse for Halloween and I would never live it down.


I could barely get the dress to stay down under my arse as I walked. It kept riding up and the hat kept falling lopsided in my curled hair. This was rubbish. Out of all the costumes in that dingy store, I had to have the sexy nurse. It wasn’t even a healer—it was a Muggle nurse! Bollocks.

Alicia was finding it hard to conceal her glee. “I can’t believe you got stuck with that, Jane. I mean, all the boys will be drooling all over your trademark legs, but still.”

I groaned. “Eat dirt,” I muttered, pulling the dress down further. It was tight against my skin and I tried sucking in to make it cover more of my thighs. Fail.

The girls were bustling about the dormitory trying to find lipgloss and recurling hair that had fallen down in all of the chaos. Angelina was a French maid. The costume wasn’t overly sexified like mine was, just a black dress down to a little above her knees and some French cleavage to go with it. She had a feather duster and was trying to tickle everyone when they’d turn away. Alicia, on the other hand, was the sexy cat in spandex pants and a tight black shirt. She had painted on whiskers and was practicing her purr and hiss in front of the mirror. Angelina swatted her with the feather duster a few times. Katie, as predictable as ever, was an angel dressed in a long, flowing white dress and wings. She was practically glowing, but she wore no makeup.

I groaned again in the mirror. This was trouble. Most of the student body was supposed to be there (well, the older parts of it—Fred and George made sure anyone fourth year and under were not on the invite list) and Roger would surely have a classy costume. I was sure he’d take one look at me and either drool profusely or turn corner and run. I wasn’t sure I wanted either reaction.

“You coming?” Angelina asked, putting the finishing touches on her hair. “Or should I said, air yooo coming?” She finished it in a thick French accent that did not sound real in the slightest.

“Sure,” I muttered, grabbing my nurse ear things that I could not name for the life of me. I strapped on the ungodly high heels, took a very deep breath, and hoped for the best out of the worst possible situation.

I wore a cloak down to the lake house (because I’m intelligent like that) and let the wind passing by my face calm me a bit. Everyone was excited and Katie was skipping in anticipation.

Sure enough, I noticed while walking, Fred and George had accomplished a lake house. There was a giant wooden dwelling beside the lake with music coming from inside. It did not look extremely sturdy, but with magic that did not matter. There were students talking on the porch and a few people swimming in the lake already. It was early. Surely they weren’t that plastered already!

The inside was jam packed with people pouring drinks and admiring costumes. The lights were low, but Jane could see around from the disco ball in the middle of the dance floor and the random colored spotlights racing around the space.

“Welcome, welcome!” chimed Fred, closing the door behind the girls. “I’ll be taking cloaks then—thanks, Katie. Ang, you look delicious. Wait a moment and I’ll catch up with you.” He winked. “Alicia, meow!” Fred turned to me. “Cloak, Janey.”

I hesitated.

“Cloak, Janey!” Fred repeated and instead of waiting for it, he took it. Then he gasped, grinning. “Holy Merlin, Jane! I didn’t know…blimey, I knew you had legs but I think these lead to the southern end of France. Road trip!”

Angelina hit him hard. “C’mon, mister. Leave Jane alone.”

He groaned. “Jane, you’re lucky I already have a woman.”

“And that you only think of me as a sister?” I asked.

He nodded. “Well, that too. Minor difficulties.”

I smiled in return and accepted a drink from Katie.

This might not be so bad.


It would not have been bad had I worn a normal costume. From the moment I even looked at the dance floor, I had boys tailing me all over the house. I tried to ditch to the drinks table. Several Hufflepuffs leaned on it like I was made of bacon. I then made my way out onto the porch. There numerous seventh years were waiting to tell me how much they would inherit from their fathers. Dance floor. I think I was groped more times than I had ever been up to that point.

Bloody hell. I should have just went as a ghost and put a sheet over my head.

“Jane!”

I turned. If it was another slimy git then I was going to tell him where to stick his—

It was Roger. He was beaming, wearing a Victorian tunic and vest with ruffles. He even had the short pants with the socks that looked like tights. Blimey, he was looking nice. Very handsome.

I smiled in return. “Roger! Hi!” I rushed over to him. “Wow, am I glad to see you here.”

“I only just got here,” he said, obviously looking me up and down. “You look…”

“Like a bloody sexy nurse?” I questioned.

He laughed and nodded. “That’s exactly what you look like. That costume says it all. It looks good on you.”

I didn’t know how to take that, so I just laughed. Either way it was a compliment so I smiled. “You look good too.”

“Thank you, my dear,” Roger said formally. “I’m trying to get this attitude down to be in character.”

“Oh, I should probably be in character too.” I pondered for a moment and put the ear thing on my ears. “Ok. I am going to need a bunch of Muggle equipment…stat!”

Roger laughed hard. “Jane, my stomach is hurting a bit… I think I might need to sit down…”

My eyes widened. “Are you okay? Was it something you ate?” I immediately reached down to touch his stomach.

He winked at me. “You’re going to have to operate. It might be better if we danced. What do you say, Miss Nurse—will dancing cure me?”

I wanted to hit him for scaring me, but he was so cute that I didn’t dare. I played along instead. I poked his stomach, jabbed his ribs a few times, and then pretended to be thinking it over. I even put my ear thingie up to his stomach. “Yes, Roger Davies. I think dancing might be the cure we’re looking for here. Well, it’s either that or we castrate you. I’ll let you make the call.”

“Tough one,” he said with a smirk, grabbing my arm and tugging me onto the dance floor as I tried with one hand to keep my dress from riding up.

Dancing with Roger was fun. He knew the moves and knew when the twirl me as opposed to just dancing. Granted, he did step on my toes a couple of times, but I might have been moving slower in the sky-scraper heels. It was fun, though, giggling as the songs sped up and my hat went flying into the crowd.

After dancing for what seemed like hours, Roger and I wandered over to the refreshments table, completely winded and red in the face. I must have looked like I had a terrible sunburn.

Roger handed me a cider-looking drink that tasted like candy and he took something much stronger. It didn’t occur to me to tell him that I was not a little girlie girl that only drank wine cooler or whatnot, but then I realized that the costume probably let him assume that I did.

“Roger!”

We had been making our way over to a vacant table near the door when a twitchy-looking Ravenclaw fourth year came tearing through the crowd.

“Get him outa here!” Fred was yelling. “No invite, no gawking, pest!”

Roger held up a hand to Fred and looked down at the boy. “What’s going on, David?”

The boy fought to catch his breath. “Someone—in your room—things everywhere, Roger. Liam told me he had been up there and it was only in your part of the room. You’d better have a look—Liam thinks something’s been stolen!”

Roger’s face tried to be expressionless as he turned to me. “I’m going to have to…”

“Go!” I cried, shoving him away from me. “That’s your stuff, Roger! Keep me updated, all right?”

He smirked at me and then kissed my cheek softly. “That I can do.” With that, he raced off behind the David boy and out the door.

I frowned and took a seat at the table anyway.

There were couples all around me that I hadn’t noticed until right then. Fred and Ang were having the time of their lives, twirling all over the dance floor. Alicia had been dancing a bit with Lee and some other dishy looking Ravenclaws, and Katie and George had long been making kissy faces by the punch bowl.

Without Roger to amuse me, what else did I have? The girls were off being romantic and the only single men there seemed to drool without even saying a word. Disgusting. I stood up, pushing the chair back in, and took my drink outside into the chilly October air.

It was dry, which was nice for October, so I slipped off the huge nurse heels in favor of my toes on the grass. I took a seat at the end of the porch, trying to ignore the cat calls behind me, and I groaned. This was rubbish.

Not that I didn’t expect this party to be weird in general because it was thrown by the twins and all of my friends would be off grinding some bloke through the night. At least the grass felt nice and it wasn’t too bloody freezing (since I forgot my cloak inside). Now all I had to look forward to was the term ending in almost two months and Wood jabbering on about the upcoming match against Hufflepuff.

Ok, when I said it wasn’t cold it could have been a bit of an exaggeration. There was wind.

A few people came and went from the house, each person going in with a smile and leaving with a stagger. I stared at the ground.

“I didn’t expect to see you sitting out here by yourself with all that talk I’ve been hearing.”

I looked up and groaned loudly. “Out of all the people to come and bug me, Wood, you are the one I hoped for the least.”

He smirked and plopped down beside me. Oliver was dressed as a Roman Gladiator with a sword on the ground next to him. This caught me off guard. He had on the traditional Roman skirt-thing, but he wasn’t wearing a shirt. Sure, I’d seen him shirtless before…hadn’t I? When it was warm out…or…something.

I was now staring. And stupidly. He had all sorts of muscles in his abdomen area and oddly tanned skin for being from Scotland. My eyes followed his muscles up onto his arms and then up to the leafy crown on his head. Then I caught sight of his smirk, forcing my gaze back into the grass.

“You look nice, too, Perry,” he said with a chuckle. “I’ve been hearing about you the entire time I’ve been here. Trying to impress someone?”

“No,” I snapped. “It was the only bloody costume left.”

He raised a brow. “You mean you didn’t choose to be the…nurse?”

“What was the pause for, Wood?”

Oliver was smiling. “I’ve just never seen this much skin from you before. And here I thought you were a nun.”

“I don’t dress like a nun!” I countered, nonconsciously sucking in my stomach a bit.

“Of course not. Maybe it’s a good thing you dress like a nun, though. You’d have every bloke in Hogwarts after you if you didn’t.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Sod off.”

Oliver was quiet for a moment, staring around at the people coming and going. I, on the other hand, was trying to keep my eyes off of him. I was never the kind of girl that stared awkwardly at muscular men, but for some reason I couldn’t help myself this time. He was a complete and utter git, but he had nice features.

“So,” said Oliver, clearing his throat and adjusting his seating on the porch awkwardly, “tell me about your family.”

Chapter 6: Ammo
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I looked over, my brow raised in suspicion. I forced my gaze to his face instead of his torso. “Tell you about what?”

Oliver’s face wasn’t giving me any clues as to what he was thinking. In fact, it was expressionless as he stared at me, his dark eyes connecting with my own. “Tell me about your family, Perry. Have you gone temporarily deaf?”

I punched him lightly in the arm and sighed. “What do you want to know? Blimey, I don’t know,” I said slowly, thinking about what information he might be interested in that wouldn’t get shoved in my face later or wouldn’t be the butt of the newest rumor. “Well, I have two parents,” I began.

“Really? You didn’t just sprout out of the ground?”

“I’m not you, Wood,” I shot back. “My mum died when I was young, four or five, but I still remember bits and pieces about her.”

He didn’t say anything, but I could feel his eyes.

“And my dad’s been as good as any single parent could be,” I continued. “Though when it came to makeup he was rather clueless. He would open up the lipstick tubes and test them on his fingers before he’d tell me that they would make me look like a little whore if I wore them. I never bought the lipstick.” I smiled to myself, thinking fondly of my father probably sitting in front of the radio at home with the Tornadoes’ broadcast on, yelling at it like the Chasers could hear him.

“Didn’t want to look like a whore?” asked Oliver, laughing a bit.

“It just didn’t match my complexion,” I replied with a cocky grin. “Besides, whore is already accounted for at this school. I believe she’s dressed as a bunny hopping around here somewhere.”

“Come on, now, Libby’s not that bad.”

I snorted. “Do you even talk to her? Or are you that thick-headed?”

“She never really got under my skin…”

“That’s because she worships you!” I said, laughing. “She’d gladly take out the Russian army to be your girl toy.” I snorted again and then pretended to gag. “She’s rubbish and a fake person. You’re too good for her.” It was out before I had a chance to stop it. I almost covered my mouth, but that would have made me look even more like an idiot (though I was doing a pretty good job without it).

“Who is good enough for me then?” Oliver was smirking.

I wanted to punch him. Or punch myself for saying that. Now I was backed into a corner like a little mouse and big, round ears didn’t look good on me. “I just meant that any bloke is too good for her…she’s a whore.”

He laughed. “Oh, all right then, Perry.”

I glanced back at the grass and it was swaying in the breeze that was currently freezing my shoulders off. “She’s…Oh, that Libby…”

“What about me?”

Blimey.

Oliver turned around with a smile. “Libby! Love, what are you doing out here? It’s too cold for you in that…little…costume.”

She rolled her eyes. I could just feel it. “I was passing and I heard my name. Why were you out here talking about me, Oliver?”

I kept my eyes focused on the ground. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t stand up to Libby (because she was just a git), but I just did not want any confrontation tonight. Rubbish.

“We were talking about your costume, love,” Oliver said, making a perfect Keeper save. “Perry was saying that her favorite part are the ears, but my favorite part is that little bunny tail.”

She giggled and I thought my head would explode. Could brains puke because mine was about to.

Libby reached down and hugged Oliver tight. I was unsure of how she managed it because her heels were taller than his torso, but I stifled my laughter anyway. “Are you going to save me a dance, Oliver?” she asked in a girlishly high-pitched voice.

“Sure, love. Anything.” Oliver was smiling. “But bloody get back in there—you’re going to catch a cold!” He pushed her lightly and she went scurrying back inside.

“Bloody tosser,” I muttered.

“I know you secretly want to be her best friend,” Oliver said with a smirk. “I’ll tell the Chasers when I see them. I see you both going shopping and adopting little wee baby bunnies.”

I did punch him that time. “Shove off.”

He chuckled for a few minutes and tried to rub the goosebumps off of his arms. “So tell me more about your family.”

“What do you want to know?” I asked, unsure of what kind of ammo this would be in the future.

“Anything.”

I made a face. “Well, we live in a flat in London, my dad and me. It looks nice, but only because he hired an interior decorator to put all of it together. He doesn’t know bollocks about design…not that I know much either. He’s…he’s the only one that knew I couldn’t fly.”

Oliver raised a brow. “So you admit it!” He laughed.

“SOD OFF!” I punched him in the arm again. “I hope you bruise.” With a sigh, I continued. “He always lectured me about learning because he’s obsessed with the sport. That might have been a reason I didn’t try hard enough. He was always watching it and talking about it and going to the games…I didn’t want to be swept up in it.”

“Do you think you’re being swept up in it now?”

I raised a brow. “Team dinners, practice…dealing with YOU on more than a few occasions…yes, and this is rubbish. I demand a recount on my position of reserve.”

“All right,” Oliver said seriously. He thought for a moment and I took the opportunity to survey the chilly bumps on his forearms. “I just did it. Yeah, it’s the same. One. The Captain’s vote. Aren’t you a lucky duck?”

I groaned. “Lucky as they come.”


After I had finally had too much cold, I stood up and raced back inside, leaving sod-face Wood curious on the porch. My cloak was in the hall, hanging on one of the hooks, so I grabbed it and returned outside. “I’m heading back to the castle,” I said slowly, staring across the lawn to the large, stone structure.

“No more freezing cold chats?” Oliver asked, getting to his feet. He stretched and I thought his muscles moved.

I smiled. “I think my goosebumps have goosebumps.” I pulled my cloak tight against my skin.

He nodded. “I’ll walk you back. I don’t think Libby is going to come looking for me again.”

We walked in silence for a moment, me biting my lip and Oliver playing with his Roman sword at his side. I didn’t know what to say. Should we talk Quidditch after I had just told him about my dead mother and girl-stupid father? I’d just have to wait.

I didn’t have to wait long for an interesting topic.

“So where was Dodger?” he asked.

I raised a brow and looked over. I then saw his back muscles against the moonlight, frowned at the cliché image, and turned back to stare at the ground. “Something happened to his room.”

“What do you mean? Did it kick him out on its own?” Oliver ventured a laugh.

I stifled my own. “Apparently someone went through his things and might have taken something,” I said. “And since he didn’t come back, I’m going to assume something was.”

“What would he have that anyone would even take?” Oliver was laughing again and I wanted to hit him. “His broomstick is locked up by the pitch…so his knickers?”

I did hit him that time. Then I pulled my dress down and readjusted my cloak. “I think you’re judging him without even knowing him, Wood.”

“I think you’re wrong. I know him—I know his type.”

“And what is it? That he takes advantage of reserve Seekers to get inside information about the team? This is a Quidditch team, Wood. What is there to tell? That you make my best friends lug themselves out of bed before the sun comes up? That you have to be the last one off the pitch? I’m sure he’ll be very interested.” I rolled my eyes.

“Nope,” Oliver said slowly. He kept his eyes forward as we walked, forcing my curiosity to surface. “He’s the kind of bloke that really does fancy you but will use that against you if he has the opportunity to win. If you ever got on the team—if Ellis ever hurt himself (if he wasn’t on the team I’d bloody hurt him myself) then he’s the type of bloke that will use everything you’ve revealed to him about yourself or anyone else…against you during the game. He’s manipulative.”

I stared at him for a moment. Could Oliver Wood be right about Roger? That was rubbish. Roger may be a Quidditch Captain, but he was no Wood. He was charming and sweet and even if he was like that—I’d never make the bloody team anyway.

Besides, even if dishy Roger turned out to be a creep, I could take care of myself. Out of everyone that I would turn to for rescue—Oliver Wood did not even make top ten.

I frowned. “I’m a big girl. I’ll take care of myself.”

“Okay,” he said and I was surprised he did. “Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because I did. Right now.” He smiled.

I nodded. “You did. Right now.”


It was dark outside and I knew that after several people started stumbling out giggling that the party was close to being over. I stood up, unsure of what to do, but Oliver watched me intently.

“So why do you fancy that bloke anyway?” he asked, standing up with a large stretch.

“Because of none of your business,” I replied with a smile. He did not meet it.

“He’s rubbish.”

“Aren’t we done having this conversation?” I asked.

“No, we’re not. I’ve been watching women get sucked in by that bloke for a couple of years now and I won’t have it be someone on my team!”

I rolled my eyes and started to walk back to the castle. “I’m feeling déjà vu, Wood. I’m not on your damn team.”

“You’re a reserve—”

“Only because you made me try out in the first place!” I snapped, veering around to face him. “You made me try out. You knew I was rubbish and just because I almost fell on my face making a save you force me into a reserve position you knew I didn’t want! You don’t have a reserve Keeper just in case you get hurt.” I folded my arms.

“I don’t get hurt.”

I wanted to punch him in his thick head. “Just for that—I hope you do.” I paused, narrowing my eyes and turning back around. I began my long, cold march back up to the castle.

“You don’t mean that,” he said.

I turned again, thinking. “Yes, yes I do, Wood. Maybe if you get hurt and stuck in the hospital wing then you’ll stop bothering me so much!” With that, I was on my way again. Oliver shot a few comments back, but I ignored them and opened the doors to the castle. “Sod off,” I muttered.

Angelina and Alicia were awake when I returned. Ang was brushing out her hair by the mirror and Alicia was tiptoeing around Katie’s bed to steal a tube of lip balm. Katie, however, was snoring in her costume.

“I saw you out there talking to Wood,” Angelina said slowly, raising a brow. “How did that go?”

“The same way it always goes,” I muttered. “He’s a prat and I hope he gets hit by a bludger.” I tried to smile my way out of the anger, but Angelina recognized it and rolled her eyes.

“What team spirit you have,” she said.

I flopped onto the bed with my dress on. “How is Fred? Passed out?”

“I had to practically carry him up the stairs,” Angelina said, willing me to change the subject since it was about her boyfriend. “I put him in bed but I think he rolled out. I could hear Lee laughing after I left the room.” She smiled.

I returned the grin and closed my eyes. I wondered about Roger and who had broken into his room. It was probably some prying first year trying to find his way onto the team—steal Roger’s playbook and try and outperform everyone by doing some crazy move. I nearly laughed.

Still, though, as I was laying there in bed part of me wanted to go knock on the Ravenclaw common room door and see Roger. After spilling my guts to Wood, I felt stupid. Why did I tell him about my family? About my father that did not know foundation from eye liner?

Now Oliver Wood had ammo and even though I was on his Quidditch team I doubted that would stop him.

I had made a stupid mistake.


The match against Hufflepuff was fast approaching and my Chaser friends were around less and less. Occasionally I would see them at meals and in class, but that was when they didn’t have their heads pressed firmly against their toast in exhaustion. Ellis was prancing around the castle less tired. That could be because he spent most of the drills searching for the snitch or playing keep away with the Quaffle with Fred or George.

I rarely saw Wood after Halloween, though every time I did it was difficult to picture him without the Roman outfit on. He did not make eye contact and I knew it was because he had already started some sort of nasty rumor about me. He never met my eyes after he had done something nasty. I was just waiting for it to surface.

Roger, on the other hand, was being perfectly lovely. It turns out his Charms notes were the only things stolen from his room and the only reason he was upset was because they were taken in a leather-bound notebook. He said on the cover it was marked as a writing tablet but he wanted to take notes in it since he did not keep a journal.

We were all in Transfiguration together, copying each other’s notes and laughing at the way McGonagall seemed to single out Katie to answer every question she wanted a real answer to (as opposed to a sarcastic one, which she would have gotten from either Wood or Roger, neither of which were talking).

I personally always enjoyed Transfiguration, which is why I got such high marks in it (Potions was an entirely different cup of tea). On most days I let people copy my notes if they were my friend, which is why when I was in the common room I let Angelina snag them and copy little margin notes into her own.

“Excuse me.”

I glanced up. So did Ang. Libby was standing over me with a pen behind her ear and a clipboard in hand. She had a scowl on her face and I couldn’t help but picture her in that ridiculous bunny costume from Halloween.

“What do you want?” I asked. “Do you want training to become the reserve Keeper because if you do I’d be happy to help you get rid of that git.” I smiled sarcastically.

She rolled her eyes at me. “No. I need to borrow your transfiguration notes.”

I nearly choked (so did Angelina, but she managed to actually make it sound like a cough. I failed miserably and ended up just laughing in Libby’s face). “My—my what?”

“Your notes. I need to copy them.”

I made a face. “So I’m supposed to let you borrow my notes and copy them—even though I loathe you and all of your bunny ways?”

She nodded.

Another half-choke-half-laugh. “No.”

“Why the bloody hell not?” Libby asked. “You’ve got top marks in there—even Katie said so.”

“When do you talk to Katie?”

Libby rolled her eyes again. I thought they might finally get stuck up in her head but they came back. “I talk to Katie all the time. We have lunch.”

“In the same room I have lunch. That doesn’t mean you talk to me,” I pressed.

“Anyway,” snapped Libby, clearly irritated because I was questioning her, “I need to borrow them because my notes don’t have all the little details yours does.”

“No.”

“Come on, Jane! Just let me borrow them!”

I thought for a moment, staring down at my notes that Angelina had returned to copying. I noticed she wasn’t really writing. “Nope.”

Libby turned, defeated, and was about to walk away when something struck me hard.

“Libby, you’re not even in my class.”

She blushed. “Yes—yes, I am. I’m taking sixth year Transfiguration on the side because—because McGonagall said I needed it.”

“You’re taking an advanced Transfig even when you’re going to take it next year anyway?” I was trying to stifle my disbelief. “Well, all right, since you’re in such a tight knot…let me see those notes of yours.” Angelina glanced up in awe but I put my hand up behind my back to silence anything she could have said.

The notes were just what I figured they would be. Simple. Unorganized. I sighed dramatically and handed them back to her. “These are going to need a lot of work. I thought you could spell better, Libby.”

Her face turned a darker shade of magenta. “Well, when I’m writing fast…”

I rolled my eyes. “Tell Wood to take better bloody notes. If he tried in class then I might actually help him.” I paused. “No, no, I wouldn’t. Tell him to get notes from Ellis.”

“But Ellis isn’t—”

“Tell him!” I snapped and Libby scurried away, the notes under her arm.

It was then that Angelina completely lost her composure and started laughing and falling all over the coffee table. “Jane, you rogue! I can’t believe Oliver tried to get your notes through Libby of all people. He has to know you loathe her.”

“I loathe him more so I think she had a decent shot,” I said with a snicker. “How are those notes coming along?”

She smiled.

“Watch out, though, Libby might try and dress up like Ellis or Fred to get those notes. Apparently they’re lofty property.” I rolled my eyes, scooped up Angelina’s finished pages, and placed them in my folder. I turned, smiling, and winked sarcastically at Wood, who was sulking in the corner by the stairs.

He flipped me off.


Things with Roger were really taking off. No, we were not officially together, but I think that suited both of us just fine. We spent our evenings out by the lake wrapped in fleece blankets and our mornings sipping orange juice by one of the Great Hall fireplaces. It was nice, sitting there and laughing about classes and sharing notes. Quidditch was rarely talked about and when it was it was Roger talking about how Gryffindor was going to knock Hufflepuff on their arses.

That was how I liked it.

He even volunteered to sit in the Gryffindor section during the game and wear scarlet and gold. What a bloke!


The morning of the game was bright and the weather was as nice as it could have been, the sun shining and only a few clouds in the sky. It was cold, but after a cozy hat and a thick cloak, I was fine.

“I’ll meet you down at the pitch,” I told Roger, smiling warmly at him in his wool vest and cap. “I have to grab a scarf from upstairs.” He nodded and joined the swarm of Quidditch-deprived students on their way down to the pitch.

I found my scarf draped around my bed post and twirled it around my neck. Perfect. I made my way down the spiral staircase, tightening the cashmere knot and trying to pull my hair out of my cloak without ripping it out.

“Hey, Perry, you ready for the game?”

I turned so quickly I almost lost balance. I groaned. “Yes, Libby, I’m ready to sit in the stands and cheer on my House. Are you?”

She beamed. “Of course I am, silly goose!” I almost puked. “After the game Oliver and I are going out to dinner in Hogsmeade to celebrate.”

“That’s interesting,” I said as we made our way down the stairs of the corridors and toward the pitch, “what if Gryffindor loses?”

Libby shook her head and batted her eyelashes into a compact mirror. “No, no, not to celebrate if Gryffindor wins or loses. That doesn’t really matter.”

Doesn’t matter? To Oliver Wood? Was she completely mad?

“It’s to celebrate that Ollie and I are an item!”

I ran into the hand rail. “You’re—you’re a bloody what?”

“An item, Perry. We’re together. He’s my boyfriend.” She narrowed her eyes. “He’s lovely, isn’t he? My Ollie! He’s such a wonderful captain…of Quidditch and all that.”

“Oh, yes,” I said, trying to hide all of the emotions I was feeling. “So I bet you lot talk about Quidditch all the time then, huh?”

She shook her head obliviously. “No. Actually I don’t know much about Quidditch so Ollie doesn’t really bring it up.”

I thought my jaw hit the floor. “You don’t—he doesn’t…blimey.” By that time we were at the pitch and Libby ignored my stammering to run (more like prance) to find Oliver before the game began. I, however, made my way up to the Gryffindor stands in a blind daze.

“You look…you look like you just walked through the Baron,” said Roger, nearly laughing at my state.

“I just ran into Libby.”

“Who’s Libby?” he asked. “Is that the girl that follows around Wood like his servant? I really thought she was a maid here for a while. I was wondering why he got a maid and I didn’t.” Roger smiled.

“That’s the girl,” I replied. “She was telling me how her and Wood are an item now.”

He laughed. “Good. Now maybe they’ll actually walk next to each other. So why the shocked look?”

“Because apparently, according to her, they don’t talk about Quidditch at all and she doesn’t even know that much about it.”

Roger raised a brow. “So Wood is dating a girl that doesn’t know beans about Quidditch? Unfathomable!”

“That’s what I thought too,” I mumbled as the players flew onto the field. Wood was looking quicker than usual. It was annoying.

“And there are the Gryffindors—Johnson, Spinnet, Bell, Weasley, Weasley, Ellis, and captain Wood!” Lee cried in the megaphone. “Followed by the Hufflepuffs! My, aren’t they…yellow!”

I smiled at Roger, who returned it. He was looking dishy this afternoon, despite being layered in wool and cotton.

I turned my attention to Libby, who was now making her way into the front row with a giant grin on her pointy face. “Go Lions!” she yelled out onto the pitch. Oliver was dating her—a puny fifth year with no Quidditch knowledge and pumpkin pie for brains. It was the same Oliver Wood I had always known—play Quidditch and date the blonds. In this instance, the blond bunnies.

The game began and Oliver took his position back by the goal hoops. He was looking happy but a little embarrassed because Libby was starting different Gryffindor chants from her place in the front row.

Roger reached over and placed his hand on top of mine.

Chapter 7: A Great Problem
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Ellis caught the snitch within a minute to halt play and secure the win for Gryffindor. I had been watching Alicia streak up the pitch to score her second goal of the game when I heard the deafening Gryffindor roar signaling our victory. Roger was shouting in glee beside me.

My eyes moved to Oliver, who had been hovering near the center hoop. He threw his arms up, cheering about his perfect Seeker, when a Bludger came out of nowhere (other than the Hufflepuff Beater’s stick) and slammed into the side of his head. He was knocked clear off his broom.

I leapt up, trying to slow his landing with my glare and before I knew what I was doing I was tearing down the stands and onto the pitch, racing across the grass with my hat coming off and my cloak whipping behind me. No one beat me to Oliver’s body, which was lying motionless on the sand, his legs bent at a strange angle and his ears leaking minor amounts of blood.

I fell to my knees beside him, feeling for his pulse and breathing. Both were fine—he just wasn’t conscious. I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Wood? Wood?” Alicia and Katie came up behind me, both panting from leaping off of their brooms at a low altitude. Ellis’ smirk had vanished.

“OLLIE!”

I was elbowed onto the sand by Libby, who had moved in to tend to Oliver Wood. She had tears streaming down her cheeks and she had thrown her body on top of his own as if to shield him from anyone—I’m sure particularly me since I beat her down there.

Why had I beat her down there? She was in the front row.

“Clear out!” Madam Hooche was shoving the Chasers aside as Fred had a word with the Hufflepuff Beater about late hits. “Wood? Are you all right?”

He still wasn’t moving.

“Knocked out cold,” said Hooche, leaning down and hoisting Oliver to his feet. She swung him over her shoulder (how in Merlin’s name did she manage that?) and began to carry him toward the castle. Libby was at her heels weeping in despair.

I stood there for a moment, drinking everything in. Oliver was seriously injured. Libby was going to be the one to sit at the edge of his bed until he came to. Gryffindor won the game. The pitch was so silent it felt as if we had lost.

Then I wheeled around. The Hufflepuff Beater was standing right behind me, still talking with Fred. His name was Nick Flynn and he had a nasty swagger when he walked that I did not like but the third year girls seemed to eat up.

“I hit it before Ellis caught the bloody snitch!” he was telling Fred. “That’s not late! He wasn’t watching!”

“He shouldn’t have to watch when the game’s over, git!” Fred snapped.

I narrowed my eyes at Nick, feeling anger tickle up my arms. “Who do you think you are? Do you think your hit was an act of revenge? Get even with the captain because his Seeker is bloody better than yours? Or was this something personal?”

Nick raised a brow. So did Fred.

“Is this so he won’t function right during the game against Slytherin because trust me, Oliver Wood will be just fine.” I crossed my arms.

“You’re awful involved in this for not even being on the team,” Nick said and Fred cracked his knuckles.

“I am on the team,” I said without thinking. “And I hope after that stunt you get booted off of yours. You deserve it, git.” With that, I punched him hard on the arm and made my way through the crowd looking for someone.

“Jane!”

Oh, yeah. I abandoned Roger.

I smiled. “Roger—sorry I just sort of ran off!” I blushed as he found me, handing me the hat that had come off while I ran. I stuffed it back on my head. “I didn’t mean to leave you…”

“Is Wood all right? That was a nasty hit!” Roger looked concerned and kept trying to stand on his toes to catch a glimpse of the mighty Madam Hooch hauling Wood to the castle.

“I’m sure he’ll be fine…eventually,” I said slowly. I watched as the crowd diminished (all except Fred and George, who were escorting Nick Flynn out by his armpits). “Wow, I’m really tired.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Roger as we made our way back toward the castle, “you could have won a hundred meter race with the speed you had going down there. You want to go take a nap or something?”

I shrugged, unsure of exactly what it was I wanted. A nap did sound nice—peace and quiet was tempting. “That sounds nice,” I mumbled as Roger opened the giant doors to the castle. He smiled at me. “I didn’t sleep well last night,” I lied, “so maybe a nap would do me good. Let’s…we’ll get together tomorrow or something.” At this point I was just talking. I felt dazed and unsure. I think Roger noticed because he hugged me when we reached the seventh floor.

“Go take your nap then, love,” he said, smiling warmly. “I’ll catch up with you later. I hope Wood’s okay—I’m sure Alicia and Angelina will know.”

I nodded, taking a few steps back and staring at Roger. He was still smiling at me—he was gorgeous and kind.

Now I was thinking random, stupid thoughts. Yeah, it was nap time. I waved good-bye to Roger, muttered the password into the fat lady’s ear, and made my way into the common room. It was pretty packed and nearly everyone was doing something they shouldn’t be doing on a Saturday after a won Quidditch match—like homework and chess.

The only one that looked remotely the same was Dan Ellis. He was on a chez lounge with grapes in his mouth, telling the tale of his snitch capture to several third and fourth year girls. They were sitting on their knees, leaning toward him. All that git needed was the crown of bay leaves and he would be the God of the common room.

I rolled my eyes.

The Chasers were walled up in the dormitory, talking in lowered voices from their beds. I smiled at them and fell onto my own bed, sighing heavily.

“We were kicked out of the hospital wing,” said Alicia bitterly.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because Libby wanted some bloody alone time with her Ollie-poo,” snapped Angelina. “It wasn’t like Fred was going to snog Wood’s face off or anything.”

I snorted. “So he hasn’t woke up yet?”

“Correct,” said Ang. “Libby’s basically on the bed with him trying to get him to open his eyes. Blimey, if I was Wood I’d keep them closed just because I wouldn’t want to see that twit.”

I smirked. “I think I need a nap,” I said slowly.

“Why? Roger wear you out? Did you two snog all morning or something?” Alicia asked with a chortle.

“Or was it because you bloody killed people to see if Wood was okay?” Ang said. She raised a brow.

I rolled my eyes again. “I think it’s just because I didn’t sleep well last night, but nice try.”

“How is Roger anyway?” Katie asked. “You don’t talk about him too much, which is disappointing considering he’s so dishy.”

“But Katie!” I said, laughing. “You have George! And Ang—I see your face—you have Fred!”

Alicia folded her arms. “Oh, yeah. And I have my invisible friend Carl. He’s got these lovely blue eyes and –”

Angelina threw a pillow at the other Chaser. “Sod off! You’ll find a bloke even if you have to tie him up and stuff his arse in the closet.”

Alicia made a face. “I’d forget to feed him and then I’d be out a bloke again!”

“Maybe,” I said, closing my eyes slowly, “you could ask Ang to feed and water him for you while you’re away or if you forget. I’m sure since she’s such a good friend she wouldn’t mind.” I smiled.

“Katie will do it,” Ang said and blew out a nearby candle.

“You should probably just remember, Alicia,” said Katie. “After all, you’ll be in there snogging him all the bloody time.”

“Enough!” Alicia shouted, but she was laughing. “I am finished talking about my nonexistent love life. Go take a nap, Jane.”

I smirked. “Nap time it is!”


By the time I woke up it was the middle of the night. Apparently nap means sleeping for a full day. The girls were asleep by the time I opened my eyes, so I put on a white cotton bathrobe and made my way down to the common room in my slippers.

Immediately, I wished I hadn’t gone downstairs. The only person down there was Libby and she was weeping by the fireplace. Unfortunately, since I was wearing pink bunny slippers, she heard me step onto the wood floor and wheeled around.

“What are you doing down here?” she snapped.

“Walking,” I shot back. “What are you doing?”

“Can’t you see that I want to be alone?”

I rolled my eyes. I had been doing that a lot lately. “That’s nice,” I muttered. “You just sit there and be alone then. Don’t let me disturb you.” I smirked and left through the portrait hole, not really sure where I was going considering it was after hours and I’d probably see myself in detention if someone were to find me.

Still, the castle was peaceful. It was a nice change from the hectic Quidditch stadium and the previously crowded common room. It was quiet and I could hear the rustle of my slippers against the cold floor. There were torches lit against the walls, lighting my aimless path.

I felt sort of bad, abandoning Roger for a nap after he rooted for Gryffindor with me, but I felt like a nap did me good. I was refreshed and comfortable and wandering the castle when no one was there to accidentally knock books out of my hands or anything like that.

The Great Hall was my favorite place to go on nights like these. The fires were roaring and the tables stripped of their cloths and dinnerware. It was so empty, but so full at the same time.

I took a seat on a bench beside one of the twelve fireplaces and leaned my head back to stare at the purple ceiling. When I was younger my father and I would sit in our backyard and watch the stars at night, just to bring us closer. I think it worked. It was there that he told me about how he met my mother and how beautiful I was when I was born. He would always say “Geez, Jane! What happened?” and I would laugh.

I spent the time in my bed after those nights contemplating the many reasons for my mother’s untimely death. It wasn’t until I was twelve that my father finally told me she had been killed while researching dragons in Brazil, a trip he had never forgiven himself for letting her go on. I never felt the same for dragons after I found that out and skipped a few classes where we learned about them for the next few years.

What rubbish—to be killed by a dragon. That was nonsense. It seemed so accidental and foolish, but I suppose there could be worse ways to die.

I think being Libby alone would be enough to kill anyone. Accept Libby herself—who seems quite oblivious.

I sighed, standing up again. I wanted to erase the memories of my parents for the time—of my mum picking me up and smiling at me while she painted my three-year-old toe-nails. I wanted to erase my dad for a while, who always seemed to find a place for me to fit in, regardless of my abilities. While everyone else went to Quidditch camp I was at a Magical Creatures Zoo. Though everyone missed me, they thought volunteering with wild griffins was cooler and when they sent me postcards covered in snitches they told me they wished they were at the zoo with me.

The castle air was still chilly and I found myself wishing I had brought my cloak with me—not that I thought I would even be leaving the common room. Instead, I found myself opening some familiar doors and then stopping immediately.

What was I doing in the hospital wing?


It was dark inside and due to the few candles I could tell that the window treatments were drawn and there were three people in the wing. One was across the room and snoring. I could just barely make out some shiny blond hair. The other was much closer to me on the right and the blankets were on the floor beside the bed. It was a first year Gryffindor with a cast on his leg. I wondered what was so bad that Madam Pomfrey could not fix it with a spell.

And then, to my left, were several curtains drawn around a bed. I paused before I reached them, my hand barely brushing against the vinyl fabric.

But then, sooner than I expected, I could see Oliver Wood’s face against the candlelight of the curtained space. He looked asleep—breathing steadily. Around the bed were boxes of chocolates and cards and several Quidditch magazines. It looked as if Libby had been browsing through them (which was weird since that twit hated Quidditch) because a few of the pages were wrinkled and a corner or two was bent down as a form of book mark.

I lowered myself down into the only chair beside Oliver’s bed and sighed quietly. I had no idea why I was there or what I would do if he would wake up, but if I only stayed for a minute no harm would be done. I was curious earlier to see if he was all right or not—especially since the Chasers were kicked out by Libby.

He looked all right. One side of his face was puffy and bruised, but the rest of him looked all right from the fall. A few scratches, but nothing ridiculously major. I placed my hand on the blanket.

“Perry, didn’t expect to see you around these parts.”

My head jerked up. Oliver’s eyes were open and he was smiling. One of his teeth had been knocked out from the hit and my stomach lurched.

“Pomfrey can fix the tooth—don’t look so happy,” he said. “I’ll be back to my beautiful self in no time.”

I rolled my eyes for the millionth time that day. “No hurry, Wood.”

He scooted up in bed and propped some white pillows up behind his back. “So what brings you here at…blimey, it’s after midnight.”

“I took a nap after the game,” I whispered so as to not wake up the other two patients. “I just woke up and I was going to hang out in the common room but…but Libby was there flooding the place. So I went for a walk.”

“And ended up here.”

I nodded. “Somehow.”

Oliver smiled. “Libby’s up there watering the wood floor then, eh?” he said.

“Yeah. Bloody twit kicked me out the same way she kicked out the girls from visiting you.” I frowned.

“Don’t be too hard on her,” Oliver said slowly, his expression changing to a somber, more subdued look. “She really isn’t that terrible.”

“Depends on your definition of terrible,” I muttered.

“She’s a nice girl, Perry,” Oliver said as he lowered his eyes to my hand (which was still on the blanket very close to his leg). “She cares about me and, well, she’s not all that bad.”

“So you fancy her then?” I asked this a little loud and had to mentally shush myself.

“She’s not that bad.”

I shrugged and then focused my attention on something else. “So…you look all right—are you all right?”

Oliver nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just some cuts and scrapes and whatnot.”

“So at least you got a good amount of sleep.”

“I was only out for about ten seconds.”

I glanced up. “What do you mean? I was the one that got there first—”

“I know.”

“—and you were out cold. Madam Hooch had to carry you all the way back here. Then the girls told me Libby had been in here for hours and you were out. How can you possibly tell me that you were only out for ten seconds?”

“Because,” he began in a whisper, “I just kept my eyes closed. When I came to I could barely open my eyes and saw you over me. Then I saw Libby and decided to keep my eyes closed because I didn’t want to deal with her. So I just pretended like I was sleeping. I made Madam Pomfrey swear not to tell anyone I was awake because there would be questions and all sorts of rubbish. I don’t want anyone thinking that was a weak shot and I fell because I lost my balance.”

“So,” I said, trying to wrap my mind around everything Oliver had just said, “you’re telling me that you were fine. You lost your balance after the hit and you blacked out.” I paused. “And then you pretended to be more hurt than you were to look macho. All the while letting your girlfriend cry her eyes out thinking you’ve got serious brain damage…is that right?”

He nodded. “Yeah, that’s about right.”

“You’re a pig.”

Oliver smiled. “I just really didn’t want to deal with anyone,” he said. “That game was good—but sort of rubbish.”

“What do you mean? Gryffindor won!”

“Gryffindor won because Ellis is a show-off. He’s a damn good Seeker but now I’m going to have my Chasers hounding me because they didn’t even get to play. We practice constantly and how are they supposed to show a scout what they can do when we have an all-star Seeker catching the snitch in a few seconds?” Oliver smirked. “It’s a great problem, but as Captain, it’s something I have to deal with.”

I sat back in the chair and removed my hand from the bed. “What a lovely captain you are, Mr. Wood.”

“I do try.” He smiled again glanced toward the magazines. “Have you read all the recent ones? That is what I have been up doing—until I pretended to sleep again because I thought you were Libby coming back for the millionth time trying to get me to wake up. I think she was nearly on top of me at one point.”

“Delicious girl to fancy, Wood.”

“Would you rather have me fancy someone else?” he asked.

I immediately shot him a dark glare. “Like who? There is no one left. You could fancy Alicia if you wanted.”

He laughed. “Fancy my Chaser—fat chance. Chasers are too high maintenance.”

I raised a brow. “Apparently Fred and George don’t think so.”

“They’re bonkers then,” said Oliver, “I’m just content with the girl that I have.”

“Libby then?” I smiled. “Good luck with that. Really. I’m…erm, I’m happy for you. Or something.” I stood up.

“I take it you don’t like her.”

“Was it that obvious?” I laughed and made my way toward the edge of the curtain drapes.

“Just a little bit,” Oliver said with a smirk. It was that smirk again—the same one he gave me while following me on his broom once he found out I couldn’t fly. “But hey—I guess it goes both ways.”

I turned. “Roger?”

“No, I love Dodger, I just hate Angelina.” He winked at me.

I flipped him off. “Sod off, Wood. Go date—never mind, you’re already doing my insult.”

Oliver threw a pillow at me and I kicked it out of his vinyl room. He groaned. “Maybe, when you actually wake up, you can ask your girlfriend to grab your pillow for you.” I winked pompously and closed the curtain behind me.


November was fast fading and as soon as the Gryffindor/Hufflepuff Quidditch sensation had ended, everyone was thinking about the winter holidays. That is, everyone except Oliver Wood. Even Roger talked about staying over the holidays since the twins mentioned something spectacular.

The only things left before the term end were a team meeting and a small end of term party. I was looking forward to neither.

Oliver, on the other hand, focused every moment he had with the team on things like the Slytherin balance on their brooms and the way they consistently hit the Bludgers low (“Something you need to remember more than us,” said Fred). I tried to ignore him to the best of my ability, but sometimes Oliver found a way to get into people’s heads. I found myself dreaming about dodging a Bludger that was headed straight for my feet. It was an obnoxious dream considering I would have rather dreamt of Roger riding a white horse or some romantic cheese like that.

I looked at Roger from across the table at lunch. He seemed sad even though I was sitting with him at the Ravenclaw table. “What it is?” I asked, munching slowly on some celery.

Roger shrugged, brushing a few strands of hair from his eyes. “I just wanted to do something with you tonight like go for a nice walk or to a café in Hogsmeade…”

“You know I have team dinner tonight,” I said carefully.

He nodded. “That’s why I’m a bit irritated. It’s the second to last Saturday before term ends and I can’t even spend it with my girlfriend. Next weekend didn’t you mention some rubbish about a Gryffindor party?”

I sighed. “Yeah, the twins are putting something together.”

“But they told me they’re doing something for over break.”

I glanced up. “They are. They’re busy not studying.” I paused. “Sorry, Roger. It’s Quidditch stuff. I’m sure it won’t last the entire night. It’s only dinner. We can spend the rest of the night together—how does that sound?”

To my surprise, Roger smiled. “All right. I’ll plan something for us to do tonight. My team dinners only go for about an hour anyway.”

I leaned over the table (elbowing some girl named Mandy) and kissed Roger lightly on the lips. He smirked. “It’s a date then.”


Hogsmeade was cold and part of me was furious with Wood for insisting we have our team dinners all the way off grounds instead of in a warm classroom or whatnot. “The other teams could bloody spy!” would be his answer of course. I didn’t care. Let the Slytherins know that Wood is obsessed with their balance so I don’t have to freeze my feet off.

I walked into the pub, Angelina, Katie, and Alicia behind me, and groaned. In the room that we had our last meeting were several pie charts, big display boards, and in the center of the table was a holograph Quidditch stadium. This was going to be a long dinner—perhaps I should owl Roger.

Chapter 8: Click Click Boom
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I took a seat beside George and Alicia, trying not to think about the pie chart referencing bathroom breaks during practice. Oliver had gone overboard this time. He was sitting at the head of the table with a mug of firewhiskey and a determined stare on his face.

This was ridiculous.

“Does that say,” Alicia began, pointing, “potty breaks?”

I nodded, almost laughing. “How long do you think this will be?”

Alicia shrugged. “I can’t tell. Looks like Oliver has an agenda but I’m not sure what it is. Maybe Libby and him had a row or sommat—”

“Libby and I are fine,” snapped Oliver from the front of the table. “Would it kill you to stay out of my personal life?”

Alicia snorted. “The same way you stay out of ours, right?” She smiled at him.

Oliver rolled his eyes. “Let’s get on with this then. The food will be out in a minute.”


Honestly, I couldn’t remember a time that I had almost fallen asleep on a table more times. Even History of Magic did not warrant this many head nods. Oliver went on for at least a half hour before the food arrived about Slytherin’s chances even though they had just lost to Ravenclaw. “They’re out for revenge!” he cried a few times, knocking me from my dreams.

Fred was the first one asleep. He was drooling a bit on the table and George poked him with a carrot stick when Oliver wasn’t looking.

“We can’t take this team lightly!” the captain said. “They’re going to be looking for a win! We can’t just hand it to them!”

“Well, obviously,” muttered George, still poking Fred in the ribs. Oliver ignored him.

“We have to be prepared. We only have three months.”

I rolled my eyes. “With luck this meeting won’t last that long,” I said.

Oliver wheeled around from one of the pie charts. (How had he not heard George but heard me?) He frowned. “Perry, that’s not that attitude I want. I want a winning attitude.” He folded his arms. “Even if you aren’t on the team.”

I sighed, finishing the third piece of cheesecake I had been eating. “Thanks, Wood. You’re a fabulous captain. Really.”

I hadn’t meant it as too much of an insult (maybe a little) or as something to spark an argument, but that was what happened.

“Do not question my captioning, Perry,” Oliver snapped, throwing down his pointer pen onto the table. “I don’t need it from you. In fact, out of everyone here I need it the least from you.”

I couldn’t help but take the bait. “Why is that, Wood? Because I’m not on the team?”

He snorted. “Because I let you cry on my bloody shoulder on Halloween since your daddy can’t take ruddy care of you! Do you think I honestly give a fart that Daddy doesn’t know what nail polish to buy or that he can’t take care of his little girl because Mummy died? I need you to be focused about this—”

“Are you fucking KIDDING me?” I cried, throwing my arms in the way. Alicia slammed her head on the table. “Are you really going to say that after you’re the one that asked me about my family?”

“I just wanted you to trust me so I could get you to really focus on this game!”

“I don’t believe you!” I cried, throwing a piece of carrot at him. “This was even before the Hufflepuff game! How dare you throw this in my face—I can’t believe you!” I paused. “You know what? I can believe you. You’ve been a pompous, moronic Quidditch player since the day I met you.”

“Wood, maybe you should just go on with the presentation,” said Angelina carefully. Her eyes were darting back and forth between Oliver and me.

“A pompous moronic Quidditch player?!” he cried, completely ignoring Ang. “I’ve done nothing but try and help you since I learned you couldn’t fly!”

A few people gasped. Ellis started choking on his chocolate cake.

“I can fly just fine!”

“Thanks to me!” he yelled. “I let you try out for my team! I let you on my team! I let you walk around here with confidence thinking you’re worth my bloody time and whining to me about your pops not knowing about design and wanting you to learn Quidditch because the tosser can’t play himself!”

My chest swelled up and I marched up to him. Alicia tried to grab for my arms to stop me, but she was too slow. I stood up next to Oliver, who was at least six inches taller than me, and I narrowed my eyes at him. “I am not going to stand here and listen to you talk about my father like that—especially in front of the entire team. It worked, Wood. You for me to trust you.” I stared at him hard. “That was a stupid mistake considering I’ve been trying to get away from you for a couple of years now since everything you know about me always goes through the school in some rumor or another. I bloody hate you, Wood. I hate you and I’m glad I’m not on your stupid team—even if you did help me learn to fly!” It was then that I slapped him hard across the face and he stumbled backward in surprise.

Everyone else in the room had the same look.

I turned on my heel, grabbed my bag from next to George, and marched out of the room still fuming. It had been three and a half hours since I had gone to Hogsmeade with the team and at least Roger would be happy to see me.

Damn that Wood. He always found a way to ruin something.

Not only that—but it was partially my fault. I let Oliver Wood find out I couldn’t fly. I could have lied like I did to Fred and George. I could have thrown a big rock at him and knock him out and then hex him so he didn’t remember what he had seen. I could have killed him or something. But then he found out and cursed me onto the team.

Then I think maybe he’s not such a bad bloke after all. He was being nice to that git Libby that followed him around like a puppy—perhaps Oliver Wood had a heart. So I spilled my guts about my mum and my dad, thinking that he just wanted to know about me. Me. I was an idiot. I should have just told him that instead—“excuse me, Oliver. I can’t tell you about my family because I am an idiot. You don’t need to know about my family. The only thing you need to know is that I am a BLOODY IDIOT and trust pompous gits too much!”

It was snowing outside now and my boots were back in my dorm room. Lovely. Water was soaking into my sneakers and my hair was wet from the flakes. What a day. At least it was helping me calm down a bit.

“Jane?”

I swung around. Roger was standing a few meters away with his cloak wrapped tightly around him and boots on his feet. He did not look happy to see me.

“Oh, hi, Roger!” I said, relieved to see someone that did not know about my dad and me not knowing how to fly. “Thank God you’re out here. I was worried you’d be in the Ravenclaw Common Room and I wouldn’t be able to get a hold of you.”

He shrugged. “I was out here about to go find you—you’ve been gone for almost four hours!”

I nodded. “It’s still not over.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“No, I walked out because Wood’s a prick.”

“What did he do?” Roger’s tone changed immediately. He put an arm around my shoulders as we made our way in the snow back to the castle. “Other than have a meeting that is going on four hours.”

I shrugged into his arms. “He’s just being a prat. He took a few things I told him a while ago and he used them against me at the meeting.”

“What kind of things?” He barely sounded curious, but I knew he was.

I shook my head. “Just a few things—I don’t really want to talk about it right now.” I smiled up at him, but found him frowning.

“Why not?”

“I just had a huge row with Wood and stormed out—I just don’t want to talk about it.” I pulled open the castle doors and brushed off my cloak.

“I don’t get it,” Roger said, pausing as he closed the door behind us. “I’ve been your boyfriend for a while now and I thought things were going good.”

I raised a puzzled brow at him as we walked further down the Entrance Hall. “What do you mean? Things are going fine.”

“You won’t even tell me what you told Wood. Why are you telling Wood things anyway? I thought you hated him. He’s a right git and you’re telling him secrets that your boyfriend doesn’t know.”

“They’re not secrets you don’t know, Roger,” I said quickly. “Can you leave it alone for now? I’m not really in the mood to argue with you too.” I sighed.

Roger wasn’t giving up without a…fight? “This is rubbish, Jane! You can’t even trust me with yourself! Why won’t you open up to me? Why won’t you bloody tell me anything? I feel like every time we go on a date I’m the girl!”

“You’re the what?”

“The girl! All I end up doing is talking about myself constantly because you won’t tell me a bleeding thing about you.”

“I tell you plenty,” I pleaded. “I tell you all about my life and the girls and…”

“You tell me about your classes and your roommates. You don’t tell me about Quidditch and about Wood being an idiot and about your past.”

My ears perked up. “Why do you want to know about Quidditch, huh?” I snapped. Something in my brain was going off. “Want to get in on the Gryffindor secrets, Roger? Gunna tell your team about how we practice and how we balance on our brooms?”

“You know that’s not what I meant!”

“I don’t care what you meant!” I found myself yelling. He wanted to know everything—all my secrets and all about Quidditch. Maybe Wood was right. No! Oliver Wood wasn’t right about anything. “I’m not telling you a damn thing about myself—you’re just going to use it against me!”

“I’m not Wood, Jane!”

I folded my arms. “You’re just as bad!”

Roger’s stare was daggers. “Fine. If this is how you are going to be I’m not going to talk to you for a while.”

“Bloody good.”

He shrugged. “Sod off, Jane,” he said angrily, turning to walk the other way toward the Ravenclaw Common Room. “Why don’t you just run back to Wood and tell him all about what happened—you tell him everything else anyway.”

That was when I lost control of my left hand and hit him hard on the back of the head.

“Bloody—ow!”

“NOW YOU’RE JUST LIKE WOOD!” I cried and stormed off toward Gryffindor Tower.

The team wasn’t there yet, just a few scattered third years and a clique of first years looking up Potions ingredients by the door.

“Hey, Jane!”

And Libby.

I rolled my eyes. Was it possible to hit three people in one day—if one was Libby it would certainly have to be all right. I steadied my hand at the ready.

“Yes?”

“Have you seen Ollie? He said he was coming back in an hour but I haven’t seen him—you’re on the team, aren’t you? You’re like a reserve or something because Ellis is so great, right?” Libby placed her skinny hands on her hips. “I just have no idea where he is. He usually keeps me informed.”

Of course she was asking me about Oliver.

“You know what, Libby,” I said, trying to stifle my anger into a passionate face, “I did see him a little bit ago.” She looked curious. “The meeting ended in about ten minutes so I went to have a drink at the pub and Oli—Wood was there. He was talking to a few girls I’d seen at the Quidditch matches. I think they’re fourth years or something like that.”

Libby gasped. “Was he answering their Quidditch questions?”

“Quidditch didn’t come up once,” I said in an exasperated tone. “I overheard their conversation since I was only a stool away—apparently Wood told them he didn’t have a girlfriend and wanted to know if they wanted to go somewhere more private to talk.” I shook my head sadly. “Then he took their hands and left—he might have even grabbed one of their arse’s on the way out but I couldn’t see right—I did hear a squeal though.”

Libby’s hands clamped over her mouth (just the way I liked it). “No—no he couldn’t have—you must have misheard!”

I shrugged. “I might have. You could be right—but I was only a stool away.”

There were tears in her eyes.

I smiled warmly. “Good luck, Libby. I know you’ll make the right choice.” I gave her a quick hug and wandered toward the spiral staircase with a wicked grin on my face.

The portrait hole opened when I was at the top of the stairs. Bingo. Oliver walked in with the rest of the team behind him. I could hear him ranting about me hitting him hard across the face.

“OLLIE I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU!” And there was Libby.

I walked into my dormitory, kicked up my feet, and brought out my Charms book to catch up on some homework.

It was a while before the girls walked in, all looking completely stunned. I glanced up.

“Jane did you—do you have any idea what just happened?” asked Alicia, slipping off her shoes.

I raised a fake confused brow. “No, what happened?”

Angelina let out an exasperated sigh. “Apparently someone told Libby that Oliver was flirting with some girls in Hogsmeade—weird, considering we were at the meeting the entire time.”

I gasped. “Who would do that?”

She shrugged. “I’m not sure—probably someone that wanted to screw with Libby. That doesn’t narrow anything down.” Angelina smiled. “They’re down there having a row now.”

“Good,” I muttered.

“Why is that good? Because you and Oliver just had a row?” asked Katie.

“No, because Oliver is a git and so is Libby.”

I could tell Katie was trying to fight back a smile. “True, true—I just wish you would ignore how much of a git he is sometimes, Jane.”

I rolled my eyes. “You’re preaching to the wrong choir.”

“The sad part is that I know,” said Katie. “It’s just hard having a meeting with you two fighting all the damn time.”

“I waited a full three hours before I said anything,” I remarked, turning to another page in my Charms book. “The meeting shouldn’t have lasted that long. He told Libby he’d be back in an hour.”

“How do you know what he told Libby?” asked Alicia.

“Because Libby told me when I came in.”

She narrowed her eyes. “When did you get back anyway—I thought you hate a date with Dodger tonight.”

I closed the book. “Didn’t work out,” I muttered.

“What happened?” asked Angelina, setting down her pajamas and walking over to my side of the room.

“We had a fight.” For the first time in a long time, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.”I don’t really want to talk about it.”

Angelina backed up. “All right…but if you do—we’re here, okay?”

I nodded, turning my face away and opening the book, pretending to read it.

The room was quiet, which made me uncomfortable. I wanted to find some music to play or at least hear the girls talking about how Wood was making them get up early for practice or about how in the latest Quidditch magazine the dishy Brazilian player only got half a page. This time, however, the only noises were the rustling of book pages and blankets.

I snapped the Charms book closed and climbed into bed still fully clothed. This was rubbish. Wood was a prat—telling the entire team my secrets (which they had yet to bring up) and insulting me in the same go!

Then there was Roger. Roger was supposed to by me saving grace after having that row with Oliver—but instead he was consumed by jealousy or false information and turned on me. Of course Roger turned on me. He probably thinks I fancy Wood or something just because I told him a few things.

It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Roger—or was it?

Or it could be what Oliver said still eating away at me. Blimey, it shouldn’t be. Roger was my boyfriend. Oliver was my git Quidditch Captain.

And I had hit both of them in one night.

“I’m finished with blokes,” I said out loud and the girls looked over. “They’re obnoxious and I don’t want anything to do with them anymore.”

Angelina raised a brow. “So that’s that?”

I nodded. “That’s that. I’m just going to stay in here and study my life away.”

“Does that mean Roger’s on the market?” said Alicia with a giggle.

“Don’t push it,” I said, but smiled anyway.


“I have an announcement!”

It was breakfast, two days later, and I had succeeded in being walled up for the past couple of days. Roger had not approached me at meals and I had not glanced over at the Ravenclaw table even though I wanted to more than anything. Oliver also hadn’t spoken to me, but I did catch a glance at the giant red mark across his cheek.

Fred was standing up at the Gryffindor table with his hands raised to get attention. “I know you lot already know we want to throw the Gryffindor party this weekend—” There were cheers. “—and it is going to be amazing! You know why? Because the Lions know how to party! Now, I am making this announcement to hand out jobs to everyone because George and I can’t do everything. Well, we could, but that would cut down on my Ang—snog time and I’m not willing to part with that time.” He winked at Angelina.

She hit him hard on the arm.

“So!” Fred continued. “I need Ang to take care of the lights. We need some more interesting things—not just a few candlesticks and the fireplace. Alicia, you are in charge of the fruit tray. Every good party has a fruit tray. Make sure it has pineapple.” After that, Katie was required to do the snacks, Lee was working on the music, Libby had the guest list for those outside of Gryffindor who had special invites, and then Fred turned to me. I glanced up at him. He gave me a look—that was never good.

“Jane, I’ve got a special job for you,” he said with a smirk. It was a classified Weasley Twin Smirk. “I’m having you head to Hogsmeade and shop for all of the drinks—alcoholic and non—with Oliver.”

I almost choked on my breakfast. I could hear Oliver spit his toast all over the table.

“Are you crazy?” I said quickly, trying to be as nonchalant as possible. “I—I don’t know a thing about drinks. I would be rubbish.”

“You’re rubbish at everything,” said Oliver and I scowled. “We’d be an awful pair. Why don’t you let Perry take care of the guest list and I’ll take Libby along?”

“You wouldn’t get anything done, that’s why!” I countered. “You’ll be snogging in the liquor aisle!”

“Ouch!” Oliver faked being insulted. “Weasley, don’t do this.”

Fred checked his list. “Sorry, mates, you’re the last ones left. I’m sure things will be fine.” He smirked. There it was again—that smirk.

Oliver groaned. “You’re getting laps for this.”

Chapter 9: Over Drinks
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Since the party was only a few days away, I was now forced to talk to Oliver Wood. Leave it to Fred to pair the two of us up—two people that loathed each other to the very core.

I walked across the common room to where he was sitting with a Quidditch magazine propped up on his knees. I cleared my throat lightly, knowing that no matter what this was not going to go well.

“Perry?” Oliver groaned. “I don’t have any nail polish.”

“I don’t want nail polish, Wood,” I snapped. “We have to go shopping later tonight for the drinks. I wanted to know when you want to go.”

He shrugged. “Can’t you just go?” he asked. “That would be easier on both of us.”

I rolled my eyes. “Or you could just go by yourself…think about why you’re such a bloody jerk.”

“I’m not a jerk. And I’m not going by myself and letting you get out of doing any work.”

“Same here.”

He sighed. “Let’s go around five then, okay? I’ll meet you down here and we’ll buy the rubbish and get back here. I have things to do tonight.”

“Yeah, I can see that.” I motioned toward the Quidditch magazine. “What a horrible life you have.” I rolled my eyes and wandered back upstairs to finish off my Charms homework.

Angelina was at her desk scribbling on some parchment. She jumped when I walked in. “Have you and Oliver gone to get the drinks yet?”

I shook my head. “We’re going later. I still don’t understand why Fred would want Wood and me to go get them—we’ll probably end up in a row and buying something completely wrong.”

Ang smiled. “I’m sure you two will be okay. Just don’t take him seriously. Try to get along.”

“I don’t want to get along,” I muttered stubbornly. “I want to throw him into the lake.”

She shrugged. “Whatever helps you sleep at night.” Angelina smiled at me and continued to write on her parchment.

I opened my Charms book. “Maybe I should toss that git in the lake. I haven’t been sleeping very well lately.”


At five minutes after five (just to show him I didn’t give a fart about the things he had to do), I made my way down the stairs with my cloak already wrapped tightly around me. Oliver was tapping his foot at the end of the stairs and looking up at me, annoyed. “Hi, Wood,” I said nonchalantly, pulling a hat tightly onto my head. “Are you ready to shop for some booze?”

Oliver rolled his eyes. “I was ready five minutes ago.”

I shrugged. “Yeah, me too.” I led the way downstairs and silently walked out into the snow (this time I brought my boots).

“I think I’ll kill Fred for this,” Oliver muttered, kicking some snow at me.

I nodded. “The question is—how.”

“How to kill Fred?” It looked like Oliver was thinking hard. “Death by broomstick I think.”
I smirked. “Honorable way to go out.”

The trek into Hogsmeade was silent save for our crunching footsteps. Oliver kept his eyes focused forward, staring at the coming buildings. I, however, was looking at the snow. It was glittery in the winter sunlight, which I loved, and the footprints behind us looked almost like a path (an escape path).

Once we reached the village Oliver pulled out a list. “All right, this is the list Weasley gave me. It’s got a bunch of different liquors on it and some mixers. Do you want to just split up?”

As much as I wanted to split up and leave him in my snow dust, I made a face. Staring at the list, I knew I was hopeless. Every time Hogwarts had a party, the twins took care of everything right down to the beverages. They knew the names and knew what kind of tastes we liked and that is what they got—true masters of their art. I, however, did not know what any of this was or what any of it looked like. This certain brand of Vodka could have been in a milk carton bottle and I’d have no idea.

“I would,” I said slowly, and then followed it up with a more forceful, “I seriously would. But…I don’t know a bottle of gin from a bottle of whiskey.”

Oliver raised a brow. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I narrowed my eyes. He always had to act so much better than me. “No, I’m not kidding you. I’ve never had to buy the drinks before—why would I know?”

“Because it’s a common knowledge,” Oliver retorted, folding up the list as we headed toward the only liquor store in Hogsmeade. “But that’s all right.” He shrugged and pulled open the dark mahogany door. “We’ll just go together and I’ll have to show you the ropes.”

“Wonderful,” I muttered, “yet another thing you can hold over my head and then announce to the entire team.” I turned to the left and pretended to have an idea of what I was looking for.

Oliver peeked his head around the corner. “This is wine. We don’t need any—the Vodka section is down here a few aisles.”

“I don’t care,” I shot back, brushing my finger along a dark red wine, “maybe I want wine. I think I do. This red wine looks pretty wicked.”

He shrugged. “You’d hate that.”

“I bet I wouldn’t.” I folded my arms just to look stubborn.

Oliver smirked at me. “Then grab your wine but I’m not pouring you a sour all night if you get that bottle.”

I gaped at him. Sours were my favorite drinks and people frequently made fun of me for it. That didn’t bother me, but I knew Oliver wasn’t kidding. I set down the bottle of wine and slowly made my way over toward the grinning git.

“These are the different bottles we need…this one here is gin.” He held up a tall, clear bottle and jiggled it in front of my face. “And this one is whiskey.” Oliver handed me a bottle of amber-colored liquid and kept searching through the rows of glass. “I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve seen many blokes get nasty after having a bit on the rocks.” He smiled at me, but I didn’t return it.

I scanned the aisle of bottles, tilting my head to the side to see if there was anything from the list that I recognized. I grabbed for a large bottle of Vodka. “This, right?” I said, feeling a little foolish but curious at the same time.

Oliver nodded. “Put it in the cart then, pro,” he said with a chortle. “So you’ve been touchy all day.” He placed a bottle of dark liquid in the cart. “Why? Isn’t Dodger doing his job and cheering you up? He shouldn’t let his lady go around being a pissy wench, should he?”

I rolled my eyes. “Roger isn’t cheering up anyone right now,” I muttered darkly, thinking back to our row. “In fact, he can cheer up any lady he wants…far bloody away from me.”

Oliver’s eyes widened. He stared at me, completely serious, for a moment and then said loudly, “Did he hit you?”

I threw a playful punch at his arm. “No, he didn’t bloody hit me! Don’t be stupid.” I grabbed the list back from him and pretended like I knew what Bailey’s was.

“Then what happened? Did he call you a name?”

“Oh, you mean like when you just called me a wench?” I raised a brow and Oliver blushed. “No, he just…it’s none of your ruddy business. We got in a row and I’m not speaking to him. I don’t care. He’s being a foul git.”

“You should throw him in front of the Hogwarts Express or something.” Oliver smiled warmly. “I can help you.”

“I’ll just get Fred and George to help,” I said quickly, shifting a few bottles in the cart so that none of them broke. Oliver raised a brow. “Considering I’ll just toss you in right after Roger.”

“Now what did I do?”

“Do you even have to ask me that?” I folded my arms and stared at him. “I think there are several reasons I would throw you in front of a train—the main being that you told your entire bloody Quidditch team that I couldn’t fly before your sorry arse taught me.”

He made a face. “Perry, come on. I’m sure they knew.”

“I made it so they didn’t know, Wood!” I said, nearly yelling. A worker peeked around the corner to see if everything was all right. “I lied and I continuously countered every time you hinted that I might not know how to fly. That was my biggest secret, you pompous git! Couldn’t you tell that I didn’t want it out?”

Oliver didn’t say anything right away. He stood there for a few seconds, now examining a bottle of something the label called cider with some weird rodent on it. “Look, I was mad. I didn’t mean for it to end like that.”

He sounded almost serious, but I knew better than that. I knew that whenever Oliver Wood sounded remotely serious that it was code for him either trying to shut someone up or him trying to instill some trust again. I was assuming it was the latter, but considering he always picked on me for jabbering too much, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was either.

I stared at him. “Well, whether or not you meant it to, it did. It ended really bad and now I have to figure out how to tell all of my best friends that I have continuously lied to them for six years. Lovely.”

Oliver groaned as he put a warm pink bottle in the cart. “I said I’m sorry.”

“I know you did.” I couldn’t help but replay the conversation in my head.

“Because I let you cry on my bloody shoulder on Halloween since your daddy can’t take ruddy care of you! Do you think I honestly give a fart that Daddy doesn’t know what nail polish to buy or that he can’t take care of his little girl because Mummy died? I need you to be focused about this—”

“Are you fucking KIDDING me?” I cried, throwing my arms in the way. Alicia slammed her head on the table. “Are you really going to say that after you’re the one that asked me about my family?”

“I just wanted you to trust me so I could get you to really focus on this game!”


I looked at him. “And part of me really thinks you mean it.” I shrugged as Oliver bore his eyes into my own. “But the other part of me, the sensible part, knows you are a prat that I would feed to the squid because you’re so disloyal to anyone not directly benefiting you.”

Oliver gaped at me. “That’s not true!”

“Yes, it is,” I replied, picking up a baby blue bottle and raising a brow at it. He put it back on the shelf before I could inquire about it. “Look, Wood, I’m sure you feel sorry. That’s really nice. I just loathe you.”

“I loathe you too, Perry.” Oliver was smiling.

I poked him in the ribs. “Cut it out! You’re supposed to be…growling or something.”

“Growling? Like a…like a dog? You think Oliver Wood should be growling at you like a puppy?”

“That’s about as much bite as you have, Wood. A puppy.” I looked down at the cart, pretending to not notice his hurt expression. “Do we have everything?”

I waited for a moment for Oliver to check the list and he nodded. “Yep. That’s all of it.” He paused as we proceeded to the check out, bottles clinking in the cart. It was awkward now—we weren’t arguing, but we weren’t exactly getting along either.

Not that I wanted to. Wood was a creep.

He paid with the money Fred gave him and we walked out with several paper bags full of booze. I’m sure a few people were wondering what a few students at Hogwarts were doing coming out of there with so many booze bags, but I suddenly found that I didn’t care.

At this point, I wasn’t caring about much—maybe slaughtering several males for irritating me, but other than that my care meter was scraping the bottom of the lake.

“Do you want to stop for a drink?”

I glanced over. “Don’t you think we have enough?”

Oliver laughed. “I was just getting a bit hungry since I’ve been busy teaching you all I know about booze this evening.”

I rolled my eyes and replied with a shrug so he led the way into The Three Broomsticks, a place I had grown to appreciate. We set the bags down on empty bar stools and took our own seats.

Madam Rosemerta handed me a butterbeer.

Insert: awkward.


“So,” I muttered randomly, trying not to look as stupid as I already did sitting there with bags of booze next to the prat Quidditch captain.

“So,” echoed Oliver, sipping on his own drink. “Do you want me to tell the team that I lied about the flying?”

I shook my head. “There’s no use now. Just by my reaction they know. Ellis is going to have a field day with that, though.”

“Just tell him to shove off.”

I shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. It’s over. I just have to make it through this party and I’ll be all set for next term. I’ll figure out a way to explain to the girls.”

“Tell them the truth.”

I glanced up. “The truth? That I was just too embarrassed to learn?”

Oliver did not meet my gaze. “Sure. Tell them what you told me when I found out…well, leave out the crude comments and yelling though. I’m sure they don’t want to hear that.”

“You’re a piece of work,” I muttered.

“Oh, just drink your drink and study your booze.”

I punched him on the arm as he laughed stupidly.

“So tell me,” I said, desperately trying to push him off of his high horse, “what happened with Libby the other night? I heard the two of you arguing downstairs.”

The laughing stopped.

“We’re…we’re all right. For now.” Oliver narrowed his eyes as me and I could tell he was suspicious. “It did take a few bloody hours to convince her that I wasn’t in Hogsmeade talking to girls, but after that she calmed down.”

“Who told her that if you weren’t doing it?”

“I wonder.” He rolled his eyes at me and I started laughing.

It was Oliver’s turn to playfully punch me on the arm.


“What took you so long?” Alicia asked, kicking her feet up onto the coffee table.

I had just walked in with Wood, bags in my arms, and a scowl on my face. I set the bags down on a nearby sofa and shrugged. “We had a hard time finding everything.”

Fred glanced up from snogging Angelina. “Do you two still hate each other?”

Oliver nodded. “I will always hate, Perry. She’s a git.”

I punched him again. “Pot calling the kettle black.” Then I punched Fred. “That’s for making me do that.” The girls smiled and exchanged glances.

I stretched for a moment and was surprised when Oliver’s eyes caught my own. He smiled. I made a face and flipped him off.

That smirk would look nice under the Hogwarts Express.


The party was now only a day away and I was still doing surprisingly well on swearing off men. Angelina, however, did not help my dilemma every time she came into the dormitory swooning about Fred. Alicia threw so many pillows at her that she had to start using Katie’s pillows, and then my own.

“Take it outside!” Alicia cried, throwing a stuffed bear at Angelina after another gush session about how adorable Fred was.

“Oh, I’m not that bad,” countered Angelina, plopping down onto her bed and fixing the pillows. “Katie doesn’t think so, do you, Katie?”

Katie made a face. “Do I talk about George that much?” she asked.

“No one could talk about their beau as much as Ang talks about Fred,” Alicia said, “so don’t worry.”

Angelina threw one of her perfect pink pillows at Alicia’s head.

“Alicia you’re just mad because you’re don’t have—”

“So how are things with you and Dodger?” Alicia said, changing the subject rapidly. “Have you made up yet so you won’t have to go with me to the party?”

I groaned. “No, I haven’t made up with Roger yet. I haven’t even talked to him…but seriously, if he thinks I told Wood all of my bloody secrets and kept everything from him, he’s seriously mistaken. Wood found out on his own.”

The room was quiet and it was then that I knew what was coming.

“So why didn’t you…you know, tell us?” said Alicia.

The ground was suddenly more interesting than the conversation. “I…well, it never really came up.”

“Don’t be stupid,” said Katie. “Motion sickness? Come on.”

“Okay, I didn’t want you lot to think I was…”

“You were what? Think you just didn’t learn to fly—we could have taught you!”

I frowned. To be honest, I had no idea why I never told them other than the thought of potential embarrassment. They were, after all, my best friends. We had been through a lot together—including me telling off Wood a few times for working them to death. I didn’t know what to say.

“Okay,” said Angelina, catching the hint that I wasn’t going to reply, “if you have anything else you want to cough up, let us know. Do you have a secret life? A love child with Dodger?”

I threw another pillow at her. “No. Nothing else you don’t know.”

But there was plenty Roger didn’t know.

To a point, he was right. I had walked in there to use him as some sort of escape from my problems, but he didn’t even know about my father. He didn’t know about my inability to fly or about my Quidditch struggles and it was only because I was too humiliated to man up to it.

I stood up.

“Where are you going?” asked Alicia. “Did you forget to kiss Oliver good night?”

Another pillow went off my bed. “I’ve got to go find Roger.”

“So not Oliver then.” Alicia was laughing and Katie stifling her own from across the room.

“Not Wood, no.” I pulled on my robes and a pair of shoes. “I’ve got to talk to him about all of this rubbish.”

“Are you ever going to tell us what the pair of you had a row about?” asked Ang.

“About Wood.”

“Blimey! You fight with him and about him!”

I shrugged. “A day in the life of Jane Perry I suppose.”

Angelina pumped her fist in the air. “Go find your Dodger, Jane!”


Apparently it was harder than I thought it would be. The Great Hall was empty save for a few people chatting around the fireplaces. The library was packed, but not with the less-than-studious Roger. The Astronomy Tower was quiet with third years practicing for the next term and the hallways seemed rather vacant even though it was before restricted hours.

Where was he?


I frowned, taking a reluctantly seat on the marble staircase. This was impossible. Roger was probably just hanging out with some Ravenclaw girl in their common room—getting close and talking about Quidditch or something.

“Jane?”

Or maybe he was standing behind me not talking to a Ravenclaw girl in his common room.

I veered around, flipping hair into my eyes. “Oh—hi.”

He carefully walked down the stairs and for a few seconds the only thing I could hear was the sound of his shoes against the marble. Roger took a seat next to me and frowned, folding his arms.

“Look, Jane,” he began, not meeting my gaze, “I’m sorry for what happened the other day.”

“So am I,” I said quickly. “It was all my fault.”

He shook his head. “It wasn’t all your fault. I should have respected you when you said you didn’t want to talk about it. I’m not going to lie, I am still peeved you’re telling Wood things you aren’t even telling your boyfriend, but that’s not my choice.”

I placed my hand on Roger’s arm. He looked so hurt, so sincere. “I understand,” I said softly and he finally lifted his eyes to meet mine. “I didn’t mean to shut you out either.” I paused for a moment, staring at him. “I guess I was just still ticked off at Wood…and some of the things never came up.”

Roger glanced over, a curious expression on his face.

“I never told you…about my family, you know? About my father raising me. It was hard, but I love him.” I didn’t know how to explain it, so I did it in much the same way that I did to Oliver when we were on the porch. Roger was silent when I finished. “And that’s what Wood brought up during the team meeting.”

Immediately, I knew I had hit a nerve. “He brought up your father?”

I nodded. “But it’s all right now.”

“Blimey, Jane! That bloke really has some nerve—especially since you aren’t even on the team!”

Déjà vu.

“It’s fine, Roger. Really. I talked to him about it.”

“Did he even listen to you?” Roger asked. “I bet he just pretended to listen and thought about that upcoming Slytherin game.”

I rolled my eyes. “Cut him some slack, though. He’s just a bloke.” I slid my hand into Roger’s. “Don’t worry about it.”

I could tell Roger was fuming, but for me he was trying to stifle it. Smiling warmly, I reached over and wrapped my arms around his neck. “Are we all right?” I asked.

“Yeah, we’re fine.” Roger kissed my nose gently. “Just…don’t fight about things I don’t know about, okay?” He laughed a bit and for a split second I thought about telling him that before Oliver found out about it, I couldn’t fly. But I didn’t.

“Deal,” I said cheerfully. “Are you going to the party with me tomorrow then?”

“The Weasley twins’ party?”

I nodded.

“I might have room in my schedule for you.” He kissed me again.

I beamed at him. Things were all right now and for the first time in over a week I could go back to the dormitory and gush about a bloke.


Before I knew it, it was Saturday morning and the morning of the party. It wasn’t something that was really special to me, but anything thrown by the Weasley twins was promised to be at least semi-eventful.

To my surprise, Alicia was the one tearing clothes out of her wardrobe first. I lounged on my bed, staring at her as she chucked skirt after shirt after cocktail dress onto the floor. By the time she reached the back, she was screaming.

“I have nothing to wear!”

I rolled my eyes. “You’re a bloody stereotype, Alicia.”

“I am not! Stereotypes have things to wear!”

Angelina threw her a dress. “Wear this.”

“I hate red! I’m not wearing red! It clashes with my eyes!”

Katie threw her a dress.

“Katie, seriously. I would look horrid in this dress.” Alicia threw it back.

I felt like it was my turn so I looked at the panic-stricken Alicia and threw my Charms book at her. “STOP FREAKING OUT!” I cried and she stared at me, stunned. “Find something cute. Put it on. Everyone there has seen you in your pajamas, without sleep on exam days, and when you had the flu. No outfit you wear is going to erase those memories.”

Angelina and Katie started laughing from across the room and Alicia shot them a scowl.

“Fine. I’ll just wear my light purple dress.” She narrowed her eyes and snatched a silk dress off the floor. “What are you wearing, high-horse Jane?”

I shrugged. “Something clean.”

“She already has Roger, she doesn’t have to impress him,” said Katie with a chuckle.

“With her sarcastic personality, I think she should impress him forever in case he starts actually listening to what she says,” snapped Alicia, locking herself in the bathroom.

I smiled and chuckled in reply. Secretly, I had no idea what I was going to wear—who ever did? And if any girl did, they were destined to change their mind ten minutes before they were supposed to meet whatever date downstairs. I was staring into my wardrobe from my place on the bed, making a face at the few random pink dresses and a nice black skirt.

Dressing up was rubbish. I think the party should have been extreme-casual. Then I could have just showed up in some sweat pants and a cute t-shirt. Roger wouldn’t have minded.

I hope.

After a while, however, I finally had to decide what to wear. It was an obnoxious process which reminded me of learning to fly. I even fell on my face a few times trying to put on two different size heels while deciding between them.

“You look a little frustrated,” commented Katie, raising a brow at my efforts.

“I’m not frustrated,” I snapped, kicking off a red heel and trying a silver one. “I’m just having issues with colors is all.”

She snickered. “I’m sure. Don’t forget, Jane. They’ve all seen you with the flu.”

Katie got a Transfiguration book in her face.

At long last, after getting picked on even more by Katie (who could dress in the dark and still look amazing) and getting some smug insults from Alicia (who had finally managed to make herself look decent besides the scowl), I found a decent outfit to impress Roger with. It was a knee-length pink cotton dress with little green ivy climbing up the sides (to counter Angelina’s slutty-looking low-cut black dress).

“Are you finally ready?” asked Alicia, even though she was still coating on eyeliner. Any bloke that didn’t notice her was blind. Or Roger. Because I would hit him.

I nodded, adjusting my hair and fixing the shell necklace I had. “Sure. I might as well be. I was with Wood to buy all the booze so I know no one will notice what I’m wearing anyway.”

Alicia patted me on the back. “Good thinking, Jane.” She opened the door and I followed her out.

As I walked down the spiral staircase with the girls, I realized that most people were already in the Gryffindor Common Room. I could see Roger, dressed in a light blue collared shirt, standing by the fire in conversation with both Fred and George. He was laughing about something, and I wasn’t surprised.

I stepped further down and saw Lee Jordan stretching on the sofa. Libby was adjusting her bust in the mirror next to the portrait hole. Ellis was talking himself up to several third and fourth year girls. He was disgusting.

I glanced over toward the window and my eyes met those of Oliver Wood. There was no expression on his face—no shock, awe, or irritation. There was just him, staring up at me from his seat by the window, dressed in a green striped collared shirt and dark green tie.

Then, just as my left heel hit the hardwood floor of the common room, Oliver Wood smirked.

That same annoying, pompous, gorgeous smirk.

A/N- Thanks to those who have read this far. This is by far my favorite recent fanfic (can you tell?) and I really appreciate all of the wonderful reviews! I really feed off of them, which is why I have been updating pretty frequently compared to a lot of other people. I'm about halfway done with the 10th chapter!

So review if you'd like & I'd love to hear your favorite quotes! I feed off of stuff like this!


Chapter 10: Red Wine
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“Jane, you look beautiful,” Roger said, taking my hands into his own and kissing them gently. I blushed. “And I thought you’d be late because of Alicia. Apparently I was wrong.”

“Don’t underestimate the power of a text book to the head.”

He raised a brow. “Never again will I.” With a smirk, he led me over to the refreshments table and I recognized several of the bottles. “Sex on the beach?”

I nearly choked. “Excuse me?”

“The drink, Jane! The drink!” Roger was laughing. “Unless you want to and then I’ll notify the boys back in the dorm that I’ll be a little late.”

I punched him hard. “No, I’ll have an Amaretto Sour. I don’t do the vodka thing.”

Roger shrugged. “Had no idea.”

“Perry would rather die than have Sex on the Beach.”

I groaned and Roger’s fist tightened.

“Hi, Wood,” Roger and I said simultaneously.

Oliver nodded. “Where’s your red wine, Perry? Did you leave it upstairs?”

“Sod off,” I muttered, but laughed a bit all the same. I took my sour from a fourth year bartender (even though I was wondering how he knew how to pour all of these drinks at fourteen) and sipped on it.

“Nice to see you, Dodger.” Oliver nodded to Roger, whose lips tightened.

“Wood.”

“How’s the team doing?”

Roger shrugged. “Practicing hard. Getting ready for our Hufflepuff game.”

Oliver nodded. “Good to hear. Good Seeker this year?”

“She’s practicing hard. Nothing on your Ellis, but hopefully we’ll catch a break.”

It was officially awkward. Oliver talking to Roger. Roger talking to Oliver. It looked as if they were going to come to some sort of mutual agreement to not pound the tar out of one another.

“I’m glad to see things worked out, Perry,” Oliver said to me, nodding toward my boyfriend. Roger’s fist clenched again.

I jabbed my finger toward Libby. “With you too.” I smirked and rolled my eyes as Fred turned on the music nearby.

It was fast and nice and the perfect opportunity for me to drag Roger away from the instigating Oliver. I grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the dance floor, dancing as I glanced around the room for the first time since I had come down the stairs.

It was no surprise to anyone that Angelina and Fred were sharing saliva by the stereo. Katie and George were laughing and helping the fourth years pour drinks. They seemed so animated and happy—and it looked like George didn’t care that Katie took three and a half hours on her hair. Alicia was talking to Lee Jordan by the window, which looked harmless enough, and Libby was jabbering Oliver’s ear off—probably about her Gucci purse or something silly like that.

Maybe I should have had a Gucci purse.

Nah. It would have clashed with my personality.


The party carried on for several hours and by the time it was around midnight most people were tipsy or pretty drunk. I wasn’t too bad because I had been dancing most of the night, but Roger was falling all over me. I thought it was funny. He was a cute drunk—giggling and telling loud jokes to nearby seventh years.

After a few slow songs the fast ones came back on. I was sweating by that time, so I kissed Roger on the cheek. “I’ve got to get a glass of water,” I said with a flushed smile. “I’m dying out here.”

“Go on, love—I’ll be busting a groove out here!” He continued to dance, shaking his rear all over the dance floor, which was placed in the center of the common room.

The refreshments table was crowded. I dodged Lee, who was still talking to Alicia and getting her a drink, and grabbed some water, downing it. I stood there for a moment, looking at everyone dancing and having a great time. The music was beating into my head as someone handed me another sour.

Once I felt like my feet would be all right under me, I wandered back onto the dance floor as the song changed to a slow one. Fred was dragging Angelina into a dance as she blushed and giggled. He dipped her to the music, making me smile at them.

Where was Roger?

I glanced around a few slow-dancing couples, but didn’t see him in the middle where I left him. Now I was the awkward girl walking through a sea of random couples sticking their hands in inappropriate places. I grimaced and continued to search.

He wasn’t toward the window or near the fireplace catching his breath. He wasn’t back by the refreshments table or over by the portrait hole where Libby had been checking up on her breasts. She was there again.

I made a face. This was rubbish—there was finally a slow song and my boyfriend was MIA.

“Want to dance?”

I wheeled around expecting to see my Roger in shining armor. Instead I came face-to-face with Oliver, who had his hand outstretched and his eyes burning into mine.

“I,” I muttered, unsure of what to do. I stared at his hand. “I can’t find Roger. Have you seen him?”

“Are you going to dance with me or not?”

“But what about—?”

“You can find Dodger after the song ends,” he said and I found myself placing my hand into his own. It was strangely comfortable, holding Oliver’s hand as he led me onto the dance floor. His palm was warm and strong at the same time.

He turned toward me, almost smiling, as he wrapped an arm around my waist and we started to dance. I actually had no idea Oliver Wood knew how to dance, but he moved to the music with poise and I had no choice but to follow, staring into those dark brown eyes.

It was strange—neither of us speaking for the duration of the song. It didn’t bother me though. I didn’t hear the people around me talking or the lyrics of the song, only the tune in my head and Oliver’s eyes. I never realized how mesmerizing they were, dancing against the candlelight.

Then everything vanished—the other couples, the scarlet and gold common room, and even my search for Roger. It was Oliver and I. We were twirling around the dance floor and I had no idea why. I loathed the bloke…but for some reason, my hand did not leave his.

“Could I cut in?”

My mind was jerked from whatever illusion I was in by the sound of Libby’s voice. She was tapping her foot on the wood dance floor, looking annoyed. Oliver, looking caught off guard, pulled his hand from my waist.

“Of course,” I said, a fake smile plastered to my face. “There’s still plenty of song left.” I nodded to Oliver, who did not smile or frown in return. It was the same stare from when I descended the spiral staircase. I had no idea what he was thinking.

I didn’t wait around to find out. Instead, I found my way back to the refreshments table. To my overwhelming surprise, I found Roger pouring himself another drink. He grinned at me.

“Jane! I couldn’t find you—where’ve you been?”

“Looking for you,” I replied, kissing his cheek lightly. I wasn’t being completely dishonest after all.

“I had to run up and use the loo,” Roger said, chuckling. He had a bit of punch spilled down his front, but it was apparent he didn’t care.

I smiled warmly.

“Should we dance?” he asked, setting down the remainder of his punch. “Rubbish—the slow song is over! Should I curse the stereo into playing another one?”

Shaking my head, I led Roger back onto the dance floor. “No, no. There will be another one, I’m sure. Let’s just dance.”

And so we did, but I couldn’t help glancing over his shoulder every so often and meeting the deep brown eyes of Oliver Wood.


“What’s up with you lately, Jane?”

I glanced over at Angelina, who was painting her nails next to the vanity. The Christmas holidays had officially started that day and we were doing everything in our power not to do much of anything at all. “What do you mean?”

She shrugged. “I saw you at the party last night. You were dancing with Oliver.”

“Yeah,” I said, pretending that I wasn’t interested in what she was talking about, “he asked me so I did. Libby was probably powdering her nose or something and he didn’t want to sit out.”

Alicia narrowed her eyes from behind a magazine. “Libby was two feet away getting a drink and looking at herself in the mirror. She looked bored. It wasn’t that.”

“Well, how am I supposed to know why he asked me to dance?”

“Why did you dance with him if you hate him?” asked Alicia.

I rolled my eyes. “Because I couldn’t find Roger. Why let a slow song go to waste?” I paused for a moment, putting away the novel I had been reading. “I couldn’t find Roger. Wood asked. I danced. Libby wanted to dance so I left. I found Roger. Roger and I danced. You now have the entire story.”

Angelina snorted. “We never have the entire story, Jane. Your mind works in weird ways.”

“So how are things with Dodger anyway?” asked Alicia. Apparently the nickname was growing. “I saw the pair of you walk out of the common room.”

“I helped him back to Ravenclaw Tower,” I replied shortly. “He wasn’t walking so straight and I didn’t want him to get caught out of bed by Filch and get punished.”

“And while you were on your way back…?” said Alicia, winking obnoxiously.

“We went through a tapestry.”

“And…”

“And came out the other side.”

Alicia flopped back onto her pillow. “WHY can you not tell us the juicy details!”

“Tell you, Alicia,” muttered Angelina. “I don’t want to know about Jane’s snog-fests with Roger in tapestry tunnels.”

“There was no snog fest in a tapestry tunnel,” I muttered darkly. These girls just wouldn’t give up.

“Empty classroom?” begged Alicia.

“Shut your yap!” I threw a pillow at her. “Did anything become of your chat with Lee?”

She shook her head. “Nothing. He’s a wonderful bloke and all, but I don’t know if he’s really my type. I’m not into the ruthless practical joker like the other two idiot Chasers.”

Angelina shot her a dark look.

I shrugged. “You’ll find Mr. Right.”

“Hopefully I can find Mr. Right Now,” she said, sighing heavily. “No worries, though. I’m having fun looking.”

“And harassing people that have already found Mr. Right…now,” said Katie with a smirk.

I fell back onto my bed, watching the snow fall outside of one of the dormitory windows. It was peaceful in there, just the girls and me. Now that was the way school should be—friends swapping stories and painting their nails.

Silly classes got in the way.


Christmas came before I was completely prepared and for the first time in a few days, I saw most of the Gryffindors outside of their dormitories. Before I could even make my way to the first gift at the end of my bed, Angelina came tearing through the door with a scarf wrapped around her neck.

“Fred’s told me they’re having a massive snowball fight outside!” she panted.

“But my presents!” I protested. Unfortunately, my hand was knocked away from the pretty white paper and Angelina chucked my cloak at my head. Rubbish.

Most of Gryffindor Tower was already outside when I finally pulled on my boots and managed to get out there. Fred and George were hiding in a makeshift snow igloo by the greenhouses while Lee Jordan tried to build his own. And failed.

I found myself a nice big willow tree by the lake to hide myself (and think about what could have possibly been in the large red package that looked like it was run over by a truck). I was never good at snowball fights. Maybe it was just the snow or my lack of knowledge on how to aim at people, but I always ended the day soaked and cold with the sniffles.

I felt a large chunk of snow slam into the back of my head, caking ice to my hair.

Apparently this day would be no different. Sniffles here I come.

I turned around.

Then I got another snowball to the face. Turning around—probably not the best idea in the middle of snowball fight.

Oliver laughed from several meters away. He juggled a few balls of snow and walked off to throw them at someone else that was off daydreaming about presents.

I frowned, staring around me. The fight was getting vicious with Fred cornering a scared group of Shriekers (“Oliver! Save us!” one of them shouted) and plastering them with snowballs. George had taken out his wand by now and was sending whole piles of snow at the Chasers’ refuge. I took out my wand and grabbed a ball of snow from my feet.

Ready. Aim.

“OW!”

I chuckled. Oliver Wood was now completely soaked. Bloody take that.

I dodged back behind the tree, willing my wand to send a few more balls of snow at the Quidditch Captain. I could hear each one slam against his cloak and it would quickly be followed by a “Blimey!” or a “Merlin!” and then, after snowball number seven, “PERRY!” I giggled and chanced a peek from behind the tree.

Bad idea, I thought, wiping the large amount of snow from my face. Oliver was laughing, sending more snow my way, his wand balanced high over his head. Soon my tree was covered and a bit of snow had made its way around the trunk and landed at my feet.

“What are you attacking for?” Oliver asked, laughing. “I didn’t force you out here.”

“Did you get forced out here too?” I asked as he lowered his wand.

He nodded. “Weasley didn’t even let me open my presents. Git.”

“Neither did Ang.”

“Which is what you were daydreaming back here about?” he asked with a smile. “I can’t believe I caught you that off guard during a snowball fight.”

I narrowed my eyes, staring him down. I was going to say something witty and that would irritate him, but for some reason all I could think about was the dance at the beginning of the holidays. I hadn’t seen him much since then—only here or there reading a Quidditch magazine or getting dragged off somewhere by Libby—but the image was still embedded in the back of my brain. Of his eyes—his hands—his touch on my waist.

This was rubbish. “I just wanted to open my presents,” I said with a laugh. “I bet Ang got to hers early this morning so she didn’t care about everyone else.”

“Or her and Fred planned this.”

I thought about it for a moment. “They always have a motive.”

“We should throw them in the lake.”

“You’re going in first, Wood,” I said with a smile, picking up a ball of snow and chucking it at his face.

“Perry! Blimey, I’m going to—eugh! Not another one!” Oliver fell to his knees, shielding his face and I laughed, rushing back toward the castle. I could hear him behind me as he stood up and I blasted more balls of snow at him from over my shoulder.

“WENCH!” he cried. I shouted a friendly “Stupefy!” behind me and then there was a dull thud.

I smirked and pulled open the castle doors. “Alicia! Time for presents!”


I had really gotten quite the haul that year. There were several parcels—pink ones and snowflake ones and even that weird red one next to my bed post. I tore into the first one as Alicia did the same thing from the bed beside me. Angelina was still outside with the boys, but her pile was lying unwrapped next to her wardrobe. Katie’s was half done.

“Thanks,” I said to Alicia, holding up the magic makeup mirror she gave me. I flipped it on and off and it told me where I needed the most makeup that particular day. Pfft. My lips were so not looking pale.

After that I opened a magazine subscription from Katie, a thick book called Transfiguration that Changed Time from Angelina, a wax candle shaped like legs from the twins, some lovely sweets from Lee, and several other things from Gryffindors. My dad sent me some gold along with a vase of lilies, which I sat on my bedside table. There were two gifts left.

One was a square box wrapped in silver paper with a large white bow. The second was the red present wrapped like a squirrel did it. I raised a brow as Alicia hugged me for giving her a gift certificate to Quality Quidditch Supplies.

Cautiously, I opened the silver box. Smiling, I realized it was from Roger. He had given me a large suede teddy bear with a Gryffindor Quidditch shirt on it. It had beautiful, deep brown eyes and was holding a box of tea bags. I smirked. Leave it to Roger to remember things as simple as that.

“From Dodger?” Alicia asked, pulling another present toward her.

I nodded, taking the bear into a hug. “It’s lovely,” I said, taking in the scent of Roger’s cologne from the suede fur. “So simple…yet so romantic.” I placed the bear on my pillows and the box of tea next to my dad’s flowers.

That left the weird present.

I tore at the red paper, sending shreds of it all over the floor. I opened the dented box and raised a very interested brow. Inside was a single (unbroken surprisingly enough) bottle of red wine. It was the same bottle I picked up when browsing for booze with Wood.

I stared at it, perplexed. There was a gold ribbon tied around the neck and a card attached.

The card was, in actuality, a piece of parchment folded over and tied to the bottle.


Perry,

I figured you’d want a chance to taste the red wine. I’m sure you’ve been thinking about it ever since our shopping trip. Why don’t you drink it in the Astronomy Tower around ten tonight? Maybe you’ll learn more than the fact that red wine is rubbish.

Wood.



It was safe to say that I had no idea what to say. My jaw was resting comfortably on the ground and I had no idea what to do. First of all, it was from Oliver. I hadn’t even dreamed of getting him a gift (since I loathed him and all that) and yet there was one from him sitting, wrapped like Oliver’s attitude, in front of me. Second, he wanted me to go to the Astronomy Tower. I wasn’t thick enough to think he wouldn’t be there—but what did he mean by I would learn something? Was he going to blackmail me?

I frowned. I would cross that bridge when it came—after all, it was only a little after noon and I hadn’t yet thanked Roger for the gorgeous bear and tea.

“I don’t believe her!” cried Alicia, ripping the paper from a flat gift. “That bitch!

Raising a brow, I caught a glimpse of what she was holding.

“I’m going to kill her!”

It was a framed picture of her magiked into a Keepers uniform with big gold letters spelling out YOU’RE A KEEPER on the side.

I snorted.


I found Roger that evening in the Great Hall. He was munching on celery when I came up behind him and engulfed him in an enormous hug. “I loved the bear.”

“I’m glad you can tell who I am from behind,” he said with an amused smile. “And I’m glad you liked it—thanks for the broomstick kit. I’ve used it on my Nimbus twice today already.”

I hadn’t known what to get Roger. I went to Hogsmeade three different times to try and get him the perfect gift. Nothing popped out. Nothing was perfect—or remotely interesting. In the end, I settled on what I knew he’d love—something to do with Quidditch. It seemed like a hit anyway.

I kissed him softly on the cheek.

“I heard about the snowball fight this morning,” he said, motioning that I sit down beside him at the Ravenclaw table. “It appears that George won because he attacked Lee with his own igloo. Did you hear?”

I shook my head. “By that time I was upstairs actually opening the presents Ang wouldn’t let me touch.”

He nodded, grabbing another piece of celery. “Good point. I think I would have done the same thing.” He paused, munching for a minute and glancing around the hall. “So what are your plans for tonight?”

I hesitated. What were my plans? Did I really have any intention of meeting Wood in the Astronomy Tower? What good could come from it anyway?

But my curiosity knew better. Somehow I knew that I would end up in the Tower—not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to know. I had to know what he meant by I would learn something. Blasted Wood and his ability to predict my personality.

“I’ll probably have an early night,” I lied, smiling warmly. “Why? Did you want to do something?”

“Oh, no,” Roger said, finishing off his food. “I’ve promised Mandy I would help her go over O.W.L. things.”

“It’s Christmas, Roger. Does she really need to study on Christmas?”

He shrugged. “She asked and it’s for Charms—something I’m rather good at so I agreed. I only wish I could find that journal with my notes in it. It really seems as if someone stole it. I’ve been watching around the classroom, but no one seems to be improving any in my class.” Roger sighed. “If you wanted to do something I would have canceled with Mandy.”

I shook my head. “No, no—if she wants to study on Christmas I’m sure she’s bollocks at Charms. Help her out. I’m going to sleep early tonight. I’ve got to go write my dad back as well because he sent me a lovely gift.” I smiled warmly.

Roger kissed me softly. “Sounds great. See you tomorrow sometime then?”

“Deal.” With that, I left the Great Hall with some food in my stomach (and some leftovers in my pockets) and made my way back upstairs to pace my room and wonder what the hell Oliver was even thinking.

The girls tried to convince me to tell them what I was doing pacing up and down the room. I said nothing (to which Alicia tried to convince Ang that I had finally fell off my rocker).

At a quarter to ten, I grabbed the box that held the wine, put on my shoes, and left the dormitory.

The common room was pretty full. Several people were playing games and exchanging gifts with people that had previously forgotten. I felt a pang of guilt for forgetting Oliver—but then I kindly reminded myself that I hated him and there was no reason for me to give him a gift. I was almost out of the portrait hole when I heard my name followed by a huff behind me.

Libby’s arms were folded at her stomach and she was tapping her foot.

“What do you want?” I muttered.

“Trust me, I don’t want to be talking to you as much as you don’t want to talk to me,” she said, annoyed. “But have you seen Ollie? I haven’t seen him all day—not during the snowball fight or at breakfast…or lunch…or dinner. Plus, the other boys say he hasn’t been in the dormitory all day since they left for the snowball fight. So…have you seen him?”

“No,” I said forcefully, checking my watch. “He’s probably down in the dungeons snogging Mandy Brocklehurst or something.” I shrugged at the offended look on Libby’s face. Then I left, wondering why I used Mandy’s name.

Because I didn’t like Roger spending too much time together with her. She was pretty after all. I didn’t need those pretty girls tempting my boyfriend.

I laughed at myself, climbing a few staircases. There was no reason I should be afraid. Roger really liked me. If he didn’t, he would make plenty of lame excuses not to hang out with me. But the fact was—we spent plenty of time together.

My legs groaned. Why did he have to pick the furthest tower? What kind of rubbish was that? I should have borrowed a broom to fly up there.

“What in the—Jane?”

I nearly jumped out of my skin. I was two flights of stairs away from the spiral staircase leading to the Astronomy Tower.

Roger Davies was staring at me, looking utterly perplexed and irritated.

A/N- Yay! A quick update! I hope everyone liked it and I'd love to know what your favorite quotes were--also, I haven't started on chapter 11 as of right now, but I know what's going to happen :) So reviews are lovely! I even changed something I was going to have happen because of a review!

Chapter 11: Mistletoe
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“What in the—Jane?”

I nearly jumped out of my skin. I was two flights of stairs away from the spiral staircase leading to the Astronomy Tower.

Roger Davies was staring at me, looking utterly perplexed and irritated.



I was stuck. I’m not sure there was anything I could say to merit being so near to the Tower when I said I was going to be soundly in bed just after dinner. He was staring at me powerfully, his eyes bore into mine, and I found myself blushing in shame.

“What are you doing up here?” Roger asked, folding his arms as his brow knit together.

“I’m…” What would I be doing? What lie could I make up now to tell my boyfriend—I was sleepwalking? I was going to go to bed, but I wanted to find him—wait.

“What are you doing up here?” I countered, raising a brow. “Where’s Mandy?”

“We were practicing in the Astronomy Tower,” he replied. “I was teaching her Charms—didn’t want Filch to walk in. We didn’t want to practice in an empty class room in case someone found us out of bed and the common room would have been a stupid idea considering all of the people.”

“So you’re finished?” I was trying to buy time to think about an excuse. None came to mind.

He shook his head. “No, Wood kicked us out—threatened to go to Filch and give Mrs. Norris some treats. He said he needed it for something tonight. I was ready to believe he wanted to de-flower that Libby girl until you just showed up.”

I almost puked at the thought of Oliver and Libby. What else could I say—I’d have to tell him that Oliver gave me a note saying to meet him up here and I didn’t know why. It was innocent enough—I had told him the lie to not give him the wrong idea. It was simple.

“What’s that in your—is that red wine?” Roger pointed at the box in my hand which was open at the top. “What are you playing at, Jane? Thought you could juggle two blokes at a time?”

I held up my hands. Simple had faded from my mind. “No, don’t be daft. There’s no way I’d want anything to do with Wood.”

“You’re meeting him after hours in the Astronomy Tower.”

“You met Mandy up here after hours—”

“That’s different!”

“This might be different too!” I cried. “You won’t even let me tell you!”

“You’re going to bloody lie to me like you did earlier—having an early night my arse!” Roger narrowed his eyes at my wine. “Go have your early night with Wood, Jane. I’ll see you later.” He pushed past me down the staircase to the right. “Mandy! Mandy, wait up! We haven’t finished what we were working on yet!”

I stared after him, unsure of what to do—should I go after him? Would that only make him angrier? I frowned. This was rubbish. What I was doing was completely innocent. Then again, I guess if Roger had lied to me and I had discovered him going up to the Astronomy Tower with wine to see a girl I would have flipped out a bit.

Bollocks.



Oliver was in the room when I entered. He was standing next to one of the windows, looking out over the snow-covered grounds. I stared around the room. There was a small blanket on the ground with a bucket of ice, some glasses, and some cookies on it. A few pillows were scattered around and there were candles on the window sills.

“What is all this?” I asked, my mind almost numb.

“The way you two were arguing we might hear Filch’s footsteps any minute now,” Oliver said, ignoring my question. “He’s a right git. I wish you would break up with him.”

“Why? So you can continue to keep me weirded out with your random notes and Astronomy Tower invites?” I took the wine out of the box and placed it in the ice bucket.

His expression was something I did not recognize. It looked like he was fighting with himself—his lips were pressed hard together and his eyes were downcast somberly. “Because he’s not a good guy. That’s all I can say.” Oliver frowned and motioned toward the blanket. “But enough of that. Have you tried the wine yet?”

I raised a brow. “That’s really all you’re going to tell me?”

“That’s all I can,” he said, plopping down on the blanket and pointing his wand at the wine. Ice crystals started to form on the outside of the bottle. “I can’t make your choices for you.”

“What happened to I’m condemning the team or that he’s using me to find out the Gryffindor pad sizes?” I asked, taking a seat on the other side of the small blanket. “What happened to you wanting to thump him in the head?”

Oliver did not look up. This worried me. “Nothing. That’s still in my head. But that’s all. Besides—that isn’t why I invited you to come up here with your wine.”

“It isn’t?” I folded my arms. Now I was really lost. “Was it to learn that red wine is horrible and I shouldn’t pick it up at the store when I know nothing about booze—because you’ve already taught me that.”

“I thought the wine was funny,” he said, finally meeting my eye with an amused smile.

“I got a laugh out of it,” I said fondly, taking the bottle from the ice and pouring it into the two glasses sitting between us.

“So tell me, before we talk, what were you and Dodger having a row about—how was he yelling at you?

I raised a brow, unsure of what the last part of his question meant, but I shrugged. “I sort of…I wasn’t exactly truthful with what I was—why am I bloody telling you this? Tell me why I’m here so I can leave without telling you anything that could potentially come up in a team meeting after three hours of potty notes.”

Oliver shrugged. “Suit yourself. I was just wondering.” He picked up his glass of wine and sighed. “I just…I keep feeling bad about that whole team dinner thing.” He frowned. “I really put you in a tight spot and even though I completely loathe you, Perry, I still felt a little bad.”

“Is that why you asked me to dance?” I said quickly.

“No. I wanted to dance with you.” He paused and I took the moment to blush in the semi-darkness. “But anyway—I’ve decided that I am finally going to give you some ammo.”

“You’re going to do what—are you mental?

Oliver shook his head. “I’m going to tell you about my family and my past so if I ever do that again out of anger then you have something to say back.” He folded his arms and took another drink.

I didn’t altogether understand what was going on. Oliver Wood was going to tell me his secrets so I could use them against him if need be? What kind of a trick was this? Did this have to do with Quidditch? I watched him like a hawk, determined to find anything fishy in his expression but his somber face was, if possible, even more attractive than his grinning one. I groaned. Rubbish.

“So you’re—are you sure?” I stammered.

Oliver nodded. “Do you want to hear or not, Perry?”

I closed my mouth quickly.

“Okay here it is,” said Oliver, setting down his glass and turning his eyes toward the red wine. “My old man is like yours, yet completely different,” he began. “My dad played International Quidditch for the Finches. He was the star of his time until he had a heart attack and couldn’t play anymore. He was only twenty-five.” He paused again. “When I was born and growing up, the house was filled with Quidditch stuff. Magazines, posters, books. Dad would read every sports section—he would comment on every match. By the time I was two I knew everything about the sport and I was already learning how to save a Quaffle.

“He made me obsessed with it. Mum cared for it a bit, but wasn’t obsessed. She taught me how to bake, which is why, Perry, I make the best brownies Hogwarts has ever seen.” Oliver smiled weakly. “He was away a lot, but every time he came back we would get together and play pick-up Quidditch. I was ridiculously good by the age of nine.” Another stop and this time Oliver sighed. “He’d always get upset about his career-ending injury—blaming everyone but himself. Truth was, it was his diet that was doing it. But anyway. After he couldn’t play anymore, no one came to visit him. They knew he was done, so what was the point? He wasn’t an established veteran so he didn’t even get to make a big impact.” Oliver shrugged. “So it was Dad, Mum, and me going to games and Dad would point out moves and what the players should have done.”

“Which is why you make such a wicked Keeper,” I said before I could mentally stop myself.

He smiled warmly. “That’s about right.” For a moment, I wondered if the story was over but then, after another drink of wine, Oliver continued. “So one night, the night before I left for my first year of Hogwarts, my dad was in my room. He was a little drunk since my parents had been celebrating me going off to a proper school and he came to make sure I had everything packed—even said he’d smuggle me in a broomstick and that the rule should go do something fairly rude to itself.” He smiled again. “But while he was in there, he sort of stumbled and sat on my bed and looked at me. Then he told me that I wasn’t that good of a Quidditch player yet. He said I was rubbish compared to some other kids and that I needed to try harder.”

“He said that—?”

Oliver held up a hand to silence me. “But he told me, while leaning over me while I fumed about the comment, that the only way he would ever, ever actually be proud of me was if I was signed to a team that was decent. Until then he wouldn’t think rubbish of me.” He stopped for a moment and then decided to keep going before I could say anything ill of his father. “He doesn’t remember the conversation, but I know it was the truth.”

I didn’t know what to say. Did I empathize? How about bash his dad? Instead, I put a hand gently on his shoulder and Oliver glanced at it. “I’m sorry,” I said slowly.

He shrugged.

“So that’s why you’re so…you’re such a…”

“That’s why I Captain the way I do,” he said, pretty much reading my thoughts. “I’ve been trying to get an amazing team so I can get picked up by a scout. I need to get attention. I’ve been doing it for years—the early starts, the tiny facts about every other player—I need this.”

“Oliver, you don’t need it if it’s not what you want,” I said. “You should do what you want—not just the sole thing that your dad wants you to do.”

He looked like he was about to reply, but then stopped and made a strange face at me. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you call me Oliver before.”

“Oh,” I said, thinking. “I didn’t even realize—yeah, I suppose you’re right. It sounds a bit weird.”

To my surprise, he grinned. “It’s not that bad.”

“Don’t get comfortable. I still loathe you and you are still a ridiculous Quidditch Captain.”

He nodded. “Of course, of course.” He paused again, looking at me. “But yeah…that’s…well, that’s my story then.”

I kept my hand on his shoulder.



Strangely enough, Oliver Wood and I talked about a lot that night. We discussed Ang and Fred, finding Alicia someone to be with (“I’ve got a friend going down to Brazil for try-outs—maybe we could have her tag along for the Easter Holidays,” he said), and Quidditch may have come up once or twice.

It was nice—sitting there on the warm blanket, drinking wine that made my torso feel fuzzy. For once we weren’t screaming—weren’t telling each other off for doing something ridiculous or for dating a complete idiot (Libby was a serious idiot though, whether we talked about it or not). It was nice—peaceful.

“It’s almost two,” he said, checking his watch and laughing. The wine had been gone for at least an hour, but we both had enough of a buzz to keep giggling while our faces glowed pink. “If Filch checks up here we’re done for.”

“You said that at one,” I said, chuckling. Most of the candles had burned pretty low by now and Oliver had to keep relighting them by magic. “So,” I said into the newfound silence, “sorry I didn’t get you a Christmas gift. I didn’t think—well, considering I hate you it would have been a bit awkward.”

He nodded. “I get where you’re coming from. But you owe me.”

“How do I owe you? I hate you.”

Oliver smirked. “You owe me because I let you onto my team.”

I shoved him. “Oh, don’t start with that rubbish again. I don’t want to hear it.” I laughed. “I can’t believe that stupid red wine didn’t even last us the whole night.”

“We should get more.”

“Yeah, okay,” I said sarcastically. “Let’s just go nip down to the kitchens and grab a bottle.” I rolled my eyes. “Honestly, Wood. Next thing we need is for you to make some of your world famous brownies and we’ll have a regular shin-dig.” Another eye roll.

Oliver beamed. “Great idea, Perry! C’mon!” He leapt to his feet, grabbing my hand and pulling me behind him. “To the kitchens!”

“Wood, you can’t be serious—what if Filch turns up?” My eyes were darting back and forth as we tore down the spiral staircase together, my hand in his.

“Then we lie,” he said, laughing. “About what—I’m not sure. I’ll figure something out. I’m the Quidditch Captain after all.” With that, he winked. Was Oliver a light weight? Why was he a little drunk after half a bottle of wine? Was I that drunk?

We were lucky most of the way. The castle was relatively quiet and we managed to avoid an obnoxious Ravenclaw Prefect by ducking into the History of Magic classroom.

“C’mon—you’re bloody slow!” Oliver whined, dragging me down more stairs and toward the basement. “We’re not going to get the booze before the sun comes up and we’ll be drunk when they find us.”

“Who finds us?”

“The house elves. Then they’ll be ruddy pissed we drank it all.”

“Who says we’re drinking it all?”

All what?”

I rolled my eyes. “I think at times you just talk to hear yourself talk.”

Oliver glanced back at me as he led the way down a dim corridor. “The same way you look in the mirror just to watch yourself.” He winked and tickled the pear on a nearby painting. Something clicked and the door to the kitchens was open.

It was dark inside—lucky, because I was fuming at the previous comment Oliver had made. I soon forgot about that because he opened a giant wardrobe on the other side of the room. In it were at least fifty bottles of wine. My jaw dropped.

“How did you even know those were in there?” I asked. It just looked like a manky wardrobe—I would have thought it housed some house elf shoes or something. Maybe Oliver could smell booze.

“I’ve been here a few times before with the twins,” he replied, taking out a few bottles. “You want wine or something stronger?”

I shrugged. “Wine was fine.”

He smiled warmly. “Look at us—I’m trying to teach you that wine is horrible and we’re in the kitchens at two in the morning picking out bottles.” With a wave of his wand he uncorked it and poured the red liquid into two frosted glasses. Oliver handed me one.

“So how about those brownies?” I joked.

“Oh! I almost forgot!” Oliver rushed over to the stoves, setting his wine glass on the linoleum and grabbing a bag of chocolate chips and flour.

“You can’t be—Wood, I was joking.”

“No, you’re going to taste them. Seriously. They’re amazing.”

I stood there for a moment, dumbfounded, with my wine in hand. “This is—I don’t even know what this is,” I said, watching him. Then I grabbed a spatula. “Well, at least let me help. What can I do?”

“Mix this.” He tossed a bunch of random items into a large plastic bowl—eggs, sugar, chocolate—and pushed it toward me. “No lumps.”

“Yes, sir!” I chimed, chancing another sip of wine before I started. I wished I hadn’t, though, because once I started stirring the chocolate seemed to gravitate toward my clothes. I had brownie on my shirt before I even gave the bowl back.

“I told you I was going to bake it—but you’re a little too eager for that, eh?” He pointed down at my clothes and I groaned. Then he took a finger-full out of the bowl, took a tiny taste, and wiped the rest across my face.

“What the—WOOD! That’s my—Blimey!” I tried to wipe it off but it looked as if it was far worse than I thought. My face was chocolate-y. “I need a mirror,” I muttered. “Cook your damn brownies!”

Oliver was laughing and instead of nodding like a good Quidditch Captain jerk, he took another finger full and launched it at me from his position by the stove.

“Wood—stop it! I’m trying to—STOP IT I SAID!” I roared, getting another face full. “This is getting—I bloody said stop—ridiculous—you’re not even going to have enough to make one brownie let alone a—STOP!”

He was laughing hysterically from the stove, sticking a finger in and tossing it at me. “Jane, don’t be so uptight. Just let it flow.” He snickered at that comment.

I paused, receiving another face-full of chocolate. That one got in my nose. “You called me Jane.”

“I’m drunk—I can’t keep names straight!”

Another glob on my cheek. “Makes sense, I know what you—WOOD! HOW DO YOU HAVE THAT GOOD OF AIM WHEN YOU’RE THAT DRUNK?!



The brownies eventually got put into the oven (half the size of what they were supposed to be) and at long last Oliver sat down across from me at a nearby elf-sized table. He poured some more wine and we sat there, waiting for the timer to go off.

“So, can I ask you a question?” he asked, still laughing from tripping over the stool.

I shrugged.

“Did Dodger know you were coming up there to meet me tonight?”

I frowned and shook my head.

“So that’s why he was flipping out?”

I nodded. Apparently my body language was very in-tune while tipsy.

“Which means…he was mad at you for being up there with me…pfft.” Oliver chuckled. “He should be thankful you get to hang out with someone that is manly for a change.”

“Roger is manly,” I replied, thinking fondly of him before our argument. “He really is lovely, Oliver.”

“Stop calling me that, it freaks me out.”

“Stop getting me drunk,” I said with a snicker.

Oliver laughed. “He’s not lovely. He just wants you to think he’s lovely. He’s really a rotten, no good, bloody ch—”

Ding. The brownies were done.

I stood up, walking over to them and pulling the pan out of the oven. The smell was overwhelming and all I wanted to do was tear into those suckers and sink my teeth into them. Oliver slapped my hand.

“They’re hot, Perry. That’s how you burn yourself and end up in the hospital wing with me feeling bad at your bloody bedside again.” He grinned and pointed his wand at the brownies, concentrating hard. “Spells are so much harder when you’ve had a bit of wine,” he said, but cooled them regardless.

He cut them into little squares and put one on a white china plate for me. Without hesitation I dug in and immediately mentally thanked Oliver’s mother for helping him learn to bake. “These are the best brownies I’ve ever had,” I said with a mouthful.

“Obviously,” he replied. “Because they’re mine.”

“Or it’s just a good recipe,” I said with a scowl but I continued to eat regardless. I finished off my glass of red wine (in response to which I got another full glass from Oliver) and turned my attention to him. “So how are things with Libby?”

He shrugged. “They’re fine.”

“I saw you dance with her once at the party,” I said slowly, staring at him. He didn’t meet my eyes. “And that was when she…when she cut in.”

“Things are fine,” he said again. “We’re not a couple that needs to constantly be together to be happy.”

“Are you even happy?”

“I’m…I’m content.” Again, he was staring into his wine.

“That’s not happy.”

“No one’s happy.”

“Angelina’s happy.”

I expected him to counter with something about Fred or about himself, but Oliver paused, raising a brow. Now he was staring directly at me, his brown eyes sinking into mine. I felt like he was trying to read my mind for answers. “You didn’t say you—why didn’t you say you?”

“What?”

“Automatically if I said that you’re not happy and then you said no one’s happy I would counter and say that I, in fact, was happy,” he explained. “Unless I wasn’t.”

My face was growing hot. I didn’t know how to reply. I was happy. I was quite happy. With Roger. And my friends. And my serious lack of having to actually play Quidditch and get off of the ground on a broom. So why hadn’t I answered that I was happy?

“We should get back,” I said hurriedly, trying to ignore the fact that Oliver was still surveying me with his searching gaze. “It’s late—Merlin, it’s almost four.” I paused by the door. “Are you coming?”

He raised a brow, tossing the plates in the sink and finishing off his glass of wine. Bottle number two was empty. “Are you sure you want to go back?”

“I’m exhausted,” I replied. “I’ve had a rough day and I have to figure out what I’m going to say to Roger tomorrow. This is a mess—what did you tell Libby anyway?”

“That I was busy tonight.”

“Didn’t she want to know why?” I asked as we closed the painting door and made our way back toward Gryffindor Tower.

Oliver nodded. “Yeah. She’d want to know when I went to the bathroom if I would offer up the information. I just don’t tell her stuff.” He shrugged.

I stared at him as we walked upstairs. “You really don’t tell her things? She’s your girlfriend, Wood.”

“Yeah.”

Apparently that was it. Conversation over. I didn’t expect much else.



The common room was empty when we returned—just like we figured it would be. Part of me wondered what would become of the blanket and candles and ice bucket up in the Astronomy Tower, but the other part of me didn’t really give a fart. I yawned, making my way toward the staircase to the girls’ dormitories and I paused at the foot of it, glancing back toward Oliver.

He was next to me, yawning as well. “Contageous,” he said, stretching a bit as well. “Thanks for meeting me, Perry.”

“Thanks for the ammo, Wood,” I replied, laughing a bit and thinking that hopefully he wouldn’t give me a reason to use this new information.

It looked like he was going to say something but stopped himself, which was weird considering Oliver was all about telling people things he was thinking. I raised a brow. Then Oliver’s eyes widened at something right above my head. My own eyes whipped upward and I was face to face with none other than the Christmas death itself—mistletoe. I grimaced.

He was staring at me hard, his glance almost to the point of passionate. I didn’t know what to do. He knew it was there. I knew it was there—yet neither of us moved. We just stood there, feet stuck to the floor as if they were glued—eyes stuck together the same way.

I think a minute passed. Then two. Then three. Or maybe it was only seconds. I couldn’t tell. It felt like years we were standing there, wrapped in each others’ stares.

I had to do something, I thought quickly, whipping my wand out of my back pocket, pointing it up, and casting the mistletoe into warm flames.

“Night then!” I chimed, snapping out of my trance and racing up the staircase. Oliver was still standing at the bottom when I rushed into my room and slammed the door behind me. Angelina stirred from across the room. I fell back onto the closed door and slid down to the carpet, my face flushed and my heart racing.

Was I really happy?


A/N- WOW an entire chapter with almost all OLIVER! How lucky! Well I hope you enjoyed that because I don’t think the next one will have as much Ollie in it. Yeah, that was a bit of a filler chapter but I have to progress the plot somehow, right?

So…favorite quotes? Favorite parts? And most of all…what do you think?


Chapter 12: Really Quite Happy
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“Where were you last night?”

I stared at Angelina. We were at breakfast the following morning and had been talking about Fred and George thinking of canceling their second holiday party, but leave it to Ang to realize someone wasn’t in bed at the proper time. “I was out.”

“With who? Roger?”

Why was she prying so much? I didn’t even know what to make of the evening. “No.”

“Then with who?”

“Someone,” I said shortly, stuffing toast into my mouth. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You don’t want to talk about anything, Jane,” said Katie, leaning over the table. “I woke up for a glass of water at three and you weren’t there, yet you were there in the morning.”

I frowned. “I’ll tell you lot later—this isn’t proper breakfast conversation,” I muttered, finally giving in to my friends. Why did they care so much?

“What’s not proper breakfast conversation?” It was Oliver, sauntering in with his hair still messy. “The fact that my brownies are to die for? Perry, don’t tell me you’re hungry after all that.”

“Die, Wood.”

He smirked and wandered away to find the twins.

“You were with Oliver?!” Angelina breathed, gaping at me.

“You dog!” shrieked Alicia and I pointed my wand at her. She shut up.

“Yeah, I was. Drop it, all right? We just hung out and talked.”

“When’s the wedding?” said Katie with a snicker. I threw my crust at her.

“I still loathe him!” I countered. “We’re not friends. We’re not getting married. We’re nothing except two people that hate each other and start rumors about each other.” For a second I thought of what he told me in the Astronomy Tower. It was now relatively hard for me to insult him based on his caption-ing. Maybe that was the point. Git.

Angelina shrugged. “Suit yourself.” She paused, pouring herself another tall glass of orange juice. Then she raised a brow (When Angelina raises a brow it is nearly equal to a Weasley Twin Smirk). “What does Roger think about you meeting Oliver last night?”

There it was. I knew it would happen eventually.

“Well,” I began, making sure no one around me could hear, “we had a pretty big row about it.”

“This morning?”

“No, last night.”

“You ran into—whoa.”

I frowned. I hated relaying information to people. I made a mental note to not do anything fun anymore in case the girls would want to hear about it. “Before I was meeting Wood. He was up at the Astronomy Tower practicing Charms with Mandy and apparently Wood kicked him out so we could—hang out—there. He was leaving when I came up the stairs.”

“To hang out with Wood.”

“Yes.” I sighed loudly. “And we had a row because I…well, I sort of told him I’d be having an early night and there I was…”

“Not having an early night at all,” said Katie.

“Right.”

“So is everything all right now?” asked Alicia, peering over a few heads to the Ravenclaw table. Roger wasn’t there.

I shook my head. “It ended bad. To be honest, I don’t know how bad.” I joined her in looking over to the table. “I have to talk to him today but I haven’t seen him yet.”

“That’ll be awkward,” Angelina said.

“You’re telling me,” I muttered. I stood up from the table, grabbed my bag, and headed off toward the Entrance Hall. I might as well find him first.

The Hall was empty except for two first years giggling over a picture, so I continued my journey up a few flights of stairs. He had to be around somewhere—it was nearly noon already.

“Jane?”

My eyes flew down the corridor toward the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Roger was standing there, staring at me roughly.

“Roger! Thank God I found you!” I rushed over to him, attempting to keep the bag on my shoulder as I went. “I was looking for you in the Great Hall and you weren’t there…”

“We’ve got to talk, Jane.”

I stopped abruptly a meter from him. “Talk? Well, yes, of course we do. Let me—”

“When we started dating I didn’t really expect this.”

“Expect—huh?”

“Expect you to go running around all night with the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.”

I frowned. “Just let me explain, Roger.” I nearly smiled. The explanation itself would be more than enough—I even put the note in my pocket before I left so I could show him.

“I don’t know that I want to hear it.”

“Don’t be stupid, of course you do.”

“Had plenty of time to rehearse it?”

My brow flew up. “What do you—I tried to tell you last night but you ran off to find Mandy!” Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have said that. It was a bit of a stretch, after all. And completely untrue. But still. Seriously.

“Ran off to—Jane, this is ridiculous. I don’t care about your explanation. You were caught—lying and sneaking off to see another bloke in the middle of the bloody night.” Roger was frowning. His hair was not shiny anymore. He did not have on his gleaming smile or his wicked sense of humor. He looked so—so normal. “I’m going to end it here. On good terms. We can still be—well, we have classes together so we should still talk and whatnot.” He wasn’t looking at me. His eyes were determined, focused at the ground. “So that’s it then.”

To my own surprise, I found tears welling inside of my eyes. “That’s—that’s it?” I choked a bit. I had to hold my composure but this whole situation was so out of my reach that it seemed impossible. “Yes, Roger, I may have told a little white lie but I—”

“Don’t care, Jane.” He put up a hand to silence me. “I’ve got to get downstairs. I told Jeff I’d be down twenty minutes ago.” With that, he left, walking back toward the Great Hall, his cloak swishing behind him as he went.

I stood there for a moment, completely perplexed. Did that jut happen? Did dishy, debonair Roger Davies just break up with me? I frowned.

There was no point in going down to breakfast now—especially since I had already eaten. So I returned to the Gryffindor common room, hurt and confused. And irritated.

This was rubbish! Complete bollocks. How as that fair at all? Okay, so I had told a lie to my boyfriend. One lie. It wasn’t even a bad lie either. It wasn’t—hey I can fly so well I’ll be named captain of the Harpies two years out of school! Let’s go fly! And then fall on my face. That would be a stupid lie. Because I knew something bad would come out of it—all I wanted to do was to hear what Oliver had to say—right? I was just curious.

I was the cat and curiosity kicked my arse.




The common room was empty when I arrived, so I took a seat beside the fire. I could work on my homework, but this did not seem like a homework moment. I felt like crying. Or hexing someone. Really bad.

“Perry?”

Wow, opportunities had a serious way of presenting themselves when I was in need.

I turned. “Wood, you are the last person I want to talk to right now. Bugger off.”

He sighed. “I heard what happened.”

“How in the—how could you possibly?” I gaped at him. “It just happened!”

“Dodger told a few of his Quidditch mates and then one of them had to talk to me about the Final and he mentioned it. Not too many other people know, really—just most of the Ravenclaws and I got a little happy so I might have told Fred—or George.”

“So the entire school knows?”

“Something like that.”

I frowned. “Well, at least something good came out of it.”

“That’s the spirit, Perry! He was good for nothing.”

“No, I mean I can finally hex someone!” I whipped out my wand, pointing it straight at his chest. “This is all your fault, Wood! All your bloody fault!”

“How is this—don’t you point that thing at me!”

I wasn’t listening. “You gave me that stupid note. You could have just met me somewhere else. We could have talked in your dormitory with no one there. In the empty common room after everyone went to sleep. We didn’t have to meet in the bleeding Astronomy Tower! And you kicking Roger out made everything worse—he suspected things! He wouldn’t even let me explain myself!”

“Because he’s a prat.”

“He’s not a—this is your fault!” My eyes were clouding as I continued to point. Oliver had his hands in the air. “You—ruined—everything!” I yelled, crying openly now as I jabbed him in the chest with the wand. He cringed.

“Come on, Jane—you know that’s not why I invited you. How was I supposed to know that git would—”

“Shut up!”

“He didn’t let you explain and now you’re not letting me.”

“I said shut up!” I cried, jabbing him again. “And don’t call me Jane! I hate you, Wood! I bloody hate you!”

Then Oliver Wood did something rather unexpected. He grabbed my wand, tossed it to the side, grabbed my shoulders, and pulled me into a hard kiss.

He broke it quickly, his hands still on my shoulders as he stared at me. “Perry, shut up for a bleeding moment, will you?”

I just stared—what was I supposed to—did he just—I loathed him and he—

“I did that to shut you up,” he said quickly, staring at me with his piercing glare. “Now bloody listen!”

I nodded. There were still tears on my cheeks, but my eyes were dry with shock.

“You’re better off without Dodger. He’s a git, especially since he wouldn’t let you tell him that I just wanted to talk about my sorry excuse for a father. Either he wasn’t worth it—which he wasn’t—or he’ll come crawling back in a while because he realized he was being a complete prat. It’s either or. Fifty-fifty. Until then you’ve got to get over this. He’s an arse.”

I stood there, silent still as Oliver held my shoulders tight.

“Are you—are you okay then?” It was as if he realized how awkward this now was. His hands fell to his sides and he slumped back a few feet, placing his fingers in the pockets of his jeans.

I nodded slowly.

“Just don’t want you getting all riled up over some git that’s not worth the time of day.”

Another nod.

“All right, then Perry. I’m off to Quidditch practice.”

I found my voice. “It’s the day after Christmas.”

He shrugged. “Well, we didn’t get a practice in on Christmas because people seemed to think it was some cause for celebration and snowball fights so we need to make up for lost time and get back on track.” Oliver was smiling. “See you, Perry.”

I flipped him off. “Die, Wood,” I said and watched him leave back through the portrait hole. I rolled my eyes and, mid roll, noticed something above me.

It seemed the mistletoe had grown back.




Apparently, it was harder to get over a break up than Oliver made it sound. I thought I would just cry for a little bit and then go grab an Amaretto Sour and get over it with the girls. Well, it turns out I cried for more than a little bit, blankets pulled tightly over my head, and I didn’t even make it downstairs in two days to grab a Sour.

Perhaps I was being a bit dramatic—after all, he had broken up with me for something silly. I still couldn’t help being upset. I was happy with Roger. He made me smile and laugh and he even reminded me how crazy Wood could be on several occasions. Being with Roger made me…happy? I didn’t even know what happy was at this point, especially since the girls had taken to bringing me sugar cookies and bribing me out of bed with them. One day I got as far as the spiral staircase before I tackled Katie for the cookie goodness and returned to bed.

Thankfully, they told everyone I was ridiculously sick so I couldn’t join them for the twins’ bash that was to be held the weekend before break ended. I even put on a convincing cough in case anyone came up the stairs.

“You should really go,” said Katie, applying blush to her already rosy cheeks. “It’ll be good for you to get back out there again.”

“Yeah! We can join forces!” said Alicia with a giggle. “Single girls! Okay, I’ll have Henrik and you can have that other boy—what’s his name?”

I rolled my eyes. “Thanks, anyway. I think I’ll be fine here.” I dove under the bed or a minute, having dropped my quill (leave it to me to keep my homework for the weekend before the new term started), and groaned. Roger’s teddy bear was down there, sitting beside an empty tote box and a dirty sock. So was the box of tea. I had thrown it down there after I was sick of looking at it and thinking of him.

Alicia shrugged. “Suit yourself. I still say Henrik is eye candy.”

“He doesn’t know rubbish about Quidditch,” I reminded her.

“We’re not getting married, Jane,” she said with a laugh. “Besides, Oliver invited me to go to Brazil with his friend during the Easter Holidays. Apparently his friend is pretty dishy himself—not to mention all of the Brazilian bon-bons that will be there!”

My eyes widened. “He was—Wood was serious?”

“What do you mean he was serious? Of course he was! He already gave me the tickets to the matches there.”

I was laughing so hard I nearly snorted. “Wow. He really is a man of his word.” Alicia raised a brow, but I wasn’t thinking about her reaction. I was thinking about the mistletoe—the kiss that forced me into blushing harder than I ever had.

I knew it was just to shut me up considering I was about to hex his face off, but I would be a liar if I said it wasn’t…well, it was different. It was, for a random, hard kiss, really nice actually. But I hadn’t told the girls anything about that. Even if they understood why it was done, they wouldn’t let me live it down—the girls who tease me relentlessly when I fight with Wood let alone snog him.

But it wasn’t even a snog. It was a shut-up tactic. And I shut up. So it worked.

“Jane, you’re weird,” said Alicia, shrugging into her mirror. “Sometimes I get the feeling you don’t tell us everything that’s going on in your head.”

“I don’t think I would either,” said Katie thoughtfully, “consider we tear the mickey out of her for breathing.” She smiled.

“This is the part where you chime in about something, Ang,” I said, staring to the last bed in the room. Angelina was spread out on it, staring at the top of her four poster. “Ang? You all right?”

She didn’t turn her head. “Do you ever feel like you’re making a huge mistake?”

“Did you forget to circle answer “B” on your test because I do that all the time,” said Alicia. “I bet if you go talk to Flitwick…”

“No. I mean in general—in life—in…relationships.”

We all stared at her for a minute.

“What do you—I thought you were really happy,” said Katie, turning from her mirror to face Angelina. “You’re always stuck to Fred’s face. I think he might have transferred a few freckles over.”

“Is that it, though? Is it snogging? What else do we do?”

I made a face. “Oh, don’t do this, Ang. You’re happy.”

“Happy snogging!” She huffed. “That’s all we do!”

“It is not!” I said.

“Then what else?”

“I’m sure you do plenty,” said Alicia, “I just don’t care enough to pay attention.”

“Because you’re so worried we’re going to constantly snog!”

I rolled my eyes. “Ang, come on. Talk to Fred about it if it’s freaking you out so much. I’m sure he’ll understand.”

She turned her head. “You think I should talk to him?”

“Sure.”

“Didn’t you try to talk to Roger and the two of you broke up?”

My face hit my pillow again. “Nevermind. I’m not helping anymore.”

Alicia threw a book at Ang. “Don’t—why would you—damn it!” She sat at the edge of my bed. “It’s okay, Jane. He was a prat. A dishy, delicious prat, but a prat all the same.”

“Thanks for the comfort,” I said coldly.

“Come on girls—the party is about to start,” said Katie. “And Jane, if you change your mind it’s just right downstairs.”

Alicia stood up and ruffled my hair and Angelina crossed the room without a word.

Before long I was alone again, staring up at the ceiling with a scowl on my face. Leave it to a confused Angelina to remind me about Roger. I was trying—maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough. Hopefully Alicia got along with Henrik anyway.

I rolled over, staring now at my wardrobe. Why was I so confused?

“PERRY! GET YOUR SORRY ARSE DOWN HERE!”

I toppled out of the bed, slamming my face on the floor (déjà vu) and looked up. What the hell?

Katie tore through the door. “Jane, Wood’s threatening to hex me if I don’t come and get you.”

“Why?”

“Because he says you’ve been holed up in here for a week and you need to socialize.”

I rolled my eyes. “Tell him to jump off a cliff because I’m not coming down. I’m sick, remember. WOOD, I’M SICK!”

“DON’T THINK I’M BUYING THAT FOR A SECOND!”

I sighed. “Tell him I’m…near fatal or something.”

Katie peeked her head out the door. “Oliver, Jane says she’s near fatal!”

“I suppose we should amputate!” he cried. “Perry, get down here NOW or I’m going to get my broom and I’m flying up there! And I’ll drag you down here whether you’re in your embarrassing pajamas or not!”

I looked down. Maybe I shouldn’t be wearing my teacup pajama shorts and kitty t-shirt. It wasn’t exactly flattering.

“Are you coming?” asked Katie, sighing. “I don’t think he’s going to let up.”

I paused.

“PERRY!” roared Wood.

I’M COMING!” I cried, grabbing some cute clothes and tossing my pajamas aside. I pulled on the jeans and silk top and then brushed out my hair. This was ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to go to some stupid party just because Oliver insisted he would come up here and drag me down there.

I didn’t put it past him though, so I walked out after Katie and found Oliver’s smile below me. “You’re a prat,” I said loudly and a few people laughed nearby.

There were plenty of people at the party—Alicia over by the fireplace talking to Henrik, Lee a few feet away telling jokes to a few fifth years, Fred and Angelina tucked in the corner, and George manning the music for everyone else. Oliver was waiting at the bottom of the stairs, broom in one hand and a drink in the other. He handed the drink to me. I stared at it and smirked. It was a glass of red wine.

“You’re still a prat,” I said, taking a sip and making my way over to the sofas.

“I know—but I got you down here,” he replied with a devilish smirk. “You look pretty sick to me…are those bags under your eyes?”

I took another sip. “You’re not funny.”

“How are you taking the break up?” Ellis had approached the pair of us from the fireplace. I groaned.

“I’m taking it just fine, thanks.” I narrowed my eyes.

“Good. I just wanted to make sure in case something—Merlin forbid—was to happen to me.” Ellis smiled arrogantly. “I know that you’re pretty emotional and hard to control so this was obviously a large concern to me.”

“Ellis, get away from me,” I said and Oliver held his laughter from beside me.

Ellis made a face. “Well, if that’s how you feel, Perry…”

“Seriously, twat, get away or I’m going to get out my wand and injure you myself.”

He shrugged and shuffled away. I heard a snippet of conversation involving him catching a snitch in a Wronski Feint. Pfft. Yeah right.

“You have so much love for him,” Oliver said with a laugh.

I took the break in conversation to stare around the room again. This was not one of Fred and George’s biggest victories as far as parties were to go and I couldn’t figure out why. Their shin-digs were usually loud, fun, and full of unexpected things. Most people were standing around chatting with drinks or on the dance floor. There was nothing out of the ordinary at all. I frowned, my eyes falling on Lee talking to Henrik and them both laughing. Alicia was nearby with George, trying to convince him to play a song, and Katie was dancing with a few other girls. I spotted Libby with a few other fifth year girls. She was wearing her bunny ears from her Halloween costume and I caught myself before I choked.

Then I saw it—the sole reason this party was being ruined.

I could see Angelina and Fred by the window, Ang standing and pointing her finger at him. He was yelling back, though I couldn’t hear what about over the music. That could have been why they were yelling. George noticed this too, which is why he kept the music playing instead of making any sort of announcement. Angelina was in tears, stomping her foot on the ground and Fred shrugged in a way that was only getting him in more trouble.

After a minute of me watching (and several other people, including Oliver), Angelina turned on her heel and stormed off toward the dormitory. Then Fred grabbed a bottle of Firewhiskey and downed it, slumping into a chair.

“They’re really quite happy,” Oliver whispered and I punched him.

I stood up.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Away from you,” I muttered, but realistically I’m sure he knew I was going to console Angelina. I found her, with Katie and Alicia at my heels, face-down on her bed sobbing wildly.

“Ang?” said Katie, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. “Do you want me to go get some sugar cookies?”

Alicia rolled her eyes. “What happened? I was trying to eavesdrop but the music was too loud. You should really wait for a song to change to have a lovers’ quarrel.”

Angelina flopped over, her entire face covered in tears already, and she stared at the three of us hard. “Fred and I broke up.”

“What?!” I said, dumbstruck. “Broke up—why?”

“Because I tried to tell him that I thought he was just using me to snog!”

Alicia flopped back onto the bed. “But he really likes you, Ang!”

“He does not because then he said I was using him to snog!” she retorted. “I don’t want anything to do with him anymore—he’s so immature and arrogant and he’s a right twat!”

I sighed. “We should make a club.”

“We’ll get key chains,” muttered Alicia and Angelina smirked slightly.

“Now I’m all left out,” said Katie, searching in a round tin for something.

“Just break up with George,” said Alicia with a smile. “You know he’s a twit.”

“Oh, thanks for the support.” Katie rolled her eyes and handed Angelina and beige cookie from inside the tin. “I think I’ll stay with George, thanks.”

“That’s because the two of you actually talk!” Angelina said. She was crying again.

Was this what I was like after Roger? I’d hate to think what my eyes looked like all puffy and red.

“Didn’t you tell me the pair of you stayed up until dawn talking not too long ago?” said Alicia, raising a suspicious brow. “I think you’re trying to find a problem because you’re getting scared.”

“Don’t be stupid,” snapped Angelina, turning away so we couldn’t see her face. “I hate Fred Weasley and I never want to see him again.”

“I’ll let him know he’ll have to transfer schools then,” said Katie, standing up and crossing the room. “George might take it hard.”

“George will have to go too—they’re identical! We don’t want Angelina seeing George and thinking of Fred and how much she hates him,” I said. “Oh! And all of the twins’ brothers. They’ll have to go too. What a logistical nightmare this will be.”

“But it’s all so Angelina won’t have to take the next step in her otherwise perfect relationship,” muttered Alicia.

“SOD OFF!” Angelina threw the covers over her head.



The break up affected everyone more than I thought it would. The common room was in a dreary state the next day before term started and George and Katie left just so they wouldn’t feel left out any longer. Angelina stayed upstairs in a fuming bubble (that I left alone because I thought she might explode and shoot break-up puss all over me) and Fred tried to be social but only ended up sitting by the fire staring into it with extremely red eyes and overly pale skin. Lee said he wasn’t sleeping and I hadn’t seen him eat since the night of the party.

“Should we do something?” I asked Alicia at dinner on Sunday night. Katie and George were there, as well as Lee and Oliver nearby. “I mean—it’s obvious they’re miserable without each other. We have to do something.”

“Okay, let’s think this out,” said Oliver and I was surprised that he was jumping on the bandwagon before anyone else. “Perry, you and I loathed each other.”

Loathe, Wood. Still loathe. Don’t get comfy.”

He smirked. “Okay. We hated each other more than we do now…and then what did Fred Weasley do? He made us go shopping for booze together knowing you’re hopeless and I would have to teach you things because I’m realistically the best.”

I rolled my eyes, trying to ignore the statements, but failing. “You’re a sodding idiot, Wood.” I paused. “So you’re saying we stick them together—somewhere they’ll have to make up?”

He nodded. “It has to work. It has to be easy, right?”

“It’s not a bad idea,” said Katie, thinking. “It could either bring them together or cause them to kill us and drive them further apart—but we’ve got about a fifty-fifty shot on this one.” She was smiling.

“Next weekend we send them somewhere then?” asked Alicia, rubbing her hands together. “I’ve got some serious ideas. We’re getting the stupid couple back together…even if I like there being three single girls…she doesn’t even act single. Jane, start acting more single to make up for Alicia.”

I rolled my eyes. “Lee, I want you. I need you. Seriously. Right now.”

Lee winked. “I always knew you did, Janey.” He licked his lips and I threw my biscuit at him.


A/N- Yay for Chapter 12! Soooo what does everyone think? A little more serious (the next chappie will be that way too), but I have to move the plot along of course :) And the mistletoe had a revival!

The next chapter is finished but still needs to go through edits. It should still be posted very soon.

Favorite quotes? Scenes? What you think of Oliver and Roger? (and Ang & Fred for that matter). Hearing from all of you really inspires me to write...hence me cranking out these last few chapters!


Chapter 13: Oliver's Desperation
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Turns out, coming up with something Angelina and Fred to do together was proving more difficult than we initially thought. Alicia had come up with various ideas involving stripping and playing pin the tail on the Weasley, but they were all vetoed. Mostly by me because I’m sane. Katie couldn’t think of anything and she spent most of her time trying to get George to just talk to Fred, who had refused anyone who talked to Angelina. Oliver was also at a blank, but he promised he would think of something.

Unfortunately, the second Gryffindor match of the season was coming up and before anyone could think of a way to stick the pair together—it was forced upon us. In a bad way.

There was a team meeting two weeks after term began—one week before the Slytherin game. Oliver had no choice but to call it since the match was so close but no one was in worse spirits than the broken couple.

“This is rubbish—I don’t want to play with him!” Angelina yelled at breakfast before we headed off to Transfiguration. “He’s a foul git and I don’t want to be near him!”

“Right back at you!” Fred called over the table. “You’re a stubborn woman and I am letting every Bludger smack you in that thick conk of yours!”

“Then I’m not going to score so you can’t get the satisfaction of winning!” cried Angelina.

“Bloody—you will too score!” Oliver folded his arms and stood up, pressing Fred back into his seat and glaring at Angelina. “Shut up—the two of you! You’re going to play like a damn team! Team meeting tomorrow night and I don’t care how far you sit apart—you’re both going!”

I raised a brow and snickered to Alicia. “He might as well just adopt them.”

“I don’t need your input, Perry.”

“You never do,” I said loudly, “I just give it to you free of charge.”

He threw a celery stick at me and sat back down. “You’ll deal with the team meeting and you’ll bloody like it—the lot of you. And no bickering!”

“He can adopt me,” said Alicia, laughing a bit. “I won’t constantly bicker.”

“Don’t be stupid, Alicia,” said Katie, helping herself to more pudding, “you’d want to catch a glimpse of him in the shower.”

“I can already do that!”

“You probably have!”

I changed a glance and I was happy I did—Wood was positively blushing.



Things did not get any better the following day. Every time Angelina and Fred were within ten feet of one another they would start in at each other’s throats. The rest of the team (myself included) spent much of their Saturday morning dragging the pair apart. Even Ellis joined in, grabbing Fred by the arm and steering him toward the library (“Why would we go in there? Madam Pince hasn’t seen me for years,” said Fred).

It seemed like full time work and when Angelina was finally finishing her Charms essay in the dormitory and Fred was away with his twin up to the Owlry, I breathed in deeply. I was in the Great Hall, leaning back and staring at the ceiling, wondering if this day could go slower. Oliver said the team meeting would only last an hour, but he had been known to tell fabulous lies when it came to his meetings. This time, however, I found that I did not want to refuse him or complain—especially after what he told me about his father.

That made me wonder if I was doing it just because he told me that. Was that the only reason he told me—to get me to stop whining? Maybe it was just a perk. I still wouldn’t put it past him. Prat.

“I’m sorry to hear about your team.” Roger slid into the chair next to me.

I looked over. I hadn’t spoken to him since the break up by the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and part of me had no idea why. We didn’t end horribly—besides me tearing up in the corridor—and we had agreed to remain acquaintances. Right? I couldn’t really remember the logistics of it all. He looked fine—his hair wasn’t as shiny as usual, but that could have been my bias against him.

“What about them?” I asked slowly, turning more in my seat to meet his eyes. “What happened?”

“I just mean your form falling apart. I know Wood worked hard for a Quidditch machine,” he said.

I frowned. “We’re fine, Roger. There’s just a little tension.”

“I could hear the little tension all the way across the castle.”

“Seriously, we’re fine.”

“Maybe next year, Jane. You’ve still got a year left anyway.” Roger shrugged and stood up. “Have fun at your team meeting. By the way, good luck with Wood.”

I raised a brow. “With what—I’m not on the team, remember?”

“I mean the two of you—aren’t you—well, together?”he asked.

I nearly choked. “No-of-bloody-course-we-aren’t-together!” I cried. “What are you, daft? I told you nothing was going on and you didn’t even believe me! Wood and are aren’t together and I hate him as much as I did the day I met him!” (Ok, maybe a little less—but not much!) I paused for a moment. “And it won’t be next year, Roger. It’ll be this year. I’ve got pad sizes.” With that I turned, flipped my hair in a very un-Jane-like way, and stomped my way out of the Great Hall.

The girls were waiting in the dormitory when I returned, Angelina’s Charms essay now finished and mine not even started.

“Do you think this will really be an hour?” asked Katie, grabbing her cloak.

“I doubt it,” said Angelina darkly. “Oliver will want Fred and me to suffer as long as possible.”

I ignored her. “I just wish we could have this inside the castle—I really don’t think Flint will be in the next room with some spy equipment.” I picked up my own cloak and draped it over my shoulders, staring out the window. “It looks like the boys already left—yep, that’s them walking down by the willow.”

Alicia glanced over my shoulder. “It’s safe, Ang. Let’s go and get this over with.”

She rolled her eyes. “I’m not talking the whole time. I don’t care if Oliver asks me a question or not—I’m not talking.”

“Of course you’re not,” I said offhandedly, opening the door.




The room was fairly loud when we arrived. The boys, it seemed, had tried to forget the tension and George was drawing obscene things on the white board. I took a seat between Angelina and Katie on the left side of the table and I silently prayed Oliver would, for once, be right about the timing this time.

“All right, you lot know why I called this,” Oliver said, getting to his feet and erasing George’s pictures. “It’s because the match is next week. We’ve been practicing since the Christmas Holidays ended and we’ve been playing like rubbish ever since.” He paused, staring at Fred and Angelina. “If we don’t get our heads in the game, we’re going to lose. Yes, lose. I don’t stand for losing. This is my last bleeding year and if we lose to sodding Slytherin I’m going to make sure none of you reach graduation without a limp.” He narrowed his eyes. “So. We’re going to talk tactics until I’m satisfied you’ve all got it in your thick skulls.”

There were simultaneous groans around the table.

And so it started. For a half hour Oliver went through diagram after diagram (how did he have more after the last two meetings?) and used a metal pointer to show us all about balance rituals, the Slytherin hair-aerodynamics, and the different grass textures throughout the pitch. I dozed off a few times, but seeing Flint’s hair up on the board made me giggle for a bit.

“Is that clear?” said Oliver, slapping George on the back of the head so he would wake up. “You are not to kick off on the left side of the field. You won’t get enough of a push.”

“You don’t need to tell some of us twice, Oliver,” said Angelina, rolling her eyes at the twins. “Some of us pay attention.”

George elbowed his twin. “Fred—Fred, wake up, mate.”

Fred jerked awake and wiped the drool off his mouth. “Oh, it’s over then? I’ve got to get back. I told Leanne I’d meet her for dinner.”

Katie blanched. “Leanne?”

Fred yawned loudly. “Yeah. She asked me to help her with her Transfiguration later.”

“Transfiguration my foot,” muttered Angelina, rolling her eyes again.

Fred looked over. “It’s not like you’ve got a study partner anyway.”

“Come on, guys,” said Oliver, holding out his hands and flipping to the next board. “We’re almost finished.”

“I only don’t have a study partner because mine was a prat!” countered Angelina. “I’m all right with that anyway—I was the one helping you!”

“Helping me? The only thing you were doing was trying to distract me!”

“How so?” she snapped. “I was trying to help you with your essays!”

“You’re so full of yourself!” cried Fred.

No one around the table knew what to do. George was trying to force Fred back into his seat, but it wasn’t working. I tried to pull on Angelina’s sleeves, but she yanked them out of my grip.

“Me? Me?! You’re the one strutting around with your bloody head up your arse!”

“No, you!” yelled Fred and I raised a brow.

“Oh yeah, good ruddy comeback,” said Angelina, tossing her napkin back on the table. “This is ridiculous, Oliver. I’m not staying any longer.”

“I’m not finished!” Oliver said, his eyes shooting daggers. “You’re not leaving until I’m done!”

“Well today,” said Angelina, purely seething, “I’m pulling a Jane.” She turned and walked out, slamming the door behind her.

Then Fred stood up. “Well, I’m not staying either! This is rubbish!”

To my surprise, Oliver shot me a death stare. “Great, Perry. Now they think it’s okay to walk out on a team meeting just because you did it.”

“Don’t start on me, Wood,” I muttered, stretching and standing up. “This is way beyond my control.”

Oliver sighed. “You’re right.” He looked at the rest of the team, frowning. “I’m worried. I’m really, really worried.” He sank into a seat and stared straight down the table at Ellis. “Catch the snitch fast, mate. I’ve got to deal with this tension and there won’t be enough time between now and the match.”

Ellis nodded. “That’s what I’m here for.”

I rolled my eyes. “Let’s hope that’s what you’re here for during all three matches.”




Things weren’t improving. Oliver had taken to not spending any time with the rest of the team because he would be furious by the time the subject of Fred and Angelina came up. I still hadn’t told him about Roger, but I was starting to believe it was better that way. Oliver didn’t need to know.

Part of me didn’t know how the Saturday match would go. I wanted to believe that Angelina and Fred would put aside their differences and just play to win, but I knew them. Angelina was all about holding a grudge and getting even, while Fred was about showing people up. There was nothing we could do.

“I can’t even get my cup into a cat,” muttered Angelina, tapping the small pink teacup with her wand. “I’ve been looking forward to this lesson for weeks and now I’m rubbish because I’m ticked off.”

I sighed. “Maybe if you would get over this, you’d have a nice fluffy cat to pet.” I petted my own cat behind its gray ears and it purred.

“Good try, Jane.”

I frowned. “Ang, please tell me you’re going to play right on Saturday.” I kept my voice to a whisper because McGonagall was surveying the cats with hawk eyes (which I found interesting considering her Animagus form).

“I’m going to play fine,” she snapped.

“Miss Johnson, please keep your voice down,” McGonagall snapped, examining the nose of Alicia’s cat.

“She’s naturally loud like that,” said Fred. I shot him a dark look.

“Oh, that’s really rich of you,” Angelina retorted. “Telling me I’m loud when you spend your nights yelling over people in the common room.”

“I don’t yell over people—how is it my fault if people enjoy my jokes?”

“Mr. Weasley, there will be no arguing in my classroom!” said McGonagall and Fred sank back down. “I don’t know what is going on between the two of you, but you’d better work it out quickly because it will not carry over to your studies.”

Angelina was fuming and ended the class behind a teacup with a furry tail.




The night before the match, the common room was drearier than usual. On a normal night-before, there would be little parties going on and loud people setting off fire crackers near the window. Fred and George had retreated to bed early, soon followed by Lee and then Ellis. Once Fred went upstairs, Angelina stormed up the girls’ spiral staircase, followed by Alicia and then Katie.

Even though it was late, I didn’t feel like going to bed. I figured Angelina would be pounding on her pillows, whining about how Fred didn’t do something or how he complained about something else. I kicked my feet up onto a coffee table and pulled open my Potions book.

“Studying the night before a match?”

I turned. For a fleeting second I was hoping it would be someone—anyone female other than the person it was. “Yes, Libby. I’m studying because I don’t have to suit up and catch a snitch tomorrow.”

“You might have to if something happens to Ellis,” Libby said, plopping down beside me.

“What are you doing?”

“I was going to help.”

I snorted. “Help with what?”

“Your Potions,” Libby said, raising her eyebrows and folding her arms. Part of me wished she would be stuck like that.

“Okay. Let me go get my notes.” I stood up, and walked up the stairs. Then I ambled in the door, tossed my book on the bed, and closed the door with my wand. The girls looked at me. “Libby offered to help me…or hex me, I couldn’t see through her clever disguise.”

“So you just walked up here?” asked Katie, getting under her covers and blowing out a candle.

“Yeah, I told her I was getting my notes.” I snickered, placing my book on the bedside stand. “Obviously, I’m getting them right now.” I fell backward onto the bed. “Yep. Potions notes.”

“You should probably make it a bit more obvious you loathe her, Jane,” said Alicia, finishing another Quidditch magazine and discarding it to the side. “It hasn’t quite reached the surface yet.”

I yawned. “I’ll get on that tomorrow.”

Before I fell asleep I could hear Libby downstairs saying “Has anyone seen Jane? She asked me to help her with Potions. Everyone knows she’s rubbish…” I turned over.

“Down killer,” said Alicia. “You are rubbish at Potions.”

“Sod off.”



For once, I felt a little lonely as I took my seat for the match. Nearly all of my friends were on the team, my ex-beau was sulking near the Ravenclaw end (probably rooting for Slytherin), and Lee was doing the commentating. I looked to my left and right—people I didn’t know. Libby was near the front holding a ridiculously large sign for Oliver and, for once, I could see Henrik a few seats to the left.

I watched the team walk onto the field. The girls were walking with their heads held high and I could tell Alicia kept an eye on Angelina as they made their way toward Madam Hooch. Fred was moping behind, dragging his broom and George was telling him something. Ellis seemed to be ignoring all of them (for once). And then there was Oliver—striding across the field with a determined, confident look on his face. I’d seen that look many times. He had it while handing me his broom before the Seeker try-outs. He had it while explaining that I should break up with Roger. He had it when he needed to shut me up after Christmas.

Ever since that happened, my mind drifted back there every so often. I felt like a prat, thinking about a kiss that didn’t mean bollocks, but for some reason my brain wanted to linger on the memory under the mistletoe. It was stupid. It wasn’t even amazing—it was a hard kiss to get me to stop telling him off. He told me it was to get me to shut up. Even if he would have enjoyed it, it wouldn’t have mattered. We wouldn’t match together. We would fight far too much.

Plus, he had Libby. Stupid sodding Libby.

Not because she was with Oliver. Just because she was a twat.

And because she was with Oliver.

But only because he was too good for her—not because I enjoyed the kiss or anything.

It wasn’t like it was horrible or anything.

It wasn’t amazing, though. It wasn’t like Oliver was a knight in shining armor.

He wasn’t even a knight. And his idea of armor was a Quidditch robe.

But anyway.

I heard Madam Hooch’s whistle and watched every player fly into the air. Immediately I knew it wasn’t going to be the lovely, clean game of Quidditch I had come to enjoy.

For starters, the Slytherins took possession of the Quaffle as soon as they could. Flint flew under Angelina and through Alicia before scoring on Oliver. I groaned as the Slytherin end erupted, but Ellis was flying high above, searching hard so I tried not to worry myself.

And then it happened.

“It’s Katie Bell with the Quaffle and she dodges Morson—takes it under him and passes to Alicia,” said Lee, watching the Gryffindor Chasers weave around the pitch. “It looks like she’s going alone at this one—blimey, what’s that about?”

My eyes flew to the opposite side of the pitch. Oliver was yelling—at Angelina and Fred. I gasped.

“GO CRASH A BLOODY BROOM!” I could hear Angelina screaming. She was only a meter away from Fred, both suspended high above the crowd with scowls on their faces.

“JUST BECAUSE I TRIED TELLING YOU THAT YOU WEREN’T PASSING IT RIGHT DOESN’T MEAN—”

Angelina grabbed Fred’s Beaters’ bat out of his hand and wacked him over the head with it. He swerved slightly.

“You’re a right piece of woman!” Fred yelled, rubbing his head.

Meanwhile, I looked up at the scoreboard to see that Slytherin had scored three times since Oliver was yelling himself hoarse at the pair and Alicia was trying to score again. She was flying by Angelina when the Quaffle was grabbed from her hand.

“I’LL GIVE YOU A RIGHT PIECE OF SOMETHING ALL RIGHT!” Angelina screamed, chucking the Quaffle at Fred’s head. He flew backward.

“Blimey!” Fred moaned.

“Can someone stop this please?” said Lee Jordan into the microphone.

Play had almost halted. Oliver was screaming. The Chasers were pulling Angelina away. George was grabbing onto the end of Fred’s broom. Most of the Slytherins were giggling. I could see Roger laughing from his seat across the stadium.

Prat.

It looked like chaos—the Slytherins were now trying to grab at the Quaffle so they could score, Oliver had abandoned the hoops to tell Fred off with his finger wagging, and the crowd was going crazy. I could barely hear myself think.

And then, just when I thought someone was going to get poked in the eye by the end of a broom, there was a flash of scarlet.

“He’s got it! Blimey, that little shit got it—whoops, sorry, Professor!” Lee sounded like he was nearly crying. “Danny Ellis catches the snitch and wins it for Gryffindor—one hundred sixty to fifty!”

The crowd erupted around me and I couldn’t help but whoop along with everyone else. It was an amazing moment—the team was cheering (Oliver was hugging Ellis but still looked irritated) and fans were spilling out onto the field.

I tried to savor it before the lecture I was sure to witness later on.




“How could you be so bloody careless?!” yelled Oliver, pacing the empty classroom. He had pulled all of us away from the party and into the room just after the champagne bottles had been uncorked by Lee Jordan. “If Ellis hadn’t caught the snitch we would have lost in no time with you two swinging bats at each other!”

“I wasn’t swinging a bat!” countered Fred.

“You were instigating—don’t give me that rubbish!” I hadn’t heard Oliver so mad in a long time and I was wondering if he would pick up a chair any time soon just to break it over someone’s head. “This has got to stop. I will not tolerate your bad breakup leaking onto my pitch! This. Has. Got. To. Stop.”

I glanced around the room. Everyone was watching the Captain in an awkward awe—all except Angelina and Fred, who were both looking at the tiled floor in shame. I didn’t know what to do, especially since I wasn’t on the field for the match and, to be frank, I wasn’t altogether sure why I was there to begin with.

I thought it was best not to ask the livid Oliver.

“Sorry, Oliver,” muttered Angelina, her face glowing with humiliation.

“I’m not even going to think about it. It doesn’t even feel like we won,” Oliver said, now pacing again. “I’m going to put this match behind me and try not to dwell on the hours of research for things I told you in that last team meeting…things you didn’t think about before trying to dodge Flint on the underside when I told you he does the best flying downward…” Oliver paused and took a very deep breath. “Okay. This is what we’re going to do.”

Suddenly I was worried. I hadn’t heard that tone of voice before. It was a voice with a plan—with determination. This was a voice of desperation.

“We’re going on a retreat,” said Oliver.

“A what?” George gaped at his captain.

“A retreat,” Oliver repeated. “Next weekend the lot of you are going out to the Quidditch pitch. All day and night Saturday we’re doing team builders and you’re going to learn to be a bleeding team again.”

“Won’t it be…ridiculously cold?” said Alicia, making a face.

“Probably.”

“Isn’t that a bit dangerous, Oliver?” asked Angelina.

“It’s very rich of you to ask if something’s dangerous,” he replied, rolling his eyes, “especially since you think swinging a club at someone’s head doesn’t qualify as it.”

She scowled.

“We’re going on the retreat and you’re going to like it. And you’re not getting out of it.” He folded his arms and stopped pacing for a moment. “This is my last resort. It’s either this or…we’ve got to start training Ellis individually to catch the snitch in seconds.” He shrugged. “But that won’t get me an international roster spot.” With that, Oliver left his team in complete silence.

“What do you think we’ll have to do?” asked Angelina.

“Suffer because of you,” muttered Alicia, walking out and slamming the door.

I made a face. “Don’t beat yourself up—or anyone else,” I said and smiled weakly. Angelina returned it, though reluctantly.



I didn’t feel like the party was real. Everyone was going crazy after the win and drinks were being passed around, but I refused the ones that were handed to me. It didn’t seem right even though I had no part in the win (or the sense of loss). I just moseyed along between the people and listened to their conversations.

“Do you think a retreat will be okay?” Oliver handed me a sour and I took it, taking a small sip. He led the way over to a few unoccupied seats by the window and sat down.

“I don’t know,” I said slowly, staring around the room. I could see most of the team (each looking as somber as the next), but no Fred or Angelina. “I don’t think there’s much else you can do.”

“McGonagall gave me the idea,” he replied, taking a sip of his own drink. “I was desperate. This will be my last match. I need to win. I need to be picked up by a scout. I don’t think I have another choice.” He frowned.

“If you don’t have another choice then you don’t have another choice,” I replied, shrugging. “I’m sure the team will be fine.”

“Will you survive?”

“I’ve made it this far with a git as a Quidditch captain, I think a silly retreat will just be a thorn in my side.” I beamed at him and left him to his pratty thoughts.



“What sort of team building things do you think Oliver was talking about?” asked Katie, brushing through her hair the Wednesday morning before the retreat. “You don’t think we’ll have to do a bunch of sodding drills, do you?”

“If it were drills he’d just have us do an extra-long Quidditch practice,” said Alicia, picking up her Care of Magical Creatures book so we could leave for class. “He said we’d be doing team-building stuff…”

“I hope it doesn’t last the whole weekend,” muttered Angelina.

“And if it does I’m going to ruddy blame it on you!” said Alicia loudly, shoving the book in her bag.

“On me? What about Fred?”

“I’ll blame it on both of you then—yelling and hitting each other during a Quidditch match!” Alicia roared. It was obvious she had wanted to get this off her chest for several days. “Have some bloody respect! You could have wrecked it for all of us—just because your stupid relationship ended horribly even though it was just because you were to scared to go the next step!”

“The next step?” said Angelina. She looked scared. I figured I would be too with Alicia telling me off like that.

“Don’t be stupid—you were too scared to have sex with him and have a real bleeding relationship that you figured breaking up would be the answer.” Alicia folded her arms. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Ridiculous. And now you’re both unhappy because you haven’t figured out that you WANT EACH OTHER BACK!”

I smirked. Leave it to Alicia to stuff something in another girls’ brain.

Leaning back against my chair, I watched the action around me following Alicia’s outburst. Katie had paused, brush midway through her hair, and was watching with a shocked expression on her face. Alicia was breathing heavily, her fists clenched at her sides, and Angelina’s eyes were beginning to water.

“I…I…”

“Don’t say anything,” Alicia said loudly, picking up her bag and swinging it over her shoulder, “just think about it. And I swear to God if this retreat is Hell on a pitch then you’re getting it…with a Beater’s club.” She turned on heel and stormed out.

I made a face. “So…I’m going to head to class then.” I grabbed my bag. “Coming, Katie?”

Katie nodded and followed me out the door. I then closed the door quietly behind me, hearing the soft sobs of Angelina.

“Do you think she’ll be okay?” asked Katie.

“I’m not so sure. Part of me thinks she will, but the other part of me knows Angelina is ridiculously dense.”

Katie smiled sideways at me as we continued down the corridor. “She’s not the only one around here.”

“I hope you’re referring to Alicia because I have a bag full of heavy books.”




Saturday morning was bright and I thought to myself that at least the weather would be cooperative for our outing—even if Fred and Angelina were not. I dressed quietly, along with the other girls, and we packed the few things that Oliver told us to the previous day.


Shoes
Wand
Extra Pair of Clothes
Pajamas (“Bugger,” said Alicia)
Socks
Something to Occupy Yourself at Night
Skills



I groaned, grabbing my Transfiguration book. At least when we were finished I would be able to catch up on my chapters (probably by witnessing another Fred and Angelina all out war). Alicia placed a stack of Quidditch magazines into her own bag and Katie found a novel she hadn’t gotten the chance to finish since she checked it out from the library.

“All right,” muttered Angelina, “what time does it say we’ve got to be on the pitch?”

“At noon so—twenty minutes,” I replied, checking my watch. “Everyone have everything?”

“I’ve lost my sanity,” said Alicia. “Did you put it into your bag on accident, Katie? I think I saw you with it—you can’t have two, She-Devil!”

I snorted as Alicia ran at Katie’s bag, snatching it and throwing her things all over the place. A blue bra found its way to the top of the wardrobe. “Give it—Alicia, come on! We’ve got to be downstairs soon!”

“A Tale of Persephone and her newfound love, Dave,” said Alicia, reading the cover of the book. “What’s this rubbish?” She turned the book over. “So the Greek Goddess gets transported from ancient Greece to modern day England? Oh, this is rich. I bet Dave has a handlebar mustache and a twitchy eye!”

“Stop it—he does not! Dave is quite the looker with dark hair and green eyes and—nevermind!” Katie cried. “Just give my damn book back!” She snatched it out of Alicia’s hands and stuffed it back into her beige bag.

“Don’t forget your bra,” I said with a snort, pointing to the wardrobe.

Katie hit Alicia hard. “You get it!”

Alicia smirked, climbed on a chair and grabbed the bra. She held it up to her own bust for a second before chucking it back across the room so Katie could put it away. “Don’t be such a spoil sport. Your bra is pretty!”

Katie scowled. “Can we just go?”

I nodded and pulled open the door. The lot of us walked together down the spiral staircase, Katie with her bra now secure in her bag, and left through the empty common room.

“Lee and Henrik both asked where we were going this weekend,” said Angelina into the silence. “I told them about the retreat. Henrik looked a bit put out, but Lee started laughing. Stupid blighter.”

I smiled. “At least someone knows so if we die they’ll come looking for us…eventually.”

“With Lee I’m not sure he’ll ever come looking,” said Alicia.

“Nah, he’ll notice the twins are gone,” I said. “Eventually.”




The grounds were solid as we walked toward the pitch since it hadn’t rained in days. It was a warm winter—too warm, I think, to snow since January, but I secretly hoped it might get chillier to get rid of the depressing rains. The Quidditch pitch itself was shining in the sunlight and for one fleeting second I thought maybe this would be fun. Perhaps lighthearted activities to bring us together as a team and get to know each other more.

That was before I saw Oliver standing in the middle of the field. His hands were on his hips and next to him were several pieces of fabric and metal poles. I raised a brow. The twins were already there with Ellis, each looking more confused than the last in reference to the clutter before them.

When we arrived at the group, I set my bag down on the rough earth.

Oliver stared back at us. He held out a large basket with a lock on it. “All right. First of all, you lot are late. You’ll be doing laps for that. Second of all, put your wands in here.”

“What?” I said, gaping at him.

“Your wands, Perry. The entire time you’re out here there will be no use of wands.”

I groaned. Nevermind lighthearted activities.


A/N: So that was Chappie 13. I'm pretty excited about this "retreat" situation, but college has now started up again so the updates will come slightly less frequently.

Let me know what you think--love it? Hate it (I hope not!)? I'd be happy to answer any questions--I do have a Meet the Author topic!

So let me know :) Chapter 14 will be up as soon as it's finished...between all of my Creative Writing courses.


Chapter 14: Retreat
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I reluctantly placed my wand into the basket and frowned, watching the others do the same. Part of me couldn’t believe Oliver was doing this to us, but the other part of me wasn’t surprised in the slightest. This was just like him to take the conflicts of two people and make it into a team affair. Reserves included.

I folded my arms, stepping back so Angelina could put her own wand in.

“All right,” Oliver said, setting the basket gently on the ground, “it was clear to me from the way we played against Slytherin that you lot have been effected a great deal by the breakup of Fred and Angelina.”

Ang huffed.

“So we are going to spend the rest of today and tonight and part of tomorrow being a team.”

“We're already a sodding team!” said Alicia, scowling.

“Not team enough to win without your Seeker.” Oliver nodded to Ellis. I wished he wouldn’t because Ellis smirked knowingly. “So we’re going to do some team building things I’ve thought up and then we’re going to spend the night together in a tent.”

“I could have asked my dad if we could have borrowed one of his tents,” said Katie thoughtfully. “He has loads of magical ones from all the trips we’ve been on.”

Oliver smiled. I groaned. “No, we’re not going to be using magical tents. We’re going to use one tent—it’s sort of big, it looked big on the picture—and put it together ourselves and sleep in it.”

“All of us?” George looked around, obviously noticing there were eight people standing there.

“Together,” Oliver said. “So the tent bag is right over there and it's your first retreat challenge. Go on then.”

I stared at the bag on the ground. It looked sort of small and once the twins pulled the tent out, I raised a brow at the murky green color of the material.

Katie and I focused on the poles that stuck into the ground and by the third one we couldn’t push anymore. Luckily, when Ellis came over to “show us how it was done”, one came out of the ground and smacked him in the gob.

“This is ridiculous,” muttered Fred, clipping the cover onto the top. “I can’t remember the last time I put one of these ruddy things together…”

“I can’t believe he’s actually helping,” muttered Ang, but Alicia silenced her with a dark look.

“I think it’s fun!” Katie said to the remaining silence. “It’s like we’re really roughing it, you know? I mean, blimey, it’s cold, but we’re out here. Doing this ourselves. Together.”

“That’s exactly the attitude I want!” Oliver said loudly, throwing his fist into the air and unzipping the front of the tent. “Come on in everyone and put your things down.” He tossed a small bag inside.

I peeked through the zipped hole and made a face that could not be mistaken for anything other than pure loathing. The tent was small. Not horribly small so that people would have to sleep on top of each other (awkward), but tight enough so that no one would be comfortable for the entire night.

“This is crazy,” whispered Alicia and I nodded grimly. “Retreat my arse.”

“Now!” Oliver said, clasping his hands together and calling attention to everyone groaning about the size of the tent. “There’s no time to be downers. I should offer an explanation of exactly what is going on.

“You cannot leave until tomorrow afternoon. The doors to the pitch have been sealed off and you no longer have the use of your wands. The locker rooms are open, but only for bathroom breaks.” That made me think of the bathroom break pie chart and I wondered if that was still in effect or if I could sneak off and pull a Moaning Myrtle in the loo. “Otherwise, you’ll be working with the team as much as possible. We’ll sleep in here tonight and get up and have a nice breakfast.”

“From what? Snitches and Quaffles?” said George, looking around. “It’s not like there’s a restaurant in the pitch.”

“You’ll see.” Oliver smirked.

“What’s first?” I asked, getting annoyed at his pompous attitude and the fact that I had to do this even though I was a reserve. The ‘thorn in my side’ mentality was leaving fast.

“Laps for the girls.”

I flipped him off.



Doubling over, I reached the stopping point. I supposed I should be used to laps by now (since I used to do them instead of flying to convince the others it was just motion sickness), but the stitch in my side told me I should brush up on it. The boys were across the field tossing the Quaffle back and forth and George chucked it at his twin a little harder than was entirely appropriate.

I jogged over to the group of four, the girls at my heels, and plopped down in the chilly grass. “Are we done now?” I asked.

Oliver raised a brow. “That should have been a breeze for you, Perry,” he said slowly, smirking. “And no, we’re nowhere near done. In fact, if by done you mean have we just started…then yes. Pretty much.”

I groaned.

“It’s time for our first team builder.”

George chucked the Quaffle at Oliver.

“Everyone,” the captain said loudly, “get into a circle. Stand rather close—yes, Ang, that means you have to stand next to Fred—don’t you look at him like that. Shut up.” He paused. “Now, I’m going to say I’m a wizard, you’re a wizard if. Then I’ll finish the sentence with something that is true to me and perhaps to someone else.” He looked around to make sure we were all listening to the rules. Ellis was staring off at some bug or another. “Then, if what the person said is true, you’ll switch places in the circle. The person who doesn’t have a place to stand will start off the next round.” Oliver looked quite pleased with himself and I was wondering where he came up with this sodding game.

Wherever it was, I was going to burn it.

“Okay, I’m going to start,” he continued. “I’m a wizard, you’re a wizard if you have been out of the country.”

Regretting my recent trip to Ireland, I switched places with George. Oliver was smiling broadly and Katie was now in the center.

“I’m a wizard, you’re a wizard if you have a subscription to Quidditch Weekly.”

I took Oliver’s place. Danny Boy was in the middle, tapping his foot on the grass.

“I’m a wizard, you’re a wizard,” he said slowly, “if you think this whole think is ruddy stupid.”

Laughing, everyone except Oliver moved in the circle. His face was red, but he didn’t say anything. Perhaps he thought this was all part of the team building. Or maybe he didn’t trust himself to open his mouth.

“I’m a wizard, you’re a wizard,” said Alicia, “if you are currently single.”

I grabbed Angelina’s spot, which left her in the center. Fred was staring at the ground.

“I’m a wizard,” Ang said, staring around the circle, “you’re a wizard if you—”

“Oh, this is ridiculous, Wood!” Fred cried suddenly. “This isn’t getting us any closer to not hating each other!”

“Speak for yourself,” said Oliver calmly as he pointed to the other side of the field. “Laps.”

Making a face, Fred stormed off.

“I don’t know,” Angelina said. “This is getting rather redundant, isn’t it? I mean, we all hang out every day. I already know that Jane and Ellis and Alicia all have subscriptions to Quidditch Weekly and that most of us have been out of the country. Don’t you think this is overdoing it a bit?”

Oliver sighed. He looked at her for a minute and then pointed to Fred. “Laps,” he said and she huffed loudly.

I watched her go, jogging over to field right when Fred finished his first lap. I could see her open her mouth and probably start to yell several obscene things about Oliver. I would have too (and yes, I did notice for once I wasn’t being punished. Perhaps I should blend into the shadows more often). Fred was saying things back. He was nodding. I raised a brow and glanced at Oliver. There was a flicker of a smile before it vanished and his expression of loathing was back.

Bugger.

“Fine. You don’t want to get to know each other?” he asked, folding his arms. “That’s fine. Just fine. We’ll do something else. Everyone pair up.”

I glanced around before it was too late to find a partner.

Too late.

Sodding Merlin! Katie grabbed George. Angelina and Fred were still running laps. Alicia, closest to Oliver, stepped next to him, and I grimaced.

“It’s only right the Seekers be together,” Ellis said, smiling disgustingly at me.

I shot Oliver a look of daggers.

“The pair of you,” he began as Angelina and Fred joined us, panting, “are going to stand back to back. You’re going to lean against each other and get into the sitting position. Then sit. Then stretch your legs out in the grass. Then stand back up. You have to lock your arms together so you can only do this by working together.”

“The grass is wet,” muttered Alicia, poking it with her finger.

“Put on a bathing suit,” Oliver snapped back, locking arms with her.

“This’ll be easy!” chimed Ellis, grabbing my arms and locking them with his own. He was as tall as me, which would have worked all right if it wasn’t for his arrogant attitude. “Perry,” he said as we tried to crouch down (I noticed quickly that my calves should have been a little more toned for this exercise), “you’re going to have to move a bit faster. Katie and George are going to win this ruddy thing.”

“I don’t think it’s about winning,” I mumbled in reply, grinding my teeth together because now my abdomen was on fire.

“Don’t be stupid, of course it is.”

Rolling my eyes, I let my left foot out from under me and our rear ends were finally on the cold grass. There would be a spot on my trousers, I was sure of it. It would look like I wet myself trying to build a team. This was all Oliver’s fault.

I took a moment to glance around at the rest of the team. Katie and George were already struggling to stand back up and Angelina had taken to elbowing Fred. Alicia and Oliver were doing all right as well, scrambling to get to their feet.

“Up now, Perry!” said Ellis and I grimaced. It didn’t sound right when he called me by my last name even though I hardly remembered his first. It sounded almost derogatory coming out of his mouth—like it was stained. It was like calling Professor McGonagall, Minerva. It just doesn’t work like that. I doubt any guy companion ever called her Minerva.

So I just sat there.

“Perry—what in Merlin’s name are you doing? You’re not team working!” Ellis shouted, elbowing me in the side.

I elbowed back and dug my butt into the ground. “I’m not getting up,” I said.

“Why in blazes not?”

“Because I don’t like you.”

“Now isn’t the time—we’re here because two people didn’t like each other!

“That doesn’t make you and I play worse.”

“We play the same position!” Ellis shouted, elbowing me again.

“Yes, yes. And you’re nice and good and I hate you.”

“Because of it?”

“No,” I said soberly, “because you’re a twat.”

He groaned loudly. “Wood, could you do something about this woman I’m attached to?”

I should have thought out the rebellion before I started it. Oliver was looking murderous.

“You two now?” he roared, rubbing his arms since he and Alicia were finished. “What is it, Perry?”

See, now the last name didn’t sound as bad that time. In fact, it was almost natural. I made a face.

“Bloody what?” he said.

“Could you tell him to stop calling me by my last name?” I asked.

Oliver raised a brow. So did the rest of the team (even Angelina stopped pinching Fred to look curious). “Ellis, stop calling Perry, Perry. Now get up so we can move on.”

I shrugged, leaned up against Ellis, and together we stood up like the rest of the team.




After that we ended up trying to lock arms with everyone and sit down and stand back up. That took much more time because Alicia tried to sit between Angelina and Fred which only ended in her receiving more bruises than she bargained for. Then we moved on to a team builder that generated around balancing on a log with blindfolds and another one that had us all standing in a circle with our eyes closed.

I had to admit, though, by the time the sun started to fall beyond the stands, I was having a bit of fun with my teammates. Not a lot of fun since I could hear Angelina’s snide comments and Ellis kept trying to hint at the amazing Seeker moves he could do that I hadn’t even heard of, but a bit of fun. I even laughed a few times when George let Oliver mess up and fall off the log on purpose.

The fun, however, was rather short-lived when Oliver explained we had to build a fire without wands.

“Come on, mate,” said Fred, “we just built a whole bloody team today and I’m sort of tired.”

“Then be tired and cold,” he said.

I grabbed a few sticks. “Has anyone even done this before?”

Simultaneous head shakes.

Angelina, Katie, Alicia, and I each grabbed sticks and started rubbing them together around what was to be the fire pit. There was plenty of wood inside and even some scraps of parchment to start the flames, but we were having no luck. I even got smoke once but with Alicia all over it trying to figure out how I managed it, it vanished.

“Here,” said George, leaning over Katie and taking her sticks. “You’ve got to rub them together like this with the parchment like that—ahh—yeah, just like that. And then keep…keep going like this.” He showed us how and after only a few minutes he was lighting various pieces of parchment on fire and tossing them into the pit.

I heaved a sigh of relief. Finally.




The girls took their turns getting changed in the tent and I put on fleece pajama pants and a long hooded sweatshirt because I knew how cold it would be even with all of those sweaty bodies in the tent. We took a seat by the fire as the boys went to change and I warmed my hands. The pitch was relatively dark now and it was apparent Oliver asked that the stadium lights not be turned on while we were out there.

I leaned back onto my elbows and sighed. “This was quite a day.”

“Do you think it’s over?” asked Angelina. “Or do you think Oliver will make us blindly find our way to do laps in the dark?”

“I wouldn’t put it past him,” muttered Alicia darkly.

“Agreed,” I said, jumping a bit as I heard a slight rumble of thunder in the distance. “Put your jogging shorts on, ladies, and we can run in the rain.”

“I’ve got on my white sweatshirt,” Fred said, plopping down beside Katie. “How about you go put on yours, Janey?”

“Sod off,” I muttered, grimacing as Ellis sat down beside me.

“So can we just sit here?” asked George. “Or are we to be given puzzle pieces to put together a team?”

Everyone was looking rather subdued after the day from Hell. Katie’s head was on George’s shoulder, her eyelids drooping slightly. Fred was poking the fire with a stick (why was he all of a sudden the fire guru?) and Alicia was trying to warm her feet without removing her shoes. Angelina adjusted her long-sleeved shirt while Ellis stared up at the stars and it was then that I noticed Oliver wasn’t sitting with us.

“So I’d like to say that I’m sorry, Danny Boy, for forcing you to nearly break your ankle while we all were doing that lean game,” said Fred, smirking. “I thought it would be funny to kick your legs out from under you.”

“Thanks, mate,” Ellis said, his eyes narrowed. “But the next time we have to do something I’m going to punch you in the gut.”

“Warning noted.” Fred nodded.

I stood up and Angelina raised a brow. At first I wasn’t sure why I was going to search for Oliver, but part of me really wanted to know why he wasn’t being all I’m-the-captain-lets-get-along like he had been all day.

I found him in the tent, his sleeping bag pulled up around his waist and wearing a light t-shirt. He was holding a tiny lantern and glancing over a Quidditch Weekly magazine.

“What are you doing?” I asked, sliding down beside him onto my green blanket. “Catching up on the Quidditch life while we’re out there suffering because Ellis is talking too much?”

He smiled warmly. “Yeah, I got sick of the lot of you.”

“I think I would be too with all that whining.”

“Don’t count yourself out of that, Perry.”

I shrugged. “I’d never do that.” I leaned back and stared at the side of the tent where I could see the flames of the fire licking at the wood. “Wood?”

“Huh?”

“Are you doing this for the team or so you can get picked up by a scout?” I said it so suddenly I nearly slapped my hand over my mouth afterward.

He stared at me for a moment and I wasn’t sure if he was going to yell or throw something at me. “Both,” he said slowly. “I think that without a good team this entire situation is going to blow up in our faces. But without a scout to pick me up…I’m a failure.”

“To your father?”

“To myself.” He stared at me hard, fingers fumbling with the pages of his magazine. Oliver opened his mouth again to speak, his eyes never leaving my face, but he stopped suddenly when the zipper of the tent flew up in anguish.

“It’s bloody raining!” George snapped, trying to take off his boots and tossing them to the left (mud was now splattered on the side of the tent).

“Move it!” Fred pushed his twin to the side and fell in. “It’s coming down like crazy out there—one minute we’re all lookin’ up at the sodding stars and the next minute the fire’s out and I’m freezing!” He helped Alicia inside and attempted to stack some shoes near the fabric door (only to fail and have a wet boot fall on Angelina’s sleeping bag).

“All right, let’s pile in then,” Oliver said, moving over and letting people spread out their sleeping bags on the cold ground. “It’ll be a long night I’m sure. That rain doesn’t sound like it’s going to let up any time soon.”

It took a while for everyone to get situated. I had to yell at Katie twice to get her damn knee out of my back, but eventually we were all sprawled out in the tent like a nice, happy, uncomfortable family.

“So,” Oliver said as George yawned loudly, “I think we should play a game.”

“Blimey, Oliver, not another one!” Fred said loudly. “I’m played out! Unless it’s a drinking game where I can get messed up and forget about the log game and the arm-locking and the bloody LAPS, then I don’t want any part of it.”

Oliver groaned from beside me.

“It’s so cold in here,” Katie said quietly into our silence.

I nodded. “It’s like ice.” I could hear the rain pounding against the tent and for a minute I wondered if it would lighten up—until I heard another loud roar of thunder. Half of the tent jumped. I pulled my blanket tighter around me.

“Don’t we have some sort of a tent heater?” asked Alicia, snuggling up beside Fred’s leg. “Oliver, this is insane.”

“A bit of cold never killed anyone,” Oliver said tartly.

“They were never this cold then!” countered Angelina. I could hear her teeth chattering.

More thunder and icy rain came down while no one could think of more complaints.

I couldn’t help it—I was close to Oliver so I rested my head on his stomach. It tightened for a minute, but I didn’t care. It was warm. He was warm (how was he so damn warm anyway?). His stomach felt the same way it looked all those times I had seen him shirtless in the spring and after Quidditch practices that I had been running laps during.

Must. Stop. Thinking.

“Oh, this is INSANE,” said Angelina loudly, sitting up. I could see her outline vaguely against the dim lantern light and she looked angry. Obviously. “Oliver, I’m not staying out here any longer. I’m going back to the castle.”

“You’re not,” Oliver said. His stomach muscles tensed again.

“I am!” she said loudly. “It’s COLD. It’s RAINING. There is a HUGE storm going on outside. We’re going to get struck by lightning or something!”

I chuckled. “I doubt that we’ll get struck before the lights and the stadium itself, but I am cold.”

“Just huddle up. This is team bonding,” Oliver said.

“I’m leaving. Who’s coming with me?” Angelina said and I was surprised to see several people sit up.

“I’m with you,” said George. “Though we’re going to be soaked before we get back to the castle.”

“We’ll be soaked before we make it to the edge of the pitch,” said Fred, looking up at the top of the tent where rain drops were splattering.

“Whatever. We can dry off inside.” Angelina stood up and pulled on her boots. “Sorry, Oliver.” She pulled open the door of the tent and walked outside. I heard a faint scream and something profane about the cold water.

I stood up as well. If they were going to get warm and away from the rain—hell, I was going with them! My boots went on easily and I draped my blanket around my shoulders. This was rubbish.

I was the last one to leave the tent and I lost sight of a few of them vanishing into the darkness toward the doors. I went to zip up the tent but stopped, rain soaking into the blanket. “Wood?”

“Eh?”

“Aren’t you coming?”

Oliver looked over at me and I had only seen that expression a few times before. It was the one he wore in the Astronomy Tower. It was the one he used when pondering my question earlier. It wasn’t a pleasant side of Oliver Wood, but it was a real one.

“No,” he said slowly. “No, I’m not coming.” He paused, his eyes still surveying me. “We’re not done here.”

I gave him a look. “Wood, it’s freezing. Someone’s going to catch a cold. It’s storming. Come on back to the castle.”

“We haven’t accomplished anything yet.”

Frustrated, I pulled the zipper closed and stomped off toward the exit. I could hear Ellis’ voice ahead of me so I followed that.

Oliver Wood was ridiculous. We had just done his stupid activities all day! Laps! Getting to know each other! More laps! Locking arms with ELLIS! Locking arms with everyone and getting arse bruises! Balancing on logs! Letting the Weasley twins guide me so I didn’t fall (yeah right)! Building a fire with parchment and sticks!

Couldn’t he just give it a rest? The team was built. Well, it was separated right now, but that was only because he was being stubborn. He didn’t know what he was talking about. This team was fine. We got to know each other. Sure, Angelina and Fred weren’t best friends, but it was going to take time. They couldn’t just be friends after one silly retreat.

Retreat.

Pfft. What a word. When I think of retreat I think of martinis on the beach. I think of kicking off my shoes and talking to people—no logs involved. This was…boot camp. Oliver Wood’s boot camp of death. Yes, that would be it. Of death.

The blanket around my shoulders was soaked. I hadn’t even made it to the edge of the pitch yet and it was so dark I didn’t know how much further it was. I hoped Ellis was going the right way because I was following his whining and nothing else. I couldn’t hear squat over the sound of the stupid rain and thunder, but I did catch a glimpse of the Keeper’s Hoops when some lightning lit up the sky seconds later.

I ditched the blanket and left it lying in the grass. It was heavy and cold anyway.

I thought I should be there soon—I was still going the right way, right? The exit was to the left of the locker rooms. Pretty far to the left, but on the left side anyway. The group would have to be there soon. At least there was a slight overhang they could hide under while opening the door and hopefully waiting for the rest of team (i.e. me) to arrive.

Then I heard a loud, horrifying scream coming from that way. It was Angelina.

The thunder subsided just enough to hear an, “Oh my GOD!” and I took off running.


A/N: Thanks for reading, and quickly I would like to say: OVER 100 REVIEWS! Thank you all so much! It really keeps me going. :) Thanks!!

Favorite quotes? I thought this chappie had a lot of good ones. It was hard to pick for the summary.


Chapter 15: Motives
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Then I heard a loud, horrifying scream coming from that way. It was Angelina.
 
The thunder subsided just enough to hear an, "Oh my GOD!" and I took off running.



It was freezing, tearing across that grass like some sort of animal. The cold rain was sinking deep into my skin and my hair was whipping the back of my neck so bad it hurt. But all I could hear was that scream—that shriek that came from Angelina. Could she be hurt? Dead? Hopefully not dead.

The twins were up there, though. They would save her from any monsters. What monsters would come onto the Quidditch pitch anyway?

And who had uttered that “Oh my GOD”? Katie or Alicia. It was feminine. They could be in trouble too. Or they could have seen Angelina’s mangled dead body in front of them. Hell, Katie could have tripped over it!

My feet hit the grass so hard I could feel the water splash onto my calves. My brain was spinning and so many different scenarios were rushing through my mind. Death. Injury. Plague?

I heard a “Blimey”. What did that mean? The twins had reached the scene, but I was not there yet—why hadn’t I learned to run faster? Maybe if Oliver would have told me he’d out me unless I’d learn to run ungodly fast, I wouldn’t have this problem. But no—I had to go and learn how to fly. What good was that doing me here?

“Jane?”

I sped up. “What? What, I’m here! I’m here!” I was panting as I reached the overhang where the door was. “What’s happened? Is Angelina dead or just wounded?”

“What in Merlin’s name are you talking about?” asked Fred, raising a brow. He looked relatively calm despite being soaked.

“I heard the scream…”

Then I saw Angelina emerge from the shadows. She looked fine. “The door’s locked,” she said, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the large doors behind them.

“That’s—that’s it?” I gaped at them. George was laughing. “The door?”

“Wood said it’d be locked, didn’t he?” said Alicia, fuming. “That stupid git. I’m going to go back there and tell him what’s on my bloody mind. We could die out here.”

I rolled my eyes. Death was a bit dramatic.

“It’s cold and we’ve got nowhere to go,” moaned Katie.

“We could head back to the tent,” said Ellis.

Fred shook his head. “There’s no way. We all get back there and walk in. We’re soaked. All we’re going to do is be soaked and get in our blankets which, in turn, will be soaked. And then we’ll get sick and die. The tent isn’t an option.”

“Then what?” Angelina asked. Her arms were wrapped tightly around her chest and her teeth were back to chattering now. It wasn’t pleasant.

Fred looked at her for a minute while George was explaining to Ellis why he should be a scout and climb up to the top of the stadium and jump off for help. Angelina looked miserable and Fred knew it. I could see it in his face. His eyes slid downward and for a moment I thought he was going to go on with talking. But I knew Fred Weasley better than that.

He pulled up his shirt and grabbed something large from under it.

Apparently when we left the tent Fred had snatched a fleece blanket and stuffed it under his shirt. He hid it there in a tight bundle so it couldn’t get wet (I could tell his arms had been there to prevent it from being soaked like the rest of him), but now it was out and he was discovered.

Fred unfolded the blanket, shook it out, and draped it around Angelina’s shoulders. She smiled warmly at him.

It was then that I realized why Oliver had forced us on a retreat. Why he had made Angelina and Fred loathe him so much by doing laps. Why he had not stopped anyone from leaving. In a sense, we were a team. He was our captain because he knew us better than we knew ourselves.

And I hated him for it.

I jumped. “I know!” I cried and George raised a brow. He had just finished explaining to Ellis that the grass would be a soft landing and thus only break maybe one leg instead of two.

“You know what?” Alicia asked, clearly envious of Angelina’s blanket but not saying anything.

“The locker rooms are unlocked!”

“What? You want to hang up your clothes or sommat?” asked Fred.

“No.” I smiled widely. “There are all sorts of things in there. There are showers so we can get warm. Fresh towels. There’s a huge fireplace in the meeting room where all of our lockers are and that stupid chalk board Wood obsesses over. We were all told to keep a spare change of clothes since our originals are filthy when we come in to change so we’ve got clothes in there. And the meeting room is big enough to fit all of us sleeping. We’ll sleep on the air mattresses in the closet.”

“Why are there air mattresses in the closet of a Quidditch locker room?” asked Alicia.

“McGonagall showed them to me when I was doing one of my free papers on lifestyles,” I continued. “They were used years ago when the team had a lock in before the match. Apparently the captain was bonkers and didn’t want the players getting hurt or spoken to before the biggest game of the year. They went on to lose actually.”

Fred snorted. “I call the shower first!”

I rolled my eyes. “You can have it considering we have more than enough showers for the number of people here.”

He beamed and pulled me into a huge soaked hug. “Janey, you’re the best! TO THE LOCKER ROOMS!”




I couldn’t believe the difference from outside in the freezing cold Arctic (or maybe just northern Scotland) to the locker rooms where a fire immediately erupted in the hearth. It was lovely.

Everyone ran in unison to the showers—Fred stripping off his white sweatshirt and tossing it over a sink. I dodged to the right where the women’s showers were and beamed beneath the ridiculously hot water. The steam was rising along my body and I peeked over the top to catch slight of Angelina’s happy face.

“This is wonderful,” she said, massaging shampoo into her dark hair. “We can just stay here tonight then.”

“And be dry,” said Alicia.

“And warm!” chimed Katie.

I let the droplets slide over my face for a moment—clean, but not wanting to leave the water. It felt relaxing to just let my frustrations wash away and sink down the drain.

I thought for a moment about Roger. Why his face swam into my mind, I had no idea. I felt so hurt by him—so misunderstood. Miscommunication. But then again, I felt bad. I had just figured I would get to explain and things would work out. I always thought things would work out.

If I just learned to fly, things would work out.

No, everyone found out anyway.

If I stood my ground and stayed mad at Wood, things would work out.

No, we needed to get liquor together.

If I let Roger cool down, I’d be able to explain later and things would work out.

No, I’m single.

So I glanced around again. Should I leave my team alone and hope that things would work out, we would all be friends, and Oliver would be picked up by a scout?




I wrapped a white towel around my torso and grabbed a pile of clothes from my locker. I slipped on my pants and a t-shirt and made my way back out into the meeting room where the twins were setting up air mattresses around the room. Ellis even found a blanket in the back of the closet.

“This looks snug,” said Alicia, plopping down on a mattress. She bounced a few times and smiled warmly up at the boys.

“I think so too,” said Katie, placing her head on her arms as she watched George from the mattress. He snuggled beside her.

“So, Jane,” said Alicia with a yawn, “I don’t think I ever told you this but my dad passed a few years ago.”

I raised a brow, completely blown away by Alicia’s sudden interest in personal conversation. “Oh,” I said slowly, “I’m so sorry.”

She shrugged. “Magical accident. He wasn’t ever very good with the spells.” She made a face and smiled warmly. “But anyway, he told me a few months before he died that if I ever was to go anywhere outside of England I had to go to Brazil.”

I snorted.

“Yeah!” Alicia continued. “I know, right? He said he spent a summer there studying the magical plants and he even helped discover a new remedy for boogies. So that’s why I’m so excited to go to Brazil. Maybe I can see if the Brazilian boys have too many boogies or not.”

I leaned back against my own mattress, watching everyone in the semi-darkness. Katie and George were snuggling together furthest away from the fire, Ellis was a few feet away from me and Alicia was on my left side. Fred was nearest to the fire, staring over at the door to the girls’ locker rooms.

George was talking about something now, but I couldn’t tell what.

Angelina walked out of the locker room, her hair tied up in a beige towel and her clothes sticking to her skin. She held herself awkwardly as she walked toward the fire. Fred’s face was expressionless. Angelina took a seat next to him and together they lay down on the mattress. Fred draped one freckled arm around her and pulled her to him.

I grinned.

“So, like I said,” said George, “Dan-Dan is going to have to get up every hour to make sure the fire is still going.”

“Like hell I am!” Ellis countered.

I sat up, staring around the room again. Everyone seemed so content. I leapt to my feet.

“Jane?” asked Katie, rubbing her eyes. “What’re you doing? Forget your bracelet in the shower?”

I shook my head and said nothing. This was a team. Blimey, a real team. Then I pulled open the door and stepped out onto the pitch.




Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid idea.

After that warm shower I had nearly forgotten what it felt like to submerge oneself in utterly cold water. I was drenched from head to foot before I even made it five steps, my hair sticking to the back of my neck and my extra clothes practically falling from my body.

Extra clothes.

I paused for a moment and cursed myself for being so impulsive.

These were the only pair of extra clothes I had.



I could still see the glow from the lantern against the tent when I approached. Jumping because of thunder, I quickly unzipped the door and slipped inside.

Oliver looked over. “What’s going on?” he said. He hadn’t moved from his sleeping bag and was currently sprawled out with his hands behind his head. “Where is everyone else?” he added when I zipped the door closed behind me.

“They’re in the locker rooms,” I explained, keeping my position by the door so nothing else would get soaked.

“Figures,” he muttered.

“You knew we wouldn’t be able to get out, didn’t you?”

Oliver nodded with a smirk. “Of course I knew. That’s why I didn’t go after you. You think I wanted to be soaked?”

I slid onto the floor and noticed my own puddle. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Maybe you lot would work together to not be so stupid.” He shrugged and I smiled. “And besides, why should I? It’s not my job.”

“I think it worked though.”

“Obviously since you came back the doors are still locked.”

“No,” I said slowly, “the part about us working together.”

He surveyed me for a moment before turning to face the ceiling.

“I came up with the idea to go to the locker rooms,” I said, trying to recapture his attention. “So we went, took showers, put on dry clothes—that got me really far as you can see—and put together the air mattresses in front of the fire place.” I paused. “And Angelina and Fred are next to each other.”

Oliver looked over curiously. “They are?”

“They are.” I sighed heavily and tried to warm my hands. It was ridiculously cold in there. “And then they started talking—Alicia, telling me about why she wanted to go to Brazil.”

“For the bloke, right?”

“No, actually,” I said, but smiled as well. “Apparently her dad studied in Brazil.”

He nodded, very quiet. Thunder echoed against the stadium walls.




We were silent for a while, both of us probably wondering the same thing—what now? My plan had a stupid flaw. Well, had I even had a plan in the first place? I wanted Oliver to know that what he had been fighting for had been accomplished—we were finally a team (even if I had no idea what he was talking about the entire time). It was done. He should know. He was the one freaking out about it.

But he didn’t say anything in reference to it. Instead, he just stared at the ceiling, also making no note of the fact that I was soaked and dripping all over the floor of the tent. My teeth started to chatter.

“So are you going to go back?” he asked.

I shrugged. “I suppose I might as well. I’ll probably die out here…though I don’t have a spare pair of clothes so I’ll just die in there anyway.”

“You can wear a towel.” He smirked.

“Now you can die.” I stood up, ready to find my way blindly back to the locker rooms. “Good night then.”

“You’re really leaving me to die, Perry? That’s sort of unlike you.”

“Do you really know me that well? Didn’t I tell you a few times I’d throw you in the lake or under the Hogwarts Express?” I asked, laughing. I didn’t expect him to want to follow, but he was on his feet before my fingers reached the zipper.

Oliver snorted. He pulled the zipper and stepped out into the rain, not even flinching as he did so. “You’d never throw me in front of the train.” He closed the fabric door behind me and led the way.

I followed him for a few steps, but then jogged a bit to catch up. I wasn’t letting him get away from me without explaining something.

“Wood,” I said, panting a bit, “was this just a retreat, or did you want to accomplish something else when you planned it?”

“Think I have other motives?” he asked, wet hair falling into his face.

“I think you always do.”

He smiled. “Then you just answered your own question.”




I tiptoed inside when Oliver opened the door because I didn’t hear anyone. They were all asleep beside the fireplace, Alicia snoring lightly and Fred holding Angelina close. I smiled and then headed off for the women’s showers to, once again, get myself warm.

I was almost finished when I heard a faint knock on the door.

“Yeah?” I yelled over the sound of the water.

“Perry?”

“Wood?!”

I could hear his chuckle. “I had two pairs of clothes in my locker if you want one.”

“What do I have to do? Try out for your Wizard Chess team?”

He laughed again. “You have to shut your mouth for the rest of the retreat.”

“It’s not over?!”

“That and as much as Ellis would like to see you in a towel, I don’t think now is the appropriate time.”

I rolled my eyes. “Thanks, git.” The door shut and I peered around the corner just in case.

On the side of the sink was a pair of flannel pants and a blue sweatshirt. I groaned and slipped them on, putting my hands in the oversized pockets, and made my way back into the meeting room.

Oliver was sitting on the edge of the last mattress, his eyes focused intently on the fire. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and suddenly I felt a little guilty of taking his sweatshirt when it was so cold. That was erased when Oliver raised his brow and gave me a look.

“What?” I whispered, sitting down a meter from him and pulling my knees to my chest.

“You should have worn that for Halloween.” He chuckled and laid back.

I punched him in the shin. “Good night, Oliver.”

He smirked into the fire’s glow. “Night, Jane.”




I thought perhaps someone had set off an alarm. Did Fred have his gag clock down in the locker rooms? My ears were hurting so bad and I quickly did all I could to cover them with the sleeves of Oliver’s sweatshirt.

“What in Merlin’s name is that?” George said, sitting up and rubbing his eyes.

“Is that a Howler?” asked Alicia.

“Listen close—does the voice sound familiar?” said Katie. “Maybe we can figure out who it was sent to.”

I listened but all I could hear were loud screams coming from outside. They were words—that was obvious—but they were nearly inaudible because of the high pitch. Everyone shook their heads.

“Wait,” Oliver had just risen to his feet and pushed open the door slightly.

Then it became very clear.

“OLLIE! OLLIE! OLLIE, DEAR WHERE ARE YOU?”

I snorted and Oliver shot me a very dark look.

“Blimey,” he muttered, adjusting his t-shirt and rolling his eyes. “My life never quits.”

“Doesn’t she know you’re doing a retreat?” asked Katie.

He nodded. “Yep.”

I stood up. I wasn’t going to miss this. Jogging after Oliver, I poked him on the shoulder. “So, Ollie, you going to give her a piece of your mind?”

He stared at me for a moment, nearly stopping his pace altogether. “Go back to the locker room, Perry.”

“And miss giving Libs a snotty look? Never.”

“Seriously. This won’t be good.”

I shrugged. “I can handle it.”

“I hope I can,” Oliver said and I wasn’t altogether sure what he meant. I just kept after him until he reached the door whipped out his wand, hexing it open (Jerk, having his wand the whole time).

Libby stopped mid-scream. She was standing there, her fist red from pounding on the door. She was wearing a long cloak and under it I could barely see a pair of red heels. Her hair was done up and I raised a suspicious brow.

“Oliver, you said you were done with your retreat Sunday,” she pleaded quickly without casting a glance in my direction.

“I will be,” he said shortly.

“When?”

“When I’m finished.”

She heaved a loud sigh. “But Ollie, I was hoping we could go out to Hogsmeade and have a drink over lunch.”

“I had a long night.”

“Well, I was worried about you with that storm and all that, but I’m glad to see you’re—Oliver Wood, why is Jane Perry wearing your clothes?”

I hoped Wood could handle it too. I blushed quickly, unable to think of a witty remark that didn’t involve a horribly inappropriate sexual innuendo.

“She needed them,” he replied quickly. “So I let her wear them.”

Libby narrowed her eyes. “I don’t feel comfortable with that.”

“Do you feel comfortable with hypothermia?” asked Oliver. “Because I don’t want that on my team.”

“Why didn’t she—”

“Drop it, Libby,” Oliver snapped. “I have a Quidditch retreat to run and you’re interrupting it.”

“Well, at least tell me what you’re doing,” she said slowly. Libby almost looked hurt.

“Are you on the team?” he said.

“No, but I’m your girlfriend.” Was Libby actually sad? In between checking her bust size and being a twat, was she really, truly sad?

“I’ll see you when I’m finished.” With that, Oliver closed the door and made sure it was locked before beginning his march back to the locker rooms.

I followed curiously. “Ollie—”

“Shut up, Perry,” Oliver barked, pushing open the door and finding most of the team examining their now dry clothes. “Practice. Be on the pitch in ten minutes.” Then he left.

I stared around with a grimace on my face.

“What was that about?” asked George.

“It wasn’t good,” I said quietly and everyone raised a curious brow.

“PERRY!”

I nearly fell into the wall. Peering out the door, I shot Oliver a smile as he stared back at me. “Yes, Wood?”

“I don’t need my personal life blabbed to the team.”

I frowned.

“Ten minutes.”




Oliver Wood was a prat. A pure, loathsome jerk. Just because I was six minutes late (my hair was fighting back) I had to run laps. Granted, this was better than flying around since I hadn’t been on a broom since I tried out for this stupid position in the first place, but I still hated laps. There was a giant stitch in my side and every time I passed Oliver’s hoops I flicked him off.

He was right, though. Whatever his motives had been, they had worked. The practice was going fantastic—the girls were passing the Quaffle around professionally and even laughing. Fred and George were keeping an eye on one stray Bludger while hitting one hard in between them. Oliver was saving every shot made and Ellis was practicing all sorts of dangerous dives to dazzle the competition. I think he was planning on blinding the Ravenclaw Seeker.

I continued to run, staring for a moment at the tent in the center of the pitch. What could Wood’s motives have been? Surely it wasn’t to just get us to be a team. I think he could have done that by sticking us in a classroom all by ourselves—not out in a freezing pitch for a night. Well, he’d either come out with a team or go in and find seven dead students. Probably figured McGonagall would be irritated.

My mind wouldn’t stop going back to a few weeks prior—in the Great Hall when Fred and Angelina had just broken up. We wanted to stick them together so they’d get along again, but no one could think of anything that would work.

I stopped.

Oliver Wood was a genius.

“Perry, how many?”

I looked up at him hovering near the left hoop. “Twenty-two,” I cried.

“Twenty-two isn’t thirty.”

I scowled, stretching my legs again.

Nope. Back to prat.

The girls were laughing as Katie chucked the Quaffle at Alicia and Angelina dived under George to get it afterward. Oliver saved it again. Fred slammed a Bludger toward George and George rolled over in midair to avoid it, but hit it on his way back up.

I smiled. We could really do this. Well, they could do this. I was going to sit in the stands and be a cheerleader. Perhaps I should get pom-poms.

I watched Ellis, secretly glad the idiot was on the team. He was good. Really, ridiculously good. He pulled out of a few spectacular dives, snitch in hand, and then let it go again. He dove toward the seating and did a twirl as he came out. I smiled warmly.

Running again, I watched my feet press against the track. It was a dull practice for me (especially considering I didn’t go to many), but it was nice. Peaceful (especially since I couldn’t hear Libby’s obnoxious voice anymore). I did wonder, however, about Oliver and Libby. They seemed unhappy, and yet I wasn’t sure if they ever had been. I shrugged it off, just as I heard a loud yell from behind me.

I turned just as Angelina let out a scream and it was echoed by a dull thud. Everyone was flying toward the ground some fifty feet behind me. Ellis was there, his broom just out of reach, and his leg was sticking out at an odd angle. I rushed over.

Ellis’s eyes were closed and he wasn’t moving. I stood back as Angelina knelt down beside him, feeling the leg (He must have been out good considering he didn’t even twitch). Everyone was uncommonly quiet, Oliver now pacing.

I looked at the Nimbus lying a few feet away and immediately my stomach dropped.

Fred put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed gently. “You’d better hope he gets up, Jane,” he said slowly.

I stared harder at the broom. “Ellis. Ellis, freakin’ GET UP!”

He wasn’t moving.



A/N: Yay the second part of the retreat! I just want everyone to know I have big plans for upcoming events. I have it all mapped out now so that's pretty exciting. And things foreshadowed in the beginning are going to start coming into play soon. Also, poor Ellis.

What do you think about the new banner? I wanted to change it up for a bit.

Working hard on the next chapter! And thanks for all of the AMAZING reviews. I really love to read them and I get so much inspiration from them...hence me popping out every chapter in about a week and a half. :) :)


Chapter 16: Reserved
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I spent the next few hours with the team in the Hospital Wing. George had carried Ellis halfway up to the castle and Fred the other half while Oliver was carrying on about the safety level of his dives and how could Danny possibly lose control after a simple dive like the Cannon Roll. Apparently it was a nightmare, though I just kept behind everyone, the stitch in my side still there.

Madam Pomfrey pulled the curtains closed around Ellis’s bed and the team was left sitting on empty beds and strangely quiet. It wasn’t a good feeling. I especially was having a hard time taking everything in—part of me was sure he’d be okay. He was Ellis after all. There was never a reason for him to seem hurt permanently. He never was. He was…springy or something. But then the other part of me thought of that Nimbus on the ground.

I had fallen before. I had eaten dirt for weeks to learn to fly (and that got me far in life), but I had never played in a game. Cheering was as far as I got and now the star Seeker of the school was unconscious in the hospital. Why couldn’t I have just been the reserve Beater? Fred and George were never hurt or sick. I wanted to ask them but I didn’t trust myself to speak.

When he hadn’t woken by midnight, Madam Pomfrey sent us back to the Tower. No one spoke as we walked up the stairs and into the common room. Lee tried to welcome us back by singing a ballad, but the twins walked by and up their spiral staircase. Libby looked overjoyed that Oliver was back in the room, but he brushed past her to go to bed.

The girls and I did the same, ignoring several people and locking our dormitory door. Katie stood against it for a moment and stared back at us.

“Where do we start?” said Alicia, climbing under her covers and taking down her hair. “The past two days have been interesting.”

“That’s an understatement,” muttered Angelina, pausing in front of her mirror to pat on some lotion. “It was like a different world.”

“He really is a good captain, isn’t he?” I said from under my quilt. I was staring at the top of my four-poster with an amused expression on my face.

“Who? Oliver?”

“Yeah. He really knows his stuff,” I said slowly.

Alicia laughed and tossed a pillow at Angelina. “No, he knows his team. He knew exactly what was going to happen.”

Ang blushed. “No, he couldn’t have possibly.” She paused and thought for a moment. “There’s just no way.”

I shrugged. “I think that was the reason for the retreat.”

“It was to get us to get along, not to get Fred and I back together.”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be dense,” I said. “So are you?”

“Back together?” she asked. “I’m not sure…we haven’t talked about it.”

Alicia threw another pillow. “You’ve been all smiles and giggles all day. You can’t tell me you’re not.”

“It’s not official.” Angelina was smiling again. “But things last night were nice…the blanket…sleeping by the fire…waking up in his arms…”

“You’re together,” I muttered, diving down and trying to find my escaped sock. It was lingering under my bed. Right beside Roger’s teddy bear. I paused, staring at the bear for a moment. Then I leapt back up and snuggled in under my blankets. Why was it still there? Couldn’t it just vanish one day so I didn’t have to think about Roger?

I wanted to change the subject so no one would notice my sudden quietness. “How do you think Oliver knows all this stuff?”

Katie sank back into her bed and blew out the nearest candle. “I think he listens to what everyone says and watches everyone.” She paused. “And I think he genuinely cares.”

I groaned. “I was afraid of that.”



Ellis returned early the next morning. I passed him on my way to Charms and silently reminded myself of why exactly I loathed him. He looked fine. There was a bruise on his arm and one just below his left eye, but he was telling every woman in earshot how he’d fallen sixty or seventy feet and had nearly died. I hadn’t seen it, but in the Hospital Wings Oliver said he watched the entire thing and Ellis was only about fifteen feet from the ground before losing control of the dive.

I frowned and pushed past Ellis. He had scared the Quidditch out of everyone on the team. We sat outside of his curtains for hours waiting for him to wake up. He probably just lay on the other side with a magazine and some pumpkin juice like Oliver when he fell. What a prat.

I thought that until I saw him wince once the girls weren’t watching. Oh, Ellis.

But it made me start to think. What if Ellis did get seriously hurt and I’d have to fly? I couldn’t fly. Well, I could, but I hadn’t since the beginning of the year. I didn’t need to. But what if I did? What if one day I had to wake up and fly and catch a stupid snitch. Oliver would be furious.

Who cares what Oliver was?

But he wouldn’t get picked up by a scout.

Who cares? He’s a stupid prat.

I frowned and pulled open the door to Flitwick’s classroom. I took a seat beside Angelina and silently fumed while practicing a new wrist movement.




“This is ridiculous,” I muttered, marching onto the empty pitch. I really didn’t want to see it again for several weeks since the retreat, but I knew this was something I had to do. “Stupid Wood sticking me on this stupid team and making me stupidly paranoid that Ellis is going to kick the stupid bucket any damn day now…” I dug my shoe into the grass in frustration and glared down the school broom.

It was winning the staring contest.

I climbed on and stared straight ahead. I could do this. I learned to fly this past autumn and single-handedly made reserve for the Seeker position. Pfft. This should be nothing. So I kicked off gently, feeling the wind whip back my hair. It was bliss—flying just a few feet from the ground.

Until I slipped sideways and toppled over. At least this time I didn’t eat the dirt. I just got a bit on my chin and elbows.

Gripping the grass, I hoisted myself back to my feet and made a face at the broom lying a few feet away. It was out to get me. I bet it was the broom not me. After all, I did have Oliver’s broom for the try-outs. Yes, that would be it. And this one was a rubbish school broom.

“Something wrong, Janey?”

I groaned. The twins were heading straight for me, brooms in their hands and grins on their faces. “Nothing,” I replied with a smile. “Just practicing a convincing fall.” I bit down hard on my tongue.

“It was really good then,” said George, examining the dirt on my elbow. “Though why would you want to fall?”

“After you’ve captured the snitch?” said Fred, wiping my chin with the tip of his index finger. “That’s a good idea, Janey. Everyone will buy into that. The hero of the match—but what if she’s injuired—no, no, she’s getting up. Wow, everyone! She’s okay! I’m glad she took our attention off of winning for a moment…”

I rolled my eyes. “I just thought,” I muttered, “that maybe I’d try getting back up on a broom in case something happened to Ellis.”

George snorted. “No offense, Jane, but you’ll never play.”

I raised a brow.

“No, no, not saying that you can’t,” he continued, putting up his hands in defense, “but in the last few years I’ve never seen Dan Ellis get injured. He’s only been to the Hospital Wing once and that was after the retreat. Madam Pomfrey doesn’t even know who he is. Plus, he’s too smart for it. Don’t worry, Jane. You don’t have to practice falling.”

“But what if he goes and gets himself hurt again—like his feint screws up?” I said, panicked.

Fred rolled his eyes. “I’ll be damned if he was actually hurt and not just sitting behind those curtains having a good laugh at us,” he said. “I know how much you wanted to play, Jane, but we’re watching out for Danny-Boy anyway in case the Ravenclaws start getting ideas.”

I shrugged and stared down at the broom. I knew I was only on this team because of Oliver and now that the twins assured me that I would never have to set foot on the pitch again unless it was to cheer on the Gryffindors, I felt much better. Not even Oliver could make me paranoid.

I smirked. “Thanks, guys,” I said slowly and hugged the pair of them and began to walk back up toward the castle.

“Oh, and Jane?”

I turned back.

“First of all,” said Fred, “you should probably get yourself a broom so the Slytherins don’t see you with this piece of rubbish down here.”

I narrowed my eyes at them and at the broom.

“And second,” said George, “when you come out and try to practice again, try and wear something a bit less…leggy.” He grinned.

I stared down at my shorts and groaned.

“We had to stop at least twenty blokes from coming in here and trying to practice with you,” added Fred. “It wasn’t easy—there was a pretty big Slytherin in there that didn’t look happy.”

Rolling my eyes, I continued my way back across the lawns and up into the castle. I expected things to be quiet since classes were still going on, but once I pulled open the doors to the Entrance Hall, a pair of loud yells met my ears.

“—this is ridiculous. You need to confide in me sometimes!”

“I don’t need to do anything. Do you even realize how much I tell you compared to what other guys tell their girlfriends?”

Libby was red-faced beside the marble staircase. Her fingers were in fists and she was standing on her toes to reach the height of her boyfriend. “Tell me? HA! You just wanted someone to swing on your arm.”

“Don’t be stupid, Libby, of course that’s not it,” Oliver said, his voice a little lower now. “I just keep my lives separate. Quidditch is my separate life. The only people allowed in are Quidditch people.”

“I just—I just can’t believe you’re not going to tell me what you did on your silly retreat!”

Oliver rolled his eyes and I ducked behind a large statue so that he didn’t see my eavesdropping. “I built a team on my silly retreat, Libby. An entire team. I built them.”

“You already had a team,” she said, exasperated.

“No. No, I had a bunch of players and a Seeker.”

“And a reserve,” said Libby with a snort.

Oliver cocked a brow. “And a reserve, yes.”

“That wears your clothes!”

He groaned. “C’mon, let’s just get a late lunch,” he said finally, draping an arm around her and steering her to the left toward the Great Hall.

I emerged from behind the statue and stared at the doors for a moment, unsure of what to do. Not wanting to pry or even look at Libby, I decided to return upstairs with the dirt on my elbows and find the girls. It seemed there was trouble in the world and I was curious to find out what exactly it was.

“Pfft,” said Angelina, after I explained to her what I had seen, “they’ve been at it ever since we got back. I heard them in the Charms classroom last night.”

“It can’t last much longer,” said Alicia, rolling her eyes. “Though I might not get to see the end if I’m away in exotic Brazil!”

I threw a pillow at her. “Don’t make me more jealous than I already am.” I fell back onto my bed. “I don’t understand the logic in the pair of them to begin with.”

“I don’t think anyone does,” replied Katie as she flipped through a magazine. “I think one day Oliver decided he wanted a girlfriend that worshiped him instead of the other girls…well, maybe he just wanted one that went to this school.”

“Did he date a lot of other women?” I asked curiously.

Alicia snorted. “Who knows at this point? All women love Oliver Wood.” She paused. “Well, all except you, Jane. We all knew you were a little weird when we met you, though.”

“Why doesn’t Wood ever talk about his dating life?”

“He never really told us about all of the girls, but some of it eventually came out,” said Angelina.

“Over drinks,” said Alicia with a snicker.

“Red wine?” I asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

Alicia raised a brow. “No. Oliver hates wine.”

I tried to make my smile a little less obvious. “You’re right. I forgot.”




Occasionally, breakfast was my favorite part of the day. I just loved walking into the Great Hall with my hair still a little frumpy and scooping eggs onto my plate while Angelina finished her Transfiguration reading. On the Wednesday before the Easter Holidays, I plopped down in a chair and helped myself to some toast and jam before immediately heading for the sausages.

I stuffed the food in my mouth, taking a moment to look around. Angelina was on to Potions today and Katie was rechecking the length of her essay. I watched her measure and quickly add in her head. It was disturbing. Oliver was sitting further away today—it was as if he had no interest in hearing whatever conversation I was about to have. That in itself was horrifying. Oliver Wood not eavesdrop? Libby was sitting two seats down from me, next to Fred. She was quieter than usual, stirring her tea so much that I questioned whether or not it turned into water.

I moved my attention to other parts of the hall. The Gryffindors were being dreary. The Hufflepuffs were chattering nicely and the Slytherins looked stupid like they always did. I was sure a few of them weren’t that bad, but people that had the face of Marcus Flint constantly gave them a bad name by just looking ugly every day. I had continuously told Alicia that we should give him a makeover just so the Slytherins are a little more bearable to look at.

Even I couldn’t pretend not to see Roger Davies at the Ravenclaw table. At first I thought he looked like his suave, debonair self, but after surveying the way his hair fell around the top of his face and how his eyes looked lost, I realized he wasn’t himself. Roger seemed a mess. The skin around his eyes was puffy and pink and nothing on his plate had been eaten. I raised a brow.

“What’re you looking at over there?” asked Alicia, following my gaze. “Anyone dishy I can hook up with?”

“No one that I can see,” I muttered, averting my eyes back to my sausage.

“Don’t, Jane,” she whispered, placing a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t even be curious.”

I frowned and took a bite of toast.




I tried not to focus my attention on other people as the week finished. Instead, I dove into my studies to finish up my Transfiguration essay and Charms wrist movement before the holiday started. The Easter Holidays were my least favorite—mostly because they only lasted a week, but also because there was really no reason to leave. There was so much work to be finished since the end of term was nearing that not many people really bothered.

Unless they had an invite from an International Quidditch player to travel to Brazil.

Alicia might have shared that once. Or twice.

“I think Brazil will be wonderful,” she said on Thursday evening. “It’ll be so warm and tropical.”

“They have giant spiders,” I said offhandedly and Alicia went pale. “Yeah, I’ve heard they crawl into your shoes at night. So empty out your shoes before you put them on in the morning. Or just don’t. I’m sure the Brazilian boys are used to women without feet.”
“And boogies,” Katie chimed in.

“Can’t you just be properly jealous?” Alicia asked, folding her arms.

“We’ve been properly jealous for weeks,” said Angelina. “Ever since I found out you were going off to flirt with foreign boys I’ve been jealous—can’t you just let me terrorize you a bit before you leave? It’s only right since we’ll be stuck here with the rain and interactive couples training all week.”

“Just tell Libby to stuff a sock in it,” I muttered. “Or just do it for her. She really can’t be trusted with important things.”

Alicia chuckled and tried to stuff another pair of jeans into her suitcase. “I just want one thing done while I’m gone.”

“We auction off your things?” asked Ang.

“No. I want either Ang or Katie to figure out what’s wrong with Roger.”

I glanced up, shocked. “What?”

“I don’t want Jane going near him, but it’s obviously bugging her so someone else figure it out.”

I didn’t know what to say. Part of me loved my friends, but the other part of me wanted to punch them in the head. Really hard.

Instead, I buried my face in my pillow and groaned. “Bring me back something tropical,” I mumbled.

“Spider it is.”




Friday morning was dreary. I thought it should have been, considering it was the day before Alicia left and I had nothing to do but homework for a week. Ridiculous. I helped her pick out a few outfits before she zipped up her suitcase and lugged it down the stairs to the common room.

Loads of people were leaving for the Easter Holidays which I found strange considering it was only a week long and most people never left. I did, however, see plenty of people adorning lavish gold suitcases or ones with red polka dots. It made me a bit sick, but I still helped Alicia with what she called a traveling hat and four pairs of shoes. I knew Angelina had loads of shoes, but Alicia kept them well hidden so no one would think she was too much of a girl.

The train was leaving at eleven so Angelina, Katie, and I were standing on the platform to see Alicia off. We hugged her tight and helped her load her massive bunch of crap onto the train (which much difficulty. We dropped a pair of shoes in the corridor and a first year handed it back to us—he looked at it like it was going to shoot poison out of the heel) and then made our way back off the train.

“Be good,” I said slowly, ruffling her hair. “Only bring back one.”

Alicia snorted. “I’ll bring back as many as I can fit into my bag.”

Angelina groaned. “I’ll have to give up my bed.”

“Oh, sleep in Fred’s!” Alicia giggled and stepped onto the train.

“Get out of here!” Katie said, laughing as the train began to move. “Have fun! Owl us the minute you get to Brazil!” She was running and trying to catch the train like a little girl. There was a small girl with pig-tails a few feet away that was watching with a grimace on her face.

“Katie—Katie, you’re humiliating me,” I said with a chuckle as we made our way off of the platform. I watched the train drift out of sight and suddenly the four became three. “What’re we going to do now?” I asked, pondering whether or not I should slink over to Zonkos and pick up some tricks.

“We laugh because I booked Alicia as a Keeper for all of the public Quidditch games,” said Katie slyly.

“Or we could just go pick up blokes because Alicia’s gone,” said Angelina. “That’ll show her for leaving us.”

“I’m telling Fred,” said Katie, skipping up behind us. “We’ll have a nice long chat about it and then Oliver will make you do sprints.”

I made a face. “I don’t want to think about sprints.” We passed The Three Broomsticks and followed the cobbled path up toward the castle. “They make my sides hurt.” I paused for a moment beside Zonkos, but not because I wanted some jokes, but because I could hear a familiar voice from within.

“I just can’t believe you anymore, Ollie!” It was Libby and she was carrying a large paper bag out of the store.

I ducked behind a large garbage bin and grabbed the girls.

Libby flipped her hair with a free hand. “We never spend time together and when we do you’re such a jerk.”

“Did we ever spend time together?” Oliver snapped, not even holding the door open for a lady behind them.

“Sure we did! We spent plenty of time together.”

“Doing what?” he countered. “Snogging? Me listening to you talk about how you need to eat less pudding at dinner?”

Libby blushed. “We didn’t always…pfft, we didn’t snog much at all.”

He shrugged. “You’re just overreacting.”

“I’m not! You just told me to sod off in front of the cashier—that’s not gentlemanly at all! He probably thinks that you hit me or something!”

Oliver stopped mid-step. “That I what? Because I told you to sod off?” He was glaring angrily at her. “Libby, that’s ridiculous. You do need to sod off now.”

“Ollie, don’t walk away from me!” Libby cried, yelling after him. A few things toppled out of her paper bag.

He looked furious as he turned and walked straight toward the garbage bin in the alley where we were hiding.

Oliver was staring directly at me.

“Perry?” he said, half-yelling. “What in Merlin’s name are you doing down here? Are you—are you hiding?”
At that point I wasn’t sure what to say. “I was—I lost a knut and—whoop! Look at that!” I held up something that was most certainly not a knut.

“That’s a rock.”

I wrinkled my nose. “Okay. Not a knut. Close, though. I thought it was a knut. That’s why I’m down here, you see? I thought it was a knut. Nope. False alarm.” I tried to smile.

“Perry, stay out of my personal life.”

“I wasn’t in it!” I cried, jumping up. “It just pounced on top of me—I was just walking—minding my own business. I swear—wasn’t I?” I looked at Ang and Katie for support. They stared back at me. “Well, I was. And you lot just came out—and… well. Yeah.”

Oliver narrowed his eyes at me. “Sod off, Jane.” His eyes looked rather empty as he pushed past me and made his way back up to the castle.



A/N: Thanks to everyone that has started to re-review my story. I lost about 125 reviews total, which was sad because so many people spent their time giving me wonderful thoughts and quotes. This was a filler on the way to the Easter Holidays. I hope you enjoyed it.

Chapter 17: Hogwarts is a Masked Ball
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I didn’t mean to butt-in on Oliver’s personal life. Honestly, he was the last person I wanted to see fighting with someone else—even if it was prat-Libby. He looked so angry and empty. So hateful.

That’s why I avoided the common room for the first two days of the Easter Holidays. I took to the library to research a few things for my Transfiguration essay, only to find I was the only one holing myself up and the scratching of my quill was starting to echo off of the bookcases. It was a lonely feeling.

“Jane, you’ve got to stop this,” said Katie, drying her hair with a towel on Sunday morning. “I know you don’t want to see Oliver, but I won’t let you ruin your week off.”

“What do you suggest I do with it?” I asked, staring at the ceiling from a comfy spot on the floor. “Go mingle with Lee Jordan or something?”

Angelina rolled her eyes. “Just don’t mope. It makes me depressed.”

I sat up. “I’m not moping—I just don’t have anything else to do.”

“Get breakfast.”

Groaning, I grabbed my robes and retreated downstairs without saying anything else to my friends. They were rubbish. I knew they were right—I needed to stop holing myself up in the library—but I was afraid.

Pfft. I shouldn’t be afraid.

But there was one part of me, however, that was terrified Oliver would find me outside of a classroom and chew me out for what I did. Even though it was unintentional.

The Great Hall was deserted despite it being Sunday breakfast. I found my way over to George, who was putting strawberry jam on his toast. He nodded to me lightly.

“Found your way out of the library then?”

I rolled my eyes. “Not you too!”

George smirked. “I thought about coming in after you but then thought better of it considering being in the same room with that many books would probably burn me or something. Fred said the same thing.”

“Glad to know you have priorities,” I said, grabbing a scoop of eggs bitterly.

“You wouldn’t want this pretty face to burn would you?” he said, batting his eyelashes. “You’d feel bad. And you’d have to tell Katie. Think of how that would go.”

I groaned. “Okay, I get it.”

“She’d go off on you—put glue on your pillow or sommat. And I’d be fine with that because I’d have burn marks instead of freckles—Oh, Katie! It’s all my fault! I burned your boyfriend—Janey, how could you?—oh, Katie! I’m so sorry—You’ll have to hike up your skirt and show the twins some more leg from now on—”

I punched him hard. “Oh, that’s just rich of you!” I said, turning away. “You’re ridiculous.” I picked up a stray piece of toast and marched away from the Gryffindor table. George Weasley was a whole pot of rubbish.

At least I smirked while walking.

Just before I pushed open the doors to the Entrance Hall, a loud laugh caught my attention and I swung around, my eyes directed at the far end of the Ravenclaw table.

Mandy Brocklehurst was there, giggling up a storm with a few girls in her year. It looked as if one of the little blond ones was acting out an event that had happened in the common room. Just before I decided I didn’t care in the slightest, my eyes slid down a few seats.

Roger had his head pressed against the empty china plate in front of him. Even from the doors I could see the bags under his eyes and the way his hair just fell all over the place.

I jumped, hoping his eyes wouldn’t meet mine, but I hoped in vain. He was staring directly at me. I couldn’t pull my eyes away—I was genuinely worried about him. Was it something serious? Family? Grades? Mandy’s hygiene?

“Jane!” Angelina pulled me out the door and smiled warmly. “You got breakfast—good! You look good, you know that.”

“Stop it,” I said roughly, grabbing my arm from her grip. “Don’t treat me like I’m stupid. Just find out what’s wrong with him.” I pushed past her and made my way up the marble staircase.

Part of me didn’t want to care. He broke up with me. We were done. I was done caring about him. But the other part of me—the part that walked up to the Astronomy Tower even though I hated Oliver Wood—wanted to know what was wrong and if there was anything I could do to help him.

“Blimey, out of all the people that could be walking around in the morning…”

I wheeled around, nearly swearing out loud. “Wood, what are you doing outside of the Charms classroom?” I folded my arms.

“Trying to avoid the Gryffindor common room and thus avoid yelling at you,” he replied. He was looking extra snarky that day with a green sweater pulled tight against his torso.

“Oh please!” I couldn’t help it. I threw my arms in the air and stomped toward him. “That’s so pompous of you—I didn’t do anything! I just happened to hear you and I didn’t want you to know that I had already heard you so I HID.”

Oliver looked slightly taken aback. “You always do something, Perry.”

“I just wanted to come back and make fun of Alicia while she was gone!” I shouted. My voice echoed off the walls. “I didn’t want to hear about your love life and snogging and—”

“Why don’t you go tell a few more people that haven’t heard?” he snapped.

I narrowed my eyes. “I can’t stand you.”

“That makes two of us.” He turned and started to walk away back toward the Charms classroom.

“Fine!” I cried. “Run away! Run away like you always do with your problems!”

I stared at his back and then at a middle finger high in the air. What a jerk. Part of me wanted to hex him, but I thought better of magic in the halls when there were so few students to blame. As if I needed anything else to get pissed about.

Instead, I turned and marched my way back toward the Gryffindor Common Room to sulk in peace while pretending to read a Potions book. Who cared about Oliver Wood anyway? He wasn’t good for anything except Quidditch.

Still, though, my mind kept floating back to mistletoe.




“I don’t know, Jane. Where would you have put it?” Katie was tapping her toes at me impatiently.

We were supposed to have left for the library ten minutes ago, but I couldn’t find my Charms book anywhere. I scoured my desk, momentarily pausing at two copies of the same Quidditch Weekly that I promised to kill Alicia for throwing on my desk, and then threw a few used makeup tissues into the garbage bin. I even dared the adventure of looking under my bed (ignoring the contents), but did not find a Charms book.

“Did anyone borrow it?” asked Angelina.

I shrugged. “Why would anyone borrow it? We all have the same books!” I leaned back against the side of my bed, defeated. “Rubbish. No one in their right mind would want a silly Charms book.”

“Is this it?”

I looked over the side of my book and spotted my tattered Charms book in Katie’s hands. “Yeah—where was it?”

“Alicia’s bed.”

Rolling my eyes, I stood up. “Leave it to Alicia. Now I’m glad you signed her up for Keeper.” I bitterly stuffed it into my bag and grabbed a spare quill from my bedside table.

I was nearly out the door when suddenly there was a large floral arrangement in my face and several daisies up my nose. “What in the—what’s this?”

A second year girl poked her head out from behind the vase. “Jane Perry?” she said, readjusting her grip on the glass.

I nodded.

“I’m supposed to leave these for you.”

I stared at her. “Who sent them?”

“I don’t know—someone gave them to me to leave up here for you. I didn’t know you’d be here.” She was looking nervous.

I frowned. “Who? A boy?”

“Yeah—it was a while ago though and the boy told me that someone else told him that another person needed you to get them so I don’t know who they are from. Is there a card?” She bit her lip.

I groaned and stared at the various roses and daisies and lilies inside of the vase. There was no card. Frustrated, I set the flowers on my desk.

They were truly beautiful and obviously ordered from somewhere expensive because it was a crystal vase they were in—but who? Who would take so much care to order specific flowers? I leaned in and sniffed only to emerge with a massive grin on my face.

“No card or anything?” said Angelina, raising her brow. “This is fishy, Jane.”

“Fishy? It’s lovely!” said Katie, putting her face in a daisy. “You’ve got a secret admirer!”

Angelina snorted. “Bet it’s Ellis.”

“Sod off.” I threw one of the Quidditch magazines at her. “I wonder who they’re from, though.” Immediately, my mind returned to the mistletoe.

But Oliver hated me after I overheard his fight.

Why would he give me flowers anyway?

They were nice all the same.

Maybe it was to show me that I’m a better Seeker than Ellis.

Or that I was cuter than Ellis. Which I was. Seriously cuter.

I folded my arms. “We should get to the library.”

Katie giggled and took one more whiff of the flowers before following me out the door and down the spiral staircase.

I paused for a moment near the fireplace, adjusting my belt because Katie was taking forever explaining to Lee that I had gotten flowers from a secret admirer. I groaned because once Fred and George found out, I’d be done for. The entire school would know. Everyone. My stomach dropped at the thought.

“Perry.” It wasn’t a question. It was harsh.

I spun around and stared at Oliver, who was leaning back on a chair with his feet propped up on a homework table. Not knowing what to do, I sighed and waited for him to say something else.

“I wanted to know if you got what I left on your desk.”

I nearly choked right then and there. “You—you left it?”

Oliver shrugged. “Yeah. Thought you’d like it.” His eyes were directed at the ground.

“Oh,” I said slowly, my heart racing. What was this about? He really did send me the flowers. Oliver pompous Wood gave me a bouquet of flowers—well-thought-out flowers to boot. Slowly, I backed away. “Well, thanks,” I said almost stupidly. “I’ve got to go to the library now.”

“And miss dinner?” Oliver cocked his head to one side. He was very intimidating for some reason and my stomach was getting tighter and tighter.

“Well, dinner sounds nice,” I said quickly, running my words together. “I think I’ll go have some eat—have dinner. Yeah, that sounds spectacular. Dinner.” Reaching over to the other side of the nearest sofa, I grabbed Angelina by the arm. “Dinner time!” I cried and yanked her from the room.

Once on the other side of the portrait, I collapsed against a wall, breathing heavily.

“Jane, what is it? Fred was just telling me about how George did a dive bomb out of bed this morning,” she said as Katie walked out of the portrait hole.

“It was Wood.”

“What was?” said Katie.

“He gave me the flowers. He just said so now.” I couldn’t get my pulse to settle down. This wasn’t what I expected—I had him in mind first, obviously, but I didn’t realistically think he’d sent me a bouquet of beautiful flowers.

“Are you sure?” said Angelina.

“He just told me!”

“This is serious,” said Katie, grabbing my arm and forcing me down a few flights of stairs toward the Great Hall. “Did he give you a reason?”

“Said he thought I’d like them,” I muttered. “Nothing other than that.”

“They could be one of two things—forgiveness flowers or…”

I looked up. “Or?”

“Or Oliver fancies you,” Angelina finished quickly.

“That’s rubbish.”

Angelina made a face. “Then we’ll go with forgiveness flowers?” She pulled open the door to the Great Hall and steered me toward the Gryffindor table. I could tell she wanted to talk about the conversation more, but just as she opened her mouth, Oliver plopped down in a seat directly across from us.

“Get an owl from Alicia yet?” he asked.

“Not yet,” said Katie slowly.

“I’m sure it takes an owl a long time to get from Brazil,” he said with a shrug, helping himself to a piece of chicken.

I was having a hard time breathing. This was all too sudden—flowers? Really? Why? Why was he looking so nonchalant as he took an enormous bite out of the chicken? This was all too much.

“Something wrong?” asked Oliver, balancing his chin on his palm. “I would have thought you’d be excited about that article in Quidditch Weekly about that new Seeker they’re training.”

“What article?” I said, trying to take the spotlight off of my probably beet-red face.

He raised a brow and chuckled. “Forget that fast? The Seeker for the Brazilian team just got injured so they had to call up this bloke from the minors—he’s dead popular with the ladies and he’s got his face plastered all over Rio de Janeiro.”

“So what?” I said. “Maybe Alicia will take a fancy to him or something.”

“Didn’t you read the article?” Oliver asked. “That's why I asked Libby to run up and give it to you—the Quidditch Weekly.”

“There’s already a Quidditch Weekly in there because of Alicia,” said Angelina slowly.

He shrugged. “Sorry about that—didn’t realize you already had one lying around. You seemed to know what I was talking about upstairs, though, when I asked you about the magazine.”

I nearly died right there. Of course Oliver Wood was talking about the bloody magazine. Why wouldn’t he have given me an extra copy of Quidditch Weekly instead of a bouquet of amazing daisies?

I felt humiliated even though Oliver had no idea what I was thinking. Angelina did. Katie did. They were both staring at me like they thought I might cry over dinner. Instead, I scooped up a spoonful of potatoes and shoved them into my mouth. I nodded, pretending like my mouth was simply too full to recognize the question.

Eventually when I was trying to chew as low-key as possible, Oliver chuckled and turned toward Fred to ask him a question about the date of the Ravenclaw match.

“Jane?” Katie put her hand on my shoulder.

I shook my head, now completely perplexed, and shoved some more food in my face.



That night I stared at everyone around the common room. I checked their appearance for pollen. I looked at their eyes. Lee looked sane. He was laughing with Fred and George, neither of whom I suspected. I glared at Henrik. Then I looked over at Oliver. Jerk. Why couldn’t he have just given me the flowers instead of a silly magazine so then I wouldn’t have to waste my life trying to hunt down the giver?

Or maybe I wanted the flowers to be from him.

But probably not. Since he was a huge stupid prat.

My eyes slid down to Ellis who was working on an essay near the staircase. Could it be Seeker love? I nearly choked on an éclair. That was very unlikely. So unlikely the very thought made me want to vomit. Still, he looked sort of fishy.

“Give it up,” said Angelina, chucking her notes at me. “They’re probably from Libby or something.”

I groaned. “That would be my luck.”




Fred gave me a signature Weasley Twin Smirk at breakfast the following morning. He was standing over me with his arms crossed in an arrogant sort of way with George at his side. I didn’t like it one bit.

Apparently, as a last-minute idea to make the Easter Holidays more than just a few days of silly homework, the twins decided that they needed to throw a small shin-dig while Alicia was away. (“Who wants her to have all the fun? I don’t,” said George) This time (thank Merlin) we didn’t have jobs that required making up with people we were furious with, but I still promised to help clear the common room of youngsters that evening. I didn’t see Oliver anywhere (or Libby), but everyone else seemed thrilled about the idea of procrastinating their homework for another night.

It was strange for me, staring up at the twins as they explained how the drinks would be served. My mind kept wandering back to their previous parties—the Halloween bash out at their random lakehouse when I had that ridiculous costume. The party where Roger came and got a little too drunk for his own good. I smiled warmly, remembering. It was so fun, helping Roger back to the Ravenclaw common room so a Prefect didn’t catch him out of bed and completely intoxicated. He swayed against the walls and “accidentally” (or so he claimed) grabbed my tush before giggling beside a suit of armor. He was quite the character.

“So since Janey’s off in la la land, she’s going to help serve drinks,” said Fred and I glanced up.

“You know Perry’s rubbish with drinks, Weasley.”

I glared behind me. Oliver smirked in an I-hate-you-but-look-how-hot-I-am sort of way. I grimaced. “Maybe if someone would have shown me the ropes instead of mocking me, I might have learned.”

“Pity.” He shrugged and made his way toward the other end of the Gryffindor table.

“I loathe him,” I muttered, watching Libby walk by in a huff to sit beside him.

George shrugged. “Anyway, we’ll figure it out. Be in the common room to set up at eight.” He raised a brow at me and then took at seat to chow down on some scrambled eggs that were getting cold on his plate.




It was eight and I wasn’t in the common room. Part of me just didn’t want to be involved with this whole shin-dig that the twins were planning. Not that I didn’t love and adore my best friends, I just felt that under my large comforter I was safer from something—anything. Maybe I was hiding from life. I wasn’t admitting that to myself, though.

I was fine under my blankets. They were warm. And friendly.

“Jane?”

Bollocks.

I tipped my head up to see Angelina in the doorway. “Hmm?”

“Are you sick?”

I wanted to lie. “No,” I said slowly.

“Then what in blazes are you doing up here in bed? It’s eight.”

Trying to think fast and failing, I said, “Being warm and cozy and safe.”

“From what? Do you think there are a clique of Death Eaters downstairs ready to off us when you walk down the spiral staircase?” She raised a brow and sat at the edge of my bed. “Why are you really up here?”

“Not in much of a party mood,” I remarked. That was pretty true. I sounded like a nitwit though. “I’m in a lay-under-the-covers-and-snuggle mood.”

“Snuggling’s better with two people,” she replied.

I don’t have that luxury,” I said rather forcefully.

She shrugged. “Come downstairs. At least for the drinks. The boys got a bit of everything, even some wine for Katie. Oh, and whiskey for Henrik. Alicia will be sad she missed that.”

I groaned. “Must I?”

“Oliver has been avoiding Libby like the plague.”

“Why should I care? He hates me.”

“If anything it’s really funny that he takes off every time she tries to talk about her new dress or the dreadful eyeliner she’s wearing.”

Throwing my legs over the side of the bed, I sighed. I grabbed a nice shirt and pants and straightened my bed-hair in the mirror. “This better be worth it, Ang.”

“We’ll have stories Alicia doesn’t know about.”

I raised a brow and opened the door. “They’d better be novel-worthy stories.”




Plenty of people were already there and the set up was finished by the time I arrived downstairs. Fred had hired the same student from the last party to fill drinks at this one and I hoped nothing would happen this time like the last party’s Fred and Angelina debate. I helped myself to a drink and found myself suddenly alone by the window.

George and Katie were dancing in the center of the dance floor. Fred and Angelina were arguing over the music. Lee was trying to yell something at Ellis over the loud song. Oliver was talking to Libby in a very quiet voice near the fire. Alicia wasn’t here. Rubbish.

When the song ended, Fred grabbed a mic and stood up on one of the poofy chairs. “Fellow Gryffindors! Welcome to my Easter Holiday Alicia is Not Invited party!” he cried and cheers bounced off the walls. Lee raised a brow. “There are eggs filled with candy all over the room if you’d like to look and if not—there will be music playing all nigh—”

“You—go sleep with your sodding Seeker if that’s how you’re going to be with me!”

Everyone’s heads turned. I suddenly had a dreadful feeling in the pit of my stomach as I knew what was happening.

“My Seeker is Ellis.”

“Gay! Gay! Oliver Wood, you’re gay!”

I groaned. Did I have to be here to witness their unhappiness again?

“Okay, Libby. This is getting ridiculous,” Oliver said impatiently. “This is a party. Can’t we talk about this somewhere else?”

“We never talk about it anywhere else! You just change the stupid subject and I’m getting really sodding sick of you, Oliver!”

He sighed dramatically.

The music still hadn’t restarted as Fred was standing with the mic inches from his mouth in stupid awe.

“You—you’re—you’re a fucking coward, Oliver Wood!” Libby apparently had a thing with Oliver’s full name. It was rather pleasant-sounding, but she really seemed to have a fascination with it. “You’re just like your stupid, drunk father! You never care about anyone but yourself!”

Oliver, who was clearly about to make a retort, stopped dead. His mouth was still hanging open as he stared at Libby in disbelief.

She didn’t notice and continued. “You’re completely self-serving. Pfft—like you even care about your Quidditch team. You just want to get picked up by a stupid scout. You don’t care how well they do. You just want to win. For you. You didn’t want me as your girlfriend—you wanted me for convenience. To show me off because I’m obviously the most beautiful girl at Hogwarts—” A few snorts sounded throughout the room. “—No. It was all for you. And you think you want to win for your father? Your stupid drunk father that probably beat you when you were an ickle baby? Bloody jump in the LAKE, Oliver Wood! Drown yourself! I bloody HATE you. HATE. Bloody. HATE.” She was screaming now and it was hard to make out the individual words of revulsion.

I was nearly at the point of covering my ears since Libby’s voice was reaching the pitch of a dog whistle. I was staring directly at Oliver. If it was a bloke saying it (any bloke really, Oliver was never particular), he would have punched him right in the face. In the nose to be exact. There would have been a serious amount of blood.

But now he had gone pale. His hands were in fists at his sides and he was now biting his lower lip so hard that I thought I saw a tiny trickle of blood. This was as angry as I had ever seen Oliver Wood. Nothing before this had merited the anger—not even some of the awful rows we had been in. No. She had hit below the belt. And metaphorically speaking, he was crouching in the fetal position.

“We are now broken up!” Libby cried and flipped her long hair. She turned on her heel and marched off out the portrait hole, slamming it behind her.

Oliver still stood, rooted to the spot, and stared at the same place she had just vacated. I didn’t think he was going to move.

And so, I took drastic action in a situation that did not involve me and that I had already been shunned for overseeing the first time. Just as whispers broke out, I rushed over to the fifth year at the refreshments table, dove over several bottles of yummy looking liquors, and grabbed the lonely bottle of unopened red wine behind a half-empty bottle of vanilla vodka. Taking it, I hurried to Oliver’s side even though I wanted to sock him for dating Libby in the first place, grabbed him by the arm, and forced him toward the boys’ dormitories and into his own.

It was dark inside, so after steering him to his bed, I lit a few candles and sat down beside him.

Oliver wasn’t moving. He was staring up at the ceiling with blank eyes and his lips were parted slightly.

I didn’t know what to do so I uncorked the red wine and took a deep swig. This was an example of an awkward situation I didn’t want to be in. Me. In Oliver Wood’s dormitory with some wine after a particularly horrible breakup. He still wasn’t moving. I watched for a while. He didn’t even blink.

“Okay, Wood,” I said after a while and he didn’t acknowledge I was talking. “Let’s talk about this.”

“There’s nothing to talk about. I’m glad I’m rid of her, vile woman.”

I rolled my eyes. “Seriously, Wood. What she said was uncalled for. I could slap her around a bit if you want.” I raised an amused brow and was surprised to see a tiny smile appear on his lips (there was a drop of dried blood on the left side). “Here.” I handed him the wine.

He smirked. “Red wine.” Oliver grabbed the bottle and took a deep gulp. “Sorry I was being such a prick before, Perry.”

I shrugged. “It happens. I was sort of nosy.”

He took another deep swig and I raised a brow. “Well, now that I’m away from that stupid sodding woman, I’m single again. Thank Merlin. She was more of a burden than a help anyway.”

I remained uncomfortably silent, watching him drink once more.

“She was always nagging me and whatnot. Always…always being a smarmy git.” He paused for a moment for another drink. “Still though…it was nice for a while.”

“You did like her,” I said, more of a statement than a question.

“Yeah. I did. I wanted to give her a chance, you know?”

“That was nice of you,” I said, nearly through gritted teeth (I was picturing the bunny costume from Halloween).

“I try to be as open-minded as possible,” he replied. Another drinking pause. “And I’m not into any of the Chasers—gakk—No, Libby seemed fine. At the time. Eugh. Someone should have told me that would have ended bad. Sort of like I told you with Roger.”

I rolled my eyes. “Thanks for bringing that up again.”

“Sorry. Didn’t mean it.” He took another drink and I realized that the loud swishing meant nearly half of that bottle was gone already. “Roger’s just a dung-head, is all.”

“That’s very big of you,” I muttered.

“And so is sodding LIBBY!” he cried, crashing back onto the pillows and spilling a bit of wine on his shirt. “Dung! Dung-head! Thinks she can insult Oliver Wood like that—I’m the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain! I’m single, attractive Oliver Wood! She can’t talk to me like that!”

I patted him awkwardly on the shin. “Of course not.”

He sat back up, completely unaware of the wet spots on his blue collared shirt. “Talking about my father...what a…what a…I don’t even know what to call her! Help me, here!”

I winkled my nose. “Git?”

“Sure. Git. Libby’s a ruddy GIT.” Oliver took another long swig and swallowed several times.

At that point I tried to take the bottle. Nearly all of it was gone now and it had hardly been ten minutes. He wouldn’t let it go. “Wood, come on. You’ve had quite enough—people will think you’re drinking away your problems.”

He paused, grip still tight around the bottle. “Do you think I’m drinking them away, Jane?”

“Well, no. I know you better than that—but other people just heard what—”

“I don’t care what they think.” He yanked the bottle away from me and took another drink. “They’re all gits. The whole lot of them.”

I tried again, managing to get a bit of a grip on the top. “They’re not all gits out there—you like Fred and George.”

“They planned this stupid party. These parties aren’t ever fun.”

“The Halloween party was fun.”

He snorted. “You’re joking.”

I shrugged. “Okay, it was all right though. The party that Roger was at was fun.”

“But you danced with me.” He was now giving me that drunken Oliver look. I recognized it from the kitchens.

I nodded. “I did indeed—gimme the wine, Oliver.” I pulled it a little harder.

He pulled back. A lot harder. So hard that I flew onto the bed and landed on top of him, my face hitting his chest forcefully. The wine flew out of both of our grips and onto the wood floor, spilling what little was left of it.

“Oh, now look what you’ve done!” he whined. His left hand was on my waist. His right hand was on the top of my thigh.

I froze. I didn’t know what to do. The logical part of me was about to get up quickly, rush over to the wine bottle, and dump the rest out the window. But the emotional part of me (the part of me that should be locked in the loony bin, I mean) accidentally glanced down at his eyes. Then he smirked and I was done for. I was a big puddle of sodding goop.

“Jane?”

“Hmm?” I said. Was I breathing? I couldn’t feel anything. I could barely hear myself wondering if I was breathing because my heart was beating so fast.

He didn’t ask me a question. Instead, his right hand slid up to my neck and he pulled me in for a kiss.

I didn’t know it until it was too late. Blimey! I was snogging Oliver Wood. Oliver sodding Wood. I reminded myself quickly that I hated him, but the way he tasted was so good—it sounded cliché but it was like a mixture of red wine and some weird mint flavor. He pulled me closer and my hands found their way to his tuft of dark hair. This was completely different from the mistletoe. To get me to shut up. I hadn’t even said anything this time.

He opened his mouth slightly, gripping my waist and forcing my chest against his own. I couldn’t stop it. Oliver was drunk.

Shit.

Oliver Wood was shit faced.

This was the same as shutting me up.

But it was…I didn’t want to stop…

Suddenly, Oliver’s shoulders tensed up and his eyes squeezed tightly. He quickly threw me off of him and onto the other side of the bed. I hit my head on one of the posts and groaned. Then he flew onto his stomach, leaned over the side of the bed, and threw up.


A/N: First of all, I wanted to say WHOA for having 100+ favorites on this story. Thank you everyone so much! This chapter was originally very long when it was planned so I split it in two...so the next chapter is the second half. I have now planned Keep Away through the end (did that when I should have been paying attention in Poetry class-that's what I think of Roethke) so I now know where exactly everything is going.

Poor drunk Oliver drank too much :)


Reviews? Favorite quotes? Thank you everyone for being WONDERFUL and so supportive!

Chapter 18: Birds of a Feather
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Quick A/N: Since the review-a-thon is ending in a couple of days, I thought that instead of making everyone wait another 5 days I would post the second half of this chapter so you can all just love me now instead of later. :) Enjoy!





My head hurt the next morning from slamming it on the best post. I tried to ignore it as I dressed for breakfast, putting my hair up in a loose pony-tail and wandering downstairs. It was a quiet morning since most people had been plastered the night before and were sleeping far past nine. When I left, Angelina was drooling on her pillow. Oh, if Fred saw.

I snickered, remembering helping her into bed after I returned from Oliver’s room. He had puked for a while, covering the floor in mushed up dinner foods that I didn’t want to think about. Then he rolled over and I fetched him a glass of water and a few pieces of bread, which he forced down reluctantly with a pained expression on his sweaty face.

I sat with Oliver for a while on his bed and continuously magicked more water into his glass. I rubbed his back in the semi-darkness and cleaned up the mess with my wand. Then, after about an hour, the sweat-soaked, ill Oliver Wood crawled under the covers and I ran my hands through his soft hair until he fell asleep.

That was by far the weirdest thing I had ever done.

And of course, he wouldn’t remember it. I doubt he had any idea who I was by the time he went to sleep.

Groaning, I entered the Great Hall to find Lee Jordan alone in the center of the Gryffindor table. I maneuvered past a pack of Ravenclaws (there were bags under Roger’s eyes and Mandy was talking in a huffy voice) and made my way to plop down beside him. “Hey, Lee,” I said cheerfully, taking a piece of toast.

He nodded. “’Lo, Jane. This is early for you.”

“I didn’t drink last night.” I reached for some strawberry jam.

“I saw you take a whole bottle of wine from the drink table—don’t tell me you didn’t have any of it.”

I nodded. “I took it up to Wood after that ridiculous break up,” I replied with a shrug. “It hit him pretty hard…so did the booze.” I shrugged again and put some eggs on my plate. “But it’s over now.”

“That’s good. She’s a bit of a git anyway,” Lee said with a smile.

I was about to reply with several choice words about how horrid Libby actually was, but a large screech owl landed on the other side of my breakfast plate with an envelope attached to its leg. I smiled, untying the envelope and patting the bird on the head. After I gave it a piece of uneaten toast, I unfolded the paper and smirked.

“From Alicia?” Lee asked.

I nodded. “Seems international owl post is rather delayed.” I smiled warmly.

Girls,

I made it to Brazil all right with Oliver’s friends. They’re lovely. And by lovely I mean gorgeous. But there are so many things to do here (Thanks Ang for that Keeper bid. I’ll be getting revenge on you shortly) like playing pick-up games with Oliver’s friends and meeting the Brazilian International Quidditch team. It’s only the first night but I’m not sure when you girls will get this. See you at the end of break—don’t be too bored without me!

Alicia



I snorted. “At least she’s having fun,” I said slowly, folding the paper and making a mental note to give it to Angelina and tell her to be on her guard.

“What has she been doing?”

“Quidditch and meeting new people.” I handed him the letter and glanced up as the girls entered the Great Hall looking disheveled and sleepy.

“What time did I even go to sleep last night?” moaned Angelina, falling into a seat beside me.

“Four,” I muttered, remembering her complaining before I blew out the last candle. “You were ridiculous.”

“Where were you for the whole bleeding party?” Katie said with a large yawn.

“Helping some drunks,” I muttered, folding my arms as Lee caught my eye.

Katie raised a brow, but before she could reply she spotted someone over my head and smiled. “Oliver! You left early last night. I wanted to know if you had your Charms book. I’ve lost mine.”

Oliver strolled up (looking very healthy and not in the least bit hung over) and beamed, slipping into a seat between Angelina and Katie. “I’m a year ahead of you, Bell.”

She blushed. “I’m trying to get a jump start.”

He nodded heavily and helped himself to some breakfast (most of which the girls weren’t touching). “That’s fine. I’ll get it to you sometime today.”

I realized that I was flat-out staring at Oliver Wood. I couldn’t help it. Last night was still surreal in my mind—that argument, that kiss, helping him through a sickness. And his hair was looking rather soft. He glanced back at me.

“How’re you, Perry? Enjoy the party last night?”

I knew he wasn’t going to remember, but part of me sort of hoped he would.

“I left a bit early. Had to…had to help a few people,” I said, averting my eyes to the platter of bacon in front of me. This time Lee gaped at me.

“Crazy drunks?”

“Something like that.”

I could feel his eyes surveying me. “Hope none of them gave you any trouble.” Oliver chuckled and so did a few people around him.

“No, not at all,” I found myself saying. “It was sort of fun. Different from the regular partying that I do.”

“The dancing with a few people and then leaving early?”

I narrowed my eyes. “Okay. I’m going upstairs.”





Trying my best to avoid Oliver in case he might randomly remember the way I tasted on his bed, I took to the chilly air around the lake. I grabbed a few books and made a little nest out of a few quilts and a large down pillow. Then I curled up, Charms book open to our latest chapter, and began to read and take haphazard notes.

The wind felt nice against my face, especially after hours in Oliver’s stifling dormitory getting him to stop puking all over his dirty socks. Then again, if I had as many pairs of dirty socks as he did, I might have puked as well.

I groaned, staring at my notes. I had accidentally written “sock” instead of “wand” twice.

Bugger.

“Perry, what’re you doing out here?”

I couldn’t escape. Next time I wanted to do homework (or “socks” for that matter) I was going into the Forbidden Forest.

Turning, I put on a puzzled expression. “Homework.”

“It’s cold,” Oliver replied, standing over me with his arms drawn tight around him. “There are a few fires in the castle, you know? One in the Gryffindor Common Room in particular.”

“I think it’s nicer out here,” I replied, turning back to my studies.

“In the cold?”

“Yes, in the cold.”

“Perry, who were you helping out last night? I didn’t get to see.”

I groaned. “No one you know.”

He snorted. “No? I wouldn’t know then even though they would have to have been a Gryffindor?”

I shook my head. “Sorry to disappoint you.”

He slid down to sit beside me. “Yeah, I left the party a bit early.” He wasn’t looking at me now. “Had to get some air after…after I broke up with Libby and everything.”

I glanced over, raising a brow. I didn’t want to have a blow at his pride, but I didn’t exactly want to let him keep living a lie—especially when it came to him talking to Libby or coming into contact with one of her crazy hair-twirling friends.

“Oliver, do you remember last night?” I asked this as expressionless as possible.

“Of course I do—well, some of it.” He bit his lip. “I remember I was in the common room and then I…I broke up with Libby because she’s a crazy woman…”

I closed my Charms book slowly and turned to face Oliver in the grass. “Wood, Libby broke up with you last night.”

“No, I broke up with her, I remember.” He shook his head heavily.

I sighed. This was going to be harder than I thought. But it was the truth. “I was there—so was everyone. It was actually before you were drunk so I’m not sure why you don’t remember.”

“No. Look, Perry. I had it all planned out. I told her the reasons. She’s a crazy bint. She probably went around and hexed everyone into believing that she broke up with me.” He laughed nervously. “I was there. I know what happened.”

I sighed again. “Look, Wood. Everyone saw. I was the one that took you out of the common room because everyone started to whisper. You were in sort of a shock-coma or something.” I smiled slightly. “I grabbed some of our signature red wine.” I hoped something would trigger his memory.

Oliver rolled his eyes. “There wasn’t red wine at that party.”

I gaped at him. “That’s because you drank the entire bleeding bottle!”

He rolled his eyes. “This is so like you, Perry. Making me feel lower than I am just because I am now single. Now you have the leverage—is that right? Is that what this is all about? You having the ammo?”

“Did you block last night out of your memory?” I said, now near-shouting. “Libby broke up with you! I grabbed some damn wine and took you upstairs! You—and me—and then you puked all over your room and I got you some stupid water! And bread!” My fists were tightening. “And then I stayed with you for a couple hours to make sure you were okay! That’s where I was last night! That’s who I was helping!”

“You’re full of shit, Perry,” said Oliver, getting to his feet. “The next thing will probably be you telling the whole team about my dad, is that right?”

“Libby did a pretty good job of that too!” I shouted as he started to stomp off toward the castle.

Arms folded, I turned back toward the lake and whipped my book open four chapters ahead of where we were. I didn’t care. I was too pissed off to think about the proper way to hold a wand or the silly wizard who invented the spell.

That Oliver Wood was something else. Denying everything—he hadn’t even been drunk at the time! He was probably just too proud to admit he’d been dumped by a fifth year—perfect, Quidditch Captain Oliver Wood!

I threw my quill at the lake. It landed two feet in front of me.

Rubbish.




“Like Alicia could really get revenge on me anyway,” Angelina said later that evening. We were lounging around, skimming through the Quidditch Weekly articles (and pausing for a long time on hunky Bastian Richi, the Seeker from the minors that Oliver had been talking about).

“You’d better watch out. She might,” Katie said, putting on her shoes so we could go down to dinner. “She’s got this way about her—has loads of people on her side too.”

“Like who?” asked Ang.

“Single people, you know? Lee Jordan and Jane!”

I gaped at her. “I’m now in a category with Lee? What about Wood? Libby? Henrik? Ellis?”

“No, Ellis has a girl,” Angelina said. “They started dating a few days ago.”

I groaned and fell backward onto my bed. “Now Danny Boy has a girlfriend and I don’t even like anyone from this sodding school.”

“Maybe Wood should have given Alicia another ticket to take Miss Whiner along.”

I tossed a pillow at her. “I’m not whining—but seriously. Ellis?”

Katie snickered lightly. “She’s a fourth year—probably doesn’t know any better except that he’s the star Seeker.”

I narrowed my eyes. “I’m behind him in everything.”

“Don’t be so whiney,” said Angelina, pulling the door open as I hauled myself off of the bed. “It’s not like you wanted to be Seeker anyway. As for dating someone…well, I can’t help you there. If I was a bloke I would totally be into you, Jane.”

“Yeah,” said Katie as we walked down the spiral staircase. “You’re eyes are so pretty and all that…and you have good hair. Sometimes I sneak your conditioner.”

I groaned, trying to tune out their newfound interest in my hair products. It lasted all the way down the Great Hall (by that time they were talking about how sometimes I smelled like lilacs and other time I smelled like vanilla, though the only soap they saw in my bag was strawberry). I hoisted the doors open as fast as I could to get inside and slid myself in between George and Henrik.

“Where’d you go last night, Janey?” George asked.

I looked over, clearing glaring daggers at him. “I went and drowned myself in the lake,” I said dramatically. “Then I came back and cleaned up some puke and went to bed.”

He shrugged. “Sounds like quite the night. Next time invite me.” He winked, allowing me a moment to smile.

I took a deep breath, ignored the conversation Fred and Lee had now joined in about my aroma, and stared at the lovely-looking potatoes and chicken in front of me. This would blow over. Once Alicia got back I could stop thinking about being single (and the girls could stop reminding me). I wouldn’t have to see Ellis all the stupid time because of classes, I could avoid Oliver and his denial, and I could also run to Hogsmeade and switch up my soap again because strawberry was no longer safe.

“Erm, hey, Jane.”

I wheeled around. I knew that voice and didn’t expect to hear it again soon, let alone during the buttering process of my potatoes.

Roger had his hands in his pockets and he was staring directly at me. His hair was shinier today and the bags under his eyes were less prevalent. He looked good. Something twitched in my stomach.

“Uh—hi, Roger,” I said slowly, looking up at him. I couldn’t hide the perplexed expression on my face. “How—how’re you?”

He shifted slightly. “I’m fine, thanks. Um, how are you?”

Why wasn’t it this awkward when he talked to me about the Quidditch team a while back?

“I’m fine.” I was nearly blushing. This felt like an awkward first date or meeting someone for the first time. Did I blush this much when Roger and I went out in Hogsmeade?

“Good, good.” He paused for a moment and I wondered what the point of that conversation was. “Could I—do you think I could have a word? Outside?”

I raised a brow. “Well, sure. That’s fine.” I put my napkin back onto the table and my eyes briefly met Angelina’s before I turned to followed Roger out of the Great Hall. The Gryffindors were whispering as I walked past. Oliver was sitting near the end of the table with a distinct scowl on his face.

It was chillier outside now that it was the evening and I drew my robes close around my arms. We walked in silence, the wind whipping through my hair, out toward the lake shore. The sand was hard and clumpy and I nearly grimaced when Roger asked me to take a seat beside him. Oh well. My bum could be dirty for a bit.

Again, silence.

Getting cold, I glanced over at him. “Roger, what’s this all about?” I asked.

He was not meeting my eyes. “I just need to talk to you about a few things.”

“What’s wrong? Is everything okay?”

Roger frowned. “Did you get my flowers?” he asked, peeking over at me for the first time since we sat down.

I nearly choked. “They were from you?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I had them sent up. I hope you liked the different flowers—I didn’t know which one was your absolute favorite so I just got you loads hoping I’d get it right.”

I was speechless. And here I was, thinking the flowers were from Ellis or Libby or the Giant Squid, and they were from my ex-boyfriend, Roger Davies. I just stared. What was going on?

“So did I get it right?” he asked, a smile now forming on his face.

“Yes—yes, I loved the daisies,” I replied, still in a minor state of shock. “They were beautiful. Thank you.”

He beamed. “You’re welcome.”

I paused, choosing my words carefully since I was so confused. “If you don’t mind me asking,” I said slowly, “what were the flowers for? I mean, did I miss my birthday or something?”

Roger shook his head, the smile faltering slightly as he went back to staring out at the lake. “That’s what I wanted to talk about out here…didn’t want anyone to hear.”

I couldn’t hide my puzzled look. “Okay. Well, let’s talk so I’m a little less lost.”

He smirked. “I’ve just been thinking lately…I’m a git, Jane.”

I gaped at him. “Erm—okay?”

“I was such an arse and I didn’t let you explain and I was just so jealous—so bleeding jealous! You know how much Wood and I hate each other,” he said, looking at the sand. “We can’t cooperate. We can’t have the same friends. We can’t be on the same side for anything—just as Flitwick after we blew up half of the classroom when he partnered us up fifth year! We keep our lives separate. Well, until you.”

Where in Dumbledore’s name was this going? I could only keep staring, now completely confused. A sock parade would have made more sense than this.

“And things were perfect—Hell, I thought things were more than perfect. I wanted to see you all the time. I rooted for Gryffindor when they played Hufflepuff and you rooted for Ravenclaw when we played Slytherin—things were good. I…and then Christmas happened. I should have—I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. I just—the jealousy!”

I wanted to say something. I’m sure my dumbfounded expression led to Roger realizing I was completely thrown by this entire conversation. My head was starting to spin. I couldn’t even feel the cold anymore.

“Imagine me, practicing Charms with stupid Mandy Brocklehurst—getting kicked out of the Astronomy Tower by my rival in everything, Oliver Wood, and he’s holding all of these cheesy candles and a blanket—what went through my head! And then seeing you come upstairs with a bottle of wine. Merlin, I didn’t know what to think. I think my head might have exploded.”

I held up my hand. “I tried to tell you, though! I tried to tell you and you left! And then the next day you wouldn’t even let me explain!”

“I know. I feel like dung about it. I just…I was thinking the worst. It didn’t help that later I found out Mandy fancied me and was asking me for Charms help so I’d start to fancy her as well.” Roger rolled his eyes. “So the little vixen convinced me after I stormed off that you were cheating with Wood and…well, I couldn’t take it. Not with Wood. I just…I loathe Wood with every fiber of my being—you know that. Why am I telling you this? Of course you know all of this. We’re just…we don’t see eye to eye. And I was convinced he wanted you just because I had you.” He frowned. “I’m ashamed. I was a stupid prat. I don’t expect you to ever forgive me for what I put you through—especially since I only recently realized all of the rubbish Mandy fed me while I was teaching her—but I just wanted you to know. I wanted to make this up to you.”

I didn’t know what to say. Mandy had helped him hate me? Well, that made a lot more sense than him just hating me and not letting me explain—especially since I had lied to him. He probably thought I’d lie again—thanks to wonderful Mandy Brocklehurst. She was quite the girl. Reminded me of Libby a bit.

I heaved a large sigh. “I’m glad you told me,” I said slowly, not making eye contact. Then, to my own surprise, my stomach tensed up and my eyes started to sting a little bit. “You hurt me, Roger. Really bad.”

He nodded heavily.

“I didn’t come out of my room for days. I threw your teddy bear under my bed. I quit boys!” I cried, throwing my arms in the air. “But I understand what you’re saying.”

“And you liked the flowers.”

“I liked the flowers.”

I couldn’t help but smile. Here he was, the Roger I fell for in the autumn. The suave, debonair Roger Davies that I had tea with and laughed with. Here was the guy I spent mornings drinking orange juice with and afternoons watching the brown leaves fall while wrapped in fleece blankets. I couldn’t help but remember sitting together at the Gryffindor-Hufflepuff Quidditch match and commenting on how hideous the Puffs were.

And he was seemed sorry. Genuinely sorry.

“Is that why you’ve looked so,” I said and paused, “disheveled lately?”

Roger grimaced. “Saw that, did you?” He groaned and leaned back onto his elbows. “Yeah, once one of Mandy’s stupid friends let it slip that she sabotaged me, I wasn’t getting much sleep. I knew I made a huge mistake. I let you get away—but I knew from that conversation we had that you and Wood never started dating…I put the pieces together and I think it drove me mad. That’s when I decided to give you the flowers and try and talk to you when you weren’t around the other Gryffindors.” He sighed. “So…do you think you’ll ever be able to forgive me?”

I smiled warmly and looked over at him. “You were a right git, Roger, but I might be able to find it in my heart to forgive you. I’m a forgiving sort of girl.”

“I always knew you were,” he said with a wink. My stomach jolted. “Sorry again. I was a right prat.”

I nodded happily. “That’s an understatement.”

He chuckled. “Hey, now! I already admitted to being a git, don’t send me to Hell for it.” Roger smirked as the wind went through his hair.

I joined him, leaning back on my elbows, and letting my mind wander back to the wonderful flowers sitting on my desk. Roger sent them to me. Because he wanted me to forgive him for overreacting. I thought back to Christmas—the red wine, the white lie, the situation. It was rather horrible, wasn’t it? Oliver in the private Astronomy Tower with romantic junk all around and me with a bottle of wine. I almost snorted. It had been such a mess—and with Mandy mucking it all up I had no chance.

“Wood wanted to give me ammo,” I said suddenly and Roger glanced over. “That’s why he asked me to meet him up at the Astronomy Tower. I had told him about my family and he used it against me out of anger. So, to make it up to me, he invited me to the most secluded place in the castle to tell me a few of his secrets so we’d be on even footing.”

He remained expressionless. “And the wine?”

“That was a joke,” I said with a laugh. “It came from when we had to shop for the alcohol together for the twins’ party and I didn’t know bollocks about liquor.” I shrugged.

Roger gaped at me, a grin forming on the corner of his lips. “You’re joking.”

“Not one bit,” I said.

“Of course you couldn’t tell me—it was Wood’s secrets. I would have wanted to know,” Roger said, mostly to himself. “And the wine was a joke—you’d have to explain that. Merlin, I was a prat. It was that simple and we broke up over it.”

I pressed my lips together. “Yeah. It was pretty silly, huh?”

He chuckled. “This is rubbish. We had a perfectly great relationship. And the snogging…well, that was out of this world.” He winked and my stomach jolted again.

He wasn’t lying.

“Do you miss it?” he asked. “Not me, per-say, just being in a relationship. Or maybe just the snogging. You’re quite the fox, Jane Perry.”

This was the Roger I was so familiar with.

“I do miss it sometimes,” I said slowly, now staring out at the cold waves hitting the shore a few meters from our feet. “Fred and George had a party last night. I ended up helping drunks and then getting Ang into bed. I didn’t even have a drink.”

“Where’s Alicia?”

“In Brazil with Wood’s Quidditch buddies,” I replied glumly. “Having the time of her life.”

He grimaced. “Ouch. What about dear Ellis?”

“Didn’t you hear?” I said, laughing. “Ellis found himself a girl stupid enough to have him.”

“No!”

“I daresay yes,” I muttered. “So I am now the lonely sheep or something. Well, me and Lee. And he lets me know it every chance he gets.”

Roger laughed and balanced his cheek on his shoulder, his eyes surveying mine. “That leaves the pair of us then.”

“All alone in this big school of sodding couples,” I said with a simper, sitting up as he did so, both in our own awkward bubble. “At least Fred and Ang are back together…they were really starting to—”

Then Roger grabbed my shoulders, pulled me to him, and kissed me.





A/N: Aaaaaaand you can start hating me: now. :) So what do you think? This was basically the second-half of the previous chapter. I hope everyone has a chance to review for their Houses for the Cup!

Special thanks to a few movies that gave me a bit of inspiration for a few of the scenes. Props to anyone that realizes which movies....

Favorite quotes?


Chapter 19: Brazilian Bon-Bon
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LAST TIME....
“I daresay yes,” I muttered. “So I am now the lonely sheep or something. Well, me and Lee. And he lets me know it every chance he gets.”

Roger laughed and balanced his cheek on his shoulder, his eyes surveying mine. “That leaves the pair of us then.”

“All alone in this big school of sodding couples,” I said with a simper, sitting up as he did so, both in our own awkward bubble. “At least Fred and Ang are back together…they were really starting to—”

Then Roger grabbed my shoulders, pulled me to him, and kissed me.
 

 









I didn’t know what to do, but I didn’t want to stop it. For a whole minute we sat there, snogging by the lake while normal, boring people were inside eating dinner. Who could eat potatoes at a time like this?

He was right, I think. Our relationship was wonderful so many odd months back. Sure, we didn’t know everything about each other, but we broke up over a silly misunderstanding. And stupid Oliver Wood, just feeding the fire against us. It seemed as if from the first moment I talked to Roger in the Entrance Hall that Oliver was against us being together. Well too sodding bad, Wood. You lose.

Why was I thinking about stupid Wood?

Roger broke the kiss and stared at me, his hand still on my cheek. I peered back and caught my own reflection in his eyes. I looked shy and anxious. He smiled.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly, removing his hand and glancing down between us. “That was bang out of order. I shouldn’t go around snogging girls that aren’t my girlfriend…”

I raised a brow. “That’s right, Mr. Davies. I think that was highly inappropriate. It is cause for me to force you to check over my Transfiguration homework due in two days.”

Roger smirked. “The horror!” he cried and I giggled. “I suppose I can be forced into it. It’s my fault after all…” Our eyes met again and he stole a quick peck on my lips.

“Roger! Now you’ll have to check my Charms!”

He stole another.

“Keep this up and you’ll be checking my homework for the rest of the year.”

“Would you make me?” he asked, kissing my cheek and then placing tiny kisses along my jaw bone. “For each one? I think these,” he paused and placed a few more kisses on my nose “only count as a quarter of an assignment. If I’m going to do this I’m going to get my kisses worth on it.”

I grinned, snickering slightly. “Oh, all right, but still. At the rate you’re going I won’t ever have to do homework.”

“So you want me to continue?” Roger winked and pulled me in for another several-minute-long snog that left me a little more shaken than before.

My heart was beating particularly fast as I stared at him after he had broken the kiss. We were both lying in the sand, my back now covered in dirt, and I placed my chin on his chest. “What does this mean?” I asked softly into the darkness.

Roger made a face. “What do you want it to mean?”

“What do you mean, what do I want it to mean? Why is this so complicated?” I groaned loudly, listening to the rapid beat of his heart against my skin.

“I know what I want it to mean,” he said slowly, eyes on mine. “I want us again. I want you, Jane. I want us to be together.”

“Roger, I don’t know…” I said, biting my lip.

“You don’t know what? If you have feelings for me? Pfft, I don’t buy that one at all. You can’t kiss like that if you don’t have feelings for someone.” He raised his eyebrows at me. “Come off it, Jane. It may not be love, but I’m not asking you to marry me. I’m asking you to give me another chance.” He ran his fingers through my hair and I closed my eyes for a moment, thinking.

Who was I kidding, thinking? I was still overwrought by that kiss. It was something else.

“Even though Ravenclaw is about to be playing Gryffindor? Do you think that will come between us?” I smiled.

“Of course not. Our relationship has never been based around Quidditch—it comes up because I don’t see how you could support the Harpies with their dirty-shot Chaser, but it’s never been about Quidditch and you know it.” Roger smirked.

“All right,” I said finally, listening to the budding tree branches around me. “Let’s give it another shot. But if another misunderstanding breaks us up—we’re leaving it go.”

Roger chuckled and kissed me on the forehead. “Deal.” He yawned and stretched. “Now. How do we tell dear Wood?”

I snorted. “I’m not telling him anything right now considering he’s furious with me for being honest with him.” Shrugging, I stood up and we began to make our way back to the castle. “But that isn’t an altogether new concept, is it?”

Roger shook his head. “I’m sure he’ll be thrilled for us. So will Mandy.”

“I bet she will.” I paused, opening the door to the Entrance Hall. “Like I said, though. I can knock her around a bit if you want. I’ve got some fight in me.”

“Believe me, you don’t have to convince me of that,” he said with a smile.

There was a crowd of people leaving dinner. Angelina passed with a raised eyebrow but I shot her a look and she kept walking up the staircase. Katie and George were behind her (I could have sworn I heard a whoop out of the Weasley) and we had to push past Lee to make it back inside the Great Hall to eat the dinner both Roger and I missed.

He decided to eat with me at the Gryffindor table (so I didn’t have to beat up Mandy, which I so wanted to do, especially because of the ridiculously dumbstruck expression she was wearing when we walked in laughing together) so we sat at the end of the table and dug in, me grabbing more potatoes and some butter.

“Hey, Jane,” Fred said, grinning at me as he walked down the table. “Hiya, Davies. How goes it?”

“Not too bad, Fred, right?”

Fred nodded.

Roger smiled. “Not too bad at all. Weather’s pretty nice tonight.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Fred patted me on the head. “Nice seeing you.” He walked off toward the door.

“I’ve always liked Fred,” Roger said. “A nice bloke and fair Quidditch player. Good guy.”

I smiled warmly. “Fred and George have always gotten me through the hard times,” I said, thinking back to the fond memories I had of the boys—and the rubbish ones. Especially the comments about my legs. I needed to shrink or something.

“Ooh, Jane!”

Crap.

“Roger Davies, huh? He’s so dishy, I’m surprised he’d take you back.”

I nearly spit my half-chewed potatoes all over her.

Libby was standing behind me, her weight settled on one leg and her nose stuck up in the air like a poodle (it didn’t help that she was wearing a disgustingly pink cardigan with her hair in a tight knot).

“No, no, Libby,” Roger said with a smile. “Jane took me back. I was the one that made the mistake.”

“I find that difficult to believe,” she said pompously. “Jane always makes mistakes—thinking Oliver actually liked her and all that. She’s not pretty enough for that, really…poor thing. Thinks she has the looks.”

I continued to chew. Professor McGonagall was at the head table and I would rather procrastinate my nights away than sit in detention. Still, though, my hand gripped my wand under the table.

“I’d see Madam Pomfrey, though, Libby,” Roger said coolly, snickering a bit. “Isn’t it a bit obvious that Jane has always gotten more attention than you? Or is this just one of those feel-bad-for-me-because-the-Quidditch-captain-didn’t-love-me things? Because if it is, by all means, continue.”

She gaped at Roger. “You think you’re so cool, Roger Davies! Let me tell you—”

Libby was suddenly shoved to the ground and my eyes flew up. Ellis was standing there with his fourth year girlfriend.

“Whoops!” he cried. “Sorry, Libs. I got a little carried away demonstrating my latest snitch catch—you okay?”

She looked as if she was going to cry. Even her hair was now in disarray. “I’m fine, Dan.” Libby hoisted herself up (Ellis’s girlfriend was now outright laughing) and she straightened her cardigan. She shot a nasty look at Roger and then a few daggers at me before marching off to the Entrance Hall.

“If that was an attack it was really poorly planned,” Roger said, sounding bored. “She’s really lost her touch I think.”

“Sorry about that,” Ellis said, leaning down to where we were sitting. “I could tell the pair of you were having a lot of fun in that conversation.” He smirked and pulled away, leading his girlfriend out the doors.

I laughed. “Dan Ellis doing something for me.” I paused. “I’m floored.”

Roger placed his hand on mine. “Maybe things are really changing for you, Jane. What’s next?”

“You’ve.Got.To.Be.Bleeding.Kidding.”

It came from behind me, though I knew who it was before I turned. Oliver Wood was standing nearby. I had hoped he would be gone already and wouldn’t see Roger and me eating as a newly-reformed couple, but my hopes were slaughtered by a Keeper (and not Alicia).

I rolled my eyes. “I thought you weren’t speaking to me.”

“This warrants different behavior.” Oliver motioned to Roger’s hand on top of mine. “When did this happen? When Davies somehow obtained a love potion? Perry, are you acting on your own accord?”

“Of course I am, Wood. Now shut up and go away.”

Oliver folded his arms. “Davies, I thought better of you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Roger growled.

“After what happened at Christmas.” He raised a brow.

Roger stared, his eyes narrowed. “Cut it out, Wood. Jane and I are back together and we’re happy. We broke up over a misunderstanding.”

“It doesn’t matter, Roger,” I said quickly. “He doesn’t need to know—and he probably wouldn’t believe you anyway considering he has a knack for not believing the truth.”

Oliver laughed loudly. “This is insane—broke up over a misunderstanding? Are you bloody kidding me? Not only are you a prat, Davies, you’re a stupid one at that. Do you know how many days Perry was up in her room crying—she told me she was dying so she didn’t have to go to the twins’ party.” He raised a brow. “Do you know how many times I wanted to tell her?”

I stared. “Tell me what?”

“Wood, come on, don’t start this rubbish,” Roger said, rolling his eyes. “This isn’t the time.” He glanced around at the people staring from the Hufflepuff table behind us. “Or the place.”

“Tell me what?” I repeated. “Roger? What’s going on?”

“You should tell her, Davies,” Oliver teased. “Aren’t relationships about honesty?”

“TELL ME WHAT?!” I cried, nearly jumping to my feet.

“Wood,” Roger growled, standing and staring Oliver down. “Let me tell her myself. Not here—you’ll make it sound like something stupid—like something I did on purpose—”

“Didn’t you, Davies?” joked Oliver, laughing loudly so that other faces turned our way. My cheeks were scarlet by now. “I’ll let you in on a secret, Perry,” he said and Roger groaned, sinking back into his seat. “On Christmas when I kicked your little boyfriend here out of the Astronomy Tower, I was so peeved he ended up yelling at you because he was the one in the tower snogging that Mandy girl.”

“He was—he was snogging Mandy?” My head whipped around to Roger. “You did what?

“I had to kick them out of course—considering you were about to walk up the stairs.”

“Why didn’t you tell me before now?”

“That’s ENOUGH,” yelled Roger. He was on his feet again. “I won’t let you give Jane the wrong idea about me just because you’re pissed we’re back together.” His hands were shaking. “Yeah, he walked in on Mandy kissing ME. I was teaching her a particularly difficult Charm so I told her to hold her wand a certain way and she lunged herself at me—you saw that too, Wood—and then I shoved her away. I told her to stop kissing me because I had a girlfriend. You were there for that.” He nodded to Oliver. “And then you walked out of the shadows pretending you were about to hold something over my head.”

“Still!” I shouted. “Why didn’t either of you tell me—Roger, you could have told me to head off Wood. And Wood—why didn’t you tell me? You hate Roger.”

Oliver’s eyes fell to the floor.

“Because I told him you didn’t need it,” Roger said with a knowing expression. “I told him you’d take it the wrong way and since Mandy wasn’t anything but an idiot, it was irrelevant—that was before I saw the wine by the way. But he didn’t tell you—well, that’s because I threatened him a bit.”

“Roger!”

He shook his head. “No, no, not with anything dangerous—though now that my secret’s out from Wood, I suppose his should be out…”

“I told her because she deserved to know you were snogging other women!” Oliver shouted, his face flushing.

I gaped at him. “If he didn’t like Mandy and you actually saw him push her away, how does that even make sense?”

Roger frowned and crossed his arms. “I didn’t want to do this,” he said, obviously enjoying the fact that he could openly torture his enemy in front of everyone, “but I guess it’s only fair that I tell the entire hall that you applied for three reserve teams with try-outs and got rejected by every single one because you weren’t good enough.”

There were gasps—hell, I had one of them. I had no idea and it was obvious Oliver wanted to keep it that way. His face was red and his hands were balled into fists.

“Davies, I told you not to tell anyone that.”

“I told you I would tell if you told Jane about the stupid snogging!” Roger shot back.

I groaned. “Okay, look. This is ridiculous.”

“I agree,” said Oliver loudly. “Jesus fucking Christ, Jane! He’s an idiot! He’s using you!”

“Oh, not this crap again,” I cried, my temper flaring up. “Roger isn’t using me, Wood. He explained everything to me. We’re back together again. He doesn’t want to know the secrets of the Gryffindor Quidditch team or how we balance on our brooms or any of that stupid rubbish!”

“How can you see through everyone except him?” Oliver shouted.

At long last I stood up. I was inches from Oliver, my eyes narrowed. “Why can’t you let me be happy? What is it with you—don’t be stupid with me, Wood! You’ve been horrible since the first time Roger and I started dating just because you hate him! You just can’t let anyone be happy, can you? Once you’re single and miserable and getting drunk in your dormitory and—and—” My voice faltered for a moment as I thought about the kiss on Oliver’s bed. “—and snogging—then everyone else has to be miserable too! Is that it? You’re not the happiest bloke in the joint so no one else can be?” I was inches from his face. “I can’t believe that after I am finally happy you would try and take that away from me.”

“Perry, he’s a prat. What he did to you!”

“It was a misunderstanding.”

“It was rubbish. He tore you apart.” Oliver looked neither threatening nor angry anymore. His voice was calm as he stared right back at me.

“We talked about it,” I snapped.

“Oh, because talking makes everything okay.” He rolled his eyes obviously.

My hands immediately went to fists. “Wood, go make someone else’s life miserable! I hear Alicia will be back early tomorrow morning—get a jump start on that!” I cried, taking out my wand. “Stay.Out.Of.My.Happiness.” I pointed it at him and he, startled, jumped back.

“Perry, put it down,” Oliver said and Roger leapt up.

“Jane!” he said. “McGonagall’s looking! Let him be. He’s just jealous.”

“Of what?” Oliver spat. His ears were turning red.

“Of someone else being bleeding happy! Go find yourself another girlfriend that worships the ground you walk on—it’s obvious you can’t get a real woman.” Roger grabbed my hand and I lowered my wand. He slipped his other arm around my waist and pulled me out of the Great Hall. Whispers broke out the second we left the table.

“I can’t believe him!” I breathed, tears forming in my eyes. The thing was, I wasn’t sure if they were tears of anger or not. That should have been obvious, but it wasn’t.

“I’m not surprised,” muttered Roger as we climbed the stairs. “Somehow I knew he would bring that up. Just wants to have a one-up.”

“I wish you would have told me, though,” I said slowly. “I know you didn’t have time to do so—with us breaking up and then us just getting together by the lake…I just didn’t like being ambushed in front of everyone else with Wood questioning my boyfriend’s faithfulness and my boyfriend having a go at my captain’s Quidditch future.” I groaned. “What a pile of rubbish.”

Roger squeezed my side. “It’ll get better. Alicia will be back tomorrow and then everyone can stop gossiping about you and start asking questions about whether or not Alicia hooked up with four blokes or six while she was away.”

“I hope it’s six for her sake,” I said and smiled. “Maybe that will get her to shut up for a while.”

“Wait…we’re talking about the same Alicia right?”

I poked him in the ribs.




The train was right on schedule the next morning. Of course, the girls and I were there an hour early because they insisted on leaving so I could talk about my beach-snog with Roger without other people overhearing and Angelina was particularly curious about Oliver blowing up in the Great Hall and me pulling my wand on him. Katie nearly fell over when I told her about Oliver’s failure at getting a reserve job for three different teams.

“But he’s so good!” she raved as we entered Hogsmeade.

“Apparently not,” I said, making a face.

They were, unlike Oliver, happy for me. Angelina embraced me for a full minute before I could breathe again and Katie did some sort of a happy dance that I thought was worthy of the twins.

We passed Lee Jordan near Zonkos and continued on to the train station chattering about how Roger had been upset about me the entire time and how the flowers smelled so great in our room and why couldn’t George get his head out of his arse and buy Katie some daisies.

Once the train did arrive, however, we stopped talking about our twisted lives (mine especially) and watched the different doors for any sign of our roommate.

“GIRLS!”

My head flew to the left and there was Alicia—looking completely unchanged from a week ago except she was wearing a “Brazil International” t-shirt with a green logo. She was pretty much bouncing up and down, running at us, and engulfed us all in an inappropriately enormous hug.

I smiled warmly at her. “So you had the time of your life then?”

She nodded, laughing.

“Where’s your luggage—we’ll help you carry it,” said Angelina, peering around. “I’ve got dibs on the light one though because I had to carry that heavy one last time.”

“It’s not my fault you left your wand in the dormitory,” muttered Katie, smirking.

Alicia, however, was starting to turn red and simpering.

“Where’s your luggage?” Angelina repeated slowly. “You didn’t leave it, did you?”

“No. Well,” she said coyly, “here’s the thing…”

“That never starts a good story,” said Katie.

“Wrong,” Alicia continued. “When I was there I met Bastian. Now, before you flip your hair curlers, he’s a real sweetheart and he’s going to be staying in Hogsmeade for the week since we have a visit next weekend…and of course he’ll come up to the castle and visit and all that.” She was positively glowing.

“Bastian?” I said slowly, tightening my lips. “That name sounds familiar. Is it a popular name Brazil?”

“In a manner of speaking, yes,” Alicia said, staring behind her. “You might have heard of him though—from what I hear he’s a bit of a heartthrob there.”

“Not—not—” I stammered, stepping back.

My nonexistent words were shoved back into my throat, however, when Angelina and Katie gasped, signaling the correctness of what I was about to say. I stared, watching a figure emerge from the crowd with Katie’s luggage out in front of him and his wand pointed lazily at it.

Bastian Ricci, the new Brazilian Seeker called up from the minors. The hunky, new Brazilian Seeker. With delicious lips. And dark hair. And a bronze tan. And murky brown eyes. And well-formed bicep muscles. I smiled.

“Bastian, there you are!” Alicia said with a wicked grin. “Girls, this is Bastian Ricci. Bastian, this is Angelina, Katie, and Jane.”

Bastian grinned and I knew immediately why Alicia fancied him. He had that smile—that I’m-an-amazing-sexy-Quidditch-bloke-and-you-want-me smile. He set the luggage gently on the ground with a flick of his wand and extended his hand so that each of us could shake it. Bastian had a firm grip and I nodded to him just as I caught Alicia in the background bouncing up and down on her heels.

“Do you need to check into the inn first?” asked Angelina as we made our way out of the train station.

Bastian shook his head. “No. My things are being sent from Rio de Janeiro. They’ll be here later on—I want to see this castle ‘Licia talks about so much.” He had a thick Portuguese accent but spoke wonderful English.

“So how do you like the spotlight of the International league?” I asked him, thinking about the huge spread he had in Quidditch Weekly.

“It’s different,” replied Bastian. “In the minors we had loads of people in the city where we were stationed—but now it’s the world. I was just in the Quidditch magazine this month too and now there are women trying to get me to sign parts of their bodies I’d rather not say.” He chuckled. “It’s fun, though. So far I’ve been able to catch the snitch so they’re pretty happy.”

I nodded. “I bet. I hope they’re the same way if you slip up—but if they’re loyal fans you’ll be fine.”

He grinned and took Alicia’s hand in his own as we walked up the grassy slopes toward Hogwarts.

“How did the two of you meet?” asked Angelina, walking quickly to keep up with the over-excited Alicia.

“Interestingly enough,” Alicia said with a chortle, “it was during a pick-up game. Oliver’s friend Max said I was on the list—which is when I found out you put me in as Keeper—and Bastian was on the other team. I thought it was funny because there was a goggle of girls down in the stands giggling and since I was trying to be a Keeper for the first time in my life, I kept throwing them nasty looks.”

“So there she was,” continued Bastian, smiling, “up there trying to save a Quaffle—badly, might I add—and I happened to fly a little too close to her while she was concentrating.” I could see Alicia’s face begin to color. “So she looked up at me and told me to sod off because she was trying to play Quidditch and apparently I was trying to knock her off her broom instead of doing my job of actually Seeking.”

“I might have lost my temper after the fourth Quaffle went through,” muttered Alicia.

“But after that,” said Bastian, “I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I had my Chasers screaming at me—her team ended up winning because every time I looked for the snitch my eyes would just wander back over to ‘Licia and the screwed up face she made every time she tried to save one.” He chuckled. “But afterward I asked her for a drink—she didn’t realize who I was until three people asked for my autograph halfway into coffee and I liked that.” I watched him squeeze her hand.

“That’s so cute!” cried Katie, clasping her hands together. “And romantic! Oh, Alicia, I knew you’d find someone eventually.”

Alicia shot her a scathing look.

“That means, for once, we all have boyfriends,” said Angelina slowly, grinning.

Alicia raised a brow. “Three of us do,” she said. “Unless—Jane, you don’t, do you?”

I blushed. “Roger and I are back together.”

She stopped walking. “Sodding WHAT?”

I held up a hand. “I’ll explain later—Bastian, look! There’s Hogwarts!”

For a moment the five of us stood at the bottom of a hill looking up at the immense castle that was Hogwarts. We were quiet and the breeze was cold (poor Bastian, hailing from such a warm climate), but it was nice and peaceful for the first time in a long time.




Like it always was with new people, dinner was twenty-questions. We sat Bastian at the end of the Gryffindor table with the lot of us and immediately Fred and George flanked him and the questioning began. Bastian, however, looked as if he was quite enjoying it and even answered questions about if he balances with his right leg or left. Soon Lee was over there asking about his past and money questions but Oliver shoved him out of the way. Even though I wanted nothing more than to sock Oliver in the face, for him to come so close to an International star while still at Hogwarts was a pretty good opportunity for him.

“The Brazilian Seeker?” Roger whispered in my ear. “Alicia has pretty high standards.”

I smiled and forced Angelina to scoot over so he could sit down. “It sure seems like it, doesn’t it? I’ve still got to explain to her about us—I’ll do that later tonight. She nearly had a cow when I told her earlier.”

“I don’t blame her—her last memory of me was probably you screaming about how you wanted to decapitate me,” he said fondly, patting me on the head.

“It was castrate actually,” I said.

He made a face. “You’re a horrible woman, Jane Perry.”

“So you all play Quidditch?” Bastian said from a few seats down. “I’ve never met so many people all at once—all going professional?”

The twins shook their heads and Fred chuckled. “Not us, mate. We’re opening a joke shop. Lee’s going to work for us too. We might make him our personal lackey though.”

“With an apron,” added George. “A pink one. It’ll bring out the color in his eyes.”

Bastian laughed along with everyone else, but Lee stood up and left the table, abandoning his dinner that he had managed to put in an awkward pile with his fork.

“Lee isn’t going professional,” said Fred with a grin. “He’s one hell of a commentator though. We should have him commentating what the customers do in the store!”

“Wicked idea—and he goes, he reaches, his hand LANDS ON THE HAIR SOLUTION! GOAL FOR THE BALD BLOKE!” George nearly fell to the floor laughing with his twin.

Alicia shot Ang and Katie a look that said very plainly, why do you date them?




During the first day back from break, I was forced into attending Quidditch practice with the rest of the team. Ellis actually suggested it, though I did no more than fly low to the ground while everyone else did drills and then I did some sprints that made me so sore I wanted to knock Wood in the head with my school broom. At least I only fell four times.

After explaining to Alicia about the Roger situation, she was quite supportive of my choice to get back together with him.

“It was just a stupid mistake then,” she had said as we made our way down to the pitch. “How silly, though, right? All that drama for a little misunderstanding and a stupid fifth year.” She snorted. “We should do something to Mandy.”

I shook my head. “We don’t need to do anything to her,” I said quickly, trying not to give Alicia any time to formulate a plan. “I’ve done enough my getting back together with Roger.”

“Still,” she said, pulling open the locker room doors. “I’d like to make her squirm a bit.”

Rolling my eyes, I tied back my hair. “No way. Leave her. She’s a toad.”

“Bleeding hurry up!” cried Oliver. “I haven’t got all day for the pair of you to talk about Brazilian Bon-Bon and Dung-Head Davies!”

Alicia snorted. “I don’t know, Oliver. Last night it sounded like you wanted to get a private room with Bastian and talk a little more than Quidditch.” She giggled loudly and we heard the distinct sound of Oliver chucking a piece of chalk at the board.




We spent quite a bit of time with Bastian over the next couple of days. Between classes we showed him around the castle and ate lunch out by the lake with loads of quilts to keep us warm. Roger joined us several times, putting in his own Quidditch knowledge. The pair of them got on extremely well, especially when Fred and George went off on one of their rants about my legs or Lee’s new apron.

He also spent a lot of quality alone time with Alicia, which the girls and I agreed was really good for her.

“She’ll stop ruddy complaining about being single,” muttered Angelina Thursday evening after Alicia had failed to turn up at one in the morning. “I was getting sick of it—I was about to ask Flint if he would just take her on a date already.”

“That could have been potentially interesting,” said Katie, smirking into the mirror. “I might have to tell George and see what he can make of it.”

“So you can sit and listen to him go on a tangent about how Flint would grunt at Alicia in response to whether or not a certain outfit made her look fat?” I asked and Katie smiled.

“Speaking of Hogwarts boys,” she said with a glimmer in her eye, “how is dear Roger?”

“Lovely,” I replied. I could feel the heat on my cheeks.

“You’ve been spending a lot of time together too you know,” said Angelina, brushing out her hair and sliding under the blankets. “I’ve seen you two coming out of empty classrooms three times.” She giggled.

Okay, now my face was red. “We were—inspecting,” I said quickly.

“Inspecting the inside of each other’s mouths is more likely,” said Katie as she blew out a candle.

I was glad it was dark. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I replied with a chuckle. My head fell back against the pillow and I sighed. Things were going great with Roger. We spent plenty of time together—talking, laughing, and sharing various foods like strawberries and pudding. And all right, snogging. Inspecting. Whatever.

Just as I started to drift off, the door was whipped open and Alicia swaggered in with a large grin on her face.

“About bleeding time!” cried Katie. “How am I supposed to go to sleep with you still gone and my mind EMPTY of juicy details?” She lit a candle with her wand.

Alicia was positively beaming. “Bastian and I went for a stroll through the village and ended up having a romantic midnight dinner out by the lake.”

“Wasn’t it cold?” asked Ang.

“No.” Even though it was dark I could see the color rise on Alicia’s face.

“You really must like him,” I said with a smirk.

“I do. I really like him,” she said, leaping onto her bed. “He’s coming up here for lunch tomorrow and said he’d help us practice on the pitch for a while if we wanted.”

“That sounds great,” said Katie, sitting up in bed. “So he’s here for a week? What will you do after that?”

Alicia frowned and leaned back against her pillow. “We haven’t talked about that yet. Obviously Brazil is a little far…and we still have another year of school after this…no, I’m not quite sure yet. I was asking around and Lee gave me an exact distance. I thought it was funny.” She made a face. “I’m not sure what we’ll do. He had this week off because of the league All-Star game, but after next Monday he’ll have to go back to practicing every day and being a busy talented Quidditch star.” She sighed.

I rolled over. “Good luck with that.”




The morning came far too early for my liking (as it did every day) and even warm toast and chilled orange juice couldn’t force me into a good mood while sitting at the Gryffindor table. Lucky for me, Roger chose to come plop next to me so I didn’t hex George for making up a song about the flavor of conditioner I own.

The owl post made its way into the hall and I watched Roger’s barn owl drop a Daily Prophet onto his lap. He flipped it open and snickered at an article while I put jam on my toast. Alicia was a few seats away, her head lopsided in her eggs, and Angelina was trying to prod her awake.

That was when my toast flew up onto my robes and I was then grape-flavored. A large package had landed in front of me from an owl I recognized to be my father’s. It was a burly screech owl named Lyon.

I stared at the package, raising a brow, as Lyon helped himself to my uneaten croissant. Realizing there was a note (and that several people were now staring because Alicia had been nailed in the head by the package), I hurried to open it.

Jane,

How could you keep me in the dark for so long? In all of those letters you’ve written me this year you simply forgot to mention you made the reserve Seeker for the Gryffindor House Team? Jane, that’s amazing! I’m so proud of you! I actually heard it in passing a few days ago so I decided to take it upon myself to fix your school-broom situation. Even if you never play, at least all the other houses will be jealous of your new Nimbus.

Love, Dad



I groaned. I didn’t want a broom. I didn’t want to fly. I didn’t want a huge friggen’ delivery in the middle of breakfast while I was trying to eat. Irritated, I stuffed the toast in my mouth, grabbed the package, and marched out of the Great Hall.

It wasn’t like I purposely kept my dad out of it—I just didn’t want to get his hopes up. In every letter I sent every other week I just conveniently forgot to mention my position as reserve Seeker. It didn’t help that Ellis was the Seeker anyway and he didn’t take two minutes to catch the bleeding snitch. The next thing my dad would think is signing me up for Harpies try-outs.

“Broomstick?”

I turned, rolling my eyes. “Yeah, Wood. Broomstick.”

“From who? Dodger?” He had his arms folded, leaning on a statue a few feet from me.

“No. From my dad.” I turned back toward the marble staircase, eager to put as much space between us as possible.

“Pretty nice gift. What kind is it?”

“Nimbus,” I said halfheartedly, beginning to walk up the stairs.

“Going to take it out at practice?”

“If I have to,” I snapped, reaching the top.

“Perry,” he said quickly.

I sighed, pivoting on the spot and glancing at him. “What, Wood?”

“Dodger’s a right git, you know that.”

I rolled my eyes. I didn’t need this right now. Not after receiving an irritating gift from a concerned Dad who got tipped off somehow. Not after being completely furious with the man standing in front of me.

I pulled out my wand. “Get away from me, Wood.”

“You’re being stupid!” he shouted and I didn’t expect it. “He’s just going to hurt you! He wanted you back just because—because—”

“I’m sick of your shit, Wood!” I cried, wand still raised. “Stupefy!”

Oliver fell to the ground with a loud thud and I stared at him for a minute. He looked almost concerned, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about him. I was finally happy—who was he to mess it up? Sighing, my gaze went to the ceiling of the Entrance Hall. It was so peaceful out there without the thundering of feet on the marble staircase.

Just before a jet of light hit me, I fell to the floor to dodge it. Oliver was up again, his wand pointed at me and a look of fury upon his face.

“What did you—what was that?” I cried, dropping the broom and pointing my wand at him again. “Expelliarmus!”

Oliver shielded himself quickly and jumped to the side.

“Jane!” Roger was running out of the Great Hall, standing almost directly between us. “What’re you—I heard you shouting out here. What’s going on?”

“I’m—going—to—sodding—kill—him!” I shouted, running up a few more stairs to dodge a curse coming at me. The bat-bogey curse flew back at him. I frowned, seeing Oliver duck. He was too athletic for his own good.

“Jane, stop it! You’re losing your head—McGonagall is right inside!” Roger pleaded.

I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was hurt Oliver Wood as bad as he was hurting me. For spilling my secret to everyone at a team meeting. For bringing up my father. For not telling me about Roger in the Astronomy Tower. For trying to interrupt my happiness. For kissing me like he meant it and then not remembering a damn thing! I wanted to hurt him so bad that my hands were shaking as I shot a stunning spell at him. My eyes were watering, tears mixed with sweat as I shouted the incantation.

“Jane, calm down and—WOOD DON’T YOU POINT THAT THING AT MY GIRLFRIEND!”

The spell hit Roger right in the chest, sending him flying backward.

“Perry—Wood. Detention.”

It was McGonagall. She stood behind the shocked Roger, looking extremely annoyed and disappointed.

“Professor, I,” I began stupidly, picking up my broom in humiliation.

“I don’t want to hear it,” she replied. “You’ll receive a notice of the date and time of the detention. Now please, no more cursing each other in the halls. Mr. Davies, could you escort her upstairs please?”

Roger rushed over, limping slightly, and grabbed my arm. “Jane, that was so stupid—why did you have to sink back to his level?”

Instead of answering, I turned my head to see Oliver still standing in the Entrance Hall.

“I did what I thought was right,” he said. I didn’t know if he was referring to the fight earlier or the hexing seconds ago.

“Yet you were wrong,” I snapped, walking up a few more stairs with Roger guiding me.

He bit his lip. “Tell your dad to watch the All Star game this weekend—his favorite players are playing for the west.” With a brief nod, he walked into the Great Hall sporting a bruise to the jawbone.
 

 






A/N: Hey! Soooo that was chapter 19 so you can start firing the harpoons if you see fit. I wanted to say a few things though: Thanks SO much for the reviews during the review-a-thon. I caught right back up to where I was and got even more. I have been SO inspired to write this story! I have actually just finished chapter 22 though I have to do edits and insert several plot thingies. Thank you so much for all of the favorites & reviews and heartfelt responses. You guys are the BEST.


Favorite quotes? I know there were a lot of Roger/Oliver lines in this one. They love each other, don't they??

 


Chapter 20: New Wallpaper
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I chucked the wrapped broom under my bed and grabbed Roger’s teddy bear. Things were getting ridiculous. I had only been upstairs for a half hour and already I wanted to climb under the blankets and hide for a few days (I’d have to write McGonagall to tell her why I wasn’t in detention) and then I could avoid this disaster.

Sighing, I peered under my bed again. The wrapped broom was still there. Who had talked to my dad and told him I was the reserve?

I paused, remembering what Oliver had said about the All Star game.

But there was no way he was in contact with my father—the pair had never met! And Oliver had been at school as much as I had so he couldn’t have left. And he was a prat that I stunned. Ha.

I groaned. This was silly. It was probably just someone’s parents that that were written to about the team and how they were doing—my name was probably just mentioned in passing because I had no shot of seeing pitch time. And that’s the way I liked it. I pushed the broom further under the bed, refusing to even open it.

“Hey Jane,” said Angelina, peeking her head in the door. “Oliver wants the team downstairs quick for an announcement.”

I made a face, set the teddy bear gently on my pillow, and followed her down the spiral staircase and into the common room.

The rest of the team was already there, including the twins who were whispering about something and Ellis who had his feet kicked up on the nearest coffee table. I joined them, flopping down on a sofa and staring up at Oliver, refusing to look mildly interested in what he had to say. Part of me was happy to see the bruise on his jaw.

“All right everyone,” Oliver began, pacing between us. “The Ravenclaw game is only a few weeks away. That means one thing.”

“We can finally hex that git Collins that plays Beater for the Claws?” asked Fred hopefully.

“No. It means we’re having one more team meeting next week. I expect all of you to attend and it will go quickly.”

“Yeah, like it always does,” I muttered.

Oliver shot me a look. “We’ll have it in Hogsmeade again—”

“Oh, come on, Oliver,” whined Katie. “It’s always in Hogsmeade. We’re already going there this stinking weekend. I’m sick of walking over there—no one’s going to overhear us! Let’s just do it in an empty classroom. Come on.”

“I agree,” said Ellis. “Now that I have Elizabeth, I don’t have much time for frivolities.”

I nearly snorted, but said nothing.

Oliver narrowed his eyes, clearly overruled as the twins nodded their approval in the new plan. “Fine. Fine, I’ll owl Madam Rosemerta and tell her not to reserve our usual room. We can have it here in a classroom—but so help me Merlin if someone hears—”

“Then they’ll know about our balance issues,” said George lazily. “Fred still has to work on his. He’s horrible at right turns.”

“That’s rich of you,” replied Fred. “Because you can’t dive to save your knickers.”

George punched Fred. Fred punched back. I yawned.

“Fine,” Oliver said loudly. “We’ll have it in classroom six on the ground floor. That way it’s not by any common rooms and it’s out of the way.” He stopped pacing and sighed. “That’s all I had—and keep practicing outside of practice times. The Ravenclaw team has reserved the pitch as much as they can stomach so when they haven’t, I’ve reserved it to stick it to Davies…”

I glanced up.

“But anyway.” Oliver regained himself. “I’ve told Bastian I would meet him before lunch to talk about techniques. Oh, and practice is canceled for next Monday.”

“Why?” asked George. “Did you finally decide that four-a-week practices were too much?”

“No,” barked Oliver. “Because Perry and I landed ourselves in detention today and McGonagall just told me it would be on Monday.”

“What did you do, Jane?” said Fred. “Tell him his socks smell?”

“Laps,” said Oliver, smiling and leaving the room.



I didn’t get to talk to Bastian or Roger at lunch. In fact, Angelina, Alicia, Katie, and I sat in a clump at the Gryffindor table as the boys bombarded Bastian with questions about the league. Roger leaned in and asked about the salary. Oliver was asking about the process and steps to make it to the big time. Fred and George, even though they had no intention of playing Quidditch after school, asked about the women (and both got hit). Even Ellis joined in and asked about how the expectations of a Seeker change. The only boy our age not hounding Bastian with questions was Lee, but that was probably because he was a commentator and Bastian probably didn’t know too much about that business.

That night, however, I got the privilege of spending dinner with both Bastian and Alicia in Hogsmeade with Roger. We took seats in a small Italian restaurant near the end of town where I had been only a few times before. It was quiet and dimly lit, but we found plenty to talk about.

“So how did the pair of you meet?” Bastian asked, motioning to Roger and me. “Other than you just going to school together.”

“Well,” Roger said with an entertained smirk, “We had a few classes together and all that, but I always thought Jane sort of had it in for Quidditch until this year when I realized she made the reserve Seeker.”

“Reserve Seeker? Nice job!” Bastian said and I blushed.

“Obviously when I found out that she was not only gorgeous but also into Quidditch, I had to pursue that.” Roger laughed lightly and took a sip of his water. “So I did when I met her wandering around in the Entrance Hall randomly one night.”

“What were you doing?” asked Alicia, raising a brow at me.

“I don’t even remember now,” I muttered. “I think I was trying to get away from Wood or something.”

“Oliver Wood?” Bastian said. “That man that’s interested in going pro? He’s a nice guy. I told him I’d mention him to my coach.”

I nodded. “Him and I don’t really see eye to eye at times.”

“Does he have it in for reserves?” Bastian looked very interested in this and I had no idea how to answer.

“In a manner of speaking,” I said and Roger smiled.

“He sounds jealous,” Bastian said finally and Alicia put her hand on his.

She was basically glowing, sitting next to him. Alicia’s smile was radiant as she stared over at him and I wondered if I looked like that when I first started dating Roger. I supposed I did. For the first time in months, Alicia looked happy. She wasn’t the oddball. She could go back to the dormitory and gush about the way Bastian kissed or the way he gave her a single flower on the way back from his room at the inn.

And, I have to admit, it wasn’t bad hearing about Bastian. He wasn’t someone we had gone to school with for six years so all the girls wanted to know about what he ate and what his favorite color was and what he wanted to name his first born child (Alexander, after his father apparently). It was an interesting change of pace and Alicia was certainly enjoying the attention.

I watched her place her head gently on Bastian’s shoulder and he smiled warmly.




For the next couple nights the boys let Bastian sneak away to spend time with Alicia on the grounds and in Hogsmeade, but he attended each Quidditch practice up until the day he was supposed to leave. He spent most of his time in the air giving Oliver tips on yelling at the giggling girls and had an hour workshop with Ellis about diving techniques. I nearly escaped talking to Bastian about Quidditch by running laps and refusing to take my Nimbus out from under my bed, but on Saturday when Oliver demanded I get my broom, I was forced to face Bastian.

“Reserve Seeker! I remember you telling me that!” Bastian cried, clapping me on the back. My knees nearly buckled under the pressure. “Well, let’s see what you’ve got!”

“I’m actually—I’m feeling rather sick today. I’d rather not show the world…er…what I’ve got.” I tried to smile but my stomach wasn’t cooperating.

“Don’t be silly, I’m sure you fly great! You got on the team, didn’t you?”

I shot a look at Oliver. A seething look. I wanted to throw a bear at him for forcing me into this—and I was still holding a broom I’d never flown.

“Hey, Bastian!” Ellis cried from across the pitch. “Have you done the Wronski Feint before?”

Bastian laughed heartily and turned around. “Of course I have—don’t base your knowledge on it off of that Viktor Krum guy either. I was at the World Cup and he was all out of position going into the dive. Here, let me show you.” He mounted his broom and was in the air quickly.

Thing number two Ellis had done for me lately. I thought I was going to be sick.

“You’re going to have to fly sooner or later, Perry,” Oliver said, walking by me and getting on his own broom.

“Not in front of an International Quidditch star I’m not!” I shot back, tossing the Nimbus into the grass. “And I’m definitely not on a Hogsmeade weekend when I’m being forced to run laps.”

“It builds character,” he said.

“So do hexes but I don’t have my wand out, do I?”

He rolled his eyes and I flipped him off, returning to my laps.

Sodding idiot. I had to remind myself to thank Ellis—though I’d probably have to write it on every body limb I had because I was likely to forget something like that.




At long last it was Sunday morning—the day Bastian was going back to Brazil to keep playing Quidditch and Alicia was beside herself. Apparently they had talked it out and they had to drop the title of boyfriend/girlfriend while he was in Brazil and if their owl correspondence worked out for the next few months, Alicia would go to Brazil for the summer.

Still, she spent the hour the rest of us were getting ready to see him off crying her eyes out on her bed. Her eyes were red and puffy and I handed her two boxes of tissues.

“Come on, Alicia,” said Angelina, pulling our friend to her feet. “You don’t want the last image Bastian has of you to be you with tears rolling down your cheeks, do you?”

She frowned. “I suppose you’re right,” Alicia said, pulling a sweater over her head. “I just—this week has been amazing. Everyone has really taken to Bastian, you know? We’ve spent each night eating éclairs by the lake. He kissed me when telling me about how my eyes looked like the stars—and he knows about Quidditch! He helped the team-granted, his fame follows him everywhere and people notice him, but I don't care!”

I patted her awkwardly on the head. “Don’t think too much about it. Just write good letters and you can spend the summer in Brazil.”

She sighed and opened the door.

I didn’t know how to console her. Roger didn’t live in a foreign country and wasn’t surrounded by gorgeous goggling girls every second. He lived in the Ravenclaw Tower and was surrounded by, other than me, people like Libby and Mandy Brocklehurst.

So I stayed quiet as we walked down into the common room and passed Ellis (“Tell him I’m writing him about my Feint dive!” he cried as we left). We passed the twins with a sulky-looking Lee and continued down to the Entrance Hall where Bastian promised to meet us. Roger was there as well, which surprised me, but they seemed to be talking about Quidditch so I smiled warmly.

“Surprise,” Roger said with a smirk. “I wanted to walk down with you lot since I need to pick up a few things from Hogsmeade.”

I slipped my hand into his. “Sounds lovely to me!”

“So has Wood lost his mind yet?” asked Roger as we made our way down the slopes toward Hogsmeade. We were trailing behind the girls, mostly because I didn’t want to hear Alicia go on and on about what a wonderful week she had with Bastian—she might accidentally have let something slip that was entirely inappropriate for my ears and then I would be forced to think of Alicia in a different light forever. That, and I wanted some selfish alone-time with Roger. It was difficult with the loads of people going down to Hogsmeade that were jostling around us, but we tried to ignore them.

“Lost his mind? About what? I don’t really think he has one to lose…

Roger smiled. “About the match coming up—has he got you lot doing sprints and push-ups and planning the hexes you’re going to use on my team?”

I chuckled and squeezed his hand. “Yeah, I’m his right-hand-man for that one. Trust me, I’ve got a doosey to use on you.” I winked and kissed his nose. “We’re having a team meeting next week, but other than that and having us practice with Bastian, Oliver is particularly sane.”

“But I’m sure at the meeting that’ll all change,” he said. “This one will probably be—what—three hours? Four? Seven?”

“If I’m lucky,” I muttered. “At least it will be here this time. We finally convinced him that Hogsmeade was a rubbish idea, though I’ll miss the food.”

“That’s a good thing at least—you could magic a comfy chair in there to lounge on while he talks about potty breaks.”

“Good idea,” I said. “And then I could just get some ear muffs so I won’t have to hear him talking about your line-up.”

“I hope he doesn’t know too much about my line-up.” Roger chuckled. “I’ll be out a Cup if he does.”

“I wouldn’t put it past Wood,” I muttered, watching Alicia hold tightly onto Bastian’s arm. “In this stage of the game he has to win, doesn’t he?”




Alicia stayed strong until the train pulled out of Hogsmeade station. She smiled and waved and told Bastian through the window that she’d write every few days and tell him how much she missed him, but once the train slipped out of sight she fell to her knees.

I raised a brow. She’d only known the bloke for two weeks—did that really warrant being on her knees sobbing? Maybe he was just a special man—Quidditch star and all. Or maybe it was because she was finally happy—finally on even footing with everyone else. I frowned.

Angelina put an arm around Alicia and pulled her to her feet.

“You’ll be okay,” said Katie soothingly.

Alicia nodded and looked around as we walked back through the village. Passing Zonkos, she nodded to Lee who was leaving with a bag of goodies. “Hey, Lee,” she said sadly.

“Bastian leave?” he asked quietly.

She sniffed loudly. “Yep. Train just left.” Alicia sniffed again.

“I just finished shopping—why don’t I walk with you back?”

“Hey,” I said quickly. “Roger has to pick up a few things so we’ll catch up later, okay?”

“Sure thing,” Ang said, tipping Alicia onto Lee’s shoulders. She turned to him. “What did you buy, Lee?”

I made a face and Roger and I found our way into Honeydukes for some chocolate to celebrate the fact that he was a few halls down from me in a different tower instead of being across an ocean in Brazil.




I got McGonagall’s note early Monday morning about doing detention later that night in the trophy room. I hated scrubbing the trophies, but I figured all of my detentions writing lines hadn’t really had an effect. I had been so good that year—my fifth being the worst. Oliver and I got in quite a few fights back then. Then, however, it had been about things much more simple than my relationship with Roger.

Oliver met me in the room at eight sharp with a sponge in hand. I had been there for a few minutes, holding a wet rag and staring at the different trophies for school services and other odd things. There was actually an award for Best Levitation Charm. I wondered why they didn’t do that anymore.

We scrubbed for a while in silence, both annoyed at the situation and I was sure at each other. I could see the fury in Oliver’s eyes when I turned. He looked so concentrated.

And then it hit me like a bus.

An overwhelming emotion swept over me. I hated him so much. I loathed him. This time, though, it wasn’t because of what he said about Roger and how he tried to screw up my happiness. It was because he was a prat and didn’t remember the party. He didn’t remember Libby breaking up with him in front of everyone and he didn’t remember kissing me in his bedroom.

Git.

Sodding, stupid git.

“You’re going to polish the silver right off that one if you keep scrubbing that hard,” Oliver said roughly, staring at me.

I stopped, my face flushing. “Oh. Yeah. I got…I was thinking.”

“About what?”

“Why do you care?” I snapped. “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me anyway.”

“Is this about the Libby thing again?” he said, sounding bored.

“This is about how you are a smarmy git,” I replied, turning so that my back was to him and picking up another trophy.

“She’s moved on anyway,” he said after a long silence. “Libby’s got herself another boyfriend. She’s dating one of the other idiots that tried out for the Seeker position.”

“Good for her,” I muttered darkly. Then I whipped around. “Are you in contact with my father?”

Oliver nearly grinned. “What if I am?”

“You need to ruddy stop it!” I shouted, dropping the rag. “I didn’t want him knowing I was the reserve—Blimey, you should have known that! He’s going to get his hopes up now and want to come see me play—OH WAIT. I’m the RESERVE and I DON’T PLAY because we have ELLIS. Merlin, Wood, could you just stay out of my business please?”

He laughed. I narrowed my eyes.

“I thought since you and your dad are so close that he’d want to know.”

“How did you even—eugh, I can’t stand you!” I shouted. This time I picked up the rag and chucked it at his head. I pulled out my wand.

“You’d better be careful,” he said. I could tell in his voice that he was teasing me and I hated it. “McGonagall said she’d meet us up here so if she comes in here and you’re throwing things at me and cursing my brains out, you might just get thrown into another detention.”

“Good,” I mumbled, grabbing another trophy and tucking my wand back into my pocket.

“With Flint,” he said with a chuckle.

I threw the rag again.




I tried my hardest to forget about detention with Oliver after I left that night. The girls were interested in knowing whether or not he walked out of there with limbs hanging from his face, but I went straight to sleep.

Wood was in contact with my father. They talked about Quidditch. They talked about me. That was infuriating. What right did he have—Hell, Roger could have—but he didn’t. No. Roger didn’t meddle in things that didn’t concern him.

Then again, I hadn’t told Roger about the relationship my father and I shared.

Groaning, I rolled over. Angelina and Katie were talking across the room. Alicia was silent, her blankets pulled high over her head.




The following day, however, things were a bit lighter around the dormitory. Alicia had decided to write Bastian her first letter on livid pink parchment (I had no idea where it came from since none of us had ever owned pink parchment in the past). She giggled as she did so and I watched her, interested, while finishing up my Potions essay.

“What do you have to tell him?” Angelina asked, annoyed that Alicia’s giggling had woke her up. “About how you’ve been in bed for a day and I couldn’t get you to eat your potatoes? What a romantic letter.”

“Shut up,” muttered Alicia. “Bastian would love to know about my potatoes.”

“Or lack thereof,” said Angelina, pulling on her robes in irritation. She glanced around. “Anyone coming to breakfast with me?”

Katie raised her hand, rushing out of the bathroom and Alicia folded up her letter.

“I’ll catch up,” I said, checking a fact as the girls left the room. After happily finishing my essay some seconds later, I stuffed it in my bag along with my books, quills, and ink, and hurried down the spiral staircase right into the war zone.

I wasn’t sure how I always got myself into things like this. I just always seemed to be in a bad place at a bad time. This time, for example, the common room was barely full with people trudging off, exhausted, to breakfast. Angelina and Katie were by the door. Both of their mouths were hanging open.

“I can’t believe you’re writing to him.”

Alicia’s eyes flashed. “What’s wrong with him then?” She was clutching her pink parchment unusually tight.

“He’s going to use you, Alicia!” Lee shouted from the fireplace. It looked like he hadn’t had very much sleep. “He’s an International Quidditch Star that has girls goggling over him every minute.”

“He loves me!” she screamed.

“Until the next cute girl comes along that likes him for him instead of his money—Merlin, Alicia! Can’t you see that’s why he wanted to call off the title of boyfriend/girlfriend? Because he wants to date other people!”

“What about Brazil this summer, huh?” Alicia was nearing tears at this point. I didn’t finish walking down the stairs, though I did spot Fred and George peek out from the boys’ dormitories. “How do you explain him wanting me to come stay?”

“He won’t have you stay in Brazil,” Lee went on. “He just didn’t want to break your heart before he left.”

“I don’t believe you! Bastian wouldn’t do that!”

Lee rolled his eyes which only made Alicia more livid. “He’s a Quidditch bloke, Alicia. He’s going to hurt you. Look at this—he’s already hurt you.”

“He—he has not! I was just sad that he left!” Tears were putting streaks on her jaw bone.

“I practically carried you back here,” said Lee. “You were a mess. He led you on.”

“Me?” Alicia’s horror was now turning into anger, something I knew all too well that anyone should avoid. Particularly men. Men that have a problem with who Alicia dates. “I’ve been the single girl around here for a long bleeding time, Lee Jordan. I’ve had to go through all of my roommates snogging at one time or another and gushing about it and I haven’t said a sodding WORD. But finally—at long last—I’m happy and you are trying to ruin it!”

“I’m not trying to—don’t be stupid, Alicia!”

She cut him off. “Who then, Lee? If Bastian will hurt me and every other bloke in here thinks I’m the wallpaper compared to Ang, Katie, and Jane” (we all colored instantly) “then who?” Alicia placed her hands knowingly on her hips. She thought she had won the fight by the look of it.

Me.”

Insert: Jaw hitting floor.

“Ex—excuse me?” Alicia said, sounding like she had something stuck in her throat. “Is that some sort of joke?”

Lee shook his head, his anger subsiding. “Nope. I think we should date, Alicia.”

“I’m—I’m not—Bastian is corresponding with me!” she shouted.

He shrugged, grinning. “Come on, ‘Licia, have dinner with me.”

She had a look of complete shock on her flushed face. “No bleeding way, Lee! You’ve just cornered me about writing to Bastian and you expect me to go to dinner with you—bet you just started to notice me when I was walking around with a Quidditch star, huh?” She laughed nervously, clearly unable to decide which emotion would go best with the current mood.

He shook his head fast and took a few steps toward her. “Alicia, I noticed you months ago. I’ve always thought you were the prettiest of the girls—no offense to them. I just—I thought you thought of me as a brother so I didn’t ask you—I just couldn’t.” Lee paused and looked at Alicia’s face. It looked as if she had just been smacked very hard. “And then you came back with that Brazilian and I tried to lay off, I really did. But the way he—eugh, I don’t think he’s right for you at all. You’re flashy enough for two people, Alicia. He just put you on the backburner so whenever you went out everyone would see him and not how beautiful you are.”

Alicia’s face was now the same shade of the scarlet curtains.

Lee took another step toward her and now they were only a meter apart. He looked confused and hurt and she looked shocked and puzzled. “All I’m saying,” he continued as if he hadn’t let awkward silence invade their publicly private conversation, “is that you should think about the way he makes you look and the way you should look.” Lee sighed and stepped again. “I think you should be sitting on a pedestal, not in the back doing the lighting. Come on, ‘Licia, just have dinner with me.”

She still stared at him, dumbstruck. Her mouth was a bit lopsided.

Lee raised an amused brow at her expression. “Fine. You don’t want to have dinner with me? I see how it is.” It looked as if Fred and George’s smirk was starting to wear off on Lee. Instead of walking away, hurt, he smiled and grabbed Alicia around the waist, pulling her into a long kiss.

None of us really knew how to react. I was still standing on the stairs and I watched Fred and George high-five each other. Oliver came up behind them, his hair tossed from sleeping and my stomach gave a large jolt. Groaning, I knew I was hungry. The girls were waiting by the door so I pushed past a few third years and Alicia and Lee (still snogging) and joined them leaving the Common Room.

“Saw that coming,” muttered Angelina, closing the portrait hole behind us.

“How could you—how did you see that coming?” said Katie.

“Lee’s been miserable for weeks, but it’s been worse since Bastian got here,” she replied and I raised a brow. “I knew he had to snap eventually. Hat’s off to him though. I’m not a morning person—there’s no way I’d have as much fight in me in the morning.”

I smiled. “I like them together,” I said suddenly and the girls grinned. “You guys have something like a trio going—the twins and Lee.”

“You don’t feel left out, do you?” asked Katie, concerned.

“Of course not,” I said, shrugging. “I’ve got Roger stinkin’ Davies. He’s the trump card.” Laughing, we walked into the Great Hall. Taking a seat at the Gryffindor table, I looked up to see Oliver walk in, his hair still messy, and my stomach gave another jolt.

Irritated, I grabbed some ham and eggs to get my stomach to quit doing that.



A/N: Wow, you lot are the best! I've felt so inspired lately...I even posted a bit earlier than I said I would because I love you all so much. All the reviews have been so helpful and fun to read, thanks to everyone who took the time to leave me some love :) It really helps my thought process to be honest.

Next time: Team Meeting of Doom. :)


Chapter 21: The Pressure
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Just thinking about the upcoming team meeting made my insides squirm. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t looking forward to it, it was just that I wasn’t looking forward to it. Not with the way things had been lately.

The tension was starting to get unbearable leading up to the meeting that week—and the game wasn’t for another couple of weeks! No. Things were just awful. Oliver and I weren’t even looking at each other without narrowed eyes. The Ravenclaw Beater tried to get Peeves to drop a chandelier on Fred during lunch. I had even taken to grabbing my Nimbus before practices even though I rarely rode it.

Roger, though he was holding up quite nice, was feeling the pressure as much as I was. He was being verbally attacked by his house for fondling the enemy (a word I thought was completely inappropriate, though I’d never deny it) and letting me get under his skin. How I was getting under his skin is beyond me, especially considering we never talked about Quidditch unless it was about to professional league. Come to think of it, we didn’t talk about much outside of school and my social life with the girls.

At least things with Alicia and Lee seemed to be going well. In the few days since Lee bombarded her with that kiss in the common room, they had taken to seeing a lot of each other. They still hadn’t made it official, but if any girl would have come up to Lee asking to have a butterbeer in Hogsmeade, Alicia would have whipped out her wand and stunned the broad right there.

“Are you going to tell Bastian?” asked Angelina, trying to decide what to wear under her robes for the day. It was the day of the team meeting and for once she wouldn’t have to bundle up to get there.

“Tell him what?” Alicia asked, pausing from brushing her hair.

“That you’re seeing Lee.”

“Lee and I aren’t together,” she said.

Angelina rolled her eyes. “Are you going to tell Bastian or not?”

“Why should I?” Alicia replied. “I’m not about to hurt Bastian for no reason. Bastian and I don’t have the title of together either. He could be dating another girl in Brazil. It doesn’t matter. It hasn’t come up in our letters. I really like him and if things don’t work out with Lee I’d really like to go see him over the summer.”

I nearly snorted. “First no blokes and now two.”

“Don’t be stupid, Bastian will probably forget about me before the summer rolls around.”

“I don’t know with the way he was looking at you,” said Angelina.

“So you like Lee then?” Katie interrupted, plopping back on her bed.

Alicia shrugged with a sly smirk. “I think I do.”

“Any particular reason why you like him more than Bastian? Or is it his way with words?” Angelina smiled. “I hear he picked that up from Fred.”

Alicia tossed a pillow over. “I just like the way he makes me feel. Like I deserve the best, you know? I don’t deserve to pine over a star that will probably just move on to someone else—a guy that I’ll always be in the shadow of.”

“And you don’t like being in the shadow,” said Katie.

“Anyone who knows me knows that,” Alicia said with a laugh.

“If you could, I daresay you’d be all three Chasers,” said Angelina with a smirk.

“I wouldn’t argue,” said Katie roughly. “She’d be the only one going to the stupid meeting today. Well, and Jane. But chances are Jane will just argue with Oliver about something and get to leave early.”

“I have half a mind to pick a fight myself,” said Angelina.

“I don’t pick fights!” I argued, laughing as I remembered the previous team meetings. “He’s just an idiot and I hate him.”

“Hence the jaw swelling you gave him,” muttered Katie.

“You have quite the temper, Jane,” said Alicia in a motherly tone. I laughed. “You ought to watch that around Roger.”

“Roger probably likes it,” said Angelina. “Other boys, on the other hand, might not like it as much.”

“For example,” said Katie, snickering, “Oliver didn’t like it too much when Libby blew up at him.”

Immediately, I turned away. For some reason I felt as if when they saw my face the girls might see that I had snogged Oliver in his room after the breakup. I still couldn’t stop thinking about it—which only made me more furious at Oliver. He didn’t even know. He had no idea. I obviously had no intention of telling him, but still. Part of me wished he could feel the irritation I had in my stomach at the very sight of him—his unknowingly pompous smirk, the hair that was sweaty after he threw up, his strong arms and hands that had curled themselves around me—

“Jane?”

I wheeled around, panic on my face. “Eh?”

“Are you coming to breakfast with us?” Angelina raised a brow.

“Yeah—erm, yeah. Let me grab—got it. Let’s go.” I swung my bag over my shoulder and left in front of the girls, all of whom were wearing the same expression of confusion.




All I could do was stuff food in my mouth at breakfast since Roger didn’t seem to be in the Great Hall and everyone else was talking about how the weather had finally gone mild instead of chilly.

“If this stupid meeting wasn’t in the way, I’d go take a swim,” Fred said loudly.

“It’s still too cold for swimming,” barked Angelina.

“Afraid I’ll get sick?” He raised a brow, smirking.

“I’m afraid during the game you won’t be up to your entire potential and then you’ll let the team down.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time.”

The voice didn’t come from Fred, though. It came from Libby, who was standing behind us. While chewing my toast, I stared. Her arms were folded in front of her, covering part of her blue sweater and her hair was tossed up into a poorly constructed French braid.

“Good point,” said Fred joyfully. “I won’t go swimming then, Ang.”

Angelina smiled, turning back to Fred so that her back was to Libby. “Good.”

Libby, who had obviously not expected this reaction, turned to me.

I groaned.

“I heard you got a new broomstick.”

I nodded. “Yep.”

Libby narrowed her eyes. “I heard you’ve been falling off of it.”

I nodded. “Yep.”

She huffed loudly. “I heard you don’t even want to play.”

I nodded. “Yep. Did you also hear I learned a new hex the other day perfect to turn hair green?” I smiled.

Libby snorted. “You think you’re so cool, Jane Perry, just because you went all soft to take care of the sodding Quidditch Captain after I told him the truth. He needed to hear it, you know!”

Everyone was looking. I shouldn’t have taken the bait. Pfft. Like I wouldn’t.

“You went too far and you know it,” I seethed. “You could have just publicly humiliated him by breaking up with the Quidditch Captain—not telling everyone at a huge party about his personal life! You know what? I’m glad the two of you are done. You didn’t deserve him anyway.” I crossed my arms. “Oh, and don’t think for a moment that you actually broke up with him. He was trying to get you to do that for weeks.”

Katie gaped at me. “Really?” she whispered to Angelina.

Libby was obviously speechless. She started a syllable and then stopped a few seconds later. “You’re full of it, Perry,” she snapped. “You’re just jealous I had the one Quidditch Captain you wanted!”

This time I really snorted. “Are you bleeding kidding me? That’s the only thing you can come up with after pretty much everyone knows how I feel about Wood? Go back to your new boyfriend—isn’t he that third year that nearly toppled off his broom because he was giggling during try-outs?” I was about to go on, but Fred stood up behind me.

“This has gone on long enough,” he said soberly and Libby gaped at him. “We’ve got a meeting and unless you’re on the Quidditch team, sod off.”

Smiling at Fred, I stood up and followed the rest of the team out of the room. I lost sight of them at first in a sea of blue and gray Ravenclaw scarves, but caught up to the twins just outside of classroom six. George opened the door for me and I dodged around a few people to get inside.

My heart was still beating fast when I entered. I was furious—enraged! Pfft. I had to be mad to actually stick up for Oliver Wood when I was mad at him. I took a seat near the end of the table beside Ellis and George, and stared up at the quiet Oliver writing on a chalk board.

“You all right?” whispered George and I nodded. “I could have slipped her something, you know. I just thought you could handle it.”

“Did a pretty good job too,” said Fred from his other side.

I smiled as Oliver turned around. He looked stressed out and there were slight bags under his eyes, but he was clearly alert. After tapping his wand on the chalkboard, his writing vanished and new writing popped up. I groaned. It was a pie chart.

Luckily, that explanation only took twenty minutes and Fred was still awake by the time Oliver finished. He switched to the next chart.

“I think one of the main things we need to work on is passing,” said Oliver loudly. “We have the best Chasers around but we keep giving up turnovers.”

“How do we know?” said Katie, laughing. “We haven’t played long enough to give up two.”

Oliver frowned. “We just have to work off of practice.” He paused. “Anyway, you’re always passing over and I think people have picked up on that.”

“It’s more comfortable,” said Angelina. “And easier to catch.”

Oliver shrugged. “And everyone sees it coming so Davies could easily just grab it out of the air and chuck it in a hoop.”

“Except you’ll save it,” said George joyfully.

“Also,” Oliver said, ignoring the comment. “Fred—George. You’re aiming too high. I saw three people dodge those Bludgers you sent at them. It’s easy now that they know what body part you’re aiming for.”

“Will do, Cap’n,” Fred said with a salute.

“And Ellis—have you been working on your Feint?” Oliver asked.

Ellis nodded. “Got those private lessons with Bastian last week.”

Alicia shifted in her seat.

“Good.” Oliver tapped his wand against the chalkboard again and Ravenclaw stats came up.

I let my head tilt back. Without the food that The Three Broomsticks provided, I wasn’t able to stay awake and drifted off somewhere around their balance records and how Roger’s hair ruined his aerodynamics.

“Do you lot want an intermission break or not?”

Since Oliver said it so forcefully, I jerked awake and looked around at the others. Fred was still sleeping, his drool leaking onto the table. The girls shrugged, George shook his head, and Ellis said something about wanting to eat sometime before dinner.

I checked my watch. It was two in the afternoon! We’d been there for four hours!

“Intermission?” I said, staring at the chalkboard. The writing was about the different ways the Ravenclaws kicked off in certain kinds of weather. “There’s more?”

“Yes, Perry, there’s more,” Oliver barked. “I wouldn’t expect you to care, but some people really are on the team.”

“Fred’s over here giving the table a fresh coat of saliva!” I snapped.

“I’m sure he knows this already.”

I gaped at him. “He knows that Collins flies slightly to the left on sunny days?”

“Sure.” Oliver smiled.

Angrily, I folded my arms. I was regretting standing up for him to Libby already. What a prat he was.

“Have something to say, Perry?”

I looked up. Angelina shot me a very nasty look clearly stating that she didn’t want me to lose my temper.

“Never do,” I replied between gritted teeth.

His smile was toying with me, but I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t want to be predictable.

“I heard what happened in the Great Hall this morning.”

My jaw dropped. “How could you hear that—we came right up here!”

“While you were taking a nap, I was filled in.”

Groaning, I placed my head on the table. What an idiot I was, standing up for a huge prat. I should have just agreed with Libby and given her half of my toast.

Who was I kidding? Agreeing with Libby was practically putting on that obnoxious bunny costume and hopping around like a git.

“It was nice of you to snap at her like that,” Oliver said slowly, “but I found it more interesting you’re still telling people that she broke up with me. When really, I broke up with her.”

“No, I told her that you had been trying to get rid of her for weeks,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Which means that technically you broke up with her anyway.” Why were we talking about this at a team meeting?

“No. That night. At the party. I broke up with Libby.”

“No,” I said loudly. “That night. At the party. She broke up with you.”

The color was staring to rise in his face and I was surprised to feel my heart beating wildly in frustration. Why couldn’t he just see? Why couldn’t he remember?

I pulled my head up off the table. “How can you not remember?”

It looked as if everyone else was staying out of it. Fred was obviously awake but pretending to be asleep so I wouldn’t drag him into this. The girls were all staring at knots in the table.

“You’re really arrogant, you know that, Perry?”

I’m arrogant?” My voice was rising. “How in Merlin’s knickers am I arrogant? I was there. I was right. There.”

“I was there too!” he shouted and Alicia groaned. “Stupid fifth years don’t just go around breaking up with Quidditch Captains!”

“Apparently they do,” I said mockingly. This seemed to work him up all the more.

“I love how you go around here strutting your stuff like you’re so bleeding wonderful because you’ve got Roger-I’m-a-stinkin’-prat-Davies as your boyfriend,” he went on and my eyes bore into his like fire. “Your entire perception is skewed! You’re too busy with your head up his—”

“How can you even say that when I wasn’t even with Roger when that happened?” I shouted. Somehow I was on my feet and Fred’s head jerked up. “I don’t believe you, Wood!”

“Don’t believe what? You don’t have your head there?” He was laughing at me.

“I don’t believe that you don’t bloody remember!” I cried. “You know what happened! Libby broke up with you! She told you off right there in the common room—she told everyone about your father—then she acted like the little jerk she was and marched out. You were stunned. You didn’t even MOVE. I had to grab the red wine and cart you out of there before the whispers started.”

“I remember that,” whispered Angelina, staring at the ceiling.

“That’s where my wine went,” Katie said.

“That’s bollocks,” said Oliver.

“I took you upstairs to calm you down!” I continued, yelling louder now. “I let you rant and rant and rant about stupid Libby and how stupid she was and how much you hated her after what she said. I would have too—Hell, I did hate her! Though now I’m starting to hate her less and less.” I folded my arms and I could see fire in Oliver’s eyes. I couldn’t stop. My common sense didn’t stop me when my anger took over (I should really get that checked out).

“And then you drank! I think you drank a good three quarters of the entire bottle of wine in under fifteen minutes!” I said and Katie gaped at Oliver. “Do you remember now? Do you remember draining it and me trying to get it back from you? Do you remember playing tug-of-bleeding-war with it and me flying on top of you while the wine flew on the other side of the room? How about you kissing me on your bed? How about that kiss lasting for one hell of a long time before YOU had to throw up over the side of the bed and I had to nurse you back to health until four in the morning before you made me play with your hair until you fell asleep? DO YOU REMEMBER THAT?!

Immediately, once I finished, I realized what I had said. I hadn’t while I was saying it, but the expressions now staring at me were ones I couldn’t ignore. Ellis had a look of complete shock on his face. The girls had similar looks, except Katie had spilled her water and ignored it. Fred and George were grinning and Oliver was staring at me without a single change to his livid eyes.

The silence in the room was suffocating me. I looked around, my hands pressed over my mouth as if I had just uttered the dirtiest swear word in front of my father. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest that I could hardly hear myself think.

What.Did.I.Just.Say?

“Jane,” said Angelina, more than likely realizing how my brain was slowly reacting to this.

Without saying anything or looking at Oliver again, I turned and rushed out of the room, nearly tripping over a small blond boy that had fallen asleep in the hallway. Apologizing, I ran as fast as I could up to the Gryffindor Common room and then into my dormitory, slamming the door behind me. There were tears I hadn’t noticed stinging on my cheeks and I pulled the curtains shut around my four-poster before the girls rushed in.

“Jane!” shouted Alicia, whipping back my curtains as quickly as I had closed them. She leapt onto my bed. “Jane, why didn’t you tell us?”

Angelina sat down and Katie leaned against the bedpost.

“Well, he was drunk, wasn’t he?” I said, sobbing stupidly. “And I was just being nice to him since he’d just been humiliated by Libby! I didn’t think it mattered.”

“And then he didn’t remember,” muttered Angelina, more than likely thinking back to breakfast the following day.

“It didn’t matter that he didn’t remember that,” I said slowly. “I was just furious he didn’t remember Libby breaking up with him.”

We were quiet for a moment, Alicia leaning her head against my knee and Katie staring with her arms folded pensively.

“What happened after I left?” I asked quietly.

“We only stuck around for a second,” said Angelina. “Long enough to give Oliver disgusted looks and then we ran for you.”

“The twins stayed though,” said Katie. “And Ellis.”

“How did—I shouldn’t have…”

Alicia shrugged. “You got a bit carried away. I think it’s good though. He needed to know. And who knows—he might remember bits of it.”

“I would prefer he didn’t,” I muttered.

“Why? You a bad kisser?” said Ang with a chuckle.

I smiled warmly at her.

“With the way Dodger talks about her with his friends you’d think she was anything but,” said Alicia and I smacked her with my pillow. “Pfft! Don’t go smacking me. It’s me that should be mad at you lot anyway.”

I raised a brow. “How do you figure?”

“You went and let all of this rubbish happen when I was on holiday!”




I looked at myself in the mirror the next morning. I was going to go to breakfast. I wasn’t going to look at Oliver Wood. I wasn’t going to talk to Oliver Wood. I wasn’t going to let it seem like this entire situation bothered me. I was going to walk with my face forward and my bag over my shoulder. That was it.

That lasted until I got down the Transfiguration corridor and then a person appeared right in my line of vision.

“Perry. We need to talk.”

I groaned. “Don’t want to talk about it.”

“You wanted to talk about it last night.”

I pushed past Oliver. “Don’t want to talk about it now.”

“Don’t be stupid—here, come in here.” Grabbing my arm, he jerked me into an empty classroom.

It was dark inside and I folded my arms once I threw my bag on one of the desks. “What do you want, Wood? I don’t want to talk to you.”

“I’m sorry,” he said quickly, before I had a chance to react and pull my wand on him.

“You’re—what?

“I’m sorry,” he said, not meeting my eyes. “I was stupid. I didn’t realize that affected you as much as it did. I thought you were just trying to get me even more humiliated than I already was.”

“How could you say that—I stood up for you to LIBBY when I should have been eating toast!”

Oliver frowned. “I know. I said sorry.” He paused for a moment and the silence seemed to consume him. “I knew she broke up with me. I always knew it. That’s the only part of that night I could really remember. I remember how humiliated I was—the best Keeper at this stupid school and I was getting dumped by a fifth year.” He groaned, the pain still obviously stinging. “But then when you said—when you told me what happened.” Another pause. “It all came—it came rushing back like I had drunken amnesia or something.”

I chose that moment to look at the floor.

“And I’m sorry,” Oliver said again. “I can’t believe I did that to you. Part of me probably thought it would show Libby, you know? Snogging the girl she thought I was snogging to begin with.” He laughed. “God, that was stupid. I probably shouldn’t drink that much that fast anymore.”

“You think?” I said, trying my best to smile. My gut still felt like exploding.

“I was out of order, Perry.” Oliver put his hand on my chin and forced my gaze to meet his. “That was a stupid thing to do. And as for Dodger…”

“Oh, are we doing this again?” I rolled my eyes, wrenching my jaw from his grasp.

“No. No, listen,” he said quickly. “If you think that he’s not using you or being a prat or…or doing anything that would make me want to hex his brains out—I’m going to stay out of it. I swear,” he added when I didn’t look entirely convinced. “Because I put you in that position when I…you know…then I’ll stay out of you and Dodger’s weird, corrupted relationship.”

That time, I did smile. “Thank you,” I said formally. “I’d appreciate it.”

“Walk to breakfast?” he asked, pulling open the door. “I hear there’s sausage this morning.”

“Well, in that case!” I said with a laugh and the pair of us walked down to the Great Hall, Oliver asking if I had any sleep at all since I slept for three and a half hours during his meeting the previous day.

When we entered, however, our conversation was cut short by angry yells. We stopped and stared for a moment, both of us taking in the picture quite differently.

The Ravenclaw table was in an uproar. It was a happy uproar, though. They were laughing and singing and holding large signs. I squinted my eyes, trying to make out the lettering as I felt Oliver tense next to me.


GRYFFINDORS pass the Quaffle UP, they’ll try to go DOWN

GRYFFINDORS hit the Budgers at your HEAD, they’ll go LOWER

ELLIS is going to FEINT

OUR TEAM KNOWS YOUR SECRETS. HOW DOES THAT FEEL?



I could tell Oliver wanted to murder someone right there. That’s when my eyes traveled over to the Gryffindor table. They were also in an uproar, but not a happy one. Fred was on one of the benches, screaming distasteful words at the Ravenclaws. Angelina was trying to pull him down with no luck and Katie had thrown an apple at Collins. It looked as if McGonagall was handing out detentions for the behavior.

“Jane!” Roger was running toward me with a panicked look on his face.

“What’s all this?” I said, still shell-shocked. “Roger, what’s going on?”

“Jane, I just got here too—Blimey, I don’t know what happened but it seems like—”

Oliver narrowed his eyes at Roger. “How did they know? How could they possibly know?”

Roger looked distressed. “That’s just it. I have no idea.”

“Going to Hogsmeade,” I muttered. “God, I was so careless.”

Oliver rounded on me. “Careless? What? Perry, what did you do?

“I told Roger we weren’t having the meeting in Hogsmeade,” I muttered.

“And you went and told all your mates then, did you?” snapped Oliver.

“No!” Roger spat. “I’d never go that dirty, Wood! You know that!”

“There were other people,” I said, cutting them off. “Other people around us that were going to Hogsmeade too.” I almost laughed. “Someone must have heard.”

“And of course they wouldn’t tell me about it,” muttered Roger sadly. “They think I’m a bad Captain since I’m dating you. Bloody hell.”

I gasped. “I tripped over a blond boy sleeping when I ran out yesterday.” I scanned the crowd. “That one.”

“Roberts? He’s our third-year Beater,” said Roger sadly.

“What are we supposed to do now?” yelled Oliver. “That little sneak—I told you lot we needed to have the meetings in Hogsmeade! Now we’ll have to practice constantly to throw everything off! Blimey, Davies, can’t you control your team?”

“Sorry, Wood, but I’ve got priorities,” Roger said. He squeezed my hand and returned to the Ravenclaw table to try and do damage control.

I glanced over at Oliver. “So…practice tonight then?”

“And the next night. And the one after that.” Oliver’s lips were barely there and his eyes were like slits. “Bring your Nimbus.”




He wasn’t joking. Oliver kept us at it for days, determined to throw off the Ravenclaws and get us into top shape. Part of me hoped Ellis didn’t catch the snitch in five minutes just so the rest of the players had a chance to play since they had been working so hard.

We practiced for weeks before the match and when we weren’t practicing we were studying. I barely finished a few essays before the class they were due, but Oliver didn’t seem to care. We still weren’t entirely comfortable around each other, Oliver and me, but things were getting better and I didn’t feel like punching him in the gut every time we talked (unless he was ordering me to do laps and then I wanted to punch him very hard indeed).

Everyone seemed to be finally doing exceptionally well—Angelina and Fred had taken to sneaking off in the middle of the night to have romantic strolls by the lake (one of which was interrupted by Peeves) and Lee and Alicia had officially added a title, though Alicia hadn’t told Bastian in a letter yet. Roger and I spent most meals laughing about something Mandy had in her teeth or how Professor Trelawney seemed to have bug eyes.

We were near exhaustion by a week before the game and by the time there was only two days left, the girls and I were barely talking before falling into our beds at night. I woke around one in the morning, three nights before the game, and stared around the quiet room. Katie had left her candle lit and it was nearly burned down, but I could see her snuggling with a pillow. Alicia was sprawled out over the bed, one leg over the edge. I glanced at Angelina’s bed.

She wasn’t there.

Raising a brow, I stood up. Hadn’t she been there when we were released from practice and had flopped on our beds to get some sleep before Charms early the following morning? Yet she wasn’t there. Her blankets weren’t even messed up from her sleeping in them.

I pulled my wand as the door opened behind me. Angelina gasped.

“Oh,” I whispered. “Sorry. I didn’t know where you were and the bathroom light was off.”

“I was,” she began, closing the door behind her. “I was with Fred.”

I nodded, climbing back into bed, my heart still hammering from being frightened. “Oh. Sorry, I just didn’t know if you died or something.” I smiled. “Night then!” I pulled the covers up to my chest and leaned back against my pillow.

Angelina didn’t move from across the room. “We had sex.”

I leapt up, careful not to scream because I didn’t want to wake the other girls. “You did—you did what?” I didn’t know what to say. Congrats? How was it?

Ang slipped next to me on the bed and pulled the blankets up on us both. “Yeah. We went out for a walk again, you know….because we barely get alone time anymore with all of these practices. And it was so nice outside…you probably saw at practice…but it was beautiful. There were so many stars and we just sat by the lake for a while talking and he said that he loved me.” There was enormous smile planted on her face.

I couldn’t help it. I hugged her tight. “And?” I said, fulfilling my duty as a best friend.

“And we just started kissing…and then one thing led to another…I don’t even know how it happened. It was so…Jane, I don’t even know what to think…”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Was it bad?”

“No, no!” she said quickly. “It was just…I really love him.” She smiled widely again. “It felt…right.”

“That’s because it was right.” I hugged her again.

She paused for a moment. “He was really…nice too.” She blushed. It looked difficult to talk about so I didn’t ask questions because if I had just had sex with Roger my face would be the color of the twins’ hair. “He didn’t pressure me or anything, you know? Just asked me if I was sure when we were at the lake and I said yes…and…”

I made a face. “So…how…was it?” I couldn’t not ask. Another duty.

“Well,” she said, her voice a bit clearer now, “it hurt a bit.” She sighed. “But then it didn’t hurt as much and it was…different. But in a good way.” She laughed nervously.

I gave her a third hug and we both sank back against my pillows. It was quiet for a moment and I could hear Katie’s breathing and Alicia’s slight snores. “I’m happy for you,” I whispered at last. “You and Fred belong together.”

She smirked. “And to think we got in that silly fight over all of this rubbish.”

I yawned and put the side of my head against hers. “When are you going to tell the girls?”

“I think I’ll wait a while,” she said. “Whenever it’s right I think. Maybe I’ll wait until after the game. I don’t want to give them something else to take their mind off the game.”

I laughed. “You know they'll want a play-by-play.”

Angelina groaned. “I forgot about that.” She laughed a bit. “Night, Jane.”

“Night, Ang.”




Though no one else noticed, I could see that Fred and Angelina were closer than ever at breakfast the next morning. They spent the time talking in hushed voices while Alicia complained that she had a crick in her neck from sleeping wrong the previous night. Lee offered to give her a little back rub and I almost vomited on my food.

Luckily, the post arrived and I opened the newest letter from my dad asking about the broom. I laughed at his wording (clearly he was hoping to get an invite to the game) and figured I’d send him along a ticket but write in big, bold capital letters that I was very unlikely to play considering we had the best Seeker in the bleeding school. But he hadn’t seen Hogwarts Quidditch in years and who was I to take that away?

“Bloody—fuck.” Oliver pushed his breakfast away beside me to read the letter he had received. It was written very neatly, though I could make out none of the words.

“Hmm?” I said slowly, yawning a bit.

“I’ve got to—fuck.” He stood up and left the hall, but only I seemed to notice since Alicia was now getting a back rub and Angelina was feeding Fred grapes.

Raising a brow, I stood up to go after him.

“Hey, Jane!” Roger swept me into a quick kiss. He had been happy ever since he convinced his team that they were prats and made them run laps for being lousy sports about the game.

“Hey,” I said, losing sight of Oliver as he turned the corner.

“Something on your mind?”

I turned back to him. “No. Just—no. Nothing.” I smiled. “Have to go get my Nimbus and practice again.”

“During your free period?” Roger frowned. “He’s really working you lot, isn’t he?”

I shrugged. “Something like that. Want to have dinner later?”

He grinned. “Good idea.” Roger kissed me on the nose. “Good luck, love!”

I waved and rushed out of the hall, tearing up the stairs.

I found Oliver in the Gryffindor Common Room alone, staring at the same letter he had opened at the breakfast table. “Hey, Wood,” I said and he jumped up. “No need to get excited.”

“I—okay, see you, Perry.” He went for the stairs.

“Wood, what’s in that letter?”

“Nothing,” he barked, taking them two at a time. I heard his dormitory door slam. He had looked frustrated and panicked.

I wanted to know why.

Feeling a bit curious, I walked up the spiral staircase to the boys’ dormitories and pushed open his door. Oliver was on the bed and he shoved the letter under his pillow.

“Perry, get out.”

“No.” I folded my arms and shut the door behind me. “What’s in it?”

“Get out.”

I sighed dramatically. “I’ve already made it clear that I’m not leaving. What has you so freaked out?”

He didn’t move, so I did. I leapt over his trunk, onto his bed, and threw the pillow at him as he tried to come at me. Grabbing the parchment, I rolled onto the other side of the bed and gasped.

“PERRY!” Oliver couldn’t do anything. I already had it in my hands.



Dear Mr. Oliver Wood,

The Brazilan International Team has recently lost the fine talents of our infamous Keeper, Charles Jones, due to serious injury. Usually protocol is to call up the Keeper from the minors, but our Seeker, Bastian Ricci, has expressed serious interest in your gameplay. I would like to extend an invitation for you to come to Brazil immediately (Saturday afternoon at the latest) to train with the team and be our starting Keeper in the upcoming game against the Finches. If you play well, you could be looking at a full-time contract.

Yours,

Davi Costa

General Manager



My eyes flew to Oliver. “Oh my God,” I said loudly. “Oh, bloody Merlin, Oliver, this is huge.”

His eyes fell to the ground in front of me. “I know,” he said slowly.

“What’s the problem then? Looks like Bastian put in a good word for you.” I tried to smile.

“I have to leave tomorrow morning,” he said slowly. “I can’t reschedule since the game is on Sunday.”

I gaped at him, realizing why he had been so stressed out. “But tomorrow—tomorrow is…”

“The Quidditch Final,” he said, finishing my sentence.

I stood up, setting the letter on the bed. “What are you going to do?” I whispered.

“I don’t know,” Oliver replied, still not meeting my eyes. “This is my dream—this is what I’ve been waiting years to do. And to not even start in the minors—right up to the big leagues! God, I’d be a fool to give it up.”

“Yes, you would,” I said slowly.

“But at the same time—my team!” He was clearly in the middle of a horrible internal struggle. “I’ve trained you lot for months. I made you go to a sodding retreat when you weren’t getting along. I’ve made you do more laps than you did spells.” He frowned. “And to just walk out.”

I backed up. “Well, I can’t influence you,” I said slowly. “This is your dream or your team. Either way you get what you want.”

“But whichever way I don’t pick—someone gets hurt. My pride, my father, myself—or my team.”

I opened the door. “Do what makes you happy, Oliver.”

“You called me Oliver.” His eyes met mine and I was furious to feel a jolt in my stomach.

“I know.” I smiled slightly and closed the door behind me.




Not wanting to panic anyone, I didn’t tell the girls. I went back to the dormitory to finish my Potions essay before going to class and concocting a horrible potion since my mind was elsewhere. I then went to Charms and was given extra homework to work in it since, once again, my mind was elsewhere.

What in Dumbledore’s name was he going to do?

I couldn’t think about it too much. He was clearly thinking about it all day because every time I happened to catch a glimpse of Oliver, he was deep in thought and actually ran into a few people.

At dinner, I tried to smile with Roger and talk about how Oliver was working the team hard and how Roger had gotten under McGonagall’s skin by saying they’d never use that spell in real life. She was a little rattled. Come to think of it, I was a little rattled.

So I decided, after a day of confusion and my mind beyond elsewhere, that I would sit in the Common room and enjoy the company of my friends the night before the match. Oliver had called off practice (“WHAT?!” cried Angelina) and had taken to walking around the castle. I didn’t care. It was raining anyway.

“Something’s wrong with him,” Angelina whispered while Fred was in the middle of a story about catching a few Doxies on the fourth floor.

“Who? Fred?” asked Katie.

“No. Oliver.”

I glanced over. “He’s just pressured.” I didn’t say what about.

“He’s never been this pressured,” Katie replied.

“This is his last game,” I said quickly. “He needs to get picked up by a scout. He’s just having a little freak out. He’ll be fine as long as you lot are on top of your game.”

At that moment, Oliver walked through the door. He looked horrible. His hair was tossed in all different directions and there was sweat going down his face, making him look like he had just taken a jog from the Great Hall. Even his robes were a bit wrinkled and the expression he wore on his face made him look like he had just walked through a thousand Nearly Headless Nick’s.

“Wood—what? What’s going on?” said Angelina, rushing to her feet.

He didn’t speak.

“Oliver?” said Katie. “Are you all right?”

“Did you see someone dead?” asked Fred.

He was looking directly at me. Did I do something again? It was probably something Roger did. Damn it.

“Oliver, can you even hear me?” said Katie.

Oliver walked straight toward me. I stayed very still in my poufy chair. Our eyes were locked and he got to his knees in front of me.

He leaned closer.

I leaned closer.

“Jane,” he said, his voice quick and panicked.

“What?” I said, sort of annoyed now. Was this about the letter?

“Jane, Ellis is in the hospital wing. He got cursed pretty bad about twenty minutes ago—he’s not waking up but Madam Pomfrey said he’d be fine eventually.” Oliver swallowed hard, but never blinked.

“Jane, you’ve got to play tomorrow.”






A/N: So sorry I just gave you a huge bunch of stuff all in one chapter. I reread it and realized how much stuff really happened in this one! Wow! :) Anyway, I hope you are enjoying this--it's getting down to the wire. At this point I think it will be 27 chapters, maybe 28 if some scenes last longer than others. I'm in the middle of tweaking 25 and 26 right now.

Anyway--favorite quotes? Parts? What do you think about the ending?


Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU to all of those lovely people that review. Over 200 now--you guys are truly amazing and a HUGE inspiration to me...hence while I'm writing chapter 26 right now haha and doing edits on the others. THANK YOU.


Heyyy and if you have any questions or comments about the story, I have one of those nifty Meet the Author pages too! :) 


Chapter 22: Oh Captain! My Captain!
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He leaned closer.
I leaned closer.


“Jane,” he said, his voice quick and panicked.

“What?” I said, sort of annoyed now. Was this about the letter?

“Jane, Ellis is in the hospital wing. He got cursed pretty bad about twenty minutes ago—he’s not waking up but Madam Pomfrey said he’d be fine eventually.” Oliver swallowed hard, but never blinked.

“Jane, you’ve got to play tomorrow.”






I was silent. I heard the gasps and the drinks falling out of hands around me. I was vaguely aware that my jaw was lopsided and that Oliver was still staring at me. Angelina fell into her chair. The entire room was becoming a blur and I thought for a moment that if I was standing up I would have fainted.

“I—I’m sorry, what?” My voice seemed to mesh together in my head. Everything was a bit fuzzy, even the outline of Oliver’s face.

“Are you quite sure?” Alicia cut in, pulling on Oliver’s shoulder. “Ellis is really down for the count?”

“I got thrown out for trying to shake him awake,” Oliver said suddenly. He turned back to me. “We can go out to the pitch right now if you want to.” He placed a hand on my thigh. “We can practice all night.”

I shook my head. This was impossible. I couldn’t play. I didn’t play Quidditch. I definitely didn’t play Seeker. I wasn’t Ellis. I had barely flown in months unless they counted the few times I fell off my broom and tried not to kill myself. This just—there was no way.

“You’re kidding,” was all I managed to say.

“I wish I was kidding,” he muttered and I didn’t take it offensively. Of course he wished he was. Ellis was the best Seeker this school had seen for years.

“I can’t—I’ve never—this is ridiculous.” That was all I could manage to say. No one else spoke but I could feel Oliver squeeze gently on my leg. “I can’t catch a bloody Snitch! Isn’t there a reserve for the reserve? You need to get me out of this. You got me into this.” My body was starting to panic—the very thought of going onto a field with scarlet robes on while hundreds of students were counting on me to catch a little gold ball was ludicrous.

“Jane, listen to me.” Oliver’s voice was hushed—the same tone as when Roger and I broke up over Christmas. “You’re going to be fine. You caught it fine during try-outs and once you’re up there, you don’t fall as much.” I gave him a scathing look. “Besides,” he said quickly, trying to give me confidence that never came, “we’ll be working extra hard to make sure that even if you don’t catch the Snitch we’ll win.”

I groaned.

“Ravenclaw has to beat us by forty to win,” he went on. “You’ll be fine, Jane.”

I stood up quickly and nearly knocked Oliver on his rear end. “I’ve got to—I’m going for a walk.” I pushed past the rest of the team and ran for the portrait hole. How I made it down the stairs and outside without getting caught was beyond me, but there I was: standing in front of the lake with my arms pulled around me and the wind slipping into my hair.

This was impossible. It was all supposed to be a stupid, spiteful joke anyway—me even making the Quidditch team. Oliver just wanted to put me through Hell. And he did. I thought that was punishment enough—going to those team meetings. Having to freeze my arse off during that retreat. Attending every practice after that and running so many laps that my legs would never be out of shape. Wasn’t that enough?

No. Of course not. Now I had to walk out there—I could just see the pitch in my head—and try to remember everything Oliver told me at the team meeting while I was sleeping. Which way did Roger kick off? And the Ravenclaw Seeker—what was his name again? Oliver mentioned them getting a new Seeker since their female Seeker was injured in their Slytherin game but I couldn’t even place a name. Was he prone to feinting? The crowd would be enormous from there—nearly on top of you screaming things with their posters and chants. They were funny before—the Slytherins making up silly songs about the Gryffindors, but all of a sudden they didn’t sound so amusing anymore.

My stomach dropped.

My father would be there. I sent him a ticket when he asked for it and he said he would be there. In the stands. Watching me. Watching his daughter play the sport he was so obsessed with. I groaned. This was a nightmare.

Maybe I could just pinch myself and wake up from this express of disaster.

Ouch.

Perhaps not.

“Jane.”

I closed my eyes. As if this night couldn’t get worse. I flew around, staring Oliver right in the face. It was apparent he had tried to flatten his hair a bit before approaching me. “Look,” I said roughly, holding up my hands, “don’t you dare let this influence your choice.”

“My—what choice?

“With the letter. And the team in Brazil.”

I thought I saw him roll his eyes. “Jane, I’ll think about that later. Are you all right?”

I shrugged. “As good as I could be I guess.”

“Do you need—what can I do?”

“Wake me up from this nightmare.” I smiled weakly. “Other than that, nothing.”

“Are you sure—God, I feel like this is all my fault.” His eyes fell to the grass between us.

“Well, it is.” I smiled again, this time at his dumbfounded expression. “It’s all right though. There’s nothing you can do—at least you have me or there wouldn’t be anyone to play.”

Oliver took a few steps forward. “Look, Jane, I don’t know what’s going through your head right now, but you’re going to be fine. I can practice with you now if you want. We can go turn on the stadium lights and practice through the night if you want. Anything.”

I shook my head. “You have a lot more on your mind then making sure I can stay on my broom.” I tried to laugh, but knew I really wanted the extra help more than anything. “Just go back upstairs and mill it over. I’ll be fine. Seriously. I’m just…freaking a bit.”

“Is your dad coming?” Oliver asked suddenly.

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Yes, he is. Now that he knows I’m on the team. Thanks to someone.”

He smirked. “Good. I sent him extra tickets just in case you didn’t.” He beamed and I tried to punch him in the arm, but he dodged it too quickly and I hit the air. “I’ll be up in my room if you need me, okay?”

I nodded, watching him walk back up to the castle. Though I had remained calm so that Oliver wouldn’t freak out, my insides were a mess. I felt like I was going to throw up all over my shoes.

Stupid sodding Ellis. Why did he have to go and get himself hexed? If he wasn’t so good, people wouldn’t want to hex him. I groaned. Stupid Ellis. He had no idea.

Ellis.

Breathing in deeply, I made a run for the castle. I tore through the hallways and up to the hospital wing where I crept through the door and immediately saw Ellis two beds from the end with the curtains open. Everything was tidy around him and I knew he wasn’t faking this one. Not one magazine had been opened and two were still in plastic wrap.

I sat on the edge of his bed and stared at him—stupid Danny-Boy. He looked so peaceful—so—good at Seeking. I wished he could transfer some of his talent into me for just one day. I poked him in the ribs.

“Ellis. Hey, Ellis. Give me some of your Seeker powers,” I said desperately, clinging to any hope that he might hear me. “Seriously. If you don’t, we’re going to lose. And by lose I mean be demolished. Psst. Ellis. Come on. Do it.” I pressed his shoulder. “I’ll tell Elizabeth you’ve been flirting with Libby. I swear. I’ll do it.” This time, I grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him up and down. He didn’t move. I shook him again. “Ellis!” I whispered violently, shaking again. “Damn you.” Setting him still, I groaned. He was as hopeless unconscious as he was conscious.

Bollocks.

As it was late, my next option for the evening was to go to sleep. Out of all the things I thought I could do at the moment, sleep was right up there with catching the Snitch.

I retreated to the common room, only to be bombarded with the noise behind the portrait. At first I thought the group was having a Cup party a day early, but then I realized when Libby shot me a scathing look that it was because of me.

“Are you kidding me?” said a nearby third year. “How can we—do we even know if she can catch a Snitch?”

“Losing Ellis now? No bleeding WAY!

“We’re going to lose! I’ve seen her at practices! All she does is laps!”

“That’s why she has such nice legs,” said Fred, poking a few fourth years in the head. “Scram.” He pushed them out of my way. “All right, Janey?”

I shrugged, trying to ignore the conversation around me. The problem was, it was everyone.

“Jane, I swear to Merlin if you let us down after Ellis got us this far…” That one was Libby.

I turned and stared at her, trying to decide if I wanted to say anything. Quickly deciding that I had said all I needed to when I screamed at her the last time, I veered back to the spiral staircase and listened to my name be tossed around on lips that had never spoken to me.

The girls were quiet when I walked in. Katie was tossing a Quaffle up and down while lying in bed. Angelina was finishing up an essay, looking anxiously at me. Alicia closed her Qudditch magazine to stare at me.

“Hey,” I said weakly, my hands still feeling a bit weird from shaking Ellis. “I’ve got quite the fan club downstairs.” Smiling, I kicked off my shoes and started going through my bag, searching for a quill for no apparent reason other than to look like I was doing something.

“So I heard,” muttered Angelina.

“Jane, you’re going to be fine, you know,” said Katie. “I’ve seen you practice and you’re far better than you think you are.”

“Just no Ellis,” I said bitterly.

“Well, Ellis is hardly Ellis sometimes,” said Alicia, trying to smile.

I shrugged.

“Listen, we’ll help you practice tonight if you want,” said Angelina. “I’ve got my broom up here and we can go down together and I’ll turn on the lights and we can catch the Snitch together.”

I shook my head. “Oliver already offered. Don’t worry about it. I just want to sleep.” Frowning, I climbed into bed fully-clothed. I pulled the blankets up over my eyes and tried to drown out the sounds of whispering around me and the echo of complaints from the common room.

I stayed still for a few hours, just listening to the tiny noises around the room. I was clinging to Roger’s teddy bear, hoping it would be a skilled Seeker and could pass on the powers that shaking Ellis could not. I didn’t feel any better. My stomach was thinking about exploding and all I could do was lie on my side and stare at the underside of the blanket.

I couldn’t to this. I couldn’t realistically walk out onto that pitch tomorrow with confidence. Groaning, I turned over. The candles had been blown out and the whispers were dying down now. I couldn’t be on the opposite side of the pitch as Roger in the morning. He knew what he was doing—how to fly. How to duck. How to be a real Quidditch player. I read about it in magazines and got angry with my Captain for being a prat. That was as close as I had come.

Shit.

My Captain.

There was a pretty good chance Oliver wouldn’t be with us for the Final. We could find a quick reserve, I was sure of it. I was pretty sure Oliver had mentioned a few people being interested in being reserves—he had just forgotten to hold trials after the Seeker try-outs. Leave it to him.

What if he didn’t show up though? He’d be going to pursue his lifetime goal of being on an International Quidditch team. He would finally see himself as the amazing Keeper he really was—and maybe his father would as well. I wouldn’t be upset if he left. This was the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup game…as opposed to a secure future doing what he loved.

Bahh.

I turned over again. When Ellis woke up I was going to hex him again.

It was no use. I wasn’t going to sleep. Not with my mind so obnoxiously awake. I turned over again. This was irritating. I could hear Alicia’s soft snores. I lifted my head. Angelina was asleep and I could see the still form of Katie under her blankets.

Groaning, I sat up in the darkness. This was worthless.

So I grabbed my Nimbus from under my bed, pulled on my robes and shoes, and left the dormitory.

The common room was nearly empty when I got there. A pimply fourth year gave me a nasty look and I stopped dead, irritated from my lack of sleep and the whispers that seemed to be following me now. “You know what?” I said loudly and she jumped, obviously not expecting me to speak to her. “I’m going to lose the game for Gryffindor now. Just because you gave me that dirty look.” She gaped at me and I stuck up my nose and continued on my way.

The halls were empty and I was wondering how I kept getting so lucky as to not get detention after hours. I made it outside all right and realized rather quickly that I didn’t bring my cloak. Sucking it up, I moved against the wind until I found myself on the Quidditch pitch. Flipping a large switch just to the right of the locker room door, the stadium fairy lights came on and the grass was illuminated.

I had to practice. I couldn’t just go out onto the pitch without practicing—and let’s face it, laps did nothing in Quidditch except get me male attention.

Mounting my broom, I kicked off lightly from the ground. I stayed up for a few seconds, shifting this way and that as I tried to balance. Oliver wasn’t lying when he said balance was important because I seemed to have none. I hovered a few feet from the grass for a while, slowly accelerating as I crossed the pitch and let the tips of my shoes brush the green under me.

It was nice—the calming quiet. I flew for a while, eventually trying to get higher and higher without eating dirt. I did reasonably well for a person who could not only fly horribly but was also nervous to the point of vomiting. After finally letting myself soar through one of the hoops, I allowed a smile.

Even though I knew I had no chance of flying like any of the other players (or anyone that tried out for the team even), I had improved. I wasn’t falling anymore and I didn’t have bruises up and down my arms. But I was better. A lot better.

I climbed off my broom several hours later, refreshed from the fly. It had been hours since I’d left the castle and I noticed, checking my watch, that it was nearly time for breakfast so I stuck my broom in the locker room and made my way back up to the castle cheerfully.

Unfortunately, the cheer only lasted until I walked through the doors. Immediately, whispers erupted again. Groaning, I did my best to cross the Entrance Hall without them getting into my head. It was, after all, the morning before the game and the new Seeker couldn’t be troubled with people that were less cool.

But they could play if they wanted. I wasn’t going to be greedy.

“Eugh, we’re going to lose now!”

“She told me she’s going to lose the match on purpose!”

I laughed at that one.

“She’ll never be as good as Ellis—why did Oliver put her on the team anyway?”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” said a blond boy. “Look at those legs!”

Rolling my eyes, I pulled open the doors to the Great Hall. The environment was unlike anything I had experienced. I was sure in the past it had been crowded and crazy when a match drew near, but since I was a part of it that made everything a little more chaotic.

The Gryffindor table was in between whispering about me and talking about the game. I looked at my food.

There was no way I was going to eat that.

Eggs. Sausage. Toast. Croissant. Ham.

No. It looked disgusting. In fact, my stomach was starting to feel uneasy at the very thought of eating. It grumbled and moved uncomfortably and I knew right away it was nerves. Another twinge told me I was right.

“Jane!”

Roger rushed up behind me and shoved George to the side so he could sit down. He was wearing his Ravenclaw Captain badge.

“Blimey, Jane, I heard what happened,” he said, out of breath. “What can I do? Is there anything I can do?”

“Find whomever hexed Ellis and hex him,” I said. “Or her.” I shrugged. “Other than that, you can wake me up from this nightmare.”

“You look like you’ve been awake for hours,” he said, running the palm of his hand over my cheek. “You need some sleep.”

“That’ll work when the game is only a couple of hours away, huh?” I smiled at him and kissed his nose. “Don’t worry about it, Roger. I’ll be fine. I just hope Ellis is okay.”

Roger beamed. “That’s the spirit, Jane!” He kissed me. “I’ll see you after the match, okay? Bye!” With another quick debonair grin, he rushed back to the Ravenclaw table to eat some breakfast.

I was glad he bought that rubbish about me being fine. Because I wasn’t. But I didn’t need him to be worried about me. He had enough on his plate already as it was and truth be told, I just didn’t feel like dealing with him.

That reminded me of someone.

My eyes scanned the Gryffindor table and told me one thing: Oliver Wood had gone to fulfill his duty as Keeper for the Brazilian International team. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to notice.

“Where’s Wood?” snapped Angelina, looking over to the Hufflepuff table and then to the Slytherin table. “You don’t think someone got him too, do you?”

I tried to play it off like I had no idea. After all, it wasn’t my business what he did with his life. I shrugged. “I doubt it, but maybe. You could go check the hospital wing if you want.”

Angelina made a face. “I might just do that.”

It was Oliver’s choice. That was right. His choice. His decision. His life.

And yet, part of me sort of wanted to see his pompous face in the Great Hall. I felt nervous without him there—stupid, I knew that, but he was always some sort of arrogant, narcissistic constant in my life.

Frowning, I stared at my food. There was no way I could eat—the same with me sleeping. It just wasn’t going to happen. I pushed my plate away just as Fred and George plopped down on either side of me. “’Lo boys,” I said miserably.

“Hey, Janey,” said George, draping an arm around my shoulders. “We’re here for you, you know.”

“All the time,” said Fred loudly.

“Well, not up in the air,” George said. “Because we’re Beaters so we’ll be making sure you don’t die.”

“But that’s not the point,” said Fred. “Otherwise, when we’re not beating away Bludgers and making ridiculously inappropriate comments about the length of your leggies, we’re here for you.”

Willing myself a smile, I stared at the boys one at a time. Then I wrapped them in a hug. “Thanks, guys.” I kissed each one on the forehead just so they would feel like I was mothering them.

“I guess we should hit the locker rooms soon,” said Katie, standing up and looking around.

“But Oliver isn’t here,” said Angelina, coming back through the door. “And he’s not in the hospital wing either—I’ve just been to check there. Ellis is still out cold. What are we supposed to do? Do you think he fell asleep somewhere? The library?”

“I saw him up earlier—how would he be asleep somewhere?” said Libby, narrowing her eyes. “I was downstairs in the middle of the night trying to find where I left my glass of water and he was walking out with a big bag over his shoulder.”

I groaned.

“Why in Merlin’s name would he be up in the middle of the night?” Angelina roared. “Especially when we have a match—and the bag? What in blazes?”

“We have to go,” urged Katie. “We’ve got to talk about the match.”

“Who’s going to talk then, huh?” Angelina continued. “You? Fred? The unconscious Ellis in the hospital? Why don’t we all crowd around his bed and ask him if he can lead us into victory against Ravenclaw?” She was panicking and it was expected. Alicia was starting to look a little irritated herself.

“Let’s just go,” I said after a minute of Angelina breathing heavily and the twins surveying her with looks of horror. “Let’s just go down there and take it one step at a time. Oliver wouldn’t want us to lose our heads, right?”

Angelina nodded. “I guess you’re right. Come on, team.” She grabbed one more piece of toast and led the way out of the hall. I could see Roger talking to his team and Mandy lurking nearby like a lost sodding puppy.

An ugly puppy.

That liked to ruin other people’s lives.

Roger looked nice, talking to his team, but for the first time I had to be the one out there going against him. I couldn’t let our relationship deter catching the Snitch (even if I saw the bleeding thing) and I couldn’t go easy on him just because we were snogging in empty classrooms. At least I hadn’t given him ammo to use against me. Not that I would even be able to go easy on him anyway considering I had only managed to stay on my stupid broom this morning and that was low to the ground.

Frowning, I followed the group out onto the warm grounds. It was breezy outside—a perfect spring day. Then I saw the pitch and my stomach exploded into what could only be described as horrible nerves. I couldn’t feel my legs for a moment and I nearly fell face-first into the grass (luckily George saw this and caught me before hand).

“Oh no,” I moaned, staring at the stadium seats as we approached. “I can’t do this. I can’t catch a Snitch. Who am I kidding?”

“Jane. Shut up,” said Alicia. “You’re going to be fine.”

“Fine? Have you seen me play? Are you mental?” I said, gasping for air.

Then I leaned over and puked in the bushes.

“Aww, Jane!” George said loudly. “That almost hit my shoes you know!” He held back my hair and rubbed my back gently. “Are you okay?”

“I think so,” I said, using my wand to get myself a glass of water. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. I feel better…I think.” I straightened up, trying to wipe the sweat from my brow, and smiled at the rest of the team. “Seriously. I’m good. Let’s just… let’s just keep walking.”

Angelina led the walk again, this time looking a little less convinced, and we went in silence. The outside of the stadium passed in a blur and before I knew it, we were back inside the locker rooms.

For some reason, it seemed different this time as I walked over to my locker to sit down. This time I was actually going to put on my robes and leave with the rest of the team—Nimbus in hand and everything. It just seemed different. It was like being in there during the retreat with the air mattresses on the ground, huddling up by the fire as Angelina and Fred simultaneously agreed that their feud was stupid and while Alicia confided in me about her father studying in Brazil.

It was missing Oliver.

I looked around the room and his things seemed untouched (except that his broom wasn’t in its usual position leaning against his robes). Angelina stood up in the midst of our silence and began pacing back and forth between Fred’s locker and Ellis’s empty one.

“Well, we have to do this. Wood or no Wood,” she said quietly. “Obviously we are going to have to find a replacement Keeper…but there are so many able candidates that I wouldn’t worry about it. Someone will just have to go up there in a few minutes and pick the first one on the list.” She paused and Alicia nodded. “We can do this. The three of us are good Chasers—even if the Ravenclaw team doesn’t know that since we haven’t gotten to play much at all. And Fred and George can Beat their way out of a tunnel so we’re good on that front.” She paused again. “Jane, just do your best. No one is pressuring you. We’re going to be fine.”

Alicia got up to retrieve the Keeper and peeked her head out the door. “There are only a few people in the stands,” she said.

“Obviously, since we have a while before the game starts,” said George with a smile.

“I’m just saying there usually aren’t any,” Alicia snapped. “They’re scouts.”

“Scouts? How many?” Angelina rushed over to the door.

“Four of them,” she said breathlessly. “I can’t tell what their badges say, but those are scouts.”

“Too bad Oliver isn’t here,” said Fred. “He needs some scout attention.”

“Especially with Ellis not playing,” said George. “Now the scouts might be able to see all of us in action.”

I groaned again. As if there couldn’t be more pressure, the twins had to drop another bomb. If I caught the Snitch too fast, none of them would be signed. Well, most of us still had another year to be signed (them, I meant. Not me. I didn’t want to be anywhere near the pitch), but I had to be careful to catch it after the scouts had enough time to get a load of what we had.

There went my stomach again. I rushed into the girls’ showers and threw up in the nearest garbage can, trying to hold back my own hair while I ignored yelling behind me. Blimey, this was going to be horrible. Why wasn’t Ellis awake? Why hadn’t my shaking done the trick?

I puked again and my stomach felt weak and horrible. This was a disaster. Why wasn’t Oliver here to annoy me or lend me his broom so I could try out for his sodding team?

But I had Roger.

Who bleeding cared about Roger? He wasn’t in the locker room and in a little while he was going to be going against me on the pitch. He wasn’t important at the moment.

He probably had no idea how nervous I was. I never told him about my nerves. Or about my feelings. Or my family. Or…much of anything.

I wished I had eaten more at breakfast as I vomited again, my mind swimming while I thought about the crowds and the cheers and the Gryffindors who didn’t think I was worthy enough to be their Seeker.

I felt my hair being scooped off of my neck and I sank to the tile, thankful to whichever Chaser was behind me. The sweat was piling onto my brow and my heavy breathing wasn’t helping me.

“I can’t do this,” I whispered, trying to will back the tears without success. I took a quick drink of water.

“Yes, you can,” said someone that was most definitely not a Chaser. “That’s why I’m here.”

I whipped around and my face was inches from Oliver Wood’s. He was kneeling behind me, sweating as well, his hair tossed everywhere (including onto his face). He still had a piece of my own hair between his fingers.

“Oliver,” I breathed, not willing myself to believe what was going on. “I thought—but you weren’t—and your broom!

He put a finger up to silence me. “I want you to know something,” he said hoarsely and I shut my mouth. “I need you to know that I came back here for you.”

“For…me?” I gaped at him.

“I couldn’t let you do this alone.” He stared at me, his brown eyes spilling into my own and he released the hair he was holding. “I came back as fast as I could—got all the way to Brazil before I realized where I had to be was right here. I just…I couldn’t let you do this by yourself.” Oliver touched my cheek with his hand. “I’m here for you.”

I could have cried right there. I wasn’t alone anymore. Not that I ever was with the team that I had, but I was really not alone now.

Oliver grabbed my arms and hoisted me up. “Are you going to be okay? Do you need something?”

I shook my head. “Not anymore,” I said without thinking and I smiled weakly. He returned the grin. “I guess we should go play Quidditch soon then. Good to know Alicia doesn’t have to go find a replacement Keeper.”

“No one could replace me,” Oliver said and laughed.

“Oh,” I said, closing the door before he could open it, “by the way. There are four scouts out there so I’ll try and strategically catch the Snitch so you get noticed.” I winked playfully and walked out the door before him.

“Scouts? From which teams?” He looked around at the rest of the team while I took my seat.

“We don’t know but I see a Canons logo on that one,” said Fred, pointing across the pitch.

“Okay.” Oliver took his place in front of the chalk board and faced his team. He put on a defiant face and narrowed his eyes. “This is going to be a piece of cake,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and play our game. We’ve undergone so much to get where we are and we’re not going to let those ‘Claws get in the way now. Not when they’ve done what they’ve done.” He paused, staring out at each one of us. “They’re saying they’ve outplayed us. They spied on us. And I really think they’re the ones that got to Ellis last night when he was walking back from the library. That was the last bleeding straw.” Oliver started to pace. “We’re going to outplay them. We’re going to be in position and they’ll never know what hit them. I’m going to save just about everything that comes at me. You lot are going to do what you do best—pass around the Quaffle and shoot it. Hit the Bludgers right into Collins’ face. Find the Snitch.” He stopped right in front of the chalk board. “I’m not going to draw plays today. I’m not going to give you a bunch of crap about us being the better team and which way we should fly and how Davies kicks off to his left. I’m going to tell you that we’re going to go out there and play our game. We’re going to have fun playing the game we love. We’re going to go out there and demolish them, keep our pride, and win like a classy team just to show them what class is supposed to look like.”

Taking a deep breath, Oliver nodded. “Are we ready to do this?”

The twins jumped up, excitement on both of their faces. “Let’s win a Cup!” shouted George, pumping his fist into the air.

“Let’s wipe the grin off that idiot Collins’ face!” yelled Fred.

While cheering, the team put on their robes and I turned to my own. PERRY was written on the back in gold letters and I could feel the lightweight material as it moved over my arms and the pads on my elbows. My Nimbus seemed to be staring back at me, willing me to pick it up, and for once it felt natural in my hands. Except my hands were shaking.

It took me a while to turn back to the team, my stomach spotty with nerves once again. When I did finally turn, my mind swimming with images of my father, scouts, Gryffindor scowls, and laughing Ravenclaws, I saw Oliver standing before me. The rest of the team was near the door, but he reached out and put his hand on my shoulder.

“You’re going to be great, Jane,” he said slowly, in a voice I had only heard a few times before that. My stomach jolted, and it wasn’t because I was nervous. He had used that tone in the way he said my name before he kissed me after his breakup. “I wouldn’t have put you on the team if you weren’t going to be great for us.” He ruffled my hair and pulled me into a very uncharacteristic hug.

Smiling, Oliver kissed my cheek and where he placed his lips stung for a moment. “Plus, you’ve got to catch the Snitch because I came all the way back just for you.”


*title from a Walt Whitman poem




A/N: Okay, so the chapter was up a little early because I love you guys and I hope you Americans ate your weight in turkey & stuffing like I did :) Thanks so much for all of your amazing reviews, it really makes me want to get out the chapters faster (hence this one). I want to thank you for all of the great things you've said about my story. It means a lot. And holy crap--over 250 reviews! Best turkey day present ever :)

And next chapter: Ravenclaw vs. Gryffindor


So what do you think? About Oliver's choice? About the upcoming game? About Jane trying to shake Ellis to death in the hospital wing?


Chapter 23: Here Snitchie, Snitchie
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This chapter is up early and dedicated to MeNuncle for being a wonderful fan and keeping contact with me to discuss ideas about this and future stories. Enjoy.




When Oliver opened the locker room doors, the sunlight nearly blinded me and the roar from the crowd attempted to deafen me. It could have been an exaggeration, but everything I was feeling was for the first time and was therefore much more terrible than what Angelina or George were seeing.

I popped a mint into my mouth and shielded my eyes as I stepped out of the room and onto the grass, finally taking in what the stadium looked like from the point of view of the player. Nothing could have prepared me for each person in the crowd leaping to their feet and letting out roars of excitement. To my right were the scarlet and gold fans—signs littered the crowd and the Slytherins had even put on Ravenclaw scarves to show they had no intention of supporting Gryffindor. I couldn’t hear myself think.

It was all turning into a blur as I followed Angelina out to the middle of the pitch. The scarlet was blending with the blue and the yellow Hufflepuffs into the green ties of certain Slytherins. I even caught a glimpse of Professor McGonagall high up in the stands sitting beside Lee Jordan.

“And here’s the Gryffindors!” shouted Lee and the crowd went crazy (loads of cheers and loads of boos). “We’ve got Captain Wood out there first—Chasers Johnson, Bell, and the very attractive Spinnet, Beaters Weasley and Weasley—try telling them apart—and Seeker reserve Perry!”

I tried to stop my face from coloring but it didn’t work much considering I felt the warmth on my cheeks as Lee announced my name. It just sounded so strange—usually when someone called me by my last name it was someone I disliked (like Ellis) or Oliver. This time, though, I got a few cheers. It was apparent most Gryffindors still didn’t trust me as their Seeker.

Hell, I didn’t trust me as their Seeker.

“Just concentrate,” said Katie out of the corner of her mouth while we approached the Ravenclaw team. “Don’t worry about the crowd.”

It was hard not to worry about them when I used to be a part of them. I used to be sitting up there making fun of the way the Hufflepuffs walked out and the way the Slytherin Beater held his bat to his side. I wondered how many people were questioning the way I carried my Nimbus.

My Nimbus.
Groaning, my eyes fell back to the stands and I thought of my father. He was up there somewhere, mixed in with the scarlet and gold, rooting for his daughter to help lead the Gryffindors to the Quidditch Cup. Blimey. There wasn’t any pressure at all. Of course not. I was pretty sure my dad was jumping up and down in the stands since he hadn’t expected me to play. He might have even brought out his Muggle camera for the event.

I had to ignore the crowd. It was important that I got them out of my head and concentrated on the stupid Snitch that I didn’t feel like catching. No. The crowd was the least of my worries now, especially since we stopped a few feet from the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.

Roger had gone for size when selecting most of his team. Though his Beaters were tiny (Collins looking like some sort of sick rodent) and he was not exactly hefty, the rest of his team towered over our female Chasers and the Seeker made me look like a first year. I could see him eyeing me like I was his well-thought-out prey, someone he would just shove aside in the air in his attempt to find the Snitch. Oliver said he pushed off to the left, so I would fly to the right and try to stay away from his bad haircut.

There was Roger, standing feet from Oliver. He looked like he was concentrating hard on the game, hair slicked back against his head with tiny locks attacking his eyebrows. His eyes were narrowed as he glared at the Gryffindor Captain and they shook hands. They drew apart, Roger’s eyes focused on Oliver, and Madam Hooch gathered between the teams.

I stared at Roger, but he did not look at me. He was focused. I probably should have been too, but my mind started to wander as Madam Hooch went on about wanting a clean game and she looked at the twins. My mind was wandering to Roger and the way we had spent the last few weeks staying up late under the stars and eating meals together. Smiling, I thought of the snogging in classrooms and the time we were caught by Flitwick coming out of the girls bathroom near one in the morning. That was what we did—talked about school and life and Quidditch—but nothing else. It was all right like that.

But he knew nothing of my past. Nothing of the things I told Oliver about my past and my mother dying and the way my father was obsessed with the game of Quidditch while I grew up. Sure, I told him after we got in that row about my Mum dying when I was young and my dad raising me, but that was where the conversation ended. No details. I never mentioned my mum chasing dragons or my dad hiring an interior designer. Roger had no idea my father was even at the game—that should have been something I shared with my boyfriend. Instead, Oliver was the one that knew about it (and arranged it for that matter, the prat).

I watched Madam Hooch release the Snitch. My eyes followed it for a few seconds before it flew off behind me. The other Seeker was staring at me. I felt like he should have been staring at the Snitch, but maybe he thought I had great legs too. Damn those twins.

She released the Bludgers and they flew high into the air toward the other side of the pitch.

“Mount your brooms,” Madam Hooch said loudly and the crowd was so loud I could hardly hear her. “Three!”

I swung my leg over my Nimbus, shaking. The nerves were back since I was rubbish at flying and my stomach no longer felt too hot.

“Two!”

I bent my knees and focused on kicking off to the right. Oliver’s hands were gripping his broom so hard that his knuckles were white.

One!

Trusting my Nimbus not to completely screw me over in this situation, I kicked off hard from the ground, something I had yet to do on a broom without tanking it into the grass. Luckily, I managed to stay on, though I wobbled for a few minutes trying to steady myself while Oliver took off toward the hoops and Katie took possession of the Quaffle.

I didn’t want to pay too much attention to the game, so I focused my mind on the search for the Snitch. Unfortunately, while I wobbled through the air and clutched tightly to my broomstick, I happened to catch sight of the section supporting the Ravenclaws. I groaned.

Perry for Prez—She can’t even FLY.

Thanks, Perry. Now we’ll win for sure.

Jane Perry: Gryffindor Reserve—Captain’s Crush.


I nearly gagged. I wondered if Roger had seen the last one. He probably hadn’t considering he had the Quaffle tucked under his arm and was flying up the pitch with one of the other Chasers on his left side.

I tried to look for the Snitch again, but it was getting more difficult by the minute. My ears were swimming with jeers and taunts. Someone even asked me if my Nimbus had training wheels. What in Merlin’s name was that? I tried to fly away from the crude side and more over toward the Gryffindors, but they were so busy watching Oliver make a save that I wanted to watch. But I couldn’t. I knew Oliver could make saves and it wasn’t any different from practice except for the fact that he was making saves on my boyfriend instead of Angelina or Alicia.

I was never tired of Lee’s commentary though.

“Davies shoots and Wood gets it no problem—he hands of to Angelina Johnson and Johnson passes OVER to Alicia Spinnet. Wood really has this team in great shape. After the cheating Ravenclaws—don’t give me that look, Professor—spied on their team meeting Wood has been constantly changing up his game plan so that no one could catch on. And I have to say he’s doing a good job because Bell just threw off both Beaters by dodging to the left and up—passes to Spinnet, my lovely girlfriend.”

Laughing at the cheers from the Gryffindor section, I flew closer to the ground to see if there was any sign of a glint of gold. Nothing. I even glanced over at the Ravenclaw Seeker who had seen nothing. I looked up to see Angelina score on the Ravenclaw Keeper and I did a quick fist-pump before nearly falling off my broom. It was then I decided to stop watching and celebrating. This was business.

It was looking good, though. Despite the fact that the Snitch was nowhere to be found, I remembered the scouts in the audience. At least they would get to see a game of Quidditch instead of players taking their positions and Ellis catching the Snitch. Maybe they would finally give Oliver a good look—perhaps if they heard about him getting an offer from the Brazilian team.

There was a pang in my stomach as I remembered Oliver holding my hair in the locker room, explaining that he came back solely for me. As if I didn’t have enough pressure. But why? Of course he didn’t want me to do this alone and he had felt bad that he had gotten me into it in the first place, but was that really worth giving up a life-long dream? Was holding my hair and being in front of some hoops for a Cup game really more important than being an International superstar? He would probably get into Quidditch Weekly with the body he had—perhaps a double spread with Bastian.

Snitch. Right.

It wasn’t over near the Ravenclaw hoops. I had checked and double-checked there. It wasn’t hovering by the players or nestling in the grass. It would have really helped if I didn’t have to worry about balancing on my broom.

Stupid.Bleeding.Snitch.

The other Seeker was still swooping low over the supporting Gryffindors and I could hear some of their snarky remarks from across the pitch. I was safe and I flew a little higher, checking toward the crowd in hopes of seeing a glint of gold.

Instead, all I saw was Angelina streaking up the pitch with the Quaffle under her arm. Fred was a few meters away, two Bludgers going right for him—he hit the first and ducked before he could raise his bat again. Unfortunately, said Bludger swerved to the side and was on Angelina’s tail before George could catch up to it.

I heard the crack before I saw it happen.

Angelina dropped the Quaffle and it was recovered by a Ravenclaw Chaser. Oliver only had enough time to call a time-out before the Chaser was in the Gryffindor Defensive Zone and I scowled as the Ravenclaw shot Oliver a rude hand gesture as I floated toward the ground, trying desperately not to topple over and be the second person injured.

I landed beside the twins and Oliver was already pacing back and forth. “We have a minute to discuss what’s going to happen,” he said and Angelina clutched her arm feebly. “First thing’s first. How is the arm?”

She groaned. “I’m not sure—it’s definitely broken.”

“Where’s Pomfrey?” said Fred. “We need some assistance.”

“She’s not in the stands,” I muttered, searching the front row where she usually sat waiting for injured players. “Perhaps in the loo?”

Fred sighed. “You’ve got to go up to the hospital wing then.” He pressed his fingers to Angelina’s cheek.

“Yeah right,” she snapped. “I’m playing.”

“I’m not having a Chaser in that can’t catch,” said Oliver.

“I said I can play, Wood,” barked Angelina.

Oliver raised a brow at her. “Are you sure? Are you one hundred percent sure?”

“You are not kicking me out of this game.”

I stared around at the team—at my team. Fred’s bat hung loosely at his side as he gaped at Angelina, who was inches from Oliver, her eyes narrowed in disgust. George had his arm propped up against Katie, who kissed his elbow pad absentmindedly and smiled. I almost threw up—not because of the gesture but at the thought of what that had to taste like. I laughed as I noticed Alicia’s gaze up toward the stands. She waved to Lee and I followed her stare there to see him waving back. McGonagall looked livid and I was sure there had been a discussion prior to Lee’s distraction.

I let my eyes fall back to the pitch, but as soon as they had reached the grass I noticed a new member of the crowd. Being pushed out in a wheelchair was Dan Ellis, his head lolling a bit to one side and his arms folded in irritation. Not playing obviously did not agree with him.

We found each other’s eyes for a moment and Ellis jerked his head upward. I knew right away without having to talk to him that he was wondering why the game had lasted as long as it had. Groaning, but still chuckling, I turned back to the team.

“Katie, fly close to her,” Oliver was saying. “Any arm mishaps and it could be a bad turnover and put me in a hell of a spot.”

Katie nodded, looking confident.

I tried to mirror the determination on her face, but I doubt anything surfaced but some color and maybe a tear caused by the wind and bright sun.

“Let’s get out there and win this bleeding thing,” said George.

“For Ellis.” I smiled and they followed my gaze to the wheel-chaired Ellis on the sidelines.

“For Danny Boy,” said Fred, mounting his broom.

I clambered on my Nimbus and nearly had a heart attack when I heard a voice in my ear.

“For you.” Oliver Wood climbed onto his broom and kicked off into the sky as Madam Hooch put the whistle to her lips.

The back of my neck tingled, but I willed myself to take off. The Ravenclaw Seeker was on the other side of the pitch looking murderous. Apparently he had expected to see the Snitch by now. Roger probably reminded him during the time out. He was coming toward my side of the pitch, legs pressed back against his broom as he glided toward me.

I made a face. Stupid git trying to find the Snitch in my territory. I snorted. I’d just find it first. Pressing my body against my broom, I searched back and forth near the Ravenclaw hoops.

Here, Snitchie, Snitchie, Snitchie.

C’mere.


Janey has a present for you if you c’mere.

Seriously. A good present.

I let my feet skim the grass and I could feel eyes upon me—moreso than the usual obnoxious crowd jeering at me. The Seeker Extraordinaire was back and he was only meters from me. I had to react in less than a second, rolling over on my broom and narrowly missing the dirt (at least it and I were old friends) as he charged at me, looking like a bolt of blue out of the sky. It was as if he knew my weakest point was rolling.

Desperately trying to regain balance so I didn’t puke all over the nicely manicured Quidditch grass, I scrambled back onto my broom and looked around for the stupid git. He was a little ways away from me, now obviously back to looking for the Snitch. Had he seen it? Is that why he wanted to plow through me like I was a ghost? No. It wasn’t there. I had just looked a second before and there had been no gold where he was.

Then he was trying to knock me off my broom. Illegal tactic, but the Quaffle was in play on the other end and no one was paying any attention to the Gryffindor nearly playing in the grass and the rogue, annoying Ravenclaw Seeker that was trying to decapitate other players. How rude. I gave the back of his head a distinct look of loathing and returned to my Snitch search, determined not to sink to his level and send a curse at his arse.

Anyway, Snitchie. Back to that present.

It’s a doosy. You see, Snitchie, I’ve got this friend, right?

She’s very pretty.

And she’s a girl Snitch.

That’s right, Snitchie, a real lady. Polished gold. Long wings. Radiant shine.

And she just got dumped by another Snitch.

Real jerk. Didn’t appreciate her.

“JANE!”

Abandoning my Snitch search for a moment, I looked up long enough to see the Ravenclaw prat-face coming at me again. His hair was streaking back and his face looked maddened—once again the play was at the other end but George had seen just in time. Rolling over for a second time, I missed his attack.

“CUT IT OUT!” I shouted, upside-down and staring at the pitch the wrong way. “How are you supposed to find the Snitch when you’re targeting me?” I climbed back on again, ticked off that Madam Hooch was not seeing this, and raced off in the other direction. I couldn’t fire back, not when the game was resting on my shoulders. If he wanted to target me he could but I had to target the Snitch that was rudely ignoring my present offering.

This was dangerous, me racing on a broom that I did not trust as far as I could kick it, but I didn’t care. It was safer than waiting for Ravenclaw Boogey-Man to come attack me again while no one was watching. I made it all the way to the other side of the pitch just as Alicia was taking the Quaffle back toward the Ravenclaw end. Groaning, I kept going, trying to avoid Ellis’s eyes that I knew were on me. Hell, I was trying to avoid everyone’s eyes.

“You’re doing well,” Oliver yelled from a few meters away. He was sweating, but he looked happy.

“As far as you know,” I said loudly, willing my broom up a bit as I scanned the air for the stupid gold sodding Snitch that I hated more than Slytherin. “I’ll be doing better once this is over and I stopped getting attacked like I’m in league with You-Know-Who.”

“Attacked? Who’s attacking you?” He did not look at me, but kept his eyes on the game at the other end as the Gryffindor Chasers passed the Quaffle back and forth to get a good shot in. I could see Roger playing defense as he attempted to block Katie.

“That Seeker jerk! He’s run me twice and if I stayed I’d probably have no head to be talking with!” No Snitch. Blue skies. Green grass. Yellow hoops. Concerned Oliver.

I shook my head. Snitch. Concentrate. I pushed the broom further into the air, high above Oliver’s head, but he was still speaking.

“Are you—you’re not serious! Why didn’t Madam Hooch call that?”

“She was looking over here,” I called back. I could see the tops of the heads from the crowd and I had the urge to throw something down there and clock a Ravenclaw.

“Son of a bloody…”

There. There it was. Holy Merlin and all of his delicious pancakes it was right there. A few feet up. Checking to make sure I wasn’t about to get run in (Dumbledore’s pumpkin juice—Prat Seeker was coming this way!), I sped upward. My hands slipped off of my broom since it seemed to be going too fast for my body, but my legs wrapped tightly around the handle.

There it was. That stupid gold piece of rubbish—at least I didn’t have to bribe it with the girl Snitch because I might have been lying when I thought that.

I reached out. The Ravenclaw Seeker-should-be-sacked was so near he could have smacked me across the face with the tail of his broom. Feeling ruthless, I pushed my hand to the front of the handle, spinning in the air and knocking my broom into the back of his. This propelled me around, closer to the Snitch, and it forced him into an accidental (well, on purpose because of me) dive straight toward the Slytherin section. There were screams as I reached out my hand, grasped the Snitch on my turning broom, lost my balance, slipped over, and fell sideways off of my Nimbus.

The crowd was going wild. I saw their faces as I fell toward the ground, the Snitch still fighting against my palm. I could see the Nimbus still floating in the air and I couldn’t reach the wand I had stowed in my pants that were under my robes (stupid idea). Bracing myself for the fall that would land me in the hospital for several days (maybe weeks, depending on if I landed on my back or not), I closed my eyes and listened to the cheers of everyone around me.

The harsh landing never came. Of course I landed, but it wasn’t on the grass I knew too well. I didn’t fall and eat dirt or put grass stains in my pretty scarlet and gold Gryffindor robes. Instead, when I opened my eyes, I saw that I was caught by Oliver Wood, who had been directly below me. One of his Keeper arms was curled under my legs and the other was keeping my back stable.

I stared at him for a moment, unsure of what to do. Surely I was about to be told off for falling. I didn’t practice enough. That was always it. He was giving me a look. I wasn’t sure what it meant—probably that I nearly cost him another Seeker. That was just the way Oliver Wood thought. At least this look of his gave me time to take in the surroundings—the glint to my left told me that the Quidditch Cup was about to be presented and Gryffindors were spilling onto the pitch. The cheers were making my ears hurt.

Oliver hadn’t wiped the sweat from his brow and there were a few dirty spots on his cheeks. His hair was falling all over his face, a piece of it only millimeters from his brown eyes and he smirked at me.

I still hated that smirk.

Even though I was about to get told off, I had to listen to him since he was my stupid Captain and came all the way back from Brazil to help me out (would I ever hear the end of that?). Deciding to lighten the mood a bit as Oliver hovered near the left hoop, I opened my right hand slowly and the Snitch struggled against my index finger and thumb.

Oliver smiled. The crowd was a blur behind me.

Then he reached down and kissed me hard, but not in the shut-up-Jane sort of way.




A/N: So? How about that game? Did it live up to your expectations because it took me a ridiculously long time to edit :) And go ahead...leave me comments about the ending because I know half of you are squeeing right now. I squeed a little bit.

I want to say a major THANKS to everyone that has been leaving those amazing reviews. Because of chapter 22 I have over 300 reviews for Keep Away and that is enough to make me so flattered I might tear up a bit. Thank you all so much, it has helped get this chapter out a bit early because of the inspiration you all give me.

So what do you think? I like the chapter title.


Chapter 24: After the Game
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Geez, early again! I'm getting into a habit. This one is for Tiny Dancer because of the wonderful poem she wrote me in a review :)






By the time the kiss broke, we were nearly to the ground. It was obvious no one was paying attention because I could hear Fred yelling to George as he handed off the Cup. All I could see was the deep brown color of Oliver’s eyes. I saw my own reflection in them and I looked shocked and scared and a little anxious.

I was breathing heavily as Oliver tipped me onto my feet. My legs wiggled under me and for a moment I thought they would buckle. Still, we did not take our eyes off of each other. I was vaguely aware of my mouth being lopsided at that point, but everything seemed blurred.

“Oi—Jane!

My head jerked around, probably too fast, and I rubbed my neck while meeting the eyes of Dan Ellis a few meters away. He was still in the wheelchair (Madam Pomfrey was next to him fixing Angelina’s arm), but he was holding the Quidditch Cup on his lap.

It was beautiful—something I had only seen from the stands years before. Polished silver filled out the shape of a large Cup and in tiny markings all around its base were the names of the previous players that had won the Cup. Oliver told me once that it dated back to when Quidditch started at Hogwarts. My name would be on there. Jane Perry. Quidditch Reserve Seeker by accident.

I smiled and Ellis handed the Cup to me. It was heavy. I lifted it high over my head to loud cheers all around me and smiled as I heard chants of “PERRY, PERRY” on the lips of my fellow Gryffindors. Me. That was me. Fred and George lifted me into the air with little effort (“I didn’t realize you were being serious when we caught you practicing your fall, Janey!” cried George) and I had to actually will the tears out of my eyes to stop myself from crying right there on the spot.

Months ago I was bitter, eating dirt on the Quidditch pitch because I had been too humiliated to ask for help to learn to fly properly. It felt like so long ago—loathing Oliver because he blackmailed me into learning to fly. And then, not even a year later, I was being lifted into the air with the Quidditch Cup over my head because I caught the game-winning Snitch in the Final. Me.

As I passed the Cup to a nearly sobbing Oliver, I realized how much he had done for me that year. By being horrible and blackmailing me, I tried out for his sodding team and he made me Reserve even though there were a few people far better than me. He pushed me to my limits—yelling at me, forcing me to do sprints, and planning retreats. Yet he was always there when I needed him—after Roger left during the Halloween dance, when Roger and I broke up, when any situation arose where I might need help. Particularly when I was going to play in my first Quidditch match while my father watched.

He looked great with the Cup and after Fred set me gently upon the grass, the twins lifted Oliver into the air, chanting about their Captain.

I smiled, finally realizing that there were bodies pressing against me to get closer to the team—they were following Oliver through the crowd and cheering for the scarlet and gold. It was nearly chaos until the one person showed up that could turn any situation into reality.

“Nice catch, Pumpkin.”

Beaming, I turned. “Thanks, Dad.”

My father was wearing a scarlet and gold scarf around his neck and his face was painted. He had jinxed his robes to flash the colors and he was holding a large “PERRY IS THE BEST” sign in his left hand. He looked out of breath from cheering and pulled me into an enormous embrace.

“How come you didn’t tell me you’d be playing?” he asked, still smiling.

“I didn’t know until last night,” I explained, hugging him again. “I was scared out of my mind.”

He was about to reply, but Roger showed up at his side looking livid. His fists were in tight balls and I could tell that his teeth were clenched without him having to open his mouth. Bollocks. Crap crap crapity crap.

“Jane, could I have a word?” he asked, obviously trying to mask his anger.

“Roger, this is my father. Dad, this is Roger Davies. He’s the Captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team.” They shook hands.

Roger raised a brow at me, anger temporarily forgotten as he stared. “You didn’t tell me your father would be here.”

Pausing, I glanced at the ground. “You’re right. God, there’s just so much.” I frowned at him. “I sent him tickets a while ago when he found out I was the reserve.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I don’t know,” I replied honestly. “There’s just so much you don’t know…”

I could tell my dad was looking uncomfortable, so I was going to change the subject and tell Roger that we could meet another time to talk about what had happened, but then I felt a tap on my shoulder and someone rushed past me to my father.

“Mr. Perry! You made it, then! Good!” Oliver quickly took my father’s hand to shake it and I stared, wide-eyed. “I’m glad to see it—your daughter made quite a catch up there.”


“I knew she had it in her somewhere—determined since she was a kid not to play, but you made her do it.” He beamed. “Can’t thank you enough—you did a pretty good job too up there. Have you been picked up yet?”

“Had an offer, but had to back out at the last minute,” Oliver said with a characteristic grin. “Here—let me show you the Cup and I’ll tell you about the Brazil International team.” With a wink at me, Oliver steered my father in the other direction toward the mob of people surrounding the Quidditch Cup.

He got you into Quidditch?”

I sighed. “Merlin.” I sighed again, trying to prolong it. “There’s so much you don’t know about me, Roger. About my father—about my past. Hell, I never even told you my mother died chasing dragons when I was younger. You also didn’t know that until this year I couldn’t even fly.”

“What? Are you serious?

I nearly laughed. “Unfortunately. Oliver found out and blackmailed me into learning and trying out for his team. That’s how I made Reserve—because he wanted to torture me onto the team.”

Roger was not looking at me. He looked deep in thought as the crowd jostled around us. “I have no idea who you are.”

I sighed loudly. “Sad, isn’t it?” I said halfheartedly. “But we couldn’t keep Quidditch out of our relationship forever, could we?”

He made a face, anger seemingly forgotten. He now looked somber. “I suppose you’re right. I’m a horrible person—telling Eston if he was going to be a cheater and run you that he should at least force you in a roll since that’s your weakest spot.” He paused. “I didn’t tell him to do it though. I told him not to, but I still told him.”

“I believe you,” I replied, half-smiling. “I don’t blame you. I didn’t give you anything else to use against me—the most I ever told you about myself were my class scores and some tidbits about what went on in Gryffindor Tower. I don’t blame you.”

He took a deep breath, looking uncomfortable.

I half-smiled. “Yeah, I know what you mean. We had a good run, though, didn’t we?”

He shrugged and nodded a bit. This was clearly very awkward for both of us, especially since a few Gryffindors had walked by booing Roger for being on the Ravenclaw team.

“That was a great catch for someone that recently learned to fly,” he said finally.

“Thanks, Roger.” I paused and hugged him. He put his arms around me and squeezed me tight for a moment before letting go and biting his lip. “I mean it.”

And with that, he nodded to me and made his way through the crowd toward the Ravenclaw locker room. I frowned, watching the space he occupied fill up with cheering Gryffindors. For a moment, I wondered if we had made the right choice, but that was driven from my mind when my father appeared at my side again.

“Jane—there you are! I’ve been trying to get back over here.” He squeezed my shoulder tight and handed me my Nimbus. “That nice boy gave it to me—said they found it under the right Keeper hoop. I thought you’d like to have it back considering I paid a hefty amount of money for it.”

“Thanks, Dad.” There were so many people jostling around us that it took me a few seconds before I realized that I was close to the Gryffindor locker rooms. “Do you want to stay for a while—I could show you the improvements since your day and all that.”

He smiled warmly. “No, no, I wouldn’t dare. I’m not naïve enough to think there isn’t a party going on upstairs. No, you go get changed and have fun and owl me tomorrow, okay? I’ve got to go back home and put the cat out.”

How did my dad know me so well? Laughing, I hugged him tight and we parted ways, him shifting back into the crowd toward the Cup Fred was holding high above the group and I made my way toward the locker room to take a nicely deserved shower.

“Wait up!” Angelina rushed toward me, her face flushed and a huge smile planted on her face. “Jane, you were brilliant!”

“More than brilliant!” cried Alicia, thumping me on the back.

“More than more than brilliant!” Katie shouted and I gave her a look so there were no more brilliants.

I pulled open the door to the locker room and smiled. “Thanks, guys. I was pretty much horrified the entire time.”

“Except when you rolled over to avoid Kamikaze Seeker,” muttered Alicia and we laughed.

I peeled off my robes and placed my wand in the top compartment of the locker. Grabbing a towel, I headed into the showers.

“So did Roger find you afterward?” said Alicia, getting into a shower stall next to me. I watched her adjust her hair over the short wall. “I figured he’d come congratulate you before going off to sulk with the other Ravenclaws.”

“Poor sad sods,” said Angelina as her and Katie turned on their own showers.

“Roger and I broke up.”

“What?” said Alicia. “Because of the win? I thought the two of you didn’t talk Quidditch.”

I paused. “No, because Oliver snogged me after he saved me from falling on my face.”

“NO!” cried Angelina. “Are you serious?”

“How could we not SEE?” shouted Katie.

I shrugged and tried not to meet their eyes over the tops of the shower walls that came to the top of my collar bones. “The Cup was coming out, wasn’t it?”

“Blimey—I don’t know what to say,” said Alicia. “What happened afterward? What did he say? What did he look like?”

“I don’t know,” I said slowly. “We didn’t say anything. We just kissed for a minute and then we got back to the ground and Ellis passed me the Cup…I remember passing the Cup to him, but then I found my dad and Roger was there—but then he came back and took my dad over to see the Cup so Roger and I could have a minute…” I paused, not knowing what to think. “To be honest, I’m not really sure what it meant. It was so random—but it wasn’t to get me to shut up and he wasn’t drunk…”

“Wow,” whispered Angelina. “Just…wow.”

“I know,” I muttered. “Weird, huh? I suppose I’ll have to talk to him later about it. There was just so much going on after the match.”

The girls were quiet for a moment and I could tell they were comparing Oliver and me as a couple. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I hadn’t pictured it like that before. He’d always been so—he was so infuriating. Gorgeous, yes, but Fred wasn’t exactly ugly and I’d rather cut off my pinky finger than be with him. But Oliver—for the last few years I had done nothing but hate him. We told secrets. We went behind each other’s backs. We blackmailed. We fought. How could we possibly be a couple?

Sure, that kiss was nice. Hell, it was more than nice since my knees nearly buckled under me afterward, but there was no way it could lead to anything like that.

Right?

Right, Jane?

“Coming?” Alicia shut off her shower next to me.

“Nah, I think I’m going to stay under the water for a bit longer,” I said and heard two other showers shut off. “I’ll meet you lot upstairs, okay?”

“Sure thing—see you at the party!”

I let the hot water rush over my skin and I closed my eyes, thinking of what I had just been through. The pressure—had I really gone to the hospital wing and shook Ellis? It seemed like ages ago. I was exhausted, remembering I hadn’t gone to sleep the previous night. But I couldn’t deny it had been quite a day. Puking in the bushes. Puking in the trash can. Nearly getting decapitated. Catching the Snitch.

Catching the Snitch.

I really did it. After never being able to fly and falling on my face for months, I caught the Snitch. Even though I fell right afterward, I still caught it.

Smiling, I switched off the shower and grabbed a towel. It was a good, relieving feeling to be finished with it all. There were no more matches that year and I didn’t have to worry about Ellis being hexed and me having to stay up all night cramming in Quidditch to get the job done. Never had I studied that hard before and I made a mental note not to admit it to McGonagall.

After dressing in my school robes and using my wand to dry my hair, I left the locker room. The pitch was empty now and I could see where the grass had been trod on by too many Gryffindors to count. Following the path of the cheering students, I made my way out of the stadium and back toward the castle. The wind whipped through my hair as I walked, positively beaming.

The quiet was nice. It let me think about the happiness lighting my father’s face when he hugged me. My father and I always had a close relationship (despite my girly differences), but I had never seen him so proud. I supposed that by me playing Quidditch it opened up another link between us—something that combined the sport he loved and obsessed over with my…well, with my playing it even though I didn’t want to.

But it was fun.

I ambled through the castle and was surprised that I couldn’t see many people even though it was close to exams. My shoes clicked on the stone floors and I pulled open the portrait hole only to be blown backward by the noise.

To say it was a party would be an understatement. I could hardly hear myself think as two fourth years pulled me inside. Vaguely, I heard people chanting my name. Looking around, I noticed one of the Ravenclaw signs hanging above the fireplace: Perry for Prez.

“Hey, Jane!”

I turned. Ellis was close to the portrait hole, still in his wheel chair and smiling with a mug of butterbeer in hand. He motioned for me to come over.

“Nice catch,” he said.

“I tried to do it fast, but I had some problems considering I’ve never played a game of Quidditch in my life,” I said, laughing and he joined me.

“Right, I saw that Snitch right when Pomfrey wheeled me out.” He cocked a brow. “George found out who hexed me by the way,” he said. “It was that Ravenclaw Seeker—forgot the git’s name—and apparently he thought that by taking me out he’d have a good chance against you. I woulda thought he’d take us both out, but apparently he’s not that bright, huh?”

I frowned. “I’m so sorry about that, Dan. I wish I could have been a better replacement.”

“Don’t be stupid—you did great and Elizabeth is practically pampering me.” He paused and raised his glass to the thought. “Besides, George just went to take care of the bloke. Apparently he let it slip to Davies after the game and George was nearby to hear it. He said Davies nearly took him out but George wanted to do the honors. I can’t wait to hear what sprouts off of his head when he goes to the hospital wing.” He looked positively giddy at the thought.

I patted him awkwardly on the shoulder and made my way toward the other side of the common room. Angelina hugged me tight and whispered into my ear, “hey, I’m telling the girls later on about…you know…with Fred…just so you know.” She was smiling again and I gave her an extra hug before I made my way over to the refreshments table.

“Way to go, Perry!”

“Great catch, Jane!”

“Perry for Prez!”

Laughing, I looked at my options for drinks. The standards were there—I spotted my sour mix near the back and Alicia reached over me to nick the bottle of rum. I saw various bottles in different colors.

“You should have seen the look on their faces, Perry!”

“Nice one!”

“Wicked catch! I’m glad you were the reserve!”

But what to drink? Which one was worthy of my nerves finally being over?

“Fancy some red wine?”

Smiling, I turned. Oliver was standing behind me, wearing the I’m-a-hot-Quidditch-bloke smirk I knew all too well. His arms were folded and he had the bottle of wine in his hand.

“I thought we hated wine,” I said lightly.

“We did. Once upon a time.” Shrugging, he turned to see if anyone was watching. Finally deciding that they were all tending to their own fun, he veered back around to face me. “Look—can we talk?”

I nodded. “Yeah, I was about to ask you the same thing—where do you want to go?”

“Let’s just go upstairs—don’t want people to overhear, you know.” With the wine in hand, Oliver led the way up the boys’ spiral staircase. His body looked a bit tense as he opened the door and I followed him inside.

The room looked the same it had after Oliver and Libby’s breakup. The beds were messy and a few of Oliver’s socks were strewn about the floor. I stood awkwardly by his trunk as he placed the wine on his bedside stand.

“Look, I’m really sorry about earlier,” he said, twisting his hands together as he turned back around. “I just—I got carried away. The pressure of the game…and then you caught the Snitch and then you fell and I saved you and—and the Cup—and you—and…” He was stumbling over his words, finally looking more nervous than I had ever seen him.

I watched him for a moment, the way he bit his lip between phrases and the way he reached up and tousled his hair before talking about saving me. It was adorable.

At last he lifted his eyes to mine, looking apologetic and anxious.

I smirked and he raised a brow.

Then I ran at him, put my arms around his neck, and kissed him intensely.

Now that was what a kiss was supposed to feel like. I wasn’t thinking about anything except our lips, his hair as I ran my hands through it, and the touch of his hand on my lower back.

Oliver pulled me close to him, nearly squeezing me as we fell backward onto his bed and I was on top of him, kissing him as my hair fell onto his face. This lasted for quite a while, my head spinning and my entire body going numb as his Quidditch arms pulled me closer against his chest and his breathing grew ragged.

At long last, for lack of breathing, I broke the kiss and allowed my eyes to open, staring directly into his. They were brown and wide and I had no idea what I had done—what he was thinking. I just…I let my body just think for me. I didn’t think that kiss through. Oh, blimey. This was my Quidditch Captain I was snogging!

But it was good.

Well, of course it was good.

“What’re you thinkin’ about?” Oliver whispered gruffly, blinking a bit. He was smiling.

I blushed immediately. “I can’t tell you that.”

“Come on, I’ll tell you if you tell me.”

I made a face. Something about that comment didn’t sit well with me, but I chuckled. “All right,” I said at last, not moving. My hands were still on either side of his head and I tried to stop myself from breathing so hard. “I’m thinking that I just did that without thinking about it before hand.”

“Is that so bad?” he asked quietly. Why did he have to sound so…sexy?

“I’m not sure,” I said. “So what are you thinking about?”

He smirked. Damn.That.Smirk. Then he placed his hands on my neck and kissed me again, this time gentle and for only a brief moment.

“I was thinking about that.”

My mind felt fuzzy. Never before had I…it was just so…couldn’t even think straight.

After trying to regain my balance over him but failing, I rolled off onto the bed beside him and stared at the top of Oliver’s four-poster. Breathing hard, I glanced over. “So…” I said slowly.

For a moment I thought he was just going to lay there and not say anything, but then he propped himself up on his elbows and scooted closer to me. Then he put an arm around my shoulders and pulled me to him so that my cheek was pressed against his chest (somewhat like it had been during the retreat). I beamed to myself, snuggling up against him.

“Eugh,” he muttered and I looked up. “The wine is all the way over there.”

“Where’s your wand?”

“All the way over there.” He cursed under his breath. “And I’ll be damned if I’m getting up.” After sighing, he chuckled and ran his fingers up and down my arm.

I shuddered. “So…where does this leave us, Oliver Wood?”

He shrugged. “What do you think?”

“I don’t know,” I muttered, feeling like an idiot for asking such a question. “Can I get your opinion before I give mine?”

“Why?”

“Because…because…” I made a face. “Because I told you what I was thinking first! So you have to go first on this one! Ha!”

I could almost feel him rolling his eyes. “How very…Jane of you.” Laughing, he moved his hand to my back and I closed my eyes, content. “I don’t know where this leaves us. I mean…it’s a weird situation, isn’t it? You and me…going from hating each other to…well, snogging in my dormitory.”

“Don’t kid yourself,” I said, trying to mask my laughter. “I still hate you.”

“Oh, is that right? Blimey, Jane, I thought I kissed better than that.”

“Okay, well, I guess that’s true.”

He chuckled. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure,” I said lightly, my eyes still closed as he ran his fingers up and down my spine.

“Should I be worried about what Dodger is going to say about this?”

“Why?”

“Because—well, isn’t he your boyfriend? I’m not one to force women into affairs and all that rubbish just because I’m devilishly good-looking…”

I nearly snorted. “Oliver, Roger and I broke up at the game.”

“Why? Did he see the kiss? Shit, I shouldn’t have done that…not that I’m mad I did because I hate that stupid git…”

“No, because I sort of realized he had no idea who I was,” I explained quietly. “I never even told him my dad would be at the game. We sort of just parted ways.”

Oliver was quiet for a moment. “Good. Because I hate him.”

“Seriously? I didn’t realize. You should have made it more obvious and then maybe I would have broken up with him sooner.” I smiled.

“I tried!” Oliver said. “On Halloween I snuck into the prat’s dormitory to try and find something to get you to realize that he was using you!”

“But he wasn’t—and hey! That was you? He had to leave the party because of that and he told me later it was only his Charms notes.”

“Did he tell you he takes Charms notes in a journal?” Oliver asked. “I thought for sure if he wrote in a sodding journal he’d spill all of his secrets about just wanting you to get to the Gryffindors and all that…but I saw some spellwork and rubbish.”

“I can’t believe you did that,” I said, but I was laughing.

“Yes, you can,” he said and kissed the top of my head.

I placed my palm over his stomach and gently rubbed my fingers over his abdomen. “You’re right. I can. What else have you done to try and sabotage my relationship?”

“Oh, nothing much. Just hexed Davies a few times to get him to not go see you…and of course I talked to your dad.”

“There’s another thing!” I said loudly, slapping his stomach. “How did you possibly—you were here the entire time!”

“Actually I went to London for a few hours on McGonagalls orders so I could meet my dad there. He wanted to ask me about my latest try out for the Finches and after he realized I messed up pretty bad he left early. So I went to the Leaky Cauldron for a few drinks and at the bar I heard your dad talking about how you went to Hogwarts and all that.” Oliver smiled, pausing for a moment. “So I talked to him and told him I knew you and told him all about how I was the Quidditch Captain and you were my Reserve Seeker. He seemed quite impressed and sad that you didn’t tell him, but I covered pretty well for you—said you’d been busy and all that. But we talked about professional Quidditch and the game coming up and I told him I’d keep in contact. Then he asked me if you needed anything since you were a reserve and I said a broom would probably be nice because you’d borrowed mine and the schools’ so he said he’d get you one. That’s where the Nimbus came from.”

“Eugh, I hate you.”

“Bet you’re glad you didn’t have to compete on a school broom, though, right?” he said, laughing.

“I could have just borrowed your broom since you left,” I muttered.

“Low blow, Jane Perry,” he said and ran a finger up my spine. I shivered. “I came back and you know it.”

“I still can’t believe you did it. I don’t know if I could have.”

“I just got all the way there and just couldn’t take it. I knew that in a little bit you’d be waking up—”

“I never even went to sleep.”

“Waking up to go play a game that you’d never played in front of a crazy crowd you’d never performed in front of,” he finished. “I couldn’t do it. I had to come back.”

“Usually people don’t leave their life-long dream to go help out a girl they hate.”

“Who said I hated you?” He kissed the top of my head again.

“You might have mentioned it…once or twice,” I said with a chuckle. I realized then as I breathed in deeply that Oliver smelled quite good. Like shampoo and cologne. “Seriously though, you told me in the Astronomy Tower that playing International Quidditch was your dream…”

“I changed my mind,” he said nonchalantly. “I still want it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not the kind of person that leaves other people out to dry. Especially not people that like my brownies.”

“Is that the reason you kissed me tonight? Because I like your brownies and caught the Snitch?”

“Well, it helped,” Oliver laughed. “Of course not though. I guess I just realized tonight that I’ve sort of started to take a fancy to you—not on purpose of course, but just being around you.” He stopped for a moment and I could tell he was blushing.

“Go on,” I said, snickering.

“Don’t get a big head now!” he said, but kissed me again. “It was mostly on Christmas—when you came up to the Astronomy Tower even though you just had a row with Dodger…and then the wine and brownies and…well, the mistletoe. When I had that feeling in my stomach…right when I saw that mistletoe I had the urge to kiss you. Of course I had no idea what that meant considering all we did was argue and fight about Dodger…but I still knew I wanted to do it—took the chance when you and git-face broke up and I had to shut your arse up.”

I smiled, remembering the mistletoe above us when Oliver convinced me to calm down and kissed me.

He sighed loudly, probably expecting me to respond but I said nothing. “And then there was that game and the retreat—you knew exactly what I wanted to do. You knew I wanted to go in there with a mangled bunch of sodding players and come out with a team and in the margins I wanted to get Ang and Fred back together because they were getting on my sodding nerves. And you helped me. I started to fail and everyone started to hate me with those stupid team building activities—but then you got them all into the locker room I had my team back.” He took a deep breath and continued. “Obviously right after that Libby and I broke up. She just started to be sort of an annoying girl that followed me around and tried to understand Quidditch.”

“Can’t say I didn’t tell you so,” I said in a sing-song voice.

“Don’t push your luck, I told you so about Dodger,” he said. “But even though I wanted to ring your neck for saying that she broke up with me—I know, don’t give me that look—I kept thinking about you all the time. It was annoying at the time because I really had no idea what it meant. I just thought it was because I was so furious with you. But I knew when you started dating Dodger again. It was that feeling—that horrible pang of jealousy.”

“I can’t believe you just said ‘pang of jealousy’,” I said, laughing.

He poked me in the ribs. “That’s it. I’m done. I’m not saying anymore.”

“No, no!” I whined, giggling as he poked me. “Finish the story. I started dating Roger again and you had a pang of jealousy. I remember.”

“Fine,” Oliver groaned. “When you started dating Dodger again I knew right away. That’s why when you told me that I had kissed you when I was drunk—I felt like an idiot. I didn’t want it to happen like that. I wanted it to happen like…”

“Like after I caught the Snitch and won the Quidditch Cup?” I ventured.

“Just like that,” he replied with a chuckle. “Which is why I had to come back. I couldn’t just leave you—especially when I fancied you as much as I did.”

“How did I not know this?” I said, groaning.

“So you really felt nothing for me until I snogged you on my broom?”

I turned over, letting my elbow prop me up and I trailed my fingers along Oliver’s jaw bone. There was a bit of stubble there and he smiled, his eyes leaking into mine.

“If I said yes that would be a lie,” I replied.

“So when?”

“If I told you, wouldn’t that ruin the mystery, Oliver Wood?” I bent down and kissed him softly on the lips.

He wrapped his arms around me, pulling me closer. I could feel his chest rising and falling rapidly against me.

Oliver wouldn’t let me break the kiss.





A/N: Whoohoo, chapter 24! I hope you all enjoyed it. I want to take time out to say THANK YOU for everyone that left reviews on the last chapter. I was completely floored and overwhelmed with gratitude--50+! Wow. They were all wonderful. That really fueled the edit-process for this chapter and was one of the reasons it got out so early.

Also, thanks to everyone that wrote on my Meet the Author topic. I love answering questions about Keep Away :)

I wanted to tell you that Keep Away will be 27 chapters, so stay tuned for more goodness :) Sooooo what do you think? Favorite quotes? Still squeeing?


Chapter 25: False Charm of Cutlery
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Merry Christmas everyone who celebrates! I thought I would give you my own present!
Enjoy!




I figured the girls would freak out if I didn’t return sometime that night, so around two in the morning Oliver kissed me good-night from behind his bed hangings (we had been lying in his bed for hours just talking and after his roommates came in we just continued, only silently, Oliver running his hands up and down my back and me tracing the muscles of his stomach). I crept out of his dormitory, closing the door with a soft snap behind me, and made my way downstairs and into the common room.

It was empty except for a few scattered people cleaning up after the party and Dan Ellis who was snoozing in his wheelchair by the window. There was a bit of drool coming out of the corner of his mouth.

Prat.

Once I opened my dormitory door, I knew the girls had been waiting up just for me to walk through the door. Katie was propped up on her bed, clearly in an uncomfortable position just to stop herself from falling asleep. Alicia was painting her toenails. Angelina was pacing up and down the room.

“Jane!” Katie cried, throwing her book aside and jumping up. “What happened? I saw you for all of five minutes at the party!”

I blushed.

“Come to think of it, I didn’t see Oliver after you disappeared either,” she said, raising a brow at me as if they had rehearsed this entire speech. “What happened? How are you keeping this a secret?”

I glanced at Angelina. “Did you tell them?”

She nodded and the color on her face rose significantly. “Yeah. Just a bit ago.”

“She refused the play-by-play,” muttered Alicia, smirking. “But we got the rest of it out of her.”

“Finally,” said Katie. “It’s taken you two a long time.”

“Have—have you and George?” Angelina said blankly.

“No, of course not,” she snapped. “I’m just saying—since it was obvious that was what you broke up over. But I’m not saying it isn’t in the cards for George and me.” She flushed too and suddenly we were a room full of blushing girls.

“Planning it, are you?” asked Alicia with a laugh.

“Shut it! Jane’s trying to change the subject!”

I peeled off my robes and tossed them on my nightstand. Then I took Roger’s teddy bear and put it in my drawer. At least I knew he wasn’t a horrible bloke. He was decent right up until the end. It just didn’t work.

“Jane!” cried Alicia. “Quit this! I need to hear!”

I laughed and plopped onto my bed. “Well, Oliver and I went up to his dormitory to talk about that kiss business after I fell today.”

“Oooh, she’s calling him Oliver now!” said Katie with a giggle.

“Sod off,” I muttered, chucking a pillow at her. “Anyway, he said he was sorry—but then we just sort of ended up snogging on his bed and all that.”

“Snogging?” said Alicia, leaning over the side of her bed. “How was it? I always imagined Oliver to kiss rather well. He is rather popular with the ladies.”

“Pfft,” said Angelina. “He’s got his own fan club!”

“The Shriekers,” I said fondly, staring at the ceiling. “But yeah—it was…well, it was really out of this world. I thought my legs were going to give out.” Katie squealed. “I’ve never been kissed like that before. And then we just sort of laid there and talked for hours. And hours. It was amazing.”

“So?” said Angelina.

“What? That’s all we did. Well, until his roommates came in and ruined the party. Then we just stayed quiet and nearly fell asleep—but we had red wine.”

“Okay, I told Fred and George to get that for me,” said Katie, laughing.

“I mean are you two together now?” Angelina said impatiently.

I made a face. “Not really—I mean, it didn’t really come up. It came up how he’s fancied me for a while now and I guess I’ve fancied him too…though I didn’t really realize it until he kissed me.”

“You’re a little dense sometimes,” said Alicia kindly. “We sort of knew, but you two kept screwing things up for yourselves so we gave up hope a while ago.”

“After the fight after we made you get that liquor together,” said Angelina. “It was a good try though.”

“I was with Roger—you are horrible!” I cried, throwing another pillow. “Way to try and sabotage my relationship.”

Alicia shrugged. “That’s what friends are for. But I told you we gave up. We figured you two would hate each other forever.”

I leaned back against my remaining pillows and smiled to myself. After a moment of silence I said, “I really do fancy him I think.”

“Good, because you two are sodding perfect together with your stubbornness and your tempers and your idiocy,” said Angelina, blowing out a few of the candles across the room. “Plus you just caught the game-winning Snitch in the Quidditch Final. How could he pass you up after that?”

“He came back for me,” I whispered, more to myself, but the girls heard and stared at me curiously. “He came back from Brazil after getting offered a Keeper position with Bastian…for me.”

“Is he out of his mind?” cried Alicia.

“Yeah,” said Katie, giggling. “Out of his mind in love with Jane.”

I groaned and rolled over. “You’re such a sap, Katie.” Once the last candle had gone out, though, I grinned to myself in the darkness and thought of my evening with Oliver.

And then I thought of Oliver on Halloween in the Roman gladiator outfit and my grin got a little wider. I only wished my mind would quit swimming with thoughts of what the following day would bring and even the summer holidays.

Shut up, mind.

Think of Oliver without a shirt on.



So far the connection between Oliver and I had been private, so when I woke up the next morning I immediately had no idea what to do. We weren’t together—the only people that knew about our snogging were the girls (and maybe Roger assumed what was going to happen) and suddenly I was petrified.

I whipped open my wardrobe. There was only a week before the end of term so it was rather warm outside, but I still had no idea what to wear. I shuffled through clothes—pants, shirts, skirts, dresses. Nothing.

Crap.

“Did you get something all over your clothes?” said Alicia, lacing up her shoes. “What’s wrong?”

“What did you wear when you were thinking about dating Lee but you weren’t dating yet?” I said quickly, my heart racing.

“Thinking about dating Wood then?” she said and I narrowed my eyes. “Okay! Okay! I just tried to look effortlessly cute. Shouldn’t you know this, though, having dated Roger Davies?”

I made a face. Truthfully, I hadn’t ever been this nervous while going on dates with Roger. I just sort of grabbed something and walked out the door. It seemed so uncomplicated with him—but maybe that was what our entire relationship was. Uncomplicated. Effortless. I made another face, staring into my wardrobe.

My stomach was in horrible knots.

“Skirt, Jane,” said Angelina. “The boys love skirts.”

“Especially from you,” said Katie, laughing. “I don’t think a day goes by that the twins don’t make some lewd comment about your legs.”

I grabbed a slender jean skirt out of a drawer and paired it with a pink top and then looked at my hair.

“Oh, just brush it and come down to breakfast,” muttered Angelina, ruffling up my hair as she walked by.

I swatted at her arm. Why was I so nervous? This was ridiculous. I’d been around Oliver Wood for years—I’d seen him at his worst in the hospital and with Libby and I’d seen him at his most vulnerable in the Astronomy Tower and in the tent during the retreat. And I’d seen him at his most passionate on the Quidditch pitch and…well, last night.

At long last I ran a brush through my hair, added a little blush for good luck, and walked down to breakfast with Alicia. She opened the doors to the Great Hall and it seemed that the Gryffindors were still partying from the night before. They were cheering and laughing, passing food around and spilling pumpkin juice.

My eye caught Roger’s for a second and he smiled slightly. It was a nice feeling. I smiled back, blushing a bit since the Gryffindor table was now chanting my last name, and turned toward the girls who were motioning Alicia and me over to the end of the table.

“Apparently Ellis is out of his wheelchair today,” said Angelina, nodding toward the middle of the table where the boy in question was giving a play-by-play of him getting hexed. I noticed the Ravenclaw Seeker was not at breakfast. “He looks like he’s doing all right.”

“Ellis is always doing all right,” I said and laughed, helping myself to some ham and eggs now that I wasn’t about to go onto the Quidditch pitch and catch a Snitch.

“Thanks to the fact that Eston was hit with four different curses and hasn’t been out of his bed since after the game. George said there were tentacles involved.”

“Janey!” said Fred, plopping down into a seat beside Angelina. “To whom would you like to dedicate your Quidditch Cup win? I’ve decided to dedicate mine to the skirt you’re wearing today.”

“Oh, give Jane a rest!” said Angelina as the rest of the table roared with laughter. “I’ve about had enough with your comments!”

“Come on, Ang,” said Fred, making a kissy face. “Why don’t you wear skirts like that?”

“Sod off,” she muttered, blushing and digging into her hash browns.

“So how about it, Janey?”

I paused for a moment, thinking. My mind drifted back to the beginning of the year when I couldn’t fly and I was trying to learn…except I kept falling. Laughing to myself, I remembered pretending the old school broom was the Quidditch Cup and lifting it high over my head while no one else was on the pitch.

“I am going to dedicate my win to years of reading Quidditch Weekly,” I said with a firm smirk on my face. It was what I had said months ago, and I was sticking with it.

“And I see I get no credit,” said Oliver, sliding down across from me.

My stomach nearly exploded in nerves. This was stupid—I had known this boy for years!

“I never give you credit—is that new?” I said with a sly grin, trying not to sound as nervous as I was. Except my voice shook a bit. Fred noticed and shot me a sideways expression.

He shook his head. “Too right you are.” Scooping some food onto his plate, Oliver looked around at his team. “You lot were amazing yesterday. I don’t think I got a chance to tell you that with the Cup and the party and all that.”

“Well, you could have told us at the party,” said Alicia, “except you were off snogging more important things.”

I hadn’t seen Oliver color like that before.

“Anyway,” he said a little more forcefully, staring at his eggs instead of his team, “congratulations on the win. You deserved it when I spent the last few weeks riding your arses after that Ravenclaw git overheard our meeting.”

There was a simultaneous groan around the table. It would clearly never be forgotten.

“That, the retreat, and those team meetings I forced you all through showed that you lot have more determination than any other group of gits I had the pleasure to Captain,” he said formally. “That, and it gave the new Captain something to live up to.”

“Do you know who it’ll be yet?” asked Katie, taking a bite of eggs.

“McGonagall and I have to talk it over,” he said, “but I already have a pretty good idea.” He smirked, obviously wanting us to ask but no one did. We knew he’d never tell.

“So what are the plans for today?” asked George nonchalantly. “I was hoping to get in some rare study time today since I have one too many exams this week.”

Katie looked scandalized. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t have plans. I suppose I should help you.”

Fred gaped at his twin. “I think I just had a minor heart attack,” he muttered. “I, however, will not be studying as I will be snogging Ang by the lake.” He took her hand. “So I will see you lot later.” With a wicked wink and a brief raise of a brow toward me, he steered Angelina out of the Great Hall. Katie and George followed a few seconds later and Alicia and Lee explained they needed to pick up a few things in Hogsmeade.

This left Oliver and me. Alone. Well, not alone but no one was else was talking to us.

I glanced up, meeting his eyes for a moment. I blushed. He looked back at his eggs.

“So,” I muttered, trying to get the heat down in my face.

“So,” Oliver repeated, drumming his fingers on the table. “I…erm, I was thinking last night.”

“Oh, yeah? About what?” My number one prerogative was to stop my voice from shaking. Why was I so bleeding nervous?

“About dating…and whatnot,” he replied slowly. “Generally dates come before snogging, you know? So do you think we should do that?”

“What? Snogging?” I raised a brow.

“Date, Perry,” Oliver mumbled, laughing a bit. “Should we…you know…go on a date or something?”

I shrugged. “Do you want to?” I couldn’t imagine trying to pick an outfit for a date let alone for a regular breakfast.

“I think it might be good,” he said. “Might make you a bit less nervous.”

I frowned. “Pot calling the kettle black.”

Oliver smirked. “Do you want to do a lunch date then? Go into Hogsmeade and have lunch?” He was twisting his fingers together on the table.

“That sounds fine,” I whispered, blushing. I stood up. “I suppose I should go upstairs and finish up notes and then get ready.”

Oliver’s eyes followed my standing motion and he raised a brow.

“What?” I asked, immediately checking myself to see if I had spilled something on my front.

“N-nice outfit,” he stammered, brows raised and jaw a bit lopsided.

I smiled warmly and left the Great Hall, vowing to pick something equally as attention-diverting for the date.




It didn’t prove to be as easy as it sounded. Every time I glanced at a different outfit I pictured Oliver. At first it was okay, just thinking about how he would react to the outfit—but then I started thinking more and more and my palms got sweaty and my breath ragged. This was Oliver Wood—Quidditch Captain extraordinaire. It wasn’t just some bloke.

I sighed. Yes, it was just some bloke. Oliver Wood was as normal as me. He came from a difficult background and had goals just like everyone else.

Except he was ridiculously gorgeous.

I tossed aside another shirt. Bollocks.

I picked up a dress. Too green. There was a nice shirt in the back. Way too pink. How about the skirt from that shop in Hogsmeade? Too blue. I’d blend in with the sky.

Frustrated, I stared at the pile of clothes in front of me. I hadn’t been this nervous when Oliver told me I had to play in the Ravenclaw game. I closed my eyes, dove my hand into the pile of unchecked clothes, and grabbed something. It was a lavender sundress. Making a face, I slipped it on and stared at myself in the mirror.

Flattering. Flowy. Short. I smirked, thinking of Oliver’s comment about the outfit I had on earlier. Short was definitely a good thing.




Oliver was waiting in the common room and for once when I walked down the spiral staircase he was the person I was supposed to look at instead of the person I accidentally looked at. I smiled when I saw him in a light blue collared shirt with a tie. He looked slightly nervous, which was an expression I was unfamiliar with considering he was confident at everything.

“Hey,” I said cheerfully, trying to walk down the staircase as gracefully as possible. I reached the bottom and beamed (more so because I didn’t fall on my face).

“Hi,” Oliver said lightly, staring at me for a moment. “You look—wow, you look amazing.”

I blushed. “You clean up nice too, Oliver.”

He offered his arm and together we made our way out of the common room (after a whoop by George of course and Katie hit him before anything else could come out of that mouth of his) and down to the grounds. We didn’t talk much and I was okay with that considering I kept thinking about how I was walking and if the dress was going to ride up and give anyone behind us a free show. I was working on keeping my nerves to a minimum but every time I glanced over at Oliver in his shirt with the wind blowing against him my eyes were brought to where the fabric clung to his chest.

He led me into the same restaurant I went in with Roger when we had our double-date with Bastian and Alicia. I wondered for a moment if this place killed couples.

It seemed likely.

I sat anyway and opened the menu. It was quiet. My stomach rumbled.

“So,” muttered Oliver nervously after the waitress took our drink orders. “This is nice.”

“I can hear my stomach,” I mumbled. “There should be music in here or something. More people. Louder noises.”

“Are you nervous?”

My face colored instantly. “Have I ever been nervous at anything?” I said wildly, glancing around to see if there were drums I could beat or something.

“Mental note,” he said and placed a hand on top of mine. “Relax and think of what you want to eat.”

I tried to focus my attention on the menu, but my mind kept floating to the hand that was on top of mine. He seemed to not even notice it, but it sent a jolt down my spine. I was nervous—I didn’t feel right. This entire situation felt forced and formal for the pair of us who were comfortable picking fun at each other in the Great Hall, falling on the Quidditch pitch, and sharing secrets in the Astronomy Tower.

“Maybe I’ll have…ham,” I said, biting my lip.

We were quiet for a moment and the waitress placed our drinks in front of us. I sipped at my water.

“This place is really nice,” I said. “Nice...cutlery and all that.”

Oliver nodded and did not look up, though he glanced at the silverware. “Yeah. I really like this fork. Maybe I’ll get forks like this for my flat.”

“They’ll be good. You can eat a lot of…salad…with these forks.”

We were talking about forks. On our date. On our romantic date.

I groaned.

“So,” I ventured, trying to recapture the conversation, “the weather is rather nice now that it’s Spring, huh?”

And then the weather. Great.

I should have just gone back to forks. Perhaps the spoons were worthy of a few snippets.

“Yeah, it is,” he agreed. “Nice for…outside activities.” He didn’t meet my eye.

Eugh. The word ‘activities’ was never a sign for good conversation.

I nodded. “Yep. Lots of things you can do.”

This.Was.Horrible.

Excruciating.

Oliver grabbed my hand. “Okay, let’s go.”

“Go? Are they out of ham?”

He shook his head. “No, this was a stupid idea. This isn’t us at all. This might have been you and Dodger, but this isn’t us.” He pulled me to my feet and scattered money across the table. “We’re leaving.”

I couldn’t hide the grin now engulfing my face. “But where?” I asked as he pulled me out the door. “I’m starving!”

“C’mon!” He led the way down the cobbled street until we entered The Three Broomsticks. There he ordered a few things, grabbed two To-Go boxes, and took my hand again. Oliver steered me out of Hogsmeade, not saying a word about what was going on (even when I prodded him in the side) and all the way up to Hogwarts. He shifted direction just short of the castle and I smiled.

The Quidditch pitch.

He led me to the center and put his cloak down so we could sit on it. Then he opened the boxes to reveal a lovely spread of fish and chips.

“Yeah. This is us,” I said happily, digging into my food. “It was starting to get stuffy in there.”

“I couldn’t let a dress like that go to waste,” said Oliver, smirking.

“And I thought you would be chivalrous tonight,” I remarked, rolling my eyes.

“I am chivalrous,” he said.

“Right. Walking out on a check. Ordering take out. Making crude remarks about my outfit.” I rolled my eyes. He was always all about the looks—blimey, look at Libby. She was all looks and no brain. Pfft. Libby.

“Sometimes the looks have to make up for things like sarcasm,” Oliver muttered.

My eyes whipped up. “Excuse me? If you don’t like the way I talk then maybe we shouldn’t even be on this date.”

“I don’t have a problem with the way that you talk, just that you’re a pompous git.”

I gaped at him. “I’m a—I’m a what? No way! I’ve been calling you a pompous git since the day I met you since—well, since you are! You’re so arrogant that you couldn't cut the narcissism with a knife!”

“You’re full of it, Perry. Like usual.” Oliver cocked a brow mid-chew.

I stood up. “I’m not going to sit here and listen to you insult me. This was supposed to be a romantic date with food and cutlery and stuff!” I dug a heel out of the grass and started to march across the Quidditch pitch.

What a jerk. What a sodding jerk. What did I see in Oliver Wood? He was pompous and blunt and a jerk and gorgeous and I wanted to poke him in the eyeball.

“Oi—Perry!

Livid, I flew around. “WHAT?!”

He was right there behind me—not two feet from me. Oliver grabbed my shoulders, pulled me to him and kissed me right there in the middle of the Quidditch pitch. I curled my arms around his neck and sank into the embrace.

“I was just picking on you, Jane,” he said after he had broken the kiss and before I let my eyes flutter open. “I like your sarcasm. Sometimes.”

I sighed heavily. “All right. And I don’t mind your comments. That’s why I wore the dress.” I took his hand and led the way back to the food spread. “You’re still a pompous git, though.”

“Don’t I know it. But hey, I paid for the food and talked about bleeding forks. I get to make at least one comment about your dress looking stunning on you, don’t I?”

“Of course you do—but haven’t you made enough?” I asked as we sat back down.

“Jane, look at it from my perspective,” he said, shifting his weight so he could lean back on one hand. “I’ve had to spend the entire year looking at you in ridiculously stunning outfits and I couldn’t say a bleeding word. Do you think now I can? Just for a little bit—especially if they’re like that! Come on.”

I giggled. “Okay. I suppose so.” I glanced over. “Are you still going to get forks like in that restaurant?”

“No. Those forks were hideous.”

“I thought so too,” I said, beaming. “Can I ask you a question?”

“I suppose so, though I promise no answers.”

I ignored that comment. “On Halloween—during that party—I cut you off from saying something about my outfit. What were you really thinking about that silly nurse getup?”

Oliver nearly snorted. He had to put down his fish for a moment just to laugh. “Blimey, I almost forgot about that. Jane—don’t make me say. It’s very inappropriate.”

“I’ll leave it at that,” I said with a snicker. Then I glanced back at him. “Oh, just tell me.”

“I just basically wanted to do things that would have made your then-boyfriend try and hex me,” he said finally. “But I would have hexed him first so that wouldn’t have really been a problem. I’m just glad you never wore that again because I would have just lost my mind right there—probably would have hexed Davies just to get him out of the way and then made a move. Stupidly, I might add, since I wouldn’t have been thinking straight. It’s the legs, Jane. I can’t be trusted.” He said this all in a matter-of-fact tone while eating.

I laughed loudly as a few more lights kicked on in the distance.

“But hey—what about me?” he said. “If I remember correctly I was that Roman Gladiator thing. What were you thinking?”

“I wasn’t,” I said truthfully. “I don’t think I heard half of what you were saying. I was staring.”

“Not surprised,” he said pompously and I smiled. That was just so…Oliver. “I do work out quite a bit.”

“I have to come up with a plan to deflate your sodding head,” I muttered, my nerves starting to vanish under the pitch lights.

“Maybe I’ll wear that outfit again sometime.”

“Don’t you dare,” I said, flushing.

“When I want something—you to do me a favor or something.” He stroked his chin with his index finger, pondering the very possibilities.

“Don’t count on it,” I muttered, shoving him lightly.

“It’s in my trunk. This summer I’m wearing it.”

“Oliver!” I groaned. “Don’t you dare!”

“Why? Afraid what you’ll do? Won’t be able to keep your hands off me, will you?”

“Speak for your bleeding self—you’re the one that just said if I wore my nurse costume again you’d hex your way to pretty much fondle me!” I cried.

He smirked and I wanted to punch him. “I don’t deny it.”

Chuckling, I finished my meal and stared up at the stars above us. It was peaceful outside (though getting chilly) and I appreciated the smooth grass beneath me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Oliver staring up as well.

“Jane?” he whispered, glancing over.

“Hmm?” I said lightly, tilting my head to the side, full from the food. My legs were getting a bit chilly though.

“How do we—I mean, we didn’t get to talk for that long last night…”

I chuckled. “What do you mean? We talked for hours.”

“Yeah, you’re right. We did…but then my stupid good-for-nothing roommates came in,” he replied.

I didn’t really know what he was getting at.

“But there was something I sort of wanted to talk about but we didn’t get a chance to,” he muttered, staring out into the stands.

His face was very red and I had never seen him blush like that before today—let alone twice in one day. “What is it then? My Seeker positioning? Don’t worry, Ellis can have it back.” I laughed.

Oliver smiled warmly. “No. About…well, about us.”

“What about us?” I asked softly.

He finally brought his eyes to meet mine. “Do we—I mean do you—should we…”

“Oliver, what’s going on in your head? I’ve never heard you stammer over your words so much.”

He took a deep breath and I grinned. He was just as nervous as I was and I was particularly giddy just thinking about that.

“Okay,” he said forcefully. “I want to make this official before anyone else gets the idea of dating the Quidditch Cup star.”

I gaped at him. “And by official…you mean…” I mumbled.

“I mean I want you to be my girlfriend, Jane Perry. One hundred percent mine,” he said, squeezing my hand gently. “And in turn, I’d be one hundred percent yours. Unless I had Quidditch practice, then you get ninety-nine.”

“You sure have changed,” I said with a laugh.

“What d’you mean?”

“At the beginning of the year you were all about you—all about yourself and Quidditch and being able to accomplish the things you wanted to do,” I said half-heartedly. “And now—hell, you came back from Brazil for someone else. You are only giving Quidditch one percent instead of ninety-nine. I’m shocked, Oliver, just shocked.”

He looked at me with a simper. “So what do you think? Do you fancy the new changed Oliver Wood?”

“I have to say he appeals to me,” I said with tiny giggle.

“Will you be my girlfriend?” Oliver asked quickly, tilting his head to one side and giving me that smirk that I remembered from the day he found out I couldn’t fly. I hated that smirk.

Well, it wasn’t so bad.

“Yes, Oliver, I will,” I said breathlessly, reaching over and kissing him. “As long as you keep making those brownies.” I winked.

Oliver, continuing to surprise me, reached over, grabbed my shoulders, and pulled me practically on top of him in the grass and we were making out before I knew what hit me. Even the lights seem to fade away in the distance as we kissed.

In a way, this was where it started—the deserted Quidditch pitch with me trying to learn to fly on a stupid school broom while Oliver tormented me from atop of his own. I nearly smirked at the thought, but then remembered I was snogging the most attractive Quidditch Captain at the school and thought better of it.

And he was my boyfriend.



A/N: Merry Christmas everyone! I've decided to post this next chappie on Christmas so I could give you another present! This chappie is the real start of the falling actions of the plot and the next chappies will be too. Two more!

So what do you think? Favorite quotes? Squee moments? Want to snog Ollie? How was your Christmas?

Thanks to everyone that has left me such amazing reviews, they are like Christmas presents! Over 400 now--that's insane for me! It means so much. PrettyPinkPony gets some major props for just finding this story and reviewing every chapter up until now. Wow, thanks so much!

Happy Holidays, can't wait to hear what you all think!


Chapter 26: Breaking the Snog Record
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Happy 2009 everyone!








Most of my exams went particularly well as far as I could tell the next day. I only had History of Magic and Potions. Okay, so Potions wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, but at least after the morning sessions we had the entire afternoon to ourselves—and Oliver’s N.E.W.T. schedule worked out the same. Since we had been out on the Quidditch pitch for hours the previous night we didn’t get to see anyone else except for at breakfast when Oliver was reciting his Charms vocabulary and I was imitating different types of stirring.

It was a nice afternoon, chilly in the Great Hall, but I didn’t mind. I just pulled my robes tighter against me and sputtered as a large letter landed on my sandwich. The Gryffindors around me raised quizzical brows about post being delivered after classes and Angelina leaned closer to me to see what it was.

Recognizing the script on the front, I immediately ripped it open and licked the turkey off my fingers.



Jane,

How’s my Quidditch Star daughter? Well, I hope, after that party. And it better have been one hell of a party considering I gave up a Hogwarts tour for you to be there. Only joking. I’m writing to tell you the things I didn’t get to say at the match. I want to say how proud I am of you. You were always so against Quidditch growing up—okay, that was my fault—but I finally got you to follow a team after your fourth year I think it was. You told me all of your friends played and you were interested, so I got you that subscription to Quidditch Weekly. I think it became your bible after a while, which was fine with me because I finally had someone to talk Quidditch with.

I forgive you for supporting the Harpies, though. Everyone has a flaw, even my daughter.

Your mother supported the Harpies. I don’t think I ever told you that.

But anyway, I’ve always been proud of you. Your grades have always been more than mine could have ever dreamed of being and your attitude on life was something I wouldn’t let you give up for any amount of galleons. The catching the Snitch part was the icing on the cake.

How did you end up learning to fly? You left at the end of the summer liking Quidditch, but you never learned to fly. You looked a little shakey in the air, but it was obvious you’d been practicing a lot. Was it that Oliver Wood bloke? The Captain of your team? He was a right good chap, came and talked to me in the Leaky Cauldron for a while about you. He seems very fond of you—invite him to dinner sometime. Has he been picked up? He better be after the saves I saw him make.

Anyway, Pumpkin, I wanted to say congratulations and I’ll see you in a few days so I can tell you how the Harpies just got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round and how the Tornadoes are still in.

With love,

Dad




There were a few tears in my eyes when I finished and folded up the parchment. That was my dad, all right. It was about Quidditch—yet it was never about Quidditch. I always figured I reminded him of Mum, but he sort of confirmed it in the letter. It was a nice feeling, being compared to a woman that chased dragons and supported the Harpies and was a loving mother.

Oliver glanced over with a raised brow. “Hmm?” he said. George was watching us with a look of interest in his eyes. We still hadn’t told everyone.

I handed him the letter and pretended to preoccupy myself with my lunch until he slipped an arm around me.

“Ha! Ha, I knew it!” cried George, pointing at the arm around my waist.

I glanced up. “You knew what?” A few Hufflepuffs were staring and Katie rolled her eyes.

“I knew the two of you got together—I saw some lip stick on Wood and I ruddy knew it.”

Oliver groaned, smirking. “I told you not to wear the shimmer stuff.”

I smiled and kissed him. “And then you told me to put more on so shut it.”

George was positively beaming.

“Your dad’s a good bloke,” Oliver said after a few moments of looking over the letter. “And the Harpies—blimey, I can’t believe there’s another Harpies fan out there.” He shook his head, laughing.

“Get used to it. If I ever have kids I’ll raise them to be Harpies fans too!” I said, chuckling at the look on his face from the news of even more Harpies fans in the future.

“Can we not talk about kids and get on to what we’re doing with the rest of our day?” said George, folding his arms as Katie patted him on the arm. “I’m getting bored sitting around here listening to these two flirt now that I know they’re actually together.”

I rolled my eyes. “And what do you suggest?”

Fred perked up on the other side of the table. “Swimming!”

“It’s too cold!” Angelina countered.

“It’s Scotland! It’s always cold!” Fred argued. “I’m going swimming. Who’s coming?”

George and Alicia both stood up, along with Lee and a reluctant Katie. However, a few people down the table heard as well and there was an enormous crowd leaving to the tower to retrieve swimming clothes that were so rarely used at Hogwarts.

I finished my lunch silently, feeling Oliver’s eyes on me. I kept my gaze focused on my food and Angelina shifted beside me.

“They’d better not get sick,” she muttered. “I swear I’m not pampering them if they do.”

“Of course not,” I said nonchalantly. “Should we go out there and sit on the beach? At least it’s sunny today.”

“Good idea,” she said. “That way I can keep an eye on them.”

I stood up and pushed the bench in. Oliver was still sitting. He was staring at me standing there. “Are you coming?” I asked, motioning to Angelina, who was nearly at the end of the hall.

He smirked. “Torturing outfit, woman,” he muttered, raising a brow at my brown skirt. I found it behind a dress in one of my drawers and had worn it just to make Oliver crazy since he seemed to adore making comments about what I wore.

I let a smile creep onto my lips as I turned, walking out of the hall. I paid a bit more attention to how I walked, careful to let my hips swing a little bit. Before I was even to the other side of the Entrance Hall I felt a pair of hands slip around my waist.

“You can’t do that!” Oliver said, turning me around and pulling me to his chest. “That’s enough to drive a bloke wild.”

I stared into his brown eyes and our faces were inches apart. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I replied innocently.

“My arse you don’t know what I’m talking about,” he muttered and kissed me hard.

“Oh, get a bleeding room!” cried Fred, prodding me in the side as he walked by with a towel draped over his shoulder.

“That’s rich of you!” I shouted back over my shoulder. “The man who snogs Ang anywhere he can!”

“Sorry, Janey, went temporarily deaf—hurry outside or all the good water will be peed in!”

I rolled my eyes and peeled Oliver’s arms off of me. “Are we going to go help Ang police the rogues or not?”

“As long as you’re wearing that, I’ll follow you anywhere,” Oliver said with a trademark wink.

I grabbed his hand and we made our way down the sloping grounds of Hogwarts toward the wide lake. I could see loads of Gryffindors splashing around, Fred making the most noise of all, and Angelina was under a tree with an amused look on her face.

“Jane, come swimming!” Katie shouted, laughing as she pushed pieces of hair away from her face. “It’s actually quite warm!”

I shook my head. “No thanks. I think I’ll stay dry.”

“Is this another one of your wonky secrets?” said Alicia. “That you secretly can’t swim? I swear, Jane, I told you to tell us all of the stupid secrets and get it done with. You can’t go through mean Quidditch-Captains for all of them.”

“Who says I’m mean?” said Oliver, sitting down beside me in the grass. “Did you say I was mean?”

“I’m not sure if I ever used that particular word,” I replied quietly. “But I’m sure I inferred it somewhere down the line.”

“Angelina!” cried Fred before Oliver could answer. “Get your sorry rump in here!”

“My sorry rump is staying up here thank you very much!”

“You’re welcome very much!” said Fred, treading out of the water, dripping wet. He walked over to where we were sitting.

“Fred, be careful,” Angelina said. “You’re going to get me soaked!”

He smirked.

“Fred, if you get me wet I’m going to owl your Mum.”

He stepped over her.

“That’s it. I’m owling her.”

“No, you are not,” said Fred, placing his hands arrogantly on his hips. “You wouldn’t owl her. You’re scared she doesn’t like you.”

“If I gave her a reason to be sour with you, she’d like me just fine.” Angelina smirked ruthlessly and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Fred’s face, however, was not filled with amusement. He glanced over at his twin. “A little help?”

“You’re on your own,” George shouted in return. “I’m not having Katie owl Mum about anything.”

Fred made a face and got down on his knees next to Ang. “Come on—I was only joking. Ha ha, joke. You know?”

“I think I’ll write it with my new quill,” she said halfheartedly.

“Angelina, come on.”

“Do you want to go with me upstairs so I call tell her all about how we had sex by the lake?”

“ANGELINA!” Fred gasped, covering his mouth. “You wouldn’t! You know Mum would have a fit and say I talked you into it and how horrible of a boy I am! You wouldn’t!”

She smirked.

“Ang. Angie. I love you, you know that?”

“Thank you.”

He gaped at her. “Th—thank you?”

“Thanks.” She kicked her feet out in front of her.

Fred’s skin was paler than before. “Angie, come on. I was just kidding. You don’t have to go swimming. You can just—you want a glass of water or something? Sandwich? Mountain range?”

“I’d like to go swimming now, thanks.” Angelina’s smile was so wide I barely notice Fred’s jaw hit the grass.

Then, as I watched in amusement, Fred picked up the struggling Angelina (“I was kidding, Fred! I didn’t mean it! I’ll owl your Mum!”), carried her to the lake, and dumped her in, cloak and all. She screamed and then dunked him, but Fred only continued to laugh. Then, after they both came up for air the third or fourth time, he kissed her. For a while.

So long, in fact, that George ended up splashing them to get them to stop sucking face in the lake.

I chuckled, leaning back onto my hands to watch the fun in front of me.

For a while neither Oliver nor I said anything, but eventually I rolled over, propping my head up on my hand and staring at him. “Oliver?”

“Hmm?” he said, closing his eyes against the sun as the splashing continued in front of us.

“What are we going to do over the summer holiday? Well, my summer holiday, your summer.” I bit my lip. This question had manifested itself inside of my head for the last day and a half and I didn’t even know where Oliver lived outside of the Gryffindor Tower.

“Well,” he said slowly, “what do you mean? Do you want to break up so you can see Davies again because I heard through the grapevine that he’s single.” Oliver snorted.

“Don’t be stupid,” I muttered. “I just mean—I’ll be back home with my dad in London. Where will you be?”

“Well, I’ve got to get a flat, don’t I?” he said, shrugging. “I’m not living with my dad after I graduate. If I get picked up by a team then I’ll just Apparate back and forth for practices since I’m of age. Maybe London will tempt me.”

My face lit up. “You can—I mean, you obviously don’t have to—but you would really…”

He turned his head to stare at me. “I just bleeding got you, I’m not letting you go again. Why did we have to wait so long to realize we fancied each other?”

I thought back to the year—the fighting, the hexing, the accidental snogging. “I don’t know. We’re both rather thick, aren’t we?”

“I suppose so.” He frowned. “Wherever I live I can Apparate so I can see you. But a flat in London would be nice…I’d really liked to get picked up by a British team, but I’m not being picky, you know? I thought about that on the way to Brazil. The fact that I can’t speak anything but English. That would require studying. And I’m about to graduate. Sod off, studying.”

I chuckled. “You tell it.” I stared at the sky for a moment.

“Well, I’m planning on getting a flat in London anyway,” he said and then paused. He sighed dramatically. “That is, if you’ll have me.”

“Haven’t I made it quite clear in the last few days that I’ll have you?” I asked with a laugh.

“A little bit I suppose. I still get nervous you’ll change your mind all of a sudden and start hexing me or walking out on me like you do my damn team meetings.”

“Well, as long as you don’t go on for three hours about my hair aerodynamics, I won’t leave.” I said with a smirk.

“Mental note,” Oliver said and ran a few fingers through my hair. “I really know what the twins were talking about now.”

“What? About my legs—I swear to Merlin—”

“No, no, about your hair.”

“What have they said about my hair?” I snapped.

“About how soft it is—and how good it smells.”

I blushed.

“I noticed that when I had to hold it after you puked in the trash can. You get extra points for that, Jane. I didn’t know so much could come out of a girl your size.”

I narrowed my eyes.

“So since the twins call you Janey, does that mean I should too?” he asked, laughing a bit as he continued to play with my hair.

I scowled. “If you call me Janey then I’m going to call you Ollie. End of story.”

“Another mental note,” he said quickly and he kissed me lightly on the nose. Then he pulled me on top of him and we started snogging with my fingers digging into the grass beside me.

“There is no way the two of you are going to sit up here and snog while the rest of us are getting beat by the girls,” said George, folding his arms.

I glanced up. “Sod off,” I said, my chest pressed hard against Oliver’s.

“No! No!” cried Oliver, sitting up and forcing me to do so as well. “The men are in trouble. George, how much are you losing by?”

“Bloody fourteen!” he said and the girls in the water giggled.

“I have to go help!” Oliver said.

“Erm—Wood?” George said quickly. “You’ve got a bit—it’s the shimmer again, isn’t it?”

Oliver blushed and wiped his mouth quickly. “Thanks, mate.” He looked at me. “Coming?”

“Have fun,” I replied with a smile.

“Oh no, you’re coming too.” Oliver kicked off his shoes and pulled off his collared shirt. I had a mini moment of Zen as I watched him, shirtless, pull off his pants to reveal a pair of striped blue boxers. Not too bad.

“No, I’m not,” I said. “My swimming things are all the way upstairs and the game will be over before I can get them.” I smiled pompously. “Besides, I can watch what I’d like up here.” I nodded at his torso.

“When has something as stupid as a bathing suit ever stopped me before?” he asked, staring me down with his boxers on. Blimey, his stomach was delicious-looking. Then, before I could tear my eyes away from his body, Oliver was taking off my shoes and throwing me over his shoulder.

“Oliver! Oliver, quit it! Seriously, put me down already—this isn’t funny! Oliver, quit! OLIVER I SWEAR TO MERLIN IF YOU THROW ME IN THE—”

A splash was all that was left of me as I held my breath. Once I came up, however, I found my death-wanting boyfriend a few meters away with a huge grin on his face. He wasn’t looking at my eyes and I glanced downward.

“Oh, you’re really mature,” I muttered, sinking down into the water so only my head was above it. Perhaps wearing a light pink shirt wasn’t the best idea.

“Who said I had to be mature?”

I allowed myself a smile as my cheeks colored.

“God, Jane,” said Alicia, whispering it into my ear, “the pair of you really belong together.”




An hour later we climbed out of the lake, soaked and exhausted. I spent a few minutes forcing my wand to dry my clothes and the clothes of others and then sat up.

“What now?” said George, folding his arms in irritation since the boys lost by three.

“I guess we should get back inside and study a bit,” replied Katie, yawning loudly. “I have another exam in the morning.”

I groaned. “Do we have to?”

Oliver kissed my forehead. “If you want to graduate next year you have to. Besides, don’t you lot have Transfiguration? That’ll be easy for you.”

I made a face. “I suppose you’re right,” I said and placed my head on his shoulder and looked up at him.

“What’s that face for?” he said, glancing over at the right moment. “Do I have something in my teeth?”

“No—no, I was just thinking,” I muttered.

“Didn’t I tell you that was dangerous?”

I smiled. “I should have remembered.”

He leaned closer. “What were you thinking about? About how good I look with no shirt, because I can’t blame you there. I think everyone out there was thinking it.” Oliver laughed.

“I know I was,” said Fred and Angelina elbowed him.

“Sure. Shirtless—can’t say it didn’t cross my mind,” I said, my color getting darker and darker as my face grew warm.

Oliver leaned over and kissed me softly.

Fred chuckled. “Geez, the pair of you just don’t quit. Find out you fancy the Quidditch Captain (or the reserve Seeker for that matter) and then snog for a year afterward.”

I was about to say something in reply about how good the snogging was, but I heard a disgruntled snort behind me and turned. The rest of the group did the same and Alicia groaned.

“How’s the boyfriend?” I asked Libby, who was a few meters away next to a tree with her clique of Shriekers. “Has he reached puberty yet?”

The rest of the team shifted on the grass. She looked murderous and part of me wondered if she was going to whip her wand out. I held mine beside me in the grass because there was nothing good about a group of hormone-ridden fifth years.

“I should have known,” she said darkly. “Pfft, I did know. Since bleeding Christmas he was acting weird…that’s good then. You two belong together.” One of the girls next to her had tears in her green eyes.

“You’re right,” I said happily. “We sort of do, don’t we?” I put my hand on top of Oliver’s. “You, however, belong with the giant squid. He’d appreciate your hideous looks.”

That sent her a bit over the edge. It wasn’t my fault—I’d taken so many hits from Libby that year all I wanted to do was push her a bit further. Her wand came up faster than I expected, though I cast a shield charm so I was only blown backward slightly closer to the lake. Fred’s eyebrow ended up singed.

My wand was pointed directly at her. “Libby, what was that? Did you come out here to attack me?”

“You’ve always taken everything I had, Jane Perry!” she shrieked, looking a little maddened. The room grew quiet and I wished they would keep talking.

“What in the—what have I ever taken of yours?”

“Ollie! You took Ollie!”

“You broke up with him!” I cried, gaping at her. Was I really having this conversation?

Libby narrowed her eyes. “Because he wasn’t himself anymore—because he fancied you! We were happy!”

“Libby,” said Oliver forcefully, standing up beside me, “I think you got the wrong idea. Well, I know you did.”

“What are you talking about—you didn’t fancy Jane?”

He rolled his eyes. “Of course I fancied Jane. Since Christmas I fancied Jane (though I really had no idea), but I don’t think you and I were ever happy. Not for a minute. Nor do I think Jane and Davies were ever really happy.” He shrugged. “I wanted a girlfriend to get all of the girls off of my back. I was sick of being followed around. It got annoying when I had to train.”

She looked dumbstruck.

“So put down your wand and go snog your new boyfriend,” said Oliver. He put an arm around my waist from our spot on the grass. “Because I am now officially happy.”

“Really quite happy,” I echoed, thinking of the conversations we had in the past.

“I’m not dating him anymore!” Libby cried. “I’ve got a newer boyfriend!”

“You go through them quite fast, don’t you think?” said Alicia, raising a brow.

“Who is it then?” said Oliver, obviously pretending to be interested.

“Nathan Eston,” she replied, sticking her nose in the air and turned, walking back toward the castle.

I nearly choked. “Eston—the Ravenclaw Seeker that tried to run me?”

Oliver, however, laughed. “Good. They belong together.” He tugged my wand hand back down and placed it to his lips, kissing it. “Don’t you think so?”

“I think so.” A grin formed on my lips and Oliver reached over and kissed me again.

Fred slapped his palm onto his face. “MERLIN, HOW MANY TIMES IN ONE DAY?!”

Ang prodded him. “Fred, cut it out. Let the pair of them snog. I’m sure they broke our record a long time ago with the way they’re going.” She smiled.

“Ridiculous. No way.” Fred folded his arms and put on a pouty face.

Angelina elbowed him. “What do you say we all head back upstairs and hit the books?”

“Good idea,” I said. “I have to review some of those spells.” I kissed Oliver one last time and he made a pouty face while I stood up to join the girls.

“Do you have to?” he whispered.

I rolled my eyes. “You have to study too. You’d better at least scrape an Acceptable in your exam tomorrow with all of this extra time I’m giving you.” I bent down and kissed him one more time and then hooked arms with Katie as we made our way back up to the castle.

“Bastian wrote me again,” said Alicia suddenly when we were out of earshot of the boys. My head whipped around to look at her. “I got it this morning.”

“I don’t remember you—why didn’t you tell us?” said Angelina.

“Lee was there the entire time,” she replied, blushing. “Then we had tests and all that. This is the only second I’ve had alone with you lot.”

“So what did he say?” Katie pressed.

Alicia hesitated, biting her lip. “Well,” she said quietly, “he’s asked me to come visit him in the Brazil over the summer. He said our correspondence worked out great and he would love me to meet his family.”

I gasped. “Are you serious? Holy Merlin—no way!”

Alicia nodded somberly. “Fraid so. He said he tried dating other women but nothing worked out and he wants to see me again—said he was upset Oliver didn’t come play, though, because apparently he was quite good.” She pulled the letter out of her pocket and scanned the it again. “Oh, Jane, here’s a part you’ll be interested in.” She pointed to a section and I grabbed it, reading.

Tell that friend of yours—the nice reserve Seeker—that I think she should date that Oliver Wood bloke. They seem really good together and her and that other bloke are good, but I don’t think they’ll last forever. When they break up tell her to try the Captain. I think they’ll get along good.

I laughed, rolling my eyes. “Oh, Bastian,” I said with a chuckle. “So what are you going to do?” I handed her back the letter and continued past a few trees.

“I’m not sure.”

“Are you still happy with Lee?” asked Angelina obviously.

“Of course I’m happy with Lee.”

“Happier than you were with Bastian?” asked Katie.

“Well, Lee and I have been together longer than Bastian and I were,” she muttered.

“And? Do you want to break up with Lee so you can go to Brazil with Bastian this summer?” said Angelina, tapping her foot against the grass as she stopped.

“No, of course I don’t,” said Alicia loudly, turning to face Ang. “I just feel bad.”

“Well, he said he tried dating other girls and it didn’t work out,” said Katie. “You tried dating another guy and it did. That’s just the way things work.”

“And maybe you can visit as friends,” I said, thinking of Roger.

“I doubt it,” Alicia muttered, folding the letter in half and then in fourths. “I really think it’s over.” She paused for a moment and looked at each one of us. “He really was a great guy—he really is I mean. He’s just not for me. Lee was right—I do have enough personality for two people.”

“The minute Bastian got here you were put on the backburner—to everyone, not just him,” said Angelina. “Not saying he’s not a good guy, because we all loved him. It’s just…not you. You’re happy with Lee.”

A tiny smile crept up Alicia’s face. “Yeah, I am happy with Lee.”

Angelina clapped her on the back. “Good. Now we’re all happy with our boyfriends. Just write Bastian back and tell him the truth.”

“How could I possibly word that?”

I shrugged. “Truthfully.” I drew my robes tighter around me and yawned. “And don’t forget to add in the part about Oliver and I being together.”

“Sure thing,” said Alicia as we started back toward the doors again. “I’m glad the pair of you added the title because if not it would have just been Quidditch players with benefits.” She giggled and I hit her. “Like you would have hated it!”

“I wouldn’t, but still!” I said, laughing.

“But you’re glad you added the title too,” said Angelina, smiling. “It’s nice, you know? Secure.”

“I’m just glad I don’t have to compete with the Shriekers for Oliver-time,” I said warmly. “At times I’m not sure I’d win.”

“Not with that temper of yours,” said Alicia.

Angelina raised a brow. “I disagree. I think Oliver loves Jane’s temper.”

“And only Jane’s temper,” said Katie.

“And her legs,” said Alicia and I nudged her.

It was at that point that I noticed a small group of people walking toward us, more than likely going toward the lake. We were only meters from the stairs and they were about halfway down, but I couldn’t help but notice Mandy Brocklehurst among the clique. She looked annoyed, holding her arms against her stomach.

“I bet Fred is going to get sick,” said Ang thoughfully, laughing to herself. “I told him it’s too chilly to go swimming. He’ll never listen.”

I smiled and mounted the first stair. The girls were nearly to the bottom now.

“You never deserved him, Perry.”

My head whipped around. I wanted her to say something so bad. I had been thinking about it ever since Roger told me about her when we got back together—the way she wanted help with her Charms just to get closer to Roger. The way she threw herself at him in the Astronomy Tower. Even though I didn’t want to date Roger anymore and I was perfectly happy with Oliver, I still couldn’t help feeling irritated that she was the reason I cried myself to sleep for days. It was her.

So, naturally, my wand was pointed at her face before she could sneer at me. “Excuse me?” I replied darkly. The girls stopped beside me.

“You never deserved Roger. You break his heart and then you’re off snogging Oliver Wood the next day—you’re just a little tramp!”

Before any incantation left my lips, Mandy went down, a red gash across her cheek. The Ravenclaws beside her shrieked and one immediately bent down beside her.

I raised a brow.

Alicia smirked from beside me. “That twit has been getting on my nerves since you told me about what she did. I’ve been itching to do that.” She put her wand back inside of her robes and we continued back up to the castle.

Smiling, I hooked my arm inside of Alicia’s as we walked.

Instead of grabbing my Transfiguration book when I returned, I decided to get a jump start on packing. After all, it was already Monday and the train was going to leave on Saturday so I figured the dresses I didn’t plan on wearing could go in my trunk for the rest of the week (probably for longer than that considering once the summer started my dad would make me start working on our roof garden manually until I turned seventeen).

So I started to pack, folding my clothes tidily between books, and finished off my wardrobe. I left out outfits for the rest of the week, but everything else was tucked away neatly. Then I started on the oddities under my bed and grabbed a tote box and the box of tea I had forgotten about. I made a mental note to drink that over the holiday break. I stored the both of my vases (one from my father and the other from Roger) wrapped tightly in t-shirts and then pulled open a drawer to find Roger’s suede teddy bear staring at me with its pretty crystal eyes.

What would I do with it? Could I really keep it after our relationship was over?

I made a face. Nothing horrible had happened. We just faded. There was no way I could keep it though.

But damn it was a cute bear.

I decided to tell Oliver to get me a bear for my birthday.

Then I chucked it in the bin and grabbed a few more books.




Between studying for exams, taking them, and doing the usual things like eating and sleeping, Oliver and I didn’t have a large amount of time for one another during the week. We saw each other during meals and then occasionally at night when we didn’t have an early test, but other than that it was a kiss good-night and a groggy good-morning until the last full day of school.

Nearly everyone’s exams were finished on Friday so we spent the afternoon lounging outside by the lake as Fred tried to convince Angelina it would be a good idea to go swimming again.

“No,” she said flatly. “You had the sniffles Monday night.”

“Allergies!” he shouted. “Look! I’m fine now.”

“No,” she repeated.

“Let’s do something then—how about some Quidditch?”

“No,” I said at once. “No.More.Quidditch.”

“Sick of my sport already?” whispered Oliver as Fred spit out a few more ideas.

“I’ve had the entire year to get sick of it and I daresay I might just be,” I muttered in return.

He was sitting with his back against a large tree and I was leaning my back against his chest, my neck at just the right angle that he would whisper things into my ear without the others hearing.

“But you’re actually good!”

I snorted. “I got lucky.”

“What if I told you that you got lucky with me?”

“I’d tell you to flip the words around and you’d be right.” I smirked.

“That I got lucky with you?” he said, gaping at me and chuckling. “Well, then I would say you’re right.”

I blushed, not expecting that answer. “Well…good.”

“I can be romantic too, Perry,” he whispered into my ear and I shuddered.

“I’m still getting used to that,” I said, smiling.

He kissed my neck lightly and I smirked. “Does this help?”

“Sod off,” I muttered.

“There’s the Jane I fancy,” he said cheerfully.

I smiled. “I still expect you to yell at me about something every few minutes.”

“Speak for yourself—I’m half-surprised you haven’t called me a stupid sodding git or questioned my Captioning abilities.”

I made a face. “Well, you are a git and us dating doesn’t change that. I haven’t called you one lately because the snogging is so good.”







A/N: And there is your chapter 26, tying up some jokes and conflicts and giving you plenty of Jane/Oliver time. I hope you enjoyed it & I hope everyone is enjoying the new year! I can't believe there is only one chapter left and this beast is finished! But the good news is I am working on other things at the moment as well.

I wanted to say a quick THANKS because I can't believe there are 500+ reviews for this story. That is more than I could ever have imagined--thank you all so much! They're all so thoughtful and they really keep me going. So don't stop now--tell me what you think!

Favorite quotes? Character actions? Anyone whoop a little when Alicia took out Mandy? :)


Chapter 27: Once Oliver Wood, Always a Captain
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Last chappie, folks! Please be sure to read the Author Note at the end!










I expected Saturday morning to be more exciting, but I found myself a little sad to be leaving. Sure, I wanted to see my dad more than anything, but I also wanted to have another night next to the lake snogging Oliver Wood like I had the previous evening. My poor outfit was covered in grass stains when I crept in around two that morning.

Needless to say I was a bit groggy when I finished my packing, stuffing my broomstick on top of my shirts and my Quidditch robes to the left. The other girls were just as tired seeing as all three of them spent the evening with their boyfriends as well. Alicia and Lee camped out by on the Quidditch pitch and stared at the stars. Angelina and Fred went to an empty classroom and she wouldn’t tell anyone what went on. Katie and George stayed in their dormitory and read. Or something like that.

“Well, one more year,” muttered Angelina, closing the top of her trunk and locking it.

“You lot will have to come stay sometime this summer,” said Katie. “I feel like the house just keeps getting bigger and bigger with no one else in it but my stupid family.”

“Of course we will,” said Alicia. “And weekly letters. None of this—oh, I was busy—rubbish.”

“Obviously,” said Angelina. “Especially since Jane is dating Oliver and we’ll all want the details.”

I rolled my eyes. “If you’re not careful I’m going to give you way too many details!”

“Between best friends there is no such thing as too many details,” said Alicia.

“Speak for yourself,” I said with a grimace. “There are some things I just don’t want to know.”

We surprisingly made it to breakfast on time and took seats with the rest of the Quidditch team (minus Ellis who was several seats down with Elizabeth).

“All packed?” asked Fred lightly, putting jam on a piece of toast.

“All packed,” echoed Angelina. “Not that I want to be anyway.”

I watched George fumble with his bread for a moment before dropping it into some butter as Katie put her hand on his arm.

“Up for an extra Quidditch practice?” said Oliver and she threw a croissant at him.

I paused for a moment, staring up at the owls soaring above us. They were so pretty. Seeing them made me want to get one for the following year. Maybe it would help me forget about Oliver not being there. Pfft. Nothing would make me forget about that considering my three best stupid friends would have their beaus.

Jerks.

I was then caught off guard by the numerous owls dropping things in front of various Gryffindors. I caught a letter and raised a brow. Oliver had four in his lap and the other girls had one. Fred had two. George had one as well.

“What the hell?” I said, tearing my own letter open.

“Blimey!” cried Oliver, an enormous grin erupting across his face. “Scouts! The Scouts that were at our game!”

“What?” I said stupidly, staring at my own letter.

It was an offer to play on the Tornadoes reserve team the following year.

The Tornadoes. My dad’s favorite Quidditch team. Playing for their reserve team. I nearly lost my breakfast right there.

Angelina was screaming. “The Finches! They want me to be on their reserve team! Holy Merlin this is insane!”

“I’ve got the Finches too,” said Katie breathlessly. “What about you, Alicia?”

“Finches,” she echoed, staring at her parchment with her jaw nearly hitting the bench. “Apparently they had to call a bunch of their players up to the big leagues and they need new minors players.”

“I’ve got the Finches and the Tornadoes,” said Fred brightly.

“I’ve only got the Tornadoes,” said George, narrowing his eyes at his brother. “It’s probably because I’m better-looking.”

“Eh?” said Fred.

“Yeah. I’d be jealous if I were you and I had to hang out with someone as handsome as me.”

Katie elbowed him. George blushed and I raised a puzzled brow.

I glanced over at Oliver. “What did you get?”

He handed me four separate letters.

The Finches. The Tornadoes. The Irish International Team. And Puddlemere United.

I scanned the parchment and when I got to Puddlemere I let out a scream.

“What—poison?” said Fred loudly.

“They want Oliver on their actual team!” I cried, holding up the letter. “Not their reserve team like the others—they want him full time! Paid! International spotlight!”

I thought for a moment he was going to faint.

“This might mean that spread in Quidditch Weekly after all,” said Alicia, giggling.

“I’ll buy it,” said Angelina.

I grabbed Oliver and hugged him tight, finishing with a hard kiss. “This is amazing, Oliver! You got what you wanted after all.”

“And you got the girl,” said Fred.

“Wow, I can’t believe it,” Oliver breathed, beaming.

“And without a tryout—what happened at the other three, mate?” asked Fred and Oliver colored instantly. “Malfunction? Broom problems?”

He sighed loudly. “I got nervous. Tried to make some saves a little too big for me.”

“The great Oliver Wood got nervous?” said Angelina, nearly choking on her breakfast.

He threw a piece of bread at her. “Yes, the great one got nervous. Don’t spread it around.” He smirked.

“But you got it this time.” Fred chuckled and finished his toast.

“Four times.” Oliver nodded. “And Puddlemere is in England—southern part if I remember right. Are any of you going to go for it?”

“I’m coming back to school next year,” said Angelina and the other two Chasers nodded, along with the twins.

“Well, we don’t give a fart about Quidditch after we graduate since we’ll be opening our joke shop,” said George. “And bad luck, Lee. No offers for you. You can have one of Fred’s if you like.”

“I’ll take the Tornadoes one. I want to play with Janey and her legs.” Lee was pointing to the piece of parchment sitting on the table.

“You got one too?” said Oliver, gaping at me.

“Apparently they saw that catch and fall and figured I was worth being on a Quidditch team.” I raised a brow. “Sound familiar?”

He smirked. “So are you going to do it?”

I crumpled the parchment up. “I think I’m happier from the sidelines.” I glanced over at Ellis. “You’d better be playing next year, twit, because there’s no way I’ll be back in the air!”

He laughed and gave me a thumbs-up.

“That reminds me!” Oliver said loudly. “I talked to McGonagall earlier and we’ve named the Captain for next year. It’s you, Angelina.”

She beamed. No one was shocked.

Angelina cleared her throat and I laughed, thinking the damage she would do next year as Captain. It would be like a second Oliver Wood, though the meetings would probably go faster since she was sleeping with one of the Beaters. I smiled at the thought of not having to wake up at the crack of dawn for practice when I wasn’t going to play.

“That’s great,” she said. “I suppose I’ll keep everyone—with a few tweaks of course. Jane, you’re the reserve Seeker for next year.”

I gaped at her and then threw my toast at her as the group roared with laughter. “Ha ha!” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes.

“I’m not kidding.”




It was hard fitting into one compartment, but somehow all eight of us managed it with the twins sitting on the floor and Lee stuffed by the window. I had a book out and Angelina was discussing boring Captaining things with Oliver.

“Tryouts will be a nightmare I bet. I’m sure there will be loads of people going out for the team. But I’ll need to find a new Chaser,” she said sadly.

Alicia and Katie lifted their heads.

“What?” said Katie, her head flying around wildly. “We’ll all be back I thought!”

“Well, with Alicia going to Keeper we’ll have an opening,” said Angelina fondly.

Alicia rolled her eyes and I thought for a moment she might hex her new Captain. “Oliver, can I borrow your Keeper gloves?”

I smiled warmly.

This was the team I loved—my best friends (and Quidditch-obsessed boyfriend of course). The group that had all come from different worlds and had united under the banner of sports to make friends. Heck, even before Fred and Angelina started snogging in broom closets they were at each others’ throats. And then Lee, waiting months to make a move on Alicia, enduring taunts about his lack of Quidditch skills and having to watch her happy with a different bloke. And Katie and George, who realized part way through the year that they were perfect for each other. I almost wanted to smack them since they had zero problems that year and had confided in each other for everything. They seemed like a beacon of hope in our dysfunctional circle of friends.

I glanced over at Oliver who was laughing at Alicia’s scowl. He looked so grown up, so adult now that school was over and he was off on his own. He was going to play for a real team and have his name on the back of Puddlemere robes. I was the girlfriend of an International Quidditch Keeper. Pfft. Just try to keep me away from that.

“So did you write Bastian back yet?” Katie asked quietly, closing the magazine she was holding as she stared curiously at Alicia.

“Bastian wrote to you?” snapped Lee. He looked scandalized.

Alicia rolled her eyes. “Yes, he wrote to me.”

“What did he say—does he know about us? I could take him, you know!”

She held up a hand. “There’s no need for that. He wrote to ask me if I wanted to stay with him in Brazil for the summer.”

Lee gasped. “What did you say?” he said quickly.

“I told him of course I would love to stay just wait for a few minutes to come pick me up so I can break up with my git of a boyfriend.” She slapped him hard on the back of the head. “Don’t be daft. I told him I was sorry and that I had found someone else and I was really quite happy.” She beamed. “But don’t go spreading that around. I like the idea of people knowing I was with a Quidditch star and got my heart broken.”

Angelina snickered and put her feet on Fred as he groaned from the floor. “Good. Sorry you had to do it. Pfft, who would have thought poor single Alicia from the start of the year would turn into the desirable, fought-over Alicia of today?”

I shrugged. “I knew it.”

Oliver snorted. “You couldn’t have known it, Jane.”

“I knew it,” I repeated.

“How could you possibly know?”

“I knew because it was only right that we got so much stupid attention at the beginning of the year so she gets it at the end. It’s just the way Hogwarts works.” I smiled.

Oliver, however, rolled his eyes. “Well, if anyone else has any crazy revelations, please don’t hesitate because as of right now Jane has you all beat.” He laughed and George cleared his throat.

“Actually, I do have a small little something,” he said quietly, his hands twisting together as he stared at his feet.

“Did you find Wood’s brownie recipe?” asked Fred. “Because I’ve been trying to get that for ages and if you got it without me I’m going to kick your arse.”

George shook his head. “No, I didn’t get the recipe. Don’t you think I would have told you before now?” He narrowed his eyes and Fred backed up a few feet. “It’s something different.”

“What is it then?” asked Alicia, folding her arms and propping herself against Lee.

“I wanted to…well, I was thinking,” he said quietly and the sound of the steam engine almost overpowered his voice. “I went into Hogsmeade after my exam on Thursday and I was looking around and I started thinking, you know?”

“Thinking is never good,” muttered Fred and George shot him a look of daggers.

“I started thinking about all of us. How far we’ve come. I mean, Alicia being crazy and single and fighting with everyone because she couldn’t get a date and Lee moping about because he wouldn’t listen to us and actually make a move on her. Then there’s Ang and Fred, terrified of commitment but the first to…you know…”

Fred smirked and Ang hit him.

“And then Wood and Jane of course—obviously I think they came the furthest out of all of us because they had to fight their way out of stupidity to see that they fancied each other.” The group laughed and I narrowed my eyes. Oliver put an arm around me. George shifted on the floor to look at Katie. “And then there’s us. I knew for years that I loved you. Pfft, I knew when we tried out for the team and I tripped over myself getting onto my broom. I’m a Weasley. I don’t trip over myself because of girls. I trip over myself because of…love.” He paused so the girls could chime in with a simultaneous “awww”. Then George sighed. “I finally plucked up enough courage to ask you on a date and then…well, it’s been perfect. Sure, we bicker, but who doesn’t? We probably had the least amount of problems out of everyone this year and I think that makes you and I sort of a constant, don’t you think?”

“I guess so,” said Katie, shrugging a bit.

“I just think we’re perfect,” breathed George and Fred elbowed Angelina’s leg. “So when I was in Hogsmeade I was thinking about everyone and how much things have changed and how we’ve become such different people—especially Oliver, actually committing to one woman. That dog. But anyway…I happened to pass this store.” He reached into his pocket. “And I happened to see something that I thought you might like.” He pulled out a blue box. “So I was just…” George opened the box and used his other hand to ruffle his hair nervously. “I was just wondering if you might do me the honor of marrying me, Katie.”

We should have waited for Katie to answer, but seeing as her eyes welled up with tears as she nodded, the girls and I took our cue and decided shrieking would be appropriate (Oliver covered his ears). I leapt up and just after Katie and George pulled apart from their tear-soaked embrace, I grabbed Katie and pulled her over to Ang, Alicia, and me.

We hugged for a minute, Katie crying all over my robes, and as I opened my eyes I caught the smallest glimpse of George. He was beaming, a few tear tracks marking his freckled face. He was glowing as Fred shook his hand.

That was happiness.

George took a seat where Katie had been, his face flushed, and motioned her onto his lap. It was crowded, but no one complained. I even heard Angelina whisper, “red bridesmaids dresses would go best with our complexions, you know.”

I couldn’t believe how beautiful the diamond was and the girls spent a few minutes just staring in awe at Katie’s left hand. Fred glanced nervously around the room and wrinkled his nose until Angelina made it quite clear she wasn’t ready for that sort of step. He breathed easier for the rest of the ride. Even after we changed the subject, Katie kept sneaking glances at the ring and kissing her fiancé while the topic strayed to summer plans.

“I’m headed to Russia for a few weeks on holiday,” said Lee, “but I’ll be back before you know it. It’s not like you lot fancy writing me anyway.”

“Why should we?” said Angelina. “All we get back is a crumpled letter with a few sentences about how horrible the food is. Why put effort into a proper letter?”

“Because it’s from the heart,” said Lee fondly. “It’s the thought that counts.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Alicia muttered, “and you don’t put any thought into your letters.”

He wrinkled his nose.

“Well, I’ll be training,” said Oliver proudly, “since I’m going to take Puddlemere up on that offer and all.” He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me close to him.

“Getting a place down there then?” asked Katie, sneaking another peak at the diamond on her finger.

“No,” he replied slowly, his eyes floating out the window. “I’m going to get a place in London.”

“For the restaurants?” asked Angelina.

“Don’t be stupid,” said Fred. “For the girl.”

Oliver blushed. “Yes, for the girl.”

“You must really like this one,” said Lee with a raised brow.

He pulled me closer and kissed my temple lightly. “I think I do. I think I really lo…I think I do.”

I chanced a quick look at Oliver’s scarlet face and I smiled. I knew what he was thinking. Of course I did. And maybe I agreed. Internally.




Katie fell asleep in George’s arms about an hour later and Alicia and Lee drifted off while talking about the Muggle prime minister and how he looked a bit like a sheep if you squinted your eyes a certain way. Angelina tried to keep her eyes open as she surveyed Katie’s ring and probably mentally debated whether she really was ready for that step, but I watched her eyelids drop the same way they did during Potions and not even Fred could wake her up from that. I doubted he wanted to since the idea of marriage obviously scared the dung out of him. Instead, Fred went hunting for the food cart and came back with loads of sweets. Then he fell asleep halfway through a cauldron cake which then proceeded to melt all over his mouth and robes. It was very attractive.

I wasn’t tired at all. I felt exhilarated. It was the end of a year, but the beginning of something new and different. I read through Alicia’s Quidditch Weeky and chuckled as I saw yet another picture of Bastian making a fantastic Snitch-catch. He looked natural doing it. Just like Ellis and very unlike myself.

But that was the way I liked it. I didn’t need to be exactly like my friends to love them and I didn’t need to keep secrets from them so they wouldn’t hate me.

I glanced up at Oliver and noticed his eyelids were falling as well. I nudged him.

“Eh?” he muttered groggily.

“You can’t fall asleep on me too,” I whispered.

“Why not?”

“Because I’m the only one awake, that’s why!”

He ran his fingers over my forearm and I grinned. “Why don’t you just take a nap then, love?”

I groaned. “Because I’m awake. That’s the concept of awakeness.”

Oliver kissed me lightly on my cheek. “Go to sleep.”

“Oh, give it a rest.”

“I’m trying,” he said. “You just won’t give it a rest so I can give it a rest.” He winked and I punched him on the arm. “I’m going to have to put up with you all sodding summer I need to take a breather here.”

“Put up with me, huh?” I said playfully. “What do you think that entails?”

“Listening to you talk,” Oliver replied. “And you’ll probably want to come and see some of my games once I’m a Quidditch star because all of the women will be begging me to sign parts of them you’d smack me for. Oh, and you’ll probably want me over for dinner because your dad suggested it. And you’ll want to come to my place for dinner—oh, blimey, you’ll be expecting me to cook, won’t you? I don’t really see that happening. You’ll expect the side of the bed toward the window in my flat and you can sod off if you think that’s happening.”

I cocked a brow. “I’m expecting all that?” I asked.

“Yes, of course you are. You’re a woman.”

“I don’t think Angelina is expecting that much out of Fred,” I said, watching the pair of them sleep as Fred leaned against Angelina’s right leg (his mouth covered in melted chocolate). “I think she might be expecting some more sex and to have dinner with his family…but probably no Quidditch games or to have the side of the bed by the window.”

“Pfft, don’t think for a second I’m daft enough not to know that you’re expecting both of those things as well.” He winked. “But anyway, you’re a different kind of woman than Angelina.” Oliver closed one of his eyes.

I pried it open again with my finger. “What’s that supposed to mean? Am I super woman?”

“Pompous git, aren’t you?” He chuckled.

I hit him again. “No of course I’m not—what kind of woman?”

“You’re my woman,” he answered gruffly, kissing my gently on the lips. “And that means you’ll be expecting a lot more. I am the Quidditch Captain you know.”

“Not anymore—that’s Ang now,” I said flirtatiously, running my fingers down the stubble on his cheeks. I kissed him again and lingered for a moment on his bottom lip.

Oliver grabbed my shoulders and pulled me closer to him. Lee stirred beside us. Our noses were touching and I could feel his ragged breathing against my lips.

“I’m Captain until this train stops,” Oliver said breathlessly. He stole a tiny kiss. “And until then you have to obey my orders.”

I raised a brow. “Don’t you have someone else to boss around? Fifth year Shrieker girls? Ravenclaw Beaters? The rest of your bleeding team?”

“Kiss me, Perry,” Oliver said hoarsely.

I shook my head. “Oh, it’s Perry now, is it? So we’re back on the pitch, huh?”

He groaned. “I swear to Merlin, Jane, if you—”

Smirking, I kissed him calmly and he tensed up in my arms. I broke the kiss and stared into his steady brown eyes.

“Kiss me,” he whispered.

“My pleasure, Captain,” I breathed and kissed him again as the train continued its journey toward London, an entire Quidditch team captured in memories inside of one of its compartments, ready to grab life and shake the Seeker qualities out of it.












A/N: Okay, that's the end of Keep Away. Quickly, I wanted to say due to popular input and extraordinary ideas, I have decided to make a sequel. That's right--squee now. Go ahead, I'm letting you. [squee moment]. There will be a little teaser piece at the end of this author note.

I am also working on a James II/OC story and a Rose/Scorpius story and I strongly encourage you, if you enjoyed Keep Away, to check those out because they are both of the same substance humor-wise and have a great deal to do with dishy boys and Quidditch.

I also want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who read this story. It means so much to me that people followed this thing so loyally and really loved it. Especially the people who left feedback and allowed me to build off of what they said for future chapters. This entire story was just a wild ride where I fell more and more in love with both Oliver Wood and Jane in a way.

Quickly, I want to thank siriuslyhockey for everything she has contributed to this story and to all of my regular reviewers and the wonderful people that asked me questions on my Meet the Author thread. You lot are the best :) Please, pretty please, if you haven't reviewed yet, I would love to know what you thought of Keep Away.

So...favorite parts? What did you think of the ending? Of George and Katie? And most of all---what the heck do you think is going to show up in the sequel?!

TEASER:


And here I was. Sitting in my room under my quilt while my dad went and had fun doing adult stuff, my friends did fun friend things, and my boyfriend practiced with a professional Quidditch team.
No bleeding fair.
I rolled over and snatched a roll of parchment and quill off of my bedside stand.

Alicia,
Quit having more fun than me.
Summer is horrible.
Miss you,
Jane


Was that desperate enough?

Angelina,
Stop snogging Fred so you can write to me.
Love,
Jane


Well, it was the truth.

Katie,
After you've taken Mrs. Weasley to St. Mungos for shock, write me back.

I’m horribly bored with Oliver training with Puddlmere.
Not that you’re a second resort.
Only you are.
With love,
Jane


That should just about do it. All of my friends would be forced to feel bad for me and at least write me a letter detailing how much they adore me and how much they miss me and that they will gladly cut their fun short just to spend loads of time with me.










The sequel will be available once I finish the first couple chapters and the James story will be up soon! Check back! Thank you all so much for everything you have done for me and all of the wonderful reviews!





So what do you think?

Along with other edits: THE SEQUEL IS NOW POSTED. 


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com