Previously: Fiona Wild and Oliver Wood play a last game of Quidditch in Oliver's back garden before Flooing to Hogsmeade for their final year at Hogwarts. Once there, they defy Professor McGonagall and fly up to the Gryffindor Common Room. They discover at dinner that Dementors have been posted at the school gates due to Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban. We finish with them tucking into dinner in the Great Hall, and catching up with their friend, Joe O'Keefe.
Dedication: This chapter is dedicated to Kyizi, for getting me into writing fanfiction proper (yes, it's all her fault) and for mainly getting me into Harry Potter fic. Audrey is especially for you, hon. J
Note: In this part I've used some excerpts out of 'Prisoner of Azkaban'. All of Dumbledore's actual speech comes directly from 'Prisoner of Azkaban' (Pages 71, 72, 73 from Chapter 5 'The Dementor' in the UK paperback edition.).
Before they could get engrossed, however, Professor Dumbledore stood up to speak. Fiona nudged Oliver, and they both turned to listen to their Headmaster.
"Welcome!" said Dumbledore, the candlelight shimmering on his beard. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent feast…"
Dumbledore cleared his throat and continued. "As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the Dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business."
He paused, and Fiona took the opportunity to whisper to Joe across the table, "They searched the Express? Whoa, now I'm glad I came by Floo and missed it all."
Joe replied softly, "Yeah, it was really creepy. I was just telling Oliver that they seem to suck all the happiness out of you."
Dumbledore continued to tell them that the Dementors were stationed at all the school's entrances, and that nobody could leave without permission. Fiona gulped. She didn't want to think what would happen to anyone that was caught by a Dementor. There was no way she was leaving school.
"On a happier note," Dumbledore continued, "I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year.
"Firstly, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher."
The applause that followed the Headmaster's announcement was weak and scattered. Fiona noticed that Harry and his friends were clapping the most enthusiastically, and was about to tell Oliver that perhaps they knew something the rest didn't, when he whispered in her ear, "Lupin? Where have I heard that name before?"
Fiona looked at him, puzzled. She shook her head. "I don't know. It doesn't sound familiar to me. He looks an all right sort, though." She glanced at the teachers' table again. "And, if Snape's look is anything to go by, he should be wonderful." She nodded to where their Potions teacher was glaring loathingly at the new Professor.
Oliver grinned. "You're right. Maybe this year, Defence Against the Dark Arts will be fun."
"As to our second new appointment," Dumbledore continued, "well, I'm sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs. However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties."
Fiona's mouth dropped open, and she stared at Joe and Oliver in astonishment, a grin slowly forming on her face. They grinned back at her, and clapped vigorously. They were all fond of the big gamekeeper with an even bigger heart, and knew that he would love this job.
Finally, at least for Fiona, who was starving, Dumbledore announced, "Let the feast begin!" and the table was suddenly groaning with food and drink.
Fiona's eyes glinted as she looked round the Great Hall, taking in the chattering, happy faces surrounding her. She caught snatches of conversation around her. "It's so great that Hagrid got given that job!" That was Ron Weasley. "…looking forward to the first trip to Hogsmeade. George and I have a huge list of things we want to get." That could only be Fred Weasley. Fiona was glad she didn't see much of the twins; otherwise they'd be bound to play some trick on her. "We've got to win this year!" Ah, now that would Oliver.
Fiona turned, grinning, back to the conversation. "This year is definitely our year," Joe agreed.
"Besides, it's only right. Fate's bound to give us the Quidditch Cup, just for all the work we put in," Fiona added. "Plus, someone out there has to be looking out for you, Oliver."
"Fate? I'm not going to leave the Cup to Fate!" Oliver exploded. "We're going to work harder this year than we ever have before!"
Fiona rolled her eyes at Joe across the table, who covered a smile with his hand. "Oliver," she laid a hand on his arm. "Will you stop worrying, at least until tomorrow? We're going to win, there's no doubt about it."
Oliver looked sour for a moment, and then his face lightened. "I'm doing it again, aren't I?"
Fiona grinned, and nodded.
"Sorry," he apologised. "I'll try to restrain myself for tonight."
The conversation continued, but steered away from Quidditch as much as possible, instead revolving around what had happened over the summer holidays. Finally, the food was finished, and it was announced that it was time for bed. Oliver and Fiona were one of the first out of the Hall, and were on their way up the numerous stairs to the Gryffindor common room when Fiona grabbed Oliver's arm. "We have to send an owl to our parents, to let them know we got here safely."
Oliver just looked at her in return, and Fiona could see he was imagining the many sets of stairs that led up to the Owlery, and weighing them up against his nice, warm bed. "Oliver, you know they'll be worrying, what with Black and all."
He sighed, and nodded his head. The pair turned away from the rest of the crowd, and dashed up a set of stairs, before Percy could see them and tell them off.
Gryffin and Pipit were waiting for them, snuggled close together on the same perch. Fiona smiled wryly to herself. It seems as though our owls have got the idea, now why can't Oliver? She shook herself. Now, Fiona, you know it's no use. Stop thinking about it!
Oliver held out his arm, and Gryffin flew over on silent wings. "Are we going write a joint letter, or two separate ones?"
Fiona looked at Pipit, who gave a small hoot, and flew over to land on her shoulder. "Oomph, I wish you wouldn't do that. I always get a mouthful of feathers," Fiona grumbled to her. "I guess that answers the question. We might as well send them both."
Oliver grinned to see his petite friend standing awkwardly, with her tawny owl perched happily on one shoulder. "She matches you perfectly. Brings out the colour of your eyes," he said, half-jokingly.
Fortunately for him, Fiona couldn't hit him without disturbing Pipit, and had to resort to a glare. They both fetched a piece of parchment from the supply, which was used in case anyone made the trek up there and had forgotten theirs, and wrote quick notes home with the supplied quills.
"There," Fiona said, as they watched their owls fly off into the dark. "Duty's been done."
"We'd better dash, Fiona," Oliver pointed out. "Percy's bound to have missed me in the dorm by now."
Fiona groaned. Percy had always cramped their style somewhat when they were planning mischief, but now he was Head Boy, they didn't stand a chance. "Audrey will be looking for me as well," she added, mentioning one of her dorm-mates.
After a mad dash down the stairs, leaping over the trick ones, they ended, gasping and laughing, at the Fat Lady, who was dozing. Their chortles woke her up, and she glared at them. "Who's up at this hour? You're all meant to be in bed already." She peered at them. "Oh, it's you two. That explains a lot. Been up to no good, I've no doubt. Or maybe," she winked at them, "you've finally got it together. You know, I've never seen a couple more likely to…"
Fiona sighed, and glanced sideways at Oliver, who had a funny expression on his face. "Fortuna Major," she said firmly at the Fat Lady. She knew that if they let her, she'd be talking all night.
"Oh, right, sorry. Off to bed with you, then," and the painting swung open, revealing the hole in the wall that led to the Gryffindor common room.
The two friends snuck in quietly, and whispered good nights at the stairs, promising to meet up early for Defence of the Dark Arts, a lesson that they were both looking forward to. The last couple of years, the teachers had been pathetic. Fiona was hoping that Professor Lupin was better than the others, and Oliver was hoping that he would remember why the Professor's name was so familiar.
Fiona climbed the steps to the fourth floor, where her dorm was. She opened the door quietly, and tiptoed across to the far end, where her bed was. She didn't think anyone was asleep, after all, today had been an exciting day, what with the Dementors, but she was hoping that they were all absorbed in their own thoughts, and wouldn't have noticed her come in.
"Fiona Wild," a voice whispered.
She groaned. Too much to hope that Audrey was asleep. "Audrey Rose," she returned.
"Where have you been?" her friend hissed, keeping her voice down, so as not to disturb anyone else.
"I was with Oliver, we were…" Fiona started, as she began to get undressed.
"Say no more," Audrey whispered. "So, you two have finally got it together? Thank goodness!"
"No," Fiona answered back, climbing into bed. "We were sending owls home. Honestly, you've such a dirty mind, Audrey."
Fiona could imagine her friend smirking in the dark. "Well, I learnt from the best, Fiona."
Fiona snorted, and refrained from replying to that remark, saying only, "I'm going to sleep. It's been a tiring day. Oliver and I were playing Quidditch most of the day, and I want to get up early. We've got Defence Against the Dark Arts first thing, you know."
Audrey laughed quietly. "I bet you were. Did he let you fly his broom? With a body like that, I can imagine why you're tired!"
Fiona felt around for something to throw at her friend. She found her wand, and quietly cast a silencing spell on her. "There, maybe that'll teach you! Just make sure you don't say anything like that around Oliver. He's got an innocent mind, and I don't want you perverting him."
She heard Audrey feeling for her own wand, but then hitting her bed in frustration when she realised that she couldn't cast a spell if she couldn't talk. Fiona laughed lightly, and whispered, "Finite Incantatem."
"You think Oliver's innocent?" Audrey asked, astonished. "He's a seventeen year old boy, doesn't that say it all?"
Fiona giggled, and grinned to herself. "Oh, I know he's not that innocent. After all, I am his friend. In fact, I think you'll find that he's where I get most of it from." She turned over to look out of the window, watching the dark clouds skid across the sky. "Now, Audrey, I'll talk to you tomorrow. I really need sleep, especially since I know Oliver will be pushing me extra hard this year to get the Reserve team ready." She heard what sounded a lot like a snerk from Audrey, but her friend heeded her, and said no more that night.
She woke up early the next day to find no one else awake. Quietly, Fiona dressed in soft black corduroys and a dark red jumper, putting on her Gryffindor robes over the top. She grabbed her bag, and made her way down the stairs.
Fiona found the common room empty, so she sat on a chair, pulled out a piece of parchment, and started to write up a notice concerning Quidditch trials for the Reserve team. She hadn't asked Madam Hooch about borrowing the pitch, since she wasn't holding out much hope of getting many applicants. Instead, she wrote on the notice to come to her if anyone was interested. Her plan was to try anybody out during normal practice.
"Very nice penmanship there," an amused voice came over her shoulder. She turned her head to see Oliver smiling at her. He perched on her chair arm. "And you accuse me of being obsessive."
Fiona pretended to look hurt. "Well, you were late."
Oliver just shook his head, grabbed the notice out of her hands, and put it on the wall just beside the exit. "Come on, Wild, time to go to work."
Fiona got up, and followed him out into the corridor, waking the Fat Lady as they did so. "What, you two again? Don't you ever sleep? Wait, don't answer that."
The pair rolled their eyes at each other and made their way down to the Great Hall to grab a bite to eat. Both of them weren't big eaters on the first day back to school. Teasing each other quietly, they left the Great Hall soon after, having consumed a few slices of toast and quickly made their way to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. "So, did you remember why Professor Lupin's name was familiar?"
Oliver shook his head. "I have a feeling it's something to do with my mother, though. Maybe I should owl her and ask."
"Maybe he's a Quidditch player," Fiona suggested dubiously. Oliver looked at her, unbelieving. "You're right," Fiona added quickly. "You'd never forget the name of a Quidditch player."
"Neither would you," Oliver pointed out. "I've heard your friends say you're as bad as me. And besides," he added, "he doesn't look like a Quidditch player."
Fiona laughed. "Does Ludo Bagman look like he played Quidditch?"
Oliver grinned. "Okay, point taken, but still, it's not that. Maybe he went to school with my mother."
"Well, whoever he is, he has to be a better teacher than Professor Lockhart or Professor Quirrell," Fiona said, as they stopped outside the classroom, waiting for Lupin to arrive. "Or Professor Kenyon, or Professor Nash, remember him? God!"
Oliver frowned. "I don't think that would be that hard. We've had a very bad run of luck when it comes to Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers. And Quidditch," he added gloomily.
"Never knew what everyone saw in Lockhart, anyway," Fiona muttered. "Puffed up ponce if I ever saw one."
"Fiona! Mind your language," Oliver grinned at her. "You must've had someone else on your mind, then, to not notice Lockhart. I've been told by my Chasers he's a bit of a looker." His eyes narrowed a little as he waited for her answer.
Fiona snorted. "Not my type at all. I generally like the brains intact please. And someone who fusses over their hair less than me."
"Well, I don't think you'll have to worry about that with Professor Lupin," Oliver said, as he watched their teacher come towards them, followed by the rest of the class.
Fiona smiled when she saw Lupin. He was a handsome man, although he looked as though he could use a good night's rest and a few decent meals inside him. He was young looking, despite his light brown hair being flecked with grey. She was already fond of him, for some reason. She imagined he looked a little like a stray dog. Fiona was always a softie when it came to dogs. "Yeah, he's more my type. It's the combination of grey and brown, grrr!" she said, casting a quick glance at Oliver to see whether he caught the connection between that and his own hair and eye colour.
Oliver did, indeed, hear her comment, but didn't reply, instead following Lupin into the classroom. He selected a desk at the back, and sat at one end, waiting for Fiona and Audrey to join him. He thought back over her grey-brown comment, wondering if it had any meaning. Shrugging slightly, he figured it didn't, and leant back in his chair to observe everyone else enter the room. When Joe came in, Oliver waved him over to the chair beside him, and they talked quietly whilst Fiona chatted with her friend.
"Good morning, everyone," Professor Lupin said. "Take out your books, please. Today we're going to be reading about Boggarts. I know it's really a subject that should've been covered a few years ago, but I've been looking through what you have actually done, and you've missed out on quite a lot. I'm afraid this year's going to be hard on you, since we're going to have to catch up."
The class groaned in unison, although a few of the students perked up at hearing that they'd be caught up. Fiona had to admit that Defence Against the Dark Arts had been worrying her, but she wasn't pleased about this year being the year she had to catch up, especially with Quidditch training.
Their class passed quickly, engrossed as they were in learning about Boggarts, and later, vampires. They left with Professor Lupin's promise that they'd meet a real Boggart next time ringing in their ears.
"Well," Fiona breathed as they left for Herbology with the Hufflepuffs. "That was exciting. Although, I don't relish having NEWTs in it at the end of the year, what with all the stuff we'll have to learn."
Audrey groaned. "Will you stop talking about work? You know my skin crawls as soon as you mention it." Fiona grinned, and gave her friend a quick shove. Audrey let out a yell, and scowled at her. "You don't know your own strength."
"Rubbish," Fiona retorted, "you're just a weakling. And you know you'll do well this year, as long as you do some work."
Joe and Oliver were walking in front of them, and Joe turned round with a smile on his face. "Was that The Four Letter Word I heard you say, Fiona? Cover your ears, Audrey, I think Fiona's got it in for you today!"
Audrey stuck her tongue out at him, and pretended to flounce off to Greenhouse 7. The others grinned and ran after her, and they entered the greenhouse laughing.
Professor Sprout was waiting for them with the Hufflepuffs, who had just come from Potions, and were muttering about Professor Snape. Still, Fiona reckoned that they had it slightly easier, since they didn't actually have Potions with Slytherin.
Fiona sat down with Audrey beside Laura Castle and Louise Green, who were Hufflepuffs. Professor Sprout set down pots of plants that were a type of cacti, with instructions to milk them. Fiona exchanged a look with Audrey, and then peered at the plant. It had vicious spines, which it was waving threateningly at them. "How exactly are we meant to do that?" Fiona whispered.
Laura heard her and answered in a soft voice, "You take one of these spikes, and poke a hole in one of those spots, and then place this little hawthorn trough in there, so the milk can run out."
"Oh, right, I get it," Fiona nodded. "And then we let it run into these hawthorn jars."
"What's with all the hawthorn?" Audrey asked.
Fiona explained, "This milk is used in making Wolfsbane Potion, which helps werewolves change into peaceful wolves as opposed to raging beasts. Every ingredient needed in the Wolfsbane Potion has to be contained in hawthorn. Traditionally, hawthorn is protection against physical and psychic attack."
A few minutes later, once they'd starting milking their cacti, Louise asked, her voice soft, "So, how's your Quidditch team?"
Fiona smiled. "Up to full strength, and raring to win. How's yours?" Louise played Chaser for Hufflepuff.
She smiled widely, and Fiona had a sinking feeling in her stomach. Hufflepuff weren't a decent Quidditch team, but what with the rivalry with Slytherin, the last thing Oliver, and indeed the whole Gryffindor team, needed was to worry about them having improved. Louise's grin gave Fiona the impression that that was precisely the case.
"We've got a new Captain, Cedric Diggory. He's our Seeker as well."
Fiona groaned inwardly, and tried to smile nicely. "That's good to hear. I know how difficult it is to find a decent Seeker." She knew Cedric was good, she'd seen him fly, and had wondered why he hadn't been chosen earlier. Apparently, since Hufflepuff had lost their previous Captain/Seeker, John Kirk, a replacement had been made in the form of Cedric. With Oliver in charge, Gryffindor's Quidditch team wasn't really affected by politics, but the fact that John was Professor Sprout's nephew had definitely contributed to him staying on the team so long.
Audrey leaned over, her blonde hair barely missing getting caught on Fiona's cactus' spines. "Is he that good-looking fifth year?" she asked.
Laura and Louise nodded proudly, and Fiona looked back at them despairingly. "Well, it's not like we don't have a brilliant Captain and Seeker." She glared at Audrey.
"Of course," Audrey quickly backtracked. "I was only asking."
Fiona looked across the greenhouse at Oliver. "I wonder if he knows yet?"
"Judging by the fact that his face doesn't look as though someone's died, I'd say no," Audrey observed. She patted Fiona on the back. "Looks like you get to be the one to tell him."
Fiona groaned, and glanced at him again as she checked the level of milk in her hawthorn jar. "I think I'll leave it until after this lesson, class isn't exactly the best place for it. I'd rather it be me telling him than anyone else. Hopefully, I can get there first, don't want him accidentally injuring someone."
The rest of the lesson was uneventful, and Fiona joined Oliver on his way out. "Potions right after lunch, isn't it?" he asked her brightly.
Fiona nodded, and smiled slightly. She dreaded telling Oliver the bad news. Perhaps now wasn't the best time, since they were having the next lesson with the Slytherins, and Marcus Flint, the Slytherin Quidditch Captain, was bound to get up Oliver's nose. Although, he might tell Oliver, and then I'll really be in the doghouse, Fiona reflected.
She was brought out of her mood by Oliver asking, "Fiona, what's wrong? You seem all pensive."
"Oliver, I need to tell you something," she started, looking up at him seriously.
Oh no, she's getting married, Oliver thought irrationally. Now where did that come from, Oliver? Pay attention! He stopped walking, and turned towards her.
"Now, don't get all excited, okay?" She took a deep breath. "Hufflepuff have a new Captain and Seeker."
Oliver looked puzzled. "Why should that worry me? Hufflepuff were never rivals for the Quidditch Cup."
"It's Cedric Diggory."
"Oh." Oliver lapsed into silence. Admittedly Hufflepuff's Quidditch team wasn't the best, but with Cedric as their Captain and Seeker, they would probably cause a few problems for Gryffindor's quest for the Cup. "Well," he said with forced brightness, "there's nothing we can do about it for the moment. Just concentrate on those Reserves."
Fiona looked shocked at her friend's mellow reaction. She mockingly felt his forehead. "What's wrong with you, Oliver? Are you feeling unwell?"
"Ha ha." He took hold of her hand, and made her twirl. "I'm feeling perfect, thank you. Looking forward to this year with great optimism. Now, let's get to lunch. I'm starving."
Fiona smiled, and walked after him, still feeling slightly dizzy from the spin. Although, she admitted to herself, it was more the feel of his hand on hers than any spinning that had taken place that was leaving her a little off-balance. She also knew that Oliver would not be feeling optimistic as soon as he'd gathered the team together, and would be working them extra hard.
The pair walked towards the Great Hall, and joined their classmates, chattering loudly about their first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson. Fred and George Weasley were sitting a little further down the row, and leant towards Oliver to ask him about Professor Lupin.
"He's brilliant," Oliver replied. "Although we have to work extra hard to catch up on everything we've missed these past few years."
"He certainly makes lessons interesting," Fiona added.
The twins then turned to jibe with Percy, who bluntly told them where to go. They ignored him and continued to pester him about being Head Boy and his girlfriend, Penelope, until he said something to them quietly, which shut them up rapidly.
Fiona wondered what Percy had on his younger brothers, but, knowing them, it could be all sorts of things. She turned back to the conversation about dragons that Audrey was trying to lure her into, and ate her lunch with gusto. Her morning lessons before had made her very hungry.
Fiona swallowed her last mouthful of stew, and watched as the Slytherins began to get up. "Come on, you lot, we've got to get to Potions before the Slytherins."
"Yeah, as if that's going to get us into Snape's good books," Audrey retorted.
Fiona shrugged with a smile, hoisting her bag onto her shoulder. "You never know. After all, one day Percy might break the rules." She didn't miss the sniff the Head Boy gave as he walked behind her, or Audrey's giggle.
The seventh year Gryffindors made their way down to the dungeons to Professor Snape's Potions lesson. It was a lesson that they all, including Percy, detested. They met Marcus Flint, Quidditch Captain for Slytherin, leaning against the dungeon wall.
"So, come back for one more year, Wood?" he snarled. "Just waiting for us to trounce you well and truly?"
Oliver tensed up, but a discrete hand on the arm from Fiona stopped him from answering. Audrey, however, was having none of it. "Just waiting for us to beat you into the ground, I think you mean," she said fiercely.
"Ooh," Flint put a hand on his heart dramatically. "You're scaring me, Rose. You're not even on the team, so you can't talk. Bet you don't even know one end of a broomstick from the other."
Audrey looked surprised. "Wow, Flint, I think that's the most I've heard you say in seven years. Obviously you've grown another brain cell to go with the one you had last year. Congratulations!"
Fiona stifled a laugh, as she followed Oliver and Joe, their shoulders shaking in silent laughter, into the dungeon, leaving Flint behind with a puzzled look on his face. Audrey sat behind Fiona with Joe, and Oliver paired up with her. "I'm surprised Snape still lets you two be partners, after all the trouble you've caused in his lessons," Joe whispered to them.
"Or out of them," Audrey added. "Think of all the Quidditch matches Slytherin would've won if it hadn't been for Oliver and Fiona."
Fiona shared a smile with Oliver, and was about to answer when Snape walked in. "So, you've all returned for your last year. What a shame," was his opening comment. His gaze took in the room, his eyes shining proudly when they cast over the Slytherins, and narrowing slightly upon reaching the Gryffindors, especially Oliver and Fiona, who were in the second to back row. Fiona was actually quite good at Potions, but the fact that Snape was her teacher combined with Oliver distracting her all the time with mischievous plans meant that she was renowned for causing trouble in Potions lessons, and thus was not a favourite of Snape's. The fact that she was a Gryffindor and played Quidditch only exacerbated the situation.
"Ah, the infamous Wood and Wild," he said, smiling. "Back to attempt to disrupt this lesson. I'll be keeping a close eye on you two this year. We wouldn't want you to make silly mistakes and fail your NEWTs, would we?" The Slytherins smirked at them, and he turned his back to write something on the blackboard. Fiona rolled her eyes at Percy and his partner Stuart Cowles, who were sitting in front of them, and who were grimacing at Snape's announcement.
They spent the lesson attempting to make a potion for wakefulness ("You should administer that to your team," Fiona joked with Oliver quietly.) and then tidying up. Fortunately for the Gryffindors, everyone was reasonably well behaved, and no points were lost in the lesson, although Snape managed to give out 10 points to Slytherin for Flint having chopped his rat's tail perfectly. ("What a joke," Audrey said to Joe. "They were totally misshapen.") It was also fortunate for Gryffindor that Snape's hearing had apparently been affected since the previous term: Fiona, Oliver, Joe, and Audrey made it through the entire lesson without being reprimanded for talking.
Once everything had finally been cleared away, and Snape was satisfied with the state of cleanliness of the desks, they were allowed to go. "Thank God," Stephanie Winters breathed. "That place is always so stifling."
Her partner, Hayley Betts, nodded her head. "I'm so glad to be out of there. Snape always smells of rotting rats."
Fiona thought that was a little bit of an overstatement, but since Snape wasn't exactly her favourite teacher, she wasn't about to stand up for his state of hygiene. They waited for the last of the Gryffindors, Tom Archer and Sally Summers, who were trailing the Slytherins, and they all began their slow and tedious way up out of the dungeons to their common room. "It's at times like these that I wish I was a Slytherin," Fiona commented to Audrey. "That way I wouldn't have lots of stairs to climb after Potions."
Hayley heard her, and turned to face her, looking horrified. "How can you want to be a Slytherin? That's terrible. You're such a traitor to our House."
Oliver and Joe turned on the stairs to look at them. "What's this about Fiona being a traitor?" Oliver asked, coming back down.
Hayley pointed a finger at Fiona, as though she was some kind of alien. "She said she wanted to be a Slytherin."
Oliver turned a rather amused face towards his friend. "Well, explain yourself, Wild."
Fiona shook her head. "I said that so I wouldn't have to climb all these stairs. Honestly!"
Audrey added, "She was joking, Hayley. You know Fiona's dedicated to the cause of bringing the Slytherins down to their knees."
"Or, into the ground, more like," Fiona grinned.
Hayley looked abashed, and followed the others up the stairs with a muttered apology in Fiona's direction. "I think she's feeling down about being dumped by Kevin," Audrey said.
"Kevin?" Fiona, Oliver, and Joe asked, as they, too, began to walk up the steps again.
"Yeah, seventh year Slytherin," Audrey explained. "Honestly, you Quidditch people, you never pay attention to any other gossip, do you? He's all right, as far as a Slytherin goes, but I think he dumped her over the summer. Seems he was getting too much flack from his fellow House members to continue the relationship."
Fiona snorted. "Well, that's love for you."
When they got to Gryffindor Tower, the twins had news for them. "Malfoy's been injured by a Hippogriff in Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures lesson," they told them joyously.
Fiona grimaced. "Well, that's not good for Hagrid, though, is it?"
"It's bound to get to back to Mr Malfoy, and then he'll be clamouring for Hagrid to be sacked," Audrey added.
"Well, all we can hope for is that Professor Dumbledore's smoothes everything over," Joe said.
"I would imagine he would," Oliver answered. "He's pretty liberal when it comes to things like that. Especially since Mr Malfoy is a suspected Death Eater."
"Come on, let's dump our bags and go for dinner," Fiona suggested. "We got out of Potions so late that we don't have time for anything else."
The other three agreed, and soon the foursome was on their way down the Great Hall for dinner. They noticed that Hagrid wasn't sat at the teacher's table, but, as they didn't have a full account of what had happened, weren't seriously worried. After all, as Joe pointed out, it was Hagrid's first year as a teacher, and perhaps he was just shy.
They ate their dinner of steak-and-kidney pie in relative silence, enjoying the wholesome food. When they had finished, they gloomily walked back up to the common room, contemplating the piles of homework that had been given to them.
Fiona and Audrey were pouring over ancient texts about Boggarts when Joe nudged Fiona's elbow. "Look, where are those three off to?" he asked, pointing out Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger as they walked out the portrait.
Oliver looked up from a book about potions. "Probably on their way to see Hagrid."
"We can get any gossip from them later," Audrey said, as Joe made a move to follow them. "We have lots of work to do."
Fiona and Oliver looked at her, shocked. "Did I just hear Audrey say The Four Letter Word?" Fiona asked Oliver.
He nodded his head. "I believe you did. It's amazing what can happen when it's the last year, isn't it?"
They grinned at Audrey, who was looking put out. "Shut it, you two, and get on with your studying," she told them, taking a book about exotic plants from Joe and burying her head in it.
"I wonder how long it will last?" Fiona murmured to Oliver, as she gave her book on Boggarts to Joe, adding, "I've finished my essay; you can have a look, if you want."
Joe shook his head. "I'd rather try and work it out myself first, thanks."
Fiona smiled at him. "You didn't change over the summer, then. That's nice to know." She rolled up her essay, and turned to discuss their Potions homework with Oliver.
The four sat quietly in a corner near the fire, working until Harry, Hermione, and Ron returned. Joe ran after them, and asked what had happened to Hagrid. He returned with the news that the school governors had been told, but Hagrid had yet to be sacked.
"He'll probably get away with a reprimand," Audrey said. "I mean, Hippogriffs is a bit excessive for a first lesson with third years." Audrey was like Hagrid in that she loved animals of all kinds, especially dragons, but was slightly more reserved in her passion about them than Hagrid was.
Fiona smiled. "This is Hagrid we are talking about, remember?"
"True," Audrey agreed. She then sighed, and closed her book. "I don't think I'm going to find anything else useful in this, and I think it's time for bed. I'm shattered."
Fiona looked at the clock above the mantelpiece. "I'm surprised Percy hasn't come down to chase us all up," she said, packing her things away as well.
"Come on, then," Joe said, helping them put the table back against the wall.
The four parted at the staircases, and Fiona and Audrey made their way quietly to bed. Fiona lay on her bed, silently going through the events of the day in her head. It seemed as though it had been a typical day at Hogwarts. Although, she had to admit Oliver's reaction to the news of Cedric was surprising. She had a feeling that Oliver had something up his sleeve, and she was determined to worm it out of him. With that thought, she turned over, and fell fast asleep.
A/N: Come along to Oliver and Fiona's Quidditch Practice, for discussion and new updates of Wood & Wild. The more the merrier.
I'd like to thank Arnel for her patience with me and her wonderful polishing up of this chapter. It now actually reads nicely! (I still can't believe I didn't catch the fact that I called Professor Sprout 'Madam Sprout'!)