Chapter Nine: Operation QC.
It was snowing again.
Usually Oliver would be as excited as a little child, but today, he stared glumly out of his bedroom window.
His mother’s voice floated up the stairs, causing him to look around at his closed door before turning back around to the window.
He didn’t know why he was surprised really. He expected someone like Maddie, kind and sweet Maddie, to always be taken. But somehow he had hoped she wasn’t.
“She didn’t act like she was.” He muttered.
He sighed and ran a hand through his already messy brown hair. He was trying to work out how he was going to face her when school went back, how he was going to be able to sit with her alone in the library or throw spells at her in a disused classroom.
His head fell onto the table with a thump.
“I’m screwed.” He muttered as he repeatedly hit his head on the hard wood.
“Ollie, darling, you have a visitor.”
Oliver looked sharply around. He hadn’t invited anyone over, not that he could remember anyway. He pulled himself up off his chair and trudged over to his door. He pulled it open and stood on the threshold. He could hear the murmur of voices floating up the stair but he couldn’t make them out.
“Bloody hell, now I have to go down.” He mumbled to himself before descending down the stairs.
“Ah, Oliver, why didn’t you tell me this wonderful young lady was coming?” His mother asked as she spotted her son.
Oliver was about to ask what his mother was talking about when Alison Deckart appeared next to Mrs Wood.
Oliver was speechless.
Alison smiled, “Hi Ollie, I was wondering if you would come into London today with me, I seam to have run out of ink and I do need it before we go back to school tomorrow.”
“Of course he’ll go.” Mrs Wood said, smiling at Alison. She wanted her son to get back to normal; he looked and sounded like crap.
Before long, Oliver found himself walking down a rather snowy Diaggon Alley, Alison happily chatting along next to him.
“Oh, can you just come in with me to Madam Malkins’; I need to pick something up.” Oliver nodded, he really couldn’t say no to her, and followed Alison through the door. Madam Malkin was a short, slightly plump woman who dressed in rather obscene clothes. Currently she was wearing an emerald green dress, her blond hair piled up above her head and held up with a large green butterfly that looked as if it were trying to escape.
“Yes dear, how may I help you?” She asked as Alison stood in front of her counter.
“You have put aside two sets of robes for me; I have come to collect them. The name is Deckart.”
“Oh, yes, they are the blue and rose dresses aren’t they?” Alison nodded. Madam Malkin disappeared behind a curtain and Alison turned to Oliver, linking her arm with his.
“How are you going?” She asked looking up at him with big eyes.
Oliver swallowed hard.
“Fine, I just want to pop into Quality Quidditch Supplies before we leave, you know, have a look at things.”
Alison smiled and patted his arm.
“Of course we can Ollie.” He grimaced once she turned to look around the shop. He had always hated being called Ollie, only family members got away with it due to him being unable to kill them.
“Here we go dear,” She handed two robes covered in plastic over the counter before her eyes fell onto Alison and Oliver’s linked arms, “You two enjoy your day.” She said, winking at them in a suggestive manner.
Oliver opened his mouth to say Alison was not his girlfriend, however, Alison spoke first.
“Have a nice day Madam Malkin.”
Once out of the shop Oliver spoke up. “I thought you were going to tell her that we weren’t, you know, involved?”
Alison waved her hand in a dismissive manner. “Let the old woman believe what she wants to.”
You may not be my boyfriend yet, Oliver, but I will make you soon forget that silly Montgomery girl.
Kings Cross was murder at 10 am the next day. Normally if Maddie went alone, she would be pushed and shoved around in the crowd, however, today James and David decided to come along for the trip.
Maddie held onto Alice’s hand for dear life as she was shoved, yet again, by a business man heading for the train leaving on platform eight to Paris.
“You ok?” James yelled over the crowd.
“I’m still alive.” Maddie called back.
“Damn, I thought we lost her!” David exclaimed, earning him a punch in the arm from a scowling Alice.
“I was only joking,” David muttered, rubbing the spot on his arm where his girlfriend had punched him, “I’m going to get an ugly bruise now and people will think that I’m in a violent relationship, how does that make you feel?” He shot back at a grinning Alice.
“Perfectly fine actually.”
“Look, we’re almost there.” James said, pointing to the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Maddie let a sigh of relief escape her lips; it wasn’t her fault that she was rather small!
Straightening their caps, James and David walked through the barrier first, followed by Alice and Maddie. The crimson steam engine with the Hogwarts insignia was blowing puffs of steam, impatient to begin the journey. Alice let go of Maddie’s hand and went over to David, linking her arm through his.
James moved next to his sister, “I have honestly never seen him like this before.” He muttered, observing the couple before him.
“Me neither.” Maddie replied. However, her attention was drawn away from the now kissing couple when Grant appeared next to her.
“Hey Maddie.” Grand said, flashing her one of his mega watt smiles. She smiled back but was aware that James was looking rather intently at the boy next to her.
“Grant, this is my brother James, James this is Grant.” Maddie said cautiously, deliberately leaving out the fact that Grant was now her boyfriend.
Grant held out his hand and James reluctantly shook it, his eyes not leaving Grant’s for one second. Although the Montgomery boys joked around and teased their little sister, as soon as another male was around, they became the protective older brothers, efficiently executing every instruction in the Brother Manuel. This included hexing the said male, keeping the little sister away from the said male and virtually making the said male’s life a living hell.
Upon seeing another male at his sister’s side, David quickly detangled himself from Alice and went to stand next to his brother. Together they formed a rather intimidating wall.
A flicker of panic whipped through Maddie as David layed eyes on Grant. She was always unsure as to what David reaction to things would be, his temper flared at the most unusual of moments.
“Who’s this?” He asked Maddie, nodding his head in Grant’s direction. Maddie threw a begging glance at Alice, who had just appeared at David’s side, before replying.
“Davie, this is Grant, Grant this is my other brother David.” Once again Maddie marvelled at his courage as Grant held out his hand for David to shake.
“Pleased to meet you.” Grant politely said, although Maddie was aware that David’s knuckles had turned white as he presumably attempted to crush Grant’s hand.
“So, how do you two know each other?” James asked, his eyes trained on Grant.
Grant went to open his mouth, but Maddie elbowed him in the stomach, effectively shutting him up and allowing her to reply to her brother’s question.
“Grant and I are Herbology partners, we’re currently raising a gingerroot plant, you know, it’s that plant used in sleeping droughts.” Maddie said, throwing another desperate glance at Alice who discreetly nodded.
“Hey, I think that we better get on the train now so then we find a good seat.” Alice said as Maddie mouthed the words ‘thank you’.
“Oh, right, yes of course,” James said as David dragged Alice away from the group for a more private goodbye, “Do you need help with your trunk?”
“I’ve got it.” Grant said, laying his hands on the handle. James’ eyes lingered on Grant before slowly nodding.
“Sure,” Turning his attention to Maddie, he threw her a smile, “You have fun, stay out of trouble,” His eyes flicked to Grant, almost like a warning, “And don’t forget to write.” He said, pulling her into a one armed hug.
James turned his attention to Grant. “Nice meeting you.” He said stiffly and Grant gave him a short nod.
Alice and David joined them then, a rather dazed look on her face and a grin on his. The train let out an impatient whistle, trying to urge all the students to hurry up.
“Come one, we better go.” Grant said, hauling Maddie’s trunk up the stairs to the carriage.
“I’ll see you two in June.” Maddie said before following Grant into the carriage, however, she soon realised that Alice wasn’t following.
It was two thirty and Oliver found himself wedged in between Fred and George, Katie, Angelina and Alicia sitting opposite.
Oliver had conjured a table; parchment with his unmistakeable scrawl was piled on the top with many different notes and diagrams that where meant to be read before the next game.
“Ok, our next game is against Ravenclaw, we need to score a maximum of 130 points,” He glanced at his three chasers, each of who nodded, “And then the rest is up to Harry.”
“Oi, Wood, what about us?”
“Yeah, need any fireworks to ‘mysteriously’ go off down the Ravenclaw end?”
Oliver shook his head, but smiled none the less.
“I think that we will be fine thanks.”
“We better pack them Fred, just in case.” George advised his twin. Oliver shook his head; he never had any control over the twins, no matter how hard he tried.
“Angie, Katie and Alicia, you know that you are going to have to work really hard on that passing work, we don’t want a repeat of that game against Hufflepuff,” The three girls nodded, “Fred, George, keep up the good work, your aim is superb.”
Identical grins spread across their faces, “Would you expect anything less?” Fred, or was it George, asked.
Oliver shook his head and plopped a Pumpkin Pastry into his mouth. He hadn’t skipped breakfast this morning, deciding that a select few of his quidditch plays needed some adjustments, much to his mother’s protests. Luckily, his father had been in the same position when he was at school and managed to keep Mrs Wood from bundling up pieces of toast and sending them with Oliver onto the train.
“Ok, so I’ve made a list on what books you all need to borrow from the library, and a roster so then we don’t try and get the same books at the same time.” The rest of the team collectively groaned.
“Come on Oliver, don’t do this again.”
“Yeah, at least spear us the torture of having to read!” A glare from Oliver silenced the group.
“Ok, Katie, you are starting with Quidditch, A Golden Age, now all you need to do is to take special note on what moves the Chasers are said to be using in certain parts.” Katie sighed but nodded all the same.
“Right, Angie, you’ll be reading Wilson’s Guide to Quidditch, A Chasers Story; it’s a really popular book so you better go straight to the library when we get in.” Angelina rolled her eyes, but remained silent.
“And Alicia, you’ll be reading 1001 Chaser Moves and Plays; I think that all of you read it last year so you should just be able to skim through it.” Alicia’s face morphed into one of despair as she realised that she would have read the same book again, for the second year running.
“Er, Oliver, you do realise that the chasers read those books last year.” Fred stated, jerking his thumb in the direction of the three girls.
“Yes I know, I just think that it would be good for them to all read them again.” Fred shook his head and threw an apologetic look to the three girls.
“Ok, you all ready to look at the new plays?”
The bathroom had been occupied for the last ten minutes as two girls by the name of Marleen West and Alison Deckart discussed a plan that had been put into motion the day before.
“You know what to do West, just spread the rumour.” Alison hissed, her nails digging into the flesh of Marleen’s arm.
Marleen winced, but remained silent, knowing that if she dared defy Alison Deckart her life would be a living hell.
“I’ll spread it.” A triumphant smile spread across Alison’s face.
“Just make sure he hears it.” Once again Marleen nodded. Satisfied, Alison let go of her arm and smiled at the poor girl.
“Nice doing business with you.” She said, adjusting her hair before walking out of the bathroom.
Marleen looked down at her arm. Angry red marks glared up at her from where Alison’s talons had been digging into her flesh. She sighed, realising that she had a lot of work to do if she was to make this rumour believable.
Fifteen games of exploding snap, four rounds of wizards chess and three pumpkin pastry’s later, Maddie, Alice and Grant contently sat in their compartment.
Alice had fallen asleep almost an hour ago, leaving the new couple to talk properly for the first time since New Years.
“Why where your brothers wearing matching caps?” Grant blurted out before his cheeks turned a lovely shade of pink in embarrassment.
“Oh that, well, last Christmas they came and collected me from the train station and they where mugged by groups of screaming fans, many of them girls, in the process. So, to hide their identities, they decided to do it the muggle way with caps.” Grant nodded and the compartment fell into a comfortable silence.
However, the silence didn’t last long as something large and fluffy crashed into the window.
“What in Merlin’s name was that?!” Grant exclaimed as Maddie stood up to investigate. One of the poor school barn owls was hovering on the other side of the glass, a letter with the official seal attached to its leg.
“Quick, help me get it open!” Maddie exclaimed, trying desperately to open the compartment window. He obliged and together, they where able to open the window and bring the distressed bird in.
After the owl had calmed down from its horrible landing, it held out its leg to Maddie. Quickly, she untied the letter and allowed the owl out of the window.
“Who’s it from?” Grant inquired, peering over her shoulder as she cracked the seal and unrolled the letter.
The familiar slant of McGonagall’s writing met Maddie’s eyes.
Dear Miss Montgomery
As you are tutor to Mr Wood, I would advise you to form a permanent session in the coming term as I wish to assign the Transfiguration class room for you to use as I feel that this will be beneficial to Mr Wood’s education.
I wish to know the day and time you and Mr Wood have discussed at your arrival back at Hogwarts.
Hope you enjoyed and restful joyous holiday.
Professor M, McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Maddie read it once more before rolling the letter back up and slipping it into the pocket of her jumper.
“What was all that about?” Grant asked.
“I have to go speak to Oliver.” Maddie replied, pulling open the door to their compartment. Grant followed.
“Oliver as in the quidditch captain? Why do you need to speak to him?” He asked as they made their way down the corridor, Maddie checking each compartment as she went.
“Er, I’m on the end of year party committee with him. McGonagall wants us to use the Transfiguration classroom to practice some things that we are going to…um… use in the party.”
Grant nodded but a sceptical look remained on his face. They where passing a group of Ravenclaw boys when someone yelled out Grant’s name.
“I’ll meet you back at the compartment, ok?” Maddie nodded and Grant left to go and see what his friends wanted. Maddie let out a sigh of relief, she didn’t want to tell Grant that she was tutoring Oliver, it just didn’t seam right.
She was nearing the very back of the train, she could see the window at the end of the carriage sowing the world that they where leaving behind.
Oliver was sitting in the third to last carriage with his quidditch team. They had conjured a large table that was covered in parchment displaying different versions of the same play. She had seen them all before on the walls and floor of her brothers rooms when they had all been on the house team. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the compartment door.
Oliver looked up when he heard the knock on the compartment door, his heart beat racing at the sight of Maddie. She gave him a smile and he swallowed, hard.
“Who’s that?” George asked as Oliver stood up to see what she wanted. Alicia slapped his arm and gave him a dirty look.
Oliver slid out of the compartment, careful to shut the door after him; he knew that his team became rather nosy at times.
“Hello.” She said, giving her another one of her smiled. He noticed her eyes light up. He gave her a weak smile in return.
“Ok, so I received this letter from McGonagall saying that she wants us to discuss a permanent time to do your lessons because she wants to give us access to her classroom. So, I was wondering if you could think of a time during the week that you don’t have heaps of work or are doing sport?”
Oliver blinked, before leaning back into the wall of the carriage and folding his arms across his chest.
“Are you free Sunday afternoons?” He asked, careful to not look her in the eye because he knew that he would become hypnotised by the intense blue. She nodded and smiled.
“Sunday’s it is. Hey, how was your holiday?” She asked, mimicking his pose on the opposite wall.
“It was good. I, um, saw you at the party.” He said, looking out the window at the passing scenery. The hills where becoming steep, rock jutting out off the side creating a rugged and unpredictable landscape.
You blundering idiot! Why did you bring that up?
He noticed Maddie frown out of the corner of his eye.
“I didn’t see you.”
“Oh.” Oliver looked down in disappointment; she didn’t notice him at all.
What do you expect, she was too preoccupied to even notice the fireworks. She was making fireworks of her own!
“Ok, I’ll tell McGonagall that we want Sunday,” Oliver mutely nodded, “Ok, I’ll see you on Sunday then.”
She smiled, and brushed past him, Oliver catching a whiff of her hair as she did. She smelt like strawberries and chocolate. He briefly closed his eyes.
You’re Screwed mate.
A/N: Ok, that was not the best chapter i have ever written but it is really important. I promise to never leave this story for this long ever again. I have already started chapter ten so then I would have it up in the next two weeks or so.
Thank's to all the people who have kept with me, I love you all! rubix.