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Who: Merton and JD, plus OC Quentin Oakby
Where: Somewhere between Ravenclaw Tower and the music room
When: Waaaay back during the mistletoe incident [backdated]
Rating: PG-13 for snogging, language and hexes to a sleaze

* *

The snatches of a promising melody had been floating around Merton’s head, but now his thoughts were strangely blank. All he could do was reflect dryly that JD must be truly desperate if she was asking for his assistance. True, a good portion of the blokes in their years were right dodgy bastards, and he’d at least not take the opportunity to grope her up or the like, but then there were those like Roger and Dunstan who everyone seemed to like, and who would also not take the opportunity to grope JD up.

Why wasn’t she asking to snog one of them instead? From what he’d seen of the Hufflepuff Quidditch captain earlier, the bloke wasn’t exactly unwilling or shy. Furrowing his brow, he wrapped his scarf back around his neck and located his mittens. They were a set Acacia in a rare humane moment had knit him for his sixteenth birthday, Galleons being tighter around the Graves household than either parent would care to admit. Sliding hands calloused with years of musicianship into them, he set off towards Ravenclaw Tower.

Unbeknown to both himself and JD, they weren’t the only two out and about at this hour.

Sighing internally, JD slipped out of the Ravenclaw Common Room just as a small group of a yawning and sleepy eyed Altair stumbled in. She didn’t deliberately mean to ignore him when he asked where she was going, and if she’d noticed that mistletoe was following her. If she had a response pursed on the edge of her tongue, it was quite forgotten when her mind recalled what she was setting off to do.

“I’m going to kiss the boy I fancy, because a friend I shouldn’t trust so much dared me to, and a friend I do trust logically imparted advice that appealed to even my own logic,” she thought to herself as she rounded a corner.

Gryffindors had a reputation of seeing the world through rose-tinted lenses, and it was perhaps Quentin Oakby’s optimism when it came to witches and his effect on them which had seen him Sorted into that house. It certainly wasn’t due to any courage in the more traditional, noble sense. He wasn’t chivalrous, as his treatment of Katie Bell at the Yule Ball had proven. Neither was he brave, as his reaction to Angelina Johnson after she had learned of his treatment of Katie Bell and expressed her wrath accordingly had proven. She had also made it clear that this extended over to the pretty prefect Alicia Spinnet and any other Gryffindor female above the age of twelve, and so far – albeit more out of fear than any non-existent goodwill on his part – Quentin had respected her wishes. He wasn’t totally stupid after all.

The bizarrely-coiffured but still rather shaggable brunette approaching was however a Ravenclaw. Wearing a grin that would make a rabid dog eyeing a big fat juicy stake a refined, cultured creature in comparison, he stepped forward. “Hey you, come here often?” he smirked. “You must do, as that’s a school uniform you’re wearing.”

To Quentin this was the height of wit, taking an overused line and putting a unique and novel spin on it. Such brilliance as this he knew would pay off sooner or later. It was just the matter of finding a Hogwarts girl who wasn’t a frigid little bitch.

Was she supposed to respond to that? JD merely looked at him, stunned at the fact that this could all very possibly be happening again. “Oakby, you idiot,” she said at last in an even tone. “Shut up and pre-emptively go to the Hospital Wing, before I really do have to hex you.”

“Aww, I don’t mind so long as you get to kiss me better,” he said, her words sliding off him like water from a duck’s back. She mustn’t mean it, otherwise she would have just hexed him and been done with it. “And I’m more interested in seeing you out of that uniform that in it. Besides, that’s mistletoe you’re wearing along with that uniform, for now anyway. You’re practically asking for it.” Leaning forward so that she was blocked off from proceeding down the hall, he picked up a lock of her hair.

Splat. The whisper of a hex hissed through the air, and in Quentin’s place a dazed-looking toad sat blinking up at her. It gave a frightened “ribbit!” then hopped rapidly away. Merton rounded the corner, dangling his wand from the tips of his fingers and scowling. “I never could get the hang of that spell,” he said in a light, level tone that spoke of a great effort to keep it that way as he joined JD. “I suppose you really have to want to do it for it to work. Somehow the mice we’re meant to be practicing on from Transfiguration are a lot more sympathetic than Oakby.”

No, no, NO! This really wasn’t fair. He couldn’t just do something so nice and her have to kiss him right afterwards, all the while fancying him. That wasn’t fair. That was a trashy romance novel, or a fairytale ripped right off Beedle. “Thank you,” she managed, looking up at her rescuer. There was something strange about that word. A clash between what she believed in and what she wanted. “I was so… I was stunned. I couldn’t believe he would talk like that to me of all people.”

“Well, he should and he shouldn’t,” Merton elaborated, joining JD against the wall. She seemed a bit on edge for some reason, but he supposed that being leeched on by Oakby didn’t lend people to a sunny disposition. “He shouldn’t because it’s disgusting and I’m sure there’s better ways to go about expressing things like that, but he should because you’re no less attractive than any other girl in the school. You’re just…styled differently. That’s not quite the right word for it, but yeah.” He spared her a sideways glance. “You alright?”

“Yeah, um…” She raked a hand through her hair, trying to force her nerves down as they tingled and buzzed from within her chest, all the way up to the back of her throat. Right in the middle of her gut, and trapped inside her fingers. It was a hard fight. She breathed in and out before looking back up at Merton. “I’m fine now. And, sorry, no less attractive?” She nearly laughed. “I’m sure an ounce of sanity aids in whether a girl is deemed attractive or not. And perhaps a quieter disposition.”

“It depends on the bloke,” he said, removing his gloves and stuffing them into his coat pocket. It was an odd thing to do, but he discovered that he just couldn’t wear gloves knitted by his fourteen year old sister when he was about to kiss a girl. Speaking of, how to go about it? Not that he didn’t know how, of course, but JD was still looking rather uncomfortable, and he would have felt like he was intruding if he had snogged her like that. She had already asked him to kiss her and in doing still had give him permission, but he just wished there was a way to get her to relax a little more and – not that he was expecting her to enjoy it – but not look like she was there quite so much under duress. “I suppose this where I make the obligatory crack about how I’ve improved his appearance,” he said finally, jerking a thumb back in the direction Quentin had just scampered off in.

“Greatly so, I’d mention your finesse to McGonagall, but I hardly think she’ll quite appreciate the use to which you put her instruction. Even if I did,” she added with a small smile. To kiss him. To kiss him. Maybe the trick wasn’t to think about it. Maybe the trick was to not worry about it or be self-conscious. Maybe the trick here was the same as the one you needed to use in those aspects of music she loved so much.

“Well, when you speak of a target audience, McGonagall wasn’t it,” he said, turning slightly to face her. “You were. So mission accomplished and sod it with what McGonagall thinks.” While as a rule not touchy-feely, Merton wasn’t skittish about physical affection in itself. It was simply a lack of people about he cared about enough to bestow it upon. JD, he decided, was one of those people, and she still looked a bit shaken up. He carefully wrapped his arms around her in a loose hug, pressing his palms lightly into her back in a way that she could easily pull out of if she had a mind to. Then he drew back, took a deep breath, cupped her face with both hands so that she knew they weren’t going anywhere, and brushed his lips over hers.

Later, when she would think about it, JD would be sure to realise that her introspection prior to Merton hugging her was spot-on. Deliberately, she pressed her lips against his. Instinctively, she raised her arms and wrapped them around his neck.

Merton gave a slight start when JD actually started to kiss him back, but then returned in kind. He had wanted her to enjoy the snog as it was, and this was what appeared to be happening. He wrapped his arms around her waist.



Order of the Phoenix NEWTs

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