Disclaimer: It's all Jo's.
Author's Notes: Hello there, I'm back with another one-shot! I've had this idea for ages, forgot it, then--by a stroke of amazing luck--remembered it again. So this story and I, we go a long ways back. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it! (Snape is so much fun!)
And, as always, finish off with a healthy dose of reviewing
Oliver Wood wasn't particularly fond of Potions class. Snape was irritating and testy, the dungeons were cold and drafty, and the brewing was boring and simple. He would have preferred working on Transfiguration, his most difficult course, but instead he was left to dawdle time away with Snape and ten other select students, of which he knew only two.
At the beginning of sixth year, when courses were being selected, he hadn't wanted to take Potions, but McGonagall had been very insistent. "Mr. Wood, you are most certainly taking Potions. As wonderful as you are on the Quidditch pitch, you should be paying more attention to subjects that could get you farther in life. Potions is one of them."
And she had signed him up without further comment, ignorant to his complaints.
Now it was his seventh year, and Oliver still found himself traipsing down to the dungeons far more than he reckoned he ought to be. He was actually quite surprised he had even passed his Potions O.W.L. in the first place, which had come back to him with a large, most likely disdainfully written, O on it. He hadn't thought he had done particularly well, but nonetheless Oliver was thrilled with his only O, as were his parents.
Oliver's personal opinion was that his only real talent was Quidditch. However, McGonagall, Dumbledore, and even Snape (albeit grudgingly) admitted that young Mr. Wood had quite the flare for Potions. Completing difficult potions with ease and speed was something that astounded most of the faculty, who had known Wood to show little real attention to classes.
However, Oliver wasn't showing any real attention to Potions. He just opened his textbook to the proper Potion and followed the directions, nothing more and nothing less. He even wondered sometimes why people had such difficulty with something so plain and straightforward. All you really had to do was follow the instructions, he had argued once.
Nonetheless, Oliver was excelling at N.E.W.T. Potions, second to only Percy Weasley.
Today Oliver had Potions class straight after lunch. They had just finished up and tested the Polyjuice Potion they had been working on for over a month, and it was due time to start a new potion. Oliver faintly hoped it would be something a bit more difficult; he had gotten bored in the last Potions class and Snape had taken away House points for the Quidditch play Oliver had been working on in the back of his textbook.
Oliver walked to Potions with Percy Weasley and Penelope Clearwater, the only people in his class he really knew. They were both rather snooty knew-it-alls, but Oliver could tolerate them long enough to make the trip to class.
They filed into the classroom behind two Hufflepuffs when Oliver was hit with the most glorious smell he had ever known. He tried to identify the scents as he seated himself next to Percy and decided that it smelled seductively of broomstick polish, air heavy with rain, and coffee. He took a deep lungful and sighed contentedly.
It was then that he noticed the bubbling cauldron at the front of the classroom from which the smell was emanating. From behind the curtain of spiraling steam he could see the form of Snape hovering.
"To your seats," said Snape softly, but the last few stragglers rushed to seat themselves as if Snape had yelled.
"I see you've all noticed the next potion we'll be working on," continued Snape, appearing from behind the cauldron. "Can anyone tell me what it is?"
Oliver felt the air rush past his ear as Percy's hand shot into the air. Snape let his eyes drift over Percy's flailing arm and skimmed the room, his eyes finally landing on a Ravenclaw boy.
"What about you, Ebelt? Any idea at all?" Snape leered.
The boy only hardened his face and shook his head.
Snape suddenly turned. "What about you, Wood? Do you know what the potion is?"
Oliver took another deep breath and exhaled slowly. "Amortentia," he said.
Snape's lip curled. "That's correct, Mr. Wood. Amortentia. A potion I would normally not allow N.E.W.T. students near, but Dumbledore has requested it. When you indeed fail," he said, turning on the class, "you have your Headmaster to thank."
He circled the cauldron with the golden potion. "Amortentia, for those who do not know, is the most powerful love potion in existence. Difficult to make and all the more difficult to administer, Amortentia creates a powerful obsession in the drinker. And since you are so knowledgeable, Mr. Wood," said Snape, turning back to him, "you wouldn't mind telling us what makes Amortentia unique of all other love potions?"
Oliver, who had been idly flipping through his book, replied, "It smells like what attracts a person, so Amortentia smells different for everyone."
Snape leered unpleasantly. "Correct again, Wood. Now," he barked suddenly, making the class start, "you have an hour to complete your own Amortentia. And who knows," he added, smirking. "Maybe we'll have the chance to test it out."
On that ominous note, the eleven N.E.W.T. Potions students began their work.
By the end of the hour, only three potions had the mother-of-pearl sheen and characteristic spirals the book identified: Oliver's, Percy's, and Jackson Ebelt's. Percy and Jackson had just managed to complete their potions within the five-minute mark, whereas Oliver had been languidly watching the class scramble to complete the potion for at least ten minutes. His gold potion bubbled pleasantly in front of him, the appealing smell wafting around the classroom.
The Amortentia made Oliver extremely content and heavy-lidded. He could just imagine a jar of Fleetwood's High-Finish Handle Polish in one hand, a cup of steaming coffee in the other, the scent of rain heavy and thick in the air. It reminded him of Quidditch and he thought he could even faintly detect the leathery smell of a Quaffle, and was that the scent of grass?
When Snape announced that time was up, everyone jumped. "Shall we see how you've done?" he sneered, and began walking from cauldron to cauldron, pointing out the mistakes of every student. Only Jackson, Percy, and Oliver got away with merely a curled lip and no comment.
When he had finished his inspection of the potions, Snape returned to the front of the classroom and sneered, "It seems you did as well as I assumed you would." (Here he glanced at Jorja Abraham's tar-like potion.) "With the exception, of course, of Misters Weasley, Wood, and Ebelt, the only three who have been able to create something that distinctly resembles Amortentia. Since they have so succeeded, perhaps they would care to tell us what they smell…?" He ended the question with a triumphant smirk.
The three boys remained silent.
Snape's smirk widened. "No need to be shy, gentlemen. What do you say, Weasley?"
Percy's ears tinted pink, but he sniffed his potion nonetheless. "I can smell rhubarb crumble, and ink, and—" He trailed off, mumbling something, his ears turning pinker still.
"What was that, Weasley? We couldn't seem to hear you."
"I said I can smell Penelope's perfume," Percy said boldly, still reddening. Penelope joined him.
The class guffawed with laughter for a minute before Snape turned on Jackson Ebelt.
"Drooble's," began Jackson. "And apple pie. And—" He took a deep breath, "Gobstones? Um… yes, Gobstones."
"Funny," drawled Snape. "Isn't Miss Abraham in the Gobstones Club?"
"Well, yes, but what does that have to do with—?" He made a small "oh" or realization and shut his mouth.
Smirking, Snape turned to Oliver. "Anything you'd like to reveal to us, Wood?"
Oliver breathed in the aroma of his potion and let his eyelids flutter shut. "I can smell Fleetwood's Polish and the smell of air before it rains and… coffee." His brows furrowed a bit. "I can smell coffee." He opened his eyes. "I don't drink coffee."
"And I will keep that fascinating tidbit stored in the back of my mind should I ever need it, Mr. Wood," replied Snape sarcastically.
"As for your potions," he went on, now seating himself at his desk, "you will bottle a sample and bring it forward. Now."
People quickly scampered to do as Snape had said, filling and stoppering tiny bottles. Oliver did the same, though taking the time to fill a second flask should Snape "accidentally" nudge his over the edge of the desk, which he was well aware happened to many an unsuspecting Gryffindor.
He was able to hand his sample in without incident, though, and slipped the extra bottle in his bag without a second thought.
It wasn't until breakfast the following morning that Oliver even recalled the flask of Amortentia. He was absorbed in his porridge and the latest copy of Which Broomstick when the delightful smell of freshly-made coffee reached him. He looked up to find Alicia Spinnet and Angelina Johnson seated across from him, the former with a steaming cup between her palms.
"Morning, Oliver!" was her chipper hello. Angelina nodded in his general direction.
"Morning, ladies," he said, taking another lungful of coffee scent. "Is that coffee?" he asked, pointing to Alicia's cup.
"Coffee?" repeated Alicia. "Goodness, no! Coffee stains your teeth. This is hot cocoa."
"I thought you didn't like coffee anyway, Wood," said Angelina.
"I don't," Oliver replied. "You'd think something that smells so good would taste it as well, but not coffee." And he stuck a spoonful of porridge in his mouth.
Three spoonfuls of breakfast later and Oliver recalled why the smell of coffee was plaguing him so: the Amortentia. Pausing only to place his spoon in his bowl, Oliver dove into his bag and retrieved the flask of potion. Carefully removing the stopper, Oliver let the scent flood his nose and lungs.
"What that you've got there, Oliver?"
Easily recognizing the voice as Katie Bell, who had just taken a seat next to him, he said, "Amortentia. Just whipped it up yesterday."
A devilish grin flashed across Katie's features. "Planning on slipping some to Alicia, eh?" she stage whispered with a wink.
"No," Oliver said flatly. Alicia took a sip of her cocoa.
Katie tutted. "It's no use teasing a person if they don't at least play along, Oliver, you know that."
Ignoring Katie, Oliver continued, "And one of the things I can smell is coffee."
"But you don't drink coffee," Katie reminded him.
"That's what confuses me."
"Well, think about it," Alicia said. "You don't have to drink coffee to like the smell. I know I do."
"I suppose…," Oliver admitted, but his attention was drawn from Alicia to Angelina, who was slipping the flask from between his fingers.
She breathed deeply. "Mmm… smells like my mum's biscuits and Quidditch pitch."
"And lavender," added Alicia, who was leaning into Angelina so she might smell too. "And Cedric Diggory's cologne."
"You're really taken with him, aren't you?" said Katie amusedly.
Alicia smiled and tinged pink.
"Well, I don't need Amortentia to tell me what attracts me," boasted Katie. "I'd smell… hmm… Quidditch—"
"You can't smell Quidditch," interjected Angelina.
"Fine, grass and broomsticks and sweaty robes, you know—"
"Sweaty robes? No, I don't know," commented Alicia, her nose wrinkled. "How sweaty robes could be appealing is beyond me."
"Oh, you'd be surprised," said Katie with a wink. "Just imagine Cedric Diggory in sweaty Quidditch robes and I think you'll understand."
Alicia grudgingly admitted she would have to agree.
"Now, where was I?" continued Katie. "Um—Quidditch, and vanilla, and coffee. Maybe Quaffle leather, and there's this cologne my neighbor boy's taken to wearing lately—"
"Let's see if you're right then," challenged Oliver, taking the bottle from Angelina and thrusting it under Katie's nose.
"Let's see…," murmured Katie. "Vanilla, and my broomstick, Quaffle… Quidditch robes, though they're clean… and coffee, of course."
"Coffee?" said Oliver, surprised. "You can smell coffee too?"
"It's quite strong," Katie said. "I'm rather addicted to the stuff, so I have an excuse, but what do you have to say for yourself?"
Oliver paused to think. "I don't know, but apparently I find it very attractive."
"Ah, well," said Katie, finally tucking into her breakfast, "it happens to the best of us."
Over the next week, coffee plagued Oliver like the Puddlemere United team anthem getting stuck in his head. He had more time to examine it as well when Snape set them the assignment of identifying as many of the smells as possible from the potion, including how they correlated to their everyday life.
Oliver was working on the very assignment in the library one cold night. He was one of the only people there and Madam Pince was watching him like a hawk, her wand in one hand and a list of library rules in the other, though Oliver very much doubted that she actually needed it for reference so much as she used it for intimidation purposes.
He had been sitting there for the better of an hour now, just staring at his sample bottle of Amortentia, a quill poised over his parchment. So far he had identified eight things, seven of which he was able to pinpoint the origins of and why they were appealing to him. The eighth, however, was still a mystery to Oliver, and as he chewed his quill, he couldn't help but wonder why.
He liked the smell of coffee, yes, but did he like it that much?
Just as he was about it give up and call it a night, he smelled it, the faint aroma of coffee. Picked up his head from where it had been resting on the table, he found Katie Bell sitting across from him.
She grinned. "Hey, Wood."
He gave her a half-hearted smile. "'Lo, Katie."
"Why the long face?" she asked, propping her chin in her hands.
He shrugged. "I'm having a hard time finishing Potions."
"Let's take a look then, shall we?" said Katie, pulling the parchment to herself. Her eyes scanned what Oliver had written, and a look of exasperation and irritation flitted across her features.
"You still haven't figured out why the smell of coffee is appealing to you?" she whispered angrily.
"No, I haven't," said Olive, frowning. "Why're you—"
"Have you ever paused to think about who you're with when you smell coffee?"
"Katie, I don't know—"
"That's something to think about then, isn't it, Oliver?" she shot back, and left before he had a chance to ask her what in the name of Merlin she was on about.
Oliver frowned and began chewing on his quill again. Now really, what was Katie's problem? She'd exploded at him out of nowhere, what was he to do? And what had she said? Think about who you're with when you smell coffee.
He scrunched up his nose and thought. Who was he with whenever he smelled coffee?
Oliver's eyes widened as he made a small "oh" of realization.
When the next Potions class rolled around, Snape must have been in a very malicious mood, for after collecting their assignments, he proceeded to read the most embarrassing snippets from each one aloud.
"Miss Abraham," Snape began, his eyes darting across her parchment. "You can smell Quidditch robes? Roger Davies', I assume?"
Jorja blushed and seemed to shrink a little in her seat.
"And Mr. Krueger can smell biscuits," continued Snape. "Just like the kind his mother gives him before she tucks him in at night."
"Hey!" said Paul Krueger sharply. "That was when I was six, I'll have you know!"
The class snickered anyway.
"And Mr. Wood can smell coffee because…" He grinned and locked eyes with Oliver.
"It reminds me of Katie Bell," Oliver finished for him, flushing slightly.
"Whom you—" Snape's eyebrows shot up as he read on.
"Fancy the pants off of, yes," said Oliver, flushing just a bit more. He heard Percy choke to his right as the class laughed.
Snape's lip curled. "Thank you for that… visual, Wood, but I ask that from now on, you keep your metaphors—be they metaphors—to yourself."
It was odd, Oliver thought later as he working on a new potion, how he really had Snape to thank for getting him and Katie together.
He laughed at that.
Snape just docked more points.