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Keep Holding On by chibitotoro
Chapter 15 : "Kindly stop ogling, and leave"
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 4


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AN: Thanks to everyone who reviewed! I'm so glad people are still reading this! <3 This chapter should serve as a reward for sticking around so long :)

Chapter 15- "Kindly stop ogling, and leave"

“V? Where have you been all night?” Angie asked, sitting up as I crept into the dormitory after the third night of detention.  Snape has been keeping me later and later by taking longer and longer to grade his papers.  I swear, he stared at the last essay for fifteen minutes without even moving his quill in the slightest just so I would stay an extra fifteen minutes.

“I’ve been...studying,” I said, hiding my hands behind me even though she couldn’t see them in the dark anyway.

“Have you?  You seem to be doing that a lot.  Good for NEWTs, I suppose.  Damn, I ought to get started on studying for those.  Good thing McGonagall came to her senses and didn’t give us any detention, eh?” Angie said sleepily.

“Yeah,” I said quietly. “Night, Angie.”

“Night.”

“Hey,” Angie said suddenly just as I was about to enter the bathroom. “How is that magic ink going?”

“Not going away any faster,” I said with a shrug.

“Best of luck to you,” she said, collapsing back on her bed with a loud “oof”.

Ok, so I got away with the stains on my hands by telling my friends I was using magic ink and it spilled over my hands.  I know.  It seems like I’m just lying left and right, but I’ve made amends with all my friends in the past few days, as soon as I let them all know I was angry they kept the whole Wood fiasco from me, everything was resolved.  So a few white lies won’t hurt.  Truth is, by the time I went to talk to them, I wasn’t even angry anymore, just relieved they even still wanted to be friends.  I didn’t want them to know I was taking their detention for them even if it was my fault they had it in the first place. 

I leaned forward, surveying the bags that were forming under my eyes.  You are looking tired, Valencia.  And your hands certainly look worse today than yesterday.  Quite a few more scratches on it than before.  Thank goodness nobody pays close attention to anyone else’s hands.  At least it’s three days down, four to go.

**
The hype of the Gryffindor-Ravenclaw match was buzzing all over the school.  I sat with everyone for lunch when Wood popped by to remind (more like annoy) everyone about practice.  The two of us haven’t spoken since that night in the corridor, and when either of us sees the other, we run the other way.

“Practice tonight. Don’t forget!  Seven sharp.  Weasleys, bring your bats.  Chasers, make sure you have the extra Quaffels for practice!” Everyone groaned as he rattled on, oblivious to their annoyed sighs and looks.

“Wood, we get it,” Angie said, swatting at him.

“I have to find Harry and tell him about practice.”

Wood met eyes with me just before he skirted off to find Harry, and I could feel a sudden coldness settle in his eyes as he and I made eye contact.  Well, any hope of him feeling any better about me is out the metaphorical window.  Manny noticed and when Wood walked off, she turned to me, saying, “Give him some time.”

“Manny, we’re probably beyond that.”

“Won’t you tell them?” She lowered her voice, and I knew she was talking about the detention situation.  The only one I told about the second meeting with Professor McGonagall was Manny, and I had sworn her to silence about the matter.

I shook my head wordlessly before turning to listen to Fred and George tell a joint joke about an Irishman in a pub.

**
Scrub, scrub, scrub.  Water.  Soap.  Scrub, scrub, scrub.  Sigh.  Scrub, scrub...sigh...

“Cohen, you’re the reason you’re in detention.  Do stop moaning, and just clean, would you?” Snape said, rubbing his temple.  “I’m trying to do something.” 

And indeed he was.  He had a bunch of ingredients sitting around him, none of which looked particularly friendly.  He threw in a few herbs, and the whole thing let out a plume of smoke that expanded so quickly that it reached me within seconds.  I started coughing as I inhaled the potion residue.  It was disgusting.  I felt like the dust had stuck to the roof of my mouth and lungs like tar.

I sneezed violently for a few moments while Snape shouted, “Cohen!  Stop that infernal coughing and sneezing!  I’m trying to concentrate!”

When the smoke finally cleared, I was still coughing and practically collapsed on the floor.  I was trying so hard not to cough, tears were springing up in my eyes, and I didn’t notice a third person present until Snape suddenly said, “Mr. Wood, your coughing doesn’t help any more than Ms. Cohen’s does.”

Wood? The cough caught in my throat, and instead of a normal cough, I let out a guttural noise followed by a series of coughs, which earned me another glare from Snape. 

“Sorry, Professor,” Wood’s familiar voice came from the doorway. “I have the essay you asked me to turn in.” Wood walked forward with a roll of parchment clutched in his hands.

“Put it on that desk,” Snape said pointing to a nearby table.  Wood looked over at me as he passed me by with a mixture of surprise and contempt.  He was probably trying to decide if he ought to pity me for my current state or be angry at me for even getting him in trouble in the first place.  Prat.  I saw Snape give me another one of his glares, and I knew I should continue my scrubbing and sighing.  I swept a lock of hair behind my ear before grabbing the very dark sponge that was oozing out black water.  I grimaced a little, but set to work scrubbing off something burned to the edge.

“Mr. Wood, kindly stop ogling Ms. Cohen and leave.”

My head snapped up just in time to see Wood’s eyes shift away quickly.  Bowing his head slightly, he hurried out of the dungeons, leaving me alone with Snape again.  Snape’s eyes flitted to me momentarily before he began what looked like it was going to be the hardest part of the potion.  His hands were steady, but the look of concentration on his face told me that the next step was crucial.  Just as he was about to tip some brown liquid into the potion, I spoke up.

“New sponge, Professor?”

Snape practically howled.

I was on my way out after another two hours of cleaning when I ran into Samson with his friends.  He looked at my hands in horror, and promptly ignored my waving.  Having a younger brother is just annoying.  A few moments later, I felt a hand grab my wrist.  I turned to see Samson staring at my hands with that same look of fear and disgust.

“Oh, quit it, would you?” I said, pulling my hand away from him.

“Dad sent you a letter.  You weren’t around to get it so it came to me.” He searched around in his pocket for a while before pulling out a crumpled letter that looked like it could have very well been thrown into a lake, dried out in the sun, eaten by numerous creatures from the Forbidden Forest, and then suddenly found and given to me.  I rolled my eyes.  Wait a minute.  It’s almost curfew.  What’s my little brother doing out at this time?

“Samson, it’s almost past curfew.  Get to bed.  In fact, all of you should be getting to bed.”

“It’s none of your business,” he pouted, crossing his arms. “I gave you the letter.  Now, I’m going to go.”

“Oh, no you don’t,” I said, grabbing his wrist before he could escape.  He whined loudly, pulling against me.  “Dad and Mum told me to look after you.  What are you doing out at this time of night?”

“We’re just going to have some fun!”

“You have class tomorrow.  Get to bed.”

By now, Samson’s friends had taken note of his absence, and come back to find him.  Dan, his closest friend, was at the forefront.  “Hi, Valencia.”

“Hey, Dan.  What are you boys doing out and about so close to curfew?  You know that Filch will have your heads if you’re caught.”

“So we won’t get caught,” Dan said, shrugging. Samson ripped my fingers off of his wrist and ran back to his friends.

“Come on.  Let’s go,” he said, tossing me a look that told me he was clearly embarrassed by me. 

“Actually, no.  You guys are going back to bed.”

“Haven’t you ever wanted to go and have fun?”

“Of course.  But not when I’m a Second Year that has papers due for Snape tomorrow.”

Shifty glances confirmed my suspicions.  Of course, having detention with Snape also helps with knowing when assignments are due.  After finishing his disgusting potion, Snape started grumbling about how he had to grade incompetent Second Year papers tomorrow.  He disappeared with the potion, snarling that I shouldn’t try any funny stuff while he was gone, and returned in a few moments with an empty goblet. It was odd, but hardly anything beyond the scope of oddities for Snape. 

“Come on.  You’re all going back to finish your essays and sleep,” I said, reaching forward to take Samson’s wrist.

“No!” he protested, pulling away before I could reach him.

“Samson,” I said, my voice taking on a dangerous edge. “If Mum and Dad find out about this, you’ll be in trouble.  You understand this, right?  Now, all of you, are coming back.”

“No,” a chorus of little voices said defiantly.  I groaned. 

“I’ll hoist you all back if I have to,” I said, feeling the lie on my tongue.  There was no way I would be able to bring four kicking and screaming Second Year boys back to the Gryffindor Tower myself.

“You can’t!  You’re too weak,” one of them clarified obnoxiously.  The others tittered in agreement, nodding vigorously.  I narrowed my eyes at Samson, who eventually stopped nodding.

“She might be, but I wouldn’t test me,” a voice behind me startled me, and I whirled around to see the tall figure of Oliver Wood standing a few feet away, leaning against the stone wall.  The Second Years cowered a little as Wood walked over and leaned down.

“Now, if you’re all good, and come back to the Gryffindor Tower without a fuss, I’ll let you all take a lap around the Pitch on my Nimbus after the Ravenclaw game.”

My mouth gaped.  What?  He’d let them ride his precious Nimbus, but he flipped when I did it once?  I’m a good five years older!  Where does he get off doing that?  Sexist!  While I fumed about Wood’s inequality, the four boys looked at one another and nodded obediently.

Wood turned to me and smiled slightly.  I glared at him.  “Come on, boys,” I said sourly.

The whole way back the boys just talked about how they’d never been able to ride a Nimbus, and how much fun it would be.  One of them mentioned the Firebolt that Harry had, and all at once the boys began scheming as to how they might get Harry to let them have a go on the Firebolt.  It might be surprising that Samson’s never ridden a Nimbus, but Dad never really trusted Samson with high caliber brooms, especially the Nimbus when it first came out. 

We filed into the Gryffindor Tower just as curfew began.  The boys trudged upstairs to their dormitory, and I turned to make my way up the girl’s side.

“Cohen,” Wood called out, “Stay a minute, will you?”

I stopped and walked to the couch where he was standing.  It felt awkward to sit there after our last conversation since it was more a shouting match than anything else.  There was a silence in which it seemed like Wood regretted even stopping me.

“Thanks,” I said quietly, staring into the fire.

“For what?”

“For getting the boys back.”

“That’s fine.  I remember being Samson’s age.  I felt like I could have the whole world at my fingertips if only I could break a few rules to get at it.  Of course, I snuck out to play Quidditch more often than not.” He chuckled a little bit as he sat down beside me. 

“How did you chance to meet us there?” I asked.

“I was talking with Professor Lupin.  What were you doing scrubbing cauldrons with Snape?”

I turned to look him in the eye, but he was staring resolutely at his feet.  I bit my lip before saying, “I got in trouble for making fun of him, and he caught me.”  I seem to be on a roll with the lying thing.  I haven’t told so many lies in years, and I have a feeling that if I’m not careful, my web of lies will come crashing down on me sooner or later.

“Cohen, you’re a shoddy liar,” Wood said with a wry smile.  Apparently, it’s sooner rather than later.

“What?”

“I talked to Professor Lupin.  He told me what you did.  What did you go do that for, Cohen?” He sounded upset with me, which I couldn’t really understand.  Why did he sound upset? It’s what he wanted, wasn’t it?  To not have detention anymore so that he could train his team?  Wood took my wrist and turned it over so my palm faced up.  He grimaced a little at a particularly painful looking gash that ran across the palm.  I was at a loss for words because of how genuinely concerned he looked. 

He shook his head in disbelief.  “What is Snape doing?”

“It’s fine,” I said, pulling my hand back quickly. “It doesn’t even hurt anymore.”

“Why did you do it?”

“It was my fault.  I should have taken the brunt of the punishment.”

Wood leaned back, letting out a loud sigh.  He muttered to himself, “I should have known.”  Running a hand through his hair, he let out another heavy sigh.

“Really, Wood, you’re acting as if you’re the one cleaning cauldrons.”

“I should be, shouldn’t I?” he retorted, casting me a dark glance.

“No.  What you should be doing is sitting here thinking up plays like you do most nights!” I huffed, standing up.  He was so ungrateful!  I was taking on the cauldrons and scratches for the team, and all he can think of is how he ought to be wasting his time doing the same? 

“Cohen, I threw the first punch.  Regardless of why it happened, I threw the first punch.” He stood up, towering over me impressively. 

“Oh, shut up, and just go make your plays so you can win this game.  It’s all you care about anyways!  Why should what I choose to do matter to you?” I shot, walking away from him.  I heard him follow me, and I sped up, but his long arm caught my wrist, pulling me back.

“It matters, Cohen, because you’re hurt because of it.”

“Again, what do you care?  You didn’t care when Harry fell off his broom and almost died!  All you cared about was that you’d lost the game!  You didn’t care that everybody wanted to go to Hogsmeade on Valentine’s Day!  You made them go to practice.  You don’t care about anybody but yourself!” I shouted, words spilling out without any resistance.

“That’s where you’re wrong,” he said, his voice a dangerous whisper. He looked at me like he wanted to yell, shout, and scream at me, but the words didn’t seem to be forming correctly.  He stood there, glaring at me heatedly, and I was no less defiant as I stared back at him.  His brown eyes looked black in the dim lighting, but I could make out the furious glint in them.  His mouth opened a little as if he was going to say something, and I was ready to yank my hand away and make a run for it up the stairs.  Then for some inexplicable reason, one that to this day I can’t make out, I stood up on my tip toes, and I kissed him.

AN: Yeah..that's right! ^^


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