Summary: "Oliver is quite convinced that his worry for Harry is only due to his responsibility as a Captain. Yes, of course it is."
Notes: Not intended to be a finished story. It's more like... a teaser trailer for a story I might write. So, here it is - a cute ficlet, complete with corny title. It's far from perfect, and I would sincerely appreciate constructive criticism, but even a tiny comment would be nice. Thanks to the lovely Tyan for betaing.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter © J.K. Rowling
Harry had a new scar. It went from the bridge of his nose and ended just below his right cheek bone. It was wide and pinkish; one could easily think that someone had carved a sliver of flesh from his face, only to fill it with something else. People whispered and pointed, but one of his friends – Hermione, was it? – demanded to know 'What on earth happened to your face?' in that shrill voice of hers.
"I fell down the stairs."
Oliver was not quite sure what to make of it. Of course, boys were likely to acquire a few more scars than girls – in fact, most of them to impress girls – and Harry's life did tend to take things to the extreme. But, really: I fell down the stairs? Of all the things that could be said about Oliver, stupid was not among them.
The little first-year he had met in the hallway after said boy had been on a broomstick for the first time was a far cry from the third year student he had become, but Harry's core persona had stayed almost the same: shy, awkward and too cute for his own good. He was a bit on the reckless side of courageous, but upon confronting Harry of endangering himself after a particularly steep dive during Quidditch practice the year before (which, incidentally, resulted in a broken ankle and several sprains), Oliver had realised that Harry was not, as according to popular belief, showing off: he simply regarded his own safety as insignificant if it came at a cost to others.
Oliver was worried. Though many thought his mind contained only Quidditch, Quidditch, Quidditch, he was a very observant person – as required of a Captain, he noted to himself – and though many of his rants and mental conversations did revolve around the topic, he cared a lot about his friends, and Harry was a friend, wasn't he? And Harry, despite his expressed wishes, was not normal.
Harry was the sole heir of the Potter family, an old pureblood line, which meant that he would be filthy rich once he came of age. Why, then, did he dress in humongous rags and ancient glasses with a faulty prescription? Why had he known nothing of Quidditch, or even of the mere existence of Hogwarts, until he arrived there? Of course, not many but those who were in regular contact with him would notice, as he seemed to take everything the Wizarding World threw at him in stride, but Harry knew next to nothing of wizarding customs or magic. From what Oliver knew – and heck, from what everybody else knew – Harry had never even tried to be in a relationship, though many of his "past conquests" claimed otherwise, and he shied away from physical contact. He only ever hugged Hermione or the twins' little brother, and even that was a rare sight.
And why did Oliver notice things like that anyway?
As an adolescent, the distance between "all right" and "horrible" could be disturbingly small. Harry was maintaining a precarious balance somewhere in between, but the scales were ever so slightly tilting towards the latter. Quidditch practice had just finished – had been finished for ten minutes and eight, nine seconds, actually – and Harry was stalling for time, knowing that he would have to get out of his sweaty robes eventually.
The Weasley twins were talking to each other in quiet, excited voices as the door closed behind them, and Harry took a deep breath. The showers and changing rooms were empty at last. He shrugged out of his robes, folded them and left them on the bench. After a glance at his dirtied hands, he picked his towel up between two of his cleanest fingers; bludgers liked splashing mud everywhere, and only Merlin knew where they found it. It wouldn't do to soil such purity prematurely, he thought with a mental snort. Perhaps there was a tiny bit of truth in Hermione's statement about Harry and cynics.
He hissed as the warm water seared down his back. An infection, he assumed; his magic would deal with the worst of it. He closed his eyes, letting the torrent of water pull a few wretched tears down the drain. The soft pattering on his skin felt like tiny footsteps, and they sounded a bit like them, too –
His eyes shot open as he realised that they were.
He closed his eyes, a failed smile twisting his face into a grimace.
"Oliver," he said, giving himself a mental kick for not noticing the missing Captain earlier. He could hear Oliver approaching, slowly, and he imagined the expressive face furrowed in confusion.
"What's going on?"
Harry shivered, shaking his head vehemently.
"I'm all right, Oliver. There's nothing to worry about."
A hand wrapped around his arm, forcing him to look at Oliver's face, blurred as it was without his glasses.
"This is not all right, Harry."
Harry averted his eyes, and Oliver sighed. The fingers around his arms loosened, and slipped away.
He tried to convince himself that he wasn't disappointed when Oliver turned around and left – only to be disconcertingly pleased when he returned with a white – blob – in his hands.
"Turn around," Oliver said.
Throwing Oliver a sceptical glance, he turned to face the far wall.
"This might sting a little."
A soft something brushed against his skin – and he realised that the white blob was a washcloth. Harry blinked uncertainly, not accustomed to the gentle touch and the sheer affection that blossomed inside himself as Oliver cleaned the infected wounds on his back, dried him, put on a salve intended for Quidditch accidents and wrapped him up in self-cleaning bandages.
"Those should last for a couple of days," Oliver said as he helped him put clothes on over the white wrappings. "At the slightest – and I mean slightest – discomfort, search me out and I'll change them."
The threatening glare made Harry inclined not to find out what would happen if he refrained from following orders.
As they reached the castle doors, Oliver stopped him with a gentle grip on his shoulder. Harry looked up at him, blushing from the close perusal.
"Will you be all right?" Oliver said.
Harry looked at Oliver – brown eyes concerned, biting his lip and looking almost as if he had the world on his shoulders. For some inexplicable reason, he lifted himself up on his toes and let his lips meet with the soft skin on Oliver's chin.
"I'll be fine," he said, feeling the beginning of a blush rising in his cheeks. "Thank you."
And then he turned around and rushed through the doors of Hogwarts Castle.