The lights were far too bright, the music too loud, the space too crowded. It gave her a headache, finding some sort of path through this maze of sweat-sticky bodies gyrating drunkenly to noise, her lungs filling with cigarette smoke and alcohol breath. With one final push she broke through at last, stumbling out from the dance floor to the lounge where there was more air though, impossibly enough, even more smoke.
Katie Bell sighed. "Really, Davies?"
Roger Davies looked up at her, smile bright and just a little loopy. "'Lo, Katie," he slurred, draped against the leather couch with his suit and tie loosened, a giggling girl by his side.
"I got a call from Oliver; he says he woke up and you weren't in your bed."
"S'prolly 'cause I'm here," Roger replied, face scrunching up in deep thought. "Did y'tell 'im that?"
"Davies, if Quenneville finds out you broke curfew--"
Roger waved his hand in the air. "Curfew's for rookies."
"You have a game tomorrow," she shot back, voice shrill. "And he will bench you if he has to."
Roger wrinkled his nose. "S'pose you're right," he conceded, holding out his hand to her. "Spoilsport."
Katie rolled her eyes. "I don't know why I put up with you," she said, pulling him up. She stumbled, her heels too high for the sort of heavy lifting she was attempting to do. "Oof. You know, this isn't part of my job description."
"Know, I know," Roger drawled, grinning impishly. "Katiebell, you're the bes' aishe-- agen'-- ever."
"Shut up, Davies, and save it for when you really need my favour," she muttered under her breath.
* * *
"Katie, I really need a favour right now."
The sentence was the same one she'd heard numerous times before, the source the same, but something in Roger's tone stopped Katie from rolling her eyes. She pursed her lips and wondered what it was this time. "I'll be over in ten."
Five minutes later, Katie was at Roger Davies' 8-million-galleon flat, kicking herself for her idiocy. "Are you kidding me, Davies?"
"I didn't touch them!"
"They're still in Hogwarts!"
"They didn't tell me that!"
"You are unbelie-- do they look old enough to you?" she asked, gesturing wildly at the two seventeen-year-old witches who lay, passed out and drunk, against each other.
"It was dark!" Roger protested, running his hand through his hair. "I was drunk!"
Katie buried her face in her palms. "Merlin, what did I do to deserve this? Skeeter will have a field day."
"Look, I never would have-- I stopped as soon as I figured it out, I swear."
"And at which point was that?" Katie snapped. "When they asked you to undo their pigtails or when you saw the little pink hearts and lollipops printed onto their knickers?"
"I didn't touch them!"
"That's not what it's going to look like!"
Roger growled, plopping himself onto a chair. "So what do I do now?" he asked, helpless.
"I can help you hide the bodies?" Katie offered.
"Wipe that look off your face; I was kidding," she said, appalled that he had, for the briefest of seconds, actually looked hopeful. "A memory charm would be illegal and traceable, but-- come here; my Transfiguration's a little rusty, but that may be to our benefit."
"What are you going to do?" Roger asked, warily eyeing her wand.
"They'll be a little disoriented when they wake up tomorrow, hungover and trying to piece the events of tonight back together," Katie explained, touching the tip of her wand to Roger's nose and muttering a soft spell to flatten it a bit. "Maybe they remember why they agreed to come home with you, maybe they won't, but in the light of day--" she moved the wand to his eyes, pulling them closer towards each other-- "they'll see--" his hairline receded a few inches-- "that perhaps you--" his ears grew bigger-- "were not the man--" his tummy bulged-- "they thought you were."
Roger blinked, catching himself in the mirror. "Katie, I'm hideous!"
"Didn't take you long to figure that out."
"And you're a genius!" he exclaimed, grinning at her.
"Well spotted," Katie said, putting both hands on her hips. "Can I leave you alone now? You won't get yourself into any more trouble for more than fifteen minutes?"
Roger crossed his heart and pinky swore yes.
"You really should look into hiring a PR specialist, you know. This wasn't part of my job description."
"I know," Roger said, beaming. "But you're the best."
"Tell me something I don't know."
* * *
It was the summer before her seventh year when Katherine Bell's father sat her down in the kitchen table and asked her what she planned to do with her life. The discussion quickly went downhill when Christopher Bell demanded she come up with a backup plan to playing Quidditch, devolving into tearful shouting when Katie cried out that she never had any desire to take over the family business (Bells and Whistles, est. 1581: For all your wizarding trinket needs), anyway, and ending with doors slamming and cold silence in the Bell household for days.
A few months later, Katie found herself the victim of a cursed opal necklace. It had the Crucio enclosed within it, but it was the fall that ultimately damaged her--she broke her wrist and the Healer told her it would never be the way it was again. That summer, at the National Quidditch League Combine, only the Holyhead Harpies would talk to her (and only because so few women were present), and it took one look from their Healer to let her know that her father was right all along.
Through some combination of luck, hard work and, unbeknownst to her, some string-pulling by her father, she managed to land a job as an assistant to Richard Vigneault, owner of the top Quidditch agency in the country. He was a demanding boss, detail-oriented and unforgiving, but she learned enough to impress him. When she decided to inform him that she was quitting to start her own agency, he told her to find him a new assistant before paying for her subsequent education in contract law. If that wasn't enough, he also assigned her the clients of one Alden Winters, who had worked for the company for years before dying from the impact of a rogue bludger at the seventh game of the Magpies/Bats League Cup Final. (Magpies won, 210 - 200, and Dustin Heatley, the Bats Seeker, was famously quoted as being so distraught upon the sight that he didn't notice the snitch in front of him--even if he wasn't actually looking at Winters then.)
Winters' clients were a mix of high-profile players and rising stars, among them old classmates Roger Davies and Oliver Wood. It hadn't been difficult to transition into the role, although Winters, it turned out, did much more than negotiate contracts come free agency periods, especially when it concerned Roger Davies.
"Katie, save me!" Roger shrieked, diving behind Katie as he literally struggled to keep his shirt on his person and away from the grabby hands of a thousand female fans.
"I am not your bodygua-- hey! Cut that out!" Katie yelled as someone tried to shove her out of the way. "Watch it!"
"I got his cap! I got his cap!" someone announced, though the triumphant crow was soon replaced by an ungodly howling.
"That's mine, bitch!"
"Merlin's balls, Davies, these girls really want your cap," Katie muttered to the man cowering behind her even as they continued to make their way out of the restaurant, half the girls fighting over the cap, the other half still attempting to grab a hold of Roger Davies.
"The gates of hell have opened," Roger bemoaned. "We'll never get out, Katiebell; it was nice knowing you."
"Shut up and take off your shirt."
"You heard me."
"Katie, I'm flattered, but this is neither the time nor the place--"
Katie glared. "It's not for that."
"Oh," Roger said. "But what about--"
"Trust me on this one."
"Fine," Roger replied, pausing only for a moment before he shrugged and moved to take off his shirt, which Katie snatched immediately from Roger's hand.
"Oh my god!" she trilled, voice about five octaves higher than it normally was, the shirt held up like the prize that it apparently was. "I have his shirt!"
A moment of dead silence descended upon the crowd, and then--
"Oh my god! She does!"
Heart pounding, Katie waited until all eyes were on her, and then, she rolled up the shirt and threw it as far away as she could.
There was another loud burst of screaming as the girls raced to grab the Davies-worn shirt.
Katie grinned, taking Roger's hand and Apparating them out of the street.
* * *
"You're a high-maintenance client, Roger," Katie decided, plopping onto Roger's large couch. "I need to start charging you a higher fee."
"For what?" Roger asked, feigning offense as he walked in with a bottle of Firewhiskey.
"Where do I begin?" Katie laughed, examining her arm. "I think one of those girls clawed me. Merlin, Oliver doesn't nearly give me this much of a headache."
"That's what you think," Roger said, pouring them both a shot.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing," Roger said, the smallest hint of a smirk on his face.
"Oh god, is he doing illegal potions?"
"No, of course not!" Roger laughed. "At least, not to my knowledge. Come on, do a shot with me."
"If it's going to cost him his career, you've got to tell me," Katie pleaded. "I just don't want to get caught off-guard here."
"It's no big deal," Roger insisted. "But if I tell you, will you do shots with me?"
"I don't recall ever signing a clause that says you can blackmail me with liquor," Katie pointed out.
"I didn't sign anything saying I had to put up with that stick up your arse," Roger shot back, only grinning impishly at the offended look on her face. "C'mon, I promise you this is juicy."
"What-- the shot?"
"No-- what Ollie's hiding."
"You said it wouldn't--"
"Shut up and drink, Katiebell."
"I hate when you call me that," Katie grumbled, though she took the shot and downed the Firewhiskey in a single gulp, making a face when she was done. "I don't know why you like that stuff; it's nasty."
"Well done, you," Roger said. "Now are you ready for this?"
"Yeah, spit it out already, and it better be good or else."
"I can't say it out loud! What if someone's listening?"
She rolled her eyes. "If this is an elaborate plan to give me a wet--"
"It's not!" Roger said, and Katie believed him, so she leaned closer, waiting for Roger to whisper Oliver's secret in her ear.
"It is a true fact."
"You're not serious-- Ollie? Our Ollie?"
Roger nodded solemnly. "Caught him myself-- told him I'd be out after that game in Tutshill, right, but I had to come back early--"
"And he was--"
"With my own two eyes, I swear to you, Katie--"
"Head Boy Weasley," Roger confirmed. "They swore me to secrecy, of course, but you're alright, aren't you?"
Katie sat back in disbelief. "I s'pose," she said. "It's just-- wow."
"Why did-- why did you tell me?" Katie asked, peering curiously at Roger.
"Like you said, I'm high maintenance and Oliver isn't," Roger said, grinning. "Figured it'd be best to keep it that way for your sake."
* * *
"I'd say that went well," Roger said conversationally, hands deep in his pockets as he and Katie exited Fiyero's late that night.
"Are you sure? He didn't look too impressed; what if he thought he could do better?" Katie asked with a frown.
"What-- my ringing endorsement isn't good enough for him?"
"He's Viktor Krum," Katie pointed out. "I'm not the only one after him!"
"He said he likes the idea of having a familiar face around, so you never know," Roger told her, patting her shoulder.
"I'm not a familiar face," Katie muttered. "He didn't know I existed."
"Still," Roger said. "You were there; that's got to help, yeah? I'm sure when he makes his decision to switch leagues, he'll give you a call."
"Positive," Roger promised.
"I guess we'll have to see how it turns out," Katie admitted, leaning against Roger. "Thanks for coming out to meet him with me."
"Anything for you, Katiebell," Roger said, squeezing her shoulder. "Ice cream?"
Roger nodded towards a parlor a few feet away. "Looks like Fortescue's still open. How about it? My treat."
"At-- at this time of the night?"
"Hey it's the man's choice what time his business establishment is open, yeah?"
"I know that, I just mean--"
Katie looked up at Roger's grin. "What?"
"You're seriously going to tell me you'll refuse free ice cream because we don't have an Ice Cream Clause?"
And then Roger cut her short, his lips warm and soft against her own, his hand gentle against her cheek. "Katie," he repeated in a murmur that tickled her jaw. "Please?"
"Alright," she conceded, only a little breathless. At this point, she should have already figured out that when it came to Roger Davies, there was very little she'd say no to.
Strangely enough, that was perfectly fine with her.