A/N: AHHHH!!!! I am SO SORRY, my dear readers!! I really didn’t mean to take 6 – verging on 7 – months to update! I swear it won’t happen again! Addison wouldn’t let me let that happen again, anyway. =D I won’t waste your time with the billions of excuses I could use to why I took so long. I just want to say thank you thank you thank you to ADDISON. Without her, this chapter wouldn’t have been out until, I dunno…6 – verging on 7 – YEARS. You should thank her too! Her stories are on fanfiction . net under Molly Raesly. Love you, Adds!!! I would like to thank YOU for your patience!
Finally, as today is a very special day and this chapter is a very special chapter, I would like to dedicate this chapter to and thank JENSEN!!! For being my model for Alec/Ian in both the visual sense (on my story banners!) and personality sense. I love you, Jensen. I want to marry you, Jensen. I have since kindergarten. No lie.
And to the story I send you! Thanks for coming back! I hope you enjoy!!!
“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily; life is but a dream,” I sang to myself as I ran my hands through the water from the faucet. Having a healer as a father and a nurse as a mother, naturally, singing either “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “The Happy Birthday Song” in my head to make sure that I washed my hands for the accurate amount of time was automatic.
I turned off the faucet and wiped my hands on a towel. After quickly checking my hair in the mirror, making sure that it wasn’t too neat or too messy in its ponytail, I exited the bathroom and headed for my first class – Charms.
After about a half of an hour, I managed to do the spell we were taught, so I decided to write a letter to Jarron.
How goes it with you and the fam? Is Alaina sick of you yet? I hope you’re not corrupting poor Jondi’s and Jaysen’s brains. Remember: they’re the next generation. We need them. The Baccaris must go on. You realize it’s all up to you and Jayden, right? You two need to get a-crackin’ and pop some boys out. Haha. Anyway, how’s Jaylyn? Send some pictures, please! And give her a sniff for me. You know how much I love the smell of babies. I miss all of you guys. I really just need a break from this castle. I assume you’ve heard about dad’s patient I’ve been practically babysitting–
What was I thinking? Mentioning anything about Ian would just lead to a bunch of uncomfortable and unwanted questions and comments. Paranoid, I looked around to see if anyone was watching me or reading over my shoulder before scratching out the last two sentences.
School’s fine, I guess, but I’m looking forward to Easter break. A break from the castle would be nice. I’m gonna ask Mum and Dad if it’s okay for my boys to come home with me for break. And if they do, RELAX and BE NICE. I’m still not with any of them. Ew. Boys are gross and icky. See? Breathe, Jarron, breathe. So, I hope you’re taking care of my car. Jace better not be using it. Oh, gross. I just pictured her and David snogging in it. I’ll kick her bloody arse if she does anything to my baby. Alright, well, I was just checking up on my least favorite oldest brother. Give everyone a hug for me!
- Your favorite baby sister, Neesy
Once the bell rang, signaling the end of the class, I jumped up and joined James. “Come with me to the owlery, then we can go to the kitchens,” I proposed, to which he agreed.
After I picked an owl and sent my letter on its way to Jarron, we strolled down to the kitchens together.
Yesterday, as we ate our Wednesday night pie, he and I decided to skip breakfast – more time to sleep! – this morning and go straight to our first class, so that afterwards, we could have a J-Time brunch during our free period.
As I reached up to tickle the pear, James took the chance to tickle me as well.
“James!” I managed to get out in between fits of laughter as I tried to get a hold of his hands to keep them away from me. “Stop!”
“Alright, alright,” James said, chuckling, “but only because I’m really hungry. Let’s go.” He put his hand on the small of my back to guide me through the door before him like the gentleman he was. How lucky Lily was.
“Sir James! Miss Jenyse!” exclaimed several squeaky, little voices.
We greeted the house-elves back cheerily and one named Binky approached us while the rest of them went back to doing whatever they were doing. “Sir James! Miss Jenyse! How happy Binky is to see you!” Binky was the house-elf that had always loved the Marauders and me. Ever since the first time we found the kitchens, he was always the first one to jump up to serve us. We all loved him as much as he seemed to love us.
“It’s great to see you too, Binky!” I replied. “We’ve missed you!”
“We sure have,” James agreed with a smile at the little guy.
Binky gave us a grin that stretched all the way from one side of his wide face to the other, excited that somebody had actually missed him. “How can Binky serve you today, sir, miss?”
“Well,” James started for the both of us, “we’ll have chocolate milk, eggs, toast, bacon, cheese, waffles, and french toast, please.” Yes! French toast! Best breakfast food ever. Good job, James.
“Yes, sir!” Binky gave us one last smile before he went to make our order.
James and I sat down at an island away from all the house-elf commotion.
James leaned over the table toward me, smiling. “So, why were you sending a letter to Jarron? Were you telling him about me? I bet you were telling him about me. Right?” He gave me a suggestive eyebrow wiggle that made me roll my eyes.
“Thanks, Binky,” I said to Binky when he gave us our glasses of chocolate milk. “Oh,” I said, getting back to James’s question, “yeah, of course I wrote a whole letter to my brother all about you, James. Oh, he would just love that!” We both laughed at the thought of it before I continued. “I just wanted to check up on things back home. And I did mention you, actually.”
“Ah, yes. I knew you had to tell your brother how devastated you are that I’m still off the market, and that you’ll never have your chance on the JJ Express.”
“Oh, James,” I said dramatically, “how ever did you guess? Am I that transparent? I want you. I need you. Oh, baby. Choo-choo.” I mimed pulling down the whistle cord of a train.
Unexpectedly, James took my face and held it against his chest and started stroking it, saying, “Oh, Jenyse! It’s alright. I’m here.”
Unlike any other girl would have done, I tried pulling my head back, but his non-stroking hand kept me there. Punching him in the side worked, though, so, he released me, laughing just as loud as I was laughing.
“Ugh, gross, James germs!” I joked, straightening my hair and shirt out. “I’d rather not be on any train affiliated with you, unless it’s filled with coffee and french toast. I honestly can’t comprehend how Lily can put up with you.”
“It’s my sparkling personality.”
“I highly doubt that.”
“Alright, alright,” he backtracked modestly. “It’s the bod. Lily does love the abs. What can I say?” Making the stupid model face that he and Sirius always made just to fool around, he slowly lifted up the bottom of his sweater and shirt, revealing his flawless abs.
This time, like any other girl, it was inevitable that my eyes be glued to his form. You could see every line that accentuated his six-pack. James definitely did not draw his abs on. They were very, very real. While I was at it, I figured it was a good enough time to admire his facial features too, but before I could fully appreciate them, I realized that what I was doing was practically incest, which was incredibly gag-worthy.
“Hey, shirt down!” I ordered. “Innocent and virgin eyes here!” I glared at him when he didn’t comply but just smirked at me. I could see the threat to tauntingly lift his shirt up further in his hazel eyes. “James Potter, you keep your clothes on or I’ll really write to my brother about you. I doubt Lily wants a boyfriend who can no longer have children.”
James visibly winced. He knew as well as I did that Jarron was always a violent soul. That character made Jarron a great Beater, though. We sure could use that this weekend against Slytherin.
I laughed before getting back to the actual topic. “Anyway, I told him that I was going to ask you guys to come home with me for Easter break. But you’re probably just gonna go home or stay here with Lily, aren’t you? I just wanted to be courteous and invite you anyway.”
“You’re thinking about Easter break already?” he asked, laughing at my impatience.
“What? It’s only a month away,” I said defensively.
James chuckled and shook his head. “Actually, Lily’s going home for break. I’ll definitely be going to the Baccari house. I miss Mama Baccari and I wanna give the little one a kiss, too.”
I smiled, thinking about Jaylyn. Lucky girl, getting a kiss from James.
“But only on one condition,” he said. “Please keep Jarron from beating me up. I will agree to no Quidditch matches in which he is Beater.”
While I was busy laughing at the thought of James getting a broken nose at the expense of my brother, Binky and a couple other house-elves came over to deliver our food. We thanked them and dug in – me going for the french toast, and James going for the waffles.
After our first few bites, James struck up conversation on our Quidditch match coming up. “We are going to demolish Slytherin’s team,” he said with his mouth full of eggs and a bit of syrup on the corner of his mouth.
“Well, of course we are. Our team is bloody fantastic.”
“Hell yes!” he exclaimed. Oh, Captain James. “Hmm…I wonder if Lily’s going to watch the match. I wonder if she flies well. I wonder if–”
While James ranted on and on about the love of his life, I grabbed my glass of chocolate milk. Just as I was about to take a sip, I stopped and glanced down at the liquid. Glaring at it, I thought back to the other night in the Room of Requirement with Ian. That damn potion. What kind of memory potion doesn’t work? Lily was right. I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. Luckily for me, I was almost used to disappointment. Though I was angry and upset, I decided not to linger on the fact that the potion didn’t work and to just move on. There must be another way. I knew there had to be another way to bring Alec back. Memories and all. Well, maybe not the whole spirit aspect of him, but–
“Jenyyyse,” James sang, as he waved his hand in front of my face. “You there?”
I shook my head, trying to focus on James. “Yeah, sorry. I just zoned out for a second there.”
Looking at me curiously, he said, “Right. Anyway, as I was saying, Ian’s been a really big help with the team, don’t you think? I do. Oh, how are those checkups you’ve been doing with him going, by the way? Are they as insufferable as tutoring him?”
Avoiding bitter thoughts, I laughed, remembering the time I witnessed their tutoring session on Valentine’s Day. Poor James. “Well,” I started, getting back to James’s question, “they’re alright. I mean, there’s no way of getting away from his insufferable personality, is there?”
Chuckling, James agreed, “You’re right,” as he took a bite of his bacon.
Unbeknownst to James, the question I had asked held a lot more meaning than the obvious.
Patronuses are used as protectors, most commonly against Dementors (terrifying, soulless creatures who suck the souls out of humans, feeding off of humans’ good feelings) and Lethifolds (black living shrouds that attack and smother sleeping humans, leaving no trace at all). A Patronus takes the form of an animal that reflects the personality or feelings–
Groaning, I slammed the book in front of me closed and shoved it away from me with frustration. The library was almost empty except for me and a couple of other students. For some reason I couldn’t focus at all. I was studying for N.E.W.T.s and finishing up some homework due in the near future – a.k.a. later today – during the lunch period, since I had already had brunch with James. My brain didn’t seem to want to absorb anything I read. I had read those sentences three times already, and still I had no idea what I was reading.
Sighing and deciding to be a grown up, I pulled the book back to me and opened it to the page I was on. With my fingers on my temples, I started to read again.
A Patronus takes the form of an animal that reflects the personality or feelings of the witch or wizard casting the charm. A Patronus can be conjured when the witch or wizard concentrates on a powerfully happy memory–
Does everything have to be about memories lately? Giving up once again, I plopped my head down into the pages of the offending book.
“Have you discovered a new art of book telepathy? Because, if you have, I would definitely like to learn it if it gets me out of studying so much for the N.E.W.T.s.”
Not bothering to lift my head quite yet, I muttered, “Hey, Trav,” into the book.
He sounded kind of nervous when he let out a laugh, which caused me to lift my head to look at him.
“Are you alright, Travis? What are you doing in here? Don’t places with too many books make you overwhelmed?” I remember the first time I brought him into the library with me. He started breathing really fast and said that his stomach was hurting, then ran out. I assumed he ran straight to a bathroom. I heard that the urge to empty their bowels comes over some people when they get overwhelmed in a place filled with books.
“Yeah, they do overwhelm me, but I’m fine right now,” he answered, still sounding a little uncomfortable. “I just wanted to make sure that, uh, our…plans…for Saturday are still on…. They are, right?”
“Saturday? What’s Saturday? The Quidditch match is on Saturday.”
“Oh, you didn’t see the bulletin in the common room? They moved the match to Sunday.”
“What?! Since when do Quidditch matches happen on Sundays? Why’d they do that?” I questioned in outrage and confusion, which earned me a reprimanding glare from Madam Finn.
Leaning on the table I was sitting at, Travis explained, “Oh, apparently there’s a really big one-day sale at Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop and at Honeydukes, so Dumbledore is giving us permission to go on a Hogsmeade trip on Saturday. Weird, huh?”
“Yeah, that is weird. So, the Quidditch match is definitely on Sunday?”
“Does James know about this?” I wondered aloud, worrying about how our captain would react to this change of plans.
Travis’s face turned annoyed. “I wouldn’t know.”
“Oh, right, sorry,” I apologized. After seven years, I still wasn’t used to filtering my thoughts when I was around the Marauders or Travis.
“It’s alright, Jenyse. So, about Saturday…”
Wondering why he was being so vague, I pushed, “…Yeah?”
Looking a little hurt, he asked, “Don’t you remember when we were taking a walk outside the other day? And I asked–”
Finally realizing what he was on about, I let out a long, “Ohh,” and said, “Right! The next Hogsmeade trip! Well, that worked out well, huh? Of course our plans are still on! I wouldn’t dream of spending the day without you, Travis!”
Travis finally relaxed a bit after hearing that and a smile grew across his face. “Alright! Great! Well, I’ll be going now. Did you want to go to lunch with me? I haven’t eaten yet.”
“Oh, I ate brunch with James during our break second period. I still have a bunch of work to do. I’ll see you later. Bye, Trav!” I waved goodbye and returned to the book before me.
Ugh. Here we go again.
“Mr. Decker, kindly stop producing snow above Ms. Baccari’s and your heads with your wand, and pay attention.”
“Sorry, Professor McGonagall,” said Travis sheepishly from behind me, just above all of the snickers heard from the class.
While McGonagall continued her lecture on the uses of Transfiguration in our daily lives, I brushed off the snow on top of my head and turned and leaned back slightly in my seat. “What’s with the winter wonderland?” I whispered to Travis.
“Oh, nothing. Sorry about that. I was just zoning off.”
“Gotcha. I’ve been doing the same since term began.”
Travis, who I assumed was leaning his chin on his arms in front of him to hear me better, chuckled quietly. “So, I was, um, thinking that on Saturday…er, tomorrow…that, uh…”
“Ms. Baccari, please do not lean on the back legs of your chair. I’m sure that what Mr. Decker has to say is much more important than the material that will surely be on your N.E.W.T.s, but I ask you to just once listen to what I am saying.”
The snickering returned, but even louder than before. Before the snickers ended, glancing around the classroom, I caught the winking eye of Ian and looked away quickly, feeling heat in my cheeks that I personally called frustration. Putting my elbow on my desk, I felt something crunch underneath it. I looked down and found a crumpled up piece of parchment. Confused, I leaned back in my chair and opened it up. It read:
Ready for tonight, Nurse Baccari?
Feeling my cheeks redden even more with “frustration,” I crumpled the note back up. Apparently I hadn’t done so quickly enough. When I looked back up to make sure nobody had noticed my actions, I caught Sirius’s scrutinizing stare from beside me.
“What?” I whispered sharply at him.
He ignored me and returned to watching his professed love turning into her cat Animagus form before turning to the assignment I had evidently missed.
Waking up at 11:30 to go to Hogsmeade with Travis was a much better alternative than waking up at 8:00 to warm up for a Quidditch match against Slytherin, in my opinion. After stretching out my limbs and letting out a morning yawn, I rolled out of bed. Sitting on the side of it for a bit, adjusting to the movement slowly so that I wouldn’t get that strange blacking-out feeling from going from lying down to standing up so quickly, I looked over to Lily’s bed. She was still zonked out with her arm falling over the side of her bed.
On the way to my dresser, I said, “Mornin’, Lily,” and got a grunt in return. I picked out my clothes for the day and took a quick shower which helped stimulate the waking process. Making sure I had the ring Travis gave me for Christmas on, I headed down the stairs and into the common room where he was waiting for me, warmly dressed and wearing a drawstring bag on his back.
“Jenyse!” he greeted when he saw me. Looking me up and down, making me feel a little awkward, he said nervously, “You look really nice today, Jenyse.” His hand moved to rub the back of his neck.
"Uhh, thanks." ...Awkward.... “You cleaned up nice, too.” Time to change the subject. “So, are we going down to breakfast?” I asked him.
“Breakfast? Jenyse, it’s twelve o’clock.”
“Yeah, and?” I wanted to say. I mean, come on; I just woke up! Isn’t breakfast based on what part of the day you yourself are on? Not certain times of the day? But deciding to try to be nice and not cranky today, I answered, “Oh, right. Well, let’s go on down to Hogsmeade, shall we?” I took his arm and dragged him through the portrait hole. “So, what do you have planned for us today?” I asked once we were on the other side.
“You’re gonna hate me for this,” – not a good start – “but each one is a surprise,” – and not a very good end.
“Aww, come on!” I whined.
Chuckling at my childishness, he said, “Sorry, Jenyse. But, I think you’re gonna like the first part of the da– uh, day.” He shot me a nervous smile.
Glaring, and trying to get some dignity, I asked, “What’s in the bag?”
Shaking his head, still smiling, he said, “Wait and see.”
After a dramatic, defeated sigh from me, we kept on our way, with me underneath his right arm. When we walked out into the freezing cold, I started, “So, these surprises of yours. Can they involve foot massages? Because you have magic fingers and I even shaved my legs.”
“Really? I’m touched!”
“Yeah, you should be. I cut myself twice.”
Travis laughed, shaking his head. “Ever heard of magic?”
My eyebrows shot up as I turned to look at him incredulously. “Ever heard of screw-ups? I am not risking ending up with legs as hairy as yours for the rest of my life, thank you very much.”
He pretended to glare at my big cheesy innocent grin, but ended up laughing. “Don’t worry, Jenyse. I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy today,” he said, giving me a squeeze into his side.
“It better kick arse, or I am not wasting another Hogsmeade trip on you, Trav,” I joked. When I didn’t get a response, I craned my neck up to look at him. It looked as though all the color was drained from his face. “Lighten up, Travis! Merlin, it’s like you’ve seen a bloody Dementor.”
He gulped. “No, I just seem to have left my spleen back at the castle.”
“That’s fine,” I assured him. “I like my guys spleenless. It makes everything so much easier.” I finished with a wicked grin and an exaggerated eyebrow wiggle.
Peering at me, he asked, “Are you trying to kill me?”
“Damn, you figured me out.”
The rest of the walk down to the village entailed the same kind of conversation: light and teasing. At every building we passed, I’d slow down, just in case Travis would suddenly turn us into it. We kept going down High Street until Travis led us into another street to our right that I’d never been down.
“Trav, are you sure you know where we’re going? I trust you and all, but…your mother has said that you aren’t very good with directions. Remember that time we went for a drive in your town? We were lost for a half an hour.”
“Shush, Jenyse. I know where I’m going,” he said. He probably only said that he knew just so I could shut up. “See? Told you. Here it is!” Travis took my shoulders and turned me sharply to my right.
I looked at the shop in front of me then looked at the sign above its door. It was a coffee shop. Ahh! Coffee! I’d never even heard of the shop before! “How’d you find this place?!” I asked Travis in amazement as he guided me through the door.
Travis shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant, but seeming relieved and pleased by my reaction to his first surprise of the day. “I just heard about it through my friends.”
My amazement was extended when I stepped into the building. Three walls were a warm tan, the same color as coffee with a little bit of cream. The last wall was a collage of coffee shops, mugs full of coffee, city signs, and more. The tables that were spread out with just the right amount of space in between them were a nice dark wood. The chairs, which were placed two to four to a table, were the same dark wood as the tables. It was the nicest, cutest, warmest, and coziest coffee shop I’d ever been to.
Travis had to give me another little push to make me move all the way into the building. Obviously speaking with a big smile, he said, “So…you like?”
I turned and faced him, ignoring his dumb question. “Friends?” I teased, replying to what he had said previously. “And who’s accredited to you having friends, again?”
He just rolled his eyes and led me to one of the tables against the collaged wall. “Sit and behave,” he ordered while, in a gentlemanly act, he pulled out a chair for me.
I sat down and took my coat off, looking around again.
Travis took off his own coat and bag and put them on the back of his chair across from me, but didn’t sit. “I’ll be right back,” he told me and then walked over to the counter to order, I supposed.
I tried not to worry about Travis ordering my coffee for me. It was a new place and I wanted to know my selections. I loved my coffee way too much to trust anyone else to order it for me. Then again, I’d feel bad if I in any way ruined any part of this day Travis put together. So, to distract myself, I leaned back and focused on inhaling the strong and mouth-watering scent of coffee wafting through the room and took in the setting again. A few tables away, a wizard sat reading the Daily Prophet and sipping his shot of espresso. At another table was a woman with a baby on her lap, pouring some sugar into her mug. There was soft calm and jazzy music playing adding to the ambience.
Travis finally came back, taking his seat in front of me with a smile.
“So what’d you order?” I asked impatiently.
“You’ll see,” was the only answer I got back.
After a few minutes of chatting about nothing in particular, the worker whom Travis was talking to at the counter earlier came over with a tray carrying several small mugs. He set the tray on our table and said, “And here’s our sample tray. Each mug has the coffee’s name on it. Here’s the cream, here’s the sugar, and here are the comment cards. If you have any questions or need anything else, just let me know. Enjoy!”
Completely in awe, I stared open-mouthed at the tray and then up at Travis. I’d never done a coffee tasting. I’d always wanted to, but I had never found a new coffee place to do it in. “You’re kidding me.”
Travis laughed slowly. “I kid you not, Jenyse. Why? Is this not satisfactory enough?”
“Oh, not at all. This is just one of the top 32 things I’ve wanted to do in my entire life!” I exclaimed as I reached over and grabbed the closest cup to me. While Travis had a relieved laugh, I moved the cup in circles, making the liquid within it swirl, and inhaled the scents radiating out of it before I took a sip. I swallowed the warm liquid and let the taste linger in my mouth. “Mmm.” My eyes closed involuntarily as the coffee did its magic on me. I finally opened my eyes and saw Travis watching me with an amused smile on his face. “What?”
He shook his head, still smiling. “So,” he started, reaching for a mug himself, “what are numbers one through 31?” He sniffed the contents of his mug before putting it down and grabbing the cream and sugar.
“Those are secret. Hey, hey, hey! What do you think you’re doing?!” I demanded, incredulous at the sight before me.
Shocked, he froze and glanced up at me. “Umm, putting cream and sugar in the coffee…?”
“Yeah, I know! But, why?! How?!”
“Uhh, by taking the spoon, like this,” he took the spoon and scooped some sugar, “and putting it into the cof– Jenyse!” he exclaimed as I reached over and grabbed both of his hands and pulled them far apart from each other. This resulted in the coffee splashing over the brim of its mug and the sugar getting all over the table. “What was that for?!”
“This is a coffee tasting. You’re not supposed to tamper with the actual taste of the coffee. That defeats the purpose!”
Travis looked at me like I was insane, but complied. “Alright, alright.” He hesitantly took a sip. Immediately after, his face scrunched up. “Ugh.”
I rolled my eyes, laughing. “Weak, Trav.”
“Crazy woman. How do you drink this stuff black?” He continued making disgusted faces as he pushed the mug towards me.
“You’re the crazy one. Why would you do anything to a taste so good?” I did my tasting routine with the coffee he handed over to me. “Aw, come on, Travis. This one isn’t even that bad. Actually, it’s kinda…perfect.” I took another sip, groaning in pleasure into the mug. It was only the second one I’d tried and already I thought that I had found a favorite. My eyes, which had drifted to a close, opened quickly when I heard a clang.
Travis had dropped the bowl of sugar, the contents of which got everywhere, including onto my lap. Flustered, he snatched several napkins saying, “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to–! I just–! Here, let me get that.” He got up, crossed over to me, and began to awkwardly brush off the sugar from my lap.
All I could do about the situation was laugh. My hands flew to cover my mouth after the first boom of laughter came out of me, causing everyone to look over and stare.
Travis seemed embarrassed beyond belief as he kept attempting to rid my lap of sugar. After hearing my laughter, he calmed down a bit and started chuckling sheepishly as well.
“It’s alright, Travis. I think I can manage. Thanks,” I managed to say once I had calmed down.
“Are you sure? Alright. Sorry.” He got back into his seat and proceeded to clean the table. In the process, he knocked over an empty mug, which would have fallen to the floor if my reflexes hadn’t kicked in, allowing me to catch it just in time.
“You’re just a mess today, Trav,” I told him, laughing again.
“Heh. Yeah, I know. Can’t imagine why…” he replied, humiliated.
I smiled, helping him clean the rest of the table. The rest of our time in the coffee shop went – thankfully – without any more accidents, but with a lot more laughing. For our late lunch, we had sandwiches after getting through our samples. By the time we left, I was in an incredibly good mood. In my mind, I had a feeling that Travis was making me laugh on purpose, just to cheer me up, since I’d been in such a weird mood lately. To thank him and show that I really appreciated his efforts without really saying it out loud, I pulled him in for a big hug.
Travis returned it after a moment of surprise. He chuckled, saying, “Jenyse, I think you’re hugging the wrong thing. The coffee’s back inside.”
I pulled back. “Nope. I’m pretty sure I hugged just the right thing.” I grinned up at him. “Now, what’s next on the list?” I asked, putting his arm around my shoulders and letting him lead us the right way.
“Now,” he said, a little more confident than he was earlier and pulling me closer into his side, “we go to Zonko’s. They’re having a presentation of a new product. I was thinking you might like to check it out.” The way he said it left the option of going or not open for me to decide.
“Well, then, let’s go! The presentations at Zonko’s are always a blast. Literally.”
“They do have pretty impressive fireworks, but I don’t think they’re as hot as me,” he replied, making a muscle with the arm that was around my neck.
I snorted at his antics. “Yes, Travis. You are unbearably attractive.” I peered up at him to see him grinning like a fool.
Zonko’s was packed with what seemed to be all Hogwarts students. I took a look around and caught the eyes of James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. Vaguely surprised that Ian wasn’t with them, I grinned and waved, receiving waves back from them and a light push towards a display from Travis. Ugh. Boys.
According to the boy with the plan and all the signs surrounding me, the presentation wouldn’t start for another ten minutes, so we took the time to look around the shop. We enjoyed ourselves, testing out almost all of the products. I got Travis good with a Fanged Frisbee, which cut through part of the sleeve of his coat before it flew into a shelf. He looked as though he was about to piss himself. Needless to say, the laughs continued.
We got back to the front of the store, just in time for the presentation. A tall man with a tall purple top hat stood in the center of everybody on a box so that everyone could see him.
“‘Ello, everybody! As you know – if you don’t, get out of here right now – I am Mr. Zonko! Welcome to my shop! We just got in a few new products today and you know what that means. That’s right! We’re going to test them out on you! But first, it is a part of my job to tell you that all of the products here are all meant for harmless fun. Except those Fanged Frisbees, apparently. My condolences, sir!” he joked, nodding at Travis, who shot me a glare. “Now, shall we begin?”
Cheers broke out from the audience. I looked over at James and Sirius and chuckled at their boyish grins.
Zonko began rummaging through a box on the table in front of him. “Oh, yes. I almost forgot. Before we get to the joke products, I’d like to announce that we have our own brand of tea that we created ourselves. Here you go, boy,” he said, giving a Travis a teacup. “I owe you for your damaged sleeve. Taste this and tell me what you think of our new tea.”
Travis shot me a worried look, to which I replied with a nod that said, “Go on.” Warily, he took the drink from Zonko. He put the cup up to his lips and took a sip. Not a split second later, the teacup was unrelentingly biting Travis’s nose.
The crowd erupted in laughter as Travis panicked, trying to tug it off. Knowing that a Zonko’s product wouldn’t seriously harm anyone, I joined in the laughter. In the corner of my mind, I had a feeling James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter were getting a kick out of this.
Laughing as well, Zonko took the teacup back, revealing an unharmed nose on poor – but lucky – Travis’s face. “Sorry, m’boy. Couldn’t resist!” he apologized before turning back to the whole crowd, raising the teacup in the air so that everyone could get a glimpse of it. “The Nose-Biting Teacup, everybody!”
Applause and more cheers followed.
“This teacup bites the drinker’s nose until only the person who gave the cup to the drinker pulls it off!” Zonko came back to Travis, who was rubbing his nose, said, “Don’t worry, lad! It leaves no marks!” and handed him a box that held a new Nose-Biting Teacup. “For your cooperation, here is your very own Nose-Biting Teacup, on me! Enjoy! Now, for our next product…”
Unfortunately, the rest of the presentation didn’t entail any more attacks on Travis, but it was very enjoyable, nonetheless. Walking out of Zonko’s, with his prize in his mysterious bag, Travis was still subconsciously rubbing his nose. “Are you sure there aren’t any marks?” he asked for the zillionth time.
I sighed, on the verge of laughing from thinking back to how he panicked with the cup on his nose. “Yes, Trav. There are no marks whatsoever,” I assured him, but he still looked troubled. I rolled my eyes, kissed the pads of two of my fingers and tapped his nose with them. “There. Better?”
For a moment, Travis’s eyes bulged as he stared down at me. “Uh…yeah. I mean, uh,” a small smirk grew on his face, “nope. Not yet. It still stings. I think I need another – bigger – dose of your treatment, doctor.”
I snigger-snorted unattractively and tapped his cheek lightly before walking on. “Nice try, you big baby. Come on; let’s go to Honeydukes! Or does that go against the plan?” I asked, looking back over my shoulder.
With a weird look spread across his features, he got back into stride with me. “Nope. I wouldn’t let us pass on a sale at Honeydukes.”
“Good. I could die for some milk chocolate or a lollipop or something,” I confessed. “Remus always steals all the chocolate I get.”
“PMS much?” said Travis dryly.
I laughed, a little uneasily, watching my feet dig a little into the thin sheet of snow on the pathway. I really need to filter before I speak. “Heh. Yeah. Oh Merlin, look how packed it is in there,” I said, quickly changing the subject. “You know, I could get lost.” Back to humor. Good, Jenyse, good.
Travis lightened up saying, “Then I suppose I’ll just have to hold your hand.” His hand found mine and, with a smile, I tightened my hold on his.
As we walked in and through the crowded Honeydukes, I realized that I really liked the way Travis was acting today. He was being really fun, humorous, and pleasant. It was great to experience Travis like this. I suddenly felt my stomach drop from the guilt I felt for blowing him off so many times for the Marauders or anyone – or -thing – else. Sometimes I wished that all of them could just get along fine. But, then again, I wouldn’t get too many uninterrupted days like these with him. Yup. Pretty selfish. Oh, well. It wasn’t my fault that things were they way they were.
Everyone in the cramped building kept bumping into one another, trying to fight their way to the counter, Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans, and Sugar Quills. It was a madhouse in there. As he promised, Travis didn’t let go of my hand, leading and dragging me through the little spaces in between people to get to the displays of candy.
It was probably over an hour by the time we finally chose all of our purchases, got to the counter, paid, and got out, into the refreshing cold air. I had been sweating an incredible amount in Honeydukes, due to all of the body heat and cramped space, and the cold felt remarkably good.
“Thanks so much for paying, Trav. You really didn’t have to. Are you sure you don’t want me to pay you back?” I asked earnestly. I hated when people – who weren’t my direct family – paid for me. When Travis told me that he would pay for anything I picked out in Honeydukes, I made sure to limit my choices. Apparently, I was being obvious about it, because he caught me and made sure I got every little thing I merely laid eyes on.
“Yes, Jenyse. I am positive. I told you I would pay for whatever you wanted and I did. Now, shush, or you won’t be allowed to eat that big lollipop that I bought you, which,” he added, “– by the way – would be a real shame. For you and me.”
Confused, I asked, “You? Why you?”
“Huh? Oh, well, you know…” he seemed to search for words before he finally sputtered out, “because…I…I paid for it and all. So, if you didn’t lick – err – eat it, then it would be a waste, right? And that would surely be a shame for me, right? Make sense? Yeah, so, aren’t you hungry? I’m starving. Let’s go eat.”
I managed to have the decency to keep in my laughter. What got him so flustered? What a weirdo. “Um, sure! Where are we eating?” I looked around, trying to think of the possible places we could go for dinner. There were the Three Broomsticks…the Hog’s Head…I wasn’t sure if Madam Puddifoot’s served dinner or not…. Huh. That’s weird. There really weren’t many places in Hogsmeade that served dinner. There were a couple of other restaurants, but none of them were all that satisfying.
“Just follow me,” Travis told me. He led me up High Street, past all of the possible buildings we could eat in and to the bottom of the small hill that the Shrieking Shack – the secret of which I was in on – sat upon. Saying a spell I didn’t recognize, Travis cleared the ground of snow, revealing the cold, dead grass that was previously hidden by the white blanket. Finally revealing what was in his bag that he had been keeping secret all day, he took out a blanket, and laid it down.
Amazed, I followed his lead and sat down, facing – what I gathered from looking at the almost-setting sun was – the west.
Surprising me further, Travis pulled out containers and put them in front of us.
My eyebrows flew up at all of Travis’s preparations. “What is this?!”
Handing me a fork, he said simply, “Dinner.”
Looking up at me bashfully, he admitted, “Well, no. I admit that I bribed the house-elves to make and pack me some food, but it’s the thought that counts, right?” His own eyebrows were raised, waiting for my affirmation.
Smiling, I shook my head in disbelief and embraced him tightly. It was probably the most adorable thing anybody had ever done for me. “You’re awesome, Travis. Just, one thing,” I noted as I pulled back. I stopped his worried look, saying, “Were you planning on casting a heating spell, or are we supposed to freeze to death as we eat?”
Relief washed over his face before he cast the forgotten spell on the blanket below us. The moment the words came out of his mouth, the luxury of heat radiated from below us. “Sorry ‘bout that.”
“Mmm, no biggie. It feels really good. I can’t believe you did all this, Trav.”
He shrugged, picking up a container of food and handing it to me. “It’s nothing, really. I just thought it’d be nice to eat in a place that’s not packed with a bunch of Hogwarts students.” The container out of which he started eating had roast beef – which I knew was his favorite – in it.
I opened my own container eagerly to find roast chicken on top of mashed potatoes and gravy. Ahh, Travis, my man. Along with coffee, anything that involved potatoes was my weakness. “Travis Decker. What would I do without you?” I asked, diving into the delicious food.
The other dishes that Travis brought out included steak and kidney pie, pasta, and a bunch of different deserts, along with a thermos of pumpkin juice. Between the two of us, we managed to finish every scrap of food in front of us. I thought that my stomach was going to burst, I was so full.
I leaned back onto my palms, allowing myself to digest, as we watched the sun start to set. Though the magically heated blanket was below us, it didn’t stop me from shivering when a cold gust of wind hit me.
Seeing me react to the cold, Travis put his arm around my shoulders.
Smirking, I jokingly warned him with a mock-serious tone, “Travis Decker, if that arm goes any lower, I will deck you.” I felt him tense up around me, making me chuckle. Giving up all pretenses, I scooted closer into his side, resting my head on his shoulder. I felt him let out a sigh of relief. Poor guy, having to suffer through my sarcasm and taunts and lame fake threats. Mmm. Travis was really warm. Gradually, I got warmer and warmer from his body heat. Frankly, I didn’t think it was very fair that boys seemed to have more body heat than girls. I voiced my opinion to Travis.
“Well, Jenyse, I’m pretty sure it has to do with a man’s ability to provide,” he replied, absentmindedly playing with one of my curls with the hand by my shoulder.
“Well, that’s stupid,” I stated bluntly.
He chuckled, which, in turn, shook me a little, as well. “Mmm. No one would expect you to stick to stereotypes.”
“Damn straight!” I agreed, making Travis laugh again.
Mostly in silence, but occasionally reminiscing about our different memories and talking about random, unimportant things, we sat comfortably, my head on his shoulder and his head on mine, watching the sunset, through the space in between the Shrieking Shack hill and the backend of the town. By the time the sun was out of view and the only evidence that it was still there, hiding, was the small strip of purple right above the skyline, Travis’s body heat and the blanket weren’t keeping me very warm any longer.
“You suck as a heating source, Trav,” I accused, at the same time, insulting his manliness. I bumped my shoulder lightly into him. “You know what, Trav-Trav the Asexual Lad?” I craned my neck to look up at him. “Apparently, heat is conducive to sexual vibes. You need to go out with more girls.” Even though my comment was teasing, I really did wish he would find some girls to date. He couldn’t be an asexual lad for forever.
I saw a little bit of hurt on his features, which was what I assumed to be from me jabbing at his lack of lady friends, before he recovered. “But I’m already out with the prettiest one in school,” he retorted.
Ahh, flattery. Smart kid. I smiled in response, almost blushing from the compliment. “But, seriously, I’m still freezing my arse off.”
Travis’s look turned a little mischievous when he let his arm fall from around my shoulders, making me even colder. “Freezing, are you, Jenyse? Hmm…I wonder if this would help.”
Turning, I asked, “If what would help?” but was cut off midway by snow being thrown in my face.
In disbelief, I glared at the culprit. “Oh, now you’ve done it.”
After getting even colder from playing in the snow for a while, we went to the Three Broomsticks to get warm with some Butterbeer. There, the Marauders tried to steal me away, but, informing them I was already spoken for and prying them off – literally, in Sirius’s case –, I followed Travis to try to find a free table in the pub. We weren’t successful, so, without the promisingly delicious Butterbeer – except for the quick sip I stole from James –, we left the full building. As we left, the other boys made obnoxious kissy noises, to which I replied by maturely sticking out my tongue at them, over my shoulder.
“They’re so immature,” I said of the Marauders as Travis and I walked to the only other option we had left – the dreaded Madam Puddifoot’s. “People of the opposite sex can be friends. Hypocrites are what they are.”
With a weird look on his face, which I was positive was because of their interruption of our day together, Travis said, “Yeah, you’re right. But, you know, sometimes friendships can turn into…more…right?”
Remembering James and Sirius’s secret, romantic relationship, I supposed I agreed with what Travis was saying. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right.”
When we got to Puddifoot’s, we quickly found a small table in the very back of the tea shop. Trying to keep my eyes away from the disgustingly lovey-dovey couples, I followed Travis to the table. I ordered coffee, while he ordered tea, along with a couple of small pastries, just to see how bad they probably were. We were right. Disgusting.
As we sat there, the only pair not sucking each other’s faces off, I noticed Travis constantly eyeing my hand, while we made fun of the couples in the room. When I excused myself to the bathroom, I checked if I had anything on my hand, and found nothing. Weird. Nevertheless, I made sure to wash my hands thoroughly, singing, “Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, happy birthday. Happy birthday to you.”
I got back to our table to find Travis with a nervous look upon his face. “Hey, you alright? Are you feeling as nauseous as I am from this place?” I joked.
He shrugged, saying, “It’s not too bad.”
I cocked a brow at him. Deciding that his brain was getting fried from being in this atmosphere for so long, I offered, “Hey, you wanna throw these disgusting pastries at those disgusting couples and get outta here?”
Laughing at my master plan, he agreed, taking the lead and throwing pieces of the orange scone on the plate between us at the couple diagonally behind me, receiving two defiant, “Hey!”s. Cracking up, we continued our torture until Madam Puddifoot herself started shrieking at us. I grabbed Travis’s hand and ran us out of there, as Madam Puddifoot cursed us out with expletives. Classy.
Not knowing what to do next, we tried the Three Broomsticks again and were more successful in finding a table this time. After having more laughs in there, we made our way back to the castle. Neither of us was ready to call it a day yet, so we went up to our favorite spot on the roof of the Astronomy Tower.
“What time is it?” I asked sleepily after hours up there, cracking jokes and talking about our day. I leaned my head against his shoulder, like I had done while we watched the sunset.
Looking at his watch, Travis replied, “11:53.”
I felt him sigh into my hair. I understood; I didn’t want today to end either. It was such a fun and careless day, which I hadn’t had in forever. I didn’t have to worry about spirit boys, patients, my duties to my dad, or Remus stealing my chocolate. It was very relaxing and enjoyable, especially since I spent it with one of my best friends.
“We better go. You’ve got a Quidditch match tomorrow,” he reminded me.
“Oh, bloody hell. I forgot. Alright, let’s go.”
Travis was very quiet on the way back to the common room. We got back safely and without getting caught. We stopped at the bottom of the separate staircases, facing one another.
“Thanks so much for today, Trav. It was great. We really need to do this more often,” I told him from where I leaned sideways against the wall between the two staircases. “You really helped me get my mind off of a bunch of things, and I really needed that. Thanks.” I smiled sincerely at him before pulling him into a hug.
“No problem, Jenyse. Anytime,” he promised quietly, into my hair.
I pulled back, still smiling. My expression faltered when I saw his own expression.
He looked way too serious compared to normal. There was a slight crease in between his eyebrows and he wouldn’t look me in the eye.
My fatigue was replaced with worry. “Trav, what’s wrong?” I asked, putting my hand on his arm.
The crease between his eyebrows grew as he seemed to think of how to answer. Just when I thought he wouldn’t answer, Travis started babbling, “What do you do when you want to do something really badly for as long as you can remember, but you have no idea how it will be taken or what it might mean?”
Not knowing what to think, and my exhaustion not helping by causing my eyelids droop a little lower, making them practically closed, I said, “Travis, are you telling me that you’re secretly gay?”
Confused beyond all belief, I felt lips press against my own. I didn’t know what to do, thanks to my brain going blank, so I just stood there, frozen, for a long moment. When the lips started moving against mine, I couldn’t resist kissing back. I hadn’t been kissed in a while. I missed this feeling. Alec hadn’t been around much lately.
In the back of my mind, I thought I heard a door close, footsteps, and a voice. “About time you came home, young lady. Can’t have the prettiest girl in school out at all hours. Had to run Quidditch tactics with the captain for tomorrow.”
Alec. What was he doing in the Gryffindor common room? And when did he become a ventriloquist that could talk and kiss at the same time?
“Gryffindor tower isn’t what I expected. Passwords are for little men. Try answering a question whenever you want to go to bed.”
The kiss was getting deeper and deeper. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. A hand rested on my cheek and on my hip. I reached out and grabbed for the shirt in front of me, bringing the body closer to me. I missed this. A lot.
“I saw you earlier in the Three Broomsticks. You looked pretty darn good, if I may say so myself.”
The hand on my cheek moved to the back of my neck, pulling me in even closer. I responded by craning my neck up more to allow my partner better access to my eager lips.
“Now, as it is going to be my birthday in nearly…twenty seconds…where’s my birthday kiss? OHH!”
The loud yell I heard snapped me out of my sleepy trance. My eyes snapped open and I moved backwards quickly. The sight that greeted me made me more puzzled than ever. Alec was on the second step of the boys’ staircase and Travis was a mere six inches away from me. How could that make sense?
“Jenyse?” I heard come from a slightly giddy, yet slightly worried-looking Travis.
And that’s when it hit me.
That guy right there on the steps with the hurt, surprised, and confused expression wasn’t Alec. That was Ian Hayes. And I wasn’t being kissed by and kissing back Alec or even Ian. That was Travis Decker.
Feeling like the world was crashing in on me and needing more than anything to get out of there, I turned around and ran up the girls’ staircase without looking back, more afraid to have the truth thrown at me again, than to show the tears rushing down my pained face.
~*~ A/N: AHHHH!!!! i am SO SORRY, my dear readers!! i’m horrible, i know. practically the whole chapter was Addison’s idea, though, so don’t kill me! kill her! =P PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me what you think/thought! i want to know both good and bad thoughts! help me improve!! and as always, your favorite parts are my favorite to find out! THANKS again for coming back and reading! now, if you would be so kind as to write a quick – or very long (wink wink to those of you who usually do) – review, that would be lovely. See you in another 7 months!
p.s. totally kidding.
p.p.s. i hope
p.p.p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JENSEN!!
p.p.p.p.s. i love you, Jensen.
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