Chapter 6 : Ammo
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Oliver’s face wasn’t giving me any clues as to what he was thinking. In fact, it was expressionless as he stared at me, his dark eyes connecting with my own. “Tell me about your family, Perry. Have you gone temporarily deaf?”
I punched him lightly in the arm and sighed. “What do you want to know? Blimey, I don’t know,” I said slowly, thinking about what information he might be interested in that wouldn’t get shoved in my face later or wouldn’t be the butt of the newest rumor. “Well, I have two parents,” I began.
“Really? You didn’t just sprout out of the ground?”
“I’m not you, Wood,” I shot back. “My mum died when I was young, four or five, but I still remember bits and pieces about her.”
He didn’t say anything, but I could feel his eyes.
“And my dad’s been as good as any single parent could be,” I continued. “Though when it came to makeup he was rather clueless. He would open up the lipstick tubes and test them on his fingers before he’d tell me that they would make me look like a little whore if I wore them. I never bought the lipstick.” I smiled to myself, thinking fondly of my father probably sitting in front of the radio at home with the Tornadoes’ broadcast on, yelling at it like the Chasers could hear him.
“Didn’t want to look like a whore?” asked Oliver, laughing a bit.
“It just didn’t match my complexion,” I replied with a cocky grin. “Besides, whore is already accounted for at this school. I believe she’s dressed as a bunny hopping around here somewhere.”
“Come on, now, Libby’s not that bad.”
I snorted. “Do you even talk to her? Or are you that thick-headed?”
“She never really got under my skin…”
“That’s because she worships you!” I said, laughing. “She’d gladly take out the Russian army to be your girl toy.” I snorted again and then pretended to gag. “She’s rubbish and a fake person. You’re too good for her.” It was out before I had a chance to stop it. I almost covered my mouth, but that would have made me look even more like an idiot (though I was doing a pretty good job without it).
“Who is good enough for me then?” Oliver was smirking.
I wanted to punch him. Or punch myself for saying that. Now I was backed into a corner like a little mouse and big, round ears didn’t look good on me. “I just meant that any bloke is too good for her…she’s a whore.”
He laughed. “Oh, all right then, Perry.”
I glanced back at the grass and it was swaying in the breeze that was currently freezing my shoulders off. “She’s…Oh, that Libby…”
“What about me?”
Oliver turned around with a smile. “Libby! Love, what are you doing out here? It’s too cold for you in that…little…costume.”
She rolled her eyes. I could just feel it. “I was passing and I heard my name. Why were you out here talking about me, Oliver?”
I kept my eyes focused on the ground. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t stand up to Libby (because she was just a git), but I just did not want any confrontation tonight. Rubbish.
“We were talking about your costume, love,” Oliver said, making a perfect Keeper save. “Perry was saying that her favorite part are the ears, but my favorite part is that little bunny tail.”
She giggled and I thought my head would explode. Could brains puke because mine was about to.
Libby reached down and hugged Oliver tight. I was unsure of how she managed it because her heels were taller than his torso, but I stifled my laughter anyway. “Are you going to save me a dance, Oliver?” she asked in a girlishly high-pitched voice.
“Sure, love. Anything.” Oliver was smiling. “But bloody get back in there—you’re going to catch a cold!” He pushed her lightly and she went scurrying back inside.
“Bloody tosser,” I muttered.
“I know you secretly want to be her best friend,” Oliver said with a smirk. “I’ll tell the Chasers when I see them. I see you both going shopping and adopting little wee baby bunnies.”
I did punch him that time. “Shove off.”
He chuckled for a few minutes and tried to rub the goosebumps off of his arms. “So tell me more about your family.”
“What do you want to know?” I asked, unsure of what kind of ammo this would be in the future.
I made a face. “Well, we live in a flat in London, my dad and me. It looks nice, but only because he hired an interior decorator to put all of it together. He doesn’t know bollocks about design…not that I know much either. He’s…he’s the only one that knew I couldn’t fly.”
Oliver raised a brow. “So you admit it!” He laughed.
“SOD OFF!” I punched him in the arm again. “I hope you bruise.” With a sigh, I continued. “He always lectured me about learning because he’s obsessed with the sport. That might have been a reason I didn’t try hard enough. He was always watching it and talking about it and going to the games…I didn’t want to be swept up in it.”
“Do you think you’re being swept up in it now?”
I raised a brow. “Team dinners, practice…dealing with YOU on more than a few occasions…yes, and this is rubbish. I demand a recount on my position of reserve.”
“All right,” Oliver said seriously. He thought for a moment and I took the opportunity to survey the chilly bumps on his forearms. “I just did it. Yeah, it’s the same. One. The Captain’s vote. Aren’t you a lucky duck?”
I groaned. “Lucky as they come.”
After I had finally had too much cold, I stood up and raced back inside, leaving sod-face Wood curious on the porch. My cloak was in the hall, hanging on one of the hooks, so I grabbed it and returned outside. “I’m heading back to the castle,” I said slowly, staring across the lawn to the large, stone structure.
“No more freezing cold chats?” Oliver asked, getting to his feet. He stretched and I thought his muscles moved.
I smiled. “I think my goosebumps have goosebumps.” I pulled my cloak tight against my skin.
He nodded. “I’ll walk you back. I don’t think Libby is going to come looking for me again.”
We walked in silence for a moment, me biting my lip and Oliver playing with his Roman sword at his side. I didn’t know what to say. Should we talk Quidditch after I had just told him about my dead mother and girl-stupid father? I’d just have to wait.
I didn’t have to wait long for an interesting topic.
“So where was Dodger?” he asked.
I raised a brow and looked over. I then saw his back muscles against the moonlight, frowned at the cliché image, and turned back to stare at the ground. “Something happened to his room.”
“What do you mean? Did it kick him out on its own?” Oliver ventured a laugh.
I stifled my own. “Apparently someone went through his things and might have taken something,” I said. “And since he didn’t come back, I’m going to assume something was.”
“What would he have that anyone would even take?” Oliver was laughing again and I wanted to hit him. “His broomstick is locked up by the pitch…so his knickers?”
I did hit him that time. Then I pulled my dress down and readjusted my cloak. “I think you’re judging him without even knowing him, Wood.”
“I think you’re wrong. I know him—I know his type.”
“And what is it? That he takes advantage of reserve Seekers to get inside information about the team? This is a Quidditch team, Wood. What is there to tell? That you make my best friends lug themselves out of bed before the sun comes up? That you have to be the last one off the pitch? I’m sure he’ll be very interested.” I rolled my eyes.
“Nope,” Oliver said slowly. He kept his eyes forward as we walked, forcing my curiosity to surface. “He’s the kind of bloke that really does fancy you but will use that against you if he has the opportunity to win. If you ever got on the team—if Ellis ever hurt himself (if he wasn’t on the team I’d bloody hurt him myself) then he’s the type of bloke that will use everything you’ve revealed to him about yourself or anyone else…against you during the game. He’s manipulative.”
I stared at him for a moment. Could Oliver Wood be right about Roger? That was rubbish. Roger may be a Quidditch Captain, but he was no Wood. He was charming and sweet and even if he was like that—I’d never make the bloody team anyway.
Besides, even if dishy Roger turned out to be a creep, I could take care of myself. Out of everyone that I would turn to for rescue—Oliver Wood did not even make top ten.
I frowned. “I’m a big girl. I’ll take care of myself.”
“Okay,” he said and I was surprised he did. “Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Because I did. Right now.” He smiled.
I nodded. “You did. Right now.”
It was dark outside and I knew that after several people started stumbling out giggling that the party was close to being over. I stood up, unsure of what to do, but Oliver watched me intently.
“So why do you fancy that bloke anyway?” he asked, standing up with a large stretch.
“Because of none of your business,” I replied with a smile. He did not meet it.
“Aren’t we done having this conversation?” I asked.
“No, we’re not. I’ve been watching women get sucked in by that bloke for a couple of years now and I won’t have it be someone on my team!”
I rolled my eyes and started to walk back to the castle. “I’m feeling déjà vu, Wood. I’m not on your damn team.”
“You’re a reserve—”
“Only because you made me try out in the first place!” I snapped, veering around to face him. “You made me try out. You knew I was rubbish and just because I almost fell on my face making a save you force me into a reserve position you knew I didn’t want! You don’t have a reserve Keeper just in case you get hurt.” I folded my arms.
“I don’t get hurt.”
I wanted to punch him in his thick head. “Just for that—I hope you do.” I paused, narrowing my eyes and turning back around. I began my long, cold march back up to the castle.
“You don’t mean that,” he said.
I turned again, thinking. “Yes, yes I do, Wood. Maybe if you get hurt and stuck in the hospital wing then you’ll stop bothering me so much!” With that, I was on my way again. Oliver shot a few comments back, but I ignored them and opened the doors to the castle. “Sod off,” I muttered.
Angelina and Alicia were awake when I returned. Ang was brushing out her hair by the mirror and Alicia was tiptoeing around Katie’s bed to steal a tube of lip balm. Katie, however, was snoring in her costume.
“I saw you out there talking to Wood,” Angelina said slowly, raising a brow. “How did that go?”
“The same way it always goes,” I muttered. “He’s a prat and I hope he gets hit by a bludger.” I tried to smile my way out of the anger, but Angelina recognized it and rolled her eyes.
“What team spirit you have,” she said.
I flopped onto the bed with my dress on. “How is Fred? Passed out?”
“I had to practically carry him up the stairs,” Angelina said, willing me to change the subject since it was about her boyfriend. “I put him in bed but I think he rolled out. I could hear Lee laughing after I left the room.” She smiled.
I returned the grin and closed my eyes. I wondered about Roger and who had broken into his room. It was probably some prying first year trying to find his way onto the team—steal Roger’s playbook and try and outperform everyone by doing some crazy move. I nearly laughed.
Still, though, as I was laying there in bed part of me wanted to go knock on the Ravenclaw common room door and see Roger. After spilling my guts to Wood, I felt stupid. Why did I tell him about my family? About my father that did not know foundation from eye liner?
Now Oliver Wood had ammo and even though I was on his Quidditch team I doubted that would stop him.
I had made a stupid mistake.
The match against Hufflepuff was fast approaching and my Chaser friends were around less and less. Occasionally I would see them at meals and in class, but that was when they didn’t have their heads pressed firmly against their toast in exhaustion. Ellis was prancing around the castle less tired. That could be because he spent most of the drills searching for the snitch or playing keep away with the Quaffle with Fred or George.
I rarely saw Wood after Halloween, though every time I did it was difficult to picture him without the Roman outfit on. He did not make eye contact and I knew it was because he had already started some sort of nasty rumor about me. He never met my eyes after he had done something nasty. I was just waiting for it to surface.
Roger, on the other hand, was being perfectly lovely. It turns out his Charms notes were the only things stolen from his room and the only reason he was upset was because they were taken in a leather-bound notebook. He said on the cover it was marked as a writing tablet but he wanted to take notes in it since he did not keep a journal.
We were all in Transfiguration together, copying each other’s notes and laughing at the way McGonagall seemed to single out Katie to answer every question she wanted a real answer to (as opposed to a sarcastic one, which she would have gotten from either Wood or Roger, neither of which were talking).
I personally always enjoyed Transfiguration, which is why I got such high marks in it (Potions was an entirely different cup of tea). On most days I let people copy my notes if they were my friend, which is why when I was in the common room I let Angelina snag them and copy little margin notes into her own.
I glanced up. So did Ang. Libby was standing over me with a pen behind her ear and a clipboard in hand. She had a scowl on her face and I couldn’t help but picture her in that ridiculous bunny costume from Halloween.
“What do you want?” I asked. “Do you want training to become the reserve Keeper because if you do I’d be happy to help you get rid of that git.” I smiled sarcastically.
She rolled her eyes at me. “No. I need to borrow your transfiguration notes.”
I nearly choked (so did Angelina, but she managed to actually make it sound like a cough. I failed miserably and ended up just laughing in Libby’s face). “My—my what?”
“Your notes. I need to copy them.”
I made a face. “So I’m supposed to let you borrow my notes and copy them—even though I loathe you and all of your bunny ways?”
Another half-choke-half-laugh. “No.”
“Why the bloody hell not?” Libby asked. “You’ve got top marks in there—even Katie said so.”
“When do you talk to Katie?”
Libby rolled her eyes again. I thought they might finally get stuck up in her head but they came back. “I talk to Katie all the time. We have lunch.”
“In the same room I have lunch. That doesn’t mean you talk to me,” I pressed.
“Anyway,” snapped Libby, clearly irritated because I was questioning her, “I need to borrow them because my notes don’t have all the little details yours does.”
“Come on, Jane! Just let me borrow them!”
I thought for a moment, staring down at my notes that Angelina had returned to copying. I noticed she wasn’t really writing. “Nope.”
Libby turned, defeated, and was about to walk away when something struck me hard.
“Libby, you’re not even in my class.”
She blushed. “Yes—yes, I am. I’m taking sixth year Transfiguration on the side because—because McGonagall said I needed it.”
“You’re taking an advanced Transfig even when you’re going to take it next year anyway?” I was trying to stifle my disbelief. “Well, all right, since you’re in such a tight knot…let me see those notes of yours.” Angelina glanced up in awe but I put my hand up behind my back to silence anything she could have said.
The notes were just what I figured they would be. Simple. Unorganized. I sighed dramatically and handed them back to her. “These are going to need a lot of work. I thought you could spell better, Libby.”
Her face turned a darker shade of magenta. “Well, when I’m writing fast…”
I rolled my eyes. “Tell Wood to take better bloody notes. If he tried in class then I might actually help him.” I paused. “No, no, I wouldn’t. Tell him to get notes from Ellis.”
“But Ellis isn’t—”
“Tell him!” I snapped and Libby scurried away, the notes under her arm.
It was then that Angelina completely lost her composure and started laughing and falling all over the coffee table. “Jane, you rogue! I can’t believe Oliver tried to get your notes through Libby of all people. He has to know you loathe her.”
“I loathe him more so I think she had a decent shot,” I said with a snicker. “How are those notes coming along?”
“Watch out, though, Libby might try and dress up like Ellis or Fred to get those notes. Apparently they’re lofty property.” I rolled my eyes, scooped up Angelina’s finished pages, and placed them in my folder. I turned, smiling, and winked sarcastically at Wood, who was sulking in the corner by the stairs.
He flipped me off.
Things with Roger were really taking off. No, we were not officially together, but I think that suited both of us just fine. We spent our evenings out by the lake wrapped in fleece blankets and our mornings sipping orange juice by one of the Great Hall fireplaces. It was nice, sitting there and laughing about classes and sharing notes. Quidditch was rarely talked about and when it was it was Roger talking about how Gryffindor was going to knock Hufflepuff on their arses.
That was how I liked it.
He even volunteered to sit in the Gryffindor section during the game and wear scarlet and gold. What a bloke!
The morning of the game was bright and the weather was as nice as it could have been, the sun shining and only a few clouds in the sky. It was cold, but after a cozy hat and a thick cloak, I was fine.
“I’ll meet you down at the pitch,” I told Roger, smiling warmly at him in his wool vest and cap. “I have to grab a scarf from upstairs.” He nodded and joined the swarm of Quidditch-deprived students on their way down to the pitch.
I found my scarf draped around my bed post and twirled it around my neck. Perfect. I made my way down the spiral staircase, tightening the cashmere knot and trying to pull my hair out of my cloak without ripping it out.
“Hey, Perry, you ready for the game?”
I turned so quickly I almost lost balance. I groaned. “Yes, Libby, I’m ready to sit in the stands and cheer on my House. Are you?”
She beamed. “Of course I am, silly goose!” I almost puked. “After the game Oliver and I are going out to dinner in Hogsmeade to celebrate.”
“That’s interesting,” I said as we made our way down the stairs of the corridors and toward the pitch, “what if Gryffindor loses?”
Libby shook her head and batted her eyelashes into a compact mirror. “No, no, not to celebrate if Gryffindor wins or loses. That doesn’t really matter.”
Doesn’t matter? To Oliver Wood? Was she completely mad?
“It’s to celebrate that Ollie and I are an item!”
I ran into the hand rail. “You’re—you’re a bloody what?”
“An item, Perry. We’re together. He’s my boyfriend.” She narrowed her eyes. “He’s lovely, isn’t he? My Ollie! He’s such a wonderful captain…of Quidditch and all that.”
“Oh, yes,” I said, trying to hide all of the emotions I was feeling. “So I bet you lot talk about Quidditch all the time then, huh?”
She shook her head obliviously. “No. Actually I don’t know much about Quidditch so Ollie doesn’t really bring it up.”
I thought my jaw hit the floor. “You don’t—he doesn’t…blimey.” By that time we were at the pitch and Libby ignored my stammering to run (more like prance) to find Oliver before the game began. I, however, made my way up to the Gryffindor stands in a blind daze.
“You look…you look like you just walked through the Baron,” said Roger, nearly laughing at my state.
“I just ran into Libby.”
“Who’s Libby?” he asked. “Is that the girl that follows around Wood like his servant? I really thought she was a maid here for a while. I was wondering why he got a maid and I didn’t.” Roger smiled.
“That’s the girl,” I replied. “She was telling me how her and Wood are an item now.”
He laughed. “Good. Now maybe they’ll actually walk next to each other. So why the shocked look?”
“Because apparently, according to her, they don’t talk about Quidditch at all and she doesn’t even know that much about it.”
Roger raised a brow. “So Wood is dating a girl that doesn’t know beans about Quidditch? Unfathomable!”
“That’s what I thought too,” I mumbled as the players flew onto the field. Wood was looking quicker than usual. It was annoying.
“And there are the Gryffindors—Johnson, Spinnet, Bell, Weasley, Weasley, Ellis, and captain Wood!” Lee cried in the megaphone. “Followed by the Hufflepuffs! My, aren’t they…yellow!”
I smiled at Roger, who returned it. He was looking dishy this afternoon, despite being layered in wool and cotton.
I turned my attention to Libby, who was now making her way into the front row with a giant grin on her pointy face. “Go Lions!” she yelled out onto the pitch. Oliver was dating her—a puny fifth year with no Quidditch knowledge and pumpkin pie for brains. It was the same Oliver Wood I had always known—play Quidditch and date the blonds. In this instance, the blond bunnies.
The game began and Oliver took his position back by the goal hoops. He was looking happy but a little embarrassed because Libby was starting different Gryffindor chants from her place in the front row.
Roger reached over and placed his hand on top of mine.
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