They lied when they said the good die young;
stay with me, stay with me tonight.
'Godspeed' – Anberlin
To Oliver Tobias Wood, twenty-one years old and in the prime of his life, 'death' was not something to be feared. It was something to be regretted and grieved over, yes, but something that one must face in the end, and the more good one served through one's death, the better. He had come to this conclusion early on in life, at about the age of twelve, when his parents had met their untimely end in what had been deemed a "home invasion" by the authorities, but what had been, in actual fact, a calculated attack on sympathisers of the Order of the Phoenix. To Oliver, their deaths had been tragic but noble, and they had died protecting a cause that was now, nearly a decade later, saving the wizarding world from destruction. And so Oliver, who would shortly be embarking upon a mission for the same Order of the Phoenix his parents had supported, did not fear death because he knew that his death would serve a greater purpose. And that was all that mattered.
'Death' to Katie Bell, on the other hand, was something to be avoided at all costs. This did not come from a selfish desire, but rather the simple fact that she was young and enjoyed life, and felt she had more to give alive than she did in death. She, too, had experienced loss early on with the death of her mother, but she had been so very young – only several days old, in fact – that she could not remember this at all, and so this influenced her opinion very little. What did influence her opinion on death, however, was Oliver's seemingly masochistic view of it which he had confided in her many a time, and was, to her, quite pressingly disturbing. Though in awe of the determination and courage she knew he would undoubtedly have to possess to come to such a conclusion, she was, overall, less impressed than terrified of the way he seemed to accept death as some kind of duty for the greater good. She thought he'd serve the cause much better with his heart still beating.
This difference in opinions, though seemingly unimportant whilst they were in school and safe, was now, in the real world and within the secret confines of the Order of the Phoenix, suddenly much more integral to their relationship…
'Katie, what's the matter?'
Looking up from the book she'd been perusing with little interest, Katie lifted up her legs to allow Oliver to squish into the armchair she'd been listlessly occupying for the last hour. Settling himself in and then rearranging her limbs with his so that she was comfortable, Oliver watched her with concern, his large brown eyes wide with anxiety.
She sighed. 'Nothing, Oliver, just bored, that's all.'
'Oh, don't give me that bullocks,' he said sternly, rapping her foot with his chafed knuckles, 'you've been moping around for three days now.'
Determinedly not looking at him, Katie closed her book, carefully marking the page before leaning backwards and placing it on the coffee table beside the armchair. She pursed her lips as she felt Oliver scrutinising her, his gaze always so piercing that it made her uncomfortable.
'Is it because I'm going away?' he asked.
She winced. 'No…'
One of his dark eyebrows rising sharply, Oliver stared at her. 'Oh, so you won't miss me when I'm gone then?'
'What?' she cried sharply, grabbing his wrist from where he'd had an arm draped over her hips in a sudden, fretful movement. 'Of course that's not what I meant. Don't say things like that.'
'Then what's upset you?' he pressed, scowling as she opened her mouth in protest. 'Don't deny it; we've been through this already.'
There was an uneasy silence, in which they each held the other's gaze steadily, before Katie broke it with a longsuffering sigh. 'I'm upset because you're going away.'
'Hmm,' Oliver smiled a small smile of victory, inviting her to continue.
'I'm-I'm upset because you're going away,' she said quietly, seemingly unable to look him in the eye again, 'because I'm worried you might… you might not come back.'
Blatant shock crossed his face and he coughed with surprise before answering. 'Oh, Kates, why would you think that?'
'Because you're not nearly as afraid of leaving as you should be!' she burst out suddenly, digging her nails into his wrist unconsciously. 'You should be like George, who gets all quiet before a mission or Fred, who gets unbearably obnoxious… or like Lupin, who spends as much time with Tonks as he can. You, you're just exactly the same, like it doesn't even bother you at all that you could die tomorrow!'
He nodded thoughtfully, as if absorbing this rant, before the pained look that he always took on when having to tell her the blunt, painful truth, crossed his face. 'See, Kates, the thing is… it doesn't really bother me. I mean, I'd obviously like to have a few more years to do the things I want to do that I haven't done yet – see France, marry you, that kind of thing – but overall, it really doesn't scare me. I'm not afraid of death, especially if I'm dying for a good cause like this one.'
Throughout this speech of good intentions Katie had been shaking her head, becoming increasingly more erratic, and now that he'd finished she was shaking uncontrollably, her whole body going into spasms as she started to cry. 'You see? That's exactly what I'm talking about! You're so… noble. You don't see the problem, do you? You could do so much more for the Order alive than you could dead!'
'I know that,' he said quietly, pulling her closer to him so that her face was tucked under his chin and she was crying into his neck, 'Kates, you know I know that. It's just that I'm not afraid of it. Aren't you proud of me, that I'm not scared?'
'No,' she sobbed truthfully, 'I-I'd be prouder if you were ter-terrified, at least th-then I'd know you w-were fighting as hard as you could to ge-get back to me.'
He smiled, bittersweet, into her hair. 'You know I'll do that anyway.'
Instead of comforting her like it was supposed to, this statement seemed to enrage her, and to Oliver's complete shock, she grabbed two fistfuls of his shirt and, removing her head from underneath his chin, she brought his face up close to hers in a jerking, violent motion.
'No, I don't know that, Oliver Wood,' she hissed angrily, apoplectic with rage, 'because you might fight hard and you might fight well, but you'll end up having to be noble or some other form of stupidity, and next thing I know, Charlie'll be apparating in my apartment to tell me they've found you hexed to pieces in some foreign country all because you decided to die for the "greater good".'
'Oh-oh, come now, Kates,' he stammered, blown away by the sheer force of her anger. 'You know it won't be like that, have a little faith in me.'
'Argh!' she cried, letting go of his shirt so that he slammed back into the chair and clambering off his lap. 'You are impossible!'
Stalking away from him, she paused in the doorway to glare at him before her rage suddenly broke it's free reign and made way for grief again. 'It took me so long to get you, why won't you let me keep you for a little while longer?'
With an earth-shattering crash, she slammed the door shut and clumped away, the sound of her furious stomps echoing back into the room and pervading the ominous silence.
Oliver was unsure of what course of action to take. Though he was, it was true, fairly unconcerned about the mission he would be embarking on tomorrow, he now felt suddenly the quiet beginnings of desperation as he realised he had limited time with Katie before he'd have to leave her for an unknown period of time. Aside from the fact that if he left things the way they were then they'd only be worse when he got back, Oliver suddenly had a fatalistic though warranted thought. What if he didn't come back? Katie would be forever proved right and she would hate both him and herself forever, knowing that their last night together had been spent fuming in separate rooms.
No, it wasn't right, he decided, he had to do something. Getting up quickly out of his chair, he set off to find his hot-tempered, overly compassionate girlfriend, who would undoubtedly be upstairs venting at Alicia or Angelina…
…Strangely enough, he found her curled up in her bed, sobbing miserably under the covers. The lack of venting alerted him to the direness of the situation and he hurried over to the bed, sat down and bundled her up in his arms, holding her tightly.
'Shh,' he said quietly, desperately. 'Oh, Kates, c'mon, it'll be all right.'
'Don't leave me,' she whispered, her crying less violent but still in earnest. 'Don't go.'
Slipping a hand underneath her chin, he forced her to look up at him. 'You know I have to.'
'Bu-' she started to protest but he closed his eyes patiently and she obediently paused mid-word.
'You know I have to,' he repeated firmly, still looking directly at her. 'But you also know that I will try my hardest to come back to you because you know how much I love you.'
She smiled bitterly but said nothing so he pressed on.
'I swear to you, Katie Bell, that I will fight tooth and nail, my absolute hardest, to come back to you because I have every intention to marry you in the years to come, and to prove this, I've got something for you.'
Reaching into his pocket and pulling out his wand, he waved it and muttered something she didn't quite catch. Within seconds however, she understood he'd cast an accio charm because a small, square box came floating into the room, landing neatly in his outstretched palm. She frowned, not quite within his train of thought and then, suddenly, gasped with surprise.
His smile confirmed it.
'Oliver Wood,' she said quickly, staring at him. 'That's not what I think it is, is it?'
'So what if it is?' he asked, that crooked grin of his that she loved so much very much present on his open, beautiful face.
'I –' she started but he hushed her quickly.
'Katherine Ann Bell,' he began and, to his chagrin, she opened her mouth to protest again.
He glared at her and she shut her mouth meekly, looking up at him from underneath her lashes. He coughed and tried again, still smiling his crooked smile.
'Katherine Ann Bell… I've loved you all my life. From the moment my father first brought you to me, all red and screaming in his arms and let me touch your little face, to right now with you sitting here trying to disrupt the most important speech I'll ever make. You were like my sister, then you were my best friend and my girlfriend and now I want to make you my fiancé, one day to become my wife. Would you do me the honour?'
There was a slight pause, in which she stared incredulously at him, tears still streaming down her face, though whether from joy or fear, neither of them knew. Then, suddenly, her lips curved into a smile and she reached out and pulled him towards her, kissing him softly on his chapped lips.
'Of course I will, you idiot,' she murmured between kisses, laughing into his mouth as he rolled his eyes at her.
At five am the next morning, everyone in the Order was up and moving bar two and as the assorted individuals stood around the kitchen table awkwardly, there was a pointed silence. No one, it seemed, wanted to be responsible for destroying the fragile, tranquil bliss that surrounded Katie and Oliver as they slept, basking in the glow of their very recent engagement.
'We need to leave,' said Charlie quietly, his gear already strapped onto his muscular back and his wand clenched in his hand, 'we'll be late.'
'They're so happy, though,' murmured Alicia sadly, clenching George's hand tightly.
'I'll go,' said Lupin, his voice hoarse and bitter as he determinedly forced himself not to look at his wife, whose normally cheery disposition was uncharacteristically gloomy this morning.
Many pairs of eyes watched him as he purposefully strode from the room, the weight of his burden seeming to hunch his weary shoulders more than usual. He took the stairs slowly, dragging the precious seconds to give the lovers as much time as he could. He better than anyone, knew the desperate importance of minutes and seconds in times such as these.
When he reached the door to Katie's bedroom he paused, closing his grey eyes somberly and taking a deep breath, before reaching for the doorknob and gently opening it, physically wincing at the sight before him.
Katie and Oliver were still fast asleep, their limbs entangled as they lay pressed together, their bodies rising and falling in unison as the deep, slumbered rhythm of their breathing filled the otherwise silent room. Sunlight filtered through the Venetian blinds, casting alternate strips of shadow and light over the bed, and Lupin shivered involuntarily at the darkness shrouding Oliver's face, not quite hiding the contented smile of youthful bliss that played on his lips.
Lupin sighed, summoning all the personal strength he could find, and walked to the edge of the bed, placing a hand on Oliver's bare shoulder and shaking it softly. 'Oliver? Oliver, it's time.'
With a sleepy grunt Oliver opened his eyes blearily, his face falling at the sight of Lupin's grim expression. He stifled a yawn, his eyes fixated on the peaceful face of a still sleeping Katie before dragging his gaze away and looking reluctantly up at his mentor.
'Should I wake her?' he asked, his voice betraying the fear he'd only just realised he felt.
'I want to say "no",' replied Lupin in a low voice, 'but something tells me she'd prefer you did.'
Nodding resolutely, Oliver leant over pressed his lips to the corner of Katie's mouth. Stirring at the touch, Katie murmured sleepily, rolling over onto her other side and smiling blearily up at him with heartbreaking innocence.
'Good morning,' she whispered, her smile faltering as she took in her surroundings and saw Lupin standing in the corner, an intruder on the scene. 'What's – oh.'
'I've got to go, Kates,' said Oliver, looking stricken now.
'I don't want–' she started but broke off, her eyes cast downwards as she turned away from both men. 'Okay, I'll get dressed.'
Taking that as his cue to leave, Lupin exchanged a miserable look with Oliver before exiting the room, his shoulders as hunched as ever and his step not unlike that of a pallbearer. Katie watched him go, her face expressionless, but as soon as he closed the door behind him she turned sharply and leapt on Oliver, wrapping her arms around his neck and crushing him into a hug of monumental strength.
'Don't leave me,' she breathed into his ear, 'I can't bear it.'
He sighed, reaching up to extract her arms from their fierce embrace of him. 'Katie, I have to, you know I do.'
'I –' she began, but he interrupted.
'Fred and George are going too,' he said reasonably, locking her gaze with his. 'Angelina and Alicia have to let them go as well; you're not the only one. And think of Tonks, Kates, married and pregnant and having to watch her husband go off on mission much more dangerous than this. You're strong; you know you can do it.'
They were still, unmoving and unblinking, until Katie yielded with a sad nod of her head. 'Okay…'
'There's my girl,' he said quietly, leaning forward and placing a kiss on her forehead. 'C'mon, we'll get breakfast really quickly and then I've got to go.'
They dressed and walked downstairs, Oliver hurrying as he knew he was holding up the others, and Katie, in contrast, stretching the precious seconds to their limit, knowing as Lupin did, that every single one counted. Time was not a resource to risk wasting when you lived this lifestyle.
'Ah, there you are,' said Charlie in a falsely cheery manner as they walked into the kitchen, 'I was beginning to think you'd overslept, Oliver.'
Oliver smiled wryly. 'Almost did.'
Under the uncomfortable scrutiny of the rest of the Order, Katie and Oliver made breakfast, Oliver shoveling down his cereal before bolting back up the stairs to gather his things. Katie sat dully at the table, her toast barely touched as she gazed queasily at the tiles. The silence was so thick that it seemed as if no one was even breathing.
'Ange and I were thinking of going for a walk a little later on,' said Alicia quietly, looking at her friend empathically as she sat listlessly in her chair. 'Not far, just through the meadow near The Burrow for an hour or so.'
'Did you want to come?' asked Angelina, looking distinctly uneasy.
'Maybe,' Katie answered, still staring at the floor, 'I'll see.'
Biting her lip, Alicia nodded not wanting to press the issue further. Angelina, on the other hand, opened her mouth as if to scold their friend, but the warning look Fred flashed her was enough for her to keep her peace. There was no use, after all, upsetting Katie more than she was already.
'Ah,' said Charlie, looking a little relieved as he smiled at something in the doorway, 'you all ready then, Oliver?'
Katie looked up sharply to see Oliver standing in the doorway to the kitchen, his gear strapped onto his back and a grim expression on his face. Though his tall, well-built body filled the doorway, Katie couldn't help but ignore this and concentrate instead on the lost, hunted look in his eyes. He was frightened now, she could tell, and it frightened her in turn.
Standing up, she walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him as best she could around the huge backpack. 'Be safe.'
'I'll try,' he said quietly, running his calloused fingers through her long hair before stopping them in the middle of her back, where they forced her to look up at him so he could place a careful, trembling kiss on her lips. 'Be good.'
She smiled, frowning slightly as her eyes began to water. He noticed this and his breath left him in a short, sharp rush of oxygen. Knowing he'd never leave if he didn't now, he gently unhooked her arms from around his waist and took a cautious step backwards, determinedly not looking into her eyes.
'Okay boys, let's go,' Charlie called in a comradely fashion, clapping Oliver on the back as he walked past him into the alcove.
Fred, George and Bill followed their brother, their assorted lovers following in turn, leaving just Katie, Oliver, Tonks and Lupin in the kitchen, a pained silence prevailing. Tonks, noticing the hold Katie's desperation seemed to have over Oliver, walked slowly forwards, taking the younger girl by the hand and leading her a few steps backwards and away from her fiancé. This separation did the trick, Oliver seemed to wake up to the fact he was now leaving on a dangerous mission to the middle of nowhere and began to rummage in his pockets for his wand.
Locating it, he flashed one last, bright smile at Katie. 'I'll see you soon, Kates.'
He turned away in the split second before Katie blanched, her face going pale, and on the count of three, apparated along with the others before she could say a word, leaving a hollow silence in the building where there was usually the hum of conversation and activity.
This lull continued for several tense seconds before Tonks broke it, clearing her throat nervously. 'Who wants a cup of tea, then?'
Alicia and Angelina, grateful for the distraction, bustled into the kitchen to help her, determinedly not looking at Katie who was still standing in the doorway, a blank expression on her face.
Lupin, with a pained look, walked gently over to her and placed a fatherly hand on her shoulder. 'He'll be all right, Katie, you'll see.'
'I hope so,' she mumbled, shrugging away from his touch and walking out of the kitchen, ignoring Tonks when she asked her how she took her tea.
Lupin sighed. 'She's taking it badly, isn't she?'
'She just loves that boy very, very much,' replied Tonks simply, throwing a look at her husband. 'You should've seen the state I was in the first time you left on a mission after we started going out. I was a wreck.'
He winced, avoiding her gaze. 'I was the same.'
'See?' she said, stirring sugar into his cup, 'it's all part of being in love.'
He nodded his assent and settled in a chair at the kitchen table, reaching for the newspaper and distracting himself with the attention-grabbing headline. Thank Merlin, he thought to himself privately, that his wife would not be going on any missions any time soon.
so i know i haven't written anything in ages, and this is not the best i've ever written.
but i missed you guys all so much and wanted to post something to prove i'm still alive. lol
i'm thinking about continuing this but i'm not sure.
i have plans to write Katie and Oliver's story from book 1 - 7 in their perspectives, in correlation with the books, so i'm not sure whether i should just wait and integrate this later.
PS. the song? get it. it's amazing.
PPS. Anberlin? listen to them. they're beyond amazing. lol