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Stuck in the Middle by TheHeirOfSlytherin
Chapter 5 : Official Friendship Photos
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 10


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Oliver kept the curtains close to him open through the night, so while the rest of the dorm was dark, moonlight lit up the corner between his and James' beds. It was late, close to four am, and Oliver was still wide awake. He lay on his stomach and stretched out his hand, used the light to make shadows and puppets on the floor. He blamed the light for keeping him awake, but he knew really that it was because he couldn't switch his brain off; he couldn't stop thinking about what he'd said to Melanie and his camera being broken being bad karma he didn't think he deserved.

It didn't make him want to get up and shut the curtains, though; he'd loved that camera, his parents had saved quite a bit of money to get it for him, so he'd take the punishment whether he thought he deserved it or not.

Slowly, once he felt his arm start to ache, Oliver dropped his hand and relaxed it by his side, his eyes finding their way back to his clock. He groaned; he considered it a little too late to try and get some sleep, but way too early to get up and ready. Which meant all he could do was lie in bed and wait, feeling time drag so it felt like much longer. Oliver tried to focus on the positives: maybe if he stayed awake during the day, he'd be able to crash straight after his last lesson. He'd just have to remember to set an alarm or have someone wake him for dinner.

Oliver looked away from the clock, his eyes wondering the dark room, until he finally allowed himself to stop at James' bed. His roommate seemed to be asleep, he could barely see the steady rise and fall of the boy's chest, and his head was facing away from him, so Oliver couldn't see his eyes. He looked so peaceful, relaxed, and Oliver wanted so much to touch him, to feel his heartbeat beneath his hand and his lips on the pulse at James' neck.

Karma's an evil bitch.

He didn't notice James turn to look at him. "Can't sleep?" he whispered.

Oliver jumped, causing James to laugh softly, and shook his head. "No," he answered. "You?"

James scratched his chest, just over his heart, where Oliver had wished he'd been able to touch moments before, and sat up slowly. "I was. I gotta pee."

Oliver couldn't help the chuckle that escaped him and he clamped his hand over his mouth as James put a finger to his lips, using his other hand to point to their still sleeping roommates.

"So blunt," Oliver said quietly, turning to watch him leave. James winked and continued on his way to the bathroom.

Oliver lay on his stomach again, his eyes on James' empty bed, and waited for his crush to come back. Even if James would never be with him the way he wanted the boy to be, he still liked the idea of being his friend and friends talked to each other during times like this, didn't they? He and Sarah did when she stayed over during the holidays, when he came back from Florida, but it was rare for him to still be up at this time and Sarah would usually have to keep him awake if she wanted to talk to him.

In the silence, Oliver heard the chain flush and the sounds of James' footsteps as he came back into the dorm and into bed. He took a similar position to Oliver, lying on his stomach to face him. He smiled briefly, just a slight curve of the lips, and shut his eyes.

"Why can't you sleep?"

Oliver shrugged, only to remember that James couldn't see him anymore. "I don't know, nothing specific. I just can't shut my brain off."

"That sucks," James muttered. "I like sleep."

"I know you do, I've shared a dorm with you since third year," he replied. "You talk in your sleep, mumble. Do you know that you do that?" James nodded once. "Do you dream?"

"Lots of times," he whispered, drifting off again, and Oliver knew he'd be asleep again any minute. "You?"

"Yeah," he said, his head filling with memories of dreams he could remember.

"What do you dream about?"

Oliver opened his mouth, then snapped it shut quickly, having no idea what to say to answer that. He didn't want to be too vague in case James decided to ask more questions, but he couldn't tell him the truth. He didn't need to worry, though; the sound of James' light snoring left him free to answer the question without James actually hearing him.

"You."

***

The alarm rang loudly, rousing Oliver from his peaceful sleep and forcing him to open his eyes. He did for a minute, then squeezed them shut and stretched out a hand to turn it off, only for another to do so before him. The intruder thread his fingers between Oliver's and dropped their hands onto the bed.

"It's too early," he muttered sleepily. "It's not time to get up yet. Go back to sleep."

Oliver chuckled and turned onto his back, knocking into a hard, warm chest. He opened his eyes again and smiled up at James' still sleeping face. "You're allowed to say that, you have a free period first. I have to get to class."

He started to get up, almost managing to sit up completely before James was able to snake his arm around Oliver's middle and pull him back down. He moved to lie on top of the surprised boy and briefly kissed the side of his mouth before leaving a trail along his jaw to his ear.

"Why can't we just stay here?" he whispered, nipping his earlobe, then burying his face into the space between his lover's shoulder and neck.

"People will notice," Oliver said quietly, guiltily. "I'm not ready."

"Be ready," James told him softly. "Everything's going to change."

Then the alarm went off again...

***

Oliver jumped up quickly, catching his sheets at his waist, and shut off the alarm with a groan. It was his first proper sleep since he'd spoken to James a few nights ago and it just had to be the night he'd dreamt about the guy, then he had be woken up by a clock on a Saturday. Not even the fact that it had just turned eleven, meaning someone had changed the alarm time for him so he wouldn't have to be up early, helped with his mood.

What's going to change?

He really hated dreams.

He fell back down, his hand in his hair as he groaned at no one in particular. The open window let in a calming breeze and Oliver shut his eyes, welcoming the feeling. Somehow he just knew that it wouldn't last.

The door swung open, hitting the wall with a loud bang, and he watched Sarah make her way to the end of his bed. "Come on, you. Get up. You said we were sorting out your pictures today. I don't want to wait anymore."

Nodding and let himself smile, Sarah always did make the task fun, Oliver kicked the covers away and stood up, fixing his pajama pants, so that they weren't twisted, before walking to the boys' bathroom. His shower was quick and he brushed his teeth while he was still in the bathroom, coming back to find his friend rummaging through his trunk. He let her, knowing she would be careful with his cameras, and waited on the bed for the inevitable clothes show.

"I like this top. Do you like this top?"

Oliver rolled his eyes and contemplated wearing it. It was nothing special, just a plain white t-shirt, but he'd grown a bit since wearing it and, while it just about fit, it clung to his body in a way that seemed a little revealing. "A little tight, don't you think?" he asked, not wanting to say the real reason because she knew it anyway.

"Maybe James will notice," she said with a wink and a grin. He groaned; he had to stop her trying to get them together. Although, it wasn't like James was taking her hints and his friend Tucker was too busy trying to Sarah's attention to really notice, so it wasn't like either of them would figure it out any time soon. It still made him uncomfortable, though. She threw him the top and started looking for pants. She eventually pulled out a pair of loose fitting jeans that always found a way of stopping just below his hips, no matter how many times he pulled them up or if he had a belt. But he liked them because of the cool chain that went from the loop by the zip to the end of his right front pocket. If you looked closely, you could see that the figures going across it were cameras. "I'll meet you in the common room. Hurry up."

Saluting Sarah sarcastically, Oliver waited for her to leave and for him to slide his underwear on before he dropped his towel. He dressed, dried his hair with his towel, so it was still damp, grabbed his sunglasses and the bag with his equipment in and left the room.

"What's with the glasses?" Sarah asked as soon as she noticed.

"The sun is out; I'd like to see what we're actually doing."

"I get that. Why are you wearing them now? Inside?"

"I didn't want to carry them," he told her honestly, grinning innocently.

"It's so hard to think of something negative about you when you look so adorable," she pouted a little. She really couldn't; it was like her mouth just stopped working when he smiled in that way - lopsided and playful, with his head tilted just a little to the left. She called him crazy no matter what, but she considered that a term of endearment; she didn't think she'd love him as much as she did or be as close to him as she was if he wasn't his crazy self. "I don't even know if I want to try."

She looped her arm through his and pulled him out of the common room, along the corridor to the Great Hall. "Then don't try," he replied.

"But it's like a challenge now," Sarah pointed out, shrugging. "It'll just take a while. But if I can think of something negative to say when you're not being adorable, I can do this, too. And believe me when I say that took a while."

Frowning, both because of what she was doing and what she said, Oliver stopped her. "You said something negative about me?"

"When you dropped all your books and started swearing and I called you a Silly Billy," she reminded him seriously.

"Yeah. That one really hurt my feelings," he said between laughs he just couldn't hold back.

"Hey, Oliver, Sarah."

Sarah ignored him and waved at the two girls walking past. They were friends in their group, not too close to them, but they liked the girls. They looked like they had come from the Great Hall; Oliver briefly wondered if there was any food left. His laughter ended just in time for him to move his sunglasses to his head and turn around.

"Smile, ladies."

The two girls posed, grinning at the camera just as Oliver took the picture. "What are you going to do with all of the pictures, Oliver?" one asked, the other nodding as though she'd been wondering the same.

"I'm going to make scrapbooks for the end of year. I'll give them out after Graduation because I think that should be a picture that goes in there."

"Oh, that's a great idea," the second girl squealed. "We'll have all of our memories."

"Thanks," Sarah answered excitedly. "It was my idea. We're going to get started now."

"Good luck. They'll be amazing, worth paying for, I bet."

"Don't worry, you can have them for free," Oliver promised, nudging Sarah in the ribs before she could talk about prices. "I'm not going to make people pay for something that is for you. Come on, Sarah. Bye, ladies."

"The money we could potentially make would help us pay for the holiday we've been planning," she sighed unhappily. "That reminds me; where do you want to go?"

"We have until summer to decide, right now focus on paying for it," Oliver said rationally. She knew he was right; they'd only be disappointed if they planned where they wanted to go only to not go because they couldn't afford it. The woes of being poor, Sarah called it.

There was food left in the hall, but Sarah was too excited about sorting through his pictures to let him stay for very long. But even though he only had a couple of pieces of toast, which he mostly ate on the way to the lake, he was okay with it. He was kind of excited, too. The lake was unoccupied except for one person, who was sat against a tree quite a distance away from where Oliver and Sarah stopped. They could barely see him, but they could definitely hear him.

Hugo Weasley was the youngest in the family, the baby everyone wanted to protect - even though Lily Potter was only a month older him. Even so, he was the most self-reliant. And the smartest, with an eidetic memory and above average IQ, though he never talked about it or gave an exact number. He was alone more times than he was with friends and family, it was how he preferred it, and if he wasn't in the library, speeding through yet another book, he was more likely to be by the lake... singing. He wasn't necessarily interested in music as a profession, from what little Oliver knew about the boy, he was sure Hugo would get bored and stop the moment someone would talk about making it a career. He sung because it relaxed him, he played the guitar just so he had a tune to sing to. His sister Rose had overheard Oliver ask once and told him that Hugo had found the instrument in a shop window and, unable to think of something else to do at the time, had bought it, figuring that would be the thing he'd try to learn that year, other than a language. He was quite talented and the only one in the family who could really sing, though apparently Albus Potter and Molly Weasley weren't that bad.

The song he was singing now was a slow song, a love song maybe, and Oliver wished he could hear the lyrics properly. But Hugo was too far away.

Oliver took out his camera, zooming in. He could just about manage to get a proper picture; Hugo was clearly noticeable, including the guitar in his hands and the glasses on his face, but he was small in the picture, like a little action figure. It would have to do.

"He'll get you for that," Sarah said. Hugo wasn't camera shy, he'd certainly had his fair share of photos taken thanks to his mum's campaigns, but unless you wanted broken bones and a disfigured face, you had to ask him first. He was a private person; there wasn't much anyone knew about him, including his family.

Oliver shrugged; Hugo hadn't noticed the flash. "He won't know until he's shown the scrapbook at the end of the year. Then he'd have to find me."

"What if he does?" Sarah asked.

Oliver scoffed, taking a seat in the ground and opening up his bag. "I'll get my new best friend to protect me."

Laughing, Sarah joined him. "No offense, but James is more likely to forget all about it. Face it, Ollie-Pop, unless you hide or get rid of that picture, you're a dead man."

Oliver shook his head; he was not afraid of Hugo Weasley. Though it was clear from Sarah's look that he should be. He knew better than anyone that looks could be deceiving, but Hugo was just too adorable for him to be scared. Every time he saw the kid, he just wanted to hug him. It helped that Hugo himself liked hugs. He just had to like you first and they'd never really talked. That's what Oliver found so weird about it.

A problem for another day, he said to himself. He took out a plastic board from his bag, putting it onto the ground in front of them, then a box marked 'Third Year' and handed it to Sarah, along with another one marked 'Fourth Year'. He had five, one for each year he'd been at Hogwarts, and the first four had every picture he'd taken in those years. They weren't very big boxes, he'd had to put extension charms on them to hold all of the photos, but they would do. After Christmas, when he'd be able to use his computer, he'd start adding his seventh year photos. Until then, they were going through the one's they had, finding the best one's to potentially use for the scrapbook. He'd brought the board so that he wouldn't have to put his pictures on the grass; he didn't care if the weather was warm and the grass was dry, it just wasn't happening.

They talked and they laughed, reminiscing over what was going on in each photo, and they listened to Hugo play. He stopped about an hour in - he was now just lying on the grass, Oliver checked - and Oliver dug around his bag for his iPod. He loved his iPod, wished he could play it all the time, but he couldn't charge it here and had to be careful. The longest he'd made it last for was a month and that was only because he hadn't touched it at all throughout September. There was an old classroom in the school designed for Muggle appliances to work; it was an experiment, a way of seeing if it would work, and had ways of charging phones and music players and laptops. It even had WiFi, though because it was an experiment, the school wouldn't invest in computers and students had to bring their own laptops if they wanted to use it. There was a charm around the room that prevented magic from being used inside, that way it wouldn't interfere with Muggle technology. The room was scarcely used, though some Muggleborns tried, including Oliver, to keep in touch with families. Most were more interesting in the new world they'd come to, and people hadn't taken into account that the charm around the room to keep magic out was a charm, magic itself. Though it was around the outside of the room, it was still there, still within proximity, and things messed up often, more so if you left the door open. Oliver didn't trust the room to charge his iPod and he never brought his computer. The only reason it hadn't been closed off yet was because it was used, if only a little, and mostly by the kid behind them. He seemed to know how to keep his laptop working.

He probably read it in a book.

"Oh, I love this song!" Sarah cried happily, turning the iPod up as far as it would go and singing along.

She dropped the pictures onto the board, the iPod on top so it wouldn't get stood on, and pulled Oliver up, bringing him closer.

"No, I'm not dancing," he protested meekly.

"Fine. Sing then."

"I'm a crap singer."

"You're only saying that because you've been listening to him." She pointed to Hugo. "Ignore him, he's just good at everything."

"Not everything," Oliver reminded her. "He's as afraid of heights as I am. Which is saying something really; I thought I was the only one who would go so pale I'd almost pass out."

"Sing or dance," Sarah ordered, holding out a hand expectantly. She didn't expect him to grab her hand and spin her to him while singing. "Ollie!"

Oliver continued to sing the song, proud that he managed to get the words out while laughing at Sarah's hilarious dance moves. She nodded as the song neared the end; he had to do something, too. He couldn't just stand there and sing along semi-quietly. He belted out the last line, his arm outstretched and his hand in a fist.

"Now don't you understand that I'm never changing who I am!"

They jumped and turned when they heard people whistling and applauding. Oliver put his head in his hands and cursed fate the moment he saw that James, along with Tucker, was watching them.

"What are you two doing here?"

"We came to make sure Hugo remembers to eat," James said, still chuckling. "We didn't expect the show. Well done."

"That we can charge for," Oliver told her.

"Hey, Sarah," Tucker tried to flirt with her.

Sarah put her hand between them. "No. Just no."

"But -"

"Walk away, Matthews."

"Wow. Anti-climatic or what?" James laughed. "You should have heard his 'this is the day Sarah acknowledges me' speech. Moving stuff; I swear, I felt a tear form. Yeah, I was just imagining the slap on the face he'll eventually get."

"You should listen to your friend," she warned him. "He knows what he's talking about."

"So, what are you doing?" James asked Oliver, both of them ignoring Tucker defend his reasons for thinking Sarah would date him.

"Sorting through every photo I've taken here," Oliver replied, picking up his camera. "We're going to pick the best and make a book."

"Cool. I like... this one," he finally said, looking through the stack of fourth year photos and pulling out a picture of Oliver asleep in History of Magic. Again.

"Er, no. I said all of the pictures that I took. Sarah took that one."

James grinned, continuing to look. "Oh, is it weird that I also like this one?"

He turned it around, held it up for Oliver to see. Oliver tried to control his body's reaction, not wanting to blush when he saw it. It was of James during the summer of fourth year; they were in Hogsmeade one last time before they finished school for the year and Oliver had been about to take a picture of the joke shop when James ran through it. He stopped right in front and Oliver got the picture just after Tucker and Ryan had soaked him. Thankfully, Oliver had Muggle cameras or the picture would be showing James taking his top off right now.

"You got in the way," Oliver muttered. He cleared his throat. "But it's an alright picture, I suppose. I'll add it if you want it. And, yes, it is weird that you like a picture of yourself."

"Are you adding this year's pictures to it?"

"Yeah. Why?"

James held out a hand, putting the photos back onto the board and, nervously, Oliver handed him his camera. He took a picture of Sarah and Tucker, stunning them into momentary silence because of the flash. James turned back to Oliver. "Because people should see the look on their faces."

"Or they could see another picture of you, too," Tucker glared.

"We're not talking about that anymore," James warned him. "Do you want help choosing your pictures?"

"No," Oliver said, hoping his voice didn't actually sound as shaky as he'd thought. There were more pictures of James over the years; it would be too embarrassing to let him see. "We're putting them away, going to lunch. You can help another time."

When I've removed the pictures.

"Okay. I'll help." James put the pictures into the box Oliver pointed at and then put the board away. "There. I look forward to seeing your book. You've never let people see your pictures before."

"First time for everything," he replied. They started to walk, their friends still having their own conversation behind them, and Oliver almost forgot that James still had his camera until he was stopped.

"We should have a real picture, one that says 'we're officially friends'. That way my family can't think I've lied about it," James said.

"They think that?"

"Well, they'd never met you before this, so," James shrugged. "Come here."

James put Oliver in front of him, so that he could hold the camera with both hands, and murmured "smile" into his ear before taking the picture. "I think it looks pretty good, don't you?" he asked, handing it over.

"Yeah, it does," he said softly, unable to look away. They looked more like a couple in this than they did in the media one. Was there someone looking down on him just wanting to torture him?

"That was adorable," Sarah gushed.

"That was trouble waiting to happen," Tucker corrected, pointing in front of them.

Melanie was watching them and if looks could kill...

Oh, crap.



A/N: Aww, poor Ollie-Pop (it's weird how much I know love that nickname - the reason for it will be in the next chapter). :)

Now don't you understand that i'm never changing who I am - It's Time and belongs to Imagine Dragons. It fits with the overall theme I want for this story. Don't expect any more lyrics, though, I think it's a rare occurance. :)

I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please let me know what you think. :D

Sam.


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