Chapter 1 : The Day We Met.
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I know Lovedrunk is usually assumed to be a sad song about a breakup, but I love this line and I wanted to use it for a story. One day, years from now, I'll be able to have a sad ending of a story. Maybe.
Oh, and I thought you all would enjoy learning that I'm recently obsessed with Oliver Wood. I really am. His character in the movie [ooh, that accent!] and in the books. He's a tactless prat, and I'm loving him. Hopefully, you will too.
The day we met was like a hit and run.
No, it’s not common for me to be so hung up over one person. It’s not common for me to be so hung up over anything. I don’t get caught up in things. I care about two things: playing Quidditch, and my Quidditch team, which is Puddlemere United. Outside of the realm of the sport I love, nothing really holds my interest. Nothing is capable of holding my interest, really. Classes never did, my magical powers never will, and ladies never have. Maybe that’s a little obsessive, but that’s me. Oliver Wood, the obsessed Quidditch fanatic.
Like I said, it’s not common for me to be hung up over one person. Especially not a woman I met when I was a tactless fifth year student Hogwarts, when she was a bold and obnoxious first year with bucked teeth and bushy hair. Whether or not she’s magically altered those bucked teeth, and no matter how tame her hair usually is when she knots it on the back of her head, she’s not someone that I would really spend any time thinking about. I wouldn’t spend any time thinking about any woman, let alone this particular one. But I tend to surprise myself: even when I think there’s no way I’m incapable of predicting my own feelings, I still end up that way. Just like now.
I’ve been sitting in this soft leather chair in my rather large flat, staring at a dead plant on the glass table across the room, for hours. I’ve really lost count of how many hours I’ve been sitting here. Maybe it’s even been a full day. I have no earthly idea. This is where I think the most- usually about previous and future Quidditch matches and new moves, but today, about this woman who is thoroughly occupying my head. Earlier today, Puddlemere United won the Quidditch World Cup. Shortly thereafter, my opponent, Ginny Weasley, soon to be Potter, a Chaser from Holyhead Harpies, drug me up to the Weasley family’s box, in which the entire family had collected to watch our match. I’m used to being attacked by one of the many Weasleys after a match, when I much prefer Apparating back to my flat, and being forced along to a Weasley celebration. Ginny and Angelina Johnson, who is a fellow teammate of mine as one of Puddlemere United’s Chasers and engaged to be married to a Weasley, are incredibly guilty of it, even though they know how much discomfort it brings me. However, they bring me along anyway each and every time, just as they did today.
Today after the match, however, was different than most. Charlie Weasley had taken leave from the dragon reserve at which he works, and he was with his family in their box. That’s the first major difference. Charlie rarely returns home unless it’s a crisis, a wedding, or a major holiday, and none of the three are occurring anytime soon, as far as I know.
The second major difference is that when I approached Ron Weasley to discuss his team, the Chudley Cannons, Ginny first pulled me aside to mention that I need not bring up Hermione Granger, as the two had finally reached the end of their relationship a week or so prior. It was a shock to me, as I can’t remember a visit to the Weasley box in which Ron didn’t have his arm protectively around the waist of that bookish Granger, who always looked like she wished she was somewhere else.
Then, I changed my mind about my conversation with Ron after hearing what Ginny had to say, and I turned in the direction of Hermione Granger. I don’t talk to Granger much when I visit the Weasley box. A polite hello maybe, possibly a congratulations if my team won the match and a sympathetic handshake if we lost- not that Puddlemere United loses many matches anymore, thanks to my magnificent teammates- but not much more than that. I barely even look at the girl on a regular basis. To me, she’s just the bookish girl I knew when she was first growing into her teenage self, and that’s never been much worth looking at. Of course, I don’t really look at any women- or anyone at all, for that matter. I’m not fond of people; I’m not exactly what you’d call a social creature, you know?
Anyway, I turned towards Hermione Granger, for some reason. She looked rather bright, for someone who’d just gone through what was surely a rather nasty breakup with her longtime boyfriend, whom everyone thought she was destined to marry. It was the first time I’ve ever really looked at Granger. She’s a plain specimen, of course. She’s not a stunning, obvious beauty, what with her rather rounded face, porcelain skin, and unmanageable light brown hair, but for some reason, I couldn’t stop staring. Her hair was tied back as tightly as possible in a knot at the nape of her neck, while wild curls whipped around her face in the breeze, her complexion made it clear that she wasn’t fond of spending time outdoors, and her clothes were plain, opposite from many girls and their attention-grabbing garb. My eyes were locked on hers: which are, by the way, an intense shade of light brown. I don’t think anyone has ever made her out to be too incredibly pretty, but right at that moment, she might’ve become the prettiest girl I’ve ever noticed.
“Hullo, Ms. Granger,” I’d said to her rather cheerfully. “Care for a bit of a ride around the pitch?” I’d still been clutching my broomstick in my hand, which is where I got the idea from, and I’d boarded it with the question, hovering a bit off the ground of the Weasley family box as I waited for her response. She didn’t seem like much of a flyer, but I believe I was ignoring that very evident fact. Really, I wasn’t thinking much more than how lovely Hermione Granger was. Which was, once again, not like me at all. People just don’t hold my interest. Especially the very plain ones, who read thousands of books, know everything, have shrill voices, work at the Ministry, and fight for “Rights of House Elves”. Well, maybe she isn’t quite so plain. She’s far from plain, I suppose. But she’s not strikingly pretty or anything, and you’d think an obsessive Quidditch star like me would at least be so consumed by someone who’s ridiculously good-looking.
I held out my rough, calloused hand in her direction, and after a few seconds of silence, she placed her tiny white fingers against mine. The gentle touch of her soft palm against mine sent a sensation through my body that was comparable to being hit with a raging hippogriff. Or a speeding Muggle car. Either way, I felt like I’d been hit by something, and it was prominent and just begging to be noticed. It’s the oddest I’ve ever felt. My emotions were just running rampant, and they still are. I’m telling you, I’ve been hit by something. Oliver Wood does not let his emotions run rampant. He barely even has emotions! And I’m rather proud of that fact, too.
She’d glanced behind her towards Ron, who’d been watching the two of us closely, before turning back to me. “I would love to, Wood,” she had responded, allowing me to pull her up in the air with two arms so she could straddle the broom in front of me.
And that’s why I haven’t left my chair in so long. I glance down at the plain watch on my wrist. It’s eight o’clock in the morning. Seeing as I returned home from yet another Weasley fete, during which I stared for an uncharacteristically long time across a table at Hermione Granger and did not mention Quidditch once, just a little past two earlier this morning, I’ve only been sitting here, staring at that dead plant, for six hours. Most definitely my record for the period of time I’ve thought about something other than Quidditch or Puddlemere. I think my record is about forty-five minutes. I really have been hit with something.
That’s why I’ve been sitting in my chair, you see. I’m trying to explain this to myself. I’m trying to understand why I’m as shaky as I would be if someone had given me an adrenaline potion, why my entire head is consumed with something other than a Quaffle, and why the touch of Hermione Granger’s hand on mine caused all of this. My entire life, I’ve told myself that women are a waste of time. I love Quidditch, I’m passionate for Quidditch, and I don’t want anything to take away my focus. However, I also told myself that if I were to find a woman, she would love Quidditch and never get in the way of my love for it- Hermione Granger only ever showed up at Gryffindor Matches for Harry Potter, and only appears at my matches for, I suppose, either Ginny or Angelina. I’ve told myself this for twenty-five years. I don’t need a woman around. It’ll only complicate things. Right? Or wrong?
I really don’t understand it all. Is it even something to be understood? I don’t even make sense to myself anymore. Merlin’s beard.
I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m standing outside the Burrow, the Weasley home in Ottery St. Catchpole, where I know Hermione Granger still lives. For Merlin’s sake, a lot of the family still lives at the Burrow. Of course, Bill and Fleur, along with their daughter Victoire, are at Shell Cottage, Charlie is surely back with his dragons, Percy stays in a flat closer to the Ministry, and George lives over the shop in Diagon Alley with Angelina, but Ron and Ginny, along with Hermione and Harry, still stay at the Burrow.
This is why, of course, I’ve chosen to come here. She is here. Perhaps if I see her again, I’ll remember how plain and simple she is, and I’ll go back to normal. I’ll be un-hit. Okay, that doesn’t make much sense. But what am I supposed to do? My head is consumed with nothing but Hermione Granger’s face on replay. Of course I’m not making any sense, even in my own head.
“Anyone home?” I call out, pushing open the door and walking straight into the Weasley kitchen.
Ever since the end of the war, that’s been a big thing of Molly Weasley’s. She adamantly refuses to make anyone knock. I think she’s beyond glad to be safe again. There’s even a sign on the outside of the door that says “Don’t you dare knock”.
“Hullo?” I call again. I walk further into the kitchen, turning down a short hallway towards the sitting room. Surely everyone’s awake by now. I know for a fact Mrs. Weasley refuses to let anyone sleep in in her house, unless they’re ill. “Anyone home?” I’m repeating myself. I probably sound like a broken record. This is what a man who can’t think of anything but an obnoxious bookworm acts like, I suppose.
I collide with someone in the hallway into which I had turned, and I jump back almost an entire foot in alarm. Isn’t it just typical that someone happens to be coming down the hallway the one time I’m not paying any attention? I raise my eyebrows, taking yet another step back when I realize who I’ve hit. The recipient of a rather forceful collision with my stocky frame? A very petite, bushy-haired bookworm, who looks relatively shaken. Of course. First she mentally and emotionally hits me with constant thoughts of her, and then she physically runs into me.
“Oh,” she stammers quietly. She has a book in her hand, and she’s staring at the wall over my shoulder, instead of at me. Her hair is falling wildly over her shoulders and around her face, instead of tamed into a knot like the day before, and I catch myself staring again, absently and accidentally realizing how pretty I think she is. “Hello, Wood.”
“My name is Oliver,” I inform her, surprising myself. I don’t go by Oliver, you see. I go by Wood. Surnames are used commonly on the Quidditch pitch, by my teammates and by the match announcers, and it’s something that sticks in your head after a while. However, for some reason, the crazy part of me that’s been so obviously hit by something wants nothing more than to hear Hermione Granger say my real first name.
She glances straight at me now, but only for a second. “Alright then,” Hermione says. “Oliver.”
All over again, I’m hit with the same surge of feeling through my entire body. This time, I’m able to make more sense of it. It’s as if the second she said my name, everything in my body filled with this odd sensation of completeness. Slowly, it’s all making a little bit more sense. Every small gesture Hermione is making towards me is giving me a moment of wholeness, followed by a period in which I am given a reminder of just how incomplete I really am. That’s… bloody creepy.
“Erm, is there any reason you’re here?” she asks, rather bluntly and rudely.
Yet another bit of wholeness. I smile despite myself. “Would you be surprised to hear me say I came to see you?” Wow. That’s surprisingly coherent and almost suave for someone as currently mindless and always tactless as Oliver Wood. I’m a little proud of myself.
Hermione laughs at my response. She has a strange laugh. No, it’s not musical, or like the chime of a few bells. It’s strange, almost as if it rarely leaves her throat. It’s loud, just like her voice, although not as shrill. It doesn’t really fit her, but maybe I only think that because of how rarely I see her laugh- if I ever have.
She’s looking straight at me in this oddly knowing way, as if she knows what I’m feeling and what I’m thinking better than I know it myself. With the look in her brown eyes, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did know. “Would you be surprised to hear me say that I’m glad that’s your reason?”
Without stopping to give her an answer, I close the gap in between us, one arm pulling her against me and the other knotting my fingers in her insanely unmanageable locks. At the close proximity, the complete feeling is rushing through my veins at an alarming speed, as if her existence is constantly hitting me over and over. My lips fall against hers like they’re meant to be there, and her tiny frame fits better in my arms than I would’ve thought anyone could.
There was a time when I thought Oliver Wood didn’t need this. Then, she hit me.
All right, how did I do?