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Chapter 18 : Birds of a Feather
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My head hurt the next morning from slamming it on the best post. I tried to ignore it as I dressed for breakfast, putting my hair up in a loose pony-tail and wandering downstairs. It was a quiet morning since most people had been plastered the night before and were sleeping far past nine. When I left, Angelina was drooling on her pillow. Oh, if Fred saw.
I snickered, remembering helping her into bed after I returned from Oliver’s room. He had puked for a while, covering the floor in mushed up dinner foods that I didn’t want to think about. Then he rolled over and I fetched him a glass of water and a few pieces of bread, which he forced down reluctantly with a pained expression on his sweaty face.
I sat with Oliver for a while on his bed and continuously magicked more water into his glass. I rubbed his back in the semi-darkness and cleaned up the mess with my wand. Then, after about an hour, the sweat-soaked, ill Oliver Wood crawled under the covers and I ran my hands through his soft hair until he fell asleep.
That was by far the weirdest thing I had ever done.
And of course, he wouldn’t remember it. I doubt he had any idea who I was by the time he went to sleep.
Groaning, I entered the Great Hall to find Lee Jordan alone in the center of the Gryffindor table. I maneuvered past a pack of Ravenclaws (there were bags under Roger’s eyes and Mandy was talking in a huffy voice) and made my way to plop down beside him. “Hey, Lee,” I said cheerfully, taking a piece of toast.
He nodded. “’Lo, Jane. This is early for you.”
“I didn’t drink last night.” I reached for some strawberry jam.
“I saw you take a whole bottle of wine from the drink table—don’t tell me you didn’t have any of it.”
I nodded. “I took it up to Wood after that ridiculous break up,” I replied with a shrug. “It hit him pretty hard…so did the booze.” I shrugged again and put some eggs on my plate. “But it’s over now.”
“That’s good. She’s a bit of a git anyway,” Lee said with a smile.
I was about to reply with several choice words about how horrid Libby actually was, but a large screech owl landed on the other side of my breakfast plate with an envelope attached to its leg. I smiled, untying the envelope and patting the bird on the head. After I gave it a piece of uneaten toast, I unfolded the paper and smirked.
“From Alicia?” Lee asked.
I nodded. “Seems international owl post is rather delayed.” I smiled warmly.
I made it to Brazil all right with Oliver’s friends. They’re lovely. And by lovely I mean gorgeous. But there are so many things to do here (Thanks Ang for that Keeper bid. I’ll be getting revenge on you shortly) like playing pick-up games with Oliver’s friends and meeting the Brazilian International Quidditch team. It’s only the first night but I’m not sure when you girls will get this. See you at the end of break—don’t be too bored without me!
I snorted. “At least she’s having fun,” I said slowly, folding the paper and making a mental note to give it to Angelina and tell her to be on her guard.
“What has she been doing?”
“Quidditch and meeting new people.” I handed him the letter and glanced up as the girls entered the Great Hall looking disheveled and sleepy.
“What time did I even go to sleep last night?” moaned Angelina, falling into a seat beside me.
“Four,” I muttered, remembering her complaining before I blew out the last candle. “You were ridiculous.”
“Where were you for the whole bleeding party?” Katie said with a large yawn.
“Helping some drunks,” I muttered, folding my arms as Lee caught my eye.
Katie raised a brow, but before she could reply she spotted someone over my head and smiled. “Oliver! You left early last night. I wanted to know if you had your Charms book. I’ve lost mine.”
Oliver strolled up (looking very healthy and not in the least bit hung over) and beamed, slipping into a seat between Angelina and Katie. “I’m a year ahead of you, Bell.”
She blushed. “I’m trying to get a jump start.”
He nodded heavily and helped himself to some breakfast (most of which the girls weren’t touching). “That’s fine. I’ll get it to you sometime today.”
I realized that I was flat-out staring at Oliver Wood. I couldn’t help it. Last night was still surreal in my mind—that argument, that kiss, helping him through a sickness. And his hair was looking rather soft. He glanced back at me.
“How’re you, Perry? Enjoy the party last night?”
I knew he wasn’t going to remember, but part of me sort of hoped he would.
“I left a bit early. Had to…had to help a few people,” I said, averting my eyes to the platter of bacon in front of me. This time Lee gaped at me.
“Something like that.”
I could feel his eyes surveying me. “Hope none of them gave you any trouble.” Oliver chuckled and so did a few people around him.
“No, not at all,” I found myself saying. “It was sort of fun. Different from the regular partying that I do.”
“The dancing with a few people and then leaving early?”
I narrowed my eyes. “Okay. I’m going upstairs.”
Trying my best to avoid Oliver in case he might randomly remember the way I tasted on his bed, I took to the chilly air around the lake. I grabbed a few books and made a little nest out of a few quilts and a large down pillow. Then I curled up, Charms book open to our latest chapter, and began to read and take haphazard notes.
The wind felt nice against my face, especially after hours in Oliver’s stifling dormitory getting him to stop puking all over his dirty socks. Then again, if I had as many pairs of dirty socks as he did, I might have puked as well.
I groaned, staring at my notes. I had accidentally written “sock” instead of “wand” twice.
“Perry, what’re you doing out here?”
I couldn’t escape. Next time I wanted to do homework (or “socks” for that matter) I was going into the Forbidden Forest.
Turning, I put on a puzzled expression. “Homework.”
“It’s cold,” Oliver replied, standing over me with his arms drawn tight around him. “There are a few fires in the castle, you know? One in the Gryffindor Common Room in particular.”
“I think it’s nicer out here,” I replied, turning back to my studies.
“In the cold?”
“Yes, in the cold.”
“Perry, who were you helping out last night? I didn’t get to see.”
I groaned. “No one you know.”
He snorted. “No? I wouldn’t know then even though they would have to have been a Gryffindor?”
I shook my head. “Sorry to disappoint you.”
He slid down to sit beside me. “Yeah, I left the party a bit early.” He wasn’t looking at me now. “Had to get some air after…after I broke up with Libby and everything.”
I glanced over, raising a brow. I didn’t want to have a blow at his pride, but I didn’t exactly want to let him keep living a lie—especially when it came to him talking to Libby or coming into contact with one of her crazy hair-twirling friends.
“Oliver, do you remember last night?” I asked this as expressionless as possible.
“Of course I do—well, some of it.” He bit his lip. “I remember I was in the common room and then I…I broke up with Libby because she’s a crazy woman…”
I closed my Charms book slowly and turned to face Oliver in the grass. “Wood, Libby broke up with you last night.”
“No, I broke up with her, I remember.” He shook his head heavily.
I sighed. This was going to be harder than I thought. But it was the truth. “I was there—so was everyone. It was actually before you were drunk so I’m not sure why you don’t remember.”
“No. Look, Perry. I had it all planned out. I told her the reasons. She’s a crazy bint. She probably went around and hexed everyone into believing that she broke up with me.” He laughed nervously. “I was there. I know what happened.”
I sighed again. “Look, Wood. Everyone saw. I was the one that took you out of the common room because everyone started to whisper. You were in sort of a shock-coma or something.” I smiled slightly. “I grabbed some of our signature red wine.” I hoped something would trigger his memory.
Oliver rolled his eyes. “There wasn’t red wine at that party.”
I gaped at him. “That’s because you drank the entire bleeding bottle!”
He rolled his eyes. “This is so like you, Perry. Making me feel lower than I am just because I am now single. Now you have the leverage—is that right? Is that what this is all about? You having the ammo?”
“Did you block last night out of your memory?” I said, now near-shouting. “Libby broke up with you! I grabbed some damn wine and took you upstairs! You—and me—and then you puked all over your room and I got you some stupid water! And bread!” My fists were tightening. “And then I stayed with you for a couple hours to make sure you were okay! That’s where I was last night! That’s who I was helping!”
“You’re full of shit, Perry,” said Oliver, getting to his feet. “The next thing will probably be you telling the whole team about my dad, is that right?”
“Libby did a pretty good job of that too!” I shouted as he started to stomp off toward the castle.
Arms folded, I turned back toward the lake and whipped my book open four chapters ahead of where we were. I didn’t care. I was too pissed off to think about the proper way to hold a wand or the silly wizard who invented the spell.
That Oliver Wood was something else. Denying everything—he hadn’t even been drunk at the time! He was probably just too proud to admit he’d been dumped by a fifth year—perfect, Quidditch Captain Oliver Wood!
I threw my quill at the lake. It landed two feet in front of me.
“Like Alicia could really get revenge on me anyway,” Angelina said later that evening. We were lounging around, skimming through the Quidditch Weekly articles (and pausing for a long time on hunky Bastian Richi, the Seeker from the minors that Oliver had been talking about).
“You’d better watch out. She might,” Katie said, putting on her shoes so we could go down to dinner. “She’s got this way about her—has loads of people on her side too.”
“Like who?” asked Ang.
“Single people, you know? Lee Jordan and Jane!”
I gaped at her. “I’m now in a category with Lee? What about Wood? Libby? Henrik? Ellis?”
“No, Ellis has a girl,” Angelina said. “They started dating a few days ago.”
I groaned and fell backward onto my bed. “Now Danny Boy has a girlfriend and I don’t even like anyone from this sodding school.”
“Maybe Wood should have given Alicia another ticket to take Miss Whiner along.”
I tossed a pillow at her. “I’m not whining—but seriously. Ellis?”
Katie snickered lightly. “She’s a fourth year—probably doesn’t know any better except that he’s the star Seeker.”
I narrowed my eyes. “I’m behind him in everything.”
“Don’t be so whiney,” said Angelina, pulling the door open as I hauled myself off of the bed. “It’s not like you wanted to be Seeker anyway. As for dating someone…well, I can’t help you there. If I was a bloke I would totally be into you, Jane.”
“Yeah,” said Katie as we walked down the spiral staircase. “You’re eyes are so pretty and all that…and you have good hair. Sometimes I sneak your conditioner.”
I groaned, trying to tune out their newfound interest in my hair products. It lasted all the way down the Great Hall (by that time they were talking about how sometimes I smelled like lilacs and other time I smelled like vanilla, though the only soap they saw in my bag was strawberry). I hoisted the doors open as fast as I could to get inside and slid myself in between George and Henrik.
“Where’d you go last night, Janey?” George asked.
I looked over, clearing glaring daggers at him. “I went and drowned myself in the lake,” I said dramatically. “Then I came back and cleaned up some puke and went to bed.”
He shrugged. “Sounds like quite the night. Next time invite me.” He winked, allowing me a moment to smile.
I took a deep breath, ignored the conversation Fred and Lee had now joined in about my aroma, and stared at the lovely-looking potatoes and chicken in front of me. This would blow over. Once Alicia got back I could stop thinking about being single (and the girls could stop reminding me). I wouldn’t have to see Ellis all the stupid time because of classes, I could avoid Oliver and his denial, and I could also run to Hogsmeade and switch up my soap again because strawberry was no longer safe.
“Erm, hey, Jane.”
I wheeled around. I knew that voice and didn’t expect to hear it again soon, let alone during the buttering process of my potatoes.
Roger had his hands in his pockets and he was staring directly at me. His hair was shinier today and the bags under his eyes were less prevalent. He looked good. Something twitched in my stomach.
“Uh—hi, Roger,” I said slowly, looking up at him. I couldn’t hide the perplexed expression on my face. “How—how’re you?”
He shifted slightly. “I’m fine, thanks. Um, how are you?”
Why wasn’t it this awkward when he talked to me about the Quidditch team a while back?
“I’m fine.” I was nearly blushing. This felt like an awkward first date or meeting someone for the first time. Did I blush this much when Roger and I went out in Hogsmeade?
“Good, good.” He paused for a moment and I wondered what the point of that conversation was. “Could I—do you think I could have a word? Outside?”
I raised a brow. “Well, sure. That’s fine.” I put my napkin back onto the table and my eyes briefly met Angelina’s before I turned to followed Roger out of the Great Hall. The Gryffindors were whispering as I walked past. Oliver was sitting near the end of the table with a distinct scowl on his face.
It was chillier outside now that it was the evening and I drew my robes close around my arms. We walked in silence, the wind whipping through my hair, out toward the lake shore. The sand was hard and clumpy and I nearly grimaced when Roger asked me to take a seat beside him. Oh well. My bum could be dirty for a bit.
Getting cold, I glanced over at him. “Roger, what’s this all about?” I asked.
He was not meeting my eyes. “I just need to talk to you about a few things.”
“What’s wrong? Is everything okay?”
Roger frowned. “Did you get my flowers?” he asked, peeking over at me for the first time since we sat down.
I nearly choked. “They were from you?”
He nodded. “Yeah, I had them sent up. I hope you liked the different flowers—I didn’t know which one was your absolute favorite so I just got you loads hoping I’d get it right.”
I was speechless. And here I was, thinking the flowers were from Ellis or Libby or the Giant Squid, and they were from my ex-boyfriend, Roger Davies. I just stared. What was going on?
“So did I get it right?” he asked, a smile now forming on his face.
“Yes—yes, I loved the daisies,” I replied, still in a minor state of shock. “They were beautiful. Thank you.”
He beamed. “You’re welcome.”
I paused, choosing my words carefully since I was so confused. “If you don’t mind me asking,” I said slowly, “what were the flowers for? I mean, did I miss my birthday or something?”
Roger shook his head, the smile faltering slightly as he went back to staring out at the lake. “That’s what I wanted to talk about out here…didn’t want anyone to hear.”
I couldn’t hide my puzzled look. “Okay. Well, let’s talk so I’m a little less lost.”
He smirked. “I’ve just been thinking lately…I’m a git, Jane.”
I gaped at him. “Erm—okay?”
“I was such an arse and I didn’t let you explain and I was just so jealous—so bleeding jealous! You know how much Wood and I hate each other,” he said, looking at the sand. “We can’t cooperate. We can’t have the same friends. We can’t be on the same side for anything—just as Flitwick after we blew up half of the classroom when he partnered us up fifth year! We keep our lives separate. Well, until you.”
Where in Dumbledore’s name was this going? I could only keep staring, now completely confused. A sock parade would have made more sense than this.
“And things were perfect—Hell, I thought things were more than perfect. I wanted to see you all the time. I rooted for Gryffindor when they played Hufflepuff and you rooted for Ravenclaw when we played Slytherin—things were good. I…and then Christmas happened. I should have—I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. I just—the jealousy!”
I wanted to say something. I’m sure my dumbfounded expression led to Roger realizing I was completely thrown by this entire conversation. My head was starting to spin. I couldn’t even feel the cold anymore.
“Imagine me, practicing Charms with stupid Mandy Brocklehurst—getting kicked out of the Astronomy Tower by my rival in everything, Oliver Wood, and he’s holding all of these cheesy candles and a blanket—what went through my head! And then seeing you come upstairs with a bottle of wine. Merlin, I didn’t know what to think. I think my head might have exploded.”
I held up my hand. “I tried to tell you, though! I tried to tell you and you left! And then the next day you wouldn’t even let me explain!”
“I know. I feel like dung about it. I just…I was thinking the worst. It didn’t help that later I found out Mandy fancied me and was asking me for Charms help so I’d start to fancy her as well.” Roger rolled his eyes. “So the little vixen convinced me after I stormed off that you were cheating with Wood and…well, I couldn’t take it. Not with Wood. I just…I loathe Wood with every fiber of my being—you know that. Why am I telling you this? Of course you know all of this. We’re just…we don’t see eye to eye. And I was convinced he wanted you just because I had you.” He frowned. “I’m ashamed. I was a stupid prat. I don’t expect you to ever forgive me for what I put you through—especially since I only recently realized all of the rubbish Mandy fed me while I was teaching her—but I just wanted you to know. I wanted to make this up to you.”
I didn’t know what to say. Mandy had helped him hate me? Well, that made a lot more sense than him just hating me and not letting me explain—especially since I had lied to him. He probably thought I’d lie again—thanks to wonderful Mandy Brocklehurst. She was quite the girl. Reminded me of Libby a bit.
I heaved a large sigh. “I’m glad you told me,” I said slowly, not making eye contact. Then, to my own surprise, my stomach tensed up and my eyes started to sting a little bit. “You hurt me, Roger. Really bad.”
He nodded heavily.
“I didn’t come out of my room for days. I threw your teddy bear under my bed. I quit boys!” I cried, throwing my arms in the air. “But I understand what you’re saying.”
“And you liked the flowers.”
“I liked the flowers.”
I couldn’t help but smile. Here he was, the Roger I fell for in the autumn. The suave, debonair Roger Davies that I had tea with and laughed with. Here was the guy I spent mornings drinking orange juice with and afternoons watching the brown leaves fall while wrapped in fleece blankets. I couldn’t help but remember sitting together at the Gryffindor-Hufflepuff Quidditch match and commenting on how hideous the Puffs were.
And he was seemed sorry. Genuinely sorry.
“Is that why you’ve looked so,” I said and paused, “disheveled lately?”
Roger grimaced. “Saw that, did you?” He groaned and leaned back onto his elbows. “Yeah, once one of Mandy’s stupid friends let it slip that she sabotaged me, I wasn’t getting much sleep. I knew I made a huge mistake. I let you get away—but I knew from that conversation we had that you and Wood never started dating…I put the pieces together and I think it drove me mad. That’s when I decided to give you the flowers and try and talk to you when you weren’t around the other Gryffindors.” He sighed. “So…do you think you’ll ever be able to forgive me?”
I smiled warmly and looked over at him. “You were a right git, Roger, but I might be able to find it in my heart to forgive you. I’m a forgiving sort of girl.”
“I always knew you were,” he said with a wink. My stomach jolted. “Sorry again. I was a right prat.”
I nodded happily. “That’s an understatement.”
He chuckled. “Hey, now! I already admitted to being a git, don’t send me to Hell for it.” Roger smirked as the wind went through his hair.
I joined him, leaning back on my elbows, and letting my mind wander back to the wonderful flowers sitting on my desk. Roger sent them to me. Because he wanted me to forgive him for overreacting. I thought back to Christmas—the red wine, the white lie, the situation. It was rather horrible, wasn’t it? Oliver in the private Astronomy Tower with romantic junk all around and me with a bottle of wine. I almost snorted. It had been such a mess—and with Mandy mucking it all up I had no chance.
“Wood wanted to give me ammo,” I said suddenly and Roger glanced over. “That’s why he asked me to meet him up at the Astronomy Tower. I had told him about my family and he used it against me out of anger. So, to make it up to me, he invited me to the most secluded place in the castle to tell me a few of his secrets so we’d be on even footing.”
He remained expressionless. “And the wine?”
“That was a joke,” I said with a laugh. “It came from when we had to shop for the alcohol together for the twins’ party and I didn’t know bollocks about liquor.” I shrugged.
Roger gaped at me, a grin forming on the corner of his lips. “You’re joking.”
“Not one bit,” I said.
“Of course you couldn’t tell me—it was Wood’s secrets. I would have wanted to know,” Roger said, mostly to himself. “And the wine was a joke—you’d have to explain that. Merlin, I was a prat. It was that simple and we broke up over it.”
I pressed my lips together. “Yeah. It was pretty silly, huh?”
He chuckled. “This is rubbish. We had a perfectly great relationship. And the snogging…well, that was out of this world.” He winked and my stomach jolted again.
He wasn’t lying.
“Do you miss it?” he asked. “Not me, per-say, just being in a relationship. Or maybe just the snogging. You’re quite the fox, Jane Perry.”
This was the Roger I was so familiar with.
“I do miss it sometimes,” I said slowly, now staring out at the cold waves hitting the shore a few meters from our feet. “Fred and George had a party last night. I ended up helping drunks and then getting Ang into bed. I didn’t even have a drink.”
“In Brazil with Wood’s Quidditch buddies,” I replied glumly. “Having the time of her life.”
He grimaced. “Ouch. What about dear Ellis?”
“Didn’t you hear?” I said, laughing. “Ellis found himself a girl stupid enough to have him.”
“I daresay yes,” I muttered. “So I am now the lonely sheep or something. Well, me and Lee. And he lets me know it every chance he gets.”
Roger laughed and balanced his cheek on his shoulder, his eyes surveying mine. “That leaves the pair of us then.”
“All alone in this big school of sodding couples,” I said with a simper, sitting up as he did so, both in our own awkward bubble. “At least Fred and Ang are back together…they were really starting to—”
Then Roger grabbed my shoulders, pulled me to him, and kissed me.
A/N: Aaaaaaand you can start hating me: now. :) So what do you think? This was basically the second-half of the previous chapter. I hope everyone has a chance to review for their Houses for the Cup!
Special thanks to a few movies that gave me a bit of inspiration for a few of the scenes. Props to anyone that realizes which movies....
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