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Respectable Distance by skittery
Chapter 1 : Piper loves stairs
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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“Read this.”  A paper was shoved into a young woman’s arms.  Her eyebrows rose questioningly at the curly haired boy who had given it to her.  He just widened his eyes and motioned for her to read it.


Probably another stupid Ministry decree, she thought.  He was always making her peruse them. 

 
                                    I Was Born Into the Wrong family
                                           By: Jeffrey Alexander
                                        Staff writer, Daily Prophet         

            In the British Quidditch world, there is one family.  No, a super family.  The James’.  Never heard of them?  Do you reside under a rock?  If you haven’t heard of them, you must.  The James’ are the premier Quidditch dynasty.

            This dynasty was started two generations ago by Ward James.  Who is and will be forever remembered as the greatest Keeper England has ever seen.  Who went on to coach the Reading Rogues to consecutive championships for twelve seasons.  Ward had three children; Kent, Broderick, and Trent.

            The boys kept Quidditch in the family.  Trent and Kent both were respectable Beaters for the Chudley Canons for decades, both receiving an induction into the Quidditch Hall of Fame.  Neither, it has been noted, procreated.  So the fate of the James Dynasty set on the shoulders of Broderick.

            Good thing, for he was and still is a stocky gent.  Broderick, or Brody, as he is known to millions of adoring Quidditch fans, holds the record for the most consecutive wins by a Seeker ever.  His career as a player spanned almost twenty five years, starting when he was just 15.  His coaching career lasted longer than that. Thirty-eight years is a long time.  His years in the English National league were very productive.  He was married six times, but only had one child, Thomas.  Fickle fellow.

            Thomas James is by far, the most important coach in the league today.  A fiery temper, wonderful mind for strategy, and a knack for motivating have turned the Puddlemere program around. He was a superb Chaser up until he started having children.  And what wonderful children they are.

            Jensen and Jason are two of the top players rightthisminute. His youngest child, a daughter, is a seventh year student at Hogwarts whom doesn’t share her brothers’ love of the game…

 
The furious blue eyes that had been scrutinizing the crappy article turned to assess the person that had given it to her.  His curly red hair looked like it needed a good jinx.  Maybe even a charm to make it purple again, like after the time he pulled her pigtail when the two of them were five.

No; what kind of torture could I devise to payback Percy with this time? Her eyes turned devious. 


Piper James was never thwarted.

 
Well, except for the time that Oliver Wood beat her out for Keeper second year.  Oh, and maybe by the insipid writer of the article she had just read.  Who didn’t even bother to make up a name for her.  At least Rita Skeeter had called her “Jenny James’ when she slandered her the previous summer.


Percy would pay.  Even though the article wasn’t his fault.  Just like it wasn’t his fault that Piper was said daughter, who wasn’t interested in Quidditch.   

 
He was just one of the few people at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who knew Piper’s real identity.  The others were his brothers.  And Ginny.  But they were all sworn to secrecy, seeing as they were family.  

 
Their mother’s were sisters.  The Weasley kids were Piper’s cousins.  Obviously.


To everyone else, she was Piper Prewett, the quiet studious redheaded Gryffindor, who loved to write.  Though most of the kids at Hogwart’s paid her no mind.  Not that she gave them any reason to.

 
Piper was purposely invisible.  She kept to herself mainly, for fear of drawing attention.  She knew how it felt to be famous by association.  And Piper, dear girl, wanted none of it.  Popularity isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.  Piper learned that the hard way in third grade, after she switched to a Wizarding school.  Her last name and telltale James traits gained her instant notoriety.  People wanted to come over to the James Compound all of the time.  It was great at first, until Piper figured out that people came over just so they could meet her dad. 

Not that he was ever around.  Thomas James was much too important and busy to ever stick around the house for long.  And when it became apparent that Piper didn’t make the House team back in second year, Thomas James was too important to acknowledge his only daughter.

Who by now was known as Piper Prewett, and charmed to appear more like a Weasley.

 
So Piper threw herself into her schoolwork; isolating herself from pretty much everyone else.  Her hard work paid off, and she was First in Potions and Charms, Third in Transfiguration and Arithmancy and Second in DADA.

 
Fat lot of good that did me, Piper thought sardonically, wiping her long red hair out of her eyes.  My dad could still care less.

 
“Come on, Pipe!”  Percy nudged her shoulder.  “Don’t you want to go to dinner tonight?  We’ve been in the library for hours.”  Percy rolled his eyes for emphasis.


The tall girl shook her head and scrunched up her face.  “No.   I’m not really hungry.  I think I’m going to go write some more.  Bring me dessert?”   

Percy frowned, his face stony.  “Piper, I’m not breaking the rules for you again…”

“Again?  Perce, when have you ever broken the rules for me?”  She stood up and placed a hand on her hip.
 
“The third day of school.” Percy crossed his arms, smugness seeping out of every pore.

Piper gathered her books and sarcastically replied,” What did I do?  Not have my tie on straight?”

Sending a withering look her way, Percy answered. “No.  You came in six minutes after curfew from your jaunt, and I caught you and didn’t take away any points.”

She steered him towards the exit of the sparsely filled library.  “Well, thanks Percy.  Would you like a reward?  Like a cookie?  Or my spleen?”  Percy was forever relaxing the rules for Piper, who was his oldest friend, and the only cousin he had his own age.

 “No; you smart ass.”  

 A thick Scottish brogue called out from far too close.  “Good show Percy.  Didn’t know if you still knew how to curse.  Being a Prefect and all.”  Oliver Wood threw a companionable arm over Percy’s rigid shoulders, interrupting their conversation.  He sent a distant acknowledgment head nod in Piper’s general direction and sauntered off with Percy.

Ruddy jerk.  Piper James had many reasons not to like Oliver Wood.  

 
First off, he had her spot on the Gryffindor team.  Back in second year, Piper had it in her head to be a Keeper.  Never mind you, that she always played Chaser when practicing with her brothers.  She wanted to be a Keeper.  Another Great James Keeper.

Second, Oliver was arrogant.  Not just cocky, but he had crossed the line to arrogance.  Piper actually liked cocky boys, having spent her life around three of the biggest egomaniacs around.  Her grandfather, father and brother Jason could out-swagger and out-condescend anyone.  Oliver was worse.  Which was a hard feat.

Thirdly, and more recently, Oliver was the apple of Thomas James’ eye.  Mind you, Oliver didn’t know, but all Piper heard about all summer was how wonderful an addition Oliver Wood would be to Puddlemere.  And how bloody fantastic he was.  And why couldn’t Piper be more like Oliver?

Which was why, the day before Winter break, Piper sat glowering at the fireplace in the Gryffindor Common Room.   Three days until the super-secretive Annual James Winter Quidditch Training Camp.  Yes, there was capital letters.  Thomas even had a banner.  What was it?

The AJWQTC (pronounced A-J-Dub-Q-T-C), was a top secret, very selective training camp run by the James’ for years.  It catered to hand selected players from basically all over the world.  From the day after Christmas, until New Year’s Day, the family collectively held a camp that enabled Thomas to rate them before they officially tried out.  Many people actually knew about the camp, but they didn’t know that it was one of the only ways to get an invitation to the Puddlemere tryouts that were held after school got out.

All of the players stayed at the compound (really the James’ estate) for a week, training, working on endurance, and on their skills.  Piper was roped in to servitude.  Being a fit girl, her brother Jensen forced her to run the players, mostly men.  

 Okay, maybe forced was not the right word.  Jensen had promised her the family playbook in return for her services.  

 
Services?  Scratch that.  It made her sound like a prostitute.  In return for her excellent stamina and competence in the art of running, she got the family playbook.  Hells yeah

Her musings were brought to an immediate halt when her fellow flame haired cousin Ginny plopped rather huffily onto the couch next to her.  Her eyes were fiery, and her dainty jaw was clenched in anger.  Yep, it had to of been the twins.


Lolling her head towards Ginny, Piper asked” What’d they do now?”

 
Ginny huffed some more and muttered.  “They stole my diary again, the sodding idiots.”

“Want it back?”  Piper was a master at retrieval of stolen goods.  Even from the twins whom, she had an inkling, were the prime suspects.  She grinned wickedly.

Ginny’s wrath-filled eyes turned, showing Piper a grin that looked surprisingly like her own.  “You’d do it?  For real?”

Most of Ginny’s family had been rather hard on her regarding her diary, what with last year’s episode still fresh in their memories.  Piper understood.  A girl needs her diary.  Or her Playbook.  Yes, Piper had a diary, or a notebook.  Most people thought it contained stories, poems, boring junk like that.  They were mistaken, however.  Piper was a strategic genius.  It was, besides her knack for Chasing and real looks, the only thing she had inherited from her dad.   Her ‘diary/notebook’ was forever being filled with plays and drills that she hoped to someday try out.  No one was allowed to see it.  So, yes Piper understood the whole diary thing. 

Piper nodded slyly and leapt up gracefully from the couch.  She peered towards the entrance to the common room, and seeing no one, made her way deftly to the boys’ stairs.  Turning around at the bottom she called softly to Ginny.  “Just keep watch like usual, yeah?”  

Ginny giggled giddily and told her yes.  Then she turned around to watch the Portrait Door.

 
Stealthily navigating the stairs, Piper briefly entertained the notion of becoming a spy.  There would be plenty to do as a spy.  I’m a pretty good strategist.  Who would I spy for though?  Not the Ministry.  Bunch of sodding self-important morons, I say. 

Coming to the door of the Fifth year dorms, Piper took a deep breath, and stepped inside.  Peering around she located Ginny’s diary sticking up out of the top of a clothes pile that looked suspiciously like ladies undergarments next to Fred’s bed.  She was tempted to laugh, but remembered where she was.  Boys’ rooms are like the dump.  Any weird or disgusting odor that you cannot on first whiff decipher, you are probably better off not figuring it out.  

Musing about the state of the twins’ dorm and the long letter she could write to Aunt Molly detailing the horrifying travesty that was their collective state of personal hygiene, Piper heard the call.  


Time to haul ass.  Out the door quietly, and sprinting down the stairwell, she was unprepared to crash into something.  The velocity of the hit took out her victim as well, sending them tumbling comically down the stairs.  The stairwell took a winding turn to the left, and the back of Piper’s head made contact forcefully with the wall.  

“Ow-“ 

“Oh dear Merlin!”

“Shit!”

The tumbling duo came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs with a unanimous ‘ugh’.  Holding up the diary from underneath a really heavy boy, Piper wryly commented, “I got it.” 

The boy lay flush against her, his head nestled into the carpet above her right shoulder.  His breathing was labored when he asked huskily if she was alright.

Piper rolled her eyes at her misfortune and snidely replied, “I’ve been better.”

 The mass of young man atop her chuckled and cockily spoke up.  “Most girls would die to be in your position.”

“Wood, if you don’t get up, I might die.  You are a freaking whale!  Merlin, how does your broom stay in the air?”

When Wood wouldn’t move Piper dug her nails into his back.  He hissed in pain and she pushed against him.

 “I’m not joking!  I can’t bloody breathe.  Move!”

His hands, which were oddly enough cupping her head and her lower back, moved slowly and he pushed himself up a little to look at her.

“Whoa,” Oliver stated, his eyes glazing over indicating his injuries.  “Seeing about three of you, Prewett.”  He carefully rolled himself over and wiped his hand wearily across his face.   

Piper rolled her head to the side, breathing in rather difficultly.  Her breathing stop when she noticed what covered his face.  “Oh Merlin-shit-er, Wood you’re bleeding!  Look!”

Sure enough his hand was covered in blood, and subsequently, his face.  He stared at it carefully and shook his head.  “It’s not my blood.  That’s the hand that was behind your head.  You must have cracked it into the wall when we rounded the corner.”

“Sounds plausible.  Are you hurt, Wood?”  Piper did not want her dad pissed at her because she bruised up his most prized prospect.

“Nah, I’m fine.  But you’re bleeding, so we should get you to the Hospital Wing.  Can you get up?”  By now he had sat up and was staring down rather concernedly at Piper.

“No.  Threw my back out.  Old injury, acts up every once in a while.”  She closed her eyes and blinked a couple times to clear out the last of the stars. 

Piper found herself suddenly levitated off the ground, and placed gently onto her feet.  Cringing at the white-hot pain searing through her body she swayed dizzily and thanked him.  Taking a look at him while they slowly made their way to the Hospital Wing Piper snorted.  He was a mess.  Wood, who was begrudgingly fit, and usually very put together, was scattered.  His jeans were torn at the hip on one side and his shirt possessed little scratches from the rough stairs all over it.  His eyes were the worse off.  They weren’t cocky anymore; instead dazed and distant.  He glanced at Piper, sending a blush coursing up her body at being caught staring.

“How did you hurt your back?”

Piper stared confusedly at him.  “Huh?”

He rolled his eyes and exasperatedly said, “You said you threw out your back, and it was an old injury.  How did you obtain this old injury?”

 “Oh, duh.  Sorry-really knocked my noggin there.  Um, my back.  Well, when I was thirteen, summer after second year, I got into a fight with my dad, and ran outside and hoped on my broom…”

He rudely interrupted.  “You should never fly angry, Prewett.  Thomas James, he’s the coach of Puddlemere always says to fly with a clear mind.  You never know what will happen up there.”   

“I know.  My dad says the same thing.  But he was mad, I was mad, and my brother’s were gone, so I flew.  I ended up in a no-broom flying zone, and the crazy vibes dropped me like a hot potato.  Thirty feet up.  All the magic in the vicinity saved my life, as well as the surgeons at St. Mungos.  But my back’s been pretty dodgy since then.”  Piper could not believe how much she just said to Oliver Wood.  They never have conversations.  If he knew who she was, he would freak out.  Weird.

Coming to the Hospital Wing, Madame Pomfrey told Piper to go lay on a bed, while she cleaned up Wood.  She stalked off in the other direction, muttering about ‘ruddy Quidditch injuries’ the whole time.

Wood turned a quizzical face towards Piper.  “You come here often?”

She grinned sheepishly.  “Yeah.  Percy looks the other way while I fly during class.  But you can’t tell anyone.”  Her voice raised slightly towards the end, and she wagged a finger threatingly in his direction.


Raising his hands in self defense, Wood quirked an eyebrow and replied, “Fine.  My lips are sealed.”  He then proceeded to zip his lips, lock them, than put the key in his pocket.

 

Piper looked off into the distance.  Which was the white curtain three feet to her right, as she was sitting on a bed.  “You and I had better hope so.”

 

Wood, who was standing next to the bed, drained the repulsive ‘Concussion Concluder’ stared at Prewett.  Daft bird; must have really cracked her head.

 

“Alright PJ,” Pomfrey instructed.  “Drink up and then you know the rest.”

 

Piper begrudgingly raised her vial muttering, “Bottoms up, mates”.  Her freckle covered face displayed the horror of the excruciatingly disgusting concoction that was causing her throat to convulse ominously.

 

Wood chuckled at her antics then stopped quickly as a dull pain thudded through his head.  Causing Piper to laugh, and then clutch her head in pain.

 

“You ruddy git…you made my damn head hurt!”

 

Pomfrey interjected before Wood could retaliate.  Which he was fully prepared to do.  “Roll over and pull up the back of your shirt.”

 

Piper started to do so.  She lay down, and then rolled over slowly and very carefully to her back.  “Um, Wood?  Could you sit in that there chair and talk to me?”

 

He hesitated momentarily until Pomfrey uttered a curt ‘now’.

 

“What do you want me to talk about?” He asked.  It’s not like we ever talk to each other.  I don’t know anything about you.  He placed his arm next to her as the first mending spells started to occur. 

 

She looked at him frantically.  “I don’t care.  Anything.  Honestly, just ramble.” She grimaced as a particularly painful bone was fixed.  “Hell, just say the Alphabet.  Anything new happen on the Quidditch front?”

 

He sighed.  “I got invited to this ‘thing’ at Thomas James’ compound.  But my parents don’t want me to go.”

 

Piper whipped her head towards him as Pomfrey finished her back.  “What?  You can’t go?”  Frantically, she thought about what her dad would say to her.  Oh shit.

 


AN: My newest story-still in the developmental phase...I know that it isn't very humorous yet, but hopefully I can fix it.  Please review!  And thanks for reading!


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