Chambers bristled, leaning protectively closer to Piper.  “Sod off Wood.”  Smiling encouragingly at her, he produced a handkerchief from his pocket.  “She obviously doesn’t want to be bothered by you.”  He looked up, glared accusation flashing in his eyes.  “You made her cry.”

Oliver snorted.  “PJ doesn’t cry.  Sod. Off. Chambers.”  He placed a possessive hand onto her shoulder, trying to both lay claim to her as well as apologize through the simple gesture.  “I really have to talk to her.”  

Piper sniffled, rolling her eyes.  “Piss off Oliver.  I don’t want to talk to you right now.”  She returned Chambers’ gentle smile.  “I’d love to go to Hogsmeade with you, Justin.”

“Like bloody hell you will!” Oliver’s grip on her shoulder tightened, bordering painful.  He leaned down to hiss in her ear.  “I’m sure your dad will love to hear that.”

Piper’s eyes popped open and she swore.  Turning an apologetic smile to Chambers, she shrugged.  “How about a rain check on class and Hogsmeade?  I forgot we have business and some…stuff to talk about.” After watching him nod and move away, Piper shook off Oliver’s hand and crossed her arms huffily.  “Ruddy prat.”  Rubbing her sore shoulder grumpily, she grunted.  “That effing hurt, you jerk.”

Plopping heavily into the vacated seat, Oliver scoffed.  “No it didn’t.  It’s your pride that hurts.”  He flexed the hand that still tingled from touching her shoulder.  “Sorry if that was harsh.  I highly doubt your dad wants someone like that twit snooping around. Especially distracting you in classes.”  Stopping to pull out his parchment, Oliver locked eyes with her, distracted by the tears in her eyes.  “What’s wrong, Piper?  I really didn‘t mean to hurt you.”

“Why’d you chase him off?  I like Chambers.  He’s fit and nice to boot.  And he’s harmless.  He’d never make me cry.”  She glared at him, angrily wiping the remaining tears from her eyes.

“Come on.  Honestly?  He’s a randy degenerate!  He was staring at your chest!”  Oliver’s neck flushed, along with the tips of his ears.


“And he was thinking about your legs wrapped-”

“Uh-huh; sure he was.”

“…fantasizing about pushing you into a broom closet and having his way-”

“That’s enough.  I get it.”  Piper discreetly fanned her face, hoping her thoughts about Oliver doing those things weren’t painted across her face. She giggled as she felt a flush creep up her neck.  “Chambers is a naughty boy.  I’m not to play with naughty boys.”  Unable to get the thought of a naughty Oliver pushing her into a broom closet out of her head, Piper smirked saucily at him.

Oliver straightened, an odd look on his face.  He had gone from trying to scare off Chambers to teasing away the tears, to this.  Something had washed over her.  One minute she was irritated; the next, her neck flushed and her lids lowered.  The blue color darkened and her lips quirked up to one side.  Like the cat who caught the canary.  Oliver glanced down at her fingers, which had started stroking the table.  Feeling another rush of heat, he shook his head.  Girls are so weird.

Flitwick scampered into the room, pulling Oliver from his musings about barmy females.  “If you would, please send up your essays on-” he was cut off, as he bounded behind a  chair to avoid the multiple essays the class had sent hurtling towards his desk.  Straightening and brushing his hair down, Flitwick sauntered around the chair to face his class.  Flashing a sardonic glare at the snotty degenerates, he cleared his throat and wrinkled his nose.  

“Hilarity.”  The sarcasm hung in the air as he levitated to stand upon his desk.  “Today, we are going to continue our practical exploration of wordless charms.  Since Mister Flint managed to scorch some, ahem, tender parts of an opposing quid ditch player last class; you will be working with your tablemate.  So get working!”   Clapping his hands gleefully, Flitwick scampered off the desk and towards a pair of Hufflepuff boys who were standing rather close to each other and sending devious smirks at some Ravenclaw girls.

Piper twisted sideways, groaning in satisfaction at the resounding crack.  Yawning, she covered her mouth with her hand and turned sleepy eyes to Oliver.  “How’s your day been, Oliver?”

He sent her a perplexed look, caught off guard by her mood swings.  “Eh, it’s been alright.  I was damn tired this morning, but I caught a few winks during free hour.  You ever get anymore sleep?”  He perused her face, concernedly taking in the dark circles under her eyes.

“No.  I worked on Puddy stuff during free hour and,” a huge yawn interrupted her sentence. “Bleeding hell, I’m exhausted.”  She wrinkled her nose and rubbed her ear.  

“I hate to be a prat…any thoughts on practice?”  Oliver tried to play down his anxiety.  He could not ever remember having a girl’s opinion be so important to him.  However, having Piper James think he was a good captain was of the utmost importance, at this moment.  

“It went well.  You know, it was the arsecrack of dawn and all.”  Piper pulled out her playbook and leafed through it, looking for something she could tell Oliver.

“It went well?  Are you mental?  Leesh dropped the Quaffle seven times.  SEVEN!”  He raised his voice at the end, causing some odd looks cast their way.

Piper rolled her eyes.  “Everyone has an off day Oliver.” Fixing a steely glare on his protesting face, she cut him off.  “Everyone does.  It was only practice.  Spinnet rarely, if ever, does things like that in games. And do you know why?”  She soldiered on, not letting him get a word in edgewise.  “Because of practice.  And you are a damn good captain! One who cares enough to make his team the very best he can…which is a very admirable trait, you know.” Feeling satisfied with the shell-shocked look upon his face, Piper returned to her journey through her playbook, pausing now and again to mumble about notes that she had made in the past.

Oliver fought to keep the shit-eating grin off his face.  That was quite the compliment coming from Piper James.  One that Oliver wouldn’t take lightly as he knew how talented and critical Piper really was.

“Oh, here’s something!”  

Piper’s jubilant exclamation broke through Oliver’s happy moment.  He leaned over Piper’s shoulder, gazing intently at the ‘something’.

F&G are too slow on windup. Slytherin will be all over that.

“What do you mean?  They’ve gotten much faster lately, and it was the ‘arsecrack of dawn’, as you call it.”  Oliver defended his beaters, kind of caught off guard by Piper’s acknowledgement of what would be to anyone else, an unnoticeable glitch.

Piper shrugged, knocking Oliver’s chin with her shoulder. “Sorry mate.  I call it like I see it.  They looked a little off and that would speed up their bludger speed and up the accuracy a bit.”  Pausing, she scrunched up her nose, trying ardently to remember what her dad would say about a ‘condition complaint’.  Besides to man up and shut up.  

Oliver weighed her comment about the twins.  S’pose it wouldn’t hurt.  Like my chin does right now.  Ignoring the pain Oliver leaned closer to Piper, trying to pin down what exactly her hair smelled like.  Something woodsy, like flying over a forest.  With the smallest hint of lemon.

“Did you just sniff my hair?” Sending a bewildered glance at him, Piper muttered grumpily.  “That’s bleeding weird.  Dodgy wanker.”

Oliver chuckled.  “Just pretend that you are so tired that you imagined that.”  He nodded at Flitwick as he strolled through the aisles; smiling innocently.  Turning attention back to Piper, he asked more questions; receiving answers and explanations as the class went on.


“Damn ickle buggers.  Move.” Piper shoved tiredly at the younger students passing en masse in front of her.

Oliver smirked and pushed through a few more groups of Fourth year Hufflepuffs for Piper.  Listening for more of her grumbles, Oliver smiled at a few Fifth year Ravenclaw girls.  Class had gone well and he had finally convinced Piper to stumble towards the Gryffindor Tower before she feel asleep in the corridor.  Pushing aside a group of Sixth year Slytherin boys, Oliver grasped Piper’s hand to keep her from falling behind.  “Are you gonna make it, PJ?”

She stumbled ungracefully out of the thick of the crowd, careening into Oliver’s back.  “I might.”  She swore harshly and threw a glare at a group of giggling Second years.  Jogging to catch up with him, Piper yawned.  “I wish I could fly.  Or float.”

Without saying a word, Oliver swung her up into his arms and set off to the Gryffindor Common Room.

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