11/11/12: Hi! New story. :) I've already got about eight chapters written so updates will be coming semi-quickly. I know Percy isn't everyone's favorite character, but he's mine and this is my attempt to make him at least somewhat tolerable to the world.
Percy Weasley is many things. He's a git, a prat, and a rule-loving codger. He's Hogwarts' resident stick-in-the-mud, with a wand so far up his arse it's rumoured to be harder to dislodge than the sword in the stone.
But his redeeming quality? He's a damn good snog.
I. Quidditch, Damned Quidditch, and Snogging
I stomped into the classroom and slammed the door behind me before stopping in the middle and crossing my arms across my chest with a huff.
"You know, subtlety isn't exactly your strong suit. Keep it up and half the school will show up at the door."
I ceased staring angrily at the floor to glare at the back of his head.
"Shut up," I tried to spit out bitingly, but my tone seemed more resigned than venomous.
He swiveled around in his chair at the professor's desk, turning to face me. His right eyebrow rose as he regarded me over the thick tome he had been reading before I had barged in unceremoniously.
"Something wrong, Luce?"
"No, everything's so obviously dandy right now." I rolled my eyes. "You're such a prat."
He only laughed. My glare never faltered.
"C'mon, Luce, you know I'm only joking," he said, sounding properly apologetic. "What happened?"
I paused for a moment before sighing and shaking my head. "Nothing, really. I'm just overreacting, as usual."
"Alright, fine. It's just...I mean, I know I should be used to it by now, but...I don't know. It still bothers me."
"What does?" he asked gently.
My voice small, I murmured, "I just got an owl from my uncle. I'll be spending Christmas alone again." I managed a humorless laugh.
"I'm sorry, Lucie," he said, and I shook my head once more. Tears had begun falling from my eyes, and I hastily wiped them away. Still, more began to fall, and I stubbornly turned toward the wall, not willing to let him see me cry.
"So, what are you reading?" I asked, trying to keep my sniffling to a minimum. I was failing miserably.
I chanced a glance over my shoulder to look at him and saw that he still sat, conflicted, trying to decide whether or not he should confront my blatant change of subject. He shrugged, choosing to go along with it, and said, "The Legislative Guide to the Proper Use of Magic." His eye lit up as he continued, "Did you know that any level eight hex cast with a swish-and-flick motion is considered legal, whilst a level eight hex cast with a flick-and-swish motion is punishable by death? And that household spells done in any other residence other than your own without express permission from the owner can qualify for a fifty galleon fine? Terribly fascinating, if I do say so myself."
"Oh, yes, terribly fascinating," I echoed, biting back a smile. I looked at him again and saw him scowling at me.
"No need to be sarcastic about it," I heard him mutter, but his face broke into a smile once he heard me laugh. "Now there's the Lucie I know."
He rose from behind the desk, closing and setting his book down, and made his way toward me. I couldn't help but giggle as he pushed his slipping horn-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of his nose, a gesture I always found adorably cute, albeit a bit dorky. He wrapped his arms around my waist and mine automatically found their way around his neck, my still somewhat teary brown eyes meeting his calculating blue ones. He wiped away a few of the tears that still lingered on my cheeks before leaning down and whispering in my ear, "Don't worry, Luce. Everything's going to be okay."
I buried my face into his chest and said, my voice muffled by his school robe, "I know, I know. Thank you."
And he lifted up my chin, stared into my eyes, and a second later, Percy Weasley was snogging the living daylights out of me.
"Where were you last night?" Alicia Spinnet asked me as I trudged into the changing rooms. Early morning Quidditch practices and I did not get along.
"Where else?" I grumbled out. I somehow managed to drag myself to my locker and open it with my eyes closed. I promptly leaned my head in and dozed off.
"Lucie? Luce!" Alicia snapped her fingers by my ear and I jumped awake, hitting my head on the ceiling of my locker in the process. Wincing, I turned and gave her the most scathing look I could muster at seven o' clock on a Saturday morning. I guess it wasn't very scathing because she merely raised an eyebrow at me.
"Honestly, I don't get why you let Percy tutor you in Transfiguration. You couldn't have come back to the dormitory until what? Midnight? One o' clock? The boy's a slave driver, I tell you!" She shook her head at me, but I just shrugged.
"Anything to get me an 'O' on that N.E.W.T." She opened her mouth to retort—most likely to go off on how we weren't Ravenclaws for a reason—but at that moment, our team captain entered the changing rooms from the pitch. "Speaking of slave drivers..." I muttered under my breath.
"Alright, you lot!" said Oliver Wood, all too chipper for my liking. "Time to get practice started!" He practically bounded out of the room as the rest of us trailed sluggishly behind him. I heard Fred and George Weasley behind me, whispering heatedly about some plan to off Wood in his sleep. From what I could gather, it involved a Jelly-Legs Jinx, some Venomous Tentacula, some sort of sweet called a Canary Cream—yeah, I wasn't entirely sure either—and a dozen Chocolate Frogs.
"Need any help?" I called quietly over my shoulder. They nodded their heads and shot me identical evil grins. I mouthed, "Clue me in later" as we exited the changing rooms.
It was brilliantly bright outside, and I had to shield my eyes from the beating sun before I could properly see where I was going. We congregated around Wood in the middle of the pitch, our brooms at our sides and our captain clapping for our attention.
"Right. We've got our Ravenclaw match coming up, and last I heard Davies has been working his team nonstop. Lucky for us, Davies' a git, so he's got no chance of winning. Now, Potter—" Harry yawned in response "—I want you to catch the Snitch at least twenty times this practice. You'll be running a lap every time you haven't caught the Snitch within ten minutes. Weasleys—" Fred and George stood at attention and sent him a mock salute "—run the usual Beater drills. And no goofing off! Johnson, Spinnet, Laroche—" I looked up warily at the sound of my last name "—you three will be coming with me up in the stands. We'll be going over new plays and formations I came up with during Muggle Studies."
The rest of the team exchanged glances then burst out laughing, and Oliver scowled at us. "What?"
"Tell us, Wood—" started George.
"—did you only take that class—" continued Fred.
"—so you'd have time to strategize?" finished George. The two smirked at Oliver in unison.
"I—what—oh, come off it! Get in the air!" Oliver commanded irritably. He stomped off towards the staircase that led to the Gryffindor section of the stands, and we all shared another hearty laugh before following the captain's orders.
I spent the next two hours bored out of my mind, listening to Oliver drone on and on about Quidditch tactics and tips. I only devoted half of my attention to his incessant gabber, the other half following Harry as he zoomed around the pitch, catching and releasing the Snitch over and over again. I watching him with envy, longing to be on my broom instead of in the stands, wishing I could soar in the air instead of keep my feet planted on the ground. Finally, after Oliver had finished explaining his fifty-second new play, he clapped his hands together and pronounced, "Now let's give some of these a try!"
In an instant, I had mounted my broom and kicked off from the bench, the other two Chasers and Oliver following closely behind me. He called out a play number and we got into position, me holding the Quaffle firmly under my right arm. At the sound of his whistle, we began.
I raced through the air, enjoying the feeling of the wind hitting my face and hearing it whistle in my ears. I dropped the Quaffle, just as Oliver had instructed me to do an hour earlier, and Alicia caught it ten meters before it hit the ground. She rose back up and zigzagged across the pitch with Angelina, the Quaffle passing swiftly between them. As they neared the goalposts, Angelina made to throw the Quaffle into the center hoop but instead let it fall from her grip, me ready to catch it from below. I shot up on my broom and chucked it toward the left hoop with all my might, Oliver saving it only by the tips of his fingers.
"Great job, you lot!" Oliver yelled, grinning at us. Alicia, Angelina, and I high-fived. "Now let's do number twenty-nine!"
Practice continued on for another hour until Oliver finally called it quits. We all landed and made our way to the changing rooms, exhausted but chattering. A successful practice always put us in a good mood.
I was listening as Alicia told me her bizarre detention story from the night before, in which Filch decided his office needed cleaning and enlisted her help (she had found some downright weird items—really, who in the world would own a pair of frilly pink knickers with a Fanged Frisbee that actually growled printed on the bum—as she sorted through the enormous pile of confiscated goods) when Oliver came over to me.
"Hey, Lucie," he greeted me cheerily.
"Wotcher, Wood," I said back. Alicia turned to recant her tale to Fred, George, and Angelina. Harry had just left.
"Um," he began, rubbing the back of his neck, "you did really, er, good during practice today."
"I did well, Oliver. Merlin, you could at least be grammatically correct about it." His face reddened, and I laughed. "Don't worry, Cap'n, you know I'm only joking." I saw him visibly relax as a grin broke out on his face. "You weren't so bad yourself," I complimented as an afterthought.
He smiled, and I smiled back, and we stood there awkwardly, smiling at each other and trying to figure out what to say next.
"You ready to head to breakfast, Luce?" Alicia broke in, and I mentally shouted my thanks to her—if she could read my thoughts, she would have been wincing at my volume. I nodded my head a little too eagerly and linked my arm through hers, waving goodbye to Oliver before leaving the changing rooms. I noted that he was no longer smiling.
On the way back to the castle, I pondered over the strange encounter I had just had with Oliver. Since when was conversation ever stilted with him? We had always been able to keep up a steady flow of harmless taunts and teasings, both on and off the pitch. So what was that all about?
I sighed and let the thought go as Alicia and I reached the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. Seeing Percy sitting like a loser by himself, we took pity on him and I plopped down in the seat to his left, Alicia settling across from us.
"How was practice?" he asked, his voice tinged with incredulous disgust as he watched me help myself to a generous amount of bacon and eggs.
"What? I've earned these calories after this morning!" I said defensively, shielding my plate from his judgmental eyes. He scoffed, and I stuck my tongue out and crossed my eyes at him. He just shook his head.
"Dreadfully boring in the beginning," Alicia said, ignoring my feasting and answering Percy's initial question. "Oliver wouldn't shut up for two hours about Quidditch strategies. If he had gone on for one more minute, I probably would have stuffed the Quaffle in his mouth."
"Tsk tsk, Spinnet. That's no way to speak about your captain," Oliver reprimanded, appearing on the other side of the table and sitting down next to Alicia, piling his plate with three times as much bacon and eggs as mine had. Percy didn't even flinch, the prat.
"I only speak the truth," Alicia shrugged. We all laughed.
"Anyway, it's not as if Lucie was listening, anyway. Her head was in the clouds half the time, as usual." Oliver's voice was exasperated, but I could see the glint of humor in his eyes. I decided to stick out my tongue and cross my eyes at him, too.
"Well, if someone had just let us fly straightaway like you're supposed to do when you play Quidditch..." I retaliated. We bickered back and forth as we enjoyed our breakfast, and all thoughts of our awkward exchange in the changing rooms slipped from my mind. As I felt Percy's knee brush against mine under the table, I smiled happily. Seventh year had only begun a month ago, but I already knew it had excellent plans in store for me.