Title: Gift for Vignette 2006

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter

Pairings: Cedric/Oliver

Rating: PG-13-ish

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or their world. This is fanfiction and I'm just playing for fun, not making any money.

Summary: Oliver runs into Cedric and stuff happens.

Notes: Written for Vignette as a holiday gift. Enjoy!


Gift for Vignette 2006

            Oliver was a kid in a candy shop. Except that, as a seventh year, he wouldn't call him a kid. And this wasn't a candy shop but a Quidditch equipment shop. He salivated over the new Firebolt broomstick. He stood in awe at a full set of professional quality pads. And he fingered the coins in his pocket at the sight of a magic quaffle for practice. It flew around on its own with pre-programmed moves adapted from some of the best Quidditch players of the last century, in order to test a keeper. But he was a few coins short and he knew he couldn't blow all his money on a Quidditch item anyway; it had to last him the whole winter holiday.


            But he wanted to get something to mark the escape of his overbearing family for the afternoon. So he headed to the shelves of books. He owned most of them already, but there were a few good ones he had his eye on. He picked up a copy of Quidditch Captains: Inspirational Quips and Quotes and thumbed through it.


            "That's a good one."


            Expecting to see the shop owner hovering over him and asking why he was looking and not buying, Oliver quickly put the book back and looked up. He was shocked to see a familiar face there.


            "Cedric," the young man said, placing a hand on his chest. "Cedric Diggory, Hufflepuff seeker--"


            "Aye, I know who you are," Oliver replied. The match between their two teams hadn't been too long ago, and the wounds had not yet healed completely. He picked the book back up, because he really was thinking about getting it. "So you've read this?"


            Cedric shrugged. "Actually, no." Oliver met his eyes again, curiously. Sheepishly, Cedric said, "I was just trying to find a way to say hello."


            Oliver nodded. "Yeah... well then... hello." He put the book back on the shelf and moved on to another, studying it intently. He paused, looking up with unfocused eyes for a moment. Then his hand flew up to cover his nose and mouth. "huhCHISHhhh!" He sniffed and paused, having nothing on hand to wipe his nose with.


            "Oh." Cedric pulled a handkerchief out of his back pocket. "Here, I've got one."


            With the equivalent of a white flag dangling from his hand, Cedric's eyes met Oliver's with sympathy and insistence. Oliver reluctantly took it and wiped his nose.


            "Have you got a cold?" Cedric asked, gesturing for Oliver to keep the handkerchief.


            Oliver shook his head. Truthfully, that was an astute suggestion. He had felt a little... off... all day, which was one of the many reasons he'd been so thankful to be on his own that afternoon. He loved his family, but sometimes he just needed to be alone. "I don't think so. Just a random sneeze, that."


            "Well, that's good. You here alone?"


            Oliver nodded. "I'm staying at my relatives' place a few blocks away. You?"


            "Just flooed in to hang out with some friends. They're off buying last minute gifts so we split up. We were going to go have something warm to drink at teatime, do you want to join us?"


            Blinking confusedly, "What, with you and your friends?"


            Cedric just shrugged. "Well, sure. I know we're in different houses but we're not in school right now. And it's the holidays. We'll just kick back and have a good time. What do you say?"


            Oliver considered, briefly, then nodded. "Aye, all right. Sounds like a plan. Let me just..." He picked the hardback Quidditch Captain book back up and gave it one last moment of consideration. "Quickly buy this," he finished.


            Cedric waited patiently as Oliver purchased the book. "You'll have to let me know if you like it," Cedric said, leading Oliver out of the shop. "I mean, not that... well... our teams already faced each other this year, didn't they?"


            Oliver chuckled. "I know what you meant. We're not in school, right? No houses, no competition?"


            "Right," Cedric agreed, speaking up to be heard over the crowd on the busy streets.


            Apparently, more people than just Cedric's friends were in need of last minute Christmas shopping. The streets were packed with bustling shoppers with wrapped packages and bulging bags. The two young men had to stay close not to get separated as they navigated their way to a cafe. It was late December and chillingly cold out, but thankfully not snowing.


            Oliver noticed his nose was running after the third automatic sniffle, though Cedric noticed after number four and shot him a look of concern. Oliver shrugged and thanked Cedric again for the handkerchief as he quietly blew his nose. The sound was easily drowned out. However, his sneezes were a bit louder. "hehh-Kishhh! hihChishhh! h'Shushhh! Excuse me."


            Standing outside the restaurant, Cedric patted Oliver's back. "Look, Wood, if you'd rather go, that's fine. I don't want to rope you into a lunch date if you're feeling sick."


            Oliver shook his head. "Not sick. Sniff!" He was sure his nose was just running from the cold. Or... almost sure. "I can have a bite." He had already followed Cedric inside when the rest of Cedric's sentence hit him. Lunch date?


            Cedric introduced Oliver to the small gang already gathered at a large table in the center of the restaurant. There was Pierce and Antony and Armistead, all three Hufflepuffs but all in the year before Oliver and none of them on the Quidditch team, so Oliver didn't really know them.


            And he didn't really get to know them, over the course of the snack-like meal. The mood was casual, and they immediately treated Oliver as a friend, as one of their own. But the introductions ended pretty much with the names, and the group jumped from there into a conversation about what they'd bought or seen in town that day. Antony, apparently, had eight siblings and little pocket money to go around. Pierce had finished his shopping early and had just gone along to lend an eye and give an opinion... though he picked up a few little things as well. And Armistead had struck out finding a present for his boyfriend and was desperate for more suggestions.


            Slightly uncomfortable, Oliver offered a few suggestions, but nothing Armistead jumped on. Cedric finally said a nice gift would be something they could do together, like tickets to a Quidditch game or a play, and Armistead went on for several minutes about fantastic an idea that was.


            After they devoured the mushroom puffs and they scraped the sides and bottom of the bowl of dip clean with chips, they ordered refills for their drinks. Conversation turned briefly to school, until Cedric noticed that Oliver wasn't paying much attention. As the other three talked about what had happened in a Defense Against the Dark Arts class, Cedric scooted his chair over a few centimeters and leaned towards Oliver. "You feeling left out?"


            Oliver shrugged. He'd expected as much, given that everyone, including Cedric, was practically a stranger to him. He wasn't having a horrible time, even feeling like something of an outsider. But it wasn't the discussion which had made him tune out.


            "I'll cover for you, if you want to bail on me," Cedric whispered.


            Oliver chuckled and shook his head. "No, that's okay. This is nice... but, ah, remember how I said I didn't have a cold? I think that might have been a premature evaluation, aye?" Cedric nodded sympathetically and immediately ordered Oliver a glass of orange juice. Oliver chuckled again and drank it, even though it was a little harsh on his throat, which was starting to feel kind of dodgy. "hehh-IShhh!" Though not as bad yet as his nose. "Sniff!" His nose was getting annoying.


            Antony was the first to leave, as there was a big family dinner at his house that night. It was another hour before Armisted had to go, and Pierce followed suit a few minutes after that.


            "k'Chishhhhh!" Cedric's handkerchief was getting quite the workout, but it seemed to stay dry no matter how many times he sneezed or blew his nose into it. It must have been spelled or made with some special magical material. "hih-Shehhh!"


            "Bless you again," Cedric said. He leaned over again, lowering his voice. "Maybe we should call it a day?"


            Oliver shrugged. "Sorry, I haven't been the best company. Sniff! I understand if you want to take off." He heard the words coming out of his mouth and suddenly had mixed feelings about them. For some reason, he felt sad. He didn't want Cedric to leave. But he didn't really know why. This was already such a strange situation. Tried to bite his tongue, but he'd always worn his heart on his sleeve and he had always been able to speak his mind. "But I don't really want to go home yet so if you want to stay, too, I think I'd really like--"


            And then, before he knew what was happening, Cedric had leaned forward even more and lips gently pressed against his cheek. Both of Oliver's cheeks went red right away but he did not pull away. After the kiss, Cedric stayed put but turned his head slightly so his mouth was directed right towards Oliver's ear. "Let's grab a small table by the wall?" Oliver nodded in agreement even before Cedric pulled back to see.


            They left a few coins to add to the bill and tip already on the table. Then they found a table in a dark corner of the restaurant. There was a long, floor-length green table cloth covering it and a warm, glowing candle in a holder on the wall just above it. The seats were stationary, like small booth seats, not chairs. Still, Cedric sat forward on the edge of his seat and placed his elbows down on the table. He rested his chin on top of his folded hands and gazed at Oliver. "So why don't you want to go home yet?"


            Oliver's mouth went dry, and he tried licking his lips to no avail. "I needed some time away from my relatives today. My aunt's going to go crazy when she finds out I'm sick. And... I'm enjoying it here with you, Diggory." He blushed again, but thankfully it was too dark there for Cedric to see.


            Cedric ordered soup and orange juices for them both. Oliver thought it was a perfect mix of humor and thoughtfulness.


            Cedric did most of the talking, pausing kindly and blessing Oliver when he sneezed. Oliver found it nice not to have to use his voice so much... and was genuinely glad to learn more about Cedric.


            Cedric reached under the table and cupped his hand over Oliver's knee. Oliver reached under and put his hand over Cedric's hand.


            "I've never..." More blushing. And then Oliver gulped down more of his drink.


            "I'm surprised," Cedric said, smiling charmingly. "With looks like that... and that light Scottish accent. I'd have thought guys would be jumping into your lap."


            Oliver shrugged. "Maybe they've tried. I haven't noticed."


            "Are you noticing me?" He flipped his hand over, tickling the bottom of Oliver's hand for a moment, then clasped it tightly.


            Oliver squeezed back. "Aye, Mate. I'm noticing you." Then he ducked his head down and turned it to the side, coughing.


            Quickly, Cedric pushed the orange juice on him, and Oliver managed to drink it to cool his throat and calm his coughs for a moment. "Are you all right?" Cedric asked. "Maybe we should go to an apothecary for some Pepper-up?"


            "Maybe. Sniff! heh-IHShihh! Sniff! I guess I could use a good dose. But... I think I'd rather go to the loo."


            "Oh," Cedric pulled back, and Oliver missed the warmth of his touch the second it was gone. "Yeah, sure. Go on then."


            Oliver pulled out a few coins and plunked them down on the table. "Actually, I was hoping maybe you might come with. If you know what I mean, aye?" He raised the handkerchief and buried his nose in it. "k'Tchuhhh! Sniff!" Oliver cleared his throat. "If you don't mind my cold."


            "Oh God, Wood. If you hadn't needed my handkerchief I never would have had the courage to invite you here this afternoon. And if you hadn't looked just a little more vulnerable than usual, I wouldn't have had the courage to give you that little kiss."


            "If we hadn't been outside of school, outside of houses, I don't think I would have had the courage to let you. Besides, I didn't know you liked boys."


            Cedric smiled and slid out from behind the table. He hovered at the side, and Oliver could not possibly miss the bulge Cedric was presenting him with. "I can't be out the way Armistead is. And I can't exactly promise that when we're back at school I'll..." He trailed off and gently petted the side of Oliver's head. Oliver tilted his head into the touch of fingertips against his hair and his skin. "But I would love to spend a little time with you in the loo, with or without your cold." His hand slid down and flipped over, offering it to Oliver.


            Oliver gave his nose another rub with the handkerchief. Then he transferred the handkerchief to his other hand and took Cedric's. He squeezed it and stood up.