I take a deep breath as Wood stops a couple feet in front of us. “What’s the verdict?”
“Do you really want to know?” I ask, giving him an apologetic look as I know he’ll hate us when he realizes what days we have detention.
“Detention tonight, and Tuesday through Saturday for the next two weeks,” I say.
“And Fred and I have an additional week of detention the following week that goes from Monday to Friday,” George adds.
“So none of you miss the Quidditch meeting tomorrow, but the practices for the next 3 weeks have to be switched to morning practices? Lovely,” Wood says, and I can tell he’s visualizing the schedule.
“Pretty much,” I say in a small voice.
“Okay, I’ll get them rescheduled, and make sure you know the mornings and the times,” Wood says.
“Is that all?” George asks him and for a second I’m relieved.
“Yea-wait….you have detention next Saturday?” He asks, his eyes instantly smoldering in anger, shattering my relief.
“Yeah?” I offer, knowing he’ll full out explode at this one.
“You guys are missing the first Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff Quidditch game. You know how bad that is? I would much rather you miss the post-game meeting tomorrow for the game!” Wood says, running an irritated hand through his hair.
I take his slight pause in speech to put in, “You’re lucky McGonagall allowed tomorrow night off.”
“I don’t care about the bloody post-game meeting as much as the next game! Without you lot at the game, it means I’m going to have to figure out how to explain flying techniques of the new players to you guys! You very well know, or at least you should, that Ravenclaw has a new Seeker and Beater, while Hufflepuff has two new Beaters and Keeper. That could be the difference between winning and losing those games!” Wood fumes.
“And we can’t just challenge them to a scrimmage? I mean, it’s not the same as real game play, but it sure as heck would help,” I say, shifting my weight uncomfortably as everyone in the common room stares at the confrontation.
“Obviously we’re going to have to now! You’ll hopefully…no, you better be at the Slytherin and Ravenclaw game because then you can actually see what the Seeker and new Beater are like. As for the Hufflepuff’s…let’s just hope their change up on the team with two new Beaters and new Keeper prevents them from getting too good.”
“Wood, we’ll have plenty of time to practice before those games,” I say, trying hard not to sigh as he is mildly overreacting.
“Yeah, as long as we can get good practice time in before the games between all of your detentions,” Wood glares daggers at me.
“We do have 5 months of training before any real games, you realize?” George asks.
“Yeah, but realize how much of those 5 months will not be devoted to Quidditch? Two and a half week Christmas break, week before break in which none of you focus, week after break in which you are all just ridiculous, all after 3 weeks worth of detention,” Wood fumes.
“Okay, more like 3 months…plenty of-”
I elbow Georges arm to get him to stop talking. “Wood, we’ll focus during practice. No more week’s worth of detention. Promise.”
“That’s really reassuring,” Wood says, though the glare I receive tells me otherwise. “Meeting is at 6:30. I wouldn’t suggest being late.”
With that, Wood turns sharply on his heel, picks his text book up from the table he was sitting and walks quickly up the boy’s dorm stairs.
I release a breath as he disappears at the top of the stairs. “Well, that went well,” I say.
“Define well,” George says, looking over at me.
“We didn’t get practices of suicides?” I offer.
He seems to contemplate that for a moment. “Yeah, it went well,” He finally agrees, smiling.
I laugh. “You actually had to think about it.”
“Of course,” He shrugs. “If I didn’t, how would I know you were right?”
“I’m always right,” I say, raising my eyebrows while trying to give an innocent look.
He laughs. “I’m sure of that,” He kisses me gently on the lips.
“You should be,” I also laugh. “And, as we’ll be leaving in a couple minutes to go down for detention, you want to free Fred from whatever bomb shelter he built to hide from Wood while I go upstairs and let Trina know that we need to set up another time to hang out, at a time in which I don’t have detention?”
“We can’t just leave him there?” George asks, looking hopeful.
I laugh. “He must attend detention. He gets to deal with all the sticky and gross food in the Great Hall because he made us deal with Wood.”
“Good point,” He grins at me. “We’ll head down in 5 minutes?”
“Kay,” I say as we separate to go up to our dorms.
* * *
I roll over onto my stomach and stretch out my legs as I pull the blankets up and over my head to block out the light that peaks through the curtains around my bed. I’ve got two more detention left to attend, one being tonight, and the other being during the Quidditch game tomorrow afternoon. This, topped with morning practices for Quidditch most of the week, really doesn’t encourage me to get up for another early morning practice.
“Angie, how much time till we have to go?” I ask through my blankets, too lazy to pull the curtains back from around my bed to check.
I wait a couple seconds for a reply.
“Angie?” I ask, opening my eyes but leaving the blankets pulled up and over my head.
I groan as I throw the blanket back off of me and sit up. She’s ignoring me. Which isn’t all that surprising. As she has been the number one person to blame me for the whole morning practice thing. Which is technically my fault…
I pull the curtain back from around my bed and look at the clock. 6:25.
“Oh shit,” I groan, glancing around at Alicia, Angie, and Katie’s beds. Quidditch starts in 5 minutes and I’m not even headed for the pitch.
“What?” Trina mumbles from behind her curtains, causing me to jump as I didn’t realize she was still sleeping.
“Quidditch practice,” I say, attempting to fling myself out of bed.
This attempt fails, of course, because I get wrapped up in my blankets. Which leads to me falling off my bed onto the cold floor.
Cursing, I kick the blankets until they unwarp themselves from my legs. The second they’re off, I pull myself off the floor and grab my Quidditch stuff from inside my trunk, where I stashed it last night before going to bed.
I stumble to the bathroom as I hear the curtains around Trina’s bed being withdrawn. I push the door closed and then quickly change into my Quidditch robes. I pull my hair up into a messy bun and put a few clips into it before leaving the bathroom.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at Quidditch practice now?” Trina asks, giving me a confused and concerned look as I rush past her and pull my gloves, arm and shin guards out of my trunk.
“Ideally I should have been there 10 minutes ago, but I’d much rather prefer to be late,” I grumble, pulling my shin guards in place. “And as much as I’d like to stay and chat, I have to go. Wood’s gonna kill me as it is.”
“Okay?” Trina says, still really confused as I rush past her again on my way out of the dorm.
As soon as I get outside the portrait hole, I take off running down the corridor, strapping my arm guards in place as I go.
I pass the stairs that lead down to the sixth floor and instead find the secret passage that leads to the fourth floor. Upon getting out on the third floor, I manage running into a group of first years, knocking half of them over as I slip through their group.
I hear the curse words and yell out a hurried apology as I run around the corner. I get to the oak front doors within about 10 minutes of crawling out of bed, which is actually pretty good timing, considering. I shove open the doors, sprint for the broom shed as I pull my gloves onto my hands.
I slide on the damp grass a couple times on my way to the broom shed, as it’s absolutely down pouring outside again, but I somehow manage not falling on my face. I retrieve my broom from the broom shed and then sprint towards the pitch, where specks of red are flying around in the air.
By the time I arrive, the team has already finished warm up. I figure I’m at least 15 minutes late, which is pretty good, even though I feel like my sides about to explode from the sprinting I did to get ready and to the pitch in 20 minutes.
I look up and see Wood heading in my direction, and from the look on his face, I know he’s a little bit beyond pissed off at me.
“What the hell Teizon? Practice started 15 minutes ago!” Wood yells as he hits the ground five feet away from me, spraying water and mud towards me.
“I know. Sorry. I over slept,” I pant, trying to catch my breath while hoping Wood won’t make me do too much more sprinting.
“That’s no excuse,” Wood doesn’t lower his voice, even though he’s now only three feet from me.
“I know,” I say again, rubbing the rain out of my eyes.
“Then why the hell are you late?”
“Because I am. Give me a punishment so I can start at it already,” I say, resigned.
“With it down pouring, it’s almost impossible to have you do anything. But since you like being late, why don’t you start with 5 sets of bleachers and 2 suicides,” Wood says, fuming.
“In the mud?” I ask, trying to keep my voice from letting through my disgust at the idea of doing suicides in the mud.
“Yeah. Just be happy it’s only two and that you’re doing the bleachers first,” He sneers.
“Right on it, captain,” I say, turning and heading for the bleachers. I decide to leave my broom in the stairwell just outside of the bleachers, and then immediately start on the bleachers.
Every once in a while, I hear Wood shouting instructions over the wind that picks up, but for the most part, I just focus on moving forward, as wet robes are actually really difficult to run in.
I soon finish the bleachers set, and collect my broom before heading to the field. I drop my broom off to the side before starting on the suicides in the mud. And I actually make it through first suicide fine, but halfway through the second one, I catch a slick spot in the grass and end up sliding into a huge pile of mud.
The mud splatters not only across my face, but across my entire uniform. So now not only is it wet, but it’s also caked with mud, which makes it feel ten pounds heavier than it is. I groan as I sit up and push myself to my feet.
“Teizon, get a move on,” Wood shouts from above me somewhere as I attempt to wipe some of the mud off my uniform.
“Fuck off,” I say back, but the wind drowns it out. Which is probably a good thing.
I start sprinting again and once I finish, I collect my broom and take to the air. For a couple minutes, I do slow circles to gain altitude but then go over to Wood.
“Snitch out?” I ask.
“Yeah. Go join Kyle,” Wood says, only partially paying attention to me as the quaffle comes his way.
I fly higher and start circling the pitch. I dodge a bludger when it flies my way, which is quickly followed by George. He smacks it hard towards the far end of the pitch before looking at me.
“You were late?” He asks in a tone of amazement.
“No, I was just running for the heck of it,” I say, giving him a dark look.
He holds his hands up, one of them holding the Beater’s bat. “Angie said you were already up when she came out of the dorm. Cause I was waiting for you.”
“Well I didn’t wake up until 5 minutes before practice was about to start,” I say moodily, irritated that my dorm mates didn’t check to make sure I was awake.
“But you went to bed right after detention,” George says, his eyes scanning for the bludger, which he must’ve seen over by Fred, as he turned his attention back to me.
“I sure as hell didn’t fall asleep when I went up. I only slept for like, an hour. Then I couldn’t fall back asleep so I got up and wrote my Ancient Ruins essay,” I say. “And I didn’t sleep much after the essay was done either.”
“Well, I’m sorry your morning has sucked,” George says, giving me an apologetic look.
“Not your fault. But thanks,” I smile weakly.
“Weasley, Teizon, this is not a social game! Get on task! Now!” Wood shouts as he finally realized neither of us is doing more than flying in circles and talking.
I roll my eyes at George as he grins and shoots across the field. I turn my attention to finding the Snitch, which I locate after a few short minutes of searching. I dive for it and catch it within thirty seconds.
“So not only did you fancy being late, but you fancy being a mud monster?” I hear a voice behind me.
I take a deep breath before slowly turning around and releasing the Snitch so Kyle can continue chasing it.
“You wanted something, dearest sister?” I ask, making my voice sickeningly sweet.
“Just to let you know the mud is highly attractive,” Kelsey says, smirking.
“Is it now?” I ask, collecting some on my hand before chucking it at her. “You can have some then.”
Though I’m not a Chaser, I was once a reserve, so my aim is spot on. I end up splattering her in the face with mud. And yes, she should be able to dodge it as a Chaser, but I don’t think she was entirely expecting me to launch mud at her.
“Teizon, Kelsey, 2 sets of bleachers. Ready, set, go,” Wood yells from somewhere nearby.
He obviously saw me throw the mud. Not that it matters. I’m not having the best of days, and Kelsey was definitely asking for it. And two sets of bleachers are better than suicides again.
I don’t throw her a backwards glance as I fly to the nearest set of bleachers and drop my broom. I start running up the bleachers, and Kelsey quickly catches up to me. I ignore her, as she manages to get ahead of me.
At the end of my first set of bleachers, I manage to lost my balance and fall down a couple of the steps from the combination of the wet bleachers and the slick mud I’m covered in.
Pain radiates from my hip, back and arm as I finally come to a stop. I grit my teeth together I push myself to a sitting position. I rub my hip and back as Kelsey shows up next to me.
“You alright?” she asks, offering her hand to me.
“Oh, just lovely,” I mutter darkly, as I accept her help.
“Good. Now finish your bleacher, Muck Monster,” She grins before taking off again.
I glare after her darkly as I finish off the bleacher I was on, and start on the next.
After finishing, I return to practice. Which actually doesn’t go too bad. Until we realize that Wood held us after practice for twenty more minutes than he should us. Leaving us a total of 15 minutes to change, get food and get to class.
As I walk towards the common room, after grabbing some food from the Great Hall, Angie, Alicia, and Katie catch up to me.
“Where the heck were you this morning?” Angie asks.
“In bed. Sleeping,” I say, glaring at her.
“Seriously?” Katie asks.
“No I decided to run to the library and do homework so I could be late to practice,” I say, glaring at Katie instead before adding, “Yes I was sleeping.”
“But I saw you get up,” Alicia says, as Katie looks mildly offended.
“To use the loo. I proceeded to crawl back in bed, because I didn’t realize the time. It’s not as if I’ve slept all too much in the past two weeks,” I say.
“Well, you can’t-”
“Please Angie? I know it’s my own fault. Let’s not rub it in. Today is just not the day for it,” I say, looking pleadingly at her.
“Okay, okay. Sorry we didn’t make sure you were up,” Angie says.
I sigh. “It’s okay. Sorry I snapped,” I say, glancing at Katie.
“You’re having a bad morning,” Katie says, smiling slightly to let me know I am mostly forgiven.
“Let’s just hope it is just a bad morning,” I mutter as we get to the common room and quickly head up to grab our books for class, as we all showered in the locker rooms.
* * *
“If I have to deal with one more stupid person today, I swear to god, someone is going to die,” I fume as Trina, Mark and I enter the common room after third period.
“It could have been worse,” Mark shrugs.
“I don’t think anything went RIGHT today,” I say, glaring at him.
“There had to have-”
“There wasn’t,” I say, cutting Mark off. “Quidditch practice was a complete disaster. Wood even decided to screw with my first hour class today, as he released us late, AND ran into me in the hallway. Causing us both to drop our text books. And as you know, his History of Magic text book didn’t do me much good during Transfigurations.”
“What about Ancient Ruins?” Mark asks, attempting to find some loop hole in my complaints.
“Her essay was 2 inches short,” Trina replies for me.
“It was more like an inch and a half,” I correct.
“And you got a poor on that Charms essay we just got back,” Mark says thoughtfully after a moments thought. “You’re day has most definitely sucked.”
“Thanks for the update smarty pants,” I say, glaring at him.
“Hailey, why don’t we go get rid of our bags and then come down and play a game of Wizards Chess or something?” Trina asks, and I know she’s just trying to prevent an argument.
I breathe in deeply, hold it in for a few seconds, and then release it. “Sure. Let’s go rid of school related crap,” I agree.
Trina loops her arm through mine before leading me up to our dorm. We push open the door and proceed to launch our school stuff onto our beds.
“You know what? I’m going to change out of my robes. I don’t care if Professor Binns would prefer me to be in my uniform, I’m going to be clapping out erasers and I would prefer not to cover my black robes in white chalk dust,” I say, pulling open my trunk and digging out a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from within it.
“I think that’s actually a good idea,” Trina agrees as she too starts digging through her trunk to find clothes.
I go to the bathroom and change quickly, and then wait for Trina. After we’re both changed, we head down to the common room together.
As we make it to the bottom of the girl’s dorm stairs, Trina says, “Oh, look who we have here. George, don’t you have class?”
I look up to see George sitting on the couch in the common room, smiling at my surprised look. “Nah. Sprout cancelled Herbology today for some reason.”
“How did you already know that?” I ask, looking over at Trina suspiciously, before turning that look to George. “You’re not skipping, are you?”
“No, I’m honestly not skipping. I’d suggest asking Angie, Alicia, and Katie, but they headed to the library to work on some homework they don’t want over the weekend,” George grins at me.
“Where’s Fred?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
“I gave him a mission,” George says with a smirk.
“Oh no. What kind of mission?” I ask.
“A fun one,” Trina grins.
“Oh god, you’re in on it too?” I ask in mock-horror, looking between the two of them.
“Of course we are,” Mark says, as he comes from the boys dormitories and sits on the couch across from George.
“Okay, now I’m actually scared,” I say, walking over and sitting down next to George, who pulls me closer to him.
“Maybe you should be,” He grins with a mischievous look in his eyes.
I look at George, then Mark, then Trina. “You guys seriously scare me. You’re all plotting something.”
“How do you know?” Trina asks, sitting down next to Mark.
“That simple phrase answers all questions,” I say, pushing my bangs out of my face.
“Oh, don’t worry, it’ll be a good surprise,” George says, running his fingers lightly up my arm with the hand it draped over my shoulder.
“At this point, that doesn’t even reassure me,” I say, giving him a sideways glance.
“How about this, it will be a million times better than the horrible day you’ve been having,” George says with a soft smile.
“Ugh, please don’t remind me,” I groan, leaning my head on George’s shoulder.
“Sorry Hon. But it will be much better,” George smiles, kissing me on the top of the head.
“So do I get any hints?” I ask after a couple seconds when my curiosity finally gets to me.
“About the surprise?” Trina asks, in mock-shock.
“Of course not. It wouldn’t be any fun then,” Mark grins.
“Not even a hint on whose gonna be there?” I say hopefully.
“Why would we tell you that?” Mark says.
“So I take it not you?” I smile, able to tell from the look on his face.
“Be nice, be nice. And no, not me,” Mark says, grinning until he realizes he gave me a hint.
“Ha! That hint….was of no use to me, really,” I sigh, tilting my head so I can look into George’s eyes. “Please tell me what the surprise is,” I say.
“I’m sorry, no, I’m not gonna spoil it. You’ll see as soon as it’s ready,” George says, smiling at my lame attempt to get information off of him.
“So it’s something that has to be prepared?” I ask, looking between the three of them hopefully.
“Not necessarily. Maybe it’s already set up,” Mark says, grinning mischievously.
I groan. “You all are impossible to get information off of.”
“We know,” They all say at once, as the portrait hole opens and Fred walks in.
“Oy, George, I’ve got it all set for you,” Fred grins as he walks over and stands at the end of the couch George and I are sitting on.
“What is it you set up?” I ask, smiling innocently.
“Good try Hail Storm. But it’s not happening,” Fred grins at me.
“Everything how I told you to put it?” George asks, ignoring me.
“Of course, you’re brotherly-ness,” Fred says with an over dramatic bow.
“Awesome. Thanks,” George says, rolling his eyes at his brother.
“What is it?” I ask, looking between Fred and George.
“A steamy hot make-out session?” Fred offers, immediately looking disgusted from the words that came from his mouth.
“You wanna die?” I ask, tilting my head slightly while glaring at him.
“Have fun,” Fred grins, waggling his eyebrows suggestively before bolting out of the portrait hole.
“Can I kill him? Please,” I ask, turning to give George a puppy dog look.
“Maybe later. Right now, I need you to put this on,” George says, pulling a blindfold out of his pocket and holding it out for me to take.
I look at him suspiciously. “Why?”
“It’s part of the surprise,” George says.
“Oh no. Now this surprise is really starting to scare me,” I say, looking over at Trina, who bursts out laughing.
“It’s not bad,” Trina assures me.
“Come on, please? I’ll hold your hand the entire time the blind folds on,” George says, giving me a pleading look.
I narrow my eyes and glare at him for a couple seconds, but his pleading looks easily breaks down my hard defense. “How far will I have to go?” I sigh, accepting the blind fold from him.
“Only a little ways. I promise,” He grins, as I put the blindfold over my eyes and tie the two ends of it together behind my head.
“I don’t like this,” I say, a moment later, as George pushes me up a little bit so he has enough room to get to his feet.
“Oh, don’t worry. I do,” I can hear the smile in George’s voice as both of his hands take mine.
He then pulls me to my feet, releasing only one of my hands. He starts leading me to what I presume is the portrait hole, which he confirms moments later when he says, “Careful of the step.”
I semi-patiently hold onto George’s hand as he leads me around the seventh floor. I lose track of where we are on the seventh floor as he takes more and more turns. It seems like he keeps walking in circles and just when I get to the point of asking him how much further, he stops.
“Okay, I need you to stand by the wall for a moment,” George says.
“But you said you wouldn’t let go,” I say uneasily, not liking the idea of having to stand by the wall, blindfolded.
“I know. But unless you’d like to walk back and forth three times,” George says, raising our intertwined hands so he can kiss the back of mine before putting our hands against the wall, which is closer to me than I thought.
“Okay, fine. But only for a couple seconds,” I sigh, allowing him to take his hand back.
It then goes silent, other than George’s footsteps. They get quieter as he walks away from me, which makes my stomach twist in knots, but get louder again when he comes back towards me. After three or four times of that, I feel his hand on my wrist. I slide my hand into his and allow him to lead me away from the wall.
“Ready?” George murmurs as he leads my forwards and pushes open what sounds like a door, which is mildly confusing because he had to pace in the corridor which shouldn’t really relate to the door.
“Not really?” I offer as he pulls me forward a couple more paces.
“Well, you can take off the blind fold,” he says keeping his hand in mine until I take it away to help remove the blind fold.
I take a deep breath as my hands rest on either side of the blindfold. The air here smells fresh, as if we’re outside, which is strange because it’s raining outside. And it’s definitely not raining where I am now. And I didn’t go down any stair cases.
Hesitantly, I pull the blindfold off of my eyes, momentarily blind by the bright light of the room George has led me to.
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