Chapter 2 : Ditch the Shoes
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“Alright, team,” said Oliver Wood, looking around at his team. “For the first practise, I have to admit: I’m rather impressed. We might have some pretty good odds this year, and I’m really looking forward to the season.” He paused, looking at the newest members of the team. “Demelza and Cody, although the two of you are new, I still expect you guys to keep up in terms of both flying and conditioning. Demelza, you really need to improve your endurance. Cody, Merlin’s beard, do cut down on your water break times, got it?”
Angrily, Cody opened her mouth to protest, but Oliver trundled on. “Good work, everybody. Hit the showers.”
Seeing Cody about to give Oliver a piece of her mind, Mockridge and Fenwicke each looped a muscular arm through Cody’s and hauled her off towards the change rooms while Oliver stayed behind to talk to Hipshook.
Cody shook her head, indignant. “I could strangle that arrogant--”
“We know Oliver Wood is a bloody drill sergeant,” said Fenwicke.
“And always acts as though there’s a splinter stuck up his arse,” continued Mockridge.
“But he is a good captain,” said Georgia Schuyler, the clean cut, blonde, twenty six year old Chaser.
“Really,” affirmed Mockridge, seeing the scepticism scrawled across her face. “You just have to give him a chance,” he said gently.
Doubtfully, Cody just stared at the two Beaters. “My water break was hardly long.” They nodded in unison. “He said my flying was ‘jerky, and resembled that of an amateur’.” Another nod. “He insulted my favourite pair of sweat pants.”
Fenwicke waved away her points. “Inconsequential details, that’s all. Wood’s got a bit of a big mouth around new people; his way of testing people, you see. He finds it quite a laugh to see how people react.”
Due to the fact that Cody was looking incredulously at the two Beaters rather than watching where she was walking, she tripped over her feet and went sprawling onto the dusty pitch. “Psfct,” she mumbled, spitting out some dirt.
“Having fun?” came a voice from somewhere behind her, chuckling mirthfully.
Cody twisted around and found none other than Oliver Wood staring at her, left eye brow cocked questioningly. Roger reached down and yanked her to her feet.
Sighing tiredly, Oliver turned to address the rest of the team. “I’ve talked it over with Hipshook, and there’s a new plan for tomorrow. We’ll have a light practise in the afternoon, just some basic flying drills. Then we’ll head over to House of Mouse for a team dinner at seven sharp. Don't anyone dare be late." He looked pointedly at the two Beaters, who returned with feigned innocence. "I’ve reserved a private room upstairs; Hipshook and I have decided that we need to work out some team stuff.”
“And the morning?” asked Gavin Fenwicke, looking hopeful.
Oliver glanced at him. “You get it off. Now go shower; you guys stink worse than pigs before rain.”
Following that advice, Cody spent a good twenty minutes in the shower, relaxing as the warm water streamed down her stressed muscles. She groaned as she reached up to apply shampoo. Perhaps four years without Quidditch really had taken a toll after all. They’d started off the practise fine that morning, with some basic laps around the pitch, first by air, and then by land. After that came the conditioning. They began with some so called ‘light’ cardio, then proceeded to the harsher resistance training.
Just getting dressed again took another five minutes, her muscles screaming in agony every time she moved them. “I really need to get in shape,” Cody gritted her teeth, hauling her bag over her shoulder and exiting the steaming change room.
She’d barely stepped into the corridor before she froze. Oliver Wood had just exited the door beside hers, from the guys’ change room. Shirtless. He was wiping water from his face and hair, and didn’t notice her until they nearly collided. And of course, to Cody’s utter mortification, caught her looking at his well sculpted chest.
Years of Quidditch had really improved his figure; fit looking abs, well defined shoulders and pectoral muscles, and beautifully formed arms, all emanating the healthy glow that comes from frequent exercise in the sun.
Oliver grinned, taking in Cody’s messy wet hair and distracted expression. “Cheer up,” he said, smiling in satisfaction as Cody’s eyes immediately jerked back up to his face, a slightly guilty expression adorning her face. “Tomorrow’s going to be a lot better; we’ve got the morning off and only light flying drills in the afternoon.”
“Right,” mumbled Cody, suddenly nervous. “See you then.”
Cody bolted up in bed, fearful. “What the hell…” she screamed, noticing Cho’s face right near hers. “Sweet Circe, how did you get in here?”
“Floo,” said Cho, gesturing impatiently to Cody’s door. “Your powder's nearly run out, by the way. Come on. Up you get, we have tons to accomplish this morning, so we better get going.”
“Mmm, no,” said Cody, flopping back against her pillows. It felt like she had barely fallen asleep, yet it was already morning, and Cho was somehow in her apartment. Then again, it really wasn’t that surprising, considering how common an occurrence this was. She herself was guilty of doing the exact same thing numerous times previously. “Go away, I want to sleep.”
“Sure. You just want to dream some more about Oliver.”
That got her up, sitting up so fast that she bonked foreheads with Cho. “What? No!” She fixed her friend with a stern look. “No.”
“Okay,” said Cho agreeably. “Roger told me that you guys got the morning off--”
“What time is it?”
“A little after nine; Saturday morning’s no time for sleeping in. We need to go shopping!” Cho cried gleefully, drawing out the syllables of the last word purposely to annoy Cody. “I know it’s your favourite activity.”
“Because, little lady,” began Cho, exasperation creeping into her tone, “You’re Puddlemere United’s newest Seeker. That alone warrants a fair bit of media attention. Then there’s the added fact that your last name’s Wronski; you can bet that the tabloids will have a field day with this. In addition to making up preposterous lies such as you dating fellow team members, being pregnant, a druggie, so on and so forth, they will be snapping pictures. And from personal experience, I can assure you that in order to keep your outside reputation, it would be preferable if you were wearing respectable clothing.”
Cody stifled a yawn. “Fine, fine,” she grumbled, groggily hauling herself out of bed and staggering towards the bathroom. “Just give me thirty minutes, okay?”
And sure enough, thirty minutes later the two found themselves in Diagon Alley, rapidly attacking the shops, speed shopping to find some presentable clothes.
“You’ll need to find a new apartment,” said Cho as they took a breather, sipping coffee.
Cody looked up sharply. “Why’s that?”
Cho looked at her friend. “The pitch, how did you we get there yesterday and the day before?”
“Exactly. The whole township around the practise pitch; there’s super strict anti-muggle protection in place to keep it secret. This also means that apparition is banned. In all honesty, Cody, it would be a lot easier if you lived closer. I’m sure Hipshook could help work something out.”
Cody nodded distractedly. “It’s only for the summer anyway, right? Hopefully, that is. If the whole thing with Hippograph works out--”
“It will,” said Cho, reaching across the table to take Cody’s hand. “It will.”
Cody sifted tensely through her new clothes that she’d purchased earlier that morning. Two new dress robes, one casual one, a traveling cloak, two summer dresses (after much encouragement from Cho), a pair of jeans and two fitted tees. “Crap, crap,” she grunted, looking at her wrist watch. It read 6:52 unforgiving, reminding her that she had merely eight minutes to get to House of Mouse. At least she was at Cho’s apartment, which was significantly closer to the restaurant than her own.
“Come on, Cody,” prodded Cho, entering the room. “Here,” she said, lifting up the flowing yellow sundress and pushing it at Cody. “Just put this on and go.”
“Thanks,” muttered Cody, dressing in record time and shoving her feet into her trusty plaid canvas slip-ons. She bolted out the door and ran like as if the Grim were chasing her all the way to House of Mouse.
Outside the frosted glass paneled doors Cody hurriedly tried to smooth down her hair, looking at her severely dishevelled appearance in the reflection of the glass. Surprisingly, another figure nearly collided with her, looking equally dishevelled, if not more so.
“S--sorry,” he panted, straightening up to be a fair bit taller than Cody. He looked at her. “Wronski?”
Cody whirled around in disbelief. “Wood?” She paused, gleeful. “My, my. Running a little late, aren’t we, dear Captain?” she asked, revelling in her revenge and expecting to receive a retort.
She didn’t get one. Oliver continued looking at her. “You look nice,” he said finally.
Cody looked at him, surprised. “Er--thanks?”
Oliver grinned. “But ditch the shoes, Wronski. They really ruin the whole image.”
End Note: This chapter is really more filler than anything else, and the next one(s) should prove more interesting with more Oliver/Cody moments. Hopefully Oliver didn't seem too OOC this chapter; I'm discovering that he's a lot harder to characterise without going too far than it seems. Feedback/concrit is greatly appreciated; tell me how I'm doing!
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