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Fight or Flight by DragonHeart15

Format: Novella
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 52,825
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Contains profanity, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Substance abuse, Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Albus, Fred II, James (II), Roxanne, Scorpius, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC

First Published: 07/31/2017
Last Chapter: 04/03/2018
Last Updated: 04/03/2018

Summary:
 As life takes off into the great unknown, it's time to start making choices. As Hogwarts ends and lives face new beginnings, James and Violet must learn to fight for what they want, while trying not to run from their fears. A companion piece to Show a Little Faith. 


Chapter 1: He Made the Team
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The library was quiet that Saturday. The days had started to grow warmer and most students could be found out on the grounds. Some were studying, but most were putting it off for one last weekend. There was still a month left of term so the procrastinators had yet to head to the library in a panic to catch up on all their missed opportunities to revise. Violet had always been relatively disciplined when it came to her study habits, although most of that was due to having Roxanne as a best friend, not to mention her desire to pursue a career as a healer. She was currently pouring over her potions notes from the previous years. N.E.W.T.s would include material from all of their time at Hogwarts and there was a lot of ground to cover. She didn't understand how some people were able to get by with only studying for N.E.W.T.s like they did any other exam. Of course, some people had other types of careers in mind. The kind that didn't require all E's and O's.

She had arrived just after breakfast and hadn't been bothered all morning. Roxy and Lorcan were off taking a well deserved break from their rigorous study habits and his Head Boy duties. She had no clue what the other boys had gotten themselves into, and she prefered to keep it that way. She wasn't disturbed until lunch time. She had lost track of the hour and had continued studying into the meal time when she was roused from her concentration by the sound of quick, heavy foot-fall coming her way. She looked up to see James Potter approaching her table. His dark hair was disheveled and he looked slightly winded, as if he had run across the entire castle to get there. He was clothed in jeans and a worn out practice jersey that she would have guessed was from their 5th year. A letter was clutched tightly in his hands. He had a slightly disbelieving look on his face, but he couldn't quite manage to keep a grin from forming. Taking all of this in, she stood up from her seat in anticipation.

"Well?" she asked, trying to keep her composure and not disturb all the other occupants of the library, even though she was fit to burst.

He held the letter up and let his smile completely take over his face.

"Puddlemere wants me on their reserve team."

Violet couldn't help but let out a slight shriek of happiness as she quickly moved around the table towards James and threw her arms around him in a massive hug.

"I knew they'd want you! You're brilliant. I just knew it."

He hugged her back tightly and laughed.

"I still can't quite believe it. I mean, I was hopeful, but Oliver's assurance that the scouts were impressed was almost too good to be true."

They had pulled back from their hug and she was quickly packing up her things. She shot him an impatient look.

"Don't let this go to your head, Potter, but you don't give yourself nearly enough credit. You're a fantastic Chaser. I wouldn't be surprised if that was only your first of many offers."

"Thanks, Vi," he said, slightly bashful at her praise. "I know that means alot coming from you. You're not one to usually stroke my ego."

She chuckled at him as she shoved the last of her notes into her bag. They had started to gain looks from the other few occupants in the library, and she would prefer they leave of their own free will rather than face the wrath of the old librarian. She gestured for him to keep his voice down before continuing with their conversation in a whisper.

"Yes, well, that's for all the other girls in this castle to do. I'm here to make sure that head of yours doesn't grow to the size of a pumpkin."

They began to make their way out of the library and to the Great Hall, where she assumed he had quickly fled from upon receiving his letter during lunch.

"Can't argue with you there," he said with a lopsided grin as they started down the corridor. She was quick to give him a well-placed shove with her elbow as he laughed. He moved back to stand next to her and threw his arm around her shoulders, a friendly and familiar gesture that helped her relax after her tense study session.

"Sorry, sorry. Would it make you feel better if I said I don't know what I'd do without you?"

"Exceptionally."

He laughed at the serious expression on her face.

"Merlin, I still can't believe it's real," he said, looking at the letter still clutched in his hand as they continued on their way to lunch.

"Are you going to accept right away then? Someone else could offer you a starting spot you know. The only reason Puddlemere is offering you reserve is because they're stacked already."

As much as she wanted him to jump at the offer, she knew it was her duty as a friend to make sure he considered all his options and made the best decision possible. He nodded his head slightly, deep in thought. They continued in silence for a while, and he eventually slipped his arm from around her while simultaneously taking her bag from her shoulder and transferring it to his, another familiar and friendly gesture.

"I've always wanted to play for Puddlemere," he began, almost as if he were talking to himself. "That's been the dream, you know? I reckon I owe it to myself to see it through. I know I could get what most people would call a better offer, but I'm not sure I'd see it that way."

She smiled slightly, excited about his potential future and impressed by how much heart he was putting into making his decision. Sure, it might not be the most logical decision, but he was a Gryffindor and a Potter. They weren't exactly known for going with their heads. They were much more comfortable with following their hearts.

"Just as long as you're the one making the decision, James. I don't think anyone should fault you for following your dreams. I have complete faith in you to make the right decision."

James seemed to relax at her words.

"Thanks for being so supportive. I know everyone else will be too, but it's nice to know you'll always have my back."

They had stopped just outside the entrance to the Great Hall. He gave a soft smile which she returned. He had grown up well. There were still the occasional times when he'd get himself into trouble, but only with his friends. She had watched him mature into a man over the last seven years. One who could make his own choices. One who would always be there for his family and friends and would do absolutely anything for them. She stared at him and remembered the boy who had pulled her braid as they were waiting to be sorted. She never would have guessed she'd be standing here now, excited about his future and getting lost in the joy that shone out of his hazel eyes. She loved those eyes. They were warm and caring and mischievous. And they were moving closer to her. She wasn't sure who was moving closer to whom and she wasn't about to complain, but her fears and uncertainties outweighed her temptations. Knowing he would, in all likelihood, reject her, helped to keep her grounded.

"So," she began, taking a slight step back and gripping his upper arms, "if everyone else threatens to disown you because every other team in the league offered you a starting position and you turned them all down," he gave a bark of laughter at her words before she continued. "I will be right there, by your side, one hundred percent. Even if you never manage to make it off the bench."

He almost looked scared at her final words.

"Well let's hope that doesn't happen."

She laughed at his expression as they turned and walked into the great hall to join their friends. Everyone was sitting at the Gryffindor table and they looked to be in an intense conversation.

"Well what if it was something serious, Rox? What if - "

But they never got to hear what if, as Fred had spotted them and quickly rose from the table to meet them as they made their way across the hall.

"What the bloody hell was that?" he practically yelled at James. "Where did you run off to? Is everything alright? Do you have any idea how worried I've been?"

James chuckled at the rankled disposition of his cousin.

"Relax, Mum."

Fred scowled at him.

"Here," and he casually passed him the letter. Fred snatched it out of his hand and grumbled unintelligibly to himself as he started to read. His eyebrows rose higher the further he got down the page. When he finished he let out a whoop and launched himself at his best friend.

"That's brilliant, mate!" he said, slapping James on the back, who had briefly returned his cousins embrace before quickly dislodging him. They were starting to gather stares from around the room. The rest of their friends were watching them curiously from the Gryffindor table as they made their way over to them. Fred was quick to hand the letter off to Roxanne, with Lorcan and Lysander reading over both of her shoulders, as he, James, and Violet sat across from them. James quickly tucked back into the meal that he had earlier abandoned in his haste to find Violet, who noticed she seemed to have been the only one in the loop before he had informed Fred.

"Did you really not tell any of them before running off to inform me?" she asked.

James shrugged and said, "Didn't I tell you that you'd be the first to know? Plus, I'd rather you not hex my bollocks off for being the last to find out."

She slapped his arm at his crass language but smiled at him all the same. The other three had finished the letter by that point and were taking their turns to congratulate James.

"Of course, you're going to get more offers though," Lysander said, as if this was merely a drop in the bucket. "It's not like you're going to take the first one you get. This is just reserves anyway. Someone's sure to offer you a starting spot."

James cast a nervous glance at Violet, who gave him an encouraging smile.

"Actually, I was leaning more towards accepting."

Everyone else had nodded in agreement at Lysander's statement, so they were slightly surprised to hear his response.

"You're serious?" Fred asked.

James nodded and looked around at all of his friends.

"Puddlemere has always been the dream. You lot know that better than anyone. I know it's not the highest salary or the most playing time that I might be offered, but, it's the dream isn't it?"

He sounded slightly uncertain at the end of his sentence, but they could all still tell how determined he was. There was a moment of awkward silence as they all exchanged glances before the silence was broken.

"Well I say go for it, mate."

James looked at Lorcan gratefully, and pretty soon, the whole lot of them were congratulating James again and discussing everything related to his future with Puddlemere United. Lysander and Fred ended up in a heated discussion about the pros and cons of the location of Puddlemere's pitch, and James took the opportunity to turn his attention to Violet, who had become rather withdrawn. Her brown, shoulder length hair was covering her face as she slumped forward, poking at her food.

"You alright?" he asked quietly.

She turned her head slightly so he could see her face and nodded at him with a small, sad smile.

"I'm just realizing how so much is about to change. I don't know if I'm ready for it."

He gripped her hand that was sitting on the bench between them.

"How about we only let the things that have to change, change. Let's make sure the good stuff stays the same. Deal?"

"Deal," she said with a true smile that he returned. Satisfied that he had cheered her up, James turned back to their friends and his meal as Violet looked down at the hand that he was no longer grasping. She couldn't help but ponder all the things she hoped would never change, and the things she feared would always stay the same.



A/N: Story number two is underway in the Show a Little Faith world! I'm not sure how often I'll update this but I have a lot mapped out in this universe so I wanted to start getting some of it out there. Let me know what you think! It will eventually catch up to SALF and this one probably won't be as long. Enjoy!

Chapter 2: They Found a Flat
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Working as a reserve was harder than expected. Training had started a week after James had left school and he had never been as exhausted as he was a week into his new rigorous schedule. The Saturday following his first week of training, he and Fred would be moving into their new flat. It was in Muggle London, but only a block away from the Leaky Cauldron. Fred was working with his father in the shop, but he had been working on an expansion project. He wanted to be able to market some of their project to muggles, so he spent most of his off time experimenting and studying up on muggle science and technology. He eventually wanted to open up a partner shop in Muggle London. James was able to floo to Puddlemere so he didn't have to live there. There was a facility by the stadium for the team to stay at if need be, but he would only do that if he was exceptionally exhausted.

Lorcan and Lysander had come to help them move things into their new apartment. They weren't able to use magic since it was a mostly muggle building, but there were a few witches and wizards living nearby as well.

They were struggling to get the couch up the stairs in the sweltering heat. Al had failed to show up like he'd promised, and he was supposed to be bringing lunch. James planned on giving him a swift kick up the arse when he got there.

"I think your side needs to be lower," Lysander hollered from down the stairs. He and Lorcan had one end while James and Fred had the other. They started to lower their end of the couch only for Lorcan to grunt under the weight.

"Maybe if you actually held your corner Ly, we'd be able to do this properly," Lorcan snapped, the strain from the weight obvious in his voice.

There was grumbling and a shuffling of feet as Lysander moved forward to wedge his shoulder under the foot of the sofa. The weight immediately lessened and they were able to get the couch up the next flight of stairs much more easily. James and Fred collapsed on it as soon as they'd set it down in the nearly empty flat. Lorcan sat in the armchair they'd already brought up, and Lysander was left to collapse on the floor, but he didn't do so without grumbling.

"Serves you right for making that harder on the rest of us," Fred said as he swung his foot at the blond boy, who easily dodged it as he made himself comfortable on the hardwood floor.

"I was trying to give directions. It was harder to do when I couldn't see a bloody thing," he insisted.

"I don't even care anymore. All I care about is the fact that I have an empty fridge and an incompetent brother!" James complained, ending his sentence in a holler, willing his brother to hear him from wherever he was.

"He's probably just running a little behind," Lorcan tried to defend Al. "The Leaky's probably pretty busy today."

James knew Lorcan was right, but he was too hungry to let his sour mood dissipate.

"So what've we got left?" Fred asked. "Might as well get some work done while we wait."

They carried up a dozen more boxes, two bookshelves, and were about to bring up the last few odds and ends when Al finally showed up, and he wasn't alone.

"Took you long enough!" James exclaimed when he saw his brother walking down the street with the youngest Longbottom. Both of them were laden with bags of food.

"Don't blame him. You lot order enough food to feed a dozen people," Erin said as they approached the stairs that led up to the flat.

"And stop complaining or I'll eat half of this myself," Al warned.

They all hurried upstairs and Erin and Al joined them for lunch. They didn't have a table yet and all they had to sit on was the couch and the armchair in the living room, so half of them had to eat on the floor.

The food lifted everyone's spirits and Fred and James started going on about how they were going to organize everything in the flat.

"You realize you're missing a few key items to actually qualify this as a home, right?" Erin said with a skeptical look at the two boys.

"We'll sort it out later," Fred waved her off. "In the meantime, I need to figure out where my work station will be."

"You are NOT blowing anything up in this flat, understood?" James warned his new roommate.

"No need to panic." Fred rolled his eyes, shoveling more shepards pie into his face. " I 'aven' dom tha in ages."

Erin had a look of disgust on her face as food spewed out of Fred's mouth as he spoke.

"Did you ask your mum about those beds?" James asked Fred. He nodded as he swallowed his bite of food.

"She's thinking about it, but I think she still wants to rent it out so she's waiting to make a decision."

"You mean you don't even have bed's yet?" Erin asked incredulously.

"No, we don't," James said defensively.

"Were you prepared to move at all?" Al asked with a chuckle.

James glared at his brother.

"No one asked for either of your opinions you know. But it just so happens that this place opened up rather suddenly and we didn't want to risk someone else snatching it out from under us."

"I thought there were tons of empty flats in this building," Lorcan said.

"There are," Fred agreed, "but this was the only one with both two bedrooms and hardwood floors."

"Why are hardwood floors important?" Erin asked

"Because stains, Erin. I can't stand a stained carpet," James said seriously, trying to keep a smirk from forming on his face. Erin just rolled her eyes at him and went back to her food.

"Anyway," Fred said, getting back to the subject of beds, "If Mum and Dad can't find someone to rent the flat above the shop, the beds are up for grabs, along with a few other things."

"I hope a table is one of them," Erin said as she tried to cut her sausage while her plate was resting in her lap.

"Remind me not to invite you to the housewarming," James said with a surly expression which Erin mockingly returned. The two of them actually liked each other rather well, but this tended to be how they showed their affection, much to Al's annoyance.

They finished up their meal and Lysander was elected to carry all the garbage down to the dumpster behind the building.

"We've got to be heading out, actually," Al said, gesturing to himself and Erin. "She's technically on her lunch break and Dom wants me to meet her over at Shell Cottage."

"I thought you said you were going to help me today. What's Dom want anyway?" James asked.

"She's been trying out some new recipes and needs people to taste test, which is why I'd rather be with her than you right now," Al replied.

All of the other boys looked extremely disappointed to be missing out on such an event.

"Well, at least bring a few things by later," James said, sounding slightly disgruntled.

"Especially if it has jam in it," Lysander interjected, standing up from collecting trash with a dreamy look on his face. "Everything's better with jam."

"Who else has she gotten as test subjects?" Fred asked.

"I think Rose and Lily will be there, and Eva, as always." Al shot a smirk at Fred who was quick to start rummaging through the nearest box, most likely trying to hide the color that was rising to his cheeks. No one else seemed to catch on to Fred's discomfort.

Al and Erin left them to it and within a few hours, it was looking as put together as it possibly could at that point. Fred had shoved all of his boxes under the window on the far side of the living room, where he would put a desk once he got one. The bookshelves were placed along one of the walls and filled with books and photographs. They had sleeping bags so they laid those out in the bedrooms. Their plan was to meet up with Violet and Roxanne for dinner so they headed to The Leaky Cauldron just after six o'clock. Hannah Longbottom was a fantastic cook and the boys could never get enough of the food she served, so they had no trouble eating there twice in one day.

The girls had been looking around for a flat of their own all afternoon. Lorcan and Lysander were planning on moving out and living together as well and had only just found a place on the far end of Diagon Alley. Roxanne and Violet showed up after the boys had already started on their butterbeers, looking a little worse for wear. They stopped at the bar to grab their own drinks before joining them.

"How'd it go?" James asked as Violet collapsed into the chair between him and Lysander. Roxanne sat between Fred and Lorcan, the latter of which gave her a quick peck on the lips in greeting.

"Bloody awful," Violet moaned before resting her head on the table. "There's nothing within a ten mile radius of where we both work that isn't either haunted or home to a creature of some kind. And if I have to travel any further than that by Floo Powder everyday I'll be perpetually sick. I don't know how you two managed to find something." She gestured to Lorcan and Lysander without lifting her head.

James patted her back in sympathy. He and Fred had no trouble finding a flat, but it was easier to find a place in Muggle London than in Diagon Alley.

"Don't make us say it again," Fred said with a smirk. Roxanne shot him a look and Violet glared at him as she lifted her head from the table and sat back in her chair. Fred and James had been telling both of them that they should just move into their building. They weren't as picky about the carpeting and there were plenty of empty flats. It was witch and wizard friendly, too. James and Fred had even been able to connect to the Floo Network.

"We'd like to be able to use magic on a regular basis thank you very much," Roxanne said.

"How long did it take you lot to move in today without it?" Violet asked.

James took a swig of his butterbeer, ignoring the question, but Lorcan answered for him.

"Longer than it should have, and they only have four pieces of furniture between them."

Violet laughed into her butterbeer.

"Are you planning on living like that? What all do you even have?" she asked incredulously.

"A sofa, a chair, and two bookshelves. So plenty for now," James said defensively, crossing his arms over his chest.

"My dad's got a desk he's going to give me," Fred chimed in, "and I think I've talked Mum into letting us have the beds from the flat above the shop."

"Why aren't you two living there?" Roxanne asked. "It's available, isn't it?"

"Yes, but Freddie here wants as much exposure to muggles as possible. For research purposes, of course." James rolled his eyes at his cousin. Fred was brilliant and had developed some incredible magical and muggle products, but James would never quite understand the intense fascination with nonmagical people that he shared with their grandfather.

Roxanne and Violet looked at each other with wide eyes as matching grins started to grow on their faces.

"I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner," Roxanne said to her friend. "It's the perfect space, especially for just starting out."

The girls were now positively giddy with excitement as the boys caught on to what they were saying.

"There's no way he'll let you," Fred was saying as he shook his head at his sister. "That's a bachelor pad. Dad would never let two girls take it over and risk them turning it into a frilly mess."

Violet quirked an eyebrow at him, a disbelieving look on her face.

"Are you forgetting that Roxy is his favorite and he happens to have a rather large soft spot for yours truly? We've got this in the bag."

"I think it's brilliant," Lysander piped in. Fred went from looking hurt at the insinuation that he wasn't the favorite child, to looking as if he had been betrayed by his friend.

"No, really," Ly continued, "it's the perfect central location, halfway between our flat and yours. We can meet up there all the time. Especially because there are no neighbors to disturb. It'll be perfect if we ever what to throw a party or something."

All the boys started to cheer up at this, even Lorcan, who wasn't always the biggest fan of parties, but he'd come out of his shell more in the past year. The girls, however, didn't look pleased.

"If you think you'll have free reign on our home you've got another thing coming," Violet warned, Roxanne nodding along with her.

The boys started to argue and pretty soon it was a free for all of the boys throwing out their own reasons why it was a brilliant idea and the girls countering with their objections to it. They were interrupted by Ethan Longbottom coming over to take their order.

"Sorry everyone," he said in greeting, "we're a little full tonight if you can't tell."

"No worries, mate," Lysander said as they all took a break from their heated discussion to place their orders. He turned to leave before James stopped him.

"Ethan, wait. Maybe you can solve a problem for us. You're smart, right?"

Everyone else at the table looked at James like he was an idiot. Ethan was a shoo in for Head Boy in September and everyone knew he always had brilliant marks. Harry had practically guaranteed he'd make it into the Auror program which he planned on applying for. James seemed to realize what he'd said and waved off their stares.

"Right, nevermind. Here's the thing. If we allow Roxanne and Violet to come and go from our flats as often as they please, and at any time of day" he shot a wink at Lorcan, who blushed, before continuing, "shouldn't we be allowed to do the same?"

"You never said that we'd be allowed to do that before now," Violet insisted.

"Well it was implied," James said, rolling his eyes at Violet before turning back to Ethan expectantly.

The younger boy looked slightly uncomfortable as they all watched him, waiting for a response.

"Well," he began, scratching his head nervously. "I think that, if it's their flat, they should be allowed to do with it what they want, just as you're doing with yours. Even if it's a different decision."

The girls grinned in triumph as the jaws of all the boys dropped.

"Thank you, Ethan. You may leave," Roxanne dismissed him. He looked very happy to go as Lysander yelled after him that he'd couldn't believe he'd shamed his own kind.

"Well, I still say you should let us throw the occasional party," James said. "Especially if it's for one of your birthdays."

Roxanne looked like she thought this to be a reasonable request, but Violet scoffed. James turned to look at her expectantly.

"Got a problem with that, Finnigan?" he challenged.

"I do, actually. Those things are no more parties than I am an Acromantula. You'll destroy our flat within the first hour."

James wasn't to be swayed. He scooted in closer and placed his arm around the back of her chair. He smirked as she stiffened due to his close proximity.

"Come on Vi, we promise not to invite as many people this time around. You know you love a good party as much as the rest of us. And you'd hate to give up your hosting duties. You know you're brilliant at that."

She glanced at him and he could tell she was trying very hard not to melt under his warm, convincing gaze.

"Flattery will get you nowhere," she assured him.

"I'll let you approve the guest list," he offered.

She pursed her lips in thought and he knew he was getting somewhere. Everyone else was watching them intently, either a smirk or a grin on each face.

"And, you reserve the right to veto any decision I make in regards to said party."

Her eyebrows rose at this offer. He knew it was a significant one, but he hadn't said she could do the same for any decision one of the other boys might make. Loopholes were his specialty.

She finally caved.

"Alright, but be warned, we will take away that right the moment something's destroyed or someone gets hurt. Understood?"

All of the boys grinned and nodded.

"We'll head over and talk to Dad as soon as we're done here," Roxanne said. "He should be closing up right around seven."

They finished their meal before heading out and walking through Diagon Alley to get to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Fred and Lysander had run ahead and were, as usual, acting like children as they attempted to shove each other in front of the people they were passing on the street. Lorcan and Roxanne were behind them, walking hand in hand and talking quietly to each other. Violet brought up the rear with James, who was carrying the leftovers from dinner.

"Sometimes I can't believe this is our life now, you know?" Violet said. "You and Fred have just moved into your own flat, Lor and Ly are days from moving into theirs, and it looks like Rox and I are about to do the same. I don't know if I'm ready for that much freedom. It's like life is actually starting."

James chuckled at the wonder in her voice.

"You're forgetting one important part," he said. She glanced at him in confusion, not sure what she'd missed.

"We all have to go to work now too." He said this with a frown on his face, looking so pathetic that Violet burst out laughing.

"You're right," she said, trying to regain her composer. "I guess it's not all fun and games then."

"Well maybe for me and Fred, but not the rest of you lot." She shoved him for his lame attempt at a joke and he grinned at her.

"How was training this week? I don't think I've asked you yet."

"Not bad," he said with a slight shrug. "Bloody exhausting to be sure, but it'll all be worth it in the end. I feel pretty competent. The rest of the reserve Chasers aren't bad, but I can already see ways that I have a bit of an edge. One of them has a problem protecting his left, another is a little shaky on her dives, and the third one has been having trouble with his aim lately. I think if they call someone up it'll be me for sure. They'd be crazy - "

He stopped abruptly in his speech and in his tracks. He turned and faced Violet who was stopped next to him. She had a judgmental look on her face and James immediately felt ashamed.

"I did it again, didn't I?"

She nodded at him and he hung his head as they continued walking.

"You shouldn't be too hard on yourself," she reassured him. "All those thing are probably true, and while I don't mind hearing them, you're going to be doing interviews soon and you probably don't want the wizarding world thinking you're a complete arse."

He shot a look at her cheeky grin.

"The point is," she continued. "I know all those things are true, you know they're true, but it might be best to keep it at that. And, if you're going to take the time to pick out everyone else's flaws, you should do yourself the same courtesy."

He grinned shyly at her.

"I know, you're right. I just get carried away thinking about it sometimes," he admitted. "I might actually play for Puddlemere United one day. How crazy is that?"

"Not as crazy as you think," she said. "As insane as it is for me to say, you've always been better than you think you are."

He looked surprised at her words and a grin grew on his face. She nudged him with her elbow and rolled her eyes.

"Don't let it give you a big head."

He laughed and threw the arm that wasn't carrying food around her shoulders.

"I know I can always count on you, Finnigan."

She grinned up at him and put her arm around his waist.

"Well you know I'd do anything for you, right?"

He looked down at her and saw the uncertainty in her eyes. He placed a kiss on the top of her head before responding.

"Same goes for me."

She gave him a wide grin that spread to her entire face and made his heart skip a beat. He looked away before she could notice the heat rising in his cheeks.

"Anything else interesting happen during training?" she asked.

He thought about it for a second before responding.

"Actually yes, I met someone."

She looked up at him, her smile gone.

"Someone?"

"Yeah, she's one of the medical team interns. Really fit. I've been thinking about asking her out."

She looked down at their feet and James watched her closely for her response.

"Oh, that's brilliant."

She didn't sound too disappointed, maybe not as happy as she was moments before, but her face wasn't betraying much. She'd even let out a slight flicker of a smile.

James tried not to be too disappointed that her response hadn't revealed much. He'd struggled with his feelings for the girl beside him for longer than he cared to admit, but he wasn't about to do anything that might cause him to lose her either. Until she gave him one hell of a sign, he was happy to wait around, but that didn't mean he couldn't have some fun in the meantime. He actually was considering asking the girl out.

"Yeah, she seems like fun."

There was an uncomfortable moment of silence before James asked her about her training.

"I start on Monday and I'm trying my best not to shit myself."

James laughed out loud and she couldn't help but laugh along with him.

"Relax, Vi," he said, giving her shoulder a squeeze. "You're going to be brilliant. St. Mungo's won't even know what hit them. Absolutely nothing to worry about."

She gave him a shy smirk.

"Thanks, James. I hope so."

"We'll go out on Monday night and celebrate. All six of us. My training ends at three. When are you done?"

"I'm seven to five the first week for orientation."

"Brilliant. We'll go to The Leaky and have a feast. I'll even give Hannah a heads up. Anyone you want there is more than welcome."

She chuckled at his enthusiasm and reached her hand up to grab the one that he had draped over her shoulder.

"As long as you're there, that'll be just fine."

James tried not to be too pleased with her statement and the position their hands were now in. They'd held hands before, in a strictly friendly sense, but it felt different when it was accompanied by her words.

"Of course, I guess this lot should be there," and she nodded her head towards the four people walking in front of them. Lysander and Fred had reached the shop and were banging on the already locked door.

James tried not to let himself feel too disappointed. He figured she'd want other people to go out with them on Monday night, but it was hard not to hope, even for a moment.

They reached the shop just as George opened the door to let them in. Turned out, he was thrilled to have the girls rent out the flat and immediately handed over the keys before offering to give them a tour.

"Dad, I lived there as a child, I think I know my way around," Roxanne said, but George's enthusiasm wasn't to be swayed. He bounded up the back stairs as Fred and Lysander wandered off into the back room, probably to look at something Fred was working on. Violet moved to follow Lorcan and Roxanne upstairs before James stopped her.

"Don't be nervous, Vi. You were right, this really is all happening. And we're all going to be just fine."

She smiled at him and reached out, gripping his hand for a moment, before turning and following her new roommate and her boyfriend upstairs. James willed his heartbeat to slow down as her hand left his. He needed to watch himself. If he wasn't careful, he was in danger of falling for her further than he ever had before.

 


Chapter 3: He Ran Late
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The incessant tapping of her foot matched the rhythm of the rain against the windows. Everyone else was doing a fine job of acting as if nothing were wrong, as if this were how it should be, but she knew better.

He should be there. He should have been there an hour ago. She was thankful that everyone else had shown enthusiasm about the evening and grateful that they had shown up, but his lack of appearance was standing out like a sore thumb. They all felt it, but everyone else was doing their best to make the most of the evening. She wanted to do the same, but this whole thing had been James' idea. The least he could have done was show up.

Violet knew she shouldn't be letting herself stew in anger and disappointment, but it had meant a lot to her when he'd put in the effort to plan the evening. She had been looking forward to it all week. It might have been naive of her, but even though the rest of her friends were going to be there as well, she had hoped that it could mean a little something more for the two of them. Maybe they'd be able to build off the momentum of the evening.

Violet had put on a dark plum dress that just reached to her mid thigh and hung loosely around her frame. It had a flattering sweeping neckline and thin straps. Her usually slightly wavy hair was stick straight and half pulled back. She rarely put this much effort into her appearance, and she felt almost ashamed of herself for wanting to impress a boy who hadn't even bothered to make an appearance.

They'd decided to go somewhere nicer than The Leaky Cauldron for the occasion and everyone else had dressed up as well. Roxanne was wearing a flowy, floor length, floral dress in various shades of yellow and orange. All the boys were wearing button-up shirts, and Lorcan had even put on a tie. James' siblings, as well as one of hers, had been invited to join them. At thirteen, Bobby was the only one of Violet's siblings that was old enough to come as Sean, Bella, and Layla had yet to reach Hogwarts age. It was the first time he had been out with any of her friends, and he seemed to be enjoying himself immensely, oblivious to his sister's distress. She was glad he was enjoying himself. Bobby was a good kid, but he'd never been as social as she was, preferring to keep to himself and a book most of the time. He was sitting between Al and Lily and across from Fred and Lysander, a bright smile lighting up his face. She looked around the rest of the table. She was sat at the head with Roxanne to her right and Lorcan next to her, followed by Lysander and Fred. There was an empty seat to Violet's left where James should have been sitting next to Lily, who also looked like she was having the time of her life. The joy on everyone's faces served to cheer Violet up for a moment, and she almost forgot about her sour mood, before her heart plummeted to her feet as a couple entered the restaurant. James had finally arrived, but he wasn't alone.

He sauntered into the restaurant with a girl trailing behind him. The only words Violet could think of at that moment to describe her were blonde and legs. She clutched James' hand as he pulled her towards the table where his friends sat. He was greeted jovially by the group at large, but Violet couldn't find the strength to force a smile to her face. He had yet to send a glance in her direction as he and his friend made their way down the table towards her. He only met her eyes when they reached the end.

"Hey, Vi! This is Mia, she's one of the interns for our medical team."

The blonde, Mia, smiled and waved at Violet, who tried very hard to return the gesture. She thought it might have come off as more of a grimace and an odd twitch in her arm, but James just pulled up another chair between his and Violet's for Mia to sit on.

"Where've you been James? Our reservation was for over an hour ago," Roxanne asked her cousin. Violet was torn between being thankful for her friend and wanting the whole situation to go unnoticed.

"We just lost track of time, that's all," he said with a noncommittal shrug, throwing his arm around Mia's chair, refusing to meet the blank stare that Violet had turned in his direction. Mia chose the next moment to excuse herself from the table and run to the loo, and Violet full on glared at James, no longer holding back in an effort to not offend the girl who'd done nothing wrong. This was all on James as far as she was concerned.

"Lost track of time, did you?" she challenged. "Did you lose it up her skirt by any chance?"

The boys all did their best to stifle sniggers at Violet's comment as Roxanne wore a displeased look. The younger three appeared to either be feigning innocence, or were truly too young to understand the subtleties of the evening that had led to this point.

"I was injured in training today, okay?" he defended himself, and Violet was momentarily taken out of her anger due to her concern for his safety, before remembering that he now sat before her, perfectly healthy.

"I broke my wrist during a training exercise due to a well placed bludger. Mia was the one who healed me. It took some time to patch me up and we got to talking and one thing led to another and…"

He trailed off and looked imploringly at Violet. She glanced at his wrist, which she now saw was bandaged as the bones continued to be regrown. Should she give him the benefit of the doubt? He had been injured, after all. But she didn't want to excuse his behavior, and it truly bothered her that he had gone so far as to bring the girl along to what was supposed to be her night. She felt slightly selfish about it but she had wanted his full attention to be on her tonight, and now she knew she'd be lucky to be spared a glance once this conversation was over.

"I know this night was important to you, Vi. I know that and I feel bloody terrible. Please let me make it up to you."

Violet glanced behind James to see Mia making her way back to the table. Being the bigger person was never the fun person to be, but causing a scene in a restaurant was not her idea of a nice way to end an already unpleasant evening, so she swallowed her pride.

"It doesn't happen again, do you understand?"

She shot him a hard look and he nodded sincerely as Mia took her place between them again.

The rest of the evening continued as she assumed it would. The boys joking around, her brother asking inquisitive questions, and James whispering into Mia's ear whenever his attention wasn't elsewhere, which it rarely was. Dessert was brought out half an hour after James arrived. It was a chocolate cake with white chocolate icing and raspberry sauce, Violet's favorite. Apparently, James had called ahead and asked for it to be especially made for their evening. He'd told her so with a look of pride on his face. This helped to soften her slightly, seeing that he had put a little extra thought into their celebration, but it wasn't quite enough to make up for it. It wasn't that she wanted to keep score when it came to their friendship, but she couldn't help but want a little something more from him.

It had stopped raining as they left the restaurant and prepared to head their separate ways. The restaurant was in muggle London, near James and Fred's flat, so they walked home, Mia accompanying them. Lorcan and Lysander had moved into their new flat so they were heading back to Diagon Alley with Roxanne, who had already moved herself into the flat above the shop. Violet would start moving her stuff in the following day. She and Bobby would be flooing home through the Leaky Cauldron, and Al and Lily would be doing the same. As the seven of them entered the pub before they parted ways, Roxanne pulled her best friend aside.

"I'd apologize for him, but I don't much feel like forgiving him myself. That was a rotten thing to do."

Violet was looking at her feet, a sad smile on her face and tears threatening to fall. She shook herself into composure and spoke without raising her eyes from the floor.

"You know what's silly? All evening, even after he showed up with her, I was holding out hope that maybe he'd make some kind of grand gesture. That tonight would be the night. The cake was a nice touch, but I wanted something more. Maybe we'd be about to part ways and he'd apologize for being such an arse, leaving what's-her-face behind and…"

She trailed off as her cheeks flushed in embarrassment at what she'd almost said. Glancing up at her friend, she saw a sad smile on her face.

"Don't look at me like that, please," Violet said. "I don't want your pity. I know I'm an idiot and it's all rather fanciful thinking, but it's been going on for so long…"

She blushed even brighter. Talking to Roxanne about her feelings for James was uncharted territory. She'd always assumed that she knew, but it had gone unspoken for so long that it almost felt like they didn't have to talk about it. Things were changing though, and she didn't think she could handle it all on her own.

"I think I've loved him for a long time Rox, and it's starting to scare the hell out of me. Especially after tonight."

Roxanne pulled Violet into a corner where they could talk in private. Al, Lily, and Bobby, were all up at the bar chatting with Erin and Ethan as they waited for the line for the floo to die down, in no hurry to leave.

"What part are you scared of?" Roxanne asked.

Violet thought for a moment before answering.

"The whole thing, honestly. That he might not feel the same, that he probably never will. That I'll eventually make a fool of myself. I could possibly never get over him and then I'm stuck being miserable for the rest of my life. I might have to watch him go through girl after girl until he finally finds the one, and it isn't me."

She couldn't remember a time when she had ever been more vulnerable in her life. Looking at Roxanne, she was glad she didn't see pity, only determination.

"My cousin's a great oaf. A brilliant one, but he's one hell of an idiot most of the time. Especially when it comes to females. If he feels the same for you that you do for him, rest assured that he will make a complete arse of himself before he gets anything right." Violet let out a light chuckle before Roxy continued. "I don't want to give you false hope or assure you of things that I don't know, so I'm not going to tell you to hope for the best or to push through. I'll simply say, that while you certainly don't need a man, you sure deserve one hell of a good one. And he's definitely a good one. So don't go feeling ashamed of your feelings for him or talk yourself into thinking you don't deserve him. That's the farthest thing from the truth."

Tears had started to gather in Violet's eyes and she quickly brushed them away at the end of her friends speech. She gave Roxanne a nod before she was pulled into a quick hug.

"I know it sounds cliche, but focus on yourself right now. Everything else will fall into place at the right time."

With those final words of advice, they bid each other a quick goodbye and Roxanne made her way out of the Leaky Cauldron as Violet went to join her brother and the two younger Potters, saying farewell to the Longbottom's before flooing home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Violet couldn't sleep. Her mind was still whirring from the events of the evening and her conversation with Roxanne. She knew her friend was right, but it was hard to shake off the emotions that had been running rampant through her entire being earlier that evening. Feelings of hurt and doubt and even betrayal. Not to mention the heartache she felt when he left with her.

She kicked her covers off, giving up on sleep for the time being, and sat up in bed. She contemplated reading til she fell asleep, but her stomach started growling so she figured the kitchen was the place for her to be at the moment. She made her way downstairs, being as quiet as possible as to not wake her family. Her mother had just done the shopping so their kitchen was packed with food, but she went for the leftover cake that she had brought home earlier in the evening. She poured herself a glass of milk and sat down at the kitchen table. They'd only eaten two thirds of the cake at the restaurant, and she didn't even bother cutting a separate piece before pulling out a fork and digging in.

She only had a few moments of solitude before she heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs accompanied by quiet voices. Her mother entered the kitchen carrying a four-year-old little girl. They didn't immediately notice Violet. Layla's head was tucked into her mother's shoulder as she whispered words of comfort into her ear while soothingly rubbing her back. Violet's mother flicked the light on and caught sight of her eldest daughter enjoying her midnight snack.

"Couldn't sleep?" Lavender asked. Layla pulled her tear stained face off her mother's shoulder to see who she was talking to. A smile immediately appeared on her face at the sight of her older sister.

"Something like that," Violet said as her mother placed a squirming Layla on the floor, who promptly went to climb into her sister's lap, asking if she could have a bite.

"If it's alright with Mummy," Violet said while looking at her mother for confirmation.

"Fine," Lavender sighed. "But just this once." Layla grinned in excitement as Violet cut off a small piece for the younger girl to eat.

"This one had a nightmare," Lavender said, reaching across the table to push Layla's curly blonde hair off her forehead.

"You alright now, love?" Violet asked the little girl in her lap.

"Yeah," Layla said focused on her cake. "Where did this come from?"

Layla had been in bed by the time Violet and Bobby had gotten home, so she'd missed the arrival of the dessert.

"I went out to dinner with my friends tonight remember? We had some leftovers."

Layla nodded as she continued eating her cake and Violet started rebraiding her sister's hair. Her curls normally caused it to knot as she slept, and the braids they normally kept it in to avoid that had come loose.

"You sort of disappeared as soon as you got home. Did you have a nice evening?" Lavender asked.

Violet shrugged, not wanting to say much and not sure where she would even start. She trusted her mother, but they tended to see the world differently and it would show when they discussed whatever was going on in her life.

"Anything you want to talk about?" her mother persisted.

"I don't know. It was an off night. I'm doing alright though."

She tried to give her mother a reassuring smile but wasn't sure she succeeded, especially based on the look she received.

"It's just James. He's being a prat, as usual."

"What else is new?" Lavender chuckled. "Don't get me wrong, I love the boy, but he can be a bit dim at times and it normally gets him into trouble."

Violet gave her mother a small smile as she finished off a braid before moving onto the next one.

"I don't know if I don't understand him, or I don't understand our relationship. It's driving me mad trying to figure it out."

"Oh please," her mother scoffed. "That boy fancies the pants off you or I don't know a cat from a toad."

Violet chuckled at her mother's expression.

"I highly doubt that. You should've seen the thing he showed up with at dinner tonight. An hour late, I might add."

"Thing?"

Violet had the decency to look ashamed of herself.

"Girl. The girl he showed up with. Sorry."

Lavender chuckled at her daughter.

"I believe I was referred to as a "thing" by at least one jealous girl in my youth. Brings back some rather unpleasant memories actually."

Despite her words, she still had a small smile on her face and a nostalgic look in her eyes.

"Weren't you and Dad together for most of your Hogwarts years? I don't recall you ever mentioning another girl being in the picture."

Lavender looked at her daughter in surprise.

"Oh, heavens no. We weren't together the whole time. Actually, we weren't even really together until after the war."

At her words, Lavender reached up and rubbed her hand along the scar on her neck that led to her jaw.

"I didn't realize that. You talk about each other from all seven years. I guess I just assumed."

"Well we were friends during that time," Lavender confirmed. "And we attended the Yule Ball together in our fourth year. I knew he liked me throughout most of our time at school, and to be honest, I felt the same way, but I did some wandering at one point."

Violet's mother looked slightly ashamed of herself at this confession, but she was still grinning slightly.

"Do I know about this? I feel like I would have remembered any romantic relationships from your youth."

"I don't think we've ever talked about it actually. I'm not sure why but I guess it just never came up."

Violet looked at her mum expectantly as her little sister started to drift off in her arms having finished her cake. Lavender sighed resignedly before launching into her story.

"It was just a little thing between me and Ron. It only lasted a few months and we were both aware we should have been with other people, no matter how in denial we both were."

"Ron as in Weasley? Rose and Hugo's dad?" Violet clarified.

"That's the one. Hermione and I still have trouble getting along to this day. Although, to be fair, we never got along all that well to begin with. I guess it's better now than it used to be though. She did save my life and all."

This part of the story Violet was familiar with. Lavender held the Minister of Magic in extremely high regard and had even campaigned on her behalf when she was rumored to be up for the job.

"It's all water under the bridge now. Your father was right pissed at me for a time, but we managed to work it out in the end."

"But you weren't actually together?"

"No, but we knew we meant more to each other than just common friends. Nothing had ever really been said, but everyone who was close to us knew it. I think part of me was scared by it, so I went with my flight response and it ended up making a mess of things. I'm just glad he didn't give up on me."

Lavender was looking tenderly at her youngest child as she tried to stay awake. Violet's mother was of a very caring nature and doted on her children. You would never question how grateful she was to have them.

"I think it's time I get this one back in bed," Lavender said, nodding at Layla and rising to take her from her sister.

"Mum, can I ask you something?"

"Anything."

Violet paused to collect her thoughts as her mother gathered the sleeping child into her arms.

"I'm a little too mad at him to think about doing anything right now, but if I wanted my relationship with James to change, should I, you know, make a move? Or is it best to wait for him to do so?"

She cringed at her own question as her mother smiled at her.

"You said he showed up late tonight and with another girl?"

Violet nodded.

"It sounds to me like he's still got some growing up to do. You've got time, Vi. Both of you do. I wouldn't worry about it yet. Give him some time."

With a final goodnight, she turned and left to put her youngest child back in bed, leaving her eldest to her cake and her thoughts.

A/N: Been awhile since this one got updated! Haven't forgotten about it :) I've always been a Seamus/Lavender fan so it was fun to explore a little of that history. Maybe I'll write their story sometime too! Leave a review and I'll like you a lot and probably update sooner. Happy reading!

Chapter 4: She had a Birthday
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James chucked his near pristine gloves into his locker - his brow furrowed and his manner agitated. The reserves had been practicing with the starting lineup once a week for the past month, and James had barely seen the pitch. His flying was fantastic during reserve practice, and he was sure his coaches could see his potential, but Puddlemere's head coach Reuben Cooper was a hard old bastard who had yet to give him a fair shake, in James's humble opinion.

"Easy there, Potter. You'll burn a hole through the wall with that arm of yours."

James threw a look of annoyance at his teammate. Jacob Reed was a Keeper and had been on the reserves for three seasons now, and so received more time on the field than James did. They got along reasonably well; both were the only former Gryffindors on the reserve team.

"You're one to talk. You actually get to touch the Quaffle during these things."

James flopped down onto the bench and kicked off his boots with a huff. Reed placed his gloves in the locker next to James's and began to take off his jersey.

"True, but I was just like you once upon a time."

Rolling his eyes, James moved to undress as well.

"Stop talking as if you're some wise old sage and let me be frustrated, will you? This isn't what I expected."

Reed chuckled.

"It never is. You expected to be some rookie hot shot that impressed the coaches to the point where they threw protocol out the window? This is the way it always works. You have to prove yourself. Let them know you're a part of this team and not just in it for the glory."

Grabbing his towel, Reed turned to head towards the showers.

"I remember you telling me you always wanted to play for Puddlemere, right?" he asked before leaving.

James nodded.

"Well, part of being on this team means being a teammate above all else. You've managed to open up with me, but I'm not considered a threat. So try focusing on getting to know your fellow Chasers. You've got the skill, no doubt about that, so show them you've got the right spirit and perspective too."

He clapped James on the shoulder with a hand that was calloused from throwing and catching a Quaffle for many years and left the room.

James mulled his teammates words over in his mind. One of the things that had drawn him to Puddlemere was the camaraderie that he saw, on and off the field. He wanted to be a part of that. Yet here he was, stewing in what he thought was his own failure, but was really just a part of the process. Deciding to take Reed's advice to heart, he made his way towards where two of his other teammates that he'd barely spoken to sat on the bench in front of their lockers. He looked around for Gemma Talley, the fourth reserve Chaser, but she was already gone. She was a new recruit like James and tended to leave right after training. Apparently she was having trouble opening up to her teammates as well.

"Hey, anyone fancy a bite?"

The two Chasers looked startled at the presence of their new teammate. They shared a look before the younger of the two, dark skinned with curly black hair, stood and gave him a skeptical look.

"Why now? You've barely paid us any mind before."

James let out a sigh, thinking it best to be honest in this situation.

"I've been a bit of a prick. I made this all about myself so I thought staying at a distance was the way to go. I was wrong. Team first, right?"

They looked impressed with his honesty.

"Well, in that case." The one still sitting stuck his hand out and James grinned in relief, gripping it firmly.

"I don't believe we've properly met."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"You're barking! Sanders deserves the Hall of Fame, no matter what tripe the Prophet may write about him."

"But what if it's true? The bastard might have actually sabotaged his own teammate!"

The argument between his teammates continued and James watched as they bickered good-naturedly. They'd grabbed dinner before moving on to the local pub where they now sat, each in good spirits thanks to the few drinks that they'd already consumed.

The younger of the two was named Peter Walker and had been traded to Puddlemere after spending his rookie season with the Tornadoes. Chip Edwards - rather lanky with honey blonde hair - had been bumped down to the reserves after sustaining an injury during his second season as a starter for the Arrows. He'd been traded to Puddlemere a year later, and it was questionable if he would ever be back to his full strength.

"This could be my last season," he'd confessed earlier in the evening. "There hasn't been any improvement in a while and it's been hard on the wife. Not to mention I have a kid to think about now."

Peter had opened up as well. He'd been devastated when he was traded from the Tornadoes. He felt much the same about them as James did about Puddlemere. The move had been all about politics on the Tornadoes side, and it still ate at him.

"They have no proof though," Chip argued back as they continued to discuss the fate of a former Puddlemere Beater. "It's all rumor and the Prophet is pulling a rather shitty move reporting on it."

"Oi!" James interrupted. "My mum happens to work there so mind what you say."

Peter Walker laughed at his friend's expense, slightly tipsy from the alcohol that was beginning to course through his system.

"You made a slight at his mum!" He broke down into another bout of laughter.

"Don't mind him," Chip told James. "He's a bit of a lightway. Never drank much in school. You, however, seem to be holding your own rather well." He took a swig of his own drink as James's third was placed in front of him.

"My cousin and I managed to swipe quite the large amount of contraband over the years, so I was able to develop a nice amount of tolerance."

Chip nodded and signalled for another beer.

"You talk about your family a lot. You all close?"

James nodded and patted Peter on the back as he stopped laughing and started choking on thin air.

"Yeah, my cousin Fred and I share a flat just down the street from the Leaky Cauldron in Muggle London. And we see a good bit of some other family members as well."

Slightly more in control than before, Peter leaned his elbow on the table and rested his chin in his hand.

"What's it like? Being famous and all that?"

Chip rolled his eyes and looked embarrassed for his friend. James chuckled.

"Actually, it's more my dad that's the famous one. And I guess the family as a whole. But I'm not exactly recognized on the streets or anything."

This seemed to disappoint Peter and he stuck his lower lip out in a pout.

"So you don't get like, girls flocking at you or anything?"

James blushed slightly at this but hid his embarrassment with a grin.

"Sometimes. Once they know who I am."

"Bloody hell. Once I'm a starter, I won't be able to get enough of that."

Peter reached for his drink but Chip was quick to grab it and down it himself. Peter groaned in disappointment.

"You won't get anything until you can either learn to hold your liquor or stop drinking all together. It's rather horrid to watch."

Peter scrunched up his face at Chip's comment before folding his arms on the table and resting his head on them, officially checking out of the conversation.

"What is that like, though?" Chip asked James. "Sorry, but I can't help but ask. Your mum was a rather brilliant Chaser, and I don't think I even need to cover who your dad is. Sounds like a lot of pressure."

James nodded. Typically, he didn't like to talk about his family much. But there was something about Chip that made James feel like he could trust him.

"Sometimes, but they've been brilliant with the whole Quidditch thing. I think my dad wanted me to be an Auror, but that area has always been what my brother Al's been good at. He's only sixteen but we all know he'll be brilliant at it one day. My mum was rather proud, though. And Dad is too. He knows it's what I love. They don't really pressure me, but some other members of the family, and the world for that matter, that's a bit of a different story."

He hadn't expected to share quite that much, but Chip nodded his head as if he knew what he was talking about, making James feel at ease.

"My grandfather was always the one to put pressure on me. He wanted me to be like him and have a career that rivaled his. I think he's the only reason I haven't retired yet."

James looked at him with a question in his eyes for a few moments, as if trying to work out a puzzle, before it hit him.

"Chip Edwards. You're Charles Edwards' grandson? Hall of Fame Chaser for Puddlemere United Charles Edwards?"

Chip merely took another swig of his drink in response and James leaned back in his seat in shock.

"Wow. He always seemed like a tough old bastard. That must've been horrible and wonderful all at the same time."

Chip set his drink down and pointed at James to signal he'd hit the nail right on the head.

"He's always pushed me and he still does. My dad never really played much and he has no other grandsons, so I'm all he's got."

"Well, thankfully I have another brother to make sure my dad isn't disappointed," James remarked, making Chip laugh.

"You're one lucky prat that's for sure. Although I don't think you have anything to worry about."

James raised his eyebrows in question.

"How do you mean?"

Chip shrugged.

"Anyone who has seen you play can tell you're brilliant. You'll get your shot one day. By the sound of it, your dad's a pretty solid bloke. He'd have to be to save the world, right?"

James rolled his eyes and his teammate chuckled.

"Sorry, couldn't help it. But my point is, as long as you're doing what you love and doing it with your whole heart, he'll be proud. And I have no doubt that you'll make a hell of a name for yourself. You're a talent, James. I wouldn't be surprised if you got pulled up over either of us or Talley when the time comes."

He gestured to his slightly comatose teammate who merely groaned in response. While James was pleased with the praise, he also found his teammate's honesty slightly comical.

"What happened to the stoic man that ordered me my first round?" James jested.

Chip let out a laugh.

"I'm a rather sappy drunk and the drinks are starting to go to my head. I don't get out as much with the kid being around."

Chip had told James earlier that he and his wife had had a baby boy; Charles William Edwards the fourth, Charlie for short.

"My dad was Chuck and I'm Chip," he'd said. "And no matter how infuriating my grandfather can be, he means enough for me to carry on the family name."

After Chip had once again assured James that he was a brilliant Chaser and he'd fit in well with the team once he got to know everyone, they called it a night and Chip was left with the difficult task of seeing Peter home. James had offered to help but Chip had insisted he could handle it himself.

They'd been at a pub in Puddlemere, so James flooed to the Leaky Cauldron and headed home from there. As he walked, he felt a sense of pride fill him. He'd made an effort he hadn't anticipated needing to make until he moved up to a starting position. The mindset that the reserves was a competitive atmosphere was common throughout the league, but Puddlemere was different. It was about more than an individual's success. It was about growing and working together as a team. It wasn't what he had expected, but he loved it. It was exciting to branch out and meet new people. He'd had the same friends all throughout Hogwarts. Friends who were brilliant and would last a lifetime, but it made him feel like he was finally starting a life outside of school. He couldn't wait to tell his friends about his breakthrough. He couldn't wait to tell -

James stopped in his tracks. His friends. Violet. He'd completely forgotten. He turned and rushed back towards the Leaky Cauldron, checking his watch to see it was half-past eleven. Had he really been out for four hours? He flew through the pub and into Diagon Alley, racing towards Weasley Wizard Wheezes and hoping he wasn't too late. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that there was still a light on above the shop.

He raced up the back stairs and pounded on the door. After waiting for roughly a minute with no response, he pounded again, this time raising his voice.

"Vi? I can explain. I completely lost track of time. Please let me in."

There was no response. He tried again.

"Violet, please. At least let me-"

The door flew open and a scowling Roxanne greeted him.

"This better be good, James."

"Please, let me talk to her."

"That's not my call."

Roxanne refused to budge and James leaned back against the railing behind him. The metal landing shook with his movements.

"How mad is she?" he finally asked.

"Well, how mad would you be if she flaked on your birthday?"

James cringed at her words and looked down at his shoes. Roxanne moved out into the still warm, late August evening and closed the door behind her.

"Merlin James, what could possibly have been so important? This isn't the first time you've done this to her either."

He looked up in mild surprise.

"What? I've never missed her birthday."

Roxanne rolled her eyes.

"Don't act all innocent here, James. This isn't about just her birthday. The night we celebrated her first week of training? Our housewarming party the week after? And the friends and family luncheon a month into her training? You were either late or didn't show to every one of those after you promised you would be there."

She was right, James realized. He hadn't been there like he should have. Quidditch kept him busy, but he could have easily made it to each of those events. It had either been a girl or a teammate, like tonight, that had kept him away.

"I'm a right prat, aren't I?"

Roxanne gave a snort of agreement.

James turned and gripped the railing, leaning over the edge and cursing. He felt Roxanne walk forward and join him against the railing.

"Look, she's my best friend so I can't betray her trust. But, as my cousin, I think I can safely give you some advice."

James turned and looked at her, eager to learn how to fix the mess he'd gotten himself into.

"Persistance."

James stared at her blankly. She gave him a bemused smile and continued.

"Come back tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that if you have to. Show her you care as much as I know you do. And don't be an arse and show up too late or not at all ever again unless you've got a damn good excuse."

James flushed in shame.

"I won't. I promise."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Knock, knock, knock.

"I know you're in there, Violet! You can't put up with this forever."

It was the third day that James had waited outside of the flat. Roxanne and Lorcan had both made appearances and even given him refreshments, but Violet refused to allow them to let him in. He'd caught a glimpse of her through the window a few times the previous two days, but he'd yet to see any of them that evening. He was currently sitting with his back to the door, occasionally lifting his hand to knock.

"Well if you're not going to talk to me you can at least listen," James said. "I've started to get to know my teammates. They're some pretty great blokes, actually. That's where I was the other night. I talked to Reed, you remember me mentioning him? Well, anyway. He said I was focused too much on my own success rather than the success of the team as a whole, and I should start getting to know people. I went out for drinks with two of the other Chasers. They're right solid blokes. You'd like them."

He paused for a moment to see if she'd respond, and continued when she didn't.

"It was the first time I really felt like I was part of something, Vi. And I couldn't wait to tell you all about it. Of course, that's when I realized what an arse I was and hightailed it over here. And I've done the same thing every night since by the way, incase you haven't noticed."

He sat in silence for a little while longer. He'd shown up sometime around seven, right as training had ended for the evening, and it was now going on eleven. It was the same routine he'd followed the two previous nights as well, but this was the latest he'd ever stayed.

"I've even blown off my teammates the past few nights, you know why? Cause you matter to me you stubborn git."

Building momentum, he stood and faced the door, leaning with his palms pressed against it.

"You matter to me, Violet. And I was so bloody stupid. I'll stay out here every day for months if I have to. Would you just please talk to me, or at least let me know you're listening?"

He stood, listening, for a few moments. Hoping she'd give him some sign she'd been listening. But it startled him when he actually did heard her voice.

"What are you doing?"

He turned abruptly, and the moment of elation he felt at the sound of her voice quickly faded when he saw her standing at the bottom of the steps that lead up to her flat. She wasn't alone.

"Hey, Vi," he said, pulling himself together. It then hit him that she hadn't been home and probably hadn't heard a word he'd said.

"Who's your friend?" he asked, gesturing to the rather handsome young man who stood just behind her.

Violet started, as if she'd forgotten the other boy was there.

"Oh, right. Nate, this is James. James, Nate."

The young man had warm brown hair that was practically the same shade as Violet's. It looked incredibly soft as it caught the light from the lamp that hung outside their door as he inclined his head towards James in acknowledgement.

Violet looked between both boys for a moment before turning towards her date and talking to him in an undertone. James pointedly looked away, trying to ignore the way his heart continued to sink the longer Nate stuck around. He looked around when he heard her walking up the steps, and her date was nowhere in sight. He sighed in relief.

"Can I talk to you now?"

Violet stopped in front of him. She looked nice, he noticed. More than nice. She was dressed for a more casual date. Her hair was tied up in a ponytail and she wore a black leather jacket over a silk red shirt. Dark wash jeans hugged her legs, and ankle-high boots with short heels made them look even longer than normal.

She crossed her arms and James pulled himself out of the daze he'd slipped into as he took her in.

"Depends," she said. "Are you planning on needing to give the same speech again in a few weeks time?"

"No," he insisted. She almost cracked a smile at his eagerness, before walking past him and into her flat, leaving the door open behind her.

"How long were you two out there? Did you hear anything I said?" James asked as he followed her inside and closed the door behind him. Violet shrugged off her jacket and tossed it over the back of the couch. The girls had given a slight feminine touch to the flat, but neither were overly girly so the boys felt very comfortable in it. Probably a little too much, in the girls' opinions. They were there more often than not. At least the Scamanders and Fred were. James had maybe been half a dozen times in the nearly two months the girls had lived there, while the other boys seemed to be there at least twice a week, if not more. James noticed there were still balloons from Violet's birthday party tied to the tops of the chairs around the kitchen table. They were dragging on the floor, the spells used to keep them afloat having worn off a few days previously. Streamers still lined the wood paneled walls. They were red and blue, Violet's favorite colors.

As Violet sat on the couch she'd tossed her jacket on, her legs curled up underneath her, James moved to take the rocking chair that sat across from her. She still hadn't said anything in response to his question. She just sat there, studying him for a few moments before she found her voice.

"We showed up right around the time you said what an arse you've been. And that you've been banging on our door every night this week, which I can personally attest to. No one can say you're not persistent."

James held back a smile.

"But I'm tired of you making promises you can't keep."

James cringed at her harsh yet accurate words.

"I know."

That sat in silence for a few minutes.

"Well, what you didn't hear then, was that I was out with my teammates the other night."

"You've hung out with Reed before," she was quick to fire back.

"It wasn't Reed."

She looked pleasantly surprised at this news.

"Really? Was it that female Chaser with the flaming red hair and the dark chocolate eyes?" she asked sarcastically.

"No, actually," he responded in kind. "It was the other two male Chasers. We went for dinner and got to talking so we grabbed drinks after. They're really fantastic, Vi. You'd love them."

Violet didn't say anything, but she wore a soft smile. After a few minutes of silence, she got up and headed to the kitchen. Aside from the bedrooms and bathroom, it was a studio style flat. It was very open. Every room flowed into the other, and the kitchen was behind the chair James sat in, so he had to turn to watch her grab a kettle and put water on to boil.

"Tea?"

James got up and joined her in the kitchen.

"Yes please. Thanks."

She worked silently and James watched as she grabbed them both mugs and prepared the tea to steep. Pushing her too much to forgive him or talk at all was something he didn't want to risk, so he waited. She handed him his cup of tea and returned to the couch, this time sitting on one end and indicating for him to take the other.

"You know," she said as he sat beside her. "One of the only reasons I went on that date tonight was because I knew you'd be here. I didn't expect you to stick around this late, though."

James's heart had plummeted for a moment when she confirmed it was a date, but at least she'd been thinking about him, right?

"Who was that, by the way?"

Violet blushed slightly as she sipped her tea.

"I met him at work. He's in the year above me in the residency program at Mungo's."

James nodded, unsure what to say.

"Seemed nice."

They sat in awkward silence for a moment. James wasn't the best at confronting things and being apologetic, but he knew this was on him.

"I know I haven't been around much, Violet. And I know I've broken promises. I've been a bit of a prat lately and I want to make it up to you. However I can."

After a moment, Violet reached out and placed her hand on his knee, giving it a pat and an affectionate squeeze.

"I know. You did stay outside my flat the past three nights. That's got to count for something."

James grinned as relief flooded through him. He gripped the hand that she had resting on his leg and pulled her into his side. She rested her head on his shoulder as he put his arm around her.

"I've missed you."

She said it in such a soft voice that James wasn't sure he'd heard her, but he'd felt her say it against his shoulder. He smiled and kissed the top of her head.

"I missed you, too."

They sat there in comfortable silence for awhile, before James couldn't help but ask about her date once again.

"So, how was it?"

"How was what?" Violet asked, sounding relaxed and tired.

"Your date."

It took her so long to respond he thought she might have fallen asleep.

"It was fine," she finally said, sounding more alert than she had before. "He's nice. Seemed keen on taking me out again. We'll see, though."

"Why so hesitant?" James asked.

Violet shrugged against him.

"I can't come up with anything to say about him other than he's a healer in training, a Ravenclaw, and owns a cat he's rather fond of."

James chuckled at how disappointed she sounded.

"So he's a dud. There are plenty of other fish in the sea."

Violet yawned and rubbed her eyes.

"I suppose you're right."

James stroked her hair as she started to doze in and out of sleep. His thoughts were running a mile a minute. His former grief over seeing her with another man had passed, but now the fear of what he could ruin if he ever tried to make things happen between them had sprung back up in it's place. He had felt daring and willing to take a risk if she had shown any signs of making a go of it with this bloke a few moments ago. He might have tried to convince her not to. But now he had her back. He would just enjoy the moment and let the rest of it come when it would.

James had started to drift off too, when the front door banged open and the sound of giggling voices and rustling clothes filled the flat. He slowly opened his eyes and saw two people wrapped tightly around each other slowing making their way across the room. Seeing clothes start to fly, he spoke up.

"Hey, Rox?"

His cousin let out a yelp in surprise and almost lost her footing before Lorcan caught her around the waist. James quickly shushed them so they wouldn't wake Violet, who was thoroughly passed out against him. The couple composed themselves and Lorcan picked up their jackets and his shirt that now lay on the floor.

"You two made up?" Roxanne asked, grinning like a fool.

James nodded, smiling along with her.

"Want me to help -?" Roxanne gestured to Violet's sleeping form.

"No need," James waived her off, rising from the couch and gently lifting Violet off it. "I'll see she gets where she needs to go. You two go have your fun."

He gave them a wink as Roxanne flushed and Lorcan grabbed her hand, pulling her to her bedroom and shooting James a quick thanks.

James chuckled before heading to Violet's room and placing her in her bed. He stood over her for a few minutes, taking in the peaceful look on her face before placing a quick kiss to the top of her head. He left her to get her sleep, hopeful that things would be better. That he would be better. One thing for certain, he was determined to try.

A/N: I think this is my favorite chapter in this story so far. Whether you think James is an idiot or everyone’s being too hard on him, be kind and leave a review! Happy Reading :)

Chapter 5: There's a Party
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As the fall went on, things were sublime. Training at St. Mungo's was going well - Violet was one of the top five in her class - and James had started coming around more often. He had continued to bond with his teammates and a few of them had visited his and Fred's place a couple of times. James was right - they were decent blokes with good heads on their shoulders. He'd even gotten Gemma Talley to come along a few times and she had gotten on swimmingly with the rest of them once she'd opened up. She had a bit of a snarky attitude, but Violet appreciated her even more for it. It reminded her of Ginny Potter. The thought made her slightly insecure at first. It wasn't that unheard of for a Potter to fall for a redhead, but James seemed to be keeping his distance. Especially since Peter Walker made it obvious to everyone but Gemma that he was interested. His flirting skills were subpar so it wasn't easy to overlook if you weren't the one he was failing at wooing. Violet figured Gemma wasn't used to the attention, being the youngest after five overprotective brothers.

By the time the holidays rolled around, Violet was in high spirits. She loved Christmas and the promise of a new year - the ability to start over if you needed to. The Potter's had a rather large friends and family gathering every year on Christmas Eve, followed by a rather raucous snowball fight at midnight. It had been started by Teddy, James, and Fred the first year Teddy had been home from Hogwarts for the holidays, so it was a rather long standing tradition. Violet had only taken part in it once she was Hogwarts age.

As Violet got ready to head to the party that evening, she felt a rush of excitement; a tingling in her extremities and butterflies in her stomach. Things had started to shift between her and James ever since that night she had finally let him into the flat. He was over at least once a week, and there were even times when she'd go and hang out with him and his teammates. Fred and Lysander would occasionally come too, but there were times when it was just her. It made her feel special. She knew they weren't dates, but she was thankful to have her best friend back. And they'd grown closer. They always had been, but there were more long conversations now, more affectionate touches, and even a few slightly charged moments that had yet to develop into anything.

This would be the night, she told herself as she slipped on her heels and prepared to floo to the Potter's. Something had been building between them and she felt fit to burst with anticipation. Roxanne had already left with Lorcan, and Violet was going slightly early as well to make sure Ginny didn't need any last minute help. James had offered to come and get her, but she'd told him that was silly. He was staying at his parents' house for awhile over the holidays so she'd convinced him it made more sense for her to just meet him there.

She flooed in to find various Potters and Weasleys running around making last minute preparations. Al was hanging lights above the entryway, with what looked like help from Hugo, although he didn't seem to be doing much. Lily was running around with her hair half curled, picking up last minute items that were scattered around the living room as Fred maneuvered around her, hanging sprigs of mistletoe in random places. Rose was with Roxanne, putting last minute touches on the rather tall tree that stood by the fireplace Violet had just flooed into. She could hear the clanging of dishes coming from the kitchen.

"Hey, Violet," Rose greeted.

"James is upstairs still," Roxanne told her. Violet's heart fluttered for a moment in anticipation and she willed herself not to blush.

"I'm looking for Ginny, actually. I'm willing to bet that's her banging around in the kitchen?"

Rose nodded and Roxy threw a nervous look towards the door across the room that lead to the kitchen as another loud bang sounded.

Violet headed over towards the kitchen with a yell of good luck from her flatmate and dodged a running Lily in the process. Considering the noises she'd heard just moments before, the room actually seemed to be in immaculate shape. The counters were clean, save for a few cakes that appeared to be waiting for the appropriate time to be served, and the sink was empty of all dirty dishes. The reason for the clanging became obvious when she noticed Ginny picking up various metal bowls off the floor.

"Need any help?" Violet asked, walking over towards a kneeling Ginny. She looked up at the young girl in relief.

"Violet, thank Merlin. Have you got your wand on you?"

Violet produced it and Ginny stood, opening a cabinet that was above the counter. With a flick of her wand, the bowls soared to their proper shelf.

"Thank you," Ginny said with a sigh as she closed the cabinet door. "Lily has been cleaning like a fiend and I think she accidentally stashed my wand somewhere."

"Did you try asking someone to summon it?" Violet asked. Ginny smacked her forehead and cringed in embarrassment.

"Would you mind?"

Violet chuckled and summoned Ginny's wand. They heard a few startled shrieks and yelps from the living room before it flew through the door and into Violet's outstretched hand.

"Once again, thank you," Ginny said, taking the wand from Violet. "I'd forget where my own head was if I could take it off."

"Is there anything else that needs done?" Violet asked as Ginny removed her apron and hung it on a hook in the pantry.

"We are all set! I think once everyone else finishes up with their tasks we will be good to go. We just need to uncover the food in the dining room once everyone gets here."

The other guests began to arrive about fifteen minutes later. The Longbottom's were the first to show up, followed by the rest of the Scamanders and Finnigans, who had little Ian Thomas with them. Violet's younger siblings and their friend were quick to crowd around her and show off their fancy new Christmas outfits. Seven year-old twins Sean and Bella were wearing the same deep forest green in the forms of a necktie and a dress, respectively, and Ian had on a shiny gold bow tie, while four-year-old Layla was in a bright red dress, slightly more so than the deep red of Violet's. Bobby had hardly said hello to her before wandering off to find his friends.

"Where's James? I want to show him my new cards." Sean pulled a stack of brand new Quidditch playing cards out of his pocket and handed them to Violet. They were all Puddlemere players.

"I thought you were a Falcons fan?" she asked her brother.

"Well, I still am. But James will play for Puddlemere one day."

"So that means you have to cheer for them, too?"

Sean nodded as Violet handed him back his cards, a bemused look on her face. His eyes lit up as he took them, his gaze focused across the room.

"James!" he yelled before running past her and heading towards the stairs that lead to the second level of the house, Ian following closely behind. She turned and saw James making his way down, the little boys running halfway up to meet him and Sean's cards clutched tightly in his hands. Violet watched with a smile as her best friend humored her little brother, bending down to look closely at the cards with Sean and Ian.

She was distracted by the sound of her sister's voice.

"How come Ian would rather play with Sean than me?"

Violet looked at Bella to see she was also watching the boys on the stairs.

"Well, they're both boys. They probably have more in common."

Bella gave her older sister an annoyed look. She had a lot of spunk in her for someone who barely weighed fifty pounds.

"But I like Quidditch too. I like playing out in our backwoods. They do that together all the time."

Violet squatted down so she was eye-level with her little sister.

"Sometimes it takes awhile for boys to want to hang out with girls. You know how I'm friends with James and Fred?"

Bella nodded.

"Well, even though our families saw each other a lot when I was your age, we never really became friends till I went to Hogwarts."

Bella looked at her older sister with hopeful eyes.

"Really?"

"Really. So just give it time," Violet said with a wide smile. Bella hugged her before running off, leaving an amused Violet who hoped she'd given the proper advice. Standing and looking around the room, Violet spotted Fred and Lysander making their way towards her.

"You clean up well, Finnigan," Fred said, grabbing her hand and twirling her around. Violet let out a cheerful laugh.

"You're not so bad yourself, Weasley." She tweaked his bright red bowtie.

"What about me? I'm a right sight better than this git," Lysander teased, earning an elbow in the gut from Fred.

"You look brilliant too, Ly," Violet said, giving him a condescending pat on the cheek. Her eyes couldn't help but slip back to James, who was now being fussed over by his mother. He looked very nice tonight. She was sure there was a more flowery way to describe it, but she refrained from letting her mind run away with her. She didn't fancy mentally gagging at her own fanciful thoughts.

"I doubt she thinks either of us look as dapper as our lovely Quidditch playing friend, though."

She snapped her eyes away from James and tried very hard to appear innocent. She silently cursed Fred for being far more observant than she appreciated.

"Don't be silly. I like each of you just as much as the next."

Lysander guffawed and Fred gave a snort as he grabbed a biscuit off a tray of sweets that floated by.

"Does she think she's fooling anyone but herself?" Fred said in a fake whisper to Lysander, who continued to laugh. Violet rolled her eyes and blushed.

"Will you two stop being so ridiculous?"

"I know where all the mistletoe is if you'd like me to stage a little chance encounter."

"Shut up, Fred. He's heading over." Violet tried to shush both of them as they continued to laugh.

"What did I miss? Did they start in on the Christmas punch already?" James chuckled and glanced at Violet before doing a rather comical double take and looking her up and down.

"Wow, Finnigan. You clean up well."

Violet blushed but rolled her eyes.

"And you're as original as they come."

James looked at her questioningly.

"Fred said the same thing," she clarified

James gave his cousin an annoyed look. Fred grinned cheekily at him, taking a bite out of his biscuit.

"As much of a laugh as you all are," James said sarcastically, his eyes drifting towards the front door. "I do believe my date just arrived. So you'll have to excuse me."

"Your what?" Violet asked in shock as he made to walk away.

"My date," he said, gesturing towards the front door. He walked away and Violet turned to watch him approach a beautiful young girl with long black hair who was having her coat removed by Louis. Violet could only stare and will herself to remain calm.

"That's awkward."

She turned away from the door just in time to see Fred smack Lysander in the stomach and give her an apologetic look.

"Did you two know about this?" she asked.

"No," Fred insisted. "No we didn't. We're not so heartless as to tease you about him right before his date shows up. On purpose, at least."

Lysander nodded in agreement. "Rotten luck, that was. Sorry Violet."

Violet forced a grin and waved off their apologies.

"Don't be stupid. You've nothing to apologize for. Besides," she looked over her shoulder to see James supplying his date with a drink while she giggled at something he'd just said, before turning back towards Fred and Lysander. "It's not like we're dating or anything, right?"

The two boys shared uncertain looks. They weren't the best with complicated feelings and relationships.

"You don't have to say anything. Let's just forget about it. Food?"

"Food," they agreed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"I can't believe you didn't tell me sooner," Violet hissed at her flatmate in an undertone. "How long has this been going on and how did I miss it?"

"You switched to nights! It wasn't that hard to hide it from you."

"So you were hiding it from me?" Violet crossed her arms and looked at Roxanne accusingly, who sighed and rubbed the back of her neck.

"Not intentionally, at first."

They were standing in the second floor bathroom. Violet had headed upstairs - needing some space after watching James's date spoon feed him pudding - when she'd heard a shriek in the bathroom and had rushed to investigate, only to burst in on her best friend sitting on the counter with her boyfriend between her legs, and no doubts as to what they were doing. Violet had let out a yelp and slammed the door shut just in time to see them both turn towards her with wide eyes. Lorcan had opened the door a few minutes later, given Violet an apologetic smile, and then returned to the party, leaving Roxanne to speak with her best friend.

"The first night it happened was when you and James made up. You remember that night?"

Violet nodded.

"You passed out on the couch before we got home and James put you in your room when we showed up."

"So I was in the house the night you lost your virginity?"

Roxanne blushed and nodded in affirmation. Violet sighed and put the lid down on the toilet, sitting on it while Roxanne leaned her hip against the counter and faced her.

"I get it's your life and you don't owe me anything, but that was the end of August. I didn't start working nights until beginning of October."

"Well, after that first night we didn't do it again for a while. I sort of wanted to wait until after I told you, actually," Roxanne admitted. "It felt weird that such an important step had happened in my life and I hadn't talked to you about it. But then I just never did and you started working nights and he'd be over at ours and I'd be over at his and...well…" she trailed off, looking guiltily at her friend.

Violet gave her a small smile.

"I understand, ok? I do. It's personal. But we tell each other everything. So is there another reason I literally had to burst in on you in order to find out?"

Roxanne took a deep breath and moved to sit on the edge of the bath in front of Violet.

"I was scared. Sex changes things, and talking to you about it would've made it seem that much more real. I was worried it would affect my relationship with Lorcan so I guess I was sort of waiting. I wanted to be sure we'd make it."

"Rox," Violet said, reaching out to grip her friend's hand. "Wouldn't it have been harder if you two had broken up and you'd turned to me but I didn't have all the necessary information?"

Roxanne let out a slight chuckle.

"I suppose you're right. But it seems like I had nothing to worry about. Things are better than ever."

Violet smiled at the blissful look on Roxanne's face. She was truly happy and truly in love.

They were interrupted by a sharp rap on the open door.

"Time for toasts," Lily told them, before turning to head back down the hallway. They heard her knocking on another door and hollering the same message as they stood to leave, but Violet kept a hold on Roxanne's hand.

"Next time something big goes down, talk to me, ok? I'd like to be able to be there for my best friend."

Roxanne smiled and hugged her.

"As long as you promise to do the same, ok?"

Violet agreed and they moved out into the hallway to head back downstairs.

"So, do I get any dirty details? Or-"

There was a loud bang as the door to James's room burst open and he came tumbling out into the hallway in front of them with his date in tow. They were laughing as he held her around the waist. His tie was missing and her hair was mussed up. James's eyes widened as he caught sight of Violet and his cousin. The girl calmed down and stepped away from James when she realized they had company.

Violet couldn't help herself. She glared at James and he tried to give her a friendly smile, but her features only hardened.

"Sorry," his date said. "We were just-"

"It's time for toasts," Violet interrupted her, turning to look at the girl, a blank look on her face. "Didn't you hear?"

Without giving James another glance, she hurried past them and down the stairs, Roxanne trailing behind her.

"Vi-"

She spun to face Roxanne once she reached the bottom of the stairs.

"Don't say anything, Rox. Just don't."

Her best friend gave her a sympathetic look and nodded before heading into the great room to find her family. Violet took a deep breath and steadied herself. She followed after Roxanne as she heard James and his date making their way downstairs. When she entered the room, everyone was already circling up. This was a traditional part of the Christmas Eve party at the Potter's. They would all gather around and a handful of people would offer toasts and sentiments. Her father, Percy Weasley, and Ron Weasley had been the ones to offer toasts last year, so it was likely to be different people this time. She was pretty sure they had some type of roster figured out, but she'd never given it much thought. This had been the boring part of the evening when she was growing up, but she appreciated it more now. Now that she knew more about what her parent's and all of their friends had gone through. She moved over to join her family and scooped her sleepy little sister into her arms, taking her place beside her mother.

"Having a nice night? You disappeared for a while," her mother said. Violet rocked Layla back and forth as the little girl held her around the neck.

"Just talking with Roxanne. Needed a little break from all the people."

Her mother nodded as Harry Potter called for everyone's attention.

"I want to thank everyone for coming, as always. I feel like this party grows each year, so thanks as well to my lovely wife for doing most of the hard work." Everyone laughed and gave a cheers to Mrs. Potter, who raised her champagne flute in acknowledgement, smiling fondly at her husband.

"Anyway, it's time for toasts! Turns out it's my turn to be put on the spot this year so I'll start things off, now that we're all here." He threw an annoyed look across the room as James slipped into the back, his date standing awkwardly at his side.

"Each year that rolls around, I'd like to be able to say that I'm more and more thankful. Unfortunately, I'm human, and I often get caught up in the frustrations of day to day life and lose sight of what's important. That's why I'm grateful for days like today. They allow all of us to take a step back and look around and truly be thankful for those around us and all that we have. So yes, on this day each year, I'm more thankful than the one before, but here's to being more thankful every day, rather than just the special ones."

There was a chorus of cheers and everyone who had a drink raised it. Next it was Professor Longbottom who stepped forward.

"I know you're all aware that it's been difficult for us lately, what with my grandmother's health beginning to fail, but I think I can speak for my entire family when I say this has been one of the best seasons of our lives. You all have done so much for us. You've been so supportive and helpful and we're thankful to have every last one of you. So thank you, and I don't have anything else to say."

Everyone chuckled and gave their cheers to Neville as well. Finally, it was George Weasley who wrapped things up.

"Well I'm not thankful for a single one of you."

Everyone laughed at the sarcastic comment that was so very George. He smiled at them all before continuing.

"In all seriousness though, you lot are some of the best people I know. So here's to friends, those here and those gone. Here's to friends becoming family." He gave a nod of his head towards Teddy and Victoire, who were both smiling brightly. "And here's to family. We will always miss the ones we've lost, but forever look forward to the future they sacrificed for, and cherish the moments we have together. Cheers."

Violet smiled and kiss the top of her sister's head as everyone raised their glasses for a final time and downed their champagne.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

An hour later, the party began to die down and the families with younger children began to prepare to leave, Violet's included.

"You can bring your brother home, yeah?" her father asked as he zipped up Sean's coat.

"Sure Da."

"And yer staying over as well to be with us Christmas mornin?"

"We've covered all of this half a dozen times, Seamus. Let the girl get back to her party."

Violet's mother gave her an exasperated smile and a hug, her youngest child bundled up in her coat and sound asleep in her mother's arms. Her father rolled his eyes and kissed the top of Violet's head before ushering Sean and Bella out of the house. Standing by the door after seeing her family off, she also said farewell to the Longbottoms and the Scamanders as a lot of the other parents were leaving as well. The older kids would all be sticking around for another hour to have their traditional midnight snowball fight.

"Wonderful toast, Professor," she said with a cheeky grin at her head of house. He blushed slightly but gave her a confident smile.

"I appreciate it, Miss Finnigan. Better than the slightly tipsy one your father gave last year."

Violet laughed before turning to bid farewell to the Thomas's as well, a sleepy Ian holding his father's hand, and a sound asleep two-year-old Betsy in her mother's arms.

By the time everyone who wasn't staying for the snowball fight was gone, they only had half an hour before midnight. Violet offered to help Ginny clear the food from the dining room table as the others went to change into their snow gear.

"You can pile all of those onto one plate and just stack the rest of them," Ginny said as she levitated a bowl of punch into the kitchen, leaving Violet alone in the dining room. As she reflected, she realized the night hadn't been terrible. She'd had a good time catching up with Dominique Weasley and Eva Wood, who were now in their seventh year at Hogwarts and she hadn't been able to see since they'd been back over the holidays. She got to talk with Rose and Al as well. She had a good relationship with all of the Potter's and saw Al as another younger brother. Lily had even pulled her aside at one point to pick her brain about a boy problem she was having.

She'd expertly avoided James all night. There were a few times before their encounter in the hallway where he looked like he was going to approach her and introduce her to his date, but she'd managed to avoid him each time. After the hallway incident, he'd tried to catch her a couple times as well, without his date in tow. Had she overreacted by getting angry with him? Maybe. But the shock of seeing something she never wanted to see had temporarily destroyed most of her emotional barriers. She had no desire for him to question her about it. She'd had enough heart-to-hearts for one evening.

"Hey, Violet."

She looked up from her shuffling around of desserts to see James standing in the doorway of the dining room, already changed into his snow gear. She ignored him and went back to her task.

"Can I talk to you?"

She stacked the last few plates and picked them up and began to move towards the kitchen. He was quick though, and managed to beat her to to kitchen door, barring her way.

"Can you at least tell me what's wrong?"

"Shouldn't you be with your date?"

His eyebrows rose at her question.

"She went home. Is there a problem?"

Violet assumed a mocking mask of innocence.

"Wrong? No, of course not. What could possibly be wrong? Tonight was fantastic, really. I especially loved the part where you offered to pick me up, leading me to believe we'd get to spend the evening together, only to find that you had someone else you were planning to do that with."

James frowned at her.

"You ignored me all night. It's not like I tried to ditch you completely."

She gave him a scornful look.

"You know what James, nevermind. Just forget about it. It's fine. Friends are allowed to bring dates to things. Roxanne and Lorcan came together. It would have been fine if Ly or Fred had brought dates. Hell, I doubt you'd have even batted an eye if I had. So why should I care? It's not like we're dating or anything. I'm just one of your best friends. You're at perfectly liberty to do what you want, just like I am. So let's just forget that I was in a bit of a strop because my evening didn't go exactly how I thought it would, ok?"

He just stared at her for a few moments and she averted her eyes from his penetrating gaze when she began to feel uncomfortable.

"Will you let me through, please?" she asked in a timid voice. He awkwardly cleared his throat and she glanced up to see him looking at the ceiling. She followed his eyeline and groaned. Some of Fred's mistletoe was hanging above the kitchen doorway, directly over the two of them. She looked back at James and he met her gaze. His head dipped slightly and he held a question in his eyes. There was that charged atmosphere again. The one that had been there more often than not the past month. It made her heart flutter for a moment, but she eventually pulled slightly away and gave him a blank look that was tinged with a small amount of regret.

"To bad for you I wasn't your date for the evening."

His arms dropped from the doorframe at her words and she pushed past him, shoving the door open and rushing to set the heavy stack of plates down on the kitchen counter. She looked around the room to find that Ginny wasn't there as she'd hoped she'd be. Taking a deep breath, Violet slowly turned around to face the doorway where James stood, only to find him gone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A/N: Sorry it's been so long since I updated this one! I've been sitting on this one for a while because I don't have another chapter written yet, and I usually like to have one in the works at least. I do know where it is all heading so hopefully it won't be a horrible long delay. Looking forward to your reviews!
Happy Reading :)

Chapter 6: They Do Some Talking
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Violet had successfully avoided James since Christmas. It hadn’t been that difficult since he was avoiding her as well. While she still felt like she had a right to be upset, she also knew that she’d been more than somewhat out of line.

They had no understanding. He’d given her no solid reason to believe that she should expect anything beyond friendship from him. Had she thought things were heading that direction? Sure, but thinking back on it all now, she reasoned with herself that everything that had happened between them that led her to believe that he was interested could be chalked up to misinterpretation on her end. It was unfair of her to assume that just because she had a good friendship with a boy, he must be interested in her as more than a friend.

James had always been friendly. How many times had she seen girls at school embarrass themselves because they thought he was interested when he was only being kind to them? When she really thought about it, she realized James never had any issues telling a girl that he fancied exactly how he felt. Surely he would have done the same with her by now if she meant more to him than just a friend.

But he had acted like he wanted to kiss her under the mistletoe, hadn’t he? Why did things have to be so confusing and complicated? Why couldn’t it be simple, like when they were kids and the only thing that mattered was who won the race to the lake? Or who could get the furthest into the forest before getting too scared and running back out? Or who could sneak up on Fang, jump on his back, and stay on longest? She missed those times; when pranks and laughs were all that mattered.

She’d left the Christmas party before the snowball fight and spent New Year’s Eve babysitting for her parents and the Thomas’s, allowing the two married couples to go out for the evening. It had been a nice distraction from everything else. Usually, she and her brother Bobby would spend New Year’s Eve at the party George and Angelina usually threw, but she wasn’t eager for a repeat of the previous party’s events, even though it would cause people to ask questions. She hadn’t missed their New Year’s Eve party since before her Hogwarts days.

She’d even been avoiding Roxanne. More proof that she knew she’d overreacted. Normally, she would have gone back to their flat after Christmas, but she’d stayed with her family through the new year.

Training at Mungo’s started back up the day after New Year’s, and she arrived home that evening more exhausted than she had in awhile to find her flatmate waiting for her. Roxanne tossed aside the book she was reading and quirked her eyebrow at Violet, who sighed and let her hair down, running her fingers through it to relieve the tension headache the day had given her.

“Where’ve you been?”

“I was staying with my family,” Violet said with a noncommittal shrug as she kicked off her shoes before collapsing on one of their arm chairs.

“And avoiding the rest of us?”

Violet sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m not quite happy with James yet. Plus, I feel kind of bad about how I acted as well. Have you seen him?”

“We’re not talking about James right now but yes, now you mention it, he’s rather confused and not very happy with you.” Roxanne continued to frown at Violet. “We’re talking about the fact that you are messing with a lot of relationships with the way you’re behaving.”

Violet’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” Roxanne said, a bite in her words. “I know how you feel, but I’m not allowed to tell James so I can’t give him a straight answer when he asks why you’re so upset. The boys are all confused because you always deny everything to them whenever they mention your feelings for their best friend, yet the way you acted at the party seems to suggest otherwise. And don’t get me started on how this has affected James.”

Violet wasn’t having it. She rolled her eyes and went to the kitchen.

“Tea? Maybe it’ll calm you down.”

She saw Roxanne stand up from the corner of her eye.

“Don’t you care at all about how your insecurities affect the rest of us?”

Violet slammed the kettle down on the stove and turned to face her friend

“This isn’t about you, Rox! Don’t you get that? I may have been stupid and misguided to think something was happening between me and James, but I can’t help how I feel now and I won’t make excuses or apologize for emotions that I have no control over.”

“I’m not asking you to apologize for that,” Roxanne assured her, frustration lacing her words. “It’s about how you acted, Vi. James told us what you said and while I understand, I’m the only one who knows how you feel, so to everyone else it doesn’t make sense.”

Violet rolled her eyes as the guilt started to sink in.

“Plus, they’re blokes. They don’t really get subtlety.”

Violet let out a chortle while Roxanne’s mouth twitched into a smirk.

“You’re right,” Violet finally allowed. “And I’ve been feeling pretty horrible about how I acted. But come on. James will get over it soon enough.”

She went back to putting the kettle on to boil and heard her roommate sigh as she pulled out one of the chairs at their kitchen table. Violet busied herself with preparing a cup of tea for each of them - ginger for her and jasmine for Roxanne - delaying the continuation of their conversation for as long as possible.

“He might get over it eventually,” Roxanne said when Violet finally sat down across from her, warm mugs of tea in front of each of them. “But is that how you want this to go? Do you want to set a precedent where you can just say anything to each other and assume the other will eventually just let it go?”

“Of course not,” Violet said. “I’m just bloody terrified of what I’ll have to say to him when we inevitably hash this out.”

Roxanne gave her a puzzled look. “Why?”

“Think about it, Rox,” Violet reasoned with her. “He’s going to ask me all the questions he’s been asking you about why I acted the way I did, and you’ve been unable to answer them all without giving away how I feel. There’s no way I’ll be able to do the same.”

Roxanne cringed. “Yeah, got to admit, that looks a little bleak.”

“You think? My only chance to get out of this with a friendship in tact is to lie, which seems completely counterintuitive.”

“What excuse would you even give?” Roxanne asked, sounding rightfully skeptical.

“No clue. Which is why it’s taken me this long to talk to him.”

Roxanne gave a pessimistic nod and took a sip of her tea.

“You do realize that you’re going to have to go to his birthday party in a few weeks, right? After the stink you made about him missing yours.”

“Don’t remind me.”

Roxanne chuckled before getting up to pour herself another cup of tea, a contemplative look on her face.

“May I give you some unsolicited advice?”

Violet gave her friend a warm smile. “Would it stop you if I said no?”

Roxanne chuckled and shook her head, moving to sit back down.

“Go on, then,” Violet said with a sigh, setting down her now empty mug and giving her friend her full attention. Roxanne gave a shrug as if her advice was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Tell him the truth.”

“WHAT?!”

Roxanne laughed at the horrified look on Violet’s face.

“Come on, Vi. At this point in time, you might as well. Your feelings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the only thing they’re doing right now is pushing him away from you.”

“That’s not true,” Violet argued. “Things had been fine for months before my emotions went on a rampage. After we talk, he’ll probably be so thrilled that things are back to normal that I doubt he’ll ask many questions.”

Roxanne let out an aggravated sigh and ran a hand over her tired face. “Fine. Do whatever you think is best. Just don’t come crying to me when it blows up in your face.”


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“After the hard time she gave me about missing her birthday, she better be here today.”

“I thought you two still weren’t talking?” Lysander hollered from the living room, his voice strained as he reached to hang a streamer from the top of a window in James and Fred’s flat.

“Doesn’t matter,” James said with determination, coming to stand in the kitchen doorway. “And is there a reason you’re doing this without magic?”

Lysander paused in his task before pulling his wand from his back pocket and tapping the streamer, securing it with a sticking charm. He hopped down off the chair he was standing on and lazily flicked his wand. The rest of the streamers started magically attaching themselves to various places around the flat.

“What if she thinks you’re still mad and you don’t want her to come?”

“Oh, I’m still mad. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want us to make things right.” James turned back into the kitchen and continued his task of preparing the drinks for the party. “Roxanne said she’d do what she could to make sure she came.”

Lysander let out an appreciative snigger as he poured himself a drink. “If anyone can make the impossible happen, it’s Roxanne.”

“Have you two seen my brother?” Roxanne asked as she entered the kitchen, her arms laden with boxes full of various scraps of joke products. “He was supposed to clear out his work space so we could put more chairs out.”

“He was working on something at the shop, but he should be here soon,” James said while checking his watch. “I think he was working on something for tonight.”

“Ok,” she said, struggling under the heavy boxes. “I’m just tossing these in his room then.”

She turned to leave the kitchen and James quickly set out the last of the cups before following after her.

“Hey, Rox. Any word on Violet?” he asked in an undertone. His cousin gave him a knowing look.

“She has training late tonight since they had a bunch of meetings this morning. She said she’d try and come after, but I wouldn’t expect her any earlier than ten, if she comes at all.”

James gave a grunt of annoyance as Roxanne made it to her brothers bedroom. She unceremoniously dropped the boxes onto his floor before turning to face her cousin, an understanding look on her face.

“Look, I know this is a little more about you than it is about her, but you know she has a hard time with confronting things. The more time she has, the more gracious she’ll be. It’s probably unfair to ask you to be patient with her, but you want to fix this, right?”

He gave a noncommittal shrug, the hopeful look in his eyes giving him away.

“Then give her time. It’s better if she’s ready to apologize, rather than you having to force it out of her.”

James nodded, begrudgingly admitting she was right.

“Damn, Roxanne. How’d you get so smart?”

She laughed and walked past him into the hallway.

“One of us had to get Mum’s brains.”

He turned to follow closely behind her, smirking as he spoke quietly in her ear.

“If you’re so smart, how come you and Lorcan still haven’t told your brothers you’re having sex?”

She whirled around so quickly he had to duck so her hair wouldn’t hit him in the face.

“What?” she asked in a harsh voice, casting her gaze around to make sure no one was listening. Lysander was still in the kitchen and Fred wasn’t back yet, so his comment went unheard by anyone else.

“Not that it’s any of my business,” James said defensively, “but can you imagine how much they’ll flip when they inevitably find out?”

“Siblings don’t have to tell each other everything, you know. Did you tell Al or Teddy when you lost your virginity?”

“Al isn’t my twin brother,” James argued. “And no, not right away. But eventually, yeah. Granted it was because I regretted it and wasn’t sure how to handle that and Teddy was the obvious person to talk to, but this is even bigger than that.”

“How?” she asked, growing exasperated. “How is this bigger than that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because you two love each other? And you each have a person that’s closer to you than a normal sibling would be? But don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll both understand that you didn’t trust them enough to tell them.”

Roxanne crossed her arms looking disgruntled. “I don’t appreciate sarcasm.”

James just stared her down, waiting for her to come up with a worthy counter argument.

“I didn’t even tell Violet, you know.”

James eyebrows rose in surprise at this news.

“She walked in on us at the Christmas Eve party.”

James chuckled, imagining the scene. “And was she mad?”

Realizing her distraction tactic hadn’t worked, Roxanne gave a frustrated sigh.

“I wouldn’t say mad. Upset, maybe, that I hadn’t told her I’d taken such an important step in my relationship. But she understood that it was my decision to make about who I tell and when. And you should too.”

She turned to walk away and James called out to her. She paused at the door to the kitchen and waited for him to speak.

“You’re right. It’s your life and it’s your decision. Just, think about what I said, ok?”

She gave him a tight lipped smile and nodded, before joining Lysander in the kitchen. James could hear her admonishing him for already drinking half a pitcher of butterbeer as the floo lit up and Fred spun into the grate.

“I did it! Took me ages, but it finally works.”

Fred’s arms were laden with what looked like a tangle of cords and a variety of light bulbs.

“What the hell is that?” James asked.

“This, my friend, is a genius medley of wizarding and muggle technology. And it’s going to make this party legendary.”

He dumped his burden into the middle of the floor, the disturbance causing Ly and Rox to come out of the kitchen.

“What on earth-”

Roxanne didn’t have time to finish her question before Fred started twirling his wand in the air. The lights began to hover and moved up above their heads, fanning out in a random, yet organized pattern. They were connected by cords that looked unlike any that James had seen before. Eventually, they all stilled when they reached their intended destinations. Fred flicked his wand again and the flat lights went out, leaving them in darkness. James could only assume that he waved his wand again as the lights on the ceiling began to turn on, and he realized that the cords connecting them were lights themselves. They were a warm, amber color, and James couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed.

“Is that all?” he asked his cousin.

“Nope,” Fred said with a grin. He flicked his wand and they began subtly changing colors. He flicked it again and they began changing faster. Again, and they flashed. Again, and they strobed. Again, and they became as bright as their normal lighting and stayed that way.

“That’s not even the best part,” Fred said enthusiastically, walking over to James with what looked like some sort of remote control in his hand.

“Stick out your wrist,” he told James, who obeyed with slight trepidation. He attached what James now saw was a wristband with a small black box attached to it to his wrist.

“This allows whoever wears it to change it with a mere thought. It’s basically nonverbal magic, mixed with muggle voice technology.” He grinned at James, who merely looked between Fred and the contraption on his wrist with uncertainty.

“So, what, if I want something to go with upbeat music I just-”

The lights started strobing as soon as James had thought it. He looked at Fred who was grinning, and a matching one grew on his own face.

“And what song, pray tell, would be the most fitting for our current lighting?”

James eyes lit up with excitement as he immediately thought of the perfect song and it started playing from an unidentified source a second later.

“How the bloody hell did you do that?” Lysander hollered over the music, coming over to inspect the band on James’s wrist, Roxanne not far behind him.

“It’s basically a variation on the sonorous charm. It’s technically playing out of the wrist band, but it sounds like it’s coming from all over the flat!” Fred hollered back.

Testing it out, James thought of turning the music down, and it magically ducked itself.

“This,” he said, raising his wrist. “Is brilliant. How long have you been working on it?”

Fred gave a humble shrug. “A few months now. Mostly in my spare time. Brilliant, right?”

Lysander and James nodded as he continued to think through various moods and songs to go with it.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to market it to muggles since there’s too much magic, but if we open up a Diagon Alley store for this type of thing, it’ll be a hit.”

“Does it do anything else?” James asked.

“You can also just think of a certain mood and it’ll come up with a whole playlist of songs based on everything I’ve programmed into it, which is pretty much every song ever. And if you don’t want your thoughts getting in the way of what’s playing, just tap it with your wand and it freezes it on whatever setting you have it on. It’ll unfreeze if you tap it again.”

“Wow, that really is brilliant, Fred,” Roxanne said, sounding somewhat in awe.

“And you said you were the one that got your mum’s brains,” James teased.

“What?” Fred asked, sounding more than somewhat offended.

“We were talking about intuitive things, not practical and creative ones. I couldn’t have done this in a million years.” Roxanne’s praise appeased her brother, and he gave them all a proud smile.

“This is going to be the best party of the year so far,” he said with glee.

“It’s still January, Freddie,” James reminded him.

“Whatever. New Years was a dud since you were moping the whole time. I think it’s time we make up for it, yeah?”

James could only nod in agreement, hopeful that Violet would show up, and that this party would be ten times better than the last one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Violet could hear the music as she climbed the stairs she knew as well as her own - her heart thumping faster than the beat. She’d spent almost ten minutes standing outside in the cold at the foot of their building, debating whether or not it was wise for her to go up. Now, as she reached James and Fred’s floor, she was wishing she’d used that time to go back to her flat and change before coming here. She wore the jeans and oversized jumper she’d worn to Mungo’s that morning before changing into her healer robes, and they were really more for comfort than showing off her fashion sense or figure. She’d had the jeans since she’d stopped growing, and she couldn’t even remember where the jumper came from.

The door to their flat was open, and there were people loitering in the hallway. She recognized them all as people she’d gone to Hogwarts with and waved hello as she bravely entered the flat, disappointed that she hadn’t been granted a moment outside the door to gather her courage.

A handful of people were sitting on the couch and armchairs, which had been pushed to the side of the room and almost blocked the door so people had room to dance, which was what a large majority of the party guests were doing. There was a line down the hallway for the bathroom, and she spotted a few of James’s teammates that she had met before standing in the doorway to the kitchen. Talking to former schoolmates didn’t seem enjoyable at the moment, and she hadn’t spotted any of her friends yet, so she made her way towards the members of Puddlemere United’s reserve team.

“Finnigan! Pleasure as always,” a slightly tipsy Jacob Reed called to her as she approached.

“Pleasure is all mine, Reed,” Violet said with a chuckle. “Chip, how are you?”

The slightly more sober Quidditch player inclined his head to her in greeting.

“Care for a drink?” he asked, ushering her into the kitchen. She gave him a grateful smile and followed him towards the drink table.

“Rather lucky you lot don’t have a match this weekend,” Violet said as she poured herself some butterbeer. Chip gave a nonverbal affirmation as he poured a drink for himself.

“You should have seen Potter when we got the schedule. Embarrassing how giddy with excitement he was.”

Violet laughed fondly at the image. “He’s always been that way about his birthday. And this is the first one in awhile that we haven’t been at Hogwarts, so he’s been looking forward to not having to sneak around to have a party.”

Violet felt a twinge of guilt about missing the past month. She and James had talked about his party back before Christmas, but only in hypotheticals. She’d missed the entire planning process, which she normally had a lot of say in. He typically ran everything by her when it came to his birthday party.

“Oi! Edwards, you gotta have a look at this,” Reed said as he stumbled into the kitchen, grabbing Chip by the arm and pulling him out towards the center of the party. Violet followed after them, sipping her room temperature butterbeer.

“Look at him, the little charmer.”

Violet’s eyes had to search through the party before they found what Jacob Reed was gesturing towards. She heard Chip let out a hearty guffaw and couldn’t help but giggle herself as her eyes landed on their teammate leaning against a wall with a drink in his hand as he hovered over the shy Gemma Talley.

“Looks like Pete might actually pull this off,” Chip remarked in a surprised tone. Violet had watched the last few months as Peter Walker had tried and failed to impress his teammate. But, by the way she was coyly smiling up at him from her perch on the arm of the couch, it looked like he was finally making some progress.

“This is too good. Potter! Get your arse over here.”

Violet immediately felt her pulse start to race with nerves as Reed hollered and waved his teammate over. How had she missed him earlier? Her eyes quickly scanned the rest of the party, desperately trying to find him amidst the people and the flashing lights. It wasn’t until he was already next to Reed that she finally saw James. He was looking at his teammate and she was almost positive he hadn’t spotted her yet. She shrunk back a little so she was partially hidden behind Chip.

“Check out the love birds,” Reed said through his somewhat drunken laughter. James’s eyes traveled to where Reed was pointing. A giddy look grew on his face as he started hitting his teammate’s chest with the back of his hand in anticipation, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

“Bloody hell, he’s gonna finally do it, isn’t he?”

Chip and Reed shushed him as they all turned to watch as Peter Walker slowly bent down so he was squatting in front of Gemma Talley, who was hiding a shy grin behind her cup. They saw him reach out and rest his hand on her knee, palm up in invitation, before jerking his head towards the front door. Gemma seemed to contemplate the offer for a moment before nodding, her red curls bouncing around her face as she let a smile completely take over her features as she placed her hand in his. Peter didn’t waste a moment before gripping her hand and pulling her up to stand as he did the same, dragging her behind him as he made his way through the party goers and towards the front door.

A great cheer went up from the boys Violet was standing with.

“Get it, Walker!” James hollered after his fellow Chasers. Gemma bent her head down in embarrassment while Peter made a rude gesture over his shoulder, causing his teammates to laugh as James continued to yell suggestive comments at their retreating figures.

“Watch your mouth, Potter,” Chip admonished before gesturing to Violet. “We’ve got a lady present.”

James stopped laughing, his smile frozen on his face when he finally caught sight of Violet. She gave him a tentative wave and a smile as his started to melt off his face.

“Didn’t realize you’d shown up.”

His tone was so void of emotion that Violet had no idea how to respond, other than a simple, “Yeah.”

He nodded, looking down in his empty cup before saying he was off to grab a refill, brushing past her to get to the kitchen. James’s teammates watched him leave in confusion before turning back to look at Violet, who had her face in her empty hand.

“What’s with you two?” Reed asked rather loudly, earning a swat to the stomach from Chip. Violet sighed before looking up at the two Quidditch players.

“Long story, but I think that’s my cue to follow him.”

They both nodded, and she turned around to head back to the kitchen. She was simultaneously disappointed and thankful to find the kitchen empty aside from James and Lorcan, who was refilling a bowl of crisps. Her flatmates boyfriend looked up as she entered.

“Hey, Vi. When’d you get her?” he asked with a friendly smile.

“Maybe five minutes ago. I had to work late.”

James still hadn’t looked at her as he continued to prepare his drink. Lorcan seemed oblivious to the awkward tension between his two friends.

“Yeah, Rox told me. Glad you could make it, though. Did you see what Fred did with the lights?”

“No, not yet. Listen, Lor?”

He looked at her in question as he continued with his task, while Violet glanced anxiously at James’s profile as he seemed to be preparing another drink. She looked back at Lorcan, jerking her head in the direction of their friend.

“Can you give us a moment?”

Lorcan looked between the two of them and seemed to remember the current state of their friendship. He gave her a wink and a friendly nod before leaving the kitchen with the large bowl of crisps in his hands. James was now standing still with his hands resting on the drink table, his fingers anxiously tapping on it. His brow was wrinkled as he frowned with his head down. She slowly moved towards him till she stood next to the table as well.

“Happy Birthday,” she said with as much confidence as she could. The corner of his lip twitched, but she wasn’t sure if it was the hint of a smile or some other emotion entirely.

“Sorry I’m late,” she continued, fiddling with her now empty cup. “We had some meetings this morning about a bunch of boring administrative and procedural stuff, so training started later than normal.”

He nodded, standing up straight with his drink in his hand and taking a large swig of it.

“Listen, I don’t want to ruin your day, so I understand completely if you want to just walk away right now, but is there any chance we could talk?”

He took another drink, finishing with a smack of his lips. He kicked at the tile floor with the tip of his shoe before finally looking her in the eye. The moment lasted for a split second before he turned back towards the table, picking up the other drink he’d made and sliding it into her now empty cup. He looked at her expectantly as a few people stumbled into the kitchen, throwing her off balance. James reached out, grabbing her by the elbow to steady her, but he didn’t let go when she’d regained her balance, instead directing her out of the kitchen. He released her a few moments later, but she followed him as he made his way down the hall towards the bedrooms. She was surprised when he led her to Fred’s room instead of his own.

“There’s a balcony off Fred’s room so we won’t have to holler over the music,” he explained as he continued through Fred’s room to their destination. As soon as they were outside and he’d closed the door behind them, she cast a warming charm over the balcony to protect them from the bitter cold of January. James casually leaned on the railing, looking out over London. Feeling nervous once again, Violet moved to stand next to him.

“James, I’m really, so sorry for the part I played in all of this. I had no right to be upset with you or act the way I did and then completely ignore you for the better part of a month. I was completely out of line.”

He didn’t say anything for a few minutes as he continued to look out at the lights of the city. It had started to lightly snow, and it felt bizarre to be standing on a warm balcony as the flurries fell around them. He finally turned and faced her, confusion in his eyes.

“I just don’t understand why you were so upset. I mean…”

He looked down, swirling his drink in the bottom of his cup.

“I guess I kind of thought we’d get to spend time together during the party,” he allowed. “But you completely ignored me.”

“You had a date, James. You really thought you were going to spend your evening with me and not her?”

“I tried to introduce you and you kept running off!” he argued. “We hung out with other people plenty, and you could have been part of that. Look, it’s not like I expect us to hang out with each other exclusively whenever we see each other, but then you go out of your way to avoid me, and get all pissed with me for not spending any time with you! Don’t you get how mental that sounds?”

“Yes, James, ok? Yes, I do.” Violet said, her voice cracking with emotion as she ran her hands through her hair in aggravation. “I’m sorry. I was upset and I didn’t handle it well and you have every right to be unhappy with me.”

He sighed, rubbing his hand over his face before looking back up at her.

“I’m just still not sure why you were so upset, though.”

Violet was at war with herself. Did she do what she was best at and run from everything she desperately didn’t want to face? Or, did she take her best friend’s advice and tell the truth?

“Why’d you act like you wanted to kiss me under the mistletoe?”

Well. That was one way to go about it.

James’s cheeks turned slightly pink and he finished his drink before tossing his empty cup in the bin in the alley below them.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Violet looked at him in disbelief.

“You’re joking, right?”

He let out a frustrated moan, gripping his hair with his hands.

“What do you want from me, Violet?”

“Nothing!”

“It sure as hell doesn’t seem like it.”

Violet groaned in exasperation. “Merlin, James. We can’t keep doing this.”

“You’re right, so just tell me what it is you want from me,” he snapped at her.

“I don’t want anything from you!”

“Good, can we move on then?”

“Fine by me.”

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

They just stood there, seething at each other, neither knowing what to say. Eventually, James’s shoulders sagged in resignation and he turned to look out at the city again. The light from the street lamps were giving off enough of a glow to allow her to see his profile. He looked contemplative and confused, and she realized that he really had no clue about why she’d been so upset. She assumed she’d been transparent enough for this conversation to go a lot differently. It certainly had in her head. Her conversation with Roxanne and the week in between had given her a fresh perspective on things, and she’d realized that in his world, he had no reason to think he’d done anything wrong. James might be completely clueless about the subtle undertones that weren’t entirely platonic that existed in their friendship. As much as she wanted him to know the truth, she couldn’t bring herself to tell him when he’d be so incredibly blindsided by the revelation. So instead, she moved to stand next to him, bumping his shoulder with her own.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t around to help you plan your party.”

He gave a lazy shrug.

“S’alright. Turned out okay anyway, I think.”

She nodded, waiting to see if he’d offer up anything else.

“I heard Fred is responsible for the lights? I noticed them on our way out here. They look brilliant.”

“Yeah,” James said, pushing up his sleeve to show her a band on his wrist. “The music and the lights are all connected and I’m controlling it through here. I’ll show you how it works when we go back in.”

She grinned shyly at him. “I’d like that.”

He nodded at her and they fell into an uneasy silence. Was she supposed to apologize again? She glanced sideways at him and saw him staring at her arm. She fidgeted anxiously.

Eventually, he stood up straight, grabbing onto the rail and leaning back.

“So, what’d you get me?”

She laughed at the eager look on his face, shaking her head in amusement.

“Well, I was hoping we’d make up tonight and I could treat you to whatever it is you want tomorrow. And I mean whatever.”


His eyes lit up in excitement. “Even paintball?”

She rolled her eyes and chuckled at him. “Merlin knows why you lot enjoy that so much, but yes. Even paintball. The boys and Roxanne are welcome to come too, but they’ll have to pay for themselves.”

He grinned at her, moving to lean forward on the railing and plucking at the sleeve of her jumper, a cheeky grin on his face.

“You should act like a git more often if this is how it turns out.”

She swatted at his shoulder as he chuckled at her.

“Prat.”

“You know you love me.”

She laughed and looked away, hoping to hide the blush rising to her cheeks as they fell into a comfortable silence.

“So, are we made up then?” Violet finally asked. Even though they had moved on from their argument, they hadn’t exactly settled anything, had they? And she wasn’t sure if he’d let it go so easily. She was relieved to see him give a reluctant nod.

“Yeah, we’re alright. I could never be mad at you for long, anyway.”

She sighed in relief and he gave her a warm smile.

“Come on,” James said, grabbing her hand and dragging her back inside. “We’re missing the best party of the year.”




A/N: Happy Reading! Feel free to leave one of those lovely reviews. I have eleven of twelve chapters completed for this story. You'll get an update soon!


Chapter 7: People Hang Out
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January turned to February, and February to March, and Violet and James’s friendship became a balancing act. They were both so terrified of upsetting the other, that they went out of their way to make sure things went smoothly. Violet felt like she was giving massive amounts of energy into making sure she kept her more unreasonable emotional responses in check. Especially when James would go on dates and inevitably end up back at her flat on the occasions that they were duds.

This seemed to happen with just about every date he went on, if not all of them. He’d show up and make himself at home, complaining that this one wouldn’t stop talking about her ex, or that one asked too many questions about his family and what it’s like to be famous.

“No one’s as good of company as you, Vi. Your friendship is spoiling me,” he’d say as they had late night cups of tea or the occasional glass of firewhiskey.

“It’s like they don’t even know how to hold a proper conversation.”

“So you go out with them because…?”

He would give a noncommittal shrug and reply with a smirk, “I never said their physical attributes were lacking.”

“You’re a pig.”

“But you love me anyway.”

And that’s how it would go. Violet was learning to be okay with it for now. Especially because James was so keen to keep the peace that he was avoiding any possible conflict like the plague. Not that much conflict had been given the chance to arise with the way Violet was acting. He’d occasionally put his foot in his mouth, but he’d be quick to apologize, which wasn’t something that was normally in his wheelhouse. He’d taken to giving a flippint brush off, which was something she’d normally push him on until he gave a real apology. But with her desire to keep the peace as well, she’d let more and more things go.

By the time their siblings were home for Easter, Violet was ready for her own break from the tightrope walk they’d been participating in. She spent a few evenings at home with her family so she could see her brother, but what she was most excited about was having Dom and Eva over to spend time with her and Roxanne. Dominique had always been close with Rox since they were only a year apart in age, and Eva and Roxanne had played Quidditch together, so Violet had gotten to know both of them through association. It helped that they got along with the boys as well.

“So he made this big stink about it all, but he covered for us anyway,” Dom was saying as she and Eva relayed thrilling tales about their final year at Hogwarts.

“Good old Ethan,” Violet said with a chuckle as she opened up a bottle of wine. “And I felt bad for Lorcan when he was Head Boy. I figured Ethan would have a much better time with it. Who knew you two were such trouble makers.”

Eva shrugged. “We mostly do it to get a rise out of him. Can’t let this authority thing go to his head.”

“And he’s not horribly mad at you for it?” Violet asked as she handed each of the girls a glass.

“Nah, he knows we mean it all in good fun. I’m pretty sure being easy going is a requirement for Head Boys. Look who his predecessor was. Lorcan is one of the most chill people I know,” Dom said.

“I wonder who’ll be next years,” Violet mused as she joined the girls in the living room with her own glass of wine. “Who are the sixth year prefects anyway?”

Eva scrunched up her face in concentration.

“Well, Gryffindor is Rose and Devon Shepard-”

“And we all know Shepard is scum and Rose has Head Girl in the bag,” Dom cut in. Eva was quick to agree with her.

“True. Then you have that Davies kid and Angie Archer in Ravenclaw, and he’s way too stuck up. Then Hufflepuff has Mandy Jordan and…”

Dom looked like she was thinking hard for a moment as her friend looked at her for help.

“Peter McMillan!” Dom finally said, raising her glass in victory.

“Yes, that’s right. And then I don’t know who the girl is in Slytherin, but Scorpius is their male prefect.”

Dom rolled her eyes. “Of course it’s going to be Rose and Scorpius. Lucky bastards.”

Violet chuckled. “Why?”

“Well, wouldn’t you have loved to be co-heads with James?” Dom asked in an obvious tone.

Violet let out a bark of laughter while Eva looked at Dom as if she’d gone insane.

“Are you kidding?” Eva asked her friend. “That would have been horrible.”

Dom looked at them as if they were the ones who were crazy.

“So you’re saying you wouldn’t have wanted to share a dorm and do late night patrols and spend time doing all the other boring shit heads do together with your best friend that you just so happen to have a thing for?”

Eva’s jaw dropped in surprise as Violet turned as red as a tomato. She cleared her throat awkwardly and took a sip of her wine.

“No?” she said uncertainly. Eva started chortling as Dominique looked at her in victory. She pointed at Violet with a smirk on her face.

“I knew you liked him. I could tell at the Christmas party there was something going on between you two. And seeing as he brought a date and you were moping most of the time, it didn’t take a genius to put two and two together.”

“No need to gloat,” Violet sulked as Dom cockily sipped her wine.

“I guess that makes sense,” Eva said. “I mean, I always knew you two were close. How long?”

“How long what?” Violet asked

“How long have you liked him?”

“I really don’t want to talk about this.”


“What? Why not?” Dom asked. “This is girl time. It’s what we do.”

“If that’s the case, why don’t you tell us who’s caught your eye?” Violet goaded. “You sounded a little jealous of the Head Girl a minute ago. Got a thing for the Head Boy?”

Eva gave a hearty laugh as Dom rolled her eyes.

“No, I don’t. I happen to know where the Head Boy’s sights are set and it’s not on me. Which I’m perfectly fine with.”

Violet perked up in interest. “Really? Are you sworn to secrecy?”

“Yes.”

Violet pouted at her quick response. Dom was one of those people that you knew was as good as her word. Violet quickly recovered after realizing she’d been led astray.

“Wait one second. Don’t try to distract me. If it’s not the Head Boy, then who?”

Dom ran her finger along the edge of her wine glass, an indifferent look on her face.

“Who’s to say I’ve taken an interest in anyone?”

“That slit in your dress on Christmas Eve would beg to disagree,” Eva said with a snigger. Dom scowled and tossed a throw pillow at her friend’s head, which was easily batted down.

“I’d have to agree,” Violet said. “Certainly seemed like you wanted to impress someone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you that dressed up.”

Dom grumbled and crossed her arms, sticking her tongue out at Violet before downing the rest of her wine. Violet laughed before returning the gesture.

“Whatever. I could say the same about you,” Dom fired back at Violet.

“Maybe, but I’m not denying it.”

Dom was all prepared to rebuttal when Roxanne walked in through the door leading from the shop, slamming it shut behind her.

“It wasn’t down there,” she practically growled, her fists clenched at her sides. “That prat, he swore he’d put it back.”

She stomped towards the kitchen and the other girls watched her in slight fear. She began rummaging through various cabinets in a rather brutal manner, and Violet signalled to Dom and Eva to let her handle her best friend. She got up and slowly made her way towards the kitchen.

“It’s okay, Rox, really. We don’t need scones. I’ve got some biscuits and crisps in the cupboard we can munch on.”

“But he knew!” Roxanne insisted. “He knew that was my favorite baking sheet.” She put her hands on her hips in a huff. “If we hadn’t spent time in the womb together I’d kill that idiot.”

“Why’d you let him borrow it?” Dom asked. Violet shot her a look, willing her to shut up, but it was too late. Roxanne was breathing heavily through her nose and glaring at her cousin, who raised her hands in innocence.

“I don’t know, Dom. Maybe because I’m a nice person and I like to give people a chance? Or because I didn’t believe Fred would be such an idiot as to borrow something of mine and lose it!”

An awkward silence fell over the room as Roxanne continued to fume.

“I meant what did he need to use it for, but nevermind.”

Roxanne couldn’t help but let out a disbelieving chuckle at Dom’s unphased response. She calmed herself and let out a sigh, giving them all an apologetic smile.

“Sorry. I’ve just been a little on edge lately. Work is starting to get a little harried, what with the season drawing to an end.”

Roxanne worked for the Department of Magical Games and Sports. She had been heavily recruited to play professional Quidditch, but didn’t want the pressure, preferring a much calmer life style. It was fine for James, but it wasn’t the life she pictured for herself. However, she loved the sport and had easily landed a job working for the British and Irish Quidditch League.

Violet had actually warned the other two girls that Roxanne might be a little on edge, but her bad moods had been countered with the occasional bouts of extreme cheerfulness since she really did love her job, so it was really a shot in the dark when it came to guessing what her mood would be from one day to the next.

“No need to worry,” Violet assured her, throwing her arm around her shoulder. “This night is still salvageable, with or without scones.”

Dom and Eva voiced their agreement, and Roxanne rubbed her face in embarrassment.

“I really am sorry for acting like a raging bitch. I think I’m hormonal on top of everything else, and I only ever want scones during this time and Fred had to go and ruin it.”

The other three gave sympathetic chuckles as Roxanne gave an exaggerated pout. She moved to join Dom on the couch as Violet resumed her seat in the chair next to Eva’s.

“What’s got you so worked up about work?” Dom asked as Rox laid her head in her lap, allowing her cousin to run her fingers through her hair in a soothing manner.

“My supervisor is out for the week because his wife just had another baby, which is understandable. But it’s just rotten timing. We’re having to coordinate everything for the playoffs and the people in the facilities department aren’t being as helpful as they should.”

“Bummer,” Eva said. “Remind me never to get a real job.”

They all chuckled at her. Eva was a shoo-in to play professional Quidditch. Both of the Wood children were.

“Hey,” Roxanne said with a mock scowl on her face as she pointed accusingly at Eva. “Respect the day laborers. We make your life easier.”

Eva laughed and raised her glass to Roxanne. “I’ll remember that.”

“So,” Roxanne said with a sigh. “Where’s my wine and what were you talking about before I so rudely interrupted?”

“Dom’s got a crush!” Violet blurted out. Roxanne looked up at Dom in surprise while she glared at Violet.

“Violet’s in love with James!”

Violet turned even redder than she had before as Roxanne and Eva laughed over her furious denial.

“I actually know that one,” Roxy told Dominique, reaching up to affectionately pat her cousin’s cheek when she frowned in disappointment. “You, on the other hand. Care to elaborate?”

Dom rolled her eyes and stuttered a few things, looking for an answer. Her gaze landed on her all too innocent looking best friend.

“Why has no one picked on Eva yet? Violet and I aren’t the only ones here without boyfriends.”

“That’s because boys don’t look at me that way,” Eva said with a roll of her eyes. Roxanne tilted her head up off Dom’s lap and gave Eva a disbelieving look.

“You can’t really think that, right?”

Eva shrugged, seeming unphased by what she believed to be the truth. “Sure. I have no reason to think otherwise.”

“Come on,” Violet said with a scoff. “You’ve got so much going for you. There’s no way that’s possible.”

“Yes, there is,” Eva said, setting her class down on the coffee table and shifting into Quidditch captain mode. “Let’s look at the facts.” She held up one finger as she began listing her evidence.

“First of all, I’ve never been asked on a date to Hogsmeade. Second, I look like my brother. And Third, most boys are way too intimidated by my dad to try anything.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Roxanne argued.

Eva just shrugged once again. “Maybe, but that’s the way it is.”

“I’d let it go, ladies,” Dom said with a wistful sigh. “I’ve tried reasoning with her a thousand times and it’s no use. I don’t know why I even brought it up.”

“To be fair,” Violet reasoned. “You brought up whether or not Eva liked someone, not the other way around.”

Eva rolled her eyes as they all looked at her with evil grins.

“To be honest?”

They all nodded eagerly.

“I don’t, really. It’s not that I’m not interested in boys or that I don’t want something like that to come eventually, but all the boys in school just seem so immature and young. I’ve always felt closer to you all than most of the people in my year. Except for Dom and Ethan, and he’s always been like a brother to me.”

It was rare to hear Eva open up this much, so they just waited as she paused, hoping she might say more.

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find someone in the Quidditch world. Someone who’s not intimidated by my father.”

“He is a formidable figure,” Dom agreed with her. Eva laughed, nodding in agreement.

“Come on,” Roxanne insisted. “There has to be someone.”

Eva just shook her head. “How about I promise that you three will be the first to know as soon as someone catches my eye. Will that appease you?”

“Yes, please!” Roxanne said. “Now, I believe someone was supposed to get me wine.”

“Stay where you are princess, I’ll get it,” Violet told her. She moved into the kitchen as Dom started asking her cousin about how things were going with her now practically live-in boyfriend. Of course, Dom didn’t know this to be the case, and Roxanne did an excellent job of skirting around that little detail. No one knew exactly how close Lorcan and Roxy were, except Violet and James. How Lorcan managed to fool his brother into thinking he wasn’t sleeping with his girlfriend was something Violet couldn’t comprehend. He stayed the night with Roxanne more often than not, and she knew Lysander was still oblivious. He probably assumed his brother would tell him and therefore had no reason to suspect what he believed to be true wasn’t the case. He’d even made a comment about his brother’s so-called innocence on the night of James’s party. James had given Roxanne a look when he’d said it, but Fred had laughed along with Lysander, giving Violet some clarity as to who knew the truth.

Roxanne had informed her later that James had told her they should tell their brothers, but Violet wasn’t sure she agreed. It was Roxanne and Lorcan’s truth to tell. She and James had just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It might not be the only reason Violet knew, since she believed Roxanne would have told her by now if she hadn’t stumbled upon them, but if Lorcan hadn’t told his own brother, he wouldn’t have told James.

It was a topic that had threatened to come up when James had been over the week before and Lorcan had stayed the night. Violet had actually found their conversation following their friends turning in for the night to be rather eye opening.

James had given her a serious look and said, “What are we going to do about those two?”

To which she responded, “Let them live their own lives?”

“You don’t think they should tell their brothers?”

“It’s their own business, not their brothers’.”

James had paused in uncomfortable silence.

“We’re not going to agree on this, are we?” he finally asked. She just shook her head, but couldn’t help but ask why he thought it was so important they share such an intimate detail of their lives.

“I just think honesty is important, that’s all. Isn’t it like, the central part of relationships or something?”

She’d chuckled at him. “Maybe romantic ones, but friendships and family relationships don’t require you to tell all. Do you tell your friends and family everything?”

“I tell you everything.”

She gave him a disbelieving look.

“Ok, maybe not everything, but I don’t see the two of us knowing, while Freddie and Ly don’t, doing any good.”

He probably had a point there, but she’d chosen to let the conversation drop, keeping with her determination to keep the peace. But his statements about honesty continued to ring in her ears. This game of skirting away from their issues wasn’t exactly a model of honesty. It was mostly her doing all she could to stifle the truth of her emotions and feelings. But she was convinced that it was what their friendship needed for the time being.

But she wasn’t thinking about that now. She was pouring Roxanne a glass of wine and enjoying time with her friends while she was able to. She was very much looking forward to the day when the four Gryffindor girls could spend time together on a much more regular basis, but nights filled with wine and the regrettable absence of scones would have to do for now.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The night before everyone was due back at Hogwarts, almost everyone congregated at Ron and Hermione’s. Holidays were normally widely spread out among the Weasley and Potter family. Harry and Ginny always hosted Christmas Eve, while Christmas Day was celebrated at The Burrow. They would do a New Years Eve party at George and Angelina’s, and Ron and Hermione would host a gathering during Easter Break. Besides the annual family Quidditch match that was held at the Potter’s, the only thing celebrated in the summer besides the occasional joint party for Harry and Neville’s birthdays, was the last day before everyone went back to Hogwarts, and that was generally tossed around.

They had all gathered at Ron and Hermione’s for dinner and a smattering of other activities. A chess tournament would no doubt break out, with either Hugo or Ron coming out on top. Although Ethan had given them both a run for their money the previous year. There would likely be many games of exploding snaps as well. Molly was typically the one to beat there, but Lysander was always a challenge for her and had come out the victor on occasion.

These weren’t just family gatherings, either. It was everyone and their parents and best friends and significant others, which was why everyone was responsible to bring something to contribute to the meal. This had caused an issue the first time it was done, as there was no real organization implemented and almost everyone had brought either a dessert or some form of potatoes. Hermione saw to it that such a catastrophe would never happen again. James hadn’t minded too much, being a rather large fan of both potatoes and desserts, but he saw the sense in making sure they had a variety from then on out.

As they all sat around, engrossed in their various activities after the meal, James was thankful that his aunt and uncle had a relatively open floor plan. It allowed people to separate off into their own groups for games and conversation, but didn’t make you feel like you were excluding yourself. He was sitting on the floor in the main sitting area, enjoying time with some of the people he missed seeing on a regular basis. Fred and Lysander were with him too, but that was typical. None of them had gotten to spend much time with Dominique and Eva yet, and the girls were filling them in on all things Quidditch at Hogwarts.

“We’ve only got one match left!” Eva was saying, completely beside herself with nerves. “And the scouts are for sure going to be there again. I haven’t gotten any formal offers yet, although Puddlemere’s reached out, of course. And I think the Arrows are interested, and maybe the Harpies. But before I can even talk about where I’d like to go we have to actually play well in May. And Lily is still so young, I’m not sure she can handle the pressure-“

“Whoa. Eva, take a breath,” Fred said in a calming voice. Eva mimicked him as he inhaled deeply, before slowly letting it out. She was normally steady under pressure. James had never had to worry about her when he was on the team. It showed how much her future meant to her to see her falling apart over hypotheticals.

“I’m sure it will all go brilliantly,” Fred continued, reaching up from his place beside James on the floor and resting a comforting hand on her knee. It seemed to work as she began to breathe easier, giving him a grateful smile.

“I hope so,” she said. “And, if it doesn’t, I’ll figure something out. I could go be a trainer or work with Roxanne at the ministry. I have options.”

“But you won’t need them,” Dom said giving Eva an affection nudge with her foot from her stretched out position on their shared couch. She chucked a miniature Quaffle that had been used by the Weasley children in their younger years towards Lysander, who was reclined on the couch opposite her and Eva. “If anyone doesn’t need to worry about their future, it’s you. I’ve not got a clue what to do with mine.”

Lysander scoffed as he returned her toss. Dom looked at him in suspicion, pausing in their lazy game of catch.

“What?”

“You’re doing like, what, seven N.E.W.T.s?”

She looked at him in confusion. “So?”

“So?” he mimicked her. “That gives you plenty of options. Whereas I only took four and limited myself. I could never go into healing or get into the auror academy, not that I’d want to do those things. But you could.”

Dom looked pleasantly surprised at his words as she tilted her head in contemplation.

“I suppose you’re right,” she allowed, tossing the ball back to him. “But all that sounds so boring to me.”

“Well,” he said with a shrug. “If all else fails, you’re one hell of a baker if that pie we had earlier is anything to go by.”

She seemed flattered by his comment and actually contemplated what he said. “I guess that’s true. It would be a lot more enjoyable than sitting behind a desk everyday.”

“Which is why Fred and I are going to open up a shop together and have the time of our lives everyday,” Lysander said with a dreamy look in his eyes, sticking his arm out so Fred could give him a high five.

“How’s everything going with that?” Eva asked Fred, who gave a noncommittal shrug.

“Not bad. I have a lot of products already developed, but I’m going to need more to fill a whole store up. We’ve got more in the works that Ly’s been working on modifying with various charms, and Dad said we’ll be able to have some cross over with some of his products. I still want to eventually open up a shop in Muggle London, but this is a stepping stone. It’ll technically be a branch of Wheezes, but obviously much more technology based. That’s the whole point, really. More gadgets than jokes.”

“Any idea what you’re going to call it?” Dom asked, having to reach behind her head to catch an almost wayward toss from Lysander.

“No, and I’m very open to ideas,” Fred said with a chuckle.

“What?” Lysander said, sitting up with a puzzled look on his face. “I thought we were going to call it Magic and Gadgets!”

Dom burst into laughter and James and Eva couldn’t help but chuckle as well. Especially with the fierceness with which Fred shook his head.

“Come on, Freddie,” Lysander pleaded. “You said yourself you couldn’t come up with anything better.”

“And maybe I’ll consider it when we’ve explored all possible options. But not before then, alright?”

Lysander grumbled before lying back down on the couch.

“What about you, James?” Dom asked as she chuckled at Lysander’s displeasure, tossing the Quaffle his way. “Moving up to the big leagues anytime soon?”

In all honesty, James didn’t think he would. Puddlemere was stacked with solid players in their prime. The likelihood that one of them would sustain a career ending injury or decide to retire was slim to none. There was always the possibility that someone could be traded, but who’s to say whoever they traded for wouldn’t start ahead of James? And he knew Chip and Peter and Gemma all deserved a fair shake as well. In the past, James wouldn’t have cared. He’d have done whatever he could to make sure he got what he wanted, no matter how it affected anyone else. The comradery that came from being a part of the Puddlemere reserve team had slowly changed his perspective over the month, but he found himself responding in his usual cocky manner.

“You can count on it.”

Ok, it might have had something to do with the fact that Violet had chosen that exact moment to join their little party and he was too distracted to come up with a more sincere response.

“Is he bragging about his remarkable Quidditch skills again?” she asked with a smirk as she made Lysander make room for her on the couch.

“Does he do anything else?” Al asked, coming up to lean on the back of the couch behind Lysander, casually snatching the Quaffle out of the air as Dom tossed it across the room. James shot him a smirk as Violet and the others chuckled.

“You would too if you were as fantastic as me, little brother.”

Al gave him a challenging look.

“At least I can properly stun someone.”

“It’s harder than it sounds!” James argued as the others tried and failed to stifle laughs.

“Anyone down for a pickup game?” Hugo asked as he and Lily approached the group. “Rox is in and so are Caleb and Scorpius.”

There was a general sound of agreement as people started to move towards the field out back, many of them already arguing over teams and positions. He could hear Lysander and Dominique smack talking already. Violet had remained seated. James walked over to her instead of following the thundering herd of Quidditch players outside.

“No Quidditch?” he asked. She shook her head.

“Nope. You know I only play in the summer because it’s tradition. It’s embarrassing otherwise. I have my mother’s coordination.”

He squatted down in front of her, boldly laying his arm over her crossed legs and resting his chin on his forearm. He looked up at her with pleading eyes and he could of sworn her cheeks turned a little pink.

“Please? I need someone to remind me to not get too cocky.”

She laughed and threw him off her, but moved to push herself off the couch.

“Fine, but you owe me one.”

He whooped and grabbed her arm, pulling her behind him as they made their way towards the back of the house. James hollered across the room when he spotted his godbrother, waving for him to join them. He looked relieved to be freed from the conversation he’d been trapped in and they were joined by Teddy as they made their way out the back door.

“You’re a lifesaver. I love Percy, but the man can sure go on about Magical Law. And it’s not even the interesting parts!” Teddy said in disbelief.

“You should know better than to ask him about work by now,” James teased. Teddy reached past Violet and gave him a brotherly shove. James laughed and started jogging ahead. He turned to face them as he continued to make his way across the field where everyone else was gathered.

“Don’t think you’ve fooled me into thinking you won’t do everything you can to knock me off my broom, Finnigan,” he taunted with a smile. “’ll be watching you out there.”

Violet rolled her eyes at him as he turned back around and continued jogging across the field while she strolled leisurely with Teddy. By the looks of things, they were still discussing teams and positions so she had plenty of time to make it to the shed at the other side of the field.

“How’s healer training?” Teddy asked her.

“Good,” she answered. “I actually think I know where I want to specialize.”

“Really? That’s fantastic! I know people who made it all two years without a clue,” Teddy told her.

“Well, I could always change my mind, but it’s definitely something I’m going to start pursuing.”

Teddy nodded as James hollered out to them again.

“Oi, slowpokes! You’re both on Al’s team so good luck with that.” He jogged the remaining few yards towards them, his broom in one hand and a beater’s bat in the other. Violet’s eyes widened in shock when he handed it to her instead of Teddy. He grinned at her and winked.

“Knock ‘em dead.”

He hopped on his broom and started flying laps around them, Violet unable to look away before she heard Teddy chuckle from beside her. She looked up at him to see he was smirking at her.

“What?”

“Nothing,” he said with a casual shrug. “Just amusing to watch him flirt with you is all.”

“He was not flirting with me.” She wasn’t sure why she sounded offended by the insinuation, but she assumed it had to do with her defense mechanisms kicking in.

“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” he said with a smile. “But if it makes you feel any better, it took me longer than it’s taken him to actually act on my feelings.”

They had made their way to the shed and everyone else was already in the air by now.

“Excuse me?”

Teddy gave her a knowing look, handing her a broom. “Trust me, I’ve been the guy who fancies his best friend. James bares all the tell tale signs.”

She leaned on the broomstick and propped her other hand on her hip.

“Teddy, are you trying to get in my head? Because I’m really not in any proper state to be teased about this. James and I are finally back to normal and I can’t ruin that by letting you get me all flustered.”

He raised his hands in innosense. “Don’t stun the messenger. I only tell it like I see it. Besides, I’m an Auror. We’re trained to notice these things.”

She scoffed. “Really? They train you to notice the way nineteen-year-olds interact with each other?”

“Hey slackers, get your arses on your brooms!” Dom hollered at them as she flew by.

“Honestly?” Teddy sniggered. “You don’t have to be an Auror to see what’s clearly written all over James’s face every time he looks at you.”

He hopped on his broom and flew off to start passing a Quaffle with his future sister-in-law. Violet was doing her best not to be mad at Teddy for planting ideas in her head, but she also couldn’t help but watch James as she mounted her own broom. As he caught her eye and threw a brilliant smile her way, she found herself hoping that, maybe, Teddy was onto something.


Chapter 8: They Keep a Secret
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*Trigger warning posted at the bottom*








 

Violet rushed through the halls of St. Mungos, thankful that she was only down the hall from the maternity ward. She pushed through the doors and into the brightly lit waiting area, quickly moving through it and down the hall towards the many exam rooms. She counted as she walked past each room so she wouldn’t miss her destination. Finally reaching room twelve, she paused outside of it, not entirely sure of what awaited her on the other side. Lorcan’s patronos had said to come immediately, and she could only assume this was about Roxanne, which only lead her to one obvious conclusion.

She hesitantly reached out and knocked on the door. She heard a weak call for her to come in and gently pushed it open.

Roxanne was sitting on an exam table and wearing a white patient gown. Lorcan was pacing across the room, his arms crossed and his brow furrowed. His girlfriend was watching him closely, and only glanced at Violet momentarily when she entered the room.

“Sorry, he sort of panicked,” Roxanne said, gesturing at a still pacing Lorcan. Violet couldn’t help but watch him in awe as she moved to pick up Roxanne’s medical chart.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this agitated,” Violet said. She looked down at her friends chart and saw that her suspicions were correct.

“I’d been feeling sort of under the weather,” Roxanne told her. “You know how I called in sick the other day?”

Violet did remember. She also remembered thinking how odd that was. She didn’t think she’d ever seen Roxanne take a sick day in her life.

“And then I sort of passed out at work today,” she continued. “I woke up rather quickly but the medics who’d shown up still wanted to make sure everything was alright. Good thing they did.”

“Are your parents here?”

Roxanne shook her head. “I put Lorcan as my first emergency contact, so they didn’t notify them.”

Violet watched as Roxanne seemed to be at war with herself. She went back to watching Lorcan, who was now sitting in a chair on the other side of the room with his head in his hands.

“How’m I supposed to tell them when I’m not even sure I know how I feel about it?” Roxanne said in a small voice. “I never thought I’d be a mum at this age.”

Violet wasn’t sure what she should say. This had been the last thing she expected to happen as well. Did she congratulate her? Did she tell her everything was going to be ok? Did she tell her she had a choice? She couldn’t imagine Roxanne entertaining any option other than keeping her baby.

She settled for reaching out and gripping her hand. Roxanne let out a relieved breath, seeming to take comfort in the simple gesture as she gave Violet a disbelieving smile and shake of her head. Violet couldn’t help but smile and chuckle in disbelief as well.

There was a sharp wrap on the door and Violet recognized Healer Shaw as she poked her head in.

“All set?” she asked as she entered. Roxanne nodded and reclined back on the bed.

“Hello, Healer Finnigan. Didn’t think you were on my floor this round.” She moved to make sure Roxanne was situated correctly as she watched Violet in expectation, waiting for her to explain her presence.

“Violet is my flatmate,” Roxanne clarified. “I’m fine if she stays.”

Healer Shaw gave a pleased smile and reached out to take the chart from Violet.

“Well, Miss Weasley. You appear to be about six weeks along. Any abnormal symptoms you’ve been experiencing?” She began waving her wand above Roxanne’s abdomen as writing began to magically appear on the chart.

“I haven’t been feeling too well. Rather tired and what I now suppose is the usual nausea that goes along with this type of thing. But I guess that’s all somewhat normal?”

She sounded nervous as she asked the question. The Healer was pursing her lips as she read the new information she had gathered.

“Yes, not normally something to be worried about. However, your blood levels seem low and that combined with you passing out this morning does give me slight pause. But we have ways to take care of all that.”

Lorcan had made his way over to where Roxanne’s head was resting and reached out to grab her hand. He still seemed a little agitated, but in a much more composed state.

“We have some basic supplemental potions we can prescribe along with your usual prenatal potions and a healthy diet. It should help get you back to normal.”

“Is there anything else we should watch for?” Lorcan asked.

“Well, if she passes out again, that would be a bad sign. You did the right thing bringing her here.”

Lorcan squeezed Roxanne’s hand as the Healer moved down to stand at the foot of the bed.

“We need to do a physical exam now. Just to make sure everything is looking okay.”

Roxanne nodded and looked over at Violet.

“I’ll give you some privacy,” she said, smiling at her two friends. “Let me know if you need anything?”

Lorcan nodded at her. “Thank you for coming,” he said with a grateful look on his face. She gave him the most reassuring smile she could muster before leaving the room. She still had an hour left in her shift so she made her way back to the children’s ward, her mind reeling with the events of the last ten minutes.

Roxanne and Lorcan were going to have a baby. And they were only twenty years old. Granted, some people had kids when they were even younger than that, but you didn’t typically plan this type of thing. She knew her friends hadn’t.

She entered the children’s ward and smiled to hear the sound of laughter coming from one of the first patient rooms in long-term care. These were the patients she loved to care for. Some of her fellow trainees didn’t understand how she could handle being around so many cases that took such an emotional toll on you, but Violet didn’t see it that way. Yes, there were times when a patient who’d done nothing but fight for their whole lives had finally been unable to fight any longer and she’d had to deal with that. But it was that fight that inspired her. So many of these children had smiles on their faces everyday, despite the many horrible things they were going through. They encouraged her to live every day to its fullest, no matter what came her way. If they could get through it, so could she.

She entered the room the laughter had come from and shook her head in amusement. A young boy, no older than five, was watching as his older brother made bubbles come out of the end of his wand. He swatted at them, laughing every time one popped on his head.

“Jimmy, you’re not supposed to do magic in here,” Violet scolded the older brother, who immediately looked guilty when he noticed her presence.

“Sorry, Healer Finnigan. Whatever we can to make them happy though, right?”

She laughed along with the young boy as he popped the last few bubbles. “I suppose you’re right. Now, how are you feeling, Will?” she asked, moving towards the younger boy, who obediently lay back in his bed, prepared for the usual round of diagnostic spells she would perform with her wand.

“Good. Can Jimmy take me down to the playroom? I ate all my dinner.”

“Did you now?” Violet asked as she continued to wave her wand over his prone form, glancing as the new information was added to his chart. She smiled as she read it.

“You seem to be telling the truth, so I’ll just have to run it by Healer Brunson and then I’ll let you know, alright?”

Will nodded, eagerly sitting up in his bed as she stowed her wand in her pocket. She turned to leave the room and the boy’s brother followed her.

“He’s really doing better this week,” he told her once they were in the hall. She nodded in agreement.

“He is. His levels are good so it looks like we’ve finally got him on the proper dosage. We’ll have to give it another week or so though, just to make sure. I don’t want to speak too soon, but it seems like we’ve got things under control.”

Jimmy let out a sigh of relief, the weight of being sole guardian of a young boy at the age of twenty-one showing on his still youthful features. He gave her a grateful smile.

“I don’t think I have to tell you how worried I’ve been that this would do the same thing to him that it did to our mum. I can’t thank you enough for how helpful you’ve been these past few weeks. You’re a lifesaver. Literally.”

She nodded in thanks, trying to contain her blush at his praise.

“He’s a great kid. It’s really been a pleasure. I’m thankful they allowed me to stick around on my rotation an extra few weeks. It’s going to be difficult to walk away.”

“Well, we’ll both miss you. Are you allowed to still stop by?” he asked

She nodded.

“Good,” he smiled at her. “He’ll be happy about that. I know he likes you. We both do.”

Violet really had a hard time containing her blush now. Jimmy wasn’t exactly hard on the eyes, and he’d always been friendly. Even more so the past few weeks.

“I should get going,” she told him. “I’ve got to finish up my rounds.”

He nodded, smiling sheepishly at her before she turned to walk away. She couldn’t help but look back over her shoulder as she went into the next room, and couldn’t help but smile at him as she saw him smiling back.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I think my patient’s brother is going to ask me out.”

Fred looked up at her in amusement as he continued working behind the counter in Weasley Wizard Wheezes. Violet was in the middle of an early morning rotation, so the shop was always still open by the time she got home.

“Is that against protocol or anything like that?” he asked as she moved to join him behind the register, sitting on a stool as he continued helping a customer.

“Not when I switch rotations at the beginning of next week. It looks like his brother will be discharged soon too. He’s got this blood malediction but we think we have it under control now which is great-”

“So what’s the problem?” Fred cut her off.

“Who said I had a problem?”

“You’re not exactly hard to read.” He closed the till and wished his customer a nice day before turning to hoist himself up on the counter, his back to the store so he was facing her. Violet shrugged, not wanting to admit what was bothering her.

“Come on, Vi. Tell Freddie what’s the matter.”

She kicked her leg out, missing his by a good two feet as she was too far away.

“Don’t be annoying. I’m really all messed up about this.”

“Let me guess.”

“I’d rather you didn’t.”

“This is about James, yeah?”

This wasn’t the first time since the Easter holiday that she’d come barging into the shop and spent time venting to Fred, and occasionally Lysander when he wasn’t hiding away in the back, and they’d put up with it tolerably well. She’d finally stopped denying her feelings about James to the two of them, and it had been rather freeing to talk about it more openly. Teddy’s comments before they played Quidditch had stuck with her in a way that had proved impossible to shake. She let out an exasperated sigh.

“Of course it’s about James. How could it be about anything else? Everything is about James. And I’m bloody sick of it.”

“What does that mean?” he asked in surprise.

“It means,” Violet said, standing to pace behind the counter as Lysander came out of the back room, a box of stock in his hand. “That I hate that I’m just sitting around, waiting for him to notice that I’ve been waiting for him to notice me. How pathetic does that sound?”

“Maybe a little pathetic.”

She shot Lysander a look but continued pacing. “I mean, I haven’t been on a date since August. That was nine months ago!”

“Seriously?” Fred asked.

“I know!”

She stopped her pacing and resumed her seat, knowing that the next part was what she was struggling with the most.

“What if I move on? What if I say screw it and go for it with someone else, but it turns out Teddy was right about what he said and I just mess everything up? I don’t know what I’d do if I started seeing someone only for him to come running. I’d probably want to run right along with him, but that wouldn’t be fair to Jimmy.”

Fred looked at her in confusion. “Since when do you call him ‘Jimmy’?”

Violet felt a blush slowly creep up her neck. “Jimmy is my patient’s older brother.”

A sly grin began to grow on Fred’s face before he started to laugh - Lysander right along with him.

“That’s the best thing I’ve heard all day,” Lysander said when he was finally able to talk again before heading off to restock a shelf.

“So glad I could amuse you with my troubles. Would you please tell me what to do?”

Fred studied her pleading face for a moment, still looking slightly amused.

“Has he actually asked you out?”

“No.”

“Then you don’t have an issue yet. So why are you panicking?”


“Because,” she enthused. “I’m going to have to make this decision eventually, and I’d rather be prepared beforehand.”


“You know,” Fred said, a devious smile growing on his face. “You could make him jealous.”

“No,” she insisted. Fred sagged in disappointment.

“Come on. It might actually work, you know.”

“Like I’ve already said, it wouldn’t be fair to… the other bloke.”

Fred smirked at her as Violet heard the door to her flat open from up the stairs behind her. She turned to see Roxanne standing at the top, looking down curiously.

“You’re home early,” Fred said when he noticed his sister. “Everything alright?”

“Everything’s fine. Vi?” Roxanne sounded nervous and Violet suddenly remembered what had happened earlier in the day.

“Thanks for nothing, as always, Freddie,” she said before turning to head upstairs.

“Always a pleasure!” he called after her. She followed Roxanne into their flat, watching as she nervously paced around their living room.

“How are you?” Violet asked, unsure of what else to say.

“I’m feeling better physically. Mentally, though?”

She stopped pacing and sat on the couch.

“Lorcan had to go back to work and I just need to… I don’t know. I just need to work through all of this. I’m so in my head right now I can’t really comprehend what’s happening.”

“Okay,“ Violet said. “Okay we can do that. Do you want tea or anything?”

Roxanne nodded. “It’s not that I think they’ll think less of us or judge us or anything like that. But I know my mum will be a little disappointed in me.”

Violet made her way to the kitchen as her friend started to let her thoughts flow out.

“And I’ll have to take time off work. We’ll have to tell the rest of the family too. I can’t even think about telling our brothers.”

“Do you really think people will be that upset?” Violet asked as she put the kettle on to boil.

“Yes!” Roxanne said emphatically, standing up to pace again. “This hasn’t happened to anyone else in the family. We were raised to be responsible, and not to be vain or anything, but I know I’ve always been one of the most responsible ones.”

She was about to wear a hole in the rug with her pacing. Violet didn’t know what to say so she just watched her for a few moments before the kettle started to whistle. She moved to hand Roxy her tea and encouraged her to join her on the couch.

“Are you planning on telling your parents?”

Roxanne sipped her tea, her brow furrowed in thought.

“We probably should, but it’s still early yet. I’m only six weeks. A lot of people wait till they’re at least twice as far along as I am.”

“What are you going to do then?”

She looked contemplative for a moment, before letting out a stress filled sigh as she set down her cup of tea.

“I’m going to talk to Lorcan when he gets off work, and hope that my mother doesn’t kill me. God,” she practically cried, burying her face in her hands. “This is a disaster. Nothing‘s going as I planned.”

“But Rox, no matter any of that,” Violet said. “You’re all going to love this baby. There’s no better family for a child to be born into than the Weasley family. I’m sure of that.”

Roxanne gave her a grateful look. “Thank you. That helps a little. I’ve been so caught up in all the negatives that I haven’t given myself time to think about the positive aspects to all of this.”

Violet gave her a reassuring smile before reaching out to hug her. They heard the pop of apparition outside only a few moments later, and Lorcan let himself in.

“Hey, Vi,” he said as he entered. Violet smiled at him in greeting, moving off the couch to approach him. He seemed caught off guard by the hug she gave him, but he returned it after only a moment of hesitation. She stepped back and gave him a look of reassurance.

“I know this wasn’t what you expected. Either of you. But you’re both wonderful people who are going to be even more wonderful parents. So congratulations.”

Lorcan let out a relieved chuckle and pulled her in for another hug.

“Thanks, Vi. I knew we could count on you.”

She released him and he walked over to Roxanne, who was now standing by the couch, giving her a brief kiss in greeting.

Violet couldn’t help but feel like she was now intruding and was unsure what to do with herself. A question wouldn’t leave her mind though, and she felt like she needed to know the answer.

“Are you planning to tell the boys?”

They both looked at her while throwing each other uncertain glances.

“Have you even talked about that part?”

“Yes, we have,” Roxanne assured her, sighing in resignation as the both sat on the couch. “Maybe James was right and we should have told them we were sleeping together. It would make relaying this knew information a hell of a lot easier.”

“We figured we’d tell our parents first,” Lorcan said. “And we aren’t even sure when we’re going to do that. we kind of need to figure this out ourselves first.”


Roxanne nodded along in agreement. The two of them sitting there together in solidarity with a strength that Violet admired was inspiring to see. Sensing that they needed some time on their own, she quickly bid them goodbye, making sure they knew to let her know if they needed anything, and decided to visit her parents. Until they decided to tell the boys, she was going to do everything she could to steer clear. She wanted to keep this secret for them as long as they needed, and she didn’t fully trust herself to not let something slip when the moment presented itself. She knew they needed time, but the selfish side of her was hoping they’d tell everyone sooner rather than later.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It had been four weeks, and they still hadn’t said anything. Violet was the only one who knew. But the boys had to know something was going on by now. She hadn’t been overly avoiding them, but she’d stopped dropping by to see Fred and Lysander, and she wasn’t going out of her way to see James. They hadn’t outright asked if something was going on, but her occasionally hurried escapes from their company had caused them to look at her in suspicion. And it was growing increasingly difficult to explain the noted absence of their other two friends on multiple occasions.

Roxanne and Lorcan had grown used to the idea of becoming parents, to the point where they were actually excited more often than not when the topic came up. They weren’t making any solid plans yet, but they were starting to consider different possibilities. One topic that had come up was whether or not they would move in together. As much as Violet didn’t want to lose her friend as a roommate, she’d been very supportive of this idea. It just made sense. Lorcan had even thrown around the idea of marriage, but Roxanne had refused to get married with a baby bump.

Violet was relieved when Roxanne told her that she and Lorcan were finally telling their parents. They had plans to go to George and Angelina’s for dinner, and the Scamanders were set to join them.

“I’m over two months now,” Roxanne had told her. “And I’m tired of dodging my mother’s attempts to see me. I’d rather just get it over with.”

So Violet decided she’d go spend time with Ginny that evening. She hadn’t seen her since Easter, and even then they hadn’t had much of a chance to talk. She made her way over in the middle of the afternoon, knowing Ginny typically had Mondays off and would be home.

Violet was surprised when Harry was the one who greeted her at the front door. He usually worked until later in the day. It was a testament to Violet just how much time she typically spent at the Potter’s house that she knew these details about their day-to-day life. Harry smiled when he greeted her.

“To what do we owe the pleasure?” Harry asked as he lead her into the house.

“I just popped by to see Ginny. Didn’t expect to find you home as well.”

“Ah, yes,” Harry said as they entered the living room. “Well, seeing as I have more vacation days than I know what to do with, I decided to start taking off some of the day’s Ginny’s doesn’t work so we can spend time together and get stuff done around the house. Especially since she has to work a lot of the weekends.”

“Doesn’t that affect the Auror Department?” Violet asked as Harry resumed what must have been his previous position in an armchair by the fire, picking up a copy of The Daily Prophet that was sitting on it.

“I’m still reachable most of the time,” he explained. “And my department is a well oiled machine. I’ve trained them to be able to get along just fine without me when they need to.”

“Must be nice for you,” Violet said, taking a seat on one of the couches.

“It has its perks,” he said. “Ginny had to run to the Burrow, by the way. She should be back any minute. And you’re more than welcome to stay for dinner if you don’t have any other plans.”

“If it’s not too much trouble that would be wonderful, thank you.”

“You know we always love to have you, Violet. I know Ginny appreciates your company, especially with Al and Lily away at school.”

They heard the front door opening a moment later and Ginny calling her husband’s name right before she entered the living room, a smile growing on her face at the sight of their guest.

“Violet, what a lovely surprise.”

Violet stood and accepted a hug from Ginny.

“I hope my husband hasn’t bored you with his company,” she said in a joking manner. Harry just rolled his eyes and picked up his newspaper. Ginny set down the bag she had brought back from The Burrow and took off her jacket, sitting next to Violet on the couch.

“He was the perfect host, actually,” Violet assured her. “Even invited me to stay for dinner, if that’s alright with you.”

“Of course!” she assured her. “James is joining us too. His training was canceled tonight due to some meeting the coaches had to go to, so I actually have to get started on dinner. Want to join me in the kitchen?”

Violet nodded and followed Ginny. An impromptu dinner with James and his parents? She wasn’t exactly nervous, but she was aware that the situation could become slightly awkward. She knew Ginny rather well, and it was somewhat obvious that she held out hope for Violet and James to get together. Violet wouldn’t put it past her to drop some not so subtle hints.

“How’s everything going at St. Mungo’s?” Ginny asked as she began unloading the bag she’d come home with. It looked like she’d collected some eggs from the chickens, as well as some things from her mother’s garden.

“Really well, actually. I think I’ve got an idea on what I want to specialize in.”

Ginny’s face lit up with excitement as she started pulling out the pots and pans she needed.

“That’s brilliant, Violet. Can I ask what?”

“Well, I’ve really loved working with children, no matter which department that might be in. But recently I’ve been spending more time in the long term ward for children, and it just feels right, you know?”

Ginny nodded as she continued to listen while handing Violet some potatoes to begin washing off.

“There’s this boy right now whose case I was working on,” she continued, “and he has the same blood malediction that his mother had. We’ve been working hard to get him to a place where he’s stable, and he’s actually shown a lot of improvement the past few weeks. He’s set to go home soon. There’s just something about the fight these kids have that is so wonderful to see. It gives me a sense of purpose to fight along beside them. I can’t see myself doing anything else at the moment.”

“That sounds fantastic and perfect for you,” Ginny said. “Plus, with all your younger siblings, you’re bound to have a knack for interacting with children.”

Violet hadn’t actually considered this, but now that Ginny pointed it out, she could see the connection and how it had prepared her for the work she was now doing.

“I guess so. Anyway, how are Al and Lily doing?”

She and Ginny went on to discuss the two younger Potters and her excitement to have them home at the end of the month, as well as family in general. Ginny filled her in on how wedding preparations were coming for Teddy and Victoire.

“She took Fleur and Hermione and me dress shopping with her and Dom and Roxy over Easter. Did they tell you?”

“Yes, they wouldn’t stop gushing about the dress when they told me. I still can’t believe they’re finally getting married.”

“I know. It feels like Harry and I got married only yesterday,” Ginny reminisced. “It’s strange to think it’s time for our own kids to be heading that way.”

Violet had always loved how much Ginny and Harry referred to Teddy as if he were their own. They’d always been sure to make sure he remembered his parents and never forgot all they had done for him, but they recognized the need for parental figures in his life. Even more so now that he’d lost his grandmother.

“And before you know it, they’ll have kids of their own,” Violet teased.

Ginny let out an almost panicked laugh. “I’m not ready to be a grandmother yet. I don’t need you to go getting any ideas.”

Violet looked at her in confusion.

“What? What does that have to do with me?”

Ginny gave her a coy smile. “Who knows, maybe one of these days it might.”

Violet looked embarrassed at Ginny’s insinuation and the older witch laughed at her.

“I doubt that, Ginny.”

“Oh, come on. My son might be ignorant the majority of the time, but he’s not stupid.”

“I’d have to agree,” Harry said as he entered the kitchen.

Violet rolled her eyes. “Not you too. With the two of you and Teddy, I’m likely to fall apart from paranoia.”


“Nothing to be paranoid about, Violet,” Harry assured her. “Just be yourself. It’s worked well for you so far.”

Violet was about to argue when they heard the front door open and more than one voice filled the house.

“Mum? Dad?” they heard James holler.

“We’re in the kitchen,” Ginny called back, throwing a wink at Violet. James walked in a moment later, and Violet cringed to see Fred and Lysander right behind him. She would have maybe been able to keep Roxanne and Lorcan’s secret from James, but she wasn’t sure how she would fare against their twin brothers. She had seen them in the past few weeks, but made sure she never spent long periods of time with them so she’d be less likely to crack. If she’d learned anything about herself the past few weeks, it was that she hated keeping secrets. She braced herself for the reaction she could possibly receive as James walked through the kitchen door.

“Hey Mum, I brought Ly and Freddie. They’ve been moping cause their parents are having dinner with their siblings and they weren’t invited.”

The other two boys made sounds of indignation and protest as James noticed Violet.

“Hey,” he said in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

Violet shrugged, grateful that the boys hadn’t made a bigger deal of her presence here. “Just came by to see your mum and she invited me to stay for dinner.”

“She helped me make it as well,” Ginny said casually.

“Brilliant!” James said with a grin. “Anything we can do to help?”

“You can set the table,” Ginny suggested, a surprised look on her face. James nodded and a grumbling Fred and Lysander followed him into the kitchen to retrieve dishes before they headed into the dining room. Harry chuckled as he watched his son before looking back at an amused Ginny and confused Violet.

“I’ve never seen him volunteer to help with dinner in his life. Looks like someone’s trying to impress you.”

She gave Harry an annoyed look as he followed the boys into the dining room. Violet looked back at Ginny to find the woman grinning at her.

“If this is the way things are going to go when I come to visit, it might not happen again for awhile.”

Ginny laughed as she put the finishing touches on their meal.

“By the way,” Violet said, “I know why Lorcan and Roxanne are having dinner with their parents tonight, and I can’t tell their brothers and they can’t know I know.”

She had been relieved that the boys hadn’t said anything when they first saw her, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t say anything during dinner.

Ginny looked at Violet in surprise. “Alright. Why are you telling me, then?”

“Because I need your help to direct the conversation away from any topic that might lead to them asking questions. I don’t hide my emotions very well and I have a feeling they’ll be able to tell I know something.”

Ginny seemed intrigued as she dished the food into serving bowls. “I’m guessing you can’t tell me either?”


Violet shook her head as they prepared to take the food into the dining room.

“Ok,” Ginny assured her. “I’ll do my best to help.”

“Thank you,” she said in relief, picking up a dish of food as she began moving towards the dining room. “And also, if they happen to bring up the fact that I’ve been a little more absent than normal, it would be great if we could steer away from that as well.”

Ginny looked at her quizzically.

“It all connects,” Violet assured her. “Trust me.”

Ginny chuckled at her, but assured her she’d do what she could as they made their way into the dining room.

Dinner went smoother than Violet had expected. There had only been a few times where it looked like the conversation would veer towards Roxanne and Loran or her recent avoidance of them, but Ginny was true to her word and kept the conversation from moving in the wrong direction. The most uncomfortable part of the night was when Fred had asked about the conversation he and Violet had a few weeks ago about her patients older brother.

“It’s been so long since we talked last and you never said what happened with that boy you told me about,” he’d said casually.

Realizing she hadn’t talked to him since then, she scowled at his underhanded tactics while he smirked at her. All three Potters had given her curious looks, but she quickly made light of Fred’s question and kicked him under the table, which was enough to get him to change the subject.

Violet actually had panicked about the whole Jimmy thing, and while she’d still taken time to visit Will, she’d mostly managed to sneak in and see him when his brother wasn’t there. But Will was set to be discharged at the end of next week and she’d promised she’d be there for his leaving celebration that they typically had when a child got to leave long term care. She’d yet to find any clarity about the situation, but if Jimmy’s enthusiasm every time he caught a few seconds of her time was enough to go on, it confirmed her suspicions about his intentions. Her only problem was what to do about them.

Once they’d finished with dinner, James offered to take Violet home when she said she had to be up early for training the next morning. Harry had failed to contain a smirk as he helped his wife take the dishes into the kitchen. They bid everyone else farewell, and James said he’d meet Fred and Lysander back at their flat. Even though Lysander still technically lived with his brother, the amount of time he spent working with Fred at his and James’s flat made it seem like he actually lived with them instead. Violet assumed this was why it was so easy for Lorcan to spend so many nights with Roxanne. They disapperated from James’s parents house and appeared at the bottom of the stairs that lead up to the flat Violet shared with Roxy.

“I’m glad you were there tonight,” James said as they slowly made their way up the stairs. “It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve really gotten to spend time with you.”

She didn’t say anything as they continued to walk up the steps. There was an inexplicable tension present in the air, and she couldn’t help but get the feeling one gets when coming home from a first date, even though that was the farthest thing from what tonight had been. Everything else fell away from Violet’s mind as her heart rate sped up.

“I’m glad I was there too,” she eventually said. “Your parents are fantastic.”

James nodded in agreement. “They like you alot, too.”

“Yes, well. They’ve had to put up with you their whole life so I’m sure they appreciate a well behaved young adult when they see one.”

He nudged her with his elbow, trying to look irritated at her teasing but unable to fully mask his smile.

“I think they like the effect you have on me, too.”

They reached the top of the stairs and paused outside the door. He was looking down on her, a warm but unreadable expression on his face. She felt her cheeks growing warm at the intensity of his gaze.

“And what effect is that, exactly?”

He took a small step closer to her, searching her face as if there was something that he knew was there, but couldn’t quite find.

“Well, for one thing, you make me a better person.”

She scoffed and looked away for a moment, before meeting his sincere gaze with an uncertain one of her own.

“With the amount we’ve fought this year, I hardly think that’s true.”

“Maybe that’s one of the ways you’ve helped me get better,” he reasoned.

“Alright, I guess I can see that. I suppose it’s done the same for me as well,” she allowed.

He smiled at her, reaching out to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear.

“I’ve missed you these past few weeks.”

She felt like she was visibly shaking in her boots. He was standing too close, but she felt like he was still too far away. She bravely locked her eyes with his.

“So, what are the other things?”

He seemed to have barely heard her as his hand now cupped the side of her face and he stroked her cheek with his thumb.

“Other things?” he asked distractedly. She chuckled slightly.

“What are the other effects I have on you?”

He watched her closely, still looking for whatever it was that, if she was reading the situation right, she hoped he would find. Resolve seemed to grow on his features and he opened his mouth to speak again when the door suddenly opened.

They turned to see Lorcan standing there, a bag over his shoulder, and James immediately dropped his hand from Violet’s face, turning to take in a pale faced Lorcan.

“Lor? What’s going on?” James asked, his voice filled with concern. Lorcan stepped back to allow them in but didn’t answer him, looking at Violet instead.

“Roxanne’s at St. Mungo’s. I just came to grab some things for her. Violet…”

Tears had started to gather in his eyes and Violet felt her stomach drop to her feet as her mind began to connect the dots. She instinctively moved forward and pulled him into a supportive hug. It broke her heart to hear the choked sob that escaped his lips, but he quickly pulled himself together and stepped back.

“What can I do?” Violet asked. Lorcan gave a helpless shrug.

“I don’t know. I’m taking her a change of clothes and then we’ll come back here as soon as they discharge her. Might be kind of late.”

“Are you hungry? Can I grab you some food, or…”

“No. We never got to have dinner, but I don’t think either of us could eat right now. Our mums are with her, so they’ll be there if we need anything.”

Violet nodded, unsure of what else to say, and remembered that James was still standing there, clueless. Lorcan seemed to have realized this the same time she did, and looked at his friend.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll let Violet explain for now. But we can talk later, ok?”

James nodded, his face etched with concern as Lorcan said goodbye and left the flat.

“What’s going on?” James asked. “What’s wrong with Rox?”

Violet gave a weary sigh and sat on the couch, looking up at James helplessly.

“It’s not Rox, it’s the baby.”

She could see him processing the emotions as his face shifted from incredulous, to surprised, and then to sorrowful.

“You’re joking.”

Violet could only shake her head, terrified that she’d start crying otherwise. James collapsed onto the chair opposite her, burying his head in his hands.

“Shit.”

It wasn’t much more than a murmur, but it was oddly comforting to hear. It was the only word she could think of to accurately describe their current situation.

“Shit’s right,” she said. “Bloody hell, I can’t imagine how this must feel.”

James looked up at her, his face echoing her words.

“How far along was she?”

“Two months, give or take a few weeks.”

He let out a sorrowful sigh.

“Have you known this whole time?”

“I was at Mungo’s when they found out. Lorcan panicked and sent his patronus to find me. I’ve had to keep it secret, which is why you haven’t seen as much of me. It’s a hard one to keep quiet.”

He nodded in understanding. They just sat there for a few minutes, letting what had just happened sink in. They had all been privileged to grow up without experiencing much loss. Violet wasn’t even sure how to deal with grief. Even though she’d never even met the baby, she still felt the pain of knowing she never would. And if she was feeling the way she was, she couldn’t even begin to imagine how this was affecting Roxanne and Lorcan.

She was pulled from her thoughts by the creaking of the chair as James stood and stretched.

“I told Fred and Ly I’d meet them at my flat. They’re probably wondering where I am by now.”

She just nodded. He stood there watching her expectantly, but she didn’t know how to get back to the moment they’d been so harshly pulled from a few minutes ago. It felt like a lifetime had passed. He sighed and gave her an apologetic smile, turning to walk towards the door.

“James?” she called as he opened the door. He turned to look back at her, a question on his face. She wanted to tell him to stay, but she chickened out at the last minute.

“I’m not sure if you should tell Fred and Ly. It’s probably something that should come from their brother and sister.”

James nodded in understanding before giving her a small wave and leaving the flat. The sound of the door closing behind him felt like it carried a sense of finality with it. Had they just missed their moment?

She couldn’t think about that right now. She’d spent enough of the year focused on her own emotions and issues. She’d be there for Roxanne right now. Everything else had waited long enough already, it could wait a while longer.

 








A/N: *Trigger warning for miscarriage* I realize how difficult this can be to walk through and I hope I handle the subject with the care it deserves. Please review! I appreaciete you reading but it would be great to hear from you as well. 

Happy Reading :)


Chapter 9: He Has a Tryout
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A/N: IMPORTANT! This might look like a repeat, but I accidentally skipped chapter 7! So go back and read that if you've already read this one. Sorry about the mix up! It fills in some gaps but is slightly filler so you shouldn't have been too confused. 

 




 

“That’s probably the best training you’ve had yet,” Chip said as they headed to the changing rooms, giving James a pat on the back. “If we’re not careful, you’re likely to swipe the next open spot right out from under us.”

James laughed, feeling slightly uncomfortable about the possibility.

“I’ll still give him a run for his money,” Peter taunted as Gemma rolled her eyes.

“It was probably a fluke,” James said. “I had pent up energy from our lack of training yesterday. And it’s been an intense few days.”

Understanding crossed Chip’s features and he clapped him on the back as they walked into the changing room.

“Things still weird with you and Finnigan?”

James shrugged, looking down to take his boots off and hopefully hide the slight color that had risen to his cheeks. Thoughts of the previous night had been driven from his mind as he poured everything into their training session, but the complexity of emotions that had been coursing through him rushed back in at Chip’s question.

He’d actually considered making a move, and she’d seemed like she wanted him to. At first. Her casual dismissal of him and avoidance of what had happened had given him an excuse to squash any hope he thought he might have. He’d miscalculated, and she wasn’t interested.

“We’re fine.”

“Mate, if you want relationship advice, talk to me, not this old bag of bones.”

Gemma gave another eye roll at Pete’s words and his smug expression.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, Potter,” she warned. “He hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing.”

Peter Walker’s expression turned terrified at her words, and he immediately began asking what he’d done wrong. The two had formed a tentative relationship, had gone out a few times, and were slowly falling harder for each other. At least, that’s how James saw it. Gemma had confided to him the other day that she was hesitant to get involved with a team mate because what if one of them got trader or things became too competitive? James had a feeling she was only concerned about all that because she actually really liked Peter Walker. And she wasn’t the only one who was smitten in the relationship. Peter had been having a hard time focusing during training the week following James’s birthday party. He was better on the pitch now, but anytime they weren’t training, it was obvious how aware he was of her presence. If he’d been bad before things had shifted between them, it was almost impossible to get his attention now if Gemma was in the room.

James and Chip just ignored them as they continued to banter, and went back to changing.

“Not to be nosy or anything,” Chip began, “But are things really okay with you two?”

“We’re not dating, Edwards.”

“Could have fooled me.”

James rolled his eyes, straddling one of the benches and sitting as he pulled off his practice jersey. “We’re not. I’m not about to cross that line and risk the friendship. And she wouldn’t reciprocate.”

Chip shook his head, a wry smile on his face as he sat next to him pulled a clean shirt on.

“I’m not sure if I believe that. And if I know anything, it’s that you’ll never know unless you try.”

James gave him an annoyed look. “Really? That’s news to me.”

“Come on, Potter. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve been there. My wife and I were just like the two of you,” he said as he finished tugging his shoes on. “I just think you’re taking a lot of risks not risking something that could be incredibly worth it in the end. Isn’t the bigger risk not to try?”

“I hate when you get all sentimental.”

Chip laughed and stood, clapping James’s shoulder with a calloused hand. He was about to leave when the coaches and trainers entered. It wasn’t unheard of for them to come in after training, but they typically gave whatever speech they had in store while they were all still out on the pitch. But for the head coach of Puddlemere United to show up at the end of their training, it could only really mean one thing. The players all shot each other glances in silent question as he asked them to take a seat and gave them the news.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Roxanne and Lorcan had their brothers come over before the shop opened the morning after the miscarriage. Violet was thankful she was still working mornings and had no trouble making herself scarce. The grieving couple had also asked to have the evening alone at the flat, which Violet was more than happy to give them, so she found herself spending time with Lysander and Fred after she got out of work. James had training and wouldn’t be home til later, but she had missed the time she’d spent with Fred and Lysander at the shop before she had to keep secrets from them. And she figured they could use some company right now. From what Roxanne had said, their reactions to the news were somewhat of a rollercoaster.

“I get why they didn’t find the need to tell us they were sleeping together. I honestly sort of just figured they were,” Fred was saying as he and Lysander tinkered on what looked like a giant speaker of some kind. “I’m sure you and James won’t start blabbing when the two of you start sleeping together,” he told Violet, who decided to let the comment go considering the current circumstances. “It’s a weird dynamic to throw into a group of friends, especially when there are siblings and cousins involved.”

“Maybe when it comes to brothers and sisters,” Lysander argued. “But we’re brothers. I can’t believe he never said anything.”

“Come on, Ly,” Violet reasoned with him. “Does bragging about shagging someone sound like something Lorcan would do?”

“I didn’t say he needed to brag,” Lysander grumbled. They continued to work on the speaker, passing each other different Muggle tools. It fascinated Violet to see a wizard using something other than a wand. There were various pieces of hardware strewn around the flat, and Violet had to wonder how much it annoyed James that they insisted on working on things in his and Fred’s living room.

“I guess if it were under different circumstances,” Fred said, his brow furrowed as he studied the piece of hardware in front of him. “I might have been a little more upset. But you can’t exactly be mad at them with what they’re going through.”

Lysander gave a begrudged shrug. He was always the most stubborn out of the four boys. And the most emotionally responsive as well. It was sort of bizarre at times to think that he was not only twins with Lorcan, but that he’d been raised by his parents, who were two of the most easy going people Violet had ever met.

“Our mum had a miscarriage, you know,” Fred suddenly said. “A few, actually.”

“I didn’t know that,” Violet said softly.

“Did you ever hear Dad refer to Rox and I as his ‘double miracle?’” Fred said sarcastically. Violet and Lysander both nodded. “Well, we were their fourth attempt, I think. They even had one before they were married. Just like Rox and Lor. I’m not sure she even knows. Dad and I had a little too much firewhiskey one night and he told me everything. You know how he gets.”

There was a solemn silence as Violet digested this news. Working in the medical field, she knew the odds of having a miscarriage. But she’d never thought of it as an actual option for the people in her life. That was probably naive of her, but it also made her wonder how much she didn’t know. Had this ever happened to her mother? There was a bit of a gap between herself and Bobby, so it was possible. She’d just never asked.

She watched the boys as they continued to tinker. It amazed her how differently people handle things. If she’d been sitting here with Dom and Eva, the conversation would have been a lot more tear inducing. The boys tended to state facts about things rather than feelings. It was annoying at times, but Violet was actually enjoying the break from anything too emotional. Sure the subject matter wasn’t easy, but neither of them were breaking down into tears over it. She could only guess what these next few months with Roxanne would look like in that regard. She was going to need strength to help her get through it.

The sound of the floo springing to life nearly made her jump in fright as James suddenly appeared.

“You’re later than normal,” Fred commented, glancing at the clock that hung on the wall before taking in James’s nervous expression.

“You look like you’re about to piss yourself, mate,” Lysander said with a snigger.

James dropped his bag on the floor before approaching the couch and just standing in front of it. He seemed too agitated to sit. His brow was furrowed, yet there was an excitement in his demeanor as his gaze flitted between his three friends.

“Adamson retired,” he said, as if he couldn’t believe the truth of his words. The boys were quick to look away from their tinkering, mirrored looks of shock on their faces.

“And?” Fred said, standing and knocking over a tray of tools in his excitement and scattering them all over the floor, which Lysander swore at him for.

“Don’t go getting too excited yet,” James told his cousin. “I just have a try out. Nothing’s a done deal.”

Violet was also on her feet, barely able to contain her excitement. “James, that’s brilliant though. And you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

He looked at her, his expression seeking reassurance and betraying his hope.

“Really?” he asked. A smile was starting to grow on his face. She gave him a reassuring nod.

“Really. Blimey, since when do you need to be told how good you are?”

He gave an embarrassed chuckle, his hand running over the back of his neck, and she realized something.

“You’re nervous, aren’t you?” Fred asked, reading him right along with her. James let out a sigh and finally collapsed on the couch.

“I’m the newest member of the team,” he explained. “Well, me and Gemma both are, I guess. But still, they’re all about team spirit and I appreciate that and everything, but it makes me wonder how they’re going to let that play into their decision. Maybe Chip deserves another shot, even if he is slowing down. And Pete’s good, even if he’s not always consistent. He could have a killer try out. I don’t know.”

He groaned in frustration, leaning forward and rubbing his face with his hands.

“All of that might be true, mate,” Lysander said. “But we’ve always known you’re going to make it big. This could be it, and I’m willing to bet they’re going to see that too.”

James sat back again, just thinking for a moment, before chuckling to himself.

“You lot used to have to stop me from stroking me ego.”

Violet shrugged. “Times change.”

James grinned at her and she couldn’t help but smile back at the childlike joy on his face.

“I’m going to play for Puddlemere,” he said.

“Damn right you are,” Lysander said. “Anyone else think this calls for a drink?”

There was general agreement to this sentiment and they were soon out the door and headed to the Leaky Cauldron. It had begun to grow warmer and it had just rained, the air smelling beautifully of damp spring as the month of June wore on. James and Fred were walking ahead as James allowed himself to be excited about his opportunity. Their voices carried back to Violet and she couldn’t help but grin with affection. She was surprised when she noticed Lysander had hung back and was strolling beside her.

“What’s up with you?” she asked, taking note of his rather stoic demeanor. She’d learned a long time ago to just be upfront with Lysander. He wouldn’t open up if you only dropped subtle hints. He needed to be asked outright, but once he was, he tended to be an open book.

“Is Lorcan okay?” he asked, his voice quiet so it didn’t carry to the boys ahead of them.

“He will be,” Violet said. “He probably wouldn’t mind some support from his brother, though.”

“I support him,” he argued. “It’s just hard to when he doesn’t tell you shit about what’s going on in his life.”

And there it was. She had been wondering if he was more upset than he’d been letting on about the whole thing.

“I’m more upset he didn’t tell me he was going to be a father than the whole sex thing,” Lysander said. “Who doesn’t tell their own sibling something like that?”

“If it helps,” Violet said, “they were only just telling your parents last night. That’s why they had dinner with them.”

He nodded in understanding and they continued in silence for a few moments, the sounds of Muggle London filling the void.

“I’m not very good at all this,” he finally said. “And you’re brilliant at it. So any advice you could give would be appreciated.”

Violet gave him a sympathetic smile.

“You know your brother pretty well, yeah?”

Lysander nodded.

“I’ll tell you what then. I’ll let you know if he seems like he’s not doing great, but you should be able to tell what he needs if you just look for it. Be supportive and just let him know you’re there for whatever he needs.”

He nodded his head in determination. “I think I can do that.”

She gave him a fond smile, nudging him with her shoulder.

“You’re an alright guy, Ly.”

He chuckled and threw his arm around her shoulder in a brotherly embrace.

“You’re not so bad yourself, Vi.”

“Oi! You tossers plan on having a drink with us anytime soon?” Fred called from up ahead. He and James had reached the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. James had a funny look on his face as he watched them approach, glancing between her and Lysander. She looked at him, silently asking what was wrong. He just gave her a look as if there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong and went inside. She felt Lysander remove his arm from around her shoulders as he followed in after James and Fred, Violet right behind them, a funny feeling in her stomach.

The boys had claimed a booth in the back and were already being waited on by Hannah Longbottom, who didn’t typically do waitressing duties, but always made sure to come say hello to them whenever they stopped by.

“A bottle of your mediocre fire whisky,” Fred said in a posh voice. “We’re only somewhat celebrating.”

Hannah laughed at his ridiculous manner before promising to return with glasses and a bottle as soon as possible. Violet slid into the spot next to James and across from Ly and Fred, who continued to go on about the dynamics of the current Puddlemere team, and how James would fit into that. Fred and Lysander were very soon in a heated discussion about Quidditch in general, and Violet snuck a look at James out of the corner of her eye. He was staring blankly ahead at their two friends, the joy that had before been present on his features now gone as he abstained from joining the conversation about Quidditch.

“Why are you sulking?” she asked in an undertone, not even turning to look at him. She didn’t feel like drawing attention to their conversation. He shrugged as Hannah brought out their fire whiskey, quickly grabbing his and taking a long drink.

“What were you and Ly talking about?” he asked. Her brow arched in surprise.

“That’s personal, actually. Why?”

He swirled his drink around in its glass, watching as the amber liquid almost splashed out and over the rim.

“Nothing. You two just seemed awful cozy.”

She did look over at him then. His jaw was tense as he tried to act nonchalant. She chuckled in disbelief and he shot a glance at her, taking another swig of his drink.

“Are you jealous?” she asked. He rolled his eyes but a faint blush rose to her cheeks.

“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just wondering if there’s anything going on that I should know about, what with the way people have been keeping secrets around here lately.”

She turned back to face Fred and Lysander, who were still in their heated discussion.

“That’s not entirely fair. If you’re upset with me for not telling you about Lor and Rox, it’s not like it was ever my place to tell you.”

He didn’t say anything, and proved he had actually been paying enough attention to their friends to be able to quickly respond to a question Fred had thrown at him. She continued talking to him as soon as they no longer had the attention of the other two.

“And, not that it should matter, but you’re being ridiculous if you think something's going on with me and Ly. I was just being a good friend. We weren’t doing anything you and I wouldn’t do.”

He downed the rest of his drink and let out a slight chuckle, but she felt him relax beside her as he let out a sigh.

“Sorry. I knew you couldn’t tell me about everything before. I don’t hold it against you.”

She gave a nod in thanks, taking a sip of her own drink. He didn’t say anything about her other comment, which she’d hoped would get some response. This was the first time they’d seen each other since he’d left her flat the night before and their moment on the doorstep had been interrupted. She was beginning to think she’d imagined it all. If he wasn’t going to show any signs that something had happened - or almost happened - than she wouldn’t either. Maybe he’d thought better of it and it had all been just something he’d experienced in the moment. But maybe, and she really had to stop herself from hoping this was true, he was just as scared as she was.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

James didn’t end up having his try out till the season was over at the end of June, a few weeks after they’d been informed of Adamson’s retirement. Training had been even more rigorous, and James had never been more focused. Gemma and Peter were the same, but James couldn’t help but notice that Chip almost didn’t care. When James asked him, all he’d said was that he did care, but he already knew how it was going to go. He didn’t seem too upset by this, just understanding.

“If my place is to stay with this team and help up and comers like you figure things out and give you a challenge, then I’ll be happy to be here for as long as they’ll keep me.”


“That’s a rather bleak outlook,” James had commented.

“It’s realistic. I had my shot, and maybe that’s the shot I was meant to have. I’ve learned to be okay with that.”

His tryout inevitably arrived and James could feel his blood pumping from the moment he’d woken up in the morning. He’d rigidly gone through his usual pre training routine: shower first thing, eat the same breakfast of eggs, sausage, fruit, and toast, and go for a jog to the Thames and back. Other than his closest friends, he’d only told his parents about his tryout. His siblings weren’t even back from school, and he didn’t feel much like letting this news spread throughout the halls of Hogwarts. Especially if he didn’t get bumped up.

He felt a flutter of nerves beginning to creep up as he entered the main field for Puddlemere. The reserve team typically trained on one of the practice fields. He’d only practiced here when they’d done joint training with the main team. The enormity of the arena never failed to take his breath away, but the magnitude of it made his body rush with adrenaline, knocking out the fear. Quidditch had always come relatively easy to him, but he’d still had to work to get to where he was. Now, he just had to let all of his talent, skill, and hard work take over.

He felt like he’d ever flown better in his life. He’d been good when he left Hogwarts, but he knew that his training with Puddlemere had made him better. And he knew he still had room grow. If he had been in this position a year ago, he’d have been too cocky for his own good. He could thank his teammates that he wasn’t. He could thank his friends. He could thank Violet.

He’d gone home to an empty flat following the tryouts, hardly able to believe what had just happened. Violet said she was going to come over as soon as she got away from training. His tryout had been earlier in the day than training normally was, so he still had a little bit of time before she showed up. The boys wouldn’t be home until the shop closed. He decided to shower in an attempt to calm down and not lose his mind.

He was already starting on dinner by the time she showed up, an hour later than he had anticipated.

“James?” he heard her holler as his front door clicked open. He was making enough of a racket that it didn’t take long for her to find him in the kitchen.

“Sorry, I forgot I had a leaving day party for a long term patient,” she explained as she gave him a hug in greeting. She gripped his arms when she pulled back, looking at him in nervous anticipation.

“So? How’d it go?”

He’d been stamping out all of his excitement, all of his euphoria, so as not to get too ahead of himself. It was just a tryout and even though he knew he’d done well, he wanted to keep a clear head about it. But it had all gone out the window as soon as he saw her face.

“Good. Really well, actually. Holy shit, Vi. I’ve never flown better in my life.”

Her smile of pure joy matched his as she gave a glee filled laugh and hugged him again. He instinctively gripped her tight and spun her around his tiny kitchen, causing her to let it another shriek of laughter.

“I can’t wrap my head around it,” he said with a chuckle as he set her down, going back to preparing dinner. “It’s like when I became a reserve all over again, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it this time. If I make the team, that is.”

“Well, I don’t want to give you a false sense of confidence,” Violet said, unable to wipe the smile off her face as she stood next to him by the stove. “But I’ve seen you at your best, and if you were as good today as you say you were, I highly doubt you have much to worry about.”

He grinned as he waved his wand over the chicken he was grilling, watching as it seamlessly flipped in the pan.

“You’ve even gotten better at your household charms,” Violet commented, looking impressed. He chuckled as he drained the potatoes he’d been boiling.

“Since when do you cook actual meals?” she asked in a mix of amazement and amusement as he went to retrieve the necessities for salad from the fridge.

“You were barely around for a whole month. I had to figure something out since you weren’t making sure I was eating,” he said in a teasing tone. She made a face at him and started to grab dishes from the cabinets.

“When will you hear?” she asked.

“I should know by the end of the week.”

“Really? That long? How’d everyone else do? Did you get to see?”

James shook his head, pouring the various toppings into a bowl of lettuce and chuckling at all her questions. “We each have a day where we go and train with the team. I was first so everyone else still has to go. I’m not sure if I prefer it this way or if I’d rather have gone last. But that’s why I won’t know till the end of the week.”

He popped a slice of cucumber into his mouth and gave her a goofy grin. It always annoyed her how much he, as she put it, grazed before a meal. And she complained about it right on cue.

“Save room for your dinner, mister star Quidditch player,” she said with an annoyed smirk. He just chuckled and reached for another, but she reached out and grabbed his wrist.

“Stop,” she said with an amused whine.

He mocked her tone. “Why?”

She let out a laugh. “Because you know cucumbers are my favorite and you’re going to eat them all.”

“They’re my favorite too,” he argued, moving to poke her with the hand she still had grasped at the wrist. She flinched and tried to push against his jab, but he managed to poke her side, laughing as she almost crumpled onto the floor and let out a squeak. She quickly let go of his wrist and retreated to the other side of the kitchen.

“Bloody prick you know I hate that.” There was humor in her voice and her eyes as she complained, so he just shot her a cheeky smirk as he moved to take the chicken and the potatoes to the table. Violet made her way over with a pitcher of water she’d retrieved from the fridge. The comfortable nature in which they handled themselves while engaging in such a normal, everyday event, made James more keenly aware than ever about his feelings toward his best friend. He could picture this exact same evening, but with him being allowed to greet her with a kiss instead of a hug, and to be able to hold her hand while they sat there eating. Hell, he’d even put some music on and dance around the kitchen with her.

He never saw himself as a sap until that moment, but he realized he’d probably do just about anything if it could make her smile. He could see himself having evenings like this much more frequently. They drifted into a comfortable silence as they ate their dinner, before Violet looked at him with a fond smile.

“You remember when you first found out you were a reserve?”

He smiled back at her, vividly recalling the moment. “You mean when you said you were with me one hundred percent? No matter my choice?”

“And even if you never made it off the bench,” she reminded him.

He laughed, remembering the conversation. “You had so much faith in me.”

“I did!” she said with indignant humor. “I really did, James. And I just wanted to say that I’m so bloody proud of you. It’s crazy to think how long it’s been since then and how much has changed.”

He thought back to that day, another moment vividly coming to the forefront of his mind.

“How about we only let the things that have to change, change. Let’s make sure the good stuff stays the same. Deal?”

He smiled. “Except the good things, right?”

She smiled back at him, a twinkle of joy in her eye as she remembered what he’d said all those months ago.

“The good things are better than ever.”

Their lovely moment was rudely interrupted a second later when Fred and Lysander made a rather raucous entrance. Even though he was disappointed they had been disturbed, excitement welled up in him again as the boys made their way into the kitchen, flooding James with questions as they grabbed themselves plates and began dishing up their own servings. Violet let out a huff of annoyance.

“Who said this food was for you?” she asked as they failed to show manners. They ignored her, focusing in on James instead, who gave her an apologetic grimace before relaying all of the information he’d already told her.

“How are you going to keep yourself from not going crazy this week?” Lysander asked.

“Just stick to my usual routine probably. Treat it like any other week. Hopefully that makes it fly by.”

“Do you still have training this week?” Fred asked. This was one of the things James was worried about. Going back to train with the team, knowing his fellow Chasers would be going to their tryout training session with the team, could result in a tense environment.

“Yeah, and I hope we’re all good enough sports to not let this whole thing bother us. I kind of wish they just knew who they wanted so we didn’t have to be subjected to all this competition amongst the team.”

“There’s still competition though, even under normal circumstances,” Fred reasoned, dishing a second helping of potatoes onto his plate as Violet got up to take hers to the sink.

“I suppose,” James allowed, watching Violet as she made herself busy putting away the clean dishes that had been drying by the sink. “But there’s such a team aspect to it. We aren’t just waiting to be called up, we’re working together to be better. I don’t know, it almost feels like betrayal in a sense. Leaving.”

“But they all want this too,” Fred said. “They’ll understand no matter who gets it, right? And you’re a bloody brilliant Chaser. Even more of a reason for them to understand.”

“You lot don’t have to keep reassuring me,” James said with a roll of his eyes. “I know what I’m capable of. What I need is a dose of reality. What’s going on with you all? I feel like this is all we’ve talked about lately.”

“Eh, same as ever,” Lysander said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “Work in the shop, hang out here. Lorcan and I are planning a trip with Dad to Italy in the fall.”

“Wicked! Can I come?” Fred asked. Lysander shook his head.

“Sorry. Family only.”

“Come on,” Fred whined. “Our siblings are practically married which makes us practically brothers.”

“Fred,” Violet said with a chuckle as she put the last of the dishes away. “Even when your siblings marry each other, you still won’t technically be related.”

“Yes we will!” Fred argued. “Isn’t that how the whole in-law thing works?”

All of the boys looked confused as they tried to work this out in their heads. With an amused sigh, Violet resumed her seat at the table.

“I’ll give you another example,” she said. “Let’s say my brother Bobby married Lily. Hypothetically,” she clarified when James seemed about to erupt into protest. “That doesn’t mean that James and I are brother and sister-in-law. It means Lily is my sister-in-law, and Bobby is James’s brother-in-law. It doesn’t cross over into your in-laws siblings.”

James gave a shrug of agreement while the other two still didn’t looked convinced.

“So like how your Aunt Victoire is sister-in-law to your dad,” she said slowly to Fred. “But her sister Gabrielle isn’t.”

Understanding graced Fred’s features as it finally made sense.

“Funny, really,” James said. “She’s actually the only instance in our family where we can give that example. Everyone else who married in is an only child.”

“Wow,” Violet said in realization. “Same’s true for my parents as well.”

“I think it’s different because of the twin thing,” Fred reasoned. “If your twins marry each other, you can’t not be family.”

“How did we get on this topic?” James asked in confusion.

“Fred wanted to go to Italy.”

Lysander gave Violet an annoyed look as Fred resumed his efforts to get an invitation.

“Fred, we will be camping and hiking and helping Dad with research. While I might enjoy it, no way in hell will you ever learn to not complain about sleeping on the ground.”

Fred seemed momentarily offended, but eventually gave a look of defeat, knowing his friend was right.

He turned his attention to Violet instead.

“How training?” he asked her.

“Really good,” she said. “We actually had a success story today. A young boy in the long term care ward got to go home today. I was working on his case for a long time so it was brilliant to see all that hard work pay off.”

“That’s brilliant!” James enthused. “What was wrong with him?”

“Blood malediction,” she explained. “Same his mother died from, actually.”

“Blimey, that’s sad.”

Violet nodded. “And his dad was a Muggle who died from a heart problem last year.”

“No wonder you took to him,” Lysander commented. Violet looked at him in question.

“What makes you say that?”

“You’re a helper,” he said with a shrug. “Especially if someone’s really down on their luck.”

Violet blushed, not sure if he was trying to pay her a compliment.

“Of course I like to help people,” she said. “It’s one of the reasons I became a healer. And he’s not too down on his luck. He has his older brother to take care of him.”

Fred’s eyebrows rose in realization and he started pointing at her, struggling to form his thoughts into words. Violet’s eyes were wide in fear.

“Fred-”

“Same bloke, yeah?” he finally asked, cutting off her warning. She stared at him with wide eyes and a clenched jaw, trying to silently communicate her desire for him to shut up. James watched on in confusion while Lysander seemed to realize what was going on.

“Ah, this is the bloke you were talking about last month, yeah? What ever happened there?”

James watched as she refused to look his way, squirming in her seat in discomfort. If he was reading the situation correctly, he wasn’t about to be too pleased with the turn the conversation was about to take.

“He talked to me today, actually,” she began tentatively, focusing on Fred and Lysander. They didn’t seem to notice her desire to avoid whatever territory they were wandering into. James glanced between the three of them in confusion as he took a drink of his water.

“Did he ask you out then?”

Every eye turned to look at James as he choked, setting his glass down and coughing into his elbow. He eventually calmed down and waved off their questions asking if he was okay, Violet still looking at him in concern.

“Yeah,” she said slowly, turning back to look at the other two. “He did. I told him I’d think about it. Can we change the subject?”

Fred smirked at her, and James missed the subtle glance he sent his way. He was too caught up in what he’d just learned. If she was considering going out with someone else, he’d been right to let things go. A brief glimpse tonight into how things could be would have to satisfy. For now, at least. Even if she was planning on going out with someone else, hope wasn’t something he was completely ready to give up. Not yet. Maybe she’d eventually see him the way he saw her. He watched as she laughed at whatever story Fred was now telling, her face lit up with joy, and he realized something. No matter how hard he tried to let it go, a part of him was always going to want to be more than just her best friend.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A/N: Like the fast update? Cause I like reviews :)
Happy Reading!


Chapter 10: She Agrees to a Date
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It wasn’t that much of a surprise when James found out he’d made the team at the end of the week. Violet was surprised when she’d been called to the front desk at St. Mungo’s because she had a visitor on Friday afternoon that turned out to be him. Even though she had a good idea why he was there, the brilliant smile on his face when he saw her was a dead giveaway. She walked quickly towards him as her own smile grew and he spread his arms wide in pride.

“Say hello to Puddlemere’s new starting Chaser!”

He barely had time to get the words out before she’d leapt into his open arms, throwing hers around his neck in a tight hug. He swung her around and let out a laugh before setting her back on her feet.

“I start training with the team soon but we break for a few weeks in the summer. The rest of the reserves want to take me out for drinks tonight.”

Violet gave him a knowing look and batted his arm. “See? We told you they’d be understanding.”

He rolled his eyes but couldn’t keep the grin off his face. “I’m off to tell Fred and Ly, but I wanted to run something by you first.”

He grew nervous all of the sudden and glanced around the room to see they were being watched by various visitors and hospital workers. In an effort to not be overheard, he moved closer to her and lowered his voice.

“So, there’s this gala thing for the league. It’s all fancy and I have to go now that I’m a starter.”

He paused and she just looked at him expectantly, but it seemed like he needed a little prodding to continue.

“Sounds fun.”

“It doesn’t, really,” he said, looking like the whole idea sounded unpleasant. “I don’t really know anyone on the team yet, and they’ll be there with all their girlfriends and families.” He let out a heavy breath, running his hands through his hair. He opened his mouth to continue, but someone beat him to it.

“Healer Finnigan!”

Violet turned to see a familiar face making his way towards them, immediately dreading the awkward situation she was about to be forced into as her former patient’s older brother made his way over.

“Hey, Jimmy,” she said, trying to hide the anxiousness in her voice as she could practically feel James watching them both. “How’s Will?”

“Brilliant, actually. I’m just here to pick up some potions and paperwork. Lucky I bumped into you.” He gave her a charming smile and she felt herself blush. She cringed as she heard James clear his throat. She looked over her shoulder to see him giving her a questioning look as he glanced between her and Jimmy.

“Right,” she said, collecting herself. “Jimmy this is James. James, Jimmy. He was one of my patient’s family members.”

James wore a look of comprehension as he moved slightly forward and stuck out his hand to shake the other young man’s, who looked at James in recognition.

“James Potter? Wow, pleasure to meet you.”

James gave a nod, obviously not keen on saying much else. Violet turned back to Jimmy, who seemed uncomfortable, as he took a step closer and talked to Violet in an undertone.

“Listen, have you thought about what I asked?”

She could feel James tense up behind her. She didn’t want to do this in front of him. It wasn’t something she was sure she really wanted to do at all. But running from it wasn’t going to help anything. She wasn’t even sure why she said what she said next.

“Yes. When?”

He gave her a relieved smile. “Next Friday okay?”

She nodded.

“Great,” he said, right as James gave a rather loud cough. Violet cringed as Jimmy glanced at James before focusing back on her.

“I’ll be in touch then, okay?”

She nodded and he said farewell to both of them before walking off towards his intended destination. Violet inhaled deeply before turning to face James, letting it out to brace herself for whatever he would have to say. He was wrankled enough by thoughts of her and Lysander a few weeks ago. Even if she thought he didn’t have feelings for her, she knew he was protective.

“Sorry about that,” she said to a rather stoic James. “What were you saying?”

James shook himself, clearly thrown by what he’d just witnessed and trying to get back to before they were interrupted.


“It’s nothing, really,” he said with a dismissive wave. Violet wasn’t buying it.

“James,” she said, moving forward to rest a hand on his arm. “What?”

His eyes scanned her face, looking like he wasn’t sure if he wanted to say what he had been planning on telling her before Jimmy had shown up.

“Would you go with me?” he finally said in a rush

Violet’s eyes widened in surprise as she took a slight step back. “What?”

“As a friend,” he was quick to clarify when he noticed her reaction. “To the gala. I’d ask a date but it’s sort of last minute and I don’t have anyone to ask and I know I’ll have fun if you’re there.”

To him, it probably looked like she’d relaxed once he’d explained himself. In reality, she was just trying very hard to mask her disappointment after her short glimmer of hope. She pulled herself together and gave him a reassuring smile.

“Of course I’ll go with you. When is it?”

“Next weekend. And it’s on Saturday, so it won’t interfere with what I’m assuming is a date?”

She nodded as she felt a blush rising to her cheeks. James looked like he was torn between saying more and wanting nothing more than to escape.

“Brilliant. Thanks so much, Vi. I’ve actually gotta run. I need to tell everyone else.”

Violet looked at him in surprise yet again.


“Does anyone else know?”

He chuckled, regaining his usual confidence and starting to back away from her. “Of course not.”

He gave her a wave and turned to leave. Violet sighed as she watched him walk away, letting her weight rest on the front desk. What a whirlwind of a few minutes. And she wasn’t feeling perfectly at peace with any of it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He wandered the familiar halls of the Department of Magical Law, the grey carpeting a familiar comfort as he made his way towards the Auror Department. He gave nods and waves in recognition of the people that greeted him as he passed by. The route was almost automatic now, he’d taken it so many times. He wasn’t sure what he was trying to accomplish by coming here. He didn’t talk with his dad about these type of things. Of course, he could always talk to Teddy, but he was all wrapped up in his happy relationship and seemed overly optimistic about everything at the moment.

He reached the mahogany door that led to his father’s office, noticing it was slightly open and voices were coming from inside. After listening for a moment, he was able to note that it didn’t seem like a serious conversation, and rapped his knuckles against the cold wood, hearing a “Yes,” in response. He grabbed the handle and took a step into the room, swinging the door further open. His father was casually leaning against the front of his desk, his Uncle Ron lounging in one of the chairs across from it.

A surprised look crossed Harry’s face when he saw his son.

“James,” he said, checking his watch to see it was slightly after one o’clock in the afternoon, but looking pleased all the same. “Aren’t you supposed to be at training?”

A smirk broke out on James’s face. “Nope. The starting team has a few weeks off.”

Harry’s eyes almost popped out of his head as Ron’s jaw dropped. Harry gave a cheer as he moved forward to give his son a hug. James couldn’t help but grin at his father’s enthusiasm as his uncle came over to clap him on the back.

“That’s bloody brilliant,” Ron said. “I didn’t even know you were up for a spot. What happened?”

“Adamson retired,” he explained as Harry ushered James in and closed the door behind him. “We had tryout training sessions this week. I just found out this morning.”

Ron moved to sit back in his chair, still grinning with excitement.

“Bloody Hell, that’s fantastic,” Harry said as he perched himself on his desk, James taking the other seat next to his uncle. “Have you told your mum?”

James shook his head. “I was going to run to the house after I came here. And actually, telling you was actually only part of the reason I stopped by.”

Harry looked intrigued as he shared a glance with Ron, as if silently asking if he knew what his son wanted to talk about. It was one of those things one did with a best friend that you’d known the majority of your life. It wasn’t a stretch, actually, to think Ron might know. He was James’ godfather, after all.

“What’s up?” Harry asked when James wasn’t immediately forthcoming. The younger Potter ran his hands through his hair, a nervous habit that had been passed down through the Potter line and made Harry’s mouth twitch in a small smile.

“I need to talk about something,” James began slowly. “But I’ve sat on it for so long…”

“You're not sure how to?” Harry asked in understanding. James nodded, looking between the two best friends. As he saw Ron’s confused look, a thought occurred to him and he suddenly became extremely thankful that his uncle was there.

“You and Aunt Hermione were friends, right?”

Ron gave a confused chuckle. “Well, I like to think we still are, but you mean in school? Yeah, best friends. Why?”

James glanced back at his dad who looked like he was trying to figure out where this was going before it got there.

“How did you know she wanted more?”

He felt himself blush as he asked the question, Ron’s eyebrows rising in amusement as he scratched his chin in thought.

“Well, she was the one who made that first step, actually. Wouldn’t let me live it down for a while, to be honest,” he grumbled. “But, eventually, I just sucked it up and talked to her. The rest just sort of worked itself out.”

“James, why do you ask?” Harry inquired, studying his son carefully.

James reclined back in his seat with a heavy sigh.

“This is bloody embarrassing. But I don’t know what the hell I should do. It would be a hell of a lot easier if she just gave me some solid sign.”

“You know what would make it a hell of a lot easier to help you?” Harry said with a dose of sarcasm. “If you told us what exactly this is all about.”

James gave a groan of defeat, burying his face in his hands before mumbling incoherently.

“What was that?” Ron asked. James lifted his head to glance between the two men.

“I said it’s about Violet?”

Harry let out a snort of laughter, his eyes crinkling in humor. “You don’t sound so sure about that. But I can’t say I’m surprised.”

“Why?” James asked sitting up straighter. Ron scoffed, stretching his arms and leaning back with his hands behind his head.

“Because it’s bloody obvious, that’s why.”

“That’s-”

“Completely accurate?” his father cut him off. He gave James a knowing look before moving to sit behind his desk. “So, what? You need some advice on how to ask her out? Want to know how I asked out your mum?”

“I’m not so sure this was a good idea anymore.”

Ron laughed and stood, reaching over to clap him on the shoulder.

“I really wish I could stick around for this, but I’ve got to get back. Hopefully those two friends of yours didn’t burn down the shop in my absence.”

Ron said goodbye and exited Harry’s office, leaving the father and son by themselves. James looked at his dad imploringly.

“He won’t say anything to anyone, right?”

Harry shook his head. “No, you’re fine. He might tell your Aunt Hermione, though.”

James shrugged, figuring that would be the case. He remained silent, not really sure anymore why he’d come to talk to his dad. It wasn’t that they didn’t get along, but he had more in common with his mum.

“Look, I figured it would better to talk to you about this than Mum, but I’m just not even sure what to say.”

Harry sat forward and folded his hands, resting his arms on his desk, and looking prepared to listen.

“She’s coming with me to the gala on Saturday. You know the one they have for the league the start of every summer?”

Harry nodded. He’d been to his fair share when Ginny was playing Quidditch professionally.

“That’s good, right?”

“She’s also got a date on Friday.”

Harry’s eyebrows rose in befuddlement. “Seriously? That doesn’t sound like Violet.”

“Actually, I kind of made it seem like I wanted to go as friends.”

Harry gave him a disappointed look. “I thought you just said-”

“I know,” James said with a resigned sigh. “But I was kind of put in a spot and I panicked.”

Harry reclined back in his chair. “So now you have to figure out how to let her know you want it to mean more while also trying to work out if she might want the same?”

Ideally, yes. That’s exactly what he wanted. But James’s mind started reeling in terms of his actual reality. What had he been thinking? She’d just said yes to a date with someone else and here he was, trying to accomplish something that all the signs pointed towards not happening. He was a fool to think their situation was anything like his aunt and uncle’s had been. He’d tried to make a move on her doorstep, something that was supposed to be romantic as hell, and she’d given him the cold shoulder. He’d asked her to go to the gala, and she’d looked panicked until he’d assured her it was just as friends. Sure, their dinner together earlier in the week was nice, but it probably wasn’t as special as he’d made it out in his mind to be.

He stood abruptly and his dad almost jumped in surprise.

“You know what? Nevermind. It’s not going to happen.”

He gave his dad a nod in thanks and started to head out of the room, ignoring Harry calling after him. Without thinking much about it, he made his way towards the training room, hoping his godbrother would be there. Maybe that’s who he should have gone to in the first place. He pushed open the double doors and saw young Aurors in training dueling on the mats. He knew Teddy typically oversaw a lot of the training, so he quickly scanned the room in search of him. It wasn’t long before he spotted him, correcting a trainee on their form. Dodging the other sparring Aurors, he made his way towards him.

Teddy gave a look of surprise when he saw James, continuing to instruct the young female auror as James continued towards him. He stood awkwardly to the side before Teddy was able to step away and join him.

“You look thoroughly put out,” Teddy commented as he moved towards his godbrother. James let out a deep breath and relaxed his stance, but his eyes hadn’t moved from the trainee Teddy had been instructing. A plan began to from in his mind, and it was one he had a feeling he might regret. Then again, he’d always been one to act before fully thinking things through. He nodded towards the girl, her blonde hair up in a high ponytail as she threw him a grin over her shoulder while continuing with her exercise.

“Who’s that?” James asked. Teddy glanced towards the girl before looking at James in question.

“That’s Polly. She’s a first year trainee. Why?”

James shrugged, a smirk forming on his face. “Is she single?”

Teddy remained silent and James finally looked at him after growing impatient to find his godbrother was giving him a hard a searching look.

“I believe so. She was going on about a breakup the other day. James, what are you doing?”

James knew that Teddy had picked up on the subtleties that ran through his relationship with Violet. It had never fully been addressed between the two of them, but neither of them were idiots. It wasn’t hard for James to know what Teddy was thinking.

“Don’t worry, Ted,” he said with an attempt at a nonchalant grin. “I’ve got everything under control. And it just so happens I need a date for this weekend.”

“Really?” Teddy asked. “Sure there isn’t anyone else you’d rather take?”

James shrugged. “Maybe, but you should have seen her face when I asked her. No way in hell is that ever happening.”

“You already asked her?” Teddy asked in mild surprise. “And she wasn’t pleased by it?”

James nodded, figuring it might not hurt to open up to Teddy. There was a reason he’d felt inclined to come see him in the first place.

“I covered by telling her I didn’t have time to find a real date. So we’re just going as friends. Suppose she wouldn’t be too pissed about it if I found a way to let her off the hook.”

Teddy shook his head vehemently and James looked at him in surprise.

“I don’t know if you’re reading this situation correctly.”

“Ted, come on. It might have been easy for you, but we aren’t you and Victoire.”

“I know that, but…” Teddy glanced around, realized they were attracting attention, and grabbed James by the arm to drag him of to the side of the training room. “Have you even tried?”

“Of course I’ve tried, Ted,” James said, growing frustrated and throwing off the grip Teddy had on his arm. “And it’s not happening. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date to secure for this weekend.”

He marched away in what he knew was a somewhat childish attitude, but he didn’t care anymore. He was embarrassed and tired of waiting and acting like an idiot and he wasn’t going to do it anymore. He made his way towards Polly, resolute in his decision and hoping it wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I’m sorry, what?”

A dreadful silence fell around the table as they all glanced between Violet and James. They were all having dinner at Lorcan and Lysander’s flat on Thursday evening. It was something of a celebratory meal. Roxanne and Lorcan had decided that they would be moving in together, and Lysander had insisted that they have at least one meal at the flat that he shared with his brother before he was kicked out. He really wasn’t that put out by the idea. He’d actually been incredibly supportive of his brother and Roxanne over the past month. It was endearing to Violet to see Lysander actually take her advice to heart. He’d really been there for Lorcan and had even offered to let them have their flat when his brother told him they wanted to move in together. The current plan was for Lysander to stay with James and Fred, seeing as he spent so much time there anyway. James had commented to Violet earlier in the evening that he was honestly thinking about getting his own place, now that he could afford it. The beginning of the evening had been so lovely, she found it hard to believe the words that were now coming out of his mouth.

“I said you’re off the hook,” James clarified, seeming very preoccupied with his food. “I managed to find an actual date for Saturday night.”

Violet felt her eyes begin to water as she stared at the top of his head while he refused to look up at her. The sound of creaking chairs as everyone shifted awkwardly sounded a thousand times louder than it would under normal circumstances. When it all became too awkward, Lorcan cleared his throat, causing James to look up at him. Lorcan gave a jerk of his head towards Violet, who was still staring at James. He sighed before meeting her gaze.

“When did this happen?” she asked, trying very hard to sound unfazed.

“I met her on Monday. Which was when I asked her.”

Violet felt like she had to physically restrain her eyes from popping out of her skull.

“Right after you asked me? Three days ago? You literally chose right now to tell me this when you had three days to do it?”

“Vi-”

“Shut up,” she practically growled at him. James felt his draw drop in surprise as she roughly stood up, tossing her napkin down on the table.

“I’ve made far too many excuses for you, James Potter. I guess all I’ll ever be to you is something to settle for when you can’t have what you think you really want, is that it? Well I won’t do it anymore! The fact that you’re willing to blow me off for someone you just met? You’re a bigger arsehole than I thought you were.”

“Violet,” James said in a soothing voice as he also stood. “What the bloody hell are you going on about?”

“Don’t fucking patronize me, James.” She gave him a disappointed frown, no longer as angry as she had been moments ago. All her energy had been sapped from her. She’d been doing this for far too long and she was tired of it. “Don’t give me some shitty excuse either. You’re completely blind to all of this and to how you treat me. I get that now. So would you please just leave me alone?”

She turned to walk out of the kitchen and towards the fireplace. James just watched her with a dumb look on his face before Fred shoved him from his place next to him. He managed to catch her just before she threw the floo powder into the fireplace.

“Violet, wait.”

She took a deep breath to try and calm herself, closing her eyes before turning to face him again, against her better judgment.

“I thought I was making this easier on you,” he explained, his hands shoved in his pockets as he searched her face for answers. He really had no idea. She just smiled at him in pity.

“James, you’re a bloody fool and you’ve made this harder than you’ll probably ever realise.”

And with that, she threw the floo powder into the grate and was gone in a flash of green flames. As soon as she’d stumbled into her flat, she let the tears fall freely from her eyes as she collapsed on the couch, hoping he wouldn’t come after her. She was only given a few minutes of peace before she heard the flames ignite. She rolled over to face the room and let out a relieved sigh through her tears when she saw Roxanne kicking off her shoes. Her face fell when she took in Violet’s tear stained cheeks and quickly made her way over to sit beside her on the couch.

“Violet, I’m so sorry.”

Violet gave an unpleasant snort as she tried to wipe away the tears that were still falling.

“You don’t need to apologize for that fucking prick. He doesn’t deserve it.”

“I know,” Roxanne said, reaching out to rub her back in an attempt to soothe her. “I’m still sorry it all happened.”

Violet blushed in embarrassment, remembering that she’d actually made a scene in front of all of her friends.

“The boys looked like they were about to chew him out, if that makes you feel any better.”

Violet sighed as she sat up, making room for Roxanne to scoot back and sit next to her. She laid her head on her friends shoulder, Roxanne’s arm coming around her to rub her arm.

“Even if they manage to talk sense into him, I’m not really up to talking to him.”

She felt Roxanne nod in understanding. “Do you know when you will be?”

Violet scoffed. “When he gets his head on straight and actually faces up to everything. So pretty much never.”

Roxanne gave a melancholy chuckle, resting her head on Violet’s and giving her an affectionate squeeze.

“You’ll be alright.”

“I know,” Violet said. “I don’t need him to be alright.”

“True,” Roxanne agreed. “But I meant both of you.”

Violet moved back to look at Roxanne, who seemed optimistic.

“I’m starting to have serious doubts about that.”

“Whatever,” Roxanne said, a hopeful lilt in her voice. “Maybe this was the push he needed.”

Violet gave a derisive snort. “Well he better push back really fucking hard if he thinks I plan on giving him the time of day anytime soon.”





A/N: So I might try and get the rest of this story posted before the sight goes down since it's mostly finished, but I will continue posting everything over on fanfiction dot net. Love you all!! Happy Reading :)

 


Chapter 11: He Fights For Her
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A/N: The first part of Chapter 5 of Show a Little Faith gives you context for this chapter! It contains the conversation mentioned between James and Rose. Honestly, this won't make sense if you haven't read that. I did decide to include the section from Chapter 6 of that story that ties in with this one, but from James' perspective instead. So if it looks familiar, that's why!

Enjoy Chapter 11 :)






Of all the idiotic things he could have done, this was by far the worst. He saw that now. Why it took Rose Weasley to get him to see the truth, he would never really know. He’d ignored what Fred, Lysander, and Lorcan had said to him the week before. He’d ignored all the signs and lied to himself for how many years now? Even Teddy and his own father had known and had tried to say something. And he wouldn’t listen. He’d been too stubborn to see what was right in front of him because part of him so desperately wanted it to be true, but the other part knew he wouldn’t be able to stand it if it wasn’t. He’d been too scared of losing her and losing their friendship that the risk didn’t seem worth it, because he thought he knew how it would turn out. Had he really been wrong all this time?

He’d tried talking to her over the past few weeks, but she’d done a splendid job of putting up barriers. Roxanne wasn’t letting up, and had even said something about him needing to really fight if he wanted this. She’d switched shifts at work so he didn't even know when to stop by St. Mungo’s and see her, not that he hadn’t tried. He’d caught glimpses of her a few times, but she knew the halls of the hospital better than he did and she was always quick to lose him. He was also almost certain she’d recruited some of the witches working at the welcome desk to not let him know when she was there, based on their occassional shifty attitudes. At least he had Rose on his side. Even though he’d been unsuccessful in his attempts to speak with Violet the past few weeks, he was confident that tonight would be the night. He knew she was at his house, thanks to Rose’s earlier communication, and he had a whole slew of wizards to help him achieve his goal. He was done running. He had to talk to her. He had to finally tell her how he felt about her. And he had to fight.

“Alright, here’s the game plan.”

He gestured with his wand at the board behind him that had the layout of his family’s home depicted on it.

“We surround it, you lot cause a disturbance, and then I should have my chance to move in.”

There was silence as the ten other boys stared at him as if he were crazy.

“Any questions so far?” James asked, undeterred by their lack of support. Louis slowly raised his hand.

“How exactly will this give you a chance to talk to her?”

James rolled his eyes. “Because, I’m willing to bet that Lily will figure out what’s going on almost right away, and she won’t be able to stop herself from verbally abusing us for crashing their party, therefore making Violet aware of our presence. And she’ll do her best to make sure she steers clear of any possible encounter with me.”

There was silence again as they failed to grasp what this all meant.

“Meaning,” James continued impatiently. “That she’ll probably hide out in the one room that cannot be accessed by a window.”

He tapped his wand on the spot that read “living room,” as a few of the boy gave nods of understanding.

“So, let me get this straight,” Al spoke up. “We’re all going to run around the house, bang on the windows, and hope all of the girls come to investigate except Violet?”

James nodded, a grin on his face.

“Mate, you realize that’s a long shot, right?” Fred asked.

“It’s all I’ve got, Fred. If I try to just barge in while they’re all in the room, there’s no way I’ll be able to get to her. And if anyone has a better idea about how to get her on her own, please offer up your suggestions.”

There was silence as the boys gave each other uncertain glances. Lorcan finally gave James a supportive nod.

“We’ll go with your plan, James. Just tell us what to do.”

James gave him a grateful smile as the rest of the boys gave him their undivided attention.

“Alright, I figure it’s best you all handle keeping the girls out of the way that you have the most sway over. Just incase someone tries to put up a fight.”

“How will we know who will go where?” Hugo asked.

“Well,” James continued, “I was wondering if anyone knew of any type of spell we could use to track what’s going on inside?”

“That’s high tech Auror stuff, James,” Al told his brother. “No way could we pull of something like that.”

“Well, what else then?”

“I’m willing to bet Rose and Erin will try to take a downstairs room, since they know what’s going on and will want to take a peek at the action,” Scorpius observed. “So Al and I can take part of the ground level.”

“Brilliant. Any other thoughts?”

“Roxanne and Lily are probably the only other two we really need to worry about, right?” Ethan asked. James nodded. “So, you split up Hugo and Bobby and Fred and Lorcan between upstairs and down, and one of them is bound to be where they need to be.”

“We might have to worry about Dom and Eva,” Fred pointed out. “Ly and Ethan should be split as well.”

“Why me?” Lysander asked.

“Because my sister actually listens to you, believe it or not,” Louis said. Lysander seemed surprised by this revelation, but James quickly called their attention back to himself.

“Alright, so, we form teams and we head over in an hour? That should be about when they start settling in for the evening.”

There were nods of agreement as they started discussing who would be going where and with whom. Fred broke away from the group that was sitting around the living room in their flat and approached James.

“Nervous?”

James let out an agitated sigh and rubbed his hands over his face.

“As hell. Think it’ll work?”

Fred shrugged, unable to keep from grinning at his friend. “Worth a try, isn’t it?”

James just nodded, suddenly feeling embarrassed by the vulnerability he was having to show in this situation. He hadn’t had a chance to speak with Fred much since he’d talked to Rose. Frankly, he’d sort of been avoiding it.

“How could I have been such an idiot for so long?” he asked his friend in an undertone. Fred laughed and clapped him good naturedly on the back.

“No clue, mate. It was bloody obvious to the rest of us.”

James gave him an irritated look. “No need to continue rubbing that in.”

“Well, with any luck,” Fred told him, “I’ll soon be on you to stop rubbing your new relationship in my face instead. You’ll be all love struck and googly eyed-”

“Googly eyed?” James asked with a chuckle. Fred just shrugged unapologetically.

“You know it’s true. Pretty soon Ly and I will be the solo bachelors of our little group.”

James gave him an amused look. “A duo. Solo is one, duo is two. You’d be dual bachelors.”

Fred looked at him in confusion. “Why would we be dueling?”

James rolled his eyes as Al and Scorpius made their way towards them.

“Do you really think this will work?” Al asked. “I mean, what are the odds that she’ll be where you need her to be?”

“Come on, Al,” Scorpius said. “Have a little faith in your big brother. He knows what he’s doing. This time.”

James reached out and swatted Scorpius in the stomach. The younger boy chuckled and made a half-hearted attempt at dodging his swing.


“Whatever, prat,” James said. “I may not know exactly what I’m doing, but I’ve never been more sure of trying for something in my life.”

The brows of all three boys rose at this statement.

“More than Quidditch?” Al asked.

“More than anything related to Quidditch,” James assured them. “And I’m being sappy in the strictest confidence. You lot aren’t to spread this to anyone else. Understood?”

Even though they were all smirking at his scowl, they nodded.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The hour flew by and James soon found himself anxiously crouching behind the hedge at the end of their front drive, all the other boys lined up behind him. He could see lights on in the lower level of the house and a few of the upstairs bedrooms, but those flickered off right around 10:30, signalling to James that they’d all finished getting ready for bed and were congregating in front of the television. This was their moment. He watched the light flick on in the kitchen and could make out two figures, ones he could make an educated guess were Violet and Roxanne. He turned to look down the line of boys.

“Alright, we’re a go. Whoever has a chance to run back and give me the all clear, do it as soon as possible.”

They all nodded before beginning to dart off in multiple directions. He watched as Lysander and Lorcan ducked behind a tree a few yards from the house and in view of the kitchen window. Lysander shook it violently and he heard muffled shrieks from inside the house as Roxanne and Violet ran out of the kitchen. The two boys moved forward and began rattling the windows as James heard similar noises coming from other parts of the house. It was only a few minutes later when he saw Al running across the front yard. He moved towards him and took in the mischievous smile on his brothers face.

“It worked,” he said, panting and coming to a stop in front of his brother. “It bloody worked and she’s by herself just inside.”

James took a minute to grin at his brother before Al clapped him on the shoulder and wished him good luck before taking off once again. James took a deep, calming breath and made his way towards the front door of his parent’s house, unable to stop a smile from forming on his face when he cracked it open and saw Violet pacing back and forth behind the couch. Part of him just wanted to stay there and watch her, but it was now or never, so he braced himself to make his way inside.

“Hey, Vi.” he said in a whisper. She stopped her pacing and he felt a tightening in his chest when her eyes met his. He moved into the house and quietly shutting the door behind him. The moment felt heavily charged as they just stood there for a few moments and took each other in; James leaning against the door and Violet relaxing slightly and sitting on the back of the couch, twirling her wand in her hands.

“What are you doing here, James?” she finally asked, unable to bear the silence any longer. Sensing a lessening in her animosity towards him, he pushed himself off the door and took a step closer to her, deciding to go with a little bit of honesty.

“I had to find a way to get you to talk to me, and I didn't trust you to stick around till tomorrow.”

“I almost didn't come tonight, honestly,” Violet admitted. “But I refuse to let you damage my relationship with your family. Particularly my best friend, who, unfortunately, happens to be your cousin.”

James barely had time to process what that all meant before there was a disturbance from the direction of the kitchen. Roxanne and Lucy seemed to have noticed something was going on in the family room and had started to walk through the kitchen door, only for both of them to be dramatically pulled back into the kitchen by Roxy’s boyfriend and his brother.

Violet’s eyes widened at their abrupt entrance and then subsequent removal before turning to James.

“You planned this didn’t you?” she asked with an almost disbelieving tone to her voice. He couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty. He had, after all, manipulated the evening to his advantage.

“I really needed to talk to you and I didn’t see another way.”

She didn’t say anything, still hiding behind whatever wall he couldn’t help but feel responsible for allowing her to build up over the years.

“I know I've screwed up,” he began. “I realize that now. And it would be bloody brilliant of you if you wouldn't run off and you actually let me talk to you this time.”

Violet studied him for a second before nodding and looking down at the floor. He gave a nervous gulp, prepared to lay it all on the table.

“Vi, I'm so sorry.”

She looked up at him, slowly. He could tell that the sincerity with which he spoke had unnerved her. It wasn't like James never apologized, but he was willing to admit that it wasn’t his strong suit. But he’d never felt more vulnerable than he did in that moment. The girl in front of him held the ability to make him either the happiest man in the world, or the most miserable soul to ever walk the earth. He decided it was best to get this over with quickly, so he pushed ahead.

“I've always thought I was doing the right thing when it came to you. You're the most incredible person I've ever known and I would hate to ruin the friendship that we have. I've been talking myself into it for years, actually.” He scratched at the stubble on his chin, trying to gather his thoughts.

“Talking yourself into what? Being friends with me?” She had developed a defensive tone at his words. James started to panic and was quick to try and correct to situation.

“No! Of course not! I mean the opposite in fact, if that makes sense.”

She shot him an uncertain look, not grasping what he was trying the say. This wasn’t going that well. How did he express what the last few years had been like for him into a comprehensive sentence?

“What I mean is, I had to force myself to just be friends with you. I guess, for a while now, I've fooled myself into thinking that was all I wanted.”

Violet stared at him with a hopeful look on her face and he felt his spirits lift, giving him the courage to press on.

“I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I didn't want to risk losing you and I was convinced that you would never feel the same way for me that I do for you. You're brilliant, Vi. The most beautiful, talented, and maddeningly frustrating witch I know and I can't stand going one day without hearing your voice or seeing your smile. So please, forgive me for being an idiot, a pig, and a coward for far longer than I would ever care to admit.”

He watched her expectantly and felt his heart flutter when she let herself begin to smile shyly at him. Was she really about to forgive him?

“I guess I could never stay mad at you forever.”

He beamed at her, unable to remember a time when he’d felt happier.

“Brilliant.”

They continued to stand there and smile at each other, neither knowing what to do next. James finally worked up the courage to walk towards her. He stopped when there was roughly a foot between them and spoke in a hushed tone.

“I should have taken you with me, and I'll forever regret that I didn't.”

She couldn't meet his eyes and was looking down at her feet as she chewed on her bottom lip, a slight blush on her cheeks.

“I was thrilled when you asked me, you know,” she said shyly, glancing up at him briefly. “I knew you only meant it as a friend, but I kind of saw it as my chance.”

“You're chance for what?” he asked, feeling hopeful and anticipating her finally reciprocating how he’d felt for a long time now.

“Are you really going to make me say it first?” she asked with a slight roll of her eyes, finally looking him in the face. He grinned cheekily at her before moving closer and tucking a strand of her long brown hair behind her ear.

“Nah, I think I've already put you through enough, honestly.”

She smiled at him as he reached out and laced his fingers between hers, revelling in the warmth the gesture brought to his entire being. She blushed at the gesture, but gripped his hands back all the same.

“I just don't fully get why you never said anything before,” he couldn’t help but ask.

She shrugged her shoulders.

“Probably the same reason you didn’t. I was bloody terrified of losing you. Of course, my stubbornness almost managed to make that happen anyway.”

He chuckled at her, knowing full well what she meant, before replying.

“Well, we’ll just have to make sure that doesn't happen again, alright?”

“Alright.”

They just stood there, their hands grasped at their sides and staring into each other's eyes. He was still nervous and unsure of what to do next. He knew what he wanted to do, but was it the right time? Their lovely moment was interrupted by his younger sister, who apparently couldn't take it anymore and hollered from somewhere up the stairway.

“Will you bloody kiss her already you great pansy!”

The sound of people shushing each other was heard from up the stairs, and James couldn’t help the brilliant blush that rose to his cheeks. Violet started laughing and buried her face in his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight, slightly rocking her back and forth.

“I was getting to it!” he hollered back at his sister. Violet still had her face buried in his chest and seemed to be either too nervous or too embarrassed to lift it. He’d been so wrapped up in the moment that he’d briefly forgotten they weren’t exactly alone. Suddenly having a desire to change that, James kissed the top of her head before pulling away and leading her out the front door to disappointed groans from the others.

“You buggers are way too nosey!” were his departing words before heading outside for some privacy. The sound of Violet’s joy filled laugh was enough to make his heart burst. He’d gone too long without hearing that sound. He pulled her down the front steps and further into the yard, unsure of his destination as he heard her calling his name behind him.

“James, stop,” she said, pulling on his hand. He did, and turned to face her. Why was he suddenly nervous again?

“Are you taking me somewhere in particular?” she asked, unable to keep herself from grinning. James shook his head, unable to stop smiling himself as she slowly closed the distance between them. He let out a sigh as she stopped in front of him, revelling in the freedom he now felt in being able to reach out and tuck her hair behind her ear without fearing rejection. The blush that rose to her cheeks for at least the second time tonight was something he’d seen before, and he’d always thought it just meant she was uncomfortable. He knew now that wasn’t the case.

“I’ve been an idiot,” he finally said. Violet let out a light laugh, the closest thing to a giggle he’d ever heard her make.

“You kind of have,” she said with a smirk.

“I’m just glad you found it in your heart to forgive me,” he said. “I can’t thank you enough for that.”

Violet looked down at their joined hands and rubbed her thumb across his knuckles affectionately before looking back up at him.

“How long, exactly?”

His brow rose in confusion. “How long what?”

She rolled her eyes at him. “How long have you wanted more?”

More. It was such a small word that held so much meaning. Where could he even begin?

“I guess it’s sort of always been there,” he eventually said, realizing it was true. “As soon as I had the capacity to fancy a girl, you’ve always been in my head.”

She gave a sheepish grin as he flushed in embarrassment, tilting his head back and closing his eyes.

“If you say the same was true for you I’m going to ruddy pitch myself off a cliff.”

Violet laughed and moved even closer to him, putting her hand on his cheek and directing his eyes back to hers.

“I’d really rather you didn’t,” she said with a smile. “And yes, same is true for me.”

He let out a groan of frustration and rested his forehead against hers, feeling his breath catch at their close proximity as she rubbed at his stubble. He reached out and brushed his thumb against her cheek, resting his hand on the side of her neck. He could feel her pulse racing as they soaked each other in.

“I never went on the date,” Violet suddenly said. “The one you witnessed me being asked out on? I was so torn up about you breaking our date that I was in no shape to go out. So I canceled.”

“One of the reasons I asked you to go as a friend was because of all that. Not to mention I was bloody terrified you would have said no otherwise.”


“I wouldn’t have,” she said in a sincere whisper, and he felt like kicking himself.

“If it makes you feel any better, I was no fun all night and my date ditched me for someone from the Arrows halfway through the evening.”

He felt her chuckle as she moved her hand down and released his hand from her other one, placing both of them on his chest. He thought for a moment that she was going to push him away, but she just moved her feet forward so that her toes bumped up against his shoes. That was when he realised that she was barefoot and in her pajamas.

“Are you cold?” he asked her. She just shook her head as he moved his arms to wrap around her waist, pulling her against him so she now stood between his feet.

“Then why are you shaking?” he asked in a whisper. She let out a shaky chuckle.

“I’m nervous. Aren’t you?”

He gave a snort of laughter. “Bloody terrified.”

“I don’t want to be,” she said in a whisper.

“Anything in particular you’re afraid of?” he whispered back. There was a moment of silence as he could practically hear her thinking.

“Losing you,” she finally said. He could hear the genuine fear in her voice and let out a contented sigh as he bent down to rub his nose against hers.

“Never going to happen.”

And then his lips barely brushed against hers for a moment before he was fulling kissing her. He felt her grip his t-shirt for a moment before her arms moved to wrap around his neck. He felt her sigh against him and he gripped her tighter as he moved his mouth slightly against hers, his heart beat picking up speed as she responded. It was incredible how right it all felt. Not just the feel of her against him, but the emotion pouring into the embrace that he could feel with every fiber of his being. He reluctantly pulled away to breath and smiled when he took in her flushed face and parted lips, a hazy look in her eyes.

“Violet, I-”

The sound of someone apparating nearby was enough to get them to lessen their hold on each other and they both looked around to spot a very upset looking Alice Longbottom standing at the foot of the steps to the front door. She just stared at them for a moment before gesturing behind herself and turning to head into the house.

“Something’s not right,” Violet said, and she gripped his hand as they both moved to follow Alice inside.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It had been a rough night in Potter Manor. Everyone felt for the Longbottom family and no one seemed to have any desire to go home, so plans were quickly made for sleeping arrangements.
James was one of the lucky ones, seeing as he already had a room to claim, but he’d have to share it on this occasion. He didn’t seem to mind too much. Lily had offered her room to Roxanne and Violet, and the two had willingly accepted, wanting to be close to the boys. Despite the circumstances, Violet was having a hard time doing anything other than smiling.

“Is it totally wrong of us to still feel this happy at a time like this?” Violet asked. She was leaning in the doorway of Lily’s room, watching James as he helped her get things set up for her and Roxanne. “It seems rather insensitive.”

James shrugged as he pulled fresh linens out of Lily’s closet.

“We’ve waited long enough. I’d say it’s okay to embrace the happy.”

She grinned at him as he flicked his wand and the bed started making inteslf. He stuck his wand in his pocket and confidently made his way towards her. Reaching out, he grabbed her waist, pulling her into the room and shutting the door before slowly backing her into it. She arched her eyebrow at him.

“What are you up to, Potter?”

He chuckled and ducked his head down, brushing his lips against her cheek before whispering in her ear.

“I thought I was embracing the happy. Is that alright with you?”

She giggled and wound her arms around his neck. “Not to be a downer, but we should probably talk through some things. I’m still not entirely happy with you.”

He moved away so he could look her in the eye. She had a fake pout on her lips, but the uncertainty in her eyes was real.

“Do I need to apologize again?”

She watched him for a moment, her frown disappearing before she shook her head and chewed her lip in thought, causing his eyes to drift toward her mouth.

“I think I got that part. But there’s so much that’s happened. Don’t you think talking through everything would be helpful?”

“Maybe,” he conceded, leaning in to quickly peck her on the lips, pulling back only slightly to speak again. “Or maybe we shouldn’t over think things this time. We’ve been doing a lot of that lately.”

She gave a giggle and a slight nod, her eyes roaming over his face as if taking him in for the first time.

“Do you want to be with me?” he asked, staring at her intently.

She breathed a content sigh, running her fingers up into his hair as she gave a nod of affirmation.

“Do you want to be with me?”

Her question was barely more than a whisper. He didn’t even hesitate before he nodded, and she quickly rose up on her toes to meet his mouth with hers. The fear and the nerves that had accompanied their first kiss had disappeared, making room for feelings of contentment and bliss to move in. They were done running, and nothing had ever felt so right. She could feel him smiling against her as she nipped at his lower lip, reveling in the feel of him, only one word present in her mind: Finally.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A/N: YAY!!!! Hope it was worth the wait. I have one more chapter planned that will tie off some more aspects of this story, but these characters are far from over in my mind. I have lots of plans so we'll see what comes of those :) Happy Reading!

 


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