He Who Has an Accent

Oliver hurries across the Hogwarts grounds, marching at an even but brisk pace. His breaths escape his lips in abrupt, opaque clouds; it's November, and the mornings are already quite cold. Therefore, it's only natural that he feels the need to venture out: it is his intent to rescue his broom from the lockers and bring it inside the castle, where he knows it will be warm. Older broomsticks are sensitive to the weather, after all.

For a while, he doesn't pay attention to anything but this thought.

It's really only natural, then, that he suddenly feels himself collide with something sturdy.

Oliver blinks, briefly winded, and then looks downward. Sprawled upon the slightly frosted ground is a girl; she's probably a first year. He hasn't noticed her before.

"Sorry," he says, offering her his hand.

Instead of taking it, she stares at him in amazement.

"You have an accent," she says breathily.

Oliver furrows his brow. "So do you."

"Yes, but not like yours." She seems delighted, though he, on the other hand, is a bit disconcerted.

"Er. Right, then," he mutters, returning his hand to his side. She doesn't seem to want to stand up again. "I'll just be going."

He tries to leave.

"Where are you going?" she asks eagerly, hopping to her feet with ease.

He stares. "To get my broom…"

"Oh! Will you be practicing Quidditch, then?" She sounds excited.

"No," he says rather curtly. "I've got to protect it from the frost."

He expects her to lose interest, as most girls and first years would. But instead of escaping her as he attempts to continue on his way, she scurries after him, more interested than before.

"How will you do that?" she asks. He is walking so quickly that she has to jog to keep up with him.

"By bringing it indoors, of course."

"That's a good idea. Do you think I should get mine, too? My mum bought it for me as a pr—"

Oliver stops. "Why have you got a broom?"

The girl looks sheepish. "It's just for practice. The school brooms frighten me. And I want to try out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team next year, so I'm certain I'll need to practice as much as possible." She lowered her voice to a conspiring whisper. "I've heard that the Captain is quite brutal."

"Where have you heard that?" he demands sharply.

"The Chasers told me. I think they called him a Quidditch Nazi…"

"Q-Quidditch Nazi?" Oliver sputters. "I am not!"

"You?" She looks at him curiously. "You're the Quidditch Nazi?"

He straightens, affronted. "Quidditch enthusiast."

At least, he thinks, she doesn't look so eager anymore.

"Well…" She pauses. "If nothing else, you've got a nice accent."

Oliver arches an eyebrow. "Er… thanks."

In the end, she runs away before he has a chance to ask her name.