Chapter 9 : Thankful
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Beautiful chapter image by Deianeira at TDA! Thanks to my wonderful beta, butterbeergal!
Playing Quidditch on an absurdly hot September morning should be illegal. James, the Quidditch Nazi, had demanded that we still hold tryouts on Sunday morning regardless of the fact that at the rate we were going, the entire team was going to suffer from heat stroke.
Half way through the trials, I found myself hanging lazily on my broom watching the sweating prospective chasers shoot on the hoops, all thoughts of finding the snitch had disappeared after about ten minutes of playing in sauna-like conditions.
A pretty third year girl was up next and took a shot on Luke. It was a weak throw and an easy save. James waved her down and she looked seriously dejected. I saw Freddie throw her a wink but the effect was seriously ruined due to his blossoming black eye. It seemed as if nobody in the entire castle, after finding out how he received the injury, could remember how to do a healing spell. Roxanne had also mentioned that her mother and father refused to send my Uncle George’s miraculous healing paste by owl post.
Next was a tall and very skinny forth year with short dark hair. He looked awkward on his broom, and he rose unsteadily on it. James was about to call him down when Luke shot him a look and shook his head. James just shrugged and turned to watch.
The boy flew towards the hoops like a dart, he threw the ball clumsily and Luke managed to catch it but he looked shocked. He gestured James over and they seemed to be having a serious discussion. James had a concentrating look on his face and finally he nodded.
He blew his whistle and everyone landed on the ground.
“Tryouts are over.” His announcement was followed by a disappointed murmur.
He pointed his finger at the skinny sallow faced boy. “You, what’s your name?”
“Noel,” he answered quietly, it was almost a whisper.
“Noel what?” James asked impatiently, snapping his fingers rudely.
Fred let out an excited whoop. “Andrew is your brother? That’s brilliant!”
Noel nodded, his dark eyes looked shy. James finally smiled and congratulated him on making the team and sent him off to shower and celebrate his accomplishment.
Luke turned towards the rest of the team and answered our unspoken question. “He almost took my hand off with that shot. James and I both agree that with some training, he will be a wicked chaser.”
James came up behind us after this exciting announcement. “Luke, get back in the net, I want to take a couple shots. Lily, go find that snitch.”
I scowled in his direction but followed his orders and started to circle around the pitch. I heard girls giggle from the stands and looked down to see that my brother and Fred had taken their sweaty shirts off due to the ridiculous heat.
I rolled my eyes, they may be close to passing out but they were fully doing it for the attention of their ‘fans’.
James ran a hand through his sweaty messy hair and Fred threw his shirt into the stands. Roxanne looked at me and rolled her eyes. She aimed a bludger at her brother and it knocked him lightly off his broom. Our audience let out an exclamation of worry but Fred jumped up, bowed and got on his broom to chase Roxanne around the pitch. She let out a shriek of laughter and began to loop around the hoops, yelling insults at him as he followed her.
I chuckled as well and turned to find the snitch, when I was suddenly incredibly distracted.
Luke had laughingly pulled off his own shirt at James’ insistence and thrown it to the bottom of the hoops before he rose to defend against my brother’s shots.
His muscles strained as he flew and reached to block the shots on the hoops, sweat had made his curly hair stick to his forehead and a wide grin covered his face. How I had not noticed how attractive he was before this, I had no idea. I watched them play for the next ten minutes before I realized that I had spent no time seeking the snitch.
I turned my back on the handsome laughing boys and located the flying ball within minutes. I dove for it and caught it, the feeling of the little wings beating furiously against my hand mingled with a sense of victory causing me to let a whoop and I landed surprisingly gracefully on the grass of the pitch.
James took a shot once more on Luke, who easily blocked it, before calling the rest of the team down. With a promise of practice on Tuesday, he let us go to our respective changing rooms. Roxanne and I simply grabbed our stuff looking forward to a nice cool bath in the prefects’ bathroom. We followed the hoard of girls up the path to the castle, most of them tittering excitedly.
“Oh my goodness, I will forever worship the sun because of today,” a blonde seventh year girl said excitedly.
“I would get sleazy for Weasley,” replied her friend looking immensely pleased at her ‘clever’ rhyme.
Beside me Roxanne mimed vomiting as the first girl smiled. “Yeah, well, I think Potter is way hotter.”
Merlin, I hated girls sometimes, most especially when they were lusting after my brother and cousin, even more when they did it in rhyme.
“Maybe, but I would ride Luke’s broomstick anytime.”
Roxanne ended any further innuendoes. “Oi, slags! Mind hurrying it up a little? Lily and I need to warn our brothers that there are a couple of desperate and pathetic floozies after them.”
The Huffelpuffs looked back at us, an expression of anger and embarrassment on their faces, but they stepped aside to let us through. Roxanne did so with a strut, swinging her hair as we made our way up.
“Those girls are ridiculous, James is lanky, kinda scrawny and has messy hair, and Fred is an inch shorter than me. He’s stocky, for Merlin’s sake, not some sex god those girls make him out to be.”
I only laughed at this. Sure what Roxanne said was true, but her anger was mostly fueled by over protectiveness. Fred loved having girls all over him, Roxanne hated it.
I somehow managed to get the bath before Roxanne and I took my time to relax. All too soon she was banging on the portrait and shouting at me to hurry up. I took another ten minutes just to piss her off and when I finally exited the bathroom, I found a morose looking Roxanne with a very pleased looking Hugo.
“Guys, I told you that you are not allowed to use this bathroom. It’s for prefects and Quidditch captains only!”
I and Roxanne both rolled our eyes. “Hugo, you’re the one who told us the password.”
He looked flustered now. “Well, yes, but only for you guys to use a night, not in the middle of the day!”
Roxanne smiled at Hugo. “Sorry, bud, won’t happen again. After this time...”
She ducked around him, whispered the password and bounded into the bathroom.
Hugo went completely red. “Roxanne! You get out this minute or I’m coming in!”
We both waited in silence, me in amusement, Hugo in frustration.
“I’m coming in Roxanne!” he yelled and went for the portrait, who was watching us all with bewildered curiosity.
“I’m naked!” we heard her yell back.
Hugo blushed. “Do you think she actually is?”
I laughed. “Hugo, just give it up. I think we both know that no one can match Roxanne, especially when she desperately needs a bath.”
He huffed in defeat and started to walk away from me, and I called after him.
“Hugo! Want to hang out for a while? I feel like I barely talk to you anymore!”
For the first time in our interaction a genuine smile crossed his face. “I wish I could Lily, but I have to meet Samira and Gabby Davis from Ravenclaw for our first Transfiguration lesson in five minutes. But later? Maybe after dinner?”
I had almost agreed to meet him, until my slow brain caught up with our discussion. Bloody hell.
“I have my own tutoring session after dinner, sorry, Hugo.”
“Some other time then,” and with that he took off at a quick trot to the library.
I banged my head against the wall. With Quidditch and school, I had completely forgotten that I had to meet Luke. I could barely talk to him, let alone be alone with him for two bloody hours.
“Careful there, I’m going to need your brains later.”
I looked up surprised to find Luke Wood leaning casually against the stone wall, still wearing his Quidditch gear, still sweaty and still shirtless.
I could only gape at him. It seemed all I had to do was think of him and he would appear.
He smirked and pushed off the wall with his muscular arm. “We still on for after dinner?”
I could not help but return his smile. “Of course, you’re going to have to shower first.”
He laughed. “It’s not my fault I haven’t yet. Your crazy brother decided in the change rooms he wanted to practice his bobby shot for another forty five minutes.”
“Admit it, you loved it as much as he did. You just don’t want to seem as obsessed.”
He shot me a boyish grin and ran a hand through his damp hair. “Don’t tell anyone, will you?”
“Your secret is safe with me,” I laughed and bit my lip.
“All right, well I’m off to clean up a bit, meet you in the library at around seven?”
I nodded. He smiled at me again and reached out a hand to ruffle my hair. “No more head banging, Red.”
I rolled my eyes and watched him continue down the hallway, the muscles in his bare back rather distracting.
He turned to look at me. “Yeah?”
“Put a shirt on!”
I heard him laugh as he turned the corner, and I could not help but feel pleased and giddy at how our encounter had gone.
Though one thing resonated above all others – he messed up my hair. James does that to me all the time, so does Fred, Albus, Louis and basically all my other male family members. A sinking feeling took over my elatedness.
He saw me like a little sister.
Merlin, I was completely and utterly hopeless.
Life has a cruel way of speeding up something you want to avoid at all costs. Before I knew it, dinner was over and my feet were taking me to the Hogwarts library without my mind having much input in the decision.
I entered the dreaded meeting place to find Luke already sitting with some else. Natalie Ashworth sat gracefully across from him, her flaxen hair carefully plaited and her hand on his arm.
Enter goddess to make one already nervous Lily Potter feel even more self conscious.
I debated whether I should just skip the entire thing all together, but at that moment Luke looked up at me and gestured me over.
I walked slowly over and took a seat next to Natalie. She smiled at me and held out a perfectly manicured hand. “Hi, you’re James’s little sister right?”
Merlin, there was one thing that I loathed more than Bridgett Harris was being ‘Harry and Ginny Potter’s daughter’ or James and Albus ‘little sister’.
I nodded stiffly and took her hand in my own. “Lily.”
“It’s nice to meet you!” she replied eagerly, her stupid perfect smile taking up her entire stupid perfect face.
I didn’t remind her that we had met at least on four occasions previous.
Luke prevented me from speaking. “Anyway Nat, we really have to get started but we can talk later, yeah?”
She offered her dazzling grin to him, flipped her hair and made him promise they would indeed talk later.
Needless to say, as she traipsed out of the library, I was left in a very irritable mood.
Luke offered me a smile and pulled out his Transfiguration book. “So where do you want to start? The very beginning?”
I nodded, and mirrored his actions by taking out my text book.
We worked in an awkward sort of dance, he would ask me a question and I would answer, sometimes having to check my book for more details or sometimes he would have to interject to correct me.
I was absorbing nothing; information simply went in one ear and out the other.
We stayed that way for an hour. Every so often Luke would ask me to transfigure one of the matches he brought into a needle. I managed it easily and as we were wrapping up only the first half of our tutorial session, I was bored, uncomfortable and tired.
Luke ran a hand through his hair, and his hazel eyes carried the same deadened look I assumed mine did.
“I’m sorry. I’m absolute shit at this.”
I looked up surprised from my textbook where I was reading about the earliest cases of transfiguration.
He looked apologetic and I reassured him quickly. “It’s okay, really, I’m learning loads.”
He gave me a doubtful look. I seriously am the worst liar in Hogwarts.
Luke looked at me for a moment before he looked like he had come to a decision. He grabbed his bag and pulled me up by my forearm. “Come on, Potter, we’re going for a walk.”
I let him drag me up as I collected my stuff. “Where are we going?”
He offered me a grin. “Outside.”
“It’s like a hundred degrees out, Luke.”
“Suck it up.”
I punched him lightly in the arm. He laughed and set off at a quick pace to the grounds. I pretty much had to run beside him to keep up, he laughed again and slowed his step down all the while making fun of me for my short stature.
As we stepped out of the huge doors, the heat washed over me. It really was disgustingly hot out. I followed him to the beech tree that lazily hung over the lake and he flopped down beneath the cool shade. No students were swimming, preferring to take refuge in the cooler castle, even the giant squid whose tentacles could usually be seen floating in the shallows seemed to be completely submerged and enjoying the icy temperature of the bottom.
I sat down next to the handsome boy who now had his eyes closed. I prodded him in the stomach. “So this is your big plan?”
“Yup, this is us taking a break,” he replied without opening his eyes.
“In a sauna.”
“I was antsy and bored. I had to get out of the library, out of the castle.”
I only hummed in response. Luke looked incredibly relaxed and completely at peace, his eyelids covered his hazel eyes and his strong tanned arms were supporting his head of curly hair. I on the other hand, knew I would not be able to reach that state of relaxation, not while my heart was beating abnormally fast and my hands were slightly clammy.
I sat watching him for a while, feeling content because he was, until his voice jerked me from his thoughts. “We should go for a fly.”
“It’s hotter than hell and we’ve already flown for two hours or so today... and you want to go back out?”
He finally opened his lids, his amber eyes blinking sleepily and he grinned sheepishly. “I love Quidditch.”
I snorted at this and threw some grass in his face before getting up and making my way closer to the lake. I sat down and spread my skirt out carefully before ripping off my shoes and putting my feet in the cool water... this was the best feeling in the world.
Luke came and sat next to me. His pants were rolled up to his knees and he put his feet in the lake as well.
“What is the law that acknowledges the limits of Transfiguration?”
I looked at him surprised. “I have no idea.”
Luke smirked at me and placed a hand in the water.
“What are you going to do?” I asked nervously.
“Every time you don’t know a question or you answer it wrong...” he scooped up water and splashed me, effectively soaking the right side of my body.
I screamed and looked at him completely shocked, his eyes were dancing with laughter and he wiped his wet hand on his pant leg.
“Who was the witch that turned men into pigs?”
I knew this one. “Circe!”
He grinned at me. “Great, see you are already learn -”
I didn’t let him finish, I pointed my wand at the lake and then at him, water rose up and completely drenched him from head to toe.
His hair was sticking to his forehead and his white school shirt was now see through and clinging to his formed chest. I was laughing so hard at his shocked expression, I could barely breathe and I was completely unprepared when he grabbed my wrist and attempted to wrestle me into the lake. Screaming and laughing, I somehow managed to throw both of us into the dark water.
Luke surfaced and was laughing, "somehow Potter, when I am with you I always seem to end up wet."
I blushed, if Roxanne were here she would have jumped on the possible innuendo, but I was not Roxanne (thank Merlin) so I let out an awkward laugh and quickly got out of the water.
I turned to watch Luke swim closer to the bank. “Lily, come back in, the water is lovely.”
I giggled and danced out of his reach as he grabbed for my ankle. He missed and his long tanned fingers swept from my calf to my upper thigh. I felt a shiver run through my body and I glanced at Luke whose hand was still resting just above the back of my knee, his rough fingers pressing into my bare skin. His warm brown eyes were wide and he looked like he had been struck by lightening.
I watched his gaze traveled up from my toes all the way to my soaking red hair. I looked down as well and was mortified to find that my purple snitch covered bra was completely visible through my wet white school shirt.
He let go of my leg as if he’d been burned and turned in the water, his voice sounding strained. “Okay, I think we are done for tonight. We can meet next Sunday, same time in the library?”
My blush had most definitely reached my hair line by now. “Y-y-yeah...”
I dried my clothes and hair messily and all but ran up to the castle. I spared one glance back to the lake and saw Luke still treading water in the exact place I left him.
AN: Hello all! So that update was pretty quick right? And 'I Love Lucy' has been updated as well! I am siriusly on a role :) Thank you for alllllll the feedback, I cannot even begin to describe how much I appreciate it. Please leave a review and let me know what you thought of Luke and Lily? The tutoring session? What about Natalie? Quidditch? The entire chapter? :D
p.s If you are bored (and want to make me the happiest girl out there :) check out my author page and my blog! Or stop by and say hi on my profile at the forums!
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