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Cheating the Bet by Ryebread
Chapter 5 : Apologize
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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“What?”

I was shocked and in total disbelief. My mouth dropped open slightly and my eyes were wide in surprise. He wasn’t angry at me or murderous or giving me the cold shoulder. Potter had followed me out of the Great Hall just to say “sorry”. It was unbelievable.

“I said sorry,” repeated Potter in a quiet voice, looking humble for the first time since I've known him.

“I know. I heard you. What I’m confused about is why you’re sorry. Why are you saying sorry? We’ve fought before and said awful things to each other before, but neither of us has apologized for it. Why now? What is so different this time around?” I interrogated him.

“Because what I said was wrong and it was completely out of line. I even crossed the line,” Potter stepped closer to me so that we were now inches apart. I stepped back, trying to get space between us. “Your dad is a family friend and I didn’t mean what I said. I respect and like him. He’s a good man and one of my favorite professors. I was just trying to hurt you because I was angry and I was stupid. Can you forgive me, Alice?”

I was tempted to say “yes”, but I didn’t. I was still hurt and mad and upset at him. How dare he think he can just say sorry and make a sad puppy face and everything will be alright?

“No, I can’t,” I said coldly and continued to walk down the hall, the only destination in my mind was away. Again I heard footsteps behind me and seeing as there was no one else in the passage, I knew it was Potter trying to talk to me a second time.

“Alice, please!” he called after me. I could hear his footsteps get closer to me, but I ignored him. I picked up my pace as the tears threatened to escape. I wanted to escape him, but he reached me and grabbed my hand, pulling me closer to him.

“Alice, just hear me out,” he pleaded with me. I made the mistake of looking into his eyes and saw only pain and sorrow. I had to stay to hear what he had to say almost as if his gaze locked me in my spot. I nodded at him, letting him know that I was ready to listen to his apologies. I let him know that I was ready to be reasonable about it. He smiled sadly, grateful, and held both of my hands in his, thumbs stroking them softly. A single tear slid down my face, which he wiped off before talking.

“Don’t run away from me. Please. Yell at me, hit me, do something, anything, but don’t leave me because I can’t stand you not talking to me. I know we’ve never really got along, but we’ve had a friendship, maybe a rocky friendship, but a friendship in our own way. We argue, we fight, we say we hate each other, but truthfully, Alice, I lo— like spending time with you and last night I was stupid enough to mess it all up. I enjoy what we have. I’m serious when I say that I like your dad and I didn’t mean what I said about him and you. Neville is a good guy and one of my parent’s best friends. Also, I wanted to say…” he paused for a second before picking back up. “…that you were right about me. I’m not happy about Rose and… Scorpius, but I do want her to be happy. She’s my favorite cousin and best friend and I know you care about her. I really am sorry,” When he finished, he squeezed my hands lightly and his eyes begged with me to forgive him. So, I did. All my anger melted away.

I timidly put my hands on his face and he held my wrists and we looked into each other’s eyes. I got closer to him and was about to kiss him when he pushed me away.

“Do you forgive me?”

“Of course,” I answered nodding, gently caressing his cheeks. Then, when I went to kiss him this time, he let me. Unlike before, this was slow. We weren’t in a hurry. He touched my cheeks and my hands moved to his neck. It was different from our snog sessions and I’m sure we both knew it, but I didn’t know what to make of it. Al said it himself; we were friends at most. He didn’t feel that way about me. I didn’t understand what was between us, whatever it was and I didn’t want to, yet. I wasn’t ready for what the truth could be.

We stayed that way for what seemed like hours, but it was probably only minutes. When we broke apart, he smirked. It made me glad to know that we were back to normal.

“Well, I’m for sure forgiven,” he said cockily. I rolled my eyes and couldn’t help laughing a little bit. His apology, friendliness and kiss had me feeling giddy. I pretended to think about it, stroking my chin with my thumb and pointer finger.

“I guess,” I said mock-reluctantly. Sticking my hand out to him, I said, “Friends?” His smirk dropped a little, but he took my hand and nodded.

“Friends.”

I went to Defense Against the Dark Arts and sat between Rose and Sophie, both of whom looked up at me when I walked in just in time. Potter slipped in the classroom right after me and plopped down at the table behind me, sitting by his friends Cole and Lysander, who were quietly arguing about the existence of Nargles. Those two were always arguing about the existence of some sort of animal.

Lysander believed in everything his mother and father said, through and through. He was a nice guy, but strange. Not only was he odd in his thought process, but he just looked… different. If you ever watched the guy, and I mean really looked at him, you could see him staring off into nothing. I always wondered what he was seeing.

Cole, on the other hand, was practical. He was a realist and thought the idea of something that had never been seen (at least, not by a credible witness) being real was absolutely ridiculous. He thought of everything logically, which made him super smart. He was up there in grades, competing with Ravenclaws and Rose.

Both Rose and Sophie gave me a look because Potter and I came in at about the same time, but I pretended like I didn’t see it and paid more attention than I usually did to Professor Lupin’s lecture.

Teddy got the job this year after spending a few years as an Auror with the Ministry of Magic. Once his wife of almost a year, Victoire, became pregnant with their little boy a few months ago, he promised to get a safer job and decided to take up teaching at Hogwarts and, hopefully, keep it for more than a year, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Voldemort wanted the job years ago. It seemed even though he was dead, he was still causing trouble.

Right now we were going over the three Unforgivable Curses. Al’s dad, Harry, (Yes, I’m calling him Al. We’re supposed to be friends, aren’t we?) was scheduled to floo in and talk about them tomorrow and all of the other kids in my class were talking about it. Everyone wanted a chance to talk to the savior of the wizarding world, but Rose and Al and all the other Wotters weren’t so thrilled about it. All the attention annoyed them and they wanted to feel normal. Rose was already starting to snap at people who mentioned Harry or her parents and how wonderful the “Golden Trio”, as they were called, was.

When all the Wotter kids first started to go to Hogwarts, they were automatically treated differently than other students. Some, like James or Dom or Fred, didn’t mind it, and even used it to their advantage. They could handle the attention, but Rose, Roxy, Al, and the others hated the special treatment. It made them feel like outsiders and they also didn’t like being put up on a pedestal. After a while, the hype about them went down and they were like everyone else, but now that it started up again, even James, Dom, and Fred were irritated about it.

Right after Defense, Dom, Rose and I went to the library during free period to study. Dom didn’t normally study very much, but now that it was N.E.W.T. year, she was kicking it into high gear. At this moment she was writing a one foot long essay in Charms. Rose, who normally was the studying master, was looking at me again questioningly. I couldn’t pretend not to see it anymore.

“What, Rose?” I asked with a little bit more irritability than I had intended.

“So it’s just a coincidence that you and Al both looked like hell this morning and then you both vanish off to somewhere after breakfast and when you get to Defense Against the Dark Arts, you both look better? What happened?” she asked slyly, but with a faux innocent look on her freckled face. I swear that girl could be a Slytherin. I thought.

“Nothing, Rosy-Posey,” I said. She scowled at the childhood nickname. “Look, we got in a little, itty-bitty fight. It’s nothing that hasn’t happened before. Stop worrying and do what you do best. Study your arse off.” Our conversation caught Dom’s attention.

“It’s about bloody time that you and Al got together!” she exclaimed happily, earning a look from Madam Pince. She looked at the librarian apologetically, but when she looked back at us she rolled her eyes. In a quieter voice she said, “So when did it happen?”

“It didn’t,” I denied adamantly. “Nothing’s going on between me and Al.” Her smile just got wider.

“But it did! You called him Al, not Potter!” She said enthusiastically, getting another glare from Madam Pince and a firm “shh”. I groaned.

“All we did was mutually agree to be friends with one another, you guys. Stop making a big deal about it. We’re not together. We’re just…” I paused, thinking about the right word. “… cooperating.” Dom gave me a knowing look.

“Of course. Right. Gotcha,” she said, obviously not believing me one bit. Then she continued to study. I looked at Rose for support only to see her trying not to laugh at my obvious discomfort. I narrowed my eyes at her.

“Oh, it’s on, Rose,” I challenged and she looked at me questioningly. “Hey, Dom. Rose has a boyfriend.” I turned to Rose, smirking a little. “Don’t you want to tell her all about it, Rose?” She mouthed “traitor” at me before blushing bright red when her cousin started to play twenty questions with her. I just laughed at the situation. I loved to win.

I went to the rest of my classes; Transfiguration, double Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Arithmancy, Herbology (where my dad brought out Venomous Tentacula for us to re-plant in bigger pots and I almost got my finger stabbed by it’s spikes), and Care of Magical Creatures. The last class was a bit dodgy because we were taking care of Blast-Ended Skrewts, but the other classes were normal. In other words, I had mountains of homework.

For the next few weeks or so, I spent most of my time in the library with Rose and Dom and occasionally others from my dorm or other Wotters. I got all of my essays and other homework done in time for the first Gryffindor match of the season on Saturday. It was Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw and this year, Ravenclaw had gotten a new seeker, Curtis Belby, so I was interested how he would do against Al.

I grabbed my Gryffindor flag for the game and rushed down with Aileen to meet the others, who were already up in the house box, saving our seats. Aileen took forever to get ready and was always getting places at the last minute. I stayed behind so she didn’t have to be there alone.

We got to the pitch right as the captains, James and Kelly Davies, shook hands. Kelly was a small blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl, but was tougher than she looked and had a mean grip. I could even see James flexing his hand and wincing. Madame Hooch grabbed the quaffle from the box.

“I want a clean game. Follow the rules or you won’t play for the rest of the game.” She threw it up in the air and then released the bludgers and the snitch. Game on.

“Eric Wood has the quaffle. He passes to beautiful Roxanne, who I would just love to go to Hogsmeade with,” announced our commentator, Eddie Jordan, who was a fifth year. He was always biased towards Gryffindor and used excessive insults towards other teams and players, often getting in trouble with Headmistress McGonagall, but he made the games fun. Also, I think McGonagall secretly enjoys it.

“She passes to James Potter, but oh! It was intercepted by Kelly Davies. Come on, Roxanne. Has me asking you out really made you that nervous?” he joked. Fred, her older brother, hit a bludger at Eddie and called him a few interesting and highly creative words that I would definitely try to remember. He didn’t appreciate his little sister dating, even if she was sixteen. Roxy just ignored him, though I’m sure she’d get him back for using her full name as well as taking the mickey out of her.

Kelly had lost the quaffle to James, who proceeded to score. Al was scanning the field for the snitch with Belby hovering a few feet behind him. Gryffindor scored once again, but I didn’t see who did it because one of the Ravenclaw beaters sent a bludger at Al, who avoided it, but just barely, and then he proceeded to slowly circle the pitch in search of the golden snitch.

“Now, Jerry Boot has the quaffle and he fumbles with it. He drops the quaffle. How he made Head Boy, I’ll never know, the wanker.”

McGonagall scolded him, so he went back to real commentary for the time being.

“The quaffle is picked up by Corner, who scores. What are you doing, Thomas? Don’t let her score, you prat! The score is twenty to ten. Gryffindor in the lead,” Eddie yelled out. Right then, one of the Ravenclaw beaters succeeded in hitting Al in the back with a bludger. He cursed profusely, but stayed on his broom. He may have looked fine, but I knew he was just doing that for the sake of the game. I worried about him.

“You’re just jealous that Al is better than your seeker, Hilliard,” Jordan taunted the beater. Hilliard responded by lobbing another bludger at Al, but missing in his rage.

In the next few minutes, it seemed like Gryffindor went into overdrive because of Al’s injury. They scored three more times and were in possession again.

“Eric Wood scores again. Gryffidor in the lead; sixty to ten! Yikes and Aileen Finnegan sent a bludger at Belby, hitting him in the side. Nice hit! Take that, birdbrains!” Sure enough, Curtis Belby was bent over on his broom, struggling to stay on.

Unfortunately, Ravenclaw grabbed the quaffle and was passing it frequently between the chasers and Gryffindor was unable to stop them from scoring again. Cole Thomas threw the quaffle toward James, but Claire Corner intercepted it, earning a glare… and a wink? What was going on with them? She rolled her eyes and flew forward.

“Ravenclaw has possession of the quaffle. They’re making their way down the pitch. Someone stop her, damn it!” ordered our announcer. “They’re at the goal and… Cole Thomas catches the quaffle and passes it to Roxy. And, babe, my offer still stands.” He winked at her.

All of a sudden Al surged forward, right hand outstretched. Belby tried to catch up, but couldn’t as he was in obvious pain, probably a broken rib, maybe a couple. Eddie Jordan was shouting something, but you couldn’t hear it over the roar of the crowd. Al chased after it, then stopped and put his hand up in the air showing the crowd that he caught the snitch.

“Gryffindor wins two-hundred ten to twenty!” shouted Jordan while the players touched down on the pitch. I rushed down to look at Al’s injuries. Other players were hurt, but I could only focus on Al. When I arrived on the field, he had taken off his shirt and I blushed, trying not to look at his abs (even though I saw them already and they were amazing). I gasped when I saw his back. There was a giant bruise on his left shoulder blade and he was hunched over, wincing. Now that he wasn’t playing, the pain was really taking into effect with the loss of adrenaline.

I walked over to him and put my hand on his unhurt shoulder.

“Do you want some help with that?” I asked quietly. He looked up and nodded. I healed the bruise as fast as I could, but I wasn’t certified to fix the rest of his hurt shoulder blade. I left it to Madam Pomfrey, who arrived right after I did.

Worriedly, I paced around the quidditch pitch to find Roxy and Aileen and congratulate them on their big win, when I heard James talking to the Ravenclaw chaser, Claire Corner.

“So, Claire,” he said in a macho voice. “How would you like to go on a date to Hogsmeade with the winning quidditch captain?”

“Over my dead body, Potter,” she answered sweetly.

“Don’t be jealous that we won, Corner. I’ll let you win next time.”

“Let me win? My team will kick your arse, Potter. Today was just a fluke,” she replied.

“Your team? I thought you lost the captain position to Boot. I guess that means that I’m the better player. You could go out with me and learn some tips, Corner,” he suggested with a smile. That smile was wiped off his face when Claire smacked him and stormed off with a yell into the Ravenclaw girl’s changing room.

Once everyone was done getting treated and the drama was over, all of the Gryffindors gathered in the common room, the quidditch team grouped in the middle. James Potter stood on the sofa and shouted above the cheers for everyone to settle down.

“Shut it, everyone! Quiet down!” He had everyone’s undivided attention, but I could tell he was still angry and his ego was hurt after his heated fight with Claire (even though, let’s face it, he acted like a jerk). “Who won?” He asked, pumping up the crowd.

“Gryffindor!” we shouted.

“I can’t hear you. Who won?”

“Gryffindor!” we screamed at the top of our lungs. James grinned widely.

“Let’s get this party started, then!” With a flourish of his wand, music flowed through the room from an unknown source. Gryffindors, along with the occasional party crasher from other houses, piled onto the dance floor and started to boogey.

And so the Gryffindor victory party began.


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