Chapter 4 : Trouble
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A week after my tenth birthday, my parents died.
They had both been Aurors in the French Ministry of Magic, and they were killed in an explosion while investigating a black market potion brewer’s home. I had fought with them before they left, over something petty and stupid. I wanted to use my mum’s wand to try a simple unlocking charm I read about in one of my dad’s books, and they were both adamant against the idea. “I’m ten!” I had yelled, furious tears forming in my eyes. “That’s practically eleven!” And then I stomped off to bed without kissing them good night, without feeling Maman gently comb through my hair with her fingers or hearing Papa call me his “bel ange”—his beautiful angel—one last time.
I regretted it everyday.
After they died, I had been sent to live with my uncle Wyatt. He was my favorite uncle—my only uncle, actually—and I had already regarded him as a second father. Even before my parents’ death, I would spend my summers playing in the vast backyard of his manor on the outskirts of London, picking dandelions and climbing trees and feeding breadcrumbs to the fish in the pond. When I first came to live with him, I had looked at it as an extended summer. But summer can’t last forever.
My uncle was the epitome of a successful businessman. He was known in both the wizarding and Muggle worlds for his entrepreneurship. In the wizarding world, he was on the board of executives for Gringotts. In the Muggle world, he was CEO of RBS Markets and International Banking.
Both establishments demanded his constant time and attention. That was why my uncle had never married and had children. He was constantly taking flights to the United States and apparating to Brazil, attending meetings and schmoozing investors and earning tons and tons of money. In the beginning, when I first moved in, he had done his best to stay with me at home. But his job called for travel, and he couldn’t make money from his sitting room. So he wrote me letters, sent me presents, and left me in the care of the house elves.
I loved my uncle; really, I did. But sometimes, I felt as if he was only a visitor in my life.
Jaw set and eyes filled with grim determination, Oliver gave his last first pre-game pep talk of the year.
“Right, you lot. We deserve the Cup this year. The bastard Slytherins have nicked it from us more times than I care to admit, but this is our year. I can feel it. It’s my last shot at winning, and there’s a Puddlemere scout out there right now, but I know I can count on you all to make me look good. We can’t not have the youngest Seeker in a century, and the two most synchronized Beaters, and the swiftest Chaser team—”
“And the toughest Keeper and Captain!” George called out.
“—yeah, thanks,” Oliver said gruffly, clearing his throat and smiling slightly. “I don’t know how we can have the best team this school’s ever seen and not snatch that Cup away from Flint’s grubby little paws. And this match against Ravenclaw is our first step to wiping that slimy smirk off his ugly face. We’ve trained our arses off this past month, and I know I haven’t been the easiest Captain—”
“Hear, hear!” the twins chorused.
Oliver fixed a glare on them. “Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve only worked you lot so hard because I know you can handle it and I know you want to win as badly as I do. So what d’ya say to going out there and blowing Davies and the rest of those nerds out of the water, eh?”
The team rose up in a din of cheers and shouts, our determination and excitement rising with each passing second. We pulled on our gloves, grabbed our brooms, and marched with squared shoulders to the entrance to the pitch.
“We’ve got this, mate,” Fred said, clapping Oliver on the shoulder before it was time to exit.
“Yeah, we’re going to win,” announced Harry confidently.
The rest of the team voiced their agreements, but I still noticed Oliver gulp nervously. He had been anxious since McGonagall informed him a week ago that a scout from his favorite team would be coming to watch him play.
“Harry’s right, Oliver,” I whispered so only he could hear. “We’ll win. For you.”
He looked down, his eyes searching my face, trying to find any trace of doubt. He only saw blazing determination.
“Thanks, Luce,” he whispered back. “Thanks.”
Then he pushed open the doors leading onto the pitch and stepped into the blinding sunlight.
“Johnson fakes left—fakes right—shoots for the middle hoop—Ashdown reaches out, but—yes! Johnson scores! Gryffindor pulls into the lead, sixty to fifty! This is going to be a close one!”
Over the din of my cheering housemates and the howling wind, I hear Oliver shout, “Three! Run defense three!”
I catch Alicia’s eye and she nods, racing off towards the Ravenclaw Chaser who had gained possession of the Quaffle. I speed after her and come to a sharp stop in front of the Chaser, who automatically veers to the left—a tendency she had that Oliver made sure we were aware of—but Alicia was already there, blocking her. Before the girl could spin to the right, Angelina swooped in and knocked the Quaffle out of her hands, quickly tossing it to me.
I flew rapidly toward the opposing goalposts, relying on my teammates to drive away the enemy. I zipped past a barreling Bludger and ducked below one of the Ravenclaw Beaters, who was chasing after it. I was more than halfway to the goalposts by now, and I could feel the anticipation and excitement of scoring a goal bubble up inside me. But the third Ravenclaw Chaser—Bentley, I heard Lee Jordan’s ringing voice call him—had broken past Angelina and was coming up fast behind me, and my Cleansweep Eleven was no match for his Nimbus 2001. I cursed under my breath and swerved left—swerved right—cut sharply up—trying desperately to lose him. I leaned forward as far as I could go, willing my broom past its limit, but it was no use. In five seconds he would be right next to me—four—three—two—“Oh, and Bentley takes a Bludger to the back! That’s going to smart. Nice one, George!” As the Ravenclaws cringed and the Gryffindors went wild, I scratched our thwarted play and instead threw the Quaffle to Alicia before chancing a glance over my shoulder to see George bowing from his broom and swinging his Beater bat in the air. I rolled my eyes. The twins were always a pair for dramatics.
“And Spinnet scores! Gryffindor leads seventy to fifty!”
I cheered along with the crowd. Oliver’s plays were fantastic, but what made our team really top-notch was our daring to deviate from the plan at a moment’s notice, relying solely on our skill and instinct, and still pull through in the end. We were Gryffindors through and through, and that didn’t change on the pitch.
Throughout the match, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw alternated for the lead. Oliver’s voice was growing hoarse from calling out play number after play number, and still the end seemed nowhere near. The Snitch was as elusive as ever, and Harry kept sending me helpless looks whenever I flew by. At the fifth look, I shrugged my shoulders at him in a “What can you do?” manner and got into position for yet another play.
Halfway through the play’s execution, however, I heard Lee screech excitedly, “Potter’s spotted the Snitch! He’s spotted the bleedin’ Snitch!” Barely hearing McGonagall roar, “JORDAN! LANGUAGE!” I whipped around on my broom, forgetting altogether what I was supposed to be doing. Harry had launched into a dangerous dive, the Ravenclaw Seeker—Chang, I think her name was—right behind him. As they sped closer and closer to the ground, Chang pulled up, afraid of crashing. But not Harry. He continued to hurtle, his arm outstretched, his disregard for his safety evident. Even before he caught the Snitch I grinned. Now that’s a true Quidditch player, I thought to myself. And then his fingers clasped the Snitch, and Lee’s ecstatic yelling was echoing around the pitch, and I almost fell off my broom with glee. We did it. We had won. Gryffindor had won the first match of the season! I clumsily landed onto the grass and ran towards Harry, who was already being hoisted onto Fred and George’s shoulders. Alicia and I jumped around ecstatically, screaming, “We won! We won!” at the top of our lungs, then Oliver snatched me away and swung me around in a circle. When we stopped spinning, he kept his arms around me and I beamed up at him. “We won!” I yelled again and stood on my tiptoes to peck him on the cheek. Shock registered across his face and he raised a hand to where my lips had touched him, but I paid him no mind. I was already skipping over to help Fred and George carry Harry up to the castle.
When we entered the common room, the victory party was already in full swing. Members of our House surrounded us, shouting their congratulations and expressing their favorite moments of the match. After a while I grew slightly claustrophobic and pushed my way out of the crowd, snagging a butterbeer off the abandoned food table. Popping the lid, I took a swig and sighed with refreshment.
“You scored some excellent goals out there, Laroche.”
I looked to my left and saw Nolan Abbey, the fittest bloke in sixth year, leaning casually against the wall. His fringe of blonde hair fell into his gray eyes and he brushed it back, revealing a tan and well-toned forearm in the process. He smiled at me and I swear his eyes were smoldering. I wanted to melt.
“Oh, er, uh, um, yeah, thanks,” I blubbered out. I then subtly pinched my thumb to punish myself for sounding like an idiot.
“Why are you wincing? My company isn’t that unpleasant, is it?” he chuckled. He pushed off the wall and stepped closer to me.
Mortified, I stammered all too eagerly, “N-no! No, of course not! I love your company!” Oh, bloody fuck. Another pinch. But this time, I made sure not to wince.
“Please, call me Lucie.” Or ‘Baby’. Or ‘Love’. Or even ‘Wife’. Those would be perfectly acceptable, too.
“Alright. So Lucie, I was wondering,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck and revealing his muscled forearm once again, “if maybe you’d ever want to hang out sometime. We could—”
I swore. Ignoring the odd look Nolan gave me, I turned and said sweetly, “Yes, Percy?”
He looked a tad terrified. Guess I didn’t sound all that sweet. “Er, nothing. I was just looking for you.”
“Well, you found me. Now what?” I hissed through gritted teeth. If looks could kill, Percy would have dropped dead five seconds ago.
“I think I’m going to walk around, Lucie. But it was nice talking to you.” Nolan chuckled again and bade me goodbye, and I stared longingly at his retreating figure—the boy’s arse was bloody gorgeous!—as he sauntered away.
“What in Merlin’s name was that all ab—”
“You!” I screeched, spinning on my heel to come face-to-face with Percy, who instantly dropped his scowl. He stumbled backwards, startled by my fury.
“M-me?” he stuttered out, looking positively frightened. “W-what did I do?”
“You just—you—Nolan—I almost—ugh! Percy Weasley, you are such a prat!” I threw my hands up in exasperation and stormed away, leaving Percy in my wake to scratch his head and wonder what in the world he had done wrong.
I looked up from my spot on the windowsill and saw Percy standing in the doorway of our classroom, hesitating as if unsure whether or not he was allowed to enter. I rolled my eyes. “Well come on then,” I conceded, my tone light, and he smiled.
I set the letter I had been penning to my uncle down on a nearby desk and scooted over so there would be room for Percy. He sat down beside me and reached for my hand. As our fingers intertwined, I grabbed the box of chocolate I had been munching on and held it out to Percy. “Want some?” I offered, shaking it in his face.
“This what Uncle Wyatt sent you from Switzerland?” he asked me as he broke off a small portion. I nodded my head. “Decided who you’re going to stay with for Christmas yet?”
“Not yet,” I said, popping another piece into my mouth. “I’m thinking of maybe holding a competition for it. Make you lot earn my presence,” I teased.
“Ha-ha,” Percy said, rolling his eyes. I giggled. He let go of my hand, opting to sling his arm around my shoulders instead. I snuggled into him and buried my face into his chest, enjoying the smell of honey and parchment that always seemed to linger on him. He kissed the top of my head, and I let out a sigh of contentment. For some reason that I couldn’t quite explain, I felt the most at peace when I was in Percy’s embrace.
“Oliver was a bit upset earlier,” he commented after a while. I lifted my head.
“Said he didn’t do well in the match.”
I furrowed my brow. “But...we won.”
Percy shrugged. “Yes, but he kept going on about how he let in too many goals. He’s worried the Puddlemere scout wasn’t impressed by him.”
“But that’s bollocks!” I sat up fully now, incensed. “The score may have been close before Harry caught the Snitch, but Ravenclaw still attempted three times as many shots as they managed to get in. His save average is way higher than his goals allowed average!”
Percy only shrugged again. “I tried telling him that, but you know how he is. Always so hard on himself. It’s even worse now that he’s being watched by the professional teams. And Puddlemere for the first match? I’m just glad the poor bloke didn’t retch all over his trainers the moment McGonagall broke the news to him. He’s wanted to play for them since he was five.”
“Ew, I didn’t need that mental image,” I said, wrinkling my nose. “But Oliver could sign that team with his eyes closed and his hands tied behind his back. I’ve never met anyone so good at Quidditch.” I paused. “Or so obsessed, either.”
Percy chuckled. “You and me both.”
We fell into another comfortable silence, finishing off the chocolates and sneaking in kisses between bites. After the last morsel was gone, he pulled me in, and I let my eyes flutter closed
His lips were warm against mine, and I didn’t realize until then how cold the room was. His body heat radiated against me, and I moved still closer to him. His kisses were gentle at first, but they escalated in passion, growing rougher and deeper and all the more intoxicating. His hands slipped down to my bum and I wrapped my arms tightly around his neck, molding myself to his figure. We stayed like that for a while—minutes, hours, seemed like days, even—before finally pulling away.
“Thanks,” he murmured as I pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose for him. I giggled and kissed him on the cheek, settling into his arms once again. His lips lingered on my forehead as he held me to him.
“Hey, Luce?” he murmured against my temple.
“What were you talking to Abbey about?” His tone was careful, as if he was trying his best to sound nonchalant.
“Oh!” I had almost forgotten about my brief conversation with the fit Nolan Abbey. “Nothing really. Said I did good today. And he asked if I wanted to hang out sometime.”
“Really?” Percy said, and I felt him grow tense against me. “And what did you say?”
“I didn’t get a chance to say anything because someone—” I glared up at him “—so rudely interrupted.”
His body relaxed at my words and his face grew smug. “Good. So you’re not going to hang out with him.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Where’d you get that idea from?”
“But you just said—”
“I said I never gave him an answer. Not that my answer was no.”
“But nothing, Percy,” I interrupted him firmly, my annoyance evident. “Why do you care, anyway?”
“Because!” he cried, gesturing wildly. I ducked when his arm swung towards my face. “You’re my—my—” He paused for a moment, his face red, unsure of what exactly I was to him. “Well anyway, he’s a sixth year,” he grumbled out.
I knew Percy didn’t actually care that Nolan was a sixth year, but I said nothing. Never before had dating been a prospect for either of us since we started our secret rendezvous. Percy had, well, Penelope issues, and no boy had really caught my fancy over summer or during our time back at school. Until now, that is.
The silence in the air was stifling, and I found myself fidgeting uncomfortably. Finally, Percy spoke.
“I’m going to head to bed. Night, Lucie,” he said. I noted that he kept his gaze on everything but me when he talked. He untangled his limbs from my own and started for the door.
“Percy, wait,” I called out, but he only nodded in my general direction—while still not looking at me—and exited the classroom.
I leaned back against the window and sighed in frustration. Nolan Abbey, I thought as I glared up at the ceiling, are you more trouble than you’re worth?
Author's note: Yay, I broke 3,000 words with this chapter! I know it's not much compared to a lot of other writers, but it's a big accomplishment for me. I'm happy dancing as you read.
Now, onto the chapter. How do you like Lucie's backstory? I made it a tad dramatic, I know, but I tend to be a hyperbolic person in general, so it fits. And what about that kiss Lucie gave Olliekins on the cheek? ;) And how about Lucie and Percy's meeting in their classroom? I swear, writing a Good-Snogger-Percy is so much fun. He's a lot more badass than as portrayed in the books because he's more layered, but he's still Pratty Prefect Percy at his core. That's how I see him, anyway. Oh, and I know that's not the actual first match from the third book, but I'm planning on saving that piece of canon for later. So have no fear!
Oh, disclaimer: I do not own RBS M&IB.
Reviews would be fantastic! Favorite quotes, suggestions, guesses on what's going to happen...even if it's just a word or two, I still greatly appreciate each and every one of my reviews. They make me feel all happy inside. :)
Okay, I'll shut up now. Until next update!
11/4/13 edits: title, somewhat significant plot changes, grammatical errors, author's note
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