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Chapter 4 : Oh, the Unfairness of it All
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“Ground rules? Really? Are you honestly so insecure in your position as the man -”
“Oh, shut it. I’ve had enough of you insulting me for today. Just a random question - are you always this snarky, or is it just around me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I’m snarky to everyone. No discrimination here,” I say with a winning smile across my face.
“Anyway, the rules. I have only two conditions. Number one - you join the Quidditch team. Number two - no punching, hitting, slapping, smacking, poking, pinching, or kicking.”
Well, he’s just taking away all my fun, now isn’t he? Isn’t it bad enough that I have to be hanging around with him all the time?
Honestly, how can he take away my kick? That’s my thing. Everyone knows me as the girl who likes to kick people.
My life is so unfair.
No punching, hitting, slapping, smacking, poking, pinching, or kicking... But wait! He didn’t outlaw the bite! The almighty bite lives!
I feel the early workings of a smirk begin to form on my face as Oliver glances warily at me. “And no biting,” he adds hastily.
Damn you, Wood.
Oliver’s face suddenly lights up as a thought crosses through his brain. “Unless we’re, you know...”
“No,” I say slowly, bringing my goblet up for a drink.
I splutter violently, spraying drops of my juice from my mouth in an extremely attractive fashion. “Wha - NO!”
Oliver surveys me calmly as he brings a piece of toast up to his mouth. He blinks twice, chews slowly, and goes back for another bite.
I’m practically dying here, and all he can think about is his own bloody breakfast. Some fake boyfriend he is.
“If you even think for one second that there will be snogging involved in this, I will -”
“What? You’ll what? Kick me? Oh, wait. You can’t.”
“God, Oliver, I ha-ey, Chloe,” I say abruptly, covering up my rant.
Smooth, Lex. Very smooth.
“Hiya!” she exclaims brightly.
Her blonde hair flops over her eyes as she plops down beside me on the bench, the rat’s nest once inhabiting her head now thoroughly tamed. Good for her. Gotta look good for Andrew and all, even though he’s a good-for-nothing twat.
I really do love my friends, don’t I?
“So, did I miss anything exciting?” she asks.
“Lex and I are together!” Oliver says with a little too much enthusiasm for my taste.
Like I said - he’s a bloody sadist. He knows how much torture this is putting me through. It’s like a bite straight to my soul.
Yes, a bite. That’s how serious this is.
“OH MY GODRIC!” Chloe squeals before pulling me into a lung-crushing hug.
Eh - can’t - breathe - need - air -
“I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!”
“Hey Clo? I think you’re squeezing the life out of my girlfriend,” Oliver cuts in, and Chloe squeezes even tighter at the word girlfriend.
Girlfriend. Bleh. Kill me now.
Wait, Chloe’s already on that one. Never mind.
She releases me and I gulp down molecules of precious, life-giving air with ferocity. “Personal space, Chloe. Two-foot radius. Got it?”
Chloe simply grins and hops up and down excitedly. Another obnoxiously loud squeal escapes from her lips as she squirms with pure delight. “I just knew it! I told you he fancied you! Gosh, it was so obvious. He’s totally had a thing for you for years. Right, Oliver?”
“Er - right?” he responds, looking utterly more confused than normal.
“But wait,” Chloe begins, calming herself and settling back onto the bench. “What about Noel?”
Just the thought of him does wonky things to my brain. That boy is too delicious for his own good. Gah... mental drool...
“Never mind, I don’t really care. Who cares about Noel? You two are together! Eep! I’m so excited! Oh, I’ve got to go tell FrednGeorge!” Chloe exclaims before she darts out of the Great Hall with a speed I’ve never seen her exhibit on the way to any class.
You know, if she spent half as much time studying as she did gossiping, she might actually be one of the brightest in our year. But the chances of that happening are about as slim as Percy Weasley confessing his sudden desire to run away and join the circus through interpretative dance.
I sigh and take a bite of my toast whilst staring dreamily over at the Ravenclaw table. Noel looks so dishy today, with his cute brown fringe and sparkling green eyes...
“Lex! Have you heard a single thing I’ve said?”
“Huh?” I ask stupidly, snapping out of my Noel-induced coma.
“Dear God, can you stop drooling over Noel Hemsley for two seconds? I’m supposed to be your boyfriend, not him.”
Oh, Oliver’s blathering on about something. Hm... let’s see. Stare at Noel or listen to Oliver? Gee, that’s a hard choice to make.
Mmm... So delectable...
“Could you at least have the decency to pretend to listen to me?” Oliver snaps. “Now, as I was saying -”
But before he can get back on topic, I very maturely stuff my piece of toast in his mouth.
“Fwuh fwar yhew -”
“Stuff it, Oliver,” I say, cutting off his protests.
I’m so punny. Ha! And he thinks that I’m too stupid for Ravenclaw.
Oliver swallows the bite of toast currently inhabiting his mouth and glares at me. “Freak,” he mutters under his breath.
“It’s better than being a -”
“Morning,” Justin mumbles as he and Andrew take their places across the table from us.
Andrew greets us with a groan and drops his head heavily onto the table. “Perhaps you can explain to us why Chloe very noisily informed us that you two are a couple?”
Oliver shrugs and casually butters another piece of toast. “Because we are.”
“Really? Good for you, mate,” Justin says faintly.
“Honestly, you two are so pathetic,” I cut in. “You should know better than to go out and get this wasted.”
“Keep it down, would you? And why is it so bloody loud in here?” Andrew moans from the tabletop.
I roll my eyes and pull a small vial out from my pocket. “If I were you, Andrew, I wouldn’t be telling the girl who has the Hangover Cure to ‘keep it down.’”
Both boys instantly perk up at my mention of the potion. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?” Justin asks wonderingly.
“Save it. You’re just lucky Pomfrey wasn’t in her office when I came down for breakfast. Here’s the deal - I’ll give you the potion, but you have to tell me why you went out drinking last night. Do we have an understanding?”
“Sure,” Andrew says quickly. “Now just give us the damn cure.”
I pour a bit in each of their goblets - not all of it, mind you, I might need some later - and the boys gulp it down ravenously. The potion takes effect right away, and they both straighten up and stop with the incessant groaning.
“You hungry?” Justin inquires, staring disgustedly at the food in front of them.
“Not really. Forgot how the potion takes your appetite,” Andrew grunts.
“Let’s go back to the common room then, shall we?” Oliver ventures, standing up and stretching.
Andrew, Justin, and I follow his lead and the four of us wander out of the Great Hall. As we push through the huge double doors, Oliver’s hand finds its way into mine and I nearly jerk away in shock. He nudges me in the side and shoots me a warning look, but the boys don’t seem to notice anything. The only thing they do notice is the fact that there is, indeed, hand holding occurring.
Andrew punches Oliver on the arm, a wide grin splitting across his face. “Nicely done, mate. You’ve only fancied Lex since what? Fourth year?”
Oliver coughs violently as his face turns to a shade of scarlet rivalling that of the Gryffindor house crest. My eyes, meanwhile, have for all intents and purposes popped out of my skull and rolled across the floor to a waiting Mrs. Norris, who then proceeds to bat them around with her paws. Lovely.
When Chloe says it, it’s fine. She runs on speculation and nearly everything that passes from her lips is untrue. But when Andrew says it - that’s another story entirely. He, Justin, and Oliver have been inseparable since our first year. They’re practically brothers, and they share more secrets than than any girls I know.
So you can understand why I am a bit distraught by Andrew’s comment.
“Thanks, Drew,” Oliver mutters, turning an even brighter shade of red.
I feel a flush creep its way onto my face and neck, then watch as it proceeds to crawl down my arm to where my hand is still locked with Oliver’s.
How is it that I always manage to find myself in the most awkward of situations?
“Anyway,” I say, voice abnormally high, “spill you two. What’s up with the random drunkenness?”
Justin lets out a soft chuckle and shoves his fingers back through his hair. “Funny you should mention that... See, we were out wandering the halls last night and we happened to run into that Kershaw bloke from Ravenclaw. You know, that one you snogged the life out of last year?”
I grit my teeth and nod, resisting the urge to kick him in the shin for merely mentioning that bastard’s name, let alone reminding me of what I so stupidly did.
“Well,” Andrew says, taking over, “we’ve always had a bit of a rivalry with him. He’s captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, our best mate’s the captain of the Gryffindor team.”
“And?” I spit out, feeling the desire to kick grow ever stronger.
“He started bragging to us about how he’d just sneaked in a whole load of Firewhiskey -”
“- and about how we can’t hold our liquor -”
“- clearly, he’s never been to a party with us before -”
“- honestly, the bloke has no respect for us at all -”
“- huge insult if you ask me -”
“Oi! I just want to know what happened!” I screech.
“Fine,” Justin says. “Here’s what went down. We were, of course, anxious to defend our honour, so we made a little wager of sorts. Simple, really. Person who downs the most shots wins.”
“Wins what?” I hiss at him.
Andrew gulps nervously and his eyes dart to the ground, avoiding my glare. “He was being a cheat. Otherwise we totally would have won -”
“Er - um - well - we may have told Danny that he could have you if he won and we wouldn’t beat him up for it -”
“YOU WHAT?” Oliver and I yell simultaneously.
My free hand curls menacingly into a fist, finger nails digging into my palm. Meanwhile, Justin and Andrew exchange fleeting glances and stare nervously at the clenched weapon.
“Well you see,” Justin begins shakily, “he started talking about he was going to try to get with you again - something about his first and Noel Hemsley - and we told him we would pummel him if he tried anything because of what he did last time, yeah? And he said fine, but if he won the bet then he could have a go at you anytime he pleased without our interference -”
I am going to murder them. Slowly and painfully.
“You better run,” I snarl before jerking towards the boys violently.
Unfortunately, I forgot that my hand is oh-so conveniently attached to Oliver’s. And that he is stronger than I am. And that Andrew and Justin are his best mates.
I’m really quite a forgetful person. I should get a Remberall. I’ll have to write my mum to send me one... If I can remember to, that is.
“Woah, woah, woah. Not so fast,” Oliver murmurs, tightening his grip on my hand.
Yeah. Like he’s going to stop me. I will kill them, even if I have to rip my own arm out of its socket to do it.
Andrew and Justin simply stand there and stare at me, a mixture of fear and curiosity written across their features.
It would probably be a smart idea for them to run right about now.
But hey, they’re not in Ravenclaw for a reason.
So, as the boys continue to stand there and stare stupidly at me, I make a lunge at them again.
...only to be stopped by a pair of stupidly muscular arms that stupidly wrap themselves around me.
Stupid bloody Oliver. After I take Andrew and Justin out, he’s next on my list. Wait - that’s not right. It’ll be Andrew and Justin, then Danny Kershaw, then Oliver. And after Noel’s best mate Danny unexplainably kicks the bucket, he’ll be so upset that he’ll need a shoulder to cry on. As in my shoulder. And then Noel will be so amazed by my sensitive and caring nature that he’ll fall madly in love with me and ask me to marry him on the spot. We’ll live happily ever after and have three kids named Matt and Jonath-
Holy frick. What am I even thinking? What’s even happening right now?
“Control your woman!” Andrew yells, pointing shakily at Oliver.
Oh, that’s right. He’s stopping me from lunging after them like the psychotic bint that I am. Huh. How did I forget about that? I think it had something to do with Noel...
Back to reality, Lexi! Come on, don’t think about his gorgeous sea green eyes that go on forever...
“She is so whipped,” Justin comments, staring in wonderment at my captured body. “Mate, you’ve just saved us from another year of pain and kicks! She stopped struggling just from you putting your arms around her - imagine what she’d do if you snogged her -”
Huh? What’s he going on about? I’ve been subdued because of dazzling, dreamy, dishy Noel, not because of stupid Oliver.
“What would you do if I snogged you, Lex?” Oliver murmurs in my ear.
“Don’t even think about it, you sodding perv,” I whisper back whilst attempting to not appear murderous.
Ha. Yeah right. Andrew told me on the train that I have a look of murderous rage permanently etched on my face. I’ve got to remember to kick him for that one.
Andrew lets loose a short bark of laughter and turns to face Justin incredulously. “What are you on about, mate? Oliver’s clearly the one who’s whipped - he’s only fancied her forever -”
“All right, that’s it. I’m letting her go,” Oliver says, removing his arms.
Justin and Andrew exchange horrified glances and immediately sprint towards the stairs. I dart after them with a vengeance, adrenaline and anger pulsing through my veins.
“You better run! As soon as I get a hold of you back-stabbing, infuriating little prats -” My words are cut off with a huff of frustration as the boys disappear from my line of sight, rounding a corner far in front of me.
This is just unfair. It’s not my fault that I’m a girl and can’t run as fast. They really should cut me a little slack.
“Going somewhere, Miss Covington?” an icy voice drawls from behind me.
I grimace as the voice registers in my muddled up brain, then quickly rearrange my facial features into a smile of (hopefully) non-murderous pleasantry. The swish of a dark cloak echoes menacingly with footsteps around the corridor, and as the sounds draw nearer, I prepare myself for impact.
Professor Snape paces toward me at a a painfully slow rate, eyes lingering on the flush of my cheeks, hate pouring from the dark pits of his eyes. And that’s just as well, because I hate him right back.
Yeah. I know. A Gryffindor who hates the Head of Slytherin House. Total shocker. But in my defence, he totally started it.
There I was, just a tiny first year scared out of my mind, trying to find my way back from the library (where I was researching something for Potions, mind you). Unfortunately, I got lost. For a very long time. Late at night. As in it-was-past-curfew-before-I-realised-where-I-was late. And guess who just happened to stumble upon me? Yes, Professor Snape, who instead of taking pity on a poor, distraught first year, docked me ten house points and gave me detention! Detention! My first detention ever, all because I was trying to do my homework.
It was a traumatising experience, okay?
So yeah, I hate him for that to this day.
I tend to hold grudges for extremely long periods of time.
I’m stubborn. Get over it.
“Running in the corridors, Miss Covington? Surely you know that’s a safety hazard,” he sneers at me condescendingly.
Really? All this because I was running in the bloody corridor? Who. Gives. A. Frick.
“Well, you see, Professor -”
“Save the excuses.”
My mouth drops open in outrage as Snape continues to survey me coldly. This is so unfair. He’s had it out for me since that incident in my first year. I mean, come on. It was only my first week in the castle! I got lost! I don’t understand how that warrants six years of torture.
Okay, so it might have something to do with the fact that I kicked him in the leg after he gave me my detention.
I maintain that it was totally justified. He started it, God dammit!
“Is there a problem here, Professor?” a smooth voice asks from behind me.
Holy frick. I would know that voice anywhere. NOEL! My knight in shining armour, my beautiful prince, my saviour -
“Why yes, Mr. Hemsley, there is. Your wonderful Prefect was sprinting throughout the corridor in a direct violation of school policy.”
“Ah, I see. Well, Professor, I know that there is absolutely no excuse for breaking school rules, but my wonderful Prefect here was just trying to catch two perpetrators from escaping. Isn’t that right, Lex?”
My life is complete.
“Isn’t that right, Lex?”
“Huh? Wha - yeah!” I exclaim.
Snape’s face twitches at my words, clearly disappointed in his ability to corner me into defeat. “Fine,” he snaps, glaring at the two of us violently. “But don’t let it happen again.” And with that, he strides away from us quickly, feet clacking against the stone floor.
“Running?” Noel asks, cocking an eyebrow at me. “Really?”
“Don’t give me that look. I was just doing as you said - trying to catch the perpetrators.”
Noel rolls his eyes and we both begin to move in step together. We’re so in sync. We should just get married right now.
“So, you and Wood, huh?”
“I have to admit, Lexi, I always thought you kind of had a thing for me instead.”
Uh - WHAT? Have I really been that obvious? I mean sure, I stare (non)creepily at him all the time, but lots of girls do that -
“It’s too bad about you and Wood,” Noel continues, “because I was going to ask you to Hogsmeade next month. Oh well.” He shrugs, and my heart explodes.
GAH WHAT? BUT - BUT - BUT - NO!
BLOODY OLIVER. I’M GOING TO KILL HIM.
Forget Andrew. Forget Justin. Forget Danny. Oliver is going to die.
I laugh nervously and shove my hand back through my hair, watching as Noel’s face starts to blush. “But I thought you fancied Penny Clearwater,” I say in a small voice.
“I did, until I figured out that anyone who’s willing to date Percy Weasley probably isn’t a good match for me.”
“Ah, the Perce Man,” I comment drily, and Noel chuckles at my words.
So. Damn. Cute. Must. Control. Hormones. Do. Not. Jump. Him.
My self-restraint is top-notch, I tell you.
“Oi! Lex! There you are,” Oliver yells, jogging towards us from the opposite end of the corridor. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere - oh. Hemsley,” he says stiffly, nodding curtly to Noel.
“Well thank you, Noel, for saving me from Snape,” I say after an awkward stare down between the two boys.
“Anytime,” he responds, never removing his eyes from Oliver.
Taking advantage of the situation, I hug him tightly around his middle, relishing the moment. I think that if I kicked the bucket right now, I would die a happy woman. I’m actually hugging Noel Hemsley. That’s just one step away from a kiss, and then engagement, and then marriage...
Oliver taps me on the back, clearing his throat in an obnoxious fashion. I reluctantly loosen my grip on Noel and step away from him, cursing Oliver to the depths of hell with every movement.
“See you around, Lexi,” Noel says with a wink before heading off down the hall.
“Come on, you,” Oliver mutters angrily, grabbing my arm and dragging me in the general direction of the Gryffindor common room.
“What’s your problem, Wood?” I hiss furiously, wrenching myself out of his grip.
“I don’t have a problem, Covington.”
“I just don’t like Hemsley, all right? I don’t trust him. Never have.”
“Woah, hold up,” I say, pulling him to a stop. “Everyone likes Noel. Everyone. He’s one of the nicest blokes here -”
“Yeah, and his best mate is Danny Kershaw. You know what they say. The people we hang out with define who we are.”
“So what does that say about you?” I inquire perceptively, watching as he fidgets uncomfortably under my gaze.
“That I’m mental. Can we just go now, please?”
“No, not so fast. I’ve got something to ask you first.”
He sighs and runs his hand quickly through his hair, mussing it up ever so slightly. “Fine. Go ahead.”
“Why did Andrew say that you’ve fancied me since fourth year?”
Oliver curses quietly under his breath, a slight flush crawling over his face. “I dunno. He’s mental, remember?”
“So you’re saying you don’t fancy me?” I persist, watching as his blush grows ever brighter.
“No! Come on, don’t be ridiculous. I have only one love and her name is Quidditch.”
“Somehow I knew you were going to say that.”
“Am I really that predictable?” he jokes, appearing to calm down as he meets my gaze for the first time.
“Always. Seriously though, be honest with me. Because if you do fancy me, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with this whole dating fiasco. I don’t want to lead you on or anything,” I say softly.
“That’s such a stupid question. Of course I don’t fancy you. Who would?”
Ouch. As much as I hate to admit it, Oliver’s words actually sting a bit. It’s not like I actually care what he thinks - never have, never will - but that was harsh. He practically called me repulsive.
Not that I care if he finds me attractive or not.
Because I don’t.
Not one bit.
“I’m sorry, all right?” he says after a brief silence. “You know I didn't mean it. I just - I don’t like Hemsley.”
“S’okay,” I mumble, staring at the ground intently.
“So... You asked me a question, now I get to ask you one. What exactly happened with Danny last year?”
I grimace and glance up at his questioning eyes before sighing and leaning back against the wall. “Stupidity. That’s what happened.”
“I’ll just ask Andrew if you don’t tell me,” he warns, joining me at the wall.
“Okay, okay. So you remember the final Quidditch match of last year?”
Oliver stiffens at the mention of the Unspeakable Event and inclines his head fractionally in a nod. “Of course I do,” he mutters gruffly.
“Right. After the match, Danny saw me and asked if I’d like to go to the Ravenclaw after party -”
“And you said no, obviously, because that would be a betrayal to your house, not to mention your mates.”
“- and I didn’t think much of it because I’ve never really cared about the House Cup or school Quidditch -”
“But regardless, you told him no -”
“So I went and -”
“You what?” Oliver yells, pushing off of the wall and striding angrily away from me.
“I went and -”
“No. Tell me you did not go to the Ravenclaw victory party. Tell me you didn’t,” he says stonily, glaring at me coldly from across the corridor.
“I did go and -”
“I cannot believe you, Lexi! How could you do that to me - to our house?”
“Oliver, calm down -”
“You not only went to the Ravenclaw party but you went with the Ravenclaw captain! The captain that crushed my team! How do you expect me to be calm about this?”
“It’s not that big of a deal -”
Oliver’s face twists into rage at my words. “Not that big of a deal? It was the worst defeat suffered by Gryffindor in over three hundred years! Under my captaincy! I’ll be lucky if any professional team even looks at me with a spot like that on my record!”
“I know we’ve never been the closest of friends, but that’s just - that’s just -” He splutters off into another storm of pacing violently around the corridor while I watch silently from the wall. “How could you?”
“I didn’t know you would be so upset.”
Oliver shakes his head in disappointment and kicks his foot angrily against the wall. “I’m sure if your precious Noel had lost a Quidditch match, you wouldn’t have gone to his enemy’s party.”
“Would you just lay off of Noel already?” I fire back, voice rising for the first time during the conversation.
“Right, I forgot. Noel Hemsley is perfect in every way, and nobody is allowed to say anything bad about him. A greater Head Boy has never been known to this school -”
“That’s enough, Oliver,” I say coldly.
“You know what? If you like Noel so much, why don’t you just go and ask him to be your fake boyfriend, huh? I’m sure he’s better than me in every possible aspect, so you might as well just use him instead. Go. Run along,” he says patronisingly, waving his hands at me in a shooing motion.
“Fine! Maybe I will! At least he wouldn’t need to pretend to like me!”
“Oh, no. Don’t go blaming this on me. You’re the one who wanted this to be fake. You wanted the fake relationship, not me.”
“Then you know what? You can consider this our first fake fight!” I yell at him.
“Good! Maybe it’ll lead to our fake break up, so I want have to be your stupid fake boyfriend anymore!” he yells right back.
“Maybe that’s what I want! Maybe you’re an absolutely horrendous fake boyfriend!”
“Well maybe -” Oliver begins, but is cut off by a new voice joining the conversation.
I turn around slowly to see a figure observing us from the end of the corridor. As the figure strides closer, the shadowy features register in my brain instantly.
A/N: Well, another chapter done! I’m not too sure about this one, I didn’t think it was that interesting. But maybe you’ll think differently :D So, any predictions on who overheard their shouting match? Any predictions in general? And just a small warning: take nothing a face value. Everyone has ulterior motives. Lies will be abundant. See ya next time!
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