Broom Conservation

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Story Notes:
It’s the fourth year that former Hogwarts students are arriving at Ottery St. Catchpole for what has become known as the Interhouse Quidditch Match & Picnic, complete with capital letters and sparkly glitter according to the banner that Parvati and Luna made this year. Hermione isn’t interested in the Quidditch game, but she does enjoy having the opportunity to speak with people she doesn’t often see in her daily life. It’s an informal reunion, which makes it casual and fun. Of course, as the years go by, it does seem to be becoming less informal and more organized. She actually received an invitation from Ginny this year, mostly because Harry decided he wanted to try to get more Gryffindors to attend for the rivalry that’s been brewing over the last three years of the event. Oddly enough, the rivalry is between him and Zacharias Smith, because Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw teamed up against Gryffindor and Slytherin that first match, and it’s been that division ever since. Malfoy and Harry have reached a truce of need in order to win every year.

The rules are loose since they have so many people attend who want to play and often hold the same positions, and she isn’t entirely certain how they determined scoring beyond tracking which team catches the Snitch most often. After checking in with Harry and Ron, Hermione wishes them luck and makes her way over to the table that Lavender and Daphne are setting up. “T-shirts?” she asks curiously, noticing the different colored fabrics that represented the different house colors. “And buttons. Those look interesting.”

“Hermione! It’s so nice to see you,” Lavender says, looking up with a smile. Hermione’s pleased to see that she has her hair pulled back instead of hiding the scars that cover the side of her face. It’s a big step for her, and Hermione’s proud that she’s reached a point where she can do it.

“It’s good to see you, too. Daphne.” She nods in greeting. “So what’s all this?”

“Keepsakes,” Daphne says. “Lav and I were talking about how the picnic and match has become something so many of us look forward to every year, so we decided to make t-shirts and buttons to give away so everyone can have something to remind them of the event.”

“This one is perfect for you, Hermione.” Lavender hands over a shirt in Gryffindor colors, her smile mischievous.

“Thank you.” Hermione opens the T-shirt and rolls her eyes when she reads it. “Save a broom, ride a Quidditch player? Really, Lavender?”

“Well, you do have a fondness for Quidditch players, even if you don’t enjoy the sport.” Lavender giggles. “Viktor Krum, Cormac McLaggen, Ron Weasley, and I heard rumors of a new person in your life who also happens to be a Quidditch player.”

“The rumors are untrue.” Hermione shakes her head. “There hasn’t been anyone since Ron. I’ve been working a lot, so I don’t have time for a personal life right now. I did have a working lunch with Cho Chang a few weeks ago. Maybe that’s where the rumor came from?”

“You and Weasley ended things before they even began,” Daphne says, giving Hermione a speculative look. “That’s at least four years, Hermione. Don’t give me the eyebrow of doom. I read the gossip section of the Prophet, and we Slytherins have always had a fascination with you.”

“Cho Chang is very beautiful, and she’s single.” Lavender smiles. “Any sparks?”

Hermione snorts. “Just because you’re happily in love doesn’t mean that everyone around you has to be paired up. Cho isn’t single, by the way. She just knows how to keep her private life private.”

“Greg does make me very happy.” Lavender’s smile is that of a besotted woman, and Daphne shares an eyeroll with Hermione. “You should wear the shirt, Hermione. You’ll probably have volunteers lining up to save a broom.”

“Why are we savin’ a broom?”

The deep voice startles Hermione, and she glances over her shoulder to see a handsome man standing there. It takes her a moment to identify him. “Oliver Wood? Goodness, it’s been ages since I’ve seen you. This is the first time you’ve come to this, isn’t it?” She clutches the shirt against her chest as she glances at the other women. “Lavender is just being foolish. It’s nothing.”

“Aye. I’ve not been able to attend before, but Harry invited me personally this time.” Oliver looks amused. “Miss Brown, yer looking lovely. What’s this ‘nothing’ that Miss Granger is avoiding telling me about?”

“It’s Mrs. Goyle now, Ollie. You’ve been away for too long. Of course, you can just call me Lavender.” Lavender smirks at Hermione before fluttering her eyelashes at Oliver. “You’re looking so very fit. Daphne, hand me that shirt in an extra-large.” She points to one in a pile to the side. “This is perfect for you.”

Oliver unfolds the shirt and laughs. “Quidditch does a body good?” He ducks his head and grins. “So, is that what Miss Granger’s shirt says?” He moves his gaze over Hermione slowly and deliberately, giving no doubt at all that he’s checking her out in a sexual way. She feels her cheeks flush because she can’t help remembering being a first year with a silly crush on the handsome Quidditch captain. “I’d hafta say it’s a true statement in her case.”

“Is it getting warm out here or is that just---Ow. Merlin, Lav. Fine.” Daphne hmphs. “Hermione doesn’t play Qudditch. Her shirt says something else.”

“Does it?” Oliver reaches out to tug on an errant curl, which does nothing to make her stop thinking about silly childhood crushes. “Show me what it says, Hermione? I’ll show ya mine, if you show me yers.”

“It’s nothing, Oliver.” Before she can continue, he pulls his shirt over his head, baring his well-developed chest and muscular arms to their view. She hears Daphne make an inappropriate comment about his physique, but she’s a little too distracted to pay it any attention. When he pulls on the shirt he just got, it clings in all the right places, and she can’t help but think Lavender chose perfectly for him. He isn’t broad and meaty, but he’s muscular and athletic in a way that she finds far too appealing.

“Hermione. Catch.” She blinks and turns her head to see something being thrown at her. She catches it before it hits her, and she looks up to glare at Harry, who gives her an innocent smile. “I thought you were looking hot, so the cold water should help cool you off.” He winks at her before turning to Oliver. “So, Wood. You can’t join the first match because you’re off flexing for my best friend? Since when do girls rate higher than Quidditch?”

“Since I got my head out of my arse enough to realize a broom doesn’t keep my bed warm at night.” Oliver grins and pulls Harry in for a hug. “Yer best friend has grown up in all the right ways, mate. Think you can put in a good word for me?”

“I can hear you,” Hermione points out, feeling flushed from embarrassment and certainly nothing else. She aims her wand at Lavender when she notices her about to speak. “Harry, please inform your friend that it takes much more than six pack abdominal muscles and well-developed biceps to woo me.”

“I can hear you, too.” Oliver grins at her. “Would you like to be wooed, Hermione Granger? Are you still more interested in books than people? If so, you really need to see my Da’s library. Some of the collection has been in our family for centuries.”

“I don’t think he needs any help from me,” Harry mutters, shaking his head. “Too busy flirting to play. I never thought I’d see the day that Oliver Wood was knocked on his arse by some silly woman.”

“If you keep calling me silly, I’ll be knocking you on your arse,” Hermione says, glaring at Harry before focusing her glare on Oliver. “Did you say centuries?”

“Centuries.” He licks his lips and leans his head down. “The books have leather bindings and handwritten pages that are yellowing with ages. Some of them are dusty, haven’t been opened in years.”

“How is this actually working on her?” Daphne whispers. “He’d have had me as soon as he took his shirt off.”

“Some blokes like a challenge, and she’s certainly one of those. Muscles do nothing, but give her an old book, and you’re got into her knickers,” Lavender whispers back as if the rest of them can’t hear the side conversation.

“Is she right?” Oliver tugs on a loose curl of Hermione’s hair. “Do I have a chance of getting into yer knickers?”

“You’re far too forthright and blunt, Oliver Wood.” Hermione sniffs delicately. “You need to revise your wooing techniques if you’re serious about this. Harry, let’s go watch the match. I’m sure Malfoy is sulking because we’re not there to cheer him on. Lavender, Daphne, Oliver. Good day.”

“Hermione, he looks like a puppy that’s been kicked. You’re an evil woman,” Harry whispers, knocking his arm against hers and grinning. “It’s been ages since you’ve had a date, and Oliver’s a stand up bloke. He’s even not as obsessed with Quidditch as he used to be, which should please you. I'd go so far as to suggest he's a real keeper.”

“That's corny, even for you. I’m not interested in being a plaything for some cocky professional Quidditch player, Harry.” Hermione glances at Harry and smiles. “If he’s serious, he’ll try again.”

“It looks like he’s following us with a rather determined expression on his face, so I’m voting for the try again,” Harry says, moving his arm around her shoulders and squeezing. “So what happens if he does try again?”

Hermione tightens her grip on the t-shirt and curls her lips into a slightly wicked smile. “If he does, well, I very well might explore a method of broom conservation that Lavender just suggested.”