Day 5

Title: Day 5
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG
Pairing: Oliver/Marcus eventually
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my 'verse. I don't get paid a cent to play. Please don't sue and make things worse.
Summary: Marcus Flint is new to the team and trying to find his place there, but he’s a bit unpredictable.
Note: Part of the 12 Ficlets in 12 Days project 2011-2012. Requested by x_posed_again


Day 5

Oliver Wood loved getting to practice early enough to have the locker room all to himself for a few minutes. It wasn’t just the serenity, it was the excitement. Every inch of the place was filled with expectation and anticipation.

This morning, however, someone was already in the locker room. And that someone was the last someone Oliver wanted to see. He still couldn’t believe that Puddlemere’s owners had thought Marcus Flint was a good fit for the team; the man might be an excellent player, but he only cared about things that benefitted him. That was a Slytherin for you.

Marcus sat hunched over on a bench, holding a piece of paper in his hands. It seemed to Oliver that the man was talking to himself. But as he got closer, he realized that Marcus was in fact swearing to himself. And he wasn’t being creative about it, either. “Shite. Shite. Shite. Shite.” He looked miserable and Oliver could only guess what was on that paper to make him feel like that.

“What’s wrong, Flint?”

Marcus jumped about a foot. He turned and saw Oliver, his face falling. “Nothing’s wrong, Wood. I’m fine.”

“Right, because swearing repeatedly is a sign that a person is perfectly fine.”

“No, but asking questions about things that aren’t any of your business is a sign that a person is a nosy busybody.”

If he was going to be called a nosy busybody, he thought he should act the part. So Oliver sat down on the bench, straddling it, and leaned close to read over Marcus’ arm. “Financial trouble?”

Marcus nodded and folded the paper in half, in fourths, in eighths. “My new contract came with a bit of a pay cut. I’ve been sending some money home to my mum and paying for my flat just doesn’t seem possible on top of that. My new landlord isn’t very patient with me. He says he’s going to throw me out if I don’t pay up. I believe him too.”

“Sounds like you need a new place to live.”

Marcus nodded. “You got any suggestions?”

With a grin, “Actually, aye. I’ve got an extra bedroom.”

“You!” Marcus laughed at the absurdity. “That’s so Gryffindor of you. You see someone in trouble and you come up with a solution, no matter that it’s the stupidest, most inconvenient solution.”

“What’s so stupid about it? You need a place to live. I’ve got a place. I know we’re not friends or anything, but we’re on the same team now.”

Marcus rolled his eyes. “I promise it can’t be that easy.”


It wasn’t that easy. But it wasn’t that hard either. Marcus didn’t have many belongings to move in and he kept the same hours Oliver did. There were two bathrooms, so they never had to fight about the showers at night or before heading out to practice in the morning. They both liked dark roast coffee, and a pot split between them went quickly every day.

The one wrinkle in the whole arrangement was that Marcus Flint had a bad habit of making promises that he couldn’t keep. He promised to put his shoes away after morning runs, but ended up leaving them in the middle of the living room where Oliver frequently tripped over them. He promised to buy a new carton of milk after he finished the last of it in his oatmeal and the next morning Oliver went to make scrambled eggs with an empty carton. He promised to throw Oliver’s clothes into the laundry with his own, but Oliver ended up having to do his own cleaning spells just to have a clean pair of shorts to wear. He promised a power bar would be good for Oliver the morning of a game when Oliver felt too nervous to eat, and Oliver had to take an indigestion potion after Aparating to the pitch.

And he promised that their match against the Holyhead Harpies would be an easy win. “They’re a bunch of girls. How hard can that be for our team?” But five hours later, when Puddlemere found itself trailing by one hundred and twenty points, they found out.

Puddlemere’s offense just couldn’t manage to break through Holyhead’s defenses. The girls formed some sort of brick wall every time Flint or any of the other chasers got close enough to score. They seemed to multiply, zooming everywhere, anticipating Puddlemere’s every move. Even the team’s best plays failed to win them an opportunity for points.

Similarly, Holyhead’s tactics when they went to score repeatedly succeeded. The Holyhead beaters targeted Oliver, sending bludgers right at him. They would throw the quaffle at him as well. Even the snitched seemed to be in on it, chased and directed to fly right at Oliver. He was a damn good keeper, but he was only one person with two hands. And he was useless when his own seeker, trying to catch the snitch, collided with him to knock him off his broom.

Play continued in the sky above as Oliver lay incapacitated on the pitch. He knew he had to get off before the coach would send in a new seeker, and by then who knew how many goals would be scored against them. But his back was killing him; like he’d fallen on something. He rolled over and crawled on all fours, wincing in pain, trying to get to the sidelines as quickly as possible. The grass was thick and made his fingertips itch a little. His kneepads slid against the grass, the only part of the crawling movement that was easy. His body throbbed in pain with each inch. And as he reached the white line, he passed out.

Oliver spent the next few hours moving in and out of consciousness. When awake, he insisted on staying on the sidelines so that he could watch the game. When unconscious, he had dreams of Quidditch. By the end, he wasn’t exactly sure what had gone on in the game. All he was sure about was that they had caught the snitch and won by the narrowest possible margin and that Marcus Flint had behaved like a madman.

It wasn’t until he was back at home, set up on the couch and hopped up on pain potions, that he had a chance to ask “Flint, for the sake of Merlin’s snitches, what happened?”

Flint shrugged. “Dunno.”

“Seems like ye lost it out there. Do I remember you grabbing a broom out from under one of their beaters?”

Another shrug. “You want a beer? I’m gonna have a beer. Want one?”

Oliver wasn’t supposed to drink after having the potions, but his back still hurt and he figured a beer would loosen Flint’s lips.

There weren’t any other chairs or couches in the flat, so Marcus collapsed on the floor, leaning back against the couch. His head was so close Oliver could reach out and touch his hair if he’d wanted. He could have broken the bottle over Marcus’ head as well. “How many goals did ye score before I was taken out?”

It took Flint a whole minute to answer. “None.”

“And how many afterward?”

Another shrug. “Eight.”

It was as If Marcus Flint had been unleashed.

Marcus tipped back his bottle and took a few healthy gulps. “I was angry. I don’t like it when my keeper’s attacked.”

“Aye, I gathered as much.”

Marcus tilted his head back, catching Oliver’s gaze. “You gonna be all right? You’re not out of commission all season or anything, are you?”

“They said I might be out a game or two. I didn’t just hit the ground, I came down on a bludger.”

Marcus winced. One mouthful of beer later, he pushed himself up. “I’m hungry. Winning makes me hungry. There’s a pizza take-away place down the street, right?”

Oliver nodded. “Pizza sounds good.”

“Great. You got a couple galleons for it?”

Laughing, Oliver dug a couple coins out of his pocket.


Wherever Marcus Flint’s rage was, it didn’t show up during the next game. The Chudley Cannons never were much of a challenge. But Puddlemere United barely racked up the score before catching the snitch. Oliver watched the match from the sidelines, the team medics having grounded him. It was tough watching his team play and not be able to help them out. But if he’d played, he would have kicked Flint’s arse to get him in gear. The chaser was sluggish; he’d seen the man put more energy into a sneeze than his play during that game.

Afterward, he found himself on the couch, a burger balanced on his chest and a beer in hand. Flint sat on the far arm of the couch with his own beer and some onion rings.

“So what happened out there today, Flint?”

“You were there. You saw.”

“Yeah. I was just wondering where you were.”

A pause. A gulp of beer. “What are you trying to say, Wood?”

Oliver shrugged. “Just that if I were team captain, I’d have called ye out for not showing up.”

“Good thing you’re not team captain then.” Marcus did not comment further, which was as good as admitting that Oliver was right. And Oliver took the silence as a sign to shut up about the guy’s playing.

“So… Ballycastle’s next, huh? How do you feel about that? Playing your old team, I mean. Are ye going to be all right with that?”

Marcus looked at him as if he were crazy. “Of course. I’m with United now. And those Ballycastle Bats aren’t going to know what hit them when we get out there.” He offered over the last of his onion rings and, groaning, got to his feet. “I’m feeling fat now. M’going on a run.”

Oliver nodded and finished the food. He didn’t want to put any unnecessary stress on his back. And it was pretty damn clear Flint needed some time alone. The man wasn’t good at talking about his feelings, that was for sure.


Merlin, but it felt good to be back in the air on the pitch. Just zooming around the hoops during warm-ups made Oliver’s heart race with excitement. His back felt great and he felt like he could take on all of Ballycastle singlehandedly.

But once the match started, he was glad to have the rest of his team there. The Bats were a force to be reckoned with, going through every offensive play in the book and then some. He wouldn’t have stood a chance on his own. But with Flint on his team, he definitely wasn’t alone. Any time one of the chasers came near, he’d zoom in and run interference. At first, it was just attempts to recover the quaffle—perfectly normal behavior for a chaser. But then he would use his broom to redirect bludgers and use his body as a blocker. Oliver thought he was just trying to keep his old team from scoring on them, because he knew the moves and his old teammates’ plays. But then Oliver realized Flint wasn’t protecting the hoops; Flint was protecting Oliver.

Whenever the quaffle came near Oliver, Flint swooped in. Whenever the quaffle was near a hoop Oliver was far away from, Flint barely noticed it. Oliver was part amused, part flattered, and part annoyed. Flint was a damn good scorer and if he was playing defense the whole game, Puddlemere United’s plays would be useless. Not to mention that he was interfering with the way Oliver kept the hoops and making it difficult for Oliver to see plays around him. Oliver tried to get Flint’s attention, but there was no talking to him during the game; Flint was too focused. In the end, it was up to Puddlemere’s other two chasers to get any scoring done.

They won the game two hundred and twenty to forty. The team celebrated on the ground, jumping and cheering. Coach Ellison pumped his fist in the air in victory as well, but then he called Oliver aside while the team was occupied.

“My back’s fine,” Oliver said, before the coach could ask.

“I know. I wanted to talk to you about Marcus Flint.”

A hard knot formed in Oliver’s stomach. Flint’s crazy behavior during this game and his inconsistent playing in the other games had apparently not gone without noticing. The last thing Oliver wanted was to see the man benched, but he was unpredictable and wasn’t playing the way he should have.

“You’ve got to have a talk with him.”

“Me, Sir?”

The coach nodded, rubbing his hand on the back of his neck. “You. Flint’s clearly infatuated with you. He goes mad whenever you’re threatened out there and barely has the heart to play when you were out a game. Don’t get me wrong, he was brilliant out there, it’s just not what he’s paid to do.” Coach Ellison patted Oliver on the back and directed him toward the celebration mid-field. “Good game out there. Go join the fun.”

After the game, the team went out for drinks. Oliver had a couple just to loosen up a bit. He was feeling good by the time he got back to their flat, with a slightly more intoxicated version of Flint leaning on him for support. He deposited Flint on the couch; the man groaned and buried his face in a couch cushion. “Do me a favor, Wood, and kill me.”

Oliver got a sobriety potion out of the bathroom cabinet instead. It took a good ten minutes to convince Flint to take a sip of it, but once he did, he instantly felt better. And Oliver felt worse. “Look, Flint, Coach Eillison talked to me about the game. This is going to sound pretty mad, but he seems to think you’ve got the hots for me and it’s messing up your game.” Oliver laughed, hoping that Flint would join right in. Only he didn’t. “It’s absurd, aye? I mean, you’re not even gay.”

Flint didn’t reply.

“You aren’t, are ye? I knew all the gay lads at Hogwarts and no one ever spoke about ye.”

Flint pushed himself up off the couch and, silently, headed to his bedroom.

Oliver stood in the living room, staring at the abandoned couch. Why hadn’t Flint laughed? Why hadn’t he denied the accusation? Oliver headed after his roommate. He opened the door to Flint’s bedroom to find the man standing there, starkers as the day he was born. Oliver quickly closed his eyes and the door, full of apologies.

He kept his eyes closed as he heard the door open and footsteps in front of him. “Damn it, Flint, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” A hand cupped Oliver’s cheek, and Oliver didn’t pull away. Lips pressed against Oliver’s lips, and Oliver returned the gesture in kind.

“I don’t think this is exactly what Coach had in mind,” he whispered when he had regained use of his mouth. “Leave it to you to take something like me hurting my back and turn it into something about you. You’re such a Slytherin.”

“Are you complaining, Gryffindor?”

“Not one bit.” He moved in and kissed him back again.