Chapter 1 - New Beginnings, Old Arguments
Oliver Wood, former, award-winning Keeper of Puddlemere United and former Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, was experiencing a very trying day.
After his failed attempts to re-apply for the British National Quidditch Team a few months previously and his abysmal attempts to settle down to a married life up in his hometown of Scotland, he had given up on life altogether - until a sudden brainwave hit him while unsuccessfully trying to drown himself in the bath.
He decided to go back to where his career had started and where he hoped a new one could begin: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Ah, Hogwarts ... those were in no doubt the best years of his life. He had been surrounded by so many good people, so many good Quidditch players, that he believed, once he had graduated, that he could channel that happiness in life into his new job. Needless to say, when he left his beloved home for the last time, it felt as if someone had repeatedly beaten him over the head with a Nimbus 2000.
And it was extremely hard for him to accept that he may never relive that kind of ecstacy that Gryffindor had given him. Indeed, towards the end of his Puddlemere reign, he concluded it to be impossible
and therefore decided to, literally, drown all of his sorrows one night in the middle of August.
That was, of course, until he heard on Wizarding Wireless Network that Madam Hooch had very suddenly resigned her post at his old school and that Professor M. McGonagall was calling out in desperation for qualified Quidditch players to take over the position.
The kind of hope that he had felt on hearing those words had not been experienced since he had appointed Harry Potter to his Quidditch team over six years ago.
His mind was already made up as he scrambled from the bathtub and onto the tiled floor. So excited as he was, that he comically slipped and went head-first into his bathroom wall. But even the bump, the size of a Golden Snitch, on his forehead, couldn't dampen his uplifted spirits. He was applying for the job. It was the only way to save himself from suicide.
He contacted Headmistress McGonagall almost instantly. His owl then swiftly flew off into the midnight sky, with his application letter held tightly in its claws.
Oliver couldn't sleep, but sat with his television on mute, pondering over the possibilities that could occur if he was accepted back into Hogwarts. He wouldn't only be in charge of one team, he would have access to all of the House Teams! He would have a say in who plays and who doesn't in the matches and he would get to pass on his love for the sport onto other aspiring players.
The possibilites were endless. Not only that, but he would get to see his friends again. Angelina Johnson, Katie Bell and Alicia Spinnet all had the jobs of Care of Magical Creatures assistant, assistant nurse and Potions assistant, respectively. He could see Harry again and the Weasley's -
He was suddenly hit with a pang of sadness. He had almost forgotten that Fred Weasley had died in the Battle of Hogwarts.
How could he have forgotten? That had been another reason for him to sink into his sullen depression. When he attended the funeral with the rest of Fred's former teammates, he couldn't handle it. He had always imagined Fred, along with his brother, George, as beacons of light in the darkness that was the war against You-Know-Who.
And yet he had died. Bravely and courageously, yes, but nonetheless had gone.
His memories drifted back to when he was alive. He had annoyed the hell out of him. He never took any match seriously, never listened to anything he tried to teach him and basically just messed around. But that, Oliver supposed, was the magic of Fred Weasley. Making light of every situation, pulling pranks to cheer up people who were down and lived his unfairly short life to make people happy.
Oliver felt the stinging tears in his eyes threatening to spill over onto his lap. He would not let them. Fred wouldn't have wanted this, from anyone. He would have wanted everyone to remember the happy times they had shared with him and the many, many laughs they had had. And Oliver had promised himself to do that, cherishing every single moment they had had together.
a pain in the arse. But you would never have found a truer, more loyal person anywhere.
Oliver came out of his reverie as he remembered that he was still yet to visit George. He hadn't seen him since the funeral and had often thought about how he was coping with the tragedy. He figured that he must have taken it the hardest, the two of them were inseperable when Fred was alive.
How could he have been so selfish? He was so caught up in his own troubles that he didn't consider the other problems, the more important problems that many people like George were going through.
Death was so much more than the destruction of one life; many other lives were destroyed in the process.
He would visit George tomorrow. He would, in fact visit The Burrow tomorrow, as he knew George was staying with his family for the remainder of the summer. He understood why that was ... the memories of going back to their flat above Diagon Alley alone must be excrutiating for him. Maybe he would see Harry again as well, he usually stayed with Ron during the holidays.
Oliver turned up the television to take his mind from Fred. He switched over to "Dave" and saw that Mock the Week episodes were being repeated all night! If Frankie Boyle couldn't cheer him up, then nothing else would!
Waking up with a stiff neck in the morning was one of the worst feelings to experience.
Oliver, stupidly, had slept on his front, his head still facing the television set and had awoken at 1 o'clock in the afternoon to shooting pains down the left side of his neck. As if it couldn't get worse, his arm had been sitting at an odd angle during the night, therefore cutting off the circulation and made it about as useful as a golf ball used for a bludger.
After strenuous shaking of his dead arm, Oliver turned to his open window to find his tawny owl perched on the sill - with a Hogwarts sealed letter held between its beak. McGonagall had responded.
He jumped up from the couch he was stitting on and leaped across the room. He yanked the letter from the owl's mouth, who screeched loudly, and ripped the seal from the back.
His heart was pounding like a twenty tonne bass drum in his chest and his hands were shaking as he unfolded the parchment. Then, when he saw the green ink splattered carefully across it, his heart stopped.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Dear Mr. Wood,
As you have correctly assumed, the position of Quidditch coach is, at the moment, unfulfilled. I received great pleasure in learning that you wished to apply for the job, and am pleased to offer you an interview. This interview, if agreeable to yourself, will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3pm in my office. You are welcome to stay at the school for dinner, if you so wish it.
Yours sincerely, Professor M. McGonagall
Oliver's heart started up again as he grinned. He was one step closer to achieving his goal.
Now that that was finally over with, he felt that it was time to have some fun. And the best place for that was The Burrow.
Oliver arrived, at half past 2, on the outskirts of The Burrow and he looked upon it with delight.
The house was basically an assortment of wonders, built strangely upon a former farmhouse and with so many floors, that anyone who didn't live there would be lost within minutes of wandering around. It was one of the best houses he had ever been in and the welcoming smell of Mrs Weasley's famous cooking made it all the more wonderful.
How the Weasley children were not overweight he would never understand. Must be the quidditch.
He knocked noisily on the front door, listening to the noise of clattering and shouting at the back of the house with a smirk on his face.
Waiting for an answer, he realised how phenomenally hot it was this morning. He only wore the tight t-shirt he was wearing today because it suited his physique well, however, in the sweltering sunlight, he was starting to feel rather uncomfortable.
Suddenly, the door in front of him flew open with a crash, and standing before him was George Weasley. His signature orange hair was shining like an amber traffic light. Oliver smiled awkwardly at him, nervously glancing at the shocked look upon his face.
"Oliver?" George said, suddenly grinning gleefully and pulling him in for a hug, "I can't believe it. What a surprise! It's great to see you!"
"Thanks, George. Good to see you too," Oliver replied, hugging his friend back, "How are you? Is everyone here?"
"Yeah - we're all
here, come on inside. One more person won't make much of a difference!"
George stood aside to allow Oliver to enter, and he did so, with an air so full of vigour that he felt as if he were back in the old days, coming to visit the Weasley's for another summer holiday. And the inside of the house was just how he remembered it. Delightfully messy.
"It's been absolutely crowded here the past few days," George exclaimed to Oliver, while they walked through the house.
"Bill and Fleur have been staying here for a while and Percy invited Penelope to stay while he's on a break. Charlie has been coming in and out from work - he got a job in the Ministry, in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Dad's also been working, harder than he has, but he was promoted to Kingsley's Assistant, so he doesn't have much of a choice. Ron's also invited Harry and Hermione over since they'll be starting back school in a couple of weeks. You remember Hermione don't you?"
Oliver vaguely pictured a thirteen year old girl, with large teeth, uncontrollably bushy hair and a satchel of books on her back. He nodded. He hadn't seen her properly since back at the Quidditch World Cup.
"Ginny's been working really hard as well, helping mum around the house and stuff. This is actually tidy compared to what it usually looks like!"
Oliver smiled as they both entered the back room of the house, which was bustling with people. They were all too busy arguing or laughing to notice his entry. Oliver noticed a few people were missing though.
"Hey, guys!" George shouted over the racket, "Look who's here!"
Everyone in the room simultaneously turned towards the doorway in which Oliver stood. It was quite creepy. Then, without warning, they all came rushing upon him like a pack of wolves, everyone shouting their own greetings and hugging him one after the other. Oliver took note of everyone who was there.
Mrs Weasley. "Hello, Oliver, dear, how wonderful to see you! You look parched, let me get you a drink." Typical.
Bill. "Hi, Oliver, good to see you again."
Fleur Delacour. "'Ello, Oleever. I 'ope you are well?" Oliver tried desperately not to look straight at her face as he finished hugging her, blushing slightly and nodding.
Percy. "Ah, Oliver! Wonderful to see you, old boy." Sometimes he was a bit of a prat ...
Ron. He simply nodded and waved in recognition. He was examining the newest Cleansweep in Quidditch Weekly very intently.
Ginny, who was the same as ever ... fighting with Ron.
And Harry. "Oliver! How are you? Great to see you, man!" He was in a very good mood, which, Oliver thought, he deserved more than anyone.
Oliver was beaming around at them all, wondering how on earth they managed to be so upbeat and happy when they had only just buried Fred a couple of weeks ago. No, I will not be the one to bring that up when they're so content, he thought.
Mrs. Weasley returned with a glass of butterbeer and shoved it into his hands before he could even say thank you.
He drank some quietly, while still glancing around at everyone while they continued to argue, laugh and argue some more.
The drink was refreshingly cool, perfect on a day such as this. Just then, he heard the front door slam and two voices grew closer to the back room. He recognised one of them as Penelope Clearwater, but couldn't put a name to the other girl's voice.
"We're back!" The unfamiliar voice said as she walked through the door, gripping several bags filled with books in her hands. Oliver's eyebrows shot up into his hairline as he realised who it was. Hermione Granger.
But not the Hermione Granger he had pictured.
She had - there was no other term for it - grown up. He stared at her normal sized teeth and wavy hair (no longer bushy) and she also looked as if she had grown at least four inches. She was completely different than from before.
He continued to look at her every few seconds, confused and puzzled as to how she had changed so dramatically. Ginny wasn't that different and Penelope was exactly the same. It was weird.
Hermione turned and recognised him immediately. She walked over to him, enveloping him in a short hug.
He smiled in return, just taking in her prescence, not having any trouble in being as surprised as she was. He felt quite embarassed that she was being so friendly, even though he hardly knew her.
"When did you get here? We haven't seen you for ages!" she exclaimed, placing her hand on his arm, "I can't believe it, it's great to see you again!"
"Yeah, you too," Oliver replied, feeling more comfortable, "I only just got here, you see, so I'm still getting used to the noise."
She smiled at him, and then turned as Ron came up to her. He slipped a hand around her waist and kissed her cheek, right in front of Oliver.
His mouth dropped. He never knew she was going out with him.
He assumed she would have a really geeky, book-loving boyfriend to match her own personality. But, he realised, her personality had changed a bit, so maybe her views did too.
"Ron, you'll never guess who I saw today ... Cormac MacLaggen!"
Oliver and Ron both tensed up at the mere mention of the name.
Oliver had never told anyone this, but he hated that smug little prick just as much as he hated Marcus Flint. MacLaggen tried out for the same team he did, and tried many times to show him up. Mainly because he was a little intimidated of Oliver's place in the quidditch world. Even if he hadn't done that, he would have still hated him with a passion.
"MacLaggen?!" Ron spat, revulsion and fury crossing his face, "What was that idiot doing there? Isn't he supposed to be playing for the Tornados right now?"
Hermione smirked wickedly.
"Yeah, he was
. He told me that him and the Captain had a few misunderstandings, so he quit. But I know for a fact he was trying to make himself look good. Dunno what really happened though. But, God, he was such a creep! He was flirting so disgustingly with me that I nearly threw up on him."
"WHAT?!" Ron shouted, causing the room to quieten immediately, "He was doing what? I swear, I'm going to kick that smug arseholes head in if he even so much as looks at you again. He has no right to you whatsoever! You're mine! And why did you even talk to him?! You know how I feel about you talking to other guys!"
Hermione raised her eyebrows as Ron continued to fume.
"Well, excuse me, Ronald,
I am free to talk to whomever I want, whether they are prats or not. And I am not yours
, as I have repeatedly told you. I'm not an object. Besides, you know I'd never go for him."
"But you went for him two years ago, at Slughorn's Christmas Party, remember? You did then, Hermione and you can't deny it!"
Hermione was obviously starting to get annoyed with Ron now, and Oliver sort of realised that he shouldn't standing so close to them, but he couldn't seem to move his feet from the spot. She poked Ron on the chest, angrily.
"I did that to annoy you, you half-wit! Because you were going out with that idiot girl Lavender and completely ignored me for ages!"
Mrs Weasley was starting to look anxious and she offered to serve lunch for everyone in the kitchen. However, everyone was so engrossed in the argument that they failed to hear her proposition. She then grabbed Bill and Percy by the scruff of their necks and frog-marched them into the kitchen.
Everyone else followed at once, but Oliver couldn't get past the enraged couple, who stood between him and the doorway. Ron was now glaring openly at Hermione, and she glared back.
"She is not an idiot, she's very smart for your information. You are just jealous because she had the guts to tell me she loved me and you didn't!"
Hermione growled at Ron so fiercely, Oliver was surprised that he did not recoil.
"She never told you she loved you, she just snogged you in front of the entire Gryffindor house! Two different things there, Ronald. Besides, you wouldn't give me a chance to tell you because you were too busy fawning over every girl who even gave you a second glance!"
"Whatever, Hermione! Why don't you just go out with MacLaggen! Oh, no, wait ... just pretend
to go out with him to make me jealous. Well guess what, it's not going to work, with him or anyone else!"
"Oh, really?" Hermione hissed, shaking with fury, "We'll just see about that, Ronald. We - are - on - a - break!"
And with that, Hermione stomped from the room in a rage, slamming the door behind her with the force of a bomb.
Ron, forgetting Oliver was standing right next to him, proceeded to punch the wall with his fist. After uttering a few choice swear words, he followed Hermione's lead and left.
Oliver just stood with his mouth slightly ajar, contemplating the event that had just unfolded before his eyes.
He never realised people could break up over such a trivial and stupid thing before, but now that he had witnessed it, he would be sure to remember not to upset a girl in the future.
He quickly exited the room through the back, deciding to walk around to the front rather than meet Ron on the way through the house. As he passed a second floor window, he heard Hermione's voice emanating from it like a foghorn and Ginny's calm whispers to her in return.
"How dare he! HOW DARE HE! He has no right to dictate to me who to talk to and who not to! I can do as I please! And plus, it's not like I was doing anything wrong, I don't even like MacLaggen! You know that! Why does he get so worked up over nothing? He knows that boy is the most determined flirt that ever walked the earth! And then he goes and makes me mad as well, he is so frustrating!"
"I know, I know ..." Ginny answered, obviously bringing Hermione back down to earth.
Oliver whistled to himself. This was going to be extremely awkward.
Hi guys! Fancied a new angle, new relationship, not just Dramione. Got into Hermione/Oliver though and thought a twist of Hermione/Cormac would make it interesting. What do you think??