Written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition, first round of the Finals! Thanks to Lizzie, as usual, for being awesome.

Character - Oliver Wood
Secondary Character - Professor McGonagall

(song) 'Wonderwall' by Oasis - the fire in his heart goes out/the act of 'saving' someone from a situation

(word count) 1,000 - according to Word and ff
(emotion) pride

His heart is pounding.

"Hilliard has the Quaffle—"

He can't breathe.

"Ravenclaw shoots!"


Oliver wakes up to a headache and the unmistakable taste of blood.

When he opens his eyes, he's in the Hospital Wing, still dressed in his Quidditch uniform. He can make out the blurry edge of a bandage around his forehead, dipping just beneath his eyebrows. He's properly bed-ridden and surrounded by hospital curtains—but he probably looks like those Quidditch stars in Which Broomstick, which is definitely a plus, and the thought makes him forget about the pain in his head until he looks up into the faces of Madam Pomfrey, Charlie Weasley, and Professor McGonagall.

Oliver coughs.

"Did we win?"

Weasley's face lights up and he lets out a laugh. "Wood, that's the last thing you should be thinking about right now."

Oliver can't remember exactly what happened to leave him like this, but he supposes it must have had something to do with the game—Gryffindor's first match of the season, and his first game as Keeper. His hands had been sweating something awful and he'd worried that the Quaffle would just slip through his fingers—

Madam Pomfrey is hovering over him and eyeing him with urgency, which is the first indicator that maybe things are a bit more serious than Oliver expected.

"How long—?" he starts to ask.

Weasley swallows. "Six days. It's been quite a scare."

Oliver's eyes widen. "Six days?" Dread begins to spread under his ribs. He's suddenly extremely aware of everyone's gaze on him. He wishes it were just Weasley in the room; Weasley's always been easy to talk to, always gives Oliver a chance to speak even though he's just a Second Year, and picked him to be Keeper even though Elianna Jorkins caught more Quaffles at tryouts. "Did I miss any other matches?"

Weasley bites back a grin and moves out of the way to let McGonagall approach.

"Very well, Mr. Weasley." She shoots him a pointed look. "You've seen him. You can leave now."

Oliver wants to speak up and tell Weasley not to leave, because McGonagall has somehow managed to look both concerned about him and grim at the same time, as if she's considering giving him detention, but only if he's well enough. Weasley gives Oliver a pat on the shoulder and leaves, shooting him a friendly wink before disappearing beyond the curtains.

The pat only serves to intensify Oliver's headache, but then Madam Pomfrey practically force-feeds him a bottle of something, and the pain dulls. Oliver tries to replay what he remembers of the match. They must have lost—will there be a rematch? Has he missed the rematch? Has Weasley replaced him with a Keeper capable of maintaining consciousness past the first two minutes of the game?

No, Weasley wouldn't do that.

But still, Oliver has a lot to prove after causing Gryffindor such embarrassment. The House pride is at stake.

He tries to sit up, but finds that his whole body feels impossibly heavy, and he hardly moves at all. Mildly embarrassed, he remains still and wonders if he was hit by a Bludger—that would make sense. He wouldn't have just fallen off his broom for no reason. He wouldn't.

Would he?

"Your parents should be arriving shortly," McGonagall says, and for the first time Oliver notices a tightness around her eyes, like exhaustion. "They would have come sooner, I'm sure, but the owls had trouble locating them on their cruise around the Pacific—"

"You told my parents?!" Despite his weakness, Oliver finally manages to sits up straight. Madam Pomfrey makes a noise like he has personally offended her.

"You've been unconscious for nearly a week, Mr. Wood," McGonagall replies rather sharply. "Do you really think Professor Dumbledore would neglect to inform your family of the state you were in? I will fill them in on the details when they arrive. In the meantime, you need rest."

"No." Oliver moans. "Professor, please don't tell them I got injured playing Quidditch! Tell them—tell them a potion backfired or something."

"I will do no such thing!" McGonagall exclaims, outraged. "Mr. Wood, what in Merlin's name would possess you to want to lie?"

"It took me ages to convince Mum to let me play Quidditch. She thinks it's too dangerous. If she hears about this, she'll never, ever let me play again!" He is too horrified at the prospect to care much about pride, or to be embarrassed at the way his voice cracks towards the end of his sentence. His Quidditch career can't end here, after the first real match of his life! He swallows down the lump that is rising in his throat.

They haven't even won any matches yet!

"Well, I'm afraid your parents will be arriving within the hour, so you had best pull yourself together," McGonagall says, and Oliver bows his head to hide the tears that threaten to pool in his eyes. As soon as Mum finds out, it'll all be over. He'll be forced to watch Weasley and the others play from the stands. His stomach sinks as the fire in his heart goes out.

He hears Professor McGonagall pull the curtain open to leave.

Then there's a pause.

"I'll tell Percy Weasley to bring you a change of clothes."

Frowning, Oliver looks up, still rather caught up in the mental image of handing in his resignation to Charlie Weasley. Gryffindor's one-game Keeper, the House embarrassment. "Why?" he asks, glancing down at his Quidditch robes and reaching up to wipe his eyes. Yes, they are rather muddy, but so is the rest of him, and what does it matter anyway?

"I'll refer your mother to you when it comes to explaining what caused this." McGonagall gives him a meaningful look. "And it wouldn't do for you to be dressed in Quidditch robes when you do so, would it?"

With that, she leaves, sliding the curtain closed behind her.

Oliver grins.