Disclaimer: I do not own any of J.K. Rowling's characters, settings, ect.
Note: This is the first chapter of Olivia Price's third year at Hogwarts. If you want to read her story (and believe me, you want to. It's going to figure heavily into the future, especially as where it concerns Harry and Dumbledore) then it is absolutely necessary for you to go back to the beginning and read through her first and second years. The story holding Olivia's first year is titled "Let Music Be My Magic," while her second year is under "Let Friendship Be My Magic." For those of you who have stuck with me, thanks so much. Our little Olivia is going to be doing some changing and some growing this year, and I can promise some good action! Well, good action even though the year I'm most looking forward to will be in her fourth year…but still, stick with me! Please, review and let me know what you think! I need encouragement…
Olivia Price groaned and put her head in her hands. "Please, don't tell me that we have to do the seating chart again, Miss Rebecca!" The witch's voice came from the recesses of her arm, making it slightly muffled.
Rebecca Pullman's laugh ran through the Muggle kitchen, as she shook her head, causing her golden hair to fly from side to side. "No, no, dear! I'm sorry that I frightened you. When I said that I wanted to talk about the positions at the wedding, that's not what I meant."
"Oh," said Olivia, feeling like she should insert her foot into her mouth. "Well, then, what did you really want to talk about, before I had my mild temper tantrum?"
"It wasn't a temper tantrum, dear. If we had had to redo that list again, then you would have seen a real temper tantrum! Everybody knows that brides-to-be can be quite temperamental. Isn't that the case, Peter?"
Peter Williams, Olivia's guardian, had been sitting at the kitchen counter, nursing a tea and whiskey. When Rebecca asked her question, he had the distinct look of a rat in a trap; Olivia knew that he hadn't been listening. The young man looked pleadingly in Olivia's direction behind Rebecca's back, begging for her to give him a clue as to the right answer. She emphatically shook her head.
"Oh, of course not, Rebecca dear! That's not true at all!" Rebecca turned and placed a kiss on his cheek, and when she had turned away, Mr. Williams sent a grateful look and a wink in Olivia's direction. She smiled broadly, but then found her thoughts being taken to different places.
She had been home for two weeks now, and the wedding would be in only another fortnight. Olivia was so happy that her guardian had finally found someone to spend his life with, and such a lovely woman at that. Miss Rebecca added so much to their lives-she was cheerful, intelligent, and supportive. Olivia found that she wasn't afraid to tell her future "aunt" all about her life at Hogwarts, and Miss Rebecca seemed sincerely interested in her education. What with the joy of being home again, and discovering that her favorite wizarding family, the Potters, lived a short walk away, Olivia found that she was thoroughly enjoying her vacation. While she missed being able to perform magic, and seeing her friends and favorites teachers on a daily basis, she still found plenty to be thankful about.
This next year would bring about her third year at Hogwarts, and Olivia was excited. At the end of the last term, she and all the other second year students had chosen what classes they wished to add to their schedules. Olivia had been careful to talk with her friends and teachers about just which classes were the best to take. Professor Dumbledore and Robert had ended up giving her the best advice.
"I wish I could say that I foresee trouble for you if you take Divination," said Professor Dumbledore, looking perfectly serious, "but that wouldn't be an accurate statement on my part, seeing as how I never studied it." Olivia grinned appreciatively at Professor Dumbledore's joke, but he had continued most solemnly. "Knowing you as I do, Miss Price, I would say that you would find Divination to be a dreadfully dull and, shall we say, fuzzy subject. It is not substantial; there is nothing certain in it. Beside, who are men to interfere with the future?"
Olivia found that she agreed wholeheartedly with this, and decided to strike Divination from her list of possible subjects. Robert's advice had been much more straightforward. "Don't bother taking Muggle Studies; it would be pretty pointless for you, seeing that you are Muggle-born. If I were a smart, young witch like you, I should take Arithmancy. Hardly anybody does, as it's known for being extremely difficult, but I've also heard that it's dead useful. Besides, I don't think it would give you much trouble in any case. I think I'd also take Care of Magical Creatures. It's a nice, active class, and you'll never know when the skill of telling a crup from a dog will come in handy!" After researching both subjects a bit more, they were indeed what she put down for her additional study. Of Olivia's roommates, all of them but Viola were taking Magical Creatures, and everybody else had chosen either Muggle Studies or Divination as their other subject. None of them would be taking Arithmancy.
When Olivia had asked Viola why she wouldn't be taking Care of Magical Creatures, the excitable French girl's answer couldn't have been clearer. "Ooo, only zink of zee 'orrors of such large aneemals, Ohleevea! I couldn't face zem! Non, it eez far bezzer theez way. In Ancient Runes, nozzing will bite you!" Viola, therefore, would be the only one taking Ancient Runes.
"Olivia? Livie, are you listening to me?" Olivia jerked her head up with a snap, and saw that Miss Rebecca was looking at her with concern. "Darling, are you all right? You looked a thousand miles away!"
"Sorry, Rebecca," said Olivia, unconsciously dropping the proper "miss," which Rebecca hated anyway. "I was just thinking-nothing's wrong. What were you asking me?"
Rebecca sat down and took Olivia's hand in her own. "Dearest girl, I was just asking if you would like to be my maid-of-honor at the wedding. I have no sisters, and I can think of no one better suited for the job. Would you please do it? It would please me so much, and you Uncle Peter too, I'm sure."
"Oh, Rebecca!" Olivia said, her eyes filling with tears. "You've no idea how much I'd love that! Are you sure you want me? I won't even be thirteen until November! Am I not too young to be a maid-of-honor?"
Mr. Williams laughed. "Nonsense! Of course she wants you, Livie. We talked it over last night when Rebecca realized that there was no one that she'd rather ask. Besides, I think it fitting for our almost daughter to have a prominent place at our wedding. It would be like binding us together, making us a true family. Now, why don't you answer Rebecca's question?"
Olivia squeezed Rebecca's hand warmly. "Thank you so much, Rebecca. I would be so happy to be your maid-of-honor!" Rebecca swept Olivia up into a warm hug, and the young witch distinctly heard her guardian blowing his nose loudly.
Rebecca pulled out of the embrace, and then said, "Now, then, I'm afraid I must confess something. I fibbed earlier-we really do have to re-do the seating charts."
Olivia briefly wrestled with the two sides of her. One side called for doing the honorable thing and helping Rebecca with the dreaded list. The other told her to grab her cloak, run down the lane, and get to the Potters as fast as she could.
The latter course won.
"Gee, Rebecca, I'd so love to help, but…I promised Robert I'd help his mother plant flowers this afternoon! So sorry, got to run, good luck with the list!" Olivia jumped up, grabbed her cloak, and was out the door in one swift and smooth motion. Before the kitchen door slammed behind her, she could hear Rebecca and Peter break out into laughter.
After trudging through the park across the street from her guardian's home, Olivia finally broke through the tree line and saw the Potter's lovely home before her. The lights in the tower were bright even in the middle of the day, and the stone walkway up to the front door was perfect for an informal game of hopscotch.
Just as she was approaching the bright yellow door, it suddenly flew open, and a small blur came darting out of it, colliding with Olivia. "Oomph!" Olivia said, as all of the wind was knocked out of her when the blur's arms were wrapped tightly around her middle.
"Hi, Livie! Livie, I missed you! Have you come to play?"
Olivia gasped slightly as she chuckled, and disentangled the arms from around her waist. "Hi, Angie!" she said, breathing hard. "It's good to see you, too. Are you sure you aren't an Animagus? Because I could have sworn that you flew just now, coming out the door!"
The small girl giggled, and her bright blue eyes looked up into Olivia's emerald ones. "Do you really think I flew, Livie?"
"Oh, without a doubt! Come on, why don't we see what's going on inside?" Angelica nodded happily, and then she took Olivia's hand and pulled her to the door.
"Auntie Elise! Auntie Elise, look who's here! It's Livie!" Olivia almost fell over as the five-year-old yanked her over the front step.
"Angie, really! We don't want Olivia to break her jaw when you pull her to the ground, now, do we? Let the poor girl come inside!" Olivia smiled when she heard Elise Potter's voice. Robert's fussy and slightly odd mother always made her laugh. She came into the hall now, and detached Angelica from Olivia's hand. "Merlin's beard, Angelica, you can't treat Olivia like she's a dog on a leash! Go on outside, now, dear, and tell Robert who's here. Run along, now!"
As Angie's feet pounded against the floor, Mrs. Potter pulled Olivia into a warm hug. "Hello, love. It's good to see you again!"
Olivia gave Mrs. Potter an affectionate look. "Aunt Elise, you know I was last here only two days ago! You can't have missed me that much."
"Never mind days, dear. We're always happy to see you! How are the wedding plans going?"
"Up and down," said Olivia, shuddering. "I barely escaped from the clutches of a seating chart. Miss Rebecca is still trying to figure out which relative to place by whom. Aunt Cecily surely can't sit by Great-grandmother Tabitha, they loathe each other! And of course, Second Cousin Georgina is entirely too sweet upon Uncle Peter's co-worker, so they can't sit together. It's all a frightful mess to me. Of course, I'm Uncle Peter's only living relative, so it's not like our family is going to cause a great deal of bother. He's only invited a few people from his job, and," Olivia said, looking hopeful, "we were hoping you and Uncle Harris and Robert could come as well. You're like family to me, too."
"Dear, Merlin knows how much we would enjoy coming! However, it's set two weeks from today?" Olivia nodded. "I'm afraid that we're going to be out of town that day. Now that Robert can Apparate, we're going down to the seaside for a nice, little vacation before Rob has to begin his Auror training. That day is the only day that wizards can Apparate to the seaside, so we can't choose another day. I am sorry, dear."
"Well, I can't pretend that I'm not disappointed, but I understand. I do hope that you will have a great time!"
Mrs. Potter squeezed her hand. "Maybe next year you can come with us, Livie. That would be fun, wouldn't it?"
"Come where, Mum?" Olivia turned at the sound of Robert's voice. He was just entering the kitchen, his hair more unruly than ever.
Mrs. Potter sighed. "To the seaside with us, Rob. I was just saying that I did hope she could come next year. But goodness knows why she would want to, especially with your hair looking like that! What have you been doing?"
The young man grinned broadly. "Riding my broom, Mum, of course! What else would I be doing?"
"Well," she said sharply, but with a twinkle in her eye, "I'm sure I don't know, but I should think that there would be more valuable things you could be doing with your time."
Robert boldly ignored this comment, and turned to Olivia. "Hi, Liv. Want to come outside and practice Quidditch a bit?"
Olivia smiled regretfully. "I don't have my broom, Robert. I barely escaped today, let alone managing to bring a giant broomstick with me!"
"Never mind that, you can use Mum's. It's not quite as good as yours, but it'll do. Come on, now, you know you want to!"
"You've twisted my arm. I'm coming." Olivia followed Robert, smiling at the tree that was growing right through the walls of the kitchen. It was the most notable feature of the whole house, and right now the leaves were a brilliant green, making the kitchen look quite cheerful.
They spent a pleasant hour zooming around the backyard, Angelica often riding behind Robert on his broom. Eventually, however, they dropped the young girl off at the house so that she could have a snack, and the two older ones began to practice seriously on Quidditch. Robert had managed to attain a real Bludger, and he and Olivia batted it furiously back and forth at each other. It was Olivia's fondest ambition to make the Ravenclaw Quidditch team the next year. She had been a reserve last year, but now that she was older and had found what position she wanted to play, she knew that she'd have a better chance of getting a prime spot. Eventually, one of her more particularly ferocious hits sent Robert spiraling to the grass, unable to avoid the heavy Bludger's destructive path. It aimed directly for his nose, and he was forced to roll completely off his broom.
"I surrender, I surrender!" Olivia zipped down to join him on the ground, where her friend was busy wrestling the Bludger back into its case. Finally he managed it, and he turned breathlessly back to Olivia. "Merlin's beard, I'm bloody glad that I never had to play against you, Olivia! You're enough to drive an opposing team mad!"
She tried to look apologetic, but failed miserably. "Sorry, Rob. Are you all right?"
He looked offended. "Of course I'm all right! I'm the former captain of the Gryffindor Team, Miss, or have you forgotten that? I've dodged more that one Bludger in my time, and fallen several more times. A little dive to the ground is not going to shatter me into pieces."
Olivia got an evil look in her eye. "A dive didn't shatter you, but you managed to break your ankle trying to jump over the giant squid's tentacle two years ago? Oh, yes, you're quite the hardy man."
Robert pretended to be completely insulted, and wouldn't look at Olivia until she stopped laughing at him. "Well, now that you've gotten all of that nonsense out of your system," he said witheringly, "are you ready to go in now?"
She nodded, and put her borrowed broom away carefully. As the friends walked up to the house together, she asked hesitantly, "Robert, do you really think I can make the team?"
"No," said Robert, and Olivia sighed and cast her face to her feet. "I don't think, I know."
"Oh, you!" Olivia said, and punched him hard in the arm.
"Ouch! Save it for the Quidditch pitch, would you? Bloody hell, you look so small and delicate! Where do you get so much…energy?" Robert said, as he rubbed his throbbing arm.
Olivia sobered at the question. "I don't know, exactly. I guess I just save up all my anger and frustration, and take it out on the Bludgers."
"Well, the Bludgers and Malfoy," said Robert, reminding her of the Slytherin student that was her mortal enemy.
"Balderdash! If you think that flashing tattoo last year was bad, just wait until you see what I've got in store for him this year!" said Olivia, her eyes glinting.
Robert shook his head apathetically. "I almost don't even want to know….never mind, scratch that. I do want to know. What's the plan, O Malevolent One?"
"Oh, nothing terribly huge…well, malevolent, anyway. You'll just have to wait and see, just like everybody else." Robert groaned. "All I'll say is that no one will want to be around him once I'm done-and that includes the Dumb Duo, Dawkins and Dennet!"