The decision to hold a Summer Ball had been an odd one, and at the time, Oliver hadn’t paid much heed to it. He was duty bound to go as it was his last year, but had drawn the line at taking a partner.
“You could take anyone!” Fred had exclaimed in the common room. “Merlin, Oliver, you’re the bloody captain of the winning Quidditch team. Your only competition is the Head Boy.”
“And,” George put in, snorting, “much as we hate to admit it, Perce isn’t a catch. No one wants to go to the Ball with him.”
“Apart from Penny-lope,” Fred added.
“Hard to believe she’s a Ravenclaw,” George replied, sounding puzzled.
Oliver grinned at them, showing a lightness he didn’t quite feel. “I’m going alone, lads. It would look a bit off if I turned up with someone after finishing with Katie, don’t you think?”
The twins shrugged. “She’s seeing Lee. I don’t think she’d be that fussed,” Fred replied.
“Awww, Fred, Oliver looks all upset now,” George said and started laughing as Oliver blushed. “You could take Alicia ... or that Ravenclaw that has a crush on you. That’d show Katie.”
“Glad she’s happy,” mumbled Oliver, “but I’m going alone.”
Alone wasn’t quite the word for it, not really. Oliver may have entered the Great Hall by himself, and he may not have taken to the dance floor with anyone, but he wasn’t alone.
He could never be alone, not whilst someone from the opposite side of the room watched his every move.
He sipped his drink (Firewhisky smuggled in under the Head Boy’s nose), and slowly tilted his head up, meeting the eyes that studied him.
“Outside,” he mouthed, and smiled when his watcher acquiesced with a smirk.
“You enjoying yourself?” Oliver asked, ten minutes later.
“Music’s crap, and that bloody girl on your team keeps trying to chat me up,” Cedric complained.
“You don’t want a dance, then?” Oliver mocked softly.
Cedric glowered, his handsome features darkening as he pulled Oliver towards him. “You know exactly what I want,” he muttered.
“You’re not thinking straight,” Oliver insisted. “We can’t go in there together, not right now.”
The band started to play again, a slow mournful tune lilting towards them.
“What then?” Cedric asked, sounding bitter. “What do you want from me?”
Oliver smiled, cupped Cedric’s face in his hands, drawing him down until their lips touched. “Last dance, Ced,” he murmured. “Our dance.”