A/N- thoughts are in italics, as you might have guessed. I was just having fun, and it sort of.. mutated.
Should be updated once a week. Hopefully.
Disclaimer: Does J.K. Rowling have to deal with a psychopath for a coach?
She's a Liability
Hospital Jell-o and Pillow Projectiles
The crowd below went ballistic as the bright red ball sailed directly through the center hoop, right past the outstretched arms of the beaten keeper. Grinning wildly, I pumped my fist in the air and wheeled about to the audience's delight, and gave chase to the Quaffle again. The stadium roared its approval, their hoarse voices coming together to support their team, the Holyhead Harpies, as they squashed the Abbleby Arrows between two, perfectly manicured fingers.
"Bell!" a voice hissed, and a hand roughly shook my shoulder. I frowned, trying to call back the stadium as the crash from the crowd faded from my ears. Whoever decided it was so important to wake me up was in for it. Big time. "Katie Bell!" the voice insisted. I groaned, and considered throwing my pillow at the intruder. "I know you can hear me!" the voice called in a sing-song voice; one I vaguely recognized. I scowled. That better not be who I think it is, I thought irritably. Prying one eye half-open, I squinted up at the tall stranger that stood over my head, smiling. I growled to myself, shutting my eyes again as I fought the urge to chuck anything within reach at the idiot of a healer who had let him into my room at St. Mungo's. It was no stranger that stood above my bed. It was the quidditch Nazi himself, Oliver Wood.
"You," I moaned, burying my head under a pillow and clenching my eyes shut. "Noquidditchpractice." The pillow somewhat muffled my words, smashing them together incoherently.
"Me," he said, oblivious as he invited himself to park his Scottish behind on my bed.
"What are you doing here?" I mumbled sleepily. I hadn't seen him for two years, after he left the school. He had been gone three, but we'd kept in touch for the first year, until he stopped coming to our "get togethers," as Alicia called them. Meaning, the entire team would meet up at the Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer; no matter how busy we were, but I guess quidditch always came first for him. After a cursory glance around the room, I couldn't find the aforementioned healer, whom I had marked for death by pillow, so I decided Oliver would have to do.
"Visiting you," he said, matter-of-factly, and I briefly wondered how I hadn't recognized his accent. I mean, how many times had he decided to wake us up for early morning quidditch practices? I then proceeded to cream him with my pillow. Or I tried, rather, as he caught my fluffy projectile inches from his face with annoyingly fast keeper reflexes. Stupid annoying keeper boy.
"I'm in the hospital." Wow, good job Katie, stating the obvious. You're not very intelligent in the morning, are you?
"I can see that," he replied, eyebrows raised as he peered at the bandages that encased my hands. I folded them under my arms, so they were out of sight. "How do you get yourself into these things?" He asked, joking, but his voice was gentle. "You're going to rival my record soon, Bell." I scowled.
"Cursed necklace," I answered. At this point, Mum gasped, cutting off all circulation in Dad's arm with her relentless grip. He nodded knowingly, but a wicked twist was developing at the edge of his mouth.
"You girls and your passion for jewelry," he sighed in a way that made me want to beat him over the head with my bedside lamp. That's the thing about Oliver. He tends to awaken violent tendencies in the people around him. Including me; especially at early hours of the morning, because I know he could be sweet; if he tried.
"Hey."He held his hands up in surrender, as if he couldn't help it. "And I was under the imperious curse," I explained. That part of my story had sent my mother into hysterics. Oliver didn't bat an eye.
"So you say." I made a disbelieving face at him. "You could just be saying that to mask your girlish desires," he said. He sounds like Fred. "It would ruin your reputation, you know," I scoffed.
"You know, as a mud covered, arse-kicking quidditch player." He grinned. "Second only to me, of course."
"Only in your head, Wood," I said, but I was smiling. See, he can be sweet.
"Ah, tell that to Puddlemere," he laughed. I rolled my eyes.
"Can I ask you a question?" I asked, eyeing him solemnly. Where have you been?
"You know I don't do interviews, right?" I glowered at him. So much for sweet.
"Do you have something against sleep?"I demanded, annoyed. I wished I hadn't thrown my pillow at him; I was much more comfortable with it under my head. Grabbing another pillow from the endless supply that the Healers had provided, I sat up, hugging it.
"I mean, first it was 5 am quidditch practices, and now you come and wake me up even after you're not my captain anymore. What gives, Wood?" I plowed on. He chuckled, and I had to suppress the urge to throw something else at him-this time preferably heavier and more painful upon impact. "You're not my captain anymore, you know." I eyed him suspiciously. "Are you here for head trauma?" He shook his head.
"That was last week," he folded his arms in protest. "Red clobbered me, that prick. Don't you read the Prophet?" I smacked him. Violent tendencies indeed.
"Did you escape from your ward?" I interrupted, my eyes quickly scanning him for the various slings, casts and other paraphernalia that generally accompanied the many injuries that were common in kamikaze keepers. "Because I'm sure there's some very distraught healer out there, searching for you." Surprising absence of injury, I noted with surprise. He's up to something.
"You're always so pleasant in the morning," he told me as he reached out to ruffle my hair in the brotherly sort of fashion he knew I hated. I glared at him stormily, my hair standing on end at electrified angles.
"And you're always so annoying in the morning," I retorted. What are you, in second grade? That was an awful comeback, Katie! "How did you get in here anyway?" It was past visiting hours, and there were a suspicious number of healers lurking around my room. He cracked a wicked little boy grin.
"Being a professional quidditch player does have its advantages," he winked at me conspiratorially. Oh. Right. Mr. Hottest-Keeper-of-the-Year is sitting on the edge of my hospital bed, coming to visit little old me because some homicidal necklace has decided to try and off me. Oh, the luck I must have.
"You'll still always be the same maniacal captain to me," I told him sweetly. "I'll never forget that time you made us fly in that hurricane." I cast him a dark look. He sighed, exasperated.
"For the last time, it wasn't a hurricane. It was a little bit of rain-" I scoffed.
"Since when is a monsoon a 'little bit of rain', OWood? Honestly, that has to be the understatement of the century."
"We won that match, didn't we?" he interrupted. I rolled my eyes at him, and then noticed a growing crowd of the younger healers, witches, hovering around the door, whispering to each other, giggling and pointing at Oliver. Now I understood why my room had been so densely populated with healers- two words, and they weren't "Katie Bell".
"I think you have a fan club," I whispered, smirking. He deflated slightly, and didn't look as I stared over his shoulder for emphasis. He sighed.
"Yeah. That part gets a little old," he admitted. "You get followed everywhere you go. Thought it would be cool, and it was for a bit, but now... It's just a part of life, I suppose." I laughed, feeling considerably more charitable towards him now that I was fully awake.
"Yeah, because having hordes of screaming fan-girls following you everywhere you go is completely normal." I heard a shriek from outside, and pushing the curtains aside, I saw a girl standing outside, wearing only a sandwich-board with Oliver's face on it. In 15 degree weather. "It's for you," I said quietly. I tried to suppress a smile. Is this the same Oliver I knew from school? He didn't move.
"Oh don't be rude." I was enjoying myself. "She's probably been out there long enough to get frostbite. The least you can do is look." He rolled his eyes, but stood up and glanced out the window anyway. A loud shriek rattled my eardrums. "Smile," I instructed. He reluctantly gave an awkward half-smile, but it looked more like a grimace. Yep. Same Oliver.
"And wave," I ordered. "You'll make her year." With a sigh, he gave a quick jerk of his hand, and the loud screech was cut off quite suddenly. I gave him a worried look, before moving over to see what happened. The girl had fainted. He sighed, covering his face in his hands. I tried not to laugh, but couldn't stop myself. "I take it this has happened before?" I asked. He nodded, his face still buried. "That's crazy." Soon, he too was shaking with laughter.
"Yeah, it's crazy," he admitted. "But I get to play quidditch all the time!"
"I bet." I said. "And the thousands of galleons they pay you to do it probably don't hurt either, eh?" He blushed. "Mr. Hottest-Keeper-Of-The-Year," I added, and his cheeks turned a lovely shade of burgundy. I grinned, satisfied.
"You saw that?" he asked, his voice low as I grinned wickedly at him.
"You made Witch Weekly's Top 100 list of "Hottest Bachelors of the Year"." I informed him, as if he didn't already know. "Who didn't see it?" I pulled out a copy of the magazine, with Oliver's beaming face on the front, flipping it open to skim through the pages.
"I didn't know you read Witch Weekly."
"I don't." I idly flipped a page.
"But I thought you just said-"
"I don't usually it, but Alicia brought it for me, so I don't jump out the window. She said I might find some interesting stuff in there." I conveniently left out the fact that Alicia believed I was completely in love with Oliver. This, for the record, isn't true, even if my best friends seem to think so. He gave me an amused look.
"And did you find anything interesting?" he asked. I considered his question for a moment.
"Yup. Viktor Krum got really hot," I said, fighting to maintain a straight face as his twisted angrily.
"Victor Krum? You're ridiculous," he exclaimed. "He's a Bulgarian prat with flat feet!" I smiled at him, slightly amused.
"So? He's hot." I said, all the while thinking that burly seekers weren't my type.
"Are you serious? He's broken his nose at least once in the past year, and he's always angry, all the time."
"I can think of a particularly moody someone else who's had more than one bone broken in the past year," I said waspishly, filling in a bubble in the magazine quiz- "Which Quidditch Hottie is For You?" He rolled his eyes, and I didn't even have to look to know he did it- I could practically hear it.
"I'm not moody!" I eyed him over the candy colored pages of the magazine.
"Of course not. That's why you tried to drown yourself in the showers after we lost to Hufflepuff in your 7th year." He chose to ignore my little remark.
"Yeah, but at least I can walk in a straight line!" he protested. "I dunno if that makes him ruggedly handsome or whatever, but-" I cut him off by laughing.
"Relax Oliver. I don't actually like him." I studied him as a blank look stole over his features. "Why do you care so much anyway?"
"Because he plays for Bulgaria, alright?" he said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, which, judging by the "Puddlemere United" crest on his shirt, it probably was; at least to him. "And he's a stupid bloke" he added, as an afterthought. "You were never this difficult back at school," he remarked, grinning. "You were always the quiet one."
"As much as I love Krum-bashing," I said, closing the magazine with a snap as it proclaimed that I was destined to be with a certain Keeper. You and the rest of the world, I thought. "I get the feeling you're not here just to visit your favorite chaser. Is there an official reason you're here?" I yawned. "Besides wrecking any chance of sleep I ever had?" he sighed.
"What, I can't come just to make sure you're okay?" he said, with mock offense. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"No, you can't. Puddlemere has practice every day of the week, and quite frankly, I haven't heard from you in two years. Why the sudden interest, Oliver?"
"I'm actually here on quidditch business," he admitted.
"Are you guys on a publicity tour?" I asked. He shook his head.
"No, Bell," he said. "You are the business." I was puzzled, and I was sure it showed on my face, because he continued. "Puddlemere wants to recruit you." I assumed the healers by the door heard it, because an outbreak of whispering was heard at that point. He said it with such a straight face that I almost believed him. Almost. I scoffed.
"Seriously!" he said, holding up his hands in surrender. My mouth fell slightly open. He was serious. Can you say 'goldfish'?
"Seriously?" I gaped at him.
"Seriously." God, are we going for the world record of most uses of a word in a single conversation?
"Wood, if you're messing with me, I'll-" I began, my eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"Carve my heart out with a dull spoon?" He offered good-humoredly. Evidently I'd used that one before. Damn. That one's my favorite.
"Yes," I agreed. "Then, I'll inform Marcus Flint that it was your deepest desire for him to inherit your broom." He looked shocked.
"Such great evil in such an innocent exterior. You have a twisted mind, you know that?" I nodded serenely at him. He rolled his eyes. "It's a good thing I'm telling the truth then, isn't it?" In that moment, all the healers were shooed away, as a squat, portly little man with a comb-over entered the room, wearing the navy blue robes that made Puddlemere famous. In his left hand, he carried a handful of baby blue roses. Phillbert Deverill.
"Sorry I'm late, Oliver, the crowds these days are dreadful." He whipped off his cloak, and hung it on the rack in a way that made me think he thought he owned the room. A very slim woman in bright blue robes trailed him, with a pair of glasses perched precariously on her nose. By her head, a clip board floated, with a quill poised above it, waiting. He turned to her. "Oh, Serena, could you be a dear and send Jade an owl? I won't be able to make it to dinner tonight." She nodded cooperatively, and then strode eagerly out of the room. He then seemed to notice me, for the first time. "And you must be Katie Bell," I nodded, and he held out a pudgy hand for me to shake. I took it. "My name is Phillbert Deverill," he said, as if I didn't already know who he was. "I'm the manager of Puddlemere United." I smiled politely.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Deverill, sir." He chuckled grandly.
"Call me Phil, my dear girl," he insisted. "Mr. Deverill is my father." He looks old enough. I gave a smile as he handed me the blue roses. "These are for you," he said.
"Thank you," I accepted them, and tried to find a place for them on my bedside table, which already had several vases upon it, the largest of which was an immense container filled with sunflowers, my favorite. Carefully edging them to the back, I placed the new blue arrivals at the forefront, so as not to seem rude. I never understood the ritual of bringing flowers to hospital patients, to be honest. I mean, seriously, they look nice for a day or so, then they wilt and die. What does that say about the person's feelings towards your predicament? With a hasty flick of my wand, I conjured a comfy chair for him to sit in. He sat down with a sigh, and regarded me over his arched, steeple-like fingers.
"So, Miss Bell," he said. "As Mr. Wood may have already told you, Puddlemere United is interested in signing you to our reserve team." I nodded slowly. "Our scouts have reported that you show much promise."
"Scouts? I'm sorry sir," I said, the news crashing in around my ears as I discovered a flaw. "But I missed the last game, with all the scouts."
"You did, but there was also a scout at the game before." He smiled. "Puddlemere makes a point of seeing our potential candidates over a series of games."
"Oh. Right." I thought about that for a moment.
"He said you have great potential," The manager said. Oliver nodded mutely. "And so, we're here to 'discuss your future'." He produced a brochure from his bag.
"My future?" I repeated. All I hoped to accomplish today was a good nap, and now I'm sitting down with Oliver Wood and the manager of Puddlemere United to "discuss my future?"What kind of parallel universe is this? I smiled slightly. Because I kind of like it.
"Yes," he answered, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. My head was still reeling. "Now, obviously, you're currently in the hospital, and your education isn't complete yet, but based on what we've seen, we're willing to sign you now." He pulled out the legal documents necessary. I blinked at him. Noting my expression, he continued. "You might want to discuss this with your parents," he said, patting the documents fondly. Sports recruiters and their legal forms. They want to steal your soul, it seems.
"Yes," I said. "They'll be here to visit tomorrow, is that soon enough?" he nodded.
"Absolutely. Send Oliver an owl with your answer." I nodded again, trying to catch said keeper's eye. He was starting to worry me, with his silence. With another sigh, Phil pulled a silver moon pocket watch from the folds of his robes, polished it once with a finger, before returning it again. "Well, kids, I've got to run, I have dinner with Rebecca in half an hour." He stood up, and brushed the front of his robes importantly. With a condescending wave, he left.
"Wow," I said finally. "That scout must have given one hell of a report."
"Language, Bell," Oliver reminded me gently, though only half-heartedly. "But yes, he did give one hell of a report," he admitted with a smile. "Now, with this set-up, you'll probably have to spend a little time on the reserve team, but you'll move up eventually."
"Eventually?" I wasn't convinced. He looked around to see if anyone was listening, and several healers who had stopped working started up again hurriedly.
"Well, just between you and me, Bell," he lowered his voice to a quiet rumble. "It'd probably be less than six months. Selman's on his way out." Oliver whispered as I pictured the veteran chaser. "You've got twice his skill anyway," he assured me, seeing my expression. "I should know. I did train you, after all."
"Oh, I see how it is," I joked, feigning offense. He eyed me solemnly.
"I'm dead serious- you're good Bell. Deverill really wants you on the team," he said, as though I was being ridiculous and he couldn't believe I was being so thick. "And if the manager wants you on, you're pretty much in." I must not have looked convinced. "Just think about it, okay?" he handed me a brochure, which was titled 'Puddlemere: Unite!' I shot him an amused look. "Okay, it's a little cheesy-"
"Just a little?" I arched an eyebrow. "You have a serious problem with understatements."
"Okay, it's a lot cheesy," he relented. "But honestly, it's an amazing job, Katie, you'll love it."
"Mmm," I said, without conviction. "So how does this work exactly?"
"Well, you'd have to come out for a field trial." If Oliver Wood actually uses my first name, (which he never does. It seems he has an adversion to the idea that i might actually be a human being and not just a quaffle chucking machine.) It means he wants something. And if he uses my nickname, it means he's hell-bent on having it. I am in serious trouble.
"Field trial?" I couldn't mask the apprehension in my voice.
"You'll do fine," he said, in the most soothing voice Oliver Wood, obsessed quidditch player, could manage. "It's really just to see if you mesh well with the team. They'll love you Kate." God, I hate it when he calls me that. If Oliver Wood actually uses my first name, (which he never does. It seems he has an adversion to the idea that i might actually be a human being and not just a quaffle chucking machine.) It means he wants something. And if he uses my nickname, it means he's hell-bent on having it. I am in serious trouble. Even worse, I'm dead sure he knows it annoys me, because I don't let anyone else call me "Kate". Except him, but that's only out of habit- he did once control the number of bleacher sprints I would have to run after practice. I nodded slowly, absorbing it.
"I should probably talk to my parents about this," I said slowly. I raked a hand through my hair- a nervous habit I thought I'd broken. "They don't even know yet." With a wince, I imagined talking about this with my mother, who seemed to think that I would make a fantastic healer, and wouldn't hear otherwise. With any luck, the hospital will admit her. Right after she has a heart attack. "They're coming tomorrow, so I'll talk to them about it then," I decided finally. Then they can readmit me, for my various injuries after she's had her say, I thought grimly.
"Sounds good. Send me an owl with your answer." He stood up, grinning. "But let's just agree that it won't be another three years before we talk to each other again." Before I had a chance to question his sudden friendliness, he had my hand in a businesslike shake. "I missed kicking your butt," he said with a trace of the maniacal captain creeping back in. I impulsively reached up and hugged him instead. After a second's pause, he embraced me back, unsure of what else to do. I had managed quite a feat- it seemed like Oliver always knew what to do.
"Nice to see you again Kate," he muttered into my hair. I released him with a smile to cover the awkwardness of what I had just done.
"You too, Wood. I don't think the healers have been this excited since Lockheart checked in." He blushed slightly. "You made their day," I informed him. "And you know what that means, right?" He shook his head, and my smile broadened. "More hospital Jell-o for me!"