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Chapter 25 : Boys will be Boys
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We had our match against Ravenclaw today, and it was not going to be an easy game. Not only did they have a great team, but it was horribly stormy out. I was half convinced it was a hurricane. Winds gusted and howled. Rain poured. Lots of rain poured.
For the first time, I sort of hoped they might cancel the game. It wasn’t helping that there was growing tension in my team. Asher and I had started butting heads ever since Charlotte had announced that she was staying at my house. She’d done it because he was egging her on, and I’d been struggling with a very pretty strong emotions ever since. It had been almost two weeks of this, with no resolution.
Mostly two. Two emotions.
Hell yes I get to spend two weeks with Charlotte! and What the fuck where you thinking inviting her over for two weeks when you’re in love with her and she has a boyfriend.
I surveyed the dressing room, watching Freddy goofing off with Al and Lily, while Asher was sitting and talking with Will and Henry. He looked up at me, caught me staring at him, and scowled. Not knowing why, I smirked at him and saw the flash of surprise in his eyes before he narrowed his eyes at me.
Practice the last few days had been pretty bad. It might have been ok with Asher had he been something other than a Chaser. Lily had gotten so frustrated the other day she’d screamed at both of us and stalked off the field, refusing to come back.
We refused to pass to each other, using Lily as the middle person. I didn’t blame her for getting frustrated, and Asher and I had had a very brief and tense conversation where we decided that we would play as a team, putting all personal feelings aside until after said game. We shook on it, and about crushed each other’s hands.
It almost made me feel worse. The only reason Asher, who was the nicest guy on the planet, could be mad at me was because he’d figured out something was going on between Charlotte and I. Even in a platonic sense, which is all that we had right now (minus the incident in the broom cupboard when I almost kissed her), he knew there was something there. Maybe I hoped he thought there was something there.
Either way, she wasn’t mine.
I’d really been an idiot in asking her to stay with me. It was going to be torture, in a way. She’d be sleeping in the room right down the hall from mine, and given the very likely possibility that my siblings would be off with hers, that would put us together. Socializing. For two weeks. Without him, without anyone really. Just us. Like it had been over summer.
I groaned, and dropped my head into my hands. What had I gotten myself into? It was easy enough, I thought sarcastically, keeping away from her here surrounded by all these other people. What would happen if we both stayed up late, talking by the fire when everyone else had gone to bed? Could I handle myself then?
I wasn’t sure I could.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to control myself. Ever since she’d agreed to come spend the holidays with me… with us… I’d had a dream every night about her. They all started and ended differently, but it was the same basic point. We’d end up together, snogging. Sometimes more. Those were the really fun dreams, the ones I hated waking up from. Mostly because I felt like a giant ass when I realized that I’d been dreaming about sleeping with my friend’s girlfriend.
I couldn’t stop staring at her now. At meals. In class. In the hallways.
I was pretty sure that’s what started to set Asher off. He was noticing. Everyone was noticing. I couldn’t help it, and I’m sure I looked at her with longing. It’s an emotion most people recognized.
I snapped my head up and saw my sister staring at me. She looked annoyed.
“The game. It’s starting.” Oh right. As I came back down from my thoughts, I heard the roar of crowd and the stamping feet that always accompanied the announcements of the team members. Ravenclaw had gone first and as I looked around, I realized half my team was gone. They must be up in the air already.
“C’mon James. We can talk about what’s bugging you later.” She tugged on my elbow and I grabbed my broom, waiting to hear my name being called.
“AND NOW… FOR THE FINAL MEMBERS OF TEAM AWESOME AKA GRYFFINDOR AKA BEST TEAM EVER WE WELCOME ONTO THE FIELD THE POTTERS!!!! I’M NOT GOING TO BOTHER NAMING THEM ALL, YOU KNOW THEM, SO CHEER THEM ON LOUDLY MY LIONS.” I chuckled. Our commentator was a fourth year Gryffindor.
I flew out, getting soaked in less than a minute. I could barely see the goal posts on the other side of the field. Gods, this was going to be annoying. I flew a lap around the stadium, parking for a moment in front of the commentators booth so I could high five Jefferies. He grinned at me and gave me two thumbs up.
“CAPTAINS TO YOUR MARK!” I flew to the center of the field, arriving at the same time as Mark John Paul, the Ravenclaw Captain. He was Muggle born, and the story around school was that his parents were incredibly devout Christians that had excommunicated him after finding out he was a wizard. I wasn’t sure if that was true or not, but he was a nice guy. Large, but nice.
We shook hands and the whistle blew, though it was hard to hear with the rushing winds blowing every which way around us. I grabbed the Quaffle and streaked off towards the goal post, looking around for Lily. All I saw was Asher, and I signaled begrudgingly to him, throwing as hard as I could in his direction. It might have been a little too hard, because he caught it but almost fell off his broom in the process. He whirled around to glare at me before racing, low to the ground, towards the goal posts, shooting straight up and scoring.
Ravenclaw team had a new Keeper, and though I’d heard from some of my spies that the new girl was really good in practice, she was going to have a tough time against my team in this weather.
We scored three more times in the next twenty minutes, while they only scored once. The weather was getting worse. A lot worse. So bad we couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of us.
From somewhere nearby, I heard a scream and then a whistle blowing.
“PLAYERS TO THE GROUND!” The words from Jefferies were almost an echo on the wind. Freddy flew next to me, and together we flew towards the ground, dismounting and getting stuck in thick mud.
“Eugh!” Freddy said, trying to hop from side to side to keep the mud off his boots. I rolled my eyes at him and waited for Professor Dinkus (unfortunate name, yes) to come find us.
“Mr. Potter!” He rushed over to me as best as he could, getting stuck himself in the thick mud. Professor Dinkus was a young, former Quidditch star. One of the best Seekers in recent memory, owing to his small stature. I towered over him and he had to look up at me.
“Mr. Potter. A gust of wind seems to have blown away a member of the opposing team, so we are going to take a break while we try to find her. Keep your team on the ground, or as low as possible if they’d prefer to fly so we don’t lose another one of you.” He rested his hand briefly on my arm and smiled at me. My team, minus Asher, were all huddling up near me. I nodded in return and went back up on my broom, flying close to the front row. I’d have to tell Asher to get his butt back on the ground. Freddy said he'd flow up to the stands.
I wondered which team Charlotte was rooting for, and which side I would find her on. My question got answered for me when I saw Asher hovering in the front row of the Ravenclaw section. He was talking to Charlotte, who was looking around worriedly.
Her eyes found mine and I smiled warmly at her, feeling content for the first time since the game had started. Her face broke out into a huge grin and I noticed that Asher looked around and scowled darkly upon seeing me. Deciding I wanted to make things difficult, I flew towards them.
“We’re grounded for now! Get back to the team until we hear the order to start playing again.” I flew right in front of him, still needing to shout to be heard. He looked like he didn’t want to comply, but eventually took a nosedive towards the ground.
“YOU OK?” Charlotte yelled at me, clutching her coat tightly around her.
I grinned at her, and made an ok sign with my fingers. She leaned over a tiny bit, and I freaked out, flying closer. I leaned out and put my hands on her shoulders, pushing her back. She looked at me and saw the panic in my eyes.
“TOO DANGEROUS! GO SIT DOWN!”
I swung one leg over the side of the railing and slid off my broom, holding my broom in one hand and straightening to stand in front of her. People around us were snickering and talking in hushed voices. I couldn’t hear a single thing they were saying, but I could guess.
The first thing I noticed was that it was dry, and warm in the stands. I was confused, until I realized that someone must have cast a spell to keep a barrier between the students and the weather. Probably not a bad idea. It should just be the players that got pneumonia and died, and not everyone.
A big gust of wind blew past me, and I lost my balance. I knew before it happened, what would happen. If I didn’t move, and quickly, I was going to fall on her.
My reflexes kicked in, and I grabbed her waist and somehow spun us both around so that she ended up sitting on my lap on one of the steps. She was sprawled slightly across my lap and was looking up at me with a mixture of surprise and something else. I looked down at her, and then moved my face closer to hers.
“Sit down Charlotte, or so help me God…”
“Don’t get funny with me! It’s dangerous to lean out like that in this weather. Sit down and stay sitting down. Do you understand me?” I knew my tone was firm and I stared at at her, unshakable.
“Ok James. I can’t do that until you let me go though.” My face was inches from hers, and I stared into eyes the same color as the storm raging around us. She put her hand on my chest and I was sure she could feel that I was breathing heavily.
She was breathing heavily too. Someone made a loud, snarky comment next to us and I leaned back from her, looking around.
What did I see? Asher, flying just a few feet from the edge of the stands. He was glowering at me, with a rage I didn’t know he possessed. Charlotte looked up, a flicker of guilt passing across her face, and crawled off my lap. She sat down next to Georgia, who was smirking at me.
My gaze rested briefly on Charlotte, before I climbed onto my broom and launched off, ignoring Asher. I kept my eyes looking forward and landed lightly on the ground, walking back over to my team with my broom over my shoulder.
I turned around, trying my hardest to keep my face an unreadable mask.
“WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?”
“Get your head in game Asher.” I turned back around, and managed two steps before I felt a hand on my shoulder. He spun me around to face him, his face an angry red blob.
He got real close to me, close enough that he didn’t need to shout anymore. We were the same height and I stared into his eyes, not flinching for a second.
“What was that about?”
“After you flew off, she tried to tell me something and leaned over the railing. I didn’t want her to fall.”
“So you got off your broom and made her sit on your lap?!?”
“Wind blew me over. She ended up where she did because I wasn’t going to fall on her.”
“I’m sure you would have liked that, wouldn’t you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You keep staring at her! Don’t think I haven’t noticed.”
“I’m around her a lot. It’s natural to look at the people you’re around. Now, lets go back and wait for the game to start up again.”
“We’re not done talking James!”
“I’M YOUR CAPTAIN AND I SAY WE ARE!” I spun on my heel, miraculously not tripping in the mud, and stomped towards the center of the field where both teams were gathered. Someone had conjured up a giant, floating cloud and everyone, on both teams, were lying back in hammocks chattering with each other.
I was surprised this was allowed. The only two people missing were Mark John Paul and their Seeker. I hope they found the kid soon. She was only thirteen. Maybe she would think it was fun to be caught in a gust of wind, getting blown all over creation. I didn’t know the kid that well. Who knew?
Asher stalked past me, ramming into my shoulder as he walked past. I took a deep breath and walked over to Lily, who was busy flirting with one of the Ravenclaw Beaters.
“Oi! Stop flirting with my sister.”
“Go away James!”
“I’m not going to leave and leave you behind to get flirted with. It’s not proper.”
“I don’t give a rats ass about proper. Get away!” She turned on the scary Weasley raging temper look and I backed off, scowling. Freddy called me over, so I went and leaned against his hammock, keeping an eye turned towards Lily.
Five minutes passed.
Ten minutes passed.
A half hour passed.
Finally, Professor Dinkus walked up to all of us, shaking his head and smiling when he saw everyone lying on floating hammocks.
“Down. Down. All of you.” He said, laughing. “We found Ms. Brenaut caught in a tree, however, she cannot continue to play. She broke her arm and needs some time in the Hospital Wing. Mr. Paul is brining in the back-up, and play will resume in two minutes. Mr. Potter, gather your team. They all seem to be here.” He chuckled, and walked off into the rain.
In the past twenty minutes, it had started to let up and it was now possible to see an extra five feet further.
“SO THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR STAYING OUT HERE TO WATCH THIS FANTASTICALLY EXCITING GAME THAT NONE OF US CAN SEE! I’VE JUST BEEN INFORMED BY A TINY LITTLE RUNT OF A MAGICAL PATRONUS MOUSE THAT ROUND TWO IS ABOUT TO BEING, SO HOLD ONTO YOUR WET SEATS PEOPLE!”
Freddy snickered next to me, then doubled up laughing. I chuckled and prepared to fly, feeling the normal pre-game tension speeding through my veins. My brain whirled with thoughts of game tactics, and how the hell the rest of this game was going to play out.
It didn’t go well. Asher never calmed down, and refused to pass to me. Lily, I could tell, wanted to strangle him, and for once, I knew she wasn’t blaming me. At least four times, I heard her yelling asshole at him after he passed me, and took risky chances. Chances that failed. Everytime.
Ravenclaw scored eighty points in twenty minutes because Asher refused to pass to me. We scored nothing.
They played better and better, and we got worse and worse. Lily’s anger started to spill over and she ended up refusing to pass to Asher, leaving me to try and pick up the pieces while only flying with her.
Fifteen minutes later and they had scored again. I was so angry at this point, I couldn’t even remember who was my Keeper. I couldn’t think through much of anything.
Finally, I saw a chance to score a goal, and looked around. Asher had the Quaffle and was flying right into all three Ravenclaw Chasers. I screamed at him to pass to me. He turned his head, glared at me, and urged his broom faster.
I yelled again, and this time he ignored me completely, trying to outmaneuver the other players.
He failed. Spectacularly. I heard Lily shrieking from behind me. I was possible to hear now, the storm had all but died down.
“WHAT IS GOING THROUGH WOOD’S MIND? DID ONE OF YOU CLAWS PUT A SPELL ON HIM? WHY I OUGHTA GO THROW A BOOK AT HIM. I’VE NEVER SEEN THE MIGHTY LIONS PLAY THIS BADLY. EVER. WOOD IS CLEARLY PISSED AT POTTER NUMBER ONE, THAT’S JAMES TO THE REST OF YOU! POTTER NUMBER THREE… THE LOVELY MISS LILY… WHO I’D LOVE TO TAKE OUT ON A DATE…”
I whirled around on my broom and zoomed towards the commentators booth. Jefferies froze when he saw me and apologized.
“POTTER NUMBER ONE DOESN’T LIKE THAT IDEA. NOT AT ALL. BACK TO THE GAME NOW. GET IT TOGETHER LIONS!”
I called for a timeout. Freddy and Henry both flew down with me, actually throwing their brooms onto the ground to stand inches behind me. I waved Asher down, my fists clenched so tightly I thought something might snap. Lily flew down in front of me, and shoved her broom in my face.
Asher landed and looked at all of us stonily. He was going to try and pretend he wasn’t doing anything wrong, the little wanker!
I was preparing myself for a mighty outburst when Lily beat me to the punch.
“ASHER FUCKING WOOD, YOU’RE COSTING US THIS GAME AND IF YOU DON’T SHAPE THE HELL UP I WILL GRIND YOU INTO A BLOODY PULP!” Lily, showing no fear, walked up to him and shoved him backwards. She did it again. I smirked for the briefest second, my sister wasn’t anyone to mess with.
“James started it!”
“FUCKING GROW UP! THIS IS A GAME. WE PLAY AS A TEAM, AND IF YOU CAN’T GET YOUR HEAD AROUND THAT FACT, GET THE HELL OFF MY FIELD.” I leaned on her broom, and smiled at the back of her head. Clearly, I wasn’t going to need to get into with him. Not now anyway. Asher was taking a verbal beating from my tiny sister.
“I won’t play with a cheater.” The words spilled out of his mouth, his eyes locked on mine. Lily shrieked at him and stalked back to me, yanking her broom out from under my arm.
“He’s being a childish prat. Kick him off the team if he won’t cooperate. See how his Daddy likes that.” I watched her stalk off, and then fly up into the air.
Freddy was seething beside me.
“You’re making assumptions Asher, and you’re going to cost us the game because of it. If you have an issue with me, we can talk it out later. Either play with me, as part of MY team, or get off the field. Right now. Only don’t come back if you do.” I turned around, swinging my leg over the side of broom. The wind whistled through my hair, drying it, as I flew high up above the stadium.
“GAME RESUMES AFTER THE HOTTEST POTTER HAD A DISCUSSION WITH MY NOW LEAST FAVORITE PLAYER IN THE GAME. MR. WOOD, PLAY THE GAME OR GO AWAY. MY LIONS DON’T NEED THIS DRAMA. WIN! WIN! WIN!”
The whistle blew and for a while, things seemed to be ok. For a while, we got our shit together and played like we did. Mostly. Asher was still reluctant to pass to me, but he started doing it. We caught up. We tied the game.
We held them off for another ten minutes, before they snuck a goal in.
Then my heart dropped.
“THE SNITCH! I SEE IT! THERE THEY GO AFTER IT! GO AL GO! GO AL GO! GET THE BLOODY GOLD BUGGER! GET IT!”
The rest of us froze, looking at Al with wide eyes. They were both right on top of it, flying towards each other. One of them was going to have to move, or they’d collide.
“DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP AL! YOU GET THAT SNITCH! YOU GET IT GOOD!”
Both of the Seekers turned at the last second and when they regained their bearings, the snitch has disappeared again. Thank Merlin.
I heard a collective groan coming from the stands.
Lily streaked past, flying above me and I looked up in time to see the Quaffle dropping right into my lap. I grabbed it, feeling in my element, and shot towards the open goals.
Asher flew near me, and against my better judgment, I passed it to him. I flew around two of the Ravenclaw chasers, trying to catch up to Asher. He was going to need to pass to me again.
I yelled his name, and groaned inwardly when I saw that same stupid angry look on his face that he’d had earlier.
He wouldn’t pass it.
I flew right next to him, yelling at him to pass to me. I could cut away from the Chaser barreling towards Asher and score. I knew I could. I could see it happening. He looked at me, and shook his head. As I could have expected, he failed to hold onto it after failing to pass to me. I felt no sympathy, only anger, hearing him cursing his bad luck.
Then my heart dropped again.
“THE SNITCH IS BACK IN THE GAME AND NOOOOOOO…. FUCK FUCKITY FUCK. Sorry Professor. GAME OVER FOLKS. GAME OVER. THE MIGHTY LIONS HAVE LOST TO THE PUNY CLAWS BECAUSE SOMEONE WHO SHALL NOT BE MENTIONED ACTED LIKE THE WORLDS BIGGEST DRAMA QUEEN.”
The whistle blew, signaling the end of the game. Asher was first on the ground, stomping off to the dressing room. I leaned down, low on my broom and shot towards him. The ground was still muddy underneath my feet as I rolled off my broom, steps behind him.
“WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM! I WAS OPEN!”
“YOU AND I BOTH KNOW WHAT THIS IS ABOUT!” He turned around to face me, his face red, his whole body heaving with the force of his anger.
“CHARLOTTE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU PASSING THE FUCKING QUAFFLE TO ME WHEN I’M OPEN!”
“You’re a ladies man James, and I’m not happy that she’s going to be with you for two weeks without supervision.” We walked into the dressing room, lowering our voices. I heard the voices of my team out on the field, running as fast as they could to prevent what was almost guaranteed to be a major blow up between Asher and I.
“She’s a grown person Asher. SHE CAN MAKE UP HER OWN FUCKING MIND!”
“About what? Where’s she staying, or who she’s staying with?”
“What are you going on about now? This is bullshit Asher. We lost today because you couldn’t play right.”
“I can’t play right because I’m worried I’m not going to have a GIRLFRIEND WHEN I GET BACK!”
“I have nothing to do with that!”
“No? All you do is stare at her. You want her. You can’t have her. SHE’S MINE!” Asher poked me in the chest and I took a step back, feeling anger bubbling in my veins.
“She is not a piece of property.”
“No. She’s Charlotte. She makes her own choices, and if she breaks up with you it’ll be because you aren’t good enough for her!”
“And you are? You… the guy that’s fucked around with half of the girls here. As if she could want you.”
“I didn’t say anything about me!”
“You don’t have to.”
“Maybe you ought to talk to your girlfriend about YOUR own DAMN PERSONAL PROBLEMS, SO YOU DON’T LOSE ME MY GAME.”
He shoved me then, and I stumbled back, quickly recovering. My fist balled at my side and before anyone could stop me, I hit him with a strong left hook. He immediately latched on to me, and we scuffled.
Everyone started yelling then, and I felt two people grab me and pull me back. Asher got his revenge though, and punched me before anyone could restrain him. That was going to hurt later, I thought, moving my jaw around.
“Fuck off Asher. Get your head in the game. If you come back from break with this same fucking attitude, you’re off the team.” I shoved away from the people holding me, and stalked out the back of the dressing room, with my game robes still on.
I was seething mad. Angrier than I’d been in a really long time. How dare he? How dare he accuse me? How fucking dare he mess up my game like that?
There had been a lot riding on that game and he’d gone and fucking lost it all because he was worried about a girl breaking up with him.
I let out a big sigh, and plopped down in the grass, wiping at my face. I got it. I got his anger, because I’d felt it to. He hated me for how close Charlotte and I acted, and I hated him for having her when I wanted her. We’d both fucked up and when I calmed down, I’d go apologize to him later.
Still, losing this game meant we had to win the next three. It wasn’t going to be impossible, but it would be hard all the same. All the games happened after we got back. What would happen when we got back?
I looked up and saw Charlotte walking towards me, wrapping her arms tightly around her. It had stopped raining, but it was still very windy and misty.
“You better not let Asher see you talking to me.”
“He already knows I’m talking to you.”
“Because I found him first, and he said you guys had gotten into a fight. I yelled at him for hitting you, and I’m going to yell at you for hitting him, but I wanted to make sure you were ok.”
“Peachy perfect Lottie!” I smirked, sarcasm all over my face, before frowning and looking down at the grass, ripping out chucks with my hands.
She sat down next to me, and tugged on my cheek. I tried to ignore the fireworks at her touch.
“Look at me, I need to know you’re ok.”
“You really shouldn’t be here with me.”
“Why not? You’re my friend. I’m allowed to be concerned.”
I don’t want to just be your friend, I thought silently, staring into her stormy gray eyes.
“Go back to Asher, Charlotte.”
“He’s your boyfriend!”
“I KNOW THAT! WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP REMINDING ME OF THAT!” She shrieked, her words getting swallowed up by the wind. She fell back against the grass and stared up at the sky.
I rolled over onto my side and looked at her. She looked… enchanting. Dew drops clung to her long lashes, and her eyes were bright as they stared into mine. Red splotches blossomed on her cheeks, and her lips as she nibbled at them.
“You’re always looking at me.”
“You’re hard not to look at. Is something going on with you two?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… for a guy like Asher to get that angry… there has to be some sort of reason.”
She didn’t speak, just continued to stare at me, before finally looking away.
“Things are… tense.”
“He seems convinced you two are breaking up.”
Her eyes found mine again, and that stupid flare of hope hit me when I saw that the idea wasn’t surprising or upsetting to her. I could see it written all over her face. I scooted closer.
“Are you two still together, or was all this about Asher living in denial?”
“We’re still together. For now.”
My breath left in a quick huff.
“Yes. For now. Why does it matter James?”
“Because if you’re not with him…” I grabbed her hand, my fingers tracing light circles on her wrist, “Then I can kiss you again. Whenever I want.”
“You made it clear you didn’t want that.”
“I was wrong.”
“James. You can't say stuff like that.” Her voice cut into me like a sharp knife. I turned to look at her, finding her already looking at me. Her eyes burned bright holes into mine, and I saw the flashes of anger, and underneath that, barely so, amusement.
“Because you have a boyfriend you're not happy with.”
“Because I have a boyfriend and I don't want to complicate things right before break. I want to just get through the rest of this year without anymore drama, ok?”
“Ok. I'll keep my thoughts to myself.”
“Do you really still want me to go?”
“Yes. I do. I want what we had this summer, if only for two weeks. Do you still want to come?” I held my breath, waiting for her answer. She was trying not to look at me.
“Yes. Yes, I do. Promise me you'll behave.”
“You mean remember you're dating Asher so I don't do something like kiss you on Christmas Eve?”
“Goddamnit James!” Charlotte stood up suddenly, looking at me angrily. I looked back sadly.
I watched her deflate, holding her penetrating gaze before she spun on her heel and walked away. I watched her leave, staring at the space she’d left behind, a wistful sort of smile on my face.
Mouth, I thought, don't bypass your filter next time, ok?
A/N- So yea... what do you all think? Juicy? Too much drama? Can't wait until Asher is out of the picture (if he'll be out of the picture). Psh... I can't tell you that... you have to keep reading to find out!
The next chapter is called Winter Break.... so if that's not the next chapter that pops up when you hit the button... stop reading! Seriously.
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