I Will Grow Out of Love

A HariPo oneshot

by mew-tsubaki

Note: The Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me. Done for a quote prompt. This pairing is a Mew and Mor's Weird Pairing, which you may find in the M&MWP forum (see my profile for details). Check out and join the forum FUN! Read, review, and enjoy!

- ^-^3

"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, it's what you are expected to give—which is everything." —Vittorio Alfieri

I pushed my hair away from the sides of my face and drew it up into the perfect ponytail. I flicked on a little bit of brown mascara and barely dusted my eyelids with eyeshadow. I smacked on the teensiest amount of lip-gloss and double-checked my reflection in the mirror. Yes, perfect.

I was ready to go to my sister's party. Family party, that is.

Agh, I still cannot believe this. My name is Gabrielle Delacour, and I am the younger sister of Triwizard champion Fleur Delacour. …well, that was a long time ago. Now she is simply Fleur Weasley, wife of William Weasley and mother of three. I do love my nieces and nephew, but… Merde, this is hard for me to say… I feel she let herself go and did not merely settle. She must have been desperate.

I do not care what you think of me. I know that, once upon a time, I was the sweet little one whilst my dear older sister was the pit viper. Everything can change. People change. Kids grow. You start to realize that maybe not everyone changes. Maybe people were always like that from the very beginning. That is beside the point, though. Let us get back to my sister.

I will repeat this: She must have been desperate. The Weasleys are a very nice family, but they are so average. My sister and I—we are one-quarter Veela each! We have siren blood in us! We can attract any man we want, and my sister found Bill Weasley, a simple Curse-Breaker for Gringotts Bank. Maybe I have no room to talk, as I am still single, but I do know that I will never settle. I love Fleur, and she talks about Bill being her true love all the time, but I do not want that. Love is not something that will make your heart pound in your ears and steal your breath away. The only love is between family members. I think Fleur strongly likes Bill, that is all. That "true" love does not exist.

Yes, I truly believe that. Oh, please leave me alone. I must get to my sister's party now.

- ^-^3

"Happy Birthday, Fleur!"

This sound rang out around us as Fleur blew out the numerous candles on her birthday cake. Good Merlin, how there was ever a house big enough to fit all of the Weasley family plus friends, I will never know. Anyway, I heard wishes for her in both French and English. My eldest niece, Victoire, passed Mother (my mother, Apolline, meaning Victoire's grandmother) the knife, and she cut into the cake that she and Mrs. Weasley (Bill's mother) had made. Soon enough, cake was going all around. Louis, my handsome nephew, passed me a small piece of cake, and I took the plate.

"Thank you, cheri, but if you will excuse me…" I stood and smiled and walked away as though I were going to get something to drink. In reality, I took two bites of the cake and tossed the rest. Cake is much too fattening, if you ask me. It takes a lot of work to maintain the beauty that I have. There was no way I would let all of it go just for one piece of cake, no matter how good it tasted.

As I entered the kitchen to find something better for me, I crossed paths with a brunet man. Merlin, he was tall. How did he possibly fit through the doorframe? I did not stop and gawk, though. I merely passed by and marched to the cabinets. In the top there were usually some whole wheat crackers. I—

There was a cough behind me. I blinked. I turned around, seeing that he had not left the kitchen at all. Oh. Well, that was unexpected. Maybe he had been looking for something, too, but could not find it.

"Do you need something?" I asked with a small smile.

Huh. It must have been a trick of the lights, but I could have sworn that his face reddened…no, it had most definitely been a trick of the lights. However, I do not think it was the lights making him so very handsome. He had a slightly crooked grin and flawless skin with only a few smile wrinkles around the corners of his eyes. "Er… No. I'm good."

I nodded and turned away, which was difficult, actually. He truly was handsome, but I really do not have time for men. I was too busy as the music and dance teacher at Beauxbatons to deal with a man.

"Urm… Have we met?"

I blinked again. Oh, yes. That just occurred to me. He was here at the party, so he must be a friend of Fleur's or Bill's or both. I turned back around. Though it was impolite, I squinted at him and thought. "No…I do not think we have."

"Are you Fleur's little sister?" he asked in a very thick English accent. I was surprised I could make out his words, but it was only the inflections that were a bit hard to understand.

I nodded. "Gabrielle Delacour."

He smiled and—ugh, my stomach churned. That cake must have been bad. My stomach was doing flip-flops at his smile. Oh, sorry. "Oliver Wood," he said. He crossed the tile floor and extended a hand. I shook it—it was rough and calloused, as if he worked with them all the time. I was glad he let my hand go; his skin had slightly rubbed mine raw.

"Are you a friend of Fleur's?" I asked. I really had no idea who he was, even now possessing his name.

He looked shocked that I did not know him, but he recovered. "Oh, uh, no, not really. I'm kinda an old friend of Bill's and Harry's and George's. I know the original Weasleys, really."

I nodded, wanting this conversation to end. So he was a Weasley friend. Great. We all really needed another person around who enjoyed the plain and simple life. "Well, it was nice meeting you."

I think he understood my hint, because he was immediately crestfallen. He was quiet for a moment. "You… You don't have the same thick accent as your sister. Aren't you both fully French?"

"Yes, we are. However, I perfected my English when I was a young girl. I can speak with no hint of my original accent."

"Oh." I suppose he had run out of things to say, because he looked at the floor. Only when someone called from the dining room did he respond. He was smiling again. "Well, that's me. I'll see you around?"

I shrugged, one of the few unladylike things I allowed myself. "Possibly. It is the summer, after all." What? You say I was shooting myself in the foot? Why? There is nothing special about some plain man named Oliver Wood, no matter how handsome he is.

He smiled despite my obvious disinterest. Fine. Let him dream what he may. He seemed curious as a puppy as he left the kitchen.

"Finally!" I breathed when I turned back to the cabinets. I had found the wheat crackers!

- ^-^3

It was a week later when Fleur squealed at me.

"You met Oliver! Well? Did you laik 'im?" she asked.

I gave my sister a look. "Fleur, I barely spoke to him for two minutes."

Fleur only smiled mischievously at me. "Yes, but I 'ave 'eard zat 'e broke up with Katie Bell nine months ago. 'e's been a free man for a while now." She raised her eyebrows, her dark blue eyes meeting my navy blue ones. "Gabrielle, 'e eez a vair well-to-do man…," she said in a sing-song tone.

"Fleur, stop it. He is your age, for Merlin's sake. Why would you encourage this?"

Fleur rolled her eyes at me. "Zat only matters when we are younger. Now zat you are older, eet eez different. And 'e eez still vair handsome…"

"Please drop it," I stated through gritted teeth. "You know I do not care for having a romantic life right now."

"Gabrielle…" Fleur looked at me with the one thing she knew I hated most: pity. She muttered "my dear, baby sister" in French. "Gabrielle," she repeated, "you are still fairly young. Enjoy life while you have eet."

I grimaced. "I am enjoying life. Why should life include love?"

She frowned. "Gabrielle, I am your sister. I love you. Our parents love you. My children love you. Bill sees you as 'iz own sister, even. Ze rest of ze Weasleys sees you as family, too. Eez love really such a 'orrible thing zat you'd shun eet?"

"We have had this conversation a million times," I grumbled. I stood and shoved my belongings into my purse. "Fleur, I have to go. I need to work on my lesson plan for the coming schoolyear."

Fleur took another sip of her hot chocolate and stopped me. "Oh, pleez 'old on a moment." She stood and bustled—yes, such a word now describes my once-enthralling sister—into the other room and came back with a bunch of tickets. "Bill's and my anniversaire eez coming up next week. I bought ze children some tickets for a Quidditch game—"

"—Fleur, you know I do not like that—"

"—and I was 'oping zat you would do us ze favor of taking zem there." She pleaded with me with her big doe eyes.

"Those eyes do not work on me, Fleur! I can work those eyes as well as you, but you know we cannot work them on each other!"

"Pleez, Gabrielle, eet eez just one evening. Pleez, Elle…"

Damn it all, she knew that I would always listen to my childhood nickname. I glared at her and sighed. "Fine! But you owe me, Fleur. You owe me big time."

Despite my threat, she was all smiles. "Zank you so much, Gabrielle."

- ^-^3

I had a few days of solitude after that. I was glad for those few days, since I really had to work on the curriculum for the upcoming schoolyear. Some may think that music and dance is something that is only pure inspiration, but it takes effort and scheduling—especially when one is teaching adolescent boys and girls.

Also, the headmistress expects a lot from her students…meaning she expects even more from her faculty. Madame Olympe Maxime is a very prim-and-proper giantess, but she loves all of us dearly. She truly only wants the best for us all. So, to have the best for us, she expects the best from us.

That has never bothered me. If you have not noticed by now, I do like my life to run perfectly. What? It is possible to have things perfect, I swear it!

That is beside the point. My few days of normalcy ended when I had to travel to Diagon Alley. I Apparated there and made my way to Madam Malkin's. I needed a few custom outfits—costumes—designed and made for the next performance for the Ancient Arts Club (of which I am the manager). After I stopped and dropped off a few ideas to Malkin, I left and looked up both ends of Diagon Alley. I had not had any of Florean Fortescue's delicious ice cream in several years…

Just as temptation called, someone called my name. "Miss Delacour?"

I froze. That voice had to be a figment of my imagination. …no! Why should my imagination be summoning him to mind? Yet, as I turned, my stomach did those flip-flops again. Urgh, even the thought of him made me sick to my stomach.

Wood smiled. "I was right. Hello, Gabr—Miss Delacour," he corrected when I frowned at his familiarity. "Are you shopping?"

I gave him a tight smile. "Yes, Mr. Wood, for that is what the shops are needed."

He did not waver. "Ever polite as always, Miss Delacour."

"It is in my nature. Also, Beauxbatons is of very high, formal standards. It is known, as are its students, for manners."

He gave me a funny look. "Oh, you still…go to…Beauxbatons…?"

I nearly gaped at him! If he knew how old Fleur was, then it should have been obvious to him that I had been out of school for many years. "No, I do not attend it as a student, Mr. Wood," I corrected with a flush in my cheeks. "I am the music and dance teacher there."

"Ah," he said. There was a twinkle in his brown eyes that I could not read, but I knew that twinkle was thinking something…ugh, lewd, most likely. I do not care if we are both adults and he is a "healthy grown man"—all men think of that one thing only!

"If you will excuse me…"

He let me walk past him, but his next words halted me. "Would you like to grab an ice cream?"

Oh, Merlin, no! I bit my lip as my stomach argued with my head. So what if I really wanted a scoop of Treacle-Tart Tastee? I could get by without the Pear-Pasty Pick, too. Certainly it was not necessary to stop in and smell the freshly baked pumpkin-crust waffle cones, either. I instinctively licked my lips…oh, damn. I knew he saw that.

"I'll take that as a 'yes,' then," he inferred with a soft chuckle. Wood turned and faced the same direction as me and offered his arm. "Would it be all right if you broke for a small treat, Miss Delacour?"

I felt a smile twitch at my lips, but I fought it down. "If you insist, Mr. Wood." My chest hurt as he walked me to Florean's, though I did not take his arm. Merlin, I felt as though I were coming down with something every time he spoke to me or flashed me that grin—or I even heard his voice!

Inside Florean's, we sat at the counter. The waitress came over and took our orders. I ordered a small dish of the Treacle-Tart Tastee. As much as I wanted a double-scoop of that with the Pear-Pasty Pick in the pumpkin-crust waffle cone, I knew only pigs ate that much.

…Wood ordered a triple-scoop waffle cone of Pear-Pasty Pick. Oh, goddamn him. He did not seem the least bit embarrassed to be gulping all of it down, either. He glanced at me. "Oh, you aren't hungry? Your ice cream's starting to melt."

I blinked and started in on my own dish. My cheeks burned, and I kicked myself for being drawn in by him. However…the ice cream was like heaven…! It was so good!

"Do you come to Diagon Alley a lot? As a teacher, I mean," he stated.

I paused. In the end, I decided at least to chat with him. He had been nice enough to treat me, after all. "I come more often than other teachers, I think," I answered him after a moment.

He raised his eyebrows at that. "Oh?" he prodded.

"I just visit Madam Malkin's, really. She does excellent work. I try to put on three performances—musicals, plays, dance shows—a year at the school. All of them require proper attire."

"Ah. Shiny, sparkly costumes. Nice."

I pursed my lips, feeling like…well, like a girl when he said that. "Well, what do you do?"

He quirked one eyebrow and observed me for a moment. He looked as if he were trying not to laugh. How rude. "I'd like to show you, if that's all right."

I finished my ice cream right as he crunched on his last bit of cone. "I suppose I have the time."

Now he did laugh. "I'm so grateful to have made it into your schedule today, Miss Delacour." He paid, and we left. He guided me to Quality Quidditch Supplies, and I felt the urge to yawn. However, out of politeness, I did not. …give me credit for that much.

I was hearing things again, by the way. There were gasps and giggles and the like all around me, and the buzz in the store grew. I wondered why, but Wood did not let me stop and stare. He directed me to one aisle, full of things I hated.

"You know what this is, right?" he said, holding up a big red, indented ball.

I gave him a half-amused look. "Yes, I do. It is a Quaffle."

"'It is a Quaffle'," he repeated with a chuckle. Merlin, I wish he would stop doing that in that throaty tone of his. "A Quaffle's a big part of Quidditch. You have watched it before, haven't you?"

"All the schools have Quidditch. Most of my family now enjoys it, plays it, or has played it at one point in their lives."

"Well, I handle Quaffles all day long. Bludgers and brooms, too."

"Oh. So you are a Quidditch coach. I see." He gave me a funny look. "What?"

"Yeah, I'm a Quidditch coach of sorts." He opened his mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. He seemed as if he were laughing at an inside joke. "You really—? Ah, never mind."

"What?" I repeated, a little more insistent.

"No, no, it's nothing." His smile grew only more bemused as he guided me out of the shop. "Well, I think you're probably done with me for today."

"I did not say that," I remarked. I inwardly gasped. Ooh, he tricked me into that one! "What I mean to say is that I just want to know what plagues you so."

Wood gave me an impish grin. "I'm heartened you care, Miss Delacour."

"Mr. Wood, it is only polite not to make jokes about the person with whom you wish to—"

"What are you doing next week?"

"—spend time— What?" Damn it all, he had caught me off-guard again. "Did you just ask what I think you asked?"

He nodded. "I'm just curious, is all."

"Curiosity killed the cat, Mr. Wood."

He shook his head, smiling nonetheless. "Whatever you say, Miss Delacour."

I pursed my lips again. Well, I suppose it would not hurt to tell him… I sighed. "Fleur asked me to escort my nieces and nephew to a Quidditch game, and, before you ask, no, I do not recall the names of the teams."

He was quiet for a moment. "You don't like Quidditch, do you?"

"No, I am sorry, but I do not."

"So I guess asking you out to a game would be stupid."

"Yes, it would."

"But asking you out to dinner isn't out of the question."

I stared at him, suddenly very tired. "Why are you trying so hard?"

"I'd just like to take you out to dinner, Miss Delacour."

"Well, I am sorry, but I do not go out to dinner with strangers I have only met twice. If you will excuse me…" I tipped my head and finally left him, but I could feel his sad eyes on my back all the way until the end of Diagon Alley, where I Disapparated home to my flat. He really was trying so hard, but I had to wonder…

Why?

- ^-^3

I counted the days down until Doomsday. Yes, that is right—the days until that bloody Quidditch game.

Merlin—Victoire, Dominique, Louis—you three are lucky I love you so much. Never in a million years would I have ever willingly gone to a game on my own and of my own volition. Yet, as it is for you three…that is different.

Well, we climbed the stairs and found our seats. Victoire offered to get the food and drinks, and I sent Dominique with her. I remained with little Louis in our seats to make sure they were not taken. Agh, if only Quidditch were over in a matter of minutes.

"Are you all right, Aunt Gabrielle?" Louis asked.

Aw, he looked up at me with the biggest hazel eyes one had ever seen. "I am fine, cheri," I answered.

"Thank you for bringing us here," he said as I put an arm around his shoulders. "I know you don't like this, but… It makes us happy whenever you do something with us."

See? Is he not the cutest, most adorable nephew one could ask for? "Louis… It is no trouble when I am spending the day with my favorite nephew."

He beamed at me. "I love you, Aunt Gabrielle."

"I love you, too, Louis."

"Aw, how sweet. I wish you were that charming with me."

I closed my eyes and took several deep breaths before I responded to the owner of that voice. "Must I upgrade you to stalker status, Mr. Wood?" I hissed.

He raised his eyebrows from where he stood within earshot near the end of our aisle. "Maybe you should upgrade your own status there, Miss Delacour. I have a purpose here."

I scoffed. "Of course you do."

He frowned. "Quidditch is my life, Miss Delacour," he said with a maniacal expression. "Entertainment is just as important as anything and everything else. We have to stay happy people."

"I would be much happier if you would leave me alone."

"Oh, harsh," he commented with a laugh, his serious gone the moment he laughed. He winked at Louis, who could only gape at him. "Catch ya later, kiddo." He gave me that smile that made my stomach flip. "I hope to see you later, Miss Delacour."

He walked away before I could recover with a clever quip. Ugh, well, he left, at least. I turned to Louis, who was looking at me as though I were a Dementor. "What?" I inquired.

"I— You— Wha— HIM!" he spluttered.

"'Him,' what?" Victoire asked as she and Dominique returned and took back their seats.

"It is nothing," I mumbled. I turned my attention to the pitch as the screaming worsened and the announcer welcomed the two teams onto the playing area.

Two teams flew out. The first was the visiting team, the Tutshill Tornados. Each member was dressed in sky blue, and they all had dark blue double Ts emblazoned on their chests. The announcer made noises about Tutshill being one of the fastest teams on the scene.

The other team was Puddlemere United. When they arrived, my nieces and nephew jumped out of their seats. Apparently, that was the team we had come to see. Louis screamed something in my ear that sounded like "Didn't you see what he was wearing?!"

Of course, I had no clue what Louis was talking about. The Puddlemere team members flew around in all their dark blue glory. Their uniform was navy blue with two golden birds—I am sorry, bulrushes, as Louis has so kindly corrected—crossed over the chest. Their brooms looked more expensive—I mean, nicer than those of the other team. I yawned as my nieces and nephew jumped up and down in their seats.

I have never thought of Quidditch as very important or exciting, despite Wood's claim of how important entertainment is. I am an entertainer myself, but I like to think of my entertainment as classy. I think of Quidditch as…a brute's entertainment.

I relaxed in my seat and took out a book. Ah, I just wish these games were not so loud. I could barely hear myself think…

"…Keeper Wood has…"

Yes, Wood has got— I sat bolt upright. Why the hell had the announcer been speaking about Wood?!

A player zoomed back and forth in front of the home team's goal rings. No, it could not be…

I grabbed the binoculars from Louis, nearly strangling my nephew in the process as the cord was still around his neck. I immediately looked at Puddlemere's goal side.

That was Wood. He— He was the Keeper. He was a celebrity!

"Aunt Gabrielle!" Louis yelled at me.

I gasped and handed back the binoculars. As I slouched back into my seat, I felt my heart pounding in my ears. I could not slow my pulse.

There is nothing special about some plain man named Oliver Wood, no matter how handsome he is. As I recalled that thought, I groaned. There was nothing plain about him at all. I sat there for the rest of the game, but my eyes were not on my book. My book was long forgotten.

My gaze was fixed on the man with an interest in me.

- ^-^3

"YES! That was AWESOME!"

Surprisingly, that exclamation did not come from Louis. It actually came from Victoire, and Dominique was making similar noises about Puddlemere winning the match as we trudged out of the stands with the rest of the crowd.

"Wasn't that fun, Aunt Gabrielle?" Louis asked me excitedly.

I smiled. "It was…very interesting," I said, not really lying.

"You mean Oliver Wood was very interesting," he remarked with a smirk that could only be described as a Weasley one.

I felt my face grow hot. "Louis!"

Dominique's ears perked up. "What's this about Aunt Gab and Oliver Wood?"

"She knows him!" Louis answered. "He seemed as if he knew her really well, too!"

Victoire ruffled her little brother's hair. "Lou, stop making up stories. Why would Aunt Gab know a Quidditch player? She hates Quidditch."

…um, I really did not know what to say there. Things were slightly conflicting, you see. I do hate Quidditch…but I do kind of know Wood… Agh!

"I agree with Victoire," Dominique stated. "Aunt Gab and anything Quidditch? That's way too doubtful—" Her mouth dropped open, as did Victoire's as they stared behind me near the exit.

I groaned while Louis beamed. "He is behind me, is he not?" I asked.

Wood laughed. "Why, Miss Delacour, I do believe you're developing a sixth sense."

"More like an Oliver radar…," I grumbled to myself.

"Pardon?"

"Oh, nothing, nothing…"

Wood turned to my nieces and nephew. "Anyone like autographs?"

Ugh, the squeals they made! I watched him sign memorabilia for them while I pondered something. "You three do realize he had been at your mother's birthday party a few weeks ago?" I asked.

The three of them gaped at me. "What?!" the girls screamed.

Wood nodded. "I had only stopped by, really. I was just passing through." He gave me a very mischievous glance.

I quirked an eyebrow. "Only 'passing through'? You move fast, Mr. Wood."

He blushed, and I laughed at that. He turned back to the children. "Um, w-who wants pictures?"

After a few rounds of those, it was time for us to leave. "All right, you three are sleeping over at my place, but we still need to eat. Think about what you want," I told the children.

"I have to go to the bathroom!" Louis revealed to all of us.

I held my head in my hand. One would think he would outgrow announcing something like that by now. "Girls, please escort your brother to the loo. I suggest you all go before we leave."

"Aunt Gab!" Victoire screeched, her cheeks burning redder than her strawberry-blonde hair. Dominique looked equally aghast, but they walked away.

"What?" I thought aloud.

Wood laughed. "I think they were a bit embarrassed about being told something like that in front of their idol," he pointed out.

"Oh." I blinked. "Oh, I did not mean to…!" I sighed. "I cannot help but feel as if I am their mother most of the time, not their aunt."

The Quidditch player leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. He gave me a funny grin. "I still can't believe you wouldn't have pegged me as a Quidditch player, seeing as you hate them so much."

I shrugged. "It bores me. It is not as though I would pay attention to something that bores me."

"Then why were you paying such attention to me during the game?"

I felt my cheeks burn as much as Victoire's had a moment ago. "I was not—"

"Yes, you were."

"I was not!"

"Were, too."

"Was not!"

He uncrossed his arms and walked over to me. "Fine, then. Prove me wrong. Go out to dinner with me and don't pay me any attention." With each and every word, he got closer and closer until he looked straight down and I looked straight up and our breaths were dangerously close to mingling.

I squinted at him. "…fine. I will show you just how non-fascinating you are," I muttered with a smirk.

On the other hand, he smirked right back. "That suits me just fine," he mumbled.

Oh, jeez. If he got any closer, my mind would completely fuzz. I had not realized before how endless his black coffee eyes were…

"Okay, Aunt Gab! We can go now!" Dominique shouted.

Oh, thank Merlin! She shouted from a little bit away, giving me the split-second to pull away from Wood. When the kids returned, I gave them a nice smile with cheeks aglow. Ha, I glanced at Wood and saw that he was more breathless than I was. Take that, Wood. You were more breathless than I was. Ha!

"You better win against the Falmouth Falcons!" Louis told Wood with a wide grin.

"I most certainly will!" Wood told him. They all laughed and I…I felt…comfortable, actually. Hmm. Maybe I was getting used to him.

Ah, well, I cannot let that happen, now can I? "All right, head towards the Floo stations," I told the three Weasleys. "I will catch up in a second."

They disappeared, and Wood raised his eyebrows. "So about that dinner…"

"I already agreed, did I not?" I said, but I found it hard not to smile as mischievously as him. Merlin, he was getting to me. "I take it that it would be fine to say 'good job' for your performance today."

He rolled his eyes, but he was grinning. "'Good job,' she says," he muttered. He stroked his chin. "It'll be 'great job' after our date. You'll see."

"I am sure I will," I remarked sarcastically. I waved to him. "Well, I must go—"

Wood caught my hand, holding it briefly. "I… Thank you, Miss Delacour."

"Certainly, Mr. Wood."

- ^-^3

It was almost two weeks later when I finally received a missive from Oliver.

Oh, how dare he make me wait! After all his chirping about wanting my time and wanting a date and— I stopped myself. Merlin, I almost sound as though I wanted this as much as he did!

Anyway, I was making myself a cucumber sandwich for lunch on a Saturday when a large barn owl tapped at my living room window. I opened my window and accepted the letter attached to its leg. The bird waited for me.

I opened his letter. The gist was that Wood would meet me on Diagon Alley, and we would continue from there. It seemed simple enough, so I scratched out an "okay" reply and sent his owl back.

I flipped through my closet later that evening. Since we were going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, I decided that I would need to wear something dazzling. Good thing I had so many dresses from so many balls at Beauxbatons over the past years.

Yet, as I looked at all the gowns and dresses and slinky numbers, I frowned. Nothing was jumping out at me. I did not want anything sky blue or green or red or gold or silver or black or white… Yes, not even the cliché little black dress grabbed my attention.

I turned away from my wardrobe and rummaged through my jewelry box, hoping that I would find inspiration there. I had no such luck. In the end, I sat at my mirror with my cheek cupped in my hand, worrying in the hour before our date what the hell I was going to wear. I stared at my reflection, getting lost in the navy blue eyes staring back at me.

That was it!

I hopped up and grabbed an old spaghetti-strap evening dress with a silver shimmer threaded in the poppy red fabric. Using my own magical tailor skills—skills only used for school purposes before—I shortened the length to below my knees, raised the neckline, and dropped the back a bit. Then I worked some spells to change the color to that of the night sky.

When I slipped it on, I knew that the swirled black, navy, and violet colors truly looked as though I wore the galaxy, especially when I swayed and the silver shimmered like twinkling stars.

Well, that should leave him speechless.

I chose some simple silver jewelry and swept up my hair in a messy bun. I really had time only to grab my purse and a light cloak, for I was afraid of running late. I Apparated straight to Diagon Alley—

—and almost straight into Wood's arms. He laughed as I crashed into him. "I didn't know you were so enthusiastic."

I blushed. "Where are we going?" I asked, changing the subject before he could poke too much fun at me.

He took my hand and led me down the street. We hooked a right beside Florean's and— Huh. There was a new restaurant, The Carnelian. It had a gaudy, blood red front, but it was very fancy inside.

"What kind of food is it?" I asked while we waited for the waiter to seat us.

"Dunno. It's new and I thought you wouldn't mind trying it out with me."

I gave him a side-long glance. "Nice," I teased, and I laughed at his rosy cheeks.

The waiter seated us towards the back, and I shrugged out of my cloak. "So, what do—" I stopped and enjoyed my companion's fallen jaw. "Yes, Mr. Wood?"

"H-Holy…" He managed to take a big breath, but then his mouth hung open again. "I…"

Ah, the perfect reaction. "I take it you mean to say that I look nice?"

He nodded but then shook his head. "N-Nice… That's not quite the word I had in mind…"

I tilted my head. Oh. His eyes had that look in them. I was immediately humbled. I should have expected that I looked…ravishing, heh. Most surprisingly, I did not mind.

We ordered our food, and then we settled in for a long chat while waiting. "This place has everything," I remarked.

Wood looked around at the interior. "Yeah… I'm plenty happy they had that grilled chicken on there. That's my favorite."

"As long as they do not mess it up," I stated. "I am looking forward to my gratin, as well."

"I wonder what desserts they have…"

I laughed. "You do not have to have dessert."

I stopped laughing when he locked eyes with me. "Dessert's the best part."

I gulped and broke his hold on me. "So… Does Quidditch take up all of your time?"

"No, just most of it. Why? Would you like some of my time, too?"

"You are such a…"

"Yes?"

"…prima donna."

He mock-scoffed. "How rude! I'm a primo donno!"

Somehow, that just…broke the ice. Our dinner was amazing. The food was amazing, the conversation was scintillating, and staring into Wood's eyes whenever we thought the other one was not looking was so exciting. I had not been out on a real date in so long that I had forgotten how much fun one can have with just one other person.

When dinner was over, neither of us could believe it. In fact, we did stay for dessert, the two of us splitting a piece of dark chocolate cake. We stayed until the restaurant closed for the night. Only then did we realize where the time had gone.

Out on Diagon Alley, Wood strolled alongside me, and we watched the stars in the sky peek between the buildings. He sighed contently. "What is it?" I asked.

"Ah… I was thinking that I haven't enjoyed someone's company like this for a long time."

I beamed at him. "I was thinking that, too," I quietly admitted.

He seemed shocked. "Really? But you… You are quite…special, Miss Delacour."

"You are very charming, too, Mr. Wood," I replied.

"No, not compared to me, not compared to anyone." He stopped me at the end of the alley. "Miss Delacour," he said softly, his eyes roving deliciously over me, "you are both beautiful and bold. And you have the brains to even it all out."

My breaths quickened and hitched as he drew me closer and brushed a flyaway piece of hair from my face. "I have brains enough to figure out…," I started. His face was getting closer and closer to mine…so dizzying… "…to figure out that sometimes men do not have only one thing on their mind."

He smiled against my lips. "I'm glad you figured me out then." And then he kissed me.

Oh, Merlin, it was like no other "And then he kissed me" moment. This was the one to top all others—the one that could never be mimicked, at least to me. And it was so delicious. I tasted him and iced tea—he had refrained from drinking during dinner—and sugary icing and semi-sweet dark chocolate…all at once. And it was a mixture of tastes that I would not soon forget.

When he pulled away, he rested his forehead on mine. "I've been wanting to do that ever since I saw you," he whispered.

"I do not usually kiss on the first date," I commented with a chuckle.

"You mean there will be more?"

"If you can kiss me like that, then you bet there will," I answered, and I lost myself in another one of his kisses. Ice cream, food, and your kisses—you have found the way to my heart, Oliver Wood.

- ^-^3

I was walking on clouds. Never before had I ever been as happy as I am now.

Since that first night, I had begun to see Oliver about twice a week for the next two months. The only thing that got me down a bit was that our time would be reduced with my departing for Beauxbatons soon, but I did not let that get to me. I just enjoyed all the time I could possibly have with him.

Again I wonder what could have been wrong with me before. Oliver was not plain at all. He was so charming and passionate and sweet and intelligent. He never forced a Quidditch story on me, but I made sure to volunteer to listen when I knew he was hiding some excitement or accomplishment. He listened to me, and he cared. I wanted to show that I cared, too.

I suppose as a side-effect of dating a Quidditch player I came to terms with the game itself. I will not say that I like Quidditch now, but I feel neutral towards it. I do not treat Quidditch as his other girlfriend either, but more like his sibling, if you will.

Things were so fantastic with Oliver that I wondered how to describe our relationship. And, as I pondered it, I found I did not mind attaching such terms like "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" and "romance" to our names or definitions. However, I was still wary of "love." Oliver knew this, and he did not push me, but I could not help but wonder if that hurt him a little. I was giving it my all, and Oliver was, too, and—for that—we were happy.

Merlin… How greatly things can change in just a few meetings and in just a few months. But I am happy. I am so very happy.

- ^-^3

There was a knock and a voice at my front door. "Aunt Gabrielle?"

I woke up, groggy. What the…? I lifted up my head from Oliver's chest. We were at my flat. This was four months into our relationship, and he was still a secret from my family, so imagine my horrified face when I realized that little Louis was at my front door.

He knocked again. "Aunt Gab?" Oh, no. That was Victoire that time.

Shit. I had to look at my watch, but that arm was trapped across Oliver's chest and under his arm. I did not want to wake him, but I really needed to know the date. Judging by that snow outside my bedroom window, it was not February.

It was December. And the kids were home on Christmas break, meaning that I was being fetched to come stay at Fleur and Bill's for the holidays. And Oliver was here with me!

I got up, ignoring a waking Oliver. He grumbled as he slowly woke up, and it dawned on him. "Oh, shit!" he muttered.

"Yeah," I intoned. I hopped off my bed and went into my closet and dressed in jeans and a warm turtleneck. I came back out to find that he had dressed just as quickly.

"Where do you want me?" he asked, knowing my concern because I still had not decided on how to introduce him as my lover to my sister, even.

I bit my bottom lip. "You cannot fit through my windows," I stated. He was too burly for that, but it is not as if I would want him not to have those big, strong arms. But they were not helping right now!

"Closet!" I chose at the last second. I grabbed him by his jeans' belt-loop and tossed (you know what I mean, despite not really being able to "toss" a Quidditch player as big as Oliver) him into my walk-in wardrobe. I knew he would keep quiet until I could send my nieces and nephew away.

I walked to the front of the flat and let the children inside. Victoire beamed up at me. "I just had my first successful Side-Along Apparation!" she announced.

Dominique looked sick. "Successful for whom?" she asked bitterly.

"I prefer the Floo," Louis chimed in. He took a seat on the couch, and his sisters joined him in the living room. I went into the kitchen and poured them each a glass of water and sent the glasses flying into the room ahead of me.

"Drink," I ordered. "You will all feel better. But good for you, Victoire. I know you turned seventeen back in May, but I am glad your parents finally let you try Side-Along with your brother and sister. You are pretty good just by yourself."

"One of the many reasons I'm in Ravenclaw," the strawberry blonde stated with a bright smile.

"I prefer my House," Dominique said, referring to Hufflepuff. "Lysander's there with me," she adding quietly, meaning the Scamander twin she was dating

"I wish I was in a House with one of you two," Louis complained, getting up and walking around the living room. "I don't want to be in Gryffindor."

"Your father was in Gryffindor," I reminded him while I cleaned up the living room a bit. I was trying to find and hide anything of Oliver's before the kids saw it.

"Yeah, I know… Hey, what's this?"

I blushed Weasley red. Louis picked up a dark blue sweater that was observably much too large for me. Of course, on its front were two crossed, golden bulrushes.

Victoire recognized it immediately. "Aunt Gab!" she gasped. She swung her head to me. "You didn't!"

I dodged her eyes while Dominique realized it, too. "Since when?" the blonde girl asked.

"Oh, my Godric! This is Oliver Wood's!" Louis screamed as he noticed the little initials on the sweater's tag.

Yes, Louis, thank you for pointing out the obvious. I kept tidying up the room, ignoring how hot my face was. I snatched Oliver's team sweater from my nephew. "Yes, this belongs to Oliver Wood."

"Since when?!" Dominique repeated.

"Since summer."

"That long?!" Victoire gasped. "And you kept him from us?!"

I shook my head. "I knew you would all react like this. That is why I—"

"But you hate Quidditch!" Louis cried. His shocked face hurt, as though I had lied to him all his life.

"I guess she likes Quidditch players, though," Victoire unhelpfully added.

The flat was quiet a moment. "Can I come out now?" Oliver softly called from my room. As the proverbial cat was out of the bag, I fetched him. He gave my nieces and nephew a disheveled and embarrassed grin. "Uhh…hullo, everyone."

"I told you she knew him," Louis grumbled to his sisters. He stuck his tongue out at them, and I scolded him for that.

I frowned. "Could we not do this?"

Victoire grinned wickedly. "Why not?" She batted her eyelashes at Oliver. "So, Oliver Wood… You are…"

He was confused. "I am…what?"

"You are…," she started again.

"Victoire…," I hissed.

"Uh, a wizard? Quidditch player? Keeper?"

Victoire stood up and crossed her arms in front of her chest. She walked circles around Oliver and me. "Oliver Wood, you are…"

It clicked. Oliver smiled bashfully and shot me an apologetic look. I nodded. "Hello, you lot. It's been a while. I'm Oliver, your aunt's boyfriend."

"YES! HA! I knew it!" Victoire exclaimed.

I narrowed my eyes at her. "Mon Dieu, Victoire!" I griped at her. "You are more Weasley than Delacour!"

"Well, my surname is Weasley." And with that, Oliver became known far and wide in my large extended family as my lover.

Sacré bleu!

- ^-^3

Around the Easter holidays (yes, I know that this means I have been with Oliver for around nine months), I actually came home from Beauxbatons in France. I partly wanted to spend time with my family…but I really wanted to see Oliver. Yes, I am beaming. Get over yourself.

Introducing Oliver to my family had not been as bad as I had thought. No one was really surprised, but Fleur was elated over it. I think she thought I had "given een to love," but she did not know that I still dare not use that word around Oliver, and he dare not use it around me.

But that did not matter. Oliver was with me so often, I am fairly sure that Louis was starting to call him "Uncle Oliver." Uh, yikes. That is going a little too far, Louis.

I spent the Easter holidays back and forth between Fleur and Bill's home and my flat, and I even got to visit Oliver's place twice (which is very cozy, if you ask me). At the end of the break, I felt a little bit better about returning to France and finishing the schoolyear.

On the morning I was meant to leave to return to Beauxbatons, Oliver and I had popped over to Shell Cottage to say goodbyes. It was so natural having Oliver around my family that I was starting to hear calls of "Uncle Oliver" even in my head!

Fleur grinned as she ate her oatmeal. "You two seem so 'appy," she commented.

I nodded, a healthy rose color dusting the apples of my cheeks. "Yes, we are. Please drop it there, dear sister," I added through gritted teeth. She was wearing her I-told-you-so face, you see.

Oliver laughed at our interaction. "You two never change," he stated.

I playfully punched him in the arm. "All right," I said to Fleur, "we must go since I must head straight to Cannes, and Oliver must catch a late practice. I am going to go say goodbye to the kids. They are still asleep, yes?"

Fleur nodded over her sip of coffee. "Just go right up. Zey are nevair dizappointed to see you, Gabrielle."

I left Oliver and Fleur alone in the kitchen and went upstairs. Louis was still sound asleep, so I snuck in and kissed his cheek goodbye. Dominique and Victoire were starting to wake up, so I got to say goodbye to them, but then they both fell back asleep, despite that all three of them would have to get up in a few hours to get ready to return to Hogwarts.

I sauntered back downstairs, a smile on my face. To think that Victoire's last year at Hogwarts was almost over… It seemed like only yesterday when I was the teenager and Victoire, just a newborn. Hmm, what a fond memory.

…huh. That is funny. It was so quiet downstairs. I was sure I had left Oliver and Fleur—the two biggest loudmouths in my life—down in the kitchen. I reached the last step of the staircase and was ready to call out to them when I heard whispers. My smile faded.

"Zank you so much," Fleur said. "She seems so much better evair since she met you, Oliver."

I sensed that he probably shrugged. "She's a wonderful woman, Fleur. I'm glad I accepted your invitation. I just didn't expect that the girl you wanted to introduce to me was…well, was her. She wouldn't let me in at the beginning."

"I know you were busy. But I 'ad only asked you to come by and meet 'er. It was only a matter of time before she fell for your charms."

They shared a laugh over that. "Well, I don't think I'll be answering anyone else's calls to try and get at least one date out of their lonely sister."

Fleur laughed—and my heart twinged. "She eez so caught up in work. Eet always made me wonder if she just didn't care about love. Oh! Before I forget!" There was a rustling. I peeked around the corner and saw Fleur pass him two tickets. "You should take 'er to zis. She will love eet, I swear."

Oliver looked unsure. "Er, Fleur, I appreciate you getting her to the game that one time, but I don't need—"

"So that is it?" I asked, coming out from my hiding place. "You were just passing the time with me, Oliver?" Yes, there were our nine months out the window. Oddly, Fleur's words echoed in my mind…broke up with Katie Bell nine months ago… I wondered if they had only last nine months…

He gaped at me, his heart clearly breaking in his eyes. "No, no, Gabrielle, it's not—"

"And you, Fleur!" I cursed at her in French, but my voice cracked because of the tears that poured out of my eyes. "You pitied me all this time? And you thought you could have him buy me, buy my happiness so I would not drag you down?"

Fleur was speechless. "No, Elle, I meant only to let you 'ave a good time. I thought you might be 'appier if you 'ad love in your—"

"Shut it!" I screamed at her. I could hear noises upstairs. Oh, no. I had woken up the kids… "You know I hate love, Fleur. There is nothing but love for family."

Oliver recovered for a moment and glared at me. "You know, Gabrielle, I'm sick of that. Lighten up and wake up. True love and passionate love—they exist. There doesn't have to be only 'family' love!" he threw at me, his voice rising the whole time.

"Screw both of you!" I shouted back at them. I slapped Fleur's hand away when she tried to reach out to draw me into a hug. "I do not want your pity and I do not—" I emphasized this with a pointed look to Oliver. "—I do not want your fake love and attention."

With that sentence, I held power. That sentence—those words are what breaks a sister. They are also what shatter a man. Never before had I seen a man so crippled by mere syllables.

I tightened my grip on my purse and ran from the house, hearing Oliver curse and kick the kitchen drawers. I grimly smirked. Be careful, Oliver. You could hurt that foot and not be able to play Quidditch for a while.

I made it to the train station in London without Splinching myself. However, once on the vehicle that would carry me closer to the town which held my international Portkey, I locked myself in a compartment and spelled it to be soundproof. I did not want to disturb the other riders with my heart-wrenching sobs.

- ^-^3

My last musical of the year was a disaster.

My Ancient Arts Club had been practicing The Taming of the Shrew, and they had been working so hard. But my lack of concentration had led to a lack in direction. The lack in direction had led to a literal collapse onstage. It had been utter chaos.

I groaned more and more often as the year's end drew closer. I had not seen or heard from Oliver in months, though I suppose it was better that way. I could not forgive him for…for buying me like that. And how could Fleur have ever thought it a good idea to plot something as she had?!

I suffered migraines the more I thought about the situation. Somehow, though, I made it through the end of Beauxbatons' schoolyear, and I was all ready for the end of Hogwarts'. After all, Victoire would be graduating.

I counted the days until the end of Hogwarts' schoolyear. When Victoire's graduation finally did arrive, I kept my distance. I did not even want to see Fleur, for my anger had been festering these past few months. Because I did not want to see Fleur, I did not want to see our parents or Bill or really any other Weasley. I only wanted to see Victoire and leave.

The ceremony was beautiful, but not as nice as the one at Beauxbatons. There were friends and family of students all around. There were several hundred people to see Victoire's class graduate. I was only happy that the ceremony did not take very long.

At the end, Victoire found me before her family spirited her away. She leaped on me with a gigantic hug. "Oh, Aunt Gab! I'm so glad you came! I didn't know if you would!"

I hugged her back. "Oh, Victoire… Je suis vraiment désolée. I would never miss this for the world. You know I love you and your siblings to death."

I patted her hair as she looked at me with sad tears in her eyes. "But you had that huge fight with Mum… You aren't going to stay away from us forever, are you?"

"Oh, no… I am not separating myself from the family, Victoire. I just… I need a lot of space from your mother right now. Remember: She is your mother, but she is my sister. You know what it is like to be angry with Dominique." I smiled. "I am so very proud of you, Victoire. You are such a bright girl with a very fortunate future ahead of her."

She smiled. "Thank you, Aunt Gab."

I nodded and gave her a gift. "Here is your graduation gift. I… I would stay, under different circumstances, but…"

Victoire nodded. "I know, Aunt Gab. You can go. I love you."

I bit my lip. "…me, too." I gave her one last hug and slid between unfamiliar faces when I heard Fleur and Bill's voices near. Ah. Finally.

Peace…and quiet.

"Don't you dare run again."

I squeaked—yes, squeaked—as I hit a flesh wall named Oliver Wood. I had time only enough to look up before he caught me in his arms and dragged me off to the side of the crowd. Once we were securely alone and out of hearing, I glowered at him. "What did you tell me once about stalker status, Mr. Wood?"

He glared right back. "What do you want me to do? Lie to you? Say I have cousins who just graduated? Guess what: Victoire invited me. No imaginary family, not Fleur, but Victoire. She invited me here knowing you would come see her, even if for only a few minutes."

My cheeks grew hot. Mon Dieu, Victoire, you are as much a schemer as your mother. "So what do you want with me?"

Oliver grabbed me roughly by the shoulders and fiercely kissed me. Somehow, he had done the impossible: This kiss was even better than the very first one we had shared…but I did not let him know that. Yet. "I don't want anything with you, Gaby," he said, and I noted my new nickname, "I want you."

I shut my mouth after it popped open and formed a perfect "O." I dropped my eyes to the ground. "Oliver… You… You cannot expect me to believe that this is real…," I mumbled, my voice raspy. "It hurt when I heard that Fleur had bribed you to meet me."

He was quiet. His hands on my shoulders loosened and rubbed up and down my arms. After what seemed like an éternité, he gently tilted my chin up. I frowned, hating that I had made him cry, though he did his damnedest to withhold his tears. "Gaby, don't make me say it. I know you'll hate me if I do, but it's the truth."

I blinked away my own oncoming tears. I knew he was going to use that four-letter L-word. "I-I know, Oliver…"

"Gaby."

I scrunched my brow. "Must you?"

He wistfully smiled. "Gabrielle Delacour, I love you."

My stomach flipped at—oh. I understood it now. My stomach flip-flopping at his smile, my chest—heart—hurting when he was around… I did not even feel the tears at first as I comprehended my emotions and reactions—both physical and mental.

I… I loved him.

But how could this be possible? I knew that there was only love for family; true or passionate or kindred love did not exist, so this had to be a… But, Merlin, as I looked into his eyes and saw the endless affection there, I knew it was love.

He chuckled, seeing my thoughts flash across my face. "I'm glad you feel the same way, Gaby." His kisses were so sweet that I felt my heart swell and I started to accept that this kind of love does exist.

However… There is still doubt in my mind, Oliver. I will probably grow out of this love, if given the chance…but I like how your love feels, so do not let me fall out of love with you. Promise me that you will love me and only me—forever.

- ^-^3

WOW. This was a 36-page one-shot. Um…HOLY CRAP! O.O I loved writing this—but I did not expect Gabriver to take so long to develop. It kinda made me scratch my head. However, I love them and will keep them near-and-dear to my heart. They are too good a pairing to pass up. In fact, I love them so much that I eventually will do a sequel to this story—tentatively titled "Pride and Glory"—and it will be the first of many more Gabriver stories to come.

Thanks for reading, and please review!

-mew-tsubaki :D

Thanks as always to Morghen for beta'ing! X3 As well as for correcting my French, *lol*.

2016 note: I don't often write in 1st-person anymore; I did so more often 6 yrs ago, and this story is an example, but I enjoyed rereading and editing this. -w- I think this is actually still one of my finest stories, though I believe I've flourished my style more since 2010. I also rather like Gabrielle's commentary and how, towards the end, this was almost like a bittersweet love letter from Gabrielle to Oliver… Though I need to write more for them, they're solidly in my overall headcanon, and I think they work well. I just really love Gabriver and Gab and Ollie individually so much…! *stops dithering* XD