Chapter 2 has arrived!
I do not own Harry Potter, I only own my OCs.
Quick shout-out to BananaBubbles98, Cmnewman, and salmonellie for the Follows! And extra good vibes to BananaBubbles98 for the review!
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September went on for what felt like forever to Hazel. Since they were to take the Ordinary Wizarding Levels the following June, their professors were piling on homework like it was going out of style. September bled into October, and Hazel was in the library late one night, trying to catch up on her Potions work that had been neglected in favor of perfecting a new charm. She wrote frantically, mind racing at a million miles per hour as she explained the finer details of Drexel's Theory of Plant-Based Elixirs and their applications to the Draught of Peace.
Across from her sat Allegra and Eric, their noses stuck in their books but their hands tightly entwined on the table between them. Every once in a while Hazel would catch them glancing demurely at each other. Over the last weeks, the solid lump of jealousy that had formed in Hazel's chest had hardened into a rock. It was clear that they did have real feelings for each other, and Hazel was truly happy for them.
However, this relationship had diverted a majority of Allegra's attention from Hazel. It used to be that they were in either one's common room together multiple times per week, but Hazel had only been to the yellow-and-black decorated common room a handful of times this term. And when she was there, Allegra seemed to be glued to Eric's hip. When they were apart, Allegra filled Hazel's mind with anecdotes about her and Eric's summer adventures or a funny thing Eric said in Potions the other day. While she was happy her friend had found someone, she was also very jealous and annoyed that he seemed to monopolize all of her time.
Veronica and Cedric had begun seeing each other, but Veronica hadn't abandoned her like Allegra had. Perhaps because they still shared a dorm and all of their classes. They saw each other every day, and had talked about how Allegra had seemingly lost herself in Eric. Veronica was the Gossip of Gryffindor, destined to be the next Rita Skeeter if she wasn't careful, so Hazel had kept up with the comings and goings of her distant friend.
Back in the library, Hazel heard Eric mutter something to Allegra, and Allegra whispered something flirty back, gently biting Eric's earlobe. With this, Hazel had reached her breaking point. The growing stress of homework and Allegra's continued absence and the O.W.L.s had finally worn her down.
"Oh for Merlin's sake you two! Go find a classroom to snog in already! Either that or shut the hell up, I'm trying to get this done, not listen to you two tongue-fuck each other's ears!" she yelled, throwing her arms out so rapidly she spilled her pot of ink.
"Shit!" she muttered, moving her notes as quickly as she could. Allegra tried to help, but Hazel shooed her away and magically cleaned up the mess. "Just go!" she yelled again, and the couple disappeared. She looked over her notes, and found that her potions assignment was completely ruined.
She dropped her head onto the wooden table, letting out a long groan that was full of self-loathing.
"Hello Hazel." A familiar voice said. Hazel turned her head and saw Oliver Wood leaning against the bookshelves nearby. He had changed out of his school uniform and was wearing a Puddlemere United t-shirt under a blue plaid flannel shirt. His jeans were well-worn and faded, and a cocky smile was on his face.
Hazel turned her face back toward the ground and said, "Oh, bugger off Wood."
"That's not very polite." He teased, sitting down in the chair next to her and placing his bag on the floor.
"I'm having the worst month of my life. I'm constantly buried with homework, I can't talk to my best friend without her boyfriend right there, and now, I've probably just made her hate me. I'm stressed to the max, and I have absolutely no one to really talk to because my other best friend is also preoccupied with her new boyfriend." She confessed, lifting her head from the table and running a hand through her messy hair.
"You can always talk to me, y'know."
"Really? How do I know your mind won't drift off to the Quidditch pitch while I'm speaking?" she said dryly.
"I swear on my Starsweeper, you've got my full attention." He swore, sitting in the chair next to her and facing her.
"Oh I'm very reassured. Now if you could solve the rest of my problems, that would be very much appreciated." She sniped as she tried to rearrange her papers from all the chaos of the past minutes.
"Hey, you two will make up." He reassured, nudging her arm to get her to look at him. She threw him a glance and rolled her eyes. Oliver knew less than nothing of what Hazel was going through, and resorting to lame platitudes was something for which she didn't currently possess the patience.
"I know that, but…I don't know." She said, trying to think of a spell to clear the ink off of her essay.
"Look, I'm happy for Allegra and Veronica. Really, I am, but I guess I'm just…jealous." She mumbled, avoiding the Keeper's eyes.
"Jealous of what?" He asked, rubbing her back in an effort to comfort her. Oliver, in his seventh year at Hogwarts, had his N.E.W.T.s that year and had promised his mother he would get at least four, which is why he was in the library that night instead of on his broomstick. As the youngest of four and the only boy, Oliver was an old hand at comforting women.
"That they've got someone. I know it's a bit petty and I should be comfortable being by myself, secure in my own person – and I am, but I can't help but think that all of this…school stuff what with exams coming up and being away from home and…I'm babbling. I'm sorry. You can leave now and let me wallow in my own embarrassment." She prattled like a chattering howler monkey.
"No, no I understand. Sometimes it can get lonely here. Having someone to hang with outside of your friends can help with that." He sympathized, continuing to rub her back. He was no cad, but he couldn't help but feel that if he played his cards right he could get a good snog out of Hazel. That, as he knew very well, would help ease his own tensions as well as hers.
"Cedric and Eric are monopolizing all of their time! I miss my best friends, dammit!" she ranted, feeling the anger rise again like bile in her stomach. Instead of letting it overtake her like she did last time, she took a long, deep breath and calmed herself. "But I am happy that they're happy. I want them to be happy. They deserve to be happy."
"Say happy one more time and I'll believe you." He smirked, placing his arm on the chair back. She shot him a bemused look, then took out her wand.
"Scripto restorum." She said, waving her wand at her potions essay. The black ink that she spilled on it melted away, leaving nothing but her almost-finished essay. She turned to Wood and smiled.
"I've never heard that one before." Wood commented.
"That's because I just made it up." She boasted. She had been reading about charm theory all summer in preparation for her O.W.L.s, but also because Charms was her best subject.
"You made up a spell?"
"Just like that?" he was incredulous. This girl had just whipped up a spell out of thin air and it had worked. No one in his class, or possibly even the whole school could do that to his knowledge.
"Just like that. I've been trying to do it for the last month, and I've come up with some pretty cool spells. Mostly for dumb stuff like taming my hair and cleaning my dorm and such. Nothing major yet." She said modestly, never having been one to brag about her accomplishments.
"That's…bloody amazing." Oliver marveled.
"What's amazing is you're save on that double assault in the Gryffindor Slytherin game last year. The way you ride, Oliver, is truly amazing." She complimented him. That was the only bit of Quidditch knowledge she possessed, as that was the only Quidditch game she attended last year. Mainly because of the attacks on students, but also because her feelings toward the immensely popular sport were lukewarm at best.
"Thought you didn't like Quidditch?" He flirted.
"I pick things up here and there. Plus, my grandfather said that if I can get six or more O.W.L.s he'd get us tickets to the World Cup next summer." She said excitedly.
"Six O.W.L.s? That's a tall order." Oliver commented, resting his cheek on his hand on the table in front of them.
"I'm not too worried about it. I'm a good exam taker. And besides, they're what, eight months away? I'm just trying not to get buried under the pile of homework!" she exhaled, motioning to the pile of papers and books in front of her.
"Yeah, N.E.W.T.s aren't a whole lot better. Pretty damn stressful, and on top of all that I've got to win the Cup this year if I expect to be sought out by any respectable league team…" He raised his head and looked down at his hands in a very shy, charming way that made Hazel's stomach seem to fill with butterflies. At this point she noticed how close they were to each other. All she would have to do would be to reach a few inches and grab one of his hands…she shook her head slightly to clear that thought (and a few others) out of her head.
"You can do it. No one in this whole damn school loves Quidditch as much as you do." She reassured, reaching the couple of inches and grasping his big, calloused hand in hers.
"He looked at her small hand wrapped around his and sighed, directing his deep brown eyes toward her face. Hazel could feel a current pass between them, and she retracted her hand as if shocked, looking away and blushing.
"I'm sorry…I just…I have to go." she stuttered as she stood and gathered her books, shoving them in her bag and slinging it over her shoulder. Half-running, she bolted from the library and didn't stop until she got to Gryffindor tower. She climbed through the portrait hole and slammed her back against the wall adjacent, breathing heavily.
"Who're you running from, then?" George asked from his seat by the fire. She walked over and stood in front of the troublesome twins.
"If you must know, Oliver Wood." She admitted, tapping her fingers on the back of the armchair George occupied. They were playing a game of wizard's chess, and George was clearly winning.
"Strange, he usually has the opposite effect on women." Fred commented before moving one of his pawns.
"What'd he do?"
"None of your damn business. Either one of you seen my cat?" She asked casually, plopping down on the couch next to Fred.
"Nope. Should I tell her, Fred?" George asked his twin, taking the pawn with his knight, the knight growing two small arms and pitching the pawn off of the board.
"Go right ahead, George." Fred replied, a devilish, knowing smile crossing his face.
"Tell me what?" Hazel asked, furrowing her brow.
"Do you realize what house the one you so vehemently seem to be avoiding is in?" George said.
"And who, any minute now, might pass through that door?" Fred continued. It dawned on Hazel after a moment's thought and she swore colorfully, grabbing her bag and dashing up the stairs to her dormitory.
"Hey George?" Fred asked, his eyes on the spot on the stairs Hazel had occupied seconds before.
"You reckon Wood tried anything…ungentlemanly?" Fred said suggestively, wagging his eyebrows at George. Something in his eyes, though, made George sure that Fred was asking a serious question.
"You know Wood. Of course he did." George joked, smiling at his twin's momentary lack of memory of their captain's antics. Many a locker room story had the boys heard of Oliver's conquests. Mostly tame, above-the-waist grabbing and heavy snogging, but the Weasley twins knew there had been a few instances of full-on shagging that Oliver wasn't keen on repeating. Oh, the broken hearts Oliver Wood had left in his wake.
A few silent minutes of wizard's chess passed before Wood crossed into Gryffindor's common room. The Quidditch players all shared casual hellos before George conquered his twin and leapt to his feet, raising his arms and declaring his victory for all to hear.
Hazel took to spending most of her nights in the library, trying to scale the mountain of homework she had because of her O.W.L.s, her stress level not decreasing at all. Oliver often joined her in the library the nights when he wasn't practicing or strategizing for Quidditch, and they would review together. They had developed a flirtatious rapport, but Hazel was intent on not letting anything romantic happen this year. She had to focus, and not on Oliver Wood's very sexy smile.
Allegra had been ignoring her since the incident, and took to partnering with Veronica in class rather than Hazel. The third time this happened, in Herbology the week after the incident, George Weasley came to rescue her from having to do the lesson alone as she had done in Divination and Transfiguration.
On this particular night, the Monday before Halloween, three weeks, one day, and twenty-three hours after Hazel yelled at Allegra and Eric, the inseparable pair showed up or, rather, slammed into the bookshelf next to Hazel, fingers entwined in each other's hair and tongues deep in each other's throats.
"Excuse me." Hazel said, clearing her throat loudly. They didn't seem to hear her or realize that they were not, in fact, the only people on the face of the earth.
"Excuse me!" she yelled, running out of patience as they knocked some books off of the shelf and onto her table. What little fuse she had had reached its end, so Hazel gathered up her things and pushed past them, but not before muttering, "aguamenti" under her breath and pointing her wand at the near-coupling couple.
As she rounded the corner she heard a splash of water on the floor and loud cursing from Allegra and Eric as they were soaked. She used her books to cover her smile as she left the library and proceeded to dinner.
As she helped herself to some shepherd's pie she caught Allegra and Eric enter the Great Hall out of the corner of her eye and smirked. She couldn't help but feel a bit haughty after bringing them down a peg. Knowing Allegra for as long as she had, Hazel had no doubt in her mind she had been showing off.
Allegra had always been more comfortable with herself than Hazel had, especially where boys were concerned. Allegra was direct whereas Hazel avoided confrontation. Allegra was passionate whereas Hazel was more subdued. So far, this had afforded Allegra quite a few paramours while Hazel had had two.
Alex McKinnon, a fellow Gryffindor, in their third year. They had barely kissed at the Halloween feast and spent the next few weeks shyly holding hands and sending each other love notes. In the end, Hazel was completely blindsided when he called it off. Veronica spotted him the next week with a Slytherin girl named Prunella Templeton at Madam Puddifoot's and promptly hexed him.
And, more devastatingly, over the summer Hazel had a romantic fling with Ewan Jenkins, one of her Muggle friends from York. They picked up hot and heavy at the beginning of the summer, to say the least. One night, after a particularly wild house party with her other Muggle mates, she and Ewan had gone all the way. This was shortly followed by Hazel realizing exactly how many lies she had to tell him on a daily basis. Lies about her school, her family, and her entire life outside of the twelve weeks a year she was at home with her father. It was all too much for her. What kind of relationship could they have when she went back to school? How would she explain having an owl deliver her letters and why they were written on parchment? How would she explain why her school didn't have telephones? She took him to Betty's on what would've been their two-month anniversary and explained to him that it was over.
That was yet another reason why she was so angry with Allegra. She had written to her many times over the summer, begging for advice, but heard radio silence from the girl she called her best friend. Luckily, she still had Veronica to rely on but since it was mostly along the lines of, 'quit your bitching and shag him while you can!', it wasn't exactly the most helpful advice.
Part of Allegra's silence, she assumed, was Eric's fault. Hazel watched them now as they crossed to the Hufflepuff table, leaving puddles of water behind them.
"Wonder what happened to those two." Angelina wondered as she sat down next to Hazel. Alicia and Veronica sat across from them.
"Fell in the lake, maybe?" Alicia pondered aloud. Hazel desperately wanted to take credit, but kept her mouth shut in a tight smile. Veronica shot Hazel a knowing look, but Hazel just shrugged and took another bite of Cornish pasty.
"Nah, they'd be much drier if they'd walked up from the lake." Fred Weasley observed as he slid in on Hazel's other side.
"Hazel, any ideas? Allegra is, after all, your best friend." George said.
"Yes, actually. She and Eric were going at it in the library and I thought they needed to cool off." She confessed as she took her last bite.
"You did not!" Angelina gasped.
"Well, we can't risk having all those books catch fire now, can we?" Hazel smirked. Fred and George looked immensely proud. Fred even went so far as to wrap Hazel in a tight hug, resting his chin on top of her head.
"What are you doing?" she asked, her voice muffled in Fred's jumper.
"I'm just so damn proud!" he said, voice breaking as if he were crying.
"Our little Hazel, all grown up and playing revenge pranks!" George beamed, ruffling her hair from across the table. She pushed Fred's arms off of her and swatted at George's hand.
"Yeah, yeah, shove off. I'm going for a walk, anyone care to join me?" Hazel asked, rising from the table.
"I will." said Angelina. Veronica also joined them. Together the girls walked out the great wooden doors, careful to avoid the puddles, and out into the courtyard. The sun was already gone and the night breezes held a definite late October chill. Hazel wrapped her school robe around herself a bit tighter as they approached the main gate. They were stopped by Filch, who informed them no students were allowed out of the castle after dark.
"Takin' extra precautions, you'd do well to respect them!" Filch snapped at them before they turned around and reentered the castle.
"Well, what do we do now?" Veronica asked as they meandered around the empty corridors.
"I don't really want to go back to the common room and I'm dead sick of studying. Want to keep aimlessly strolling? We can gossip about our classmates."
Angelina smiled, "Sure. I could use a little girl talk after nothing but Quidditch practice."
Hazel reached into her bag and extracted a small hip flask that she had filled with her grandfather's firewhiskey and flashed it at the other two girls, "And perhaps we can imbibe a bit?"
"Hazel Herrod, you little sneak! Where did you get this?" Veronica said, grabbing the flask and smelling it.
"I nicked a couple bottles from my grandparents' storehouse before the start of term. For special occasions, of course." She bragged. Hazel's grandparents lived in a grand old mansion fifteen miles outside of York. What appeared to Muggles as an old, decrepit barn on the property was actually a large distillery, where they made Nithercott's Finest Firewhiskey and had since 1785.
"Alright, guess who were found in an empty classroom on the fifth floor by none other than Filch himself!" Veronica said salaciously after taking a nip off of the flask. Always one for a good secret, Veronica had the best gossip.
"Who?" Angelina asked, obviously hooked.
"Lewis Jones and Stephen Hardwicke!" Veronica spilled, giggling like mad.
"No! I never figured them for being gay!" Angelina nearly choked on the firewhiskey. Veronica had a proud look on her face.
"Are you kidding, Stephen is much too pretty to be straight!" Hazel observed before taking a long drag from the flask and feeling the warmth of the whisky seep down into her stomach.
"Oh please, you said the same thing about Cedric." Angelina revealed, "And now look at him and Veronica, they're practically attached at the hip!"
"Or the mouth!" Hazel giggled. Even after the heavy dinner she had just eaten, the firewhiskey had started working its way to her head almost immediately.
"I resent that. I've been taking great pains to make sure Cedric and I appear to be a completely respectable couple." Veronica took another drag and passed the flask back to Hazel, who offered it to Angelina.
"When in actuality it's everything you can do to not push him into the nearest alcove and rip his clothes off!" Angelina laughed loudly.
"I mean, how could you not want to rip Cedric Diggory's clothes off? I know I do!" Hazel said, earning her a look from Veronica that made her grateful looks couldn't kill. The chestnut-haired bespectacled beauty softened almost immediately, though.
"I won't paint too indecent a picture, but I will say that years of Quidditch have done him nothing but favors." Veronica bragged, winking.
"So have you two…you know…" Angelina asked suggestively.
"Have we what?" Veronica was playing dumb.
"Made the beast with two backs!" Hazel could fully feel the effects of the firewhiskey, as her gait became looser and her path became a bit more back-and-forth.
"Hazel, you should know that I am not one to kiss and tell!"
"Yes, but you're also not one to have sex and shut up!" Hazel teased, tugging on Veronica's braid. Veronica slapped her hand away and a bright blush rose in her cheeks.
"We haven't had sex yet. We have gotten…handsy." She said, groping the air in front of her and shimmying her chest a bit in a way that made her companions laugh hysterically. The three tripped up the stairs, continuing to talk about their love lives. Angelina, apparently, had been flirting with a Slytherin sixth year that "wasn't at all like a Slytherin."
"Hazel, what about you?" Angelina asked after revealing she and Adolpho Rudesky had snogged after potions a few times.
"Oh, I've got no one special." She brushed off, trying to concentrate on staying upright.
"So then what's this I hear about you and Oliver Wood getting cozy in the library every night he doesn't have Quidditch?" Veronica countered, catching Hazel as she ran into her shoulder.
"Oh, that's nothing. Just some flirting to distract me from all my bloody homework." She explained as they turned down the corridor that led to Gryffindor Tower.
"That's not what I've heard."
"Oh really? What have you heard?" Hazel asked, a hint of curiosity in her voice.
"That the lovely Quidditch captain is smitten. He's thinking of asking you to Hogsmeade." Veronica revealed, looking at Hazel from over her horn-rimmed glasses suggestively.
"And your source?" Hazel questioned, not believing her friend.
"Roy Beckett. Y'know, short, stocky, dark hair, shares a dorm with Oliver?"
"Yeah, I know him." Hazel admitted, falling into silence as she thought about going to Hogsmeade with Oliver. Her stomach fluttered a bit at the thought.
The portrait of the Fat Lady was fifty yards down the corridor and the girls could hear her screeches that she thought passed for opera. They cringed as she tried to hit a particularly high note that was clearly out of her range.
Hazel looked over at Angelina, hands clamped tight over her ears, "Another lap?" she yelled. Angelina, with her fingers stuck in her own ears, nodded through a grimace and Veronica nodding assent. They turned away, striding away from the cacophonic noises of the Fat Lady.