Chapter 1 : In Which We Meet the Heroine
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Disclaimer: Basically, I own nothing except the plot, the OCs, and the plot...wait, I already said that. Oh well. Everything else belongs to JK Rowling, as much as I might wish it otherwise.
Oliver Wood is the biggest sodding prick in the history of the world. No, seriously. He may have the rest of Hogwarts, specifically the girls of Gryffindor house, wrapped around his bloody “I’m so Scottish, I’d be wearing a kilt if I didn’t think it would interfere with flying” fingers, thinking that he’s so wonderful, but he can’t fool me. He truly is an arse. And I should know. No, really. He’s an insufferable twat, and one of these days, I am going to lose it completely and strangle him to death. And let me tell you, it wouldn’t be much of a loss.
Don’t get me wrong, Wood’s a decent enough bloke.
Okay, if I’m completely honest, he’s more than just decent enough. He’s actually pretty great. But the same traits that make him an outstanding Keeper and Quidditch Captain also make him insufferable and a really bad friend at times. He’s a brilliant strategist, which even I will admit is useful in the team captain. But honestly!! That doesn’t mean that he should go around telling people at breakfast, “You know, Appleby, it’d probably help the team if you lost a few pounds; Ravenclaw’s Seeker is almost anorexic, and we can’t afford to let them gain anything on us. Here’s a list I made of foods you might want to avoid for a while.” Yes. He actually said that. I mean, I don’t expect any male, least of all Wood, to remember what is and is not acceptable to say to a girl, but where does he get off trying to tell me how to run my life? I mean, no, I don’t want to lose to some skinny little fourth-year brainiac because I happen to be four inches taller and twenty pounds heavier, but really! Needless to say, Riley Summerby, my best friend and dorm mate, had to physically restrain me after Wood dropped his little ‘list’ in front of me this morning while I was enjoying my porridge. “Kenna!” she hissed, holding onto my robes fiercely. “Don’t be a cow! He’ll just make you do laps again.” Since Riley’s logic was irrefutable, I had to settle for sending that pain-in-my-arse evil glares underneath my lashes, but the stupid prat didn’t even notice because he’s so oblivious.
In addition to his strategic skills, Wood’s normally pretty intelligent. I’ve actually had some pretty interesting conversations with him regarding Transfiguration, whether or not Muggle culture has a place in Wizarding society, the heinous crimes of Salazar Slytherin, and, oddly enough, international affairs. But when it comes to Quidditch, he’s absolutely unreasonable, not to mention a complete menace to society. The moment someone says the word ‘pitch,’ he’s off like a shot, and any homework that he may have been trying to complete is utterly ignored until he can make all of us run through the same exact plays four thousand times in two hours.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Quidditch. Almost as much as Oliver, actually. But the difference between us is that I refuse to let the sport completely rule my life, and the presence of other interests makes him furious with me. He just can’t accept that not all of us are married to the game. Which, of course, fuels his competitive drive even further and makes him incredibly unbearable. It’s just a bit much to put up with. Oliver’s whole world is Quidditch, and sometimes (like when we have practice at dawn) that makes him hard to like much.
Then there’s the fact that he’s the most arrogant, confident, insensitive, stubborn, completely full of himself person I know. Seriously, the boy has ‘it’ going on, and he knows it. He walks down the corridors with an unmistakable swagger, he’s almost always right about everything, and makes that fact glaringly obvious, and although there are times where his sarcastic, cocky nature is not only amusing, but fun to be around, he’s so in love with himself that mostly it’s just nauseating.
But the thing that most makes Wood the world’s biggest prick, at least in my mind, is that he had the good fortune to be blessed at birth by the powers that be. I’m not jealous or anything, but seriously, the boy’s eyelashes are longer than mine!! He takes ‘good-looking’ to a whole new level, which isn’t all that surprising, actually. Mother Nature gave him the face of hotness itself, and then Quidditch did the rest. And he knows it. He uses it against pretty much everyone to get his way. He lets people labor under the delusion that he’s a Quidditch god, especially females. They all fall for his handsome face and charming accent, and they’re all astonished when two weeks after hooking up with the Man himself, Oliver’s blowing cold, already moving on to his next victim. You’d think that after years of watching his routine, the girls at Hogwarts would pick up on the fact that behind his shaggy, dark brown hair, tan complexion, and deep brown eyes there lies the brain of an evil, manipulative genius.
I know it sounds like I hate the bloke, and part of me does. Well, sort of. I don’t exactly hate him, but he annoys the living daylights out of me, and on purpose, too. Of course, everyone else thinks I’m overreacting. They agree he can be annoying and overbearing, but argue that he has no idea just how annoying he can actually be. I tend to disagree. And again, I should know. Because even if part of me finds him to be a sodding idiot, there’s just one problem; he’s actually one of my best mates.
Shocking, I know. The truth is, the entire team gets along fairly well, at least until Wood goes into his manic Nazi-in-training moods. The other girls on the team and I are all fellow dorm mates, and, well, pretty much everyone with a sense of humour gets along with the Weasley twins. Those boys are easy to get miffed at, but it’s hard to stay angry at someone who’s mentally about four years old.
But regardless of the team bond, Wood and I have always got on markedly well. Up until this last year, anyways. We’re both seventh years, we both play Quidditch, and we both hate Percy Weasley. This little bit of information we found out on our first day at Hogwarts. We originally bonded over our mutual dislike of the snotty, stuck-up redhead, but once the Quidditch thing was discovered, we were pretty much stuck together for life. Up until this past year, Wood’s behaviour was mainly just amusing to me. After all, if all the air-headed twits in Hogwarts wanted to completely ignore the trail of broken hearts he’d been leaving around the school, that was their decision. And who was I to judge about the whole arrogance thing, since we of the Gryffindor team pretty much knew we were the shit, no matter what those stupid Slytherins said? But then he was idiot enough to try and toy with my emotions, and he still hasn’t figured it out.
Maybe I’m expecting too much from him. After all, he is a male. He has the emotional maturity of a thimble at times. But screw that logic. I’m still pissed at him, and unless he does some major arse-kissing, there’s no way our friendship can survive.
I guess I should explain. Much to my chagrin, I discovered near the end of fourth year, before Oliver’s playboy tendencies became quite so rampant, that I’d stopped thinking of him as just a friend, and that really, my world would complete itself if I could just convince him to ask me out. Needless to say, this thought process did not amuse me. I spent the rest of the term trying to ignore my little infatuation with him, and wondering what the hell was wrong with me, fancying my best mate? By the time summer ended, I had accepted the inevitability of knowing I was an Oliver Wood-groupie. Thankfully for me, Wood chose this moment in time to turn into the skirt-chasing flirt that he is. After watching four girls successively throw themselves at him with no obvious results, I decided that I would never be like one of those snivelling idiots. Yes, I fancied Oliver, but I wasn’t going to start wearing enough makeup for a clown, a push-up bra, and shirts cut down to my navel just to get his attention. Instead, I pretended like nothing had changed, but made the mistake of telling Riley, Angelina, Katie, and Alicia about my little crush. Don’t get me wrong, my female friends are great, but Riley is a hopeless romantic, Angie’s a cynic, Katie’s about as oblivious as Oliver, and Alicia has a tendency to be tactless. This would not in and of itself be a problem if I had realized it at the time.
Because the moment they thought they could get away with it, those sneaky girls told Oliver about my fancying him. In their defense, they thought they were helping. Well, actually, after I nearly throttled them all, they admitted that they had hoped that if Wood could be convinced he…er, returned my affections…he’d stop being such a sodding arse at practice. We might love Quidditch, but hey, we’re girls!! We don’t like being up at the crack of dawn running drills and strategies. I was understandably ticked, but after Oliver said nothing about it for a week, but instead acted as if everything was normal, I mostly forgave them. True, I found him looking at me oddly from time to time, and there were a couple of moments where he started to say something in the Common Room and I ran off, but other than that, our friendship remained the same. I still fancied him, but we ignored it.
Until last year. Last year, after a scare involving the possibility of not playing in the Cup finals, Oliver did the unforgiveable. He asked me out. Repeatedly, for about three days, which for him was a milestone. After quickly tiring of fighting my own feelings, I said yes. But dating Wood didn’t turn out like I’d expected. I won’t lie and say it was fantastic and romantic, because it wasn’t. After our huge scare, we were supposed to play in the finals, which were only three weeks away. Pretty much all of our time was spent on Quidditch. But I was so used to this that it didn’t really faze me, and besides, when we weren’t practicing for the upcoming match, it was actually sort of nice. I mean, we get along well, and after a few initial awkward moments, it wasn’t quite so weird--okay, it was actually quite nice--to think about the idea of one of my mates being allowed to kiss me.
The Quidditch final came and went. To our team’s despair, Ravenclaw beat us in the last match. We were a better team, but somehow, they just wore us out. It should have been a consolation that we only lost by twenty points, but it definitely wasn’t. I was particularly peeved about not catching the Snitch. But I’d like to think I’d have gotten over that, if it hadn’t been for one thing: my newfound disgust with Wood. Two days after losing the match, he was still being sore, which I respected. I came down from the dormitory, thinking I might be able to convince him to lighten up if I dragged him into the nearest broom closet, seeing as I pretty much knew it would cheer me up. He was sitting in the common room, chatting with Paul Clearwater, twin brother to that hag Penelope from Ravenclaw. Paul just happened to be in our year, and one of Wood’s friends. I wasn’t exactly keen on him myself, but he was an okay bloke, in small doses. At least I thought so until I overheard what he was saying. Now, I’m not known for my supersonic hearing, but Paul was talking pretty loud, which now reinforces my view that he is nowhere near as intelligent as his sister, hag or not.
“So, Oliver…” he said in a teasing voice. “Bet you’re rethinking asking Appleby out now.”
“Hmm?” Oliver asked. Both boys were facing away from me, so they didn’t see my slow descent down the stairs.
“Well, you asked her ‘cuz you thought she was quitting, right?”
Perhaps I failed to mention that our difficulty in securing a place in the final match was sort of my fault. Everyone knows that Seekers take quite a beating on a regular basis. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but I’m not exactly happy when I fall sixty feet off my broom and break an arm and an ankle because the Slytherin captain ‘accidentally’ ran into me. This wouldn’t have made me quit, because I managed to snag the Snitch anyways, but I wasn’t exactly feeling my cheeriest that day. Suffice it to say that I was PMS-ing, big time, even before I fell. So I might have made a not so-funny crack about quitting before Madame Pomfrey managed to heal me. Oliver knew I was kidding, and so did everyone else. Or so I thought.
“What?” Oliver asked stupidly.
“Duh, mate.” Paul slugged him in the arm. “You asked her out, hoping it’d keep her on the team so you wouldn’t have to train someone new in less than a month.” He obviously had no respect for my physical charms. Then again, neither did I. It hadn’t escaped anyone’s notice that Oliver’s type was clearly five foot ten bimbos with long blonde hair, not five foot six Seekers with freckles and an attitude problem. Not to mention a brain. “But after the other day, I’m inclined to think you should have sucked it up and gotten a new Seeker anyways. Because she obviously wasn’t worth the trouble.” Do you begin to see the problem here?
“Actually, Fred and George bet me that I wouldn’t ask her.” Oliver said with a shrug. He said a bunch more after that, but I stopped listening. I ran back up the stairs to my dormitory and didn’t come out for two days. Riley was sympathetic, of course, and the other girls all verbally blasted Wood from here to the next century. But seeing as there was no way I wanted to leave the team, I asked them not to confront him about it. He did not need reminders that he could have replaced me.
He probably saw nothing odd in me refusing to leave my room. After all, Oliver Wood lives, eats, and breathes Quidditch. He was still stung by the loss, so why shouldn’t I be humiliated, since as Seeker my job is to win the game? Obviously, that had nothing to do with my reasons. I was stung to realize that Wood had not only been acting on a bet, but he’d only dated me to try and keep me on the team. The bloody bastard.
Needless to say, I was not very gentle when I broke up with him less than a week after the match was over. To my surprise, he didn’t look relieved that the farce was ending, but rather confused. Upon seeing that, I forcibly calmed myself. “Listen, Wood.” I told him with a sigh, running a hand through my mop of brown curls. “This just isn’t working out, okay? We were much better off as friends.”
He shot a dark eyebrow nearly into his hairline. “What’s with the last name business, Kenna?” he asked, more than a hint of wariness in his amber eyes.
“That’s your name.” I felt compelled to point out. After that, our discussion became stilted and awkward, and we both rushed away as soon as possible.
I feel that I have reason to despise Wood. I don’t, though. Despise him, I mean. Yeah, I’m still pretty ticked that he used me, but over the summer, I realized that now that I’d seen the truth, I at least didn’t have to wonder. I don’t fancy him anymore, that’s for sure, but we’re still friends. Sort of. Truth be told, Oliver still acts as if nothing has changed, but we’re both spending a lot more time with our other friends than we used to. Well…I guess it’s just that we’re friends, but only when other people are around. I don’t want to be around him by myself, because I’m still peeved and likely to chuck something at him. I don’t know what his reasons are, and frankly, as long as I don’t have to talk to Paul Clearwater ever again, I’ll probably stop being so mad in another week or so.
I am a bit astounded that I’m still angry, though. After all, my thing with Wood ended in late May, and it’s the second day of term now. I may have a temper and an attitude, but even I don’t normally hold grudges that long. Well, except against Percy Weasley, but that’s because he genuinely deserves it. The stupid sod.
A/N: Well? What did you guys think? I guess I should clarify, Kenna and Oliver are technically still friends, but not really. There's going to be loads of baggage to get over before she'll stop being so pissed at him all the time. But for the moment, Wood's completely oblivious as to her dislike, and they're going to rub each other the wrong way for quite some time to come. Well, mostly it'll be Wood doing the rubbing, because Kenna's the one with the problem, and she's just slightly insane, so...yeah. Oh. And before I forget, please, leave me a review!! As I said, this is my first attempt at using canon characters, and although I really enjoy what I've got so far, I'd love to know what you guys think!! Cheers!