Chapter 2 : Some Things Never Change ...
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Some Things Never Change ...
Cormac McLaggen. Graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, former Tutshill Tornado keeper and four-times winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile award.
Or, as his parents believed, a big, fat failure.
He didn't understand them (or even like them) sometimes. The way they were always expecting the best from him, but at the same minute "don't want him to overdo it". The way they want him to become an international Quidditch star, but at the same time "don't want him to get in over his head." The way they want him to find the girl of his dreams, but at the same second "don't want him to sleep around".
It was incredibly frustrating having two annoyingly over-ambitious parents, who pretend that they care about his reputation when it is apparently clear that they don't. Not that he gave it much thought either though.
It was common knowledge around the British Wizarding World that Cormac McLaggen was a player, in many, many ways. He played Quidditch of course - and very well, he knew - but the term "player" was meant to acknowledge his extremely long string of one-night stands and affairs.
He didn't really give a toss, those girls had been nothing but meaningless flings to him and so he didn't understand why people were so uptight and anal about it. If he didn't care, why should they?
His Quidditch career was also a thing that was followed like the plague by the newspapers. His untimely departure from the Tornados had caused a great deal of alarm and embarassment - who knew that his team mates would be so uptight about him snogging their girlfriends for one time and when he was completely drunk? How was he also supposed to know that the Quidditch Board would take the matter so seriously and take drastic measures towards it?
But anyway, when the story had gotten out about his being fired by the Board, the Daily Prophet were having a field day. Not only did his ex-team mates publicly disgrace him by relating the stories of his antics on-and-off the Quidditch Pitch, but the girls with whom he had ... you know ... done things with, had let rip to Witch Weekly about their time together, gaining him a lot of hate-mail in the process (and fan-mail too, believe it or not).
There was also the problem of certain people. His parents were one thing - he couldn't escape them anyway because they were family - but some accquaintances he had made in the Quidditch World didn't seem to be pleased with him at all.
He found that rather odd, as everyone liked him usually.
Gwenog Jones was one of those people. Now that was a name that brought hatred to the core of his very bones. She was stunning, yes, and had a mouth on her like a German Veela - but she was evil. Pure and utter evil.
He had met her at one of the Tornados annual Christmas parties the year before and he had decided, after seeing her in that jaw-droppingly short red dress, that he would flirt with her. Just a bit.
So, he therefore pinched her rear and winked very seductively, while she was alone at the drinks table. It had worked every time before on other girls. She smiled at him very sweetly ....
And then proceeded to make a little scene. Falling to the floor, she pulled him down on top of her, began screaming at the top of her lungs and swatting him over the head, while continually shouting things like, "Let go of my bum!" and "I don't want to sleep with you, you pervert!"
Needless to say, he was hauled off to the Ministry that very night, sat in front of the Wizengamot and charged with attempted sexual assault. How unfair was that? And he was fined 100 Galleons, which went towards the very woman with whom he had been charged against.
He saw her as she sat in the front row of that hearing. Oh, she played the part of the traumatised woman very well, quietly "sobbing" into her lace handkerchief.
But the minute she had heard the sentence he was given, her eyes narrowed maliciously and she slyly winked at him, waving goodbye as she walked out of the door with a cheque in her hand - his monthly Quidditch fee.
How much he had hated her from that moment on, he had no idea. Every time her name was spoken, or he saw her face in a magazine, he flushed magnificently and shivers ran down his spine. The repercussions he had suffered from that day forward were not even to be thought of. But that girl was a monster and there was no other word for it.
Besides that, there was another person whom he truly despised, a lot less than her of course, but nonetheless despised.
And it was made very apparent that the feeling was mutual. There had been a number of incidents between the two, and McLaggen never forgot who had been the victorious on each of those occasions.
One day he vowed to get the better of that man. He would get the upper-hand eventually. And after a newly accquired piece of information, he knew that Oliver Wood would feel the exact pain that he felt in the Quidditch World Cup exactly 1 month ago.
Anger and humiliation.
Oliver Wood himself was in the middle of sitting uncomfortably at the Weasley family dinner table.
He was quite unfortunately placed outside (as the inside could no longer hold the capacity) - between the two quarrelling love-birds, Ron and Hermione.
As if it wasn't enough that they were shooting glares at each other across his plate - which he found not only extremely irritating but felt as though he was getting glared at himself - but Romeo and Juliet had taken to huffing and sighing next to him and muttering curses under their breaths every few seconds.
That Hermione Granger was particularly foul-mouthed.
He couldn't have been happier when George and Charlie started up a conversation about Quidditch.
Ron decided to join in here and there, which succeeded in him forgetting to glare at his partner as much and Hermione was so intent on pointing out how silly the game was, that she also forgot to swear in a loud whisper.
"How are things getting on with you, Oliver?" Charlie asked after a while, shovelling down his last few pieces of apple pie, "You still play for Puddlemere, don't you?"
Oliver tensed up slightly at the mention of his former Quidditch team.
He'd rather forget most of the memories he had accquired for playing with them.
"No, actually," he replied, stabbing at his dessert with the same wrath that he wished he had given to that sadistic head coach, "I'm not."
Charlie raised his eyebrows and looked at him questioningly.
"Oh, yeah? What happened?"
Oliver also raised his eyes so that he was looking at the older Weasley's face, into which he replied, "I'd rather not talk about it, if you don't mind."
Everyone looked around at him. They all wore expressions of shock, worry and sadness on their faces.
Oliver was desperately trying not to notice the way that Harry was continually scraping his spoon against his bowl, so as to add effect to the deathly silence. It was extremely painful to hear.
Oliver cleared his throat.
"But anyway, on a happier note, I think I may be getting a new job very soon. And I'm also sure that, due to that fact, you - especially the four Hogwartians - will be seeing a lot more of me from now on. You see, I've applied for the job of Quidditch Coach at Hogwarts. And McGonagall has granted me an interview. Tomorrow."
The family all went into an uproar.
Harry and Ron cheered simultaneously and proceeded to clap him on the back with enthusiasm.
Ginny and Hermione also shouted in delight, Hermione throwing in a one-armed hug.
Mr and Mrs Weasley, along with the rest of their children, all exclaimed their congratualtions, while the table practically shook with the amount of chatter.
"Oh, Oliver, there is no doubt in the world that you will get the job!"
"Wow, I can't wait to start training, you'll be our teacher!"
Hermione was the only one who didn't feel the need to shout to the heavens. She turned to him, beaming, while the rest of the rabble carried the empty plates and glasses back inside.
"I'm sure you'll be excellent, Oliver. It'll be really nice to have you back at Hogwarts again. Just like old times, eh? Shouting and bawling at your incompetent team mates, while trying not to throw up with excitement at the same time."
Oliver laughed heartily along with her at this. It was true, after all.
"Yeah, I'm sure it will be exactly the same. Though, maybe with a few minor setbacks."
He glanced shiftily at George, who was too engrossed in a heated argument with his mother to realise he was looking at him. Hermione understood who he was staring at and smiled sadly at the look on Oliver's face.
"You know," she whispered to him, while they vanished the chairs and tables, "They haven't mentioned Fred at all, since ... well, since the burial, in fact. I just don't understand it. They - we - all loved him. So much, that ... I can't comprehend why they won't even acknowledge it. At all."
They both looked at each other meaningfully and sat down on the grass.
Oliver knew where Hermione was coming from. He wanted to celebrate Fred's life and the times that they had shared together, too. But it was hard considering his own family had never brought it up.
And he also knew better than to bring the subject up himself; he would never know how the family would react.
"Perhaps it's too hard for them," Hermione whispered suddenly, turning her face away from Oliver as she bit her lip, "Too hard for them to realise that he can never come back. I know that it took me a while to contemplate and get my head around but I never thought that he would just be forgotten. Just like that."
She looked down at her feet as tears filled her eyes. But she stopped them, almost as well as he did the night before, and composed herself. She sniffled slightly as she continued.
"There's no point in getting upset over it now. I've already done enough crying to last me a lifetime, you know. I don't need anymore - not today."
Oliver patted her hand awkwardly and smiled at her.
"I know, Hermione. I know exactly what you mean."
He heard Mrs Weasley shouting frantically for the two of them to come back in, as it was starting to get dark out. Oliver stood up and held out his hand to Hermione, shaking his head.
"Let's go back inside, eh? Before Mother Hen has a nervous breakdown?"
Hermione laughed joyfully at his statement and took his hand.
They both headed back to the Burrow and entered the livingroom to find the much needed chaos that they had both craved for.
Even though they shared a mutual understanding, they both knew that the subject would never arise again between them. Sometimes, things are just too painful to discuss more than once.
Oliver trudged along the muddy grounds of Hogsmeade, at half past 2 the next again morning.
It was a surprisingly cold day for August, but otherwise, he was just taking in the wonderful sights that he had missed since his departure from Hogwarts, all those years ago.
Last night had been one of the best of his life.
The Weasley's sure knew how to have a good time and he had never laughed so much as he did - watching them all drunkenly dancing to The Weird Sisters was one of the funniest things he'd ever seen.
But he had left the house this morning with a bigger prospect upon his hands. What he was going to say in this interview, he had no idea. And the fact that he might not even get the job was also tearing him up on the inside.
"Oh, come on, Oliver!" he said to himself, "Get a grip!"
He was too busy scolding himself that he didn't notice another young man coming around the corner to Hogwarts and together they landed in a heap on the muddy, wet ground, after banging into each other stupidly.
"I'm so sorry," Oliver said, the sound of his voice muffled by his scarf which was covering his mouth, " I wasn't looking where -"
"Of course you damn weren't, you fool! Look what happen -"
The man stopped in the middle of his rant. Oliver pulled his hat from over his eyes, looking frazzled and then saw the one face that he didn't expect or want to see today, of all days. He couldn't believe it.
"Well, well, well. Look what the cat coughed up. Oliver Wood."
Cormac McLaggen was standing over him proudly, a look of smug selfishness painted all over his ugly face. How he hated the sight of him. As Oliver stood up to face him, he almost gagged, as the stench of aftershave was evident all over him.
And it truly wreaked.
"Bloody hell," Oliver replied, holding his scarf over his nose and coughing continually, "Is that cologne you're wearing by any chance called "Stink"?
McLaggen blushed slightly, but sneered at Oliver as he looked him up and down in disgust.
"No it isn't actually, but that's more than can be said for your attire. Where'd you get those clothes from? A dustbin."
"Oh, shove off, McLaggen. I don't have time for your "witty" comebacks this afternoon. Because unlike some people, I have to be somewhere important right now. So, if you don't mind ..."
Oliver marched past the horrid bloke, taking care to bang into his shoulder as he passed. He was in no mood for this idiots taunts today.
But, he had to admit, it was the only thing he was good at. He certainly couldn't play Quidditch, anyway.
And Oliver was just about to open his mouth to say this, when McLaggen shouted from behind.
"Oh, off to an interview, are we, Wood? You'll be lucky. I've just been and I have to say it went extremely well. You've got no chance, mate. Perhaps Puddlemere United'll take you back next season, I hear they're looking for a towel boy."
McLaggen laughed a cold and heartless laugh. His infuriating, stupid laugh.
Oliver's blood was pounding in his ears as he turned around to walk back to that prick. But he had already disapparated.
He screamed in frustration and made his way up to the towering gates of Hogwarts, all the while clenching his fists.
"That bastard is not getting my job!"
A/N: Hey guys! Chapter done very quickly, I must say! Dunno how long it'll take or the next one though! Thanks for reading, hope you review x x
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