The response for this chapter will be interesting I think; the cynic in me is looking forward to it, the cautious not so much. It's probably not something you should read in one sitting…but meh… I'm glad that so many have reviewed and have enjoyed this story so far, but I don't reply to them. Any info, like "when is the next update", or snippets of the next chapter are all on my profile. So here it is.

This chapter deals with the physical, and the inevitable attraction/tension between the characters. So in some ways there's a lot of it, but I don't think I go into too much detail until the end. But as a warning fluff haters beware.

Whether it lives up to your expectations is up to you, I hope I've done it justice, but the longer the story goes on, the more exhausted I get. There are about 2 chapters to go and they'll hopefully be done by early August. I have my mid-year break so I can spend time on finishing it.

I'm thinking of doing a poll about who you think resembles the characters of Hermione and Oliver, in the matter of looks- just for kicks. If you have any suggestions let me know! :P


The Playboy's Pursuit



"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need"

"Just a bit more..."

"Oliver, it won't fit," Hermione sighed, exasperated.

"Of course it will, I just have to push it in a little harder..."

"It won't work! Mine's a lot narrower. Look how thick your nub is!"

"I wish you'd talk like this more often," Oliver muttered. "Keep going."

"Oh shut up. It's too big and wont fit in the tiny hole!"

"Hermione the bigger the better, believe me."

Hermione glared at the man across from her. "Now, why do I think you've used that line before?"

The wink he gave her had the annoying affect of amusing her, and the smirk was almost her undoing. She looked down at the misshaped pieces and rolling her eyes, undid it. "You're a cheat Wood."

He had the audacity to look offended. "Love, I would prefer to fail with honour than to win by cheating."

"You know you almost said that with enough integrity for me to believe you," she looked up to see his smile widen, his dimples showing. "Let's not forget about yesterday when we were playing Scrabble. How many words did you make up then?"

"Assmosis is a word."

"It's Osmosis, which is the diffusion of water through a semi permeable membrane-"

"Yeah, and Assmosis is the process by which people suck up the bosses arse in order to succeed."

"What about pooty, kaka, schticken...tyrotoxism?"

"Hey, tyrotoxism is a word. My uncle was poisoned by cheese, nasty stuff," she merely raised a brow. "Gah woman! Where's your sense of adventure?"

"The idea of doing a puzzle is to make an image with the pieces fitting nicely-"

They'd been at the puzzle all morning and his neck was tense. Heck, just being around her made him tense. He massaged the back of his neck, "I didn't hear any complaints, in fact I bet it liked the friction."

"You're talking about cardboard Wood," Hermione stood, raising her arms over her head, stretching after an hour and a half of torture. No more of those 'impossible' puzzles for her, she'd either end up insane or with a hernia.

"Even so it can get hard," like hell he was, ogling the smooth skin visible by her raised jumper.

Hermione ignored the sexist jibe with a 'humph!' and walked up the landing toward the kitchen to make some hot chocolate. Though at the moment she needed ice to cool down.

Oliver followed behind her and sat on the island seat. He found he liked her there, in his kitchen, in his house, no doubt the bed would follow, once he got her in there of course.

She looked his way, her cheeks heating as she found him staring at her. There was no doubt what was going on through his mind, it was the same as hers. "Er- one sugar right?"

"Yeah thanks," she hadn't even needed to ask whether he wanted chocolate or coffee, he noted, as she had already taken out the coffee jar. Where she was sweet, he was bitter. Who knows, maybe one day they would compromise and invest in mocha. He scoffed, compromise with her? That was a laugh.

Lost in thought, he barely heard her say, "here" a few minutes later as she handed over his coffee and in his favourite mug; shaped like a Quaffle, it kept his beverages constantly hot.

"Perfect," he sighed, taking a sip. Opposite him Hermione sat smiling. They sat in silence for a while, drinking their coffee, simply enjoying each others company. Hermione spoke up as Oliver moved behind her to wash his now-empty mug.

"So what have you got planned for today?" she too stood and headed over to the sink.

"Well..." his eyes shifted over to the bedroom, before coming back to her face. She didn't look too impressed, but was that a blush staining her cheeks? "Oh alright I figure you'll want something harder for our first time. How's the bench top?" Without waiting for her reprimand he grabbed her under the shoulders and hauled her up on the counter, setting himself between her thighs.

"Wood!" she cried, clutching onto the edge of the counter. She tensed her body until she realised she was pulling him closer to her with her legs; his face was scant centimetres from her own.

"No marble actually," he kept his eyes with her as he brought his hands under her jumper to wrap around her thin, bare waist. His hands were cold against her warm skin and her body shivered in response.

Slowly he lowered his hands to her backside, and hauled her against him hard, firmly securing her with his hands as his fingertips ever so damningly slowly trailed up her sides, just below her breasts before tracing light circles all the way down again.

It seemed all he had to do was touch her and she burned up. She grabbed at his hands intending to move them away, but instead found them moving along her body with his, down along her thighs and back up, cupping her breasts over his hands.

"You know it's inevitable Hermione," he leaned close her, nuzzling her ear.

She released his hands and brought her own up to his shoulders, holding on tight as she felt him trail his soft lips down her neck. "So, we're both adults, we can withstand temptation-" she lost her trail of thought as his hands rubbed and pinched at her breast through her bra, bringing her nipples to aching peaks. When he ran his tongue along her bare clavicle, she pulled him closer with her legs.

"Good, so you don't deny you want me?" He nipped her neck, his hands finding their way below her jumper.

She jerked against him in surprise as his hands melded themselves to her bare breasts. When the hell had he taken it off? "It's not about-"

"You know something?" his pinched her nipple with his thumb and forefinger, "I've touched you, but I've never kissed you." While you were awake, that is…

"Well-" he cut her off with his mouth, touching her softly at first, allowing her to initiate the next move. He moved one hand to cup her face, while the other secured itself at her waist. She jolted as she felt his tongue tickling at her lower lip as he ran his tongue along it, questioning, urging her on.

Between his roving hands, his probing tongue and the cool air on her barely concealed chest Hermione was slowly spinning into a delirium where she had no control. She brought both hands to his head and pulled him closer, her soft body flush against his hard one, her tongue now clashing against his own.

He groaned when she started to respond to his kiss. Damn it, he knew he was being harsh, but he'd waited over two weeks for her, waiting to touch her; wanting to know if she wanted him as much as he wanted her. When her hands brushed down his back to grip at his backside, he knew his control was diminishing. Daring to take the risk, he moved his hands down to cup her.

When she felt his fingers starting to undo the button on he jeans, she froze. This was going too fast. She needed time to think. She needed to…stop making excuses. But damn it, this was Oliver Wood. He'd forget her in the morning, and wouldn't that be awkward since she was stuck here with him for a few more weeks. No, it would make things too difficult. This time when she grabbed his hands, she did pull them away.

Tearing her lips from his, she gasped, "No…no Oliver. We should stop."

He knew what was coming when he felt for her zipper. She was so predictable; he knew when her mind kicked in over her body. He'd just have to distract her more next time. And there would bloody well be a next time.

"You sure don't sound convinced," he wanted her but he'd never take a woman without her consent. "But next time, I won't be so lenient," with a last flick of his tongue and a gentle nip on her earlobe he released her and moved away.

She was hot, she was tense and she wanted to haul him back over to her, spread her legs and let him take her right there. Instead she adjusted her top, blew her fringe out of her eyes and stared into oblivion.

The opening door broke her reverie, as Oliver began to step out, changed in boots and a thick jacket. It was as if he hadn't been affected by the make-out session at all. But of course not, she was just another notch on his belt. Instead of angering her, she felt sad. "Where are you going?" she didn't recognise her own voice, it was so hoarse.

Oliver shrugged, but the sooner he was away from her the better. "Gonna go restock the wood for the fireplace…"

Hermione looked out of the window, the blue sky and settled winds were an illusion for what she knew was to come. "Can't you just charm a fire?"

Did she know how innocent she looked with her brow furrowed, biting her lip? He had to get out. He clucked his tongue, "I don' mind doing a couple of Muggle chores every now and again. And besides," his eyes twinkled, "You can never have to much wood."

He closed the door before she could find something to hurl at him. Snorting at the sheer impertinence of the man, she washed her mug and with a last hesitant look out the window, walked toward the living room, picked up a book and started reading.

It was after ten minutes that she realised she hadn't a clue what the book was about.

Thoughts of what she and Oliver could be doing were clouding her mind.

He probably shouldn't have hauled her so close to him, he noted as an after thought: partly because he was still bruised from the other days 'adventure' and because he'd probably scared her away.

Well too bloody bad! He didn't feel her pulling away, so he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her. So what was the problem?

He released his anger on a pile of wood that he was slaughtering with his axe. Each time he thought of what he could've been doing, he hit it harder. And harder.

He had no idea how long he'd been outside, but the temperature had dropped significantly. He'd been sweating only moments before in his jeans and jacket, and now the cold ripped through him. It was time to head in and face Hermione. His mouth twisted cynically, who'd have thought he'd afraid of a woman-, well his demanding response to her anyway.

He threw the axe down into the snow and took out his wand from his bomber jacket, levitating the pile of wood toward his house. It was a fair distance, but he'd performed it so many times, he knew exactly where to direct his wand without moving his body. Muttering a spell, his clothes instantly warmed and he started his way slowly, so incredibly slowly, to the house.

"You're pathetic you stupid bastard," he muttered to himself. "What could she possibly do? She's half your bloody size; she could barely-" he heard a rustling in the trees to the side of him. Was that a figure hiding amongst the shrubs?

Frowning, wand at his side, he approached the thick patch of shrubbery that led to the bush. Tightening his wand he peered over and through. Nothing.

He didn't know whether to be relieved or worried, but he knew his own abilities as an athlete and knew what he saw. Another rustle, so faint it could've been mistaken for the wind, he turned toward it. He had great hearing. When he'd first started playing

Quidditch, his coach had blind folded him during training, forcing him to rely on his other senses to catch the Quaffle; the skill had helped him play during bad conditions, but damn did he get belted early on.

Oliver hurried toward the sound, this time louder and faster. He could clearly see footprints on the snow that led toward his house and his first thought was Hermione. Before he made an arse of himself, he checked they weren't his. Too small to be a mans… and hell, he hadn't come this way.

Running now he followed the imprints but they had suddenly stopped amongst the trees. He looked up nothing. Unless it was a frigging monkey with huge fucking feet, the bastard had vanished. He'd look into this and when he found the bastard who trespassed on his property and endangered his and his own he was going to pound them senseless. Media be damned.

About to head toward the house, he saw it. Small and dark, the figure was crouched and walking slowly. How the hell had it gotten over there? Sneaking around to get ahead of the figure, Oliver hid amongst the trees and waited until he approached.

He pounced.

"Oomph!" the figure cried as Oliver tackled them bottom first to the ground. They rolled together, battling to come out on top; but Oliver was far larger and stronger, holding down the intruder with his arm against their clavicle.

"What the hell do you think you're doing sneaking around my property?!" Oliver yelled, but couldn't see the figures face, hidden beneath a hood.

But the figure hadn't heard him, nor had they seen him, too busy withering their smaller body against his harder one. Unsuccessful and cursing, the intruder grabbed at a pile of sticks and poked the larger figure in the side.

"Christ!" The momentary pain had Oliver cursing and clutching his side, allowing the panting figure to try and crawl away. "Not so fast you bastard." Holding his throbbing side he grabbed hold of the escapee's ankle and tugged hard, causing them to fall to the ground, aimlessly kicking at Oliver.

"Let go of me you murderous delinquent!" a familiar voice cursed at him and before he could acknowledge her, Hermione had escaped his hold by kicking at his lower abs and he fell to the ground.

"Hermione!" he swore, but she either hadn't heard him or chose not to, and leapt onto his back and flung her arm around his neck, choking him.

"Thought I was going go be an easy target did you?" She was too mad and scared to do anything else. She wanted to call out to Oliver but she was so high on anger and adrenalin she fought back instead.

"Damn it woman!" Oliver choked and using his strength grabbed at her arm and lifted them both. Her legs instantly straddled him from behind and dug her boots into his crutch. "Fucking hell!" he gritted. There was no way to calm the hellcat and pissed off beyond belief he bent down and flipped her over his head and right onto the snow-covered ground.

Hermione was momentarily stunned as she lay huffing and puffing on her back. Now she was in trouble, how had the S.O.B. done that? She glared at the hooded figure who was bent and clutching his gut. Seeing her opportunity to escape she started to rise but the man- or freaking giant of a woman- beat her to it and straddled her to the ground.

"Oh no you don't!" She tried twisting her lower body free, but her legs were caught in between his. She was trapped, what the hell happened now? She had to think, so she used her head.

Oliver flung his head back just in time to miss what would have been an incredibly painful butt to the head. He knew she'd put all her thought into it. "Hell and damnation Granger!" Oliver cursed and thrust down his hips to hers in order to stop her moving. It was driving him mad.

Hermione stopped her assault, recognising the angry voice coming from the now hood-less face. "Oliver?" Her eyes narrowed and she punched him in the gut.

"Oomph! What the hell was that for?"

"That was for throwing me onto the ground!"

"You're the one who almost dismembered me you little harlot!"

Her eyes widened, and her cheeks fumed. "You bastard!" he saw her hands were going to go lower so he grabbed them, and hauled her up so they were face to face. He had a feeling that even if he tied her with steel the witch would Houdini her way out of it.

"Settle down, for Merlin's sake," he held her hands in a killer grip behind her back with one of his own, while the other held her head. She was most dangerous when she used her head.

"Settle down!" she blared, "You're the one mauling me, a poor, defenceless woman..." she couldn't wriggle out of his iron hold.

He raised a dark brown, "Defenceless my arse, sweetheart. Stop fidgeting." He brought her flush against his bruised chest.

"Well get you're fat arse off me, you're crushing my legs."

"Well maybe if you'd stop trying to decapitate me with that thick head of yours, or stop trying to slice me with those claws you call nails I would."

"Claws! Excuse me barge arse, you flipped me like I was a frigging pancake. I could've broken my back."

"So you're head would still be alright. That's the problem," he didn't know how she did it, but what must've been anger she reversed their positions, mimicking his earlier move and held an elbow at his neck. "Oh well done, should I now stab you with a stick?"

"Hardly a stick, more like a twig. Woah!" he reversed their positions.

"Twig my barged arse. Not too mention I think I lost my balls..." He let her change their position. The side of him that wasn't annoyed or aroused found the whole situation incredibly amusing. Who'd have thought this little shrimp of a woman had the spirit of a tiger.

She sent him a sweet smile, "I don't think we have enough time to look for such small things."

He sat up, taking her with him. "Your words wound me more that your talons ever could."

"You started it."

Dark eyes flashed at the other, both chests clashing as they tried to settle their raging heartbeats. There'd be bruises tomorrow. They knew that and what as coming. It was inevitable.

"And I'll finish it."

She wasn't surprised when his cool lips touched hers; wasn't surprised to find that she held him closer and responded; wasn't surprised when she took over. She opened herself to him, pulling his body toward her with her thighs, his head closer with her hands. Hermione ran her tongue along his lower lip and gently bit at it, with each nip rubbing her hips along his.

Slowly she continued the pattern, sucking, nipping, thrusting until he decided he'd had enough and took over, plunging his tongue into the sweet cavern in her mouth, spurred on when she moaned as he sucked her tongue.

Well this was new to her. She'd never took charge, well, rather, she'd never needed enough to want to. She'd been restless all day since the interlude in the kitchen and wanted release.

She was driving him mad with her roaming hands and clenching thighs. She could've been dressed like a fucking Eskimo and he'd still get off. He didn't like the feeling of wanting her so much, wanting meant needing. And that was a dangerous thing. But he didn't stop, instead unzipping her thick jacket and following the newly exposed skin with open-mouthed kisses.

"God Oliver," Hermione gasped and arched toward his roving kisses. She clutched his head closer, leading his mouth toward the two aching mounds on her chest.

Before he pushed her onto the ground and tore away her shirt, he came to his sense.

He hated when that happened. Goosebumps formed on her creamy skin, aided by his wet kisses and the falling snow. He hadn't even noticed it started snowing. "Shit Hermione, we've got to stop."

She couldn't feel anything; maybe that was the problem. She was numb from the cold and from his body on hers.

"What?" She brought his mouth to hers and sucked hard.

Oliver searched for control as she continued her assault along his jaw. "It's starting to snow. Look you're freezing."

"So warm me up," he sighed in pure denial when she took his earlobe in her mouth. "Do you hear me complaining?"

"No," he breathed, "That's the problem." God her hands were moving lower. "I- I think someone was out here."

That brought her up short. Still puffing she breathed, "What? Who?"

He looked at her. Her hair dishevelled, her lips swollen from his kisses and her cheeks flushed. Merlin, he wanted her.

"Who was out here Oliver?"

Reigning in his body, he sighed. "I'll tell you when we're inside. Come on." He rose off her and held out a hand to help her up. Zipping up her jacket with shaky fingers,

she took his hand and struggled to stand.

"Woah!" She would've fallen on her arse, but Oliver held on tight. "Thanks." She tried to take a step, but soon found herself in the snow again.

Oliver folded his arms and stared down at her. "I suppose this sad display in my fault too?"

She was tired, embarrassed and, damn it all, horny; and the handsome son of a bitch just stood there, acting as if they hadn't had a snog-a-thon in the snow. Now she was pissed off. "Yes! If your hulk of a body hadn't held my legs prisoner I might've been able to get up."

He rolled his eyes and left her on the ground and started off. He heard her cursing and struggling to stand, and chuckled to himself.

She watched him slowly make his way up the hill. She was stuck in the bushes and was going to die of hypothermia. "All your fault!" she mumbled.

He heard her, as faint as it was and knowing she was too stubborn to ask for assistance went back to help, ignored her glare. "As I recall, my sweet, it was your thighs wrapped around my 'fat arse' so-"

"Okay, okay!" flushed and embarrassed, she sat on her knees feeling pins and needles painfully pierce her. She was really getting annoyed at that dimpled smirk he gave her whenever he was right, or thought he was. She ignored his hand and managed to stand, and take a few steps forward.

It didn't take her long to fall. "Such language." Oliver sighed and ignoring her, "go to hell" in one motion threw her over his shoulder. "Jeez woman, You're heavy. Where do you pack it in that little body."

"Shut up and put me down!" She punched his back.

"I'm a man, I can only handle on thing at a time." She shrieked as he pinched the top of her thigh. "Ah here it's at."

Hermione smacked the back of his head, verbally promising him that she would kill him for this new bout of humiliation. "So I'm hippy-"

He smacked her bottom, "And what a lovely arse you have, my dear."

He carried her in silence still looking out for an intruder. Was it Hermione he'd chased or someone else? She meanwhile was glaring at the snow beneath her. "This is humiliating you know."

His grip on her thighs tightened as he stepped over a fallen log. "It could be even worse if you fall head first into the snow if you don't stop fidgeting." The house was in sight.

She was silent for a few minutes- a miracle in itself- when she spoke up. "You know, I don't know if it's the blood rushing to my head, but you have a nice bush-backyard Oliver."

Oliver almost dropped her. "You've been staring at my garden the past five minutes?"

"Well it was wither that or your pudendum and I thought the shrubbery would be more convenient."

He put her down when he reached the door. "You know a lot of women would kill to get a study of my arse. You were close enough to make a full report." He held her still as she righted herself.

"Well I'm not most women," and whipping out her wand, unlocked the safety spells she'd put on and strode inside. What a quick recovery he mused.

His smirk faded. Footprints, leading to his windows, away from his doors. He called to Hermione, "When you came to look for me did you come around the windows?"

"No," she called from the bedroom. She hurriedly changed into another jacket as her other one was wet form the snow and ran outside. "I thought they were yours, so I followed them toward you...I saw them come back and then nothing. It just stopped."

"Go inside Hermione and lock the doors."

"Pfft, oh come on Wood, I'm not a child I can take care of myself!" she said, hands on hips.

He didn't need this stubborn display of independence from her, he was tired, bruised and just wanted her cooperation for once. "Just do it alright. I know this area better than you do," his brown eyes shot to hers. "No don't argue with me."

"Well it wouldn't be a Muggle now would it? If they were strong enough to get passed the barriers of your land, what would stop them from entering the house?" She whipped out her wand, "Now if you don't mind-"

Quick as a flash he snatched the wand from her hands and used his size against her. "I don't care what you've accomplished in the past. This is my house and you're in it. That makes you mine too. And I protect what's mine."

She broke her eyes contact with him and subconsciously rubbed at the goose bumps on her arms. "I don't belong to anybody."

"I'm not anybody," he gave her wand back and headed out. "Look, just stay here. Please?"

It was the please that did it. Reluctantly she turned toward the house and slammed the door.

Not that he didn't trust her, but he charmed the house from the outside with the strongest spells he knew.

And when it came to protection he knew; with the fans he had, it was wise to know the best. She was capable enough to unlock the guards. He just hoped he was back in time before she did.

For the second time that day she was sitting alone, waiting for Oliver to get back. The first time around he'd been gone for four hours, within which she'd showered, read and marinated some meat for dinner. But it had been lighter then with no snowfall.

Now the bastard had locked her in and the protection spell he'd sneakily added was too complicated to unlock inside of an hour. In frustration she'd gone and peeled- slaughtered- some potatoes.

5.30pm, the potatoes were peeled, in a dish with some salt, bacon and cream and placed in the oven. They'd be an hour. He'd been gone that long too.

Where the hell was the asshole? It'd serve him right if he'd been attacked and eaten by wild animals; she'd offer them a side dish of cream potatoes and salad. Didn't he know she was sick of waiting for him. Him! A man. What was she doing to herself; and not just with any man, Oliver- frigging- Wood, playboy extraordinaire, tall, tanned, muscled and stubbled…damn it. When he got back she would give him a razor, shove junk food into his mouth and cut off his legs- but it was no point.

She'd caught the Wood disease and was terminally attracted to the man. It was only matter of time before she'd need to treat it. That was of course if he wanted it too, because he sure as hell didn't seem overly affected by their make out sessions.

She poured herself a glass of white wine and sat at the kitchen bench staring at the window. And waited.

She'd been so lost in thought, she jumped when two hands came around her waist and a stubbled cheek nuzzled her neck.

"You scarred me Wood! Merlin please be Wood, it has to be Wood. He's the only one with a carpet growing on his face," she teased, trying to distract herself from his arms around her. It felt good. It felt nice. She wasn't used to male affection, most tried to hide it. Unless of course they wanted something from it.

He kissed her neck and took a sip of her wine. "Cruel Granger. I've been standing here for the past five minutes watching you stare out the window, ignoring me. You're damaging my ego."

Taking the glass out of his hands, she took a sip. "I'm sure there's enough of it to go around."

He rolled his eyes and sent her that damned dimpled smirk as he filled his own glass and refilled hers.

"So what did you find?"

"Footprints. You're sure you didn't go further in the bushes?"

"Yes, I was following what I thought were your prints and then they suddenly stopped at the edge of the shrubs. Then of course you mauled me-"

"Pfft, who mauled who? Anyway," he quickly added before she started an argument, "the prints that were around the windows followed down to were I was working and then, as you said came back up and just disappeared."

"A wizard then?"

Oliver shrugged, "Most probably. Maybe an Animagus, or they flew out, or apparated or had an invisibility cloak and just stood there waiting for us to go…who knows?"

Subconsciously she rubbed the back of her neck. That would mean they saw them- oh hell. "I doubt they had an invisibility cloak, we'd be able to sense them."

Oliver took another gulp, "Doesn't matter the how's it's the 'whys'. They were on my property. If they wanted to visit they should've rung the door bell, not come down to watch."

He could've been in danger, who knows what sort of sicko's there were out there, and with Oliver as a famous sports star, there'd be plenty.

"Next time I'll be ready though," he added and moved toward the sink. "See you've started dinner already."

"What? Oh," her mind had wandered. "Yes, salad, creamy potatoes and sticky chicken."

"Sticky chicken?"

She ignored his expression. "Yes, you'll see. And you'll have a wonderful time cleaning it up too. The potatoes will be done in half an hour, I may as well start on the meat now."

"Okay, I'm just gonna go and shower."

Twenty minutes later he'd emerged from the bathroom, watching Hermione hum a tune from the radio and set the table. "Here let me do that."

"Lucky I stopped dancing or I may've been embarrassed," she let him take the plates and went to bring the food to the table.

"You never cease to surprise or amaze me Hermione. Would've thought you knew how to cook." Damn the chicken was sticky, sticky but tasty.

"You're faith in me is doing wonders to my self-esteem," she took a bite out of her potatoes and swallowed before talking. "I wasn't lying to your mother when I said my own wanted me to know how to do the expected womanly chores." She rolled her eyes. "But then I suppose there's nothing bad in knowing how to cook, sure beats a fire."

He watched her over the rim of his glass. She seemed to close in. "You don't agree with these 'womanly chores'?"

"Well, it's good to know how to cook, and sew, and potter and whatever; but that doesn't mean I have to do them because I'm woman; I'd rather know it for myself," she paused, a wry smile twisting her mouth. "My mother created me with the necessities for a woman raising a family that I will undoubtedly never have."

That made him pause. "Oh, no bairns for you Granger?"

She shook her head. "I'm too busy to even think of having a family, let alone raising children. I'm with them everyday, that's enough for me." She didn't add how she was afraid. Afraid of being a terrible mother, afraid of having her child suffer with what she had to treat everyday. The parents were so strong, so wonderful…Did that make her selfish? Did that make her weak? Or did the fear of the unknown make her human?

"Having a child of your own is different than looking after another's." He added.

"Perhaps, I suppose you can only know if you have your own, you know to compare."

"Mm," was all he said.

If there was tension, she was adamant to get to the bottom of it. "I suppose you want children then?"

He didn't know anymore. At one stage he did, to have a part of him live, to raise, to teach Quidditch in the yard... But like all good things, they can be taken away too. "Why not, a whole Quidditch team I think. I'd name them Seeker, Keeper, Beater Snr, Beater Jnr…."

"Ha, ha Oliver," she rolled her eyes.

They sat in silence, listening to the radio in the background. She really hated breaks, but one commercial brought her up short.

"It's Christmas in three weeks!"

Lord he hated Christmas. It was too painful. "Well done, you're like one of those detectives on CSI."

She sent him a glare. "You don't even have a tree!"

Hadn't in five years. "Nope." He stuffed his mouth with salad.

"Shame on you Wood, but you have one in London don't you?" her mouth fell open when he shook his head. "That's it, we're going out to get one tomorrow!"

He swallowed hard. "It's just a tree, I'll go cut one from the bush."

She rolled her eyes. "It's not the same. No, we have to get an actual tree, plastic or real, with lights and baubles…ooh! and stockings-"

"Yours will be enough to fill."

No chauvinistic remark could take the light out of her eyes when she had an idea. "You won't be climbing those ladders anytime soon with that attitude."

Despite himself, he laughed. She was quick with a comeback he'd give her that. And she looked so eager and enthusiastic, despite his bitterness toward the holiday, he couldn't take it away from her. She loved Christmas and she probably wouldn't be able to spend it with her family this year…ah hell. He was getting soft.

"If it means that much to you, then we'll get one.,"

She rolled her eyes and started clearing the table as they'd finished eating through there conversation. "Thank you father, can I get a pony too?"

Heaven give him strength, "That's not what I meant."

"I know Oliver. And don't worry about buying it, I will-"

"Uh uh," he said annoyed. "I have money Hermione, too much in fact. I doubt a tree and a few balls will expend the budget."


"Stop arguing with me. Your idea, sure, but my tree and my balls. I pay."

Great now she felt bad. She had money too, albeit not the millions he had and he made it clear he didn't want a tree and now he was paying for it. She sighed, bloody man. "But-"

"There you are arguing again. Go and sit down and let me wash these damned dishes."

"Oh fine be an arse," she threw down the tea towel and stalked down the few steps to the living room.

"Would you like a pony with that, I can buy you one…"

He let out a blast of laughter at her derogative curse and went to tackle the damned sticky dishes.


After dinner they retired to the living room. There was a tension of anticipation between them of the possibilities that might arise that night. But both had been exhausted from the day and were cautious about the intruder.

Oliver had ended up watching The Vicar of Dibley and re-runs of Muggle soccer, surprisingly a sport Hermione enjoyed, but ended up falling asleep anyway. It was one o'clock in the morning when Oliver decided to turn in, but he didn't think he'd end up sleeping; there was too much going on in his mind.

Next week he would have to leave for London in order for some team training for the Cup in a few weeks time. Technically he should've been training himself, but he'd been a tad pre-occupied of late .

Turning to his problem, he smirked. Her legs were raised and an arm covered her closed eyes. He was hesitant to wake her lest she attack him, so carried her over to 'her' room and place her on the bed.

His next thought brought a wicked grin to his face. She would kill him. He walked over to the cupboard and removed the pyjamas she bought. A baggy, daggy flannelette two-piece with cows on it.

Carefully he removed her clothes, wincing when she stirred. He'd rather be killed with her clothes on than off, lest he enjoy the process too much.

She had lovely legs, smooth, shaped and lightly tanned. Her waist fascinated him more so, it was small and delicate before extending to her rounded hips. She had a freckle at the top of her thigh and one above her hip, he didn't know why but he found it fascinating. Before she woke up, he quickly put her clothes on and pulled the covers over her.

"Oliver?" he heard her tired voice call as he approached the door.

Sprung. "Yes love?"

"Did you just undress me?"

His mouth twisted as he opened the door.

She snuggled into the covers, "Remind me to kill you in the morning." And she was out again.

He made his way to his own bedroom, but not before quickly doing a check around the house. Everything seemed alright.

He tried to sleep, but couldn't. In three weeks was Christmas, and he hated Christmas. He'd promised Hermione they'd go out tomorrow if the weather held and get some Christmassy things, but he was hoping for a blizzard. He hadn't had a tree in his house for five years. That's how long it had been.

She shouldn't have been taken away from him. She was too young; too innocent... she'd been his. Getting out of bed he walked dimly to the wardrobe and pulled out a small box on the top shelf. It was the same place he stored her in his London home.

He took out the contents and remembered.

Well wasn't this interesting. Her eyes did not deceive her: there was something going on between the healer and Keeper. Oh how pathetically sweet. She gave it less that two weeks to dissolve- that would make an interesting bet. She wondered what Maggie would think…

But then again the stupid bitch wasn't happy her plan was backfiring, they weren't supposed to be together just you know, 'together' something the media could play on as a rumour, not as a fact. Now they would either bring them closer together, or tear them apart. Maggie was hoping the latter would happen, Rita could make it.

Rita laughed. Merlin it had been a thrill running from the Keeper, of course then she'd gotten tired and turned into a beetle. When the two were busy fighting she'd transformed back and hidden under an invisibility cloak, taking pictures of the two of them.

Sitting at her desk she looked at the moving pictures and smiled. This would be fun.


Luck had not been on his side that day. He awoke to the sun shining and the typical cool winter chill in the air. No sign of torrential rain or a severe storm.

"Be careful with that, you'll knock something down," Hermione muttered, carrying several full bags of Christmas decorations, leaving Oliver to tug in the box with the tree.

"Let's get a tree, she says. Just something little, nothing too flash," Oliver cursed hauling in a seven and a half foot box. "A bloody seven-foot tree," he pulled, "the bigger the better she says…" and cursed himself for saying it the day before. "Oh and then, lets have some fun with it shall we…!" he dropped the box and ignoring Hermione who tried hard to contain her laughter, took his wand out of her bag and proceeded to mimic her. "… 'Let's not use magic, it takes away the fun out of a lot of things.'" He glared at her, "I don't think getting a hernia from lugging around a seven foot tree is fun!"

Sobering, just barely, she cried, "Oh I'm sorry sweetheart," squeezing his cheek she began to unpack some of the bags sorting them as tree decorations, ornaments and lights. Maybe they had bought too much, but as he bragged, he could pay for it.

"That it, just sorry?"

But she ignored him. "I think we should put the tree here in the living room against the wall of windows. Don't you think? Good," rubbing her hands together she set to work, first opening the box of the tree. She took out its base and the three adjoining pieces that would make the pole. "Well come on, carrying the box didn't kill you, you can help set up."

He didn't feel like it, in fact he simply sat back and watched her. "We should've gotten the black coloured tree. Green is so…Slytherin."

Hermione rolled her eyes skyward, "I agreed with no green decorations, but the tree was too much. Now stop complaining and make yourself useful."

She handed him a couple of branches he had absolutely no idea what to do with. There seemed to be thousands of them stuck in the box.

"Oliver, darling," she sighed condescendingly, "unless you want me to decorate you, I suggest you stick those branches into the little slots on the pole."

"With directions like that, no wonder we've moved forward so well." After a few minutes of her taunting and teaching him, he finally got the hang of it. The branches were colour-coded to match where they stuck in the pole. Weren't instructions clever! And wouldn't wands be much more useful.

When they were done, the started on the lights. Hermione had brought net lights because they were supposedly easier to put on the tree. Easier his barged arse! He almost suffocated his head in between the gaps that connected the lights. Hermione merely said she was surprised his fat head fit through.

"Now what is that?" he asked of the shiny gold and red wreath-like object.

"It's a hair extension," she muttered. "It's tinsel you fool, you can either put it on the tree or around the house."

"Uh uh, no, there's no way I'm having this anywhere in my house. It looks like something a cross-dresser would wear around their neck," he looked at it with detest. "All I need is a bus to stand on and I could be Priscilla Queen of the Desert."

"If you don't stop complaining I'm going to tie it around your neck and suffocate you," She handed him some red and gold beads, he was insistent that the theme be Gryffindor colours. "Dangle these from the branches."

Taking them, muttering about Merlin knew what, he attempted to decorate the tree with the beads. He heard Hermione splutter. "What?"

"Dangle, Oliver. Any tighter and the tree, had it been alive, would've suffocated Greenpeace would've been after you." Carefully she removed a glass red bauble from its set of four, decorated prettily with gold glitter and little jewels; and analysed where to put it.

Had it been up to Oliver, he'd have just shoved it on anywhere in order to get it out of the way. There was nothing more tedious than putting up a tree you'd only have to take down a few weeks later. Deciding to try and get in the spirit of things, he opened a bag she hadn't gotten to and withdrew a few dangling ornaments. He had to admit though, she had taste, she also, however had to have her own way. He'd been lucky to get her to agree on no green baubles at all.

"What are these, earings?" Hermione simply ignored him and he placed it anywhere on the tree.

She watched him put a large bauble on the tree and put her hands on her hips, "Now what is wrong with that picture?"

"What?" Oliver thought it looked pretty good.

She tisked. "Putting up a Christmas tree is art Oliver. You might not stick it on the wall but people will look at it," Hermione shook her head. "No, this will not do. When you have multiple colours, you should try not to put them next to each other, especially when you have half the tree left to cover. "

He watched her removed it to the lower branches.

"And when it's a decoration that dangles," she continued, "you put it on the lower branches; if it's up top, it loses its appeal and clutters." She fixed up a few more decorations and stepped back to admire her work.

"What can I say Hermione, you're the Picasso- no, the da Vinci of the Christmas tree construction association."

She glared at him and handed him a pretty beaded glass bauble. "Just be quiet and do it right."

After fifteen minutes of dismantling his sore attempts of decorating- which she knew he was ruining on purpose to annoy her- she told him to step away and let her finish the masterpiece.

"Just go and watch the plant grow over there, you have no appreciation of assembling a tree."

He didn't need telling twice.

After ten minutes of painfully watching her put the tree up, he had, what he thought was a brilliantly wicked idea. She had her fun putting up the tree, now he'd have fun taking it down…or off. Leaving her to the finishing touches- who shines a bauble? - He sought the bag with his desired contents and left off to his bedroom.

She was finished, and it looked, if she was honest, brilliant. The lights twinkled and the baubles sparkled. She'd distributed the colours evenly and nicely; it was a damn good work of art. Raphael eat your heart out, despite the centuries in between. "Hey Oliver, have you seen the tree skirt?" she was too busy looking for it to notice he had left the room and entered it again a few minutes later. Her direction turned toward the couches when Oliver appeared in view.

"What the hell are you wearing!" Hermione sputtered as Oliver emerged from the bedroom. He was still wearing his leather jacket, a pair of dark calf-high socks- and, boy did he have a nice pair of muscled legs…Good lord. He only thing separating her and him was a thin layer of red velvet and satin with lace trimmings- with a dry-clean only policy.

"I thought it was an early Christmas present?" he said with all innocence.

"It's not a kilt Oliver!"

He spun in an oddly effeminate twirl, of which Hermione would've laughed if he didn't look so dead set on taking it off in front of her. "But the velvet is so nice against the thighs."

"Stay away from me Wood," she held out her hands as he came toward her with that damned smirk. "Tell me you have something under that."

The dimple showed. "Hell I hope so, let me check…"

"No, no," she said in between helpless laughter. "Let's just leave it to my hopefully absent imagination." She started moving away from him. She added quietly, "Nope, still there."

He came closer. "You're looking a little flushed. Is something the matter?"

"Oliver, I need to finish off the tree. Can you please take it off?" she had to make a run for it past him towards her bedroom. It wasn't until after she said it she realised what she had said. "NO! Not here, that's not what I meant!"

"Too late Hermione," keeping his eyes on hers, he pretended to take off the skirt. Little did she know he had boxers underneath, but if she had, it would take all the fun out of it. As predicted in panic she ran toward him, but instead of stopping him she tried to make it toward her bedroom.

He was too quick for her.

"Oliver get off!" Hermione squealed- she squealed- as Oliver grabbed her around the waist and lifted her. "You shouldn't be lifting in a skirt."

"Jeez, you weight more than the tree," he joked but didn't let go. "I think it's because you've got too many clothes on…"

She smacked his roaming hand, "Wood-" before she could reprimand him; a rush of wind emerged from the fireplace as well as a thick roll of paper. "What?"

Oliver gently put her down and ignoring the paper, looked up the chimney. He had closed it earlier that morning.

Hermione meanwhile went straight for the paper. She had a feeling she knew what it was. She read it. "Hell."

Oliver looked towards her, "What."

She said nothing, simply gave him the Prophet without meeting his eyes. They'd done a number on them, a whole six page spread.

"Bloody hell, of all the times to get a frigging new story, they get a snap when we're in a fight and then snogging on the lawns. "Wood, hard, durable and eager to Burn…just what I need, more bloody publicity…" he trailed off muttering curses to himself.

She on the other hand was thinking about the bets in the gossip magazines. No doubt this public display would undoubtedly earn the children's ward a couple of thousand galleons. That made it all worth while didn't it?

No, no it didn't. It might just as well have ruined her reputation as well as her pride. But there was no doubt who was trespassing in the property yesterday; damn journalists; but how could they be so callous, so devious. She had to stop herself. They were journalists after all.

Oliver was still muttering to himself and she'd had enough. "Oh shut up! I'm so sorry you had to be caught with me frolicking in the shrubbery; no doubt I'm not up to your supermodel standards!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Oliver thundered.

She distracted herself by collecting the boxes from the decorations and baubles, "Are you listening to yourself? It's all about me, me, me! Why are they putting these things in the paper about me? What have I done to them? You should be used to it all by now, you know what's true and what's not!" she started shoving the rubbish into bags she had conjured. "Me, I'm a respectable healer; what are the associates and parents going to say when they see this! Me having a tumble with you!"

One would've had to have given the Keeper praise for reigning in his temper, he was just below madness. He flung his arms out skyward, "praised be the Lord, she finally admits it. Who would care about an intruder-journalist in my home, when it's all about poor doctor Granger getting a bad rap."

"Unlike you, my ego's not big enough to handle this. I didn't sign up for it, I wanted to hide from all this media hype and I was doing a good job of it until you came along!" she stalked up the small landing into the kitchen and yanked a trash bag from a draw. Walking back down she handed it to him, "Here, make yourself useful."

Despite his anger, he opened the bag, held it and let her fill it with discarded tinsel and paper; and at the same time argued with her. Who said men couldn't multi task? Oh wait, he did. "Yes, to you my penis is as big as my ego that's why I get so much use out of it!"

Hermione ignored him, and when she had cleared the room of rubbish, wrenched the bag from his hands and proceeded to tie it. The bag was surprisingly heavy and she struggled to take it outside; wand be damned.

"Oh for Merlin's sake!" Oliver cursed, taking the bag off her and easily lifted the weight to the trash outside.

"Arrogant bastard," she muttered after him. Hermione needed to do something, but the household was now spotless. She had a lot of anger to exert and opening her mouth would get her into more trouble.

Wandering about she came to the den and saw the forgotten puzzle on the table, abandoned the previous day for a snog session. That would keep her occupied for a few minutes. Walking over to the mahogany cabinets, she pulled out its box, and everything else came tumbling out as well in her anger. "For pity's sake!"

Deciding to deal with it later, she pulled apart the puzzle and packed the pieces in the box.

Oliver entered from the cold, though he hadn't felt it as much as he'd expected in the tree-skirt. He was still wearing the damned thing; annoyed at himself, he stormed to his bedroom to put on jeans. Emerging a few moments later, he glared at the angel at the top of the tree. Merlin, he really hated Christmas. "Oh what are you staring at? You should be back in the box where all the other ornaments go."

She heard him cursing and decided this bout of stubbornness wouldn't bode well for their already strained relationship. It was time to act civilised as adult and discuss their issue. She walked out to the living room. "Okay Oliver, we've got to talk."

"When a woman wants to it's fine, but when a man wants to…there's nothing to talk about."

She put her hands on her hips. "Oh rubbish. There's always something to complain about…Look, what happened just before, I didn't…"

"Of course you did, don't worry I understand completely. Just forget about it." he busied himself by shuffling around the magazines on his side table. Where the hell was the porn?

She'd been with him long enough to know he wasn't going to budge, no matter how hard she pushed. He was so damned secretive, he never let her in; he asked for so much, but what did he give in return? Orgasms? Well she hadn't had that yet. "Fine Oliver." She returned to the den to molest the puzzle.

Great she was even madder at him. Just what he needed, to be stuck with shitty woman and couldn't even escape outdoors, lest his balls fall from the cold. This was why he was single and didn't have women around long enough to induce this sort of frustration. It was a build up of sexual need, hidden secrets and tainted pasts that made this cocktail a deadly, yet appealing mixture.


"Yes Hermione I'm sure that will fix the problem," Oliver called from the living room.

"Shut up," the bloody door wouldn't close, because she'd thrown everything in it half-hazardly in frustration. Cursing at the door, at Oliver, she grabbed the nearest chair and shoved it against the door.

She turned to the sound of clapping. He'd decided to come and watch her molest his puzzle and cabinets, and even in reluctance looked slightly amused at the sad display.

"Well done. I've always admired your logic. If at first you don't succeed, shove a chair against it."

"What, finished sulking?"

Wow, he had this temper thing down pat. He removed the chair and calmly rearranged the contents within the cupboard. The door shut nicely, but his temper was still on edge.

She suddenly felt sick and claustrophobic. She need needed to get out- to anywhere. Damn it all she was stuck in this cabin-like mini mansion with him. She missed her home, her job, her family, hell even Jimmy Junior.

She couldn't sit still, she felt so restless, and so on edge. She fixed up pillows, wiped dust-free tables, cabinets, and restacked magazines. Nothing helped. She needed to get out; or she needed him. She didn't want to need him, but she did; and she'd never needed anybody.

Oliver watched from the top steps leading down to the living room. She looked like she belonged in an asylum, even in insanity she looked appealing to him. He was the one who needed a psychiatrist.

Hermione knew he was watching and she let him. Let him stand there all charming and angry, better over there than close to her, touching her. But he didn't want her, he wanted her body. And she was desperate enough to give it to him.

Hermione couldn't take it any more. Running a trembling hand through her thick curls she let loose, "what do you want from me Oliver?"

She paused, but he didn't respond. He just watched her calmly through dark, knowing eyes and let her finish.

"Oh I think I know what you want from me, but do you need it? Is it something you won't be able to do without?" She pinched the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes. It always had the unusual affect of calming her before she made a moron of herself.

"We'll be stuck here for Merlin knows how much longer and this- lord help me- sexual tension is driving us- me- mad. I'm not vain enough to think it's anything more than a possible tumble in the sheets, I don't think that I would want it to be-"

She saw his brow raise ever so slightly. How could she explain what he was making her feel? She, who shied away from relationships and put everything into her job, was feeling something for a man who probably needed a bag of rice to count the women he charmed. Okay, well, maybe not rice…

"Truth is, I know nothing about you Oliver. I can read the garbage in the paper, but is that the man you are? Are you the chauvinistic playboy drunk who has more than one woman a night? Who could convert a 70-year-old lesbian-" she paused, "-I found that one interesting by the way. Or are you the man they don't show? The one who just the other day helped some children and even myself from the harrows of the storm? Are children your weak point? Not just the other day were you selfless, but you took time out of your own busy schedule to visit a bunch of kids in St. Mungoes. Is that the real you?

"In the two weeks I've been with you, I think I can sense when you're annoyed, angry, amused; but I can't tell if you really are and why- wait, I think that's a lie, its usually my fault- but what's going on in here?" She pointed to herself and he kept his eyes on hers, heat radiating through them.

Slowly she made her way towards him, coming to a halt at the bottom of the stairs, causing her to look up. He was even taller standing on the top level; but that was fine; for now she didn't feeling like besting him. She gripped the edge of his leather jacket.

"The one thing I do know is that it's easier- no, better- to hide away from what we're afraid of, because dealing with it hurts. It's not necessarily cowardice, rather than caution." This was the hardest part, but she trusted him enough, wanted to trust him enough with it. "I'm afraid of a lot of things. Children, Ron singing, failure and betrayal. I'm scared to give my trust, myself…my- my, heart to someone who might take advantage of it. What's the saying? 'Love is giving someone the ability to hurt you... but trusting them not to' I did that once and I didn't like the feeling.

So I threw it all into a job I love, but exhausts me. I gave my life to a bunch of children who might not live long enough to enjoy their own. It's not about sacrifice, I didn't have anything to give up in the first place; and while I adore the kids, I admit I did it for my own benefit rather than their's," she held his eyes. "Being here with you has been both a blessing and a curse. I know what I'm missing out on, but the cynic in me says that it'll end and I'll hide again. Because it's easier to put it behind you and wonder than it is to take a chance and know.

She brought her hands to his chest, with no sexual intent,. "I know what I want and I know what I need. I'm just better at hiding it, but it's getting to the point that I'm tired of fighting with myself. What are you hiding from Oliver?"

She didn't expect him to answer. She didn't want him to. What she knew about him, his honesty, his integrity, his selflessness- even that damn dimpled smirk, she loved. For today she'd taken a chance and then she'd know. It would just make hiding that much harder.

Releasing her hold on him she turned to the tree. It was large and beautiful, the angel at the top smiling down at her, with enough intensity to make her wonder if the ornament knew more than she did.

Oliver didn't move. He just watched her, the beautiful curve of her studying that damned tree. She missed her life, or rather the safety of it, of that he was sure. But she also wanted to feel again- of what he could give her – if only for a little while- because he couldn't- wouldn't- give her more. That was his policy with every woman, and damned if he himself wasn't getting tired of it.

He moved to stand beside her. Not touching, not looking at each other. Just standing in silence, listening to the soft patter of rain against the window.

"The first mistake you made Hermione is trying to read me. I'm not one of your novels that need to be studied, or enjoyed or criticised; I simply am, and people forget that because I'm a celebrity. And as a celebrity I am supposed to give off an aura of perfection and an image people can aspire to. And when I crumble, I'm criticised and condemned. And why? Because I didn't live up to someone else's expectations, or because it's easier to pin point those people's faults that are richer and more successful than you are, in order to make yourself feel better?

I don't hide as much from my problems as I abuse them- there's no point in running from the inevitable." He played with a branch of the tree. "You wanted to know what the truth was. Fine. All of it. I am a womaniser, and though it's easy to blame my celebrity for the parties and the women, if I didn't want it, I wouldn't have it.

Lose women and one nightstands are not my weakness, I simply don't want to know the women long enough to develop something more with them; less is more and more is always better."

There was a part of her that didn't want to hear the rest of it, she could hear an anger and sadness in his voice. A regret? But she didn't stop him, she simply kept staring ahead, trying to control her trembling body.

"I don't like talking about my feelings much, I deal with it in my own way. But I'll tell you that I'm not ashamed of what I've done or who I've become. When I was younger I slept around a lot, simple, carefree, meaningless sex with women whose names I didn't know. And I think that was the problem, because I wanted it to. Who knows maybe I played the field because I wanted to find someone to feel something with, or maybe I was just a horny bastard. Where's doctors Phil, aye?"

He looked down at her now, but she didn't return the gesture just looked ahead. Was she going to judge and criticise him just like everyone else? Merlin, he didn't want her to. "I never did find it Hermione, even with Maggie there was something missing. Hell, even if I did I doubt I'd know what to do with it, I'd end up abusing it.

I want you and I've made that clear the past few weeks; but I won't lie to you. I don't know what will happed afterwards, but I know your name." He moved his hand over her left breast to cover her heart. "And I know how you respond to me and the way I respond to you. And that tells me all I need to know."

He was either being incredibly honest or using that sweet-arsed charm he was famous for. Damn her insecurities. But still a reluctant smile touched her lips, "What, that I'm a wanton cow?"

He rolled his eyes at her odd humour and moved his hands to cup her face. "No that it'll be alright. Tell me, what do you need?"

She stunned herself by trembling and the want in his eyes and the need in his voice. To want him was bad enough, but to need him? It was tearing her apart. She was prepared to lie, ready to salvage the last piece of her heart that was already moving towards him. But what came out of her mouth was, "you."

Apart of him knew that would be her answer and relished in it, while the other hoped and a tiny part was afraid it wasn't. Holding her face, he brought his mouth down to hers, tasting the faint trace of vanilla gloss- he couldn't get enough of it, of her as she opened her mouth to his.

She sighed over his gentleness. He still wasn't sure she wanted it, his tongue would touch hers then pull away; his teeth would pull at her lips then sooth them. She didn't want gentle. Standing on her toes she wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled him closer, and took over.

He groaned against her demanding mouth, taking without asking, touching without restraint. He let her take control until his control lessened and he pulled back.

He rested his forehead against hers, both breathing heavy. "Hermione, if you're planning on telling me to stop, say it now, because if this goes on I won't be able to."

She closed her eyes, biting her lip. Technically it was a bad idea; a really bad one, but hell, she was sick and tired of living on the sidelines. "I thought I was making myself clear. I see now not," boldly she removed on hand around his neck and moved it down his body until it reached his evident arousal, straining against his jeans. She squeezed. "Now?"

How could she look at him with such innocence and touch him so thoroughly. Gritting his teeth to keep from embarrassing himself, he hauled her into his arms and moved to the bedroom.

"You do realise that after that chat we had I'm going to have to kill you; or at least lock you up as my sex save in order to shut you up?"

Dumping her on the bed, she caught him by surprise and pulled him down with her. "Fine, but kill me after okay?" she went back to kissing him.

"This…this damn it, needs to be off," hauling her flush up against him so she was straddling him be ripped off her jacket, exposing soft creamy flesh and red lace barely covering the full, rounded mounds of her breasts.

"Mm," she sucked his neck, "and so does this." She unzipped his leather jacket. "And this too." She let his open shirt fall off his shoulders. God was he gorgeous, dark, broad, tanned and muscled. An athletes body. She ran her nails lightly over his chest, down to his six pack and to the band of his jeans.

"Uh uh, Hermione, then I'd have more clothes off than you." His roaming hands found the clasp of her bra and in one quick flick; it was on her lap, leaving her exposed to his gaze. Lord she was perfect to him.

His hands touched her everywhere but where she wanted it most and she was getting restless. When his lips found hers and started moving lower, she thought she'd find release.

"What do you want Hermione?" keeping his eyes on hers he brought his head down to nuzzle the ridge between her breasts, one hand behind her supporting her, the other maddeningly tracing the edge of her areola.

He shifted his head just that little bit closer, so his mouth was merely millimetres from her nipple, which was aching with his cool breath and his agonising stare. She shifted just that little bit so his mouth touched it.

He chuckled, his lips dry, he wetted them with his tongue, touching her nipple in the process. She arched against him. "Hmm, what was that?"

Biting her lip, she leaned back against his arm, moving her chest towards his head. She grabbed at his thick hair, as she arched her breast at his mouth. "You know what I want, you bastard."

"Perhaps," he rubbed his closed mouth over her nipple, while his other hand fondled her other breast. She was so damned sensitive, he could just touch her down there and she'd be off. He smirked, maybe he should just try it, though at the rate he was going, he'd get off before she did. "But why don't you show me?"

If she weren't so damned hot, she'd have blushed. Most of the time she'd let her partner take control, but with him, she wanted it more. He wanted her to guide him around her body. Well, she had other plans.

She surprised Oliver when she slid the rest of his shirt off his shoulders and ran a shaky hands down his chest. When her warm hands brushed his nipples, he bit his lips and brought his lips to her neck, sucking at it hard in surprise when she rubbed her chest against his own and thrust her hips against his bulge. "God woman…"

She pushed him down onto his back and straddled him, groaning as she felt his hardness rest right against her. Right there. If she rubbed herself along him just a little more, it'd be all over. Well for her anyway. She ran light kisses along his jaw, biting his earlobe and soothing it with her tongue. "What, you said to show you…"

"Well I meant-" he groaned when she trailed open mouth kisses down his neck before taking his nipple into his mouth. Her moist tongue flicked over the erect nub, swirling it around before moving to repeat it on the other one. Her hands meanwhile where everywhere, using her fingernails to tickle and taunt him. But it was when her mouth started to follow those nimble fingers down his torso that his heartbeat sped.

She looked like a seductress; her lovely body scarcely hidden by red lacy undergarments, her long dark hair falling in waves over her shoulders…and now along his stomach. His breath hitched as she undid the first button, her teeth nipping at the newly exposed over-sensitised flesh and when she undid the zipper, pulling down his jeans, her hot mouth following over his boxer-clad erection, his hips bucked toward her and his hands gripped the bed linens hard.

Hermione smiled against his inner thigh as she felt him jolt toward her. The power she felt over the playboy exhilarated her and spurred on her own arousal. Ripping off the rest of his jeans, she continued her agonising onslaught back up toward his member, sucking, nipping at his sensitised flesh with her mouth, while her hands roamed upward, stopping just at the waistband of his boxers.

He saw her mouth slowly approach his erection, agonisingly waiting for the pleasure she could give him with her mouth, she stopped just short and sat up to straddle his thighs, her teeth between her lips. Her gaze was so intense as she studied his arousal, it was almost his undoing.

His breath quickening, he looked at the damned witch, wanting to sit up and take those two sweet mounds into his mouth. As if she sensed his intentions, she leaned a hand on his chest, stilling him.

He couldn't take it any more and flipped her over, holding both her wrists above her head with his hand. Her body was hot and sensitive below his, her breasts thrust up, seeking his mouth; and he almost lost it as she spread her legs further apart so he could feel her heat radiating from her.

He brought his mouth crashing down on hers, not bothering to be gentle any more. It was past time for tenderness. She opened her mouth instantly to his, their tongues clashing and melding together and when she captured his tongue between her teeth and sucked at it hard, he groaned to stop himself coming right then.

Damn her, he was acting like a horny teenaged asshole and they hadn't even taken off their underwear yet. Speaking of which, still holding onto her wrists, he moved the other downwards, and without warning, moved into her knickers and touched her.

They both groaned at the touch. She was so wet and hot and ready for him, whimpering beneath him and he stroked her folds. Hermione undulated beneath him, with no control over what was happening to her. He was holding both her hands down as well as her waist, prohibiting her to thrust her hips upward to meet his hand and her close release. When he brought two fingers into her and pinched at her swollen nub, she couldn't take it any more. "God, Oliver, please…"

He was straining, rubbing against her thigh. He brought her so close to the edge, so that she was bucking beneath him without the aid of his hand, he let go of her wrist and began to pull down his boxers.

He rested against her entrance, "Hermione look at me."

She'd barely heard him, moving herself to get him in her. Damn him, she hadn't had sex in years, she didn't need the excess foreplay. But she turned to him with hooded eyes.

He saw her eyes close as he entered her and a sigh escaped both their lips. She was tight and wet, and finally his. He started moving within her and she matched him, thrust for thrust, her nails digging into his back, her teeth at his shoulder; their hot, sweaty bodies gliding along each other.

"Harder." He did.

"Faster," he did.

And when she convulsed beneath him, he muffled her cries with his lips and joined her moments later, releasing his seed within her, collapsing above her.

She tried to catch her breath, but it was too fast for her. Merlin he was good, but then he'd- she stopped that train of thought. Now wasn't the time. She grabbed his hair and moved his head until his mouth met hers. Lazily their mouths moved together, until he rolled off of her to his back, and brought her to lay on his chest.

"You're something you know that Hermione."

She rose on her elbows to look down at him, "Gee, I'm sorry?"

He pinched her side, "you know that's not what I meant."

"Humph!" wrapping the sheet around her body, she made an effort to get up. Oliver made it an effort; he wouldn't let go. He pulled her down on top of him. "Oomph!"

"Where do you think you're going?" he held her waist as she struggled on top of him.

"To sleep in my bed, as opposed to the floor since you take up half the bed when you sleep."

"You can lie down wherever, but you're not getting any sleep tonight," he started to detach the sheet from her tight hands.

"What do you-" her eyes bulged. "Again, we just, how can you-"

"Just stop talking and kiss me already," he brought her head down and entered her.

"Whatever you say boss," she sighed against his mouth.


He'd taken her several times that night, just when they'd ended, and he'd start again. The man was a bloody machine, and she was exhausted. Muscles hurt she never even used before. Stretching lazily she looked over a Oliver lying on the bed next to her.

The bloody man took up her half of the bed; all throughout the night she'd had to push him back- unsuccessfully of course- to his own side, usually ending up beneath him and exhausted. She'd learned that if she wanted sleep, the best course of action was to be uncomfortable and just let him hog the bed.

She left him on his stomach, sheet covering his lower torso, to go use the shower. No matter what they'd shared the night before there was no way she was going to walk around the house in daylight naked. Grabbing his discarded shirt, she made her outside without waking the Keeper.

She sighed in pleasure as the hot water hit her ailing body. One night of hot sex made up for four years of celibacy, and she wondered why she'd ever given it up. Something to do with unsatisfying men, no doubt.

Rinsing the shampoo suds from her hair, she couldn't help but think how awkward it might be this morning, or heck, the next few weeks. Was she now his lover? Or had it been a one-night thing? She spluttered, yeah right. But what a night it had been.

"Thinking of me are you?" a husky voice emerged from the shower door.

"Get out! Look- what- go- Wood!" she almost had a heart attack when he entered with her, in all his naked glory. "Oh my lord!" she tried to grab for a towel but he stopped her.

His eyes travelled along the luscious body of hers, wet and silky, Merlin did he love the feel of her in his hands last night. "There's no point of that love, I've seen all of you."

Still she tugged, "But not this early, Joan Rivers looks better than me this early in the morning."

He tugged her toward him, "Really, remember me to look her up…"

Those fingers of his were really distracting. "Oliver I need a shower, especially after last night," she shrivelled her nose and lied, "and so do you."

His brow rose. "Fine, I'll stay on this side, and you stay on that side."

There was no way in hell she believed that for a single second but thought to humour him. "Fine."

Surprisingly it had worked for a little while. The shower had enough room to fit more that three people, but she could still feel him near her, still feel the heat radiating in and out of her body. She adjusted the water.

"Hot much? Any cooler and my balls would've fallen off," Oliver re adjusted it.

"It's too hot in here," she readjusted it.

"Now it's too cold."

They argued over the temperature of the water like children until the cool water hadn't bothered him anymore and he grabbed her, holding her against the wall.

"Jeez, it's cold," Hermione spoke of the tiles.

Getting the soap sponge he ran it down her body, "Don't worry, it's about to get hotter."


It had taken her half and hour longer to have what would've been a quick shower had Oliver not interrupted and decided to play hide the soap. The man was insatiable. She'd escaped his hold, dried herself with a quick spell and headed for the kitchen. The prat was still in there, taking his sweet arse time while she was making some apple and cinnamon pancakes. Yum.

The doorbell rang.

She looked hesitantly at the door. No doubt the media coverage since that incident would be massive, and if one journalist had discovered his whereabouts outside London, then so would others.

Moving closer she peered out the window. It amazed her how from weeks of terrible weather the past two days had been warm and sunny- well as warm it could be for winter. She wondered how long it would last.

She hadn't seen anyone and started to get panicky, before a small figure emerged from the side. It was Oliver's Aunt Patty. Hermione immediatley opened the door.

"Hello darling! Oh don't you smell nice!" Patricia gave Hermione a bear hug and a kiss on each cheek. "Oliver about?"

"Yes he's having a shower," she closed the door. Shit the pancakes! Making quick excuses she ran back to the kitchen where they were nicely blackening. In the rubbish they went. She poured in another batch.

"So how has the weather been treating you? Surviving?"

"Oh yes, as best," Patty sat at the kitchen counter and began rearranging the fruit bowl. "Oh darling, I just wanted to say how sorry I was about the other day! I mean I am glad the buns are freshly made, I had a sixth sense that they were, but one must always be sure; but you could've put your life in jeopardy! And you have just so much to plan and do for the wedding!"

Hermione winced. She'd forgotten about that. She flipped the pancake. "Patricia, I am just going to be forward with you." She looked up. "Pancake?"

"No thank you dear."

"You've seen the papers no doubt? There's a lot of speculation about the relationship between Oliver and myself," she hesitated. "Now I know yesterday's article will contradict me, but there is nothing going on between us. I don't know how it got so blown out of proportion, but the media likes to twist things in order to create chaos, at least for its subjects." She flipped over another one, wondering where Oliver was. She looked at Patricia, "Oliver has been nothing but kind and generous to me the past few weeks, and without him I don't know what I would've done. But he doesn't deserve what's been said. And I thought you should just know about it."

"Oh you poor dears, though I must say the image looked very convincing!" she wasn't convinced that there was nothing going on. Marjorie had given her the low down…well as she saw it. "Well then I suppose the news I'll bring will brighten up your day!"

"Hello Patty," Oliver had stood in the hallway, drying his wet hair with a towel, listening to Hermione speak with his Aunt. He hadn't known whether to be annoyed or curious by her little spiel, but from last night, they were a little more than 'just friends'.

"Oliver darling!" she walked over to give him a suffocating hug. "Dry your hair, you could get sick! Go on, dry it!"

He detached himself from his aunt's vice-like grip. "I'll live," he walked over to Hermione and gave her a sounding kiss on the lips. "Hello love."

She could've killed him. In fact, if she didn't want to ruin the pancake, the pan would've found its way on her head. "Oliver."

Sitting at the counter, he called to his aunt, "so what brings you here Aunt? Everything okay at home?"

She sat beside her nephew, trying to hide a smile. Hermione looked ready to kill Oliver, heck it almost killed her not to throw down the plate in front of him and serve him his breakfast; though she calmly set Patricia one.

"Just wanted to see how you were since the weather cleared up a bit," she turned to Oliver to see him unabashedly smiling at Hermione who, with pursed lips, was trying not to slaughter a pancake. She decided to try some, adding maple syrup. "These are wonderful Hermione dear!"

"Thank you," she smiled at Patty. But glared at Oliver, dimpled bastard.

A few moments passed with mindless chatter and some careful analysis on Patricia's part. Oh boy, whether they knew it, or were willing to admit it, there was something-special going on between them. Hermione wanted to hide it, and Oliver thought it would be fun to contradict her. But Patricia knew her nephew; he was far too used to getting his way.

If he was serious about Hermione, then he should have to earn her; if he wasn't, then the news she had wouldn't make much of a difference. "Oh yes, have you heard, the Ministry's has opened up the portals to apparate and floo across countries, but it's only for today…" well ad tomorrow, but they didn't need to know that.

Oliver squeezed too much syrup on his delicious pancakes. "What?"

Patricia nodded, waiting to swallow before talking. "Yes it's in the prophet. Since Harry Potter has come back from his holiday, he's allowed the portals opened for a short period of time. He knows that a lot of people have been trapped away from their homes for too long, and has organised maximum security and safety for travelling for the public. The same treatment you got Oliver when you went to the conference."

This was brilliant; she could finally get back home and back to work. It was what she'd been looking forward to, and typical of Harry to organise it. It was good to have ministry connections, she mused. So then why was she feeling terrible?

She snuck a look at Oliver who was watching her intently, eyebrow raised as if challenging her. Well she could either go back home to her normal life or stay here and have an affair. Either way she'd end up losing, but going back home would be the safer choice.

Oliver remained quiet for the duration of his aunt's stay, which was longer than he hoped and he had a feeling his aunt, knew it. When it came to his mother and aunt, they were wickedly manipulative when it came down to a project, and he figured this was one of them.

She stood to leave and hugged Hermione, "that was simply lovely Hermione, I'll need to get the recipe off you."

"Of course Patty, I'll owl it to you when I get back to London."

"I'll walk you out," Oliver muttered and Hermione turned to clean the kitchen, with her wand this time. At the door he said, "what are you and mother planning?"

"Nothing darling," she said with all sincerity, "when it comes to you, Marjorie and I know we have trouble competing. You always get what you want, and most times you don't have to fight for it."

Ah hah! Okay, he understood now. But this fight would turn into a bloody battle zone and he didn't know if he'd come out of it alive. "You and mother are a lot more clever than you think. Be safe getting home." He gave his aunt a kiss on the cheek.

"I will darling, have a wonderful day!"

A part of him knew she wasn't in the kitchen, that she'd finished washing the damned dishes and escaped to her room, or had probably already left.

"So you're going?" he asked casually leaning against her door.

Hermione jumped in surprise, though to be honest she'd been jittery since Patty had spilt the beans. She wondered what Oliver thought. "This may be my only chance before Christmas, I figured I better take the opportunity." She tried to sound cheerful.

Oliver didn't buy it. "I could sneak you in with me next week when I go to London."

She forced herself to laugh, "Oh don't be silly; this way I'm no trouble for anyone. No, no it's better this way." She piled all her clothes on the bed, ready to shrink them.

He moved to stand behind her, "better for whom Hermione?"

She couldn't do this with him behind her, so close, a constant reminder of what they had, if even for a short period of time. "Well both of us, you can have time to train without me before heading to London-"

She turned her to face him, "Don't twist this by brining me into the mix. I never said you were a problem for me, so it's you with the issue."

Of course she wasn't a problem for him, he got what he wanted. "Fine, it is better for me. I can't stay here forever Oliver, I have my own life to get to, I have things to do; I can't simply stay here feeling completely helpless and useless," and used, she thought silently, turning to shrink her belongings and tuck them into her pocket.

He tried to reign in his temper. "So it was a complete waste of time here with me?"

Hermione rubbed her eyes. Boy were the two of them good at arguing. "Did I say that Oliver? I told you yesterday, being here with you was good for me, it gave me time to think and relax-"

"You also said you wanted to take a chance. And you did, several times last night."

Her hands clenched at her hips, "Don't use my words against me Wood. Not everything is about sex." She said it as if it were a toxic word.

He didn't think so either, "so what is it about?"

"Oh I don't know," she sighed. "But it was just sex. Incredible, hot, sweaty sex and now it's over. Come now Oliver, nothing's ever more than sex with you." Unfortunately.

Just sex, and now it was over? She could use and abuse him as she saw fit. Well blow me! He thought and cynic amusement formed oh wait, she already had. "Well what about you, you don't seem like the person to have an affair and leave so easily."

Why wouldn't he stop prodding her, what did he want, her heart on a skewer? She wouldn't give it to him; it was time to move on, to push him away. It was the right thing to do.

"This time I knew what I was up against; I knew not to expect anything more than a short affair." She sunk on the bed, deflated. "And that's what I got and now it's time to move on. We got each other out of our system and now is as better time as any to go before we start getting sick of each other!" she stood up wand at the ready, not really knowing what she was saying, letting her mouth ramble on. "You're a wonderful person Oliver, I've had a great time, really. I owe you so much, next time you're in London I'll make it up to you. You let me know if there's anything I can do for you…"

How could she be so cold? This time he didn't hold back, "Got each other out of our systems!?"

"Yes," she held her ground.

"Oh and you had a great time-" he mimicked her.

Patronising bastard. "Well what else do you want from me Oliver? You said so yourself you didn't know, well fine! Stop blowing everything out of proportion. You know what your problem is, it's all about you!"

"Oh here we go this again," he rolled his eyes skyward.

"You're only seeing how this will affect you, not how it will benefit me! Oh if I go, what will poor Olly do for kicks-"

He grabbed her by the shoulders and hauled her up eye level with him. "Like you said, it's not all about sex."

"Then what?" she shot back.

"So you're going back, you're running away again aren't you? Are you scared of me Hermione?" he shook her so she'd look at him. "I know you're feeling something, hell so am I, and like you I don't like it. But going back to London isn't going to change it, deny it all you want." He loosened his grip, but still held her in his arms. "Don't dare bull-shit me that it was something we needed to get out of our systems, 'cause damn it, I don't think its going away."

In his anger he covered his mouth with hers, demanding, not asking for entrance or acceptance. He just took and took, with his hands, his mouth, his tongue, pressing her against him in uncontrolled passion and anger. And she returned it with the same force and aggression; but when she felt that tingle in the pit of her stomach, she pushed him away.

"You still want me," it wasn't a question he asked.

"Yes, I do. You're very good. But then, you've had a lot of practise," she was tearing apart, this was not how she was supposed to leave. Angry, flustered and regretful. He should've let her go easily.

Oliver just stood there flabbergasted and incredibly angry. He said nothing as she stormed outside the room, slamming the door.

She wouldn't cry. There was nothing to cry about. He was angry because he didn't get what he wanted, the player had been played…so why did winning feel so shit?

With a pop she was gone.

Maggie was a little nervous. A little hysterical. She always was around this time of the year. It brought back painful memories of loss and the wonder of what could've been.

She could've been happy, fulfilled and secure- instead of being depressed, unsatisfied and alone. Lord it sucked being alone.

She tossed the prophet into the fire. Well it seemed Oliver wasn't alone. But then he never was; he hid his insecurities by whoring around with easy women.

Maggie had thought Hermione wouldn't have been one of them. But judging what Skeeter had told her, there was something going on. And with a healer! Good for nothing assholes! They hadn't been able to save her, said there was nothing they could do…

But nothing serious should've developed between them! Just something easy to destroy. Now she had to move it up a notch. Maggie took a swig of her Vodka.

Oliver was supposed to be hers! All hers and the one thing that would've tied him to her had gone!

Oliver had ignored her after that. Blamed her for what happened. Maggie had slept around, but it was that that ended their relationship. It was a sore point for him; he never spoke about it. It had even taken him a while to tell his mother, would he trust Hermione with it…

…She wondered if Oliver had told Hermione about their daughter?