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Chapter 1: Unbearable
I could tell that Oliver Wood was furious, from the moment he thundered into the Gryffindor common room. I looked over my glasses to him, from where I sat in a large armchair. My knees were drawn, a book in my lap; The Crucible. Muggle colonists sentencing people to death for being witches and wizards. Fascinating, really. But my interest was turned to my close friend as he paced before the fire. The third year Patil twins were watching him with stars in their eyes, whispering and giggling. I, however, returned to the scandalous adultery of John Proctor and Abigail. I knew that Oliver would come ranting to me any moment, and I’d know everything of what went wrong. Everything.
“Can’t believe…postpone it?…off his rocker!” He was mumbling to himself, most likely trying to get my attention. I drew my knees up further to hide my smirk, assuming that ‘he’ was Albus Dumbledore, as he had called all the quidditch captains to his office earlier.
At last he gave in, and stormed over. He sat heavily in the chair next to mine. Hiding my grin, I asked, “How are you?”
I knew perfectly well how he was.
“They’ve asked us to consider postponing quidditch until later in the year,” he growled. “All because of that stupid witch!”
“The one who grew two arms?”
I remembered that earlier in the week, the second week back to Hogwarts, Madame Pomfrey made an announcement to the school. She said that several healing potions were being withdrawn from the infirmary, and we would have to be “extra, extra careful.” Apparently, lawsuits have been filed against the long-term effects of bone growing potions; multiple limbs, and other similarities. Granted the witch who grew an extra arm had her bones lost on sixteen occasions, and was ninety-four years old. But that didn’t stop her from complaining, and the press was making quite a spectacle of it. So the Ministry of Magic was asking wizarding schools to momentarily withdraw such potions, so there would be no panicked parents, and in turn, no more lawsuits.
Obviously, the whole ordeal was silly, and expected to blow over soon. But that didn’t stop Oliver from fuming.
Calmly, I asked, “So it’s up to the captains to decide?”
He grumbled something that sounded like ‘yeah.’
“So…do you think they’ll postpone it?”
“Absolutely not!” he exclaimed, as if offended. “He said if someone gets hurt, we wouldn’t be able to treat them. That’s why there’s all of this.”
“So you aren’t even worried about your team mates’ health?” I asked skeptically.
“Well, it’s the quidditch cup…,” he mumbled, and I knew his next excuses: it’s his last year, he wants it more than anything, etc. Not that I didn’t believe him. Oliver loved quidditch more than anything else, and I would soon learn how literally that phrase needed to be taken.
I read a few sentences in my book, soaking up the little remaining silence, before looking at him again. His elbows were resting on his knees, chin in the palms of his hand; his brooding stance. I smiled to myself, and kept reading.
We must’ve been quite a spectacle; tall and muscled Oliver Wood, the popular quidditch captain of Gryffindor, with sandy hair and deep-set brown eyes, lined with dark lashes. In a word, gorgeous. So he was next to his closest (female) friend, Corie Crittenden, the tall and twiggy, hardly known girl—except for her memorable huge, thick glasses and frizzy red hair.
I think it lowers his social status every time he speaks to me.
Oliver stopped caring about that, though, when he grew up. A little.
I used to tutor him, throughout the Third Year. He was letting quidditch get to him already, and his grades were slipping, especially in Transfiguration. Oliver isn’t unintelligent in the least, something anyone would know, if they’d really listen to him and take him seriously. He just never applied himself. So I would go down to the library; tall, lanky and flat-chested, and completely embarrassed, to tutor this snobbish little prat named Oliver, with nice hair and athletic ability.
And oh, we hated each other. He was snide and cocky and didn’t want to try, and he thought I was a stick, afraid to try anything fun. I probably was. Still am. Finally, passive Corie exploded, after he hid my quills and refused to say where they were. He didn’t tell me until I started to use a summoning spell, and then he burst in to laughter, and got us both kicked out of the library.
He was still laughing by the time we were in the hall. In my squeaky, twelve year-old voice, I cried, “What is wrong with you? If you don’t want my help, you can just… fail, for all I care, and drop out of quidditch!”
I stormed off, and hoped he hadn’t noticed the small stumble a ways down the hall. But he definitely stopped laughing, and stared after me. Something about mentioning quidditch hit home. I was nearly around the corner when I heard, “Corie, wait!”
Oliver was literally begging on his knees, promising to try harder. After a few intense days of receiving anything from flowers to a random hug in the hall, I reluctantly agreed. He kept his word, actually began studying when I told him to, and brought his marks up to average.
Naturally, we’ve been friends ever since.
The Patil twins turned around, looking over the back of the couch. “Sorry to hear that, Oliver,” said one of them shyly. I could never tell them apart. But apparently they had been eavesdropping, which isn’t hard to understand, as Oliver was ranting quite loudly.
He muttered something, sulking. If they really are as devoted as they claimed, they would’ve known that a straight answer from an upset Oliver was virtually impossible.
The twin with the longer face, and hair in pleated braids today, gave a small smile. “I’m sure things will work out.”
Their pretty little faces were scarlet. Bitterly, I went back to The Crucible. Reading about “witches” and “wizards” being hanged was less embarrassing and nerve-wracking than this situation.
“Thanks,” grumbled Oliver.
The twins flashed a smile and turned back around on the couch, content. I groaned inwardly.
It really did not surprise anyone when there was an announcement the next week at lunch, that quidditch would not be postponed. Only those who didn’t know him very well were surprised, when Oliver stood on the Gryffindor table to make said announcement. Since he was seated right next to me, I just bit my lip and fought the urge to knock him over. He had the uncanny ability to make himself look quite daft, at times.
“Ladies and gentlemen!” he called several times, and they were somewhat silent. “Not to worry, not to worry! The quidditch season will not be postponed this year, and will start just when it always does! Please, remain calm, I know this means a lot to you. I just wanted to personally take it upon myself to assure you that nothing will be missed this year, in the ways of the wonderful sport that is quidditch.”
They actually began applauding, though most of it was due to the female half. I groaned, as he took a sweeping bow.
Evan Hawkey, Oliver’s best (male) friend, and a might-as-well-be Gryffindor, came from the Hufflepuff table. Though he is captain for his house’s quidditch team, and he and Oliver practically try to kill each other on the pitch, they remained best friends. He sat across from me, though nobody in the sea of red and gold paid any mind. He sits with us practically every day, as he complains nobody at the Hufflepuff table will talk about quidditch.
“Nice speech, Ollie,” he teased, knowing he hated that nickname. Unless his fan club was cheering it at a quidditch match. There were some more vulgar titles, involving his surname that left them blushing and giggling behind their fists, every time his broom whizzed by. But I don’t think he minds them. They’re just ego boosters, really.
Oliver grinned widely, in that cheeky way he has. “Thank you.”
Evan’s almost-black hair is cut short, and combed to the side, fringe nearly in his robin’s egg eyes. His face was long and angled, like Oliver’s, with a more pointed chin. The two boys are looked on as Hogwarts’ most eligible bachelors, as they both have quite the collection of girls ready to lay themselves down in the mud puddles. If I was better known around the school, I think I might be public enemy number one, with the time I spend around them.
Evan and I don’t always get along, however. I think he always feels like we’re competing for Oliver’s attention, and I guess some part of me thinks the same, somewhere. Most of the time we don’t get along because he wasn’t very insightful. I suppose he would be wonderful to hang around with, had I been born male. But, obviously, that is not quite the case. We just haven’t seen eye to eye yet.
“Good morning, Evan,” I plastered a smile on, trying to be civil.
He flashed a small grin in return. “Hey.” Then he went straight to Oliver. “What a load of…. Postponing the matches,” he grumbled. A plate appeared before him, and he stabbed his fork into his toast. Though he eats nearly everything with a fork, Evan attacks food like a savage. Oliver shoved an entire piece of toast into his mouth, nodding vigorously in agreement.
Realizing that this was a manly man’s conversation, I quietly turned back to my soupy oatmeal. Someone appeared in the usually empty seat beside me, and I saw my best (female) friend Artemis Lovegood, setting down her things. She, like her younger sister Luna, has thin and wavy blond hair, and hails from the Ravenclaw table. They have strange names because their parents are, quite honestly, strange people. They would get along very well with Professor Trelawney, if you ask me. But Artemis has decided that she likes her name, after seventeen years of hating it, regardless of oddity. She is cynical and bitter to some people, but we have a strange way of getting along.
Oliver, however, is terrified of her.
You see, Artemis is convinced that some day, Oliver and I are going to end up together, and he’s going to do something to wrong me. I don’t know where she has gotten that absurd idea, but she’s stuck with it, and is holding a grudge against him…for something he hasn’t even done.
“Yet,” Artemis would have said.
I tossed her a lop-sided smile, and she sat down heavily. “I see the girls are in heat again.” She glanced at every Gryffindor girl staring at our two friends.
“Of course they are,” I said nonchalantly, with an arrogant quirk of a brow. “It’s quidditch season. They get to see sweaty boys.” I put grape jam on my toast and took a bite.
Artemis shook her head, sighing. Oliver, drunk with power, clambered to a standing position again. Artemis and I exchanged glances, busying ourselves with eating as low to the table as possible.
“The first quidditch match is November fourth, Gryffindor versus Slytherin!” he announced, holding his arms out like it was some great news. Apparently it was, as nearly everybody laughed and applauded this time. The Slytherins pounded on their table and booed the Gryffindors, and they were lucky it was covered by the cheering. Oliver would have gone mad. Smiling as cheekily as ever, he took another sweeping bow and sat.
“He’s going to be unbearable after this,” said Artemis matter-of-factly, carefully examining a spoonful of oatmeal before taking a bite. “Both of them. You know that, right?”
I cast a glance to Oliver, who was in a heated conversation with Katie Bell. He looked over at me and grinned. I returned it.
“I know it,” I sighed. “Merlin, do I know.”
A/N: Please excuse the Sailor Moon-ness of the Lovegood sisters' names. I didn't even realize I had done that until after I'd picked it, and Artemis is actually a goddesses name any way, is it not? :S
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