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Chapter 4 : Dry Spells, Copious Amounts of Drool, and the Square of Pegasus
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First that morning was Double Charms, which meant a pretty decent morning. It could have been worse; I could have had Defence or Transfiguration. Well, I had Transfiguration third, but third lesson was almost afternoon so I didn't count it as being a part of my morning. Therefore, the morning was looking good. Especially when I got to breakfast nice and early and got to pick all the best slices of toast. Yum!
We arrived outside the classroom with plenty of time to spare (as usual, just like I should have done the day before ... oh, the shame!), so stood around chatting while we waited for Flitwick to get there. When he did, we filed into the classroom and dropped into our seats, still yawning (alright, that was just me, but whatever. I'm not much of a morning person).
"Try not to vanish any desks today, Green," jeered Wood as he walked past me.
"Try not to be such a dick today, Wood," I retorted, failing to control my blush. Bit of a shit comeback, really, but again, I'm not a morning person. Hopefully I'd get him with a good one later.
"Right, class! Today, we will begin learning the Aguamenti charm. Can anyone tell me what this charm does?" Flitwick said from atop his mountain of books. Psh, ask us a hard question, please. Aguamenti creates a jet of water from the caster's wand. Duh. But I'd let somebody else answer. I didn't like answering questions in class, even though I almost always knew the right answer.
As usual, Penelope's hand was in the air, and Flitwick pointed to her. "It creates a jet of water from the caster's wand," she answered, a smug smile on her face. Whatever, Penny, we all knew the answer too.
"Correct, Miss Clearwater! Ten points to Ravenclaw! Now, I'd like you to practise the incantation in pairs by aiming to fill your bucket with water." Flitwick waved his wand, and metal buckets appeared on the desks, one for each pair. "Let's practise the wand movement without the incantation first. Copy me, please!" We all mimicked the movement of Flitwick's wand for about five minutes, before he decided we'd all got the gist and let us try the spell.
"Aguamenti!" I said, waving my wand at the bucket. The tip of my wand spluttered for a second, and a drop of water fell into the bucket, but that was it. I frowned, and Kate laughed at me. "I'd like to see you do better," I growled at her.
"Aguamenti!" She cried, but nothing happened. Not even a drop. Ha!
"Ha!" I said, grinning.
With a few more tries, I'd cracked the spell and my wand was firing jet after jet of beautifully clear water into the bucket. This was why I liked Charms so much; because I could do it, and pretty easily, too. A few minutes later, Kate had mastered Aguamenti as well, so we spent the next hour chatting while we filled the bucket, then vanished the contents, then filled it again.
Every now and then, I'd glance around the room to see how everyone else was getting on, only feeling a teensy bit smug that I'd already mastered the spell. Honest. My friends had all managed it (Louise had taken her time about it, since she couldn't get the wand movement quite right), and of course Penelope had, too, but a lot of the class were having some issues with it. I took great pleasure in seeing Wood getting rather frustrated with his wand, which was refusing to expel a single drop of water.
About ten minutes into the second period, Professor Flitwick stopped us and drew our attention to the notes he'd put up on the blackboard. We copied them down, and spent the rest of the lesson going over the theory behind the charm, and its important uses in history.
When the lesson ended, Flitwick set our homework (practise Aguamenti until we'd got the hang of it – no need for me to do that bit, since I had brilliantly mastered it already, insert big-headed smirk here – and write a foot-long essay on the charm) and then let us go for break. On the way out, Wood pushed past me, and I said,
"'Sup, Wood? Going through a bit of a dry spell, are we?" Haha, even my really bad jokes crack me up, it's rather pathetic. At least it was a little more inventive than 'try not to be such a dick'. I hope. Wood just scowled at me and carried on walking. I grinned, feeling like I'd won one for once, until I remembered that I had Transfiguration next, and Wood would (haha) be in a foul mood for the whole lesson. Bugger.
After dragging Kate off to the toilets with me (after all, a trip to the loo is much more fun with friends. You don't get the 'ha, you have no friends' looks off people when you go with someone else. Not that I'm self-conscious and paranoid at all ...), I headed to the library to make a start on that Charms essay. It may seem ridiculous to go all the way there just to spend fifteen minutes starting an essay, but the sooner I got it done, the sooner I could start on the long list of crochet projects I'd accumulated over the summer. Crocheting in front of the Common Room fire while chatting with your friends is the best way to spend an evening, especially if you've smuggled a cup of tea and biscuits up from the kitchens.
I managed a quarter of my essay before I had to drag myself off to Transfiguration. Wood was already there when I arrived (I know, I almost died of shock, too), so I took my seat next to him and laid out everything I'd need for the lesson on my desk.
"You feeling alright, Wood?" I asked him.
"What?" He snapped, eyebrows raised. Clearly my question sounded far too caring, and he was suspicious of me. As if I was asking after his health. Puh-lease.
"It's just that being early for class is so out of character for you, I thought you might be coming down with something, and I don't want to catch it."
"Is that so?" He said in a bored tone, turning away from me. Some people, they just can't take a joke. Because if he was really coming down with something, I would definitely not be sitting next to him. I run from sick people, because I hate being sick more than anything.
I rolled my eyes, even though he couldn't see me. "Come on, Wood, cheer up! I'm the most miserable person I know; it's not right that you're starting to outdo me." Wood just sighed angrily. "Look, if the whole 'dry spell' remark upset you that much, then I'll apologise, but really, at sixteen years old, your sex life should be the least of your worries." Yeah, I don't really know where that came from either.
Oliver turned to look at me incredulously. Then he burst out laughing. I raised my left eyebrow and waited for him to calm down. Eventually he did, and rested his head on his desk as if all that laughter had tired him out. Turning his head to face me, he grinned at me and said,
"That was completely not what was up with me, but regardless, Green, that comment has cheered me up considerably."
"Glad to be of service," I said, grinning back. As shocking as it was, it was then that I realised that actually, Oliver Wood had his bearable moments and that if I played my cards right (i.e. try not to piss him off constantly just because it amused me), putting up with him might not be as dreadful as I'd initially thought.
We were silenced then by Professor McGonagall beginning the lesson. The hour passed in much the same way as Transfiguration lessons always did (apart from the previous project-related one) – we took notes, got picked on to answer questions, and under no circumstances did we chat.
The rest of the day passed rather quickly after Transfiguration. As we'd been told, our free period after lunch was spent doing the Charms and Transfiguration (how unfair is that – giving us homework on top of our project!) homework we'd been set that day. We got it all done in that hour, employing the efficient 'go to the library, work in silence' tactic that Ravenclaws are so good at.
Just walking into Defence Against the Dark Arts was a struggle, but because Lockhart was so shit at teaching and so good at loving himself, you could get away with not paying attention. I passed notes (really obviously) to my friends, and had a bitching session (sorry if that's too feminine-sounding for you, Wood, but that's what it was) with Wood about how much of a dick Lockhart was. We even defaced one of Wood's 'textbooks', drawing hideous facial hair and wrinkles on the photo of Lockhart's face on the front of it. I swear, the little photo-Lockhart was crying when we were done with him. Mwahahaha!
Before dinner, I got changed into a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a jumper in the dorm (because I despised wearing that damn uniform skirt), then returned to the library to do the Defence homework, which didn't take anywhere near as long as I expected. Since I still had half an hour to kill, I packed up my stuff and headed to the fiction section. It was situated in the back corner of the second floor of the library, furthest from the entrance. Although most of the huge bookcases were full of fiction written by witches and wizards, they had a small collection of Muggle classics I'd been working my way through in Fifth Year. To Kill and Mockingbird was next on my list, and I was really looking forward to it. My mum had been telling me to read it for years.
I pulled the book off the shelf and sat down in one of the squishy red armchairs dotted around the fiction section. Immediately after opening the book, the musty smell of the yellowing pages hit my nostrils, and I breathed in deeply and smiled. Old book smell was actually the most wonderful aroma in existence. I just knew it would be what I would smell if I encountered Amortentia. Except I never would, since I quit Potions. Unless someone used a love potion on me, but as if anyone would be that desperate for me to fall in love with them.
When I was done sniffing the book (thankfully, not many people used the fiction section, so nobody saw me – like I needed to make Ravenclaw's bookish reputation any worse), I started to read. It didn't take long for me to realise I should have listened to my mum sooner. So engrossed in the story was I that I didn't notice it was dinner time until dinner was well underway. I finished the chapter I was on, made a mental note of the page number, then put the book back and hurried off to dinner.
Luckily, I managed to stuff my face with chicken and potato just before the food disappeared and dessert materialised in front of me.
"Where were you for most of dinner then?" Kate asked.
"Get caught up in any broom cupboards with any Quidditch players?" Alice suggested, before I could answer. Seriously, Alice? I don't know what goes on in that crazy head of hers. I mean, I met Wood yesterday for god's sake, and just because it's the first time I've really spent time with a boy (which was not even my choice!), she suddenly she thinks I'm going to have had a personality change and go off snogging him? Lunacy, I tell you.
I smiled shyly in response. "You could say that ..." I replied, then returned to my chocolate brownie and ice cream.
"Whoa, wait, what?" Alice exclaimed, dropping her spoon.
"Alice, she's joking. Right, Heather?" said Jenny, far too wise for her own good.
Again, I smiled a small smile and shrugged.
"Oh my god, who with?" Izzy asked excitedly. I didn't answer. All five of them then started to bombard me with questions, but I said nothing until I had finished my pudding and was ready to leave the Great Hall.
"Nobody," I said. "I lied." Then, with a huge grin, I walked away.
"Bitch!" Alice called after me.
Laughing to myself (rather loudly so I looked a bit mental), I walked across the Entrance Hall and left through the main doors. As you probably guessed, I was going to Hagrid's again. Since I didn't have Care of Magical Creatures on a Thursday (sad face), I was dedicating my free time that evening to going to see Maxwell, and maybe taking Fang out for a run.
Hagrid answered the door with an empty milk bottle in his hand. Looks like I'd just missed Maxwell's teatime.
"'Fraid yeh've jus' missed the feedin'," he said as I walked into the hut.
"That's okay, I'll just watch him sleep for a bit, then I wondered if I could take Fang out for a bit?"
"He'll love that, been mopin' round 'ere ever since he realised he'd 'ave ter share yeh with Maxwell."
I laughed, and rubbed Fang's ears affectionately while I peered in at Maxwell. He was fast asleep, his belly round and full, and a little milky beard running down his chin. After watching him for about ten minutes, I decided it was time I paid Fang some attention.
"Want to go for a walk, Fang?" I asked the dog in an excited tone. Fang wagged his tail and barked loudly in my face. Can't say I particularly enjoyed the cloud of dog breath that surrounded me, but that's life. "C'mon then, boy!" I stood up, and Fang bounded to the door. "I'll see you in a bit, Hagrid."
"Have fun!" He replied, settling down in his favourite armchair.
Fang shot past me as soon as I opened the door, but stopped a few metres away and turned around to bark at me. I shut Hagrid's front door and hurried after him.
"Alright, I'm coming!" I shouted, and he ran ahead a little bit more.
We walked along the edge of the Forbidden Forest, where Fang approached the trees, picked up a huge stick, then ran away again. He was a big wuss, and the Forest scared the shit out of him. He pranced around me with the stick in his mouth, so I pulled it off him and threw it as far as I could. Which wasn't very far, since it was half a tree (minor exaggeration) and I was a weakling with a crap throwing arm. Fang thundered after it and pounced on it, letting out a loud growl. He sounded so fierce, especially combined with his enormousness, but he was just a very big, very slobbery teddy bear. As usual, he decided not to bring the stick back to me.
As I approached him and the stick, he put his massive front paws on it and stuck his bum in the air, tail wagging playfully. His eyes followed me as I got closer and closer, and when I reached out to grab the stick, he snatched it off the ground and ran away again.
"Cheat!" I shouted after him. "You don't get to chase it again if you don't give it back to me first!" Fang stopped and tilted his head to side like he was listening to me, then dropped into the same position as before. This time, I was too quick for him and managed to pull the stick out from under his paws before he could get hit teeth into it. I waved it in his face and laughed victoriously, until he barked at me and I threw it again.
Our play continued like this for almost an hour before we both got too tired to carry on and collapsed beside the lake. I conjured up a blanket and lay back on it, and Fang dropped down beside me and panted down my ear. With great effort I lifted my arm and rubbed his side, causing him to roll onto his back so I could scratch his belly instead.
"You big softie," I said with a smile, turning onto my side so my arm ached less. Fang let out a happy sigh and his eyes began to close. I closed my eyes, too, and enjoyed the gentle breeze that ruffled my hair. It really was so good to be back. We may have only arrived back at school two days ago, but already it felt like I'd never been away.
Soon, though, the breeze turned rather chilly, and being as ridiculously nesh as I am, I decided it was time to return to school and curl up by the fire.
"C'mon, Fang, time to go home." I stood up, and Fang let out a whine at me. "Don't take that tone with me, you big baby, come on," I told him, trying not to laugh at how pathetic he looked, lying on his back with his legs in the air, giving me his big puppy-dog eyes. With a huff, Fang rolled over and stood up, shaking himself off. Drool flew everywhere, and I had to jump a foot to the side to avoid being hit. Then we walked back to Hagrid's, Fang just ambling along at my side instead of running ahead because he was tired. He wasn't the only one.
Once Fang was comfortably curled up in his basket and I'd said goodnight to Maxwell, I thanked Hagrid for letting me take Fang out and then hurried up to the castle. It was getting really cold by then. I nipped into the toilets on my way up to Ravenclaw Tower, since the cold had got to my bladder and I really had to pee. I also tried to clean at least some of the solidifying drool off my jumper sleeves, but it didn't really work.
My friends were lounging in front of the fire when I entered the Common Room, so I said 'hi' on my way over to the stairs.
"Been out with Fang?" Izzy asked. I looked down at my drool-covered jumper.
"How could you tell?" I joked. "I'm just going to dump this jumper in the washing basket, I'll be right back."
In the dorm, I pulled off the jumper and threw it in the basket in the corner of the room. I'd have it back clean and fresh tomorrow morning; the house-elves were very efficient with washing. While I was up there, I opened my trunk and pulled out my crochet bag. In it, I had a scrapbook with all my patterns in, lots of differently-sized crochet hooks, ten balls of wool (the bag was a little over-full) in various colours, and general crafty bits and bobs like pins. I'd only packed the balls I'd need for the first couple of projects, and I'd get my mum to send me the rest by owl post when I needed them. Since I couldn't shrink the wool by magic at home (being underage), I brought a few to start with and then the collection grew over the school year, because I could shrink them all to take them home again.
I took the bag down to the Common Room and sat in the only empty armchair by the fire. From my bag I took my scrapbook, a three-and-a-half-mm hook and a ball of green wool. I opened the book to the page I needed, and began to work.
"What are you making now?" Alice asked.
"Common Welsh Green dragon," I answered.
"Because the Hebridean Black I made last year needs a friend," I explained. Alice laughed. "I love how you think I'm joking," I said, grinning. This only made her laugh harder.
What I'd said was the truth; the crocheted one-and-a-half-foot-tall, two-foot-wingspan Hebridean Black dragon that sat on my bedside table for most of Fifth Year and had now returned for my Sixth did look rather lonely. Hence the plan to crochet another native British dragon to accompany him. The basic dragon pattern was the same for both, with just a few tweaks I'd made based on the breed characteristics in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Since Common Welsh Greens were smaller than Hebridean Blacks, I was using a smaller hook than the pattern suggested, so they would be to scale. Not that I was obsessed with everything being correct and perfect ... much.
"Oh, I don't. I do think you're a bit mad, though," Alice said. "In a good way, of course."
"Of course," I said, grinning in as creepy a way as I could manage. "Oddly enough, you're not the first person to tell me that recently. I wonder why that could be ..." I continued in a thoughtful tone, as if I were truly pondering the issue. "Nope, haven't the foggiest!" My friends chuckled and rolled their eyes at me, and I continued with my crochet.
By half ten, we were all yawning our heads off again, so my friends decided to call it a night. I, however, had Astronomy at midnight, so could not enjoy the luxury of my bed just yet. I went up to the dormitory with them, though, so I could change back into my school uniform in preparation for the lesson. While I was up there, I grabbed my schoolbag and telescope and took them back down to the Common Room with me. Still yawning, I settled back into my chair and forced myself to keep crocheting so I'd stay awake.
Eventually, half eleven rolled around, and it was time to go. My Common Welsh Green now consisted of a head (with yellow plastic eyes), neck and half a body. He looked a little naked without any horns, but I'd make them later. After packing away my crochet stuff, I crept up the staircase and into the dorm and left the bag on my bed, before sneaking out just as quietly. My friends were all sound asleep, it would be cruel of me to wake them ... I was kind of tempted to, though.
I left the Common Room and walked to the Astronomy Tower, but the moment I started to climb the stairs, I had to pee. Sometimes, there was nothing I detested more than my bladder. Leaving my things at the bottom of the tower staircase, I hurried down the corridor to the toilets.
Even with my detour, I still arrived at the top of the Astronomy Tower with fifteen minutes to spare, which was more than enough time to set up my telescope before Professor Sinistra arrived. She always expected us to be early to class so we would be set up and ready by the time she got there. I was the first one there, and after five minutes I was all ready and nobody else had turned up. Unlike Care of Magical Creatures, I did not want to be the only person in this class. Not that I had anything against Professor Sinistra, but she wasn't exactly as fun and easy-going (alright, and slightly mental) as Kettleburn, so having one-on-one lessons would just be awkward.
At five to midnight, I'll admit I was starting to worry. But then the door burst open, and in strolled the one person I didn't really want to see, but was immensely happy to see nevertheless.
"Thank fuck you're here!" I exclaimed, then blushed as I realised how ridiculous I sounded.
"Steady on, Green," Wood said, smirking in amusement.
"Shove off. I was just worried that I'd be the only one taking Astronomy this year, that's all."
"Why? You seemed happy enough that you're the only one taking Care of Magical Creatures."
"Would you want to spend two nights a week up here with just Sinistra for company?"
Wood looked up from preparing his telescope and wiggled his eyebrows at me. "Well ..." Oh my god, I so hope he was joking!
"Ew, gross, and any other word which will convey my utter disgust! Excuse me while I vomit over the parapet," I said, turning away and leaning over the small stone wall surrounding the top of the tower. Obviously I didn't really throw up, but I did thoroughly enjoy the view of the grounds.
"You want to be careful, Green," came Wood's voice from right next to my ear. I jumped in fright and almost fell off the bloody tower. Bastard. "One push and you'd be off this tower..."
"I almost bloody was anyway! Don't bloody creep up on me like that!" I punched him in the stomach (which obviously hurt me more than him), trying to slow my erratic heartbeat. Bloody Wood, trying to bloody kill me ... maybe being the only one in class would have been the better alternative. Wood just laughed loudly at me.
"Aww, did I scare you?" Wood teased.
"No, it's just bad manners. Especially when you then threaten the person you crept up on!" I'm sure he didn't really mean he was going to push me off the tower ... right?
"Green, I'm not a bloody Slytherin! I have no intentions of pushing you off the top of this tower ... no matter how much you get on my nerves."
"Charming," I commented with a roll of my eyes, sitting down on the floor with my back to the wall.
Our argument/conversation/whatever it was ended there as Professor Sinistra arrived, and I really did think it was just going to be me and Wood. Until she informed us that we should be a class of four, but the other two people (Liam and Paul Jones, non-identical twins from Hufflepuff, with very nice Welsh accents) were in the Hospital Wing because they got into a fight with some Slytherins. And there I was thinking Hufflepuffs were meek little creatures. Then again, their mascot was a badger, and badgers weren't the friendliest of animals.
"Since it's our first lesson and we only have half a class, I see no point in teaching anything new tonight," Professor Sinistra said, before handing us a sheet of parchment each with a constellation map of the night sky drawn upon it. "I want you to label every constellation and bring the completed map to next Tuesday's lesson. Goodnight." With that, she just left. It was unexpected, to say the least.
"Sounds like she's got a hot date to get off to," I joked. "Tough break, Wood."
"My heart is breaking in two at this very moment," he deadpanned. I snorted, then began to chuckle, which eventually turned into full-blown laughter. And it wasn't even that funny. I think it was mostly just the fact that Wood made a joke that wasn't at my expense, and it was actually quite amusing.
"You really are mental, you know that?"
"Yeah, I know," I said, which just made me laugh again. More of a mad giggle, actually. Oh dear. Perhaps it was lack of sleep from staying up late for Astronomy which had caused me to finally lose the plot completely. Although, people tell me I never had the plot to begin with, so who knows?
When I finally calmed down, I pulled a quill and ink out of my bag and started working on the constellations. I'd filled in half of them when I noticed Wood watching me.
"What?" I asked. Then I noticed he was eyeing my map, and had a quill in his hand. "Label your own stars, Wood!" I snapped, and turned away so he couldn't see my map anymore. Childish, I know, but he should be able to label a few constellations after five years of Astronomy lessons.
"Aww, come on Green, I don't know any of this," he pleaded.
"Why did you take Astronomy, then?"
"I needed to take five N.E.W.T.s as a back-up plan in case I fuck up my Quidditch career, and Astronomy is the least time consuming fifth option," he explained, trying to sound light-hearted but not completely hiding the insecurity behind his words. This made me turn to look at him. I hadn't been expecting such an honest answer.
"What makes you think you'll fuck it up?" I asked, at the same time questioning myself over why I'd asked about Wood's problems. Normally, I took no interest in other people's problems, partly because they made me feel awkward and uncomfortable, but mostly because I'm a selfish bitch. I think acknowledging and accepting that fact makes me a better person, don't you?
"Well ... Quidditch is a dangerous sport, that's all ..." he trailed off, and I could tell he was hiding something, but I didn't want to ask what. "Look, seriously, Green, what the fuck is this bloody square thing?"
I chuckled, and I leaned over to look at his map. "It's the square of Pegasus," I explained. "And this whole thing here is Pegasus," I continued, gesturing with my quill.
After a couple more minutes, I finished my map, and with a little more help, so did Wood. We decided it would probably be alright for us to leave, since the teacher had buggered off twenty minutes earlier, so we packed up our telescopes (what was the bloody point of even setting them up?) and left.
On the way down the stairs, I asked Wood a question that had been eating away at me: "Do you really fancy Sinistra?"
Usual smirk back in place, Wood said, "Why? Jealous?"
"Clearly," I said dryly.
Wood gave me my answer when we parted ways at the bottom of the tower. "No, I don't. But you should have seen your face." He shot me a cheeky grin and easily dodged my lazy swipe at him. Damn Keeper skills.
"Git!" I called after him.
As I collapsed into bed that night, it took me a while to get to sleep. I couldn't help but wonder about Oliver Wood. I had never been a very social person, so it usually took me a while to make friends. Over time I had become more used to talking to people I didn't know, but I was pretty sure that Wood and I were at a stage I didn't normally reach for at least a couple of weeks, when we'd only known each other for a couple of days. I wasn't an easy person to get along with, I knew that, and I didn't really think Wood was either, not with his Quidditch-focused brain and argumentative streak. And yet we had conversed, multiple times in fact (and argued quite a bit, too, but I attributed that to our clashing personalities). Perhaps it was because we had suddenly been forced to spend so much time together that the process had been accelerated (not that I consider Wood a friend yet, far from it, just not as far from it as I expected). Or maybe I was, as usual, over-thinking things and the truth was that I'd just matured over the summer (insert immature, derisive snort here) and had somehow gained some people skills.
Oi, my head hurts.
A/N: So that was Chapter 4 ... I don't really like it, but I've fiddled with it as much as I can, so, sorry it's not very good =/ I do have some of the next chapter already written - I've been trying to get ahead - but have developed a bad habit of turning my laptop on and just writing random scenes that come much later in the story =/ Oops ... :D
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