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Crime and Punishment by platform 9 3_4
Chapter 14 : In The Art Of Rejection
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 25

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Disclaimer: Everything goes to JKR :)


A/N: Helloooo! So I finally finished this chapter after ages of trying to figure out how to end it. Hope you like what I came up with ;)

xxx (reviews make my day)





Isn't it messed up

How I'm just dying to be him?

I'm just a notch in your bedpost

But you're just a line in a song

- Sugar We're Going Down   - Fall Out Boy






"Wow," Fred muttered in hushed tones, as he read the article, "Looks like you've got him cornered."

He held in his hands a copy of the Hogwarts Grapevine, Faye's article on the front page, the title large and bold for everyone to see.

"Jeremy Peakes," Zach murmured, reading aloud from his own copy, "Captain or Coward?"

As I looked around the great hall I could see that lots of students had copies, which they were all reading with avid fascination.

I glanced at Walker. She was the only one who wasn't reading, eyes staring blankly into the distance.

She was nervous, I could tell, by the way that she never blinked, and the way that her lips were pressed tightly together.  She knew, as well as I did, that we were taking a risk by outing Peakes like this, but something had to be done.

Where was Peakes, anyway?

I looked around, my eyes rapidly scanning the great hall for the arrogant smirk and flash of dark hair. Nothing. He wasn't anywhere to be found. Perhaps he was in some dark broom cupboard, scared to face anyone now that his secret was out. 

I looked around for Faye. She was sitting at the Ravenclaw table, surrounded by her friends and admirers, who were all congratulating her on the article. Occaisionally Faye would flick her head, making her auburn hair fly in all directions, and laugh distractingly. 

Everything seemed to be going to plan. People were interested and scandalized by the article. Faye was pleased with herself. But something in Walker's face, which I saw as my eyes drifted back to her, made me sure that something was about to go terribly wrong.


* * *


"Mr. Potter? Would you mind stepping into my office?"

I looked around. McGonagall. She didn't look angry, but something told me she wasn't calling me in to congratulate me on my latest transfiguration essay.

I stepped inside and stopped, instantly nervous, as I saw Walker sitting in a chair beside McGonagall's desk. 

"Take a seat, Mr. Potter," McGonagall said, indicating the nearest seat, whilst sitting down in her own on the opposite side.

I glanced at Walker, but she stared blankly ahead, refusing to make eye contact.

"Now," McGonagall said, and she pulled a copy of the newspaper towards her. I felt my stomach turn over in fear.

Don't judge. McGonagall can be scary as fuck when she wants to be.

"I would like to believe that neither of you had any part in this," she frowned, "In the last few months you two have truly impressed me with your level of commitment to the team. But if you did..."

"You mean you don't believe the article, Professor?" I blurted out, unable to help myself.

McGonagall pursed her lips.

"I don't listen to idle gossip," she said warningly, "Without proven fact this article is mere rumour."

"But Professor-"

"As I was saying, Mr. Potter," she interrupted, her voice becoming even more serious, "If you two had any part in this I would be severely disappointed. Now, I will ask you this once. Are you the unnamed source in the article?"

"No," we both answered immediately.

"Good," McGonagall said, "Then you are both free to go."

Walker and I stood up immediately and made for the door.

"I hope neither of you do anything else to make me doubt your dedication to your teammates."

We nodded solemnly, the tension in the air almost palpable.

Once out in the corridor Walker sighed and leant her head against the wall, banging it repeatedly against it.

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuck," she was uttered under her breath

"Stop it," I muttered.

She didn't.

"Come on Walker, it's not all bad. Stop it."

When she didn't, I grabbed her shoulders from behind and turned her around to face me. She looked surprised, her blue eyes wide as she stared at me.

I opened my mouth to talk, but forgot what I was going to say, so I just stared at her, like an idiot.

She smirked, "Spit it out Potter."

I glared at her, suddenly consious that my hands were on her shoulders, my face was inches from hers and she had her back pressed against a wall.

"So it failed," I said, letting the truth wash over me, and feeling suddenly depressed.

"Yes, I know," she murmured.

"It failed," I repeated, "We'll find another way to get rid of him."

She took hold of my wrists and lifted my arms off of her shoulders.

"No," she said, "You know as well as I do that it's over. Peakes has won. He'll know it was me and I'll get kicked off the team."


"Just leave it Potter," she snapped, pushing herself off the wall and storming off.

I sighed and leant against the wall tiredly. 


That's the only word to describe her.


*               *              *



I had found my cousin crouching behind one of the armchairs in terror. 

He looked up at me guiltily.

"Oh, hey James," he whispered, "Get down now!"


"Get down!" he hissed more urgently.

I crouched down beside him, wondering about the state of my cousin's sanity.

"What are you doing?" I hissed back at him.

"I'm hiding," he said.

"I can see that, Captain Obvious," I rolled my eyes, "Who are you hiding from?"

Fred jerked his head towards the opposite side of the common room.

I lifted my head over the armchair and peeked.

Max sat in a chair with Dan and Alex, laughing about something.

I glared at Fred who hissed, "Is she still there?"

"Yes she's still bloody there," I snapped, "Merlin, Fred are you honestly too scared to be in the same room as her?"

"No!" he said, "I just don't want her to think I meant what I said the other day."

"Well hiding behind an armchair is certainly the way to go about that."

"Shut it," he muttered.

"Chicken," I told him.

"I'm not a chicken," he muttered.

"Really?" I said, "Prove it."

When he didn't budge I took him by the arm and hoisted him up so that he stood upright beside me.

The sudden movement made Max look up and glance in our direction. At the sight of Freddie she turned bright red. Freddie stared right back at her, too embarrassed to move. She picked up her books and marched away to the dormitories, avoiding his eye. Dan and Alex looked confused at her abrupt departure, until they saw Freddie storm out five seconds later, slamming the portrait hole behind him.

Everyone heard the fat lady squawk indignantly, "Violence is never the answer! And there's no need for kind of language!"

I sighed in frustration. The whole common room was looking at me or at the closed portrait hole.

"Show's over," I snapped at them angrily. 

Most people raised their eyebrows, but they all went back to what they were doing. Owen and Zach stared at me. I shrugged at them to say 'No, I have no idea what's wrong with our friend.'

I sat down with them and joined in their game of exploding snap. 

A shadow fell across the table. We looked up to see Walker, Dan and Alex looking serious and business-like.

"We need to talk," said Dan, taking a seat next to Zach, who turned bright red and inched away from her. Dan pretended not to notice.

Merlin I wish my friends would get their love lives in order. I'm getting tired of wasting time trying to sort them out.

"We need to do something about Max and Fred," Walker said.

There was a pause in which each person contemplated this idea.

"Like what?" Owen asked, "Aren't they mature enough to sort themselves out?"

The laugh that followed that comment gave him his answer.

"I was thinking a broom cupboard," Dan said.

"And I told her that that's a horrible cliché," Alex added.

I had to agree with Alex. 

"Do you have a better idea?" Owen asked her snidely, never missing out on an opportunity to make fun of her.

"Whatever my idea is I'm sure it's a lot better than yours, pee-brain," she responded cooly.

Owen should really know better than to challenge Alex Longbottom. That girl is always right. And it's infuriating.

"But seriously," Zach asked, "Does anyone actually have a better idea?"

Awkward silence.

Dan looked pleased with herself, "So it's agreed then? Operation broom cupboard, shall we call it?"

Operation Broom Cupboard made me want to upchuck, but none of us had a better plan.


*      *      *


Charlie POV


Max came skipping into breakfast the next morning.


I couldn't help but stare as she offered me a huge grin.

A happy Max is about as rare as an unhappy Fred.

But then again, looking at Fred, who was sitting a little further down the table and looking so depressed that he might drown himself in his bowl of cornflakes, maybe those odds had changed.

"What are you so cheerful?" I asked, with a mouthful of toast. Even that wasn't enough to make Max grimace.

"I've just been off playing cupid," she said, looking excited.

"Great," I said unenthusiastically, lifting my orange juice to my lips.

"I sent that letter off to Elliot," she blurted out.

I nearly chocked on the juice.

"You what?" I hissed.

Her smile faded, "I thought that's what we agreed."

"I thought you would at least let me read it first!" I cried.

"Sorry," she said, "Didn't think you were that interested."

I stared at her, "Interested? You didn't think I was interested in a love letter that I am supposedly sending?"

She shook her head.

"What did you write?" I hissed, grabbing her wrist and pulling her further towards me so that other people couldn't hear, "Tell me everything."

"Well in simplified terms I wrote: "Dear gorgeous frenchie, I would love to shag you, love Charlotte."

I felt the colour drain out of my face.

"You didn't."

"I did."

"Maxine Cecile Duchamp I swear on Merlin's polka dot trainers if you don't tell me you didn't I will tear you apart, limb from limb, right here, in the great hall."

"Fine," she said, "I didn't. I just said, very nicely, thank you so much for writing, dear sir, I agree that we should develop a correspondance as I fancy the pants off you."

"Max," I murmured warningly.

"Look, relax Charlie," she said, "I am knowledgeable in the ways of love. Do not fear, you are in safe hands."

"Really," I muttered, "Well if you're so knowledgeable, how come you and Freddie haven't talked in weeks?"

Max didn't answer. Her happy mood dissappeared and she started to help herself to some bacon and eggs.


*     *      *


We had agreed to meet in the library before going off to conduct Operation Broom Closet.

I looked about in the library and I saw Potter, amusing himself with two Hufflepuff girls who were laughing hysterically at something that probably wasn't very funny.

"Wow," one of them gasped, "It must be so difficult to be keeper."

"Nah," said Potter smugly, flexing his arm muscles, "I mean I've always got to be on the alert, you know, in case a bludger comes flying at me suddenly, like at that match last term."

"That bludger looked so painful!" the other girl looked concerned.

"Yeah, but I can handle a little pain," Potter said, "I only dislocated my shoulder."

"You're so brave," I interrupted, my voice filled with mock sympathy. They all looked at me, "Really Potter, I mean that bludger was huge! It was almost as big as your ego, and that's saying something."

The girls looked nervously to each other.

"Shoo," I hissed. They scurried away immediately. 

Hmm. My reputation as a vicious psychopath might actually be coming in useful.

"You're late," he said, smirking at me, annoyingly unfazed by my remarks.

"I'm not late, you're just early," I snapped, "Do you see anyone else here?"

"I'm here," Dan immediately cried out. She came rushing in with a few rolls of parchment under her arm, dark hair out of place and eyes wild with excitement. She was followed by Alex, Zach and Owen who all had equal amounts of boredom in their expressions.

We gathered around a small table and Dan revealed the parchment.

"I assume you brought the map, Potter," she said.

He pulled an old piece of parchment out of his back pocket. I stared at the map with envy. It was that map that had often given Potter the edge when it came to a prank or a competition.

Dan snatched it and rolled it out.

After a few minutes of searching she pointed at something.

"There's Max," she said, "In the common room. And there's Fred, talking to Professor Longbottom outside the greenhouses."

We nodded, and waited for her to tell us the plan.

She revealed the parchment and we all read.

Operation Broom Closet

Agents: Abbot






Target 1 : Maxine Ducamp

Target 2: Fred Weasley

Date and Time: Saturday, 26th February. 1300 hours.

Objective: Get target 1 and Target 2 to reveal shared feelings for one another.

Location: Broom Cupboard on Second Floor Corridor.



1. 13:07 : Agents Abbot and Longbottom will track down Target 1.

2. 13:07 : Agents Potter and Wood will track down Target 2.

3. 13:43: Once targets are located, targets must be lured to second floor corridor.

4. 13:45: Agents Walker and Williams will be waiting on the second floor corridor, wearing invisibility cloak.

5. 13:52: When both targets appear Agents Williams and Walker will perform the spell Petrificus totalus on both targets.

6. 13: 55: Once spell is complete the targets must be dragged into the broom cupboard. Once both are inside Agents Walker and Williams must perform the counter-curse, before quickly shutting and locking the door, leaving both targets inside the broom cupboard, with no way out.

7. 13:56: Once targets begin to snog, the door must be unlocked. Then all agents must run for their lives.

Mission Complete!


"Well?" Dan asked impatiently, "What do you think?"

There was a pause.

"I think you're insane," I told her honestly. 

She took this surprisingly well and she grinned happily, as though I'd just paid her a compliment.

"So, it's 1300 hours," she said, checking her watch, "Agent Walker and Williams," she pointed to Owen and I, "Go to second floor corridor with this," she handed me the invisibility cloak, "And wait for us."

"Fine," Owen said, "And we should get the map."

Potter handed him the map and we all went our separate ways.

"Operation broom Cupboard is officially a-go," Dan whispered in excitement.

*     *      *


The cloak felt way too uncomfortable with me and Owen in such a small, cramped space together. 

"So," he said, to fill the awkward silence, "Any thoughts on Operation kill-Nott?"

I looked at him wide eyed.

"You know we're not actually going to kill him, right?"

He chuckled. I could feel his breath on the nape of my neck and my hair stood up.

"I know," he said, "But you know what I mean. You're the mastermind on revenge."

"Is that a compliment or an insult?" I frowned at him.

"Definitely a compliment," he said slowly, his eyes fixed on mine.

I broke the gaze quickly, feeling tension rising between us.

"I don't know," I admitted, "Haven't thought about it much since the article."

"Did that bastard really blackmail you?" he asked darkly .

I frowned again at him. 

"Shouldn't you be more concerned about the fact that he's one of the main suspects for who cursed you?"

He shrugged, "Like I said before, doesn't bother me. I'm sure he was drunk at the time. But it doesn't stop him from being an arse."

I glanced down at the map again. Dan and Alex had tracked down Max, and Potter and Zach were already leading Fred up the grounds and into the castle.

"They'll be here soon," I murmured.

"Better make the most of the time then," came his soft reply.

I shivered a little. His arms held the cloak around us, which meant that his right arm came across my shoulder, and that his face was uncomfortably close to mine.

"I never properly thanked you," he whispered.

"For what?" I asked nervously.

"For standing up to Nott.  For not telling anyone the truth about my black eye."

I turned to look at him, and immediately wished I hadn't. His face was barely centimeters from mine, and I could feel heat radiating off of it.

My mouth went dry and I croaked, "You're welcome."

Suddenly he leaned in, too quickly. His lips barely brushed mine before I threw myself backwards, out from under the cloak.

He pulled the cloak off of himself, looking alarmed at my immediate reaction.

I couldn't look him in the eye, so I looked at the map.

I saw the dot labelled 'Maxine Duchamp' on the second floor corridor, and the dot labelled 'Fred Weasley' at the other end.

My whole body went cold.

Max was standing above me, staring at me with a look of horror on her face.

She looked from me, who'd just appeared out of nowhere, to Owen who was holding the cloak, to Fred, who stood at the opposite end of the corridor, looking just as horrified.

"M-max!" I stammered, "I can explain!"

"Save it," she muttered, "I can't believe you'd set me up like this Charlie."

With that she turned on her heel and stormed away.

Fred shot us both a look of loathing, and turned away in the opposite direction.

Well, I think I can safely say that Operation Broom Cupboard was a huge fail.

I leant against the wall and sighed.

"What just happened?" I murmured.

Owen dropped the cloak and sat down where he was.

"I tried to kiss you."

Oh. Yeah. That.

I couldn't even look at him properly. I was so embarrassed.

"And I caught you off guard."

I shook my head sorrowfully. I hadn't backed away because I was surprised. I had backed away because I didn't want him to kiss me. "I don't like you like that, Owen. I'm sorry if you thought otherwise."

There was a terrible pause. But it finally ended when he sighed.

"It was a bit of a long shot."

The mood between us instantly brightened, so I looked up at him.

"It's OK," he grinned at me, "But I hope we can still be friends."

I nodded, "I'd like that."

"I'm guessing you'll need one, after this."

"Considering Max is probably never going to talk to me again, I suppose I do," I smiled sadly.


* * *


Quidditch practice was a silent affair.

Rose, Sarah and Joanna threw the quaffle back and forth and Potter caught almost every goal that they threw towards him.

Albus was off looking for the snitch, whilst practicing his dives, and Nick and I practiced beating the bludgers towards targets that we had set up.

Peakes' obvious absence was what made it so awkward. Each one of us had read the article, and each one of us was terrified at how Peakes was going to react.

But he hadn't even bothered to show up. Maybe he'd gone and thrown himself off the astronomy tower in shame. Or maybe he was up there plotting, creating a plan that wouldn't just kick me off the team, but get me expelled.

Either way, I was screwed.

Practice ended a few minutes earlier, since none of us could stand the tension, and we all flew down to the ground.

"So where is he, then?" Rose asked.

None of us knew, so there was no answer.

"Someone's coming," Joanna said suddenly, looking up towards the castle.

A figure was walking towards the pitch, and as it came closer I could see, to my overwhelming relief that it wasn't Peakes. It was McGonagall. Never in my life had I been so pleased to see her.

She approached us briskly, and stood before us as though she was about to give an important announcement.

"Good afternoon," she said somberly, "I hope your practice is going well. I have come to announce that a new captain will be chosen in two weeks, the day before your quidditch match against Slytherin. However, as I have already made clear to Mr. Potter and Miss Walker, cheating, manipulating or, as you call it 'telling tales' will not be permitted. But I have also decided that anyone who does any one of these things is immediately out of the race for captain."

My heart sank.

It was over. 

I was never going to become captain, and neither was Potter. McGonagall was never going to elect a fourth year to become captain, so that meant that only Peakes was left in the running.

I hated her, in that moment, for being so unbelievably unfair and refusing to see my side of the story. Peakes would become captain, and he'd make sure that I was off the team. And McGonagall wouldn't give a shit.

"Therefore, I'm afraid," she said, looking directly at us, "Mr. Potter and Miss Walker are now out of the running for Gryffindor captain."

"But we told you we had nothing to do with it, Professor!" Potter immediately cried out, infuriated with her.

"Miss. Faye Hamel has filled me in on the details of where she got her information from, and it seems to point to both of you. The fact that you lied this morning weakened your credibility even more."

Potter hung his head and I could tell that he was livid with rage. I myself wanted to hit something, anything. More specifically I wanted to hit Faye Hamel. That sneaky, conniving little bitch.

"Professor we're not lying," I said suddenly, desperate to be heard in all of this, "Peakes threatened me. He told me that if-"

"Miss Walker, what did I just say?"

I fell silent.

"Professor!" came a call from across the field.

We all looked up and with a sharp intake of breath I saw Peakes himself, striding across the pitch boldly.

"What is it, Mr. Peakes?" McGonagall pursed her lips sharply at him.

"I would like to inform you that, as well as being a liar and a bad teammate, Walker punched me only this afternoon, when I confronted her about the lies her and Potter put in that article."

So he'd finally done it. He'd been serious all along. Since I wasn't playing by his rules he'd decided to get rid of me entirely.

"That's a lie!" I cried, "Professor please, this is what I was telling you-"

"Walker," Peakes glared at me, "I don't think you're in any position right now to be asking to be believed."


I felt my throat rip in two as I bellowed out those words. I lunged for him, waving my arms and screaming like a lunatic.

For the past few months I had been forced to play by the rules, so that I could be captain, or be on the team at all. Now neither one was in sight, and all I wanted to do was rip Peakes' skin from his face, and enjoy it.

I felt a strong pair of arms come around behind me, restraining me from going wild.

"YOU SLIMY, TREACHEROUS TOAD! I HATE YOU!" I roared at him. He only smirked at me.

Professor McGonagall let out a 'bang' with her wand and I fell silent, falling limp in the arms that were around me.

"See Professor?" Peakes smirked at me, "Wild as a savage."

"Mr. Peakes," she replied, her tone almost upbeat, "I was just informing the team of my decision to remove anyone who cheats, manipulates or 'tells tales' from the race for captain. I had only just removed Mr Potter and Miss Walker from the running. Now, frankly, whether you are blackmailing Miss Walker, or whether you cursed Owen Williams is none of my affair. Just as it is none of my affair whether Miss Walker punched you or not."

I gazed at her.

She was sticking up for me. Peakes' plan to get rid of me had failed! I was still on the team! 

I felt like hugging McGonagall. She was like my guardian angel.

Finally, after what seemed like years, something good had happened.

Peakes opened and closed his mouth.

"I'm afraid you are now out of the running for captain too, Mr. Peakes," she smiled at him, "May I say that I am deeply dissapointed in all of you."

She didn't look dissapointed. She looked pleased. Pleased to get rid of him.

Maybe, after all this, she was on my side.

Peakes looked outraged, and I could tell that he wasn't going to take this lying down.

"So who'll be captain then?" he demanded rudely.

"We'll see," McGonagall said mysteriously.

And with that she swooped off, striding away as though she didn't have a care in the world.

Peakes shot us one contemptuous glance, and stalked off.

Whoever had had their arms around me removed them instinctively and I looked around to see Potter.

"Why did you hold me back?" I demanded.

He raised an eyebrow, "That's no way to thank someone, Walker! If I hadn't held you back, you would've killed him, or at least done some serious damage, and who knows where you'd be then?"

I couldn't help but grin suddenly.

"We won," I said.

"He's still on the team, Walker."

"I don't care," I said happily, "He's never going to blackmail me again! He doesn't have anything on me now!"

"But neither of us can be captain," Potter pointed out.

"Oh," I muttered, my good mood disappearing.

Meet James Potter. Master in the skill of wet blanketry.

The rest of the team approached us.

"We can do something about that," Albus said kindly.

The rest of the team smiled at us, and I was reminded of how utterly and genuinely nice they all were.

"Yeah," Rose grinned, "We'll talk to McGonagall. We're one hundred percent behind you."

"Thanks Rosie," Potter smiled at her, "But I'm not sure if it'll make much of a difference."

"Oh really?" Rose smiled, pulling out a piece of parchment from behind her back.

"What is that?" I asked her.

"You don't remember?" Sarah grinned, "You and James signed it last term, promising not to make any trouble."

Oh. That pact.

"We're going to show it to McGonagall," Albus said, "She'll see that you care about the team, and that you're dedicated."

I felt as though they were overestimating us a bit. Were we really that dedicated? Or did signing the pact just mean that we were so obsessed with becoming captain that we'd do anything to make it happen?

I didn't even know anymore.


* * *


James POV


"So Operation Broom Cupboard failed," Dan said calmly, "We'll just have to think of something else."

"Don't you think we should just leave them be?" Alex asked, "They're already so angry with us they'll never listen to anything we have to say again."

"All the more reason to get them together, and get them to forgive us," Dan said.

We all sat around the tables in the common room, except for Walker. 

"Well I'll call another meeting when I come up with something else," Dan said purposefully, gathering up her books. 

Alex followed her out.

"Tell me again why it failed?" Zach asked Owen, "You and Charlie blew your cover?"

Owen chuckled a little, "It was a bit too awkward to say in front of everyone. I tried to kiss her."

My mouth dropped open, like in the cartoons. No way. There was no way that Owen would be into someone like Walker.

"W-what?" I spluttered.

"I tried to kiss her," Owen repeated, frowning at my flabbergasted expression.

"B-but you're into her?" I demanded.

Owen shrugged, "We talked while we were doing our herbology project, and, well, she's cool. I thought there might be something there."

"But there wasn't?" Zach asked, "Sorry, mate."

"Easy for you to say," Owen laughed at him, "You've got girls falling all over you! Didn't Dan tell you she liked you again last term?"

Zach mumbled something incoherent, his face growing red with embarrassment.

"You're still into Longbottom," Owen sighed in annoyance, "Honestly, Wood, why would you go for her if you can have Dan? Dan has a much nicer arse."

"We're not getting into this again," Zach grinned.

I was barely even listening to what they were saying.

First that guy at the wedding and now Owen? What was wrong with the world? 

Walker wasn't ugly, I supposed, but she was hardly boyfriend material. Hell, she still wore boys clothes.

I knew I had to talk to her about this.

I didn't know why, or what I was going to say, but I had to.

*     *   *

She was on the fourth floor, chatting to some sixth year gryffindor guys. I immediately felt angry.

Barging through the line of sixth years, who were all laughing at something she'd said, I stood directly in front of her.

"I need to talk to you," I told her quietly, trying to control my rising anger.

She glanced at the sixth years.

"Sorry guys," she said to them, "Potter's having lady troubles. I said I'd help him out."

The sixth years smirked, but I ignored her jab. I had more important things on my mind.

I dragged her further down the corridor, away from the sixth years.

"What do you want?" she asked me, folding her arms expectantly.

"What were you doing with those guys?" I snapped.

She frowned darkly, "It's none of your business."

"It is my business," I insisted, "What? Planning on kissing them too?"

She stared at me, "So that's what this is about."

"Yes," I snapped, "I'm talking about you and Owen."

"They were asking me about the team," she sighed, looking bored,  "They wanted to know if I knew who's going to be the next captain. That's all."

"Really?" I hissed sarcastically.

"Really," she shrugged, "Now if you don't mind, I will be going."

She made to leave but I blocked her way with my outstretched arm. I was reminded of this morning, when she'd had her back against the wall, our faces so close you could count each other's eyelashes.

"So since when are you and Owen a thing?" I asked in a low voice, not sure why I was asking.

"We're not," she hissed, "He tried to kiss me. I told him I just wanted to be friends. And that was that."

So nothing had happened? She'd rejected him?

For some inexplicable reason I felt happy at this news.

"Oh," was all I could say.

"Yeah," she snapped, "Oh. Now kindly take your hand off the wall so that I can leave."

When I didn't budge she sighed irritatedly.

"I don't even know why I have to explain myself to you Potter," she said angrily, "I mean it's not like I ask what you're doing with Faye, or those Hufflepuff bimbos from the library this morning."

I smirked at her, "Are you jealous?" 

She looked so surprised at the question that she was speechless for a few moments.

"Am I jealous?" she gasped incredulously.

"I think you're jealous," I grinned, loving the fact that she was too shocked to move.

What was I doing? 

"I'm not jealous, you prick," she uttered darkly, "If anyone's jealous it's you."

I brought my face, if it was possible, even closer to hers.

"And why would I be jealous?" I asked softly.

Why would I be jealous? It's not like I wanted her.

"What were you doing talking to those guys?" she put on a (very bad) imitation of me, "Since when are you and Owen a thing?"

Okay, when she put it like that...

She suddenly chuckled once she'd realized that I was speechless.

She continued to laugh, and it was a mocking laugh. It was a laugh that made my blood boil. Her eyes were challenging me, full of dark laughter.

I had to make it stop, I had to make her stop.

I couldn't let her keep mocking me like that. My hands began to shake with anger.

"Jealous," she whispered, a broad smirk on her face. She was so close that her breath tickled my neck.

"I'm not jealous," I said, feeling a shiver go down my spine.

Fuck, what was happening?

"Really?" she let out another low, husky laugh.

Her eyelashes fluttered for a moment. I exhaled slowly. 

Deep breaths. Deep breaths. It was all I could think to do.

"Really," I muttered.

She looked me straight in the eye then, the blueness of her pupils piercing me. Then she leant even further forwards, so that our noses were almost touching.

If anyone had seen this scene, they'd have thought Walker was trying to seduce me. But I could see the look in her eyes wasn't mischievous, or even flirtatious. No, it was pure anger.

The way she was staring at me, I could tell that she hated me.

"Doesn't look like it," she whispered.

And that was when I kissed her.



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