Skirting Around a Scot

By Hermione Potter452 and Molly Raesly

Chapter One


Each continued step forward caused my legs to quiver. My thighs stung. My knees cracked every time the joints grinded together. My calves felt as though they had been raked over extremely hot coals for hours without relief, and I was fairly certain that there was blood in my shoes due to the agitation caused by my trainers chafing the backs of my ankles repeatedly.

Plus, my ponytail was coming undone.

The small part of my brain reserved for my self-preservation was shouting its insistence that I slow down my quick pace. However, biting my lip to staunch the sound of my hissing pain, I ignored that wisdom and lifted my hands to fasten my hair more securely.

My shoulders felt stiff at the sudden switch from repeatedly pumping my arms to being raised over my head. My breathing, which had already been labored, turned into a ragged wheeze as my lungs burned and protested. I felt a shooting sensation through my chest, as though I had been stabbed or shot with a hex squarely in the ribs. My feet faltered as I tripped up and staggered away from the straight line that I had been running in for roughly the last twenty minutes.

I gasped and sputtered as my taut legs started to give out, but I refused to stop moving forward. The bloke with the blonde hair that had been tailing me for the past minute or so swerved around me and overtook my position. Shortly behind him, the dark haired girl with a large twelve pinned to her stomach also passed me with a smirk on her face that was forced but nonetheless irritating.

Furious, I forced myself to pump my arms harder and move my legs faster. Diverting my focus away from the staccato sound of my feet pounding against the grass, the rasping of my lungs, and the feeling that my heart was about to burst out of my chest, I, instead, focused on what had happened earlier in the day.

I had always been competitive – almost to an unhealthy degree. Much to my chagrin, at social gatherings, my dad still seemed to enjoy ignoring the fact that I was now a young woman and would delight in entertaining anyone within hearing distance about how I once refused to bathe for a week when I was four because my rubber ducky lost to his in a bathtub battle.

What my dad neglected to mention in his mortifying storytelling was that I had three older brothers. I would fork over a hefty sum of galleons to anyone who could put up with living for years with that much testosterone without developing a strong sense of competitiveness. Ayden, Brendan, and Collin turned everything into a contest from who could get a girlfriend first to who could eat the most burritos – in both cases, I found avoiding the loo for a few days to be the best coping method.

My dad tried his best to prevent me from joining their metaphoric – though, unfortunately, sometimes literal – pissing contests, but it was a lost cause. After my mom died, the McCoy family scrambled for something to keep us together, and competition was that bonding tie.

The McCoys were obsessed with sports, mainly Quidditch: six tall goal posts, four flying balls, and fourteen players on broomsticks. At first, my interest in the game was merely a means to bond with the males in my household, but when I first rode a broomstick, I was positive no experience could surpass the feeling of soaring through the air. Since then, my Nimbus Two Thousand and One has been my constant companion. Now, even my dad could get tired of me droning on about Quidditch.

One of my earliest memories was of my dad taking my brothers and me to a Quidditch match. My dad owned a pub, and every night blokes flocked to it to talk stats, avoid their significant others, and perhaps chat up the bartender – me, when my brothers or father were not around to beat them into a pulp for looking at me the wrong way.

I was actually working at the pub when I first heard about tryouts. Dad was old friends with Sammy Willins, who took over for Ludo Bagman as the department head of Magical Games and Sports a few years back. Sammy just came in after work to drink his usual glass of bourbon and catch up with my dad when he let slip that Dominic Barker was retiring.

Dominic, "The Dominator," Barker was a living legend. Collin still had a poster of him in his room. He held the record for the most goals scored in a single match and had led Puddlemere United to five World Cup victories as Captain. There were rumors that he had been born with a Quaffle in his hands – for his mother's sake, I hoped that was not true. Even though my father had raised us all to respect our roots and had more or less forced my British mum to buy us cradle mobiles of the Irish team, I could not help but to appreciate the wonderful athleticism of Puddlemere.

That being said, I had no idea why Puddlemere would bother holding open tryouts to fulfill the Dominator's shoes. No one could possibly measure up. So, naturally, with a bit of festering and a few more glasses of bourbon, I found out exactly when and where the tryouts were being held. Though I was not strictly invited to the tryouts, I could not let the opportunity pass me by. I decided to crash it and see what happened.

My best friend and roommate Nora was scandalized that I was doing something so uncouth. Ellenore Webb was a planner while I was a bit of a sloppy mess. We had met at Hogwarts, and she had been reminding me to comb my hair and take my vitamins ever since. She hated that I was just planning on showing up and making a possible fool out of myself in front of Quidditch professionals, but the little smiley faced good luck note she had left for me beside a basket full of banana nut muffins on the kitchen table of our flat was all the encouragement I needed to be sure I was doing the right, if albeit reckless, thing.

Fortified by a muffin – okay, four – I apparated directly to the Puddlemere stadium and got in line with the other hopefuls to register for tryouts. The assistant did not find my name on the list but luckily decided it was due to a clinical error and took down my information.

Luck was on my side.

It was not until I had the large number twenty-four pinned to my chest and was waiting to be addressed by the owner of Puddlemere United that I realized what an utter fool I could be making of myself. However, by then, I had already gone too far to change my mind so I did my best to keep my muffins down and hoped that my nerves would subside.

I kept my posture stiff and alert when Richard Cooke, whom I recognized as the current owner of Puddlemere United from the various stories of him in Which Broomstick when he would describe how he used his fortune from inventing self-thickening milkshakes to buy a Quidditch team, came out onto the pitch to speak. His thinning hair and mustache were a mix of gray and blonde, but his port belly was covered in robes the same blue color as the Puddlemere players wore. From my quick perusal, I guessed that he drank sherry or possibly something fruity with a little umbrella.

Cooke eyed the sixty or so contestants standing beside me with an eager smile on his face as he rubbed his hands together. "Let's get right down to it," he declared in a jovial voice. "Merlin knows we don't have any time to waste now that Dom's leaving. Five championships we've won since he made Captain. Can you believe? I've got sponsors begging me to get the Dominator to endorse their products. Can't get enough of him. Bloody money making machine, he is. If only he wasn't lactose intolerant."

I fought the urge to roll my eyes as one of the Puddlemere employees cleared his throat.

"Oh, right," Cooke continued. "Well, as much as we here at Puddlemere United hate to lose such a fabulous player, that's how these things work. Now it's time for you fine groups of reserves to have your shot at Quidditch glory."

I bit my tongue and fidgeted my sweaty palms over the polished handle of my Nimbus as I tried to keep my cool. I knew that the tryouts would be closed to players who had already been playing Quidditch semi-professionally for a few years, but it was quite different to actually be standing amongst the players themselves. As Cooke blathered on, I mentally chastised myself for thinking that playing Quidditch with my brothers in the backyard during childhood summers and for two years at Hogwarts meant that I was qualified for this. I reached up to finger the three interlocking hoops on my necklace before squaring my jaw in resolve. If I did not believe in my abilities, Puddlemere sure as hell would not.

"We're looking for a Chaser who not only plays well but works well within our organization. I don't want anybody who's going to sully the Puddlemere name. We're not just about winning here, we're about sportsmanship and positively representing the Puddlemere blue. So, if you can't comply with that, I'd skedaddle out of here."

His mouth was smiling, but there was a trace of a threat in his blue eyes. I stood up a bit straighter. When no one in the group budged, Cooke clapped his hands together.

"Brilliant," he praised. "Well, better let the tryout begin. We're all hoping to see great things. Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce you all to our Head Coach Johnny Fletcher. He's going to be evaluating you. Best of luck to you all!"

Cooke paused with a wide grin etched onto his face, and his mustache twitched. I thought it was pretty obvious that he was expecting some sort of applause, but I remained silent and frozen along with the other hopefuls.

Eventually, Cooke clapped his own hands together for the third and final time before retreating and making way for the coach to address us.

Similar to the former speaker, Fletcher also had gray hair underneath his blue cap, but unlike Cooke, his body seemed toned and lean underneath his athletic garb. Vaguely, I could recall my dad mentioning Johnny Fletcher when he used to fly for the Wigtown Wanderers before he retired and settled for coaching.

"Line up! Ranks of five!" Fletcher barked in a raspy voice that caused everyone to quickly file into rows.

Johnny Fletcher definitely drank scotch, single malt.

"Sprint!" he ordered as he pointed to the other side of the pitch.

Dutifully, I gently placed my broom on the grass and then started running.

He only made us run for a few minutes, but before I could catch my breath, Fletcher had already asked five people to leave the pitch. Next, he had us fly laps around the pitch as fast as we could. I flew so quickly that I had tears running down my face from the wind whipping past my eyes. Eight more people were asked to leave. It was all happening so fast that I did not have a chance to feel excited or nervous about continuing past the preliminary tasks.

Early on, I had learned that false confidence could ruin even the most qualified athlete. Nerves were equally problematic. Instead, I stayed focused and blocked out everything that did not involve Quidditch.

After another round of suicide sprints, Fletcher split us up into three groups to have us start flying drills.

I was allocated to the right side of the pitch with about fifteen others. I briefly eyed my competition: a girl who looked about my age but had about thirty pounds on me, two boys that were a few years older and had strapping shoulders, and a skinny, older bloke with missing front teeth seemed to be the most outwardly aggressive.

A man in his forties with a deep tan and a dimpled chin, flew over to us and introduced himself as Tony Deering, the Offensive Coordinator.

"Hello, mates," he greeted us with a thick Liverpool accent. "Any of you lot pee your pants yet? Murph – Bill Murphy, he runs defense – and I have ten sickles going to see if anyone pisses themselves."

The young boy next to me teetered uncomfortably.

"Nah, I'm just taking the mickey out of you. It's old man Fletch's job to scare ya. Something about separating the men from the boys and all that rubbish. I'm here to have some fun. What's the point of playing Quidditch if you can't enjoy ever sodding minute of it?" Tony let out a large laugh and smiled widely.

I impulsively grinned back at him and decided that Tony drank butterbeer.

"Okay, pick up your brooms. We're gonna do some drills to shake off those looks like you're 'bout to throw up on my shoes from your faces. I want everybody up in the air for a bit, and then we'll do some work individually."

Even though my muscles were already starting to feel a bit sore, I eagerly mounted my broom and waited for further instructions. Something about Tony reminded me of why I loved Quidditch so much. Anxiety forgotten, I darted across the pitch in the strange obstacle course that had been set up. It was full of sharp turns and hard edges. It was the type of flying that took more precision and focus than instinct, and it was made all the more challenging by the others zooming around me as potential collision targets.

I heard my dad's commentary ringing though my ear. He probably could have worked for the wizarding radio with all the knowledge he was always spouting off about Quidditch, but he would never leave the pub. He was the main reason why I knew the game so well. When I was younger and my brothers were at Hogwarts, leaving me alone with just my dad, I used to sit at the bar for hours and listen to him talk strategy until I literally fell asleep into the Shirley Temple he would make me.

Once finished swerving and weaving through the course, Tony had us each perform the course by ourselves as he timed us.

Next, he had us perform a series of dives. Back when Ayden was in Hogwarts, he never let me be Chaser because that was also his position so I had plenty of practice seeking. While one of my dives was a bit too sharp, I felt like I had done just as well as, if not better than, the majority in my group.

Once the last person had finished their dives, Tony frowned and pointed at his naked wrist. "Bloody hell! My watch is missing! Is that why you lot have been searching the ground? Looking for something shiny? Don't you know that we have tryouts going on?"

He stared at our dumbfounded expressions and then rolled his eyes. "Oi, lighten up, you lot! I'm not going to perform an Unforgiveable on anyone for smiling. Besides, I don't even wear a watch. It's much too stuffy for me to know the time."

I snorted, and Tony winked at me before leading us into catching and throwing drills with the Quaffle. It reminded me of the way that my brothers and I put away groceries – very efficient, though, sometimes the eggs got a bit broken. The drills went rather well except for once when I almost missed but caught the ball with my very fingertips. I glanced nervously at Tony, but he just laughed heartily and told me to throw the ball before he got even more gray hair.

We wrapped up the nearly two hours of drills with a series of complicated passing, and then Fletcher called the groups together in his commanding bark.

He called out the names of six more players who were asked to leave. Next, Fletcher stared us down as we each had to attempt to score against both Tony and the other man, Bill Murphy, as Keepers.

"If you can get it in past these old chaps, you might be able to trick one professional Keeper," Fletch had said.

I made all ten shots. So did seven others. Five more people went home.

"All right, stay put," was all Fletcher said before he led Tony and Bill Murphy away from the Pitch. However, right before they disappeared, Fletcher waved his wand, and a bunch of water bottles appeared.

Beyond dehydrated, I rushed towards the giant tub along with the others and grabbed a water bottle. I chugged some quickly and then poured a bit onto my sweaty, salt-stained face. The late August heat was overbearing, and I was not used to such intensive workouts beyond my usual morning runs. I sat down onto the grass, despite the protests of my tired knees as I squatted down, and drank my water while pulling at my uncomfortably moist mesh shorts and numerous tank tops.

The others around me were in equal states of lethargy, and there was little movement from anyone for at least five minutes. However, eventually, people started to sit up and get more water. A few of the people who seemed more genial in nature tried to strike up conversation. Most, though, kept to themselves. I was with the latter. It was too strange to try to chat up someone I not so secretly really wanted to fail. No amount of awkward small talk could change that. Plus, in the hot sun, everyone smelled a bit like Brendan's sweaty socks.

After about twenty more minutes passed, I was getting antsy. I was no longer sitting but pacing a bit back and forth and stretching out my knees.

"Do you reckon they forgot about us?" a bloke near me asked aloud.

"Please," a girl with a square face leered. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard today."

"You mean, besides whoever told you that you could make it professionally?"

"Well, at least I'm not still riding a Comet! Were they all out of flying carpets?"

"Oi!" I hissed finally to interrupt them as I spotted the coaches coming back onto the pitch. "Shut it. They're back."

Fletcher's face betrayed nothing as he held up his clipboard and cleared his throat. "Numbers 2, 12, 17, 24 –"

I gasped quietly as I missed the last few numbers he rambled off. My heart thudded loudly in my chest as I gnawed at my lip in anticipation.

"Follow me," he ordered. "The rest of you can go. Better luck with the Chudley Cannons."

Shakily, I joined nine others and filed in behind Fletcher.

He did not speak as he led us up several flights of wooden stairs.

I held my Nimbus tightly against my chest as I wondered if he planned to push us off the top box and see if we had the common sense not to plummet to our deaths.

However, just shy of the very top of the stands, Fletcher turned abruptly and directed us towards a corridor I had never knew could exist in stadiums before. I had not seen it before we entered it, and I had the feeling that it was magically concealed somehow.

Fletcher removed a large set of brass keys from his trouser pocket and jiggled them in his hand until he stopped at a door on our left. "Number two, get in here," he ordered. "Everybody else wait outside."

A stout ginger, who looked rather green, thus, creating a sort of Christmas effect, reluctantly scuffled behind Fletcher, and they disappeared with a slam of the door.

A tall blonde bloke, a dark haired girl, and the older toothless man who had been in my group before slid against the wall and sat on the floor. A boy who seemed no older than seventeen started muttering things under his breath, and I did my best to tune him out. Nearby, a woman in her twenties paced back and forth as she played with the number thirty-two on her front. A massive man with bushy eyebrows picked at his fingernails, which seemed so large that they would be the size of a thumb, beside a skinny bloke who seemed like he could hardly lift a broom, let alone ride one.

As for myself, I crossed my arms across my chest and did my best to ignore the stifling tension engulfing the small space. I had not minded the previous drills and sprints because I had total control over my performance. This, however, this waiting around and feeling completely at another's mercy, made me feel as though I might start breaking out into hives at any moment.

I started jumping up and down a bit in place and stretching out my legs to stay limber and to distract myself. Some of my competitors eyed me suspiciously, but I just ignored them. None of them bothered to exchange perfunctory pleasantries. Everyone here wanted everyone else to fail, and that mentality was just fine by me.

After a slow fifteen minutes, the door creaked.

Immediately I stopped doing ankle rolls and stared at the door as the ginger came into view; he looked impossibly greener.

"Twelve!" barked Fletcher from inside the room. The dark haired girl got off the floor, grabbed her broom, and disappeared behind the door.

All eyes zeroed in on the newly returned ginger, but he just shook his head, sat down on the floor, and hung his face in his hands.

I studied him for a few minutes before deciding that the ginger – who probably never drank – was not employing some sort of psychological strategy but genuinely appeared traumatized. I bit my lip and stared at the door.

Smirking to herself, she – Miss Bloody Mary – came back much sooner than the ginger had and was replaced by the tall blonde boy. She, too, stayed silent about her experience, so I continued to wait in ignorance. The boy was number seventeen, so I knew I was next.

The door creaked for a third time, and I left my trepidation behind in the corridor as I tightened my grip on my broom, straightened my shoulders, and brushed past the blonde as I walked through the

To my surprise, I entered not a training facility or weight room but a small, cluttered office. I blinked up at the numerous black and white photos of Quidditch players waving trophies in the air and cheering happily. Fletcher was seated behind a desk that had so much paperwork on it that I could only see him from his neck up.

"Sit," he directed gruffly.

I sat down at the chair opposite his, which was not nearly as comfortable as the plush one he was seated in seemed, and looked up at him expectantly.

He peered down at me with a look that matched my own before looking down at some files he was flipping through on his desk. "How old are you?" he asked, not bothering to look at me.


"Height and weight?"

"Five foot six and about 58 kilograms."

"Any injuries?"

"Sprained my ankle when I was sixteen."

"Does it still work?"

"I've run four marathons since then," I replied, using the same brevity of words that he did.

"Any medical conditions?"

"I'm allergic to mangos," I told him in utter seriousness.

The tips of his mustache twitched, but he kept his gaze down. "How many years have you played?"

"Since I was five."

"What teams?"

"Gryffindor," I answered.

He paused, as though waiting for me to rattle off some more impressive names.

When I did not, he stopped looking down at his desk and peered at me closely.

Instead of fidgeting under his gaze, I stared back at him defiantly, daring him to ask me how on earth I could even imagine having enough experience to be a professional Chaser.

Fletcher pursed his lips and then began examining paperwork again. "You the captain of that team?"

"Nope," I replied honestly. I had wanted to be, but Demelza Robbins got the position because she had been playing longer. Seniority was respected by the McCoy's – just ask my eldest brother Ayden.

"Play for six years?"

"No," I admitted.

He ticked his tongue.

"With all due respect, sir, I went to Hogwarts during the battle with You-Know-Who. Quidditch was not the priority as much as not getting hit by an Unforgivable was. When Snape was running the school, we didn't even have Quidditch. If you don't think I've got the skills, then you probably would have sent me home already."

He paused for a few seconds; his expression was unfathomable. "You do drugs?"

"No, sir," I answered, mentally wondering how my father would dispose of my body if he ever found me doing drugs.

"Call people 'sir' a lot?"

"No, sir."

His eyes flicked up questioningly.

"Not unless they deserve it, sir."

He stilled and then leaned back in his armchair. His eyes raked over my athletic clothing and messy dark hair lumped at the top of my head before settling on my brown eyes. "Why are you here?"

After I answered him, Fletcher told me I could go back and wait in the corridor before he barked out the next number.

Nine sets of eyes greeted me when I closed the door to the office behind me as the massive bloke walked over to take my place.

"Don't worry," I told him. "It's just an interview."

His surprisingly gentle blue eyes met mine gratefully as he nodded.

In my periphery, I noticed several others sigh in relief. I wrapped my arms back across my chest, hugging my broomstick against me, and settled myself up against the wall once more.

It took about another hour before the rest of the interviews were completed. Fletcher came out of his office with one hand fidgeting with his cap and the other carrying a large stack of files under his arm and told us to head back to the field.

I zigzagged through the narrow corridors while contemplating what hoops he would have us jump through next.

As we walked back on the grassy field of the pitch, Fletcher sighed and said, "There's Wood."

I looked around in confusion but then realized he meant the bloke waiting in the grass.

Apparently, I was the only one not to figure this out right away because the dark haired girl actually whimpered a bit as a girl beside me whispered, "Oliver Wood," in a breathy gasp.

I rolled my eyes and felt more like a McCoy than ever as I was surrounded by swooning women. Sure, Wood was impressive by anyone's standards. After only seven years of playing professionally for Puddlemere, he was only second in stats to Skip Jones, a hero of the 1970s and undeniably the best Keeper of all time. He consistently made over five hundred saves a season and was currently leading in the most amount of fouls blocked. My dad was particularly fond of the Starfish and Stick maneuver he used in a game against the Bulgarians two years ago to win the match.

Wood had actually led Gryffindor to its first Quidditch Cup in ages when I was a First Year at Hogwarts. I recalled being jealous that First Years could not play on the House team, but with all that Harry Potter drama with the dementors that year, I was probably better off waiting to make my debut. Nevertheless, even if he seemed like a Firewhiskey sort of bloke, I was more interested in hearing Wood's strategy plans than becoming more acquainted with his admittedly actually quite fit physique. His shoulders were burlier than I remembered.

"Anyone worth taking?" Wood asked with a thick accent.

I had forgotten he was Scottish. Apparently, the breathless twat beside me had not.

"I don't want any lightweights on my team."

Fletcher snorted. "Just start running, Wood."

"Aye, Fletch." Seemingly effortlessly, the bloke started running at a fairly fast pace.

I wondered how long he was planning on sustaining that level.

"Oi!" he called over his shoulder. "I'm not doing this for my health. Let's go."

The other candidates and I scrambled to join him.

"Five kilometers," barked Fletcher from where he was observing us. "If you can't do it, you can't play for Puddlemere."

And so I ran, and I kept running. I maintained a steady pace as the pitch's details started to get blurry and I lost track of how many times I had circled the field. It was only after my ponytail came undone and the blonde bloke and the dark haired girl passed me that I began to run faster.

Even though my legs felt like lead and my feet burned every time they slapped against the ground, I pushed myself further. Nothing was going to deter me. I wanted this too badly.

With that in mind, after a whole day of tryouts, I pumped my arms faster and crouched down as I began to sprint. My breathing was ragged and disjointed, but I gasped and sputtered and kept moving. I surpassed the girl first and then the boy. Back in my previous position, I spread my strides even longer and then overcame the very skinny boy and then the ginger, who was surprisingly speedy.

Finally, after I passed by one of the older men, I was directly behind Wood, who had led the group throughout the entire run. While before had seemed like I had to fight against my body, I finally reached a point at which my legs easily complied when I pushed them to go faster. My breathing began to even out slightly as the air swooshed through my system.

Running directly behind him, I waited until I matched his stride before worming around him and squeezing in between him and the wall of the circular stands.

To say that he looked surprised that someone had caught up with him would have been an understatement. I swore he almost stopped running when his eyes flicked over and saw me beside him.

The shock quickly disappeared, and he raised an eyebrow challengingly at me as he nodded in my direction before speeding up.

I pursed my lips together and pushed myself to match his quickened pace until our pumping arms nearly brushed against each other before countering his expression with a taunting smirk of my own.

I increased our pace, and he mimicked my stride. We continued challenging each other for another three laps until Fletcher announced loudly that we had one lap left.

He turned his head to look at me with a wide smile, which I returned before Wood and I broke out into complete sprints. His legs were longer, but I was faster.

I ignored the syncopated sounds of his heavy panting and my wheezing and shut out all other distractions as I focused completely on propelling my body forward. As we rounded the final curve, Wood and I were still tied until I straightened up and stretched every stride as far as I could, bypassing sprinting and practically flying across the grass.

I overtook Wood, and I began to feel an excess of adrenaline pumping through my bloodstream as a huge grin formed on my face. The endorphin rush kicked in as I pushed through the last length. Something clicked inside of me, and I was able to run even faster without pain. I sprinted until I reached Fletcher, and my body felt wonderful.

"Twenty-six minutes, eighteen seconds," he told me as he looked down at his watch.

Wheezing, I nodded and slowed my legs down to a walk and clutched at my pounding chest. The hormone rush was still coursing through me like a high, but I could feel it start to dwindle as my heart tried to slow down.

Seconds later, Wood reached us and also began walking.

"Twenty-six, twenty-five," Fletcher barked with a mocking smile on his face as he flicked his eyes over at me.

Wood scowled and hunched over as he breathed in deeply. He lifted up his shirt and wiped off his face.

Living with three older brothers, working in my father's pub, and playing Quidditch, I was fairly used to seeing guys with fit bodies.

However, something about catching a glimpse of this bloke's abdominals made my slowing heart rate pick up again. I felt my face go red and was extremely grateful that I could blame it on the running. I diverted my gaze and heard my dad's chastising voice in my head. No bloke will ever be good enough for you, love. So don't bother and don't wear that top.

He lowered his shirt and then walked over to me. "Oi, 24! Don't think you beat me. I slowed down at the end so Fletch would be impressed," he said, his voice still sounding shaky.

I rolled my eyes. "Sure, you did," I agreed condescendingly.

He smirked. "Wanna give it another go?"

"Maybe later."

He nodded with a tired sigh and then wiped at his sweaty hair, which looked about five shades darker than the light brown I had seen from before the race, with the back of his hand. "Probably better that way," he acquiesced. "Then you won't argue about not having your full strength when I beat you."

"And you'll have a chance to get a new set of lungs," I countered, though the retort was weakened by the shortness of my own breath. "Seems like the pair you've got now aren't working. What a shame. I'd hate to be the one to break it to some of my female opponents."

His brown eyes flickered with amusement. "You got a name, 24?"

I crossed my arms across my chest and took a step towards him. "Hayley McCoy."

"Well, McCoy, what brings you to Puddlemere United?"

I smiled to myself as I repeated the same answer I had told Fletcher in his office earlier. "The competition."


Hey there, crazy kids! Welcome to Skirting Around a Scot! As you probably have already figured out, this story is a collaboration between MollyR (aka Molly Raesly, author of the Boyfriend series, Stray, Sweet, and loads more) and me!, Hermione Potter452 (Danica, author of A Subtle Touch Unseen and A Spectral Memory Untouched). I'm sure that you who are Molly fans would rather read author's notes from the amazing Molly Raesly, but she has forced all of the titles/summaries/author's notes upon me...because she you all are stuck with my boring (and sometimes long) author's notes. To those of you who read my story, I apologize for taking forever to update (this year SUCKED), and I promise that this new Oliver story will not get in the way of my writing. In fact, until I finish the final 2 chapters of ASMU, Molly will be the primary writer of the first few chapters, with help/input/editing by me. So, this story is still a team effort, as Molly keeps reminding me. SO! As, SAAS is Molly Raesly's FINAL story, give her some love! We hope you enjoy this story and let us know just what you think of it, the lovely Hayley McCoy, and the burly Oliver Wood in a review!
~ Danica, on behalf of herself and Molly