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Brains & Brawn by soliloquy
Chapter 2 : Quick Fix and Heartbeats
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 11


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Disclaimer: I'm not J.K Rowling, therefore I do not own Harry Potter or anything of that sort. Though, anything original solely belongs to me.

Edit 9/12/09: Thank you so much to my beta, AntigoneBlack!




Chapter Two: Quick Fix & Heartbeats






I was surprised the next morning when I woke up and didn't feel any different. I looked at myself in the mirror, expecting some sort of drastic change to have occurred, but I looked exactly the same. The same tired brown eyes stared back at me with the same dark bags underneath them. My hair was exactly the same shade of auburn it was last night. I hastily brushed my bangs out of my face and pinned them back with a bobby pin. My skin was still somewhat blotchy in certain areas and my overbite was still apparent. I was exactly the same.

I sighed.

Alex gave a soft snore next to me. She was curled up in a ball, her dirty blonde hair fanning over her face as her blankets bunched around her chest.

I took a finger and ran it down the length of my nose, feeling where it was smooth and where there were bumps from exam stress. Shaking my head, I walked towards the bathroom and began brushing my teeth. How could I expect such a dramatic change to take place in merely hours? Change was supposed to take ages upon ages – I just didn't know if I could be patient enough.

My time in the bathroom was interrupted when Angelina Johnson walked in, rubbing her wet hair with a crimson towel. I remained where I was, my toothbrush still in my mouth. There was silence for a bit as I leaned over to rinse out the toothpaste.

Angelina smiled at me, briefly, and said, "Good morning."

I was shocked but manage to cover it with an equally brief smile, "Morning."

She turned to pick up her blue toothbrush and squeezed a small amount of toothpaste on it before placing it into her mouth. I washed my face with medicated face wash before drying it off with a towel. We did not exchange any more words as I left. My heart was hammering away in my chest – I had never expected human contact to be so exhilarating!

When I reached our dormitory again, I saw that Alex was still sleeping but had changed positions. She was now flopped over on her stomach, her arms flailed out over her pillows. I quickly ran a brush through my auburn hair before dressing and grabbing my Potions book.

I nearly collided with another one of my roommates, Claudia Gray, as she came from one of the other bathrooms. She was wearing a black robe and merely glanced at me before stepping into the room.

Claudia Gray and I had been roommates for nearly seven years, and we had never spoken a single word to each other. Each time I saw her, she would look through me with her cool blue eyes before stepping aside. Alex and Claudia had been enemies since First Year when Alex's perfume went missing and was found in Claudia's sock drawer. She still swears to this day that she never took it and she had been framed but Alex never believed a word of it. Their little feud had little to do with me; besides, I wanted to finish reading the Potions chapter before today's lesson. I stepped out of the common room and made my way towards the library.

It was my little routine and Alex half-expected me to be late to breakfast. Though, she didn't exactly know the entire reason why I always rushed into the library before class. You see, there was a Ravenclaw in our year by the name of Drew Foster and well, I might've developed a sort of crush on him in Fourth Year.

Something about him just fascinated me. He wore glasses that always seemed to be right at the tip of his nose and he had a quiet manner. He was pale, blonde, with a sprinkling of freckles across his nose and cheeks. We shared an Arithmancy class together but we had never spoken to each other.

I spotted Drew in his usual corner – engrossed in a book of medieval magic. I slipped into my usual spot as well, where I could sneak looks from the top of my book. He was such a nice-looking fellow, with a calm demeanor and pleasant voice. Drew was also one of my main reasons for never attending a Quidditch match. I had heard him comment at one time or another to one of his friends that he found Quidditch 'utterly barbaric' and that it was nothing better than 'thwacking each other in the shins to prove athleticism'.

About an hour passed and I had approximately looked up from my Potions book seven times before coming to the second to last page. I was about to turn it when a loud voice claimed my attention.

"Lotty!" Alex yelped, looking up and down the bookcases until she found me, "Lotty!"

An absolutely scandalized Madame Pince stalked by and set her beady eye on Alex. I was sure that if looks could kill, Alex would have been dead and buried.

"What are you doing here?" I inquired hotly, "This is my study time!"

Alex just rolled her eyes, "I have something to tell you –" But before she could finish, I involuntarily looked up from my book and gazed at Drew. "Oh," She said softly.

"Oh?" I repeated, offended, "What the hell do you mean by oh?"

She was now gazing at Drew thoughtfully and sat down beside me, "This explains a lot, Lotty."

"I don't know what you're talking about," I maintained, turning the page of my textbook as nonchalantly as I could but Alex just scoffed.

"I don't have a clue what you're playing at, Lotty," She snorted, "It's bloody obvious why you're always in the library now." And then she added in an afterthought, "He is rather cute, isn't he? In a bookish sort of way." Alex grinned at me as my face pinked, "He's perfect for you!"

"You must be joking," I replied, although I couldn't help but perk up a bit.

"Yes, you two can come in to the library and discuss how romantic Transfiguration is," Alex joked, her grin widening as my eyes narrowed, "Or you write love letters to each other – coded with ancient symbols that you've learned in Ancient Runes!"

"You're hilarious," I snapped, "I'm practically rolling on the ground with laughter."

"It's a love found coded in Arithmancy!"

I snapped my Potions book shut as Drew flipped another page, glanced at his watch and stood up. Alex nudged me rather hard in the ribs as he walked by and pushed my Potions book to the ground. With my face flaming, I turned to glare at her but a hand on my shoulder stopped me.

"Is this yours?" Drew was standing before me, his book bag swung over his right shoulder as he handed my Potions book to me. "It just fell."

"Oh," I said, my face reddening at an incredible pace, "T-Thank you."

"You're welcome." He gave a small smile before walking out of the library.

My lips found themselves curling into a returning smile at his retreating back when Alex began laughing rather loudly. I rounded on her and she stood up and put her hands up in a defensive position. "HEY," She called as I advanced on her with my textbook, "IF IT WASN'T FOR ME-"

I chased her out of the library, threatening to beat knowledge into her as Pince floated to the door and called feebly out after us, "No running in the library!"

I chased her all the way to the Gryffindor table and she had decided to sit in the middle, away from most of the crowds. She rubbed her arm with a grimace, "Did you have to hit me that hard?"

I just scoffed, "How does it feel to be beaten with knowledge?"

"Painful," She remarked, "Extremely painful."

Smirking, I filled my goblet with orange juice before helping myself to breakfast. Alex was chewing on a piece of sausage, watching me with intent. Over her head, I could see Drew sitting at the Ravenclaw table with some of his friends.

It amazed me how Drew could balance his massive amount of school work simultaneously with his social life – he sat in the middle of four guys, laughing at some joke while flipping through his Defense Against the Dark Arts book. One of them made a comment and suddenly, four heads turned in our direction. I ducked.

Stopping what she was saying, Alex turned and looked directly at the group. "Why are they staring at us?" She wondered aloud, "But hey, cute-blonde is looking over too." Then, with an air of triumph, she crowed in my ear, "He looks mutinous!"

I ducked even lower, so that my head was inches from the wooden table and Alex continued looking over her shoulder and making little comments like, "Oh, one of his friends is really good looking."

"This is not the time!" I groaned, "Everything was fine – everything has been great for the past three years that I've –"

"Stalked him?" Alex suggest with a raised eyebrow.

I swear she stole that from me. I rolled my eyes.

"I haven't stalked him!" I insisted with emphasis on stalked. Alex just chuckled to herself as I set down my fork and looked past her again. The Ravenclaws were ruffling Drew's hair and patting him on the back. "Hey, Alex," I asked as she looked up from her food.

"Yeah?"

"What were you going to tell me this morning?"

Her blank face disappeared in a second, "Oh! Yeah! I was going to tell you that I saw Claudia Gray chatting up Wood this morning!"

"I saw her this morning too," I replied, telling her of how I had stumbled upon her on my way out, "I can't believe the only person I'm friends with in the entire Seventh Year dormitories is you."

"Yeah, well," Alex shrugged with a wink, "Madison snores when she sleeps and has a funny smell about her, Claudia is a no-good thief who enjoys throwing herself at Quidditch players, Joy is overly excited about everything and literally talks a mile a minute-" She paused for a moment, narrowed her eyes and said, "Did I mention that Claudia is a no-good thief?"

"Yes," I grinned, "Right before you mentioned Joy, the over excited puppy."

"Before you even know it," Alex continued, "She's going to be nicking my knickers and throwing them out the window! Or even worse," She paused for dramatic effect before flinging her arms in the air, accidently tossing her fork to the Hufflepuff table, "She'll start tossing out all of my homework out the window!"

I stifled my laughter as the Hufflepuffs began wondering aloud about where the blasted fork came from, "Brilliant explanations,” I nodded,” Not that they're exaggerated, right?"

"Aw, blast," Alex looked about, "I've tossed my fork again, haven't I?"

Nodding, I pointed to the Hufflepuffs.

"Damn, I still had a piece of sausage on the end of it,” She sighed, "Alas," She swiped another fork from the pile of them in the center of the table, "I think I have made my point."

Giggling, I blatantly agreed.





"And thus," Snape was circling around the room, his black cloak swirling about him like huge bat wings, "clearly explains why Jobberknoll feathers are so important in truth potions and memory potions." I honestly had to hold back a laugh – his cloaks were always so ridiculous. How did one maintain their bat-like forms?

The entire class seemed to be half-asleep. Wood, sitting behind me, gave a soft snore and I couldn't help but roll my eyes. If he wanted to pass, he was going to have to work extra hard and that meant not sleeping through class.

Snape narrowed his dark, black eyes at the class and swished his cloak together. He drew himself to full length and stared us down before uttering in a soft, quiet voice, "However, if any of you wish to pass your Potions N.E.W.T, it seems a bit unwise to…" He walked over to where Wood was sleeping and dragged his head up by his hair, "Sleep." Snape's lips formed a distinct line on his face, "Mister Wood, I suggest that you stay awake, considering your current standings – ten points from Gryffindor."

Over by the doorway, the Slytherins laughed amongst themselves.

"As of now, I suggest you attempt to make a suitable potion using the Jobberknoll feathers' I have provided. They will be on your exam," His lips drew themselves into a smirk, "You have precisely an hour."

I was to the desk before the rest of the class had registered what Snape had ordered. When I returned, Oliver was beside me, grumbling. He cast Snape a dark look, "Do you-" he stopped, "Do you think you could help me?"

I glanced at the old clock hanging over by the chalkboard, "Alright, but if this costs me my Potions grade…"

Oliver's face seemed to brighten up a bit. "Okay, what am I supposed to do?"

"Lesson one," I said with a wry smile, "Read your potions book."

Time seemed to past quickly and I found that making a truth potion harder than I thought. Oliver was still struggling with a memory potion and was complaining under his breath. He was skimming the book.

"Lesson two," I muttered to him, "Less complaining, more cutting." I pointed to his roots, "If you don't get those cut, Snape won't be satisfied with the results."

Oliver gave me the blankest look I had ever seen.

Biting my lip, I returned to the text. The book was telling me that I needed to add an extra eye of newt for the Potion to instantly turn color, but my gut feeling was telling me otherwise. I continued to stare when Snape hovered nearby. He made no comments, but just continued to survey the Potion making. I went with my gut feeling and continued adding the ingredients, skipping over the extra eye of newt.

"Interesting," Snape murmured, "Very interesting, Miss Murray," He swooped down upon me and my Potions book, "Why have you chosen to deviate from the instructions?"

"Well, Professor," I replied, "If I had added the extra eye of newt, yes, the potion would have changed color but it would have been even more difficult for me after I had added all the ingredients."

"Why is that?"

"Because when I add my single clockwise stir, then double counter-clockwise, I would have to add another toadstool to counterbalance the other color change."

Snape's face remained passive as he muttered, "Acceptable" before moving onto another student.

When Potions finally ended and Snape had collected all the vials of potions, Oliver caught up with me in the hallway. "He said mine was passable." He sounded disappointed.

"Coming from Snape," I replied, "That means that you've done well."

I proceeded to Arithmancy as he attempted to catch up, "Are we still on for tonight?"

Stopping, I turned to face him. "What have you got next?"

"Um, Defense, why?"

I put both hands on my hip, "Oliver Wood, you are walking the opposite way of your class and for no good reason except to wonder if I will still tutor you tonight?"

"Well…um…yes…" He looked like a small boy caught doing wrong and I laughed.

"Yes, we're still on for tonight," Then with emphasis, "Don't be late."

He grinned at me before sprinting off in the opposite direction while I pulled open the classroom door. Professor Vector was talking with Drew and they both turned when I walked in. My face pinked obnoxiously and with my head down, I made my way to my seat.

"Miss Murray," Professor Vector said, "Mister Foster and I were having a discussion on how different numbers affect possible outcomes in the future."

"Interesting," I replied, "Which number are you discussing?"

"Seven," Drew said, more to Professor Vector than me, "The most magical number we've learned."

"Ah, yes." I smiled accordingly, "And do you think it would be more magical if seven was doubled into fourteen?"





"I saw you walking out of Arithmancy," Alex drilled as soon as she jumped on me from behind, "You looked extremely happy; and so, I thought to myself, what would make Lotty grin like that…"

I shook my head, but continued to grin.

"Either, you are more excited about Arithmancy than usual or a certain blonde decided to grace you with his presence." Alex tapped her chin thoughtfully, "I assumed the latter."

"We talked," I confessed, "Well, more like he talked to me through Professor Vector – but, he talked, that's all that's really important."

Alex laughed, "Clearly, you've gone mental."

We sat on one of the stone benches in the courtyard and she relayed what she had heard from the gossip mills. I nodded and made the correct facial expressions of disgust when I heard that Claudia Gray had decided to set her cap on Oliver this year.

"Do you remember one of the Ravenclaw chasers last year?" She inquired.

"Er,"

"Never mind, you're not a quidditch person." Alex amended, "Well, his name was Barrett James and he was an amazing chaser – during the summer, he got signed to play for the Tutshill Tornados and Claudia somehow hooked him!"

I made another appropriate scowl.

"She hooked him and he sent her all these tickets to see him play while she remained in her home during the summer and merely rejected him!" Alex looked scandalized, "Really! Bloody wench! I mean, she went through all that trouble of hooking him because he had made the big leagues and when he gained enough interest in her – she merely just forgot about the poor fellow!"

"If she's so into clever Quidditch players," I asked, "Then why has she picked Wood? He just plays for the House, right?"

Alex's eyes glinted, "I've heard many rumors about Wood."

I leaned forward.

"Like which team is going to sign him to their reserve."

"And?"

"Puddlemere United is the most popular rumor," She replied, "I dunno if it's true though."

I shrugged, "Probably a rumor. I suppose Claudia's wrong about him, then?"

Alex snorted, "Darling, you've never seen a single Quidditch match – so, therefore, by logic, how do you know how well Wood plays? And honestly, I hate to admit it, but Claudia sure knows how to pick them."

It was then, that Claudia Gray emerged from the halls. She was seemingly holding hands with a boy who seemed absolutely dazed in her presence. Claudia stopped at a bench by ours and he immediately wrapped an arm around her.

Alex looked disgusted, "Ah, Theo," She murmured. "I believed she once called him a dunce during class." She turned to me, "It must have begun."

"Obviously, I have no idea what you're talking about." I replied, "For one thing, I have no idea who that boy is and another, didn't you say that she was going after Wood?"

"It's all a part of her plan," Alex replied, turning to me, "She'll capture his attention by being the one thing he can't get and well, if Theo is constantly attached to her –"

"Ah, so Wood will get jealous?" I asked, curiously putting the pieces together. "Rather an odd plan."

"Yes, but it always works!" Alex slammed her fist on the bench, "It always bloody works!"

"The boys must be extremely dimwitted, then," I said, patting her on the back, "I mean, why on earth would that ploy work? Is jealousy really the key to begin a relationship?" I leaned back, dangling me feet just over the dirt. "Honestly, wouldn't that be a really pointless way to get together? It wouldn't be because you genuinely like somebody, it'd be because that person's wanted and so you should want them too…"

"You know," Alex remarked, "For a Gryffindor, you're too damn logical."

I nodded with a smile, "I'm supposed to be unabashedly reckless – jumping into situations courageously and thriving off mere passion and the moment." I gave a sigh, "Doesn't sound much like me, does it?"

Alex laughed again, "Oh, Lotty, you'll find somebody one day who will make you reckless." She considered my final statement, "The Sorting Hat's never wrong, you know, maybe we sort a little too soon…considering how people change, but he sees into your heart of hearts so how is there any chance that he's wrong?"

I considered as well, but just replied with a sigh of, "We'll see."

Alex stood up and held out a hand to me, "I, for one, am glad that you're a Gryffindor – otherwise, I wouldn't have met you; come, let's go get some tea before it's time for class again."

I smiled, feeling the last of the sun's rays before the weather would change its mind again. I gripped her hand and allowed her to pull me up. We left for the Great Hall.





Things would have been excessively normal if Alex hadn't looked somewhat distressed about something. I was about to ask, when the Weasley twins descended on her. They spoke of Quidditch as I helped myself to some biscuits and sipped my tea. Alex let out a laugh as one of them – Fred? – agreed wholeheartedly on something hilarious. The other twin just grinned and patted her on the back.

Again, things went back to normal until another Hufflepuff boy walked past. Alex turned a vibrant shade of red and the twins roared with laughter again; annoyance pricked up within me.

"Who's that boy, Alex?" I asked as the Weasley twins turned for the first time and acknowledged me. The closest one to me – George? – grinned.

"Yeah, who's that boy, Alexie?" He crowed.

She mumbled something and the three of us leaned in to hear.

"You're going to have to speak louder, m'love," The other said, "We don't understand mumbling."

"Mathew Roberts," Alex muttered, looking back towards the table, "Hufflepuff Keeper."

I couldn't help but laugh, "And you said Claudia Gray had a thing for Quidditch players!"

"Shh!" Alex growled, swiping the biscuit from my hand, "Don't let her hear you!" Four pairs of eyes turned towards the door as it swung open – revealing Claudia, marching in while clutching the hand of that other, er, Theo boy. "If she knew that I liked Mathew-"

"Aha!" One of the twins (I had stopped trying to remember their names) accused, "And you said that you didn't fancy him!"

"Shh!" She repeated, her eyes darting about, "She'd take him from me! Regardless of whether or not he's good at Quidditch."

I raised one of my eyebrows, "How long has this been going on because-"

"Oh, stuff it." She sighed, "You were allowed to have your little secret…"

The boys rounded on me, even though they had no idea who I was, "Secret? What secret?"

My face must've showed alarm because Alex called off her hound dogs, "Come on, Fred, George, you don't even know who she is! Leave her alone."

"Aw, Alexandra!" One of them called, "Of course we know who she is, right George?"

"Lots or something." His brother replied.

"Charlotte, actually," I replied. "Charlotte Murray."

"Pleased to meet you," The twins replied together.

"That one's Fred," Alex pointed to the one on her right, "Because he's louder and more obnoxious."

"George," The other smiled.

"Hold on, wait a tick," Fred said, his face scrunched up in thought, "Aren't you the one who's tutoring Wood?"

I rolled my eyes, "Am I just known to the whole House as Wood's tutor?"

"I only recall him telling us that if he didn't find a suitable tutor, McGonagall was going to chuck him as Captain and you know how Wood is," He was telling this to us with such an air of nonchalance that I couldn't help but smile. "And then he was all preoccupied at practice – which, never happens, mind you – and when we asked, he said that he had asked the brightest girl in our house and she turned him down…"

"Yes, that would be me." I rolled my eyes again, "The one who refused to tutor him and then was semi-forced into it by McGonagall."

"How is one semi-forced into anything?" Alex questioned. "I don't think I've ever asked you."

"You know that she was really close to blackmailing! Well, not really; but still…" I gave a shrug. "Luckily, you," I looked at Alex, "had changed my mind earlier, or else she really would have forced me."

The twins laughed and George suggested, "Maybe she was just tired of Snape gloating in the Teacher's Lounge."

"Maybe Snape not washing his greasy hair is kind of a good luck charm for Slytherin."

At this, the three of them – clearly, excluding me – began thinking rapidly about good luck charms and how to acquire them. "Maybe we can get McGonagall to let down her hair for the two months before the Ravenclaw game!" Alex suggested. "Can you even imagine what that'd be like?"

Fred shook his head, "I can't ever see Minnie letting down her hair – not even for Quidditch."

They then suggested that in order to get Slytherin to lose, they would have to wash Snape's hair.

"Now, that's a detention I'd rather avoid," George shuddered, "Can you imagine how long he's probably gone without a nice shampooing?"

"If only our Mum could get him in her clutches," Fred added, "He'd probably be the cleanest teacher in the entire school…"

More suggestions were made as they laughed. I felt sort of left out because once they began talking about Quidditch game plans – I completely zoned out.

Claudia Gray was sitting a couple seats down from us. The Hufflepuff boy had gone and she was chatting with a blonde. She tucked a strand of brown hair behind her ear and flashed her silver-blue eyes on me when she saw me staring. I immediately gazed elsewhere.

Oliver Wood came to greet the Weasleys' and that's when she sauntered over.

"Hello Oliver," She said, giving him a sly smile.

"Hello Claudia," He replied.

He seemed so oblivious to what she was trying to do and she managed to get a few more words out of him before going back to the blonde with an annoyed expression.

"Practice tonight," Oliver alerted the twins.

"Actually," I cut in, "You've got tutoring."

He turned his attention to me, "We'll be done by ten."

"If we're lucky…" Muttered Fred.

Oliver rounded on him with a lecture on the importance of practice. Alex and I exchanged looks as the bell rang for class. Fred looked glad to escape as he and his brother scampered off. I said goodbye to my friend and made my way to Charms.

"Wait up!" Oliver took a couple long strides and managed to make it to me. "Hello."

Hesitantly, I replied, "Hello."

Our awkward hellos were interrupted by Claudia Gray, who swooped down on us like she was Professor Snape. She flashed a thousand-watt smile at Oliver and asked about Quidditch and if spectators were allowed at tonight's practice. I sidled away to my seat in the front. The bugger placed himself behind me and of course, Claudia was next to him.

She chatted about seeing the Arrows' (who were they?) match over the summer with her Dad and asked him if he thought the Tornadoes were better than the Cannons.

Of course, I sat, waiting for class to begin, unwillingly eavesdropping on their conversation. Oliver answered all of her questions politely and met her conversation with general responses. Yes, he had heard that the Arrows' had played well over the summer and he thought that every team was generally better than the Cannons.

"Are you going to Hogsmeade, then?" She managed to ask before the rest of the class trooped in.

"When is that?" He questioned.

"Two weeks time." She responded almost instantly.

"If we don't have practice, I'll probably be stopping at the Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer with the team."

Of course, this just made Claudia latch onto him with much more vigor. She named off the female players and remarked that she was very good friends with them – which was a lie, because I had heard Angelina Johnson verbally abusing her with Alicia Spinnet one afternoon in the not-so-distant past.

"We should go together," Claudia proposed coolly. "Unless, you know, you have practice that day – and if you do, you'll know I'll be watching…"

Her voice was – if it was possible – literally, dripping with sugary sweetness.

"Sure," Oliver agreed.

The rest of the class bustled into the room and I was extremely thankful when Flitwick asked us to perform Protean charms. Even though non-verbal spells were expected, I could still hear the murmur of words through the classroom. Clearly, they were going to get points taken off during N.E.W.T's.

Despite my hopes of silence, Claudia's voice continued to carry on from behind me. If Alex had been there, she would have turned and demanded silence – or she would have commented that my right eye was twitching. Poor Oliver! He kept trying to change the conversation to Protean charms, but Claudia just wouldn't have it – she continued pestering him about Quidditch.

Geez, I started to wonder how she became so talented at catching Quidditch players because her conversation skills were really lacking – or maybe that was her key to snagging them so easily.

Setting down my wand, I couldn't help but scratch my head a little as I pondered this. I had noticed that most males at Hogwarts were dating or had dated someone exactly like Claudia – conniving, malicious, airheaded, uninteresting….the list could really go on!

It was then, while I pondered away at the oddities of boys, that a shriek caught everybody's attention. We all turned to see another Gryffindor – Connor Lewis – jump out of his seat. He was yelling and prancing and well, his cloak had caught on fire. Really, really, brilliant idea to scratch your back with your wand without thinking…

Flitwick calmly put out the flames with a silent water charm and sent him to the Hospital Wing to be checked by Madame Pomfrey.

I wish I could say that the rest of the period was that eventful, but alas, it was not.





It was eight and I was leaving the library – after all, it closed at nine and I still had to go up and help Alex with her Transfiguration essay. The halls were fairly empty, there were a couple of students walking about but I didn't really pay any attention to them. I took two steps at a time when I got to the moving staircases and frowned slightly as the one under me shifted positions.

Hopping over the trick-step, I wondered why Drew was absent from the library tonight. I followed the three other Gryffindors up towards the Portrait hole but paused when the second-years pondered what the password was.

"Fortuna Major," I said clearly before she swung open. They said nothing as I stalked past them and stepped into the entrance to the common room. There was the loud chatter of after-dinner gossip and bang of textbooks being slammed against the table.

"LOTTY!" Alex cried out when I reached her desk, "THIS IS TOO BLOODY DIFFICULT!" Her hair was sticking up in different places and her silver eyes were wide with frustration.

"This is why I dropped Transfiguration, dear," I sighed, taking her parchment and scanning it quickly. "Alex! You haven't even started writing yet!" I set it down, "All it says is your name and the title of the essay."

"I've tried everything!" She wailed, "This is my own fault for taking Transfiguration to N.E.W.T level!" She absentmindedly pulled at her blonde hair.

"The prompt is fairly simple," I explained, glancing at the assignment. "You just have to explain why one can't choose their Animagus form."

"Yes, but I don't even know how one turns into one!" Alex exclaimed, "McGonagall has been very hesitant about telling us because, well, I think she fears that we might try it and kill ourselves!"

"Alex," I began.

"Yes, yes," She fussed, "I read my textbook and it just says that one's Animagus form reflects our inner character, blah…blah…blah…" Alex turned the page absently, "But it doesn't say why."

I rolled my eyes and plopped down beside her, "Well, we can always begin with practical thought."

She gave me a wide smile and picked up her quill, "What would I do without you, Lotty?"

"Fail," I responded easily, "You would fail."

With my help, Alex easily finished her essay and breathed a sigh of relief. She grabbed my hand and grinned, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" I glanced at the clock – it had taken a good hour and a half but she had finished.

"You know, you should have more confidence in your academic abilities," I told her. "You're not dimwitted at all; you just need to try a bit harder."

Alex rolled her eyes but changed the topic of conversation, "When are you meeting with Oliver?"

I checked the clock again – not out of wonder since I had just checked it a few moments ago, but out of habit, "Ten."

"Well then," Alex said, standing up and collecting her books. "I shall leave you to your studying! I think I'm going to go take a shower and I suppose I'll see you up later." She walked up the stairs and disappeared from my view.

The next thirty minutes seemed to pass slowly. I sat on the sofa and stared at the large beams that crisscrossed the ceiling. My eyes were beginning to drift shut – not because I was tired, but because I was so damn bored. My fingers toyed with the gold fringe of the sofa's throw and unraveled a few stands of material. The clock finally chimed ten and I glanced at the portrait hole.

No Oliver.

I growled low in my throat and continued to stare at it. I inhaled deeply, annoyance and impatience seeping into my movements. I stood with my arms crossed, tapping my right foot – half-expecting him to run in and beg my forgiveness.

Ten minutes passed and still no Oliver.

Do you want to know when exactly Oliver Wood came barging into the common room? He gallantly walked into the room at precisely ten minutes to eleven, a large smile on his face – still dressed in his Quidditch uniform.

Oliver Wood was a dead man.





A/N: Reviews&Thoughts would be nice, but if you have to be blunt - be gentle because I'll feel discouraged. I'd like to thank all the people who reviewed in the last chapter - you guys are amazing! Thank you so much!


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