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Chapter 1: Witch Weekly, MLES and Puddlemere's Keeper.
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Oliver Wood is a sodding prat. He really is. Who else, I ask you, would have flown directly into the crowd when Puddlemere won 340 to 60? And who else would have bothered to sweep up on his broom the only idiot who didn't have the reflex to duck? And who then had the immense privilege of sinking her teeth into the neck of the arse who had sat her down behind him? The answer to the first two questions is Oliver Wood, I'm the one who got to bite him. What? He wouldn't have landed for at least another fifteen minutes otherwise.Only problem now is that scene was witnessed by hundreds of people, not to mention made the cover of Witch Weekly. But that kind of bullshit will die down, simply because there is absolutely nothing going on between Wood and me. Definitely not. Eurghhh.
Why was I watching Puddlemere play in the first place? Well, my best friend Cat – her actual name is Carmen Rodriguez by the way – is Chaser, the only female member, on the damn team. Yes, I am really happy for her, but less happy with the fact Wood is on the team as well. If you really must know, I used to have a crush on him. I was in my first year, he was in his sixth, needless to say nothing ever happened, but the attraction I had towards him did, to my great embarrassment, last until he graduated and even today Cat loves teasing me about it.
Cat is almost like my sister. We've known each other since the age of two, and mutually gave each other our stupid nicknames. I call her Cat because at the beginning I didn't know how to roll my Rs properly, this led to that and Carmen became Cat. She christened me Kiwi, in revenge I think. My full name is Kim Bethany Willows, yes, actually Kim Bethany – what went through my mum's head at that moment I don't know. Anyway, first syllables of Kim and of Willows, you get Kiwi. Can't say I find it great but it just stuck and everyone calls me that now.
Back to Cat. She has straight black hair, deep blue eyes, and a nasty temper. Never speak to her before she gets breakfast. Ever. Unless, of course, you are particularly keen on seeing your hair go green (or blue or pink, it depends) and your nose turn into a clarinet. I wish I was kidding. In our first year, she continually transfigured Crystal Charter's bag into a watermelon; in our second year she decided it would be more fun to hex Crystal to speak Mermish for a day (that happened seven times if I recall properly); and in our third year she went back to classical methods and pushed Crystal into the lake. In the middle of January.
I can't say I'm sorry though: Crystal was (and probably still is) a horrible bitch, and pranking her was one of our favourite things to do. I think the worst – or best – we've done was charm her underwear to sing Celestina Warbeck in a dreadful falsetto voice at breakfast one day. That was my idea. And it was immensely funny, especially considering what her underwear looks like: lace, frills, satin and silk, and very discreet colours like fireman red or bitch pink.
Crystal and I have hated each other since forever: we do look a bit alike, both slim and blonde, but she severely lacks brains and humanity. Seriously, she'd do anything to get shagged. So when at our first Hogsmeade outing I got asked out before her, she made my potion explode into my face. I was in the hospital wing for two days after that, and Cat pushed her into the lake a few months later as revenge. When we were in seventh year, I was elected Hogwarts Bachelorette (Cat had a field day with that), and Crystal retried to disfigure my pretty face. If ever, that was sarcasm. Not that I'm ugly, but I'd never refer to myself like that – it's only good for people like Crystal.
Cat hates Crystal too – just another reason why we'refriends. I still remember the first time those two met, in our Gryffindor dorm. Crystal was going on about how her name was pronounced Crystal Charter with a CH sound and not a SH sound, and Cat was getting overly fed up with it. I'll remember her comment until my death: "Yeah, yeah, we got it, it's Charter like bitch and not like shit-face". Already at the age of eleven Cat had an explosive temper, a wide range of vocabulary and a very limited patience. Don't get me wrong: everybody loves her despite these traits, they probably actually arethe reason she's so popular. But she's also extremely fragile.
Her mom died when she was thirteen and that's still a delicate subject. She stills cries about it on some very rare occasions, but I'm the only one to know. The best option to calm her down in those situations is chocolate. We both have a sweet tooth for dark chocolate, especially the one with hazelnuts and dried grapes. When we left for our last year of school, I think the weight of the chocolate in one of our trunks was superior to the weight of both our books put together (and it only lasted till March, but that's also because we shared with the others). Next to eating chocolate, we share a passion for Quidditch (she plays, I comment), dragons, swimming, climbing up trees, cooking, singing and hexing.
What you must know is that we've had a slightly bizarre adolescence. As you probably know, Cedric Diggory died at the end of our third year. My parents and her dad, who are really close friends, went paranoid when they heard Voldemort was back (my mum is a Muggle and they'd only closely survived the first wizarding war). So, not wanting to take any risks, we all fled to Canada and lived together like hermits for three years, in this huge cabin in the middle of nowhere protected by the Fidelius charm. We were home-schooled by our parents and Cat's sister Maya, who is eight years older than her. In our free time, we roamed the surrounding area (only the protected part of course) and once we knew the ground bit it was only natural for us to extend our explorations vertically.
Also, having nothing else to do, and haing a knack for Transfiguration, we gradually trained to turn into Animagi, that we declared as soon as we regained civilisation. Both of us are felines (unsurprising in Cat's case considering her nickname), pumas in fact.
Being able to morph during our time in Canada was a huge relief: under animal form, we were allowed to go out of bounds a little. However, we were distinctly recognisable: Cat had ebony black fur, mine was pale gold and our characteristical blue eyes were the same no matter the form we were in. So, when the situation with Voldemort got worse, we were confined to the house once more. It drove us mad at first, but then Maya sat us both down, explained the value we could have if Voldemort knew about our condition (this is how she presents things and personally it always makes me laugh, what will it be the day we're pregnant?), and matters were settled.
With the war over, our Animagi skills limited themselves to causing mayhem at school. I'm still hoping that it will come in useful in my future career, which I haven't chosen yet. I graduated Hogwarts with an E in charms, arithmancy and DADA, and an O in Potions and Transfiguration; next to that, being from Belgium, I also speak French, and have learned Italian, Latin, Greek and Ancient Runes. My parents, especially my mum, were very keen to see me speak many languages. I do have to thank them for that, because it gives me a considerable amount of possibilities. Probably a little too many in my opinion: making choices is harder when you can choose to do nearly anything. What I wanted to do, but wasn't sure of being capable of, was be a part of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad. It required good wand skills, reactivity, a knowledge of law, the capacity to mix with Muggles, and to be unafraid of turmoil. It seemed perfect to me. And yet, there was one problem.
I was petrified at the idea of not getting accepted.
So petrified that I didn't even want to try. Plus, the Squad was known for being one of the most macho departments of the ministry – there was one woman every seven years or so and she was always given the simplest tasks. I remembered a particular case in which the sole female member (out of sixty or so people) of the MLES, Sophia James, was never given a mission other than serving coffee. She resigned in less than a year and was replaced by some tattooed, bald, muscled bloke. It caused a riot, and allowed Witch Weekly to launch on yet another debate on gender inequalities. Not a bad thing of course, except that Witch Weekly is an unconstructive rag of a newspaper.
I glanced back at the copy I was holding, sighing in irritation.
BACHELOR NUMBER 1 IS NOT SINGLE ANYMORE!
Oliver Wood, Puddlemere keeper, proved last Sunday to a very distraught audience of witches that his heart has been stolen away. Indeed, at the end of the match opposing his team to the Tutshill Tornadoes, he was seen belatedly sweeping a young witch onto his broom, where he, one can suppose, was waiting for a congratulations' kiss. Refusing this in public, Kim Bethany Willows was nonetheless seen gently biting his neck, a gesture that she confirmed was a private way of saying I love you. Freshly graduated from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Miss Willows confided to our very own Rita Skeeter: "Ollie and I have been together for over a year now, but that match was the moment when we decided to make things official. After his victory, he proposed, and I'm quite sure you'll hear about our wedding soon – I do love a spring wedding."
A photo followed, in which my body was closely pressed into Oliver's, and the photo-me leaned in every so often to bite Oliver just under his earlobe. My only consolation was that we certainly did not look belated; in fact I was glaring daggers each time I turned back to the camera. Still. I was done with. Wood and me, engaged? Ha, right. And married, in spring? Definitely not, I always said I would marry in November. Why was I discussing the date of my wedding anyway? I didn't even have a boyfriend! Damn that Rita Skeeter, to hell and back.
Grumbling, I tossed the paper into the fire, and watched with immense satisfaction as it erupted into flames. I was suddenly startled as a face popped into the hearth.
"Hey Kiwi! Or shall I call you Madam Wood?"
" For Merlin's sake Cat, don't start," I groaned. "That Skeeter woman wrote up a load of garbage just to sell her damned paper, and you know that. Why aren't you back here anyway? Your practice ended over an hour ago."
"Traditional team party. You know, first practice after the winning game?" I nodded, this had already happened twice since Cat had joined Puddlemere.
"The actual party, with reporters, photographers, hysterical fans and whatnot is tomorrow," she informed me. "You are coming, and that's not a question. This was a qualification match, the first really important one this year, and tomorrow is going to be huge!" She then stared around before reporting her gaze back on to me. "Are you decent?"
I checked my jeans and thick woolly blue sweater. My hair was braided loosely, and I did have minimal makeup, so I nodded to Cat.
"Good," she smiled wickedly, "cause the whole team is coming over. In fact," her head bobbed out of the flames for a second, "I'm going to free the space cause the first person should be Flooing over soon." And then the flames were normal again.
I let out a very undignified snort. Of all the members of Puddlemere, Cat had the biggest flat, which we shared. We had both been lucky enough to be in seventh year with Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger, and after graduation Hermione had kindly placed an undetectable extension charm on our flat. Being Hermione, she possessed immense magical capacities, and that mixed in with Cat's extravagance resulted in a huge puzzle of rooms. And when I say huge, I mean it.
We both had en suite bedrooms (each of our bathrooms relatively similar to the prefect's bathroom of Hogwarts). One room was used as a study, and contained all of our old books from school. We had six guest rooms ("For my team members, just in case," Cat had smiled at me). The main room held the lounge, the chimney we used to Floo, the dining table and a modern, open kitchen. Cat had managed to talk Hermione into creating a room only for our clothes – I'll admit, that was a good idea. As was our magically enlarged balcony that overlooked London. But she had definitely gone over the top when she had begged for a swimming pool – and obtained it. Seriously. And of course it couldn't just have been a normal, blue-tiled pool, which was already bad enough. No, Cat had insisted on re-creating the setting of the lake we lived nearby in Canada, meaning that if you pushed the door, you arrived in some kind of clearing, actually with the trees, with the stone-bottomed swimming pool in the middle, and a waterfall. I would've killed her. She was also very keen on having a Quidditch pitch, but I put my foot down for that one.
Despite all that, I loved the place. The view was amazing, we were minutes away from the Leaky Cauldron by foot, and we had the space to live together without killing each other off. But still. A waterfall, inside a flat in London. One day I was going to drag the girl off to the psychiatric department of St. Mungo's. Come to think of it, I should probably have done that years ago.
But that was the least of my concerns at that moment. I had a whole Quidditch team to feed. Did I? Typical Cat, forgetting to tell me if six hungry Quidditch playerswere coming over to eat or just for a drink. Cursing under my breath, I turned on my heel and Apparated into the locker rooms of Puddlemere, only to arrive face to face with Oliver Wood. Who, I realised with a horrified gasp, was only wearing a towel around his hips. Oh God.
"Willows," he greeted me with a smirk, not in the least embarrassed. "What are you doing here?"
"Looking for Cat. Have you seen her?"
"I didn't mean why are you here, at Puddlemere stadium, I meant why did you Apparate into mychanging room?"
"I... What?" I must have looked like a Quaffle.
"This is my room, Willows. Nobody else changes here. Which is why I'm asking why you chose to Apparate here. Were you trying to get a glimpse of me naked? I do understand, but you shouldn't be that obvious about it."
"Listen, Wood, I did not choose to Apparate here," I hissed. He lifted an eyebrow, still smirking.
"Oooh, touchy are we? Didn't you learn, Willows, that sometimes you Apparate somewhere else then where you were aiming for because it actually is your heart's desire?"
At this, despite my annoyance with him, I burst out laughing without being able to help myself.
"My heart's desire? Please. I'd rather Apparate inside a barrel of Blast-Ended Skrewts."
"Nah, you can't hate me that much."
"Really? What a surprising piece of news... D'you think we should contact the press to tell them this breathtaking information?"
"Haven't you seen enough of the press already?"
My smile disappeared in a flash, and I groaned.
"Did you have to bring that up?"
"Why? Did you find it that terrible?" His eyes were bright with real interest.
"Dangling off you broom, barely held by you, over a crowd of at least four hundred people? Must I remind you that I was wearing a skirt?"
"I wouldn't have dropped you." His tone was dead serious, and I was starting to find this discussion bewildering.
"I can't be sure of that."
Whoa. This had just gone from bewildering to downright bizarre, and I decided to steer the conversation to safer grounds.
"Anyway, why me?"
"Oh, no specific reason. Because you're Cat's friend, and I knew there were less risks of me getting punched with you."
"Ha! Certainly not," I scoffed, "and I did get my revenge in a way." His hand moved up to the teeth marks on his neck.
"That wasn't revenge, it only happened because I let you." He immediately went red, and I stared at him disbelievingly.
"Wood, what did you just say?"
"That you were only capable of biting me because I was focusing on us winning the game, and therefore not really paying attention to the hysterical woman sitting behind me."
"That's not what you said." Even being called hysterical did not distract me from my objective of getting him to repeat his previous sentence, though it did push my irritation up another notch.
"It is. Merlin Willows, you should get a healer to check your ears. Or your brain."
"Wood!" I snarled. He looked mildly taken aback.
"What? I always thought you had mental issues."
That did it. In less time than it takes to say Snape, I had pounced across the room and was pinning him to the ground. In puma form of course, what were you imagining?! This time, I got the satisfaction to see his smirk slide entirely off his face.
Just so you know, I do normally control my transformations. Except when I'm really tired and someone annoys the crap out of me. There was another situation, but... No, that was impossible. Fine, fine! I'll tell you. Last time I had spontaneously transformed, I was facing emotional (aka amorous, not knowing how to react when facing the guy I liked) issues. So, obviously, it had to be lack of sleep. Obviously. Because Oliver Wood was a sodding prat. Right.
Considering that I had not willingly transformed, I went back to human shape as soon as I had calmed down. Unfortunately for me, that occurred as soon as I reflected on the causes of my morphing.
So, of course, when Cat walked into the room at that precise moment, I was looking considerably dishevelled and was lying on top of an almost-naked Oliver Wood, my elbows resting on both sides of his head and his hands propping me up by the shoulders.
A/N: This will be a much shorter, much more fluffy story... Cat and Kiwi are minor characters of Nineteen Years, as you will find out in the near future, but this does not affect that:
Please leave a review, it only takes a minute and I love hearing from you! Reviews are the Nutella to author's bread :)
Also, small disclaimer: the name Bethany was stolen from the amazing TenthWeasley, and her Beth Bridger trilogy. If you haven't read In The Black and In The Red, well, what are you still doing here? She is amazing and so are her stories and I absolutely love everything she writes.
But don't make that a reason to abandon me? I do love to hear about your thoughts, and knowing you read what I write makes me happier than you can imagine!
PS: I will answer if you review, I promise!
Chapter 2: Spoiling dinner and the cons of drinking.
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Beautiful CI by Sjoeks @TDA.
Previously in Willows & Wood.
So, of course, when Cat walked into the room at that precise moment, I was looking considerably dishevelled and was lying on top of an almost-naked Oliver Wood, my elbows resting on both sides of his head and his hands propping me up by the shoulders.
Shit. And Cat's reaction was not helping. A small smile played on her lips, growing wider and wider until she finally burst out laughing.
"Seriously? You and Oliver? Here? That is disgusting," she was still laughing her head off.
By this time, I had pulled myself to my feet, straightened my clothes and was glaring at Cat, arms folded and eyebrows raised. I waited for her to calm down - those were a very embarrassing five minutes - before grabbing her by the arm and dragging her outside into the hallway.
"I hate Oliver Wood."
"Right. Which is why you were kissing him."
"Please, that was just an unfortunate concourse of circumstances. Plus we weren't even kissing."
"Not to me, Kiwi."
"Listen, Carmen," I insisted (calling each other by our full names is the sign of a don't-give-me-that-shit kind of discussion), "nothing happened with Wood in those bloody locker rooms, and I will explain, but now if you recall properly I have a Quidditch team coming over and I would rather appreciate knowing if yes or no I'm supposed to feed them. And that is the reason I came here in the first place, my presence in Oliver sodding Wood's changing room being an Apparition mistake, so if you could just answer my question that would be spiffing, yes?"
I tend to overreact when I'm angry. And to use words like spiffing. Sorry, but we all have a personal way of dealing with anger management issues, right?
"Yes, they are coming over to eat," Cat was still trying to control her laughter, and had she been anyone else but herself I would have hexed her into next month.
"Well, that wasn't too difficult, was it? Thanks," I said stiffly. "Now if you'll excuse me I have dinner for eight people to prepare". And with that I Apparated straight back home.
Seriously, I cursed while taking minced meat out of the freezer to thaw, me snogging Oliver Wood in a public place? Come on... a) I hated the bloke, b) I did not ever snog to the point of ending up on the floor, c) Puddlemere stadium, really? and d) Cat was stupid. Valid arguments, all of them.
I opened a can of peeled tomatoes, angrily wishing I could throw it at Cat's head, and poured the contents into a pot. With a flick of my wand, it started boiling, and I settled down to cut an onion, imagining it was Oliver's face. Hey, I warned you about my anger management issues. I had just thrown the onion in and reduced the stove's temperature when Oliver appeared out of thin air. Hooray.
"What are you doing here?" I sounded aggressive. I probably looked like it too, holding a sharp kitchen knife in my right hand.
"I came to apologise. And to warn you."
"Cat." He eyed the knife nervously, and I put it down.
"She decided it would be beneficial for the whole team to know about the situation she found us in."
"You're kidding." He shook his head. "You're fucking kidding. Tell me it's a joke?"
"It's not a joke. The whole team thinks we're together and were about to shag when Cat barged in."
Remember what I said about anger management issues, and me not always being able to control my reactions? Well, I didn't morph, but I did somehow ended up hitting Oliver across the head with a wooden spoon.
"Why didn't you" -whack! - "say anything?"
"I tried to, but... Ow!" he shielded his head with his arms, "they didn't believe me! And you have to admit that the story Cat told them was more interesting!"
Wrong thing to say. I dipped the spoon into the now cool pot and threw some tomato sauce at his face. Bull's eye, and screw to keeper reflexes.
Oliver spluttered, red sauce dripping off his hair, before grinning wickedly at me. He grabbed a handful of raw meat and pelted me with it, aiming for my forehead. I ducked, laughing.
"Missed by a mile! You'd miss a dragon inside the Gryffindor common room even if it was Stupef..." I didn't finish my sentence as a second glob of meat landed just in between my eyes.
Oh so he wanted war? Here goes.
I leapt for my wand and in a flick, a bag of flour had poured itself on his head while egg after egg cracked on top of it.
"Not playing fair anymore, are we? Fine!" He hollered the last part, but his eyes were twinkling. It was his turn to use his wand, and I watched, horrified, as the pot of tomato sauce was levitated over my head, then flipped over.
"Oliver!" I roared. "Get over here if you're a man!"
He sauntered up to me. "I am a man, now what?"
I lunged myself at him, tackling him to the floor. Now, he may be Quidditch captain and Keeper, but I spent three years of my life with nothing to do but climb up trees, swim in lakes and wrestle with Cat. He wasn't getting away if I didn't agree with it.
Within seconds we were both the exact same colour: tomato red from head to toe, sprinkled with flour, egg shells clinging to our slimy bodies. Classy. But there was no way one of us was going to stop the fight, this was honour we were talking about for Merlin's sake. While maintaining him to the ground, I randomly moved my wand around behind my back, and jar of pineapple opened over our heads, soaking us both.
This continued for quite some time: pickles, sugar, butter, chocolate, more flour, strawberry jam, barbecue sauce, and all kind of ice cream toppings were poured over us, and every single time the container would fall to the ground and shatter around the kitchen. It was a battlefield.
We were pelting each other with yoghurt when Cat walked in, and received a blob straight on the nose.
"What in the name of Merlin's most racy underwear is this fucking mess? And Kiwi, why are you straddling Wood?"
"Every time I walk in on you, you are in the most awkward positions ever... Can't you two keep your hands off one another?" Cat continued. " And just look at this place... It looks like a bomb exploded in the fridge. I'm cleaning this up while you idiots get yourselves clean. To the waterfall now, thank Merlin the swimming pool has a self cleaning charm on."
Oliver and I grinned at each other sheepishly. It was definitely worth it, despite the state of the kitchen. I hadn't had this much fun since a long time.
Cat caught our silent exchange, and huffed. "Out! And wands here, now!" She held her hand out, and we had no choice but to surrender our wands. Nobody discusses Cat's orders... Okay, except for me, but I was not in the position to do so right now, when she was fuming and on the verge of transforming...
Wait. If she really was mad, we would have been facing a mature puma by now. I watched her carefully: the tips of her ears were twitching imperceptibly.
She was trying not to laugh, so she obviously had something in mind by sending us away together.
Us. Together. Alone. Swimming pool. Shit.
Remind me to kill her someday. Wandless, I couldn't do anything. Except walk out and try to look dignified.
To my embarrassment, nearly the whole of the Puddlemere team was already seated around the living room. I'll give you a quick round of presentations.
There was Alexander Jones, whom we called Alex, a Chaser. He was the quietest one on the team, but that's only relative because in fact they were all quite loud.
Then there was Benjamin Peters, referred to as Ben or Benjy. He was the perfect example of a ladies' man, never seen twice with the same girl hanging from his arm. Cat had made it her personal objective to find him a stable girlfriend, to no avail for now.
Benjamin's younger brother, Nicholas, was one of the Beaters, and, according to Quidditch Weekly, "one of the promising new British talents". I'd never seen him get injured, despite some of his more extreme manoeuvres on the pitch.
The other Beater, and only absentee was Greg Davis.
The team Seeker, Tim Bailey, was seated a little on the side, next to what was probably Cat's seat. He had joined Puddlemere approximately at the same time as Cat, and they were the two youngest on the teams. This had created a link between them: they were the pranksters, trying to get the others to swallow puking pastilles or dropping itching powder down their robes. They had a pranking competition going since the beginning of the year, and to Cat's great joy, she was winning.
"Hi," I called out while crossing the room. They gaped, and I'm pretty sure I heard I heard Tim snort. Oliver followed suit, provoking real laughter.
"Aren't you a sight for sore eyes?" Ben was the only one still able to speak.
"Laps, Peters." The laughter followed us into the pool room, ad was silenced as the door closed behind us.
Well, way to go awkward. Please, I insist, remind me to kill Cat. Whatever, that wasn't the point right now. Knowing the aforementioned girl, we weren't getting out of this room before we were clean. She has issues with dirt and filth.
"We should get this off before it dries," I pointed out to Oliver, stepping under the waterfall. It didn't matter whether or not he answered, I couldn't hear him anymore with my ears full of water. I bent down my head, letting the slimy crust – how classy! – be rinsed off my body. It didn't take much more than five minutes, to my relief.
I was about to move onto drier grounds when Oliver caught my arm. His mouth was moving, but I couldn't hear anything over the roar of the water. I shrugged my shoulders helplessly, and a frustrated look crossed his face before he pulled me out.
"You've still got a chocolate smear on your face."
I stuck my head inside the waterfall again for a moment. "Gone?"
"Nope," he brought his finger to my cheek. "Now yes."
"D'you know you have amazing eyes?" I blurted out stupidly. In my defence, I was too hungry, our faces were too close and his eyes really were beautiful.
What? They were. Light grey in the middle, with a darker outline, and tiny blue specks. Sigh.
Uh, no. Sorry. That did not just happen, you must be on an empty stomach too.
"So, uh, what are we still doing here?" Nice, smooth attempt to change subjects. I'm sure he didn't realise.
He motioned to the door. "We're locked in."
"Thank you, captain Obvious. Now for your sake, cover your ears with your hands."
"Nah, I've probably seen worse."
"It'll be your problem if you end up deaf." He only smirked. Poor thing. He really had no clue.
I cleared my throat, then roared at the top of my lungs "CARMEN MARGARITA RODRIGUEZ! IF YOU DON'T COME AND OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW I WILL CLIMB OUT THROW THE WINDOW AND GET BACK TO THE LOUNGE THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR TO MURDER YOU, AND THEN I WILL FEED YOUR BODY TO FLOBBERWORMS! I WILL ALSO PUBLISH YOUR DIARY AND LET THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW THAT YOU USED TO HAVE A CRUSH ON GILDEROY LOCKHART AND DOODLE CARMEN LOCKHART ALL OVER YOUR SCHOOLBOOKS? SO NOW GET OVER HEAR AND UNLOCK THIS BLOODY DOOR!"
All of that without breathing in the middle.
Oliver winced, shaking his head. "Maybe I should've taken your advice."
"It's not maybe, it's definitely. I grew up in a family where our normal decibel level was that of a Weird Sisters' concert. And I'm an only child..."
"Ah. That explains a lot."
I didn't get to ask what else it explained because the door opened, revealing an amused Cat. "You called? It seemed to me that I heard your melodious voice..."
I grinned at her. "Yes, I know, so melodious the Fat Lady would be jealous, you may have mentioned it once or twice."
Cat flashed a smile back at me. "Thank you for sparing my saliva. Now that the both of you are clean, do you want to come with us?"
"Where're you going?"
"Muggle club a few streets down to celebrate."
"I'd love to, but we're kind of sopping wet," I reminded her.
She waved it off. "Go get changed, we'll wait for you. But I'm not giving back your wands now." And away she went.
I stared at her retreating back in disbelief. No wands. That meant Oliver couldn't have access to the room that he used at our house. Meaning he had to use mine. At the same time as I was. He was obviously thinking the same thing, because he was blatantly staring at anything but me.
"I don't think we have the choice," I mumbled."Let's go?"
My room was just down the hallway, thin consolation. I knew there were no bras or underwear lying on the floor, I didn't keep a diary. I should be fine.
Cat, being the bitch she is, had left Oliver some clothes that were neatly folded at the foot of my bed. We had no options.
"So, I'm just going to shower," I broke the silence and fled to the bathroom.
When I came out, dressed, Oliver was looking at the pictures hanging up on the wall. He pointed to the snapshot on the far left.
"How old were you?"
I smiled. "Three." It was a picture of Cat and me sitting on the side of a sandpit, holding a book. We both had an intent look on our faces, and it seemed we were reading with interest, except that the book was upside down.
"And here?" He moved a few photographs across.
"Eleven, that's just before leaving for King's Cross. We almost missed the train because Cat's owl decided to shit on her robes and then she had to change... Speaking of which, do you want to shower?"
"Oh. Right. Yes." He disappeared from the room, and I was left facing the photographs. Other than a few baby snapshots of myself and my graduation picture with my parents, Cat was with me everywhere. Birthday parties, first days of school, holidays, she had always been there.
I moved over to my favourite picture. We must have been four, and were being held by each other's mother. Maya was standing in the middle, and we were all laughing, probably at a face my father had made behind Cat's father, who was taking the picture.
Our parents had met in Hogwarts. My mum, Louise, was the reckless, clumsy, beautiful Gryffindor. My dad and Cat's, Thomas and Matteo, were the smart but trouble-making Ravenclaws. Yes, that does actually exist, even though I was as surprised as you are. And Cat's mother Maria was the loyal, quiet, equally beautiful Hufflepuff. They somehow all ended up in detention one day, something about rain in Filch's office. It was only our fathers' fault, but mum and Maria happened to be there and committed the crime of laughing, so they were punished as well. Polishing the Great Hall wandless creates links, apparently, and voila! After my birth, my parents and I moved back to Belgium for two years because of my mother's job, before coming back to England and moving into one big country house with the Rodriguez family.
I was startled by the sound of Oliver's voice just behind me. "Can we go?"
I turned around to answer, and found myself centimetres from his face. Damn. He was closer than expected. And, as much as I hate to admit it, hot. Very. It must have been the eyes. I think I was going to hyperventilate.
Shut up, hormones.
"I just need to get my shoes," my voice faltered. I tried to move away, but tripped (I take a lot after my mother). It had to be the eyes. I never stumbled. I didn't have the time to fall though, because Oliver caught me by the waist.
I should have hated him. I should have wriggled away like I would have, or bit his neck again. But I didn't. I simply let him hold me. Because I fit in his arms.
Shit. Excuse me, nope. Didn't happen. It's the eyes I tell you.
"I really do need my shoes," I whispered.
"Oh." He let me go, with a twinge of regret on my part. Ugh. No! I needed to stop. Come on Kiwi, control. Breathe in, breath out, walk away, put the shoes on. Good girl.
"I'm ready now," I informed him.
As soon as we walked into the living room, Cat started drilling her orders around. We were Apparating a few hundred metres next to the club, and walking from there. By now, I think you know how things work with Cat. She orders, you obey. Within minutes we were where we were supposed to be.
On the dance floor.
I know, it sounds cliché. Deal with it.
I stood a little bit to the side at the beginning, holding a drink, just watching people and impregnating myself with the atmosphere. And then I saw it.
Oliver had been dragged away by some girl, if you can call it that. She was all glitter and short leather, straight brown hair following her every movement. Heavy makeup, fake boobs, fat ass. She was so vulgar, it was pitiful.
Sweet Merlin. I was jealous. Why? I didn't like Oliver Wood, I hated him!
Or at least that's what I was hopelessly trying to convince myself of.
Crap. This could not be happening. But then again, neither was some girl going to dance with him either.
I swallowed my drink in one gulp and stormed over to the couple. The slag, as I had spontaneously named her, was moving away from Oliver, just far enough for me to position myself in front of him. I sent her a threatening glare. Back off, bitch. I may hate him but you're not getting any closer.
Great. Alcohol kicking in now.
The music changed, slowing down, and I moved in closer to Oliver. He placed his hands on my hips, mine were around his neck. The song only lasted a few minutes, but it seemed like mere seconds.
I needed to get a grip on myself.
"I could do with a drink," I took a step back. We made our way to the bar, and soon enough two glasses were pushed in front of us.
It was definitely stronger than Firewhiskey because I don't remember a single thing after that.
I woke up with a throbbing head and a disgusting taste in my mouth. Where the hell am I? I was lying on a bed in an unknown room, and, crap, naked at that. And something was breathing down my neck.
Now. Just a moment before the lecture. I've already had sex before. If you really have to know, I was fourteen. Yes, I know, it's young, but we were both in love. That's not the question. I've also already had one night stands, and no, it's not the first time I find myself in such a situation – it already happened once. But it wasn't this bad, I remembered the guy vaguely and knew how things had fallen into place.
Not this time though. I had absolutely no idea. Had anything even happened?
Clutching the sheets to my body, I carefully turned around.
Lying next to me, apparently naked as well and snoring gently, was Oliver Wood.
A/N: So, here goes! Theories anybody? Suggestions? Favourite quotes? Do you think anything happened? And more importantly, what is going to happen when Oliver wakes up?
Please feed the charming box below a few words, they are well appreciated! Here's the deal: first person to review gets mentioned one way or another in the next chapter.
And I'd like to give a huge thank you for the feedback I got for chapter one! You're amazing :)
This chapter is in Cat's point of view.
Annoyingly perfect CI by broken&blue @TDA.
It was not a dream. Someone really was screaming my name. Brain a little fuzzy, I dragged myself out of bed, following the sound.
"CAT!" The shriek was more urgent this time, and I accelerated. It sounded like Kiwi. I stumbled into the living room, and stopped dead.
It was Kiwi, and the sofa she had fallen in was covered in blood.
"Shit," I rushed over to her side, "what happened?"
Both her hands were tightly pressed to her shoulder, and she moved them away for me to see.
"Splinched," she spat out through gritted teeth, "I would tell you the full story but it kind of hurts, you know?"
Kind of hurts... That girl really had a personal sense of humour. Half the flesh around her shoulder had disappeared, exposing the bone, and it was bleeding like there was no tomorrow.
"Don't move, I'm going to get Dittany. And don't touch the wound," I warned her.
"Where d'you expect me to go, the London marathon?" she winced in pain, balling her hands into fists. "Just hurry up, please... And don't literally go get it, you idiot, use a summoning spell!"
"Of course, sorry, Accio Dittany, you know it's not normal because you're the one injured but also the more rational of us two..." The small bottle flew into my hand and I quickly poured a few drops on her arm.
"Yes, well, I was always the smart one, remember?" The wound was closing up, thank Merlin.
"That's debatable," I smiled weakly at her. "Does it still hurt?"
"A bit, but nothing unbearable. Could you get the blood off? It makes me a bit sick..."
I quickly Tergeo'd everything off, then sat down on the floor next to the sofa. "So, what exactly happened?"
I didn't really know what to expect, but definitely not that she would blush.
"I don't know. I don't remember anything since last night, except that I woke up naked this morning with a naked Oliver Wood next to me."
"Excuse me?" I spluttered. "You slept with Oliver Wood?"
"I just told you, I don't know!" she exclaimed, annoyed. "I don't think we were in any fit state for anything to happen..."
I tried to stifle a laugh, but it didn't work. "Okay, so you may or may not have had sex with Wood. But you think you didn't, because you were wasted. What does this have to do with splinching?"
"Do you have to be so blunt?" she groaned. "Splinching has to do with the fact that I slipped out of bed as fast as I could, grabbed my clothes and Apparated away before Wood woke up, but that since I still have alcohol in my system I obviously screwed something up..."
"Or someone," I grinned cheekily at her.
"I would slap you," Kiwi glared at me, "but it hurts. Anyway, considering the state I'm in, I think I won't be accompanying you this evening, if that's okay."
"I'm not going either then."
"Cat, you have to. It was your first big match, you said so yourself, and people won't understand."
"Too bad for them, I'm not leaving you alone. I'll send Batsoulini to Oliver later today."
Batsoulini, in case you were wondering, is our royal eagle. I don't really like owls. I wanted to train an ostrich to deliver our mail, but for some reason Kiwi wasn't too keen about it. Then I tried to convince her into getting a pelican, but that didn't work out either. So we got Magnum, who is just as efficient as your random owl, except he scares people more, and only eats yoghurt. Yes, you heard me properly. We have a yoghurt eating mail delivering eagle.
"And what excuse are you going to use, if you do send him Batsoulini?" Kiwi asked me doubtfully.
"That you're violently sick, and that I didn't feel like leaving you alone."
"How elegant," she snorted, "thanks very much for that one."
"Well, would you rather have me tell him that you Splinched and then I tell him the reasons why?"
Her face grew stony. "Cat. I need you to promise you will not, ever, tell him about last night. Ever."
"Swear on your mother's grave." Whoa. She was more serious about this than I thought.
"I swear on my mother's grave that I will never tell Oliver Wood, or anyone but Maya, about the situation you woke up in this morning, or what may have happened during the night."
"Thanks. I'm fine with Maya knowing" She smiled. "And nothing happened, trust me."
She sounded so convinced I didn't dare say anything, but deep down I wasn't quite sure about that last part.
Kiwi's arm was fully healed by the end of the weekend, and on Monday we were both back at work. Yes, she works, didn't she say? She's a waitress in a Muggle restaurant. She doesn't think of it as a very rewarding job, which might explain why she didn't mention anything, but it pays for the rent. That's her argument, along with the fact that she's not going to continue that for much longer.
I went back to practice with no worries of having to face Oliver's questions. The note I had sent him was probably enough to dissuade him from asking: Oliver, I won't be over at the party this evening, I'm feeling a bit sick (don't ask, girl problems) and Kiwi's staying with me. I'll be back at practice on Monday, see you then!
I was right, he didn't ask anything. Note to self: always mention girl problems when you want to get away with something and are addressing a male human being.
It started off as a usual practice: Oliver talking, talking, talking away, all of us snoozing away a bit. Then an in-flight match simulation. Then a mock match, Tim, Nicholas and me against Greg, Benjy and Alexander. Then all of us against Oliver and Tim.
When we finally dismounted our brooms later that day, I was battered and bruised all over. Thanks, Greg, for hitting that Bludger away, but it would have been great had your Beater's bat not caught me in the ribs. Toss into the picture sweat, grass and mud, and you had a perfect representation of me.
That wasn't the point. The point was the conversation that was taking place just outside my door once I slipped out of the shower.
"Fuck dude, are you serious?" I recognised Benjy's voice. His question was followed my some mumblings I didn't understand, and I swiftly went over to my bag and popped some Extendable Ears into my own. Hey, being friends with Ginny Weasley had to have some advantages.
"But come on, you have to remember something," Benjy insisted.
"I don't, I've already told you!" Whoops. That was Oliver's voice. Three guesses on what they were talking about. Only the first one counts.
"Look, you don't just wake up naked in a crappy hotel in Diagon Alley and not remember how you ended there."
"Well, obviously, you do." He sounded more and more annoyed by the second.
"Okay, what happened before that?"
"At the club? I danced with Kim, then with some other girl, got her a drink and then I don't remember."
What? No! It was the other way around... But he didn't need to know that, and I listened more carefully.
"D'you think maybe you slept with her?"
"With Kim? No, I'd remember that."
"True, she is fucking hot. I wouldn't mind shagging her myself..."
I would have burst right out of the room to murder Ben on the spot had I not heard the next part.
First there was a whacking sound, followed by a loud exclamation.
If you ask me, it sounded like the squawk of a parrot being run over by a supermarket trolley.
"Sorry, I forgot you had feelings for her," Ben sniggered. Somebody had no sense of dignity, or of Oliver's limits.
... Excuse me, what?
"I do not have feelings for Kim Willows," Oliver growled. "You just don't talk about women like that."
"Yeah, yeah, of course. You wouldn't have reacted like that if I had said the same thing about Cat."
"Cat isn't a woman. She's a Quidditch player." Why thank you, you misogynistic bastard.
"Oliver, you know perfectly well what I mean. You may not love Kim, but you definitely feel something for her."
"How did we even get to Kim? I thought we were talking about what happened two nights ago?"
"For all you know, both things might be related."
"Ben, if you continue with your innuendo I'll tell Cat what you said about Kim and she'll cut your head off."
What an interesting idea. I hadn't even thought about that.
"No but come on, seriously, Oliver. I know you. You can't seriously let me believe that you don't act any different around Kim?"
"Oh for Pete's sake, will you just shut up about it? I may have had a bit of a crush on her when I was younger, but she was in second year, and the age difference was too big."
"It's still the same as it was," Ben interrupted. "Why don't you just admit that you like her?"
There was another whacking noise, similar to the first one. "How d'you want me to admit something that's not true?"
I almost heard Ben roll his eyes. "You are worse than I thought. But fine. Continue living with your illusions."
Footsteps followed that sentence, and I pulled the Extendable Ears out. What an instructive discussion. So Oliver Wood used to have a crush on Kiwi, when he was seventeen and she was twelve. No wonder nothing had happened though, it would have been shocking for ninety percent of the population of Hogwarts. But that wasn't a very surprising piece of information: Kiwi had sprouted like wild grass at a very young age, and by the time she was thirteen, she looked three years older. And of course, a vast majority of Hogwarts boys of all ages were drooling after her. Even Oliver Wood, apparently.
Was he lying about not having any feelings for her today? I had no idea. He acted the same around her as he did with me or Tim. I think. There might have been a bit of flirting going on between the two, but nothing specific. Plus Kim supposedly hated him. After the food fight I was more than doubtful about that, but let her say whatever she wanted. In my opinion, they would probably date sometime in the future, but it would probably be essentially physical and wouldn't last a very long time.
I decided to push the subject away for some time. They were both responsible (ish) adults, and they could manage on their own just fine.
Three weeks after that, Kiwi traitorously abandoned me for a weekend with her parents, and not wanting to stay alone, I invited Maya over.
Just like when we were younger, we cooked together that evening.
"You've changed," I said thoughtfully while sampling the empanada stuffing.
She laughed. "How?"
"Well, for a start you've cut your hair, when I've always seen you with long hair. And, I don't know, you're just more mature, with your training at Saint Mungo's under Healer Kirsty Simmons' orders, and your steady boyfriend. I feel like a child next to you."
"You are a child," she retorted playfully. "And maybe you just think I've changed because you don't see me all the time anymore."
"Yes, maybe. But there is something else, which I know you're not telling me, and that's the reason for the new you. So?"
"You are far too perceptive for your own good," she grinned at me. "Fine. I'm engaged."
"WHAT?! And I have to almost beg for you to tell me this? How dare you? I'm your favourite sister, you should tell me these things!"
"You're my only sister," she laughed. "Sorry, it's just a bit too soon, he only proposed yesterday."
"Tell me," I was jumping up and down, "in detail! Was it very romantic?"
"Nope, not at all. We were eating pasta in front of a movie and he just asked me."
"Are you kidding me?" I shrieked. She stared at me, surprised. "That is romantic! What was the movie?"
"But Maya, that's cute!"
"I never said it wasn't. You need to learn to control yourself."
"Can I see your ring? And can I be maid of honour?"
"Of course you'll be maid of honour, and here," she held out a hand that bore a delicate gold band with two diamonds on it.
"I want one too," I whined.
"You'll get one someday, don't worry. What's the smell?"
"Crap, dinner's burning!"
We manage to save the food, and settled down to eat.
"So," I confronted her, "when are you and Liam getting married?"
"Well, we were thinking March."
"So, since we're almost in November, that leaves you with a bit more than four months?"
"But that's nothing! You need a dress, I need a dress, bridesmaids need a dress, not forgetting flowers, food, location, finding a wizard who can marry you off..."
"Actually, we're getting married the Muggle way. In a church."
"Liam's parents are Muggles. Really Cat, don't you remember anything?"
"I do, I remember my name, age, and residence. That's already a lot for my small brain..."
She burst out laughing. "And you want to be maid of honour? You'd probably turn up in your Puddlemere robes half an hour late."
"I probably would," I agreed. "Seriously though, you want me to be maid of honour?"
"Who else could I ask?"
"Kiwi? Liam's brother?"
"Well, Kim's definitely going to be a bridesmaid, but not maid of honour, unless you suddenly do something very dumb in the coming months that makes me forbid you access to my wedding. Also, Jeremy is already Liam's best man, so that doesn't work either." Her face clouded. "And if mama had been here she would have killed me for not choosing you."
"What about you wear her dress?" I suggested quietly.
"She didn't keep it."
"Of course she did, it's in the attic at dad's place! How can you even think she would have thrown it away?"
"It's in the attic?" Merlin, for a Ravenclaw she could be really slow.
"Yes, I used to try it on as a kid, and after mama died it's the first thing I checked for."
Her mouth fell into a small O. "I thought dad had thrown it out. Do you think... Do you think it would fit?"
"I think so. It may need to be shortened a bit, but for all I remember you two have the same kind of frame."
"We're going tomorrow." It wasn't a question. Hey, at least now you realise the bossy thread runs in the family. It's not just me.
We chatted all night, lying on mattresses we had dragged into the living room, just like when we were children, going from dragons to Quidditch to boys to weddings. And of course, I told her about Kiwi. Her reaction was similar to mine. Ah, the wonders of great spirits meeting!
"She's obviously in denial. Okay, so maybe nothing happened, but the way she just assumes is ridiculous. Has she talked to Oliver?"
"Uh? Of course not, this is Kiwi we're talking about. But he doesn't remember anything either."
I then proceeded to tell her about the overheard conversation.
"He's in denial too, then, though it seems to be at a different scale," she pondered.
"In what sense?"
"Kiwi's only denying one night. Oliver is denying his feelings."
I sat bolt upright. "Maya! We can get Kiwi out of her denial phase!"
"Oh?" She sounded interested.
"You work on brain damage at Saint Mungo's!"
"Don't you learn anything about memory stabilisation?"
"No way. I am not stabilising Kiwi's memory for her to remember." Her voice was firm.
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," I sighed in defeat. "Though honestly I think she actually does want to know, except that she's afraid of the answer."
"And this, my friend, is the moment during which you demonstrate your perfect knowledge of Kiwi's psychology. Good night, Cat."
My sister was the best.
When Kiwi came back on Sunday evening, I had once and for all decided to drop the subject.
But have you noticed? Things rarely go as planned.
"So," she was sitting on one of the kitchen stools, mechanically stirring her tea around. "It turns out I do remember a few things from that night when I ended waking up next to Oliver."
"Oh?" I asked as carelessly as I could manage. I did not want to speak about this, I was going to end up spilling the beans to everyone.
"Cat." Her blue eyes bore a hole through my head. "Don't act like you don't give a shit, because I know it's not true."
I sat down on the stool next to hers. "Sorry. Yes. You remembered. Develop?"
"We did have sex." Her voice was barely audible.
I refrained a clamouring "I told you so!" and instead just asked: "How can you be sure? I mean, less than a month ago, you were positive nothing had happened, and now you say the opposite? Is there any fail-safe way that allows you to be one hundred percent sure this time? You know, just to..."
"Cat," she interrupted me quietly, "I'm sure I had sex because I'm pregnant."
A/N: Protego! I've been wanting to publish this chapter for quite some time now. I think there's nothing to say.
Kirsty Simmons - Her name comes from Kirsty, who was the first to review the previous chapter.
Batsoulini/Maria - I hope you're not mad that I named the eagle after you? If yes, I'll change it, and will find another way to include you into the story.
All of you guys rock: those who read, those who favourite and those who review. I cannot express my gratitude properly.
Review please? Even though you're probably sending death threats my way now!
It's so pretty. So, so pretty. And our sea star @TDA. made it.
Previously in Willows and Wood.
"Cat," I interrupted her quietly, "I'm sure I had sex because I'm pregnant."
She stared at me, eyes wide, then fell off her chair.
"Pregnant? As in, pregnant, pregnant?"
I gave a small nod.
"But," she was still on the floor, looking dazed. "Are you keeping it? And since when do you know?"
"I took the test yesterday, my period was a week and a half late. And I don't know," I bit my lip anxiously.
She stared at me curiously. "Shouldn't you be all over yourself crying with the pregnancy hormones and all that shit?"
"Obviously not, I just feel empty. And totally lost. What am I going to do?"
"Okay." She pulled herself back up. "Let's straighten things out a little. Are you absolutely sure it's Oliver's?"
"Are you going to keep it?"
"I don't know. I'm seventeen for crap's sake!"
"Let's put things another way. Do you want to get rid of it?"
"No!" I cried. Cat smiled a bit, and I followed her glance. My hands were instinctively crossed over my stomach.
"Well then, that much is settled. But are you going to tell Oliver?"
"What? No. No way in hell, no! It'll already be traumatising enough for this baby to be the product of a night neither of its genitors remember. On top of everything else it doesn't need to know that the said genitors hate each other, and the proximity Oliver and I have, without us being together, would make it grow up into an adult with severe psychological issues."
"Put that way, yes, I guess it's better for him not to know. But Kiwi, he is the father of that thing growing inside you, and he might want to know..."
"He's not knowing," I growled. "I'm staying away from Oliver Wood until I die. He's also responsible for this fucking situation, and I don't want him as a part of my life anymore."
"But it's too late! You're carrying his baby, Kiwi, he'll always be a part of your life, even though it's not direct. And if the situation is as bad as you present it, then why don't you abort and pretend nothing happened?"
"I don't want to abort! This is also my baby, and I'm not killing it off because I love it already!" I buried my face in my hands. "It's not the current situation that makes me desperate, it's how I got into it and with whom!" I looked back up at her. "Why did it have to be Wood?" I wailed.
She got up, opened a cupboard, pulled out a pack of speculoos, and tossed it over to me. "Eat these and shut up." I did as I was told. "Okay, so we're not telling Oliver. Now listen to me, because this is going to be your cover story. You had a fling, a one-night stand with some guy you met on that weekend with your parents. He's the father. And when the baby will be born, you say it was a bit premature, of about two weeks or so. And nobody will ever know."
"Okay. And that's the version for everyone. Including my Maya, and my parents." Look at what a good daughter I was, lying to my parents so they wouldn't have to see me as a slut who got pregnant when drunk.
Ouch. That just stung my ego. It was kind of true though. Except I wasn't a slut. Just an idiot. A pregnant, lying idiot.
Things quickly got worse. Though I was miraculously spared morning sickness, by the time I was eleven weeks pregnant it was already starting to show. Not much, of course, but for the skinny person that I was, it was too visible. The positive aspect of things was that it was the end of December by now, and I could hide away under thick sweaters and woolly shirts.
Christmas had passed and gone. I had celebrated with my parents, and things were just as they always were, except that I only got one glass of champagne. They had taken the news of my pregnancy surprisingly well. A few questions about the father, a slight look of disapproval, but they had been a huge support. I never had any problems with Christmas anyway.
No, it was New Year's Eve I was worrying about. Because the whole of the Puddlemere United Quidditch team was settling into my flat for the night.
I hadn't spoken to Oliver since the night at the club, fleeing team parties unless I was sure he wouldn't be there. I didn't have the choice this evening.
Cat was under the shower when the doorbell rang. Why hadn't whoever it was Apparated here?
"Coming," I called, wiping my hands on my apron before taking it off. I crossed the room and threw the door open, finding myself face to face with Oliver. Karma's a bitch.
"Hey," he greeted me breathlessly. Damn, he was sexy, snow sparkling off his jacket shoulders, his brown hair tousled and his grey eyes shining. He certainly didn't have the worst genes to transmit. "You look stunning."
I felt myself blush, and self-consciously adjusted my dress. It was more of an oversized t-shirt, gold with sequins sown all over it. It also hid my emerging baby bump perfectly. "Thanks?"
He quickly bent down and pressed his lips to my cheek. "You're welcome."
I stared blankly at him, cheeks flaming. This wasn't supposed to give me the butterflies. "What's with you tonight, Wood?"
"Nothing. So, do you need any help?"
"Nope, all done. And anything left can be done by wand."
"You mean you did all this without magic?" He glanced around the room, where streamers were hung up on the walls and steaming plates of food were waiting on the table.
"With Cat's help, but yes."
I rolled my eyes. "Because."
He just laughed, and I had to grin at him. "Can I get you a drink?" I asked him. I was hit with the memories of the night at the club, when he had bought me a drink and all that ensues. At the reminder of the baby I was carrying, my hands moved towards my stomach instinctively, and it took all my self-control to stop the movement.
"Please. Do you have white wine?"
By the time the glass was in his hand, Cat had come out of her bathroom, and Tim, Benjy and Nicholas had arrived as well.
"Why are you all arriving the Muggle way this evening?" I asked as I pulled the door open again, letting Greg in.
"Decided to this traditionally," he answered as he shook the slush out of his hair. I cringed away playfully, then punched his arm.
"Oi! Cat doesn't help do the cleaning around here!"
If she answered anything, I do not know, because the bell rang again and I had to go open the door.
"Hi Alex, everybody was waiting for you," I Tergeo'd the snow away.
"Well, just like you should," he declared.
I heard a collective snort, followed by Nicholas' mocking voice. "We weren't waiting for you, you arrogant prat, Cat just wouldn't let us touch the food while everybody wasn't here." To prove his point, he tossed a sushi up into the air and swallowed it.
It must have been a signal because the only sounds you heard immediately after that were munch, crunch, slurp. Ugh, Quidditch players.
At the end of the meal, everyone but me scattered around while I sent the remains to the kitchen, and stayed around the table to light a few candles. I didn't acknowledge Oliver's presence until I felt his breath on the side of my face.
I screamed. "Oliver! Do you have to be this close?"
"I'd love to move, but I'm stuck."
"What?" I tried to move aside, but my feet were as good as glued to the floor. Oh, no. My head snapped up, and sure enough, there it was.
Every year, during the Christmas period, magical mistletoe randomly sprout out over my and Cat's heads, disappearing if the pair underneath it kissed or just vanishing in thirty seconds if we were alone, but it had never lasted until the 31st of December before. Just my luck.
For the second time today, I had no choice. But maybe, this time, there was a loophole.
I stood up on my toes and gave Oliver a peck on the cheek. Bloody plant didn't move. Shit. There was no loophole. Only one possibility. And so I kissed him.
It should only have been a brief kiss. It was more than that, though not snogging. He tasted of cinnamon and wine, we were barely touching each other, and broke apart after a minute, but it was enough for me to get the butterflies again. What was wrong with me?
I looked up into his eyes, and he smiled at me. "Oliver, I..."
"You two, get over here," Cat's loud voice broke our bubble from the balcony, "fireworks are starting!"
What had I been going to do? I wasn't sure of it myself, but Cat's intervention had just saved me from saying something dumb.
The fireworks were beautiful, and we watched them like children, eyes wide and hands over our ears.
"I don't understand why they don't set the fireworks off at midnight though," Cat complained when we walked back inside.
"Because," Tim explained patiently for the fourth time, "they want younger kids to be able to watch as well, and kids are in bed at midnight."
"Well, that sucks."
"Oh, come on, we get our own at midnight," I reminded her.
Her eyes lit up at the thought of the magical fireworks that were invisible to Muggles, and she shut up on the subject after that.
Midnight came fast enough, and we all piled up on the balcony again, waiting. The first thing that burst into the sky was a dragon, an Antipodean Opaleye that spat out a jet of flames. The Opaleye was followed by a series of fantastic magical beasts, three quarters of which I don't even know the name. A last jet of silvery sparks erupted, and we all got ready to go back in.
"Wait," Oliver called out. "I think there's something left."
He was right. A phoenix was scratching its way out of what had to be representing ashes, and we watched it grow, then burst into flames.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that," I murmured.
"Neither have I," Greg admitted. "It's the first time they take things this far, I wonder who took care of the charms..."
"Countdown's starting!" Nicholas called out. "Ten, nine, eight..."
I closed my eyes. I wish for everything to be fine.
"Two, one... Happy New Year!" We were a flourish of hugging arms and screeching voices. Merlin bless silencing charms.
I heard a loud pop behind me, and saw Benjamin holding a steaming bottle. "Champagne everybody?"
We all sat on the balcony floor, drinking in silence. I watched Cat empty her glass quickly, then exchange with me.
Nicholas was the first to speak. "Any announcements for the coming year?"
"I've got a girlfriend," Benjamin offered with a sly grin.
"You always do," his brother countered. "That doesn't count."
"We're playing against Ioannina League in three months time," Oliver announced. This was followed by a collective exclamation.
"What?" Tim cried. "Why didn't you tell us earlier?"
"They hadn't confirmed before today."
"Ioannina is in Greece," Cat explained to me. "They've got a good team, and if we win we can make it to international competitions next year!"
"Where would we be playing? And when exactly?"
"We're going there, the match is on the fourth of April, so we'll be leaving on the twenty-third of March."
Maya's wedding was planned on the seventeenth march, so Cat would be fine. Oh. And my birthday was on the twenty-first of March. I would be alone. Insert pouting face here.
"Any more breaking news, that could counter what Oliver's just said?"
It was now or never.
There was a dead silence. And then a round of applause. I started breathing again.
"Who's the father?" I heard Alexander ask.
"You don't know him, it was a one-night stand in Belgium." I grinned slightly. "Elegant, isn't it?"
They laughed, and we switched to another subject. Phew. That part was done. Almost.
I say almost because I was cornered by Oliver when I went back inside for chocolate. The others had left already.
"Kim," he closed the door behind us, "why didn't you tell me anything? You're pregnant, and you still let me kiss you under the mistletoe."
"Are you calling me a slut?"
"No. It's just that you should be kissing this baby's father, not me." His grey gaze was unmoving.
Oh, the irony. "I'm not dating my child's father, Oliver, I barely even know what happened that night, and I can kiss whoever I like. I'm pregnant, not getting married. It's not like I was cheating on anyone."
"You don't remember?"
"Vaguely, but it's too late for that anyway. What matters now is that I'm going to be giving birth in a few months, and that I'm going to bring this baby up without his or her dad. And all of you guys will be there so there will be some testosterone around."
He grinned, the slightly lopsided smile I was getting so used to seeing. "True. But that'll force it into becoming a Quidditch player then..."
It was already in this child's genes anyway. "Yes, probably."
We were silent for a moment. "Have you had your first checkup yet?"
"No," I was a bit startled by his question. "It's tomorrow. Today," I remembered it was past midnight already. "Speaking of which, I need to talk to Cat."
"Yes, what about me?" she walked into the room at that moment.
"I've got my first checkup at Saint Mungo's later today. At five"
"What? Why didn't you tell me? I'm not going to be there!"
"I did tell you," I replied indignantly. "Where are you going?"
"Dad's, with Maya and Liam. We're trying to define the basic outline of the wedding. Kiwi, I'm sorry, but I can't back out of this," she looked truly apologetic.
"Shit, shit, shit, what do I do then?" There was no way I was capable of doing this on my own.
"Do you want me to be there?" Oliver asked quietly. My mouth fell. Him?
"If you say no, you're going to be alone," Cat pointed out. She was too helpful, it wasn't normal.
Bloody hell. Her ears were twitching. No way. She couldn't actually be doing this.
"Would you do that?" I turned to Oliver. Cat could go and die, I was never forgiving her.
"If I wasn't serious I wouldn't have asked."
I gave in. "Yes then. Please."
"I'll be seeing you in a few hours then. I'll Apparate here, okay?" I nodded weakly, he turned on his heel and Disapparated.
I immediately whipped round, facing Cat. "You knew I had this appointment! Why didn't you tell Maya you weren't free today?"
"I'm the one who suggested the date."
My jaw hit the floor. "Why?"
"So that I couldn't accompany you."
"Yes, and then?"
"Then Oliver could."
I expected as much, but it was worse hearing it out loud. "Cat, I thought we agreed not to implicate him in the whole situation."
"He's not implicated as your baby's father, he's coming as your friend, to support you. And you know you do want him there as the first of the two options."
As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. But she didn't need to know. "Fine," I threw my arms up in the air with irritation, "and what's he going to say when he realises my pregnancy stage and weekend in Belgium don't correspond?"
"You go to Belgium all the time, at least once a month. He won't ask any questions."
"I hate you."
"I know," she grinned. "It's for your good."
"Shut up. And give me the chocolate." It was the only thing that could make me less nervous than I was.
I should have probably eaten more chocolate because I was as jumpy as Hermione Granger before an exam when Oliver arrived with a pop at ten to five that afternoon.
"Is everything okay?" He watched me anxiously as I paced the room back and forth.
"Right," he caught me by the shoulders. "Go on, talk to me."
"Why would I want to do that?" I tried to get away from him.
"Because that's what I'm here for."
"Oliver Wood, counselling service," I muttered under my breath. He snorted. "I'm not okay because I'm pregnant, scared, alone and fucking seventeen."
"You're not alone. I'm here."
I had to give him that. Not knowing what to say, I shook him off and linked my fingers with his. "You are. Can we go?"
A moment later we were in Saint Mungo's, and I was still holding his hand. I tightened my grip around it as we walked over to the receptionist's desk.
"Yes?" she snapped.
"Kim Willows. I've got an appointment with Healer Weber." I sounded much more confident than I was.
"Wrong ward of the hospital," she didn't even bother to raise her head. "You're looking for the Morgana Ward, use the chimneys."
We did as we were told, and finally got to Ida Weber's office. She was a woman in her mid-forties, with frizzy brown hair streaked with grey and round glasses.
The gel she applied was cold, and I squirmed a bit like the ticklish person I was.
"So," she moved her wand over my stomach, "there are the feet, and that's the head. And there, you've got the little heart beating." The image was appearing in mid-air as she commented. "The foetus seems to be developing normally, I don't see any visible malformations, which should start appearing at this stage. Yes, everything is fine." She vanished the gel and the image shrunk to photo size. She handed it to me. "Now, as you enter your second trimester you're going to start putting on weight. I want you to take note every week, so that when we meet again in six weeks we can see how things are going along."
"That was easy," Oliver smiled at me as we came out. "Show the picture again?"
I handed it to him, and watched his smile grow even wider.
"She's going to be beautiful," he ran his finger along the outline of the baby's face.
"She?" I was surprised.
"Gut instinct. The father must have had good looks."
"You can't even imagine," I teased him. The lies were killing me, but I couldn't back out anymore.
"What, was he as hot as me? That can't be..."
"He was," I answered simply. "But you wouldn't be jealous."
He gave me the picture back, then stuffed his hands into his pockets. "So, where do we go now?"
"You didn't honestly think I was just accompanying you like that, did you? I had no reasons to, I've got no links with you and this baby other than friendly ones, so now you owe me."
"Fine. You decide where we're going."
"Well, there's a new Muggle cake thing a few streets close to Diagon Alley..." He looked at me hopefully.
"Cake it is then," I slipped my arm under his. "Are we walking?"
"Do you feel like it, in your condition?"
"Absolutely. Especially if I'm going to stuff my face with cake."
We walked arm in arm in silence, with an occasional shiver on my part – what was I thinking, wearing only a coat? When my teeth clattered for the sixth time, Oliver sighed, untied his scarf and wrapped it around my neck.
"Thanks," I whispered. The proximity with him made me nervous. "Will you be okay?"
He nodded. "I'm never cold."
"Neither am I, normally. I have polar bear blood."
We finally got to Oliver's cake shop, cheeks and noses red. He pushed the door open for me, and I sniffed the warm air appreciatively.
"Go and sit down, I'll go see if we can still order at this time," he pushed me towards the nearest table.
Great. It was a small, enclosed booth. Our knees would certainly be touching.
No, that didn't make me happy.
Okay, maybe it did. In any case the thought gave me those bloody butterflies once more. But only a little. Did that make me happy? I wasn't sure.
I sat down, restlessly drumming my fingers on the wooden surface of the table. Oliver came back, sliding into the seat next to mine. "Someone will be coming to take our order soon."
I was wrong, our knees were not touching. We were hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder. It wasn't butterflies anymore, it was magical fireworks.
A leggy blonde sauntered over to our table before I could say anything. "Hey, I'm Liz, and I'll be your waitress today. What can I get you?" She was looking only at Oliver, smiling flirtatiously, twirling her hair around her finger, and I felt my stomach tighten.
"Is a huge plate with a sampling of every kind of cake okay for you?" he turned to me. I nodded, not looking at him. "There's your answer, then," he waved Liz off without further ceremony. She left, swinging her ass with every step, while I scrunched up my nose in disgust.
"What's wrong with you?" Oliver nudged me.
"Nothing's wrong with me, I'm fine," I hissed.
A huge smile lit his face up. "You are jealous."
"I'm not," I grumbled.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever you say." Sodding git.
Liz was making her way back with a huge tray, and was it just me or had she hitched her skirt up higher on her thighs? Whore. Sorry, language, I know.
I rested my head on Oliver's shoulder, and felt him shake with silent laughter. What? I was tired.
As Liz got within hearing length, Oliver stopped laughing, and I heard him speak up, a little louder than necessary. "Can I see the ultrasound again?"
It was my turn to stifle a laugh. "Here," I pulled it out of my pocket.
Looking very pissed, Liz dropped the tray on our table without a word, and left. I'm pretty sure I saw her pull her skirt down on the way back to the counter.
"Better now?" Oliver teased me.
I buried my face into his arm. "Oh, shut up. And eat your cake."
"You should eat some too, it's delicious."
I looked at the plates. "I would, but there's no fork. And I don't fancy seeing Liz around anymore, thank you very much."
"You idiot. Here," he handed me the fork he was holding, "or you could just eat with your fingers."
"I'll take that, thanks," I took the fork from him and popped a piece of chocolate (obviously) cake into my mouth.
"This is going to be practical," he watched me as I took another piece.
"Couldn't we just duplicate it?"
"Too many Muggles. Doesn't matter, just give me some cake."
I stared at him disbelievingly. "I'm not feeding you, Wood."
"If I take that fork again I'm keeping it."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "I hate you."
"I know. And I love cake."
I burst out laughing, piled a huge piece of cake on the fork and stuffed it into his mouth without further preamble. "You're an idiot."
He nodded, incapable of talking, and I laughed even harder.
We stayed for almost two hours in that tiny booth, talking and sharing cake, before walking home.
I meant back to my flat. It wasn't our home.
He accompanied back me up to the door, and we stood there awkwardly, facing each other.
"Thanks for everything," I put my hand up to his cheek.
He turned his head a bit, kissing my fingers. "You're welcome."
Maybe I didn't hate Oliver Wood as much as I pretended to.
A/N: I'm sorry it has taken so long to update, it has been a hectic few weeks. But here I am, and here are Cat, and Kiwi, and Oliver.
Speaking of which: they kissed! Anybody else had a squee moment?
AND OH MY MERLIN! Kiwi and introspection about Oliver! It must be the hormones...
More Kiwood in the next chapter, I promise.
Ah, about that. I have never been pregnant in my life, and the next chapter is going to jump a few months just so that I spare you (and myself) a terrible description of pregnancies. But it will be good. Hopefully.
Will you be there? Will you leave this chapter a review? Has anyone ever tried speculoos? They're belgian biscuits, and if you've never tasted you're missing out on something.
You are all so wonderful, and I will never say it enough.
THANK YOU :)
Look at what Sjoeks @TDA. made for me - and you!
March arrived far too fast, and before I knew it we were the sixteenth already. Maya was sitting cross-legged on Cat's bed, while the latter pranced around her room, surveying me critically.
"I still think it's a bit tight," she sent a questioning glance at her sister.
Maya yawned. "The dress is fine, Cat, and I'm the bride. I decide, you minions agree."
Cat snorted, but gave in, pushing me towards the mirror. "I can't believe that since the last time you tried the dress on was only a week ago. You just get rounder and rounder..."
I pretended to slap her. "Thank you for reminding me that I look like a planet."
"You do not," Maya gaped at me with indignation. "Just get a proper view of yourself, will you?"
The dress was beautiful, made of burgundy silk that flowed down to my knees. It had no straps, and marked the space between my bump and my breasts. I smiled. "Maybe I don't look like a planet after all."
"You still like it?" Maya beamed.
"Love it?" She insisted.
"So you're in a good mood?"
"Cat, tell her."
"Hey, why me? We agreed you would be the one to tell!"
I rubbed my temples in frustration. "What is it you need to tell me?"
"Well," Cat started uncomfortably.
"The problem is that Liam's parents are very traditional," Maya continued. "So in your condition..."
"You couldn't have gone alone, and so basically, we just kind of, um..."
"Got you a date, who needs to pretend to be your fiancé and the father of this child."
"You... What?!" They had the decency to look ashamed. "Who in the name of fuck did you find that would accompany me, and pretend such a dumb thing?"
"He's not exactly pretending," Cat didn't dare cross my unfaltering gaze. "I've asked Oliver."
I let myself crumple into Cat's plush armchair next to the window, and buried my face into my hands. "What exactly did you tell him?"
"That Liam's parents were very traditional, wouldn't have you pregnant with a fatherless child at their son's wedding, and that he was the only civilised guy I could think of to chaperone you."
I groaned. "What about the reception and the night after the ceremony?"
"You'll have separate rooms, it's all arranged."
"Fine," I threw my hands up in irritation, "but I will get back at you for this. Both of you!"
They merely high-fived each other, and I couldn't help but laugh.
Still. That was going to be one awkward evening.
I fiddled nervously with the braid that hung over my shoulder. It had been decided that I would not be a bridesmaid, not that I minded too much. It just meant that here I was, playing couple with Oliver, and that I could not possibly have been more uncomfortable about the situation.
The ceremony was beautiful. Maya had walked up the aisle, radiating in her pearl white sheath, her short black hair spiking out at every angle, crowned by a wreath of white roses. And of course, being the pregnant emotional fool that I was, I cried when she and Liam exchanged vows.
All while holding Oliver's hand – Oliver who, might I add, looked irritatingly hot in a tux.
I was increasingly annoyed with my hormones by the time we settled down for dinner in the small castle that had been rented for the post-wedding reception. As if to worsen things, we were seated at the close family table, with the happy couple, Cat, her father, and, oh joy, Liam's parents, who seemed particularly keen on prying into the nonexistent relationship between Oliver and me like members of the Spanish Inquisition.
"So," Liam's mum started, "how long have you two been married?"
"We're actually not married yet," I said as calmly as I could muster. This woman made me want to pour my bowl of gazpacho all over her prim beige dress.
She gasped, horrified, and a neatly manicured hand flew up to her mouth. In comparison, my black and white fingernails looked bright. Yes, I had bicoloured fingernails. Let me be creative, will you?
"But goodness me, how do you justify your condition then?"
I was so very tempted to answer something along the lines of "You know, when a man and woman love each other very much", but Oliver got there first.
"It was an accident," he cut smoothly, "we were engaged before anything happened but when Kim found out she was pregnant we decided to postpone the wedding."
She nodded with compassion. "Of course, I fully understand. When is the baby due?"
"End of July," I unconsciously patted my bump.
"So you will be marrying soon after that, I suppose?"
"Probably in October or November. I prefer autumn weddings."
I stared at Oliver with disbelief. No, I had not been the one to say that last sentence.
Do not stare at me like that. It is not a sign that we are destined for one another.
"Ah," Liam's mother perked up, "the music is starting. I'm sure you want to dance, please do go ahead."
Oh, hooray. I am literally jumping with joy at the prospect. But Oliver obviously did not give a flying Hippogriff's ass about whether or not I wanted to dance as he had already grabbed my hand in his.
It had all started like this, I realised as he placed his hands around my waist. But no matter. He didn't know, and didn't need to. I wiped the thoughts away and smiled up at him.
"Can you even still hold me properly, with my small whale diameter?"
"You'll always fit in my arms," his grey eyes bore into mine.
I knew he was only saying this because he had to, but I got the butterflies again.
Wait, no. This was stronger than butterflies.
"Oliver," I whispered, "the baby is kicking."
"Stop saying she, you have no idea!"
"Whatever you say, Willows, I know it's a girl."
"Anyway, that's not the point. Would you give me a minute? The nasty little bugger, let's keep it gender neutral, just decided to press on my bladder."
He laughed, releasing me. "It's a she."
"Bullshit," I scoffed. "As soon as I get back here I'm willing to bet this is a boy."
Oliver was waiting for me just outside the loo, arms crossed and looking very pissed.
"Never, ever, leave me alone in such circumstances, I've been assaulted by three girls who seemed to imagine they would be the next brides."
I linked my fingers with his, laughing. "There. Do you feel safer now?"
He pulled me closer to him. "Yes. Come on, let's go outside."
We walked out to the gardens, still hand in hand. Music and light were streaming from the windows, and Oliver bowed down to me.
"May I have this dance?"
I blushed, but nodded, as a slower song came on.
Watching every motion in my foolish lover's game
On this endless ocean finally lovers know no shame
I was scarily aware of Oliver's touch burning through the fabric of my dress, our faces very close, my fingers playing with the hairs on his neck, as we twirled around.
Take my breath away
In romantic movies, this is the moment where the beautiful heroine leans forwards and kisses the bloke. In real life, that's when you slip on the damp grass and fall over on your arse.
I grinned at Oliver as I tried to stand up, then winced. "I think I might have sprained my ankle. Could you, uh…"
He crouched down, wrapping my arm around his shoulders, and helped me hobble up. "I think we should go back in before Cat sends a search party."
"Cat is probably dancing herself away, we shouldn't worry about her."
As it turns out, Cat was not dancing, but animatedly talking with someone I recognised as Liam's brother.
We had barely walked in when Maya's voice echoed loudly over the noise.
"Ladies, it's time for the bouquet throw!"
Oliver elbowed me, groaning. "Those are the bints from earlier, and I don't like the way they're eyeing me at all."
I looked over in the direction he was indicating, and, indeed, three girls were checking Oliver out, sending an occasional murderous glance my way. "Don't bother, I'm pregnant enough for them to stay away."
He let out a small laugh. "Maybe they still think I'd fall for them. How about we act more couple-like just for the sake of annoying the shit out of them?"
I scooted in a bit closer to him, while he possessively ensnared my waist, resting his hand on my hip. "Like this?"
He leaned in, brushing his lips against my temple. "I was thinking more like this..."
I grinned at him – I seemed to be doing that far too much lately – then gently pushed him away. "Stop making me lose my focus, I want to watch them fight till death for the bouquet."
Said bouquet had just been tossed into the air, and was currently flying straight into my face. All I had to do was keep my arms crossed, and someone else would be murdered for catching it. But no, my arms decided to act without my permission, and I suddenly found myself holding the bloody pursued object, Oliver holding me close enough for me not to get trampled.
The crowd dispersed, grumbling, while Cat walked straight up to me, smirking a smirk I did not wish to see.
"You do know that those flowers you caught are charmed, right? They truly do go to the person that will get married next."
I smacked her with the flowers.
Care to remind me why we were friends?
I stood in the doorway, disbelief clear on my face. This was Cat's definition of two rooms? It looked awfully similar to a single room with a lone king-sized bed. Oliver coughed uncomfortably.
"We can always split up the bed," he suggested.
"I don't think it's such a good idea," my tone said the exact opposite, "if Liam's mother decides to barge in tomorrow morning for whatever reason, she won't understand why we're not sleeping together, let alone how the bed separated itself."
"Fine, as you wish. Where are you pyjamas, in here?" He motioned to my leather bag, propped on an ornate chest of drawers.
"What pyjamas? I sleep naked," I declared as seriously as I could muster. Oliver turned a deep shade of maroon. "I'm joking, Oliver. Yes, they're in the bag, could you please hand it over?"
The pyjamas I had packed were suitable for the occasion: plaid chequered blue and grey trousers, and a grey tank top. No lace, no frills. Thank Merlin.
I was quick to snuggle under the covers after showering and casting a spell over my ankle, a book in hand. I'd been wanting to settle down and read it for quite some time, and was fully captivated by it by the time Oliver walked out of the bathroom, wearing a pair of boxer shorts and a grey shirt with Puddlemere lettering across it. If Cat saw us matching like this, she'd have the time of her life, only for the hundredth and fifty second time that day.
"What are you reading?" Oliver slipped under the covers next to me.
I tensed, nervous, while the baby gave a strong kick.
"It's called Arcadia, it's a play by Tom Stoppard."
"Oh. Is it good?"
"Yep," I put the book down, staring at Oliver curiously. "Can you say something?"
"Just say something. Anything, just speak."
"Okay," he sent me a glance that clearly stated that he thought I was mad. "Like what?"
The baby gave another powerful kick, and I winced.
"Nothing. I just wanted to check something."
We lapsed into silence, each of us staring at the ceiling.
"Kim, what're you going to call it?"
That was unexpected, and it took me a few moments to answer. "I don't know. Cecile. Elise. Sasha. Grace. Luke. Andrew. Aidan. Jerome."
"And until then, you're going to continue saying it?"
"I suppose so."
"We have a tradition in my family, you know. Nicknaming the baby."
I smiled. "What were you?"
"Leprechaun," he grinned. "My sister was Lilliputian."
"You have a sister?"
"Anna. She's twelve," his eyes sparkled. "Just made it as Chaser on the Gryffindor team."
"Quidditch runs in the family then," I teased.
"It's a religion," he agreed.
"What about Bludger?" I was struck by inspiration.
"Your nickname tradition. I like it. So what about Bludger for this one?" I indicated my stomach.
Oliver burst out laughing, and the baby kicked in agreement.
I knew it. It was reacting to Oliver's voice.
Merlin's polka-dotted purple sock.
Where does that leave me?
I didn't have much time to ponder, because Oliver had finally quieted down. "Bludger it is then. About Quidditch though, why don't you play?"
"I do, just in a less obsessed way you guys do. I'm a pretty good Seeker, I simply didn't want to make a career out of it."
"What do you want to do then?"
"I wanted to be a member of MLES, but when this pregnancy is over, and Bludger," I grinned, "is born, I highly doubt that'll be possible. I might become a teacher then, I don't know."
"But don't you like flying?"
"Of course I do! It's just not something I want to take as a professional. There are other things than Quidditch in life. I promise you," I nodded dramatically.
He played along, widening his eyes in mock horror. "You don't say!"
Pardon me? I do not giggle. Ever. Bitches giggle. Crystal giggles, which means relatively the same thing. But me? Hell no.
"You know," I mused, "I haven't flown since nearly six months."
The look on his face was not faked this time. "Six months?! Don't you miss it?"
"I haven't got the choice. I used the school brooms last year, I haven't got my own, and Cat's stays at Puddlemere all the time."
"Would you want to go flying?"
"Now?" I perked up.
"Why not?" Excitement lit Oliver's face up. 'I've got my broom with me."
I stared at him, eyebrows raised.
"I shrunk it, it's in my bag," he was already out of bed, having hopped into a pair of track pants, and was putting on his shoes. "Come on."
I gave it half a second of thought, but the prospect of flying again was too good to be refused. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head – well, would you look at that? A Puddlemere sweater! What a wonderful coincidence! – and a pair of old All Stars, while Oliver charmed his broom back to its normal size.
"Hold my arm, we'll Apparate to the roof and leave from there."
It was colder than I thought, but that didn't matter. I wrapped my arms around Oliver's chest, yes, if you must know he had amazingly defined abs that I could feel through the fabric of his shirt. That doesn't matter either.
"We're lucky," he pushed off the roof with his foot, "there are a lot of clouds, so we'll just fly through and over them."
I don't know how long we stayed in flight, but I hadn't felt this free since a very long time. We were quite reasonable: no diving, no loops, nothing that could have disturbed an apparently asleep Bludger. Flying wasn't recommended for pregnant women, though at this stage the risks were very limited.
Oliver turned his head around, grinning at me. "You do know we've almost reached France by this stage, right? We're approaching Normandy!"
I smiled back. "Should we get closer to the ground?"
He nodded, and manoeuvred the broom while I quickly cast a Disillusionment charm over our little expedition.
We were indeed in Normandy. I had come here as a child, on the beaches of D-Day. I happily took my shoes off, wiggling my toes in the damp sand, as Oliver shrunk his broom and slipped it into his pocket. We walked side by side to the sea, not making a noise.
The water was freezing, but I waded in nonetheless, rolling my trousers up to mid-thigh. "Your turn to follow me," I extended a hand out to Oliver, who was waiting uncertainly at the limit of the sand. He took his shoes off as well, discarding them next to mine, and walked over to where I was.
"I know, and so are you," I smiled brightly, linking my fingers with his. "We didn't come all the way over here to just go back."
We were knee-deep in the water by this stage, and Oliver pulled me close to him, gazing at the ink-black surface that spread before this.
We both opened our mouth at the same moment to speak, then shut it again, strongly resembling fish out of the water.
"Sorry, go on," I apologised.
"No, you start."
"Oliver, I insist."
"So do I, you start."
"Oh, just get on with it, will you, you stubborn..."
He was cut off as a tremendous wave knocked us both headfirst into the water.
I was the first to emerge, followed a few moments later by a spluttering Oliver. We both sat in the water in stunned silence, before simultaneously roaring with laughter. It was only after we stopped to breathe that I realised what an awkward position we were in.
I had fallen on top of him, and was sitting on his lap, facing him, one leg on each side of his body. How it was even possible to tangle ourselves like that underwater, I had no idea.
But you know what? At this stage, I was tired of lying to myself, of lying to others.
I pushed a strand of wet hair out of Oliver's eyes. My breath caught in my throat, as I realised exactly how close we were to one another: almost forehead to forehead.
"It doesn't matter," he interrupted me quietly. "It really doesn't."
And so I leaned in and kissed him.
A/N: Don't kill me, please. I will update soon, but my life has been hectic at the moment, and I barely have the time to write, except on the weekend. Stick with me?
A few questions for you: boy or girl? What'll Bludger really be called? What's going to happen now that Kim and Oliver have kissed - twice in two chapters now, and this one was not for the mistletoe!
Liam's mum? Gazpacho down her dress as well?
I do not own the song Take My Breath Away by Berlin (it's also the soundtrack of the movie Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson). Arcadia is the property of Tom Stoppard.
I certainly don't own Normandy.
Oh, I also wanted to warn you: I'm getting CIs for this story. If you see it pop up as updated, it'll probably be because of that. Chapter 3 now has a beautiful image of Cat.
Don't forget to leave a review, they are the best moments of my long and tedious days. You all rock my socks :)
And so I leaned in and kissed him.
Oliver’s eyes widened in surprise, but he kissed me back instantly. I smiled against his lips, perfectly aware of the shivers going up my spine that had nothing to do with the cold water. However, as quickly as it had started, the kiss was broken as Oliver pulled away.
“Kim, what are you doing?”
“I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that I should have done this before.”
The left corner of his mouth lifted up a little. “Why, am I that good a kisser?”
I snorted derisively. “Perhaps.”
“Maybe you haven’t had enough to give an assured answer,” he breathed, a hairline away from mouth.
“Bring it on, Wood.”
He grinned, briefly pressing his lips to mine, before drawing back immediately with a horrified look on his face.
“I’m sorry, Kim, I can’t do this.”
I stared him straight in the eye, hurt. “Why?”
“It makes me feel like shit using you like this.”
“Look, Oliver,” I grabbed his chin and forced him to look at me. “I’m the one who kissed you in the first place, and it didn’t feel like you were using me.”
I silenced him with a kiss, and this time he responded fiercely, prying my mouth open with his while I let my hands roam under his shirt.
When we did stop for breath, I let out a shaky laugh. “We’re still sitting in the middle sea.”
He smiled at me. “Do you want to go back?”
“Nope. But I think we shouldn’t stay here either.”
“Where to then?”
The Hôtel du Port was a small building by the docks, and the receptionist looked barely surprised as Oliver and I walked in past two in the morning, dripping wet and cheeks red.
“Chambre 18, deuxième étage,” she handed me a key. “Il y a des serviettes propres et un sèche-cheveux.”
“Merci,” I thanked her. In my normal state, I would have been worried about her opinion of us, but I actually couldn’t care less.
The room was small, painted blue, and beams were visible on the ceiling. The door shut with a soft thud behind us, and we were alone.
It seemed different in the artificial lighting of the room, more awkward, less plausible.
“I’m going to shower,” I whispered. I didn’t dare be brusque, for fear of sending Oliver running away full speed.
There was no need to worry: when I came out of the bathroom five minutes later wrapped in a towel, he was still there.
“This seems to become some kind of routine,” Oliver grinned at me before closing the door.
I rapidly conjured up a pair of cotton sorts and a large shirt, and once I’d dried my clothes I sat on the bed cross-legged, thinking.
I would have to tell Oliver the truth soon if I wanted to build something with him. I couldn’t wait too long, but it was out of the question that I would tell him tonight. I needed him with me, and knowing his temper I wasn’t sure he’d stay when he’d found out I had been lying to him for the past five months.
I didn’t have the time to ponder any longer because Oliver was back already. He sat down opposite of me, copying my posture.
“You look worried.”
“I’m okay. Sleepy, but otherwise fine.”
He frowned a little, but it quickly disappeared, as he leant back into the pillows, arm crossed behind his head. I followed suit, naturally resting my head on his shoulder.
“So,” his breath tickled the top of my head, “how long have you liked me?”
I choked. “How presumptuous can you get?”
“Very. Answer the question.”
I felt myself go red. “I don’t know.”
“You’re lying. Tell me.”
I didn’t even have to look at him to hear the smirk in his voice. “I had a crush on you in first and second year,” I mumbled.
“What happened afterwards?”
“You left, and I didn’t have you thrust under my eyes at every corner.” He didn’t need to know that I read the articles about him in Quidditch Weekly for the following six months.
“You’ve waited seven years?” He sounded disbelieving.
“Oi, don’t give yourself too much credit! I’ve dated since then, and thoughts of you were not present in my brain when I was being snogged. What about you?”
“How long have you been waiting for me to kiss you?” I teased.
I shot up, staring at him with eyes the size of Hagrid’s plates. “Last summer?!”
He had gone an interesting shade of red. “When we came to scout the Gryffindor versus Hufflepuff match at the end of the year. I recognised you when you hurtled down onto the pitch after Cat fell off her broom. Let’s just say you hadn’t gotten uglier.” I squirmed, uneasy, but he continued. “And then there was that game against the Tornadoes, and I decided to test you. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but that bite mark stung for a few days. After that you decided to Apparate into my changing room; then there was that food fight followed by the conversation by the pool and in your room, and I started to think we could get along quite well. And then you told us all you were pregnant, and I realised you were inaccessible to me.”
I opened my mouth to retort, but was cut off by Oliver bringing a finger to my lips. “I’m going to kiss you now, before getting even more sentimental.”
He caught my wrists and pulled me onto him, careful of not squashing Bludger who had been surprisingly calm since our walk to the hotel. There was nothing awkward about my straddling him this time, and Cat would not be walking in.
I really should have started kissing Oliver Wood sooner than this.
I was woken up by his regular breathing down my neck. We seemed to be repeating so many situations we had both been in before, it was almost frightening. Except that I felt no need to flee today. His arm was slung over me, pinning me to the bed, and I felt safe.
It took about half an hour for Oliver to wake up as well.
“Morning,” he whispered into my hair. His grasp loosened, and I turned to face him.
“You too,” I smiled. “What time is it?”
He yawned, but rolled onto his back to get a proper look at his watch. “Noon.”
“Cat must be worrying herself sick,” I bit my lip nervously. “I should let her know where we are.”
I motioned to get out of bed, but Oliver caught me before I could do anything. “Stay,” he grumbled sleepily.
I sighed, but snuggled into him nonetheless. He put his hands back around me, and I quickly felt his chest rising and falling against my back.
I was starting to fall asleep as well when his hands started creeping up my shirt. So the nasty bastard hadn’t been sleeping…
“Please proceed, I’m fast asleep,” I muttered for the sake of it. It’s not like I truly disliked it.
“Are you then? So you won’t mind if I do this,” his fingers crept up to my bra, leaving a tingling trail behind them, “or this,” he kissed my neck, “or this?” His fingers moved to the clasp of said bra.
I didn’t answer, smiling into the pillows as his fingers traced light patterns on my skin. He continued this game for quite some time, waiting for an inexistent reaction on my part. Let him get frustrated.
I was absolutely not expecting him to nip at my earlobe, and at that I let out a very small gasp. He heard it though, and I almost heard his devilish smile in return.
Satisfied, he rolled me onto my back, locking his grey eyes with my blue ones. I struggled to keep an emotionless face on, and his smile vanished, replaced by a look of intense irritation.
“Such a tease,” he grunted, easing my shirt up to reveal my stomach. He planted a kiss on my belly button, leaving is lips to linger there for a moment.
Bludger kicked him in the face.
“What the fuck was that?” he massaged the corner of his lip.
“That would be the baby kicking,” I sat up, looking at him worriedly.
“Doesn’t it hurt you?”
“I’ve gotten used to it.”
“You should get a statue.” His eyes started twinkling mischievously as he looked at me. “Although not one of you in the state you’re going to be in soon.”
He leaned forward, tugging my t-shirt over my head, then sent me tumbling backwards with a simple push of his hand. “Let’s see if you can still play hard to get now.” He lowered himself on top of me carefully, kissing my collarbone, moving closer and closer to my breasts, while my heart thumped wildly against my ribcage.
When his mouth made contact with the crease in between my breasts, I moaned before I could stop myself, and almost knocked Oliver off the bed with the force I kissed him with.
I knotted my fingers in his hair while he unclasped my bra – finally – and pried my lips open with his tongue. Somewhere in the process his shirt landed at the other end of the room. We were so deeply concentrated on the snogging that I barely realised when we fell off the bed, landing on the floor, hands still all over one another.
I tugged at the waistband of his boxers while he pulled my shorts down.
I couldn’t get pregnant anyway.
I lay on the floor next to Oliver, breathing heavily, the bed sheets sprawled out under our naked bodies.
“That went a bit fast, didn’t it?” He was also trying to pick up a normal breathing rhythm again.
“Maybe. Months of URST as Cat would put it.”
“Unresolved sexual tension.”
He laughed. “That must be it.” His face grew more serious again. “Promise me I didn’t force you into anything.”
“Oliver, you have to stop thinking that just because there’s a six year difference between us I’m incapable of making decisions. No, you didn’t force me, and I think that was quite obvious.”
He waggled his eyebrows at me. “I do remember you telling me some time ago you had powerful lungs, but I hadn’t realised it also applied to this kind of situation.”
I felt my cheeks burn, but sniffed disdainfully. “Yeah, that wasn’t too bad.”
“Don’t start again,” Oliver warned me, “or I’ll feel obliged to prove you wrong, and as much as I would like to, I think we should really be getting back to London.”
As it turns out, we didn’t go back immediately after that. There were more, ahem, interesting things to do.
Cat wasn’t back at the flat yet. Oliver and I had thought it was more practical to go there, though not particularly polite towards Maya and Liam. I’d apologise to them later. Knowing Maya, she would frown until I told her the reasons for my disappearance.
We were both sitting on my bed, my head in Oliver’s lap.
“We need to decide where that leaves us,” I informed him.
He stopped drawing circles on my stomach with his thumb. “You tell me. Do we call this a one-day stand?”
“I think,” I blushed, “that I wouldn’t mind seeing you again in this kind of context, Mister Wood.”
“Neither would I, Miss Willows.”
“What about the others though? Do we tell them? It seems a bit premature…”
“How about we don’t tell them before Ioannina, see if they figure it out for themselves?” I shrugged, undecided. “It also makes matters more exciting for us,” Oliver lowered his voice to a seductive growl.
I went even redder, but grinned. “I feel like I’m some sort of scarlet woman.”
“Scarlet woman? What kind of person says that apart from Madam Pince?”
I laughed at the memory of the Hogwarts librarian, and Oliver continued, screeching in a high-pitched voice. “Students canoodling in the library! Out! OUT!”
A sudden crash came from the corridor, and I clamped a hand to his mouth. “Cat,” I whispered. “You have to go, now.”
He nodded and stood up, but, instead of Apparating away, went straight into my closet, pulling the door closed.
My mouth fell open, but I quickly recomposed myself, just as Cat walked into the room.
“Well,” she tapped her foot insistently, “where were you today, young lady?”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that yesterday I couldn’t bear to sleep with Wood so I Apparated back here, and this morning I felt terrible because the baby kicked all night, and I’ve only been asleep between eight this morning and half an hour ago.”
She seemed sceptical, but didn’t question my terrible excuse. “What about Wood?”
“What do you mean, what about Wood?” Using his family name seemed extremely unnatural now.
“Why wasn’t he there either?”
“I don’t know, I wasn’t with him! Maybe he felt uncomfortable being there and having to explain my absence to Liam’s mum.”
Cat’s foot stopped moving, and I knew this battle was won. “That woman is terrible. She asked me what kind of job I was going to get when my little Quidditch frenzy,” she drew speech marks in the air, “was over. She also tutted because apparently my ring wasn’t colour-coordinated with my shoes last night, and this morning I could see her counting the number of sugars I put in my coffee.”
I laughed. “How was she with Maya?”
Cat shook her head. “Even worse. Asked her when she was going to start popping out children, and invited herself over for tea this afternoon at their place. Maya begged me and Dad to be there as well, I should be leaving soon.”
“How long are you leaving?”
“Two hours, why? Do you want to be there?”
“No thanks,” I scoffed, “not with Liam’s mother around. It’s just that you still have you suitcase for Ioannina to prepare.”
“Plenty of time,” she waved the fact away. “Okay. I’ll see you this evening, I’ve invited the team over. The first few people might turn up while I’m not there yet, can you let them in?”
“Sure thing. Have fun!” I called as she spun around on her heel. She still had the time to flash me the finger.
Oliver was next to me as soon as Cat had disappeared. “So, I’m supposed to be here this evening, am I?”
“Mmhm,” I was already unbuttoning his shirt. “That means no one will over know you were here before that.”
He grinned at me. “Are we perhaps having issues controlling our hormones, Kim Bethany?”
I pulled him to me by the collar. “Maybe. Does anybody care? No. Do you mind? Certainly not. Do I? Fuck no. Are you a good shag? That is yet to be determined.”
Oliver let out a roar, before kissing me hard.
I’d won again.
Although seeing as it was the third time that day, I’d say this was beneficial for both of us.
Cat came back from practice on the twentieth with a bright smile on her face.
“What’s going on?” I asked wearily. I hadn’t been able to see Oliver for two days, and as much as I hated to admit it, I was missing him already. Oh, of course I had seen him, but it was always in the presence of the others or from a distance and kissing was absolutely out of the question. It made far more cranky than I would ever tell.
“We’re leaving tomorrow for Ioannina instead of in three days!”
“So I am going to be alone for my birthday, I don’t see how that’s thrilling news.”
“Oh, that. You’re coming with us.”
“Well, Tim pointed out that for the press you were Oliver’s fiancée, and that your absence at such a big match for us would be strange. So, well, there you go.”
I was overly happy, but common sense reminded me that being referred to as Oliver’s fiancée would have annoyed the shit out of my normal self. “Wait. Does that mean I have to share a room with Wood again?”
“Yeah,” Cat looked apologetic, “and there’s no way for you to get out of this one. Though we are going to a wizard hotel, so you will able to use magic and split the bed.”
“Well, I’ll have to deal with it, but I’d rather that than stay here and mope with a tub of Häagen Dazs.”
“I guessed as much,” Cat clapped her hands excitedly. “Now go and pack!”
Ioannina was beautiful. The lakeside was still green at this time of the year, the sky blue and free of clouds save from a few wispy strands, and temperatures were high enough for reckless people like Puddlemere team members and myself to go swimming.
As soon as the Portkey had made us all land in the front hall of the hotel, Oliver got down to business.
“So, I’m going to go and see the stadium. Who wants to go?”
There was a chorus of groans. Greg eventually spoke up. “Listen, mate, we’re all tired, and the swimming pool here is too interesting. Get Kim to go with you if you want, but we’re not moving.”
In a scary simultaneous movement, everyone else nodded, while Oliver looked at me expectantly. I sighed. “Fine, I’ll go, but I will get back at you for this. All of you owe me.”
Cat shrugged. “It’s your role here anyway. Hanging off Wood’s arm and acting like his fiancée. You accepted to come, deal with it.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “You’ll owe me more than anyone else, Carmen.”
She laughed, grabbed Tim by the arm and made her way towards the stairs, which I supposed led to the bedrooms. “Come on,” she called out, “let’s go get changed to swim while Kiwi here goes to analyse every blade of grass of Ioannina’s Quidditch pitch!”
They followed her, guffawing and talking loudly, while I caught hold of Oliver’s arm as we left the building behind us.
As soon as our feet hit the grass, Oliver caught my lips with his, and it took all of my remaining self-control –that is to say, very little – not to strip him naked then and there. I was a complete hormonal disaster.
“These past two days have been terrible,” I mumbled in between kisses. “We need to tell them the truth because I can’t go through this again.”
“Hooked already?” He kissed me again.
“Not as much as you are.”
He didn’t bother answering, merely crashing his lips to mine again.
When we finally stopped for air, lips swollen, Oliver smiled crookedly at me. “Happy birthday, love.”
“Thank you,” I kissed him briefly again. “Should we go and see the rest of the place then?”
Oliver paced the stadium notes in hand for the following four and a half hours, and I could see him placing his players on the pitch as he moved, while I watched him from the commentator’s box.
Cat hadn’t been joking about him analysing every blade of grass.
When he finally joined me, I stretched with relief. “Are we leaving?”
“Nope. We haven’t seen the locker rooms yet, and I thought you might want to see them with me.”
I can be so innocent sometimes. Once we had walked in, I turned to him, bored. “So? It’s not very different from Puddlemere.”
He snorted. “I’m sure I can make this place more memorable than any locker room on this planet.”
Finally catching his train of thought, I started analysing my nails. “Oh? I would like to see that.”
“Are you playing this unconcerned act only to turn me on?”
I grinned maliciously at him. “Possibly. Is it working?”
He was pulling my shirt off even before he answered. “Fuck yes.”
I took his hands away, standing there only in my shorts and bra. “What about this, is it working?” I joined my elbows in front of my chest.
He eyed me hungrily. “Yes.”
“And if I do this?” I let my hands creep under his shirt, feeling him shiver.
“Yes,” he croaked.
“And now if I were to lean in to kiss you…”
I was pressed up against the lockers before I had a chance to finish my sentence.
I never found my left earring again.
“AND PAPADAKIS PASSE TO GIANOPOULOS, GIANOPOULOS TO SARKIS,SARKIS TO STAMOS, STAMOS THROWS THE QUAFFLE AND WOOD BLOCKS IT AGAIN! It’s still 90 to 70 for Puddlemere United, no, make that 100 to 70 because Rodriguez has just scored again. Jones catches the Quaffle – is that a Bluger? It was a Bludger, ladies and gentlemen, but Peters sent it towards Hero – Jones to the other Peters, Peters back to Rodriguez, Rodriguez to Jones and Alexander Jones scores!”
I bit my lip anxiously, watching as Sarkis caught the Quaffle mid air and tossed it through the hoops, scoring for Ioannina. The game was quite balanced: Puddlemere would score regularly, then Ioannina scored three or four goals in one go. And neither Tim nor Apollo Hero (poor guy, with a name like that) had spotted the Snitch yet, though the game had been on for over an hour.
Oliver had just let another goal through when the commentator’s voice echoed through the pitch: “It would seem that Bailey has spotted the Snitch! He is being closely tailed by Hero, nasty Herbert Barrel diversion there, Bailey accelerates, and… THERE WE GO, SUPERB TEMPLAR DIVE FOR BAILEY WHO CATCHES THE SNITCH! PUDDLEMERE WINNER BY 260 TO 100!”
The pitch roared with the shouts of everybody, while I jumped out of my seat and ran out of the VIP lodge and down the stairs to the player’s entrance, barging onto the pitch just as Oliver landed.
I threw myself into his arms. “You won,” I screamed loudly to cover the noise of the audience. “You bloody won!”
I didn’t even think about what I was doing, but I stood up on the tip of my toes and kissed him full on the mouth, Bludger kicking like crazy in between us. Oliver tossed his broom to the side, wrapping his arms around me.
In the midst of the voices of the hundreds of people watching us kiss, I heard Cat yell.
“Didn’t I bloody tell you so?! YOU ALL OWE ME A GALLEON!”
A/N: I know, it's about time! For them to get together, and for me to update!
I would love to hear your thoughts about this chapter,even if it's just one line.
And I know, Kiwi and Oliver are shagging like rabbits. Please remember she is controlled by the pregnancy hormones, and, on a side note, they have both been waiting for this far too long.
Reviews are love.
The receptionist's bit in French means "Room 18, second floor. There are clean towels and a hair-dryer."
In the midst of the voices of the hundreds of people watching us kiss, I heard Cat yell.
"Didn't I bloody tell you so?! YOU ALL OWE ME A GALLEON!"
"So," Cat plopped herself in the chair across from mine in the bar of the hotel, "tell me everything."
I grinned at her, taking a sip of Butterbeer. "You tell me first how you knew."
"Ugh," she rolled her eyes, "it was so obvious. First of all, you were far too happy about sharing a room with Oliver, secondly you didn't protest about having to go and see the pitch before the match, and thirdly, you've had extremely swollen lips every morning since we've been here. Now, how long?"
"Maya's wedding," I mumbled sheepishly.
She laughed. "Maya was right then."
"She deliberately put you in the same room, hoping this kind of situation would happen."
I choked on my drink. "This was planned out?"
"Of course it was! You and Oliver have been tiptoeing around one another for so long it was starting to be a pain in the ass, and we weren't going to stuff you in a broom cupboard when we had the possibility of getting you a bed."
"I should have you murdered."
"Hey! You should be thanking me," her eyes widened indignantly. "I'd better have your kid named after me in thanks."
"Shut up," I hissed, "I haven't told him yet!"
"I haven't told Oliver about Bludger's father."
"The nickname I gave the baby, it's a tradition in Oliver's family – never mind that, I haven't told him yet, so please keep your voice down."
"You are so whipped," Cat shook her head in amusement. "I won't mention the subject again, fine, but you have to tell him soon."
"I know. I will." I caught her doubtful eye. "I will, I promise. Don't give me that look."
"Whatever you say," she shrugged, "I'm only trying to help you, and I hope you know that."
"I do. I just don't know how to bring up something like that."
Cat squeezed my hand comfortingly. "You'll find a way, I'm sure. In the worst of cases you can always live like a puma for the rest of your life."
I snorted. "It's impossible to morph when pregnant."
"What are you two doing here, lazing around?" Benjamin's voice interrupted us. "We're leaving to eat!"
Cat elbowed him playfully in the ribs. "This is girl talk Ben, go away."
He batted his eyelashes at her. "Why? I'm a girl, how hurtful of you to think otherwise."
"Oh, excuse me, sweetie pie, that must be due to your over average pilosity," she placed a hand on his stubbly cheek. "Fine, Benjamina, we're coming."
"I think I might be sick," Cat moaned as we walked out of the restaurant. "That pizza was just too much."
"Honestly, woman, what pushed you to choose a pizza with bacon, chicken and barbecue sauce?" Nicholas scoffed. "You didn't have to wolf down half the onion rings and those carbonara fries before either."
"He has a point, you know. You could have gone for a salad like Kiwi," Tim poked her in the stomach.
"DON'T DO THAT! I'LL PUKE ON YOUR LEATHER SHOES!"
"Cat, stop being dramatic and drink this," I pulled a tiny blue bottle out of my handbag.
She gladly obeyed, and her face went less green in a matter of seconds. "Thanks Kiwi." And then she let out an ear-splitting shriek as Ben slung her over his back, holding her by the knees. "PUT ME DOWN, YOU BLITHERING IDIOT!" She pummelled his back with her fists.
Ben only laughed and continued walking. I'm pretty sure I heard him make a comment on Cat's ass.
I was distracted from their bickering as Oliver slung an arm around my shoulders.
"I haven't seen you much today," I smiled.
"I know, I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you later tonight," his hand slipped down my back to squeeze my arse.
"Oi," I slapped it away warningly. "Don't."
"Don't what? Touch your bum or make it up to you?"
"The first one – I'm totally fine with the second option…" I felt my cheeks heat up.
"Is that so?"
"Mmhm," I pressed my lips to his briefly.
"You know you can go into early labour sucking face like that," Cat called out from a few meters in front of us.
"Just because you're not getting any doesn't mean that we have to refrain from acting like a couple," I shot back.
"Who said I wasn't getting any?"
"I won't say," she taunted laughingly.
"Do I know him?"
"Have I met him more than once?"
"Yeppity yep yep!"
She laughed and resumed trying to escape Ben's grip.
Merlin. It couldn't be. Cat and Ben?
Note to self: investigate this later.
Oliver's lips on mine were more interesting right now.
We stepped into the hotel lobby, laughing like inebriated hyenas. A small Greek grandmother had tutted disapprovingly at Oliver and I kissing in public, so much to our regret we had broken apart and walked back to the hotel like civilised human beings – save for a small kiss every once in a while.
I was horrified to admit how easily Oliver turned me on.
"Well, I'm going to bed," my voice was an octave too high.
Cat, never ashamed, waggled her eyebrows at me. "If you had said to sleep, I would never have believed you."
I blushed, but ignored her. "See you tomorrow then…"
A chorus of good night answered me, and I was halfway up the stairs when a rough voice whispered in my ear.
"To bed, huh?"
"Why, Oliver, would you prefer the floor?" He only grunted in response. "What are the others going to say?" I turned to him in mock horror.
"Let them talk, I don't give a flying fuck." And with that, he hoisted me into his arms, carrying me to the bedroom we were sharing.
As soon as the door snapped shut, I fiercely attacked his mouth with mine. He answered eagerly, laying me on the bed, while I moved my hands to his shirt. It took us less than a minute to be both in our undergarments.
"So, Keeper Wood," I bit his neck, enjoying the way his hands pulled me closer in response, "I think you deserve to be congratulated for your victory, yes?"
The congratulations lasted all night.
I woke up to the bang of the door against the wall.
"Please tell me you guys aren't naked under those sheets," Cat violently opened the curtains.
"We are," I grumbled. "Go away."
"We're leaving for a visit in an hour and a half. You'd better be ready." She left as brusquely as she had entered.
"An hour and a half?" Oliver mumbled into my hair.
"You heard her," I stretched. "I'm going to shower."
He didn't move, instead closing his eyes again.
I paused at the bathroom door. "I said, I'm going to shower. Want to come?"
Oliver Wood has never run out of bed so fast.
I dropped my travel bag on the floor of the living room, stepping out of the fireplace. Bludger was kicking again, and I was starting to get a back ache.
Oliver and the boys had gone back to their respective flat; Cat was under the shower. I groaned. Where were the people who gave decent massages when you needed them?
I was huddled up in the sofa with a glass of juice when Cat walked in. My jaw dropped.
"Where are you going?"
"Oh. Erm. To Maya's place…" She fiddled with her hair uncomfortably.
"Dressed like that?" She was wearing tight red jeans, a denim shirt and platform shoes.
"Yes, I suppose?"
"Who is it?"
"Maya!" She insisted.
"If you're trying to seduce Liam, then I'll believe you."
"Fine, it's not Maya."
"Thank you, I figured that much. Tell me."
"Not yet," she bit her lip. "I'm not sure how this will develop, so I don't want to tell you. And you'd tell Oliver."
"True," I had to agree to that one, "but why does that matter?"
"Team members aren't allowed to date one another."
While I spat out my drink, she turned on her heel and Disapparated.
It was the beginning of June, I was eight months pregnant, and Oliver was still completely unaware of his role with Bludger.
It was a disaster.
For the past few days, Cat had been repeatedly nagging me to talk to Oliver, which is how I found myself sitting across from him in the kitchen of his flat.
"Is quiche okay for you? I can't really cook anything else…" He looked at me sheepishly.
"Fine," I didn't think I'd be eating much that evening anyway.
I watched, an increasing sense of panic rising in my stomach, as he busied himself around the kitchen, prancing around in an apron labelled "The best thing I could have for dinner is you".
"Who got you your apron?"
"Um, that would be Greg," he looked a bit embarrassed. "I got him boxers with 'Proceed with caution' written on them."
I let out a small laugh. "Thanks, I really needed to know what kind of boxers Gregory Davis owns; that was the piece of information that was missing for my life to be complete."
"He also has a pair that states 'You don't need to be a Seeker to find what's in here', if you're interested."
"Thank you, Oliver. How lovely to know. I don't go about describing my bras to you, do I?"
"Well, you don't need to," he pointed out. "I've seen them all already."
The stress was slowly fading, and I knew where this kind of discussion would lead. "I don't think so," I teased, unbuttoning one of the buttons of my shirt. "This one is new."
Oliver untied his apron, eyeing me with interest, while I pulled my shirt down a bit, revealing a little piece of black lace.
Cat had firmly insisted that I needed to have all "arguments" in my favour, the "argument" being a push-up lacy black bra and matching underwear, and a near transparent white shirt. Honestly.
Although I had to give her some credit: it was working better than I would have thought.
"Is it?" Oliver had moved closer to me, fingers toying with the skin just over the lace. "I think I would have a better look at you if I did this."
He pulled out his wand, and flicked it at me, muttering Auguamenti under his breath.
The shirt plastered itself to my skin almost immediately, turning completely transparent. Oliver smirked.
"Much better. Although I'm sure it would be even better if you took it off entirely." He peeled my shirt off slowly.
"The shirt, or the bra?" I asked as innocently as I could muster – yes, because one is not exactly innocent in such a situation, you know?
Needless to say we both ended up on the sofa, and the quiche was left to burn in the oven.
We had a dinner of takeaway Chinese food instead, and I was now comfortably snuggling against him, while he played with a small car on my bump.
"One month left…"
"It's going to be long," I sighed.
"I'm impressed, you know. You've made it through eight months of pregnancy without this kid's father to help you cope."
I sat up, taking a deep breath. "Well, in all honesty, not quite." My voice came out very quietly.
"What do you mean?" Oliver sat up as well, locking his gaze with mine.
"The child's father has been around."
"I thought you said you didn't know who the father was because you were drunk?"
"I was drunk. When the sex happened I mean… But I woke up the next morning and I know who I slept with."
Undeniable hurt flashed across Oliver's face. "Does he know?"
"That I'm pregnant, or that he's the dad?"
"Both." He seemed to be spitting out every word with pain.
"He knows I'm pregnant."
"When are you going to tell him he's the dad?"
"Soon." In, hmm, approximately a minute.
"I swear, if he refuses to take his responsibility as Bludger's father, I will find the bastard and pummel him into the ground until he's six feet under."
"That's going to prove to be difficult."
"Why? Do you think I'm not capable of fighting a bloke who shagged you, abandoned you with a baby growing inside your body and then refuses to man up?"
He was close to spitting fire, his eyes a stormy grey and his hands balled up into fists.
"No, Oliver, that's not what I meant," I choked out. "It's going to prove difficult because you can hardly pummel yourself into the ground."
A/N: Dun dun dun! How do you think Oliver will react? Who is Cat dating? What do you think of Oliver's apron and Greg's boxers?
I would love to hear your theories, thoughts and anything else, really!
I'm also going to shamelessly advertise myself... If you want to read a one-shot on Dominique and Louis Weasley aged six and three, it's up and it's called Bubbles.
"I swear, if he refuses to take his responsibility as Bludger's father, I will find the bastard and pummel him into the ground until he's six feet under."
"That's going to prove to be difficult."
"Why? Do you think I'm not capable of fighting a bloke who shagged you, abandoned you with a baby growing inside your body and then refuses to man up?"
He was close to spitting fire, his eyes a stormy grey and his hands balled up into fists.
"No, Oliver, that's not what I meant," I choked out. "It's going to prove difficult because you can hardly pummel yourself into the ground."
He stared at me blankly for a minute or two, unmoving, and I felt myself tense at his absence of reaction.
"What?" He finally croaked the word out.
"You're Bludger's father, Oliver," I whispered.
"No," he shook his head, "that's impossible. We never… Well, we did, but not eight months ago."
"The club we went to with the team. We were both hammered, and it just… happened," I finished lamely.
"No, no, no! I can't have done this to you!" I didn't answer him. "I can't have gotten you pregnant and left you alone to cope afterwards."
"But you didn't leave me alone," I pointed out quietly. "You were there for all the ultrasounds, you were there when I had panic attacks, you even found the nickname for the baby!"
"Cat knew." It wasn't a question. "That's what all the allusions were for, all the awkward situations we were in. Why didn't you tell me before, Kim?"
"I was afraid," I stammered. "At first it was because I was ashamed of myself, then because I didn't want to feel like I was forcing you into anything, and then it was because I didn't want to ruin what we had."
"Oh," he snapped bitterly, "really? You know what relationships are based on? Trust, fucking trust. I trusted you, you know? And now I find out that you've been lying to me for months, and you say it was to protect our relationship? What a load of fucking bullshit!"
Anger bubbled in me immediately. "Well, what was I supposed to do?'Good morning, Wood, we shagged last night – don't bother trying to remember, we were both so drunk it's a miracle we even managed to do something – and here I am, carrying your spawn', would that have gone down okay with you? Have you even considered what I might have felt like, lying to you? Do you think I wanted to? Do you think I wanted to be pregnant? DID I HAVE A FUCKING CHOICE? NO! I JUST HAD TO COPE WITH IT, DEBATING WHETHER OR NOT I TOLD YOU, BECAUSE I WAS TERRIFIED YOU WOULD REACT LIKE THIS!" I was screaming my last words.
"WY DIDN'T YOU GET AN ABORTION THEN, IF IT WAS SUCH A PAIN?" He roared straight back at me.
"YOU FUCKING TWAT, I DIDN'T WANT TO GET RID OF THIS CHILD BECAUSE IT WAS YOURS AND I THINK I WAS ALREADY IN LOVE WITH YOU AT THE TIME!"
A stunned silence followed my words. Was that what it had been, all this time? Love?
Oliver opened and shut his mouth stupidly a few times, but I cut him off. "Whatever you have to say, Wood, I don't want to hear it. You've caused enough damage in my life, and I won't stand being hurt by you again."
He crossed his arms determinedly. "You know what, Willows? I think I may have loved you too, but that was before I found out you were a lying bitch. I don't want you in my life either."
I punched him full on the nose, and immediately turned on my heel, Disapparating to the safety of my flat.
Cat was reading a magazine on the sofa, and jumped out of her seat as I materialised, catching me before I crumpled to the ground.
"Are you out of your mind? You can't Apparate when you're eight months pregnant." She then looked at me properly. "Kiwi, what happened?"
"I told Oliver," I told her angrily. "We're done and I don't ever want to see him again."
And at that, I promptly burst out crying, hot tears rolling down my cheeks, my body racked with sobs.
Cat pulled me into a hug, letting me cry into the crook of her neck, not saying anything.
"I've ruined everything," I whispered. "He loved me and I've ruined it."
I was nothing but a piece of shit.
After that, Cat had put me to bed.
"We'll talk about it tomorrow."
I woke up with red and puffy eyes.
I still felt like a piece of shit.
"I can't ever see him again. I won't see him again," I muttered forcefully.
"You'll have to," Cat interjected. We were sitting in the kitchen again.
Poor kitchen. If it were a live being it would probably need a therapy by now, with all the things Cat and I had debriefed here.
"You'll have to see him again, it's impossible for you not to. Unless…" She bit her lip hesitantly.
"Unless you leave London."
"What? Where would I go? And what about the baby?"
"The Canadian board of directors for Mapley's Academy of Magic are looking for newly graduated exchange students, in a program for International Magical Cooperation, you should owl them to ask if you could apply."
I gaped at her. "But… What about you?"
"I'll have to stay," she smiled wryly. "I can't quit the team, or Maya, or Dad."
I couldn't leave, not without Cat. Could I?
"Look," she took a deep breath. "If it's what you want, then go for it."
"I need to think about it," I muttered.
But deep down, my mind was made.
Dear Miss Willows,
The Mapley Academy of Magic is planning to provide individual lodging for the students participating in our exchange program. Therefore, we are happy to announce that your application has been received and validated, even with your pregnancy. Attached to this letter you will find a list of the required supplies for your year with us and a form that you must fill in for housing.
Please do not hesitate to owl us if you have any questions. We await your arrival with pleasure.
Tabitha Green, Headmistress of Mapley Academy of Magic.
"Maman," I hissed at her, "I can make my suitcase alone."
"Kiwi, that's enough. You obviously can't, seeing as you haven't even thought of packing a blanket for the baby." She looked at me with concern. "Are you sure about this?"
"Does this have anything to do with the baby's father?"
"No," I lied.
She gave me a steely glance that had always scared the shit out of me. A glance that clearly stated I am your mother, young lady, don't give me any of that.
"Yes," I admitted.
"You told him, didn't you? And he didn't take it well." Tears brimmed up again, and she put a comforting arm around my shoulders. "Don't worry. We're here for you."
I only wanted to have Oliver back.
"You know, when I told your father I was pregnant, he ran away from the house for two days."
"He did? Why?"
"He was afraid," she shrugged. "But he came back despite that."
"I don't think he'll come back, Maman."
"On ne sait jamais*," she tucked a strand of my hair behind my ear and resumed packing.
As she zipped the bag shut, I turned to her again. "What if I'm a terrible mother?"
"You won't," she asserted.
"How do you know?"
"You've been educated properly," she asserted firmly, "therefore you should be able to transmit the same to your child. But even without that, you are kind, gentle, loving and protective; as your mother I know that with such qualities you will not have any difficulties bringing a child up, even without the father."
I rested my head on her shoulder. "You and Papa will make fantastic grandparents."
"And she'll have the most awesome godmother ever," Cat walked into the room, clean laundry piled up in her arms. She unceremoniously dropped it on the bed and wrapped her arms around us both. "Trust me Kiwi. You'll be fine."
If anyone were to stick their head in the room, he or she would have smiled at the three women, two blonds, one black-haired, hugging like their lives depended on it.
"I'm back!" Cat walked out of the fireplace in her Puddlemere robes. My heart tightened at the sight. "The boys have been asking about you. Then Oliver starts scowling and drilling orders for us to stop chatting like old ladies, but today Tim got annoyed, nicked Greg's bat, thwacked Oliver across the head and said that he wanted to have news of his favourite girl even if Oliver was too stubborn and too stupid to listen."
I smiled weakly at her, and she noticed it.
"I'm such a tactless cow," she looked at me apologetically, "sorry."
"It's okay for you to talk about him," I answered truthfully, "he's still your captain. I just miss him."
"You really did love him, didn't you?"
"I did. I think I still do."
"Have you considered talking to him?"
I bit my lip. "I wrote. He sent Batsoulini back with the letter unopened."
She stayed quiet, not knowing what to say. After a short silence, she piped up again.
"How did your appointment with Healer Weber go this afternoon?"
"Quite well. Apparently I should deliver the ninth of July."
"Nine days," Cat squealed. "Are you happy?"
For the first time in weeks, a real smile lit up my face. "I can't wait to meet this baby. Will you be there with me?"
"Yes," she answered solemnly. "I have a match after tomorrow, but once that's done I'm staying with you the whole time to make sure I'm there when you need me."
"Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
"Yes, but it's always good to hear."
I hit her lightly in the arm, and she grinned back at me.
Screw wanting to murder Cat off. She was the best friend I could ever ask for.
On Saturday the first of July, when Cat came home from practice, she was not alone.
Benjamin, Nicholas, Alex, Greg and Tim appeared with loud pops after her.
"What are you guys doing here?"
"We came to see you."
"Yeah, we've got a present for you."
They proudly produced a package from behind their backs, neatly wrapped in green paper.
"I wrapped it," Alex declared. "You should be in awe of my skills."
"I am, trust me," I wrestled to unwrap it properly, revealing a prim white box.
I lifted the lid carefully, then pulled several layers of tissue paper away. Resting in the box were three tiny bodysuits, one red with a fluttering Snitch; one gold with a jumpy Bludger; and the last one grey with a Quaffle whizzing to and fro on the front.
"These are adorable," I breathed.
The oh so masculine members of the Puddlemere Quidditch team, who boasted about their Y chromosomes, who argued about their testosterone levels, who had spitting contests and who claimed that they were "rugged, manly specimens of the male subspecies", yes, those, all puffed up their chests in pride.
I immediately got up, hugging them all in turn.
"Now, shoo," Cat scolded as soon as I was done thanking them. "We've got a big match tomorrow, and Kiwi needs to rest!"
As soon as they had all left, not without some grumbling that sounded very much like "bloody crazy woman, should be in the army", she turned to me. "I didn't even help them pick that present, you know. It was a completely spontaneous choice, entirely their decision."
"You sound like their mother," I laughed.
"I do not," she huffed, visibly annoyed by the comparison.
"You do! Soon you'll be calling them sweetie-poo and preparing their breakfasts!"
"Sweetie-poo?" She cried out with indignation. "Even my great-grandma didn't use expressions as horrid as that."
"Your great-grandmother didn't speak English."
She looked even more affronted, her eyebrows long gone into her hairline. "There are some terrible nicknames in Spanish as well, I'll have you know, but none are as bad as that."
"I don't know, Pipita!"
"Excuse me," I sputtered, "what the hell does that mean?"
Cat went a furious shade of red. "It doesn't mean anything. I called my dad's mum that."
"Because, you moron," she rolled her eyes, "I didn't know how to say abuelita** so I shortened it to Pipita."
I smiled at her. "Aw, how cute."
"I'm not cute," she pouted, "I'm damn sexy."
I snorted. "Yeah, right, whatever floats your boat… cutie pie."
"Take that back!"
"Take what back, ickle Cattiekins?"
She shrieked at an ear-splitting level, but I saw the hint of a smile flit past. "I WILL KILL YOU, YOU CRAZY BINT, I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!"
"No, please, have mercy," I pretended to bow to her. "I will never offend you like that again, oh great one."
"You'd better not," she teased, sticking her tongue out at me.
"Never again, I swear, mighty cute one."
She lunged at me, but I dodged it in time, laughing.
Cat was so easy to annoy.
"Are you alright?" Cat looked at me worriedly.
I looked up. "Yes, why?"
"I don't know, it's a beautiful Sunday afternoon in July, I'm about to leave for a Quidditch match, and here you are scrubbing the floor, when you're due in a week."
"Well, I was bored, and it's productive, so shut up," I dipped my rag in the bucket full of dirty water.
She rolled her eyes at me, but made no comment, instead helping herself to a plate of pasta.
I was happily rubbing at a stain on the tiled floor when Bludger gave a mighty kick in my stomach.
"Ow," I groaned.
Cat looked at me, alarmed. "Is everything alright?"
"Yep, Bludger just gave quite a strong kick."
Cat was about to go back to her pasta when I gasped.
"Stop scaring the shit out of me, woman! What is it this time?"
I pointed to the pool of liquid that had just formed on the floor.
"So you spilled the contents of the bucket everywhere, serves you right for cleaning the bloody floor…"
"That's not the bucket. My water just broke."
A/N: Tada! Last chance for theories: boy or girl? What do you think Bludger's name will be?
And of course, questions realtive to this chapter: who's mad at Oliver? Who's mad at Kiwi? Who's mad at both of them? What do you think of Kiwi running away to Canada? How did you like Kiwi's mum? What did you think of the boys' present for Kiwi? How do you think Cat is going to react to Kiwi's latest statement? What will happen in the next chapter?
Thank you for all for your support for this story, I'm amazed you've stuck with me up to here! :)
Next chapter will be told by Cat.
* We never know.
** abuelita = grandma in Spanish.
Pretty CI by shipsinthenight @TDA.
"That's not the bucket. My water just broke."
My plate crashed to the floor. This wasn't possible, not now.
"My water broke," Kiwi enunciated slowly.
"But you're not due before a week!"
"Do you honestly think the baby cares?"
I Vanished the pasta and shards of porcelain with my wand, granting myself some time to think.
"Okay," I breathed deeply, "what do we do?"
Kiwi laughed. "I'm supposed to be nervous, not you."
"It's not funny," I shrieked, "you're going to deliver on a measly kitchen floor in London, with no one competent to help you, and the baby will have fins!"
She started laughing even more, and eventually I gave in as well, until she doubled over in pain.
"Shit," I rushed over to her.
"I'm fine" she sat back up to a normal position. "It's just a contraction."
I looked at her doubtfully. "It's going to get worse though, which is why I repeat, what do we do?"
"I'm going to take a bath, then walk around the flat, then get to Saint Mungo's. It should take several hours seeing as this is my first child, so you can go to your match and come back without me delivering."
"I'll leave at the last minute, thank you very much. I'm not leaving you on your own, and I can miss out on Oliver's pep talk."
She grinned at me, a little weakly. "Why, are his speeches that bad?"
"You can't even imagine," I rolled my eyes.
Ever since she and Oliver had broken up a month ago, Kiwi had made huge efforts to talk about him normally, acting as if nothing had happened. Oliver refused to talk about her altogether, snapping and sulking whenever she was mentioned in a conversation. Getting them back together was proving to be impossible, as hard as we all tried.
And Merlin, had we tried.
Greg was bearing a bruise on his arm for having tried to corner Oliver and knock some sense into him. Tim had been assigned laps for asking about Kiwi. Benjamin had a black eye for loudly and clearly declaring in Oliver's face that now that Kiwi was free, he was interested – Oliver had "accidentally" hit him in the face with a Quaffle. I was thoroughly ignored, addressed only by shouts of "RODRIGUEZ!" when I had to cooperate with Oliver dearest.
On Kiwi's side, I had seen her walk out of her room with red and puffy eyes, blotchy skin, her arms cradling her round stomach. I had walked in on her packing, holding a photograph of Oliver and her with shaking hands, obviously debating whether or not she should take it to Canada. Eventually, she had decided against it and had thrown it into the bin.
Unknown to her, I had gone and taken it out again, fixing the shattered glass frame. The picture was one of the first that we had taken of them. It was in black and white, Kiwi with her hands behind Oliver's neck, Oliver holding her by the waist, Bludger in between. They were forehead to forehead, and both turned their heads to smile at the camera, Oliver dropping a brief kiss on Kiwi's cheek sometimes. The picture was now hidden at the bottom of Kiwi's suitcase, where I had stuffed it when she wasn't looking.
I didn't know what to think of Kiwi's departure. I was happy for her: she was part of an elitist program and would be doing what she loved the most. I was also a bit depressed, because she was my best friend and I wouldn't be seeing her anymore like I did now, every day, with the possibility of teasing her, laughing with her and sharing secrets. But most of all, I was angry because she was fleeing the man she loved, and was heartbroken about it.
Honestly, I know I'm a girl as well, but we have such a complicated logic.
Kiwi was walking around the living room, holding her back, while I watched her, anxiously biting my fingernails as she gritted her teeth through another contraction.
"How many minutes now?"
I checked my watch. "Seven minutes since the last one. You're almost there."
She gave a wry smile and continued her rounds.
An eternity after that – or so it seemed to me – I finally let out a victory cry. "Five minutes! Time to go!"
I caught her by the arm, her suitcase in my other hand, and turned on my heel, Apparating directly to Saint Mungo's.
On Healer Weber's orders, Kiwi had changed into the standard blue hospital robes, and was now walking around her room – again.
"This hurts!" Kiwi thundered, her hands pressed against her back. "I'm not going to – FUCKFUCKFUCK it's painful!" Her eyes narrowed. "Why are you still here?"
"I can leave if I'm not wanted," I huffed, annoyed.
"Sorry," she bit her lip. "I didn't mean it that way. Weren't you supposed to have a match though?"
"I'm not going," I shrugged.
"What? You have to!"
"I'm not going. I can't leave you to do this on your own."
She opened her mouth to retort, but let out a groan instead, and fastened her fingers around my wrist, gripping me tightly.
"See why I have to stay?"
"Yeah," she grinned. "What if you're fired?"
"I can't. They have to keep me at least two years."
She poked me in the arm. "You are a terrible manipulator."
"Eight centimetres, Miss Willows. You're almost there!"
"YOU'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR THE PAST FOUR HOURS, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!"
I pushed a strand of hair off her sweaty, strained face. "Shut up and let them do their job, grumble-guts."
She tightened her grip around my hand. "Cat?"
"Do you think Oliver will ever forgive me?"
"I don't know," I answered truthfully. "I think he will… One day."
Her eyes brimmed with tears. "I wish I'd told him before. I wish he was here with me... I mean, I'm glad you are, but…"
"I know. It should have been him," I whispered.
She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "It doesn't matter," she declared firmly. "I'm going to give birth to this baby no matter what, bring her up with or without Oliver, and if he's not there, I will."
She smiled weakly. "I think Oliver may have been right after all."
"Well, we'll be finding out soon," I squeezed her hand. "Hey, do you mind if I just go and get myself a coffee?"
"Course not. Go ahead."
I grinned. "Phew, I couldn't stand your hormones anymore."
The last thing I saw as I shut the door was Kiwi's raised middle finger.
The coffee was far too hot, and it burnt my throat, but I was glad to be out of the stuffy little room. Though I had been teasing, I really was having trouble being with Kiwi.
Ever since mum's death, I deeply hated hospitals. The heat, the agitation, the smell of cleaning products, the spotless white walls, all of it made me dizzy and brought back memories of mum.
She had been in a different ward. The room was neutral, too neutral: I knew it would serve someone else once mum was gone, and that was something I couldn't accept.
Mum lay, pale and small, her beautiful black hair shaved off to reveal a blue bruise covering the left side of her face. I had gingerly taken her hand in mine, trying to warm it up. Her wedding ring was still there, its blue sapphire glimmering against her white fingers, a shock of colour the exact hue of her eyes.
I told her how much I missed her. Dad wasn't the same without her. He never sang in the kitchen like he used to before. When I came back from Hogwarts every weekend to see mum, he would put on a brave face, but I could see wrinkles that had not been there before, signs of fatigue and despair. Maya had started her training as a Healer, spending her days working to try and forget about mum, but how could she when she knew that they were so close to one another?
I wanted so badly for mum to react, to flutter an eyelid or press my fingers, but there was nothing. She had been unconscious for almost six weeks, and there had been no progress.
That evening, we took the decision to stop maintaining her alive artificially, and I had shattered.
I angrily drew a breath, blinking hard several times to push back tears. Kiwi needed me, and that was the only thing that mattered now.
"BLOODY FUCKING SHIT AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGH FUCK SHIT FUCK DAMN SHIT FUCK HELP MEEEEEE!"
"Push, I can see its head, you're almost finished there."
"Oh my God, it is a baby! I see its head too!" Bleurgh. I should not have looked. Too much blood – it's disgusting.
"Of course it's a baby, you idiot, did you expect a broomstick?" Kiwi's red face scrunched up as she winced and let out another stream of curse words.
"Come on," I encouraged her soothingly, shutting up the panicked voice screaming inside my head for me to get out of the room. "Just a few minutes now, and your baby will be here."
She smiled through the effort, tensing, giving one almighty push, and then…
"It's a girl!" The nurse cried out happily. "You have a girl!"
Tears streamed out of Kiwi's eyes as the baby started crying, and despite her exhaustion she bore the widest smile I had ever seen on her face.
"Can I hold her?"
The nurse wrapped the baby in a blanket before handing her over.
Kiwi's mouth dropped as she carefully cradled the bundle. "Hi baby," she whispered. "I'm so happy you're here. I can't believe you're here. You're so beautiful, darling."
I couldn't help but feel like I was intruding until Kiwi turned to me.
"Yes, you! You're her godmother, aren't you?"
"I'm her godmother." I felt a bit faint. "I think I might need a glass of water."
My knees were shaking, feeling like jelly. I practically ran out of the room, hearing Kiwi behind me.
"Leave her alone, she'll come back. She doesn't like hospitals."
I smiled as the door banged behind me. Kiwi had just reconciled me with hospitals, I only needed space to think and let the emotions flow out. I leaned against the wall, burying my face in my hands, letting tears leak down my face. I was so tired, and so happy, and so confused, I didn't know what to think anymore.
A rough, warm hand stroked my cheek, and I looked up at him.
"How did you know I was here?"
"I guessed. You had to have a good reason to miss this game. Oliver is furious by the way, but that doesn't matter."
He pulled me to his chest, despite my hospital robes stained with sweat and tear and – was that blood? Merlin. I rubbed my nose against his shoulder, inhaling the familiar scent of grass and soap. "Did you win?" My voice was muffled by his body.
"Nope," he replied cheerfully.
He laughed, and held me tighter, the sound making my ears tingle. I looked up at him, realising how reassured I was to have him with me. "I have to tell you something."
"What, is it your turn to be pregnant?"
It was my turn to laugh. "Dear Merlin, no."
"I'm listening then."
"I love you."
His eyes crinkled, and he smiled, looking me in the eye. "I love you too."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure," he rolled his eyes. "And I know this is early, but I'm also sure about this."
I watched amused, then in shock, as he let go of me and dropped down on one knee.
"Carmen Margarita Rodriguez, will you marry me?"
"What?" I could barely register his words.
"We've been dating for eight months, Cat. I can't take it anymore to hide our relationship. And I love you, I want to wake up next to you every day and see you carry my children, and I know I sound cheesy, and it doesn't have to be now, because we're only eighteen but Cat, will you marry me?"
I stared at him in disbelief. Then blinked. Then grinned. Then crouched down next to him, catching his lips with mine. When I drew back, we were both smiling.
"Yes, Timothy Edward Bailey, I'll marry you."
I didn't go back to see Kiwi before the next day. When I walked into her room, she was sitting cross-legged on the bed, breastfeeding Bludger. She smiled at me, trying to see my face behind the enormous bouquet of poppies and wild daisies that I was carrying. After having set these in a vase, I bent over, giving her a hug while trying not to squash the baby.
"You left," she commented. "Why?"
"Too many emotions. I hadn't come back to a hospital room since mum."
She nodded. "I know. Thank you for having stayed with me nonetheless."
"You'd have done the same for me."
We had a moment of silent understanding, broken by Bludger who sighed happily and made a few bubbles. Kiwi wiped her daughter's mouth with a small cloth, then looked at me expectantly.
I carefully let her put the baby in my arms, resting her head in the crook of my elbow. Bludger had a small white cap on (I think it looked like a sock, but Kiwi didn't need to know that); a pair of striped pale yellow pyjamas; round, apple-like cheeks; tiny hands curled into fists with even tinier fingernails; and I melted at the sight of her.
"So, what did you call her in the end?"
Kiwi laughed. "I forgot you didn't know. Cat, meet Grace Helen Willows; Grace, Carmen."
"Willows?" I asked quietly.
"Oliver didn't turn up."
"This is getting dumb."
"Shut up," I clamped a hand to her mouth.
We laughed, and the noise made Grace open her eyes a crack, just enough for me to see them.
"Holy shit," I exclaimed, incapable of stopping myself.
"I know," Kiwi sighed. "It's going to make matters even more difficult."
Grace's eyes were an identical replica of her father's.
I came back regularly for the next two days, bringing home-made food, a change of clothes for Kiwi, and, eventually, Tim.
Kiwi's eyes almost fell out of her head when we walked in holding hands.
"Tim? Tim is your boyfriend?"
"Fiancé," I corrected, smiling.
"You… What? You're engaged? Since when?"
She looked a bit deranged, and I was starting to worry that she'd have a heart attack then and there.
"The second of July."
"YOU PROPOSED TO HER ON THE DAY GRACE WAS BORN AND YOU GUYS DIDN'T TELL ME ANYTHING?" Grace shifted in her sleep, and Kiwi immediately dropped her voice, whispering very loudly instead. "How dare you? Both of you!"
We grinned sheepishly.
"It's still very unofficial. I didn't even get her a ring yet."
"But that's just a detail," I added brightly.
Kiwi opened and shut her mouth, letting her jaw slack, before starting to giggle uncontrollably. "That is so typically you," she wheezed. "You are so unconventional, all I can think of right now is Liam's mum's reaction."
I roared with laughter, Tim looking puzzled by my side.
"She's a crazy, prim bitch," Kiwi explained through two bouts of laughter. "If you honestly plan to marry Cat, you'll see what we mean."
"You'd better have a good excuse, Rodriguez, for missing out on the game and all the practices this week."
Oliver was a wreck. I'd never seen him like this before, blue and black circles rimming his stormy eyes, his jaw set aggressively. His nose was still bruised from the punch he had received from the very person I had just visited in Saint Mungo's.
I decided to be exceedingly blunt. "Yes, I was at your ex-girlfriend's side while she delivered your daughter, and continued to go and see her after that for support considering that you didn't."
At the mention of the word daughter his expression flickered, softening for a very brief moment – before going steely again.
"I had no reason to go and see her. She lied to me."
"Oliver, spare me the blame game. You and Kiwi are both as dumb as one another in this situation, and just as responsible." He crossed his arms over his chest, angry, but I continued. "Kiwi has been crying her eyes out when she thinks I don't hear her. She barely eats anything, and only smiles when she's holding the baby – your baby, might I add. She tries to forget you, but it's not working. You haven't been sleeping since you find out Kiwi was in labour – don't deny it, Greg told me – , you're temperamental, snappy, look like you've come back from a war, and honestly, both of you are a pain in my arse."
"Well, it's a pity she can't forget me because, personally, I'm over her."
I could have bashed his head against the wall. "You're lying, and she won't forget you, Wood. Your daughter has your eyes, her middle name is your mother's, and genetically speaking she's half you, poor kid. "
"Well good for her," Oliver shrugged. "Like I give a fuck."
He was asking for it. I am not to be blamed for slapping him.
"OW!" He rubbed his reddening cheek. "What was that for?"
"For being a prick. Kiwi's leaving for Canada next week, if ever. I'll be at practice tomorrow." I fished around in my pocket. "And just in case you'd like to know what Grace looks like so you can see her at least once in your miserable twat life, this was taken this morning."
I placed the photograph on his desk and marched out. It was all up to him now.
"This is it," Kiwi smiled nervously. A baby carrier hung off her shoulders, but Grace was in Tim’s arms.
We were standing in the middle of the Ministry Atrium, looking completely out of place in comparison with the few wizards rushing past in their work robes. Kiwi wore short denim overalls, a white tank top, and open leather sandals; I was wearing a cherry-patterned summer dress; Tim was in shorts and had only pulled on a shirt because we had to leave (much to my regret).
I pulled her into a hug. "You’ll be fine."
She held me back, tightly. "I know."
"Write to me."
"I will," she promised.
She took Grace from Tim, slipping her into the carrier, and smiled weakly at us. "Bye, I guess." She pushed the door labelled International Floo Network – Canada, disappearing before either of us started crying.
I slipped my hand into Tim’s, leaning my head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arm around me.
I didn't see Kiwi for the next five years.
A/N: Hello, lovely readers! I wanted to get this chapter up for my birthday, which was on the 21rst, by the way, but real life got in the way again...
Plus, my neck is blocked, I couldn't pass my sports exam because of that, and all in all it has been a long week. But anyway.
So, how did you like the chapter? Yes, it was a girl since the beginning, and her name was always Grace. Are you happy? (Sorry Siriusly89, I know you wanted Noah!)
Did you like the insight on Cat's past? Her support of Kiwi despite her fear of hospitals? What about Oliver's (stupid) reaction and his (even stupider) decision not to see Kiwi and Grace off? Did you really think I would be nice and give them a romantic scene at the end (teeheeheeheehee)?
Most of all, who saw Cat/Tim coming? Who's happy about it? Who shipped her with someone else?
GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS, I COMMAND YOU (nicely).
You guys are so amazing. Do you think we can get to 100 reviews on this story? It should be around 15 chapters.
THANK YOU ALL, AWESOME PEOPLE :)
Chapter 10: Pigeons, elephants and the like.
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Five Years Later
"Passengers for flight 9748 to Brussels are asked to make their way to gate A49…"
"Grace, we'll look for Elliot once we get to the right gate, I promise you he's in my bag."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I packed him. Now get moving!" I gently shoved her forwards, watching in amusement as she tried to pull her small suitcase along with her.
She had turned five years old a month ago, at the same time that I had obtained the diploma that certified my capacity to teach Transfiguration. I had stayed in Canada much longer than planned, choosing to study the whole of my course with the Canadian Ministry of Magic. In that whole period, we had never set foot back in England, communicating with Cat only via owl and Floo network. Her career had exploded: she was now reserve Chaser for the English Quidditch team (while continuing to play for Puddlemere), and had never had more than a weekend to come visit us, which we both agreed was too short. I was starting to wonder if I'd ever see her again, until the letter I had received three months prior to today.
Puddlemere is playing the Brussels Basilisks at the beginning of August. Be there, or else.
It was impossible to Apparate so far and the Floo and Portkey networks were impossible to book on such a short notice, so that's how I ended up in the middle of a Muggle airport, trying to keep an eye on Grace who had just discovered the joys of taking escalators the wrong way around.
The plane tickets had been horribly expensive, but it was still better than the load of paperwork I would have had to cope with otherwise. The other side effect was that I had had to stash my wand in the suitcase that was in the hold, and not in the cabin. Muggle officers considered pointy sticks as dangerous objects, banned from the flight. Last time, a few people had been Confunded to avoid my wand being thrown away, and it was not something I planned to do again.
"Look, mum, look!" Grace shouted excitedly, pointing out the window. "Is that the airflane we're going to go on?"
"Airplane," I corrected her automatically. "No, we still have to walk a little."
She sighed. "I'm tired. Can you carry my bag? It hurts."
"Can you carry my bag what?"
"Can you carry my bag please?" She looked up at me hopefully.
I grinned and ruffled her hair. "Yes, if you ask so nicely."
"Thank you," she smiled.
My heart tightened a little as I recognised the expression I had seen so many times on Oliver's face: a lopsided smile (stressed here by Grace's missing front tooth) framed by dimples, the grey eyes sparkling brightly.
Grace had inherited her father's need to have both feet off the ground – she spent her time climbing trees, each time wanting to go higher (something I tried to keep an eye on due to her small size and facility to get injured) – and the trademark Wood smirk. I had yet to find out if she also had his flying skills however, because getting on a toy broom was so far out of the question, not while she hadn't shown signs of magic.
This was probably what worried me the most about her, other than her allergy to all types of nut. She could read perfectly, was starting to spell and knew more or less how to count, but there had been no magic whatsoever. The school she was in was reserved to children whose parents were recognised members of the magical community, and many of the kids her age had already managed to produce at least puffs of smoke with a wand they had managed to nick from coffee tables and whatnot.
For Grace, nothing, and she had managed to steal my wand more than once.
Cat, however, had reassured me on this subject. She had also warned me that she would fly with Grace, something I had reluctantly agreed to, but that was still better than Grace on her own.
"Mum?" She tugged at my arm. "Is that the number we're looking for?"
I looked up at the sign. "Yes it is. Now take your bag again while I find our passports and tickets, and then we'll be able to get on the plane."
"Mum, mum, mum, you said you'd find Elliot."
"Yes, Grace, just let me put our things in the luggage rack," I stuffed my travel bag in. "Do you need your pillow?"
She nodded, and I tossed the pillow on her lap, before firmly shutting the rack and sitting down next to her. She was bouncing excitedly on her seat, my handbag in her hands, waiting for me to find her stuffed toy.
I was quick to find Elliot the Elephant, hand it to her, and slide my bag under the seat in front.
"Mum, is it going to be long?" she asked while I fastened her belt.
"A few hours, but you're going to sleep for a while."
"And how are we going to eat?"
"They bring you food on trays."
"And if I need to go to the toilet?"
"There are toilets at the back and at the front of the airplane."
"Oh." She reflected on this information for a moment. "Ooh, look, we're moving!"
I smiled, taking in her wide eyes.
"EEE the airflane isn't touching the floor anymore," she squealed happily. "Look, mum, look, everything is really small! Are we going to go through the clouds?"
"We might, I'm not sure. Can I read now?"
She nodded me off absentmindedly, eyes still glued to the shrinking scenery, while I opened my guidebook of Brussels.
The plane was eerily silent during the night, the warm air broken only by a few irregular snores. Grace was curled up on her seat, her head on my lap, Elliot the Elephant's ear held tightly by her small fingers.
I couldn't sleep. In a few hours, I would be seeing Oliver again.
I had dated, of course, ever since my departure from England, sometimes taking things a little further, but when men found out about Grace, they were suddenly much less enthusiastic about seeing me. My longest relationship had lasted about eight months, and had been abruptly ended when he realised he had feelings for someone else. I had been invited to the wedding, his bride was adorable, and that was it.
Oliver's love life I didn't know about. It had been publicised in magazines, but I never read any of the stories. Grace knew what he looked like, though. She had a picture of him in her room, and I had told her that he had loved her very much, but didn't see her anymore because we didn't love each other enough to live together. Grace had shrugged this off and resumed pouring sprinkles over her cupcake.
Didn't love each other enough… More like hated each other so much we couldn't even live in the same country anymore.
This was going to be an awkward stay.
"Bienvenue à Bruxelles Zaventem, il fait 24°C…"*
The voice rang out of the speakers as the plane slowed down, shuddering to a stop. It was followed by a general scramble to get out, something Grace watched quietly through half closed eyes.
"Come on," I encouraged her. "We'll buy some breakfast inside the airport."
She groggily heaved herself up, while I collected our luggage from the rack and directed us out, not letting go of her hand.
I looked – and felt – quite horrifying, I realised as we walked past a wall covered in mirrors. My eyes were rimmed with dark circles, my mascara had smudged, and my cheeks were covered with two blotches a very deep shade of red. Thankfully, I had managed to brush my teeth on the plane, my khaki shorts and white tank top were smooth (Merlin bless self-cleaning and auto-ironing charms), and my braided hair looked clean.
Grace, on the other hand, looked much fresher than I did, despite the fact that she was walking around with closed eyes. Her short blond curls were neatly tucked behind her ears, and the denim shorts she was wearing with a purple shirt seemed to have been spared by last night's tomato and mozzarella sandwich.
She perked up considerably when we had to pick up the two suitcases that were in the hold.
"Can I climb on the thing that turns?"
"I'm afraid not, but how about you show me which suitcases are ours? I think I may have forgotten," I lied easily.
She shook her head. "Silly, one is blue, and the other is red. There they are!"
I hoisted the two of them on a trolley, stacked Grace's hand luggage and my travel bag on top, stuck my handbag into the basket reserved for this, and finally plopped Grace on top of the pile.
"Shoot," I hissed. "Grace, I need you to get back down for a moment, I forgot something."
She obeyed almost immediately, and I rapidly retrieved my wand, slipping it in the waistband of my shorts, before allowing her to scramble back on.
"Now," I informed her as I pushed the trolley forwards. "We've arrived a bit early, so I'm going to send Cat a message so that she can find us, and then we're going to have some breakfast. Okay?"
Grace nodded, and I grinned once again as she watched around her with wide eyes, a bit afraid of the number of people swarming far too close to her for comfort.
I drew my mobile phone out of my bag, rapidly firing a message. Cat's response came minutes later.
Can you get to the Grand Place?
Yes, but it's going to be a pain. Thanks, bitch.
My phone beeped again.
I love you too. Can't wait to see you again!
Getting to the Grand Place was indeed a pain. I had to find a corner secluded enough of the airport to perform an Undectable Extension Charm on my bag, slide the luggage in, then put a Featherweight charm on the whole thing, then find a taxi, that got lost twice and took a wrong turn before finally getting us where we wanted to be.
It was worth it. The whole place was bustling with activity, statues shimmering brightly from the rooftops, pavements smooth and terrace cafés noisy.
Nothing had changed, and I hadn't been back since at least ten years.
I stood in the middle, holding my daughter's hand. "Do you know the story of that lady?" I showed her the statue of a woman holding a baby. She shook her head. "Well, she's wondering who the father of her baby is. So she asks the man on her left, who says that he doesn't know but that the man on the horse over there," I indicated to the statue on the opposite rooftop, that the first statue was pointing to, "probably knows. But he doesn't know either, and he points to the man over there, and says that maybe he knows." Grace followed my hand with her eyes toward the next statue. "And what does that man do? He points over there," I pointed to the statue at the far end of where we were standing, "and the bishop bows his head."
Grace giggled. "Does that mean the bishop is the baby's daddy?"
"It does. Breakfast?"
Fifteen minutes later, we were sitting on the staircase of one of the buildings, happily chomping on waffles. And before you start, my daughter does have very healthy meals... most of the time.
"This is yummy," Grace mumbled through a mouthful of the warm food. "Can I have more?"
"Finish that one first, and then we'll see," I scratched a bit of caramelised sugar that had stuck to the paper off and popped it into my mouth.
"When is auntie Cat going to be here?"
"Soon, normally," I checked my watch. "Finished? Are you still hungry?" She shook her head, and I quickly wiped her sticky mouth clean. "Let's go back to the middle then, so we can see from everywhere if Cat is coming."
We waited there for at least another fifteen minutes, Grace merrily chasing after pigeons, arms spread out, running in circles and shouting "PSH! PSH!" as the birds landed a few meters further.
A few years ago, Cat and I would have been doing the same, I realised.
"Mum, can I go and see the mister over there who is drawing?" Grace skipped over to me breathlessly.
"Fine, but you stay where I can see you," I called as she went over to peer behind the man's shoulder.
She was back a few minutes later. "I prefer chasing pigeons."
"Go on then," I teased.
She promptly did so and ran forwards, making a flock of the stupid volatiles fly up, cooing indignantly as she shrieked with glee.
I spun around.
"And you haven't changed. Hello, Willows."
"Wood, what the fuck are you doing here?"
A/N: Hello again! I am happy to tell you I have chapters 11 and 12 written already. Which means, hopefully, fast updates!
So, tell me. Do you like Grace? Is Kiwi what you expect now she's responsible and mature (ha ha)? Who would be chasing pigeons too? Do I detect some URST between Kiwi and Oliver - again? Who misssed Cat in this chapter? What's going to happen next?
I'd also like to say that in no means do I want to offend you if you're catholic. Those statues actually are on the rooftops of Brussels, and the story Kiwi tells Grace is one my mom used to tell me.
I don't own Brussels Zaventem Airport, or the Grand Place.
*Welcome to Brussels Zaventem, the temperature is 24°C...
The following message is very important. If you'd like to read more Oliver/OC, told in first person by an extremely snarky, snappy, delightful character, you should go and read my_voice_rising's story, Keep Calm and Carry On. I assure you Sarah has not payed me to promote this. So go for it - it's funny and you get to see drunk!Oliver Wood in all his beauty. Also, leave her a review, yes?
You have my permission to leave me a review as well. We're still aiming for one hundred, and that makes 23 to go.
THANK YOU &hearts
I spun around.
"And you haven't changed. Hello, Willows."
"Wood, what the fuck are you doing here?"
He hadn't changed either. His eyes were the same, his stubble was the same, his hair was the same, perhaps just a little shorter, and his lips were still the same, an invitation for me to kiss him and…
"I'm here to pick you up," he informed me quietly. "Didn't Cat tell you?"
"No, she didn't," I snapped. "Grace! We're leaving!"
She ran over to us, and looked at Oliver intently for a moment. "Hello, Daddy."
He visibly paled, and turned to me. "She knows?"
"Of course she knows, did you think I wouldn't tell her?"
"You didn't tell me."
"Shut up. You have no right to say that."
"I fucking well do."
"You said a bad word." Grace glared at him. "Mum is going to wash your mouth out with soap."
He smirked. "Is she then?"
Grace nodded solemnly.
"We'll see about that. Come on, let's go." He held out his hand, but to my delight, she refused it and took mine instead. Yes, I'm evil. Shut up.
"How did you get here?"
We walked in silence to the car. I raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
"That looks like a yoghurt pot with wheels on."
"Shut up and get in, Willows."
"I'm a Willows too," Grace chirped brightly. "What about you?" She turned to Oliver inquisitively.
"My name's Wood," he informed her.
She frowned. "But my friend Jane is called Birch and her daddy too, and my friend Emma is Bennett like her daddy. Why do we have different names?"
I exchanged a brief glance with Oliver. "It's a long story," I told her. "I'll tell you about it one day."
Grace looked at us, puzzled, but got into the car instead of asking more questions. I sat her comfortably in the child seat, tied her seatbelt, and made my way to the front.
Grace rapidly fell asleep, and Oliver and I were left awkwardly unspeaking.
"Wash my mouth out with soap, huh?" I didn't bother answering his question. "We both know you want to."
"Excuse me? The only thing I want, Wood, is to stay far away from you."
"Lies, all lies," he waved me off breezily. "I know how attracted you are to me."
"Oh, I see," I replied coldly. "You're the one who dreams of me straddling you to wash your mouth out with soap, you with a bare chest, in a dark room…"
I have to stop having this type of mental image.
"Yes, and then I'd take your shirt off and kiss you everywhere, and we'd end up on the floor," Oliver added calmly.
It was suddenly warmer in the small space.
"Dream on, Wood."
"It's more of a nightmare than anything else."
"I'm glad you feel the same way about it."
"I'd rather kiss an Acromantula's arse."
"Please proceed, I'll get some popcorn."
"Well, I already have, haven't I?"
"Yeah, I've kissed you."
"Oh, is that what you think? That I'm such a bad kisser?" I stared at him, unfaltering, though his last statement had stung. Hard. It was his turn not to answer. "That's not what the last men I've dated have said."
"You've dated?" He sounded surprised.
"As a matter of fact, yes. Did you think you were going to stay my only shag? That wasn't even the case the first time we slept together."
His jaw stiffened, and he opened his mouth to retort, but a small voice got there first.
"What does straddle mean?"
"Grace!" I shrieked in surprise, swivelling my head around to look at her. "Aren't you asleep?"
"No, I can't speak if I sleep so I have to be awake," she answered brightly. "What does it mean?"
"Erm," I blushed, "it means… talk to someone, but only when it's two adults talking."
Next to me, Oliver snorted quietly at my poor attempt to cover up.
"Oh," Grace thought about this. "And shag?"
"It's a bad word," I said firmly. "You shouldn't repeat it."
"So you said a bad word too," she glared at me accusingly.
"Yes, I did," I admitted. "I'll try not to say it again."
Grace paused, looking at me inquiringly, then shrugged. "Will I be allowed to say bad words too when I'm old like you?"
I laughed. "Yes, you will, but not today."
The rest of the trip passed in silence.
"KIWI!" A curtain of black hair flew at me as soon as I set foot out of the car and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug.
I held Cat back tightly, tears leaking from my eyes. "I've missed you so much."
"So have I."
"How are you? Where's Tim?"
Cat smiled tearfully at me. "Inside."
"Are you two official?"
"I thought it was against the rules?"
"If we break up, one of us has to leave the team, but other than that we go past the rules."
"Are you married yet?"
"After five years? When is he going to make an honest woman of you?"
"Next year," Cat informed me, a wide smile on her face.
I shook my head. "What happened to the Cat I knew who could only ever be swept off her feet with a broomstick?"
"Well," she waggled her eyebrows, "Tim does have a very large broomstick…"
I burst out laughing. "Too much information, Cat, too much information."
"Hi Auntie Cat!" Grace had freed herself from the car and thrown herself into Cat's arms.
"Hey Grapes, how are you?"
"Fine. Did you know mum was going to straddle daddy?"
Cat nearly dropped her in surprise. "Do you even know what that means?"
"Of course I do," she replied promptly, radiating pride at the knowledge of an adult word. "It means she's going to talk to him."
"Ah," Cat bit back a smile. "Is that so?"
"It is, mum said so," Grace looked extremely solemn while I stood there dying of embarrassment. "Is it true you're going to fly with me?"
"I don't know. Do you want to?"
"Sorry, was that a no?"
"No, I said yes!"
"Okay. When do you want to go?"
"Now?" Grace begged. Cat looked at me.
"Fine," I gave in.
Before I could even blink, they had run off together, leaving me dumbfounded. Tim walked out at that precise moment, and wrapped me in a hug.
"It's good to see you again, Kiwi."
"You too," I grinned. "So tell me, where exactly are we?"
"Under the Waterloo lion. They built a Quidditch pitch a few years ago, the largest in the country apparently, and a residence for foreign teams."
I looked around. "But the light, it looks so natural…"
"Blokes from the Weather department did a wonderful job."
"I hadn't even realised we were underground."
"Nobody does at first, it's quite amazing. But anyway, shouldn't you be making sure your best friend doesn't murder her goddaughter?"
I laughed. "Grace will kill Cat off first."
"Look, mum, I'm flying!"
"I know you are, I can see!"
I laughed from the window of my room as Grace and Cat soared higher up into the air in the courtyard, Cat making the broom jerk to the sides.
"She's never been on a broom before?"
"Shit, Oliver, stop arriving like that and scaring the hell out of me!"
"Is that what it is? Fear?"
"Yes, what else would it be?"
"I don't know, attraction? Not knowing how to react around me because I destabilise you?"
"You surprised me by walking into my room, Oliver. I'm not attracted to you."
"You called me Oliver. Twice."
"You've been calling me Wood all day."
"That doesn't mean anything," I retorted. "You don't mean anything."
His eyes narrowed, and he scooted closer to me, his lips a hairline from my ear. "I don't."
"You don't. And two can play that game. You'll lose."
I turned to him, annoyed, and trailed my fingers lightly over his shirt, smirking as he shuddered. "I win."
"I'm not done," he whispered as he brought his mouth to the top of my jaw, just below my earlobe.
"That's not working."
"No. Now go away, I have to unpack," I walked away from him. He didn't move, and I ignored him, stacking up Grace's clothes on one of the shelves.
"What," he choked, "is this?"
I turned around and immediately went red. Of all the things to fall out of my bag and be sprawled on the bed, it had to be Oliver's old Puddlemere shirt, that he had given to me years ago and that I had never given back.
"My pyjama top," I stated simply, trying to sound cool.
"You wear it?"
"Yes, I wear your shirt to bed."
Dear Merlin, that slipped. And it sounds even worse out loud.
"You wear my shirt to bed?" Oliver smirked. Asshole.
"Are you deaf, or just stupid? Yes, I wear your shirt to bed when I can't be bothered to wear a bra. Do you like the idea?"
"Quite, yes, but I'd rather know you sleep naked."
"Good for you. That's not something you'll see anytime soon."
"I don't need to. I still know you by heart."
I blinked at him once or twice, watching as he left the room.
"By the way, Willows," he called, "I believe this makes me the winner."
I pulled my knees up to my chest, thinking. Grace had fallen asleep very quickly again, something I always marvelled at. Even as a baby, she slept all night through, a very deep sleep, something other new mothers hated me for. That, and the fact that I was eighteen and capable of regaining my pre-pregnancy silhouette much faster than all of them.
It had been a strange day. Due to jet lag, I was absolutely not tired, and the conversations with Oliver were keeping me up.
I didn't know what to think anymore. It was like nothing had ever happened: his lips still had the same effect on me, and made me want to snog him then and there. That was the posed version. And yet, he was so infuriating, pushing me to my limits.
I took a few deep breaths. Tomorrow would be easier. The rest of the boys would finally be there, and hopefully that would be enough to keep Oliver at a reasonable distance.
"You need to tell me everything," I cornered Cat the next morning in the kitchen.
The residence was amazing. It was more of a holiday center for children, at a smaller scale, with individual rooms all surrounding an open central area with the kitchen and living room. It reminded me of the flat I used to share with Cat.
"Tell you everything… Where do I start?" She poured herself a cup of coffee – without sugar, I noticed, surprised.
"Where are you living?"
"I haven't moved out. The others have moved in, the flat has become the new Puddlemere headquarters. We've removed the pool room, and the whole place is far more reasonable now."
I grinned. "I can't believe I missed you growing up."
She elbowed me in the side. "Oh, please. I'm still immature, and the boys still call me kiddo. It's not because I'm a little less over the top that I'm a responsible adult. What about you though? Has motherhood made you dull and only concerned by your children?"
"Grace is a huge part of my life," I agreed, "but I don't think I've changed that much. The landlady takes care of her when I go out once a month, and I managed to forget to pick Grace up from her nanny's more than once because I fell asleep on the sofa when coming home from training."
Cat laughed, and hugged me, sloshing coffee on the table in the process. "I've missed you, you idiot."
"I've missed you too, moron."
"What about boys?"
"Yes, what about them?"
"Nothing too serious."
"You have no idea how repellent a child is," I pointed out. "All men seem to want these days is to fuck, and kids don't fit properly into that equation."
"So, nothing real since Oliver?"
"No, Cat," I sighed. "That was and will probably be the most intense relationship I've ever had."
"Is it now?"
I groaned. "God, why do you keep doing this to me?"
"I understand your mistake, but I'm just Oliver Wood," he smiled smugly, sauntering over to the stove where he cracked an egg in a pan before looking back to me.
I turned around to face him, angry. "Listen, you fucking little asshole, stop dropping in all the time before I seriously hex your –"
"Hello," Grace appeared sleepily behind Oliver, effectively shutting me up.
I smiled at her, and bent down to drop a kiss on her forehead. "Hello, pumpkin. Did you sleep well?"
"It's not pumpkin," she corrected me. "It's Grapes. Can I have some cereal?"
Once she was settled down with her breakfast, I turned back to Oliver.
"Listen, Wood," I started, keeping my voice low enough for Grace not to hear. "We can't continue like this, at least not when Grace is around."
He nodded. "So what do you suggest?"
"I have no idea."
He snorted. "Talk to me again when you have one."
"Et Olivier Wood bloque," the commentator's voice seemed to boom out over the stadium, "maintenant un score de 120 à 30 pour Puddlemere!" *
Grace leant forward. "Is daddy's team winning?"
"For now, yes," I followed the Quaffle from Cat to Alex, who scored.
"When is it that they'll win for real?"
"When Tim catches the Snitch."
"What if he doesn't?"
Puddlemere scored another goal – Brussels had a terrible keeper. "Then they'll lose."
"Oh." There was a pause, and a Quaffle flew through the Belgian hoops again. "Well, that doesn't matter," Grace declared. "Brussels is your team, so if they win it's good too."
I grinned at this statement. "You bet it is."
"Oh, look, auntie Cat made the red ball go in!" Grace pointed to the black-haired figure hovering over the pitch.
"Would you like to play Quidditch one day too?"
"Would I be allowed?"
"I don't think I'd be able to stop you."
"I think so," she looked at me hesitantly, "but it looks a bit scary to – "
She was cut off by a roar of joy, to which I looked up in alarm.
"Et Puddlemere a gagné! Leroi a attrapé le Vif d'Or, mais Puddlemere gagne avec 10 points d'avance! Quelle belle défaite, mesdames et messieurs, quelle belle défaite!" *
"Who won?" Grace questioned. "Mum! Who won?"
"Cat did," I shouted with glee over the hub. "We did!"
Grace sent me a surprised look, obviously pondering on this new, loud, overjoyed version of me, but then gave in and started screaming her congratulations as well – she was surprisingly loud for such a small child.
Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.
"I'd like to make an announcement, even though you already all know this," Oliver tapped his knife against his glass later on that evening. "I've been playing with Puddlemere for the past ten years, and I'm now nearing thirty slowly but surely. In the world of professional Quidditch, it means it's time for me to retire and to pass on the captaincy to Greg. But," he took a dramatic breath, "I'm not stopping entirely, of course. Headmistress McGonagall has asked me to take over the position of Quidditch coach and referee, as well as flight teacher, at Hogwarts, which I've accepted."
I paled, but clapped along with everyone else. When the noise had died down, I spoke up.
"I've also got something to say," I gulped. "You're looking at the new Hogwarts assistant Transfiguration teacher."
A/N: Hi guys! So. More awkward situations, huzzah! I'd love to have your thoughts on this chapter - were you happy with Cat coming back? Happy she's getting married? What about Grace and her new vocabulary? And, of course, Oliver's back - what did you think of him? Any ideas on what might happen next?
Also, I'd like for you, if you have time obviously, to go and check out another my stories, The Calendar Girls, because it feels a bit unloved right now, and I would love to have your awesome feedback on that one too!
You people are the coolest ever ♥
Leave a review?
* And Oliver Wood blocks, leaving us with a score of 120 to 30 for Puddlemere
*And Puddlemere wins! Leroi has caught the Snitch but Puddlemere wins with 10 points! What a way to lose, ladies and gentlemen, what a way to lose!
"Since when?" Cat immediately asked.
"A few weeks ago."
"So you're moving back here?"
"Yes," I answered, still watching Oliver. He seemed to have trouble breathing, and eventually pushed his chair away and left the table.
"You sit down right now, Gregory Davis," Cat snapped as he motioned to follow Oliver. "Kiwi's going. And that's not a question," she barked at me.
Oliver was behind the bunk house, leaning against the wall. I placed my fingers on his arm carefully.
"I'm sorry, Oliver. If I'd known I wouldn't have accepted."
"You think that would have been better?"
"Isn't that what you want?"
"No," he sighed, "it's not. I'm the one who's sorry."
"Too late. I'm sorry I left you and Grace alone, I'm sorry you had to cope with everything without me when I said I'd be there for you, I'm sorry I wasn't there at my daughter's birth, I'm sorry for being a dick, I'm sorry I…"
"Oliver, shut up. I wasn't alone, ever, you're not a dick, I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier on in my pregnancy that you were Grace's father, and I'm glad you're here for her now."
He smiled sadly. "But I'm not, am I? She doesn't know who I am, and I have no idea who she truly is."
That shut me up.
"How are you going to cope with Grace if you're teaching at Hogwarts?" Oliver sat down on the ground.
"I'm not exactly teaching," I lowered myself next to him. "I'm there to watch and help students with difficulties, and this is only for first year students, for now at least. But to answer your question, I found a flat in Hogsmeade, and Maya will pick Grace up every morning and take her to preschool after that."
"Sounds good. How far from the castle is your flat?"
"Fifteen, sixteen minutes by foot," I approximated. "It's on Trumpton Road, number eight."
"Just behind Honeydukes?"
I grinned. "Yep, that's the place. You know about it?"
"That's where I'm staying as well."
I felt my heart miss a beat or two or five. "Please tell me it's a joke."
"Afraid not. Flat K, sixth floor."
"L, sixth floor. Hello, new neighbour," I replied glumly.
There was another pregnant pause. The tension between us was rippling through the air, making me feel like my head was being forced against a stone wall.
"I didn't mean that," I spoke up quietly. "It just seems so strange, you know? We broke up really violently, hated one another, didn't speak or write to each other for years, and yet…"
"We have a daughter and we're going to live a hallway away from one another," Oliver completed for me. "Yep."
I laughed and turned to him. "If we're so close to one another physically, this makes matters more practical."
He cocked an eyebrow. "So close to one another physically?"
I punched his shoulder lightly. "Get off your high horse, Wood. That's not what I meant," a brief image flashed through my head, but I shook it away. "I don't know what time you need to be at Hogwarts in the mornings, but if it's after eight I could leave Grace with you, and Maya would pick her up from your place."
"I only need to be there for first years' flying lessons and Quidditch matches, which means never before ten. Leaving me Grace would be fine."
"Do you want to?" I glanced at him anxiously. "I mean, if it's a problem, just tell me, and I can find another way."
"She's my daughter too. I want to spend more time with her, and I've already missed out on so much."
I almost agreed with his statement, rather nastily, but for once in my life, I decided to drop it and just shut the fuck up.
I dusted myself off, glancing around me with approval. I'd painted the walls of the flat turquoise, the bathroom was tiled in lime green, and Grace's room was painted a light shade of pink, making it look like, and I quote, "a huge plate of squashed strawberries, thank you mum".
The suitcases were unpacked, the fridge was stocked, I had remembered to buy soap, and there was a raspberry pie cooking in the tiny oven. I was ready for the first of September.
"Mum, mum, can daddy eat with us?" Grace barged into the kitchen, nearly crashing into one of the chairs. "Please?"
I looked at her hopeful expression, biting my lip. I didn't want to, but she seemed so enthusiastic about it.
"Fine," I agreed. "Go wash your hands while I go get him."
It was quite simple, really. Cross the corridor, knock, wait. Oliver had moved in only today, two weeks after us, and I had heard the shuffling sound of boxes being lugged around since the morning.
"Yes?" He opened the door a crack.
"Grace wants you to eat with us."
"Okay, give me a minute," he shut the door, only to reappear a few moments later.
Shirtless, with tousled, damp hair falling into his eyes.
Breathe, Kiwi, breathe. Had he always been that well-built?
He coughed, and I realised I had been eyeing him with much more interest than I should have.
"Like what you see?" He pulled a shirt over his head.
I decided to be truthful – plus I'd been obvious enough. "Yes."
"Before Grace was born…"
"Yes?" I looked at him, puzzled.
"You said the father was as hot as me, but I wouldn't be jealous."
He nodded. "It took me two months to figure that one out."
I grinned, hiding my reddening cheeks behind a lock of hair fallen out of my bun. "I didn't find you too ugly at the time."
"What about today?" He smiled slyly at me.
"Please, Oliver, stop doing this," I whispered, my throat suddenly very dry. "Don't ruin things."
He ran a hand through his hair, embarrassed. "Sorry."
"It's good to see things haven't changed," I attempted a tension breaker.
"What do you mean, me flirting with you on a regular basis?"
"You flirting end of," I ignored my slightly racing heart at his words. "Do you still use that horrible pick-up line?"
"Which one? I've got so many."
I stifled a smile at his attempted suave tone, and put on a gruff voice. "Hello, would you like to find out why I got my surname?"
He let out a short bout of laughter. "You're a very poor imitation of me, I'll have you know. And no, I haven't."
"Daddy!" Grace bounded over to him. Their relationship had developed so quickly, I realised, and at the same time there was still a reticence on both sides. They talked together often, Oliver had written to her, but there was no physical contact, ever.
"Hello, beautiful," he waved to her from a safe distance.
"Are you staying for dinner or for ever?" Grace questioned.
"Just dinner I'm afraid."
I'm afraid? I'm afraid? What the bloody hell was that supposed to mean?
"Can I show you my room?"
"Course you can. What colour did you paint it in?"
"Squashed strawberries? That's my favourite colour," Oliver assured her, following Grace out of the room with a smile in my direction.
I turned back to the chicken I had begun to fry, quietly appreciating the concert of their voices, one low and rumbling, the other laughing and excited.
"And so the princess followed the prince into his castle, they got married and had lots of children and lived happily ever after."
"Daddy, are you going to have lots of children with mum?"
Oliver distinctly gulped, and I popped my head around the door to save him.
"Grace, aren't you asleep yet? Daddy is tired and wants to go to bed, but he can't if you don't leave him alone."
"But are you going to have lots of children?" She turned away from Oliver to look at me.
So much for trying to change subjects.
"We already have you," I replied.
"But mum…" she insisted.
She pulled the covers up to her chin, slightly pouting. "Goodnight."
Oliver followed me out of her room, turning the lights off and shutting the door behind both of us.
"I'm only going to bed if it's with you," he informed me conversationally.
"Oliver," I started out.
"Sorry, sorry, I said I'd stop, I know, sorry, anyway thanks for the meal, it was delicious, bye," the words tumbled out of his mouth. He was out of my flat before I could say anything.
Minutes later I saw him stride into the street, clenching and unclenching his fingers as he paced back and forth briskly.
No, I don't usually spy on my exes through the window, okay? This was different. It wasn't just an ex. It was Oliver. And as soon as this thought went through my head, I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn't appropriate, it certainly wasn't reasonable, but it was all I wanted, after weeks of accumulated tension and thoughts of him.
I stumbled down the six flights of stairs, tore the front door open, and walked as steadily as I could manage in his direction.
Our mouths met somewhere in the middle.
My hands threaded in his hair, his hands up my shirt, holding each other as if letting go would kill both of us.
It probably would.
"I can't," I mumbled against his lips. "I can't do this – mmph." He was kissing me again, and I was responding eagerly, desperately.
Slowly but surely, we had inched back inside our block of flats. Still kissing me, he somehow managed to turn on his heel and Apparate the pair of us into his flat.
"Grace," I pushed him away. "I don't even know if she's asleep." I crept out of his flat and into mine, dashed to Grace's room and peeked inside. As usual, she had fallen asleep in the space of minutes, and was now snoring softly. Reassured, I walked out again, knowing the door would lock itself automatically, and knocked on Oliver's door for the second time that evening.
It opened with a bang, and Oliver grabbed my wrist, pulling me to him, still as urgent as before, slamming the door close with his foot.
I kissed him back, hard, head spinning, heart thumping, fireworks exploding in my stomach.
He pushed me up against the wall, and I hitched my legs up and around his hips as his hands moved down to roam my thighs. It was intense, it was needing, it was violent, and it was everything I'd been missing for five years.
Fumbling with his belt, I slid his trousers down while he did the same to my skirt, awkwardly, still clinging to one another. He tried to clamber out of his jeans, but only managed to trip and fall, bringing me down with him.
I shook with laughter into his chest as our kiss was broken, the propped myself up by the forearms, my face a few inches away from his.
"Make love to me."
He smirked, crashing his lips to mine. "With pleasure."
I laughed at Oliver's expression. His hair was sticking out at all ends, his lips were swollen and he was glistening with a thin film of sweat. "What?"
"You look amazing."
"After a night of sex on the floor? I doubt it."
"It wasn't a full night, and that's precisely what makes you look so hot."
I blushed, and pulled one of the blankets lying around to me, hiding my breasts from his gentle but hungry eyes.
He moved closer to brush my face with his thumb. "Especially knowing I'm the cause of this."
I smiled at him, and placed a soft kiss on his mouth. "Are you expecting thanks?"
"You received it already," I trailed my fingers up his chest.
He grazed my lips with his. "You have a point."
"What time is it?"
"Three in the morning."
"Oh," I snuggled into his chest. "Still plenty of time, then."
"What, that again? Now?"
"No," my eyes fluttered shut. "Time to sleep. With you."
I felt him pick me up and carry me, then lay me down on his bed, before slipping under the covers as well, an arm slung over my waist.
I woke up less than two hours later to an empty bed, and dragged myself out, pulling Oliver's discarded shirt over my head.
He was sitting on the windowsill of the living room, drumming his fingers against the pane.
"Hey," I sat on the armrest of the sofa.
"We need to talk," he continued to look away from me.
"What do you see us as?"
"I don't know," I admitted.
"Enemies with benefits?"
"Nah, we don't hate each other enough for that."
He grinned. "Friends with benefits?"
"Parents with benefits."
He laughed, but it quickly died away. "Nothing more then?"
"I don't know," I repeated. "Our relationship is too complicated. One minute we hate each other, the next we're shagging, and there's the tiny detail that's made of both our genes… It makes it difficult to define what we are."
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Go out with me?"
I slid off the side of the sofa and fell to the floor, gaping at him from my new seating place.
"What?" I blurted.
"So unladylike," he tutted, "where did your education go? Your mother seemed like a such a distinguished woman…"
I was momentarily distracted. "You've met my mum?"
He instantly looked embarrassed. "Erm… I may have gone to see her four years ago to ask her for your address."
"You asked her for my address? But then why didn't you ever write?" My voice cracked pitifully in the middle, and I hated myself for it.
"She didn't give it to me. Firmly closed the door in my face, told me to man up because apparently writing a letter is good only for cowards, and to show her I was worthy of you. Oh, and called me un sacré petit con for not running after you earlier," he stumbled on the French.
"My mum called you a little asshole? My mum, Louise Caroline Willows?"
"Yes, your mum," he mimicked. "And she was right about it."
For one of the few times in my life, I was completely and utterly speechless.
"But anyway, I repeat my question. Will you go out with me?"
This boy has the capacity to be deeply unfazed, it's quite scary.
"I need to think about it."
And I walked out of Oliver's flat.
A/N: They'll never learn, will they?! I'm not convinced by this chapter, but seeing as the queue is so short, I thought I'd put it in anyway!
Any ideas on what'll happen next? Is Kim going to change her mind? Is Oliver going to run after her? Did you like Grace in this chapter (we didn't see much of her, but hey ho)? What did you think of Oliver's question? Who hates Kim right now?
Review lovely readers! Reviews are the sunshine of my life (sort of) :)
Annnd, also, if you'd like to read a story taking place on the Titanic, I suggest you go read Frozen Waters, it's on my author page...
Thank you all ♥
September had flown past, morphing into October too quickly for my liking. Oliver and I hadn't talked. We avoided each other in the corridors, sat at opposite ends of the professors' table, and didn't exchange eye contact when forced to speak to one another because of Grace.
Classes were going fairly well for me, though some first years were very restless. It was outside of class that things were more difficult, and not only because some seventh year boys wolf-whistled when I walked past them.
Oliver was putting on a show of flirting with the new Charms teacher, Clearwater. Penelope? I think that was her name. And as my mother used to say when I was younger and she thought I couldn't hear, Penelope, ça rime avec salope.
I was walking to my classroom on the day after Halloween, extremely flustered because I was late and hadn't slept enough the night before due to Grace being sick, when I crashed into someone as I passed a corner.
"Damn it," I shouted from the floor, pushing my hair out of my eyes, "can't you watch where you're going?"
"Sorry, here, let me help – oh."
"Good morning to you too, Wood," I replied frostily, refusing the hand he was offering to help me up, and stepping to the side so I could get around him.
"Not so fast," he caught me by the arm. "How's Grace?"
"Not now, I'm late," I struggled free from his grip.
"Willows, we've changed to winter time last night, you've still got an hour."
He laughed, loudly, the noise reverberating in the empty corridor around us. "You'll never change, will you?"
"Probably not," I conceded, smiling slightly.
"Good," Oliver declared, before hastily changing subjects. "Grace?"
"She was sick last night, but she's better now."
"Sick? How sick? Why didn't you come and ask me for help?"
"She had a bit of temperature and threw up once, but I gave her the necessary medication and put her to bed early, and she was fine this morning," I reassured him. "And I don't need your help, I've coped with this situation on my own before."
"Fine. I'll be seeing you around then."
I nodded, and we were both on our way.
"… each of you can now come and fetch a rubber ball from the table, and we'll see how well you manage to turn it into a plastic cup – come in?" A knock cut through the explanations I was giving my first years.
McGonagall appeared in the doorway. "Professor Willows, a word please."
"Of course. Enid, please keep an eye on the class while I'm away," I addressed one of my best students as I anxiously followed my ex-Transfiguration teacher of the room.
She closed the door behind me, her normally stern face one of concern and worry. "Kim, I've just received an emergency owl from Maya Rodriguez, who says your daughter was knocked out cold in the past hour and that she's been taken to Saint Mungo's emergency ward. I'll cover your class while you go and see her; you may use the fireplace in my office."
I stared at her in shock for a moment, before nodding and breaking into a run in the direction opposite to her office. I heard McGonagall's shouts of surprise behind me, but didn't have the time to answer, instead rushing down the stairs, through the main doors and down the path leading to the Quidditch pitch.
Oliver was supervising the Hufflepuff first years flight lesson, and did not notice me and I ran straight into him, almost making him fall over for the second time that day.
"What is it? Kim? What's going on?" He steadied me.
"Grace," I choked. "Saint Mungo's… Come with me, please."
"Get back down here, all of you," he immediately shouted to the children hovering over our heads. They landed, and he banished their brooms to their place with a flick of his wand. "Due to personal reasons, I have to leave. All of you will file out calmly to your next class, and if someone asks you why you're not with me, tell them my daughter has been taken to Saint Mungo's. Do not do anything stupid, have I made myself clear?"
They nodded meekly and scampered away, while I marched to the changing rooms, Oliver in tow.
"What happened?" he questioned, as I pointed my wand at the fireplace and conjured a roaring blaze.
"I don't know, Minerva told me Maya had owled her saying Grace had been taken to the emergency ward," I replied, tears streaming out of my eyes. "Where do you keep your fucking Floo powder in this place?"
Oliver passed me a handful of the powder, and moments later we stepped out of the fireplace of the Morgana ward, where a Healer ran towards us.
"Kim Willows and Oliver Wood, Grace Willows' parents," I immediately responded, regaining some control over my tears. "Where is she? Is she alright?"
"She's unconscious for now, but we think she'll be awake soon."
"Do you know what happened to her?"
"We're not sure, Miss Rodriguez wasn't able to tell us."
"Can we see Grace?" I implored.
"Not yet, I'm afraid. However, the waiting room is to your right."
I felt like screaming, but Oliver quietly steered me away from the Healer and into said waiting room, where I collapsed into his arms, shaking. He wordlessly wrapped his arms around me, pressing my body safely to his.
"Don't worry," he soothed. "She'll be fine, she's strong, you don't need to worry."
"It's my fault," I whispered against his shoulder, fresh tears coming to my eyes. "I should have stayed with her instead of thinking she was better."
"Stop beating yourself up," Oliver tightened his grasp around me fiercely. "You don't even know if both things are linked."
I hugged him back, wrapping my arms around his torso for comfort while I continued to soak his shirt, before being overcome by an extreme dizziness and blacking out in his arms.
"She's asleep, Grace."
"Because she was so scared for you she fainted."
"But daddy, I'm fine!"
"I know you are, pumpkin, but she didn't know that when she fainted."
"Can I give her a kiss?"
"If you don't wake her up, then yes."
"You also gave her a kiss before, on the mouth. It didn't wake her up."
"You're right, it didn't, so go ahead."
"Oliver?" I mumbled, his silhouette blurry through my half-open eyes. "Is Grace alright?"
"I'm right here, mum," she chirped. "Are you alright?"
"Fine," I whispered hoarsely. "What happened to you?"
"I picked up Auntie Maya's wand, and I went flying backwards into the wall."
"You did magic?"
"That's great, Grapes, but next time avoid injuring yourself, alright?"
"Yes, mum. I'll let you sleep now, the Healer said I had to take my potion once I came to see you."
There was the muted thud of a door closing, and then I felt rough fingertips press lightly against mine.
"Don't ever do that again," Oliver stated, his voice thick. "Ever."
"How long have I been out?"
"Several hours. You gave me the scare of my life, you idiot."
"What do you mean why?" Oliver sounded disbelieving.
"Why do you care so much about me?" I finally opened my eyes completely. Oliver's eyes were red, his hair a mess, and he looked exhausted.
"You are so, so stupid," he shook his head with a smile. "How can you ask me this question? Do you really wonder why I care?"
"I don't understand why you would. I keep rejecting you, I've been a complete bitch to you, I've lied, taken your daughter away, I…"
"I love you," Oliver said, so quietly I could have missed it. "You mean the world to me, so I care. Is that a good enough reason?"
"Kiwi, can you hear me?"
"Kim Bethany Willows!"
"What about Clearwater?" I blurted before I could stop myself.
"What about her?"
"Aren't you dating?"
"Of course not," he looked horrified by the thought. "How can you even ask that?"
"You've been flirting with her."
"Excuse me? When?"
"All the time. She keeps throwing her boobs in your face."
"Does she? I'll have to remember to look next time." He caught my glance. "I'm joking, Kiwi. I'm not remotely interested in Clearwater, she can't even distinguish a broomstick from a Quaffle, not to mention she's not at all my type. And you want to know another reason why I don't care about her?"
I shrugged, fiddling with a loose strand of the bed sheet.
"I don't care about her because she's not you," Oliver lifted my chin up gently so that I would look at him."
"When did you get so romantic?"
"Shut up," he swooped down and planted a kiss on my forehead. "I'll let you rest now."
His hand was on the handle of the door when I took my decision.
He stared at me blankly for a moment, then realisation dawned on him and he smiled.
"Yes, you'll be my girlfriend?"
"I love you too, I think that's a good enough reason."
"It's about time you said it, after six bloody years."
"Screw my previous sentence, Oliver Wood, you're the most unromantic creature to have ever walked the face of the earth."
He laughed, walked up to me, and pressed his lips to mine. "You love me for it."
"Excuse me for interrupting this moment," a voice cheerfully rang out, "but I need to check on Miss Willows. Mr Wood, you're welcome to stay."
I grinned at the Mediwitch and stuck out my arm for her to sample my blood. Once the needle was full, she tapped it once with her wand, making it glow blue. The woman frowned briefly, before smiling again.
"I'm afraid this is going to require a few more tests, I'll have to ask you to stay here."
Oliver and I exchanged a glance as she walked out.
"What was that about?"
"No idea," I replied. "I don't see why there might be a problem."
We lapsed into silence, waiting for the Mediwitch to walk back in. She didn't.
"What are we going to do about our flats?" I asked after a quarter of an hour.
"Do you want to move in?"
"It seems too sudden," I replied after some thought. "And imagine if Grace walked in on us, or woke up to 'funny noises'…" I blushed at the perspective of having sex with Oliver so quickly after we had decided to give ourselves another chance.
He seemed to understand the rapid rush of blood to my cheeks. "Stop being embarrassed about it, we both know our relationship includes a lot of physical intimacy. And we both enjoy that part of it equally."
"Oliver," I hissed, with some amusement, "stop being blatantly obvious about our sex life!"
"Psh, there's no one here to listen…"
As if on cue, a Healer walked into the room at that precise moment.
"Miss Willows, Mr Wood," he greeted us. "I've got your blood results, Miss Willows. First of all, I'd like to say that everything is fine, and you should be able to leave as soon as I'll have examined your head."
He then proceeded to do so, made me follow the lit tip of his wand with my eyes, asked me a few simple questions, then smiled.
"Everything seems in order," he smiled. "However, I just have a question for you. When is the last time you had your period?"
"About a month ago, I think," I replied slowly, unsure of my answer. "Maybe a bit more, I've started a new job, my daughter's been sick several times, and these past weeks have been fairly stressful, why?"
"Ah," he nodded slowly. "I'm afraid your memory is playing tricks on you, seeing as your blood results show that you are two months pregnant."
A/N: Tada! Surprised? Not so much? Too unprobable? Give me your thoughts :)
We're getting closer and closer to the end of this story, how sad. Can we get to 150 reviews, do you think?
Leave me a review if you have the time, I'd love to know what you think ♥
(The bit in french means 'Penelope rhymes with bitch' - obviously it doesn't in English, heh.)
There was a very short moment, during which I felt like the world had stopped turning on its axis while Oliver and I stared stupidly at the Healer.
"That's impossible," I finally said.
"Right, impossible," Oliver repeated.
"It is possible," the Healer said, still beaming as if he had just told us the best news in the world.
"But how? I haven't had a relationship – in that sense – since much longer than two months," I exclaimed.
"Think about it," the Healer insisted. "There is no other possibility. Now, if you'll excuse me…"
The door slammed behind him again.
"Two months, we're at the beginning of November, so that brings us to the beginning of September," I calculated.
"Or the very end of August," Oliver added quietly.
I stared at him, uncomprehendingly, before realisation hit me in the face like a ton of bricks.
"Oh, God," I whispered. Oliver nodded. "Oh, God!" I shrieked this time. "Again? Again? What is wrong with us? Are we genetically programmed to have children together?"
"I think the question to ask ourselves is now what?" Oliver sat down on the bed next to me and wrapped an arm around my shoulders.
"I'm not getting rid of it," I immediately told him. "I can't."
"Against your religion?"
"No," I rolled my eyes. "I've just been taught to deal with my mistakes. And when I see how things turned out with Grace, I'm sure I can get through this as well."
"You're going to leave, aren't you? It's what you did last time," I smiled sadly, daring him to deny.
"Will you stop? What do I need to tell you for you to trust me? I cannot imagine my life without you or Grace anymore. Letting you run away to Canada was a very stupid mistake I made, and it hurt me more than you can ever imagine. So no, I'm not going to leave, not today, not tomorrow, not ever, and the fact that you're carrying my child again makes me the happiest man in the universe."
"Man, man," I muttered playfully, "whatever helps you sleep at night."
"You of all people should know there are more interesting things to do at night." I blushed, and he continued. "Things that involve you, me, barely clothed, groaning and sweating, and…"
"Right, okay. I'm aware of what sex consists of, you don't need you to describe it in detail."
"Sex? I was talking about pillow fights!"
I laughed and rested my head on his shoulder. "You're so stupid."
And he kissed me.
A few weeks later, as I passed the three-month mark and my pregnancy was definitely confirmed, I decided to tell Cat.
Her reaction was completely unexpected.
She burst into tears.
"I'm really happy for you," she sobbed, "I really am, but it's just so unfair! You and Oliver have abnormally high breeding rates, and it's absolutely not fair!"
I was completely lost, and handed her a tissue, waiting for her to continue.
"Tim and I have been trying for a year now," she blew her nose, "an entire fucking year, with no result whatsoever. I have fucking injections, we have sex according to a fucking calendar that's stuck next to the mirror in our bathroom, and nothing! I haven't even had my fucking period for seven fucking months now due to all these fucking treatments, and I'm starting to think I'll end up sterile. So of course I'm thrilled for you, but you don't realise how discouraging it is for me that your one-night stands with Oliver systematically get you pregnant."
"I'm sorry." Commenting on her repeated swearing would really have been out of place. Not to mention pot calling kettle back.
"Don't be, it's not fault. I'll compensate by kidnapping your child," she grinned tearfully at me.
"Don't you think you might be trying too hard though?"
"Of course not, I really want this child!"
"That's what I mean," I explained. "You want it so badly that you're not letting things happen as they should…"
"I know," her shoulders sunk. "Look, I'm supposed to stop these injections in a few months if nothing happens. I've started researching in vitro fecundation, and that's the next option. And if that doesn't work, then I don't know what will."
I hugged her tightly. "Don't worry too much about it."
She sighed. "Can't help it. On a more positive note however, Tim and I have set a date for the wedding." A huge smile flowered across her face at the thought. "The fourth of January."
"That's in barely a month."
"That's not a problem, everything has been planned out for centuries now."
"We don't even get to go dress shopping together?"
"Oh, we are," she smiled evilly. "For your dress and yours only."
I pulled a face. "Can I at least see yours?"
"Nope," she laughed. "It's a surprise!"
"That only applies to the groom, and according to what I've heard recently that's not me."
"Indeed, it's not you. We don't need to contract to swear we'll love each other forever."
That's when I started crying.
"Here, try this," Cat tossed yet another dress at me. I gave the bright orange number a brief glance before looking back at Cat.
"There is no way I'm wearing something that makes me look like a mutated carrot," I informed her. "I'd rather go naked."
"Fine, fine," she rolled her eyes, "what about this one?" She held up a strapless powder blue dress.
"I'm going to freeze to death, seeing as you chose to hold your wedding outside."
"Bullshit, we'll have heating charms on the place."
"This one then?"
"Are you trying to find a dress I can wear at your wedding or to dress me as a hooker?"
She threw her hands up in mock exasperation. "I'm going to agree with your previous suggestion and tell you to go naked if you don't find something soon. We've looked through everything here!"
I pointed at the only rack left unattended by us. "Not there…"
Cat made her way over and started sifting through the dresses.
"Too pink, too short, too vulgar, too long, too granny-like, too white, too ugly, too long, too dull, too prude, too Slytherin..." I heard her mutter. "Aha!" She came back proudly holding a deep red dress with gold trimmings, and without further ado stuffed it into my hands. "Try this."
It had long sleeves, but left my shoulders bare, attached at the side by gold clasps, and as soon as I had it on, I knew I would be buying it.
"Once a Gryffindor, always a Gryffindor," Cat commented as I walked out of the changing room. "You can wear it with your gold heels, and that medallion you have, the one made out of a coin. I'm thinking a bun, red lipstick, maybe some…"
"Cat, I can manage my makeup. There's no need to convince me, I'm getting it."
She smiled happily. "I can't believe this is really happening, getting married with you as my witness just seems so strange…"
"And Grace as your bridesmaid, let's not forget."
"I wouldn't, she was too thrilled about it."
Grace had just entered her princess phase and had been absolutely overjoyed at the idea of wearing a pretty dress and holding Cat's veil down the aisle.
Well, aisle. Down the Quidditch pitch was more appropriate.
Yes, Cat and Tim were marrying on a Quidditch pitch.
For the first time since she was born, Grace spent Christmas with her father and his family at the Wood home. It was also my official introduction to the family.
The sitting room was busy with activity, Oliver's cousins and their children (for some) dispatched around the room, talking and laughing, glasses clinking with the crackle of the fire in the background.
Grace looked a little worried, until a small boy with curly brown hair and caramel skin ran up to her and stuck out his hand.
"Hello, my name is Noah Jordan-Bell. Do you want to come and play?"
Grace politely took his hand and shook it before following him out of the room, leaving me to stand on my own. I was absolutely terrified that this would turn out to be disaster.
"Hi, you must be Kim," a pretty brunette in a wheelchair rolled to my side. "I'm Katie, Noah's mum and Oliver's cousin."
"Katie, as in Katie Bell?"
She grinned. "Jordan-Bell, but yep, that's me."
"I love your work," I told her earnestly. The pictures she took were absolutely stunning, Oliver had one hanging on his living room wall.
"Thanks," she blushed. "It's not what I ever thought I'd do for a living, but hey, you've got to adapt to the circumstances," she gestured to the contraption she was sitting in. "I obviously wasn't going to continue Quidditch, was I? Not professionally, at least."
Katie Jordan's fall off her broom had been a shock in the world of Quidditch. She had been knocked out clean at a height of two hundred metres away from the ground, had spiralled down and landed with a sickening crunch despite the numerous cushioning charms sent her way. Her spine was shattered, she had no possibility of walking again, but she had survived
"You still play?" I enquired.
"Oh, yes, this thing actually flies," Katie laughed, pointing to her chair. "I'm a Chaser on the paralympic British team, and I play at family games too."
Oliver arrived at that moment, wrapping his arms around me from behind. "Everything okay here ladies?"
"Absolutely," Katie answered.
"Perfect," Oliver kissed the side of my head. "I wouldn't want my girlfriend and my favourite cousin not to get along. Have you seen Lee anywhere?"
"He's outside with Anna, Paul, and Leo preparing the fireworks, I think," Katie shrugged. "Or preparing something against you, I can't be sure."
Oliver muttered something incoherent, before letting go of me and setting off to find Lee.
"Anna is Oliver's sister, right?"
Katie nodded. "Quite the prankster if you're not careful. Oliver thinks Lee is a bad influence on her," she smiled wickedly, "except he still hasn't realised I'm the one who gives her ideas." I laughed, and Katie continued. "I've never seen Oliver like that with anyone before, you know, and boy have I met a few of his flings… How long have you been together?"
"Erm, a month and a half, officially speaking" I admitted.
She gaped at me. "What do you mean, officially speaking?"
"Have you got time for the long version?"
"Always do if it's juicy."
I like this girl. "A bit more than six years ago, Oliver and I were very, very drunk, things happened, I ended up pregnant, he didn't know it was his, we dated for two months, I told him he was the father, we broke up, I gave birth to Grace and moved to Canada with her, I came back this summer, Oliver and I ended up as neighbours, things happened, he asked me out, I said I had to think, he asked me again, I said yes, and that's about it."
Our relationship in a nutshell.
Katie looked furious. "He dumped you because you told him the truth?"
"That's not what I said."
"Maybe, but it's what happened, isn't it? Merlin, the boy has no brains."
She wheeled herself towards the glass window that led to the garden, opened it and rolled out into the cold night air.
"OI, OLIVER! GET OVER HERE NOW, YOU MORONIC, WORTHLESS LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT!"
I burst out laughing, and she winked at me as Oliver ran over in her direction.
"What did I do this time?"
"I can't believe you would dump Kim because she told you that you were Grace's father! Sure, she shouldn't have hidden the fact from you, but honestly, get your act together! I thought your mum had taught you something about respect, I'm very disappointed with you."
"Katie, that was years ago, and the point is Kim and I are together today," Oliver pointed out.
"I don't care! You are a jerk and an idiot, I think I should go and tell your mother how terribly educated you are," she chastened him teasingly. "In fact, I think I'm going to go and tell her this right now," she manoeuvred her wheelchair back inside the house.
"Is she always like this?" I questioned.
"Oh, yes," he laughed. "She considers it her personal mission to keep me on the right track. That was also a way for her to give us some time together."
I smiled and pulled him to me. "Bless her."
Oliver placed his hands on my hips and rested his forehead against mine. "I completely agree."
"Look, mum, look," Grace shouted, wildly waving her toy broom over her head. I acknowledged it with a smile, and, reassured, she turned back to inspecting it from every angle.
"Do you know what position you'd like to play, Grace?" one of Oliver's numerous cousins asked.
"Chaser, like Auntie Cat and Auntie Katie," she replied proudly. Katie beamed at this while Oliver grunted.
"Thanks very much, Grace, I'm offended," Oliver called out to her.
Grace walked over to him and scrambled into his lap. "You shouldn't be, daddy. It's not because I don't want to be a Keeper that I don't love you," she kissed his cheek.
This child was amazingly perceptive. Oliver and I exchanged a glance over her head, him bearing a stupid smile.
"Well, I'm going to find Noah," Grace abruptly slid off Oliver's lap. "We said we'd build a tower together."
"Did you hear?" Oliver's eyes followed Grace's retreating figure.
"I love you."
"That was unexpected, but I love you too."
"You two are so cute," Anna Wood interjected with a smile. "Why aren't you married yet?"
"It's too soon," Oliver immediately said.
"Bullshit," Anne snorted, quickly glancing around to make sure her mother hadn't heard. "You've been talking about this girl for six years."
"He has?" I looked at her, surprised.
"Dear God, yes," she took no notice of her brother's embarrassment, "we were starting to wonder if you really existed or if he had just made you up to cover the fact he was gay. Obviously, that's not the case, so I repeat, Ollie dearest, why haven't you married her yet?"
"I don't know if she'd accept."
"Ask her then," Anna shrugged like it was the most obvious thing on earth. "Hey everybody, Oliver's about to propose!" Her voice rose over the din, shutting everyone up.
Oliver shot his sister a weary look. "Honestly, Anna. What am I going to look like if she says no?"
Laughter erupted around the room, and I smirked at his discomfort.
"Well, Oliver, seeing as you've got no guts, I'll do this. Will you marry me?"
Oliver just stared at me, looking Stupefied, as his whole family waited silently.
"Hell, why not?" He kissed me on the mouth.
There was a chorus of 'AWWWWW' followed by a round of applause.
I was engaged.
A/N: Going abnormally fast with the updating but the queue is so short! Who knows, maybe this story will be complete by the end of the week? Thanks, validators!
THOUGHTS ON THIS CHAPTER? I love hearing from all of you, and I'm really sad to think that soon I won't have a chance to expect your reviews... There might be a sequel, focused on Grace, to this story, let me know whether or not you'd want to read it!