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Respectable Distance by skittery
Chapter 13 : Piper loves hands...but not trains
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 7

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“Sometimes when people drink-“Piper sighed. How about something that doesn’t sound like a lecture at an AA meeting? Possibly?
“We don’t really know each other that well, so...” She pursed her lips. That makes me sound kind of slag-ish.
“Wood, I think we should just forget what happened the other night and be friends. But not good friends.” Piper snorted, running a distressed hand through her hair, which on her return to the Hogwart’s Express was back to red.

For two days now, Piper had been practicing what she was going to say to Oliver on the way back to school. And for two days, everything she came up with sounded like a six year old made it up. Complete and utter rubbish.

“Never mind it was bleeding scorching, enough to melt butter,-“

“Is there room for me in this conversation?” Oliver’s voice wafted into the compartment, followed by a roguish grin.

Piper sighed. “I guess. You might be more fun than talking to the empty seat.”

“I can be a lot more fun than an empty seat.” Oliver settled into the seat across from Piper. “Come over here and sit on me...see how much fun we can have.”

Piper laughed heartily, both at Oliver’s invitation, and the over-exaggerated wink that accompanied it. Settling down, she watched Oliver set his bag down on the red chair next to him and pull out a worn looking notebook. Mm...Wood’s got nice hands. Long-fingered, strong, masculine, gentle, kind-
“Stop staring, PJ.”

Piper’s eyes flicked up from his hands and caught a look full of mirth. “I was just...erm. You know. So,” She scratched her head, looking down at her own fingers. “How was the rest of your holiday?”

Smirking, Oliver replied, “Non-existent. Bloody boring. I lay in bed, completely sore. My mum thought I was depressed.”

“A couple days away from me will do that.” Grinning cheekily, Piper reached into a container next to her. “Lemon cupcake?”

Oliver snorted. “Does a day go by that you don’t eat those damn things?” Negating his sarcasm, he filched a cupcake and groaned heartily. “These are bleeding fantastic. How do you stay so fit eating these all the time?”

Piper blushed, trying not to giggle like a girl because Oliver had said she was fit. “I will always eat lemon cupcakes...they’re my favorite. As for not being a fat cow; I’m a ‘James’. It would be utterly unacceptable to have flabby wobbly bits.” Closing her eyes, she relished in her own cupcakes. “And didn’t you just spend a week at my house participating in an extensive Quidditch intensive? Didn’t we work out more than sleep?” Giving Oliver a condescending look, she snorted. “Blockhead.”

“Very mature, James.” Sending an arch look at the spunky girl across from him, Oliver thumbed through a worn notebook; chocolate brown, embossed with very faded gold lettering. Sensing Piper was retreating to her own thoughts, Oliver dug furiously through the pages until he found the page he had been looking for. Tracing the hastily drawn arrows that intersected and looped across the page, he studied the play that had come to him the night before. It was a great play; one that Piper’s speed and confidence on the pitch had inspired. With a bit of coaching, Oliver mused, his girls at Hogwart’s could pull it off.

“Wood?” Piper’s quizzical voice broke his transfixed thoughts.


“Can we talk about...that thing?”


Piper glanced at anything but Oliver, waiting for him to begin. Can we say ‘awkward as hell’? Clearing her throat, she opened and closed her mouth a few times, doing her best impression of a guppy. “This is embarrassing.”

Oliver looked sharply at her in alarm. “It was that bad?” His voice was light and teasing, the sad glint in his eye; anything but. No one likes to hear they suck at snogging.

Blushing profusely, Piper shook her head. “No; it was good-er fine, drunken but fine.” Waving a hand as if to wipe away the silliness of that statement, she continued. “That is precisely the problem; it was nothing more than a drunk kiss. Funny Stuff happens when you drink. We’ll just chalk it up as drunken revelry.”

Nodding slowly, Oliver agreed. “Alright. I suppose that’ll work.” The sun filtered through the window, casting fiery ribbons through Piper’s hair. “What about the hair? The whole Prewett/James thing? Is there a curse, some sort of hex? Do I get initiated into a special cult?”

Piper’s incredulous look cut him off. “Special cult? I’m a James, not a polygamist.” Stretching her legs out across the compartment to prop her feet up on Oliver’s seat, Piper relaxed. “Only the staff and my cousins, along with you know. When we were younger there was a charm placed over me, and if anyone told someone else who I really was, they turned orange. Chudley Orange. But we took that off once Ginny started school. My family knows better, and I think the faculty would rather not let that cat out of the bag.”

“Why not?” Oliver understood the whole no special treatment thing; but really, what would happen?

Leveling a cool gaze at him for interrupting, she trudged on. “Remember when Potter started? McGonagall thinks it potentially be tantamount to that.” At his incredulous snort, Piper defended McGonagall. “I think that’s stretching it a bit, but you never know with kids.”

“You aren’t the famous one...I think you guys are being ridiculous.” Oliver caught the slightly hurt look pass through Piper’s eyes. “Sure, your dad is one of the best coaches of our century; but you are just his kid. The younger sister of the James’ brothers. Not an actual famous player.”

“Well, since you’ve brought up my self confidence so much,-“

“That’s not the way I meant it and you know it.” His lips thinned to a straight line, showing his displeasure.

“Really? I think it is exactly what you meant. I’m nobody, so who would care, right? Worthless.” Shaking her head in disgust, Piper snorted. “Join the freaking club, mate.”
“Stop feeling so bad for yourself. Poor little PJ. Get over yourself; you have charmed life.” Eyes narrowing, he leaned forward. “Pouting like a prissy little chit does nothing for you, PJ. Grow up.”

Feeling awfully close to the floor by now, Piper huffed. “I don’t know you all that well Oliver Wood, but I do know that you don’t go out of your way to hurt people. And I don’t think we will have to worry about what you can or cannot call me at school; since you think so little of me and all.” Hastily pulling her feet off his bench, Piper seized her rucksack and rifled through it, her emotions flitting from one extreme to another.

What a ruddy sod! I guess no matter how different he seems, Wood can’t get around be a condescending big-headed arse.

Retrieving a thick book out of the depths of the rucksack, she breathed in deeply, the anger deflating as she exhaled.

Oliver scratched the back of his neck. What the bleeding hell? When did PJ turn into such a girl? Letting his eyes cruise over her, he smirked rather wickedly. PJ obviously is a girl; but she’d never seemed so feminine and irrational.

Deciding not to put too much stock into her idiosyncrasies and choice of reading material (a worn copy of Lockhart’s memoir), he leaned back into the corner of the compartment and nodded off.

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