Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Katie Bell/Marcus Flint
Characters: Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, Marcus Flint
This was the perfect time to strike. Katie was going to spill her secret, whether she wanted to or not. AU/ One-shot
The Broom Closet was busy for a Wednesday evening. The restaurant had opened its doors just a few weeks earlier and almost overnight became one of the places to be in Diagon Alley. The clientele mainly existed of Wizarding Britain's younger witches and wizards who had adopted the establishment as the place to meet each other. The modern music (too loud), minimalistic design (too white) and the haute cuisine (too small portions) didn't appeal to the older generation. And now, with Hogwarts out for the summer, it was busier than ever.
At one of the tables by the overly large windows and accompanied by generous amounts of wine, three women sat chatting and eating their dinner.
The women, once best of friends at Hogwarts, hadn't seen each other in a long time. It had taken them many attempts before they had been able to find a date that had suited all three. Ever since the two eldest of the friends had finished school, their friendship had been on a low ebb. Their schedules and lives clashed just too much to meet up regularly and preserve the amity that once had been.
Recently sworn in Auror Angelina Johnson took a last bite of her steak and pushed away her clean plate. She was enjoying herself immensely and vowed to make more time for her friends. Seeing them again made realise how much she had missed them and their outings. As she leant back in her chair, she watched Alicia and Katie chat animatedly about the newest Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes' inventions.
Not that she would ever admit it aloud, but secretly, she was glad that she had ended her relationship with Fred last year. The twins' jokes and tricks were fun until you had to live with it twenty for seven. No, she'd her fair share over the years and it had been more than enough. The final straw had been when Fred had 'treated' her to cake. A cake that had turned her hair purple and her skin green for three long days.
How Alicia managed to put up with it daily was beyond her. By the end of their relationship, Angie had been ready to murder Fred, bring him back to life and kill him all over again.
As she watched her friends' happy chatter, Angelina couldn't shake off the feeling that something was not right with Katie. Whereas Alicia and she had shared every detail of their lives, the good and the bad, Katie had been more reserved about the happenings in her life, even more so than usual.
Katie never had been very forthcoming about her private life. She would usually brush over the topics that mattered and delve unnecessarily deeper into the ones no one was interested in hearing.
For example, Katie had stated earlier tonight that playing for Puddlemere's reserve team had been 'fun' thus far. Then she had raved on and on about her mother's bakery where she still worked. One should not describe playing for Puddlemere as mere 'fun' and proceed to describe in boring detail how tasty Mrs Bell's crumpets were.
Puddlemere was one of the better teams in the competition. They had some of the most handsome men in the country playing for them. So, just 'fun' should not be enough to describe that. Angelina wanted the gritty details, the dirt and preferably, mental images of all that male goodness. It was quite disappointing that Katie didn't want to share.
Not only that, though. The way Katie would absentmindedly glance outside or just study her hands whenever she thought Alicia or Angie weren't paying attention, only added to her suspicions. They did pay attention, and it was clear their friend was hiding something from them. It was Hogwarts all over again. Come to think of it, didn't this distant behaviour of hers start back then?
Alicia cast a quick glance at Angie while Katie was talking about some new Quidditch manoeuvre she was learning. The look on Angie's face confirmed her suspicion; their little Bell was hiding something from them again, just as she had done during her fourth year.
Back then, they hadn't found out what or who it was. When Katie had returned to her old self by the beginning of her fifth year, the two older girls had never questioned the matter any further and simply forgot about it.
Katie probably still thought that her behaviour had gone unnoticed back then. It hadn't. Whole Gryffindor had known about her late night 'walks'. Just as they had known about the quite poorly hidden love bites on her neck and dreamy look she would get when she'd thought no one was watching her. They had just chosen not to confront her about it. There had been other, easier victims to tease, after all.
Angie and Alicia had let their friend have her secret boyfriend. Knowing Katie and her weird tastes (she had once said that Graham Montague was good looking, for Merlin's sake) the boy probably wouldn't have been much to look at, anyway. They had assumed that she would confide in them eventually, but she never had. Well, they refused to accept that this time. If she was dating some strange bloke, Alicia demanded to know about it.
While Katie moved on to a boring story about Leanne and her Arithmancy Apprenticeship at Hogwarts, Alicia racked her brains on how she could get Katie to talk about her love life. The girl never dated. Not that she knew of, anyway. Her reasons were always the same; too busy with school, then came her Quidditch career and later her part-time job at her mother's bakery. If she wasn't too busy with the one or the other, she had found something wrong with all the potential dates the girls had suggested in the past.
She'd even refused to go out for a drink with Cormac McLaggen last year, claiming she'd rather take a Bludger to the head. Who in their right mind said no to Cormac? The man oozed sex from every pore.
Now it seemed that Katie had found a bloke all by herself. The way she had tried her best to avoid talking about lovers and had immediately discarded her teammates as potential candidates made sense now. Alicia was dying to find out who the man was that had managed to get into her friend's knickers.
Being engaged to George and working at the WWW was nice, but the novelty had worn off. One could tolerate pranks and homeliness to a certain limit, and she had reached hers.
It wasn't that Alicia didn't love George, her man-child meant everything to her, but the excitement was missing. Instead of going out and having flings, she had settled for hearing about her friends' stories about their dating lives. Unfortunately, they were a tremendous let-down in that area.
Katie was, well, Katie. She rarely managed to free enough time to meet with her old friends, let alone date. When they did manage to meet, she rarely told anything exciting.
Then you had Angie, another let down.
After her breakup with Fred last year, she had been on dates with several of her colleagues and had been very forthcoming about telling about them in detail.
However, the dates themselves and hearing about them were just plain mind numbingly boring. The most exciting thing that had happened during those dates was a sloppy kiss on her cheek.
Alicia hoped that she could trick Katie into spilling some raunchy details on her secret lover. If not only to make up for the lack of excitement in her own life, and that of Angie's.
Meanwhile, Angelina signalled a waiter for another bottle of wine. Between the three of them, they'd already emptied two bottles and the evening was far from over yet. Judging by Katie's rosy cheeks, she was already a tad tipsy. This was the perfect time to strike. Katie was going to tell her secret whether she wanted to or not. Angie rolled her shoulders and cracked her knuckles in preparation, earning her a wary look from Katie.
"So, care to tell us about it, Katie?" The unexpected approach was always the best, one of the first things she had learnt during her Auror training.
Katie's fork stopped mid-air and she frowned at Angie. She had been right in the middle of explaining how she had finally mastered the Woollongong Shimmy, was there more to tell? They stared at each other for a while before she stuck the piece of steak into her mouth and chewed slowly for ages it seemed.
"Tell what?" she finally asked.
"Whatever it is that you're not telling," Angelina replied impatiently. As soon as the words left her mouth, she mentally scolded herself for not using the correct tone. She should have sounded casual, not like she was channelling her mother.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Katie shrugged, not meeting Angie's eyes. Instead she opted for drinking her wine, topped it off and drank another big gulp.
"Oh, come on. You're hiding something. Just tell us," Alicia whined, lacking Angelina's tact, "I'm dying here."
"Yeah, we're your friends. You can tell us, we won't judge," Angie added calmly, very proud of herself this time, "We never do, as you know."
Katie nearly sprayed her wine at that last comment. Where they serious? When had they not judged?
"Really, nothing is-"
"Oh, I know! You've had sex with someone!" Alicia interrupted her eagerly, earning her an eye roll from Angelina. "Who was it? No, no, no, wait. First, how was he?"
"What? Don't be ridiculous," protested Katie, "Where did you-"
"Was it someone from the team?" Alicia interrupted again; she was on a roll now. Seeing Katie shake her head, she guessed again, "You did the whole team? You vixen, I knew you had it in you."
Katie blinked a few times, trying to process what Alicia was asking. "Are you mental? Ally, you really need to-"
"Oh, not the whole team?" Alicia was genuinely disappointed. "Someone from another team, then?"
"Alicia Spinnet! Stop it right-" Katie felt her cheeks flush by her friend's insinuations. Before she could protest further, Alicia interrupted her again.
"Was it a girl? You can tell us, nothing wrong with that. I think Demelza Robbins tried that once or twice. Or still does, I'm not sure. I bet she can give you some pointers, you know, to improve your game, so to speak."
Katie rubbed her face in annoyance, "Bloody hell woman, just stop-"
It was now Angie's turn to interrupt. She had watched the interaction in amusement, but an intervention seemed just about right. No one could accuse Alicia of tact or the lack of imagination and by now, Katie would be all too willing to rebut Alicia's theories.
"She'll go on for ages. You know what to do to stop her."
Katie took another big gulp from her glass, thinking over her options. The girls were relentless whenever they got like this; she'd seen them in action many times before. Usually, they spared her, but it seemed that her luck had run out. Maybe, it was time to tell. They were bound to found out soon anyway. Besides, she wasn't sure how much of Alicia's comments she could stomach.
"Fine, I have something to tell, but where do I start?" Katie mused aloud. Should she just blurt out her secret or turn it into an elaborate story? Fortunately, Angie came up with a solution for her dilemma, a third option.
"Why don't we ask you questions and you answer them honestly?"
"You just want to practice your interrogation skills," Alicia snorted.
Honestly, since Angelina had joined the Auror department, she thought herself an expert in everything. What was wrong with her questions? She had Katie cornered, hadn't she?
Angelina shrugged. "So what? It'll get the job done. You know how she is. She'll go one for ages before she gets to the point. Remember when she got her acceptance letter to Puddlemere's training programme? The bint talked for hours about the bristles on her new broom before she told us."
"I'm still here, you know," Katie retorted tartly, folding her arms. No one understood the delicate art of arranging the bristles on a broom for a better speed height ratio. "But fine, ask away."
Angie and Alicia shared a look and grinned at each other. Both knew that this was their chance to solve the past and current mystery.
"I'll start again," Alicia began. Seeing the look on her friends' faces, she added hastily, "I'll keep it clean, promise."
Katie braced herself. The moment of truth had arrived and strangely, she felt relieved. Finally, she would be to share her secret after all this time. Only her friends' potential reactions worried her. Leanne had known for years and had never made a fuss about it. Then again, her Hufflepuff friend was laidback like that. Angelina and Alicia were different; they lived for drama and scandals.
"Your fourth year, who were you shagging?"
Angie sighed exasperated and smacked her forehead. Katie merely rolled her eyes and ordered another bottle. They hadn't expected anything else from Alicia. She just looked innocently at them, not understanding their reaction.
"What did I say?"
"I've never done that in fourth year," Katie answered easily, shaking her head. It was the truth, she hadn't. Not that year, anyway.
"What our depraved friend meant to ask was,' Angie looked pointedly at Alicia, 'if you were seeing someone in your fourth year?"
Alicia mumbled something unintelligible and topped off her glass. When she decided that it took too long for Katie to answer, she thrust her goblet in her friend's direction, spilling the contents on the table. "Well? Come on, answer her."
Katie took a deep breath before she answered, "Yes, I was."
"Why were you sneaking around?" Angelina was getting excited now. She decided to ask a few more insignificant questions before she'd dive into the heart of the matter and asked who Katie had been seeing.
"Ah, well,' Katie fidgeted a bit with her napkin before she answered, 'because he was, ah, he was from a different house and older. It wouldn't have been accepted back then."
"An older man?" Alicia exclaimed in disbelief. "Who was it? Lupin, Snape? Wasn't Lockhart teaching that year?"
The other two ignored their friend. It would not be the first time she had drawn ridiculous conclusions. Like the time that she had insisted that the reason Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter fought so much was because they secretly loved each other. Ginny had nearly hexed her for that one.
"So? Who was it?" Angie prodded, her earlier intentions already forgotten. "Don't keep us in suspense, woman."
"Marcus." Katie bit her lip and watched her friends carefully. She could practically see the wheels in their head turning.
"Marcus? I don't know any- Oh, shit!" Angelina gasped as she remembered the gap-toothed Slytherin brute. It couldn't be, could it? Not their sweet Katie.
"Marcus as in Flint?" Alicia asked hesitantly, catching up onto Angie's train of thought. She had her fingers and toes crossed in hopes that it was not true. Maybe, Katie meant that stringy boy from Ravenclaw.
Katie expected her friends to burst out in horror as she nodded in confirmation. That didn't happen, though. Instead, the girls looked blankly at her, trying to process what Katie was saying. A few minutes later her friends still had that absent look on their faces, to her worry.
"Flint," Alicia whispered. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, Marcus." Katie saw her friends cringe at the use of his first name. It indicated a form of intimacy they were clearly not comfortable with.
Another few minutes of silence passed before Angie spoke up. She was trying to purge the images of Katie and Flint from her mind. It must have been one off, no doubt about that. They had all made mistakes in their younger years. Merlin, she still remembered kissing Diggory in a moment of weakness when she had first started dating Fred.
"So, that's one mystery solved. I'm sure you don't want to be remembered of that mistake anymore."
Alicia nodded in agreement and ignored the scowl on Katie's face. The poor girl was clearly still confused about the whole situation. Like Angie, Alicia decided to move on from Flint and when she got home, she would ask George to Obliviate this specific memory from her mind.
"So, who is it you are seeing now?"
"Marcus,' Katie clipped and crossed her arms again in defiance, 'as in Flint."
"Again?" Angie exclaimed confused. She grabbed one of Katie's hands and asked in all earnest, "Why? Is he bothering you? I can fix that you know. We'll lock him up and you'll never have to see him again. Just say the word."
Katie wriggled her hand free from Angie's death grip. Her scowl deepened, "No, still. And why not?"
Both girls were still processing the 'still' and were not able to answer the 'why not' part. Lucky for them, Katie answered her own question. Because in all honesty, they would not have been able come up with one single positive trait to attribute to Flint.
"He is sweet and loving and has a great sense of humour. He makes me feel safe and cherished. The most important of all; he loves me and I love him. Oh, and let's not forget that he has a great body and makes me scream in ecstasy in bed. Before you start; yes, I am aware that he can be somewhat rude. Nobody is perfect, but to me, he is."
Angie was speechless. Katie screamed in ecstasy, and Flint was the cause? From all the things she had heard tonight, that was the hardest to believe. Flint was not what one would call a handsome man. How did his ugly face not distract her?
"Why didn't you tell us before?" Alicia was the first to find her voice again. "We're your friends, why keep it a secret?"
"I did want to tell, so many times before. But each time something happened that would hold me back." Katie shrugged. In all honesty, she had been afraid of their reactions when she was younger and now she didn't see them often enough to share the secrets and intimate details of her personal life.
"Still, you should have told us. We would have supported you if this was what you really wanted," Alicia told her sternly. She thought about the years of juicy stories she missed out on. Damn that girl.
"Really, you would have? Like the way you've supported Ron when he started dating Pansy Parkinson? If I recall correctly, you two and your boyfriends kept nagging him until he broke it off with her."
"That's different. Parkinson is a real bitch," Angie started, but Katie cut her off before she could go on listing all Pansy's shortcomings.
"No, she isn't. She has a mouth on her for sure, like you lot, but she is really nice. If you had given her a chance, you would have seen that." Katie still felt sorry for the girl. Even now, after two years, Pansy was heartbroken over Ron.
"You say that like you know her," Alicia snorted. She had never liked the pug-faced, stuck-up girl. She would have made Ron's life miserable. He needed someone caring and motherly.
"Well, she is one of Marcus' cousins."
"You've met his family?" Angie asked incredulously. This business with Flint was more serious that she had imagined.
"Of course, we have been together for seven years now. It had to happen one day."
"He's met your mum and dad, then?" Alicia asked tentatively.
"Yes, they love him. Actually, Marcus is spending time with Dad tonight."
Her parents had not been pleased when their, barely, fifteen-year-old daughter had brought her almost nineteen-year-old boyfriend home over Hols that year. However, both had agreed to give him a chance after a 'serious' talk. And tonight, Marcus had another serious talk with her father and she hoped that it would all go well.
Angelina felt her face heat up. Howard Bell had been her mentor for the past three years and had never mentioned one word about Flint. Not even when she had told him about the Gryffindor matches against Slytherin when Flint had been their captain. She felt embarrassed as she thought about the terms she had used to describe him.
"Look, it would mean a lot to me if you two would give him a chance. You'll see how good he is for me," Katie pleaded.
She wanted her friends to give Marcus a fair chance. Nevertheless, if they wouldn't and forced her to choose, it would always be him. He was the love her life. She had fallen hard and fast during her fourth year and that feeling hadn't lessened over the years.
"Maybe, we can get together sometime? What do you say?"
Alicia and Angelina looked at each before nodding in agreement, their voices lost again. It was a lot to process. Flint and their little Katie, it was just too surreal. 'Beauty and the Beast,' they both thought and wondered if Flint really had a side they had overlooked.
"Thank you. That means a lot to me."
One hurdle down, another one to go, she thought. From the corner of her eye, she saw someone walking up the street towards the restaurant. It was Marcus, and the grin on his face told her everything she needed to know. She jumped up from her chair and threw enough money on the table to cover her part of the bill.
"I'm sorry, girls. But I have to go. Why don't you come over this weekend and celebrate with us?"
"Where are you going? Celebrate what?" Angie asked, surprised by Katie's sudden departure.
Katie quickly cancelled the charm on her ring finger, exposing a delicate golden band with a small diamond. "I'm engaged!"
As soon as the words left her mouth, she ran outside, leaving her friends behind in bewilderment. They had another shock to process.
From the window, Angie and Alicia watched Katie run into Flint's waiting arms. The couple shared a fierce kiss, nearly putting a blush on the girls' faces, and Disapparated away after a final wave.
Neither Alicia nor Angelina had expected the evening to turn out like this. Instead of juicy gossip and spicy stories of their younger friend's love life, they found out that she had been carrying on a secret relationship with the least likely person they could think of; their former school nemesis.
"I was right, you know," Alicia broke the silence.
"How is that?" Angelina kept her eyes fixed on the spot where Katie and Flint had stood a few seconds ago.
"She has been shagging someone from another team."
Angie nodded. For once, Alicia was right about something. Rita Skeeter was going to have a field day when the news of Puddlemere's reserve Chaser engagement to the Tornadoes Captain would break.
Yes, Alicia had definitely been right on this one.