Chapter 11 : Curiosity
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Finallllly introducing the dreamy, lovely and charming Luke Wood. This lovely chapter image by !obsessed at TDA!
“Now, team, if you look at this diagram, you will see that when Fay fakes right-”
“I’m just saying Kruger has a lot of promise!”
“- and then Freddie comes across-”
“The Canons are going to need more than that to have any hopes of making it past the first round this year.”
“Al is going to come under and r..receive the ball from me.”
“Ugh, you are such a hater! Just because you jumped on the bandwagon of the number one team in the league!”
“Roxanne will defend Lily if she goes into a- I mean, yeah, if she goes into a dive especially at this point in the game...”
“Hardly! I’ve supported Puddlemere United since I was a kid! My dad is the manager of the bloody team!”
“And Al - no - Noel, you are going to feint... Shit. I mean Lily will go into a feint-”
“Whatever, Wood. I think the Canons will surprise everyone this year, even you and your narrow mind!”
“Freddie, it would be best...it would be best if you kept our friend Krum under a close watch, he’s been working out all summer...”
“Yeah, I’d be surprised if they even manage to score a goal on Puddlemere Unite-”
“I’VE HAD ENOUGH!”
Luke narrowly avoided being hit by James’ playbook, and the entire team was looking our way, Roxanne with a familiar irritating smirk across her face. My brother’s hair was on end, his eyes were narrowed and he looked like he was very close to having a hernia.
“Why in the bleeding hell are you two so chummy all of a sudden?! And right in the middle of one of the most IMPORTANT strategy meetings of my entire fucking life, you decide to talk about the Canons’ chances of winning the fucking division?!”
I looked guiltily up at my brother, and Luke looked embarrassed. “Sorry, mate, won’t happen again!”
James’ jaw tightened and he grumbled some profanity under his breath, but he shook out his shoulders and returned to the board that was covered in his illegible scrawl to start re-explaining the play.
My conversation with Luke about Quidditch had spilled over from our tutoring session into the two hour strategy period my insane brother had planned for everyone’s Friday night. I was relieved by how easy it was to talk to Luke, any awkwardness had since dissolved and whatever had bothered him earlier about our situation seemed to have gone. It had been a week since my last slip-up, when I had thoughtlessly reminded him he had basically broken guy code, but if I dared to say it, we might have even become friends.
And whatever Roxanne said, I did not have a gigantic size crush on him...only a little one.
Luke grinned and nudged me lightly, my arm tingling even at the slight contact. He whispered once again in my ear, “I’ll bet you ten galleons the Cannons come in dead last this season.”
I smiled back at him, a smirk tugging at my lips. “You’re on.”
The fact that I didn’t have ten galleons was easily forgotten as he ran his hand through his curly hair. I could just take it from Albus if it came down to it.
Speaking of Albus, I had played off his suspicion pretty damn smoothly if you asked me. Well, after I hexed Roxanne so she turned a nice shade of purple.
I think Al more or less believed me when I told him that I had no interest whatsoever in Luke Wood, even though he was tall, charming, gorgeous and funny.
Even though he had the prettiest brown eyes I had ever seen. Well, brown is too a simple of a word for them, they have these flecks of green and gold...
And even though he had this completely infuriating but absolutely endearing way of riling me up.
“Okay, that’s enough for today team. Thanks to most of you for listening so well!” James clapped his hands together, and with that, we all rose and hustled to get to the door and out of the dusty, unused classroom as quickly as possible.
I ended up caught at the back of the line, easily pushed out of the way, and I ended up next to James and Fred discussing something in hushed tones.
“Erin asked for my help tonight with Potions...”
“But you’re absolute shit at Potions...”
“Wow, thanks for the confidence, Fred.”
Fred was about to answer when I sneezed loudly. Both of their heads whipped back and James looked extremely unsettled that I had overheard any of their conversation.
“Go on your way Little L, men are talking.” Fred shooed me away with his hands.
I stuck out my tongue at him. “I don’t see any.”
James sighed. “Lils, stop being a brat and please just leave us be for a while.”
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes and brushed by them looking for Roxanne.
I found her up ahead chatting amiably with Noel, him laughing at whatever story she was telling.
Grabbing her sleeve, I pulled her roughly into another corridor, her squawking the entire way.
“Lilyyy, I was in the middle of a conversation.”
“Noel’s too young for anyways.”
She hit me. “Shut it. I wasn’t trying to seduce him, you silly chit.”
“Who knows with you?” She hit me again and I laughed. “Anyway, what are you doing tonight?”
“Oh, I dunno, but according to you I’m busy taking advantage of underage boys.” She frowned at me trying to disguise a smile.
“How about spying on James’ first ‘date’ with Erin?” I proposed.
Her face lit up into a mischievous smile, “sounds better than cradle robbing.”
According to Roxanne we only needed three basic things for a night of espionage: dark clothing, black face paint and socked feet. Apparently, having the invisibility cloak or the map made things ‘too easy’. Not for the first time did I think Roxanne was slightly insane.
I crept stealthily along after her, my socked feet only making a whisper along the cold stone floors. It was only nine-o-clock and we were sure to get caught. I tried to remind Roxanne that blending in would be the best idea but she refused. Louis had already gave us a weird look as he made his way to the library, though he chose to more or less ignore us. Too many years with a strange family like mine I guess.
“What dungeon did you say they were in again?” Roxanne whispered as we made our way down into the Great Hall, skirting quickly across it, trying to avoid the bright torches.
“No idea. Let’s just check every one?” I murmured, jumping at every creak and noise in the vast castle.
“Such an amateur,” she huffed dramatically as she led me down through the dungeons door.
At the sound of voices, she dragged me quickly into an alcove near the Slytherin common room and covered my mouth. I gave her an insolent look because I hadn’t even been talking. I stuck out my tongue and licked her hand. She grinned at me and let go of my mouth but she held fast to my wrist.
The last person who I would ever think to see come out of the Slytherin common stepped out of the wall, her long auburn hair tumbling down her back as she laughed at something her pale blonde companion said.
“Holy shit, that’s Ro-”
This time, I was the one to cover my cousin’s mouth, shushing her as we watched Rose walked down the dark hall smiling up at one gorgeous Scorpius Malfoy.
“That’s it! I’m following them. You go spy on James. Damn it, we should have brought the map! Lily, why didn’t you think of that?”
I stared at her offended. Who was she kidding? But before I could say anything, light footsteps at the opposite end of the hall drew our attention to another red-headed figure looking infinitely more suspicious than Rose. Hugo peered around the corner before looking over his shoulder once more and then finally hurrying down the corridor.
“What in Dumbledore’s name is up with our family?”
I shrugged my shoulders, and Roxanne looked at me, her eyes displaying her internal debate and the black lines on her face comically smudged.
“Go after Hugo. I will go spy on James and then try to find Rose. Meet in our room when mission is accomplished. Deal?”
She nodded, still looking torn.
She ran quietly down the hall after my cousin, her long dark braid swinging behind her and I continued on my way peeking into classrooms.
I finally spotted the messy head of hair that belonged to my brother in Dungeon Three. Erin Thomas, her long brown hair twisted into a messy plait was bent over a caldron looking back and forth between her potion and her textbook. And James? James looked undeniably and irrefutably bored. He was balancing on the back two legs of his chair, obviously yawning, and his eyes were out of focus. I could have laughed. I have never seen my eldest brother so ruffled as I did when he was preparing for tonight.
I pulled out an extendable ear and slipped it under the door, all I could hear was the occasional turn of a page and the bubbling of Erin’s potion.
I definitely should have followed Rose and Scorpius instead.
“So...uh, Erin, do you need my help or anything?”
I muffled a laugh. Poor James.
“I’m just peachy, thanks.”
Who in Godric’s name says ‘peachy’? I looked through the window once more to find James looking clearly agitated and running hand after hand through his already disaster of a hairdo.
I was about to pull the ear out of the door when –
“Erin, I really like you.”
Holy shit. Way to take the forward approach, big bro.
She sighed and finally looked up from her assignment, brushing some lose strands out of her blue eyes and straightening her Ravenclaw tie. “No, you don’t, James.”
Neither of us was expecting that. My mouth dropped open at her comment. What the bloody hell was going on tonight? Was it a full moon or something?
He raised a dark eyebrow, “I don’t?”
She looked at him, her eyes full of pity, “you don’t know anything about me. This is the longest conversation we have ever really had, and to be honest, I’m really not all that attracted to you.”
I could have laughed, if I didn’t feel so bad for James. The girl was harsh.
His face dropped and I could see the rejection wash over his features. Erin must have seen it too because she spoke quickly. “Not that you’re not fit! Because believe me, you are. Every girl at Hogwarts adores you but... I kind of fancy someone else.”
James’s jaw tightened. “So why did you ask for my help with Potions if you had no interest in me?”
She smiled at him tentatively. “Well, I mentioned in the library earlier that I needed help with this potions assignment and your cousin Louis said you were one of the best in seventh year. That’s why I went to your Quidditch practice, so I could catch you after it to ask for your help. And, well, I’m awfully sorry I kept on calling you the wrong name. I knew you kind of fancied me and I was hoping it would deter you a bit, plus my friend Michelle said boys like it when girls play hard to get...and to be honest, it was nice to have the attention of the most wanted bloke in Hogwarts.”
Well, at least the girl’s blunt.
James nodded stiffly and got up without saying anything to her. I barely had time to scramble backwards before he flung open the door, nearly clipping my face.
He looked down at me, his face inscrutable and he brushed right by me. I struggled to my feet and ran after my brother, looking down the dark hallways for his tall frame. I chased him all the way up to the fourth floor before I slid around a corner, moving easily with my socked feet and nearly tripped right over him.
He was sitting against the stone wall with his head in his arms. I dropped down beside him and put my hand on his shoulder.
“James, I’m sorry I was spy-”
He interrupted me, his voice muffled by his forearms. “Her favourite colour is turquoise, her best subject is Charms, and her favourite class is Astronomy. She hates chocolate pudding but loves vanilla. Everyone thinks her best friend is Oakes though she is really closer with Kelsey Tram. She’s awful at flying but is always the loudest one cheering when Ravenclaw plays and even though I am red and gold through and through... I wished, just once, she would cheer for me... So yes, I do like her, liked her since I was thirteen and that bloody bitch just used me for an ego boost and a better grade in Potions...which I haven't taken since I was fifteen and I had to get Louis to give me a crash lesson tonight just so I could try and help her.”
He finally raised his head and looked at me, his brown eyes sad and defeated.
“Oh, James...” I nearly cried at the expression on his face, he looked like a lost crup puppy.
He reached out an arm and pulled me into a tight hug, gripping me tightly to his chest as he put his face into my hair.
As we sat like that for Merlin knows how long, I realized something. My older brother had just had his heart broken, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
I pulled him closer and he responded by giving me one more tight squeeze before releasing me, and looking me up and down.
“You know that having black paint on your cheeks does nothing for stealth, right? You’re louder than a drunk giant.”
I laughed at his half-hearted attempt to tease me and I clumsily got to my feet, pulling him along with me.
We made our way quietly to the common room, and as we entered the mostly empty common room, James immediately made his way up the boys’ staircase.
“Night, James,” I whispered as I also started my way up.
“Love you, little sis.”
God, James could be adorable when he wanted to.
“Love you too, Jamesie.”
I entered my dorm to find Edie and Samira both completely passed out and Roxanne sitting impatiently on my bed, still decked out in her espionage gear.
“For the love of all that is good and magical, did you get lost? I have been waiting for you for the past hour!”
I ignored her as I started to change out of my black leggings and shirt. Needless to say Roxanne didn’t take being ignored very well.
She threw a pillow at me. “Well, what happened?”
I thought back to James’ heartbroken face, Erin Thomas’s cool dismissal of his feelings and seeing my eldest brother at his most vulnerable. “Nothing. I should have followed Rose right away.”
I think she could tell I was lying, but she let me get away with it. To be honest I think she was just too impatient to get to her recap.
“And I guess Hugo heard me running after him. No idea how, though. I was quieter than a house elf, and he basically led me on the wildest possible goose chase all over the ENTIRE bloody castle, up and down flights of stairs...through secret passage ways, up every single tower...”
She was now pacing and throwing some actions in to embellish her point...and she had no idea why people thought she was dramatic?
“And finally I followed him down past the kitchen and right into the Huffelpuff common room.”
“Wait. How on earth did you manage to get in? Where is it even?”
She looked importantly at me. “It’s through the portrait of the Fat Friar, and get this...they have no password.”
“Don’t be thick, Roxy, of course they have a password.”
“Nope!” she crowed. “Apparently, the Duffers are really that trustworthy, if your intentions are ‘good’ you can just walk right through the picture. So imagine their surprise when I barrel in after Hugo like a rampaging hippogriff right into their overly bright yellow common room, knocking over a chess game and pretty much punting a first year half way across the room!”
I started to laugh at the scene she had created. I really wish I had been there to witness Roxanne acting like an out of control jackass, dressed in her ridiculous outfit with her cheeks painted, barging into the Huffelpuff common room.
Roxanne started to laugh as well. “It would have been the funniest thing I would have witnessed all term if it hadn’t been me, and Hugo just stood there, arms crossed, not the least bit out of breath with that silly ‘I told you so’ expression. Merlin, it was mortifying!”
Through my giggling I managed to speak. “So our entire plan, all our effort, and we are no closer to knowing what any of our relatives are up too?”
Roxanne nodded. “Yeah. Fucking maddening if you ask me, but now I was thinking if we make some Polyjuice Potion...”
I threw my pillow back at her. “No bloody way, Weasley. No more meddling.”
“But I mean it only takes a month to brew doesn’t it? So-”
“Or what about nicking your brother’s Invisibility cloak? Or learning how to do a disillusionment spell?"
"Lily? Lily! Lily, are you listening to me?”
“Fine, whatever. I’m not helping you with your study session with Ashworth tomorrow.”
I grimaced. Damn her. I turned on my side towards her bed. “Polyjuice sounds promising...”
The most irritating thing about Natalie Ashworth? She is so damn nice. And funny. And intelligent, and extremely, extremely helpful.
As we worked in Greenhouse Three, I found myself laughing with her and actually enjoying her company.
Merlin, I was potting with the enemy.
Except, of course, she was in no way my rival besides my small, trivial crush on her ex-boyfriend (who would never see me as more than his best friend’s little sister). I really had nothing at all against her.
So I resigned myself to like her, and I was astonished when I actually started to enjoy our tutoring session. The pungent earthy smell of the soil we were working with, and the crisp smell of the autumn air on our clothes, along with her good company made the time pass extremely quickly. I looked at my watch that was slightly smeared by dirt and noticed we only had fifteen minutes left of our two hour tutorial.
I looked over at Natalie and she grinned at me while she finished potting a flutter bloom bush. She then grabbed some seeds out of her pocket and held them out for me to see. “Can you name this plant just by its seeds?”
“Ummmm,” I glanced up at her encouraging face, “dittany?”
“Perfect!” She clapped her hands together and handed the seeds to me. “Professor Longbottom wants us to plant some, so put them in that pot you just filled, leaving them about an inch from the surface, and then just splash like a millimeter of water on them.”
I followed her directions carefully, and dropped the last drips of water. A small green sprout immediately popped out of the soil.
I grinned in spite of myself, and Natalie offered me a congratulatory clap on the back.
“Brilliant! I think that’s it for today, we can start to clean up.”
Nodding, I put the new plant of dittany on a shelf and started to help her clear off the work table.
“How is your Transfiguration tutoring going with Luke?”
I nearly dropped the pot I was holding. “Umm, good? Yeah, it’s going really well actually.”
Natalie gave me a funny look before continuing on her clean up. “You know, it’s okay for you to fancy him.”
This time, I really did drop the pot. It crashed to the ground and pieces of the clay pot went flying in all directions.
She bent down to help me. “Sorry, Lily, but I really mean it. And this is not just me pretending not to be jealous. I’ve moved on from him, and one thing I know is you can’t help who you fall for.”
I looked into her kind eyes and her understanding smile. “I really have no feelings for him, Natalie.”
She smiled. “Okay.”
Wait. That’s it? Roxanne had holed me up for an hour and a half in our dormitory trying to grill me for answers, and Natalie, ‘the ex’ simply let it go so easily. She must have ulterior motives.
I observed her as she busied herself with watering the flutter-bloom bushes, but she seemed so honest and so genuine, I couldn’t help but believe her.
I sighed. Well, here goes nothing. I was jumping right into being friends with Natalie Ashworth of all people. “Here, let me help you with feeding the venomous tentactuala. He’s a little touchy.”
*Luke Wood’s Point of View*
I turned in the hallway to find Professor Flitwick straining his neck to look up at me.
“Would you be able to go fetch Miss Ashworth for me? I believe she is Greenhouse Three.”
I nodded and turned on my heel, quickly making my way down to the Great Hall. My speed had nothing to do with the gorgeous redhead there. No, it was only because I wanted to do a favour for a teacher.
Fuck, I am so royally screwed.
What I had written off as a simple attraction had turned around and bit me right in the arse as a full blown, embarrassingly big crush.
Besides the obvious fact that Lily Potter was undeniably off limits and undeniably stunning, she was funny, and charming and completely and utterly adorable.
I should probably turn around right now.
Stopping on the steps of the Great Hall, I ran a hand through my hair, debating. James or Lily? Brotherhood or a girl?
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
The problem was after our ‘lake encounter’. I had resolutely decided that nothing was more important to me than my friendship with James and the other Marauders. But this didn’t stop me from talking with her, laughing with her and flirting with her. And Merlin, I was almost positive she was flirting back, her eyes would brighten, her cheeks would tinge a delicious pink colour, and the right corner of her lip would quirk up into a smile at any comment I made.
Not that I noticed.
Pushing open the greenhouse door, I made my way into the humid room and looked for the red head of hair I had been thinking about all morning.
Both Lily and Natalie looked up at me and grinned. I almost stuttered at her smile as I tried to make myself speak. “Hey, Nat, Flitwick wants to see you in his office.”
“Okay, thanks Luke. Lily, are you okay to finish up here on your own?”
Even before Lily could nod, I interrupted, “I can help her.”
Natalie gave me a weird knowing smile, said goodbye to Lily and made her way quickly out of the greenhouse.
I made my way closer to her, but not too close, more like a brotherly-friendly enough distance away from her. But not far enough away so I wouldn’t notice her spicy yet sweet perfume and how she was nervously biting her lip.
Bloody fucking hell.
“You really don’t have to help.” She looked up at me, her honey coloured eyes doe-like and innocent.
“I don’t mind.”
She continued to bite her lip. I groaned and turned to look at the shelf behind me, looking anywhere but at her.
Who knew trying to resist little Lily Potter would be so damn difficult? When we made the Code, I went in with the assumption that there would never be an opportunity for me to break it. Well, you know what happens when you assume...
“All done.” Her voice shook me out of my thoughts. I turned, and in spite of all my guilt, I grinned at her. She was letting her hair down from her plait and gently running her fingers through her hair. I ignored the almost irresistible urge to join hers.
“Looks like I was no help at all. Sorry, mate.” Yeah, good job, Wood, use words like mate, keep the conversation completely platonic.
She laughed at me, and I suddenly had an urge to make her laugh again. Weird.
I followed her out of the Greenhouse and turned to make my way back up to the castle, before she placed a small hand on my arm.
“Want to go for a walk around the lake? It’s such a nice morning. I love autumn.”
She could have wanted to go for a walk in Hell and I would have followed.
We walked down in silence, but it was a comfortable one, both of us admiring the changing colours of the Forbidden Forest.
“Natalie’s really nice. I misjudged her,” Lily stated, looking slightly embarrassed.
I misjudged you, thinking you were just James’ little sister.
Wow, nice one-word answers Luke.
We both sat underneath the large beech tree, the slightly frosted grass crinkling underneath us.
“So, why do you support the worst team in the league?”
Lily swatted at me laughing. “They’re not the worst!” She hit me again as I raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “Really! They are doing much better this season!”
A brisk wind swept over us, lifting strands of auburn hair off her shoulder and I saw a shiver run down her spine.
I took off my own scarf and offered it to her, ‘cause, you know, I’m a brotherly, completely platonic gentleman.
She smiled shyly, taking it hesitantly. Our fingers brushed and both of us blushed at the contact.
Fuck, I sounded like a twelve year old girl. Man up, Wood.
Her hair was caught in the maroon scarf as she wound it distractedly around her neck. I reached forward and began to gently release her hair from the material, my fingers grazing her pale cheek.
Lily froze, her movements stopped all together and our eyes connected, my hand resting on the curve of her neck.
Thoughts of the code ran though my head.
Article 2: All sisters and cousins are off limits to fellow Marauders...
She was close. Far too close. So close that I could count the freckles that littered her nose, and we were breathing the same crisp air.
Her warm brown eyes were wide and unsure, her now loose hair was wild and tickling my cheek, and her lips were slightly red and chapped from the cold air. I had never seen someone so tempting in my life.
So, sometimes, a bloke just has to say fuck the code.
I leaned forward and kissed her.
AN: Hello all! Sorry it took longer than two weeks, the editing process took a while, but hey this update is pretty good for me annnndd this chapter is a little more than 4000 words which is a big deal for me :)
Tell me what you though my lovely readers, James and Erin? Hugo and Roxanne? Rose and Scorpius? Annnd most of all Lily and Luke???
Thank you so so so so so much for all the reviews and feedback, I appreciate it beyond words :D
Last of all, thank you sooooooo much to my wonderful beta Butterbeergal, without her this story would not be possible :D
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