Chapter 1 : A Chance Meeting
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Awesome CI by Elenia @TDA!
Chapter 1 - A Chance Meeting
Dark eyes glanced over papers strewn about the table, skimming Quidditch plays and mentally crossing out certain ones. A large, competent hand reached down and grabbed the mug, bringing it to his lips and taking a swig of hot tea before placing the item back down on the table. Oliver hadn’t slept well last night, the thunder bringing back memories he wasn’t keen on reliving.
Maybe he’d give Quidditch a rest for the day and head into Diagon Alley. He’d swing by George’s shop and drop off tickets for that weekend’s match. Weasley and Angelina had only asked for two, but Oliver figured he could talk them into taking the little runt with them. Just because Fred was barely a toddler didn’t mean it was too early to learn appreciation from the game.
After he stopped at the joke shop he could swing by his sister’s bakery. She’d talk him into going to her house for dinner that night, which wouldn’t take much convincing at all. Claire was a first class cook, and Oliver’s brother-in-law was great for bouncing ideas off of. He could get Everett’s opinion about a few plays, eat a home cooked meal, and hopefully be recharged by tomorrow.
He needed to talk to Claire anyway about ordering a few dozen doughnuts next week. The old Gryffindor team was getting together at Katie’s place and a pile of sugar filled jam seemed like the best thing to bring over. Oliver leaned back in his chair, tapping his quill against the wood as he thought about the first few times they’d all met up after the war. The pain of Fred’s absence had been too strong to see past, most of them letting the evening slip away in a tense silence. Even after nine years, it was still strange. Oliver supposed it always would be, but at least now they could all talk about Fred, laugh about the memories they had of him.
Sticking together had been important for them all. And Oliver supposed that’s why, terrible as those first few gatherings were, they pressed on. Each one of them had witnessed hell during the final battle, and Oliver knew fighting through that hell was better than letting it take you under. So they’d forced themselves to leave their houses, to see each other, see people from school. And eventually the sight of dead bodies - dead children - the feeling of carrying the limp, lifeless form of Colin Creevey in his arms, stopped haunting Oliver so severely. It still came back, the feeling, but not as often as it used too. Not as intense as it once was.
Oliver shook his head, unsure of how he’d let his thoughts travel so far back. He blinked the memory away then glanced around the dim cafe, only a handful of other witches and wizards scattered about the comfortable space. It was the middle of the work day, after all. Oliver supposed most people didn’t have the luxury of bringing their work wherever they pleased the way he did.
He focused his attention back on Saturday’s match and the plays he was finalizing for it. Puddlemere had a damn good season going and that wasn’t about to change.
Even though Oliver’s injury had stopped his career as a Keeper dead in its tracks, that hadn’t meant he had to quit Quidditch for good. He’d been offered the position of manager almost immediately after learning he wouldn’t be able to play, and half the time he liked the planning and coaching better than being in the air. Or at least he was usually able to convince himself of that. And this way he didn’t risk shattering the shoulder that would never heal quite right. Sure, sometimes he thought it might be worth the risk just to be up there and be part of a game again, but he knew it wouldn’t do anyone any good. As manager he was able to strengthen the team instead of being their weak link.
“Mum! Mum! It’s Mr. Wood!” Oliver heard a small voice from behind him, surprised he’d run into a fan here. Usually the cafe’s crowd was made up of elderly woman too involved with their knitting to follow sports or business professionals too driven to care.
He prepared a smile and readied himself for the kid. Oliver knew that the boy would ask him if he would be playing soon, and he’d have to disappoint by saying he’d hung up his broom. At least partially.
“Aidan, we’re not going to bother Mr. Wood,” came his mother’s reply. Oh boy, that felt familiar.
Oliver stood from the old chair and turned around. “It’s no bother,” he started saying, his eyes falling on a young boy and his mum. Before he could continue with that thought, his glance became caught on the woman and he felt a small tremor of surprise run through him.
Short, sunny hair framed a face that didn’t seem like it could belong to someone’s mum. Not that a woman couldn’t be pretty and have children...but the lady staring back at him wasn't just pretty. She looked like a brand new racing broom all polished up.
“I’m sorry about this,” she began, “he’s a really big fan.”
“Mr. Wood!” the boy squealed, nearly jumping in place. “Mr. Wood, did you see the Quidditch Times article, the one that called you the most promising manager Puddlemere has ever seen? And Mr. Wood! Did you know they put your picture in the article and talked about you for a whole page? An entire page! And how you’re-”
“Aidan,” came a soft but clear warning from the boy’s mother. “Mr. Wood is probably very busy. Let’s thank him for his time and be on our way.”
Oliver was more than impressed when Aidan didn’t argue. He smiled down at the small figure, then glanced back up at his mum. “Mr. Wood isn’t necessary. Oliver’s fine. And you actually came at a brilliant time. I was just trying to think of a reason to stop working for a bit.”
The way Aidan’s face lit up was nearly enough to make Oliver laugh. He crouched down, knowing his height could be rather intimidating, and brought himself to eye level with the kid.
“You wouldn’t happen to have a piece of parchment, would you?” he asked Aidan, watching as the green eyes grew to the size of a Sickle.
Aidan shook his head, his mop of light hair - the same color as his mum’s - falling all about.
“Well, lucky I have one,” Oliver said as he stood and turned around. He shuffled through his mess and grabbed a piece from under his notes.
After dipping his quill in a the pot of ink, he placed it to the parchment.
Thanks for being a brilliant fan, Aidan.
Sincerely, Oliver Wood
Oliver blew on the ink to dry it, then turned back to the boy. “Here you are, Aidan.”
The kid’s mouth fell open as his eyes scanned the words, and Oliver was sure this had to be the his favorite autograph he’d ever given.
“Aidan, why don’t you thank Mr. Wood - Oliver - and go wait at our table.” Aidan nodded, then stammered out a thank you and rushed over to a nearby seat.
“Thank you for that, Mr. Wood,” she said, a polite smile on her face. Oliver wondered what it would look like if she were to give him a real one. The kind that made her light up. Her blue eyes seemed almost too large for her slender face, but he thought that they balanced her out well. Soft and open, unlike the rest of her sharp features.
“S’not a problem.” He gave her his famous smirk, the one that women often told him they loved. It did nothing to relax her polite, rather cold exterior, though. “As I said, it’s Oliver. And you’re...”
“Mia,” she responded, her tone courteous, yet far from friendly. “He, Aidan, is really a huge fan. So thank you again.”
Oliver could feel Mia directing them toward a farewell, but he decided he wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. “It’s nice to meet a kid who doesn’t seem upset that I won’t be playing again,” he said, hoping to keep the conversation alive. Oliver watched Mia’s lips move a fraction closer to a genuine smile, a touch of warmth filling her face.
“Aidan’s always been more interested in the running and coaching aspects of a team. Not that he doesn’t love the playing part, just not as much as what it takes to get those players up there and doing their best.” Oliver nodded as Mia spoke, happy that her voice had lost some of it’s clipped tone.
“And your husband? Does he enjoy Quidditch as well?”
Damn, Oliver thought as he watched Mia’s eyes gain the icy coating back.
“I’m not married, Mr. Wood. Thank you again for your time, and good luck on this weekend’s match.”
She started turning around, her short, pointy hair swaying with the movement.
“Wait,” he said, though he wasn’t sure why he was trying so hard to get past Mia’s chilly exterior. “Here.” He reached into the pocket of his trousers and pulled out two tickets. “They’re for Saturday’s match. It should be a good one.”
He was certain that she was going to refuse, but Aidan must’ve overheard and was by her side in seconds, half mad with excitement.
Oliver watched her face soften the way it had before as she glanced from her son to the tickets. It was clear that the boy was her weakness, and not difficult to see why. After a few seconds, Mia agreed and Aidan nearly flew off the deep end. He went on about the different outcomes the match could have as Mia thanked Oliver and directed her son through the exit of the cafe. When the glass paned door closed behind them, the Quidditch captain was left with a more positive feeling than he’d had in weeks.
He’d need to get a few more tickets now for George and Angelina, but the look on Aidan’s face was worth it. Even if pretty Mia had barely talked, at least Oliver was able to make the young boy’s day.
“Misty,” he said, waving the waitress over as he packed his things up. “That woman, does she come here often?”
Misty’s aged face and bright pink lips crinkled into a smile. “Oh, now and again. Mostly in the cooler months. Nice young lady - seems like she’s had a few bumps in the road. Mostly keeps to herself. Are you taking a fancy to her, Mr. Wood?”
Oliver just smiled at the waitress before handing her a few coins. As he walked from the quiet cafe, he let Misty’s question simmer around in his mind.
Fancying women wasn’t his style. Sure, he’d flirt occasionally. He’d date here and there. But Quidditch was, and always had been, his main focus. His passion. Casual dates with women whose baggage was nonexistent, someone he could be with a few times and then they’d part amicably, now that was his style. Though Oliver’s mother was after him constantly about growing up and settling down, he had no real plans to do so anytime soon. He was only twenty-nine, after all, and still had too much career to work on before he ever thought about taking a relationship seriously.
Still, the image of Mia, the way her eyes warmed with her son’s happiness, continued to fill him.
Maybe he’d have to make it a priority to run into her after the Quidditch match. But for now, his only priority was getting a big slice of pie from Claire and then heading over to Weasley’s shop. He could probably even talk George into kicking back with him over two cold beers.
Apparently I've started a fluffy Oliver/OC story. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I had a blast writing this first chapter, so I'm taking that as a good sign :).
I'd love your opinions on it!