Hogsmeade weekend eventually came, a month later, and while Oliver hadn't actually been avoiding Sam for that entire month, Marcus Flint's almost constant presence by her side had made it difficult to talk to her. The tutoring, oddly enough, had continued, but it had done very little good for Flint. The palpable hatred between the two boys basically neutralized any kind of help Oliver may have been able to give. The Gryffindor figured Flint would fail—if not this year, then next—and that was an unpleasant thought, as it would put the two of them in the same year.

So when it came time for third-years and above to leave the castle for Hogsmeade, Oliver remained down in the Great Hall, picking at his breakfast among the first and second years. He barely noticed a voice asking him nervously, "Oliver Wood?"

He looked down at a small Asian girl, who was staring at him with an enraptured look in her eyes. "Hello," he said to her. She looked like a first year, but he had no idea of her name or what house she was in.

"I'm Cho." She stuck out her hand and didn't wait for him to do the same, she just grasped his and shook it. "I've wanted to play Quidditch for years and you guys are good. Well, Slytherin's better but none of them are very nice so I thought I'd talk to you and see if you could help me because I'm going to try out for the team next year and I really really really want to make it--"

Oliver laughed and replied, "Sure, I'll help. Cho, you said? You must be in…"

"Ravenclaw."

"Well, I'm down on the pitch every Sunday morning. You can come down any time you want."

Her eyes grew wide. "Wow, thanks! I'll be there!"

She bolted off, no doubt to tell all her friends, and Oliver kept smiling for awhile after she'd left. However, as the Great Hall emptied completely of people, his good mood faded and he got up slowly to go back up to the Common Room. He'd sit with Fred and George for awhile and see what the next prank they were planning for Snape was, maybe…

"Oliver?"

He froze and turned to see Sam standing behind him, an uncertain look on her face. "Oh—hi," he greeted awkwardly.

"Hi." She paused and cleared her throat, then asked, "I thought we were going to Hogsmeade?"

"Well, I thought…I mean, I just figured that you and Marcus…were…um…going." Oliver wished he could smack his forehead. He always sounded like such an idiot to himself in situations like this.

"I said I didn't want to." Her eyes flicked to the floor. "We kind of had a fight. I told him it would be nice if he'd just leave me alone once in awhile."

"Oh. I'm…sorry, I guess. That's no good."

Sam abruptly met his eyes. "Look, Oliver, I'm really sorry. I know something happened. I don't know what, and I don't expect you to tell me, but I know that Marcus said something to you, and…well…I just want you to know that I want to be friends with you. I'm not going to let my boyfriend stand there and tell me who I can hang out with and who I can't. Just because you beat him at Quidditch, that shouldn't mean that we can't be friends. Because…I think you're a pretty cool guy, and I'd like to get to know you. I think you'd have a lot of interesting things to say if only you'd speak up more." She offered him a shy smile. "I mean it, really."

Oliver was staring at her. "I know you mean it. I don't see any reason why we can't be friends. Well, not any good reason. And, er.." He grinned sheepishly. "I'm sorry I've been avoiding you."

"No, I can understand. It was kind of hard to get near me with Marcus there all the time. And I figured you didn't want another black eye."

"Oh. That."

"Yeah, that."

The two of them stood there for a moment, unsure of what to say to each other, before Oliver started, "So…"

Sam smiled. "So."

"Want to go to Hogsmeade?"

"Didn't I already say so?"

"I guess you did."

"Then let's go. I'll buy you a butterbeer."