Chapter 1 : All The Bridges You've Burnt Leave You Trapped Off At All Sides
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“You know what you’ve got to do.” Fred said.
I didn’t look at him. I didn’t want to see the self-righteous look on his smug little face.
“No.” My teeth were gritted. My voice didn’t come out as cool and collected as I’d have like. I’ve never been any good at that anyway.
“You know it’ll come to it. You’re just putting it off.” George decided to butt in with some ‘helpful’ advice too.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I insisted. “And, if you’ll let me, I have some try-outs to watch.”
I was already staring straight ahead of me at the pathetic bunch of no-hopers that were dithering about trying to get a drill going that my team had perfected in a matter of minutes.
It was pointless.
I’d lost count of the number of times the Quaffle had been dropped and retrieved messily by a red-faced hopeful with a furtive glance to check whether I’d noticed.
Of course I had. I was the Captain for crying out loud, and these were some very desperate try-outs. What did they think I’d be doing, making daisy chains?
“Fine,” Fred nodded at George, “You don’t need us here. In about two minutes you’re going to ask us our opinion and I can already tell you that if you let one of those blundering fiends on the team we’re quitting.”
He was joking. Maybe.
I didn’t answer.
“Oh, and Oliver,” George said as they walked off. They stopped at the top of th stairs. “We’re not doing it for you.”
“Asking her. We’ll leave that pleasure to you.”
“You deserve it.” Fred added.
I didn’t take the eyes off the twits on brooms ahead of me as Fred and George left the stands. They were loving this. I’d been punished for my previous… uh, decisions… every day for the past year. By the twins, the girls…
They’d made it clear they thought I was the world’s biggest twat. Maybe I was. Maybe I wasn’t. But I’d made the decision for a reason and there was no way I was going to admit I was wrong now. Because I wasn’t. I wasn’t.
“They’re right, you know.”
I furiously rubbed my eyes, as if it was somehow going to make the no-hopers any better. I could already see that it was bloody hopeless. All I was hoping for was a bloody miracle.
I left my face in my hands. “Don’t you fucking start now, Alicia.”
“I’m only saying,” She said, in a sanctimonious, sing-song way. She was loving my suffering just as much as the twins. And I dared guess that Angelina was just as happy. I was the only one who lost out in this, really.
“There’ll be someone.” I growled.
“Oh, open your eyes, Oliver,” Alicia snapped, “These are the only ones left who can remain airborne and vaguely co-ordinate their limbs. It’s either swallow your stupid pride or embarrass yourself in front of the whole school when we turn up to the Ravenclaw match with a chaser who doesn’t know a Quaffle from a Bludger.”
I looked up at the no-hopers through my fingers. I’d defend them, but she was right. Turning up to a match with one of them alongside the unstoppable duo of Angelina and Alicia… the comparison was ridiculous.
“You can’t do this, Oliver,” Angelina leant around her friend to appeal to me now. Great. Now I just needed Harry to boss me around and that was the whole team against me. “It’s just selfish. It’s not just about you two and your petty little battles. This is for the good of the team. The house. You’re sacrificing everything because of your reputation.”
I couldn’t even respond. Because there was nothing I could say. I couldn’t outright lie, but I wasn’t going to agree with her, was I?
Unfortunately, Alicia took my silence the wrong way.
“Oh I don’t believe you. You know, Fred and George may have been joking but you can’t expect me to play with one of them.” She jerked her head up at the wobbling players. I couldn’t even look at them anymore. My miracle wasn’t as such happening before my eyes. No one had become phenomenally talented in the past few minutes. And she hadn’t turned up to try-outs, as I’d half hoped she would. Oh, I knew she was stubborn enough not to be there on time at least. If anything she’d have sauntered in late as if she didn’t care.
But she hadn’t.
Which was good. Because quite frankly I didn’t have a fucking clue how I would have reacted.
But it was bad. Because it meant she obviously didn’t care at all. Which meant that the job I was already dreading was going to be a whole lot more difficult. She’d never made anything easy for me before and there was no reason to expect her to now.
“I’ll do it, I swear.” Alicia was still talking. “I’ll quit. Then you can have two shitty chasers instead of one.”
“Make that three.” Angelina added.
I let out the breath I hadn’t realised I’d been holding in one short, annoyed blast.
Fred was right. They all were. I knew what I had to do.
“Oh shut up, will you?” I was beginning to get a headache. Right. “I suppose we shouldn’t let them suffer up there all night. Opinions. Spinnet?”
Alicia fought to keep a straight face. She’d always been the one to laugh with her at me switching into ‘Captain Mode’. She looked pointedly at the no-hopers. “Not a chance in hell.”
Ange smiled, “What she said.”
He shook his head, apologetically. “I know a first year that would be better than that, mate.”
Sad thing was, he probably wasn’t lying.
I stood up, ignoring the smug, gleeful looks on Alicia and Angelina’s faces and whistled sharply. One of them dropped the Quaffle for the last time and swore loud enough for me to hear. I jerked my head, summoning them in. I didn’t deliberate over what I was about to say. For one thing I wasn’t going to give them false hope, and for another I didn’t care. I had more on my mind now.
“Ok, thanks for turning up.” I said, shortly. “I’ll put a notice up or something. In the next few days.”
A few faces looked a bit put out that I wasn’t saying more. But I didn’t have anything else to say.
Alicia, Ange and Harry followed me out of the stands at a reasonable distance. Alicia and Ange knew that I wasn’t going to be in the best of moods now with the prospect of what I had to do looming ahead of me, and Harry was probably just following their lead.
“What’s the fuss?” I heard him mutter to the girls.
He wouldn’t know. It had been the year before he started. He hadn’t ever seen her fly. He hadn’t heard her rip someone to shreds with her sharp tongue. He didn’t know anything about her. Or her and me.
Alicia giggled. She was enjoying this way too much. “Just you wait.”
“You are not watching this, Spinnet,” I called over my shoulder. “None of you are.”
She giggled again. “You’d deny us this entertainment, Oliver?”
“Entertainment?” Harry sounded amused. Tosser.
“The sparks are going to fly tonight.” Angelina told him.
I winced. I’d had all too much experience with these ‘sparks’.
“Katie Bell is that good?” Harry asked.
My stomach churned uncomfortably at the name. Only because I was dreading her reaction, though. Nothing else.
“She’s worth it,” Alicia was grinning ear to ear, I could hear it in her voice. “Isn’t she, Oliver?”
I just walked off faster. I could still hear her giggling behind me.
She didn’t answer. Didn’t look up. Didn’t move an inch to confirm she’d even heard me. Her eyes were focused directly on the book in her lap. Her hair was in front of her eyes so I couldn’t see them, but I was willing to bet that they weren’t moving across the page.
She’d heard me. But, like I said, she wasn’t going to make anything easy for me. She never had.
Alicia giggled again. I’d stared at her pointedly until she and Angelina had moved towards the staircase to the girls dormitories. But they hadn’t gone up the stairs. They’d wanted to see this. Harry had been about to go up to his dorm but Alicia had dragged him back down. And she’d not so subtly nodded over to Fred and George to get their attention. She wanted an audience for this. She wanted me as uncomfortable as possible. After all, this was her friend. She was only paying me back.
For a long few seconds I thought she was going to ignore me for a second time. I thought I was going to have to physically get her attention before she’d pay any attention to me. And everyone knew that that would most likely end in a slap.
Then she licked her lips. And waited another second or two. And looked up.
“You want something?” Her ice-blue eyes were carefully innocent. She’d mastered the innocent look a long time ago. It looked natural on her face now. So many times it had gotten her out of trouble and left me to deal with whatever disaster she left behind her.
She knew exactly what I wanted. I knew for a fact that Alicia had reminded her at least six times that now that Kennedy had left, the chaser spot was open again. Alicia had only informed me of this every day. Just to make it worse for me when she didn’t turn up to try-outs probably. She was evil. They all were. Why were the evil ones always good at Quidditch?
“Can I talk to you?” God I hated having to act humble. She could probably hear that in my voice. Alicia could. She giggled again. I was close to hexing her.
Katie just kept me caught in her innocent stare.
“I’m not moving for you, Ollie.” She said matter-of-factly, looking back down at her book and picked up her quill, “I’m busy.”
Excellent. Alicia and Ange had known that she’d be like this. They knew that she wouldn’t agree to go anywhere private to speak to me. They knew that she wanted me punished as much as they did. It was just that she wasn’t so obvious about it. All I was getting from her nowadays was the frosty treatment. I almost missed the screaming.
Great. I was going to have to do this with an audience.
“And by the way,” She carried on, idly, her eyes still on the book on her crossed legs. “The answer’s no.”
“I haven’t even asked anything yet.”
Of course she’d say that. If it was going to be easy, she’d have been at try-outs.
I looked up at Ange and Alicia who both shrugged, still gleeful.
I looked back down at the top of her head. Her hair caught the light of the fire flickering behind the grate, looking golden.
“I need you.” I said, without considering the words, then cringed at the implication. But she wouldn’t notice that. She knew what I was actually asking. “We need you.”
“There’ll be someone else.” She replied, nonchalantly.
That was what I’d said. I was wrong.
“I wasn’t good enough a year ago, what’s changed?” She asked, sweetly. I hated her sweet voice. It scared me. She didn’t deserve to sound that sweet when it should sound so dangerous.
I exhaled noisily again. This was painful. And people were listening.
“I was wrong.” I said, in a low voice.
“Pardon?” She asked, wickedly. Sweetly. Whatever, it was the same thing.
“Look, Kate -”
“I’m sorry, Ollie. The answer’s still no.”
“Please.” I stole Angelina’s line she’d used to appeal to me, “For the team. And the house. This isn’t about me -”
“That’s where you’re wrong.” She replied, still not looking at me, “It’s always about you. You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of the school. And I’m guessing you didn’t want to have to ask me because you didn’t want to embarrass yourself in front of everyone here. I bet it’s killing you to have to do this.”
I clamped my teeth together. “Please.” I wasn’t going to ask again.
“Tell Ange and Alicia I’m sorry.” She turned a page in the book. Evidently I was dismissed.
I ignored all the eyes curiously watching the scene. Particularly those of two freckled face and the girls standing at the bottom of the staircase. I walked past them up the stairs without meeting their eyes. They couldn’t blame me for anything now. I’d tried. She’d said no. It was done.
I reached the top of the stairs before the panic hit me. What was I supposed to do now? We had a month to prepare for a match. And no chaser. No one willing to do it with even half the talent of Alicia and Ange.
I was fucked.
I was about to slam the door when I heard Harry.
“I didn’t see any sparks.”
“No,” Alicia mused, sounding mildly impressed, “She’s almost as good at that as she is at the dramatics.”
“He’s had practice at dealing with the dramatics,” Angelina said, “She knows this will destroy him even more.”
"Huh." Alicia sounded thrown. "That's..."
"Different." Ange agreed. "I know. She doesn't usually indulge in his games."
"Oh, she's playing him?" Alicia sounding thoroughly delighted. "Didn't know she had it in her. Oh, this is good. Oh, she is going to destroy him."
Fine. We weren’t doing the dramatics.
I shut the door quietly with a click. A silence followed.
“I didn’t hear a slam.” Alicia commented.
Angelina sighed. “This can only end badly.
She might be right. If there's one thing I know, it's how to play the game.
But it's never quite gone to plan when Katie Bell has been involved.
A.N. Hello! An Oliver Wood / Katie Bell story, what do people think? I decided to approach it from a different perspective than the one I've seen so often of someone either falling at Oliver's feet or some sort of raging lunatic. My Katie's something a bit different!
Please let me know what you think, whether you think it'll be worth carrying on with!
Thanks for reading! Rx.
P.S. This is for readers of my other stories before they shoot me - I'm not giving up on them! This just came to me in a moment of writers block and you know how it is, you grab anything remotely creative buzzing around in your head and get it down on paper (laptop) before it can run away. I'm sorry, Im just on a bit of a writing spree right now!
Anyway. Thanks again! Please review!