Who: Andrei Capper, Imogen Stretton
Where: Diagon Alley
When: 8 June 2001, post-match
Not only had they emerged victorious, but it was a bloody great victory. Terence had caught the snitch and Helga’s chasers had outscored their Diagon counterparts, leaving no-one to claim the win was a fluke, that a freak gust of wind had blown the snitch into their seeker’s face. (That did happen once.) Freshly showered and changed, Andrei felt nothing could bring him down at this moment.
Imogen was waiting at the exit.
“Hey!” said Andrei, running up to give her a kiss. She shied away.
OK, slightly odd behaviour. Did he still smell? No, he was wearing brand new robes.
“Come on, then,” he said, taking her hand, “we’ve got a party to get to. Cake awaits!”
“I don’t want cake,” said Imogen prissily.
“What? Who doesn’t like cake?” chided Andrei. Maybe this was the start of the relationship era when character flaws were becoming apparent. “Well, don’t have any cake, then? More for me?”
“We need to talk.”
“About Helga’s magnificent victory? OK. But can we do it at the party? I feel an audience would really enjoy a re-telling.”
Imogen scowled. “Yeah, about that. I can’t believe how you acted.”
Andrei frowned. “OK, OK, what? How I acted? What do you mean?”
“It was an obscene display. This was the first time I’ve seen your team play properly and it was the most low, most dirty—”
“Hey, hey, hey!” Andrei cut her off. “Don’t insult my team. We play fair.”
“YOU ELBOWED MY BROTHER IN THE FACE.”
Andrei blinked. Well, of course he did. That was Quidditch and there was a goalscoring chance going begging. “We were flying at 70 miles an hour, how was I supposed to know it was your brother?” he bristled. “I would have elbowed anyone in the face.”
Imogen looked even more affronted. “And after, when Higgs had caught the snitch, you looked liked you’d won the World Cup and taunted us with rude gestures.”
Andrei threw his hands up in the air. “Why is this important? Last time you beat Hogsmeade you all had a massive party. A massive party. There was a champagne fountain the size of a small wading pool. You should remember. We made out in it after you fell in.”
Imogen folded her arms defensively. “You’re going to a party right now.”
“That’s because it’s my birthday!” shouted Andrei. “Can we just obliviate this whole conversation? It’s dull and pointless and you’re making us late for cake.”
Imogen glared. “I’m not making us late for cake. I’m making you late for cake. Because I’m not going.”
“Do you really hate cake that much? Merlin, there’ll be other things! And don’t say you have a cake allergy because I know it doesn’t exist. I know because in the St Mungos Christmas Appeal I Flooed up to donate money to any children suffering such a terrible fate and real-life Healers told me there’s 100% no such thing.”
“You are so immature. And bloody thick.”
“No, I’m not. You don’t like it because I’m just pointing out Merlin’s honest truth.” He took a deep breath. “Look, you know I’ll apologise for this tomorrow. You know I will. But it’s my birthday today, and I just want to have my glorious victory, OK?”
Imogen looked like she was taking a few deep breaths of her own. She sighed and touched Andrei’s arm briefly. “This is not going to work out.”
“What is not—”
“This relationship,” she snapped. “It’s not going to work. You’re only nice when you’re down. When you win you’re an enormous jerk.”
“Excuse me,” retorted Andrei, “you watched both under-9s matches where Caerphilly won and there was no bad behaviour there. I remember you clapped in approval at everything and said what a wonderful role model I was,” he added accusingly.
“You don’t care about my feelings at all,” stated Imogen. “You know how important Diagon is to me and while, Merlin forbid, I can’t tell you not to win, you could at least not act such an arse about it.”
“You mean your brother is important to you. More important than me, your boyfriend.”
“You are not—”
“What? Afraid this loss is finally going to make him realise he’s not that good? That even Chudley won’t take him? That he should have given up his pro dream when he was ten like the rest of us mortals?”
“We are done, Andrei,” Imogen said through gritted teeth. “Done, done, done.” She turned on her heel and took a step out. Andrei made to follow her but she had slammed the door and it hit him in the nose, costing him time while he reeled.
“Where are you going? You’re breaking up over Quidditch?” he said in disbelief, more to himself since Imogen was rapidly moving out of range. Andrei started jogging.
“WHO’S IMMATURE NOW? COME ON, WE CAN WORK IT OUT. I’m sorry your brother’s stupid.” Oops, wait, that wasn’t what he meant to say. “OK, he’s not stupid. Maybe just slightly. BUt the sooner you realise siblings shouldn’t be people to admire forever the better.”
Imogen said something about his sisters and what she thought of them. It was the complete opposite of what she’d said to him only yesterday, after she’d met both Sasha and Sabina at dinner.
Andrei’s ears burned with embarrassment and fury. “WHAT DID YOU SAY? WHAT DID YOU SAY?”
He’d almost caught up but she’d disapparated. Well!
“WHAT DID YOU SAY? You’re going to have to see me again at Monday and you better explain yourself!”
A sudden chill crossed Andrei’s chest. Imogen had opened doors for him. She had gotten him the coaching job, could she take it away?
No. She couldn’t. He had signed a contract that he had (mostly) read and he was certain his job was safe until the end of the year. Andrei calmed down as he trudged back toward the change rooms. He wasn’t going to let her ruin his birthday. He was still going to go to his party and eat cake.
“Your loss, Imogen. Double slices for me,” he muttered with a spiteful smile. “I bet you were just bluffing and that you really like cake so I hope that hurts. Nobody doesn’t like cake.”