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He Just Won't Quit by crazygingercatlady

Format: Novel
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 47,057
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

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

First Published: 06/22/2008
Last Chapter: 08/23/2009
Last Updated: 08/23/2009

Summary:




Stunning banner by italian bella @TDA!

Kit Anderson has grew up in the shadow of her three older sisters.  Determined to escape constant comparisons, she choose not to follow in their Quidditch playing footsteps.  The problem is a certain Oliver Wood can't seem to understand her decision and when a vacancy occurs on the Gryffindor team, Wood is determined that Kit fills it.  That boy- he just won't quit!


Chapter 1: Defective Quidditch Captains
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Beautiful chapter image by Mistress- Thank you!


A/N: This is a random little something that has turned into my first fic. Harry doesn't exist and Oliver Wood isn't (yet) captain of the team. I think that covers everything, any questions just ask. Enjoy“And it’s Spinnet, passing to Bell, who narrowly misses a Bludger to pass to Johnso- ah no, McCormick steals it back for Hufflepuff!”

A general groan goes through the Gryffindor stand, as I swear loudly.

“Now, now Kit, no swearing in front of the little people,” Beth tells me.

I let out a very unladylike snort as I take a glance at her.

Beth and I have been best friends since the first day on the Hogwarts train. Two scared firsties had saw in the other a friend. We were both sorted into Gryffindor and Beth had faced opposition from the other girls for being Muggle-born. I had stood up for her; I had no problem with Muggles, my Mum’s a Muggle-born. United against the plastic idiots we shared the dorm with, we became firm friends and soon found we were as crazy as each other.

“Have you heard them talking in the corridor recently? I’m hardly teaching them anything new, in fact they could probably teach me something” I respond, as turn my attention back to the match, just in time to see Hufflepuff score. “Bloody pissing hell!”

My unusual swearing draws the attention of the little people standing in front of us. One particularly confident looking idiot goes to say something, only to be cut off by Beth.

“I wouldn’t advise it, this is definitely not one of those occasions where the bark is worse than the bite,” she informs him in a helpful manner. Glancing back at me, I attempted to remain serious and might have overdone it slightly, because on seeing my face the little idiot grabs his mate and flees down the stands.

“Right, so I’m not allowed to swear in front of them, but your allowed to scare the crap out of them?” I ask Beth, one eyebrow raised inquiringly, causing the both of us to burst out laughing.

“Aw, scaring little people; nothing beats it.” Beth responds as Lee announces the score to be Gryffindor 90 Hufflepuff 110. “You know, I’m beginning to think I didn’t go red enough with the hair.”

I just turn and stare disbelievingly at her, well more specifically her hair. Normally Beth has light brown hair.

But today it’s a bit different.

Beth thought that considering the desperate position of the Gryffindor team (who were on track to ending up bottom of the table) that a bit of Gryffindor house spirit was needed to spur them on. Personally, I think what they needed was for someone to fatally injure the Captain and Seeker, Robert Smith, to make any difference. But Beth decided to display some house pride by charming her hair bright red.

As in scarlet.

As in if you look at it to long your eyes get sore.

“I don’t actually think it would be possible to get your hair any more red. But if you want more spirit I’m sure some gold streaks would do the job.”

Disturbingly, she takes my suggestion seriously and I can see her brain trying to work out the right spell to use. I edge away from her slightly; Beth’s spell casting has been known at times to go a little off target. Impeccable spells though, they always go as planned; you never had any fear on that part. But who will be the receiver of her wand waving is always open.

Edging away a bit more as her wand is produced from her pocket, I notice that those standing directly behind us have also moved slightly away from Beth. Whether due to hair glare or because as fellow sixth years they knew what she was like, I don’t know.

Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against showing a bit of house pride, but I somehow think gold streaks wouldn’t be the best addition to my ginger hair. Keeping one eye on Beth’s wand waving, I turn my attention back to the match.

“And Bell interrupts Armstrong’s pass, getting the Quaffle and speeding up the pitch –COME ON KATIE!!!! McCormick is in pursuit, as a Bludger hit by Wilson just misses Be- DIGGORY HAS SPOTTED THE SNITCH!”

The crowd’s attention moves away from the chasers and everyone watches as Diggory dives from above the Hufflepuff goalposts heading for the centre of the pitch. I look to see where Smith is and see him, as usual, not bothering his arse to pay attention to the game as he circles the Gryffindor goal posts.

“And Diggory flattens out as he urges his broom to fly faster. COME ON SMITH GET YOUR ARSE INTO PLAY!!” Lee’s voice bellows round the ground. The fact Professor McGonagall made no move to correct him and in fact seemed to be shouting at Smith as well, showed how bad the situation was.

By this stage, not only is Lee yelling at him but also the whole Gryffindor stand is roaring at Smith to get the snitch. Smith, in typical form, is actually shouting back and appears to be saying that he wasn’t being fooled by some ploy by Diggory and that we should leave seeking to him.

I can only groan and put my head in my hands as the yelling around me gets louder and the swearing beating what I had said earlier. Then suddenly there is a bang from beside me and I look up quickly to see that Beth has succeeded in getting gold streaks. Only the spell had gone slightly array and the five rows of people in front of Beth now all sported gold streaks in their hair. Nice bit of house spirit, sadly it has little effect. So bad is the situation that those affected stop shouting for just a few seconds before continuing. Beth just stands admiring her handiwork.

“Impressive coverage, but not as golden as I had hoped,” she manages to shout to me over the noise. I can only shake my head at her, my attention firmly on the game, as now all the other Gryffindor players stop what they are doing to start yelling at Smith.

“SMITH, MOVE YOUR BLOODY ARSE!!! IT IS NOT A PLOY- A BLIND MAN ON A GALLOPING HORSE COULD SEE THAT THAT’S THE SNITCH, YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER DICKHEAD!”

McGonagall does nothing to restrain Lee and if anything seems to be agreeing with his statements. As the screaming reaches fever pitch, Diggory reaches out and grabs the snitch. There is mild cheering from the Hufflepuff’s but they are drowned out by the boo’s and yell’s coming from our stand. Even the Hufflepuff players look disgusted by Smith’s actions, not even really celebrating their win.

Smith doesn’t seem to quite realise the match is over, the other Gryffindor players look severely pissed off as they land. Lee now leads the crowd in a chant against Smith, “SMITH OUT! SMITH OUT! SMITH OUT!”

Smith, as usual, is paying no heed to the shouting and flies pompously to land. I look over to see what McGonagall’s doing. She seems to be counting under her breath as she stands up, smoothes down her robes and takes the microphone off Lee. Lee’s so engrossed in the chanting he continues to chant into his hand before he realises the microphone’s no longer there. McGonagall takes a deep breath and the next thing her voice fills the stadium.

“SILENCE!” The chanting immediately stops; you have to hand it to her, its impressive the effect her voice has. “ MR. SMITH, never before have I been filled with the shame I have for my house that you have caused today. You behaviour was absolutely disgraceful, and this is not the first time that you have shown such a blatant disregard for not only your teammates but also your house. You leave me no choice but to immediately dismiss you from the position of both Captain and Seeker.”

Complete silence fills the ground as McGonagall’s words sink in. Smith stands on the pitch with his mouth hung open, not quite realising what’s happening. He quickly finds his voice and actually has the front to shout back at McGonagall.

“You can’t do that! You have no right, I was made captain, this is my team!” he shouts, indignant.

“Mr. Smith, you will find that as the head of this house I can dismiss those from the team as I see fit. Now get back to the changing rooms and stop making a further spectacle of Gryffindor,” McGonagall finishes, disgust evident in her tone.

Cheering breaks out across the stand, as we clap Smith’s exit from the ground. I can’t believe we’ve finally got rid of him. He’s been captain for the past two years, he hadn't been a good captain to begin and has been getting progressively worse. His arrogance had made him immediately disliked by all. If he had actually been a half decent captain he may have gotten away with it, but under him Gryffindors have suffered the heaviest defeats in their whole history. He is determined that he is always right and that no one could tell him how to manage or play. McGonagall’s announcement is no real surprise, though it did leave an interesting question as to who will replace him for the last match against Ravenclaw.

The crowd begins to move down and out of the stands. I go before Beth to help hide her from all the people who are now realising that their hair had in fact gold streaks.

“It’s not permanent, sure it’s not?” I mutter to Beth behind me.

“Well…”

“Beth!”

“You see…I’m not particularly sure,” she admits.

“Oh great so you’ve managed to give gold streaks to half the house, possibly permanently” I grumble back to her, “You know this may just top The Ink Fiasco.”

The Ink Fiasco had taken place last year, the week before our OWLs. I had been sitting revising with Beth in the common room, with Beth getting into her usual pre-exam tizzy. She was sitting muttering away under her breath, while furiously writing revision notes on the properties of Anka Root for Herbology, when she had realised she was nearly out of ink. Anybody else would have asked if any one had a spare bottle, but Beth decides instead to perform the Repleo charm.

It was a tricky little charm that would replenish your ink supply. Now bear in mind that Beth had never used the charm before and had a record for ‘over zealous’ magic. She gave the inkpot 3 sharp taps, and before I could stop her, had uttered the charm.

Credit to her, she had successfully performed the charm. Sadly it was so successful her inkpot suddenly looked as if someone had just struck oil on the table. It covered not only the both of us but also most of the common room and everyone in it.

They still haven’t got the ink stains out of the sofas and now no one sits near Beth when she does any homework.

Making sure Beth’s well hid behind me, we slowly make our way down the stand. Everyone’s talking about Smith’s departure. Some are ranting about just how bad he was; others are debating who would now be Captain and more importantly, who would replace him as Seeker?

You see the problem is, such was Smith’s incompetence (or maybe it was arrogance) that he had never bothered with a reserve team. So, his departure causes much speculation about who would replace him.

“Wood’s obviously going to get Captain, can’t be anyone else. I mean, come on, he’s practically run the team this past year.” comments John Stewart, a tall, gangly sixth year from the group of sixth year boys in front of us.

“Yeah, definitely. Problem is- who’re we gonna get as Seeker?” responds Phillip Dobbin, his short squat friend.

They begin listing all the various possibilities and I’m too busy watching where the steps are that I never notice that the crowd has stopped, so I walk straight into the back of Dobbin.

“Sorry!” I say to him as he turns.

“No worries, Anderson,” Dobbin tells me as he turns back round to his friends, only to quickly interrupt them as he appears to have a light bulb moment, “Hold on, what about Anderson? She’d be perfect!”

Oh great.

Just what I need to brighten up my day.

They start to list the various reasons of why I would be so perfect for the job; seemingly unaware of the fact I’m standing right behind them. Beth hadn’t been paying attention, she was too busy trying to reverse the spell, but she looks up for her wand waving as she sees me tense up.

“What’s happened?”

“Nothing. Absolutely bloody nothing.”

She catches the conversation from in front and understanding dawns on her face.

“They’re just a pack of idiots, ignore them.” she tells me.

Her attempts to make me feel better fail miserably when Dobbin turns round and decides to inform me of the decision they’ve made.

“What do you say Anderson? Your perfect for Seeker! You’re the best choice, you wouldn’t need as much training as anyone else.” He tells me excitingly, he then turns back to his friends. “And with another Anderson in the team it’ll be great. Do you remember when Jo was Beater and Captain? We were unstoppable!”

I drown out the rest of the conversation as I slowly count to ten. Anyone who didn’t know me would wonder at my strange reaction. What’s so bad about someone thinking you’re good enough for the Quidditch team; isn’t that a compliment?

The problem is I’ve spent most of my life trying to fight myself out of the shadow cast by my three older sisters. Throughout my time at Hogwarts I’ve been known as ‘another Anderson’. My three sisters Lydia, Maggie and Jo are all Quidditch stars of the highest degree. Each had been the Captain of the Gryffindor team, each lead the team to successive victories. The constant comparisons had grated on me as I grew up. I hated always being told how much like one of them I was. Very rarely was anything my own, it was always so like Lydia, Maggie or Jo.

The usual thoughts of annoyance fill my head as the idiots in front start to list the ‘Wonders Of The Andersons’.

“It’s cause of their Dad; I mean he’s the best manager for his generation, he was bound to create great players,” Stewart was gushing on.

My Dad had lead the Tornadoes to league victories for the past 10 years, since he joined them in fact. It’s because of his job that my sisters and me have grown up on the Quidditch pitch. Quidditch is firmly in our blood.

“We never saw Lydia play, but Hooch says she had pure natural talent.”

Lydia’s my oldest sister. She made the team, in her second year, as Keeper and had made Captain in her forth year. She had started the tradition of cup winning and also the tradition of record breaking. She became the youngest Keeper in Hogwarts history, she made the most catches in a debut season, the most clean sheets and many more.

She was also famed for her talents outside of the pitch too; I think she still holds the record for the most times caught in a compromising position in a broom cupboard.

Gosh aren’t I proud?

“Yeah, but Maggie was a much better strategist and captain.”

Maggie is two years younger than Lydia, and in her second year had made Seeker for the house team. She was made Captain in her sixth year, after Lydia had left, and had made an impact for her superb leadership skills; which had been unexpected as she was always termed the quiet one. She holds the record for the fastest catch (two and a half minutes). When I started Hogwarts, Maggie was in her sixth year, so I had gained instant ‘cool’ status when I had started.

“Granted Lydia was a great player and Maggie a great Captain, but it’s definitely Jo who was the best. I mean she was an explosive player as well as a fantastic captain.”

The rest of them instantly agree and begin to have an argument about what her finest moment was.

Aw Jo.

She’s only three years older than me and as a result I’ve always felt closest to her. She is the epitome of a tomboy. The fact she managed to make the house team as a Beater in her first year says it all in my opinion. She made records for giving out, and getting, the most injuries in a season, quite a feat. Explosive is one way to describe her, bloody lethal is another, and not only on the pitch. She made a name for herself off the pitch for her various pranks. The most memorable was her turning the Slytherin house banners pink in her third year in protest to them winning the House Cup. They still have a slight pink tinge despite Snape’s best efforts.

She was made captain in her sixth year and, like the others, retained the cup.

Among all this Quidditching glory, you have me. You expect after such achievements as the ones above, that I would follow the trend. Get into the house team at the earliest opportunity and get the Captaincy in my 5th year when Jo left.

Yet I didn’t follow expectations.

I didn’t try out for the house team in first year.

People just thought I was going to be like Maggie and be a rule follower.

I didn’t try out in my second year.

People began to wonder, but then there were no vacancies on the team, so they just presumed I didn’t want to use my name to gain favours.

Then what really got them talking was when I didn’t try out in my third year.

People began to question what was wrong, rumours spread round that I couldn’t fly, that I was afraid of heights, even strangely that I had been cursed by a bitter Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff/Slytherin (depending who was talking about it) student and couldn’t go near a broomstick without it attacking me. Such rumours were due to the fact there was a vacancy on the team. Maggie had left and since so many people believed me her double in temperament, they thought I was perfect for Seeker.

Also my flying abilities had labelled me out for a Seeker. Contrary to some beliefs I wasn’t scared of heights and I could fly. In fact, I was known to be a bit of daredevil, being seen doing crazy stunts on Saturday mornings when I went for a fly about with my sisters.

This was what made it all so confusing as to why I wasn’t trying out- I loved to fly. I had been reared in Quidditch and flying and never was seen to be as comfortable as when I was on a broom.

The reason I never tried out for the team?

It was my form of a protest. Way back when I was only a little person getting ready to go to Hogwarts, I had made a decision. I couldn’t avoid comparisons with my sisters, the likenesses between us were too much to ignore. I couldn’t stop being compared to them in the various subjects or by teachers.

But I could stop any comparisons being made about Quidditch. Quidditch was something I had a choice in. Something I could refuse to do.

So I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t play Quidditch. That I would try to make people see I was an individual, not some creation made from bits of the other three. It probably sounds strange but it made sense to me and I liked the thought that I was making a stand.

Of course no one understood; aside from Jo, she understood the problems of living in the shadow of older sisters. I think that’s maybe one of the reasons why she is always so outrageous; part of it is done in an attempt to make a separate impact. To make her own individual mark.

It wasn’t easy avoiding Quidditch. Growing up I had spent as much time as I could with my Dad down at the pitch, and I really loved the game. But not only did I have to contend with these feelings but I also had to deal with stupid pricks like Oliver Bloody Wood. You know, I actually think that that’s his proper middle name. I mean even his parents had to be aware of what a pain in the arse he is.

Wood is a Quidditch fanatic to the highest degree. We started Hogwarts together and he annoyed me from the instant I meet him. This was because once he had discovered my name, he had started to rant about how he didn’t realise there was ‘another one’. That phrase I fully believe will probably be put on my bloody gravestone- Here Lies Another One.

“Another what?” I had asked him frostily.

But Wood was a thick as a plank when it came to such things as normal human emotions and never twigged that I wasn’t particularly happy about being called ‘another one’. He immediately went off on a rant, all about how fantastic my Dad was, and how brilliant Lydia was so far in her debut season in the Quidditch League and what he had heard about Maggie and Jo. He ended asking me which one was I most like and did I have their abilities.

Fair enough he was being nice and complimentary to my family and all. But it was the tone in which he said it that made me feel as though I was some fascinating creature there for him to poke at and examine. This was a feeling I had felt too many times over the years and I did something that I rarely did.

I snapped at him, told him quite clearly where he could stick his conversation and told him to go and snog a broomstick. Now before you think the worst of me the thing is, I never snap at people. I was the one in the family that never lost her temper, never shouted and I absolutely hated nasty arguments.

Yet as the years went on I discovered that Wood was the exception to this and he always managed to rub me up the wrong way, so that we ended up having a full-blown shouting match.

The problem was, as the years went on Wood became more and more obsessed with Quidditch, achieving the dream of entering the team as Keeper in our 3rd year. The fact Wood was so Quidditch mad meant he couldn’t understand me at all. He had seen me fly and couldn’t understand why I would refuse to try out for the team. For him Quidditch was right up there with breathing and he couldn’t understand why anyone would actually turn down an opportunity to play it.

He has pestered me throughout the past 6 years to join the team. He’s worst at the start of the year when try outs are taking place. He doesn’t help himself much by the fact that he hasn’t learnt from experience that trying to get me to join using the reasoning of ‘you’re so like your sisters you’re bound to be good’ isn’t a good idea. In fact it’s a frigging stupid one.

“Earth calling Kit land-Beth requesting friend back so she no longer looks like she’s talking to herself.”

Beth’s voice interrupts my thoughts as I snap to attention and realise that we’re halfway across the grounds, heading for the front doors. How on earth did we get here already? I look ahead and see Dobbin&Co have disappeared.

“Sorry about that.” I tell Beth, “But you do know people will probably be more concerned by the fact you’re talking about yourself in the third person rather than the fact your talking to yourself? They’re used to the second one, the first one makes you seem like you’re trying to be the Queen.”

“Ha Ha, you’re just so funny aren’t you?”

“Of course, just as you’re terrible at quick witted responses.”

“Oh hush, we can’t all be a sarky cow like you. It would ruin your appeal. But never mind the fact we’re both fantastic,” cue another unladylike snort from me. Beth just gives me a look as she continues. “I was attempting to tell you something important before you decided to zone out on me.”

“And when is anything you say important?”

“Ohhh someone’s being severely sarky!” She looks at me with concern, “Are you alright? You shouldn’t let them idiots bother you; they’ll have forgotten it all by lunch. They’re men, they sacrifice all brain space for the process of making sure they get food.”

I immediately laugh, the frown that had been on my face slipping away.

Being such good friends with Beth means she never gets insulted when I go into severe sarky bitch mode. This happens when I get nervous or annoyed. I’m especially bad when I meet new people; my nerves send my sarkyness into hyper drive. This is bad, as some people just don’t get sarcasm and actually think that you’re insulting them. How anybody doesn’t understand sarcasm is beyond me.

“Sorry dearie. I let the idiots annoy me and I took it out on you, sorry shouldn’t do that. Very bad Kit.”

“Look who’s talking in the third person now!” She responds with a smirk.

“Ah shite, it must be contagious.”

We both burst out laughing, starling the group of little people walking up the steps to the entrance hall in front of us. Looking closely at them I see two of them are the little idiots from earlier. Seeing who the laughter was coming from, they both immediately sped like lightening up the steps and away. Bless, little people are so easy to scare.

“So what exactly was it you were trying to tell me, before I zoned out so rudely?”

“Look,” she says as she pulls a bit of her hair towards me. Her now strangely purple hair, purple hair that I’m now beginning to realise several other people are sporting. “Turns out the gold streaks weren’t permanent once you cover them with another hair charm.”

A/N Thanks must go to the fantastic Shauna Zombie for betaing this

Chapter 2: The Plastic Idiots
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A/N I am terribly sorry for the horrendous wait for this chapter. I had the first half written and then bam, I hit a brick wall and for some strange reason the map on the wall became very interesting to sit and stare at. It was down hill from there but I finally managed to get the second part written. So here it is for your enjoyment, chapter two. Enjoy. 


Purple hair. You know it could catch on. I know it’s not House colours but it does grow on you the more you look at it.

Sadly, those affected by Beth’s hair charm didn’t seem to feel the same way and were actually quite adamant that they wanted their hair changed backed to normal.

Good friend that I am, I leave her too it. Now that may sound terrible but the thing is I have had enough experience of Beth’s ‘accidents’ to know I would be of no use. For some strange reason her spells never shifted for anyone but her. So leaving Beth to deal with the mass of purple haired people, I head up to the Common Room. Truth be told, Beth’s so much of a magic nerd that she probably thought the whole thing was great fun.

She’s going to be having more fun than me at least, because I’ve just remembered I’ve a Potions essay due in for Monday.

Lovely.

Not that I’ll actually do it today. I mean it’s only Saturday! There’s still Sunday night and the early hours of Monday morning to do it. But I might as well start the procrastination now.

The main staircases are packed with Gryffs, all talking excitingly about the events of the match. Knowing that another incident like the Dobbin&Co one is all too likely, I decide to take a short cut. A couple of tapestries and hidden staircases later and I make it to the Fat Lady in front of the crowd.

One of the joys of having a prankster for a sister; she teaches you all the quickest escape routes.

“Ah, Miss Anderson. Maybe you can enlighten me, how did Gryffindor fare in the match?” the Fat Lady asks me.

“Hufflepuff beat us by 170 points.”

“Oh not again! You know this never happened when you sist-”

“Codswallop,” I say the password quickly, keen to interrupt her before she can go into full rant mode.

“What!” She looks scandalised until realisation dawns on her face, “Oh the password.”

She shoots me a look of greatest insult, as she swings open to reveal the common room. Thankfully, it is empty; everyone’s still making their way back from the match. I grab my bag from the heap of schoolbags in the corner and get out my Potions notes, making sure to get a table in the corner, out of view.

“Wilberforce’s theory of the principles of transitional potions was flawed. Discuss.”

As I read the title out loud I realise I haven’t got a bloody clue what it means. I hate it when Snape sets essays with the phrase ‘discuss’. It always ends badly, as no one ever discusses what he wants us to, unless you’re a Slytherin of course.

I normally end up writing a long waffley essay, trying to cover all the points in the hope I’ve covered the aspect he wants us too, only for him to say he wanted us to discuss some obscure point that I never even noticed.

Of course Potions is an exceptionally bad class for me due to the fact Snape still hasn’t gotten over the pink house banner thing. Yet another person who sees me only as ‘another Anderson’ and treats me accordingly.

I write the title out neatly on a new bit of parchment and then pull out this mornings edition of the Daily Prophet and sit back to read the sports section. I’m such a good little worker; I should be in Ravenclaw.

There’s a growing rumble of noise coming from the corridor outside that tells me the rest of the house is here. So opening the back page, I sink into my seat and hide behind the paper. Well not really hiding, just making sure nobody would actually know it’s me in the corner.

It’s not really hiding its just trying to look inconspicuous.

Really it is.

The portrait door bangs open and a blast of noise comes my way as everyone starts to clamber in. Which causes me to sink further into my seat. I’m not in the mood to deal politely with some idiot who thought I’d ‘be perfect for the team’. They most likely wouldn’t survive the encounter with all their body parts in tact.

Engrossing myself in an article about the Cannons and their chances of actually winning a match, I try to block out the noise of the rest of the common room. But I can’t help but hear certain conversations.

“Ah come on, she’d be perfect. The last match is just about trying to get some house pride back, we can worry about a permanent team next year.”

“Yeah, I know. I haven’t been able to look at my cousin recently. He’s a Claw and I would love nothing more than to wipe that smug look of his face. But my problem is- what about the rumours? They say she can’t even fly, that she’s afraid of heights; that’s why she’s never even tried out.”

Hmm I wonder who the ‘she’ is?

Three guesses and I bet I won’t need them all.

Argh! I knew I might have to deal with folk like Dobbin&Co who actually knew me a bit but I didn’t think I would have to deal with some random little person who I didn’t even know presuming to know all about me and Quidditch.

“You know I never got why everyone went on so much about the Andersons. I mean Jo only won as captain through sheer luck and the stuff they say Lydia got up to off the pitch…”

“I know, I mean we all know that she did certain ‘favours’ to get so many wins”

WHAT THE FRIG???

I pull down my paper and look to find which stupid cows are slagging off my sisters, only to realise it’s my favourite people in the whole wide world after Wood; Lyn and Jane. They’re the plastic idiots Beth and I share a room with.

As you can guess, we don’t get on. Never have and never will.

Everyone knows a Lyn and a Jane. They’re the type of girls who think looks are the only thing that count and that God put them on this earth to show everyone what ‘cool’ is. They are vindictive, manipulative, evil and all those other lovely traits. Jane is a skinny brunette whose life seems to be a constant shampoo advert. She is bound to end up with neck problems in later life with all that hair flipping.

Lyn is the nastier of the two. She would be classified as the ‘mastermind’. Not that she’s that smart; it’s just that Jane isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Lyn is your typical case of a ginger in denial. Her hair is ginger, severely so, it’s the sort of ginger that is so orange that it’s nearly yellow. Yet Lyn maintains her hair is ‘strawberry blonde’. Strawberry blonde is not a colour, it’s just a made up colour used by gingers in denial.

I know I’m aiming for inconspicuous but I have lines that are not to be crossed. Wood crosses one of them on a daily basis, by comparing me to my sisters. These idiots have just crossed the other major one- insulting my family. I’m fiercely loyal to my family and will not stand for anyone to bad mouth them in my presence, especially when they sprout such rubbish like these two were.

I slam the paper down unto the table and stand up out of my chair. The slamming noise must have been even more effective than I’d planned because half the common room stop what they are saying to look round at me, the other half alerted by the sudden quiet also turn round to look.

Jane and Lyn look round too, but I can see from their faces that they had knew fine rightly it was me behind the paper. There is a small smirk appearing on Lyn’s face, as she realises she had gotten to me. This is something she takes great delight in doing, as it’s only on rare occasions that she actually manages to get a rise out of me.

Maybe it’s because I knew that the whole room had been talking about me. Maybe it was because I knew I was going to spend the next few days being pestered by everyone to join the team. Or maybe it was the thought that at some point I was going to have to deal with Wood. I don’t know what it was but something causes me to snap, right there and then, in front of the whole common room and unleash the annoyance, anger and down right hatred, I’ve been building up against Lyn and Jane for the past 6 years.

“You know not everyone is like you two, and has to exchange ‘favours’ to get what they want. You know some people actually manage to get through life without becoming a walking STD farm. In fact, some people actually have talents bar the ability to strip half naked in a very short space of time. So why don’t you two talk about something you actually know something about, instead of stretching those few remaining brain cells on the concept of Quidditch, which believe me, no matter how much effort you put into it, you haven’t a hope in hell of understanding. In fact, better still, why don’t you shut the hell up about my sisters. They are ten times the people you can even hope to be.” I say, finishing in a shout.

There is complete silence in the common room. My gaze is fixed on Lyn and Jane, hatred clear in my face.

Things were going to get nasty, everyone knew that. In fact I could see some people, on the fringes of the common room, taking bets on who would win.

BANG!

Everyone turns towards the portrait hole, just in time to see Beth attempting to clamber through. She stops half in, half out of the hole and looks up, startled by the complete silence and the fact everyone is looking at her.

“Okay, what did I do now? I can promise it wasn’t me, I’ve been in the entrance hall, fixing a small hiccup, so it can’t have been me,” Beth rambles on. She glances round and spots me, then twigs something has happened. “Oh-kay, what did I miss?”

Seeing Beth makes me realise I was most likely going to do something I would probably regret if I stayed. Not that I think permanently injuring Lyn and Jane would be a bad thing, I just don’t think I could wangle my way out of expulsion.

So I grab my things and stuff them all into my bag. Beth, by this point, has managed to throw herself into the common room and whispers have broken out across the room as everyone’s attention returns to Lyn, Jane and me.

Lyn looks like she is about to respond, so I decide to cut her off before things can set off.

“Beth, I’ve got work to do; I’m heading to the library. I’ll see you later.”

“Wait, hold on. I’ll come with you, just let me grab my stuff,” Beth replies, still looking completely confused about what’s going on.

I push open the door and step outside to wait for Beth; who, after having a fight with the pile of bags, finds hers. As the door shuts behind her, there is a burst of noise, as the whole common room starts talking at once.

“Okay, feel like telling me what the hell that was all about?” Beth asks, as we head for the stairs.

“Lyn, Jane, bitching.”

“Which is the normal occurrence. So you looked like you were going to kill them because…?”

“Because they were bitching about Lydia and Jo.”

“Ah.”

“So I snapped.”

“Ah.”

“In front of the whole common room.”

“Ah.”

“Managed to call them walking STD farms.”

“Ah.”

“And can you say something other than bloody ‘ah’?!”

“Sorry, but what else is there to say, other than you’re my hero for managing to call them that in front of the whole room?”

“And here’s me thinking I was already your hero!”

“It comes and goes depending on whether the house elves make chocolate cake for pudding.”

“Fair enough.”

We manage to remain serious for half a second before bursting into laughter. You have to love randomness; it’s the best quality in the world.

We’re still chuckling to ourselves as we hit the forth floor staircase. Beth turns to climb down the next flight of stairs, causing me to have to grab her bag to pull her back.

“The Library’s this way dear,” I chuckle at her, indicating the forth floor corridor. “You know, you would think that after nearly six years of going to the Library, you would remember where it is. It’s not like it moves around; it’s probably one of the few things in this castle that doesn’t.”

“I’m a lost cause, okay?” She grumbles back at me.

My response is cut off before I can say anything as hurried footsteps appear behind us, quickly followed by a shout.

“Anderson!”

Oh that’s just frigging fantastic.

“Oi, Anderson hold on a sec!”

Hark, the dulcet tones of Oliver Bloody Wood.

Beth stops and grabs my arm, knowing that I was just going to keep walking. I turn to her, to protest, but all I get is The Look in return. The Look is about the only time when you will see Beth looking serious. It’s Beth’s way of telling me to behave.

Beth understands why Wood is the bane of my existence but for some strange reason Beth doesn’t mind Wood. Of course, he hasn’t ceaselessly pestered her for the past six years, so maybe that’s why.

I let out an exasperated groan and count to ten in my head, hoping that by the time I’ve finished Wood will have managed to fall off the side of the earth. Sadly, ten comes all to quickly and as I turn round, I see that Wood hasn’t managed to disappear.

Wood, even I have to admit, is a Quidditch heartthrob. He’s well over 6 foot tall and is well built with the muscles of a Keeper. Mix this with his big brown puppy dog eyes (Beth’s words not mine) and it’s quite a combination. Of course, the whole effect is ruined the second he opens his mouth and you realise he’s just a prat.

But considering the amount of fan girls Wood has, that could just be me.

He’s looking particularly ‘heartthrobish’ at the moment, due to the fact he hadn’t yet changed out of his Quidditch kit and had that windswept ‘I’ve just gotten of my broom’ look. His appearance causes the herd of second year girls passing us to let out a collective sigh.

“Yes?” I inquire sharply. Though I may admit Wood’s not bad on the eyes, I still think he’s an insufferable prat and the day I manage to be civil to him will probably be when hell freezes over.

“McGonagall just made me captain,” Wood answers, unaffected by my sharp tone, which was a normal occurrence.

“And you feel like I needed to know that because…?”

“I’m telling you this because, as Captain, I have to find a replacement Seeker and I want you to fill the spot,” he answers, trying to maintain a calm tone but just ending up sounding forced and formal.

“Really? That’s interesting, thanks for letting me know,” I reply sarcastically.

I turn round and continue walking towards the Library; leaving a very confused Wood behind me. Obviously that wasn’t the reaction he was expecting. Beth just sighs and follows me up the corridor.

“Wait, what?”

I ignore his question and keep walking.

“Seriously, that’s all you’ve got to say?” Wood says as he jogs to catch up.

“Well that’s all I want to say to you,” I reply while continuing up the corridor.

“Hold on,” Wood says as he grabs my arm to get my full attention. “What do you mean that’s all you ‘want’ to say to me?”

“I thought it would be pretty self explanatory, but then again I forgot that it was you that I was talking too; the boy who uses all available brain space for Quidditch,” My catty comment causes a red blush to Wood’s face, a sure sign that he’s getting angry.

“Now if you would let go off my arm,” I pull my arm from his grasp, “because being manhandled by you isn’t really on my list of top ten favourite things to do. I said that’s all I ‘want’ to say because, the way I’m feeling at the moment, if I said anymore I would most likely end up hexing off one of your body parts. So how about we leave the whole, you pointlessly pestering me to another time?”

On that note, I turn round and storm up the corridor. I didn’t trust myself to stay any longer, already my brain was thinking of what way to hex Wood and what combination would work best.

“Wait, so will you fill the spo-” Wood starts to shout to me but I cut him off before he can finish.

“Now is not the time Wood.”

“But-”

“NOT NOW!”

My last shout seems to have done the trick, as there is no reply. Then again it may have been a tad on the loud side, a fact reinforced when Madam Pince whips open the door to the library, eyes glaring around for the source of the noise.

I look disapprovingly at a set of little people further up the corridor, and share a look with Madam Pince, as if to say ‘Little people have no respect for the sanctuary of the Library’. I don’t think I’m that successful, as Madam Pince just glares suspiciously at me and barely moves out of the doorway so I struggle to get in.

Madam Pince is like most librarians; she would prefer it if no one was allowed into her library and her books were left in peace. She has a particular dislike for Beth and me. She didn’t like Beth due to the fact Beth is incapable of putting a book back in the right place. It’s just another part of Beth’s geographical inability.

Madam Pince didn’t like me, because her and Lydia had had a war of sorts when Lydia was at school. It had started in Lydia’s 4th year, when Lydia thought the library was a better place than a broom cupboard to met her newest flavour of the month.

You can understand her logic; I mean there are the endless rows of books and the sections that no one has really been in for years. Of course, Madam Pince didn’t approve of Lydia’s new location and took to tracking her down and chasing her out of the library.

Lydia’s escapades meant that Madam Pince isn’t particularly fond of me. In fact, she has been known to frequently hover near me when I’m working in the library, shushing my every little sound, in a bid to find some way of throwing me out.

Pince keeps a sharp eye on me as I move off to find a table. I see our usual one free and head over too it. Its in the perfect place, it’s a window table so it has a great view of the lake and lets in a nice breeze. What makes it perfect is the fact that the Astrology shelves beside it blocks the table for Pinces’ view.

I throw my bag onto the table and sit down on a chair. It’s only as I sit down that I realise; Beth is missing.

Where did she go?

A/N (yes, another one, just because I ramble) I would like to thank all the lovely people who took time to review the first chapter. All you reviews were lovely and very much appreciated. I would also like to say thank you to the lovely people who favourited this; I was amazed that it is so many. And since I seem to be thanking everyone I would like to thank the lovely validators, for working so hard to get so many stories through the queue and also thank you to the lovely people over at the forums; they are a great help when your brain decides to freeze (which mine does frequently).

Hope you enjoyed this chapter; the next update should (hopefully) not take as long.
 
A big thank you to my fantastic beta Shauna Zombie!


Chapter 3: The Chicken Sandwich/Tea Debate
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A/N: This chapter is out a lot faster than the last one, I really liked writting this one, I'm still not sure I like the last one. But anyway, here is chapter 3 for your enjoyment. I hope you like it.  A big thank you to Mistress for the most beautiful chapter image- I don't know about you but I can't stop looking at it!



Losing Beth is a regular occurrence; it’s an occupational hazard of being her best friend. Beth couldn’t find her way out of a paper bag, so you always have to keep an eye on her to make sure she didn’t end up in some 7th floor tower that no one has been near in half a century. And yes that has happened; it took us 3 hours before we found Beth wandering aimlessly, convinced she was actually in the Gryffindor tower.

I think it might be a good idea if I go to see where she’s gotten too.

BANG!

Ah, that’ll be Beth.

In case you haven’t worked it out, Beth’s incapable of entering a room without nearly blasting a door of its hinges.

I pull out my Potions essay and straighten it nicely out onto the table. Beth appears as I take the Prophet out of my bag.

“Where did you disappear too?” I look up and ask her.

“Oh… erm,” Beth nervously replies, “I was just…erm…following you and….Yeah.”

“And that makes perfect sense.” I reply amused.

Beth shifts nervously, opening and closing her mouth several times, searching for an answer. The sight just makes me chuckle even more, the annoyance caused by Wood disappearing. Before Beth can say anything, Madam Pince appears from behind a bookcase.

“Do you mind! This is a library, not a social gathering!” she hisses at us. She glares at me and then spots Beth standing aimlessly beside the table. “And what are you doing? If you haven’t got anything useful to be doing then leave! You’re just proving a nuisance to those who are here to seriously work. I will not have you cluttering up my library!”

Beth blushes bright red; she hates getting into trouble with teachers. She also hates arguing with teachers and this normally means Madam Pince easily intimidates her.

“Well, I’m just…erm…you know…” Beth replies quickly, getting flustered under Pince’s Death Stare.

“That would be the problem Miss Williams, I do not know!” Pince hisses back.

Oh she is nasty. I sometimes think someone should go check and make sure Satan hasn’t escaped, because Madam Pince sort of throws off the vibes that if you shave off all of her hair there would be 666 tattooed onto her head. And for once that theory is not just me, there is actually a bet going between the sixth years about how long it will be before she sprouts a tail and horns and starts to walk round with a giant pitch fork. As you can tell, we sixth years are a hardworking bunch.

“Madam Pince, are those new robes? That colour suits you perfectly!” A voice comments from behind Beth and Pince.

I open the Prophet to use as a shield to hide my laughing face. I manage to restrain myself enough that I only let out a few squeaks.

The voice, complimenting Madam Pince on her fetching new robes, belonged to Jonathon Harville, a sixth year Ravenclaw. Jon is one of the few people Madam Pince can tolerate. Partly because as a Ravenclaw, he understands the true importance of a library and partly due to the fact he’s alarmingly good at kissing Pince’s ass.

The really strange thing is that Jon is the complete opposite of your typical Ravenclaw-study-mad-kiss-arse. He has the brains of course, but you won’t see him slaving over his books and he only ever sucked up to Pince.

“Why, Mr Harville! You’re making me blush!” Pince replies in a high-pitched girly voice that has me hiding further behind the paper, letting out a few more squeaks of laughter. “You are such a charmer!” Cue more squeaks from me. “Well, I don’t want to keep you back; I know you are such a hard little worker Mr Harville.”

My squeaks get worse and I hear Beth let out a snort.

“A problem, Miss Williams?” Pince snaps. “I believe I have already informed you that if you have nothing to be getting on with you will have to leave!”

“Oh, I am so sorry Madam Pince. It is entirely my fault Beth hasn’t been doing anything. She was waiting on me; I’m giving her some tutoring lessons.” Jon responds quickly.

I can just feel Beth bristle at the thought of needing tutoring lessons. Though Beth is a walking disaster and her magic may be slightly erratic, she has plenty of brains. She takes some of the hardest NEWTS, though she didn’t do Potions; Snape thanked Merlin the day he managed to get rid of her. Beth is bad enough with everyday objects, give her ingredients that are famed for their unstableness and you’re lucky if the classroom survives. Of course this meant I’m left to fend off Snape in Potions by myself, as Jon doesn’t take it either.

I think Jon must have caught on to the fact that Beth’s about to say something back to Pince, as I hear a squeak of pain that means he must of given her a dig.

“Well,” Pince replies with a sniff. “I always knew you were too good Mr Harville.”

Retreating footsteps tells me Pince has left, so I put the paper down and unable to stop myself, burst out laughing.

“Tutoring lessons!?” Beth angrily turns to Jon, rubbing her arm where he must of elbowed her.
“Hey, I didn’t have long to think and it was the first thing that came to mind!” Jon responds, hands up defensively.

“And what exactly are you finding so funny?” Beth quickly turns to a still laughing me.

“Sorry,” I attempt to talk through the laughter. “It’s just…the voice she uses…it cracks me up!”

Jon is trying to hide his chuckles and Beth tries to remain serious, only to burst into giggles.

“It was like a helium filled gerbil wasn’t it?” She giggles.

“I can’t help the effect I have on women, can I?”

Jon’s words just make us all fall into floods of laughter and the other two pull out chairs opposite me and sit down. It doesn’t matter how much noise we make now, as Pince never bothered her golden boy. But you had to be careful if Jon went off in search of a book because Pince always used the opportunity to swoop down on you to see if she could find some way to throw you out.

“Actually, talking about tutoring,” Beth starts as the laughter dies down, “I could use your help with the Ancient Runes homework. I think I may have a stray number.”

I drone out the rest of the conversation and settle into the paper. I don’t take Ancient Runes, so most of this stuff went over my head. Glancing up at Jon and Beth sitting beside each other, heads bent over the textbook, I can’t help but smile. They are both so unaware to the fact they’re perfect for each other. It ‘s funny to see the two of them together either working or arguing, they’re oblivious to the fact everyone’s placing bets on how long it will be before they ended up together.

Both of them have been my best friends since 1st year. How the Beth and me story started you already know, but how Jon entered the equation was a bit different. Since Jon is in Ravenclaw, we only really saw each other in the few classes Gryffindor shared with Ravenclaw in first year. It was due to flying that we all became friends.

Gryffindor and Ravenclaw had flying lessons together. Jon, like Beth, was a muggleborn; so, for them the concept of flying seemed unfathomable. Like most muggleborns who have entered Hogwarts, their first flying lesson was a disaster. Beth even more so due to the fact she managed to end up hanging of her broom upside down.

Because of my background I knew how to fly and decided that I’d help Beth out by giving her extra lessons. So on the Sunday morning, after the first flying lesson, we went down to the Quidditch pitch. When we got there we came across a Ravenclaw boy, who was in our year, in the exact same position Beth had been, hanging upside down off his broom.

He got startled at the sight of us and had proceeded to fall of his broom, well considering his position it would be more accurate to say he let go and dropped off his broom. Luckily, he had only been a few feet off the ground and was only winded by his fall. We had rushed over to see if he was okay and an embarrassed silence had ensured until Beth told him not to worry about it as it happened to her all the time.

Names were exchanged and feeling sorry for him, I offered for him to join us, as I taught Beth some pointers. He readily accepted and the friendship took off from there. Jon has never really gotten on with his fellow Ravenclaws. Jon is a brain box, a complete genius but he doesn’t have the arrogance of the other Ravenclaws and this meant the others didn’t think much of him. They thought he was stupid, as he never entered into their bragging contests. Things have improved in recent times, due to the fact he managed to get Outstanding in all 12 of his OWLS and also due to the fact he made Keeper for the Ravenclaw team in his 4th year.

Oh yes, dear little Jonnie advanced from being incapable of keeping his broom the right way up to actually being good enough to make Keeper. And a very good Keeper at that, in fact due to his great talents (and well maybe the rest of the team as well), Ravenclaw won the Quidditch cup last year, thus breaking Gryffindor’s however many years hold of the cup.

Jon has also ‘blossomed’, if that is an appropriate expression to use on a male, and has become quite the Quidditch heartthrob himself (it must be something to do with being a Keeper). He’s well over 6 foot, with thick black hair and vivid blue eyes. His eyes have always fascinated me; I mean how on earth can anyone have such vibrant eyes? Now before you think I fancy him or anything, I really don’t. Jon is like a brother to me and even though I can admit he’s alright to look at, if I take that thought any further my brain just wants to stab itself.

Not a very nice thing.

“And you’re creepy staring at us because…?”

Beth’s voice snaps me out of my daydream.

“Sorry, I was just staring into the distance and you got in my way.” I respond cheekily.

She just sticks her tongue out in response and Jon raises his hand to look at his watch.

“Lunch time, time for lunch!” Jon tells us, like a highly excited 5 year old. He goes on to sing a song out of the words, as he puts his stuff away.

“Ah, bless. He’s like a small child,” Beth says, as she gets her stuff together.

“A small child who can’t sing,” is my response as I put my Potions essay away.

My Potions essay that still has nothing but the title written.

Oh well, it’ll get done at some point. Hopefully.

“You know, I take offence at that. I could be harbouring dreams of being a world class singer and here you are crushing them to dust.” Jon says dramatically.

“Well, if the whole singing thing doesn’t work out, there always acting. You have that certain flare for the drama.” I reply as we leave the library.

“Why thank you. I must remember that during my interview with Flitwick and see if he agrees.”

“Flip, wouldn’t you love to see his face when his charms prodigy tells him he wants to be an actor!” Beth laughs.

Our laughter rings round the staircase, as we make our way down the stairs to the Great Hall. 

“Speaking of prodigy’s, what did you think of the match?” Jon turns to ask me.

“And what has the match got to do with prodigy’s?” I ask, giving him a look from the stair above.

“Well, now Smith’s gone, everyone and their granny will want you on the team.”

I just grumble in reply, the whole Quidditch thing not being my favourite topic of conversation. Jon just laughs at my response.

“Well, she has already been asked,” Beth tells him, as she walks by his side keeping a firm hold on the banister. Stairs are yet another thing that spelled disaster for Beth.

“Oh, really?”

“And by the captain, no less.”

“Flip, Wood’s keen,” Jon turns and addresses me.

“And why are you assuming Wood got captain? It could be anyone.” I reply annoyed.

“Who else could it really be? Wood was practically born with ‘Quidditch captain’ on his forehead.”

“Would explain his large head.” I grumble to myself.

Jon just laughs at my comment while Beth rolls her eyes at me, as we go through the doors into the Great Hall. Jon heads over with us to the Gryffindor table. Not that he always sits with us; sometimes we go annoy the Ravenclaws.

“Aw, nothing beats the smell of chicken sandwiches.” Jon comments as he sits down.

“I didn’t realise you could really smell chicken sandwiches.” Beth responds as she plonks down beside him.

“I don’t think you can, but lets not argue with someone who smells chicken sandwiches,” is my input as I throw myself onto the bench opposite them.

“Aw, piss off,” Jon attempts to reply, though the effect is ruined by chicken sandwich sticking out of his mouth.

“Hungry much?” Beth says.

“Just a wee bit,” he replies with a cheeky smile as he quickly hoovers the rest of his sandwich. “I can’t help it, the chicken sandwiches you get are ten times nicer than us Claw’s get.”

Oh Merlin.

Not the chicken sandwich/tea debate.

“Yeah but the tea you lot get is 100 times better than the stuff we get.” Beth argues back.

Hand me a fork so I can pierce out my eardrums.

“But chicken sandwiches are far more important than tea!”

I wonder if you could actually pierce your eardrums out with a fork?

“Frig no! Tea is essential, chicken sandwiches can easily be replaced by something else.”

Would if make a difference if you used a dinner or dessert fork?

“Hell no! Chicken sandwiches are irreplaceable!”

I wonder which has the longest prongs?

“Nothing in the world will ever beat a cup of tea!”

Or maybe a pastry fork would work better? Not that I’ve ever seen a pastry fork on the table, there’s not really a big demand for them.

Pushing thoughts of fork stabbing out of my head, I cut into their argument in a bid to shut them up.

“Right, I think by now it has been well established that we get the better sandwiches and you get the better tea.” My tone of voice stops them in mid-sentence but then they both open their mouths to continue.

“Children!” Using my best McGonagall voice and look on them causes their mouths to close sharply.

“That’s better. How about we attempt a civilised conversation about something else?” I say as I butter a scone.

Beth snorts at my attempt at grown up behaviour and showing myself to be ever the adult, I stick my tongue out at her.

“Well, how about we talk what Wood said to you,” Jon suggests and he just gets a groan from me in response to which he just flashes a smile that says ‘you were the one that wanted to change subject, you brought it on yourself’. It’s amazing how many words a smile can convey.

“Let’s not,” is my response as I smile right back at him.

“Aw, come on. I don’t want to miss all the fun. Conversations between you and Wood always end badly.”

“He told me he got made Captain and he wanted me on the team.” There’s a pause as Jon sits and waits for me to continue.

“And…?” Jon waves his hand, as if to say keep going.

“And I told him ever so politely to shove off. Happy?” I snap back, raising one eyebrow at him.

“Actually, you’ll find she ever so politely yelled at him to shove off.” Beth innocently comments as she attempts to open a jam jar.

“Well, at least I didn’t swear at him. And it was only a slight shout, not really a yell.” I say defensively.

“You know, you were slightly mean to him.” Beth says as she hands the pot to Jon to open.

“What?!” I splutter through the water I’m attempting to swallow.

“Okay I already showered today, didn’t need that.” Beth tells me as she wipes the water from the front of her robe. “All I mean is, you could have at least listened to what he had to say.”

“Okay, who are you and what did you do to Beth?” I say looking at her strangely. Jon stops his attempts to open the jam pot, to stare at Beth too. Though Jon’s look isn’t the same sort as mine. Jon’s look is more of jealously as he tries to work out why Beth has such a sudden interest in Wood.

What did I tell you? Completely oblivious.

“Look all I’m saying is, there’s no harm in at least listening to what he has to say.” Beth words just cause me to continue to stare at her.

“No harm from listening to Wood,” I repeat. “You have heard the conversations we have? You know the ones that always end in a lot of shouting and swearing?”

“I know the two of you are incapable of talking like normal people for any length of time, but all I’m saying is why don’t you try to listen to what he’s got to say, just this once? He’s really not that bad.”

Silence.

“Stop looking at me like that! I’m just saying he’s not as bad as you think he is.”

More silence.

Interrupted by a pop, as Jon gets the jam pot open.

“So, what do you think, chicken sandwiches- irreplaceable or not?” Jon turns and asks me. Though Jon is male, he does happen to have slight tact and obviously is trying to change the subject into something less awkward. Partly for my benefit and partly because he doesn’t like Beth talking about Wood. Probably more because of the second reason.

I keep my gaze on Beth, who is beginning to shift nervously in her seat. She’s looking suspicious, very suspicious. What exactly is she up too? She always tried to defend Wood in some way, but I’ve never seen her defending him as much as this.

Beth has a soft spot for Wood, not just because of the fact he is ‘Quidditch Heartthrob’ but because Wood had been her Potions partner for five years. Snape had decided to put us all in alphabetical order, so that meant I had the joy of sitting at the very front and Beth got partnered with Wood. I have to concede, anyone who can last five years beside Beth in Potions were alright, but when that person is Wood, I am rarely logical.

Hmm, I wonder what she’s up too.

“Definitely replaceable,” I turn and reply to Jon. “Ham and cheese are much nicer.”

Out of the corner of my eye I can see Beth breathe a sigh of relief. So she is up to something. The question is, what?

Jon immediately goes into a rant about the superiority of The Chicken Sandwich, which lasts till we finish up.

We head back up to the library, where I read the Prophet and Beth and Jon get on with their Runes homework.

It all passes peacefully.

Too peacefully.

I had been expecting to get attack again by Wood. But there is no sign of him through the afternoon.

As we go down to dinner and sit at the Gryffindor table, Wood sits just a few seats up from us and just nods a hello at me. Warily I nod back, just waiting for him to launch into another appeal for me to join the team.

But nothing happens.

Strangely he just turns round and starts talking to the person beside him.

I’m slightly unnerved by this odd behaviour, but I shrug it off, thinking that as a typical man, dinner comes first for him.

Yet nothing comes from him when we finish up and leave the table. We go back to the library and spent the rest of the night there. The Potions’ essay gets one sentence of an introduction added to it. Granted it’s a sentence that makes no sense.

And throughout all this, there is no sign of Wood.

And it is severely unnerving.

Peace from Wood is something I have wanted since first year but this didn’t feel right, he had given in too easily.

He’s planning something.

What he’s planning I don’t know.

And that’s what worried me.


A/N: Thank you everyone for you fantastic reviews, they really spur me on to write faster, it's always nice when someone likes some random idea from your imagination. 

I hope you liked this chapter, and don't hate the fact I've brought in yet another OC. The next chapter is going to see the return of Mr Wood and you may just find out what Beth's up to, that is if you haven't worked that out already. 

Thanks again for reading and even more thanks for reviewing.

A big thank you goes out to the brilliant and fantastic Shauna Zombie for being the beta for this, thank you dearie


Chapter 4: Wood's Come Back Tour
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A/N: This chapter was due to go into the queue two days ago but then small minor tweaking turned into some major tweaking that turned into a massive edit; so sorry for the delay. And also sorry for all the commas, they just kept appearing at the most random times. Here is chapter 4 for your enjoyment, I hope you like it. A huge thank you to the wonderful Mistress for the fantastic chapter image. 


Saturday night passes into Sunday morning with no sign of Wood.

Though there is a very pissed off Lyn and Jane when we get back to the dorm, who attempt some sort of come back as we get ready for bed. Before I can say anything, Beth tells them to both sod off and go snog something.

Surprisingly it’s effective and shuts the two off them up.

Daylight breaks through the gap between my hangings at the end of my bed, waking me up. It’s the perfect natural alarm clock.

Pity it had to be so sodding early.

I let out a groan as I stretch out under the covers.

Argh.

The things I do.

Fighting the urge to stay in bed, I roll out from under the covers. I rub a hand through my hair, its curls always looked even more like they had been dragged through a bush backward in the morning. I let out a yawn as I get up and pull the hangings back.

I trod over to Beth’s bed and pull back her hangings. She’s laying flat out on her stomach, her head at the corner closest to me and her legs spread out to the other corner. I give her a poke on the shoulder and jump back. You have to be careful when you wake Beth; with the slightest poking, she attacks.

Sure enough her arms and legs fly everywhere as she lets out a ‘wh-hmpf-argh?’

“Wakey, wakey dear!” I tell her in my oh-so-cheerful voice.

I get a loud groan in response as I head over to my trunk to get something to wear. I poke through all my stuff till I find a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and head to the bathroom. Giving Beth, another good poke on the way by.

“Argh, would you piss off?!” is the lovely muffled response she gives.

By the time, I’m finished in the bathroom Beth’s sitting on the edge of her bed rubbing her eyes.

“Remind me again, why is it we get up so insanely early on a Sunday morning?”

“For the good of our health!” I reply in a sarcastic, heavily Irish accent. Beth just gives me a grunt in reply, as she gathers up her stuff and goes to the bathroom.

I grab a hair bobble and pull my hair back, putting it up into its usual bun-creation-thingy. Then I start attacking it with granny clips. By the time I’m finished every stray curl has been pinned into place. I go back to poking about in my trunk till I come across my Quidditch robes, an old Tornadoes set. I bundle them up and reach under my bed for my broom, a Nimbus 2000.

Beth comes trundling out of the bathroom, dressed in jeans and a heavy jumper over her t-shirt.

“Why would anyone think this was good for you health? They would have to be insane!”

“ I know dear, I know.” I say giving her a consoling pat on the shoulder. “Come on, let’s go grab something to eat.”

We head to the Great Hall, the walk silent except for the odd yawn by one of us. Understandably, the Great Hall is practically empty; it was half seven on a Sunday morning. Most people didn’t bother getting out of bed till at least lunchtime on a Sunday.

Jon is already sitting huddling around a cup of tea at the Ravenclaw table; we go over to join him, sitting down opposite him. I put my bundle of robes and broom down onto the bench beside me.

“Mor-” yawn “-ning” Beth tells him, to which she just gets a grunt from him in reply. Jon’s not a morning person; he’s just as bad, if not worse, than Beth. You see, yet another reason why they were perfect for each other!

I grab some toast and pour myself a glass of orange juice, I knew better than to attempt conversation with the other two. I never really minded getting up early, a fact which only seemed to annoy the other two even more.

We soon finish breakfast, with the only thing in the way of conversation being the yawning contest Jon and Beth seemed to be having. We get up and make for the Quidditch pitch.

“So, what’s the plan for today boss?” Jon asks me as we walk across the front lawn.

“The usual. Do a few laps, few exercises and then split them up into their groups for a bit more closer practice.” I tell him, as I realise Beth seems to be twitching quite a lot. “Are you alright dear?”

“Why does it have to be so bloody cold?” She grumbles.

“Well, it might have something to do with the fact it’s February and so it’s actually still winter.”

I just get a Look in reply, logic not being Beth’s favourite thing at this time of the morning.

Or any other time.

We make it to the pitch and Jon splits to go to the male changing room, while Beth and me go to the female ones. I push open the door and realise that, as usual, we are the first there. Beth gets her usual spot of bench and sinks down onto, still grumbling about the weather.

I just smile and shake my head at her as I get changed into my kit. It’s the Tornadoes practice kit from two seasons ago, one of the perks of being the boss’s daughter was the Quidditch freebies. It’s beginning to look its’ age; it’s blue with a yellow stripe up the front, though the yellow had mostly faded away by now. It’s covered in various patches, where it has been mended.

Beth’s still grumbling about the cold, and I’m about to answer back as the door swings open and a gaggle of junior-school girls enter. As usual they go silent at the sight of Beth and me, the usual fear of the older pupil that all little people have.

“Alright ladies?” I say to the group at large as they all find a bench space and start to change. I get a general murmur of yes in response, most of them being like Beth and not very much morning people. “Good to hear! I’ll see you out on the pitch in five minutes then?”

I get another murmur of yes, this one even more timid than the last. Try as I might, I seem to constantly intimidate them. Now useful as that is in the corridors, it just made life slightly more difficult for me here.

I grab my broom and walk with Beth outside. Jon is already changed and standing with his back to us, surveying the pitch. It is the perfect day for flying. It’s a clear cool day, with only the slightest of breezes.

“The boys here yet?” I ask him.

“Aye, Aye Cap, all here and accounted for.”

At this stage you’re probably wondering what on earth is going on.

You see all those years ago, way back in first year, when that first Sunday I had helped Beth and Jon to learn how to fly, two things happened. The first was that it was well established that Beth should never be allowed near a broom, for her (and everyone else’s) safety.

The second thing that happened was that my Sunday morning flying lessons started, not that I realised at the time I would be standing six year later teaching the latest bunch of little people.

That first lesson lead to another, as Jon realised that, unlike Beth, he loved flying and actually, once he got a few pointers, wasn’t that bad. Every Sunday morning after that we would get up early and go down to the pitch to practice. I would teach Jon how to fly and Beth would take up her position in the stands to watch.

Sunday morning was the best time to do it, as it was the one morning of the week that was never booked for Quidditch practice. I think it’s because Quidditch captains feel the need to be lazy as least one morning of the week.

Over the years, me teaching Jon developed into me giving lessons to quite a few other people. In our second year, Madam Hooch discovered that I was helping Jon out, so she asked if I wouldn’t mind, if she sent my way some of the first years who needed the little extra helping hand on top of her flying lessons.

So it became a permanent fixture in my week.

Hooch booked the pitch on Sunday mornings for me at the start of each year. At the start it was hard to get used to, but over the years I’ve really come to like helping people learn how to fly and trying to help them get good enough to try out for them team.

You see that turned into the ultimate aim of most who I have taught, the ones who gain real skill and natural talent go on to try out for their house. At the minute, there is a chaser in Ravenclaw and a beater and a chaser in Hufflepuff that started out learning on a Sunday morning with me. And of course the very first pupil, Jon, is the Keeper for Ravenclaw. Jon always lends a hand during the lessons, though he is quick to say I’m in charge. He doesn’t mind helping people out but he makes sure everyone knows to come and bother me with any problems.

So kind of him.

Now, you would think that with me clearly teaching people how to fly, that the rumours about my inability to do so would be disproved. But the thing is, as I’ve said before, no one got up early on a Sunday morning, no one bar a few study mad Ravenclaws that is, who aren’t concerned about such ‘fickle matters’ as flying.

So those individuals who have started the rumours never realised, that if they just got out of their lazy pit on a Sunday they would see they were wrong. But people who made up rumours didn’t actually care whether they were right or not.

The other thing is; I don’t broadcast what I do on a Sunday morning and I don’t advertise I give lessons. Hooch sends those my way, who she thinks, need a little extra help; they’re mostly muggleborns who need all the help they can get if they want to get on a house team. Some come back the next year, some don’t.

Also those that come generally don’t talk about it. When you’re a muggleborn you spend your time at Hogwarts feeling embarrassed for every little thing that you may be ignorant of. So most don’t like to admit they need additional flying lessons.

I love doing it, partly because I love the feeling of helping someone to learn how to fly and the feeling you get when you see them play for their house. But I also love doing it because it gives me time to fly.

The changing rooms clear out, with ten girls and fifteen boys standing in front of us.

“Right, I’m off to find a comfy spot to sit and sleep,” Beth tells us as she heads for the stand. Though Beth never went near a broom and hated mornings, she always came to every Sunday morning lesson. I could never really work out why but I think its just another obscure part to Beth.

Either that or she’s just checking Jon out in his Quidditch kit; it could go either way.

“Good morning everyone! Right you know the drill, 2 laps round the pitch to get you started. And remember, go at whatever speed you feel most comfortable at, whatever height you feel most comfortable at and be careful of everyone else. Right, off you go!” I tell the group.

They all get onto the school brooms and slowly take off for a tour of the pitch. A few of them streak ahead of the rest, flying high above the ground, while a few of them tag behind the main pack, barely hovering off the ground. The group’s a mix bag, for some of them this is their second or third year back, so they were uber confident and were actually getting really good at flying. Then at the other end of the scale you had those that had only discovered broomsticks in September and still hadn’t fully mastered the art of flying.

“They’re not looking bad,” Jon comments, as we both keep a close eye on them as they fly round the pitch. “Burns is even managing to keep up with the main pack quite well.”

Michael Burns is a first year from Hufflepuff and is the personification of his house. He’s timid, shy and you can’t help but feel for him. He’s bound to be the smallest first year, and that mixed with his milk bottle glasses and floppy brown hair, he had managed to hit a soft spot for Jon and me.

We had caught some third years in the corridor teasing him once during the start of term. They had taken his school bag and had started to play piggy in the middle with it, playing on Burns’ height disadvantage.

I know I go round frightening little people but it’s all done in good humour. I absolutely detest bullying; it’s a way for weak and insignificant people to feel like they were some one, when really they weren’t. What they normally were was just a bunch of arseholes that needed a good hexing. Which is exactly what the group of third years got.

I know it wasn’t a particularly adult way to deal with the situation but you would be surprised by how effective hanging someone upside down is to get your point across.

Burns didn’t have much more luck in the air than he did on land. It probably didn’t help he has a severe fear of heights. But he’s determined to learn how to fly and to fly well. He has the usual muggleborn determination to conquer all aspects of the Wizarding world.

“He’s looking good, he’s making really good progress. So what do you think, Hufflepuff seeker in 4 years?”

“Possible three, that’s if Newton’s younger brother turns out not to be all they say he is.”

Though Burns wasn’t the best on a broom, you could see his determination and there is some talent in there, once you poked around a bit. Over the years Jon and I had gotten good at spotting those that had the potential for going further.

“What on earth?!” Jon half mutters to himself.

I take a quick glance at all the flyers, seeing which one’s in trouble. But I see nothing, everyone still the right way up on their broom and still going in the right direction. Confused, I turn to see where Jon’s looking and find his gaze directed at the stand where Beth usual sits.

I follow his gaze and the sight that reaches me causes my eyes to narrow.

Who is standing beside Beth, chatting away to her, like it is perfectly normal to be out on the Quidditch pitch at eight o’clock on a Sunday morning?

Oliver Sodding Wood.

“Hmpf, three guesses why he’s here,” Jon turns and tells me, one eyebrow raised.

“Well, you never know, he could be here to chat up Beth,” I retort, annoyed by Wood’s appearance. I knew I was right to feel suspicious.

“What! He couldn’t be! Sure he couldn’t?” Jon quickly asks worriedly. I mentally sigh to myself, see what I have to deal with? I’m really tempted at times just to lock Beth and Jon in a broom cupboard together and just get it all over with. “Wait, I doubt he’s here to do that- I don’t think he would bring the whole Quidditch team along with him if he was.” He tells me with a laugh.

“It is not bloody funny,” I tell him, my eyes narrowing even further at the sight of the whole Gryffindor Quidditch team appearing up the steps into the stand and sitting down round Wood and Beth.

And then it all clicks into place into my head.

The dodgy wee sod.

That’s where Beth disappeared too yesterday. She had stopped to talk to Wood when I had gone on to the library.

That’s why he didn’t bother me again yesterday.

And that’s why she was so defensive of him yesterday at lunch.

The dodgy wee sod!

She would have told him that his usual approach wouldn’t work for him and had probably told him he would get on better if he didn’t pester me constantly.

And she would have told him to come along this morning.

She would have said then he could tell me he had seen me fly and I was perfect for the team.

The. Dodgy. Wee. Sod.

Wood catches my gaze and has the bloody cheek to wink at me.

What a nice person.

I’m annoyed now.

I’m very annoyed.

Sunday morning was my little piece of, well, of peace. A time when I could do what I loved best, a time when I could just fly the cares of the week away.

A time that was usually guaranteed to be Wood free.

Several loud thumps cause my attention to return to the lesson, as everyone lands back in front of us.

Right Kit, just pretend he’s not there, he doesn’t exist, he’s sodded off.

“K-kit, there’s p-people in the s-stand!” A particularly scared looking second year from Gryffindor tells me.

“I know there is Tommy, but we’re just going to ignore them. Okay everyone, just pretend they’re not even there.” I say to the whole group.

“But it’s Oliver Wood! He’s the Captain and the Keeper of Gryffindor!”

“And the Weasley twins are there, they’re the Beaters for Gryffindor!”

“And Gryffindor’s Chasers are all there!”

Several voices start chiming to me all at once, all worried about the fact there was a whole house team here to watch them.

Well a house team minus the Seeker.

All were nervous, and some were scared, at the prospect of their flying being judged by such important (in their eyes at least) people.

“And what am I? A donkey?” Jon tells them all jokingly, a hurt expression on his face. “Here I’m thinking, I was the Keeper for the Ravenclaw team.”

His attempt to lighten the atmosphere fails miserably. Little people just didn’t understand sarcasm. They just keep going on with their various worries. I hold up my hands for silence, and unlike Jon, I get immediate silence.

The effect I have on little people.

“We. Are. Going. To. Ignore. Them. Ok? Its just a normal Sunday, the only one in the stands in Beth and she’s sitting sleeping as usual.” A giggle breaks out in the group. Anytime Beth went to sleep, Jon and me normally had a competition to see how close we could fly by her without waking her up. Considering how Beth acts when she’s wakened up, something funny normally happens. “So we’re going to go do some exercises and then split off into our groups. Just like any other Sunday.”

“But they’re going to be watching us- I don’t like other people watching me fly. It always makes me nervous,” the small voice of Burns speaks up from the back of the group.

“Burnsy don’t worry, they’re not here to watch any of you. They’re here to watch me, so if anyone should be nervous it should be me!” I tell the group at large, my words causing them all to calm down and look less nervous. “Right, now that’s dealt with, lets get on to the proper stuff. Today we’re going to look at diving, now I know some off you will have covered this before…”

The rest of the lesson passes peacefully. Spurred on by their audience, instead of being nervous, the group all seem determined to show just how capable they are. They all master diving, even Burns managing to dive and come up again without crashing by the end.

I spend the time trying to ignore Wood’s presence, pushing all thoughts about him to the back burner, where they spend the time slowly simmering away. Along with the thoughts of all the various ways I’m going to hex Beth.

“Well done everyone! I’m really impressed by how well you all did,” I tell the crowd of flush faces standing in front of me. “For those who staying for technical training, if you want to get into you groups, Jon could you go get the box? Everyone else, well done on another great lesson, you’re all coming along so well and hopefully we’ll see you same time next week!”

A chorus of ‘thank you’ and ‘see you next week’ are fired at me as half of the group breaks away and heads to the changing rooms. At this stage, those that are left are those who want to try out for their House team. Left in front of me are five girls and eight boys, already in their groups, one group for each position.

Jon comes back, carrying the box of practice Quidditch balls. The House teams rarely used the practice set because the Bludgers and Snitch moved much slower than the normal set. The practice set was great for us because it meant a lot less injuries. We tried using the proper set one year and ended up with 3 broken noses and one broken wrist. Needless to say we have used the practice set ever since.

“Right, if you want to take your group and start to warm up, I’ll send the chasers over too you once they’ve done a few passes,” I turn and tell Jon as he dumps the box onto the ground.

“Right, my group-to the hoops!” He jumps onto his broom and zooms off, looking very much like he always wanted to lead a cavalry charge. I just shake my head at him; little boys never really grow up.

I let the snitch go and set Simons, a third year Ravenclaw and the only one in the Seeker group, after it. I set the chaser group up with some passing to warm them up and then turn to deal with the beaters. It’s always hard to work out what to do with the Beaters, it’s hard to give them something to practice with and at the same time try to make sure no one gets hurt.

But luckily, after years of watching Jo practice, I knew a handy little exercise that would minimise injuries. I charm the Bludgers to have a cushion charm and send the beaters off to the other end of the pitch to play tag with the Bludger. It’s a fun activity plus it really helps to sharpen their reflexes. The aim is like normal tag but instead of tagging other players with your hand, you tagged them by hitting them with the Bludger.

I send the chasers off to join Jon’s group, so they can practice scoring and the Keepers practice Keeping. I spend the rest of the lesson flying round each group, offering pointers and helping to improve technique. The time, as usual, goes by really quickly and after a good lesson everyone lands and heads to the changing rooms.

“So, on a scale of one to ten, just how pissed off are you?” Jon asks as we put the balls back into the box.

“Sitting at about an 8.5.”

“Frig, thought you’d be at least over ten by this point!” Jon turns to me, eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I’m leaving room for how pissed off I’ll be once Wood gets to us,” I answer as I watch Wood advance along to pitch towards us.

Beth and the rest of the Gryffindor team were trailing along behind him, the team were looking embarrassed while Beth had that nervous look on her face that she always gets when she realises she may have done something wrong. It’s the sort of look a puppy gives you after it has finished shredding your favourite pair of shoes.

I am annoyed at Beth, very annoyed. She should have known better than to bring Wood here. She should have known better than to try and help him get me on the team.

But…

I know Beth back to front, inside out, and I know she just did this because she thought she was helping. Like I said before, she was friendly with Wood, so she probably just wanted to help him out. And for some strange reason, she has always thought I should try out for the team. At the start of each year, when the tryout dates appeared on the notice board, she always asked was I going to try out.

My answer has always been no and they were never mentioned by Beth again. I never understood why she thought I should try out. It was one of those areas in a friendship that we just didn’t talk about. We could tell each other anything, things that you would never dream of saying to anyone else, like how your new bra was really itching you or how you were pretty sure most of Lyn’s cleavage came out of a box. But we never really talked about why I refused to try out for the Quidditch team.

So my annoyance at Beth is only really a halfhearted attempt. It really is nothing compared the how much I wanted to hex Wood into next week.

And he hadn’t even spoken to me yet.

“Anderson, Harville,” Wood stands in front of us, and nods a hello at Jon and me. Jon nods back while I just give him a grunt in reply. “That was an interesting lesson, I like the exercise you used for the Beaters. It’s a really good idea, I’ll have to get Fred and George to try it out next practice.”

I say nothing in reply, just maintaining my cold stare at him. So he’s going along the compliment route. Buttering me up in the hope that somehow that would make me want to join the team.

He’s getting stupider.

“Anyway, I was just wondering if you had thought anymore about my offer?”

Cue silence.

Tumbleweed blows by.

“Well, I brought the team down today to see what they thought of you, and they all think you’d be perfect,” Wood ploughs on, trying his best to pretend I’m not standing staring at him like he’s a bull due for slaughter. “They all agree with me that your just as good as your sisters-we all think it would be great to have another Anderson on the team.”

Several things happen at once. Beth puts her head in her hands and lets out a load groan, an action mimicked by Jon. At the same time the Alicia, Katie and Angelina, the three chasers, all take a step back from Wood, they’re faces showing their exasperation at Wood’s complete and utter lack of tack.

The Weasley twins, unlike everyone else, take a step towards me, as my hand wraps around the wand in my pocket. It’s always a reflex action when Wood is around.

“Can we have it noted-” Fred quickly starts.

“That we did not say anything-” George cuts in, as the twin’s started talking in their usual way.

“About it being great to have-”

“Another Anderson on the team.”

“We said it would be great-”

“To have Kit, on the team.”

They both take a step back, moving out of the firing line.

The twins and me are good friends; sharing ginger hair and having several older siblings meant we have a lot in common. They are identical twins, tall, well built and with bright orange hair. They have a wicked sense of humour and their aim in life is to become the Pranking Kings of Hogwarts. They were well on their way to securing the title.

I’m one of the few people who can tell them apart and they are one of the few people who would never call me ‘another Anderson’. Also, they’re great for ginger jokes.

“Noted.”

Wood just looks puzzled at my reply, as the twins nod in reply and take further steps away. Wood opens his mouth to start to speak but I cut in before he can start.

“As much as it distress me to refuse such a fantastic offer; sorry but I don’t feel like being your token Anderson,” My voice heavily laden with sarcasm. “In fact, I’d rather stab my eyes out with blunt forks.”

Wood face begins to go red, as it always does when he gets angry. Everyone else takes another step back, all of them grimacing at my sharp words.

“What the hell is your problem?” Woods asks angrily.

“What’s my problem? How about spending the past 16 years being constantly compared to my sisters? Constant comparison that gets to the stage where no one seems to realise which part of me, instead I turn into one big mixture of the rest! Constantly being told how I was just as smart as Maggie, how I laughed just like Jo and how I looked just like Lydia!” My voice is slowly getting louder and I’m now shouting at him. “And how about having to deal with you for the past six bloody years, making me feel that my only worth lay in the fact I was just ‘another bloody Anderson’!”
I viciously make the air quotes with my fingers, my anger slowly subsiding after my outburst. Wood always brought out the worst in me, but I had never shown him as much anger as this before, my words had never carried as much vehemence as those I just said.

Wood stands still staring at me, looking stunned at my outburst. I turn around sharply, I had said my piece and I don’t want to deal with this anymore, so I make for the changing rooms.

“I’m sorry, I never meant to make you feel like that,” He half whispers, but its loud enough for me to hear.

I just keep walking to the changing room.

I didn’t want to hear his apologies.

They weren’t worth much.

He knew how I felt all these years; he knew how his words had hurt me. But then again I had never really showed how hurt I was before. I always just responded with anger, with sarcasm. I never liked to show how much it hurt me; I didn’t want to show weakness.

The door to the changing room swings shut behind me. The room is empty; the little people already changed and back in the castle.

I let the silence of the room seep in until I cant take it anymore and let out a yell. It’s a combination of annoyance, of anger and of hurt.

Strangely it sounds like a cat being strangled.

Stranger still it makes me feel much better.

A/N: Several edits later and I’m still not happy by how this chapter turned out. I can’t stop the whole lessons thing feeling like a random plot device and that’s really annoying because when this story first came to me this was one of the key scenes. I wanted Kit to teach flying lessons, I wanted to show that part of her personality, that though she spends most of the time being sarky and cynical she still has a caring side and really loves to help people out. Also I wanted the fight between her and Oliver, as it was one of the first fights I thought out, and yet it still doesn’t feel right to me.

Oh well, I can’t help the perfectionist side that decides to randomly appear at times.

I hope you like how this one was nice and long,  because the next chapter will be delayed. Feel free to start throwing things. It’s going to be delayed because as soon as this chapter is out of the queue I’m putting in the first chapter of a new story. Feel free to throw even more things at me. Don’t worry, my main focus will be this one, the other is just a random plot bunny that won’t leave me in peace. This fic will get the most attention; the other one will get sporadic updates. (In case your interested in what it is- Good Girls Go To Heaven-Bad Girls Go Everywhere. A fic about McGonagall and her rebel youth.) (Completely random plot bunny)

Right so after that horrendously long A/N, I would just like to say thank you so much to those who reviewed the last chapter. All your reviews were so nice and made me so happy. I love hearing what you think; it spurs me on to write. And thank you to those who are just reading this, it makes me happy people seem to like it. 

A big thank you to my fantastic beta Shauna Zombie- you're brilliant dearie


Chapter 5: The Sodding Article
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A/N: Fantastic chapter image by Mistress @ TDA, thank you! Chapter five, enjoy.


I take a long time with my shower to let the hot water wash away my annoyance.

Well, some of my annoyance; its just too deep-rooted to be rid of.

I dry off and get changed back into my normal clothes; a pair of comfy jeans always makes me feel better. I push open the door and find Beth and Jon waiting for me. The argument they seem to be having stops as soon as they see me. Beth immediately steps forward.

“Look, I’m really sorry,” Beth tells me, “I’m a complete and utter prat, who knows nothing about anything and should no better than to meddle.”

“Well, I can’t argue with that,” I say with a smile. I’m hopeless at staying angry with Beth for any length of time. I always know her heart is in the right place; it’s just her execution that goes array.

“So, who’s up for some brunch?” Jon asks.

“Do you ever think of anything other than your stomach?” Beth jibes, as we start walking towards the front doors.

“Hey!” John protests, hands rose defensively, “My stomach is a very important piece of anatomy!”

Beth and I can only laugh in response; Jon joins in, the mood lifted and all bad thoughts forgotten. That’s the great thing about my friendship with Beth and Jon; we’re so close friends that we never let the bad stuff faze us. It probably has something to do with the fact we all have a sarcastic view on life and have the ability to find the funny side of anything.

The Great Hall has a lot more people in it than when we were last there. Sunday brunch is always busy, since everyone sleeps in and are always starving and needing something to tide them over till lunch.

Wood catches my eye at the Gryffindor table but I quickly look away and head straight for the Ravenclaw table. The last thing I want to do right now is go within ten feet of Wood. Beth opens her mouth to say something but is cut off by a quick elbow from Jon.

“I was just going to say it’s quite busy,” Beth grumbles as she rubs her arm.

I sit down at the table, Beth sits down beside me as Jon sits down opposite. The other Ravenclaws are that used to Beth and mine’s presence that all we get is a few disapproving looks from the more snobbish Ravenclaws.

Jon starts to quickly fill his plate up, while Beth pours us all some tea.

“You would think he hadn’t eaten in months,” I say to Beth.

“You would think no one had taught him any manners,” Beth responds disgusted, as we watch Jon hoover up his food. No matter how many times we’ve tried, we’ve never been able to train him to eat properly.

“Ah, drink your tea and be happy, you grannies,” is Jon’s muffled response, as he attempts to talk around his packed mouth. On seeing our looks of revulsion, he quickly swallows and then shoots us a cheeky grin.

My attention is sidetracked by the squawk and flapping of owls as the post arrives. The post is always delayed on Sundays to fit in with everyone’s lie in. The Sunday Prophet messenger drops down in front of me, and fishing a few nutts out of my pocket, I pay it and take the paper.

“Hey, isn’t that Patch?” Beth suddenly says. I glance up from the paper to scan the flock of owls and sure enough, there’s Patch, Jo’s owl.

“I wonder what’s wrong?” I ask, puzzled. As close as Jo and I are, I rarely receive letters from her. Her excuse is that she always means to but then something always happens and she forgets. The real reason is she’s just too lazy.

I hand the paper over to Jon as Patch flutters down beside my plate. I take the letter from his leg and offer him some bacon. It’s always wise to keep on Patch’s good side if you want to keep all your fingers in tact. I start to open the letter but Beth interrupts.

“Isn’t that Archimedes and Bluebell?”

I look up to find that it is in fact Archimedes and Bluebell, Maggie’s and Lydia’s owls. Now I’m really worried.

“What on earth is wrong?” I ask, as try to quickly open Jo’s letter, all of sudden becoming very nervous as to what I’ll find.

“Well, I think it might have something to do with this,” Jon unexpectedly says. I glance up from the letter to see he’s reading the back page of the Prophet. “I think you may want to read this first.”

He hands the Prophet over and I quickly glance at the back page, thoughts flying through my head that one of them has gotten injured in a game.

Another Anderson to join the ranks?

“What the pissing hell?” I splutter.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Beth asks concerned.

I just hand her the paper in disbelief.

I can’t believe.

I really can’t.

“Read it out,” I manage to mutter, “I can’t…”

Another Anderson to join the ranks?

Beth pauses and looks at me, worried. I wave my hand at her to tell her to continue.

Yesterday’s Quidditch Match at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry had an unexpected conclusion.

The focused and well co-ordinated Hufflepuff team easily managed to beat a despondent team from Gryffindor. Though it was not the result that caused the unexpectedness, Gryffindor had been expected to lose, their second loss this year.

No, it was the sacking of the Gryffindor Captain and Seeker, Robert Smith that has everyone talking. The departure of Smith has led to much speculation about his successor. It is widely expected that the current Keeper, Oliver Wood, will succeed Smith as Captain but many are now speculating as to who shall take over as Seeker.

Step into the frame, Catherine Anderson.

Known as Kit by family and friends, the youngest Anderson is tipped to be the next Seeker for Gryffindor. Anderson comes from a strong Quidditch background; her father is the famous Matthew Anderson, manager of the Tornadoes.

Her three older sisters are all well-known professional Quidditch players. The oldest, Lydia Jones, used to Keep for the Rockets, until the birth of her first child caused her to move to a lower league club. Margaret Anderson, engaged to the rising star of Chasing, Edward Scott, is the formidable Seeker for Hamworth. And lastly, there is Josephine Anderson, the infamous Beater for the Tornadoes.

It was always expected that Kit would following in their Quidditch playing footsteps, but so far she has yet to put in an appearance with the House team. There has always been much speculation as too why, but many now feel she will step up to the mark to fill the post. 


Beth’s voice peters out, there’s most likely more to the article, probably listing the various stats that make my father and my sisters such an impressive force in Quidditch. Beth stops as I bury my head into my hands.

I can’t bloody believe it.

A whole sodding article.

On the friggin back page.

And they bloody well called me ‘another’ sodding Anderson.

I feel the urge to punch something.

Along with the urge to set fire to the Prophet.

I let out a groan.

“Well, at least we know what the letters are about,” Jon comments, trying to brighten up the situation.

This just causes me to let out another groan, larger than the last, as I realise I’m going to have to read the letters.

More importantly, Lydia’s Letter, which will just add to the feelings of wanting to hit something.

“Why is it always me? Can’t people bugar off and annoy the hell out of someone else?” I comment as I lift my head from my hands.

Jon’s giving me a concerned look, while Beth appears to be reading the rest of the article, her face getting more and more annoyed as she reads.

The three letters sit in front of me; Beth had untied Lydia’s and Maggie’s for me.

Well, now or never. I reach and grab Jo’s letter, opening it up.

Read Lydia’s first.

The first line is scrawled quickly across the top of the page, in Jo’s usual nearly unreadable handwriting. I set Jo’s letter down, and following her good advice, I pick up the next one.

I’m presuming Lydia might have quite possibly written as well. I think it might be best if you read hers first. Get it out of the way.

Maggie’s opening line is much more diplomatic than Jo’s, yet the same sentiment is there. I set Maggie’s letter down and lift up the remaining unopened letter.

Right I can do this.

All you have to do is open and read.

And then you can go punch something afterwards.

I take a deep breath and break open the seal, spreading out Lydia’s letter.

Hello Kit!

It feels like forever since we’ve written, we just don’t do it enough! 

I can’t help but let out a snort at her opening line. ‘We’? I’m the one that always made sure to send her a letter at least once a week; I had too, to keep her happy. More often than not I wouldn’t get a response, but so help me god if I by chance didn’t send her one.

I hope you’re well, Gavin sends his best, he’s attempting to get Charlie to eat his breakfast at the moment and it’s just not going well. 

I have a half smile at the thought of the disaster zone Charlie, my nephew, would be making.

The reason why I’m writing is that I’ve heard the big news! It was all over this mornings Prophet- have you seen it yet? An excellent article all about you joining the house team (though I wasn’t best impressed with the photos, the one they used of me was so old looking!).

Queue another snort, my dearest oldest sister is one of those people who still think they’re sixteen when in fact she’s twenty four, married, has a son and is pregnant with another.

Anyway, I just wanted to write and tell you to go sign up right away! I always wondered why you avoided Quidditch; I mean you’ve just as much talent as the rest of us. In fact you fly exactly the same as Maggie. It’s a great opportunity for you to gain some popularity! And you would be continuing the family name brilliantly! 

You really should go sign up right now- it would be great to see another Anderson playing for Gryffindor.


Have to go and rescue Gavin; I’ll talk to you soon.
Lydia x

Hmpf.

What can I say and where could I start?

Resisting the urge to have a huge swearing fit, I take a deep breath and reach for Maggie’s letter, knowing she’ll calm me down.

I’m presuming Lydia might have quite possibly written as well. I think it might be best if you read hers first. Get it out of the way.

Have you read it? Bad as expected?

Worse?

Well, take a deep breath and ignore what ever she has written. Probably something about using Quidditch to gain popularity, though why on earth she would actually think you would want to gain ‘popularity’ considering you’ve spent the past six years coping perfectly well without it.

But anyway, how are you?

Obviously, that’s a stupid question. You’re probably fighting the feeling to go punch a wall at the minute (I know you too well). Well punching a wall wouldn’t be the best idea, you’ll only injure yourself and the walls of Hogwarts sometimes hit back. 


At smile at Maggie’s words, she does know me so well and always has a calm sensible head on her shoulders. It’s the family joke that she should have been in Ravenclaw like Mum.

Or so Eddie told me once (I know, I was as surprised as you at the thought of Eddie hitting something that wasn’t an opposition chaser)

I can’t help but laugh out loud at the thought of Eddie actually being vicious enough to hit something so defenceless as a wall. Eddie’s completely lethal as a Chaser and will do anything to regain the Quaffle, but outside the pitch you will never meet a bigger softie than him. He wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

But I just wanted to write to tell you not to let the article get to you. You are your own person and not just ‘another’ Anderson. And personally I think you would be a rubbish Seeker.

I can’t help but laugh out loud again, causing curious glances from Beth and Jon.

I’m serious! You’re the completely wrong build for a Seeker; you’re far too tall. Add that to that the fact you hadn’t Seeked in your life, well it would be a complete disaster if they let you near the team. 

And on that cheerful note, I shall leave you. I do mean it about you being rubbish; I have to say I do agree with Eddie, you’d be a brilliant Chaser. I mean all those years spent being used as target practice for Jo and shooting against Lydia; you’d be perfect. But that’s a completely different issue.

Don’t let the idiots get you down.

Maggie x


(PS- I’ve discovered the perfect bridesmaid dresses- strapless, knee high and teal in colour)

(How I wish I could have seen the look on your face)


I can’t help but chuckle, Maggie always manages to make me laugh.

“Better than the last one?” Jon asks.

I look up, startled, as I’d forgot about Jon and Beth.

“Tons better, Maggie thinks I would be a crap Seeker and she’s found the perfect Bridesmaid dresses in a lovely teal colour.” I tell them with a smile. Beth laughs in response, while Jon just looks puzzled.

“Teal?”

In between her laughs Beth explains to poor confused Jon what colour teal is, as I read Jo’s letter.

Read Lydia’s first.

Read it? Pile of crap?

Thought so, didn’t really expect much else. Well hopefully you’ve read Maggie’s letter first (presuming she had the same insight and sent you one) and she’s managed to be practical about the whole thing. 


Well, sod being practical.


As much as I love our charming older sister, she is a bit of an idiot isn’t she? I thought marriage and childbirth might have improved her but sadly, no, it’s not to be.

So, the article was a pile of piss. Did you see how they called me ‘Josephine’? Jose-bloody-phine, how the hell can you be an infamous Beater with a name like Josephine, I ask you? Though I did love the photos they used, I bet Lyd’s wasn’t best impressed? Aw, why is it after all these years I still get a sense of satisfaction when she’s annoyed? 

But this is supposed to be about you, not me and my deep soul.

So I just wanted to say, chin up, you’re more than just another Anderson, you’re my wee sis and I know you won’t let them walk over you. Join the team, don’t join the team, the decision is always, first and foremost, yours and no one else’s.

Right, I think that’s enough of the touchy feely stuff, oh and I managed to break those last two fingers, you were right.

Jo

(PS- did she tell you about the dresses? I nearly threw the plate at her when she told me at dinner the other night.) 


What can you say to a letter like that? I can’t help but laugh again.

Jo’s the sort of person you either get or you didn’t. There’s no airs or graces with her, she’s blunt to the point of no return and swears like a sailor. I suppose she has to have a toughness to get as far as she has as a Beater, it’s a hard position for a woman.

“So, did that make you feel better?” Beth asks.

“Yeah, between Maggie’s good sense and Jo’s bluntness, I feel tons better.” I reply as I fold up the letters.

“Why on earth would anyone want to wear a dress the colour of lake scum?” Jon asks in wonderment. I hold in a laugh and look at Beth, who seems to be having the same struggle.

“It was the best explanation that I could think of,” she tells me as we both can’t hold it in anymore and start laughing.

“What? What’s so funny?” Jon asks.

“Nothing, nothing. Just you being a man,” I respond as I gather my stuff together, “Right, I’m heading to the Owlery to write replies back to these.”

“Alright, we’ll see you later then in the library?” Beth asks as I get up from the bench.

“Yep, see you there,” I reply as I head out of the hall.

My thoughts are wrapped up what I plan to write, as I make my way through the deserted corridors, everyone else is still at brunch. I make it to the second floor before I meet someone else, none other than Smith, disgraced Seeker and Captain.

“Well, if it isn’t the littlest Anderson?” Smith jeers at me.

Two things are wrong with that statement, the first being I’m actually the tallest of my sisters and am also the same height as Smith, so hardly little. The other thing wrong is the way in which he says it, Smith has always been a slimy customer, one that most girls make sure and give a wide berth to.

“Smith,” I answer back quickly, making my way to the top of the staircase and attempting to walk around him to the next one.

“Where are you heading to so fast?” Smith asks as he grabs my arm, “Stay and chat a while.” 

“Smith, let go of my arm.”

“Aw, I only want to have a little chat with my replacement,” He leans in and tells me, “Is that too much to ask?”

“Smith, I won’t ask again, let go of my bloody arm.” I try to remain calm, knowing any anger will just spur him on but I can’t help my tone rising near the end. I hate the fact I’m so defenceless at the minute, Smith’s superior strength has me pinned to the spot.

“Oh, feisty are we?” Smith leers as he leans in even closer, his mouth moving to right beside my ear, “I don’t care what that article says, you just a worthless piece of trash that just happens to carry the name Anderson.” He breathes into my ear.

My knee has made contact before Smith realises it had even left the ground. He immediately lets go of my arm as he doubles up in pain. Superior strength he may have but a very bitter female Chaser to the Tornadoes had taught me, when I was only ten, how to deal with unwelcome male advances.

“You bitch!” Smith manages to gasp out in amongst his groans. Though I haven’t had much need to use the move (sadly Wood never got close enough) it seems to have been effective, in the Chaser’s words “he won’t be able to pee straight for days”.

“I did ask you ever so politely to let go of my arm,” is my response as I turn to head up the next staircase.

“You’re not going to get away with this! Injury to another student is a month’s worth of detentions!” He shouts after me. On top of being an arrogant, slimly arsehole, Smith is also a severe crybaby. The sort of person who can give it out but never take it.

“Actually,” I turn round, three steps up the staircase, “You’ll find under Section 34 of the school rules sub-section 89 part h; that any female pupil who feels her honour may be at stake is allowed to rescue herself from the situation by any means possible, as long as the outcome is not fatal.” I recite, “And I’m pretty sure what you’re suffering from isn’t fatal, not unless you need to use the toilet within the next day or so.”

“You bitch! You made that up!”

By this stage Smith has managed to pull himself up on the lower case banister. He’s still breathing heavily and I’m unprepared for him as he draws his wand from his pocket.

“What is going on here?”

Never before have I been so thankful to hear McGonagall.

“Mr. Smith, Miss Anderson! Explain yourselves!”

You see I have the advantage here, partly because I’m in the right but mostly due to the fact Smith has never been a favourite of McGonagall’s, especially not at the minute. And McGonagall just loves me, well she loves my sisters to be precise but it’s one of those times when I don’t mind people judging me by them.

“Professor, Anderson just attacked me! Unprovoked!” Smith is quick to point the finger and I can’t help but roll my eyes at his patheticness.

“Miss Anderson, is that true?” McGonagall turns and asks, though it should be noted her voice has lost most of its edge as she addresses me.

“Yes I attacked him but there was provocation and I’m covered by Section 34 of the school rules sub-section 89 part h.”

One of the few useful things Lydia has ever taught me is that rule. Whether it’s real or not, I don’t know, but I’m praying that regardless of the fact McGonagall is walking rulebook, she has never read the whole of the school rules.

“Mr. Smith, if you are in pain go see Madam Pompfrey instead of littering the corridors,” the edge is back in McGonagall’s voice and her distain is evident in her tone. “Miss Anderson, if you would follow me.” In contrast the tone she uses when she addresses me is nicer than nice.

I don’t know who looks more surprised, Smith or me. Neither of us can believe that I’ve might just have gotten away with this.

Unless she’s taking me to her office to hang me from my thumbs.

Oh wait, that would be Filch.

McGonagall would probably just use me as a cat scratching post.

A/N I hope you like it, I had some issues but thats hardly unusual. Whatever you think, leave a review to tell me.
Thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter, your reviews were all so nice and all so encouraging. They were really appreciated.

Thank you to anyone who's bothered themselves to read this far, I'm glad I'm giving someone enjoyment.
 
Big thanks to my superb beta Shauna Zombie!


Chapter 6: Wood Tries Again
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A/N: Beautiful chapter image by Mistress @TDA, Thank you!
Hello all, here's chapter six and hopefully the wait wasn't too long. This chapter probably wouldn't have been finished so soon if it wasn't for the wonderful Shauna zombie, so this ones for you dear. Enjoy


McGonagall’s heels make a sharp clipping noise as she walks me to her office. Her brisk pace has me speeding up to catch up with her. The noise of her heels feels ominous, as though they were the countdown to some bad news.

Please don’t tell me that Lydia just made that rule up, I silently plea to some higher being.

McGonagall stops outside her office and pulls open the door, ushering me through, her face giving nothing away. I enter her office and my eyes don’t stop blinking for a few minutes as they adjust to the tartan glare. Every surface that can be tartan has been. I feel as though I’ve walked onto a shortbread tin.

And sure enough there’s a plate of shortbread sitting on her desk.

“Do take a seat Miss Anderson,” the Professor tells me, as she waves at the seat opposite her desk.

I cautiously sit down, excuses running through my head that could get me out of this.

“Well,” McGonagall begins as she sits down at her desk, “as you are probably aware Mr Smith was stripped of his captaincy and Seeker position. Yesterday evening Mr Wood accepted the captaincy position. This leaves us with the Seeker position to fill-”

“Erm, excuse me,” I can’t stop myself from interrupting McGonagall. “Not meaning to sound rude or anything, but what exactly has this got to do with me?”

My face flames red as I realise how cheeky that sounds, and gets redder when McGonagall gives me The Look in response. The Look manages to make you feel that McGonagall can see right into your head and at the minute is trying to work out whether you are as stupid as you first appear.

Not the nicest thing to be subjected too.

“Well, I thought it would be obvious why I would be telling you all this,” she responds in her no nonsense tone that has me sinking into my seat. “I would like you to consider the idea of you becoming Gryffindor’s Seeker.”

Right, so first I get most of the house annoying me with this, and then I get Wood annoying the hell out of me this morning to join.

And now sodding McGonagall thought she would throw her hat into the ring.

“Look, I’m not a Seeker, I wouldn’t know the first thing about seeking! Yes, I can fly but that doesn’t mean I’m an automatic shoe in for the position,” McGonagall attempts to cut in but I’m on a roll and there’s no stopping me once that happens. “I’ve never seeked in my life, Maggie was always the seeker. I spent my time growing up playing chaser, so Lydia had someone shooting against her and so Jo had some one to play target practice on. I have no interest in Seeking and I don’t want to join the team, I never have wanted to join. It’s hasn’t been a case of me waiting for the Seeker position to come up, I haven’t wanted to join.”

I some how manage to say that all in one breath so I’m left taking a few deep breaths when I finish. McGonagall offers no response; her face has a thoughtful look on it that has me worried. Thoughtful is not the response I was expecting, shock yes, anger maybe, thoughtful not at all. And that thoughtful look has me worried.

“A Chaser,” McGonagall murmurs to herself as she sizes me up, that thoughtful look still on her face.

Oh crud, what have I gotten myself into now.

“Sorry for bothering you with this Miss Anderson,” McGonagall snaps back quickly into business mode. “I understand you have no interest in the position. You’re free to leave.”

The abrupt dismissal leaves me a few steps behind; unsure of what exactly has just happened.

“Wait, so that’s it? I can go?” I ask uncertainly.

“Yes Miss Anderson, the door is not locked, you can leave,” McGonagall replies with a bemused expression. I cautiously get out of my seat, still unsure about what has just taken place. “Oh and Miss Anderson?”

I stop just before the door and turn around, letting out a cautious “Yes?”

“It would maybe be best if you avoided inflicting further physical injury to Mr Smith, I’m not sure the paperwork would hold up to much scrutiny.” McGonagall comments, though the half smile on her face shows her words hold no harshness. “As useful as Section 34 of the school rules sub-section 89 part h is, I do believe it hasn’t quite found it’s way into the written edition of the Rules.”

“Professor?”

“Let’s just say I was there when that rule was created and it wasn’t at a board of Governors meeting.”

McGonagall’s cryptic response leaves me puzzled as I quickly leave her office, keen to get out before something else happens to add further confusion. That has to be the oddest conversation I have ever held with McGonagall. None of it quite made sense though I suppose I should be happy I’m not facing detention with Filch for the next month.

I give my head a shake, as I walk up the corridor, but I find, as every person who tried the head shaking routine has found, it does sod all to clear my confusion.

I go to the owlery and write responses back to all the letters. I manage to assure Lydia she doesn’t look that old in the pictures while at the same time resisting the urge to swear at her. I save all the swearing for the letter to Jo, while telling her she owes me a fiver since I’m right about her breaking her last two unbroken fingers before the end of February.

I make my way to the Library to find Beth and Jon having an argument over transversal quadrants. Resisting the urge to say that sounds painful, I plonk myself down onto the seat opposite them and pull out my potions essay.

Ah, the infamous Potions essay.

The title still makes no sense but I pull out my textbook and flick to the index, trying to find the right section.

“Okay, what’s wrong?” Beth cuts short her argument with Jon to ask.

“Hmm,” is all I offer in response as I find the page I’m looking for and begin to work out what the heck Wilberforce was talking about.

“You’re working on your essay and it’s only-” Beth grabs Jon’s arm to check the time, since watches were something Beth just didn’t believe in. There is a grunt of protest from Jon as she twists his arm quite sharply to see the time. “Oh hush, wimp.” Beth just scolds him, “It’s only half eleven.”

“Nothing better to do, thought I might as well make a start with this essay,” I respond, distracted, as I begin to realise Wilberforce didn’t even have a clue what he was talking about. Apparently after one particularly stressful explanation of his theory, he turned a group of academics into canaries and had set loose his pet cat.

I always love how textbooks feel the need to give you completely random facts that would never be of any use to you in an exam.

“Nothing better to do?” Beth echo’s my words in an unbelieving tone. I glance up from my reading to find that the both of them are looking at me very concerned.

“You always find something better to do,” Jon tells me. “Whether its reading the sports section of the Prophet for the tenth time or seeing how many first years you can scare by just looking at them, you always find something better to do! You never start any essays till at least ten o’clock at night and that’s only if you’re feeling particularly keen.”

Beth nods in agreement and I can only sigh in exasperation.

“Can’t a girl just want to write an essay? I mean you two have been on at me long enough that I shouldn’t leave things to the last minute.”

“Yes, but you never pay any attention to us, you just tells us to sod off. That’s how it works.”

There is so much concern in Jon’s voice and they both look so worried that I can’t help but laugh. Which does nothing to improve their looks of worry.

“Look, I just wanted to start my essay, okay?” My excuse does nothing to soothe them. “Fine, I wanted to take my mind of the fact I managed to disable Smith from ever having children and the fact I think McGonagall may have lost it.”

This response seems even less satisfactory as it causes both of them to splutter out a “What?”

Sighing to myself I launch into an explanation of what happened after I had left them in the Great Hall, knowing Mr Wilberforce’s fascinating life story would have to wait. And just when it had been getting really interesting since apparently after he let his cat loose he turned several tables into dogs and things got a lot more interesting.

Beth and Jon ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ in all the right places and end up just as confused as I am over the McGonagall situation. We speculate as to what exactly McGonagall had meant, when a rumble from Jon’s stomach lets us know it’s lunchtime. Part of the reason Beth sees no point in having a watch, is the fact Jon’s stomach did a perfect job at letting you know what time it is.

We’re still talking about McGonagall when we reach the Great Hall. I automatically head to the Ravenclaw table but Beth grabs my arm and pulls me towards the Gryffindor table.

“Hey!” I protest while trying to pull back the other way.

“You’re going to have to face it at some point and the longer you wait the harder it will be,” Beth responds as she drags me determinedly towards the Gryffindor table.

“What happened to the process of being nice to the friend you’ve just pissed off?”

“You’ve already forgiven me so I don’t need to suck up.” Beth responds as she continues to drag me towards the Gryffindor table. Though Beth is small in size, she is surprisingly strong, so resigning myself to my fate I let her drag me to the table.

“Lot of help you were,” I tell a sniggering Jon as I sit down beside him.

“Hey, I have more sense than you, I know how bloody stupid it is to argue with her when she gets determined about something.”

I just grumble in reply as I do a quick scan of the table and breathe a sigh of relief when I realise Wood isn’t here. I reach for some sandwiches and start to pile up my plate as I realise how hungry I am.

“I wouldn’t relax so quickly, here comes Wonder Boy,” Jon mutters to me as he pours us both some tea.

Sure enough, I glance up to see Wood had just come through the doors and is making a beeline for us.

“Bollocks.”

“Indeed” Jon responds a frown developing on his face as he watches Beth smile a greeting at Wood.

Attacking my sandwiches with a fork, which says a lot for my mental sate, I fight the urge to stab Wood. The increasing psychopathic tendencies Wood’s presence seems to be causing are slightly worrying.

“Alright Beth?” Wood says in greeting as he sits down opposite us.

“Yep, congratulations by the way on getting Captain, I don’t think I said earlier.” Beth responds, attempting to ignore my obvious stabbing of the sandwiches and Jon’s sudden teeth grinding.

“Thanks, it’s a big responsibility but one I’m glad to take on,” Wood tells her, the childlike glee evident in his tone. I increase the stabbing of the sandwiches. “So looks like the last match will be more interesting than first thought, eh Harville?”

Jon just grunts in reply but a dig in the ribs by Beth leaves Jon rubbing his ribs in pain and keen to say more.

“Yeah, guess so,” Jon quickly replies while shooting the evils at Beth. “Might actually make a proper match of it which was unexpected.”

Jon gives Beth a look that says ‘happy now’ which earns him a small dig.

“Ow!”

“Ah, it was only a little nudge, no need to be such a girl about it!”

“Well at least one of us would be acting like one then!”

“And what is that supposed to mean?”

I can only roll my eyes as the pair of them start into another one of their arguments. I always leave them to it, partly because it’s pointless trying to get them to stop and partly because I always think someday it’ll end with them snogging the faces of each other. Disturbing as that image may be, it would solve a lot of problems, plus if it happens before the end of March I win the bet.

“Anderson, about earlier…”

So wrapped up in my own thoughts, I fail to notice Wood sliding along the bench so he now faces me. I glance up at as he speaks and find myself looking at, for once, what appears to be a genuinely apologetic Wood.

Now that is a rarity.

I wait for him to continue, intrigued by the fact the usual cocky and confident Wood appears to be reduced to the state of a shy and embarrassed school boy.

“I really am sorry, I’ve never meant to hurt you like that. I guess,” Wood some how manages to look even more embarrassed, his hand rubbing at the back of his neck, a sure sign he’s feeling awkward. “I guess I’m just a bit of a prat sometimes, I don’t realise what I’m saying and get carried away.”

Frig, that was unexpected. All I can do is stare at him in puzzlement, trying to work out what happened to normal Wood.

“It’s just, well, Quidditch means so much to me and I just don’t understand why you would pass up the chance to play.”

Ah that would be normal Wood, though granted not as obnoxious as usual.

“All your sisters enjoy the game so much and you have the same talent as them, I just always thought you’d be perfect for the game.”

And there’s the obnoxious part coming out again, knew he couldn’t suppress it for long.

“I just want you to think about joining the team, alright? Just think.” Wood continues, oblivious to my narrowing eyes. “If you don’t want to do it then that’s alright, it’s just that this game against Ravenclaw, it’s about restoring some pride. I don’t want the team to go out and make further fools of themselves, I want to show everyone just how good Gryffindor can be. So please, just think about it?”

His brown eyes have gone into full puppy dog pleading mode as he gives me a look that causes the group of young girls to my right to let out a collective sigh. How does he get them to do that? It’s on demand collective sighing.

“As I’ve already told McGonagall, I don’t seek.” I tell him firmly, for once managing to speak calmly to Wood without letting anger have full reign.

“But you’re an excellent flyer, I’ve seen some of the moves you can do. The match is nearly three months away; it’s not till the end of May, that’s plenty of time to train you up. It wouldn’t take much, you have enough raw talent there to make it work.” Wood pleads with me, hands waving about the place as he makes his point. Wood can’t talk without his hands flying about the place, probably a throwback from constantly talking about Quidditch plays.

“But you could train anyone! It doesn’t have to be me, there’s plenty of people who would love to join the team and plenty of people who would be a better choice for Seeker than me.” I retaliate, failing to see why I would make such a big difference to the team.

“But you know the game inside out,” I shake my head in disagreement to his words. “You do! You’ve grown up with the game, you understand what it takes, and you know what it takes to play it. That’s why we need you. We need the best.”

I let out a sigh, realising Wood really isn’t going to take no for an answer. And I just can’t be bothered to argue anymore today.

The part of my brain that’s watching this conversation from a distance feels the need to point out that this is probably the longest Wood and I have talked without ending up shouting and swearing at each other.

And it’s also the longest Wood’s went without using his mantra of the fact I am ‘another Anderson’.

Good God, are Wood and I actually having a sensible adult conversation?

Someone should contact Hell and make sure it hasn’t frozen over; they could get Pince to do it.

“So will you think about it?” Wood’s voice pulls me out of my thoughts. “Just think about it, that’s all I’m asking.”

“Alright, I’ll think about but I’m not promising anything,” I reply, giving up trying to argue sense into him. My reply earns me a 100-watt smile from Wood that has the girls beside me sighing again and a thump that sounds like one of them has fainted.

And that’s why it’s taken several centuries to improve the treatment of women.

“Thank you, I appreciate it, I really do,” Wood grins out, looking as though all his Christmas’s have come at once.

I can’t believe I’ve just had a normal conversation with Wood. Something must be wrong with me. I mean only this morning I was yelling my head off at him and now look at me, I didn’t even swear at him.

I’ve finally lost it.

No, you’ve just realised you were being a bitter idiot before and that when Wood doesn’t act like a prat he’s actually alright and might actually talk some sense, the part of my brain that was watching it all from a distance feels the need to point out.

It would appear that I’ve just managed to find my conscience.

Oh goody.


A/N Just want to say thank you so much to all of you who have reviewed so far. I really appreciate and all of your reviews are so helpful and nice. 

So what do you think of this chapter? Good, bad? Leave me a review and tell me what you think. Hopefully all those of have been looking for Mr Wood will be happy with a nice bit Wood action. I'm unsure whether the Kit/Wood interaction worked or not, so let me know what you think.

I've made a Meet the author page over at the forums so feel free to drop by and ask me some questions. Also my other fic 'Good Girls Go To Heaven Bad Girls Go Everywhere' is up if you want to check that out as well.
 

The biggest thank you in the world has to go to my fantastic beta Shauna Zombie!

Chapter 7: A Twist in the Tale
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Wonderful chapter image by Mistress @ TDA- thank you!

A/N: This has been a long time coming. Enjoy.



Ignoring the small voice that appears to be my long lost conscience, I put a scone on my plate and engross myself in the process of cutting it in half in a bid to stop further conversation with Wood on this oddest of days.

“So, do these two ever stop arguing?”

Wood’s question pulls me out of my thoughts of whether the world has gone mad and I look to my left where Jon and Beth are still bickering away, about something completely unrelated to their original argument. I can’t help but smile at the scene as I distractedly respond to Wood’s question.

“No, they’re like an old married couple, they never stop and no matter what happens they always find something to argue about,” I reply.

Wood just chuckles in response as he begins to pile his plate up with food. I return my attention to the scone, which is now undergoing a highly precise buttering process in a further bid on my part to look busy. Sadly, Wood is completely oblivious of my attempts to stop further conversation.

And I shouldn’t really be surprised as I’ve been complaining about his general oblivious-ness for years.

“So,” Wood half whispers as he leans across the table to me, I raise my eyebrows in surprise, dubious of where this is going. “When do you think they’ll finally see the light?”

“Who?” I ask bewildered, not having a clue what he means, my thoughts wrapped up in the contemplation of whether oblivious-ness is actually a word.

“These pair,” he says while tipping his head in the direction of Beth and Jon.

“Oh right,” I answer quietly, “Well knowing how completely clueless the pair of them are I highly doubt they’ll realise anytime soon. Though I am hoping they manage to do it before the end of March then I win the house bet. But I’m beginning to doubt they’ll ever get there.”

Both of us glance at Beth and Jon, who now appear to being having an argument over who would win in a fight between the lion of Gryffindor and the eagle of Ravenclaw. I chuckle to myself at the randomness of it and Wood appears confused as to what they’re arguing about.

But when he speaks I realise it’s not confusion but his version of thoughtful (which where Wood is concerned is essentially the same thing).

“Hmm, so a bump in the right direction is needed?” Wood leans back and comments as he looks to Beth and Jon with his thoughtful/confused look.

As my brain struggles with the realisation Wood apparently has a thoughtful look and can actually use brain cells to contemplate something other than Quidditch, my conscience makes a reappearance to point out the fact that I appear to be having, for the first time in the past 6 years, a sensible adult conversation with one Oliver Wood.

Not only that but it further appears that it is actually a friendly sensible adult conversation with one Oliver Wood.

And the cherry on top of this very odd and disturbing cake is that for once is our acquaintance with each other I find myself agreeing with something Wood has said.

Though thankfully for my sanity it’s not something quidditch related.

I realize Wood is looking expectantly at me and recognizing that as this seems to be a sensible adult conversation (ignoring the friendly part as that is just too much for my brain to cope with all at once) a response is expected from me to continue the conversation.

“A bump? More like a bloody great shove,” I manage in reply, my mind still elsewhere now seriously concerned about the fate of the world as it appears to be ending.

Wood causes me to jump in my seat as he lets out a hearty laugh. I’ve never really heard Wood laugh before and he has one of those laughs that seems to come from the tips of his toes.

In some small dark region of my brain the thought flits across that he has quite a nice laugh.

And what’s worse, it wasn’t the Conscience that was speaking, that thought appears to have come from the girly part that isn’t allowed out much.

Wood’s laughter is infectious, though whether I’m laughing because of that or because I’ve hit the hysterical stage I don’t know. Most likely it’s the latter.

“What’s so funny?” Beth’s bewildered voice cuts through our laughter and I realise we’re getting odd looks from both Beth and Jon. They, like me, seem to be struggling with the concept of Wood and I communicating not through excessive shouting and swearing.

“Oh nothing, just something Anderson said,” Wood replies with a smile, managing to stifle his laughter. Looking at his watch he continues speaking as he gets up to leave, “I better go get everything set up for the practice- a captains work is never done!” He comments with a pleased grin, obviously still delighting in the fact he was now the official captain. “I’ll see you guys later.”

The conspiring wink he sends, as he leaves, catches me completely off guard and causes me to choke on the tea I’m drinking.

“You alright?” Jon asks as he passes me a napkin.

“Just peachy,” I manage to splutter out.

Great, now he’s winking at me.

Wood.

Winking.

At me.

I’m not sure whether to laugh or crawl under the table and not come out again.

“So what exactly was that?” Beth leans round Jon to ask.

“I haven’t a clue,” I reply honestly, “I think I may’ve just held a friendly sensible adult conversation with Wood, and I’m trying really hard not to think about it because the truth may just make my head explode.”

“Fair enough, so everyone finished?”

“Jon!” Beth exclaims as she elbows him in the arm.

“What!” Jon protests, wincing as he rubs his arm.

“Why can’t you ever realise that there may be more to something than meets the eye?”

“And why must you always use your exceptionally bony elbows to get your point across?”

“I do not have bony elbows!”

I breathe a sigh of relief as the two of them descend into another bickering match. Annoying as they’re constant bickering may be, it does always manage to get me out of tricky situations.

However it has to be acknowledged that the bickering between the pair of them has increased in frequency in recent times. And this fact might just be a hint that I may win this house bet yet.

Of course, it probably isn’t entirely ethical to be betting on your two best friends but taking into consideration all I’ve been through due to their state of complete obliviousness I feel I’m justified in getting some financial compensation. And regardless of the fact obliviousness is most likely not a proper word, my mind has accepted it as such.

As I follow the pair of them to the library I contemplate whether it’s within the rules of fair play for me to give them a ‘bump’ in the right direction. Not because I’m that desperate to win the bet or anything but because the near constant bickering of recent times is starting to do my head in and I can’t help but think that if they had a good snog and got it out of their systems it might give me a bit of peace.

As my mind wanders with thoughts of how best to get them pair of them together, a slight ahem from my conscience captures my attention.

Yes? Can I help you? You know if you’re going to make a frequent habit of this I’m going to have to give you a name, purely because talking to voices in my head feels more justified if they are named. 

Are you quite done?


Yes, all done Connie.

Connie?

You know, Con-science... Con... Connie.

...

Look if you’re going to waste my time huffing I will forcefully lock you away again because I have a potions essay and plans of kidnap to work on.

Don’t get all crabby with me, I just felt the need to point out you’re only obsessing over plans about how to get Jon and Beth together because you don’t want to think about the whole Quidditch thing like you promised Wood you would. 

Hey, wait a minute- I didn’t promise Wood anything! And-

I’m your Conscience not your therapist. And on a final note- many people feel the same way about you and Wood as you feel about Jon and Beth. 

What is that supposed to mean?

...

Hello?

Great, just when you want something to stay it ups and leaves. And what exactly did it mean by that last comment? Do people find Wood and me a source of amusement like I find Jon and Beth? Well considering how loud our arguments can get at times that wouldn’t surprise me.

But somehow I have a niggling suspicion that that wasn’t what dear old Connie was referring too. Firmly shutting the door on that thought before it can edge any further into the light, I snap out of my day dream of sorts and realise Jon is trying to get my attention.

“Kit, Kit, Kit, Kit-“ Jon’s form of getting my attention always takes the form of a small five year old boy who’s looking for more sweets.

Incredibly annoying and always effective.

“What!” I cut him off in mid Kit, his whining achieving its aim in annoying me enough to get my attention.

“Finally,” Jon says with a dramatic eye roll, he really is a great loss to the acting profession, “I was beginning to think you had permanently vacated us for the place in your head.”

“You can’t blame me if the voices in my head are more interesting to talk to than the pair of you,” I respond as I sort through my bag, looking for my quill and ink.

“Setting aside the worrying fact of voices in your head,” Jon replies, holding up a hand to stop my instant reply. “And as much as I would love this to descend into witty banter there was a reason why I wanted your attention- it’s that wonderful time of the month again.”

He pushes a few rolls of parchment my way as I let out a groan.

“It can’t be a month since I filled these bloody things out!” I grumble as I unroll one of them. “Can you not just use last months?”

“You ask that question every month and you get the same answer every month-no. We have to keep track of each month, Sprout would notice if we duplicated.” He replies as he rolls out his own charts and starts to fill them in. “And before you ask, no I won’t fill yours in as well.”

Professor Sprout, Herbology expert and plant obsessive, had decided that it would be a good learning experience for the sixth year class to ‘adopt’ a plant each, keeping a diary detailing the daily health and feelings of the plant.

And yes, that is as odd as it sounds. We all think Sprout had breathed in one manure fume to many when she thought that one up.

The project lasted less than one week before Sprout realised none of us were looking after the plants to her high standard of care, which involved essentially living in the greenhouse with the plant to maintain 24/7 care. Not wanting to admit complete defeat, something no teacher is capable of doing, Sprout adjusted the project so we just had to write monthly care reports on how our plants were getting on and spend time researching the various ins and outs of them.

She had originally aimed for weekly reports but realised she was fighting a losing battle she extended them to monthly, which meant once a month we were faced with filling out a bloody stupid survey about how we feel our plant was this month, along with a 2 foot long scroll about what information our research produced.

Needless to say it is my least favourite time of the month. The only positive thing was Jon was assigned the same plant as me.

“So how often did it get fed this month?” I ask Jon.

“Every other day,” He responds mechanically, quill scratching away at his own answers.

“How much was it fed each time?”

“Quarter of a bag.”

“How much did it grow?” I continue, working my way down the list of questions.

“Don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to,” Jon replies, turning to the next scroll and starting to fill it out.

“Whatever do you mean?” I ask innocently.

“You think if you pester me with every single question I’ll eventual crack and do it all for you,” Jon responds as he flicks through the index of his Herbology book. He glances up at me as he continues, “And contrary to popular belief though Ravenclaws enjoy academical work that doesn’t mean we want to do the same homework twice.”

“Well, can’t blame a girl for trying.” I reply with a grin, “You know us Gryffindors-unrealistically optimistic till the end.”

“I would term it more unrelenting determination,” Beth comments as she sets down a very thick Runes textbook. “It’s sort of like a Gryffindor would keep head butting a wall because they know it will eventually collapse.”

There is the briefest moment of stunned silence before Jon and I burst into laughter.

“What!” Beth protests, “I thought it was very philosophical!”

“It is, it is,” I managed to get out between laughs. “It was just highly unexpected.”

“The question is- in this wall analogy, what are the other houses responses?” Jon enquires managing to momentarily stifle his laughter.

“Well,” Beth starts, a thoughtful look on her face that causes a giggle to escape me that earns a dirty look from Beth, I murmur my apology and gesture for her to continue. “Well, a Ravenclaw would want to find out why the wall had to be brought down and whether the wall is keeping us in or out. A Hufflepuff would most likely try to give the wall a hug and apologise for everyone wanting to hurt it. Meanwhile a Slytherin will have scaled the wall and nicked anything of value from the other side before you’ve even realised they’re gone.”

“Really?”

We both manage our serious expressions for half a second longer before Jon and I go into fits of laughter. Beth just grumbles that we are a lost cause and goes back to her textbook.

The rest of the afternoon and the evening pass relatively peacefully, I manage not to accost any more males and no one else tries to persuade me to join the team. Though there is an odd event at dinner when I get a friendly smile and wave of hello from Wood. He gets a nervous smile and twitchy nod in response as I am wary of this new development where Wood and I no longer seem to be sworn arch enemies.

Though I’m quick to realise Lyn and Jane adequately fill any void this may leave when they are their usual lovely selves as we get ready for bed.

*

As it is with most Monday’s, morning comes all too soon but once I manage to pull myself out of bed the day doesn’t feel as bad and I find myself humming a Quidditch song as I gather my uniform together.

A groan emits from the lump of covers when I poke Beth as I pass her on the way to the bathroom, still humming away.

“Would you stop bloody humming!” Lyn shouts from her bed.

Of course this just causes me to hum louder and I make sure I hum nice and loud through my shower.

As I come out of the bathroom, towelling off my hair, Beth has decided to join the land of the living and is sitting up in bed rubbing her eyes. Lyn’s also up and sharply pushes past me to go to the bathroom, evidently slightly annoyed about the humming then.

Ah, nothing beats annoying the hell out of Lyn to start the day off.

I finish up drying off my hair with a quick charm and by that stage Beth has managed to pull on her uniform. Beth is barely functional most mornings but she is especially worse on Mondays and it’s always sensible to give her a wide berth. So I keep my humming to a minimal as we gather our bags and head to the Great Hall.

The Great Hall is filled with the usual dulled chatter of a Monday morning, where the majority are still half asleep and those, like me, who are wide awake, keep nice and quiet for fear of hexing. Barely awake people are surprisingly very good at hexing accurately.

Breakfast passes as usual, with only monosyllabic responses being given from Beth and Jon. And my morning passes in relative peace, with only minimal sneering from Snape as I hand in my essay.

Once lunchtime comes Beth and Jon are in a much better state and less zombie like, though they do spend the time having a highly animated conversation about Ancient Runes. Most of which goes over my head, though Fred and George Weasley, who decide to see how many Slytherins they can hit with charmed bouncing peas, rescue me from complete boredom.

It’s surprising how many peas they get bouncing off the heads of various Slytherins before the Slytherins realise what’s going on.

And apparently a Slytherin misses nothing?

With lunch finished its time for Transfiguration. The time tabling fairies must hate me since they decided to give me double Potions in the morning and double Transfiguration in the afternoon; my brain just about manages to last through Mondays before grinding to halt on a Monday night.

Transfiguration manages to pass pretty painlessly; we practice transfiguring teapots into tortoises. Beth only manages to turn her table into a tortoise once, a new record.

“Miss Anderson, if you could wait behind after the bell, I would like a word with you,” McGonagall announces as the class packs up.

“What’s that all about?” Jon asks as we put our tortoises into the cage.

“I don’t know but I have a bad feeling about this,” I respond with a frown.

The bell rings and the rest of the class pack up their belongings and leave. I gather my stuff together and make my way to the front of the class. As the last person leaves McGonagall closes the door behind them.

“Please, take a seat Miss Anderson,” she tells me as she gestures to a seat in the front row. “Miss Bell and Mr Wood should be along shortly.”

I slowly ease into a seat, the frown deepening on my face. Why on earth are we waiting on Katie Bell and Wood?

Waiting on Wood could be explainable as this being another attempt to get me on the team. But what would Katie Bell have to do with all this? I barely knew the third year, I can recognise just because she is one of Gryffindor’s Chasers but I don’t think I’ve ever actually spoken to her.

McGonagall sorts through papers on her desk as we wait; offering no hints about what this is all about. I open my mouth to ask what exactly is going on when there is a knock at the door.

“Come in!” McGonagall commands from her desk, putting her papers down.

The door opens, revealing Katie and Wood who enter the room.

“Miss Bell, Mr Wood thank you for joining us,” McGonagall tells them as she rises from her chair. She gestures to the seats beside me. “Do take a seat. This shouldn’t take long.”

Wood slides into the seat next to me, offering a smile as a greeting. I offer a tight nod in response, wary as to where this is going and sensing I wasn’t going to like it one bit.

“Getting down to business,” McGonagall begins as she comes to stand in front of us. “As you will all be aware, on Saturday I dismissed Mr Smith from his positions. Mr Wood has accepted the Captaincy post and this morning the Seeker position was offered to you, Miss Bell.”

Wait, hold up a sec.

Katie offered the Seeker position? What the heck is going on? My mind scrambles to put everything together and I try to tune back into the conversation.

“- have you made your decision?” McGonagall asks Katie.

“Yes Professor, I would like to accept the new position.” Katie responds.

“That’s great to hear, now-”

“Sorry to interrupt,” yet again I can’t stop myself from interrupting McGonagall; a small detached part of my mind ponders if it takes a third time before I’m struck down by lightening. “But can someone explain to me what’s going on?”

“Well, Miss Bell has always been interested in the Seeker position, which was her first interest when she joined the team. Due to the fact that position was already taken, Miss Bell instead decided to play as a Chaser. After our conversation yesterday Miss Anderson, I recalled this fact and got Wood to find out if Miss Bell was still interested in the Seeker position. And that brings us to where we are now, Miss Bell has accepted the Seeker position and now Gryffindor are looking for a new Chaser.”

“Oh, right,” I mutter in response, my head attempting to adjust to this rapid changing of events and I get a sinking feeling in my stomach as I realise why I’m here.

“The reason why I asked you to stay behind for this meeting was the fact you indicated during our conversation yesterday that you had an interest in the position of Chaser,” McGonagall informs me.

“Well, I didn’t really,” I hurry to reply, “I was just trying to point out that I wasn’t suited for Seeker.”

“And in turn highlighted how you are perfect for the position of Chaser,” McGonagall just tells me with a smile.

“No, I wouldn’t say that,” I feel as though I’m desperately clutching at straws, knowing that nothing I say will have an effect on McGonagall.

“Well I think you would be perfect for the role and I would ask you to consider taking up the position,” McGonagall’s smile is verging on patronising and I can tell by the determined glint in her eye that she’s not going to listen to anything I have to say.

I can only place my head in my hands, trying to calm myself since it wouldn’t be a good idea to hex the deputy headmistress.

However highly tempting it seems.

One thing that’s annoying me is the lack of noise from the person beside me. Silence from Wood is a rare thing and it is never good.

“And what’ve you got to say about all of this?” My question is muffled by my hands as I keep my head lowered.

“Who, me?” Wood asks in a light innocent tone.

“No, I was talking to Bob,” I reply scathingly as I raise my head from my hands. “Yes you, you idiot.”

Wood is grinning from ear to ear, like a child who has been told Christmas has come early and he’s been a very good boy.

“Well, you know I think you’d be great for the team regardless of your position. And you know everyone agrees with me, regardless of what you want to think,” He tells me, maintaining his grin throughout.

I consider the best way to wipe the smile off his face, through hexing or through physical force?

Though the detached part of mind does take the time to acknowledge that thankfully normal service has resumed and the weird world where Wood and I have normal interactions appears to be fading.

“Em, Professor if that’s all you need me for, can I go?” Wood and I ignore Katie’s question as our staring contest continues.

Wood maintains his grin, while my eyes narrow further.

“Certainly Miss Bell, thank you for your time and I look-”

“Why are you so determined to get me on the team?” I grind out between clenched teeth, ignoring the conversation between Katie and McGonagall. “Why can you not just accept the fact I don’t want to join?”

“Why?” Wood responds obnoxiously, his grin never slipping.

“Why what?” I respond slowly, determined to keep my temper in check.

“Why are you so determined not to join the team?” He asks, tilting his head slightly.

“Because I don’t want too.”

My response comes off as childish even to my ears.

“Are you sure that’s why?” Wood asks, his face taking on a serious look as he keeps his gaze on me.

“And what exactly does that mean?” I ask, annoyed that there has to be something more to it.

“I think you’re running scared.” He replies, tone completely serious. “I think you’ve avoided Quidditch because you’re scared you’re not going to be as good as everyone thinks you will be. You say you don’t want to live in your sisters’ shadows, but I think you like too. I think you like to hide in their shadows as it saves you the hassle of having to bother.”

The silence that follows his words is absolute as I sit shocked by his words.

How. 

Bloody.

Dare.

He.

How bloody dare he say that!

Well, he could be true.

Would you shut the hell up! There is a time and a place for a conscience and now is neither the time nor the place!

“By not playing you managed to give yourself a choice in letting people think you didn’t have the talent,” Wood’s voice is quiet as he continues, though he maintains his fierce gaze. “If you chose to play, that would be taken out of your hands, you’d have to face being judged by everyone and you’re scared you will be found wanting. You’re running scared.”

“I am not running scared.” My tone is one of pure ice.

“Well if that’s true, prove it.” Wood’s smile has made its way back onto his face.

“What do you mean prove it? I have nothing to prove!”

“Prove that you’re not running scared,” Wood tells me as he gets up from his seat. “Come to tryouts on Sunday afternoon and show everyone you have what it takes.”

“Wait- what?!” I exclaim as Wood makes his way to the door.

“Tryouts, Sunday afternoon,” he turns to tell me. His grin turns cheeky as he continues, “What- you didn’t think I would let just anyone on to my team now did you?”

I sit with my mouth hung open, not quite sure what is going on. Wood just winks and gives a wave as he leaves the room, leaving me with more questions than answers. 


A/N: Firstly, that you'd had to wait so long for this chapter I apologise for. My world sort of fell apart on me a few months back and thats why it's taken till now.  Secondly, if you're reading this I hope you enjoyed it. It's a bit random in parts but hopefully it worked. 

Thank you.


Chapter 8: The little 'Puff that could
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Fantastic chapter image by Mistress @TDA- thank you!

A/N: This one's for invisiblemaurader_1. Just a quick warning that the language is a bit stronger than usual for a small part. Enjoy
 

Exactly how I manage to make it from Transfiguration to the common room I have no idea. My mind is running around in circles as it attempts to work out what exactly has just happened. I don’t even think I said anything to McGonagall after my brain finally decided to kick in, at some point after Wood’s exit, and sent the message to my legs that it’s time to leave. 

Its dinner time but I make my way to the common room because I just couldn’t deal with facing Jon and Beth until I can get my head sorted out. 

You’re running scared. 

That one sentence is on repeat in my mind. 

You’re running scared

Like our old muggle record player that Mum refuses to throw out, which only manages to play the same line continuously. 

You’re running scared. 

Of all the things to accuse me of that one I didn’t expect. I expected Wood to spin out all the usual crap about how I should do it for the good of the team, for the good of the house, how I shouldn’t waste talent since I was obviously going to be just like my sisters. 

You’re running scared. 

He gets full points for originality (for a change) as it is definitely something no one has ever accused me of before. 

You’re running scared. 

Am I? 

Is this really the whole reasoning behind my actions? 

And if it is- how come it took Mr Oblivious himself to point it out? 

I storm through the common room, attempting to take my frustration out on a misplaced chair that gets in my way. 

Of course this only causes me to injure myself; punching a several centuries old wooden chair is never a clever idea. 

So I now have a sore hand to add to my list of problems. I make my way up the stairs cursing the carpentry industry and Wood. 

And my mind doesn’t fail to notice the irony.


Beth appears shortly after dinner is finished, cautiously opening the door to the dormitory. 

“Safe to enter?” Beth enquires as she eases into the room. 

I give no response. 

I’m lying on top of my bed, my attention fixed firmly on the red and gold hangings above me. I’ve been in this same position since I had arrived in the dormitory over an hour ago. 

The past hour hadn’t produced any moments of enlightenment. 

“We missed you at dinner,” Beth continues, as she gently sits on the bottom corner of the bed. 

“Hmm.” I half respond, my attention elsewhere entirely. 

Silence fills the room. 

I continue my staring contest with the hangings above me, as though I believe if I stare at them long enough they would have all the answers. If only life were as simple as drapery holding the answers to everything. It would be quite good on several levels; in particular you would have an excuse never to get out of bed again. 

I can sense Beth’s eyes on me and feel her fidget on the bed. 

“We were talking to Wood,” she blurts out eventually. 

“Hmm.” 

“He told us about the meeting.” 

“Hmm.” 

“Are you alright?” 

Am I? 

I’m not really sure how I feel. 

Oliver Sodding Wood has caused me to question myself in a way I didn’t really feel like doing on a Monday. 

He’s made me rethink, really rethink something I had decided and set in stone years ago. 

And what is particularly annoying about the whole thing is that if I am truthful with myself there is the smallest of chances he could be right. 

I have always said that I kept clear of the house team in an attempt to avoid constant comparison to my sisters. But there has always been a small part of me that has wonder whether I am as good as they are, whether I would be worthy of comparison to them. 

Fear of failure, fear of not being as good as they had has always been in the back of my mind. 

It is sibling rivalry in the simplest form.

And Oliver-Frigging-Wood, Mr Captain-Obsessive, in his determination to take over the quidditch world, has dragged up feelings of inadequacy, of jealously that I had buried away years ago. 

“Kit?” 

Beth’s voice drags me away from my thoughts and I end my staring contest with the bed hangings to glance at her. 

“Are you, you know... alright?” 

“I don’t know,” I respond with a frown. 

“Well if it’s helps- Jon told me to tell you that you must have been channelling your inner Hufflepuff.” Beth informs me with a slight smile 

“What?” I reply bemused. 

“You manage to restrain yourself and you didn’t hex Wood,” she tells and continues  with a thoughtful look on her face. “Then again maybe we’re just presuming he managed to retain all his body parts.” 

This causes me to chuckle to myself as Beth drops her serious expression and laughs lightly too. 

The moment is ruined slightly by the entrance of Lyn and Jane, who flounce through the door in an attempt at a grand entrance that fails miserably when the door swings back and clips Jane as she walks through. 

Our sniggering earns us a look of disgust from Jane as she stomps past to get to her wardrobe. Beth just rolls her eyes at me, both of us well used to their dramatics to care. 

Meanwhile Lyn saunters over to the dorm mirror to the right of my bed, a large smirk on her face that is obviously directed towards me. 

Resigning myself to whatever crap Lyn’s evil genius has concocted up, I lie back down and resume my study of the bed hangings while Beth starts to pick at the pattern on the bedspread, neither of us wanting to speak until the Plastic Idiots have left. 

“You must be devastated.” 

I raise my head and glance at Beth who looks just as confused as I am. 

Lyn catches Beth’s questioning look as she turns around from the mirror. 

“The news is all through the house,” Lyn continues with an attempted look of sympathy on her face that is ruined somewhat by the fact she looks like the cat that got the cream. “Everyone knows how Wood has picked some third year for the Seeker spot over you.” 

By the look of triumph on her face, Lyn obviously thinks I would be prostrate with grief at the thought of someone being picked over me for the position. I just scoff in response and rest back on the bed, while Beth resumes her picking. 

“Scoff all you want-everyone’s talking about how you weren’t picked for Seeker and since a notice’s just went up for Chaser Wood obviously doesn’t want you on the team,” Lyn snaps cattily. 

Just like Wood to have the tryout sheet up already. 

That idiot really has too much time on his hands. 

“Ah Lyn, look on the positive,” I respond as I pull myself up out of the bed having had my fill of Plastic Idiot for the day, “this could be your big chance, you could find out you have all this secret quidditching talent hid away all these years.” Beth follows as I make my way to the door. “And you already have the chest padding sorted out.” 

On that note Beth and I make our exit with Beth laughing her head off, leaving behind a very confused Lyn and Jane who take a few minutes to work out what exactly I meant. And by the time they do we’ve already reached the common room. 

The common room is packed and silence descends as we appear. Everyone looks our way and it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the main topic of everyone’s conversation had been. 

“Come on,” Beth nudges me gently in the direction of the portrait hole and we make our way towards it. 

I keep my eyes firmly on the carpet, trying to ignore everyone’s stares. 

This is what I have always hated- the constant attention that comes with having a famous manager for a Dad and three international Quidditch players for sisters. And with this whole Seeker/Chaser thing the staring and the whisperings have just gotten worse. 

We make our way out onto the corridor and I barely notice Beth’s concerned look as the frown deepens on my face. 

Why would I want this? 

Why would I want to try out for the team and be faced with all this added attention? 

I didn’t want to have to flee my own common room. 

I didn’t want to join the team only to be forced to deal with the attention of not only my own house but that of the other three houses as well. 

I didn’t want any of that. 

Beth and I go down a few flights of stairs and find Jon sitting on the fourth floor stairwell. He puts away the book he was looking at and throws his bag over his shoulder as he gets up. 

My hands are stuffed in my pockets and my shoulders are scrunched up defensively.
I dread that Jon will join the ‘Get-Kit-On-The-Gryffindor-Team bandwagon’. 

“Here,” Jon pulls a bundle of napkins out of his bag and hands them to me, “since you missed dinner.” 

I take the bundle from his hands and realise as the top napkin opens out that it contains a couple of bread rolls and some chicken drumsticks. 

Why is it random acts of kindness always manage to leave you lost for words? 

He doesn’t mention Wood. 

He doesn’t mention Quidditch. 

He just brings me some food because he realises I didn’t want to go to dinner to face them all. 

We make our way along the corridor to find a window seat, since, as Beth points out; Madam Pince would hang you from the ceilings if you attempted to eat in her library. 

We find a nice seat overlooking the lake and Jon plonks himself down on the ground while Beth and I take the seat. They talk between themselves about some Runes question, leaving me to eat my food. 

It is at times like this that I realise most just how good a friends they both are to me. 

They don’t bother me with questions. They just let me be and know I will talk in my own time. I know they are there for me no matter what I decide to do and they will support me fully. 

Maybe we don’t do all the touchy feely crap like some people feel the need too. 

Maybe we’re all hopeless at expressing emotion without being sarcastic. 

But it is with the small gestures we make to each other that we show how we care. 

And I’m beginning to sound like a greetings card. 

The thought of a greetings card talking about ‘touchy feely crap’ causes me to chuckle to myself, which is never advisable when attempting to swallow a bread roll. I immediately start coughing, which causes Jon to swiftly search through his bag 

“Here,” he pulls out a flask of pumpkin juice, which he opens and passes to me.
I gulp down the juice and it helps abate my coughing. 

“You alright?” Beth asks with concern. 

“Fine, fine,” I manage to reply. 

“Sorry, I should have giv-” Jon stops mid sentence as all of our attention is drawn to a loud shriek of pain from the far end of the corridor. 

We stick our heads around the wall of the alcove but a bend further down the corridor prevents us from seeing where the noise had came from. 

“What wa-” 

“Well what do we have here?” Beth’s question is cut off by a male voice. His question drifts up the corridor to where we sit, but even from this distance there is no mistaking the sneer in his voice. 

“Looks to me like some stupid little ‘Puff has strayed from the flock,” a second voice replies, in a tone much more menacing from the first. Both Jon and I get immediately to our feet with our wands drawn. “Or maybe even they didn’t want some worthless little Mudblood.” 

A loud thump follows this and another yelp of pain. 

Jon and I take off at a run down the corridor, with Beth following closely. 

“My glasses...” a small voice utters. 

Fury fills me as recognise the voice instantly. 

Michael Burns. 

The muggleborn first year Hufflepuff, with his milk bottle glasses and determination to learn how to fly properly. 

“Aw, is the little ickle firstie gon-” 

Jon and I round the corner at the same time and simultaneously launch stunning spells at the two figures standing over Burns, who is huddled against the wall. They barely manage to turn before the spells hit and knock both of them out. 

We immediately rush forward to Burns. 

His nose is a bloodied mesh and his glasses are in pieces on the floor. 

“K-kit-t?” Burns’ eyes scrunch up as he attempts to make out who we are without his glasses. Scrunching his eyes causes him to wince in pain due to his broken nose and rage fills me. 

What sort of bastard does things like this? 

“Yes it’s me, Jon and Beth,” I reply keeping my anger in check as I crouch down in front of him. “Oh Burnsy, we’ve got to get you to the hospital wing straight away.” I turn to Jon to get him to help me pull Burns up only for a small hand to reach out and grab my arm. 

“No!” I turn back to him. “I can’t go to the hospital wing-I can’t get the teachers involved! They told me what they would do to me if I ever got the teachers involved!” 

Bloody cowards. 

“Burnsy, you’re nose is a mess- we need to get Madam Pomfrey to look at you straight away to make sure there is no serious damage done.” I tell him as I start to straighten up, determined to get him checked over. 

“Kit please!” His hand tightens on my arm as he pleads with me. “It will only make it worse if you get teachers involved. It’s only some blood-I’ll be fine! I always am. Please Kit.” 

Always am? 

Always. 

Am. 

Those two words rip right through me. 

“Kit,” Jon’s voice cuts through my deepening horror and anger. He speaks in a tone I have never heard him use before and as I glance up at him I realise I have never seen him looking so infuriated. He holds my gaze and I realise right away what he’s trying to convey. 

Jon had experienced this. He knew exactly what Burns was going through and he knew the trouble it would cause involving the teachers. Jon never talked about the prejudices he had faced because he was muggleborn. Back when we were in first year there was always the odd cut or black eye that he was never keen on explaining how he had gotten. 

This is the world muggleborns have to face. 

Constantly judged not by ability. 

Constantly judged by something as inconsequential as your blood. 

Constantly judged by something that had no bearing whatsoever on your ability to achieve. 

“Okay,” I finally reply. “We won’t go to the teachers but we’ve got to do something about your nose I think it’s broken.” 

“Here, let me look at it.” Beth’s voice is quiet as she crouches down and starts to examine his nose. A concerned look flights across Burns’ face as he contemplates being on the receiving end of Beth’s wand. 

“Don’t worry,” Jon says with an encouraging smile as he too crouches down, “she’s quite good at healing spells- she’s used to dealing with all my quidditch ones.” 

Burnsey relaxes slightly at this and Beth begins to clear up the blood on his nose with her wand so she can see it better. Jon reaches for his glasses and gives them a few taps with his wand to repair them. 

I turn away and get up on to my feet as Beth starts to mend Burns’ nose while Jon keeps him talking to distract him. 

My emotions are surging too strongly to remain beside them. I need to punch something, preferably the two unconscious arseholes responsible. 

My eyes fall on the two stunned bodies before me. One lies on is front, the other his side. I can see from their robes they’re Slytherins, which is in no way surprising. I don’t recognise their faces but they don’t look to be more than forth year. 

I glance down the corridor and find what I am looking for just a few feet further on.
Casting a levitating charm on the two bodies I direct them towards the broom cupboard as I walk towards it and open the door. I manoeuvre the pair of them in, making sure to bang both of their heads to against the side of the door on the way thru. I set them down on the floor and transfigure some old rags into rope which I then charm around them, tying them secure. 

I shut the door behind me and I make my way back to the others. 

Beth has managed to straighten out Burns’ nose and clean up all the blood, while Jon is teaching him the spell to repair broken glasses and I feel so utterly saddened by the fact he has to do so, because it means they both know this will happen again. 

That this innocent little first year will get beaten up just because his father is a postman and his mother a nurse. 

It just wasn’t fair. 

“Kit?” 

There is a tug at my sleeve and I’m pulled out of my thoughts by Burns. 

“Yes?” 

“Is it true?” He removes his hand from my sleeve and his faced is turned up towards me, alight with curiosity. 

“What true?” I respond puzzled. 

“That Wood doesn’t want you on the Quidditch team?” Burns asks with a look on his face that clearly says the he thinks Wood is crazy if this is true; when really Wood is crazy regardless. 

I can never cease to be amazed by the male capacity to worry about quidditch. 

“Oh no, he wants me on the team.” I reply. “He wants me at tryouts on Sunday.” 

“Are you going? “ He asks eagerly. 

“I don’t think so; you know I don’t play quidditch.” 

“But why!” Burns ask, clearly thinking I am some deranged person for not wanting to play quidditch. “You the best flyer I’ve ever seen, you have so much talent! If I could fly like you I couldn’t wait to play for the team!” His eyes light up at the thought of playing quidditch, of being part of the house team. “I would show them all if I could fly like you, show them all that muggleborns just as good as they are.” 

“No, you’re better than they are,” I cut in. “A hundred times better and don’t ever let them make you think otherwise. Burns don’t let them think you are any way inferior because you are not. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself to them.” 

“No offence but that’s kinda easy for you to say. When you’re a muggleborn you’re prejudged and you never really stand much of chance of changing how people think.” Burns says with a shrug. 

“Do you not think I might know something about people judging you before you have a chance to prove yourself? My whole life I have been judged by my sisters. People don’t bother to judge me as an individual, they just see my as ‘another’ Anderson.” I retort. 

“Well then why don’t you try out for the team?” Burns questions. “None of your sisters played Chaser and if you tried out you could show them all what you could do. You could show them all that they shouldn’t just judged people by their family.” He glances down the corridor to the broomcupboard containing the two Slytherins. “Kit I would give anything to be able to prove to people like that that I’m not as worthless as they say I am. You have the ability to shut them all up. You shouldn’t waste it.” 

There is such a wistful look on his face that I struggle for a reply. 

“Anyway, I better get back to the common room,” Burns says as he turns to pick up his bag, Jon has already picked it up and hands it to him. “Thank you for helping me out, I’m really grateful. You always seem to be looking out for me. And I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t came along,” he finishes awkwardly and quickly turns to head down the corridor. 

“I’m heading that way, mind if I walk with you?” asks Beth. 

“Sure,” Burns answers with a confused look on his face, clearly wondering why on earth Beth was heading in the direction of the Hufflepuff common room. But he quickly shrugs it off, putting it down to another oddity of Beth. 

Beth shares a look with Jon and I, as Burns turns and makes his way down the corridor. She sees we understand and follows Burns. 

“Oh and Kit?” Burns stops and turns around. 

“Yeah?” 

“As my dad told me, you can’t escape from what you are. I’m muggleborn and proud of it.” He says with a fierce look of pride on his face. “You were born to be a quidditch player- you shouldn’t run away from that just because some people are arseholes.” 

“Michael Burns!” I say in mock outrage, which causes a cheeky grin on Burns’ face. 

“Well it’s true!” He defends as he starts to make his way along the corridor again. “And anyway,” he calls down at us over his shoulder, “it’s not like I haven’t heard you say worse!” 

Jon and I stand and watch them both continue along the corridor and turn out of sight down a stairwell. 

“Wise advice from his Dad.” Jon comments. 

“Yes,” I reply my tone noncommittal. 

“And not to bad advice from him either.” 

“No, but why the hell would someone want to hurt him?” I reply, my anger back in full force. 

“I can’t believe what they did to him!” Jon’s anger is back and his hands clench into fists. “He’s a bloody first year! Why the hell don’t they ever pick on someone there on size instead of a someone half the height of them!” 

“Because they’re bloody dickheads. Merlin, how I wish they would all bloody realise blood means absolutely nothing bar the fact your mothers most likely you cousin as well!” 

“Well,” Jon turns to me with a grim look on his face, “time to put the fear of Merlin in them.” 

We both turn and make our way towards the broom closet, about to teach them a lesson in why you don’t pick on innocent little people. 



Threats are more effective than actual violence, as the fear of the unknown mixed with an imagination can normally create situations far more frightening than a few hexes. 

The two Slytherins we leave tied together in the broom closet are left contemplating a most unpleasant fate if they ever laid a finger on Burns, or any other muggleborn little person again. 

Beth joins Jon and I in the library not long after we have just sat down. We don’t talk about what just happened except for Beth saying she gave Burnsy some advice to avoid any more bother from the pureblooded arseholes. 

We don’t talk about it because what can you say? 

A little 11 year old boy got his nose broke by two prejudiced Slytherins. This wasn’t the first time someone was attacked because of their blood and it wasn’t going to be the last. 

You can rant and rave all you want but some prejudices just weren’t going to go away overnight. They were centuries ingrained and would probably take as long to remove.
The other two work on some form of homework while I pretend to flick through a charms textbook. I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on any work but also knew from previous experience that it was best to look occupied otherwise Pince would attack. 

I spend the time thinking about all that had happened. 

The record in my head alternates between Wood accusing me of running scared and Burns making me feel like a coward for not standing up to everyone and proving myself. 

And it is Burns voice that seems most effective. 

We’re chucked out library at closing time and go our separate way from Jon at the staircases. By the time we reach the fat lady I have made my decision. 

The image of Burns with his broken nose and smashed glasses is stuck in my mind. 

It’s not the fact he had been hurt but the fact he had such a determined glint in his eye. 

It’s his determination to show them all wrong. 

And it’s his pride in what he is and where he comes from that makes me realise it is time for me to set up and embrace who I am. 

Another Anderson. 

And proud about it. 

Beth gives the password and we scramble through into the common room, which is still as full as earlier and our entrance goes unnoticed over the general din. Beth moves in the direction of the girl’s dormitories but I put out my hand to stop her. 

“Wait a sec,” I tell her. “There’s something I have to do first.” 

I turn and weave my way around the various chairs, tables and people to the back wall, most of which is taken up by a giant notice board. 

Various posters and notices are stuck all around it; there is a large calendar giving the dates for Hogsmede weekends and a section for posters about lost pets, books, ties and various other things people have somehow managed to lose. 

A quiet hush descends over the common room as everyone stops what they are doing to watch my progress across the room. I feel as though a collective breath is being held as I reach the board and glance around it. 

I find the sheet I am looking for and I pick up the self-inking quill sitting on the ledge of the board and write my name. 

I return the quill and take a step back. 

It is done. 

I have just done something I had promised myself many years ago I would not do. 

I have just put my name down on the sheet for quidditch tryouts. 

Time to show the world what 'Another' Anderson can do.

A/N: slight delay which I apologise for but I got some fantastic news this week that means my world has finally righted itself. Which means, most importantly for you, that updates will flow much more regular. I'm aiming at getting one chapter a week of this in the queue, so fingers crossed that works. 

Hoped you enjoyed it and thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter, sorry my responses were slow but this last week or so has been pretty hectic.


Chapter 9: One Word- Broom Closet
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Brilliant chapter image by Mistress @ TDA- thank you!

A/N Enjoy.


The dawn arrives and I give up on any attempt to get to sleep. I watch the morning light slowly start to break through into the dorm. It creeps up through the crack in my hangings at the bottom of the bed and I watch as it slowly brightens.

I don’t regret putting my name down on the list.

I thought I would.

But I don’t.

As I tried to get to sleep last night, it was all I could think of. At some point I realised that I don’t regret this chance to show them all what I’m capable off.

It was more the realisation of what exactly trying out for the team meant that kept me awake.

I’m finally stepping out of the shadows of my sisters and the worrying thought is what the light was going to expose.

The dawn seems oddly symbolic, and part of my mind wonders if I stretched out an arm into the light coming through the hangings; would it be different in some way?

When I look into the mirror this morning would I see something different?

Would a change be noticeable?

I chuckle internally at the outcome of a sleepless night on my philosophical side.

As if there would actually be some physical change because I put my name down on the sheet. I highly doubt I will look into the mirror and find ‘soon to be quidditch failure’ tattooed on my forehead.

I snort to myself at the image as I throw back the covers and sit up on the edge of the bed, rubbing a hand over my face.

But the thought of failure does weigh heavy on my mind.

I have no quidditch experience.

Sure I can fly half decently, dodge the odd bludger and shoot the odd goal. But I have no real experience; I’ve never played a proper match. The only thing close was the odd muck around with my sisters and that didn’t count for much.

I take my shower and get changed into my uniform, all the while the image of me making an absolute prat of myself at tryouts playing on repeat in my mind.

Like I said before, I don’t regret signing up; it’s something I need to do, something I need to resolve. But that doesn’t stop me worrying about it.

I glance at my bedside clock; there’s still plenty of time before breakfast to get to Owlery.

I lightly prod Beth on my way out and tell her I’ll meet her down at breakfast. I get half a grunt in response which makes me doubt Beth even heard what I had said. However I do wonder how it’s possible to get half a grunt-surely it’s the same as half a hole?

Again, we see how a sleepless night is not good for Kit’s sanity as it tends to encourage deep thinking philosophical questions that are not the best thing to have to deal with before ten o’clock in the morning.

Also they appear to cause Kit to talk about herself in the third person.

Definitely a bad thing.

I grab my bag from the common room as I pass through and make my way down the empty corridors to the Owlery.

Oddly this is my favourite time of day at Hogwarts. Very few other people are actually awake, so the corridors are empty of the usual hordes and noise. The castle and grounds are bathed in that pale morning light that makes them appear as though they have just materialised out of some gothic novel.

Not that I really go in for the gothic novel, skeletons in closets just have a tendency to make me laugh, but you can’t help but admire the scenery they produce.

The Owlery is unsurprisingly empty, apart from the hundreds of owls that line the walls, many of whom eye me wearily as I approach, giving off ‘piss off I’m trying to get some sleep after being out hunting all night’ vibes.

I quietly make my way across to the window, scanning the rows for Fitz, my owl. I find him a few rows up near the window ledge and after some coxing I manage to get him down.

I scribble a quick note on a spare bit of parchment and tie it to his leg.

Jo, have somehow ended up on the quidditch bandwagon- chaser tryouts on Sunday. I might need some sisterly advice so I don’t end up looking like a complete prat. Kit 
Fitz gives an affectionate nip to my finger as he spreads his wings and takes off out the window. I lean against the ledge and watch him make his way out over the grounds and beyond.

It was at about two o’clock this morning, when I was in full flight of worry about the tryouts, that I realised I needed to call in reinforcements. And who better for the job than three international quidditch playing sisters?

And when you wanted some no nonsense advice and brutal honesty about your chances of looking like a prat, Jo is always your best bet.

Fitz is well out of sight and noises drift up that alert me to the fact the rest of the castle is now awake, so I turn and make my way out of the Owlery. 





A sleepless night not only aggravates my philosophical side, it also apparently dulls my logical side, I realise as I slow off on my way down the main staircase. The noise from breakfast echoes out from great hall and up through the entrance hall.

You see, in my cleverness in going to the Owlery early I had forgotten about the fact I would now have to face entering the great hall by myself.

Now this wouldn’t normally bother me except for two things.

One, I’ve hit the busy side of breakfast so my chances of finding Jon and Beth in among the mob, relativity quickly, are slim. So I’m faced with wandering about looking like a lost idiot for a while.

Two, in the most modest way possible, the news of me putting my name down for tryouts has most likely spread through to the rest of the houses in that fascinating way news always manages to travel between houses and I’m most likely the main topic of conversation.

I idle about as I reach the bottom of the staircase, not really wanting to face that sort of reaction. Of course at times like this I should be walking in straight away, no hesitation, the brave Gryffindor that I am.

Of course that’s just a bunch of rubbish- Gryffindor’s can be as cowardly as everyone else.

This is the point where dear Connie points out I can’t stand around in the entrance hall forever and I’m actually kind of hungry.

So taking a deep breath and dragging up any reserves of courage I can find, I make my way over to the doors. I pause on the threshold I take a quick glance around, unrealistically hoping for a miracle of spotting Jon and Beth quickly.

Instead of getting a miracle I get several Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, from the two central tables, nudging each other and looking my way.

Great.

An audience.

Just what I’ve always wanted.

I do a quick sweep of the Ravenclaw table but from where I stand all I can see is a mass of unrecognisable faces. More and more people are starting to stare at me and bits of what they’re saying drift my way.

“Apparently she’s put her name down on the tryout sheet...”

“Bell took the Seeker position so they’re looking for a chaser...”

“I heard she forced Bell out of her position...”

“Cousin of mine in Gryffindor told me she tried to force Wood into taking her on without tryouts but he wouldn’t budge...”

The rumour mill appears to be in full working order then.

Merlin knows what will be floating around about me and the team by the end of the day. No doubt I will somehow be behind Smith’s exit of the team; I probably jinxed him at some point which led to him being such a crap player and captain.

Giving up on finding them at the Ravenclaw table I make my way past the Hufflepuffs to the Gryffindor table, hoping to find some glimpse of Jon or Beth there. I scrunch my shoulders up defensively, attempting to make myself invisible and failing miserably.

The Gryffindor table is as crowded as the Ravenclaw table had been and I don’t stand a better chance of finding Beth and Jon in among the mass of Gryffindors. Giving up on spotting my apparently invisible best friends, I settle instead for trying to find a vacant spot.

“Anderson!”

I glance quickly in the direction of the holler and find Wood waving at me from the other side of table, a quarter of the way up. He gestures to the spare bit of bench beside him.

Its official- the world hates me.

I know without having to look that the space beside Wood will be the only seat available for miles.

The world hates me that much.

Actually this beyond hating, this is just plain vindictive.

Surrendering myself to the inevitable I make my way up along the bench ignoring the pointing and stares I get as I walk by.

“Nice morning isn’t,” says Wood with a grin.

I grumble in reply as I drop down beside him, already planning to get through the quickest breakfast in history, as well as doing a quick examination of the table, looking for things I could use to stab Wood with if he gets obnoxious.

“Toast?” offers Wood.

“Thank you,” I reply cautiously, eying him and the toast warily.

“What’s that look for?” he brandishes the toast plate under my nose, “Don’t worry I haven’t poisoned it, it’s just normal toast, slightly burnt, probably cold but toast all the same.”

He finishes with a grin and another brandish of the plate in my direction. I shake my head at him in response as I take two pieces of toast and set them on my plate.

I’m not concerned about him tampering with the toast; even I’m not that paranoid. I’m just wary about this friendliness from Wood. I expected to be accosted about tryouts; I didn’t expect to be sitting here beside him being politely offered toast.

I reach for the butter and jam, as Wood turns back to his bowl of cereal, happily munching away.

I’m beginning to grow concerned that Wood may have injured his head in a recent bludger incident because he appears to have a complete personality change. He makes no mention of the tryouts, just continues to eat his cereal like a happy little five year old.

And it’s not as if he wouldn’t know.

The whole bloody school is talking about it.

And come one, this is Captain Obsessive- he’s probably checked the list every five minutes since he put it up last night.

I bite into my toast as I start a mental countdown of how long Wood can go without mentioning quidditch.

“Oi, Anderson,” surprisingly is not Wood that breaks the countdown, but John Stewart, one of Wood’s friends sitting opposite, “looking forward to tryouts?”

“Yeah, we were wondering,” before I can respond, another sixth year boy, Phillip Dobbin cuts in from beside Stewart, “which one of your sisters do you play like most? I mean I know none of them played chaser but which one do you fly like?”

“It’d be great if you fly like Jo,” again before I have a chance to even open my mouth Stewart cuts in, “she is such an aggressive flyer.”

I lower my eyes to my plate and slowly count to ten in my head, trying to cool down my temper. It’s annoying enough that they aren’t even giving me the chance to respond to their questions without the fact they’ve now descended into figuring out which one of my sisters it would be best I flew like.

This is what I was dreading, that the comparisons were going to get worse if I actually signed up to join the team.

“Here fellas, lay off a bit,” Dobbin and Stewart stop, interrupted mid-flow, by, all of all people, Wood.

I don’t know who looks more surprised, them or me as I lift my head in shock at such an uncharacteristic utterance from Wood.

“Um, alright,” replies Stewart, eyeing Wood as though he had grown an extra head.

“Sure,” responds Dobbin, who shares a look with Stewart that clearly says they both think Wood’s lost it.

“So did you do that Herbology?” Wood breaks the developing awkward silence and starts to butter his toast; acting for all the world as though he hasn’t just asked someone to stop pestering me about quidditch.

Something he has done for years.

Maybe there was multiple bludgers involved?

Wood glances up from his toast expectantly and I realise his question had been directed at me.

“What’s wrong?” asks Wood on encountering my bewildered gaze, “I haven’t got cereal stuck to my face or something?”

Dear Merlin he has reached new levels of obliviousness.

“No, your fine,” I reply eventually, a confused look still on my face. One I’m sure is mirrored on both Dobbin’s and Stewarts faces. But they seem to shrug the whole thing off easier and quickly start talking amongst themselves about some quidditch league signing.

Wood remains looking at me with an inquiring look and his eyes are lit up in amusement.

“So, what’s wrong?” he asks with a slight smile.

“You’re being nice to me.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” asks Wood with a slight frown, though it is ruined by the fact his eyes are still laughing at me.

“No, it’s not a bad thing necessarily,” I slowly answer, “it’s just highly unusual so I can’t help being suspicious of your motives.”

Wood laughs in response and turns back to the table.

“This would be the reason why chivalry died off,” he retorts, “you females are that bloody suspicious that a fella can’t do anything nice without there being some deep philosophical reasoning behind it. It can never just be because we feel like it.”

For once I struggle for a response as my mind is pondering the complex question of why Wood would ever feel the need to be chivalrous to me.

It’s just a disturbing concept.

Though from the darkest regions of my mind, where the girly part is banished too, there is the thought of how it is sort of nice to be treated chivalrously.

Of course such treacherous thoughts are immediately squashed and I return to the contemplation of a suitable response. Before I can produce anything adequate, Wood cuts into my thoughts making the whole process redundant.

“So, I’ve been thinking-“

“That must have been hard,” I automatically interrupt. The wit department must have went on holiday and decided to leave me with part-timers who can only occasionally produce something and when they do they make me sound like a first year.

Should I be concerned with how I appear to be creating a little world of people in my mind?

“Rising above that comment,” Wood continues, with a mock stern look that I can’t help but chuckle at, which causes a Wood to smile. “Anyway, what I was trying to say was that I thought about your little situation.”

“My little situation?” any good humour I feel towards Wood quickly fades at these words. I knew I was right in feeling suspicious; he’d just been luring me into a false sense of security before waiting to spring on the quidditch thing.

“You know, the whole unresolved tension between Beth and Jon,” he answers quickly, concern etched on his face at the frosty look I’ve developed.

“Oh,” I reply as realisation dawns and I realise he hadn’t been referring to quidditch.

“You thought I was talking about the whole quidditch thing didn’t you?”

“Well, yeah,” I reply feeling half guilty for always thinking the worst of him. Well more like a quarter guilty. Maybe even a fifth. “It’s just I sort of half expected that you would be bouncing around the place like an excited five year by this stage and that I would be pestered with questions.”

“I really have been an annoying git about the whole quidditch thing, haven’t I?”

“Merlin- what has happened to you today?” I exclaim.

“What’d you mean?” replies Wood with a laugh.

“Did you get hit on the head with a bludger at practice? Or was the real Wood abducted by fairies as you came down to breakfast?”

“Not a fairy but you’re not far off,” chuckles Wood.

“A pixie? Leprechaun? Nymph?”

“No, though I wouldn’t mind being kidnapped by a nymph,” replies Wood with a cheeky grin.

“I’ll bear that in mind next care of magical creatures’ class, I’m sure it can be arranged.”

“I’ll look forward to it,” answers Wood through his laughter.

“So if it wasn’t some form of sprite who was it?” I ask as I reach for the pumpkin juice and pour myself a cup.

“Beth.”

“Beth?” I reply with a puzzled look.

“Yep, she cornered me on the way down to breakfast,” answers Wood with a grimace. “It’s actually kind of scary being held at wand point by Beth.”

The mouthful of pumpkin juice is prevented from squirting out through my nose only due to years of practice as I burst into a fit of coughing laughing at the image of a scared Wood being held at wand point by Beth.

Merlin how I wish I’d been there to see it.

“You alright?” asks Wood, as he thumps me on the back, I wave a hand at him to show him I’m fine as I manage to stop coughing only to burst into a complete laughter fit. “Hey it’s not that funny- that woman’s bloody lethal with a wand. I was there when she wiped out the whole charms class in 5th year. Flint still walks with a limp because of it.”

“He bloody well doesn’t,” I reply through my laughter.

“Well, that’s probably true,” answers Wood with a mock thoughtful look on his face, “he always sort of walked funny anyway.”

Wood ends on a grin that keeps me chuckling to myself, as I shake my head at his antics.

“But yeah,” continues Wood with a more serious expression, “she cornered me and told me that I was to lay off and not harass you about tryouts.”

“Merlin she must have been scary for you to agree- if only she’d done that years ago I might have got a bit of peace,” I grumble in response.

“Well she also told me something very true,” Wood turns to me, his face very serious, “that I could only ruin it all and cause you to change your mind by being ‘my usual prattish self’,” cue snort from me “and that’s a direct quote. Now I don’t know about the prattish part,” another snort from me “but it made sense, talking to you about quidditch could only cause you to go completely awkward and do something stupid in the hope of annoying me.”

He finishes with his trademark cheeky grin.

“Yes, my only purpose in life is to annoy you,” I sarcastically reply.

“Well, now we have that established,” his response earns him a whack on the arm as I give vent to pent up annoyance, which only causes him to chuckle. “Anyway, what I was saying is I have a plan to solve your problem.”

“I wait in eager anticipation, do enlighten me of your master plan who wise one,” I retort, my sarcasm just earning me another grin from Wood.

You know these grins are beginning to get to me.

I want to say he just makes himself look like some cheesy Muggle toothpaste ad but sadly the girly part of my mind rears its ugly head in protest so to keep it happy and sedated, I say nothing.

“One word,” he announces with the air of someone who is about to announce the secrets of the universe, “broom closet.”

“Broom closet?”

“Broom closet.”

“That’s two words and also fails to inspire me with any feelings of a successful plan in the making.”

“Really-it’s two words?” he responds with such a surprised look on his face I have to bit my cheek to stop myself from laughing. “Well, it doesn’t really matter how many words it is, what matters is that it’s a good plan.”

“I wouldn’t really call it a plan yet, you sort of need other words involved before you can call it a plan; plans generally aren't two words long.” I can’t help but continue cheekily “well one word depending on whose counting.”

“Well, I haven’t quite worked out the finer points yet.”

“What points have you worked out?”

“Erm, basically the two of the them in a broom closet.”

“Right, it’s definitely simple,” I respond, my mind pointing out the worrying thought that it wasn’t that long ago I had thought sticking the pair of them in a broom closet might solve all my problems.

“Exactly-simple yet effective!” replies Wood. I can see by the gleam in his eye that Captain Obsessive is in full flight.

“Just one quick question,” I interrupt his thought process and he turns to me, “how exactly are you going to get them into a broom closet?”

A thoughtful look comes over Wood’s face and you can see the gears in his head turning. You can tell he’s breaking down the situation like a quidditch play, working out all the little parts and determining the best person to do them.

“The Weasley Twins!” announces Wood, with a pleased grin. “They’ll know exactly how to do it.”

“Why, do they regularly solve romantic tension by trapping people in broom closets?”

“Well, not that I’ve heard of but if anyone has it would be them.”

The first bell goes, signalling that it’s time to make our way to Herbology. A welcome sound reaches my ears before I have a chance to move or say anything more.

“Kit!”

“There you are!”

I turn in my seat and to see Jon and Beth making their way down the aisle behind my bench.

“We lost you!” admonishes Beth in a motherly tone.

“I lost you more,” I grin in reply, as I get up from the bench and grab my bag. Beth rolls her eyes in response while Jon gives an appreciative chuckle.

“I’ll see you in Herbology, I need to have a word with Hooch,” Wood says as he gets up from the bench. I nod in response as Wood turns and makes his way to the top of the hall, while we go the other way.

“Oh and Kit?” Wood’s shout causes me to turn, “think about what I said- it could work.”
He ends on a wink and turns back round.

It has gotten to the stage where I feel it best if I just accept the fact that that bloody man is not going to stop winking or grinning at me.

Whatever happened to the good old days where we just constantly argued and there was none of this ‘friendliness’?

I always knew where I stood with the arguments. Our relationship was easy to define.

Now I don’t know what to expect next.

And I have no idea how on earth we appear to have become some form of friend.

It’s mildly concerning because dear knows where this could end up.

“Hey Kit, you with us?” Jon pokes me in the arm and knocks me out of my thoughts and I realise I’m still standing staring at the spot where Wood had been.

“Just about,” I manage to reply with a smile as I turn myself round and continue with the other two out of the hall.

“So is this a sign of things to come?” asks Jon.

“What do you mean?” I question puzzled.

“You the big new quidditch star hanging out with the Quidditch captain instead of little old us,” answers Jon with a grin that belies his words.

“So you heard the news then.”

“I doubt there’s even a single house elf who hasn’t heard that Kit Anderson, sister to the famous Anderson sisters, daughter to the famous Tornadoes manager, has put her name down for Chaser tryouts.” he tells us with a chuckle.

“You would think there would more important things in life to talk about,” I grumble.

“What- something more important that quidditch?” Jon stops with his hands over his heart, “how can you speak such sacrilegious words?”

“You know,” Beth comments as she eyes him despairingly, “I really do think he harbours secret dreams of becoming an actor.”

Jon sticks his tongue out in response and I laugh at the pair of them as we continue out through the front doors onto the grounds.

“So do you think I’m crazy?” I ask Jon as we make our way to the green houses.

“What for signing up for tryouts?” he asks as he glances my way. I nod in response and he returns his gaze to the path in front of us, a thoughtful look on his face. “To tell you the truth, I always thought you were half crazy for not signing up.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I understand why you never did it before but I’ve seen you fly Kit, I’ve never seen anyone look more natural on the broom.” Jon glances back at me, a cautious look on his face as though he fears my reaction.

“I bet I make a prat of myself at tryouts,” I mutter in response, “probably fall off my broom or fly into the hoops.”

“You’ll be fine,” consoles Beth, “and if worst comes to worst, you can always say you were adopted.” 



A/N: A big thank you to everyone who left reviews for the last chapter. I hope you enjoyed this chapter as well. Just a quick few points- keep an eye on my authors page, I plan to keep it up to date on how the next chapters are coming along progress wise and when they're put into the queue. The queue's generally 9+ days at the minute. Also there is a link on my authors page to my Meet the Author page over on the forums, feel free to pop in and ask me any questions about my writing, characters, plots, any of that stuff.

Hope you enjoyed it.


Chapter 10: Transfigured Elephants
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Quick point, due to the accidental use of a banned word Lyn and Jane have been renamed the Plastic Idiots. Enjoy

The rest of Tuesday passes in a way that makes me feel as though I’m walking around with a large neon sign that proclaims loudly ‘Look at me! The Quidditch Freak! Point at me! Whisper about me! Mock my meagre attempt at glory!’

Of course I’m not attempting to get myself any sort of glory.

In an insane moment of enlightenment, that appears to have fled as quickly as it arrived, I thought I might just see if I could prove everyone wrong and show that I’m not just ‘another Anderson’.

I’m ‘another quidditch-ass-kicking Anderson’.

Entirely different species.

Surprisingly, though I spend the day surrounded by a constant stream of whispering, only one person actually mentions tryouts to me directly.

This occurrence causes both the girly part of my brain and dear Connie to join forces to push me towards the startling fact that a certain Mr Wood might behind the lack of hassle I’m experiencing.

Which is a concept much to frightening to contemplate.

The one person who does mention tryouts is Burns, who pushes his way through the crowd and quidditch tackles me as I make my way into the Great Hall for lunch.

“Kit!” exclaims Burns, as he hurls himself at me.

“Ompf,” the breath is knocked out of me, but I manage a greeting in response, “Hello Burnsy,”

“Is it true, is it true?” he gushes on, unaware I’m currently trying to re-inflate my lung. “Have you really put your name down on the tryout sheet?”

Looking up at me, his eyes lit up with an excited puppy like gleam, it does strike me how much he looks like a certain Captain Obsessive.

Dear help the quidditching world when this one gets unleashed- he’ll be ten times as determined as Wood and that’s a scaring prospect.

“Yep, it’s true. I put my name down last night,” I reply. “In fact, it’s all down to what you said last night that I finally put my name down.”

A small shy smile appears on his face and he blushes faintly.

“So, if this all goes wrong and I make a prat of myself; I’m blaming you,” I end on a grin that lets him know I’m only joking.

“Yeah,” responds Burns, rolling his eyes at me, “Like that’s going to happen.”

“Hey you never know what can happen!”

“I’m going to get some lunch, I’ll see you later Kit,” he just tells me with a weary shake of the head as he walks off.

There is something about getting that exasperated parental-like look from a little first year who’s only half your height. 





I spend the rest of the day doing my best not to let all the pointing, staring and whispering get to me. I remind myself frequently, when I feel the urge to reach for my wand, that I have only myself to blame. It’s scant constellation and I would have probably have gone mad before the end of the day if it weren’t for Jon and Beth who always keep the conversation on other topics or when needed find the humour in the fact I get followed into the girls bathroom by two third year Gryffindor boys.

Granted finding the humour in that situation isn’t particularly challenging.

Yet that’s not the most amusing highlight of the day.

No that award has to be given to the highly original and adorable Plastic Idiots, who begin a loud conversation anytime I’m within earshot about how I’m so sad being so desperate for attention.

Far from annoying me, as is their intention, they just end up making me chuckle at their constant need to find some way in which to insult me. My amusement increases tenfold when they make the mistake of attempting this tactic at dinner.

Sensing just insulting me wasn’t going to produce any results, they branch out into insulting my sisters as well. Before I have a chance to react two seventh year boy’s sitting opposite them immediately start arguing with them, informing them just how good my sisters are and just how much they did for the team.

Several other surrounding males also join in with the defence of my sisters and it doesn’t take long before the Plastic Idiots flee in the face of such sizable opposition.

Life is just full of small amusements. 





I spend the rest of the week managing to ignore all the attention, instead my mind focused on the fact that by Friday Jo has yet to respond to my owl.

This is unusually late, even for Jo.

All is quiet on the Wood front also.

Which is mildly disconcerting but as Jon wisely pointed out, when I mention the lack of Mr Wood, that Wood managed to last a whole meal on Tuesday without being a prat so he probably doesn’t want to push his luck.

And he is most likely waiting till tryouts to let it all out.

Joy.

Friday evening finds me in the library pretending to work on a potions essay beside a muttering Beth who is attempting to work out whether Neptune is in retrograde.

“I can never understand it,” I say to Beth as I look up from my Potions textbook, “you’re one of the smartest witches in our year, you take some of the hardest subjects, like Arithmancy and ‘Runes, yet you keep on with Divination.”

“It has comfy seats, Trelawney is always good for a giggle and it doesn’t involve any wand waving, so no innocent bystanders are in danger of being harmed by me during the lesson,” replies Beth distractedly as she studies a chart in her textbook. “Now is this the fourteenth or fifteenth full moon since the last leap year?”

“Haven’t a clue- I do know it’s a Friday, if that’s any help.”

My response just earns a Look from Beth, who finds what she is looking for and begins to scribble out a passage from the textbook. I turn back to my own textbook and continue my doddle of a hippogriff.

I’m slowly amassing a nice little collection of magical and non-magical beasts in my potions text. Most of the farmyard animals had been covered before Christmas and then I have moved onto more exotic animals. Last week I had drawn a particularly good dragon that I’m actually quite proud off since for once one of my cartoon animals actually looks like the animal I was aiming for.

“You know, if Pince finds you drawing on a book in her library she is liable to explode,” comments Beth without looking up from her work.

“My book, I paid for it if I want to doodle on it then I can.’

“Still the thought of someone defacing a book, albeit a non-library owned one will still send her into heart palpitations.”

“Ah, but the flaw in that statement is the presumption that Pince actually has a heart.”

Further discussion on the existence, or not, of Pince’s heart is interrupted by the arrival of Jon. Who in a very un-Jon like way throws his bag rather heavily down onto the table and slams into the chair opposite.

Beth and I share a worried glance as he begins to viciously search through his schoolbag.

“Everything okay?” I ask cautiously.

“You know, I beginning to have a new found respect for you Kit.”

“Why?”

“I really don’t know how you have managed to last all those years without stringing Wood up from the nearest ceiling.”

“Why do you want to string Wood up from the nearest ceiling?” asks Beth with a confused look.

“Not Wood- sodding Bell with his sodding obsession with winning,” grumbles Jon in reply as he finds the books he’s looking for and slams them down onto the table.

The Bell he is referring to is Frederick Bell, no relation to Katie, Captain and Chaser for the Ravenclaw Quidditch Team. Bell and Jon have never really gotten on due to the fact Bell is a bit of a prat and has an obsession with all things Ravenclaw. He sees Jon being best friends with two non-Ravenclaws as one of the highest acts of house treason you can commit.

He also has issue with the fact he has yet to manage to score a goal against Jon in practice this year. Anyone else would think this is fantastic as it means they have a great Keeper, Bell just takes it as a conspiracy by Jon to undermine his leadership.

“Why, what’s he done now?” I ask, hopeful to hear the next amusing story in Bell’s quest to reveal Jon’s alleged plans for a coup.

“He has just spent the last half hour attempting to get me to ‘revel’ any of your flying secrets and has also informed me that as Captain of Ravenclaw he’s orders me to break off any friendship with you since now more than ever, you are ‘the enemy’,” answers Jon bitterly.

“I haven’t even made the bloody team yet!” I splutter in response.

“That’s little odds to Bell, he’s already decided that since you’re ‘another’ Anderson you’re a shoe in for the team,” answers Jon with a disgusted look. “And those are his words not mine. Merlin, I just wanted to throttle him, he kept going on and on about which sister style do you match most. I don’t know how many times I tried to tell him you’re not just some weird mini clone of one of your sisters.”

He finishes on a head shake as he unrolls an essay and gets out his inkpot and quill.
“You know,” he continues with a slight smile, as he unscrews the ink cap, “I really am amazed you have lasted so long without castrating Wood.”

“He probably would have lost the ability to have children years ago if I hadn’t stopped her on several occasions,” answers Beth with a chuckle.

When I give no response Jon turns with an anxious look.

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

“Look, I’m really sorry. I never thought you would be hassled over this,” I answer; annoyed that Jon should have to suffer because I put my name down on the tryout sheet. “Why can’t these prattish quidditch captains just leave well enough alone? I never would have put my name down if I thought for a minute you would get hassled about it.”

“Kit, stop being daft,” retorts Jon, “it’s not your fault Bell’s a prat, so you have nothing to feel guilty about.”

“But still-”

“But nothing, it’s just Bell being his usual annoying prattish self,” Jon tells me firmly. “Anyway, if it wasn’t this he would have found something else to get at me about. So don’t start beating yourself up about it.”

I just grumble in response, still annoyed about all the fuss being made by everyone else over these tryouts.

“What I want to know is, what did you say to him when he said you weren’t allowed to associate with us non-‘Claws?” enquires Beth.

“Well considering I’m sitting here with the pair off you, what’d you think I said?” asks Jon with a sarcastic look.

“Well you never know, you could be here to say a heartfelt goodbye or something,” protests Beth.

“What and he’s going to write a quick draft out first?” I comment as I gesture towards Jon’s ink and quill.

“He’s a Ravenclaw. You never know what funny notions they take into their heads!” Beth answers, throwing her hands up defensively.

“Well no, I’m not here to issue some odd pre-written emotional goodbye,” mocks Jon before becoming more serious, “I told him to wise up- considering Kit was the one who taught me how to fly properly and how to Keep I highly doubt she’s going to discover anything new weaknesses about my technique between now and the match. I also told him he was an idiot if he was honestly worried about Gryffindors stealing our plays. This is Wood we’re talking about- he probably has a handy hundred or so plays just floating about his head, he would hardly need to steal any of Bell’s crappy ones.”

“I’m guessing that didn’t go down the best with him?”

“Well, no not really,” responds Jon with a small grin as he picks up his textbook and flicks to the index.

Beth shakes her head and chuckles as she returns to her work, while I continue to stare off into the middle distance, an odd thought forming in my mind.

“I’ve just realised something,” I start.

“Realised what?” Jon asks his attention still on his index.

“If I make the team- I’ll be playing against you.”

“Well that is what generally happens in the Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw match,” comments Jon distractedly. “The team from Gryffindor tend to take on the team from Ravenclaw.”

“Aren’t you just a proper little comedian?” I reply. “But that’s not what I meant.”

“I was only winding you up,” Jon glances up from his text book and gives me a full blown grin. “It’s odd, for once I’ll have the upper hand about something to do with Quidditch; I have some matches under my belt. Granted, saying that you’ll probably score a record number of goals against me or something.”

“That’s only if I make the team; there are still tryouts to get through!” I counter nervously. As the time draws closer to Sunday I find the butterflies in my stomach have gotten progressively worse. Images of me either falling off the broom or failing to either score or catch a pass keep playing in my head.

“You’ll be fine,” Jon replies with a patronising look that says he thinks I’m an idiot for thinking otherwise.

“Everyone keeps saying that- but how do they know?” I grumble. “For all you lot know I might discover I’m only good for the occasional trick and I’m actually crap when it comes to working in a proper team.”

“Kit- you couldn’t have taught all those Sunday morning lessons if you weren’t pretty decent at flying and knew what you’re talking about.”

“Ah- but what about the old saying,” I retort, “Those that can’t do teach!”

“You are determined to expect the worse aren’t you?” Jon asks exasperated.

“Yes,” I affirm with a nod.

“I take it there’s still no word from Jo?” Beth asks sympathetically.

“No, so much for having bloody sisters.”

“I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason to why she hasn’t replied,” consoles Beth. “I bet you get a nice thick letter full of kindly sisterly advice tomorrow morning.”

“We are talking about the same sister?”

Beth just gives an exasperated shake of the head and shares a look with Jon that clearly says they’ve given up on trying to get me to think positive and instead are just humouring me in my worries.

Why must everyone just presume that I’ll just be a shoe-in for the position? I’ve never had proper match experience, how do they all know I won’t just be totally unable to co-ordinate properly with teammates?

The pair of them continue on with their work and I glance down at my attempt at a hippogriff. It looks nothing like a hippogriff and also manages to bear no resemblance to either a horse or a bird.

I contemplate whether this is some sort of sign or omen.

I’m expected to be made up of all these different parts of my sisters and instead of the finely tuned hippogriff version people are expecting, I’ll end up looking like my cartoon- bearing no resemblance to either a hippogriff or the parts that make it up.

How philosophical.

I do think this is what happens when you sit beside Beth as she does her Divination work, some of that airy-fairy crapy-ness rubs off and you end up seeing stupid things everywhere.

“Kit!”

A hushed voice drags me out of my thoughts and I glance up, along with Jon and Beth, to find Burns and the others from the Sunday flying lessons making their way towards us.

“What’s up?” I reply concerned.

“Well, we just...” begins Burns nervously. He sort of stutters to a halt and gets a general shove from those around him that encourages him to continue and he finishes up very quickly as he rushes through the next part.“Wejustwantedtosaythankyou.”

The only part I can decipher from his sentence is the thank you at the end.

“Thank you? For what?” I question with a confused look. I look to Jon and Beth but they are none the wiser.

“For taking the time to give us all flying lessons,” replies Burns and those surrounding him nod in agreement.

“Well, as much I appreciate this lovely show of thanks,” I reply, still confused, “I can’t help feel I’m missing something. Is this your way of telling me you’ve decided that you’ve had enough and you don’t want any more lessons?”

Immediately they erupt in a chorus of protest.

“Okay, okay,” I raise my hands in a defensive gesture and they quieten down. I look to Burnsy with a questioning smile. “What’s this all about then?”

“Well, we all realise that this is the end of the you giving lessons,” answers Burns with a look on his face that lets me know he thinks I’m being incredibly thick not to get what’s going on.

“Still missing something here.”

“With tryouts,” a second year hufflepuff girl pipes up from the back. She immediately blushes red as our attention turns to her.

“What do you mean with tryouts?” I reply, my face scrunched up in concentration. “As far as I can remember, tryouts aren’t till eleven on Sunday. We’re always well finished before then.”

I glance to Jon and Beth for confirmation only to find Beth firmly focused on her Divination textbook but I can tell she’s trying to stop herself laughing. Looking to Jon I see the reason why as his face has taken on a very over the top hurt look.

“Right, what am I missing here?” I ask him.

“Well,” Jon answers with his air for theatrics, “it would appear they all think once you’ve made Chaser you won’t want anything to do with the flying lessons. Whether that’s because they think your ego will have swollen too much or because they think you won’t have to time to do it once you’re part of the team, I don’t know.” He turns his attention to the small group and continues in a mocking tone. “Though if it is the latter, I can’t help feeling undervalued.”

“And why on earth would you lot think that?” I ask, exasperated that they would honestly think I would just abandoned them all.

“You mean you’re not going to give up on the lessons?” Burns asks hopefully.

“I will stop giving lessons when there is no one there to teach,” I answer firmly.

“And you’ll have time?” a first year Ravenclaw boy timidly asks.

“Yes,” I reply, ignoring the theatrical tut coming from Jon’s direction. “I will always make time for the lessons. And I expect to see you all there bright and early as usual on Sunday since you lot are responsible for making sure I’m nicely warmed up and in touch for tryouts later on.”

They erupt in a chorus of yes’s as they express their dedication to making sure I’m ready to take on tryouts. I shoo them off as I see Pince making her way towards us and they quickly scatter. Once Pince reaches our length all she can do is give a dissatisfied sniff to which I just reply with a large friendly grin. I get a thunderous look in response as she swishes past and makes her way through the transfiguration section.

I wait until she is a suitable distance away before turning with a questioning look to Jon.

“So what’s up with Mr Drama Queen now?”

“Is the fact I’m the Ravenclaw Keeper elude them completely?” ask Jon with mock exasperation.

“Yes.”

“Thank you as usual for the brutal honesty.”

Beth finally gives into her giggle fit and we quickly join her as we settle in for our usual Friday night of random silliness.

For not being overly bookish I spend a lot of time in the library. This is purely because it’s the only place all three of us can work or sit together, since Jon isn’t allowed in our common room and vice versa.

You know they talk a lot about house unity, but they really don’t make it an easy thing to achieve.





Saturday morning comes and goes with no sign of a response from Jo.

Which makes me wonder if everything is okay because it’s not like her to just abandon me after I had issued a call for help. Sure she’s a bit of a wild child, is hopeless for correspondence and doesn’t do touchy feely crap but this is quidditch and me in a tight spot looking for some advice.

Even if she thought, like the others, that I’m just being an idiot, I still thought she would have bothered to tell me as much.

My Saturday doesn’t improve any from that point.

The butterflies in my stomach have somehow gotten transfigured into elephants.

Everywhere I go people talk loudly about me, in such a way that makes me feel like I’m supposed to have gone deaf but nobody has gotten round to telling me.

And by some strange stroke of fate, that really shows have much the world hates me, the Plastic Idiots and Smith, the former Gryffindor captain and Seeker, discover they’re actually natural allies. While the Plastic Idiots talking loudly about me in a disparaging way is easy to ignore, adding Smith into the equation increases their annoyance level ten fold.

I seek refuge in the Library, forgoing the usual dander round the grounds and castle, with Beth and Jon that usual makes up my Saturday. For once I’m thankful for Pince being so severe about the noise level as it means I’m safe from having to listen to everyone talking about me.

I wile away the day by continuing to deface my Potions textbook, firmly stopping all thoughts of the Try-outs, knowing that if I did stop to think about them I would end up even more nervous. 





I wake up with a jolt at four o’clock Sunday morning.

And I’m wide awake.

I twist and turn in my bed, hoping to find the right spot that will help me to get back to sleep. But once awake my brain decides it doesn’t want to go back to sleep.

Instead it focuses on replaying the dream that woke me up.

Hardly surprising it involves me making a prat of myself at tryouts.

I lie awake watching the time slowly ticking by, waiting for it to be time to get up. I see no point it getting up out of bed any earlier than usual because it’s not going to stop me feeling anymore nervous. So if I’m going to have a nervous breakdown I might as well do it somewhere comfy.

The clock finally gets to seven and I roll out of bed giving my head a final shake in an attempt to rid it of the image of me flying headfirst into the central hoop. The head shake as usual has no effect as I grab some clothes and head to the shower.

When Beth wakes up she senses how nervous I am and tries to distract me with some random rambling that I pay scant attention too. But in some weird way it is oddly soothing and I let her ramble on as we make our way down to breakfast.

Jon is already sitting waiting at the Ravenclaw table and we go to join him. He shares a concerned look with Beth as we sit down before pushes some toast and juice my way, telling me to eat something. I give a grimace in response, the chances of me being able to stomach something were slim.

“Don’t be stupid,” Jon tells me with a stern look, “eat something or you’ll end up falling off your broom with hunger.”

“Beats falling off because I’ve forgotten how to fly,” I mutter.

They share another look of concern and seem to come to the decision that it’s best just to leave me too it. Probably hoping I’ll get better once I’m out on the pitch.

Somehow I don’t see that happening.

After forcing me to eat some toast, we all finish up and make our way down to the pitch.

The elephants in my stomach get worse the nearer we get to the pitch.

I never realised just how intimidating the quidditch pitch looked before or just how tall the hoops were. I quickly make my way to the changing room and throw my kit on so quickly that I’m halfway through by the time Beth comes in.

“How’re you holding up?” she asks as she sits down on one of the benches.

“Not good.”

“You’ll be fine,” she reassures, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

“I end up making a complete prat of myself by either flying into something or by just falling of my broom.”

“Exactly!” replies Beth. I stopped mid-way through lacing up my arm guards to look at her incredulously. “Speaking as someone who makes a prat of herself quite often, it’s not that bad. Worse things could happen!”

I continue lacing up my arm guards, making sure they are secure.

Strange as it may seem, Beth as actually spoken a bit of sense for once. I mean- there are worse things that could happen to me than making a prat of myself at tryouts. At the end of the day, I’m not going to end up emotionally damaged for life in some way if I do.

And the truth of the matter is I can only blame myself if I do because I was the one who put my name on the list. I decided to try-out for the team, no one forced me into.

So firmly telling myself to suck it up and have a bit of sense, I finish up lacing my guards and pick up my broom.

“Sorry,” I say to Beth, “I only brought this on myself so instead of moaning about the whole thing I should wise up and make the best of it.”

“And that was impressively philosophical for this early in the morning,” Beth comments, to which I chuckle in response.

“Talking of being early,” I begin as I glance around the changing room, “where is everyone? They’re normally all here by this stage.”

“I was wondering the same thing,” answers Beth with a frown. “How about we go out and see if we can see them making their way down.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I reply and we make our way out of the changing room. We walk the short distance to up onto the pitch and the sight that meets my eyes causes me to stop short.

“Well, that certainly answers the question of where everyone was,” comments Beth offhandedly.

My entire flying group were crowded around three figures standing on the edge of the pitch.

“What on earth...”

The sound of my voice draws everyone’s attention my way. The crowd splits to allow the three people through.

Not just any three people.

Jo.

Maggie.

And Lydia.

My three sisters.

“What in merlins name are you lot doing here?” I ask stunned.

“We’re here to make sure you don’t make a prat of yourself,” answers Jo with a grin, “though no guarantees.”


A/N: thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter, it was very nice of you. I hope you enjoyed this one as well.

I’m over the moon to be able to say I’ve now got trusted author status. This means no more waiting on the queue. So I’m taking a vote on what day of the week to post updates. Let me know what day you want in your review. Don’t just leave a review with a name of a day and that’s all because that would constitute as spam.


Chapter 11: A Naked Wood
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A/N: Monday won. Enjoy

“Wait, what?”

“You asked for help,” Jo begins slowly.

“Yeah,” I reply. I’m struggling to catch up with the fact all three of them are actually standing in front of me.

“Well, we’re here to help,” responds Jo.

“When I asked for help I was just expecting some random sisterly advice, like don’t fall off your broom,” I retort, “I didn’t expect the load of you to descend in on me.”

“Bloody hell,” replies Jo with her trademark grin, “You are one ungrateful little sod.”

“Lo-”I start in reply only to be interrupted by Maggie who steps slightly forward.

“Breaking up this lovely display of sisterly affection,” she says with a pointed look at Jo, she then turns back to face me. Her expression is typical understanding, sympathetic Maggie. Mostly people just see that part and miss the sarcastic undertone. “Look, when Jo told us about your letter we thought that instead of sending you redundant advice, since by this stage you’ve grasped the concept that staying on your broom is necessary to the whole experience, we thought it would be more useful to give you more practical advice and pointers. And it’s kind of hard to do that through a letter.”

“We’re only here to help,” speaks up Lydia, who also steps into the conversation. The other pair nods in agreement. They all share a slightly anxious look, unsure of what my reaction will be as they hadn’t anticipated that I wouldn’t be best impressed with their appearance.

Whistling breaks the silence and I half turn along with everyone else to find Jon emerging from the changing rooms, completely oblivious to the crowd in front of him as he finishes tightening a shoulder guard.

A pointed cough from Beth alerts his attention and causes him to glance up. He stumbles slightly and manages to stop himself from falling as he sees us all.

“Oh,” he comments with a confused look.

“Jonny!” Lydia calls with a grin, which causes Jon to go red.

Lydia, tart and all that she is, is admittedly a fantastic Keeper and due to this fact Jon has always been a bit in awe of her. Well that and she’s just one of those girls that cause guys to act like bumbling fools. Jon has been around our house a lot during the summer holidays, ever since first year, and Lydia’s always taken the time to talk to him about Keeping and to give him some tips.

“Hi,” replies Jon embarrassedly as he makes his way towards us. Lydia is the only one I know who gets away with calling him Jonny. “So, err what’s going on?”

I don’t reply as my attention is still fixed on my three sisters, trying to work out whether it’s a good or bad thing that they’re all here.

“They’re here to help Kit,” Beth fills him in quietly before gesturing to the crowd of little people still gathered in the background, “do you want to...”

“Oh right the class, right,” Jon answers with a quick glance my way. Getting no response from me, as I’m still in a state of uncertainty about this twist in events, he turns back to the little people, “Okay you lot, changing rooms.”

There is a lot of grumbling and it takes some herding on Jon’s part to get them all to shift since they don’t want to miss anything.

“You could have at least sent me a warning you were descending on mass,” I finally manage, paying no attention to Jon and Beth as they finally manage to herd all the little people in the direction of the changing rooms.

“Where’s the fun in that?” replies Jo with a relieved grin and the other two relax as well.

“Hmpf,” I mutter in reply, well used to Jo’s unique sense of fun. I turn with a questioning look to Lydia as I continue, “I thought you weren’t supposed to be near a broom in your condition?”

“I’m pregnant,” she answers, rolling her eyes, “not incapacitated by a limb loss.”

“Incapacitated by a limb loss?” questions Jo, with an intrigued look.

“You know what I mean.”

“Well, no. I have to say I never realised when you’re pregnant you get treated like your missing a limb,” answers Jo thoughtfully.

Sigh.

Randomness really does run in the family.

“Regardless of all that,” I continue, cutting Jo off before she can continue, “I refuse to be held responsible if something were to happen to you or the baby was born with a dent on its head because of a stray bludger.”

“You’re as bad as Gavin,” replies Lydia with an exasperated look, Gavin is Lydia’s husband and a sports reporter for Quidditch weekly. “He’s been nagging away at me all week that I shouldn’t be here in my condition but that’s only because he wanted to come too and he couldn’t because someone had to mind Charlie. But I’m not going to be flying anyway. I will be safely tucked up in the stands and will yell at you from there.”

“Goody!” I reply sarcastically. Lydia just shakes the head at me before turning to Beth.

“Come on you, let’s go find a place to sit,” she says to Beth. Beth quickly shoots me a panicked glance, she never likes being left alone with Lydia, but she realises she has no other option. Giving me a comforting squeeze on the arm on the way by, she hurries after Lydia. “Due to the pregnant-women-waddle you always need to give yourself plenty of time to get somewhere.” Lydia tells her when she catches up.

“Hey maybe that’s why people treat you like you’ve lost a limb,” Jo calls out after her. Lydia half turns with a questioning look. “The funny waddle walk looks like limb loss.”

Lydia retorts by making a rude gesture which just causes Jo to grin in reply.

“Out of curiosity,” I ask as we watch the other two make their way up the stands, “what in merlins name possessed you to bring her?”

“Believe it or not, it’s all Dads’ fault,” answers Jo absent-mindedly, her attention drawn to three approaching figures making their way down the path to the pitch.

“Dads’ fault?”

“Yeah, Dads’ fault,” she half replies. “Who is this coming then?”

“If its Wood I’m stringing him up naked from one of the hoops.”

Such a statement can’t go past unnoticed and both Jo and Maggie look away from the approaching figures to look at me questioningly.

“Why naked?” asks Maggie with an amused look.

“More importantly, by what means is she going to get there?” comments Jo with a huge grin.

I roll my eyes in response, well used to my lovely sisters’ humour and I go to reply but I am interrupted by Jon.

“This’ll set the cat amongst the pigeons,” comments Jon with a slight frown.

With trepidation I look back to see who exactly it is, thinking it’s a sure bet to be Wood being his usual prattish self. Only to get a shock when I realise it’s Swan, Wright and Trott. Fred Swan is one of the Ravenclaw chasers. Anne Wright is a chaser and Chris Trott is a beater, both for Hufflepuff.

“Hey Kit, hey Jon. We haven’t missed practice?” asks Swan

“No we haven’t started yet,” I manage out in reply, still coping with the surprise.

“Swan- what in merlins name are you doing here?” asks Jon.

“Well, we thought we’d come help Kit out. We guessed she would want to do some proper match playing before the tryouts,” responds Swan. His face grows concerned, “We just thought we’d come to help, if you don’t want us here or anything we’d understand.”

The other two nod in agreement.

“The more help the better,” I reply with a grin, “We’re just really surprised to see you.”

“Well after you helped us out so much over the years to get us ready for the house teams, we thought the least we could do was help you out a bit in return,” says Wright.

“Though it’s not like you really need the help,” grins Trott.

“I don-” I begin in reply only to be cut off by Jon.

“You know he’s going to blow a fuse when he finds out?” Jon asks Swan.

“Well it’ll break up the monotony of practice,” responds Swan. “It’ll be a nice change for him to be shouting at someone other than you.”

Swan ends on a grin and the rest of us chuckle, even Jon drops his serious expression to give a small grin.

“Well on your head be it.”

“Alright. We’ll go get changed,” answers Swan and they all move off towards the changing rooms.

“I’m guessing they took your lessons at one point?” asks Maggie.

“Yep. They are the success story; they all made their house teams.” I turn and reply.

“Look at you- everyone is just lining up to help,” says Jo with a grin.

“Talking about people helping out- what’s Dad got to do with Lydia’s appearance?” I ask with a confused look. It makes no sense for Dad to be at fault for Lydia’s presence. Dad generally doesn’t get involved. Several years of living in the same house as five women has told him its best not to get involved if he wanted to remain unharmed.

“Well, once I got your letter the first thing I did was tell Mum and Dad obviously. Mum went into her usual mild panic about the thought of one of us getting hurt, oh that reminds me, she told me to tell you to be careful. Kind of redundant advice but at least you know she cares.” Jo’s bluntness causes an exasperated sigh from Maggie and a slight grin from Jon who is well used to Jo.

“Anyway,” she continues, “Dad’s response was more constructive, told me to tell the other pair straight away. He knew if anyone was going to be of a help to you it would be one of us. I wasn’t overly keen on letting Lydia know but he told me to wise the head, Lydia is one of the best tactical players out there, not to mention the fact she’ll know better than anyone what your strengths and weaknesses are when you Chase. Which does make sense.”

“You have spent a lot of time shooting quaffles at her for practice,” contributes Maggie.

“I suppose,” I admit with a slight frown. I can understand the logic; I’ve spent many summers out in our back yard trying to score against her. It’s just Lydia is one of those people that after a short time in their company you develop the urge to hit them over the head with a broom stick.

“Anyway, Dad told me to tell you,” Jo pulls out a bit of paper from the inside her robes and proceeds to read it out, much to Jon and Maggie’s amusement, “watch out for your left side, you’re slower at spotting bludgers when they come at you from the left. Also practise some back passing because you’re slightly weaker when the quaffle is passed backwards to you. Remember to always keep an eye out for an opposition player trying to tackle, especially when you get close to the hoops as sometimes you don’t.”

She finishes up and folds up the piece of paper, placing it back into her pocket.

“Comprehensive as usual,” I comment with a wry smile, well used to the thoroughness which Dad approaches quidditch.

“Would you expect anything less?” grins Jo. “He also said enjoy it, which is Dad’s equivalent of good luck.”

Dad didn’t believe in the concept of luck. In his opinion you either had the ability to win or you didn’t. And whether you wanted it enough decided whether you got it.

“Eddie sends his best too,” says Maggie. Eddie is Maggie’s finance and a chaser for Hamworth, the same team Maggie is seeker for. “He wanted to come but he had chaser practice this morning that he couldn’t get out of it. But he said to tell you that’ll you be fine just keep focused and aim for the hoops.” She finishes with a grin.

Needless to say Eddie is well suited to fit in with the rest of the family.

“So,” Jo asks as she slings an arm around my shoulders, “excited, nervous, nauseous?”

“All three but mostly the middle one,” I reply.

“You’ll be fine,” reassures Maggie.

“Of course she will,” agrees Jo, “she has us!”

“The jury is still out on whether that’s a good thing or not,” I mutter just as the changing room doors open and everyone piles out.

“Right you lot,” I turn and address them, “five laps warm up. Off you go.”

They all clamber on to their brooms and take off on their laps.

“Not too shabby looking,” comments Maggie as she watches their progress.

“That first girl with the blonde hair is a nifty wee flier,” says Jo as she too watches the group before turning to me with her eyebrow raised, “should you not be out there warming up?”

“Who, me?”

“No Bob,” she replies sarcastically, “yes you. Get going and warm up those flying muscles.”

“You might be best,” Maggie joins in.

“Yes Miss, alright Miss,” I mutter as I throw one leg over my broom and firmly push off from the ground, giving an ironic salute to Jo. I hear her faintly call me an ungrateful sod as gather speed and the ground quickly falls away.

Flying gives a feeling like nothing else.

That rush as you leave the ground and take to the air, the wind rushing through your hair and robes. The feeling of freedom, of escape, of complete and utter peace is one I love.

I gently make my way around the edge of the pitch, flying higher up than the others so I can still keep an eye on them; I’m unable to stop myself from worrying about them. I’m like an old mother hen.

As I gather up pace I dip sharply to the left before pulling sharply back to the right. It’s only through years of practice that I know how to keep my grip slightly loose when doing this. Gripping too tightly and you end up sliding sideways off the broom. Which happened several times before I got it right.

Nothing like pain to teach you things.

I give a quick burst of speed while dipping both ways sharply; as I reach the far hoops I swerve in around them quickly before banking sharply to my right following the line of the stands.

I catch a quick movement out of the corner of my eye and turn my head slightly to find Jon flying his way towards me.

“Race you around?” he shouts as flies close.

“You’re own,” I shout back and after a quick count we both shoot off around the pitch.

I dip and dive around the class as I catch up with them, keeping an eye out for Jon. We’re neck and neck by the time we’ve made it back round to the last straight and I flatten myself out on my broom, urging every last bit of speed from my broom. I manage to edge ahead as the finish draws nearer and urging my broom on I nip by first.

“Woohooo,” I shout out like an excited ten year old as I gently ease up on the speed.

“Such a child,” Jon shouts out with an appreciative grin.

We finish up a few more laps, taking time to dive and swerve to warm up the reflexes, before dropping back down to Jo and Maggie, landing softly with two thumps.

“Not bad, we’ll make a Chaser of you yet,” grins Jo.

“I don’t know about that,” I reply as I push some stray hairs that had come loose from my face.

“You’ll be fine,” assures Maggie, “So what way would you like to do this? We were thinking if we set up it up like a game so you have to deal with passing, opposition chasers and being a bludger target. But we’re not trying to take over here, you’re the boss so whatever way you want to do it.”

“Who are the two international quidditch players out of the three of us?” I ask with a mock thoughtful look, “Whatever way you want to do it works best by me.”

“Alrighty then, do you want to split this lot up into teams? You’ll know best what they’re suited for,” says Jo as the rest of the class lands down to join us.

It takes a few minutes to get everyone sorted out and in the end we end up with a several different teams, which isn’t a bad thing as the plan is to switch around a lot so I end up having to deal with lots of variation.

Jon takes to the sky as the opposition goal keeper, with Jo and Trott as the opposition’s beaters and Swan as an opposition chaser. Wright joins me on my team and the rest of the positions are made up from various members of the class. Maggie decides there’s no point in having seekers so joins the opposition as a chaser, something she’s quite good at lending her hand too.

Burnsy ends up acting as referee and as we take our positions he releases the balls and we’re off.

My mind immediately focuses in on the game, which starts of quickly as Swan gets the quaffle first and takes off up the pitch. I swing my broom around and take off after him only to have to swerve quickly backwards as a bludger comes wheeling at me. I manage to get out of the way quick enough and look up to see Jo grinning down at me.

I can only shake my head at her as I take off back up the pitch, urging the broom on to catch up with the action.

The ball has been passed around a few times and Swan has ended back up with it again as he covers the last small distance to the hoops. I swerve in around the other players to tackle him from the right, knocking the quaffle out of his hands to drop it down to Wright who is waiting below.

She streaks off up the pitch and I follow, swerving around players to make my way alongside her. A bludger wheels towards us from behind, and Wright has to bank sharply to avoid it, lobbing the quaffle at me quickly before she does. The bludger glances her left arm jolting her slightly off course.

I grasp the quaffle firmly in my hands, clinging on to the broom with my knees before tucking it into the crook of my right arm and taking hold of the broom with my other hand I launch myself up the pitch.

Swan comes into my eye line and goes to make a grab at the quaffle but I spot his move before he can act and dive sharply, curving to the left to keep up the speed. I’m nearly at the hoops and Jon is already following my angle, making sure to remain covering all his hoops.

Before I have a chance to act a bludger comes screaming from the left towards me and I see it too late to duck fully out of the way. I brace myself for the impact and it whacks firmly into my left side, lurching me sideways on the broom. Ignoring the pain I wheel sharply to the right, too quickly for Jon, and throwing up the quaffle I whack it with the end of my broom through the hoop.

As the goal goes through I realise my side is searing, but a few deep breaths tells me I haven’t broke anything and it’s just bruised.

“Anything broken?” urgently asks Jo as she swoops down in, with a worried look on her face.

“No, just some bruising,” I reply, “You really do know how to hit a bludger.”

“Are you sure?” urges Jo.

“Jo I’m fine,” I reassure her, wondering why on earth she’s so worried. “It’s my own fault for not spotting it fast enough anyway.”

“As long as you’re sure you haven’t broken anything.”

“I’m sure.” I stress.

She gives a quick nod before flying off, her face still serious with concern.

As play restarts, I push away all thoughts of Jo. I’m not used to a concerned Jo. It’s a bit of an alien concept. Jo is Miss Devil May Care.

Jo doesn’t do serious. Or concerned.

She’s more likely to take the piss out of you than give you sympathy.

Play continues on. I tackle opposition chasers, dodge bludgers, get tackled, get knocked by some more bludgers and try to score, sometimes successful sometimes not.

Not long after the first goal, Lydia manages to catch Jo’s attention and we stop play as I fly over to the stands where she offers some advice on a better way to tackle and tells me to tuck my arm more firmly around the quaffle.

I fly back into the match and play continues. Occasionally we’re stopped by Lydia or sometimes Maggie or Jo as they offer advice. Maggie keeps switching players, bringing some on and off, which means I have plenty of variation to cope with.

Time passes relatively quickly and I don’t notice how late it is until Maggie stops us after Wright gets another goal.

“I think that should do us, it’s half ten,” Maggie shouts out at us.

I can’t believe that that is the time already and check my own watch as we all make our way back to the ground. I can’t believe it’s half ten already.

Only thirty minutes till tryouts.

Crap.

“You alright?” asks Jon as he lands down beside me.

“Ask me in about one hour’s time, I’ll know better then.”

“You’ll be fine little sis,” assures Jo as she lands down on my other side, “Come on, lets head to the changing rooms, you need a drink and something to eat.”

As we make our way to the changing rooms the transfigured elephants that had disappeared during the flying return with aplomb and begin their spring dance recital in my stomach. I pay no attention to the conversations around me but some part of me registers the exhilarated and pleased faces of all the little people.

Jon sticks an arm out to stop me just outside the changing rooms. He pulls me into a quick hug that surprises me since neither of us are huggers.

“You’ll be fine,” he mutters into my ear, before pulling back and giving an embarrassed smile as he pushes open the door to the boys changing room and goes in.

Well that was a very odd awkward moment.

“If you’ve quite finished all your hugging,” comments Jo as she props open the door to the female changing rooms.

I can’t even bring myself to make an adequate response as it appears all the little people in my head have decided to break into panic attacks.

Jo seems to understand and she ushers me into the changing room, pushing me down onto a bit of empty bench. A drink and a banana are shoved into either hand with orders to drink and eat.

I go on autopilot and I work my way through the banana and the drink, my mind focused on getting the transfigured elephants to stop their dancing and I pay no attention to those around me. It’s only as I finish the banana I realise just how quiet it has gone.

Raising my eyes from the contemplation of the floor tile at my feet I glance around and realise all the little people have left. Only Jo and Maggie are left, and at some point Lydia has arrived.

They are all looking at me with concerned faces and they share a look amongst themselves, with Lydia and Jo looking pointedly at Maggie, letting her know she’s the one that deals best with this stuff.

“Right,” she begins as she steps forward, “you are talented, you are practiced, you are smart and you should have confidence because you just flew brilliantly out there.” She quickly raises her hand to cut off the retort that rises automatically to my mouth. “I know what you’re going to say and the answer is no I not just saying that because you’re my sister. I am saying that as a professional quidditch player- you flew brilliantly out there. And I know you can do it again and be the best at tryouts. We have faith in you, so have a bit of faith in yourself.”

The other two firmly nod in agreement and I take a deep breath forcing the nerves down.

“Keep breathing, stop over thinking and you’ll be fine,” says Maggie as she gives my shoulder a light squeeze. “We better head back out here before the others for tryouts appear.”

I manage a small smile to show I appreciate what she said and giving me my shoulder another squeeze she moves away to the door. I look to the other two who look so serious and so out of character that I actually feel the faintest urge to giggle. They only manage firm nods before following Maggie out the door.

The door shuts with a quiet thump and I’m left in the complete silence of the changing room. I force myself to take nice deep breaths and gently feel myself calming down.

I can do this.

I can do this.

I can fly.

I can tackle.

I can score.

I can do this.

The last few minutes tick away till eleven but no other girls enter the changing room. I belatedly realise I forgot to check the sign up list to see who else had put their name down.

Obviously no girls had.

I take a deep steadying breath and rise up from the bench. I grasp my broom in my hand and make my way to the door.

I urge my heart to calm itself as it attempts to beat out of my chest.

I urge my feet not to stumble as they suddenly feel twice the size.

I ease open the door, take one last deep breath and step out into the daylight.

Oh crap. 


A/N: thank you to everyone who reviewed the last chapter. It was very kind of you and I love to hear what bits you like best or favourite quotes. If I haven't responded to your review yet I'm so sorry, I've been very busy but I plan on tackling responses tomorrow. 

The next chapter won't be up until submissions open up again in September. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Thank you for reading


Oh and apologies if I caused unfilled expectation with the chapter title- I couldn't resist.

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