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Chapter 16: Reserved
I spent the next few hours with the team in the Hospital Wing. George had carried Ellis halfway up to the castle and Fred the other half while Oliver was carrying on about the safety level of his dives and how could Danny possibly lose control after a simple dive like the Cannon Roll. Apparently it was a nightmare, though I just kept behind everyone, the stitch in my side still there.
Madam Pomfrey pulled the curtains closed around Ellis’s bed and the team was left sitting on empty beds and strangely quiet. It wasn’t a good feeling. I especially was having a hard time taking everything in—part of me was sure he’d be okay. He was Ellis after all. There was never a reason for him to seem hurt permanently. He never was. He was…springy or something. But then the other part of me thought of that Nimbus on the ground.
I had fallen before. I had eaten dirt for weeks to learn to fly (and that got me far in life), but I had never played in a game. Cheering was as far as I got and now the star Seeker of the school was unconscious in the hospital. Why couldn’t I have just been the reserve Beater? Fred and George were never hurt or sick. I wanted to ask them but I didn’t trust myself to speak.
When he hadn’t woken by midnight, Madam Pomfrey sent us back to the Tower. No one spoke as we walked up the stairs and into the common room. Lee tried to welcome us back by singing a ballad, but the twins walked by and up their spiral staircase. Libby looked overjoyed that Oliver was back in the room, but he brushed past her to go to bed.
The girls and I did the same, ignoring several people and locking our dormitory door. Katie stood against it for a moment and stared back at us.
“Where do we start?” said Alicia, climbing under her covers and taking down her hair. “The past two days have been interesting.”
“That’s an understatement,” muttered Angelina, pausing in front of her mirror to pat on some lotion. “It was like a different world.”
“He really is a good captain, isn’t he?” I said from under my quilt. I was staring at the top of my four-poster with an amused expression on my face.
“Yeah. He really knows his stuff,” I said slowly.
Alicia laughed and tossed a pillow at Angelina. “No, he knows his team. He knew exactly what was going to happen.”
Ang blushed. “No, he couldn’t have possibly.” She paused and thought for a moment. “There’s just no way.”
I shrugged. “I think that was the reason for the retreat.”
“It was to get us to get along, not to get Fred and I back together.”
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be dense,” I said. “So are you?”
“Back together?” she asked. “I’m not sure…we haven’t talked about it.”
Alicia threw another pillow. “You’ve been all smiles and giggles all day. You can’t tell me you’re not.”
“It’s not official.” Angelina was smiling again. “But things last night were nice…the blanket…sleeping by the fire…waking up in his arms…”
“You’re together,” I muttered, diving down and trying to find my escaped sock. It was lingering under my bed. Right beside Roger’s teddy bear. I paused, staring at the bear for a moment. Then I leapt back up and snuggled in under my blankets. Why was it still there? Couldn’t it just vanish one day so I didn’t have to think about Roger?
I wanted to change the subject so no one would notice my sudden quietness. “How do you think Oliver knows all this stuff?”
Katie sank back into her bed and blew out the nearest candle. “I think he listens to what everyone says and watches everyone.” She paused. “And I think he genuinely cares.”
I groaned. “I was afraid of that.”
Ellis returned early the next morning. I passed him on my way to Charms and silently reminded myself of why exactly I loathed him. He looked fine. There was a bruise on his arm and one just below his left eye, but he was telling every woman in earshot how he’d fallen sixty or seventy feet and had nearly died. I hadn’t seen it, but in the Hospital Wings Oliver said he watched the entire thing and Ellis was only about fifteen feet from the ground before losing control of the dive.
I frowned and pushed past Ellis. He had scared the Quidditch out of everyone on the team. We sat outside of his curtains for hours waiting for him to wake up. He probably just lay on the other side with a magazine and some pumpkin juice like Oliver when he fell. What a prat.
I thought that until I saw him wince once the girls weren’t watching. Oh, Ellis.
But it made me start to think. What if Ellis did get seriously hurt and I’d have to fly? I couldn’t fly. Well, I could, but I hadn’t since the beginning of the year. I didn’t need to. But what if I did? What if one day I had to wake up and fly and catch a stupid snitch. Oliver would be furious.
Who cares what Oliver was?
But he wouldn’t get picked up by a scout.
Who cares? He’s a stupid prat.
I frowned and pulled open the door to Flitwick’s classroom. I took a seat beside Angelina and silently fumed while practicing a new wrist movement.
“This is ridiculous,” I muttered, marching onto the empty pitch. I really didn’t want to see it again for several weeks since the retreat, but I knew this was something I had to do. “Stupid Wood sticking me on this stupid team and making me stupidly paranoid that Ellis is going to kick the stupid bucket any damn day now…” I dug my shoe into the grass in frustration and glared down the school broom.
It was winning the staring contest.
I climbed on and stared straight ahead. I could do this. I learned to fly this past autumn and single-handedly made reserve for the Seeker position. Pfft. This should be nothing. So I kicked off gently, feeling the wind whip back my hair. It was bliss—flying just a few feet from the ground.
Until I slipped sideways and toppled over. At least this time I didn’t eat the dirt. I just got a bit on my chin and elbows.
Gripping the grass, I hoisted myself back to my feet and made a face at the broom lying a few feet away. It was out to get me. I bet it was the broom not me. After all, I did have Oliver’s broom for the try-outs. Yes, that would be it. And this one was a rubbish school broom.
“Something wrong, Janey?”
I groaned. The twins were heading straight for me, brooms in their hands and grins on their faces. “Nothing,” I replied with a smile. “Just practicing a convincing fall.” I bit down hard on my tongue.
“It was really good then,” said George, examining the dirt on my elbow. “Though why would you want to fall?”
“After you’ve captured the snitch?” said Fred, wiping my chin with the tip of his index finger. “That’s a good idea, Janey. Everyone will buy into that. The hero of the match—but what if she’s injuired—no, no, she’s getting up. Wow, everyone! She’s okay! I’m glad she took our attention off of winning for a moment…”
I rolled my eyes. “I just thought,” I muttered, “that maybe I’d try getting back up on a broom in case something happened to Ellis.”
George snorted. “No offense, Jane, but you’ll never play.”
I raised a brow.
“No, no, not saying that you can’t,” he continued, putting up his hands in defense, “but in the last few years I’ve never seen Dan Ellis get injured. He’s only been to the Hospital Wing once and that was after the retreat. Madam Pomfrey doesn’t even know who he is. Plus, he’s too smart for it. Don’t worry, Jane. You don’t have to practice falling.”
“But what if he goes and gets himself hurt again—like his feint screws up?” I said, panicked.
Fred rolled his eyes. “I’ll be damned if he was actually hurt and not just sitting behind those curtains having a good laugh at us,” he said. “I know how much you wanted to play, Jane, but we’re watching out for Danny-Boy anyway in case the Ravenclaws start getting ideas.”
I shrugged and stared down at the broom. I knew I was only on this team because of Oliver and now that the twins assured me that I would never have to set foot on the pitch again unless it was to cheer on the Gryffindors, I felt much better. Not even Oliver could make me paranoid.
I smirked. “Thanks, guys,” I said slowly and hugged the pair of them and began to walk back up toward the castle.
“Oh, and Jane?”
I turned back.
“First of all,” said Fred, “you should probably get yourself a broom so the Slytherins don’t see you with this piece of rubbish down here.”
I narrowed my eyes at them and at the broom.
“And second,” said George, “when you come out and try to practice again, try and wear something a bit less…leggy.” He grinned.
I stared down at my shorts and groaned.
“We had to stop at least twenty blokes from coming in here and trying to practice with you,” added Fred. “It wasn’t easy—there was a pretty big Slytherin in there that didn’t look happy.”
Rolling my eyes, I continued my way back across the lawns and up into the castle. I expected things to be quiet since classes were still going on, but once I pulled open the doors to the Entrance Hall, a pair of loud yells met my ears.
“—this is ridiculous. You need to confide in me sometimes!”
“I don’t need to do anything. Do you even realize how much I tell you compared to what other guys tell their girlfriends?”
Libby was red-faced beside the marble staircase. Her fingers were in fists and she was standing on her toes to reach the height of her boyfriend. “Tell me? HA! You just wanted someone to swing on your arm.”
“Don’t be stupid, Libby, of course that’s not it,” Oliver said, his voice a little lower now. “I just keep my lives separate. Quidditch is my separate life. The only people allowed in are Quidditch people.”
“I just—I just can’t believe you’re not going to tell me what you did on your silly retreat!”
Oliver rolled his eyes and I ducked behind a large statue so that he didn’t see my eavesdropping. “I built a team on my silly retreat, Libby. An entire team. I built them.”
“You already had a team,” she said, exasperated.
“No. No, I had a bunch of players and a Seeker.”
“And a reserve,” said Libby with a snort.
Oliver cocked a brow. “And a reserve, yes.”
“That wears your clothes!”
He groaned. “C’mon, let’s just get a late lunch,” he said finally, draping an arm around her and steering her to the left toward the Great Hall.
I emerged from behind the statue and stared at the doors for a moment, unsure of what to do. Not wanting to pry or even look at Libby, I decided to return upstairs with the dirt on my elbows and find the girls. It seemed there was trouble in the world and I was curious to find out what exactly it was.
“Pfft,” said Angelina, after I explained to her what I had seen, “they’ve been at it ever since we got back. I heard them in the Charms classroom last night.”
“It can’t last much longer,” said Alicia, rolling her eyes. “Though I might not get to see the end if I’m away in exotic Brazil!”
I threw a pillow at her. “Don’t make me more jealous than I already am.” I fell back onto my bed. “I don’t understand the logic in the pair of them to begin with.”
“I don’t think anyone does,” replied Katie as she flipped through a magazine. “I think one day Oliver decided he wanted a girlfriend that worshiped him instead of the other girls…well, maybe he just wanted one that went to this school.”
“Did he date a lot of other women?” I asked curiously.
Alicia snorted. “Who knows at this point? All women love Oliver Wood.” She paused. “Well, all except you, Jane. We all knew you were a little weird when we met you, though.”
“Why doesn’t Wood ever talk about his dating life?”
“He never really told us about all of the girls, but some of it eventually came out,” said Angelina.
“Over drinks,” said Alicia with a snicker.
“Red wine?” I asked, trying to sound nonchalant.
Alicia raised a brow. “No. Oliver hates wine.”
I tried to make my smile a little less obvious. “You’re right. I forgot.”
Occasionally, breakfast was my favorite part of the day. I just loved walking into the Great Hall with my hair still a little frumpy and scooping eggs onto my plate while Angelina finished her Transfiguration reading. On the Wednesday before the Easter Holidays, I plopped down in a chair and helped myself to some toast and jam before immediately heading for the sausages.
I stuffed the food in my mouth, taking a moment to look around. Angelina was on to Potions today and Katie was rechecking the length of her essay. I watched her measure and quickly add in her head. It was disturbing. Oliver was sitting further away today—it was as if he had no interest in hearing whatever conversation I was about to have. That in itself was horrifying. Oliver Wood not eavesdrop? Libby was sitting two seats down from me, next to Fred. She was quieter than usual, stirring her tea so much that I questioned whether or not it turned into water.
I moved my attention to other parts of the hall. The Gryffindors were being dreary. The Hufflepuffs were chattering nicely and the Slytherins looked stupid like they always did. I was sure a few of them weren’t that bad, but people that had the face of Marcus Flint constantly gave them a bad name by just looking ugly every day. I had continuously told Alicia that we should give him a makeover just so the Slytherins are a little more bearable to look at.
Even I couldn’t pretend not to see Roger Davies at the Ravenclaw table. At first I thought he looked like his suave, debonair self, but after surveying the way his hair fell around the top of his face and how his eyes looked lost, I realized he wasn’t himself. Roger seemed a mess. The skin around his eyes was puffy and pink and nothing on his plate had been eaten. I raised a brow.
“What’re you looking at over there?” asked Alicia, following my gaze. “Anyone dishy I can hook up with?”
“No one that I can see,” I muttered, averting my eyes back to my sausage.
“Don’t, Jane,” she whispered, placing a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t even be curious.”
I frowned and took a bite of toast.
I tried not to focus my attention on other people as the week finished. Instead, I dove into my studies to finish up my Transfiguration essay and Charms wrist movement before the holiday started. The Easter Holidays were my least favorite—mostly because they only lasted a week, but also because there was really no reason to leave. There was so much work to be finished since the end of term was nearing that not many people really bothered.
Unless they had an invite from an International Quidditch player to travel to Brazil.
Alicia might have shared that once. Or twice.
“I think Brazil will be wonderful,” she said on Thursday evening. “It’ll be so warm and tropical.”
“They have giant spiders,” I said offhandedly and Alicia went pale. “Yeah, I’ve heard they crawl into your shoes at night. So empty out your shoes before you put them on in the morning. Or just don’t. I’m sure the Brazilian boys are used to women without feet.”
“And boogies,” Katie chimed in.
“Can’t you just be properly jealous?” Alicia asked, folding her arms.
“We’ve been properly jealous for weeks,” said Angelina. “Ever since I found out you were going off to flirt with foreign boys I’ve been jealous—can’t you just let me terrorize you a bit before you leave? It’s only right since we’ll be stuck here with the rain and interactive couples training all week.”
“Just tell Libby to stuff a sock in it,” I muttered. “Or just do it for her. She really can’t be trusted with important things.”
Alicia chuckled and tried to stuff another pair of jeans into her suitcase. “I just want one thing done while I’m gone.”
“We auction off your things?” asked Ang.
“No. I want either Ang or Katie to figure out what’s wrong with Roger.”
I glanced up, shocked. “What?”
“I don’t want Jane going near him, but it’s obviously bugging her so someone else figure it out.”
I didn’t know what to say. Part of me loved my friends, but the other part of me wanted to punch them in the head. Really hard.
Instead, I buried my face in my pillow and groaned. “Bring me back something tropical,” I mumbled.
“Spider it is.”
Friday morning was dreary. I thought it should have been, considering it was the day before Alicia left and I had nothing to do but homework for a week. Ridiculous. I helped her pick out a few outfits before she zipped up her suitcase and lugged it down the stairs to the common room.
Loads of people were leaving for the Easter Holidays which I found strange considering it was only a week long and most people never left. I did, however, see plenty of people adorning lavish gold suitcases or ones with red polka dots. It made me a bit sick, but I still helped Alicia with what she called a traveling hat and four pairs of shoes. I knew Angelina had loads of shoes, but Alicia kept them well hidden so no one would think she was too much of a girl.
The train was leaving at eleven so Angelina, Katie, and I were standing on the platform to see Alicia off. We hugged her tight and helped her load her massive bunch of crap onto the train (which much difficulty. We dropped a pair of shoes in the corridor and a first year handed it back to us—he looked at it like it was going to shoot poison out of the heel) and then made our way back off the train.
“Be good,” I said slowly, ruffling her hair. “Only bring back one.”
Alicia snorted. “I’ll bring back as many as I can fit into my bag.”
Angelina groaned. “I’ll have to give up my bed.”
“Oh, sleep in Fred’s!” Alicia giggled and stepped onto the train.
“Get out of here!” Katie said, laughing as the train began to move. “Have fun! Owl us the minute you get to Brazil!” She was running and trying to catch the train like a little girl. There was a small girl with pig-tails a few feet away that was watching with a grimace on her face.
“Katie—Katie, you’re humiliating me,” I said with a chuckle as we made our way off of the platform. I watched the train drift out of sight and suddenly the four became three. “What’re we going to do now?” I asked, pondering whether or not I should slink over to Zonkos and pick up some tricks.
“We laugh because I booked Alicia as a Keeper for all of the public Quidditch games,” said Katie slyly.
“Or we could just go pick up blokes because Alicia’s gone,” said Angelina. “That’ll show her for leaving us.”
“I’m telling Fred,” said Katie, skipping up behind us. “We’ll have a nice long chat about it and then Oliver will make you do sprints.”
I made a face. “I don’t want to think about sprints.” We passed The Three Broomsticks and followed the cobbled path up toward the castle. “They make my sides hurt.” I paused for a moment beside Zonkos, but not because I wanted some jokes, but because I could hear a familiar voice from within.
“I just can’t believe you anymore, Ollie!” It was Libby and she was carrying a large paper bag out of the store.
I ducked behind a large garbage bin and grabbed the girls.
Libby flipped her hair with a free hand. “We never spend time together and when we do you’re such a jerk.”
“Did we ever spend time together?” Oliver snapped, not even holding the door open for a lady behind them.
“Sure we did! We spent plenty of time together.”
“Doing what?” he countered. “Snogging? Me listening to you talk about how you need to eat less pudding at dinner?”
Libby blushed. “We didn’t always…pfft, we didn’t snog much at all.”
He shrugged. “You’re just overreacting.”
“I’m not! You just told me to sod off in front of the cashier—that’s not gentlemanly at all! He probably thinks that you hit me or something!”
Oliver stopped mid-step. “That I what? Because I told you to sod off?” He was glaring angrily at her. “Libby, that’s ridiculous. You do need to sod off now.”
“Ollie, don’t walk away from me!” Libby cried, yelling after him. A few things toppled out of her paper bag.
He looked furious as he turned and walked straight toward the garbage bin in the alley where we were hiding.
Oliver was staring directly at me.
“Perry?” he said, half-yelling. “What in Merlin’s name are you doing down here? Are you—are you hiding?”
At that point I wasn’t sure what to say. “I was—I lost a knut and—whoop! Look at that!” I held up something that was most certainly not a knut.
“That’s a rock.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Okay. Not a knut. Close, though. I thought it was a knut. That’s why I’m down here, you see? I thought it was a knut. Nope. False alarm.” I tried to smile.
“Perry, stay out of my personal life.”
“I wasn’t in it!” I cried, jumping up. “It just pounced on top of me—I was just walking—minding my own business. I swear—wasn’t I?” I looked at Ang and Katie for support. They stared back at me. “Well, I was. And you lot just came out—and… well. Yeah.”
Oliver narrowed his eyes at me. “Sod off, Jane.” His eyes looked rather empty as he pushed past me and made his way back up to the castle.
A/N: Thanks to everyone that has started to re-review my story. I lost about 125 reviews total, which was sad because so many people spent their time giving me wonderful thoughts and quotes. This was a filler on the way to the Easter Holidays. I hope you enjoyed it.