A/N: Hey y'all. Hope you're all alright and looking forward to what looks like an awesome Christmas for all us over here in the UK. Not much snow, but it's not what goes down outside the walls of your warm house that counts- it's the atmosphere and the people inside that do. Right, on with the chapter. This one's a little shorter than the others, but that's okay right? Haha. This one is dedicated to Woodrow Rynne, who gave me a lovely review for my second chapter, so thank you and here's a dedication for yaa! :) Okay, enjoooy and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! :) MW X
“That was a horrible practice, not going to lie,” Fred grumbled, trooping into the common room, the rest of the team behind him, splattered with mud from head to toe and soaked through to the skin.
Katie jumped up from her warm position in her armchair in front of the fire and offered it to her red-headed grumpy boyfriend.
He sat in the chair as Katie folded herself at his feet, the rest of the team trooping off to their dormitories.
Katie took Fred's freezing hands in her own, kissing the back of them.
“Was it that bad?” She asked, his brown eyes dejected as they met hers, nodding.
“We miss you like crazy, K. I don't understand why you quit,” he sighed.
“You know why. Oliver needs to start treating me better, or else I'm not coming back,” she told him, her tone defiant.
“And we all know this- don't you think we've literally begged and pleaded with Oliver, gotten down in the mud and rolled over for you?” He said, leaning forward and putting one of his hands on the side of her face.
Katie's expression softened.
She and Fred had been dating for three weeks or so and she was happy, comfortable and she felt so safe when she was with him; he made her laugh, smile a lot and was an extremely good kisser.
He'd been supportive of her decision to quit the team, but knew they desperately needed her back.
“We'll get steamrollered without you K,” he told her seriously, his brown eyes imploring.
But Katie shook her head.
“I know and I'm sorry. But I have... I can't let him walk all over me, not this year,” she reminded him.
Fred stroked her cheek and she tilted her head into it.
“Well... maybe, maybe you could strike up a deal with him- he treats you right, takes you out, apologises with meaning and flowers- anything! Thus, you return to the team, happy and ready to slam Slytherin into the mud the Saturday of the game,” he suggested, shrugging as his hand slipped from her face, leaving a smear of mud on her cheek.
“I'll... talk to him,” she agreed reluctantly, feeling nauseated at the thought, her stomach flipping.
She missed Quidditch; she did. But she couldn't face Oliver after he'd... after they'd... she didn't like to think about the thing that had happened between them that kept cropping up, night after night, in her dreams, repeating itself over and over again, word for word, touch for touch...
“Er, K? Would help if you did it as soon as- he's still in the changing rooms I think. Divising another new board of tactics or something else that's just as crazy,” he told her as she got up.
Katie sighed heavily, her heart sinking.
But she managed a smile for her boyfriend, who knew she missed the game and wanted to cream Slytherin as much as the rest of them.
Fred pulled on her hands so she fell forward, stopping her from ploughing head first into him by placing her hands either side of his head.
He then tilted his head so his lips met hers, smiling into the kiss as he did so.
Katie drew back, her dark hair tickling his face, smiling too.
“All right, I'm going- but I'll be back soon. You need to get a shower before you catch your death,” she scolded him lightly, pushing herself upright, before leaving the common room, climbing out the portrait hole and going in search of the last person she wanted to see and one of the only people to plague her mind in her unruly subconscious.
It was ridiculous, going to seek him out, but she wasn't doing it for herself- she was doing it for Fred and the team and the Gryffindors, the whole house behind the long-awaited defeat of their rival house, Slytherin.
She wandered down the seventh floor corridor and, unfortunately, saw him emerging from around the corner, having just jogged up the stairs on his way up to Gryffindor Tower.
He stopped still as Katie did, but his face was a mask of shock and anxiety, Katie's a mixture of reluctance mingled with distaste.
“Katie, hi,” Oliver finally said after several awkward clearings of his throat, his initial shock subsiding slightly.
Katie nodded in acknowledgement.
“Hey,” was all she said, avoiding meeting his eyes.
Oliver shuffled forward slightly, but stopped when Katie put her hand up, her face averted from him, her jaw twitching as she locked it.
“Don't come closer,” she told him through her teeth. “I have something to say to you and you will listen and you will accept my offer, or I'll do very bad things to you and wish bad things on your future,” she told him.
Oliver frowned, confused.
“I realised I'm not making much sense-
“-no, not really-”
“-but what's important now is that I'm not doing this to save your butt, I'm doing this for the good of the team, for Gryffindor and for Fred,” she told him, lowering her hand and finally looking at him, at the point between his brows, avoiding his surprised gaze.
“You- you'll come back? As Chaser?” He asked, not daring to believe it.
Katie rolled her eyes.
“No as ball girl- yes of course as Chaser, you dummy!” She told him and smiled, despite herself and who she was with.
Oliver smiled too, relief washing over his face.
But Katie sobered at once, her face serious, eyes flashing.
Oliver's smile vanished too.
“This doesn't change anything Oliver. I still want to be treated as an equal and for... for that incident, between us, to be forgotten and erased from your memory as though it never happened, because as far as anyone else is concerned, it didn't, okay?” She told him, her face set, her eyes defiant.
Oliver looked taken aback, but eventually nodded.
“Sure. Nothing happened,” he repeated, but didn't look happy about it.
Something which Katie noticed.
“What?” She asked, frowning and unconsciously taking a step closer as he did.
Oliver shifted his weight awkwardly.
“What?” He asked back, pretending as though he wasn't unhappy that they had to ignore what had happened between them.
Katie's eyes narrowed suspiciously. She really didn't get Oliver Wood.
“I don't understand you, Oliver, I really don't,” Katie told him, sighing heavily, pinching the bridge of her nose and closing her eyes.
“Huh?” He asked stupidly, as though he didn't know what she was talking about.
“Look, one minute you're treating me like owl droppings, the next your- your protecting me from Dementors, then fobbing me off, then you kiss me-” Katie's nose wrinkled in disgust, ignoring how her stomach erupted happily at the forbidden image creeping into her mind. “- like you'll never get enough of me and now... now you don't like the fact that I want to forget that you did such a thing because I have a boyfriend now and want to get on with my life! I just- I don't-” Katie began to stutter as Oliver walked closer, until he was about a foot away, his eyes above hers, smouldering into hers unintentionally as he gazed down into her own shining brown eyes that searched his, confusion flickering within their depths.
Katie sighed and Oliver revelled in her warm breath blowing in his face, the way she held his gaze and didn't recoil from his closeness.
“I don't understand,” Katie whispered confusedly, all the anger gone from her beautifully innocent face.
Oliver stroked her cheek and the smear of smudge from her cheek, before stroking her soft dark hair away from her eyes and behind her ear.
“Katie,” he breathed and Katie resisted the urge to allow her eyes to flutter close at the emotion in his voice as he uttered her name.
“Yes?” She breathed back, noticing that it was becoming quicker and Oliver, closer.
Her brain was fuzzed; half of it was screaming at her, pulling at her nerves to retreat, run away, see sense, but the other half was as blurred as her vision becoming, not really listening to the increasingly recessive half that was her sanity, screaming at her to run and never look back.
“K, there you are!” Came a voice and the fading recessive half of Katie's brain slapped the other half and she jumped back and span around in a clumsy movement.
“Fred!” She cried, hurrying towards him and flinging herself at his now dried self, hiding the furious red of her cheeks from his eyes.
“You talk to him?” He whispered to her as he hugged her back, wrapping his arms securely, safely around her small waist.
She nodded against his shoulder.
“Oliver! You feel better now? You gonna stop sulking?” Fred called, amusement plain in his voice.
Katie heard the strain in Oliver's voice as he covered up his shaking breaths he had a moment ago.
“Yeah, ha ha, course I'm glad Katie's back. Back to training hard with the best damn team we've ever had!” He called back, his laugh too high to pass as real.
He then strode forward and past them and round the corner to the portrait of the Fat Lady.
Katie didn't want to pull back yet; she wasn't ready to face him, guilt ridden and red-faced.
“K? You okay there?” Fred asked, prising Katie away from him, before taking her face in his hands and examining her red cheeks and wide eyes.
“You look kinda flushed, K? You all right?” He asked, concern in his brown eyes as he stroked her cheeks with his thumbs.
Katie nodded, calming her heart rate with slow and subtle breaths through her nose,
“I just... feel a little worn, I guess. Tired. Maybe I should go to bed,” she suggested and Fred nodded, putting his arm around her and walking her back to the common room.
They entered to find the team awaiting them, all grinning from ear to ear at Katie.
“Glad to have you back, Katie!” Harry said, hugging her, before hurrying off to his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
Angelina and Alicia squashed Katie in a girl hug.
“Hope you gave him what for, girl,” Angelina whispered, inaudibly to the twins and Oliver.
Alicia nodded as they drew back, winking.
“Wasn't the same without you Bell,” George said, hugging her too.
The all watched as George drew back and Oliver stepped forward, his hand outstretched.
Fred's arm tightened around Katie's shoulder, squeezing her arm.
Katie sighed and took Oliver's hand.
Oliver's eyes shone as he looked at her, shaking her hand.
“I was wrong, I'm sorry. Good to have you back Katie,” he told her, keeping his voice indifferent, but Katie saw the adoration in his eyes and frowned.
“Thanks,” she said, trying to hide her confusion.
They all departed then, Oliver to his dormitory, Alicia and Angelina to theirs and Fred and George to the corner where Lee Jordan sat waiting for them.
Katie stood alone.
She then turned and climbed spontaneously out of the portrait hole, not knowing why, but wanting to get out of the crowded room, if to do nothing else but think about Oliver and his stupid, confusing and increasingly frustrating behaviour and words.
Katie nearly punched something; why was he being like this now? He was a total idiot to her last year, when she liked him and now that she was happy and in a safe relationship, he... he wanted her? Was that it? Or was he just doing it to toy with her? To make her break-up from Fred just to treat her like dirt again once she'd fallen for him again?
Was that it?
Katie accidentally walked through the Grey Lady then and shivered violently; it was like walking through an icy shower.
“Excuse me!” She said, her haughty face miffed and she floated away, her transparent nose in the air.
But Katie had just had a brainwave.
Maybe he wasn't toying with her. He... he might just like her for real.
Katie laughed aloud, hysterically.
“That's insane,” she whispered to herself, clutching at her chest.
It was probably the new look. Of course it was. She looked much more sophisticated and grown up now- she hadn't last year.
That was it. She had a cunning plan.
She knew what she had to do. He thought he could do whatever to her; muddle her feelings and make her confused.
Well not any more. He would pay for last year and he would pay big time.
And Katie Bell knew how.
Not by playing badly at quidditch. That would just make everyone else mad and she didn't want to lose- she loved quidditch too.
She wouldn't flaunt her relationship with Fred.... well, okay; maybe a little.
She'd play him at his own game. And she'd play it better. And she'd make him pay. She would save herself- save herself from his game, win and get one over on him.
He broke her heart and treated her horribly.
Let the games begin.
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