Chapter 1 : And I Feel Fine
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And then there was the single-mindedness. It wasn't simply that he was interested in Quidditch, oh no. It was all he cared about. Literally the only thing that occupied his mind from dawn to dusk and every minute in between. He thought only about Quidditch. He talked only about Quidditch. He did everything he could to be immersed in Quidditch day in and day out. Not his schoolwork, not ever his schoolwork, unless Percy Weasley forced him to. Not the girls watching him and giggling into their sleeves. He didn't pay heed to anything that wasn't played on broomsticks with a Quaffle, two Bludgers and a Snitch. His thought patterns worked in multiples of ten. The only reason, Alicia Spinnet thought, that Oliver might notice the world had ended around him, would have been if nobody turned up for Quidditch practice.
Oliver Wood barely kept in touch with reality. Occasionally it would send him a letter from a different world, usually warning that if he didn't touch base sooner or later there would be dire consequences. Letters from his teachers asking him to consider turning in an essay now and then that wasn't scrawled over with different plays. No, Oliver didn't notice reality or even life. It passed him by with a smile and a sound that resembled the way a Chaser sounded when they flew against the wind. He didn't even notice his fellow students unless they played Quidditch. If you'd asked him, he would have guessed the school's population at around twenty-eight. Katie Bell knew that if one of them died, Oliver's chief sadness would be over finding someone to replace them for a game at short notice.
He was a rather hard task master. Practices in the mornings at some ungodly hour no red-blooded young wizard or witch was supposed to even know about, followed by a tactical meeting in the evening and within a week of a game, another evening practice. And each practice had to be utterly perfect. Every aspect of their game had to be right on, or Oliver would be disappointed. Anything less than perfection was a let-down for him, and he forced himself to conform with even higher standards. A few times, Fred Weasley had wondered aloud if Oliver was actually human, or just a robot sent to drive them all into early graves.
Oliver Wood had no sense of humour. Someone would joke about seeing the dawn and he would just nod, because that was the way his day started each and every morning. It was the way his world had worked for several years now. Someone would ask him if he was serious about this or that, and he would just nod. Of course he was serious. You didn't just joke about Quidditch, ever. George Weasley couldn't believe that someone, someone he knew, someone he loved as a brother in some regards, could really be that out of touch.
There was never a question about his future, that was for sure. He would leave school with a couple of NEWTs to his name, trial for a League team, most likely Wigtown or Montrose, and play with them until old age or injury forced him to face reality. After that, he was expected to go on coaching. There wasn't a chance, Harry Potter thought, that Oliver would ever deviate from the path set for him. The path, Harry Potter envied, that Oliver had set for himself.