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Author's note: Sorry about being so long inbetween chapters, but swim season is coming to an end, which means more updates. There's a semi-quote from Othello in this chapter. If you can find it, I'll give you cookies! Thank you for the kind reviews! ^_^

~



The next day, I woke up very sore. More sore then I had ever been before. 

“Damn practice,” I murmured as I hit my clock, which had an alarm that was blaring ‘Get up!’ ‘Get up!’ ‘Get up!’ I rolled over to the other side of the bed, groaning. I certainly did not want to get up. But when I opened my eyes, I saw that on my bedside table, there was a small vile of potion. Interested, I picked it up and quizzically examined the blue liquid. 

“It helps the soreness,” my brother chuckled as he threw me my water bottle, which landed to the right of my head. 

“Thanks,” I murmured and then downed the potion. It was an odd taste; sweet and sour. I swished it a bit in my mouth and then swallowed. It was a bit like Mike; my brother could be so thoughtful sometimes and such a jerk other times. I sighed and fell back into my comfy bed. Why did I have to leave? I could just stay in bed. I mean, I had the excuse of sore muscles … and … much to my chagrin, I felt my muscles begin to relax. 

Damn you potion. 

After shooing Mike out of the room with a thankful smile, I quickly changed into my clothes and apparated to the field. I was the first one there, which was just the way I liked it. With my muscles feeling warm and relaxed, it was a perfect time for me to practice. I was a Quidditch freak and yes, I knew it. 

I mounted my broom and flew off into the sky. I did twenty laps first as I did all sorts of moves, increasing in skill. Back and forth over the pitch, I did suicides on my broom, working on how fast I could turn. To me, flying wasn’t a workout. Anyone could do it. It was everything else that brought me into a full sweat: the push ups, the dips, the sprints, the weights, the abs sets and the medicine balls. I was so busy zipping around that I didn’t even hear the footsteps that were coming out onto the field. 

“Woah there,” Fields said waving me down from the ground. “Practice hasn’t even started yet, young lady, and yet you’re here, busting your ass.” 

“I know,” I said with a shrug as I hovered near him, “I’m just used to doing my own warm up I guess.” 

“I wouldn’t call it a warm up,” he said with a grin as he produced his own broom out of thin air. 

“You were watching?” I said surprised and embarrassed at the same time. I never really liked it when people watched me practice. It was odd, I feel like I had to prove myself when they were watching. Show them that I’m not just your average Quidditch player. 

“Well I’m always the first one here in the morning. But apparently not today. Must be hard trying to score with no keeper there to block it, eh?” He mounted his own broom, that silly grin still on his face, and flew to the keeper’s post. I still hovered near the ground, unsure of what to do. I didn’t know what he was planning. 

“Now try and score on a real expert.” 

I laughed softly and then turned my broom just at the right moment to catch a quaffle he’d thrown me. A small smile came over my own face. How could someone as old as Fields try and keep up with a younger person like me? It was a bit mean, yet somewhat true. However, he seemed like a good coach and maybe he would let the shots go through and act like a diversion. I pulled my ponytail tighter and scrunched my eyes together and went in for the shot. My fingers let go of the ball and they stayed arched as I made a curve around the keeper’s post and continued to do it as if I was set on a racetrack, going around and around. 

“You’re good Dunbar, but your shot tends to go to the left a bit. Try again.” 

And around. 

“Your follow-through is perfect but shorten it and see what happens. Again.” 

And around. 

“Now elongate it.” 

And around. 

“Try releasing from out there.” 

And around. 

“Try it closer.” 

And around. 

“Fields, you shouldn’t wear out the players before practice,” Cambert chuckled as he entered the stadium with the team in tow. Of course, they followed him murmuring about how they didn’t want to practice and how they were sore. Forester and Marino mimicked his movements behind his back while Annabell gave them each a death glare and the silent finger. Wood, however, was looking at me with a raised brow, surprised that I was up this early. Part of me wanted to give him an icy stare but part of me wanted to blush. I was torn. 

Thankfully Cambert sent us off to our corners of the pitch to practice before I could react. I ducked behind Fields as Forrester and Marino swaggered to our end of the field. 



“Good practice, now come tomorrow with a better attitude,” Cambert called at the end of the practice as he tapped his clipboard. We all groaned as we entered our respective locker rooms, our shoulders slumping under the weight of our bags filled with our new gear we’d received. I plopped my bag on a bench and then rubbed my protesting shoulder. 

“So,” Annabell said with a sadistic grin as she started to undress for the shower. “You like Wood? He’s quite fit, innit he?” 

“What? Of course not!” I said quickly. Too quickly. I turned my back to her and began to interest myself in my new jersey that I’d pulled out of my bag for a distraction. 

“You can’t lie, I saw you blushing this morning when he was looking at you,” she said, cackling as she pulled her practice shirt over her head. 

“I don’t like him Annabell. He’s an egomaniac and I was not blushing. I had been practicing before you showed up, you know,” I said firmly, trying to convince myself that Wood was nothing more then a cocky bloke. I looked down at my jersey in front of me and then folded it into a perfect square. As I proceeded to tuck it back in my bag, I could feel her eyes on my back. 

“He is very handsome looking, I’ll give him that,” she mused. 

“I don’t like him,” I said as I pulled my own shirt over my head, so my words came out muffled. I could almost feel Annabell smirking at me as we both continued to change. 

“He’s a bloody good Quidditch player too.” 

“I told you already, I don’t like him!” 

“And tan. Well, for a Scotsmen.” 

“Stop!” 

“And he’s got that accent.” 

“He’s with Katie for fucks sake!” I lashed out, my voice echoing against the walls of the locker room. My blood was racing through my veins as I threw my shorts on the floor before me. “And for the last time, I am not interested in Oliver Wood! He and I just don’t mix: oil and water. Now drop it before I make you.” 

“That’s not what I heard,” Annabell cooed, stepping into the showers, that silly grin still on her face. 

I twisted my sports bra in my hands angrily. How dare her! After throwing it in the direction of my stuff, I entered the showers, flicking one on mentally. “Explain. Now.” 

“Oh it’s nothing really. What I’m interested in is why you care,” she said in a sing-songy voice, reaching for her shampoo bottle. I ducked under the shower, letting the water wash over me. Why was I interested? Why did I care what Oliver’s love life was? I scrunched my eyebrows together and spit out some water that had made its way into my mouth. It wasn’t for my personal benefit. I mean, sure, Oliver had looks, but brains? That was a no. My perfect guy had to be a Quidditch player, tall, dark and handsome. As I checked the points off in my head, I realized that Oliver had all of them. No, there was something wrong with me. I leaned on the tile wall behind me and watched as the water droplets fall on my skin. I couldn’t have feelings for Oliver, I just couldn’t. It wouldn’t work. 

“I knew you liked him,” Annabell said with a little point towards me as she put her head under the water, washing out the shampoo of her hair. 

Sadly, I didn’t protest. I listened to the showers running and then looked up at Annabelle, my eyes forlorn. I shook my head. “I can’t like him. I just can’t.” 

“Why not? You’re perfect for each other,” Annabell said washing the remains of the shampoo out of her hair. 

“But I don’t know if I could do it,” I said as I slumped all the way to the ground. The feeling of the water and tiles against my back, oddly, felt good. 

“What do you mean?” Annabell said reaching for her conditioner bottle. “Is it the fact that he’s on the team? I mean, the break-up isn’t that bad. I considered dating Forester for a while but then he got a girlfriend last year during the season, which threw off my game for a while, I admit. That’s besides the point. If you like him, it will work.” 

“No, it’s not that. My last knight in shining armor turned out to be a loser in tinfoil. And besides, how could a person like me take him away from a girl like Katie? I’m a semi-tomboy Annabell. I have for all of my life. It’s almost like I don’t know how to be feminine and sexy. All I can do is talk to him about Quidditch and I’m sure that’s not sexy to him,” I said putting my head against the wet tile behind me. I rubbed circles on my temples with my fingertips. “That’s why.” 

“Oh that’s the biggest load of bullocks,” Annabell said with another one of those grins that I was beginning to hate as she thrust her head under the showerhead again. “There’s a part of every girl that is feminine; you’re born with it. You just need to know how to use it. That’s where I come in. I’ll teach you all you need to know. So maybe, you say you ‘forget’ to bring your sports bra and where a push up instead. Oliver’d be crazy to turn you down.” 

I glared up at her, shaking my head. “There is no way in hell I’m doing that Annabell.”



“That’s a wrap!” yelled Cambert and there was a collective groan from the team. I wiped the sweat from my face and took a long sip from my water bottle, trying not to notice the way that my boobs were being pushed up from the bra that Annabelle had loaned me. I couldn’t believe that I actually put the thing on. I’d been flying around all practice with my chest flying just about everywhere and I’d never been more embarrassed. Practice had been hard today and the fact that I was actually doing what she said didn’t make it any better. Cambert said that it was going to be uphill from now because we had to train for our first game, which was about two months away. Many groans followed his speech, like usual. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Oliver going over to his bag. He was shirtless. I tried to contain my drool and I turned my attention to my bag, bending over to pick it up. 

“My my,” Marino smirked as he looked me up and down, “Little Miss Swifty isn’t so little.” 

“I second that,” Forrester said, liking his lips. I scrunched my eyebrows and then it hit me. I looked down to my shirt and of course, the boys were looking at the sight that the bra had produced. What made it worse was that I was bending over. I put my hand over my shirt and glared at them while reaching for my sunglasses. 

“Call me sometime,” Marino joked as he grabbed his bag and winked. I rolled my eyes and zipped up my team jacket to cover myself. Yet, as I grabbed my bag, I took a swift glance over to where Oliver had been standing. He’d put on a shirt, sadly. I took a deep breath and grabbed the rest of my stuff. Maybe I’d walk by him when I was leaving and then maybe he’d say hello and then maybe … 

“Oooofph!” I blurted as I felt myself fall towards the ground; I’d tripped over my shoelace. Great. Just great. I heard some snickering above me and I looked to see Oliver standing next to me, his arms crossed over his chest. 

“Always were a smart one, Swifty,” he jeered, his shadow falling on my face. Hopefully he couldn’t see me blush. 

“You’re just sore that I beat you the first practice,” I said as I helped myself up to my feet, dusting off some of the pitch that stuck to me. 

“That was two weeks ago. I don’t hold grudges that long,” he replied with stubbornness laced into his words. “Plus I’ve blocked your shots many times.” 

“But you haven’t blocked my ultimate shot,” I said frankly as I picked up my bag and slung it over my shoulder. 

“By the way, what is that?” he said seriously as his features relaxed. “I’ve never seen it before.” 

“My own creation,” I said nonchalantly, wiping my sunglasses against my shorts to clean them before I put them on. “I wasn’t captain of the National winning team for nothing.” 

“Does it have a name?” he asked, raising a brow and stepping closer towards me. My heart began to race. Hopefully he was interested in me and not my play. Maybe this whole Quidditch thing could work. Maybe I could blend Annabell’s seduction and my tomboyishness to create a web to ensnare a fly as great as Oliver. 

“Not yet, I’ve just called it ‘Ultimate’. I don’t use it that often,” I said with a closed lip smile as I put my glasses on the top of my head. My fingers fell on the top of my chest and I saw his eyes follow them for a fraction of a second. Maybe this whole feminine thing wasn’t as hard as I thought. I placed my hand onto my hip, leaning into him a bit. I’d seen other girls do it before when I was back in school and it seemed to make the guy interesting. But knowing me, it probably made my posture look weird and awkward. 

“No wonder I couldn’t have blocked it,” he said, mirroring my smile. I considered twirling my hair with my fingers but I didn’t know if it was too much. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there, smiling like an idiot back at him. My mind froze and there was a silence in the air for a couple seconds. 

Damn, this wasn’t going well! Merlin, why didn’t my mom teach me these things? 

“I’ve made up many other plays such as chaser formations and strategies,” I said hinting at something, trying to keep the conversation going. Maybe if he fell for it, we could spend some time together outside of practice. 

“You’ll have to show me them sometime,” he said with a small smile. My heart started to beat abnormally. My planned had worked. I was going to see Oliver outside of practice and maybe then, someone romantic could happen. 

“Well gotta run, Katie’s waiting for me at my flat.” 

He then apparated away. My heart stopped and I tried to stop my mouth from forming into a frown. 

Well that just about killed the moment, now didn’t it? 



“Here, have this torture device,” I groaned as I threw the push up bra at her as I entered the locker room. 

“It didn’t work?” Annabell said quizzically as she caught it. 

“It did on Marino and Forrester, not Oliver,” I groaned as I slipped off my shorts and with a snap of my fingers, the shower was on. “Oliver wanted to talk Quidditch and I almost got him to meet me outside of practice to talk about it but then he ran off to fucking Katie. This is madness.” 

“Oh come on, you can’t give up Michelle,” Annabell said, following me into the showers. “It’s going to be hard but you can’t throw the towel in now. Besides, we still have other options you know. So he doesn’t like boobs. He’d bound to like other things. He caught onto Quidditch, we need to keep using that. Maybe invite him for a coffee and I’ll make you up before you leave.” 

“Why I’m doing this, I don’t know,” I said rolling my eyes as I sprayed her with water from my showerhead. 



“Seven weeks left!” Fields said as we left the field. 

“Here goes the countdown,” Oliver mumbled to himself as he threw his shirt into his bag near mine. 

“What you never counted down to your first game?” I asked, trying to start a conversation. The last encounter we had after practice wasn’t a good one per say, so I hoped to improve on it. Plus, Annabell had been nagging me the whole week to try and ask Oliver to grab a coffee with me at some local muggle place nearby. 

“Well sure I did, but not seven weeks before,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders. 

“Well did you start practicing seven weeks before?” I said with a chuckle. Apparently, he didn’t know how to coach a team that well. 

“No.” 

“Well then don’t complain about countdowns then,” I said with a laugh as I sat down on the bench in front of me to begin to take off my shoes. They were new since I’d got them from one of the team sponsors and they gave me blisters. I cringed as I saw blood staining my white socks; today we’d done running instead of our normal broom rides. It was the wrong day to wear new shoes.
 
“Well then Yank, did you ever countdown seven weeks before?” He leered and my attention was diverted back to him. Sadly, he was still standing when I hoped he would come and sit down next to me. 

“Why yes Tory, I did. We had practices three months before our first game,” I said, returning his old nickname. I then took out my wand and said a quick spell, removing the blood that had soaked into my sock. I was just about to heal my blisters when his voice cut into my head. 

“And who was captain of this team? They must have been crazy,” he said with a short laugh as he zipped his bag shut. 

“Me,” I said as I stuck out my tongue and then said the spell for the healing of my blisters. Yet, inside, I was still hurting. He hadn’t remembered that I was captain of a team. I’d told him before, I was sure of it. He didn’t really give a shit about me, did he? It was always Katie this, Katie that. 

“You really are crazy then,” he remarked, throwing his bag over his shoulder. 

“It’s what you have to do to win,” I said shrugging my shoulders, my sadness beginning to show. No, I would have the upper hand again. My hand flew to my hair but as I began to twist a strand between my fingers, I felt … well not myself. Why was I pushing this flirting bullshit? I didn’t even know how to it right. It wasn’t working. My hand dropped to my side as I began to put my shoes back on. 

“Yeah, I remember Katie telling me that I was a tyrant too,” he replied with a wistful smile placed upon his handsome face. I clenched my fists at the mention of Katie’s name as I tried to remain composed. Was that all the boy ever talked about? I dared to press on. 

“She was on your team?” 

“Yeah, along with Fred and George, who you know. The rest you don’t know. Well maybe Harry Potter,” he said slyly. Harry Potter! My head shot up from my shoe. Wow! I tried to contain my jaw from dropping as I gulped. 

“He’s a seeker right?” My voice quivered with excitement. 

“How did you know?” he said deflated because he couldn’t tell me all about it. Well serves him right, he was putting me through hell by mentioning Katie every second. 

“I have my ways,” I said rubbing my hands together evilly, hoping that soon, they would be around Bell’s neck. 

“Katie always said that girls have their ways,” he said laughing as he grabbed his broom the bench next to me. The joy was sucked out of my body and my hands stopped rubbing themselves, making fists instead. I watched as his own fingers stayed attached to the shaft of his broom and slowly, they moved up and down. I let out a small breath; if only those fingers were holding mine instead of a broom. 

“She’s right,” I half growled. 

“Well I have to make the plans for dinner tonight; Katie and I are going out. See you tomorrow Dunbar,” he said with a half wave and then apparated away with his stuff. 

I almost punched through a wall when I got home. 



“Sooooo,” Annabell cooed, “How much time do we have to make you up?” 

“We’re not going,” I growled, not wanting to talk to her. I trudged over to the showers, trying to avoid her. 

“What do you mean? I brought all my stuff!” She asked, following me, much to my dismay. 

“He doesn’t like me, ok? It’s always Katie this, Katie that. Fuck Oliver! Just …,” I yelled and then sighed. “Just leave it alone Annabell. I can’t make him like me.” 



“Three weeks!” chanted Cambert, a stupid grin on his face. 

“Bloody countdown,” Oliver said smiling over at me. I would have gotten weak in the knees, but practices have made me really fit. And the fact that I hated him helped too. 

“It’s good for you Wood,” I said, turning towards my bag. 

“That’s what Katie says when I refuse to eat healthy. She doesn’t understand that these practices are really tough on us,” he replied, pulling out an energy bar from his bag. “She says these things have too many calories and I shouldn’t be bothering with them after practice.” 

My lips became a straight line. 

“Yeah, I guess you could say that my brother does the opposite. He says I’m getting too skinny,” I sighed as I pulled my practice jersey over my head and threw it into my bag. Sadly, I’d been doing this for a while and his eyes no longer roamed my chest. I guess he was used to it. Or Katie just had a bigger one. 

“You’re not too skinny. You’re perfect,” he mumbled. 

“Yeah, whatever,” I mumbled right back, knowing that this conversation was probably going to end soon. 

“I know how girls complain about weight, Katie does it all the time, but you really are perfect Michelle.” I would have liked the compliment if Katie wasn’t in the same sentence. 

“Thanks,” I said looking him in the eyes, but there wasn’t a smile on my face. He quickly turned away, becoming more interested in his Keeper gear that he was packing up quickly. I turned to my own Chaser gear, mirroring him. 

“Why so hasty? Going somewhere?” I said trying to cover up my hurt inside. He was leaving again and I would have another angry night alone. God damn it, why did life have to be so unfair? 

“I have to go soon,” he said almost silently as he slung his bag over his shoulder. 

“Where?” I prodded. I was starting to get angry. 

“Home.” 

“To Katie?” I said barely above a whisper. 

“Yes, to Katie,” he replied with a hard stare before apparating back to his flat and precious Katie. I walked into the locker room, ignoring everything around me. I could see Forrester and Marino joking around with a quaffle, but it was like I was deaf; I couldn’t hear anything they were saying. My feet were sluggish and my bag felt heavy hanging from my shoulder. I pushed on the door, which wouldn’t budge at first. Angry, I slammed into it. It opened quickly and I barged in, knowing that Annabell had already gone home for it was a Friday. The locker room was all mine. I stripped of my practice clothes and took a long hot shower that was much needed. While the hot water rained down on me, my eyes rained their own droplets of hot water. I was so frustrated; I’d tried flirting, hinting to meet with him, but he wasn’t taking the bait. I’d worn a push up bra to practice for Merlin’s sake! But where did it get me? 

Nowhere. 

I fell to the floor, my chest heaving as I sobbed my heart out. Why did this always happen to me? I liked a boy, yet when push came to shove, nothing ever happened. They thought I was too intense with Quidditch or that I wasn’t worth their time. I hugged my knees against my chest, putting my head to rest on my knees. 

Maybe … maybe he did love Katie. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be for us to be together. Maybe I was destined to find someone else. Or just be alone for the rest of my life. 

When I walked out of the locker room, feeling more composed, Fields was waiting for me, leaning against the wall behind him. 

“Dunbar, the game is coming up in three weeks.” 

“I know that,” I said rolling my eyes. Hopefully he wouldn’t see that they were red, but if he did notice, he didn’t mention it. 

“I want you to study these videos of the chaser you will be guarding. He’s the best they’ve got and you’re the best we’ve got. I hope you’ll make us proud.” I nodded as I took the videos in my hands and went home. Mike tried saying hello, but I ignored him. After a heavy dinner of pasta that I had made myself in silence, I studied the videos that were of a chaser named Martin Rosenthal. 

I could take him. 

I’d show everyone that I was better. I’d kick Rosenthal’s ass. 

~

Author's note: so don't kill me! things will get better, I swear! ^_^

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