Shouldn't This Be Simple?
It was one of those balmy summer evenings. The ones so nice that the sun hangs low in the sky long after it's curfew, watching and waiting; perhaps enjoying that sweet salty breeze that was drifting upwards from the bay.
It's a small town. The population consisted mainly of the elderly, here to enjoy the peace and quiet in what they've deemed their last days, and a few new families, who've nobly sacrificed the wonderful convinces of the city in favour of a charming country village, a wonderful place, or so it is assumed, to raise children.
It's always quiet. No one ever seemed to fight, and every Sunday, regardless of how many hours had been spent in the town's pub the night before, each and every citizen found themselves in a pew at church.
Perfection is lost on a ten year old. Those whose ideas of the world are based on adventure novels and magazine articles. He was frustrated with such an easy life; he wanted mystery, adventure—something.
"You see the problem with living in the country Kate," He pressed his back against the rough bark of his favourite oak, "is that everyone always wants to leave."
She was truly his only friend in the world: a too-small tomboy with her shaggy golden hair and a total of three missing teeth. She was seven to his ten, and perhaps as a result, she was also the only one out of his nine peers who'd sit and listen to him—and Merlin how he loved an audience.
"I don't want to leave. I like it here. I like the sea." Her admiration for him was quite frankly unparalleled. "I reckon that there isn't a sea like this one for…for anywhere!"
He shook his head at her ignorance, "there's sea everywhere Katie! Just like this one!"
"Not just like…" But she didn't argue anymore, for in her mind, Oliver knew everything that there was to know about the world.
"You'll see it when you're grown up. Like me." He puffed out his chest and jabbed his thumb at the centre.
"You're going to Hogwarts in September." She could scarcely contain the awe. "I can't wait until I can come."
"Aye right." He chided. "It'll be a long ways before you'll get there. But you don't worry Kate, once you get there, I'll take care of you. There won't be a single person who'll do you harm!"
"You'll forget about me!" She spat out what it was that had been plaguing her since he'd explained to her what exactly this Hogwarts was. "You'll find your…fancy friends and forget about me."
He couldn't exactly tell her that that wasn't the case, and so he decided to take her mind off of such thoughts. "My mum bought me a broomstick. A real one, just like the professionals use. I ain't allowed to ride it yet, but it's still the most amazing thing that I've ever seen. It's up in my room, we can go up and…"
"Well, look here lads!" Justin O'Keffe was easily the most obnoxious boy ever created by God's hands. As loud as he was fat, Oliver liked to imagine that he had his own gravitational pull, and that, not charm, was what he used to attract his large gang of followers. "It's wee lickle Ollie. Big ole balloon he is!"
If there were to be any fights in this town, Justin was certain to be at the centre of them. Since he by all estimates, outweighed Oliver by a good ten stone, our boy had long discovered that ignoring him completely was his best bet for safety. "Don't mind that banger there Kate. We can go inside…"
But she was already to her feet, stomping off of the sweet warm grass and into the pit of hell itself, fist clenched and jaw set. "You can sod off Justin! Oliver isn't any balloon…you take that back!"
"What's this now? Got the little miss fighting yer wars for you? Why Miss Katherine Bell, did the tooth fairy leave all this courage under ya pillow?" His taunts were followed by a chorus of laughter from the other seven members of his group.
She was too young to realize what an insult that was. "No!" She snapped. "Oliver is my friend! And a far better person than you…"
"What's this here? Why," He made a false gasp of surprise whilst her eyes continued to swim in mirth, "I do believe that Ms. Bell and Mr. Wood are in love. We've intruded on their privacy. My apologies sir, and my regards to the madam!"
His friends didn't laugh at that one, rather as if by some invisible command they all broke into song, a disgustingly crude version of "Katie and Ollie sitting in a tree…"
By the time they'd reached the part about the "baby carriage", Katie's earnest face was deep red beneath her freckles. She turned to Oliver for some form of support, but he had already gone inside. She wasn't however too young to realize that that meant that he thought being in love with her was a horrible insult.
And so biting back tears, she ran, as fast as she could to her own house, two streets away.
The wounds from that day were easily forgotten. And Oliver left for Hogwarts, as predicted that September. He had promised her that he'd write. They're ghosts there, he'd said, a million house elves in the kitchen that do anything that you want them to.
She was probably more excited than him.
By October the fact that no letter had arrived from Oliver telling her of said ghosts and house elves, didn't fill her with too much despair. For she'd grown into the habit of journeying to his house every Saturday afternoon at precisely two o'clock to discuss him with his mother, who apparently was written to quite often.
She knew all about the house elves and the ghosts, and enchanted armour that sang and danced. Oliver couldn't join the Quidditch team until next year—but he'd definitely get on once he tried out.
And it was so that she came into the habit of writing him. Oh he must be very busy, she'd thought, and not able to find time to write her. But never mind. She wrote him a very good letter, discussing only things that she knew that he liked and some idle town gossip about the people that he hated (particularly that Justin's father had paddled him one evening for stealing). It was four pages long and written in red marker, but she was awfully proud of it. And Oliver's mum had promised to attach it to his next parcel.
By October she realized that he wasn't going to write back. And she had simply stopped going over on Saturdays because it was simply too embarrassing for her little heart.
But it wasn't until Christmas time, when he'd come home all smiles for the holidays, beaming at his parents and his mouth filled with stories of all sorts of things that she'd realized the truth: he had found new, fancy friends. He didn't like her anymore.
And statement alone hurt her more than anything ever had in her eight years of life.
He'd missed her birthday, and he didn't care. He missed it when she'd ridden her broomstick by herself for the first time and he didn't care. He was supposed to be her best friend—and the fact that he wasn't…that he was barely a friend at all, caused her pain beyond anything else.
She hated him, she decided. Yes, it was as simple as that. There was only love and hate in her mind, and if she didn't love him then she hated him. And that was the end of that.
It was a stormy summer this year. The breeze coming up from the bay was more heavy and rank than light and sweet, and the sky seemed like an endless blanket of grey, punctuated every now and again by a lonely shard of sunlight.
She'd be going off to Hogwarts soon. Her trunks were already packed. She'd already started reading most of her textbooks, and she had a shiny new broomstick upstairs in her bedroom that her mother did allow her to touch.
She hadn't spoken to Oliver Wood in three years. Not that she was still angry about it, now that she was ten, she could see that having a seven year old tagging along behind you was a huge faux pas. But it was simply because she had decided that she would have at least written back to any said seven year old, because she had a better upbringing and wouldn't care to hurt anyone's feelings, that made her keep her lips shut.
Besides, she'd gotten so good at avoiding him over the holidays it almost seemed like a shame to let such a wonderful skill go to waste.
She'd been figuring out a way to continue to avoid him once they were at Hogwarts, but so far, none came to mind. There was such a thing as a disillusionment charm, but she wasn't allowed to use magic out of school, and so she couldn't practice it.
"Katie! Someone's come to see you!" Her mother stood in her doorway, feverishly wiping her hands in the folds of her bright green apron. "Oh, hurry up now, you'll like this visitor. Do something with your hair!"
So perhaps her primary method of avoiding Oliver had been to lock herself up in her house, regardless, it always worked. A visitor? Maybe Justin had come to annoy her again, lately he seemed to relish in stalking her, more so now that she'd told him she was leaving.
Her mother wouldn't have been so excited had it been Justin. And so it was curiosity and not courtesy that drove her into the living room, and it was shock, not anger that forced her into silence at seeing Oliver Wood there.
"What are you doing here?" It was the first thing that came to mind, after all she hadn't spoken to him in a good three years and now here he was, seated comfortably atop of the floral settee.
He had gotten very good looking, as it seemed all selfish people had the knack for doing. Katie refused to be impressed. "Well I heard that you were going off to Hogwarts this year…and your mum saw me outside and asked…"
"Well yes, I am." The fact that he hadn't come out of his own accord made her unbelievably furious. "What, did she want you to give your congratulations?" Katie was determined to prove to him that she was no longer that starry eyed child who'd go to the ends of the earth to please him. She was grown up now: top of her class, and damned good at Quidditch.
"I suppose…" He seemed uncomfortable. She was glad. "Look, Kate…" he changed tactic at the look she passed him, "Katherine, I just came to talk."
She was standing ramrod straight, her arms folded atop of her chest and her eyes locked on the wall behind him. Her appearance had changed a great deal since he'd last seen her, which was obvious he supposed; one didn't stay seven years old forever. "Hogwarts. If you have any questions—"
"I don't." Rather abruptly she forced her gaze to linger on his face. "I've read a lot of books, I know what it's like." But her words sounded harsh to her own ears and so she tried to soften them, "you don't have to bother yourself."
"What house do you reckon you'll get into?"
"Ravenclaw?" He laughed at the idea.
"Yes." And then because she was inquisitive, "what's wrong with Ravenclaw?"
She frowned. "Which house are you in?"
"Gryffindor." The note of pride in his voice couldn't be mistaken. It made her take notice. "Ravenclaws are smarter."
"I s'ppose they are."
"I'm going to get into Ravenclaw."
"Play Quidditch for Ravenclaw too?"
"How did you know that I play Quidditch?"
"Your mum told me."
"Oh. Well, yes, I think that…"
"Ravenclaw's team is horrid. What do you play?"
"Chaser…What do you mean they're horrid?"
"Too brainy," he grinned, "can't learn the right moves from their books. Even Hufflepuff beat them this year."
The conversation ran on like this for a good hour. Quidditch was the first hot topic, followed up quickly by the house-elves and then, yes, the ghosts. They spoke on quite friendly terms actually; somewhere throughout she forgot her deep-seated hatred for the boy and actually cracked smiles at his feeble attempts at jokes.
The light outside changed its texture from a light sprinkling of gold to a deep, shadowy orange—summer days were long, but summer nights…
He left upon seeing it.
It wasn't until later that evening when she'd been brushing her teeth that she realized what had happened. Oliver Wood had charmed her. Again.
It wouldn't be the last time.
No, he'd charmed her truly all the way through the first year. At first, it had been on the train, where her apparent acquaintance with the "bloody sexy" Gryffindor keeper had garnered her immediate friends. And later after she'd been sorted into Gryffindor and not Ravenclaw, she'd returned his smug grin and had gladly taken the seat across from him.
Things were different now. She could tell. He must be repentant of his former actions since he was going out of his way to be nice to her now. Maybe he'd changed—and she wasn't malicious enough to hold hatred because of something that he'd done three years ago.
No, she could—she would forgive. After all, she was at Hogwarts now—new beginnings, fresh starts and all of that.
Who knew what would happen? Why should she try to stop it?
Author: I want to do more of this…I really want to. I just hope that I have time. Also, I don't really have a plan, but I'm really eager because I adore the couple and had really thought that JK would have taken pity and given it to us. Alas. Pfft. Albus Severus.