A/N: Another Katie/Oliver oneshot because they're fantastic and adorable.
Disclaimer: Because I am a trumpet player, and thus come with the fresh arrogance of a trumpet player. Basically, I'm cooler than Jo. See?
Q: How many trumpet players does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One. He holds it up and then world revolves around him.
It was ironic, and it was unfair. And really, come to think of it, it was a bad plan in the first place. Terrible. It wasn't as if I'd actually liked him. In fact, I sort of disliked him. A lot. So why the bloody hell was I sitting in a hallway on God-knows-what-floor, crying my eyes out?
Honestly, I blamed Oliver Wood. Oliver, my bloody obnoxious, Bell-get-up-it's-already-five-a.m.-and-we're-wasting-Quidditch-time, awful, I-am-your-captain-so-you-damn-well-better-do-as-I-say, brutish, I-am-the-god-of-the-Pitch, arrogant, pick-up-the-pace-Bell, ruthless, five-more-laps, Quidditch Captain.
Do you know why I blamed him? Because Oliver, my sweet, you-bumped-your-head?-let-me-kiss-it-and-make-it-better, protective, I'll-kill-him-for-you-Kates, adorable, here-let-me-help-you-with-your-Herbology-homework, gentle, I-promise-it-will-be-fine, best friend would never do this to me. He would have made everything better. He would have stopped me before it got this far, no matter what I said to him. He would have cared.
And what is 'this,' exactly, you may ask? Before I explain what 'this' is, you should probably know the straight facts, just so we're on the same page here.
Fact One: I, Katie Bell, fourth year, six months past my fifteenth birthday, am totally, completely, and irrevocably in love with my best friend.
Fact Two: My best friend is Oliver Wood, seventh year, three months before his eighteenth birthday.
Fact Three: He has absolutely no idea.
Fact Four: I pray Fact Three is true.
Fact Five: I am an idiot.
Okay, now that we're all caught up, I will further explain the whole tangled mess I've gotten myself into. You see, I realized I was in love with Oliver back in third year. It steadily worsened, until just a glance from him had me blushing like a first year with her first crush. Naturally, I did my best to ignore it. I didn't want to totally freak Oliver out, destroy our friendship, scar him for life, and all that jazz.
I got really good at the whole deal, too. I was a master at pretending like he didn't turn my brain into a mushy pile of goo that could only think things like 'Oh my god. He's touching me. He's ACTUALLY touching me! (squealing)' It was really pathetic, especially considering the fact that Oliver was always playing with my hair, or slinging an arm around my shoulders.
Yeah, notice how I'm referring to my mastery in the past tense. That's because eventually, it all went to hell. Guess when. That's right. Two words: Quidditch Cup. After our loss to Hufflepuff, Oliver hardly slept, hardly ate, half the time he didn't shave, and often times he showed up to class in the clothes he'd worn the day before and had obviously slept in. It tore my heart in two to see him wrecking himself like that.
I broke down. I couldn't stand it. I literally got down on my knees and begged him to snap out of it. I pampered him and goaded him and eased him back into the world of the living. Once he was less of a zombie, he threw himself hard-core back into Quidditch. And we won the Cup. The way he looked at me that day, clutching the Cup, his eyes thanking me more profusely and deeply than words ever could… needless to say, all of my defenses were totally shattered, and I couldn't seem to rebuild them.
I briefly avoided him like the plague after that. I mean, I could hardly form a sentence around the boy, let alone a whole conversation. Angelina and Alicia confronted me about it—they (along with the twins, who know absolutely everything about everyone anyway) were the only two people on the face of the planet who knew I fancied Oliver (hopefully). They told me that he was freaking out a little bit, that he realized I was avoiding him.
So I returned to him as if nothing had ever happened, and I hatched a plan to distract myself from him. My plan? Roger Davies. Okay, I know it was an awful idea. Ange and Licia told me it was an awful idea. But Roger had very publicly expressed interest in me, despite the fact that I sort of hated him, and I was a little bit frantic at this point. I was head over heels in love with my best friend, and I couldn't escape it. So next time Roger asked me to Hogsmeade, I said yes.
I have never seen Oliver throw a tantrum like the one he threw when I explained that I was going on a date with Roger bloody Davies. Our conversation went something like this:
I was sitting in the Common Room, working on Potions, which happens to be my second-worst subject. Oliver came in and flopped down next to me, stole my work, and began doing it for me. "So, Kates, I was thinking about going to Hogsmeade this weekend," he said, flying through the problems that I was working so laboriously on.
I was altogether too startled. "You never go to Hogsmeade!" He never goes to Hogsmeade!
Oliver shrugged, not even looking up from the parchment. "I need more broom polish. I was hoping you'd go with me. I know you need new gloves." That was the thing about Oliver: he was totally oblivious to some things, like how he set my heart racing, but he noticed so many little things, like how my gloves were fraying, or how I preferred using black ink for Potions and blue for Charms. Besides, just because the Quidditch season was over didn't mean I'd stopped playing. I was nearly as obsessed as he was.
"Uhhhhhm. I… can't…"
He looked up, a little put out, all too innocent and naïve to be hanging out with me, the scheming wench. "Why not?"
I gulped. "I sort of have a… date."
He froze and asked, in a deadly calm voice, "With who?"
I steeled myself. Here it comes… "Roger Davies."
At that point, all of the blood drained out of his face. My quill snapped in his hand—don't worry, it was a crappy one—spraying both of us with black ink. Neither of us moved. "Roger… Davies?" he choked.
"Yeah. He asked me, and I thought 'why not' you know?" My voice was feeble.
"Roger Davies," he repeated. I nodded. "Katie, are you COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND?"
I flinched. "No?"
"DAVIES IS THE ENEMY! EVIL, KATIE, EVIL!"
"Oliver, we've already won the Cup…"
"THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE BLOODY CUP!" Oh my god, I think he just dissed the Cup. "HE'S A PLAYER! AND A PRAT! AND A SODDING…"
The rest of his bellowed monologue pretty much seared my ears and scarred me for life. In all honesty, I didn't know Oliver knew cuss words in that many languages. Obviously, Fred and George are a bad influence on him. I can't think of anywhere else he would have learned them. Except the ones that I'm pretty sure were Gaelic. He probably learned those back at home.
"Oliver," I said at last. "It's okay. I know what I'm doing." At least, I thought I did.
"Katie, I forbid you to date him," he growled dangerously in his Captain Voice. A member of Oliver Wood's Quidditch team never dared to disobey the Voice.
This sparked something entirely new in me. Rebellion. Who was he to tell me who I would and would not date? He surely wasn't stepping up to the plate, after all. I tossed my hair over my shoulder and jerked my chin upward. "You know what, Wood? You can forbid all you want. I'm going to Hogsmeade with Davies. We're going to have Butterbeer, we're going to laugh, and we're probably going to kiss. You can go get your damn broom polish, and your broom can keep you company, because I'm sure as hell not."
Okay, so rebellion plus pent-up emotions plus PMS equals… just bad. Yeah, I went a little over the top. But really, I still think I was justified in it, don't you?
So it started. I became Roger Davies' girlfriend. Oliver wouldn't talk to me. Not that I wanted to talk to him… right. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I wouldn't talk to him if he begged me to. If you believe that, god help you.
Basically, I was going completely crazy. I didn't really like Davies, after all. What started off as an attempt to distract myself from Oliver turned into some sort of desperate revenge on Oliver. I was positively miserable. Everything sucked. I completely resented Davies, as if all of this was his fault. Yeah, we had angry snog sessions, complete with hair-pulling, slamming each other against walls, and bloodied lips. It was totally ridiculous.
Ange and Licia warned me that this could not end well. I sullenly retorted that it hadn't started well, and wasn't going well. Why should it end well?
I sort of misinterpreted the ways it could end, though. I figured I'd eventually have a fit and break up with Davies. I never figured that I'd walk in on him snogging some brunette Ravenclaw whore. After performing a lovely little hex I learned from Fred and George, I stumbled out of that empty classroom and through the halls, before simply collapsing. And so I lay now, sprawled face-down on the floor, sobbing like there was no tomorrow.
It has nothing to do with me liking Davies, because I don't. It has to do with the fact that I royally screwed myself. I wrecked my relationship with Oliver, completely ignored my friends, and dated a guy I hate, who then cheated on me, thus making a laughingstock of me, even when I didn't like him in the first place.
Like I said, ironic and unfair.
I just can't get a damn break. I mean, I thought that dating someone else would help me get over Oliver… make these feelings go away… I couldn't be in love with my best friend. It was so wrong. So why did it feel so right when he held me in his arms?
I pressed my face against the cool floor and continued with my gut-wrenching sobs. I hate my life. I hate what I've done to my life. I hate myself. I really hate Davies.
And I bloody love Oliver.
My arms have gone numb from laying here so long, in the same position I fell. But the tears didn't stop. If anything, they came faster now, the more I thought of Oliver and everything that had happened. Why? Bloody effing why? How could I have fallen in love with Oliver, who is annoyingly obsessed with Quidditch, and has never bothered himself with a girlfriend, who stops reading books the moment they get the least little bit romantic, who sees me as Bell, his best friend and brilliant Chaser?
Why can't I just see him as a guy, my Quidditch Captain? Why do I have to reminisce over how he always manages to miss a spot under his chin when he shaves, and how he's got a cowlick behind his left ear that refuses to lie flat? Why do I have to think of his chestnut eyes, which have the tiniest flecks of green in them, or the fact that when he smiles with his whole face, you can see a faint dimple by the right corner of his mouth? …Don't even get me started on his lips.
I was vaguely aware of the fact that my sobs were echoing startlingly through the hallway. Please, god, let this be one of those really random, out-of-the-way hallways that no one ever comes down. Otherwise, I'm going to be magnificently embarrassed on top of everything else, and I'm pretty sure at this point I wouldn't be able to recover from the shame.
Ugh… I just want to die.
Maybe if someone does happen by, they'll just step over me, and otherwise totally ignore my existence. Or, better yet, they could step on me. I'm pretty sure I couldn't feel any worse than I do at this moment, so it really wouldn't be a big deal. In fact, it might even make me feel better. You're probably thinking I'm a total drama queen, but seriously. I've got two solid years of emotions that have decided to release themselves all at once, on top of the fact that the jackass I was dating is, well, a jackass. A cheating jackass. No matter what you say, I'm allowing myself to have my first severely emotional breakdown. Like, ever.
I wonder how long I've been lying here. Not that it matters, of course. Who's going to miss me? Not my ex-boyfriend, surely. And certainly not my best friend, who's no longer speaking to me. Because I'm an idiot. Isn't it supposed to be the guy who screws everything up? And yes, I'm aware that I'm wallowing in self-pity.
I miss Oliver.
This admission choked my sobs in my throat. So that was it. I was totally hopeless. Even now, after I've ruined everything, I want him back. I want to go crawling back to him and beg for forgiveness. I'd stifle my feelings, my undeniable love for him, all of it. Forever, if that's what it takes. Just to be near him.
I am a masochist.
And there go the tears again.
Suddenly, I heard a male groan. Oh hell, someone found me. This just keeps getting better. Someone's arms wrapped around me and pulled me up into a semi-sitting position. The intruder sat, back to the wall, and tucked me against his chest, arms holding me close. Oh, don't think I had any delusions about who was holding me so tenderly. It was Oliver, and I bloody well knew it. I knew it from his scent, and the muscles in his arms and chest. I knew it from the familiar way he embraced me, and how he rested his cheek on top of my head.
I cracked my eyes open just enough to realize that I was crying into his white t-shirt. I tried to pull back a little, but he refused to let me move. "Mascara stains white clothes," I managed to blubber, as if it were the most important thing ever.
"I don't care," he whispered, his breath hot in my ear.
So I continued to cry until my eyes ran dry, all the while thinking about the fact that I was staining his shirt with my mascara. Never mind the fact that we could, you know, use magic. He waited until I was done, never moving, never complaining that I was drenching his shirt with my tears.
"Kates… I'm sorry he hurt you like this," Oliver said at last, his voice sounding oddly detached. "I would have protected you from him. I tried. But you wouldn't let me, and I didn't know what to do. I didn't realize you liked him this much, and—"
I sat up suddenly, looking at him with my wide, bloodshot eyes. "You think this is about Davies?" I demanded.
Oliver blinked at me. "It's not?"
"No! God, I kind of hated him."
"Oh. Well… that's good, I guess." He paused. "Then why are you crying?"
"You seriously don't know? All of this, and you don't know?" I was positively dumbstruck. Only Oliver could be this thick.
His brow furrowed in confusion. "Katie, I have no idea what you're talking about."
I leapt to my feet, and he slowly stood in response, watching warily, as if he were afraid that I was going to spontaneously combust or something. "It's about you, you bloody prat!" I half-screamed in frustration.
"Me?" he repeated carefully.
"Yes! It's always been about you, you brilliant, wonderful, stupid boy. The Cup, Roger, all of it." The words bubbled past my lips, unrestrained and unfiltered. I was done with it. I was telling him everything. No more restrictions.
I slapped my forehead. Oi vey. "Because I'm in love with you! I love you, Oliver Alban Wood! With every last ounce of my being and sanity—or whatever's left of it. If you asked me to marry you, I would. If you asked me to go to hell, I would. I. Love. You. Do you understand THAT?"
His mouth had actually fallen open. He stared at me, unblinking, with those beautiful green-flecked eyes.
"Gah!" I shouted, throwing my hands in the air. Then I stalked off, easily finding my way back up to the Common Room. I hurtled up the stairs and threw myself down on my bed. Angelina and Alicia ran in a second later.
"Roger and I are over," I said, my voice muffled by the pillow I was attempting to smother myself with.
"Yeah, we sort of gathered that when he staggered into the great Hall, looking quite trollish and babbling about Gremlins," Ange replied.
"Fred and George taught you the spell, right?" Alicia asked. "That was great, Katie."
"But that was around lunchtime. Where've you been?"
I groaned into the pillow. "Let's just say there's something to be said for hitting rock bottom." They waited patiently. "Oliver found me."
"You told him, then?" Ange wanted to know.
"Yup. I figure he already hates me anyway, I might as well get it off my chest."
"Katie, look at me."
Reluctantly, I obeyed. My friends were sitting on my bed with me, their hands full of chocolate. "It'll be okay."
I took a deep breath, then nodded, reaching for a chocolate bar. "Okay."
I stood there, my jaw hanging open, and watched her walk away. Okay, as many times as I fantasized about this moment, I usually saw her walking away. I could only be so optimistic, and that was the worst scenario type of thing. But I figured she'd be walking away from my admission, not her own.
So, yes, there we have it. I'm in love with Katie Bell. Forgive me for being stunned into open-mouthed shock by her hysterical admission that she loved me.
I thought I'd screwed everything over when she started dating Davies. I thought she loved him. Davies was everything I wasn't—blonde, charming, popular. And here I was, her scarily-driven, Quidditch-obsessed best friend. She couldn't love me. Not like I loved her. I was sure of that, especially when she broke contact with me in favor of him.
Then I had to sit by, watching her sneak into the Common Room past curfew, her hair wild, bruises on her arms, her lips split. She would self-consciously wipe the blood away from her mouth, but I saw it, and it broke my heart. So she loved him, did she? How was that possible? I would never treat her like that. How could he hurt her? I would be so gentle with her, give her the softest kisses, the lightest caresses… never would she walk away from me, bleeding and bruised.
I wanted to tell her. So badly. But whenever I looked to her, she averted her eyes and turned her back. I figured that was it. She was done with me. She had him. It wasn't like she needed me. Quite differently, I need her. Like oxygen. She was my lifeline—which was her fault in the first place. She brought me back to life after the Hufflepuff match, after all.
Which brings me back to Davies.
Apparently, she didn't love him. Apparently, she hated him. So, while I figure out what I'm going to do with Katie, I think Roger Davies deserves a visit from a very pissed off Scot.
Joanna, one of my roommates, woke me up with frantic shaking sometime around nine in the evening. I'd fallen asleep after two chocolate bars and a lot of soothing from Ange and Licia, exhausted by my breakdown. "What?" I asked groggily.
Her blue eyes were wide in her pale face. "Katie, there's an emergency." Her voice was an octave higher than usual, which is saying something.
"What's up?" I asked, blinking rapidly.
"It's Oliver." My heart stopped. "He beat the bloody hell out of Roger Davies, and now no one can find him. We've been looking for hours."
"Davies?" I repeated dumbly.
"Well, the teachers don't know who did it, and Roger conveniently can't remember, but we all know." She glanced at me pityingly. So everyone knew about me and Davies, then. Brilliant.
"No one can find him?" I asked, walking to the bathroom to wash my face. Only faint smudged remnants of makeup were left on my face—most of it was on Oliver's shirt. I splashed my face with cold water and pulled my unruly hair into a bun with the elastic on my wrist. I had changed to get more comfortable before I fell asleep, so now I was wearing a Weird Sisters t-shirt and a pair of Quidditch shorts that, ironically, had once belonged to Oliver. Good enough.
Seriously, it's Oliver Wood. How hard can he possibly be to find?
"Okay. I'll be back later." I slipped my feet into a pair of old sandals and headed down the stairs. As I passed through the Common Room, I was aware of everyone watching me. Oh my god.
I can't believe no one can find him. I know exactly where he is. Maybe just because I know him so well. Maybe because he and I think the same way. Maybe because I'd gone there with him countless times before. It wasn't that they just wanted me to find him—Joanna couldn't lie. Everyone had literally searched everywhere they could think of, and no one could find him.
No one was very practical.
Of course, I'm not saying that I'm practical. I'm going to go find the man I just admitted to being in love with, after all. He's probably scarred for life and never wants to see me again. Why else would he hide? There's no doubt in my mind about that one—he isn't just out taking a walk or anything. He's actually hiding.
That boy is likely almost as mental as I am.
The night air was a little cooler than I'd expected, but it felt nice. I set my jaw and stubbornly marched on—I was admittedly getting a little nervous. Damn him.
I sighed when I finally saw him—right where I'd expected. He was laying flat-out in the dead center of the Pitch, staring up at the stars. He was still wearing his mascara-stained t-shirt, but now there was something else patterned across it in a fine spray. Blood. I looked up at the dark sky for a moment, looking at the moon-illuminated clouds.
"See the Mandrake?" he asked softly. Of course he'd felt me approach.
"Right by the Thestral," I said, lying down next to him.
"Yep," he agreed. We sat there for a while, staring at the sky.
"Everyone's freaking out."
Silence fell between us. "I'm sorry, Oliver."
"You should be," he said, his accent thicker with stress.
I nodded. "I shouldn't have—"
"You shouldn't have walked away from me."
His words threw me off-kilter. "W-what?" I sat up to look at him, and he sat up with me. There was a bruise on his cheek, which I could just barely see in the silver light.
He took one of my hands in both of his and looked down at it, playing with my fingers. I looked, too. All of his knuckles were split open. "You left before…" he cleared his throat and looked up at me, trapping me with his lovely eyes. When he spoke again, he sounded confident. "You left before I could tell you that I love you, too."
Three heartbeats passed, while I gazed back at him, utterly calm. "Sorry, what was that?" I asked politely. I hate it when my daydreams interfere with my real life.
He bit his lips. "Katie Bell, I love you."
I shook my head sharply. Damn, I've got to get my ears checked. Maybe Fred and George slipped me one of those daydream potions they've been tinkering with. "Can you say that again?"
Oliver groaned in exasperation, and leaned closer to me. "I love you." Then he kissed me.
So he is as mental as I am.
Because, trust me, I couldn't confuse that with a daydream. There's no way I'm that imaginative. I couldn't have dreamed up how his hands felt, one gently on the base of my neck, the other wrapped around my waist, pulling me towards him with light pressure. Or how his lips felt working so softly against mine, as if making a damn good point: he was everything Roger wasn't.
I admit, in my life, I've spent a fair amount of time fantasizing about kissing Oliver. In none of those fantasies was I gasping for breath and trembling, my blood boiling in my veins, frantic to taste more of him, needing to hold him closer. I couldn't dream of the little noise he'd make in the back of his throat, or how his end-of-the-day stubble would feel against my cheeks. Never did I imagine I'd be an addict after one taste. But I was.
When we finally parted, I knew my eyes were huge and my face was flushed. His jaw was clenched, his eyes wild and dark as he panted. My breathing matched his.
I swallowed. "Yeah?"
"We should probably talk about this."
"Probably," I huffed.
"Okay." He reached for me again and pulled me into another kiss. This one was just as gentle, just as soft, but even more passionate and twice as romantic.
From that day on, Katie and I were inseparable. No one else understands it—even Angelina, Alicia, and the twins. They don't understand how she can put up with my eccentricities. They don't understand how I (being the control freak that I am) can put up with her wild moods and erratic habits.
But she's my Kates, and I love her more than anything in the world. More than I love Quidditch. More than I love myself.
I'd gladly take a hex for her, even knowing she'd hurt me for being such an idiot later on. What was it she said to me? With every last ounce of my being and sanity. That's it. That's how I love her.
I washed that t-shirt eventually. Roger's (whose face never looked quite the same) blood came out. The mascara didn't. I still wear it, black smudges and all. Katie complains and tells me to get rid of it already, but I know she doesn't truly mind.
Because mascara never really comes out of white clothes, and I'd known that from the start.
Besides, what does it matter? In the end, I got the girl.