Chapter 8 : Holiday Reminiscing
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Melody threw her shopping bags on the bedroom floor and with fell back on her bed in exhaustion. She, Chanel and Anna had spent the entire day shopping around muggle London searching for dresses and strolling through the busy streets, admiring the holiday atmosphere.
Perhaps it hadn’t been too wise to wear such high heels though.
Melody called for Hattie who immediately appeared at her side. The elf sent away the packages with a snap of her fingers.
“Hattie, will you please run me a bath?” Melody asked as her eyelids drooped.
The elf immediately went to check her forehead and satisfied with the result, rushed to the bathroom. Melody heard the taps running and dragged herself away from the bed and stripping her clothes before dragging her sore body into the steamy bathroom. Hattie helped her to step inside and she moaned pleasurably at the warm suds immediately relaxing her muscles.
Hattie checked her forehead once more as a precaution and stepped down. “Hattie will be back shortly to bring you something to eat and then you must sleep.”
Melody smiled and nodded. “Thank you Hattie, always taking care of me.” She sighed drowsily.
Hattie bowed and disappeared, a sad smile playing at her lips.
“Merry Christmas mate!” James tackled Sirius’ sleeping form and Sirius groaned.
“I think you broke something.”
James smirked and stepped back. “Revenge is sweet.”
Sirius sat up and rubbed at his eyes. “What time is it?”
James grinned. “Time for presents!” He hopped up and down joyfully. “C’mon Padfoot, I want to see what I got!”
Sirius smiled and shook his head. “I swear you’re like a five year old.” Nonetheless, he obliged and slid out of bed pulling on a shirt before following James out the door. They made their way down to the drawing room and as they entered, the saw Madeleine and Harry already waiting. Sirius smiled
“Merry Christmas darlings!” Madeleine called, leaning happily against her husband.
“Merry Christmas guys.” Sirius said happily. He couldn’t recall a better Christmas, besides the old days when the Potters and Blacks actually tolerated one another.
James’ tongue rested on his lip as he pondered which gift to open first. He picked one at random. “Ah, Moony.” He ripped it open and beamed. “Awesome!”
Sirius peered over his shoulder and chuckled. “Nice!”
Remus had gotten James a book of all the winning plays- ever played- in Quidditch history. He grinned and hoped his sandy haired mate liked his own gift- an invite to the exclusive duelling club. Remus had an interest for that sort of thing.
The next gift was from Lily Evans- James smiled thinking about the necklace he’d gotten for her; a chain with a diamond stag and a Chinese symbol for strength. Enclosed, he’d written a letter with a simple ‘close to your heart so you will never forget’. He smirked; Lily would- of course- be confused about the stag, but the symbol, she would understand. He knew the upcoming darkness was particularly hard for her. She was not only a muggleborn, but also the smartest witch of their age. She would be a particular target for those who opposed muggles and muggleborns.
He looked down at his gift which was a book titled- dancing for dummies. He laughed out loud and Sirius glanced at him expectantly.
“Nothing, just an inside joke.” He muttered with a smirk and placed the book aside, reaching for the letter.
I hope you liked the book, a bit of comic relief. I hope you didn’t think that was your actual gift though. Your real gift will be waiting for you when we get back from winter break. Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday. See you soon.
He fingered the parchment and smiled lightly, wondering what exactly was awaiting him. Knowing Evans, it would be something very original.
Both he and Sirius were quite pleased with their gifts. To both their surprise, they’d received a gift from Melody. Sirius’ gift was a small charmed flask- seemingly bottomless, according to the attached letter. He smiled sadly and placed it gently in his handsome pile of gifts.
Madeleine glanced at her son questioningly when he also placed Melody’s gift to the side- unopened. “Mind your own business mum.” He muttered under his breath, noticing her eager glances. Harry chuckled and Sirius smirked slightly. Madeleine huffed and brought the cup of tea to her scowling lips.
Of course James would open it. His intention had never been to discard it. But he would open it later, when he was alone- away from prying eyes.
“So what did you get from Rosmerta?” Sirius smirked as they lounged in the sitting room. They could hear Madeleine and Harry talking and laughing in the other room.
James leaned back as a smile played at his lips. “That- my dear friend- is confidential.”
Sirius wiggled his brows suggestively. “What, is it something kinky? I envy you mate.”
James laughed. “I know you do. Everyone should. Rosmerta’s bloody lush! Anyways, you think you can handle being by yourself tomorrow? I told her I’d see her tomorrow.”
Sirius mock pouted. “You’re leaving me- the day after Christmas- for a bird?”
James grinned. “It’s Rosmerta mate, c’mon. And I’m not leaving you for her, merely stepping out for a few hours.”
Sirius laughed and threw a stray ornament at James. “I’m only playing; go ahead, I’ll keep myself busy. Perhaps I’ll go see... Catherine- was it?”
James nodded. “Yes, and you remember our deal?”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes, I remember. I won’t shag her if she’s looking for a relationship.”
“You’re brutal.” James drawled.
Sirius scowled. “I resent that.”
“Boys, you coming?!” Madeleine’s voice carried through the corridor.
Sirius and James’ faces lightened and they shot up, sprinting out of the room eagerly.
Harry grunted as he was thrust face first into a pile of snow. Madeleine and Sirius cheered and high fived as both James and Harry lay sprawled on the cold ground.
James groaned as he sat up. “Mum, you’re bloody relentless!”
Madeleine smirked. “Language dear, and no, simply caught up in the spirit of things...well, that and the fact that you and your father are a couple of ninny’s!”
Harry snorted, as he turned face up, still lying on the snow. “This is what we get for trying to be gentlemen.”
“You should know by now, there is no room for chivalry in a Potter snow down!” Madeleine smirked and placed her hands on her hips.
“Madeleine, marry me?” Sirius laughed gazing at her in wonder.
Harry barked with laughter and James grimaced. “Mate, ew, she’s old.” He had no time to duck as the snowball launched straight towards his face.
“You take that back James Potter!”
James smirked and wiped his face, advancing towards his mother playfully. “Old, very, very old.”
She squealed as James caught her around her waist and twirled her around. “I’m kidding; you’re the most beautiful mother ever! But that’s still a really disturbing thought.”
Sirius grinned as Madeleine smothered her son with a hug.
Harry stood and dusted the snow off, watching on happily.
After a few more minutes of fooling around in the snow, the quartet made their way back inside the warm house and left to their respective rooms to change into dry clothing.
James stepped into his room and ran a hand through his wet hair, shivering as his wet clothes stuck to his body. Quickly shedding them on the floor- leaving nothing but his boxers- he grabbed a towel from his drawer and made for the bathroom. After a quick shower, James threw on a sweater and a pair of slacks and attempted to comb down the dishevelled mop on his head. Sixteen years of experience should have given him a hint.
A few fruitless attempts later, James gave up with a huff and instead proceeded to dishevel it even further. Satisfied, James glanced once more at the mirror- when something on the dresser caught his eye.
He frowned and glanced furtively at his door for any sign that Sirius might at any moment burst through the door, or worse, his mother.
Satisfied that he would not be interrupted, James walked over to his dresser and grabbed the wrapped gift.
He turned back and threw it on his bed, watching as it landed heavily, wrinkling the covers. James sighed and frowned in thought. He’d gotten her gift before they’d broken up, so he wasn’t sure what to expect.
James’ gift to Melody had been an interview with one of the most renowned healers in the country, Charleston Engels. It’d been difficult and had it not been for the connections that came with the Potter name, it would have been downright impossible. As it was, the Potter’s healer was good friends with and had attended school, with Engels.
He didn’t know how she would react to the gift but he knew Melody’s life’s dream was to become a healer, had been since the first time her parents had taken her to St Mungo’s.
James sighed again and glanced at the door. He needed to hurry, it wouldn’t be long before Sirius got bored and came looking for him.
In all honesty, he wasn’t expecting much, he hadn’t even expected a gift at all with the way she’d ended things. Somewhat warily, James sat on his bed and ripped open the wrapping paper. What he found made him smile in surprise. It was a picture frame; the frame itself was incredibly detailed, adorned with Quidditch balls and brooms on one side and on the other; books and various girly things. At the very bottom, the words, ‘Best Friends’ were engraved.
It was, however, the picture itself which caught James’ attention. It was of him and Melody, which, from the looks of it, had been taken when they were nine. James gazed fondly at his younger self, as he wrapped his arms around Melody’s waist and he watched as she shrieked when little James would blow in her ear. He chuckled silently.
Upon closer inspection, with a start, James realized he knew the exact moment this picture had been taken.
Melody huffed as she followed James even deeper through the forest, her short legs tripping over numerous sticks and branches. She wiped the sweat off her brow disgustedly and stopped. “James!” She called exasperatedly. “Where exactly are we going?!”
James turned back and smiled crookedly at the irritated girl. “C’mon Mel, it’s not too much further.”
Melody grimaced and plopped daintily on the nearest tree bark, gathering the skirt of her pretty summer dress, so as not to dirty it any further than it was already. “I’m not going any further Jim Jam, I’m tired, sweaty and my shoes are all muddy! Why didn’t you bring Siri instead, he loves this sort of thing!”
James smiled and loped back towards Melody. “Because I wanted you to see it first; please Mel, for me, as my best friend. I promise you won’t regret it.”
Melody grumbled. “I hate it when you pull the best friend card, it shouldn’t be allowed in this type of setting.”
James grabbed her hand and pulled her up. “Like I said, you won’t regret it.” Clasping her hand, James pulled her behind him as he walked even further. They’d walked for another five minutes when James stopped abruptly at a seemingly dead end. Melody watched in wonderment as he pushed away the wall of vines. Melody gasped.
James smiled as he stared at Melody’s awed expression and pulled her further. They were now in what looked like a setting from the most magical of books. It was a large meadow, beautiful and green, sparkling in the sunlight. The small waterfall in the corner only seemed to enhance the ethereal impression. The waterfall gave way to a small lake, smooth and glistening.
Melody was entranced, never had she seen anything so beautiful.
“But when did you find this?” She breathed.
James smiled mischievously and shrugged, digging his hands into his pocket. “I have my ways.”
She rolled her eyes and turned back to the waterfall. “Gosh Jim Jam, this is beautiful.”
“I told you.”
Melody threw off her shoes and ran to the lake, flinging her legs over the bank. She threw her head back and basked in the sun’s rays- somehow brighter than it had been a few moments before- smiling as James joined her.
“Thank you James.” She said softly.
The young boy grinned and smothered her, mussing her long, dark hair as he did so. Melody squealed and James laughed, taking a handful of water and splashing her with it.
They continued to play around in the meadow, taking advantage of the warm sun and the peaceful setting. As the sun began to set, James and Melody lay back on the warm ground, watching the sky take on an orange hue. Soon however, it was time to go and Melody stood, stretching tiredly. “I don’t want to leave.” She sighed wistfully, glancing around the meadow.
James laughed. “Well we have tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that. This meadow isn’t going anywhere Mel.”
Melody nodded happily and stared as James rummaged through his bag. “What are you doing?”
James didn’t answer, simply dug deeper into his bag and pulled out a camera. Melody squealed.
“To mark the day Melody Milonas and James Potter dubbed this meadow, MiloPotter land!” He raised his arms victoriously.
Melody giggled behind her hand. “What about Sirius?”
James frowned in thought. “Right, make that MiloPottirius land!”
“Why are we using his first name?”
“I dunno, it just sounds cooler.”
“Well then, that’s quite possibly the best name ever.” Melody smirked.
James set the camera and placed it on one of the high rocks as he and Melody posed. With a flash the camera went off and James tackled Melody to the floor. Clambering on top, Melody frowned. “Promise me James; promise that we’ll always be friends.” She extended her pinkie finger.
He scowled. “Ugh, Mel, why do you have to get all mushy?!”
“Promise me!” Melody urged.
James huffed, though eventually shot her a smile. “Best friends, always.” With that, he took her smallest finger and wrapped it around his own, knowing that indeed they would always be, best friends.
James was pulled out of his thoughts by a loud banging on his door. “Oi, Prongs, come on! Food’s ready!”
“I’m coming!” James glanced once more at the picture and with one last smile, placed it on his bed side table.
He threw the wrapping away and joined Sirius as they proceeded to head down for dinner.
“Sirius, I’m leaving! I’ll be back in a few hours!”
Sirius descended the staircase and smirked. “Use protection James-y.” He teased.
James rolled his eyes and snorted. “You’ll be alright yeah? I mean I can always see her when term starts.” He said, suddenly worried.
Sirius waved him off. “Prongs go. I’m fine. Besides, thinking will do me some good.”
James frowned worriedly, “Well don’t overanalyze things too much and don’t worry yourself sick over Regulus. You sent him the letter, you’ve explained yourself and now it’s in his hands.” James patted him on the shoulder. “I wrote to Catherine. She’ll meet you at the pub for lunch today.”
Sirius looked up at James in surprise and then smiled. “Thanks mate.” He whispered, implying more than just the date.
James grinned. “You’re my brother. I’m here for you...y’know, even when I’m not actually here.”
Sirius chuckled. “Now get! You don’t want to leave a lady like Rosmerta waiting.” He winked and wagged his brows.
James glanced at his watch and muttered. “Right, I’ll be back soon, don’t pull any pranks without me and don’t kill yourself. See you.” He gave a salute and dashed towards the floo room. Sirius sighed and stretched. A whole manor to himself, what to do?
Sirius walked into the pub fifteen minutes past noon and gave a sigh of pleasure at the warm and delightful aroma that greeted him. He spotted Catherine immediately and weaved through the small tables, waving at Ramsey as he did. The older man winked.
Catherine watched him approaching and smiled. “Hey, I didn’t think you’d show.”
Sirius’ lips curled into a smirk. “And stand up a beautiful lady like yourself. Not likely.”
She blushed and bit her lip, but he could tell she was berating herself about it. He prided himself on his ability to read women so well. He’d trained himself appropriately in the art of seduction, of course, his dashingly good looks helped as well.
“I’m not usually this...giddy.” She admitted.
“No, I suspect you’re not.” He drawled, eyeing her appreciatively. This was the part he loved, the witty banter, the hard to get demeanour, wearing down the hard facade. It was like foreplay to him.
Okay, so perhaps James hadn’t been entirely wrong when he’d called him a trollop.
“So, you go to school with James?”
Sirius grinned. If she wanted to play, then so would he.
“Yes, I do.”
“How long have you known him for?”
Sirius leaned back. “Since we were in diapers; our families grew up together, I guess you could say.”
Catherine nodded understandingly. “So last time, when you said you lived with the Potters now-
“Not up for discussion.” He cut, perhaps a little too harshly. Catherine looked slightly taken aback and Sirius had to take a deep breath. “I’m sorry, that was rude and uncalled for.”
Catherine smiled slightly. “No, it’s ok. You’re entitled to your privacy, I understand.”
Sirius smiled crookedly and Catherine tried not to stop breathing. Sirius smirked. She was like putty in his hands; it was a strangely disappointing thought.
She straightened and cleared her throat. “Well shall we order then? I’m pretty hungry.”
Sirius allowed his eyes to linger on her longer than necessary and then grabbed his own menu. “As am I.”
Sirius and Catherine were strolling along the village at a slow pace. They’d passed the village and had now entered the more residential area. The entire afternoon had passed in a blur of conversation, heavy flirtation- mostly on his part- and subtle touches here and there. The trap was set and he was ready to go in for the kill; figuratively, of course.
They passed a few houses which, in Sirius’ opinion all looked the same. Catherine suddenly paused in front of one and Sirius looked up amusedly. “So this is your place?”
She smiled and nodded. “Nothing like James’ place I’m sure, but its home. Want to come in?”
Sirius grinned and his eyes flashed. “I’d love to.”
He followed her across the small drive way and leaned back against the porch as Catherine unlocked the door.
Although- as Catherine had mentioned- ten times smaller than Potter Manor, the interior of the house was very tastefully done. Clearly whoever had designed it must have had a knack for such things. The house was a mixture of both contemporary and old- fashioned, perfectly blended to give it a homely look- loads more than he could say for Grimmauld Place.
Sirius looked around at all of the muggle devices intriguingly. He’d never been inside a muggle home before and he found that they had many odd looking contraptions- many of which he couldn’t for the life of him understand.
They ascended the staircase and Sirius smiled as they entered what he assumed was her bedroom. It wasn’t overtly girly but again, tastefully done.
“So, this is my room.” Catherine said unnecessarily. Sirius smiled and curiously rummaged through her collection of music.
Catherine watched him. “I love music. I have a truckload of CD’s.”
Sirius nodded as if he knew exactly what a ‘CD’ was, or a ‘truck’ for that matter.
“We have that in common.” He said softly. He walked up behind her and felt her stiffen. He ran his hand lightly down her spine, taking pleasure in her shiver of anticipation. Sirius turned her slowly and pushed her softly against the wall, resting his hands on either side of her. He moved his head to the crook of her neck, breathing in her scent. She sighed as he placed soft kisses against her throat and along her jaw line. Suddenly he brought his lips down against hers and felt her moan against his lips. She folded her arms around his neck and pulled him closer against her.
Sirius’ kiss became more heated and hungry and she flushed beneath his lips. She moaned his name and- remembering his promise to James- he pulled away. Catherine opened her eyes curiously and Sirius had to take several breaths to clear his thoughts.
“Before this goes any further, you need to know that I’m not looking for a relationship. No commitment, no strings, just this. If that’s not what you want than you need to tell me now.” His voice was husky and hushed.
Catherine stared into his eyes and after a moment of silence, captured his lips once more. That was all the assurance Sirius required.
Sirius was in bed reading Remus’ gift to James when the latter walked inside. He looked to be in high spirits and Sirius grinned. “I take it all went well?”
James smirked. “What can I say?” He shrugged arrogantly. “How goes it with Catherine?”
Sirius grinned. “It was as good as I’d predicted and don’t worry, I made sure she knew my motives; though I must say she was more than willing to oblige.”
James shook his head in exasperated amusement. “So no crying girls?”
“No crying girls.” Sirius assured.
“Excellent.” James exclaimed. He glanced at the book and raised his brow. “Any plays worth using?”
Sirius grinned. “Loads, moony picks out good gifts.”
James smirked. “I’m confident that cup is ours!”
“As usual.” Sirius supplied. “So what time are the others coming tomorrow?”
James frowned in thought. “I don’t know, probably around noon I’m guessing, Wormtail will be a whole hour late as usual so we shouldn’t expect him by at least one.”
Sirius smirked at his uncoordinated friend and closed the book, placing on his bedside table. “Catherine caved, wasn’t too impressed at that.”
James smirked. “So another girl, unable to resist the Black charm eh?”
Sirius sighed and lay back against his headboard.
“Well, you can always count on Chanel to bring you down, if that’s what you’re looking for.” James smirked.
Sirius snorted. “I want someone who can keep up with me and not fall at my feet, not someone who feels completely asexual towards me.”
James chuckled quietly and leaned idly against the bed post. “So Anna’s still too deep in the friend zone then?”
Sirius frowned. “I don’t know, I’ve thought about it a lot. She’s gorgeous, funny, keeps me grounded, and definitely has more than enough wit; basically a girl version of me...but I wouldn’t want to ruin things by getting-
He looked up at James hastily and cleared his throat.
“-sorry, anyways, Catherine was fun nonetheless, thanks.”
James happily took the subject change and smiled. “No problem, now get to sleep, it’s late.”
Sirius face took on a grim expression. “Your parents still aren’t home yet?”
“Not yet.” James’ face fell as he responded, his voice void of emotion. Sirius gave him a reassuring smile. “They’ll be home soon.”
James nodded wordlessly and with a wave turned on his heel.
A/N So Catherine and Sirius, although in the end I suppose Sirius wasn't too impressed with the way she gave in so easily. He needs a challenge, let's see if we can't give him one.
*Edit: I don't know if anyone noticed this- it's quite unnecessary but it bothered me- during Sirius's time with Catherine, at her house, they mentioned music and cd's, looking back at the chapter, I realized they didn't have cd's in their time. It was a rather stupid mistake on my part. I know it isn't really important but I changed it nonetheless. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter nor will I ever unfortunately. :(
James removed his hand, though his eyes were unwavering. “Promise me you won’t ever do anything to endanger yourself, dad as well.” He whispered.
Madeleine swallowed. “James-
“Promise.” He urged.
After considering this, Madeleine stepped forward and clasped James’ hands in her own. “I promise darling, I will do everything in my power to keep any harm from coming to this family.”
Before he could argue, Madeleine turned on her heel, swiftly making her way out of the large room. James’ stomach rolled uncomfortably as he watched his mother walk away.
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