This ficlet—possibly the shortest 'complete' piece I've ever penned—was originally written as part of last week's Friday Flash Fiction exercise on the forums over at Bewitching-Fiction. com (prompt: First Kiss). At the moment, this will stay as a one-shot, but I may eventually expand it into a multi-chapter fic (which will include giving a detailed account of the Leaky Cauldron scene referenced in the story's narration.
I've kind of been intrigued by the idea of Hermione & Oliver for a while now, and this was my first chance to try that out without committing to a full story. It's not much, but I hope you enjoy it :D
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit from this story.
"Does it feel weird being here?" Ginny asked, leaning across Harry to whisper in Hermione's ear.
Pulling back, Hermione's brow furrowed as she darted her gaze to Harry—who was pretending he'd not overheard the question—and then back to his fiancé. "No," she said, shaking her head. "Why should it be?"
"Because it's Ron," Harry muttered, nodding toward the newlywed couple taking their first dance across the floor.
Hermione shook her head, laughing softly. It was fine that they were worried about her, but that they all only seemed so worried because she was there alone was a little insulting.
"Yes, it's Ron, and it's Luna," she said, patting his shoulder reassuringly. "And they're two of my best friends in the world, and I'm happy for them. Okay? Now can we please just—?"
"Oh, Wood's here. I didn't think he'd make it!"
Ginny's words sent a little, unexpected zip through Hermione.
She turned, following her friend's gaze to see the former Quidditch captain sneaking into the reception hall and hiding along a shadowed wall, no doubt embarrassed at the timing of his arrival.
"Oliver?" As soon as she spoke, she wished she could take back the possibly-too-obvious breathless whisper.
Harry's brows drew up as Hermione turned her attention back, their gazes meeting. "Oliver? I didn't know you two were all that friendly."
"Oh, we're not," she said with a dismissive wave of her hand, forcing her gaze to the couple floating across the dance floor. "Other than the whole fighting in the War together thing, and both being friends with you, we barely know each other."
Hermione bit her lip on anymore forced words, afraid that saying anything further would betray the sudden rush of butterflies in her stomach. Honestly, wasn't twenty-seven too old to feel like a school girl?
If only she'd not bumped into Oliver Wood that day outside the Champions' tent in fourth year—after being unceremoniously kicked out. Honestly, she'd only been trying to check on Harry, and then . . . .
Hurrying from the tent, through the same confusing, folded side-panel by which she'd slipped in, Hermione ran face-first in to something. She barely got out a muffled oof before fingers slid around her upper arms to push her back a bit. The action was gentle, but brought with it the realization that she'd collided not with something, but someone.
"Sorry, sorry." Hermione shook her head, lifting her gaze to find the brown eyes of Oliver Wood staring down at her.
He looked startled a moment, but then he seemed to catch himself, relaxing visibly. "Oh, you're Granger, right? Harry's friend."
"Hermione," she said, shaking her head, again. Harry's friend? Honestly, she wondered if this might be how Ron felt all the time.
"Hermione," he repeated slowly, still looking at her as though he'd never seen her before. "What are you doing over here?"
She shrugged, glancing back toward the tent. "I just came to check on Harry."
"You're a good friend for doing that."
Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. "What are you doing here, then?"
Oliver's eyes rolled as he nodded, "I came to check on him, too."
Hermione grinned, although she only now realized he still held her by the arms. His touch was so light, she almost couldn't feel it. "Doesn't that make you a good friend, as well?"
He shrugged, giving a defiant sniffle. "Well, maybe it's just an excuse to get a closer glimpse at the dragons before they start."
She nodded. "Okay," she said with a quick laugh. "That's what I'll tell everyone if they ask me if I've seen you." God forbid boys should show concern for one another, goodness.
She started to tug out of his faint grasp, when he said, "I'm sorry."
"For what?" she met his gaze again, confused.
"I didn't recognize you at first. I . . . ." He glanced away, a sheepish smirk curving one corner of his mouth upward. "I've never seen you close enough to notice what's under all this hair."
Hermione's jaw dropped a moment, and she sputtered, both amused and insulted. "Well, I . . . I . . . . Oh! That's sort of terrible, you know that?"
Chuckling, he lifted a hand, pushing some of her tumbling, wayward locks out of her face. "I'm sorry, honestly."
A giddy feeling set off in the pit of her stomach as she stared back at him, certain a blush was flooding her cheeks. "Um, we—we should get to the bleachers, they'll be starting soon."
"Yeah," he said, nodding. In apparent afterthought, he dipped his face, kissing her forehead. "Keep being a good friend to Harry, okay? Seems like he needs it."
She let out a shivering breath, surprised by the gesture. Nodding, she replied in a whisper, "Okay."
He looked up as an announcement sounded, calling the beginning of the event. Meeting her gaze once more, he darted down, again, brushing his lips over hers.
For the briefest moment, unable to help herself, she leaned into him, before pulling back to look up at him, wide-eyed. "What was that, then?"
Stepping back with a grin, Oliver shrugged. "That was for luck."
Hermione couldn't stop a giggle that bubbled out of her. "Harry's the one competing!"
"Well, for Harry's luck, then." He winked and then he was gone.
Hermione hurried to the bleachers—after a moment of steadying herself—where she could pretend the color in her cheeks was from the rush of excitement at watching the tournament competition.
After leaving Hogwarts, she was certain she'd never see him, again.
Until a run-in at the Leaky Cauldron a few months ago—where she'd tipsily admitted to him that he'd been her first kiss—had led to a bit of snogging in a darkened corner. Well, snogging and maybe some wandering hands, but who was counting?
Now, as the dance finished, applause rose from the guests, and Hermione joined in mechanically. She couldn't help turning to look over her shoulder.
She wanted to pretend she wasn't looking for him. But then her gaze found his. He was moving toward the open doorway, leading to the reception hall's enchanted garden.
Smiling, he bit his bottom lip as he nodded toward the softly glowing array of flowers outside, and then disappeared through the door.
Feeling a rush of warmth in her cheeks, Hermione cast a quick glance at Ginny and Harry. They were pleasantly distracted with one another . . . . As usual.
"Hey, Hermione, what're you . . . ?" Harry glanced at the seat beside his to see it vacant.
His brow furrowing, he looked to Ginny, his expression questioning. "I could swear she was just here."