First off, I just want to begin, as I always do, with an enormous apology. I am so, so, so sorry, dear readers, for abandoning this story! It should have been finished a year ago and I somehow never got around to it. But I'm finally back to finish this story once and for all, and this is the very last chapter.
Because I was gone for so long, you more than deserve a recap!Go back to "31: My apologies plus a handy recap" for a summary of the entire story from the beginning through Ch 30. That way, you have only the last chapter, called "Fight to the Finish," to catch up on. If you want a summary of that chapter too, here it is:
Ch. 31 ("Fight to the Finish"): Katie and the Weasley twins have just discovered that Oliver is wearing a locket with Katie's picture in it, which has made him forget about his feelings for Katie and chase other girls. Around this time, the twins send out invitations for their birthday that mysteriously asks their guests to show up in swimwear but doesn't list the reason or the location. Meanwhile, Katie has discovered that Lavender and Parvati are the ones behind The Hogwarts Howler and promises not to expose them if they stop publishing it. In return, Lavender and Parvati tell Katie that Taylor Somers (#1 obsessed fan of Oliver) put the cursed necklace on Oliver, and that Katie somehow needs to get Taylor to take it off him herself to end the spell. Faced with that monumental task, Katie reluctantly agrees to let Fred and George help her devise a grand plan (which will be carried out at their "pool party") to win Oliver back…once and for all.
Chapter 32: It Ends with a Splash (a.k.a Sure Took Long Enough)
Name: Katie Bell
Goal: To win Oliver Wood back…with Fred and George Weasley for help
What I'd like most right now: A miracle
I was on the point of giving up. There was no way – NO WAY – that Fred, George, and I could possibly get Taylor to remove that vile locket from Oliver's neck. I knew they were trying their hardest to brainstorm with me, which I really appreciated, but they were also busy trying to get last-minute details of their party planned simultaneously and I felt bad asking for their time…
"Katie, we got this," Fred said as I let out a hopeless sigh. He came over to my chair, leaned over in front of me, and placed his hands on my shoulders. "Okay? Don't give up yet, or else you're a big pussy."
"I mean it!" he said, giving my shoulders a little shake. "Do you know how hard Oliver fought for you? And he got you! Look how hopelessly in love with him you are now…although I guess that doesn't help much because he seems to have forgotten you exist. Hmm."
"Wow, thanks again."
"And now it's your turn to do the same and win him back over. Which you're going to do. Okay? Now let's keep thinking. George? Let's see the list."
Fred snatched the list from George, who yelled, "Oi give that back!"
"Seriously, George? In Katie's time of need?" Fred said in disbelief as he read the parchment. I looked over his shoulder and saw that each idea got worse as the list progressed:
List of Ideas on Winning Our Undeserving Ass of a Captain Back for Katie
1. Push Taylor into Oliver, hoping that she'll grab the locket and pull it off him
2. Transfigure locket into a penis, which Taylor will automatically go after… (har har)
3. Murder Taylor…maybe the spell will die with her
4. Alicia in a swimsuit…boobs!
"I see you've been brainstorming real hard, George," I taunted, laughing at the last one in spite of myself.
"Is it wrong that I'm a little excited for this party?" George asked with a cheeky grin.
"Not if you explain where it's going to be! There is no pool at Hogwarts!" I exclaimed, clueless. "What, are you planning for all of us to go for a swim in the freezing lake just 'cause it's your birthday?"
"Just because we're helping you, dear girl, doesn't mean you have to pry into our secret affairs," George replied with a wink.
"I just can't see how this is going to work out," I sighed. "On top of it all, I got my hardest Transfiguration assignment yet and am really struggling with it. We're learning the basics of how to Transfigure something and shrink it at the same time—"
"THAT'S IT!" Fred and George yelled so loud that I screamed and fell off my chair. They ran to me and hauled me up, each twin grabbing an arm, and they stuck their faces uncomfortably close to mine in excitement.
"We're going to Transfigure Oliver!" Fred cried.
"And then we're going to shrink him!" George added, both of them ignoring the incredulous, stupefied look on my face.
"Oliver will turn into a small object, but the locket will remain the way it is."
"Which means it will be big in comparison to the Oliver-object and just lie around it on the floor."
"Taylor will snatch the locket up from the floor before anyone else can touch it."
"Thereby removing the locket from the Oliver-object herself!"
"And before she can pull out any more tricks from her sleeve, we'll Transfigure the object back to Oliver."
"And he will be free to love you til the end of time! TADA!" The twins grinned proudly and crossed their arms expectantly. "Well?"
"It…kind of…makes sense, I guess?" I stammered. "I just don't see why we have to Transfigure him into an object first. Why not just shrink Oliver?"
"Because if we keep him in his original form, the locket will just shrink with him," George explained.
"But if we Transfigure him into an object, the locket can no longer be worn by him and it will remain the same size, see?"
"I don't know," I said nervously. "Transfiguring people is horribly complicated and so many things can go wrong…. Isn't it potentially illegal to do that?"
"Not if it is in the name of love," Fred replied. "Trust us. Have we ever made you distrust us?"
"I do quite clearly remember your jinxing my Halloween mask to ensure I still looked like Dumbledore well after Halloween was over," I answered dryly.
"Oh. When did that happen?"
After a long, tiring Quidditch practice, I was trudging up the stairs toward Gryffindor Tower when I heard a soft, dreamy voice behind me say, "Hello there, Oliver."
"Oh. Hey, Luna."
"Oliver, I think I'm…disappointed in you."
"You've regressed in the progress we've made during our therapy sessions," Luna said disapprovingly.
"What are you talking about?" I asked in disbelief.
"You still speak your thoughts aloud?"
No, and the last thing I want to do is stand here talking to you when I really need a shower and a nice long nap.
"You just said that out loud, you know," Luna pointed out politely. "Just saying."
"Argh!" I groaned in frustration. "Luna, what do you want from me? We've had, like, five therapy sessions already and I still haven't fixed my habit of saying my thoughts out loud. Maybe that's all it is—just a habit that I'll eventually get over, okay?"
"I think you're missing the point," Luna said. "You're still on your guard too much. There's something cooped up inside you that you need to say, and because you can't say it, you're speaking your other, pointless thoughts aloud as compensation."
"Luckily for you, I will attempt yet again to do a cathartic exercise with you that will help you let out your emotion." From out of nowhere, Luna pulled out the gigantic lion's head hat of hers and placed it on my head. "Roar, Oliver! Roar and let out your inner lion!"
"For the last time, Luna, I refuse to roar with your hat!" I snapped in annoyance. "I always refuse, don't I?"
"You tend to do that," she admitted. Her eyes wandered to the front of my shirt. "Ah," she said, looking thoughtful as her eyes rested on the locket. "How unfortunate."
"What?" I spluttered. "What's wrong with my locket?"
"Everything. I see this will do no good until that thing around your neck is taken care of." She removed the lion's head hat from my head and tucked it under her arm. "Goodbye, Oliver, I wish you the best of luck. Perhaps I'll see you again when the tide has turned in your favor."
And she was gone before I could ask her what the bloody hell she was talking about.
Tonight is the big night! Yes, it is finally the night of Fred and George's birthday bash. If things go according to plan (if only!), then Oliver and I will be back together. Wish me luck!
It was almost 9 pm, which was listed on Fred and George's invitation as the starting time of their party, yet the location of said party was still unknown. Fred and George were nowhere to be seen, and a bunch of other Gryffindors and I were in the common room turning the invitations over in our hands, trying to figure out where the hell we were supposed to go.
"Well this is awkward," Angelina said as she plopped down next to me on the couch. "A pool party yet no pool. How typical of Fred and George to leave this a mystery until the very last minute."
At that moment, as the clock struck nine, the letters of my invitation started shifting around.
"What the…" I watched as the letters rearranged themselves to spell out the following:
The wait is over!
The location of Fred and George's 18th birthday bash is:
The fourth door to the left of the statue of Boris the Bewildered on the fifth floor.
Password to the door is "fermez votre bouche" (translated as "shut your trap" in French).
Your designated time to enter the location is:
Times have also been staggered to minimize the risk of getting multiple people caught in the hallway.
Do not be early. Do not be late.
Around the room, there were gasps and exclamations of excitement as everyone else's invitations revealed the message.
"Oops, gotta go!" Angelina said, pointing to her invitation, which said 9:03 pm. "A perk of being one of the birthday boys' girlfriends?" I asked, eyebrows raised. Angelina shot me a grin and left the common room.
"Oh my gosh!" came a squeal from across the room. I looked over to see Hermione with Harry and Ron, staring at her invite. "Their party is in the prefects' bathroom! They could get in so much trouble! How utterly risky and…"
"And?" Harry urged.
"Brilliant," Hermione admitted.
"How so?" Ron wrinkled his nose. "What could be so great about a party in the bathroom? We're all going to paddle around in a tiny bathtub?"
Hermione smiled knowingly and patted his knee. "Oh, you'll see."
It was soon 9:05 pm, and I started making my way to the prefects' bathroom so I'd get there on time. I reached the statue of Boris the Bewildered, went down four doors to the left, and muttered the password when the coast was clear.
The door opened…
Fred and George's party was… absolutely. Bloody. Brilliant!
"How on earth...?" I marveled as I stepped inside. I'd never seen anything like it. The prefects' bathroom was made entirely of marble and…huge. Not only that, but Fred and George had somehow covered the entire floor with warm, soft, white beach sand, and there were giant lamps hanging from the ceiling that emitted what I'm sure were actual sunrays. In one corner was a volleyball net; in another corner were rows and rows of lounge chairs and towels for people to sunbathe on. And on the other side of the room…
"That is one big-ass bathtub," Angelina said in shock as we gaped at the swimming pool-sized "tub," which even had a diving board at one end. Even better was the rows of color-coded faucets around the pool, which were pouring out bubbles of every color, shape, and size. I think one of the faucets was even enchanted to emit bubbles that didn't pop, because they were floating around the room merrily.
"Welcome…to paradise," Fred and George greeted us, bowing gallantly. We squealed and hugged them, wishing them a happy birthday and pressing their birthday gifts into their hands.
"You took a piece of tropical heaven and planted it right in the middle of Hogwarts," Alicia gushed in amazement. "I can't believe I get to work on my tan, with winter barely over!"
"Tan away, my love!" George said merrily, planting a kiss on her cheek.
"C'mon girls, let's go claim those chairs over there," Alicia said.
"Go ahead, I'll be right there," I replied, exchanging a glance with the twins.
"We got this, Bell," George murmured quietly once my friends scampered off. "As soon as Wood and Taylor make their appearance…"
"There they are," Fred said, pointing to the door. My heart melted a little as Oliver strolled in with Taylor right beside him. My only consolation about her presence here was that she wouldn't even have gotten an invitation if not for the fact that the twins and I needed her to put our grand scheme into action.
"Fred, George, awesome party! This is bloody brilliant!" Oliver exclaimed as he walked in, giving them both a high five and handing them their presents. "Hello, Katie," he added, seeing me. "I don't suppose you know Taylor."
"Oh, we know each other quite well," I replied coldly. Taylor flashed me a triumphant smile as she clung to Oliver's arm.
Completely oblivious to the underlying tension, Oliver asked, "Just curious, mates—how in the world did you get the prefects' consent to throw a party in their bathroom?"
Fred answered, "Well, the prefects we're friends with agreed to it, as long as we changed the password later so non-prefects can't come in ever again. Obviously they didn't want to miss out on the party either."
"And the prefects you're not friends with?" Oliver questioned.
"Simple Confundus spell to trick them not to take a bath on a Friday night," George said. "Plus, who bathes on a Friday night anyway, when everyone else is having fun?"
At that moment, the door opened and in walked none other than Percy Weasley with a towel wrapped around his waist. His eyes widened at the spectacle and then fixated straight on his guilty younger twin brothers as he began to tremble with rage.
"We forgot to Confund Percy!" Fred groaned, smacking his forehead.
"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" The room instantly grew silent.
"Percy! You came to wish us a happy birthday!" George exclaimed with feigned excitement.
"WHAT ARE THESE IMBECILES DOING IN MY BATHROOM?" Percy raged.
"Now, now dear brother, this is all the prefects'bathroom, not just yours—"
"OUT! EVERYBODY OUT!" Percy yelled, getting red in the face. "I am reporting this immediately!"
"Desperate times call for desperate measures," Fred and George agreed, looking at each other. They pointed their wands at Percy and yelled, "Confundo!"
The spell hit Percy; instantly, he looked dazed and confused. "Oh! Are we on a Caribbean island somewhere? Now how did the whole school get here?" He looked at the giant sunshine-emitting lamps on the ceiling. "The sun! I adore the sun! Although I always get a awful burn and can never tan. How terribly sad."
"It's just a dream, Perce! You can leave now," George said jovially as he and Fred took him by the arms and led him out the door. "You'll forget it in no time." The door shut behind Percy.
George turned around to face the room. "I swear, if any word gets out about this, you will grow horns and be unable to speak for a week, you hear?" he threatened everyone.
"And we mean it. We've got that curse memorized to perfection," Fred added.
"But enough chitchat. Let's PARTY!"
The crowd let out a huge cheer and everyone went back to sunbathing, swimming, playing volleyball, or flirting.
"Are you sure you won't get caught?" I whispered anxiously to the twins. "Do you even know that horn-growing, mouth-shutting spell?"
"Course not!" George replied carelessly. "But everyone will listen to us because it's just the sort of thing we might do. Genius, right?"
Before I could answer, Fred asked, "Okay, Katie, you know the plan? Let's go over it one more time."
"We wait til midnight, when everyone will make a toast to your birthday," I recited from memory. "I'll be watching to make sure Taylor is beside Oliver. In the commotion, you will Transfigure Oliver into a small object. As soon as Taylor freaks out and realizes this, she'll pick up the locket. I'll send up a small spark above the crowd and keep the Oliver-object out of Taylor's reach. You'll see the spark, make your way over to me, and Transfigure Oliver back. Presto."
"That's my girl. And what do you do until then?"
I sighed sadly. "I have to keep pretenses up and pretend I still love Zacharias so Taylor won't suspect I'm up to something." Fred frowned, looking sorry for me.
"Yes, but only until midnight," he said comfortingly. "We even invited him late on the invitation so you had to deal with him less."
"Just wondering…what 'small object' exactly are you planning to turn Oliver into?" I asked curiously.
"No time to answer—there's your prick of an ex-boyfriend now!" George warned.
Oh no. Zach was standing at the door, looking absolutely befuddled by the party he was seeing before him. When he saw me, though, his eyes lit up and he made a beeline straight toward me.
"Whoops, and that's our cue to go," Fred muttered as he and George left me to the mercies of my obsessive ex-boyfriend.
"Katie!" Zach cried, throwing his arms around me. He pulled away from the embrace, his eyes looking me up and down appreciatively. "Wow, you look fantastic!"
"Er…thanks." I squirmed, almost wishing I'd worn a one-piece instead of my bikini if it meant Zacharias Smith kept his eyes off me. "Want to go grab drinks?"
"What? You're voluntarily hanging out with me?" Zach beamed happily. "You're giving me a second chance!"
"For the moment," I muttered, directing him toward the refreshments. He was so deliriously happy that he didn't even notice the desperate, pleading look I shot at Fred and George, who were too busy entertaining their guests to notice.
The next couple hours until midnight were torture. With Zacharias in tow wherever I went, I had hardly any fun. Angelina, Alicia, and Leanne kept shooting me looks of disbelief, as if to say, "What? You're taking him back?" and it took every ounce of me not to explain why I had to pretend. Even though they were my best friends, the less people who knew about the plan, the better—too many people involved could seriously screw things up. Plus, I didn't want their sympathy if the plan completely backfired, which I was so terrified it would. I started biting my fingernails, feeling like my nerves were shot.
"Honey, you're destroying your fingers!" Zach exclaimed worriedly, pulling my hand away from my mouth. I winced at the affectionate name. As time passed, he had grown increasingly confident that he was winning me back, and was getting sickeningly affectionate with every minute.
"Bloody hell, what are you doing?" I shrieked as he kissed my neck, earning us a few curious looks from people around us.
"I thought we were back together," he whimpered pitifully.
"Zach, I put up with a lot these past couple hours," I seethed, trying not to explode. "When you asked to put sunscreen on my back, I let you. When you started playing with my hair, I let you. Even when you started spoon-feeding me raspberry sorbet, I let you. But this—this I will not tolerate!"
"Oh. Sorry. I'll stop if you want me to, darling," he replied sorrowfully.
"Thank you," I muttered, ignoring the puppy dog expression on his face so I could look at Oliver. He was sitting at the edge of the pool, feet dangling in the water. As I was admiring his gorgeously chiseled body, Taylor appeared and sat beside him. I felt nauseous as she fed him a spoonful of ice cream and simpered at him. What's worse—he smiled at her, and then put his arm around her!
"I'm going to hurl," I whispered, feeling sick.
"Baby, you okay?" Zach asked, grabbing my hand. "It's the sunlight, right? Want to get out of here? Maybe…maybe head back to my room?"
And once again, Fred and George saved me by shouting, "Hear ye, hear ye! It's nigh midnight, and thus time to make a toast! Everyone gather round!"
"It's showtime," I muttered as I followed the crowd toward the platform Fred and George had just set up in the middle of the room. They stood on it above the crowd and started passing out bottles of champagne.
"START THE COUNTDOWN!" the twins shouted as a giant clock appeared in the air beside them.
"Ten!" the crowd cheered as the clock began ticking down the seconds.
"Eight!" My eyes searched for Oliver and Taylor, making sure they were standing together.
"Seven!" They were together, all right; I didn't have to worry about that. Taylor was looking up at him in adoration, giving him a sickeningly sweet smile.
"Six!" I pushed through the crowd until I stood right behind them.
"Five!" The twins both looked at me and gave me a grim nod.
"Three!" Are you there, God? It's me, Katie. Please, please, please make this work!
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" everyone screamed, and champagne bottles popped everywhere around me. Continuing to keep up the pretense, the twins both threw back their heads and started chugging from their champagne bottles. Only I noticed that their eyes were fixated on Oliver, with Fred's wand pointed discreetly at him.
"Darn this bottle. Why didn't anyone tell me how to pop this?" I heard Ron mutter from a few feet away.
It was like those movie scenes in slow motion. I watched in horror as Ron wrestled with the bottle…then as the cork suddenly flew out with a loud POP!...right towards Fred, who got hit in the chest with it. Startled, Fred looked down at what hit him while muttering the spell at the same time…the wand pointed away from Oliver and right toward…
"ZACH!" I screamed in horror as my ex-boyfriend disappeared and shrank instantly, becoming a…
"Ooh, a muffin!" Neville Longbottom cried in excitement as he saw the baked good on the floor. He reached down and picked it up, opening his mouth to devour it.
"NO!" I screamed, hurling myself at Neville. Fred and George, who instantly realized that something had gone very, very wrong, leaped off their platform and pushed their way toward me.
"Dammit, how could this have gone wrong?" George exclaimed.
"Thank our dear brother Ron, who doesn't know how to open a champagne bottle pointed away from other people," Fred snapped. Suddenly their eyes rested on Neville and a very terrified me.
"DON'T EAT THAT!" Fred, George, and I screamed together. We were starting to get people's attention as they started realizing something weird was going on. Neville's bottom lip quivered and he looked about to cry.
"Actually, wouldn't it be funny if he did eat it?" George whispered to me.
"George!" I whispered back, appalled.
"Grandmum never lets me have muffins at home either," Neville said sadly.
"We'd let you have it, really, except that that muffin is Zacharias Smith," Fred replied. "Can we have him back, please? We'll get you another." Looking bewildered, Neville handed Zach the muffin back to Fred.
"What's going on?" Angelina asked, pushing her way toward us. "That muffin is Zach?"
"Er…long story," George replied sheepishly. I wanted to curl up and die right there.
"Oh my gosh, look! Someone help him!" Hermione suddenly shrieked, pointing and looking up at the ceiling.
To this day, there is still no explanation for this, but somehow, the faucet that was releasing unpoppable bubbles had gone haywire, because the bubbles it was blowing had gotten bigger and bigger. Poor Colin Creevey, too curious for his own good, had probably gone to check it out. An enormous bubble had formed around him, and he was now floating above all of us, his screams for help barely audible behind the thick surface of the bubble.
"Pop it!" someone yelled.
"No, that'll kill him!" another person cried.
"The world has gone mad. Mad!" Fred gaped in awe as the crowd rushed to help Colin. "I LOVE IT!"
By then, Taylor had caught on that the twins and I were up to something. "Come, Ollie," I heard her say sweetly as she frantically looked for an exit. "It's starting to get a little crazy. Let's get out of here."
"They're getting away," I cried, tugging on George's arm. "Our plan completely backfired!"
"It's okay, Katie, we got this!" he reassured me. "Fred!"
But Fred was momentarily distracted, as the crowd that pushed past him knocked the muffin out of his hands.
"BLOODY HELL!" I shrieked as my ex-boyfriend went flying through the air in the form of a muffin. I raced to catch him, falling flat on my face as I just barely caught the muffin with my fingertips.
"She'll be okay. C'mon, we need to catch them!" George shouted, grabbing Fred, who was trying to help me up. Fred looked up in alarm at Taylor, who was dragging Oliver toward the door.
"CONFUNDO!" they yelled, pointing their wands at Taylor. But at that moment, she slipped on the wet floor and the spells hit Oliver instead.
Instantly, a look of confusion appeared on Oliver's face. "Wow, who knew heaven would be so awesome?" he gasped, looking dazed and wide-eyed. "So many girls in bikinis!" He pulled away from Taylor and turned his back on the door. "Sunlight! Sand! Yippee!" Oliver cried in delight as he picked up a handful of sand and threw it in the air jubilantly.
"No! Ollie, we have to leave!" Taylor cried, looking desperate as she followed him.
"Indeed, the world has gone mad," I whispered, having no idea what to do and looking utterly stupid as I stood there frozen, holding my muffin.
"It'll be okay! They haven't left, have they? We've still got a shot!" Fred said reassuringly.
"Think, brain, think!" George muttered, rapping himself on the forehead. "What do we do next?" But Oliver decided that for us.
"Hahahaha!" he laughed happily as he saw Colin Creevey floating above the crowd by the pool. "What a crazy balloon! I want to touch it!" And he disappeared into the crowd that had gathered below the poor bubble-imprisoned Colin.
"Ollie, come back!" Taylor wailed, running after him. Fred, George, and I ran after them and started shoving our way through the crowd looking for Oliver.
"There he is!" George shouted. Oliver, in a fruitless attempt to grab the "balloon," had jumped onto Harry's back to use as a footstool. Poor Harry, who couldn't hold Oliver's weight, fell over. Oliver toppled off his Seeker's back and collided with Taylor, who screamed and teetered on the edge, about to fall backward into the pool.
To this very day, I don't know what got me to do it.
"Take this!" I screamed to George, tossing him the muffin. Boosted by a rush of adrenaline, I dashed forward, extending my hand to Taylor as if to help her. She thrust her hand forward, but I pulled away at the last minute and her hand gripped onto the closest thing to her—Oliver's locket. But before I could determine whether she pulled it off him or not, I lost my balance and fell against Oliver, who toppled onto Taylor, and the three of us went tumbling into the pool headfirst.
By then, the colorful bubbles in the pool had gone insane and I couldn't see anything through the rainbow of bubbles, which had piled on top of each other like clouds.
Why did I have to fall in before Taylor could pull off the locket? my mind screamed as I thrashed in the water. The locket is probably still on him…I've lost him forever…" In my despair, I choked on water and struggled to grab the pool's edge.
Suddenly, I felt a strong arm grip me by the waist and haul me out of the water. I lay on the floor beside the pool, gasping for air. I saw Oliver's chocolate brown eyes looking straight into mine; I realized he was the one who had dragged me out of the pool. I had to force my eyes to leave his face to glance at his chest, which was…
Locket-free. The original plan had gone awry and backfired straight into my face but somehow, somehow, it had all worked out.
My eyes wandered back to catch Oliver's gaze again. His hair dripping wet, he was panting for breath too. His eyes were wide, holding some emotion that I could not read. Slowly, he lifted me off the floor, eyes never leaving my face.
"You're a madwoman, Katie Bell," he said softly in his deep, sexy voice. I held my breath, unable to speak, waiting for his next words.
"I love you."
Then he was kissing me, kissing me over and over til I thought I could die of happiness, and we were blissfully oblivious to the sound of Taylor's shrieks, then her gasp as Fred yanked the locket from her hand, repaired it with his wand, and threw it to George, who wrapped it around the muffin before Transfiguring it back to Zacharias. And when the twins (bless their souls) shouted, "Nothing to see here, folks!" and led everyone away from us to go pop more champagne, Oliver and I were left alone, just how we wanted to be.
And yes, someone did eventually manage to get Colin Creevey down from his bubble.
I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to my seventh year at Hogwarts. Gryffindor won the Quidditch Cup (I'm embarrassed to say that our win actually got me teary-eyed when Dumbledore handed us the trophy), my N.E.W.T. exams were all right (except for Potions), I had signed on to play for Puddlemere United...
And I was dating the girl of my dreams, who happened to be curled up beside me on a sofa in the common room with her head resting on my shoulder. She looked up at me and smiled, and I kissed her on the forehead.
"We've gone through quite an adventure to get here, huh?" Katie said, laughing softly.
"It did take too long," I admitted. "I wouldn't have gone through that rollercoaster ride for anyone else."
"Still, it's amazing how things turned out all right, with no loose threads hanging," she marveled as she entwined her fingers in mine. "Taylor's out of the picture, Zach didn't end up getting eaten—thank heavens!—and the twins were brilliant to put the locket on the muffin before Transfiguring Zach back. He hasn't been obsessed with me ever since!"
"Although Fred and George screwed it up…a lot…they actually do deserve a lot of credit in getting us together," I admitted.
"AHA!" Fred and George shouted, jumping up from behind the couch so suddenly that Katie and I jumped.
"We were instrumental in getting you two together!" Fred announced with a triumphant grin.
"And you admitted it!" George crowed.
"Ugh…how did I know that would boost their egos?" I groaned, while Katie laughed and said, "Well I guess it's true. Thank you both for your help. We owe it to you."
"And you, dear Captain…?" They grinned cheekily at me.
"Thank you," I grunted, although secretly I was grateful.
"Oh, we do love saving the world," George said, pretending to wipe a tear from his eyes.
"But no good deed comes without a price!" Fred exclaimed joyfully. "Now's your turn to pay us back!" He and George pulled out a bag from behind their back and held it open. Inside were delicious-looking—yet strangely suspicious—pastries.
"Why am I suddenly terrified?" I groaned.
"Can't you just consider us…charity?" Katie questioned weakly.
"Nope! As lucky recipients of the goodwill of Fred and George Weasley, you must now assist us in our test trials for our fabulous Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes! Go on, take one."
Looking at each other uneasily, Katie and I reached into the bag and pulled out a pastry.
"Before we eat these, can we just confirm it isn't Zacharias Smith and friends?" I asked, sniffing the cream puff suspiciously.
"Har har! Of course not!"
"You never did explain why you chose to Transfigure him into a muffin, of all things," Katie pointed out. Fred and George shrugged.
"I dunno…we've always been tickled by the thought of Transfiguring someone into a muffin and thought it was the perfect time to try it out."
"Any other stupid, annoying questions?"
"Will we die?" Katie asked worriedly.
"Course not!" the twins chorused together. It wasn't until Katie and I finally took a bite that they whispered to each other, "They won't, right?"
I threatened them, "I swear, if something bad happens, I'll—"
But I could no longer speak. I, Oliver Wood, Captain of the Gryffindor team and voted among the best-looking male students at Hogwarts—thus deserving of much dignity and respect—and Katie Bell, the love of my life, were suddenly transformed into giant canaries, and squawked at Fred and George in furious indignation as they laughed and laughed until tears fell from their eyes.
"I'm surprised you decided to come see me before school lets out."
"Actually, you've been a great deal of help and I thought I should swing by one last time to say thanks."
"I don't speak my thoughts aloud anymore."
"How wonderful! I haven't been so happy since my dad found a rare collection of Huffing Humdrums in a museum in Mongolia!"
"You and Katie are staying together after you graduate?"
"Definitely. We'll have most of the summer together til I start training with Puddlemere United. Katie's coming to a bunch of my games and when she starts school again, I'm going to visit her on Hogsmeade weekends whenever I can. Say, was that Roger I saw leaving this room when I arrived?"
"Oh yes. He started to come see me for 'therapy sessions' but it was because he still fancied me. But I used our talks to convince him not to like me anymore."
"You…talked Roger out of liking you."
"I figured once I got talking, and Roger realized how weird I really am, he would stop liking me. And it worked! Because I really am weird."
"What for? He's cured now! For the better."
"You seem to be pretty good at this therapy thing."
"Yes, well...that's neither here nor there. Are you finally ready to perform my cathartic exercise? I know you normally always refuse but I have the tinglies in my toesies so I feel like this time will be different. Where's my lion hat…ah, here it is!"
Luna placed the hat on my head and smiled. "Ready?" She pressed the button on the hat and it began to roar loudly. "Roar with me, Oliver! Express your triumph and release your inner lion!" I took a deep breath. And this time…
A/N: It's finally done! This story, now almost four years old, has come to a close, and I hope you all enjoyed it. Whether you do or don't, however, I owe you all a HUGE thank you for being so patient, supportive, and all-around amazing. Thank you so, so much. One of the greatest joys I had over the past few years was coming home from the horrors of high school to read your wonderful, encouraging reviews. Thank you all for being a source of such comfort and inspiration!
Last order of business – college is so hectic that I will probably not write any other fics or finish my other incomplete ones. However, I will try my best to continue being supportive and read your fanfics when I can.
Please, please, PLEASE review! I'd love to hear your opinion on this story. Thanks again and love you all!