Who: Isolde Montgomery, Zacharias Smith
Where: The town fountain
When: 25 August 2001, evening
It was hot. Too damn hot. For anything. For breathing. And the only relief that Issy had had all day was when she had stripped down to her unmentionables and climbed into the fountain in the square. And nobody was going to ruin that for her. Especially not Zacharias Smith and his empty threats of coming to stop her. Please.
Even if he did show up, she was absolutely certain that she could take him.
Merlin damn this town and the inhabitants that kept making it a laughing stock and then whining when the Prophet got wind of their stupid antics. He had just about had enough for it. The thought of Australia with its ‘she’ll be right’ attitude and days of endless drinking and no responsibility was tempting again. But no, he vowed he’d come back and make right.
He appeared at the fountain’s edge. “Get the fuck out, Isolde.”
“No,” Issy said simply, still splashing around happily. “I’m enjoying myself, Smith. Mind your own damn business.”
She stopped and propped a hand on her hip, staring at him in all her soaking wet, barely dressed, defiant glory. She smirked. “Unless you’re enjoying perving, of course. Wouldn’t surprise me.”
Zach rolled his eyes. “I’ve been on pro Quidditch teams. Trust me, I’ve seen better.”
He stepped toward her. “It’s not your fountain. Go cavort in your bathtub.”
Issy looked offended for a minute. She was plenty as hot as any trashy Quidditch bunny who might have given Smith the time of day, thank you very much. But then she remembered that she didn’t care what Zacharias thought of her (very fine) assets anyway and went back to splashing.
“My bathtub isn’t big enough. And this isn’t your fountain either.”
She sent an accidental splash in his direction.
“It’s not my fountain, but it’s a public fountain, and it’s not for swimming in. Want to swim? Petition for—” Zacharas stopped when the water hit him.
“Oh for fuck’s sake.” He leaned over and grabbed her arm.
“Hey!” Issy snapped, attempting to worm her way out of his grip. “Get your grabby paws off. of. me.”
She punctuated each of her final words with a push. The third of which, likely combined with the slippery footing, knocked Zacharias off balance and sent him tumbling into the water. Issy’s hand flew to her mouth. She should not laugh, she told herself. Should not, should not, should not.
“Very funny,” said Zacharias, scowling. He got up to his knees, water dripping off hair. It looked like a wet cat, that is, deeply unhappy and just a little bit pathetic.
But then he stood up, took off his shirt, wrung it out and used it to dry his hair. “You’re getting a fine for this,” he grumbled.
Issy tilted her head to the side and admired that bared chest for a moment. Zacharias Smith might be a total prick, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t admire a well-chiseled set of abs, okay?
She wasn’t sure if it was those abs or the disgruntled expression, but she suddenly felt much better disposed towards him.
“Oh come on,” she said, holding up her hands. “What’s it hurting? Admit it, it feels nice. I won’t tell.”
“It makes the town look immature, anti-social and lawless,” said Zach, looking up so he could inspect the tips of his hair. “No. You’re getting a fine. I’ll book myself too, so don’t whine.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Issy snarled, just barely managing to keep from pulling her own hair out. The man was infuriating! Was he actually incapable of allowing himself to have a bit of fun for thirty seconds?
She pulled out her wand and cast a glamour over the fountain that made it seem peaceful and undisturbed to anyone who looked. “There. No one can see us. Now would you please relax for half a damn minute and admit that this is the first time you have been a comfortable temperature in two days?!?”
“This is not your fountain to take over and play with at will,” said Zach, steely. He took off her glamour. “If you want to cool down go sit in your bathtub, or go nick Jennie’s boyfriend, who is apparently marvelous at cooling charms.”
He stepped out. “No, I feel fine. Sitting in a fountain is ridiculous and desperate.” But he didn’t dry his clothes yet. And it had given him a plan for tomorrow, if the heatwave didn’t break.
Oh, that was it. Issy snapped.
“You know what?!” she practically shouted at him, climbing out of the fountain. “This this why nobody likes you! You’re completely and utterly unable to have fun! All you care about is what the rules say or what other people might think! Sod other people! I was having fun! I wasn’t hurting anyone! And now you’ve ruined my night for no real reason except that you want everyone to be as miserable and alone as you are!”
Snatching up her clothes, she stormed off down the street toward her house. She didn’t care who saw her underwear. She didn’t want to be anywhere near Zacharias Smith.
That caught him by surprise. Zacharias didn’t know Isolde was that fragile. Maybe he’d have to be more civil in the future. Unless she was one of those anarchists. Who cared what they thought. The rules were in place for a reason and while Isolde may not have been causing anyone ‘harm’, you let one person bend the rules and the next whole families will be bringing their children and treating the fountain like their own pool and letting their little brats pee in it. It was a slippery slope.
Someone had to keep the order, and since his Dad seemed more doddery than Zach remembered, and Sepphora only cared for tutting from afar and not real action, he’d have to be him.