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Nature's Bounty by tiberiusirius
Chapter 19 : The Mac and Cheese Incident
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Ryu didn’t realize she was being cradled in Sirius arms. She felt as if she had narrowly escaped drowning having just reached the surface, and now she was drinking in the atmosphere as if it were the first time she had tasted oxygen. Her whole body felt like someone had flayed her from the inside out and had left her bloodied skin out to dry in the sun for days. She was trying to collect herself, but she couldn’t feel the ground beneath her. So, flailing, she clambered out of Sirius’s grip and onto her hands and knees unceremoniously, trying to stop trembling while still breathing heavily.

 

She wasn’t capable of looking around at that moment, but if she had she would have been horrified to see her friends, all but Sirius, in a perfect radius around her. They were all picking themselves up off the ground slowly, none really sure what had transpired, just that they had all been thrown like rag dolls to the ground by the force of a mysterious pseudo-explosion. Ryu herself was still unaware that part of what she had experienced in her unconscious state, her friends had been privy to as well.

 

Getting to her feet, still fighting the tremors that overtook her body in waves, Ryu unsteadily walked over to her belongings on the sheas lounge and took a seat resting her head in her hands. Sirius followed her, making sure she wouldn’t take any unnecessary spills, but he stayed a good distance away, a bit shaken up considering what had happened. She seemed to be talking to herself, and there was a quiver of uncertainty in her voice, but, regardless of the tone, none of what she said made any sense. It looked as if she was trying to puzzle out what had happened, as if she were retracing her experience.

 

Her voice was breathless and she was shaking her head to herself, “The Forbidden Forest?” She didn’t seem like she could believe her own words. “The girl, was that me? And that man….a hundred different faces...who was that man?” Ryu was jolted from her thoughts when she registered a voice on the edge of her consciousness.

 

It was Sirius, his voice was gentle, “Ryu, are you okay?” He was worried about her physical well being before, now he was concerned that she had become unhinged.

 

She looked up and met his gray eyes; more questions pilled up. “Those eyes…“she said looking directly at him bewildered. “Why were you there?” Just like that she broke her gaze and put her head back in her hands, mumbling once more.

 

Everyone else collected themselves and gathered around Ryu, slightly more wary this time considering what had happened only moments before. It was Leeham who broke the silence. He was rubbing a knot that had formed on the back of his head where he had come into contact with the ground after being flung away. “Do you bloody well have a hospital wing in this monstrosity of a house?” he questioned a bit agitated. “Because if you don’t, and you plan on exploding every time someone offers you sodding sunscreen, you might want to invest.” He finished sourly before asking the one thing that was on everyone’s mind. “What in Merlin’s name was that bollocks back there?”

 

Ryu was processing everything he said slowly and almost backwards, “Merlin...could that have been Merlin?” she asked questioning no one in particular. “Wait I exploded? That happened here as well?” A worried expression came over her features as she realized she could have hurt her friends. “Shit! Is everyone okay?” She looked horribly guilty and had come to her feet distressed.

 

James motioned for her to sit back down with his hands. “We are okay, a bit bruised, and more than a bit surprised, but we are okay.” He explained. His expression turned confused as he inquired, “What did you mean when you said that happened here too? Where were you?”

 

Ryu sat back down shaking her head trying to find the words to explain. “I can’t be sure, but I think I was standing on the edge of the Black Lake.” She said watching her friends look at her skeptically. “I don’t think I was really there, although it did feel like it. I could see the cliff where Hogwarts should have been but the school wasn’t there, like it hadn’t been built yet.” She explained almost trying to convince herself as well as them. “And then…” she said nervously staring at the ground.

 

She paused for long enough that Rebecca felt like she needed some encouragement. Placing a hand on Ryu’s shoulder she simply said, “Go on”, and nudged her gently.

 

Ryu frowned knowing it was all going to sound loony but trudged on with a helpless sigh. “Then I turned around and there was the forest; the Forbidden Forest if I’m right. It was like it always is when I see the forest, I just sort of started walking and couldn’t stop myself from entering.” They were all frowning at her strange but familiar tale, however they didn’t say a word so she continued. “I must have walked miles, but I was going so fast! Out of nowhere I came to this clearing. There was a man there, and a woman.  The woman was staring up at this massive cherry tree, it’s branches covered the entire clearing. It was huge.” She hesitated not really sure how to go about telling the rest. When she did go on, she chose her words carefully. “The woman, I think she knew the man but I can’t be sure. She didn’t really seem afraid just kind of, I don’t know...unyielding? I think she knew what was going to happen. When she turned to face the man, he stretched his hand out and lifted her off the ground. It looked like he was funneling all the magic of the world, or at least what I could see, into the woman. The forest was dying all around me from what I can only assume was because of it. When he finished everything was wilted and dead, and then I was no longer watching from the sidelines. I was looking out of her eyes, feeling everything she felt.” She gulped before she went on, afraid to remember, “She was in so much pain, I felt like I was being incinerated from the inside out.” She cringed despite herself; she could still remember the torture. It was something that was hard to forget, and she felt her thoughts linger on it momentarily.

 

It was Dina this time that prodded her. She had taken a seat next to Ryu on the sheas. The unnecessarily long pause and pained look on Ryu’s face caused Dinas knee to push her own. It garnered an appropriate response.

 

She picked up where she left off, the nudge bringing her back to her story. “Then I saw the mans lips moving, and light heading straight towards me.” She started again.  “I couldn’t tell what it was, I couldn’t focus on anything with the haze around me and the pain. When it hit me, it was like all the magic was dispelled from my body at once causing something like an explosion. Everything felt different, and the forest was alive again, everything except the large tree. It was still wilted and lifeless. Its dead branches almost fell on top of me and I ended up scrambling into the mans arms.” She shook her head knowing the next part was going to sound unbelievable. “He looked so happy, and when he held me… I felt…I don’t know, it was like it was right.” The words weren’t exactly accurate, but there was no other way to describe it. Her tone changed and turned a bit confused as she continued, “But then I would try to pull away from him, and for some reason I physically couldn’t….not until he pulled away. When he did, the strangest thing happened,” Ryu couldn’t help the curious look that came over her features, “he pulled away and his face started changing, and it just kept morphing. He must’ve gone through hundreds of different faces until…” She really didn’t want to say it, but she forced herself to and met gray eyes as she did. “….Until it settled on Sirius….the man was Sirius. That’s when I woke up.” She looked around at everyone as she finished her tall tale.

 

They all seemed to be pondering the story she had told, recounting everything she had said in their own heads. No one was coming up with anything to say really, only silence. Lily looked to be deep in thought and had taken a seat to concentrate. Ryu wasn’t surprised when she was the first one to speak. She looked thoroughly perplexed, but determined to make some sense of it all. “The way you described being lifted in the air, and then the explosion as the magic left. Isn’t that what happened in Dumbledore’s office in front of the Wizengamot when they used the Veneficus charm on you?”

 

Ryu was seeing where she was going but had to shake her head, “I mean the bubble and the light…. Really most of it all was the same, except in Dumbledore’s office there was no real pain. The pain in the dream was unreal.” She shivered remembering it. “I felt like I was going to be torn apart.”

 

Lily nodded trying to piece things together, “The way you put it—I think you said all the magic was dispelled—that is an accurate description of what the Veneficus charm does. We use it as a way to measure a wizards talent because the light you are capable of ‘dispelling’ is proportional to how much talent you possess or how much magic you can hold.” She explained leadingly, then she paused and looked at Ryu, “I think it’s safe to say it was the Veneficus charm the man used, and if I’m right, I really don’t think the explosion is what was causing the pain, I think that’s what stopped it.”

 

Ryu was a bit lost, luckily Remus seemed to be on the same page. “So you think whatever happened before he used the charm was what was causing the pain? That there were two different actions, each towards a different goal?” he asked Lily. When she nodded in response he posed another question. “Then could it be possible that whoever created the Veneficus charm didn’t intend for it to be used as a means to measure someones strength, but to literally dispel magic?” Lily was nodding her head again but Remus had turned towards Ryu, and didn’t notice her agreement as he continued. “I mean you said it seemed like it was school grounds, but Hogwarts hadn’t been built yet. And if that’s the case what you were witnessing happened ages ago.” Everyone seemed open to the idea given the proof he had just stated so he went on. “What if the man you saw was the spells’ creator, and he created it for this exact purpose? But then why would someone need a spell to do that?”

 

Lily shook her head, “That’s the mystery. Although, theoretically if you are going to gather up all that magic, you can’t just let go of it and expect a controlled exodus. Any number of things could go disastrously wrong!” She held her hands up in the air for emphasis before turning back to Ryu to ask still more questions. “You said you felt changed afterwards, and the Veneficus Charm wouldn’t change you. Did you see what the magic was doing beforehand? Could you tell what the man was trying to do?”

 

Ryu shrugged at a loss, “That’s the thing, he wasn’t doing anything with it that I could tell. He just gathered it and moved it around and contained it. At least that’s what I remember before I became the woman. From her perspective there was little else I could experience except agony.”   

 

Lily looked at a loss, but it was James who posed the question, “What could you possibly hope to do by moving magic around a person and then scattering it? And how did he do all this without a wand? You said he did this all with his hand, right?” he asked Ryu.

 

Ryu was about to answer when Remus out of nowhere jumped up in realization, seeming like he had just made a connection he had never before considered. “That’s it!” he yelled at Ryu as if she should know what he was talking about.

 

She looked at him like he had gone mad, “What’s what?” she questioned.

 

“That’s the title of the book I told you about.” She still looked a bit confused so he explained, “You know, that Fairy Tale book I found in the restricted section at school before the ministry did their inventory and confiscated everything. The one you tried to buy at Flourish and Blotts with your whole vault!”

 

For the first time in days she felt hopeful. The book at Flourish and Blotts had only pictures on the cover, and the writing inside was so faded it was hardly legible. It also didn’t help that the man who owned the store was so protective over the tome he himself was afraid to open and wasn’t educated on its contents. Naturally, if he wasn’t going in it, there was no way he would even allow near her near it. Knowing the name of the book would at least help in finding another copy, or even just information regarding its contents.  “What is it, for Merlins Sake!” she asked feeling like he had been standing there for ages just dangling something in from of her.

 

Remus just grinned happily, the melodious quality that Ryu found so soothing returning for the first time since the attack. “It’s called Primum Virgae……The First Wand.”

 

The smile on her face lessened after realizing she had no idea where in the story he was making a connection to the title. In fact, everyone but Remus appeared to be at a loss as well. She opened her mouth to ask him what had sparked his memory, and why it was important, but the words dissolved to ash on her tongue.

 

Out of nowhere, and seeing an opportunity in the silence, Sonny chimed in wondering aloud. “All of this is all well and good, but I have another question that none of you have even considered. Why did the man and woman start off as two apparently ancient people from a time before Hogwarts, if what Remus is saying about time periods is right…and more importantly, why did they morph into Ryu and Sirius?” She seemed just a tad smug as she said it. Like she was expecting to get people thinking and hoped one specific conclusion would be drawn

 

Ryu panicked, and was determined to redirect before anyone threw out some ridiculous idea. She seemed only slightly over eager as she said, “Now I think we can all agree that’s just out of our realm of understanding! Volleyball anyone?”

 

Everyone seemed quite surprised at her invitation, everyone except the girls. They just snickered casually to themselves and shared looks. The boys on the other hand just remained confused, but one at a time they agreed to get in the pool and play hoping to get their minds off things.


 


 

Volleyball wasn’t the greatest success in the world. Apparently pureblood wizards just can’t see the fun in hitting around a ball unless they are three stories high, going at least seventy kilometers an hour, and have the chance of bodily injury due to a bludger being intentionally hit in their direction. It only took fifteen minutes before James was whining that they should be playing Quidditch and drove everyone from the pool with his obnoxiousness. It was about dinnertime anyways.

 

Dinner was a whole ordeal in itself. Ryu was thankful that everyone brought groceries, but it was such a mishmash of items that there wasn’t really an ample amount of any one thing to make dinner enough for all of them. Instead everyone decided they would make their own favorite dish and they could all try a bite of each others. It seemed like it would be a chaotic venture, but the kitchen and appliances were so large, and there was so much room, it really wasn’t all that bad. Plus everyone trying to work around each other caused some pretty good laughs, especially when Leeham turned around a bit too quick and ran straight into Sonny, dousing them both in white gravy. Sonny was clearly pissed about the hot viscous liquid being poured on her, Leeham on the otherhand looked like he was going to try and rescue his gravy by eating it off of her. Naturally, both of them were traumatized. Regardless, it felt good to be laughing again, even if it was because one friend was physically knocking some sense into another. It was almost as if things were returning to normal.

 

Once they had all finished cooking, they sat down at the dining room table to commence the munching. It definitely wasn’t a Hogwarts meal, what Amos made was hardly palatable at all, but it did have they same feel. Everyone was together, battling for seconds of certain things, making fun of each other for their surprising cooking talents or lack there of, and just in general being silly.

 

“Merlin Leeham, I didn’t know you had such great culinary skills,” said Rebecca as she stuffed a second flaky biscuit into her mouth after smothering it in another helping of gravy. Luckily he had made a second batch after spilling it all over Sonny, clearly Rebecca was happy about that. “I can’t say I blame you now for trying to lick it off the Davies succubus over there.” She pointed at Sonny who just smiled devilishly. Turning back to Leeham she added, “Hell if you spilt it again I might just try to lick it off myself.”

 

Leeham perked up upon her words, it was his turn to smile roguishly, “Rebecca dear, I’ll whip up some more right now and spill it all over our naughty little friend if you promise to do just that.” He winked at Sonny for effect, and in the process totally didn’t see the biscuit that Remus threw at his head. It hit its mark.

 

Ryu just laughed at the spectacle. Picking up the nearest bowl happy to see macaroni and cheese in front of her, she couldn’t contain a small squeal as she put a large helping on her plate. “Lily this looks so deliciously fattening, this is one thing I wish I could make.”

 

The red head looked confused as she daintily took another bite of the asparagus that Rebecca had prepared, “I didn’t make that. I thought we needed more than one vegetable so I made the green beans. Sirius, you made the macaroni right?”

 

Sirius looked up from his plate where he seemed to be pushing around some of the shepherds pie Amos had attempted to prepare. “Yeah, macaroni is my favorite, I could practically eat it everyday.” He looked back down at his plate before adding, “On second thought, pass that here and gimme some more of it, would ya?” He then glanced at Amos,  “I’m sorry mate but whatever this is, just isn’t doing it for me.” He motioned to the goop on his plate.

 

Amos just chuckled. “No need to apologize mate, I took a bite myself and nearly tossed my cookies. This definitely isn’t how my mum makes it. I need lessons from you and Leeham.”

 

Sirius grinned, “Well, considering all the compliments, we may just have to give some.” He turned his head looking for the mac and cheese once more only to find Ryu was hoarding it near her plate. “Oi! Ryu! Hand me my masterpiece will you?”

 

Ryu begrudgingly stood up and stretched across the table towards Sirius’s beckoning hands. However, things didn’t go as planned. The handoff apparently wasn’t going to be as simple as it should have. Sirius’s finger grazed her own and it was as if the whole world stopped. Together they dropped the serving bowl on the table and sent cheesy goodness flying everywhere.

 

Ryu had never before felt anything quite like what she experienced in that moment. The feel of his sturdy, calloused finger tips grazing her soft skin, sent a wave of electricity up her arm that radiated throughout her whole body. It was amplified by the fact that, even after the bowl was clearly out of their grip, they stood their unsurely reveling in the strange ecstasy. It was a warmth like she had never felt before and never wanted to stop. The initial shock of it had caused her to intake a large breath, but, as she stood their enjoying the feeling, she found herself letting it out, slowly at first, then faster and in time with the quickening of her heart beat. It was astonishing, and a bit intoxicating, as if she was under the influence of some inexplicable aphrodisiac. She wanted to feel more, and she felt her fingers trail the back of his palm acting on her subconscious thoughts.

 

The warmth that Sirius felt spreading through his body at her touch was practically indescribable. The initial graze had caused him to tense, flexing all his muscles unsurely. It was beyond anything he had ever hoped to experience in his life. All his senses were burning with an unreal bliss, triggered by some newfound sensitivity.  It was making his blood boil, and it didn’t help that she was now running her long slender fingers down the back of his hand. He shivered trying to hold back the carnal thoughts that were threatening to rise and take over his instincts. He had never wanted someone so physically before in his life, he wasn’t sure he could control himself. And indeed it seemed he couldn’t, a low growl emitted from his mouth of its own accord.

 

Everyone else at the table looked completely befuddled by the exchange. It didn’t help the situation that there was now macaroni now splattered everywhere. Sirius and Ryu however seemed oblivious to it. The original touch they had shared looked to have shocked them both right into a euphoric state. Ryus eyes had gone wide and her breath was coming out in ragged pants as sheen began to develop on her skin. She looked unsure of what was taking her over at first, but that melted away quickly to be replaced with a fervid, far away expression. It was obvious to everyone in the room that she was reveling in whatever she was feeling, especially since they all watched as her hand sought to touch more of him.  Sirius had gone rigid at first, and then he too was breathing hard. His jaw was clenched in such a fashion that it was evident he was fighting himself. Why only became apparent when she began to stroke the back of his skin and he shuddered visibly, his eyes half closing in ecstasy as a low animalistic growl emitted from his throat.   

 

No one had made a move up to that point. Every ones head was just swiveling back and forth between their two friends, their mouths dropping opening in astonishment. The sexual tension was palpable and shocking. All this over dropped macaroni? Hey to each their own!

 

Finally, after the erogenous atmosphere began to diffuse into the room to an uncomfortable degree, James decided to snap them out of it. “Merlin, do you guys plan on shagging right here on the table, in the macaroni?”

 

It was Ryu who pulled away first. She did so quickly, mortified at her own behavior. Even so the feeling of embarrassment lasted only so long as the movement to wrench her hand back. When she broke contact with Sirius it felt as if there was a void there and her senses were inexplicably dulled. The world seemed grey and washed out and she longed to fell his tough, supple skin and the strength of his muscles beneath. She stopped herself from walking around the table and quite literally throwing herself at him, but she couldn’t stop her thoughts. Taking a few steps back from the table while grasping her stomach as if trying to cope with the fact that some part of her wasn’t there anymore, she turned around and exited the kitchen trying to put some distance between herself and her feelings in hopes of wrapping her head around what had just occurred. Sirius was left to deal with the questions.

 

With the absence of her soft delicate touch, Sirius’s tense body went slack as all his muscles relaxed lethargically. He had to collect himself and did so by placing two fists on the table to hold himself upright while attempting to slow his breathing. His heightened senses were fading away, tingling blissfully, reminding him of the intense provocation of the experience. Even when he felt mostly back to his usual self, there was still a part inside of him that was smoldering just thinking about her touch and how he had quite literally almost burst with pleasure. He sat down roughly, running hands through his thick black locks trying, albeit grudgingly, to return to normal. His friends however wanted some sort of explanation as to why they were all wearing cheesy goodness.

 

“Am I missing something here?” asked Amos looking at Sirius questioningly as he watched his long time friend regain his composure. “Is there something going on between you two?”

 

Sirius shook his head unsurely. “That was something.” He said more to himself than anyone else, but then he looked to his friends. “But no, there is nothing going on. You really think either of us could keep something like that to ourselves considering the interrogative skills you all possess? Unlikely!” Everyone shrugged unable to refute his response while he put his head in his hands fighting the urge to run after Ryu.

 

“Its like you said though,” responded Remus not happy with his answer, “Something did happen….Care to enlighten us why we are wearing your dinner?”

 

Sirius didn’t appreciate the humor, he was just as confused as they were. He stood up exasperated. “No moony, I don’t care to enlighten you because I am in the dark myself!” He seethed. “I don’t know why Ryu went into seizures and had visions that made her explode when I offered her sunscreen anymore than I know why her touch practically made me explode.” Pushing his chair back he stomped out of the room. “Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go take another cold shower.”

 


When he could be heard stomping up the stairs and was far enough out of earshot, Dina looked around at the faces of all her flabbergasted friends and smiled diabolically. “Twenty galleons says they shag by the end of next month.” She wiggled her eyebrows earning chuckles all around as everyone placed their own wagers.

 


 

Sirius was marching up the stairs as Jason was walking down from the ballrooms having just arrived by floo. He wasn’t alone however, he was flanked by two look-a-likes, although they were obviously older. Sirius knew them to be the other Woods brothers.

 

They were all gawking at their surroundings, but not enough to miss Sirius or the mood he was in. “Hey Sirius!” greeted Jason happily. His smile turned to concern seeing his friends’ body language. “Uh oh, what’s gone on now?” he asked somewhat afraid of the answer.

 

“Hmpft. That’s the sodding question!” he said running his hand through his hair frustrated. He shook his head realizing he should at least greet them properly. “Sorry for the crap greeting. It’s nice to see you Declan, you too Douglass.” He said nodding at the other Woods brothers, they inclined their heads smiling. “Everyone is down at the dinner table now. Ryu ran off, she’s probably in her room. I’m headed up to mine as well for a shower though, I can show you the way if you want to say hello to Ryu.”  

 

Jason grinned, “That’d be great, I can’t believe we actually convinced her to buy this place! It’s way more massive than it looked in the pictures, I think some congratulations are in order.”  He said marveling before changing the subject predictably. “Any chance we could get a game in before dark?” he asked hopefully. He was clearly incorrigible, and by the way his older brothers were grinning, it was easy to tell it ran in the family.

 

 

Sirius smiled in spite of his mood. “The pitch has got lights mate, we could get a game in anytime if we wanted.”

 

Jason grinned happily, “Brilliant! Perhaps you could postpone your shower then and we could get out there?”

 

Sirius shrugged, “Yeah, why not? Physical exertion would definitely help me get my mind off a few things...” He trialed off, ushering the others to follow him up the stairs as his mind strayed to the incident in the dining room.

 

Jason just chuckled, “Did I miss something in the nineteen hours we were apart?” he questioned.

 

Sirius just scoffed, “This is Ryu we’re talking about! Normal never happens because something strange always does!”

 

“At least its never boring.” Jason offered as condolence. “Speaking of spicing things up, what do you think the chances are we can get the losers to follow through on the terms of the bet?” he had a lascivious smirk plastered on his face.

 

Sirius couldn’t help but smirk at his friends’ words as they stepped onto the third floor landing. “Probably slim to none but it’s definitely worth a shot.” He pointed to the center door behind him, “That’s Ryu’s room. Come find everyone when you’re done saying hello.” He turned and went to the door to the right and into his rooms hoping he could rid himself of his desires until he got to blow off some steam on the Quidditch pitch. Never mind that if the terms of the bet were met she’d be naked.

 

He left Jason and his brothers to knock on Ryu’s door themselves. However, her door wasn’t shut all they way and Jasons thump only opened the door more. He peeked his head in looking for his friend, and his eye found her by the sitting area. She had one hand on the edge of a couch for support as she slouched over using the other arm to clutch her stomach as if she didn’t feel well. “You feeling alright Ryu?” He asked coming into the room.

 

She spun around slowly as if dazed. “Wha—?” she mumbled turning, unprepared for company. It took her a moment to realize it was Jason, but when she did see smiled and approached him, albeit tiredly. “Jason! Glad you could make it. Who’d you bring with you?” She smiled at the two other boys there who were clearly his brothers.

 

They introduced themselves. The taller of the two reached out his hand first, he had the same soft brown hair as his siblings, but brown eyes where the others had clear green. “Hi, I’m Douglass Wood, hope you don’t mind we tagged along. Jason was telling us about the place and told us we had to come.”

 

Ryu shook his hand. “Of course I don’t mind! We bloody well have enough rooms for practically all the wizengamot I’d say, although I’d never invite them. Glad to have you, I can’t believe how much you all look alike!” She said taking the other brothers hand.

 

“Declan is the name, very nice to finally meet you. Heard loads about you in his letters home since new years.” He said firmly gripping her hand.

 

 She looked at Jason skeptically, “I hope you only told them good things!” He smirked so she knew she probably wasn’t in luck there. “How many years are you guys apart? I can’t get over the similarities!”

 

They all chuckled but it was Declan who answered. “I’m the oldest, I’m nineteen, Doug is only a year younger at eighteen, and in a month our wee little brother will finally be seventeen, although I’m sure you know that.” He said giving Jason’s head a bit of a rub for good measure.

 

Jason swatted at his brothers hand and tried to step away, “Sod off will you!” he said annoyed. Declan just smirked at his brother’s embarrassment, as Jason turned back to Ryu, a sheepishly hopeful look on his face. “So what are the chances of us getting the rest of the group in on a pick-up game of Quidditch?” he asked innocently.

 

Ryu rolled her eyes, “You’ll never stop will you?” She shook her head really not happy about the turn of events, but feeling like she needed to be a good hostess. “Listen, I’m not promising anything, but if you can convince everyone else, I guess I’ll budge this once.” The smile that the three Woods boys shared was worth her surrender. She led them down to the kitchen and to the rest of her friends.

 

It became apparent very quickly that everyone was familiar with Declan and Douglass except her. They were greeted like old friends. Even the girls got up, smiling upon seeing the older Woods brothers. Sonny walked over and was first to embrace them.

 

“It’s the whole damn Woods clan! Merlin, Douglass, Declan, it feels like its been ages.” Sonny embraced them both animatedly in turn, Declan first. 

 

 “I hear you still bitch about push ups at warm ups.” Declan teased embracing her fondly.

 

She swiped at him as she pulled away. “It’s gotten worse since you were captain. Your brother is a complete wanker if you ask me.” She glanced at Jason and stuck her tongue out at him. When she turned to embrace Douglass he was looking at her with a significant grin, causing a blush to rise in her cheeks. He held out his arms and she walked into them a small smile on her face.

 

“Last time I saw you, you wer—.” The smirk on his lips as he spoke was smothered by Sonny’s hand.

 

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence.” She warned him with a glare pulling away. Small chuckles could be heard from everyone in the room except Ryu, but even she could tell there had clearly been something between them.

 

Amos cleared up any confusion. “Oh please Sonny, it’s not like everyone doesn’t know you guys shagged in the locker room his final day of school last year. Half of us walked in on it trying to retrieve our brooms for Merlin’s sake.”

 

“Thanks for clearing that up Amos.” Sonny said peeved. “Clearly I wanted to relive the moment.” She finished sarcastically.

 

Unfortunately, Douglass Woods was every little bit as pervy as his younger brother. Chuckling he looked to Sonny his eyes sparkling. “I’ll happily relive it with you later Son. It’s understandable if that Davies ponce hasn’t satisfied all your appetites, I never understood how my dissuasions efforts failed there. Regardless I’ll be delighted to service you free of charge.”

 

Sonny just scoffed at him, trying to dismiss the jibe with one of her own. “I never did understand your obsessive jealousy of Davies,” She paused smugly, “The green monster isn’t a good look on you mate.”

 

Douglass smirked at the slight, but their repartee was interrupted by an interjection from Declan. “Alright, you two can get on with that on your own time, you always manage to. Right now we have a very important request of you all…” he trailed off dramatically gaining everyone’s attention. Only when all curious eyes were on him did he grin widely and say, “Quidditch?” in the form of a simple question. His question was simultaneously met with a round of avid agreement and a roll of eyes, but after the initial standard objections, the Woods charm won out and in the end it was indeed Quidditch time.

 

In all the excitement of actually getting everyone to agree to play, no one brought up the issue of the bet until they were done ogling the pitch and facilities, and had finally stepped foot on the grass. By that time Sirius had joined them, he seemed to have bounced back from his prior mood; at least he was back to acting like his usual mischievous self. It was he who broached the subject of the bet with Jason.

 

Sirius turned to Jason with a smile on his face, ”You got them down here, but now can you make follow trough on the terms of the bet?”

 

Hearing the word ‘bet’, Ryu felt herself getting worked up. “Whoa, whoa, whoa…who said anything about the bet!”

 

Before anyone could object, Declan looked around questioningly, “Jason keeps going on about this bet, what were the terms anyways?”

 

It was Leeham who answered, a mischievous smile on his face, “They have to play the first Quidditch match in the buff.”

 

Lily gaped at Leeham angrily, “What do you mean ‘they’ Leeham! If I recall, you were on the losing side as well.

 

Leeham just shrugged, “Hey, nude is natural, I’ve said it for years.”

 

All the boys grinned and Declan laughed in agreement, “I must say I agree with Leeham.”

 

“Yup,” added Douglass smugly, “And since you aren’t being forced to do anything unnatural, I’m afraid we must insist you keep to the terms of your loss.”

 

Everything seemed to be working against the girls. Rebecca rolled her eyes, “Leave it to the Woods family to act as the authority on punishment designed to get girls naked.”

 

Jason would have none of it, “Don’t go patronizing us.” He laughed, “You lost the bet, you have to deal with the consequences!” he finished mater of factly.

 

It was Lily’s turn to object, “Well we wouldn’t have lost if there wasn’t a conspiracy to cheat between those three.” Lily interjected angrily gesturing at Ryu, Sirius, and James.

 

Ryu sighed exasperatedly, “I know Lily, I’m sorry!” She said for what seemed like the millionth time. “If you don’t remember, I’m paying for my supposed ‘betrayal’ as well. You’ve lumped me in with your punishment! Believe you me, if I could go back I would choose differently.”

 

“You can’t go back unfortunately for you”, chimed in James, “Hind sight is twenty/twenty; you guys are all still going to have to follow through.”

 

It was kind of hard to say what possessed Remus to come to the girls defense, but seeing the smug look on James face might have been it. Standing off to the side and next to Rebecca, he spoke over everyone else. “Technically speaking, I don’t think we have to follow through. All of our prior agreements are null and void due to the fact that you guys did cheat.” As a group, the boys managed to look betrayed by Remus; even Leeham and the new comers Declan and Douglass. So for good measure he added, “What? You think I want ride around on a broom feeling the draft and getting splinters in my arse?” he questioned as explanation.

 

There was general objection among the guys.

 

“You’re damn well straight, Moony! I expect you to get splinters in your arse, and I expect you to like it!” insisted James.

 

“Oi now Remus,” Amos attempted to make his friend regret his words, “You telling me that you really think there is no advantage? You do realize you’re not going to be the only one naked don’t you!”

 

Sirius also reprimanded Remus asking “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing Moony? Don’t ruin this for the rest of us!”

 

Leeham just stared and shook his head disapprovingly glaring, until the hub-bub was silenced by Lily.

 

“Hey! Tossers!” she said gesturing to all the boys speaking over each other, “Bugger off will you. You cheated, we aren’t playing naked, end of story.” She insisted

 

James turned to Remus a look of disappointment on his crestfallen features. “You happy now Moony? Do you see what you’ve done?”

 

It was Douglass who came to the rescue however, “As an outsider to this whole thing, I must say that you girls look like your trying to weasel your way out of this.”

 

Ryu rolled her eyes, “You think we are daft enough to fall for that strategy?” she asked him.

 

He just shrugged, appearing to be happy to let it go after his failed attempt, but his brother Declan took up his argument not wanting the opportunity to pass them by. “What? Are you lot scared? And here I thought we Gryffindors were supposed to be brave.”

 

Ryu frowned unhappily at Declan who only returned a satisfied smirk; it was enough to elicit a response. “Fine, you think we aren’t brave? Compromise and let us play in our underwear.”

 

“Pfft,” came the objection from Sirius, “I hardly believe its possible your underwear gives you less coverage than those scraps you of fabric you called swimsuits. Underwear isn’t going to do it, full monty or nothing. ” He insisted.

 

Ryu glowered slightly embarrassed by the comment, but knew it wasn’t entirely false. Her swimsuit had been small, but for merlin’s sake who wants tan lines!

 

Off to the side Jason could be heard complaining. “Damn it, I missed the bikini’s?! Hogwarts only allows one pieces, I can’t believe this!”

 

Ryu chose to ignore the side commentary and continued with the bargain thinking quickly. “Okay fine. How bout the losing team has to land at the far hoops and streak back to the house?”

 

Sirius smirked tossing the around the idea in his head, “That could work, depending on the teams.”

 

“Well it would be Lily, Dina, Rebecca, Myself, Remus and Leeham, versus, You, Amos, Sonny, James, Jason, Declan and Douglass.” Explained Ryu.

 

Everyone was gaping at Ryu, but it was James who spoke first. “Let me get this straight. Your motely crew, and with one less player than a full team mind you, versus the majority of the Gryffindor Qudditch side accompanied by two of the best Quidditch players Hogwarts has ever seen?” He posed the question only briefly for effect before continuing on with his hand outstretched to make an arrangement, “I like those odds, it’s a deal.”

 

Flustered at what was taking place, Lily stepped in front of Ryu and the hand James was holding out to seal the deal. “Are you sure you know what you’re on about?” she asked Ryu.

 

Ryu barely concealed the smirk that was on her face as she turned her back to the boys and purposefully lowered her voice so no one but the red head could hear. “Lily, do you really think I won’t be able to see the magical snitch.” She offered a small confident grin along with her deliberately emphasized words.

 

 Lily was quick to catch on. The slippery smile that slid its way onto the red heads features pleased Ryu. However, as she turned around and shook James’s hand confidently, the same knowing smile had a way of instilling doubt in their adversary. Why all of the sudden was Lily so happy about the situation?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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