Chapter 3 : Womanisers, Quidditch Try-Outs and Making a Scene at a Train Station
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Okay, so a few things: firstly, Oliver is in seventh-year, Harry is in second - this makes Oliver one year older than he is in the books. Belle would be in seventh with him, Alicia, Katie and Angelina if she was going back to Hogwarts. Also, Harry hasn't missed the train and gone all aaah-flying-car-into-whomping-willow-oh-noees - instead, he's just in the train station. I know. I should get an ASBO for that.
I know, I know. It's been forever. In my defence: I have no defence, I'm just useless. Hopefully you all still like this story, so prove it in a review! thank you so much for reading me :')
Womanisers, Quidditch Try-Outs, and Making A Scene At A Train Station
I hate Daniel O’Riley.
Seriously, the guy is a blatant womaniser. And because he thinks I’m ‘fit’ and he ‘digs babies’ (his words, not mine. I don't have that much of an ego - or a mental complex. HAHA. No, seriously), I’m now his number one desire.
I’ve only known the guy for two days, but he’s fast overtaking Oliver Wood on my Most-Want-to-Slaughter-Viciously List. And that’s one heck of an achievement.
Everyone give the guy a big round of applause!
Wood was a Quidditch Nazi - I give Koala a frightened glance. “Please don’t be anything like your Daddy,” I say out loud. She gurgles up at me.
I’ll take that as a ‘okay, Mummy‘, then.
Quite frankly, I have never been in love with Oliver Wood. He was just an arse that I happened to get confused feelings about one evening (with the heavy help of Fire Whiskey, of course).
I opened my eyes to blurry darkness. It took me a little while to adjust, but when I did, I quickly realised I was in the Hospital Wing.
Deciding that despite the fact I wasn’t loved enough by my friends to be considered worthy of an audience when I woke up - despite it being nearly midnight - I began to ask my questions to mid-air. “What happened? Why am I here? Did we beat Slytherin?” Then of course, my old favourite, “Did Wood try to kill me?”
“No, I didn’t.”
Oh, bloody hell.
Tall, Dark and Handsome himself poked his head around the curtains surrounding my bed. I screamed and started searching frantically for my wand.
He watched me in slight amusement. “What are you doing, Anderson?”
“I’m looking for my wand so that I have a slight chance of killing my murderer before he kills me,” I replied, my eyes darting everywhere for it.
Frowning, Wood suddenly got it. “I’m not here to kill you, Anderson,” he said.
I know, I’m so attractive, right?
“I’ll believe that the day Minerva McGonagall declares her love for me, complete with inappropriate hand gestures,” I snapped. Considering the likeliness of this scenario, I felt it safe to conclude I would always be a paranoid freak when it came to Wood.
“In answer your previous questions,” he began, ignoring me completely. Prat. “What happened? You tried to stop a Bludger with your head. Why are you here? Because said Bludger nearly killed you. Did we win against Slytherin? No, we did not. It‘s rather difficult to win a game when your Seeker is passed out on the pitch below.”
He didn’t sound angry with me for some reason. “Why did I try and stop the Bludger?” I asked, and the flashback suddenly hit me.
The Quaffle, darting up pitch towards Wood. Another goal and we’d be extremely vulnerable.
A Bludger, hit towards Wood by a Slytherin Beater. No one was near enough to stop it.
Determined we wouldn’t lose our Keeper, I placed myself in front of the Bludger, intending to divert its course after me instead.
I was just about to take off again when Wood yelled something at me. Something like “Watch out for the Bludger, you idiot!” And like the prat I was, I stopped to listen to him.
A sickening thud -
Spinning in midair -
“Oh,” I said, shaking my head free of the memory. “Oops.”
Oliver Wood snorted. Why can he snort attractively and I can’t? “That’s all you’ve got to say about it? You took a bloody Bludger for me and all you can say is ‘Oops’?”
He sighed. “Look, Anderson. I’m not going to pretend I like you. I think you’re a bigheaded, rather dimwitted bimbo who spends most of her days gossiping inanely or trying to get one up on me.”
“But you also do your best for the team, and did stop the Bludger from hitting me,” he added grudgingly.
Score! (Yeah, both literally and metaphorically. Sort of. Oh, shut up.)
“So I decided to hang around until you woke up,” he finished, and then held out two bottles of Fire Whiskey. One for me, one for him. “I figured that if I was going to inflict your company upon myself, I should probably get drunk first.”
And so he did. And I did. And before long, after spending hours talking about nothing, I told him that I thought he snorted attractively. He laughed, said that it was because his nose was built for snorting. I kissed it. He kissed me.
I’m sure I don’t have to relive the rest of it.
You all know how Koala was made, right?
I’m sorry, Eva. I’m really going to have to work on remembering her real name.
But let’s face it, Oliver Wood wasn’t actually that much of a jerk. Or he felt rather sorry for me that night in the hospital wing while the Slytherins celebrated my stupidity.
Call it decency, call it pity, whatever.
The fact is, I hate someone more than I hated him.
Such lovely thoughts for a Sunday morning in bed, eh?
“Oi, Belle - eh?”
Nice to see you too, Ben. How’s my lovely twin brother this morning?
Okay, let’s be honest here. He has good reason to be a little dumbfounded. I’m staring at Eva Koala (see? If I call her by both her names, I don’t look neglectful) as she sleeps. Intently.
“Am I interrupting something here?” he asks, raising an eyebrow. Twat.
“Mmpf,” I tell him. Meaning, Fuck Off.
He doesn’t seem to understand me though, despite my plain English. “How was the Quidditch Try-Out?” he asks eagerly. “Did the Tornadoes think you were any - ”
Oh fuck. Fuck multiplied by a million billion, plus seven. Why seven? BECAUSE I LIKE SEVEN. GET OVER IT.
I'm so sorry, I seem to be in an aggressive mood today. I can't imagine why.
I interrupt Ben frantically, already summoning my broom and legal papers etc. “Look-after-Koala-and-do-not-move-from-this-apartment-if-she-dies-you’re-dead-okay-got-that?” I pull my Quidditch robes on at the speed of light (well, almost), while he gapes at me.
With a mutter of ‘Kthnxbye’, I’m outta here.
Technically, flying over Clandon Fells is prohibited.
Now, normally, I never like to break the rules. The rules are like a polished glass vase - there to be looked at, to be in awe of, but never to come close to staining it with your fingers, or even breaking it -
Ah, what a load of crap.
I love to break rules.
Just, you know - not when it’ll land me in Azkaban. I do have some limits - honestly.
But here I am, zooming over the tippy-tops of the residential district towards the centre of the city and the distant Tornadoes Stadium. It’s easily the brightest - in the black and red favoured by the team, and is a large, oval shape.
I increase my speed -
What? It’s not like there are speeding restrictions on a broom, you know.
(Okay, I’ll admit that I wasn’t even meant to be riding my broom, but shush. That’s an inconsequential detail.)
I zoom on towards the stadium, glad I had the foresight to cast a Disillusionment charm over myself. You never know who will sneak you up to the authorities. My money is on the old lady I flew over a minute ago. She looked the type.
You really do use too many stereotypes, you know.
No one asked your opinion, Brain. Now go back to the hole you normally live in.
I stop in front of the large archway that leads into the grounds and dismount from my broomstick. A few passers-by give me disapproving looks as I lift the disillusionment charm and walk into the stadium.
Panic seizes me suddenly. I need my baby. Where’s Koala? If Ben hasn’t got her - if she’s hurt -
She’s fine. Ben adores her. And you need to do well in this Try-Out, or you’ll not be able to pay the rent on your flat.
You know what? I’m really lucky to have such a sensible voice in my head.
Taking a deep breath (or five), I pause and gaze in awe at the stadium. So many seats. For a moment, I close my eyes and imagine them full of fans, cheering my name. Perhaps Koala would be there, screaming for me to catch the Snitch and win the game…
Brushing the images from my head brusquely and focusing on the butterflies in my stomach, I realise there are a group of players already in the air. They don’t look like Seekers - more like Beaters. They’re burly, a few with broken noses and the ultimate give-away: they’re holding Beater Bats.
I know, I’m a genius. Shower me with gifts and praise, if you like.
That wasn’t an question. Get to it!
There are signs that tell me to ignore the pitch and head under the stands and into the depths of the stadium. I follow the signs reluctantly, knowing that I just have to sort out the administration before I can play.
I pass by photos hanging on the sparklingly clean walls of the Tornadoes winning the International League of Quidditch. They hold aloft the cup in every photo, sometimes the teams the same, sometimes completely different. I barely notice when I’ve reached the end of the corridors and arrived in a reception area.
It’s large, round and currently occupied by a flustered woman with red-rimmed glasses. She glances up at me and attempts to remain cool and collected. “Name?”
“Purpose in visiting the esteemed ground of the Tornadoes?”
Merlin, who does this woman think she is?
“I’m here to assassinate all your best players and bury them in the desert,” I say with a wide smile. She continues to write, then her head snaps up and she gives me a disbelieving stare. Her hand reaches out for her wand. “I joke, I joke!” I say hastily and proceed to hurriedly explain, “I’m here to try out as a Seeker.”
“For the Tornadoes?”
No, for the Chudley Cannons.
“Yes,” I smile sweetly at her.
It takes us a few minutes to sort out my details. By the end of it, I’m getting increasingly desperate to do some flying. I snatch the label she gives me, slap it on my Quidditch robes and sprint out of there like there’s a demented house elf with a knife on my tail.
As I leave the depths of the stadium and find myself walking out of an archway much closer to the action, a rather short, muscular man leaps on me. I attempt to be blasé and push him off me, dusting myself down as if this happens all the time.
It doesn’t, just so you know.
“Very good,” he says approvingly.
“There was a point to that?” I ask, raising an eyebrow. He’s wearing the Tornadoes’ robes so he’s obviously not just a stranger who likes leaping on random people.
“Well, if you’d screamed or been frightened, you wouldn’t be much use on a Quidditch pitch,” he explains. “If I’d been a Bludger, screaming would do little good. You were pretty good to just get up and move on. I like you.” So saying, he jumps back into the stands and waits for his next victim to come along.
Shaking my head, I decide to move on and join the small group of people sitting around a banner proclaiming ‘SEEKERS’. I recognise one or two of them from Hogwarts. A few of them are total strangers.
A blonde girl looks up as I sit down with them. There’s a silent, jittery atmosphere but she destroys that as she says incredulously, “Belle?”
Feeling a little stupid, I say, “Uh…do I know you?”
She laughs and shuffles over to sit next to me, knocking a rather psychotic-looking brunette off her seat. “Sorry, sorry. I was on the Ravenclaw team about three years ago. You were the third-year Seeker who was my rival - I remember you because my Captain gave you the nickname, ‘Bloody Soap’.”
Because that makes perfect sense.
“Bloody Soap?” I say sceptically.
“Yes,” she agrees. “Because that was what he wanted me to hex you into - a piece of bloodied soap.”
“That’s great,” I say, wondering how upset the surrounding wannabe-Seekers would be if I Stunned her.
“I’m Felicity,” she smiles, holding out her hand to me enthusiastically. “It’s lovely to meet you again. I wish you luck in your Try-Out.”
“You too,” I mumble, still a little dazed.
“Felicity Myers?” a voice, magically amplified by the Sonorous charm, calls.
She jumps up. “That’s me!” she giggles, and, grabbing her broom, darts down the stands and to the pitch.
And that’s me, completely speechless. I have officially met someone more insane than I am. Give the girl a round of applause.
“Hover six feet above the ground.”
I hover six feet above the ground.
“Remove your hands from the handle of your broom.”
I remove my hands from the handle of my broom.
“Grip the broom tightly between your knees.”
I grip the broom tightly between my knees.
“Perform the Hornby Flop.”
I don’t think I really need to explain that I perform the Hornby Flop (an interesting manoeuvre, to be honest - it involves clutching the broom between your knees and flying upside down).
The man who is ‘interviewing’ me, as they call it, glares at the bloke next to me, who has chickened out and grabbed hold of his broomstick with his hands (no, don‘t even think of the innuendo there). “Sorry - I’m an ex-Hufflepuff,” he mutters as an excuse.
“All ex-Hufflepuffs will leave the stadium!” the man barks. Out of the group of five who are being Tried Out with me, the bloke next to me and girl with mouse-brown hair right themselves in the air and then fly back to the ground, looking bitterly disappointed.
Stupid Hufflepuffs. Why don’t they tell him he’s being a prick?
Oh, yes. Because they’re little cowards.
Excuse me. No offense is meant by that remark towards Hufflepuffs. Honest.
The three of us are still hanging upside down from our brooms. The guy on my left is going red. The girl on my right is going purple. I pray that I’m still my normal colour.
The Coach begins to pace up and down in front of us. “Now, I assume that all of you are well-acquainted with flying.”
No kidding, I think scathingly. I’m not normally in a generous mood when all the blood is rushing to my head.
“You are all here, applying for the position of Seeker at the most prestigious and wealthy Quidditch team in all of Europe.”
Hold your horses, mate. I’m sure that Puddlemere United would say the same thing about their team.
“You are here because we’ve seen you play at Hogwarts. We have a scout at every game you play, and every single one of you who managed to get hold of a Try-Out spot were picked because you have talent. You, in short, have the ability to do well.”
“Why, thank you,” I mutter. Blood rushing to my head, I see the Coach freeze and then suddenly he’s in my face.
“What did you say?”
Now, if this guy knew me, he wouldn’t ask that. Because everyone knows that asking me to repeat myself is just asking for trouble.
(If you really want a laugh, ask me to repeat myself when I’m drunk. I kid you not, it’s hilarious.)
I glare at him. Enunciating every syllable clearly, I state loudly and clearly, “I said, thank you. I feel so honoured that you are so in awe of my talents. Tell me, sir. If I’m so damn amazing, why don’t you tell me my name? Assuming, you know it, of course.” I smile as sweetly as I can whilst bright red in the face and upside-down.
He stares at me for a moment, then says abruptly, “Kingston Flip.”
As myself and the two other wannabes fly slightly higher and prepare to perform the manoeuvre, I see him watching me intently. Either I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life, or…
Is there even a good side to my stupid, stupid big mouth?
Ben is, for once, clever enough to see that I really, really don’t want to talk about the Try Out when I get in. He just murmurs, “You’ll be fine, Belle” as he pats my shoulder comfortingly and Disapparates.
Exhausted from spending hours performing every single move I knew for the Tornadoes, I still manage to keep the energy up to lift Eva Koala from her cot and walk around the flat with her, soothing her to sleep in my arms.
Quidditch is all I can do.
I have seven OWLs, no NEWTS and I’m only just seventeen. I’m a single teenaged mother who’s a wannabe-Seeker for the best team in England.
What the hell am I going to do?
As I open my window with my free arm, letting the moonlight play over my skin and turn it a milky-white, I spy the shape of an owl flying through the skies, heading towards my block of flats, a letter tied to its leg.
Merlin, please let this be an answer to my prayers. Let it be the Tornadoes saying that they’ve chosen me on the spot. Maybe it’s the Minister for Magic declaring that he wants me to be his successor. Perhaps it’s not even an owl to me.
It is for me.
The owl lands on the window ledge and holds it’s leg out. I untie the letter and pat it’s feathered head in thanks. With a croak, it flies off into the night. The writing on the envelope is familiar, and I glare malevolently at it for a moment before opening the letter.
I don’t know why I’m writing to you, of all people. I guess this is just me finally getting up the courage to talk to you after what happened.
Well done, Wood. ‘What happened’ is that we indulged in adult activities and Eva Koala came along.
Except you don’t know that.
You left Hogwarts after fifth-year, about a month after we messed around with each other. Did you leave because of me?
This letter was prompted, I suppose, by Ben writing to me and complaining that once again, he’d have to face a year at school, away from you. Why aren’t you coming back for seventh-year? If you really wanted, I suppose I could ask Potter to try-out for the team again against you.
Everyone at school missed you last year. Haven’t you ever considered that we might all want to see you again?
Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.
What the hell have I done to receive such a halfway decent letter from the father of my child?
Wow, that sounds messed up.
I kiss Koala’s forehead and hold her up to see the letter, gently placing her little fingers against where he’s written his name. “That’s from your Daddy,” I say softly to her. She stares at me with her darkening blue-brown eyes and chuckles at me.
Her first laugh.
And it’s all I can do not to cry.
We make a right messed-up pair.
I’m understandably nervous about taking Eva Koala to Platform 9 ¾ to say goodbye to Ben, but there’s absolutely no way I will let my twin disappear without a proper goodbye from me. So I put Koala - I’ve given up on calling her by her right name - in warm clothes, fretting about whether she’s cold or too hot.
I Apparate very carefully, holding Koala protectively, but the shock of Apparition starts her crying as we appear on the platform. People give me curious looks, but I ignore them disdainfully.
“Behold! ‘Tis Belle!” Char cries from among the crowds of people.
My brother is not a freak. My brother is not a freak.
Just keep telling yourself that, Belle.
He runs at me and I hug him as best I can whilst holding a crying four-month-old in my arms.
It’s not the best hug I’ve ever had.
“I’ll be going to Hogwarts next year!” he says excitedly, his eyes alight. I ruffle his blonde curls and smile as Koala reaches out and takes a firm grip of his hair as well.
Like mother, like daughter, eh?
I set off across the platform, ignoring Char’s yelps as Koala drags him along with us (that baby has a grip stronger than a hippogriff), where I’ve seen my brother. I embrace him awkwardly, and Ben grins at me. “How’s my favourite little mammal, then?” he coos at Koala.
“I’ll pretend you didn’t say that,” I laugh, and press my lips to Koala’s forehead as I like to do so much. “She might be insulted.”
Koala’s smile is back in place until Char lets out a loud whimper that startles her. Tears bead up in her eyes and I gently coax her to let go of her Uncle’s hair as I soothe her.
A little distance away, I notice the Weasley family and two other small people - maybe second-years? - all talking and laughing as they say their goodbyes. I catch a snippet of their conversation (by accident, of course. I wouldn’t dream of eavesdropping).
“ - can’t believe you guys nearly missed the train - ” a bushy-haired small person is ranting at her friends, a black-haired midget and a ginger kid who’s blatantly related to Fred and George.
“Hermione, calm down. Harry and I - ”
That is Harry Potter? Saviour of the Wizarding World, blah blah blah?
That little midget with broken glasses?
Wait, so Wood replaced me as Seeker with a basically blind, messy-haired, short little second-year? Yes, he might be the Boy Who Lived, but seriously?
I’m almost too angry to be insulted, if that makes any sense.
I know it makes no sense. That just shows how angry I really am, no?
The three little dwarves turn to look at me suddenly, and I realise that I’m glaring venomously at them, particularly Potter. Looking a little frightened, he says nervously, “Uh, can I help you?”
“Yes, actually,” I snap. “You can grow a bit, get a billion times more handsome, hopefully have your voice break and get rid of the stupid little glasses. Then I might just consider not killing Wood.” I take in a deep, noisy, angry breath, then add, “Oh, and lose the scar - it makes you look like a wimp.”
See, if this Potter was to make the improvements I’ve suggested, I would perhaps be a little flattered that a famous Sex God was deemed to be my replacement on the Quidditch team.
But he just looks at me in bafflement while his munchkin friends shoot me death-glares.
Oooh, I’m so scared.
What are they going to do to me anyway? It’s not like there are any trains they can push me under anywhere near.
Besides the Hogwarts Express, obviously.
Today is just not my day.
I smile sweetly at the little trio and then turn back to where Ben and some of his friends are chatting away like the intelligent Ravenclaws they are.
“ - yeah, and I banged her, like, everyday - ”
“ - hooked up with this hot twenty-year-old - I mean, phwoar - ”
“ - and that’s when she got out the whipped cream - ”
“So, Ben,” I say loudly, shielding Koala’s ears from their x-rated discussion. “How many chicks did you bang this summer?”
Out of interest, why do guys insist on calling girls ‘chicks’? It just makes them sound like they’ve got a hardcore obsession with birds.
He glares at me, obviously dying to make a remark about his ‘work experience’ with the girl at the local pharmacy, but too afraid of my wrath to dare open his mouth. “You know,” he mumbles, while his mates laugh behind him. I can see Ben just praying for something big and momentous to come along and distract me from publicly humiliating him.
Koala shifts in my arms at the same instant I hear a familiar voice say, “Who’s the little angel, then?”
I freeze up in the middle of grinning at Ben triumphantly, and look up to meet a pair of eyes in the exact shade of brown that I can tell my daughter will have.
Excuse me. Our daughter.
“Wood,” I acknowledge stiltedly. He looks at me, then double-takes.
“Anderson?” he says in shock. “I thought you weren’t coming back to Hogwarts!”
Wow, he’s almost babbling. I must have caught him by surprise. Why isn’t he being a prick to me like he always is?
“I’m not,” I say shortly, not offering any information.
I could so be a spy. Not even torture would drag the little secret about the baby in my arms from my lips.
Watch out, 007. Here comes Belle Anderson.
Wood seems to have collected his thoughts and has resumed his haughty demeanour. “I haven’t seen you in over a year,” he says, not sounding upset in the slightest.
“I’ve been busy,” I say coolly. The old tension that always surfaced when we were around each other is back. It feels familiar. Only the baby on my hip feels out of place.
“Too busy for school?” A hint of a smirk is on his lips. I hate him, I really do.
“I’ve been busy,” I repeat, keeping my face smooth and expressionless. Take that, Wood.
“Stealing babies?” he asks coldly, with a sharp jerk of his head towards Koala.
You remember how I said that I hated Daniel O’Riley more than Oliver Wood?
I take it back.
What the hell possessed me to ever sleep with this guy? Seriously?
Koala looks like she’s about to cry again. I don’t blame her. I’d cry if I saw my mother slap my father in front of my Uncle and all their friends. Ben rolls his eyes at me, then mumbles some lie about Koala being a neighbour’s kid I’m looking after. I just shoot some negative vibes at Wood with my eyes (yes, I have that power), and turn away, murmuring a goodbye to Ben and taking hold of Char so I can take him home to Carla.
The Tornadoes should get back to me soon. Then I can forget all about my old life.
I can forget all about Oliver Wood.
As I turn my back on Wood and reach for my wand, rocking Koala carefully in my free arm, I distinctly hear Ben say to his mates, “So she said, ‘I hope you don’t have a temperature’, so I was all like, ‘No, but you must, because you are hot’.”
Char looks up at me expectantly, waiting for me to explain our brother’s words.
Ben Anderson, you are SO dead.