Now that Quidditch was over, our time was consumed by studying for our N.E.W.T's.
All seventh year Gryffindors decided to reserve a study room for ourselves in the library. We moved the tables to the walls of the room, clearing space in the center of the room. Tom, Dave, Rina, Trish, Alicia, Jimmy, Percy, Oliver and I, all sat in a circle in the floor, with our books in front of us.
We decided that if we were actually going to study, we may as well have fun with it. So Tom had his Runes book, Dave had the Transfiguration text, Rina held the Arithmancy text, Trish held Potions, Percy held Muggle Studies, I held Divination, Alicia held the Herbology book, Jimmy held the Magical Medicine book, and Oliver held the Defense Against the Dark Arts book.
The plan was that someone would ask something from the subject of the book she was holding, and when someone answered it, they would ask a question from the subject that they had been holding.
Oliver brought a Quaffle to throw to whoever was answering the questions. The Quaffle, I ask you…
The Quaffle made its way back and forth across the circle with each question that was answered. Jimmy asked, holding the Quaffle and consulting his Magical Medicine book, "Which spell removes a bone from the body?"
I raised my hand for the answer, and Jimmy threw the Quaffle to me. "Brachea immendo!"
"Eww," Alicia said, "Do you remember...?"
"Lockhart! I remember that!" I shouted.
"More flexible that way," Oliver said, grinning.
We all remembered that episode with last year's Slytherin match. Harry had gotten his arm broken, and Lockhart accidentally removed Harry's bone. Looking back on it, it was really very funny.
"Those were the times," mused Rina. "I can't believe this is all ending."
I looked over to her, she had a far off look in her brown eyes. Percy scratched behind his ears before saying, in a soft, pensive voice, "Yeah, I know. Seven years...done."
"Wow," Jimmy sighed. "I've only been going here three years since I transferred from North Eastern American, and I can't believe it either."
"Seven years, boy," Oliver sighed. "And now we're all off into the real world now."
"The real world," Dave sniggered. It sounded so surreal.
"On our own," Tom said. My own?
"New people," Trish offered. But, these people are just fine!
"Wait!" I said. "Wait…"
"Wait what?" Oliver asked.
"Just...just promise me…" I said to him. Then I looked over our group. "All of you, promise me. We're going to be friends for as long as we can make it, alright?"
"Yes, of course."
"We wouldn't have it any other way," Percy grinned.
"Good," I said. "When you get your Apparating licenses, use them!"
"I've already got mine," said Dave with a wicked grin.
"I'm afraid," Alicia said softly.
"Of getting splinched?" Jimmy asked. We all laughed, breaking the tension.
"No, of what's going to happen after we all go out into the world. At least when we're at Hogwarts, we're safe."
"Unless of course your Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor is secretly sharing a body with the You-Know-Who," Dave said, tapping his head thoughtfully.
"Or Ancient monsters are Petrifying unsuspecting students," Tom mused.
"Or a mass murderer has infiltrated the school, passing dementors, charms and portraits without the use of passwords," said Jimmy, raising a finger.
I laughed, I shouldn't have but I did, and then involuntarily shuttered. Oliver squeezed my shoulder and gave me a good, hearty shake. It was true, we weren't any safer in the school than out of it.
"It doesn't matter," Oliver said, crossing his legs in front of him. "The only thing that really does matter is that everyone stays in touch, no one forgets anyone."
"Especially not me," Jimmy said. "When I go back to the U.S...you had better owl me all the time, all of you."
We all promised, of course.
***Even with the obsessive Granger-like studying that we were all occupied with, you'd have to be living under a rock to not hear about Hagrid and his Hippogriff who had bitten Malfoy early on in the year.
Buckbeak was to be executed.
The day before the first of exams, I couldn't study anymore; I was just making myself more nervous than I needed to be.
Oliver who was sitting across from me was obviously not studying anymore either. He was absently flipping through the pages of his Arithmancy book, when he looked up. "D'you mind?" he asked, grinning. "I'm trying to study."
"You've been tapping your fingers."
"Whoops…. I can't concentrate," I explained, grinning sheepishly.
He shut his book with a thud and leaned back in his seat. "I hear ya."
"Fancy a fly?" I asked him.
"Yeah!" he exclaimed, that manic glint shining in his eyes.
So we went up to our respective dorms and got our brooms since our team room has been locked until next season, but that never kept us from breaking into it before... *wink, wink*
"D'you want to invite the twins as well?" Oliver asked.
I looked over at them. They looked absolutely miserable, too. They would be taking their O.W.L.'s and had actually been studying.
I quietly walked up to them. "Hello, boys," I whispered.
"Hi," they said, and surveyed me. "Why do you have your broom? Shouldn't you be studying? Don't you have N.E.W.T.'s coming up?"
"Don't remind me," I sighed. "Oliver and I are just taking a break, and I think you could use one, as well. Come on boys, what do you say?"
George slammed his book close with a loud slap, making Percy look up venomously from his study materials. "I'm in," he said. "Fred?"
"Let's go, people," Fred replied, and stood up.
We waited silently at the portrait hole. Oliver appeared with Angelina and Alicia coming behind him as well. I smiled at my girls, and Angelina came up and wrapped an arm around my shoulder.
We coaxed Harry away from his studies, and you should have seen the look on Hermione's face. We invited Ron to come as well, and he happily obliged. It always seemed like he was part of the team, always wasting his time by watching us practice, with his brothers on the team and Charlie Weasley, the idiot legend, being his brother. We also invited Lee; it wouldn't be right if we didn't.
Because of the whole Dementor problem and the fact that we couldn't leave the school without a teacher, we badgered Professor Lupin to come out flying with us. We went on and on about how we saw his name in the trophy room and he used to Chase for Gryffindor and even won that oh-so-coveted Cup. When he saw Harry standing behind us, he came too.
He even flew with us. Also, even though he was scolding us the whole time about how we really should be studying, he was smiling.
Fred asked Lupin, "I bet you were a trouble maker, too, then?"
Lupin grinned, "I guess you could say that, yes…"
It was a warm night out, and fireflies sparkled across the night. The moon was half full, and a light breeze danced across my skin.
It was really odd to think that this was our last fly together as a team. Oliver and I are off, and so is Alicia.
Harry looked around, perhaps finally realizing that he was younger than everyone on the team. "Now what?" he asked. "You're all going to leave me here!"
"Two years," quipped Fred.
Ron muttered. "Oh, gee, fun."
We stayed out until Lupin absolutely insisted that we go inside, after all, testing was starting tomorrow.
Oliver and I walked with the group, that is until he grabbed my wrist, preventing me from walking through the door. "What the --?"
"What's going to happen after Hogwarts?" Oliver asked quickly.
"I suppose you'll go and play Quidditch again," I said, fighting a laugh.
"No I mean…with…well…you and me…" he said earnestly.
I stared into his beautiful eyes that I love so much. Why was he asking me this now? I have N.E.W.T.'s to worry about! "Oliver, I – I would never stand in your way of anything," I told him. "You know that, don't you?"
He nodded slowly looking thoughtful, "Of course, but I'm just…y'know – worried."
"Yeah, 'cause I really like you. I mean, I love you and all that but I'm worried about interference."
I laughed, hollowly, in spite of myself. "Interference?"
"You know what I mean…"
"C'mon, Kates. Off with that," he grinned, and took my hand pulling me up to look him in the eyes. He was looking very serious.
"Look…I'm yours as long as you want me," I told him calmly.
"I'll want you forever," he told me, dragging a hand through my hair, and the bottom just about dropped out of my stomach.
"Yeah, well…" I said in a low voice. "We'll see if you still feel the same when you see your options when your picture comes out in Quidditch magazine…"
"Shut up," he joked. "But, I mean it."
"Let's hold off on forever until I'm eighteen, okay?" I asked.
"I can deal with that, I guess," Oliver smiled at me. "It's just a matter of days now."
"I'll spell it out of you want. F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Good enough?" he asked. "Anything else?"
For some reason, I felt like crying. I never cry. Almost. "Yeah. Why me?"
He gave me a great big hug, and looked up the pink sky of evening. "Where do I start?"
"At the beginning?"
"You were my best friend before and you are now, and I'm not willing to lose you again."
I bit my lip. "Go on…"
"You're a damned good Chaser, and team mate. And I can say this quite honestly, you've distracted me from Quidditch on numerous occasions. Previously thought to be impossible, until you sat next to me in Potions that day…Suppose we should thank Professor Snape, and Flint?"
"Not on your life, Oliver."
"Do you want me to go on?"
"Only if you want to," I told him. And he did, he gave me reasons all along our walk back to the common room. As I was about to climb the stairs, books in my arms, Oliver took my books from me and replaced them on the coffee table.
"What are you doing?" I asked him.
"I just thought of another reason."
"Oh?" I asked, before he kissed me again.
"I would die without that kiss." He said, quite forcefully.
I opened my mouth to say something. Anything, but he turned around and ran up the stairs to the boys' dorms.
I turned around, my mouth still hanging open in surprise, to see the Weasley twins waggling their eyebrows at me suggestively.
I picked up my books, with my nose in the air, a la Percy, and climbed in the stairs to my dorm where I tried to study, cursing Oliver for invading my brain once again. I hate it when he does that. Funny, though, it always seems that when I'm around him I'm always riding that line between love and hate. He can be such a prat sometimes, but then so can I. We were made for each other. Case closed.
Took me forever, didn't it? See when you save your stories on disks…and then LOSE them, it's not at all cool. I lost this one for a good couple of months…And I am SO SO SO sorry about that. You must all want to hurt me now…but I do hope you enjoyed that little bit. That may have been the last chapter, I don't know yet…
Sorry about that.
And I know that Katie, nor Alicia are in Wood's year, but I took artistic license on this one.
Sorry about that.
As always everything belongs to JKROWLING, and I have no intention of copyright infringement.
Yes, OOTP ruled.