Author's Notes: This has been written for the guilty fic exchange and the any one-shot challenge at HPFF forum. I really tried a different writing style here, and I hope you all appreciate it :3 I enjoyed writing this far too much than I thought I would and I hope my recipient likes this as much as I do 3
Credit for the amazing, amazing beta work goes to xakemii who always makes my stories look much better than they are :)
Written for: Kailey Hamilton & FireFlamesHopeEternal
It was a sun bleached land dotted with empty drifting dunes and sun scorched sand hills. Red dust swirled around her and she could almost hear the sand whimpering. There were no lush trees, no thick green wilderness and no form of life. She was alone, breathing and tasting the bitter sand on her tongue.
That's what she had been reduced to: a scum, living on this barren, deserted piece of land. She picked up her last bit of food and slowly nibbled on it. Her Muggle money was diminished to a few pounds and pennies and she hoped it would be enough for the time being. For the time being...but what did for the time being even mean? She looked up at the sky, searching for answers.
"Is that you, Katie?"
"Oh my god, where have you been?"
In a matter of seconds, she was pulled in his big lean arms and she wrapped herself around him, months of exhaustion, stress, loneliness and starvation wearing off her. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she hugged him harder.
"Yes...yes, it's me." She said, her head in his chest. He wiped away her tears and pulling her closer to himself, apparated them away.
"Where are your parents?" she asked him, nibbling on her steak.
"They should be home anytime now," Oliver replied, his voice uneven.
He looked at his magical clock, and she followed his gaze. It was good to be home, even if it wasn't her home. It was good to see a family, even if she hadn't seen hers in ages. It was good to feel something—anything after months of feeling only numbness. His house was small, but cosy. It had a low ceiling and the living room was filled with massive sofas and armchairs. A fire burned nearby, but she could see the floo was disconnected. There was no dining table, or chairs. Instead they sat on the floor, around a small coffee table, eating their dinner.
"Why didn't you go back to the Muggle world? That's the safest option at the moment, you know," he said.
Katie inhaled sharply. She knew he would question her soon; he had never been the one for tact.
"They are hunting for Muggle-borns there too and I didn't want to put my parents and sister in danger,"
"Hmmm, makes sense. You should be safe here, don't worry," he smiled at her kindly.
"Are you sure about it? I mean, are you sure I should live here and it would be completely fine with your parents? I wouldn't want to trouble you, and—"
"Katie, don't worry at all. The Ministry would never suspect that a Muggle-born is living in a house of purebloods. My parents aren't associated with the Order of Phoenix. It's safe trust me."
He was sitting by the fireplace, reading an old tattered novel when she entered, dressed in her old flabby night gown.
"I never knew you had interests other than Quidditch, Wood." She smirked at him and he laughed.
"Well, if you really want to know," he started, the ends of his mouth twitching, and turned his novel around for her to have a better look, "it's Quidditch tricks and tact by Fleo Berger."
One look at the title and she burst out in fits of laugher. "You really are too much, Oliver!"
He grinned. She settled on the sofa next to him, taking off her shoes and folding her legs sideways.
"So, what you been up to, nowadays?" she asked him, nestling herself as he moved to make room for her.
"Well, nothing much, really. I shifted back here, in my parents' cottage, as you can see, a few days ago—it's not safe to live alone anymore, dark times as these are. I have been in touch with Fred and George, but there isn't much to do, with Harry missing. Quiditch season is running low, and well, we have been keeping practices, to you know make everything look normal, but with half of our players in hiding it's—"
"—difficult," Katie completed for him.
They looked at each other and a comfortable silence fell between them. He went back to reading his book while she warmed her hands in front of the fireplace. Day by day, it seemed they fell into comfortable routine, till it became "her" home.
She was watching the stars, when he came, on the small terrace above his house. He cleared the snow and settled down besides her on the floor.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" he asked her, looking at the banner of stars above them.
"Very. You see that star?" she gestured towards the sky, "That's Sirius, the Dog Star: it's the brightest in the sky after the sun. You can even see it in the day sometimes. It's my favourite star."
"I failed in Astronomy in my fifth year," he solemnly admitted, and she laughed loudly, causing the ends of his mouth to twitch, "Were you good at anything besides Quidditch, Oliver?" she asked, still giggling.
"Well, I don't wanna boast or anything—"
"Oh, come off it Oliver. Like we haven't heard you boasting before!"
"I was the best in Transfiguration in my year. I earned top grades in my Transfiguration N.E.W.T's."
"No wonder McGonagall loved you so much!"
She flew on his father's broomstick and soared further up in the air. He flew after her, and soon he was next to her and she was giggling as they were chased each other around his garden. He caught up with her and she tried to fly further away, laughter echoing behind her, but he was too quick; he caught the end of her broomstick and pulled her towards him and soon she was there—on his broomstick instead of hers, with her hand in his own.
"Oliver you really are too much!"
She tried to slap him on his chest, but he caught her hand easily.
He chucked, saying, "Huh, getting physical, Bell-. I always knew you were attracted towards me!"
Suddenly they were too close and she could see his thick eyebrows too clearly and he could see her faint scar too finely. And then his lips on hers felt far better than she could have ever predicted.