Chapter 4 : Friendly Faces and Awkward Spaces
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Friendly Faces and Awkward Spaces
Hermione was completely still.
She dared not even look at this man for fear of catching his eye. She didn't know what it was that made her act this way around him - his general aura and personality was enough to make even the most stupid girl vomit.
He was just plain trouble - and she knew it.
Oliver was glaring at McLaggen with the same disgust that Hermione was feeling. He hated him so much that it was actually a painful effort to be in his patronising presence.
His arm was still wrapped firmly around Hermione's waist and he had no intention of letting her go.
McLaggen was staring at it with anger, wondering how on earth Wood managed to get a girl like her. She was his girl anyway ... she just didn't realise it yet.
"So, Hermione," McLaggen finally said, turning on his charm again, "How are you this fine afternoon? You know, you weren't so kind to me a couple of days ago. I'm afraid that you might just have to make it up to me."
He flashed a winning smile at her and winked. Hermione blushed furiously and almost gagged. How dare he speak to her like that?
Oliver was fuming. He sent an incredibly evil glare to the man opposite him and heard Hermione choke in disgust beside him. He wasn't getting away with his stupid antics this time.
"Okay, McLaggen," Oliver growled, gripping Hermione so hard that she was beginning to whimper, "I'm going to give you three seconds to get out of my sight before I smash your ugly face into a pulp. Nobody wants you here, so why don't you do us a favour and piss off."
McLaggen simply chuckled annoyingly and folded his arms. Oliver was clearly getting angrier by the minute.
"Not very friendly today, are we Wood. I might need to teach you some manners in front of your girlfriend. She deserves better than cursing scum like you."
Hermione was ready to deck McLaggen to the ground but Oliver got there first.
He released Hermione and stood face to face with McLaggen, his fists balled up in rage and his nostrils flaring. McLaggen glared right back (still smirking), his hands ready to strike at any moment.
Oliver was just about to knock the little bastard out when Hermione gasped audibly behind him.
Oliver suddenly felt a sharp point pierce him in his back and he turned slowly. Who was this idiot who had so rudely interrupted?
It was none other than Draco Malfoy that stood before them, his face completely devoid of emotion, as his wand was jabbed into the back of Oliver's shirt. He looked at McLaggen with a raised brow, who was shifting awkwardly in the background.
Draco rolled his eyes. Idiot.
Hermione stared openly at the man in front of her, in utter amazement. He had changed so much in the space of only a few months. It was really unnerving.
Of course, she had heard many stories of how he had left his family after the war unannounced and aided Aurors in capturing the remaining Death Eaters that were on the run.
His mother and father he had tried to save from the same fate, but he had failed and they were handed over the same as everyone else.
Therefore, he had made quite an impression on the Ministry and was offered a place in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
However, he had chosen to stay on at Hogwarts and expressed his own desire to become a Healer - reflecting Hermione's own desires for herself.
He had grown up and was no longer the snivelling, smirking little kid she remembered. Perhaps the aftermath of the War or the fact that Harry, Ron and herself had saved his life had persuaded him to change his attitude.
"I suggest you lower your fists, gentlemen," he started, pointedly staring at McLaggen, as Oliver had dropped his hands the moment he saw Malfoy.
McLaggen nodded and stalked off, taking one last glance at Hermione, who was still looking at Malfoy in wonder.
Oliver relaxed slightly, glad to be finally rid of that twit but was now turning his glaring eyes to the blonde instead, feeling a weird sense of foreboding. Hermione couldn't stop looking at him and it was starting to get irritating.
Draco rectified the situation immediately, feeling the atmosphere tense.
"Calm yourself, Wood," he exclaimed, speaking to him as if he were a silly child, "If it weren't for me, your newly acquired position would be at risk, would it not?"
Oliver's jaw clenched. How on earth did he know about that?
Draco simply turned to Hermione, ignoring him completely. Hermione stood stock still, her eyes wide, looking at him in apprehension.
Draco smiled slightly. He then nodded at her as he said, "See you at school, Granger."
He then proceeded to wander down the crowded street and turned a corner, disappearing from view.
Hermione gazed at the spot where he had vanished, her mouth open in shock.
He had called her Granger. Not Mudblood, but Granger. She wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't seen his lips move. This was turning out to be a very surreal day.
Hermione had arrived back at the Weasley's in a state of confusion. She didn't understand what had just happened only minutes before, and why Draco had acted so out of character.
Everyone welcomed her back in turn.
Apparently she had been away for a couple of hours and Molly was worried sick. Hermone explained that she had gone to Diagon Alley to "fetch some supplies for school", to save Molly the trouble.
Ron was nowhere to be found, ever since Hermione had disappeared after her outburst.
Ginny reckoned he was off sulking somewhere, which earned here a slap on the head from her mother.
Hermione laughed - that was until, speak of the devil, Ron himself walked in through the front door. He looked quite sad, and didn't look anyone in the eye as he walked over to Hermione.
"Can I speak to you for a minute, please?"
Hermione recoiled slightly, but followed him reluctantly from the kitchen and up the staircase, until they reached Ron's bedroom. He opened the door and let her through, then closing it behind himself. He looked very solemn, yet again.
"Listen, Hermione," he said, fidgeting as he looked at her, "I didn't mean to get all worked up earlier. You know how I am sometimes, but it's when that git is brought up ... I just can't bear to think that he also went out with you once."
Hermione rolled her eyes for at least the fourth time that day and took his hand. Ron's face brightened considerably as she spoke.
"Ronald, as I have explained to you - time after time, after time - there was never, and never will be, anything going on between myself and McLaggen. He's a waste of space quite frankly, and I promise that I will never find him even remotely attractive. Ever. Get that into your little brain before I smack it in."
She smiled warmly at him, taking his other hand. He blushed and laughed, pulling her in for a hug.
"Friends?" he muttered into her hair.
"Friends ..." she replied and for the first time, forgetting about Draco Malfoy.
For Oliver, after dropping Hermione back off at the Weasley household, he had decided to go home.
Unfortunately, he would rather that he forgot today. It was too much for him to bear to think that he would have to work with McLaggen, like a colleague. But they would never be friends.
Not until he saw the Giant Squid fly.
Anyway, he had to pack for tomorrow. For tomorrow would be his first day at Hogwarts, as a teacher.
Needless to say, he was extremely nervous. He had never had any experience in looking after children. The teenagers were going to be even worse.
But only recently had he realised what being a teacher had meant. He would have so many extra liberties from having this job.
He could take points (those Slytherins were going to get it this year, he had decided), he could make people serve detentions and he could organise his own lessons.
And since Quidditch was a compulsory class, he would be teaching Harry, Ron and Hermione as well as all the other people he knew.
He laughed loudly at the thought of Hermione on a broomstick. It was common knowledge that she lacked skills and talent in that particular field, a fact that Harry and Ron never failed to mention once or twice a week, just for fun.
He suddenly remembered the way that Hermione had looked at Malfoy today. She looked very intrigued indeed. And that was all he needed right now ... Hermione falling in love with him and having another famous argument with Ron. Wonderful.
He shook his head.
There was no way, he knew she had hated him ever since she had first started at that school, and things weren't just about to change because of one meeting and one good act.
Although, Oliver had been hearing rumours that Malfoy had changed sides and had rounded up all the remaining Death Eaters over the summer. It was especially hard to believe that he had sent his own parents in.
Eventually, after a long and draining pack, he very slowly cleaned the house and switched off all the appliances. After all, he would rather not come home to rubble and smoke where his flat had been.
September 1st. The beginning of a new era in the Weasley household. The War had truly been forgotton about that day, and it seemed as if everything was falling back into place and becoming normal again.
Ron and Ginny were running late, as usual, picking up last minute items of clothing and shoving buttered toast down their throats, while they argued amongst themselves over who was apparating with who.
Mrs Weasley was about to go through the roof (which was expected). Her nerves apparently could not take the pressure of the first day back at school, so Arthur had advised her to sit down and calm herself.
However, she was still insisting on barking orders from her seat.
All that Fleur and Audrey (Percy's girlfriend) did was roll around on the floor, crying with laughter.
Ron had managed to set himself on fire while trying to catch Pigwideon, and was frantically trying to get rid of. They all left it alone until Ron was getting seriously anxious.
Ginny had slipped and fallen horrendously down a flight of stairs, which Harry hadn't found funny at all.
Ron did, however, and received a very unlucky Bat Bogey Hex from his sister.
Hermone stood in the kitchen by herself, her trunk at her side, Crookshanks in his cage and a new book in her hand, watching the madness unfold before her eyes.
This made her happier than anything she had seen since the War ended. Everyone (well, nearly everyone) was smiling and joking, desperately trying not to get on Molly's bad side.
She thought of what Hogwarts will hold for her this year and how she will cope with going back into that castle, with the knowledge that Fred, Lupin and Tonks had died in those haunted rooms.
That sent shivers down her spine, and she tried her best not to think of it.
Hermione had also given no thought to the Head Girl badge that lay in her rucksack.
She had decided, when it had arrived at the start of the holidays, to give it to someone else. She didn't think she could take anymore responsibility this year, and realised that there were so many people who deserved it more than she did.
Suddenly, someone was calling her and she came out of her reverie, back to reality.
It was Harry. Everyone else had apparated to Kings Cross, and he was to go there with her. She smiled and carried her luggage out into the front yard.
Within seconds, they were ready to get onto the train, and Molly was bawling her eyes out as she said goodbye to them all.
Harry and Ron were desperately failing to escape her clutches, as she sobbed into their shoulders unashamedly.
Ginny was hugging her dad, who was also looking unhappy but tried to stay strong for his wife.
As they all climbed onto the train, Molly shouted suddenly, "Hermione, say hello to Oliver for us, and tell him good luck with his new job!"
"I will, Molly, and thanks again for everything!"
The Hogwarts Express pulled from Platform 9 and 3/4, and the Golden Trio, along with Ginny, bid farewell to Molly and Arthur for the last time before they rounded the corner and came out into the countryside.
Oliver Wood was stood at the entrance of Hogwarts on the 1st of September with a massive grin on his face.
He had been there for only 24 hours, and already it felt like he had returned home.
All the teachers had been extremely welcoming.
He was shown to his room by Professor Flitwick, who had insisted that he call him Filius, which was very awkward and weird. He would never get used to that aspect of his job.
Professor Sprout (Pomona), had given him the keys to all the broom cupboards within Hogwarts and also the keys to the Quidditch Stadium.
That was without a doubt the best moment of his life. He had no idea that he would receive such an honour.
And not only that, but he was given the trunk which contained the Quaffle, Bludgers and Golden Snitch. He couldn't resist in having a quick check, just to see them once more.
But all he had done, all day, was wander around the empty, newly refurbished halls of the school, and thought of all the memories he had received from just being there again. Good and bad - especially ones with Quidditch in them.
He had also received his timetable, which started on the second.
It was quite full, due to all the classes who would be participating in them and he was told that he would be making an announcement at the feast, with details about tryouts for the House Teams and what the flying course itself would consist of. He was particularly nervous about that.
Thankfully, after a very happy day, he had retired to his room to make plans for his lessons.
That was when Cormac McLaggen arrived. He wasn't as thrilled as Oliver to be there, but he enjoyed being back nonetheless. All he cared about was getting some food.
And now, here Oliver was.
Standing and waiting impatiently for the new arrivals to enter the Great Hall. He could feel the rush of excitement coursing through his body. Hagrid had just gone down to Hogsmeade to meet them all.
And then, the distant sound of hooves was heard in the distance. Oliver jumped and ran back inside to the Great Hall, suddenly feeling ill.
McGonagall was stood with the other Professors (including the annoying, pompous McLaggen, whom Oliver hadn't spoken to once), and they were chatting merrily about the plans for the following year.
He burst into the room, panting slightly and pointing towards the door.
Hello, hello, hello! How is everyone? Hope you all enjoy the chapter and can't wait for reviews! ;)
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