Chapter 5 : enemy.
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For Percy, absolutely nothing, because Percy loves free things as much as he likes cats. Free food is good food.†
For Penelope, said dinner means changing out of jeans and a Ravenclaw shirt into a dress and heels. Having to dress up is Blast-Ended Skrewt arse but free stuff is good.†
But for Oliver, a fancy dinner means an hour of sitting still, and possibly not talking about sports.†
Oh, the horror.†
"I'm not going!" Oliver yelled and kicked Percy's wall.†
"Stop acting like a pansy, we're all going, Captain's orders." Percy commanded.†
Oliver stopped making dents in Percy's flat. "Captain?"
"Rolf, duh. We all have nicknames. He's Captain, I'm Sergeant, Pen is Lieutenant, and you're Major."†
"I thought Rolf was Major and I was Captain! We decided that last week!" Oliver whined.†
"No no no! You thought wrong, Major Wood."
"Nope, I'm Captain."
"Oi, Major Wood, stop complaining!" Penelope yelled from down the hall, entertaining herself by yelling "Point me!" and watching her wand point north. That would be fine, if she hadn't been yelling "Point me" for the last hour.†
"Shut it, Sergeant!" Wood bellowed back.†
"No no no.." Percy slapped his forehead. "I'm Sergeant, she's Lieutenant!"
Oliver sighed. "This is too complicated, I could never get the hang of nicknames, Major Weasley."
"NO!" Percy screamed. "You're Major, I'm Sergeant, you idiot!"†
"I know, I'm really stupid." Oliver sighed again.†
"Yeah, there's no point in denying it, mate!" Percy said cheerfully.†
"I just feel not as good as you smart people.. all of you are like proper geniuses, or something.. and I'm just average.." He looked down at his officially-licenced Puddlemere robes.†
"Probably below average, but that's alright! You're... you're really nice!" Percy improvised. Oliver was nice enough, he supposed. †
"Is that what everyone thinks? They think I'm nice?" Oliver smiled and looked at Penelope (who was still playing with the Four-Point Spell), and shrugged and looked down again.†
"Sure! Oh, definitely. Rolf thinks you're really sweet, I don't know about Pen.. You're going to dinner, right? Yeah?" Percy asked.
"Rolf thinks I'm sweet! That's so nice of him!" Oliver said, turning a faint shade pink and looking proud of himself. "Thanks, Lieutenant."†
Percy rolled his grey-brown eyes. "It's Sergeant."
Oliver grinned. †"And I'll go to Major Rolf Scamander's dinner party, that's what friends do, I suppose."†
"How many bleeding times must I say it--"
"Aye aye, Captain!" Oliver said.†
"NO! Wrong!" Percy shouted. "But one more thing.. bring a date. Not sure why, that's what Rolf told me." Percy also left out the fact that everyone appeared to have a date except Oliver. Percy would take care of his own situation. He'd be fine. Probably. Well. Maybe. Sorta-kinda.†
"Does.. she..?" Oliver tentatively looked up at Penelope across the room. "Oh, you know."
"Does she want to be called Lieutenant? Of course!"†
Oliver resisted the urge to shatter Percy into a billion little pieces. "Would she.. want to... you bloody know what I'm trying to say!"
"Would she want to call you Major? I fail to understand your idiotic stuttering over such a trivial issue!"
"A word." Oliver dragged Percy out the door by his collar. "Now."
Once outside, Oliver bit his lip nervously. "Do you think she'd fancy, er, would she want to be my date?"†
"Has she ever said anything about me? Would she say yes? Or would she roll her eyes and think I'm mental because she's so much smarter than me? Or would she punch me in the face? She probably wouldn't punch me, she's better than that.. She thinks I'm pathetic, doesn't she? Right?"
Percy sighed. "She wouldn't think you're pathetic. Rolf and I think you're mental, but she says you're her best mate. Verbatim. She also said that you two are bros of the closest sort, which is disappointing, because I thought Pen and I were bros."
Wood suggested a place where Percy should stick his Latin phrases, and then took a deep breath. "Of course. She sees me as a bro. That is fine, because that's all she is to me. She is my damn mate, and I'm her stupid pal, and we are buddies. Bros, my arse."†
"Pen is my bro of the female gender, Rolf is my heterosexual life partner, and you're my Quiddich pal." Percy interjected, not knowing quite what to say.
"You're my nerdy pal, Rolf is my pet, and Pen is my bro."
"I thought Rolf was my pet!"
"He's my cat! I called Rolf being my pet first!" Oliver cried, and then stopped, composed himself, and said, "Back to the dinner thing."
"I think she's bringing a bloke from her Greek class to the supper, so you ought to bring one too. I mean, bring a girl. Or a gent. That's fine, I don't care, it's all fine." Percy said, taking a seat on the porch next to his friend. He absentmindedly scratched Moriarty, his dark brown and slightly devilish cat, behind the ears.†
Oliver sniffed. "Of course. A brilliant scholar from the uni. Some genius, no doubt. Someone smart, with a bright future, someone she should be with, someone good.."†
Percy continued scratching Moriarty, indifferent, not interested in other people's relationships, even if they were his bros.†
"So." Penelope said, twisting a strand of blonde hair.†
"So." Percy replied.†
"Sooo.." Penelope's eyes darted nervously around the room.†
"I'm not saying 'so' again, so what would you like to tell me?" Percy said, now with two different cats on his lap, Lestrade and John.†
"Er, well, Rolf asked me to dinner tonight. And I thought that was weird--"
"He asked me to dinner tonight as well, don't worry, it won't be a date--"
"I know he asked you and Oliver!" Penelope sighed, twitching spastically. "Yeah, that was kind of the point. Is Oliver bringing a date?"†
"Uh, I think so, why?"
Penelope's eyes slightly widened and she looked down. "Because.. I'm really lazy and if Oliver and I went together, that would save time.. Did he say who his date was?"
"I don't recall.. Do you even know why Rolf is doing this? Why bring other people into this, let's just get some chips, the four of us, what's wrong with that?" Percy was now covered in four cats, so he didn't look like a human being, more of a grey, black, yellow, and brown ball of fur. Strangely enough, he seemed to be enjoying every second of it.†
"Isn't it obvious?" Penelope said, sipping her tea.†
"No.." Percy answered, his voice slightly muffled by fur.†
"Well, you're tactless, Percy Weasley, so it wouldn't be obvious to you, but clearly, Rolf has some sort of date he wants to impress, but he's too nervous to eat with her alone."†Penelope sighed and added, "Of course he wouldn't ask me.. Why would he ask me out, that's ridiculous, and why would I think he would? He's talented and rather famous, and I work in the food industry and I'm a struggling author and a loser.. I bet she's really pretty, maybe a Quiddich cheerleader if those exist.. That's who he belongs with, someone good and normal.."†
Percy didn't hear, he was busy cuddling four cats to notice.†
"You've managed to piss off two girls in two weeks." George Weasley shook his head. "What did you do? Open your mouth?"†
Penelope served George coffee and what looked to be eggs and at least half a pig, and Percy tea with Nutella on toast. She grinned at Percy, who rolled his eyes but smiled back.†
"Well," Percy said, looking at Penelope, "I called Bill's choice, Fleur's friend, a prostitute."
George pursed his lips. "Not good! Can't you just see Fleur's face?"†
"I don't really ever want to imagine it - I'm scared she'll make me into a croissant or something."
"Maybe she'll flatten you and roll you into a crepe." George and Percy winced at the thought of their generally kind but occasionally demanding sister-in-law.†
"Then, I shot Charlie's friend in the head with an arrow because I told her I was an archer."
"Was she hot? She had to be for that bad of a lie." George shook his head at his younger brother's antics.†
"Affirmative," Percy smirked and looked at Penelope, whose face was cradled in her hands. Percy would have bet ten Galleons she was rolling her eyes under there.†
"That's so sexist!" Penelope said.†
Percy thought this over. "Not really, I just said she was hot, she was! Even you said she was hot!"
Penelope closed her eyes. "Yeah, okay, I did. But that was girl-about-girl. Completely different."
"Not really--" Percy was going to say, when George stopped him.†
"What's the occasion?"
"Group dinner date." Penelope said bitterly. "We all have dates, except him."†
"Ah. Well, I have a friend - yes, Percy, a platonic friend who is pretty - and no, Penelope, it is not all about looks, because she is very ambitious and smart. That matters too."†
"She's your platonic friend? I didn't know you had platonic female friends." Percy said.
"Okay, you got me, she's one of Angie's coworkers. But I don't hit on everyone, you know."†
Percy shrugged. George may have changed a bit, because he was in a very serious relationship with Angelina Johnson. So serious, in fact, that Ginny had taken to pestering them to get hitched, and so was their mum.†
"She's a Healer? Nice." Percy whistled. Healers made nice money, and Angelina wasn't too poor, either.
"Helen the Healer. Make fun of her for me."†
"Will do, General." Percy mock-saluted at George.†
"I've got to get back, tell the Major I said hello." George smiled at the thought of his old Quiddich captain.†
"Say hello to to Ginny, Ron, and company." Percy said, slurping his tea. "I haven't seen them for ages!"
George winked. "Maybe you will soon, who knows? Nice seeing you, Lieutenant Clearwater, and catch you later, Sergeant Weasley."†
"No you won't!" Percy yelled as his brother left in a redheaded flash.†
"Helen the Healer, eh?" Percy said. "I hope I won't dissect her, that would be quite a problem."†
"Wow! Mr. Weasley!" Penelope clapped a freshly-manicured hand to her lipsticked mouth.†
Percy gave a slight twirl in his tuxedo. "This suit really does suit me," he said, almost smiling at his own pun. "Bill even threw in a bowtie." Percy stopped, and felt obliged to compliment Penelope. She looked surprisingly unPen-like, wearing a tight black dress and her hair was in sleek curls. "You look smashing too, Miss Clearwater."†
Penelope blushed. "Shall we go?"†
Percy checked his red-brown hair in his mirror one last time. "Rate me out of cats."†
"Out of what?"
"Cats. Like am I two out of ten cats... Four out of five cats?"
Penelope furrowed her brow. "Uh.. Seven out of ten cats, I suppose."
Percy, content with his rating of seven out of ten cats, was generally happy about this dinner. What could go wrong? It was just him and his three closest mates. Besides, the Golden Galleon probably had steak. Percy loved steak almost more than he liked cats, and judging by the fact that he seemed to collect a new cat every day, he really did love steak.
Percy and Penelope stepped into the dark restaurant, trying not to feel uncomfortable. Percy grew up in a relatively poor family; the Weasley's idea of a night out was playing Quiddich on rusty brooms in the backyard and ordering pizza from the nearby village.†
"Guys! Over here!" Rolf shouted, waving his skinny arms wildly.†
"Why is he wearing a purple suit?" Penelope said, smiling apologetically at the other patrons, who were trying to dine quietly, and not have a madman scream at the top of his lungs, nor did they want an almost-redhead knock into their tables, spilling water all over their clothes.†
"Why is he matching with his date?" Percy asked, trying to make his way over to the secluded table without tripping again, which was quite a challenge for him. In his defence, he had large feet, but he already ruined a woman's handbag. It was a Coach.†
Rolf, (in purple), and his date (also in purple), were sitting together. A brunette woman with a very large strand of pearls (for some reason, also in purple) sat silently across from them, occasionally looking quizzically at Rolf and his date.†
"Hey, Rolf." Penelope smiled and took a seat next to his blonde date, while Percy chose a seat next to the brunette. "Who's this?"
"Let me introduce you.. Weeeelll, I'll think I'll introduce you later, later is good." Rolf laughed loudly.†
"It's probably the yuckosties. They do have a funny way of getting into drinks and making your head go wonky." his date said matter-of-factly, while Penelope gave her a weird look. "I'm Luna Lovegood."†
"Luna Lovegood.. that's a funny name!" Rolf giggled again.†
"Fancy seeing you here, Penelope Clearwater." the brunette said, her green eyes twinkling suspiciously.
"Helen." Penelope eyes went bulgy. "How nice to see you again."†
"You two know each other?" Percy said, and then realised they obviously did, or how else would they know each other's names. He slunk back in his chair, his ears red.†
"We went to Hogwarts together. We all did." Helen said, taking a dainty sip of water. "Let's just say.. we didn't get along very well."†
"I went to Hogwarts too!" Rolf yelled, "Hogwarts is cool! I was in Ravenclaw."
"Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure!" Luna whispered rather creepily. "That's what Daddy always said."
"Didn't get along very well?" Penelope spat, turning red and ignoring Luna. "You threw me into the Black Lake! You said that I would make good squid meat!"†
"Don't play innocent, Clearwater." Helen smirked and adjusted her bun. "We all have done regrettable things, but you attempted to throw the Slytherin-Ravenclaw Quiddich match by trying to bate Dementors on the field by dressing up in black robes and screaming 'I am a Dementor'!"
"Bad-ass!" Rolf said, his brown eyes growing wide. "I wish I could've seen that, I love Dementors!"
"Details, woman!" Percy cried. "What's going on?"
"Dementors are cool!" Rolf yelled.†
"Penelope and I have quite a history." Helen said calmly, as Rolf was waving his arms wildly as Luna was slapping the air over his head.†
"Percy, a word." Penelope yelled, and latched onto Percy's arm like a barnacle, dragging him through the restaurant and into the girl's bathroom.†
"Why are we in the ladies'?" Percy yelled. "I'm male! I'm a male in the female's restroom, this is embarrassing--"
"Your date is a monster!" Penelope yelled. "She's a Slytherin, she's foul--"
"You were the mysterious Dementor?" said Percy, clearly in awe. "That was you? You were swarmed by the whole lot of them, and by the whole lot of Trolls - I mean Slytherins - sorry."
Penelope blushed. "Yeah, I tried to get the Dementors onto the field so Ravenclaw could win - pretty stupid, but--"
"It was genius." Penelope shot Percy a look and he finished with, "Sorry, that was out loud, but everyone remembered that, Oliver was talking about the Dementor-person for ages, he thought they were the Dungbomb!"
Penelope did something unexpected - she hugged him.†
"Slytherin still won that match, you know. And we got the Cup that year, thanks to Potter and Wood!"
"We got it first year, so you can shut your ridiculous mouth--"
"BOY!" a girl shrieked. "BOY IN THE LADIES' ROOM!"
"Technically, I'm a man, I'm over the age of seventeen, which means I'm of age -- quite a bit over the age of seventeen, thank you very much--" Percy was interrupted my Penelope dragging him by his legs out the door, shaking her head.†
"Quiddich." she mumbled. "Damn Slytherins, always taking the Cup..."
"Pen! Perce!" a voice said, and Percy instantly felt his face go pink. Oliver Wood had caught Percy, laying on his back, right by the girl's restroom, his shoes off and belt undone, and Penelope, red-faced and frizzy-haired, Percy's shoes in her hand.†
"It's not what you think!" Percy and Penelope yelled at the same time, attracting lots of unwanted attention from patrons and staff, wondering who these young people were and why they were so damn loud.†
Oliver stopped and blinked, his dark eyes jumping from Penelope to Percy. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were dragging him feet-first out of the bathroom.. Is there something I'm missing?"†
"None at all." Percy said, getting his shoes back from Penelope. Nothing's except Pen hates my hot-but-apparently-rude date, Rolf is drunk, and his girlfriend is a creepy hippie.
Also, he noted with extreme displeasure, that a hug from his friend was the most action he'd gotten in years. That was kind of depressing.†
Two glaringly empty chairs still weren't filled by the time Oliver, Percy, and Penelope got back to the table and ordered their food and drinks, and begged the waitress to cut off Rolf for good, for he was starting to drool. Not good.†
Oliver and Penelope both were trying to avoid eye contact at all costs, Helen was doing her best to smirk and classily sip her water. Percy was sitting quietly, not daring to ask any questions, Rolf was slurring his words to the tune of a Scottish drinking song, and Luna was weaving napkins together. Lovely.
"Penelope, you look lovely!" a tall man said and did the annoying-hand-kiss-thing that always bugged Percy. He wasn't long and lanky like Rolf or Percy, he was well-built with black, curly hair and piercing blue eyes.†
Penelope smiled, but it wasn't warm; it was a cold smirk, directed at Oliver, whose mouth was now in a large O shape.†
"R-r-r-odger." He spat, eyebrows raised. "Rodger." he said again, seemingly making sure he could talk.†
"O-o-o-liver." Rodger mimicked with a smirk and sat next to Penelope, and held her hand and played with her hair. Gross. "Forever alone Wood strikes again!"†
"I have a date, Davies, before she comes, I'd like to hex the guts out of you."
Percy's eyes darted from Rodger's †intense gaze, Oliver's nervous eyes, and Penelope's cold smile, fixed on Wood.†
"Details, woman." Percy said, realising he was out of the social loop for the second time that night.†
Penelope rolled her eyes. "This is my boyfriend, Rodger Davies." (Oliver coughed something rude) "He's a brilliant Quidditch player, he's on an amazing team, the Montrose Magpies - and he's arguably the best Keeper in the league!" Penelope shot Oliver a condescending glare.†
Merlin's trousers, this will not end well, Percy thought, as Wood turned an ugly shade of green.
thanks again to all readers and reviewers, again, dedicated to Arielle (who's a brilliant writer and super amazing, to boot.)†
Verbatim ; exactly as said before. (Latin)