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For twilightgirl941 who was my 4,000th review as an author. You are all the most amazing people ever. Thank you all, and thank you, twilightgirl941.






I woke up in St. Mungos. Room four three three. It was white, like all the other hospital rooms I had seen before. I wondered if maybe they would start painting them a soft neutral green or tan one of those days just to ease my mind and give me something else to think about other than healing instruments on two steel tables and Oliver lying motionless on the bed with crisp paper-thin sheets and a hard pillow.

It wasn’t enough that I felt like an idiot. Nope, I also kept getting curiously angry glances from Oliver’s parents. They were on two hard plastic chairs by the door. Mr. Wood was reading The Daily Prophet while he tapped his foot against the leg of the chair. Mrs. Wood was shuffling through her purse like there were things yet to be discovered at the bottom. There weren’t. She put lip stick on four times.

The Healer said it was potion that had Oliver stunned. “Must’ve been inside the chocolate,” he explained, checking his chart. “Any idea why?”

I told them, my face red with embarrassment, that I had rushed over to the chocolates to give him a surprise. Since he gave me the necklace (Mrs. Wood scoffed. Apparently she was no longer on my side). At that point, in silence, I peeled the small box out of my bag and showed them to the Healer. The lid fell off.

It said, To Jane on the cover, written in a tiny scrawl.

“What are you trying to pull?” Mr. Wood said suddenly.

My eyes were wider than his as I looked down at it. Finally I grabbed it. I didn’t recognize the handwriting and it certainly wasn’t Oliver’s. But had I seen the cover—had I looked at it—I would have assumed they were from Oliver. I would have eaten one.

That was last night. The chocolates were in the lab now being tested and Oliver was still unconscious. They were for me. I was supposed to be the one in that bed. Oliver would have been where I was. The girls, Fred, George, and Lee would have been right outside. Oliver’s parents would be tucked in snug in their large house.

Instead I had to stay quiet so I wouldn’t get a sideways glance of accusation that I poisoned by boyfriend. I fought the urge to roll my eyes at the thought.

The only questioned remained was who had done it? My mind went straight to Bridget. But even she wouldn’t be that painfully obvious, would she? I couldn’t think of anyone else there that would have a grudge against me. Or at least a grudge so bad that they would make poisonous chocolates for me to taste test. And set them up like that. Like they were from Oliver.

I had sent everyone else home early that morning, somewhere around two when Katie was snuggled up in a chair snoring softly. George lifted her into his arms and carried her out. I wanted her to wake up, but I figured Angelina would owl me if she did. Or George would be bloody in St. Mungos with Oliver. I hadn’t heard from any of them, but I figured they were probably safely in bed dreaming about Fred’s outrageous drunken antics of the previous night or bubble gum. Or something else.

I also sent Dad a message right after they left to tell him I was safe at St. Mungos clawing my eyes out every time I heard Mr. Wood mutter under his breath about the chocolates.

Hopefully he wasn’t as worried as I was. Oliver hadn’t moved in hours. Well, he could have moved while I was asleep, but probably not. He didn’t look any different. Eyes still closed delicately. Breathing softly in and out, chest rising and falling against the scratchy sheets. Not noticing how my fingers shook just thinking about whether or not he was going to wake up.

What if he woke up and didn’t recognize me?

I shook the idea from my head. The Healer already said he was going to be okay after a while. He wasn’t dead. I wasn’t dead. And Mr. and Mrs. Wood couldn’t blame me for the death of their gorgeous Quidditch player son.

The problem? He was going to miss practice for a few days.

I guessed it would be a bigger problem if he had to miss a game or something, so I tried to be positive. Sort of difficult being positive when one had an unconscious boyfriend in the hospital in front of her, but hey, I tried.

“Jane?” A Healer stuck her head in the door. “Letter for you, dear.” She held out a thick envelope and I grabbed it from her. Mrs. Wood raised a brow suggesting that this was not the time for letters. I thought it wasn’t the time for her expensive designer purse, but hey.

Jane-

Is Oliver ok? I know you said it was hexed chocolates, but do you know who would have done it? Seems weird to me. Fishy. I can’t wait to have you home where I know you’re ok. Keep me posted.

Love, Dad

I sighed, but my lips curled into a natural smile. Dad was worried about me, as he always was. But his guess was as good as mine unless Libby sent the chocolates over to kill me off. I grabbed the second slip of parchment. My eyes widened.

Jane-

I’m writing again because I want to know what’s going on in your life. Heard about all the fundraiser stuff. You’ve been quoted in a couple magazines, did you know? I smiled. Madeline and I are official even though we don’t get to see each other as much as I would like. Maybe someone on my team will get hurt and she’ll get called up. What’s it like seeing a teammate? Hard work? Or too much sexual tension?

I hope I’ve made you blush. It was my intention.

Are you preparing for another year at Hogwarts? I’m happy to say I don’t have to go back, but it’ll be strange not being on the Hogwarts Express on September first. I guess I won’t be able to find you wandering the halls at some strange time of night and sweet talk you into tea. I’m glad that happened, you know. All of it. Because now we’re friends and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Okay, maybe there are a few things I would, but don’t take it personally. I’m a sucker for a chocolate frog.

That one was supposed to make you laugh.

I hate not hanging out with you and seeing your reactions. Lunch soon?

Update me on your life, Jane Perry. I miss it.

Roger.

I laughed loudly and both of Oliver’s parents looked up. Roger had gotten his blush and his laugh. I was certain he’d be content with that. And I did hope we could have lunch soon so I could explain all about the dinner party, the chocolates, and how Katie was in danger of having George fall more in love with her than ever.

Soon. I hoped.

Oliver still wasn’t moving and I was quickly running out of things to do. I glanced down and there was one more slip of parchment in the envelope. I raised a brow.

Jane-

Hey. Is Oliver okay? I can’t sleep so I’m writing to you in hopes that you’ll write me back and tell me you’ve already gotten married and are currently living happily ever after. If not, just let me know what’s going on. After we left we all decided to go to Katie’s because it was the easiest to get to with the most space. I think Ang wanted everyone to be together. Don’t blame her since she’s still trying to get Katie and George to snog each other’s faces off. It didn’t happen, by the way. George put Katie in her bed, where she started snoring loudly (we made fun of her for around fifteen minutes and Fred’s impressions are spot on). After that we all sat in the lounge talking about … well, the whole evening. I’m sure you know what we were talking about. The only person we can think of is Bridget. Did you want me to take her out again? I am totally up for it.

So anyway tell me about Oliver. We’re all worried for him and we’re staying at Katie’s today. I’m fairly certain poor George is going to have a panic attack one of these days.

Alicia

I stood up, dusting nothing off my dress. I needed something to do with my hands. I grabbed the three letters and walked out of the room. The hallway was just as bright with a few Healers passing. More than when we entered. A few of them nodded to me. I looked like a fucking walk of shame in a shortened ball gown, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. Dad could have owled me some clothes.

I made my way down the hall, heels clicking softly as I walked. The portraits were staring at me. I found the refreshments area where there were hot muffins and tea. I paid for a cup of tea and a slice of cinnamon cake. My stomach felt like it couldn’t handle food, but I knew Oliver would give me a lecture if he knew I hadn’t eaten. I should have given him a lecture about the lack of food in his flat for all that time, git.

I sat down and pulled a self-inking quill out of my bag along with some slips of parchment.

I told Dad what the Healers had said about Oliver. That he was going to be okay. That I had no bleeding idea who had hexed the chocolate. That I would be home safe soon. There was no need for him to worry more than he would be already.

Roger’s letter was shorter. I explained why I was in the hospital and that I wanted to see him for lunch as soon as possible, at his earliest convenience. Truth was, I missed Roger dearly. I had taken for granted all the times he made me laugh and helped me realize things on my own—even things about Oliver. Hopefully I could give him a hug soon and tell him to just propose to Madeline. Just to watch his eyes bug out of course.

Alicia-

Oliver still hasn’t woken up. His parents are making me crazy. Like it’s my fault. Apparently it is because the box said for Jane. That’s me. It’s rubbish, by the way. I just got a pseudo-blessing from Mrs. Wood and now she thinks I’ve gone and killed her son. Very inconvenient, by the way.

I’m waiting for him to wake up, so I’m wonderfully comfortable in my ball gown and heels. Maybe I should have just worn a different dress. I’ll plan ahead for unspeakable events in the future.

I’m glad you’re all together. That way I don’t have to worry about you lot. Not that there is someone around the corner ready to off you, but I feel nervous about those chocolates. Burrow soon, though! Hopefully Oliver makes it out okay so he can join us. But I might have to pass if he needs attention. He did almost die. Well, he was almost paralyzed. He wouldn’t have died. I hope.

Alicia, I’m going fucking crazy in this place. I hope he wakes up soon.

In the mean time, please find mistletoe to use on Katie and George. It worked for me.

All my heart, Jane

I stuffed all three letters into the outgoing box and sauntered with my untouched cake and tea back down to the room. I knew immediately something had happened because the newspaper was strewn about the ground and Oliver’s parents were standing on either side of the bed.

“Jane.”

It was Oliver. His eyes were lazily half-opened and his face was drained of color, but he had said it. I almost burst into very un-Jane-like tears. I practically chucked the cake at the chair, set the tea down and rushed over there. Mrs. Wood’s look be damned.

“Oliver!” I cried. “Oliver, how do you feel?” Don’t look at me like that, Atticus. Mean.

“I’ve been better,” he mumbled, words a little slurred. He looked like he was trying to lift his hand but couldn’t quite manage it. “What happened?”

“You’re awake!” A Healer appeared at the door just in time to ruin my moment and motioned a few more in as well. I was shoved to the side, back to my wonderfully comfortable white plastic chair. I took a bitter bite of the cake.

They did a bunch of motion tests on him. Following fingers. Wiggling toes. I was bored, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. He met my gaze a few times, brown eyes twinkling. I was terribly worried and here he was practically laughing at me. One of the Healers explained my tale of the events, as well as what happened when he got there. Then one added the part about my name being on the box. Oliver’s jaw very nearly scraped the floor.

“Jane’s?” he said quietly. “That’s impossible.” Oliver looked around one of the Healers to me, obviously regaining enough strength to be annoyingly curious. “Where’d you get them?”

“The table with all the other food,” I explained quietly. I felt ashamed. It should have been me that ate them. Since when did I become so self-sacrificing?

Since I fell in love, I reminded myself.

Oliver thought for a moment, leaning back into the pillows. “There weren’t any other Jane’s at the party,” he said thoughtfully. “I should know. I approved the guest list, even if it was reluctantly done.”

Mr. Wood scoffed.

“We’ll figure it out,” Oliver mumbled. “So when can I get out of here?”

“Technically,” one of the Healers said with raised brows, “we can release you today since it should be out of your system. Lucky we got you here in time. It could have been much worse. But we’d like you to stay overnight just in case.”

“No,” Oliver said stubbornly. “I’m going home.”

“Oliver,” Mrs. Wood said airily. “Don’t you think you should stay just to be sure?”

“I’m going home.”

“Who’s going to look after you?” she said in a worried tone.

“Jane,” Oliver replied. “Unless she poisoned me and then it’s probably not a good idea. I can’t see her poisoning me after getting that necklace though. It fits her well. Maybe if I gave her a bracelet…bracelets are horrible for relationships.” He smirked at me.

“This is not a joking matter,” Mrs. Wood said sternly.

“I’m going home,” Oliver said simply. “Jane’s going to help me and then I’m going to be fine. After that we’re going to find out who did this and I’m going to play my opening night game. And win.” He stretched. “Can I leave now? I’m a little impatient.”

I couldn’t hide my smile. The Healers exchanged nervous glances.

“If that’s what you want,” one of them said. She had blond hair tucked into a hat. “But if you feel even the least bit poorly we want you back here immediately. You should be fine from our tests, but you never know.”

“I’ll be back if I start to feel poisoned,” Oliver said, swinging his legs over the bed. He was still wearing his dress pants, but his button-up shirt was on the table beside him. He grabbed it, pulling it on as I watched. He may have just been poisoned but that didn’t make him any less delicious.

“We’ll be at home,” Mrs. Wood said, getting to her feet and gathering up the purse she knew the entire contents of. “Owl us if you need anything. Company. Help.” She looked at me, but not in a harsh way.

“Thanks, Mum,” Oliver mumbled, finishing buttoning his shirt and grabbing his cloak. “I’ll let you know if I need anything.”

She walked over and gave Oliver a hug. Mr. Wood nodded from the door. They left in silence.

The Healers followed.

“What? You think I’m still poisoned? It’s not contagious, why are you all the way over there?”

I beamed, throwing the cake and rushing over to him, throwing my arms around his neck. He winced a little. “Sorry!” I said. “Couldn’t help it.”

Oliver brushed his lips against my cheek. “Don’t say you’re sorry. I liked it.” He squeezed me around the middle and let out a light sigh. “Okay, so I don’t exactly feel a hundred percent, but I wanted to get the hell out of here. This place is already creepy. What time is it?”

“Around ten,” I said quietly, glancing around.

“Where did you sleep?” he asked, concerned.

I pointed to the chair sheepishly.

Oliver frowned at me. “You didn’t need to stay.”

“Are you trying to say you wouldn’t?” I raised an amused brow. “Because I know you would have slept on the floor if I was in here. Which I should have been.”

Oliver stood up shakily and snaked an arm around my waist. “Why would you say that?”

“My name was on the chocolates,” I replied simply, bending down to get my bag and cloak. I left the cake on the floor. It wasn’t very good. “Clearly they were meant for me to find and eat.”

“Thank Merlin you didn’t eat them then,” Oliver breathed, pushing the door open. I still hated that hallway. “I would have been worried sick.”

“Similar to how I was,” I mumbled. People were almost pushing past at that moment and it was clear the weekend was a busy time for St. Mungos. “It’s still such a blur to me. I had seen them just lying there. I thought you’d like one. It was like a flash and suddenly everything was different.”

Oliver squeezed his fingers on my hip. “Hey. Stop thinking about it. I’m completely fine. Look.” He raised a brow and patted his chest with his free hand. “See? Just fine.”

“Everyone went to Katie’s,” I explained, happy to change the subject away from the guilt I felt.

“Everyone?” Oliver’s tone rose, a smirk playfully appearing on his lips.

“George too,” I said quietly.

“Well then let’s go.”

My brows knit together. “Oliver, you shouldn’t be traveling. Let alone to Katie’s. We should get you into bed with some hot soup.”

“I’m not sick, Jane, I’ve been poisoned.”

I groaned. “Shut up. I’m in charge of you, git.” I shoved him playfully as we left through the front entrance, appearing on the less than crowded street.

“Don’t you think the girls would like a reason to fuss over me?” he asked in amusement.

“I mean, they would, but Oliver, do you really think it’s a good idea? Aren’t we supposed to go to the Burrow soon? And I have to go home and see Dad before that. And I’ve told Roger we can have lunch since he’s official with Madeline now.” I added the last part just to ease his thoughts.

“You have quite the to-do list,” Oliver said with a slight smile. “Here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s go to Katie’s. You leave me there with them for the day and you head home, change your damn clothes, and see Davies. How does that sound?”

I couldn’t decide how it sounded. I wanted to spend the day with him since he was sick. Or poisoned. Whatever. But at the same time I did want to change my clothes, take a hot shower, and assure Dad that I wasn’t going to be offed walking down the streets of London.

“Okay,” I said lightly. “But only after I make sure you’re totally fine at Katie’s and they’re not going to abandon you for a game of Quidditch.”

Oliver rolled his eyes, but kissed me all the same.

 


Katie shrieked when she opened the door, pulling us inside with such force I reminded myself how she had quite the left arm. She was a Chaser for a reason. “They’re here!” she cried and Fred’s face appeared into the hallway. “Come on—come sit down. How are you, Oliver? Do you need something? Tea? Muffin?”

Oliver followed her into the living room where Katie forced him to lay down on the sofa. He gave me an I-told-you-so look as he smirked. “A glass of water with lemon would be wonderful. Thanks, Katie.”

She shuffled off into the kitchen and the questions began.

“I just got your express letter,” Alicia said as Fred and George asked what it was like to be poisoned. “I’m glad everything is okay. And I’m glad you got out of there before there was a murder.” She wiggled her eyebrows.

“You and me both,” I mumbled, kicking off my heels. “So much for Mrs. Wood’s blessing.”

“Apparently,” Alicia said lightly. Ang appeared at her shoulder. They were both wearing Katie’s clothes. “How long are you staying? I wasn’t sure if I should stay for the day or leave, but now since Oliver’s here…”

“Actually I think he wants to stay for the day while I run home,” I explained, feeling a little guilty.

“Katie would love that,” Angelina said. “She’s been trying to take care of everyone all day. There are only so many times I can wash my face with this new organic crap or put my feet up. She wants to play den mother apparently.”

“Good. Oliver loves being the center of attention,” I said with a chuckle. “Any more developments?” I nodded toward George.

“Couldn’t find the mistletoe,” Alicia said with a smirk. “It’ll happen though. With the way he was carrying her last night. It’ll happen.”

“I hope so. I’m getting impatient.” I held my cloak tighter around me. “I’m going to rush off then, okay? Take care of him. I have to go see Dad and have lunch with Roger.”

“Dodger?” Alicia asked. “What’s he up to? Does he want to go dress shopping again?”

“He’s official with Madeline,” I offered. “That’s about as much as I know. And he misses me.”

“Ooh!” Angelina said with a wink.

“Shut up. You know it’s not like that.”

“I just love getting a rise out of you,” she said and wandered over to Fred, slapping him hard on the ass.

I rolled my eyes. “Make sure he doesn’t milk up the attention too much. He is known to do that,” I said to Alicia and wandered over to Oliver, interrupting him explaining how the chocolate obstructed his air and all that. I kissed him.

“Just like Jane obstructs his air,” Fred mumbled.

“Shut it,” I said against Oliver’s lips. “Be good.”

His eyes twinkled. “Go have fun. Tell your dad I say hello. And tell Amanda to stay away from your skirts. I like them far too much.”

I ruffled his hair and turned to walk away, bouncing my hips in a way that suggested I enjoyed all of his reactions to my skirts.

 

 

“Is he okay?” That was the first thing my dad said when I opened the door, hair messy and still in my silly ball gown. He looked like he hadn’t slept, sitting on the sofa was a paper and the Quidditch Network replaying a few exhibition games. There was takeout Chinese on the table beside him.

“As far as I know,” I explained, throwing my bag on the table and sinking into the cushions. “He’s at Katie’s right now and she’s spoiling him rotten.”

“Good to know,” he said thoughtfully, letting out a refreshing burst of air it had been clearly holding in. “So that’s it then? He was poisoned by an unknown someone and he’s okay?”

“As far as I know,” I repeated. “We’re going to try and figure out who did it and I know since he’s a Quidditch big-shot the Ministry is working on tracking the chocolates so hopefully they come up with something. Otherwise I’ll just be thankful it wasn’t me.”

“I wouldn’t let you out of the house ever again.”

“Yeah right,” I said with a smile. “I’d just give you the big brown eyes and you’d cave.”

Dad groaned. “Every bleeding time.”

“Where’s Lou today?” I asked quietly, hoisting myself up off the couch. The shower was calling.

“At home with Amanda,” he replied. “I think she knew I was worried about you and wanted to give me space. I’m happy the shopping trip went well.”

“Yes, well, I can definitely tolerate her,” I said with a warm smile. I was about to disappear down the hallway, when I turned back. “This is pretty serious.”

“I know. I was worried.”

“Not me!” I argued. “You. And Lou.”

He raised a brow. “I guess it’s serious. Sort of.”

“Dad, when are you going to tell her?”

For being dense and emotional, he knew exactly what I was talking about. “I dunno,” he mumbled nervously, scratching behind his ears. “I’m scared to. It’s going too perfectly, you know?”

“Exactly,” I said, moving toward him again. “Too perfectly because she doesn’t know everything about you. About us. She doesn’t even know about your biggest hobby! You can’t have a relationship based on lies, Dad. Tell her soon.”

He groaned, kicking his feet up on the couch. “Bugger on you,” he said. “Take a shower. You smell.”

I tossed a pillow at him, laughing, and left to the bathroom.

 


Roger agreed to meet me down the street at a small café. I had been there once for coffee, but hadn’t eaten there and it sounded perfect. He was waiting outside in the sun wearing a collared polo shirt, his hands stuffed anxiously in his pockets.

“Dodger!” I cried, laughing, hugging him from behind to surprise him.

“Scare the bleeding shit out of me why don’t you,” he said with a chuckle, turning around and hugging me properly. “How’s Wood? Is he okay? I was worried after your letter today.”

“He’s all right,” I said, explaining about his God-like status at Katie’s.

“I’m glad,” Roger said, laughing as he opened the door for me. “I knew his parents were hosting a dinner party but I had no idea it was last night. Madeline mentioned something about seeing it in Quidditch Weekly. Which your picture has been in a couple times.”

“Yeah, Dad cuts them out,” I murmured in humiliation. “I’d like to get in there for talent, though, and not because I’m Oliver’s daring girlfriend, Jane Perry, girl who caught the Snitch at the Cup game.”

“You give yourself less credit than you deserve,” Roger said as a waitress sat us. He ordered a water and I opted for tea. “I think you’re ridiculously talented. I wish you’d consider signing onto a team.”

“It’s not for me,” I repeated. “I want to write about it. And I am going to.”

“Especially with Valerie Gig in your pocket,” Roger said with a smirk. “Still can’t believe that. You might be the luckiest girl in Quidditch.”

“I like to count my stars,” I said with a matching smile. “Tell me about Madeline, though. Let’s shut up about me. I hear enough about myself from Dad.”

“What do you want to know?” Roger was blushing like crazy.

“Everything. Dish it, Dodger.”

And so he did. Roger told me all about Madeline’s background, her wealthy upbringing, even her need to not cut her hair until she was in school. She was soft spoken in public and a charmer, getting raises from the team and getting the best brooms. But she was fierce and had a crazy temper to match Roger’s calmness. They were a match made in heaven according to the redness on his cheeks and ears. He couldn’t even meet my eyes when he talked about first kissing her in his locker room when she came to visit on his invitation.

“Fell back into my locker,” Roger muttered, “but we didn’t stop.”

He explained all about her fascination with national teams and how she was shocked to know he hadn’t gotten along with Oliver Wood. “He seems so lovely she said to me,” Roger said with a laugh. “Told her about you too.”

I raised a brow.

“Don’t worry, none of the raunchy details.”

“Did we even have raunchy details?”

Roger cocked a brow.

“Nevermind,” I said blushing, remembering some of those humiliating details. “Go on.”

“I told her about our past, how it didn’t work out, but how amazing of a person you are. And guess what, Jane? She didn’t seem to mind. She actually wanted to see you again. Said you sounded lovely. Just like she said about Wood. Maybe I should have said some negative things about you so she’d at least feel a little threatened.” He laughed loudly.

My small sandwich came with chips on the side and a pickle. “Any woman should feel threatened when I’m around,” I said, thinking.

Was Bridget threatened? Of course she was, but was that why she did it? Did she even do it? Was I really that big of a threat—did someone want Oliver that bad?

“I’m sure they do,” Roger replied with a chuckle, taking a bite of his grilled chicken salad with croutons. “Well, you remember both Mandy and that annoying Libby girl.”

I wondered if Libby poisoned the chocolates from a distance.

“You’re being quiet,” Roger ventured. “I’ve been talking about Madeline too much. I’m sorry.”

“Oh, no! No, honestly. I want to hear even more. I just got lost in thought about the chocolates is all. Wondering if that might play a part.”

“What?” he asked. “Libby?”

“A woman,” I replied somberly. “Someone threatened by me.”

He placed a finger to his lips, thinking. “Was there anyone there you’d think wanted Oliver?”

“Well, Bridget,” I mumbled. “Other than that there were tons of people there. Any one of them could have hated me for being with Oliver.”

Roger frowned and put a hand on mind, squeezing it. “You’ll figure it out. And if you don’t, the Ministry will. They get paid to do all that nonsense.” He took another bite of his salad, removing his hand and tilting his head. “Don’t let it bother you too much, Jane.”

“I’m trying. It’s just a scary thought.”

Roger offered me a homey smile. “Let’s talk about Oliver.” I couldn’t remember the last time Roger called him Oliver. “Tell me about how all that is going. What happened at the party before he got poisoned?”

I fingered the necklace over my t-shirt. Then I allowed a smirk to crawl up my lips, releasing the information I have craved telling someone before all the drama started.

 


Oliver’s brief owl told me everyone had left Katie’s around seven that night. Fred and George went to make the Burrow half-way livable before the rest of us got there. Ang and Alicia left to pack, Lee following. Katie was trying to take care of Oliver and even asked his opinion on clothes.

My wrinkled expression said it all, Oliver wrote.

He left shortly after nine, promising Katie that he would be just fine and returned to his own flat to pack.

I opened my bedroom door and stared around. The Burrow was an annual tradition, the same for Katie’s. We always did the same things, and always different things. We always went swimming, so I tossed my bathing suit in. Always stayed up late by the fire, so I tossed in a sweater and jeans. Before this summer, there had been little to no romance at the Burrow. Oliver was never there since he was just the captain and I still loathed him. Fred and Angelina were the only ones almost-dating at that point, the sexual tension between them absurd and that was an understatement.

Now with the pair of them barely unattaching themselves from each other’s faces and Lee and Alica not far behind, it will be an entirely different experience. Then there are Oliver and I and I’d like to think we don’t flirt to the point of PDA, but I can’t hold myself back when he takes his shirt off. It’s something I’m sure the girls would understand.

But Katie and George. It’ll be awkward.

Hopefully awkward enough to push them into a conversation, quick snog, and a shotgun wedding. Okay, maybe not that, but it could be amusing.

I grabbed an extra bathing suit just in case. Last summer Fred got a hold of Alicia’s string top and ripped it clear off, exposing her to the entire shoreline which included Lee, but also Fred’s brothers and now scarred younger sister. At least most of them wouldn’t be there. Fred mentioned some of them would be abroad on a trip with their father.

Good. They didn’t need any more wide-eyes at Alicia’s breasts.

I stuffed in another sweater in case George pushed me in the water at midnight again. A set of closed-toed shoes for random forest hikes.

“You almost packed?” Dad peeked his head through the door. “Amanda and Lou are here.”

I stuffed by wand in my back pocket and threw my Potions book I was using for a plate under the bed. “Here for what?”

“To visit,” Dad explained. He raised a brow. “Looks like you’re going back to Hogwarts. You really need to pack that much?”

“Thanks for the concern, but I learned the hard way to pack more than is necessary because Fred and George will make sure some of your clothes don’t make it out alive.” I chuckled and followed him out to say hello, though my jaw was clenched at the thought of Amanda.

“Jane!” Lou said, drawing me into a very affectionate hug. “How did the dress go over? Did Oliver like it?”

“Everyone really loved it—and all the other dresses.” I smiled. “Thanks for helping us out, Lou. I really appreciate it.”

“It was my pleasure,” she replied, her face a little flushed. “I was glad to help and even gladder you invited me.” She moved her fingers nervously along the threads poking out of her shirt sleeves.

“I had a great time.” I disappeared into the kitchen for a moment for a glass of water and Amanda tailed me in there.

“You’re still with Oliver then?” she asked innocently.

I narrowed my eyes. “Yes. He’s my boyfriend.”

“So Roger is available?” she ventured.

“No. He has a girlfriend. Her name is Madeline.”

“Like that little French girl?”

I groaned. “Back off, Amanda. Those are my friends.”

She huffed. “Well, Jane, you’re going to have to share some time. You can’t keep them all to yourself.” Amanda folded her stubby arms. “And I don’t appreciate your selfishness.”

“You make me crazy,” I said, pushing past her and walking back into the living room with my water. I put on a smile. How could someone like Lou come with a package like Amanda?

“Your friends, though, I don’t care for them as much,” Amanda said, following me. “Not as cool as you are.”

“First I’m selfish, then I’m cool.” I rolled my eyes. “I have to finish packing.”

“Need help?” Amanda said excitedly. Lou glanced over and had a warm smile.

Fuck. I was stuck.

“If you want to come in there, fine, but I’m almost finished so I won’t need any help actually packing.” I tried to be as nice as possible. I even smiled. When I wanted to punch her in the fake tan face.

She followed me in silence.

“Where are you going?” she asked, hopping up onto my bed.

“To a friend’s,” I replied, trying to decide between the jean skirt or the soft suede one.

“Which friend?”

“Fred and George. They’re twins.”

“Are they cute?”

“They have girlfriends.”

“You could teach me how to break people up,” Amanda said hopefully.

“Their girlfriends happen to be two of my best friends so that won’t happen.” I stopped looking in my wardrobe and glanced over. “Why are you so obsessed with having a boyfriend?”

“I’m bored,” Amanda said with a shrug. “All of my friends have boyfriends that they spend time with. I don’t.”

“So get a hobby,” I said. “You don’t need a guy to take up your time. Why don’t you do something productive?”

“Like what, write a bestselling novel?” It was Amanda’s turn to roll her eyes.

“Something other than letting a guy define your time.” I narrowed my eyes.

“Sounds nice from the girl spending all her time with Oliver.”

I threw my hands in the air. “You guess way too much, Amanda. Oliver and I do not spend much time together and I cherish the time we do have. Why am I telling you this? You can think what you want. I’m not helping you get a boyfriend so you can use him for his time and make him some trophy on your shelf of fucked-up-ness.”

Amanda’s jaw went a little lopsided. Maybe I had gotten through to her.

“I’m going to visit you in America,” she said. “I know there are boys just looking for sex there.”

I threw a pillow at her.
 





A/N: Hey everyone! Happy 2011! I hope you all enjoyed that Oliver is not, in fact, dead. It was a close call. Well, not really I couldn't kill off my favorite Quidditch Captain.


Thoughts about who poisoned Oliver? About Katie and George? About Amanda? And most importantly, what the heck is going to happen at the Burrow? 


Up Next: The Burrow. Some serious talking. And GeoKat is forced to talk.

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